My Best friend’s wedding


Am so happy and thrilled.My best friend is getting MARRIED.

Am slightly apprehensive too…My BEST FRIEND is getting married.

Here is my all time favorite friend,the one who respected me for the woman I am,..Here is the guy whose mere presence would make my smile wider,the guy who has been with me for almost a lifetime now.15 yrs would be too short to call as a lifetime relationship,but i am only 30 and he shared half of the life span 🙂 The best of those memories flash across when I scribble down this post. From the time we met, he has been there all throughout to make my life a pleasant journey. Without any second thoughts, I could run into him anytime,any weather to share the happiness,sorrow or even the silliest gossip. We devise crazy schemes, talk ultimate non sense, laugh at ourselves & others,fight on who looks older and would tolerate each other sing for hrs.. We are two extremely bad singers and so the degree of tolerance is a bit higher than it actually seems.And yes, all these yrs its me who needed him more than he did. And now its time to share him, a major part goes to her ofcourse 🙂

Am sure most of us would have had this phase at some point during our best friend’s wedding or a favorite cousins marriage or someone of that sort. I still remember him mentioning how sad he was, when he was happy about my marriage getting fixed after a lot of drama 🙂 Well that part was quite easier as husband grew fond of him.

So there I too am,…

Befriending someone has never been difficult so far 🙂 SO am hoping she would soon be my friend too. Sharing some lovely little secrets about him would do the task.I am good at that.If they had been anywhere closer,I would have invited them home already.Fingers crossed!!They would be able to pay us a visit soon.

But he is getting married,and it is for the good.Things will never be the same for us,and I have tuned into that music already.The fear is about feeling out of place next time I meet him.Fear is whether she would accept us the way we are.I do not like to be the pain on anyone’s ass for that matter.So if she will not be comfortable,I would have to put my foot down and step out of it. God forbid that wouldn’t happen,because…

…because we are meant to be together and now,we would rock with our families.Need to do some shopping now,for I have to be at my best while witnessing the most beautiful moment of his life.And now that am all geared up,I just hope the new job wouldn’t become another hurdle to attend the function that am eagerly looking forward to, for if I do he wouldn’t let me live to write another post 🙂 🙂

Challenges of having a lovable husband


There are only two days of the year when my brain works hard. I buy advises, dig the ground, seed imagination, plow the land and reap creativity for these 2 important days – Sep 9 and Nov 14, for that’s when our anniversary and Sayf’s birthday falls respectively.

The reason for this hard labor – I prefer personalized gifts.

My definition of personalized gift – Carefully chosen, crafted with passion, woven with lots of love,.. It should conquer the heart like ‘love-at-first-sight’. It should take them down the memory lane to the beautiful moments of our togetherness. It should create a moment of a special happiness that should drive them to a state of adulation. They should love to recollect it again and again. It should be the first of its kind that they receive :-). Tough!! But I managed to succeed so far.

There are a few complications with these personalized gifts.

1)Dissatisfaction!!!. Lot of hard work has to be put in to evolve a crude idea into reality. And me, a lazy-bum, drags it to the last-minute, under the name of improvising the gift and sometimes contriving a better one. Then after lot of running around, I somehow manage one which will look fantastic to Sayf, but I would still know that a little more of hard work would have made it look better.

2)Surprising him!! Acting as though am not even aware about the importance of the day ahead and still coming up with something really worth the wait. First part was tough for me as I did not use to drive then. I always had to take half day off from office, depend on autos and local trains for conveyance to manage the gift and fabricate a convincing story for being late to home that does not kindle the slightest doubt 🙂 This is not a problem anymore as my car has covered up my conveyance troubles and Sayf is at Dubai. Yet I had to be careful during the phone calls. My excitement sometimes lands me in major troubles.

3)Time!! With the daily chorus at home and office, I hardly found time to materialise or rather personalize the gift 🙂 And of late, Pari and her insomnia has added a lot of weight to this one.

4)Expectation! Compose one better than the pervious one.

5) This is the primary problem. SAYF!! The title of the blog should have rather been ‘challenges of having a husband with a sharp memory’ 😉 Honestly, am bad with dates. Besides, am rarely exposed to men who are good with dates:-):-) Even today, Nov12, my mother complained that I forgot her birthday. OK!!This is not the first time 🙂

Sayf is a package of surprises!!

On my very first birthday (Jan 9, ’08) that fell soon after our wedding, he had planned a treasure hunt at home. I had good fun tracking down those hidden little surprises. And then came a candle light dinner at Tangerine, a speciality restaurant at chennai. Their death-by-chocolate is amazing.

The first Valientines day (Feb 14, ’08), he contacted a colleague of mine, who decorated my cabin beautifully with his gifts, cards, little red hearts and what not. I was taken aback and embarrassed a little bit!! Ghee!! Let me admit. Not only that am bad with dates, but I have a poor memory also.. So valentines day also had to be remembered and celebrated.

Furthermore, I had a hard time fixing my fragmented heart after he introduced the concept of halfivesary (Half anniversary – 6 months after the wedding) into my life. He had planned a ride to Mayajaal multiplex on our brand new Avenger. Avenger was the surprise element. Its been 3 yrs of wedlock, 3 halfiversary’s passed, and I still have not remembered even a single time that it was Mar 9th. Shame on me!! Hope I would remember at least  the one on 2011.. Am happy to celebrate life, Am happy he gives me so much importance, but the pressure that I can’t gift him better. That’s what pricks.

And then came the first anniversary – Sep 9,’08. This time I had to get ready, for all I gave till then was a black forest cake during his birthday soon after the wedding – Nov 14, ’07 and a ring on valentine’s day. How I wish if his birthday had fallen after mine. At least I would have an idea how to celebrate it 🙂 So I planned for a surprise dinner. Hurried to spencer plaza, got a few perfume candles, a few archie’s stuffs, and when Sayf came home, there were candles everywhere, a baked chocolate cake, a few I-Love-You teddy bears etc etc. But needless to mention, my gifts always get dissolved. Sayf took out a Swarovski jewel set. Beautiful they were!! But before I could digest the beauty of the gift, along came the next news – A week at Shimla, Kulu, Manali. What a big scene I had to create at office to take that 1 week vacation 🙂 🙂

Earnestly, I cant remember what I gifted him on his 2nd bday, but I got a gorgeous Tanishq jewel set on mine. Oh!!I remember now.. A few poems were written as a tribute and presented 🙂 Personalized!!

2nd anniversary was carefully planned. Running on my second trimester, a last-minute mess was impossible. So I had a hand crafted book, with poems, writings and photos that covered our eventful 2 yrs.

Currently with 3 birthday’s, 3 valentines days and 3 halfiversaries post marriage,…and am plush with gorgeous jewel sets, elegant salwars, a whole collection of Calvin and Hobbes, a digital photo frame and lots more which my poor memory does not assist to recollect. All in the luxury of his love 🙂 And I appreciate his efforts behind the gifts. He captures those small things that we may casually mention during a normal conversation and makes a gift out of that.

5)This is the latest one. Distance!! How to ship it to Dubai?????

And now that Nov 14th is just a few days away, I was trying to do some online shopping. Most of the US sites does not ship gifts to Dubai. But a friend of mine, suggested www.cafepress.com. You should try this one. You can print photos, designs and tattoos on an umpteen range of gifts – T-shirts,buttons,magnets,mouse pads, even iphone cases and ship them to almost anywhere in the world. You can even start an online store of your own for free and earn commission. Have a look at mine – http://www.cafepress.com/Zradar

There are a few desi versions too. www.dilsebol.com and www.zoomin.com. Zoomin is my personal fav with a lot of in-built features.

However, none of them satisfied my definition of personalized gifts. But the word ‘personalize‘ was attractive. Presently Sayf has started with gym, so I decided to personalize a gym bag. This guy is a big foodie. One of his favorite jobs would be to replace foodie in NDTV Goodtimes. Here is the design which I created (personally created implies personalized gift 🙂 :-)) and gave for printing. Hope it reaches him on time. 

Balanced Wife = Balanced Life????


They say a family would run smooth only if the woman in the family knows to manage well. So I set off to find out how wives are expected to balance the string of family lives.

“For that you need to be a balanced-wife“, says a few. So what is a balanced wife?

If the wife gets up early in the morning, she “always runs away from the bed and puts him in second priority to the house hold”. If the wife doesn’t get up early, she “is too lazy and neglects the family”.

If the wife makes good tea, “it is just her routine”. If the wife doesn’t make good tea or breakfast for one day, she “is a bad cook”.

If the wife has to leave home early for work, she “doesn’t need to earn us a living. Family should be first”. If the wife goes late to work or comes back late from work, she “is a bad manager of time”. If the wife comes back early from work, she “has no big role there at office”.

If the wife buys a shirt for the husband from her salary, she “wastes a lot of money on dress”.

If the wife doesn’t like a dress that her in-laws choose, she “has no dressing sense”.

If the wife reminds you to pay the bill, “I know to do things”. If the payment goes beyond due date, “You should not have forgotten”.

If the wife asks for help in the kitchen, “it is your duty. If you can’t manage with just two of us, how will you manage when we have children?”

If the wife has a back pain and asks for a small massage, “Can’t u see that am busy?”

If the wife argues, she is arrogant. If she does not respond to an argument, she is irritating.

If she questions, she acts too smart.

If she cries, she is over-sentimental. If she cant tell why she did so, she is unreasonable

If the shirt is not ironed on time, “she doesn’t know to do things properly”.

If the clothes are not folded for a day, “she cant keep the house clean”.

If the children get low grades, “she is doesn’t take proper care”.

If her parents does not see his’ during a function, then “they purposefully avoided”. If his parents do the same, “Why should they go to her parents? It is they who should come and pay respect to the guys’?

If her parents give a visit without acknowledgement, “they are so informal”. If his parents do the same but unfortunately there is no one at her home, “they don’t give us importance”.

If her mother’s sister’s daughter’s in-law is getting married, not only his parents, but his father’s sister’s husband’s parents have also to be invited, else “they do not know to treat the guy’s family properly”.

This society who knows only to question, disdain & contempt the girls, wives, daughter-in-laws & mothers and believes that women and her needs could be neglected, compels me to derive at the conclusion that the expectation from the so called balanced wife is this..One who successfully takes care of the family (big or small) the way they want, attend to all their needs, satisfy all of them, follow their rules, be answerable to all their questions, be submissive throughout and accept any mental or physical piercing moment in silence…. Irrespective of whether she slept the previous night, Irrespective of whether she had something for tea, Irrespective of when she has to leave or come back from work, Irrespective of how her day at office was, Irrespective of whether she is healthy or not, Irrespective of whether she is respected or cared for, Irrespective of what she earns, Irrespective of whether her own life is balanced or not….

PRECISELY, A BALANCED WIFE IS ONE WHO IS AWARE OF THE RIGHTS OF THE HUSBAND AND HIS FAMILY. A BALANCED WIFE SHOULD ALSO BE AWARE OF THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE WIFE AND HER FAMILY.

Huh!!

When will be the time when they lay rules for the men?

When will be the time when they stop blaming and start helping?

When will be the time when they learn that respect is give and take?

When will be the time when they learn to appreciate wives and mothers for what they do?

When will be the time when they learn that a smooth family is the result of teamwork?

When will be the time when they learn that women have to be treated like humans if not equals?

The Diplomacy gene


My diplomacy is quite famous. I rarely argued, but got involved as mediator (I really hate those situations!!) in many arguments. Playing this role is tough and dangerous. I never took sides of an argument. Instead tried convincing each side, why the other side thought or did their way. Sense the danger??? Needless to mention, it has landed me into lot of troubles. But that’s how I am. I choose to remain this way.

However, my diplomacy gained huge popularity after marriage.

When any of Sayf’s relative ask me what kind of husband I used to wish for, I would clear and my throat and politely reply, “I only longed for someone whom I could adjust with, so that he or his family doesn’t have to adjust” 🙂

While going to dinner with in-laws, I try to find out the dishes that they like and order the same.

While playing the conciliator role, with two in-laws on either sides , I could only smile 🙂 Nothing else to be done!!

During pregnancy when people, esp Sayf’s relatives, inquire on what child I need, I go this way, “I would love to have a girl, but I wish I had a boy as he would grow up and be a good help to his father” 🙂 Actually after repeating this conversation for 9 months, I even frogot what I actually wanted in the beginning. It had gone so much into my blood.

These and many such occasions made me the ‘democratic bhabhi’ to my sis-in-law.

And finally when Pari was born, she was a typical ‘Sayf-look-alike’. After the crowd had their conventional comments about how fair she is, how pretty she is, how much she resembles sayf etc etc, I nodded my head, but I was a little jealous.

I am sure that later in life, Sayf would influence her more than me. I really hope that she gets all his good qualities along with the looks. But being a mother and after all the troubles of pregnancy and labour, I deserve some of my gene on her too.. That gives me the reason to be jealous!!

Now that Pari has started talking or rather her own rumble-mumble toddler talks, I tried to indoctrinate the word “Amma”, under the name of developing and sharpening her speaking skills 🙂 With Sayf at Dubai, teaching her to say “Papa” was put as the second priority. Sayf however tried “Papa” over his calls.

And just when I thought she would make me proud, Pari made her first diplomatic move. She said her first word. “APPA”. Amma + Papa = Appa??? 🙂 🙂

Now am happy and proud. Atleast my diplomacy chromosome has been passed on to the ‘generation-next’ 🙂

Dealing with ‘N’ Laws


”Moluuu”… In our custom, ‘Molu’ is a real sweet way of addressing a girl of your daughter’s age. But the minute my mother-in-law calls me this way, I get a lot of “What next?,” Why me?” thoughts. Being blessed with a homely face (Looks are sometimes deceptive),I managed so long.

A friend of mine called yesterday and grieved about the way Mrs.MIL spoiled her weekend plans. The same is the case with me too. But how can the same her or me be happy, when our parents drop in for a weekend, though weekend plans are spoiled? Because parents love you, no matter what you do. You are free to do whatever you want. In-laws are not bound to love you, no matter whatever you do. They are ‘different’. They may accept you, they may not. They may love you, they may not. Their opinion on you keeps changing according to what you do and they judge on all that you do. Most importantly they may not believe in you always.

When you marry someone, you actually marry their family too. Maintaining harmony in the new family may not be easy.  Like someone said, when you choose to stick to your husband, you are stuck with your in-laws too.

I often wonder why the world is designed for the girl to stay at the guys’. If the couple could remain at her parents’ then the would have been a peaceful place. Now that the world is not so, you have to deal with them. And yes, dealing with ‘N’ laws is tough, tactical and tricky.

Me and Sayf are a team, who lets only the most necessary things flow to the  in-laws on both sides. We let them pour their opinions into only what is necessary. We stick to our decisions as long as a real valid reason does not come from either sides, but we do listen to them, appreciate them and at the same time convince them on why we chose to be so. They might not be happy, but at least the ‘she came and took my son away’ feeling will not be there.

Even when I have a real busy schedule at work, I make sure to give them a call at least twice a week. I may not call my parents that frequent, because they do not mind calling this side without complaints. My mobile alerts me incase I forget 🙂 I don’t miss a chance to shop, dine out or sometimes gossip (carefully of course) with my in-laws. I make sure to spend quality time with them when I visit them. A little effort, a little attention from my side, make my in-laws feel that I care for them.

MIL’s  may  usually be over dominating or over sentimental, but with good motives. And as long as I can find that element alive inside her, I can move along with her. They would also be experts with words and tears. When words does not work, they switch to tears, and tears works wonders 🙂 Mine does a lot of emotional black mailing, but I have cleverly developed the act of sincerely listening to everything that she puts across. She is pleased that I do so. But this is not an easy task because you will have to patient enough to hear the same story of “How people used to admire the MIL when she was young”, “How fair she used to be once”, “How her handsome son ended up marrying the me-with-ordinary-looks”, ”Why her daughter could not get a nice MIL as her”, and similar stories over and over.

Point to be noted is that a little observation helps you understand what your  mother in law actually needs from you. If you can’t give the whole cake, give at least a fairly big piece.

It is difficult to talk things straight to the in-laws because we treat them as respectful elders. But you can always speak your mind out to your husband or a very good friend. The minute you share it with another daughter-in-law of hers’, double trouble. She may have tons of her own versions to share and the conversations would eventually lead to the MIL being an ultimate villainess. However if you choose to share it with your husband, please don’t make him chose between you and her. It’s not your way or the highway. She, who has been in his life for a much longer time than you, definitely has a say.

Most of the MILs keeps reign their kitchen. At least mine does so. But only when am at Shebis’. She shoo’s me off from the kitchen and still complain on my ability to handle things on my own. So when she comes to Chennai, I get ready for the in-law invasion 🙂 Prepare menu for the whole week, show her how I manage my home and plan for the weekends. I think she is quite convinced, but she never admits. “My poor son doesn’t get to eat enough” and “I don’t know how he will survive” and “You should see how well my daughter does things” and blah blah blah. Looks like see gets some sadistic pleasure on acclaiming that her daughter is better than her daughter in-laws.

There are obvious times when you will have to really bite your teeth so hard to make sure that your tongue does not move over her protracted whining, esp. in the issues that involve people at my home.

So the most important of all. Follow the two mantras – S-M-I-L-E and I-G-N-O-R-E. If you can’t smile, at least ignore. So now a days whenever she makes unnecessary issues, I just do that. After all, she is the reason for me to have a lovable husband.

With all of the above and more, I still think most of them are harmless. When people get aged, they think different. Most of them feel that they will be left out by their children after marriage. They too would be anxious about the girl who steps into the family as much as your parents are. Like the girls, they also try to find a place in their son’s new life. While doing so, they annoy us but I think it is driven out of love.

As Dr Rebecca Liswood who founded the marriage counselling service in New York puts it, “Sudden love rarely binds the two most important women in a man’s life. But you can slowly evolve into good friends and well-wishers.”

At least give it a chance.

Weekend Blues


Its been 7 yrs in Chennai, and I cant remember a single day when I did not long for a weekend. Whether it was for a movie with friends or dinner with Sayf or even to simply laze around, weekends were always awaited with excitement and welcomed with happiness. Planning something for the weekend was usual whether it would work out or not. Weekends always used to be eventful then,..

I knew that it would be different with Pari around. After all, child is the father of man 🙂 She and her moods have now become major factors that drives anything and everything in my life.  But this time its not Pari. Its been little more than a month since Sayf moved to Dubai, and every weekend after that has been a question mark.

Week days are not a problem anymore. By the time I do the cooking and get ready, Pari would be awake. By the time I get her ready, it would be time to start for work. I drop her at the day care and go to my desk. In another 2 hrs she would be awake. I feed her and get back to my desk. In another 2 hrs she would be awake again. I feed her and get back to my desk. In another 2 more hrs, it would be 6 and we both start to home. Again feed Pari, cook, eat and it would be time to sleep. I hardly have a glimpse of even ‘Idea Star Singer’, that being the only program we used to watch. Sounds so mechanical and redundant, but for me it is one more day less to see Sayf.

However, to push a weekend is tough. I sometimes wonder whether Pari doesn’t get bored after seeing only me and more of me around her. Going out alone with an unmanageable 8 month old is hard. A few of my friends do stay close by, but am not sure how comfortable I would be managing Pari there. I finally should not end up spoiling their day 🙂 So I often invite them home but then like we used to plan for the weekends, they too would have already planned something. I try downloading movies, calling friends, and recently do a lotta blogging,… But the vaccum inside still stays and echoes inside that am empty without him…

The many faces I get to see at work lessen my suffocation during week days. Am happy that Pari is there in my life or I would have gone crazy on all the days of the week. I know it is not the problem with weekends, but me. I do not long for weekends anymore. All I long now is to join him..

How I wish this weekend and the rest of the weekends pass as fast as it could…

How I wish we both join Sayf soon, and weekends become lively like before..

How I wish we get back together, and regain my life…

The “House-Maid” Hunt


Finding the right house maid has become a huge challenge for the women of today.  But once you find one, making them stay becomes another big challenge.

Fareiba was born at Kochi,Kerala (my native). A little more than 4 months after  her birth, we took her to Chennai. My maternity leave was supposed to expire in another month, and amma’s BP rose to its peak.

Amma, then vice principal of Maharaja’s College, had built a huge circle of contact through her 33 yrs of service. Her circle included Principals to professors to teachers to students to peons and canteen care takers, to all of whom she had managed to pass on the need of a maid for her daughter. She had undertaken this herculean task since I got pregnant. More than a year and nothing worked out.

People were ready to work at Kochi, but always found lame excuses to come to Chennai. To some of them Chennai was too hot, to some Chennai was too far and to some others Chennai was scary. I still do not know what it means!! However, there was no time to worry about what they thought. We had only a few weeks left and  the “House-maid Hunt” accelerated.

We tried to console her and thought we would hire one from a trusted agency. But amma was against the idea. She wanted the best maid to look after her daughter and grand-daughter. Poor amma!!She travelled even to a relative who lived a few hundred kms away from home to see if she could manage one..

Meanwhile,I too felt the pressure. Handling the baby and home was tough. So handling work, baby, home and a gastronomic husband together would be exhausting. Well, the husband was just gastronomic, no pressure though :). But the others were a must-do-everyday-job.

Being the kind who doesn’t give up easily, I tried to cultivate a routine in Fareiba which would match my office schedule and tried to build the confidence that I would be able to manage. With a day care at office and Shebi helping around, things started moving positively.

And BANG!! The bomb blasted!! Shebi was asked to fly to Dubai in two weeks time. This was a oppurtunity he had been waiting for long, so I would not stop. Shopping, Packing, Ironing, Repacking…We even had our 3rd anniversary to celebrate.Two weeks were just enough.

Life was miserable since then. But two weeks later amma landed home with a maid. She was a decent lady, aged above 60, but still healthy. She was quite expensive, but still impressive. She managed the kitchen and household, took care of Fareiba and made us all feel so better that we finally started believing that the best was served for the last!!

Life changed in a minute. I, who did not have a breather,now started watching soap operas too.She was too sweet to be doubted for anything. She asked permission before she even moved a chair from its usual position or before she sat beside us to watch a movie. Two days later she asked me permission to use the television after I went for work.The tv was never switched off after that. She reigned the kitchen.  I never bothered because the thought of finding someone new was impossible. I even took her a saree  for her birthday that fell on the weekend after she joined. Her regular blood tests and check ups fell on the days immediately after she joined.In additon, I being too generous took her to the doc for her allergic cold also.Mananging everything at home,all alone, was impossible and so keeping her was the only option before me. So when she demanded for a mobile to talk to her people at home and a small wooden stand (the Jaya-Amitabh kinda stand from KKKG) to stand on top and do the dishes, I did not hesitate.

Everything that she demanded was given and every request granted. That was Mistake no.1 🙂

6K per month was too much for an 800 sq ft flat and cooking for two(me and her), but no other choice.

The immediate relief from the tight schedule was all that I could see, and I often showed in words that flattered her.That was mistake No.2. Guess I made her too proud that she started actively participating  in all our family affairs and made sure she let out her comments at everyone’s action. Irritating but we kept mum.

She started developing regular shoulder pains and back pains due to which half of the work would be undone. I offered her help at times, which later became a habit. She started showing faces when amma got involved in something, and would not look after fareiba anymore. She even used our washing machine to wash hers’.

She had a whole day to laze around after me and Fareiba go to office, and looks like she enjoyed it a lot.

Huh!!!But one of the rarest species of its kind was finally found and I had to preserve it by all means.

Two weeks after she came, the next bomb fell. Her son fell down with Chicken pox. She was all in tears, not for her som but she had to leave me and the baby. But tickets were not available on a short notice. When I told her that she could not go immediately there was a huge scene as though I kept her in central prison.Finally after a lot of running around, we managed a ticket, brought her son (the one who was not affected) all the way from home and sent her off.She promised she will come back as soon as he recovers. I believed and even gave her the salary and some money for travel&expenses. Mistake No.3.

Luckily,one mistake that I did not do was that even when she demanded for some more money for the extra expenses that was supposed to come for her son’s treatment,I dint give.

Its been 2 weeks since she left. No news. They don’t pick my calls anymore. Am back to the old routine. We have a part-time maid who is paid lesser than one-third of what we paid her. With amma at home, things are moving on pretty well. At least I have the freedom to move around in my kitchen.

The 2 weeks that she stayed, I ended up spending almost half her salary, for the check ups and phone calls.That was of course in addition to the salary.

I think,now I know why people are not willing to come all the way to Chennai. If they work at their home town, they can make any excuse and run away.

Amma has started a fresh ‘House-Maid-Hunt’.