This weekend happened to go to a function. It was similar to Shastiabdha poorthi in concept, but the thing is, instead of the couple hitting the 60 year old mark, it was an event to celebrate the fact that, they had been celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary!!! 60 years of wedlock. Wow. There are a few more things that makes it even more Wow-ier, if at all that's a word.
They were the land lord of the house we were previously staying. The entire street advised us against taking that house for rent, for the notoriety of the house owner was that much well established in that area. He was like Manal Kayiru S.Ve.Sekar, with a huge list of conditions for tenants and he would ensure that, whoever resides would either vacate unable to follow his rules or would get into a fight with him on the very first month with reasons aplenty and would vacate out of frustration. No wonder people hated him. Right from the milk man to the tailor to the news paper boy, he fought with every single person he interacted on a daily basis. His neighbours cursed their luck for having to put up with him and when he put one of the apartments for sale, there were hardly any takers.
What was that made him so infamous and how we managed to stay in that house for 4 years is stuff of a legend. Firstly, the so called rules that he laid for the tenants were all practical and any person, who built their house, brick for brick with care and love, would ensure that no harm comes to their labour of love. He had a garden on terrace that he took care as if its his own kids. The fact that none of their 4 kids stayed with them is a side story. In the rental agreement, he had a clause stating that, if the tenant had any kids, they shouldn't play in the terrace for there were delicate horticultural arrangements. He had a point that mentioned that the main door would be locked at ten sharp and whoever comes after ten had to open the lock with their own key. Being a diabetic, he took his medicines on time and would be asleep dot at ten. After which idiye idichalum he can't hear. Not wanting to be disturbed from his sleep, he made it a point on the agreement itself. There were so many other nitty gritties each of which had a valid justification from his end. Somehow, me and mom were able to cope up with all of the conditions and after the first year, he became so friendly that, he used to request mom to take care of the plants when he went for pilgrimage with his wife. When we were about to vacate the house, it must've been too much of an ego to overcome, he even hinted that we can stay for as long as we want at the same rent. We had to move on as the house was on first floor and it took too much of an effort for mom to climb up and down everyday. The entire street were stunned to see us surviving him and his rules and managing to stay in that house for 4 years. When we vacated, people openly told us, if we can survive him, we can stay anywhere in the world.
To my shocking surprise, for the event that i mentioned previously, to celebrate his wedding anniversary, the same bunch of people turned up and every single one of them, fell at the feet of the old couple seeking their blessing, unmindful of the fact that their dislike for them is an open secret known for all. The only reason for the turnout was nothing but, the love and affection that the elderly couple had for each other. Being Saurashtrian, whenever they used to shout at each other, half the time, we wouldnt even know whether they are conversing or cursing at each other, for their tones are a direct rival to Arnab Goswami at whisper level. The bigger secret would be not how we managed to stay at their house for 4 years but how they managed to stay wedded to each other for so many years!!!
Despite all his materialistic misgivings, our landlord, with his unflinching love for his wife and his respect for his marriage, won over everyone. The same people who were all in praise of them during the event are going to back bite, come next day. He would still be that monster house owner, out to torment tenants. But on that day, everything was forgotten. For the right reason. Love.
Wishing them much more decades of happy married life :)
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