Thursday, May 8, 2014

Jab we met (part three) - "the kiss...and the accident"

Read: Jab we Met (part 1)
Read: Jab we Met (part 2) - "the gentleman"

"So, does that make us boyfriend and girlfriend then?" I asked, eager to have a definition.
"I guess so...but I thought we already were..." he smiled, awkwardly.

This was definitely different from the protocol of dating that I was used to. With my Western sensibilities, I thought he would have asked me out on a date first, and then asked me directly to "go steady" as boyfriend and girlfriend. I had wondered if we had been "dating" for months already (in his mind), and that maybe he already thought of me as his girlfriend - when I had no idea. I was just trying to figure out what direct intention he had with me before he got friend-zoned. Now it started to make sense that he thought we were dating - that is why he was always hanging around me, from dawn until dusk.

"Just one thing..." he said. "Don't ever ask me to shave off my moustache. I will have it until I die."
I laughed. I kind of forgot about his big South Indian moustache. "Of course I won't," I said. "Your moustache is very handsome, you know", I winked playfully.

(An early picture I took of him for a photography project)

So, now we were "officially" boyfriend and girlfriend, and it was a relief. But it was so G-rated (G is for Gentleman!) that I wondered when (if ever!) we would have our first kiss. It was a little awkward at first. He did not approach me and I didn't approach him. He just kept staring at me with those googly eyes. We walked awkwardly side by side, bumping into each other every once and a while. He was not going to make any move first. He literally just wanted to stare at me all day.

One time, after class, we met up and went up to his room in our downtime. I boldly lay down on his bed and pulled the covers up. (By boldly, I mean that by Indian standards it was a very bold and risque thing to do) I decided that I was going to take a nap. He just sat there on the side of the bed and stared at me. I fell asleep for a while and woke up to the "ping" of a text message. He was still staring at me, smiling. I checked my phone and it said, "I love you" from Madhavan. Along with a rose icon. Him and his freakin' romantic text messages! I thought. I was confused - how could he LOVE me so fast?? We only have been boyfriend and girlfriend for a few days and we hadn't even kissed yet!

"We just started dating," I said. "Give me time to say I love you, okay?" He wasn't offended. Just those googly eyes again. But really, I already loved him but I just didn't want to say it too fast.

(A picture he took of me, having just woken up)

This no-kissing situation went on for a few weeks before I got impatient. I had to make the first move and get down to business. No more of this awkwardness, I thought. He IS my boyfriend, after all! I started to hold his hand when we went out together. His hand fit into my hand, so perfectly. He was only a little taller than me, and his hand was only a little bigger than mine, so it was just the perfect, most comfortable fit.

I often fell asleep after class on his bed, and he always just sat there and stared at me. One day, I said, "Come into bed with me. Come cuddle with me." He looked shocked. I gave a look that said, Don't be ridiculous. He layed down beside me in bed and I thought of how awkward it was to be in the bed with my own boyfriend, fully-clothed. We both lay on our side, looking each other in the eyes. Since we were both the same height, our feet were touching. My feet were right on top of his feet, cuddling together. It was the perfect fit. I fell asleep again, and he lay there staring at me the whole time. (Even to this day, sometimes I put my feet on his feet and we smile, remembering this...)

(First picture together)

We kept going on like this for days before I decided to kiss him one fine day when we were lying in bed together. Our faces were so close together that I thought, what the heck, just go for it! His lips looked so soft and pillowy - like the Indian male Angelina Jolie! I had never kissed a man with such a big bushy moustache before. His moustache was so thick, 2 inches tall, and framing his mouth. How was I going to get to his lips? I wondered his moustache would get in the way. The tips of our noses touched, and then our lips. And then after that, it was a blur. We just kept kissing and kissing. He just had the most beautiful, big lips. His lips fit my lips, perfectly. When we finally stopped, SIX hours had passed. Whoa...I thought. That was other-worldly! 

Even though our first kissing session was over, he just kept kissing me all the time. When he met me after class, he would give me a big hug and a kiss. Everyone would stare, especially other Indian students (PDA is a little shocking, especially when you see another Indian doing it!) When we went out for walks, he would stop and give me a kiss, under the Spanish Moss and the Oak trees. When we were waiting to cross the street, he would give me a kiss. Sometimes cars would honk when they saw us kissing, and we would laugh. When we had picnics in Forsyth Park, we would basically just be kissing and chatting the whole time. He had loosened up a lot - he was comfortable with me now. Needless to say, I was just in heaven. We were lost in blooming passion. I felt like I could be like this, just like this, with him, forever...

(Picnic in Forsyth Park)

We were always together, hand in hand. It just felt so natural to be that way. He was so easy to be with and it felt like we were just at the same pace. My whole life seemed to finally make sense. I wanted to tell him that I loved him too, but I just didn't know when...I wanted to tell him at a special time - I wanted to wait for the "right" moment - whenever that was...

Every morning before class, we would go for breakfast at this new little cafe that opened up next to his apartment building. Being a vegetarian in Deep South USA, he could never find anything to eat, so he just had hash browns and orange juice. Like a true Canadian girl, I had my pancakes and maple syrup. He would always meet me after class and my building, or phone me right after. "What do you want for dinner tonight?" he would say. Everyday he would cook something delicious and different, eager to show off his cooking skills to me. My stomach was also in heaven!

(Him and his googly eyes, having hash browns and orange juice)

The semester was almost over and I was finishing up my final project at the photography building. I smiled as I looked at the final pictures - Madhavan had accompanied me to each shoot, and each picture was like a representation of one of our daily dates. I just had to soak the photos in cold water, scrape the water off and hang them to dry. I phoned him and told him that I was almost done and that I'd be over in half an hour. He said he was going to start cooking dinner. I couldn't wait to see him...

About 15 minutes later, my cell phone rang. It was Madhavan's roommate, Ajay from Bangalore. Ajay screamed into the phone, "Please, Alexandra, come fast! He's hurt himself so bad!"

Ajay was a notorious prankster, so naturally I thought he was pranking me. "Very funny, Ajay. I'll be there in a few minutes, okay?" Ajay screamed even louder, "You have to come right now or else I'm phoning the ambulance! He is passing out!" I knew then that it was not a joke. I ran to my car and drove to the apartment and nobody was there. The ambulance had already taken them away. The door to the patio was open and there was a cooking pan on the floor with oil and charred black marks.

I found Ajay in the emergency waiting room of the local hospital. "Where is he?" I cried. He led me to the room. Madhavan was there, on the hospital bed, unconscious. The skin on his right arm was entirely burned off, from his thumb to his elbow, all around. As I came closer, his hair, his moustache and eyelashes were also burnt off. He was deathly pale and his breathing was shallow.

It turns out that while he was cooking me dinner, he forgot about the oil heating in the pan. The oil caught on fire, with flames reaching up high, and he took the pan to throw it outside and put the fire out. When he opened the patio door, a gust of wind blew the fire on to him and he dropped the flaming pan with the hot oil on his arm.

He had 3rd degree burns and it affected 11% of the skin on his body. His skin was so badly burned on the areas of his arm that he had to have plastic surgery and take skin from other parts of his body and graft it on. In some areas, the fire had even burned his natural brown skin color off. His wrist was now an albino white color. He was passed out from pain, from shock, and from morphine...

I just broke down crying. "No, no, no!" I screamed. "I love you, I love you so much!" I looked up to God and cried, "I love him!!!"

The day was May, 8th, 2006 - the day before his 25th birthday...




  1. The kissing part- aww!

    The third degree burns part- scary as heck even reading about it and can't imagine what the two of you went through. I'm so glad everything turned out okay.

    Keep the stories coming.


    1. God, it was so scary! Just yesterday I had a small oil burn from making Mirchi Bhaji and I had a burning sensation for hours after. Then hubby said that he had the same burning sensation on his arm for 18 months after the accident :(

    2. Pure lavender essential oil works amazingly on any burns. Small burns will heal in no time and all, and the sting will disappear.

    3. @anonymous - thanks so much, I think I have some!

  2. How could you leave it at that place??? Ughhh!!! I mean, I know he's fine now but JEEZE! haha

  3. You both are made for each other! You both love each other deeply and with much affection. The fire was horrible, and caused so much pain. I am glad Maddy is okay, but that was really scary!

    Keep love alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a blessed Mother's Day weekend.


    1. Awwwww thanks Melissa! It is fun to re-live those days by telling our story :)

  4. So nice to read your story , romantic and touching. It is sad to read about his accident but I kn w all is good at the end,eager to read next one :)

  5. @Alexandra

    You looked like a hollywood stars in those days. In the first photo, I almost felt I was looking at a movie star of 1940s and 50s, you know kind of like Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Marlyn Monroe. The same smokey eyed sixties look. The same goes for other photos. You look somewher between Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox. No wonder he kept staring at you all the time.

    I can understand his confusion and hesitation. There is nothing like 'love', 'boyfriend/girlfriend' in our culture. When you said "come cuddle with me", it must have shocked the living daylights out of him. But, yes, it is so wonderful to see you together, having passed through the highs and lows of life. Congratulations and god bless you both.

    1. Bwahahahaha!!! Thanks for the huge compliment, OMG!
      But in reality, in those days I was wearing tons of makeup that took hours to do, and anyone can look nice with loads of makeup. I was also only 20 years old so I was practically flawless, ha ha!
      In the West, dating is so direct, and in India dating is all hush-hush. So looking back, it was so interesting how he was with me. I liked it though, there was something really gentlemanly about that way.
      This post was quite racy for me to write, especially since my father in law and mother in law and the whole Tam-Brahm clan reads the blog daily. I'm sure they were absolutely mortified..LOL!!!

    2. @Alexandra

      I am reminded of the famous song from the bollywood movie "Sagar" which goes something like this:

      "Is it your face or is it full moon?? Is it you hair or the darkness of the evening?? Oh girl with eyes like ocean, tell me what your name is??"

      Bollywood song writers do have way with words
      Or this

      I hope I have not offended you. Oh BTW, Chetan Bhagat’s novel “Two States” is made into a movie. I guess you would be interested in knowing.

  6. @Alexandra

    With your looks, you should have tried for bollywood. In 2006, Katrina Kaif was just starting in Bollywood, you could have easily toppled her. BTW, you husband looks like one of those heros in south indian art movies of 1970s and 1980s

    1. Awww thanks a lot, but really I can't dance at all so I would be no good at lip-syncing. My hubby on the other hand can dance like the South Indian Michael Jackson! But I would never allow him to go into film because I would be way too jealous :D He does look like one of those South Indian heroes though, but for my enjoyment only! ;) Lucky me!

  7. Please tell me a part 4 is coming soon. :-)


    1. Stay tuned! Story gets better and more funny too! ;)

  8. Obviously I missed out on a great series. Just finished reading the previous parts and Alexandra you story has all the elements needed for a Romantic hindi movie. I totally get that first look and feeling connected in all lifetimes. The same happened with me and my husband. I can't wait to read the fourth part!

    1. Hahaha thanks Swapna! Maybe they will do some new Bollywood movie about us, maybe it will be called "Two countries: When curry meets maple syrup"! LOL! :D

  9. Part 3, finally!! :D
    I can totally relate to either person being confused about whether or not they were dating ;P It was such a fun read. Looking forward to Part 4, and you left it at such a cliffhanger too :|
    I know your hubby is okay now, but seriously..hope your hubby didn't have to suffer too much pain! :\

    And hey, as you mentioned earlier, looking forward to this series of post turning into a movie ;) Hope to see "Two countries: When curry meets maple syrup" on the big screens soon. :D

    Take care,
    K :)

    1. Thanks K! Omg, when I look back at those times and of the accident, I really don't know how we even managed.
      Hahaha! I read "2 States" last week and I totally was like, "maybe I should write '2 countries'!"

  10. I just stumbled onto your blog and it's about 4am here lol. Pretty sure i've been reading and randomly clicking links for about two hours now (not sorry). I'm fascinated with India, the music, dress, culture and people, basically everything and yours is the one of the first detailed (and incredibly interesting) blog that I've come across.

    What I'm trying to say is...where is part 4!? It's so beautifully written and purely and genuinely romantic, you are so blessed, I pray I get that lucky :p I know you can't finish the story now because you both are still living this romantic story. You're husband is a gem and you are so beautiful (had to point that out)! Faith in true love restored! Blessings to you three :)

    1. Awwww thank you! Thanks for reading :) I love it!
      Part 4 is coming soon ;)

  11. I just read parts 1, 2 and 3. Your story is so lovely, and it totally sucked me in. I think it is so brave of you to be SO open about your life, and put photos and all your thoughts and emotions out here into the open. And I think its super brave of you to tell your parents in laws about the blog, because some of it is quite critical of indian culture.

    You guys clearly make an amazing couple, and your daughter looks beautiful, I'm sure she has an amazing personality too. I hope me and my boyfriend can be as happy and lucky as you guys. Keep up the amazing work on the blog, and keep loving life.


  12. Did you guys live together before he told his parents you were more than friends? Murthy and I are getting to that point where we want to move it together but not sure how to deal with this and his sister/parents. He wants to just straight-up ask them if we can get married but I don't know if that would be the best idea. Btw, I emailed you a couple months ago but never got a reply. Not sure what happened. :(

    1. We lived together before he told them he intended to marry me. It was a big scandal....LOL.
      I am so behind on responding to emails, my email has blown up this Summer! I will get back to you soon...


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