Thank you for joining us here to celebrate mom and dad’s fiftieth anniversary! Fifty years is a long time for two people to be together! Leave alone fifty years, we suffer so many little pinpricks in the course of our everyday lives that turning away from, and shutting off to our loved ones have become our default reactions. Life’s journey is a story of small disappointments intertwined with small joys, big losses compensated by relatively small gains and delusional, fanciful ideas that have little or no conversation with ‘REALITY.’ How then, when we all seem to be destined for a life of sorrow, do some people still manage to rise above these sorrows and live celebratory lives?
Here’s a list of things I’ve noted in my forty-two years with mum and dad:
- Learn to trivialize the seemingly ‘big’ problems and celebrate every small joy!
- When you lose something or someone, never allow yourself to get bitter.
- When one speaks the other must listen. Otherwise, when both speak, the neighbors will listen!
- Give each other support and care. That’s all we need to receive and that’s all we are expected to give.
- Respect each other. Respect the differences.
- Trust each other and have faith that there’s a grace over and above what seems to be. Learn to wait, watch and listen.
A newly married couple went to a zen master and asked: “How do we make our love endure?”
He replied: Love each other, but more importantly, love together-something, someone other than yourselves.
- In the case of mum and dad, they devoted their lives to us- their kids. Evenings were spent taking us for short drives or long walks; vacations were not an escape ‘from’ the kids, but an escape ‘with’ the kids. Now too, when I go to spend an evening with them at least once a week, I’m sure they argue for at least fifteen minutes about what ‘they think’ I’d like to eat!
- Retain some of your quirks in your relationships. I’ve seen mum’s incorrigible forgetfulness stand in sharp contrast to dad’s memory of the tiniest details, and her impulsiveness challenge his meticulous ways. And then, mom can cook blindfolded (if she had to) and dad carefully calibrates the proportion of milk to water when making tea.
- He organizes her medicines and sits up till late reading about alternative therapies for her aches and pains. And when he stresses about a health condition, she flippantly tells him to chuck his worries in the Fuck it bucket!
- Be dependable, not dependent. Be that one person your partner can always count on.
- Mend the broken. Discard neither objects nor relationships if there’s a minor chip. If it can be fixed, please fix it. And lastly,
- Have faith. When things go wrong, express gratitude for everything that is still so right. A marriage is not a set of vows you make to each other, it’s a set of vows you make to yourself.
For Suri and I too, tomorrow will mark our nineteenth wedding anniversary. And even as we live through our journey, with its highs and lows, for me, it’s the memory of mum and dad’s marriage that allows me to sustain the bad times and celebrate the good. And that to me is the greatest gift of all!