Cutting their 25th marriage anniversary cake together Pradeep and Smita’s eyes gleamed with happiness. It had been such a long journey together. All eyes were on Smita as she took the mic to address the guests. Her lovely one piece dress complimented her shape. She did look stunning and breathtakingly fit for a mother of two.
As she thanked each and every person who made their celebration special by their presence her very next sentence took people by surprise as she said a heartfelt thank you to Pradeep for not being the ideal life partner who completed her. DID NOT COMPLETE HER??? The elders in the family expressed their dismay and few of them whispered about how forward and modern Smita was. After all isn’t that what is true and has been passed on through ages and generations? Our life partner is our better half,isn’t it? Madhuri bua (paternal aunt) murmured, “serves Pradeep right, all these years he has been too lenient with Smita, sahi waqt par lagaam kasi hoti toh aaj sabke bich sharminda na hona padta! ( Had he set limits to her freedom at the right time he could have saved himself from such embarrassment) However Smita was determined to speak out her heart today so after a two minutes pause, letting her sentence sink in into the minds of their guests,Smita continued.
“Oh my good old college days, when I read romantic novels and dreamt of some knight in shining armour, a handsome guy who would sweep me off the ground and make me go weak in the knees, a possessive, over protective dashing, dynamic person who would resemble someone who walked off just from the TV screen someone like the present day actor Emraan Hashmi, my Pradeep on the contrary turned out to be NOTHING like any of this! An arranged marriage fixed by our parents with no mobile phones or Facebook to connect with back then we actually spoke at length on the day we got married. Instead of rushing to do the “thing” on our first night I was surprised and relieved that Pradeep proposed to chat with me for the whole night. We discussed our likes and dislikes, interests and family, spoke about our friends and later snuggled together and slept”, said Smita with a smile. Rashmi maasi was getting impatient and annoyed. She murmured to her sister Seema, “this Smita is really going over board I tell you, now what’s the need to share bed room details in front of the whole family, her children are listening to this, the other younger generation children are here too, can’t she maintain the limit?”
Anyways without being swayed by anyone’s dismay Smita continued. “Pradeep wasn’t over possessive nor over protective, he let me handle my situations in my way. I once asked him if he didn’t feel any jealousy or insecurity when I travelled with my male colleagues for work to which he instantly replied, “ Darling you work with them, just like they work with you. I don’t think your gender is involved in it, your job is due to your capability and no matter whom you work with the reality remains that you are my wife, my dear Smita Pradeep Rane!” To be honest with you all it took sometime for me to understand and believe in how different Pradeep was in comparison to the perception of a male that I had in my mind in all those years before I married him. In our earlier days together I interpreted this behaviour to be indifference at times.”
“My husband never really interfered between my relationship with his parents or siblings for which I always nagged Pradeep for being non-supportive. But as the years passed by, slowly and gradually me and all the relatives developed a lovely rapport and equation which has seen its own testing times and has evolved into a beautiful bond. I am glad Pradeep didn’t influence any of us and gave us our space to gel in with each other. In fact my sister in law Renuka is my closest confidante!,” as she said this both Smita and Renuka looked fondly at each other and exchanged a warm smile.
“The reason I felt like sharing this with you all here is that I really want my children, our future generation to learn from our experiences. I feel the biggest mistake that we make in marriage is that once we start living with a person we unknowingly start presuming the person to be our personal property as of right, we become protective and possessive presuming such behaviour to be the only true expression of being in love. We try to decide for the other person instead of accepting the person as he/she is. With Pradeep I learnt that loving is not gripping on to a person, it’s letting the person evolve and grow side by side with time. It’s he who taught me through his behaviour that life partners are not incomplete without each other, they are complete in their own individual selves and they compliment each other to evolve and grow in their individual capacity as a human being. Life partners are not meant to live each other’s lives, rather they let each other live their lives with the assurance to watch each other’s back, to be their rock solid support and to catch them when they fall.” As Smita concluded, Pradeep hugged her warmly and placing a quick peck on her cheeks he said, “ Thank you my dear Smita for never completing me too”.