Monday, March 16, 2009

Practical Love

Anna says...
Is it possible to learn to love someone? Is this 'mature' love? The love that we are supposed to have?

I've been thinking about all the love stories I've heard over my great uncle, my uncle (I'll save that one for another day) and the war bride on CBC during Remembrance Day...We eat this stuff up, don't we? Something inside of us yearns for a love story....a passionate love story that is filled with sweaty palms and and lingering kisses...But what happens after the love story? What happens when the credits start to roll and you are left with each the middle of a street in London (Bridget Jones' Diary) a Macy's (Serendipity)...looking at the stars (Sleepless in Seattle)...sitting on a bench (Notthing Hill)...on top of a fire escape (Pretty Woman)...when the carriage pulls away from the church (Emma and Pride and Prejudice...ahhh Jane Austin)....We are all left wondering, what happens when they get into a fight? What happens when she realizes that he leaves his dirty socks on the kitchen floor? What happens when HE realizes that she is actually pretty hairy when she doesn't shave? What happens when (GULP!) they eat really bad Indian and need to use the toilet at the same time....?!?!??!?!?!

I have another story to tell you...a story that may seem very unromantic to you (as it did to me when I first heard it). It is short and sweet and anything but romantic....there are no bells, no hallelujah chorus...just this...

Once upon a time in India there lived a family...a father, a mother, a brother and a daughter. The father and mother worked hard to provide for their children. The children worked hard to keep their parents happy. The son was bright and confident. The daughter was independent and the beauty of her village. She had long, thick, glossy black hair. A pale, olive complexion and full beautiful lips. To this day, she is remembered in her village for people walking behind her just to see her thick braid swing back and forth.

She was very innocent of the world. She spent most of her days on the farm, picking leaves from banana trees to feed the family cow, getting water from the well, taking her pet goat(Marathi) on walks through the forest. She didn't have many friends, but was very close with her mom. She often sat at the kitchen table and chatted with her for hours about silly things women talk about.

She went to was her father's dream that she become a doctor, unfortunately for her she was not the greatest at math. She had just turned twenty-four and her parents (and her) decided that it was time to find a husband. So, they put an ad in the paper that went something along the lines of:

"Christian. Pale complexion. Daughter of _______." a nearby village there lived a boy...a mischievous little boy. He was the youngest boy in a family of fourteen. He was not the most academic child, but tried very hard. Unfortunately, his family was quite poor and couldn't provide all that they could for him. He had a good life though. He spent quite a bit of time running through the forest with his brothers and friends, eating cassava, coconut, jackfruit and mangoes.

Eventually this little boy grew up...and became quite a dashing young man...although a little too skinny. He decided that it was time to discover the world. So, he packed his belongings said goodbye to his family and went to the Middle-East. He traveled through Oman, Musket, the United Arab Emirates...He met some friends and worked as a mechanic for a few years. There were a few sketchy moments during his time in the U.A.E. It was quite hard to be a Christian living in a Islamic state at the time. But he enjoyed himself immensely.

Eventually, he became lonely and knew that it was time to take the plunge and get married. He called his brother who arranged for him to meet a marriage broker back in his village. So, he went on a shopping trip and bought four different saris to give to his new wife (whomever she should be).

Meanwhile....the young lady was having no luck....although she had quite a few prospective men, lawyers, accountants....none of them impressed her. Her parents were supportive and trusted her opinion. They knew she was an excellent judge of character. So, they kept looking.

One day. A meek looking man came to the door with his brother (OUR GUY!). He was dressed to impress in a white shirt and loungey, hair combed with sweaty palms...They sat for chai with her brother, her father and her mother. The conversation was easy, although the beauty barely spoke.

Finally, the man and his brother left. The woman turned to her parents. She had decided. This was him. He was solid. He was hard-working. He wanted the same things in life. He wanted to live in another country. He had ambition and drive. What more could she want?

Her father called the marriage broker and they were married within two days. He left for the Middle-East a couple of months later. Eventually they had two children. One (very annoying) daugther born in India. One witty and HILARIOUS daughter in Canada. They have been married for over twenty-five years now.

There was no passionate kiss in the rain (Four Weddings and a Funeral), not even a makeout session in an airport (Bend It Like Beckham)...I hope (shudder). But my parents love each other. You can tell by the way my mom wraps my dad's lunch in the morning. The way my dad puts out my mom's shoes before she goes to work. The way they sit in the dark watching the street. They love each other silently and respectfully and without resentment. My dad still giggles like a school-boy when my mom hugs him. My mom still cooks him his favorite meals. Their love is beautiful and pure. Isn't this the ideal? And to all came about so practically...

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