Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Who am I?

Whenever I tell people that my husband is Telugu and that we had an interregional marriage people (mostly unmarried women) go “OH! How sweet”…

I am a Bengali, who was born and brought up in Delhi, and am married to a born and brought up in Hyderabad Telugu. Thanks to the Internet, we met, fell in love and decided to get married. The fact that he belonged to a different culture and spoke an alien language was never an issue with me. I wasn’t much of a Bengali myself. Growing up, I was surrounded by Punjabi friends and was more at home with rajma chawal then maachh bhaat. My ex boss even began calling me ‘fake Bengali’. Can’t blame her really, after all I don’t fit into the typical Bengali women image at all. A typical Bengali is ‘supposed’ to love sweet (I don’t), Maachh (gave up non-vegetarian food at 19), and Bengali literature (My only exposure to Bengali literature were my school text books!)

So I considered myself to be the multi cultural woman, at home with all differing cultures, capable of adapting and adopting different ways of life…

The problems started when we started discussing the wedding logistics. They wanted the wedding to be in Hyderabad, I said Delhi, They agreed but only if the wedding was conducted in the typical Telugu tradition. I agreed. I was already learning the sine qua non of marriage – Compromising! The eight hour long marriage ceremony gave me a glimpse of the things to come. The muhurat was for 3 in the morning! And we were sitting in the mandap from 10pm! And it all ended at 6 am! I was later informed that the Pandit had actually taken liberty and cut short the wedding rituals!

As I made my way to the station after the marriage, leaving behind everything I knew, loved and understood, my sister whispered in my ears “Best of luck”. I knew at that moment that my life had changed forever; the adventure had begun!In the train I sat surrounded by my new family, all chattering away, laughing at jokes I didn’t understand. I must have looked stupid sitting there staring at their faces, I must have been trying my hand at telepathy I guess…What were they saying?? I clung to my husband, not because I was home sick (that hadn’t set in yet) but because I could talk to him. He spoke my language!!!!

In Hyderabad, a constant stream of my husband’s relatives came to inspect the new bride. Well, they were not too happy of course. They had hoped for a nice traditional Telugu bride, and here I was: the shorthaired, salwar clad girl from Delhi. They came, smiled and asked me “do you know Telugu?” I replied with the only word I had managed to learn “Kuncham kuncham” (A little). That satisfied them for the time being. …

Meal times were a punishment. The food! It was rice in the afternoon, rice for dinner, and at times even for breakfast! I missed my daily dose of chapattis! If I had to eat them, I had to make them myself. Well I decided that is was easier to learn to appreciate rice (thanks to my Bengali genes I guess!)…I also learned the art of drifting into my world of daydreams, while my eyes wore the look of intense involvement in the conversation-taking place around me, of which I couldn’t decipher a word!

And how can I forget those never ending rituals, which were very much a part of my husband’s family, but were completely alien to me. Before marriage, the one event that was remotely religious to me was Durga Puja, and that too had lost its sheen over time… I was a spiritualist who did not believe in Idol worship, who was married into a family whose idea of a vacation was going for a pilgrimage!

Five years have passed,I still crave to hear Bangla. I call and speak to my mother for hours, some times just for the pleasure of hearing the beautiful language that’s my mother tongue.

Now everything ‘Bengali’ appeals to me. I have re-discovered Rabindranath Tagore, I enjoy the neo-Bengali rock music. The ‘shakha pola’ are my ultimate fashion accessories; I could even smell Durga Pujo in the air last October! I have discovered the Bengali in me. Now a simple Bengali phrase heard in the bus puts a big grin on my face, now my interests lingers on the Bengali channels for a little while longer then usual….

I miss the much-hated Delhi winter chill, sitting under the razai, eating moongfalis and indulging in some heated adda sessions.

I am adapting to Hyderabad too, and it almost feels like home now, but can it ever replace the city and culture I left behind? This feeling has nothing do with regionalism and everything to do with a sense of identity. Inter-regional marriages are ‘sweet’ all right, but they are also lots of hard work and understanding. I have realized that my individuality means a lot to mean and I have also learned to draw a line on how much I am willing to compromise. I don’t ask my husband to learn Bengali and he doesn’t ask me to learn Telugu. Both of us have our distinct eccentric identities, and I don’t think either of us has to give up on our beliefs to make this marriage work. Now that Danny is here, I atleast have someone to talk with in Bengali!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Adoption story so far

Even before I got married, adoption was always something I wanted to do. After marriage, we decided to complete our family through adoption. All the adoption papers were duly filed, the documents sent, and the wait began. The waiting period for a baby girl in India is one year but we were told that for us it will take up to 2-3 years, as we already had a biological child. I was impatient. I wanted a baby, now! So I talked to a few people about private adoption. I basically started hoping for a mother to abandon her baby so I could complete my family. Soon, I heard that a three month old baby had been left at a local hospital. My husband’s friend was asked to check out and tell us about the formalities. But a couple of weeks later, I was told that the baby had been sent to an orphanage. I was surprised! We were ready-made parents, why were we not given the chance to adopt? The reason was really simple. My husband’s family had seen the baby. She was too dark for our family, according to them, so she was rejected. This incident was a rude awakening. I had become the child-greedy woman I so detested. In my blind thirst for a family, I had forgotten that there are no shortcuts to happiness. I needed to live this experience to better understand myself, my family and the society we live in. Although it was a personal failure, the lessons it taught me were worth the disappointment.

I am in it for the long haul now. No matter how long it takes 2, 3 or even 4 years - I will wait my turn.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Why I almost lost it....

This post contains facts that no one even in my family are aware of. I needed to be honest and look at all that I have faced and share it. I have pretended to be alright for way to long but now I DO have reasons to smile...

My life after marriage was tough, to say the least. I had several fights with my MIL and SIL. My MIL sold my husband’s family home and shifted to stay with her daughter. We were forced to move into a rented house with my husbands 78 year old grandmother and 8 year old brother. We were paying off a huge loan my husband had taken to marry his sister off. Things were tough but as both my husband and I were working we managed okay and even managed buy an under construction house.
But things took a turn for the worse when I got pregnant in 2009. I was forced to quit my job as mine was a high risk pregnancy. It was almost impossible to manage paying a loan, monthly EMI’s plus taking care of a family with only my husbands salary. So we decided to put our house for sale. That was in 2009 March. But we found no buyers. Soon we had used up all our savings to pay the EMI’s and had nothing left. We had no option but to default on our EMI’s. We lost our house. We lost our dream.
Our financial struggles continued as it was really difficult to look after a young baby, a teenager and an old lady. At the end of each month we had no money left. I struggled to attend meeting due to the lack of money. And when my son fell ill, I had to sell my gold necklace to pay for the treatment.
I was also struggling with my health in this time. I sufferd from severe body aches and acute exhaustion. In fact the tiredness was so bad that when I woke up in the mornings I used to feel like I had just run a marathon. No doctor was able to give me a correct diagnosis.
My brother, whom I love like my own son, was also struggling and that was making me feel very helpless. He worked hard but never got credited for it. Other’s always seemed to find favour with is boss while he was left behind.
My parents house in Delhi was breaking down. After my father’s death, we had tried to look after the house but after marriage the responsibility had fallen on our brother. With his low salary he found it extremely difficult to do anything. The house’s wiring had all but birn4d off. Only two rooms had lights. My mom actually cooked with the candle burning. The windows had all broken off. So bad was the situation that after every rain fall water would enter our drawing room. WE feared that the rain would actually wash away the house. Living in that house was so difficult that I had not gone there with my son after his birth and stayed with my sisters each time I went to Delhi. We were trying to sell the house since 2009 and had found no buyers yet again.
My brother was so depressed with his life that one day he called me crying, saying he cannot breath, saying that he loved me. I feared for his life. I thought I was losing my brother. He was rushed to the hospital due to panic attacks.
I was losing the battle. By the end of 2010, I was close to a nervous breakdown.

Now my reason to smile:

I was finally given a diagnosis - Fibromyalgia. Now I can manage my health much better.
M appeared for his LLM entrance exam and secured 16th rank all over AP
My relation with my Mil and SIL changed completely. So much so that when my SIL’s husband returned from Singapore this last month, he bought us a gift – a 32 inch LED TV!
He is also sponsoring my husband’s my husband’s LLM course.
My brother finally got some credit at work and was awarded employee of the quarter by his employees. He won it among thousands of employees from all over the world.
My MIL transferred Rs 1 lac to my husband’s account. That’s the exact amount we needed to pay off our dept. We are now debt free, first time in 5 years! We can start saving now.
Last Tuesday, our Delhi home was finally sold. My brother got a very good price. He can now buy a new house, and a car and save some money too! He can now start a new life.

One day, I will own a house. I promise.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bad Mother?

I really really needed to read this today. Was feeling like bad mother, a failure. Then I read this.

Your children are lucky to have you as a mom, because no one else could do it the same way as you.

You are special being you! You are good enough being yourself. Until you get that, all of your parenting will be hard and will suffer.

If you believe that you are not good enough, your children will pick up on that thought and believe they are not good enough either. Is that what you want? I didn't think so. So, you have to believe in yourself right now.

I am a good enough mom.I am a great mom, being myself.I am the perfect mom for my children right now.

So, you don't believe it yet? Well, that's because you may not be expressing that perfection that you are, as of yet. But the first step is in realizing and believing that deep inside, the real, authentic you IS good enough, perfect enough, enough, enough, enough, just the way you are. You don't have to go changing a thing.

Write those affirmations above out, three times. And then read them outloud, three times, even if you don't believe them yet. Because, the more you say them, the closer you will get to believing them. And then, when you are being yourself in your mothering, it WILL be perfect, perfectly YOU!

And your children will see that you are good enough and perfect being yourself. Which, in turn, helps them to believe that they are good enough being themselves.

If you want your mothering to be fun, easy and fulfilling, BE YOURSELF! Without conditions, without judgments, just BE YOURSELF! And then it won't matter what the Jones' or the Smiths' are doing or saying, because you are being yourself and that is the greatest thing in the world!
What others do and say is their responsibility and what you do and say is yours.

There are many parenting experts out there that feed on your fears of not being enough. Time has come to claim your own power back. To stop listening to the experts and listen to YOURSELF. You have your own perfect and good enough answers within. And it is time to discover them.

The idea of the perfect mom is gone. It is time to replace it with the idea of the perfect you. The best you can do is your best, until you decide to do better. And then it is your choice, not the choice of a "should" or a "mother-in-law" or "your neighbor" or even your "spouse".
Comparing will get you no where! How could you even compare an apple and an orange? Each one is fundamentally different. Yes, they are both fruit and yes, you and your neighbor are both moms, but each one is unique and special in their own way. YOU are unique and special in your own way!

I am unique and special being me!I am good enough! I am great!I love myself for being myself!I deserve fun, easy and fulfilling parenting!My children deserve a fun, easy and fullfilled mom!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

17 dead, 100 injured

Another serial blast in Bombay. Seventen people have already died. Hundred injured. The death toll will go up.

But the saddest part? I no longer feel distraught. I saw the news. Made a few calls and simply moved onto an Adam Sandler movie. Terrorism has become a part of life here in India. I wish things were different but I am afraid the innocence is truly gone. Terrorism is here to stay, so are bomb blasts. It feel disgust that I feel this way. But that's just how I feel right now. As M just said, bomb blast feels like seasons now. They are recurring. They might not happen for sometime, but they will happen. They will come. There is no way I can imagine our Government stop them. How do you provide security to a country so crowded? Yes, I feel helpless....completely, utterly helpless......

Friday, July 8, 2011

These are a few of my favourite things...

I am still here in Hyderbad. We are seeing a marriage counsellor. and I am trying hypnotherapy for my issues. I have decided not to blog about my marrriage and m because things are very raw right now and I don't some one to read my blog and talk to M about it. Now is not the time to be brave. In a few months I will talk about it again.
Till then I have decided to concentrate on all that I love, all that's good in my life. Starting with RAIN!

It rained today, and it feels like heaven .Everything looks pure and pristine. The trees are dancing to a silent song I long to hear. The birds are happy too I guess. I can hear them sing. I watch the raindrops fall on my window, and I remember the days gone by.Days spent with friends, jumping over puddles, singing along our favorite songs, without a care in the world, playing cricket in the rain (yes we did that!).And today all those days are just memories, beautiful memories that makes me cry. Days have fled.On days like today, when things are perfect, my heart just flies back in time, why cant I relive those moments?  I know I cant, and that’s what makes things more difficult.I am reminded of a song ‘Its yesterday once more’.So true to what I feel now...I know this feeling will pass, and I will go on living my present life as I should..

But this moment, when the memories refuse to leave me alone, when all I want is to be a 13 year old again, is precious too. Friends, I miss them so.Maybe, just maybe, if I had my friends around, I wouldn’t feel so alone on a beautiful day like today, if they were around I would have created new memories with them. But then I realize - How lucky am I to have these memories? To have friends who have stuck with me these last twenty years? How many are lucky to have such good freinds? So okay they are not around physically..but all I need to do is pick up the phone and talk to them. and then there are the memories...And I went out and got wet. Looked up into the sky and thanked the universe. The rain drops fell on my face and I remembered a song from long ago "Rimjhim girey sawan" all is good with the world. The rain still is my friend. and I have another moment that has become a beautiful memory.

And life seems perfect, right now right here. This is my god, this is my heaven. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Here's what happened

I packed my bags and left for my freinds thursday evening. Friday morning I got one way ticket to Delhi. M didnt call me till Friday afternoon. I think that's when it him that I a dead serious this time. It was no empty threat. He asked me to meet him 'to talk things out'. I told him I was done talking it out. Don't get me wrong. I know I have issues with myself that I AM dealing with. But we also have issues whish we as couple need to work on. He insisted that I meet him. I went ahead and did that.

To sum up, he agrees that we need things to change. He doesn't want us to go our separate ways. He himself suggested that we seek counseling as a couple. My ticket is for 20th July. He promises things will change before that. I am still at my friend's place. Will return tomorrow. I am not canceling my ticket. not yet.