K and I celebrated out five years of being engaged on the 27th of January- and of course at some point during the day, I pulled out the photographs to stare at the people we had been back then, trying to remember with clarity what I had thought, felt and imagined my life would be that I said yes to him.
Khiz and Fati ask me quite regularly, how did you know he was it and I can’t recall what answer other than the wildly vague and generic “You just know” I have given them but the truth of the matter is, looking at the 5-years younger picture of myself beaming happily at everyone and everything in sight, I have no idea how anyone knows. Do we simply take a leap of faith because at the moment that person presents the best option? Or do you base the spur of the moment adrenaline rush on the previous years of heartbreak and disappointment and go with the option least likely to cause further damage?
Someone who I used to know back in the day laid a lot of emphasis on what he used to call the Nesting Theory. He claimed that there was a time in each woman’s life when she decided it was time for her to settle down, after she had done her sowing of wild oats and what not – and she simply went out and did it. Easy peasy. At that time I had pooh pahed his theory stating firmly that it was not applicable to all women, but over the years when I have seen a particularly mismatched couple smiling away on the wedding stage, I can hear his voice in my head. Perhaps it is a certain alarm that rings a bell and any man who is halfway a reasonable match, suddenly looks a pleasing prospect. Maybe as women, we can fool ourselves into thinking that what is infront of us is the best it will get. Sadly I know a lot of women who later regret that move, who after 4-5 years of marriage have come to the conclusion that they could have done better had they understood who they were.
Who we are. Which brings me to my next question. So if we marry based on who we are at a specific time in life, what happens when we change? And change we inevitably must. What happens when the people who got married amidst the dhol dhamaka are no longer there- and instead you see two people who are almost strangers? Separation and divorce. Two words we, as a generation are so comfortable with that we even fire it off as false ammunition when need be. So I put all these questions and thoughts out loud to k, who I am secretly sure loves this slightly zany mad thinking side to me with all his heart.
“Compared to how I know you now, I barely knew you back then- what was I thinking saying yes to you?” I ask him, quite dramatically if I say so myself. I can see form his face he is trying not to take this personally- or laugh. ” I mean I had no clue what we would be like together- and given my love for over thinking, what did I then base my answer on? I honestly cannot recall” I say, truly quite baffled. I know for many people, it is simply about the next step, because they have been together so long- or have reached a point where status quo has to be changed. What was it for me? What did I sense K have that I needed in my life? Was I sick of being alone? Was I afraid of turning into a cynic? Was I excited about the kind of life I felt we could have together? Did something about who he was put something about who I was at peace? Was it passion? Lust? Love? An alternative?
You marry someone who you think will change and adapt and grow with you, he says and I try not to roll my eyes at this very guy point of view. Change, Adapt. I hate those words. I know what he is saying but those words make life togteher, marraige sounds so tedious. Like a project done in font size 8. You marry someone who you can see next to you as you envision doing all the things you want in life. Since the explanation gets better, I decided to let him off the hook for now.
Reading this sounds like I am going through some 5 year point existential crisis trying to make sense of whether marrying k was the right thing to do or not. I assure you its not, but the whole awareness of the time having changed us did make me revisit the person who I used to be. I pulled out my journal and read up my thoughts of back then. I read and I remembered exactly where I was standing and who I was when I said yes to a life together with k, and yes, I think I married him because I felt that together, we could have something that had eluded me in the past. And even though I don’t think I had any idea of who he was compared to how I know him now, but I am quite relieved to know that I wasn’t too far off the mark in what I obviously felt we could have. Sometimes in the midst of the madness of how its turned out, its nice to be reminded of exactly why one does marry, and that in the right place and time, the memory of it can sustain you.