And We Lived Happily Ever After

L to R: Mom, Khyati, Me and Sis.

L to R: Mom, Khyati, Me and Sis.


When Khyati and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary a week ago, the first thought that came to mind was how quickly time had flown by! In hindsight, smoothly too.

Was it always that way? On the contrary. To begin with we both were around forty when we tied the knot. The mind is set by then and sort of becomes resistant to change. ‘Me and my way’ cannot set the tone for a sound relationship. Being a Bipolar doesn’t help matters, does it? Especially not when marriage coincides with the onset of the dreaded condition. I was all at sea due to another reason. To make matters worse I had just wound up my until then flourishing enterprise (we were into rentals of High end Multimedia Equipment).

Confronted by financial uncertainty, the Bipolar blow and incompatibility in marriage, I found it all too hot to handle! The first phase was all about finger pointing. ‘You are so insensitive that you cannot understand, nor do you care about my condition’ I would go.
‘I had not bargained for this’ would be her retort.

Khyati’s discontent was palpable. It was not that I wasn’t trying my best. Question was, was my best good enough? I was repeatedly warned by my Psychiatrist that the stress of a strained relationship could trigger depression in me (I was prone to the lows more than mania). Our spats were frequent and they were getting uglier and my blues got worse.

I confided in my Mentor and friend, Jigish Bhatt who gave me a simple mantra:
‘Change what you have in control, accept what you can’t in life’

Sounds great but wasn’t helping me much at that time. He then recommended that I attend Life Coach Arfeen Khan‘s two Day Workshop. This must have been about six years ago. There were many tips and tricks that I picked up from that Workshop. (As my sister Tejal says, when it comes to learning, I absorb like a sponge).

The biggest learning there which changed my life was :
‘Only you are responsible for the success of your relationship’
Many in the audience protested, just like I did. ‘It takes two hands to clap’ was the common refrain. Arfeen stood his ground.

I am the type of a person who thinks long term and doesn’t throw in the towel easily. I had read The Secret around the same time too. The concept of visualising a ‘Happy Relationship’ did not have the conviction needed for it to fructify.

I kept thinking about Arfeen’s words.. Today it sounds so simple to me: it boils down to taking ownership of a situation or problem. I needed to initiate Love fins a way..all the changes here onward. It began with tiny things like being appreciative. I even made a list of all her positive qualities. Made adjustments in my behaviour and became proactive. Biplolars tend to be very irritable when the condition is not in control (at that time I was struggling and far from recovery).  I had to give her allowance for not coping with my mood swings. The sheer effort it takes for Bipolars to keep things under control can make others perceive them to be self-absorbed. No wonder she felt that I was lost in my own world, that my interest in her conversations was at a superficial level.

Once I had got my end objective decided, I began to find solutions too. We began spending more quality time together and actually enjoying each other’s company. Today I cannot imagine life without Khyati!

God has blessed us with a bright, chirpy and pretty daughter, Diti, who has turned nine now. We have made it a point to vacation for at least ten days in a year. Those days of exploring new places together have been a sublime experience.

The relationship which started with a lack of understanding and mutual trust, rediscovered these very pillars of strength. Love found a way to express itself again. I am a die hard romantic, a loveless marriage would have strangled me! I’m glad Khyati’s happy too and no more doubts the strength of our bonding.

My strong belief that better days awaited both of us rekindled our love.
Just as water finds its own level, love finds its way..

Vijay Nallawala