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Married love can be a thing all its own, and only those inside it will recognise it, really; and only the fortunate few have it in their lives.
So much of what we know about love, we learn from movies and books. Dashing dudes on motorcycles and sultry femmes in their pastel best. A formula for romance, peppered with grand gestures and heady kisses. Ah, so magical! We yearn for those fireworks and try our hardest to replicate the same formula in our lives.
And yes, sometimes Love is dazzling. Scary in its intensity, thrilling, all-consuming. Verses of poetry waiting on our work desk. A dozen roses, simply because. He’s loud, he’s magnetic, and he takes your breath away. You walk around in a daze, drunk on this love.
But sometimes Love is subtle. Unexpressed with words but loud in its own way. He gets home Pizza and a tub of chocolate ice cream. Surprise breakfasts delivered to your bed, buying tampons with zero embarrassment. Fuelling up your car to save you time in the morning, seeking your agreement but respecting your ‘NO’s. He may forget to kiss you before leaving for work, but calls at noon just to hear your voice.
Sometimes Love is plain boring. Filling out loan applications together. Attending his tiresome coworker’s party. “Babe, what’s for dinner?” “Hey can you pick Kiddo up from school today?”
You wake up hating the non-drama. Envying the newlyweds next door. Mr. Hot Guy and Mrs. Perky Boobs. Wasn’t that you once upon a time? You look over at your husband, making you hot chocolate with infinite patience. Trying to cheer you up with a droopy little rose he plucked from the backyard. And suddenly you want to kiss him right there in front of the kids because how did you get so lucky?!
Often Love is difficult. It requires you to be unselfish. To care for someone else even if you’re just as sick. To forgive angry words said in heated voices. To see past wet towels on the floor and work meetings on Sundays. It takes every ounce of patience to not scream. Fights, sulk fests, smudged rivulets of mascara on white pillowcases. You’re shocked by how hard marriage is. But you vow to work harder on your relationship. You’re a warrior and he’s worth fighting for.
And then sometimes Love takes a little nap. Years of togetherness, decades of comfort with each other’s routines. He forgets your birthday, you lose that watch he got you for your first anniversary. Life and kids and a million pesky things come between you. One day, he gets home a hastily wrapped present. Perplexed, you open it, while he hops around on his middle-aged feet. It’s a rather ugly watch with a too-large dial.
“Do you like it? Do you like it?”
And you do! You adore the damn thing, just like you cherish this darling man standing before you. Guess what? Naptime is over. And hey, Love was always a light sleeper!
Married love can be dazzling or subtle, dull or infuriating. It can be all of these types at different times for different people. And some days, love sleeps for a really long while. But there‘s no right or wrong here. Our relationships are our own unique experiences and how we cherish our spouses. Married Love is more of a verb and less of an established noun.
Occasionally love comes in bursts and waves, like a glorious thunderstorm. You can get drenched in it and swept off your feet. But like a gentle rain that nourishes, love can also be quiet. Modest and unappreciated for its simplicity. We must be careful not to overlook the unsaid because often the biggest acts of love happen in the quietest moments.
So much of what we know of love, we learn from movies. Dashing dudes and sultry femmes with their grand gestures and heady kisses.
But if you asked me, I’d choose that droopy little rose any day.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: a still from the movie Badhaai Ho
I'm a proud wife and a warrior mom awaiting my certificate in "Advanced helicopter parenting". An avid coffee enthusiast. A physician in another life.
My hobbies include reading and writing, then nitpicking what I read more...
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I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
Every daughter, no matter how old, yearns to come home to her parents' place - ‘Home’ to us is where we were brought up with great care till marriage served us an eviction notice.
Every year Dugga comes home with her children and stays with her parents for ten days. These ten days are filled with fun and festivity. On the tenth day, everyone gathers to feed her sweets and bids her a teary-eyed adieu. ‘Dugga’ is no one but our Goddess Durga whose annual trip to Earth is scheduled in Autumn. She might be a Goddess to all. But to us, she is the next-door girl who returns home to stay with her parents.
When I was a child, I would cry on the day of Dashami (immersion) and ask Ma, “Why can’t she come again?” My mother would always smile back.
I mouthed the same dialogue as a 23-year-old, who was home for Durga Puja. This time, my mother graced me with a reply. “Durga is fortunate to come home at least once. But many have never been home after marriage.”
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