Bonjour- Namastey! A heart warming love story!
Updated: Sep 5, 2020
“Laurent, lunch is ready,” Archana called from the kitchen.
“Ok Jaan, I’ll be there in a second,” Laurent replied from the study room.
“Bébé à table,” Laurent called out for their daughter, Aurélie. She had her nose buried in a book for over an hour.
“Aurélie, please set the table,” said Archana.
“Alright Mamina,” replied Aurélie.
Aurélie calls her mother, ‘Mamina’ instead of Mumma. When Aurélie was little, her mother used to call her ‘Babina.’ As Aurélie started to talk she would call her mother ‘Mamina.’
Aurélie and Papa stood at the dining table and stared at the delicious Chole-Bhature Archana had lovingly cooked.
“Jaan, can I help you with anything?” asked Laurent as he entered the kitchen.
She pecked him on his cheek and said “No Jaanu, everything is already on the table,”
“Why didn’t you call me, I could have helped you with everything,” said Laurent.
“It’s fine Jaanu, I know you have a big meeting coming up and you need to prepare for it. Now let’s eat before everything gets cold,” said Archana, smiling.
During lunch, their daughter, Aurélie asked, “Mamina, what is the special occasion today? How come we are eating Chole Bhature?”
“Well darling, today is August 26,” replied Archana.
“What’s so great about August 26?” she asked curiously.
“Today is the day your Papa and I met for the very first time,” she said looking at Laurent and squeezed his hand from under the table.
“Oh!! Wow! How did you both meet anyway?” asked Aurélie. “I mean how on earth did a French man end up marrying an Indian woman?” she continued.
“Aurélie, first let’s finish eating this delicious lunch and we talk about it over dessert,” suggested Laurent.
Laurent helped his wife Archana clear up the table and wash the dishes. He’s a gentleman. He’s kind, down to earth, shy, and is big-hearted. Laurent always tries his best to help his wife in whatever way he could.
The three of them sat in the drawing-room with a tub of vanilla ice-cream. One by one they took a scoop and passed the tub around.
“Now can you tell me the story,” pleaded Aurélie.
“Yes yes of course!” said Archana and looked at Laurent wondering if he would like to share their story.
“No, you tell her our story Archana. You’re more dramatic than I am,” he said laughingly.
Archana rolled her eyes and said, “It all started in February 2006. Your papa arrived in India for work. He was a scientist working at an MNC. And he was somewhat lonely and wondered how to make friends. So he registered himself on a matrimonial website called Bharat Matrimonial. One day, he sent me a private message on the Bharat matrimonial website. I guess he was impressed with my profile,” she giggled.
“What was written in your profile,” asked Aurélie.
“A degree in psychology and an MBA. Parents are from an army background. But you know what Aurélie, the first thing that I noticed on her profile was her smile,” said Laurent.
“So I messaged her but I didn’t get a reply. I waited patiently. And finally, your Mamina replied. I think she was just being cautious. You see, her curiosity took over and she just couldn’t resist. We both chatted for 6 months through emails, phone calls. Although she had a hard time understanding my French accent,” laughed Laurent.
Aurélie sat on the couch, all ear and grinning like a Cheshire cat, “Then what happened?” she asked inquisitively.
“Then we decided that it was time for us to meet,” said Archana.
“We met at the Dwarka Hotel, in Hyderabad. I still remember your mother was wearing a pink salwar kameez and gracefully draped with a pink dupatta along with it,” continued Laurent.
“But you know the funny part is, I got cold feet. I didn’t tell your Nani and Nana that we were going to meet a man who could possibly turn out to be my husband. I took them along with me, and only 40 minutes later I told them about your Papa,” said Archana.
“Nana was left with no other option and agreed to meet him.” She continued.
“They must have been so taken aback!” said Aurélie as she expressed her concern. “Then, what happened?”
“Well, then I saw your Papa for the very first time in person. I thought to myself, ‘Wow this guy is so fair, cute and so teddy bear-like,’ He looked extremely handsome in his beige trousers and light yellow shirt which was making his face glow brighter and that’s when I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, whereas your grandparents: Nana spoke to him for about 40 min and your Nani didn't as she couldn’t speak in English,” said Archana.
“But I was very confused, your Mamina didn’t tell Nani and Nana about me. I got only 5 minutes to speak to her alone and that was scrutinized by the both of them,” said Laurent till sounding upset about the whole situation.
“Go on then! What happened next?” Aurélie asked anxiously.
“Then we thought we would meet the next day. But Nani said that we are fasting for Karwa Chauth, so no food no water, and for me going out in sun will not be good as I was not in very good health because I was in the hospital for 3 months for having bad Jaundice prior to our meeting,” replied Archana.
“So you both never met after the first meeting?” Questioned Aurélie.
“You see darling, Nana made it very simple. He said give us a week and we shall get back to you. As they had another proposal in mind for me,” said Archana.
Aurélie immediately turned her head towards her Papa and said, “Then?”
“So I worked my charm, and I started calling Nani and Nanu every day to check how they were doing. I even spoke about my side of the family. That did the trick,” said Laurent.
“They were convinced that your Papa is a family-oriented gentleman, and he won their hearts. And a week later as promised by Nana he called up your Papa and said YES!”
But what about Mamy and Papy (Laurent’s parent)? Asked Aurélie.
Laurent laughed and said, “They never intervened at all!”
“Wow! And then three years later I was born,” said Aurélie.
She beamed with joy. She was touched after listening to their story.
“I wonder how I would find my husband,” said Aurélie.
“Oh darling, you’re only 10 years old. You have a long way to go!” said Archana as she kissed Aurélie on her forehead and gave her a snug cuddle.
As of today, Archana and Laurent are happily married for the past 13 years living each day and celebrating their devotedness in France. Their wedding was a wonderful amalgamation of Indo-French cultural traditions with all the goodness of both worlds. Archana can now converse fluently in French although at times she misses the vibe and homemade cooked food from back home in India. But she does add a little mirch masala here and there; after all, little desi tadka is mandatory.