In IFORHER’s quest to celebrate men who shatter regressive social norms and are women’s real champions, we bring to you the inspiring story of Tanuja and her husband. The story of their marriage went viral as not only the husband tied mangalsutra to his wife but even the wife tied mangalsutra to her husband. It was their way of telling the world how they want to treat each other as equal partners in marriage.
But what happened next was heartbreaking. Rather than respecting the couple’s choice, many people came started trolling them. But, how this couple stood together for each other makes us applaud them!
Recently, while sharing their inspiring love story with HoB, the husband mentioned:
“Tanuja and I were in the same college but hardly interacted with each other. 4 years after we graduated, we reconnected in the most unexpected way. She’d shared a Himesh Reshammiya song on Instagram and captioned it as ‘torture’–I replied back saying ‘maha torture’…that’s how we started talking.
A few weeks later, Tanuja asked me, ‘Let’s meet for chai?’ So we met and spoke about everything under the sun–work, movies, future plans. After a while, we got to talking about feminism and I promptly told her, ‘I’m a hardcore feminist.’ She looked at me as if she hadn’t expected me to say that; that got her interested in our conversation.
For a month, we kept meeting after work. Then, on my birthday, she gave me a handmade card; I knew I liked her already. So I told her, ‘I like you… I think this is turning into something serious for me.’ Two days later, she texted me saying, ‘I like you too’; we started dating and soon, fell in love.
We dated for another year before breaking the news to our parents; they were thrilled. So, in September 2020, when the first wave of the pandemic subsided, Tanuja and I started planning our wedding.
That’s when I told Tanuja, ‘Why is it that only a girl has to wear a mangalsutra? It makes no sense!’ We were both equals, so I announced, ‘Even I’ll wear a mangalsutra on our wedding day!’
My parents were surprised; ‘But why do you want to do this?’, relatives asked. I told them that marriage to me was about equality. For some reason, the girl’s family is ‘supposed’ to bear the cost of the wedding, but I went to Tanuja’s parents and told them that we’d split all costs.
I remember, before the wedding day, Tanuja asked me, ‘Is it going to be a one day thing or wear it everyday?’ and I said, ‘I’ll wear it everyday!’ After the pheras when Tanuja and I tied the mangalsutra around each other’s neck, I was so happy. Even though a few male relatives weren’t happy about it, they didn’t say anything to us.
But the next day, Tanuja and I woke up to a terrible internet backlash. A digital newspaper had picked up our story– ‘Dulhe ne pehna mangalsutra,’ the headline read. People started commenting– ‘Now wear a saree also’, ‘Do you bleed once a month?’ Even liberals started trolling me, ‘This is not the way to support gender equality,’ they said.
Somewhere, I knew this might happen, but the extent of it surprised me. At first, Tanuja was affected by it, but it’s been 4 months now and we’re just done with the trollers. Because Tanuja and I can define our relationship better than anyone else; we support each other’s work, believe in each other’s dreams, and are in this journey together. So, who cares what the world thinks?”
At IFORHER, we are in awe of this inspiring couple who are not letting anyone define their relationship. They are creating their own relationship rules without any fear and shame! We wish them luck and hope they will keep inspiring many more!