Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Ride for a Lifetime

‘Where are you?’ was the message that I sent out to my wife, on Whatsapp.

I had been waiting at the arrival gate in Bangkok, after the Jet Airways flight that she was travelling on had landed, and most passengers including the stragglers had come out. I had checked that her flight landed at 06:49 am. I had expected her to finish immigration and customs formalities in about an hours time and be out with her baggage by 07:45 am at the latest. I had thus strategically positioned myself at arrival gate B, by 07:30 am. I had seen the early birds with only the hand baggage come out first, followed by the ones with the heavily laden checked baggages.

I was now getting a little concerned as she was nowhere on the horizon. My wi-fi was not connecting and there was no way to contact her through the opaque glass screen separating me from the baggage claim conveyor belt area. 

I finally got connected to the wi-fi and sent her this 'where are you?' message.

‘I am on the third floor in front of S&P’ came the prompt response.

I had sent her detailed step by step instructions on how to navigate through the immigration queues on arrival, in Bangkok. Evidently she had followed them very efficiently and had thus reached the designated rendezvous spot before me, while I was trying to give her a surprise welcome at the arrival gate.

I was happy that she had been able to manage on her own, especially after her last message from Chandigarh that said, ‘U do know that ... I get blank, without you around’. The detailed instructions from me were in response to this rather under-confident message from her.

Going towards the elevator that would take me to the 3rd floor, my thoughts went to the time when we had decided to enter the roller coaster ride of marriage, during our journey of life. She was 18 and I was 25. She was very soft on the outside as I saw her, but very tough on the inside, as I got to discover during our journey together. I on the other hand had a very tough exterior, but a not so hard interior. 

The roller coaster ride that started on 22 Jun 78 is still continuing with each of us learning more about life and living, besides each other, with each passing day. Our journey together took us through many important bends in life, each one better than the previous one. At every new bend, the ride would pause for a moment and then continue gathering speed for the next adrenaline rush best exemplified by science in the medieval man’s ‘fight or flight’ syndrome.

We were each an individual in our own right and had little in common, except being human - the most wondrous creation of God. Our journey blessed us with two beautiful children who gave us great joy just by being a part of our journey. Like birds they have flown away to build their own nests in faraway lands. Physically we are now distant but they are very close in our thoughts. We were blessed with our first grandchild who helped us relive our childhood, and taught us many valuable lessons in life – curiosity, wonder, joy, happiness, spontaneity, all the good things of life that we had long given up in the process that we humans mistakenly call as, ‘growing up’.

A whatsapp message I had received said that a child when asked to name the seven wonders of the world, recounted our ability to see, to think, to hear, to smell, to touch, to feel, and to communicate as the greatest wonders of this world. Only a child could be so insightful; we adults are too knowledgeable for such mundane stuff.

I came out of the elevator on the 3rd floor and there she was with a beaming smile on her face clicking my picture with her cellphone. She promptly sent it on the family group with the caption, ‘And I welcomed my handsome'; I had planned it the other way around though. Happy to be together, we have both grown over the years – she has become tough on the outside too now, and I have become relatively soft on the outside.

Without our knowledge, we have rubbed off a lot on each other in the 38 years that we have been on this life's greatest adventure together. 


Renu said...

Nice goes so fast..even i cant believe that we have been married for 41 years..seems like it was yesterday:)

J P Joshi said...

Thank you Renu. Yes, it seems like yesterday. You are our senior by 3 years.

Abhaya Kumar Singh said...

So very lovingly narrated story of life, Jatinder. The most endearing part of grandparenting is that you have all the time to spend with them - time being in acute short supply when bringing up own children.
Not having known Poonam very well, I would go with your "tough" description of her internally. But I think you are letting your imagination get away with a lot of literary liberty when talking about your tough exterior !! In case you you had a tough exterior age 1 to 16, you could be right. The Jatinder Pal Joshi I have known from age 17 onwards was as genteel on the outside as on the inside.
Hope to keep reading more such gems from you. :-)

J P Joshi said...

Thank you Abhaya. I agree with you that 'time' was at a premium when our kids were growing up. I thus also feel that grand parenting is God's way of giving us a second chance to live life, as per His design - living in the here and now; the present moment. Thank you for your kind words but wish to submit that in this life everything is relative.