The language of love: Kerala's Ajith & Assam's Naomi
Ajith and Naomi's story is a wonder to many. It is not just a story of two people, but also a story of two states. Ajith, a 34-year-old cyclist from Kerala and Naomi, a native of Assam got married in August 2021. Their marriage story stands out from the rest. It did not start out as a love story, says Ajith shooing away all nosey questions that are being hurled at him ever since he got married to Naomi. It is an interstate arranged marriage, but love just happened to follow it. Love really has its ways it seems!
Ajith is no ordinary man. He is a travel buff, a cyclist and a photographer all rolled into one. He was known for making an extraordinary trip on his cycle in 2019. He set off on his journey from Kozhikode to Singapore on cycle, stopping at many places on his way, capturing moments on his camera. It was Ajith's way of coming back at people who deemed him unfit of doing anything worthwhile, due to his ailments as a child.
The Happy Fragment
I met an Assamese family in a place called Jagiroad, around 60 km away from Guwahati. I got back home after mid-November. Didi, whom I had met there called me and told me that I should visit Assam for the festival of Bihu. I told her that I wouldn’t be able to go there soon and that I would visit her after the Covid restrictions were eased. My friend Saurav and I decided to go on that trip together to see the Bihu celebrations. That trip had another intention too. Didi’s younger daughter Mynaah is a class 7 student. She used to walk long distances to go to school. I felt that a cycle would help her commute back and forth from school. My friends and I decided to do something about it and discussed the matter with a few of my biker friends. A team stepped forward and said that they would sponsor the cycle. The cycle cost nearly Rs 16,000 and was ordered from Guwahati. We started our journey on April 5 and got to Didi’s house on April 15, on the day of Bihu. Another friend of mine brought the cycle to Didi's house. Mynaah was so surprised to see the cycle. The smile on Mynaah’s face when she got on the cycle for the first time will never leave my memory. That happy fragment will forever stay embossed over my heart.
We stayed there for a week. I used to walk around with my camera exploring places. Didi used to ask me why I hadn’t settled down. I told her that I was waiting for a girl who loved cycling and travelling. She asked me if I would be open to marrying a girl from her village and I told her that I didn’t mind. I returned home after a while. Didi phoned me in June and told me about a few girls. Namitha (Naomi's real name) was the fourth girl that she introduced to me. We started talking through Facebook and then she gave me her number. I asked Naomi if she liked to travel and what she said struck me the most. She told me she really loves to travel and that she would have travelled the whole world if she had money with her. I felt so relieved that she was into travelling just as much as I am. She also told me that she loves cycling and that sealed the deal for me.
I asked her if she would like to come with me to Kerala. She told me that she would have to consult her parents first. They did not have any objection. I talked to my parents and convinced them too.
The Marriage Story
We got married in August. The first time I saw Naomi was when she came to pick me up at Guwahati airport. The next morning we went to the Siva temple next to their house. Grand ceremonies were not allowed at the temple due to the Covid restrictions. So our wedding was a very low-key function. We returned to Kerala on that same night. On September 9, we had a small function as per our traditions. Naomi settled in here quite well. She had become quite close with my parents over the phone conversations. The only thing she found a bit difficult to get adjusted to was the food here. The food pattern here is quite different from what it is there.
The Borderless Love
Language has never really been a barrier. Both my parents are somehow able to communicate with her without actually speaking. They don’t know Hindi nor does she know any Malayalam. Communication is never limited to language alone. Sometimes actions work better than words do. Having said that, Naomi has started picking up a few Malayalam words. So, I think it's safe to say that she will soon be able to speak fluently.
The Girl's Side
When he proposed to me, I was a bit shocked. A man from Kerala had proposed to me. I felt scared at first. The first answer that came to my mind was - ‘No. Kerala is far away. How can I leave my home and go there?’ Everyone refused to accept the proposal. Later, I even stopped talking to him. I didn’t talk to him for 2 days. After that, I kept feeling that Ajith is a good man. I texted him again after 2 days. My uncle had strongly disapproved Ajith's proposal. I asked Ajith what I was supposed to do. I told him that I was feeling scared and that I hadn’t even seen him or met him in person. He gave me assurance and asked me to send my family to Kerala to see his place. The Covid situation was worse back then, so no one from our family could go. He showed me the photo of his parents and videos of his trips from Kerala to Singapore, and his stay in Guwahati and Assam. Within a week, he had done a video conference with most of my family members. They all liked him. But their only concern was that the lifestyle, food and everything else was very different from our place. They were worried about how I would be able to adjust to it all. One day, I asked Ajith- ‘Do you not like the girls in Kerala?’ He told me that he liked me and talking to me. He also said that he had never talked to a girl that way before and that he liked it when he shared his stories with me. I accepted his proposal in July and told him to come to Assam in August and that we would get married then.’
We have two major plans. One is to go on a cycle journey to Australia. That won’t be possible till October 2022 since there is a travel ban. Another journey that we have planned is to Dubai. We fly from here to Dubai and then ride there on our cycles and explore the city. I would like to meet the crown prince Sheikh Hamdan. We are trying to make it work, but affirmation from their side is still pending. That trip will happen this year if everything goes as per plan. Naomi will be with me on that journey.
This is our story, says Ajith and Namitha. In one voice that is bound by love, not language.