Amidst the myriad definitions of love that exist, one would perhaps agree that when in love, one does not let their partner brave obstacles alone. Life is not a bed of roses and does throw curve balls. But when in love, people put up a collective front and face these together. The story of Mumbai-based make-up artiste Sarah affirms these. Born in Karachi to a wealthy family, she was pampered a lot. “I never even learned how to catch a taxi!” she says, sharing her story with the Facebook page Humans of Bombay. She met her husband Mustafa when she had come to India for a wedding. And after initial doubts, decided to marry him.
However, the fairy tale ended too soon as he lost his job soon after. “The first three months were very depressing. I was crying every night while my husband was constantly frustrated,” she said. “I didn’t want to tell my parents what we were going through, because I wasn’t ready to give up on us yet. I was alone and in a new country but looking back, I feel like some of our most romantic moments were hidden in those troubled times,” she added. Their bond grew stronger during those times. “In those moments, my husband became my world. I cried to him, laughed with him and we took care of each other in ways beyond pampering. Through all these tough times I had found my best friend and now I knew that whatever may come, we would be okay…together,” she said. When she was in Karachi, she used to dabble with make-up and wanted to be a professional make-up artiste. She worked towards her dream again with the help of her husband. “My husband helped me set up and start marketing my work — and slowly I started getting clients and earning for both of us.” But people started saying things. “People started saying things like — he was just mooching off of me,” she said. “But who makes these rules?” she asks.
Refusing to call each other ‘man’ and ‘wife’, she refers to both of them as partners. “Romance isn’t about expensive gifts and dinners — it’s about making the other person stronger, so that you know they’re with you out of choice, rather than out of need,” she said.
I was born and brought up in a wealthy family in Karachi. Being the youngest, I was pampered a lot — I never even learned how to catch a taxi! My paternal family is from India, and I came here for a wedding and met Mustafa. For a whole month we spent a lot of time together, and eventually he developed feelings for me. He told me he wanted to marry me over text when we were sitting on the same couch with our families in the room. At that point, I was seeing someone already, but that man told me that he could never marry me. He loved me, but didn’t trust me. Not the trust that demands loyalty, but the trust which lies in the vow of ‘for richer or for poorer.’
He thought I was so sheltered that I wouldn’t be able to handle tougher times. At this point, even my father suggested that I consider Mustafa, who continued to be there as a friend. I decided to trust my family and marry the man who wouldn’t give up on me — that’s when we moved to Bombay. Our life became a whirlwind of customs and security checks. I feel like my honeymoon was spent in government offices. And two months into us moving to Bombay – he lost his job.
We looked for odd jobs everywhere but found nothing. I knew this phase of our lives would make or break us. The first three months were very depressing. I was crying every night while my husband was constantly frustrated. I didn’t want to tell my parents what we were going through, because I wasn’t ready to give up on us yet. I was alone and in a new country but looking back, I feel like some of our most romantic moments were hidden in those troubled times. When we didn’t have money for a dinner out—we’d go for long walks and share an ice-cream.
Back in Karachi, I used to dabble with make up and wanted to become a professional make-up artist — so I thought why not try it out here? My husband helped me set up and start marketing my work — and slowly I started getting clients and earning for both of us. People started saying things like — he was just mooching off of me. But who makes these rules? Why is it that if a husband earns and a wife runs the house its normal, but if the roles are reversed, we start judging? If my husband wouldn’t have supported me emotionally, I don’t think I’d be the person I am today or even have the strength to go out in the city and earn for us. He loved me and helped me grow and become the best version of myself.
We made all of our decisions together and didn’t conform to any stereotypical gender roles post-marriage, which is what I loved so much about our relationship. We weren’t ‘man and wife.’ We’re partners. Romance isn’t about expensive gifts and dinners — it’s about making the other person stronger, so that you know they’re with you out of choice, rather than out of need. Romance is overcoming your fears to make the other person unafraid of what’s to come. Lastly, romance knows of no LOCs — it’s boundless.
Who decides the rules of love… except the lovers themselves?