For nine years, I have waxed eloquent on this blog about how different R and I are and how beautifully this yin and yang works out. That’s been an ongoing theme of my wedded life, a life that I sometimes don’t know what I did to deserve.
This year though, I have something else to say, something about R I’d love to emulate but I am not sure if I can. And it’s something that I think about every single day these days. Sample this. It is 2018. And R has not even for one minute felt any need whatsoever to post a meal, an opinion, a selfie, or a life or career development on social media. That’s right. He follows exactly six people on Twitter – Dhoni, Tendulkar, Harsha Bhogle, Sidin, and me. I am in august company, in more ways than one. Not that he is very bothered about any of our performative activism, politics, sports, or comedy there. He hasn’t logged in since that one hazy night in 2011 when he made that handle. He doesn’t have a Facebook app on his phone and for 9 years in a row, I have fulfilled my own people pleasing tendencies by responding to birthday greetings on his wall. He is not on Instagram, and doesn’t have any need whatsoever to click pictures of clouds outside the window because come on, they are not that new.
It is 2018 and I am married to a man who still reads news, doesn’t froth at the mouth looking at an endless scroll of 280 characters about news. He spends his time not in the dead sea of Instagram stories because apparently, Mac Rumours is better. He still has time to think and feel deeply about real, physical things around him. He is usually in the moment, looking at people in the eye when he talks to them. He usually doesn’t check a single WhatsApp forward that makes its way to his inbox, not till I read or play the ones in our common groups for him.
It is 2018 and I am married to the only person I know below 70 who rejects social media without considering it an act of rebellion or putting on a show about how “different” he is. He does it not because he isn’t interested but because the performance isn’t necessary in his world. What’s amazing is that he still stays in touch with people he cares about. But without any obsessive need to complete cycles of pointless small talk, to please people, or to be funny and likeable from across a screen.
It is 2018 and I am married to a man who knows what’s going on in the world without flash, inconsiderate opinions about any of it. I have known him to be deeply, madly in love with his homeland, secretly shedding a tear now and then over songs about desh in another lifetime. He came down to cast his vote in 2014 and took air force exams in another lifetime. What he didn’t do was to make a performance of his desh prem on social media.
It is 2018 and I am married to the most authentic person I know. And it has taken me a good 9 years to admit that I don’t just love him for it or find it endearing. I have insane amounts of respect for him for showing me that it is indeed possible to reject pop culture and peer pressure without feeling superior about it. And that performative funniness, intelligence, cleverness, niceness are still not necessary, not even in 2018. For showing me that lives, careers, and relationships can exist, even grow from strength to strength without all of this recent unnecessary fluff that I deem so important in the name of career, activism, staying in touch and being informed.
Happy 9, R! I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t married to you and couldn’t see you live the way you do. I will probably never fully understand it or be able to do it myself, so thank you for balancing my extremes every single day, in every single way. Love.