Monthly Archives: January 2012

When An Ex- Gets Married

Ever had this pop up on your screen?

Stop.
Scroll back to check.
Look at how many people ‘liked’.
Hover uncertainly over ‘View Comments’, then decide not to.
Visit profile page to see when this happened & what happened after.
Hover over ‘Like’ and decide against because it’ll mean notifications for the next 2 weeks. Not sure if this needs to be shoved into the face every day.

You may have broken up ages ago. You may have had closure & moved on to things that are themselves ancient history now.

You may not be in love anymore. You may never have been in love, even back then.

You may be in a relationship yourself. Or single and thankful for it.

It doesn’t matter. This will make you stop dead in your tracks and cause the breath to catch in your  throat even if it is for the teensiest fraction of a second. No one saw the expression on your face. Not even a telltale blush or flush or gasp. But a tiny plop sounded inside you and you heard it. I know you did.

Every relationship, no matter how brief, how shallow, however fleeting is an opportunity, a little dirt track that could lead somewhere. It could take you to great sex, a wonderful friendship, that much-needed ego massage, fun for a weekend or a vacation or happily ever after (whatever that means to you). It’s a path that you considered once, when it opened up before you. Maybe you even took a few steps down that road. Even if you walked back or away, the road was there at some point of time for you. The message you just saw above, which made you stop in your tracks signifies that road has shut down permanently. Houseful, we have no more room, we don’t want any more, thank you very much. You may have a thousand other options but losing even one, especially one that you did consider once upon a time, will leave its mark on you.

Then there is this thing that women have about Plan B. I say women, since I’ve never really heard a man use the phrase. Perhaps men do it too, only they call it different things or (characteristic to men), they don’t think about it. But it exists. My best friend once told me,

“If you’re still looking, you’re not really committed.”

I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that. There’s no question in my mind about who the most important person in my life, right now. But that doesn’t mean other people who were once important, cease to exist altogether. Friends who’ve been married and happily, steadily, comfortably so, report the same feeling.

It’s a strange blend of nostalgia, comparisons, smugness & wistfulness, laced with just a hint of pinprick pain. There ought to be a word for it. I suppose the Portugeuse ‘Saudade‘ comes closer than any other word but it doesn’t completely describe it.

I know this and I even know the train of words that went through your head right after you saw it. Maybe you even said most of them.

Good for them.
Isn’t it kind of early?
I’m happy they found happiness with somebody.
How did they meet?
When is the wedding?

(Add sarcastic/bored/snide tone if your relationship with them was rocky)

And all of them were true. But they don’t negate that inexplicable place in your throat where you’re not able to swallow, that funny leap in your stomach that’s got nothing to do with what you ate and the words that come out of your mouth, sounding at odds with what you’re feeling inside.

I know. We all do.

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Dirty Talk 2012 (Open Mic) By Queer Azadi Mumbai & Gaysi Family

The first month of this year promises to end on a colourful, vibrant note, thanks to Mumbai Pride Week. The week leading up to Queer Parade will see a host of related events. Queer Azadi Mumbai will host ‘Dirty Talk’ – an Open Mic event of original performances about & around the gay cause.

Expect an evening of varied performances including skits, music, poetry & other original expression. Here are the details of the event:

Dirty Talk 2012: Open Mic

Venue: The Big Nasty, Shatranj Napoli Building, Carter Road, Bandra West, Mumbai
Date: Wednesday, 25th January 2012
Time: 6.00 p.m. – 9.30 p.m.

If you’d like to participate, get in touch with GaysiFamily. To keep the evening safe & enjoyable for everyone, the organizers are asking participants to submit their pieces before the event. Come on along for an evening of fun & your expression!

Men & Relationship Conflicts: Adapt Or Fall

It’s a near-universal fact that men avoid the ‘relationship talk’ as much as they can. I also sense a feeling of helplessness in the average man when it comes to the woman he loves. Assertiveness is easy when it comes to rivals, opponents and competition. But men seem unable to bring it to the fore with someone they care about, especially if that someone is a woman.

The social dictats complicate matters. I can’t refute the fact that a lot of women use tears and emotional blackmail to have their way. There’s practically no way out for a man in such a situation. Taking a stand, pushing back and even holding onto what he believes will be seen as harsh, heartless & cold in such times.

Personally, I think anybody who resorts to emotional blackmail deserves only a harsh response. But I am a woman. The same labels may be hung on me but somehow they don’t devalue my social standing as much as they would, a man. Like most women, I’m aware of this fact and much as I hate to admit it, it doesn’t always stop me from using it to my purposes in a relationship conflict.

The battle of the sexes is not new. But it seems to have reached diabolical proportions. As long as each side has an equal win/lose chance, it stays an exciting, entertaining game that comprises much of our adult lives. But when one side starts to gain an upper hand at such a rapid rate, while the other fails to keep up, the game must be lost to an ugly battle and nobody will be the winner.

This is the reality and the man is just going to have to summon up the courage to go against an ancient more, to stand his ground. The changing times lay their pressures on everybody.

Image via Ambro on FreeDigitalPhotos

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*If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram

Why Be A Mom?

“How many issues?”

A seemingly married woman is likely to be asked by every second aunty. For the uninitiated that translates to,

“How many children do you have?”

So,

“How many issues?”

Note the connotations there. Not only are you assumed to be married and have had a child, the question also implies that you HAVE to have had more than one child. I know, I know, it comments on the lady looking old enough to have had kids too. But, we had already given up on being polite when we started calling our children, ‘issues’.

Here’s a tip for the aunts from the first sentence. You want more women to have kids? Then leave them alone, don’t judge them for not having any. The last pressure, today’s independent woman needs is your disapproving scan. If anything, she’ll delay her decision just to despise you. Okay, okay, she’s much too mature for that. But, your well-meaning inquiries have lost meaning for all practical purposes and soon we shall conquer our conditioning and successfully learn to not let you annoy us.

And let’s not get into the matter of why this curiosity is never targeted towards the husband.

I took a good, long four years before getting pregnant with my first child (yes, out of choice, nosey aunty!) So, you can imagine my plight at social events, especially those related to family. Imagine the cultural shock that the above-mentioned aunts would have gone into, if I told them,

“I’m not sure I want to have one.”

I wasn’t sure I wanted to have one. It’s not that I had aspirations for an awesome career (now, there’s a brilliant joke!) nor was I doing something dramatic with my life, that precluded children. I just wasn’t sure.

I wasn’t sure why people have kids. The most common answer I’ve heard is that they would be of support during old-age. What a nauseating thought! Let alone a reason to bring another human being into the world. In this day and age, when all self-help books tell me to minimize my expectations even from my closest ones, I’m laying down expectations from a fetus? About what he/she will do 30-40 years from now. Mind-boggling. Bizarre!

There are others who want someone to call their own. That sounds like someone making a buy  vs. rent argument for a house. Then there are those who think children will improve their damaged relationship, like super-glue fixes broken furniture. And of course, there’s the ‘That’s the next thing to do.’ statement to make. ‘Post-graduation. Check. Handsome job. Check. Awesome husband. Check. Getting bored now. Let’s make babies.’

Maybe these are wonderful reasons to grow someone inside you. But, they sound exactly as ridiculous as I just made them sound. The only argument, that I sort-of, kind-of haven’t had a reaction to is, ‘What if I repent later, when the biological clock has gone past its expiry date?’ Now, that’s a valid fear and there’s no answer to that. Even with the stock market you know you are going to feel sad if you lose and be ecstatic if you make profit. But, how will I feel if I don’t have a baby to cuddle 10 years from now? How is one supposed to know? You know for sure you are not going to miss the poop cleaning and the terrible twos. But what about the gratification of having raised a good person? Will I not be able to share my friends’ happiness when they announce their child’s accomplishments because I haven’t a similar anecdote to relate?

So, why should we want to have kids? I don’t think there is a 100% –clear answer to that one. I don’t think there is a set of sub-questions that will lead you to your eureka moment. Like most important things in you life, you feel it in your gut and you take the leap.  You feel like nurturing and burping a baby. No kidding. The romanticism attached to seeing your baby’s first steps, hearing their first syllables is absolutely valid. It is as real as the frustration of making sure they don’t get themselves into trouble by tripping and falling or the insurmountable irritation of hearing the words, ‘mamma’ attached to this, that and everything, way too often.

Deep down you think you are ready. I don’t think you ever know for sure that you are ready, you feel you are. That’s just how the ball rolls. In the mean time, let’s just challenge ourselves to come up with witty ones to,

“Have you started trying?”

* If you liked this post, also read Meetu’s earlier post titled ‘Mom-me‘.

Mr.Modern Man, Get An Identity!

There’s a strange character out on the loose. He calls himself the Modern Man. I am not sure that I like him very much. For one thing, he’s really hard to find. He pops up, in a sudden self-reference and then vanishes under questioning. Then he resurfaces during what should have been a good moment, to ruin it with a self-promoting boast. I understand that he’s still trying to find himself. While about it, here’s what I’d like to say to him. So listen up, Mr.Modern Man!

Doing a couple of household chores does not qualify you for a medal. Get to doing 50% of the housework, without being reminded, and as well as I can, and you can have the right to advocate equality of the sexes.

Not dictating what your lady wears, who she speaks to, and what she wears does NOT make you a great guy. It just means that you’re not being a control-freak.

Fail in these and your stand of ‘Independent women can take care of themselves’  just seems like a cheap attempt to shrug off even the minimal responsibility that a male chauvinist’s role carries.

What is the meaning of an identity that is defined solely by the evils that one does not practice? A weak one, that’s what. Who are you, Mr.Modern Man? Is there more to you than the fact that you’re not a rapist/control freak/jealous monster? Identity is what you are, not what you are not.

I get how difficult it can be to break free of conditioning and resist archaic social constructs. I do that all the time, myself. But it doesn’t stop there, for me. You go against the grain and you break what exists down, so you can build something new in its place. Try being more than what your erstwhile counterparts were not. Define yourself for your values rather than what you don’t do or how well you meet my expectations. Most of all, get some balls of your own. I don’t recall asking for those to be chopped off when I let go of Neanderthal Man.

You don’t get to be great by default. And if you want to be the equal counterpart to the Modern Woman, you know you’ve got a high standard to match. I’m not saying the Modern Woman is without flaws or even that she knows exactly who is she. But at least, she’s got some sense of identity beyond what you or your brethren want to make of her. And the one thing she won’t stand for is vague, empty words.

Come back to me when you’re a real person, not just a fanciful notion in pop literature. I’ll be delighted to get to know you.

*Image via Idea go on FreeDigitalPhotos.

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*If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram

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