When in love, the world seems so right for all. The adage "everything is fair in love and war" proved right yet again when British airport security officer Sonia Mariekeats found her love Gagandeep Singh on Facebook. Gagandeep (24) is an engineering diploma holder and a resident of Punjab's Amritsar district. Mariekeats, who is in her thirties, belongs to Southall - a suburban district of west London.
The British airport security officer met Gagandeep, a mason's son who lives in Amritsar's New Gurnam Nagar area, on the social networking site a year ago. Mariekeats, who has been visiting the Southhall gurdwara ever since she turned 12 years old, wanted to be a Sikh and had visited India two years ago to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. She befriended Gagandeep, who is part of a religious group that promotes Sikhism, on Facebook and became very close to him.
"I told him that I would first adopt Sikhism and then marry him. I reached Amritsar on March 26 and adopted Sikhism by drinking holy water, 'Amrit', at the Golden Temple. We got married on April 3. I am so happy and don't have words to explain it," Mariekeats told MAIL TODAY. Sikhism, according to Mariekeats, teaches humanity and is modern as compared to other religions. "We are united by Sikhism. My interest in Sikhism brought me to India. My childhood dream to marry a Sikh came true when Gagandeep accepted my proposal," she said.
Gagandeep's mother Sukhbir Kaur, meanwhile, is overjoyed that her "gori bahu" is learning the sacred verses of Sikhism. "She may not be a Sikh by birth, but her interest in the religion brought her to Amritsar. She recites hymns and will be able to adapt to the Sikh culture soon," Kaur said.
Mariekeats and Gagandeep had never met in person before she came to Amritsar. She said 'Sat Shri Akal' when the couple first met at the airport. "I was surprised to see the Ek Onkar tattoo on her hand," Gagandeep said.
Mariekeats had got her parents' nod for marriage before coming to India. "I cannot read and write Punjabi, but understand it 'thori...thori'. I can cook chole-poori, chilli paneer and paranthas," said a confident Mariekeats.
Last year, Adriana, a California resident, had married Haryana farmer Mukesh. They had also met on Facebook. She is currently in the US and blessed with a baby girl.