Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Honesty is such a lonely word*

I've been having a lot of chats with people on the subject of honesty. For example, I wish The Dragon had been honest with me about whatever it was that was bothering her about our relationship, so we could have tried to fix it, instead of sneaking away into the night like Barney Stinson. I wish I had been able to be honest with myself about how I felt about BBot and how he was disappointing me much earlier, so we could have escaped the long and drawn out ending.

The one big honesty question that comes up though is: Should I tell my SigOth I cheated?**

Now y'all know what I think constitutes cheating, but most people don't agree. Everyone says you have to tell the person it happened. I'm not so sure.

I did begin on this whole, ultimate honesty is always required--if you love someone you shouldn't lie, etc. A lot of this came from people trying to let me down gently and me reading too much into it, so I'd say, just TELL me straight out that you don't like me like that, don't string me along! Then, also, I had that whole sex-is-sacred-and-can-be-had-only-with-love thing going on. This, coupled with crippling insecurity meant that of course it was unacceptable for anyone to cheat, and then to not tell me would be compounding it horrendously, because you had BETRAYED MY TRUST IN YOU.

Then I went and grew up a bit, heh. I learned that the only person who could heal my insecurity was me--cos no amount of reassurance will stop me from needing more, and if what I have with someone isn't enough, they'll leave anyway, so why spoil the time we have together by stressing about it? I realised that sexual fidelity isn't a big deal for me, so whatever. Sure tell me about it, or not. Just use protection, kay?

Dan Savage, that wonderful man whose columns you should subscribe to if you're on Google Reader, has a very valid point, one that I have come to see myself.

The reason we tell our SigOths about one night stands is this: we are guilty; we hate ourselves for doing this, usually because we know they would not like that we have done it; and we really want to atone for our error and ease that guilt. But, and it's a big one, exactly what does telling your beloved partner that you got drunk and hooked up with your ex one night when they were gone achieve? Do you want to leave the SigOth? No. Do you want to do it again? No (If the answer is yes, THEN you have a problem). Not knowing that you slipped up will not hurt the SigOth. Knowing that you did and then having to deal with their own insecurities about you leaving them, when you have no intention of doing so, will traumatise them, and possibly forever destroy their ability to trust you or any other partner, and thus their peace of mind.

Telling someone about a hookup serves one purpose only--to make you feel less guilty--and not very well at that. You can tell yourself you've been honest, but then you also know you've hurt the person horribly, and you are guilty of a far worse crime. Yes, you can argue that if it hadn't happened in the first place it would all be moot, but nonetheless, in terms of the pain you cause your partner, telling them is a far worse crime. And yet, they will want you to tell them, because of this 'sacred covenant of honesty'. Makes no sense to me...

*Hands up people who've heard the song.
**Here I mean unplanned, random hookups, one night stands. Not saying that other kinds aren't fine, but that goes into the whole how-you-define-your-specific-relationship thing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bringing sexy back

How cliche a title heh.

So, moving on from all the various things I've written on the subject of body image in general, and mine in particular, the writer of this article has exactly the same beef as I do with the world today. Why does everyone outwardly subscribe to that stupid stupid idea of sexy that is narrowly defined by society?

Mind you, I'm not saying I never do--whether in myself or other people. Yes, I'm often uncomfortable at parties and clubs because I don't think I can begin to compare to all those stick thin, silky-haired drop dead gorgeous women floating about (nearly literally). Yes, I usually expect guys to not find me attractive, though it rarely lasts past five minutes anymore thank god. Yes, my heart skips a beat when I see a tall, lean man who is clean-shaven and wears nice clothes.

But I also never, ever, thought I would be practically incapacitated by my attraction to short guys, fat guys, hairy guys, tattooed guys, long-haired guys or bearded guys. But it still happened, mainly because I was willing to give it a shot. And it worked. Similarly, I am often blown away by the power my body has over a variety of guys--but only those who are willing to admit that the social requirement of a attractiveness in women is not really valid in most cases.

So what is with us? We all know that different things work for different people. We all know that, when it comes down it, you can't really see the other person and they might really have moves that melt your bones. We all know that often a mental or emotional reaction can obliterate or outstrip any physical connection you might have. But we still continue to buy into and feed this whole idea of beauty, male and female, that causes so much misery!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Maxi Me

In one of those delightful convergences, The Bride had this post up this morning. I say convergence because this idea of who I am and what it means as I've gotten older has been occupying my mind a lot of late.

Regular readers know about all my issues about my physical appearance, and how my personality can and does intimidate and put boys off. However, living in New York, being in a relationship for two years, finding inspiration in work, generally just growing up certainly seemed to have calmed a lot of those anxieties and issues. And yet, last weekend, I refused to take my shirt off with a guy I already had incontrovertible proof was very attracted to me. So I spent the week wondering why on earth it had happened--what happened to all my hard won confidence?

The oldest personality I remember having was a loud and enthu child who hero-worshipped her older sister and cousins. I also demanded a lot of attention, but that is something I only know now, with hindsight. I also got that attention from everyone but my mum, which of course is what led, in a very pleasing manner to our dear friend Sigmund, to many other issues. I was also spoilt and thus ate badly and ended up fat at a very young age. It happened between the ages of 8 and 10. I remember I put on 4 kilos in a month when I was 8. That's a pretty nuts.

This weight began, obviously, to erode self-esteem, cos I'd be teased about it, goodnaturedly in my family, and meanly outside. I became less confident in myself, how I looked and how people felt about me. I think that's when I became the really needy everyone-must-like-me me, and as a consequence, the doormat me.

Doormat me stuck around a really long time. As a teenager, I really wanted the cool kids to like me, and I bent over backwards trying to be that person they wanted me to be--it backfired, of course. Less self-esteem.I was also smarter than everyone in my class, and the boys did not like it--the same boys I needed to like me, cos they certainly didn't want to date me. Crush after crush was into my friends, or stopped talking to me when they found out. It became the strongest weapon against me--so I never could show people they were important to me, because it made me vulnerable. I also slacked off like mad about academics--though I think not pushing myself if I didn't care about the subject is a fairly innate characteristic of mine.

When I went to college, I regained some confidence about my brain. It was cool to be smart. I had friends who were smart. We all faffed and still did well. My inner romantic flourished, along with my inner optimist. I even liked a boy who didn't run when he found out--my first love. But he did screw with my head. Maybe he didn't mean to, but he did manage to obliterate whatever vestiges of confidence in my body I had left.

I returned to my MA, social and friendly and proud to have a brain. I made a lot of friends. And yet I was severely depressed--I even did some silly things as a result. I tried to embrace pessimism, to not expect things from other people, but it only made me more miserable. But I never, ever, not even with my closest and dearest friends, showed how I felt. It seemed that my earlier reluctance to reveal vulnerability had solidified into an inability. When I started therapy and finally told my friends, who included The Bride, they were aghast, saying they'd had no idea. And, honestly, how could I have expected them to, when I never ever gave out a hint about how I was actually miserable that every guy I thought I connected with only wanted my friends' numbers? It became this sort of conflict between rational and emotional--I could hardly demand that someone be interested in me, and yet, it hurt terribly that they weren't. It hurt even more watching them be happy with my friends, and yet I could hardly wish unhappiness on my friends or blame them for not knowing how I felt when I didn't tell them.

That was Conflicted me--I was open and friendly and would tell you anything you asked; I would show emotions for other people, and my own happiness, but I would never ever show you my tender spots. and then I was hurt you couldn't guess where they were or even that they did exist at all. Conflicted me still had Doormat me, just with more sass. I needed to be needed, and I wanted to swoop in and save people, which meant I put up with a lot more shite than I needed to--something that continued or a long time.

Then I moved to New York, and finally began to feel like I was attractive. Several boys managed to talk me out of the belief that I am unattractive. I began to be more willing to say what I felt, albeit politely. I began to agree to disagree. I found that socializing was an innate part of me. I didn't need to make polite conversation, but I was happy to hear about what anyone did or though,. I began to think about politics and economics and development--and suddenly had so much more to talk about and so many more people to talk to. Therapy had taught me to not be ashamed o what I felt on an emotional level, regardless of rational opinions. You cannot tell yourself not to feel something, you can only feel it and get over it. It was okay to expect things from people, and okay to be hurt when they disappointed you--no one had to judge anyone for expecting or disappointing. I would say that this was New York me: confident in my ability to attract men, able to hold my own with a stranger, able to put people at ease and make myself at home in most situations.

Then I had to move back. At first I was very upset, but then I found a job and made friends and settled in. I found many many boys who found me interesting and attractive. I was now a bit blase about attractiveness, but still devastated that no one seemed to want to be my boyfriend! Then I found one. I found the best friend-circle ever. I had a shite job, but I'd never cared about career, so it was fine. That's when I became Balanced me. The boyfriend did not, however, do much for my self-esteem, because he blew hot and cold like mad. Again that rational-emotional disconnect kicked in, because I couldn't demand that he be besotted with me, but I needed him to be. And because I needed him to be, I drew the lines all wrong at the beginning, which is really why everything began to fall apart once I realised I wanted to move the lines. In a lot of ways, that was still Balanced me. I had learnt to deal with my emotion-logic disconnect. I knew who I was--and I felt no need to hide it. Yes, I was promiscuous, before BBot. Yes, I was very smart. Yes, I was not conventionally attractive. So? I was a strong independent woman and I was AWESOME.

And then I moved to Delhi and broke up with BBot. Suddenly I was Doormat me again. I don't know what happened, but SIW me had gone into hiding. Then The Dragon dumped me too, and I thought I wouldn't recover from that. It was almost as if that fifteen-tear-old whose class had formed a MinCat Hating Association was back, curled up in a foetal ball in the corner, whimpering. I was nearly thirty and I was lost. It felt like the past decade had been erased. No one would want me--and unless I either got a lucrative career or a husband, I'd never be able to afford to have kids, and that was all I wanted.

And then The Architect happened, the job love happened, I found friends in Delhi--and I think I'm nearly Balanced me again. But I am Balanced me who is aware that Doormat me still lurks beneath the surface--and I don't know when she will take over. Still, I now know more than ever, that I don't want to settle: not in relationships, not in career, and not with friends. I know that I am honest, often brutally, especially with those I care about, but I can and will tell lies if they are needed. I know that whoredom is difficult to define, as is fidelity. I know that agreeing to disagree is all very well, but sometimes you need to agree. I know that I will always be social, enjoy socializing--even need it. I know that there are absolutely no hard and fast rules, and I'm immensely suspicious of anyone who thinks there are. I also know that there are things I will not enable. There is a line. It is here. That's it.

What about you? How did you become Today you?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In which I acquire Career

People who have known the kitteh for a long time, or even have been reading the blog for a long time, will know that I really don't get career. I never have. Half the problems with my life stem from the fact that I'm not inspired enough by anything work-like (academic or employment) to make me take it seriously, devote all my time to it and allow it to use up all the brainspace I own. OOF used to have a theory that my "planet-sized brain" needed something to occupy itself, which is why I spent all my time analyzing myself and everything everyone did or said. Spot on he was, too.

I always swore that the only career I anted was a family--and that society was cruel because it didn't allow me to express that or reach for it without judging me for "wasting my talents", etc. I bemoaned that fact that I was drifting and couldn't find focus; and that the only thing I wanted to do with my life, I had no control over, because you can't force love. (Though, as you know, I tried ;) I was doomed to float about unfulfilled and uninspired. sob.

Then, a month ago, when I began to understand my new role, I suddenly found myself thinking about work when not at work. Huh. I found myself *not* obsessing about boys! (GASP!) Then I got promoted, and the new work began. The transition was insanely busy, because I had seventeen projects to hand over in one week. I didn't have time to breathe. Now they're all handed over, and my workload has lessened dramatically, but I am still thinking about work outside work. I find myself constantly thinking of ideas to apply in the office, people to talk to, and wanting to read literary non-fiction!

Most importantly, I don't really care about the boys that much anymore. I have met one more interesting chap, whom we shall call Chocolate Boy, but really, I have stuff to think about--can't waste every minute interpreting everything he says or does! It's most liberating.

The disturbing realization I had yesterday, however, was that apparently I have been so obsessive about boys over the past six months that all my friends interpret every statement I make in the context of a boy. Telling Scoo how I gotta read more litfic, I said I have to push. Chocolate Boy? she asked me, leading to me moaning and saying nooooooooo myself! to read litfic!

But I guess I can't blame people for taking my years of protestations seriously!

P.S. Any literary fiction recommendations? Published after 1990, not too depressing, not Young Adult? Am thinking of doing a series of reviews/responses to the litifc I read. And ahem also finish the Mahabharata.

In which I talk of boys--AGAIN


Some of you might remember a certain gentleman who went by the moniker of The Architect. The Architect is a boy I met on okcupid, went on some dates with, and liked muchly. I was thrilled by how he wanted the same things as I did--to meet someone, settle down, start a family, etc; to be happy by his own definition of it and not by some random social yardstick--and he is an extremely talented photographer. He really liked me, and was sweet and nice. He wanted us to be a couple, in all of one month, and I was so happy I'd found a boy who wanted a relationship and made no boned about articulating it and working towards it! And so I acquired a boyfriend.

Ladies, a word of advice: If you don't like it when a boy kisses you, do NOT date him.

I went home for Diwali, and he was very clingy. He got clinger by the second--with total disregard for my sleep he'd insist on talking at 11pm, 6am, whenever he wanted to, and I, pathetically spineless, felt bad about saying no. Eventually I started saying no and he got even MORE clingy--attributing my refusal to lose sleep and talk to the fact that I had a social life. He whined about how my friends and my socializing took away OUR time together, even when I was in Hyderabad, I was out and couldn't talk to him on the phone. When I came back from Hyderabad, he came over to spend time with me, and we watched a movie. The entire time he had his arms clutched around my arm, staring at me. It began to make my skin crawl.

He also turned out to be BBot, just without the fun bits. 

So I said, listen, this is too much too fast; we clearly don't know each other enough--you had no idea I'd b so social, I had no idea you'd be so clingy--let's go back to being friends and see. It's probably too soon for me to be in a relationship anyway. He said okay. And didn't stop clinging. Sigh. Eventually he asked me, about two weeks later, if I'd made up my mind about us being in a relationship. I gave up and said listen, not happening. At which point he kinda lost it and began to rant and rave and scream. Entirely fair, since, a month earlier, I'd fancied myself in love with him. Then he called me horrid names, at which point I said, dude, go to hell--only nicely. Haven't heard from him since.

The things I learned about myself from this whole mess are interesting:
  1. I simply cannot put up with people who are always clinging and needy--when here I thought I's always want a boy who couldn't stand to be without me.
  2. I am definitely not calling anyone my boyfriend unless I'm REALLY sure I want to marry him. Though I suppose I did think I did with TA. Maybe I mean that I'm not calling anyone my boyfriend till I'm sure I know him well.
  3. I really need to be with someone who is sure of himself and in himself, who can and does enjoy a life independent of me. 
  4. I need to be with someone who enjoys socializing--because I love people and I'll always want to be around people, even if it's only four friends in my house. I tried twice to be with guys who didnt' enjoy it but were okay with my doing it and it's not enough, cos I'm such an extreme socializer!
  5. I am really just fine being alone until I find the right guy. Settling is not an option. Whod'a thunk it!
  6. I also do not have the energy, patience or reserves to coax another person out of their own issues and into fairly normal relationship behaviour.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

In which I become a titch obsessed with the Gandhi family and unusual consequences follow

**Edited a bit for structure and content.**

(I'm wondering I should be posting this kinda stuff on teh interwebs, it IS open to misinterpretation hee...)

So I recently got promoted at work (YAY ME!) and am working much more with the core business as it were--reading manuscripts and looking at them for structure, flow etc. One of the CEs asked me to read through this book on a Gandhi that we're doing, and it turned out to have me comprehensively hooked. I even cried at one point, which says more for the storytelling than the story cos, um, everyone knows the story. Anyway, apart from the information in the book, I've been Googling to fact check etc, and I find myself drawn into the whole narrative of Indian politics. (Okay, also into oh my GOD Rahul is so cute, and he hangs out at Khan, should I start skulking around Khan?)

My family has always been pro-Congress. I imagine the older people have their reasons for it, and we've never discussed them. I remember growing up with the Congress as the party people supported, but hey, when I was 10, it was pretty much the only proper party around. Then all the other exciting events of the nineties happened--Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated when we were joyriding in the US, the gold crisis, Babri masjid, Bombay riots, Manmohan Singh hero, Narasimha Rao tales of the neither-man-nor-beast figure who would save the world i.e. India, etc. I was fairly detached though, and never gave much thought to voting.

I finally turned 18, just after the BJP came to power with the NDA government. I was revolted by militant anythingism, so I was not happy with them. In 2004 I was delighted to be able to vote, but very upset because my options were a Soni Gandhi-led Congress (i.e. expected Forn PM) and a Vajyapyee-led BJP (i.e. good man in psycho party). I voted independent. I look back now and realise it was stupid thing to do*, but hey we do stupid things at 22. Then SG shocked the world by turning down the PMship and dear blue-turbaned Manmohan Singh began his first term.

All in all, UPA I was a shocker, a gleeful one for the Congress, but by the end of its term all one heard was criticism of it. All the young businesspeople, urban working people, people interviewed on TV ranted about how we needed the BJP back, just before the 2009 elections. That time I voted Congress. I REALLY wanted them to win. But, like most people, I didn't expect it to happen. Still, I was okay with it, cos well, the voice of the people, etc etc. And then the Congress went on to do even better than in 2004, AND Rahul Gandhi kicked ASS in UP. Jubilation! Joy! Etc. And then I forgot about it.

My political interest flickered into faint life when KCR, with the help of his terrorist supporters, successfully blackmailed the Centre for Telengana. Aside from some cursing of hunger strikes and people who use em, I tuned out soon enough.

Cut to 2011. The world has been going nuts. More hunger-striking blackmail. Scams crawling out of the woodwork everywhere. Manmohan Singh loking more and more like an ineffectual idiot man--which he isn't. But he's not a politican, and what we need now is a consummate politician at the helm. (By we I don't mean the Congress, FYI.) So what happens in the next election? Who do we vote for? Is the rural vote going to remind us, again, that urban India is a minor part of the entirety of this country?

India really needs leadership at the moment, someone who is able to take decisions. Now, setting aside MS's ability or lack thereof as far as taking decisions is concerned, any PM would need support in Parliament. Whatever your policies, unless you can enact them into law, you are faced with a problem. This is where the past decade or so of coalition governments has been so crazy.

Coalitions do not strengthen us in India. They weaken us. They give a minor party, with very specific regional interests, the power to manipulate the Central government, and how. Yes, regional interests must be looked after, but probably by giving states more power and moving to a more federal system. The government at the Centre needs to have the freedom to act if it needs to.

Granted UPA II is insanely corrupt. But who isn't? It is a system that awards the corrupt; it is shortsighted and filled with people who are mostly there to grab their fifteen minutes of fame, whatever material gain they can get out of it and take off. Of course this is not true of everyone in politics in India today, but the hierarchical geriatric trends in leadership are worrisome. If you aren't related to someone big, or you don't have a vote-bank, then you can't really get anywhere. So essentially, the system has to change. But that will take time. And until then, what choices do we really have? What does the Indian voter do? I cannot say that I am Congress supporter anymore, but what choice do I have but to vote Congress? Do I want to vote the BJP in? No, because they are definitely extreme. (The Congress however is extremely un-extreme hee.) Really, what are my options? Mayawati? KCR? Modi? The DMKs? The Shiv Sena? The TRS? No, no, a thousand times no. The least of the manifold evils remains the Congress, though I would love to be at a place where I could vote for a party for what they are instead of what they're not.

Which is where I return to the Gandhis. Dynastic politics are not a good thing--but sometimes the dynast has the ability to change things the way someone else might not. Some say, and I'm partly convinced, that Rahul Gandhi is one such person. HE has actually made a dramatic difference to the way both the NSUI and the IYC run, and might even be able to transfer this to the main party. The tough part is going to be keeping favour during the transition, because I'm fairly sure they're going to do badly in the next elections.

Ironically, for someone who is where he is and has the power to effect the kind of changes he wants, he owes it all to the very system he's trying to topple--and he knows it. Whether he will be effective or not remains to be seen--but I hope he is. (And no, not cos he's such a dish. Which he is. *swoon*.)

*The concept of party consistency and the policy of the government being dictated by the policy of the party had not sunk in yet--I was still mired in the cult of personality, and knew more about the US President and his powers than those of the PM here. Also, a stabler government is usually better, as coalitions have taught me this past decade, so randomly voting for an independent does nothing much for anyway, except to make a statement about not ovting for the parties. The independent is unlikely to win, and ifs/he does, the party that forms the government will have to cobble together a crazy coalition.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And I'm back

It feels good to move on =) All the posts from the other blog have been imported.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Modern Marriage*

None of the emotions that we expect to find inside a good modern marriage are unusual in themselves. We find them well described in art and literature across all cultures and eras. What makes modern marriage extraordinary in its ambitions is the expectation that these emotions should reliably be entertained over a lifetime with the very same person.
From this article.

Writing to a friend about relationships, and thinking about myself and my own fears/worries/apprehensions when it comes to my own very new one, and the memory of the last one, I was reminded of this article I had read ages ago. This point it makes is something I strongly feel on an intellectual and rational level**, and have discussed a billion times, of course, with The Bride. What can/should one expect from a relationship? What will one realistically get? Where to draw the line between compromise and doormat?

For starters, the article says the phenomenon of expecting everything from your partner only came about in the mid-eighteenth century, creating an idealized notion of marriage.
The new ideal set before the world the compelling notion that one might solve one's most pressing needs all at once with the help of just one other person.
I love that sentence. It so beautifully describes what we all do to relationships today. By we I do mean a specific sociocultural class of people. Everywhere you look, you are told that the ideal sexual-romantic life is one where you party, have multiple partners--but not, if you're a woman, too many--and then one day you will meet this Person, in whom you will find everything. He will find the snow globe you lost and thought you'd never find; she will fix your broken psyche--whatever it is that's hurt or sore in your life will be made magically better because this Person is so exactly your complement that nothing will ever be difficult anymore.

So why does this happen? (De Boton goes into a really cool politicized historical reading of this whole myth, so read the article.) I think sometimes that in the modern world, we've moved away from the family unit as it used to work. Families are nuclear, if that, and the speed with which society is changing means that there's a lot of generational conflict. Essentially, it's harder to feel one has the cosy comfort of love and belonging with one's family, especially if one doesn't know one's cousins. (I mean, not knowing family members means the likelihood of finding kindred spirits is lower. I do strongly think that family matters, just because, despite how much they can annoy me, there are not many people like my family outside, and on some very basic level they just GET how I work, which often takes a lot of effort by both of us for an outsider.) Then we also tend to move around a lot--some people travel too much on work to build a community of friends, others don't stay in one place long enough; very few people get to be near their families even if they are close.

This generally makes life feel lonely. So when you meet someone who you think can be your companion, they have to be mother, father, sibling, lunatic cousin, best friend from school, best friend from college, dance partner, singing buddy, drinking buddy--you get my drift. We begin with the weight of so much expectation, even if it isn't conscious or articulated. The expectations that many people quibble about in relationships--call me every day, don't be late, hang out with my friends--are really nothing compared to this!

Then, popular culture teaches us to believe that there exists a person who is perfect and not only can and will, but actually wants nothing more than to be all this to us. If you don't find this Person, you're settling. And settling is bad. In actual fact, finding a person to be everything to you is not really possible. So settling isn't settling. but we think it is, and we always hope the perfect thing will come along--there is no such thing as perfect.

(I find myself doing this all the time, and I'm trying very hard to just stop myself and ask myself one question: when you're physically with him, are you happy? The answer was no by the end of BBot, and the answer is a resounding yes with TA. I hope that works as a guide!)

I find so often that women are angry that their boyfriends don't respond the way they want, or like the things they do. You can't possibly have one person to like everything you like, and thin like you, and know how you feel all the time. It generally works if you have friends who can take up the slack. Sometimes you're both having an awful time, sometimes your problem is the other person--how can you turn to them to solve it? (And trust me, it doesn't work!) A guy will want to solve your problem--even my dad is like that when I call him upset. Sometimes you want someone to listen. A guy might not want to giggle for three hours straight. Sometimes you need to do that. Your SigOth might not want to wake up ay 6am and go birdwatching. Sometimes you might want to do that. You can't give up your lives so all you have is the space they intersect--and you cant force the intersection larger. That's why god made girlfriends and poker buddies ;)

In the end, I think one question you need to ask yourself is: Is there anyone else I want to be with? By anyone else I don't mean David Beckham, or your ideal partner, but an actual person you know who makes you think 'oh I could be with him?/her'. And if your answer is no, then leap on in. Because one thing we always forget is that relationships are SO MUCH WORK. ALL relationships. My parents and I do fine because of all the work we put into it, and still have to for maintenance. All the love in the world is not enough sometimes when you've had really bad days and you know each others vulnerabilities. At the end of the day, thats the key. Whoever youre with, however sorted they are, you'll have to work HARD to be happy. There is no one you can be with where it'll all be easy and simple--the only way you'll ever know if something can work is to jump in and try. The leap and the faith.

*Marriage here standing in for relationship, committed or not so committed, but essentially being with a person in a sexual-romantic way that implies building a life together.
**See, I'm not saying anything about the emotional way I interact with this idea ;)

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Owlie is my niece's blankie. He is the most insanely cute baby toy I have ever seen. I remember when I saw him, I wanted one. Woggles was so thrilled with him that Scoo promptly bought two more, another Owlie and Moo-moo. I'm hoping I might inherit one of them some day.

This post is, of course, meekly copying The Bride's idea.

The first stuffed toy I ever got was a bear called, imaginatively, Teddy. (We got very imaginative in the middle, you'll see.) I don't remember him in all his glory--I only remember him when the felt has all worn off, there were holes in the fabric through which bits of sponge would fall out, his nose had come off, and he had buttons for eyes and well buttons. I don't even know what eventually happened to him, but I loved him so much.

Shwetu was the next one. She was a baby with a walkie talkie and blonde curls that my aunt, from the US of course, gave my sister before I was born. It tickled me to death that she was older than me. She was very realistic and would flop pathetically if you didn't hold her arms and feet in and support her neck. She has a hideous pink-green bindi on her forehead, and at some point I think my grandmother made her a dress to replace her ratty original white and pink one.

The third toy from childhood was Dapple Gray. He was a stuffed donkey--small and plaid, but we decided he was a dappled gray horse. Yes, really. And even when my grandmother recovered him in pink silk (!) cos we demanded it, his name stayed the same.

After I turned six there was a flurry of toys from the US--Roger, who was a black poodle, and Chingu, who was a panda. Only Chingu's real name was Chingling Mingling Pingling. Then we got another panda, and a scary looking tiger, Mayling Chayling Payling (Mingu) and Tiggery respectively. I was terrified of Tiggery--I wouldn't walk through the room alone when he was there. Both Chingu and Mingu needed reconstructive surgery every so often.

There were divisions, but Scoo and I shared most of the toys, except for the occasional really special one. Scoo's was Acoon, a raccoon, who now lives with her in Oakland.

Of all the tons of other toys we had, including legions of Barbies with extremely inventive names (we kept a register with all their names cos each had at least two and a surname), there are only three who are still around. When my parents moved in 2002 I asked them to give the chest away because it broke my heart that all my toys just lay in a chest; no one played with them, talked to them or even looked at them!

Bear, a giant black bear, I acquired on a trip to the US. I remember flying Emirates back form Sharjah and carrying him on board--he was about half my size--and all the air hostesses cooing. He lives in my bedroom in Hyderabad now, and is trotted out to scare/amaze/amuse visiting children, especially if they are smaller than him.

Caramel is a smaller bear, light brown, who lived with me the first time I moved out of home in Hyderabad, and shares my bed now whenever I visit. He was The Bride's favourite too whenever she slept over. I remember her telling me he was a perfect gentleman, and then the two of us giggling like lunatics.

Which brings me to the main man in my life, Apollo. Apollo is a St Bernard I have had for eleven years now. A then dear friend who stood in some sort of brother space in my life gave him to me when I was leaving for college in 2000. He was white and brown and had the cutest pink tongue that stuck out. You couldn't see his eyes. I used to have him dry-cleaned once a year. Heh. Now he's been squished and squashed and squeezed so much that he's gotten flatter, the white bits are a dull grey, his nose has been peeled off because I have kissed it so much, he's been cried into endless times, his eyes are visible, he's had surgery at least once and he's travelled with me to New York and now again to Delhi. He is currently giving me lumbar support. Every guy I've dated has had to come to terms with his presence and importance in my life. BBot loved him so much he demanded custody when I was in the US last year, and nearly didn't return him. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Suicide: A Death of One's Own

Was reading this long and lovely article today. I'll be honest, I have no idea who she is, this woman who put a bag over her head and peacefully left the world. There is just something about the article that struck me. Early on, it describes this strong and very feminist woman thus.
She took Woolf’s concept of a room of one’s own to heart. In fact, she had several. There was one at her sprawling Central Park West apartment, purchased for tens of thousands of dollars in the sixties, and another at her country house (she had a “bat house” nailed to that house’s barn; Heilbrun loved bats). Then, when she was 68 years old, despite having three grown children, two grandchildren, and what by all accounts was a loving marriage, Heilbrun bought another house, all for herself. She wanted a house, she said, away from the “family togetherness” of the other house—“small, modern, full of machinery that worked, and above all habitable in winter, so that I might sit in front of a fire and contemplate, meditate, conjure, and, if in need of distraction, read.”
Then it says:
Heilbrun’s suicide was an act of will, an idea brought to life. It was something she chose, by herself, for herself. ...
And Heilbrun was nothing if not sensible: She made what she considered informed decisions, and seldom second-guessed herself.
 So there is a picture they have taken pains to build here. And then they go and print this.

In the days since her mother’s death, Margaret has been up and down: She is not quite sure what to think. “It’s not that I’m angry as much as I’m mystified,” she says. “She had so many more friends than I did—friends and acquaintances, people who looked up to her, who saw her as a nurturer and role model. Was it that she herself had no one to turn to? Why did she feel so isolated? She must have had fears and other feelings I can’t begin to have known. I know for myself that if you’re scared enough of something, you won’t ever speak of it.” She twists one of her rings. “But,” she says, “it was her plot.”
I don't understand why, if the case they have been building in the article all this time is to have a death of one's own, why they needed this quote from the daughter. It's also interesting to think that this closest daughter of this unconventional woman, with a very strongly and clearly articulated stance on life, has such a conventional reaction/interpretation. (Ok I'm not being horrible she lost her mother she wants solace, she doesn't want to believe that her mother decided to leave her, I get it.) The fact that it's in the article sort of undermines the whole thing for me. The point is that this woman made all her choices and lives by her principles. To me, it doesn't seem like such a terrible thing if, like the witches and wizards of the Discworld, you could know or even choose when you leave the world. You lived the life you wanted to; you have achieved things you think are worthy; you're done. You leave.

Sorry this might seem random but it just really struck me in the context of this particular women, about whom I know nothing, in this particular article, that it turned something of strength and fire that she had built into something banal and trite. Why do it?

P.S. On a lighter note, here's an idea to adopt from her life! Her children, "In their teens, they were each suddenly required to cook dinner for the family once a week—it works out perfectly, Heilbrun told friends, as long as you’re willing to eat peanut butter and jelly from time to time."

Monday, September 26, 2011


Not to indulge in it too much, but when I went to the doctor on friday, and again this morning, for my evil bitch ass tonsilitis, I realised that the man, despite being phoren educated and working, and putting his registration number on the prescription, he would only talk to me in Hindi Which meant that I responded in Hindi, but then I couldn't really describe the horror of my plight in the most accurate way.

Funny, cos down south, an urban middle to upper middle class doctor would never talk in local language unless patient couldn't do English..

Also, my friends keep singing those handclap game songs, you know biscuit biscuit what biscuit cocoa biscuit what cocoa while clapping hands madly in rhythm kind of stuff. But the same rrhymes, saying the same things, are in HINDI! Again, no problem with that, but even in a school where we didn't actually talk to one another in English, we sang the songs in English.

Is it just cos the likelihood that someone in Delhi speaks Hindi is exponentially higher than the likelihood that someone in Hyderabad will speak Telugu?

Edit: super advantage of north Indians not speaking English--when a telemarketer calls and babbles shudh matrubhasha at me, I just say look, I don't speak that much Hindi, I don't want to buy anything, so if it's anything else please speak to me in English. They say, aap ki samay ke liya dhanyavad and hang up.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fighting in the Family

Did you know that the Mahabharata is cursed, and if you read anything but the holy bits, it causes fights in the house of the reader?

Nona told me, when I told her I was reading it, not to read it all at once, but to read it in bits of I'd fight with people. Another spiritual/astrology friend I have, who would know this kind of trivia, told me there would be fights in my house. Interesting, no?

I think it might apply only to the Sanskrit though.

However, out of deference to Noni and the size of the book and the weird looks it gets me, I'm reading it alongside other books.

Friday, September 16, 2011

In which we wonder about crimson phalluses and dark-skinned beauty

A very long time ago, The Bride and I decided on a reading project--The Mahabharata. I think she, like the good girl she is, finished it and wrote about it at length. I, however, didn't, partly because the unwieldy hardback translation I had required bedtime reading, and once I started travelling and going out at night I never did read it.

At the book fair I found Rupa selling the Ramesh Menon's modern rendering, as it's called, and it being paperback and two volumes, and eligible for publisher's discount, I bought it. I'm progressing in leaps and bounds. The prose is lucid and chatty, and retains enough strangeness and Sanskrit to remind you that it is an ancient epic. There is none of the awkward syntax that so annoyed my friend who also read Kamala Subramiam's translation. I'm about 260 pages in, and the Pandavas have reached Kampali for Draupadi's swayamvara. Apart from the fact that I love that they have their South Indian names--Arjunaa, etc--here's what I find interesting so far.

Menon's prose is very luscious--descriptions are vivid and evocative, but sometimes make me flinch a bit because they seem OTT. There are some pieces of description that certainly appear to be superfluous to me, especially considering this is an abridged version and, even if this is in the original, there really isn't too much need to translate it. My favourite example, while describing Bakasura sneaking up behind Bheema:
His head was in the trees, as he stood quite naked and motionless, only his strange phallus twitching with the lust of the hunt. He saw what Bheema had done to the food. The rakshasha's hairless body quivered. His crimson organ subsided like a distraught serpent, and rage replaces excitement in his tiny eyes.

Really? Is the 'strange twitching phallus' really necessary? Or its deflation as it were? My friend says it's a deep mellu obsession with sex, so Menon can't fight it.I wonder if his editor at Rupa tried to stop it...something tells me no.

The ideal of beauty is dark-skinned. I wonder if this is so in the original! Here's a quote describing Draupadi:
The burning stillness assumed a human form. There were long, dark arms there, a perfect head flowing black tresses. As Drupada, his wife and the rishis watched, stunned by her incredible beauty, her skin dark as night, her face and body so perfect they were from a more pristine time, a young girl stepped out of the light.
Then, earlier on, talking of Hidimbi:
...she had turned herself into a dark human beauty...Dark as night, and as enticing...
There are more, but I can't be bothered to dig them out...

There's no gray in his characterization. Again, I don't know about the original, but I know Kamala Subramaniam, or atleast the part I read, definitely had positive and negative sides to characters. As Jai puts it, Duryodhana is a tragic hero with a fatal flaw, not a psychotic evil motherfucker (my words, not Jai's), which is how Menon paints him. I kind of want to slap whiny bitchy Arjuna, and am immediately suspicious of Duryodhana's evil, because there's no cause! Why does Dritharashtra turn gleefully evil in the twinkling of an eye? In every other rendering of the Mahabharata I find I am always drawn to Bheema, but here even he is annoying cos he's just so fucking perfect, especially the way he's all rowf rowf command me o master and I shall destroy for you. My personal favourite Bheema is in Palace of Illusions. The only mildly human character so far is Vidura. More updates once I meet Draupadi and Krishna!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When funny doesn't happen

Teh interwebs were aflame yest, at least here in Delhi and India, with this post by 'A South Indian Girl', that perhaps started out trying to be funny but ended up being vitriolic and venomous, and kind of making the case for a nice big SMACK.*

It made me cringe, because I like to think of myself as a sambaar (not sambhar) eating, dark skin loving south Indian girl from a family that abounds with wry and sarcastic humour, often at the expense of stereotypes, but somehow, when I came to end of that tirade, I wanted to say, no! I am not that kind of south Indian girl. This is not to say that I don't think there is a positive goldmine of fun to be poked at Delhi boys, some of it in her post, especially when seen from the perspective of Chennai/Hyderabad/Bangalore girls. I think it could have been done better. In fact, it could have been done like this, wittily, and then would have made its point and been funny too.

The thing is, dark skin and ability to pronounce dosai aside, desi boys are desi boys, whether Delhi or not--they all have their problems. No, I don't want to hear you talk endlessly about engineering, coding, banking or whatever 'higher' form of intellectual pursuit you think you indulge in just because you went to IIT, South Indian Boy. I don't want to hear about your BMW or party life either, thanks Delhi Boy. Read a book. Both of you! And no, Chetan Bhagat is not a book. Neither is Business: The Ultimate resource. Or Algorithms & Data Structures: The Science Of Computing.

Ask me about myself. Yes, really I am a person. No, seeing your eyes glaze over when I say I studied English is not appealing, SIB. Yes, I know it's not engineering, science or commerce. No, it does not make me a wasteful burden on my parents. And no, DB, just because I went to St. Stephen's I'm not a snob. Really. I don't know designer brands, and I rather like my whiskey cheap. That's right, no single malts.

SIB, your IQ might be an astounding number, but it doesn't entitle you to look down on people, or to stand in a corner and refuse to talk to people you haven't known since you smoked up and headbanged to Fear of the Dark in 1999. There is more to life than academic/career excellence. If you spend all your time at work and can only talk to people you see at work anyway, then you better be dating your colleagues. DB, you might have the looks of  <insert Bollywood hero of choice> but I really can tell when you're looking at your reflection in my glasses and not actually at me. Both of you, the size of your bank balance does not make up for the size of your personality. And no, not the 'haalthy' type personality. 

To be fair though, my favourite kind of desi boys are those who don't grow up in their home states. Just the ability to understand that normalcy is defined differently in different parts of the country, and no one type is better or worse than the other is a great help. also those desi boys who are used to SIW. There is nothing sadder than the boy who is petrified and emasculated by a woman who sees no need to make him feel like a MAN. The desi boy who meets an SIW and matches her stride for stride, word for word, who genuinely listens to ehr and considers her opinion, without dismissing it just because you know he knows better cos he's a guy, or he went to IIM--that my friends is the best kind of desi boy. And the rarest.

*There's this one girl i know from Hyderabad who posted this big quote with the link when she shared it on fb. I'm like girl when have you EVER lives in north India, let alone Delhi! You have to have fought off the gropers in the mudrikas, beaten an auto driver down to come by meter (though Chennai girls are exempt), had a slanging match with your khadoos Punjabi landlord, had abuse and lascivious suggestions hurled at you from passing cars filled with Delhi boys, and so many more rites of passage before you have the right to slang those boys. You hafta LIVE the war to tell the stories and have the PTSD.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The new man in my life

I decided to stop whining, and refrained from posting self-indulgent nonsense. Thus the silence. Ahem. No, it has nothing to do with me being generally a sporadic poster No sirree.

However, I have big news. There is a new man in my life.

His name is Sameer. He's tall and fit, funny and sweet and I see him nearly every day for about an hour or so.

He's one of the trainers at my new gym.

Yes, ladies and germs, GymKitteh is BACK! (Interestingly they were playing Shady's back at the gym this morning.) GymKitteh is a lot of fun--she has channeled all her rage at self-absorbed exboyfriends and selfish disloyal exbestfriends into FINISHING THAT FUCKING SET! This means she has endorphins throwing Mardi Gras parties in her system all the time, and sleeps like a dead person. Which means she is a WHOLE LOTTA MORE FUN! And types in caps a lot ;)

Anyway, Sameer and I had a very itneresting conversation this morning, where he asked me if I had seen Bodyguard (based on Whitney Houstaon Kevin Kostner??) and I said no, movies are too expensive these days. (True dat. I spent THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY rupees on a chick flick that had half the good bits cut!!!) 'Arre madam main toh bas download katra hoon sab ko. Aap ko chaihye?' was his reply.

Sameer's most endearing trait is the way he keeps saying shaabaash--I haven't had that said to me since I was eight and the gardener was helping me learn to ride a bicycle. Second highest on the list is the fact that, though he isn't *my* personal trainer, he seems invested in me, to the extent that he kept an eye on me today, despite my having  been farmed out to someone else (Dharmendar) and noticed that I had been abandoned and was gasping and wheezing and trying to life the puny minimum weight on one of the chest workout machines. (When he'd been standing there the previous day he was pushing the bar too, so I could move it.) He must have signalled to someone else because another trainer (Raj) came bounding up to help.

I'm hoping the general well-being from channeling all the ugh out and the joys of DOMS will keep me at it--and maybe I'll lost some weight along the way and no longer be afraid to take my clothes off in front of a boy.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Who knew?

That I'd reach a point where I was shy, and nervous and not READY for sex? And it's not like I don't like ot trust the guys involved either.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


When I was very young, more than ten years ago, I wrote a poem that a friend and his rock band later turned into one of those opeth-type depressed metal songs. It's running around in my head today. It was called Futility, and it still makes me cringe. But it's speaking to me today. At least part of it.

I cannot speak
Trapped in a bubble
Tears sting my eyes
I cannot fight
I can see it all
The ground rushing up to meet me
Nothing can break this crashing fall
But it never ends
Deeper into the pit
Bottomless black pit
Screaming in terror
Soundless screams
Beating the walls of my mind
Trying to break free

I don't know why the abyss is always so close these days, or why I keep coming back here to talk about it. I don't want to--I'd like to write about real things, not my own perceived and fairly unwarranted angst and despair. But I can't.

Maybe I'm here because the blog-space is the first space I ever felt free to be me in. Maybe because of the unconditional support I have had from all these strangers who know me so intimately, people I have never met who still reach out and send me virtual hugs. Maybe because when I'm typing here, my voice cannot break, and no one will hear my sobs or see my tears. Maybe because I can let myself be self-indulgent, because in the real world I have no reason for such sorrow.

It makes me feel better to think that someone, one person, will hear me. Maybe if one person could hear me say these words of fear and despair, words I cannot physically say, it will ease the weight they put upon me.

What happened to me today?
My niece is talking up a storm. She says words in Spanish, that she learns in daycare. I haven't heard her ay one word. I haven't seen her, even on skype, in a month. That little warm squirming squealing creature does not know me, and some days she is the only thing that makes me smile.
The Dragon has decided to take sides after all--or at least she's ignoring that only thing I asked her to do: not share the "BEAR" love on facebook. She has also not called me or reached out to me in any way. Part of me wants to make her admit it, make her see what she has done. But part of me knows that she never will admit she has done anything wrong. And a third part of me knows that I might not be able to deal with it when it is confirmed that yes, she would rather have him in her life than me.
My boss is being a bit annoying--which every boss is entitled to be, and nothing near the scale of annoying bosses can be. But I care so very much. Because this job, that pays me a pittance, this job is supposed to be what I get from my life and my choices. This job is supposed to make up for not having enough money to think of saving, for not being solvent enough to contemplating adopting kids this year, next year, or even the year after.

If you make all the unusual choices, if you take the road not taken, isn't the point that you will be happy because you're not stuck in the same rut as everyone? Is my road not taken still too taken? Is this really as good as it gets?

Should I give up,
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere,
Or would it be a waste?
Even If I knew my place should I leave it there?
Should I give up,
Or should I just keep chasing pavements?
Even if it leads nowhere

All the things they tell you about what you can be and where you can go--it's bullshit. Sometimes, you end up twenty-nine, lost and alone. And you know what, that's as good as it gets.

Maya Angelou

Says it so much better than I can.

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's getting quite cosy in here

At the bottom of my hole.

I realise that I have spent most of the last year in it, whichis possibly why it's all warm and familiarly bleak and desolate.

I’ve always been a kind of put yourself out there person—holdingback is something I’ve tried and failed at on several occasions. The mostmemorable was one that ended in such depression that I scared the watchman bycrying all night and he called my mum, who came home early from a trip. Therapyand changes to my life later, I realised that there was no point fighting who Iam: an open-hearted person who can’t really say no and can’t demand certainbehaviour from people. No, I’m not a little martyr, but frankly, if you have toask a friend to respect your feelings, then they’re not really much of a friendto you after all.

I try to see the other person’s point of view; I try toaccept their choices and let them choose how they will be with me, and I hopeearnestly that they will do right by me. A sort of do-as-you-would-be-done-byphilosophy. I wonder if there’s any point to it sometimes, but I know I can’t adoptdo-as-you-were-done-by strand of thought. I guess, for me, the lodestone isthis: when I look back at how I behaved in ten years’ time, will I be ashamed ofwhat I did and/or said? I’m not saying I always succeed, but I like to thinkthat I have always done right by the people I care about. I don’t always agreewith them, but I support them and I play by the rules of our friendship.

Sometimes, people screw up. When I care about them, I can’thelp but give them second chances, third chances, forty-fourth chances. Like I didwith BBot. Like I did with OOF. Sometimes I wonder if that’s the wrong way tobe. Should I simply stand firm on the one strike and you’re out principle? Willit save me from hurt and anger and loneliness? But then, if everyone is out onone strike, won’t I be lonely anyway? So where to draw the line? I have neverknown where to draw the line.

Maybe I embrace people too easily. As the Glare puts it, Igotta hike up my standards! Even Appa agrees, as he told me when I was sobbing onthe phone with them last night. You’re a warm and welcoming person, he said.But sometimes maybe you’re too welcoming. Sometimes you should hold back.

Ah if I had a dollar for every time someone’s said that tome. I might be able to adopt kids tomorrow.

But it’s not who I am, I insist. I am a loving person;I can’t hold back. It’s worth it for all the wonderful people I have in mylife. I might have a bad score for percentage of bad boyfriends, but it’s adecent score on the relative scale of horrible boyfriends. And I might have hadfriends desert me several times in my life, but it’s a decent score when youlook at the percentage of people I have in my life.

And yet, I am alone, and my ex-boyfriend is more important to my belovedfriend of eight years than I am.

I must be doing something wrong, no?

No, says Appa. You are doing nothing wrong. There is nothingwrong with you. You are smart and strong, and you will find your way.

What would I do without my parents?

And then he made me laugh, because he said this when we weretalking about my inability to find love. “Sometimes it’s difficult in your lifebecause you can’t find enough people of the opposite sex, or, as the case maybe, the same sex. But it will come to you in time.”

Yes, my crusty father, with his bizarre flashes of extreme authoritarianconservatism, told me he’ll support me if I’m gay.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A sigh is just a sigh

The strangely un-sad yet painfully wistful realization of today.

Sometimes you want to come home to someone.
Sometimes you want to bury your face in a neck and breathe deeply.

Sometimes you want to hear 'Gnight baby, I love you' as you fall asleep.

And if you've never been in a relationship, you don't know how much you can miss it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So much for posting regularly!

It *was* a long weekend. And a very social week. Followed by a vilely PMSey Tuesday. Anyway, the Bride has post up about bag so I am following.

I have this lovely orange sling bag that I bought, funnily enough. while visiting the Bride in HK. It's now three and a half years old. The main zip has been replaced. Last week, two more zips died. I gave up and started using another one. It breaks my heart, because I LOVE that bag. It has exactly the right pocket ratio; it slings across my giant expanse; it's seemingly bottomless and yet quite compact; it's waterproof!!! And, did I mention, it's orange??

Anyway, the replacement is boring black faux leather, but more capacious. Visibly so. It's one of those armpit bags that nestles in your armpit and this immobilizes one shoulder.

In it at the mo:
  1. Book. Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur. Young adult fiction--nice so far.
  2. Bag hook in its case. (This is a lovely thing that only works if you have a non-sling bag, or at least one that can be made to have a short strap. you put one end of this u-shaped object on a tabletop, and the other hangs below as a hook for your bag! First seen with Spanish Friend, and then late given as birthday present by Scoo's friend.)
  3. Wallet. Red, faux leather, and large. What's in it we shall leave for another post.
  4. Bottle of Moroccan Rose spray.
  5. Sunglasses in their red chinese silk case, acquired on same trip as orange bag.
  6. Case for non-sun glasses--black chinese silk.
  7. iPod
  8. Earphones (okay, technically they're currently spewing Dave Brubeck into my ears off Grooveshark.)
  9. Purple pen, blue gel pen and blue ballpoint pen
  10. Nailfile
  11. Nailcutter
  12. Keys to house
  13. Keys to office things (appropriately on keychain with wooden penguin on it).
  14. Assorted clips of various types and sizes.
  15. Comb (which I use once ever six months or so. Yeah, sue me.)
  16. Dupatta--to keep hair from turning to Puttaparthi Sai Baba and allergies from closing nasal passages. Occasionally to shelter the ladies from the penetrating stares of Delhi's male population.
  17. Pills
  18. Tiny LED torch
  19. Kajal, eyeliner, lipstick, lip pencil, lip balm (I only ever use the lip balm and the kajal. Still, just in case...)
  20. Fan. (Batik and bamboo, from Bali. Saves my LIFE on a regular basis. People start out laughing at me, but an hour later they're begging to sit next to me or to borrow it.)
  21. Cellphone charger.
  22. Empty lunch box.
If I'd done this yesterday, I'd have had my dancing shoes on that list!

Missing today:
Mosquito repellent. Lotion. Hand mirror. Pen drives. Lacto-calamine lotion.

This bag just doesn't have enough pockets! It's so annoying--I miss knowing exactly where to put my hand to find something.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


The past few weeks I've seen a few arty-type interesting-looking boys toting camera equipment walking busily around our market downstairs. Then, a new storefront, that I can see from the stairs as I hoof it up to the second floor where I work, came into being, freshly painted with this lovely red shutter. I was convinced the two were connected. One day last week, Favourite Colleague (FC) and I were mooching around the front of the office drinking chai, and I saw that the shutter was up, and a very lovely dark wood and glass door was visible.

'Oooo they've opened,' I said. 'I'm dying to find out what they do. I'm so tempted to pootle over and stick my head in and say hi, not to be creepy or anything, but I've been watching you set up and I'm dying to know what you guys do.'
'Well, why don't you?' asked FC.

I didn't have a reply really, so I roped him in and we pootled over. On first peek the inside had what appeared to be some sort of class, with people sitting on the floor around one person, and all their shoes were near the door. We concluded that it was some random class-type thing and nearly didn't go in. Then we decided that no, we should go in, just to ask. It turned out to be a rather interesting photography printing place, (which also turned up on my facebook page yesterday, how spooky is that?) and the interesting looking boys who owned it were photographers! So we had a nice chat and I fangirlishly promised to keep coming back and so on.

Last Monday, at an alcoholic launch, I did the same thing, and ended up befriending a woman who teaches in a college here, another woman who writes on spirituality, and then four girls who do design and suchlike things, and a very pretty English boy who works in publishing.

What makes this remarkable is that I haven not done something like this--make friends with total strangers--since college. I can't say why, but it's a side of me that I thought had sunk into oblivion--for whatever reasons. Since I came to Delhi it's been even harder. But it seems that the Inner Kitteh, as it were, is resurfacing. Rejoice ye all, and hide ya who fear the person who befriends you regardless ;) It is such a great feeling; I feel like I am coming back to life (ugh for the phrasing), and fulfilling all the promise of who I really am.

Monday, August 08, 2011


Since it's happening next year, and I'm planning great Plans for it, I thought I should make a bucket list. I have done a post along these lines in the past, but this here is the real deal, standing solo and not in comparison to something I wanted at oh twenty-two. (Aw geez was I *ever* that young ;))
  1. Learn to scuba dive
  2. Take photos underwater
  3. Become fluent in one of the following: Hindi, Tamil, Urdu, German or Russian
  4. Take a cruise (monetary circumstances being what they be, methinks this won't happen till thirty-five. But one can hope.)
  5. Bake foccacia and pita bread
  6. Take a road trip. Anywhere. Any length. But you know, a road trip. This might end up being part of the birthday plans, a la Zindagi Milegei Na Dobara (or is it the other way round and this from the Rock On song?)
  7. Settle down. Stop twitching frantically at everything in sight. Seriously, calm the fuck down.

Cheap Thrills

On Friday, I had something happen that hasn't in a very long time. A boy, whom we shall call Overachiever on account of his, well, overachieving past, picked me up, took me to dinner and then drove me home.

But surely this is hardly an event of note, you might cry, Gentle Reader.

The thing is, it kind of is.

To begin with, my over assertive independence means that I don't usually ask for rides, unless it's really late or totally on someone's way. Second, I don't know a lot of people with cars in Delhi--the only ones have been girls so far. Third, Delhi being the size it is, and my own laziness and poverty being what they are, I'm usually asking people to come to my house and drink cheap whiskey.

Anyway, the thing with this boy is that the last time we hung out, surprising--to me at any rate, since I had no idea he was so inclined--events transpired. Not very many, and since I'm trying to neither talk nor think about this situation (and failing on both counts) I shall stop there. The idea was that we go get drinks and dinner, and since it was late I asked him for a ride home. At which point he said, yeah I'll pick you up too. And thus, there I was, at 8.45pm, running down the stairs from salsa class to jump into a car that was waiting for me downstairs, with the air conditioning running, and smelling of cigarette smoke, driven by a smiling boy in work clothes.

It really took me back back back to before BBot and I were dating, when he did give me the occasional ride, and of course, back to when we were dating, and he always drove me everywhere. Maybe that's why the very fact of being picked up, and then being dropped off, as close as possible to the stairs to my flat, and then running up the stairs after a quick goodbye hug, felt so disproportionately gleeful.

And no, I don't know if it was a date. It could have been one, but only the context of those events.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

How to make sure your female friends never introduce you to their hot friends

I have this friend. He's all of 24, very sweet; one of the nicest people I know. I haven't talked to him in a long time, and when I did today, I told him I've moved and have a new flatmate. Girl or boy? he asks. Girl, I say. Is she hot? he asks.

Why oh why does every straight single guy I know do this?
This being ask me about my friends, right off, in terms of their hotness. I mean, more relevant questions would be is she nice? Is she funny? Is she easy to get along with? But no, apparently the most important thing about my having new flatmate has nothing to do with our interactions, but with the faint possibility that there might, someday, be a chance to tap that.

Wednesday Guy did this too. He was in Bangalore and, while chatting with me about friends there etc, he asked me if I knew any hot chicks in Bangalore. Which was stupid of him, because my immediate reaction was, well, if I did, there's no way I'm introducing you now you shallow pervert, because clearly, all you want is to find hot chicks you can tap, and aren't interested in conversation, company or friendship.

Okay, maybe I'm overreacting a bit, but seriously. What do you think I'm going to say? Yes, these are my hot friends, go and be creepy with them?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Too Independent?

While moving house this weekend, several people offered to help. One actually did (most kindly, even though she was sick, she drove the thirty kilometres to my house and bullied me into actually packing), but I had declined most offers. When I went to one friend's house for dinner on Saturday, he asked me if I'd manage, since he was one of the people who promised help--but in the way he wanted to, which was coming to oversee the movers in the evening, regardless of the fact that I was moving in the morning--and wasn't going to deliver.

I looked at him and said, of course I'll manage. I always manage; what's your point? I've always moved house by myself. (Except when I was living with dragonfly, when she and her then boy helped. But even then. I just benefited from her presence cos her boy was helping her.)

He looked a bit shocked and said, maybe you're too independent.

It's a lesson I've learned well now: I'd better be able to do it myself because what's the alternative when people let you down? Curl up in a ball and refuse to move? The only people I know will always be there for me, regardless of anything else, the people who I can call at 2am and say please, come and help me pack up my glasses, and they will come, are my parents. And Scoo, of course.

But it made me think about it. I realise that I wasn't quite as cynical about this pre-BBot. (Hee shall I create my version of BCE and CE: BBB and ABB?) I put a lot of pressure on that relationship, maybe because people have let me down in the past, and I somehow thought that a boyfriend wouldn't--surely it's in the job description? I guess some teenage and early-twenties relationship experience would have helped eh?

When I was moving house in 2009--about four and a half months into our relationship--BBot swore he'd dedicate the entire weekend to helping me pack and move. He was buying my couch off me as well, so he'd come and oversee movers for that, etc. My parents asked me if they should keep the weekend free to help, but I blithely told them there was no need; I'd got it--my friends, more importantly, my boyfriend, would help.

The Friday before the move, there was a mad house party. As I've said in the past, BBot didn't make much effort to get to know my friends, especially at that point. I knew that it would end up being like a frat party, with everyone completely smashed and behaving outrageously. I also knew that he would neither indulge in that kind of behaviour nor enjoy watching other people do it. I told him. He insisted on coming anyway. Predictably, he did not have fun. He got increasingly upset as the night went by, and I got increasingly drunk and crazy. We got home, and the next morning he wouldn't look me in the eye or talk to me. I tried very hard to coax out of him what the problem was--I figured he'd felt excluded and rejected and was upset. He yelled at me, telling me that I was crazy. We were all behaving like spoiled college kids. Didn't we realise we were adults and should behave like adults? Grow up! he exhorted me. I was pretty hurt, so I got angry and told him that he was being ridiculously judgemental, and I had told him not to come! He left. I didn't hear from him for two days--the two days he was supposed to be helping me move.

I called my mum and ran home to be fed and cossetted a bit, and she came back with me to help me pack. My dad came with the movers and oversaw them and took the truck back home with all the stuff. I made two trips to my new place with my stuff, and dumped it. Eventually, BBot showed up, with his flatmate, to collect the couch. I was thinking wtf dude? He skulked about and muttered to me how he felt left out and alienated by my friends, and he was sorry he hadn't answered the phone or even called me, but he really did need the space.

That might have been the beginning of the end. We managed to drag it on a while though eh?

The effect this incident had was twofold.

First, that's the first time in my adult life that I had fully put my trust in a guy, and he crashed that plane well. Second, that was the first time I had put all my belief in our relationship and he kinda pooped on it. Especially because he kept saying it was my fault for taking him to that party. I don't think I was ever able to put that much faith in him and his commitment to our relationship ever again, which is why he probably felt he was not man enough for me etc etc.

The thing is, the universe gives women very contradictory signals. On the one hand, you're not supposed to put expectations on people because then you'll be disappointed and it'll be your own fault. On the other hand, women must be frail and delicate and need men. You may say I'm simplifying it, but even if one looks at the middle ground--be self-sufficient, but don't be incapable of asking for help--once you've been let down enough times, regardless of emotional effect, you kind of just get used to doing it on your own because it would never get done otherwise. Also, some sorts of gender-based divisions of labour are hard to incorporate in your life simply because you do live on your own for a long time before there is a man to kill the spiders or change the tyres*. You can't live your life unable to do these things until a guy comes along! And once you're in the habit of doing it yourself, you're in the habit. It's hard to change. The older you get, the harder it gets. Of course, one hopes that the older they get the less men care about this stuff. I'll keep you posted on that.

I do know women, like Dragon, who are totally capable but manage to exude this aw-pore-lil-me thing that has men flocking to drive them places, buy their drinks, carry their bags and help them with this, that and the other. I just can't do it. What you see is what you get. Growing up, Amma taught us to be self-sufficient--always be able to carry your luggage on your own. Learn to change tyres and lightbulbs. Try doing it on your own first!--and so I had to learn to ask for help.And once I did, I found it's harder to deal with help being refused or, worse, promised and then denied, than with just having to take care of yourself. So I can't deny that a large amount of my independence has more to do with fear of those two things than with actually being self-sufficient. Deep inside, I *do* want to be able to sit back and rely on someone. I just don't want to deal with the crashes, or even test a relationship that much.

*Completely random choices; I realise there are many kinds of roles and thingies. substitute whatever works for you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Unsolicited Advice

Expanding on the life lessons from before, here's a pithy phrase to keep in mind when you're breaking up with someone.

If it doesn't make you feel better, don't do it.
Regardless of how much better it makes them feel.

You're both going to be bad guys, so don't lie down and be a doormat. Give yourself sympathy. Breakups ARE shitty.  That's kind of the unavoidable innate nature of them, and you can't make it happy and sweet and kind. Don't try.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Circumstantial Infertility

I was at a dinner party at a friend's on Saturday, where someone brought their insanely adorable 18-month-old daughter. Half French and half Mizo, that girl was too much. She was cranky as hell, because it was past her bedtime, but I managed to coax her out of it, and we had so much fun. My friend, the host, who loves kids too, was very miffed that she took to me, because she doesn't like him much. Cheap thrills. He asked me how I was so good with kids? And I said, I dunno, maybe I was born to be a mother?

At this moment, two of my closest friends have kids, Scoo has a kid (aka the Centre of my Universe, or Her Ladyship), and six people I know are going to have em in the next six months.

It's a very strange time for me. I love all these women (well the ones I know well at any rate), and I'm so happy for them. But it also really hurts every so often, because all I have EVER wanted was to have kids, and I haven't the faintest prospect at the moment. I even think that one of the reasons I have don't have a Career is because I don't care enough about anything more than I do about raising a family. Perhaps the cooking ties into this too, and perhaps that's why cooking is something that does inspire me.

Don't get me wrong, I have no illusions about how exhausting and difficult it is or about how much it can swallow you up, emotionally, physically and mentally. I know it's not roses and kittens. But there's something about kids. They love me; I love them. Maybe because I am not at all self-conscious about 'behaving like a child.' When I'm around a kid I have a legit excuse!

Anyway, the Bride pointed me to this lovely piece, where I got the title of this post from. I wish more people would write things like this, so people have to think about what happens between the cracks. And so they stop saying 'Oh you've got tons of time!' There's only as much time as you want there to be before you start feeling it's too late. If feminism is about choice, then what happens to those who choose they want children? All the freedom means someone like me--who might have had an arranged marriage and kids by now in a different time, and been perfectly happy--is wandering around in circles and questioning her sense of self and belonging.

Of course, you could say that I am not circumstantially infertile because I do want to adopt after all. Still, it's not a financially viable option.

I am terrified though, that I'll be her in the end. Maybe I should be a Montessori school teacher, or run a daycare!

Friday, July 29, 2011


I was gonna write a long post about how dating is such shite in India these days (maybe it's Delhi, maybe it's everywhere, maybe it's my age...) but eM scooped me. Still, go read and pretend it was me, so that I'm not violating my new must write rule, even though i don't have internet at home and am moving this weekend...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fables of Friendship

(To expand on yesterday's post and this abrupt decision. I warn you though, there might be a lot of angsty person rants on the subject of BBot in days to come.)

While ranting to the Bride about how I love my blog name and I do not want to lose it, etc., she raised the point that, well, it's not really possible to hide the blog from SigOth for ever; also, why would you want to?

I completely agree.
If we break up and you continue to read my blog, you should expect that I might say uncomplimentary things about you.
The problem is that I'm a bit pathetic, and so don't want to inadvertently hurt his feelings (okay DIDN'T want to...now I don't give a flying fuck). I still kept at it though.

However, an unsavoury development occurred.

I've always believed that when you're dating someone, especially when they're officially the girl/boyfriend, it pays to get to know their friends. First, it's highly likely they are people you will like, since you like the SigOth. Second, you will not always force them to choose to make time. Third, and this is the most important one, they can give you insight into the SigOth, and help you when you're in a dilemma and need to know more about this person you've upset, by shedding light on something in the past, or something about their habitual way of expressing themself, that will make it easier for you to reconcile. So I made it a point to befriend all of BBot's friends in Hyd. I'm very glad I did, because it brought me three people who are now exceedingly valuable in my life.

BBot, on the other hand, isn't quite as social as I am, and didn't really try. Even though Dragon, for one, and he are ridiculously similar, he would only bristle when she came to visit, and make no effort at all. Though that's probably my fault for telling him one day, when he'd let me down for the seventh time, that my friends thought he was bad for me because he never put me first. He was a fool, because he'd have gained a great friend, and a lot of insight into me, and maybe our relationship would have survived, because someone ELSE would be telling him he was deliberately misinterpreting everything I said. I might also have not got exhausted at being the chief counsellor and peacemaker for both of us, having to explain to him everything about myself and having to guess everything about him.

Anyway, cut to January 2011, when he was visiting, and all we did on the visit was fight and cry. He'd stal off to the balcony to smoke, with Dragon, and they started bonding. The next time we met, in February, things were as bad between us, if not worse, and he got all the fun and comic relief he wanted from hanging out with her. Which was fine by me, because I was REALLY hoping he was trying to get some insight!

Finally, in March, I gathered the courage to break up with him. He was, understandably, upset. He wanted to stay friends, which I wasn't sure would work, but he was very dear to me, so I said yes. We continued talking as we always had, and he bemoaned the fact that he needed to talk about his breakup. but couldn't talk to me. So when Dragon asked me if I minded if he talked to her, I said no, go ahead; it'll be nice for him. So he'd call me, we'd talk, then he'd call her and they'd talk.

Dragon and I have been close friends through all kinds of shit, her breakup with a common friend, my on and off friendship with OOF, and countless other things. She is fiercely loyal, as am I, and we don't believe in bullshitting each other. There's never an impulse to lie or prevaricate to protect; we agree that ignorance can be the most devastating thing. It's good to know in advance, to have time to prepare for something. Since BBot was going to be our friend, it made sense for her to be there for him, because she understood me, and could give him some solace maybe by explaining to him the parts of me that he never really understood.

The Bride, to whom I will always faithfully listen in the future, told me I was an idiot.

When I came back from the Us in April, I found that BBot wouldn't talk to me straight. It was the verbal equivalent of staring at your feet and scuffing your toe. I asked him point blank: Do you want me to to leave yo alone and stop calling? He said: I'm here if you need me. I said: That doesn't answer my questions; do you want me to step away and give you space? again, he gave me a typical evasive answer: If you want to talk to me I'm always here for you. Irritated, I stopped calling him.

That's when he and Dragon were on the phone for hours every day. Periodically she'd say MinCat, BBot's so funny, look what he said. They'd have little mad posting cycles on Facebook. It really began to get to me. So I asked her to stop.I said look, I'm not comfortable with this. She said: I asked you if it was okay. I said: Yes, I know I said it was okay in the beginning, but I really did think we'd all be friends. He changed the rules of the deal. She said: I'm sorry, but now we've become so close, and I need him as much as he needs me. So I said, okay, fine, just keep it out of my face. Which she did.

But I knew, at that point, that the paradigm, as it were, had shifted. She was not my friend, she was his. Anyway, sparing you the boring details, there were several times when she didn't tell me things because he'd made her promise she'd never tell me anything about him. I found myself unable to trust her or confide in her. She stopped spending time in the house--always with a perfectly good reason.

This contributed hugely to my increasing sense of isolation and loneliness. I was crying all the time, for no reason. I blamed the hormones, which probably did have a large role to play. I went and met my mum in June, and cried in the train when I left, because I couldn't bear the thought of leaving what I felt was the only place where I really did know I came first. I began to wonder if I'd made a terrible mistake in breaking up with BBot, because I missed him so much, and I'd never let myself accept it, or express it. I'd been making space for his hurt, and ignoring mine, punishing myself for hurting him or something ridiculous like that. I never discussed it with our common friends, whether mine or his first, because it would put them in a bad position. They had also developed the annoying habit of persuading me to get back together with him, saying that he was a great guy, and why did I have to be so unyielding, and the like. Finally one day I said, and what, am I a horrible person? Didn't he screw this up a bit even? Did I deserve to never be first, and always be tense and fighting? That shut them up, but it didn't make me feel better.

Last week, the grapevine gave me the news, that later turned out to be incorrect, that he was seeing someone, in Delhi! Hadn't Dragon told me? I as in shock for a while, not because I didn't think he could date other people, but because this person, who'd been my friend for eight years, did nothing to protect me from this shock. When I asked her about it, adding, what if it had been true, sh said there was no way she'd ever even hint to me; it was non-negotiable to their friendship for her to never say a thing to me. I asked her if that wasn't a bit unfair, since we'd been friends so long surely she owed me at least an attempt at protection? No, she said, that's the way it's set up--no talking of me to him or him to me. So I said, okay, that's how you want it to be, so be it.

To me, the fact that someone, who's been the kind of friend we've been for as long as we have, could claim that she was not picking sides, when she befriended my ex AFTER we broke up, means simply that she is, in fact, picking a side. His. There's no question of being in the middle. You're my friend, you're on my side. Yes you can pop across occasionally, but you are on my side. By standing in the middle, you're standing on his side.

Though the thing is, with Dragon, I've been realizing, she's on one side--hers. But not in as evil a way as that statement might imply.

Anyway, it was at that point I realized that what I'd been trying to deny was true--she was not a good friend to me anymore. she isn't in my corner. She'll say caressing things and offer to get up and fetch me water, but she won't actually be there for the things I really need her to be there for anymore. And I really needed to write about it. I am, however, not suing for a divorce, and would be happy to stay friends casually. (Though part of me wants to throw a giant tantrum and tell her to get the fuck out of my life. However, and you'll get another self-indulgent post about that soon enough, I have this annoying need to not make a fuss and let's all just get along shall we?) This meant, simply, that while I don't care if BBot reads that I think he's a puerile, self-centred, self-indulgent moron, I can't really post this kind of stuff. Even though Dragon barely reads the blog, and doesn't comment because she wouldn't want BBot to think she's taking sides, she might take it into her head to pop by. And so we have damelo part 2. literally.

I must say, BBot clearly won this breakup: got all the sympathy, even from me, didn't need to examine himself or his behaviour critically at ALL, and took my best friend with him, when he barely knew her at the time we broke up!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Life lessons

Funnily enough, I just wrote a post of the same title, on the food blog, in a different vein. However, let us move on to things I have learnt this past week.
  1. Do not share your blog with your boyfriend, no matter HOW much you believe it is for ever or that even if it is not forever, he can be an adult. He can't. He won't.
  2. At the risk of sounding whiny and self-righteous, do not make it a habit to make life easier for other people. Seriously, don't. It will backfire.
  3. Try not to rationalize other people's behaviour to suit your image of who they are to you. Remember to keep it in the back of your head that you've seen them do something you wouldn't want done to you, so that, when it starts happening to you, you can recognize it.
Ta-DA! And we're doe for today. More to follow. Expect invective and vitriol my friends. But possibly also humour and Ideas. Of which I had two in the shower but I can't remember any. Sigh. Maybe #4 should be: Always write things down when they occur to you.


Events have transpired, partially involving the ex who, despite wanting to cut me out of my life, still reads this. At this point in my life, *I* really want to cut *him* out of my life, so the blog is going under. Not much loss eh, not like I'm writing or anything. Still, I don't feel safe here, and haven't for a while, which might be the reason I haven't been writing.

Drop me a line if you want to know when I start writing somewhere else =)

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I have always strongly believe that, in this day of overpopulation and scarcity in India, there's no reason to have children. There really is no need to bring a new child into the world. Add to this the pain and trauma of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, the fact that there's enough crazy shit in my family to compete with most children put up for adoption, and the fact that I want five kids, and I simply don't see myself ever, you know, getting pregnant and giving birth.

This was a huge bone of contention with BBot. It seems to be a hue deal for most guys that I've met. Granted, women also say things like ohhh but don't you want to have your OWN baby, and be pregnant and feel that BOND, or, when you meet the *right* guy you'll want to have his babies, but men respond on this visceral level that seems immune to logic.

For example, there are women who are infertile, in a way that could possibly be cured with months of hormone treatment, but that treatment is a BITCH. She doesn't want to put herself and her body through that. But guys expect that she should. That's the amazing thing. There is a sense of entitlement to your partner incubating, birthing and feeding your baby,. whether she wants to or not. It's true that most women want to, which is fine, but some, like me, don't. Then what? A man can share all the caring for a baby (cept the breastfeeding, quite is quite traumatic), but he can't share the needing to throw up every second for months, or the peeing, and all the things that can go wrong. So where is the justice in demanding this?

Guys are so fixated on having their own genetic child - evolutionary imperative if you will - that once even told me he'd use a surrogate, but that of course violates the pint about not needing to bring more children into the world.

It helps that in my family, I have an adopted niece whose parents managed to have a son after they adopted her. She is the most captivating thing I have ever seen (barring her Ladyship of course), and her brother...is...um...not captivating. Clearly our genes aren't all that sparkly.

This is how I have felt for at least ten years, and heaven's the arguments I have had about it. People always say, have one adopt the second. It just won't work. One parent will favour one over the other, and while parents always do that, there will be a very real cause of pain here. Then, also, which first? Adopt or birth? Some people say that they can't imagine bonding with a child not their own; some day they can't imagine adopting a child and bonding with it without having gone through the whole pregnancy with it's attached misery - sort of like listen I survived that so I'm bloody well going to get past these first three months of madness!

The weird thing is that, lately, as her Ladyship grows and becomes more and more like me, or so Amma sez, I am seized by the curiosity - will my kid turn out like Scoo? Or will s/he be like her Ladyship? Will s/he be madly scientific like everyone in the family? Will s/he be artistic like Acrosticus and his brother? And so on. For the first time, I might actually be considering having my own child. Spooky.