Thursday, December 27, 2007

No title

Can't think of one.

This is a post I'm not entirely comfortable writing. But when friends ask me if I need to talk to a professional about my depressive bouts, I guess the least I can do is offer a reply.

Recently, I've been going through a lot of stuff on depression. Dooce wrote about how medication keeps her steady and her husband wrote about what it's like living with her problems. I've come out of my cave and watched Amy Winehouse videos -- and ended up reading about her problems.

The thing is -- you may think I'm overanalysing yet again, if you like -- I have seen for myself how completely I can sink into depression. There were six weeks in my life when all I did was sit in a corner of my bedroom staring at the walls. Staring at them, sometimes crying, sometimes just sitting there like I had died and they'd forgotten to lay me out. I went out, for an hour and a half four evenings a week, for play rehearsals. Didn't go for groceries. I don't remember when I ate or what but I do know I didn't enter the kitchen for a week at one point. I didn't touch a drop of alcohol, not one joint. I didn't call up people and nobody called me. At that time I was not a fun person to know. I wandered down roads and didn't see the cars coming at me. Things went blurry at dusk. Speech had become a problem. I used to live alone and I had withdrawn myself from everybody who could help. I'm going into this in detail because it's not something I want to forget. Keeping this memory alive is the only way I can ensure I never become that way again.

I slowly came out of it. Time helped, and meeting new people. Actually, Hemant helped, just by being himself. He didn't know the reason but saw that I was sad. He called me on the phone, took me around, introduced me to people, got me to live again. And later, V helped. The shock of losing my hair helped. Nothing like burning off your hair to make you face facts. When I think back on what I had become, I'm glad I got off so easy. And with a sexy new look, at that.

But, but... what I was really going to talk about was what works for me. Depression runs in my family. Linked to uncontrollable rage and some OCD. No, that is not an easy way out of taking responsibility for my actions. But it is a couple of steps towards understanding and trying to cope with my, er, issues. (Not The Bhablet, although I'll grant he's an issue too.) Anyway, so every few weeks -- it seems to follow a monthly cycle of sorts, with some phases being harder than other, lighter bouts -- I can feel the ol' familiar sinking within me. It's hard to get out of bed, it's hard to sleep of nights, food seems a waste of time (or I feel hungry all day) and my temper is short, very short. When I sense these signals (and sometimes it's a day or two late, but I usually do sense them) I try the following things:

1. Getting out of the house. In very bad phases I go out alone and clear my head. Doesn't matter what I do or where I go, so long as I'm out.

2. Cleaning the house. It really does help. If nothing else, it battles the feelings of inadequacy. AND I get a clean house out of it.

3. Reading stuff. Surfing blogs, digging up old writings of mine, letters I'd written and received. Books that I love already. A new novel may help me out but odds are equally high that it may depress me further, so I prefer old favourites.

4. Comfort foods. Chips, savouries, chocolate, colas, phuchkas, whatever. It helps me feel hungry and once I eat, I feel a little better mostly. I don't worry about calories because otherwise I'd end up eating nothing at all. Also, because I'm still young enough to be able to ignore them!

5. Problem-solving. I find it very helpful to solve other people's problems at times like these. Not because of the misery-loves-company factor but because it gives my self-confidence a boost and because it takes my mind off my own troubles. Yes, it makes me count my blessings, even if I don't want to.

I'm not one to diss medication. But I do think one should try one's hardest to beat it on one's own first, because accepting medication for depression can itself lead to further depression, especially if you don't follow the medication instructions properly. I've seen a lot of that. Also people abusing the medication. I've spent a week in an institution with my brother and watched him play mind games with the doctors. With the exception of one gentleman they were all taken in by his nonsense. Eventually they cottoned on to him but by then I'd lost a lot of my faith in them. Doctors are people too and I could see they were having trouble discarding the earlier, nonsensical theories.

Some people need help despite their strongest efforts, because their very genes ask for help. Sometimes I worry I'm one of them. But mostly, I see myself leading a mostly normal, always very rich life, and I feel reassured. I've managed to put my moodiness alongside my knee problem and my painful wrists and my iffy tummy -- it's all something I look out for and try to get as much as I can out of life despite. Nobody's perfect. Nor is it necessary to be. Funnily enough, it took two institutions as stressful as marriage and motherhood to help me accept that. It's hard to self-flagellate when a Bhablet looks at you in adoration. Or when a husband tells all Facebook that you are likely to have the best butt cleavage.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Ho Ho H-- to You All


It's been a great Christmas so far. Vicky turned his nose up a few days ago (I forget the occasion) and informed me that he at least was not Christian but he seemed to enjoy our trip to New Market quite as much as me (and The Bhablet) and picked out decorations with gusto. He didn't allow me to put them up or even make the chains until last evening, so I'll have to admit that the festive look around our place is all his doing. Little baubles hang from the curtains, crepe paper (twisted and in chains) adorns our walls. He even packed my wee gift and put it under our Tiny Tree where it looks just like the packages I used to decorate for my dolls. (It's the red one just behind the green car -- I got six silver charms.)


We had a small party at our place last night. Put together at the last minute. With ginger wine and plum cake from Nahoum's and lots of chips and a bowl of assorted candies. Dinner was parathas and mutton pasanda. I brought out my beloved Corelle set once more, this time using the serving bowls and quarter plates as well. And I brought out my linen napkins... seriously, I know they need washing and ironing but they look so much classier and are so much more comfortable than paper napkins!

This is V's gift, the one he chose, and these are some of what The Bhablet received. The bath book unfolding into a pirate's island (complete with removable pirate and water-squirting cannon) is a gift from Aunty Dana.


Anjita and Bodhi came over and later, DrD and Mrs. DrD. The Bhablet had a blast and so did his parents. They interrupted V midway through his wall art, so he only 'finished' it after they left. And since he was sleepy and tired, he refused to write out Christmas and ended up with this:


Afterwards, nearing midnight, when the guests had gone home, we went for a drive. To my sorrow I saw that St. John's wasn't holding a midnight mass. We drove around some in the Dalhousie/Brabourne Road/Park St. area but the car was so cozy I refused to get out anywhere and fell asleep holding onto a (sleeping) Bhablet. What fun. Came home, managed to shoo V to bed after much persuation and filled stockings. Now those two beasts are sleeping while I had to get up for the maid. Humph.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Taare Zameen Par -- A Personal Response

When I was queueing up outside the theatre tonight I met some family friends. Husband, wife, two adult sons. I thought of them -- them and my own parents -- all through the movie. Both sets of parents have had children with special needs. I have known all my life that my brother was way more intelligent than I. When I was really young I didn't have very high expectations from myself -- I figured if somebody as smart as my brother couldn't crack the academic system, how could I hope to achieve anything? It took me some more time to work out that my brother may have been smart but he was only smart outside the system; within it, he could be a real klutz.

These two mothers -- my mother and her friend -- fought, long and hard, to get their sons some space, some security, some help of the sort they needed. My mother's friend won through. Her elder son finished his graduation in a law degree, and is now working. Her younger son made it through school and is now ploughing through college. A regular course. He's not brilliant, but he gets through. My mother though did not win. And she rues it every day she lives.

When Rahul was born, I watched the fear and the sorrow cross her face every now and then. Her face and Giga's -- they were the ones who loved my brother the best, apart from my grandfather -- and they were the ones who tried to understand his needs, to work out why such a bright child shown so much love, denied nothing that could be got, could fail every exam. Even when he knew the answers, why he wouldn't write a word. A day came when Giga too began walking away. Incidentally, Giga was what my brother called her at Rahul's age. When I was trying to figure out what Rahul should call her, she insisted that this long-abandoned name be resurrected. And I can see how she and my mother are trying to ensure that they -- and I -- don't repeat the mistakes made twenty years ago. Because in a lot of ways Rahul shows his temperamental similarities with my brother. That same quick frustration. The same flaring temper. The same undeniable charm. The same open heart.

Rahul can be so frustrating. He is obviously intelligent, doesn't miss a thing. You'll say that I'm a besotted mother who thinks her son is perfect. But that does not change what he is. He is so sharp, so quick to follow, to pick up. But he does not like being taught. There are only two ways he is willing to learn something new -- either he watches somebody do something once and picks it up instantly, or he approaches the new thing from all angles and works out a way to do it. Few of his toys survive this treatment. It upset me when I saw younger children play with simple toys that he didn't know how to handle. And then I watched a little while longer and saw that these kids knew only the one way of playing with any toy. Rahul, refusing to accept any demonstrated method, often destroyed the toy in his attempts to play with it, but when the toy survived, he had figured out several ways of playing with it. So while he takes longer, often much longer, to figure a new game out, he is also less scared of approaching new things, new places, new people.

I'm not saying he is smarter than the other kids. But he is already demonstrating that his approach to learning is a little, shall we say, hatke? I have spent the last three months turning this round and round my head. I've been hounding Choxbox to tell me more about the Montessori system. I fitted well enough into the academic system. I've never been a brilliant scholar but I did get my first divs and was satisfied. V's academic record on the other hand is nothing close to impressive. His brother showed great promise but refused to study beyond his engineering degree. My own brother never finished class XI. They are three of the most intelligent men I know. Thanks to my father, I have learnt to appreciate a keen intellect when I find it. Anyway, so these are the genes my little boy carries. And I watch him very keenly so that I can give him the kind of support he needs. I don't yet know what he will require but I am trying my best to learn from past mistakes. I can't find another system to fit him into. But I can help him find, as his father has and my brother hasn't, a place where his talent shines.

There was a moment in the movie that hit very close home. When the mother cries, asking herself what she did wrong; didn't she give up her job and career, what was it all for. I guess it's now time and beyond that I made my peace with the kind of life I'm going to live. I know I can't go back to a full-time job and leave my son with somebody else. I would trust him with V and my mother -- one has his own career to follow and the other lives 1600 km away. So, if I'm going to stay at home, I might as well come to terms with it. I have to stop feeling so cheated, so denied, so repressed. And I have to remember how much I valued having my own mum around all the time. I knew, no matter what else drew her attention away from me, that she was around, that some time in the day I would eventually find her alone and responsive. Am I attacking working mothers? No. I think if you and your children are comfortable away from each other most of the day, then you're wise to hang on to your careers. My mother rues the career she never had. But secretly I'm glad she didn't, because I got to have her all to myself.

What I'm saying is, I've got to stop whining and get down to making this place a home. Start putting Vicky and Rahul before myself. I don't do that nearly enough.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

It's late at night

and The Bhablet's not well, and V's actually gone to bed before me, so, before I leave, I'll leave you guys with links to some videos I've been surfing.

These commercials were all banned for a reason, so remember, they are only adult content!

My favourites?

Levis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSG807d3P-U&NR=1
Durex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bizJWtJ0xXo&feature=related
Collection of 4, I just love the second: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRiYkwtBK34&NR=1

An old, old favourite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nojWJ6-XmeQ&feature=related

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sex and The Bhablet

The Bhablet has reached the stage when he gives careful consideration to the sight of his parents hugging. Earlier he used to just bound up for his share, but now he looks, considers and then wriggles in between us. We scoop him up willingly, so that he knows that we both welcome him, that there are also hugs and kisses for him. It still gives me pause to think though. He babbles away all day -- a regular Babblet -- and may soon be speaking in a tongue that others can follow. So how much affection is ok in front of him? Are we sure that we are only doing stuff in front of him that we don't mind him talking about in front of his grandparents or our friends?

There is another related concern. A lot of my great-aunts refer to him as their boyfriend and it's all very cute. So does Giga and that's cute too. But I wasn't quite happy with her 'discovering' that he was 'jealous' of her husband. My uncle does not stay in Cal and visits as often as he can, which is at best once a month. So The Bhablet did tend to see him as a visitor in Giga's house. And he objected to having my uncle [pretend to] drink from his bottle of juice. But by and large The Bhablet is a generous soul and had till then never shown the slightest form of jealousy. Maybe a touch of possessiveness these days when his father or I pick up another kid, but I'm talking of four, five months ago. And it upset me to have my father and his siblings (Giga included) speak of my uncle's little rival. It was bad enough hearing them joke about it among themselves and I would have accepted it if it had stopped there. But when it came to Giga saying, "Look Bhablet, there comes that bad man again, and he will try to take over your portion of the bed," I did mind. Why put a negative thought into a mind that doesn't have one? I understand it's all sweet and innocent now, but what about two years later when it's far from cute? He's not to know that what was ok earlier is not now.

Come to think of it, I try to incorporate that basic philosophy into my parenting. Perhaps that makes me a more severe parent. Hell, I'm sure it does. But I'd rather teach him from day 1 that something is not acceptable than confuse him by allowing it now and telling him it's wrong later. For instance -- late nights. He has a fixed bed-time, but it's broached pretty regularly. I know the time will come when he has to wake up at a fixed hour every morning but that time is not now. Yet mealtimes I do not play with. I insist that he sits in one place and has an entire meal at a time. This is not negotiable, now or ever. When he is ill or has had a snack just before (not encouraged) then I do make an exception, but he knows it is only an exception. But I digress.

The Giga problem took some time solving but when she understood that I really did not like what was going on, she readily stopped it. (This is why she is the only babysitter I trust him with.)

But the problems in my own head remain. Should I think about letting him have a room of his own? Not possible. Our new flat-to-be has only one bedroom. (Oh yes, we have found a place at last.) Should I consider putting up a screen and giving him and ourselves some privacy at nights? I think that would only scare him. He is used to seeing us when he wakes up and I know it reassures him to know that we are right there. Should we not kiss each other in front of him? But I don't want him to think that affection is only shown in private or behind closed doors. When we are not fighting, V likes to sneak up and hug me. And I sit on his lap or cuddle him if I'm in the mood. I can understand an older Rahul being uncomfortable with such PDA but surely it's ok now? Then again, what if he brings it out in front of his grandparents? Ah, who am I kidding... our parents have seen us in plenty of embarrassing positions way before we even got married.

I don't know, really. I don't want him to be jealous of his father ever. I did go through a particularly bratty phase when I delighted in showing my mother how I carried more influence over my father than she did. Which I did. I'm ashamed of the stuff I did then but I also wish my father had nipped it in the bud. My mother put a brave face on it and got on with her life. I don't want The Bhablet trying any such tricks. Nor do I want him to think he has no place in our cuddling. To me it makes sense to pick him when he comes in on us hugging, because we both enjoy attacking him from both sides. The Bhablet squirms and squeals with laughter and finally just protests when he thinks he's had enough. It's awfully cute. But are we traumatising him for life?

Some friends and I were discussing childhood memories and a girl said that she could remember stuff from when she was two years old. Now, I wouldn't want to have The Bhablet wake up while we have sex and then be scarred by it and turn into a homicidal maniac twenty years later because of the resultant trauma. Damn.

It reminds me of what Ma used to say. Still says, I think.

[ADDED LATER]

I got the feeling I'm making a mountain out of a molehill here. Perhaps some of you feel that too. But sexuality is a tricky concept to get across to your child. That and physical affection. How do I teach him that it's ok to hug a friend and yet not cross a boundary so that the friend doesn't feel uncomfortable? How do I teach him that he should accept an aunt's kiss with grace and also that nobody should kiss him against his will? Come to think of it, he hates being kissed, always has, so maybe that's a non-issue.

I grew up in a household where there was very little physical affection. My father must have cuddled me and kissed me but since I don't have any very clear memories of that, it must have stopped early on. We didn't hug. I never felt deprived about this until I saw my friend S hugging his mother. He was in his late teens and I was fathoms deep in love, so everything he did was perfect. So I thought to myself, since his mother enjoyed it so much, maybe i should give my mum one some time. And I did, and it was a great feeling. Since then I tried to be more physical in my affection. But it still felt odd when my first boyfriend kissed and cuddled me. And since the sense of doing something forbidden was strong, it felt very natural to let that develop into a physical relationship. I have no regrets about it, even though I was only 17 when I lost my virginity. (Eeeek!) But when I think back, perhaps, if the cuddling had come more naturally then I wouldn't have felt that I had already crossed barriers and gone further. Because, let's face it, 17 is rather young. And it's not an age at which I want any daughter of mine having a physical relationship.

It's all retrospective, of course, but that's how I feel now. I treasure those early memories, but they would have been equally precious had they happened a year later.

So I have grown into the kind of woman who would rather her son goes "Gah, you guys are so disgusting," when faced with his parents getting physical than him thinking that sex is only about internet porn and furtive fumblings. (Ok, give me a second to snigger at other memories here... done.) I think the day may come when the condoms will be placed at an accessible place so that if he needs one he can have it. I can't stop him from experimenting but I can teach him how to go about it safely. And while a child of V's may not want to experiment at all until he meets the girl of his dreams, a son of mine may not be so steadfast. Either way, I want him to protect both himself and the girl he sleeps with. Or the boy, because I don't really mind him being gay. I'd worry about the security issues, but so long as there are grandchildren and a loving partner, I'd be ok with it. I think what I would mind is him staying alone all his life.

I know, I know, the poor boy's not even fifteen months old. But I happen to believe you can't decide how you feel about these things too early in your parenthood. Also, I believe in planning ahead!

Achchha, before you go, tell me, has it every struck you as weird that condoms are sold in family packs when they are supposed to be preventing that very same family from happening?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dissecting [The Anatomy of a Marriage]

I was expecting strong reactions to the post when I wrote it. And I got them. I wrote it when I was still upset, but when I had got myself back in control. Some context is required, perhaps.

V and I agreed to quit smoking when we decided to get married. Without being a very heavy smoker, he was still pretty dependent on his nicotine fix. And without being an addict, I used ganja to help me cope with the knee pain when it got very bad, to tide along lonely hours etc. After the marriage I haven't touched a joint (and don't intend to, with The Bhablet in the picture) but V has not stopped his smoking. I only got worried when I realised that he can't. Now, I'm a control freak and cannot bear the thought of anybody or anything actually having such a strong sway over me (or mine). When I was pregnant last year, when the smell of tobacco would make me nauseous, V used to come home from work smelling of it. He said he wasn't smoking but he was. I was going through depression and he managed to convince me that I was imagining it. So you can imagine my fury when I discovered that I had been right all along. After The Bhablet was born I told him enough was enough and that I didn't want Rahul learning that smoking was ok. So he said he'd kick it. That was last November. Since then I've smelt it on him but he has told me each time that it was his friends. This November I asked him if he had really kept his promise and he nodded. And I told him, it's been a year, and I'm so proud of you. Only to find, a month later, that it all lies again.

It's not a pretty story but neither of us comes out well. We are trying to put it behind us. He, to try quitting once more, me to not be suspicious of everything he says. And I think TMM has a point when she says:
why does he lie? no finger pointing involved, but i know that i usually FLIP out when something upsets me. which makes it seem like i'd be hard to confess to - but the truth is that i am one of the most easy ppl to confess to... so maybe you are ready and willing to forgive whatever it is he thought he'd have to lie abt .. he's just too scared to tel the truth? damn.. going around in circles here.

She's put her finger on it. It's scary to think your husband doesn't want to come to you with the truth. Why then should you expect anybody else in the world to? Is that the image that I give out? I think that is mostly why I was so angry. That and because I found this out when he was out of town and I waited for him to come back, to explain, even admit it, but he did none of those things.

Whereas I would rather he told me that it had been a mistake, let me blow my top, and then we could both have gone on with life. I'm the carpe diem sort, I don't like to waste these days that we do have, they are too precious.

Anitha described something else that comes between us:
My hubby does not do it, but he does more damage than by JUST NOT TALKING AT ALL. Will you believe there will be days when we would have hardly spoken anything other than, "food is on the table, eat", "come to bed","bye" and such like. That too when we do not have any fights. He is such an intensely private person, that he does not like me blogging, and we have been having fights over it. He knows I love reading and writing, these days he is getting annoyed when I take up a book, it is more as a protest to my blogging. I wouldn't give up blogging unless I really want to, I see this is an incursion of his personality onto my interests. I am not giving away any info about him, not posting pics of Nikki, but I will write.
Not talking does more harm with me than actually spitting it out. Because if he doesn't say what's on his mind, I'm liable to imagine it's a lot worse than it actually is. Experience has shown this. But I guess I also have to accept that V is the silent sort. I can live with that, but I do need to be able to trust the little that he does say.

On the blogging thing Sunita agreed with her:
I don't share everything with my husband, infact I'm much much more guarded than he is. Which is why he finds it completely odd that I spill my guts out to the blogosphere and like Nikki's mom says we have been arguing about it too.
As she says, she sounds a lot like V! You know, you guys, I think if it had been V blogging and me the silent spectator, I'd have had a problem with it too. Perhaps it will help to somehow involve your husbands in it? Like DotMom asks BigGeek to think back to help her work out a tag. Or I remember TMM saying she mails her posts to OA if she thinks he may mind what she has written. V takes some of the photos I put up. I know he reads Sunny Days regularly and it shows in my posts. As he knows. There was a time when I wrote without considering him, and there is a difference between how I wrote then and how I write now. Now, even if I want to come bitch about V here, I ask myself if I would be ok with him writing the same lines about me.

For all I know, you guys do these things already. Maybe your husbands are concerned about the security. Would they mind it so much if you met some women somewhere and became friends and told them stuff about yourselves? I mean, if you found a circle totally unconnected with them? Would they be more comfortable if they came to a blog-meet or two? If they could put faces and names to the blogs, if the photographs became real kids they knew? Or do they feel that the blogs are where we come to bitch about them? I do know a lot of guys get those vibes, unfortunately. Perhaps if you can figure out what their real problem is, you can try working it out.

Also, Anitha, it's hard for a person who doesn't read to understand why books are vital. V's mother doesn't, and incurred my wrath early in our marriage by asking (in all innocence) why I wanted to bring my books with me to their place.

I have no answers to these, because obviously, you'll know your husbands' insecurities/problems better than I do. But if you can find a way to involve them maybe it will help.

Now, the flirting thing. I was amused when I read what I had written. It's true, I don't flirt randomly. But I do enjoy flirting. It's just that I enjoy flirting with V more than I do with unknown strangers. I enjoy teasing him and coming on to him when we are partying, or have been drinking. It sounds silly, I know, but I really have so much more fun with him that I don't feel like wasting my time with strangers. It's a non-issue mainly because we mostly party with married friends, and I don't flirt with other people's husbands. That's the easiest way to lose a friend, even if everybody knows it was just fun. I've been burnt too many times to even want to.

That reminds me of the last time I went to Roxy. A tequila and a couple of martinis along I was in a very pally mood indeed. Along came this extremely stupid guy who thought he'd try his luck. Since I was in a good mood I didn't rebuff him immediately like I should have. So he started complimenting me. Then I smiled vaguely at him and began edging out of the sofa. So he tried to keep me interested. How? By showing me pictures of his wife and son, who had just gone out of town. 'You're a good girl with family values, so am I' -- how's that for a pickup line?

I have no issues with flirting, but my rule of the thumb is, in this as all else, would it be ok with me if it were V saying/doing what I am saying/doing. I find that simplifies matter considerably.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Bhablet Who Walks



He's been able to step out on his own for over a month now, but was not interested in it. This afternoon I noticed him trying out steps on our bed but he stopped as soon as he saw me looking. Tonight we went to a mela (fair) near Giga's house. The Bhablet had been invited to dinner so we had gone to pick him up. Cousin J, V, The Bhablet and I wandered around the closing stalls and bought ourselves some snacks and a couple of toys.

After a chilly ride on a rickshaw, we finally got home at well past ten. V was busy writing out cheques and I was reading one of the newspapers when I saw The Bhablet had decided to walk. Up and down our living room floor. Over and over again. Shy and proud of his new skill.

If you've been there you'll know how it felt.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Anatomy of a Marriage

There have been bitter fights at our place for the last two days and things haven't been easy. Obviously, it's making Rahul a little insecure, but I don't know what I'm going to do about it. I'm not going to compromise on what we are fighting about, because I believe it is the very essence of my relationship with V (or indeed, anybody).

In simple words -- either I trust you or I don't. I may be friends with you even if I don't, but I will not depend upon you to get me out of a jam, I won't call you when I'm in need, I won't tell you what is really bothering me and you will never know what I really think of you. But if I do trust you, there is really nothing much that I would hold back from you. This is an old issue between V and I, and I've had to work really hard to re-build the trust after I caught him lying to me. Not again.

All the words that we threw at each other got me thinking about how strange it is that I should be married to a man who has a different notion of being married from my own. To me marriage implies

1. Absolute fidelity. I don't so much as flirt with another man. I'll be honest -- I don't waste my time flirting because I know I'll never take it anywhere else, and then the whole point of flirting is lost. It won't boost my ego and I don't believe in raising false hopes. Sleeping with somebody other than V is accordingly not an option either. I'd never forgive him if he cheated on me and I believe in practising what I preach.

2. Treating his family and friends with the degree of warmth, respect and courtesy I expect him to show my family and friends. It's often an uphill task with his family, because of past history, but I think I'd let my parents down by being disrespectful to my parents-in-law.

3. Keeping a comfortable, functional home, ensuring three warm meals a day and stocked cupboards. Ensuring clean, presentable clothes. I wanted to have a pretty house but V soon knocked that out of me. Since running after him all day is not an option I've got used to living untidily, but I do like to have the things that I use clean and working.

4. Upholding his self-respect in public. Now, I'll not claim I've always done this (but I believe I always should.) That means not bitching about him, not allowing someone else to put him down and defending his decisions as if they were my own -- I guess in a way they are, too. And by someone else I mean our parents as well, his and mine. When he left his job last year his mother was very upset and blamed me for leading him astray. I'm glad I stuck to my guns and stood behind him on this one, despite my own misgivings, because the freelancing ended up going very well eventually. Careerwise, if not financially. :)

5. Providing for the family. Since I don't earn anything worth mention any more, to me this has become ensuring that the household is functional, the money properly spent, that we all have enough of what we need.

6. Bringing up the children to respect the parents. Since he was a Wee Bhablet only two months old he has boycotted people who he thought were mistreating me. So I try not to put V down to him. In front of him, maybe, but not to him. I think that our arguements are between us, so whatever I say there are our business, but I'm never allowing The Bhablet to use that to put either V or me down. I know how regressive this sounds, but I really would rather have him respect me than like me, if I had to choose at all. Because I don't think there can be much liking without respect.

7. Tolerating each others' interests. V and I don't watch the same movies or listen to the same music. I read his books (I read anything that is handy) but he doesn't read my books and doesn't want to. He is not interested in clothes (unless it's something exotic) and I'm mad about them. But he accepts that I need The Beatles handy, that I am drawn to theatre to the extent of leaving him home to babysit of an evening while I catch a show. I accept that him standing in front of the Apple store with drool hanging to his knees is something I'll have to live with.

8. Helping out, taking an interest. I don't do the work he does, but I am interested in it. I only found out that it could interest me by asking him about it. So I may need to think a minute before I can remember what AJAX stands for (and even then get it wrong) but I can hold a non-social conversation with his clients and have done so. I wish he were more interested in whatever little bits of work I do, but it's not a huge deal to me. So long as he provides the support (both emotional and logistical) for me to be able to continue it.

9. Speaking the truth. Always, always, no matter how avoidable I think it is. I'm in the habit of telling V about every little thing I do. Conversations I had, movies I saw, people I met, emails I received, everything. That started out because I love to chatter, but I do it because I have learnt how important it is to know what your partner has been up to. An ex used to lie to me a lot. Meaningless, silly lies. He thought they would save arguements. They destroyed whatever hopes he had of building a lasting relationship with me. I mean, we are still friends and good ones, but I still take most things he tells me with a pinch of salt. Even though he lies much less now.

10. Sharing. It's a little bit of 3 and some more of 9, but I can only be with somebody who I can take everything to.

There are other things, but these things are what make up a marriage for me. What is your idea of a marriage/committed relationship? How do you define commitment?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Honeymoon

Little did we know there was a Bhablet enjoying it with us.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Heart of a Little Boy

As I pointed out last month, ever since he was born The Bhablet has travelled a lot. Five trips to Madras alone. Why do I do this? I certainly don't it expecting to get a break. I do sleep a lot in Madras but I don't come back to Calcutta feeling much more refreshed. That is in part because The Bhablet takes his time adjusting, and for the transition period I can't just hand him over and shut myself in my room. And it is also because my father keeps getting on my case -- is his grandson eating right, why is he crying, are you sure he's warmly covered -- you get the idea. But I kept going back, and will (when I have the money and the time) because Rahul needs it as much as his grandparents do.

For the last few months he has been meeting them every month or so, and each time he has has recognised them, jumped into their arms, spent his trip happily playing with them. The transition period has become more brief. Earlier it amazed me that he met certain people without remembering how well he had got along with them on an earlier meeting, and still managed to retrive that old bonding in a day or two. Remember, I'm talking of when he was 3, 4 months old. When he was about 4 months old I took him to Madras for a week because V was off on a business trip. Prior to that he had met my grandmother when I was in Madras during his 2-3 months. So he next met her over four weeks later. After a few hours though, she had gone back to being his bestest friend ever -- as she had been on the earlier trip -- even surpassing his relationship with my mother.

He is now fourteen months old and has got used to travelling. Doesn't like the journey or the goodbyes (well, nor does his mother) but he enjoys new people and places. When we went to Hyd he was perfectly cool. A little down with a sudden fever, but otherwise in a great mood. He seemed to know that we were heading back home soon, and that his father was therefore not very far away.

Vicky went to Guragaon on Thursday morning. The Bhablet missed him all day. Kept waiting for him to appear. But from the next day he has been back to normal. Just clings to me that little bit more. Because, you know, if Em-ba can run away, so can Em-ma. I've had rehearsals every day since V left, but that first evening I stayed back because The Bhablet looked like he was running up a fever. I'm glad I did because I realised he really needed me. I've hated having to pack him off to Giga's since then. He hasn't wanted to go either. Normally the car stops in front of the house and he's jumping with impatience, but these evenings he has even refused to go to her because he knows she is going to take him away.

[For the record, Giga spoils him silly. Cooks him a variety of fun things to eat, gives him whatever he wants, doesn't allow anybody else to scold him. And Giga's daughter i.e. my Cousin J and his aunt Imma is his favourite aunt. So visiting them isn't exactly comparable to a stint at Tihar. But I digress.]

I find this amazing. He has always been a very responsive, absorbing child. Very interested in his environment. Since he was born. It used to amaze allof us how sharply he turned to follow conversations -- and this when he was only a day old. I'm now realising that this very same keenness will also cause him a lot of grief. His relatives live all over the world. Close people, people he has known and loved. Giga will be leaving Cal maybe, in another two years. Sometimes I feel like keeping him away from all the people he will ever get to know and love, just so that he doesn't feel the pain of their going. I know, it's stupid, but whoever said mothers are rational beings?

P.S.
Reading about Kodi coping with the departure of his grandparents made me write this post.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Woo Hoo!

I've been hearing that a lot lately. Well, guess who was down, way down, in the dumps all these days and couldn't find her way out? And just did? Woo bloody hoo, baby!

V joined a friend's software firm on Monday as a part-time consultant. Which means he spends so many hours a day over there. Add two hours for the commute. The bad news? Isn't it obvious? I'm losing the one source of adult company I had all day (or what passed for it, if I'm being honest) and I've to deal with a Bhablet all on my ownsome lonesome most of the day. Also, going out has just become vastly more complicated. Mornings also got more complicated.

The good news? You mean apart from the steady income (which I never, not ever denigrate)? Well, this office is close to The Tea Table i.e. T3 so he can bring home pastries now and then. It's also sort of close to Kalman's, so he can now literally bring home the bacon. Also the lean ham, the spiced sausages, the pate etc.

So yeah, the comparatively carefree life we've been leading for the last one year has just ended. Just like that. Almost overnight. Now we are back to routines and V will make promises and forget all about them (and about us, The Bhablet and I) because he's too absorbed in his office, and it will drive me nuts and I will keep being afraid that he'll start smoking once more (in which case I'll just have to kill him and I'm not really ready to be a widow yet.) But is that so bad? Something may work out for me in the coming months -- don't want to talk of it just yet -- and then we'd be stuck in a very demanding schedule anyway.

I've been so low. I have these depressive phases. I get them in cycles. They run in the family and I've had mine for a decade at least now. So I do know when I'm having one. But if you chuck what I may construe as bad news at me right when one such cycle is starting off, you're really locking me in and throwing away the key. Well, guess who broke her lock open!

V is in Gurgaon right now on work. He left very early yesterday morning. I went through the day ok. The Bhablet has a terrible cold and has been alternating blocked and runny noses since the last two days. He has been missing his father badly too. He was ok with me going to answer the bell (I've to go out into the verandah) -- which is unusual and surprised me, until I realised that each time I got back he was looking beyond me, waiting for the door to open once more and reveal his Em-ba. I've been feeling a really inadequate mother of late and I guess it'll be like this all our lives. No matter who does more or works harder, V will always come first with him. I knew something of the sort was waiting for us when he was only a Fidgety Fudge.

When I'm down this bothers the hell out of me. When I'm normal it gives me great satisfaction. The relationship between my father and my brother is as messy as it can be, so watching this other father-son pair work out something does console me. Even V's own relationship with his father could be better. They get along very well and I know his father is proud of him. It shows in the way he looks at V. But somewhere there is a distance between them that does not allow V to ask his father the questions that bother him the most. I think V is trying to raise his own son in such a way that such a distance never crops up.

Well, as I said, I was down and The Bhablet was cranky and it was driving me mad. Now I'm back to being me and I don't mind all this. I mean, I do, but I can handle it. Today I'm going to cuddle the living daylights out of The Bhablet and beg his pardon for being such a grouch.

And I seem to have worried you guys too, and I am ever so sorry. I just needed to get all the resentment out of my system. I hate sounding bitter on the blog, it feels like such a permanent blot here, somehow. I'm not saying I want Sunny Days to record only the sunshine but I do want to be in a rational frame of mind when I write down the negatives. Well, strictly speaking, I'm more euphoric now than rational, but it'll do. We can always blame the movie.

Now, it's only 2.30 a.m. and I've drawers to tidy and a trolley to clean out. So later, ok? Ok.

Woo hoo!

Happy Birthday, Tara

I hope you liked it. V made it look the way it does.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Our lives are changing as you read this

and I was all set to blog about it. But V thinks we should have sex now instead. So later, ok? Given the rate of change and its attendant chaos, perhaps way later. Bear with me.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Did they know we live together?

There's a quiz on a Facebook application that gauges the first thing you do after sex. I noticed (albeit a while ago) that V and I scored a 98% likeness score.

Hmmm...

Tagged -- Googling's a Mug's Game

Tagged by DotMom. Incidentally, allow me to mention that I love this tag!

Here's the explanation she offered:
Gene Weingarten started this with his column. GoogleNopes. That is what you get or rather don’t get when you type a phrase enclosed in quotes in the Google search bar. You should simply get a “No matching documents found” message. And paradoxically, once you write about it, it stops being a GoogleNope. GoogleYups are the exact opposites. Phrases, however improbable, that do get a hit.
Married women for cybersex -- GoogleYup to Sunny Days (!)

Indian first birthday outfit -- GoogleYup to Sunny Days (!)

Sue wants your attention NOW -- GoogleNope

Vicky sucks -- GoogleYup (Ok, it's all porn centred around women called Vicky but still.)

Jimmy Stewart was a real gent -- GoogleNope, even though he was!

Vicious daughters in law -- GoogleYup to Sunny Days

I am the queen of Freecell -- GoogleYup. Leads not to me to but another pretender to the throne. It will lead to me because I am the REAL queen of Freecell.

Betty Crocker should print microwave directions on her cake mixes -- GoogleNope. Well, she should!

I don't mind stinky diapers -- GoogleNope

I am a mother and I have a perfect figure -- GoogleNope

iMac G5 has a lousy keyboard -- GoogleNope

kittle-kattle -- GoggleYup to Sunny Days

My neighbours' mechanics are nuts -- GoogleNope

I'd have done more, but I want a nap. In turn, I tag RJ, Aargee and NM. Have fun!

Ayesha and Her Son


Giga and husband [Uncle] A went to the Ajmer Salim Chisti dargah last month and brought back this cap and a little reversible jaipuri waistcoat for The Bhablet. Both fit like a dream. And he looks so good in them!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Subbu's Christmas Cake

What with all the baking and cooking being done by Moppet's Mom and CeeKay, I've decided to post a recipe too! Since I'm no expert baker (ask Dipali) I'm posting a recipe I copied off a friend.

So here is how Subbu makes Christmas Cake:

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
lots of nuts
1 bottle Vodka
2 cups of dried fruit

Sample the vodka to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the vodka again.
To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
Repeat.
Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the vodka is shtill OK.
Try another cup .... just in case. Turn off the mixerer.
Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Pick fruit off floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a sdrewscriver.
Sample the vodka to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who giveshz a crraaap.
Check the vodka.
Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven and the fridge.
Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the vodka and kick the cat.
Fall into bed.

CHERRY MISTMAS!