Day 251: It’s just the nearness of you (Ten)

For several reasons of late, VC, I’ve been feeling a sense of perspective about the passage of time, about my age, about how far I’ve come. The trouble is I don’t normally register these things on a regular basis. Who does? 18 years since I finished school, 13 years since my first job and since I first met you, 10 years since we’ve been married.

10. TEN!

Let that sink in a little. Like it did for me. Because the thing is, when time zips by like it does but the more things seem to change, the more the stay the same. And so, I don’t register how long it has been. So many things about us are just the way they were 10, 11, 12 years ago. And I’ve said that many, many times before. That it just doesn’t feel all that long.

It doesn’t. But this isn’t about what it doesn’t feel like. It’s about all that does feel like. All that is has felt like this past year. Selfishly, this year has been the year I singlemindedly focused on me. On myself alone, more than us. From being the reason for uprooting us and moving from Goa to Bangalore, to ditching nearly all my “responsibilities” about the house,  just going about doing everything that I wanted to for myself, this is the year I didn’t pay too much attention to us.

It’s entirely the headspace I’ve been in for nearly two years now, and our marriage has really experienced the ripple effects of it all. But here’s what I do know for sure. I couldn’t have done any of this — embarked on this completely self-serving, self-centred journey — if it weren’t for us and how comfortable I feel to be me, in this marriage first.

If my own journey has been about coming into my own, oddly being with you has given me the best space to live it. Our marriage will always be the first space where I learnt to be myself this year, wholly, completely and imperfectly.

Suddenly ten years begins to feel like a lot when I measure it in the comfort that I feel.

I went through a phase where I believed relationships shouldn’t take work. That if they’re demanding hard-work and more effort than joy, there must be something wrong that needs inspection. This year really made me eat those very words. Because this year, our marriage really made us work.

Ten years begins to feel like a lot when I think about how much work it’s taken to get here.

Relationships take work. Doing the work doesn’t have to be at the cost of joy, is all. Something I’ve also learned from you this year. Sure, the exact instances of painfully etching out our individual spaces in this relationship might have be full of pain, rage, loud arguments and cold silences, and maybe we both have awful memories from those times, but it has been such a joy working this out with you. Because it’s given our relationship a sense of life and agility. An always moving, ever-changing quality that defies settling.

It feels solid and safe to do this with you. And ten years begins to feel like a lot when I measure it in this safety.

This year, more than every before, as I made my own journey of self-discovery and realisations. It means I told you umpteen times that we married too soon. That in hindsight, I should have waited a while. That maybe we didn’t give ourselves time and space to bloom as individuals.

I’ve even gone so far as to say I lost some very significant parts of my self to my marriage, and the early years of being together. That I’ve forgotten what it was to be me, or who I really am outside of the roles that marriage brought to my personality. And finally, we’ve even discussed how some part of putting those pieces back together means I want to live alone, away from you for a while.

None of this has been easy of course. It’s all very well for me to sum it up in a paragraph or post, but that is a collapsed, neatly-packed version of many, many months of conversations, of learning on the go, of fiddling around with the mechanics of us. The constant work.

Even the space and silences we have learnt to give each other, has taken work. This year more than ever, I took the liberty to occupy all the emotional space in our equation. I needed it and I greedily went in and grabbed it. Sometimes walking all over you, in the bargain.

I know for sure how I’d react and how I have in fact reacted, when roles have been reversed, and it is not pretty. I have not extended nearly half the grace and understanding that you have to me, and that makes me feel extremely lucky.

Ten years feels like a lot when I think about how relaxed I have become. How many of my peeves I’ve overcome. How easy it is with you.

And then there is the bedrock of honesty and vulnerability that we both treasure and hold so valuable. It’s allowed me, and you, to bring our worst versions of ourselves to the table, not a luxury one has with too many people. And somehow, it’s the worst, hardest moments of the last 18 odd months that stand out as moments of strength. We may have been broken, but I’ve been held by an inner solidity and quiet confidence that we’ve got this, every single one of those times.

This was the year I’ve experienced the most flux in terms of people. Almost as many people have left my life, as new ones have come in. It’s been high-energy and high-activity in this regard. I have had more than my fair share of moments of abject loneliness and disconnection, and even at the worst of it, I have always had you. Because of what we share within, and what we have shared and cultivated this year. Together. The clarity about what is important, that openness to accept that everything changes, that it is not worth settling, and the permission to absolutely change our minds no matter how frequent or unsettling that may be.

Ten years feels like so much, when I realise it’s a almost a third of my entire life. The years I’ve spent figuring myself out, I’ve spent with you. And I really couldn’t have done it if we didn’t see eye to eye.

With so much going on with me, and so much of it reflected on our marriage, I sometimes balk when I think about how much I have changed as a person, from the person I was in 2008. I’m literally a whole new person in every sense possible.

The other day, I wondered, if I am a whole new person, how is it that you still love me?

As I’ve reworked so many of my own beliefs about me, myself, my body, gender and sexuality, the institute of marriage itself, it took tearing down and rebuilding what I feel about our marriage too, it’s take a hell of a lot of effort to walk the talk and bring all that I was feeling, into my life with you.

I couldn’t have done it if I didn’t believe you had my back. That you’d stay. That you’d be on board with me. In fact you’ve been so instrumental in encouraging me to be free to change my mind, to reimagine my reality and to give every little whim a chance to fly.

This year, I’ve learned what it is to uncouple. The importance of letting go, even as we remain together. That we don’t have to constantly agree, do the same things, want the same things and always be together in more ways than one, to feel like a unit.

Ten years feels like a lot when I try and measure the togetherness I feel so deep within.

As we begin this 11th year, I have a hunch that it features a lot of time apart. Somehow, that makes me feel immensely close to you. Yet free. And what an absolutely lucky place to be, that is.

Thank you for ten years of joy, VC.

Every time that I have had to take a leap, make a go for it, jump. I know I have you, no matter what the outcome. It’s what keeps me afloat.

It’s ironic, but it took a year spent so fiercely being just me, to realise how much I love and cherish what I have with you. And that’s really it.

I love you.

One year ago: Nine
Two years ago: Day 251: August

Past anniversaries: nine, eightsevensixfivefourthreetwoone.

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Nine

Nine. NINE! VC, it’s been nine years. I remember writing this post, overwhelmed that we’d hit the half-decade mark, like it was just yesterday. And this morning, I pointed out that today we’ve officially entered the double-digits. Next year it will be a decade since we got married.

The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. It’s a old and overused cliche, but I can’t think of a better way to describe what it’s like being married to you. The change bit holds only too true for the past year. 2016-17 will go down as the year everything changed. Our professional paths, the painful changes in the run up to accepting that we’d have to leave Goa, moving back to Bangalore, figuring stuff out in the city once again, all the teething issues – physically and emotionally, setting up your new business — never before have we experienced such a huge quantum of change in such a short span of time.

You know what else changed this year? Our communication. I’ve always taken solace and quiet comfort in the knowing that we’ve always had a healthy level of honesty and good communication, but with everything that happened last year, I feel like we were thrust into a whole new level of brutal honesty that we didn’t know existed. I’ll admit it gets very tiring sometimes being the one to initiate us on this path, and constantly be the one digging deeper to find out what lies beneath the surface — our feelings, our opinions, our desires, our dreams — but I’ve realised there is no other way I’d rather have it.

I’ve seen far too many examples of marriages falling apart of late, where the fundamental reason boiled down to the inability to either face and voice the truth, or to accept and embrace it. So I’m extremely grateful for the space we share between us, where pretty much nothing is taboo. I can’t think of too many other relationships that give me this sense of safety. This space for extreme honesty is so, so, very cherished, and you have to know how much you (unconsciously, perhaps) have done to encourage me to speak nothing but the truth. Even when it was to finally realise and admit to myself, and you, that given the way my life has traversed this past year, I do feel that maybe we married too soon.

I broke down momentarily in therapy when I came to this realisation, because I expected to feel the predictable sense of regret. But to my surprise tears made way for relief. I felt so oddly free to be able to see what I had just articulated for what it is, and immediately I knew I was absolutely going to be able to share it with you. I know and believe and feel so thankful to have the kind of relationship with you that enables me to speak this, right to your face, no words minced. And to have us look at the fact with enough distance that is needed to learn the lessons in here, but enough keenness to know what to do with this awareness, and where to go with it. And that’s just what we did, it’s how we embarked on this most unexpected turn of events that has landed us in Bangalore. I do believe this is just the beginning, though, and that a change in cities has so little to do with the city itself, but that we have been presented an opportunity t dig even deeper.

This year, I feel stronger, more whole and at peace than I have ever before in my entire life. Therapy (with all the upheaval it brings in its aftermath), through which you have stood by me like an absolute rock, turned me into an absolute blithering mess at times. I talked nine to a dozen, rambling, losing the plot many a time, voicing and airing a lot of rubbish on the way to finding my clarity. Even as I was going through many of those sessions of verbal diarrhoea, I remember wondering if it might be painful to be at the receiving end of this all the time. It didn’t stop me, though. And it didn’t make you stop me either.

I’m where I am largely because you supported me entirely in getting here. I said last year that much of this exploration began because I was able to give myself the permission to do so. I allowed myself to let go of so much, because you constantly reminded me how important it was to put a premium on myself and do whatever I needed to, to feel whole again.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.

I hope you never muddle your sense of responsibility towards me and this marriage, to lose sight of your personal goals and dreams. Which is why I want you to know that my wish for us this year, and going forward, is that you remember all those things you keep telling me. And I wish and hope that I can be there for you, like you have for me.

This year, I see you at the start of your journey of self-exploration, similar to the spot I was in a couple of years ago. I hope you’ll remember that I’ve always got your back. I may not bring home the bacon, but I’ve really, really, got your back. You can lean on me. I’m here for the talk as much as I am for when you need the silence of comfortable companionship. I’m here for the ride as much as I am for when we need to stay still. I’m here for the plateaus as much as I am change.

I want to go back to one little thing I said on our anniversary last year. It was a liberating, life-changing realisation then. And it holds true even today.

I feel like today, more than ever, is a good day for a reminder.

This year, more than every before, I realised that being together has little to do with being together. Not to take for granted how wonderful it is to have a roomie to come back to, someone to hold at night when the fear of the dark envelops me, someone to lean on when I’m scared or lonely, someone to share a laugh with in a way that only we can understand. But I realised that growing old together involves taking routes that aren’t always going to run in parallel, or end up in the same place. It is possible to be together and yet give each other the space to be apart – in what we do, in where we go, and in how we blossom. And for the first time in all our years together, and my vehement stand on long-distance relationships, I have opened myself up to the idea of living apart. It will mean spreading our wings in different directions, and I don’t mean that just literally. I hope we explore it someday, because I think it will only take us a step up from here.

Happy anniversary my superstar. I haven’t done a very good job of being around the last few weeks and months since we moved to Bangalore. But I want you to know you’re a champ, my absolute trooper and I can’t wait to see what the months ahead hold for you.

As for the ride taking you there, I’m all in.

You’ve got me. I’ve got your back.

I love you so very much.

***

Same time, last year: Day 252: Eight

Past anniversaries: sevensixfivefourthreetwoone.

Day 252: Eight

VC, it’s that time of year again. This day wouldn’t be complete without me saying it feels like we only just got together yesterday. Like I’ve done so many times before. But we know the truth. It’s been a decade of knowing you, and in fact the enormity of that truth only sank in only a few days ago. Suddenly I realised we’ve been doing this for an absolute age. A whole damned decade, eight years of which have been spent trying to perfect this marriage thingamajig.

But you know what?

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PC: StarvingArtistFilms

It’s been a far from perfect year, since our last anniversary when I waxed eloquent about how comfortably predictable things had become. This year there was many an oddball. It was anything but predictable. There have been so many heavy discussions about where to next, which came with a huge set of pros cons and our respective opinions, desires and dreams to juggle. There was a home loan in the mix this year, which has put a fair deal of pressure on us both. Not that you ever showed it, but I always know when you’ve been worried about it. There was a lot of angst about what to do next — for you and for me, as individuals and as a unit — and which way to go from here. It seems like this semi-charmed life has maxed out on it’s levels of near-perfection (when you discount the shitty roads and spotty internet, I mean) and that has time and again pushed us into a corner, begging us to ask ourselves some hard questions and consider some difficult options.

And so we did. It’s been a year of tremendous opinion-sharing between us. I can’t help but feel that the more rounded and formed our personalities get, the more we dig our heels in and stand up for what we believe in. Many times, we don’t believe in the same things. This year, more than ever before, we’ve sparred over things, small and big. From your smoking habit that I truly wish you’d kick, to a potential move beyond Goa, we’ve battled it out with loud exchanges of words, lots of confusion, plenty of tentative guessing and jumping to conclusions, a fair amount tears and the two instances when I left home and drove off into the night. Old me from about two years ago would say I’m not proud for what I did, or what pushed me to it. But I’ve learned this year, more than ever before, that it’s not important to agree and always see eye to eye. In fact it’s important not to agree, and it’s important to always have the room for that. I’m so glad that even when we’re in the throes of a belligerent rage, one of us has the sense to calm the other down and remind ourselves to make space for one another’s opinions.

I love that we have this healthy battle ground. Where we can spar, constantly remind ourselves to keep it civil, but not polite; honest but not rude; real, but not sharp. This year more than ever before, I have enjoyed fighting with you. Until last year, I always wondered if there was something the matter with us – our fights and disagreements were few and so far between. This year, I proved myself wrong and we’ve more than made up for the lack of disagreements in our lives so far.

I believe everything happens for a reason, and that this transformation came with a reason too. Because, I no longer fear fighting with you (and anyone else I hold close, for that matter). I’ve learned that every healthy relationship must have space for healthy disagreement. It’s become a marker for the authentic relationships in my life, across the board. It’s taught me that learned that sometimes one has to squash one’s ego, agree to disagree, and just hug it out. I’ve also learned that no matter what the outcome, it’s always a good idea to say sorry.

This year, you’ve taught me the value of saying sorry, even when it is the hardest thing to do and my mountain-sized ego will not allow it. In the number of instances that you plainly and easily said sorry, at the end of an argument, or when you thought you’d disappointed me, or when the truth about the numerous patterns of oppression women face in a typical Indian family suddenly dawned on you in its immensity, and you suddenly woke up to it’s existence in your own family, you apologised for it. You took responsibility, even though you’ve never behaved in a way that was oppressive or discriminatory. You apologised on the behalf of everyone else who never will. You have no idea how immensely liberating that has been.

This year, I’ve learned empathy from you. I’ve learned to tone down my judgement. To live and let live, in the truest sense of the term. Together we’ve turned many of our perceptions about a lot many things and people around. It;s reminded me that there is always have scope to grow, and I feel glad every time that we are able to acknowledge where we were wrong, and we try and correct our thoughts. I like to think we’ve turned into more self-assured individuals with firmness where it counts. I find you perfectly straddle being strong-willed, but soft-hearted where it matters. You’ve displayed conviction, with a rare kind of softness that I find immensely attractive. It’s a balance I still have to learn.

But most of all, this year will always be remembered as the year you helped me rediscover myself yet again. I don’t know if you realise the influence you have had on me. As the only person privy to all my thoughts, feelings, ups and downs of every aspect of my life, you share in my angsts and joys equally. And this year your only steady advice has always been to put a premium on myself. To always raise the bar, demand more, settle for nothing less than the best. Whether it has been at work — when demanding a higher fee, not settling for shoddy work relationships, or in my relationships with people — cutting off toxic friendships, prioritising my time, being uncompromising with the quality of friendships and focusing on myself and my self development.

You’ve been the sound voice, constantly dinning into my head the need to put myself first. It’s how I’ve bettered my work style and engagements. I wouldn’t have re-learned discipline if it weren’t for our many discussions about how to get better at this game. I wouldn’t have cracked so many pitches if we hadn’t worked on my emails together. I wouldn’t have come to believe in myself if you hadn’t backed me up every step of the way.

This year, we’ve completely soaked in the spirit of being quiet. You were always the quiet one, but this year I realised I have some quiet in me too. In learning to be still, I’ve understood myself better, sharpened my focus, fine-tuned my ability to be by with myself. As individually-focused as that sounds, it has changed my relationship with you. For the better. I understand you better. I respect you more. I honour you for the individual that you are, completely, with fewer expectations than before. As much as there’s been hectic chatter and loud disagreements, we’ve had our fair share of silence too. It’s one of the things I love the most about us. The way in which we can exist in a companionable silence, for hours on end, without having to engage. This year, I’ve learned there’s more than one kind of quiet, and I cannot wait to discover the rest. With you. Even though this was also the year we took off on our own respective tangents.

It’s the first time I saw in us, the patterns I see with my parents. In being starkly individualistic people, with completely different goals, diverging in entirely opposite directions, yet somehow making ends meet, and finding a way to let go, live and love, all at once.

I travelled by myself this year, more than I have ever before. And it was because conversations I had with you rekindled the hidden desire that I have let remain forgotten for all the years we have been together. You bought me the bestest gift of all times – a bike – that has triggered something deeper than a quest to cycle, in me. You’ve reminded and taught me how important it is to chase those things that are fundamental to our happiness, outside of amassing money in the bank and buying things. And you’ve done this by example. By taking off on your own path of self-discovery, traversing cycling, film and new areas of work – areas I am completely removed from. That has been your journey to take, and I’ve watched from a distance, with such pride.

This year, more than every before, I realised that being together has little to do with being together. Not to take for granted how wonderful it is to have a roomie to come back to, someone to hold at night when the fear of the dark envelops me, someone to lean on when I’m scared or lonely, someone to share a laugh with in a way that only we can understand. But I realised that growing old together involves taking routes that aren’t always going to run in parallel, or end up in the same place. It is possible to be together and yet give each other the space to be apart – in what we do, in where we go, and in how we blossom. And for the first time in all our years together, and my vehement stand on long-distance relationships, I have opened myself up to the idea of living apart. It will mean spreading our wings in different directions, and I don’t mean that just literally. I hope we explore it someday, because I think it will only take us a step up from here.

I look back at this year and it looks so pock-marked, dented and imperfect, riddled with the weight of learning. It’s been a heavy year in that respect. But we’ve towed the line rather well, picking up when the other left off, holding each other up, and being the stoic, steady person when the other needed to waver for a bit. In you I’ve had the best friend and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner on this ride.

We’re still often met with this picture perfect notion of marriage, complete with the kids and the car and the giant home. We’re still asked when we plan to have children, and shocked reactions that prod deeper and wants to know why that’s not on our agenda. I understand now, where it’s coming from. It’s because that’s what it works for many people. But there is room for us. And for us, it has always been about doing it our way. Keeping our eyes and minds open, bucking the rules, bending with time and circumstances, flowing the way we choose to, changing as per the need of the hour and playing by our own rules. And you know what? That’s never going to be a pretty, picture perfect journey.

I’m ready for more.

Just to change this up, here’s a picture that represents us pretty perfectly.

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Happy 8th.
I love you.

*****

Past anniversaries
Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.

Seven

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.

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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?

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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.

<3

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

Six

Dear VC

Today marks 6 whole years since that deliriously exciting day (well, for me at least!) in 2008 when we finally got married. Do you remember the madness of the wedding? I bet you don’t. I do, it’s fresh in my mind, like it was only just the other day. There were way too many people for my liking, I was upset I didn’t get to taste all the food, I didn’t like changing my clothes so many times, and I really just wanted to fast forward to the bit where we partied. Discounting small glitches like extended family threatening to call the cops on us, and imperfections like the godawful off-season storm that raged outside, I’d say it was pretty darn perfect. I want to say its beginning to feel like the age is creeping up on us slowly, but it’d be a lie. The truth is I have to some times remind myself that it’s been six years. I’ve said it before, but at times it feels a little unreal, and I wonder if we’re not doing something right, and why we don’t feel it when we really ought to. It’s only when I count back the years and think about everything that’s gone by that I realise the enormity of 365 x 6 days. I still feel like quite the baby who only just got married.

If I were to compare the last few years with the one just gone by, I realise its been the most peaceful, and in that sense, uneventful one. A placid year that zipped by without too much upheaval. Work has gathered enough momentum to just go on without us rushing after it, life has settled into a happy routine. We didn’t travel together at all, did no really big life-changing things and mostly just stayed put bumbling along with our heads down. It’s given us the time and repose to think talk about the next 5-6 years and what we want from it. The floundering of the first few years of getting to know each other, ironing out the unreal expectations has made way for a pleasant calm and comfort in our relationship. We’ve found our feet in some sense. We have never had as many conversations as we did about the way want to steer our lives, about how much we’re willing to let go of, to continue to choose the life we do. And we have never been so clear about our openness to want to change things around every time they get too comfortable.

This year, we’ve each grown remarkably as individuals, more than we have as a couple. And I see it in the amount of time we have comfortably spent apart, whether it was in the many trips we made separately or the amount you worked, or in the lives we have made for ourselves outside of each other. We’ve inculcated personal hobbies, nurtured friendships separately and we’ve been happy to let go, give each other that much needed space, miss each other just enough and even spend time together, in silence.

A quiet year has unintentionally helped in steadying us in so many ways. And I know this because, as we fine-tune our individual personalities, this has been the year with the most confrontation, questions and disagreements — and yet somehow it has been the year with the fewest fights. I can only think of one occasion this (and it happened only just last week) when I wanted to walk out in a storm and get a breather by myself because we were driving each other stark raving mad. Sure, we don’t get it right all of the time, but this past year, you have reminded me time and again why I chose you, and why this works.

It works because it’s effortless. And it works because we’re constantly keeping it real. I realise that all we ever want as people is to be understood, to be understood by that one person with whom things are effortless, and things make sense. Even in all their maddening glory. You remind me, without mincing words — to cut it out. That I don’t have to try so hard. That I don’t have to fight, prove a point, or pretend to be someone I am not. You take me, as I am. And I know you wouldn’t have it any other way. And somehow I think I have learned a thing or two from it all. To live and let live. To choose well. To communicate freely. To apologise when I must. To laugh when the moment asks for it. To cry if I must. To just be me, effortlessly, because things are really only as complicated as we want to make them.

We don’t get it right all of the time. And this life we have, it isn’t perfect. But what is it, is real. I’ve learned that we can be so hopelessly, irrevocably in love with each other, and yet have the ability to be unimaginably pissed off at each other. That’s a very real possibility. And when that happens, like it did last week, you are most likely to drive me insanely angry with your asinine logic, your steadfast stubbornness and your incredibly stupid argument — and I am most likely to push you away when you’re trying to ease the heat of the moment, with an ill-timed hug. I can tell you off and know you will take it. I love that you’re the only person who really tells me when something I did was wrong, without sugarcoating it. I can always count on you to remind me never to settle for something that’s not worth it, and that it is never too late to be the person I want to be.

In conversation last week, I got wondering about what keeps the happy couples I know, the ones that have been married for aeons, make it look so young and fresh. And I have to be honest, I can’t pin point it. I don’t know how they make it work. But I know how we make it work. We’re still poles apart. We don’t always agree, and we don’t always want the same things — but we’ve been horribly honest about it and I know I speak for us both when I say this happened because, it is this year, more than ever before, that we have been incredibly comfortable in our own skins.

It’s been a year of consistently, quietly choosing life over stuff. Of constantly choosing well and fighting the Tyranny of Trend. Of being the best partners we could have, for each other. Of unabashed, young love. Of finding this inexplicable comfort that I feel with you now. Of filling-out and growing as individuals, and seeing how it translates quietly into our lives as a couple. Your confidence compensates when I feel a lack of it. Your stability adds weight when I feel like I’m going to float away. Your brevity gives me the peace I need, when I am done chattering away as I always do. Your quiet contemplation has taught me too, to slow down and be still. Some more.

Happy Anniversary, VC.
I love you so, so very much.

Five down

My idiot husband,

Five years. Half a decade. A fourth of a quarter century. Whichever way I try and look at it, it feels like an enormous amount of time. To think I thought four years felt long, and old and like we’ve done this for far too long. And yet there are some things that make it feel like we only got married just the other day. Five years ago on this very day, I was delirious with excitement, but trying hard to contain myself. People told me I needed to smile, but look shy and coy, not like I was excited and happy to be leaving an old life and entering a new one. But why not, I asked. Why can’t I be happy? I had chosen the man I wanted to marry and we were about to embark on a new trip together. And what a trip it has been.

Five years ago, on this day people asked me if I knew what was in store for me. I giggled and said I didn’t. Who does? And I quickly chased it up with a, “whatever it is, I’ll be okay because VC will be around with me.” That was my naivety talking, of course. It was easy, to flippantly say we’ll be together every moment, every step of the way. But the truth is the months and weeks that have rolled by only peel away the rose tinted glasses, exposing the real people that you are I are. When we have realised that at the core, we are a different as different can be. Those are the moments when I look at the person that you are and wonder what made me think we’d be in-sync, see eye-to-eye and take every step together, for the rest of our lives. How utterly foolish of me to assume that people remain the same, that relationships are smooth sailing and that nothing ever changes.

But nothing fun ever came from relationships built on sameness. It’s true, nothing stays the same. And yet, in the face of every difficult decision, bearing varying opinions, our wildly differing views, we manage to come out on the same page on the big things that count. We’re like chalk and cheese. And yet, we pair so damn well. And I am thankful for it every single day.

Even when I’m nagging you about working less and living some more, begging you to eat some dal, wishing you’d learn to party a little harder, wanting you to quit those damn vices for good, I know deep down that there isn’t all that much I’d really change about you. Because the differences pale in comparison with the things we can do together. And the past year has shown me that. It’s been a year of many more disagreements, but a lot less heated, loud arguments. A year of letting each other go just a bit to discover our individual selves, yet holding on just so we know we’re always around for each other. It’s been a year of quiet contemplation, but loud resounding affirmation about the decisions we have taken and the path we have chosen to steer our life down.

They say the true test of a decision is how many times you are made to question it. By that logic, you and I have been tested a fair bit. Several times we have found ourselves at that point where we wonder if this was the right thing to do. Where the white-hot fury of an arguement makes glaring differences stand out. Where you want nothing more than to sever a tie and take a break. Where you want so bad to erase a few moments in the past just so you can smoothen out the present. And yet, each time I am at that point with you, affirmation sinks in fast and hard. Sometimes slinking in silently, sometimes crash-landing in front of me with a thud and a bang. Sometimes with a silent, wry smile. And I have always taken that as the biggest sign of how right it was for me. And maybe, for you too.

So when people ask me why I decided to marry “so early” (and they still do!) I only have one reason to give. Which is that I fell head over heels, truly madly in love with a man I could see myself spending my whole life, and nurturing a home with. So why does it matter if it happened at 18, 24, 29 or 32? And how does it matter if this is year 5, or 10, or 15?

It’s just another year. But for me its been a a big year. The year I learned perspective. Thanks to you. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to choose the right things. Or see the big picture. Or chase my small dreams. Or let go of that international holiday. Or choose a smaller home so we could bring the quiet back into our lives. Or dare to get into business so we can test our passions a bit. It’s just another year. But in my mind it will always be the year that changed everything.

Most people, five years into marriage have so much to show for it. A second car, a few babies, a home they own, a business they’ve put their money into. All the things that make up a functioning unit that is a family, which they say is ultimately the reason why people choose to get married. We have none of that. What we do have is a lot of togetherness. The kind I feel even across distances. When you’re travelling on work and I lie alone in bed, thinking about the shadows just outside the window. We have a lot of happy times. The kind that leave us exhausted from laughing hard. From being foolish and silly and acting 16. We have a lot of compassion and consideration. The kind that lets me know that I can chuck a paying job and sit at home to bake cakes and largely flit about life doing what I want, because you made it possible for me to.

So when the sun goes down and I look back on these years, I might not see the large home, the extra flat, the bigass car, the potloads of money in the bank. But I’ll still feel rich. Like I do now. Because I know that we chose well. We chose the single salary over the EMIs. We chose the rented smaller home, over the proposed house. We chose to fumble through the baking business over a secure, safe job. It’s been a year of perspective. It’s been a year of choosing well. And I hope this sets the tone for many, many years to come. May we always continue to make the choices that are best for us, regardless of what the world and their aunty seems to want us to do. May we continue to do the things we believe in most, peacefully, happily and wholly. May we always remember that in most situations, you only get to choose once, and so we must make that one chance count.

Just like we did five whole years ago.

And because I’m feeling particularly corny with love, this one’s for you:

All my love, and then some,
Rere

Because every anniversary deserves one of these

I never imagined this time would arrive so soon in our lives, but it has. And here we are, the only married couple amidst our current local circle  of friends. It’s what you get for marrying young I suppose. Too soon, like some folks said. But did I choose to get married young? Yes and no. Yes because six years ago, when I met the husband, I knew its what I wanted. And no, because sometimes, decisions don’t take making. They just get made. They fit without difficulty. Perfectly, without having to try. Without coaxing and cajoling. Without trying too hard.

We’re still as different as chalk and cheese. The wonders of cohabitation are many. And 4 years down, I wonder if some parts of our personalities have collapsed into one entity. I’ve seen couples who lose themselves into each other. Giving up personal interests for the convenience of doing what the other prefers. Changing eating habits for the sake of the other. Accepting change, adopting a new lifestyle to match the likes of another. We’re no different. I think we too have done bits of it all. And yet, there will always be those few things that make is starkly different. Differences that meld together in the beginning. Differences that you gloss over at first. Differences that are inconspicuously hidden, beneath a sheaf of blinding love. Until enough time has passed. And you realise the person you married is not perfect.

But he’s pretty darn close. And just for that, you couldn’t be more thankful.

Today, four years down, I know there’s no hiding from the fact that we have our fair share of differences. Dissimilarities, if you like. And the ease with which you once said I’ll-love-you-no-matter-how-when-or-why begins to tug at your heart. You want clarity, not the fuzziness of young love. You want answers, not glib sweet nothings. You want concrete plans, not wishful dreams. And of course by you, I mean me. (All this third-person talk flying around is convenient when thinking aloud.)

Thankfully, in the times of uncertainty that I have found myself in, VC has been all that and more. The clarity to my nebulous, aimless thoughts. The firm no (or yes) to every unanswered question. The man with a plan, for me being, well me. Just the way I am.

So this is to the boy who woke me up with a kiss on my nose this morning. To the boy with the bottomless pit of patience and endurance. To the boy who makes a dozen meaningful decisions, for every irrational decision I’ve made. For all his common sense, in the face of every unthinking word I’ve uttered. For the immense love and understanding, for every time I’ve given in to an unnecessary bout of tears. For the twinkle in his eye, every time I’ve dream aloud.

For always being up for a ride. For giving in to my every plan. For holding me back when I need it the most. For letting me go when I need it the most. For believing in, supporting and loving me. For stealing my blanket when its cold, but bringing me hot water bottle when I’m sick. For holding back on every splurge, and then going all the way just when we really ned it. For being my perennial guinea pig, patiently tasting every loaf of bread, until I have get it right. For quietly eating every cake I’ve baked. (Even the healthy ones!) For the restraint when I go overboard, and still dreaming big, bold and wild, when I’m not. For giving me wings to fly. Or not, if I so wish. And just for being around.

This one’s for you VC. Because the truth is, you are so many things. Too many things to note (she says, after having done just that). The perfect sounding board. The black-or-white reflection to my everything-is-gray outlook. The yang to my yin. The calm to my every storm (and you’ve seen a fair share of those). The unruffled influence on my every restless move. The stoic, collected rock to my crumbly, emotional core.

The perfect holiday-mate for a week in Thailand. The perfect sous-chef while making phulkas. The perfect business manager to my life’s plans. The pins and stripes to my paisley-smacked life. The perfect teammate for every game.

So here’s to the differences. For the not-so-perfect love affair. For making us who we are. For showing us what it is to be a team. For making us fit so damn good.

Happy anniversary my dumbass.
All my love, always.
oxxoxxxo

And just like that, 3 years whizzed by

Currently suffering incomplete-blog-postitis. A condition where several half written posts lie in various states of completion, and struggle to reach that perfect finale. Some on my phone, some in the drafts folder, some in word docs on my laptop. And yet I cant seem to find the will to finish them and post it. Somehow that burst of inspiration to blog only happens when I’m at work in the midst of an inane eDM, and obviously I can’t whip the blog open and power through it. So I make mental notes of the thoughts that strike me, in the hope that I will get back home and get to it. But I seldom follow through on my hopes. tsk tsk tsk.

But I just had to stop by just now to make note. That tomorrow it will be 3 years. Since the husband and I took the plunge. Well officially at least. In my mind, I think we had long taken the plunge the day we had the shall-we-tell-our-parents conversation, because since that say I have never looked back. It has been a decision that got made in such ease and natural comfort that never once have I had to rethink, recalculate or re-evaluate what I chose.

Since then he has endured me in all my maddening glory. That he has stuck by me and never once faltered, is sign enough that he has never had to do any of the above.

So thank you VC. For loving me just the way I am. For always saving me a piece of your dessert even when you loudly declare that I should “get my own” bowl. For missing of me when you’re away even though you rarely admit it. For bothering to keep my kitchen spotless, even thought I know you couldn’t care less if it were messy. For tolerating my shower curtain antics, I-will-only-sleep-on-the-right-side madness and various other idiosyncrasies. For poking me at the start of every movie. For listening when I jabber on endlessly. For listening even when I don’t say the words. For cooking with me. For eating whatever I make. For loving me and cherishing me and making me feel special.

For believing in our dreams. For taking a chance and for living with me.

I don’t think I could ever make it up to you.

Happy 3some VC! For always and forever.

>two down, and many many more to go..

>2 years ago on this very day, i was in a frenzy, the centre of every ones attention, and flitting around my home meeting every one of what felt like a gazillion people that were in my home. the plan for the rest of the day was to have a mid morning brunch with everyone, pack the last of my things and leave for the hotel by about 1. the woman who was to make me wear my sari in under a minute was to arrive at 1 30 and she would them do what was required to make me look my best.

later that day at around 4, i think, vc and i were to get married. which is to say, we were to be taken through a series of odd and intriguing rituals including funny hand-holding, pouring of various things inside and outside a fire, going round in circles a few times and stepping on tiny piles of rice.


it didnt end there. with just little over an hour to spare between our wedding and the reception, i had to change out of the bulky attire i was in, wear something “normal”, run down to the parlour, wash my hair, blow dry it, iron it poker straight, rush back up and wear yet another sari, some more jewelry, and make it back on stage in time. and i got hell for being five minutes late.

we then proceeded to smile aimlessly at the thousands (im not kidding) of people who swarmed in through the doors, pose mindlessly for pictures that we would later look at and think “who is that??”, and as in my case, feel faint from constantly having the videographers light in your face, actually almost pass out, curse that my wonderful 3-day wedding had to culminate in this, and then finally somewhere past midnight, get off the stage and off my 4 inch heels, eat dinner and finally chill with friends.

that was just the beginning though. of 365 + 365 (so far) days of being married. in the time that ensued, vc and i proceeded to really have a blast. in the first year we travelled like never before, almost seeing a new place every month. plenty of road trips, plenty of discovering new places, plenty of photography and a cartload of photographs and memories to go with it.

before we knew it 365 days had passed. and i found myself fixing vc a grand surprise to celebrate the day.


the next year began with talks of moving to goa. the process of finalizing it took about 4 months, so by the time we moved it was february. the rest as they say, is history, because iv blogged myself silly about what life is like here in goa.

to cut the story reeeeally short, would be to say the 2nd year has been just as adventurous and interesting as the first, though in a very different way. while year 1 was all about discovering things about each other and oneself, year 2 was also kind of like really starting over. living on our own somehow felt like we were remarried and starting from scratch.

vc and i celebrate our 2nd anniversary today. well not really “celebrate”, but mark perhaps. mostly because while the excitement remains, the novelty has worn off. and also because vc has chosen to dedicate his life and soul to his workplace. which means the office and his team mates see more of him than i do.

i did however begin the fun last night, with a chocolate truffle cake that i had to sneak in. and he, a gigantic bouquet of red and yellow roses that he had to sneak in. tonight i plan to cook something different. open up a bottle of wine for me, and beer for him. and enjoy the evening at home.

they say time flies faster when youre having a good time. i guess thats the only way to explain how these past two years have just zipped by. personally, i cant believe its been that long. it still feels like we just got married a few months ago.

happy anniversary vc :) i know its not easy being married to me, but i think you do a pretty darn good job of it!

>one whole year..and counting..

>

last year at this time, i was in the midst of getting married. or "marriaged" as AK likes to call it. the "shaadi.com" was in progress.
 
and since then i cant help but think we've come such a long way. from holidays together, to first acquisitions together, first bank accounts together, first experiences together, new kinds of fights together, facing the world together.. its been one hell of a rollercoaster ride.
 
i think the best part about marriage is how much it teaches you about yourself. you'd think that living, loving, respecting another human being..dealing with each others quirks and idiosyncrasies would teach you more about the other person..but its quite different. the nicest thing about this last year, is the fact that iv looked within so much. iv learnt so much about myself. iv challenged myself. taught myself new things. done things i never imagined i could or would.
 
and for that, i feel thankful. its an experience i highly recommend :D sure, we;ve had our share of ups and down, but the best part is being in it together. and that somehow makes all the difference.
 
i began my day with a delicious surprise. after much deliberaton and talk and discussion, we'd firmly decided that anniversaries are not about gifts (even though i still secretly feel its about the thought behind the gift, more than just the gift itself :) but maybe thats just me) and theyre not about dinners (because how different can an anniversary dinner be from any other special slightly intimate dinner in a restaurant) and theyre certainly not about expectations. so i tried to stick to it and got VC nothing more than a couple of photographs. on being presented with his share of the surprise, i felt a little sheepish — and i cant think of a way to reciprocate, except extend my arms and all of myself for a big warm bear hug :D
 
thanks dumbo for sticking around..
 
here's to many many more..