A long-distance relationship story that includes conflict with parents, challenges the caste system, and has endured many years apart. How they’ve persevered is inspiring.
Madhu submitted her story through our website, but we continued the conversation through Instagram, where she told me many more details about life in Andhra Pradesh. She’s allowed me to share the details here so others can hear about what it’s like.
Madhu and Aditya met in school when they were young, but they didn’t start dating then. Aditya was already dating a girl at the time, so Madhu’s crush was one-sided at first. Just as friends, they talked a lot, played a lot, and joked around together.
When Aditya’s dad was transferred to another state for work, he left the school. Madhu had no idea where he was, but two years later he messaged her on Facebook. He was living in Karnataka, a state to the west of Madhu’s state, Andhra Pradesh. They were 1500 kilometers away from each other.
“I was so happy to hear from him on Facebook. He told me that his girlfriend had cheated on him and they broke up.” This was in 2016 when they were 17 years old. They stayed in contact through that year, and then Aditya asked if Madhu was still in love with him. That’s when she proposed to him!
For the most part, their relationship has been mainly long-distance, so it was fitting that they were engaged over the phone. They continued talking and messaging until their parents found out about the engagement.
“Life here is entirely different from foreign countries,” she told me. “In Karnataka, it’s more developed than Andhra Pradesh. There is freedom for both boys and girls. But in Andhra Pradesh, it’s not the same. There are rules and restrictions for us here.”
I asked Madhu what freedom meant in Andhra Pradesh. She said, “Girls shouldn’t roam around or wear modern clothes, and they shouldn’t talk to boys. It’s different in some states, but it’s horrible in others. Arranged marriages are common. The parents choose who their children will marry and caste matters a lot.”
Some parents allow their children to marry for love, but when Madhu and Andhra’s parents found out about their relationship, they were angry.
“A big fight happened in August 2017. Our parents locked us in our rooms and snatched our phones. We both cried a lot and we weren’t in contact for a month. Finally, in September he messaged me on Facebook. He was secretly talking to me from his mom’s phone. After some days, they gave him back the phone and we decided to meet.
Our parents didn’t like the caste difference between us and they were worried it was just infatuation because we were young. We managed to prove to them it was more than just a crush and that we truly loved each other.”
After years in a long-distance relationship, they finally had their first visit. It was April 23rd, 2018. “I was very shy to talk to him or look at him. Then slowly, I started to talk and so did he. We were together for a day, then we both went home.
Again in 2019, we decided to meet. From October 2019 we decided to meet every month. We’re both in university now; I’m studying biotechnology in Kadapa and he’s in Bangalore studying engineering. We’re just 300 kilometers apart.”
Aditya rented a home for their monthly visits. When they’re together they love to cook, eat, and wander around the neighborhood together. Madhu says, “We both love each other a lot. Our parents have finally agreed to our marriage if we can both start earning money. So we’re working hard at university so we can do that.”
A Long-Distance Relationship Story That Continues During Corona
Because of the virus, they can’t meet for their monthly dates. They’ve both returned to their homes in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, waiting for lockdown to end.
“We miss each other a lot. We have nicknames for each other. I call him Choco and he calls me Chweetoo. We call each other daily to chat or we do video calls.
Sometimes we fight, but our love never decreases for each other. We remind each other of our love and take a lot of care to respect and protect each other.”