Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Inside her mind



This morning as I was moving up and down the slider in my Pilates class, I winced in pain. The image of my fingers getting horribly crushed in the machine had just flashed in my mind and I was trying to imagine life without fingers. I let out an involuntary shudder before lifting my toes to the ceiling like an inverted ballerina.

People give wings to their imagination, mine is in an out of control spacecraft.

There is no way I can pass a manhole, without picturing myself inside it. What if the lid is not strong enough and I fall in its abysmal depths never to come out again! Crying, shouting for help before collapsing in a cesspool of human refuse….Will anyone miss me? Will my husband marry again? What happens to Tee! How will she manage life without me? What if she’s actually happy that she’s finally managed to get rid of me? Was I not a good enough mother to her! Does anyone really love me! I stop only after I collide into a gentleman, profusely apologize and head home with a heavy heart.

I discovered my true worth after I fell inside a manhole.

When we were just married, I used to start crying every time he left town for an official tour. In fact, I cried for three days non-stop when he left for the first time to Houston for two months. The women reading this post will understand why! We excel at imagining the worst. If he’s not picking up the phone, he must have been kidnapped by the Al Qaeda! If he hasn’t called up ten minutes after landing, his aircraft must have skidded off the runway.

Women are born worriers. Not just content with worrying about our loved ones, we worry on behalf of our neighbours, their dog, the nation and the universe. We nurture our fears like little puppies, despite knowing that only 0.009% of them will come true. We just can’t help it! We pursue our fears with single minded passion and wallow in misery.

We are willing prisoners of our paranoia’s.

If she’s watching news clips of flood ravaged Uttarakhand, or the horror unleashed by a tornado or tsunami, chances are she’s imagining herself there, alone, injured looking for her missing family. She doesn’t stop there. She blinks back tears as she thinks of the countless lives lost, the misery of those who survived and how life will never be the same again for them.


Back in Gurgaon, when my morning ritual consisted of reading newspapers, my attention would inadvertently gravitate towards the goriest of reports and soon I’d turn into a curious mix of Nirupa and Arundhati Roy. I would alternate between tears for the child who so brutally lost her childhood and cuss and gnash my teeth at sheer injustice of it all!

Pretty soon my husband started hiding newspapers from me.

It’s not as if we women love to torture ourselves with loathsome thoughts. They float in without prior warning, uninvited and simmer for hours and sometimes days, wrecking our peace of mind. It doesn’t help that we consider worrying as just another manifestation of love. I knew I had fallen in love with my man the moment I started stressing on his behalf.

So, if you turn up past midnight after ignoring her frantic calls because your phone was on the silent, please don’t look shocked when she welcomes you with choicest of abuses and hurls the flower vase at you. It’s because she cares for you.

If she insists on knowing your whereabouts when you’re out of her sight, she’s not being controlling. She just wants to make sure that you haven’t fallen inside a manhole. That’s why she hugs you tight when you get back home after a long day at office. Every time her child gets hurt, it’s she who winces in pain. She worries incessantly when Sonu scores 18 out of 100 in his Math paper and gives him motivational speeches to inspire him to reach for the 90’s. Too bad he confuses it with nagging!

She can be your biggest strength yet be your biggest weakness.

Since worrying is contagious, her heart becomes heavy when her friend is going through a rough patch. Isn’t that what friends are for! Be it acne attacks, the new boss trying to be bitchy, a nosy neighbour, the truant maid, her annoying MIL, her daughter’s good for nothing boyfriend, she has to discuss it with her many friends. Once she’s made all her friends as miserable as her and gotten unsolicited advice that she’ll never use, she sits back and sighs in relief.

Even when she’s having the time of her life, she will manage to sneak in a frown or two, sigh wistfully at the thought that this too will come to an end. When she has it all, it scares her to think that this might not last. If bad times are not meant to last, why should good times behave any differently!

The fact is, she’s always mentally preparing herself to face the worst.

Of course, the root cause of it all is her over-thinking cranium. And since the brain is woefully inadequate to keep up with her, she thinks with her heart as well! And it doesn’t quite help that what the heart wants, her brain rejects.

But don’t you worry! You can’t do a thing about it. She knows her biggest problem is her. She doesn’t need your help and certainly not your ridicule. All she asks for is your understanding. Now,is that too much to ask?



89 comments:

  1. Oh my dear Lord.........did you really have to spell it out? Sigh, and now I worry that this will worry the rest of the lot.

    BTW I have a manhole and a loo phobia....! I feel a bum blast could happen any time. :/

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    1. Lol...I blame our extremely fertile imagination.

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  2. Oh Gosh Purba! I am the mother of all worriers! I worry over everything trivial. And it seems that I always fear the worst. I wish I could be as cool as hubby when it comes to these matters. When life throws real challenges, we can really rise up to the challenge tough as nails. But for now, a call not picked up has to be tackled :). Great post, almost all women will identify with it!

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    1. I love making assumptions on behalf of all of us :p

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  3. You read my mind here. I am a worrier and not exactly proud of the fact.Glad to know that I am not alone!

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    1. Yes, after this post I realized I have too much company :D

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  4. That I have realized for myself - only, any woman I have met seems mildly upset that I have actually made it back from a tour - so she must have been worried that nothing would happen to me at all :)

    I think what surprises men the most is that women can reduce themselves to nervous wrecks over imagined crises but when a real serious crisis emerges, they can be pillars of strength. THAT is one of those unfathomable mysteries about women.

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    1. Do you realize you have won all our hearts with this comment of yours! If you don't believe me, scroll down to see the comments.

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  5. Sigh! been there...still doing that. It's a whirlpool and we never get out of it alive!
    Hum sab saath saath hai.

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  6. All this sounds so familiar Purba:) Despite all the worrying the women can cope better with real life scenarios!!

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    1. I blame all the practice we get in our unreal life.

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  7. Love Love Suresh's comment esp the last line! Suresh, you redeem my image of men who empathise!

    And Purba, you have narrated the story of my life - Railway tracks, loos, and every imaginable place holds unimaginable adventures where there is blood, death and multiple fractures. Sitting in a car when my husband drives is the worse situation for me. Sheesh, I wish I can be calm and composed.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Suresh is our brand new hero!

      I blame our overactive minds. We pray for quiet days and when we do get one, we twiddle our thumbs and worry ourselves senseless.

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  8. Oh gosh, thank goodness I am not alone. Everyday I walk next to a river to reach my office. Not a day goes by when I do not imagine myself drowning, with my contact lens gone and I cannot see..... :-D
    Tell me about husbands keeping their mobile on silent mode. The only thing I do when his mobile is silent or has finished its charge, I cry cry cry in the loo, if I am in the office.
    The best thing about you is making fun of your paranoid feelings :-D
    I am trying to do that, and getting somewhere there :-p

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    1. Yep, humour is the best way to cope with our insanity :D

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  9. Oh been there done that so many times that I finally gave up. Actually I am lying. I worry about waking up somewhere in space after having gone to sleep on earth. I have to walk out and check if I am still on the planet or if I got dislodged somehow and landed up in space. It does not matter if its 3 a.m. in winters, but I have to go out and check.

    Suresh I love you for that comment of yours.

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    1. Is that why women make better storytellers?

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  10. Well well! I felt like this post was written for me! I know all women worry but sometimes I worry that I worry a little too much than what other women worry (makes sense?) It's involuntary.. I have no control. I end up imagining the worst possible situations for myself and for the rest of the planet and then struggle to get out of the three day misery web that I spun around myself. Usually its my poor mom who bears the brunt of these worrisome mood swings!

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    1. Yet we survive, yet we smile and trying making others smile :-)

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  11. This one is more about my sister than about me...although a little bit is about me ;-) But I really believe that a day will come, when I am free of worries, everyone I care about is fine and in their pink of health and at a stone's throw from where I am. Will that day ever come. :-/ Now that is my worry.

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    1. Hahahaha...worrying about worries is a unique talent.

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  12. Too much on our minds!! Very well written...and the worst part is we give ourselves a hard time too...on why we worry so much ;).

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    1. Despite knowing that it doesn't help at all.

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  13. I used to think that I am the only one worrying about every thing. All my friends and relatives always make fun of me.I feel upset if any member of the family is late in reaching home.I will copy/paste this article and the comments to show them how majority of women feel worried.

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    1. Please do, Usha. And let me know their reactions :-)

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  14. How true!! I thought I was one of the very few perennial worriers. Thanks for throwing light on the fact that most of the women actually are so.
    Ur posts reminds me of the YouTube video seen a few months back. The speaker (forgot his name ) was citing the differences in man-woman thinking. And the concept of nothing box where a man can sit for hours together without thinking surprises me still :)

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    1. Really? But don't men think about sex every 9 mins!

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  15. hmmm..i think more than a man-woman thing..its just how some people are..my dad was one big worrier, the biggest I have ever come across in my life while my mum was such a bindass lady, sadly while passing away suddenly he seemed to have left over the worrying part to her....now she is the big worrier.

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    1. Like I said, women worry on behalf of their family so that they can sit back and relax :-)

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  16. I liked this part the most....."Once she’s made all her friends as miserable as her and gotten unsolicited advice that she’ll never use, she sits back and sighs in relief" and yea its soo true....

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    1. Hahaha...That's what Facebook is for, no?

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    2. Yeah. no doubt abt it ;-)

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  17. Hahaha.. Worrying is intrinsic to women and that is why we complain why men are so cool about things. "And since the brain is woefully inadequate to keep up with her, she thinks with her heart as well"..loved this line

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    1. The key to happiness is to stop thinking :|

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  18. Thank god I am not alone.. But the part that you call about care, that making frantic calls if the better half does not call back within 10 mins of landing, my other half tells that it is nothing but useless panic fuelled by technology making it easier to connect.. This is because in older times when mobile phones were not there or even before landlines existed such expression of worries were not visible so much I guess.. Hence easy connectivity has raised the immense pressure to connect back within a comparatively small time of disconnect.. If not done, panic ensures, usually with the fairer sex.. :(

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    1. Nope, my Mom did it too. But she had to wait till my Dad got home to drive him insane.

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  19. You remind me of my mother, so much of her. Always worrying, always thinking of the worse, teary if we dare to tell her not to worry so much. A woman's mind, and now that you've said that it is inadequate, her heart too, are volcanoes, ready to erupt all the gruesome details at any time. I might cut the call, but dare not let it go unanswered when my Ma calls lest she may start to wonder why am I not answering the call.

    You remind me of myself, when you imagine yourself down in that manhole. What is worse is that I can actually feel the breaking of a bone, that tearing feeling, that hotness even when my hand is not on the stove. I can feel every part of the pain that I can imagine, though I don't as much feel the opposite side of this feeling; that feeling of being swept away in the flood and being at the mercy of mother nature is just, heart breaking. I shudder often if I read the newspaper as I place myself in the place of people, thankfully my brain hasn't found much taste or delight in reading it.

    I can now understand why people say women have trouble keeping secrets secret. It is because the secrets are too much on their already overworked minds. But worrying too much doesn't justify hurling flowers (along with the vase)at your loving husband.

    This post also reminds me of a small joke by Russell Peters on women, He says women are thinkers. Here is the link if you might want to know what goes on in our heads :D

    Wonderful post!

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. *He compared me to his Mom. Does he think I am old? Have I become old? Is this the end of youth! OMG* :D

      On a serious note, it's always such a pleasure reading what you have to say, Anshul.

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  20. Hey Purba. nice to be at your place dear. and what a ride that was, I chuckled quite a few times.

    Women are born worriers, I loved that for one. I had learnt that women are born warriors, you showed a different side to me for sure. ha ha, superb post dear. :)

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  21. And I thought I was the only one! Hubby swears that that I also worry that I may not have something to worry about the next day. Sigh

    :)

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    1. ROFL! This has to be the funniest comment yet.

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  22. Aaah, finally. I thought I was weird . Thanks for writing this and confirming that I'm neither an alien or a weirdo. Nice post Purba.

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  23. I do think about falling into a manhole, falling down while riding my two wheeler, falling down from the stairs, drowning in the swimming pool and of course meeting with a terrible road accident. In fact when something happens to someone I know I imagine myself in their situation and worry about it. A lot.

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    1. Sigh! It gets so draining, getting hurt, burnt,drowning,choking....

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  24. By God women are crazy! Is there any surprise then that all the manholes of the world are out to get them??

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    1. Of course, we are! We are nutcases.

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  25. I made the husband read it and he is happy that he is not the only one living with a specimen that worries at a rate of ten to the power of six per nanosecond. I agree completely, we worry so much that being worried becomes an integral part of us. Yes, we do care :)

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    1. Sigh! Worrying is such a worrisome trait :/

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  26. Oh purba all along I was thinking I am the only crazy gal on that boat . Now after reading this I realized that many women are. Atleast you are. Feeling good about it . I myself don't read newspapers much for that matter hi hi . The only thing I have not worried about is worrying itself :)

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    1. Believe me, I was in the same boat and was readying myself to be called a nutcase after I published this post.

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  27. Am I the odd one out here? I do worry, but over years have come a long way...no petty worries any more :)

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    1. No dear, you are the wise one :-)

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  28. My theory is that worriers simply try to be one step ahead of the problem. If there's a bomb blast, a killer on the lose, a gang trying to break in... what would I do? I think the family might wonder what's wrong if I didn't have anything to worry about. Nice one, Purba :)

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    1. ROFL! We worry ahead of our times. Loved your logic,Khoty!

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  29. Absolutely loved and completely agree with Suresh C's comment about women up above. One of nature's biggest mysteries is how women end up being the strongest in times of crises especially when they are such a worrisome lot.

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    1. I guess it's because we fancy ourselves as pillars of strength for our loved ones?

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  30. Thanks so much for this post, much relieved now. phew!! This is so me. Sometimes it becomes so overwhelming, this worrying all the time. You want to stop but does one have any control??
    I think it increases when a woman becomes a mother (or may be it's just me).
    Everything is okay is what one wants and aspires for...sab theek hai na!! gosh!!!

    Thanks again....I will make my husband read this post.
    And, yes my husband also hides newspaper/news/details of a crime from me. Infact, I also try to restrict myself to the magazine section of the newspaper.

    Nidhi

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    1. Believe me, I am as relieved as you are!

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  31. Before, no matter how frantic you were, you really had to just bite your nails and worry yourself to death with the dreaded possibilities. I mean, we never had mobiles so once the person had left the house, there was no way to contact them unless they called from an STD booth. Do you think our next generation will ever understand that concept of our 'stone-age' life ? :)

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    1. My daughter thinks television was yet to be invented when I was born.

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  32. It definitely isn't too much to ask. We are certainly born worriers. Manhole, ditches, bumps, stairs.... everything is a hazard.

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  33. Oh my God!! Did you just come inside my mind?? :O :O

    I worry, worry and worry all the time...

    Just today I made by husband remove the lock from one of my french windows for the fear of getting locked out in the grilled balcony with no one at home or to help!!

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    1. Guess what! Every time I go out of our apartment to dispose the garbage, I fear being locked out :p

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  34. Don't we all have an over-thinking cranium. Its how we tackle it and deal with it. Well written and yes - funny too.

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    1. But over-thinking for all things imagined doesn't help much.

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  35. Purba, that is a marvellous play on the word manhole. The rest of the post is in synch with your usual style.

    I guess that is not limited to the womankind. Most of us have fertile minds that work overtime in negative waters. The other day I didn't allow my teenage daughters to cross the Link Road (trust me, it links directly to hell, what with the motorists and bikers gone bonkers). It manifests the worst in terms of biological horrors, however. If my left arm hurts I am sure I am going to have a cardiac arrest, if I my eyes throb I am sure I am going to have a retinal detachment, if my bowels growl I suspect nothing less than the Emperor of Maladies. The list is huge but I must stop boring you....

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    1. The more we love, the more we fear.

      And thank you so much for your kind words.

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  36. We men are also worried all the time, but on more serious things like bar timings, falling rupee(though we are not very sure why we should be worried about it),car scratches, gf's mood etc etc..

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    1. Hahahahaha, Santosh!

      And the falling Rupee is a real worry for all of us.

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  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  38. "We are willing prisoners of our paranoia’s." - True, true true, all the way. And you don't need me saying this to you. 70 others above me have! :)

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    1. :-) With great love comes greater attachment and the fear of losing it all.

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  39. Yesterday I imagined that my whole family was held captive by terrorists and that I had volunteered to be tortured so that the rest of my family wouldn't be!
    I felt very sorry for myself! :P

    Roshni
    http://www.indianamericanmom.com

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    1. Mwah, Roshni <3

      Women are capable of imagining an entire movie in its technicolour glory.

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  40. My biggest worry is when I am in a car or an auto and I keep thinking what might happen if I fall on the road while the car/auto is moving and how I can be injured for life or just die on the road and I wonder who will come to see me if I am admitted in the hospital and after all this I think what if thinking makes it real (law of attraction kind of thing) and go on to other things which might happen to me.. It is an endless train of thoughts.. Now I am really glad that I came across your post because I was wondering if I am the only one who thinks all these things. And not to mention if I will ever get married if I lose a arm or a leg.. :(
    Very well written :)

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    1. This post has made me realize that we women are certified loony bins :D

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  41. Hahaha....how very true;) All of us are just the same, aren't we? :)))

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  42. The kind of world we live in, it is but natural to imagine calamities happening to your loved ones. Believe me, I too worry about my family all the time. Of course, I do not have such a fertile imagination. I worry with a blank screen playing in the background most of the times.

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    1. Lol! We spice it up with gory imagery and background music.

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  43. Not really but then it is indeed too much to ask when we ask the same thing all the time.

    Reading you after so long, the style has changed a little and I am not complaining. I liked it.

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    1. I am not complaining either! I got to see you and your comment after such a long time :-)

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