Together We Bond

You are not alone We are there and therefore Together we Bond

A Prayer–Part 1 October 6, 2007

Filed under: Fiction,Reflections — togetherwebond @ 11:40 pm

That tortured woman, toddler in her arms, bruised in both body and soul, gazed pleadingly at the flower and sandalwood adorned Maruthi. You are the one that has the power to fight all obstacles and reach your goal…. like you did when Rama was on the way to Lanka to fight Ravana and bring Sita back. Tears glistened in her eyes and threatened to spill over while she valiantly held them back. Her lips quivered and the forehead puckered and she swallowed hard fighting for control. She held on to the baby as if holding on to life itself. The baby protested, squirmed and wanted to be let down to run and play in the haven of the temple. When she was a child she remembered listening to the stories of Rama and Krishna sitting beside her grandmother. Paty had said that praying to Maruthi on Saturday was very auspicious and he alone had the power to deliver us from obstacles. This hope brought her to the temple every Saturday morning.

She had been here on many occasions before. She felt comfort in the familiar surroundings, the smells, sounds and the chants of the priest. As she made the pradakshina, folded hands for the aarti, prostrated before the idol, marked her forehead with the sacred kumkum, extended her palm to receive the holy water; she was at least for those moments comforted and could put aside all her worries and fears.

He had the power to take away so many of her worries, did she not come here, praying for this very child when she was ill for weeks and weeks, was she not here when she could not find someone who could take care of the child while she needed to work, she was here again to pray for her sister, whose new born was battling for life for months and again when there seemed to be no money to pay off the steep expenses for the month… She was there several times and her perseverance always paid off.

But now she had been coping with the pain, hurt and fear of an alcoholic husband for years, her kids were traumatized, hurt and confused by his aggressive behavior. She couldn’t find in him the man she loved and married well against the wishes of her family. He didn’t have a job and she was struggling to make both ends meet. He was getting abusive these days and she was hurt and confused by his behavior.

Was there a reason for this? Did Maruthi actually want her to go through this? Did her kids have to suffer in this way? Was there something she had done in the past, perhaps even in another life, to deserve this. The pain and hurt now mingled with guilt, until she couldn’t tell them apart.

Slowly she gathered her little daughter and trudged back slowly and unwilling back home. Her legs felt leaden and heavy like her heart.

By Prakruti–http://doorgagankichaonmain.blogspot.com/

to be continued….

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Bait and Switch July 8, 2007

Filed under: Reflections — togetherwebond @ 7:22 am

The rate at which single girlfriends call me for relationship advice, I think I should set up a Paypal payment plan, skip the day job (and town for good measure) to find a myself a retreat by the ocean where I can meditate in peace on the question of human relationships.The inevitable happened. Steve and Poorvi broke up and I was in the know within hours. I have to admit I get good news pretty fast as well. So its not as if I am remembered only in the darkest hour which would be terrible. I had been informed when they had decided to “go exclusive”.

Best that I knew, Poorvi was not really seeing anyone else even before the exclusivity had been declared – she is just not good at multi-tasking men given the demands on her time. Between her modeling gigs, dance performances and job time is invariably scarce and the little she had left she religiously gave to her boyfriend of six months.

We had a long discussion about the events leading up to the break up. Women have no peace until a dead relation is exhumed and autopsied to their complete satisfaction. Mainly, they are trying to answer the question “Did I do anything to precipitate this or was it not meant to be ?” At an emotional level they find it impossible to accept the later hypothesis i.e. it was never meant to be and the signs were writ large if she had wanted to see.

At an intellectual level the post mortem is a lessons learnt session accompanied by much self-flagellation. “How could I be so dumb ?” is a recurring refrain in these discussions. Once that is over, they recount the sequence of events and I listen closely. Much of my
analysis will depend on the data provided.

Apparently the wheels of karma if you will had been set in motion about a week ago. She had text messaged Steve “Call me. We need to talk” and he when he did, they had decided to end it. He had shown absolutely no interest in giving it another shot, resuscitating what had been for the most part a wonderful time together.

In as such, Poorvi felt like she had given him the opportunity to bail out. She had raved and ranted at him but before signing off he had said “Let’s try to stay friends” At this point there was a pause I both know to expect and dread.

“And you want to call him ?” I asked.

“You think that would be wrong ?” Poorvi wondered aloud.

“Not if you want to engage in great make up sex. This would present the perfect opportunity. Better still show up at his doorstep with a batch of homemade cookies.” I replied sighing inwardly.
In the course of the next one hour and a half (note to myself : always switch to the hands-free when girlfriends who are in a relationship call on Saturday evenings. It is rarely if ever good news and never gets done before a couple of hours) the cause of the break up became more apparent.

Steve had expended considerable time, effort and not to mention money on this relationship. Lately, he had been talking about introducing her to his family. In fact, only a couple of weeks ago she had chatted with his older brother on the phone. Poorvi had apparently made it clear that physical intimacy was not part of “going out”, “getting to know each other”, “having a great time together” in her book.

He expressed his frustration at this arrangement but had been going along with it just fine. It took him a month to be able to kiss her properly – all efforts until then had been met with resistance or cheek instead of mouth. This did not bode well and I would have told her as much had I known before.

Every time the relationship got into a little trouble and they “talked” about it (There was a theme here too. Invariably it was Poorvi who became aware of the trouble and Steve was surprised to learn of it) He would tell her how he was not able to bridge the emotional distance in a relationship where no physical intimacy existed.

Each time thereafter, Poorvi would go further than she really wanted to. To quote her, they had been making “incremental progress” towards the end game of making love at his place one Friday night. I gather that defined relationship Nirvana to Steve. I was disappointed to hear her admit quite candidly that if he had persisted with her until she had met the parents, she may have gone all the way. She was surprised that he did not care enough to persist with her till then. By now, I had heard enough.

“You tried a bait and switch on him and that clearly did not work. On the one hand you tell him that sex is not okay before marriage and then you turn around spend the night with him at his place, let him go only thus far and no further. What’s more he gets to go a little further each time he tries. You have clearly not conveyed a consistent message to him” I said.

“But I did only what I thought felt right. And I wanted to be fair to him as well. If intimacy was that important to him, I figured it would be okay to go along with that to a point that I felt comfortable” Poorvi said to justify herself.

“You got him all confused about the kind of girl you really are. What you do with him is going to form his idea about what you have done and will do with a dozen other men. He might have started out thinking you were conservative and viewed marriage as sacrosanct. That would be consistent with stereotypes he may have had about desis and our moral values. I would not be surprised if that had not been a key factor in his interest in you as a potential wife. ” I theorized.

“If you had maintained your initial stance about intimacy, his impression of you would not have changed. On the other hand if you believed that physical intimacy is a natural progression in relationships and did whatever came naturally whenever it did, he would have been okay with that too. It would burst his little bubble about the Sati Savitri desi woman but he may have gotten over it. What you did was to bait and switch and that is wrong in more ways than I can count.” I explained patiently.

“So what did he really want ? He sounded serious about getting married relatively soon” Poorvi asked

“He was most likely serious about getting married sometime soon atleast logically. I doubt his emotional readiness. He was confused about what he wanted and would not even recognize it if he found it. I guess guys like to think intimacy will bring them closer to understanding if they have the emotional connection with a woman. Unfortunately women feed this delusion instead of calling them on it ” I said.

“You think he might have been lying about marriage and getting me to meet his parents just to have sex with me ?” Poorvi asked.

“Maybe and maybe not. It is hard to tell. He did not look like a player but then I hardly know him. Maybe he really thought intimacy would help him make up his mind about this relationship. Needless to say it would have done nothing of the sort. Once he is really ready for marriage however many years that takes, he won’t need anything to help him make up his mind. Least of all sex. The timing was just wrong for you guys” I concluded.

In a way I am glad this is over, that Poorvi did not suffer too much. Hopefully there were lessons learnt from this mistake that she will find use for in later life. Better still be able to dispense advice on the phone to other girlfriends in need. After a while we all become wise.

By Heartcrossings-http://www.heartcrossings.blogspot.com/

 

LIFE IN A METRO… a review June 29, 2007

Filed under: Entertainment — togetherwebond @ 8:50 am


LIFE IN A METRO… a review

Chatting with a friend, she quoted, about the big mean city of Mumbai.. ‘ye shahar jitna deta hai us se kai jyada leta hai!!’ and this set us discussing the movie METRO.

I watched it just a couple of days back and expected it to be a heavy one but it was so amazingly light… just the way it should have been. I found myself agreeing and nodding on many occasions. Rarely happens these days with movies.

Each of the characters are well thought of and well portrayed, the humor is played down and perfectly executed on screen. The character Monty played by Irfan Khan is absolutely hilarious…his down to earth practical way with life, from making a job recommendation effortlessly to his boss on the phone, teaching Shruti (konkona sen) how to get her anger off her chest, conning her into shopping for his would be bride. All were absolutely amazing and he makes his way slowly and surely into your heart and into Shruti’s heart as well. From a prospective suitor whom she rejects he turns into the love of her life!!

Shikha (Shilpa Shetty) and Ranjit (Kay Kay Menon) play a married couple with a kid. Both have made extremely good performances. Kay Kay is the cheating male who convinces himself that he has every right to be happy and if this can be accomplished without hurting another then what could be better. Shikha trapped in a marriage which she describes aptly in two powerful sentences…‘shaadi aur kuch sikhaye na sikhaye, acting karna jaroor sikha deti hai’ and the complete loneliness expressed by ‘ ab hamari khamoshi bhi aapas mein jhagda karti hai’…while Ranjit feels completely justified having an affair with Neha, his subordinate at work, (Kangana Ranawat) Shikha is devastated by her love for the soft spoken, gentle and sensitive Aakash (Shiny Ahuja)

Rahul – a young man (Sharman Joshi) Ranjit’s subordinate who holds the magical key to many influential bosses, cheating on their wives. He loves Neha and is devastated by the knowledge of her being used by and using the boss Ranjit. Things come a full circle when Neha and Ranjit stand exposed to Neha’s room mate and Shikha’s sister Shruti..

Two other characters who portray the idealistic love that knows nothing and believes nothing else are Shivani (Nafeesa ali) and Amol (Dharamendra)… no questions asked, no undying declarations of love, no promises of until death do us apart. Just a quiet assumption and assurance and the power of love to out shadow all others. Magical..almost unreal amidst the midst of the sordid dependencies..

Finale….
1. Ranjit confessing to his wife Shikha of his relationship with Neha, Shikha looks guiltier and confesses to her love for Aakash (which never was consummated) but Shikha giving up love for marriage and family and stays.
2. Neha realizes her folly and goes after Rahul. Rahul quits his job as a manager of others affairs among other duties!!
3. Shruti realizes she actually loves Monty, and chooses to declare her love while the poor guy is riding on a horse back with sehera and on his way to his own marriage..!! Better late than never as they say.
4. The sad part with Shivani passing away leaving Amol guilty as ever to have left his love in search of the worldly pleasures in life.

Finally, for me the movie took me back to monsoons in Mumbai city… crowded streets, people waking unfazed with umbrellas, unstopping by the rain and the incessant pitter patter stopping for no one. The buses and trains and auto rickshaws bring the city back to everyone who has ever lived there in full dose of poignant memories.

By Prakruti–http://doorgagankichaonmain.blogspot.com/

 

Way to go fine ladies…….. May 13, 2007

Filed under: Parenthood,Reflections — togetherwebond @ 6:22 am

Here’s wishing all single moms a very Happy Mothers Day. Being a single mom and raising children is not an easy task but it is also the one that entails a lot of joys, compassions, pleasures and many many many cheerful moments together in ups and downs.

When I decided to file for the full custody of my children I sometimes wondered if I could pull through it. However, when I was granted the full custody of my children there was no limit to my happiness. It meant freedom, freedom for me, freedom for my children, and freedom for my children’s upbringing.

Today we are a threesome blissful family. I am their mother and their only parent. We take vacations together to create more happy moments for a lifetime, do our own thing and most important stay in peace. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation and so also my children.

I would like to use this platform to wish all single mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day.

Way to go fine ladies, you’ve got it in you 🙂 –the spark !

By Neha

 

Expectations Management April 16, 2007

Filed under: Management,Reflections — togetherwebond @ 7:55 am

Very interesting article and puts into perspective what we in this day and age expect from marriages and relationships in general. Reinforces my opinion that life (happiness and sorrow) is all about managing expectations. And at times there is a breaking point quite unique and specific for specific situations and people…

When going through what I considered a difficult phase in my marriage, what struck me were the differences in perception around me. My maid for example, was ‘happy’ in her marriage as her husband did not beat her, he drank and took her money and did not help at home, did not work, but she thought it was OK.

Another colleague had a difficult time as she did not have any children and lived in joint family who constantly blamed her for that (with no evidence that this was in fact her ‘fault’), she had to hand over all her salary and received a meager pocket money for her expenses. After putting up with this for many years, she finally spoke about her problems to a small group of girls in the office and was surprised when she heard our views. What really was the breaking point for her (after many years of misery) was the fact that her husband refused to share their room and she had to sleep in the living room. A kind of public acknowledgement of their failed marriage. A blessing in disguise, if you ask me. She walked out and lived by herself afraid to go home to her parents. Then came the realization that life was not so bad on her own. In fact if she could manage to look beyond the stigma (a bit exaggerated) she was even enjoying life!

A very close friend of mine lived with her husband and daughter. She was also bringing up her sisters daughter. Her sister tragically passed away while the child was barely a year old and couldn’t be left with her father ( a long story and a bit out of context here). Her husband seemed to be constantly between jobs. He forced his family (including a battery of three sisters) on her with requests from them to cook for them, clean and baby sit for them and even buy things for them.. My friend was good at her job (though not a very high ranking one). She worked hard, managed home and finances, had a home loan for a flat she was buying, managed to spend time with the kids’ studies, other extracurricular activities and also made sure they had occasional fun, a movie, a picnic, etc. Suddenly her husband fell very ill and she realized that he had AIDS! He had been infected while cheating on her during his clandestine visits to ‘God knows where’ she said and couldn’t care less about the gory details. She nursed him through his treatment and counseling. A huge cost burden apart from the emotional trauma. Luckily she and the kids were not infected. But the breaking point was his behavior. He insisted on ‘unprotected sex’ a sure way to transmit the virus!!! So finally this was the breaking point for her. A realization that this person did not really care about his child or her. A difficult to explain situation to a society who thinks she is a demon to abandon a sick spouse, the NGOs who point out not to discriminate against AIDS, her own family who cant understand much of what is happening (ignorance). But she explained everything to her kids she said as she needed them to understand what she was going through!!

One could go on as there are so many stories and experiences like these.Marriages between physically and mentally challenged people are not different than others. Expectations have to be met and managed, but there they are likely to be significantly lower. Does that make it easier may be it is!

On a lighter vein, in a work related context, I heard the word ‘expectation based management’ from a HQ colleague recently. What he means that all work processes that have been carefully mapped and agreed upon, could basically take a walk. And this was a kind of top down approach where ‘expectations’ will be set and everyone is expected to deliver!!!

By Prakruti–http://doorgagankichaonmain.blogspot.com/

 

Ten Signs April 2, 2007

Filed under: Management,Reflections — togetherwebond @ 11:17 am

Reading the tell tale signs of commitment phobia in women was no epiphany for me. I have almost all of them and generally suspected that I have a great fear of getting into a bad situation – once bitten, twice shy and all that. Of the ten on the list, I identify most strongly with 4,5,8 and to some extent with 3.

1. You have a long and elaborate list of requirements for your ideal mate.
2. You go from one short-lived relationship to the next.
3. You have a habit of dating “unavailable” men.
4. You consider your married friends’ lives boring and think they settled for less.
5. You stay in relationships that are rocky and offer little hope of commitment.
6. You back out of plans at the last minute and have trouble setting a time for dates.
7. You cultivate large networks of friends at the expense of a single romantic relationship.
8. You have a lot of relationship trauma in your past.
9. Your career is very important to you and you often choose work over relationships.
10.You are constantly blowing “hot” and “cold” in your relationships.

Several of my girlfriends who are single moms in their 30s, do not really intend to remarry or even want to be in a long term committed relationship. Interestingly enough these seem to be goals they appear to be pursuing with some zeal or so they tell themselves. After much talk about commitment, engagement and the like, there is almost always a compelling reason not to take the final plunge.

Their twelve year old would get all confused with two dads competing for turf and attention, they are not emotionally ready to start a new family complete with another child plus thirty seven is too late for motherhood anyways. They can’t deal with another bunch of in-laws. His ex is shrew and he’s not fully over her yet. Finally status quo is safer more certain territory – why fix something that is not broke ?

It is common for these women to be surrounded by a bunch of likeminded girlfriends. They hang out with the gang making it difficult for the interested man to break into the clique, test the waters of the dating market tentatively at best, fully prepared to withdraw if it gets too complicated. Marriage no longer has any special significance to them mainly because their desire for motherhood is fulfilled.

It would seem like a man is useful only for purposes of procreation and quite disposable thereafter. This is not to minimize the pain that these women have been through in their marriage and relationships but it does seem that attaining motherhood acts as the deal breaker for a relationship already on the rocks.

Having achieved a new lease of life and a second shot at being single (and this time in no rush to marry) they no longer find it conceivable to settle for less, to cut corners or compromise in marriage. The dread biological clock factor no longer forces precipitate decisions. It also helps that men are so abundantly and readily available for short term flings.

The attitudes I speak of are more commonly seen in the west though the women in question can very well be from the east. I am sure as divorces become more common back home, women there will feel a lot like their sisters in the west. In a society that accepts their marital status (or the lack of it) so effortlessly, they are able to discover the distinct advantages of their circumstances and make the most of it. The combination of motherhood, unbridled freedom and not needing to adjust and compromise at every turn outweighs the value of the “married” tag for women who have had to pay a high price to come out of one.

By Heartcrossings-http://www.heartcrossings.blogspot.com/

 

‘Chasing the Good Life…on being Single’–Book Review March 19, 2007

Filed under: Entertainment,Management,Reflections — togetherwebond @ 10:07 am

‘Chasing the Good Life…on being Single’ edited by Bhaichand Patel, is delightfully fresh and frank; a compilation of essays by ‘singletons’ from various walks of life and yes, both men and women. The contributors range from Jerry Pinto, the 38 year old novelist and poet to Kushwant Singh, India’s oldest enfant terrible, from Dolly Thakore, casting director, journalist and script writer to Urvashi Bhutalia, the founder of the first feminist publishing house called Kali, and many more..

Farrukh Dhondy, novelist and columnist, explores the insinuations of the words bachelor; meaning gay or resolute bachelor and spinster evoking an image of the ‘unfortunate wall flower that was never asked for the next dance’!! Quite happy with his single status and not looking for that ‘promised land’ any more, he concludes that the quest to dissolve the single is an elusive, never ending but necessary pursuit.

An independent liberal from the tender age of 15, Aruna Vasudev is founder of the cine magazine called ‘Cinemaya’ a PhD from Paris and a reputed writer and has graced many a jury in film fests world over. After having lost her husband to cancer she found herself a singleton and a single parent at the same time! Work, travel, and a wide circle of friends and family leave her no time to catch her breath. Complete self reliance is what life has taught her and she has ‘no complaints’ Life is a party she says when you learn to take the high moments with the low, and treat the two impostors just the same.

Marriages are made in heaven and end in the bathroom says Asha Naarang Spaak, who was married not once but twice and enjoyed it while it lasted! (a case of hope over experience, she explains). For her the joys of being single are too much to give up for the (dis)comfort of having a spouse.

Not all is a bed of roses!! And the question that comes to every ones mind is what about loneliness and what about sex. Well, Gauri Dange, from Pune says…when you are 40 something and all the speculation about your past and future love life has died down… you are in a really cosy spot …no more questions, no more sympathetic looks. When you feel you are on a high and want a partner…a mental image (made of nice bits of all the men you know) comes to your mind. Then the moment passes and you stretch this way and that quite smug and snug in your solitude!!

To Kushwant Singh, the joy of living alone comes from being able to relieve himself of his gastric gases without being embarrassed and to be able walk around without his clothes!! He misses his wife and is sometimes lonely. But he admits that he does not have the gift of friendship and is quite happy with his solitary status. ‘When the time comes,’ he says, ‘everyone has to take the long road to oblivion all alone, so why not prepare for it while in good health?’

For Sheela Reddy, books editor for outlook, the secret success to her marriage is the long distance… her husband lives and works in Bihar and she in Delhi. The perfect recipe for her is two die-hard singles with preferable very less in common!!

After fleeing from her ‘Barsati’ in Delhi where the landlord had actually let himself in, the romanticism of living alone in peaceful melancholy shattered, Radhika Jha, novelist and dancer, still maintains that singleness had to be experienced before any ‘real love’ is possible. However, a lot has changed since those early days and now it’s easy to be single; liberalization, attitudes, lifestyles and finances have benefited singles tremendously. Its a rich experience-(without the glamour) but the price is the moments when one is truly alone which steal up on you, she says, and catch you unawares when you are most vulnerable. Living alone you experience the naked intensity of each moment-the good and the bad!

Single but not alone says…Humra Quraishi. After her divorce and a few painful years of adjusting to a new life, her circle of close friends, two children and close family are her world now and its enough, she says.

What struck me about this one by Varsha Das is its complete honesty and for me, a sense of someone else saying my lines…”I was quite certain that once I moved away from him life would be lovely” she says. She now realizes how foolish and perhaps simplistic her views were. With two kids and meager means she expresses her emotional swings between satisfaction and insecurity. She finds her refuge in a full time job, her kids and home and finally came to terms with her life fully triumphant. Letting go the negative feeling she feels is extremely important to be able to truly move on…’I stopped holding others responsible for my unhappiness’ and that was the turning point! She loves living alone and takes full charge of her responsibilities. And is smiling no matter what!

Dolly Thakore has learnt to deal with all the ‘men’s jobs’ mechanics, accountants, tax consultants, painter and plumbers of the world. After 20 odd years of living alone she has an indomitable persona (a put off for many men?). Loneliness does strike but she does all right she says !!

For Mahua Sen, coming to terms with her singleness has been an experience. She thinks, in life relationships are far lonelier than being on your own. Even you are not on your side she says.

Namrata Joshi, the Delhi based journalist says… you have to stay away from home to find yourself. Single to her is a constant engagement with who you are and the dynamics of this involvement change with time. She objects to the formalization of love and companionship into matrimony. For her being single is like being on a long journey; there are always possibilities as long as you travel. Arrival doesn’t interest me she says. Where do you go from there.

Coming from a conservative upper middle class muslim family, Sadia Dehlvi surfaced from a marriage and began life as a single in saddi dili. There has been loneliness, tears and heartbreak she says but matrimony does not necessarily provide the remedy. She has no need to feel the crippling of ones personal growth with the power play that marriages come to be. Women she believes have changed drastically and men have not which is why they are unable to handle the women of today!!

Single and sixty four, Rahul Singh has never been married. But came perilously close he says. I am not gay, not a DOM (dirty old man). I am a pretty good cook, play a variety of sport and have a close circle of family and friends. Perhaps a little self centered and selfish he admits. But then no one is perfect even if single!

To Urvashi Butalia who seems to think she got there without really thinking but wanting to, there are many more relationships that are sustaining, sometimes much deeper and richer than a married relationship. She is single by choice, and feels singleness suits her, as others may feel more suited to marriage!

Relocation, divorce and death are the most stressful things in ones lifetime says Anjali Puri… who got to tackle the first two together!! As a resentful wife she wondered why she was stuck with the unfairness of the medieval division of labor but now she feels a sense of entitlement managing her home, kids and work!! Her two children are quite resilient she says and quite efficiently divide their time between eleven months of not-quite-perfect-but-always-there-mom, and a month with Santa Claus dad!! Loneliness…After a day at work and an evening of parenting she is not really looking for romance but misses an intelligent, companionable and undemanding adult (of the non maid type) for company!!

There are more accounts of the singletons and their views but frankly the thin thread that runs through all these accounts is that quite happiness, success, close circle of family and friends, societal acceptance and even admiration in today’s world. Finally there is nothing wrong in matrimony if it allows you to grow, be independent and free. But a single life is certainly much better than the shackled, power plays, controlling and even crippling relationships we see more and more today!!

Finally…A very good read and much recommended!!

By Prakruti