A migrant’s love story
All hopeless romantics like to believe that seas can’t divide true love. Nothing can stand in the way of two people finding their soul-mate.
Migration Solutions came across the story of a *Priya whose story reminds us that falling in love takes tremendous courage.
It’s an old age story of boy meets girl, but with the script unwritten and cultural traditions standing in the way.
The story takes place in a small town outside of Kathmandu in Nepal.
“I first met my partner in 1997 when I was 17 and he was 18. He was so different, good looking, smart, and just outstanding for me,” she said.
The pair started talking in group situations, and then one day *Prasun invited Priya to his football match.
“He was very good at sports he had won a man of the match title in one football match,” she said.
Prasun’s team won the match and it seemed Prasun also won Priya’s heart.
“At that stage I didn’t know whether he liked me or not but I was mad about him.”
It was a secret meeting at the park where Priya got her answer.
“I went to the park and he was already there. I was bit nervous and uncomfortable, fearing if someone sees me there with him alone in a park my father would kill me. He gave me a greeting card and a packet of chocolates. I took the card and chocolates thanked him and ran away from there.
When Priya opened the card, Prasun had written “Happy New Year to my love.”
“I was like oh my god! Is this real? That was the day I came to know that he loves me too,” Priya said.
The pair kept their relationship secret as they knew that a love marriage between the couple was a distant dream.
In Nepal 90 per cent of marriages are arranged.
“Couples who go against the customs and traditions and attempt love marriages are never accepted by society,” Priya said.
In 1999, Prasun and Priya were studying at different campuses. Priya joined Science College and Prasun was taking a commerce course.
The couple were still trying to hide their relationship from their parents and they were getting suspicious.
“One day my parents asked me about Prasun and my relationship. I was so terrified and told them he was just a friend,” she said.
With Priya losing interest in her science course, her parents decided to send her to nursing school in the town of Pokhara, it was three year course.
“That was my parent’s decision I couldn’t deny. When Prasun found out he was sad, but also happy for a better future for me,” she said.
In 2000, Priya left her town with Prasun standing at a shop near the bus stop to see Priya off.
“Pokhara was a new place with new people, everything seemed new and I missed Prasun a lot.”
Their only form of communication was telephone and letters.
Prasun’s letters came to be the highlight of Priya’s days.
To this day, she still reads them.
“We 4 our love,” a love letter written by Prasun.
With one year left on her course Priya had reached the average marriage age. The inevitable arranged marriage was looming.
“In 2002 my sister told me my parents were discussing my marriage. I was terrified when I heard that and I was so helpless and worried about the situation. I couldn’t think how to stop it and what to do.”
Her parents had chosen Prasun’s brother *Rahul, who was a respected man in their community.
Prasun and Priya were both unemployed.
“There was no way my father would accept our relationship. I was so scared to let my family know that I was in love with Prasun.”
With a great courage, Priya told her mum that she loved Prasun.
“She was so furious and shocked. She said to me that I don’t know anything about love.”
Priya had to marry Rahul to maintain her families respect in Nepalese society.
“There was no way I could argue about it with my parents.”
After many years in an arranged marriage with Rahul, Priya took a leap of faith. She decided to start a new chapter in Australia, become a nurse and start living her life on her terms.
She never stopped loving Prasun, but she knew that their love would never be accepted in her own country.
In 2008 she arrived in Adelaide on a 572 student visa. She finished her nursing course in 2012 and gained employment at a private hospital.
By 2013, Priya had gained permanent residency in a country she feels very fortunate to live and work in.
“If you work hard in Australia you can get everything,” she said.
Now in the digital age, Priya and Prasun’s love letters have been replaced by text messages. It’s a love that has lasted through the decades.
Prasun is in the process of applying for a spouse visa, which could take up to one year.
If successful the pair will finally be able to marry and start a life together.
“This has taken all my courage and I never thought it could be possible,” Priya said.
Migration Solutions hopes fortune favours the brave.
*Names have been changed to protect our client’s privacy.