Back when I was a little girl, my favourite game was called ‘Mr. & Mrs.’ While the Mr. was a magazine cut out of an actor stapled to the face of my one eyed teddy bear, the Mrs. was a blushing me. My relationship with my paper husband could be labelled as romantic, since I spoke to him only in dialogues straight out of the Bollywood movies that I watched when my mother wasn’t around. But something that the little me noticed was that this romance that existed between me and my inanimate husband wasn’t present between my Dad and Mom.
Many nights were spent wondering whether my parents were together only because of the common burden that they shared; the burden being me. But then they made my brother, thereby challenging my hypothesis. But how could a relationship continue with no romance in it? There were no cute glances across the hall and though I knew I would barf if they ever said ‘I love you’ to each other in my presence, I sometimes wondered if they ever said anything that did not involve their problematic children, the grocery list, the different kind of bills, their work or their general loathing towards majority of our relatives. The closest to romance that they got was when they dyed each other’s hair or when they took their weekend afternoon naps, with synchronized snores setting up the mood. After a certain point of time I simply gave up and declared to myself that my parents were suffering a boring marriage.
My mother for some reason was always very protective of her bedroom almirah. A rusty old Godrej almirah, that she kept locked at all times. It was the only place in the entire house that I wasn’t allowed to raid and this fact used to haunt me like dry cough. Paulo Coelho rightfully wrote, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” It was this very want in my part that made my mother forget to lock the cupboard one fine day before leaving for work. I opened the cupboard half expecting Narnia at the back of it, but instead got hold of what seemed like a stack of greeting cards and a few old photographs. The photographs seemed to have been taken soon after my parents wedding, one showing both of them sitting in a garden, my mother laughing maybe at a joke my dad managed to crack. The next picture showcased my parents in goggles, both staring at opposite directions with a serious look on their face. They looked like idiots; idiots in love. The cards were all gifted during wedding anniversaries and it seemed like my mother hadn’t got one in the past few years. Even though I was a child, I knew I was trespassing into her personal space, but there was a certain joy that I derived by knowing that there was romance present in their relationship at least in those initial few years of marriage.
Last year they celebrated their 25th anniversary. Dad bought mom a few sarees using the bonus he earned by working extra, mom didn’t bother to do anything and I ordered a mocha cake to celebrate the occasion and ate most of it. There was no grand celebration and no one gave a speech or popped a bottle of champagne. Frankly it was amusing how boring they were together as a couple.
But then I saw it, their silent and secretive romance. The romance when dad backs mom up when we raise our tone against her, the romance and comfort in those synchronised snores, the romance in dying each other’s hair using old toothbrushes and the romance in cooking a meal together. The romance when dad irons her saree and she polishes his shoes. The romance when dad cleans the ceiling fan and mom holds the stool. The romance even in those farts. The romance that made their children and the romance that made them raise us together. It wasn’t a boring marriage but a successful one.
Anniversary cards with their printed words cannot express relationships like these. Their years together did that for them. I and my brother did that for them. Their hidden romance did that for them.
If you ask me, I prefer a secret romance. A relationship as carelessly strong as theirs.
P.S- Yes, I MUST BLOG REGULARLY.
P.P.S- Still getting used to Bangalore. New place, new job and new people. I take time.
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