Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Colorful dreams

As if it’s already not enough that we women deal with objectification on daily basis, but being a bride is a different ball game all together. A bride is judged, critically analyzed, gossiped about and mostly never embraced for being herself. This is my attempt at putting forth the inner conversations of an insecure bride, who is just another target at the society’s idea of perfect and the immense pressure that is thrown at her the moment she announces her wedding.

She had imagined this day a million times, she had lived and replayed this moment in her mind, she had visualized twirling in her red wedding lehenga with a smile that lit up the entire room. But there she stood on her wedding day, staring at herself in the mirror, her eyes spoke of some sadness. She had read innumerable articles on how to look like the perfect bride, how to lose weight for the big day, how to get the instant glow for your special day, she had read and followed them all religiously. She had failed she thought, she was not the perfect bride she wanted to be. She knew those articles weren’t going to transform her overnight, yet she wanted to try. Suddenly she didn’t feel like herself, she didn’t have the same confidence that she always had, she wasn’t that girl who once embraced herself and celebrated her beauty, she wasn’t that girl anymore, who took pride in her achievements. Now she was just a bride, just a girl everyone was waiting to see, stare and judge.
She took a picture tucking her stomach in, holding her breath cursing every cheese slice, every burger that she had ever enjoyed. The love handles made her feel disgusted, little did she know that they added to her body the curve every woman envied. She glanced at her dark skin and wished every person came with a filter in their eyes, just like the one on her phone that instantly brightened her face up. The acne marks on her face and body that left her feeling scarred for life, would easily vanish at a double click on the app. When she would slip into her beautiful red lehenga, she wanted to be brimming with happiness and feel like the most beautiful person in the world. But instead she stared at the stretch marks on her waist, that now had made an appearance, the uneven skin tone on her body was now visible to all. She felt a knot in her stomach, as she hoped she could somehow retouch and correct them all out. When she would adorn her beautiful jewelry, her face would glow like the moon she hoped. But instead she frowned at her laugh lines, that looked darker than ever before. They were a testimony to her loud contagious laughter that filled up the room and now she hesitated to even flash a wide smile. The wrinkles under her eyes, that spoke so proudly of the endless hours and nights she was working extra hours at the office and binge watching her favorite shows. They were now just a sign of aging to her that drowned her self respect even deeper.
She kept staring at her self in the mirror, wondering how she can look perfect, just like the way she had seen in the magazines, just like the way the world wanted to see her. As she fell deeper into this thought, her mom stopped by several times to tell her what a beautiful bride she made. Those voices were silenced by the louder noise that she was fighting within herself. Her heart sank deeper into a black dark pit, where she buried her real self. She wanted to be left alone there, a place that had no living soul, that had no ray of sunlight. She felt safe, she felt secure in that place, there were no eyes staring or judging her. She then saw a hand offering to help pull her out. She was surprised at the way those eyes looked at her, no one had ever looked at her that way. Her falling self esteem was slowly reviving. She saw in those eyes what she had been longing to see. She saw love for herself, for every element of her body that she disposed at the idea of being the perfect bride. She felt like the most beautiful person again, the most beautiful bride like she always wished to look like. No, it wasn’t the groom reassuring her, a male approval wasn’t where her self worth came from. It was her own image, her own not so perfect self now staring back at her and she loved every bit of it. She saw in the mirror herself in the way she always once saw and had forgotten it all, in the urge to match the stereotype – perfect mannequin figure. She realized how wrong she was, taking down every filter that marred her sight, trashing every magazine that told her otherwise. Quickly taking back control, she stood up looking into the mirror one last time and whispered, ‘I DO’ to herself, professing self love before she walked down as a bride, gleefully smiling and caring a damn for the world.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

This is just for you

It’s been more than a year that we are married but somehow i feel things r not working with us now  . I know you will not agree with me, you will cite various examples and give multiple reasons to disagree; but let me state at the very outset, that your definition of a happy married life doesn’t match mine.
You always wanted a ‘wife’ who would respect you no matter for what wrong u do, a ‘wife’ who would carry out her household chores along with her job outside, a ‘wife’ who would cook excellent meals and what not………whereas I only yearned for a friend; a friend who would support me unconditionally and lend me a shoulder to cry on; a friend who would embrace me in spite of my shortcomings and weaknesses; a friend whose one and only priority would be me. I suppose I asked for too much.
I know you disagree. I can very well imagine the frown on your face as you read this post . Let me ask you few questions:
Do you remember the last time when we shared our day with each other?
Do you remember the last time when you sent me a loving text message?
Do you remember the last time when you told “I Love You”?
Do you remember the last time we went for a date?
Do you remember the last time you enquired about my health?
Do you remember the last time you did something to make me happy?
Do you remember the last time you appreciated me?
I presume that now you will agree that our togetherness is at a very bad phase .
I am sorry but now I can no longer be the girl u wanted me to be. I always searched my happiness within you and with you but you never cared; but now i ve learnt to be happy with her own self. I craved for your presence but you never bothered;. You have given me a lot but those weren’t among the things that I desired. I always tried  reminding you, ‘If you love me, give me things which money can’t buy.’

There were days when I cooked your favourite cuisine, what caught your eyes was a small mistake happened by me . Sometimes I dressed up only for you, what caught your eyes was my bulging belly. You always forgot to notice every little detail i did for u . You always complained about me loosing my beauty , but never noticed my tired eyes, tired because they were awake all night feeling awful and thinking about us . Whenever I spoke to you about my problems, you turned a deaf ear. According to you those were only me cribbing to u . What you failed to notice was that I depended on you for a solution; I wanted your empathy.
So my Respectable husband now I ve decided to live without any hope from u . I will still stay in your house maybe becoz of the social obligation  I will no longer crave for your attention, time, love or care.
Let me tell you that if this is what u wanted to make out of me to realise the independent woman in me you have won ur mind to made me recognise the woman  in me  who is strong, independent, lovable, and vivacious hereafter.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

That's why we call you PAPA.

On my father's Birthday.

My father had never hugged me.
He is a typical conservative Indian father who never shows his feelings openly. Even though I tried hugging him, he warded off easily every time. I am now 27 years old settled and happily married . He has never forced me to do anything, he has always let me be myself.
I always wanted to know, what he thought of me; how he felt about me. Does he feels proud discussing about me to his friends. I know that he never wanted to show his innate feelings,but still i wanted to know like every other daughter.
Yes since my childhood he has woke me up by his loving words "Munuaa". He has taken care of my every single need maybe from a pin till an elephant (if i'd have ever demanded for that as well). He has taught me to be reasonable, and lessoned me the realities of life.
Well, I know for sure that I won’t hear an “I love you” from Papa. Similarly I know that I can’t pull off an “I love you” for that matter.
In retrospect I think that was the best that he can show, perhaps that was his way of telling
Though Men are complex, sweet creatures. They are affectionate; their love is intricate. But somehow it feels fake to express your feelings at times. They are feelings after all right? You don’t need a title card to LOVE or to show affection. It is always better when someone shows you that they care, rather than saying that I love you.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Bai - Modern Woman's primary need.

Inspired by a real life incidence.

Although ‘The Economic Times’ would like you to believe that the modern India is run by the Big Industries, the FDIs and the Financial markets; any regular home-maker would tell you that the wheels of the Urban India are being turned by the not so friendly neighborhood ‘Bai’. She rules the heart and mind of the Indian urban women. She throws tantrums that would put children to disgrace, would demand praise and attention that would give the mother-in-law tough competition and if a homemaker in any city  is waiting for someone in the evening, its most likely her Bai not her husband. When the Bais leave, which they insensitively do, they give you a litter filled kitchen and a panic attack. And last week I had, what can be best described as The Bai's Drama.  This is what happened.

Few days back , my morning started very much as usual.  After the morning rituals of packing tiffin for my husband to office, I finally sat with a hot cup of tea waiting for that pleasant ring of doorbell. It was time for my Bai to come and wash, clean and scrub the house till it’s shining brightly. So I waited…and waited. And then I waited a little more. But the bell did not ring. I had a storm of panic building inside of me when finally the bell rang and my Bai arrived. She was in a pesky mood.They have a DISTINCT way of letting you know- the utensils in the kitchen make that extra noise, and they have just that little edge in the answers.
I think I am an expert at employing and managing Bais so I picked up the signs immediately and started doing analysis. Is this because of the extra-washing I made her do; is this the beginning of the pitch to raise her wage or are there other deeper darker unknown reasons? I definitely did not want to know. So I decided to treat her to breakfast and tea. That would sublime the mood temporarily only I thought. Soon I got tired and wondered why I should be pampering her without any reason and I stopped. Things then took a turn for the worse and this led to a cold war.  In the next few days, I figured that she had picked up 2 more jobs. Although I was still paying her more than the 2 new jobs combined, she had this ‘ I don’t give a damn’ attitude for my job. Coz, now I liked this woman and did not want to loose her. She, in past, had been loyal, with decent work performance. Any one would tell you that’s rare to come by. So somehow I had to salvage the situation and that required thought and strategy. Well, to be preciseThe management of Bais requires as much strategy and diplomacy as is required to untangle the " JNU" issue these days.

After much a thought, I came up with a two-step strategy. My Step 1 was Power presentation: The next day I sounded off the guards and neighbors that I need a new Bai.  Bais are as well networked as some of us on face book Twitter and whatsapp. They are updated with everything and everyone , so with an assumption that my Bai came to know about my search immediately. 

In a couple of days I got a good contender to replace her. I told her I would like to see her work for a few days. She agreed and next morning there she was- for all to be seen-especially my ‘full of attitude’ Bai. Although I said nothing, I did see a slight sense of insecurity. Just what I wanted! Step Two was of  Diplomacy and Negotiations: Then came the day of  the final talk. So I called my Bai after she finished her work, gave her breakfast and tea and then was about to initiate the conversation, when she said, “ Didi, I left my other jobs. I get very tiered, I would rather just do our work.” I told her I was concerned for her well-being and value her loyalty. And so was thinking of increasing her salary. Thank you didi, aap kitne aachhe ho! Hum apne ghar me hi bass kaam karenge,(referring to my house);And she was back to her zealous self. 

At the end, I did not increase her salary by any amount but with implementation of my two step theory then, I bought peace of mind, loyalty and devotion- most expensive items in today’s world. But above all  I avoided the Bai's Drama for some days atleast.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

A year of Togetherness

There was a time when I wanted our relationship to move at lightning speed.
I wanted to go on adorable dates, to skip forward to the first kiss, to hear “I love you,” to introduce you to all of my friends, my family, and every other person I knew.
I wanted to run down the street and scream at the top of my lungs that I was with you. I wanted to get the entire world involved in our relationship.
I wanted to move quickly .
I was definitely trying to get somewhere .
Where ? I don't know.
Or else , I don't want to know.
Because a question demands for an answer and an answer brings an end .
But now that I have known you "Maybe" ,
I want us to go days without seeing each other and hours without speaking. I want your heart to ache and to miss me. I want to wonder where you are and what you are doing, because it’s you, and your life is like a beautiful mesh of wonder and excitement that I want to unravel and fit into those pieces to make you whole .
I want to feel like I could spend forever learning about you, because we are in no rush, and because who you are today isn’t who you’ll be next week, next year or even tomorrow.
I want to make love to you on some evenings I want to cuddle and kiss and giggle over nothing
I want the intensity and the seriousness of our relationship to come from the raw fact that we know this is not forever. It’s only right now.
I want to feel whole with you but trust that I am my own complete individual and that together we can combine our messy selves to create something that just might be slightly more exciting and beautiful
As we completed our year of being married together ,
 I want you to know that I love who you are, deep down—the timeless innocence and childish spark , frivolous and whimsical , the true and selfless intent I see in your eyes.


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Respect the Right

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I heard the adults around me repeat, “Respect your elders!” over and over again. Naturally, I believed this to be true and continued to respect all my elders — teachers, old aunts and uncles, or distant relatives. I was the well-behaved girl who never back-answered and who always gave into the demands of the adults around me. I was the girl who would greet every adult at the party and converse with them, even if I didn’t want to. But things changed as I grew older.
I realized the respect they demanded from me was not a suggestion or a choice; it was an order. I was forced to respect my elders even if they offended me or were rude to me. I was forced to oversee their faults and their mistakes because they were older than I. I was forced to respect my elders even when they didn’t respect me.
I distinctly remember this one occasion where an adult insulted my cousin and passed rude comments about the way she was dressed. They kept harassing her, bringing her down, and shattering her self-esteem. But she never said anything because it was disrespectful to talk back to your elders. She stood there in silence, saying nothing and doing nothing.
We etch this saying into the impressionable minds of children, making them victims of backhanded compliments and blatant insults. We turn these children into cowards, not giving them a chance to stand up for themselves or defend themselves in such situations. We change the meaning of respect in their head to fear.
Respect, according to me, is a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, and important. It’s a positive feeling we  experience when we see someone do something admirable or accomplish something that inspires us. That is the true meaning of respect.
When children are forced to respect elders, they grow into people who believe everything an adult tells them. In their heads, respect translates to blind obedience. They fail to distinguish the difference between good and bad or right and wrong.
I’m not saying we should teach children to disrespect or disregard adults. I’m not saying we should teach children to disobey their parents or authoritative figures.
I’m saying we should teach them to respect people who respect them, not just elders. We should teach them to respect everyone, young or old, as long they reciprocate the same.