Tuesday, May 8, 2012

THE GOLDEN COUPLE


My parents complete 52 years of marriage today! As a child it always used to be  something difficult for me to relate to-  this anniversary thing. To me they have always been my parents – people I have known as a couple. So, it was rather difficult to imagine that there may have been a time when they were not together

My mother is my father’s cousin – in southern India, it is a custom for men to marry their maternal uncle’s daughter. My father says he always knew she was his intended bride though ( or maybe because of which) he never had the confidence to speak to her. “She was very haughty ” he reminisces!   I can well imagine- she would have frozen him with a glance had she felt that he had crossed boundaries that he should not have!

My father had just completed his engineering from what used to be the College of Engineering – Guindy when my maternal grandfather visited them from Trichy with the formal proposal of marriage. Appa, of  course felt that it was too soon. He wanted to do his post graduation. But then his was the last opinion taken on this matter. Both sets of parents fixed on a date and they were married.

The initial days of marriage according to my mother were ones when she practiced extreme levels of diplomacy. After a few months of working at the PWD department, my father joined his post graduation. He also had a teaching assistant ship in the same college- which left him with very little time for his wife. As the first daughter in law of the family, my mother had no one to mentor her into her new role.

I can just imagine how difficult life must have been for her. My paternal grandmother is one of the most “diplomatic” women I know of. A mother of four sons and wife of a man with a very hot temper, she always managed to get her way without ever appearing to be confrontational! I have  never seen her angry but I am told that  her moves were “lethal”

The newly weds spent their first few years of marriage negotiating social relationships. Let me explain this – if my father happened to buy a gift for my mother he had to buy a similar one for his youngest sister too. If they went for a movie, ( usually a night show) Amma was asked by my grand mother  to complete all the kitchen work before she left often having to miss the first few scenes. There were days when Appa used to try to tip toe into the house through the back yard just so he could spend some quality time alone with his wife. Not to say that it went un noticed because my paternal grand father –not known to mince his words about anything one day made a mention of how people living in the house entered it now like thieves!

Finally, Appa did the best thing he could have. He took a posting in the Indian railways and whisked his wife away to far away Bilaspur!

They obviously enjoyed life there –watching movies every weekend – movies which they did not understand much because they were in Hindi. They mastered the language and made friends with their neighbors. Mr and Mrs Arya were their next door neighbours and like them newly weds escaping from in laws. Then there were Gauri Mami and Murthy Mama – a Tamil couple with their three daughters who was the mother figure in their lives.

Bialspur was the place where they spent over five years- probably a place where they have their happiest memories  if the  photographs are anything to go by! Appa taking Amma doubles on the cycle. It is also the place where their marriage vows were put to test. Amma had an ectopic pregnancy and would have died of haemorrhage had Appa not rushed her to hospital. This is a story I never tire of hearing. The doctor at Bilaspur  railway hospital was not confident about dealing with the case and referred her to Kharagpur. A super fast express that usually does not stop at Bilaspur was made to stop  so that Amma’s stretcher could be rolled in. A bottle with the IV fluid was attached to the upper berth and the needle into her arm while Appa sat next to her holding her hand. As the train reached Khargapur at dawn, Dr. Brij Mohan , the General Surgeon from the hospital was personally waiting there with this team and the ambulance. Needless to say she survived and the doctor at the Bilaspur hospital was blasted by Dr. Brij Mohan for allowing a patient in such a critical condition to travel. My parents remember with gratitude this man and also Appa’s Chief Engineer Mr. Hazra who made all the arrangements and also ensured that Appa’s salary was paid in advance to meet the expenses.

Bialspur was followed by Kancharapara and then Kolkata. They had  became parents during those years. Appa was bang in the middle of managing the 1974 railway strike when my sister was on her journey into the world. Amma was pregnant but kept her cool despite all the news of her husband being “gheraoed” by the railway unions and not arriving home sometimes for days!

They were never a couple who were into “cootchie cooing”! I have rarely seen them even hold hands ( besides those Bilaspur snaps). But what we were never in doubt of was their love for each other. My mother is an extremely short tempered person. She often loses her cool with my father’s absent minded and erratic behavior and gives him a sound yelling.  In fact it used to be joke among his subordinates about who was their boss’s “real boss”!  Jokes notwithstanding, I must say that despite his strong leadership qualities at the work place she is the one with wisdom. Her infinite patience on certain issues is a perfect foil to his impatience on the same issues. An extremely strict parent she was the opposite of our indulgent father- a balance that kept us both grounded to the realities of life.

Between the two of them they have demonstrated to us what married life is all about. My mother could stretch a rupee to its maximum and with that thrift came our access to the best educational institutions and the great future that they have ensured.

I am touched when I see them in their twilight years. My father who used to spend almost three fourths of his days at work during his hey days today spends most of it at home  with his wife. He runs all errands and has even developed an interest in things that until now were not his forte- he watches Tamil sit coms with his wife. A very self sufficient couple they live about twelve hours away from their daughters visiting us when required. They gave us the wings which helped us fly high and the values which ensured that the nest was never really abandoned.

When I decided to get married, my only wish was that my marriage should be like  theirs. But then as they say, you cannot live another couple’s life. My married life has been similar – yet different. The man I have married embodies some of the qualities that I have observed in my father as a husband. I see similar traits in my brother- in –law too.

I cannot ever imagine a time when they may not be together.. A true partnership with absolutely no wielding of power by either of them- they were far ahead of their times as a couple.

 ( I have included here the  video of a song which I always imagine them singing during their Bilaspur years.. ...! )


18 comments:

Bikramjit said...

Many many heartiest wishes to your mom and dad a very happy 52nd anniversary to the both of them

please do extend my regards to them ..

a beautiful song tooo :)

Bikram's

Jack said...

Meera,

Kindly convey my wishes to them. May they have wonderful time together ever. Very heart warming write up.

Take care

Christopher said...

Lovely post Meera! Some of your mother's traits were passed on to you. Wishing them many more years of a happy married life.

KParthasarathi said...

Many happy returns of the day.
52 years of togetherness does not come by to all.It is a blessing.May God bless them to be for each other for many years more.
Nicely written.A picture of them would have embellished the post.The first video did not open

Rahul Bhatia said...

A beautiful dedication to parents, Meera, on their Wedding Anniversary! May they see many years of happiness together! You are fortunate to have parents who have set examples worthy of emulation!

Meera Sundararajan said...

Thank you all- Bikram, Jack, Rahul, KP and Christopher for your comments! @ Christopher, I wish my mother's traits had been passed on to me too- unfortunately I have all my father's - his impatience and his eccentricities ( according to my sister I will be a "crack pot" when I reach his age)

@ KP, deliberately did not include a snap because I wanted to protect their privacy.

simply mee said...

52years? WHOPPI! yay! happy anniversary to your lovely parents!

Ha! in-laws?,,,ahahaha....one must be diplomatic, glad he whisked her away.

Wish them more years of happiness and long life.

anilkurup said...

Who else could one ever choose when romance or courtship is spoken about- surely "Devanad"!

You are quite fortunate children of those parents, because not many can have parents enjoying marital journey beyond the fifty years like you see now.
Good wishes to you all.

Rekha said...

Touching post Meera. Convey my regards to them

anindita said...

Congratulations and my best wishes to the golden couple. May God give them healthy and happy life ahead and many bless their togetherness with eternity.

A very nice post and what a nice way of offering gratitude to parents.

The song you included is one of my favourite ones too.

"They gave us the wings which helped us fly high and the values which ensured that the nest was never really abandoned." beautiful expression..

Once again, many many greeatings and warm wishes..

PURN!MA said...

that's real romance! Many couples live together for a lifetime but carry a huge burden of resentment and reproach towards one another.

Sometimes when I have a tiff with my spouse (if at times it is tad too often), I can't help but wonder if there's something wrong between us. But then, there comes a love story like this which makes me realise that love and companionship goes much beyond small disagreements.

Congrats to your parents! wishing many more happy years for them! :)

Gayu said...

52 years...
Filled with adjustments and sacrifices...
caring and understanding...
With the highs and the lows...
but when there is love...it truky shows...:)

There are many situations which are true in my life also. When I have to go out for dinner with hubby or movies or to visit friends place, i have no option. I have to finish all the chores and then go.

It tires me out...but then I am waiting paitently for sunshine to appear...*fingers crossed*

I can imagine how difficult it must have been for your Mom.
Convey my regards to her...and would love to know how she handled those things:)

Best wishes
Gayu

Meera Sundararajan said...

@ Anil, Rekha, Ani, Purnima, Gayu and Simply mee- yes 52 years does seem long in today's world when marriages are breaking after just two years!

Glad that many of you liked the song too :)

raji said...

hi meera ...lovely to have read about uncle and aunty celebrating 52 years of togetherness. a lovely couple and a home full of warmth and care ..that is what i remember in the brief time we spent together in kanchrapara. you and jayshree were thick as thieves but i being 'colony kids' it was like one big family there. our parents are complete couples....isn't it ? they dont 'outgrow each other', they are always looking out for each other and their bickerings are a sign that all is well and god is in heaven.if this is not love ,what is? wish them all the best ,many more years of good health and happiness together. spend as much quality time as you can with them.....i met them when they came to see my mom off. my amma and appa missed their 50th by a few months..take care and god bless you girls

Deepa said...

Nice. Became rather senti reading it. But yes, one cannot deny that theirs is a phenomenal partnership. They always present a united front on issues. Despite their quarreling, I never had a doubt about the rock solid nature of their marriage. The goldenest of golden standards to live upto.

Rachna said...

Wow, 52 years, that is super amazing. My heartiest wishes to the special couple and to their daughter. What an amazing example to live upto.

Arooj said...

congratulation to your parents.

well this the true description of mutual love and understanding.
life of every common man holds such a complete lesson of love and sincerity that we don't need to go for some philosophical quotes.

Meera Sundararajan said...

@ Deepa, yes I can imagine you becoming senti :P

@ Arooj, the life and loves of the common people are more interesting to me than those of film stars.

@ Rachna, thanks for your wishes

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