Friday, October 25, 2013

Pressure?

We were talking of a friend yesterday, Vicky and I, who we both happen to like; he is however an irresponsible husband. This reflects in the behaviour of his wife who is neither particularly independent nor very street-smart. My own belief is that her husband's lack of attention and interest in her makes her even more clingy and difficult than she would have been otherwise. He is not an unkind husband, but he is negligent. She is not the easiest of people to get along with but it seems to me that she would be more relaxed and confident were she surer of her husband's complete attention.

Vicky mentioned that it wasn't exactly the man's fault: he had been dragged unwillingly into the marriage, emotionally blackmailed into it by his family who felt it was time he 'settled down'. My question is, how is that an excuse? Once you've committed to a course of action, especially when it involves somebody else's life, how can you not commit fully to it? Likewise, if you were that averse, why couldn't you stiffen your damn backbone and refuse?

I realise I sound harsh, but the reality is harsh... on the woman who thought she was being fully accepted and would be loved and cherished. I know the man isn't living the life of his dreams either, but he knew what he was getting into. She didn't.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

ThankYou #17: Facebook

Facebook is more commonly dissed than praised but it's a site I am fond of. Over time I have learnt to treat it like I treat this blog, and only write as much as I am happy to discuss with strangers. I don't post very many photographs on it but nor do I really bother with very many privacy levels.

It's fun, often informative and usually helpful. For that I am thankful.

Secrets

"Insidiously, the new information disrupts their sense of their own past, undermining the veracity of their personal history."

I find a lot of helpful things on Facebook. Tonight I found this.

I don't know if it's a subject that has any personal meaning for you, but it does for me. It's been so many months now and I still don't know what to trust, what to lean on, where to lay my worried head in peace. Yes, things are better and things are sweeter and things are altogether more positive, but I still wake up feeling unsettled. My dreams are strange, meaningless and worrying. My thoughts are pointless, no longer anchored by any fixed belief in anybody beyond Rahul, and I should be his strength, not the other way around.

Yesterday evening I was tired and thin-skinned and took hurt at something that wasn't meant to hurt. Even as I tried not to give in to the sadness and self-doubt, I realised I am still not as strong as I need to be. I feel like a convalescent these days. On my way to recovery but not out of the woods. And yet, how often have I said just that about myself these last few years only to sink back into that old trap of lies and omissions?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

ThankYou #15: Whoever Invented Fabric Glue

Fabric glue was one of those handicraft supplies, like iron on fabric or double-sided tape, that I read about in my foreign books and sighed over. It seemed like a miracle thing, keeping delicate fabrics from unravelling, fixing on sequins and suchlike decorations. Of course, it wasn't available anywhere close to me.

When we did Ionesco's Rhinoceros in 2005 (or was it 2004?) I found fabric glue in the market and it changed my life. Dana and I made rhino costumes for for I forget how many actors sewing just the basic seams and finishing off everything else with fabric glue. And that was just the glorious start of my love affair with this wonderful, wonderful product. Thank you, whoever created it!

Monday, October 14, 2013

ThankYou #14: Long John Silver

Earlier this year I was invited to a bloggers lunch at the US Consulate. It was a pleasant afternoon with some delicious food but what stands out in my memory is the Cat we met. He was beautiful, a large, black tom with white socks and an aristocratic expression. His name was Silver and he spend the better part of a half hour's discussion explaining to me where he wanted to be scratched and how rude it was of me to stop merely because I was getting caught up in the conversation.

I like cats and I love kittens but these godforsaken days all I meet are kittens trying to kill themselves under my car and cats with evil intentions. Sometimes it's nice to meet one that knows what's what and keeps things that way.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

ThankYou #13: Baba

I have several reasons to be grateful to my father-in-law, but most often I think of two compliments he paid me many years ago. When Rahul was a baby I was severely criticised by almost everybody in my immediate surroundings for not being a 'good' mother. My father-in-law noticed the things I did do and one day, when I was being criticised as usual, he remarked that he thought I was in fact a very good mother and taught my child valuable skills. Even now when people criticise me (much less frequently, thankfully) I comfort myself with his words and immediately feel better.

He also knew me when I was learning to cook and I celebrated every edible dish that came out of my kitchen. Once at a dinner cooked by Vicky's mother, who is an extremely talented cook, I contributed a light kofta curry. My father-in-law was kind enough to tell me that he liked it the most and that he liked mild dishes and even asked for the leftovers. It was the sort of sweet gesture my own father occasionally makes and it warms my heart even today.

Thank you, wherever you are. We miss you still.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

ThankYou #12: Srinivas Teddy

I've written about him before and my thankyous wouldn't be complete without him. It's been a while since I cuddled him to sleep but that's not to say I don't often want to. He's as huggable as ever and I love how he makes a place home simply by being around. If I ever disappear, look for him. If he's around you know I'll be back.

Friday, October 11, 2013

ThankYou #11: Venkatesh

We first met Venkatesh as a very young man determined to do well. My father had his eye on him as a likely lad and over the years Venkatesh has done all his well-wishers proud. He is now a busy corporate executive who manages a crazy schedule of domestic duties and work schedules, but I remember him from more laidback times when I would, in the arrogance of the boss' daughter, demand that he fix my computer for the umpteenth time or do other such unreasonable things, secure in the assurance that he was much too nice to ever refuse, even when my father ordered him to. He was a mainstay at my wedding (my mother insisted that she'd never have managed half of it without him around) and as recently as two days ago, when my father's travel plans to our family get-together in Pune fell through because of AP agitations and electricity strikes, Venkatesh saved the day by organising affordable air tickets and taking them over to my father who, having no electricity or internet, could not have them mailed to him.

He has repaid many times over whatever he owed to my father and as a family we are all glad life is giving him all the good things he so richly deserves.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

ThankYou #10: Lenders

This is a thankyou to all the people who lent me their books. People who assured my parents that I could indeed borrow their family books, that I could return the books at my leisure and that they were happy to see me enjoy them. Since there was a time that I couldn't enter a home without leaving with a book from it, this thankyou is for a lot of family and family friends.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

ThankYou #9: P Obul Reddy Public School

From 1992 to 1994 I studied at this school. Those two years changed how I saw myself: suddenly I discovered that far from being a mediocre student I was in fact fairly bright. In this time I was also introduced to several things that have since come to define my life, theatre being the most important. This school was the impressive institution it was because of our headmistress, Mrs Anitha Gnanabharanam, who taught me certain values I cherish even today. Thanks to her teachings I did not swear until I was nearly 20 and I still don't litter. And thanks to her wisdom, I don't lie or cheat even when it's the easier option and nobody would probably know. I may not be a saint, but I'm grateful for all that she and her school taught my brother and me.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

ThankYou #8: Handkerchief Carriers

As a child I knew I always had my father's handkerchief to wipe my sticky, wet or grubby little hands on. There was always a large, freshly laundered square of white fabric which he was willing to hand over for my use (or my mother's or brother's). As I grew older I learnt to iron using those squares and there was a time when I scolded him for not knowing better than to wipe grease and engine oil using cloth that we had to wash.

One of the nicest discoveries I made about Vicky when I started dating him was that he too carried a handkerchief in his pocket at all times. Over the years I have used his handkerchiefs to wrap jewellery, insulate fresh ruti, wipe a grubby little boy and, of course, dry my hands. I am so used to this that I rarely remember to carry a handkerchief of my own and in fact, when I do, it's usually more for show because my own hankies are far too pretty and lacy to be used to wipe or mop up things!

(See what I just found!)

Monday, October 07, 2013

ThankYou #7: My Carnatic Teacher

I was one of your more annoying students, I know, and I never did practise, but all the hours of hard work you showered on us did bear fruit -- I still remember much of what I learnt, seventeen years on, and I have a lasting love of the form. I only wish I knew how to reach you, Aunty, so I could thank you in person, and perhaps pester you for more classes now that I finally know the value of your teachings.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

ThankYou #6: Chowdhuri Jethima

She had no daughters and her two sons were much older than my brother and me. She always made a big fuss over me when we visited her in the next block. She even sewed me dresses. Now that I'm older and will never have a daughter either, I realise where her love came from and I'm glad I was the recipient.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

ThankYou #5: Alponadi and Mejopishi

Cousin J's ayah Alponadi taught me to sew when I was six or seven. We tore up an old blue saree of my mother's and made handkerchieves and dolls' dresses from the scraps one afternoon. It was the start of a life-long interest in sewing and dressmaking.

Mejopishi gifted me a little gold chocolate box filled with cross stitch supplies, from a little pattern book to pretty silks, needles, scissors and fabric, for my eighth birthday I think. From there my collection of fabrics and threads has grown to fill an entire cupboard today and while I am not especially proficient at any particular skill, I can sew and embroider, knit a little and crochet some.

Friday, October 04, 2013

ThankYou #4: Kalpana Ma'am

My high school English teacher was one of the best teachers I've ever had. She was smart enough to give me double the work just to give me something to do in class (CBSE English isn't exactly challenging) and then gave me permission to read whatever I wanted since I had already finished the classwork as well as the homework. If it weren't for her classes I would have had a fairly unhappy XI and XII as far as academics went.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

ThankYou #3: Aarong Cashier

A big thankyou to the girl at the checkout at Aarong in November 2011 who told me I was beautiful, like all "Indian girls". It's a compliment that has stayed with me.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

ThankYou #2: Shuki Lal

I love this friend of mine not just because she is so talented and so inspiringly dedicated to the work she does -- I love her more because she sets the bar of friendship high. It's her birthday today.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

ThankYou #1: Kittu

This month I want to post some thankyous.

I'll start by thanking Kittu. There was this night in Vizag when we were out drinking and dancing and I kept getting lost but every time he turned out to be right behind me, reassuring and rock steady. It can't have been fun for him looking after a ditsy Sue all night but he did and I appreciate it.

September 2013

Yesterday was the last day of a month that flew past on wings. I spent the afternoon at the American Center, listening to a little talk by Sabrina Issa on how to structure digital media to fit one's purposes. The talk gave me no particularly new insights but I did enjoy meeting other bloggers and social media activists. And meeting Sabrina was fun too because I got the impression that if she had been better informed about who and what we were, what we do, if she had been less tired, we might have had a more productive afternoon.

The weekend before that was a blur of activity. Rahul's birthday was on Sunday, attended by Hritam, Totini, Monal, Taishan, Agneesh, Aineesh and of course, Ratul. I spent Saturday baking and cooking; Vicky took Rahul off to keep him out of my hair and get some shopping done. Dana dropped in and made a fantastic Darth Porker pinata in between making sandwiches and dip, and tossing pasta.

My parents were in town for a fortnight before that, which was another blur of clearing out this house, water problems, screaming fights (there was only one, but it was quite enough because I don't usually yell at my father like that), squabbling over Ma's iPad, Star Trek Angry Birds and oh, a week went in designing and making costumes -- a mermaid and a witch -- for an inter-school competition.

Before that I was deeply unhappy because Dipali and Vinod are unexpectedly moving to Delhi. I should no doubt have taken it better, but in fact I didn't. It's a loss and I'm losing too much these days. And all through August, September, and now October, it has rained heavily. The days are overcast, the evenings clammy and the dawns stormy.

I have been so busy being busy, all I want to do is spend some days sleeping. I also want to spend some days outside just having fun, enjoying the Pujo breeze, talking nonsense to people who don't want to be serious either. I need a break from my immersion in family life. I want to spend some days doing my crochet without fretting about bank work and paperwork and all the other things I should be doing instead.

In my fantasies, I walk out and leave it all behind me, my security nets and despair. In the real world, I don't even know how to put the first foot before the other. Instead I fool around with Rahul, have silly conversations with him and refuse to take anything seriously. It's as legitimate a way to cope with my confusion as any other, I suppose.

And now it's October. Pujo. Pune. More family time. On the other hand, Dexter season 8 has begun. I try not to get addicted to TV once more but I have to say watching Dexter is curiously soothing.