“And you have lasted twenty-five years so far?” my friend asked surprised.
“Twenty-six”, I correct her with a smile because, the weight of the accomplishment is triggering an imaginary confetti shower. “Seriously? How did you do this?”, my friend asks genuinely interested.
“It is more like a super power”, I laugh. Deep down, I believe it is exactly that because it involves the will to turn a blind eye to the wet towels on the bed, turn a deaf ear to the loud snoring next to you, to be able to brush away the annoying habits that crawl up your skin, to be able to take a deep breath when the anger swells up the throat, I could go on. I can’t explain all this to her because, sometimes even I am amazed about this gargantuan ability.
Marriage they say is for car mechanics. But, I am not a great fan of these vehicles that run on four wheels. I don’t understand the nicks and tucks to keep the grooves smooth. Hell, I can’t even set it in motion in open space. I am still talking about cars — just in case you have other doubts.
So, it is surprising that I have lasted this long unfazed about the lack of knowledge — be it driving or maintenance of car but rich with the knowledge of making it work — now, I am talking about cars and marriage and even I am feeling dizzy with all the nuanced references. I guess that is what marriage does to a person — we get all muddled up.
Whole new world of shafts, pistons, valves
When we bought our first car, two decades ago, I entered a whole new world of shafts, pistons, valves and cylinder heads. It was one of the most trying times of my life. It was also the time that I discovered that I don’t like to set a vehicle in motion.
Yet, over time, I learned to appreciate the vehicle in ways and means I never thought I could by simply slipping next to the person who would wield his hand deftly over a massive contraption. I could get around and he could show his love — for the car I mean.
Perhaps, you don’t have to be a car mechanic after all then — you say? Well, car mechanics are hard-working people. They can tell when the suspension is topsy or when the battery is low and they can even tell when the fuel is low in the tank. They go the extra length to use every tool in their kit to grease the grooves and keep the running smooth.
Just as I continue to chat with my friend, I see a figure at a distance. I can tell from the gait that it is my partner in crime.
“You can tell without these?”, my friend points to the little apparatus that I have pinned over my shirt. “Oh! Certainly not”, I nod, “I cannot see without them”, I say pointing to my glasses.
“Aww”, she croons.
The world of marriage
“Super-powers”, I smile, “who is also a weird car-mechanic”, I laugh hysterically in my head. Not everyone who enters the world of marriage is armed with heavy engineering knowledge of nuts and bolts.
It takes time and effort to understand the art of making everything work — engines and marriage.
The big black box full of toolkit may be tucked somewhere in the store room, but experience teaches you to wield them with precision — to be able to hit the brakes without knowing where they are or to keep the radiator cool while imagining what it is or what it needs is nothing short of miracle.
You still need an explanation for my smooth ride so far? Well, here is the secret mantra — you either become a car mechanic or you learn to don super powers to keep it running. Now, I am talking about marriage. If nothing works, then you have to service it. Now, I am talking about the car.
Sudha Subramanian is an author and writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @sudhasubraman