‘Dad predicted I would be back in a year’

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By Vikas Bahuguna

NOT MANY OBJECTED when Shivani Jain, 26, and Mahipal Sajwan, 27, used to hang out at each other’s homes in Chamba. But all hell broke loose when they decided to tie the knot. “She belonged to a Jain family, I was a Rajput. She was the daughter of the area’s top criminal lawyer, I had a modest background,” Mahipal says. When he left Chamba for a government job, Shivani went with him, leaving her family redfaced. The pair finally took the plunge in October 2001. Today, Mahipal is an English lecturer and Shivani runs a handloom boutique. Mahipal is still uncomfortable with Shivani’s male friends. “Early-life influences are not easy to get rid of,” he concedes, “but I’m trying. Shivani is more liberal. Also, another difference is that she is nearly six feet tall while I stand at a little more than five feet. We have difficulties getting hotel rooms, so I always carry my marriage certificate around.”

Photo: Sayantan Ghosh

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