I felt things would work out if I could infuse a bit of humour into our life. So, I did silly things like leave a poem in his lunch box about his being my “Lord and Master” ,hide behind the kitchen door while he read my note on the dining table saying ‘I’m out’ and pranks like that. Slowly, he thawed. He could not keep a stiff upper lip in the face of such frivolity. I also took the trouble to keep the house clean and tidy and learnt cooking through a correspondence course from my mother-in-law. Since Srivatsa was serving on Vikrant the aircraft carrier, he used to sail often. During that time, I went to tailoring and embroidery classes conducted by a Naval wife. Every time he came back from sailing, our drawing room would have cushion covers and table cloths embroidered by me. I would surprise him with dishes I learnt from my friends. In short, he could never predict my next move! We still had rough patches but they were getting smoother. He, on his part, let down his ‘airs’ and started enjoying the quirks of life.
I was very fond of dancing. Srivatsa was not. Every time we went to a Ball (the Armed Forces loves these) he would be sitting like a wall flower and I would dance with his friends. He had no problems with my dancing with others as long as he did not have to go on the floor. This went on for a couple years. Once, we went as usual, with our circle of friends, to the Navy Ball. Usha Iyer (now Uthup) was singing. Everybody was dancing to her lively numbers and suddenly, Srivatsa dragged me to the floor and started dancing! Thank you Usha. Since then, we are ardent dancers and we would be the first and last on the dance floor!!. To think that was Srivatsa’s way of saying he too could dig his heels in and make his contribution. You have to just switch your attitude!
Srivatsa had his own way of making a point and I was sharp enough to get it. Once, he admired a fellow officer’s wife for being soft spoken. I knew I was loud. In the next party we went to, I sat beside the lady he referred to and observed her. Within a week’s time I, had mastered the art of being soft spoken (I can still be loud!). I was never jealous of any woman he admired. I was curious and took tips. It was a self development exercise which benefited me as a person. I did not do what I did to win his approval. It was more as a challenge to see if I could do what other women could.
Our vibes got better as we understood each other. His parents meant a lot to Srivatsa and I appreciated that. Though we are poles apart in our attitude to life, I was willing to go the extra mile with my mother-in-law. Conditioned by her own environment, she is an introvert and difficult to reach out to. But I did not stop trying! Our relationship has been like a ferries wheel but it moves and that’s all the matters. I don’t believe in alienating my husband from his family. If a man can dump his mother or sisters, he can dump his wife whom he has known for a shorter time!