Thursday, February 16, 2012

Something more than love

She thought she knew it was never going to work even before it started. Definitely not the way one read in books. She was just playing along. After all she was not the naïve sixteen year old anymore nor was she the young temptress of twenty either. She was bloody twenty-eight and just two years away from becoming a dinosaur of thirty, or so she thought. When her parents brought up the idea of marrying the spectacled ape of a man, she simply nodded her head in agreement. Well it was not as if she was dating someone or pining over a lost love.

To begin with, he was not a romantic; not the one who will bring her flowers or small gifts just too see her smile. Big deal nor was her dad. (The only flowers her dad bought home where the big bright yellow marigolds for aarati for god.)

He never bothered to compliment her or admonish her. Bad and mediocre cooking never elicited a reaction from him. An extremely well cooked meal would bring about a smile and a humming of 70’s Hindi songs while he cleaned up the dishes. There were so many things irritating about him. He was so laconic that sometimes she felt she was talking to a wall. The fact that he never complained about anything left her puzzled. ”Amma, does he think I have mind reading capabilities to understand the thoughts running in his mind?”  She had complained to her mother in the early days of their marriage. Her mother had simply smiled at her,” In time my child, you will learn that as well.” and continued rubbing the fragrant oil onto her scalp. She felt even more helpless with Amma’s cryptic advice; if Amma had no solution what was she going to do.

Along the way, she did love him for those small little things he did. She was not quite sure if it was love or his extreme sense of duty which made him do things without so much as ever mutter under  his breath. He did not complain about waking up umpteen times to rock their boy back to sleep or changing nappies every half hour. When she had broken her leg, falling off the “chandrakaran maavu”* amidst plucking ripe mangoes to cook his favorite “mambazha pullisherry”**, he had carried on as if nothing of consequence had happened. He woke up early, cooked her food, took care of the kids, and went to office for the entire six weeks her legs hung in a plaster without even letting out an unpleasant sigh. His tenacity surprised her to no end. After all, she was the free radical between them, extremely volatile and prone to emotional explosions.

Today years after the sacred thread bound them; the arrival of children and grand children, her old man sits next to her hospital bed holding a bunch of flowers with a “Get well Soon Love” card stuck on top of it, his face red with embarrassment."

Ee kuttyolu.Enikku ethonnum nishchyilla ennu Saro-nu ariyallo.” He says looking at everything except me.

“These kids; you know I have no clue of any of these things, don’t you Saro?”
So it’s them, my grandchildren, who has made him carry around these flowers like a lovesick sixteen year old. I want to laugh and cry. He has actually called me Saro short for Sarojini. There is something I feel inside me, something like a flutter. At sixty I cannot call it a butterfly in my stomach, can I? He puts those flowers near my bed stand and quietly sits down near the window to read the newspaper.

I look at him, my eyes moist. As my mother had said long back, I had mastered reading him. I could read his mind from the arch of his brows, the movement of his lips and the gait of his body. Eventually I just had to look at him and his thoughts would appear in front of me as though written on a sheet of paper in his neat handwriting.

I have never regretted the flower or gifts he did not give me because somewhere at some moment or may be over a course of time we had fallen into a rhythm. We had tuned into each other like a pair of walkie-talkies, picking up signals even before they were send. I would not call it love and dismiss it as fragile emotion. Because it is much more than love, it is a complex emotion made of trust, faith, patience, and a generous sprinkle of love. So what if he does not mouth his feeling? I can, as kids these days say, always log in to his mind to see what is happening there.

*-Chandrakaran maavu is type of mango tree that bears these small sweet succulent mangoes. My personal favorite.

**-Mamabazha pulliserry is the bestest dish in world because it has Chandrakaran manga/mango cooked in coconut gravy.

P: S: This story was inspired by a short film Bastille, one of the eighteens films part of the French anthology Paris Je t’aime (Paris, I love you)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Burn Those Candles....

I am a hoarder. I hoard all things nice (and expendable). When I was young, I used to save chocolates in small boxes until there were only small sticky pieces clinging onto the wrappers (Oh! Those days when a big five star came for Rs 2). There are skirts I saved and outgrew them. Like those skirts, I outgrew; there is a long list of things I saved for better occasions and never got around using. They all sat in the cupboards gathering dust or crumbling to dust.

One quiet evening I realized there is no better day than today. I quit hoarding that very second. I walked to the cupboard, took out my scented candles, and lit them. I felt the warm glow and inhaled the sweet vanilla smell. I do not know how heaven smells but I have a gut feel it smells of vanilla.

So if you are a hoarder like I used to be, let go. Burn those candles…

P: S: To people who celebrate V-day; Happy Valentine’s Day. Rest of us can take a swig of wine and watch Tom and Jerry.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Ten Naked Truths

Since I was running out of ideas to fuel my blog, I will fall back on to the easiest way to post;take a dig at self. And since it’s talking about “me”, being a narcissist that I am, it sounded even more enterprising. So let us start. Here we go with ten quirks things  about me.

1.     I was called a cry-baby in school.Yeah, the title was official. I used to cry if somebody split my water bottle or made fun of me. I had zero control over my tear glands which much to my embarrassment relieved itself at the slightest provocation.

2.     I am bad at outdoor sports. Don’t bother to name any; I won’t be good at it anyway. The only outdoor game I am good at, let me add proudly, is hide-n-seek. I guess right from childhood I had mastered the art of being unobtrusive or in many a case invisible. It is like I don’t exist at all making it easy for people to ignore me.

3.     I can read kannada(almost) which is an achievement if I told you I am a keralite. A bigger one if I confessed that I am an autodidactic who taught self to read the language from comparing multilingual sign boards. It was my hobby to read all billboards on my long bus rides in Mysore, where I spent 4 years of my professional life.

4.     I am directionally challenged.Period.If Google had not released Google maps in Singapore I would never have found my way around the place.(This indirectly disproves the statement that girls cannot read maps :P)

5.     One day when I was in second standard, I had decided to run away from home. I packed all my worldly possessions in a suitcase and wrote a long letter to my parents. The abridged content was that I was leaving home for good and they need not look for me. I had written that in Malayalam with immense “feelings” and a profusion of spelling mistakes. (Amma keeps repeating this story at every family function. I am glad she had lost the transcript of the letter. It is mortifying as in it self without any solid proofs and for all I know she would’ve got it into a gilt edged frame and displayed it at the foyer for the entertainment of guests at the cost of her progeny’s early life endeavors.)

6.     I’m proud of my smile and when people tell me it’s magnetic, I know for once I am not total disaster project of Almighty.Inspite of all His misgivings in judgments (especially about things I have asked Him to give me and the things He has given me with the uncalled for twists) I am willing to give him a big hug.

7.     I can recollect people and their relationship with me in a jiffy. I hardly forget anyone I’ve met. So when I met my husband’s family I had the natural advantage of remembering his relatives by their name and salutations which helped me make a glowing impression. So beware, if you have come across me anytime in your life, I probably know your life history and all your deep dark secrets.: D

8.     I’ll smile at a person (who I am acquainted with,offcourse silly)three times, if the person doesn’t return my smile and stays aloof I’ll never smile at him (however cute he is) or her. If the person is standing in a group I’ll flash my most heart warming smile at every one in the group except that person. I derive immense pleasure out of it.Yeah; go ahead sue me for being mean.

9.     I’ll lynch you if you talk ill of my best buddies. I swear, I mean it. They may have their vices but you are not allowed to judge them as I know them better than you.

10. I hate it when people waste food. I’ll pester them to finish whatever is there on the plate and won’t let them budge if they haven’t. Learn to serve yourself only what you need. I remember the story about Sudama and his family and the hundreds of small children in under developed countries who go without food everyday and I will keep retell those tales till you have wipe cleaned your plate.

So these are my top ten quirky secrets. Not secrets really. Things people do not know about me.