Marriages are like stories. Don’t believe anyone who tells you ‘Once upon a time’ is all make-believe. Every girl dreams of her Platinum Day of Love. The trick is to ‘know one’ when ’one sees one’. A contest at Indiblogger coaxed me to pen down about my platinum day of love (Read more about them here ) and I couldnt help but indulge in a bit of flash-back. So here’s how my story goes.
“So, why an arranged marriage?” I threw another playful smile at him over my tall glass of Ice tea and enjoyed the fleeting moment of uncertainty run over his face. We were back, yet again, at the popular place, Passion my cup of tea at the breezy Priya Complex close to my home. Young couples and college buddies were sitting around us, lending a casual feel to the place.
With an amazing range of teas, cakes and bakes to choose from, this place was climbing up the charts of our ‘great places to hangout in delhi’ list much above the ‘Mochas’ of the world. Also, as I had discovered to my utter shock and dismay, my companion wasn’t a coffee fan.
“Umm, because falling in love didn’t work out?” He said with his smile now well in place. The moment of being caught off guard by my in – your – face move, was shrugged aside. The way he put it, it was more like a question directed right back at me and I thought to myself with a smile ‘Anti – Coffee, but open minded, matter of fact and direct. That’ll do.’
Handwriting analysis demos, mutual love for travelling and swapping our super eventful life histories. Conversations had flown in quite easily. Over teas, if not coffees. Hundreds of sms’es and gtalk chats followed by calls, followed by texts again every day. Some one looking at us would have never guessed this was our sixth meeting and only 15 days since we had known each other.
The seventh meeting was going to change everything.
Once upon a time in single-land:
One needs to ride quite a few other ones before one comes across a Porsche, it’s said. And as a 27yr old person, my infinite wisdom of such test drives indicates, it’s quite a bumpy ride one needs to endure ‘before’ the life ‘ever after’ begins.
I am not a cynic. And I am not getting into an arranged versus love marriage debate here. To each his own, really. It’s just that I’ve always believed, Prince charming as a concept comes in with a ‘date only’ tag. Moreover, I gave up hope on running into my knight in shining armour ever since I started to drive around in Delhi. One look at the traffic, one needs to wade through to get to me and he would sprint off right back to where he came from. Now if the ‘meet your dream guy’ isn’t working out, one needs to take matters in one’s own hands and thus began my search for the ‘Mr Right’. A little over 8 months back.
The keyword search on matrimonial sites don’t account for ‘exciting conversations over coffee’ as a parameter (they should add that you know, wouldn’t it be quite tough to live for another 50 odd years with a person you can’t talk to?) And after months of such startling observations, here I was finally sitting across some one who had the potential to graduate from the Mr Right – Now to Mr Right! Talk about leap of faith!
Jab we met:
Calling our first meeting a truly memorable one would be slightly unfair to all the other potential grooms I was hooked up with through my ultra zealous parents. If marriages are made in heaven, could some one tell me, why do our folks go to every possible length when it comes to ‘finding the suitable match’? Now, don’t get me wrong. Match Making antics in my case weren’t as close to those documented by our good ole’ Jane Austin but some of those meetings were quite amusing. So , compared to those , our first meeting fell behind on the ‘fun quotient’ but made up in a lot of other departments .
The deal breaker, though I must confess, was his jumpy-almost at the edge of his seat – enthusiasm, and the story – telling that came in much later over lunch dates.
A little while back I had caught on one of those travel and living shows , a lady who goes about dating 80 odd men across the world , in search of ‘the one’. She was truly my hero. Sadly though , most Indian arranged marriages don’t follow that rule. But our 4 dates proposition by the guy in question to take our story forward wasn’t too bad either. We were at our 3rd date and I was wondering already – this isn’t too bad at all.
The one ingredient that makes the recipe of a perfect matrimony has got to be conversations. I am not expert at marriages, and frankly let’s not indulge in ‘armchair activism’ on the subject like every one does on politics and cricket. The trust and understanding and the whole deal that comes with the relationship follow when you can speak your mind and lend an ear. Obviously one is at one’s best show when one’s meeting a potential life partner. There are no right ways or wrong ways at this gamble other than going with one’s instincts. Or perhaps asking the right questions and reading between the lines.
He said, she said
“So, what are your expectations from your perfect bride?” However odd it may sound, this question can never have a one word answer. We were one short of our last and final meeting before we took a call and give a satisfying reply to our very curious parents who were beyond wondering ‘What’s going on’ and I was in the mood for some soul-searching. The sincerity on his face and in his words was heart warming. After all, he was just another guy, looking for a girl who made the whole life changing transition seem normal.
“Hmm…. It’s a long list. I’d be lying if I say I am not looking for a cross between a beauty queen and a super woman like any other ordinary optimistic groom-to-be would”, he went on as I arched my brow and gave him a look that meant “Oh C’mon ! You can’t be serious!!” but maybe to him it read as “Elaborate”, so he went on.
“Independent, beautiful, smart and sensible – some one who manages a career and our home perfectly. The list is endless really. But before you type-cast me as an MCP, here’s the disclaimer…” He paused for effect or perhaps to judge how the monologue was going & since it wasn’t easy to read my thoughts, he continued “more than anything else, I know I am looking for an equal half. Because I feel marriage is about equal responsibilities” and he smiled for effect!
Trust me when I say that, I’ve asked this question quite a few times, and I’ve got answers ranging from incredulous to plain dull. I found myself making a mental note of this conversation for my autobiography – and I was surprised to realize he was already featuring in it.
Quite a few questions and straight- from- the- heart replies later, I was happy with my work for the day. I was quite close to making up my mind. Maybe I already had. If only I could read his!
What’s a story, without the perfect ending?
“But it’s a girl’s movie out; let’s push it to next week?” I was trying to argue some sense into him, but he seemed unusually stuck up. I was moving out for an official trip the next morning and had plans with my sister and mom to catch a movie in the evening. He on the other hand was pushing relentlessly that we meet up again asap. ‘Alrite, post the movie then, dinner?’, ‘Yes! I’ll pick you up from your movie”. And that was that. I was curious, with a million thoughts running into my head, none close to indicating what was really in store.
We had been driving around for ten minutes making small talk. He was singing along, very off key, with the song playing on the car stereo getting not even a single word of the lyrics in place. I had quit attempting to stifle my laughter any more. ‘This is such a perfect date!’ I thought to myself, just about when he pulled up the car to my utter surprise. “There’s something for you in there, why don’t you open it” pointing at the dashboard, he said.
One sees them dreamily on the celluloid, reads about them in star speckled fairytales, but when such a moment is playing out in real life, what does one say?
“I knew I found my perfect partner, when I found you laughing at my jokes and listening to all my stories…ahh, the first time we met. These no-strings-attached dates have been a bonus!” He winked as he opened the little box with the prettiest ring in it. “So what do you say to a lifetime of story telling with me?”
My horoscope for the day had read; think before making a hasty decision today. So, I took a moment, and thought, it was such a perfect date. This was such a perfect story. And what can a girl say to a proposal like that? “Hmm, love – at – first –sight would make a great first chapter, don’t you think?”
“Yes”, we smiled as we looked at the platinum band that glittered on my finger. Pure . Elegant. Everlasting. I could see an eternity wrapped around my finger as I discovered my Platinum Day of Love.
I’ve been reading a lot lately.
Obviously that’s a side effect of not writing enough.
That and overthinking.
So yes. I’ve been reading a lot (online) lately.
Specifically about finding my niche as a blogger.
Now considering I’ve conveniently tagged myself as a lazy( very lazy) blogger. One can’t blame the writer’s block forever . One needs to be truthful to one’s own self atleast.
So I don’t bother what I write about , too much , coz I am quite glad when I finally end up being inspired enough to write at all.
And I’ve always planned my blog to be a ‘personal blog’. Its safe. And one doesn’t need to plan about researching backgrounds on subjects. I rely on impromptu thoughts and day to day experiences – the significant ones to write about.
So it could be a gorgeous piece of poetry . A fascinating movie . A tell-worthy tale . And its a good day when I can see someplace interesting and write a travelogue.
I used to thrive on conversations & coffee. And their combination. But things change . People change.
Blogs change. They evolve. Just like us , they may be juvenile and directionless in the beginning . They need to grow up eventually.
Sadly – mine is still lost in its own wonderland. Not too sure of which direction it should take.
Now that – like for most of us – can be ( and is ) coz of two reasons. Apprehension & uncertainty.
We arent too sure – if the direction is the ‘right one to take’ – will take us to the right place.
Is also the ‘better one than any other option that we have’ .
Blog-wise speaking – Am I really good at / will enjoy writing exclusively to commit myself to that ONE all consuming genre I pick . A Niche. Also secondly , I am not too sure if whatever I commit myself to , is sustainable , Interesting, has multiple dimensions to explore & at the same time – practical to stick to.
But like we all , need to ask ourselves at almost every critical juncture in life. A coming of age question. What do we really stand for? What’s my Niche.
Time for yet another Project!!
Over the next few days. I would be writing about Ideas that I feel are interesting enough to be sustainable!
Clearly ‘Personal’ no longer would be the camouflage
It doesnt need no rocket science to figure out what one’s good at.. it just needs a lot of will!
They lost me @ the hair – complexion contrast scale .
While the lady with a fake accent kept quoting ridiculous examples like how ‘Stylish’ was an awesome ‘Personal Branding’ for Sonam Kapoor & the same line of thought was ‘branding gone wrong’ for Hina Rabani Khar, another Personal Branding session had started inside my head.
At a recently held ‘Personal Branding’ workshop at work exclusively for women – the general conclusion being drawn was your clothes determine the kind of perception you create at work.
Its shocking how women nurture these stereotypes about women being all about clothes more than men!!
I was offended.
1. I am a brand professional. And if you tell me branding is all about a smart logo , line or WORSE ‘what you SEE’ then I ll tell you to take a hike or maybe give you a lecture on Brand Management principles.
2. I am a woman. AND an ardent believer of the need for a personal brand at work. I also happen to hate it when women are treated like fancy accessories in boardroom discussions. Or constants to skew the gender diversity ratios to a more acceptable figure.
So what is it that irked me most really?
Personal Branding is a very HOT topic. Not only is it a brilliant thought , its very relevant for most professional women. I for one – do believe in the need and the power of creating one’s ‘unique value proposition’ in the work space that makes one stand out/ blend in whatever be one’s professional agenda.
So needless to say I was quite kicked about the workshop.
But I was personally let down with the content & execution of the program – both in thought & spirit as is perhaps clear from my tone & manner so far. Sarcasm definitely brings out the creative streak in us!
There is definitely much much more to creating a personal brand @ work than dressing as per one’s complexion / hair colour.
That’s the tangible. The fancy packaging , the catchy line . That you can see – and make a perception about the ‘core product’.
The brand would be a promise to deliver – like I said before – a unique experience . A long lasting association with the core benefits that a ‘product’ provides . The intangible.
That I believe is created through behavior , attitude & perception management. Clothes play a very limited role in that I believe.
So instead of declaring that the way they dress makes them what they are for ladies like Barkha Dutt , Indira Nooyi, Sonia Gandhi , Neeta Ambani ,Michelle Obama etc. The session should have covered how to create more positive , acceptable , value – benefiting experiences & relationships at work.
An iphone in a pretty mobile cover doesn’t make it just another beautiful gadget. Its an Apple product. Its about years of path breaking research. About great design , ergonomics , technology and user friendliness.
Like wise a Blackberry Z10. A business smart phone . Or Canvas , Lumia or Galaxy . They are all phones. But they have all distinct associations in our head. Created from past experiences & interactions – Direct or indirect.
So branding is necessary. Personal branding is imperative.
Are you the approachable mentor , or the knowledgeable coach. Are you the dependable subordinate , the authoritative boss who gets things done or the creative team mate who brings new perspectives to finding solutions.
Who really are you beyond the manager tag that you hold? THAT my ass-kicking girl in a business suit/Salwar Kameez – is your personal brand.
It is assumed that you have the knowledge & skills of a professional for the role that you take up. But how are you demonstrating them through interactions & experiences – is the deal breaker.
And what isn’t is – choosing your wardrobe carefully to have a CEO that’s heavy on investment ( A Jacket ) , a multitasking middle management (White Shirt , Black trousers ) and the workers ( Scarves , belts , shoes etc). Yes , I am laughing as I type this too!
As far as my experience goes – the area’s where women fall behind is
1. Networking & tapping on networking opportunities
2. Understanding the need of, Identifying & eventually leveraging opportunities of ‘displaying one’s strengths in the business environment’
3. Being accepted & seen ‘differently’ (and not comparatively to their male counterparts) for the strengths that they hold
Its amazing how ‘inclusivity’ is being seen as an area to invest in by the future ready organizations . We have come a long way from ‘diversity’ which is a positive step already,
But the interventions for the men in the organization who form a part of the ‘inclusive environment’ are far & in between while most initiatives are women targeted / centric- talks , workshops , forums , discussions etc.
The BIG questions we need answered by the MEN are
1. How to make inclusivity the DNA of our workspace – in word and action.
2. How to understand the difference between the strengths of a male / female colleague in one’s team & leverage the same effectively.
I don’t plan to join you on your ‘carbon break’ or beer party on saturday night to discuss this further .
But I am more than happy to help us all find answers to these life transforming questions through a discussion.
Or even discuss this ridiculous joke of a session over coffee.
Upfront . Positive . Creative . Approachable and Cohesive. That’s my personal brand after all.
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.
My horoscope for the day reads .. I ll find something I lost a while back. And I should thank my stars for it!
So I am hoping its my flair for writing & my passion for life.
So here’s to the new month. That’s bringing me hopes of a new profile @ work and the will to turn all those brilliant post ideas in my head to published writing in the public domain.
I have a huge list of tasks I want to accomplish in July!
Watch some gorgeous movies , lose these extra kilos , make some super fab presentations & travel plans , watch my baby turn a month older – and write about all THAT and MORE!
So let’s get on the job.
But before that let me thank my lucky stars. ( And hope I don’t lose my precious jeux de vie again.. Fingers crossed) Sent on my BlackBerry® from Vodafone
Another post by the mommy, for the mommies :)
The need to be a good parent is a disorder. Some women just let their kids be , assuming the child knows what’s best for him/her. Others obsess about what to do , how to do, when to do and why to do – in spite of whether the kid likes it or not . And they do that seriously , round the clock. Over thinking and maybe ( honest confession ) over doing it !
Am sure there’s no rule book to good parenting. And raising up a healthy , active child is what every mother aims to do. But some maniacs like me also want to raise a well behaved , non-fussy child. Now , THAT’s the challenge. I mean both the intention and the expectation of a conducive result.
And when one’s following this pursuit relentlessly , there are chances that one may run out of steam ( or motivation or conviction – coz mostly its a one person army fighting this battle). Just about then its easier to define what your baby should NOT do , and maybe there in lies the secret of good parenting.
So if you don’t want your 1 year old to dance on ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’ – screen the media he’s exposed to .
If you don’t want him to watch doremon at 1 : 30 in the night or 8 : 00 in the morning – don’t let him watch TV at all till he’s a certain age. And then too , restrict the content and screen time he’s exposed to.
See , it works like a magical cause & effect template – that’s as commonsensical as it can get .
Good habits are not built overnight . It takes a lot of example setting , context setting and constant corrective steps ( with acknowledgment of course ).
So its wrong to expect your child to have veggies and fruits when he sees you living on junk food day in day out. And obviously using ice-creams , chocolates as a bait to get something done automatically elevates its value in the kids eyes.
So don’t be surprised ( that is if you care about it at all ) if your toddler survives on chips , cookies , chocolates , soft drinks and ice creams By the time he’s 2. We don’t need research to show how bad they are for us adults. For kids eating junk food as staple diet – that’s a carnal parenting sin as far as I am concerned.
I have a long way to go before my little baby becomes a little person with his own opinions on what to wear and what to eat . But I want to add value to his life ( which I guess is my biggest job as a mother ) I need to start from now . I would rather be the mom my kid wants to trade with someone else than be the one whose okay with his thumb-sucking/tantrum throwing/ food wasting/junk food eating / tv watching and lack of discipline.
That’s the choice am making . For the both of us. and no kidding about that.
Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.
This post is strictly for moms, the newer the better and those obsessive women (like I was) who start wondering about good parenting the day they decide to be a mom!
Being a mom is about always being prepared.
Your little one has no way of expressing his discomfort or displeasure other than crying out to get your attention.
And no matter how much you take care he’s bound to get that dreaded Diaper Rash or feel a bit under the weather.
While you tend to a cranky , dull or sad baby – you have to be patient, very very patient. The only mantra that keeps you going is – “Its going to be fine”. For the both of you :)
Here are some experiences that almost every mother would go through at some point of raising a new born. I know iron-lady you only want to hear – ‘its fine!’ So here, I said it!
Infections / Allergies :
My 13 day old wasn’t wetting as many nappies as one would expect a new born to do. And then orange stains started to appear on his nappies. Post an ultra sound and numerous precautionary test that were more difficult to go through than bringing him into the world – we found out about his UTI . As scary as it may sound – its an infection that’s very common esp in baby boys.
The cause – he had starved himself and the ammonia content in his bladder was too high. The solution – drinking more milk , wetting more nappies and keeping him super clean.
Cough / Cold / Chest congestion:
No matter how well you cover up and keep you baby tucked – cold , cough,fever and chest congestion can happen irrespective of the weather. What’s worse is that one is linked to another .
Crocin drops , cough medicine are not as bad as they sound . Even if you are the types whose anti-medicines . What really helps clear out your baby’s chest is steam. So invest in a good steam apparatus . Do take him to a doctor if fever , cough or cold persists .
What we thought was just a bad bout of cough due to cold/chest clogging was actually bronchitis for our 4 month old. Again – something very very common for small babies how much ever earth shattering it may sound.
Even though you might have people around you keeping a track of how many times your baby pooped and discuss it colour , frequency at great lengths ( don’t stress yourself) , its a parenting thumb rule – bowel movements are not an indicator of your babys health! Infact I agree with my mom when she says – constipated baby is better than the one with loosies! ( Enough potty talk I guess).
But if your baby is having a problem with BMs when you’ve just started solids – it can be an indicator of something that you are doing wrong – over load his digestive system.
So take it slow . Don’t get ambitious . Start with fluids – mashed curd , sooji kheer , daliya and move to banana’s in curd and boiled veggies/stewed apples.
If relooking at what he’s eating doesn’t help – add a little more sugar to him milk than normal . And watch your baby “relieved” :)
There will be times when your baby would have a minor redness here and there and then one fine day you ll see his bottom going a colour of fiery red!
Diaper rashes obviously happen when the diaper is worn for too long or its poopy and you didn’t realize it.
But let’s not question your judgment and skills as a mom! Just a word of caution- its pretty common when babies start solids so don’t beat yourself down! Stick to your routine – powder /pat dry your baby’s bottom, cleanse it often , avoid soap unless necessary , let him go diaper free when its safe and yes , use rash-free a magical cream available at your neighborhood chemist or coconut oil to watch it disappear !
This list if obviously WIP and so is the task of being a perfect mom.
But if you are happy doing everything you can – even when the going gets tough – you’ll see how its not as tough afterall.
Being a new mom I was told was a roller coaster ride. There are moments of mind numbing guilt , heart wrenching in securities , millions of uncertainties and obviously a lot going on outside and inside your head.
So its not often that one kind of wonders that apart from the occasional ‘up’ mostly you are dealing with ‘down , down , down’.
The joy of watching your little one cross one big milestone after the another – expressing his feelings , discovering the world around him , learning new skills & growing up to be one with the world are definitely there.
But in between these little moments are questions that loom large . And then there is a huge multiplier – if you are a working mom .
So you ll need to be prepared to miss out on a lot of the ‘happy moments’ since you can’t constantly be there at his side.
You need to lose your sense of control over all those notions/opinions about your baby’s upbringing since your instincts/ borrowed wisdom on what’s right / proper will have to fight a constant battle with someone’s experience that you can never match up.
For a long long time ( read that forever) you’ll wonder if you are doing justice to even one aspect of your life – work or home – coz you’ll be constantly hanging in the middle of nowhere.
You’ll need to stay calm. It’ll be perhaps the most difficult thing to do considering the world will be falling apart around you on a daily basis.
But at the end of the day – you’ll have to keep your head high and take pride in giving your best shot to the toughest job in the world.
Take a moment when the going gets tough. Gather your wits. Give yourself a pat on the back for the strength & sacrifice.
And then the ride starts again.
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