Monday, December 16, 2013


Ours was an arranged marriage.

Or that is how the society prefers to call it. If you ask me, I am yet to understand the difference between a 'love marriage' and an 'arranged marriage'. Can a  marriage survive without love, is a much debated question. The naysayers opine that marriage is the end of all the romance. Well! I married early in life. I was 23. But that does not mean I did not have an informed opinion about everything under the sun. I was always very clear about the kind of life partner I would ideally want. And that somewhere made my friends, family and peers believe that I was the 'love marriage' kind of girl. Presumptions! I tell you. They kill many a love story.

In my mind, my ideal man was an obnoxious mix and match of Tagore's Amit Ray, Vikram Seth's Kabir Durrani, Will Darcy (this had to be there!), Sourav Ganguly, Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and what not! Happens! And after all that I met my who was self confessed "Bihari bong" at heart. One who knew his gadgets, technology, world war history and trivia and financial equations better than the Tagore's "Amaro porano jaha chay/ Tumi tai, tumi tai go". That was one song that I had intended to sing for my dream man after I met him. And I fell in love with this man, head over heels!!!!

Love is a wonderful thing, actually. And one should always be open about my case, yes! it was the parents who talked first...but I would not have married him if I did not find an absolute crazy reflection of myself in him. And the opposites too! Needless to say this works out in a vice versa. We talked and talked....and talked..exchanged old fashioned love letters (emails!) across different time zones and what not. Did some crazy stuff during the short lived courtship period. And we still do.

There comes the second volley of questions. You guys are so mushy and stuff...are you sure it was an arranged marriage? And I have a serious objection to fact calling any marriage by names. Love can happen in your life at any time. In our case, it was the your case it might be the college sweetheart you later decide to marry. But one thing for sure, no marriage can survive without the 'love' factor. And the absolutely madness that two people need to share. After all it is all part of the madness called life!

Two years have gone by since the day I wore that laal benarsai sari, decked up, took the "paan" leaves and exchanged sweet nothings with him under an overtly decorated flowery mandap (stage). There were whistles and catcalls from the friends which we always laugh about...and there was the absolutely delicious food which we could not eat due to all the tiredness. And there were friends and well wishers. Some of who who had travelled all the way from different corners of the country to be with us for our big day. I had to deal with a big make up disaster during the reception in Jamshedpur, but apart from that, everything else was perfect...grand and absolutely the way he had planned for me. There were numerous gifts from both sides but the treasured ones are the family members and well wishers which we both added to our kitty.

The memories of that day and the Reception day are still afresh in our minds. And that makes our parents think "Oh! my god! 2 years have gone?" A similar thought which often strikes us too.

2 years...and all the craziness! And then we think about the cynicism- "Marriage is the end of all romance". Really? Well! if you ask me, I will recommend marriage to everyone. It is a wonderful thing. How you make it a beautiful one depends on you. This one fairy tale that Grimm brothers assigned you to write. And it is not necessary that you need to have grand wedding, a lavish 'destination' one, an expensive make up artist or photographer, a pre wedding shoot, diamond jewellery and all that jazz!

It is perfect when it turns out just the way you want or just the way it is better!

We celebrated this anniversary away from home and loved ones, but with a bunch of new friends. There was a small party afterwards but the day was mostly spent indoors- he cooked dinner for me and uncorked the champagne. We exchanged some gifts (I am very materialistic :P) and that was it. But at the end of the day, we were happy...and that is all that mattered to us and our families and well wishers.

That happiness was all about being with someone who is your guardian angel, best friend, crazy laughter and acts partner, partner in crime, fellow travel enthusiast, an amazing support system...and everything else rolled into one! *Touchwood*

Here's to many more to come! :)

Thank you!

P.S.-I was subjected to much caustic remarks over Facebook recently for something I wrote in my last post. While I am extremely tempted to make a even more caustic reply to all, especially in the wake of the ridiculous Supreme Court judgement in the Naz Foundation case, I decided against it. There are some absolutely brilliant pieces available over the internet and I do not think that apart from making a point, which will again be lost in the question of "what is right' and 'what is wrong' kind of black and white, I can contribute more. Moreover, the brilliant man in my life made me understand a few things. One of them being that criticism- bad and ugly ones are very important for your growth as a writer, more so if you are planning to take it up seriously. Interestingly, this brilliant man and I also celebrated our second wedding anniversary on the day marked by the outrage over the Naz judgement. Irony!
To tell you the truth- my absolutely beautiful
anniversary day was somewhat marred by the judgement.
But, anyways! this post is not about all that. It is more about the mush, the absolutely Yashraj types that I am so famously fond of. The "tujhe dekha to yeh jana sanam" types. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The women who drink, party and make merry!

My upbringing in a middle class South Calcutta household taught me certain things....among them was the fact that 'good girls do not smoke and party'. All my life I tried to be the proverbial good girl. However, I am also a fan of the Aparna Sen or Helen kind of beauties, the modern and 'dakshaitey'(sorry I cannot translate that!) beauty in every sense of the word. The one who had no qualms living her life on her own terms or smoking on screen when it was a big taboo. In short, one who loved breaking rules! The two do not often have similar connotations you see and it is often the bridge between the two that normal, middle class Indian girls of my generation try to carefully tread upon. I do not smoke as I consider it to be too much of a torture on my own lungs but, yes! I love to part, dress up and have an occasional drink.

Let's accept it. Nowadays we like our woman to be 'modern'. The one who can carry off beautiful knee length dresses or wear that occasional shorts for vacations, be articulate and speak English with elan, can accompany you for parties and share a drink or two. She works, has a career and earns a double income for the family. She is ideal in every sense of the word since she would not mind trading the dress for the heavily embellished sari for a cousin's wedding. She does not like to be dictated upon, but the men do not mind as this is the way they want to see their woman, modern yet traditional. Its her choice to live her life that way, by participating in weekend parties and sharing her wisdom over the best brand of liquor but the men do not mind as its the way they prefer their woman. Eventually it is the man's choice of how he wants to see the woman. Otherwise the man completely considers it to be his right to tell her that she cannot wear the backless blouse since it reveals a lot more than he expects.

People who have bothered to read till here must be thinking that what's wrong with the man agreeing to a girl partying or her choices of clothes? or for that matter 'giving her the liberty to work' (yes! that's what it her...the right to make career decisions is of course not her own)? Is it not that for an equal society we want the man to be progressive and just like the way it is described above?

The catch lies there. Supposedly the woman refuses to oblige and sticks by her backless blouse choice? then? The answer is quite clearly written all over our horizon and faces....apply the oldest trick in the book to malign her and in today's time, use the easiest way out- that she is immoral just because she wears modern dresses, drinks, smokes and party. It is extremely unfortunate but true that the virtues that modern Indian men look for in their partners often turn out to be the vices they are fighting in the Courtrooms. That being a 'modern' woman is not easy in India.

I often think about how do you define modernity. A favourite Bengali author of mine had once written that the shade of lipstick or the amount of make up cannot decide how modern you mindset, your thoughts do! Alas! as a society we have not yet been so futuristic to measure our modernity quotient on those terms. But then again, what's wrong with make up? I love wearing make up and so does many woman I know who are successful in their chosen fields- work or home making. But it is the contrast of thought that men and women in India have over the idea of make up that is horrifying. In India if a woman is wearing make up and looks attractive, it must be for a man. Most definitely it cannot be for herself. And that means you are inviting your own trouble. The trouble of being modern.

And you think people are different? No! they are not. When Tarun Tejpal wrote that horrendous e-mail, I thought it was stupid enough for a man of his stature to do something like that. But it was more of his colleague Ms. Choudhary's reactions that offended me more. It was as such as she was subscribing to everything that she had decided to speak up against till date...and that included not considering it to be her responsibility to inform the police when the charges involved were of Sexual harassment.

But more than that, I expected the rape trial of Mr Tejpal to be different. One fought on facts and evidence and definitely not on the presumptions of the woman's character. And I was so wrong! Mr Tejpal has been over the years a flagbearer of freedom of speech, or so we thought. One man whom we could trust to be modern in his thoughts, who allowed the woman in his lives to follow their dreams freely...and not judge her just by the colour of her lipstick.

And there was the surprise. Mr Tejpal's argument about the futility of the allegations pointed out to the woman's character, of her being modern and choosing to party even after the incident. Oh! yes that's such a defense you know. It does not matter that she was an employee of Tejpal's company and one who chose to fulfill her professional obligations even in the moment of personal crisis. It just mattered that her employer liked to see her that way always- smart and suave modern woman who attends parties, and when a sexual encounter does not work out the way he wants, he has the liberty to use that image against her.

After all it's always his world!

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