Today, February 26, is exactly four years ever since I first spoke to the woman who went on to become my wife. The sequence of events remains frozen in my mind.
February 2006: I was supposed to take the train from Chennai to Kanpur, spend a few relaxing days at home and then proceed to Rishikesh to attend the International Yoga Festival. But just two days before I was to take the train, news came that my mother was in hospital. She was serious. I flew down. I knew that attending the festival was now out of the question, but I still remembered to carry my yoga mat along, just in case she got better, as she always did in the past.
Miraculously enough, she began to revive the very evening I landed. In two days she was back home and life, for us, returned to normal. I resumed my yoga practice and looked forward to attending the festival. I was so glad I had brought the mat along.
So that morning, I had just finished my yoga session and was still lying in savasana when a message from an unknown number beeped on the phone: "Are you in some complicated yoga pose or free to talk?" I realised it was a Kolkata number. I rolled up the mat and went to the terrace to speak to her, for the first time. Till then we had only exchanged emails.
Subsequently, during the course of the day, we spoke to each other several times. But it was only at night, around 10.30, that we settled for a really long conversation. It happened to be Shivaratri, the night of Shiva, my favourite god, and priests at the nearby temple were chanting his name over the loudspeakers.
The chanting was still on when we hung up around three in the morning. The man who went to sleep that night was no longer the man who resisted or ran away from the thought of marriage. He finally wanted to get married, to the woman he had just finished talking to.