Monday, February 02, 2015

For V and Skaty

I have been asked to blog. There have been complaints in certain corners of New Delhi that getting married has affected my urge to write. The man I share a home with suddenly wakes up in the middle of the night and urges me to write. He says, ‘I don’t want you to change. You must write.’ So, for once in my life I am not writing just because I want but also for these two special people in my life—one, I call a friend and the other, people refer to as my husband.

To be honest, being married has changed me. Actually, more than being married, having to shoulder the responsibility of managing my own house has changed me. Updating my blog or writing figure on very low ranks on my list of priorities right now. Going to the kitchen to straighten the third coffee mug kept in the top shelf of the second cabinet somehow seems like a task that could possibly change my life or to be honest, the world.

I am still getting used to being promoted from being called gudia or bitiya or beta to being called, madam, bhehenji or the deadliest of them all—bhabhiji. The maids call me bhabhiji. And almost every morning I look back over my shoulder to see if they are addressing me or someone else.

I take more care in choosing the plants that decorate my balcony than I took in choosing the jewellery for my wedding. And the people who went shopping with me for my wedding know that I was very particular in even choosing the safety pins needed to keep the pleats of my saree in place. But I digress. I was telling you the ways in which marriage has changed me. My mother says that I treat my husband like I have treated no one else. Ever. She observes that I treat him with a lot of love and extreme patience. My husband, let’s call him V because saying husband again and again is a little annoying and also very un-nerving for me, tells me that he lives in constant fear. V is a scared man whose every breath depends on my approval of the next step he takes. He of course exaggerates. I am not such a dictator. Or at least, so I like to believe.

My friend Skaty, along with two other friends, has gifted me a mixer and grinder and an iron. She, now, wants me to invite her over formally. I was informed today that plans are in the pipelines of Skaty shaking things up a bit and maybe, just maybe not being a part of the Delhi cityscape for long. I will not lie; I had tears in my eyes and tried hard not to let them spill over when I came to know of the said plans. Over the last couple of years I have explored a lot of corners the city with her. Although I haven’t been on an exploration with her for almost six months now imagining she not being a part of Delhi as I have come to know and love the city is heart breaking. Skaty is one of the best teachers I know. If I have a child someday I would want him/her to be tortured by Skaty with one of her lectures on history. So, she needs to be in Delhi and she needs to urge be at regular intervals to write.

This blogpost is my humble attempt at combating the writer’s block that has had me engulfed since the better part of 2014. Hopefully, I will pen more posts in the months to come.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

She got used to it

The first shared laugh
He laughed at her. After assuring him that she would talk to him later in the evening in her previous two SMSes, she had in her third SMS asked him if he was the same guy she was supposed to talk to.

Then, they had spoken. Like friends who had known each other all their lives but had just started the process of meeting each other. He had asked her what she did for a living. He pretended to understand and then after her long explanation called her a content writer because while snooping on the internet he had seen someone recommend her as a content writer on LinkedIn. They had laughed loud enough to put a lion’s roar to shame.

The Second Act: Chivalry
She travelled half way across the country to meet him. He was late. She refuses to admit that it was her fault just because she was unable to inform him on time to leave his house. The fact was that he was late. And he would listen to her accuse him of the sin to win any argument they were to have in the future.

Traveling meant that she was carrying a heavy bag. He offered to carry it. Twice. Out of politeness she refused. Twice. He did not insist or offer again. She put in one more point in her kitty to win any related or unrelated argument in the future.

He held all the doors they had to go through throughout the day. And there were many. She noticed and appreciated the gesture. Later, she would proudly tell all her friends how nice he was to do so.

He maneuvered himself and sometimes her to keep her on the left of the road. He was protective. That was new for her. She eventually liked it.

He chose the perfect setting for the perfect first date. He was funny and caring. He was chivalrous. Well, for the most part.

I’ll miss you; Thank you?
The train was about to leave. The signal for the train to leave the platform had turned to green from red. The wheels had started to chug towards Delhi. He had looked at her earnestly, her hand still in his, and said, ‘I’ll miss you.’ She had returned his gaze in kind and had in all earnest replied, ‘Thank you.’

The train left the platform. She went to her berth. He left the railway station. She hit herself on her head. Hard. And she thought to herself, ‘What’s wrong with me.’

Building a home in Uzbekistan
She went away; on a holiday with 24 other women. To a country which had been home to the man who had laid the foundation of the Mughal Dynasty in India. The holiday was everything she wanted it to be and then a little more.

She enjoyed with the girls all day long. Always making mental notes to share moments with him when she missed him the most. She sat in hotel lobbies texting him or talking to him over Skype. Wifii was their best friend, then.

Uzbekistan will always be a part of their lives. She bought the first things for ‘their home’ there.

She was not demanding. He asked her what she wanted for her birthday. She thought a lot. Then made a simple demand, ‘Write me a letter.’ He did. Even if the letter did not do the trick of winning her heart the fact that he wrote because she asked did turn her heart.

She carries his letter with her. Reads it once a while. Smiles.

She told him she had written to him several times. She had known him all her life. She had just met him now. And then she wrote to him again.

Get used to it
Their families met. The wedding was officially on the cards. They posed for an awkward photograph where they were smiling like idiots.

They met the next morning. He held her hand. She said, ‘It’s a little weird.’ He did not let go. He looked at her and said, ‘Get used to it.’ She stared back, ‘Hold it better.’ He adjusted his hold on her hand. They walked for sometime, hand in hand. He squeezed her hand while making a point. Or sometimes, just like that.  

She got used to it.

And she still smiles thinking about it all and all that is in store.