Thursday, November 04, 2010

Mary Mary Quite Contrary How Does Your Marriage Grow?

Ranjit and I are closer than two peas in a pod. We can literally finish each other's thoughts at times, leave alone sentences. I don't use the word 'soulmate' very easily in my life, but it just seems to be the right word to apply to the two of us.

The journey he and I have been through, to be where we are today, has been an incredible one. A terrible one. An exhilerating one. An exhausting one, an invigorating one. It has broken us and made us, many times over. It has defied us, and defined us, hollowed us and deepened us, in ways that even the furrows upon our hearts can't fully express.

We have a healthy respect, and an equally healthy sense of humour, about each other's pasts. We have to, since both our pasts are a living, breathing entity in our present. And both of us have the sort of colourful, controversial history that only a spouse with a funny bone can even hope to live with. Add to that our volatile temperaments, our sensual explorations, and our sensitivities, and you get a heady cocktail that only another braveheart can dare to attempt to negotiate.

To put it simply, Ranjit and I are deeply in love. Each passing day. Present continuous, not a memory of an emotion experienced once, and eventually enshrined and honoured in an institution called marriage: like a glorious tomb raised to a long gone sentiment.

And yet, there are some funny things about our marriage. There are certain things that Ranjit and I don't do. For example, the most glaring one - we don't share a bedroom (and therefore, neither bathroom nor cupboard - he is messy and I am tidy and the shared thing drove us both nuts). We don't have joint bank accounts. We don't answer each other's phones. We don't look at each other's text messages. We don't have each other's passwords.... (well, actually I do have his, because I have had to bail him out of several disorganised moments.) We don't accept invitations on each other's behalf. We don't automatically assume friendship with each other's friends, unless we take to them personally, that is. We don't always socialise as a couple, again, unless we both like the people we are to meet. We don't send out birthday or anniversary or festival messages jointly. We don't always eat together, only when we are both hungry at the same time...

That sounds like a lot of  "we don'ts" doesn't it? I know that those of my friends and colleagues who believe in a more conventional variant of marriage often want to ask me why I bothered to get married at all...

I would like to answer that question. Sincerely.

I wanted to marry so that I could live a life with the man I love. I wanted to marry so that I could have our child and focus on raising it, and not defending it. I wanted to marry because I wanted to build a home to our shared journey. And a home isn't always the same thing as a common bedroom.

There are things about a marriage, or rather, about living together, that you cannot experience living apart. A crumpled and sleep warmed cup of tea and coffee together, first thing in the morning. A late night chat drifting into sleep. A midnight snack. A raiding of each other's music and book collections. A fight over which CD is mine and which yours. A sneaked in love making as you are rushing to get ready for work. A sunday brunch in your pyjamas. A baby. A chat that carries on for so long that it gets you late for everything. A no reason sudden cuddle. A make up free sunday. A sudden rush for chocolate excess at 11 p.m. A nursing each other through sickness. An urging each other towards healthy living.

Putting together a meal (ok, I'll confess, only Ranjit does that, I am allergic to the kitchen), taking a drive because the sudden urge to scan an album siezes you, taking the other one's ass because they've done something utterly stupid, which you wouldn't have witnessed if you were living apart... there's a lot going for a marriage beyond sharing bedrooms and bank accounts...

I know this is not what a marriage is supposed to be. I am defying the conventions of an institution that I have endorsed... I have no right... Perhaps we should have called it cosy cohabitation instead... I don't know. I wanted to have that baby. And I live in a country where the negotiations around single parenthood are surprisingly time consuming; it just didn't seem worth it...

Having said that, I feel odd at times when I realise that the 'format' of my marriage may give the outsider the impression that the dynamics of the relationship are of a brittle, laquered, hard nature. That Ranjit and I are wary, ultra modern and cynical; that he and I skirt around each other's edges, diamond hard and brilliant with wit and intellect, yet incapable of a warm fuzzy place...

In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. Our friends know that. We are silly in the way we love each other. We are exasperating to single women above thirty and we make those under thirty sigh and get misty eyed. I have had a twenty four year old office colleague come and hold my hand on a hooghly barge (it was on office get together in Calcutta) and tell me how her dream is to find a relationship like the one Ranjit and I have. It was so embarassing that I sort of coughed out a silly comment about how Ranjit and I fight too. Lame. I know.

I have however neither changed my name, nor my habits, nor my toothpaste. I don't know what that says about my priorities or my marriage. I just feel sad that such irrelevances say anything at all...

At condescending moments, looking down from my rainbow prism of fulfillment, I tend to wonder, are these things prioritised by those who have nothing more fundamental to share?...

But those are just mean moments, I don't really think like that. I believe that this age old, hackneyed, crumbling around the edges institution is still distinctly individual for each person... everyone finds their own unique rhythm with it. We just happen to have found an unusual beat... but it makes us dance, so what the heck!

6 comments:

pinkelephantpurplecow said...

I could very well be another 20 something who has wanted to tell you guys that, having seen you both at home turf. I love how disarming you are as a couple. And so clued in :) Okay. Europe was doing me no favours wid the excessive PDA. Neither does this post! To love and to hope :)

Riya said...

Awww... thanks Deej. You HAVE told me that actually, in your own nutty way.... and I cherish it!

Double-Dolphin said...

Wow! That gives me a new way of looking at things. Thanks :)

subhendu said...

amar bou, jar nam Ranjita, eta pore bollo "jato baro baro baat". I could not express it any better in English.

Why so many adjectives? Why so tough language? Sounds pretentious.

Riya said...

Hi Shubhendu, do I know you?

Thanks for taking the time to read, and to comment.

This is the way I think and speak. so this is the way I write.

Bou jodi 'baat' er jayegai 'joto boro boro kotha' bolto, taaholay baipar taa aaro khaanti laagto. Bhasha niye chorcha koraar jonne bhaashar opor dokhol thaaka ektu proyojoniyo.

As for prententiousness, well I see from your blog that you find Lennon and even Rabindranath Tagore pretentious. So I can only feel flattered to be in such exalted company.

Thanks again for bothering to comment on a total stranger's blog.

Double-Dolphin said...

@ Subhendu - tumi ingriji naa bujhte parle to sheta amader dosh noy bhaitu! By the way, you seem to use the word "pretentious" rather freely. Are you sure you know what that word means?