I was about 5 years old, hopping and skipping along to catch up with my grandfather as we went for our Sunday walk, just him and me, talking, me asking him a 1000 questions and him sharing life lessons with me, disguised in funny, interesting stories. He was a very gentle soul, with twinkling eyes and a mischievous laugh. All week I used to look forward to this walk with him. I felt safe. I felt happy.
I was born into an industrialist family in North India. The small city as I knew it, then almost entirely consisted of people and their families who were employed in the family business. I was sent away to a boarding school in Nainital when I was 5 for fear of turning out spoilt and obnoxious. Today when I look at myself, I am not sure if my parents sent me 5 years too late! Anyway, I was too attached to my mother and became very unwell. One day the Principal called my parents and asked them to take me out of boarding school and make me a day scholar. Mission accomplished! My mother moved bag and baggage into our 30 room mansion high up in the hills and life was finally in place. My father would come ever so often to visit us which we eagerly looked forward to. My mother and I formed a bond which was deep and strong and I knew that nothing bad could happen as long as she was by my side.
I held my younger sister’s hand and took her for her first day in kindergarten, down the hill we walked, my mother, her and me. We had a 6 year age gap and I clearly remember the tremendous sense of joy and pride I felt as we walked into her preschool. She was 3 and had clenched my hand tight. I looked at her, and smiled, and told her I will be waiting. She knew I would be.
The first time the man I was dating dropped me at the airport and hugged me – the tears just rolled, I can’t explain it, I just felt a stab in my heart at the thought that I might never see him again. It seemed I had always known him, notlike I had only met him twice! I knew then, that this was it. I had always believed I would only get married when I met someone I couldn’t live without. I knew in my heart that this man would always love me and have my back.
My eldest son was born after 20 hours of intense labour. My husband was with me in the room throughout. As he proudly cut the umbilical cord (perhaps he wanted to make sure, he always says my umbilical cord with my mother still hasn’t been cut!!) he was beaming hearing the cries of our son. I have never seen him this happy. Ever. He walked over and placed our first born who was screaming on me. In that instant, as he snuggled into me and put his tiny fingers in my palm he stopped crying.
Today as my kids are beginning to discover the world I want them to see it through their lens – not mine. But ever so often they look at me and stretch their arms out and run to me. As I hold them tight, they know I have got them.
My husband and I, both, have demanding, stressful global roles which amongst a multitude of other things mean travelling the world on our own. Yet we are connected in a way that is difficult to explain and we both know that home is only where we are together.
Trust. It’s as simple as that.
Anuradha Gupta is Founder, CEO for Vows for Eternity, and Indian-American matchmaking service headquartered in New York, with offices in Delhi, Mumbai and London.