Friday, January 17, 2014

Long Walks

Since the start of this month, K has joined Sage and me on our morning walks. We wake up, dress for a little warmth as it still is a little cold in Hyderabad in the mornings, and trot off. The thing about K coming along is that he has changed the rules. With sage and me, we walked for 30 to 45 mins each day, in a colony near by and spent a lot of time playing with stray dogs, he would run about, I would sit with a couple of them in my lap and we would have a nice time.

K has come now and changed the rules. For one, we walk longer, in terms of time and distance. So now we walk just over an hour, and about 3.5 kms.

Ofcourse we stop at the end of the walk for some overly sweet chai and onion samosas brought in fresh by a man on a moped!

This we repeat after dinner, but cut the distance by at least a kilometre due to the heavy traffic even in colony lanes at night time. 

We talk on our walks. About life, work, us, sage, the houses and trees and balcony gardens. We talk about other things that we don't usually talk about. Like thinking of a holiday home. Or how we would spend our older days. What dreams we have been dreaming lately. What makes us sad, annoyed and even afraid. We hold hands, because the walk is a leisurely one and not about getting somewhere. And we are exploring lanes and bylanes in the 5 kilometre radius of our house that we never knew existed. 

It is tough to see the myriad houses packed closely together in semi slum-ish areas when you drive past in a car. The ones that have seen a sudden spurt of growth, come up and are now housing dozens of single men and women working in the city. The ones that proclaim who lives in the rooms by the clothes that hang out to dry. It is amazing how for over 9 years that I have lived here, I have not once noticed just how many hostels there are around where I live! 

The many little lanes, some come up with surprising little gems. Like a street I was barely cognizant of, turned out to be well laid, canopied with eucalyptus and other trees and was so quiet you could hear the birds chirp. 
or the impossibly beautiful and seasonal flowers on really dusty trees

Or the gate that you never noticed, housing about 300 construction workers in makeshift tin shed tenements. The hustle and bustle at 6 AM as they get ready for the day. The women, with bright red vermilion drawn broadly between the parting of their hair, which is oiled and tied firmly back. I was pleasantly surprised to see many of the women dressed to the nines at 6.30 AM, including bright lipstick. No fear of "am i looking good in this?" I wish I had some of their confidence.

or bottles lined up on a wall of a booze shop that has not yet opened from the day, so small and cute that I picked them up to make vases out of them

The many many many dogs on the street. One can make out a family of dogs from their features. Some of them with long tall perky ears and blackened snouts. Some with a stubby nose but so handsome I want to take all of them home. Some with fluffy thick fur that I am itching to bathe and brush. Many of them use only three of their four legs because they are recovering from a fracture. The perils of living on the street and being hit by a vehicle or a ruthless human and a stone. Some of them recover well enough to walk on four, but run only on three. Some of them have permanently damaged the limb and make do with three. Feisty and spirited tho, also curious about the overindulged fat little golden retriever who is not intimidated by their barks. They come a few feet closer, and wag their tails suspiciously when a hand is put out to stroke them. They are unsure because most of them do not know human touch.

The days we miss our walks (both K and I have had a bout of the seasonal flu) all three of us seem listless and crave that alone time with each other.

I think this is the beginning of a very good thing. I love what it will do to us healthwise physically, mentally and spiritually. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

What is true love?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. Sometimes because of the people in my life, sometimes because I am seeing marriages crumble, sometimes because I question my own. I am talking about relationships in general and I mean a relationship / marriage between two people. Not friendships, not platonic love, but love between two people in a romantic sense, that goes beyond dating. Love or a relationship that is a serious, adult, mature one.

What makes it tick? For the longest time, I had this idealistic, romantic, fuelled by Hollywood romances as the notion of love. I believed I would be with that one man who would understand my silences, complete my sentences and be my knight in shining armour.

Over the years and it definitely has to do with my age and maturity, I found myself letting go of that notion of love. Of finding that perfect human being with perfect understanding and perfect love. Of a time when there will be no arguments, disagreements or disappointments. I know now that it is an unbelievably unrealistic expectation and a burden too heavy to carry. It also left me devoid of the energy to focus on what was happening in the moment and so concerned about what was not happening which needed to be righted. As a result, it looked like I was constantly nit picking.

For most of my adult life, I felt true love or that perfect soulmate would come and make my troubles disappear, that he would be the answer to all my questions, solve every problem (real and imagined) and make my life happy and beautiful. I would be the confident person who had no problem and was able to sail through life very successfully in whatever I chose to do.

For the longest time, this also made me a very unhappy person. Because these were expectations no one could meet. It was a recipe for disaster, for dissatisfaction and a web of disappointment.

Don't get me wrong. I love K, to bits, I cannot imagine my life without him. I could not have chosen a better man or a more worthy partner to marry. I believe also, due to my past, that I was very lucky to have made the choice. He was right there. My friend, the one I turned to when the going got tough, the man who seemingly had all the answers, and who loved me desperately. My love for K was gradual, it sprouted from extreme respect. I discovered I loved the way he made me feel, the stories he told, the belief he held true to his heart. I realised he was someone I most definitely could live with, grow old with and have a life with. I realised that more than anything else in the world, here was a man I wanted to experience life with.

We love each other to the point of exclusion of everything else. We have amazing conversations, he makes me laugh, we have built a whole lifetime of amazing experiences that only we could have shared. I turn to him when I need support, when I cannot make sense of things, when I am afraid. I turn to him when I have something to celebrate, to rejoice, to feel happy about. I believe firmly, we have a destiny together and a chemistry we could not have had with anyone else.

But more than anything, I appreciate him fully because I no longer expect him to be my Mr.Fixit. I don't expect him to spring miracles and make my problems go away. I know that he cannot find my meaning in life. I know that I want him to be the one to walk with me as I navigate life and find the answers to my questions, to be my companion on this journey which is sometimes tough.

This freedom to not want him to solve my problems, has made me love him even more. Because it gives me the space in my head and heart to truly appreciate him for who he is and not what he does to me. This makes me love him for love's sake. This makes me see him for what he is and believes in and wants to achieve.

Only I can fulfil my desires, exorcize my ghosts and achieve my goals. I cannot expect any other person, even the one I love, to do this for me. I needed to have that sense of self, of knowing who I am and what I want. Previously, I wanted my partner to fill me with the meaning and purpose of life, to make me feel accomplished and to make me realise my potential.

I found myself and I made friends with myself. That is the day I freed myself to love with a full heart, with a heart that wanted only the love and companionship and passion of a partner but not a problem solver.

The celluloid dream of passion and romance is created and scripted, it is unreal and doesn't last forever. It is made for movie credits. Real love and romance and passion needs to be nurtured with trust and care. Real love is annoying and burdensome at times because of the fragility of the humans who are involved. Real love is a daily choice and it goes beyond the celluloid make believe.

Real love is on days when I feel like screaming in my head, but all I want is a comforting hug and an unruffled voice which tells me everything will be ok. Real love is when I tell K I need some alone time and lock myself in the loo with the ipad. Real love is when I tell him I had a shitty day and I don't want to talk. Real love is when I tell him I am afraid of what the next day holds.

When I look around, and I see relationships crumbling, I thank my stars for making me see through the make believe I clung to when I was younger. I am grateful that I have a man who would rather tell me the truth even though a lie would be easier to deal with. I am thankful that I do not want to be a damsel in distress. I am thankful that I want to walk in my own path, albeit holding his hand as he walks down his.

While this may not sound very romantic to you who are reading it. I think this has freed me to experience real love... and it has been the truest revelation of my life.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Forgive and Forget?

This morning, as I was chatting with my bestie, we talked about some common people. I remarked about how a certain someone, who caused untold destruction and loss or was like the catalyst of a mess, had dedicated a song on self belief and strength to K and me as a new year's wish. I spoke about the gall of the person and how shallow that gesture was.

She told me to forget it and forgive him. I said well I have forgiven, but I would be a fool to forget and I most definitely will never ever give this person the benefit of doubt. That is my lesson, and they will only serve to insulate me. Just as I continue to work with people who I have bad experiences with, after negotiating new terms and conditions of engagement, this too shall be dealt with fairness but not with blind trust.

It is amazing how people forget the favours they have received and after a point start demanding an entitlement of sorts. Well, no more free lunches! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Starting Over.... in the kitchen

A fresh brand new year.... a new start... a time to give thanks, make plans and be a little sincere about sticking to them. Atleast for a while.

I made no lofty resolutions this year. Much as I waited to usher in the new year, K and I had a couple of drinks, ate very oily Indian Chinese and got into bed by 11 pm. Sage was very restless due to the continuous stream of people in the building, noise of the lift and loud music. Like a nice middle aged couple, we slept, only to be woken up at 12 by Appa!

I started the New year with a brand new development at home. I fired my cook. To cut a long story short, too many excuses, inability to manage her other jobs and a complete disrespect for the many requests I have made to manage time better. At the end of a stalemate, what emerged was I was expected to (and as a result my household) adjust with her shoddiness. I was having none of this, I do not like being taken for granted and the last thing I will do in exchange for my fair treatment and goodness is being taken for a ride. Despite many requests and warnings, when for the nth time she chose to come late despite knowing her cut off time, I asked her to collect her dues and leave.

Those of you who read my blog will know that I miss my earlier cook Renuka terribly. While she wasn't the best cook, she was always smiling and very sincere. The current one, was my househelp and was a better cook. Only thing is after a while, it got too much for her to manage.

Anyways. I have now decided to take over the cooking in our large household of 2 people and a dog (that now eats commercial dog food instead of home made, due to his health condition). I will confess that I am nervous. I haven't cooked full time in over 5 years now. Initially, both K and I had 'regular' jobs and would take our lunches to work. Then I began to mostly stay home, although we did feed Sage home made roti. At the last count, we were using 3 times the amount of groceries, I was still eating 2-3 day old leftovers (what is it with maids never being able to cook smaller quantities of food?), K still eating his lunch from outside and I was anyway cooking dinner all these years. There was also a considerable wastage of cooked food and unused vegetables which would languish in the fridge. Not to mention the monotony of the dishes being churned out.

I am excitedly making a monthly menu to ensure both K and I do not get bored and that I am equipped to efficiently use the morning time. I hate spending unending time in the kitchen. I also cannot fathom spending more than an hour at best to cook a reasonably healthy and tasty meal for two people. I am hoping the planning will help me manage groceries, vegetables and time better. The fridge already looks super clean because there are no leftovers! So wish me luck!