Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Not Another KANK Review

For good reason: I haven’t seen the movie and am not likely to, given my life as it currently is. But I have read a lot of people’s views on it, and these two got me thinking this morning on the premises upon which people get married.

(I’m perfectly aware that most of the people who read this blog are single, nevertheless, what I’m, uh, sharing, might give you something to think about.)

V and I, we started out with the idea that we would get married. That’s a huge shift from the previous relationship where I hoped it would – one day – end in marriage. It’s not even as if we were particularly good friends in the years we knew each other prior to the decision to get hitched. We knew each other a little vaguely, and liked what we knew, but that was really all. But during a fit of depression, when I was doing fairly random things to distract myself, I ended up hanging out quite a bit with his gang. I wanted a change from the usual people I spent time with, and so ended up seeing a lot of his life.

That’s where it all began, I suppose. Even when he did indicate that he was, what’s the word, ├ępris, in this direction, I took it none too seriously for a while. But I was very lonely at that point in my life, and I began thinking, what was so bad about getting married to him? I know, it sounds pretty insane put like that, but by then I did know enough about him to consider marriage as an option, certainly as much as I could ever hope to know of any prospective groom before an arranged marriage. So I thought it over, rather cold-bloodedly, I’m afraid, and weighed mutual tastes, and points of dissension and things like that. In the end, his unwillingness to be shaken off carried the day. It’s always nice to have a faithful admirer to call you in the midnight blues, or be ordered to take you places, or you know, be a general factotum. And the darn man did it so well, it felt like I was on to a good thing.

The only condition I made was that our families had to approve. I had had enough to trying to make relationships work that my family had problems with; but I did believe I was playing with loaded dice all the same, because this time, I had considered what the family wanted as well as what appealed to me.

(Not only did they approve, but our castes and sub-castes and stuff like that ended up matching – if I’d ever known there was any danger of that I’d probably have never had anything to do with him. A girl’s got some principles.)

Now why did I get into all this detail? Apart from the pleasure of reliving the good old days when my word really was law? Well, it was all about the ideas of friends getting married, and marriage as a means out of loneliness. V and I, we’re proof that neither is totally a bad idea -- so long as you don't think just getting married will solve all your problems.

To me, the loneliness was really a strong enough factor. I wouldn’t have married just about anybody, but yes, it made me consider a person who I may have overlooked otherwise, simply because I didn’t know enough about him. To him, the years of knowing me, first and second-hand, probably gave him the confidence to follow up on an attraction he might have ignored otherwise. I’m guessing of course. But when I think of all the ridiculous reasons why people get married, I like to think ours weren’t entirely daft.

But the real reason why I wrote this post was to reassure some friends of mine, with whom I’d had similar conversations earlier: it doesn’t matter so much where you start out, the moonlight-and-roses can always find a place in later.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Romance, Version II

Part of the reason I clung on for so long to memories of my first boyfriend was because that was such a deliciously romantic relationship. He damned the sniggers and sent me cards for Valentine’s (he had moved to another city by then) and he took me for long drives. He gave me single roses with the most charming of gestures. We looked meaningfully into each others’ eyes and plotted all day to find ways to be together without being conspicuous (the relationship was a ‘secret’).

Blah blah. Boyfriends 2, and then 3 (familiar to the cognoscenti as V) followed a similar pattern and the romance was still around, if rather diluted. Being mushy me, I had fond hopes of marriage, don’t you know. In fact, most of the fights between V and me these last seven months have been explained by my tearful “You didn’t do that before the marriage!”

This morning I realized the old romantic clouds are still around, only they look different. When I held up my face to be kissed as V was getting ready to leave for work, he gave me a harassed, “Later, let me finish dressing or I’ll forget stuff.” I pouted, but truthfully speaking, I hate being interrupted myself while I’m trying to sort out all the stuff I need for the day.

When I did get my kiss after all, we were all of 1.3 sec into it when the man suddenly cried out, “Garbage” and madly dashed out of the flat. And I cheered him on, because you see, the garbage hadn’t been collected this morning, and was lying outside on the verandah that’s our entrance, and an aunt had threatened to visit, and I really didn’t want hear about the housekeeping, and…

When the garbage takes priority over being kissed and dressing is more important than whims, you know things have changed. Only, as I realized this morning, the more they change, the more they remain the same.

Note to all women silly enough to be considering marriage:
He got me flowers and a huge teddy when he came to pick me up for dinner to celebrate our six-month (non-wedding) anniversary; but ever since we did get married, not only have we consistently fought every 22nd of every month, he also didn’t get me anything for my birthday, although God knows my request was simple enough. Don’t say nobody told you what to expect!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

An Armed Truce Prevails. For Now.

Warning: Not to be read by children below 18 or anybody who grosses out easy. There, now don’t say you weren’t warned.

It’s awfully nice, the way you’ve all been so cheering. But let’s face it, there’ll be good days and there’ll be bad. I’ll try not to gloom all over the blog. But I’m making no promises, because on the bad days I’m a selfish pig. But when you read the depressive bits, you can always console yourself with the thought that you’re better off. That, and the knowledge that you aren’t V. Because it’s all his fault, as we know, and I make sure he doesn’t forget it.

The baby and I have a love-hate relationship, really. There are days when we are both convinced we’re the best thing that happened to each other, and I lie in bed fondly patting my tum and watching the kid flooble across it. It shows as a bit of a ripple, which grosses out some people and makes others go, “Oh, how sweeeet!” Of course, and then there are lots of days, which are usually kicked off by the night before when the kid kicks me halfway across the world. I don’t know which is worse, the soreness in my poor tum or needing to rush to the bathroom every ten minutes because the kicks appear to be entirely targeted at my bladder. The mornings after, me and the baby aren’t on speaking terms usually. Hunger is signified by a few swift, cold kicks at appropriate times and I ignore it entirely when it does the flooble thing.

What I find really difficult to forgive is how I’m required to pat about a million times before all is quiet once more, when all V has to do is to reach over and pat a couple of times. I’m the mothership! I demand more respect, not to mention fear! V’s just external entertainment.

We are on a truce at the moment. After two days of hostilities, I’ve stopped playing it depressing U2 songs, and it seems to be kicking a little less.

In the meantime I appear to have scandalized my friends-and-neighbours by offering them F for adoption. I first offered her (him? it?) to my parents. I even offered to throw in V, gratis, as a chauffeur. (I figure if F’s a girl, he would rather be with her anyway.) Then I saw all those cute newborns at EEDF and thought I wouldn’t mind one of my own after all. I mean, they are almost as much fun as dolls! Since then though I’ve had plenty of time (and kicks) to reconsider.

So that’s how it is. I’ll probably grumble a lot, but it’s only for a month more. To answer a question a lot of you have asked, the Caesarean’s planned for a month from now.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Blessing, Huh?

Decidedly, adversity, mine that is, does not bring out the best in me. I’m rather good at helping out folks who have problems, but when the problems are my own, it is my worst side that comes uppermost. Oh well, never claimed to be perfect.

The thought that has single-handedly ruined my peace of mind for months now is, what happened to the me I was last year? I was neurotic and depressed, but hey, I’m always both in some form or another. I was also free. The other evening I woke up from one of my ‘power naps’ feeling utterly disoriented, and in a way, almost schizophrenic. I’d woken up expecting to see my old room, in the flat I lived in while at Uni. I woke up making plans about meeting friends and classes to do, only to find myself much-married, pregnant and well, really depressed, if you must know.

It was too many things all on top of each other, perhaps. I did want kids, and I wanted to start one this year maybe. But now it feels like I’ve not stopped feeling ill and weak since the typhoid last December. Considering I’ve been carrying F since Jan, I guess that’s not so far off. Besides, the news of F being on the way seems to have had a rather negative influence on the in-laws. And sometimes I think, V and I hardly got any time with each other. Four months after the marriage I was back staying with my mum. He was there too, but it’s not the same thing, is it?

I was ok with being a mum, all the same. I figure kids can be fun, and really, giving up the job was not so tough. What continues to sting is the loss of my personal income, having to depend on somebody else to get my meals, things like that. Sometimes it all gets too claustrophobic to bear. Puja is coming and I can’t go around the shops. There are evenings when I stare outside the window watching the world go by and pretend to myself that any second now I’ll put on some nice clothes and go join the crowds. Days when I cover the full-length mirror because I don’t want the constant reminder of my ungainliness. How come they don’t discuss this in Everywoman?

I really don’t think I’ll end up what Vijeyta calls an Uber Mom. Or even a Mean Married Monster. V cares for his own personal space far too strongly for me to ever make him the sum total of my universe, and anyway, there are lots of things in my life he will never be a part of, by mutual agreement. The Uber Mom remains to be seen, but again, I’ve never been one for spoiling children. Somehow, the sight of a misbehaving kid brings out the sternest part of me – as Beq will have experienced time and again, no doubt. And V and I agree that kids dancing to tacky songs on the telly is just plain crass. Also that the tv and computers are our provinces, not the children’s. From the appearance of things, F has quite a will of his/her/its own already. But then, for a few years F’ll only be a dumb kid and I intend to make the possible use of that time. I say that with confidence, because I had the best possible example shown to me. Meri paas Ma thi.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Rainy Days Turn My Mind to Worry

Today’s been one of my ‘tired’ days so far. It’s been like that quite a lot this month. Some days I feel just fine and full of beans; others all I want to do is sleep. I somehow stay awake till V leaves for work, and then I sleep through most of the day. I’ve slept through lunch-times even, and if that seems unimportant, I should mention that the baby’s very strict about being fed when it’s hungry. (It kicks me awake, and no, that's not cute. It's actually quite painful.) It was named Fidgety Fudge as a working title a few months ago, and since it does kick me all the time, the name stuck. Ma shortens it to Fidgety, which is what I’ll use here. Or F.

It was a full weekend. My mashi and her family are in town, and on Saturday we went out shopping with them. I saw Persepolis I and II in Landmark, but had already allotted my birthday money elsewhere. Oh well, another year. My eight yr-old Cousin E tried to buy a Pink Floyd (audio) CD but was persuaded by her father not to (with ‘love and affection’, I understand). I told Mashi, let her buy, she wouldn’t understand what the songs are all about, and anyway, better for the family if she gets over the Floyd phase before she even hits her teens. Mashi said that was all very well, but it would be the entire family who’d have to listen to the album now, if it’s bought. Cousin E isn’t so much precocious as rather cute. She has no idea what Pink Floyd is, anyway.

Yesterday we took her and her elder brother (Cousin B) go-karting, but the tracks were closed. Must be all this rain. So we decided to drive up to the Second Howrah Bridge. We eventually found it, and then promptly got confused and nearly went back on it after we’d got off. By and by we made our way out of the area and went looking for a ferry. But since the river was so choppy they weren’t running. We comforted ourselves with French fries and sundaes at Scoop (on the riverside) instead. French fries are very comforting things in general, unless they are the bland, plastic variety you get at burger joints.

Sometimes I worry, what if F grows up to be a teetotalling, vegan, classical music purist biography reader? I mean, I like classical music myself, but what if he/she/oh what the hell, it decides that the Beatles are shite? Or, horrors, that M’n’Bs aren’t literature? What if F demands eggless cakes and abominations like that? I comfort myself by saying that V and I couldn’t end up with a child like that, even if we wanted to… but what if we do?

N.B. 1. Mashi is my mum's kid sister.
2. Writing this post, it emerged that neither V nor I am quite sure just how to spell Hooghly. Is there even a definitive spelling or does everybody just write whatever they can and hope for the best?
3. There are two volumes of Persepolis, but I only linked to a review for the first one because I'm really rather tired and F's kicking up a fuss about not having been served her/his/its evening snack yet.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Here's Lookin' at You, Kid

What with all my comings and goings, a little anniversary I’d planned to celebrate quietly has been entirely passed by. Sunny Days is now over three years old. I’d started the blog as a lark during a brief holiday in Bombay, and I only did it because I was staying in the IIT-Powai campus, where the internet connection was so good and therefore surfing was a lot of fun. The name came partly from Gavaskar’s book (Mum’s a fan) and mostly from a Uni nickname I’ve tried hard to lose entirely. (I gave up the fight when little freshers wet behind the ears took to calling me Sunny’di – I ask you!)

Sunny Days was originally in Rediff (the old posts can still be seen there) and the tagline reflects the dialup connection we used to be dependant upon then. Ah, the slow old days…It’s seen a lot since then. If anybody had hopped along back then and told me I’d end up being married to V, not to mention carrying his child, in three short years, I don’t know who’d have been more startled, the man, his brother or me. (I knew the brother-in-law before I knew the husband, in fact I love telling people I married my friend’s younger brother.)

The old blog saw me through the mad days between BA and MA, when I suddenly decided to start on a career. I had begun writing for The Statesman by then and the blog records my journalistic endeavours as a serious of panic-attacks about overdue deadlines. Then followed the phase where I did only theatre in various forms and that too is chronicled, in fits and bursts. The parents had moved to Madras around then, so a lot of posts have to do with my ‘discovery’ of life there. As I neared the end of my Masters, the people I used to hang out with in Uni scattered all over the place, since they had mostly been seniors of mine. Something of my loneliness of that period shows. The person I thought was the love of my life got married, and it was only in my blog that I ever recorded the depression that put me through. And then there was a brief period of wildness, what I like to call my own version of a lost weekend, which has probably the most fun posts of all.

A year ago I moved to Blogspot, on Rimi’s urging. I suspect that had a lot to do with the kid trying to get me to read her blog in the first place, but after I’d got used to having to actually navigate the marshlands of HTML, I realized I was having quite a good time. So, I moved and have been here ever since. That’s the story, more or less.

I’d begun archiving the old posts from Rediff over here, but it’s still not complete. In the meantime, thanks to my last job and Blogspot too, I’ve actually understood what HTML tags are. I even put up one or two little thingies on my sidebars by myself, including the counter, and the weathergirl, and the little marquee at the bottom which everybody misses. (The term sidebar though I picked up from the graphic designer I married.)

Seriously but, three years, huh? Makes you think. And if you thought the blogging has been sporadic the last three months, I’ve got to tell you it used to be far worse earlier. But I think it was over here at Blogspot that I got into the public nature of blogging, and realized the attractions of writing for eyes other than mine own. So I guess Sunny Days is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Happy birthday, kid, and may you have many more.