A good marriage is like an old car

Here’s the secret mantra – either you become a car mechanic or you learn to put on superpowers to make it work
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“And you lasted twenty-five years so far?” asked my surprised friend.

“Twenty-six,” I correct her with a smile because the weight of accomplishment triggers an imaginary shower of confetti. “Seriously? How did you do that?” asks my sincerely interested friend.

“It’s more like a super power,” I laugh. Deep down I believe it’s exactly that, because it involves the willingness to close your eyes to the wet towels on the bed, to tune out the loud snoring next to you, to be able to brush off annoying habits that crawl to the skin, to be able to breathe deeply when anger rises in my throat, I could go on. I can’t explain all this to him because, sometimes, I’m amazed at this gargantuan ability.

Marriage, they say, is for auto mechanics. But, I’m not a big fan of these vehicles that run on four wheels. I don’t understand the nicks and creases to keep the grooves smooth. Hell, I can’t even get it moving in open space. I always talk about cars – just in case you have any further doubts.

So it’s surprising that I’ve lasted this long not caring about lack of knowledge – whether it’s driving or maintaining a car, but rich in knowledge to make it work – now I’m talking about cars and wedding and even I feel giddy with all the nuanced references. I guess that’s what marriage does to a person – we get confused.

A whole new world of shafts, pistons and valves

When we bought our first car two decades ago, I entered a whole new world of shafts, pistons, valves and cylinder heads. It was one of the most trying times of my life. It was also during this time that I discovered that I don’t like to put a vehicle in motion.

Yet over time, I learned to appreciate the vehicle in a way that I never thought I could by simply slipping in next to the person who would deftly wave their hand at a massive contraption. I could move around and he could show his love – for the car, I mean.

Maybe you don’t need to be a car mechanic after all, you say? Well, auto mechanics are hard working people. They can tell when the suspension is upside down or when the battery is low and they can even tell when the fuel is low in the tank. They go the extra mile to use every tool in their kit to grease the grooves and keep them running smoothly.

As I continue to chat with my friend, I see a figure in the distance. I can tell by the walk that this is my partner in crime.

“Can you tell without that?”, my friend points to the small device I pinned to my shirt. “Oh! Definitely not,” I nod, “I can’t see without them,” I say, pointing to my glasses.

The world of marriage

“Superpowers,” I smile, “who’s also a freak auto mechanic,” I laugh hysterically in my head. Not everyone who enters the world of marriage is armed with a solid knowledge of nuts and bolts engineering.

It takes time and effort to understand the art of making it all work – engines and marriage.

The big black box full of tools may be stashed somewhere in the store, but experience teaches you how to wield them with precision – so you can hit the brakes without knowing where they are, or keep the radiator cool while imagining what it is or what it needs is nothing short of a miracle.

Still need an explanation for my smooth ride so far? Well, here’s the secret mantra – either you become a car mechanic or you learn how to put on superpowers to make it work. Now I’m talking about marriage. If nothing works, you need to fix it. Now I’m talking about the car.

Sudha Subramanian is an author and writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @sudhasubraman

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