Thursday, February 14, 2008

A tag, with love

I am not a deliberate hoarder. If you find something in my possession that's more than a few years old, it's mostly because I've been too lazy or too absent-minded to throw it out.

Books are the only exception. It was with great difficulty that my parents persuaded me (at age 19 or 20, I think) to give up all those Ladybird books from my childhood and donate them to the local library. I hadn't looked at them in over 13 years, but even so, the thought of giving away my precious books was physically painful. Moppet's Papa is the same way. We currently own 2 complete sets of PG Wodehouse titles, and neither is willing to give away their set. So they stay, in bookshelves acround our home, and our parents' homes, re-read very occasionally, but always loved.

So I guess it's not surprising that when I considered what I should write about for this beautiful tag from Tharini, the only thing that came to mind was a pair of notebooks. This is their story.

I was a naive 20 to Moppet's Papa's worldy-wise 25 when we first met. It was the first time I was living away from home, and for all the freedom and independence my parents gave me growing up, it was still a very safe and sheltered life that I had led. Not so this young man, a Bombay boy, used to having to fight to get his way, who had lived and worked all over the country, and who knew by now exactly what he wanted from life.

It was also clear to him very early on that I was the girl for him, and he lost no time in telling me so. His certainty freaked me out - how could he be so sure? I liked him very much, this fella who so obviously knew who he was, and didn't need to pretend to be anyone else. I liked his faintly bad boy air, with his self-painted graphic t-shirts and ripped jeans. He was cute, he was smart, he was my kind of guy.

But I worried about me. I'm just starting out, I told him. I've got so much to learn and see and do. I can't say if I'll be the same person you see today 5 years from now. My arguments did nothing to shake his certainty, but he agreed to take it at whatever pace I was comfortable with.

Over the 3 years that we dated, we 'broke up' twice, both times because of my doubts and fear of commitment. He never wavered. Talked me through my issues, gave me space, and waited for me to call him, as I always did in the end.

We got officially engaged and set a wedding date, and though I knew this was what I wanted, I would still suffer from periodic bouts of self-doubt. I was 23. What was I doing getting married this young? What did I know of men, relationships, the world? Nothing! Nothing!

A couple of months before the wedding, as part of the requirements for a church wedding, we had to do a weekend retreat called 'Engaged Encounter', run by a priest with help from several volunteer couples. We were both highly sceptical going into the program, neither of us being fans of organised religion, but we had no choice, if we (or rather, our families) wanted a church wedding.

And so we arrived, sniggering about the place and the people to each other, settled in, and prepared to be bored out of our minds. Instead, we were blown away.

The program was structured as a series of sessions on different subjects that affect relationships including things like money, sex, family background, friendships, careers, and life priorities. Each of us was given a blank notebook, and a set of questions for each session that we needed to answer honestly - both our own point of view and what we believed was our partner's point of view. After we wrote all that down, we'd exchange notebooks, read what we'd written, and discuss it privately.

Session after session, beginning from the first one which asked us why we were there (our identical answers - because we had to), we discovered how well we knew each other, how closely our hopes and dreams had already become intertwined, and how our thoughts were almost always first for the other before ourselves.

That was the weekend that dissolved my doubts, and it was a very sure and happy bride who skipped down the aisle 2 months later. Even today, 5 years later, when I get out those notebooks onto which we poured out our hearts, I'm amazed afresh by the connection we share.

And to think it might never have been.

So although we've never celebrated Valentine's Day (I'd rather celebrate more personal special days like birthdays and anniversaries), I think it's somewhat fitting that this post should end up being written on this day of love.

Edit:
I just got the most beautiful bunch of red roses from the husband. I'm floored, especially since he's not in town today, it means he must have remembered and arranged for them a couple of days ago. (That, or his new secretary is very efficient ;-)

Thank you, sweetheart, you just made my day.

The flowers were immediately appropriated by Moppet, squealing excitedly, "Mama look, WED foWERs!" so I took a quick photo to save this memory of my very first Valentine's day bouquet before it gets dismembered :-)

34 comments:

dipali said...

How very very beautiful:)
You really touched my heart with this one, Moppet's Mom.

churningthewordmill said...

moppet's mom, that was SO SWEET! i loved that story..absolutely looorrrved it.. :) my kinda romantic story :) :) :)

just for the record, i am a horder.. anything that has sentimental value or seems "important" to me stays,no matter how many times i am asked to chuck it..the habit bugs my mom to no end!!
mandira

Anonymous said...
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noon said...

Oh, how sweet. Good that you both gave honest answers and took the whole session seriously enough!
Happy Valentine's day! :)

Gauri said...

Lovely post :-) A Very Happy Valentine's Day to you :-)

And I dropped in to hand you some more work to do. You've been tagged.

SUR NOTES said...

oh you lucky girl. thats a lovely thing to hold onto.

i had to go through a weekend of 'marriage preperation' where the girls sat on one side and the boys, and me, next to hubby to be, on one side. most sessions were in malayalam, so my notes consisted of copious doodling. the one session in english was the one where we were told that children born of mixed marriages WOULD grow up to anti socials. the hubby started folding his sleeves to prepare for battle. and the whole room stared at us. ( they had figured i was not catholic, and gasp, was not converting)

i told the husband that he must not forget how much i love him, because we were back the next day for the sessions. more stares. and more freaky comments. and i made him promise he would doodle with me rather than keep rolling sleeves to get into battle! he did keep the two note pads of doddling for a while, until i chucked them. : )

and lets exchange the two girls. your looks so gentle and calm holding the roses.

dipali said...

@sur: laughed my head off at all the doodling:)
Anti-socials-Bah.

Moppet and Sanah are both adorable,but I do not think you would get gentleness and calm in your proposed swap. Would she, Moppet's Mom?

Archana said...

That was such a refreshing romantic story. The girl looks so adorable in those roses. First time at your blog :)

Aryan said...

Threee yrs of dating and then getting married..ahha very very good..story
Aryan's mom

qa said...

Happy Valentines Day.Lovely post.It reminded me of my own marriage preparation course.I was among the few girls who went without the fiance as mine was in the US.My hubby didnt get to do the course....he just had a private interview with the priest in the US and I always tell him he missed a great session!!! I still have all the papers and notes that they gave that day.Thanks for reminding.Will have to go and re-read them again :)

BangaloreMom said...

That was so beautiful..almost makes me wish hubby and I had a notebook to go back to too...we do have letters though :)...am delurking to say hello..and to say u have been tagged...

Swati said...

A sweeeet sweeet post ..just loved it ..and what perfect timing :-)

B o o said...

Wow! What an awesome post, MM! It moved me to bits. Happy Valentines day to all of you as well! :)

Mira's mom said...

Hey Moppet's mom,

A lovely post as usual! And you know what, I didn't get any flowers today...Bu hu hu:-(

DotMom said...

lovely narration, lovely post. I don't know what elese to say.. I am sooo moved by it!

Tharini said...

Beautiful! And the word is not enough to say how beautiful. So I'll trust you get the sentiment I felt when reading this post and about the notebooks.

Preethi said...

lovely post.. beautiful story for love.. and lovely roses... By the way if you ever have the urge to give the PG Wodehouse's away.. let me know!!

Daisy said...

That is so cute- very very "awwww" inducing-happy vday to you, moppet's papa, darling moppet and darling lil munchkin ;)

Moppet's Mom said...

Thank you all for your wishes. Hope you had a lover-ly V-Day as well :-)

Sur: We really were lucky. I've been told how these courses are really variable based on who's running them. Your experience sounds terrible - but at least your love was tested and proved true! ;-)

And gentle and calm? Moppet? HA HA HA HA HA HEE HO HO HEE!!!

Mira's Mom: No flowers? And here I was thinking the husband had taken a tip or two from Mira's Papa!

SUR NOTES said...

moppet's mum: no, no, not just lucky. you would have those precious notebooks even if you were in a lousy course. because you wrote from your heart.

the mad momma said...

awww.... beautiful

Rohini said...

Am so taking your husband's trip about this :)

And big congrats on the pregnancy. My biological clock just started ticking just a bit louder :)

Anonymous said...

WOW! I wish they made such retreats obligatory for Hindu arranged marriages also. Some marraiges might never have happened then.

Just Like That said...

Awww... that was a sweet story, Moppet's Mom, of a worldly wise boy and an unworldy girl.:-)And now you have kids of your own!

You know sometimes I think-- what would we have done if we knew in class that we'd have kids by the guy who sat next to us???? At the time totally unimaginable, and yet things just fell into place...

karmickids said...

That was abs adorable. Both the story and the pic of moppet holding the bouquet...
And these men, they dont give us a chance do they, they just decide they want and we have to go along with their plan...LOL.

karmickids said...

@Sur: Loved the doodling. Antisocial. Bah. Critters. Am I antisocial. Is the brat antisocial? Is sanah antisocial? what complete jerks.....

choxbox said...

got goosebumps just now and its not just the cold in this room!

chronicworrier said...

De-lurked to say what a lovely story!
And congrats too! I loved the way you announced it :-) Now how about MoBro for a nick? ;-))
If you won't kick me for the suggestion, may I blogroll you?

Orchid said...

CONGRATS girl!!!....i am referring to your previous post :)..you've been busy haven't you ;)..I am excited for the three of you.
I say Moby! (Moppet and Moby -has a fun ring to it, no??

Poppins said...

What an awesome story, I wish I could do something like that NOW. Sometimes I feel life gets so busy and we forget what we are as a couple (Ok digression, sorry)

Lovely flowers ! I got some too (*preening*). Looks like the guys appreciate us going through the wringer for them...again !

Moppet's Mom said...

Rohini: Noooooo! Why? Why? Please don't! This will end up being my first and last Valentine's bouquet if you do!

Chronicworrier: Thank you for de-lurking - and of course, please do link away!

Orchid: Thank you :-)

Trishna said...

Awww so sweet! Both the story and the wed fowers!cute cute!

Mona said...

aww, beautiful post. :)

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