No room for culture clash
Source Deccan chronicle August 14, 2011
By François Gautier
I met Namrita by sheer chance. And I believe, a beautiful turn of fate. I was living in Paris and was on my way to Nepal for a story. I stopped in Delhi and had to deliver a letter from a friend to a certain address. I reached the house and rang the bell — and Namrita opened the door. The short meeting led to the exchange of a couple of letters and a few meetings. We eventually settled down 21 years ago. It had to happen as we were both on the same wavelength. She came from a Westernised upper-class family in Delhi, understood my background, had travelled abroad and there wasn’t any clash of culture — something generally seen in couples like us. But this wasn’t the only attribute to her personality.
Namrita had the same values of love, care and warmth that make any Indian, Indian. I believe these values have only helped us travel these many years together with ease. The companionship has seen both of us maturing in our skins. I have become more family-oriented, grounded and stable, while she, through me, has got in touch with spirituality, mediation and yoga. It is a paradox — with me more inclined towards the Indian culture! But that has helped us get together and make a family. In fact, there’s no exaggeration in accepting the fact that I was very lucky not to have faced any challenges! Having said that, our marriage like any other, saw its share of compromises and walking that extra mile.
Namrita had to make an effort too, as my lifestyle was very different. She adapted to all those little “bumps” with ease, a trait most Indians have. Another trait that Indians have is their love towards the family. Post my marriage, my father stayed with us. It is something uncommon in the West, where old people are generally put in homes. But Nam-rita was very comfortable with the thought and I also liked it. Thanks to this change, we enjoy the company of an extended family. We don’t have our own children but we keep visiting the family and the family visits us. When Namrita was ready to do what she hadn’t done so far, settling in Puducherry became possible. Today, we are in Delhi, but do travel to Puducherry. Namrita is a textile designer by profession and I am a writer.
We are both in active professions and have our own space. But we have done a few interesting things together. These include courses on the Art of Living and meditation, and writing a book. The Art Of Healing — The Healing Breath — is the book we wrote together last year. Though I recognise the fact that spouses must have different professions, as this helps them get their own space and privacy, a few projects like these help them bond. Nam-rita also helps me with her design inputs whenever I am exhibiting. We also find time to travel to remote places in the Himalayas on special occasions such as birthdays and try to spend some quiet time together. Such moments are important. However, it must be said that we both have our personal identities. By temperament, I was an introvert and Namrita was a social person. But thanks to my influence on her, I find her at home spending some quality time with herself. A marriage is nothing but a combination of many things, more importantly of trusting each other and growing together. Today, I can only say that my relationship was a beautiful chance encounter. I could have avoided going to Namrita’s place so many years ago. I had the option, but fate had something better in store for me! As told to Jyoti Verma