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Saturday, 28 January 2012

Down memory lane...

Almost half way there, six months of a long one year to be spent all alone..alone.. as in without a husband and with a child..So a little looking back, little reminiscence..as we complete five years of our conjugal life. Yes anniversary , birthdays and all mushy stuff do not play any significant role in our normal lives ,may  be a small gift , may be a dinner out and then normal ending to the day with normal tiffs, fights, next day's worries, some phone calls and our relation steps into another year..May be only when one spends time in unavoidable exiles..there is time..enough time to reflect, introspect.
Marriage, wedding..so mundane so normal..that too an arranged marriage where the groom family responded to the matrimonial published in Sunday edition of ' The Assam Tribune'.( Can"t help suppressing a smile thinking of the little space my matrimonial eligibility occupied in the sunday ' The Assam Tribune') The respondents , the filtration..and the final ' they are coming to see the girl ' occasion. Venue: Delhi 2 BHK apartment in Dwarka..my roommate and her mother went 'out' to make enough space for us.. me baba ma uncle..and the groom party. Hired chair from the neighbourhood Malayali family. ( Me and my room mate stuck to our respective bed rooms and never bothered about any furniture for the hall). Baba venturing alone in the Dwarka market searching for Bengali sandesh/ rashogollas and ending up with strange looking yellow rasgulla look alike..( My husband never fails to remind me till date... 'from where your father got those yellow rashogollas') Then the waiting..baba loitering nervously in balcony as I returned from Gym in the evening and grumbling ' What is the need of going to gym today...' And in the two bed room apartment when the bell rang and uncle opened..I could hear all very well sitting in the adjacent room. I remember seeing a dishevelled guy continuously texting someone with his cell. as I was chatting with my to be in laws. Not at all impressive..but arranged marriage was something I was ready to go into without much expectations and impressions..

Phone calls , meetings, dates and then the decision about the final plunge we made after lunch sitting in CP footpath..nothing remotely romantic..nothing I've ever read in those romance books. Then the wedding, Kerala trip.. and then finally starting life under the same roof, wherein dreams aspirations romance...all get grinded under the double edged sword called ' real life'. Two contrasting working lives..one in shift duty in one of the busiest airports of the country.. another fighting the Delhi traffic driving his way round the city with his clients..and then to his home in another part of the busy city. Sometimes I was leaving the house as he was entering and vice versa, some day he would divert a few km in the airport direction to stop and say' hello' to his wife at the gate of the airport while she had a night shift and somedays simply fight under myriad topics.. your city/my town, your sarkari job/my private one, your parents/my parents, your hi fi taste my crude one, your Naseeruddin Shah/ my Govinda, your Amitav Ghosh/my Dan Brown, your dhinka chikas my Jagjit Singhs... list was endless..The first year was over..and we celebrated our anniversary in ' The Olive Beach' exorbitantly priced..food we could not make anything of..terribly conscious to venture there with our Maruti 800..and yes.. our tussle started when he ordered a second glass of wine..me being a teetotaller. ( Though he repeatedly told me first glass was so tiny he could not get any hang of it) Second year was professionally more turbulent for him.. weighing job options.. deciding on the better of the two, fumbling..settling for the old one..more distance confusion..and then settling down with the confusion.

Third year we were preparing for a new stage of life..parenthood with confusion expectation hesitation..excitement and finally our angel came in this world and with her we could understand and comprehend the term ' responsibility'..yes we spent hours in your responsibility/my responsibility..we never found out whose..and she was turning out to be a delight.. Our staying apart for three months after her birth and my subsequent visits to the hospital..I think that was the time when I knew beneath all my ' independent woman' veneer I was totally and happily dependent on my husband.. And as I struggled for everything .. looking after me and my baby.. I knew how in his presence, all I know is how to blame him for the things he might have done and not done and how to take all the things he does for granted. And as I struggled for doing all the things he would have done so smoothly..I learned to wait for the call starting with  ' +' 0049...wherein I would be directed with full details accurately starting from any odd Delhi address to wherebouts of any odd apparatus in the house. The most pleasant time we had I think.. after he came back..we had a toddler to take care of, manage the demands of two demading jobs..yet there was perhaps a realisation, together it was better..much better. Fourth year comparatively placant less turbulent.. where we almost knew when we would fight.. and to laugh at ourselves when we do..yet fight.. make up..and laugh..That was the year we began to become very good friends..and I/me began to be 'us'.

Fifth year again upheavals for me professionally.. as I roamed from one part of the country to another.. with my toddler..shifting accommodations as changing outfits..fighting with health once again.. This time I learned to long for home enjoying the short meetings after the long long breaks unless the breaks became too long..and the meetings too rare to wait for , to look forward to.. fiftth year would roll into sixth.. as phone calls became infrequent.. fightings less severe..because for fights too a clsoeness a proximity  is necessary..and the warmth of fights does not dissipate over cell phones...Nonetheless this year taught us to wait..to rebuild our broken homes..to wait for togetherness under the 'double edged sword'..to long for something we always took for granted.

Five years.. a small journey in the long path of life...lots to come...litte gone..lots to wait for..little to forget..lots to cherish and remember..

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Barapani Diary...A peek in the city

January chill set in with fanfare..a little bit of drizzle and the new year ushered long.Another year..adding up to the number.. as I get reused to my office chores after my vacation..just gives the feeling another year passed by and I stand here without achieving much. Yes of course 'achievement' is relative. Anyway blogging isn,t about achievement stories rather I,d talk of the little gathering we, most of the office goers had, in the city of Shillong in the new year night thanks to the promotion of my colleague and his enthusiasm in getting us all together for a treat.
 I, with my limited vision expected a gathering at the nearby lake resort and didn,t imagine we would move to the city late in the evening. With this expectation I left my little one at home, it was only when we crossed Orchid ( the lake resort) I realised we were moving to the city.Initial pang of leaving my little one behind..how late I will be.. and what if I get stuck in the traffic fiascos I have heard of.. then I sat back and relaxed. It was then I understood after many days I was going in a drive without a little bundle in my lap and I wasn,t continuously worrying about the little one vomitting in the next curve we cross, without ripping my head off if the anti vomitting medicine is going to work or not...here I was on the outskirts of Shillong at this time of late evening..pine trees zoomed by the window.. Bhupen Hazarika,s ' Shillongore godhuli' ( Dusk of Shillong.. my naive translation) , 'Sitore semeka raati' ( Moist winter night) echoed in my head and a whiff of freedom lingered on in the sultry evening . FM radio too churned out beautiful Lata classics..reminding me of Delhi FM gold.. and the lovely numbers at night.

Shillong New Year
I have hardly ever seen Shillong at night. The working womens' hostel I used to stay earlier.. gates closed at 7 in the evening. Dinner bell rang at 8 sharp. I cant help remembering women and girls of different shapes and sizes, different states of India, aged between 20 to 50 all queuing up in the dining hall for a bowl of watery dal to be sipped with rice and two spoons of sabji..After that some would gather for a gossip, younger lot mostly loitering with the newly acquired mobile phones,( and would you believe it charging phones was not allowed as it would enhance electricity bills.. and how the girls managed..not less than miracle) another group rushing with mugs of water for brushing and other beauty regime because water supply if at all available would stop exactly at 8 and then lights to be switched off  by 11.Though I remember lighting candles after 11 and finishing thrillers. My Shillong night life apart from candle light adventures or gossip with my room mate night ended blissfully at 11.. someimes i stared at the window and watched the deserted foot path near the church showing no sign of life. But this time was different... new year and the whole city dressed up..lights everywhere..all restaurants filled..long queues outside.. As we waited outside.. I was marveling at the outfits both traditional and modern of the women.. their matching ballet shoes,toddlers and teenagers in beautiful boots. I remembered the pink pair of boots I bought for my little one and was glad that I did.

The city and its people looked different from the village near my airport and its people. May be the age old difference between the city and the country. Irreconcilable differences. In the crowd I noticed the bus conductor who comes to airport. His little daughter tied in his back draped in traditional shawl..but for some strange reasons he refused to reckon me..Should I give him the benefit of doubt he did not see us, the group of 14 odd people..Well new year anyway.. and he has the liberty to reckon/ unreckon the people he pleases. Though he would wave to me enthusiastically whenever we met at the airport, exchange some pleasantries.Somehow with the good food,I tasted the feeling of being ' outsider'...The city with its wide arms accepts anyone and the country shuns itself off from everyone. It is only work ,necessity which opens the doors..at least make some perforations in the concrete wall..

We came back.. and my bundle squealed and rushed in my arms.A good beinning to the year..some freedom..some bond.. I hugged my bond tight and took her inside shielding her from the chill.