Thirty years ago, we got married, breaking the conventional rules of a night wedding. We, and our parents, were all ‘morning people’ and we decided not to be yawning while saying our vows. The day is fresh in my mind as if it was yesterday. It was perfect, and everyone was happy. After some stresses and strains of wedding preparations, that day was just – perfect. We didn’t ask a priest to pick an auspicious day, seeking instead a mutually convenient day for us all. There was no need. The stars were aligned, so no other day worked out and it turned out to be an auspicious day – Baisakhi and Tamil New Year, just after the new moon.
Five years ago, friends persuaded us to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary. One of the party games was for friends to tell us if they thought we were a case of ‘two peas in a pod’ or ‘opposites attract.’ Everyone said, the latter.
They are right. I saw no reason to seek out a mirror reflection, or even to become that. I was raised to think freely, and this came into our marriage. When we came together, I did not feel that either of us were the ‘other half’. It was two wholes coming together to become an even bigger whole. Our marriage has helped us to expand our consciousness.
Much value is placed by conventional wisdom on consistency among parents. I do not believe in forced consistency, nor in the futile attempt to trick children into believing that we have the same thoughts about everything. Naturally, coming from similar backgrounds, we had similar values in some areas – education, for instance. But I value conventional education for its knowledge, and my darling for its opportunity. We allowed our children to see both aspects. This way, our parenting style allowed all of us to expand our consciousness.
Thirty years. We’ve lived in many homes, four countries in three continents, raised two kids, and are discovering that life just keeps becoming more and more unexpected – in the best possible ways.
I was thinking about the challenging times, the tough ones, the ones with struggles and fights. After one of our fights, back when we were struggling with our differing views on raising our kids, one of my children shared his fear that one day we would also divorce as had his friend’s parents. We will never divorce, each of us told him, though we had not decided on a standard answer in advance. How can you say that, one of my friends challenged me angrily, How can you be so sure about the future? We had decided that in the beginning I answered, and this is my reality at this moment..
See what happens after a fight, I counseled the kids: Is the atmosphere in the house clear or is it heavy? Are we sulking or friendly? Clear, they said. That’s like a storm, I told them. When energies build up in the atmosphere, there’s a storm, then the air is clear, fresh. The storm has passed, and things have moved to a better level. The child’s question helped me to come to terms with our fights. Over time, they have almost disappeared, and I don’t regret that each of us struggled to give the best parenting we could, to our children. We did not pretend to an outer peace, and this has brought a measure of clarity to the family.
Yes, parenting has been a large part of our years of marriage, and I’m sure will continue to bring challenges as the children move to adulthood!
If anyone is asking, this is my advice about marriage:
Intend that you will be together for better or worse. That’s what my darling told me before we married. We knew there’d be times we’d feel love each other, and times we wouldn’t, but we decided we would not part.
Become a friend of your partner, but don’t seek to be the only friend.
Allow each other to grow
Accept the moments of separation as well as the moments of togetherness
Have courage. In being with each other, you will discover your own strengths and weaknesses, and in this way, you are truly reflecting each other. In finding your own inner guru, you are being each other’s guide, wittingly [don't give me a lecture!] or unwittingly [you're always....]
Yesterday I saw a writing by Terri St. Cloud as a vow to a partner.To which I added my vow to my partner, and one that I will challenge myself with every day: [with thanks to the flamingos who inspired me]
When I was a child, there were stories in my head. I would write them down in a little diary, thinking they were story lines that I would write into full-fledged stories when I grew up.
Here is one, and I’m paraphrasing from the diary that is still there, hidden among childhood memorabilia.
There is a house with many rooms. Different types of music come from each room. From the children’s room, there are nursery rhymes. From the teenager’s room there is loud music. From the parents’ room there is classical music.
One day when I was really grown up, a parent, a ‘housewife’, a researcher and other grown-up things, I realized with a start that I had not written that story in pages of a book. It had written itself in my home!
When I wrote it, it was rare for a household to have more than one music system. We had those big floor-standing gramophones or radios – and one was usually enough for a household. The music that would play was what the parents wanted. It still amazes me that I could have foreseen – or perhaps dreamed- of a time when each could listen to what they wanted!
I was wrong about one thing, though. Not all parents listen to classical music.
We gathered for the sunrise. Three couples, probably all from different countries. Such, as they say, is America. Such is Miami.
The moon was still out, waning. I was reminded of what we learned in Triorigin Theory – the moon reflects the sun; but the sun does not have the moon within it. Praveen and I played around with that idea for a while, watching the birds begin their fly-bys, gathering in frequency as the clouds turned pink, then orange, heralding the turning of the earth towards the sun that we call sunrise.
Suddenly, a plop. Anhinga, my brain thought, all-knowing. But it was a school of leaping fish! Plop. Plop. Plop, they leaped as one, their six-inch bodies plopping in unison. Overhead, ibises at strategic distance from each other appeared to be flying sideways. I say appeared in case someone calls me out on this, but I can swear that they were actually flying sideways, quite high – higher than the other flocks.
Then the anhinga appeared, majestically sailing away from the East, unmindful of the drama that was about to unfold.
There’s something about watching the sunset together. Each couple stood or perched on rocks, as one. A glimpse, a hush, a bated breath. You may have seen a thousand sunrises, yet each one is unique. The camera took its photos, the eyes drank in each inch of the rising. Songs flitted through the brain – Here comes the sun…Om bhoor bhuvasvaha; images flitted across the eyes : birds, rays, clouds, rippled water,golden pillar of light. The body seemed to want to go into a surya namaskar and yet take in the subtle tones of light that the camera just could not capture.
Once up, behind those dark clouds, the sun just kept going. It seems impossible that the earth turns that fast and we not feel the motion. Golden hued leaves vied for attention with the golden ripples of the bay.
Then – that first ray of light. God. Creator. The feeling of a miracle. When we finally turned to leave, one of our companions stopped us . She had taken a picture of us and wanted to email it to us. Where is your accent from, she asked us. India, I said, and yours?
Such is America. Or as I remind myself, such is Miami. A miracle every moment.
What would you rather fix – that house or that body?
There comes a time when you say – there is beauty I have experienced
I am now ready and committed to share it with friends, family, known and unknown.
We are all kin. We are all waking each other up.
I woke today with such a sense of gratitude for the world. There is an invisible but palpable thread of connection that links each thing and person on this planet. Even a road-sign is not just something material. It has the imprint of those who planned, designed, manufactured, shipped and placed it in just that particular junction of the road. All who are guided in the correct direction because a rod was placed with a diamond shaped sign on it.
Thank you to all who participate in the making and use of everything on this planet – living and non-living.
Thanks for image http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2745/4463186341_d39f4c622f.jpg