Our family isn’t much for calendar holidays, certainly not the ones that require material gifts. For birthdays, Sandeep and I try to experience something new together, such as a flying lesson or a cooking class. We used to limit our Christmas gifts to each other to $20, which makes the shopping experience all the more thoughtful, but last year we stopped giving each other anything. We have yet to give Ava or Kayan a Christmas or birthday present. They aren’t complaining about it yet.
Needless to say, we aren’t into Valentine’s Day. If anything, February 14 is a minor annoyance when people ask about our plans. Do we really need a day to celebrate the person we love? All cynicism aside, I realize love is something to celebrate so I’m doing something that will appall Sandeep when he checks the blog today. I’m going to profess to all of you why I am so happy to have him as my life companion.
He is always up for anything. How lucky am I that he was willing to uproot our kids, render us homeless, put commas on our careers and take a gamble on my health to travel around the world? We’ve been told that what we’re doing is courageous but he’s the one who never faltered about taking this trip. He’s nurtured every dream I’ve had and luckily most of them have been aligned with his own.
When you have two kids with someone, it’s hard to see them just as a spouse. To me he’s also a housekeeper, nanny, nurse, coffee maker, dishwasher, and porter. I adore him for playing every single one of these roles. This is especially true after I realized that Kerala, where he is from, remains very traditional in its gender roles and men don’t bother much with house or child care.
With Sandeep, I know I am always a few minutes away from a good laugh. When lost in a forest after dark with two kids, or figuring out what to do after a missed flight, the relief of a laugh is priceless. I don’t quite know what he does that has me in splits, but I get his sense of humor and appreciate that he doesn’t take himself seriously. The only time I can’t count on him to lighten the mood is when he is hungry. No one laughs when Sandeep is hungry. I mention this only because I don’t want you all to think that he doesn’t have any faults.
Which brings me to this blog. Some of you have noticed that I poke fun at Sandeep in my writing (his brother thinks that’s the best part of the blog). Despite this, many of you have told me that you enjoy this blog, that the writing is perceptive and the photographs interesting. Yes, I am the author and photographer, but Sandeep is the one who comes up with most of the blog topics and directs many of the pictures (even though he refuses to touch the camera). He’s always willing, and often initiates, walking the extra mile or eating another cricket to give me interesting material. He motivates me in many ways, and more recently he’s pushed me to be a perceptive traveler, a stronger writer and a creative photographer. Because of this, my experiences on this trip have been far richer.
I could go on, but that would get embarrassing for all of us. So I’ll leave you with “Happy Valentine’s Day”, even for those of us cynics.