His voice undulates as he reads. Laddu is on his lap, her hands raised to circle his neck. Ammu is sitting on the sofa behind him, a smile playing on her lips. Pattu scrambles downstairs at the sound of his voice, leaving behind a trail of LOL dolls and their accessories. I walk around the sofa on the way to the study, pausing to take in this picture of domesticity. I crack my knuckles against my temples, reminiscent of my amma and her amma before her. I laugh at my own superstitions, wondering who on earth is there to cast evil eyes but taking no chances either.
The weekend has been a mixed bag. Tempers flared. I yelled. We pouted. We made up. We went on walks along a scenic trail, drove all the way to New Jersey to eat at Ananda Bhavan. We stopped at a temple and had icecreams for dinner because it is one of those things we do while on vacation. The children played along gamely, pointing out inconsistencies in our behavior, fighting amongst themselves and holding hands as they stood in wonderment in front of multi-limbed goddesses riding lions at the temple.
Saathi celebrates his birthday this week. As I have done religiously for years now, I sit and write an ode to this man around whom my life revolves. When I am mad, I am reminded of how tennis out-prioritizes us in his life. When I am mellow, I remember how much he used to do around the house. When I am happy, I tend to see the tenderness he expresses towards us. Most of all, his flaws fade into oblivion when I take in the big picture.
We are solidly in the mid-life territory now. I hope we have just as many years ahead of us as the ones we have left behind. There is a sense of hope and optimism, a feeling that the best lies ahead of us. In moments like those, I am glad that Saathi will walk by my side.
Happy birthday Saathi! Here’s hoping the years ahead are filled with more mellow moments than mad, more love than tears, much happiness and peace.