Thursday, July 18, 2013

Is Love really sefless? Or above survival?

She loved him. More than anyone or anything else in this life. He loved her too. They were married for more than 3 years now and still had the same chemistry between them. If not same, better. Living together had made them even more considerate of each other’s needs. Nainika sincerely believed they were soul mates and not really just partners who had loved, got married and settle down. Everybody knew they were perfect for each other and she could never thank God enough for what she had in her life. A nice family, supportive in-laws, a God-sent husband, a good career. When she folded her hands to prayer, she didn't know what to ask. Instead she thanked God a million times for all that He had blessed her with.
 Nainika waited for Manik impatiently on the bed. As they started to get cozy and intimate, she told him, "I love you so much. I think I can die for you". Manik was not really pleased with the D-word. It put out his mood. But Nainika kindly explained to him that she had said that only because she was too afraid of death and it's unpredictability. But ever since Manik had made her life so beautiful, she wouldn't mind giving it away for him, rather than ever have to live without him. Manik understood and kissed her with all the passion in his heart. The night wore on and so did the love.
 Manik shouted "Naini, come here. Look at the beautiful view". Nainika carefully made her way off-track and went in the direction where Manik stood. She exclaimed when she saw a small lake surrounded by beautiful mountains, lush green grass, completely concealed in a corner in the middle of the jungle. Immediately, they both decided to run down and steal a quick kiss. Manik helped Nainika down to the lake where they sat down admiring nature's beauty, looking into each other's eyes, stolen kisses and breathless promises were made.
 As it started to turn dark, they realized they had sat there far longer they had planned to. They started on the trek again, oblivious of the facts that they were completely on the wrong trail. As night fell, and stars appeared in the sky, they reached a huge waterfall that was nowhere in the trail they had been following. But they decided to rest the night there and follow up with their friends in the morning. Both of them were tired to their bones. Nainika was quite terrified too. The darkness and the eerie silence made her uncomfortable and she jumped at the slightest noise. Manik held her in his arms and soothed her like a baby. After a while they both fell asleep.
 Nainika woke up with a start. She thought she had heard some noises, but since she didn't want to disturb Manik, she kept still. But now she was sure there was some wild animal waiting to make them his next meal. But what came out of the adjacent bushes got the better of her scariest nightmares. She saw a herd of men, more like tribals, who wear only leaves around their genitalia. They held spears and pointed it at them as a threating gesture. Nainika shook Manik up and for a couple of uncomfortable seconds, no one spoke a word.
Assuaging the situation, Manik finally spoke up, "Wh-What do you want?"
Immediately Manik and Nainika were separated and bound with thick ropes. The tribals did not say a word to them and spoke excitedly amongst themselves in a language that both Manik and Nainika couldn't decipher. They both tried to calm each other and said their “I Love You” in English and Hindi. At about 3'o clock they both were forcibly taken near the huge waterfall they had earlier encountered on their way. Manik was stammering and Nainika crying. With fear. Finally, after much persuasion from them, their chief, a menacingly looking man, came forward and spoke some broken Hindi. Manik and Nainika froze. They ears were buzzing as if somebody had boxed them. "Sacrifice...1....man...woman....good luck...rain...happy....god".
It didn't take them long to realize that these tribals wanted to sacrifice and throw one of them down the waterfall to appease the rain gods. But they didn't know who would be chosen.
Just then, another bomb dropped on them. The chief tribal pointed his spear towards Nainika and asked her to be brought forward. Nainika took one look down the waterfall, then looked at Manik with horror in her eyes and stepped forward. And then the chief spoke again, "you decide....who goes to the God".
The sacrifice was to be made at the crack of dawn. Both of them were hung on poles with their hand and legs tied apart. Below them, they could see the waterfall gushing, as if prophesizing its mightiness. Both Manik and Nainika were speechless. The only words they both could hear were "I love you Manik. I could die for you"!
Nainika jumped and woke up with a start. She was sweating profusely despite the air conditioning in the room. Nainika was bewildered as she realized she had been in a horrible dream and started crying. Manik sat up, confused and looked at the clock. It was 5'o clock in the morning and sun was just about to rise. Manik laughed softly when he heard that his wife was crying due to a nightmare. He gave her some water to drink, calmed her down and went back to sleep. Nainika, however, could not sleep.
 She kept tossing and turning. Only she knew in her heart the terror she had gone through. It was real. She could feel the fear of death in her ribs and heart and that the prospect of dying had put a lot of things in perspective for her. Including the love she had for Manik. And more importantly, herself. She kept thinking whose name she would have taken in the dream. She wanted to hear herself say Manik, but she knew better. She had just seen another facet of the human mind.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Women and (anti)feminism!

As I grow older with each passing day, I realize how difficult it is to be a woman in this world. And no, I won't start talking about women abuse, female infanticide and bride burning - typical women abuse at the hands of men. The culprits here are the other women. Women, I see, are extreme and quick to judge other women. And hence I have come to believe that a certain part of abuse in our society goes on only because there are other women out there who are watching you move every muscle and quick to pounce on any step that seems non-committal.

Slowly, I understand how strong women have to be especially the ones who are celebrities or in limelight.
The cleavage is judged - too high (trying to act Sita), too low (they all are whores!).
The hemline of the dress - too short (why is she wearing it anyway!), too long (she's such a matron!)
The makeup, the shoes, the career choices, the personal choices - everything!
Too many boyfriends - these girls are like that only. No moral character!
The ones that don't disclose their personal life - As if we don't know they are sleeping around with everyone that can help them with their careers!
The ones who loose baby fat quickly - Isn't that SO wrong? Why do they have babies when they can't even take care of them?
The ones who don't - What is she even thinking? Look at her...looking like her husband's mother!

One would think this kind of bullying existed only for the celebrated celebrities. But no sir. All of us women are made to feel like "celebrated", albeit in a twisted way!

I have friends who work in the same company as their husbands or have similar work schedules. Yet they go home and manage the house including cooking the meals. Now, if the two people involved here are happy doing it, where's the problem? With the other women of course. They will be quick to judge the husband, "all men are like that", "girls have to do all the work after marriage" etc etc.
There are some like me who prefer to relax, read and write after the office hours and H is absolutely fine with it. We have a maid who cooks for us. And yet, I hear this all around, "Haaye, you don't cook for your husband?", "You don't make him breakfast?", "You don't give him lunch?" I mean as long as my husband and I don't have a problem with the "setting", why are all the other women so concerned? I am termed lazy, someone who doesn't take care of the husband too well. All by other women of course. In this case, there hasn't been a single man who has told me this. Instead, they have told me that I am very lucky to have such a husband. I agree sir. No doubts about that. Now why can't our women be like that?

And then there are the interminable comparisons. She does xyz, why don't you? She doesn't do abc, why should you? Why o why is it so difficult to understand that all of us are different in our natures and probably want different things from our lives. And hence we don't do xyz or want to do abc. You don't know a f***ing thing about anyone's journey of life. How they reached where they are right now. Probably they had/not had to take some pretty tough decisions. You can't question choices. There is no right or wrong. They are all individual prerogatives. God made us a certain way for some reason. Let's respect that. Can we, please?

And then the unsolicited advice. Please cut us some slack ladies. If we want it, we will ask for it. Like you don't dole out your extra cash, it would be such a relief if you stopped doing that with the stash of free advises you carry around in your secret armor and fling at unsuspecting souls. The unmarried will decide when they want to get married, the married will decide when they want to have a kid, the pregnant ladies can decide what kind of food/exercise/doctor/medicine is best for them, and parents can decide if they should have 2/3/4 or more number of kids. You know what? It might come as a shock, but no one really cares about your advice. So please. Save energy. Yours and mine.

Off late, I have this feeling over and over again, that our fight for feminism is against our own self. Against our own. Because for them, nothing is ever right. It's either wrong or grossly wrong. May be they need to learn that my choices suit me best. It, in no way, says that if you agree with my choices, you should do the same. It means that there is a certain way of doing things that works best for me and you are happy to know that. It might/might not work for you. May be we just need to learn to appreciate the good things in our and others' lives and just keep the not-so-good out of focus. I am not sure if that is feminism but that's definitely a key to being happy! Let us be fabulous women and not wo(e)men!!



Friday, July 5, 2013

The Birthday Diaries!

I turned an year older recently. Time to celebrate the beginning of a new one? Or to grieve the loss of one? I didn't do either. I have never been too big on birthdays. Going berserk and celebrating and partying is not my style. The idea of a single day to commemorate an entire year doesn't go down too well with me. We grow with each passing day. Shouldn't we be doing our favorite things everyday? Reading, meeting family and taking vacations? :)

But that doesn't mean anything because H won't let the day go by as easily. He makes sure to make it special one way or the other. I love exploring new places, and so the last 2 years we just did that. We took vacations. I wrote about the first one, but never got around to writing about the vacation last year. We had gone to Amritsar and then the picturesque Mcleodgunj. This year, somehow, no plans materialized. The day was completely unplanned and we had just decided to take a leave from office and then decide on the day what we wanted to do.

We met both sets of parents and H's side of grand parents. Then went shopping and bought some stuff that we needed. Had my sweet cousins give us a surprise late evening as they dropped by and we cut the cake before 12. Again.

As for the gift, this is the best that a bibilophile like me could have asked for. Isn't H a sweetheart? :)

From my to-read list!



An angry-birds reading light! ;-)
 Since M (the twin) is in US this year, the birthday cake was cut with the other half watching from skype.
Here goes the twins' birthday cake and the skype session :)


Another one for the day! (courtesy my super awesome office friends)

 This completely unplanned birthday threw up some really unexpected surprises. Like every year, it was a day well spent with wishes from friends and family flying in from all parts of the world. The FB wall was inundated, so was the mail box and the phone was kept ringing. Thank you God for making me feel so blessed year after year :) Thank you much!