Monthly Archives: December 2009

>The Year That Was

>It’s that time of the year again when a re-cap of all things that have been is expected and accepted. And who am I to break conventions, especially ones that I enjoy? Ever since I started blogging, I’ve had an year-ender post up on my blog every year end. And I do it not so much for others as for myself – to remember things that are worth remembering and to remember that even the worst things are forgotten when you think back.

2009 has been a year of so many things for me – of growing up, most importantly. (Yeah, finally, that too must be done) But there are so many more interesting labels I can give this year.

For one, it’s been the Year of the Traveller in Me. I travelled a fair bit last year. From a week in Goa in Feb, a blink-and-you-miss-it but thoroughly enjoyable trip in March to Mumbai where I was invited to be part of a wedding with Amitabh Bachchan among other celebs! A weekend in Banaras where I blew up more money shopping for irresistible hand-woven cottons and silks than I spend on Goa and Mumbai holidays combined! In June, Nainital beckoned us – six crazy couples out for a crazy holiday in the hills. In July I took a road trip to Agra and Vrindavan with my parents – a half religious, half luxury trip! The Independence Day weekend in August was spent in a palace hotel in Jaipur. And in December, I was off to Delhi for my annual shopping holiday! But I’m not tired yet. Give me more, I say!

It’s also been the Year of Photography for me. I got my first SLR camera in April and since then I’ve clicked thousands of pics. In a place like Nainital, where Lucknow folks travel to almost every year, I clicked some 500 photos! I became the official photographer at friends’ parties! So much so that people expect to see me with my camera almost always. In the last year, I’ve come to be associated with my camera. And I love it.

It’s been the Year of Odd Writing Jobs. I miss writing. And I miss being in the media industry full time. 2009 has been a year of moving beyond that realisation and doing something about it. I refused two very tempting offers at the beginning of the year, one of them of editorship of a very well-known paper outside the city. But I went on to do writing assignments I had never done before. From freelancing for a newspaper to writing customised matter for invitation cards, working for an NGO and dabbling in academic writing for websites – I’ve been where I never thought I would be. And let me admit, I did some things just for the money.

2009 has been the Year of Vanity in small measures. It started with our trip to our ancestral home in Behraich in January with close friends which, being as much fun as it was in such an unconventional place and in such unconventional ways, piqued everyone’s interest in us. My birthday celebration, also being so out of the box, put me on the social map of the city without my trying to be there. And what else would I credit a year with that has brought me the tag of being always well-dressed? Oh yeah, please let me bask in some effortless glory but let me also add that I’m not going to ever chase it.

But if anything at all, this year has been a Year of the Highest Highs and the Lowest Lows. I started the year with a big bang: I was raring to go, ready to soak in all the experiences life would throw at me. I had resolved to test new waters this year – do the new in small, irrelevant ways. And I succeeded at that. I was riding high on this wave of sensory and spiritual experimentation when I undertook all my journeys. I was constantly trying to come up with new ways to make life more fun. And then I hit rock bottom: the lowest of the lows I’ve experienced in all of my life. Professionally, financially, emotionally, I had never felt so hopeless before. But the year end feels like life has a come a full circle: I’m back to where I started – my spirits buoyant, my hopes high and I’m ready to take whatever comes my way in the new year.

And on that note, let me wish all of you a very Happy 2010! Here’s to many more years of blogging – Cheers! See you next year.

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>Blue Christmas…

>…is not for me! I really didn’t think I would be doing up our Christmas tree this year, being in the mood that I was. But the holiday spirit taken over me! And I surprised myself with shopping for some more things to put up on our gigantic tree. Doing up the tree was just another excuse we needed to call our friends over. Which is exactly what we did on Monday.

We first did up the tree together

A ladder was put up to put the lights high up on the tree
We used a lot of stuff from last year. Such as this:
And some new stuff too

And this what the tree looked like in the end. Ot at least one side of it. Like it?

I also got really cute Santa caps for everyone
And being typically, pathetically mathematically challenged, I got only ten of these star-lit caps when there were going to be 14 of us huddling around the bonfire after putting up the tree. We ordered pizzas which we had with beer and scotch and vodka and whatever-your-choice-of-drink could be. And since we were hungry again by the time it was time to go home, we had some piping hot Maggi and anda bhurji by the fire.
And while we’re on the topic of Christmas, here’s a question I want to ask you: Who’s the Santa in your family? That’s the question they’re asking on Radio Mirchi for their Christmas Special. And it’s a question that got me thinking… who is the one person in my family who seems to have a mental note of everyone’s wish list, waiting to fulfil all of them? It’s sad but it’s true that the person who could have fit Santa’s bill in the entire khandaan is no more: my late uncle – my masi’s husband – who passed away five years ago.

He was the favouritest son-in-law for Nana and Nani because he knew before they could said what they needed. He was the favouritest uncle among his nieces and nephews because he never forgot a birthday or a gift. He was standing by anyone who needed him – at weddings and funerals, times of joy and sorrow. He was a brother to brother-less sisters, a son to so many parents, the shoulder you could lean on always. He was everything Santa should be because he never asked for anything in return.

Who’s the Santa in your family?

Think that over and have a Merry Christmas!

>Physical vs Emotional Infidelity

>Picture this: You’re getting ready for work and your husband offers to help with packing lunch. He insists you stay in bed while he goes to the kitchen and instructs the maid what to cook and how to pack the food. And because it’s unusual for him to be so nice to you, you decide to check what’s really cooking in the kitchen. Turns out that the husband is fooling around with the maid, fondling and caressing her. And not the first time. He’s been physically infidel for a long time.

Now picture this: A recently-married boy is caught exchanging SMSes with his ex. They go out for coffees after work. He apparently still has feelings for his ex, as does she. And the wife intercepts their messages – they aren’t love messages, just messages friends would exchange. She accuses the husband of cheating on her. The ex thinks it is just friendship, but the wife doesn’t. She thinks it’s emotional infidelity.
(Both are real life incidents.)

What would irk you more – the emotional or the physical infidelity? Would you be able to sleep with a man who goes looking for easy physical gratification elsewhere? And would you be able to sleep with a man who seeks solace in someone else’s company? Which is worse – a spouse (it could be an unfaithful wife as well) who’s with you only physically or a spouse who’s with you only emotionally?

Technically speaking, it may seem easier to forgive a person for their physical transgressions than emotional ones. But when you catch your wife or husband in the act with another person, can you ever forget it? Can you overlook his carnal desires and be happy that he’s in it only for physical pleasure, nothing else? I, for one, wouldn’t be able to. If my man finds another woman so much more attractive that he cannot resist her, I would label him unfaithful and would never be able to love him the same way again. Because for me physical intimacy is also an act of love. It’s not something that exists outside the realm of feelings and emotions.

But it would be bad enough if I knew my man loves another woman, wants to be with her and is bound to me by only a superficial show of fidelity. If I cannot have his affection, I will not want any part of him. What makes emotional infidelity worse is that it is so much easier to hide. How do you draw the line between harmless flirting and repressed feelings? How easy it is for someone to say ‘We’re just friends’ but still harbour a love that can’t be categorised as mere friendship! And how difficult it is to sit and find categories for love!

But it could be different for you. I know so many women who overlook their husband’s physical rendezvous because they probably look at marriage as more elevated than any other kind of relationship. What would bother you more – emotional or physical infidelity?

>A partyholic’s existentialist dilemma

>Whither to? I assume every partyholic must ask this question at least once in her hectic social life. It’s the partyholic’s existentialist dilemma and I’m asking myself this now – to what end are we partying?

I don’t know if anyone of you know what I’m talking about: this stance where you step back from your active social life and wonder what purpose all this partying serves. Oh yes, I’ve enjoyed it for the last six years but how much longer must I preen and prance like the social butterfly I’m so sick of being? I mean really, except for being such a great pastime, it’s mostly as inane as you think it is.

Sometimes I get the feeling I’m being sucked into this vortex, this unending cycle of inviting and being invited, of being polite and tolerant of people I have nothing to do with at all. And try hard to end it, but it just goes on and on.

My social life is made up of friends’ birthdays and anniversaries and now their kids’ birthdays as well. And then there are birthdays and anniversaries in the family – all of which are unmissable. I love the quiet/fun dinners with my immediate and extended family and my dearest friends, the catching up over coffee and films, the discussions and the interactions with intelligent/funny people. But the rest – those friends of friends whom I must be nice to by attending their soirees – I am tired of them!

And the gossip that’s such a natural fallout of the socialising, I do not enjoy any of it anymore. I positively do not enjoy the desperate posing for page 3 and the silly talks about one or the other kitty. Please spare me the horror of listening to who didn’t invite you and who did!

I do not like the feeling of being lost in a maze of inscrutable personas that hide behind clothes, jewellery and money. Show me an interesting, intelligent person and I’m all attentive. Show me money and you’ve put me off.

Sometimes, I just under-dress for an occasion so as to not live up to expectations – I love getting dressed because I love getting dressed not because someone else wants to see me dressed up. Don’t slot me even as well-dressed because there’s so much comfort sometimes in being sloppy.

And don’t ask me to be politically correct. I don’t understand politically correct people. They irritate me because they’re so pretentious. I can’t stand the idea of partying with someone I don’t like but in a place like Lucknow, you’re often thrown in with such group of mismatched people, you must either appear rude or be tolerant.

I have a strong suspicion that I party so much just to fill up a vacuum in my life and that consciousness makes me feel utterly tetchy. I also have a strong suspicion that partying so much has created a huge vacuum in my life by taking me away from all that I shouldn’t be away from. And in either situation, the answer is definitely not more partying. The answer is to learn to say ‘no’ when ‘yes’ is just a reflex response.

Disclaimer: The writer is an avid party-goer and may be suffering from the side-effects of excessive partying at the time of writing this piece. This post cannot and should not be used to prove a point against the writer’s (probable) incessant partying in the future!

>Lost and Found

>Who? Me, of course! And there’s only one way to explain the long hiatus I took from blogging (my longest ever, I think) – an update post.

  • To cut a very long story short, I was caught in a social whirlwind. Between two weddings – my cousin’s and my very good friend’s, I lost track of my life! So instead of celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary on the 9th of this month, we were attending my cousin’s engagement in the day and our friend Nutsy’s cocktail at night. Why should I be complaining? The first half of the day I spent with my family and the second half with friends! Oh, and somewhere in-between I fit in an hour of dance practice for Nutsy’s sangeet ceremony. And oh again, I managed to cut four cakes as well that day, my favourite being the tiramisu cake I had ordered 🙂 And I assume by the sixth anniversary, gifts are mostly redundant, as was the case with us!

  • What else have I been upto? Well, a lot of dressing up, every single one of the last six days. Vanity is a flaw I admit to. I love looking good! And love getting compliments! And I want to know if there’s anyone who doesn’t! Weddings are such an opportune time to indulge in all this vanity without looking vain – one of the reasons why I can’t understand the case against the big fat Indian wedding. I wore a turqoise gota patti saree on one day, a creme georgette saree with badla work and brocade blouse on another, a Benarsi silk in shot colours on still another day.
  • But everything can’t be hunky dory. Nutsy’s cocktail was supposed to be an all youngsters’ thing – by youngsters we’ve now begun to mean people in their late 20s and early 30s – times change and how! Anyway, so I was saying it was supposed to be this rocking dance and daru party but somehow, a whole lot of oldies managed to gatecrash the party. No, they were invited there actually and it wasn’t till they left that the ‘youngsters’ let their hair down. Yours truly was the first on the dance floor!
  • My cousin’s wedding was such a fun family re-union! We’re a bunch of crazy people who love doing crazy stuff and it works out perfectly when we’re all together. Which is precisely why staying up all night for the pheras was so much fun! The groom’s father seemed a tad upset with all our giggling that so often broke into raucous laughter, but did we care?! Not a bit, especially since our moms were all part of the mischief. It runs in the family, this funniness, you know!
  • And you want to know how did our dance go? Fantabulous! We were four of us up on the stage doing our little desi gig and trust me, it wasn’t all that easy to hop, skip and jump in tune while wearing a pavada, which, you should know, I’m mentioning, because it was in gorgeous colours of fuchsia, turquoise and green.
  • So what have I learnt from this week of weddings? That there are some people even in India who are super punctual! The baraat at both the weddings reached so much on time that the guests were a little shocked. And let me add very proudly that I was on time for all the occasions!
  • The day reception for Nutsy’s wedding was such a great photo-op: the natural light, the lovely colours, the lazy winter afternoon. Perfect!
  • I wish I could share some pics I clicked and I clicked plenty on all the days! Of course, lugging around the camera in a saree at a wedding wasn’t all going to be easy, so I left mine behind for Nutsy’s wedding. But I had such a craving for my camera when I saw people clicking around me that I called for it from home! Am glad my photo fancy isn’t yet over.
  • I promise to go visit all my blogger friends on their blogs as soon as I go back to work 😀 It’s been a week since I went to office, you see.
  • And a big ‘thank you’ to everyone for their concern. I think I’ve finally bounced back. And if you want to know how, let me tell you it always helps to have a little conversation with God.

And I almost forgot to share this with you: I got interviewed! Yay! Please go read me here.