The closet undoing, Majnu style!

Clothes

It was going to be the Sunday from hell, Minie had just woken up and was dragging her feet to kitchen when she spied her mom on one of her cleaning sprees.

As soon as she saw the ominous blue duster heading her way, she ducked under the kitchen table but not in good time. Arunima saw her and shouted, “Minie, don’t hide from me. No games today and no movies either, freshen up and then get to cleaning your room.” Minie was no kid, she was in junior college and so very smartly, after extracting a promise of pizza dinner and movie marathon in return for the cleaning, Minie went up.

Minie generally kept her room clean so it just took her half hour to straighten out her book shelf and table and then grudgingly she took up the mammoth task of arranging her wardrobe. She put on some music and started taking out all the haphazard and scruffy piles of clothes onto her bed. She then proceeded to create neat piles of often worn clothes, seldom worn and ones to be discarded. As she laid the last pile, an idea formed in her head.  She immediately looked at the clock and called out to her mom, “Ma, can I call Riya to lunch?”

With her mom’s permission she proceeded to call her neighbor and best friend Riya, “Rii!!! Come home quick, tell aunty you’ll have lunch at our place. I have a fun idea, come ultra soon, OK. Bye”

While waiting for Riya, Minie started preparing a playlist of some of the cheesiest 90’s songs and then she proceeded to sort her pile of discards into two piles. Just as she finished, Riya opened the door and looking at the disarrayed room she shouted, “Oh I see, madam princess was too lazy to do her own dirty work so called me over, that too “ultra quickly”. Right this second explain the mess and guarantee that Arunima aunty wont massacre us.”

Laughing at her terrorized friend, Minie pulled her in and began, “Don’t worry about the neat piles, only the small piles on the floor are of use to us. You see Riya darling, I am discarding these clothes for two reasons: the pile A here is too torn and tattered and the pile B here doesn’t fit me anymore, so I need to give it off.”

“Now for pile A, here, put this on,” saying this she handed one tattered tee to Riya and she herself donned one. Then she turned around and hit the play button and on came, “main laila laila chillaunga kurta fadke.” Riya was still looking lost so Minie said, “I always wanted to tear clothes after listening to this song, ” and she proceeded to rip her tee  into two.

As they ploughed through the pile, one last item Minnie couldn’t tear it off, so Riya came to help. As soon as Riya touched her t-shirt, Minie shouted, with hands on both ears, “Bhagwan k liye, muje chod do. Meri izzat hi mera gehna hai.” The tee forgotten, both friends collapsed on the floor laughing.

Finally, just as Arunima called everyone for lunch, Minie and Riya put the torn pieces into the bin and headed down for lunch. As Namit sat down to eat, he whispered to Minie, “Never seen you so happy after one of the mandatory cleaning sessions. What’s the secret?” Minie cleared her throat and declared, “I just invented the perfect, fun way to enjoy cleaning day.”

Sneaking Out

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It was past 2AM, Minie slowly crept out of the bed, quickly stuffed her bag, winked at herself one last time in the mirror and started climbing down the stairs. She had been planning this escape since two days so silently and quickly, she walked past the living room and turned towards the kitchen to jump out of the kitchen window.  She slowly opened the hatch and just as she climbed onto the kitchen counter, her dad quietly said, “Something tells me you are not sleep walking Minie!” She jumped up like a scared kitten and almost fell off the counter.

With no remorse but a goofy smile and mischief in her eyes, Minie turned around and faced her father, “ummm… well dad, I was practicing sneaking out of the house, like they show in the movies!!! I wanted to see if I can manage without waking you guys up. But clearly, I failed.”

Namit replied, “You want me to believe that you are not running away but just practicing. Come on Minie! I’m your dad, give me some credit for wisdom that comes from age, if not for brains.”

“Seriously dad, you can check my bag,” she opened and showed her bag pack, it was stuffed with crumpled newspaper.  Namit just couldn’t help but laugh at that. He pulled out an ice-cream tub from the fridge and father and daughter sat at the counter having ice-cream at 2AM.

“Please don’t tell this to Mom, she will freak out.”

Namit said, “you know that’s not the rule, we never hide anything from each other. In fact, if you were doing this experiment, you should have given us a heads up – ‘Hey mom-dad, I am going to do a movie-style experiment one of these days so please don’t freak out. Once it’s over I will give you the details.’

Minie nodded her head at her father’s logic and said, “Next time, definitely. By the way Paa, how did you wake up, I was extremely quiet, didn’t switch on a single light and nor did I jingle any of wind-chimes on my way down.”

Now it was Namit’s turn to look sheepish and goofy, “Well! I, umm, I modified your old baby monitor and made it into a security device which alerts me of smallest of movements in your room. I only activate it at night and it was meant only to alert us of any intruder in your room.” Minie’s mouth was wide open.

Namit closed it and continued, “So tonight it beeped for the first time and it took me sometime to realize that it’s the security device beeping. By the time I got out of my room, I saw your silhouette inching down the stairs. So I just followed you and waited for the right moment to surprise you!”

Minie couldn’t help but laugh and admire her father’s ingenuity. With the ice-cream polished away, they both went up to their rooms with the promise that they’ll tell the full-story (with all the theatrics) to Mom tomorrow.

Burning the candle called “Nostalgia”

US

My first memory as a living being is a very very faint one, in fact, it’s more like a feeling than a memory – I think I vaguely remember holding my younger sister for the first time. I was a little over 1.5 years old and I have this feeling that when I held her for the first time, I was immensely happy and even more curious, waiting for the sleeping bundle to open her eyes.

For each phase of my growing up, in my mind, I have created these huge memory chests and whenever I’m homesick or low, I open these chests one by one and ensconce myself in this blanket of memories that I’ve woven with love and fun.

One of the biggest and my most favorite chest is the early childhood one. Growing up with a sister who is in the same age group as me was always full of fun games and petty fights. We two were always in a world of our own, always fighting but still inseparable. In school also, though we were one class apart, we did everything together, all my friends were her friends and her friends were mine. All our teachers also knew that we were sisters. In short, we two were a package deal.

I don’t think there’s a single corner in our house where we wouldn’t have played. We’d dance around in the puja room or there was telephone there so the fake telephone call game. Then at times, we’d jump around in the kitchen or squish in the tiny window seat there and just talk nonsense or go to the attic and make up some games. Most evenings we’d just run around on the terrace chasing each other or playing thikri-dav or riding our tricycle (riding was more like me bullying my sister – I was taller than her, so if she wanted to ride, I’d just lift up the tricycle and never let her ride).

Just like all kids, despite our numerous toys and games, we’d want to play with the stuff growns up use. So our mom use to deliberately leave her talcum powder on the dressing table (everything else was under lock and key). We’d use her old duppattas and put powder and play fashion-show, fashion-show. Or we’d create our own houses from those duppattas and play neighbor-neighbor.

On rainy days we’d simply sit at the window making up hero-heroine chase stories with raindrops or sing the rainy day song “aav re varsad” at the top of our voices till mumma came in and shushed us J

There is a lot more in this treasure trove of memories and every time that I’ve taken this trip down memory lane, I’ve come back to present day desperately missing those simpler times.

That being said, nostalgia is like a candle that we should burn only when there’s darkness. If we keep re-living those days in the hope of capturing them again then we are just setting ourselves up for a huge disappointment. It’s a candle’s fate to burn out some day and when that day comes, you will find yourself lost in darkness where you won’t have enough family or friends to help pull you out because while you were busy living in yesterday, everyone present today was busy going ahead.

And that’s why, while I still try to capture the past when I meet my sister, I have learnt to have fun on my own too. When I’m by myself in the house, I dance like crazy on some random songs (sometimes even without any music). Or when I’m at the gym, I think of silly silly things that I can do with my sister or my husband (most of the women in my gym think I’m crazy because most of the time I’m starring in the mirror and smiling at myself). Most weekends, my husband and I, we play silly games and laugh like children over small small things. Sometimes, I call over all the kids in my neighborhood and we play cards or color/color or all sorts of kiddie games.

Among the many vows I’ve taken in life and all new-year resolutions I’ve taken so far, I can proudly say that I’ve stuck to one of them – playing all kinds of games and laughing over silly things. I’d like to play more often but being a grown up (by my birth date I am one but one can debate its accuracy till kingdom come:)), I can’t just act like a kid all the time.

Riding the happy wave

Riding the happy waVE

I’ve read very often and been told as well that when you get married, you change over time. The initial newness and excitement carries you over the first few years in one happy wave but things change, people around you change and of course you also change. This change happens even faster in a love marriage because the process of discovering your partner, who he is and what he likes is already halfway done since you knew each other before marriage. I’ve known my husband for 9 years now – first friends, then in a relationship and then married. And of course, we have changed a little over time, with responsibilities and other pressures but one thing that hasn’t changed is the happy wave we’re in. Don’t get me wrong, like any normal graph, there are crests and troughs in ours too but the trend line is going upwards only. The reason, which I discovered unintentionally and innocuously, for this is very simple.

We had gone to see fast and furious 7. The theater wasn’t full but the rows around us were. As usual, I got all emotional and weepy when the last scene came and the movie was paying homage to Paul Walker. It was the scene at the beach when everyone’s serious and Vin Diesel is saying: “We don’t say good bye to family”. I am about to drop a few big fat tears when my husband quietly whispers in my ear, “We don’t say goodbye to family, we say AAVJO.”  I just burst out laughing and the whole crowd around me is irritated and appalled at this (apparently!) grown woman giggling like a child in the middle of a dead-serious moment. We both were still laughing about this as we walked out of the theater and the mall.

I’ll never forget that moment not just because of the epic dialogue from my husband but mainly because it made me realize that no matter what we go through or what we become in future, one thing will remain a constant, seeing me sad (whether its because of a movie or our fight or whatever) he will leave everything else and try and make me smile. And seeing him sad, I will do anything to bring a smile to his face (agreed, I don’t have a sense of humor like his, but will try, even if its just a cliched thing like showing him a funny video).

Our happy wave continues because, instead of remembering our differences everyday, we try to bring a smile to each other’s face. I hope this continues in future as well, no matter how we change or what we go through.

Fidelity and Fairness

fidel

I was reading the secret wish list by Preeti Shenoy and it got me thinking about this heavy topic: can I really put fidelity and fairness in the same weighing scale and judge if I’ve been dealt a fair hand? Can I justify the unfair treatment meted to me by being infidel?

First a bit about the book: It is about a stay-at-home mother and wife (Dikhsha), smothered by wishes of her family and husband. She’s never been given a chance to understand her desires and wants and build a life for herself. And the day she gets a chance (or rather she wrestles it out of her humdrum life and her meek inner self), a dam kind of breaks out and her entire life metamorphoses in a matter of few weeks. She goes out on her own, takes a dance class, makes new friends and re-connects with an old friend and her ex-boyfriend from school.

Reading the atrocities she faced not just from her husband but her own parents, does make one sympathetic to her and one of part of me wants to vindicate her for the infidelity she committed. But there is a part of me that just cannot excuse going out of a marriage and having a full blown affair. No matter how unfair the situation. Granted, I have never been oppressed in my entire life, not by my parents or my husband or anyone. Despite my multiple, and sometimes repeated, mistakes, my family has always given me the right to choose and live as I want. However, I strongly believe that we live in a world where no relationships are exclusive, I cannot avenge myself of the wrongs my husband has committed, by going out with another guy because in doing so I am not just punishing him but his family and my children – i.e. the people who’ve welcomed me into their lives and loved me unconditionally and they do not deserve such a treatment. What is morally wrong is wrong. I feel I should end an abusive and unsatisfying relationship before I make a new beginning, that is the only fair thing to do with all the parties involved.

For me the definition of world is “the entangled web of relationships in my life that allows me to be happy, sad, and everything that I am and the relationships that have made me who I am today.” Now I take the same philosophy to the protagonist of the story, Diksha. She made a mistake of kissing a boy at the age of 16, which changed her entire life and relationships. She was oppressed from that moment onward and at the age of 35 when she realized how her life sucks, she just starts acting without thinking. In a way I can understand, if oppressed for 18 years, when your inner self unleashes herself, she changes every aspect of your life. However, I feel that the unfairness of her relationships with her husband and parents should not translate into infidelity, which will belatedly, but definitely and adversely, impact her child and sweet mother-in-law. I am sure she can explain to everyone her reasons for acting the way she did and over time they might understand her and forgive her but the hurt stays on.

Yes, she has a right to live her own life and make her own choices. Yes, I know, she’s been a doormat all her life and does not have the courage to stand up to her husband but that still does not give her the right to just go to her ex-bf’s hotel and resume the 18-year old relationship that they left midway. She needs to sit down, sort things in her head, take responsible actions rather than seek solace first and act later.

What kind of math is it: A, B and C have been unfair to me my whole life so the suppressed me takes it all out by being unfair to the innocent and unwitting participants in my life, D, E and F.

I have yet 40 more pages before I finish the book but the whole situation just made me pick up my laptop and write this out. If I review this piece a week later, I might find it too harsh and take it down but right now, I’m just thinking about how to deal with unfairness. How to deal with suppressed emotions, desires and wants? Doing what my heart wants and keeping me happy should be my ultimate aim (because if I’m happy then only I’ll able to keep the people in my life happy) but it should not come at the cost of other’s happiness in my life. I know I cannot keep everyone happy with whatever decisions I make, but that logic does not give me the right to act amorally and then exonerate myself thinking, “I’ve been dealt an unfair hand in life, and I am just righting the wrongs done to me.”

People who’ve read the book. Any thoughts?

Cheers to greener pastures!!!

green grass

There is something to be said about living with a careless abandon. During one of our everything-under-the-sky chats, my colleague mentioned living like a nomad and that one comment brought an onslaught of memories from my days of living like a nomad.

My so-called nomadic exploits began with my shift to Mumbai for my graduation. Ofcourse I wasn’t a nomad in the correct sense of the word but more like a carefree girl with little responsibilities and no home cooked food. 🙂

Greater part of my graduation days were spent in living in dump in a government hostel and it was more Dharavi-style than nomadic. However, rat infestations and cat dumps aside, Mumbai was my first venture out of my safety cocoon at home. The first year was filled with my baby-steps into this “careless abandon”. The responsible nerd in me was slowly being replaced by a girly, gossipy, college girl who was loving the hustle and bustle of a big city. Over the 3 years, as I shifted homes, hostels, and friends, I realized I am not the trinket collecting types. I collected memories, both good and bad. I collected lots of life lessons by stumbling head-first into troubles and also by leading people out of some.

The second-phase of my nomadic lifestyle came when I joined work after my MBA. I was once again back in Mumbai and this time, (supposedly) more wise. Now I had my own money to splurge and splurge I did, big time – dinner parties, movies, concerts, plays, shopping sprees and some memorable trips with friends.

My time in Mumbai meant never having to worry about cooking or cleaning the house or not having to worry about anyone/anything. Given that I met my husband during my MBA and that we were slated to tie the knot soon, my careless abandon phase came to an end and I moved on to greener pastures :).

My time in Mumbai probably seemed very appealing and I appreciated that phase of my life because that time had an expiration date. If it would have been my state of affairs till eternity then I would have probably spent my life pining for the married-status. You see, grass is always greener on the other side.

Having crossed over to the greener side, I sometimes look over at the other side and wonder was that greener or is this greener? I couldn’t answer that question with a 100% certainty until today. I think it is not the grass that changes color, it is me who is coloring the grass greener with my exploits and intentions.  And no matter which side I am on, if I choose, I can surely color it greener right where I am standing.

Thanks VK for helping me realize this :).

Styled for a second-look!!!

This post is my expression of style for the ‘A Style Of My Own’ blogger contest by Women’s Web and Trishla emart


Style

A chunky bangle/bracelet with a plain, old ratty t-shirt and jeans!

Green hip-hop shoes with khaki shorts!

A red-lipped smile with a mellow-colored dress!

This is my style!

I don’t dress to impress nor do I dress to stand-out. I dress to garner a second-look from people around me. Because I believe, just like first impressions, first look isn’t  enough to start a conversation/relationship out of thin air. I believe, a second look creates more interest and a kind of curiosity in the other person to know you better.

I was never a fashion-oriented person,  being too busy working 12-14 hours a day, I’d just throw  on something formal and rush out the door.  But over the last year, as I moved cities, gave-up full-time work and the bureaucratic mad-dash to a finish line (that’s nowhere in sight) I found the time to find myself and discover my likes/dislikes. I am still exploring this side of me and my self-expression through my clothes. But, on this exploration journey I don’t want to overhaul my wardrobe every few months and bankrupt my husband. And so I try some of these short-cuts to feel new and save some bucks:

  • While scouring a sale I found this very cute but very short skirt which was dirt cheap.  I knew I would never wear something so short so I turned it into a tube top. Now I team it up with a shrug/jacket/shawl depending on the place/occasion.
  • Whenever I get tired of my old bracelets and bangles, I wrap around a chain on my wrist, gives me a sense of novelty and I like small pendants dangling from my wrist, gives me the feeling of wearing a charm bracelet 🙂
  • On the other hand, whenever I am tired of an old bangle (bracelets wont work,  but bangles will be great) but don’t wanna let it go, I string it in a thick thread or chain and wear it around my neck. All you need is a colorful  thread and bangle and it brightens up a plain dress or t-shirt.
  • Am not a big fan of sweaters but am always freezing in malls and theaters. So my style-fix for such situations is wrapping a scarf on one of my wrists. This keeps me warm when I’m strolling and in the theater I untie the scarf and cover up my shoulders.

If you have any such style short-cuts please do share with me. I’m sure my husband will be very glad to see me try such short-cuts as he will be saved a trip to the mall every time I wanna feel new and renewed  🙂