Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chew this!

After writing that foodie post some days back, its food which keeps coming back to my posts again and again. This time it is food for thought :P

Piper asked some really pertinent questions by asking :-
A question to all my blog buddies. You can answer anonymously, in case you`re uncomfortable. But do answer.

Has marriage killed the girl in you?
Are you more programed, more regulated in your thoughts and deeds?
Or are you simply calmer? Assuaged?
Are you still in love?
Or are you simply loving? Caring, fond and loyal..?

What does marriage do to you?

I am tempted to answer all these questions in the ulti professional way, cos these questions are so pin pointed and concise. I somehow love such questions; if day in and out, we had conversations which were so precise, wow! The world would have so much more clarity :) I know I am digressing and should get back to the work at hand.

Has marriage changed me - I will say No. Marriage has changed not changed my personality, but marriage has changed my responses to stimuli. I still think the same way I used to - it never did achieve killing the girl within me - the methodical, practical, stubborn, temperamental girl within me. Let me explain how marriage changed my responses with an instance. I still connect with my family and friends like I always used to, but then many a times if K is around, I know I chose who deserves my attention first. There have been times when for some chore, I have asked my parents or my friends to call in later. I would not have done the same during my spinster days, because there would be nothing more important my family or friends needing me. So though I am the same, the way I respond to the same things are different, because I am in a different set of circumstances right now.

In the same way, programmed I never was to do anything. I take small logical steps one at a time, and that is precisely what I still do. But now, its not just me or my personal aspirations or wishes I have to consider when I think of any issue. There is always K and mil, who are in the purview. They are an extension of me now and I cannot take absolutely any stand on anything without considering how it might affect them and how they might feel about it. It does not curtail me, because I regard them as an integral part of me. Same way, I know I come in their thoughts and actions. In this respect I should say, I am in no way calmer than I was before. Many a times rather to accommodate especially how K thinks, results in arguments and fights - but then that's what keeps the party going :)

I personally do not understand love - as in falling in love love. For me love is something unconditional, so it is something I have for my parents, my country, my language, my pets, my friends, for kids(I know I would love them unconditionally when I would have them) . I never fell in or out of love for them, I just love them ever since I remember. I do not understand how one can develop this unconditional emotion for some stranger. My perception of love between couples is - it starts with some emotion which amalgamates itself with many others and forms a complex one which can be summed up as love. As an example, one emotion which brings the partners together might be admiration. A mutual admiration brings the people in question close, enhances communication, and then rises forth into respect, concern so on and so forth. It kinda snowballs into what the world calls love. Same way, it could be empathy. Its very easy for two people under similar circumstances to understand each other and connect at a deeper level. And down the line, the connections that build up, yea thats love. I believe, every event of falling in love can be drawn back to some tangible emotion or some more understandable situation.With K and I, it was friendship. He was a friend for me when I was passing through one of the worst phases of my life, and same was I for him. We were uninhibited in our friendship cos we had the assurance that we understood each other completely. Inspite of the thick friendship we had, when K proposed, I had a whole lot of doubt whether to convert such a lovely friendship into a complicated relationship. But then during the 6 months, that I kept him waiting, I saw, he was serious enough to take my responsibility and I was important enough for him to wait. As per me, even though I had dismissed him , it was his advise that I needed , his words that comforted me, his support that I seeked. We both had a good support system of family and friends, but it was each other we sought - we had allowed an innocent friendship and mutual trust and respect to gather itself into love - the unconditional forever and ever kinda love. It might sound clinical, but then I still feel, its upon us whether we want to fall in love or not. Its upon us whether we cross the line and surrender our self to another individual. That is the very reason why arranged marriages work. And that is how love works everywhere. And yes Now I say - I am in Love , truly, deeply (I would not say madly, cos with how logical I am being - I would nt be mad :D ) and unconditionally.

If I sum up what marriage does to me, it would be marriage gives me a cause to make better. Make everything better, myself, my career, my personality, my home, my husband. Women are driven by the emotion (I think I read this in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) that if something works, it can work better. Marriage makes me work harder on that. Being a spinster, yes I used to work hard to improve my state, but to what end could I be driven? I would reach the zenith too easily. My radar would encompass me, my parents and my sister to the max. Now its my paternal home, my own home, my mil, and in the future our kids and theirs. The reason we both struggle to make it better is for each other, and for our combined future. That drive would never come if one is alone. And marriage does ensure that I am able to experience every possible emotion that God ever created. The depths of depression I feel when K and I fight would have never been in my life if it wasn't for marriage. Same way, the throes of exuberance I feel when he hugs me when hes back from office would not have been there in my life if it wasn't for marriage. Tension, love, planning, budget, family, career,life,holidays - every single thing I can think of has a different meaning thanks to wedlock. Believe it, this is coming from someone who was more or less a feminist till high school and never understood the efficacy of marriage. For me, back then it was just a gateway to loose ones individuality and take in a whole lot of trouble. But now I understand, there is more than just meets the eye. I don't say, life cant be lived alone. There are many who do lead it alone, due to various factors, and I applaud their ability to pull it off. But if one happens to be married, I don't think its a laddoo one repents eating, the laddoo is worth every bite, but each bite is not guaranteed to be sweet :D

Ps. This post is specially for Piper, and girl awesome questions there. I could never have such profound ideas. I always wanted to write about marriage, but there was so much in my head, I could never figure out where to start and where to end. You gave me direction.
Ashu,Jack,Renu, I would love if you would pen your 2 pints.
My post was entirely on personal experience and what I have seen in my limited scope. I know there are broken homes and utterly mismatched couples, I have a very close relative who has separated. If this post seemed totally skewed towards a rosy picture, my apologies for not having thought enough. And if I did not make any sense at alllll..... well thats me thinking aloud again, I might have uttered gibberish :D

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fighting the demons within

20 is a very important number for me - for personal landmarks. I got married on a 20th, I joined the firm which brought me back to K on the 20th and I complete 2 years with the same firm today on the 20th. It was on the 20th of last month that K left India. Its been a month! And I have had my shares of downs and not so downs :)

Somehow the lack of any friends or family in Chennai used to make me feel very jittery about K not being there with me. I used to live the emptiness before he left so that I get used to it. It was a futile exercise. The logical half of my mind did assert that I was wasting precious time which I could have with K. But then the pessimistic me used to think, better get used to things and live the reality that is gonna be there in some days. And things were such that, before his travel, we had 3 weeks just to ourselves. Mil acts as a balancing factor in the house. Her presence keeps us guided and grounded. Without her, we lost our tempers more easily, got distraught more quickly and completely drove the other person against the wall frequently. But then, us being us, we would patch up sooner than we fought and the Sorrys and "will miss you too"s and hugs would flow with equal ease later on. It was a big turmoil with everything uncertain and the only thing keeping us afloat being hope. We were not sure, whether to voice our concerns and discuss everything or not address some facts and be in denial till we could. Because discussing some tricky points might just make both of us feel more diffident and wary without the company and the support of the other. How we passed through those days is still a blur to me. Now its a fact that I am somehow coping without my bebe and hes somehow coping without his bunny.

I am not sure, how he manages to keep his sanity and his balance in the trying times that he is through. Work is jam packed for him and he has the company of some real good people. He does miss me, but he does'nt admit it. But I know exactly how I am faring. The day times zap through with cooking, walk, getting to work and getting work done occupying me completely. I am trying some changes on the work front; things are yet to move, but the struggle keeps me occupied. Many a times, in the midst of it all, when I suddenly feel a pang of dejection, I feel really lost. Those are the times I need K the most. At home its books and some other reading that keep me really busy. But then its just an attempt to fight the demons within. The demons of lonesomeness and pessimism. Many a times, I get into this mode when I imagine the worse case scenario. It is not a pleasant feeling at all and then I get bogged down by a million and one negative thoughts. Sometimes when someone else comes up and tells me their sad story, I simply am not able to think anything hopeful. I start feeling grumpy for the person in question and start pitying myself. I hate doing that, but that is the only thing I end up doing.

But then there are the other times, when I see everything through rose tinted glasses. I see everything falling into place, just as we hope. An all win scenario when everything at stake goes our way. It peps me up to no end. The optimist in me rises to the occasion and then grabs all the things that can be accomplished when the adrenaline rush continues. Those moments are simply great. I am at my best with K, I instill faith in my near and dear ones that I am doing great. I would love my mom not to sense my actual state of mind all the time. I wish she always felt I am doing good. But then shes a mom and a great mom at that with some Extra Sensory Perception. She happens to call me exactly when I am not so ok and does a remarkable job in making me feel better. Really its been to her divine strength that I get the will to move on - to think beyond the limitations. My darling sis, keeps talking to me as if shes my beau. She talks about normal stuff and silly things to keep me upbeat. I cannot speak enough about the efforts they are making to make me not fall into the pits of negativity.

Its a constant oscillation and an emotional roller coaster - hope to see the end of this phase soon. As dearest S my friend keeps telling me everytime I start on this sob story - This too will pass.

PS. S - thank you.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Return of the sinner

Last time I had gone to Bhubaneswar, I met this. I never got to savor the usual tastes, sights and sounds of my home town which I love so much.

This time the day K left for his overseas assignment, I left the day following to my parents place. (Yea I am a bit of an escapist and a procrastinator. I wanted to escape the immediate vacuum of K not being there, and fill it up with my family people. And I wanted to postpone the facet of missing him for a couple of weeks at least. My manager God bless that dear soul, was graceful enough, to agree that I work from Bhubaneswar for 2 weeks).

This time, the transit was very different. I was having mixed emotions over leaving for my parents home on one hand and feeling the absence of K. And since he was also in transit at that time, I did not have to send the usual messages to him of having reached the airport, having boarded the flight and reached safely. But the moment I reached Bhubaneswar, the warmth I felt was enormous, enough to make me be in a trance. As soon as I reached home, there was moms amazingly tasty chicken curry! It just enhanced the trance I was experiencing. (Am I sounding like Mr. Nityananda. Please excuse the very poor joke I tried there :D ) Inspite of the lunch in the flight, I could not resist having one big helping of the curry with rice and dal. Little did I know, that was the start of my favourite sin - YES - Gluttony!

I broke all barriers and ate, ate and ATE! Not just that day, for the 16 and a half days that followed. The next day was a trip to my grandmama's house. Now she too is a cook par excellence. But the pulao and soya chunks curry she had made that day, were extra delicious. My aunt, uncle and their kids had also come over, and she had brought her special sweetdishes too. The table groaned under the weight of the loaded dishes, and I groaned after having stuffed myself like a Thanksgiving turkey. During lunch, since we cousins were pulling the leg of one whos allegedly in "love" (:S Kids are falling in love at a younger age now I feel :S ) I ended up not realising when the food reached the level of my nose. Now to wash it off, I had to recourse to a full glass of coke (which implies some more calories ).

The days that followed saw me gorging on fish curry(after 8 months I think), mutton curry and yes the ultimate prawns! I never got a chance to feel one basic human need - hunger. There was always some or the other dish, savouries and sweet meats available in easy access. One day my aunty assuming, that I would be sad and sulky and missing K too much decided to pep me up. To do so, she cooked dahi vadas, chole,aloo dum,pani puri and Gajar ka halwa and made her son home deliver the same. I ate till I needed assistance getting up from the chair. Trust me, I am not exaggerating. On the 26th of Feb, came the wedding anniversary of my parents, and what better way to celebrate than to Feast. Feast we did on Hyderabadi cuisine.... you get the drift? I would prefer not explaining what happens when people who love food meet Hyderabadi food.

Yes I was gluttonous, but I was not unabashed all the way. Come on K would return one day and I did not want him to see a killer whale having replaced his human though chubby wife. So I decided to step on the stepper. And just like I crossed all limits in eating, that day I did cross the limits trying to burn all the blubber that had accumulated over the course of 6 days. I exercised for some 30 odd minutes at a vigorous pace. The next day, I had such cramps in my calf muscles!! I could not stand straight when I woke..... my skin was blue, there were internal clots. I sprayed a decent amount of Volini and wrapped the darn legs in crepe bandages. It took 3 working days for me to be on my feet fully. In the midst though, I did not miss the pastries or the choco pie or the doughnuts sis brought home to make her injured sibling feel better. See God does nt want me to loose my corpulent self :|

Once I was able to perform my vertical operations perfectly, I resorted to mild exercises. But they were toooo mild to combat the loading rate of chaats, pani puris and veg rolls from the street. I absolutely gorged on street food with a vengeance. I was literally thinking "you @$!@$!% guys tantalised me when I was recovering from Typhoid, now its my turn to decimate you all. I am going to eat you all mwahahahaha". I would be failing in my duty, if I do not mention the tubs of ice cream and soft drinks I devoured. Summers coming in you see :|

I am not a foodie. I know it is difficult to believe this after what I have just written. But honestly, I am not too much into food. I do not give a lot of importance to food. I am very adaptive when it comes to food, have no complains as to the quality or quantity of the same. Food is not something which comes first to my mind. But I am a sinner - am a greedy, gluttonous person, who does not know when to say no when it comes to delicious food :(