Monthly Archives: February 2011

>Ja beta, jee le apni zindagi

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Now don’t tell me you haven’t seen Amrish Puri give Kajol the ticket to live her life by undertaking a journey on the Eurorail in that romantic flick called DDLJ that continues to run in some Mumbai theatre! But this ain’t about an iron-fisted dad and his daughter. This is about The Guy and me.

So, hopefully, we’ve already established that like every other Indian guy, my husband eats, breathes, sleeps cricket. He can watch a match from start to finish, the toss and prize distribution ceremony included. And watch still another one with only a grin to give to his wife as explanation for the unreasonableness of it all. And with the Cricket World Cup breathing down my throat, you know what things are like back home. To make matters worse, the World Cup’s come home, I mean it’s playing in the Indian subcontinent. And some fancy friends of The Guy put the idea in his head that they must go to watch at least one match live at the stadium. Tickets were booked for Bangalore, where India plays England this Sunday, even though there was no match ticket in hand! But umeed pe duniya kayam hai. And even while the ‘source’ is supposed to yet confirm the passes to the match, another ‘source’ has been tapped to get passes for other matches that India is playing in the country!

This second source, a friend of mine who’s saying he’s going to shave off his head if India wins (how are the two related?!), was chatting with me on FB, telling me about his plans to go to Mohali and Mumbai yada yada to watch the matches, mentioned just as The Guy peeped into the chat window – ‘You know the next World Cup will take place in India 20 years later, and we’ll be in our 50s then!’ And that was all the reason my husband needed to justify his wish to travel all over the country to watch India play whichever other country! Since then, he’s actually been making travel plans, pullingI all the powerful strings required to procure match passes, VIP no less. There’s frenetic messaging happening everyday, dates being discussed, locations being looked for, budgets being mentally drawn up in the head. Of course, I’m nowhere in the picture nor on the flights to Bangalore, Delhi or Mohali.

So what is my reaction to all of this? Despite my grudging tone in this post, I was all like ‘ja beta, jee le apni zindagi’. Not one to hold back someone from doing what they want so much to, I think that there’s very little that men like The Guy, do for themselves in general. I mean, he rarely ‘wants’ anything. And I think if this inane cricket stuff is what he wants, what’s the harm? A few thousands spent on your heart’s desire is exactly what we earn for. No?

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>It’s different

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I don’t think I’ve ever really discussed why being me isn’t easy. Because the answer is a cliche – the answer is that I’m different. Yes, like every new flick, every new idea, every new person in your life, I’m different. But always only relatively. I think it’s just about being me in the world that I live in. There must be, I’m sure, plenty of people like me in this world, but they aren’t the people I spend my life with. The people I spend my life with, I’m not like them. And when I come across those who don’t make me feel like the outsider in my own life, I know I’m not an aberration. For the rest of the time, I am just trying to be me, because by some mutation of my parents’ DNA, I cannot live like I am another person, inherently incapable of doing that.

The Guy and I, for all our love and years of being together, are as different as chalk and cheese, not perhaps in values and beliefs as much as our likes and dislikes. If I want to watch a play, he’s going to fall asleep 10 minutes into it. If I want to play scrabble, he’s going to want to watch TV. If he wants to watch cricket, I’m going to read a book. We celebrate our differences, most of the time we do, but sometimes I just want company to do a thing I want to do. Sometimes,  I just want him to go on a walk with me, order veg fare when we go out to eat. Sometimes, it’s not fun to have someone do something for you just because you want them to, and not because their heart is in it as much as your’s. You know what I mean?

At work, it’s not too different. I sometimes feel like a one-man army, trying to juggle ten tasks at the same time, while some of my colleagues are struggling through their first. They’re looking for friendships and alliances at work, and I’m looking for work. And that’s how everyone was in my Delhi office, which I took to like fish to water. People came to office, did heap loads of work, shared a laugh, a lunch, a cab and went home, without any fuss. And now that’s what makes me different from others in my work space!

I want to be me, but I don’t want to be the only one like me in my environment. I live in a family, which is very nice, but I share very little with them in common. It’s our priorities, our attitudes, our problem-solving mechanism, our survival mechanism, everything that’s totally divergent. Not that anyone stops me from doing what I want to, or being who I am, but it’s not always easy to keep going against the grain, to hold your belief strong in your heart even if everyone around you has no faith in it, and then to keep that faith intact. I wish so much that we could just agree on things not for each other’s sake, but because in our heart of hearts we do. This constant negotiation for our spaces, albeit peaceful, drains my energy, and sometimes what’s left inside of you at the end of it is just this burden of restless energy. It’s not the energy that lets you be you. On the contrary, it takes away from it, altering you in small but irreversible ways.

And then, I wish that like so many other people, I could stop being myself. That would be so much easier.

>What’s love got to do with it?

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When two people fall in love and (maybe) decide to get married, how much of their lives and themselves are they willing to share with each other? At the very obvious level, couples share their thoughts, their feelings, their emotions. At another level, they share the space they live in, the bed they sleep in, the bathrooms they use. But there’s some bit of the sharing that goes beyond the essential. Like sharing parts of your life you wouldn’t let anyone else.

I guess every couple just draws their own line of what’s acceptable, what’s not. I think that where the line is drawn depends largely on how much space you need for yourself, how much of it you’re willing to give up comfortably. Like some people are totally okay with sharing all their passwords with each other – for their mail and FB accounts, ATM cards, e-banking stuff and what have you. But sharing a Facebook profile? Not okay with me. What, you don’t know a couple who actually has a single FB account? Yes, they exist, and leave you wondering how to treat their profile like a couple!

Me? I wouldn’t give up being the individual I am, even if it’s online, to be just a couple. And no, I don’t think it’s a deficit of trust, or a desire to conceal. It’s just that I need to be myself before I can start being someone’s wife, daughter, whatever.

I do know of couples though who totally (and happily) eat into each other’s space like they didn’t exist as individuals before. They have the same friends – if you can’t get along with both, you can’t be friends with either. They eat out of a single plate, share the same opinions, the same sense of humour, the same sense of outrage – you get the drift. And that’s because they’re so much in love with each other. Because by some inflated notion of love, that’s what lovers do – cease thinking independently, start mirroring each other’s reactions and think that any voice of dissent must mean that they’re out of love. Really?  No, seriously, is that it? Because that would mean I’ve never quite been in love. Do you have to have an identical other half in your partner to be certified ‘in love’?

You may find it a little difficult to convince me that the answer to that question is ‘yes’. So tell me, how much of your space are you willing to give up for your partner? How much isn’t too much for you?