Monday, April 3, 2017

Finding Me in Us


We have both found the ‘I’ in us and are not letting go of it. 

Every couple has their favourite chapter of their life they love regaling their friends with. Over the years their story-telling skills reach legendary proportions. They constantly scold each other for having missed the punchlines, laugh the loudest at their own jokes and pat themselves on their backs for having mesmerised their guests with their scintillating stories unmindful of their glazed eyes and loud yawns.

When they run out of friends, they wait for their kids to get married. Ask any daughter-in-law and she’ll agree, when-we-were-young-and-fabulous stories repeat themselves more often than history.

We have ours too and our favourite one goes back to our just married days. At that time we were two individuals with likes and dislikes as mismatched as Pahlaj Nihlani and rest of India’s views on censorship. The tea fanatic in him was appalled that his brand new mate for life couldn’t stand the sight of tea and preferred a glass of milk instead. The poor guy had envisioned both of us sipping tea and exchanging life’s philosophies with the setting sun. I was the Rajmah, bharta girl and he was the potoler-dalna, machher jhol guy.

Since we were in no mood to push our tastebuds out of their comfort zones, we’d cook our own meals. It didn’t help that we fell in love with each at different points of time. I mean when you are in love, don’t you partly surrender your ego and partly embrace his while he tch thchs at your temper tantrums?

He the rice eater would fix a 3 course meal in our dingy kitchen of our barsati half-submerged in his sweat-pool. Me, the roti girl would wonder if married life was about rolling amoeba shaped chappatis after a long day at work.

I think it was me who caved in first because I still remember how long and loud my Maa laughed when I told her I’d just had roti with aloo-posto. [To the uninformed, this is close to sacrilege]

As time progressed, our love matured from the tumultuous river gushing down the hills to its serene and deep version meandering through the plains. We embraced each other’s passions and peeves (most of them) while discovering new ones together. While we still stuck to our rice and roti ways, he learnt to appreciate chanaa masala with a hint of tanginess and I started cooking machh, chochoris and sukto during the weekend that we both ate with relish.

We’d cherish our us-time even if it meant watching a Hindi movie with me he didn’t quite fancy.

Not anymore.

For someone whose life revolved around her family and work suddenly decided she was missing the woman shorn of the roles of a mother, wife, daughter and sister. So I started thinking of things that made just me happy. It helped that I had just left my job with a fair bit of coercion from RayMan. With leisure time on hand I was now actively pursuing interests that I never had the time for.


I became selfish. This selfish pursuit of happiness led to a lot of discoveries – some pleasant, some not so pleasant. I discovered the writer in me. I learnt to dance like no one’s watching. It helped me let go of a lot of inhibitions or was it the other way round? I was always into fitness but these days I push myself beyond my comfort zone as I grunt embarrassingly. My many injury marks, sore muscles are testament to it.

I guard our us-time as zealously as my me-time with my friends. Friends that found me through my writing, friends that I found at unexpected places and moments.

It’s not as if this search for individuality hit me only after I hit my 40’s. It would rear its head from time to time but eventually go back to its hiding place.

I have become quieter and louder at the same time. With zero fucks to give, I wear what I want, disregarding sanctimonious advise on how women of a certain age should dress, peddled by beauty magazines from time to time.

My vocab has become as bold as the colours in my wardrobe. I have learnt to pick my own battles rather than engage in tiresome arguments with everyone that annoys me with their moth-balled opinions.

We are still the couple that completes each other’s sentences and are amazed how we thought of the same thing at the same time. I replay all my bad puns, jokes for him that I have unleashed them on the unsuspecting world. We laugh at each other, with each other, even louder when a minister from Rajasthan says with pride, cow is the only animal to inhale and exhale oxygen. When a motorist overtakes us from the wrong side I cuss louder than him. Our favourite part of the day is the morning when we sip tea together as we pore over the newspapers, smiling occasionally to the call of the koel or a peacock.

But I have also reclaimed my individuality. Interestingly it’s no way similar to the girl who stubbornly stuck to her rajmah and butter paneer, wore beige and greens, lost her temper easily but could never say no even though it made her unhappy.

From the two vastly different personalities who fell in love with each other, became us, we have become the couple that has gone back to square one. Only these days I have my matta rice while he has his basmati. I have to make two different versions of porridge – one with sugar and one sweetened with dates. He refuses to share my new found love for raagi idlis. In fact my changing tastes dictated by health gurus leaves him cold. And sometimes I dig into a big slice of cake just to make him happy.

While I watch Riverdale, he watches Stephen Colbert make mincemeat of Donald Trump yet again. I don’t mind when I have to hunt for cinema mates for a Hindi movie but sometimes I do manage to drag him with me.

We have both found the ‘I’ in us and are not letting go of it.

We are at that stage of life when we are comfortable with the silence between us. The furious tapping of the keyboard, rustling of his favourite magazine, loud exclamations as I read some article interrupting our reverie. Occasionally we will seek each other out to share something moving. Otherwise just to know he’s somewhere there, just within my arm’s reach is all I need.





61 comments:

  1. Your story is a common dilemma I'm most metro homes now, Purba:)

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    1. I don't think of it as a dilemma, Rahul.

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  2. Lovely! Loved the way you describe how you both reach this stage of Life.

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  3. Wow! So beautifullly echoes the story probably every love story goes through... and biy.. arent we glad you chose to write!

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    1. Though I ended up writing mostly about our dietary preferences :p

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  5. you last sentence sums up the the whole article beautifully :)

    "Otherwise just to know he’s somewhere there, just within my arm’s reach is all I need"

    Reaching the above stage has now become a new life goal for me :D ;)

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    1. Each relationship is unique. What works for me may not work for you.

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  6. Perfect recipe for a healthy 'US'- follow your 'I' and respect the others 'I' too.
    Nicely penned,as always.

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    1. Your comment beautifully sums up my post.

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  7. Nice one and should be a common tale in all married couples for long. But like the way you write..Which is not everyone can do..

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  8. Brilliantly penned down. A great read!

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  10. I think we each discover the perfect us in our relationships. When to nag, when to accept and do much more in between. The most beautiful part of companionship is how we adapt to each other. I've seen myself change so much over the years from a docile, quiet girl to someone who is a firebrand and knows how to speak her mind. And he as well - - from our eating tastes to travel to hobbies, even the clothes we wear, has each other's influence. Enjoyed the read. Could relate with it a lot.

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    1. Hard to imagine you as docile, Rachna.

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  11. How delightful was this!
    But I am devastated that tea finally got you! I have never ever understood why it does to people what it does!

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    1. But I part ways with it when it's peak summer, unlike your undying love for Ms Fresh Lime.

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  12. I think you must have finished writing this post very fast... Every line seems straight from the heart and there is an unedited candid beauty about the contents.... Wishing you many many more years of blissful silent togetherness

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    1. On the contrary, Jaish. I penned it down taking breaks and took 3 days to finish writing it :-)

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  13. Relationships slip into a warm rhythm over the years, when even irksome habit become a source of comfort for their sheer predictability! I would compare it to a pair of slippers that support the feet and mould themselves to the shape of the feet. And yes, when we no longer need to work at the relationship, but can feel secure in it, we begin to find the I too, provided we have not lost it somewhere in all the struggle of the years!

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    1. You two are my ideal couple, Zephyr.

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  15. The easy flow of time polishes both,and also the relationship.Slowly we learn to accept the other in totality,and even begin to smile at the idiosyncrasies.

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    1. Then why do some much married couples fight all the time?

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  16. This is such a beautiful love letter I am sure Mr. RayMan is one hell of an awesome guy :)

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    1. He is, Prasad. I am lucky to have him in my life.

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  17. I so enjoyed reading this post :) Thank you for sharing a piece of your beautiful growing together story. Interesting to know you are a fitness freak. It definitely in your prettiness :)

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  18. Ah! The glorious journey of self-discovery while growing together. I'm sure the RayMan will be mighty pleased to read this :)
    Stay blessed, Purba and RayMan :)

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    1. RayMan and Raywoman appreciate your good wishes and thank you from the bottom of their heart.

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  19. I am in that stage of life in which staying within each other's arm's reach can be fatal for both :D

    But glad to know that this stage may arrive if we survive!

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    1. Anita here from Mirroring My Thoughts :-)

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    2. There was a time when we used to fight every weekend. It had become like a ritual for us.

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  20. RayMaa, you're incredible when it comes to defending your 'I'. Loved it to bits yet again.

    But hey, I see a shade of Amol Palekar and Bindiya Goswamy in this story? Does any one else too?

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    1. Lol..which movie are you talking about?

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  21. Marriage is tough to make work. Despite all the love in the world, love ain't enough. Probably finding the I in US makes it easier.. :) Loved what you wrote..So True!!

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    1. The worst you can do for a relationship is giving up all that you love.

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  22. "We are at that stage of life when we are comfortable with the silence between us"
    That is the best stage instead of the earlier stage when silence meant wondering what did I forget. Its companionship in the end and that is all that matters (except deciding who is cooking tonight).

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    1. For that I have perfected my hangry look. One look at my face and he's off to the kitchen.

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  23. This is such an honest submission of the growth of the two of you as a couple! Kudos ������������

    I can so much relate to this as it is in somme you parts similar to ours. Wonderful and brutally honest writing. Loved it ������

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    1. I'm glad and thank you for reading.

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  24. Lovely narration ! And didnt Khalil Gibran say "..but let there be spaces in our togetherness..". So few people actually follow it !

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    1. Even I discovered it pretty late :-)

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  25. Beautiful article. I could connect as we too have come a long way to being us and also finding ourselves while being together. Again simply beautiful. More power to you!

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  26. It was a lovely read, Purba.

    By the way, I often relish aloo-posto with rooti.... :-D

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  27. That was put so beautifully, it could have been a blank verse called "Union of Rajma-Bharta Girl with the Machher Jhol Boy and Their I's". A touching and revelatory journey through the valley of life to whom I can easily relate.

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    1. Crests and troughs of life, together we shall overcome.

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  28. Enjoyed this unique story telling of love with Rajma, Roti, Bharta and of course Pahlaj and issues of the world. Quite a tale of romance the Machher Jhol way. Love it. How you said you are more bold and unconscious in living life.

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  29. That looks really great.

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