I was reading an email yesterday when I noticed that it was dated 26th May. With a start I realized that it was our wedding anniversary the next day!!! When I messaged Kapil, telling him I almost forgot our anniversary, he laughingly told me that he also almost forgot!!
I guess this is what happens after 17 long years of marriage and not to forget the 6 years of courtship prior to that!! Just in case you misunderstand – this is not the dying embers of love but a love that’s snug and cozy and warms you deep inside. This love is not desperate, it is not trying to prove anything to anyone, it is just secure, comfortable love that you know is everlasting. Perhaps, it is a little taken for granted love, but I presume that’s something that comes with a deep sense of security.
Kapil and I have had a filmy kind of a ‘made for each other’ love story (I spilled the beans in this post) – known each other since we were 6 and discovered love in early 20s. (well I did, he discovered it at age 7!) But it is not so much about how our story began, rather how it has unfolded over the years.
After a long distance, deeply passionate romance of 6 years, we finally tied the knot in 2005 on a hot May afternoon in one of the hottest states of India. Though I don’t remember any of this (the guests at my wedding tell me) – all I remember is being stupidly happy about getting married. I don’t even remember the fit of crying I apparently had the night before the wedding – but again I will accept it since Kapil says he was on the other end of the phone trying to convince me that everything will be alright. What I do remember however, is that I was smiling like a hyena sitting next to Kapil on the wedding stage and that I didn’t even look back during send off and literally hopped, skipped and jumped into Kapil’s car. So, no heart rending vidai scenes for me with the babul ki duayein kind of songs in the background! I was one happy bride! (to those unfamiliar with the Indian wedding scene – the vidai – sendoff is a tearful scene with the bride and her family crying as she bids farewell to her family)
And now 17 years later, I am happy to say that the grin hasn’t left our faces!!!
Our differences make us stronger
We are two very different people. Poles apart. Heart vs. Brain. Impulses vs. Planning. Demonstrative vs Restrained. Anti-people vs. People lover. Highly observant vs. Completely blank. Cynic vs. Starry eyed. Enthusiastic vs. Boring! I can’t think of even one area where we are similar! But we learnt to live with those differences and miraculously while we rarely see eye to eye on small matters, we hit the bull’s eye when it came to bigger life decisions.
Kapil loves to joke that I usually come around to seeing his point about 3 years later! And I hate to admit, but that’s more or less correct!
We have learnt from each other. I have become a little less uptight and try to act on my impulses. While hopefully, he has learnt to show some restraint!! I am still shocked when he tells me that at work, people find him logical, a systematic planner and so on…because honestly, I am yet to see that side of him! I worry about every little thing, and he swallows huge tensions just like that.
Respect and companionship – the bedrock of our relationship
Love changes its form over the course of a relationship and respect and companionship are the two pillars that have kept us going strong. The companionship comes from having known each other since donkey’s years. We were close friends in school and even now are each other’s best friends. Topics of discussions changed, conversations lessened as life became busier and long distance once again, but the companionship remains.
And then respect. We have immense respect for each other, the work we do and in general the persons we are. I think respect is most important in any relationship – without that it is not a relationship on an equal footing. I have seen so many couples where one does not respect the other, does not treat the other as an equal and I just feel so grateful for this bond that we share.
We have each other’s back
It is this respect that has made sure we have always supported each other’s decisions and career choices. Today, if I am working in a different country and we are a family split across two countries, it is because Kapil staunchly supported that decision. In fact, not only supported, but he also actively encouraged me to take this up. Years before that he convinced me to take up a job in Bombay, while he stayed back in Delhi for his work. He is the best supporter and the most valuable critic for my blogs – doesn’t hesitate in telling me if he thinks what I have written it is trash and shares with pride whenever I turn out something well written!
I had vowed never to marry an entrepreneur having seen both my parents struggle as entrepreneurs, but when Kapil decided to start his own company, I gave him all my support. Being a small entrepreneur is not easy and especially not in India, and I have tried to be with him through all the highs and lows. Right from being a director on his company to his salesgirl during Diwali – I have done it all!
We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders!
We keep switching the driver’s seat
Many people who know both of us tend to think that I am stronger of the two. In many difficult situations people would have automatically seen me take charge. Not one person would have seen me shed a tear at my father’s passing – while Kapil cried unabashedly. As a society we tend to rate stoicism higher than being emotional. I did too, but I have come to realise that showing emotions is actually braver than hiding them.
Kapil has declared unashamedly that he is terrified of doctors and hospitals and that it is my job to look after the health needs of both sides of the family. Yet, when 3-month-old Abeer had his hernia operation, it was Kapil who had him in his lap in the operating room while doctors operated. And it was Kapil who went in with Anvay for his surgery and held his hand when doctors pricked him with needles. It was Kapil who lifted Anvay when he was in his cast because every little movement caused him immense pain. Because I just couldn’t. For all my bravado, it just broke me to see my babies in pain. And Kapil took over.
And while a couple’s relationship is their own responsibility, external factors do play a role – the most important being the immediate family or the in laws. Even though our TV shows dramatize it, but a family’s internal family equations do matter a lot. Touchwood, but both of us have been blessed with an amazing set of in laws.
The mother-in-law and daughter-in-law sagas are legendary, but I have been very lucky to have extremely supportive in-laws. Whether it was the decision to not change my surname after marriage or to give my surname to our middle son or to not wear/ display any of the signs of a Hindu married woman or not knowing how to cook – there was never any objection from them. Though I know that they may have liked me to do some of the typical daughter-in-law things.
A few days after my in-laws came to stay with me in Almaty, my mum in law said that initially she was very apprehensive of my decision to move to Almaty alone. She was worried how I will manage, how the rest of the family would manage – but now that she had spent a few days, she felt that this was the right decision. What she said, will stay with me forever. The fact that she kept her misgivings to herself and did not question our decision meant a lot.
Similarly, I have always felt so thankful for the relationship Kapil and my parents shared. The number of jokes on about sons-in law and the girls’ parents abound in every culture. But when my parents moved in with us, the transition was extremely smooth. He bonded instantly with them and so did they. My parents easy going nature and his enthusiasm made way for years of fun times. Even now, my mother prefers to go out shopping with him than me. (the designers in both of them bond)
Cheers to many more years to come
These have been an immensely fulfilling 17 years and we have enjoyed creating the family we have and the love we share. Eternally grateful for what I have, I hope we have many more happy years to share and I look forward to ageing together 😊
Happy anniversary to both of you!!! May each year make your love even stronger!