Divorce/ Marriage 

With the supreme court’s latest decision to allow men to divorce wives if they refuse to take care of his parents, I find this a common topic of conversation on lunch tables these days. 

People have asked me of my opinion and I’ve replied in a single line – “if it is that big a point of contention between the two (partners), probably it’s good to get separated”. 

With that answer, people make their own judgements about me. I will never know what exactly is that. Perhaps, that I’m too casual about divorce, just as so many of my generation are these days. For one, I never cared much about other people’s opinion. It’s often as narrow-visioned as guessing a picture by looking at a pixel. Second, I know marriage is work, a lot of hard work to give up that easily. So if two people have reached the point of divorce, things are pretty bad already. 
Coming back to the court’s ruling, why is it so big a deal? Is it the first time that people will separate because of parents? People may give various reasons but many a times the underlying reason is the parents. It’s now only made easier by the court’s ruling that you don’t need to hunt or cook up a reason; and say it for what it is. Yes..the society is not comfortable with it, of course! Because societies are often made of ‘parents’. Parents, who get together and decide what will be considered acceptable and what not. I better not start or how utterly distasteful I find that.

Have you ever observed that usually when two people get divorced, they are not the ones explaining themselves or their reasons. It’s their individual set of parents. And, more usual than not, the parents are furthermore poor souls if they accept, in public, their child’s decision as correct. They are put to further turmoil, shame and explanations if they say they stand by their daughter/son’s decision of ending the marriage. The pressure of this society is so much that they cannot help but succumb to it and must ill – mouth the son-in-law/daughter – in-law to justify their child’s decision . Whether they believe in it or not. No matter what their personal thoughts are.  

In such highly entwined and complicated setup, imagine their plight if it was public knowledge that divorce happened because of ‘them’. Their life would become a never – ending nightmare!! 

So, does this mean the supreme court’s ruling is wrong? Or, does it mean, the way our society is threaded, that’s wrong?

I think, I’ve two points to make here. One, when a marriage breaks, each one is equally responsible – the partners, both set of parents. In their own way. So, rather than demonising,  bad – mouthing the other party, accept your bit of mistake. And move on. Full stop. Stop explaining to people. Stop finding faults. It’s already a very bad time for you because something you had been working on for years, fell out. Just deal with yourself and let the world deal with themselves, on their own. 

Second, understand that marriage is a lot of work. It’s not just getting that boy/girl finally and making that perfect home or honeymoon with. Get your expectations right and be prepared to work on building relationships. Both man and the wife. Make that effort to build that with your in-laws. And it’s not just the girl’s responsibility to build it. The boy needs to act as a translator, a bridge between her and his parents. You need to make efforts to adjust things in this new setup. It takes years and sometimes it still doesn’t work out.  You make hard choices in its course, but before you make those, you need to trust the first choice you made – your partner. If you believe that was the right choice for you, and you did the right thing in marrying him/her, let the world go to hell but you don’t give up on your marriage. No matter who’s on the other side. His/her parents or yours! 

Lucknow Diaries

Dear Diary,

I went to Lucknow recently. Every time I told anyone I was going there, people asked me – why? So, I think it’s important I explain why I went to Lucknow. Well, FIL had a pharmaceutical expo there that he needed to attend. Tarun had to accompany him. So, I had a choice of staying back alone with Anay or tagging along with them. Hence, I chose the latter. 🙂

I always like visiting new places and they need not be touristy. I like seeing how people live in various parts of the country. India is such a culturally-rich place, there is so much variety and variation in the days and lives of people, it’s unbelievable. Money definitely plays a major role in it but a lot is the kind of place, the people and their tendencies which also decide what kind of life people live. e.g. Anyone who has big money in Delhi would be living in a lavish house / wearing expensive clothes/ owning flashy cars. People MUST show-off their wealth here. It’s the way of life. It’s a norm. It’s something you cannot escape. However, if you were living in Bangalore with the same kind of money, this may not necessarily be true. I know for a fact that they don’t necessarily spend on clothes or houses or cars. What is their evil-spending, I don’t know. I’m sure there must be something because no society is perfect, but this is just one way where the two places differ, despite being metropolitans. Hence, I believe, each place has a unique way of living and I enjoy seeing that.

Lucknow is a well-developed city. We stayed at Hotel Clarks Awadh in Hazratganj, Lucknow. We chose the hotel because the expo was held here and because we needed to be close to FIL and Tarun participating in the expo, we thought it better to book in the same hotel. I think it turned out to be a wise decision.
It’s a typical business hotel and hence I wouldn’t say I enjoyed my stay very much. Most of the business hotels are over-priced. Except clean lodgings and a functional TV, I don’t see how they are anyway better than a 3-star hotel. And the kind of prices they charge, their services are at-best average. The food was not very good and the services varied based on the time you order. I was traveling with my 6-yr old son and there was no way of keeping him busy in that hotel. There’s nothing around to pass your time. They claim to have gardens but they are untended to. Mosquitoes and unattended grass makes you steer clear. My son killed time watching TV and waiting anxiously for evening to come so we could all go out somewhere. Keeping some board games is hardly a challenge for a hotel of this standard. Anyways.

Coming to Lucknow, the city. Ahh! Politics and Power flow in the air in Lucknow. Yes, I knew Lucknow is the capital city of UP but living in Delhi, which is the state where Central Govt stays, I never felt this what I felt in Lucknow. 🙂 The fact that Rahul Gandhi was holding a rally for the upcoming elections, nearby, only deepened it in the atmosphere. People in white kurtas, school boys ganging up in groups, marching along roads, random college boys chanting slogans at public places, everything is about power and politics there.
The hotel lobby was a wonderful place to sit and watch all this unfolding. Police officers, at least 40 of them, from all ranks, holding a meeting in the same hotel. There were folks from Dainik Jaagran who had some conference happening in the hotel. I think the hotel is a hub for power people. I even saw a call girl (if I gather correct) crossing the lobby to the lift for rooms. What makes me think she was that? Well, I did eye her a little more than usual, when I saw that her dress ended barely under her hips. It didn’t mean much. It wasn’t a surprise when I saw the men-folk watch her intently either. Rather, it was interesting slow motion play of people turning around, taking off their goggles, or trying to hide yet unable to hide that they want to take a good look at her. All these were normal and didn’t bring me the idea that she maybe that. It was when she was questioned by the Hotel Manager who was standing at the lift gate at that time, about her room no and if she was checked-in there or visiting someone. She did answer him alright but she returned from her room in about 10 mins, wearing a skirt full-length, which was a sure-shot giveaway. That was completely a case of ‘chor ki daadhi mein tinka’.
It’s all so filmy- when I think back about it. The way our movies portray political areas, people, the little details, it all is pretty much the same. Interesting.

Well, I didn’t remember Lucknow as a political hub when I went there but I’ll remember it as that from now on. 🙂

Tourist-wise, I wanted to eat good food in Lucknow as I had heard a lot about it. I wanted to see if I get the ‘tehzeeb’ in the spoken language as people claim. Well, if you’re a vegetarian, there’s not much that you get. Whatever special is there, it’s in the non-veg department. For us, we pretty much found a good restaurant only at the end of our 3-day trip. We were mostly hunting for a decent place otherwise. There’s a Moti Mahal Hotel on MG road (if I’m not mistaken about location). It was awesome. It had two floors, we went to basement and that had all fast-food in it. We didn;t know they were demarcated like that but the staff and owner/manager were pretty adjusting. They helped us a lot, from arranging things from other floor, if we wanted, to arranging milk for Anay, which they didn’t keep themselves, otherwise. I think it may have been because we were a group of 6 and hence, a good order. But, whatever it was, I would praise them for the good salesmanship and services. You barely see that in Delhi-NCR anymore.
There’s a Ma-Durgma hotel which is perhaps told to you by one and all, if you ask for Veg hotel. They’ll say go there for good veg food but trust me it’s one place you would want to avoid. We went only once and we found the Paneer dishes half-cooked. I don’t know if we went to some wrong place or what but the location was same.
On the contrary, if you visit Lucknow, you must visit ‘Sharmaji Chai Wale’. As the name suggests, yes, it is only for tea and snacks. But, if you don’t eat samosa/buns + chai there in the morning, you miss the lucknow mix-of-people. It’s amazing the number of people who come to it. From college types to people in swanky cars, there are orders pouring in from everywhere, there are people flocking the place from all walks of life. The best part is, it opens early in morning so you can do a samosa-chai breakfast. Try it. Totally worth it. Just for the experience. The local-feeling. Awesome.
Oh yeah, the dialect, well, let’s just say, it’s a UP guy in the garb of a lucknow tehzeeb. So, you will find people using soft words like ‘aap’ and ‘aapki marzi hum to bas keh sakte hain’ but trying to con you in everything (the trait people connect to UP). 😀
Places – we visited the Bada Imaambaara and the Ambedkar Park by Mayawati. Because of my knee problem, I couldn’t go in to see the maze inside Bada Imambara. But, sitting there on the Masjid steps, on a Sunday evening, with so many Muslim families casually spending time, was a wonderful experience in itself. Children playing in park, watching the group of relatives together spending a casual evening, a MIL teaching her newly-wed daughter-in-law (or daughter?) on how to tie her hijaab properly, affectionately. Cousins teasing the new bride. The husband trying to get some time in the whole setup, shy yet open. Elder bhabhi helping them in their cause. 😀 It was watching how emotions and relations play out in a conservative yet loving atmosphere. No friction. All composite. All together. 🙂

Ambedkar park was beautiful just because of the open expanse of sky that it provides. You can gaze up at the clouds and the sky changing colors in the evening. It was peaceful and fun. We co-incidentally went there twice. Once at night and second time at dusk-time. It was empty at night time so gave a different experience. It was beautiful skywatch at dusk but the kind of people visiting the place marred the experience. You cannot help but realize it is UP.

Overall, nice refreshing trip.

One thing I was left wondering at the end of it all.  Why do people move from such states/places to Delhi-NCR!? I look at the infrastructure, the facilities, I see a mini-model of Delhi, just a lot cleaner, more spacious. I see people with decent money living in kothis instead of high-rise rat-holes of apartments. I see people more relaxed and enjoying their lives so much more. Is it that a mirage drives us all? From Lucknow/Ludhiana to Delhi and from Delhi – US/Australia? Is it seriously just that? I feel if you’re decently placed in your state, having the potential to do better in your state, you must strive for that. Delhi is one place where no one has roots and no one can ever develop those. The roots you can get, you have gotten from your state, don’t deprive your children from that. This comes from a child who has lived and grown up in Delhi and now tries again to make a place for her children in Delhi.

Take care
-Hope

Of allowing human-ness

Dear Diary,

No one likes to be shouted at. Yet, none of us think that before we yell at someone.

No one likes to be called stupid. Yet, we never think twice before we call someone stupid.

No one is perfect. Yet, we never tire from pointing out people’s imperfections.

From today on, I’ll try to stay more calm. I’ll try to not shout or frown upon people. I’ll try not to bad-mouth people even when I’m gossiping lame stuff over tea.

It’s impossible to accept everything. Sometimes, it is important to tell people they’re doing it wrong. But, there’s always a better way of saying the same thing. Instead of saying – ‘you should know this, you stupid!’, I can say – ‘Why don’t you take another look at this and see if you can find the reason. I think you will. If not, please do come back and I’ll explain”.

More importantly, I’ll try not to feel anger at people’s imperfections. The key is not just to NOT show anger. It’s more important to not feel it either. Otherwise, anger keeps piling inside of us and it comes out with double force next time. So, it’s crucial to accept people as humans. Humans, capable of making mistakes, not everyone is at the same mile in the long journey. Some maybe ahead of us, some may still be behind. Let’s accept people as they are. Let’s allow them to be humans.

-Hope

Dreams and Depression

Dear Diary,

I’m a city-girl. I’ve lived and loved the city for as long as I remember. Even when I visited my relatives (who lived in a town, instead of a city. Not really a village, so to speak), I enjoyed it only for a couple days, and that too for the yummy food and complete freedom to watch TV. I don’t remember being drawn to the farmlands or the … anything else that maybe coming with it. Village/farms always depicted mosquitoes, open poops and blatant stares from mensfolk to me.

I see that changing now. I feel growing distant from the city-life now. From the madness, all time rush. From the pollution and the diseases. From the running and the show-off. From the fake faces and the pretended relationships. I feel caged in this life..in the routine that I’ve created for myself. Tarun says we should accept it. It’s time to accept that this is the life we have created and we should work on it to improve it. We should stop wandering.

I’m not yet ready to settle, I guess.

I don’t want to accept this as my final. This as my life for eternity. If this is all, what’s the point of living the life anymore. Life is to be explored. Do something unique. I need something to look forward to.

2016 has been tough on me. There have been so many happenings which have shaken my philosophy of life that it is all about ambitions and enjoying yourself. It has shown me that life is about cherishing your loved-ones too. It’s a responsibility you need to carry. With every person you get attached to, or you attach to yourself, you need to take care of him/her. And that is a huge responsibility. Just to love is not enough. You must love enough to care and sacrifice too. In health and in illness. In the crests and the lows.

As I try to manage both work and family, I realize I’m constantly choosing work over family. Sometimes, it is a choice I want to make. Sometimes it’s a choice that people around me force on me. Whatever maybe the reason, this is the choice I’m living. And hence it is ‘my choice’. Tarun says I should not be so hard on myself. We’re doing everything in our capacity to give our best to Anay. But, unless we give him a sound health when he grows up, I don’t think anything less is acceptable. No matter how much quality time we spend with him, no matter how many nights we cry ourselves to sleep over his health, no matter how much we spend on taking care of his needs – if in the end, if he’s not healthy, it all goes to waste. And, unless I give him that, I won’t be able to forgive myself. And, I’ll hold myself guilty. No matter who says what.

And a life away from this city-rush is what I dream to give him. A home with a backyard garden. A clean air to breathe. A respectable humble family who loves him and for whom he means the world.

I see this going somewhere. I see my heart and mind seeing a solution to this. But, is it a solution Tarun wants? Perhaps not. Perhaps yes.

Reminds me of a dialogue from a Hindi movie – this has become my feeling these days –
“Main udna chahta hoon, daudna chahta hoon, girna bhi chahta hoon … bus rukna nahi chahta”

(I want to fly, I want to run, I even want to fall … I just don’t want to stop)

– Hope

Of destiny and choices

Following is a poem I wrote long ago, on May 17,2009, to be precise.
ना मेरा कोई धर्म, ना मेरी कोई धारा 

ना मेरी कोई इच्छा, ना मेरी कोई सीमा
बस मेरी एक नियति, और उसके हाथों की कठपुतली मैं.
ना मेरा कोई संगी, ना किसी की मैं
ना मेरे गुज़रे कल का आज पर असर, ना मेरे आज का आते कल से नाता
बस मेरी एक नियति, और उसके हाथों की कठपुतली मैं.
ना कुछ नया पा लेने की आशा, ना कुछ अपना खो देने का गम
ना टूटे सपनों का मोल, ना नए सपनों को बुनने का मन
बस मेरी एक नियति, और उसके हाथों की कठपुतली मैं.
हाँ, एक सवाल है —- नियति से….
‘कब तक? इसी तरह….कब तक?’
It has been 7 yrs ever since. This question, the question that who controls whom? Why destiny? And if it’s all destined, then why me? Why me in this world…why the illusion that I control my life. Why dream if all is pre-destined?
This question had remained with me all this while. I now seem to have reached its answer.

The answer is – you don’t control what happens in your life. You control how you react to it. Your reaction is your choice. What happens is destiny. What you do about it is your choice. And this choice shapes what follows in your life.

I often felt distraught when I couldn’t achieve what I worked really hard for. Like when I was preparing for IIT, or when I prepared for my MBA. I think the division became more visible when I lost my MBA interview. I knew this was my last trial. I knew I would be getting a call from a particular college. And, I did. I got through first round but as destiny would have it, I wasn’t able to prepare for my second round. I was so distracted and moon-eyed that I didn’t prepare at all. All this when I had been working my ass off for the full year, and so many years before it.
I hated my destiny. I hated God for making a fool of me. Why make me yearn for a thing so much when I’m not supposed to get it!? The thought burnt my mind and somewhere the memory of those painful times, still haunt me. I wrote the above poem somewhere around that time.

As life happened, I got married, I kept turning back to my dream of MBA. I kept thinking that if I really wanted it, being a mother, or a working-woman shouldn’t stop me from achieving it. If it’s my dream, I should be able to still work for it and get it. But, I realized, first, it was no more useful or meaningful for my career. Then I realized, it was not even the life I wanted any more. I did want to have the name of a prestigious school to my name. I really did want the stamp that I was an intelligent and important person in the society.
Now, I understand, even after doing MBA, there are thousands of people who’re actually starting from a much lower position than us engineers. But, I also realized was what I actually wanted from it was, some intelligent, thinking people in whose company I spend my days. I wanted to be an important person in my company and I had somehow attached that importance to ‘MBA’.

Now, all these years later, I realize our view of ‘result’ and God’s view of ‘result’ are totally different. I had attached ‘result’ to ‘getting an admission to b-school’. God attached result to a ‘good company and importance at work’. I achieved that and yet I somehow never acknowledged it, or realized it. I just never looked at it that way. I kept crying over what I lost and never valued what I already had.

Now, when I tread through tough times, I make decision each day. Some would say that’s destiny. But now I know these are choices. My choices.

It’s funny that a friend had posted the exact same thing in my comments, when I had posted the poem. All that while ago. And yet, I didn’t understand it. 🙂

Blogger DxA said…
This is just a perspective , that you believe that this poem carries a tinge of negativity .AMay be because you wrote it in that frame of mind.Look it from a neutral point of view.You ‘ll find it equally positive.For that’s what I saw this poem as – a poem that talks about being boundless – not being bounded by religion ,desires,relations,experiences.You are being driven by destiny.Negativity comes when you question it.A very good friend of mine, once said , “There is nothing called destiny,it’s all choices We make.Just that we don’t realize it.”Have a closer look.You ‘ll realize what you call as destiny were actually decisions taken by You.”

Reminds me of the quote in Harry Potter by our very own J K Rowling:

“But he understood at last what Dumbledore had been trying to tell him. It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew — and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents — that there was all the difference in the world.

My Pandora’s Box

Dear Diary,

As you know already, I talk a lot. More than the usual standards. And, if I compare with what I write, I usually don’t talk about things that I write. So, I have a set of things I talk on and I’ve a completely different set that I write about. And, then, there are some thoughts that never make it to my tongue or my pen. So, they are left unshared, lost in the dark corners of my Pandora’s box.

I’m surprised at the number of thoughts that inhabit my Pandora’s box aka my mind. I was thinking I’ll start writing them all down but even before I start, I know my hands will get tired but the thoughts won’t stop. Plus, not to mention the time constraints that already are.

Sometimes, I feel my mind is cluttered and has become a dustbin of sorts. But, other times, when my mind is actually perplexed and has a problem to solve, and when I trace my thought-line, it leads me to a solution. In a way, I feel like the thoughts are my conversations with God which help me get to the answer of life’s problems – big or small.

Why do I have so many thoughts? Does everyone think so much? And that too, so much variety? How do you empty your mind of all these? Is it even required to get rid of them?

-Hope

Some indulgence – a little time for self-pity, May I?

Dear Diary,

It’s only been two days since the school reopened and I already feel washed out. We both wake up at 5-5:30 AM to ensure we finish everything and rush to office. We must reach by 8.00 AM if we want to take out time in the middle of the day for picking Anay and settling him home.

So, now, the schedule is that Tarun comes home to take Anay from his school bus at 1.00 PM and settles him at home. I start by 2.00 PM from my office and reach by 2:30 PM so that Tarun can reach back his office by 2:50 -3.00 PM. Then I work from home from 2:30 – 5.00 PM thus finishing my day of work. Tarun stays late at work and can only start back by 7.00 PM. Till this time, Anay is already tired and bored waiting for Tarun to come and take him to the pool. In the meanwhile, I prepare dinner and prepare for the next morning meals.

Yesterday was the first day of this marathon that both of us have signed ourselves up for, for this full school year. And, to prepare me for it, my maid didn’t come yesterday. So, there I was, trying to think positive, and making me believe that it’s better than any gymming that I’ll do. My body will perhaps thank me for it. I was on my feet from 5:30 PM – 9.00 PM. No exaggeration.

Aah! Needless to say, second day of waking up at 5:30 AM, and I’m already feeling dizzy and light-headed.

Okay. So, I’m done with my self-pity. Yes, this wasn’t going to be easy. Pretty much everyone is waiting for this arrangement to fail. So, I must try extra hard to make this work. Best part of the day? Watching my son gleam with joy on seeing me back home early. He could ask his Mom for soupy noodles anytime he wanted. I can’t explain the satisfaction that one simple demand gave me. That’s all.. this all is for.

Thanks,

Hope