Victoria Memorial, Futchkas, humour, chai, metro rail ….. My Introduction to Kolkata

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Kolkata or erst while Calcutta was one of the places which I never preferred staying more than a few days on visit. I had relatives staying here and we had to visit this place every year for holidays. What I hated most about this place during my childhood visits was loadshedding, crowd, pollution, long queues and the inhuman capacity of calcuttans to strike a conversation with anyone they meet about anything in this world.  I belonged to a small city so I used to find it strange that any place we visited was crowded.  I wondered how come hundereds of people also decided to visit the same place at the same time as us.  I hated the long distance that needed to be travelled to reach places and for all these reasons I used to be more than glad when holidays were over and I could be back to my less crowded small town. But as luck would have it, after my MBA I landed into Kolkata with my first job and I had no other option but to stay in this city.

The first few days of my life in Kolkata was just of fear and apprehension. How would I manage? I dont even know places? Would my colleagues be good? Would me, a small town girl be able to adjust in such a big city? My mind was filled with self doubts. I remember, the first day in office after the initial joining formalities in the corporate office,  the HR manager told me to go and join the New Alipore Branch which was the branch assigned to me.  I used to be a shy girl then and though in my heart I knew that all places in Kolkata were the same to me as I didnt know any , yet I ate up my words and couldnt ask the HR manager the way to New Alipore.  I was sweating in fear standing outside the corporate office, watching the mad rush of vehicles passing by in the peak office hours.

Never in my life had I seen so many vehicles pass by together and I wondered how on earth I would make it to the New Alipore Branch. Then some kind colleague of mine told me that I could travell by the Metro rail to a particular stop from where I would get an auto to New Alipore.  This was another challenge which lay ahead. I didnt have clear idea about theprocess of travell in metro rail and the very fact that I would be travelling feets beneath the surface made me feel suffocated. I entered the metro rail station and stood for few minutes, observing people hurriedly taking tickets and boarding the train. Observing them for sometime gave me a fair idea of what the process was and then very hesitantly I took slow steps to buy a ticket of my own and thereafter board the train . Once I made it to the New Alipore Branch that day all alone, my confidence took a boost and eversince that day I was never scared to travell in this city.  My job then was such that I needed to travell at times for client meets and that posed as the biggest huddle for me .  I didnt know most of the client places nor could I recognise them even after the client told me landmarks, for all I knew of landmarks in Kolkata was the Victoria Memorial which even a foreigner would know of.  I remember,  making a mess on my travell to client places, where either I used to get down well ahead the place or before the place and ended up walking miles, perspiring, and looking like a oily piece of fried brinjal.  I well remember, the vulnerable me had also wept on some ocassions when I got lost in some place, was not able to locate the client’s office and by the time i did and reached there, it was well past the appointment time and the client had left.  Slowly I made good friends in my workplace who were so kind and cooperative to me that they actually drew maps so that I could make it to places easily.

Time flew and today after years in Kolkata I have become a seasoned player. This city is no longer a strange city to me. Its “my city”, “My home”. I have started loving my life here.  This city has given me rock solid friends,  a good job which has shaped my identity and also made me have so many sweet crushes.  Life in Kolkata has taught me to be street smart, to be a good conversationalist, to strike a joke even while waiting in traffic jams in a hot humid afternoon because people here have an amazing sense of humour. I have started enjoying the long drives to places which i utilise by reading or listening to the FM. I love the street food here and gobble “futchkas” (the kolkata’s answer to paani puri) on the road with friends. I enjoy the festive madness the city goes into while Durga Puja and today I consider myself as a Kolkatan. This city has given me everything. Today,  I can boast that I know almost every nook and corner of Kolkata, and if I have an address anywhere here, I will be able to locate it. I know the roads well and I know exactly the    ‘ no entry’ timings for almost all major areas of the city just that now with a ride up in the designation levels in office, I mostly travell by my car or by cab.

Few days back me and a friend of mine were travelling to a place in kolkata for a party. My friend is born and brought up in Kolkata,  yet I was the navigator and my friend was on the steering wheel.  I kept on telling the right turns and U turns and my friend was amazed by my skill.

” You are just few years in this city, yet you know Kolkata better than me, how come?”,  asked my friend.

I replied,” Halaat ne mujhe sikha diya.” ( Situation has taught me.)

and my friend  replied, ” Who is halaat? your ex- boy friend? you never told me about him? Is he an ex colleague? Come on, tell me all.”

I burst out laughing at such an innocently dumb comment and looked out of the car window to the Fhutchka wala standing on the footpath. Its been 3 days that I havent had Futchkas.

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Beyond the horizon of a Failed Relationship..

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The phone rang in her purse and as she looked at the screen, it was him, her husband. 

“Hello!” she said, looking down and focussing on the bunch of keys which she now tightened her grip on.

” If you think you can be on your own, its okay!… You will never be able to pull on without the security that I had provided you.” , he said

Security, is that the word he used? Of course yes,  security is the only thing that he boasted of giving her always.  But what security was he talking of? She remembered the day they first met and how they kept on meeting after that.  He seemed to be the most caring and understanding partner she could have for a lifetime.  She couldnt wait to tie knots with him because she knew she would be treated as a queen in life with him.  ” I will not let a tear pass by your beautiful eyes and will make sure that you never go to bed weeping.” , thats what he had said,…..she remembered his words well because his words used to haunt her when almost everynight thereafter, she lay weeping  till sleep embraced her sorrow but he was nowhere beside her.  He became so busy climbing the stairs of life that he remained oblivious that they had promised to always walk beside each other. She remained standing alone  from where they had started while he moved on. They led two diferent lives and though she tried making him understand yet it never became “our life” and was always “your” and “my” life.

She remembered the pain of loneliness that she faced everyday in her new life when she was left all alone to manage everything by herself.  She could never find him near her, to comfort her fear, to soothe her pain, to ease her out…. he was too busy for her.  She remembered the tears she hid by smiling even more vibrantly everytime she had an urge to break down.  Yet she lived with the pain. Because she loved him. But slowly distance crept in the relationship. The feeling is strange, when you know that you are in a failed relationship, when you know things are not working, when you have almost lost communication and the only exchange you do when you speak sometimes  is “take care”, “hello” and “bye”….. and yet you quietly observe things decay, because corrective measures are not known to you.  It is a pain to be in a failing relationship.

She remembered the last time, they spoke in person many many months ago, when she had pleaded with folded hands to actually work for this relationship, to invest into it.  But it was a trivial thing for him. Relationships dont mint money, do they? they dont pay you for your hourly investment towards your near ones.  She waited years for him to change. She would dream of him walk up to her one day and say that he needed her in life. That he wanted to forget everything and make a new beginning but all she got was loneliness, pain and the feeling of being in a decaying relationship which she knew not to correct. Then came dark bleak days of  suffering, an emotional breakdown. The pain became unbearable for her. She forgot laughing and  slowly became scared of everything, even sacred to meet people. Those were such dark days that she never thought that she would see light again.

” Hello! I was saying that why are you walking off? You would not be able to pull on without me. ” she heard him speak over the phone, his voice as cold as ever.

” I had given you every emotion I had to offer for a long time, but you never even had time to understand them or respect them. Now I have nothing in me left for you.  I am drained altogether, but dont you dare think that I will not be able to pull on without you.  Life is a very big gift. I admit that I went through such dark days that at one point I thought I will never see light again, but I have Realised that I have a huge life awaiting me where there’s lots I can do and achieve. I am starting a business venture of my own and I dream of making it big one day. Infact I will make it. Its a promise I have made to myself. And thanks dear, its because of you that I have realised how strong am I , I realised that my life is much beyond “you” or a failed relationship. That I am strong enough to fight out of depression and smile again, to fight out of hopelessness and make a new beginning again. It was definetely a learning walking with you in life till now but ahead it will only be me. You will realise one day, that you were so busy climbing up stairs of life that in the process you lost out a beautiful possession of yours. Bye and thanks.” click…

She disconnected the call and walked in. It was the first day in her own shop, a dream come true for her and she couldnt afford to spoil the feeling of achievement that she felt now. One day, I will have 500 shops like this of my brand across India, she thought and an unnoticed tear of happiness passed  by her eyes.

Some Ideas For A Romantic Dinner

Romantic Dinner

Romance must never be out of your life at any age or stage. Only this is the way by which you can say your partner or loved one that how much you care. Going on romantic dinner is a superb idea to show your care towards your partner. But while you are going on this romantic dinner date there are a few things that you must bear in mind so that you can make it memorable for you and your partner. This date could be the one where your partner too will realizes as to how much love is there between you two. So just prepare for certain things in advance while you are planning a romantic dinner date with your partner.

Know About the Food Likings

While taking your date on the romantic dinner, you must first be aware as to what food your partner likes. In case, if you are planning a dinner date at home then cook dish that he or she likes. And if it is a restaurant, then you can show the gesture by ordering dishes that your partner likes.

Concentrate on a Perfect Ambience

Ambience plays a vital role in your romantic dinner date success. Some places are meant to be romantic like a restaurant under an open sky or a restaurant with valentine theme etc. You can tell the restaurant persons in advance to arrange the table beautifully and decorating it with flowers. Lovely music will turn your senses on. And to add to it, perfumes and relaxed aromas in the air can work wonders.

Flower Magic

Never forget to bring the flowers along. It has a different magic altogether. Roses and jasmine are meant to be romantic flowers. This can add to the essence of love.

Romantic Foods

Certain foods are meant to be romantic like chocolate cake or a sizzling brownie. Cheese items are also a turn on. Wine can add to the charm of the romantic dinner.

While you are in love you need not worry about the expenses involved. This is because love is the most valuable thing of all. Do not compare the experience of the dinner date with the bill.

Inter Caste Marriages: Indian Perspective

Inter Caste Marriage

Things About Inter Caste Marriages in India

In India, caste system has been since centuries. The mind set is still orthodox in India in spite of so much development. However, unlike past inter caste and inter religion marriages have become very common today. However, there are many people who still oppose this. However, in the urban culture, things are lot more acceptable than in rural areas.

Many orthodox people think that as marriage is a very important custom in anyone’s life it has to be based on feelings and practices performed in any particular caste. And so, they do not encourage inter caste and inter religion marriage. But in reality, marriage is beyond all this. And rather than caste, race and religion there are other things that must be thought of deeply.

The scenario today has become quite encouraging. People understand that for a marriage to be successful a couple needs to have better communication, understanding and respect for one another.

Urban Scenario

In cities, reason for such a change in the mind set is education. Thanks to the current education system that teaches people that there must be religious and social equality. And this thought encourages inter caste marriages. And only because of flexible and open mindset, many marriages with different social and religious background have been successful. But sadly, this is the urban scenario.

Rural Scenario

Even though, cities have welcomed inter caste and inter race marriages, but in villages things are different. Rural areas are still backward as far as such thoughts are concerned. People are still rigid. And so people in villages prefer that their children must marry according to the parents’ wish. And the marriage must happen in the same caste. If their children do not obey their orders then they may disown their children.

However, with the growing development in the field of science and technology there are so many things that require an alteration. And so people who are rigid must change their mindset about marriage. Marriage is actually based on understanding and mutual love. And no caste, creed, race or religion can affect the success of marriage. Marriage is much beyond all this.

Is it all about money honey?

Marriage and money
Marriage and money

I wonder is it really true that we need love and rest all will be taken care. I don’t know and I really don’t think this really hold true.Probably it is all about money. Initially in beginning of relationship matters like money are considered trivial or unnecessary.

During the courtship you will do anything or everything to attain the goal of getting married to the loved one. Once the goal is achieved you start dealing with on every day basis. Now the secondary issue becomes the primary.

Arguments starts like this why do you need to buy new clothes? And never ending why s comes up …… In courtship days it was like necessary to go out on dinner and have some good quality time together but after marriage its like why do you need to waste money cook something at home. Situation takes 180 degree turn.

All those love is in the air gets evaporated in front of Sun like money. Time comes when one starts evaluating there account everyday to see whether some transaction is made from my account if there is something than BOMB what the hell it is made for?

Than a phone call is made at home to know about by whose permission the money is withdrawn what is the reason? If the reason is some how not on his list, than it becomes the end of the world. The only thing that comes to his mind is that you don’t care how hard he works? You just know how to blow his money?

What can be the solution for the above problem? I thought about it and reached too few solutions which are based on research I made on internet:

1)      Have joint account where you pool in your monthly house hold bills money and some miscellaneous situation amount. Rest keep in your individual accounts.

2)      With the little twist in the above one have only one account where you both put your full monthly incomes forgetting whose money is it? Only thinking that it is our and it is for us only.

3)      Divide the household bills into two .In most of the cases one of the partner earns more so to divide reasonably the ratio should be 80:20 so that both can have there certain bank account balanced

4)      Generally in India most of the women are not working so there is only single earning member in the family than what husband does is give the full monthly income in the wife’s hand and tell her to make proper use of it. Than wife give husband the money needed by husband for everyday purposes like petrol etc.

5)      Or husband give the calculated amount that is required by family for the monthly run or household chores

Somehow most of the families are able to make best of it. For example my mom is not working and dad is the single earning member so he follows the approach number 5 .He gives my mom a calculated amount and tells her to do everything in that. Which she manages well and she does saving also. I think it depends on the person attitude as well how do you want to foresee yourself.

Few people like me like to live life to fullest with every passing day as the last. But most of the people think about the future which is absolutely correct and practical.

I really wish that some day I can learn how to manage finance and I really am waiting for the day when I don’t have to think about saving money?

I would also like to tell newly married couples that don’t get carried away in today as tomorrow hold better future. Maybe I can’t some how understand but I know it’s true. So it’s better to save today than cry tomorrow as now you added advantage of your youth later on woof all will be gone. I pray to god to give me some budhi to accept it my self.

Important Advice to Newly Married Couple

Newly Married Couple

Marriage is an important decision in anyone’s life. It is not just a union of two persons, but also of two families. This is true as far as Indian culture is concerned. Two individuals come together to share the never ending bond of love.

For newly weds, marriage seems like bed of roses and like a movie where the hero and heroine meet and they love happily ever after. But remember, after marriage both the boy and the girl get into lots of responsibilities. And so as time passes, there might be many adjustments, compromises and changes coming in your way. This will make you feel that the essence of love has been lost or the relationship has blurred. And this is the time when problems starts. Remember, marriage is about love and care.

In order to have a happy married life there must be adjustments from both sides. And apart from this, communication is the best key to almost all your problems. Here’s a piece of advice that will help the newly weds to have a wonderful marriage ever after.

Be yourself but do not hurt
You must tell your partner everything. Don’t try to behave what you are not. This is because, it will make you unhappy. Of course, you don’t have to be hurting and blunt in a marriage. But you must be frank and free.

Communicate
Most of the problems arise because we expect the other person to understand everything even with out us saying it. But, such mind games are rarely successful. Say when you need help, tell when you want your partner to be with you, ask him if you want something. Communicate. This is the most important advice.

Respect for family
Marriage will bring along lots of responsibilities. And so, you must make some alterations in your nature. Respecting each other’s family can keep you close. Never bad mouth his or her parents. Most of the problems start here.

Show your love
After marriage we tend to take the partner for granted. You must show your love at frequent occasions and also do acts of love that will bind you both together. Make your spouse feel special either by doing something or getting a small gift. Give romantic surprises to one another.

Newly-Married-Couple

Reading the book Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus can be a helpful book for the newly weds.

Ideal Gifts for a Lavish Indian Wedding

Wedding Gifts

Indian weddings are usually very lavish affairs. People like to spend a lot regarding the wedding attires, gifts, ceremonies, tents etc. Generally, a trend has been seen that people try spending a lot on clothes and jewellery rather than any other stuff. Indian weddings, as mentioned, are very costly affairs sometimes. People give out a lot of gifts to their relatives. Nothing is left in India weddings. Each and every aspect is considered to make sure that everybody is satisfied with the ongoing proceedings and the wedding is completed without any hassle.

The most important aspect of an Indian wedding however still remains the gift to be given to any individual. be it a family member or any of the in-laws, it is very important to make sure that the kind of gift you choose for any individual is apt for the occasion and not seem out of place. If you are not able to decide upon any one gift to be given to a specific person, you can always give cash. It has been a custom in Indian families to give away money as a part pf the tradition and is not considered rude.

Other gifts that can be given include sarees to the women members. There are different types of sarees available in the market and they make up to be beautiful attire. Choose according to the likings of the individual. Sarees can be cheap as well as expensive depending on the type that is being bought. Further, if you are a guest at a wedding, you can take a hoard of things. The favorites are usually dinner sets, cutlery, expensive crystal sets, murals or paintings etc. Electronic items work fine too depending upon the fact that they should come with a guarantee period as it may not look good upon you if the item stops working after the first use.

Jewellery is also a favorite among Indian wedding gifts. People usually give them to close relatives.

I never had a girlfriend!

If not for the Indian cultural system where the parents start searching for a bride for the boy as soon as he starts earning and gets into the late twenties… I would have been still a bachelor. I touched 28 and my mom showed me 2 short listed photographs of typical Indian girls with good education and homely nature – and I had a short chat with both of them during the official girl-seeing ceremony. I selected one of them… and there I was – happily married!!!

When I was in school – I was a back bencher. No no – don’t get me wrong. I used to score good marks and I was not one of those typical ones that used to hoot out at the teachers or throw paper planes during lectures. But I was simply a back bencher. When I was in the lower classes – I got that privilege because I was one of the taller people in the class. But later on, it became a habit with me… and I stuck around there.

I don’t know what it is with girls. Do they believe that all the people in the front bench are smarter or more studious? Whatever it is – I have always seen these garticleirls fawn around the boys sitting in the front for whatever reason. There was this one day when my science project that we were all supposed to make was a hit with our science teacher. And she asked everyone in the class to have a look at it. I was flattered and I thought it was my chance to get close to the girls now. But alas – the girls did flock to me… just to borrow the project for a while and sit with the boys in the front row to peruse through the same.

I think I am over emphasizing the back bench. Because, in the college – most of the back bencher boys were quite in demand with the girls.

So now I have attributed it to my inability to carry on a proper conversation. Again – please don’t draw conclusions. What do you mean by “proper” in the “girlie” scenario? It could be something like this –

Boy – Did you see that movie “XYZ”

Girl – Yes – Shahrukh is soooooooo cute. I really love it when he comes up with those flowers suddenly and with a baby face – says “Lets be friends”

Boy – Yeah – and that scene is so nice na… when Deepika picks up the little puppy and takes it into her arms na…

Girl – Yeah …. I want to see it again… it is so niiiiceeeee

I don’t think I can go through this type of conversation in my life. I don’t say I am mature and inarticulative, but let’s just say that it is not my cup of tea. I would rather watch one or those Jackie Chan or Bond movies or even meaningful ones like “Sixth Sense” or “Jesus”… Not that I cant sit through these romance (especial Indian ones), but definitely talking about it to an endless extent would be asking too much!

So a result was that I remained a “no-girlfriend” guy much to my annoyance.

The only advantage to this whole thing I see is that I could tell my wife that she is the first girl I kissed!!!

Love Marriage vs. Arranged Marriage: Thoughts rearranged!

Arranged Marriage

One of my Australian friends attended my marriage last year; when I called him to invite, he asked me the first question whether or not it’s going to be an arranged marriage. He had never attended any arranged marriage before this, so he wanted to experience this occasion. Whenever we talk about the Indian marriages, we tend to associate this life occasion with an arranged marriage full of rituals and customs, when couples and their relatives spend sleepless nights, not in worries but for enjoying the celebration and time taking rituals. We Indians are like that; we still largely believe in marriages arranged by our parents.

During last few decades, our social set up has changed a lot and we have moved towards some liking for love marriages; however love marriages are still considered as inferior and most of the couples face lot of family and social hindrances before tying their knots. Off late, we have also accepted love cum arranged marriages; but today also only those cases are categorized as love marriages, where couples simply run away from the family and society to show their retaliation and boycott to the prevailing culture and finally going for court marriage. We are still not in the state of mind where we can accept inter-caste or inter-religion marriages.

Love Marriage vs. Arranged Marriage

Love Marriage

Let’s have a look at some practical and some emotional differences between love marriages and arranged marriages. When a couple gets married, they commit to spend the whole life together thereafter. If the arranged marriages are followed by love and understanding, there are more chances of happy married life. Arranged marriage does not allow enough space for couples to understand each other; those who are not lucky enough to get in tune with their partners, the life becomes an adjustment for them. We have hundreds of examples around us where marriages seem to be successful and couples pretend to be satisfied, but the actual story might be different in many cases. Some women are continuing with their relationship because of her kids or because of our customs and culture, which don’t allow women to have liberty of prioritizing according to their choice. Similar things happen with men also and they also keep on bearing such relationships. India is the country with least number of divorces in spite of vast cultural diversifications. But whether or not such couples should get separated for the sake of better life; at least they should be given one more chance to find a suitable partner.

Now, let me ask one question; do we get married for our parents or relatives or is it our life. So, who should decide and select the partners. Now days, parents in metro cities are allowing their children to select their life partners on their own choice and it really works. But what percentage of total population lives in India; just 20% or even lesser and it is not sufficient to change the norms set by us and been followed from centuries.

If we think of the other side of the story; we also see a lot of stories of unsuccessful love marriages. Some gets separate because of over expectation from their partners and some fail to have a good life because they fail to understand their responsibility and have taken decision in hurry. Our society and culture are also responsible for this and we should help our young generation understand the essence of relationship and make them feel that we are there to support during odds. This will create an ideal situation where love will be happily converted into arranged marriages. Till then, shall we stop falling in love; no, we should take responsible steps.

Waiting for you once again on 16th of July

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It was heavily raining outside and i knew i would get half drenched on the walk from the parking place to the gate of the art gallery. I considered sitting a while inside my car, waiting for the rain to turn into a drizzle, but then it was already 5pm and further delay meant lesser time  there with the gates closing for the day at 6. As i entered the gates of the Art Gallery,  I shoved off the lock of hair from my face which dripped trinklets of rain drops to my half wet kurti. The place has not changed much in the last 5 years.  The shimmering rose garden, the huge gate of the gallery dating back to the old English Era, the known smell of paint and oil which even after so many years made me nostalgic,  everything remained unchanged in the last 5 years just me… feeling slightly uncomfortable to enter a place which was one of the biggest comfort zones for me just few years back.

I went past each hung painting trying to decipher the meaning and the mood of the artist. I tried doing it for sometime , but in vain as  my eyes kept wandering inside the hall, looking at all the known, unknown faces I saw. It can’t be that he’s changed so much in the last 2 years that I will not be able to recognise him.  Is it that he hasnt come in this year? The very thought saddened me and I felt a discomforting lump form in my throat.  I had finished walking the entire hall and yet no signs of him. I should move on in life too, just like he has, or else he would have been here. I took out my cell phone and checked once more at the date.

Yes, its 16th  of July, the day we met 5 years ago, in this art gallery, suddenly bumping into each other, both admiring a Raja Ravi Varma Painting. What followed thereafter was 3 years wrapped in magic and ecstacy and when the magical dream of our association ended, it left me bruised  by the wounds of reality that havent healed in me even after years passing by. Or else, why did I come here today? When we were together, we spent hours here in this art gallery, every saturday afternoon admiring the creations of art. But 16th July was special. Eversince we met here on one 16th July, we had made it a ritual to visit this place every following year thereafter on this day as a thanksgiving to this place for us to have met here.

How could he have forgotten 16th of  July? Or is it that he wanted to forget that it is 16th today? I flipped the phone book of my cell phone and stopped at his name, Ve… , I considered calling him once but then gave up. May be he’s moved on in life, if I haven’t been able to move on then its an incompetency on my behalf.

It was 5 minutes to 6pm and i knew there lay no other probabilities that i thought of in my mind by didnt of which he might arrive. I slowly started walking to the exit.

” Ma’am, visitors book. Please put in your name and address with your comments for the exhibition.” said a voice to me.

I looked to my right and saw the elderly guard sitting at a table with a huge register in front of him. I borrowed his pen and just as i was about to write my name, something held me back. Why should I write in my name? Just to show that I have still not been able to move on in life?  that I still miss him in my life?  that i was waiting for the 16th of July for the last so many months, imagining meeting him again , this day here and waiting him to tell me that he missed me too? why do I write my name? Just to make me feel once more what a big loser am I?

Name:        Prateeksha

Address:     New Alipore, Kolkata

Comments:   It was wonderful, but I still miss you and you know what, it still hurts.

Time and Date:      16th Of July 2009,     5.50Pm

I had not written my  real name so that in no way would he come to know that I was here. But I dont know what in me made me write that embarrassing comment, even the guard looked blankly at me as i wrote the comment, finally giving a confused look. He probably dismissed me as one of the many art connoisseurs visiting this place, whose language and moods confused him always.

But as I finished my eyes glanced up on the pages of the register reading the different comments that visitors had written and I found this among them.

Name:             Sashwat

Address:         Juhu, Mumbai

Comments:     This place still has not lost its charm over the years. My

heart will always hold your memories and i will forever love you.

Time and Date:    16th Of July, 3.30pm

I couldn’t read the comments as my heart was pounding fast and my moist eyes blurred the vision. I ran out of the exit. He was here too.

That night on my way back home, i stopped the car midway, flipped the names of the phone book of my cell phone, stopped at VE….

” Hello! Its me.” I spoke to him after so many years once again.

Confessions of a Cleanaholic

spring cleaningI haven’t yet seen the movie “Confessions of a shopaholic” but the day I heard the name… it rang some bells in my mind. I am not an avid shopper… so I don’t think I related to the shopping part. But I kept thinking about it on and off!!! I had some “Holicism” in me… but I was not clear which one.

And bingo!!! Today I hit upon the truth. I am a cleanaholic. I hate dirt. I hate thing that are not in order. I hate mess… basically I have a place and cleanliness quotient for everything around me – my kids toys, the kitchenware, books, shoes, clothes … everything under the sun. And if the image in my mind and the actual don’t match – implies there is cleaning to be done in the house!!!

My cleanaholicism would have been appropriate had I been a bachelor or even married and was a housewife. But being a working mother with two hyperactive kids at home… this obsession seems a little out of place. When my kids are playing around… I am waiting for the moment when they finish and they switch to something else…and I nag them to keep back the stuff they were playing with back into their places. I nag the kids to put back their school bag once they are back from school… to put their clothes in the washing basket, to clean up the place once they are done with their drawings, etc etc. And yes – the kids comply mainly because I think they don’t have a choice. I don’t know how it would be if they had a choice!!!

Things are different when I have to deal with this obsession with my husband. Because – unlike my children, my hubby has a choice?. He chooses not to listen if he does not want to. Many a times when he leaves his clothes and shoes around – I don’t bother to nag him and put them back myself. I know that is like “not teaching a man to fish” but then I don’t want to be termed as a nagging wife all the time. And yes – peace in the house also means a lot!!! So I dare not shake the “reins” of the house too much by my nagging.

My mom often comes and stays with us… and then my obsession has a different meaning. My mom is a pragmatic woman who has brought up two children managing her job and home herself. So she has her own rules to keeping the house clean. Clean to her means practical – so if she is accessing a book 5 times a day – it makes more sense for her to leave it on the table where it is handy. So the table in her room will be fully cluttered with all the things she needs. Now – nagging my hubby and children was one thing. Nagging my mom!!!! Impossible. She will retort back immediately with a more practical and reasonable answer. So my in this case I have to swallow my obsession… and get going the pragmatic way.



There is another “holicism” that I have. I am not sure whether it falls under the arena of “cleanaholicism”. It is about not wasting electricity and water. Whenever I see a light left off open in a room – I am quick to comment on it. Or if I find the kids, hubby or the maids using water too liberally – I find it difficult to refrain from chiding them?. So popular are my water saving eccentricities with my hubby and kids now that as soon as I go to the bathroom and they hear the sound of water inside – one of them is quick to shout – “Ma – don’t waste water”?.

Roller Coaster ride

couple-fight_bw

Tara: hey Vicky so what’s the plan for today

Vicky: Nothing just planning to sit at home and chill

Tara: But I have been working full week and need to go out to get some fresh air

Vicky: So that make sense to sit at home rather than going out .So you sit back and relax

As most of you will agree this is the beginning of new fight and miserable ending to nice weekend. I should say killing of peaceful holiday. Mostly fights start from very trivial issues, but then takes form of messy, horrible and taunting wars (Rani ki jhasi on battle field fighting for freedom)

By now the small argument has become ego problem that today I will not be the one who will say sorry.

To the continuation of above argument

“Tara: I really want to go out whether with you or without you

Vicky: do as you want I am not coming but remember I will not speak with you after that”

Dilemma, dilemma, dilemma….??????,,,///

So now what to do how to change the situation? And you become the in charge of situation. Most of the times you get so outraged that you don’t give a damn about wearing your thinking cap. But I think it’s always good to come to a mutual agreement .For both sides Win -Win situation. Now I will reframe the sentence which will make more sense and solves the problem

Mind screaming oh so now you are playing diplomatic very smartJ

“Tara: darling(be a little mushy) you know what I was thinking if we can go see the Music system you wanted to badly because I think we are not having plans for weekend

Oh my god she is real angel. I just love her finally she ready to see the latest gizmos I was eying on. But you know what I know she has something in her mind. Leave it .Who caresJ

Vicky: Ya I think that’s a good idea. Up let’s go this weekend. I have seen a new upcoming model it will be interesting whether it s really that good.

Hurray it’s working. HAHAHA!!

Tara: Sounds good lets go to the Mall (XYZ).They have good electronic stuff (Bubble forming in mind haa!!This way I can shop and see the new collection of Fahrenheit)

So this is what she wants .Do some shopping. Hmmm!! Not a bad deal.

Vicky: DONE

I hope the conversation can go like the above but it’s really difficult to follow and be scheming. All I know things can be improved in every relationship and in marriage you learn something or other new every day. With time you know what to say when. If one day you are fighting than next day (metaphorically) you will be so much in love that you will forget that you ever had fought. I feel marriage is an institution which teaches you how to be diplomatic, compromising, forgiving, loving, and positive and learner. I just believe never say never and never leave any argument in middle just finish it off and move on.

If the above conversation dint end the way I had shown then there would have been a fight, a lost weekend and a couple who at the end of Sunday sulking Why? Why? In god name I spoiled my beautiful weekend arguing. Guess what! This is what marriage all about full of ups and down .It’s a roller coaster ride.

May be Marriages are Like That!

Scenic-Pic-of-Couple-Holding-Hands-Photographic-Print-C11987033Reha had had it enough that day. It was a sunday, the only day off for her from her regemented office routine so all that she wished was a cool relaxing afternoon but Shabd was getting on her nerves now.  He was upset on her for a disagreement they had and was yelling at the top of his voice. ” GO AHEAD! do whatever you feel like and yell out every abuse you have for me.” , Reha shouted back at Shabd and left their bedroom to take abode at the lovely cozy sofa set they had put on the sitting area in the drawing room.

Reha and Shabd met as college friends and with time, they fell in love. By the time they got their first job they were already dating each other. Marriage with Shabd seemed like a dream come true for Reha.  They were happy as they called themselves in times when they were in a cheerful mood but in times like this Reha really felt as if marriage is the end of love. Love meant magic where life seems colourful and dreamy but with marriage comes in Responsibilities. You are suddenly dragged into each others’ family where the partner has a set of expectations from you towards his family which may not seem okay to you. Reha picked up the month’s Femina issue and started reading reclining in the sofa. She remembered of their college days  when they used to bunk classes and visit Shabd’s place for some quiet moments together. She had so many fond memories of theirs in this sofa but now, life seemed so different , Shabd seemed strange too . Usually, the whole week they remained busy coping up with their demanding corporate lives. More for Reha as she also had to do the cooking and cleaning at the same time.  By the time they returned back home it was cleaning and cooking time for Reha and by 11 pm she crashed on the bed. They hardly found time to catch up and on a sunday afternoon like this they had picked up a fight over a disagreement on parents and soon Shabd was shouting at her.

Reha had dozed off but she woke up at the sound of glass breaking from somewhere. She took some time to figure out the origin when she realised that it was coming from their bedroom. She rushed inside only to discover at her wits end that the room was in a total mess. Shabd had thrown all her books from the study table on the ground and to top it he had broken the glasses she had kept on the bedside table too. He was fuming in anger and to take his frustrations out on her he threw everything he found on the table top.

“Okay! so you have made the whole room a mess. Who do you think will clean this up? For sure I wont.”, said Reha.

“Dont’ clean. Let our bedroom be a complete mess. I dont mind. Life with you is a mess so a messed up bedroom will hardly make any difference.”, yelled out Shabd and left the room.

Reha followed him till the sitting area. By now she had lost it too., ” Now look Shabd, Nitin and Priya are coming here this evening and I’ll make sure I dont clean the bed room till then. Priya and Nitin never stops praising Shabd Bhaiya. For them Shabd Bhaiya is the most sweet, gentle creature existing on earth. All faults are with me, right? ‘ Reha the vamp’, isn’t it? Well! I dont have two faces like you Shabd that i’ll project to the world that I am gentle and break things at home in frustration. I shall keep the bedroom just like the mess it is  in till Nitin and Priya comes in today. Let them see for themselves what a monster their Shabd Bhaiya can be.”,  said Reha and went to the kitchen to make her a cup of tea. She needed some tea to soothe her now.

Nitin was a junior friend of Shabd. He used to visit them every sunday when he stayed alone in a flat in his initial working days. Reha also found him very decent and soft spoken so she had developed a younger brotherly liking for him. Nitin married Priya about a year ago and eversince then they visited Reha and shabd on Weekends to catch up on movies or dinner or even chat session on drinks.  They were expected this evening too and Reha felt good thinking that she could show them the real face of Shabd so that  they realise that their Shabd Bhaiya is usually not as sweet as he seems to be.

The door bell rang at around 7pm and Reha rushed to open the door. Nitin and Priya were there. Priya looked good in her new swanky top but her face missed the usual glow that it always had.

“Hi! Come on in.” , Reha said and welcomed them in. Shabd was watching Soccer in Tv and Nitin like a true friend joined him in. This was the right moment for Reha.

” Priya, Could you please follow me to our bedroom.” Said Reha and asked Priya to follow her.

” Now just have a look!! Everything that you see here, Books on the ground, strewn papers, broken glasses everything is what your Shabd Bhaiya has done. You guys think he is one of the gentlest creature on earth, right? Not really, you know….. This is how Shabd is with me. This is what he does to take off his frustrations on me. Look Priya, this is what i go through with Shabd.” Said Reha with vengeance pointing at the crime that Shabd had committed.

But by then Priya was laughing. She had broken into fits of laughter and had crashed on the bed. Reha felt very offended and humiliated like the little child who had  just complained to the class teacher about a truant classmate but the teacher was laughing.

“Shut Up! Priya”, I am in no mood of a joke.” said Reha.

“Sorry!”,  said Priya still laughing now tears of laughter trickling from her eyes.

” I had no intensions to be funny Reha and I was not laughing at you.  But the situation is such that i could’nt help but laugh.” ,Priya said with a twinkle in her eyes.

” You must have noticed that I seemed quite dull when I came in here today. This afternoon me and Nitin had a fight. We fought over a disagreement and Nitin got so upset on me that in his frustration he tore off the new net curtains that i had put on our bedroom. I really wept and was feeling so low while coming here.  But you lifted my spirits up Reha.”, Priya said bursting into fits of laughter.

Now Reha was laughing too. All her anger had melted suddenly. She laughed and laughed her heart out.

” May be marriages are like that!” said Priya.

“Yes! marriages are like that!”, said Reha and rushed towards the kitchen to get the vaccum cleaner to clean up her bedroom.

“Would you guys care for a cup of coffee? then I’ll get it for you two soccer fans with some fresh popcorns.” , said Reha as she passed by the sitting area.

” And… by the way boys take me and Priya shopping today. Priya needs to buy curtains and i need glasses for my bedroom.”, Reha said and winked towards Shabd.

Happily unmarried .

indian_marriage

Happily unmarried .

Marriage is always a most talked about subject in the universe. the married and the unmarried  have  different opinions about marriage and its side effects .But the most baffling is , “Marriage has many pains but celibacy has no pleasures” .As this comment admits that marriage is painful condition  but does not give celibacy the advantage of being a better state .More over the days are gone when state of being unmarried was equated to celibacy . so the subject is  a very complicated one and there are no chances of its being simplified in near future but the relevance of marriage to contentment  and stability is still there. before I venture too far from my subject let me retreat. Bachelors and spinsters have to pay different penalties for their freedom . While I explore the comic side of the price the spinsters pay the other side must be equally interesting.
One day my friend told me that spinster is a word used generally in a derogatory manner for single women (“who fail to catch a fish”, she winked and said to make her point strong)   and that was the reason she wanted me get married . Her comment challenged my sense of humor and I said “but my dictionary says, woman who can make the heads “spin” and “ stir” the heart till they die are called spinsters”. “your dictionary must have been edited by some married person whose sweetheart never married him to enjoy the freedom.” I pressed my point.  Thereafter she never commented on the issue probably for her own safety and my relief.
Then there are people who take a sympathetic view of your lot and think that you are in a state of perpetual agony because you are not married They call you for dinners  and lunches so that you should not feel left out and give you some ideas to be happy. While the gastronomical delights are welcome the other enlightenments are impenetrable .
Doubtlessly India is a democratic country because unlike any other country in the world we have all the rights and the right to interfere in others life is matchless ( with special quotas for the aunties ) .aunties can say any thing to anybody and I  think they have special civil liberties when it comes to marrying of the singles in the vicinity .  like eagles spot their preys and dash on it with matchless speed and if you are not alert enough you are married before you realize it . After the act, the happiness on their face can not be explained in words . and when they see their prey surrounded by children and nagging spouse the wily aunt giggles  to glory .
To marry or not to marry is a very personal question but in India it is personal question to be compulsorily solved by public at large and that too with a compulsion  of marring the first available kill  . the unmarried are amusingly treated like the chickens with bird flu ,married before they choose otherwise  .
My scorn is aimed  not at the institution of marriage but at the way, the reason and the mediator that people employ to get married .but that is the way things are in our society so all that can be said is long live the aunties who settle the long lasting marriages.

jyoti thatte
nagpur

A simple life

coral

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show….”
– From David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)

For the better part of my academic years, I didn’t know what I would become. I have seen kids saying: “I want to become an engineer” or a scientist at very early age. But I really didn’t have a single clue about my future.

Many people thought, I would become a doctor because of my pathetically illegible hand writing. (Some of the skeptics thought – I would become a bus conductor!). I had such bad hand writing; some times I myself could not read it. During exams I used to read notes from my colleagues!

When ever asked about my future I used to say that I will become a priest!! This was a perfect answer, because no God fearing religious person can counter that! This continued till seventh standard.

Forbidden fruit
For 8th standard I joined a co-educated school. Mine was the first batch of boys. Earlier, it was predominantly a girls school. Till then, I had never seen so many girls at one place. We were outnumbered by a large number of girls. There was too much attention from the girls and wild distractions. I was extremely vulnerable!

In this COLOURFUL environment, first time in my whole life I realized, what I am going to miss, if I ever become a priest! Sadly it dawned on me, that I was not the chosen one – for Gods work. God had other plans for me. After that I never thought of becoming a priest!

Future Wife
I met this girl in the local church youth circles; we spoke this and that,
“What do you do?” she asked.
“I study”
“Oh, you are a student. What else do you do?”
“I write sometimes” I said.
“Anything published?”
“Not yet, but I am sure someday, someone will publish my articles”
“Do you know, you have the highly unlikely profile of a candidate – for a women to be interested in”

I knew that. But if you have followed history closely, women have fallen in love for some of the most bizarre reasons. And men have started their courtship with some of the worst possible questions.

Mine was – “Have you seen DDLJ?”

DDLJ
DDLJ was a mile stone movie. It is also a mile stone movie in my life. It is the first movie I watched with a girl (later married her), in the theatre bunking the college. It is also the first movie, where my mom caught me – watching it with a girl bunking the college!

That is when I realized my mom’s network is much more powerful than Mossad.

Suppose you are John Doe; planning to do something mischievous in Israel, the moment you arrive at Tel Aviv airport , the first thing you hear on the microphone will be – “Attention Mr., John Doe your wife and kids are safe with us ; waiting for you at Gate 6”

If you are a normal tourist you will appreciate the hospitality of the airport staff. But if you are a veteran cold-war-fiction-reader like me you will immediately come to know that it is a signal for John Doe to quietly surrender at gate 6 else his family will be murdered brutally.

Mossad can sniff any unwanted activity months ahead because they have the strongest espionage network in the world. My mom had a stronger network! The money I borrowed from her for study books and actual cost of the books, the marks I reported in each subject and the ones I really got, the classes I bunked – all this information she had on her finger tips!

I saw DDLJ in Mangalore 35 KM from my home even though it was running in near by theatres just to avoid mom’s spies. After the movie came straight to home as good student, First thing she asked was –
“How was the movie?”
“It was good” – shocked!
“Who is the girl?”
That started a long interrogation session – just like Mossad!

That was long time back.

Hard talk
“Are you going to marry the same girl?” mom had asked, years later.
“Yes” I had said.
“What if I say – No?”
“Then I will wait till you say – Yes”
“You have already waited for almost a decade!”
“I will wait some more, I am used to it now..”
“OK” finally she had resigned “You are stubborn. The only negative quality I have. Unfortunately the only quality you inherited from me!”

DDLJ is also the first movie I watched after my marriage. But this time at home with two girls! Wife on one side and mom on other side!

Marriage course
Interestingly till the last moment I didn’t know that MARRIAGE COURSE is mandatory for a Christian marriage. Come to think of it, no other religion forces a marriage course! Being superior in animal kingdom, I don’t know why human beings need a marriage course when other animals simply follow their basic instincts!

I joined a marriage course conducted by a Goan priest. I was simply amazed by his comprehensive knowledge on sex. Is it possible for a person who is practicing celibacy to have so much theoretical knowledge without Practicals? Of course it is difficult!

Before time
Just one week before my marriage I was invited for my friend’s marriage. I attended it, with my fiancée (Same DDLJ girl). It went up to very late; we took the last bus home. When we reached bust stand, it was empty; there were no autos or taxis to go home.

My home was at 1 Km distance; hers was at 3 km.

“What do we do now?”
“We need to walk” I said. “If we walk to your home, then it would mean a 6 Km walk for me plus 1 km to my home. Instead of that lets both of us go to my home”

“What? Before marriage, what people will think?”
“This is an emergency. There are no rules in war and…”
“Ok, lets go “she said.

Mom opened the door. She was clearly surprised by seeing both of us. She was expecting only me.
“Why the big hurry?” she said “any how you are going to marry her in a week!”

D – Day
My marriage was no different than other marriages, so as usual there was tremendous leg pulling between my side and my wife’s side. Long discussions and arguments on simple things like whether to have mango pickle or mixed vegetables pickle for the menu!

Complete strangers took some major decisions! There was a moron from wife’s side at center stage most of the time. Asking people where to stand, when to click the snaps, where to sit. I was sick of this guy.

“Don’t you think your uncle was acting too much on the stage” told my wife after the marriage.
“My uncle” she was surprised “I thought he was your uncle!”

First Night
One of the prominent people of my town was celebrating his anniversary on my marriage day eve. I had an invitation. He was such an important person, that I could not simply reject his invitation even if it was my first night!

I went to the function with my wife, thinking it was a half hour hi-hello-bye affair. God, how wrong I was! The function dragged till midnight with speakers after speakers giving lengthy speeches on successful marriage! The last thing you want to hear on your first night is speeches on successful marriage life!

Good news
When I reached home that night everybody was sleeping! My wife could not sleep because she had hundreds of hair-pins and flowers on her head; till early morning next day I was removing hair-pins!

In the morning, when I came out of the bedroom first person I met was my grand mother who promptly asked – “When is the good news?” Since I was hearing it first time I could not make sense out of it. But after that over the period thousands of people (some perfectly strangers) have asked me that question without shame, without presence of time and without politically being correct!

Life after marriage
First thing we learned in our marriage is cooking! It is a shame that being very good cooks our parents didn’t teach us anything! Only thing I new was – Maggi.

I came to know that Chapati’s come in many interesting shapes other than the regular circular ones! I was bit tired of my mother’s perfectly circular shaped chapati’s. My wife makes chapati’s in all possible shapes for e.g. square, diamond, parabola and my favorite Amoeba shape! My mother could not do all these shapes; I think she was lacking creativity!

50 – 50
Modern days are not like that of our grand fathers, where ladies used to spend their entire life in the kitchen. Time has changed. Early in our marriage I and my wife have decided that one will cook and the other will clean the dishes. I have taken the onus of cleaning and realized to my horror that cleaning is much more difficult than cooking! The complexity of cleaning increases day by day as you postpone it!

Lessons from Marriage
Found practically that soft drink cans kept in deep freezer explode! This is because – all liquids increase their volume at a low temperature. Even though I had read this during my schooling, never gave a serious thought about it till I practically experienced it.

Before marriage I was a hardcore fan of Baywatch and FTV, now all my favorite serials start with the letter – K. The challenges of modern day husbands have been increased by never-ending Ekta Kapoor serials. All ladies get their state of the art tips from these serials.

I hate Ekta Kapoor more than Hitler, who was directly responsible for killing 6 million Jews during World War II. She can expect physical harm if I ever meet her. I have a feeling that an Amoeba has more IQ than Ekta Kapoor!

In the golden-olden days, my grandfathers didn’t have the challenges of Ekta Kapoor. They were happy men. My maternal grandpa has 6 kids and paternal has 9 kids. Obviously they didn’t believe in contraceptives!

A simple life
If you ignore the near fatal food poisoning incidents in the earlier days of our marriage, I feel my wife has become a super cook! She can now, not only participate in all India Konkani speaking women’s cooking competition, but also can give some valuable tips to Sanjeev Kapoor! Of late I have found that her chapati’s are becoming more circular, I think she is losing creativity like my mom!

Young couples ask me all the time about the interesting moments of my married life. Incidentally they are aware that I knew my wife much before my marriage. They expect something romantic and filmy. I try to escape this question because they will not believe my answer.

Most romantic things of my married life are – cleaning fish, going to the market with wife, drinking tea together etc. Most of the beautiful things in life are simple day to day things. They don’t cost much. You just need to have an eye for them.

(Reproduced from here with permission of the author)