Of Myself, To Myself

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife”, said Austen.
And I always wondered what happens to her family after?

Half a year ago, or you could just say two seasons ago, I knew I was to soon shift cities, change my last name, create a new place, make new relations, understand and define boundaries for myself…. re-invent myself.
It is like taking the last quarter of a century’s work and treating it like base work and starting to understand oneself all over again in an absolutely new setting, surrounded by a new mindset, with new house rules and newer house mates and a fresh new perspective of self.

Let’s fast track a bit… and its been a three weeks!
Three weeks of being a wife, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law. Mostly, three weeks of being the ‘new one’ with all things new!

In all this newness, there isn’t a single day that has gone by where I haven’t thought of all the oldness.
Every morning. when I touch the feet of my new grandparents, I miss the morning green tea over news paper and some crisp sunlight with the ones back home.
When my new mother cooks something, it doesn’t even take my mind a second to rush back to the cooking of my mother’s hands.
When my new father says something to me, I can’t help but smile at how I have spent a majority part of conversations with baba in discussions and debates.
When I’m setting tasks to do on a specific day and settling in, I know I couldn’t have done it without drawing inferences from the lives of my brother and his wife (who I think of as my older sister).
When they sit and share stories and incidents from their own lives, I can’t help but miss our all nighters where all the cousins sat with junk and gossip, embarrassing one another with childhood stories and the shit storm we brewed as a bunch of hooligans.
As I meet the extended family here, I want to call my aunts and uncles- ones I have back home, and tell them that I’m more blessed than most because of them. I’ve had the luxury of being co-parented by so many. Love by all. Taught by all. Grown up amongst all.
When I see him bump into a friend on the street, I can’t help but wonder when I’ll next spend time with mine; my friends that have been family in more ways than I can fathom.
The times we sat on the swing discussing boys, friends, studies, sibling hatred, out collective dislike for specific vegetables and love for the most random things. Being each other’s fashion guides, trending lingo assistants, discussing dreams and how we’d blow the large bucks that the realisation of that dream would bring us. Our baseless fears and even worse coping mechanisms. Obsessing over coffee and cheese, ice creams and cakes. Reviewing new food joints, sharing music, talking of treks and all the places we’d visit and the causes we will volunteer for and the books we’ve read and the new workout plan that we’ve procrastinated over.

…WAIT…
Before I sound like I’m already venting and am a damsel in distress, let me give you some insight…

At 5 am, with sleep deprived eyes, under the weight of bridal ensemble, in front of at least three dozen pairs of glassy eyes, I had taken leave from all of them- with a twinkle in my eyes and laughter pouring out of my lips. Excited about the new and yet to be experienced, sure of the support from both ends and the unconditional love all around.
I agree, I haven’t felt the kind of warmth I experienced that morning ever before. With me as the point of everyone’s focus and all that intensity making me feel floaty.

Was I in denial? Should I have cried at the end of my single life?
I think not.
I wasn’t pressured into anything, there was a choice and chose this.
I have only grown fonder of the person whom I’m to spend the rest of my life with.
I treat the house as my own and not that of my in-laws.
My birth family will be 800kms away, but someone once said ‘distance makes the hearts grow fonder’… so what’s there to be sad about?
I’m not insensitive. I think of them more number of times than I’ll ever be able to admit. They are the reason behind who I am today.

I’m married. I miss my birth family. I wish to spend more Saturday evenings with my friends. I want those friendly banters with all my brothers and sisters.
I’ll have only so much of it.
I’m grateful. I love both my families. I have more brothers and sisters now. I’m living in and exploring an absolutely new city and its culture. I have more than I need.


According to Atharva Veda, marriage is detachment from my father’s clan because I’m to begin mine; It is my re-birth.


TO make my shift a little more comfortable Zoomin gave me the bst gift ever!

The Circus Elephant

The show stopper for me always remained the elephants. The ginormous and magnificent beings that have ears and noses larger than all and suspiciously tiny eyes.

As a 90s kid, a large part of my summer vacations was making a day out of a trip to the local circus. We’d spend days planning the day; making a group, convincing parents, thinking of the potluck, prepping for the post show games in the garden and actually picking a date- most of which was done by the mothers while we just nagged around.
As trivial as it sounds right now it meant a great deal then. The drive to the venue was filled with incessant chatter among cousins and friends, trying to recall the events of the previous year’s circus, making creative assumptions about everything we wished to see in the current year’s performance and how much fun the immediate future was about to be. There was a large part of this conversation which revolved around the food our mothers had packed, the sandwiches and juices, the jams and candies… no one wanted to talk about the fruits of course.

The sight of a familiar, larger-than-life, multi-coloured, striped tent would automatically have us gushing. Our caps and hats in place and shoe laces tightened, we were like bulls waiting to charge, waiting to find a seat and waiting for the show to begin. Visiting the zoo was one of the compulsory trips on our annual curriculum, but a circus always held a different charm. The animals were the same, but here they were let loose instead of being inside cages and yet they were sources of entertainment rather than being intimidating; funny, isn’t it?
Year after year, the routines remained the same. The monkeys cycled, the gymnasts were on acrobats, the dogs carried baskets of flowers and sometimes fruits, the lions roared, the bikers rode in horizontal circles defying gravity, the masters made the lions act like tamed dogs, the magician pulled out vibrant ribbons, white pigeons and rabbits from their hats.

The show stopper for me always remained the elephants. The ginormous and magnificent beings that have ears and noses larger than all and suspiciously tiny eyes. Unaware of the order of the food web or placement of herbivores in it, to me they were the most powerful of them all. The reason they had all my attention was because despite their size they played the role of a juggler with hats and colourful balls. They stood on two legs over an inverted bucket. They made me laugh and tickled my ribs like the clowns around them.
Why was someone who is strong enough to uproot trees with a whisk of its trunk alone, being so cordial?

The answer of course came much later. Years after I had stopped going to circuses. Years after the use of animals at circuses was declared as cruelty against animals. It came in a lecture when the professor was teaching the concepts of Conditioning, Learned Helplessness and Parenting.

A baby elephant is left in shackles and nailed to the ground for majority of its free time. Every time it tries to break free, it is punished with severe pain around its ankles. With years of trial and error resulting in pain and failure, it learns a lesson for life!
Fast forward many years ahead, as a full blown adult sized elephant with the ability to crush anything and everything on its way, it remains humble. It is humbled by an experience of its childhood. It has the potential yet it undermine itself. Tied down to a spot with just a feeble rope and anchored to the ground using a disproportionately small piece of wood, it never tries to make a run for its freedom and allows itself to be commanded at the helm of a midget stick being pointed at it.

Many of our actions have consequences large enough to change the fate of a person and their self image.
When you compare between siblings or friends, you are always inflating someones self efficacy while deflating the other though the short term agenda was to motivate. When you tell your child that they are not yet prepared, you could be leaving a long term impression about them not being good enough. When you tell your spouse to be more like your parent, you are telling them that they do not compare or provide as well as you have been provided for. When you tell a hurt boy to not cry like a girl, you are forcing the thought process that girls are weak and among girls that boys are stronger. When you ask someone to work on their size, complexion and tan with the intention of helping them work on their appearance, you could be instilling an inferiority complex through discrimination.

There is an old hindi proverb “हाथी के दांत खाने के और दिखाने के और” which loosely translates to “elephants have different teeth to eat and different to show”.
It is the same with our words. They intend something but could have a very different effect.