How the young Sheila found and lost her love! An untold Love-story...

It was during her college days when Sheila, while, studying ancient Indian history in Delhi University met love of her life, Vinod Dikshit, the only son of politician Uma Shankar Dikshit. Young Sheila didn't know at that time that this is the man she will share her life with. It wasn't love at first sight but quite the opposite. At first her impression of him was that he seemed aloof. Though he was an immensely popular student with five feet eleven-and-a-half height, slim stature, handsome, a Stephanian, and a good cricketer but there was something that made Sheila think he is arrogant.

Saima Siddiqui
Published on: 20 July 2019 1:12 PM GMT
How the young Sheila found and lost her love! An untold Love-story...
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How the young Sheila found and lost her love! An untold Love-story...
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New Delhi: You might have heard many great love stories and would surely have watched dozens on silver screens with full of melodrama and heartbreaks but today we will unveil the love story of a young girl who lost her heart to someone she didn't like at first sight.

It was during her college days when Sheila, while, studying ancient Indian history in Delhi University met love of her life, Vinod Dikshit, the only son of politician Uma Shankar Dikshit. Young Sheila didn't know at that time that this is the man she will share her life with. It wasn't love at first sight but quite the opposite. At first her impression of him was that he seemed aloof. Though he was an immensely popular student with five feet eleven-and-a-half height, slim stature, handsome, a Stephanian, and a good cricketer but there was something that made Sheila think he is arrogant.

ALSO READ: Three-time Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit passes away at 81

Its quit interesting how fate shapes up our lives. It was all destiny that played its role to bring them together and they were chosen by two of their respective friends to resolve their love tiff. However, the love matter between the couple did not get resolved, but the mediators became good friends. With time Sheila started to like her new companion, she discovered that Vinod was unpretentious and had a good temperament that made people to like him. His unmatchable aura and amazing sense of humor could make him the centre of attraction of any gathering. The more Sheila got to know him the more she started to have a inclination towards him. Despite of their vastly different temperaments they started to like each-other.

The two love-birds started to enjoy spending more time in discovering each other, be it through a game of noughts and crosses or a joke. Long and unending conversations became their daily ritual and in between such long chats, Sheila somewhere developed a sense of belonging towards him and started expressing her innermost thoughts and feelings to him. Now this untold love-story took a step further and Vinod started to accompany her in the bus all the way to her aunt’s house on Ferozeshah Road so that they could spend more time together.

One fine day, just before their final examination, something happened that changed their life forever. The love cupid had struck his arrow through their heart and the day had finally arrived for which Sheila wasn't prepared but was surely waiting for. The two were travelling by Bus No. 10, when it crossed Chandni Chowk and Vinod open his heart infront of her, “I am going to tell my mother that I have found the girl I want to marry.”Sheila quizzed him, “Have you asked the girl yet?” Vinod said, “No, but she is sitting next to me.” To which Sheila couldn't say anything, she was speechless with joy. Upon reaching home, She told Pam about the whole incident and spent the rest of the day in a euphoric daze, floating on air among rainbows.

To take their relationship a step further, Sheila decided to tell her parents about Vinod. And couple of days later, she did explode the bomb, at first her parents were taken aback, not because she had chosen somebody or that he was from a different caste or even that they were the same age, but because he was still a student. To run a family man should be earning and without a proper income between them it was a matter of concern for their family. To save her blooming love from the cruel hands of reality she tried hard to convince her family that having studied in Modern School and St Stephen’s, he would, at the very least, get a peon’s job in the worst case scenario, though she also told them that he is preparing for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) examination.

The year 1959, came with good news for the couple and Vinod secured ninth place in the IAS merit list. In those days, the names of the first ten successful candidates were announced on all India Radio (AIR) during the nine o’ clock news bulletin. It was where Sheila and her family learned about the news and it was surely an ecstatic moment for them to celebrate and feel proud of his achievements. Vinod opted for the Uttar Pradesh cadre, the most prestigious IAS cadre at the time and Sheila's parents had nothing further to say.

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Now the real struggle was to convince Vinod’s parents, especially his mother. Vinod's deep rooted highest of the high, Kanyakubj lineage and orthodox Brahmins family from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, was hard to be convinced. Being the only son of the freedom fighter and a well- respected Congressman, Uma Shankar Dikshit, Vinod had to persuade his family a little hard to get love of his life.

To make his father come to his side, Vinod arranged a meeting for Sheila with his father at the Alps restaurant on Janpath. Sheila was assured (by Vinod) that although Dadda, was grounded in the literary and cultural traditions of Uttar Pradesh, he was liberal in his mindset.

Talking at brief about her meet with Dadda, Sheila was quoted saying," At the sight of the tall figure of Dadda, who was wearing a white, khadi kurta-pyjama and a Gandhi topi, I tried to quell my nervousness, for I had never met anybody like him before. But the eyes behind the thick rimmed glasses seemed kind."

Dadda asked Sheila many questions about her background and also told her that his son, who had studied in Delhi, was not reflective of his family, which was rooted in tradition. He had said, “Hindi bahut bolte hai hamare yahan, aap log angrezi bolte ho." Sheila was politely told by Dadda that she would not be able to get by in his part of the world without learning to speak in fluent Hindi.

He had further explained, “We have a small family. There is my mother, Vinod’s mother, and myself. Vinod, who is our only child, means the world to his mother."

Soon Vinod's father met Sheila's family to tell them that while he was agreeable to their marriage, he would like to wait until Vinod’s mother had accepted the idea of an inter-caste wedding for her son. That verdict which was to decide Sheila's fate was now lying in the hands of her would be mother-in-law that could take ‘a day, ten days, two months or even two years for her to come around’. After about two years, she eventually gave up and gave in. The trio of Dadda, Vinod and Sheila won the war and now Sheila was about to get married to her prince charming.

Talking about those dreaded two-years-long period, Sheila told how her family faced the questions hurled at them from all sides, “Aye-haye, Sheila ki shaadi kab hogi? Ye chhoti bhi toh baithi hui hai abhi (When will Sheila get married, there’s the younger one to think of as well).” Her mother stood strong and faced all the questions with calm.

Finally, the wedding was set for July 11, 1962 without any kind of ostentation.

Ready to start a new life with her love, Sheila was on cloud nine but destiny wasn't that kind to her, a few days before the wedding, she lost her father in a heart attack.

The marriage ceremony was kept simple and Sheila wore a khadi sari dyed in red and trimmed with silver gota. Around fifty male had came in baraat and Madhu (daughter of Vinod’s cousin sister) was the only girl among them. The women of that time were expected to stay at home and await the arrival of the bride and groom. The wedding was so unlike a big fat Punjabi baraat.

All drenched in love and emotions the two were soon blessed with two children, son, Sandeep Dikshit, and daughter Latika Dikshit.

Sheila in her autobiography 'My Life, My Times ' talked at length about her life where she also mentioned about her married life. She writes that in her in-laws home a newly wedded girl was supposed to cook for the entire family and day after her wedding she had to cook for all the guests and spent the night in a storeroom as all the rooms were occupied by guests. She also writes how she had to put veil and touch people's feet to get their blessings.

Between adjusting and adopting new lifestyle and values, Sheila somewhere won everyone's heart. She was happily enjoying her married life with Vinod and her two kids. However, their love didn't last long and the couple who had taken vows to live the rest of their lives together were parted away by the cruel hands of destiny and on January 13, 1986 her beloved husband whom she loved with all her heart died suffering a heart attack.

Later, her father-in-law, Uma Shankar Dikshit taught her the tactics of politics and she reigned Delhi for long 15 years i.e. from 1998 to 2013 as its Chief Minister.

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Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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