Sunday, October 05, 2014


Rahul, in his eternal worldliness, called something junk at the dining table.

I raised my eyebrows and asked him if he knew what the word meant.

He airily told me that he did: it meant rubbish, something unwanted... then, with a saucy look at my mother, he added, rubbish, like he was to his Diddi.

The mother, needless to say, found this adorable.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Of Tantrums and Parties

We went to Triple S's fifteenth birthday party last night. The boy has three perfectly nice names (one of which is my father's, since he was named after my father) but as a family we tend to call him Triple S. Why? Because we can.

Rahul had a nice day yesterday, on the face of it. He watched TV and I think also managed some iPad time in between. He played with his toys. But he fought with my father over lunch and decided his day was ruined. In his sadness he rolled under the sofa and stayed there too. Things looked up briefly when he thought we were going to the beach to the Park Hotel Durga Puja but then we found out that they had mixed up the timings so that they had finished the pujo hours before the time they had given us. So we didn't go to the beach. He was about to return to his under-the-sofa mood but in the nick of time Vicky suggested a trip to Rahul's beloved aquarium. V, Dada and I had hot chocolate watching the crowds while Rahul and Baba went to the aquarium.

Side note: I am sick of that ruddy aquarium.

Afterwards we all wandered down to the beach. Baba dropped us off and headed back home. They live so close to the beach, repeat trips are no bother. Rahul threw tantrum after tantrum because we refused to down to the sand and allow him to get wet and sandy just before the party. It all ended in raised voices and a tremendous scolding from me.

Eventually we made it to the party. Rahul went around looking like a whipped puppy for the first half hour. Then he made friends with another little hellion his age and decided to become the life and soul of the party instead. He took it to the point where Vicky came quietly to my mother and me, carrying Puchke, and asked if we'd met his ONLY son. We may have also turned our backs to Rahul so as to not see what he was up to.

What did he do? Well, among other things he

1. together with the other hellion took the balloons off the walls and then proceeded to lose or burst them all over the place.

2. joined in the family photo -- he never joins in photos without begging and threats -- and wriggled his way right to the front, standing next to one grandfather. When the old gentleman tried to put an affectionate arm around him for the photo, my horrible child stared at him coldly and said, "I don't know you."

3. lustily sang "Happy Birthday to Triple S Dada" while the rest of our family scrambled around trying to remember his formal names.

4. insisted on introducing the hellion friend to his little brother. The conversation went something like this:
Rahul: This is my little baby brother. You can call him Puchke or Aditya or Adityo*. I have given him those names. You can call him what you choose. What do you want to call him?
Hellion: I don't want to call him.
Rahul: (persevering) You can also give him a name by yourself. What do you want to call him?
Hellion: For what I will call him?
Rahul: (stumped)

5. threw crumpled water bottles, picked a phuchka shell off the roof and tried to eat it, grew red in the face when fed some chowmein (it was rather spicy I admit) and in all sorts of ways made quite a clown of himself.

Puchke on the other hand, worked the crowd like a boss. First he slept in the sling on Vicky, looking rather angelic. Then he woke up and was taken around the roof to see the sights. He met lots of grandparents and then one chubby grandmother in a bright pink saree asked to hold him. He was entranced by her gold and black beaded necklace. From her lap he blinked at all the assembled ladies and proceeded to charm them by being totally unafraid or whining for familiar faces. He cooed to some and gave his darling smiles to whoever chatted with him. Then, and only then, did he mildly indicate that he would like to be fed.

Once we returned upstairs he went back to overseeing the party from either his father, mother, mama  (my brother) or grandmother's shoulder. He seemed satisfied with all he saw.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Anatomy of A Marriage, Eight Years On

Many years ago, upset with V, I wrote about what marriage means to me. When I read those posts I marvel at them, not because of the honesty (I am still as honest as ever in my blogging) but because of how much of myself I was willing to post on a public forum. I suppose that is the difference between being in my twenties and being in my thirties. I used to be painfully anxious that people understood me; now I no longer care whether they do or not. There was a line between wanting to not care and actually not caring. I approached the line, hovered over it for ages, and finally crossed it. Once breached, you can't go back to being that anxious, thank heavens.

That said, it's reassuring that the idea of marriage has not changed as far as I'm concerned. There have been many ups and downs in the seven years since. There have been lies and losses; births and weddings. Through it all I maintain:

1. Marriage is about equality and equivalency. At least for me it is. What I do is not as important as knowing that my husband is putting in as much work into our partnership as I am. Having been the person who worked harder for many years, sometimes, especially now, I feel that he is putting in more than he gets. Which is fine with me. In the long run the gifts are evening themselves out. But I have to feel prized. Not everybody feels the same way I know, but this is how I feel.

2. Absolute fidelity. Last year I kissed somebody else and it wasn't a kiss the way you're thinking but even that I realised was unacceptable to me. It's not so much what I want to do as what I'm willing to accept from V. Do unto others. I still don't flirt around much.

3. My privacy has become precious to me. Now I share myself only as far as I choose. Earlier I thought I had to give everything of myself but I don't think that any more.

4. Cuddles are important. We are a family where both parents work mostly from home. We are together all the ruddy time. It's very easy for us to start snarling at each and keep snarling all day if only because we don't know how to stop. It's easy to forget to hold hands or hug or pat heads if you see somebody all day everyday.

5. Money decisions need not be taken together, as long as they are not disputed. Ideally both of us work in tandem but in real life this does not happen. As a consequence we also need to budget for expenses that the other person has made. This is not as chaotic as it sounds. It can be something as frivolous as a meal out or as bread-and-butter as school uniform purchases -- occasionally something extra is spent, usually by one person without consulting the other, and our budget has learnt to leave wiggle room for this.

6. I knew we would be expected to grow old together but I never really considered that we would also be growing up together. We hide from the kids together and hide things from our parents together. Though that doesn't sound particularly grown up to me!

7. Consequences must be mutual too. Over the years I have tried and tried to show Vicky how we all pay for each person's mistakes. Obviously I did this because he kept making mistakes and I kept paying for them. Now though, he has paid for a few I have made, has helped right those wrongs and seen the damage. There is nothing like facing consequences together to remind you not to repeat a mistake.

8. Mutual respect and liking, words that trip so readily off our tongues, are the mainstay of any relationship I'm in. I have to like V. There have been so many phases, and such long ones too, when I couldn't bear the sight of him, that I'm thankful for the ones where I do like him. I have also noticed that in the middle of one of the phases where I find him unbearable, he will suddenly say something or do something utterly unremarkable that will nevertheless remind me of the young man he used to be -- and that young man I liked. He remains unbearable but this flash reminds me that this is a phase and will pass, which is soothing.