Tag Archives: women

The credit card statement

12 Aug
Follow your Bliss and the bills will follow

Follow your Bliss and the bills will follow

It is that time of the month. My credit card statements have found their way into the husband’s inbox.

Any man who is expecting a credit card outstanding that is pleasing on the eye after a six week long vacation  is a man estranged from reality, a man with a utopian bent of mind.

More so if those six weeks made allowance for a side trip to America, truly the land of the (guilt) free (shoppers).

His body language gave it away as soon as he walked into the house. But he will not make it easier for me by just stating the cause of his anguish. He will leave it out there for me to wonder, like any good FBI agent would do before he begins with his inquisitions.

He broke it to me just as I sat down to break bread. Here’s your credit card statement, he said with a mien that was far from casual.

“What do you have to say about it?” he questions.

“Well I think this isn’t bad at all. It includes my shopping as well as the kids. “Our” kids.”

“Right. And you don’t think this is extravagant?”

I replied in the negative. “Buying necessities is not extravagance. Besides, I don’t think this credit card statement is very bad at all because I could have bought a croc Birkin.  And since I did not, I have saved you  us a fortune.” Notice the clever use of  “us”.

“Birkin? Why would you buy a Birkin? You have yourself told me you don’t care much for it. How does the Birkin even figure in this conversation?” Now he is looking all puzzled.

“Yes I agree with you on that I was not even considering buying a Birkin. But am just saying.”

“Saying what?”

“That this credit card statement could’ve been a lot worse had I been into Birkins and even more so if I had been into exotic skin Birkins.”

“This is truly the worst logic ever.” He is looking at me incredulously now.

“Maybe sometimes, just sometimes you can find it in you to praise my endeavours to be smart with money.

Instead you red flag this modest credit card statement!!!! I am hurt.”

“Modest? How is this modest? I don’t know what to say to you!” He is about to throw in the towel any minute now.

“There is no pleasing you. This is it. I think I should have never given up my career to raise our kids. Then I would not have to explain my credit card statement to anyone.”

“Where is that coming from now for god’s sake?”

“It is coming from a place that has opportunity cost written all over it. Had I not chosen to be a stay at home mother…,

“Oh ok ok I get it. Fine baba. I ll say nothing now. At least just go over the bill calmly and confirm that these are your expenses.”

And so it is that what could’ve been an acrimonious exchange between man and wife turned into a mature conversation between two adults.

Maturity always wins.

And a woman’s logic.

 

Advertisements

The Importance of Remembering Dates

20 Nov

Disclaimer:

This is a purely fictitious account and any resemblance of characters to living persons (muse) is purely unintended and coincidental.

 

Women romanticize everything.

They like drama.

They give days and dates way too much importance than is necessary.

Sounds like locker room conversation? I can see, some of you men who by some stroke of severe misfortune, have clicked the link to my blog, vigorously nod their head in agreement as they read these lines. While the first two allusions are way too general for me to accept them without protest (and I shall save this discussion for another day), I concede that the third one is true for most of us.  We do give dates importance because dates are important. Why else would you celebrate New Year’s day, Diwali or Christmas and for that matter even your birthdays? Birthdays and anniversaries are important to us because those are the two days in the year that you feel compelled to fuss over us. These are the two key result indicators of your overall performance as a spouse annually and ones that, if you know what is good for you, you would not be taking them lightly.

This is the speech I was giving in my head to an all male audience barely three days ago. It all started shortly after the clock struck 12 on Thursday night. It was officially the next day and even though we were both engrossed in our ipads, my subconscious was cognizant of the fact that it was the day of our wedding anniversary. I waited for some time to be wished, but the other party refused to look away from their ipad. I realize that when one has fallen prey to the charms of an insentient gadget one can lose track of time and fail to spot lurking danger. But I have myself often been accused of preferring my ipad to human company and thus, was in no position to judge somebody else.

 

However, I was not about to remind this other party that it was on this day many, many, too many years ago, when we had exchanged marriage vows. To be honest, it was a Sikh wedding and since I do not understand chaste Punjabi I am, to date, ignorant of the stuff that was being read out by the granthi at the Gurudwara. If anything, the marriage vows are known to the granthi alone and the husband and I have no memory of it. If only, one could apply retrospective vows to a marriage, much like retrospective tax, then one could put their mind and grudges to good use and fix the offending party adequately.

Be as it may, I decided that fretting over a minor slip up was not going to help the eye bags and sleeping over this oversight on the husband’s part was the only wise thing to do. Besides, we got married in the evening and technically it wasn’t our anniversary yet.

I woke up to send the kids off to school the next morning leaving sleeping beauty in the chamber alone to catch up on his rest while I browsed through the pile of newspapers. I was aware that he was going to wake up any minute now and come over and wish me. As expected, he woke up, asked the cook for his morning tea and then came looking for me. I was pouring over the papers when he interrupted me with a “Oh here you are! I was looking for the papers, you have taken the entire pile.” I was torn between flinging the tea along with the papers at him and drinking the tea and keeping the papers. I chose the latter and then on compassionate grounds I let go of the financial papers. I am brimming with the milk of humanity even at the lowest moments of my life, as you can see.

We both got busy with our morning routine. I knew that once he read the newspaper he would notice the date and then feel awfully sorry for having forgotten it in the first place. He took his time catching up on the news, enjoyed his breakfast, we chatted (him in sentences, me in monosyllables in a rare instance of role reversal) and he reminded me about a few things he needed me to attend to because I was apparently a “forgetful person”. I said goodbye to him without rancor and returned to the important task of contemplating revenge.

I began to imagine the things that I would say to him when he finally realized he had forgotten our anniversary. I thought about all the things my dad did for my parents’ anniversary to make mother feel special. I thought of deleting the husband from my Facebook, BBM and blocking him on Whatsapp. Yes that would be best. When it comes from me, my silence is worse than my bite and that is what he was going to be treated to. Besides, when we were dating, there was no social media and I have always wondered about how uplifting it would be to break-up with somebody by systematically blocking them off various social media. It beats saying “It’s over between us” and hanging up, any day. That kind of parting does little for the spirit, but this method is the virtual equivalent of turning the knife after stabbing someone and is filled with the possibility of being an overall exulting experience.

I thought about the kind of evening that awaited us and the poor impression we were making on the girls but reasoned that setting their expectation low was a good way to prepare them for a happy relationship with a man when they were grown up. I made the aforementioned imaginary speech to a hall full of men.

It did not help that my own mother seemed to have forgotten our anniversary, as had my mother in law. And even though the doorbell got answered several times over the next few hours, it wasn’t for a delivery from the florist. When your own family forgets your anniversary, you know that the institution of marriage has fallen on bad times.

With each passing hour, my cocktail of anger and self-pity was gaining industrial strength what with all these thoughts going around in my head like children on a carousel. When my mother in law’s number finally flashed on the phone, I breathed a sigh of relief. At least somebody had decided to acknowledge my marriage and wish me, I thought to myself. Mom (in law) sounded absolutely cheerful as she greeted me telling me that she wanted to speak to her son but has decided that she would speak with me instead since he would be at work. I smiled a wide smile as I prepared myself to receive her wishes on our special day. “I just wanted to invite you to a family dinner,” she told me. “Oh how sweet of you to do that mom,” I cut in impatiently, “I know you want to celebrate our anniversary today but your son, he has not wished me so far and I guess a family dinner under such circumstances will be pointless.” I tried not to sound bitter, but I know I did.

“But why are you so upset? it isn’t your anniversary today beta,” laughed my mother-in-law, “Today is the 15th, your anniversary is tomorrow,” she reminded me before adding, “And the dinner is for grandma’s birthday on Saturday. So please keep yourself free.”

Mortified is a word that does not even begin the sum up my feelings as I checked the date on the newspaper and realized she was right. I had wasted so many precious hours fretting and fuming over a lapse that wasn’t. I felt sorry for all my wasted emotions. I felt sorry for the husband too.

The curious case of the broken tooth and the bitter truth

20 Nov
Nature's ploy

Natural progression

Three days ago, at about the same time that an eminent person’s soul was leaving its mortal coil at his medically equipped house in Mumbai, I was dealing with bereavement in a clinical environment myself. With my eye fixed on the national geographic images that flickered on the monitor strategically hung over the dental chair, I was silently suffering the loss of my pre-molar. A permanent loss, that only an accident or act of god can bring about.

There were images of tigers, beetles, African tribes, salamanders and other wonders of nature on the slide show above, but I remained unimpressed, for this was my moment of epiphany where I had come to see through nature’s insidious plans.

We go on our entire lives, celebrating our birthdays not realizing just how smoothly Mother Nature (if one must call her that) has tricked us. The only reason she keeps us alive is to perpetuate herself. As long as our lives are moving towards our respective reproductive ages, our hair shines, skin remains supple and elastic, our internal organs work to perfection and our energy levels stay dangerously high. You do realize, all this is in order to facilitate reproduction. While some of us who are cerebrally challenged, will marry and go on to have children, thereby furthering nature’s cause, there are others who will choose some less mind numbing pursuits than procreation and go on to lead meaningful lives.  Whatever the choice, there will come a time, when having made our contributions (or not) to the planet, from Nature’s point of view, we would have reached our sell-by date. For women, that date is sooner than they will acknowledge to themselves, for I have heard many of my tribe claim that they can still produce healthy children, when the lunar calendar and gravity will lead you to believe otherwise.

This isn’t to say that men are immune to Nature’s machinations, but my optimistic guess is that they do not play an active role in furthering her plans in spawning life and are perhaps generally overlooked by her, leading to slower deterioration.

From Nature’s point of view, both the male and female of the species can die as soon as we have given birth to and helped raise smaller prototypes of ourselves.

This tooth of mine, which departed from my mouth forever on that fateful day, was just the first sign. I was stunned when it cracked into two the other day, while chewing on something sticky and was further stunned when my dentist revealed it to me that “No, this is not a milk tooth, this was your permanent tooth, Shunali.” He had a ‘what-was-she-thinking’ look in his eyes as he said that. I was quite annoyed at myself, I must admit, for being foolish enough to think that I still had milk teeth growing in my mouth!

I have been spared the usual signs of graying of hair and a generous smearing of Chanel Vitalumiere and Mac Studio Finish have helped me deceive myself into believing that I am in my prime. But losing a tooth forever, in my thirties, there cannot be a surer sign.

I must prepare myself now, for the future that awaits, for I am no Dorian Gray. As I become less and less useful to nature, the bones will get brittle, the kneecaps with wither, the hair will grey, more teeth will be lost, skin will slide southwards, digestion will get poorer and metabolism, whatever will happen to my metabolism?  Now that is something, I cannot bring myself to write about without bursting into tears.

Dear readers, shall keep you posted on further progressions as the years roll by. Watch this space

Tall tales of a stiletto loving Punjabi

20 Aug Being tall
Being tall

Being tall

I have come to realize that being tall isn’t as much an asset for a woman as people will have you believe. I have reached this conclusion after spending a good number of years as a tall person. The earliest sightings of why my height wasn’t a huge asset to me were after I turned 13 and my Punjabi aunts made it a point to comment on “What a tall (pronounced taaaal in Punjabi) girl” I was turning out to be. This was said with admiration spiked with mock concern for it would automatically narrow down my choices in the marriage market eventually.

“Oye hoye, don’t worry, buoys like taaall girls,” my nicer aunt would tell my mother who frankly did not give a damn about such things at that time. In fact, given how my eye brows were suddenly reaching out to each other and resembling blow dried caterpillars and given how a hint of a moustache had found its way between my nose and my upper lip, my mother must have realized that I would be left at the altar anyway, irrespective of my vertical growth.

At school I was the obvious backbencher and for some reason it was assumed by my teachers that people who sit at the back like tiny bits of chalks thrown at them just so they feel included. I was apparently a bright student but because the other kids sitting next to me were interested in pursuits other than education, I had to suffer the same fate as them since I was too tall to be sat in the front.

Whenever there was any trouble involving a bunch of girls at school, somehow the others would be forgotten because the eyewitness’s account clearly spoke of ‘one really tall’ girl and ‘some other’ girls. I was the first to be summoned in for questioning by the teachers and if I gave away the names of the other girls who were my partners in crime, I was a traitor and if I did not then my parents would be exclusively informed about my transgression.

Height related mental scarring continued even beyond school as my best friend Hemika’s father fondly called me Bheem. Compared to his petite daughters I was *Bheem indeed. I somehow managed to survive my wonder years in spite of the misfortune of my height.  Life turned surprisingly wonderful around the time I turned 18 and I suddenly began to be told how lucky I was to be tall by random people.

My life was made easier by the fact that boys my age had finally become taller than me. It made me feel less macho. But such joys too came at a price. Unclejee types sitting next to me on a flight would use my height as a conversation starter. “Are you into modeling?” “No, I am not.” “Achha, but from your height it looks like you are a model.”

Ya right. All tall girls have only one aspiration in life, to make it as models. So why miss an opportunity to stereotype someone?

Aunties on the plane weren’t as bad for they merely expected me to load and unload their luggage in the overhead cabins.

You would think that after all these years, my tall genes might be finally paying off, but no such luck sir. The husband does not like it when I wear high heels and become taller than him. What kind of a self respecting shoe lover walks through her life in flat shoes? Beautiful shoes are almost always made with high heels that add not only to one’s height but also lend elegance to one’s frame.

I keep buying gorgeous shoes and we keep arguing over it each time we step out together. I am accommodating by nature and usually bend my knees a bit while standing next to the husband at a party just so that I don’t look too tall, but any act of such consideration goes unnoticed by him.

Women don’t seem to have a problem with me being tall. But sometimes if I am at a party of mostly short men, I go through an entire evening with my knees slightly bent while speaking to them. This I do out of respect and also out of courtesy to the male ego.

Last month when were in London, a retrospective exhibition on Christian Louboutin’s life and creations was being held at the Design Museum. The husband offered to escort our little girls and me for the exhibit, much to our collective surprise. **

It was like a citadel of stilettos in there with Loub’s red-soled beauties displayed like works of art. We were in the presence of greatness. It would not be an exaggeration to say that those shoes had the same impact on my spirit that the famous daffodils might have had on William Wordsworth’s.

Any person with basic common sense would have realized that day that a good heel is as essential to a beautiful shoe as a roof is to a house. But what do you know? We were arguing about my heels the very same evening. I COULD NOT TAKE IT ANYMORE.

“I don’t do Cocaine. I don’t do pot. I am not a shopaholic. I don’t drink much either,” I told him fighting back my tears. “Can I not be indulged even a bit and allowed to keep my heels?” By now I was feeling terribly sorry for myself, that of all things, I was having to defend my shoes.

I think the point got taken that day.

So here it is, I will bend my knees till they hurt, I will tilt down my neck till it goes into a spasm, I will walk on my knees if required, I will weep till the cows come home but I am not about to stop wearing heels anytime soon. Why should I be sorry just because I am tall?

 

*Bheem is a famous Pandava from the Mahabharata. He was a giant.

** Famous French shoe designer.

 

%d bloggers like this: