Sunshine and Memories
Debasis was my Sunshine. I called him that because he lit up my life for 32 years. We met in 1975 when I was just 21. He was six years older. I was an airhostess and he a marine engineer. Our backgrounds and attitudes were also as different as the sea and sky. I was a small-town girl from Darjeeling, short-tempered, with an anxious nature. He was from Calcutta, and calm and positive by temperament.
He pursued me in his quiet way, and I would get stacks of mail when he was away at sea. We got married in 1978, despite our parents’ apprehensions. I left my job to sail the world with him. Seated on deck, beneath the stars, we’d just listen to the waves. On full-moon nights it was sheer heaven. He gave up fishing from the ship
because of my Buddhist beliefs. Over the years, I learnt to speak Bengali while he picked up Nepali from me.
We wanted a daughter and even planned to name her after our first ship, but we remained childless. Yet, that drew us even closer. If he came across a pretty flower, he’d pick it for me—even from among weeds.
Debasis passed away in November 2007 after a brief illness. I have his old courtship letters. It still makes me laugh when I remember how I used to threaten to read them aloud, if he teased or irritated me! Those letters and memories are what I treasure the most.
Kala Gupta, Darjeeling
Taming of the Shrew
Our families had always been close and so, despite my initial hesitation, marrying Parikshet seemed the natural step to take. Little did I realize how things would turn out. All through the six months following our wedding in 1999, I didn’t get cards or chocolates, not even a candlelight dinner! My girlish dreams of romance were dashed to pieces. When I made him tea every morning, he would gulp it down with a fixed smile and the same words—“Thank you, it’s lovely”—until the day I vented my disillusionment to an old pal of his.
I was told that the one thing Parikshet loathed was tea!
Gradually, I realized what an understated but genuinely loving person he is. All these years I haven’t heard him raise his voice at anybody. And when I had a tumour and couldn’t conceive a child, it was Parikshet’s silent acceptance that gave me the strength to face the situation.
I’ve grown up. It is ironic how we always hear the loud and obvious and fail to notice the unassuming and quiet; how we love reading sensational stuff but find decent matters uninteresting. If it weren’t for my
husband I’d, too, miss the simpler, smaller joys of life. Thank you, Parikshet. You managed to tame your shrew without even trying!
Neha Srivastava, Gurgaon
Eye of the Beholder
What attracted me to Prasannakumar Wadiyar in college was his sensitive nature. His mother used to be ill then and I saw the pain in his eyes when he spoke about her. We got married in 1997. But soon afterwards, we were involved in a serious bus accident and I had fractures and bruises on an entire side of my face. Although Prasanna had a broken rib himself, he managed to get me to a hospital. I underwent a seven-hour operation—and all this even before our wedding photos arrived.
Relatives and friends, shocked at seeing the way I looked, began to worry about the future of our relationship. But not me, I knew Prasanna too well. I loved socializing, window-shopping and eating out, but now I didn’t want to show my scarred, discoloured face in public. But Prasanna held my hand firmly and took me to all the places I loved. When people stared, he only drew me closer. The years flew by and we became the parents of two lovely girls, who are now eleven and seven years old. I am a teacher at their school.
But things happen when you least expect it. Two days after our 12th wedding anniversary, in November 2009, Prasanna passed away following a fatal aneurysm. He was just 38.
After my accident, we did discuss cosmetic surgery but Prasanna insisted that I should do it only if I felt the need, and not to please him, because, he said, “I love you the way you are.” So I didn’t. My scars have faded with time. But, in all those years, not for a moment did my husband make me feel less beautiful, less attractive or less loved because of them.
Vasundhara Wadiyar, Mysore
(Adopted from Reader's Digest)