Friday, November 24, 2006

Things I Want to Do...

but haven't been able to find time for:
  1. Cook something new: With my mom- and sis-in-law visiting, I have hardly done any cooking lately. While I am enjoying this 'sitting back and watching with the Guy enjoying Momma's cooking' phase, I miss the pleasure of cooking for us.
  2. Go out and do something new: I'd like to go sight-seeing, visit some historical site, climb some hill, go to some museum - basically do something we haven't done together before.
  3. Go for walks: I don't think we've walked any distance since our vacation last month.
  4. Go for a long leisurely dinner out.
  5. Go shopping - without feeling too tired to try something on or having to rush because we have to go on to the next thing.
  6. Get a haircut: This one's been pending for weeks.
  7. Read: We bought some books on Monday and I haven't had time to read even the jackets! Plus there are a few old ones I've been wanting to reread. Not to speak of all the management and economics books I have been telling myself I should read...
  8. Go for a really long bike ride.
  9. Invite friends over for dinner.
  10. Have a quiet homecooked dinner at home, complete with candles and flowers on the table.

Guess I have to wait some more time... Life's really busy at present.

(And yeah, you guessed right - the Guy reads this space.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Beliefs

What makes me different? What makes me me?

Let me explain two things today that are part of who I am, two things that appear conflicting to others but stem from my beliefs, my mind - my vegetarianism and my atheism.

I am from a part of the country where vegetarianism is an anomaly, where a vegetarian meal is considered frugal. Always irreverent towards custom, I even indulged in beef, that holy cow of the Hindus (unfortunately, failing to shock my liberal parents, which took away most of the fun of the experiment). While I laughed or argued vehemently at disparaging remarks of acquaintances, my love for meat - while never interfering with my spiritual well-being - always troubled my animal-loving nature. (Have you ever gone to buy chicken for your dinner? Have you seen the cramped poor conditions the birds are kept in, and the inhuman painful way they are slaughtered? I cringed each time I saw it - yet, hypocritically, still enjoyed my chicken curry dinner.) I first experimented with vegetarianism not out of the best intentions - more out of spite, of the stubbornness that does not turn down a dare. I switched back to non-vegetarianism after a couple of years, but never took to it with the same gusto. Now I am back to being a vegetarian and - surprise - never miss non-vegetarian food.

Let me recount another about-turn in my personality. People who know me now for the confirmed atheist I am may be surprised to learn that I was once a devout believer, if not overtly religious. I believed worship is personal and hated loud/intruding forms of religion. But I was also rational, and sometimes I felt my religious beliefs did not seem logical. I pushed those doubts aside because I did not feel strong enough to face the world without a benevolent 'Heavenly Father' to make everything come right in the end.

A few years ago, my dad was in the hospital in another city battling cancer, and I was at home praying hard for him. At first, my faith helped - it gave me strength. But then, doubts began to creep in. I asked myself, will this help? Is there really someone out there who’s got no other business but to make things right for me? It did not seem to ring true. I had thought, earlier too, that God doesn’t really exist – people had made him up to feel stronger, to feel safe in the belief that nothing could go really wrong as he was there to fix everything. I wanted that belief, that strength. I felt lost without it. But all of a sudden, I couldn’t believe any more - much as I needed that belief in my moment of trial. Once I had looked myself in the eye and acknowledged what my mind was saying to me, I could not continue to fool myself. I realized that belief in God was a weakness, and I could do without it. I could be mature enough to look at the world and realize that this is all we have, no perfect heaven exists, no all-powerful maker who would make things right for you. Only you can change things for yourself…

My belief made me weaker – because I had no faith, and little hope – but it made me stronger too, because I was strong enough to deal with it all. I have not yet broken down. And it has not made me any less moral. My values, my principles, are not in the least weaker – they may even have got stronger, because the only reason I have for following them is my own conviction, and that is all the reason anyone should have.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Why is it that mist suddenly makes everything seem more mysterious and beautiful?
Why is it that the sun seems milder and more inviting through that winter veil?
Why is it that hills look lovelier, the grass a more beautiful green?
Why does even my dull house take on new dimensions?

Why do we think more fondly of friends not with us?
Why do we remember with longing moments that are past?
Why does love lost seem so much more desirable?
Why are chances not taken so much more regretted?

Do I only like the mist because it veils reality?
Do I only like poetry because it is not as stark as prose?
Do I like fiction because it is not fact?
Do I like dreaming because it keeps me from life?

Or is it because reality behind the mist seems much more meaningful,
Because the destination seems worth the journey,
Because the meeting seems worth the waiting,
And life is so much more worth living when it has a sprinkle of romance...


I had written this a year ago, and was reminded of it when we rode home some nights ago... While winter is Delhi is a different experience altogether - the biting winds, the thicker-than-soup fog, and the days at post-graduate school it reminds me of - the mist that has appeared and the cold wind that has been blowing the last few nights seem to promise that winter is descending on Pune...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Romantic Guys?

Some guys will notice your dress and appearance and never fail to compliment.
Others don’t notice if you’re wearing eyeliner because they’re looking into your eyes.

Some guys will surprise you with a candlelit dinner and a lavish gift on your birthday – but will not remember how you like your coffee.
Others will give you a modest bouquet on your birthday but will wash the dishes after dinner.

Some guys will offer to pay for all your dates but will be unfailingly late showing up.
Others will graciously accept your offer to share, willingly lend you money when you need it, and call when they can’t make it on time.

Some guys will get jealous when you talk to an attractive man at work.
Others will laugh with you when you tell them you find that new guy in office attractive, but dumb.

Some guys will cook a lavish lunch for you once a month – and leave a princely mess in the kitchen.
Others will sit by you while you cook and help you clear up.

Some guys will tell you each day that they love you.
Others will show it by picking up all the things you drop so that your backache doesn’t get worse, by laughing and kissing you on the forehead when you’ve misplaced something of his worth 2000 bucks, by sitting by your bed on an uncomfortable chair and holding your hand all night when cramps keep you from sleeping.
And some guys do both.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Week in Review

We finally saw Lage Raho Munnabhai on Wednesday. We left office with less than half hour to go before show-time, and with a sudden shower of rain dampening our spirits. We walked out and took a rickshaw (neither of us felt enthusiastic about a bike ride in the rain). The streets were full of puddles, and my bare legs were splashed (so much for wearing a skirt). We came to a stop before some construction blocking the road, and walked a hundred metres dodging traffic and puddles before we reached the shelter of the movie theater. With no time for a snack, we picked up a (totally un-delicious) sandwich from the food counter. The movie had already started when we walked in.

But it was all worth it. All the waiting, the hesitation, the reluctance to see the movie (what if it, too, turns out disappointing, like all others we've seen in recent times?) culminated in two and a half hours of laughter, emotion, and respect (for the moviemakers? or for the man referred to as Bapu?)

Having a generally low opinion of sequels, I had expected to see some repetitive humour, some boring patriotic drivel, some holier-than-thou preaching. The humour was rib-tickling, but what I really liked about the movie was the portrayal of the Mahatma as a sensible, concerned fatherly figure. You feel he would have approved.

It wasn't as logical or "real"as I like movies to be. But definitely worth a watch (and some muddy splashes on my high-heeled legs).

Cut to yesterday. The Guy's mentor (who works in the US office) is on a visit here. Her husband, who also works in our company, was also here too for a week ending yesterday, and we had invited them to lunch for a homecooked vegetarian Indian meal.

Unfortunately, a party Friday night disagreed with him and he didn't feel well enough to come. Disappointing, considering that I was busy cooking when her phone call came. (Not to speak of the fact that the Guy had tidied up the house - but then, that's a good thing.) She did come over last night, however, after her husband left to catch his flight, and we had a lovely evening. We had our first guest over as a couple, and I cooked my first meal for guests - with success. Let me pat myself on the back.

Another pat on the back - we haven't had any meals out this entire week (except for the snacks during the movie). We seem to be turning into an ideal couple - isn't that a scary thought?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'm Back!

Nearly four weeks have gone by since I got married. The days went by in a whirl - celebrating, meeting relatives, travelling - and now we are back in our home. On the surface, not much has changed. We go to work together every morning as usual, and I take a rickshaw home in the evening if the Guy's going to be late. But something is different - something that cannot be defined by the fact that I can now wear a red mark on my forehead when it suits me or wear a saree to work if I feel like it. With the dust settled down, I feel not any different from what I was a month ago - celebrations, sindoor, jewellery notwithstanding. But those few words I spoke at the registrar's office made me legally bound to the Guy whom I now call my husband. And while nothing has changed between us, in the eyes of the world we now stand together.