Published: Verve Magazine, Features, February 2009
Illustration by Bappa
Does romance leave you behind at the altar or hold you even tighter in the embrace of marriage? Sitanshi Talati-Parikh traces the transition
It’s astonishing how deeply romantic it is to tie the knot, slip on the sparkly on your ring finger, walk down the aisle with a swishy fountain of lace behind you, or take a turn at the wedding mandap with dramatic chants sung against the sacred leaping flames. At every moment, you are shivering with anticipation, thinking of that spectacular wedding night that awaits you on a bed of roses. From the moment you drag your weary stiletto-ridden feet home after ‘receiving’ your many guests, you’re ready to crash. Literally. In a fun, wine-laced conversation at a recent bachelorette party, we did a show of hands to see how many people actually consummated their marriage on their wedding nights. The handful who did put up their hands, I’m dead sure, were all cock and bull stories, no pun intended. I mean who in their right mind actually does it on the wedding night?! One chica claimed – ‘You must – I mean, just for the heck of it – you have to! It’s your wedding night, after all!’
And that’s exactly how marriages begin. And romance begins to lose its edge. You do things because you have to, not because it’s always fun or scintillating. So what happens to the calls late into the night when you curl your toes under the covers with glee, the little pecks of promise, the anticipation of meeting soon, the entwined fingers and the burning look of intensity in the eyes that sends your spine and neck tingling with sensation? They are replaced by the harried look of multitasking chores, the absent-minded, disoriented air, the brow furrowed with concentration, the distracted monosyllabic answers at the breakfast table over coffee, toast and wireless BlackBerry compote, the intense concentration of a person who has his ambitious head turned skywards straight at the stars. I remind him it could get lonely at the top.
As I plan another vacation, in memory of the bygone days of wooing, to give me a brief glimpse into the young lovers we once were, I placate myself with the thought of a new destination that allows one to forget the responsibilities of life and focus on the simple pleasures. Like enjoying each other’s company in the companionable silence of golden sands and crashing waves. He slides his hand into mine; we flash back in time. At that moment I sense that romance never left us; we left it because of our preoccupations. The young boy’s romance has matured into a man’s love – deeper and subtler. Instead of wallowing in a time warp, I realise the romance didn’t die. It just changed, adapted, grew. The candyfloss tinted glasses fell off. I wouldn’t want it any other way.