A Gift This Anniversary...

Sahitya Academy award for the best story ever written, a mob of fans calling out for autographs, celebrity status, etc, are the stuff of my dreams... 

But the harsh reality is, the encouragement and praises in superlatives from my wife - who never reads beyond the first two lines of my stories, zero comments from friends who are forced to read what I thrust on them, and very few ‘left-handed compliments’ has left me dismayed to say the least. 

However, it has not deterred me from doing what I do best – scribbling some lines here and there. 

This time it is like a confession. It has taken me a long time to get to the stage where I am willing and comfortable to make such an admission. I think some of my friends will be shocked at what I have to say. 

Let me make it very clear right up front that some things are not very funny. Of course, most things in my life and about me are marvelous targets of humor.

It was a few days back. Me and my wife were dinning out, knowing well our wedding anniversary was round the corner.

“Our anniversary’s coming up --- next Wednesday..,” she said.

“Hmm., time flies..” I sighed.

“One of my friend’s husband gifted her a diamond necklace on their anniversary....” she said, sounding as if the necklace was robbed off her own neck and given away.

“Oh.. what a coincidence.. I thought of giving you a ‘surprise’ too,” I said trying to cheer her up. “Infact, I have a solitaire diamond ring for my sweet...my anniversary gift.”

After those words tumbled out of my mouth, I could not believe it was me actually saying those words. 

Anyway, the words brought an instant grin to her face as it does to most women when you talk about gold and diamonds. She almost jumped out of her skin. Like the sun rising in the morning, her face lit up and a big smile came across her face.

“Really?.. Purchased already or you… are.. going to..” 

“..Well, it isn’t a surprise anymore.. ha ha..” I laughed.

She was a bundle of excitement all through the evening that day. It was so good to see her in such a mood, I wished I could gift her diamond rings every time we went out.

I must admit that the first years of my marriage were quite a learning experience. 

I do not think being a husband is natural to men. It is something you learn all by yourself, it's nothing that parents pass on to their children like taste for a particular fish, a liking for sports or football or cricket or ‘dhirio’, singing or acting or simply doing your best in life.

Gold or diamonds! One of the things on my shopping agenda this Anniversary was definitely a nice present for my wife. Although I have had years of experience in this, I have been no better off than our first anniversary. 

In all these years, I had given her everything from fake jewellery to cowshed perfume to Arabic shoorma sandwiches. 

This year, I had really not known what to buy. 

If I took her a dress, I would only be putting my life on the line. If the dress was too small, she would be offended to think I thought she was gaining weight. If the dress was too large – well, you know what that would mean. 

If I did not get her something, I would look pretty silly come anniversary evening – I mean sillier than usual. Anyway, I guess everybody has the right to celebrate their own way. 

That night after dinner, no sooner we got home and went to our bedroom, the first thing my wife said, “Show me the ring..!”


“The solitaire diamond ring you said you took..” she looked up at me. 

A streak of panic flowed through my body, freezing up every muscle I had. I felt like a cat on hot bricks.

:::Although larger than life, the story is just an imagination of the writer:::

“Diamond ring? You know very well it will cost a fortune, don’t you? Anyway, it’s on my list for our Silver Wedding, a millennium away anyway.”

“You said you already brought...”

“Are you crazy? That was a true, white lie. You know that right? Am sorry but that was only to take your mind away and change your moods..”

She gave me a dirty look which I truly deserved. I was not sure if I would see the ‘bridal smile’ she wore that day, for a little while to come.

During these kinda situations, I have made it a practice to stay away from her sight or from the kitchen area as much as possible. I didn’t know what I was thinking, but I went into the kitchen to make myself a cup of black tea. On the surface, it looked rather innocent. 

I finished pouring my tea and turned to exit as quickly as possible when I ran into you know who. 

“I was wondering if you might do me a little favor,” she said.

The seductive sound of her voice caught me off guard and I stopped and said the unthinkable. At that time I forgot that a ‘little favor’ had nothing to do with the word ‘little.’ 

“I’ll be glad to do anything for you dear,” I replied. However, I knew in my right mind I would never respond in that manner. 

“That's wonderful. I knew you would say yes...” 

I knew I was in some serious trouble. I did not quite know what kind of trouble I was in but I was going to find out soon. 

One thing struck both of us as we relaxed and drank the tea. Believe me, it's a rare occasion when the same thought invades both of our thinking space at the same time. She seems to always know what I am thinking and I never seem to be thinking. 

She looked at me and said, “Do you know what I have been thinking?” 

Being a husband for as many moons as I have been, I knew a trick question when I heard it. Since this was the eve of another anniversary, how would I know she was not using it to get in one more trick question? 

Anyway, I threw caution to the wind and walked into her trap. 

Sometimes it's best to keep your mouth shut especially when I am with my wife. Still I asked, “No, what have you been thinking?” 

“I know you are too busy to go shopping and buy that ring, I will buy myself…”

“.. Hmm? Sure dear..”

“I will use your credit card..”

I do not know any politician that has anything on my wife. She can smooth talk better than anybody I know. Throughout the glorious years of our marriage, we have had few disagreements. I suppose I could count them all on my one hand. 

It is largely because of her sweetness.

I hear, of course, of many couples who do nothing but fight from morning till night. I have always wondered what the purpose of all that is and what it ever accomplished. I think there is a better way to live together. 

I had learnt that over the years.

There were several phrases I had memorized and used them in recent times whenever I found myself cornered that kept me in good standing with her -- like ‘Yes dear,’‘I do agree with you,’‘You're right, dear’.

I found that if I included the word ‘dear,’ with all of my responses it fared fairly well. I decided to use the tactic, for sure I was not going to part away with my hard earned money.

“I guess we should not exchange any gifts this anniversary, dear,” I said. “As we look back over the years, the gifts we’ve given each other, none of them are anything memorable...”

“Hmm! So you know the credit card's expired, hmm?..hmm?.. .” she stated. 

That was some news, and it was good news.

“Sorry dear, I never meant you should not buy..! Well..” I made my face as sad and sorry as I possibly could.

“...The money has been budgeted," she uttered slowly, "we have it there to spend if it is to be spent on something that will bring us value.. ..”

I turned to her. Wide eyes. 

“I already have my gift,” she said smiling, “a gem more precious than diamonds..” 

Her words left me a bit stunned. In all our years of marriage, this anniversary I felt she was on the same page as mine. 

Later that night as I got into bed besides her, tears welled up my eyes as a verse of Scripture cropped up into my head: 

“Thank you, Father, for the gift of my wife. You are the giver of all good and perfect blessings, and I am amazed how You show Your love through her. Please help me to cherish such an amazing gift.”-James 1:17

gaspersworld, Goa, Navelim,
:::HAPPY WEDDING ANNIVERSARY dearest esparansa:::

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