Together We Bond

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

‘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

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Hey is your phone ringing?? March 12, 2007

Filed under: Dowry Menace,Fraudulent NRI Marriages,Legal Issues,Matrimonial Conflicts — togetherwebond @ 10:10 am

Being a frequent visitor of moia and ncw sites, recently I came across something interesting that is damn good news for Indian women deserted by NRI men. Point to be noted…more applicable to the notorious class of NRI men on H1 visa who are famously infamous for the huge racket called Fraudulent NRI marriages. NRI fraudulent marriages.

This bit of superb news is something that will hit them so hard that all doors will be closed on them now. They have been cornered already by the red alert notices and more now with the following:

Go on and read here for all the details :

Welfare of Indian Women Married to NRIs/PIOs

38.10: The Committee was told by large sections of the Diaspora about the need to prevent abuse of Indian women married to NRIs/PIOs. We strongly recommend that a special cell should be created in the proposed new organization to handle Diaspora issues with the mandate to assist in the provision of free legal counseling for the families of girls contemplating marriage to NRIs/PIOs. Such families should be advised to check the voter or alien registration card of such NRIs/PIOs, their social security number and tax returns for the preceding three years. The bridegroom should be asked to given them an affidavit stating his current marital status. That document should be attached to the application for marriage registration. This should be mandatory prerequisite to the issuance of a marriage registration certificate. This procedure would considerably bring down cases of misinformation and fraudulent marriages. The Committee has drawn strength from the Supreme Court decision in the case of Smt. Neeraja Saraph vs. Shri Jayant Saraph, where the court had suggested the need to consider legislation safeguarding the interests of women. It has suggested three specific provisions namely,

1) No marriage between an NRI and an Indian Woman, which has taken place in India, may be annulled by a foreign court

2) Provision may be made for adequate alimony to the wife in the property of the husband both in India and abroad

3) The decree granted by Indian courts may be made executable in foreign courts both on the principle of comity and by entering into reciprocal agreements like section 4A of the Civil Procedure Code which makes a foreign decree executable as it would have been a decree passed by the court.

If the above comes through and is implemented, then any scope or fancy desire to remarry subsequent to unceremoniously dumping the Indian wife and that also after gulping a big fat dowry, will now only be a desire that will cease to exist.

Because India is NOT going to accept divorces that are granted in foreign land. With that the NRI man can forget about the alternative to remarry in this lifetime.

If this was not enough, go on and read here — SCHEME FOR THE WELFARE OF WOMEN DESERTED BY THEIR OVERSEAS INDIAN SPOUSES

The objective of the scheme is to provide some financial assistance to needy women in distress who have been deserted by their overseas Indian spouses for obtaining counseling and legal services. The term “Overseas Indian” would include NRIs and foreign citizens of Indian origin.

The NRIs on H1s and their heinous crimes are being uncovered everyday, and more aid is coming for the Indian woman harassed/tortured in foreign land.

The holiday marriage syndrome that came with a fat dowry is nearing its painful death. I can visualize the H1 dowry-seeking culprits now calling their wives and pleading her to return. Ever since the red alert notices have been declared, the pleadings have increased. Needless to say with this scheme, it is going to happen twice as more. As it is no ADCD woman gives the time of her day to even glance at the H1 man who dips his tortilla chips twice in salsa (yikes). And why will any other sane intelligent woman marry a guy who is not legally divorced and ask for trouble!!

With no option of remarriage in India, the only option left for the NRI man and his cult is to call back the wife, seek forgiveness and beg her to come back.

My estranged half is calling me non-stop and trying to strike a deal with me since the past couple of months.

Hey….is your phone ringing?? Check it out 🙂

By Kiran

 

Revel in Womanhood March 8, 2007

Filed under: Poems — togetherwebond @ 11:12 am

Revel in Womanhood

To wipe away that errant tear
To soothe away those fears
To tackle the biggest problems
With lending eyes and ears..

To come up with a plan
To live life the best one can
To drive away the fears
With that cosy tuck of comforters..

With that piping hot cup of tea
When life was so weary
To that delicious meal
Served also with love and care and zeal!!

My thoughts are with all of you (women) today..
May life treat you the very best way
and offer you all the treasures
that you so gladly give away!!!

By Prakruti

Happy Women’s day to all of you wonderful women out there. Cheers 🙂

 

Relationship Patterns March 1, 2007

Filed under: Reflections — togetherwebond @ 7:26 am

After much soul searching and unnecessary heartache I think I might have finally come an understanding of the pattern and MO of my past relationships. I have a stadium sized ego cushioned for comfort with a several layers of pride. With that combination, I had for the longest time imagined that my life’s purpose was to take on a man who looked and acted like a train-wreck and “decorate” his life as beautifully as possible. No lesser challenge was good enough for my larger than life sense of my own greatness. I had no interest in any man who wasn’t desperately in need of being saved. I am sure there is an official nomenclature for my condition but whatever it is, sure as hell it is painful to live with.

Like they say, if you want something bad enough in life you end up getting it. I was blessed with the kind of man I sought not once, not twice but thrice. That is what it took for me to understand the fatal flaw of my ways. One marriage and two significant relationships repeated the self same pattern. The first two times, I at least had the discernment to know that I was dealing with men who were completely out of the “normal” range in all respects most notably in raw intelligence.

They managed to awe me with their brains to the point where the train wreck started to look like a thing of unsurpassable beauty. So, there I was head over heels in “love” or more accurately in high alert mode to stage the rescue that would free these very deserving men from their constricting circumstances and propel them to the heights they belonged.

R was in my mind C-level exec material languishing in a low end IT drone job that insulted his intelligence every day. It was my mission to set him on the right career track so he could make CXO before 35. I set to work in sober earnest while our marriage was still in honeymoon mode – its a whole different thing that R wanted that to be the permanent state of our marriage “no staleness, no boredom, no sameness” was his mantra. But I digress. I am glad to report he is almost there, just a year behind schedule with every chance of making the grade in short order. I am vain enough to imagine that he could not meet the before 35 timeline because we are no longer together.
Malhar, my first significant relationship after calling it quits with R, was doing almost as well as he should have career wise so there was not much I could bring to the table. What a crushing disappointment that had been ! Being that he managed mergers, acquisitions and such other arcana for a living, there was precious little I knew that could further the cause of his career. But there was a role for me in his life. He was a rescue-worthy project beyond the shadow of a doubt.

His two adorable little boys need a mother just like me because their own mom was too self absorbed to be there for them. Apparently it would be love at first sight between me and the pint sized brats and J would fit right in the mix. In a matter of weeks he had proselytized me to accepting the blended family as the ultimate Utopia. Up until then, my position had been “it will be a cold day in hell before I get into a his kids, my kids and their kids situation”. Apparently with Malhar coming into my life, hell had frozen over quite nicely.

Then there was “the great Indian novel” he was working on. It had been a work in progress for a few years at the time of our meeting. His passion for it was akin to mine for J when I was pregnant with her. I could easily relate. I knew at once that I could help push it out the door and God willing with cryptic a dedication like “To the beautiful sea shell that washed up to my shore one summer” on its flyleaf a Putlizer might have “washed up” as well. I thought he had what it took. In other words, I was suffering from fantastic illusions of grandeur.
We parted ways too soon for any of that to happen but he persisted with me via anonymous phone calls for a whole year after he was officially “with someone else”. Our breakup had been nothing short of hysterical as can be imagined. What with my life’s grand design being taken away and handed over to someone who was my exact opposite in every way. How did that make any sense ?

What did that giggly cow in Wal-Mart couture know about uses of iambic pentameter in expressing feelings of love and loss. In hindsight there was significant jealousy in pronouncing that verdict upon the over-endowed but bland looking new woman in Malhar’s life. Now here was a man who had shown impeccable taste in marrying who he had the first time around. She was smart, charming, stylish, sophisticated and had versatile interests. The fact that she was doing great professionally was only an interesting side note. Did I mention she was quite a looker ? The man had everything going for him.

Post ex, he may have done better than the Wal-Mart coutured cow he choose to be his lawful wedded second wife. To his defense Malhar would say as he often did to me “You are like Jolt cola. I want to be with a woman around whom I can relax and just be myself. I don’t always need cerebral stimulation and I don’t want to keep up with someone like you and worry about what might happen if you got bored”

So with cow firmly tethered to the post he threw little baits my way to see if I would bite. After a year he gave up and just settled into what I imagine must be perfectly bovine domesticity. I imagine a placid couple sitting on the couch, chewing cud and watching Hindi soaps on cable TV. While I can’t see myself in that frame of reference neither can I picture Malhar in it – he just wasn’t the type. I felt a great sense of solidarity with his ex who like me lacked in “bovinity” that Malhar sought in a wife.

The third time was not nearly as dramatic as R or Malhar. H was smart enough but not nearly in the same league as R or even Malhar. He looked as train-wrecked as a man might look like if after five years of marriage the wife on the pretext of going home for a vacation, just flies the coop. But other than that he was reasonably if not somewhat dangerously normal.
But then what I find normal would intimidate most people. So a couple of months into this “vacation” that was happening back in India, H tries to find out when she may be returning home to which she responds “Never”. Any other woman in my shoes would have panicked enough by this point to consider running as fast and as far away from H as she could. Not I. I soldiered along knowing in my bones, that I had landed myself a mega-project truly worthy of my greatness.

So what if R and Malhar could not recognize my potential, our friend H would surely not miss the obvious when it stared at him in the face. I liked the quirky sense of humor, the passion for all things dangerous, the vigorous work ethic not so much the fact that dinner was often two slices of bread with “Kannadiga gun powder” for spread accompanied by Kamchatka Vodka or Rum and Pepsi.

Just for the record, I am health freak and one major bone of contention between R and me was our dietary preferences. For those who ask “Then why ?” I would answer that a worthy cause is worth the supreme sacrifice. With me in his life, H would magically be weaned off his drinks and gravitate of his own free will to Odwalla carrot juice. I just know these things to be self evident despite all evidences to the contrary from past experience.

There was so much work ahead that I could not wait to get started. H needed to be rescued from the ghosts of the past, the closet full of his wife’s clothes that he held on to for close to two years saying all the time “The purge will need to happen”. That was aptly dramatic for me. It came as no surprise that he dated this woman long distance when they were both in India and his phone bill ran to forty five thousand Indian rupees in a month. On their first date, he drove 20 kilometers to the nearest pharmacy to buy condoms because she said she had gotten in the mood. I was as impressed as I needed to be. It did not bother me that the same woman lost interest in sex even before the ink on the marriage certificate had dried.

This was clearly a go as far as I was concerned. Before I forget to mention, his divorce was not yet granted when we met. It was in the works in India pending the seal of the judge on papers they had signed and the Domestic Violence laws had just been passed. This was getting to be more challenging by the minute and all the way up my alley. Neither R or Malhar had come with some many challenges. Every once in a while H would send me links to articles on mental health and its relationship to marital happiness. I would read them out of curiosity and wonder about their relevance to our situation. Surely, he did not think my mental health was lacking.

According to him, his wife suffered from chronic depression and he did everything in his power to help her. Even after she locked herself up in their bedroom with the biggest kitchen knife threatening to kill herself he persisted with her. Loyalty and grace under pressure scores big with me ergo H was a keeper without a question.
Breaking up with H was a long drawn out and tedious process not in the least because I was loathe to see a life time opportunity of being a man’s savior go to hell in a handbasket. To his credit he maintained dignified silence to the end but I felt drained emotionally because he just was not letting go in the mind. While we had reached logical closure in the relationship, it had to end in a symbolic way for us to be fully freed of each other.

Thanks to H, I have come to realize that a man suggesting we could meet inside Victoria’s Secret while quaint and quirky may be not necessarily signal a chance of life long marital bliss. Offering to buy me a toy of choice so the waiting for “the one” was not so onerous may be more than a friendly gesture of concern and perhaps needs to be viewed as such.

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