10 Jun 2017

2017 and the feminist household

"What's married life like?"
"What has changed after marriage?"
"Aren't you bored on weekends, just the two of you?"

...and such inane, unprompted questions on our married life.

I can genuinely say nothing has changed after marriage. I don't wear mangalsutra, toe ring or sindoor. I'm completely unadorned, without any 'telltale' signs of being married. At least, the registrar office woman seemed to think so, judgmental female!

The Man seems to get different sorts of questions or comments, really.

"You look thin, got beatings from wife?"
"How can you say no to kundru if your wife made it?"
"This is the first year, aage aage the lovey feelings won't last."

...and such sexist, unprompted comments.

We're tired of these questions and comments. The ghisa pita wife jokes, the boring husband ones. I can't think of the last time we were welcomed into the folds of married-life with good wishes of love and prosperity. Probably buried under the absurdity, I'm sure.

Reality is not even close to what people led us to believe. The days and nights are full of love, the laughter is contagious and the intimacy has no bounds. We cook together, do the laundry together, get groceries together and virtually everything householdey together. I can't recall ever having a "sit-down" conversation about divvying up, it has been very intuitive. On the days he's pulling an after-hours call, I'm in the kitchen, cutting up mangoes. On the days I'm having my pan-time zone team meetings, he's in the kitchen, making my filter coffee. If I'm cooking, he's chopping. If he's cooking, I'm hovering around and kissing him when he's stirring the pan. I have handled the planning of finances like a champ, though gave up the excel sheets for him to pore over. He fixes the broken door handle, I fix the shelf. You know, like equals. Though we have never once used the word out loud.

Marriage hasn't meant everything is magically understood. But the one thing that has always been rock solid is the foundation of equality, of chores or of us, as people. He accepts my nature and I accept his. That's the starting point. After that, its just a series of conversation of deciphering what makes us tick, what ticks us off. It doesn't automatically mean an argument each time any of us disagree. We share it and the other nods, that's how we understand each other.

Marriage has also meant navigating our families and adopting an 'let's meet midway' attitude has made everything simpler. For a few days every couple of months, I take out my mangalsutra and jewelry from a dusty shelf and wear it to my in-laws' house. I used to do it grudgingly, now I'm just relieved that it is just for a few days, my very own fancy-dress time. He, in turn, puts up with my annoying extended family and does so like a complete winner, they all seem to like him a lot! It took us several conversations to navigate the tricky business of families and I believe there are more conversations ahead of us. It has made me patient towards my own family, I have to say.

Intimacy is when he squeezes my fingers when I'm angry at something and it instantly calms me down. Or when I brush my fingers reassuringly at his flash of anger at yet another marriage joke. We take it all in stride, not afraid to voice out our annoyance at the ridiculous people making them up.

And the love? The love is grand and makes it all worthwhile. 

10 Nov 2016

Marriage is 100::100

Turns out, The Man was right after all. I was deliriously happy on the wedding day, which translated into me being a radiant bride, face packs be damned. Seriously, I just couldn't stop smiling!

The ceremony itself, which in other weddings seemed painfully long, was shorter. I missed out on picture time with few friends who could stay only for a little while because I had to be the bride on the stage, but other than that, it was a blast.

Half a dozen costume changes over a day and I was very glad that we chose not to have a reception. We stood like Ken & Barbie for some time, while people gave their gifts, but mostly, it was avoided because we skipped formalities. There are some great candid shots (I hope), the photos haven't come yet. I'm still impatiently waiting for pics, if only to update my Facebook DP.

But most of all, the moment when he tied the mangalsutra/thaali/sacred thread is forever etched on my mind. Defying traditions, I didn't want to look down demurely while he tied it. Instead, I looked straight into his eyes, choking down the sob that was threatening to come and smiled.
Tears shone in our eyes as we quietly voiced our I love you to each other.

In that moment, he became my family and I became his. In our own little bubble, its just us, no one else.

Post-wedding and a wonderful few weeks in Greece later, everything is largely unchanged. But every now and then, I poke him in his tummy. When he looks up enquiringly, I grin and say "Husband". He grins back and calls me "Wife." Its surreal.

18 Jun 2016

Senti-smug or happy-smug

What makes someone stop in their tracks and choose to go off-path?

When you stop midway and decide you deserve better - a better life, better love, better job, better whatever. You deserve everything that the world has to offer you because you are here. Here. Where your past is behind you and you finally stop re-living the past over and over in the wrong choices that you make for yourself.

Wrong men for you. Wrong job for you. Wrong house for you. Wrong decisions for you.

For every wrong turn, there has been something better that has come my way. I've been okay making all the wrong decisions for me, because none of them have been permanent. I have found myself out of the situation, just by reminding myself that I deserve happiness.

I've made some dick moves and all of them have been averaged out. Cuz life's a normal distribution (those are not my words, I would never reduce life to a math equation). Its The Man's belief that everything averages out. The high-highs don't remain that way and the low-lows go back up again. And that's the kind of belief I can rest my faith on.

What's constant is you. I believe in strong foundations and ours is rock-steady. You are my personal miracle, because I chose you...you are my genuine shot at happiness.

I can't wait to marry you. 

24 Mar 2016

Love-shuv and besan-paste

I was religiously preparing a paste of besan, turmeric and green gram on my face when my phone indicated a familiar ringtone of a Skype call. The Man was impatient, he didn’t wait the half hour I had told him it would take to finish my “beauty ritual.”

“What were you doing?” he asked, pinching my imaginary nose in the air in front of him.
“If you must know, I was making besan-haldi-maavu paste to put on my face. It’s a new effort I’m taking to make sure I’m flawlessly radiant on wedding day.” I smiled, waiting to see a similar smile on his face. Any reference to the impending wedding and we grin like we are the only two to ever get married. Instead, he appeared puzzled.

“Why? What flaws are you correcting?”

I’d have gone on an immediate tirade, starting with my dark circles and ending with the unsightly love handles (why only they are called love handles. Nobody loves it on themselves); but I paused because I knew he wouldn’t buy my feeble attempts about dark circles.

“I don’t want to appear tired and dull.”
There. That was vague enough that he’d move on to other topics and let me prepare my concoction in peace.

“We have to wake up at 5 am for the Muhurtham. We will be tired anyway. Won’t you have makeup so you won’t look dull?” 
Why is he not letting up!

“I don’t particularly like the blemishes and marks and flaws okay? I need my paste and my dance routines to make me feel I’m getting to a goal!”

“Do your dance baby, put on your paste, but don’t mask it under ‘flaw correction’ or ‘reaching a goal’. Do it because you want to be healthy by exercising and rejecting chemicals by using organic. Because you are beautiful as you are.”

I’ve heard it before. To be loved as you are is a wondrous thing and the people in my life affirm the one thing I haven’t been able to tell myself at all – I love you as you are. There are no flaws. There is just you.

I’ve tried the diets, exercises and everything that goes with it. Rujuta was a favourite for a long time because she spoke a lot of sense, but I haven’t been able to stick with anything for too long. And not being comfortable in your skin also meant that you end up being okay when you regress into old habits.

We ended up talking about it for a long time…he admitted he had insecurities too, but for the most part, he’d shrug them off because fundamentally, he loved who he was, however he was. I admit it would take me some time to reach the zen he exudes while he says that he is absolutely comfortable in his skin (I still try to inconspicuously cover bits of myself at times), but I’m learning to love my body as much as I love my mind, my spirit and my ability to love with absolute conviction.

I’m trying again with renewed vigour and the knowledge safe in my soul – I’m me, however I am. I’m flawed, that’s okay. I’m loved, that’s a blessing beyond anything else.

I’ve no goals this time, not really. Just to be healthy to live out the many lives with The Man in parallel universes I had demanded from the creator in my last post.