25 years ago, I met a girl wearing sea green saree, talking rapidly jumping languages, topics stunning me so much so that my answer was in the affirmative.
So, began a dicey relationship – me always complaining that she never had time for me, her in laws progressive though in some way, were more traditional in other ways, it went along slowly ending in a marriage that has good, bad, sad memories for us. She gave up her professional career, saying that I was on the fast track and she wanted to focus on that.
The fights – why was she worried what people thought when we were on our honeymoon? why was I so dedicated to my work that, I attended office during our honeymoon? Why was she not the first one to wish me on my birthday? AND no time for me, working always to please the family, sitting where directed/expected by the family.
Moved to Calcutta – probably the best place and time, I thought. Oh! How wrong I was. Family, relatives, friends, peers, colleagues were enthralled, enraptured and it became a big Yash Raj film all over again. Everybody found a reason to visit us, stay with us. But, yes lovely quality time between my work addiction and visitors. Learnt first hand how much ice cream she could pack away, loved chaat, could eat Khaman every single day – proved when she was laid down with complications when expecting our daughter.
Soon, an addition, some decisions had us back with family, and one more person to demand her time – though to be fair, I had no complaints about this little person at all.
A time that was ordained for us, went all over, finally leading to our shifting to Bombay.
Quite a roller coaster time, with finally lot of time, discovering each other all over again, with similar age friends.
All thru this – nearly half way – it was always about me, my anger was always sorted out by her, cooling me down, apologies where necessary, mostly initiated by her, the daughter support was mostly on my side, I thought.
Late 1990s do not remember if this was pre or post Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam 🙂 Stressed out, irritable, wanting to hit out, today I do not even remember except that was a defining moment – In midst of the argument, She said ‘Enough’ or ‘Bas bol diya so bol diya’ a la Jaya Bachhan, picked up her purse and started walking out.
Instant apologies, grovelling ensued, surprisingly no support from the daughter, till she laughed and said look at you – I was going to get the ice cream that you promised and forgot.
Acceptance that day – I could not live without her, she was and will remain my first weakness. It was just that except me, everybody knew and hence always exploited her and continues to do so.
She has always been more forgiving, stronger, warm and nothing that I say will change that, but we have a saying – Ma’am ko Nadneka nahi, which a lot of service providers, servers, acquaintances have learnt to their detriment.
Family, immediate and distant on both sides, except the 4 villains (my daughter, niece & nephews) prefer to deal with her because always easier and positive.
With our daughter, she is more demanding on the larger things, whilst I am always the worried dad – why is she late? Who is she meeting? Friend? boy friend. But come studies it is exactly the reverse 😉 comes from the perspective of being a ranker vs duffer.
Always a good singer, even a winner on TV, she began to learn singing, but family demands put paid to that again. Fulfilling every aspect of family, she began to work again a couple of years ago, taking up a different challenge. Of course, I was informed that she would be going to work.
Given her achievements, at times I feel sad that, when there were a couple of opportunities in the past and she was undecided, I did not insist.
We have always splurged less on us, more on others, scrimped, barely managed to save but she has ensured we float in the bad times. It is thanks to her, that my friends also consider her as a friend – though some of them only for the food they get to eat. However this also has led to making a lot of friends – though now for the past couple of years she has the last say on who would be invited again 🙁 Some of them support her to an extent that they are literally my enemies, with one of them suggesting a Bharat Ratna for her. (OK, I may be a bit difficult to live with, yes)
It has been a long journey, difficult to say the least, thorny more than smooth, sandwiched from all sides, sometimes angry, but confident, always supportive, at times stronger than me, never losing faith. That is my wife, partner, emotional anchor of 25 years “Natty” 😉 (a nickname coined by me and my daughter years ago) as most people who know us would have guessed by now.
Over the years, she has made few specific demands and ensured I met them, one specific dream that I wanted to fulfil this year, but destiny thought otherwise or as she would say ‘ Something better is in store for us’ And that is what I want to devote my remaining years, to ensure I fulfil them and she has enough time for me 🙂
Though a semi surprise, because, I have always avoided writing about her, but I know she will forgive me & reading the last line smile and say Selfish tha, ho aur rahoge
“You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead” ~ The Beatles.