slapped by logic

After a long tussle over music control in the car on whether we should play Spanish songs (R’s choice) or Tamil (mine), pms-ing me, lost my temper.

“In music, books, movies, people… really amazing how we can’t come to an agreement. It seems we have nothing in common.”

And from the back seat comes a forceful voice of reason.

“But you have two daughters in common amma, isn’t it?”

Wisdom from O that flipped my heart and churned my stomach.

A reminder to weigh words and action.

R & I were chastened, and it was a quiet drive back home, listening to My Fair Lady (O’s choice).

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They didn’t punch me in my stomach. Thanks for the advice!

Last evening I took O and three of her friends out for a movie (Madagascar 2) and dinner.

R advising O before we left: “Don’t trouble Amma. Listen to her. Don’t fight with each other (friends not me). And don’t let anyone punch her in the stomach because she is pregnant.”

Now, was he giving O and her friends an idea or what?! Because it is not like people routinely punch me in my stomach, pregnant or otherwise!

For what it was worth, they didn’t punch me on my stomach.

PS: The movie sucked. No story to speak of, and really boring lines. Nothing catchy. Stupid. And why should a Giraffe fall in love with a Hippo. Isn’t it unethical for 2 different breeds to hook up? It didn’t help that I am not a fan of animation films.

Marriage Stereotypes and the ‘Catches’ we make!

I seem to be doing this way too often. Linking other people’s post, and expostulating on it. Why don’t I just comment there or shut up?
Probably because I’m a journalist, so when I run out of ideas, I rehash other people’s cues.

Anyways, this is to MG’s post — I was splitting up after reading this. How inane is that dry cleaner lady? Silly woman.
About 9-10 years ago, in a situation like that, I would have gotten terribly upset. But now I just find it ridiculously funny.
Why do typecast people in a relationship?

When my relationship with R took a serious turn and we decided to get married (or rather our families decided for us), a friend (yep, a friend hmmpph!) snidely commented to me, “quite a catch, huh?”

I was STUNNED. What shit was that?

We not only had similar educational and professional backgrounds, I in fact had a few extra diplomas thrown in.
She hardly knew R to decide he was a catch in any other way, unless she thought her dumpy, bespectacled friend was marrying a not-so dumpy and un-bespectacled man?

And even if I had been illiterate with no future prospects and looked like the backside of an ass, and he was the heir to the Gates’ fortune and looked like Clooney, how the hell can anyone use that phrase ‘a catch’.

Is marriage a charity? If two people decide to wed, they must have their reasons. Even if it’s an arranged marriage. There is no question of one being a catch over another.

Probably because I am far more secure in my relationship, and am older and wiser (!) I can laugh this off…

Like this conversation between Acquaintance 1 & 2, which a ‘pal’ reported to me not only verbatim, but with her share of insights.

Acq1 (who at that point had met R & me for all of 90mts, half of which was with a group of people): V & R are very different.
Acq 2 (who knows me professionally and has only had a glimpse of R): Oh, yes. They are. He is very nice.
Acq 1: Absolutely. So different. He is very sweet.
Pal to me: How can they jump to conclusions, they hardly know you.

ME to R, my sounding board: What the eff! Whether they jumped to conclusions or not, Pal was sure they did… And what difference does it make to me to get opinions of people I don’t know or care for? Why was this even reported to me?

That’s the whole problem with expectations, marriages or any relationships. The two parties are placed on a balance with their plusses and minuses.

Absolutely no one outside of the two would know the truth of the relationship or the reasons why it works (or doesn’t). So why talk about catches and one being too good for the other?

So whether MG looks or really is romantic, or not, it was really not that stupid dry cleaner’s business. It’s for MG and her husband to know and find out!

we fight, but we’re fine!

After my previous post a friend messaged me asking if it was alright to be so honest about R and my relationship with him. When I asked him, he joked: “You have my permission to be so.”
A couple of others asked me if he had read it, and what was his reaction.
I didn’t realise that there was an issue to begin with – as I saw it, I was paying him a huge compliment. I’d rather share my life with my best friend, than someone who sucks at being a friend, but makes all the right romantic moves as a boyfriend/husband.
Last year when we went to India for our annual vacation, I was advised by at least 4 different people on how I should work on the marriage for the sake of the child. I was taken aback – now, where did that come from.
Apparently, lil Ms O gave graphic and spiced up accounts of every argument and fight her parents had!
We are two highly opinionated and very independent beings – so we disagree. Viciously. But big deal, how many marriages are perfect and trouble free?
Yes, yes – I’ve heard of these weirdos too – who do everything in sync, never argue, always put family harmony over self. They are either cheating on each other; or are compensating for a bad sex life; or had friend-less childhoods; or are just plain bloody boring.
It can’t just be a ‘Great Marriage’!
So to all those who are worried – don’t be. We fight like street dogs… but we survive the wounds and are stronger for it.

The good kinds that make my world…

… as opposed to the weird kinds I mentioned in an earlier post.

People tend to think I have a bustling social life. And that my weekends are a series of parties. That I have more friends than most. And I always wonder, what the hell gives them this impression?

I am 34. I’ve been to 2 schools, 1 college, and 4 vocational courses. I’ve worked in 5 different companies. I’ve been a member in 3 different gyms/clubs.
I know people who would have used every opportunity to make friends, and build a hectic social life.

My friend Yauleen collects friends likes Imelda did shoes, and nurtures them like they were her sole sustenance in life.

But through my years of school, college and workplaces, I’ve been friendly enough with people, socializing with them, getting drunk and having fun. I keep in touch with most of them even today. However, are they my ‘friends’ as in my bum-chums, as in my shoulders to cry on, as in laugh till you pee, as in fart without a thought, as in confess without fear of being judged, as in till death do us apart?

The simple answer is: Nopes.

There are friends who would do good in one situation, but not in another.

There are very, very few who are my all-weather friends. And I place so much value on these friends and am so used to the ease of being friends with them, that I find it difficult to make news ones easily.

I’ve been thinking real hard on who my can’t-do-without friends are. If I were asked to choose as many or as few of them as I want, and keep them for life, at the cost of the rest, who would they be?

I came up with 5 names. I am tempted to say JUST 5. But I know that would sound greedy.
And of the 5, except for the first, I just can’t choose one over the other.

1. Roshan. My husband. I know it sounds all soppy and clichéd. But the fact is R is a better friend than husband or boyfriend. Over 12 years of knowing each other, and nearly 10 of being married, I still wonder what inspired me to marry a guy who was – to put it simply – a lousy boyfriend. We were not good friends who ended up together. It all happened simultaneously. I know one of the reasons I married him, and the reason I continue to be married (despite some very trying times) is because he is my best friend. It would break my heart to lose such a great pal. He knows just about everything about me. From my email passwords to which parent I prefer; from my pet peeves to my moments of hypocrisy. And he never judges, and never holds me ransom to the grave and embarrassing confessions I’ve made to him. Even when I am depressed or angry and feel I am done with this marriage, I know I am not done with his friendship.

2. Teesu. She is the only one in the list who is most like me. If I ever nag and harass and dump on anyone (barring R), it’s her. I met her in 1992-93, at college. We liked each other right away, but became friends over a period of time. We both shared a passion for letters. And we even now write a letter or card to each other, though we chat almost daily. Over the last few years, she has fished me out of terrible bouts of depression and loneliness. She is an awesome listener, and can be quite honest. She is a proper mother hen, and can make you float with the way she cares. But frankly, as great as all these qualities are, the reason I really will hold on to her for life is because she is MAD. Everyone needs a mad friend in life. She is mine.

3. Sangi. We’ve been together since high school. And we are SO different from each other. She loves to dress up, is artistic, but is in a boring profession (to me), very hardworking, can get her way with most people, loves to window-shop, is religious and disciplined when it suits her. That just about sums up what I am not (I have the interesting profession though). She is also the person whose habits and attitudes I most disagree with. S and I ended up doing things in tandem – we fell in love, got married, moved out of the country all within weeks of each other. She is someone I am so comfortable with, I can drop in unannounced at her place. Something I am uncomfortable doing even with family. We were there for each other, in a phase of our life when were metamorphosing from insecure adolescents to slightly more confident youngsters taking baby steps in our careers, to confident women who were ready to take the plunge and set up our families. If you can survive all that together, that friendship is for keeps.

4. Renoo. I laugh the most with her. Sometimes at her. The reason she and this friendship is so special is that she is worse than me at making ‘friends’. So let’s say I feel chosen! We were in college together, and have known each other for 17 years. She was the brain of our group, always willing to help us with our work. She was the only one amongst us who behaved and looked a lady. It’s very difficult to have a serious conversation with her. If you have a problem you want to dwell on, she is the last person you ought to ring up. But if you want to forget or trivialise the problem and have a hearty laugh, put her number on the speed dial.

5. Mythili. She is the only friend from Doha. I met her in my 4th year here. M is very different from all my other friends. And why I chose her for this list is not because of what she is to me, but for what she is. I haven’t come across a simpler, more accomplished and more just person. She forgives without an effort, is sensitive to other’s needs and goes out of her way to help people. Yet she never looks a martyr. I made friends with her on the very grounds that I thought I never would – your child’s playmates parents. We lived in the same building, our kids went to the same crèche… but I do believe that I didn’t strike up with her for convenience. She is just so warm and positive, you feel like being around her. Even when she is upset about something, her response is: Why is this so? How can I change it? She is the one friend on this list I kind of look up to and learn from. I am sure she has no idea I would put her on a list such as this, as I bully her all the time, despite the fact, she is 4 years older to me.

PS: I do have a gang of friends, my ya-ya sisterhood. And I have 2 dear friends I’ve made in Doha, Yauleen and Seetha (now in Abu Dhabi), and I do hope I would never have to make a choice to exclude them for the sake of the 5 mentioned.

PPS: Re-reading this, I guess, I do have more friends than most. At least Friends who matter. Mazel Tov!