As I write this, my own love child is squawking and squealing away whilst trying to bite her toy elephant. Now, happily married with two children, it's often difficult to recall the pain and desperation my husband and I were subjected to when we decided to marry, very much against both family's wishes. It was an ordeal that lasted nearly a decade and sapped most of our 20s.
Yet, as soon as I heard about India's Love Commandos, who rescue love birds and help them begin new lives together... I suddenly remembered that deep ache in my heart... lovesick, in the face of threats, emotional blackmail and sheer malice.
You can hear my piece on India's Love Commandos for BBC Radio 4 here (02 JUN 12: Love Commandos).
I admit that I've pretty much been in love... AHEM... a fan of Aamir Khan's ever since that moment he whirled around, guitar in hand singing 'Papa Kehten Hain' in the superb Hindi film 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak'. That too was a film about lovers who meet their end in the face of murderous family opposition.
Sanjay Sachdev, one of the Love Commandos co-founders, told the audience that people should love openly, freely (despite harassment, threats, police intimidation and even murder) because love is the only thing that will stop India falling apart on caste/religious fautlines.
Bravo to that! What a long road it's been from those days in my early 20s, heart in mouth, that I dared to love a white man! (Two white men in fact... the second one is still my husband). Today, the number of Preeti Singh Smiths and Cheryl Guptas have become ubiquitous.
So too I hope is the future for India. Perhaps one day those matrimonial ads will disappear and the Commandos will have won the war on love.