After a busy day at office, I decided to get my feet down to the CCD and read Sidney Sheldon’s “Master Of The Game” over a coffee. At regular intervals I keep glancing at this couple sitting 2 tables across me and their obvious closeness is making me uncomfortable. So I decide to approach them and have a small talk.

“Hi!! I am not an avid believer of true love, but, I could not help notice you two. I was just curious, How old are you two?” The question should have caught them off guard, or thats what I thought, but the gentleman looked at his significant half and smiled.

“Well I am 65 and my wife here is 58. Why do you ask?” The gentleman said in a gentlest tone.

“65?? So how long have you known each other. At least 40 I guess.”

“38 to be more precise. Its our wedding anniversary today.” The lady said.

I could not help smiling and said, “Oh Happy wedding anniversary. So its 8 in the evening and you are in CCD, should not you be with your relatives celebrating the occasion. Dont mind me being so candid but I really curious.”

“Oh no not at all son. Why dont you make yourself comfortable first?” So I did, and ordered for a cappuccino.

“I am Mr. Mehta, I am a Parsi while my wife here is a Christian. We are celebrating our anniversary over a latte and black forest as you can see. Just the two of us. We do that every year as we dont have any close relatives.” Mr. Mehta said.

“Dont you have kids?” I questioned quiet surprised.

“Of course we do” Mr. Mehta said with a hint of smile questioning my stupid question.”Actually we have 3 sons and 2 daughters.”

“Thats a big family, so why arent they here? Family problems?”

“Not at all. They are very good kids. They are all settled abroad and visit us whenever they can. In fact, our youngest son just visited us two weeks back.”

“Wow. So you live alone? In Mumbai?”

“You dint notice. I have a beautiful wife by my side. I am not alone son.” He said holding her hand more tightly this time. I could see Mrs Mehta giggling again from the corner of my eye.”

“So you dont have any relatives in Mumbai.”

“We do have relatives but we are not on good terms with them.” Mrs Mehta Said.

“Why is that so?” I asked sitting upright.

“You see, we are not from the same caste. So our parents never agreed upon our marriage. After 2 years of trying to convince our parents, we decided to run away, which we did.” Mrs Mehta said, dropping her smile.

“Oh I know that one. Typical Indian parents forcing their kids to marrying into so called same caste rich family. But that doesnt explain distant relatives.”

“I was getting to that. It so happened that, 6 months after we got married, my father died of the trauma of a runaway daughter. According to my mother, he was continuously humiliated in the society and being a respected man that he was, he could not bear the pain and died of a heart attack. Everyone in and out of the family accused us for his death, we were banished from the family, I never even got to see my fathers dead body.” Mrs Mehta said, her eyes making way for tears now.

“I am sorry I asked this. You must feel very bad.”

“Well the only thing that I feel bad about is that I never got to see him.”

“So you dont regret he died because you two took a drastic step.”

“For next few years, yes, I did regret. But then, when I looked back at it, we been together for 38 years. Yes we lost relatives, but then, you need someone to be by your side all your life and not someone you talk to once in a while on phone. My husband is very supportive and he supported me well. We had our share of problems and we stood for each other. What we did was wrong, and our families suffered because of our mistakes. But we were at a point where we could not turn back. We accepted being social outcast and took the humiliation in our stride.”

“Stop me if I am being too candid. How does it feel to wake up every morning and find the same woman in the bed for 38 years.” I asked hoping I wont get kicked out of my chair.

“Well, I dint see just a woman in my bed. I saw a woman who left her family for me. I saw a woman who knows I am half responsible for her fathers death, and yet she stands with me. Sometimes, you have to change the way you look at people, if you want to keep them in your life.” I dint completely agree with what Mr. Mehta said. So I decided to shoot another one.

“You been together for 38 years. I am sure you two know each other inside out. How did deal with flaws.”

“Its simple. We ignore them.”

“That doesnt convince me.”

“Ok, let me try. My wife had nasal deviated septum for over 10 years. It was annoying watching her bleeding nose amongst people and snoring at night and visiting doctor every now and then. But then, I also knew that, she had done something for me, that no woman consider doing.”

“Really. Like what?”

“After 6 years 0f marriage, we found ourselves in a financial crisis. We had a son, 4 year old and a daughter 7 months old. During this crisis, I found a job that required me to work for 18 months overseas. The pay was very good, exactly what we needed to get through this crisis. But I refused to take the job as it was literally impossible for a woman to handle two kids with her husband not around. But my wife convinced me into taking up the job, as it was the only option for our survival.”

“So you are telling me that you stayed in an alien land without your wife and kids. I am just curious. How did you get your wife into trusting you that you wont be unfaithful to her?”

“I dint have to. We both knew this was the biggest test of our lives. If we could get through these 18 months, we had a beautiful life waiting for us. Our love for each other, faith in each other, was mutual and unspoken. A relation is a thin thread held by two souls at each end. It takes just a scissor of misunderstanding to cut this thread. And relation is not about how good you know each other, its about how good you are at avoiding these misunderstandings. If we keep babbling about each others flaws all the time, then it would not live any room for us to appreciate what we have done for each other and what we been through. We have 4 servants at our disposal, but I only eat food cooked by my wife.” Mr Mehta said.

“While I never eat alone. Because he wont eat until I feed him some.” Mrs Mehta added.

“Well, thats a deep thought you said their. So how was it when you returned from overseas.” I asked.

“We had 3 kids in next 2 years. So you can imagine.” Mrs Mehta said with a mischievous smile. I could not help laughing.

“I dont know what to say, but I wish to see you again, on your 50th anniversary.”

“I bet you will. Good night dear.” They said in unison.

I walked towards the counter to pay my check, with a big smile on my face. A lady answered my call.

“Hi, check please.”

“That would be 90, sir.” She said, handling me the receipt.

“Listen, can you do me a favor. I want a chocolate cake served on that table over there, with the old couple. Add it to my bill, please.”

“And what would be the occasion, sir?” she asked. I thought for a minute and said.

“Its their 38th wedding anniversary. But I want you to add something to it.”

“And that would be?”

“Made in HEAVEN.”