Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Random ramblings - part 2


I have never understood women who state loftily, “My hubby is my best friend” in social do’s and more importantly where everyone who does not stay in Mars is found these days, i.e. – Facebook.

Seriously?

First of all I am not fond of husbands being called Hubby; it sounds pretty wannabe. And secondly lady, how can you not have managed to get yourself a best friend all these years, given that the average age of maiden marriage among urban Indian women have risen to 22.2 years? All the years in school, neighbourhood parks, inter school fests, tuition classes you never made a friend who could be promoted to the best friend category? You waited for holy matrimony to grant you a best friend? N-I-C-E.

Of course these women remind me of those girls during my teens, who claimed, ‘My mother is my best friend’. Yawn. Like you discuss everything with mothers! I mean those girls were so tedious they should have killed themselves for inflicting such boredom on others and I had just started feeling lucky that I don’t need to interact with such types anymore but hell no! At my ripe old age I still come across these mind numbing ones.

How can a husband equate a best friend? Yes, if one has married well, by ‘well’ I mean a moderately sane guy, a husband can definitely be one of you trusted, dependable friend, who doubles up as a responsible housemate and an affectionate co-parent. But best friend….nah.



Best friends are born when one person says to another, “You too? Ha, I thought I was the only one!” Yes that is how you define a BFF. That person who knows all your scams dude; the person who has seen you with the most horrible haircut, knows your family’s mess (and trust you me most families have some secrets or the other), well aware of the stupidest fling you had and is the first person you call up when you need to crib about your mother-in-law unreasonable behaviour. Thirty plus years on this planet I have witnessed that at some point most mother-in-laws do behave unreasonably; I mean for God’s sake even your own mother does. And yes you crib about your own mother to your best friend too. That friend is also the one you nudge when you come across once in five years, a real Hot (with capital H) guy.

And then again best friends don’t go on a diet because you are fat. I know men who had to enrol in ‘couple diets’ or some such silly sounding programme because wifey (another wannabe terminology) needed to fit in some strange dress for cousin’s wedding. I am not joking.

Best friends are okay with you even when they have seen your ugliest, meanest side. They do not approve of it, but they still tolerate you. I dare any of those ‘Hubby best friend’ types to show their real, absolutely unabashed creepy self to their spouses. One never does. Marriage in a strange way always has a veneer of political correctness.  You can get angry and call your best an ass**e. Can you seriously get away calling your husband names when angry?

Maybe the women with best friend husbands don’t have secrets to share. Or maybe they live in those nice bubble houses where everything is always perfect and always fine.

Except methinks they are missing out on fun. For God’s sake Husbands take you out for lunch, best friends eat up our lunch as and when they are hungryJ. They act as a therapist, a sibling you never had (for the only child like yours truly), your mom when mommy love is not immediately available and yes at times they act your worst enemy because they push you that much harder to excel.

I for one am happy to have one BFF, some real close friends and of course an old alcohol buddy cum loafing partner as a Husband. And thank God, these categories have not merged into one person.

However, my BFF and Husband both have names that start with ‘S’; coincidence that’s it.
BFF's -The ones with whom you have 'whose wristlet is better contest"


                                                                  *******

Monday, 30 July 2012

The stereotyped Mrs Lonely



So, I was watching this movie titled “Charulata 2011” yesterday. Honestly, every other channel was a drag and since this seemed like one of the-coming-of-age Bengali movies, I felt like giving it a shot.
It featured the perfectly oval shaped, doe eyed Rituparna S, who wore lovely muted coloured sarees, Fab India ghera skirts along with interesting accessories, had perfect eye make up and salon straightened hair that fell over half her face like a curtain throughout the movie, barring a few scenes. Maybe that was the director’s idea of creating a mysterious woman out of an ordinary one; personally speaking if you have hair all over your face and see through only one eye, you will end up having a muddled view of the world, like the protagonist in this film did!

Shot mostly indoors, in an aesthetically done up apartment (or do Bengalis still refer to them as ‘flat’ like they did a decade back?) this is the story of a Tagore loving, lonely, well off (husband is a well known editor) identity crisis facing housewife who starts chatting with a stranger. Her chat ID is ‘Charulata 2011’ (oh gosh, don’t tell me it took her that many years to create a chat ID) and the person with whom she chats, invariably a guy who calls himself ‘Amol’. The characters are based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novella ‘Nostoneer’ which we all (anyone who sees movies apart from Bol Bacchan genre) knows has been immortalized by Ray's celluloid classic "Charulata’.

Now, this particular blog is not about the two movies. However, I needed to set the tone. I mean this blog is about decoding marriage and after watching that confused protagonist for nearly 2 hours (I actually started surfing other channels) I have one question. Why do so many lonely, bored housewives in movies and novels end up in a sexual relationship with some random guy (sometimes you also have ex boyfriends featuring in this role) whom she starts fancying? Is that THE only idea of entertainment? Does a short fling have the power to set you free?

And are these characters for real? Educated women who keep drinking coffee and staring out of their window looking as if she is going to be executed the very next moment (they always have that sulky, no one loves me, main duniya bhula dungi expression) and has absolutely no idea what they want with their lives? Life looks simple enough for these stereotypes, get bored + go for shopping + if still bored+ start re reading / leafing through favourite novels or crib about the lack of a child in your life/ if you have one crib about how much they drive you up the wall + if still, still bored + start developing feelings for strangers?
Is that how one defines one’s existence? Who are these so-called ‘Charu’s’? How would they react if their husband indulges in some dalliance behind their back? Or is it because women think ‘liberty’ is defined by extra marital affairs?

I do know of a few who have the same idea about life…but then how much do I know?
These women or characters if I may address them seem to be perpetually bored of their life and their husband. But then, obviously you cannot be bored by someone else’s husband. It has to be your own. The husbands are all standard types, ones who wear pinstripes and keep staring intently at their laptop or Blackberry/ Galaxy S3..what ever is the latest craze. But they are honest, hardworking folks who work that hard because they need to pay the EMI’s, I suppose. No running away from this three letter word in today’s world. Until and unless you father has the Ambani surname and you are in that father’s good book!

However bored they are, these bored housewives (I somehow liked the term ‘desperate housewives more) interestingly do not want to let go of the material comforts provided by the so-called boring, does-not-pay-me-attention husbands. And the authors/ movie makers never show THE reason behind that. How can a husband who needs to earn a certain package to be able to afford the yearly ‘we-vacationed in Spain/ Greece/ Turkey’ keep paying their wives attention or serenade her with flowers every evening? Either they do that or they get the moolah. Poor souls. Kaam karo to problem, na karo to problem. Must be taxing living with at-mind-still-a-teenager wife perpetually!

So the lonely ladies, very conveniently make up their mind that salvation lies in the arms of a man who has ample free time to constantly talk/ chat and provide “gosh I am so concerned about your loneliness” kind of emotional support. As well wishers, they never seem to tell the lonely friend that maybe she should go out and realize that the world is actually in a huge mess and maybe she can use her education and sensitivity to eradicate some of that mess rather than whining. But no, these guys go on mouthing the same, boring lines decade after decade.

What is beyond my understanding is what these ‘other’ guys do for a living? They seem to be musically inclined (ah stereotypes) and either play guitar or flute; the more adventurous among them also play violins/ saxophone I guess. But besides chatting up lonely ladies and playing the instrument (pun intended) what else do they do? How come they never have those boring conference calls and non ending meetings where no one comes to a conclusion? When for days you are zombied not to chat even with yourself, what kind of corporates hires them? The management must comprise real kind souls….I need a job in one of those companies. Pronto. Or maybe they are what people call the ‘creative ‘types? FYI: I have never understood the ‘must be’ equation between indiscipline and creativity; can’t disciplined people be creative? Or like other stereotypes, this must also be catered to?

In the Indian movies and novels, of course most of those ‘Seeta bani Silk’ type women suffer from severe guilt pangs after their indiscretion! Like really? Maybe they think playing footsie and dipping their finger in chocolate sauce to feed a guy falls under ‘innocent asexual acts by grown up women’ category. And they imagine that the creative, guitar playing soul just wants to stare deep into her eyes for the rest of his life!
A friend of mine long back had a similar fling scenario and then had the audacity to bawl her heart out as if she was forced into it. Sympathy had eluded me even then. If you as an adult decided on something, then at least have the guts to own up to your behaviour and decision!

My personal suggestion to the not too interesting to keep his wife’s attention fixed on him, wealthy husbands; start implementing the following, basic steps:
A) Cut down the allowance. I mean Baby you need an iPad, go gift yourself one. Don’t keep asking Daddy for cookies. That way, Mrs. Lonely will realize for herself that money does not grow on trees and you really need to work your ass off and that’s slightly more tedious than selecting the right upholstery and matching curtains. Priorities will be sorted and dear boredom will be given a miss, hopefully.
B) Sack the cook, maid, driver, and gardener, the entire contingent. When the meal has to be  actually rustled up, nah not the I can cook a delicious ‘Malabari prawn’, but the everyday breakfast/ lunch/ dinner and the siesta interchanged with real digging of the plants and getting the perfectly manicured hands dirty, one will start realizing that there’s more to life than filing nails and cultivating boredom as a hobby.

The movie made me realize I have zero tolerance for those who keep looking for happiness and solution elsewhere rather than doing some soul searching. A marriage needs attention and nurturing. By both the parties. One indifferent and one escapist cannot make a marriage work.

I must actually start researching on ‘how to be less bored in your marriage’ for my next blog. I may end up with an eureka moment and motivate an entire bored lot to do interesting, crazier things in life ;)
That way, I’ll be saved from watching and reading about these stereotyped characters.

 ******

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The A Day


The GIFTS:)
The mega event in the yearly marital calendar came and went.
Am referring to the anniversary, of course!  The day when the entire world and its cousin expects you to dress up, be serenaded with flowers and showered with love and gifts (not necessarily in that order) and have an overtly expensive dinner at some city ‘hot spot’; candles and wine glass in frame. Terribly clich├ęd, but when was the last time impulsiveness was hailed as a virtue? Oh the ‘must do’ list includes posting the ‘our platinum moment’ pictures on virtual world. After all if the world and its cousin do not ‘like’ the way you went about THE DAY how can you feel satisfied that it was indeed well spent?

Over the years, I have suggested loads of out-of-the box, “how to spend your anniversary in style” ideas to THE HUSBAND, relations and friends; the ideas have been trashed. But let me still share few in brief, maybe some reader at some corner will appreciate my creative streak!
1.      I had once proposed to THE HUSBAND that instead of the expected nonsense, maybe we should each prepare a short, crisp 4 slide ppt. The language can be all floral (quotes from favourite poet/movie, anecdotes from real life etc) with visually breathtaking slides which can be discussed in a cozy meeting room set up (rose petals, champagne et all) where KRA’s for our marriage, way forward for the coming year and the ‘highs and lows’ for the current year can be discussed with some soul stirring music in the background.
Reaction: THE HUSBAND y-a-w-n-e-d
2.      On my aunt’s 25th marriage anniversary, I had strongly recommended learning a few, well coordinated dance moves, a la Karan Johar movies; the whole point was we all could break into a cute jig whenever there was a happy occasion in the family. 
Reaction: Those present gave a nervous giggle and showed ZERO commitment!
3.      A friend who had (at least on three counts in a span of 1 year) mentioned that some zing is required to spice up her life was recommended lessons in belly dancing to seduce the husband. FYI: This idea was inspired by a Turkish set up Mills & Boon I had devoured during my teens.
Reaction: Demotivated look. Raising one cocky eyebrow, she retorted, “Am not spending money and effort to seduce my own husband!”

Well, since no one pays attention to my absolutely mind blowing ideas, I decided to just go with the flow this time.
The day started as expected (but not desired) with lots of chaos. Happens when you entertain two dogs who think they are the masters of the house. Trust me, when you wake up to such pandemonium, your well rehearsed opening line for the day, gets goofed up. I ended up spending the next 1 hour with a severe frown, accentuating the lines that require immediate botox attention. During the lovely breakfast comprising of Maggie, we discussed impending EMI’s. I just love these romantic topics; they make me realize my purpose on this planet. Just so that we can be hailed as different from other couples we know and share our marital woes with, we decided to go for an ‘anniv lunch’ and not dinner. How distinctly different is that!

THE HUSBAND had apparently called and booked a table in some ‘awesome terrace view’ restaurant (he actually spent 10 minutes of his precious time googling!!) but did not bother getting landmarks to reach that place. He instructed his personal secretary, that’s me, (in case you have better ideas), to book a cab. Nah, not a Rolls or Merc; just the regular, shabby Indica from the neighbourhood car rental. He was in a mood to drink and hence needed to be driven.

THE HUSBAND loftily asked the driver to take us to the ‘reserved a table’ place. Driver gave a heart wrenching smile. No, he has absolutely no idea where this place is. HUSBAND angrily flipped his phone and dialed the number (he also looked at me expectantly to dial it for him, but I promptly looked the other way) and informed in a resigned voice “No one is answering”. Lovely. Just the start you need for an ‘anniversary lunch’. We roamed around aimlessly for the next 20 minutes. We reached a road which had a have-eaten-many-times restaurant and a never-eaten-before joint on the opposite side. While I wanted to explore new one, THE HUSBAND wanted to stick to the safe option. Argument followed which was suspended half way since hunger pangs were at work!
Food was great, drinks better. We drank as if there is no tomorrow and indulged in intense conversations. Not with each other but with the Manager, a fellow Bengali. THE HUSBAND’s gift for me was pending, so we agreed (for once) that we must stop over at the mall for ‘gift exchange programme’ on our way back. Efficiency is my middle name; I had delivered his gift a month in advance. Semi drunk and giggly, we staggered in the mall and stood smiling without any reason in front of a crockery counter when it was pre decided that our goal is the perfume counter. One of us nudged the other; we somehow managed to pick up the right fragrance and reached back home without any mishap.
Evening was like it should be. Usual high IQ argument topics ranged from who should have disciplined the dogs when there was still time to why do we always end up watching mindless ‘MTV Roadies’ audition. More drinks followed. Laziness reached its supreme peak; not only did we both refuse to cook, THE HUSBAND even advised that since the walk from the living room to the main entrance is like covering a half marathon, we should not indulge in the idea of ordering food either! FYI: Its actually just 20 steps
Munching on butterless, cheeseless, jamless bread we solemnly pledged to tolerate each other for one more year. We are confident about the coming year of togetherness. As long as there are arguments and alcohol, we are sorted.
Between, a site informed that each anniversary is actually named after the kind of gifts a couple should exchange.
1st- paper
2nd - cotton
3rd - leather
4th - silk or flowers
5th - wood
6th - iron or candy
7th - copper or wool
8th - bronze or rubber
9th - pottery
10th - tin
11th - steel
12th - linen
13th - lace
14th - ivory
15th - crystal
20th - china
25th - silver
30th - pearl
35th - coral
40th - ruby
45th - sapphire
50th - gold
55th - emerald
60th - diamond