Apr 30, 2010

a woman's dilemma...

As I sit awake in bed, pen at a piece of paper and trying to write down a schedule, my gaze wanders over to my partner. He’s sleeping like a baby, breathing peacefully. Yet, it’s only been 10 minutes since we got to bed. It’s quite a story how I got him to come here in the first place. Around a half hour ago I told him that I had some ‘feedback’ to give him about something he did. Since then, he had been avoiding coming to bed and was dozing off on the sofa. I finally figured out what was going on and promised not to say a word. He then gleefully came in and went off to never land in no time at all…

Yelling and nagging never worked with men. Apparently, honest communication doesn’t go very well with them either. Hopefully, a few hints and reminders later he’ll come around and we’ll get to talk about my feedback tomorrow. Oh, and I really don’t expect him to remember it by himself and come asking for it. I suppose it’s like a goat asking to go visit the lion’s den.

I have given up nagging now. My experience of 2.5 years in a relationship with a man tells me that no good can ever come of it, unless me getting super-upset and eventually stressed-out can be seen as a benefit. No use asking him about it though. My guess is that no man will ever naturally admit that his wife does not nag him. Men have to complain about their wives to their mates even if they have perfect ones. I have no idea why.

My Guru talks about relationships. In a nutshell, he says that all we ever do is try to extract happiness from the person we are in a relationship with. We expect the other person to do something special to make us happy. Of course, the other person isn’t exactly a happiness-giving cow, really. So obviously we are unhappy when we’re all ready with a cup to milk away some happiness all this cow can do is kick us hard in the back-side.

Well, my Guru didn’t really talk about all this cow business, that’s just my bizarre imagination at work. So, as I was trying to say in a nutshell and didn’t quite manage to, we try to extract happiness from the other person. When what we could do is learn to be happy within ourselves without the aid of anybody and simply share this joy with the person/people in our lives.

I mean, who would you rather be with anyway? The Happiness-generating-cow or the person with the empty cup.. or with the backside-kicking cow? Ok that sounds confusing. What I’m trying to say is that we would be better off generating happiness and sharing it rather than trying to extract it from others. Well, that’s what my Guru says anyway..

I’m trying to apply this to my present situation. On the one hand, this might be the only night we would get to spend together this entire week. That’s because he works by night and sleeps by day. No he’s not a superhero. Well he is MY superhero. OK that’s beside the point. The point is that it is kind of upsetting that on our only night together, he’s gone off to sleep. No goodnight kiss, no hug, not even a wink. I did get a hint of a flying-kiss though, or that’s what I imagined it to be. Sometimes men can just tune out. They cuddle when they want to, they have sex when they want to, and they go off into that mysterious ‘men-only’ land of silence where nothing you say gets through to them, when they want to. Somehow I’m getting the feeling that it’s all about him. I’m wondering what would happen if I stop communicating any of my needs to him. If I just stop asking him things or letting him know about my feelings. Would he remember anything? Would he remember that I love going out for drives, or would he remember to take me out for a movie or dinner? What would happen to our relationship if I stopped my practice of honest communication? Would he be in ‘man-heaven’? Would we be having a relationship at all…?

A little voice now tells me that I’m over reacting. So he fell asleep one night. He must be tired... does it always have to be about me? Is this what that extracting joy thing is all about? Am I the one with the empty cup here? It does look like it. As I look into my sad little cup, I feel torn. Between the easy way of just blaming it all on him and feeling sorry for myself, and the extremely tough way of accepting the situation and filling my cup by myself. It’s a very difficult decision to make. On the one hand I want to give him my silent treatment tomorrow and torture him for ignoring me tonight. On the other hand I think, would it be so bad if I just took it easy and let it go. Just give the guy a break. How happy would he feel if I just let him have his sleep without making such a big fuss over it.. After all it’s not like it’s our last night together ever. Is it really so important? Will it be so important 25 years later when we’re old and together and look back at our times as a couple? After all, that is where I want to go with this relationship. And I’m sure that he does too.

Look at him, sleeping like a baby. As a happy, smiling person, I’m able to appreciate it and feel happy for him that he’s getting some good rest. He does work so hard. And I do care about him so much…

Apr 22, 2010

My Looney childhood...

As a child, I was widely hated and unpopular. At the time I remember feeling bad about it quite often. But when I look back at times, I don’t quite blame the people who made life tough for me. If I knew me, I probably wouldn’t have liked me either. Reason? I was a rather loony kid.

Do I regret it now? Not really. I look back at it with fondness. Being a tad demented was actually fun. Even though most of the fun I had was by myself. I was kind of a mellow version of Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes). Yes, unbelievable but true. Who could hate Calvin?! Unfortunately, a real life Calvin is a lot less acceptable than the one in the strip. And a lot less adorable as well.

I had a wild imagination with no limit whatsoever. Most of it has unfortunately been lost over the years in an endeavor to ‘improve’ myself to socially acceptable standards.

My strongest memory is that of my imaginary friend. His name was Tommy (sometimes just Tom) and he was the size of my palm. Yeah, something like a Lilliput. He was not always with me though. I remember that he appeared only when I wanted him to and I never really poured my heart out to him or anything. I also remember how we had met. I was actually his savior. It was during one of the summers I spent at my Grandma’s. I was looking out the window at the building opposite ours. Someone had tied a thick piece of cloth to the railing of their balcony. It immediately caught my fancy and I wondered why anyone would possibly do that. All that my 6 year old mind could fathom at the time was that it was done to hold someone captive in there. And obviously that someone couldn’t be bigger than the size of my palm. I cannot recollect how I actually got him out of there, but that’s how I got to know Tommy. He was extremely grateful to me for setting him free and agreed to never leave my side. I however, allowed him to have a life of his own, with the only request that he appear when I needed him. I vaguely recall him taking a wife at some later point in time.

The thing about Tommy was that I always had these bets going on with him. He would pop up at times when I was just about to do something and we would have a bet about what I was going to do. Like what dress I was about to wear or which homework I would do first or if I was going to sharpen my pencil or use a new one. Needless to say I always won. And he would owe me a ‘hundred-thousand-million-billion’ whatever (there was no currency attached) in cash. And he would miraculously produce these in tiny little sacks that I would stash away somewhere. Crazy stuff!
I don’t really recall when Tom stopped making his appearances. Just faded away... just like that.

I also imagined that my home was filled with ghosts, room-wise. There were the kitchen ghosts, the bathroom ghosts and ghosts for each bedroom. They never mingled much with each other and mostly stayed in their respective rooms. And they each had their characteristics. The bathroom ghosts were always having a party in there until I came in. The moment the light was on and I stepped in, the party would stop and they would all rush off and stand in corners. That’s because they didn’t want me to see them and get frightened. They were rather fond of me, you see. So no matter how much I tried, I could never see them party. The bedroom ghosts were a bit meaner. I had to take their permission before I entered, and there was a specific manner in which it was to be done. I had to stand with my toes in line with the carpet lining and switch on the light. At no point was i to step in before this was done. And in the few seconds that the tube light was flickering on, I had to quickly ask for permission to enter. If all was done right, I could enter safely and no harm would be done to me. I don’t remember much about the kitchen ghosts though. They didn’t make many appearances I’m guessing.

I remember hating most of my early childhood teachers with a passion. And I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual. I just never saw the point of copying stuff from the blackboard to my notebook. It was the dullest work ever. Invariably I would start daydreaming or talking to people around me and never completed my work. The ‘stand-up-on-the-bench-with-your-arms-raised’ punishment was a regular feature with me and I would routinely find myself up there at least two to three times a day. A teacher once got so fed up of me that she made all the kids stand on their benches and they couldn’t sit again until I finished writing. I don’t remember much of how that ended but I seriously doubt if that made me speed up at all. Distractions were ever-so-common with me. I once sat at an exam, read the questions, realized I knew the answers, started writing, but never got around to completing it. Why? Well, I think I was so bored I started dreaming about making a mud house as high as me in the playground after the exam.

Oh, and for some reason my stuff would always turn up in the lost-and-found cupboard at school. I was quite well known with the school janitors for that and they would routinely take me there to check if any of the stuff was mine. Precious or not, I never seemed to have a value for things and if in my possession, they were almost always as good as lost.

There was a time when I was severely dehydrated due to playing all alone in the playground one summer afternoon. This is the desert sun I’m talking about and therefore unimaginably hot. My mother went ballistic when she realized I had been swinging in the park all day. Little did she know that it wasn’t any ordinary swinging. I was actually trying to decipher secret messages from the sun. There would be funny shapes every time I started into the sun light and then shut my eyes. All my wonder and curiosity was aroused in what these strange symbols could possibly mean. Was I meant to discover my life’s purpose in those messages? He he, well the only purpose they did serve was to have me puking and in bed the next two days!

And then there was my experiment with the paracetemol tablet. No, I didn’t swallow it. That would be another story all together. This perfectly round, white little object to me looked extremely promising and I was certain that I would make some great discoveries out of it. I started out with a stolen tablet from the medicine box, a pencil and notepad. No way was I going to let my amazing findings go undocumented! I remember trying to crush, powder, pound and dissolve it, make a paste of it, feed it to dolls and many other carefully noted pointless experiments before concluding that it was, well, nothing but a boring tablet.

The mirror was an object of great fascination for me. On holidays I would lock myself up in my room and stare into the mirror for a very long time. Not at myself but the things around my reflection. I was always so sure that there was another duplicate world on the other side, just waiting to spring to life the moment I looked away. So I would wait and wait and then pretend to turn away and quickly turn back to catch something. But, of course, I never did. As I got a bit older this activity evolved into role-play before the mirror. I would stage elaborate plays with me being the script-writer, director and the actor playing all the characters. My favourite one (also the one I enacted the most, invariably) was the lost-princess story. I would wrap my towel around my face and make it look all scrunched up. I was the lost princess who was cursed into the towel-face and wandering alone in the woods. Only true love’s hands could untie the towel to unravel my hidden, ethereal beauty. One day, I chance upon a handsome, thirsty young man to whom I offer some water and then, predictably, the towel is eventually undone!

And so the stories go on and on. There are ever so many that I can only remember shreds of, like stuffing onion skins up my nose, gulping down a bottle of nasal drops so I could be done with them once and for all (both these events landed me in the emergency room), giving all the kids in my kindergarten class real haircuts at break-time (that made me very unpopular with the parents)… I’m sure there are several more that I have totally forgotten. All I can honestly say is that I truly, truly feel very sorry for all the kids and adults (the adults, mostly) who had to put up with the crack-pot that was me.

Having said that, someday I’ll have kids of my own, and I sincerely hope that they turn out to be just as loony as i was, if not even more.