TODAY -

More than a longing for her

Maisnam Bomcha *


Love is timeless. Nor does the soft warmth we feel and radiate vary in relation to distance. If distance makes the heart fonder, togetherness is said to nurture affection. And unlike physical desires, it doesn't need to be stoked.

During the pre-cell phone era and when the worth and virtue of an unmarried female was judged by the society going by her chastity (which I never ascribe to), young lovers never had enough of that scarce commodity: Time. It was perennially at a premium. I do not by any measure, advocate free sex among youngsters even consensually.

But, by a weird tradition; Indian society at large do not accept unmarried girls coming back home after dark. Implicit in this social norm, among a host of other signs of sexual bias, is an outdated notion: a girl is more inclined to or better equipped to hold on to her chastity during daytime. Well, the Sun do not by any means see everything even during his time of glory during the day. Nor do the society.

In those days of yore, when, in the absence of the cell phones; even fixing of a date with a loved one was so circuitous and used to take days; the setting sun used to be the bane of that perfect happiness when those sweet nothings never seemed to end. Or even a curse: I know of umpteen cases when young people perforce had to elope because of a sun which set unnoticed! A mere sight of a lengthening shadow and it is rush time, homeward bound. And in those days, didn't we think we could be with our loved ones for days without food, without break?

Then, other than the understandable diminishing physical desire, why do people complain of a cooling of that flame? Does love diminish after marriage and togetherness? It is a hard fact that after a certain numbers of years into marriage; all of us no longer hum under our breath with a coy smiling countenance at the prospect of spending time together with the same loved ones who are now our spouses.

But love can't wane with togetherness. Yet, something starts to be missing in our relations after marriage. If it can't be love, then it is longing. Love gives rise to longing. As an important facet of love, naturally we long to be in the company of loved ones.

The longing to be together doesn't go away but unconsciously we start taking the presence of our dear ones for granted: we are not conscious of the value of being together. Marriage and togetherness is the end of neither love nor longing. Only the urgent thirst for being together gives way to other demands of life. It sounds very bland and unromantic, but a time comes with certainty when; the way I or She looks on a bright morning pales, in the priorities of the cold perspectives of life's different stages, when compared to getting the child ready timely for the school van. Do not blame yourself. Taking good care of those nitty-gritties of 'us', our life, is often more loving than saying those three letters which anyway sounds increasingly foolish, if not done under the right circumstances.

I don't mean or practise 'circumstantial' love. Love is timeless. Nor does the soft warmth we feel and radiate vary in relation to distance. If distance makes the heart fonder, togetherness is said to nurture affection. And unlike physical desires, it doesn't need to be stoked. Love for spouses doesn't even need to be rekindled. But it pays to show occasionally that we love. I just 'found' the best reminder and also an opportunity to tell my wife that I love her.

She said the two successive blips on the cell phone came after midnight. She woke to check by which time I was fast asleep. That morning when she came up behind me while I was admiring the single rose atop an old rose bush and said those three magic words, it sounded cheerier and sweeter than the songs of the morning birds so busily flying about the lawn of the quarter.

When I turned in near surprise, nevertheless smiling, the smiling face of my wife didn't look awkward at saying so and at that moment, to me, it seemed brighter than the rose. She said it was our anniversary. Our daughters called: to 'remind' us that we were married, 26 years! For many moments we just stood face to face, motionless except, perhaps that smile on our faces. I wanted to say a thousand things, do everything possible. But all that I did was to say, 'I love you' with a mirthful wink.

Later I took much more than the usual time in the bathroom in my morning ablutions. Alone and quite except the sound of the tap and my tuneless humming I must have said my wife's name aloud many times over. Memories came flooding back. Memories of those repeating fights over why I misplace my socks all the time, why I lose so many handkerchiefs. Also those perpetual arguments over the channel of the idiot box. We have been no different from the loving neighbours who discuss price of pulses and cereals, why the earth is round. I was surprised that I could love so much.

I also found a thousand reasons why I love her. Among the positive human emotions, gratitude is said to be the most powerful of all. Among endless reasons why she is so loving; I realised that I am grateful to her for marrying me, for being the mother of our three children and another reason for which I consider myself lucky to be among those exclusive kind of people to feel grateful: my gratitude to God, a group of doctors and She; for the gift of life itself. She bravely endured an excruciatingly close possibility of losing her husband and never gave up on 'holding on' to me, when nobody, even the doctors including, thought that I would live another day, much less, as a normal healthy human.

Some things, call it habits or even indulgences; frequently pleasant, just do not fail to surface on unusual days too. My bath over, I was greeted by my wife with another of her comments which so surely was to lead to another bout our daily staple; arguments. She remarked I had forgotten our anniversary, to which I retorted that she also was reminded. On a normal day, we both think we had the last word. On 11 May 2013 I allowed my wife to say only she is meticulous about everything including important days of our lives, without contest, as a Gift.

Growing up a supporter of that school of thought which considers birthday celebrations as a wasteful reminder of being on the wrong side of youth and still believing so, I was thankful most part of that day that there are things like Wedding Anniversaries. Occasions like that brings a reminder that love, being unconditional as it should be; is multiplied manifold if you feel grateful too.

And all of us have our own stories of gratitude to tell. None is deprived of that heady mix of love and gratefulness. What brings more warmth than, the strangely ever increasing need, for the one you love, when you remember what all she did for you, what all of her comforts she didn't care to keep us happy? Thanks anniversary: Lest I forget!


* Maisnam Bomcha wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition) in regular column 'Different People, Different Places, Different Times'
This article was posted on May 24, 2013.



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