If you have a problem, fix it. But train yourself not to worry, worry fixes nothing. - Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Bliss and Misery of a Long Married Life

John Sebastian

[The author of this lovely piece was my senior in our bank and I spent three years with him under the same roof in an office building, but in different departments. And how happy I was that the redoubtable S John, as he was known in his then avatar, was not my boss!

I have seen many a colleague coming out of a thirty-eight-minute meeting with him bruised, battered, and seriously contemplating retirement and moving to a remote corner in the Himalayas. John was famous for his acerbic tongue and caustic humour, and yet, for some unfathomable reason, everyone loved and admired him. So whatever inner qualities he might have, spending 38 years with the same gentleman would call for Herculean strength of mind, the patience of a mountain, and the perseverance of an ant. I bow to you Mrs. Lucy John. I am sure you have all this and a lot more.

To end this brief intro, I am proud to have John on my blog as a guest author and I'm sure you'll love reading this.]

Here is the riddle of a criminal case I have been trying to understand for a few months – an accused lady, on her own right a celebrity, is charged with murdering her daughter by her first husband, with the active assistance of her second husband, who is a co-accused in the case, and also with the connivance of her third husband, whose son by his first wife had been having an affair with the murdered daughter of the said accused lady!  And another twist in the tail – the third husband of the lady had adopted her daughter by her second husband as his own daughter, whereas the accused lady wanted her murdered daughter to be known to the world as her husband’s sister-in-law! I sincerely wish I got the facts straight!

Why am I writing on the topic today? Please wait a bit! Reading about this sordid episode has left me wondering about the BLISS of a very long married life most us ordinary mortals are enjoying, something which many have taken for granted. A few of my ex-colleagues / friends have celebrated more than 50 years of married life and many more, who are still masquerading as young, have been revelling on 40 years of marriage, sadly of course, devoid of any variety, married only to each other.

There have been many interesting / stimulating quotes on marriages, some of which I would like to share with you:

All those who marry do well, and all those who refrain, do better!

The whole pleasure of marriage is that it is a perpetual crisis. – G. K. Chesterton

When I married her, she was awfully simple; now she is simply awful.

During a famous debate in the British parliament during the time of the redoubtable Sir Winston Churchill, a lady member from the opposition concludes her speech saying, “If I were your wife, Mr Churchill, I would put poison in your soup.” And pat comes the reply from Churchill, “If you were my wife, I would gladly drink it”. Period!

That brings me to another interesting area, spouses greeting their beloveds on their wedding anniversary. Some comments are poetic / superlative and out of sheer bliss, I would like to believe. Here are some samples. (I wouldn’t name the authors; they are all my dear former colleagues.) My prize goes to this one:

… years of vintage goodness, of undeniable classic that cannot be matched … a man who hasn’t asked for anything, but who got the best of everything is truly blessed. (I too am, I would like to add.)

Another illustrious husband confesses: “She ought to have listened to her parents and not fallen for this mischievous rogue”. (Arrey, give her a chance even now, she might run away!)

And a gem from the same lovable “rogue”: “I always remembered my wife’s birthday till we got married.”

And a more forthright one from a lady colleague: “Love because you don’t have a choice, and as killing is a legal offense!''

Hats off to this forthright lady!

And finally, why am I writing all this today?

It's our 38th wedding anniversary.

Lucy and I had a fairly long courtship / period of waiting for six / seven years before we could get married. Whereas my bosom friend, who had lost his independence on the Republic Day in 1976, literally flew down from Calcutta to Delhi to hurriedly get married to his current (and only) wife and flew back, all in a matter of a day or so, because he was afraid given some time, she would change her mind. On the other hand, I waited for six or seven long years hoping that she would change her mind, but ….

And, finally, how some husbands lead us astray! Here is my experience. My Bangali Babu friend, when in a romantic mood, with or without beer, corrupts the beautiful name his wife carries (Arundhathi), and calls her "Aru''. I found it romantic too and worth emulation, and tried it with rather disastrous consequences.

“Loo… Loo…” I called out one morning while she was busy in kitchen. But instead of my dear wife, a heavy steel spoon came out of the kitchen, flying, followed by some other utensils, and I escaped with a minor scar on the forehead. So much for imitating!

But I comforted myself thinking about the fate of many of my friends who might wish to follow this experiment.

To conclude, the simple fact is that we cannot live without each other now, more so me. We do argue, but only when we meet face to face, which is rare. She is deep into her kitchen and gardening and me,  into my hobby of reading ... quite comfortable life now looking back for more than 44 years knowing each other. And my only wish now is to die at least a day before she does, for I cannot live even a day without her. Selfishness, you may think, but, doesn’t true love mean a lot of selfishness?

Folks, on our 38th wedding anniversary, I have presented her with a diamond ring, but she is infinitely more valuable.

Kochi / 29 May 2016

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