Falling in Love, 30 Years Later

At Vogue, Mira Jacob writes about watching her parents love 30 years after being paired up in an arranged marriage:

The night before I went back to New York, I came home to a sight so disquieting that I stood outside in the dark for a full five minutes, just watching. It was late. The television was on in our living room. In front of it, my father sat on the couch, my mother cradled in his arms. She was fast asleep, her cheek pressed to his chest.

I went inside. Though I hardly made a sound, my mother woke up. She blinked quietly, than sprang up with the realization that I was there. “I was asleep!” she said, as if I’d accused her of something. Then she got up and took herself to bed, disappearing down the hallway. My father gave me a funny grin and followed her. I stood alone in front of the television clutching my heart, which I suddenly realized was not a mere figure of speech.

Flying back to New York, I could not stop thinking one thing: Why now? Why this sudden attraction to someone who had been there the whole time? Sure, it’s a plot staple in American movies, where clumsy, high-cheekboned beauties regularly realize their “best friend” just happens to be Justin Timberlake, but in real life? In real life, my parents had bypassed that kind of irresistible attraction with almost three decades of houses, children, and pets. In real life, their marriage had proved to be a patchwork of incongruities, the kind that were bound to exist between a cosmopolitan girl from Bombay and a small-town boy from outside Madras.

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Photo: Cindy Funk