Indiblogger: Soch lo! contest

This is an entry for Indiblogger’s Soch Lo contest. The topic being, do all relationships come with a past?

Frankly, I was surprised to see the question. Is there any chance they could possibly not? Aren’t we all a product of our pasts? The OA grins and says I am perhaps most qualified to write on this.  According to him I carry my baggage with me, like a turtle and that includes ex-loves. Can anyone really be an ex-love? Does love really die? It’s energy isn’t it? It changes from one form to the other. From wild passion to a calm friendship deeply rooted and very cherished.

As I often remind the OA, I am what I am today, because of my past. If I thought I could marry a man from a different background and religion, its because I saw my parents work it brilliantly. Because I saw them take their differences and turn them into an advantage, not a liability. If I pick up his language within seconds of hearing it, its because years ago I fell in love and dedicated myself to learning the Bengali script, eventually speaking the language better than the boy I learnt it for.  I’d be a different person if I didn’t have the very experiences that I did. Perhaps it didn’t seem like it then but a chance encounter in a corridor might have turned me away from a different path to the one I am on today.

What would I be if I hadn’t learnt from previous loves to give unconditionally and freely? He has a wicked grin that says he doesn’t really buy my argument or care either way, and perhaps that is what matters. That he’s secure in his place to not care that past loves just live on in their own special place, just as my parents and friends and other loves and interests retain theirs.  A troll once left a comment saying that my family (including the OA) and I are ‘weird’ for having no hang-ups about exes. I understand that some people might have issues, but I equally expect them to understand that I don’t. Apart from the initial couple of months when things are awkward, an old lover is almost like an old loved home.

The heart skips a beat but only out of sheer habit. You do feel a smile cross your face because of the history but it doesn’t make your world stop in its tracks anymore. The OA and I were driving by our old house the other night after a long day, and I almost unconsciously heaved a sigh of relief that we were nearing home. Until I realised we were nowhere near our new Gurgaon home, but passing our old, Delhi home. Almost like that absent reaching out for a hand that is no longer yours to hold.

I am not the sort of person who moves on easily and by that I mean that everything that has ever been mine makes a place for itself in my heart and stays put. It might slide over to make room for the new but the old stays on and comes back in flashes of nostalgia. A little twinge. And a warm feeling.

So yes, right now an ex is teasing me about my taste in music (on facebook!) while another one plays courier and carries back gifts a friend sent from the UK for the Bean. Does it affect my present? Not unless I let it or the OA feels threatened by it. To say nothing of the women involved currently with the exes who are remarkably secure too. This sort of situation does call for a whole lot of maturity on each person’s part.

Does it have to be this way? Not really. We could have cut each other out of our lives cold turkey (we did have a period of no contact while we all licked our wounds and healed)  – but I think we’d all be poorer for it. What brought us together were common interests, a love for certain things, an enjoyment for a certain type of music/art/sport – a deep contentment in each others company. Why lose out on that because the timing was wrong or because something got in the way of the romance? What does it say about our choices in love if we can no longer stand to see those people or don’t feel the loss? I believe that a true love never really dies and that cutting it out of your life makes you lose a part of your soul.

So soch liya. As far as I know, all relationships come with a past, and if you’re very lucky, find a place in your present and your future without upsetting the apple cart. Of course you could live in denial, but I’m not one to do that.

There’s a second topic too, asking what you’d do if your partner’s ex wanted him or her back. Simple – it wouldn’t make a difference to my life, other than amusing me. What would really matter is if my partner wanted them back too. In that case I’d get out of the picture with minimal drama and let them get on with life. Why stand in the way of true love? And by the way, that is something I’ve told the OA many times over. The day he feels this is over or wants to get back/together with someone else, I’d move on without a fuss. What would be the point? Would I really want to hold on to someone who didn’t want to stay? Should I fight for a relationship where I am not valued? I think not.

So go across right here and vote for this post of mine. If I win, I might get a blackberry. As you all know, my iPhone packed up and I lost my mother’s Blackberry. I am currently using a Nokia that is falling apart and has a torch. If nothing, I might just win a couple of movie tickets and hey, I could take my ex out for a movie while the OA babysits 😉


Since I usually whine

… about ads I don’t like, here’s one I DO like for a change.

I love this song and I quite appreciate this groovy remake. Yenjoy.

And I don’t know how many of you caught this Rocket Singh number, but I thought I’d share it anyway.

The words are so beautiful… pankhon ko hawa zara si lagne do…uljhe nahi to kaise suljhoge, bikhre nahi to kaise nikharoge

And finally – I’ve been nominated for an award here. Do vote for me if you think this was a good post.

Vote for the Copenhagen summit

In case like me, you’re getting as frustrated as me over the endless accusations and counter-accusations and the absolute lack of progress, you might want to sign this petition. I don’t know if it will help, but I know it won’t harm, so what the hell. Although when 23 nations with 14% of the world’s population are responsible for 80% of the emission one wonders what grounds there are for debate.

Ecosphere Spiti

I’ve had the privilege of meeting Ishita of Ecosphere Spiti and I truly believe in what she does. I just keep wondering how the poor folks at Spiti must have felt about this young girl who turned up from nowhere to help them and support them when they didn’t even realise that they needed it. In ways they’d never imagined.

In case you’re wondering what she does there – well, she helps create sustainable livelihoods for the local community, linking it to conservation. In simple words, she helps to conserve the ecosystem of the area and encourages the local community to do so by helping them earn their livelihood from it. Be it suggesting that they grow seabuckthorn that flourishes in the area or encouraging the locals to take tourists for wolf trails so that they don’t kill the endangered animal that attacks their cattle.

It’s simple. It’s workable. It’s brilliant.

I’m not requesting you to donate any money to any charity. I am not asking you to skip your child’s birthday party and send the contribution here. I am simply requesting you to go through her site, see the work she is doing for a marginalised community as well as the ecosystem and vote for her. She did it on her own.

A single young girl went into the hills, leaving behind family, friends, movies and pubs to work in an area that no one had heard of, to work for a community that no one cared about. The community no doubt worships the ground she walks on today but fortunately her efforts have been recognised and she’s up against names and issues who have a lot more fame and support on their side.

I’d request you to support her simply because what she is doing is different – helping a community as well as the environment. It helps the community to be self reliant unlike other NGOs that depend on endless pouring in of funds and outside help. And mostly, because  I hope it will inspire other young people to go out there and do what she’s doing.

Ecosphere has been nominated for the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award in the Public Service category. Please vote by following these simple steps:

1. Follow this link
2. Register
3. Go to the public service section and find ecosphere
4. click on the round tab below ecosphere and then click on submit at the bottom of the page.

The voting is open till Dec 11.

You can also vote through your mobiles by sending the SMS – IPUB<space>4 to 51818

From Ishita and myself, many thanks.

Thank you, I won

So I won. Got my congratulatory email as well as a phone call from PhoenixRitu! I am rather pleased. It’s the first time I’ve won anything after college! And to think I won it on Mother’s Day!

Now that it’s over, I must thank you all for voting. I did feel that it was more of a networking contest than a test of one’s writing skill, but then I also realise that to be a popular blogger, you have to be a good writer. The only reason you get all those hits is because you have something to say that holds people and you say it in a way they like. I’ve always shrugged off that compliment, but I’d be ungrateful to do it at this stage. I think nothing of my own writing, but I love Tharini and Mystic Margarita’s writing as far as mothers that blog go.

So while there were 48 other contestants, it was Tara and me going neck and neck until the end. Both of us unconcerned as to which one of us won – just so long as it was one of us! That’s the beautiful thing about friendship. There’s as  much joy in your friend winning as yourself.

Anyway, now that I’ve won I must tell you what I plan to do with the prize money. I plan to buy the OA an LCD TV. No, the money is not enough! But it’s just right for a down payment. At least it doesn’t feel like hard earned money going for luxuries during recessionary times.

I started work in October and the OA and I realised that my leaving home was really throwing our day into chaos. I work until 2 pm from office and then come home to juggle the kids and the job. Being a full day’s work, I often end up working until the early hours of the morning if I take a little time off to be with the kids. We tried it for two months and in December he shifted jobs to an even slower track and is probably the only investment banker who takes his kids swimming, attends PTA meetings, works from the dining table while pandemonium rules around him – dinky cars whizzing under his feet, milk spilling on the table.

Which means that while both of us have lovely jobs, in the areas that we want them, we don’t make all that much money. Well we’d be ungrateful to say we make no money – but none of the big bonuses to take you on foreign trips right now. Or to buy a house.

And so – all your precious votes have given me the money to buy the OA something for himself. For, hold your  breath – the first time in six years of marriage, I plan to give him something gadgety for his birthday.

You see, I was delivering the Brat around our second anniversary and thanks to his 3rd promotion on what was a very hectic job, had quit my own job. So I had no money of my own. Savings, you say? What might those be?!

And so.. er… I don’t know if I’ve written this before (this is the problem with closing down the old blog and refusing to go hunt in it)  – I toodled into a jewellery store and sold my gold earrings to buy him a watch. It seems like a silly thing to do today (I get the feeling I did write about this!) but I hated to be so dependent on him for money (I am fiercely independent) and it was the first time. So I did it.

My family was in shock. They did everything they could dissuade me, but I’m a hard hand for anyone to be dealt with and they gave up. The saddest was my brother’s face. ‘What? she’s selling her earrings? Doesn’t he give her any money after making her shift jobs so many times?’

I had to laughingly explain that I had plenty of money but I didn’t want to buy him a gift with his own earnings. And I had none of my own in the last almost 4 months.

Why don’t you take some from me, my brother cajoled and coaxed. That way you’re not using his money to buy him a gift.

No, I said stubbornly. It needs to be my own. 

Well then borrow some from me, said my brother. You can return it when you get a job.

But there was no stopping me and I sold my earrings and picked up a lovely watch from Titan for him – they’d brought out a special steel and gold collection at that time. Now of course he cribs because it has links that rip the hair off his arms and keeps threatening to throw it away. I wonder if he remembers that I ate my pride and walked into a shop to sell jewellery to buy it for him. I didn’t tell him about it – but my entire family was so het up about it that he eventually heard about it and was hopping mad.

Life gives you so many experiences and I think that moment of swallowing my pride and selling  the earrings made me a stronger person. Jewellers have a way of looking at you when you walk in to sell jewellery, that can make you feel like a cockroach.

Of course that was not sustainable. I stayed home for 4 years after that and I learnt to be gracious about being dependent on him for money. Somehow I hadn’t imagined I’d ever take a rupee from anyone after my parents. But in situations such as ours, a lot of graciousness and tact is necessary on both sides. Recently housewives in Kerala demanded salaries and I suddenly felt for them. I know I stayed home four years out of love for my family and would do it again in a heartbeat. But in a world where you are judged on what you earn, it’s hard to be the non-earning member and still hold your head high. But I did begin to freelance and that ensured that while the OA ran this household and kept us in absolute comfort, at least I never took a rupee from him for gifts and frills.

And now that I am back at work, I enjoy the money coming into my account at the end of each month. It’s not very much. But it’s my own and it’s a forgotten pleasure. It’s also necessary since the OA has downsized and moved into a more easy going role. With the Bean starting school our expenses have gone up and we feel rather guilty spending on flat TVs and other things when we should be putting away money for a college fund.

When I mailed a couple of friends who know I blog and told them to vote for me because I wanted to buy a bigger fridge, they laughed and figured it was a noble cause. But somewhere along the last two weeks I noticed the OA looking at the LCD screens with a certain longing.

It’s all he does in terms of indulging himself – watch TV. He’s a good man. While other men indulge in their hobbies – gaming, fancy cameras, iPhones, iPods, and much more – his life revolves around spending time and money on the kids and I. And all we’ve had to give back to him until today has been open adoration, boisterous hugs and sticky kisses. I know love is what matters most but sometimes, just sometimes, it’s nice to be able to give back something more concrete.

And so this year for his birthday – which is about two weeks away – he gets an LCD TV!! Even as I think the thought, a dozen thoughts float through my head about saving in a recessionary environment. But hell, if I lose my job, there’s even less chance of being able to buy him a TV so I may as well do it right now and get it out of the way. That way, I might be unemployed but hell, at least we’ll be able to eat chana and watch movies on a nice, big TV!

Again – thanks all of you who voted for me. All 427 of you. For the rest of the 4000 who give my blog hits everyday but didn’t think it was worth taking 10 seconds of your time out to hit the vote button … pffbbtbt!!!!