September 13, 2012

The bumpy ride called marriage

You know how I’m getting married in December and all that jazz, right?

Ever since it all got finalized, I’ve had this niggling feeling at the back of my mind, whether everything will be fine or not. It is but natural, considering I’m a constant worrier. Would we get along well? Will we be able to co-exist peacefully?

I mean, we ARE quite different.

Me- loud : He- comparatively quiet.
Me- drama queen : He- level-headed.
Me- Starts dancing even in autos to Himesh Reshammiya songs (I’m NOT proud of it): He- has two left feet,
Me- follows Bollywood and actually READS Filmfare and doesn’t buy it just to look at the pictures : He- doesn’t watch movies at all that much.
Me- lazybones: He- quite the fitness freak.
Me- LOVES her weekends and staunchly believes in “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want": He: can’t sit still even on weekends.
Me- can’t stand others’ mess: he- is quite good at messing up the place.
Me- to whom people say “Oh god, stop laughing so loud! People are looking!”: He- should definitely laugh more often. He likes his brooding persona way too much.
Me- does things like calling up someone on their birthday ten times during the day and simply wishing them, quotes dialogues from Malayalam movies a bit too often, sings “Sutta na mila” along with the MC-BC lyrics loudly while riding pillion on someone’s bike, etc.: He- has his quirks but doesn’t display them so blatantly to the rest of the world.

I think I should end the list here before I freak myself out completely.

So yes, these small things have been at the back of my mind. I mean, I’m happy with him and all that, which is why I said yes in the first place, but you know… you know? Then I thought, “What’s the fun if two people are exactly of the same personality? They should complement each other, right?”

It’s with this khichdi in my head that I started reading Yashodhara Lal’s “Just married, Please Excuse”. And Ma’m, may I just say, Thank. You. So. Much.

Just Married… is the (true) story of Yashodhara and Vijay, two very different people who fall in love and get married. She’s a city girl from Delhi, he’s from small town Jaipur. She loves non-veg, he’s a Brahmin who eats only chicken nuggets and eggs. She’s quite the firebrand, he’s slightly less of a firebrand. They both have an opinion on every single thing, and more often than not, the opinions differ.

Yashodhara takes us on a trip through their marriage, right from where he proposes (not exactly the most romantic proposal) to where they’re struggling with being first-time parents. The book is filled with vignettes from their lives that are so funny, I was laughing uproariously through most of it. A first date watching ducks and fishing, the seemingly unending search for a bright-blue sofa that doesn't sweat and in the process, making life hell for the salespersons, likening Vijay in his wedding attire to a giant tube of Colgate toothpaste are some of the hilarous one. And the beauty of it is that it is all so real (or at least I’m assuming it is). The problems that they face are common ones that probably every married couple goes through. The characters are people you and I can relate to (Dear Yashodara, what I could relate to the most about you was your sarcasm).

It’s a very unpretentious book. There aren’t fancy-sounding words or long-winding sentences that'll stop making sense halfway through. The author doesn’t try to paint any rosy pictures about marriage. She tells it like it is, without giving any unnecessary gyaan. She just narrates their story, and leaves it to us to derive lessons from it.

And what’s the lesson that I’ve learnt? That it’s not impossible. You can be as different as chalk and cheese, but can still make the marriage work. All it takes is a LOT of effort and a few sessions with a psycho marriage counselor who’ll make you realize that marriage isn’t one of those things that can be repaired in ’12 steps’. It’s entirely up to the husband and the wife to make it work. If both of them want to hang on to each other come what may, then they’ll find a way to make it happen. It’s about accepting and embracing each other’s differences and loving them for it. Don’t let ego ruin the relationship, and be willing to make small little adjustments that’ll ultimately make things a whole lot better for both of you. Oh and love and all that jazz too (I won’t comment woo much about this one).

So what if Yashodhara didn’t give gyaan. I never said I won’t.

The book has a lot of heart. It is deliciously sarcastic, funny, witty, humorous, and any other synonym you can think of for the same. If you pass it off thinking it's just another run-of-the-mill Indian author trying to ply her IIM story or as a chicklit, then you're missing out on a truly good book. It’s one of those books that, when you finish reading it, wish there was more of. The book has made me hopeful that S & I will be just fine, as long as we both really want to make it work. Thank you for that, Mrs. Yashodhara Lal. You have earned yourself a fan.

September 11, 2012

Turning 26

I rang in my last birthday along with three very important people.

One of them is no longer a part of my life.

Another one is on a self-imposed indefinite sabbatical from me.

The third person, thankfully, is still in my life. I had almost lost her too, but better sense prevailed and we both hung on.

This last one year has been one of the most turbulent years of my life.

I thought I would be married by my 26th birthday, to the guy I was in love with. And I tried with every fibre of my being to make it happen. But God had other plans. God said “Let’s see how grown-up you are” and threw a bunch of googlies in my way. I don’t know how well I have dealt with them, but dealt with them, I have, for sure.

So here I am, on my 26th, with my Lily and Marshall. Still single, engaged to be married by this year-end. I don’t know whether I am happy or not. I still eye happiness with a little bit of suspicion. It’ll take time, but I’m working on it. But I think I’m content. At peace, if I may. My demons don’t bother me so much lately. They haven’t gone away completely, either. That’ll take time as well. I’m slowly trying to prepare myself for a whole new life phase.

This is my last birthday in Hyderabad. The city I've come to look upon as my own. The thought of leaving is killing me, but I have to go. This place has too many memories. I may never be able to move on in life if I continue to stay here. So more than preparing myself for marriage, I’ve been trying to prepare myself for leaving my Hyderabad. The withdrawal symptoms have started.

Turning 26, definitely hasn’t been easy.

But hey, I’m still alive. And that’s something to celebrate, isn't it? :)

Happy birthday, me.

ETA: I posted this after midnight on 12th. I don't know why the date is showing as 11th.

September 7, 2012

Book Review: Rainy Days by Samarth Prakash

“His writing style ranges from ardently melodramatic and vividly romantic to quietly philosophical”, is how Samarth Prakash, the author of Rainy Days has been described. When I read this, I had no clue just how melodramatic they were talking about.

Rainy Days (Published by Good Times Pvt. Ltd.), attempts to chronicle the lives and love of Raghav and Megha. They meet at a cricket match that gets rained out. She leaves abruptly, leaving our romantic (in his own eyes) hero holding a lonely umbrella (no double entendre there, I swear). So what does our hero do? He chases her, and finds out where she works, and then proceeds to wait for her below her building for many days till she finally makes an appearance.

*cough stalker creepo cough*

So he strikes up a conversation with her, and eventually tells her that he chased her to the building, and had been waiting for her to make an appearance. Now, if you had been in place of that girl, what would you have done? Walked away? Called the police and got a restraining order against him? At least punched him? Well, our dear heroine, after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, gets flattered and continues having lunch with him. Come on, girl, the least you could’ve done was at least throw a glass of water in his face before continuing with the lunch!

I don’t really want to get into the rest of the story because then that would mean having to do a quick recap of the story in my mind, and believe me, I don’t want to do that. Suffice to say, she vanishes one fine day, leaving a letter promising to return after five years, and return she does, as a married woman (at this point, I actually said a “serves you right” to the hero, for being such a douchebag).

The problem with this book is not that it romantic or melodramatic. The problem is that it is TOO romantic and melodramatic. I mean, we all love some melodrama and romance, sure. But this dude took it to another level. The characters have been created in such a way that you don’t end up feeling any sort of emotion- pity, affection, happiness, pride- for any of them.

The author should consider rechristening himself as Somewhat Prakash. The word ‘somewhat’ has been used so many times in the book, I started playing a little game while reading the book- how soon will I come across the next ‘somewhat’. I don’t have anything against the word, believe me. But would you like it if a word has been repeated on an average of twice per page? Yes, per page.

The author absolutely loves drawing parallels. As a result, ‘much like’ is a phrase that comes up as often as ‘somewhat’. If Raghav sees sunlight, he’ll connect it in some way to something else. If he sees a butterfly, he’ll connect it with colours of life. Well, the second one is just my contribution, but you get the picture, right? Sample this: The colourful ink on the promising pages of love was wiped out from the book of my life, much like waves that destroy castles built on sand. Err.. what?? This is like Inception. Metaphor within a metaphor within a metaphor.

But if you thought this was bad, sample this. “Our hairs fluttered, almost synchronously, in the evening breeze that was beginning to turn cold. And somehow, in that synced movement of our hairs, the gap that had opened up between S and myself was closed. We were in sync once again, as best friends should always be.” Dude, seriously? You drew a parallel of friendship with the movement of hairs? HAIRS???

Why is the book called ‘Rainy Days’, you wonder? Because it was raining the day they first met, it was raining the day they parted, and it was raining pretty much every single day chronicled in the book. I think I have developed a slight aversion towards rain now. And the hero’s philosophical musings were so blah, that I skipped quite many paragraphs out of sheer disinterest.

And just when you thought the book is over, after Megha comes back and reveals her side of the story, the author brings in a twist. A twist that is so out of place, that it looks as though it was introduced just so that the book wouldn’t be reduced to a mere romance novel.

Grammatically, the book is ok. No major blunders. But the language is so so SO melodramatic, that it gets exhausting after a point. You’ll feel as though you’re walking through a desert in the hot sun, wearing shoes that are three sizes too big for you. Hey! I just drew a parallel! So the book had SOME effect on me after all.

And trust me, dear Samarth Prakash, no love is as blind as you suggest it is in the book. Love is a lot of things, I agree. And people in love do all sorts of crazy things, even I have. But I seriously doubt standing as a false witness to help your old flame who murdered her sister, get acquitted is one of them. This sort of love is not blind, it's just plain stupid. Oopsie. Did I just give away the suspense? Whatever.

I know I’ve been very mean with the review, but I can’t call a bad book good. Ok, maybe I shouldn’t call a bad book bad, either. So let me just say, read it at your own risk. This level of melodrama and romance is just not my cup of tea. But if you don't mind it, then go ahead and give it a shot. Good luck.