UNFORGETTABLE

There are some moments in life which remain with you forever. I am not merely referring to those bigger defining landmark occasions of your life. I am also referring to those defining smaller occasions which may seem like inconsequential moments of your day at the time but when you look back on it, the memory of that moment will always stay embedded in your mind for various reasons. Events that open and introduce your mind to a new facet/ new thoughts.

Some of mine have been –

First day at the junior school. As a young girl who had just moved from the little leagues to the bigger campus of a larger school, I got lost on the very first day within the huge school premises. I somehow recollect perfectly the feeling of utter terror not knowing which way to go and standing there in the school yard (ours was a very large open campus) looking for some guidance. Which rest assured came soon in the form of a teacher. But those few seconds remain etched.

My high school results. This is a huge landmark in any student’s life in India. The entire final year at high school is riddled with worry and stress for not just the student but the parents too! A lot rides upon the grades secured in this final year. I had a particularly tough time with ill health and months of missed classes etc back then. With the support of my Mother I managed to survive the year somehow. That moment when my results were announced the feeling of sheer relief to know that I had made it through, remains unforgettable to me!

One cold evening my Dad thought it would be nice if he would pull back the covers and warm up my bed for me, so that I could have the luxury of slipping into a warm toasty bed, he had set it up perfectly. I walked in and shamefully uttered “what did you do…why did you mess my bed so”? He quietly set it all back neatly for me. I hated myself for that.

The day one of my ex colleagues was rushing home early stating “it’s my brother’s birthday today”. I resented her for leaving early especially when we had so much to do that day. Until she casually mentioned “we cut a cake and light a candle for him every year on his birthday. He’s been missing since he was seven”.

Olfactory memory but the smell of pipe tobacco still brings back lovely evenings at home where my Dad smoked his pipe and the four of us listened to music or played scrabble. We weren’t exactly the Waltons but we had our finer moments too.

This one is particularly indelible in my memory bank. One morning the local tabloids were filled with gory details of a brutal attack on a young couple who were killed in the name of religion by deluded members of one of their own extended family leaving behind their infant orphaned. I read the papers aghast and then went about my day. I had a meeting that morning, turned out the person I was meeting was the sister of one of the slain couple featured in the papers that morning. She was naturally innocent of any of the violence or brutality. But all the same I was aghast that she actually turned up for work despite the circumstances at home that were undoubtedly ongoing that day. But then she responded to my shameless queries about the infant stating “what about the baby …it’s not ours”. Misguided religious ideals and pride can blind one so much I realised only then.

The birth of my niece. The first born into the family I had never known anything could look as cute or as blindingly adorable as her.

The first time I met my husband….corny as it may sound. It wasn’t love at first sight, but undoubtedly there was something when we first met that possibly subconsciously opened the doors for further emotions.

The birth of my child……that moment when she finally arrived, I was close to passing out, but yet I remember the sensation of feeling the weight of the baby being placed upon my chest and with my eyes closed I felt and ran my hands over her little toes and fingers (don’t ask me why I did that I just did) before I finally heaved a sigh of relief.

Leaving a job that I had cherished for many years. Moving on is never easy especially when the future was left unplanned.

Receiving the death certificate as part of the documentation for an insurance claim from next of kin of a woman who had recently travelled abroad on holiday. She was only 38. Life can be so cruelly unpredictable, live today I thought to myself!

Do you have similar indelible moments in your memory bank? Do share…..would love to hear about them.

unforgettable

CHALK & CHEESE

Two things that are very different from each other.

We have countless phrases that refer to similarities in two people. Several phrases that perfectly compare and liken two people to each other succinctly …like two peas in a pod/ birds of a feather and my sister’s favourite “radishes of one field“( a literal translation from a Hindi proverb) to name a few! 🙂

However descriptive of the exact opposite personality trait in the verbal spectrum is the phrase as different as chalk and cheese.

For some reason this (well not some I know exactly when) this phrase came to my mind recently and got me thinking. I have of late been hearing of several couples facing hard times in their relationship purely due to just this.

The catalyst event to my thoughts was …..Driving home with the family one late evening, open roads, loud music in the car and no words spoken I reached my destination feeling very happy and content having enjoyed the drive very much. One look at my hubby’s face however made me realise that he hadn’t enjoyed the drive quite as much as I had. The loud music had got to him. He would have much rather preferred driving home in utter silence. For dinner we had Chinese, he would have preferred Indian. On weekends I love to go out, he would have preferred a day at home. When friends come home, I would like for all of us to have a raucous loud evening, laughing singing and dancing even. He would much rather skip the singing and dancing parts. For holidays I would love to visit new places explore destinations fill the holiday up with activities tours etc. every day. He would love to go to new places but then once there he would rather enjoy a leisurely holiday with definitely no pre-planned activities. Yet together we have managed either consciously or unconsciously to find middle ground. Together we enjoy our weekends – some his way some mine, together we enjoy our drives –some with music some in glorious silence, and together I would like to think that we offset each other finding middle ground finding happiness together. I am blessed to say that we manage to work around these differences keeping in mind the bigger picture of our lives together. I’m not saying we are perfect it is a work in progress but yes we do work at it.

But I know of several couples that fall perfectly within the parameters set by this phrase – as different as chalk and cheese and unfortunately don’t seem to be able to work it out.

Two people who couldn’t be more unsuited to each other, so different in their likes dislikes mannerisms tastes yet somehow circumstances have brought them together and led them to being bound together for eternity (well at least as of now) in holy matrimony! Sadly some of them find thereafter that overcoming these differences can be a challenging task which needs constant effort.

She loves music, loves to travel, discovering places meeting new people. He likes to spend the holidays with his folks!

Her idea of a perfect weekend would be one spent with the family, eating out, going out, spending time with friends, music perhaps even by the beach. He would like to be left alone to go fishing or go golfing! (Now I know many of guys reading are thinking well what’s wrong with that!)

She is polished, likes the finer things in life, looks to spend an evening at the opera, he would much rather be in front of the telly in his boxers nursing a cold beer!

He loves his red meat, she’s vegan and an animal rights activist.

She loves to shop he feels they need to save more!

Religion also plays an important role in many marriages.

They say opposites attract. But can these opposing tastes or views turn into foundations for discord? There are a myriad of other topics that can also crack the foundations of a strong marriage ranging from money to career ambitions to infidelity and then just basic smaller incompatibilities. Are any of them individually sufficient grounds for permanent partings? Could small differences one day gnaw away and grow into bases for larger battles?

It may seem trivial some of the opposing views. But it’s these very trivial issues that sow the seeds of intolerance or anger in a person’s mind. Then there’s no going back. It takes a tremendous amount of mental maturity, a reasonably big heart and a lot of patience for someone to see the situation without preconceived anger. To be able to view the pros and cons of a relationship without ones judgement being clouded by your personal pride or ego.

Sadly I have seen a few couples close to me being torn apart permanently due to these very reasons. Tiny issues which initially when the couple embark on life together were laughed off as endearing quirks or differences. But then as reality and life sets in they become three headed monsters eating away at the relationship.

Can one ‘fool proof’ against such eventualities? Do such guarantees even exist in a relationship? How do we help a couple find common grounds to stand and plant their roots together in? Is this something we need to warn more young couples about? Or leave them to find the way themselves? Is it all easier said than done? I wonder…

SOCIALLY (UN) ACCEPTABLE

So I recently read a post by a blogger/columnist I deeply enjoy reading and greatly admire (The Good Greatsby). He wrote about backhanded compliments. Hilarious post as always!

It got me thinking and reminded me of this little nugget of a post that I had begun penning a while back but never got to completing. So here goes..

Back handed compliments are one thing. Leaving you wondering was that a genuine compliment or a thinly veiled insult? Should I be reading more into those words or look for the good and take that statement positively? Believe me I have been left pondering on several occasions. “Oh my! That hair cut is soooo much better”…wait what? Does that mean I looked crap all this time? “That tastes almost as good as what Mum used to make”….hmm decent cooking but you’ll never be the real deal. “your child is so…energetic”…..what have you fed her and why is she so hyper?

Which brings me to my next ponderification (if the word exists). Have you ever been at the receiving end of a statement that is so tactless or just so rude that it’s almost laughable?

The thing about such statements or actions are that they leave you so gobsmacked at that point that you are literally either left speechless or by the time the intensity of it all sinks in its almost always too late to react!

I present to you a few examples I have accumulated by way of eavesdropping, shameless staring or personal experience…(hey I don’t claim to be perfect!)

  • What happened to you…..you used to look much better before!
    Ohhh this one’s a winner! This means you look like a dog’s dinner currently. Are you even allowed to say that or do that to a person’s self-esteem? And why then hadn’t you been sincerely complimenting that person a lot more before if you felt they looked that good back then?
  • Only one kid…why any problems? Also often said in similar vein as …”no kids….why any problems?”
    Hmm yeah sure would you like to know the results of my pap test and sonography too with that?
  • Maybe you should check your thyroid?
    Underlying meaning – You’ve gained so much weight of late that if there’s no medical explanation for it then that’s just sad!
  • You know I’ve stopped accepting Facebook requests these days. I have too many friends already in real life.
    I don’t even know how to respond to that one. I just felt it sounded entirely much too arrogant.
  • Politically incorrect references to a particular religious sects or cultural roots of a person.
    Eg: He’s such a Malabari! This is often used in my part of the world. Ahem…is this a good time to let you know I am one too?
  • How much do they pay you?
    Really now…..unless you plan on sharing some of my bills or making me a stupendous employment offer that’s just none of your business.
  • Ohhhhh he’s on a business trip is it? *wink*wink*
    Why would anyone want to sow that seed of doubt into any relationship even in jest is beyond me.
  • When are you due?
    No unless you are absolutely sure…like seen-pics-of-the-baby-sonogram sure don’t ask this to any woman. That’s just an evil Pandora’s Box of emotions there waiting to burst.
  • Where are you going?
    Unless you are driving me there or coming along with me or are my parent/spouse I fail to see why those words even left your mouth.
  • Other socially unacceptable behaviours that need special mention….sneezing into your hand then extending it in greeting, adjusting your package in public…really men do you have to? Digging your nose, clearing an itchy throat with loud guttural sounds, chewing food with your mouth open, worse still chewing food while on the phone…remember the person on the other end of this line can hear each bite stereophonically, awful ciggie or coffee breath…please pop a mint, sending a text or email consisting entirely of acronyms, taking the liberty without being given it to address someone with a short form of their name, using the office microwave to reheat your pungent fish lunch …pong in the office! Violent cases of restless leg, not making eye contact when talking to a person, the list could go on and on.

Have you encountered any or more than the above? Feel free to enlist your experiences or gobsmackers you’ve experienced in the comments box below.