In school, the shy, tongue tied nerd was invariably attracted to the girl with the deafening laugh. All the good looking girls were in love with the football star with a permanent sweaty patch on his back. I was in love with the dreamy guy who strummed the guitar. And one fine day he opened his mouth and spoiled it all.
They say when God takes time off from playing Kingmaker and pushing us in freezing cold water just as we were getting too warm for comfort; he plays the matchmaker. In fact, Rab loves making our jodis because this is his idea of playing a practical joke on us. The Almighty will make the cricket obsessed, beer guzzling, back-slapping, always joking guy, fall madly in love with the solitude loving, cricket hating and wine sipping girl whose smile is capable of lighting up an entire neighbourhood. His restless soul finds solace in her eyes that speak volumes without speaking a word. He woos her ardently with words he doesn’t have. She finds it endearing. They fall in love and marry.
It’s as if we are destined to follow a pattern. The child who refuses to grow up will always end up with a mother figure. The girl who’s never short of words and opinions will surrender herself to him who always listens with a smile playing on his lips. The dreamy, muddle-head will be drawn towards the woman on wheels, the homebody to the adventurous spirit, the spice girl to the medium rare, the cleanliness freak will fall head over heels with the Lord of mess.….
Do we seek opposites as a challenge? A man so breathtakingly different, that the fair maiden had no option but fall hopelessly for him. It can happen before marriage or after marriage. The love, I mean. When fate arranges your match, you love him before you marry him. When your parents decide your fate, you hope to fall in love after you marry him.
But it’s only after you start living together, you discover how startlingly different you are. I sometimes wonder if we mould ourselves and fine-tune our senses to strike a harmonious note. Is it that the child in him brings out the mother in us? Did the husband become subdued because his talkative wife never gave him the chance to talk? Did he become the backbone because hers was missing! Did she become the mature one because he refused to grow up, all for the sake of love?
Relationships are about getting our needs met. We always seek that elusive something that’s missing in us. A person who will nurture, heal and dredge out our best. So, falling in love is more like filling in a jigsaw puzzle with the missing parts and feeling complete.
But if it’s our differences that bring us together, it’s the same differences that may pull us apart. Especially, if your idea of an ideal weekend is a romantic getaway and his is drinking with his buddies. If all he can talk about is Gayle’s deliveries and Nehra’s maiden overs and you are dying to talk about Howard Roark – you should brace yourself for a rift wider than the Grand Canyon. And if both are unwilling to take the middle path and make certain compromises for the sake of your partner’s happiness – you can expect fireworks. It certainly doesn’t help if it’s only you who’s making all the compromises. How long can you bend backwards to accommodate his/her needs before your back gives away and you dissolve in a pool of unresolved anger!
I am not saying that couples who are mirror images of themselves have more satisfying relationships. Sharing the same interests, the same rants and the same ideologies is comforting but can get boring after a while. I feel it is the cheese in him that excites and challenges the chalk in her and always keeps her on her toes. You never know what to expect! It’s good to face a perception so different from yours that it forces you to rethink your rights and wrongs. But our contrasting interests and thought process also seek a common ground where we share the same wavelength and core values. The witty will never be happy with the man who takes himself too seriously. The cheat will never be content with the righteous. The, I’m-always-right will never be happy with anyone.
The fact is we welcome opposites as long as they challenge and not annoy us. And if all they do is make you want to tear your hair, you can expect your sizzling chemistry to turn into a chemistry experiment gone wrong, where the opposite elements don’t meld but collide and disintegrate.
Perhaps it’s God’s way of telling us - matches are made in heaven but so are thunderstorms and lightning! But if during the storms we can take the best from each other and evolve, it becomes a union that even Gods will envy.