Category Archives: Relationships

12 hours with my husband

Yes, this is the same man I live with. This is the man I’ve been married to for close to 10 years. This is the man I’ve known since 1997. So why would I write a post about just 12 hours with him? Because they were 12 hours of just him and me, and nobody. In the last 21 months, that’s a first!

So it was a day trip to Delhi — we’d taken a flight on Sunday morning from Lucknow, and were back that evening. We went without the little one. The last time I had to go to Delhi for some office work in March, I had insisted that Arjun come with me. And had tagged The Guy along to babysit him while I was at work for a couple of hours. The Guy tried to tell me I could make a round-trip on the same day, since the Lucknow-Delhi flight is just 50-minutes long. But I was petrified that I might not be able to come back in time to be with my baby before he goes to sleep (I always put him to sleep, how will he sleep without me?). What if my flight back from Delhi gets cancelled, I had argued like only a mother in distress can. My family had given in, smiled through the unreasonableness of my argument, and played along. But this time, I gave in. This was also a work related trip, except that this work involved both of us — The Guy and me. So, no one would be there to babysit him, and everyone knows that getting work done with a restless toddler isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I had butterflies in my stomach about leaving him behind, but what must be done, must be done. Also, in the last four months, we’ve grown up just enough as mommy and son to know that we can stay without each other for 12 hours. So, I planned his day so that he would be at Nani’s place for half the time that I was away, and back home for the other half.

I woke up my son before leaving, said goodbye to him, and took off.

It was like being on a date. We talked, we joked, we teased each other, and laughed. We ate together. I don’t think he has any idea how much it meant to me.

I realised some time on the trip that I had been missing this, that between answering the urgent, persistent calls for “Mamma!” and the tugging at my hair for attention, and the sealing of my lips with his as I open them to say something to someone else (yes, my I’m-in-love-with-mommy son does this), The Guy and I have lost the space for conversations. Usually, we don’t even realise we miss it, we’re so immersed in parenthood.

But you can go out for date nights. We do, but it’s just not the same, we don’t perhaps call them date nights, they’re just dinners out. But they’re always hurried, we both tend to rush through our meals, and have so much else on our minds, we cannot relax enough.

But you can talk after your son’s slept. Yes, we can. Except that the whole task of making a toddler unwind and go to sleep is so laborious, I end up asleep by the end of it myself. There’s no time to talk.

And for those reasons, I found this half-day reprieve from everyone was a God-sent. Even in London, we were with family, never alone. And needless to say, it’s not the same. As much as I love to be with my bachcha, I wish they were more days like this.

Advertisements

Where do you deposit your grudges?

Do you lug them around forever? Hold on to them, refuse to let them rest?

Do you carry them with you till they find a vent or vengeance? 

Do you take them to an inaccessible part of your brain, that exists, but only in the past?

Do you let go of them, just like that, into thin air, so they can vanish?

Do you impose their burden into your relationships?

Or bury yourself under their weight?

Do you let them pile into insurmountable heaps that mar your vision?

Do you lift them up as trophies, as victims would?

Do you lay them down as foundations for your future experiences?

Do you drop them, unceremoniously, on people around you?

Do you preserve them for future references?

Where do you deposit your grudges?

>10 Reasons why my mom’s better than yours

>

Ha ha! Giving eye-grabbing headlines is part of my job. In this case though, it’s not an accurate headline. Because I know your mom’s the best, just like mine, and ours. Anycase, I’m still sharing the top 10 reasons why I think my mom’s the bestest. And why I’d like to be a mum like her when I get around to being one.

1. She never, never ever harangued us* to eat. Never with a capital N-E-V-E-R. And we never threw a food tantrum. Either she was lucky to have kids who ate when they were hungry, or she knew something about parenting – that if the kid’s hungry, she’ll ask for food. Why does that make my mom the bestest? Because I think mums who do not overfeed their kids is a rarity. And because it’s helped us to not use food as a tool of emotional blackmail. We know we eat for ourselves, for our own happiness and not anyone else’s. So even when we’re angry, you can’t get a ‘I’m not going to eat dinner’ line out of us. Good for everyone around and us!

2. She’s the coolest mom. I don’t remember mom ever getting angry. Upset, yes. Angry, never. I don’t know what she’s made of, but at her angriest best, she’s still so sweet. I wish I had inherited that side of her. She doesn’t even crib!

3. She hold no grudges, and hasn’t passed on any to us. Mom’s just unreal in ways. She can help her worst enemy because she doesn’t see anyone as an enemy. I swear, she’s human, but that’s how she is. Which means that we don’t carry the baggage of our mother’s hurt around. You know, she forgives anyone who’s wronged her in some way. And that just helps us do the same, instead of holding a grudge against people who have done us no harm directly.

4. She’s always positive. And that’s thankfully something we’ve both inherited from her. Even in the most dismal situations, she can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

5. She goes for her medical check-ups without being reminded, has her medicines on time regularly. Women tend to neglect their health so much that children have the responsibility of ensuring they take care of themselves. But it’s a blessing to have a mum who’s alert and aware about her health at 60. Not that she doesn’t have her share of problems – she’s diabetic and hypertensive. But thankfully, she’s kept both under control with lifestyle changes and proper care.

6. When I’m feeling low, I know she’ll pep me up. That’s what moms do, don’t they? Say the right things, make the right sounds and hug you till everything’s okay.

7. She doesn’t mind that both her daughters are crazy after their dad. Well, for most part of my life I was. Now I’m saner – love Dad but know he could have been a better husband. But for so many years, Mummy never resented the affection OD that we lavished on Papa. She didn’t try to manipulate her children to make a point against the husband, and just for that, I respect her so much!

From the PostSecret site

8. She’s the best crisis manager. Anyone in the family has a problem, they can count on Mom to fall back on. During Dad’s worst illnesses, the weddings in the family when women tend to lose their nerves, during tragedies in the family, she’s remained rock solid. From her I’ve learnt that no obstacle is too great to overcome.

9. She doesn’t worry her head over us. So when we used to step out of the house, we knew we just had to take care of ourselves and not an over-anxious mom waiting at home. Or when we go out of town now, I know I don’t have to call her 10 times in a day to tell her I’ve had my breakfast, lunch and dinner, am here now and there next. It makes it easier to live life, to focus on the thing at hand, instead of using up a great deal of our energy or keeping someone else cool.
10. I love her and she loves me. What do I care for the rest?

Happy Mother’s Day!

*Us = Sis and me

>What’s love got to do with it?

>

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?

>Time traveller

>When you see the things I see, do you remember me like I remember you?

Read that somewhere on the same day that I realised that memories aren’t the same for two people inhabiting the same world. And it hurts when the beautiful memories you have of a time mean nothing to those people who feature in them.

My sister and I should have the same things to share about our childhood – things we did together should be as much a part of her memories as they are of mine. But she remembers none of those. And says I make them up half the time, because it’s too far back. She doesn’t remember that I used to make up stories to tell her at night and she would invariably fall asleep before I finished them. She says she was never interested in what haircut I had as a child when I always thought I had short hair (almost) all my childhood because my elder siblings thought I looked cute like that. She doesn’t remember us having the good times. And it hurts. Because I have no childhood if she refuses to concede anything that I remember from back then. What do I do with those memories which don’t exist without her? It means the childhood I’ve been reconstructing is just an imaginary world, that it’s not for real.

But how can she help it? She must have a different set of memories of her childhood. Memories in which I feature, maybe, but not in the same light as I feature in mine. The past is just a reconstruction of our minds, then. What’s there to tell the difference between fact and imagination? What’s there to say that my memory is real and her’s is not? What’s in the past becomes all intangible. It might as well not have happened at all.

And anyway, I remember a lot of things that others don’t – I have a good memory, people say. But I don’t enjoy it. I don’t like remembering things that others don’t remember. I don’t also like remembering people and their names and their contexts in my life when they’ve forgotten it all. It is so convenient to forget. But I remember. As a student, it was great. At work, it’s great. But otherwise, it’s just so much excess info that I’m lugging around with me. I want to forget, not because it’s unnecessary – it used to be considered nice to remember people’s names – but because it’s probably unfashionable (?) now…

>My driver’s love life

>My driver is in love. He’s having an affair. With a girl he was to have an arranged marriage with, but the engagement was called off. And why should I be blogging about this? Because if he doesn’t get the family approval to marry that girl, he plans to run away. From home, from the city, from WORK. And that’s when we hit the panic buttons and begin to take active interest in his love life.

So here we are trying to convince his father, an orthodox Muslim, to let the young fella marry the girl of his choice. Of course, we’d do it for him even if he were not threatening to quit the job, because he’s been working with us for over four years now. But what makes us pray fervently that he be united with his Lady Love is that threat. Seriously. And it just made me laugh out loud when The Guy and I, lying in bed last night, realised we were discussing our driver’s love life!

Don’t get me wrong. We are not one of those heartless, slave-drivers who wouldn’t care what happened to all the domestic staff if we were assured they were bound to us for life. And are only interested in getting our work done. Far from it. But when you start discussing your driver’s love life, it’s just an awkward, self-conscious situation. It’s not like helping someone get their daughter married. Or get medical aid for someone’s father. This is their love lives we’re talking about!

Which reminds me of another torrid love affair that bloomed between a maid and a man servant at our place a few years ago. Now both of them were just the kind of domestic help no one ever wants to part with. The girl was smart, quick and hardworking; the boy doubled up as the errand boy at office, because he could read English as well, and did just about all chores you can think of doing at home. When the two of them hit it off, and got romantically involved with each other, we don’t know. But at some point my mother-in-law started keeping an eye on them. Not enough though to prevent them from having some unsafe sex. Oh yes! Right under our roof, God knows where (it’s a big enough house, there’s actually no dearth of unused places about here)! And pronto, the girl got pregnant and the secret was out. We were in a state of shock for days after the boy confided in M-I-L, wept in repentance, but too late. They were chided and reprimanded and all that, but M-I-L, being the messenger of love that she is, asked the girl’s mother to get the two married off. But the mother would have none of it – no shaadi for my daughter outside the biraadari, she said. The pregnancy was aborted, the girl married off to someone else in a month’s time, and the boy, well, he was so embarrassed and ashamed of what he’d done (it was consensual sex, so the girl was to be blamed just as much as him) that he returned home. End of the story. And so, not only did do pyar karne wale get separated, but two hardworking helpers were also lost forever to the household.

What’s the moral of the story? In order to retain good domestic helpers, ensure they have a happy love life!