A man can’t help adoring a woman who shares significant traits with his mother.
A man can’t help adoring a woman who shares significant traits with his mother. When my father was incapacitated by a stroke, my mother T.B. Padmavathi took over the reins of the family. Despite running a household with six children, she acquired B.Ed and M.A. (Tamil Literature) degrees — she became a professor at the Lady Willingdon Teachers’ Training College. In 1988, two years after my marriage to Janani, I was out of employment because my company folded up. With our daughter Shruthi just a year old, there were too many responsibilities at home. Following a Montessori training, she took a teacher’s job to support the family. She equipped herself with more qualifications — B.Ed, M.A. (English Literature) — and landed a good teaching position at a reputed school, and went on to become the principal of another.
Fed on syrupy Mills & Boons romances, I was not quite prepared for a man who shunned dandy dressing and did not believe in profligate expressions of love. He was extremely handsome, but far from the archetypical hero of English romantic literature. He had a deep distaste for dresses that were in trend, and stuck to a lacklustre style from the past, and did not share my enthusiasm for hidden love notes and midnight birthday gifts. His attitude was a disappointment, but he was absolutely lovable. His devotion to the family can’t be matched by any of the Mills & Boons heroes. He encouraged me to go for higher studies — and when I switched from teaching to technical writing, he supported the decision. Earlier, when I had started working, he looked after our daughter with the tender care of a mother.
It is rarely that a woman acknowledges her indebtedness to her in-laws. My mother’s sister, who remained a spinster, gave us her property in a prime locality. Janani never tires of expressing her gratitude — this property, which we are renting out, has contributed greatly to our financial stability.
We are two very different people who have learnt, over the years, to dream together. I’m ambitious, he is laidback. While he will give his right arm for an antique, I can accept one only if it serves an earthly purpose. He is gadget-savvy; I am a great one at mishandling gadgets. He is an auto expert; I am yet to figure out how to back a car into the driveway. While he hoards antiques and gadgets, he does not bother to clean them — I take up the unpleasant chore. On the positive side, it is easier now to get him to wear trendy shirts and trousers. This proves that it takes a woman half a lifetime to win her man over to her taste.
As told to Prince Frederick