Tuesday, July 24, 2012

To my smartheart, from his sweetheart

Whenever a female acquaintance sees my husband doting on me, she invariably says, "Aww...love marriage?" When I reply in the negative, the next question usually is "Love-arranged?" I then offer, "arranged-cum-love," proud to have coined a new term in relationship studies. 

My husband proposed to me over the third "date" set up by our families. I had successfully managed to maintain the 'mystery' about myself with my short and sweet answers, which he labelled "good heartedness" (honestly, I was just not as eloquent as the "big fan of communication" that he is). I felt as if I had known him for a lifetime and was ready for six more. At that time, I thought I was saying "I do" to a quirky US-returned guy who loved eating Thai food, visiting museums, and skiing. Being the small town girl that I am, I liked Indian-Chinese, felt drowsy in museums and preferred siesta over sport (I wasn't exactly sure what skiing was). "I'm okay if you're okay, " I said, accepting his deal romantically. 

I don't know why I said yes, though. Maybe because he made my favourite part of the fairytale - of somebody going down on one knee with a ring - come true for me. Or maybe because, with him, I felt comfortable the very first time we met. So after his proposal and my acceptance began our not-so-comfortable courtship. I had to "report" to him every night on the phone what I did during the day. At first, I went blank on encountering the question I had never been subject to before and had seldom thought about: What did you do today? Well, I ate and slept and watched TV. But of course I wasn't going to tell him that. 

Now I think I was probably attracted to him because he was so much the opposite of everything I was that we had to be together. I'm extremely impatient, while he talks and listens carefully, savours food and feels gratitude. While I am always anxious about the future, he relishes the present like no other tense exists. I am supersensitive and nothing and nobody can ruffle him. While I like to flaunt my greatness for no reason at all, he likes to "live in the shadows" (like the proverbial 'source' who wishes his identity be kept undisclosed). I need everything to go right in order to be happy and he feels he doesn't have any reason to be unhappy (He has me, after all). 

Sometimes his many positives get on my nerves. Why does he have to be rational all the time? Why can't he take what I say at face value without doing a cost-benefit analysis? Why doesn't he pamper me? Why does he want me to become independent? Why is he so righteous that he cannot fight impulsively for me like Ghatak's Sunny Deol or swear like Sholay's Dharmendra? Why does he never show his possessiveness for me? Thankfully, knowing that he loves me above everything and everybody makes these trifles hardly worth bothering about. 

Many things have changed over the last two years since we met, but some haven't. I still am inexpressive but he somehow comes to know what's on my mind. Even now, when the doorbell rings in the evening, I struggle to make a mental note of what I'm going to say when he asks me what I did during the day. I have realised, though, that whatever I do (and that includes doing nothing) doesn't matter to him as long as I am happy. I have come to love Pad Thai, I don't mind going to museums with my husband sporadically (with the exchange offer that he will take me to watch a romantic comedy the next day). And after trying skiing on bunny slopes last winter, I have told him to take me skiing to Colorado next. What has changed in him? Well, he now goes to Hindi movies with me (and almost always cries during the emotional scenes). And he wears jeans with a flashy yellow jacket just because I like it. 

On our "proposal" anniversary, he surprised me with a day trip to a palace hotel in Rajasthan. It was perfect - there was a swimming pool attached to our room, we pretended to be royalty, he gifted me Swarovski earrings and after a seven-course dinner we had delicious chocolate cake. With that day as the benchmark, I was looking forward to our wedding anniversary, wondering how he would outdo his own surprise. We sat by the Charles river (we've been in the US for some time now) and munched pizza. When I dramatically asked my year-old husband why the "proposal anniversary" enjoyed superiority over the actual wedding anniversary, he gently said, "Because I married you in my mind on that day, darling." I guess it was a love marriage then.

(This piece was also published in Crest edition of Times of India)


  1. Very beautifully written Smita ! Full of romance, love and fun. So honest yet very comic :)

    Take care,

  2. So sweet - I'm getting teary eyed. Hope you guys are well!


  3. Thank you for your kind words, Kwany and Poorva!

    Kwany, we are doing well, although missing Boston and friends like you. How are you and James doing?

    Lots of love,

  4. Another master piece! I wonder how does the smartheart feel about your posts. What goes in his mind :) I'm sure he reads all your writings :)