In which I detail the kinds of assholery I’ve dealt with recently

24 Nov

Yesterday was a heavy day. My head felt burdened with worry, disappointment, helplessness. I went to sleep with thoughts of injustice, disenchantment, the many stories of struggle I read through the day, swirling in my brain. I went to sleep wondering when we will reach a point where things will begin to look up? For Goa as a state, for us as a country, for womenkind, for children to run around and play in peace and safety. No answers. I woke up this morning with a need to unpack it a bit, reduce the weight that refuses to lift. And because sometimes there’s no better listener than a blank page, here I am.

It all started to go down when I found myself in a spot, dealing with a man yesterday. Without going into a detailed backstory, I will say it was the last instance in a string of events that I had just not seen to be threatening or dangerous. You see, I’ve always been very secure in the fact that I am surrounded by good, honourable men. The ones for whom kindness, gentleness, straightforwardness comes naturally. I can’t help but believe in the role models I’ve had growing up – my grand father, my father, some few men in my extended family. Most of my male friends (which up until last year were the only kind of friend I had – the male kind), all my exes and their friends too, to some extent, were good men who’d stand by the right thing. For a woman or a man. It was therefore natural that I picked the kind of husband I did. One that fit the template I had in my head, he ticked all the right boxes. And by right, I mean not just right for me, but right in the sense of the way we see good to be. Generous, understanding, relaxed, trusting, fun, trustworthy, dependable, compassionate, sensitive. Basically, not an asshole. (And I realise as I type this, that the not-an-asshole kind of man is increasingly hard to come by.)

In fact, time and again when I’ve found myself wondering if maybe I’m being a bit naive in believing the general populace of men is not predatory, just because I know a handful of men who aren’t, I tell myself that it is that very handful of men that should give me reason for hope. That’s how I’ve brushed the cynicism away, so far. I have always felt secure in knowing that good exists, and maybe even outweighs the bad.

But here’s the thing, though. There is something to be said about being too secure in that belief — in blindly believing that you’re surrounded by good, honourable men, all the time, everywhere. I’ve learned rather late in life (as recently as last week, in fact), and in a rather unsavoury way today, that the privilege that gives men unrealistic confidence levels to pull off all manners of assholery runs so very deep. It operates in ways we do not understand and cannot be prepared for. Especially if like me, you don’t want to believe every man out there is a threat to your safety.

The cocky confidence to dismiss naturally drawn boundaries. To be blind to a particular response and assume it means the opposite. To assert physical force. To let an extreme kind of chauvinism show at all times. To feel like they have the right to get away with an untoward glance, a comment that was uncalled for, a prickly message, a subtle grope, to use a distasteful label. To in fact be a mild kind of predator, but safe in the belief that you can always couch that behaviour in  friendliness, concern or professionalism. That takes serious confidence. And a complete lack of self-doubt. It comes from years and years of a strengthened belief that women are used to it. That they will take what’s given to them – a grope, a comment, a label, a forced uninvited advance.

It takes confidence in knowing that when faced with any of the above, women will always first doubt themselves. That they will think twice, ten times, a hundred times before reacting. Especially if the behaviour is subtle, confusing and hard to call out immediately.

“Oh, I’m just saying this as your doctor.”

“As your boss, it’s important for me to do this.”

“I’m your trainer, your body is my business.”

“I’m a family member, so obviously I’m only doing what’s best for you.”

What that does is blur the lines between what is okay and what is not. It makes us as women question the authority we have over our personal space, our bodies, our work, professionalism, our wellbeing.

Who draws those lines? Who will safeguard them? And try as you might to keep those boundaries safe, what do you do when a man comes trampling in with the greatest confidence, and does something that leaves you wondering if maybe you let your guard down and inadvertently invited him in?

I’ve written before about how so many answers lie in the nebulous grey areas that lie in between right and wrong. And invariably, these are the situations nobody warns you about. We’re always told to worry about strangers, to fear the dark, to take care of yourself when you’re outside your comfort zone. Almost nobody prepares us to anticipate a predator within your own home, or other spaces that you deem safe and comfortable. Nobody tells you your uncle, your boss, your doctor or trainer could be the one you should watch out for.

Back in 2010, when I met that complete asshole of a gynaecologist it took several appointments with repeated small instances of sexism, and eventually a terrible internal exam that was neither medically required not appropriately dealt with, before I realised that was in fact wrong, in every way possible. At the time, I could do nothing about it because that voice in my head told me I was being paranoid. That he was a doctor, and maybe it was part of his job? That I didn’t have any reason or evidence to call out his actions as inappropriate? Instead, I beat myself up over it wondering if maybe I had brought it on somehow, if maybe I should have seen the signs before and dealt with them before things got out of hand.

Years later, at a Christmas party, I was introduced to a fellow guest who immediately took an unnatural liking towards me. Unnatural because from the get go he was painfully stuck to my side, chatting me up with highly inappropriate, questionable conversation, laying the flattery on nice and thick. It felt inappropriate in my mind, but again I brushed it aside given the social situation, telling myself that it couldn’t be what I was imagining it to be. Because his wife was in the same room? Because we were at a party in the home of good friends – his and mine? Surely he couldn’t be coming on to me, not there? But I’ve realised that some men have completely different non-existent parameters.

My paranoia was legitimate. Later that night, long after the guests had left and VC was winding down for the night, the lout had the cheek to come home, ring my doorbell, and try and converse with me, make plans to grab coffee and get to know each other. Somewhere in between all that, he made an advance. It was then that the penny dropped and I finally believed myself and my paranoia. I had to physically push him away and shut the door on him. Weeks of awkward avoidance ensued, but it was essential and no longer makes me squeamish to meet him and look him in the eye.

And then, remember the time a complete stranger accosted me at a cafe and forced his coffee on me?

More recently, I was at a nightclub with a bunch of girls, when a white man accompanied us. For some reason he was persistent about buying me drinks. Time and again I made it clear that I was perfectly capable of buying myself drinks. Yet, he’d keep showing up dangling a bottle of beer or a glass of whatever it is he thought I wanted to drink, in my face, like bait. I didn’t give. But I didn’t tell him off either. When none of his drink-buying tactics worked, the man finally forced himself through the crowds on the dance floor that we were enmeshed in, and tried to strike up a conversation about how he’d give anything to be married to me. (Yes, cue eye-rolls – multiple, tired, exasperated eyerolls, please) I had to politely, but firmly shout over the music to burst his bubble by telling him there was a small issue of me being already married and completely uninterested in him that would get in the way. One would think that would lead him to just get a hint already ffs! But no, he proceeded to ask me to choose be unmarried for “just one night, please.”

Where do men get this special kind of confidence from? To assume things and act on them? To believe that a girl, out on her own means she must be open and available? That just because a girl didn’t slap you when you came on to her inappropriately means she is open to persuasion? It’s a horrible  kind of confidence that makes them believe no = yes.

It’s what makes them act without so much as a second thought. Without worrying about possible consequences. believing they will never be caught. Isn’t it ironic instead that women like me are the ones who resort so often to just hints? Who are afraid to just say fuck off. Why refrain from jumping in and reacting as violently or forcefully as they feel like. And sooner, more directly.

Isn’t it ironic that we’re the ones with the self doubt. We’re the ones with the helplessness and the masochism beating ourselves up. Because of course it must be something we did, right?

There’s only one answer. Because – thoughts. “He’s white, maybe that’s how they do it where he comes from? Maybe he doesn’t know I’m married? Maybe I’m not showing enough disinterest? Maybe this was just his way of being friendly?”

Maybe all of that was true, but the fact remains that it felt wrong. And I have learned very late, to listen to that feeling. Over time, I’ve experienced bitterly that you don’t need any more reason or justification. If something feels wrong, it’s okay to acknowledge it and back off. To tell the man you’re dealing with to back the hell off.

Last week, I was hanging out with a gang of people I have recently met, all men. I’m not too close to them, but had no reason to not accept when they invited me to what seemed like a harmless evening at a local bar. And here’s the thing – I’m beginning to think it is impossible to simply believe that you can have healthy, casual relationships with men and have them take it as just that. But the tragic truth is there are men out there who come loaded with a disproportionate level of confidence in themselves. In their sexuality and their behaviour. And this manifests in a complete inability to just-keep-it-in-their-pants-ffs. I say this now, in retrospect because as I innocently sat sipping beer with a bunch of men who I assumed to be decent men, I was privy to a detailed conversation that lasted over an hour – where 2 out of 3 of them perfectly justified infidelity. Their potential infidelity. The conversation was eye-opening, but even then I didn’t make much of it because well, it was just conversation. It was telling of the many ways in which people who seem educated, well-travelled, exposed, liberal, forward and sensible, actually have weirdly twisted notions about important things, in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

I’ve always been so secure in believing that the circles we end up roaming in, even by extension would be filled with likeminded individuals, for the most part. So when something like this happens, I realise how silly and naive I’ve been. I realise the truth is, one is never too far from someone who has twisted ideas of things as black and white as fidelity, despite coming from perfectly privileged, healthy, good backgrounds.

So I’ve learned, and I’m learning all the time. That maybe I can no loner blindly assume that most men are upright, good, compassionate and gentle, just because the few I surround myself with are. I make the mistake of believing the world at large has more good people than warped people. And nothing shakes that faith at its very core, as much as when those I believe I know at close quarters behave in ways that are so unbecoming. A carelessly uttered name, an unwanted statement, an uncomfortable conversation, an inappropriate touch – it could be anything. It is usually the simplest, most basic things – a conversation, a message or a touch, that can trigger off an unsavoury experience.

I’m learning to listen more closely to those cues. A friend said to me the other day, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” and I’m realise how must I still need to work on that and sharpen my ability to take people for what they show themselves to be. I have to constantly remind myself to stop making excuses for their actions, or justify their behaviour because I am blindly trusting. I need to constantly trust my instincts, listen to my gut, reming myself to react immediately when I feel it is required, to not wait or ask myself for reasons or justification. To remember that no explanations are needed in the face of feeling discomfort.

Draw those lines, ladies. Draw them for yourself. Safeguard them fiercely, by yourself. Be your own person and protect yourself at all times. Don’t look for excuses to justify the moments when you are prompted to get men to check that cocky confidence from time to time.

We’ve got to teach ourselves to starkly draw boundaries when men try and evade them. We have to fiercely protect our sanctuaries of balance and peace when faced with unsavoury behaviour that could very quickly devolve into messy relations. The onus to protect us, lies on us. To call violations out for what they are – no mincing words. To react when we’re faced with even the mildest oppression. To push back when we’re being painted with wide swathes of regressive notions that make it seems like all women can and will be silently subjugated. To fight. Not flee.

I’ve had to learn that flight is not always the best reaction. I’ve moved from my initial reactions of fleeing the situation and being completely in denial of the violation itself, to a point where I acknowledge it (albeit a little late), to a step further where I can react (but am sometimes too polite), to what I did yesterday — which was boldly call inappropriate behaviour out, for exactly that. Inappropriate. Uncalled for. Uncomfortable. And I made sure the man in question knew I was doing precisely that, and knew just what he was on to.

It’s important to get that message across fearlessly. Despite initial panic pre-responding to the instance, I came out feeling much stronger once I had formulated a response to what had happened. It’s a required learning curve one had to go through, to teach the few transgressors (they exist, amongst the wonderful men we know) that we encounter, that not every woman they meet will willingly, politely fit into the generic little cubbyholes that they want to put us into.

Where I’ve been

19 Nov

In a blur: A large part of this year has been a blur of hectic activity. Work, travel, visitors and every other possible frenetic activity that I could envisage – it hit me this year.

Busy at work: Much of the blur of activity of the last 12-odd months is that work began to pick up pace. It surfaced, reared its head, I grabbed it, I nurtured it, pruning and plucking away at it so it would grow into a nice healthy tree, and so much of that is an all-consuming, hectic activity. I’ve written more, for more people, across various things this year than I have since I quit my job. I feel a bit chuffed to think I took a while to come around, but come around I did. And I’m almost glad it took it’s own sweet time, because I’ve finally found a groove that I fit into, one that I carved out for myself. I’m clearer about the things I want to do, where I want to be and how I’m going to slowly, but surely get there.

I keep telling myself I need to add a tab on this site and link up all my recent work and writing, but this morning it dawned on me that a mere tab wont do. I’m going to need a grown-up-pants-y writers website.


Travelling and travelling some more: There was Bangalore, and Bombay. And then a spectacular 5 days spent in Singapore last month, with S – where we lived the good old days of eating, drinking, laughing. Minus the drugs. It was insane. I didn’t think it was possible, but somehow the levels of camaraderie do not drop, even despite the lack of substances. The best kind of trips are those with people who are as enthusiastic about exactly the same things you are enthusiastic about and Singapore was a complete bingefest because of it. I have way too many memories, and came back with my heart and soul so full, I wanted to hold on to it for as long as I can, so I stayed away from talking about it.

And there’s going to be Madras next month (fingers crossed the rain passes soon), followed up immediately by Bangalore again. And talks of getting away from Goa for the hugsband’s birthday and NYE.

On the brink of a what-next: Life is full, but its full in ways that it hasn’t been for in the years before. And somehow all the experiences of recent past have all pushed the bar high up on, all fronts. As 2016 approaches, I’m feeling that what-next race ahead and get closer to me.

It’s been festering for a while, and this time around the hugsband and I seem to be so much more ready to face whatever it might bring. Angst on that front has slowly given way to some shades of clarity. The cloud has cleared and the lines ahead have begun to form. We’re at a point where we have conversations about it, rather than throw vague dissatisfactions at each other and worry about what will happen next.


Crazy in love: In love. With life. And everything it has given me this year. It’s not like me to want to sit back and svaour every last drop of it without sharing it here, but that has been the case for the most part of 2015. I’ve grabbed every ounce of the abundance and cherished it. There is more than adequate work, its been tremendously fun. There has been joy in travel, immense happiness in nesting while we worked our butts off. There has been a lot of new love and friendship, and a kind of togetherness with some that was previously unknown to me. There has been forging of bonds with those who have stuck around, and there as also the surprise discovery of kindred spirits. There has been way more sisterhood and womanly love than I deserve. It was not without its share of disappointment. In people, in work, in lessons learned. And somehow that too, has made me feel immense love for what it is that I *do* have.

I’m not ready to do my goodbye post to 2015, even though this might sound like it in many ways. I am however ready to welcome 2016 with a warm welcoming embrace.


Bring it. I’m waiting. On tip-toe.


Long time, no food pic/post, so here goes.

5 Nov


It’s been absolute ages since I snapped and posted a picture of something I’ve cooked in my kitchen. In fact, its been forever since I shared a food picture on Instagram at all. And so yesterday, when I took this picture and shared it with S & S – because the curry looked so pretty – it got me thinking.

I killed the fb page for hungry and excited about six months ago for various reasons, which I have written down in an unpublished draft. I’ve turned down the last few cake orders I got with the excuse that my life has taken over and I no longer have the time or the inclination to bake. That excuse is true because until last weekend, I hadn’t turned my oven on since the strawberry cake marathon ended.

About a month ago, the hungry and excited domain died and I got a reminder to renew it. Four weeks since, I’m still not sure if I’m going to, or if I do, what form it will take. The blog is dead, for everyone who has written in to ask why, and when it will be up – from gentle emails to pressing, desperate whatsapp questions – I really have no definite answer. I don’t know when I am going to resurrect it, and when I do, I know I want it to go back to what my blog originally used to be, so I want to be able to create a space for it.

I’m increasingly growing tired of the food feeds across all the social media platforms and at first I had mixed feelings of nostalgia and angst about by this was happening to me. Now I no longer find myself wondering. I know why this has happened to me. My interests have changed.

C’est la vie.

However I still cook. Daily mundane meals. Inspired weekend meals. And everything in between. But some days inspiration strikes in the middle of the week. Like a cloud over my head that refuses to lift until I have give in, poked it and allowed myself to be consumed in the down pour. It means I don’t wait for the weekend. I brush work aside and rush to the kitchen to cook.

In an older life, inspiration drove me to do crazy things – like beginning my morning by baking 200 cupcakes, like convincing myself that I needed fresh home baked bread every time I ate pasta, like the days I would cook and deliver fresh lunch to the hugsband every single day. People who knew me said I was crazy. And yet, all those things I did, they felt completely normal. To me. Back then.

Yes, inspiration can make you do crazy things. And today looking back, I do think I was crazy. Back then. Because I no longer recognise that girl.

But, I still cook. Mundane everyday meals, inspired weekend meals. Everything in between. Sometimes inspiration can make you do crazy things. And sometimes it can make you get up and go make lunch.

She feels she needs to leave

16 Sep

She’s running, slipping away from us. The monsoon. At a 40% deficit, we’ve had an absolutely disastrous season. I do feel a bit odd typing this as it’s pouring cats and dogs behind me. It’s been lashing down for two days straight now, but it’s been like an afterthought – almost like some last minute attempt to give it one last shot, with all it’s got. To say the monsoon has been dismal this year would be a serious understatement. And as with all the other completely expected and predicted weather variations, the monsoon too has taken a beating. We had an awful summer, hotter than hot, so of course the monsoon had to follow suit. And fail.

Let me not look a gift horse in the mouth. Der aaye, durust aaye and all that.

It’s been a beautiful few days, washed clean after the horribly hot, oppressive weekend. And I’m not talking about the weather alone, there. The skies were clear blue, with soft wispy clouds painting patterns across in wide streaky shapes. Like whipped soft peaks marbled into pale blue souffle.


The clouds looked like they were making an effort to cheer me up – I really needed things to look up for me. Ironic how one usually associates rainy weather with grim, damp, cold days and the shining of the sun usually heralds happy times again. But I was done with the sun beating down relentlessly.

I felt the need to leave. I wanted to look away, hide and stay covered until there was some respite. Because there was no cloud cover to speak of, it was bright, blindingly so. And hot as hell, with not so much as a light breeze.


Finally there was rain. On Sunday night. I usually feel like its some kind of reboot. Everything gets washed, wiped down. The haze clears, the cloud over my head had burst. And it hasn’t stopped.

As if on cue, I turned the music back on. Loudly. Connected my laptop to the speakers, as I worked. It was turning everything back on after hitting pause for four days. My mind, my body, the music, life – everything breathed again.

And here’s what I’ve been listening to. Thanks to the new (is it really new? or have I only just noticed it?) autoplay feature, and what seems like some spanking new algorithm that really knows how to hit the spot, youtube has thrown up some gems over the last three days. Mixes, playlists and general gathering of some of my old monsoon favourites, some new discoveries and the music hasn’t stopped.

VC has had it hard. Waking up to loud, but mellow rain music. Walking in to the home and saying hi, but not being heard above the din. Going to sleep to the strains of music he doesn’t know and doesn’t get, but that he tolerates nonetheless.

Junip with their beats and basslines that dig into your brain and embed themselves there. And that dream-like voice that Joze Gonsalez has. This has been the list that played the longest and loudest.

Old (forgotten), monsoon favourite: Zero7 + old-new (forgotten) monsoon staple: Bonobo = this playlist. A whopper with 70 tracks. I barely forwarded through this one and that is a rare thing.

I have no idea who Robert Glasper is or what this Experiment is all about, but it has been a pleasant discovery. Good loungy-ambient-electronic music with touches of other stuff that makes for good background music. Listening to this is like being in a cafe while trying to work. Works perfectly for me.

Ihave this massive dump of Bonobo that I’ve had for about five years now. The kind of giant chunk of music you never get around to fully weeding through. You find your favourites and you keep with them, until suddenly you discover a gem by accident, or youtube autoplays it – whichever happens first. And then you go back and dig out the album and realise it’s awesome. That.



“She feels she needs to leave
When the fields are all covered in frost
And the dreams begin to breathe
Opening the partly open locks

While the others start to disagree
On returning to rough and moving grounds
And if I should come to be relieved
Would it be without you?”

Random things I’ve thought about today

15 Sep

I am completely incapable of taking a compliment gracefully. I never know what to say or how exactly to react, most often resigning myself to the fact that I must end it all with a foot placed awkwardly, but firmly, in my mouth. I’m usually in awe of those who can and I wish I could learn the subtle way in which you accept a compliment like it’s the most natural thing in the world. There’s that. And then there’s the unique ability some people have, to pay someone a compliment, but to do it in a way that leaves them wondering if you’re insulting or appreciating them. That is a most special skill. One that I do not envy and hope I never pick up.


Something about the weekend from hell (mentally, speaking) that I’ve just had, has strengthened my faith in VC. Actually its not just something. It is his ability to stand his ground and be his own person, despite everything his family has taught him and brought him up to be. I always knew he was quite the rebel at heart. Dead sure, almost cocky. Firm, determined, obstinate. Unwavering, digging his heels in and sticking to his guns as far as his choices and reasons for making those choices goes.

For all the times I go on about being brave, decisive and owning up for what is yours I cower in the face of potential confrontation or unpleasantness. I’m quite happy doing my thing as long as its not causing too much discomfort to those around me. If it does, I choose to go about it anyway, giving any hint of displeasure I might perceive a cold shoulder and not paying it the least bit of attention. I’d rather pretend I don’t see it, rather than face it and address it. I’m conveniently passive, like that. VC on the other hand, has turned into the true kind of bold, take-me-as-I-am soul. Of the kind of intensity I didn’t think was possible. And that takes a special kind of confidence, I’ve realised.

Something about the weekend from hell that I’ve just had, has raised my acceptance and appreciation for just what it takes and means for him to stand his ground. And to stick by me despite what his family may think or feel.


I’m having such a surge of work, calling it a good run, a healthy spell seems inadequate. I’m also afraid to talk about it too much. I get sceptical and superstitious at the weirdest junctures in my life. I keep thinking I should create and update a work section here, so I can link up all the varied kinds of writing I am now doing, but something has stopped me from doing it. There is finally enough of it to show and more importantly, none of it is marketing/advertising and I think it’s important for me to document that, for myself more than anyone else. Last week, when I turned down an offer to sign a retainer for a monthly marketing writing gig, I knew I have finally reached the next milestone in my professional experience.


This has been a year of almost perpetual wheels on my heels. I’ve travelled more for work and for myself, entertained a string of guests, been on the run even when I’ve been in Goa and it’s truly been a hectic nine months. So hectic that I honestly don’t have a clue how I’ve landed smack in the middle of September. That customary omigosh-this-year-is-zipping by feeling has hit me again. But this time, its not with the usual panic of not having accomplished much. This year, I’m satisfied. I’m pleased with the way things have turned out – it’s been a good balance of work and play and I’m happy to be riding the wave while it lasts.


I’m going to be in Bombay this weekend and next month again travel beckons. I’m already slotting out my work for the next eight weeks. And this feel strange. I have never had to plan my freelance assignments so much in advance. Heck, I’ve never had a calendar that’s filled up so far into the future. Somedays I work longer hours than VC does, and some nights when he has to beg me to turn the computer off and come to bed, I know how the tables have turned. Is this what finding the sweet spot feels like?


Four-legged friend

9 Sep


Her eyes were so eager, set perfectly in the square of her fuzzy, subcutaneous-diseased face. Pink spots seen through thinning fur, with eyes that beamed like she was smiling straight at me.

It was meant to be a leisurely walk. It was anything but leisurely. As this little madame tried her very best and did everything in her power to romp around with her. She walked beside us, in front of us, at our heels, so I nearly tripped over her. And finally when she realised none of it was working, these humans were here to do everything (run, walk, watch footballers, skip over streams of sea-water, meet and avoid people they didn’t want to encounter on the beach, laugh, take pictures of the sunset) give this little mutt any attention at all, she retreated.

She was gone, and I looked at VC and said, phew. A couple of minutes later, a lick on my finger, and the same eager face, smiling eyes were back. So finally, I gave in. Talked to her. Asked what she wanted, and she just looked on, the same energetic smile straight back at me.

It seems all she really wanted was some attention. A few words, some time, and perhaps a little conversation too.

I named her Relentless Rani.


8 Sep

Dear VC,

I could get really repetitive (and predictable), say that it seriously feels like we only just started dating yesterday. But I’d be lying. Because the truth is, I feel like I’ve known you for every single day of the 10 years that I have indeed known you for a lifetime. For the most part, it feels like we have this figured. There is a natural rhythm to the way we function and the various separate moving parts of our lives dance around pretty seamlessly to make this work for us.

There is comfort in that predictability. In how I can predict your every move. And this is the part that sometimes makes me sit up and wonder if I have indeed known you for a lifetime. I can predict the way your trousers will always lie in that exact same pile on the sideboard. I can tell by the happy noises you make while eating a meal, just how much you’ve enjoyed it. I can gauge your level of worry in the way you always tell me to watch out, be careful when I go out dancing, like it’s the very first time. The way you plan every clandestine purchase, and yet pass it off with the most nonchalant shrug, like I hadn’t just seen you research the bejeezus out of it for only like the last 9256 days, Yeah, you’d rather believe you surprised me. Worse, you believe you had me. Every time.

I like the way your eyes light up when I decode the expression on your face and tell you you’ve had a shitty day even before you begin to slowly tell me about it on your own time. I love how you try so hard to do little things to surprise me, but I’m usually two steps ahead and know about it anyway. It’s also funny how I can almost predict the way events will pan out, circumstances transpire and things will happen, and I advise you on what your actions should be. You’re sometimes defiant, sometimes completely understanding, sometimes thoughtful. But you’re always sure of yourself and go on to do what you believe is best, with or without incorporating what I have suggested. But you’re also gracious in admitting that I am right 9 out of 10 times. I love the irony and the exasperation in your voice when you exclaim “You’re not allowed to know me that well!”

I rarely feel like I wish there was room for surprises. Because I take comfort in this predictability. I like that we have this down pat, for the most part. It’s endearing to know that being with you takes little effort. Because that’s what 10 years of being with someone so easy does, I guess. You flow, there is rhythm and it becomes just…easy. Comfortable. And if predictable is a byproduct of it, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You’ve always told me your motto in life has been to cut the fat. I’ve imbibed it at various points in my life, when I’ve dealt with painful issues, hiccups and situations that caught me off guard. But I think I have only realised the full depth of it, the true way in which you live by it, in the last year. Whether it is work, your relationships, dealing with people, assessing potential difficulties or even dealing with emotions, your ability to give everything just that appropriate amount of attention and nothing more is alarming. I realise it is just that ability that makes being with you such a joy.

There is rarely a problem so huge it needs working on. Or a talk that’s been put off so long it becomes a confrontation. If there’s a problem, fix it comes so naturally to you, we rarely get to the stage where we have to sit down and have a talk or decide to take steps together to make this right again. You make it flow, like life. And this is why knowing you and being with you feels like wearing that one utterly comfortable night shirt we all have. We prefer to call it well-worn rather than old, even though that’s the truth – so many years down, its the one that’s old, riddled with holes, stretched out of shape, but that fits like nothing else does, feels perfect against your skin and nothing and nobody can ever convince you to get rid of it. Knowing you and being with you is comfortable. And comforting. Despite the years gone by, the holes that may have appeared, the shapeless way in which the age shows, the predictable and unpredictable ways in which we amble along, this feels like that best possible way to do this. Because you make it effortless. You make is just so damn easy.


You’ve spoiled relationships for me, for good. Because now I expect that all of them must be as effortless, as easy, as simple, uncomplicated. You’ve set the benchmark so damn high. Effortless (not to be mistaken for the flipside of lazy or shirking hard work) has become quite the norm, in my life. Because there are enough things that demand hard work — work, for example. Getting better at what we do. Learning new skills, figuring adult stuff out. Or exercise. Or managing funds. Or sometimes just being an adult.  There are enough things that make us work hard, sometimes going against the grain. And sure we sometimes emerge a better versions of ourselves at the end of it. But you’ve taught me that marriage shouldn’t be about hard work. It should really be the most effortless thing in the world. Because if you can’t have that ease with your spouse, what’s the point?


So yes, while most days I have a hard time realising we’ve known each other ten years now, and been married for seven, I slip back into the comfort of feeling like I’ve known you forever. Because you make it that comfortable. With your kindness, your sense of humour, the freshness of your spirit, your willingness to try everything once, your encouragement and unfailing support. Your ever-ready hugs.

And your Sunday breakfast eggs.

I don’t think I could have so seamlessly fallen into marriage, being a wife and growing up, as effortlessly with anyone else, as I did with you.

You make it wonderful. For the both of us.


Six, five, four, three, two, one.


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