It has been a long time. Yet, it seems just like just the other day the Slo-Man was young, slim and gormless instead of what he is today, middle-aged, fat and gormless.
This is one of those momentous posts that are now given to the Slo-Man to write. For this marks an anniversary. Thirty years ago today the Beloved Bangalan took the Slo-Man as a husband. To cherish and to hold, to nag and to scold till the day shall come when neither can stand the other or death, whichever comes first.
The Slo-Man does not really understand marriages or the concept of marriage. For him it is enough to love and be loved. To have to feed the neighbours and distant relatives just to get their sanction seems to him to be rather a silly way to go about it. Far better for one of the couple to say
“So how about it, eh? You want to hang out for the rest of your life with me? Usual perks and benefits, of course, are included. Rates are competitive.”
When the other says “Sure, why the hell not? You seem nice enough? You have nice eyes and you’re reasonably funny”, surely, that should be enough?
But apparently it isn’t so. So, 1 score and 10 years ago today, the Slo-Man and his Beloved Bangalan sat warming themselves in front of a nice fire while some priestly type rattled off something in Sanskrit with a Bengali accent. Every once in a while the happy couple were enjoined to go “swaha” and pour something into the fire, ghee, puffed rice etc. Eventually, they walked solemnly around the fire a few times and voila! There they are today, 30 years together.
Not quite, for the Slo-Man is incarcerated in Saskatoon, SK and the Beloved Bangalan in Mississauga, ON, just 3.5 flying hours away.
‘Twas ever thus.
For their first anniversary, Mr and Mrs Slo-Man were separated too, he in Kolkata (or Calcutta and she was in Mumbai (or Bombay) on work. For their second, he was in in Chennai ( or Madras, as it was called then) on work, she in Calcutta. Somehow, they managed to celebrate their third with a little baby boy. Exactly how that was accomplished given the large scale absenteeism is better left untold since it would be mere speculation.
Nevertheless, here we are. How we met (36 years ago) is chronicled here and here. Yes, indeed, Mr and Mrs Slo spent 6 years singing and dancing around trees, she losing many a dupatta in the rain or winds that suddenly picked up. He spoiling many a flowering bush as he randomly picked flowers to camouflage their kisses. Actually, she wasn’t given to wearing dupattas. Or was she? It’s hard for the Slo-Man to tell for he did not notice what clothes she wore. No, all he cared about was the girl inside. Long walks, long talks, seeing her home and calling her on the telephone immediately he got home. It seemed there would never be enough time in the world to spend with her.
There have been learnings too, along the way. An early lesson was straightening out the tangle of arms and legs in the first few days in bed together. And the more important ones such as:
If you hit the tram lines on your motorbike and you both fall, pick her up first, then pick up the bike!
Do not get lost in computer code to the point where the young bride is left standing at the bus stop for over an hour, then having to make her own way to the Howrah station, buying her own ticket to her grandma’s house, and finding her own way via cycle rickshaw to fall bawling into the lap of her horrified family. A family that will not allow any female member of the family to venture out without a male escort, albeit a 5-year old token escort.
When she gets the older son to call you in the office at 7pm to say “Mom says you should come home now”, listen and obey, for another baby is probably threatening to pop out and say “peak a boo!”.
The wedding was a short one day affair, unlike regular Indian affairs. The marriage has lasted considerably longer. In fact, the Slo-Man with his remarkable wit says this every anniversary “Our marriage has been on the rocks for xx years!”
So there you have it. Right after you have commended the Slo-Man on his wit and modesty, please stop by and leave a note of congratulations for the happily separated couple.