Ashwini Sumit

Our first meeting was an official campus recruitment trip from a Bangalore-based firm. We became friends who bonded over work travel. But soon, we were long-distance friends as I moved to Hyderabad for my MBA. Before leaving I gifted her Zoey, a black Labrador pup, who witnessed our bond as it grew stronger in the coming years.


Ashwini was the friend I needed, despite the distance. In one of those official recruitment trips to Warangal, she took a detour to Hyderabad just to visit me and we realised what we felt for each other was more than friendship. When she surprised me with a visit for my convocation ceremony, she was unaware my parents were also there. Though I had my doubts, I felt this was a golden opportunity for them to get introduced. I still remember how she sported short hair, jeans, a sleeveless top, and sunglasses, looking the modern Bangalorean girl she was. My parents were very conservative, wanting me to get married to a North Indian from our community. 


They were anxious about South Indian modern girl fitting into their traditional idea of a daughter-in-law. Soon after, I moved back to Bangalore for work, and we continued seeing each other. When we decided to get married, her family was on board with us, right from the start. 


My parents initially tried a lot to convince me to give her up. But once they came around, they were completely a part of our support system. 


After a north Indian style, baarat and night wedding in Baroda and a marriage reception in Bangalore, we were ready to start our life together. 


Cultural differences have never interfered in our relationship. The one difference she felt was the weight the word “Bahu’ carries in the north, which is not so much the case, in the south. This was a culture shock for her, but my parents and I helped her sail through it. 


Being non-believers, we celebrate festivals balancing it out with either of our families, spending quality time with them. As a person, I thrive in chaos and she demands absolute organization. But we have adapted to let go when we realize there are differences. Upwards and onwards. 


The strength of our relationship is our similar life values. As long as it doesn’t affect our values, we are pretty easy going with everything. 

Sumit Ashwini

Travel connects us big time. It has even made us run into low bank balances in the initial phase of our marriage. I often reminisce about the backpacking trip to Europe for four months before we had our daughter, Aira. We lived with strangers, having only each other to trust, learned to save and spend money, and experienced how it feels to spend 24/7 with each other for months together. One of the best times we had together.


After 12 years of marriage, I can vouch for one thing, that a marriage doesn’t have to be filled with big special events; everyday small things could be special too. As long as you learn the art of listening intently. Not just to words but the feelings behind the words. 


To us, marriage actually brought freedom and adventure to explore with a best friend by the side. We have our difference of opinion at times. But we accept the differences and admit that we all keep changing.


I guess everyone keeps changing for good because of their spouse in an equal marriage, isn’t it so?

– Sumit Poddar