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Happy Birthday!

As husbands come, the guy’s one of a kind. she had always wanted a love marrriage… but that didn’t work out. uh uh, her family wouldn’t even entertain the thought. not even in their wildest dreams. so after a search that took more than three years, several misses and close misses, they finally found him for her.

maybe you could call it an arranged love marriage, the parents arranged the match and she promptly fell in love with him.

she had been pulled out of college where she was teaching in the middle of the day. “come on hurry up… someone’s coming to see you.” after the last ‘girlseeing’ fiascoshe was determined it would not happen again. she had reached the end of the tether and had just stopped short of telling her parents that she couldn’t care less if she got married or not and that she had had enough of the humiliation of being paraded in front of a stranger and the following rejections. the only reason she didn’t tell them was because she couldn’t bear to see the hurt in her parents’ eyes. they were getting on in age and well, beginning to get slightly desperate.

she opened her mouth to tell them she had no interest in seeing him. if he was keen on seeing her, he could just see her somewhere without her knowledge. but no one let her speak. “this is it. the search ends here. this will be the last,” they seemed to promise her.

“oh well, i’ll go along with it. but remember, this is the last,” she delivered an ultimatum.

on the way home she was told his ‘qualifications’, his job, and all those trivial details that parents and  family are majorly bothered about. what did she care if he worked in a multinational company or where his sibling was married and settled.

“does he have a sense of humor?” does he think his wife is an equal or subordinate? will he treat me as a friend? will he give me the freedom to follow my dreams? will he be around to catch me when i fall? will he be patient enough to put up with my craziness? will he squash spiders for me? will he sing to me? does he have brown eyes? will he boost my morale when i need it most? will he help with the housework? will he be too proud to make up after a fight even if it is my fault? will he just turn around and go to sleep or hold me close and cuddle me? will he love me despite every annoyingly trivial and stupidly major blunder i manage to do through life? will he be man enough to say ,”i love you” atleast once a day?

those were the questions she needed answered, but they had to wait. she would find them all along the way; way deep into her marriage…

“He’s the guy for you,” her  brother-in-law who was the first person to see him remarked to her as soon as he saw her at home. “all these years, and all the proposals we went through, nothing gave me a gut feeling that we found the right guy until today. you both will suit each other”. he said as he smiled warmnly at her. as a person who had seen her since she was a little girl, she was almost like his daughter.

finally he was there to see her.she was the first girl he was seeing and she was a veteran by the time, with a heart brimming with cynical pessimism.

the first time they saw each other. what she remembered most was his smile. open, friendly, a smile that touched his eyes. then they were sent to speak to each other alone, to understand each other better. she wondered at the absurdity of the whole thing. what exactly would they learn about each other by talking for a few minutes. but they were to be  crucial few minutes. they spoke. a talk which was expected to last no more than 5 minutes somehow went on for longer. the five stretched into 40.

“are you a very serious person?” that was the first thing she asked him.

“do i look like one,? he grinned back at her.

somehow she knew they could get along on the same wavelength. movies, music, poetry, expectations, they discussed a bunch of stuff… at the end of it, both decided to stick together, for better or for worse…

14 years down the line, they still stuck together despite some mostly ups and rare downs. to his credit he never forgot an anniversary or a birthday. he even remembered some valentines days and mothers days as an added bonus. not that they really mattered.he was her daily bread – warm, nourishing, stable and reliable…

he helped her up everytime she fell. stood by her despite all her follies and foibles. made her dream on and pushed her along her chosen path – a fact that even she did not realize-, treated her as his friend, companion, and beloved, made her laugh, made her cry, squashed a whole bunch of spiders and vanquished her demons, allowed her to crush the bones in his hands everytime a contraction took her in the delivery room without batting an eyelid, made up  everytime she picked a fight, companiably shared the housework, told her to stand tall and proud before him even after she had done badly, willingly forgave her even after she hurt him real bad, and held her long into the night whispering ,”i love you ” in her ears.

sometimes she felt she would go mad with her love for him, which usually overflowed its banks. she felt she could love the whole world , loving him. but he could never have enough of that love.he was always hungry for more just like her. even after 14 years they still managed to whisper sweet nothings to each other. he still sang to her and when his warm brown eyes looked deep into hers, she felt like she could let go the whole world, just for that one look from him. before him, nothing else mattered, and no one else mattered.

together they had built a shared life of laughter and tears, when faith in each other could get them through the worst, when words were not really needed for a conversation. it was not worth nothing…

that’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be.

with a deep sigh of realization and satisfaction, she placed her hand in his and turned to him and whispered, “happy birthday dearest! would you like for your birthday present one whole heart, untainted and happily given, just for you?”

Bette Midler’s version of “In My Life” .

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