Though Viv's initial plan was to celebrate by going for a movie together (my sis-in-law had agreed to babysit), I flatly refused because firstly, the movie he had picked was something I was not going to watch under any circumstance. Much as I love Sherlock, I was not watching The Imitation Game, after suffering through two hours watching Enigma. No more movies on cracking codes for me, please. Less so on our anniversary. Secondly, I did want to include Xena in at least a part of the celebration.
So I told him I'll put together some miscellaneous activities for the evening, and all he had to do was leave office a little early. We started the evening off by going bowling, something that we had not done in a decade. It was also Xena's first time bowling. They didn't have a Styrofoam bowling ball for her, so we had to help her push the extra extra light ball that they gave us. But they had these little bumpers popping up on both sides of the lane whenever it was her turn, so there was no chance of a gutter ball. She thoroughly enjoyed it, and so did we.
Afterwards, we indulged in McDonald's Prosperity curly fries, which are made available to us deprived folks only once a year, around Chinese New Year. The yearly pilgrimage was totally worth it as the fries were just as yummy as they had been last year. And even Xena popped in a few of them! Wooohoooo! (See, regular parents would tsk-tsk and shake their heads at the thought of parents rejoicing about their kid enjoying McDonald's, but as you might know, ours is a special case. McD trips are approved and even encouraged by her dietitian.)
After that, we grabbed a cab and went for dinner to one of our favourite restaurants - Long Beach UDMC - which is by the beach and serves the most awesome chilli crab ever. Of course, Viv being a vegetarian, I had to eat the crab all by myself ("err... the smallest we have is still 1 kg," the waitress told us) and I managed okay. Xena contributed significantly to project 'Help Mama finish the crab' by eating approximately 5.45637 grams of it.
Then we went home, and while I put her to sleep, Viv went and fetched some Q drinks. I asked for pineapple and he said "You like pineapple flavour??" Mango is my known favourite flavour, but pineapple is my secret favourite flavour. And he didn't know that. A well-kept secret. For 17 years. Ha!
And we sat down over the drinks and went through the '36 questions to bring you closer'. It was my idea. In the daily grind, most of the time we end up talking about Xena or work or food or friends or family or cricket or movies or home renovation. We rarely just talk and share. And when this link popped up in my Facebook feed last week, I just knew it would be the perfect end to the evening.
It was very very interesting. I can't say for sure if it brought us closer like it promised, but it did give us a newer insight into each other's minds. It also made us appreciate each other more. We ended up thinking and talking about many things that we otherwise never would. Sample these:
- Would you like to be famous? In what way?
- If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you choose?
- Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
- Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
- What do you value most in a friendship?
- If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
- Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
- When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
But the one that surprised me the most was this particular one.
26. Complete this sentence "I wish I had someone with whom I could share..."
Viv immediately said he had nothing on this. I immediately went, "Me neither." But then I thought a little more and surprisingly, I did have something. I had a sudden realisation that all my life, I've never had anyone with whom I can discuss and dissect Hindi song lyrics the way I want to. I am insanely (and rather laughably I must say) passionate about them and yet, there was and is literally no one in my life -- not family, not friends, not colleagues, not neighbours -- who would not instantly fall asleep if I got started on how I think the song 'Tinka tinka zara zara' was probably written as 'Tinka tinka zarra zarra' by the lyricist and the music director changed it because the tune didn't work or something, just like 'Apne karam ki kar adaayein' should really have been 'Apne karam ki kar ataayein', how extremely simple lyrics ('Tum yeh kaise judaa ho gaye, har taraf har jagah ho gaye' and 'Dard jab teri ataa hai toh gila kisse karein' are just two examples) can be so beautiful you get goosebumps or a lump in your throat even if you don't identify with the situation, and how you have to really really search very very hard in the current generation of songs to find lyrics that touch the heart.
I have to admit I felt a little sad when I thought of all this. It was a weird kind of 'loneliness', if I may call it that.
So the real question is -- will Xena grow up to be that person?
Maybe. Maybe not.
But I sure do hope so.