Australia wins the Ashes. Travis Head is awarded “Player of the match”. It is normal for us to give all the credit to the individual batsman for the victory, however there was more than one reason, more than one player for this victory. Great bowling, fielding and unnoticed to the world an army of other individuals worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the team win. The coaches, the Physios, doctors and even the groundsmen play a role. But ultimately the responsibility and commitment are shouldered by two individuals at the crease for the win. Your best bowlers can bowl the opposition out, but your batsmen have to score runs, for your best batsman to perform he needs someone at the other end to keep scoring. He needs a solid partner.
He/she needs someone willing to stay out in the middle facing all the elements and weathering the storm together.
Amidst all this, the universe rejoices another partnership milestone.
YES, The Ganesan’s – Uma and Ganesh notch a 35 not out partnership.
Thirty-Five years ago, they made it official to the world that they are in love and wanted to start a life together. Well, it wasn’t entirely their decision when it came to setting the date for the wedding. They would have preferred a date a bit later at least with a lead time of more than two weeks to organise this event. But, as per the Sri Lankan tradition your wedding isn’t entirely your business, it was a whole family business.
It was almost a shot gun wedding – no I was not pregnant.
Ganesh suddenly returned from the UK earlier than expected. This immediately raised the curiosity of the family to ask when we were getting married. My mum was okay to leave that decision to me. However, as my dad had passed away only a few years ago and it was an un-manned household, our voices were drowned. However, the plea from my cousin Sulochana was what finally made us to go along with this rushed wedding.
Cuz Sulo was the one who first broke the news and got permission from both parents on our behalf. Proposed marriages were still the norm at that time. Announcing that you have made your own choice could get you into hot water. But luckily both our parents were happy with our choices.
Cuz Sulo (Sulo akka) was migrating to Australia the next month. She was there when I was born and to every other milestone of my life. Then when my father fell ill, she was there from accompanying him on the ambulance, to the end. She even allowed his funeral to be held in her house. So, when she asked us teary eyed “I would like to see you two getting married” we just couldn’t refuse. We both cried and said OK. We had both lost a parent, the lesson – life and time was precious was hard wired, we may not have all the loved ones that we want at our wedding if we delay it crossed our minds. So gave in to this crazy idea.
For the new age thinking the marriage should be about the two of us and we should decide etc etc, yes, that’s exactly how I felt 35 years ago, when the whole planning of the wedding was hijacked from me. With age and experience I think my ideas and ideals have changed a bit. In the last 35 years we have weathered some storms, some worse than the other. But amongst all that there was some splendid display of great batting. Time to time the unorthodox Batsman would be summoned to the middle of crease for a small talk. But to his credit he would listen to his partner and continue with his good form. But the beauty of the partnership was that they took turns, rotated the scoring. For an unorthodox batsman he knew when to drop his flamboyancy and be there for his partner. Whispers in my ears “we’ve got this” – no this man has no idea how to whisper, if so, it would be a whisper that could be heard by the neighbours, so unpoetic it may be but a stern bellow “we got this” maybe an added “don’t be silly”. So the batting continued.
As two veteran batsmen on the crease we were doing a fabulous job. However, we couldn’t have got through all the curve balls and bouncers without the abundant love and support from our big family/clan.
It was chaotic to say the least to prepare a wedding in two weeks with your entire family and neighbourhood involved. All the wedding halls were booked out but that didn’t faze my cousin Sulo, she opened up her house without a single moment of hesitation.
I have always thought that it wasn’t a perfect wedding. I could have/would have changed so many things, the venue, the décor, the flowers, the amount of jewellery, my make up the list goes on. Unable to go through the old album to prepare something for this anniversary (due to my injury), I thought I will edit our wedding video. Looking through the video after so many years I realise, that it was the most perfect wedding. Yes, the venue, deco, jewellery and make up were all wrong. But, does it really matter?
It was an era where the Hindu bride was meant to bow down to the earth and look sombre and pious. In this video, I notice that the bride and groom in spite of the big audience they seem to be in their own bubble having their own fun and laughter. That wouldn’t have been possible without the said man standing next to me.
I always thought it was a shambles of a wedding and a-not-so bad marriage, room for improvement – well sometimes a whole renovation was needed.
But I am ashamed to say that it has taken me 35 years to realise that it was indeed the perfect wedding for a perfect couple. It was a gift prepared for them by their loving family. I didn’t have my dad to give me away but the whole village made sure the job got done. To my big crazy family and friends, THANK YOU.
In this partnership many would think that I was the better batsman (batsman/woman whatever), maybe so for most part. Keeping with the cricket theme – yes Ricky Ponting played on with a broken jaw and that was a great feat indeed. But how could he not? He had to do it for the team and furthermore he had faith in the team. Him at the crease gave them the best chance and as he said, “it was worth it”.
I gave the promise “in sickness and in health” a good test. Opted to take the revolving door to the hospital year after year. Thank you, Ganesh, for walking through that door with me each time. You gave me the courage and a reason to fight it. Yes, I did it for the kids too. The kids were your gift to me and I will do anything to protect those precious gifts.
I think we have a lot more runs left in us. However, point of difference – in Cricket you have the option to form a new partnership. Sorry mate you’re it for me and not giving you that option either. So, pad up and let’s keep going.
As I couldn’t lift the big old photo albums, I decided to edit our wedding video. I have never taken any interest in doing such things in the past, always palmed it off to my kids such projects. This is my very first attempt and again using my broken shoulder as an excuse asking forgiveness for the roughness of the editing. But keep in my mind it was a 3-hr video which I have managed to cut it to about 5 minutes or so. That was not an easy task. The videography itself is pretty archaic – its like watching through an old bond movie with the really bad special effects. If you can stomach it try and watch till the end, a bit of comedy awaits.
For the non-Hindu audience – short explanations on some of the traditions
Lighting of the lamp – All events and celebrations start with lighting this particular style lamp.
Alarthi – Two women (mature women – ideally someone already married etc) hold a tray with 3 pieces of banana. A wick would be inserted to the cut banana so it could be lit like a lamp. This ritual is done to the VIP of the event. I think it is a form welcoming him wading off evil spirit and giving blessings etc. I am by far the worst person to talk about rituals as I have no idea, so I could be totally wrong.
Thali – it is similar in importance as a wedding ring. It is a special type of necklace given by the groom to the bride. It has a screw at the back rather than a clasp or a hock. Hence the reason for a flock of individuals to be at the back assisting the groom. It will always be only women who would be at the back, it is an important job.
In our weddings there are many rituals that happen before and after the wedding as well. I have cut short all the rituals as they are too darn long. As per my husband this is to discourage a second marriage. 😊
Please ask away any questions you have. Nothing would be deemed offensive.