Anniversary, After, All.

10th of May, 2015.

Our First wedding anniversary.

We were going to move into our first apartment together. A home we both would make our own. We had packed up half of our belongings the weekend before. Ready to move on the 7th of May. New lease signed. Uhaul truck booked. Amazon order for patio lights and trinkets placed. Romantic dinner in the new apartment planned. Anniversary gifts on the way. Happiness. Excitement.

We spent our first anniversary together. Not in a way I imagined. We weren’t arranging furniture in our new apartment. Instead, he was on a bed of ice. With ten different wires snaking into different machines and apparatus that kept him alive. We weren’t on the patio, decked with lights and candles. Instead, the lights on the monitors told us he was still fighting to stay alive. He was in a dollhouse, made of fine china. He was too fragile. Nothing could be moved or touched. He couldn’t bear any movement. Not for a CT scan. Not for an x-ray. Not for a cleanse or a bath. Zero movement. Frozen. I know what being “in critical condition” means now. The words fail to represent the pain, the emotion and the intensity of the situation.

I wanted to give him a hug. That was not an option. Touch him, maybe?  Some gesture, some sign to tell him I was near. We all were. Close to him. To tell him that he needs to fight. That he was going to make it through. I made peace with placing my fingers close to his. We spent our anniversary together. On that day, in that moment, that was all that mattered.

I had woken up to a new reality and into a new life after the accident and the surgery. The day of the 10th came by. I knew it was our anniversary.  I wanted to be with Jitish. That was it.

I don’t remember much else of the day. I remember reaching for my sister. A lot. She is who kept Jitish alive for me. Relaying information on his medical condition. Praying for him. For me. The 10th was also Mother’s day. She missed being with her son that day. Another phrase that fails to convey the true gratitude I have for having her, “Thank you”.

My sister had sent out news of our accident to family, colleagues, and friends. My parents were there. Our friends had come down as soon as they had heard of the accident as well. Figgie, my bestie, was by my side even before I gained consciousness. Our friends had also helped us make the move. Arnab, Vishram, Figgie, Swastik, Harsha, Shreenath, Saurabh. Thank you for picking up the pieces. Friends and colleagues visiting. Megan. Katie and Quynh. Sharmili and Sudheendra. My boss, David, was there before I even went into surgery. We have been blessed with friends and family who have big hearts. Truly blessed.

On the 10th of May, we were all quiet. I don’t quite remember if there were wishes. I am not sure we had the courage. After a whole week of watching over us, my sister was leaving to go home to her family. I just felt sick. Before she left, we all sat down to pray. We read the Hanuman Chalisa – meant to give courage and bring good health. We then read the Vishnu Sahasranamam – 1000 names of Lord Vishnu, it brings unwavering calm of mind, complete freedom from stress and brings eternal knowledge. We were invoking a miracle.

There were no celebrations. Just silent thanks for helping us keep him alive. For another day. My friends from Ohio were so kind and thoughtful. They made sure that Jitish and I celebrated our anniversary. Despite the fact. They got us desserts and Gulab Jamuns, Jitish’s all time favorite Indian dessert. I was a mess and refused to eat anything until Jitish did as well. It was going to be a long wait.

Today. A year later. The 10th of May, 2016.

We are still together. No medical lights or wires around. After a year, and many stops on the way, we made it home. I don’t have to worry before I want to hold his hand or give him a hug. I am not sure he understands what a marriage is, let alone a wedding anniversary. But he seems happy. Excited that today is something new. Something to celebrate about. We had a nice dinner. It is a happier wedding anniversary.

It is nothing like we still planned. Nothing like we imagined. But it is what we have today. In the hope that the next anniversary will be a lot more joyous with lesser worries. Here is my two cents to you – celebrate with what you have.

His fight continues. And I am where I want to be. By his side.

The romantic dinner on the patio can wait another year. The rings will be back on their way. Until then, this is for you, Shon. It was meant for you and me. I hope one day, you read this. And laugh. And smile. I hope one day, you understand. And remember our life together.

Though you know it anyhow
Listen to me, darling, now,

Proving what I need not prove
How I know I love you, love.

Near and far, near and far,
I am happy where you are;

Likewise I have never larnt
How to be it where you aren’t.

Far and wide, far and wide,
I can walk with you beside;

Furthermore, I tell you what,
I sit and sulk where you are not.

Visitors remark my frown
Where you’re upstairs and I am down,

Yes, and I’m afraid I pout
When I’m indoors and you are out;

But how contentedly I view
Any room containing you.

In fact I care not where you be,
Just as long as it’s with me.

In all your absences I glimpse
Fire and flood and trolls and imps.

Is your train a minute slothful?
I goad the stationmaster wrothful.

When with friends to bridge you drive
I never know if you’re alive,

And when you linger late in shops
I long to telephone the cops.

Yet how worth the waiting for,
To see you coming through the door.

Somehow, I can be complacent
Never but with you adjacent.

Near and far, near and far,
I am happy where you are;

Likewise I have never larnt
How to be it where you aren’t.

Then grudge me not my fond endeavor,
To hold you in my sight forever;

Let none, not even you, disparage
Such a valid reason for a marriage.

Written by my all time favorite poet: Ogden Nash.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anjana Krishnan says:

    Hi Soumya

    I have been following your blog for quite sometime now. I thought you should know that you are someone i look up to. You have braved and defeated every curve ball thrown your way. It takes immense strength to do what you are doing and i hope you and Jitish come out of this safe and sound! I will continue to follow your blog and pray for the well being of you and your family.



  2. Neeta Verma Gujral says:

    Hey Sowmya,

    Firstly hats off to your strength, perseverance, faith, determination & positivity to help you pen down all that your going through! You may not know me but Jitish surely does! I’m his classmate from school (9th grade APS Pune) & our mutual friend (also a classmate) happened to come across your blog & shared it with me & boy! are we shaken to know that our old pal has been fighting for his life for over a year!!!The npic from the hospital have jolted me & I literally had to pinch myself to believe that this is our Jitish!! The first thing I did was pray the moment I got the news! Soumya, as a wife I can totally understand & relate to every emotion you’ve been going through & I have immense faith in the almighty to know that he’ll be on his feet sooner than you can think. Your truly an inspiration in so many ways & Jitish is the luckiest guy on this planet to have a gem of a wife like you. Love & prayers for you and your family! This too shall pass!

    Neeta Verma Gujral


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