Monday, February 01, 2016

I wish you bliss!

I remember days when my colleagues/well-wishers would pester me to get married. The sessions would start as a joke, escalate to levels which could be easily sample cases of sexual harassment by co-workers, and would invariably end in one of them wise ladies saying, ‘Jokes apart. I want to see you happy. Don’t get married if you don’t want to but be in a relationship with a wonderful guy.’ The hysteria would die and others would sober up and nod in chorus. The conversations would keep me thinking long afterwards. Somethings that were spoken about, I would share with my mother; doubts I would clear up with one of best friends—P; and the parts that I understood but was too embarrassed to share with anyone I would try to forget. Even though I laughed with everyone during the late afternoon sessions when all of us would be taking a break, to the horror of our male colleagues, these talks left me feeling a little lonely and thinking that I was missing something vital. There would be days when I would be busy in some social engagement or the other and would not have enough time to brood over what was said. Those were good days. However, days when time was a plenty, I would start by laughing to myself remembering something that was said. Invariably I would then move on to being depressed thinking that maybe such bliss was not my cup of tea.

There were many, who, through my twenties told me I was old enough to be married. Others warned, ‘If you pass the marriageable age, all the good guys will be off the market.’ I responded with nervous laughter sometimes. On other occasions I would cheekily quip, ‘Achi cheez banne mein time lagta hai. The boy is getting ready to match up to my expectations.’ I believed in the statement only 5% of the time. I hated everyone who told me to lower my expectations and to not be too choosy. Some would think that telling me that my mother was a cancer patient and might not be around long enough to see me tie the knot was the best way to convince me to cross the threshold. As if that thought did not haunt me every minute of every day.

Now, I live with a man. The world and I call him my husband. He takes care of me. Loves me to the point of cherishing me. I understand the bliss that my colleagues and friends so oft spoke about. Having pop-corn while watching a movie in our house, tucked in the cushions of the sofa, suddenly I get transported in time and I think about what L had said or V had remarked. A smile spreads across my face as I realize all that they wished for me has come true. And how!

I wish the same bliss for my unmarried/single friends. I wish that they find someone they can bully into buying a chocolate for them at the end of the day. Someone they can ask to cook for them on a lazy Saturday. I wish they find someone who makes them laugh and whose eyes well up when he sees them cry. I wish them bliss.

But I want them to wait for the guy who makes the world go round for them. I don’t want anyone to lower their standards or expectations. Finding love in your thirties is better. You can share all the mischief and misfortune of your twenties with your partner. They weren’t there so the bag of stories remains sufficiently full to entertain each other on long, never-ending drives. Since you missed each other during the troubling twenties, you end up valuing each other much more. Doing silly things doesn’t seem too silly if it makes the other smile. I want my closest friends to experience all this and more.

I might sound full of mush. Some might be squiggling their noses at what I have written. Some might agree to what I say and others might define love and marriage based on their experiences. To each his/her own. But for my closest friends I wish bliss. The kind of bliss where you fight bitterly with a person and then rest your head on their shoulder while your tears soak their favourite t-shirt.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Let's Start the New Year!

Is it too late to start the year? Some of you might say yes. Some, I hope, will be sympathetic to the cause of procrastination and say, ‘No. no. Line wahin se shuru hoti hai jahan tum khadi hoti ho. Toh saal kyun nahi.’ And I, gleefully, will choose to listen to the second group. The group of my personal cheerleaders. The chairperson of this group, I am sure, is incontestably my mother. A relatively new entrant to the game, yet one of the most important players around is my partner, V. My friends for life, K and G, will call the moon, the sun if I asked them too. Also, I am sure they will convince others in their lives to do the same if they knew it would make me happy. The others in the squad I am not naming because their role as a cheerleader might make other less fortunate jealous.

So the New Year begins twenty two days into the month of January. I write my first post of the year. And I promise to return with posts more frequently this year than the last. At least one post per month if not more. I promise. Mostly to myself.

Over the last year I have been away from the blog for several reasons. I have been writing and working towards the manuscript of my first book. I hope this year I make sound progress on that front. I have been busy being a homebody. I have enjoyed every moment of being a wife, a daughter-in-law and a sister-in-law. I prioritized, willingly, my new family over almost everything else. And I am glad I did. Earlier I was at the center of my world. Now, my world has expanded. I travelled a fair bit. I read a little bit as well.

There were other stars in my galaxy. However, things are not the same. I carefully took steps to distance myself from some situations and certain people who increased the negativity quotient in my life. There have been certain collateral damages as well. Not that I have not been hurt by the overnight change in attitudes of people I trusted to be my closest friends. However, that is the story of last year. This New Year I want to begin by letting go of what has been left behind or has changed course. I am looking forward to meeting a horde of new people. Making new friends. Retaining a few from the old batch.

I will take better care of my health. My fitness will be a priority for me. I will consciously reduce the junk intake and will gravitate towards healthier food options. I will exercise. I will lose weight. And most importantly, I will stay happy. I will also be particular about eliminating the negativity intake. If last year has taught me anything at all, it is that even the most seemingly positive people can ooze negativity if what you are doing does not fall in line with what they believe is correct. Shedding (weight and negativity) is going to be the motto of 2016.

I would also like to pick up my camera more often. I will post at least once a month on my photography blog as well. I need to rekindle my love affair with Delhi. I must admit it took a backseat over the last two years as I became busy in being romanced by V. I have an ulterior motive in rekindling my affair. I want V to fall in love with the city as well. 

The travel goals remain unchanged. Several old places need to be visited afresh and there are many newer places that are waiting to be explored. I will take at least one trip where I will be in digital isolation—no phones, no internet connectivity and no tabs. Basically, no devices except for my camera maybe.

I will learn more about gardening. This season my rose bush will flower no matter what! And I will not buy kadi pata or dhaniya after June. Six months of my life I will dedicate to the flourishing of these plants.

I will read more. At least one book a month. The more the merrier. I already have three on my reading shelf. I will make some bookmarks. I will invest in good books and in a good bookshelf. I will try to meet/correspond with authors I like. I will surround myself with good books, good readers and good authors. The love affair with words will continue.

I will continue to use colour pencils on paper and try to stay within the lines as far as possible. I will write more letters. I will call more relatives and friends to ask them how they are doing and to discuss the weather. I will watch good TV programmes and good movies. I will not watch Bigg Boss ever again. Season 9 was enough to check it off my bucket-list as something to be done once in a lifetime. Now, I am done forever.

I will invest more money and time in owning board games and playing with family and friends. I will host friends and family for game nights, wine, beer, whisky, tea, coffee, finger foods, lunches and dinners. I also promise to be more creative in giving gifts. Some of the lucky few will receive handmade stuff. The gifts might not be perfect in shape but remember to appreciate the effort and love I will be putting into them. You have been instructed in advance. Feel free to invite yourself over or to ask for gifts. I will try not to disappoint you on both the counts.

I am taking a huge risk by publicly making these declarations. I know of a handful of people in my life who will not let go of a single opportunity to wave this blog post at me every, or any, time I falter on any of these promises. And I am leaning on them to do just that.