Loud. Vibrant. Chaotic. Happy.
Each picture tells a story. Of expectations and dreams. Behind the powder caked face lies unexpressed fears and hopes. I watch my appa bend back as he holds my weight. As you tie the thaali around my neck, I notice my dad’s posture is relaxed. A transfer of responsibility. Years of anxiety and restlessness disappear in the following snaps. I watch my friends and cousins stand by the side. Some laughing. Some intent on the proceedings. Each frame captures the mood. The story varies each time I see the pictures.
Each year I repeat this private ritual of reliving our wedding. Of the days leading up to and past the actual date. I recount the story of how we came to be man and wife to friends. My smile reaches my eyes and stays there.
Each year, I assess how far we have come and where we are headed and I always feel pleased with what I see. Parenthood has been an important mile marker in our relationship. It marks the before and after. If I was proud of how you treated me as a wife, I am even more proud of how you treat me as the mother of our children.
Our life coasts along. There is comfort in routine and we want mostly the same things. In the conversations we have as I wash suds off the plates and you stand next to me in solidarity is when we hash the weightier topics. Of responsibility, fiscal and emotional. Of raising our children to be good, kind adults. Of giving and gaining respect.
Late at night as I sit typing away and your snores reach me is when I feel an overwhelming rush of affection for you. For the man who takes his responsibilities too much to heart. For the man who leaves and then opens the door to mutter a shy “I love you” as he leaves. For the father who takes his children’s’ failures as his own and their pride as just theirs. There is incredible joy in seeing you play with Ammu and Pattu. To see you reason with them. To see you sulk when they prefer me to you.
In the everyday moments is when the echoes of a promise from years back ring in my ears.
“Now let us make a vow together. We shall share love, share the same food, share our strengths, share the same tastes. We shall be of one mind, we shall observe the vows together…”
Happy Anniversary my Saathi. Each year is a marker in the journey we are on. There is no real destination. Just the joy of travelling together.