The Tribune , 5th Jan, 2010
Their romance began the day they got married. She had never set her eyes upon him before that and neither had he had a glimpse of her till then. It was that kind of era. You met your life-partner at your wedding and fell in love thereafter. That he held her hand in the car while they drove off was probably a major scandal of the time.
For the next 62 years they were a couple with vastly different personas but with a chemistry that was gentle and sizzling at the same time. They had six children and managed to raise them all with grace and fortitude, despite modest means, for them to become fine citizens of the world. They had their quarrels too and, sometimes, long periods of not talking to each other, but even as a young boy I knew that my grandparents were a really special couple and that they cared for each other no end.
He was tall and handsome; she was tiny but somewhat portly. He was a stickler for punctuality; she was quite laid back. He was intelligence personified; she was a little slow on the uptake at times. He held a postgraduate degree in English; she had attended only a few primary classes at school. He was blessed with a sense of wit; she would laugh heartily at his jokes. At times he would crack some really hi-fi ones which went over her head, but he would also repeat some old jokes for her benefit at which she would be in splits as if she’d heard them for the first time.
They were quite a team! Six children were apparently packed off to school and college every morning without much fuss. In situations that called for a cool head, it would be my grandmother who maintained her poise even if her husband was infuriated at the turn of events.
On their 60th anniversary, they were looking like shy newly weds, ensconced together on their throne like seats. The whole clan was present to greet them. I had discovered that anniversary cards were available only till the golden jubilee. Not too many people needed them beyond that.
As I watched them hold each other’s hands, I realized once more that their love was not the sort that was to be explicitly displayed, but the genteel, graceful sort of love that existed in the eyes, in the smiles, in the holding of hands.
When he left us for ever a couple of years later, she didn’t cry much. She remained silent for long periods though, and it was an effort to get her to talk. Earlier this month, she passed away too, and now whenever I look up at the sky, I know that he has held her hand once again, never to let it go.