My wife is somewhat eccentric if I go by the books of an ideal marriage that our society proposes. Even on the day we married, she refused to wear any signs of marriage, including sindoor, mangalsutra or sankha. She had told me before marriage that she would never change her surname. Well, that was fine with me. What’s in a name anyway, I thought? But living in a large family and being the youngest of three siblings with uncles, aunts and parents; I had a difficult time trying to make everyone understand that I was marrying a girl who was actually ‘different.’
At times, her ‘different’ ways embarrassed me. Many didn’t understand why she chose book launches over family and social gatherings. Initially, I would feel angry at times and go aloof. But over the years, I have learnt to enjoy this ‘difference.’
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And let me tell you why!
I come from a typical middle class Bengali family where ambitions reign. Earning well and climbing the social ladder is an aspiration for most of us. But my wife changed my perception. For her happiness is primary. She would always and still does encourage me and our son to love life, love nature and go out on vacations; not to exotic locales but to remote villages of our country just to understand how people live under circumstances that we can never even dream of.
On most days, she eases my stress at work by reassuring me that if I have a problem at work, I can always resign and come back. “I have a job, so I can support the family and you can start something of your own,” she says with a rare confidence in her voice. Because to her, happiness and following one’s heart is more important than the so-called ‘status’ that most people care about. For years she held me back from buying expensive flats and flashy cars because to her a humble home was more important than a plush lifestyle.
There used to be times when I would find her animatedly discussing write ups or poetry with her male friends and feel insecure for I knew we had an intellectual void between us. But then one day I delved into her world and started reading. To be honest, I don’t understand everything she writes. But I take pride in being the first recipient of the poems she writes at midnight or on car rides.
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Precious jewellery doesn’t excite her, instead she would ask for books to be bought. So I have learnt to pamper her through words and have started loving and living with her ‘difference’.
I have come to a stage in life now, where her eccentricities have started giving me a high. I love the way she runs into my arms after I return from a trip. I love it when she sings to me or shows me pictures of birds that visited our garden when I was not around. When it rains, she still runs to the terrace to get drenched. There are times when she suddenly gets down to click pictures of a beautiful sunset on our drive back home from work. I admire the way she befriends street kids and makes it a point to celebrate our birthdays and anniversaries with them. At the day’s end, I feel honoured to have her by my side.