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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

You know how women are always told to ‘adjust’, especially after marriage? While it is true that both the husband and wife need to adjust, because the relationship is so new and evolving, putting the onus on the woman is just wrong. Today, I have two adjustment stories, one that led to a fantastically happy family, and another that led to a miserable relationship. The inspiration for this post is this post called 3 Adjustment Stories from Women’s Web.

The first story is of my parents. They fell in love when they were colleagues at their respective first jobs, and informed their parents about their intention to marry. As expected there was much opposition but seeing as the two were steadfast in their commitment to each other, both sets of parents relented. But trouble for my mom had only begun. Since she was not the one to choose the bride, my dad’s mother did not take very kindly to my mom from the beginning. My mom was routinely asked to wash the clothes of the whole family, chided for being not so conversant with work around the house(she was the youngest of 6 kids and was not used to so much house work, but then so was my dad), taunted for being an outsider etc. All this was in the absence of my father, who, in those days, used to go to work, then go to university in the evenings to get his MTech degree. Not wanting to trouble him with all this, my mom never spoke up. One fine Sunday my dad saw how my mom was being treated and felt very bad. He talked with my mom and told her that he will be by her side through all this and will make sure that his mother changes his ways. My mom, being the generous spirit that she is, said all she wanted was his support and she did not want his family to break apart and that ‘they will adjust’ as a couple. And they did. Whenever my mom was in a situation where my grandmother would have things to say to her, my dad would take all the brunt of the criticism. My mom left for work at 7:00am, but she was still expected to get up and cook breakfast and lunch before she left, all this after cleaning the house and taking a shower. My dad would get up with her every single day and help her in the kitchen, and took over the responsibility of most tasks around the house. He then would also take 100% responsibility of getting me and my sister ready for school and pack our lunches. Slowly my grandmother realized that she could not be a third wheel in the relationship, and all her efforts to ‘show’ my dad that this girl was not right for him were futile. In time she learnt her lesson and mellowed down. This is how they managed for 25 years and we learnt the importance of having a relationship that goes both ways in terms of trust and support. This, in my opinion, is an adjustment story that was a success, because our family was happy and there were good vibes all around. We love our grandmother, but her not treating my mom well will always tar our memories of her.

The second story is of one of my cousins. His parents arranged his marriage to his beautiful MBA girl, who used to work. After marriage she was asked to quit and stay home, and look after her in-laws. She agreed. She was made to do all the work around the house, taunted for being tardy(if she really was or not, I have no idea) all in the presence of her husband, who merely nodded along with his mamma. Then they had a baby girl and of course the inlaws and the husband ‘wanted’ a boy and she was forced to get pregnant again. All this while she kept complaining to her parents who always asked her to ‘adjust’ as did the husband, who said she is lucky to be married to him and she should stop whining and produce a male heir and it would make everyone happy. Another girl and all hell broke loose. We heard stories of her being beaten and abused. My father tried to intervene but was brushed off and chided for interfering in their internal matters. The poor girl kept adjusting to all this, thinking it was all a part and parcel of being married. The want to a son made her conceive again, and it was another girl. The last time I heard of her, she was telling my mom that she was in that relationship only because of the 3 little girls, and that separating at the first signs of a bad marriage would have done her a world of good. ‘Adjustment’ did not work for her, she says, because she is the unhappy one in the relationship, and she is afraid the daughters are also going to face the same fate.

So there you have it. Adjustment with a pinch of salt.

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Then and now

And by that I mean, myself, 10 years back, and now. A lot of things have changed, here are a few:

  • My heart is in a very comfortable place now. At 19 I was confused, angry, and hid my feelings from everyone, because I was scared of rejection.
  • I am so much more at ease with who I am. Growing up I was a very awkward and gawky girl. A misfit. Too tall, too broad, too manly for most girlfriends! There were times when I was told I looked like my mom’s sister, or people asked me if I had kids(when I was barely 20!) Now, I accept my physical attributes, and am happy with myself.
  • I used to be a rebel, still am, but with discretion. Any mention of anything even remotely resembling putting a woman down used to rile me up like crazy. I have put my foot in my mouth umpteen times, made enemies, and generally had people run away from me. Now I have learnt to hold my tongue and now argue where unnecessary.
  • Most of my friends from way back when remember me as the girl who wore clothes that were 2 sizes too big for her and who never ever paid attention to her looks. Until I was about 21 my mom shopped for me(she bought something called “free-size”), because I had no views or preferences on my clothing, and because I had better things to do, like read or meet friends. Part of the problem was that I felt guilty thinking about my appearance. I felt like I should not be superficial and shallow but pay more attention to the inner me. Now, I know better. I know that the outer my is only a shadow of my inner me, and being attentive to my outer me does not take anything away from the real me, only enhances it!
  • I have learnt that I love being independent. Being the master of my own time and fate.
  • The one thing I sorely miss is that feeling of being at home. The feeling that only comes when you are with mommy :-D, the feeling that only comes when you argue with your little sister about that hair straightener, or that shade of the dupatta!

Finally, I want to make a tag of this. What has changed in you in the last 10 years, the “You: Then and Now” tag. If you are reading this post, then consider yourself tagged!

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This and that.

I have been gone so long that coming back and writing a post was tough. I was in that state of “not posting for a few days more will not be the end of the world!” but then there is so much going on around us these days, that I really wanted to write. The easiest way to come back to blogging is bullet points. Bullet points are like the stand up comedy of blog posts. They are short, sweet, mostly funny, and evoke much interest in people who are averse to reading long posts. Also, bullet points are easy to compose, just like that joke you make up on the fly. Try as you might, you will not remember that joke again, as you won’t that one interesting point you wanted to make!

And so here I am, trying to compose a bullet point post, but all points evade me today. There have been so many changes in WordPress since I last blogged. Every post now comes associated with a like button, there is not unlike though! Like Facebook. A lot of times I want to unlike someone’s wall post, but I am forced to like it. Maybe the philosophy behind that is why say something when all you have to say is bad. Might as well keep your mouth shut. That is a very good philosophy which protects us from quite a few uncomfortable confrontations in life. Oh well!

The reason I am unable to write is that weekdays have become really hectic, with work and swimming classes and cooking cleaning etc. Weekends are no better, but the work has been replaced by play. Like my last post said, we are getting out a whole lot more than we are used to, and that is taking time away from my dear blog. So much so that I feel guilty opening my dashboard these days. So today, finally, I gave up all pretense of being too busy to check my dashboard and decided that I have to blog.

So much has happened and so much more that I am looking forward to these days. Rahul Mahajan, for one, showed his true colors again, and poor Dimpy had to scoot for dear life! A lot of people said “I told you so”, a lot of others admired her for her courage to walk out, still others blamed her for sticking to the loser for 5 minutes of fame! I was confused. Why, in the first place, would you go ahead and marry a man who has already been accused of domestic violence, and then bear all the crap he throws at you? In this respect I really admire Rakhi Sawant. Sure she also loves her 15 minutes of fame, but at least she did not get into a materialistic relationship with a loser, like Dimpy did. You have to have the sense to say no to what does not appeal to you. Or did Mahajan really appeal to Dimpy? Maybe it was the case of women falling for the bad boys? Maybe. But I cannot understand such women either, so I am still left confused.

August 6th is almost here. What is so special about 6th you say? Well, you have been living under a rock, I say. Because 6th is when Aisha hits the screens. Aisha, that Bollywood remake of Emma. Emma is my most favorite of Austen’s female characters, after Elizabeth, of course. So I will be queuing in front of our lone Indian theater to watch it this weekend. Not everyone likes Emma though. Austen had once said “I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like.” and that seems true. Emma is everything Elizabeth is not. Rich, spoiled, self-indulgent and sometimes haughty. I was reading Emma the other day, and found myself blushing and smiling at all the attention George Knightly bestows on her, and realized that I really haven’t grown out of that romantic novel phase yet. That lead me to start reading Pride and Prejudice again! P&P is an amazing novel, the kind that keeps you interested no matter how many times you read it. I know I have said it once already, but Harry Potter are the only other books that come even close to P&P. Enough about P&P though. So I am waiting to catch Aisha this weekend. From promos, pictures and songs, it looks like it is pretty close to the book, and Abhay Deol looks like Knightley is supposed to look, smart, savvy and balanced. And Sonam looks every bit the spoiled, rich, bratty Emma. All I can hope for is that it lives up to the promise, and not sink to the bottom(and take me along) like that abominable remake, Bride and Prejudice did!

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Superstitions.

I have always been wary of admitting that I am superstitious. For one, I don’t want people to assume I am some bygone era fossil who has lived past its due date. And two, revealing my superstitions is like baring my soul out in public. And who wants to do that?

I like tracking the superstitions of famous people. A famous cricketer always wore his right socks first, another always put his left leg first on the pitch, while another walks a little towards the opposite wicket before going back to take his stance to face the ball. One famous up and coming tennis star bounces the ball 21 times before flinging it up in the air to serve, while another popular female tennis star always touches her hair before a serve!

My superstitions, though on a  much smaller scale, and for motives much less grander than winning championships, have stuck with me most of my life. Of course I have that one lucky dress that I never let go, until I find another one to replace it. mind you, the one that should replace the old lucky dress needs to pass strict quality(read luck) control procedures before being inducted. I used to have a grey salwar kameez with black chiffon dupatta that I used to wear for every examination in my undergrad. So much so that one of my friends threatened to burn it if I wore it in her presence again. Needless to say I barely scraped through the next set of examinations! Now I have one particular dress that has NEVER let me down(well maybe once, but we shall overlook that). It tore a little bit last week and I deigned to get my stitching kit out and haphazardly mended it and now it is as good as new(well, as good as mended).

Once when I was about 7/8 we went to a wedding, and I ate poori and promptly fell sick. In the 20 years that followed I must have had poori 5 times, not more. And every time I eat one I fall mildly sick! People think it is all in my head, but I swear the poori makes me sick!

Whenever I climb stairs I make it a point to pace my steps such that my last step always ends on the right foot. Otherwise the reason I am climbing stairs for does not see fruition.

The only other person I know who believes in her superstitions as strongly as I do is my little sister. Her one and ONLY superstition is Best of Luck. Somehow Best of Luck has never worked in her favor so she specifically asks she be wished Goodluck instead. Best of Luck ‘halves’ the luck, according to her. Hey, it is her superstition, so I am not going to judge, since I have my fair(more than fair) share of absurd things I do to keep my mind at peace!

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..you jump from a plane.

The husband always asks me if I ever get the urge to jump from an aircraft when it is thousands of feet from the earth’s surface, and my answer has always been a firm NO.

Friends were planning a group skydiving trip and roped us in. I tried to chicken out by making some lame excuse about a friend visiting, but that fell on deaf ears! A date and a venue for the said event was decided upon, and reservation amounts paid. The husband was cool as a cucumber as the fateful day approached, and always told me I needn’t make the jump if I did not want to! It was going to be a tandem jump(meaning the jumper would be tied by harness to the expert skydiver and we would jump together, and two such sets of people would jump off from each plane trip). Everyone else had a partner/spouse who would be taking off and jumping from the same plane. Until we got to the venue I was 100% sure I would not jump, but when we got there he said something to the effect that how it would be boring for him to be all alone up there and jumping off without me by his side(yeah, right!) and my cowardly little heart melted just a little bit for me to sign forms that said it was my responsibility if I died doing the stunt and they are not responsible for any injury or death. Before I knew it I was standing there by the aircraft, ready to board the plane! What was I doing, why the hell was I here, what was the point of this exercise, what if something went wrong, these were the questions I kept asking myself. My questions notwithstanding, the four of us, me, my instructor, the husband, and his instructor huddled into the aircraft(well we literally had to squeeze in, it was a teeny tiny plane) and took off into the almost dusky skies. My instructor, John, who was tied to the harness on my back, tried to take my mind off the impending task and showed me the pretty landscape below, I nodded but was mentally making myself ready to jump. So at about 10,000 feet he opened the aircraft door and instructed me to put my feet out and push myself out of the aircraft, head first, with my back straight and head upright. I flat-out REFUSED to put my feet out. He asked me nicely one more time to put my feet out and hurl myself out of the safety of the aircraft, I REFUSED yet again. This time he lifted me up by my harness and PUSHED ME OUT. There I was, soaring in the air like a bird, with John tied to me, yelling into my ear, asking me if I was liking the ride. I was too busy counting seconds to reply. This was free fall and I was loving it, contrary to my expectations. He turned on the camera and I remember I said something loud and unintelligible. After about 30 seconds, that felt like 2 seconds, the parachute opened and we were not free-falling anymore, we were gliding slowly across waters, forests and the beach. A good 4 minutes of gliding later it was time to land, and land we did, safely! And that is how 10 crazy people jumped willingly out of planes on saturday evening, jumped because there was nothing better they thought they could do nothing better with their time. And I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

Next the crazy friends and the equally crazy husband want to bungee-jump. I said a firm NO but I am sure I will be dragged along and dropped off a cliff!

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