This time 35 years ago I was six hours from getting married. Everyone had gone off to get dressed and stuff so I was alone and I thought to myself, why not go down to the US Club and get in a game of squash. Then enjoy my wedding after a good workout. Why not? So, I did.
During the ceremony, hopeful that Ambika would find my athletic prowess impressive I shared my last bachelor game encounter with her and was met with a baleful look. Let’s just say my exploits on the court were not timely or riveting in their content. A few hours before the ceremony I should have been thinking of her not the backhand and the lob. I am still to be forgiven.
That was the first of several hundred dressing downs I have received over these years in my capacity as a dutiful husband.
Actually, my wife has tried very hard to stay in love with me despite my anti-social habits, as she not so fondly calls them. What she did not do was fall in love and get all dewy eyed three and a half decades ago. It was a toss-up between doing her examinations and marrying me and she chose the lesser evil, this anecdote being her favourite icebreaker. The punchline is obvious; she is not so sure now if it was the lesser evil.
We have had great fights and even greater makings up in the sense that like sensible husbands I give in even though I am right and make peace because that is what we men do. We know we are always right and the wives are always wrong so we are strong in mind and will and that is why we just give in to their whimsies.
I once told her that I read an article where it says if you are married long enough couples begin to look like each other and she said, go wash your mouth.
When I walked out on my seventh job she said, I know you promised me excitement but can you cool it a bit and let’s have a dull time.
Neither of us kept that promise and thank goodness we didn’t, we bounced from rock to pebble to moss to lily pad, had some rain and lots of sun,laughed a lot and wouldn’t have it any other way.
We are not going to get another 35 years so when we know we have passed the half-way house and the squash racquet has been put away (my new sport being to outwit my sons in law at anything)and we love being grandparents because that way you get even with your kids by breaking all their draconian rules and you know that if you got two out two so incredibly right in the children you raised well then, be a man and give in to the old girl even though you know she is wrong because you must count your blessings.
And we do, oh yes we do.
PS: in that rash, unthinking hurricane of generosity and love that husbands get caught in I told the old girl ,go on, it’s our anniversary buy whatever you want…and I think she is going shopping.