It was a lazy Sunday – with newspapers (Sunday Times, Pune Times and Times Life to be specific), crumbs of toasted bread, a cup of cold, unfinished tea– all sprawled over the floor. Sunday is the only day of the week when we have no arguments over the newspapers – there are three for the three of us – unlike the routine weekday newspapers which are just two, leading to constant squabbles over newspapers in the early morning. So that’s our typical Sunday – you’ll find our heads bent over the newspaper, with the early morning sun basking off our oiled heads!
As usual, I picked up my Sunday favorite first – the Times Life – it is full of interesting articles, with pretty unique and relatable perspectives on many topics. As I picked the glossy newspaper, the first thing that I came across was the interview of Aditi Rao Hydari – a popular Bollywood actress. And then I saw a part of the interview that was highlighted with huge pink quotes – “Love has become a convenient emotion”. This sentence was so easy to understand yet had such a deep meaning and set my thoughts off – and that’s exactly what I’ve written about – about where I draw my inspiration for true love.
For me, the most ideal couple that I always look up to is that of my maternal grandparents. They together, were a power couple, one that people still remember till date. And if you ask me why, I have tonnes of reasons to list down.
The first time Papa (as we fondly addressed him) saw Mamma(I’ve mentioned her at many instances) was when she was carrying a bundle of firewood, all tied up and walking towards the courtyard of her home. A distant acquaintance, Papa along with his older brother had come visiting Mamma’s family. The courtyard was full of humor-filled conversations and piping hot chaai. That’s when Mamma walked in from the main gate and made her way to the backyard (where all the firewood is stored – even now). That was right when Papa told his older brother – “This is it – she is the one I’m going to marry”
Now apart from being the stunning beauty she was, my grandmother was a woman of great skill. Her petite frame would easily trick anyone, making them think she was very naive, delicate and timid – all of which she was not! And her intelligence was something which was talked about in the entire village – Papa must have surely heard about it all!
So that’s how they got married – and moved to Mumbai to make their lives.
My grandparents both had diverse personalities – it often amused me how two people, so opposite in nature can put up with each other! But they did – they did it for 45 long years, since 1961 till the day Papa finally passed away in 2006.
Papa was known for his constant chatter and easy-going nature, whereas Mamma for her quiet nature. A known acquaintance, who is more like family and whom my grandparents often visited rightly noted this difference and put it into words – “For every three sentences your Grandpa spoke, your Granny had one solid comeback!” quipped Uncle Shailesh, who was fondly reminiscing those chaai-pe-charcha memories with my grandparents. He also mentioned that their conversations were so interesting to listen to – their banter never ended!
Also, Papa loved sweets – the best of the halwaais in Mumbai were his close friends – and you’d often find Papa chomping on freshly prepared laddoos in their shop (a tradition he managed to continue even when they relocated to Pune!). On the other hand, being a diabetic, Mamma kept herself away from sweets and yes, she wasn’t really fond of them either.
Papa had this short temper, which flared up at regular intervals, whereas Mamma was this cool-headed person who took things easy.
I can just go on with the list of differences they had – I think I’ll have to dedicate an entire post to that! But I think you got what I’m trying to say here – that’s who they were, two different individuals with one life.
Papa would always tease Mamma – she had a beautiful name- Crescencia (Crescent moon in Spanish) and Papa kept complaining that it was too long a name to pronounce! So he would address her as Cresin (a name which Mama later legally adopted). Apart from Kresin (the C became a K, for pronunciation sakes), he would call her by a host of other names which were homo phonic to hers – and though it would annoy her, all she would end up doing was laugh!
Mamma on the other hand was proud of Papa’s intelligence – she always bragged about how he knew the ‘paun-pada’ or the multiple tables of quarters and how he was the one of the smartest student in his class. She also admired how Papa gelled along superbly well with her family (his in-laws) – he cared so much for my great-grandmother, that she was utterly crestfallen when the news of his death reached her.
What bonded them together? Despite being starkly different, how did they carry on for 45 long years together? Well, they had this mutual respect and unshaken faith in each other. When Papa fell ill, Mamma took over the business reins and put up a stoic front, and kept running the household. Not once did she complain, not once did he question or doubt her. They did have their share of heated arguments, squabbles and bickering – but they kept it all aside. You should have seen the team they were when some important decisions had to be taken in the family – two sharp brains – quickly weighing the pros and cons of the situation, of the decision and then firmly going ahead with it. They’ve faced some of the toughest times together – but they prevailed. They survived it all. And what was it that lead them through these storms? If it wasn’t steadfast love for each other, I don’t know what it was…
“That’s the palest I have ever seen her” – said Mamma’s sister, right after Papa’s funeral. And though Mamma put up a brave front – we all knew that she had lost what she held closest to her heart.
The kind of upbringing they had, expressing love was never a part of it. They never expressed, never gifted each other anything, nothing material – it was just pure love that was based not on show off, but on deep respect, understanding and affection for each other – which reflected in their actions. Their’s was love during a time when it wasn’t convenient – when letters were a mode of communication, when being away from each other meant almost no interaction at all. But they survived and thrived, setting an example for me, for us.
In our times of status-update love, it’s all about fake display. Like I keep saying relationships have become essential to validate existence. More of a pass time, no one’s bothered about the other’s feelings and emotions. It’s indeed difficult to find, to create, to build a relationship that my grandparents (and probably even yours) had.
In our instant generation, where everything from noodles to messaging is quick, is it going to be possible to find letter-wala love? The slow-paced, take-your-time, be yourself, I’m always here for you kind of love?
In this status update-wala generation, is it wrong to expect letter-wala love? Is letter-wala love still in fashion? Or is it like letters, gone, outdated and long-lost?
Some questions are always left unanswered……