Do You See?
22nd May is their day, my parents’ wedding anniversary. It’s been coming and going for many years now. Only this year, it’s not “their” anymore, technically speaking. My father passed away on December 20, 2010. So, this is sort of my mother’s anniversary day alone. I got sad thinking about that last night. But when my mother called me while I was still in bed on this Sunday morning in the northern hemisphere, she blew away all my blues.
She does remember him bringing her something little, a gift, for the day. There was never any formal celebration. No fancy dinner and day out stuff. But it was their day when I’d notice them exchanging meaningful glances!
“He’s there as he always used to be,” mom said.
I know. His bifocal glasses, the steel-strap Titan watch, the cloth-bound diary, his cellphone, a hat I bought him in Ithaca, the black leather portfolio, tons of books — everything is there, as if he is there.
As I felt good, I also remembered someone telling me a funny anecdote once upon a time. This fellow, a few years my senior, was from Shillong, where my mother lived and worked till her marriage. He had apparently heard some juicy rumors from some oldtimer about my parents’ romance.
“He had asked her to meet him after office in the park.”
“Well, I don’t know what happened, but he’s said to have kissed her there in public.”
“Oh, did he!”
This fellow evidently was dying to see me react to the scandalous tale. No one kissed openly those days in India (not even now I guess…), so what if it happened in Shillong. But I didn’t ask more. Simply laughed. My parents are capable of naughty things. I knew.
I wish I had with me their photos together after they were married, young and sweet. She, a pint-sized pretty doll in a sandalwood colored (yeah, not red) Banarasi sari. He, a doe-eyed (heck, so few men are that) young man in crisp dhoti-kurta. Then, I have this one — when they visited me in Ithaca in 2004. Really happy to see a new country. Especially my father’s love for the barbecue on the lawn and mother’s fascination with the deer that roamed there!
It’s still a happy anniversary for them.