This post is special. Not because it talks of one special day, but because it is a compilation of my inside thoughts on three different days.
Phase 1: The Waiting Phase
It had become sort of a habit, as a short-fiction writer and reader, that whenever anything unusual was thrown my way, I would tell myself, “Plot twist!”, brush off the feeling of surprise and embark on the challenge, head on.
Recently, the ultimate plot twist happened – my wedding. Well, it was just an engagement and I’m petrified of the fact that there are only 17 days left for lazying around in my mama-home. Not the engagement, but since the time this thing became official, a lot has changed. A lot, I mean it with all the seriousness of the world.
Thinking about the change, I composed this:
My reading list as of now is something like this:
how life changes with marriage
Phase 2: Shit Just Got Real
Oh! The D-day came.
That day was too fast to grab in anything. So, I’ll leave that out.
A month later, one night, I suddenly woke up, puzzled. Do I belong here? On this bed? With this man? I love him, but I could feel the warmth of tears running down my cheeks. Why am I crying? I had no reason to be upset.
I got down and sat on the floor. It was cold, but somehow its coldness warmed up to me and I nestled there. It seemed to hug me.
Meanwhile, not finding me on the bed, my husband got up too and joined me on the floor. It was all dark so he reached out for my face and got in touch with the tears. Several times he asked the reason for weeping. He asked if I missed my mum, or my last home, but that was not the case.
My answer left him somewhat perplexed, “I am missing myself.”
Phase 3: The Wondering Phase
Two months into the marriage, here I stand looking back at the not the day it all started, but weeks, months, and years before that.
#1 From Not Helping to Helping to Wondering How-to-Help
Here at my new house, it is considered my duty to help out my stay-at-home mother-in-law in the household chores, because she is getting old and who will help her, if not me. We have three domestic helps at her disposal and still I need to take care of certain things. It’s not that I don’t want to help. I really want to be with her and help her in our tasks, even do them for her.
But every time I do that I cannot help but wonder, how much help would my own birth-mom need the same with 9 hours of job and no maid at her disposal. After helping my MIL in her routine tasks, I now realize how much my mom needed help and how she always left me to do things I enjoyed doing.
Here, helping is the bonding time. Oh! I missed out on so much of bonding with my own birth-mom. And that’s why our relationship was always so twisted.
All I do now is wonder, now that I actually realize she needs help taking care of that house and I am here at my other house, can I help her?
#2 From Conservative to Liberal to Liberal-Conservative
When my dad didn’t allow me to go out on trips with school friends, or slapped me for choosing fashion designing as my career option, I gulped in that my family was just conservative. But, my husband, when we were not married, argued with me for changing my name to his after marriage, I gulped in that he was far less liberal than my dad was.
My husband excused that not adding his name to mine would be a disrespect to the sentiments of his family heritage. I understood his perspective. For him, it might be. So, I decided to add his name to mine. It used to matter to me earlier, I used to be in constant rebel. I believed that small changes lead to bigger ones, and so I decided not to change my name. But for him, I will do. No regrets.
This brings me to my not-so-conservative father. He didn’t say a word when my mother chose to keep her maiden name. Twenty-nine years earlier, he could have argued too, but he didn’t. Twenty-nine years earlier, he respected the liberal perspective of my mother.
I wouldn’t say that my new family is conservative. It’s just that all families are a little conservative, and a little liberal in their own specific sense. Judging them on trivialities is basically pointless.
#3 From Throwing Myself All Over to Keeping It Together
On my Parents-Teachers Meet, my teachers would tell my parents, “She is very intelligent and has a lot of potential, but she talks a lot.” And that never came as a surprise to my parents. Yes, I used to throw myself all over the place. How? I used to talk a lot. And I had varied interests. So, I was literally all over the place.
After my marriage, on dinners people now ask me, “Don’t you talk? Has your MIL threatened you that if you blurt a word out, I whip you with a stick?” And I slyly reply, “No, nothing of that sort.”, that too with a diminished voice.
Oh! This vegetable smells amazing. Who cooked it? How did you do that? From where did you buy that saree?
I was not a wallflower that I don’t know how to talk to people, but this kind of behavioral questions do not fly around in my mind. I talk about things that I and the person I am talking to are passionate about. But how to know that? Sorry, I am not one of those conversation initiators you come across in parties.
From speaking to not speaking – Why such a drastic change? Because I speak my mind, new people scare the hell out of me, and I prefer only one-on-one interactions, even with my decades old friends. Am I supposed to say that all out?
As a new bride, no. So, I have decided that it is best to keep things quiet in the first meet, just observe people and then start opening up to them, one-by-one later in the subsequent meets.
And for a person like me, I think it is in the best interests for my family too that I stay quiet. This practice has taught me to keep a lot of things to myself too. On a lot of issues, that used to irritate me earlier, I am now able to sit tight and just time take its course.
Thoughts of Closure
I basically realized the power of staying together, personally and as a family. And I was running away from marriage.
How could have I possibly understood this so deep had I not been a woman married off to another house?
If not married, how could have I possibly been woken up by a beautiful strumming of guitar?
If not married, how could have I possibly learned a new definition of love and loving?
Putting it in words of SATC’s Big, I’m abso-fuckin-lutely loving it!