The social aspects and manners that a family typically tries to inculcate in a kid has always astonished me. Welcome a guest by explicitly welcoming them and making a huge fuss about their arrival. Wish each other a good morning. Wish each other on occasions. Make it known that you are delighted at their son making it to the elite university in the US. Make it your business to know what each and every one in your immediate, extended, and even 2 circles beyond extended family does. While I agree some of these are basic manners, I was amused by the artificial charade of it all. I was the kid who would mumble an inaudible welcome and run off to my toys. I was the kid who didn’t understand why one should wish her brother a good morning when clearly they were going to make their mornings miserable for each other by fighting over who gets the bigger share of the omelette. I still am the kid who does not understand why I should make it my business to know what everyone is up to and tell everyone what I am up to.
Don’t mistake me, I am not against socialising and spending family time. But I’d rather it came naturally. Like sitting down with an uncle and talking about how I ditched a class in college to sleep. Like just patting a brother on the back and reminding him that he is getting older than wishing him a very artificial yet happy birthday. Like discovering that cousin is moving to a different country, just by chance. I like that spontaneity. This might be the case in some families, but not mine. So having been deprived of the spontaneity in the relationships that I so crave, I have become the cornucopia of social awkwardness (to quote Sheldon Cooper) when it comes to interacting with relatives.
Having been in an incredibly long relationship and married to my childhood sweetheart, the first question many ask me is – “Are you not bored?”. When I say no, people ask, “How can you not be?”.
I cannot understand how anyone can be bored with another person just because they have been together for a long time. For me, boredom comes with personality mismatch, not with the length of a relationship. Do you get bored with your parents just because you have known them all your life? Or do you get bored with your siblings? No. You get frustrated, annoyed. angry when conflicts arise but you don’t get bored.
Also, people change incredibly fast. I am not the same person I was last year. So no matter how many number of years you put in a relationship, you have something to work on. In fact, a long relationship means that real hard work has gone in settling the chaos so that it stays afloat. What others see might be a fairy tale but there will be skeletons laid to rest (not buried, for I believe trust is the core of a relationship) before the fairy tale was built.
So pardon me if you can’t see it, but I don’t see myself getting bored with my husband just because I have known him almost all my life. And after so much time together, if I find some personality trait of his boring, I trust myself to be able to tell it to his face and I trust him enough to do something about it. 🙂
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An advertisement for SBI life insurance greeted me through the pages of The Hindu on a sombre morning. I read through the poem and smiled at the brevity that gets through to the emotional side of readers. But there was one line that glowed red in spite of its inconspicuousness.
But you don’t give in, for your wife too, is part of the journey.
Although that was just one line in the poem, it reminded me of how often I see advertisements that show only male protagonists thinking about insurance for their family. It is as if they are obligated with the task of being the provider even after their unfortunate deaths or other mishaps.
It’s just plain unfair to men. Protecting and providing for a child is a parent’s responsibility, no matter their gender. Protecting and making sure your partner is fine when you are no longer around is an emotion anyone can express, no matter their gender. In today’s world, care giving is taken up equally by sons and daughters, wives and husbands. Yet that subconscious conditioning of a male provider and a female care-giver is far from being faded. Such subtle reminders exist everywhere, knowingly and unknowingly, reiterating something that is no longer meaningful. There are gender neutral words – spouse, partner to use but still this ad chose to be gender specific, even if only for a line.
This just shows how far we are to go if we need to break the shackles of conditioning and how much work we have to do if we want to be truly independent of biases. May we all step towards the light at the end of the very long tunnel.
Until later 🙂
2017 was a multifaceted year for me and throughout it was constructed with blocks of hardships and towards the end came the home stretch. We are still running the home stretch in several aspects. But the troubles are not what I want to write about. They come and go and I don’t know how I am going to fare through them yet. But I have learnt one solid lesson from all that I faced and all that I am facing – A lot of people, even those whom you trust to understand you, will sometimes won’t. One of the major issues I see is that not everyone knows what it means when you say NO to something. The rejection of their idea/suggestion/<whatever> is unacceptable to them. I was shell shocked to see that this caused a lot of friction in an otherwise normal situation. I always assumed that we have evolved into this century enough to know that every individual has a choice when it comes to things that involve them and the person who is involved has the final say. However, to get this done, to make the message reach, the struggle I had to go through was so tiring that I started wondering if people really know what it means when I say NO or when I say that I don’t want to do something they suggest.
As much as I hate giving up buying hard bound or paperback books from the shop, getting lost in the new book smell and the pages of a whole new world, I recently realize Kindle has more perks to it than I care to admit. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t ever want to be that person who only buys intangible ebooks and I will not be. Now and then, I buy paperbacks to indulge and also to rest the guilt in me for moving away from them, even for a tiny bit.
But the more I think about it, the more I realize Kindle has more perks than I care to admit:
- I love book shopping in book stores but currently I am on bed rest for a medical condition and I cannot go book shopping even if I wanted to. And since I have more time on hand, I can read more books at a faster rate and I find myself restless to wait until Amazon/Flipkart delivers the books I order. But with Kindle, one click and voila, I have a book to read in a matter of minutes.
- Again, for a reason, I can only read books that are light, books that don’t turn my imagination to gore and violence. I was reading ‘The song of Fire and Ice’ and I had to stop midway. So this cuts down the type of books that I can read. So I get more restless once I find a book that I can read. I need to have it immediately. Kindle to the rescue!
- I can carry my entire collection in one notebook sized device. No need to worry that I left a book at my parent’s place but have a craving to read it again. Of course, I shouldn’t be as mindless as to leave my Kindle behind! 😀
- The biggest perk of all – With Kindle, lending books gets complicated. I cannot lend one book and read another – a good reason to not lend books. I am not selfish, I am just possessive about my books and book borrowers have only proved me right. At least, those who borrowed from me. I have a borrower who borrowed a book an year ago and never returned it. I doubt if she even remembers she borrowed it from me or if she has the book safely now. I have another one who borrowed 4 volumes of a classic and returned only 3 to me. I had to do everything short of begging to get the 3 volumes back. And she keeps saying she returned all 4. Sigh! I hate incomplete book sets. The saddest part is she didn’t even read the books. The least she could have done is keep it safe and return it, if she is not able to read it. These book borrowers being close relatives doesn’t help matters because you can only ask so many times. And if they say I already returned it and you know they are lying, well, what can you do? Spoil the relationship by speaking out or be quiet and mourn the loss of yet another book.
This is one reason I have a closed bookshelf at my place. I go gaga over open, artistic bookshelves but I have seen people who don’t even turn a page on a regular day ask if they can borrow a book when they see such beautifully arranged books. Can’t blame them, it is the magic of books. But I never get the books back and that’s the part I hate. Even worse, I get the books back in a dilapidated state. It just breaks my heart. Anyway, I digress!
So with Kindle, my heart rejoices that I need not go through the pain of lending and waiting anxiously for the safe return of my book babies. And when I am off my bed rest, I will buy as many paperbacks as I want and keep them in my closed bookshelf 😀
Until later 🙂
P.S: Don’t take me to be heartless because of my rant against book borrowers. I know a good book borrower when I see one. One who loves books as much as I do and one who understands the magic of reading. Such people rarely borrow books. They only do so, with great hesitation, when they can’t help it, like they really cannot get the book they want or if they want to check out the book first.