Marippan first met Vasaant 40 years ago. Soon after, they were married.
There was no courtship, no dating, no holding hands. It also wasn’t love at first sight. They didn’t marry because they loved each other. They married each other because they were supposed to.
Even though Vasaant was poor, Marippan’s parents decided that his religious background would make him a good husband. Marippan didn’t want the marriage, but simply obeyed. In her time, children do not question their parents.
In Vasaant’s eyes, Marippan was beautiful like an angel. To Marippan, Vasaant was, quite simply, the man she had to serve for the rest of her life. Was there no love?
Meeting us for the first time, Vasaant relaxed on his living room sofa, and quietly spoke about his faith. Pictures and symbols of religious deities filled an entire wall behind him. Marippan sat a comfortable distance away, silent. But not for long.
As she warmed up to our company, Marippan started chirping. In fact, once she started talking, she would go on, and on, and on. She never interrupted her husband, but she would chip in at every available gap. Marippan is an angel who loves to talk.
“Sometimes, I feel lonely”, Marippan said. “So I’ll listen to the radio and make my own coffee. If he’s still in his books, I don’t disturb him.”
Mr Vasaant loves his spiritual books. He can last an entire day without speaking a word. Deeply contemplative, he wakes up every morning to indulge in peaceful meditation, way before dawn, way before an angel starts chirping.
“She’s like a baby, acts like a baby, talks like a baby”, Mr Vasaant quipped. “But I love her like a baby, too”.
“Baby, baby lah!”, Marippan smiled. “But when I’m sad, he talks to me. When he’s sad, I talk to him. Give and take.”
She continued. “He’s a good man. No bad habits. No drinking, no smoking, no fooling around. A very good man.”
Marippan quickly got up, and skipped to her husband’s side. Mr Vasaant wrapped a meaty arm around the shoulders of his faithful wife.
“40 years already. We’re still very happy. She’s a lovely wife.”
I took a picture. Their laughter made even the deities fade into distance.