I am what they call a Boomer, a baby boomer.
The phrase ‘Baby Boomers’ refers to those individuals born in the United States(and the rest of the world) between 1946 and 1964. These individuals became adults during the Vietnam war and have lived during the era of the Beatles, Woodstock, Watergate, Hippy Culture, Women Liberation movement, and so on.
Indian Baby Boomers went through the Indo Pak wars, Indira Gandhi, the emergency, MGR, Rajesh Khanna, the growth of Dhirubhai Ambani and Manamohanics. I am a proud Baby Boomer. Millennials (Those born after the late1980’s) take a jab at me stereotyping me as a typical boomer who does not respect women enough.
I can’t disagree or blame them entirely, and I will tell you why.
It was exactly 31 years ago on this very same day, February 7th 1989.I got up as usual at six in the morning. I had been married for nine months. My wife Mamatha was already up and had changed into a regular dress. She was sitting on the bed and looked lost in her thoughts. She was six months pregnant with our first child.
“Good morning,” I said and got up.
“Good morning,” she said.
I got out of the bed, finished my morning ablutions and left for my morning jog. Mamatha was still sitting on the bed and did not come out. Of the room I thought she was having morning sickness.
“Is everything OK?” I asked her. She nodded her head without saying anything.
I returned from my Jog, fished my shower, ate up the breakfast that Mamatha had prepared; Kesari Bath a sweet dish along with my favourite Upma. I merrily polished off more than my share while Mamatha ate silently.
“OK, Bye” I said while putting on my shoes and heard no reply. Mamatha had been indifferently silent since morning for the first time since our nine months of married life.
I took out my Gypsy Jeep out of the garage and left for my office. I reversed my vehicle and got out of the Gate, I turned and waved to Mamatha, but she wasn’t there at the door. I shrugged and left speeding away with the impression that she was moody because of her morning sickness from her pregnancy.
As I was rummaging through the morning correspondence in my office, my Secretary Vasantha called me on my intercom.
“Sir, Mamatha Madam’s father is on line,” she said
“Connect him,” I said a little flustered as to what was it that Mamatha did not tell me but told her father.
“Good morning Mr Rangaswamy,” I said.
“Good morning Mohan. How are you?”
“I am fine. How are you?”
“Good. Good. Listen, do you know what date is today?” my father-in-law asked me.
“Yes. It is February 7th. Why?” I asked him still a trifle worried.
“What is special about today?”
“I don’t know. I do not remember anything special that happened today” I said anxiously to know what was wrong.
“Can you guess?” he asked me. I tried hard but did not remember anything of significance.
“No,” I said.
“Today is Mamatha’s birthday,” he said.
“Oh, Shit,” I said and staggered out of my chair, speechless. I felt like an eel on the deepest bottom of the deepest ocean in the world.
I left immediately for home. As I ran calling out to Mamatha, I heard no response. I went to the bedroom and saw Mamatha sitting on the bed crying, her head and her two hands on her knees.
What happened next can only be summed up in the form of a lesson;
“The most effective way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once.”
On this unforgettable day in my life, I want to dedicate this blog to my wife Mamatha and consider it my cardinal duty to share my experiences of a husband who has been…..Ahem… happily married for 32 years. So here goes;
1-Organize-When we got married I was not the most organized person. I would have things scattered all over and usually couldn’t find some stuff. I learnt to fold my clothes, do the sheets and clean my wardrobe from her.
2-Find new adventures- When it came to food or places, I tended to stick to places I knew and cuisine I was comfortable. She changed that in me. Now I seek out different adventures and am open to new cuisines.
3-Courage, grit and determination-After our first child was born blind she was undeterred and mothered two more normal and healthy children.
4-Quest for knowledge-From Yoga to Classical Music to swimming, from seed therapy to colour therapy, her willingness and eagerness to learn new things is an inspiration.
5-I never wanted my children to do what I did in my childhood, steal money to buy toys. Hence I have always been extra liberal to the point of never saying no to their demands. It is only because of my wife that there is a strong value of Frugality and discipline in my children who are adults now.
But I now totally understand and admit; it is not OK for a husband to forget his wife’s birthday.
Thanks and happy birthday Mamatha.