Saturday, September 25, 2010

Has marriage killed the girl in you?

When The Bald Guy () posted this tag on his blog, I immediately added it to my list of must-do’s, and after a sort of hectic week I finally get the time to take this head on.

The above question and a host of associated questions, including those below (reproduced from TBG’s tag), are ones that I have asked and answered so may a times myself.
Asked less, answered more than a trillion times – friends, relatives, colleagues, and even random strangers!
I think my replies have varied only slightly based on my mood and disposition at that moment in time. Here I make a conscious effort to introspect, retrospect, and ummm, well, to be honest.

Before I bring on the volley of Qs, some basic facts – Well into my 20’s, I have been married to the love of my life for more than three and a half years - and, oh boy, you could pass me as “well married”!

The Qs…
  • Are you more programmed, more regulated in your thoughts and deeds?
A definite yes! I have learned to think twice before I speak and act (in most situations I try to restrict my tongue-in-cheek responses to myself or to a close circle of dear ones), and coming from me, believe me, that takes a huge effort!

I am definitely more politically correct, diplomatic, and conforming to established institutions than I was a couple of years back.
This programming manifests itself in subtle ways – I am more patient with relatives and extended family, I try to think from the other’s point of view (however I dumb it may be to start with :D), I have learnt to make allowances for nosey, pesky people around :p: :p.

  • Or are you simply calmer? Assuaged?
If I take this as a continuation of the previous question, my actions and reaction are definitely more controlled and in line with expectations, but somehow, (even though it may sound contradictory) the raving lunatic in me is not cured.

Assuaged? My husband will do a double somersault laughing his head off if I respond in the affirmative.

I am still the crazy person my friends and family swore on way back! My idiosyncrasies remain intact (touch wood) irrespective of the waves of time that keep crashing in!
I am still bonkers enough to break into a dance in the middle of the road, have ice cream for three meals a day, make inappropriate comments in public and then laugh out loud in an “unlady-like” fashion, threaten my husband with a call to 911 if he tries waking me up early in the morning (in India, can’t threaten him with 100 coz - it's seldom answered), and make him blow balloons and decorate the cake-knife with a fancy ribbon to celebrate my birthday!

  • Are you still in love?
With whom? :D

Ok, honestly, a resounding YES - Am still very much in love (phew, thank god!) – with the person I married, with the wonderful family and friends I share my life with, and with the blessed life god has bestowed on me.

  • Or are you simply loving? Caring, fond and loyal..?
I wonder why this question begins with an ‘or’. Am I in love or am I simply loving?

Hell yeah, I am in love and I am loving to those who love me back!
I am no angel or saint; I care for people who matter to me.
I am fond of all the people I willingly include in my everyday life.
I am fiercely loyal to my loved ones - friends and family.

Marriage has not changed a thing or the intensity when it comes to love and loyalty. I was always the way I am now!

  • What does marriage do to you?
Lots :D!

Marriage makes you fall in love with your beloved all over again. Nothing like waking up to the brightest sunshine in your life.

Marriage convinces you that you made the best decision ever, coz there would be no other man in the whole world who would bring back the entire medical store for a slight cut.

Marriage makes you hate the guy you married when all his promises of love and never ending support are sacrificed at the altar of a stupid cricket match!

Marriage exasperates the life out of you when good-for-nothing relatives and well-wishers are waiting for the ever elusive “good news”.

Marriage makes you believe in the K-serials when you disagree with your MIL on the color of the curtains.

Marriage provides the much needed privacy from the ever-so-curious world outside. Finally, you can be there for each other, always, without having to explain your relationship status.

Marriage makes you independent and responsible and secure. People suddenly start taking you more seriously.

Marriage makes you dependent – this one person controls your emotional and mental well being – almost completely.

Marriage teaches you that life is not perfect as the Mills & Boons and Yash Chopras of the world will have us believe. There are tiffs, and there are misunderstandings, and it takes a lot of hard work to keep it all together for the sake of love.
But as in the end of all love stories, it is always well worth the effort you put in!

  • And finally the big one: Has marriage killed the girl in you?
NO! I would never let that happen. Vish would never let that happen. Though he would be happy if the girl in me grew up a bit in-keeping with my age, I still choose to believe he’d rather I stay the person he fell in love with – it is the complete package you get, as we both often joke!

Having said that, life has its own way of moulding you into a more mature and understanding being.

With marriage comes a new chapter in your life, with new characters, new story lines, new plots, never-before-been-in situations, not-trained-for experiences but the individual that is you remains and must remain essential to the core – whatever be the story!

Dreams don’t come true by making wishes on shooting stars, but don’t stop dreaming.

Love is also about you taking the first step forward no matter how huge your ego is, but don’t stop loving.

He seems to suffer from the most incurable form of amnesia when it comes to dates – your first date, the date he proposed, your parents’ birthdays! But don’t stop celebrating (kick him, for sure!)

Miracles don’t happen always as per expectations, but don’t stop believing in them.
Faith and hope make the world go round!

Marriage is about accommodating, including and sharing, but don’t compromise the individuality and the uniqueness that define you.

Marriage is about being the doting wife, the responsible daughter-in-law and eventually the loving mother, but don’t let the girl in you die.
She should be the beautiful, inimitable foundation on which you build your life.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


So here I am to fulfill a teeny weenie promise I made in this post: Sun, Sand and Sea.
A first hand account on how to get rid of the awful tan most of us Indians get during our beach vacations – like I mentioned in my referenced post, while the whole world seems to turn flattering shades of blushed pink and glowing golden, we turn horrible tones of brown and black :)!

(P.S. I am no beauty expert, I googled a lot, went back to the proverbial grandma’s book, and finally tried the more convenient options. What I write here may not be the most effective and efficient treatments but they did work for me :))

Okay, first a few things that you must do to ensure that the sun’s darkening effect on your skin melanin is the minimum:
  • Choose a good sunscreen for your face and your body. Most of us are guilty of taking extra care of the face and hardly anything for the rest of the body.
On a day out at the beach, I recommend Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock with an SPF of 50+ for the face and body. I used this and the damage to my face was kept to a minimum.
(Note: For the body, I had used Biotique Sandalwood Sunscreen lotion with an SPF of 100, but alas it was not at all effective.)
  • Re-application of sunscreen to all exposed parts every 2-3 hours is a must. I know this seems tough; In the middle of a picturesque cruise, an exciting beach volleyball game or a romantic day out with your significant other the last thing on your mind is messy sunscreen! But girls, it’s all for the greater good!
  • After the day is over and you are back, have a bath with warm water. Then, dip cotton wool in cold (preferably raw) milk and massage all over the exposed areas, including your face. Wash off after five minutes. Splash your face with rose water. Before sleeping, massage your body and face with a good oil-free moisturizer or skin milk (if you feel your skin is sticky), or olive oil (if you feel your skin is dry).

If one follows all of the above recommendations, sun-burn will hardly become a cause of worry. However, if you are like me – super lazy, end up doing only the first thing on the list above and then are reduced to fire fighting, welcome to the club and read on.

On an extended vacation, it is very difficult to take time out for skin care and only when you return after the long haul does your skin start begging for attention cure. But, there is good news - it is usually not so late by then.

So I came back with an awful tan – my arms looked like I was wearing a chocolate brown sleeve, my face, though much better, had an unmistakable russet hue to it. And this is a skin care regime I followed for a little less than 3 months to get rid of the vacation baggage on my skin!
Sounds like a lot of time? Actually not! Most of the stuff I wanted to do was restricted to weekends as work left me with little time over weekdays. If you are determinate, and have the time, go ahead and follow this daily to get early results!

(Warning: For your spouse and family, it's going to be Halloween time with all the face and body masks so brace them well beforehand ;))

  • Skin that is badly tanned tends to crinkle and peel off in layers. At all times, ensure that your skin is well moisturized. Use good quality aloe vera gels and crèmes for best results.
  • Continue using a good sunscreen at all times during the day irrespective of the amount of sun exposure.
  • For the face: Apply the following packs every alternate day.
(If after a few days, you feel your skin is dry or stretched, massage your face with Olive oil or Almond oil at night)

Pack 1: Take a full teaspoon of fuller’s earth (multani mitti) and mix it with lemon juice and rose water (for acne-prone skin)/honey (for dry skin). Apply this paste to your face and neck, and leave it on till its dry. Wash off with luke warm water.

Pack 2: Take a full teaspoon of gram flour (besan), a pinch of turmeric, lemon juice, few drops of honey and mix it with milk (for acne prone skin)/curd (for dry skin). Apply this paste to your face and neck, and leave it on till its dry. Wash off with luke warm water.

  • For the body: Do the following every alternate day:
1. Massage your body with olive oil – remember to not use too much oil – apply a quantity that is easily absorbed. Leave on for 1 hour. Then apply lemon juice all over the exposed areas. You can rub in lemon halves too for ease of application. Leave on for 20 minutes and then go for your bath.

2. Make a body pack with gram flour (besan), turmeric, lemon juice, honey, milk/curd and apply it all over your body. Leave on for half an hour till dry and then go for your bath.

Though all this sounds a little tedious and messy, believe me it works! I got rid of my tan without having to subject my skin to the awful chemical bleaching agents!

Let me know if this works for you and also feel free to share your de-tanning secrets :)!

(An aside: I always tell you the sun is upto no good - ever :D)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We are family…

The official bollywood remake of Stepmom brings to Karan Johar’s fans a heart wrenching tale in an NRI setup, yet again – after all, that is the limit to which Johar can “indianize” Hollywood for us :D. And, as usual, I don’t mind that a wee bit!

A disclaimer: When you go for the movie, forget the original. Comparisons never help, do they?

To give We are family its due credit, it brings to Hindi cinema a refreshingly new perspective to the concept of the other woman rather than the stereotyped and clichéd wicked witch she is made out to be in every soap and movie! Never once are you made to hate the stepmom, never once does the stepmom show any traces of evil in her. And full marks to the director and producer for that.

While most would be tempted to dismiss this offering as a typical tearjerker, a genre I dare not defend, I would still go on to say that there were numerous aspects of the movie that tugged my heart so many a times.
Kudos to the story tellers for making the movie crisp and to the point - no sympathy arousing tale of the before love and the reasons for separation of the divorced couple, no confused commitments – a modern day nuclear family saga that borders on realism.
Another saving grace was that the oft-repeated track of “it’s all about loving your parents”, and “our Indian culture and roots are our saviors” was downplayed for once!

A special mention to the kids – they were damn cute. I loved one particular scene where Arjun Rampal is empathizing with his son for having been confined to the company of complicated women and the tongue in cheek response to that “Tell me about it, And you have got one more! (referring to the step mom ofcourse)

However, don’t forget this is a bollywood movie – to the core. The elaborate medical ordeal of Kajol (she is a wonderful actor) and the love triangle between the kids and the two moms interlace the movie with heavy emotions, which sets it drastically different from the more light-hearted and effervescent Kal Ho Na Ho. While both movies try to end on a positive note, We are family leaves you with a feeling of loss and a tear-stained face!
Humesha and forever’ is destiny’s greatest lie. Sigh.

My recommendation: go ahead and watch the movie. A good cry once in a while helps not just the eyes :)!

And here’s my favorite song from the movie…
rehm o karam hojaey dobara
rehm o karam ho jaane do ishara
rehm o karam hojaey dobara
rehm o karam hojaane do Khudara

Sunday, September 5, 2010

18 goin’ on 27 ;)

When I had first heard Bryan Adam’s rocking number - 18 Til I Die – more than a decade ago, I had little imagined that this song would become my anthem so many years later!

Crossing my silver jubilee last year had left me depressed enough to do a blog post citing 26 reasons why turning 26 sucks! You can read it here.

This year I feel slightly better - the impact of the shock that any number after 21 gives has not been so much. I think I have 3 more years to go before a full fledged paranoia envelopes my existence :D.

But then, on a more optimistic note, growing older doesn’t really meaning “growing up”! And I am sure the latter process is boring and painful.

So, while I try dealing with my quarter-life crisis, leaving you with this ageless song that has always been a great mood-lifter!!!

I wanna be young - the rest of my life
Never say no - try anything twice
Til' the angels come - and ask me to fly
Gonna be 18 'til I die - 18 'til I die
Don't wanna grow up - I don't see why
I couldn't care less if time flies by
Ya, it sure feels good to be alive
Someday I'll be 18 goin' on 55! - 18 'til I die...

(The embedded video below does not work - It will route you to the You Tube page that has this song)

P.S. Many people ask me why I am so comfortable broadcasting my age when most women would rather pass off as someone younger. My answer to them is one, stop generalizing us women :p and two, I might be scared of the clock ticking away but I am proud of all the years that have brought me so much joy and learning!


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