I want to confess, writing about/on Valentine’s Day seems bit odd. The way I associated with it few years ago no longer holds significance. Every day is a special gift given our morality status. I want to celebrate each day with same enthusiasm. However, as a society, it is important to celebrate special days and festivals because it keeps the spirits high. Valentine’s Day is an opportune time to acknowledge all the love you have in your life. I am grateful for my family, friends and every single soul I have met in my life.
I also don’t want my relationship with A to occupy a predominant space in this blog. Yet here I am, writing about the topics I wanted to refrain from. Why? Two reasons that led the words flow in this direction are:
- Valentine’s Day is here! No matter how much I try to brush aside the (un)necessary furore and excitement, it gets on to me.
- I am in Ambala (my hometown) where our story began. The same place and the same settings trigger a sense of nostalgia. Top that with same thundering rains a day before and the ice-cold winter wave that we experienced on our wedding.
You know How I Met the Love of My Life. How our relationship has unfolded in these five years is a journey into ourselves for both of us. We had an arranged marriage. Our courtship period lasted exactly for two months. We were like new acquaintances without a clear idea of each other’s distinct personality, likes and dislikes. We entered into the matrimony more as friends than lovers. Five years later, our relationship still has the fragrance of friendship surpassing the romantic liaison. I don’t know if it is so with every couple, but this aspect of our relationship is something that A and I often discuss.
One reason could be we got married late in life. We both were at an age where we were looking for a fulfilling and stable relationship more than the mere flicker of young and passionate love. Interestingly, months before we met, A was a residential ISKON devotee in Chandigarh who, in all seriousness, was contemplating celibacy (he was destined to eat the ‘shaadi ka ladoo’. Happiness doesn’t come that easy man).
The journey of these five years, albeit small, was quite enriching. There was friendship, love, some big learnings about life and myself, a lesson in solitude, a lesson in balancing (a territory I find most difficult to tread), the art of matching societal expectations, small fights that led to deeper understandings, coming together of different personalities and viewpoints in one place, but bind by the same core values.
Year 2013 versus 2018
Timeline 1: Jan 19, 2013
It was my third day after marriage. A day of my ‘pagphera’ ceremony. A puja was planned at my parent’s home at 5 pm for A and me. Thanks to A’s diminishing time management skills, we reached my home around 8 pm when panditji had left and the guests were on the verge of pulling their hair. Throughout our two-hour journey from A’s home to mine, we hardly spoke. It was normal for A (given his typical Ajay Devgn style), and quite unlike me (No, I am not as talkative as Kajol, but was in a newly wed bride phase, thinking of myself as the Simran of DDLJ and expecting A to behave like Raj and woo me). I was taken aback. How could we be this boring on our third day of marriage. By the time it was night, I was on the verge of crying. He could not understand what was making me so emotional and I could not fathom his coldness.
Five years later….
Feb 10, 2018
A and I driving off to Ambala for the weekend. The plan was made the same day. A’s time management skills are still diminished but I don’t lose sleep over it now. The setting was perfect. Saturday evening with less traffic, songs playing on FM, A singing old melodies at the top of his voice, both of us lip synching the duets of Lata and Kishore, dedicating songs to each other, holding hands, sipping ‘chai’ at our favourite spot (Murthal’s Haveli), having long conversations on life, love, the basis of marriage, the need to have own children versus adoption, choosing to be childless, and me reading him excerpts from some spiritual passages, explaining the scientific basis of all these choices. It was one memorable road trip for both of us, something we both cherish with equal intensity.
The journey in between…
In these five years, we have had many contrasting situations. Every moment has taught us something about each other, and we are still discovering. It took us some time to understand that we are different individuals who look same on the surface. Today, we value these differences and are at ease with each other’s idiosyncrasies; me with A’s silence and he with my quirkiness. I am happy that I come across as an extrovert when compared to A. All my life I had the crown of an introvert on my head. It is nice to trade place for once.
Timeline 2: Feb 14, 2013
We got married in Jan 2013. So, it was to be our first Valentine’s Day. I had come to Ambala on 11th Feb to attend my roomie and best friend’s wedding scheduled on Feb 15. A was not accompanying me due to work. But it was my understanding that he will make sure to be with me on our first Valentine’s Day. But as I should have expected, for A, Valentine’s Day was just another day. May be little bit special, but not something grand. Whenever we talked over phone, he never mentioned his plans to be with me. I cribbed about it a few times, and he ignored. Finally, I made peace with the fact that he won’t come and I would spend the day alone.
Came the 14th Feb and I felt the longing. The day passed. In the evening, I went for my friends’ sangeet ceremony. It must be around 9 pm. I was on the stage dancing in a group when suddenly a man started dancing near me. I felt odd and turned my back towards him. The man came around from the other side. And behold, to my shock and amusement, it was A right there in front of me. I shouted in joy and hugged him, my friends laughed hysterically, and A, as usual, gave his mysterious smile. It was the first surprise I got from A (the list has grown over the years). We left the sangeet after some time for a dinner to the same place where we had met for the first time.
Five years later…
Feb 14, 2018
We are in separate cities this time too. I am in Ambala again and he is travelling for work. We knew this when we planned our itinerary, but the difference was, I am so much at peace this time. No longing to tick that Valentine’s Day togetherness at any cost. No must-done dinner dates. It will eventually happen when we meet but I am not hellbent to make it happen on this day itself. I assume this is a natural progression of any marriage.
However, my most precious moment came in the form of a rare video call A made at lunch time yesterday (he never calls when at work). He said he was missing me. What made me more emotional was the fact that A was trying hard to take a detour and somehow come and meet me for two-three hours. This would have meant coming to Ambala from Delhi late in the evening, staying for 2 hours, then returning back to Delhi late in the night, and again leave early morning for his work commitments. Life’s all riches seem futile in front of such emotional surges.
The journey in between…
In these five years, A and I try our best to make the other happy. While he makes sure we have some adventure lined up the sleeve to keep me happy, I try to keep things as subtle as possible, just the way he likes it. The end result is, we both get what we want.
This journey traversed over five years is the best gift I can get on Valentine’s Day. A mutual feeling of love and longing soaked up in the silent sounds of hearts. A has gifted me my relatively sorted new found self. A’s seriousness and mature take on life has rubbed off on me. He has made me more grounded. He has taught me that love is more than being in each other’s company, he has taught me to be stoic in tough times, to work relentlessly towards finding a solution than cribbing about a problem beyond measure, and to value and respect my work. He has taught me that silence can be powerful and empowering too. He has taught me depth, to do away with futile societal obligations, and to not please every person I meet in life, and to say “No’.
Above all, he taught me that love is freedom. The freedom to do what I want, and to be at my parent’s house whenever I please. Happy Valentine’s Day A!
Spiritual take on marriage
In a marriage or cohabitation, you usually have to share the same space, the same everything. Consequently, every day, you are treading on each other’s toes in one way or the other. In other relationships, if someone is overstepping the boundaries, you can create a distance. Here, you do not have a choice. The greater the overlap, the greater the possibility of friction. There are many couples who are living beautifully together, who are profoundly in love, and who are fantastic companions to each other. At the same time, this relationship can assume the ugliest forms. One contributing factor is that generally, no one gets to know the ugly things that are happening behind closed doors. If someone on the street steps on your feet, you will react in a different way, because everyone is watching. But in this relationship, no one is watching, so anything can happen.
(Excerpts from Sadhguru’s isha blog http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/sadhguru/spot/how-to-make-marriage-work/).