Not-so-wise people say, “Marriage is like a fort; those who are in wish to come out, those who are out wish to get in”. Before marriage a boy has the notion that marriage is like the beautiful, music-producing orchestra. Soon, one hears the sounds of the muffled drum beating somewhere to spoil the harmony of the symphony. No cut-and-dry formula exists as such for the success of the marriage. Wife will have permanent complaints on one issue or the other against her husband. A sense of humor and the timely operation of the sixth sense will turn the bitter moments of misunderstanding to joyous episodes.
I am settled in Delhi for the last thirty years. The city of Agra is situated just 180 kilometers from Delhi. It’s about 4 hour’s journey by car/train. Apart from many other trains, a special train named, ‘Taj Express’ makes daily rounds to Agra. My countless relatives, both from my wife’s side and from my side have visited us at Delhi, stayed with us and made the trips to Tajmahal. My/her friends did the same. People from foreign countries visited us to see Tajmahal. But somehow, I could not take my wife to Tajmahal for the last three decades, though I visited it on two occasions.
That day my wife was furious. She said in frustration and anger, “Here is a King who builds Tajmahal for his beloved wife. And you…..you….in the course of thirty years of our married life could not find time to take me to Tajmahal.”In the past also she had complained times without number on this issue. But this time, her rage was uncontrollable.
The poetic reasoning in me had to take charge immediately. “What Tajmahal? You are my ‘Aajmahal’…with this compliment I felt her anger slowly subsiding. Encouraged, I continued my argument for not taking her to Tajmahal. “You know what Tajmahal is? It is the graveyard of Shahjanan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Do you wish to visit the graveyard? I consider those who make the pleasure-trip to the graveyard swearing love are fools (I had visited Tajmahal twice though!) Shahjahan had fourteen children through Mumtaz Mahal. Do you think he really loved her? Moreover, Shahjahan had many wives and concubines in his harem. Do you wish me to take to the burial ground of a man with such a dubious moral character”?
…Taj Mahal issue was solved for the day thus!
***** I remember that was our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. That day early in the morning she told me to bring two roses of the variety called ‘Ladies Bank’. “Bring two roses”, she emphasized.
Only after surveying the flower market I realized that ‘Ladies Bank’ was a rare variety.
“Twenty-five rupees …You won’t get this variety from anyone else in the market”, said the florist. Initially I thought he was quoting the rate for the dozen.
“Are you kidding Sir? Buying roses for the first time”? He asked me sarcastically!
Why waste money on such a costly variety? I bought only one rose on a payment of Rs. twenty-five.
Even before opening the door fully, she asked, “Where are the roses?”
I showed her the rose!
Seeing just one rose, she asked with a sudden spurt of anger, “Where is the second rose?”
I realized my blunder of playing on her sentiments. Two roses represented husband and wife…and that was the day of our wedding anniversary! She stood before me straight, her eyes flashing to pierce me as if, her cheeks reddened with anger to see the solitary rose!
I surrendered to the poet within me to save the situation. Composed and yet confidently I said, “The second rose is your pose!”
……….Humor had scored again!