Looking back on a decade

I thought this post over for days and just haven’t had time to write it down. Well, it was a little of that and a little of – how do you write about the decade that wrought the most change? I went from college girl to mother of two school going children. From utterly dependent on my parents to being home to my children and husband.

Bear with me if the post is incoherent. I learnt a lot about myself and not all of it was pleasant.

– I realised that my image of myself as a career woman was a bit of a joke. I have endlessly put everything else before career – health, sleep, family, love, friends. I’m surprised I still work.  I am also a bit of a jack of all trades and willing to put a finger in every pie available.

– I am not one of the better writers I know, but I don’t know too many people who enjoy the process of putting thoughts into words as much as I do. My writing runs in my blood and I’d be less of a person if I didn’t get this space to express myself.

– I was always a black and white person but I am learning to see greys and appreciate them for what they are. I don’t judge as easily as I did when I began to blog. That said, after much soul searching I realised that the one set of people I judge are *gulp* people who dye their white hair. I know!!! It’s ridiculously silly, but I find myself unable to get over this silly little thing. Hopefully the next decade will make me get over it. Until then, I run my fingers through my old man’s grey hair and kiss his head with a lot of pride and contentment. Thanks for keeping it natural, OA!

– I always knew I wanted kids. I just didn’t realise what it meant to have them. Not even wanting kids can prepare you for what having children can do to your insides. They turn to mush. They also turn your knees to shit.  No seriously, I have had a terrible time learning to be a mother and this considering I so badly wanted it. I have much empathy for unprepared mothers and unwanted pregnancies- imagine how much harder it is for them.

– I am less sympathetic to malingerers and hypochondriacs (in college I’d have indulged them anyway) and have a lot of time for those who don’t fuss. A good pregnant friend just went in to hospital yesterday to get a stitch taken out of her cervix. I was praying for her all day and sent her a text, fully expecting to get no response. I got a reply within seconds. She messaged me while still with the doctor and there was no fuss – just a cheery ‘Yep, it’s out.’ I mentally bowed to her. I am so sick to death of women who act as though they are the first to give birth ever. Just as I am full of affection for those preggies who don’t demand special treatment – I bend backwards to give it to them.

– My cell phone and I no longer have any relationship. From being the person who had a mobile surgically attached to her fingers, I now don’t bother with my phone. I only use it to take pictures. Most often I don’t answer or return calls or text messages for days. I don’t even know where the damn thing is lying and it often runs out of charge and switches off. Friends get mad at me, but I ensure that I reply to emergency messages. At some point I felt this whole immediacy thing was taking over my life. I’ve given up on urgency. If I miss a train, so be it. If I miss a party, never mind. If I don’t talk to you this afternoon, I’m sorry, I still love you, but I just don’t want to take calls when I am working, when I am gardening, when I am reading to my children… I miss the days of landlines when you simply said that ‘Ms XYZ is not available right now.’ End of matter.

– Some things though, never change. Music still makes me tick, big bikes still make me weak at the knees and bad boys still appeal. Books are still the best gift you can give me.

– I’ve discovered a deep love for home and garden. It’s no surprise because I come from a family that has green fingers, but then I never did appreciate or take any interest in it. It’s funny how these things are so deep rooted and surface unexpectedly.

– I’ve tried unsuccessfully to drink and drive – not simultaneously. But I still don’t drive. And I still don’t drink. I am rather tightly wound and the OA and everyone else says a drink would be the perfect answer to my problems. That I’d be able to relax and let go at the end of the day. I did go through a wine phase but I lost interest in that too. I hereby announce a reward for anyone who can teach me to drive. A bigger reward for anyone who can teach me to drink. I assure you, I won’t do them together.

– Given a chance I’d live my life over the same way again, but I can’t help but notice that I’ve done little in the line of self improvement. Most friends are doing yoga, salsa, studying further, forging ahead in their careers, gymming, travelling, reading and doing much more. I on the other hand planned life such that I ended up with two babies by 27 and have never really done anything else. I am hoping that I’ll be done with them at 45 and free to dance, travel, read and salsa, uninterrupted.

-I’ve figured out the meaning of feminism and what it means to me. I’ve also figured out what humanism means – sometimes they are the same thing, sometimes they contradict each other. And I’ve finally figured out that all the -isms on earth mean nothing if you’re doing them only to make a point. They’ve got to mean something to you. And in between this I retain my maiden name and stay home to make a home for my husband and children. I fight for children’s rights, I still dither on my anti-abortion stance and believe in euthanasia. No, there’s no simple answer.

– I’ve learned the meaning of the dead becoming ghosts. They aren’t floaty white figures. They are people who live on in your life. It’s been five years since I lost the mother who raised me, my maternal Grandma. And I still find myself storing away things to ‘go home and tell her.’ I turn around to talk to her. I laugh crazily at a joke she and I are still sharing. I look at the Bean in pleasure and know my grandma is in her in so many ways. Yes, this is what you mean by ghosts haunting you. And its not all bad.

– They say you marry the man who reminds you of your father. The  OA is nothing like my excitable, hot headed, passionate, dark father. The man who brought me up was my tall, calm, reasonable, very fair, Garhwali grandfather and I guess he lived on in my mind as the standard. Which is why after the maddest, wildest relationship with a musician who was just like my birth father, I gave it all up to marry the OA who is exactly like my maternal grandfather. The bitchier people thought I married him because he was a better prospect. The truth is, I married him because it was like coming home after a wild beach party.

– I’ve learnt that love comes in many shapes and forms. It’s a form of energy so it doesn’t really go away. The love that burned wildly and brightly will evolve and become a deep affection. And should you hear that he has had an accident, you’ll still run barefoot to the hospital and offer blood. If you’ve lost the friendship along with the lover, I have deep sympathy for the two of you. And if you ask me, I’ll tell you that I still love them a lot. When I count my blessings, I never fail to count the loves I am still in touch with and who will take my trip royally if given a chance, but still give me a kidney if I need it.  I’ve had some wonderful men become part of my life and the time I spent with them and the relationships I’ve had are priceless. They’ve shaped me and made me the person I am. The OA should send them all Thank You cards.

– I’ve made and lost more friends than I can count. I first thought of it as a personal failing but after a few chats, I’ve realised that a lot of people go through this. Different friends at different times and then you drift away. You still come back if they need you, but you no longer talk twice a day. On the other hand, I was told that you make your best friends in school. I find that untrue in my case. Some of my best friends came after. Some of them were made online, no longer bound by geographical and community constraints. I’ve had some terrible experiences on the net too and been badly betrayed by people I thought were friends, but if you tell me you met your wife online, I no longer judge – I completely understand. And yes, the internet changed my life.

– I’ve faced up to a lot of failings. I hate to be contradicted. I don’t take criticism too well. I hate failing and have no perseverance. I don’t do politics. I have no ambition. I often find I am wasting days and wasting my life. From small things like rearranging my children’s sock drawer, to re-reading a book, I often just wake up to realise that others are getting a lot more done and so could I, if I would just push myself to it.

– On the good side, I realise that I can be generous to a fault and I believe in spoiling people. Everyone. I forgive easily. I love living in the moment. I treasure small things. I work tirelessly if given a job that requires physical labour. I am great in a big crisis although cranky if I break a fingernail. I am passionate about things that matter and my family gets the best of me.

– I have learnt I can lose weight in a jiffy if I put my mind to it but I’ve come to love 34B over W -24. Size zero looks great on a magazine cover, size 14 looks great uncovered. Okay, all bad jokes, but all stuff I really believe. It’s sad that the way we look in photographs matters so much to us that we get them airbrushed. Is that how you capture a beautiful moment in life? To be false? What a waste. This is something that has come to bother me hugely over the years. Also, the weight obsession is scary. I have random people telling me I need to lose weight even as I look at myself in the mirror and love what I see. I eat carbs at every meal, I drink two cups of milk a day, I eat chocolate, I put ghee in my food and I love my life. I could remove all that and cut sugar out of tea and sacrifice my reading hour to the gym, but then what? Skinny and miserable? On the other hand the OA says we’re both complacent because we don’t have a real weight problem yet. Hmmm… he has a point.

– I’ve learnt that I am a tree hugging, earth hugging, cloth diapering, free spirit. And it was all brought out by my children. It’s only when you have someone you want to give your bes tto, that you dig deep to figure yourself out. On the other hand, I am very middle class in a lot of my values and as Dimple Kapadia said in Dil Chahta Hai, I have a huge issue with people and their ‘Chalta hai’ attitude. Sab kuch nahi chalta hai, so please don’t send me SMS that says Dis and Dat. I’ve also gone from the pushover who did others’ laundry at the hostel and woke up at 4 am to make tea for random people, to the woman who only invests time and emotion in those that return it. In that sense, I’ve learnt what matters – finally.

– 17 years in a small town and I was embarrassed by my lack of a simple answer to the question – What are you? Today I smile mysteriously and say ‘Guess?’ or ‘Exotic’. I revel in my ethnic background where once I longer for an answer as basic as I’m Bengali. Or I’m Tamil. Or I’m Gujarati. When my kids ask, I tell them that they’re interesting. They’re unique. They’re special. There is no one on earth who can claim to be like them – Brahmin, Christian, Tamil, Garhwali, Bengali, Konkani, UPite and Delhiite. Is there anyone else with just that blend? Anything less, would be boring. And as I watch their little faces smile and their little brains soak it up, I know that they will deal with it far better than I ever did. I am glad that I’ve learnt to love me.

– I’ve embraced from my heritage what I pushed away thirty years ago. I am more willing to teach the kids to speak Tamil, I make idlis for breakfast twice a week (still no dosas!) and after fighting with the OA to move out of Madras, five years ago, I am now willing to reconsider. I guess I’ve come in to myself and am no longer threatened by what I think will make me lose the essence of the person I am. This time in Madras (yes, I spent X’mas there, which is why there has been no posting), I actually enjoyed myself and realised that I’d manage to deal with the cultural differences if I had to move there. Hey, we even checked out property there!

– As we ran through a check of what we’d have to do if we moved to Madras, I realised I was mentally ticking off the house, the school for the kids and the job for the OA, but nothing for myself. Coming from a family of working women (how many of us had two working grandmothers?!) I am slightly surprised. Clearly this is not social conditioning, but who I am. Family always comes first and this freezing winter evening as the kids, OA and I huddled around a heater drinking hot soup in our bedroom, the Bean singing Sheela ki jawani (she exists to bring me down a peg or two), the Brat chanting dinosaur names, I breathed in deep and stored up the moment. This is what I want and I can take it with me to any city and any state and still be happy. Everything else is so …. unimportant.

– I’ve learnt that the heart is 50% muscle, 50% lycra. There is always room for more. I thought I’d love my parents and brother less once I got a husband and children. But nothing has changed. I still love them to bits and my heart just stretched and accommodated more.  It’s like always having room for dessert, no matter how much you eat at dinner.

– I’ve learnt that you can’t change your basic dislikes. I still hate the kitchen but I’ve made my peace with it and I can throw a good dinner party because I have a good cook, caterer and bakery on speed dial. The idea is to make it happen – you don’t have to do it all yourself. I’ve also realised that the best parties are not those that have the best decor or food. It’s the one with the warmest hosts.

– I’ve learnt that one single word or moment can take away something beautiful and give you heartache for life.

– I’ve learnt that I have more to be thankful than to regret so I should take that and run with it.

– I’ve learnt to walk up to strangers and tell them that I love their boots or that their skin glows like a light bulb. It makes them happy and it makes me happy too.

– I’ve learnt that you have a choice even when you think you don’t. There is nothing you can blame on your husband, father, mother, boss, or neighbour. You have a choice and a voice. Use them.

– I’ve learnt that some people will dislike you no matter what you do or say. There is no pleasing them so it’s better to move on instead of offering them a foot rub. In such cases, don’t even begin to try. Ignore them, even if its killing you on the inside and watch them shape  up or ship out.

– I’ve learned that just when you think feeling the waves tickle your toes is the best feeling in the world, you’re proved wrong. Actually watching your child feel the waves tickle his toes is the best feeling in the world. If you think you’ve already felt your heart ache and break, wait to watch your daughter’s heart ache, to know real pain.

– I’ve learnt that my wedding day was actually the day I loved my husband the least. It only grew from there.

– I’ve learnt that you can’t define family. It is made up of all sorts and you may not be proud of each one of them but they  are all yours anyway. I have also learnt that this lack of definition is what makes it easy to create your own family and your own definitions.

– I’ve learnt that cliched though it is, my children are my life. I may not be a patient or gentle mother, but I am a mother who has enjoyed every bit of being with them and looks forward to another ten such years. Yes, I’m the mother who would happily have two more little brats.

So, what did you learn this decade?


208 thoughts on “Looking back on a decade

  1. Woow!! Happy New Year..thats why there is a difference between a writer and non-writer(like me)….you have penned down do beautifully…

    Have a great great 2011!!!


  2. Well, here is me commenting for the first time even though I have been reading your blog for the past two years. I liked what I read, had nothing to say and hence did not comment much.

    You really have a way with words. That felt like a very honest assessment of your evolvement over the past year. Wish you and your family a very happy new year. Good Luck with all your endeavors in this new year!

  3. ‘but I don’t know too many people who enjoy the process of putting thoughts into words as much as I do.’
    I so agree with this..
    i am kind of feeling low right now so when I was reaching the end of your post I had a strange feeling that I want to curl up and lie down with my head on your lap… that’s the amt of sweetness and warmth dripping out of this post or I am terribly missing my mom or sister…
    wish you a happy decade and many more!

  4. Happy new year to the mad family!

    MM, if I overlook the fact that you already have two kids while I am about to have my first and your green fingers, teetotaler ways and mixed ethnicity I think I have found myself a twin!

    Next month, it’ll be 21 years since I lost my paternal grandmother and I still miss her everyday.

    ps: what’s the reward for teaching you to drink?

  5. Very nice…. learnings all comprised in one. As I read your post.. i was nodding for a few myself.. since its true: “I’ve learnt to walk up to strangers and tell them that I love their boots or that their skin glows like a light bulb. It makes them happy and it makes me happy too”

    FOr me.. the biggest learning of the decade was
    – Everything happens for a reason and it all works out in the end.
    With time and patience to see it play out, one would slowly understand the reason why thigns happen.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Love this. And feel exactly the same about so much of it. You in Madras? 🙂 Be a lot easier to meet up when I visit!

  7. Nothing has made more happy than reading this post of yours in the new year! After so long(read years) I finally delurk. I had a blog, and for some reason, I just decided to stop. A decade from now, I am sure I ll have a lot to say, a lot to look back upon. Maybe I should give myself another try. After all, what better than to document it all. Thanks! I hope and wish you and your lovely family a fantastic year ahead!! Hugs!!

  8. Woooow! What a post ! loved reading it. I liked every point in this post but stuff that touched me more than the rest are :

    “enjoy the process of putting thoughts into words” – Truly, that comes across in most of ur writings!

    “Actually I married him because it was like coming home after a wild beach party.” – So were u surprised when u ended up wanting to marry him?

    “but if you tell me you met your wife online, I no longer judge – I completely understand.” – well then, I’ll tell you I met my husband online 🙂

    “This is what I want and I can take it with me to any city and any state and still be happy. Everything else is so …. unimportant. “ – touchwood! I can actually feel how content you are. Touchwood!

    “I’ve learned that just when you think feeling the waves tickle your toes is the best feeling in the world, you’re proved wrong. Actually watching your child feel the waves tickle his toes is the best feeling in the world. If you think you’ve already felt your heart ache and break, wait to watch your daughter’s heart ache, to know real pain.” – Beautifully put in perspective!

    I mean..woooow! Wish u another beautiful decade ahead!

    u know only when you mentioned it, did I realize that it’s the beginning of another decade! Do u mind if I too look back at the last decade on my blog?

  9. beautifully writtn.. certain things u wrote made me think.. certain things made me smile.. certain things pointed out my mistakes and certain things made me undrstnd.. thnx MM.. hope u hv a happy & healthy 2011!

  10. love this post…life has taught me alot of stuff this decade….the best being not to be emotionally attached to stuff and the worst being that losing someone really close makes me more vulnerable than what i can take…

    and one of the best thing? to take people,life,things as it comes and never to judge people by what they appear to be….

    oye, sent you a mail..hope you had a chance to look at ….

  11. oh my god! and i just realised how similar we are in many aspects…the tree hugging stuff to walking up to stranfgers to tell how beautiful her/his eyes are or smile is…koff! koff! my wedding day was the day i least loved my husband that we were at war of words during the oonjal ceremony that my mom had to literally shush us…:)

  12. Hi MM

    Happy New Year to you and yours 🙂

    Loved this one and a lot of what you wrote applies to me too, specially the one about being a black and white person learning to appreciate the greys. I’ve gone through a similar curve from college kid, working woman to marriage and motherhood,becoming a much more rounded person (alas not just mentally) but I’m not done with the sharp edges yet.I dont drink, sort of drive (havn’t got the licence to do so)and funnily enough, your description of your dad and OA applies quite a bit to mine too!
    Where my list differs, is in the approach towards writing, and the idea of living in Madras (have done it,not liked it)

  13. What a beautiful, beautiful post to wake up to!
    Is it ok though, that the part about moving to Madras (however measly the chances) is what has caught my attention the mostest and the thing I am going to wish for, for the Mad Family this year? 🙂
    Will come back again, for the rest of the post.

    • ha ha! well its just a nice thought. the beach in winter is perfect. i dont know how i will deal with the humidity for the rest of the year. have come back sunburnt inspite of thick sunscreen

  14. Wow… that was incredible. I mean looking back 10 years and analysing, and more than anything, opening it out to the world is commendable.

    On a different note, even Mumbai (specially Navi Mumbai) is good for a change in location 😉

  15. I love reading your blog and i especially enjoyed this post 🙂
    It makes me want to go out and enjoy the coming decade.. And experience life like never before.. You are truly blessed..as a mother, a wife, a writer and so much more (cliched, but true)
    Hope the new decade brings with it a whole lot of goodies your way…

  16. ooo, i’m the first one here? well’ i’ve grown from being a carefree school kid to a married woman with emotional and financial responsibilities ! if there’s anything i’ve learnt over the last few years, it is ‘keep it simple.’ happy new decade, MM ! may your family and your babies bring you years and years of joy. (i’m sure they’ll still be your ‘babies’ after 10 years)

  17. I am so much with you on this… – I’ve learnt that I have more to be thankful than to regret so I should take that and run with it.

    But sometimes I think otherwise also and regret….

  18. I think this is my favourite post coming from you ever. have a great 2011 and may the next decade bring more wisdom, joy and calm! Bless you all.

  19. what a beautiful beautiful post and also I would say “I am not one of the better writers I know, but I don’t know too many people who enjoy the process of putting thoughts into words as much as I do” I would I dont know too many people who are capable of stirring the emotions within so well with the words

    hoping the next decade brings much more learning and joy

    hugs MM

  20. MM,
    I really had to delurk for this post.
    You know, I am a lot like you (tree-hugging, earth-hugging, putting family first and dis-dat hating), with only a couple of differences – I am a lot less assertive and cannot write half as well as you do!

    Can totally understand the bit about friends going on to do much more than we get done.. A bosom friend is doing a part-time PhD along with her day job, another is going to Duke for her MBA, but I find it difficult to finish a 250-page book in more than a week! Sometimes, taking your children out to play is just way more important than even reading.

    I eat carbs and ghee at every meal, drink lots of milk and curd and do not exercise but my weight stays stubbornly at 42 kg. Random people advise me too, but I don’t care either.

    Finally, I can say that this post was worth a week’s wait!

  21. Wow..MM…i am scared to look back at the decade and feel disappointed that i didn;t do much. But

    I wish i could get away from my phone – will be such a relief…

    What a wonderful post…love love it!

    ummm…u went from being a college student to a mother of two??? How???

  22. Last decade–had 4 kids!
    Moved countries twice
    Learnt to drive.
    Learnt to take 26 hour flights with all 4 kids.
    If I listed the stuff I learnt, way too many so I wouldn’t..
    But this will be a good tag.

    PS:I met my spouse in 95 online(way before the crazies were online and way before normal people had internet)

  23. Truly a lovely post MM.
    It been an interesting decade for me, finishing up my hot headed 20’s and learning I’m going to have a hot-headed rest of my life.
    I gave up on vehemence, of opinion, of behavior and of attitude. Learnt that regret is a wasted emotion 🙂
    And you’re lucky you have kept the loves of your life on as friends….

    • well yes, i’m lucky that the loves of my life loved me enough to move on past violent breakups and forgive me and accept the hand of friendship i extended so tentatively. full points to them for being everything and everyone to me. And I believe it was, in most cases, just a matter of timing.

      • Ah. How I wish my Ex would agree to being friends too! 😦
        But like you say, maybe it is a matter of timing and it aint the right time yet.

        • oh dont let me fool you into thinking it happened immediately. when you love so deeply, can you just smile when it finishes? it took me at least five years with each one. but i didnt give up. i kept at it until they also realised that i was serious. that i wanted to be a friend and that i’d do what it takes to make amends.

  24. Drinking and driving that was a good one. I still can’t drink but yes i did learn to drive in this decade and have been driving for almost 8 yrs now. Well all you need is a few weeks of no driver, a husband who refuses to ferry you around, public transport that sucks and autowallas who will ensure you go bankrupt.

    That made me desperate enough to learn driving 🙂 I hope in the coming decade this is something you will put down as an acheivement 🙂

  25. Delurking to wish you and yours a great decade ahead… I love the way you write and one of the good things to have happened to me last year was finding your blog.

    I have a decade old driving licence that I use only as an ID card. This year have promised myself that I will be driving more. Now if there was only a way to keep all the humans, animals, two wheelers and three wheelers at a safe distance from me..

  26. Buy an automatic– half the battle is won. Even chhota cars have them now.

    I wouldn’t mind if this decade were to turn out for me as the last one did for you. kthxbai

  27. Beeeeeeeeeeeautiful post MM. I could relate to sooooo many of your points here but could NEVER put it in words as beautifully as you have. Its so true…having a child changes EVERYTHING…what you were as a person before no longer exists (or maybe just a little bit). But your priorities, your heart aches, your career, your self…everything revolves around the child.

    God bless you and your family. And a happy new year to you.

  28. wishing you another decade of writing,music,dance, love, fulfillment…and hope the plants from your terrace spread to as much of the concrete around that the green can possibly colonise- thats the only way we can survive!

  29. Wow, what a beautiful list of accomplishments 🙂 You’re one of the awesomest people I know! If I did a list of 10 most important discoveries I made in the last decade, one of them would be your blog.

    Here’s wishing that the next 10 years bring for you lots of love, laugher, music and stories! Happy new year as well, to you and the family!!

  30. MM,

    Happy New year! Lovely post filled with immense amount of warmth and loads of love.
    Wishing you another absolutely fabulous rocking decade!
    There are a lot of points in common but the one which resonated the most was the move from black and white to accepting the greys! And how!

  31. dude, give me a week and i’ll turn you into a roaring drunk like myself. No reward. Just pay for my drinks.
    And you have got to get over this dosa-phobia. Ah! those lovely, light, scrumptious slices of life…
    Dosa and daaru party?

      • thats what i call a nice problem. So its a deal, I’ll hit the duty free before I visit you. And after we are all dosa-ed up at an udipi we’ll begin your alcohol education in all earnest. Its a 12 step process so we’ll probably need a whole weekend. Just don’t stick me with the bill for your rehab if it comes to that 😉

        • okay i spent the New Year dancing with a bunch of teeny boppers at a farm house on Old Mahabalipuram Road. Realised how stiff I looked compared to them. Even the OA *gasp* didnt have the kind of cool moves some of the younger guys had, although i have to admit that given a chance he’d pick them up and do them better *doting wife speech ends*

  32. Ah! Such a heart-touching post, as always. U r as wonderful a person as a writer. U give a new meaning to life.

    Family always comes first and this evening as the kids and OA and I huddled around a heater drinking hot soup in our bedroom,…I breathed in deep and stored up the moment…everything else is so …. unimportant.
    So true, so true mad momma!
    but in my case, the flip side is: At times, it becomes my biggest weakness. I cling too much around family, that wen i look around and see, i find people way too ahead in life, doing so many things, as u said. But I don’t want to achieve so much by losing out on my family. Some say, it’s all abt balancing. I can’t. Even a weekend away frm home seems like i have missed that chance to soak in those moments.

    • well – achieving is such a vague word. what have you achieved in life if you’ve sold soap in the villages and taken your company’s Q2 earnings up? i mean really, its more money in the company’s coffers, but what does it personally mean to you? okay, lets say it means something to you – in that case, good for you. but if it means nothing to you to sell Coca Cola, or Fair & Lovely, then how does it matter if someone else is faring well, doing it? its like… walking by a store that doesn’t interest you.

      • Ya! u rt! It’s just that u start doubting if u living the right way wen u look arnd and find urself in minority. But only during a low phase. Else, it feels gud u living the way u want to and have the guts and support to live it ur way.
        Wid ur blog, trust me, life surely has become more beautiful and meaningful.

  33. What a lovely post! Happy New Year! I can totally identify with the drink part, the drinks look so pretty in their pretty glasses and all but the idea of drinking is more glam than actually drinking for me 🙂
    Also at 33 now, I have been coloring my hair for a couple of yrs, have lost track of how bad the greying

      • yikes. so i hope you know that was a general confession, not a judgment! 🙂 that said, i think faces say everything. The OA is now almost white and yet he is so fit and has such a youthful smile, that you’d not think he is their grandpa. though i’ll let you into a secret, when we were newly weds, i told him, lets have a baby fast before you grey completely and people think you are the grandpa 🙂 yes, i am a mean wife! that said, i love his grey hair now.
        i know its hard to quit once you’ve started colouring, but i have a couple of friends who have greyed completely – two are single women – and i think they look awesome.

  34. A very beautiful post… Wishing all of you a very wonderful 2011 !!

    I admire your honesty in looking back over the decade that was… Wishing you the very best for the coming decade… 🙂

  35. i stopped reading when i read “madras”. When can I see you? Can I meet the brats? oh god oh god oh god you should see me now. im sitting with a huge grin plastered on my face 😀 😀 😀 😀

    okay, even if you were only considering things, don’t tell me, okay? i want to feel happy for some more time that you are moving 😀

    ps : i dont dye my hair.

  36. Having a terrrrrrrrible day at work and in general. This post really helped in lightening up my mood and made me smile.


    PS: Don’t move to Chennai!

  37. Lovely post. Will you judge me if I colour my hair? I really don’t want to but am getting seriously fed up with the endless comments and advice. Was in Delhi for a family wedding and the number of people who peered at my white hair in amazement was not even funny.

    • okay, so you’re one of the people i admire for not colouring your hair, so dont take away from that number. i have people commenting on my hair loss all the time and i say – yeah, i know i’m losing hair. but isnt it great that its something that small and i’m dying of cancer or something?

      • My reply, always! I love all my wrinkles and the 2 grey hair I have (waiting dsperately for the third), my skin getting more age-sensitive by the day, all of that! It’d be so boring to look the same every year. After reading your post, one of my all time favourites, I realise how similar we are (as if I hadn’t so long!). Everything for love, for the love. I’m very ambitious in that sense. Nothing else matters.

      • i have started sprouting a lot of white hair and i am least bothered…i have not bothered about make up for all these years..i dont think i will care if my whole head turns white in color! honestly all these doesnt matter to me at all

        • only idiots do that. does the opinion of idiots matter? i think women who let their hair grey naturally are incredibly sexy. never understood why beauty is associated with black hair. who wrote that rule? and either you hysterically colour every 4 weeks to keep the roots black too, or you let the roots show and then colour some days later – in which case you can see that someone is dying. which defeats the purpose. to say nothing of the fact that then it ups the pressure and everyone who greys has to start colouring. everyone who has a pimple has to use concealer…etc
          if you look at white hair – just in vacuum – its not ugly or bad or anything. we just seem to have decided its not right for someone to have white hair. why? and when does it end? who doesnt grey? and what is the deadline? is it okay to grey post 50? in which case, what about the idiots who go ORANGE with mehendi, post 50?
          its so strange. i am amazed by this whole thing.

          • and dyes are chemicals and when used over an extended period of time has major side effects….

            my hairdresser has been trying hard to get me to use stuff from her numerous bottles…inspite of hair that has a mind of its own depending on season, falling hair, i have resisted “stuff” coz having worked in labs, i figure have enuf exposure to chemicals without willingly slapping on more on my face/skin/hair!

            of course there are chemicals everywhere…from food/soaps u name it…but then some are unavoidable…why add more eh?

          • It’s the monthly touch-ups that irk me. Couldn’t be bothered. Will spend half my free time in a salon at this rate. Plus I am just 35. If I colour till I am 60, I will have to load my hair up with chemicals some 300 times!

  38. And oh, start with a Daiquiri. A classic Lime one. and rimmed with salt, not sugar. it’s better than water. Most vodka drinks i gulp down because i dont love the taste of them, but White rum drinks (Mojitos, Daiquiris) go down much more happily than the tastiest of beverages.

  39. I learnt to come back here more often and keep reading…

    Had a pretty rough day at work with and this post was such a “put on a sweet smile” post

    Way to go gurl…

  40. Buy a bottle of Sheridan’s. It’s perfect cos it’s coffee based liquer, sweet with just a hint of the alcohol and it can be diluted with milk too if you like. Esp in the cold, it’ll warm you right up and make you feel all calm and cosy! 😀

      • If coffee with liqor is sumthing u may like..then Baileys Irish Cream is definetly work giving a shot! Many ppl i know love that drink , tho personally I wasn’t a big fan.

        Have u tried breezers? thats a good place to start at !

        n if i may ask..why would u WANT to drink?

  41. More power to you, girl.
    wishing you and your lovely family many more decades of love, laughter and promise.

    so when are you getting pregnant?

    and you want to start drinking??…no worries, next time i am visiting, we will meet and i will get you drunk!

  42. “And I’ve finally figured out that all the -isms on earth mean nothing if you’re doing them only to make a point.”

    Succinctly put and I am not surprised. This is why I have been reding this blog since I discovered it 2 years ago.

  43. In fact, you area fabulous writer. In your hands, words flow generously with a tinge of love, surprises, possibilities, opinions, happiness and mayhem all rolled into one.

    A very happy new year to you and your loved ones.


  44. come to south delhi some weekend, give me around 6 hours and you’ll be driving. i notice you’ve plenty of offers for the drinking part, so you’ll be all set 🙂
    Oh, and a very happy new year to you and the family, and here’s to another fun decade 🙂

  45. Blend a little vodka, lime juice, sprite, a pinch of sugar, salt along with fresh mint leaves and ice.

    A drink which will surely guide you to the dark side 🙂

    Happy New Year !!!

  46. Happy new year MM.

    A thought provoking blog. So how did you get into the reminiscing mode. You know I get into these generally around the birthday time.

    Somehow I have always loved the period from 24th Dec to 1st Jan. No other period in the year gets me so upbeat than the last week of the year.

    But if I think had enough, the biggest change in the last decade has been that I have finally been able to delink my happiness from other people.

    I find that a lot of things in life become much easier to handle when you are affected a little less by those around you -ones you love or the ones you dislike.

    Before it turns into a rant, I end with the hope that OA, Brat, Bean and U have a healthy and prosperous 2011.

  47. The world needs people like you who see black and white(at least in some situations). For me your best post till date is the one where you say, if you had waited to marry a guy whose family also loved you, you definitely would have found him. Nobody else would say that mm, and it hit close to home, and if you had written that post an year earlier, some things might have changed for the better in my sister’s life. When things were taking a turn for the worse couple of years back, I even considered sending you a mail (like to an agony aunt :)), but then I was not sure if it was nice to send a mail like that as a total stranger. Anyways, whatever happened, happened.

    Happy New Year and a wonderful decade ahead. In a decade our kids will be teenagers(gasp) and your blog will be definitely interesting to say the least 🙂

    Reading brings enlightenment and your blog definitely has enlightened me in ways more than one. Love you. Thank you for spreading love and happiness through blogging and wishes for wonderful blogging into the next decade.

    • thank you 🙂 and you have no idea how many agony aunt mails i answer in a day. I do it because i am touched and honoured to think that a total stranger would trust me with their problem. and i give it my best because i cant imagine what it must take to write to someone in despair – surely that deserves my time and my energy more than anything else.

  48. Happy New Year MM! What a wonderful decade you’ve had and wish you a another one filled with all you desire!
    The last decade I grew up, fell in love, had two babies and became a child again! Learned from my daughter how to freely give praise and accept compliments gracefully! Learning from my son the pleasures in simple things! Learned from my husband to be a better friend! This decade I hope to get over my morbid fear of driving and learn to forgive and reach out to people that I’ve shut out.
    I’d love to comment more often but it’s a little tough typing on the tiny phone while nursing a baby in the middle of the night…the only time I get to do some reading. Please keep the posts from the old blog coming…love to read them all.

      • Hehe that’s what I am doing – reading in the middle of the night, nursing and typing with one hand on my phone :)) have come to love u so MM

        • me too nursing and reading ur blog …
          the first 2 weeks with new baby (wake-up-every-2-hrs-to-feed-change-diapers-phase) it was ur blog plus a few other blogs that kept me going …and yeah the Iphone too which allowed me to multi-task …

  49. The trick with the driving is to learn on an automatic – no clutch and no fear. As long as you’ve sat on a bike and have a basic road sense, I can teach you. Not so particular about your reward, but I’m sure I’ll learn plenty of life lessons from you!

  50. Have been a regular reader of your blog for 2 years or more. Never left comments. Your garden & home snaps are something my sister & me adore a lot. Brat & Bean stories are truly amusing 🙂

    What’s about my last decade??
    — Met my kind of guy in 2000. Fell in love later. Finally married him in 2010 🙂
    — Graduated from college.
    — Joined a crappy call centre job.
    — Moved to a more sensible job.
    — Travelled around the world over last 5 years.
    — Made so many many friends.
    — Started a blog but never really got into it.
    — Finally quit my job of 6 years to join my hubby @ US.
    — Busy making a home with him.

    Decade was full of changes. I can totally relate to your trail.

  51. sigh. Reading a nice long post from you is time well spent.

    What have I learnt….not to have to explain myself in everything. Not everything has to be justified, and silence is the best thing there is….even if it means being misunderstood many times.

    Loved what you said about 50% muscle and lycra. I;m glad for this decade where I got to know you.

    And if you move to Madras, I will too. 🙂

  52. That is such a lovely, heart-warming post. 🙂 Thoroughly loved reading through it.

    The past decade has been significant in my life, too. I think I need a whole post to talk about it…

      • Yup. Could be. I’m in my late 20s, married for 2 years now, almost, working, no kids yet.

        The transformation from college girl to working lady to married woman took place this decade. 🙂

  53. hey MM, great post, i am a regular to ur blog, just to read! today there were couple of things that i could really relate to especially the 50% lycra part of the heart and how you can never please some people! You write awfully nice!!

    and please do come to chennai, if possible would like to meet you !

  54. Fantastic post, MM. Wishing you and your family a Happy and prosperous New Year. Let the new year and the new decade flow on a happy note and all dreams & desires come true. I wish for u loads of energy to do all the things that u want to do…
    In our 30’s, to me it seems we have become comfortable with who we are and where we have come from… We have some clear ideas/ opinions about our lives, ourselves, what we want to do with it… Hopefully we have become wiser…

  55. Hello 🙂

    Wishing you and yours a very happy New year!!

    So, I can give you an online tutorial on drinking right here to get you hooked. No need to start with Baileys Irish Coffee or Wine or Sheridan. It’s not serious drinking.

    Its freezing here in Gurgaon so get a bottle of Old Monk and some coca-cola. Start by pouring a table spoon full of Old Monk in your glass of coke. You wont even come to know its there. Then have another glass. Munch something while you’re drinking. Before you know it, you’ll be happy high and drunk dialing your friends 🙂


  56. Beautiful MM!
    Happy New Decade to you..

    The reason you sound so content is because you have understood yourself so well in this decade and carefully crafted your life in a way to give you the happiness and pride called brat and bean..

    The part that touched me most was..
    “I’ve learned that just when you think feeling the waves tickle your toes is the best feeling in the world, you’re proved wrong. Actually watching your child feel the waves tickle his toes is the best feeling in the world. If you think you’ve already felt your heart ache and break, wait to watch your daughter’s heart ache, to know real pain.”

    Though not a parent myself.. I have seen my parents jump with joy when I just get a small letter of appreciation from my boss..

    Looking forward to more decades of reading you

      • You did sound really content to me MM..

        I on the other part wish I could ever be content about my life..

        🙂 true about what you say.. With the way you write.. If am allowed to say.. if you had more ambition, my book shelf will be lined with atleast 3 or 4 books authored by you..

        But knowing you for the past 4 years through this blog.. I guess you wouldn’t do something unless you have ur heart into it 🙂 and the result that loved labour is all that matters..

  57. Awesome post MM.

    And what did I learn in the last decade? Two continents and two kids later, I have grown 10 years older, and not just chronological age-wise.

  58. It has all been said. And said better than i ever do. So shall desist from making my usual post sized comment. LOve you. Felt every word.

  59. Awww!!MM,I loveee this post!!I am working on my decade post…somehow just not getting around to it..BUT lovedddddd loved this post!!
    ‘Writing in your blood’-so true…thats what makes good writers..Reading your posts is like sitting on your couch ,sipping hot chai and chatting with you..that what makes me come back here..again n again:)
    Ohh And both my grandmothers were working too!!!
    Here’s to an equally nice next decade! hugs!

  60. Lovely, I got goosebumps reading it! I dunno what more to say – the more I read your posts – the lesser I’m afraid to be a mother. Not yet a mother but if motherhood is how you describe it – then it seems one thing I need to find asap:))

  61. Lovely lovely lovely! I agreed with so many things…daughter’s heart break to feel real pain, children being your life, not to judge, even the dyeing bit!

    Hugs to you and wishing you and the rest of the clan a very happy new year.

    And do lets try and catch up next time you are in Chennai [or Madras as I noticed you still call it :)]

    • you know, he tried. poor guy, let us give him full points for trying. clearly i’m a control freak who cant appreciate the better things in life. Now that i am done with the baby business I am very interested in the intoxicant business. it feels like i left it to too late 😦
      and hey – i dont believe you read my blog!

  62. And this post is why I love you. Here’s to an even better decade. This is the year we get to see the kids grow up and finally wash their own bums! Yay!

  63. You know sometimes you are very modest MM. The way you brush off the almost not-career resting faintly on your shoulder. You are good at it and the freelance jobs you’ve been getting definitely say something in that direction.
    And I loved the way you said how you got detached from the mobile phone. I do that at times and try to imagine ‘what if there were still no mobile phones? what would I or the other person would do?’ That usually helps me make the decision. We are way too connected these days, so much so that taking time out for oneself has become difficult.
    And somethings you’ve said made me think a lot. I’m not gonna mention which exact ones, but actually it’s more OA than you in those cases, who I learn from.

    This is such a neatly done article, I just want to hug you for putting me at ease and making me smile.
    Oh what would I do without the internet 🙂

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