My 38th wedding anniversary is just round the corner and I wanted to put down what life has been to me after I got married. Did I feel more secure? Less secure?? Ours was an arranged marriage so till date my heart refuses to skip a beat when I think of him. I think I really don’t have a romantic bent of mind. Parents got us married and after the initial hiccups we simply adjusted. I care a lot for him and he too reciprocates in equal measure. There are times when I wonder what if it had been someone else whom I had married? I suppose I would have taken my responsibilities seriously irrespective of whom or what my husband happened to be. I suspect that it is the same with my husband. Now that brings up my next question. In an arranged marriage like ours is the spouse one’s soul mate or sole mate.
Long back when my children were in their high school classes my husband and I would have our chat sessions while getting ready for work. I’d make him help with dicing vegetables and scraping coconut and we would have something or the other to talk about. It would be Lalu Prasad Yadav’s fodder scam one day or Jayalalitha’s foster son’s lavish wedding on another day. By then the children would get ready for school on their own and pack their lunch boxes too. I remember a particular instance when my second daughter who is normally quiet said-“How much can the two of you talk, mummy? You go on and on and find new topics to discuss every other day.”
“Does it bother you in any way?”
“No, it doesn’t except when it gets a little loud. I wonder how our neighbor’s don’t protest.”
Nearly 20 years have gone by and we still chatter like school children. To be correct, I must add that he talks and I listen. But the timings have changed. He has retired from work while I haven’t. I ought to have superannuated this January but our retirement age has been increased by 2 years and I continue to work. It is something like this nowadays.
I am up around 5:30 in the morning and by then my husband has had his morning coffee. I rub my eyes and pick up my tooth paste and brush and my soul mate gets going-
“Do you know Kalmadi ………………Or
I have to tell him that I need to freshen up. Could he please wait a few minutes till I get done?
Otherwise I have just managed to climb the 52 steps that lead to my flat and slid into the sofa after throwing my purse and bag aside.
“Can you believe it? The spectrum scam …………”
I feel like asking him if it cannot wait till I have a wash and make myself a cup of tea? But I don’t. We are not only soul mates but sole mates as well. He is otherwise a very quiet person and takes time to make friends. He gets invited by other senior citizen to join their group but I am the only senior citizen he feels inclined to interact with. Like children that expect the mother to give them her attention once they return from school my husband too would like me to give him my time and attention. He has been alone all day and this is one thing he expects of me. Very early in our marriage we had mutually agreed that we would not discuss each other’s family. All families had a good side and a bad side in their set up. So it has to be national and international news that we discuss. And what do I get in return?
I am dragged for my morning walks since it benefits my health. Were it not for him I would sleep till seven in the morning. May be I wouldn’t but I would not religiously go for my walk.
He religiously wipes my car each morning. When I ask him to get someone to do it he refuses saying that they don’t do a good job of it. True, but prying eyes and wagging tongues do not keep quiet. Mr. Cha, the short one mentioned in an earlier post got into my car one morning asking to be dropped off at the market. For the favor I do to him he gets started-
“R does a good job of wiping the car each morning. He does it with a lot of care and concern”.I wondered if he was being sarcastic. He then continued-
“He doesn’t drive does he?”
“No” I replied.“Happy to be escorted by you, ha, ha!”
I felt like dumping him midway. When I reported this conversation to my husband he laughed it off saying-
“He is plain jealous that you can drive while his wife and daughter in law cannot. He has to wait for his son to take him anywhere in town. Poor man you should understand his predicament”. He is otherwise a sensitive person but when I am in the picture he has no complex and I love him for his simplicity.
Apart from this there are a hundred ways in which he makes himself useful and I do the same. He is technophobic and cannot handle ATM cards, internet booking/banking or even the mobile phone. And I’ve stopped making beds ever since I started working. I think that is what marriage does to one. A sole mate becomes a soul mate or is it the other way round? The two seem interchangeable. These days he takes up for my brothers and sisters while I defend his. The distinction has blurred and ours is one big family. We are planning a visit to Chennai and he has started accumulating ghee for my niece (sister’s daughter) who is expecting a baby!
I suppose arranged marriage is as good as love marriage if ‘soul’ and ‘sole’ become complementary as it does in most.