Time flies and how!

Seems like life is wheezing past me in an accelerated motion. Days are melting into weeks and weeks into months. Everything is happening so fast, that I literally have to remind myself to stop for a bit and take stock of situation. How else would I know how life is progressing before several months melt into a year again?

And why exactly am I being so reflective and pensive? Because in the blink of an eye, it’s already been 6 months. Yes, today it’s been half a year of being married. Whoa! Really??! I didn’t realise it’s been that long. It seems like just yesterday that I was living my single life. Memories from the previous phase are still so vivid, it’s hard to comprehend that things have actually changed. That I am actually married. And the good part is that the transition was so smooth that it doesn’t really feel very different. Yes, agreed that I am living a completely different life now, but that’s the point. Changed countries, changed careers, changed the whole way of life. It just feels like a natural extension to my former life. On the contarary, I have rediscovered so many amazing things about my former self. It feels wow. And that should speak volumes about TCG. He has been so easy to live and get along with, caring and giving, making small adjustments for me, and making enough room for me in his life. It is hard to imagine being married to anyone but TCG.

Who will we marry, how will our partner be, how will he look, how will he treat us, how will it be like to live with him is the biggest mystery in the first quarter of our life, isn’t it? For me that mystery is solved now. And I am so happy and grateful to realise that my imagination matched my reality so very closely. How do you feel when all your questions from many years are answered all at once? That is how I feel right now. How do you feel when things you always wondered about present themselves to you in the most pleasant way possible? That is how I feel right now. TCG not just met my expectations, he has surpassed them. No kidding! And this realisation has made me very, very humble, grateful and thankful for what I have got. Because, I know exactly how it is to not be with Mr. Right.

And God, if you are reading this, I want to tell you a big THANKYOU, for taking such special care of me.

And you TCG, hear this out:

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.”

 

 

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Playing House

I am sure as little girls, we all must have played house (ghar ghar) at some point in time or other. Remember that make believe game where we behaved like grownups and where we dressed up to look like a mommy or a daddy? Going to work as daddy does and cooking in kitchen as mommy does and scolding and disciplining children as parents do?  We played our parts to perfection like seasoned, method actors. Keenly observing how our mommy and daddy behave and noting down all the finer nuances to play their part perfectly while playing house. What fun that used to be! I remember playing house for hours with my girl pals (and sometimes guy pals also, though they will outright reject to admit that now) every summer holidays. We had a play kitchen set as well, with all the little vessels and the miniature fridge and the cooking range and plastic food. I remember we all wanted to play the important roles of that of a mommy or a daddy and no one wanted to play the role of a child. Hence, we used to take turns in playing mommy and daddy and make our dolls and the Barbie play the role of children.

Back then, we couldn’t wait to grow up and be an adult, could we? I used to think how cool the world of grownups is! You don’t have to do your homework, you don’t have to go to school, you don’t have to be scolded and disciplined, you don’t have to be told that it’s time for bed and you don’t have to be told to stop watching TV.

And now that I am a grownup, I wish I was a child again, where all I had to do is worry about going to school and doing my homework, sip lemonade and watch Tom and Jerry, play house and scold the Barbie for not doing her homework, bring the roof down by shouting, playing, fighting, jumping around during holidays and driving the mother up the wall.

But it was all going very well. Till last week. Since TCG and I live alone; far, far away from home, it felt like I was playing house once again. But this time for real. He played the role of a husband (on the lines of daddy), who goes to work and worries about paying the bills and I played the role of a wife (on the lines of mommy), where I busy myself with all the household chores cooking, cleaning laundry and the sundry.

Then last week, I started working once again. And my carefully observed schedule of previous two months went for a major toss. I suddenly realized that playing house in real is not easy. Waking early, dressing up, eating breakfast on the go, rushing off to work, spending a busy day in office, coming back, cooking supper, cleaning, and running several errands in between…welcome to the real adult world.

Till few months ago my major worries included what to do on a weekend, what dress to wear, what class to join, where to meet my friends, and which party to go.

Cut to 2013.

Now I worry about what to cook, what vegetables to buy, taking stock of what things we are running out of in kitchen, what toiletries need to be replaced, doing laundry, dishes, dusting, cleaning the house and ironing clothes (which I never did in India; you can outsource this for very cheap back home, you can even have someone pick it up and drop it back for cheap).

This whole weekend went by in a frenzy doing household chores that we ignored during the week. It’s like the clock in my head is constantly ticking. If I don’t hurry up with a, I won’t have enough time to do b. If I don’t do b now, then I won’t get it done till next weekend. That means I will have to go a week without b. So I better hurry up with a, so that I have enough time to do b. You get it right? If I over sleep on weekend, then something that needs to be done will definitely be left out. And so on.

Reading, writing, blogging, watching TV, reading news, cooking fancy…have taken a hit. But once I get settled in my new routine, I am sure I will make time for these too.

And really speaking, it’s not all that bad. I love being busy and am enjoying every minute of this new busy life. I go back to bed tired, but satisfied. It helps that TCG doesn’t shy away from helping me at all. He helps me a little in everything. Together we are doing just fine. What with all the practice I have had during my growing up years playing house, I should be doing fine, shouldn’t I?

Behind every successful woman

There is an old Thai saying, “A man is the foreleg of the elephant and the woman the hind leg,” which on translation also means that behind every successful man is a woman.  Yes, we have been hearing this forever now. But what about a successful woman? Who backs up a successful woman?

Not surprisingly, behind every successful woman is also a man…her father, her friend, or her husband. A man who lets her lead, a man who lets her live her dreams, a man who is secured about her position in his life, a man who doesn’t tie her down, a man who understands that she is as alive as he is, that she has her own dreams, priorities and aspirations…and most importantly a man who is so secured and self assured about his own position in her life that he doesn’t feel the need to control or tame her to feel more like a man. He doesn’t need to impose on her to feel the false sense of power. Won’t you agree?

Look at any successful woman around you. No, you don’t have to go too far and look at the intimidating pin-striped-suit wearing women CEOs and MDs. Just look around you; at ordinary woman. Women, who have come a long way from where they started. Yes, those women who work hard to be successful in their own little way, in their own private lives, in their own little careers; be it their business or a job.

Would this have been possible if her father had never let her dream, learn or have thoughts of her own? Would this have been possible if her husband would have discouraged her from working, not believed in her talents and not really thought that she can add value and make a difference?

And just so we are on the topic, let me also add that just allowing your woman to work is not enough. First of all, “I let my wife work,” itself is such a negative sentence.  Who are you to ‘let’ her work? It’s her right anyway.

A man who really wants her wife to work:

  • Lets her decide which career she wants to pursue and not limit her options.
    For eg: I am ok if you work in a bank.  It is a very safe place to work. But working as an art director on a film set??? NO way, that is not possible. That is not safe.

    Meh….now what is that? Please let her decide where she wants to work. Show some trust in her. She is not a child, she can protect herself. You can’t limit her options and lay down few that you think are safe. Please don’t impose on her …let her decide. Because if you are being rigid about where she can work and where she can’t, then again you aren’t being any different from your orthodox forefathers. And if you are being so rigid, then please don’t take that burden of being cool, urban and open-minded husband also. You don’t deserve it.  It’s one thing to worry about her safety and another thing to restrict her mobility in the name of safety.
  • Shares her household responsibilities
    For eg: Dear, why isn’t the dinner ready ?I told you that you can only work if you can manage both home and work without slipping behind on home front, didn’t I?

    Whoa…seems like you are doing her a favour by letting her work. Then I request again please don’t take that pressure of being cool and modern just because you are allowing her to work. Because your behavior, attitude and actions haven’t changed a bit. You are still hung up on your old ways.  Just like you, she has had a hard day at work too. She is human and she can get tired too. Shouldn’t you be helping her in the kitchen instead of just bossing around and barking orders?

  • Understands that her career can also be demanding
    For eg: Have you seen the time? It’s 11 pm. Just because I let you work, doesn’t mean that you come home this late. Our kids and home are a big mess, do you have any idea? 

    No, no, no…I am not exaggerating. I have seen families who behave that way. May be not in the first world countries to that extent, but this sure does happen in many developing countries. Just like you, she has deadlines, she has to deal with work pressure too. She has to face office politics too. Just like you, she can have a longer working day than usual too. If you were truly supporting her career and her progress, you would understand this and probably keep a bowl of hot soup ready when she returns. She would be grateful to know that you love her, support her career, and understand its challenges…you love her and you are concerned about her meals and her health. That is called support.

  • Doesn’t let his family or parents ridicule her career 

    There are still many countries where the extended family also lives together, where the elders (especially men) mock the careers of the ladies, belittle them and ridicule their contribution. In such cases, its up to that good husband who has let his wife work, to also stand up for her in front of his whole family and show trust and confidence in her.

I am not trying to portray men in negative light here. If you thought that even for a second then you totally missed the point, didn’t you? In fact, I am saying that behind every woman who shines bright at her work place, is a wonderful man who loves her, who shares household responsibilities with her, who supports her even if that means going against the whole family, who truly lets her progress rather than just let her have a false sense of satisfaction by only letting her work somewhere he chose. Behind successful woman is that man who keeps his ego at bay, who is not intimidated or bothered even if his wife earns more than him, who is proud of her if she does, who is proud of her even if she doesn’t, who respects her passion and energy, who supports her initiatives in every way possible, who is willing to relocate if she is having a better career between the two rather than ask her to quit.

This blog is for all men in my life …father, brother, friends and now TCG who have supported me no matter what, who have let me have wings, who have stood by me fiercely…even in the face of adversity.

Without support of all you wonderful men, this would never have been possible. I wouldn’t be what I am today. Because you trust me, have faith in me; believe in my abilities, I am able to be more productive at work. And I don’t have to worry about being scolded at or being barked at once I get home. And I am really thankful and grateful for this. (Things I am grateful for: Reason # 4)

 

Cute Act

The other day TCG caught me off guard by a cute little surprise. Just as I was finishing up the last of my dinner, he dropped his spoon mid-dinner, got up abruptly and started towards the kitchen. I thought he probably went in to get water or something.

When he came back, he had a gamcha (small napkin) on his shoulder, a steaming bowl of water in one hand, bottle of concentrated lime juice in another hand and a whimsical expression on his face.

He stood there for a few seconds, expecting a reaction from me and trying to get a firmer grip on the hot bowl to prevent it from slipping.

I raised my eyebrow demanding an explanation and started to get up to clear the dining table. He rushed to keep the bowl and the bottle on the table and hurriedly sat me back down…all the time grinning like a kid who is up to some mischief.

He cleared the area in front of me, and pushed the hot bowl in front of me.

Finger bowl, gamcha and the lime juice

Finger bowl, gamcha and the lime juice

Amused I asked, “WHAT?”

“Ever since you have come here, I get awesome, readymade meals without moving a muscle.”

My eyebrow raised a bit further, “Ahhaaa…So?”

“So I thought that….

“What?”

Blurts out In a single breath “I thought that you probably would like to wash your hands here, right at the table…like we do in restaurants.”

Oh my….I was so amused, I couldn’t help smiling. I think it was very cute, the whole scene, the situation and the expression oh his face…not to forget the raju-style gamcha.

He puts a few drops of lime juice in to the bowl.

“And what is this lime juice for?”

“Yes, and that is because we are out of real lemons. So assume it to be a make-shift lemon slice.”

“And why are you doing all this?”

Rolls eyes at me, “Uffffff…can’t a husband just pamper his wife? Now ma’am if your questions are over, will you please proceed to wash your hands in here.”

I think my smile must have reached my ears. My heart officially melted 😛

I slowly put my hands into the bowl, checking the temperature of water at first.

“It’s not too hot, don’t worry.”

Just as I finish cleaning my hands, he rushes to give me that small gamcha from his shoulder to wipe my hands dry.

“Now smell…Don’t you smell all nice and lemony?”

I do exactly that and flash him a big toothy smile. My hands do smell all nice and lemony. Oh,  I love citrus fragrances!

“But you didn’t really have to get up in between your dinner. Come sit now, finish yours.”

“Oh that’s ok; I wouldn’t have missed that expression on your face for anything.”

Oh my…. And I melted once again.

 

 

 

 

Farmers Market Wellington

Buying at supermarkets is quite an experience, Mumbai or Wellington.  These guys are so clever; they make you buy more than what you really wanted to at that moment or more than what you intended to. Sounds familiar? That’s the trick, the marvelous displays, the clever stocking of merchandise, the discounts, the variety, the neatly laid out aisles, the-easy-to-choose-easy-to-compare placement of wares, is what makes these big retail monsters click.

New Zealand has quite a few such supermarkets offering variety of foreign fruits and vegetables, fresh and resplendent with taste and flavour. Exotic fruits and veggies from around the world, sitting fresh and colourful on various aisles, look so inviting that they make you want to reach out to them. They are quite a sight to behold. A delightful visual treat.

Look here for example. Aren’t they begging to be picked? Oh my, I could barely contain myself.

Bell Peppers at a local Super Market

Bell Peppers at a local Super Market

But that’s not the real deal. The real deal is the weekly Farmer’s market held every Sunday here in Wellington. As a part of our city exploration plan, The Cool Guy and I decided to check out the Farmers Market this Sunday, and I am glad we did. It was quite an experience. And definitely much better than the supermarket experience.

Fresh fruits and veggies, straight from the farm, entice shoppers from across the city. The market starts as early as 5.00 in the morning I am told, and goes on till about 2.00 in the afternoon. The produce comes directly from the growers – which not just means fresher produce but also cheaper costs; as the whole chain of middlemen is eliminated and that benefit is passed on to the end consumers.  I have heard that there is a great emphasis on quality. Also they use organic growing methods and as less fertilizers as possible.

There were about 35-40 odd farmers exhibiting their produce. Buyers (happy families out on a Sunday morning) took their own sweet time to go around, see, compare, touch, smell, discuss and think before making their buying decision. Tomatoes, onions, potatoes, red, yellow, orange, green bell peppers, water melons, oranges, limes, grapes, egg plants, coriander, celery, zucchini, mushrooms, beans, spinach, lemon grass, melons, mangoes, limes, apples, plums, cauliflower, ginger, pineapple….yellows, greens, reds, oranges, browns, pinks shining under the bright sun light while the breeze played cool…was the most vibrant sight ever. Almost all the fruits and veggies, the names of which I knew and then some more, whose names I had never heard of, were seen here.

It was so much fun, it was impossible to stop me from buying more. We stocked ourselves adequately with fruits and veggies for a week at an almost  40% lower cost than usual. The Cool Guy had to gently remind me that we would come back again next Sunday and buy more stuff later.

The sellers were warm and friendly, smiled at and thanked everybody who stopped by. It was such an awesome experience, I am already counting down to next Sunday 😛

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What have I been upto?

So since you last heard from me a lot has happened. Did you miss me?

To say life changed will be an understatement.  After all, when your last name changes, it IS a big deal, isn’t it? Its not for no reason that people say marriage is a BIG milestone.

So apart from the obvious changes like change of residence and change of priorities, there are several small changes that hit you hard. Things that never were a big deal back then, now those very small, insignificant things become more conspicuous by their absence.

Like for example; there is a new pillow to deal with, which not necessarily matches your liking. There is a crushing realization of how much you miss your old pillow, bed and duvet. And that warm engulfing comfort of your worned-out duvet.

Then soon after you adjust with a new variety of toothpaste and  try to come to terms with it, you realize that your morning cup of coffee doesn’t taste quite the same. You instantly miss your old routine and that favourite coffee mug of yours, that lazy browsing of papers over coffee, that feeling of being at home completely because no one is judging you, your mother can shout as much as she wants, asking you to hurry but you will still take your own sweet time. You don’t have to be on your best behaviour with your mom, do you? Am not saying things are drastically different even now, but still there is that sense of responsibility that has crept in. Like I need to be on my best behaviour and shouldn’t give anyone a chance to complain. Everything is new, I am still to get a hang of things here. And though my mom-in-law is a darling, I still have my guards on.

Then my exercise routine has totally gone for a toss. Before I used to decide when I want to exercise, and the rest of the things would wait till I finish. Now rest of the things finish first, and exercise has taken an epic back seat. To make up for the loss, I have abandoned the lift completely. So even if I go down just twice, climbing up 15 floors is at least some exercise.

Then again, the comfort of those old tattered pyjamas and worn-out shorts  is not even close to the comfort of the new silks and satins I sleep in.

Do I sound like I am complaining? I am not, actually. I am just listing small changes that accompany the big change that marriage is.

The food changes

The TV viewing pattern changes

The kind of phone calls changes, and the kind of conversations changes. Like its strange when your parents call you and talk to you like you are some relative, whom they haven’t heard of in long. Heck, I was living with them till 2 weeks ago. So much changed. I am still getting used to the fact that my parents have to call me to check how I am doing.

But, if you are married to a wonderful person like I am, these changes are totally insignificant. These changes would happen even if someone changed his/her city, wont they? At least, that is how I reason with myself. That way I don’t feel overly emotional and my rational brain takes over. But Nikhil, my husband, is a cool guy, with his head firmly on his shoulder and feet firmly on ground.  He has been very understanding and adjusting, to make this transition as easy as possible for me. He is always trying to keep things light, is seen kidding around, cracking jokes and doing everything he can to make things a little easier for me.  So basically, he is a nice guy.  In fact, during my bidaai, he was almost moved to tears. By his own admission *he felt like a thief stealing someone’s daughter away and causing parents inconsolable grief*….haha..when he told me this, I just didn’t know how to react. But it was kind of cute 😛

And about the wedding, ya we did  manage to have a good, memorable and totally enjoyable wedding without any major glitches. There was food, dance, songs, laughter, tears and a lotttsss of fun…just like a classic big fat Indian wedding.

Some of my  precious moments:

That's Nikhil... say hi to him :P

That’s Nikhil… say hi to him 😛

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My Brother and I

Wedding Vows

Wedding Vows

Epic - moment with my grandmom

Epic – moment with my grandmom

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