Yesterday was our anniversary. After so many decades, the thrill of an anniversary is gone. Its like-

‘Its our anniversary, honey.’

‘Oh yeah, so it is’ ***carries on chopping the cucumbers*** ‘ wha..hey..wha..get off…oof..ouch..leave me alone…ugh…you stink..when did you bathe last…you’re incorrigible – 60 and still not had enough….’

See, that’s what happens in a wedding anniversary when you’re 60. But it wasn’t always that way…….

The first time I set eyes on her was in a Satara veg market. Satara is a hick town in Maharashtra, around three hours by road from Pune on the Bangalore highway. There was nothing going on there, for someone in the prime of his life, lookin’ for ‘action’. I had ta make things happen, if you know what I mean. I was the Steve Jobs of Satara.

The girl had had this pony tail, a frilly top and jeans and had a companion, another Iranian girl, who turned out ta be her sister. I was there to buy a couple of brinjals(eggplants) as I wanted ta make baingan ka bharta. Yes, this is no time ta be modest – I am a devastating chef.

The girl was clutching at a huge brinjal, unaware that she was squeezing it real hard. She was gesticulating to the woman in broken Hindi,” Kam karooo, kam karooo, tum boath zyada maangta, mausi. Hum tumko yek rupiah dega, paach nahi, yek, yek…” I have no idea why Iranian girls can’t say ‘karo’ like the rest of us. They have to draw it out with an ‘oooooo’.

And there’s sumpn else about Iranians – they can never say ‘ek’. They have ta make it sound like ‘yek’.

The veggie woman, taking in the girl’s phoren looks and dress, dug in her heels and didn’t budge. If there is a Maharashrian-Konkan version of ‘you can go take a hike, five rupees it is, take it or leave it’, then that’s what she said to the girl.

The girl grudgingly handed over a fiver and took off in a huff, her considerably prettier sister trailing her.

That’s another thing I have noticed in my six decades on earth – why do you always realize a bit late that the girls on your in-laws side are way prettier than the one you actually married? Like, I am willing to bet you a million that at some point you must have wondered why you didn’t marry one of your wife’s younger sisters. Is it like a Murphy’s Law or sumpn?

(How I wish in-laws were like a borrowable pool, like a library – you check a girl out, read her for while and then return her and get ‘nuther one).

Turned out she had a mutual friend and we got invited to the same party.It was the New Years Eve 1992 and we had both been invited. It was raucous but in a subdued way. There were only married couples there. She and I were the only singles and someone, maybe Kanta Auntie, said,’ Hey, people, did you notice there’s only two here who aren’t married?’

To that, a drunk, an incorrigible Parsee guy I enjoyed being with, piped up,’ So? Lesh, get ’em mawwied? Young man, propose to her forthwith.’

Kanta Auntie provided me with a rubber band and I knelt in front of the girl. I was thoroughly sozzled. I mean I had had six large (really large, thanks to that same Parsee guy) vodkas inside me. And she? She was blushing red, trying not to burst into tears.

I slipped the rubber band onto her ring finger and said,’ Will you mawwy me?’ Of course I didn’t mean even a bit of it. But as I held her hands in mine, I couldn’t help but wonder at how tender they were. The rest is history.

The girl turned out to be a good cook but in a continental or Persian sense, Persian cuisine being similar to western European cuisine. I am sure she went home and made a mirza ghazzemi that could walk and talk, that day at the Satara veggie market. Mirza Ghassemi is a dish that resembles baigan ka bharta (Mashed spicy eggplant), but has tons of garlic inside it.

My only regret is that I couldn’t get her ta like pantuas, ledikenis, illish macher shorshé and chingrir malai curry. That’s something you have ta learn early. Getting a good woman who likes ta cook exactly the stuff you love, is rare. Either the broad is great but the dinners sucks or ….ummm…its the other way around. What? Sex? Now that is sumpn else, okay? It is a mutually independent thing. Either yore chic is great sex or its Ashley Madison and exposure for ya, oh yeah

The girl has now turned into a woman whom I refer to from time to time in my blog as ‘that Persian woman who lives in my house’. She is a dear, caring woman who rarely buys anything for herself. We don’t speak to each other much but that is not any cause for alarm.

Marriages turn into well-worn ancient teak after a few decades.

Have you tried kissin’ a teak?