Tag Archives: intercaste marriage

2021: A year of Love, Labour and Loss

Love is a mystery. Love is unitive. Love is how we connect as human beings with one another and with the whole universe together. Love is how we learn, become better, and make the world a better place to live for us and others. Love needs freedom to breathe, equality to thrive, and openness to flow and grow. Love is personal, political, philosophical, sexual, social, historical, metaphysical, transcendental, et al. Sadly, we have only one word to describe such a complex emotion. The ancient Greeks had six different words, but even that’s not enough. 2021 taught me new ways to describe the complexity of love and its various hues. Love lost on many counts, but it miraculously sprang on a few occasions like a phoenix. My LOVE vocabulary was defined and redefined by people who touched my life one way or another this year.


LOVE IS FAITH: Khrienuo Angami & Akshat Sharma

Kohima girl Khrienuo Angami met Dehradun boy Akshat Sharma at the Naga Students Union Sports Meet at Delhi University’s Hindu College in 2003. “It was a chance meeting for a fleeting moment that was destined to bring two people hailing from different faiths and different states together for a lifetime. There were hiccups, a lot of them, but Que Sera Sera,” recounts Angami with a chuckle.

LOVE IS FAITH: Khrienuo Angami & Akshat Sharma

While Sharma moved to XLRI, Jamshedpur, to pursue MBA, Angami went to Jawaharlal Nehru University for her M.Phil. Angami and Sharma identified each other more with the friend tag, but Cupid had struck them no matter how hard they tried, and they had been swept off their feet. “We started dating each other only in 2007 and informed our respective parents about our plans to get hitched. Well, but it was easier said than done. The opposition was vehement,” says Angami, a Protestant Christian from the Scheduled Tribes in Nagaland, while Sharma is a Brahmin from Uttarakhand.

The family dynamics also played a significant role in paving the way for acceptance. Angami’s three younger brothers rallied around her. They championed the cause of intercaste, interfaith union with all their might, even as her parents and younger sisters chose to oppose the alliance, tooth and nail; they stopped all communication for a year. Being the only child worked in Sharma’s favour, and his parents gave in easily because “his happiness mattered the most to them.” Sharma visited Angami’s folks in Nagaland and tried to win them over to break the ice. He succeeded, and two rounds of talks between their parents over the wedding rituals to be followed happened in Delhi in 2011. “I have four younger siblings, and my parents were worried that I would be ex-communicated from the church if I marry a Hindu. The news would be a big disgrace to the family back in Nagaland. He somehow agreed, but it wasn’t easy to win him over,” recalls Angami.

LOVE IS FAITH: Khrienuo Angami & Akshat Sharma

The couple got married twice – one according to elaborate Hindu rituals and the other under the Special Marriage Act in 2012. Today, their two children follow both religions, and festivals for the Angami-Sharma household are all about fun and food. It’s their faith in love and humanity that keeps them afloat.

Faith makes all things possible… love makes all things easy.

Dwight L. Moody

Love Unfinished

Aashish and Divya Juyal

Hotel management graduates Divya Gupta and Aashish Juyal were the perfect strangers for each other till fate played Cupid and brought them together for life. It was their first job at The Grand Hyatt in New Delhi way back in 2000, but the duo stayed oblivious to each other’s presence for almost two years. “We had common friends but had never spoken to each other before till that cold, rainy night in December 2002. Aashish’s father was ailing and hospitalised, and he didn’t have enough money for some emergency medical procedure. He came to my home as a last resort to borrow some money. I handed him my ATM card and PIN without even knowing him well enough, and I guess that gesture surprised him; that moment was love at first sight for him,” says Divya with a smile, adding, “I took longer to accept and come around.” 

Inked in L.O.V.E.

Aashish’s father passed away soon after, and he had to shoulder the responsibility of his family of three that included his younger unmarried sister and mother. Juyal got a job offer in Dubai, and he moved there in 2003. Divya took up a lucrative assignment at Muscat during the same time. While Divya hailed from Meerut, Aashish came from a conservative Brahmin family in Rishikesh, and his mother was dead against their relationship. “My family had no issues with my intercaste marriage. We were on holiday in India in 2006 when it so happened that my father insisted on getting us hitched. Aashish’s mother threw a fit and refused to be a part of the celebration. She reluctantly agreed after a lot of cajoling,” remembers Divya. Aashish was sure that Divya was the girl he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, come what may. He moved mountains to coax his mother who had reservations against the intercaste alliance. “But he had told me long ago that come what may, I will bring you home as my wife, but making a place in the family will be your responsibility,” reminisces Divya.

Aashish and Divya celebrating Durga Puja in Dhanbad in 2018.

In all these years, she’s not only made a place in the family but also in their hearts. Her mother-in-law’s fondness for her grew with every passing moment, and she realized that caste is the most irrelevant subject that works best as a tool to divide. “Aashish used to always tell others, ‘Divya used her caste to unite the family’,” says Divya. Aashish’s mother’s love and blessings made their marital life beautiful. She was ailing for a long time, and Divya took it upon herself to take care of her, leaving her full-time job, and spending days and nights cleaning her pee, poop, and vomit, bathing and feeding her, all alone while Aashish stayed back in Dubai to fend for the family. “She breathed her last in my arms,” says Divya.  

Divya and Aashish.

Today, the couple would have celebrated their 15th year of marital togetherness, but again fate had other plans, and Aashish left for his heavenly abode on April 12, 2021. “He always used to say, ‘Divya will manage this, that and everything. I guess that’s why he chose to leave me all alone,” she says with tears welling up in her eyes.


Aashish and Divya with their children, Abhinav and Arnav.

The couple has two sons who are Divya’s hope and happiness. She is trying hard to pick up the pieces and love for her children, one day at a time. May love give her ample strength and make her life beautiful and living worthwhile.