chunmun99@yahoo.com

I wasn’t really bright and tech-savvy and did struggle when it came to trying to understand the new buzz about the Internet and its potential uses. It was through Kumar’s persistence and patience alone that I finally relented to learn, what he felt had become necessary in life.

It was the year 1999 and it was our last year in college together when he introduced me to the Internet and how to open an email account and send mails across. I mean, it wasn’t really such an ordeal but mere reluctance on my part to change over to something new that I had no prior experience to that made me uncomfortable. Plus, I guess it was more about the confirmation of the fact that he was finally going miles away to a different country for a period that I knew would be difficult to handle. It was for the latter mainly that he insisted that I pick up how to send an email at least so I could be in touch with him on a daily basis. And I was hoping against hopes that there could be a way that I could touch him and not to be bothered about being in touch.

“Come on, you have got to learn this and I am telling you there’s nothing difficult here” he insisted.

“But I don’t know. Somehow I can’t understand anything that you are talking about” I lied with ease.

“I know you are playing dumb. Come on, think about it, you shall be able to write to me daily when I go to Australia next month and I could reply back the same minute. It would be as if we could be able to talk on a daily basis and I could send you my pictures and ….” He tried to reason out.

“But I don’t want to write to you daily.” I cut him short there.

“You don’t want to?” He enquired with a bit of surprise

“No, I don’t want to” I was curt. “If you care about me, you would rather not go” I tried to sound reasonable.

“OK I won’t if you say so.” He sighed, looked to the ground and started to get off the chair of the cyber café that we sat in.

I knew that he was not lying and might have gone ahead and cancelled the trip too. I was dismal at the idea of living for an entire year without him around but wasn’t selfish to stand in way of his career and future. I looked at him and could only muster “I would miss you a lot”

We spent the next hour creating a new email ID for me – “chunmun99@yahooo.com” He wanted me to pickup a more meaningful username but I thought it was appropriate. Chunmun was my nickname, something that he had given me when we had started seeing each other in high school. He probably had picked it from some comic strip and thought it sounded cute and suited me. I still see no reason in his logic actually but somehow liked it, maybe because it came from him. So Chunmun99@yahooo.com it was, 99 for the year that we were living in.

And so there we were, two young love doves, graduating out of college, living in a universe of dreams; fanciful and oblivious to the world and its inhabitants and yes it makes sense to emphasize again that we were very much in love with each other. And so, there we sat on those uncomfortable low chairs in that cyber café in the college campus, unwrapping mysteries of technologies of the new millennium and sapping in the knowledge of emailing so as to be able to keep in touch.

In the next few weeks, I saw Kumar at the international airport to see him off. Before he went to check in his luggage, he asked me to promise him that I would be dropping him a mail daily and shall write to him an account of my entire day, no matter what may come. I was granted the exception of Sundays when my father would be home and who off and on checked upon what I was doing.

I gave him my word and finally wrote my first email to him the next day.

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Dear Kumar,

Today did not begin like any other day – your last wave at the airport is still very fresh on my mind. I have hardly had a wink of sleep and I have been more restless than ever.

It has never been easy to stay away from you and now that you are away for over 12 months, it would be tougher than what I can put in words for you to read. I have already started missing you and yes missing you is just an understatement.

Ever since I came home, I have been looking at the phones around me hoping that they would ring sometime and I shall have the news of your reaching safe. I guess that’s not going to happen for another day or so.

I don’t know what else to put in or what to say, especially since I know that the closest chance that I have of even getting a reply to this mail would be 2-3 days from now. I don’t know how will I last all the 12 months ahead?

Seriously, wishing that you didn’t have to go. Wishing that I could go with you or maybe even be close to you to see you around.

Missing you a lot.!!!!

- The crazy one whom you left behind.

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His reply came 2 days later.

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Dear Chunmun, 

I am sailing in the same boat as you are. I am missing you a lot..its actually difficult to be away.. Kept thinking of you throughout my journey. Seriously kept thinking if there was a way that I could have brought you along.

 Anyway, reached safe and found my way around easily too. Uncle had come in to pick me up and I would be staying with him at Sydney for a while till I get a place. I could not have helped replying a day late.. however, I shall make it a point to write every day from now on..

I know that an year is a long time, but … I hope you would understand, its for our good. Isn’t it.

I love you a lot…

yours n only yours…

Kumar

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His trip which was planned for 52 weeks and 1 additional day (year 2000 being the leap year) got extended, due to unforeseen circumstances of an additional internship, till the following spring. And for all those 400 days that he was away, I wrote to him on a daily basis without a fail, even on Sundays. I managed to draft in mails offline and post them at the first chance I could be online on the days that father was at home. And he replied without a fail. He sent me a reply to all the 400 mails that I sent him, even during his examinations and the times that he was toiling hard.

Over time, my sending him an email daily started coming naturally to me and became a part of my daily routine. So much so, that the days started to feel incomplete without the ritual.

The year passed and he returned and then joined a multinational bank and meanwhile I got myself a job into an advertising agency. We would meet almost on a daily basis and continued to see each other for a while before getting married and settling in as a couple.

However even after our marriage, I would still send him an email as a rule, as the first thing in the morning, when I reached office and he always replied. I was thankful that our love had been unfazed after being bonded into the matrimony. The emails that we exchanged became an integral part of our lives. Things that normally would have led couples to fight with each other got us into seeing the funny side of it. The emails became an important instrument of our expression with each other and helped make our bond stronger. I made it a point that I wrote to him, even if a single line or sent him a joke or a funny mail from a colleague. I knew he looked forward to see my mails too.

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 “Dear husband, 

This morning, I must say, you have been fairly casual about getting up and getting ready for the office. You woke up late, took ages to shave up and again left the wet towel on the bed.

You did not even compliment me on the new suit that I was wearing to the office and did not even take  the hint when I asked you which ‘duppatta’ to take with the suit.

And so I expect, that when you return from work in the evening today, you make up for your misdeeds and get your wife some nice flowers.

 Your loving wife,

Chunmun.”

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“Dearest Chunmun,

Well, you have got me all wrong again. I did not wake up late but deliberately was lazing around for you to come by with wet hair from the shower and wake me up. I did not want to shave but still reluctantly did it, so that you would get a whiff of my new after-shave (which I am afraid, you did not notice).I guess towel, is the only thing that happened; more as a habit than anything else. However, I did realize it once you came in and picked it up and hung it up in the balcony.

I did notice your new suit. In fact I so remember it because it is the same one which I had picked out for you from the sale we went to last week. And yes, the black duppatta would have looked better than the red one which you took today. J

I have already sent you the flowers and I guess you should be getting them in another couple of minutes. And yes, these are not for the towel I left on the bed, but for the way you looked this morning.  

And so for my being so thoughtful, I guess you would be thanking me with your special brownies and ice-cream in dinner tonight. Right?

Your caring husband.”

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And of course there were these special occasions and special moments of life when the emails that we shared became all mushy and flowing …

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Dear Husband,

You do not fail to surprise me, I must thank you for the wonderful way you woke me up this morning with music and petals and truly it has really made my day. This has been the best birthday morning ever. Really I could not have asked more.

You almost got me into tears with the way you got the cake and lit it up. I truly feel blessed being your wife.

Thanks for everything

Lots of love

Chunmun.

PS: Do call up once you see this mail and try and be free a little early today. I shall take you out for dinner ..love you.

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Dearest Wifey,

Well I didn’t know you would be so taken up by surprise actually. I thought you would have gotten to know by the fact that I woke up ahead of you this morning. I was sure that you would blast me for getting the devilish dark chocolate cake that would get your diet plan crashing to the floor.

I am glad that you are all pleased about it.

I was planning to get you a new diamond ring for your birthday, but since you have mentioned that you can not ask for more, I shall probably defer that to our anniversary then.. Ha Ha.. J

I shall call up in another hour or so, got a meeting in another 10 minutes. And yes, I shall be home at 5.

Love..
Kumar

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Probably the need of open communication in a relationship is far stronger than one thinks it to be. Often misunderstandings which undermine a perfect relationship and eat it inside can be easily put to rest, if only two people in a relationship sit down together and talk about it.

And sure we had our disagreements too and our share of so called ‘fights’ as well, but again the habit of writing to each other on a daily basis gave us that necessary vent to smoke out everything and be ready and happy by the time we came back from our respective jobs.

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Mr. Husband,

If you think you can dare boss me around the house and that I shall listen to you and let you have your way, well be realistic.

All I ask you is to turn down the volume of that stupid cricket match of yours and you turn deaf. For God’s sake I don’t care if the match starts at 5 a.m. because it is being played in Australia, I need to go to the office feeling fresh and can not sleep on the desk like you do (and so boast about at times). 

I would suggest that you either take the TV out of the bedroom or take yourself out of the bedroom to the hall and watch your match there.  

Come on, dear please try and understand. I can not just go on and on like this forever and need some rest too…looks like you have stopped caring for me and do not love me anymore

Hope we settle this thing up when you get home tonight..

Yours Chunmun

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Dear Mrs. Husband,

Well I did not turn deaf in the morning but had dozed off again. I did not even realize when Sehwag got out and it was only at your shouting in my ear that I woke up and looked at the score.

The match wasn’t worth this fight anyway..India did lose miserably in the end. 

However, you have been unjustified in saying that I sleep at my desk (that was only once after a heavy lunch) and that I don’t care about you.

The only good thing which has come out of this is perhaps that now you shall realize how irritating is it when you switch onto your saas-bahu sagas in the evenings.  

By the way, I have struck upon a perfect solution for the case. I shall be buying a pair of cordless headphones for the TV so as not to disturb you during the matches..

And yes, if there is anything else that you wish settled, I expect that we do it  with your special custard. J 

Your, Mr. Husband

PS: My anger had vanished the moment I saw your mail, and I really loved the way you finished the mail. Your Chunmun ended any argument I guess.. Love you

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“Mom, Could you come out please, I am having trouble getting this ‘Dal’ right”, Anu our daughter, cried from the kitchen and brought me back to my present world.

It was a special day today. It was our marriage anniversary, our 35th marriage anniversary. Anu was here from Canada on her vacation, with her husband Ravi and my grandson and was spending the weekend with me.

I closed in my ‘sent’ and ‘received’ folders and all the previous mails that I had opened up for reading. I again read the email I had been writing.

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“Dearest Husband

 Wishing you a very Happy Anniversary, today. It would be our 35th year of matrimony. All these years not a second, not a day has passed without your thoughts. I don’t know how would have I done without your love and untiring support.

Your love is a strange force. It weakens me to lose interest in the world outside and gives me strength at the same time to carry on with my duties as your wife and mother of your children.

It’s been two years that you left for your heavenly abode and I have been missing you every moment since you left and all the more today.

 I know my thoughts and prayers shall reach you wherever you are. I know that you would be seeing me now and would know how much I have always loved you.

 I was reading all the older mails today and was basking in the warmth of your love. I remember the time when I used to write to you on a daily basis and loved it when you replied instantly. I know that I don’t write to you daily now… It’s difficult to know that I won’t get a reply to all the mails that I send now.

 But I shall always write to you on your birthdays and mine and on our anniversary as long as I am not united with you again after this life. I know, my heart tells me, that you shall get the message, somehow.

Have a very happy anniversary, dear.

 Missing you a lot,

Love

Your loving wife… Chunmun“

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I sent the mail and got up to help Anu in the kitchen…..!!

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