Phiroz Ginwala,35,and Ruby Shrivastava,30,look like a picture-perfect couple with their two children,six-year-old Sakina,and one-year-old Faizan. But a decade ago,they had to elope to be able to live together. In 1998,Phiroz,a businessman,first saw Ruby,a college student,at a petrol pump in Ujjain. She smiled coyly at him,and they fell in love. They would find ways to sneak out to restaurants. Ujjain is a small town. It was always a risk,but we never cared, says Phiroz. On February 14,1999,he proposed to her and declared to his family that he would marry none but Ruby. She would visit my house despite my mother’s cold vibes, he says.
Rubys family,though,had strict reservations about Muslims and forced her to stop meeting him in 2001. For one whole year,Ruby avoided Phiroz,fearing a family backlash. We finally eloped in 2002 to Ratlam and had a nikaah. While my family was prepared,hers wasnt. We returned to Ujjain to get officially married, says Phiroz.
Phirozs parents put down certain conditions. Ruby was asked to convert,and change her name to Samina. Three years later,Rubys family,too,reconciled to her marriage and new religion.
Ruby learnt to offer namaaz,eat mutton and wear a rida (a customary Muslim dress) to please her mother-in-law. She was worried over what the relatives would say. It took some time for her to accept me, Ruby says. Her family,on the other hand,did not ask Phiroz to adapt any Hindu custom. Their children are being raised as Muslims,but they attend pooja whenever there is one. We permit our kids to do what they like,including following both religions, Phiroz says.