Cut to the present day where couples have an option of moving in together, having date-night whenever they please and seeing their significant other every day even if it's only virtually. Relationships two decades ago were very different. Old-school love came with its challenges. Right from being able to meet only twice a year, to having family say a NO, to even changing one’s name on the phone so that the relationship could stay protected, these couples have seen it all. If they could make the fairytale come true, so can you!
If you love something let it go. If it comes back...
The story of Alistair and Christie, as narrated by Alistair
Let me tell you about the woman who changed my mind when it came to marriage. To begin with, her name’s “Christie”.
We both went to St. Xavier’s College and I vaguely remember seeing her walk into the college quadrangle sometimes in the mornings, from my classroom that was located on the terrace floor. She didn’t know that I even existed. I was her senior by 3 years. So, I was out of college and had already forgotten that she was around by the time she finished her studies. And that was that you’d think, right? Wrong. Fate, nay destiny they say makes fools and believers in the same breath.
I decided to move on in life, try to make a career of some sort. One listless afternoon years later, my favourite aunt Cuckoo sat me down and prodded out of me the fact that there must have some girl/woman whom I’d at least have noticed, even if not pursued or in any way openly admit to having liked.
I told her about Chris. But, it isn’t that simple. I thought Christie’s name was actually “Crystal” since I’d never ever gotten close enough to even hear someone else call out her real name back then in college. I’d only ever, heard her being referred to, from far, very far away.
With just that piece of information, my aunt hunted her down and told her that she had a nephew who’d “kinda seen her” way back when she was in college. One thing led to another and I had won the lottery - gotten her phone number!
We spoke that very first time for 45 minutes and went out the following week. It was beautiful. The feeling of falling in love. However, love stories are never simple really and due to circumstances, we split up later.
Three years went by. We rarely saw each other. But whenever we did, it was a feeling that I cannot begin to explain. We drifted apart, got back together, and drifted apart again. Cut to the present. We’re here.
From best friends to getting her to agree to a date, to finally walking down the aisle with her. And to think it all started with watching someone out of the window of my college classroom every morning. Love happens in mysterious ways!
An old-school love story that gets them writing poems about you
The story of Sameer and Amit, as narrated by Sameer
Amit and I met in 2003 through a mailing list that was specifically for Indian gay individuals. At that time things were very hushed about homosexuality. In fact, Amit didn’t have his real name mentioned for the first 3 months as he faced the ‘what if others found out I am gay’ scare. We started talking on the phone with his name being totally different for the first 3 months.
We would have crazy fights in the initial years as our personalities were drastically opposite. However, with time we started understanding each other better. Amit would write Marathi poems on me and I thought that was really cute. Something that touched me the most was that in spite of being a student with loads of student loans to pay back, he took me out to a local Mexican restaurant for our first date.
Initially, he wasn’t sure of how we would sail through this relationship as there were too many pressures - for starters, getting married to a girl. Those first few years were very stressed as we were trying to establish our careers, form our relationship and at the same time thinking out a strategy of coming out to family and broader society.
What was constant throughout this process was our love for each other and a strong desire to make the relationship work. LGBT love stories go through many trials and tribulations because of society’s regressive view about homosexuality. For us, coming out to our parents was the scariest thing.
Our old-school love story is made of interesting aspects -drama, stress, crying, questioning, soul searching and what not! But it was worth it! Our wedding day was the most memorable day in our lives - something that we will always cherish.
An old-school love story that began with stargazing
The story of Anand and Arushi, as narrated by Arushi
We met during the early phase of our careers as we trained to be officers of the Indian Revenue service posted as Deputy Commissioners of Income Tax in Mumbai. I had gotten out of a 7-year relationship and he was single as a Pringle! We clicked instantly and became good friends and literally spent every waking day with each other. It was very old-school love.
We would sit together for hours listening to each other's music, take trips together, long walks and just sit many-a-night gazing at the stars. Soon we realized that it was more than friendship and that we had fallen in love almost organically!
Our story wasn't as smooth though. My mom and his dad were absolutely against the marriage as both of us are from very different societal structures. In addition to this, no one in either of our families had ever had a love marriage! But we knew we were made for each other. After what seemed like forever, we managed to convince our parents.
We were clear that we wanted to have a court marriage and not the Hindu ritual marriage as we both didn't believe in the concept of an extravagant ceremony. It certainly was a task convincing the family, but we did it! We truly believe it was destiny that got us together and gave us our old-school love!
What is love without bonding over chai on the patio?
The story of P D Joseph Perayil and Marykutty as narrated by Joseph
We met for the first time when I went to visit her at her hostel as part of an arranged marriage alliance. After the marriage was fixed, we met for the betrothal and then the wedding, which was 6 months later. We did not see each other at all in between.
When we started our married life, both of us were working and posted at different places. Hence we could meet only on the weekends, which I regret to date.
We did not lead a luxurious life. It was always the little things. A cosy gathering with our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, attending the Holy Mass together at church every morning without fail, evening conversations at the patio over tea and so on that brought us both immense happiness.
We both had a shared love for gardening and tended to quite an impressive array of fruit trees and vegetables in our backyard and terrace garden. We had an old-school love story and would not trade it for anything in the world.
She passed away on July 14, 2020, our 60th-anniversary after a long battle against cancer. There’s not a day that I don’t miss her, our conversations, the tiny disagreements, daily prayers with just the two of us. Our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been the biggest blessings, helping me tide over this difficult period.
I’ve been trying to keep myself busy by penning down anecdotes from her life and also wrote and published a book on our family history. I’ve always believed time is the best healer. Now I’m just waiting it out till it’s my time to join my Marykutty at the heavenly abode.
What is old-school love without that ice cream date?
The story of Param and Amruta, as narrated by Param
I was curating a Food Heritage Walk in the Old City of Ahmedabad and Amruta's family happened to be in the city to attend a wedding. (Honestly, I didn't pay much attention to her throughout the 3 hours of the walk, but she didn't miss a single moment, as she told me much later.)
The beginning of an old-school love story. We later met for an ice cream date. She had her flight back to the US that same night and we met for a good 30 minutes and talked about our common interests especially in Culture and Heritage. I left with memories and an International Female Friend and she left with khakhara, saalam paak and mohanthal!
Due to the difference in our time zones, I used to stay up until late at night to talk to her. We both started sharing our thoughts and feelings with each other as BEST FRIENDS!
After 6 months of our virtual unofficial dating, Amruta wanted a clear stand on our relationship. She was in Chennai at the time to meet her grandmom, and I decided to visit her there. I told home that I was going to Chennai to attend a conference, little knowing that day would change our lives.
Amruta arranged a perfect day for me and while saying goodbye at the end of it, I said “We’ll be best friends for the next fifty years.”
The ‘just friends’ mode went on for 12 more months. We used to call each other daily and talk for hours on end. It was a long-distance relationship without a title.
She told me she was planning to visit Ahmedabad in a few months and I was at the airport on the designated day waiting to receive her. We spent the entire next day together, right from breakfast with maska buns, to a cricket match that I was part of and she came along to watch me play, to having paav bhaaji and kulfi later.
I knew it felt right. In the months to come, I called her over to my house as a friend and took a road trip with her the next day to Patan. This is where I expressed my feelings towards her. As fate would have it, a few days later my grandmother announced to the entire household that 'the girl who came Sunday' is the right girl for Param and she wanted to get us married. Life can really surprise you sometimes!
Can you go from playmates to soulmates?
The story of Srishti and Rushabh, as narrated by Srishti
A story that is as old as time. It all started when we were kids. We were family friends who would meet occasionally and he and I would always be a pair and play together. Even then there was never a place for another soul.
Cut to the year 2010. We had not seen each other for over 10 years now as we stayed in different parts of Mumbai and were almost strangers. He then shifted houses and I along with my family got invited to his housewarming party. (Who knew back then that this invitation was actually going to be an invitation to his heart). He was right there at the door to greet us. In his version, it was love, at first sight, the minute he saw me after so many years all grown up and beautiful. And so, after the party, when he realized he hadn't taken my phone number - he tried looking for me on Facebook but with no real progress.
As fate would have it, we met once again - 2 months later. But this time he made sure to take my phone number, and that's how we started talking. Our mutual interests in bike rides and the fact that our colleges were near, made sure that we hung out all the time.
I was in the 12th grade when he proposed to me.
A decade later, here we are - happily married to each other and so in love. We faced our fair shares of highs and lows. But what keeps us going is our love for each other. And of course, the fact that my crazy matched his crazy.
If I had to describe us, I would say we're chalk and cheese. So different yet so similar!