Monday, December 16, 2013

So no one told you that was gonna be this way..

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community

AND we complete two years of marriage today! A big hurrah!

I know I am the nth person to have said this, but marriage does affect you in all sort of unimaginable ways. So no inventions or new-found truth here, when I say that it did affect me as well. This is to be read as an account of  experience, confessions, and may be, curiosity.  

Marriage has been a word having multiple connotative-denotative attached meanings. In today's age of exploring new options, openness in relationships, globalized/westernized outlook towards social institutions, and ever-changing world around us, getting into the matrimonial bond is an option most of us take, (number of those who stay away from matrimony is still very less) without the slightest idea of what future holds.

We too did. In spite of courting for almost four years before we got married, it was an adventure we were taking on. It does not matter whether you know the person for  four years or two weeks. Staying together for 24/7 is a different ballgame. For one, we were happy that were finally getting to stay together putting all those long distance years and expensive phone calls to end! But it was also a process of getting to know the real us, appreciating the smaller gestures, tolerating each other at times, completely disliking something at times, discussing, making up, and being wiser by the day.

We did change cities after first year of marriage. The first year was spent in Chennai, along with Paa. We adjusted to each other's continuous presence, and loved it. We explored the city of Chennai, with it's food joints, roads, beaches, small trips, speaking Tamil  and filter coffee. Dealing with a new city together must have strengthened our bond further. Even though we have now moved back to Pune for good, life in Chennai is associated with the very first year of our marriage, and hence, Chennai will always have a very special place in my mind in spite of the horrendous roads, climate and mosquitos! Mind it !

Moving back to Pune sounded a cake walk, not exactly did it prove to be. We moved back to the family home, started our respective careers and a joint life in Pune. And even though both of us have been Punekars, it took us sometime to figure out the way in sudden burst of activities, social life, family time, and adjusting again to our own city. Staying in a same city, after a gap of few years, in a different house, with a different family is an experience worth taking! 

As every marriage, we too have had our shares of highs and lows in these two years. But marriage changed us upside down. It changed our reactions, our thought patterns, our behaviour, our expectations, our emotional graphs, our maturity and our sense of responsibility. Everything in this may not have been changed for better. But I am happy with the changes. I know life is ever changing. Nothing will remain the same as it was some time ago. And I have learned to accept the changes, both positive and negative. The changes may be expected or completely unexpected, but I am learning to welcome them in equal zeal.

Now is the exact moment that we entered matrimony two years ago, at around 10 am. It has been a crazy ride so far. Expecting many more such great moments, experiencing them together, learning from them, and growing up, as one pair of crazy, awesome and wise people! 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Children. why?

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community

I have a fair idea that questions like this are met with immense surprise, or shock or plain being non-plus. I have been experiencing this for some time, when I express my thoughts about having my own kids. Now that I am not newly married anymore, I am aware that this question is going to come to me from all directions and eat my mind out of peace. If not immediately, in few months. I have already been asked about this by some senior females( as expected) and this is going to be more in coming years. I have not expressed this idea to the senior members, but I some time discuss this with people my age, and most of them also have no idea what answer they should give. 

My question is "why do you want to have children?'

Most of them do not understand the question. After grasping it, many say, 'because you DO have children. Right? Everybody, who can, DOES have children." (which is not an answer, as much as a logical fallacy, still.) Some say, "Because I am married now" (which also has no direct connection with wanting to have children. You CAN have a child even without getting married, if your wish is so strong. Not socially acceptable though.) Some tell me that they love playing with children, and that is why they go the kid-route. OK  acceptable. (but you can always play with the nephews and nieces and neighbor's kids for  that matter, if it is just about playing.) A close friend of mine,a biologist, tells me that she wants them because a) she loves being with kids and b) that is the most natural human tendency. To reproduce. OK, much better than the previous answers. 

Still, I have not found a satisfactory answer to why does one want to have kids? Speaking for myself, I do not feel even a slightest need of having kids. (That has been my feeling for past few years, might change later though. Let us talk while it lasts.) I do not like being around kids, I do not like playing with them, I do not feel that I have any sort of bond with them ( well, some people do. I have seen how almost magical they are when they are with him or her.). To clarify, I am not scared of the whole child-bearing and delivery process, and even if I were, I could have adopted a kid. I do not feel like doing that either. 

Is it unnatural to feel that way? Is it going against the most natural instinct of reproduction? Or does that show lack of love or compassion? Or has it got something to do with age and wisdom? I have classmates, who are now mothers of 2 or 3 year olds. I also have a few friends, who got married by 29-30, and immediately had kids, coz of the biological clock ticking away. Was the need to have own children so overpowering, that they did not want to spend time on evolving the marriage? Or they als had kids, because, you know, everybody does.

In all this, My mother gave me a very good reason to have kids. She told me to think of having kids, as you then have something to look forward to for the rest of your life. As the marriage becomes older and more mature, and you sort of fall into routine, kids can be those who keep you engaged, keep you hopeful about life. Every day with kids, is a new day full of learning and developing yourself. I can largely buy this argument.And I will definitely think about this. 

Meanwhile, I would also like to know the answer to my question from you guys.The one with kids, please tell me why did you have them. The one without, tell me if you are planning to have them and why. Diverse opinions always help in forming an idea. And if at all, you share the same feeling like me, please tell me that as well. It's quite reassuring to know that you have a fellow sailing in the same boat :)  

p.s. we are not planning kids right away, neither are we deciding or debating on that. I have shared it as my thought. Respect it as it is. :D

Monday, July 15, 2013

A better you via getting physical

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community

And I mean physical activity. As in exercise. As in sweating it out in socially acceptable way, which could be performed in open! A gym or a sport or any aerobic activity.  I have been experiencing this since past few days, and ever since I watched Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, I have made my mind doubly up.

Sweating it out has always been a form of what they call as sublimation in psychology. Expressing your emotions in a better suited form. Most of us do not know this term but we are using it very very often. Feel demotivated and frustrated? Have troubles in coping up with situation and feeling low? Have rage and thinking of hitting somebody? Go and sweat it out. The feelings will vanish on their own. Run a good kilometer or two. Go gymming and life heavy weights. Basically, express that rage within through a rigorous, strenuous physical exercise. Your emotions are channelized better, leaving you and the other person unharmed. Plus, it is good to have a few calories burned, isn't it? :)

So this is the normal way many of us use. School boys use it, frustrated lovers should use it. I for one, have somehow started using this technique, and it is working wonders. I have not been working for sometime now, following a very stressful period in my life. First thing I did, was resorting to exercise. I started gymming extra-regularly. I go everyday without fail, and exercise for an hour at least. Not that I did not go before, but it was more perfunctory, I would say. Just coz I had paid the membership fees, and the husband is a major gym freak, I would accompany, mostly willingly. My goal was fitness, and nothing else. I would casually work out for 35 minutes, and then off I went. Not any more.

I made my mind and took to gymming with a determination. To be unaffected from the stress. It took some nagging from Husband initially, but now work out for more than an hour, and that too happily. What is better, I keep on thinking of new workouts to follow and keep inventing them. If I always cycled/ran on treadmill for the cardio, I now substitute it with various funky alternatives. I use spin-bike, I run on real jogging track and not treadmill, I even use the combination of age old skipping rope and Surya Namaskars! And what is best, my stamina has increased. I sense it. I am not panting after long run or skipping.
Better than the best, I have managed to keep stress at bay. It is like all the negative emotions are taken out of my body through the sweats. And, I have set a new target for myself. That is of running a 10K in pune marathon this year! Hurrah! :)

Well, Farhan Akhtar has also inspired me. I watched Bhaag Milkha, and I was stunned by his physique. Could not stop praising it, like everybody else. It could have been a result of steroids like what some so called insiders are suggesting.  But oh boy the body! It takes great amount of determination and perseverance to do that merely for a role. He has done at least nine sprints in that movie, and it is not easy. he has looked every bit of a real life sprinter, which must be a result of tremendously vigorous physical activity.  It is not a puffed body, it is lean and taut, like a runner's. If a 38 year old man, who has no connection with the word exercise, can do it, so can I or anybody like me at the age of 26. . It has made my target even firmer.It additionally helps that I simply love Farhan the artist, and hence it is easier to idolize him :D

Last, but not the least, exercise is like  a way of connecting with yourself. You consciously think of your body as a tool. A tool to sculpt your inside. You learn to give it all. You learn to cope with injuries, with failures too, if you are playing a sport. You also learn to appreciate the very existence of a good healthy body. Your spirit gets higher. Riddance from the negativity, busting the stress, looking inside you, focusing better, experiencing the calm, and a great figure are attractive add ons, if you want!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Apathy,Activism,Apoliticalness and Aam Adami

It has been more than a decade now that Congress has been glorifying the Aam Adami. In the mean time, old leaders died, new ones came to power, political map of country became more and more volatile, Modi alarmingly emerged as a brand, First woman president of India retired, Laden was killed, country's growth rate dwindled down, and Rahul Gandhi finally got rid of his hypnotic smile. And still, Aam adami is fairly where he was. In terms of inflation, natural calamities, terrorist attacks, craze of western countries, and most importantly apathy, and a-politicalness.

Let me elaborate. Say, Roads are frequently dug in your area. Mandir in the neighborhood puts on loudspeakers till much later than 10 pm.  Your rightful water supply was diverted to some other colony. The rickshaw/taxi driver frequently refuses to take you where you want to go. Hawaldar caught you and holding you up because you jumped the lights. There is a friend of you who is experiencing sexual harassment at her office. In short, things are not exactly looking very bright. Now tell me, what are your normal responses to this? 

You will look for another taxi/rick, you will probably give that 50 rs bill to hawaldar so that he does not waste your time, you will close the window and keep cursing the temple,  you will ask your friend to ignore/settle matter, and you will definitely curse the 'sarkaar' and the 'system' for the water diversion and road digging.

Here comes the apathy I talk about. apathy,defined by wikipedia, is is a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation and passion. Nothing that happens, on varying scale, that causes trouble, pushes you towards action. It is most surprising, that we take no action, even to issues that are bothering us, let alone others. Asking the friend to settle the matter, is not as much of an apathy, as closing the window and taking another auto is. This sort of apathetic action intrigues me most, where no effort is directed towards gaining what is rightfully ours. 

Same goes with  cursing the sarkaar and the system. Digging the roads or diverting the water supply is not a whim of government, it can not be. There are plans and reasons behind digging the roads, say for pipe gas or water pipeline. If water is diverted, there is a reason needed to be given before that diversion takes place. How much ever we like to believe, governance is not a whimsical activity, where no rule abides. How many of us have bothered to stop when we find labor happily digging away, and ask the reason behind that digging? How many of us go to the zonal office and ask the reason behind? 

I am sure, probably only 1%. It is foolish to curse and blame system and sarkaar for petty issues like this, and not doing even 1 bit about it. IF it bothers us, by all means we have to go and ask for the reason/permission. But sadly, we prefer ignoring it, passing sideways, cursing them and generally adding up to our collective unhappiness. If at all somebody says, we push them down, saying "why get into those issues and that  politics? it is better to stay away."

That is sheer a-politicalness I am talking about. There is a big aversion to anything remotely political in nature. It is not 'non-political'. Non political guys do what they want to do, without believing in politics. A-political are us who just stay apathetic to politics, at the cost of our own convenience. We do not even care who  our corporator is and what has he done for us in last five years. Dynastic politics, religious terrorism and political insurgencies are just far far away, way out of scope. We stay away. 
If you feel like staying away, do that by all means. But then do not come and complain about how rotten the civic affairs are and how nothing can be done. Things can be done. remember.

Here comes another problem. The moment we say it can be done, and it is our right, comes in the activism. Just because I am conscious about my rights, and I do something, I do not become activist. Voicing my thought or even having thoughts, is not activism. Calling it activism is in fact an insult to the word. But the moment somebody like me starts a conversation about something as day- to-day as above mentioned situations, I immediately am shut up by friends/relatives, saying "hey, lets not discuss politics, just stay away from that".

Apathy and apoliticalness is not going to lead aam adami to any better world. If we want better world, we have to be at least conscious of what happens, why does it happen, what do we want and how can we do it. Else we become sheep and be hoarded. For the in-between, there is always an 'activisty' entertainment like liking FB comments and wearing Aam adami caps. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

To Pa, with love :)

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community

I have not written for a long time, and hence wanted to write today. However, today's post follows a different topic and is for a different occasion altogether! It is for pa, my father-in-law, who celebrates his birthday today. Hence I combined both the things on my mind- writing and pa's birthday,  and made it into one :)
It is not going to be a biographic profile (that I am planning to do some years later ;)). It will stay true to how it came into form. I wanted to write, and it is his birthday today. As simple.

I always used to have good talk with him, even before my marriage. But I shifted to Chennai after my marriage, and there three of us stayed together under one roof, and got to know each other really better.
Now looking back, I feel that he has taught me some very crucial things in that little time, and these things will stay with me for my lifetime. It has to start with cooking. He has a tremendous interest in kitchen, really looks fwd to opportunity where he could go into kitchen and let his creativity and experimentation flow. And something that is worth special mention is that he cooks everyday. Every single day. In whole of 14 month's stay in Chennai, there has not been a single time when he was home and he did not cook.

Probably all of you have idea, but I would like to say that specifically, that it puts a newly married girl in a tremendous comfort mode. It did put me as well. I have practiced my cooking basics with him. Right from how to cook perfect basic  white rice, to how to make a yummy punjabi gravy, Pa has taught me most of the things. I do not know many women, who have learned their cooking from their fathers-in-law, and I consider myself  and of course him to be really cool for that :)
Moreover, his making me comfortable factor does not end there. Even though I did not know how to cook typical meals initially, I could cook fancy dishes pretty alright. Be it lasagna or grilled sandwiches or variety of salads. Pa not only ate them for dinner without any complaints, but also showed eagerness to learn. It was never like "I know how to cook well,and hence I will do that, and then you may do whatever you want, I do not care".  The accommodating, experimenting and eager approach was displayed throughout, and to me that is a definite sign of a mature, sensible, sensitive person.

Pa has been a great listener, as I almost always talk incessantly. But I felt like talking so much, only because he is attentive, and has genuine interest in what you talk. With close friends, it is given. But with fathers-in-law, I doubt. I doubt if many fathers talk to and listen to their daughters this much, let alone a daughter in law. Pa has listened to me, has chatted with me  over multiple topics, and also, has made me into  a good listener. I am not saying I was not, but I have calmed down a bit, and listen more carefully and more actively. Of course, my Husband and the age have a definite role to play in it, but I have seen Pa being a great listener, and it must have influenced me to some extent.

In course of daily life, he has made me inculcate some good habits, and has given good guidance if needed. He has always been very very approachable. (all NIE people will agree to this). Any issue, trouble, confusion, confession, he has been there. Most importantly, in spite of the advice he has given, he has maintained the individual space. He shared what he thought, but never forced us to do that. If we did not do what he suggested, I do not think he was upset or angry. And probably because of that, so many people feel comfortable seeking his opinion/advice, just like me.

It is not like we never had arguments. we did some time, but they were minor. and we were mature enough to sort them out immediately. And anyways, there is no fun to anything without arguments!
Pa has turned into a great friend of mine, and I know the bond will stay for a long time. I really miss meeting him daily, but now I am with my mother in law, and I feel that another friend is in the making :)

Have a great day Pa! Will write more and about many other things in some years :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Yes, I like regional!

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community 

Anybody remembers those columns which would appear in sunday supplements or magazines? A celebrity would be interviews and random questions about his or her personal choices would be asked. Say the favourite movies, movie stars, books, music on their ipod, favourite shopping destinations, most favourite cuisine and so on. I just encountered a similar list in one of the supplements I was reading. And it just freaked me out. Well, not just that particular list, but it was probably deep down somewhere which just came up with this and a discussion I had a couple of days ago.

One of my old acquaintance was discussing the 'books to have' with me. We discussed and just listed some 25 odd names, which we thought should be at every readers house. After we finished with the english list, I asked her what regional language books would she buy and keep at home. She gave me a very quizzical look, asking for what I meant. I said, "there are some classics and original masterpieces in Marathi, which I feel everybody should have. Similarly, you will also have such pieces in Bengali. what are they?" On hearing this, she made a face and cooly replied saying she does not know nor care what is written in those books, and since when did they become worth it to be bought.She added that since she is educated in a convent school, there was no question of reading regional and how does it help in today's world even if you are an avid reader of regional literature. As long as you read english, it is sufficient.

The statement angered me. Not because I was educated in a Marathi medium school, but because of
1. the attitude that reading only English is sufficient to be called as a reader.
2. statements like "regional language literature is not worth it to be bought"
3. the sheer rootlessness this girl displayed.

After that, I came across this list of celebrity choices of books, music and destinations. And I noticed that 99% of Indian celebrities gave non-native music, books, movies, food and travel destinations as their favourite. OK, nobody is asking you to restrict yourself to only liking Indian ( I am an advocate of developing a global taste, and I am NOT a right wing old fanatic), but couldn't there be a single item on their list which is Indian? Looking at the list, it feels as if there was nothing ever in India that was worth listening to/watching/ eating/drinking/reading or visiting.

What is with people? If you like something Indian, are you supposed to be bad or worthless or not 'up there' or less socially mobile or less of a human or something? Or is this a market force that is driving us to like non-native produce? Or is this one simple wanna-be tendency? That idiotic fad that says you are forward-thinking and cultured and uber-polished if you like only non-native things?

I do not take this. I challenge the thought. I feel that not reading a piece in your mother tongue is being worthless and utterly crap, moreover dis-rooted. I strongly believe that the more rooted you are in one culture, better do you understand the other culture. Only if you know the fine nuances of any one language, have that mental ability to appreciate a language,  you can appreciate another language equally well. Just because I read Marathi books as well or like Bollywood music, I do not become low-standard. And just because my dear non-regional friends are non-regional, they do not become cool.

Well, getting acquainted and pro with English is really commendable, rather required, it is the ultimately the language of the world. Of course you need to read, write, speak that. But taht does not mean reading Marathi or any other language is of no use. My dear friend thought that reading any language is only to progress in life. only to earn big bucks and manage an impression. She did not know that being exposed to regional or native literature/music/history/folklore opens the door to that culture. Opens the door to understanding those people, get glimpses of 'being them'.

I take great pride in saying that I know 6 languages, can read and write 5 of them, have been exposed to literature/art/history in them, and understand at least 3 cultures in some depth. My knowledge, sense and sensibilities have developed and matured quite a bit because of that.
 And then I might still be damned for reading or liking regional, who cares? :D