I write this today, not knowing the place you shall grow up in. I am not as confused as before and indeed have a reason to stay here, but then life has taught me to “never say never”. Saying that, I am sure that no matter where you are, reading this letter would make sense for the society around would then too fit in just aptly.
There’s another thing I am sure of, that where we live there shall be a sea nearby and it would definitely be a frequented spot. The sea personifies me, and thus it is but natural that I give you an early introduction. Armed with little buckets and scoops we shall build castles, watch them being washed away and then build them again. The salty air will sting the eyes, the sea gulls might scare you even, the shells will be our first treasures and we shall there learn ‘not giving up’. I shall also introduce to you then a concept that seems very simple but trust me will play a big role in your life. I shall introduce you to “buckets” and how, all through your life people will try to fit you into one bucket or the other.
I hope you inherit my gift of gab, but I certainly do not hope you inherit my reclusive nature. For then it would be very difficult for people to bucket you, you see. For the world I am an extrovert, because talking comes naturally to me. Also, because they do not know that Ambiverts like me exist. For them the buckets are labeled as only Extroverts and Introverts.
Similarly, you can either a feminist or not be one – the balanced approach where you refuse to give into male bashing or “I don’t need a man in my life” theory – just cannot be true. I cannot be traditional, the one who knows how to dish up a traditional recipe or drape a saree and yet know her salsa and gulp down evil mojitos in a jiffy. Remember what I told you about “tradition” earlier? I cannot have raag Malhaar on my Ipod and then go and zumba to Gangnam style. I simply cannot have a mush side when I am all sarcastic when I deal with my loved ones. I cannot have sambar as my comfort food when I swear by Bengali food as a daily affair. Remember what I told you about “comfort” once?
I simply cannot believe in dating and yet not have faith in marriages – for here both the concepts are confusingly intertwined. I cannot be seen dreaming of being a stay at home mom when I am supremely ambitious and competitive.
The ‘cannot(s)’ however my dearest come from those around me, who themselves are unable to live a balanced life and thus they create buckets. Sadly today all types are bucketed, the middle path that Buddha taught us, is only good for discussion at a posh meet-up.
Your teenage will worry you when you don’t fit into buckets. I wouldn’t save you then, for I want you to learn through your own finger burns about how shallow this entire thing is. You will be lost in your 20s and turn to ask if there’s anything wrong with you (like people say – as you do not fit into any buckets as defined by the society). I shall then open a Wiki page that reads “harmful side effects of smoking”, fix up an appointment with a gynae to counsel you about smoking and then ask you if you want to share a smoke with me and know how “weird” people tagged me? (Or probably still do, as you read this letter)
You shall survive, for you are my daughter and do just fine. However, in the process I want you to create two little buckets of your own. One filled with those names that have always striven to ‘bucket’ you and the ones that don’t. The latter will be much lighter than the one Jill went up the hill with, but trust me the latter will help you lead the most wonderful life.
They will be those who should be on your speed dial, with whom there’s no gender divide, you shall tuck you in when you are drunk, be the Whatsapp group that helps you go through a bad day and who shall welcome your dumb moments with the same grace as your achievements. They shall be the one for whom you are just ok for whatever you are!
However, remember my little one that there’s more to them than that. Whenever this bucket tells you something which hurts you or is not very sweet, do not react thinking they have changed sides! Take a step back and think, for their point outs will always be true (well most of the time!) and will help you be a better and humble person.
They shall be your shield and your mirror – appreciate them for that!
I have been lucky to have found my bucket be filled with such a few names and thus, when people who have always termed me as ‘weird’ wonder why they don’t bother me and how I am so at peace with myself I thank those names and send a prayer.
Tell them you love them, hold them close, appreciate them and always be there for them, for this is a bucket that shall never let you tumble and fall. As for the rest, note them down in your little black diary, for someday they shall help you decide the kind of person you should not be!
Now, let’s build some castles shall we?
Buckets full of love and cuddles,
I am actually writing this post in haste. No, wait! I am actually writing this post in rage, in frustration and in complete anticipation of the back lash that “Who am I to comment on parents, when I haven’t raised a kid?”
So roll your eyes and bring out the tomatoes, but just make sure that they are in bucketful, for I just attended a La Tomatina this fall and thus the squish will not bother me much.
Kids – ok how do you define them? Well here is how I go …
Curled up toes, eyes closed tight shut,
When looking innocent is the symbol of the cult,
Fairies and pixies, flowers that talk and the house with a candy door,
Who said there is a limit to which your imagination can soar?
Letters to Santa, wishing on eye lashes,
The love for dirt and the fun in the splashes.
The urge to grow up but the belief in forever having your way,
When a good story over meal could make your day!
Yet all I see around today are reality shows where you need to thrust a hip and rock your bosom – even when at 5 you have little idea of what it symbolizes, crack jokes that make me squirm but the parents who face the cameras are in splits, the sequined tube dresses replacing the comfort shorts! And now little dolls that can give a 2 year old the Breast Feeding experience.
I wonder if I am old fashioned when I pick out story books filled with fairies for the kids I still read to, I wonder if I am teaching them all wrong when I urge them to get dirty instead of rebuking them for spoiling their mascara and eyeliner (all on a girl aged all of 3 years!) - I wonder if I am conditioned the wrong way?
I may not be a parent ever – but then should I not worry? I may be a parent without an umbilical cord connection – but then isn’t that all the same thing? I may be juvenile when I shudder at the thought of a 2 year old knowing what suckling is instead of stork delivering bundles and Santa gifting little puppies – but then am I wrong to worry?
I still remember the day when I discovered about Tamanna’s fascination over make up – all I wanted then was to hold her close and still want her to smell of baby powder. I wanted her to realize why I said it was all too soon when I took away her box of rouge. I wanted her to understand the joys of the times when it is ok to wear skirts with hairy legs and not be bothered about facial hair (all feminists at bay please – I would like my daughter to groom for herself, so you need not take out your knives at me accusing that I am one of those because of whom girls think that it is important to shave to fit in!) I just wanted her to know that blissful times do not last for long and thus she should wear the dirty tee, have a few bad cuts and learn to smile with a broken tooth – till the time it all doesn’t matter.
There’s so much time left to play the grown up games, the little feet attempts from a young age – but then that is a game right? Putting on Mamma’s lipstick, trying to walk in her heels – that doesn’t mean we get them baby heels or teach them how to line the lips for a perfect pout at 6 right? We can teach them all about “good touch and bad” without telling them about what “groping” and “lewd jokes/remarks” are all about right?
I want to know the difference between cuteness and ‘acting beyond age’ – I want to know if I am the only hyper one who finds it disturbing when little kids act like Moms and it shows their urgency to grow up and ripen before age. Also, how instead of picking them on our laps and telling them it doesn’t suit babies, we go on to make ads reinforcing the belief that when kids act grown up they look cute?
I wonder if this really doesn’t raise a single eyebrow apart from mine? -
A child who doesn’t live his/her childhood to the fullest, is he/she to be blamed for not knowing the joys of being a kid? Should we then put him/her under scrutiny in later years for not urging their next generation to live carelessly (when they themselves do not know what it means?) Is the era of information overload so powerful that it is eating up the belief of “birds and bees” and “tooth fairies”? Why is it that today a dance class is to get an entry into a reality show, a cricket camp only to discover the “Sachin for tomorrow”, a play date considered to be a waste of time, imaginary cooking only to cultivate habits of being a good daughter (in-law) and yes friends only allowed till they help in your studies. Why not just let them be? Am I missing out the point here of raising kids?
If that is the case, am glad that fate has left a big red looming question mark on my forehead when it comes to bearing children, for then I wouldn’t have to ponder much on this saying I read somewhere and I consider it so apt for our times:
“In our urge to leave behind a better planet for our kids,
We are forgetting to leave behind better kids for this planet”
Yes, I know I had this conversation with you last night in my head, like the numerous other ones, but I have this urge to pen this down. I don’t know how much of an example of a traditional mom I will turn out to be, but I just want you to know that we pull along just fine without having to have an exact fit into defined roles. All I want to tell you today, is that there are choices to be made in life and there are traditions to follow – they both should be as per your comfort and should always be something you pick for yourself and not to gain acceptance by the world around you!
Remember the time I explained to your about “comfort”? Well today let us take on “tradition”
“Tradition” they define as a custom or ritual handed down from one generation to the other, what started in the past and continues till the present. “Tradition” as I have learnt, is knowing all that the society is made up of, and then choosing what you want to follow depending on the beliefs that make you up. I have never been the traditional daughter the society would have loved to cite as an example, yet I am just as human as the one who fits the shoe. Bummy, I have come to realize that it is much better to not wear the heels that cause you blisters, than to wear and feel that this shoe wasn’t cobbled for you, yet try to keep up the gait, because the world might think low of you. Strangely Bummy, the times we live in (and shall continue too) we try to bucket people into two categories who are either traditional or not. For the rest like me, sweety there’s a struggle – not for us, but for the world to categorize us and their inability to arrive to a conclusion.
So while wearing a skirt and jacket walking into the meeting room is seeing as “progressive women power”, then sharing a smoke with the colleagues is taken as “modernity” the just opposite happen when you walk in wearing a saree. You are of course expected to be NOT at ease, I mean come one, you are either a western-culture-influenced short skirt wearing girl, who wears saree only during special occasions or you are the saree clad one, who never prefer to show off her legs! Balance and tradition do not go hand in hand – or so we have been made to believe in recent times.
Tradition differs from class to class, yet another tough aspect of life that you have to gulp. A woman construction worker smoking a beedi or walking into the country liquor store for a nip bottle will not draw as much attention as you would, saree clad with your Davidoff in hand. Strangely, if there are gender defined shoes which the society tags for the argument pertaining to “tradition” it should be equal across all classes right? How I wish, that Utopia was true darling! Here, it is almost as if we have taken for granted that those with little “means” are corrupted for tradition and the “good girls” are only from families that have permanent house walls!
Tradition they say demands a lot, I have been however raised to believe that tradition has a lot to offer. All it demands in return, is your appreciating the customs that makes it up and then choosing the ones that you feel are attuned to your mindset (for the rest that don’t suit you, it demands a little respect. What might be your choice, may not be others but that doesn’t mean we do not respect them! Right?)
Clothes don’t define what your roots are, your actions do. Your piousness in society standards don’t define your traditional morals, your respect to the world around you does. In order to uphold traditions you need not wear a saree, be a teetotaler or remain a virgin till you marry – for you must always remember that the first man/ woman to set these standards also had a choice – the choice to adhere to these or not. If they made their own choice, why can’t you? I adorn a saree, because nobody ever forced me to wear it, I was given the option of loving it or not. Your Apa*, never encouraged traditional clothing for children, for the simple reason that his little girls couldn’t run in flowy dresses. Thus, it is true that your mother never owned a single piece of salwaar kameez, till she entered college and wanted to wear one. I was never asked to pray, for faith has always been a personal affair in the family. ‘S Mashi**’ comes from a different faith and yet she is the daughter of the house. ‘A mesho***’ comes from a different faith and nationality, yet we all gather and wish them on Durga Pujo, for that is the tradition which the old lady set for the house. Tradition baby, is like your taste of “salt” nobody can ever define that for you. However, you need to try different cuisines to know your taste. Thus, tomorrow when I introduce you to art, music and culture lessons, do not think it is for the heck of making you a traditional girl, but mainly I want you to discover what you really want, and what will pay your bills and what will be your passion!
I don’t know how to answer your question (in case you ever ask me to) if I am traditional or not? How can I answer when I don’t know it myself. I learnt the rituals of Durga Puja not because I am traditional, but mainly because I found them fascinating – the stories, the smell, the chaos and yes the fun in doing things together. I learnt cooking not because I was told I need to learn it to feed my man, as the tradition goes. Instead, I was told that everyone should learn to cook to be independent – Ama**** hates it if she hears that one chooses to survive on “Maggi” because who wants to cook a lavish mean for one self? I learnt to drape a saree, not because it is the most traditional piece of clothing around me, mainly because I love the elegance it provides me and the self-confidence it oozes out! I do not smoke in front of my parents, not because of traditional demands (heck, then I would not have even told them!), but mainly out of the respect for somewhere I know they don’t like it.
There’s a difference in me not allowing you to do things till a certain age and then after an age despite my not agreeing to your view-point, letting you make choices. I want to guard you till you are old enough to know that there are choices to be made. The world is a tapestry filled with traditions, I want you to pick and choose them. I don’t want you to abstain from anything for the argument of tradition, for trust me what is tradition in this part of the land, is not in the other part of the world. So traditions too come with their anti-thesis. It is up to you to decide which is the shoe that goes with your personality. Google, will be there to throw up answers, to provide you with all the information, however remember Google cannot make you a person. There are no buckets in which you need to be categorized when it comes to “traditions”, I don’t want to leave behind any legacies mandating you to follow. Yet, I want you to know my history, know the family you come from and then decide for yourself.
In the end, I am sure once you adorn a saree and give a sweet smile there will be an aunty who says “Ki misti ghoroaa meye”***** – for the world loves to categorize you, it is a fascination they live by and it often feels good to oblige them, till of course you know at heart where you belong!
Loads of Love and Strength,
*Apa - what kids in the family call my father
**Mashi - Bengali addressal for mother’s sister
***Mesho - Bengali addressal for maternal aunt’s husband
****Ama - what kids in the family call my mother
***** - To Translate it means “What a sweet and lovely traditional girl”
Gender studies is something which I hold very close to my soul – over the last eight years it has somewhere intrinsically made itself a part of my identity of who I stand for.
When I look back I see a confused girl walking on the grounds of the law school, wondering if she could ever know what she really wants to do in her life or would she ever get the “heart calling” which she had only read about in books.
Two years later, as I stood at the UNESCO forum, being the youngest ever delegate in its 60 years history, speaking about globalization and its effect on Indian women, I surprised myself by making sense and inviting praises. Since then, there has been no looking back and some where I am glad that my life did find its calling. My book stands witness to the fact about how passionately I feel about the cause. To me it is not taking to the streets, but I have chose to bridge the gap of inequality “one book/ article at a time” .
When Bell Bajao (an international initiative by Breakthrough under the Ministry of Women and Child Rights, India) approached me to pen down a piece that would spread awareness about VAW, I wanted to do complete justice to it.
I brainstormed over all topics already written by me and wondered if there was anything that I wanted to re visit? I recollected all the stories which I have collected during my various field trips to find a topic. Yes, I did and at that moment I could run and hug Muriel Rukeyser (poet and social activist) who had once told that – “The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms”
I have heard screams behind doors and being told to ignore. I have seen parents fight in front of kids and none minded the language or the decibels. I have seen men being termed “better” than the other because a loose tongue cannot be compared to the hand that is raised to hurt! It is ok for him to scream, he is the man and he has a temper – haven’t we all heard that. However, my personal experiences have shown me how bad the effects of “verbal abuse” can be. Yes, it is a form of violence and abuse and it is time we face it.
So, this October 2012, in the spirit of spreading awareness about Violence Against women, I have taken a stand against “verbal abuse” and demanded that it be treated as one of the most degrading form of violence that effects the body, soul and the very existence to the very core and leaves us empty and battered.
Here is my interview with Bell Bajao about my views on VAW - http://www.bellbajao.org/interview-violence-against-women-awareness-month-sagarika-chakraborty/
Here is my article on “verbal abuse” ( I would love to know your thoughts on it” - http://www.bellbajao.org/feature-words-should-be-empowering-but-sadly-often-sum-up-to-stand-for-verbal-abuse/
Do read and let me know if you agree to stand up and join hands with me?
*Mush alert, the hooting girl gang kindly excuse*
It’s been ages since I wrote here. I mean the actual “write-write” posts and not review updates. All of a sudden today I had the craving for my space. Well, the craving has been there for the past few days but I just did not know how to pen things down. I did not want to rant, for I am bored of my own rants (yes yes no matter how ROFL you go over them, they are all my poor brain has to endure these days!) and yes the fact that BFF’s thunder cannot be stolen till her highness updates her blog. So I was left with nothing, well nothing but to count my blessings for once … and thus this ….
I decide to introduce the “Mistah”! Yup, Y as you all know him is being re-christened and re-introduced. Nah, this is not a re-entry of the look alike as in the Bollywood flicks for he never disappeared and secondly thank you, but no thank you I think one of his genre is enough! (ohhhh that’s a compliment in case you are reading this my man! ;P ). Why now? Why this? Mainly because I get random pings these days by people who are discovering my blog *gloats and floats that her bog is not lost after all* that who is Y and why this particular consonant to refer him on the blog?
Well Y is perhaps the most constant variable in my life. I never really liked X for the mystery factor it brings in and then when I met Y, nothing but the said consonant suited him. Also, as I tell people I always felt that he holds the answers to all my question’s in life. Those days of childhood when your dad is your hero, suddenly seemed to have competition when I asked him the toughest question I faced and he answered it without looking up from the laptop which sometimes I doubt is the biggest threat to my existence! (No asking me what was the question please! )
However, all said and done after the random pings I decided I had to change the name – mainly coz the consonant has come to become the only constant factor that keeps me counting my blessings in life. There are days when I give up on myself and find him waiting for me to come around. There are other days when I am mad at him for not goofing around or playing along and instead being the workaholic self, but then a few days where I am in my worst self make me realize that the “Mistah” is actually the best answer to life’s problems.
I love the way he stands by everything I do, and though he might not agree with all my passions in life guess I respect him for the respect he shows for my wishes. The way he lets me pursue my heart, fall and learn for he knows am too stubborn for own self awes me. That’s why perhaps that day when someone asked me why do you love him so much I couldn’t help but tell her that -
“because he takes me in an his princess, trains me as a warrior and then sets me free to fight my own battles in life. All the while standing by being my knight in shining armor but never hurting my ego or my respect.”
He survives the worst of me at his best thus needless to say he makes the best of me look like a cake walk – guess that’s the beauty of inter-twined fingers and squeezing of hands. It’s just been 3 strides in this journey of life and walking towards that horizon, but the best is that my Mistah, you make the sunset storms too look pretty after they have passed, like gasping over a perfectly captured photograph that doesn’t highlight blemishes of fury, but the strength of nature … I owe a lot to you, to those talks in my head when my own voice is drowned in self doubt, for ignoring those stupid mails which I am too ashamed to even look at the sent items folder (ohhh I’ll even write him a mail, if he’s sleeping next to me and I am upset over something – yea weird but me!), or those silent strength vibes you pass when I am too low to even say what’s wrong. And yes for the highs there are the M&M fights, the goofy long drives, the nonsensical arguments over youtube songs and yes the way you turn the tables around after each goof! (You do. you do, you do! :P)
Thus, this is for you Mistah – for you with whom I am sure I’ll discover all answers that life has in store for me and in my favor, for you have this uncanny knack of turning things around for me whenever I pout with a “Why me?”
And just so that you come back and ask me what the lyrics of the song mean, I post this. Have I ever told you I choose all my dedications to you in Hindi because I love interpreting them to you over a common language adding a bit of how I feel for you – yes I cheat, but bleh, what’s life without a bit of those add ons
I have nothing to say as I walk away,
Re-birth they say,
I am not leaving, just walking away a bit only to return to live a life, the seeds of which you’ve sown in my eyes! Don’t cry, for there’s a part of me, that’s you and I carry that along in the glint of my smile.
“We miss when we remember, we remember when we forget, habits just live on through breath – you are the habit called LIFE, Mumbai!!!”
Back again soon. Till then, Bhalo Theko* majha** Mumbai
* – Stay Well (Bengali)
** – My (Marathi)
Just when I thought the ‘story’ was over, the book tumbled out of my hands. An old pressed flower intact – as if the life I sought to deny was still there in it’s wilted form. I picked it up and stared hard, the printed letters hazed in the background. Where was this picked from? What was it’s color (lavender of course!) ? And why today after so long, when I was just about to wrap the story and push in somewhere against the dark corners of the mind (the heart is long closed)?
Why are you confusing me again today by reminding me of the fragrance that no longer lingers in the air? Why are you luring me to preserve you a bit more, when I know that all that shall remain are bits and pieces of a lovely being that once was? Life cannot be infused in again right? No matter, how much I try to smell, all that fills up the nostrils is dry whiffs of dust!
I don’t want to erase you off, I don’t want to crumple you away – I want wilted memories to stay – securely tucked away within the pages of our unfinished story. I wish I could pick up again the last page sometime, where the pressed flower lay, but somewhere I guess the fear is that a wind might even break the reminiscent of what remains.
Some relationships are best defined in novels – guess I should leave ours too there. It’s better to have a memory with a hope, than to live a life of despair!
Stay good, tucked away within the pages of “Love Stories from Mahabharata”!
The irony is Tamanna and I, never met on Tuesdays! Tuesdays and Thursdays used to be the most difficult days of the week for they were her counselling days. Tantrums, cajoling, temper shoots, love musings a mix of all was needed to see through these two days with A (her BMC counsellor) and today as I spend the last Tuesday here, I am suddenly gripped with a strange nostalgia, of whether I fared well in this test of mentorship, for remember I wasn’t a mother?
T’s mythophobia scared me beyond my wits. It wasn’t those sudden unearthing of events that make me gape in wonder that unnerved me, it was the extent of damage they were causing to her psyche that was the major concern. While we struggled through our lives and the emotional baggage we both carried the most important thing that I sought to make her understand that there was a fine line of distinction between lies and imagination. And that while the latter was healthy the former was a strict NO!
To explain her the difference I introduced her to Calvin and Hobbes and tried to unearth before her the power of imagination and that how Calvin never really ‘lied’. I tried to tell her that lies meant her trying to show her own self as someone she’s not. I succeeded at times when she told me the truth about cheating in a ‘maths’ test one day to score the highest and then I failed when her teacher asked me if she really had a cousin in US who was seeking to sending a her Wii for her birthday?
When she once cooked up stories about her trip-in-dreams to Iggatpuri I asked her if she really did this to fit in to a group or whether she was really uncomfortable in being in the skin she was in? In her innocent defensive mechanism she said that she found it ‘fun’ to cook stories. And so as I indulged in pretend play of ‘Teacher Student’ with her somewhere I realised that her very back ground troubled her. She liked to remain in a dream world where everything was exactly opposite. Where people spoke differently, wore different kinds of clothes and had a different lifestyle. She wanted the world to see her as someone she was not. Only because she had this image in her head that that life was ‘fun’.
While this was her ‘imaginative’ mind, the problem lay in her incessant lying to her classmates about her social conditions, about her background and the type of lifestyle she indulged into. She once lied to her teacher that her Marathi marks were poor because everyone only spoke in English at home!
One year and T taught me patience, taught me how difficult it is to maintain a strict face when your child cries but you know you have to be strong to teach her right and wrong. And that though later you’ll crave to pick her in your arms and cajole her saying it’s ok, you will not, instead you’ll just wonder and wonder that how it is not ok!
I couldn’t cure her fully that I would ramble about it here, but suddenly I felt to note down these thoughts? Why today? Maybe because all of a sudden as I stand to leave T and go I am gripped with this sense of self analysis on whether I have been too strict at times? Whether I have lost out on the fun play aspect with her and taken her childish follies too seriously? Whether I have been a paranoid pseudo-mother who was too motivated to do things right?
It’s not that I never had fun, I remember spinning a ‘why butterflies don’t get wet’ tale for her in the most imaginative way while people around me either quit saying they have full faith in my power of imagination or Googled the scientific reason for me to spill out?
It’s just that I am indulging in a self critique today. As I sat in the bus I struggled with this analysis and spoke to the two people I always talk to in my head – GM and Y! But then something else comforted me too and that brought me to actually write this to be frank!
Packing and moving on you discover things which you think are long lost! I discovered my old tattered copy of kiddie Gita today, the one which is ear-marked with all of GM’s favourite teachings. As I smiled and ruffled the pages I stopped at where Krishna says that lies are ok if they are to save your skin, but the moment you lie and that hurts anyone emotionally or physically, even if it’s in your unknown being, know that you have sinned?
I just sought to save T from hurting others and in turn her own self in the long run, GM. So guess you wouldn’t be too disappointed with me, right? I just wanted to make her understand that it’s important that she turns out to be a person whom people accept and love for what she is and for not what she pretends to be, for then she would be lying about her own identity. What would be worse than a self identity crisis, right GM?
T, I hope when I am back from my ‘tour’ (yes she thinks I am off for another office tour, but yes a long one!), I find you as a person who’s happy and confident and loves her own reflection in the mirror!
Loads of Love and Wishes
I think by now you already know all that I want to tell you through this letter, for that is all I have been talking to you in my head since last evening. The last weekend evening of your Ma’s rendezvous with the city that shaped her, was spent in discovering things I would like to tell you when someday we come back to settle here and sit by the sea, to share a cup of coffee. The very picture brings a smile to my face, it’s almost I can imagine your summer dress flowing in the breeze as I sit holding you close sniffing your freshly shampooed hair smelling of strawberry!
We might have had a fight before that. I think we will, for I know I am not going to be a cool mom. But you know what don’t fight back with me. It’s not worth it, I’ll be too obstinate to even pretend to listen to things which are a strict no –no. Instead pick up a call on Oma and trust me you’ll be soothed to know that I was more deviant than you can ever imagine. It’s ok don’t be shocked, we seldom can picture our parents as kids doing stuff they will never approve of now. But the truth is, they are humans too and so when Oma shows you a photograph of the ‘hippie’ stage of my life, kindly do not faint to see bandanas, black nail polish, gothic wear, chunk jewellery and yes not to forget hair in thousand braids!!!!
Disastrous as it may look and sound, it wasn’t. It did not shape me, it did not linger, it was just there to comfort me when I felt mis-fit in doing anything else. We all grow that way, clinging to various ‘comforts’ and there’s nothing wrong in that!
‘Comfort’ that is what I want to explain to you today, lest that evening by the sea never happens. I have learnt not to be too ambitious in life, so I jot these down, my child. Read it at leisure, one at a time for then it wouldn’t be preach!
- Baby, in life it is important to find a place that gives you comfort and yes it should be a distinct one which is no where close to my lap. In fact that space should be just yours devoid of any other human contact. I found mine in a small strip of virgin beach here, I hope you find yours somewhere. For then you shall discover yourself, when the world tags you as lost.
- There’s nothing as comforting as music, go discover your kinds. But remember NEVER share your IPod, just the way you won’t share your bra! Push-ups don’t work for everyone and not all are comfortable with the concept of half-cups! Similarly, Bhimsen Joshi might be too passé for some and Methany might be completely out of the blue. But, in the end, it’s your comfort. And trust me, even if you give into peer pressure at times to tune into what’s cool so that you can fit in, keep a back up playlist handy, for there’s nothing like a loop of favourite songs that never grow old, when you want to just disconnect from the rest of the world.
- Have one phone number on your speed dial list, which can comfort you at any hour of the night! Make sure but, that the person is a good listener or in fact at times ‘just’ a listener. It helps you the next morning and you wake up feeling much lighter, without any guilt. But yes, love NEVER use the person as your ‘punching bag’. Nothing hurts a person more than badly framed words, which are used to take out the vengeance about something he/she wasn’t a part of!
- I’ll always hug you to sleep, till the time you don’t throw me out of your room in want of ‘space’! Yes, I am shameless that way. But Hun, there’ll be hugs that you crave which I will not be able to offer. A strong pair of dad’s arms at times. Well I would offer you Opa’s but I know that would be a compromise I would be forcing you to make. But, it’ll do you good trust me, for it’ll help you find your comfort hug within yourself and then when sleep eludes you and the want of a strong hug creeps in really deep, you’ll slip under covers with someone like Hobbes, wearing your Winnie-the-Pooh socks and snore softly, while the world wonders how can you be so at peace with your own self.
- Living with me would ensure that there’s no cuisine you haven’t tried (unless your medical condition doesn’t permit!) and “I-don’t-like-to-eat” is something you would discover only once you start earning! But yes, I’ll help you discover something very early on – your comfort food and the acceptance that it acts the best too soothe you. Trust me, when you discover it you’ll perfectly understand why when you wake up during a few nights you find me sitting at the balcony with milk and cookies or a bowl of sambar and I assure you that I am ‘just thinking’. We shall ignore the over flowing ashtray that I seek to hide then, ok love?
Anarkali, it’s very important to be comfortable in the skin you are in. Correction, it is the most important thing, for then the rest follows. Once you discover your own self, no other jig saw puzzle can un-settle you baby!
Comfort Hugs and Kisses,
P.S: For more letters to my unfortunate unborn daughter click here :razz:
I am a stickler for public transport. I mean give me the option for a chauffeur driven car and train/ bus passes I’ll gladly settle for the latter, for any ride in the former bores me out of my wits! I love looking at people, interpreting their background/ thoughts and yes often picking up a few snippets of their conversation too (yes, yes BAD GIRL moi!!!)
Last evening on train as I shuffled through my IPod for that one song which had suddenly disappeared, my ears shot up when I picked up a few words from my neighbor. She was on phone, apparently narrating to a friend about her sister-in-law who woke up that morning to discover an ‘unknown mobile’ in her husband’s pocket and cross questioning led to a calm husband telling her about his affair and how he’s not remorseful of what he’s done. As I went back to my IPod, my mind somewhere loomed around the conversation.
I thought about the wife and tried to picture a distraught her, but could not! I tried imagining the husband, blowing circles of smoke out of tension, but failed there too! I tried to picture the ‘other woman’ and in fact smiled for all I could imagine was a hazy face and a recent post by MM!
Fidelity – the most essential thing we are taught as a kid when introduced to the concept of marriage. “Dog is the most faithful companion of man” – haven’t we all at some point of time read this in our textbooks along with the reason that a dog sticks to his master through thick and thin?
And then we grow up to witness advertisements like of a famous Russian vodka company which boldly reads, “Married by the Day, Single by the Night” or the recent Micromax ad where two boys think they are dating the same girl, but are relieved when they find differences in her mobile colour (interchangeable mobile covers can help you maintain an array of boyfriends without getting anyone suspicious, apparently!) and wonder what has fidelity come to?
Somewhere to be serious I find the entire concept of fidelity to be not only over-rated but also mis –interpreted. One look at all the television soaps floating around and you’ll come to interpret fidelity as always sticking by your spouse’s side throughout the day instead of thick and thin! There even a jog with the opposite gender or a drive is capable of bringing in doubts! And then with the entire concept of miscellaneous spouses being so apparent on EACH and EVERY soap, I think we have got our concepts totally mixed up!
I mean I wouldn’t hold up my guy for an outing with his female jing bang, or for a drive with a girl! But yes, I admit I wouldn’t take it lying down if any of the above is done with the tag line of the above mentioned ad! But somewhere while the entire scenario today has come to hint at fidelity to be shattered once it leads to a different bed-game, for me the definitions are a bit modified. To clarify, I feel that somewhere even if my guy sleeps with me each night and I do everything to ensure that, is that enough to have a peaceful sleep? Isn’t a mind game where despite of lying with me on the same bed, but his mind and heart somewhere else amount to cheating/ fidelity towards me? Is the sense of trust today only restricted to physical intimacies?
The other thing that has always irked my previous generation is my take on ‘falling out of love’ in relationship. I fail to understand as to why we need to hold on to a failing relationship just for the heck of it! Didn’t we all have our first teenage crush only to let it go (no exception stories here please!), didn’t you discard the doll that you promised to hand down to your daughter at age 5? Then why can’t we decide the same for a relationship when the entire essence of love leaves it? Just sticking by each other to put up a sham marriage for the society, doesn’t that equally violate the definition of fidelity?
Kids, did you say? Aah by sticking around what are we teaching them? That it’s OK for one party to actually take it laying down whatever is being offered, for the ‘greater good’? We think we try to teach them harsh realities of life so that they don’t repeat ‘mistakes’ but in the end by sticking around aren’t we teaching them that there are people who’ll still carry on with a relationship despite fidelity being shoved up their face???
The other thing that irks me is the definition of ‘other woman’ and the concept of her wronging the entire world! When in reality how do you defined being wronged? Ain’t all 3 parties in equal footing (presuming the spouse who decides to stick by for the ‘society’). Why is the ‘home breaker’ so tagged always? Why is the spouse refusing to come out in the open to admit things gone astray seen as faithful? If the OW is a ‘keep’ isn’t the spouse a ‘keeper of a failed relationship’?
I will not say that I am a cool, easy going person when it come to my guy. No I am possessive in my own way and have my share of blues to when he ignores me or when I think he’s not paying me attention. But somewhere the entire concept of fidelity to me arises much before he leads somewhere else to bed. To me it’s not cool even to just have ‘fun’ with another person and the defense that no physical play is involved doesn’t stand. To me it’s more about the way we are connected in the mind that gives rise to the entire concept of ‘ties’ and not whether he and his childhood bum chum actually shared a room in the back packing trip?
But yes, I will never allow myself to be tagged as a ‘keep’ for there’s no such term in love and neither will I allow myself to be a ‘keeper’ for in self dignity there’s no such term!
I think we are utterly confused here today, so what’s your take on fidelity?
In case you have somethign to say, please consider yourself tagged and do a post and yes don’t forget to link it back!