Our fifth marriage anniversary was just around the corner. And hubby and I were toying with extravagant celebration ideas on a lazy Sunday morning. After all, we reasoned, it did call for a big celebration. The roller coaster of married life had gone on for five long (though it does seem too short at times) years. It has hiccuped, been up right to the stars, been dangerously down, led to that sinking feeling in the stomach, made us cringe, made us laugh out loud. But it never stopped. We did deserve a round of applause, from ourselves.
Friends had been demanding a big party. Should we? At home? Too much mess. At the Chinese restaurant down the street? Too small. The banquet hall a few blocks away? Too big. Just a dinner? Really? We love spending time with our friends, but a dinner party somehow sounded too bleak to mark an occasion which we had built up in our imagination to be as momentuous as the invention of, um, WhatsApp.
No. The party can wait. Our friends would be furious. But this was our time. We would do something special. Just the two of us. A breakfst-movie-light lunch-movie-dinner date?? UGGHH. What are we? High school kids?
Travel. Yes. That was it. We both love to travel. We would spend our anniversary in some beautiful location away from the city. Weekend getaway? A spa day at the city suburbs? Extended weekend beach trip? Kashmir? Too cold. Kanyakumari? Been there. Bombay? Delhi? Good old Goa? Nothing seemed perfect. Then, this disturbingly tempting ad for Amazing Australia came on the TV. We looked at each other. And we knew we were doomed.
We couldn’t possibly afford it, we reasoned with ourselves. And quickly went on to discuss other destinations. But no matter how much we tried, we kept coming back to the intriguing land called Australia, and before long, we found ourselves poring over our investments and savings. Even as we desperately tried stopping ourselves, we liquidated funds mean for emergencies, broke deposits, and found ourselves booking outrageously expensive hotels and flight tickets. There was this nagging apprehension about taking a holiday we could ill-afford, but the adrenaline took care to keep it in bay.
But at the end of a twelve day holiday in Australia, which could only be described as marvellous, magnificent, out-of-the-world and downright, treacherously delightful, we were glad that we listened to our hearts. We had brought back memories worth ten times the price of the tickets. We had met wonderful people, learnt amazing things about this faraway land, and soaked in its incredible beauty, and above all, spent our anniversary gliding over the Great Barrier Reef in a glass bottom boat. At some point, without even us realizing, the money part had stopped mattering. It was only about the experience.