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Cheers, to life!

Dear Diary,

There are so many small things going on in life. Nothing of much importance but each one is making my life and each day beautiful.

Things are settling down slowly in our new house. We’re working on making it home. 🙂 I and Tarun put up some paintings and hangings on the walls and that has really brought the house alive. All of them have been gifted to me by my Mom at some point or the other, after my marriage. They are things she bought from her travels. I love the prospect of showing off each of them, my collections, to my friends. I also have three paintings with me which she made herself. I think they are masterpieces, not just because she made them, but because I do think they are a class apart in the art category. If I were to be buried than burnt on my death, I would like to take those paintings to my grave with me. I love them so much. 😛

A dear friend of mine met me after a long time. I had been yearning to meet her for the longest of times and finally, we could, and she came home. I was so happy to be able to call her home. To be able to talk freely to her. I can’t explain but it’s a very valued feeling. The freedom to be able to call a friend home and talk freely.

Yesterday was the first time we had some proper guests coming home. My cousin sister self-invited herself to my place. 😛 So, we had her coming with her 3-month old son and husband. It was a nice feeling to be able to think, prepare, and plan a meal, for guests. It was a lot of work. So much cleaning-up to do. So much preparation of food to be done. Making sure there are minimal leftovers and yet sufficient for all. It was my first time doing all of it, all alone, without any guidance. It was fun. I prepared 2 veggies, apple-raita, cut some fresh fruits and a yummy cold-coffee for them. It was perfect to the T. 🙂

After a long time, I’m thinking back about my ambitions. About what I want in my career. About which way I want to tread my life. And, individually. I have never been stopped by Tarun but I never realized how much I had stopped thinking individually. I was making modifications to my plans to accommodate his. All couples do that, knowingly or unknowingly. But, in the process, I also realized that I didn’t need to. I was just using it as an excuse to avoid the hard work on the path. He can continue to tread his while I continue to tread mine. I’m excited, worried, waiting, yearning, inspired, all at same time.

Smiles
-Hope

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Ever-elusive Love and Marriage

Dear Anay,

You’re barely 4-yr old right now. You have your complete childhood to enjoy and relax. I hope I’m able to give you that. But, time will come when you fall in love and/or decide to get married. Any can happen first. In the two cases possible, following is the kind of ride you can expect.

Love before marriage:

Imagine a strong tide churning through the ocean. Imagine yourself riding a surf boat in it. It is fun, it is thrilling, it is scary, it is unpredictable, and there is little else that can occupy your mind right then. Love is precisely that. Not to mention all the hormones kicking through you in that age. Add the movies selling you dreamy romances and rain-splashing melodrama, the equally-silly friends telling you every time that this is ‘it’. There are such strong emotions that you go through that all other emotions/attachments/priorities/people become meaningless. To be able to go through that and come out safe and wiser is a feat in itself.

My two pence:

1. There will be lot of people you’ll meet in your life’s journey. You’ll make many friends. Some of them will be more special than the rest. Some you would like to keep with you forever in the journey. You don’t need to marry all of them. They can remain in your life forever if you wish them to. So, don’t jump to the conclusion that it is love just because you enjoy being with them.

2. Love is mostly about the feelings/experiences/emotions you’re going through than the other person involved. It’s pretty pretty selfish in the garb of caring/sacrificing/loving the other person. Mostly whatever you do, you’re doing to satisfy your fears, or your whims and fancies, or your dreams. Never think that what you’re going through (hell/heaven) is because of the other person. If the person is not reciprocating the way you wanted them to, don’t reach to the conclusion that this is the end of the world or this is the only person you can ever live with. It is a long journey and there are lot of people in the world. (As of today, 1 billion in Delhi alone!). You’ll find someone else, perhaps even better. Plus, there are many more things in life than just love.

(PS: If you’re reading this post when you’ve already fallen in love (hopefully to a girl!) then I doubt any of it would knock any sense into you. But, for once in life, trust your Mom on this!)

3. If you ever have to decide that whether the feelings you’re going through is really love or not, take the ‘Time and Space Test’. What is that? Give yourself a month of total separation from the person. No contact whatsoever. It would be hard, it would be practically impossible but if it’s looove, it has to be hard to get. Right!? So, try it. If both of you still feel the same way as you used to, even after a month, then yes my son, you’ve indeed found the ever-elusive love. But, if you find out (most likely! 99.9% cases) that it wasn’t, then remember the adage ‘Tu nahi aur sahi, aur nahi aur sahi’. (Means: If not you, then someone else, if not someone else, then some-someone else’)

4. Is she/he the right one for you for life? My Mom, that is your Granny, told me this and I think it is so right when it comes to chosing partners. She said – ‘Chose a partner, whom you can walk proudly with, even after 20 yrs of marriage, into a party full of your social circle (at that time 20 yrs later), and introduce happily to your friends.’ It may sound society-oriented. But, it compiles a lot of things in it. A lot of crux in it. Give it a thought. Contemplate on it and if I’ve grown you right, you’ll find it useful and meaningful. You marry only once. Chose wisely.

Love after marriage: to be continued.

Smiles,

Hope

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And finally I separated – Part 2

Dear Diary,

So, as I finally achieved my space and that too peacefully (as much as possible), I learnt couple of things in the process.
1. Honesty is a long road. It’s rough and patchy too. But, in the end, it has great rewards. I wanted to live separately. For a long time. And, because it was a ‘solution’ in my mind, it used to crop up in my mind whenever there was a feud at home. But, because I was honest to myself, I knew that I’m just looking for an escape. In all those occasions, I never accepted this course of action. I cried a lot, I got hurt a lot but I accepted the truth and my mistakes.
In the end, when it finally happened, I knew right from my heart, that I have done my bit. I have tried my level best to make it work and it is not working for me anymore. ‘I am guilt-free’. I don’t feel guilty of breaking a family. I don’t feel guilty of dividing a son from his parents. And because I was honest all this long, my husband knows today that I’m not faking it. He stands by me now only because he knows I’m and have been honest.

2. Breaking relations is always easy, keeping them is difficult:
So many children break apart from their parents. Parting is never easy on parents. No matter what the conditions or reasons are. But, understanding that part is important. Children need to make a conscious effort, keep their wishes/issues/problems at the back and give importance to their parents’ feelings to be able to keep that relation.
Tarun very maturely handled it. He never discussed the minute issues that caused the rift. He didn’t hide the fact but he didn’t detail it either. I was not involved in the discussions that he had with his parents because he knew that my mental state wouldn’t allow me to remain calm. And that helped big-time. All the outbursts happened between the parents and himself. Some may call it manipulation, some may call it being dishonest. But, I believe that in this case it was The Gita driving us – ‘ If one lie helps you save someone’s life, someone’s feelings, it’s better than a hundred truths.’
There were times when I strongly felt that discussing issues is important and healthy in a family and we should discuss it with them. But, Tarun always said that parents get emotional and their pride gets hurt very easily because they have always been so honest in giving their full to us children. And, it’s true. Parents never do things for themselves. They always have the children’s happiness on their minds all the time. Now, when times are better, I realize that bringing up those minute issues would have only caused discomfort and long-time-hurt in our hearts. Breaking out without opening that Pandora’s box has been the best decision. Because we can now continue to visit them happily. There’s no hurt in anyone’s heart. They see us happy and it makes them happy. They have learnt to make their lives without us and they are finding their happiness in that too. We’re trying our level best to make them feel close and connected always. Whether it is through continuing the family tradition of celebrating anniversaries, birthdays together, or through making a conscious effort and taking them out to movie, or by ensuring that we visit every weekend.
These are all small steps which are helping in healing and maintaining the bond.

3. Relatives, Society, and my parents:
In all this process, I tried to involve my side of the family at the last. I have never been a strong supporter of discussing my marital problems with my Mom/Dad. I feel like that adds to the negativity and brings unnecessary sorrow in their hearts thinking that their daughter is not happy. So, while I was going all through this, I never shared my issues with them. When we had started our dialogues with Tarun’s parents, I then shared with my parents. As expected, they were critical of my decision and weren’t supporting. But, because they understood that Tarun is supporting me they didn’t object vehemently either.
In this complete process, as things unfolded, I found my Mom being the only person supporting my decision ‘openly’. She understood how big a step it was, she understood how hard we were trying to keep things easy for my in-laws, and she understood my need of moving out. And, she openly supported it. Even when her brothers and sisters were feeling shameful on how I had brought dishonor to their family by breaking such a good home. She became my voice and totally supported my decision saying that it is better to get out of a derogatory situation than continuing to live in at be regretful later. The children have given all the financial support to their parents, and are still continuing to do that. They are taking all the burden on themselves. So, they are doing right by trying to work towards their happiness. So, nothing is wrong in that. Just because it is not the societal norm as of now, doesn’t mean it has to be wrong.
It was a major step. And, though I wasn’t looking for support, or least expecting it, I realized I very much needed it in this time.

And, while I faced rejections from my side’s family relations, I found astounding support from Tarun’s relations. All the Buas came forward in supporting and cajoling my MIL in this process. None of them ridiculed her or sent comments to make her feel deserted or anything. They supported her and I am so thankful to all of them for that.
That’s with the society, if it supports you, it makes life so much easier. Just because it has the capacity to make it so much difficult otherwise.

4. Anay:
I knew it will not be easy on the 4-yr old. His concept of family is when all 5 of us are together with him (Badi Amma, Chhoti Amma, Daadu, Papa. Mummy) and that was changing. When I broke the news to him, he asked me only 1-2 questions while internalizing all the news. I told him that we would be moving to this new flat, and only the 3 of us would be going there. He asked me where Amma-Daadu would be living and I told him they will continue to live in our old flat. He asked me if I would be leaving him with them? And, I said ‘how would Mumma like without my Anay. Mumma will always be with Anay’.
And that’s all he needed to know. We had to leave him with Amma for one day, while we settled things at the new place and he was very unhappy and cranky there. We got him with us the very next day and he easily moved with us.

The changes have been many. Times have been difficult for him. Both me and Tarun are trying to make it better for him. Time that could be spent at home are being moved to times at a day-care. It’s not likable. It’s not fun. But, a 4-yr old is not cribbing then I would say I am very blessed to have such a 4-yr old. I hope God gives me all the senses to make it worthwhile for him. And, not let him miss on anything. I strongly believe that things will work out in our favor.

Dear God, be with me.

Thanks,
Hope