You know that feeling when you meet an ex-lover/friend after ages and have no clue what to talk about? You put up a straight face, smile a Sheldon Cooper smile while mentally cursing yourself for not delaying the meeting, try to make small talks and embarrass yourself to no extent. But at the same time, you experience a tug at the heartstrings at the very sight of the person and cannot help but realise that love indeed is a strong emotion.
Well, that's exactly how I feel as I start to write this blog post. It has been so long that Candyfloss and I have seen eye-to-eye, that the very thought of coming up with a proper excuse for having committed the sin makes me nauseous. Then again, the happiness at the sight of the familiar territory that accompanies the nausea, is unparalleled. So here I stand, guilty as charged, and try to seduce the angry heart of this ex-lover with.. words!
First things first, WHY have I not written all this while? I have since long been accused of the fourth deadly sin (as a matter of fact almost all of them, but let's not go down that road), which I believe is the only path for achieving Moksha and is my eternally-valid excuse for anything and everything. I would also conveniently put the blame on the social hullabaloo that happened a couple of months ago and say that I have been leading a sedentary lifestyle ever since. The finishing of the PhD and the complacency that followed, served as the cherry on top. No wonder, work took a back-seat and so did writing, while all efforts to shove and push the lazy mind out of hibernation were wrapped in woolen blankets and stacked in old almirahs to be used for the next year :/. On that note, I have often wondered why the guy would call me 'cat' so often. The amazingly accurate picture showed to me last Christmas explained why, and I couldn't help but gasp at the similarity! Yeah, love works in strange ways, mostly through such unabashed name-calling :D
Anyways, having talked about the Ph.D. in several of my previous blog posts, let me talk about the one thing that is rather new in my life: Being the Mrs. This reminds me of the several conversations had with strangers-who-called-themselves-my-relatives the last time I was in the hometown as a newly-wed.
Her (upon entering my room): "Dear lord, you do not look married at all! What's with the shorts and tops and empty hands and no vermilion? You look exactly the same as you did before you got married!" *the look of utter anguish and horror follows*
Me (in the most polite way possible, which I never thought I knew): "I dress up the way I feel most comfortable in. I do look faintly married when I am out at some social event. But at home, I prefer not being a clown".
Her: "No no. Aren't you a newly-wed? You should do it also at home! So have you legally changed your surname yet? You know, these days it is a fashion among modern women to keep their maiden name".
Me (on the verge of losing my cool but still with the plastic smile on the face): "I have decided not to change my name".
Her (almost choking): "What? What does your husband say to that? And your in-laws?"
Me: "Well, I didn't seek my husband's permission in the first place. But he is perfectly fine with my decision. He would never force me to do anything that I would not want. Also my in-laws".
Her: "Good good. You must be very lucky to have landed such an amazing husband who seems to be fine with everything. Okay, I take your leave now"
Me: *mentally looking for a knife to back-stab the retreating lady*
Her: "What's this? Why are you staying at your parents' place instead of your in-laws? You mustn't forget that this is no longer your home".
Me (blank expression): "The husband is not in the city, so I have decided to stay here most of the time. But I would ofcourse visit my in-laws".
Her (to my mom who is sitting next to me): "Why are you accepting this? Next time she is in town and she visits you, give her some sweets and ask her to go to her own house".
Me: *silently leaving the room and realising that ignorance, indeed, is a bliss at times*
Her: "Wow you are glowing after marriage! How does it feel to be married?"
Me: "I think I look exactly the same as I did before. And I feel no change whatsoever. I have known him for almost a decade now, so there are no surprises in store for me" ;)
Her: "Still, you should feel different. Every woman does, after marriage. You may know him from before, but now he is your husband and no longer a lover. There should be some difference. Also, what's with this তুই-তুই? Start saying তুমি now. তুই doesn't sound good to the ears!"
Me: *let me find a bar of chocolate*
The reason for putting across excerpts from random conversations for everyone to see is not to demean the people involved, nor to establish the fact that I am above all social boundaries. Because I am not, else I wouldn't have gone through the social convention in the first place. But কুপমন্ডুকতা bothers me, and makes me sad. Yes, the society is changing and as hard as it must be, one should go with the flow instead of conveniently blaming it on "generation-gap". It bothers me that in Bengali marriages, mothers of the bride and groom are not allowed to watch the wedding rituals, lest the happiness of the bride and groom be ruined. It bothers me that women hold such low opinions about women who show the courage to break social shackles in whichever way, and instead criticize them for not joining the bandwagon of blind faith and beliefs. It bothers me when someone tells me that it is okay if I, having completed a Ph.D., do not work as long as my husband has a stable source of income. The ease and obviousness with which all these statements are made bother me to no extent. And then life goes on, we forgive and forget things that bother us or have bothered us in the past and go on living life the way we know best.
But, on a lighter note, marriage in India is certainly not just a cumulonimbus playbook of age-old traditions and customs. It comes with its own silver-colored perks ;). How else would you socially enjoy the notion of friends-with-benefits? How else would you immerse all shame in the holy waters of the Ganges and hold hands or hug in front of the parents? How else would you explain the late-night chats that were once reasons for infinite fights in the household? And how else would you get to spend the rest of the life with the part-time lover and full-time friend and have this tiny conversation in the middle of watching a Bengali movie?
P: " "ভালবাসা আর কিছুই না, অভ্যাস মাত্র"~ এই ডায়ালগ টা শুনেই তোর্ কথা মনে হয়েছে! আমায় কত বলতিস ঝগড়ার সময়, মনে আছে?"
I: "হুম, আছে "
P: "এখনো তাই মনে হয়?"