Love happened three years ago, marriage earlier this year. But Pooja and Rahul are still braving stiff opposition from their families and society
Not all love stories have a happy ending. Same holds true for marriages. 20-year-old Pooja is hoping for the best. To say that the going has been tough so far would be an understatement. Earlier this year, Pooja wedded 23-year-old Rahul Mehra, whom she had first met and fallen in love with three years ago.
Runaway bride: Pooja married Rahul eight months ago. Now they
have taken shelter with the NGO Love Commandos at Paharganj in
New Delhi. Pics/Rajeev Tyagi
"It was God who wanted us to be together," said Pooja, when asked about the journey so far. Theirs was 'love at first sight'. But when the two families found out, they were promptly reprimanded and separated.
Since then, Pooja and Rahul have been living the lives of fugitives, sometimes brought back by their respective families and then escaping again. "My mother expired three years ago when she had a heart attack. After then my father wanted to get me married off as soon as possible. But then I met Rahul and everything changed for me. I told my father about Rahul, but he did not agree. On 17th July 2009, I left home for the first time and since then, I have been going back to Rahul again and again," said Pooja, who is now taken shelter with Love Commandos, an NGO.
Pooja Rahul, as she calls herself now, reminisced about the days when the couple stayed at railway stations.
"For about two months, we slept at Old and New Delhi railway stations, but did not lose our resolve," added Pooja.
They got married eight months ago. But Rahul's mother did not allow Pooja to stay in the house. Before that, the couple had lived in places like Nagpur and Jammu & Kashmir. After returning from Nagpur, Pooja's father sent her to Delhi Psychiatry Centre. But, according to her, it was Rahul's mother who proved to be the hardest to please.
All in the family
"She is a very greedy person. She wanted me to go back to my father's house and follow the proper rituals of marriage, so that she can demand for dowry. My father is content to know that his daughter and son-in-law are happy in their life. But, my mother-in- law is still not ready to accept us," said Pooja.
Being together for more than three years, Pooja said she got pregnant six times. But, sadly she had to abort on every occasion. Now she cannot become a mother ever again. "Every time, I had twins. But sadly I couldn't give birth to them as we were not in a condition to take care of them. And now, I cannot become a mother. I think this is a punishment given to me by God," said an emotional Pooja.
A few days ago, the couple was at Gurdwara Sis Ganj surviving on the langar, where they read an article about Love Commandos and approached them immediately. "They contacted us a few days ago and we will support them till the time they are able to stand on their own feet. We want both of them to complete their graduation and prove themselves to the world. We have arranged everything for them, from clothing to shelter and food," said Sanjay Sachdeva, founder, Love Commandos.
Now Rahul goes to work, Pooja is planning to complete her graduation so that she too can start working. The couple have decided not to go back to their relatives now. "This is a family matter. I don't want on to comment on the issue irrespective of what they have stated," said Ramchandra Mehra, Rahul's father.
In one of these situations, Pooja claims she had to beg for money in order to make a phone-call to Rahul. "I remember that day. It was the first time when I had left my home. I did not have single penny in my pocket, but it was important to talk to Rahul. So, I begged for Rs 15 so that I could call him," she said.