Lost

With the newborn nestled in my too-tired arms, I looked at Mister and mom’s happy, excited faces – none of them had left my side even once through the two nights we spent at the hospital after I gave birth.

As Mister pried open the lock on the house, I waited behind him, feeling intensely unhappy. I was about to walk into the door for the first time as a mother, into an untidy, dusty old home instead of a “Welcome home baby” banner or a red carpet.

As the door creaked open, I realized that there was a carpet alright – made with the dust and the mail that had accumulated while we were gone. Mom picked it up, and as we struggled to settle down, she announced that one of them was addressed to me.

I was exhausted, and I asked Mister to check what it was. Hey, it looks like fan mail, he said. From the girl in Hyderabad who sent you a letter before.

Read it, I said.

Now?

Yes. Please.

He opened his mouth to tell me it could wait until he had put the luggage down (I had packed a pretty big bag for the hospital), but I suppose he sensed how I was feeling so he read the letter anyway.

I could physically *feel* the happiness flood through me as I heard the first few words. I hope this letter catches you at a time when you have your bundle of joy safely nestled in your arms. 

There’s your warm welcome, I said to the baby. I like to think that he smiled in his sleep.

(to be continued)

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Eight

Childhood was so perfect! Sometimes I wish I could be eight again, she said. More freedom.

Freedom from what? I asked, curious.

Freedom from having to think twice about everything I say or do, of course, she giggled. You know how it is with in laws – they find reasons to get offended. I would fight back, but my husband does not tolerate that kind of stuff. Plus I can’t wear what I want anymore – can’t just step out to go meet a friend when I feel like it.

I understood.

R came from the ideal family – doting parents, independent children, enough money to keep squabbles at bay. I was jealous of the way her parents spoke to her, always lovingly and with concern. She married her college sweetheart and has the most well-behaved children but the most boring life.

Me, I come from a far-less-than-ideal family that liked to pretend otherwise. My parents hated each other’s guts, and ours. We were the reason why they had to stay together – this was my mother’s ultimate sacrifice, and we were painfully aware of the burden our existence was for her. But if you were to look at our photographs from back then, you’d see only oblivious children with glazed, glassy eyeballs. You’d have no idea how fucked up we really were. I grew up to become a socially awkward person with the decision-making ability of a saucepan.

 

And now, in my thirties, I am finally discovering what it is like to think and feel like an eight year old – a luxury I didn’t have in 1990. (Because when I was eight, I was battling agony, indignation, confusion, self-loathing, betrayal; and a few years later, even arousal.)

I am filled to the brim with love and contentment. I am truly happy for the first time in my life. Not because I have a family that loves me – but because I am finally able to understand and love myself.

Maybe my childhood is only just beginning. Maybe I was meant to live my life in reverse.

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What about you? Are you happier now that you are an adult? Do you miss your carefree childhood? Did you have a carefree childhood?

 

of yardsticks and conformity

There’s a very interesting discussion going on over at IHM’s about how the older people in our society need to learn to find life of their own lives instead of seeing happiness in their children’s lives.

Apparently there are many old people who feel like they would be judged if they did, indeed, find happiness in their own lives.

This discussion started, interestingly enough, when a young bride talked about how she felt oppressed as a daughter-in-law. She was tired of giving in to countless demands of gifts from her in laws, which literally amounts to demands for dowry, as pointed out by one of the ladies in the audience. She was afraid of being judged if she didn’t comply.

This is interesting, because I see literally everyone, young or old or male or female, complaining about how they are being judged. The only ones who are not complaining (such as me) are being complained about (my mom thinks I’m too modern and too selfish, last week someone told me they think my mom-in-law is too benevolent and I’m taking advantage of her).

I think that the main problem is that as a society, we want people to live for others and value ‘sacrifice’ above all else.

It’s all about expectations and conformity, you know. All our lives we carry around an image of who people should be, and we use that image as a yardstick to measure everyone around us. We turn judgmental, expecting impossible perfection in everyone, including ourselves. Anyone who does not conform is the black sheep and must be “too modern” for their own good. And because we realize that the same yardstick is also being used to judge us, we conform even though it makes us bitter as people.

Now because people keep conforming to these “standards”, that image in our heads becomes etched in stone. And there we go, round and round in a circle, expecting and judging and conforming and being resentful.

All we need to do is break out of that circle; none of us was born to fulfill other people’s expectations, and these “standards” change with time. And that is why there’s no point to all this sacrifice.

We must stop, old and young alike.

What do you think?

of missing silver linings

Mister’s moved to Bangalore for the next three months, and I feel like my whole life is changing, which is funny, because I always thought that there were only two things that I would consider life-changing experiences: marrying again and being alive during a zombie apocalypse.

I was completely wrong on the first count. (The other remains to be seen, but I think someone stuck in a zombie apocalypse might need to be able to at least use hold lift tools and have some hand-eye coordination.)

When I married Mister, nothing changed. I am exactly who I was before I married him (which he jokes about often because I still have my ex-husband’s last name). I eat all the same stuff, I wear all the same stuff, I say the exact same things (such as – I do not recommend marriage to anybody even though it works for me because let’s face it, my life is exceptional).

Yet here I am, feeling like my life has changed overnight. 

It’s not like we haven’t ever been apart before. He has been away on business a couple of times, and so have I. But there was always the knowledge that it was going to be a temporary separation – at most a week.

But this time, according to his boss his trip might get extended to four months, and I am unable to cope with that might.

After I saw him off at the airport yesterday, I drove back feeling like I was the only zombie in a zombie apocalypse. People were honking, cursing, overtaking – while I was just sulking and mechanically moving my feet on the holy Accelerator-Brake-Clutch trinity.

I spent most of the evening alone, locked up in my room, trying to tune out the silence. Next to me lay an unopened Canon 600D package that had been delivered in the morning, something I had been excited about for weeks, but I couldn’t even get myself to open it.

After a while I turned to the only thing that helped deal with the loneliness and the silence when I was married to my ex-husband – Heroes. it used to make me want to be more – it made me feel like maybe there was some purpose to my life after all. It chased the silence away.

So I put on the first episode, hoping that it would make me feel better, but I could comprehend nothing. And the silence was still there. Had Mister been home, he’d be watching it with me, his head in my lap. And there would’ve been quips about how Mohinder is a Punjabi name but the character seems South Indian. He would’ve found at least one fault with every single character.

I lost track. Then I decided to write. I sat for a while with the New Post page up on my screen, and my finger poised mid-air for the longest time. I couldn’t even write!

I just kept nibbling on whatever I could find and waiting for Mister’s flight to land so I could hear his voice again.

When he finally called, the distant-ness of his voice left me feeling worse than before. I just wanted to hang up. Has that ever happened to you? When you know something is inevitable, do you wish it would happen sooner rather than later?

Today, I’m at work, feeling like I’m socially and emotionally crippled. I am snapping at everything that moves and dropping/slamming/throwing everything that doesn’t.

I generally am an advocate of things can only get better from here, but today I just can’t see the silver lining – just a really dark cloud looming over my head. It feels like one of my body parts is missing and I can’t do a damn thing about it. 

Have you ever felt this way about someone? Do changes ever make you feel like your whole life has come to a standstill? Do you think I’m crazy and completely overreacting? Is it unnatural for me to feel this way?

 

 

of exceptions

I first met her a few years back. She was a pretty face, but thankfully not just that. She was spirited, quick-witted and fun to hang around. She was not like the other vermilion clad, eternally grumpy women in office, who could only talk about their spats with the husband or the in-laws. She had a husband who seemed to respect her individuality and in-laws who were happy to just let her be. This was not what Indian women are conditioned to expect after their marriage. To me, she was the first woman who was truly happy in her marriage.

Except that she wasn’t.

I will never forget that evening. She was in front of me- a vulnerable and pathetic heap of tears and emotions. Between her incessant sobs and hiccups, she laid bare the story of the farce that was her marriage. She felt empty like the bed she was on every night. She was anything but the blissfully happy façade she used to present. She saw no hope in her marriage and wanted out. She emotionally crumbled as she vented out, what must have been, months of inner turmoil. But I needed some explanation to this outburst- that seemed all too sudden to me. And I did find an explanation. She said she was in love with the Mister. And that he loved her right back (I know, Gasp!).

I knew what this was about. Here was a woman looking for a shoulder to cry on, an anchor for her drowning ship; and a man who was, well a man- just looking for easy sex. This was a recipe for certain disaster. This was never going to work.

Except that it has.

He gorges on fish and mutton while she sticks to her veggies (thank you very much!). He gyrates to dubstep and she sways to Salsa. An adventurous bike trip gets her as excited as he is about finding an interesting new read. He is an unabashed extrovert, while she is a mousy introvert. And yet, despite their many differences, I am yet to meet a woman more suited for the Mister or a man more suited for her.

I do not know how life will eventually turn out. But the Mister has probably been the best thing to have happened to her. I say this because I have seen her change, or rather evolve. She is way more emotionally stable now. She has become more spiritually inclined- more accepting of people and situations. She is more persuasive of the things that she truly wants to do in life. She is reading and writing and travelling and dancing and karaoke-ing and doing pretty much everything that catches her fancy. To put it simply, she is living a life I wish I get to live someday. I wish could be her.

Except that I am not.

Hi, I am Giggles! (and no, I do not giggle even half as much as to deserve this moniker!)

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Edited to Add:

As you may already know today is my first blogiversary. What better way to celebrate than have my only girlfriend talk about how she has seen me evolve over the years?

Welcome Giggles, my biggest girl crush whose nocturnal chat adventures we’ve enjoyed (and envied); the friend who made the wasted seamen party happen even though she passed out even before the clock struck twelve; and most of all – someone who manages a job and guitar lessons and kickboxing and gym and a two hour commute within one day and still has the energy to say yes when I ask her to be a guest blogger for me.

Needless to say, I love her. And btw, you will too!

– Ana