Take this Waltz: A Review

What I figured after a good night’s sleep and some early morning analyses of the film I watched last night is this:

The problem with relationships is not marriage per se, but that it demands living together. It’s the sharing of routines, the demand to share interests, to share space… You shit, I’ll brush my teeth. You cook, I will mop. I’ll write, you sharpen my pencils. It’s that stifling expectation of togetherness. It’s being sentenced to ‘ever after’ happily or otherwise. It’s the choking feeling of having to work on being interesting, to work very hard on keeping boredom at bay. 

“New things become old,” a middle-aged lady tells three younger women in the swimming pool showers. She is responding to the desire for newer, shinier things.

 The protagonist (Michelle Williams) of the film is one of the three women. Her sister-in-law (Sarah Silverman) in the same scene says something to this effect: that after 10 years she at least still likes her husband, why would she want to trade that for something that may not last.

The three women are in their late 20s/early 30s. They all seem in happy(ish) marriages. 

Earlier, the man (Luke Kirby) who is wooing Michelle asks her what was wrong with her, because she was restless… not right now, but generally in life. (I am paraphrasing.)

Most women say they want a man who makes them laugh, and her husband (Seth Rogen) does a lot of that. So well, we realise that’s not what we really want though.

Still from the film. The scene that follows this is so so amazing.

This movie spoke to me. Oh my goodness, how it did.

It was so honest, so raw, and it was an echo of all the conversations I have with my very close bunch of girlfriends. Sarah Polley the director has done a tremendous job.

I don’t want to talk about the plot, what happens, who is hurt, who is not.

If you are in that restless phase of your life when you have little to complain about, but still can’t quite feel at peace with who you are and what you have, do watch the film. It won’t give you answers. It will probably confuse you even more. Yet, it will talk to you. It might tell you that you are not crazy for being the way you are, or it might tell you that it’s ok to be 10 feet away from the nuthouse.

PS: Thanks Chatura for recommending this movie, and attempting to push me over the ledge.
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A dozen years of wedded…wth? Happy anniversary to me

I don’t believe in marriage. It’s an unreasonable proposition. A choice that’s right for some people, not for all.

Now before you start calling Dr Phil or the friendly neighbourhood shrink, hold on to your horses.

I’ve spent enough miserable nights and days wondering why mine was not the perfect marriage, blaming either R or myself (depending on which side of PMS I was sitting on) for all the ills of the world.

But then whose definition of perfect marriage were we trying to measure up to?

Truth is we surprised not just our friends, but ourselves too, by getting married — we are both so fiercely independent and wary of letting people into our spaces, our biggest success is that we share a home.

I am a bit of a coward and knew I was incapable of handling the pressure of having children out of wedlock. And children I wanted. So marry I did. To the man who then and now is the kindest and most inclusive person I know; Who can cut to shreds with his silence and smirk; Who can embrace you from across the room with a twinkly smile; Who has his many moments of  both high humour and chilling indifference; Who can be inappropriately funny in bed and just as inappropriately serious in company.

A man who is so respectful of his parents and so in love with his mum, with neither of those two emotions being driven by fear or guilt.

I knew as far as choices go, it would be difficult to make a better one.

Yet, this marriage has never claimed or pretended to boast of harmony, peace,  nightly orgasms and unconditional love.

It’s been about loud arguments, bitter disagreements, cold silences, pointlessly crazy foreplay and conditional likes.

It has also been about quirky sense of humour that only the two of us get like the weird pillow talk we enjoy — “hey V, Osama killed this morning” **cuddle up** “wow, that’s so cool. give me the gory details”;

It’s about farting, burping and talking of inconvenient truths with great abandon to the utmost embarassment of O;

It’s about understanding the irony-filled soft corner he has for nutjobs like Gaddaffi, Saddam, Mubarak, Glenn Beck and Osama, and still not judge him as a sympathiser.

It’s about never seeing eye-to-eye on finances, but never stopping each other from indulging.

And in the worst of moods and mental turmoil — except when it involves him — it’s about not being able to think of anyone else to go and sob my guts out to, and vent my completely unreasonable justifications.

If I were asked if this is a good marriage — I would lie and say ‘yes’.

We have stubbornly guarded our individuality and demanded space from each other — both of which are proscribed in the manual Marriage for Dummies.

It’s a marriage, and as most marriages go it’s a drama in infinite acts; And as most things connected to me goes, it’s not very well thought out or executed.

What would be a suitable analogy here? Say, a non-believer who goes to the temple/church — with a lot of scepticism and a teeny bit of hope.

When someone talks of their soulmate, I gag, just before I burn up with envy.

When I see couples complete each other’s sentences and thoughts, I think ‘dimwits’ and then go home and try to leave a sentence incomplete, standing stupidly open-mouthed, only to realise R thinks my thought is complete and requires neither extension nor response.

We are in complete sync when it comes to coffee, travel, family, parental ineptitude, and being anally selective about people we socialise with; when it comes to everything else, we are in disagreement.

I don’t know if we have gotten closer, or if we are on the path to happily ever after. I do know that we are two people whose similarities are jarring and whose differences are loud, who are probably loyal to each other out of laziness more than intent.

So 15 years of being together, a dozen as mrs and mr (and by the way, i haven’t taken the mr’s name, and have dropped the pater’s), I am still figuring out what the eff a marriage is supposed to be. Why the hell does mine resemble the say ‘no to war’ posters and not the visuals on the pages of O magazine.

What I know for sure (my Oprah moment!)  is text book wedded bliss is not my lot, hence that should be neither my goal nor pursuit. This is a relationship between an effortlessly good and often unreasonable man, and a calculatively correct and an easily distracted woman trying to ensure that their children are not too screwed up, and in the absence of good sense can still manage to have fun.

I don’t know the dos of a good union; but I do know the don’ts — don’t try to live someone else’s happy-marriage-stereotype.

Happy anniversary to me and mine…

Why do intelligent women get cheated on? Or why are some folks easier than 1,2,3…

 And what would you do in a ‘not-so-ideal’ marital situation?
Humour me and answer some of the questions I pose.

I keep reading about it amongst celebrities, I have seen it amongst friends and acquaintances. About 90% of infidelities are about intelligent women being cheated upon. Or real nice guys being cuckolded.

Why?

Last night I was reading Elizabeth Edwards interview with Oprah, on her husband John Edwards’ public and painful extramarital affair, and that too when she was battling cancer.

Yet, the woman doesn’t come across as a doormat or someone to be pitied. She seems strong and very much in control of the situation. But how does she wake up every morning to the face – albeit a handsome one – that caused her that much embarrassment and humiliation?

And what about the obviously fake marriage the Clintons parade? Why would an intelligent, accomplished woman like Hillary put up with that kind of shit? Did she really need the Clinton tag to succeed?

Why do men cheat on intelligent women?

And why do women cheat on nice guys?

The dumb women have faithful husbands, and the nasty men have devoted wives… it’s not a generalisation, except that it probably is!

 

I am sure we are not without temptations. There must be that other guy who makes you check your make-up twice; the one that makes you feel sexy; the woman who reaffirms your masculinity; the one who laughs at the jokes your wife finds insipid.

 

I am quite sure we all come across people (other than our spouses) who make us feel good about ourselves.

 

But is that the cue to jump into bed with the next available flirty-jack or frisky jane?

 

Extramarital affairs happen all the time. There is no denying that.

 

But would YOU put up with it?

 

Call me old-fashioned, but if you are married you better make sure little-johnny doesn’t go wandering, and you don’t allow trespassers on your territory.

If there are children involved, it’s all the more reason to maintain faith.

 

If you are in an oppressive or unhappy relationship, break it off before you go seeking greener pastures.

 

Easier said than done I am sure… and I am only saying.

 

I tell R if he cheats on me out of lust, I will forgive him. But if he falls in love with another, I will hunt him down.

 

That brings me to this next — what is the deal with multiple-wives? It is not rare to see polygamous families here. And invariably the children as SO SCREWED UP and out of control.

I wonder how the wives resist the temptation to poison each other or their husband.

 

Would YOU be a co-wife?

 

I have a few friends who are open about being the ‘other woman’, and say they don’t believe in marriage, and if the wife has a problem she should take care of it. Actually the husband should take care of it!

 

Would YOU be the other woman?

 

And if you absolutely must cheat on your husband or wife, who would it be with? Just a hypothetical question.

 

PS: And to the last question, my answer is Stephen King. Not only because I am in love with him, and I love a man who can weave a story, but also because I am pretty sure he will scare me back to my family.

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!

marrying well is an accomplishment?

Quite a few of my school and college friends are accomplished women — there are physicians, musicians, models, actors, dancers, financial controllers, some even climbing the corporate ladder in various organisations in India and abroad.
Yet, references to the batch are not in terms of these achievers. Often the reference is about someone who married well or married a celebrity!
I wonder — is that what defines us most? Our marital status?