Confessions of an FTM-II

Hello! I regret that I was not able to come back sooner on the blog but things were (ARE) moving so fast that this is the most edited draft I’ll ever have. Last year around this time, I was wobbling with a big belly that I proudly wanted to flaunt and now I am wearing cardigan on a 100F day hoping to conceal it. I have fat tires. See what I did there? Thanks!  Last year, my apartment looked like that of a masters student’s with electronics laying all around and now it looks like I robbed BabiesRUS store. And I could go on. Lot of things have been going on and if I were to say few words about them as an FTM- here goes:

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This is us but as mother and her son.

Postpartum: I came back from the hospital sore and sad. Yes, that’s right. What you won’t hear but is true is that nearly 70% of the women have this massive feeling after extreme pain and this is not to be confused with depression. This feeling goes away with time and without much ado. At least I did not find any time to sit and bawl because I had to get healed, nurse, pump, visit my doctor, visit the baby’s doctor and repeat all this as and when needed. Amid all this, I forgot to BREATHE. I had successfully offloaded other duties to my parents who were then with us to help with the baby. One key to survive first few months is to seek help because only then can a new mother heal quickly and only a healthy human being can take care of another tiny human being. Also remember what they say on flights? Secure your oxygen mask before helping others.

Naming:  I do not understand the craze for new names. Because I think names do not have an expiry date and they don’t die with time. So, searching for something new and unheard of was out of question. Both husband and I were never fans of fancy names and we always wanted the name to be easy to pronounce and preferably short. So, when filing for his birth certificate, we picked out one among all the shortlisted ones that felt apt to the baby boy at the moment and he blinked acknowledging our decision. I’d fondly remember it as a cute little gesture and you who wants to spoil it, please go away. Shoo!

Feeding: Feeding a baby takes two. No, three people. Baby, the mother and another collaborator to bring things. I tried again and again to gather all the things I needed before I sat down to feed the baby but there was no single time I got it right. On top of this, it was always an exercise to get the latch right. In the meantime, hungry baby used to turn red (hangry is the word) and that is enough to bring the house down. The tryst is not ever with feeding the baby. A well fed baby needs to be BURPED. Cute term given to the process of releasing the air that baby may have swallowed during feeding, burping is one of the few things that counts as an achievement for a new parent because the satisfaction that comes when you hear the roulette like sound after intense patting on the back is so worth the exercise.  Phew! I am exhausted just typing that sentence.

Putting to sleep:

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Google parenting memes and you’ll have the best time of your life

This I would say is the toughest challenge I face daily as I fight for my sleep and my boy fights against his. I try my level best to stick to a routine so that he notices the difference between nap time and sleep time but as you can imagine, it is really, really hard. He took after me in this respect and I was the one who used to resist sleep as a baby. Another classic example of karma folks, my mother on the other side of the globe is having a hearty laugh (JK, my mom is the best.) Even if I get lucky, putting him down on his bed without waking him up is equal to the picture. And I tip-toe around like I came to rob my own house.

Tracking: Milestone tracking is one thing which every parent does with excitement (first poop in the hospital marking the start :P). As many doctors suggest, it is also good to maintain a journal of baby’s feeding and sleeping patterns, wet and dirty diapers (especially in the first few months). It is the first question they’d ask in any doctor visit (if the routine has changed) and though one small change is not so alarming, it gives an idea about the happenings. One can never trust a new parent to remember when last feeding was or when last diaper changing happened. So, smart phone and apps to the rescue ( I used GLOW baby). That little gadget isn’t so annoying if you use it right!

Illness: It breaks one’s heart to see a tiny human suffer to pass gas or poo or has a stuffed nose. To an outsider, these may not seem serious but to the person who made the human, it is like God conducting an open book exam. There are answers everywhere- from the pediatrician, from grandparents, from other parents,  from internet but nothing seems to work. Feeding patterns change and there is confusion everywhere- what to try and if at all something worked, what worked? Whether the actual medicine, time or maa ki dua?

Not feeling like a mother:  I do not mean to disrespect motherhood even a bit but it will seem tiring at one point (all those mothers who tell you a different story are lying IMO). Physical strain and mental stress are inevitable and I must honestly admit sometimes I wanted to take a good break. And by good break I mean alone time with myself and also alone time with husband. How bad am I? The times I also feel that I am not a good mother is when the little guy cries and I cannot figure out why. Does he need milk? Does he have to burp? Or maybe he has gas? Just some cuddles, may be? I keep a checklist and I try all of them but I fail. It is heart wrenching if nothing works and in such hard times, mostly time resolves the problem.  Those are the times I feel incapable and undeserving!

Judgmental eyes: Parenting advice comes from all directions when one talks to others. Just tell someone that baby is not sleeping through the night and they will dig their experiences with their children or nieces or  nephews. Like doctors say, every baby is 933cf99a612349ffefc40a9518266f8e--judgmental-people-quotes-unsolicited-advicedifferent and there are no golden rules.  It doesn’t hurt to take all that advice but sometimes it comes in a disapproving tone and sometimes with mocking and that hurts. Whether a mother wants to breastfeed the baby or not, whether she wants to hire a nanny or she wants to take the time off, whether she wants to give him gripe water or not (YES, people have opinions about this too!),  there are judgmental eyes everywhere. Taking such taunting with a pinch of salt is the wisest thing to do. Also, some lemon and soda along with the salt so that you can cool faster!

Getaways: First travel with a baby is an experience that one has to live to understand. We made a 2 day plan and I almost packed the whole house- his diapers for 2 days, extra in case we run into a situation and the nearest convenience store ran out of them, milk, extra milk, his clothes, extra clothes, ALL his toys in case he missed any one of them, his rock and play and few blankets. And what happened is that I did not even open some bags and our little one just slept in my lap and played with my nose all through the trip. So you see – it’s great to be prepared for situations but it is required to be prepared for few surprises (and also for some mocking about the recent OCD that you’ve developed).

Pranks and tantrums: The cutest part of parenting is this. My little guy smiles at all goofy sounds I make but not his daddy’s. He likes daddy’s hair but not mommy’s (I see why, don’t explain). We sleepy heads feed him his midnight milk and he joyfully coos at the night light destroying our hopes of resuming our sleep. We have a range of toys for him to play with but he likes to play with daddy’s laptop and my hair brush. NO END.

Anyway, the little boy will soon grow and do other naughty stuff so I’d rather enjoy while he is still so squishy and cuddly. Happy holidays and see you next year!

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My exact emotions at the end of this post.

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Confessions of an FTM-1

With the little one sleeping peacefully by my side, I start writing about what I have been meaning to from a long time. Talking about time, I think it put on its fastest shoes in 2016 and is running as if it is being chased by a predator. I freshly remember how I felt when I saw a positive pregnancy test – confused + surprised. I still hold the same emotion with my junior unraveling each of his many talents every day.  As an FTM (first time mom), I feel overwhelmed and can’t help but wonder what a steep albeit good turn life took in the past year. I don’t have to romanticize pregnancy- there are enough movies that do this. I want to confess that pregnancy is not a walk in the park like they show. It is more like a roller coaster. Also, below picture please.

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Here’s a quick snapshot of my journey to motherhood:

The bumpy ride of nine months:

Sure, it was bumpy. Physically, my pregnancy was not exactly a breeze but it was nothing that I couldn’t handle. Emotionally, my pregnancy was a storm- especially to husband but it was nothing that he couldn’t handle (Now you know why I married him). Time went by the usual way- clothes getting tighter (which wasn’t new to me, hehe :D) , hunger pangs in the middle of the night(have them since birth), mood swings (nope, not alien to me) and  wearing loose tops to office so that no one suspected until it was time to reveal. I used to patiently wait for doctor visits, especially for the ones with ultrasound for the little lubb-dub from the machine. Counting kicks after a hot cup of tea followed by a quick walk was always my favorite part of the day in later trimesters. Researching each symptom online, talking to my mom about them the next day and getting a lecture about “how internet ruins one’s peace of mind?” became a routine. Even things going smoothly used to raise my brows sometimes.

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Hubby bought me a few books to read to take the heat off my head (read: his head) and of them, few proved to be very useful. Especially pregnancy books like “what to expect when you are expecting ” and Mayo clinic’s “Guide to healthy pregnancy” came in handy. I had my own relaxation drill too- Looking at babies on Youtube and IG.  I must have seen at least a million photos of different babies on Instagram and at a point, I became obsessed with one baby’s video so much that I couldn’t sleep without seeing it at least once! No, I am not exaggerating even a bit. Have done many such quirky things and I blame it all on the pregnancy hormones. Ladies, hormonal changes is a very good excuse to use when you are both pregnant and weird.

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With firsthand experience, I can suggest the following for a healthy and joyful nine months.

  • Invest in good pregnancy stuff- maternity pants, inner wear, shoes, and a pillow. Might burn a hole in the pocket but it is worth all that. Also, now is the best time to raid husband’s wardrobe.
  • Work out (unless your doctor says no)- It helps to keep the sugars in control and a tired body guarantees some sleep (Be prepared for pee-pee monster to ruin it)
  • Eat well- Golden rule for good health is to eat fresh and in limited amounts at regular intervals. Also, be well hydrated.
  • Contemplate good things- Read good books, watch good stuff and laugh to your heart’s content.
  • Read to your baby- Though it may seem filmy and cliché, it is a terrific way to bond with the baby.
  • Expect the unexpected- Not trying to be pessimistic, but making a baby isn’t as rosy as they show in the films. There can be complications during and after pregnancy , there can be surprises with the ultrasounds, there can be hurdles in the labor too. It is only practical to expect that things may not go as planned and accept the situation with a positive mind. In my case, I delivered earlier than I had planned!
  • Kegel exercises- Do enough kegels because it helps labor and postpartum too. This is something that I neglected and I regret it.
  • Keep some baby stuff ready if not all-cribs , bassinets, strollers and car seats. Choose from the myriad options available and take some Tylenol later because the choices will blow your mind.

I had a pregnancy buddy!

One of my best friends got pregnant just around the same time I did and I am elated that I had her as my  pregnancy buddy. We also took a short trip outside San Diego which I would like to call our own babymoon! We used to talk about surviving our symptoms and our men used to talk about surviving us. A sample conversation between the two couples on a dinner date was like this:

She:   I have swollen feet. I cannot sleep.
Me:  I have heartburn. I cannot sleep.
Her husband:   Rama has weird cravings. I had to run and get her a cake last night.
My husband:  Anu roars like a lion in her sleep. I had to wear headphones last night.

She was few weeks ahead and to my surprise, we pretty much shared every symptom. It was like both of us were running a relay and she was passing each of them to me after an interval. So much that I delivered right a week after she delivered!

Attended parenting and childbirth classes:

Folks back in India laughed at the mention of classes. They gave us the classic “did we not raise you properly without all that?” but guess what- those classes proved out to be useful. We were given a trailer of how our lives would turn out to be in the next 2-3months and that trailer is no joke, dear friends. I dug internet like a mouse about pregnancy and labor from day1 but the classes still had some new things to offer. We also met other super cool expecting couples!

Labor:

I had a tough labor and to be frank, husband also took a brunt of it(a very good one). He became equally sleep deprived and exhausted. We exercised, meditated, tried to catch a movie and even sleep through the contractions. He stayed positive but my courage lapsed slowly. In the last leg of labor, it felt like I would be in that room for the rest of my life lying in that position strapped to IV and monitor like a dog with people cheering to do something that I was incapable of. How horrifying that thought is! My midwife tricked me several times saying it was the end but it never seemed to come. I heard from my mother that she had tough labor too and it felt like I was tasting my own medicine. When it was time, everything happened in the blink of an eye and I was holding the baby to my chest next second. That feeling? Empowering.

Hospital stay was fun- three of us in a cozy room living each moment without thinking about the next. Sleep depravity did nothing to us- we kept looking at the little guy without batting our eye lids as he slept peacefully oblivious to the damage he did. Postpartum was (is) very hard and because something beautiful was made, I took it well (sniff). Visitors kept coming and one of my favorite bffs Harshi flew in to see him! We went home after a couple of days with the little one- mature and thankful that things turned out to be ok.

Of course, they spiced up again for us new parents. But, more about them later. Until then, cya!

The backpack

Do you also have a backpack that is your favorite and which on emptying has restaurant bills from 325AD, one zipper that never opens or has been opened, one pocket which is meant to hold keys and coins but you never use it for them and one water bottle pocket that is only meant to hold this?

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Which backpack carrying grownup drinks water from these yaar?

Anyways, the backpack that I’m talking about is not just a bag with padded shoulder straps and roomy compartments for laptop and clothes. It is a holder. It holds emotions inside its pockets so that people only see the pack and never realize whether  useful things lie inside or simply rubbish. It holds those unsaid words which people want to say but eat instead. It holds those memories which they very carefully treasure like those photos which can never be deleted from one’s phone. Not even when the phone threatens to empty owner’s soul saying “low memory”.

The backpack that I’ve been carrying in the recent years is rather heavy because I packed mixed emotions inside- it is as heterogeneous as a Cadbury GEMS packet. From India to USA, I’ve come a long way (both literally and figuratively) as a person. Mixed emotions because sometimes, my heart says that I miss being that old Anupama and  sometimes I can clearly hear it say “Grow up,  woman!”

Living away from home teaches one to be responsible to say the least. For example, imagine coming home from work to a bed that was left unmade or a penalty for a missed bill. It reminds you immediately of your mother/father’s constant nagging to do somethings on time and her/his warning that that laziness would hurt later.  On a related note, It doesn’t hurt to say that those little acts of discipline that were imposed upon us are really what help us survive the extended stay away from home(with lesser discomfort). Back in those days when my mother used to ask me to clean the dining table while she cleaned up in the kitchen, I used to secretly hope that one day I’d run away to a house where there was a table-cleaning maid.

Living away from home in a foreign land also helped clear a lot of misconceptions that I had. A typical “frog in the well” me used to have some bad feelings about the West that most of the Indian mob have (which I won’t list here because I care for my skin).  And I am so glad today that I’ve been proven wrong! Few things that really impressed me at my workplace about them are how well they own up to their work without a fuss,  how easy and graceful it is to admit one’s shortcomings and how important the distinction between “break time” and “work time” is (talk about work-life balance).  Even on personal front, their sense of forgiveness and welcoming the differences with other person without judging is something that excited me. It is not an exaggeration if I said that I saw this missing in some of my own people.

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I’ve a strong feeling that I was Garfield in my last birth.

Times that make me sad are when I “virtually” attend a family event over Skype. Amidst a thousand  “Can you hear me?” “I can hear you but cannot see you” “I can only see X’s right ear and your finger” “It’s ok , send me the pictures” , I barely get to see the actual event and that quick peek brings out the homesick feeling from the backpack. It’s really hard to tuck this feeling back in. Interesting question (8 Marks): Is quantum teleportation really possible?

I also feel meh that I can never be the same pampered girl I was before marriage. Sure I enjoy the independence and power of running a household as “the queen” but the joy of being a “darling princess” at home cannot be matched. And the fact that kids born in 2000 are hitting adolescence while I’m nearing the ugly thirties is getting to my nerves. Sometimes, I wish I was born in the times of Ramayana or Mahabharata where some people could stay young forever.  Or in the later times say 3156 or 3567 when scientists will have invented some time-halting capsule.

Coming back to my backpack, it also has a dirty chamber where all my dark feelings go into. Lack of self-control to begin with. Along with easy loss of interest and deep brooding over certain things (tch..tch) , a teeny bit of jealousy lies underneath this pile of garbage. These feelings are like the shopping bills trash that never leave the bag.  I constantly try to throw each of them out of the bag but it is still heavy(This is why I stoop a little, you know). I am society fearing so I am generally tight-lipped ( and hence tight-zipped) if I were to use these.

I know that everybody’s backpack isn’t necessarily same as mine. You know what they say- to each their own.  But anyway, here’s a suggestion to everyone including myself- Travel light because it is a long journey!

At cinemas

Being an ardent lover of films, I am often seen standing in the ticket queue outside cinemas , waiting for the balance due at the popcorn counter inside the hall or rushing to the screen not to miss the title credits. Be whatever theatre, 70MM screen in our locality or some multiplex , these sets of people have never missed my attention inside the hall.

I don’t care when your film starts:  Such people solicit their gracious presence only after if it is at least half-n-hour past the start of  film. I understand not everybody is so particular about the reel on family planning or INC like me and moreover it is not a weekly status meeting in a software office for everybody to be on time. But dear audience, because you’re already late, it is your courtesy  to quietly settle down in your allotted seats and not disturb the poor chaps who are deeply engrossed in the movie by stamping their foot and spilling your popcorn/ sweetcorn/ whatever on them. To err is human , I understand. But then to apologize is divine these days.

Booo, I missed it:  Thanks to the wonderful accent and impeccable acting skills of our actors, sometimes  we cannot understand what is happening onscreen. People in this set nudge their neighbors and ask them to explain the script/humor from the point they missed. Nothing wrong in being curious, but not at the cost of someone’s comfort. Imagine how bad it would be when you’re enjoying your favorite song on screen you hear some loud caws from behind.

Look at my new smartphone:  Smart phone is something which we can surely show off. But not inside the theatre after the film has begun. The person sitting in your front holds his iphone in the air killing apps or dismissing reminders. Thu! Imagine a romantic scene in progress and you hear a crackling ringtone that nearly makes you jump off your seat. I had such experience one day. There was a scene in which one of the supporting characters died and a ringtone which meant “this was due for long” started playing promptly.  The owner dint silence the call. Instead, after letting it ring for sometime he answered the call and started talking to someone staying overseas. Yeah, I could easily make that out from the volume in which he was speaking.  He talked about the CBI raids on Jagan, chances of Telangana over united AP and how his little daughter kicked his mother-in-law which he wanted to do.

‘Home theatre’:   A cinema is not a home theatre. It is meant for use by 200-300people. People who are presumably tall might have a problem resting their legs on ground. Hence as soon as the slide “Do not put your legs on the front seat” is shown, they’re reminded of their duty. You want to sip your Pepsi but instead you see a dirty boot on your arm-rest which has already kicked your glass off it. Some people rest their heads on their hands objecting the screen from view. All you get to see is the swanky watch, trendy bracelet and a small sneak-peek for you in between the hands. You can do your favorite neck exercise to peek.

Baby don’t cry: Everybody loves babies. So do I. But not cry babies and touch-me-nots. Also, I also have lost respect for parents who ignore their babies’ cries and shouts.  Is not their duty to at least go out with the baby and come back after he/she stops crying? Tackling babies is difficult sometimes (ask my parents), so dismissing this. Some kids(not babies) are real menace. They repeat dialogues and sing songs while their parents proudly keep watching and others give them nasty looks. I have turned a monster for such kids these days. I made it a point not to calmly bear the noise but to at least politely ask the kids to be silent.

That’s it for now. If you want to say “as if you never did this earlier” to the above-  I can only say this: I almost barge into the hall when the cleaning staff come out,  I never talk when the film is on run because I do this work(only this) with utmost concentration, my smartphone was outsmarted long time ago, I’m not that tall ( sad no, I know ) and I don’t have babies/kids.

My school

I never wrote any essay titled “My-School” in my school days. Even if I had to, I used to leave it in the ‘choice’ section which is a savior to every student. The reason why I never attempted to write about my school was I was never so passionate about it. S.F.S was just another school which I joined soon after we moved to Visakhapatnam.

First thing I dint like about S.F.S was that there were only 2-3 girls shorter than me in our class. I was(am) terribly short and hence, I always stood first when our class lined up for assembly sessions. In our section, there was only one girl shorter than me and to my luck, she always used to come late or fall ill. I just hated to stand first during those sessions. It is a terrible job because you cannot fake singing the school song or you cannot put your hand down while taking pledge. The biggest dearth is that there is no one standing in front for you to hit while taking the one-arm distance.

Secondly, I completely feared the physical training and drill sessions. We had this class on every Friday and believe it or not, almost every Friday that year either was a public holiday or it rained so heavily that the ground was all damp. If at all we could step out of our classrooms, we used to have a warmup session which was compulsory to play sports. By the time we could lay our hands on a ball after that tiring activity, the bell used to ring. Running thrice around the big football ground was called as warm-up. How mean, no? In my opinion, It is enough to burn all the calories we had taken in right from our first meal in life. While our class boys finished three rounds sincerely, I used to drag myself to complete one and calmly join them as if I had run three times. All my pranks were generally unnoticed. In one funny incident, I lied to my instructor that I had undergone appendicitis operation and hence cannot perform the drill. He asked me which side of my stomach was paining and I was caught!

Third reason- I never enjoyed the attention I got at school. Not the teachers’ but attention from the peers. Teasing and bugging someone is so much fun! I cannot do it now even if I want to. At school, I never enjoyed it. My class boys always used to tease me for being short. I used to retort many times and sometimes I used to keep cool. On the whole, I was never a good sport. I often complained to my mother and friends about that. At that time, I was really choosy about best friends and just friends. And it used to show in my attitude that I was being choosy. One day I terribly made fun of a good friend just to save my skin from others. She was shocked at my odd behavior and was close to tears. Of course I later apologized to her. I feel so guilty whenever I am reminded of the shameful thing I did to her.

What I genuinely like about my school are the teachers. One teacher whom I love the most was Mrs. Preethi Thomas who looked as beautiful as Trisha in Saamy, NMNT and Junior horlicks ad film. She taught Biology and English for about 2 years and her way of teaching was also very good. She was also impartial in giving points to the houses though she headed a house-We girls used to consider this as her virtue. Mrs. Mahalakshmi was my another favorite who taught us English. I simply loved the way she used to speak- very composed speech. She asked us never to disrespect people elder to us whoever they might be. I still heed her words. I also loved Mrs.Jacintha‘s classes. She taught us Physics and her classes were full of life. Some pupils not so attentive in class used to ask her what is Newton’s second law soon after she finished explaining “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. She used to give a priceless expression and say:

“Did you just ask a ‘what’ question?”
Pupil: Yes
J: O piggidy lot, put your head in a dirty pot.
Pupil (Smiling): Miss, why?
J: Because you are so low and sky is so high.
Pupil: No miss, but how is action equal to reaction?
J: Did you just ask a ‘how’ question?
Pupil (expecting a rhyme already, smiling): Yes
J: By the kick of the cow!
In another exam, we were asked to list the differences between strong and weak acids. One Aamir Khan in our class wrote it in simple words: A strong acid is strong and a weak acid is weak. Funniest part is that he asked her to consider giving atleast 0.5 mark for that so that he can pass.

My school

The reason this post came now is that last week I was at school to just see how much it has changed over 8 years. Nothing changed except our school uniform and our Father (Principal-in-charge). The watchman Samuel welcomed me with a very big hi and gently let me in. Our Hindi teacher came out of her class and greeted me. She was happy that I am a software engineer. I was tempted to tell her every three out of five engineering graduates are SEs now and there is nothing great about it. As if she doesn’t know it! As I walked towards the staff room, Our maths teacher called me by my name and enquired about me. She even recollected that I gave her my mother’s text book for her PG examinations. I was moved. As I walked past the corridors where we used to do water-fights and library where we used to pose with big English novels, I met Mrs. Jacintha. She also did not change. She was sitting in the same old physics laboratory correcting physics records. After a nostalgic chat with her, I met some other teachers who instantly recognized me. I was very happy! I took some pictures in the main quadrangle where we used to ballot for school captain and vice-captain. I looked around and saw Mrs.Jacintha’s old R.no 2828 Ambassador car in which she used to come. Then place where my school auto used to wait for me. Then place where we used to eat lunch. Then Samuel walked us till the main gate and wished me the best. I walked out of the school with a heavy heart and misty eyes. I miss my school now. If I ever get a chance to live those days again, I promise I will be a good Anupama who is confident, brave and true to friends at heart.

Do you know me?

While more than half of the readers would say “yes” to that, the remaining half can merely look at the column “Who’s Anu?” to know about me. But this post is about those little things which make me. This list is not complete but has some fun points to read and wonder “Really??”

I request my friends and acquaintances to leave a score (For every point, +1 if you think it is true and 0 if you think it is false). It is sure fun for me to know!!

1. I prefer comfort to fashion.Question
2. Though I always look and act confused, I am pretty stubborn and adamant in making some decisions.
3. I often lie to please/console someone.
4. I dream big! Very very big. In one such haunting dream, I drove a space shuttle which was designed, built and tested by me. And in another one, I was honoured by some senior government officials in front of a large crowd.
5. I want to be a film-maker. This is not a vague thought which everyone who has a camera would have. I really want to be a film-maker. I have a story, I can pen lyrics for the songs and also tune them. All I need is just someone to finance and an audience.
6. I like footwear and watches.
7. I hesitate complimenting someone though I have tons of such good words in my mouth.
8. I act stupid sometimes to know more about something.
9. I get ecstatic when I hear to the sounds of Shehnai (Sannayi) and heavy percussion instruments (in order).
10. I never explicitly state my love/hatred for a person but I like it when others are being expressive. (Mean, no?)

More later!

PS: Gopal, Bharat, Harshita, Divya, Sushma and Rohit: Your comment is a must!

Preparing for the interview!

Are you on the verge of completing your graduation/PG?
Did you recently get a job?
Are your parents taking too much interest in wedding stuff?

Congratulations, your placement season has just begun. The slightest hint you get about this is when your parents ask how do you like your recently wed cousin’s groom. Give a positive answer, they take it as a green signal for them to begin the hunt. Give a negative answer, a long lecture on “what makes a man a perfect groom?” will follow. Eventually, the search for the groom begins and all of a sudden, you start hearing about some damn relatives/family friends whom you thought never existed.

Meanwhile, Singles- your dreams of meeting Mr.Perfect will continue to be dreams and prepare yourself for changing your ideas on perfection. Others, Try watching films like HDDCS, Mounaraagam(heavy dose I know),etc to know how to get over your past relationship. Watching English sitcoms is one easier way to do it. While you are mentally preparing for the unprepared, the atmosphere gets heated up, thanks to relatives. When in a crowd, Remember to smile shyly while replying anything that has the term “wedding/groom” in it. If you don’t want to look into someone’s face, keep your head down and draw figures with your toe. If you don’t want to stay in that place, smile for one last time and rush to your room. All these are signs of your being shy.

One fine day, you will find your mother/father super jubilant when talking to you. You can easily guess what is coming- A marriage proposal! Act surprised and look at the groom’s profile with a mixture of emotions-coy and happiness. The location of the guy will certainly be US because it is your first marriage proposal. Your parents will convince you to go and meet his parents because the hero cannot(will not) fly down to meet you for the talks. Do not try to compare him with your man in dreams, there are feeble chances of any matches. You cannot express your opinion right away because it is too early and you don’t know him. You just have to say ‘OK’ despite of your not liking him (much). You feel like someone is throwing you both ends of a rope when you’re drowning(NOTE:this line is copied).

Then follows a training session on how to conduct yourself when you’re with your prospective in-laws. Don’t talk too much because you’ll seem talkative or naughty. Don’t talk too little because you’ll seem dull or haughty. Greet well, speak well and fare well to show you’re the right person for them. But of course to be selected, you’ll have to be better than the other shortlisted candidates.

Had your stars been lucky, You’re done with one such interview and the wedding follows. You still cannot express your opinion about the guy because it is too late now. Even if you dare to open up, thousand mouths will convince you saying you’re lucky enough for being liked by someone so early in the hunt and lucky for flying to US. Before you even accept whats going on around you, you will sit in the plane and go whee!

If you do not clear this interview, the same people who were mad about that alliance will start picking holes in it and and say it is good that it has been called off. You can whine about it for some time but will have to smile as if it makes no difference to you. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be asked your preferred qualities at this time and henceforth coming proposals will be of some value. Else, the whole process repeats. What a pity!

The whole process of arranged marriage seems flawed to me. What makes it to a successful marriage? Learning about groom’s family history through someone else- how reliable is it and how far does it help? Is it enough if he is employed with some dream company and earns dream salary? Is it enough if his parents are well settled and the boy has no financial responsibilities towards them? Nothing can ever guarantee a successful married life. If at all there is something that can make some difference, it is the comfort level the boy and the girl should have with each other. This ,of course, cannot be proof-tested before marriage. Love marriages do not guarantee this either. Love birds getting divorced is also not uncommon these days!Srija and Sirish (if at all they can be called lovers) stand the best example.

Marriage is a gamble. Whether you win/lose is your luck. The only difference is that some know their opponent before hand and some do not. Some will have people to cheer the game and some will have to play it alone. Of course, some will have everything but do not win. Few will be lucky enough to meet their Prince Charming and so they win. I wish all the soon-to-be gamblers good luck!