27th April is my parents’ wedding anniversary. A day I grew up watching them enjoy and celebrate every year with much love and affection. It was a cherished annual ritual for my mother to buy new sarees or jewellery for this special occasion. Dad gorged sumptuously on the specially-curated menu and basked in all the attention showered upon him. As kids the long-drive to a dhaba with Dad’s friends’ families in the city outskirts and the yummy food was our biggest lure. All in all, everyone had a reason to rejoice! 🙂
My mother had a brilliant memory and remembered special dates and occasions without ever having to note them down. Although she was choosy about who deserved her call, we were often served a day’s significance dose along with our morning tea. I always marvelled at her skill in recollecting who belonged at which precise place in the family tree. That too not just ours, mind you. (After almost twelve years I still cannot differentiate between A’s mamas and chachas at times 🙁 ) Impressive, huh?
As her health deteriorated and her memory started playing tricks with her, a lot of things changed. Her eyesight became weak. Our relatives (older generation included) super actively joined social media, which she found arduous and tacky. Nevertheless, after much deliberation she started using Whatsapp, only after the promise of A Jr’s pictures everyday. However, gradually, calls dried up for my offline Mom. The apathy of family/friends towards her conventional ways broke her from inside.
Dad listened to her wails in silence. What could he say? The sad part about relationships is that they break without any noise but taint us irreparably for life. I’m not sure (and don’t care now) whether her sentiments ever reached those responsible. She should’ve gone with much less hurt though. 🙁
When I called to wish Dad on their first wedding anniversary after her passing away, he was pleasantly surprised but happy. Honestly, I loved that. He lost his partner but he deserves to celebrate this special day in his life, doesn’t he? It marked the beginning of a beautiful journey and gave them new experiences everyday. They made a beautiful family and created a lovely home for themselves. They stood by each other through thick and thin and became a role model for many couples. Life cannot be lived more fully and better than this, can it?
It hence broke my heart when Dad casually mentioned that apart from me and my brother no one bothered to call or wish him. These days are just dates on the calendar, I know. The memories attached with them and the people related to them, however, make them special. My intent is not to preach or rant but is expecting to spare a few moments for a man who lost his life partner of 35 years too much?
His emotional balance is astounding, yet one can never forget that lions age too. Has the new impersonal world of social media and the publicly visible instant gratification of likes and comments made us dispassionate about interpersonal relationships? I’m truly scared for the future of mankind with this strange evolution.
Change is inevitable. Yet, can we as humans forget that affection is an emotion that even animals have and identify with? Our relationship with machines, screens or apps cannot help us rest in peace. Let us value people more than some fancy gadget, shall we?
What are your views on this? Please do share with me.