Fifteen years is a long time in the lifespan of an individual, by any measure. After all, even a life sentence lasts only 14 years. So today, I cannot help feeling a sense of achievement, a sense of wonder, a sense of quiet accomplishment and a deep joy on completing 15 years of marriage. Yes! Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. A big thank you to those of you who called me and wished me. It was really sweet of you. I felt moved. Somehow, the effort that goes into making that International phone call always moves me. I am delighted when I get any call from India. To be honest, very few bother calling and any phone calls from India are treated with same reverence as a call from the Prime Ministers office. Not that the Prime minister’s office calls me either. :-)
If I claimed that all the fifteen years were ‘picture perfect’ I would be lying. There were a lot of ‘pictures’ yes, but they were far from perfect! I was 23 when I met Satish, fell totally,madly and completely in love and threw away my job in a multinational in Mumbai to follow him to Gwalior, (where he was working with Cadburys) without a moment’s hesitation, just 40 days after meeting him. (yes, we got married within just 40 days of meeting each other!)
I remember vividly the sights and the sounds, when I got off the Comfortable AC train along with Satish, which we boarded from Mumbai and how scorched I felt arriving at Gwalior railway station with temperatures around 45 degrees, as it was peak summer! It was the first time I had set foot in this city and the only person I knew there was my husband whom I had just met forty days ago!
Coming from a sprawling, bustling busy Metropolis like Mumbai, Gwalior felt like a bygone era and the contrast between what my life had been in Mumbai and what it would be like in Gwalior hit me like a ton of bricks. More so, when I was welcomed as a new bride in the Punjabi tradition (with all the accompanying rituals) by our very kind Punjabi landlords who took it upon themselves to make me feel welcome and make me feel a part of their family which was indeed very kind of them. There was not a soul in Gwalior (at least within miles of where I lived) who would speak English, which was what I spoke to most of my friends.I polished my book learnt CBSE hindi and tried hard to make conversation with ‘bhabhi’ who wanted to know how many ‘suits’ my ‘maike’ had given me. It took me a while to decode what she was asking (as I had to rack my brains to remember what 'Maike' and 'Sasural' meant) and when I did, my reply shocked her as much as her question shocked me—“None,” I had replied as we do not gift ‘suits’ but ‘kanjeevaram sarees’ I smile now at the memory.
I remember how I had brought my collection of books with me and how happy I was to see his collection. Then we arranged our books together (his and mine) and he made space in the wardrobe for my clothes. He had a remarkably well kept house for a bachelor and all his colleagues’ wives used to wait to see whom he would get married to and would comment that the ‘Girl who gets him is lucky indeed’. Of course, I am fairly certain that the countless ‘adjustments’ that an independent working woman from a huge metro like Mumbai made when she moved bag and baggage to the very Historic Gwalior city, would not have occurred to the well meaning wives of the colleagues who had made that statement.:-) (just saying)
After that, we have lived in six more cities. We have moved houses about eight times. Each new place has been an adventure. I have grown along the way. So has he.
The road has sometimes been rocky. The path has not always been smooth. But when I look back, I have had more joy and more happiness than I could ever hope to have from anyone else. I am truly not the easiest of people to live with and be close to. (No one who calls themselves as artist ,writer and a poet is. Trust me on this or ask their spouses :-) ) It might be hard to believe how offending I can be, when provoked. I have my terrible rages (yes I do, you do not see it, that is all!) and my black destructive moods.
But the fact is, he has been supportive of me, as much as I have been of him. (It is not easy to give up your career, move bag and baggage to another city for the sake of your Husband’s career).
We have together learnt a lot in these fifteen years. We have learnt when to take the driver’s seat and when to be navigator. We have learnt when to let go and when to hold on. We have learnt that sometimes it is best not to say anything and to hold back your words, especially when you are angry. We have learnt that sometimes, when the other person has withdrawn into an angry shell you have to chase and poke and prod and pursue till they come out, yet sometimes you have to let them be.
But most importantly we have learnt that if a relationship is important to you, it is worth doing just about anything to make it work and to keep it going. Especially if you have invested so much time into it, spent time together laughing, enjoying, having fun, then you should never neglect it. One should weed out discontent right at the roots.Stamp it. Kill it. Feed the positivity. Express what you feel. Make it grow.
In the end, it will be truly worth it.