Friday, September 24, 2010

Surprises make me write more :D

I thought my last post was the most random-est thing to take shape, and I was so ho-ho pleasantly surprised by the comments! People read and what I think, liked it! Whoa! So propelled by all, I thought of writing about some more random thoughts of mine.

I feel I keep thinking one thing or the other all the time. Since I cant think all the thoughts aloud, I love blogging which gives me the chance to put some of my words in bold face and maroon font color :) Now that I have all the time in the world to use or to waste, there have been a lot of thoughts whizzing around.

I had often hear Renu say(I have never even met her and it seems she talks to me through her posts :) ) that her children give her all the happiness and sorrow. A couple of days after getting here, these words stuck me as more poignant. I always remember the tear streaked face of my mom as I was leaving Chennai. She took quite some time to get accustomed to the fact, that my calls would not be that frequent, that there would be a time lag, that she could nt reach me anytime she wanted to. I somehow did not want her to make all these adjustments at her age. My heart also went out for my mil, being all alone in our home. Even if K was not there, I was there to give her some sort of companionship, she too did not deserve being just by herself. I know there are many parents who have accepted this as their destiny. Even our  parents have gone on to make their lives useful by doing social service and being devout. But I kept feeling, I failed as a child by leaving my parents- that too maybe when I was capable enough to be of use to them. I once confessed this to roomie dear, to which she said, imagine if you were a good for nothing and at home, wouldnt that have been more painful for your parents. Touche. It was paradoxical - and Renu's words drove home like a ram on a rampage. I hope I am a good enough daughter and daughter in law :S

Along with this, the other day I had gone to get myself registered at the local NHS office. In the form there was a question 'First Language'. I had no qualms in filling the answer - I filled it as ahem yep - the Queen's language, English. I did it and then I thought, hmmm, now I had put the thing in black and white atleast somewhere. I have always thought in English, I have been love with the language since I care to remember. Yep, the traditional meaning of first language is one that a person knows from birth  but its also one a person speaks best. Honestly speaking I learnt Bengali before Oriya ( the language I called my mother tongue), I tend to lapse into Hindi more easily because of my cosmopolitan friends, and I married into a Tamil household and day in and day out, I talk in English. I am most confident and most articulate when I talk in English. Hmmm to hua na first language :)

I have no idea where do I come up with such absurd thoughts, but then thats me :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sans technology

In corporate lingo I am supposed to be a 'techie' - sounds good eh? Here am I am writing about my life without technology - irony, yep hands down!

A week after I landed here, we were bereft of the internet. K was in a shared accomodation and the person who moved out had the internet connection in his name. So when he moved, out went the internet with him. I somehow managed by checking emails at some of his colleagues' homes. Then I discovered the library and the free internet facility there. I could book computers for 2 hours everyday and browse(This explains my long irregularity in the blog world, both reading and writing. Not that it matters a lot to a lot of people :D. 2 hours were way too less but then atleast I had a continued access. )

We had somehow gotten used to the routine of having no internet.  We had South Park, Everybody loves Raymond and Scrubs for entertainment at home. During dinner, we used to sit with a sitcom for while, after which I would retire with a book while K would indulge in a game or a movie of his choice. Slowly as I got attuned to visiting the library and spending more time there, somehow my need for the laptop waned and I drifted towards books and developing an eclectic taste in them. But K's hold over the laptop was not to continue for too long. Suddenly the laptop charger went kaput! Ahem, now imagine. No tv, no internet, no laptop, the cell phones which ring only when K or I call eachother ( Sometimes K's colleagues call him, but apart from that, we make the customary calls home and thats more like it ). I read Abhishek's post some days back about technology having nearly ransacked every part and parcel of our lives, and here I was, in an ahem developed *rolls eyes* country sans technology.

I adjusted fine to the demise of the laptop charger. Slowly K had to drift away from technology to keep himself busy. So there he was forced to read - comics and conspiracy theory stories were his liking. But none the less, thanks to the lack of any gadgets, the house was full of books and the most companionable silence possible. It had both of us resting on the sofa and reading our time off. There was no hurry, no noise,  no disturbance - just the sound of pages flipping, giggles coming when we read something funny, each telling the other if we found something interesting and then getting on a track to discuss stuff. It was just us, our thoughts and the thoughts of the writers - a warm cosy cocoon. Its gone to such an extent that now the 20 books I am authorized to take at a time are getting exhausted in no time and K too has applied for his library membership! People who know him will vouch that K and libraries dont go together, but now we are experiencing a brand new love affair!

I am really satisfied that we got to try this - we got to keep away the ipods, the phones, the laptops, the television sets and enjoy something as simple but enchanting as a book. There is no experience which is more enriching.

Friday, September 10, 2010

And the touchdown

I did write about the run up and the last lap, but forgot to write about the touchdown, the day I finally travelled to be with K after a span of 4 months and 17 days. (Huh I sound so melodramatic, saying as if it was 4 years and 17 months! )

On the eve of my travel, there was franctic packing and lots and lots of phone calls. Me being the preemptive types, had started making the calls 2 days prior to the actual date, but then there are oh! so many contacts. And with the travel plans and dates being packed like sardines in my calendar (I always wanted to use this phrase :) Did itttt!! Aint sure if it matches this scenario,  but then who cares :D ) Now back to the point, after the mindless packings and the telephone sessions, I finally had things under control at around 2230. Thats when I had to call up dear A. Well.... she was the one who was through with me like a shadow, and my agony aunt along with Roomie Dear. When I called up A, we had the usual banter of  "Packing shacking ho gai" etc for quite a  while. When it was time to wrap up, moment spoiler that she is, she said " tu kal chali jayegi, main bahut miss karoongi tujhe". And that was it. Realisation whacked my bony head Wham! Yes, tomorrow I was going to travel so far away. And hell, I was going to miss everyone! I got that big bad blob in the throat, the ones you get when you cant wail aloud :(

I retired to bed, thinking I would never get a wink. I was palpitating. Tomorrow, would be the day, it seemed so near yet so far. I kept thinking, random thoughts, and drifted into a sound slumber till 0400 hours the next day. It was dad's birthday! His 60th. Pity I was leaving him. Last year, on his birthday, we had seen sis off for her training, which was again a sad moment. :( .

Till it was time to move along to check in, my entire gang was just chit chatting and making fun of the deperate, the weird, the bedraggled, the jazzy  and the whole league of travellers in the airport. When the moment finally came for me to move along for check in, my mom sporadically burst into tears and so did mil!!! I was like ruko inhe. Till yesterday these two women were all prayers and slokas, that their kids be with their spouses, and now look at them with their hyperactive lachrymatory glands. I was going to miss them tremendously though I had not admitted the fact till that time. My mom, my (silent) dad, my sis, my mil, were waving me off. And in all that movie style I saw everyone, my friends A, Roomie dear, Sam, my colleagues. I thought, here I was leaving everyone that meant something to me, to be with someone who meant (nearly) everything. (ARGH!! What a cheesy dialogue. Kasam se kisi card se nehi utara. Khud likha. Dunno how I came up with these *Shivers* )

The flight itself was uneventful though tiring. I read, watched movies and tried to sleep but was not able to for more than 20 mins. Maybe I was too anxious to reach and there were pangs of nostalgia too. It felt like a free fall, a daze. I was in the same state till I walked out of the airport when I saw K holding a biggggg bouquet of roses and for some reason I got tears. (It was his birthday too! Yea my dad and K are born on the same day! ) (And K is not at all a flower person, like me. He later admitted it was his colleagues idea to take something for her ). I had pictured the moment to be with all razzle dazzle ( a heavy dose of Yash Chopra and KJo movies do disturb the system. ) But it was just normal, we walked holding hands as if we were never apart.

PS. Strangely that night when I hit the bed, after some 20 hours  of wakefullness, I did not sleep a wink. It was just last night, I was with everyone with everything belonging to me, and I had slept like a log. The change that had happened over a day seemed too big, too sudden.
I was nothing but a bundle of emotions.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Speaking from the other side of the fence

I had never "seen" a housewife in my growing years. I knew  auntys who were full time at home, but then I never got to see them from close quarters. Everyone I saw during my childhood was a working woman, my maternal grandma, my mom, her sisters, my dad's brothers's wives ( my paternal grandmama raised 8 kids,so I had always seen her busy with the entire line of grandchildren, never a moment of rest for her ) . I was never conciously aware of how a housewife's schedule looks like ( Excuse me for not being "politically correct" and saying "housewife" rather than "homemaker". Working women are no  home-breakers. They also "make" decent homes. So I am sticking with the old term )

Since I completed graduation, I have always worked. I never knew any other life. It was in a way my identity, something that defined me. I have taken a leave of absence to be with K. Taking a long leave never equated to leaving the job(which so many of my friends have done to be with their better halves. I really admire them for making that call), but still I had my qualms. What about my appraisal? Where would I start from when I came back? Would'nt my skills be rusty? Would'nt I be too bored?What would I do whole day long? And what would come of me- my identity?  I made life hell for K and made him take the 'guilt trip' a million and one times with these quandaries *evil*. But then whats to be done is to be done, and I took the leap of faith. I would not be working, would be without an earning, without an job.

But then without a job did not mean without an occupation. Yes there was a time initially where I was involved in the typical chores, cooking, cleaning, and the predictable. But then K roused me from my stupor. He did point, there was more to me than these. And hell ya, there is so much more. The biggest favor he did was to get the membership of a library. It was something that challenged me intellectually (I have a dream of having a library of my own) . But here I was surrounded by books, of all possible genres! Many which I would have never experimented on! It was a veritable treasure trove. As I spent hours reading, it lead to other things. The cook books made me experiment on cooking, the fitness ones made me be extra cautious and take up walking and yoga  a bit more seriliously (not that it has had any effect on the girth :( ) , the classics teleported me to another era and the contemporary books added layers to my perceptions. Not to mention some technical books which I also picked up which did elaborate some understandings I should have gotten clear maybe 6 years ago.

Slowly I outgrew the mouldy life I was getting conditioned to. So much so, now I have a routine of my own, around which I have to juggle reading, talking to friends and family, cooking, household chores, exercises. There are times when K asks me before he comes over for lunch if I am free!

As a housewife, I feel there are no excuses you can have, for the food not being ready on time, for the clothes not being washed and ironed, for the house not been clean, for the bed not being made. For a working woman, some of these aspects are forgiven for one is "juggling" work and home. But as a house wife, the things at home just have to be picture perfect. Along with all this, I think one owes, a lot to oneself. Its easier to motivate oneself to keep fit and look better when there is an entire set of people you are going to meet on a daily basis. If the set of people is only your husband and maybe kids and a guest once in a blue moon, it takes a deeper level of will power to make the trip to the gym or the parlor. External attributes apart, within the realm of the home, one has to extend and etch an identity, gain more experience, develop new perceptions, become more knowledgable. Some of these are I feel, collateral benefits of working (when one works, there are by default new things coming up every single day, new people one gets to work with, new challenges one faces, new places one might need to get to have a job done - which just helps in intellectual growth) . It is not so easy to be self motivated all the while and keep abreast with the changing times - but that is what many housewives do with elan.

Being full time at home, I feel a woman does the role of a nurturer which nature intended her to do. I really appreciate, how housewives selflessly put their education, career aspirations and monetary goals to step into a role which no one but they could do. Standing at this juncture I admire some of my blogger friends - Renu, Piper, Reflections,Deeps (especially you people) - even more.

Ps. I do not intend to belittle either way of life with this post. This was just a personal thought. If I hurt any side of the fence :) Apologies :)