Random musings of a wandering soul

Archive for the ‘marriage’ Category

Zen and the Art of Pillion Riding

img_6461

Dreams come true, always. The best part is, sometimes it happens even if you are not longing  for it. In the small town that I grew up in, it was only a brother’s bike that a girl could hop on. Or a husband’s. In either case, the girl sat demurely, with both legs on one side, wearing a salwar or saree. Not much fun. We got to see the adventurous ones only on movie screens. Was it Priya Raman or Amala that ignited a spark, I don’t remember. Anyway, the dream was short lived and life went on to other dreams.

Many years later, I asked a colleague of mine for a lift. There is a smile on my face as I remember his answer, ” I’m on a bike, are you sure?” “The boring auditor on my bike?” he might have wondered. The crazy and often unpredictable twists and turns of life gave a poetic answer to that question, for I landed a permanent position on his bike and in his heart. The rides were short lived as we moved on to dignified seats in a red Maruti 800.

Ten years and eight four wheelers later, there was a sigh, ” I want to buy a super bike.” The answer was a surprise, he says, “What’s stopping you?”

Riding together is like living together. It takes time, to find the rhythm. First came the cult one, the Yamaha MT – 01. The macho, muscled one. A killer in looks and power, his first love and mine too. For a sedentary pack of lazybones that I was, the speedster Suzuki GSXR was beyond reach. That was for the boy that lived on inside the man’s heart. To race , on road and on tracks. Life then moved on to adventure and touring. We had ‘Triumph’-ed. The Tiger Explorer XC

Geared up, the test ride if one could say so was to home base. Bangalore to Kochi and back, in the heat of summer. We don’t take things halfway, you see.

That was more than two years ago. A few brief rides in between, it was as if life and its routine hassles had taken over. Some incidents and certain people shake you out of your reverie, reminds you that you may not have all the time in the world, for all the things you wanted to do in life. And thus started the best phase, and it goes on.

It’s the rhythm. Each bike, every rider, has one. Takes time , effort and an open mind for the pillion rider to find it. Especially for one like me, who doesn’t even ride a bicycle. Most of us girls when young, have this romantic notion of a fast paced bike, you hugging the rider tight, a beatific smile on your faces, and your long and silky hair waving along in the wind. Reality check. Life is harsh. The first shock, “Can you move a little away?” “How dare he? Where is all the love? The romance?” I was livid. It took a few hours of ride in the scorching sun for realisation to dawn. The heavy leather that covers your entire body, add the protective stuff over almost every joint, the balaclava and the helmet and then an equally heavy body on your back? Even the hulk would balk.

The first lesson – space. As in life, we need our own. Not to separate, but to enjoy the brief moments of connect. Over time you realize, as in a good marriage, an overdose of proximity can be suffocating on a ride as well. The brief touch on your knee that asks without words, “are you alright?” It says a lot, much more than a thousand and one meaningless utterings of love. Khalil Gibran must have been a rider, I’m sure. What he said of marriage , is exactly what a rider would say,

” But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”

The seasons. They change, from mile to mile.

The Sun. He is gentle in the mornings, warming your face and waking you up. As the day goes on, it gets harsh, burns you down, scorches your throat, sucks the life giving water out of you. Short breaks, splashes of water on your face and down your throat, you are ready again. To face whatever comes along. Together.

The rains. You can either get wet or dance in it. Wasn’t it Bob Marley who said something to that effect?  Another wise one. It was on the ride back from Goa. Two and half hours of it. Glorious rain, in all forms. First, a drizzle. Then the tantalising one, on and off, a gentle downpour now, disappearing after a few minutes, only to come back then. The harsh one, from an impossible angle, like pin pricks on your body. The mighty one next. Along with the wind, threatening to topple you. Flooded roads, the gale forcing your whole body to a side, it’s a dangerous one. You can sense the rider struggling to keep his balance, slowing down to keep his rhythm, taking care his fellow rider is safe. Life. When it shakes you up, follow the lead. Move with him, this is not the time to go solo. As you ride out, you know that was one of the best phases. Wet to the core, yet lit with joy. The dance of a life time.

The wind. The life saver, the life giver. Can be a killer too, when it gets too hot to handle. Changing from moment to moment, it can soothe you, cajole you back into life or burn and scorch you. Doesn’t give you much choice, the only choice, go with it. Ride it out, without complaints. Because, the best is yet to be.

The curves. Season, you ask? Oh girl, you just have no clue, I say. Have you taken that bypass from Salem to Coimbatore? The one that goes over the highway? The sharp curve on that? That was my first one. Next best thing to being an eagle, its like soaring in the high skies. Wings steady and strong, floating in the wind. Some think they are dangerous, it’s all how you take it, is all I can say. Perfect moments of togetherness, two as one, just space and rhythm. It’s in you, to turn it into a graceful dance. Or not. The most dangerous moments, they can be the best of all. Be in sync and make it. Go alone and break it.

Many a ride and more curves later, I realize riding pillion is like Tao. Let go. Go with the flow. Follow the wind. Just be.

And, enjoy the curves. Better still, live for them!

Advertisements

Vodafone Mornings

breakfast
Life has been a hectic merry go round for the past few weeks. Sometimes, a wish that you had made long ago comes true all of a sudden, surprising even you, ever so plesantly. From the day we moved to Bangalore, I have been telling all and sundry that this is where we are going to settle, without having the faintest of ideas how. See, the problem is my tastes are very simple, I love only the best 🙂 Even heaven and earth and all of ourselves put together may not have been enough to afford the best in Bangalore. But then, isn’t good, better and best all relative? Anyway, now I know for sure that when you really long for something, at least some part of the universe joins in your conspiracy.

So we moved away from the heart of the city to one of its arteries, into our ‘own’ apartment. Kids love the place, lot of space and friends galore, their universe is total bliss these days. School for daughter is a bit tough, though. She has to continue in her current school till the end of the year and this is close to our old place. So mother starts her day even earlier, cajoling, coaxing and finally hollering, shocking the daughter out of her peaceful slumber. In the process, mother has turned into a horrendous morning grouch. My lips curl into even a semblance of smile only after adequate amounts of caffeine have spread across my veins along with some amount of solids in the digestive tract. The poor little one, whose definition of time is her very own, gets the brunt of it. Till the father bear had to tag along one morning last week, and took to me to this place for breakfast.
air 2 Tucked under the shade of some huge trees at the corner of a busy Lavelle Road, its always been packed whenever we’ve been there, usually in the evenings and sometimes late at night too. None of the business district spohistication and niceties, the Airlines Hotel looks like a very basic eatery, a lodge attached to it as well as a branch of Bangalore’s favorite ice cream place, ‘The Corner House’. Appearances can be deceptive is a saying that you quickly agree to, as you see the eclectic mix of people hanging around in groups. Boys and girls in casual attire, half of them with a cigarette hanging in between their fingers, intellectual type salt and pepper haired men and women in their Fabindia attire, loud and boisterous families with their women in garish outfits and more glitter on them than a Christmas Tree in Times Square, this place presents you with a slice of Bangalore. Food is good, specially the crisp dosas, the hot jalebis fresh from the frying pan with the sugar syrup oozing out tantalizingly and the steaming hot chai in those nostalgic long glasses instead of the prim and proper cups and saucers.

Going back to the morning, the place looked as if it had just had its morning bath. The marble top tables washed anew, the blue chairs wiped clean, a cool breeze gently wafting in and rustling the leaves of the twin banyan trees that stand guard to the place. It was as though we had entered the peaceful precincts of an ashram. The mood suddenly shifted from the early morning sullenness that was borne from an almost automatic expectation of a hectic day at work, to a near meditative feeling. The silence was more intimate than the most eloquent of words.

This has become a morning ritual now, albeit alone. After the shouts , stomps and the mad rush, I find myself at one of the tables, with a book in one hand and a crisp vada in the other, dipping into a bowl of perfect sambar and thick coconut chutney. It feels like heaven, or maybe it is moments like these that heaven is actually made of.

And on the almost forty odd kilometers that I cover every morning, Prthivi keeps me company. Prithvi who, you ask? I love the incessant banter on the FM radios and that is where all the bits and pieces of bollywood gossip is gathered and I get to know of what is happening in and around the city. And this guy who runs the show ‘Vodafone Mornings’ from 7.30 11 AM on 94.3 FM in an absolute riot. Some may not like his whacky sense of humor, as for me, I just adore him. The retorts are instant, quirky and on your face. He flirts with men and women alike and the best part of the show is the ‘Birthday Bakra’. With no sun film on the car windows, people have started giving me weird looks when I break into splits while listening to this absolutely no holds barred pulling one’s legs program.

You see, every cloud does have a silver lining. Always a night person, I could stay awake till 4 AM, but could never get up at that time. The only thing that drags me out of my bed at these unearthly hours is a feeling of dread that the kids will miss school, it has actually happened a few times. I curse everyone and everything under the sun , mutter the worst profanities under my breath (the kids still have that illusion that they have a fairly decent mother, don’t want to spoil that) threatens my family that I am walking out on them (hoping that they do not call my bluff) and generally feel totally depressed and unhappy about life. And then I step out from these dark clouds of my mind onto a rainbow of serenity and calm. And all is well with the world and its inhabitants.

Happy Vodafone morning, afternoon, evening and night, my friends!

It’s the Animal Instinct

Daughter and I have a morning ritual. If she wakes up as soon as I call her, she gets a half an hour reading session before school. Added bonus is she gets to select the books. Instinctively, the little feet goes towards the book shelf and the chubby fingers pull out one from the ‘A Child’s First Library of Learning’ set. The whole set cost me a bomb more than five years ago, but I don’t regret even a paisa of it. Son grew up devouring it, now followed by his sister.

Let me not digress. Books give you some great insights on life most of the times. Sometimes it is so hilariously true. This one reminded me of what my mother used to say when we talked about life, marriage, men and the works.

Here goes today’s lesson…


This is what I liked the best 😀

Mummy used to say, “You know what, men generaly get amnesia the moment they get married. They forget everything that they knew, sometimes including simple things like making their own bed or even picking up their clothes from the floor”

😀

Have a great weekend!!

Wonderful Tonight

The family came in when we were half way through our dinner. Husband and wife in their late forties, a teenaged son and another son who was ready to get in to his teens. A weekday evening in Kochi, we were the only ones in the restaurant. Maybe that’s why I started watching them. A typical father and mother talking to their kids, discussing the routine things in life. Very much at ease with each other, they portrayed a typical couple probably after twenty years of their marriage. They sat looking through the menu, passing a comment here and there, admonishing the lively younger one now and then.

The band – a lone guy strumming on his guitar – started playing. Maybe he didn’t feel too enthused with the crowd of just two tables that day. That is when my client suggested let us give some requests. Going over a few old time favorites, finally we selected this beautiful song. The waiter collected the strip of paper from us, the singer took a look at it and started strumming his guitar and I was watching the family. Suddenly their eyes sparkled, they looked at each other and their eyes conveyed a myriad of emotions in a second and they turned their chairs towards the singer and sat engrossed. Slowly I could see their hands entwining each other. The elder son had seen that paper going from our table and gave me a wink when he caught my eye. He knew this song was a special one in his parent’s lives. It was as if the sun had risen in full at their table and took them a long way back . It was wonderful to watch a small spark kindling something much bigger in an instant. The romantic in me chose to believe that we made their night that day.

And here I dedicate this evergreen number to all friends of mine – the romantics, the not so romantics, even the unromantics. You guys out there, serenade us with our favorite songs, all we need is some tender loving care, a walk by the moonlight, a dinner by the light of some candles, a few stars out in the sky… Happy Weekend everyone!

>When is enough, enough?

>

[Caution :- A long post]

He was suave, flamboyant and known as a ladies man. She was mature, studious and considered to be level headed. They were classmates and acquaintances in the first three years of their engineering and got close to each other in the last year. Both of them landed in Bangalore after getting placed to two well known IT companies. Considered poles apart, when they decided to get married, most of their friends tried to dissuade them. Needless to say, they went right ahead with their plans since their respective families had no problems.

I was the elder sister she had never had, she used to say. We were hostel mates and I knew what was happening in her life from day to day and was privy to the gradual change in their realtionship from being friends to much more than that. We used to keep in touch on and off after they moved to Bangalore and hadn’t met for the last 4-5 years. After being here for more than 5 months we finally met last week.

The first thought that came to my mind when I met her was, “She seems to be so releived than happy to see me.” The story slowly started unfolding.

“There were subtle hints here and there right from the beginning. Certain phone calls which he used to take in another room, some missed calls late in the night. I was so hell bent on proving everyone wrong who said we won’t survive a year that I just ignored all these signs. But for these signs everything was alright between us. Then came our first daughter. I had gone home after my delivery and I could sense a change in his attitude towards me. There was nothing to which I could actually put my fingers on, but something was amiss. After coming back, we were having dinner one day when he got an SMS and I knew this was it. After he went to sleep that day, I went through his phone and my knees just gave way. There were some explicit messages from his best friend’s wife. They were having a rough patch in their life and my husband seemed to have been filling the empty space in the other woman’s life. I just could not believe that this girl who had poured her heart out to me was having an affair with my husband.”

“Why didn’t you confront him then and there?”, I asked.

“Whenever I have confronted him on anything, it has always turned out to be a major fight ending in listing out what is wrong with me and how he made a mistake marrying me.”
I just could not believe my ears. This was a couple everyone considered ideal. Both of them well settled in their careers, two beautiful and smart daughters, is this what was happening inside their closed doors?

She continued with her story, “I checked the messages which were going up and down for a few days. Then I asked him. He didn’t say anything for a day. He then said it was an old friend of his and it was nothing. I knew he was lying but wanted to believe that it was not so. Next day I called up the number and one hello from her and I knew he had lied. As soon as I confronted him, he apologized for causing me so much pain and like a fool I thought that was the end of it.”

I still could not believe this was the same girl whom I knew years back, who used to be so strong willed and not willing to compromise on anything that was against her beliefs. In her own words, “I loved him so much and I was so desperate to make my marriage work. I just could not accept the fact that my husband loved someone else. Somehow, I used to feel that all this happened because I had failed him some way. Moreover, he was a very good father to his daughter and she was also very attached to him. Anyway, one day I just told him that I cannot accept the fact that he had someone else in his life. His answer stumped me- “Why are you so worried? I am not going to leave you and marry anyone else. I love you just the same and you are the most important person in my life.” Like a fool, I did not argue any further. Somehow, days went by, I used to get upset whenever I thought about it and sit by myself and cry.”

A few months after this, she got selected for a six month assignment in the US. She did not discuss this with her husband, just informed him that she will be out of the country for the next few months and that her mother would be there to take care of their daughter. He didn’t say anything. The day she landed and called him, he again started to blame her for everything and even said he could not put up with her mother. The verbal trauma went on for two months, finally she could not take it any more and she came back.

Things were kind of calm for some time after that and they had a second daughter. This time she didn’t go home after the delivery. A few months later she again sensed something amiss. One day she got to see a few mails of his by chance, he had forgotten to log off. She saw a mail which he had sent to the same female telling her how the day spent with her was one of the best days in his life, how much he misses her etc. What shocked her even more was another mail to a friend of hers whom she thought was very close to her. She had discussed almost everything in her life including her husband’s affair with her. And now she sees some mails going up and down between them. She was shocked beyond words. That was not the end of her shocks for the day – the same evening she got a call from her brother. A massive heart attack had snatched away her till then hale and hearty father.

The next few months passed in a numb state. When I met her, she still hadn’t got over her father’s sudden death. I asked her, “So what happens now?”

“Chechi*, after my father’s death, I sat and thought a lot. Finally I have decided that I do not have to take it. But for these mails and messages, I don’t have much to complain in my marraige. He loves me, depends on me for everything and will never leave us. But then, is that enough? What if I had done the same things to him? Would he still have continued to love me? I don’t think so. I have decided to give my life one final chance. This time I am letting it go. The next time something like this happens, he is out of my life. I will never poison my kid’s mind against him since they adore him, but I have had enough. I am so glad I met you today. What would you have done in my place?”

What answer do I give this girl who was so full of life, brought up as the darling of her three brothers? But I knew I did not even have to think before replying to her question. However someone might profess to love you, if he or she does not care about hurting you, the answer will always be a no. Beacuse it is never love, just a convenient way of living. There might be people who are happy with that, but not this girl. She would be crippled for life, she was half way there anyway. Yes, it might be unfair to her daughters but then it is more unfair to bring them up in a place where the trust is lost between their parents. I don’t know whether anything that he does can make up for the pain that he has caused her. She will never look at anyone with the same innocent eyes.

For her sake, I keep hoping she does not have to take that final step. It is so obvious that she loves him so much that the mere thought of leaving him almost shatters her.

Why do people hurt the very same ones that they love? What exactly is this thing we call love? Is it really death do us part in spite of anything that happens? Why does someone risk some very precious things for momentary pleasure? What makes a husband or wife seek something out of their marriage? Where do kids stand in this equation? When is enough, enough?

* Chechi – Elder sister