There Was A Time..

There was a time…

She would wait for dad to come back from office. He would get cream rolls.. She would jump and cling to him like a monkey. She would snatch the cream rolls from him and giggle. She would finish it all too soon, white cream on her teeth and her mouth.  He made her day.. What more could she ask for..

There was a time..

She had a dog… She loved to play ‘Fetch’ with him. She would throw the ball. He would run to get it. Sometimes she would run. Without the ball. He would just run behind her.  She had no idea why she was running. He had no idea why he was running. She would suddenly stop. He would stop too. He would pant, his tongue sticking out, hoping something would happen now. But there was nothing more. This was the game.  The dog did not mind.  He was just happy. She was also just happy.. What more could she ask for…

There was a time..

It was her birthday. The day before she would have gone to the store to buy toffies. Her classmates would get two toffees. Some not so important would get only one. Eclairs or Melody?   She would call so many friends home for the party.  They would play in the whole house.  Parents would spend the whole day decorating the house with balloons. And write ‘Happy Birthday’ with crepe paper.  The excitement would not be over just because the guests were leaving. It would continue. She would open the presents. The pink, blue, green, golden wrapping paper.. The puzzles. The dolls. The games.  What more could she ask for.

There was a time…

There was a family wedding. Mummy had dressed her up in a lehenga. She was even allowed to wear a lipstick. And a bindi. And bangles. And a matching hair clip. People said she looked so cute. There was no school the next day. She and her cousins were running around the whole hotel. Chuppa Chuppi it was. She would hide behind the big huge flower pot in the middle of reception.  Her cousin would also hide there. They would find each other. So easily. But still laugh. Such a hearty laugh… There were two flavours of ice-cream – vanilla and chocolate.  She had both. Elders were busy.  Nobody was monitoring them.  What more could she ask for…

There was a time…

She had gone on vacation with her family. The hotel room had a bath tub. She hated taking a bath but this was so cool. There was hot water coming from the tap. Unlike her house where they heated water with and immersion rod and she had to use a bucket and mug. Mummy had to ask her to get out of the bathroom.  But why should she? The foam in the water. The little bubbles… The cozy room of the hotel.  The sight seeing outside where she would wear a half pant. Eating in restaurants.  What more could she ask for.

There was a time..

There was so much less. But it was so much more. There were no regrets. There were no disappointments. There were no conflicts. Everything was just the way it was. Just the way it was meant to be…

Is that time over… Was that it.. Where is the joy…Will it ever come back..

She is scared to find the answer….

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There Was A Time

There was a time…

She would wait for dad to come back from office. He would get cream rolls.. She would jump and cling to him like a monkey. She would snatch the cream rolls from him and giggle. She would finish it all too soon, white cream on her teeth and her mouth.  He made her day.. What more could she ask for..

There was a time..

She had a dog… She loved to play ‘Fetch’ with him. She would throw the ball. He would run to get it. Sometimes she would run. Without the ball. He would just run behind her.  She had no idea why she was running. He had no idea why he was running. She would suddenly stop. He would stop too. He would pant, his tongue sticking out, hoping something would happen now. But there was nothing more. This was the game.  The dog did not mind.  He was just happy. She was also just happy.. What more could she ask for…

There was a time..

It was her birthday. The day before she would have gone to the store to buy toffies. Her classmates would get two toffees. Some not so important would get only one. Eclairs or Melody?   She would call so many friends home for the party.  They would play in the whole house.  Parents would spend the whole day decorating the house with balloons. And write ‘Happy Birthday’ with crepe paper.  The excitement would not be over just because the guests were leaving. It would continue. She would open the presents. The pink, blue, green, golden wrapping paper.. The puzzles. The dolls. The games.  What more could she ask for.

There was a time…

There was a family wedding. Mummy had dressed her up in a lehenga. She was even allowed to wear a lipstick. And a bindi. And bangles. And a matching hair clip. People said she looked so cute. There was no school the next day. She and her cousins were running around the whole hotel. Chuppa Chuppi it was. She would hide behind the big huge flower pot in the middle of reception.  Her cousin would also hide there. They would find each other. So easily. But still laugh. Such a hearty laugh… There were two flavours of ice-cream – vanilla and chocolate.  She had both. Elders were busy.  Nobody was monitoring them.  What more could she ask for…

There was a time…

She had gone on vacation with her family. The hotel room had a bath tub. She hated taking a bath but this was so cool. There was hot water coming from the tap. Unlike her house where they heated water with and immersion rod and she had to use a bucket and mug. Mummy had to ask her to get out of the bathroom.  But why should she? The foam in the water. The little bubbles… The cozy room of the hotel.  The sight seeing outside where she would wear a half pant. Eating in restaurants.  What more could she ask for.

There was a time..

There was so much less. But it was so much more. There were no regrets. There were no disappointments. There were no conflicts. Everything was just the way it was. Just the way it was meant to be…

Is that time over… Was that it.. Where is the joy…Will it ever come back..

She is scared to find the answer….

What made you sad today?

Thursdays it was. Library period is what they called it.  They would remove their shoes outside.  The library was as small as a regular classroom. Yet, for her it was a fortune. Which book should she pick? She had all the options in the world! Aisle after aisle. Shelf after shelf. The smell of old books. Some bookmarks left as it is. Some pages torn.  Some drawings made.  The library card where she would put her name. And read the names of everyone else who checked it our before her. The Enid Blyton Books..

Then there would be the book sale, announced well in advance.  She was not supposed to carry any money to school. But for the book fair she would be allowed. She loved reading those abridged classics. The beautiful pictures on the covers. The blurb on the back.  The smell of new books.  It did not matter whether the book was old or new. Whether she borrowed from the library or bought from the fair.  The books unleashed a different world.  A world of dreams. A world of knowledge.

Today, it makes her sad that she will never smell those books again.

The rainy season would start. Monsoon as they would call it.  Her mother would pick her up from school. Sometimes, they would not find an auto or rickshaw. So they would have to walk home.   In the rain. And keechad.  Cars would pass by.  There would be a splash.  Mostly on the red skirt. But sometimes on the crisp, ironed white shirt too. The dirt on the road. The smell of the rain. She would love to make a puddle.   She would jump at each step as her mother would try to drag her to walk properly. Dogs, cows, people, cars, cycles all moved in the rain. 

Today, It makes her sad that she will never make that puddle again.

Summer vacation would start. Her cousins would arrive.  Her father had purchased a video game for her. It had two games. Shoot the duck with a gun. And Mario. They would take turns to play. How cool it was, that she was the only girl in the neighborhood who had the game. Would her Mario survive the dragons at the end of the fourth level?  Thank you Mario but our princess is in another castle – The screen would read.  Would her Mario find his princess at the end of the eighth world? Would she and her brother be able to play simultaneously as Mario and Luigi?

Today, It makes her sad that her Mario will never meet the Princess again.

Little joys were so simple to achieve then..  She thought when she grew up there would be something so much bigger. Better. Bigger happiness! Little did she know….

It was not until she became an adult that she realized:

Happiness comes at a very heavy price!

जीने के लिए सोचा ही नहीं
दर्द संभालने होंगे
मुस्कुराये तो मुस्कुराने के
क़र्ज़ उतारने होंगे

 

 

When I Realised That The Festivities I Cribbed About Were About Celebration & Family

When I Realised That The Festivities I Cribbed About Were About Celebration & Family

When I was a kid I waited eagerly for festivals. More people in the house, pichkari, pathaka, new clothes, cousins, sweets, fun, laughter. What was not to like about it?

But as I grew up, I started hearing things which made me cringe..

Leave Everything And Vanish?

When I was about 14, I had watched a television series on Sony called Hubahu starring Sandhya Mridul. She played the role of identical twin sisters. One sister, Aditi lived in India. She was a homemaker married to a college professor with a son. She lived a boring, stable life. The other sister, Ananya was very glamourous. She lived in some foreign country. Wikipedia says Bangkok although I do not remember.. This sister is single, rich, has a luxurious lifestyle  and a wannabe boyfriend. The sister in India lives a stable live with her husband and kid. One day they both decide to switch places for a week. (They are identical).  Due to some unavoidable circumstances, they end up continuing in their switched lives for some more time. At the end, they realize they like their new life better. They end up continuing like that.

When I had watched this show at that age I had thought how could the woman with a family just leave everything. She had a husband! A kid! I had also found nothing with her life that was so bad that she just gave it up.  I was so judgmental…

Aditi used to wake up every morning with a jump as her alarm rang. She would rush to get her kid ready. The rest of the day would be lost in household work…Cribbing. Stressing. And cribbing some more. And stressing some more..

When I was studying in the U.S.,  in eighth grade or ninth grade, in one of the class discussions the teacher had asked what are some of the reasons for depression. One girl had raised her hand and said ‘monotony’.  No it was not those last few residual answers where all obvious answers such as loss of a loved one, loss of job, divorce, break-up was consumed. It was one of the first few answers.

“That’s right”, The teacher had replied. “Getting up every day, same time, same routine with nothing interesting to look forward to in life can be depressing for some people.”

I had found this very odd.  To me, it was not a valid cause. What else is everybody supposed to do every single day anyway, I had thought.  I guess I was too dumb…

I guess I wake up the same way as Aditi does.  Every morning with panic.  Thinking I have missed the alarm. I will be late to work.. I will get scolded…  The maid would have knocked on the door and left… I will have to do the work…I will be even more late to work…  And there is a deadline…Not only will I go to work late but leave from work late too… House work. And office work…

Maybe it is everybody’s fantasy to just leave our current life… Leave everything and vanish… Aditi just got the opportunity…

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Movies, Music and Nostalgia…

I watched Gold yesterday. I wish I could review the movie….

I usually do not watch a night show during the week days because I have to get up early thanks to work. But yesterday, I ended up watching the night show as there was only one show in the nearby theater and the whole family had planned to go. With the trailers and the non-smoking advertisements, these night shows easily start by 10 pm.

At home, 10 pm is the time when I mercilessly switch off television, irrespective of how engaging our current Netflix show is, and tell my husband it is time to “shut down”.

This is followed by scrubbing the kitchen slabs and gas stove…

Anyway, coming back to yesterday, here I was at 10 pm daring to watch a night show along with my family.  During the first half of the movie, I tried unsuccessfully to keep my eyes open. From whatever little I managed to watch, Amit Sadh looked good, and I found Mouni Roy’s character annoying.

After interval, I was completely asleep. I even had a dream which involved the movie.  Now, I am even more confused as to what was part of the movie, and what was part of my dream. Hubby tried his best to keep me awake by pulling my leg every time Mouni appeared on screen – “This angry wife is just like you.” But in vain. I was too sleepy to even react to him. However, in between, I would wake up and ask him,

Who is in the semi final?”

“Did the final match start yet?” 

I sounded a lot like my grandmother who does not pay any attention to TV serials but keeps disturbing everybody else who is watching intently by asking what is going on.

By the end of the movie, blissfully asleep I had forgotten where I was.  When people started getting up for the national anthem, I tried to reach my tummy to remove my seat belt, thinking I am in a flight.  Then I woke up, realizing that I am in a theater.  This awareness that I was not in an aircraft  gave me a strange sense of satisfaction because I thought at least I don’t have to travel…

This incident reminded me of the first time I had fallen asleep in the theater as a kid. I am sure I would have fallen asleep as a baby many times but this is the first time that I could remember. It was a charity show of the movie, Maachis. My parents and sister had loved the movie and the “crowd”. Those were the days of single screen theatres and not multiplexes. Families took balcony seats. There would be whistling, screaming, dancing, clapping and what not going on in the front. But being a charity show, the tickets were very expensive. Being a small town, half of the town was present and my parents and sister had spent the time before the start of the movie in socializing with acquaintances / friends they were bumping into.

I don’t think I ever watched Maachis properly after growing up.  Whenever, somebody mentions Maachis, I have a very faint memory of lots of people waiting outside the cinema hall for the movie to start. But it is a good, uplifting feeling (contrary to the serious subject of the movie).

In a recent road trip to a hill station I kept playing songs from the 90’s like Latka dikha diya tumne, Muqabla, Taal se Taal mila etc. My niece was also traveling with me and in an attempt to match up to her I had downloaded some English songs too. Since I am not up to date with anything other than Bollywood, my list started with Shape of You, and ended with Cheap Thrills. Thankfully, she had requested me to download song new songs (which I had no idea about).

I realized that our generation still knows songs from the 60’s 70’s etc but the next generation does not know any songs from the 80’s,90’s.

But why did these songs make me so happy? 

Probably because of the way they make me feel…

It is the association with songs / movies that make us like them years later.

Associations. Memories. And the games our mind plays with them…

That was then. Gold for me will always be the first movie I watched after my wedding, in which I fell asleep!

 

A day Of Haircut With Salon Bullies!

I went to the beauty parlour yesterday to get a haircut. Just a haircut. Nothing more.  After calling five salons where the “senior stylist” and “creative consultants” were charging a bomb I decided to go to the salon I used to visit regularly. Now, I moved so this is quite far from my new place. Nonetheless, I thought I may go for a long drive with husband. This was theoretically a good idea as it was raining and hubby was playing nice 90’s songs on Bluetooth. Yes songs like Aafreen Aafreen, and Muqala Muqabla Laila o Laila make me very very happy.  Was happily singing alone those songs until I came across  this gentleman.

There is a motorcycle also tied on top of the roof of the car.  This person thinks  it is okay to drive like this on the highway in the rain.  Anyway, moving on…

So I reached the parlour. Now the stylist came to take a look at my hair. I told him I need a haircut.

“Madam, your hair has breakage.  Go for smoothening.

“I have already  got smoothening done twice!! My hair has become very thin! I don’t want smoothening!  See how much hairfall has happened! Just a haircut please”.

“Hair fall not because of smoothening Madam. You are not maintaining!”

“I am using the same professional shampoo and conditioner you made me buy last time.”

“Well madam, your smoothened hair is fine.  It is so smooth. It is your fresh hair that is growing that is curly.” He lifted a strand of my hair. Magically at that moment the end of the hair strand stood still, and the little hair he was holding pulled itself out obediently. “See Madam. Problem with your original hair growing back. Not with smoothened hair”.

“But if you smoothen you will smoothen the entire hair right?  You will not selectively smoothen the hair that has just started growing?”

Yes madam. It will all become smooth and silky”

“I don’t want smoothening. I want a haircut. Please do the best you can with it, some layers to create volume”.

“At least get hair spa madam.”

I got convinced for the hair spa. Now a different guy started doing the hair spa. He had overheard my conversation with the previous hair stylist.

Madam, which shampoo are you using?”

“Matrix”

“Which one?” He gave me two options. One started with Bio something.

“I don’t remember.  I usually buy the Orange one , if it is not available, white one”.

Madam, you should not buy the white one. It is for dandruff. You do not have dandruff.”

“These shampoos are not available in all supermarkets.  Whatever is available, I take”.

“White one is also good Madam.  But you should use this one.”

He picked up another bottle.  I looked at the price and told him I did not want it. So he decided to go back to convincing me on smoothening.

“There is an offer going on Madam. 50 percent off.”

“Even if you do it for free, I don’t want it.”

I guess that did it. He did not mention smoothening again.

“Madam your hair has become frizzy. You don’t use hair oil?”

“I do. Just did oil massage yesterday.” I replied proudly.

“Which one?”

“Parachute coconut oil.”

“Do you heat it?”

“I do not heat it.  But when I get a massage from a beautician, she usually heats it.”

“You should not heat it madam!”

“Actually you guys had told me to NEVER put oil after getting smoothening. But I still do.”

“That is right Madam. You should not use oil.”

I wanted to ask him why he asked me about oil in the first place, that too the brand and heating and minute details.

Now we were off to the hair cut.  The only thing I had asked him to do was to do a cut that would fake some volume.  Given my thin hair, this was quite a challenge. Nonetheless he did a decent job and was pleased with his work.

In an attempt to fool me, he backcombed my hair and lifted half of it in a puff while bringing the rest of it in the front from my side.  He told me how versatile my new hair cut was as I could try this hairdo too.

I wondered when  would I use this hairstyle…..Retro Bollywood party?

Then he removed the puff and put my hair back to normal.  He did a centre parting showing me the layers. He was happy with himself and said that it has added volume. I asked him to bring a mirror and show me from the back.

There was no hair in the back, because he had taken all the hair in the front to fake the volume! I looked at him. He took  the entire hair backwards to show me the shape from the back. Now I had no hair in the front. Just the first layer which was making me look like an ape.

He realized what he had done and moved the entire hair to the front again.

“Thank you” I said.

I was somewhat proud of myself for not getting convinced for a smoothening again. This was a day after refusing to get upper lip done.  Maybe I should start a fashion blog. But my blog will be about how to say no to makeup and hair bullies!!

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Who Took Away My Confidence?

Dear Tanvi,

Would you be interested in moderating a panel discussion? We would be discussing how women are enjoying outdoor spaces.

Me?

Moderating?

I felt a slight fluttering in my stomach. I drank some water.

____________________________________________

At the age of 5 – Somewhere in a convent school in Patna

Mother looks at her daughter’s quiz answer sheet. 8/10. Match the following.

Question – Something to keep you dry in the rain

Answer written by the little girl: Ren cot.

It is marked wrong.

Mother: Beta, here you had to match the description in the left side with the options on the right side. Rain coat was not in the options. It was umbrella.

Little girl: Ma’am forgot to put ren cot. That is why I wrote it.

Mother: This was not Fill in the blanks. This was matching. Read the question properly.

Little girl: Maybe Ma’am does not have ren cot. Now she knows.

At the age of 9 – Same school in Patna

State level debate competition

And the winner is Tanvi Sinha….

The mother and the father are beaming, clicking pictures.

At the age of 11 – Same school in Patna

Teacher: Tanvi, we are recommending your name for representing our school at the Interschool Quiz competition, Manthan. It will be aired on local television after two weeks.

Girl: Ma’am! On  TV! If I don’t do well, everyone will make fun of me!

Teacher: Opportunity is knocking at your door. And you are saying no? You think we are asking all the students? We are asking only the toppers. You must go Tanvi. Prepare well. Give it your best shot.

The girl was terrified at the thought of failing on television. She backed out.

At the age of 13 – Junior high school in New York City

The teenager raises her hand to answer a question. She has just started talking. There is a giggle. Someone mocks her accent.

Teacher: Let her talk. Than Vee, go ahead.

The teenager becomes quiet.

It was not worth going through this humiliation. She decided never to raise her hand again.

At the age of 15- PTA Meeting. Creative writing class. High school in New York city

The father is dressed in a black suit and tie. Mother is wearing trousers and a blazer. They are at their formal best. They enter with  their gawky teenage daughter.

Teacher: Oh Tanvi is a gift! She is awesome. She has great story telling skills. She is logical with her thoughts, and articulates her thoughts very well. Her grammar is perfect. I just have one area of improvement for her.

Teenager replies meekly with a smile: Class participation!

Teacher: Yes! I would like you to participate more in the class discussions. You never say a word! And when I read your assignments, I am mesmerized. Imagine if you would say all of that in class!

Teenager: Yes. I know. I can write very well. But when I talk I feel conscious.

Teacher: Don’t be. With your intelligence, you cannot say anything wrong.

At the age of 23 – Mumbai at home

Click here to see the CA Final Results. Enter Registration number.

FAIL

As tears streamed down her cheeks, she wondered.

I was never the beautiful one.

I was never the popular one.

All I was ever, was the intelligent one.

I am not even that anymore?

Who am I?

She passed the exam a year later.

At the age of 24.. At an official training. Banquet hall of a 5 star hotel

She is sitting in the last round table. She is not making any eye contact with the trainer, afraid he may ask a question.  At the same time she is nodding, pretending to listen.

This is so boring. He mugged up all this stuff! What if I had to be the trainer? Nah.. they would never ask me. Imagine if the training was about something I knew. Or something I was good at. Then I would be the star. But what am I  good at…… There has got to be something… Think…think. Yeah. Bollywood! If there was a Bollywood training I could totally take it… One session could be on songs. With a quiz. Guess the movie from the song. I could also do a session on Bollywood relationships. Guess – Who was Riya Sen’s grandmother…
Name three sister duos from Bollywood. Yeah… I would totally rock it.

Same age. A random office lunch

Someone made a joke. Everybody laughed. The woman barely listened. She is lost in her thoughts as always.

“Tanvi did not laugh.” – Guy 1.

“She did not understand the joke.” – Someone else

“Don’t talk like that. She will get angry.” – Someone else.

“Is she angry? I can’t tell! She is so expressionless!!! Tanvi make an angry face!”

He has a hearty laugh.

At the age of 26. She qualified as a CA 2 years ago. Working in a reputed firm. Year-end appraisal.

Four people are looking at her like hawks in a conference room. One by one they start talking. About how she has not achieved the goals. How she is good for nothing. How she is a big, miserable failure.

She listens. In the beginning she tries to defend herself. But then she gives up.  She wants them to stop talking. But no. They want to make sure it is CLEAR to her, point by point. Every word is a dagger. It pierces through her heart, her soul and her being.

Don’t start crying here. Be dignified. At least control yourself till you reach the washroom.

Present day.

Who took away her confidence?

Was it those bullying kids?

Was it failure in a professional exam which is known to be so difficult?

Was it people from work?

From a little girl who was confident even when she was wrong, she had grown up to be a nervous woman who felt she was wrong even when she was right. Who gave the right to every person to take away her confidence. Who trusted others’ belief of who she was, more than who she knew she was.

____________________________________________

She read the email again.

Dear Tanvi,

Would you be interested in moderating a panel discussion? We would be discussing how women are enjoying outdoor spaces

Opportunity is knocking at your door. She remembered her elementary school teacher’s words.

With your intelligence, you would never say anything wrong. She remembered her high school teacher’s words.

Yes. She typed. Send.

Beyond the doors. Bangalore. March 9th, 2018

I reached the venue. A little nervous. A little unsure of myself. But super excited.

A woman with the sweetest face and the most contagious smile was talking.  She was not trying to inspire anyone. She was talking logically. She was talking about herself and her experiences. Smooth, natural flow of thought. She was just being herself. But the audience was mesmerized. And so was I.

Somebody asked her how come she is so positive all the time? Does she think about dark clouds?

“Why should I think of the dark clouds when I can think about the light clouds. This is me!” – She said flashing that beautiful, confident, ravishing smile matter-of-factly.

She was Dhanya Ravi.

I was overwhelmed with emotion. That one line uplifted my spirits.

This is me…..

 I am Tanvi. I  get nervous when I have to speak in public. My stomach hurts. My palms get sweaty. I tremble. This is me!

I say Umm and You know after every word. This is me!

I will roll my tongue over my teeth, while I am still talking to you to check if my lipstick has spread over my teeth. This is me!

I may mess up this discussion. But it is okay. This is me!

I had a great session. Enjoyed every moment of it. Loved talking to such accomplished women. The smiles, the nods, and the claps from the audience gave me a high.

Who gave me back my confidence?

Dhanya Ma’am, you have written in your profile, ‘All good things come in a small package.”

But let me tell you this Ma’am. You are not small.

You are bigger that our insecurities and our egos.

You are bigger than our inner demons and inner battles that we struggle with every day.

You are bigger than our shallow concerns and problems which actually do not matter, but we are too full of ourselves to believe it.

You are bigger than all of us who love feeling like victims, the moment the smallest thing goes wrong in life.

You are bigger than the people who try to make others feel small just so that they can feel big.

You are bigger than any person I have ever met in my life.

I love you Ma’am. You have made me wiser. In one day!  I have gained my confidence back after years.  I promise myself that I will never let anybody take away my confidence again.

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Kitchen: The Permanent Residence Of So Many Women We Know..

Yesterday I came across something in my News feed that infuriated me:

A restaurant named ‘Second wife restaurant’. Quoting from their website:

“Second Wife is one of the fastest growing food tech companies in Bangalore. For great food and good times. Second Wife cooks like your wife and may be better than your wife also. Experience our taste and quality of our food a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies with distinct aroma and flavour achieved by carefully blending a host of spices and condiments.”

Assumption : Sole purpose of a woman is to cook for her husband!!

Men, if you want warm, home-cooked food spend some money and get a cook!! Not a wife.

Women of this generation probably manage to get some help. If not someone who cooks all meals, then maybe some one who helps in chopping, slicing, dough making extra.

But what about the generation of our mothers? How much of their time have they spent in the kitchen?

My mother loves cooking. She is awesome at it too. I have tried to keep cooks unsuccessfully. Sometimes, she doesn’t like their hygiene, or taste, or timing. She stands in the kitchen throughout while the cook works directing her. She says if she is standing in the kitchen, observing and instructing a cook, might as well do it herself!  She also says that the time she spends waiting for her, she can be done by then. Also, even with a cook, most nice things which she would prefer to cook herself!

I on the other hand, can let go completely. Being a lazy person, I can comfortably sit and do nothing, while the cook does her job. As long as she washes her hands, washes vegetables, rice properly I am okay with compromising on the taste. Because in return, I get my time! And it is worth it! I would rather spend that time reading, writing, jogging, gymming, watching Netflix or even doing nothing!

I cook once in six months / three months. When there are guests over. Or when I try out a new recipe from the internet. When I have the time. When I have nothing better to do.  No matter how well I cook, or how great it turns out the maximum that can happen is someone will eat well and say, “Very nice!”

To do it every day, from scratch, for a lifetime is just too much!. Whether you can afford help but you still choose to cook (or even if you don’t have an option) it is something that you do all the time with a  lot of time and effort!! 

I remember having a barbecue party at my cousin’s place in Singapore. We had ordered some continental chicken appetizer. My mother and aunt had mixed their Indian spices along with that chicken and managed to make an awesome biryani out of it on a very short notice!

Once biryani was served, we started eating without even bothering to say that it was good! We, however had not failed to applaud the men who had set up the barbecue! After some time, when my Bhabhi started eating after feeding her kid, she said how nice the biryani  was.  My aunt said “Oh thank God! No one was saying anything I was wondering how it came out. I was looking at Tanu’s face, when she took the first bite..”

Sometimes my mother tries a new recipe, spends an awful lot of time on it and gives it to me in my tiffin I love it. I think of texting her but I forget because I am busy at work. Sometimes even once I reach home I forgot to say anything. Sometimes I remember only when she asks. The amount of effort and time that goes in procuring the supplies, planning, cooking! Oh God! And thankless children don’t even remember to acknowledge!

Men often say things like “Mera bhi credit hai, mutton main laaya, wash kiya etc” or some variation of that. And we find it cute also. Lazy, annual cooks like me get a lot of attention for their one time special recipe!

But the ones who do it, all the time it is really a VERY difficult thing to do on a daily basis, for a lifetime! Nobody will say to you everyday that the roti, chawal, daal, was good.

I know the post started out bashing the expectation that women should cook. But let me end it with gratitude for the ones who do it every day of their life! Thank you, mom, aunts, grand moms, sister, cousins and everyone else who does it! I am sure you are not thanked enough!!

 

 

 

 

Would You Choose Passion Over Stability?

I keep hearing the story of an older family friend.

He must be in his 80’s now. He has never been married. As per the legend, he used to be a handsome man in his youth. Romantic. Desirable. Rumour has it that he looked just like like Rajesh Khanna.

He wanted a “love marriage.” Whenever any “ladki walas” came home for a rishta, he would pretend to limp. Or something else.  He was filmy. He was very clear that he would not compromise on his partner.

Years went by. The perfect one never came along. There were some rumours of an alleged brief fling with another lady who also never married.  He remained single.

He is currently in an old age home. His siblings’ children do visit him. His story has been passed on to my generation by parents as an example of what happens when you are too dreamy! You end up alone!

“You marry while you can!” is what elders tell us. Or even older cousins who married someone without falling in love. I do not want to make this post about arranged marriage vs love marriage. I have written enough about it.

Would you marry someone who are not even attracted to, or have a connection with because he can provide you a stable life?

Or would you marry someone with whom you have a spark yet you are unsure of stability in the future?

What if you don’t even have the second option yet. Would you wait? Or would you go ahead with a secured life?

We have not seen the future. Someone who seems stable today may not be so in the future. So what are you left with then?

And if you marry for “love”, then well if the love doesn’t last?

Can chemistry be developed over time?

But should it be so forced? Isn’t it easier when you already have it?

Elders love to say “You should marry someone who likes you. Not someone who you like.” I think only Indian elders say this!! Is it too much to ask that BOTH should like each other?

I remember talking to a friend of mine who is older than me. She is also a practising counselor. One of the girls was complaining that she was being pressurized for an arranged marriage. But she did not find the guys her parents were seeing for her interesting. But the guy she was seeing was not interested in marrying her. My counselor friend said to her, “You are looking for a man who can be a friend, plus you should have chemistry, plus commitment, all in one person!”

“Well, isn’t that what a relationship is supposed to be?” I immediately jumped to her rescue.

Ideally yes. But it may not happen. You have to pick what matters most to you.”

The answer is never so simple. People who have been married will tell you what matters. Or even what is missing.

Just a thought. A random one.

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