Skip to main content

To you, my man


In the first couple of years following our marriage, whenever someone would ask me how we met, I would tell them some fantastic story of how we came to be husband and wife. Some times, you were a family friend I'd known since I was a child. On other occasions, you would become my brother's classmate. Or a colleague. Or an aunt's neighbour. Back then I didn't want to appear like one of those sad people who had had an arranged marriage. One of those unlucky ones I'd myself clicked my tongue at in sympathy in the past, at their inability to find someone to fall in love with and be proposed to. I had placed an awful lot of emphasis on the means to finding a husband and not nearly enough on the end.

But in the following years, I've come to realise that how I met and married you is irrelevant. What matters is who I married. So these days I don't bother hiding it and often tell people, of my own volition even, that I had an arranged marriage. And I love the look of surprise that greets me when I disclose this fact. Most cannot reconcile the idea of an arranged marriage with the loud, opinionated woman in from of them. And their surprise multiplies when they meet you. Where they expect to see an old-fashioned, tyrannical Indian man, they are met with the most remarkably progressive-minded, gentle soul who wouldn't hurt a fly.

I've told you many times that when I agreed to marry you, I was succumbing to a certain amount duress . I was 26 and could not put off marriage any longer. I had already turned down a couple of guys, much to my parents' and assorted well-wishers' horror, when we met. What struck me straightaway about you was how incredibly decent, astutely bright and perceptive you were. You were someone I could be friends with. And what a great start that was for us!

Over the decade and some that we have been married, my suspicions about you have come true. You remain the wonderfully pragmatic man I first met. The only one I can imagine supporting me through my mad cap ideas. The only one I can rely on unquestioningly, unswervingly. And crucially, the only one I would have wanted to have children with and raise them together with. It goes without saying that there is no one else I can imagine sharing my arthritic, menopausal years with. When the time comes, I will wait for you and should I fall behind, I know you will wait for me.

Happy 40th birthday, my dearest Ramu.

What a blessing you are!

Lots and lots of love

Me

Comments

Vidya said…
Just lovely. :)
Dubukku said…
Ammani are you ok???? :)))))> You and sentimental post...I never knew you could do this :P:P:P

Jokes apart...Wishes to Ramu :))
Banno said…
Best wishes to the both of you. Love or arranged, a marriage is a marriage in the long run, either it works, or it doesn't. :)
Laksh said…
Long time reader. Delurking to wish your husband a happy birthday. Lovely post! Made me go awwwwwww.
B o o. said…
Happy happy to Mr.Ammani. :)
Menaka said…
Happy Birthday Sriram! Hope you celebrated with a beer in hand parked on your very comfy sofas!
inbavalli said…
Birthday wishes to your husband. You're lucky, but so is your husband :)
rrmom said…
what a beautiful post. Love the way you have portraited the man. Happy b'day to him.
Anonymous said…
Hi ammani,
Why have u stopped blogging regularly? Miss your posts.

And yes,that was a lovely way of putting down your love for each other.

Uma
rt r said…
That was a lovely tribute to love :-)

I vibe with you in so many ways..and I hope me and my hubby of 1 year grow as close as you and your husband have become!
A4ISMS said…
Ammani... Missed you every singled day I logged in! But I guess my wait was well worth.
Wish your Ram and you wonderful and loooong years of togetherness!
Growing old together is the best thing that can happen to couples.
Regards
Achala said…
Ammani..why hasn't anyone mentioned this...you look lurvvvely!

Happy belated birthday to your Man! Wishing you both many more years of love, happiness & togetherness!
ammani said…
Thank you everyone for your really wonderful comments. It is touching to be told that there are some who actually miss my drivel.
There's plenty happening in real life that I seem to have fallen out of rhythm with this blog. But I will resume posting more regularly some time soon. Thank you!
the mad momma said…
Dear Mr Ammani,
Here's wishing you many more happy birthdays. Could you please ask Ammani to blog more often? We miss her.
Warm regards
MM
Kookaburra said…
wow - lucky man! such good words, down to earth and highly romantic at the same time!

I could feel the love in the ether ... :)
Sunitha said…
How beautiful! Cheers to a wonderful couple and belated birthday wishes to your husband!
Anonymous said…
I was taken aback at reading what seemed like my own life's story. I too had to get married at 26, since until then I could never seem to find the right person - much to my parents' and relatives dismay.
Now, 4 years later - every single day, I thank destiny for bringing us together.
God bless you and Ramu

You Might Also Like

Voicing Silence 1

There is no nice way of saying this so I will say it as brutally and as unvarnished as it needs to be said. I was sexually assaulted when I was ten and a half years old. While I recall the precise details of what happened that night, much of what happened in the immediate aftermath, I have little memory of. In the days and months that followed, I became increasingly angry. I would smash things, kick people, yell, scream and throw a tantrum at the drop of a hat. I was labelled difficult and called names. Rakshasi was a regular epithet and it clung to me like an dirty scent.

There were so many incidents of rage from those years and most involved destruction of some sort. I once lost a card game and went about meticulously ripping up an entire pack of cards much to the amusement of the gathered extended family. There was some other minor provocation which ended in a lovely red dress which was a gift from abroad being shredded to pieces, again to a mute audience

Word got around that I wa…

Voicing Silence 7

(To get a background on this series, I suggest you start with the first post here and then scroll up)

Headphones recommended




(Click on image for link or click here)
Written and narrated by  Abhi Arumbakkam
Animation and edit  Lucy Lee
Sound Louise Brown
Music Nefeli Stammatogianopoulu & Stelios Koupetoris



Sivaji, Jayalaitha And Us

I first noticed it when Sivaji Ganesan passed away. As someone born in the 70s, much of my growing years was marked by the rituals of Sunday evening Tamizh cinema and Friday night Oliyum Oliyum. And Sivaji Ganesan was a permanent fixture in them. Anyone who was melodramatic was a 'Sivaji' and rhymes like 'Sivaji vayile jilebi' were very much part of our book of nonsense rhymes.

So much so, I remember being fourteen and being part of the school drama team enacting a popular scene from Sivaji's Thiruvilayadal. It was a plum role that we all vied to play. Sivaji played Lord Shiva in the movie and in our minds, he might as well have been immortal. So years later, when news broke that he had died, I was in utter shock. Heck, I was not even a fan. Apart from Motor Sundaram Pillai and more recently, Thevar Magan, in every one of his movies, I felt Sivaji had outacted the entire cast. As if to tell the producers, you've paid me a lot, so let me give you your money'…

Tide - 17

Part - 17 “Are you waiting for me, Kamakshi?”, asked Padmaja a little breathless from climbing the stair case. She had never been particularly slim. But lately, she had noticed a tightening of her blouses, particularly around her upper arm that she taken to using the stairs over the lift.
“Hmm? Everything okay? Why do you want me to keep quiet? What is the matter, Kamakshi?”, Padmaja reeled off questions with mounting alarm.
“It's nothing”, hissed Kamakshi between gritted teeth guiding her neighbour by the arm away from her own door. “Come in to my house. I need to tell you something, Padmaja”.
And once inside, Kamakshi's behaviour was even more erratic. She said something about a letter and answering and now meeting someone and the man waiting for her at home.
“Where?”, demanded Padmaja.
Kamakshi silently pointed her finger at her neighhour.
“Where? In my house?”
Kamakshi nodded.
“Have you gone mad, Kamakshi? I gave you the keys in case you don't see me for days a…

What Would You Do?

This afternoon, I went to our local leisure centre to use their steam room and sauna. I had an hour to kill before it was time to collect my son and the leisure centre is across the road and I couldn't think of a better way to spend a tenner and so I went. No sooner had I settled into a corner of the steam room than I heard a voice ask me, 'are you from India?'. Yes, I nodded before it struck me that if I couldn't see the person clearly neither could he. Yes, I said. To this he (by now I could make out a dim outline of a man) volunteered in a very heavy accent 'My country Bangladesh' and then went on to ask me if I lived locally and if I was living with my family (yes and yes, I answered) and told me that he worked in a local Indian restaurant as a chef and that I should visit them if I hadn't already.

Having exhausted his arsenal of polite questions to ask a rank stranger, he fell silent. Shortly, I left the steam room to take a shower before dipping into…

Tide - 7

Part 7

Dear Mrs,
With regards to your advertisement in last Sunday's Hindu. My name is Mr.S.G.Santhanam. I am 65 years old. I retired in 2007 after 40 years of service in the Indian Railways. My daughter and my son are both married and settled abroad. I am in good health except for slightly high blood pressure. Last year I have undergone an operation for a growth in my retina and now my eyesight is better than it has ever been. I follow a strict vegetarian diet (no oinions no garlic) and I have managed to bring down my cholestrol levels also. Recently I have suffered from pain in my hips and my doctor has adviced me to go for a hip replacement operation which I am due to have some time in the next month. So if you reply to my letter, I can arrange to meet you before I check in to the hospital as I will have to be in bed rest for 6 weeks after my operation. I have also attached a photo of myself with this letter. This was taken before I had my new set of teeth.
Your's sincere…

Voicing Silence 4

(To get a background to this series of posts, I suggest you read the first one here, the second one here and the third one here)

Some years ago, my mother mentioned to me that she had attended my sexual assaulter's Sashtiabdapoorthy and I was appalled. This filthy beast was a pillar of the society and had had the temerity to invite my parents to its (no human pronoun for it) birthday celebration. Suffice to say I was apoplectic.

It was also around this time that the whole sordid episode of Jimmy Savile came to light and I had a thought. I began to wonder if I could take my abuser to court on historic sex abuse charges.

For days I fantasised about dragging the filthy piece of shit to court and have it look me in the eye as I would recall in graphic detail what it had done to me. Then, I would watch with glee as it lost its house, its job, its status in the society and delight in the gradual unravelling of its life.

I would have my perfect revenge. I would be able to show it that i…

Voicing Silence 2

(To get a background to this series of posts, I suggest you read the first one here)

I realised, almost instinctively that what had happened to me was not a one-off. A casual conversation with a cousin revealed that she too had been touched by the same person. She didn't give me details but all she said was, "that one, him, you know...he's a devil" and gave me an almost imperceptible nod. A secret code that meant that she knew about what had happened to me too. It was our shared language of shame, wrapped in silence and consigned to the deep recess of our minds.

Every now and then the incident would get an airing but I would almost dismiss it by making light of it. During joint studies with classmates from the 11th and 12th standard, two of them talked about the improper touching that had happened to them as children with an almost casual aloofness that I added my incident (for it was now entombed and labelled as Exhibit A in my mind) to the mix. Being abused was so…

Voicing Silence 3

(To get a background to this series of posts, I suggest you read the first one here and the second one here.)

In the intervening years since my assault, the whispers grew ubiquitous. Hushed conversations from scarred friends who all talked in coded language about what had happened to them. I should have stopped becoming angry but I just couldn't. Instead I channeled all my rage into the blows I rained on the random stranger who once groped me as I was walking past him one evening when I was in my early twenties. The nonchalance with which another pervert thought he could get away with pinching my breasts made me chase after him faster. But I could rarely sustain the rage which would blaze fiercely and frequently but never long enough for anything positive to emerge. There were no planned course of action to follow through, it was largely fire fighting on a daily basis.

And then something happened a decade ago which reminded me of what triggered my anger all those years ago. I won…

Voicing Silence 5

(To get a background to this series of posts, I suggest you read the first one here, the second one here, the third one here and the fourth here)

For years I had been wondering how to articulate my trauma. And then, a little while after I'd moved to the UK, I'd done courses in documentary film-making and had started telling factual stories. Could there be a possibility there? What purpose would retelling a personal story in all its gory detail serve? And is this what I wanted?

In 2013 I watched Yael Farber's Nirbhaya in Edinburgh to an auditorium full of sobbing men and women. I found its portrayal in all its attendant specifics and bit too real. Even the actors playing it had each suffered horrific abuse and it was their own story that was being told. It was discomfiting and I knew I didn't want to go down that route.

A year or so later, I met with Leslie Udwin, director of the documentary India's Daughter, the day
after it had been banned in India. Leslie was de…