Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Manasa's Blog set me off on a mental journey into my youth---and again brought alive a lot of Memories of the time during my courtship---and the first few years of my marriage!!!Experience taught me that Relationships like Plants have to be carefully and lovingly tended and nurtured to grow into strong Bonds---only Love is never enough!!It requires lots of Commitment,Tolerance,Adjustment and Co-operation from both Parties to make a Relationship grow into a Lifelong Bond!!!
Sudhir and I were two cussedly stubborn Mules---terribly in Love with each other but totally opposite in Nature!!While Sudhir was a cautious,deliberate and logical person I was the complete opposite!!Impetously impulsive and completely illogical, the main focus in every argument I got involved in was to win it---even to the extent of making foolishly idiotic statements!!I was very optimistic,naive,trusting and not open to be told to be careful---while Sudhir on the other hand being born and bred in Bombay learnt to be wary and suspicious from a young age---and being hopelessly pessimistic, never taking anything at face value!!On the other hand my over confidence in everything was backed by my theoretical knowledge---and use of this along with bombastic Words was my greatest fault!!!I talked nineteen to the dozen while Sudhir spoke very little---so he'd listen mostly while I'd talk!!There was one place where however I scored---being the eldest I was used to looking after my siblings and Sudhir being the youngest was used to being taken care of by his siblings!!So the two of us started our married life with a lot to do to keep our marriage alive!!
Since childhood I'd seen my parents--terribly in love with each other but both possessing volatile tempers----fighting like Cats and Dogs together but once their tempers subsided--which was pretty quick---they'd cool down and things would revert to normal mode.Not so my darling husband!!Each time he got upset he'd clam up tight---keep pacing up and down the room restlessly---literally driving me up the wall!!No amount of pleading,cajoling or requesting would get me an answer---and this would reduce me to a mass of tears!!I on the other hand when annoyed would yell and shout till everything was out of my system and then forget about the topic that had upset me so totally!!Besides Sudhir was pretty moody those days and I was stupid enough not to read the signs!!I'd go and irritate him by making Plans for the Future---while he prefers living day to day---irritating him till he flew into a Temper and clammed up!!After that I'd first cry copiously and then sulk all day or days till his black mood lifted!!These were the initial hiccups--however as I'm otherwise pretty amenable,tolerant and thoroughly practical---this helps me to adjust to changes in my immediate Environment!!!It helps to know how to let the Negatives loose enough to pass by---and grasping the Positives in one's hands tightly move forward into the Future!!
As we got along together over the first few years I learnt first to read the danger signals---and secondly to avoid topics that caused fights----one needs a congenial Atmosphere to live in!!The early years taught me to tread delicately--not barge in like a bull in a China Shop---for though being first cousins our respective upbringing had been vastly different!!Atya and Baba given their period were far more emancipated than both their sons---both extremely conservative in their outlook----- though Milind beat Sudhir in this hands down!!I was asked to start wearing only Saries---my Blouses had to have elbow length sleeves and high necks and both Sudhir and I struck a bargain---the area below my neck was his---the one above mine!!The dressing part was the least of my problems---because Daddy too had his idiosyncrasies---and if I wore a tight dress I had to cover my legs by wearing either a "Salwar" or a "Churidaar" along with a "Dupatta" or Veil---how that made any difference is beyond me!!Those days I used to apply a small Red Dot---just to please Sudhir because he liked it that way---the huge one that I loved was too rustic for these urban people!!I learnt to be smartly uncomfortable where dressing was concerned---one absolutely had to look "Band Box" fresh at all times!!So I taught myself to tolerate stiffly starched clothes----Sudhir's Kurta-Pyjama Night Suits would be so stiff that I swear they could stand up just by themselves!!Even the Bed Sheets were starched---and often I'd wake up with scratches on my arms and legs---chafed wherever they'd rubbed against the Sheets in my sleep!!
Besides there were traditional outlooks about being a wife.A good wife moulded herself to being a shadow of her husband---and I was traditional enough to do that.Being extremely possessive about him I was completely obsessed by him--- setting my parameters towards looking after him like a baby!!This forced Atya to remark that my daughters too could do with a little more of my attention!!All this was voluntarily done-----and for him I made myself his necessity--one he couldn't do without!!The drawbacks in this began manifesting themselves after my first stay in the Hospital thanks to Dengue in December 2002---Sudhir just came apart!!Never having bothered with anything concerning the running of the home he was completely at Sea and had Mummy and Ritu not been there as well as Sayali who had come down for a Vacation then there would have been total chaos in our house!!However within six months I was back in harness with my usual resilience till December 2006 and my Cancer Operation,Chemo and Radiation Treatments.This time too Mummy and Ritu stepped into the breach and stayed with us for 6 months---offering great support!!My determination to land on my feet again pulled me through but my Nemesis was yet to come!!February 2009 saw me back in ICU after a massive Heart Attack---and this time Sudhir had to go it all alone!! By now Mummy was a semi invalid suffering from an Enlarged Heart as well as PAH---and Ritu was busy looking after her so apart from providing emotional support and Tiffins of Food there was little more that they could do!!Sudhir lost a lot of weight in that period---and all the 15 days I was in hospital he barely ate enough to keep body and soul together!!
Coming home I was determined to fall on my feet like the proverbial Cat---and started working aqt getting back my Stamina---but it was an uphill Task!!!It also led to my being under total "House Arrest" for one year with Sudhir and both Chhaaya Bai and Vanita ensuring that I was not left alone for any part of the 24 hours during the Day!!My Friends in the Compound would take turns to walk around the Complex with me----thus everyone cossetted me tremendously for a year1!!!Exactly a year later I rebelled and declared my Independence!!Everyone was asked to back off and I began living as normally as possible.Things however changed gradually since then.Sudhir has begun to take care of his own Closet--look after his own packing when we visit the Girls---and generally trying to be self sufficient!!!However he needs to be aware of my whereabouts at all times---and that still gets my Goat!!I am as mobile as I can be---Pradeep, our Chauffeur ferries me around Town--a Taxi is totally out of bounds!!All the Attendants at my Grocery Store as well as my regular Fruit and Vegetable Vendors too take care to not let me lift any weight---watching me like hawks till Pradeep drives me home after my weekly shopping!!Sounds like royalty---but actually is very claustrophobic and annoying in fact!!But then "Beggars can't be Choosers" so I swallow my Ire and lump it---and am slowly getting used to being looked after rather than being the one looking after others!!Besides how much can one rebel???After all throwing Tantrums all the time too can be very tiresomely boring and extremely draining in terms of Vitality!!!
Today all the Negatives of living together have become obscured by with Time---all I remember are the wonderful Positives we went through---and our Bond has grown stronger through the years!!In all the forty odd years we've been together we've lived apart for barely 6 months during that entire period!!Today we are content to be with each other speaking unspoken words in our silences---our Telepathic togetherness needs no vocal expressions any more---as we're quite well attuned to each other's needs and thoughts!!Sudhir the proverbial "Couch Potato" and me with my varied Interests---we're like a comfortable pair of old Bedroom Slippers for each other ---content to live in each other's Pockets!!!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
There was loads of Tension during the Riots---what with scarcity of Necessities like Fresh Milk ,Vegetables and Fresh Fish---all in short supply!!The Milk available outside was Water+Milk+Arrowroot Powder---but whenever possible we used even that---for we were in a hapless and helpless situation---as they say "Beggars can't be Choosers"!!Thanks to the Curfew most times we were reduced to relying on tins of Milk Powder and Cans of Condensed Milk for making Tea----a huge problem for Sudhir who NEEDS only Fresh Milk in his Tea!!Well in this case we had no choice---but eating only Dried Fish,Pulses,Beans as well as Onions/Potatoes was becomingt repetitively irritating---I mean one does need Fresh Fish and Meat---as well as Vegetables and Salads too!!There would be a scramble to secure and hoard these items whenever it was safe enough for the Shops to open for a few hours-----my Freezer was totally crammed to the hilt with packets of Sausages,Bacon,Chicken and Goat Meat as well as Fish---and the Larder loaded with tins of Sardines,Milk Powder and Condensed milk----I literally distributed loads of these latter items when the situation became normal!!
Not just that we'd all be cooped up at home with very little Entertainment except stepping on each other's toes---my two daughters together with Ritu---the three were enough to turn any sane person mad!!These three would crack stupid jokes--totallly absurd ones---and then giggle away for hours together---all the three just ate,slept,irritated me when they were awake and then slept again!!As if that was not enough they'd cheat at every Game of Carrom,Boggle or Scrabble---creating such a pandemonium---enough to deafen anyone sitting in the same room!!Add to that our little Darling Da Tuna(Tina)---my tiny miniature Lhasa Apso.Strawberry Blonde with huge Sherry coloured eyes with a dark ring around them she used her good looks to her advantage.Perpetually hungry Madame Da Tuna would just have to look meltingly at any of her subjects and she'd be in clover!!Thanks to this she was fat as in fat---and waddled around the house when not transported room to room by her subjects.Pampered to the extreme, she'd turn up her snub nose at Dal and Rice when the Meat Stocks in the Freezer ran out---till finally in desperation Mummy came up with the Idea of adding a tiny bit of Dried Fish to it----the smell was enticing enough for Madame Da Tuna to wolf the much despised Dal -Rice down!!Despite all the discomfort there were plenty of light moments too!!
This is one Incident I'll never forget!!There was firing going on in the narrow lanes and by lanes surrounding our Complex.The first time the Police opened fire in our vicinity they warned us on the Public Microphones they carried to stay put in our homes---just in case any bullet accidentally went astray.This was enough to panic Ritu--all of 105 kgs.then.She began rushing through the house pulling all the Curtains shut---calling out that the Curtains would surely deflect any bullet that strayed our way!!After she finished drawing all the Curtains and her panic subsided a bit she became aware of the fact that all of us were convulsed with laughter---much to her chagrin!!Not just this both Sayali and Ritu are Comic Raconteurs---while Lotta is their ideal Audience---giggling away uncontrollably to each of their Anecdotes!!Not just that---many are the nights we spent by Candle Light with the Music System playing softly in the background---sitting just totally still--driftng with the Melody!!
For me this was an opportunity to finish wrapping up all the Wedding Gifts that we were giving to Mehul's Family---as well as all of Lotta's Trousseau---luckily I'd bought enough Wrapping Paper and Cello Tape before things went out of hand!!Even if I do say it myself---all the Gifts turned up beautifully wrapped---so much so that Manju Ben--Lotta's Mother-in-Law said she was hard pressed to unwrap her Gifts---according to her it was vandalism to open the Gifts!!
I have to admit that though it was a terrifying period in our lives it enriched our lives too---the enforced captivity brought us even closer to each other and made us bond even tighter!!!
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