Sunday, February 12, 2012

A husband for forty years...

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working closely with R.V. Rajan, one of the youngest to head an ad agency before he went on to accomplish greater things, including the establishment of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) office in Chennai. He’s been active in the Rotary, the Public Relations Society of India and many other bodies, and now, well past retirement age, he spends his time fruitfully – writing. His articles regularly appear in newspapers and magazines and it is usually a pleasure to read them. In his book and in several of his writings, it is evident that he’s had a wonderful marriage and he and his wife love each other deeply, the sort of mature love one talks about after a certain age. Not everyone is fortunate to have such luck. Rajan is. And here’s wishing him and his wife many more years together… Here is the unedited version (including all the exclamation marks) of an article he’s just written:


I am writing this piece, on the morning of 26th January 2012 when the country is celebrating its 62nd Republic Day – a day when my wife and I lost our respective freedom 40 years ago. Yes! It is our 40th wedding anniversary!
I cannot believe that forty years have just flown by since we got married at Sivakami Kalyana Mandapam on Radhakrishnan Salai in Chennai where the South Indian fast food giant Saravana Bhavan is operating today!

I was 30 years old when I took the plunge; a “late comer” to the marriage scene of those days! My parents were obviously a worried lot! My mother in her relentless pursuit to find a bride for me appealed to every single God in her Pooja room! She even visited Siddhi Vinayak Temple in Prabhadevi in Bombay for twenty one weeks on Tuesdays seeking my favorite elephant god’s help! Lo & Behold; within a month of completing her vow, God answered her prayers! She received a daughter-in-law called Prabhavathy!

We started our married life in Delhi where I was working as a Senior Manager in an Ad Agency. Within thirteen months of our marriage, we gave the greatest present to our parents – grand-parenthood! Our daughter Kavita was born. A year later we shifted to Chennai, had two more lovely children - Sowmya & Balaji, and then moved to our own independent House in Shastri Nagar, Adyar. Prabha had to face the usual problems that a typical Indian housewife faces in a joint family system. She overcame her problems to start a new chapter in her life, giving full vent to her talents in writing, singing, gardening and other hobbies she acquired on the way!

In due course, our children got married, to partners of their choice, whom my wife and I helped to identify!! My daughters have blessed us with four grand children ( good balance of 2 boys and 2 girls) who are now aged between 8 and 15, while my son who got married 3 years ago is yet to open his account! Now a review of our forty years of marriage – was it a successful union, have we lived up to each other’s expectations? Is it a happy marriage?

From my point of view I would say a big yes. My wife has more than lived up to my expectations over the years! Befitting our Indian culture, she helped me look after my family, which included my aging parents. As I was busy with my career and involved with several voluntary organizations, she did a great job of balancing duty to the family and to me. Being a social animal that I was, she attended parties and also hosted plenty of them at home as well. It must have been tough but she did an admirable job.

A fast learner, she overcame several of her initial inhibitions to become a wonderful partner, good daughter-in-law, lovely mother and above all a great homemaker! In the last two decades of her life, she has acquired an identity of her own and walks tall in our social circles! I am certainly proud of her achievements.

What has been my role in this arranged marriage? I believe I have genuinely helped my wife in coming out of her shell. Actively helped her to develop her talents for writing, singing etc. Published a collection of her short stories in Tamil which helped showcase her hidden talents to the world. Far from being a MCP, unlike most of the Indian husbands, I have tried to be a women`s libber in a man`s world! Working shoulder to shoulder with her on many fronts - doing most of the household shopping, helping her in the kitchen when necessary or getting her manuscripts in Tamil typed, proof read them and send them to the publications and always extending a helping hand during parties at home. I have sincerely tried to be an equal partner in this joint venture! We have had our share of fun traveling around the world and within the country.

In spite of the usual quota of differences, misunderstandings and shouting matches involved in any marriage, because of our “forgive and forget policy”, we have never allowed our differences to be carried forward to the next day.

On this special occasion, (when I have completed forty years of being the husband of the same wife!), I thank the Lord for blessing me with a happy marriage and my wife for making it happen! As far as I am concerned it has been a truly successful union.

I wonder what my wife has to say. I must request her to write her piece, which she would probably write in Tamil, her innate language of communication!