Tag Archives: desi life

Desi Gifts: All in the Family

6 Jan

Desi Gifts: All in the Family


DG called some relatives to wish them happy anniversary.  Family elder answered the phone after exchanging pleasantries she asked for the couple. The senior who happened to be the parent and the father-in-law of the couple suggested it wasn’t a good time. He explained the couple had just entered the home after five hour Boxing Day shopping spree. In the background DG could hear aggrieved female voice. On probing old man said she is upset because her husband did not give her an anniversary card. The perplexed old man continued, “He just bought her a $700.00 refrigerator; is that not a gift?”

Though DG is a relative on the man’s side but she sides with the aggrieved wife. How can a refrigerator that whole family will use equate to a personal gift to your wife. A refrigerator, water heater or any household gadget is something a family needs it’s definitely not a personal gift. A personal gift need not be an exorbitant “want” it can be a much needed item for personal use that the receiver is coveting or giver feels will be useful to them. A gift doesn’t have to be tangible it can be an experience, a romantic dinner at home, movie or quality fun time together. A gift is about making the other person feel special and appreciated.

Back in the day as a kid if DG asked for a birthday gift parents would feel exasperated and throw it back, “hey, we provide you with everything, best of the best does that still leave a need for any gifts?” or, “hey, we just bought that new oven, TV or whatever shame on you asking for more gifts.”  She couldn’t argue so went around pouting or stomping with age she started appreciating the parental sacrifices and care. One would wonder why a spouse especially a wife can’t be propitiated by similar reasoning.

The question is ludicrous because spouses comprise family yet they are a couple unlike other family members. The spousal dyad shares intimacy, responsibilities and history like none other in the family. To honor their commitment to each other and appreciate the milestones together they reached deserves a private celebration if not a public display.

Though DG sided with the wife but she is still wondering why this wife felt she deserves to be acknowledged not her spouse? If she knew it was their wedding anniversary why didn’t she wish her spouse and give him a card. Both are working and raising a young family, yes; it is true she shoulders more domestic burdens. If she was testing her spouse and keeping a score of his sins of omissions then she too was guilty of sin of commission. May be it is a fun game keeping score of sins of omission and commission.  Who wins and who loses. May be there are no winners just losers.

What is an ideal gift/present?

You are the ideal gift/present when you are present, when you give your undivided attention and time to someone and make them feel special and appreciated.

What is the best gift you ever received please share in the comments.

Ideal movie to watch on the topic of intimacy will be Hope Springs


Sins of omission: Willful omissions, not disclosing all the facts or refusal to do the right thing.

Sins of commission: Willful act of moral digression, Adam and Eve eating the apple.

Hundred Times Over Still No Regrets

19 Jun

Hundred Times Over Still No Regrets



On a usual morning when DG leaves home she sets intentions for the day, armed with her to do list she takes bus, delivers warm greeting to the bus driver and a compliment to lady driver or a co-passenger. Then shut her eyes to focus on her breathing to conserve energy and avoid sensory overload. A portly woman of color in a well fitted dress boarded the bus her bereft of makeup looks caught DG’s attention. Most of the time DG is not aware of who is sitting next to her, this time when she opened her eyes at some random stop sat to next her was this woman in fitted dress, about half a foot taller than her. As she looked up to her face, she saw a stream of tears running through the corner of her eye. Disappointed at her meditative stance she was glad she opened her eyes. She put her hand on her hand and asked what is the matter? What is hurting her? Are you safe? She struggled with her words and barely managed to say in broken English, “my husband, wants to kill me, my child is at home, I ran out with no money just bus pass (that explained her disheveled looks).” Now all eyes, on both of them as they spoke to each other. Quite audibly DG said, “in this country we don’t let people kill people coz’ one is married to them, you don’t have to die just because you are married to someone.” Yes, it is a lie she told, more women are killed every year by their intimate partners in this country and across border than by cancer.

To make sure she was safe and had a safe place to return was DG’s priority in that moment. The lady, did not know what to do just had a business card of a an attorney she saw in the past. DG offered to accompany her. These are the moments when DG feels very blessed, people she work with understand her random style of working don’t push her for lapses in keeping appointments every now and then. While they alighted the bus and started walking a bible thumper who was listening to their conversation kept interrupting, “I’ll pray for you, Jesus will make it all well for you.” As if praying solved the social issues world would have been Eden, a reign of peace. They went to the attorney she was kind to take a walk-in DG spoke to her to make sure this woman had a safe place to go back to and her child was not at risk. At work DG explained why she was late a volunteer chirped, “so you are the good Samaritan today.” All DG could say was, “No, I was she.”

That afternoon DG recalled how it all started, there she sat by the roadside sad and confused, she came out of that apartment she was told was her home just to catch a breath. The cop from the patrol van asked her if she was okay why was she sitting there. She realized, one cannot just sit anywhere without looking suspicious. Few years later, broken she stood at the doors of her academic mentor, who told her not come in with a long face, there after she regularly took her sadness to the malls where she climbed elevators, strolled in the stores aimlessly not one soul saw her or her sadness. She returned when her feet hurt or the mall was about to close. Her sadness was the ghost she carried on her being for a very long time. Then came a time, she started working on the source of sadness it is an ongoing project… she learned when you are sad you are invisible, you shrink in size, your presence ruins the scene of social propriety.

Maintaining a spiritual practice with the rigors of a yard-bird she grew stronger by the day her intuition sharpened and she learned to trust it. Coming out of class as she headed to International Student Center under a tree a pair of shapely legs in magenta fishnets attracted her attention, she smiled to the glory of youth and walked by. She hadn’t gone past more than five yards, she heard a loud and clear voice, “go back to her.” She could not take another step forward, it was so compelling she had to go back. There sat a 19 year old freshman, sad and alone. DG asked, if she was okay? standard response came, “I am fine.” DG won’t give up, she sat down and continued what was ailing this youngster. It was her father’s death anniversary who died a year ago and now she was away from her mother and sisters in another city. That sadness melted into tears in a strong embrace.

Few days later as DG walked out of her physiotherapy session to take the trolley, she heard a pedestrian in back and neck brace walking ahead of her crying and talking loudly over the phone. As they both crossed the traffic light and came to the trolley stop don’t know what came over DG she just opened her arms like Shahrukh Khan (two years ago she learned this phrase when she was playing bollywood with a 24 year old in the snow by the river). The young woman just hugged her tight and cried her heart out while her mother on the other side over the phone waited. This young lady had fallen from the fourth story balcony of her apartment in a drunken episode now her back and neck were broken and diagnosis was not very encouraging.

Many more such moments came just before DG left the town for good, she walked to the bus stop after class, a woman was on phone talking and in animated Spanish and sobbing in between. DG just stood in front of her and opened her arms though she understood not a word, this woman too hugged and cried her heart out. Her relationship was breaking and she had realized there was nothing more she could do to save it. That was DG’s good bye to the city she learned so much from.

Moved to new place 5000 miles away; one afternoon while browsing the shops on a trendy street where lull reigned on a sultry afternoon DG passed by a white woman in her sixties who walked like a slug. That loud and clear voice struck again. DG had to go back and ask her if she was okay. “Are you okay?” “No, I lost my husband last month, I am so lost.” They stood there in the middle of the street embracing when they parted like always no information was exchanged.

Last year while she headed to join Take Back The Night (TBTN), just before she alighted the bus she saw a fourteen year old with red eyes, on bit of probing she disclosed how her sixteen year old boy friend was “streaking.” Her parents we druggies, one was incarcerated and other was just out of jail, her grandmother had her custody. She had about an hour before she could be home; took her to the TBTN venue, introduced her to professors and students gave her a glimpse of possibilities, that she mattered and we saw her. Soon she vanished in the crowd without saying a good bye, it was okay. At least she heard it so many say it out LOUD and CLEAR, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.

DG trusts her intuition and never misses an opportunity to ask ARE YOU OKAY? It’s always been right. There have been times, it is usually younger people, who fight it like few months ago, a teen who looked perturbed, kept insisting she was fine and called her friend to tell him/her how a weird woman was asking if she was okay? Yes, also Desi women fight her if she asks, “Are you Okay?’ She doesn’t care, if it doesn’t feel right, it ain’t right is the bottom line for DG, she has to do what she has to do. She’ll not have it on her conscience she should have, could have, would have…

Yes, on her shoulders DG carries the carcass of her past it doesn’t weigh her down but reminds her how far she has come and how far she has to go. By training she is a student of social relationships she is bound to observe and draw similes and metaphors from life around her especially what she knows the best, her life. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t let go of her past. Her past is a undeniable truth etched in time be it good, bad or ugly she can and does dispassionately observe it and carry on with her life. Obliterating past does not mean one has let go of it, to let go means to live in peace with what has happened and give it its due place where it needs to be.


IF THE ANSWER IS “YES” GO OUT AND ASK SOMEONE “ARE YOU OKAY? maybe you’ll touch a nerve…


FACEBOOK has blocked DG, she refuses to disclose personal information for reasons of both privacy and safety of people she works with. If it is a life and death situation you know how to reach her. All other queries can be addressed in the comments on this post or other posts.

How all her worst fears came true

1 Nov

How all her worst fears came true


Finally scumming to NaBloPoMo

If not fear then it will be our ego that keeps us stuck in dysfunctional situations and relationships. If our thoughts become our actions and our actions become are behaviors and habits then our thoughts are definitely powerful enough to make things happen. As the readers know how DG’s worst fears both actual and assumed came true in the exact order she had been mulling over them for days, months and years while every fiber of her being screamed to get out of an abusive marriage. If her fearful thoughts  were so powerful that they could manifest themselves exactly the way she had dreamt of them both in sleep and wide awake through days and nights then how powerful her positive thoughts could be she often wondered. Being  present in the moment was the positive side effect of the accident that not only broke bones, home and bank all at the same time. The moment was all she had, first it was morphine free moment to moment then hour to hour and then one day at a time for many years to come and even now many days are just one day at a time.

Looking back it seems those fears were not unfounded they were very legitimate but were given little too much credence and space in her head that magnified them and their end results. Once all those fears came true they were there and were dealt one at a time and they were manageable, bones were fixed if not in the company of loved ones then in the company of strangers who became dear ones. The physical home was just a roof over head without the feelings of belongingness that was gone a new idea of home emerged home is where you rest your head be it in a motel for a night. DG still unpacks her suitcase and sets up the nightstand even if she checks in a hotel for a night and building her piggy bank is an ongoing project…

If those fears were manageable then how did her mind magnify them to those monstrous proportions? It was her ego that fed those fears, she was willing to betray herself than the social scripts that said, homelessness will be worse possible outcome as it will bring not only physical hardship but also shame. The physical hardships are manageable but the minute you attach value especially shame to a situation you give away your power and make that situation have power over you. Homelessness was a state with a potential to change but being under unsafe roof in the name of honor of family and marriage was a dead-end stage. Social scripts, social agents, significant others and everybody can shame you for being homeless for any reason be it addiction, abuse or misappropriation of finances but you lose the battle the minute you shame yourself. It was one man’s ego (raised on cultural scripts) that destroyed a beautiful family within minutes that was build both by him, his wife and extended family over years.

Situations are states with a potential to change sometimes sooner sometimes very slowly but they do change why indulge your ego and make them humongous. See them as they are and break them into small pieces and tackle them one at a time. This all DG learned.

In DG’s Less Than Perfect World

24 Mar

In DG’s Less Than Perfect World



Yes, it is just three months and twenty three days late, did you forget about “better late than never.” Hope some of you are still continuing with your new year resolutions. DG didn’t make one, she gave up few years ago on resolutions because the pixels don’t match her drive just as the fish don’t ride the bikes. This post is not new it was penned few months ago when in a week three people told her they wanted a “life like yours” but did not make it here because other posts made it. So now why is it resurfacing? It is resurfacing because three more people within a week have wished for “a life like hers.”

DG finds a strange affinity with GGTS readers, some communicate through comments, some via private emails and yet few others ping her on gtalk or facebook. Many are curious to know what DG’s life is like. Then there are desi strangers beyond the virtual world who want to know about her every day living because they are in face to face situation they feel at liberty to ask many direct personal questions. Yes, her age is showing she is 30+ just few years shy of jumping the box. Usual conversation begins with “If she is married?” She answers, no she is single. Then the next question is she never got married or what? She wants to scream not your business be happy with the information you are given. She is neither interested in lives of inquisitive strangers  nor curious please leave her life alone let’s talk about politics and whatever… She’ll accept any and all information you give her about yourself without batting an eyelid. It is interesting in a minute these people commend DG for her life style and the very next minute they are envious, then pitiful followed by selling marriage to her. It is amazing how one person can entice so many emotions in others.

DG is pretty private person yet she shares a lot about herself and her experiences to break the isolation many desi women may be experiencing in their lives across the globe. DG’s world may seem perfect but the truth is it is pretty imperfect and less than exciting but it is her world and she loves it to pieces. There are good days and there are not so good days then there are days that cannot be defined. The everyday living she took for granted until two years ago is no longer the case. The routine she followed all her life as if on auto pilot no longer seems familiar, it often seems stranger than fiction.

An ordinary day begins with getting out of bed. Yes, it is for everyone but for DG it is important for DG because waking up at a decent hour and without pain is a biggie. There after day begins by the book and the buzzer. Yes, she has to use timer for ordinary things like bed, bath, breakfast, lunch and so on. She eats same breakfast day after day with exception to Sunday when IK takes her to Gurudwara for early morning meditation. Those people are good they not only feed you but give you take along bags too; as DG cannot be trusted around food she tries hard not to bring home any doggie bag. She loves see food; she sees food she eats food. She is a life member of overeater’s anonymous.

DG's Breakfast

DG's Breakfast ready to eat

DG's Breakfast ready to eat

DG’s Breakfast

Due to her love for food and compulsion to eat she cooks once or twice a month and freezes portion sizes for reheating as needed but mostly survives on fruits, smoothies and saute veggies. It is not that she cannot cook she is prefers path of least resistance and labor.  Also it is safe because on numerous occasions she has managed to burn rice in rice cooker. She believes all behaviors are learned behaviors so all tastes are acquired tastes. According to her all cultures have special formula to destroy nutrition thus she prefers her food with bit of nutrition, raw, blanched or steamed is better for her. She is a one pot cooking person; less is better it is easier to clean after and most of all it is easier for her to manage on a difficult day. The fact is one pot cooking is easier to manage than multi step multi pot cooking for her.

DG's Dinner

DG's Dinner in making

DG's Dinner in making II

DG's Dinner in making II

DG's Yummy Lunch

DG's Yummy Lunch

DG's Favorite Saute Zuccini

DG's Favorite Saute Zuccini

DG's Lunch Ready to Eat

DG's Lunch Ready to Eat

It takes an expert to burn rice in rice cooker

It takes an expert to burn rice in rice cooker

A stitch in time saves nine is her motto. Everything in her world has an ascribed place, whatever you pick up from where ever kindly put it back in the same space and in same order. It not only keeps the place looking clean and organized but keeps the dust in order too. Also, it helps DG navigate on auto pilot or according to the picture (none of the pictures in this post are taken for GGTS, these are part of her cooking protocol).

Her clothes are placed in order of colors and in sets so she doesn’t have to think twice; to save the trouble most are white, anything and everything goes with one another.

With the help of her alarm clock and timer she is able to work through the list of chores she is supposed to do every day. Her talking timer tells her to get herself to gym or else she’ll be comfortable in her pajamas for days in row (it is a possibility when you work from home). Thrice a week she drags herself to gym; workout comes second to doing a crossword puzzle in the sauna. She may forget the traffic signals when crossing the road but she definitely remembers clues to the puzzles, now that is called a blessing.

Faith, family and friends are the constants and pillars of her life. Rest everything and everyone is welcome but will have to earn a place for themselves. GGTS has afforded her some very good friends who watch out for her even if it is virtually. She can count her friends on her finger tips and they do the best they can for her. Her in person interactions are very limited, thanks to technology she can lay on her couch and make her world go round. And for those who walked away she did not stop a single one of them because she believed they were there for a reason…

Yes, BFF dude DG will go on at least one date in 2012. Happy? She is making a public announcement. Sardar, now you know bahanji’s life is not for every one. It is hers and it works for her. Kid you have to make your own, there is no manual on how to live life it is live and learn but also learn from others’ mistakes you don’t have to make all the mistakes. You’ll have to get out there and take risks or else how will you know what could have been…  What ever you decide DG will support you but just be safe.

Her social filters are broken thus she has no qualms of calling out anyone on anything. That is not a very good thing but it works for her because she has the protection of creator.Yes, she rarely gets upset or loses her cool but when she does she means it. She dislikes inveterate complainants and few months ago she cursed one that they lived complaining and will die complaining. IK has been on DG’s case to take her words back but she is adamant because words once said cannot be taken back and when she said it she meant it.

Did she spoil her karma with this person? May be. How will she resolve it? As of now she has no plan when she is in that frame of mind she’ll think about it for now she’ll not fret about it; one task at a time. Yes, DG is just another person with same needs and wants she just knows the difference and she is best described in the words of Seemab Akbarabadi

In Continuation… Happiness: A Work in Progress…

31 Dec

Happiness: A Work in Progress… 2

In continuation…

December 31st, 2011

To understand happiness we have to explore our relationship with unhappiness. Like everybody else DG’s relationship with unhappiness began very early in childhood. Out of the womb into the world of new faces what does a baby know? Poo, pee and scream for feed poor mum runs crazy to quite this little bundle of joy that it no longer is. So begins the regime to regulate feeding hours thus will follow the changing times and so on. Did the baby like it? How could baby tell? Baby could not talk so began the campaign to teach her how to talk. Once parents succeed in this they want to display their feat to the world. My baby can say “mommy,” “daddy,” “chocolate and what not. It became baby’s job to make them proud and happy in the world of parents to complete the sentence “my dog is better than…” or else baby was being difficult and a bad baby.

Baby picked it early on the smile mommy gives depends on obeying the commands. The smart baby goes ahead and not only follows the commands but learns new tricks for treats (approval). Some tricks/behaviors especially those the baby used her brain to learn were detrimental to parental reputation and baby’s survival outside the home. First they taught her how to talk now she speaks the truth so they have to teach her how to shut up. Auntie is fat, uncle is not good, mommy said… Thus began the second campaign to teach the baby what is desirable and does not challenges the parental wisdom and authority. The “saam, daam, dand, bhed” (use all means- tricks, treats, spanking, grounding) were used to train and make the toddler an obedient doggie. Oh, this wicked baby came programmed with her creator’s secret code fixed deep within her soul and parents had a difficult task of decoding it or shutting the code off. This is child’s earliest encounter with happiness and unhappiness.

Lesson she learned was  happiness of significant people in her life is in her hands and key to her happiness is with the significant people in her life and any other person she considers worth. So our happiness is actually mortgaged to others and each is carrying the burden of keeping the other happy. But the fact is nobody can make anyone happy if they decide to be unhappy. Do you recall the story of “sad princess,” a spoilt brat of a princess one time became silent and sad  for years and she would not laugh. Her father, the king pledged half of his kingdom to anyone who could make her laugh. Thousands tried but she did not laugh and one day she laughed at a lousy freak show. Did it mean other shows weren’t good enough? It was a choice she made. May be she laughed when she understood the joke or she became tired of remaining silent and sad.

Truth is happiness because truth sets you free but all social energies are focused on declaring the truth a malady, an ailment in need of a cure or elimination. From early on children are taught how not to honor their inner voice, a voice kept there by their creator to keep them safe. Even a very young child knows who not to trust or get closer to but parents and caregivers negate child’s apprehension and make them vulnerable to abuse. It is true children need to be taught venturing out from the safety of homes and caregivers but they also need to trust their instincts. DG felt early in the courtship it wasn’t feeling right but her friends, family and media convinced her it is just a figment of her mind and she ought to take this risk. How is a person supposed to trust their instincts when there is no validation from those around them? But why did she need a validation? Because validation and approval was what she grew up for, when and where ever she used her instincts as a guide she got in trouble as it did not match the social conventions rather challenged the folk wisdom and authority.

That inner voice never dies the clutter we pile on it just makes it feeble. Reclaiming happiness is to de-clutter and start listening to that voice. The more you honor our body and its messages the more we get closer to happiness. This body we have was given to us at birth and will remain with us until our last breath but we chose to trust everyone else who’ll leave us at anytime unannounced. Why are they more important than our body that it has to yell, scream and fall sick for our attention? In previous post DG mentioned how her hormones went haywire. Connect with your body and its messages you’ll discover “YOU” and it will lead you to the path of happiness. If your spouse is being an idiot your body will tell you don’t fight it or try to justify his/her bad behavior just accept the truth. If in-laws are monster-in-law then accept it don’t try to win in a game they invented. If your parents and siblings are energy drain and drama junkies don’t deny it accept it and protect yourself from energy suckers. If your DIL or SonIL are difficult just give yourself a timeline how much time you want to spend in their company.

Happiness is a choice. Gone are the days when marriages were means of survival for women and they had to take all the nonsense or else they had to kill themselves (this sentence is directed towards GGTS readers- middle class, highly educated and gainfully employed women; DG is very much aware of hardships of abused married women who have no recourse as she was one of them). No matter what the circumstances there is always a way out if we become still and listen to our body and our inner voice. When we acknowledge worldly chaos and accept it as truth that is when we get lost in unhappiness. DG has lived in homeless shelters, faced hunger, bore social stigmatization, isolation, self doubt and what not but she always had one thing clear in her head no matter what she was created out of kindness for happiness and she’ll achieve it.

Just consider what is important for you happiness or winning medals of social approval? The day DG decided “if you don’t pay my rent and bills then what you think about me don’t matter” half her troubles were gone and the other half is constant work on SELF.

This is a short post and yes, it did cut corners because DG wanted to honor her word that she’ll post before the year end. She is moving on New Year’s Day so she’ll be little busy in coming week or so. But she promises she’ll share her journey in coming weeks and months. Please follow the links carefully because each link documents her journey on this path.

                         Experience is not what happened to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                           -Aldous Huxley.


Desi Sisters: Nemesis of Brothers

25 Apr

Honey I Doubled the Kids/Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer

Honey I Doubled the Kids/Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer

Tangy Tuesday Pick

Tangy Tuesday Pick


The word “sister” conjures all kind of beautiful memories of growing up; running around and fighting for sweet nothings with siblings. Desi folk lore celebrate siblings in so many beautiful ways irrespective of region or religion. Hinduism has specific rituals celebrating brother-sister bond, in the form of rakshabandhan and bhai dooj with regional variations. In Bengal women celebrate Bhai Phota and in south India sisters’ pray for the wellbeing of brothers on Nag Pancham and Avani Avittam.  Thursday is called Birvaar in Punjabi and hindu women do not wash hair on that day to elongate their brothers’ life. There are folk songs celebrating this bond; in some brothers tease sisters how they’ll be married and sent away to their marital homes, in others sisters lament this parting and differential treatment. These rituals, fasting, praying, singing and dancing everything comes and rests on bolstering male ego by declaring women’s dependence on men. Even in non Hindu communities where women as sisters are accorded special place yet it is secondary to male siblings. The only reason for this discrimination rests on patriarchal nature of all communities (minority matriarchal Keralites and North Eastern States are exception).

Desi brothers are expected to protect their sisters from not only from evil strangers but also support them financially when they or their marital families are in need. In 1950s-60s a bollywood sister depended on brother to fix her marriage if her parents weren’t around or could not and a great brother would forgo his marital bliss happily. In 1970s-80s a bollywood sister had to get raped to bring out the angry young man in the hero. To save the honor of his family the hero was entitled to kill his sister if he found her in compromising position. Either way the brother was considered pseudo parent (karta, family head) irrespective of his age. In every decade there was a self abnegating sister India who would kill her dreams of romance and household to raise her orphaned siblings and settling them by getting them married later on to be shunned by their selfish spouses, mostly brother’s wife. She could not get married and take care of her siblings because she did not have a wife where as a raising man’s sibling’s is default job of is wife.

A woman as a sister has a very important place in desi family but the same woman looses that place as a wife. The sister becomes the nemesis of wife. The wedding songs sung by bride’s party describe the mean sister of groom waiting to rip the fragile new bride and her relationship with her yet stranger spouse. The married daughters have visitation rights to their natal home, they are treated as guests entitled to make demands and boss around because it is believed they are hapless in their marital homes. The unmarried daughters are considered temporary residents hence permitted to throw weight around and to be tolerated.

Whereas the songs sung by groom’s female kin portray an evil picture of the incoming bride who’ll deprive them and rip the family unity. Each group of women voices their insecurities and fears related to the bond they share with the groom. The fear of incoming bride is so potent that tradition recommends sisters’ be married before the brother because it is feared his wife would not let him or his parents spend good amount on the wedding. One woman’s need to save for her children’s future becomes selfishness for rest of the family.

The inherent gender inequality in families as supported by culture and tradition shapes the brother-sister bond differentially in every family depending upon the nature of parents. In some families siblings are very close and in others they are bit distant. In some families mothers pamper daughters and spoil them because they believe daughters will go away after marriage and may not receive good treatment at the hands of their in-laws. Then there are some mothers who openly discriminate and ill treat their daughters because they think this way they are preparing their daughters for the worse that may await them in their marital homes. Yet there are other mothers who discriminate and pamper male children without much thought for girl children because they believe for their care in old age they need to be in the good books of their sons. Depending on these approaches of parents towards raising daughters, brothers bond with sisters.

Some siblings are too involved in each others’ day to day lives and some build their identity on this involvement. Others have a concern but not suffocating attitude. Both these attitudes sometimes work and other times backfire depending on who they marry. If a brother who is too involved in a sister’s day to day life is not able to keep up once he is married the sister feels she has a legitimate right to feel neglected. It becomes imperative for her to show her displeasure and make her neglect known. She can even try to sabotage his marital union to make her presence felt. Throwing temper tantrums, making snide remarks about brother’s wife and sulking are some common tactics. In the early days of her marriage C told us how her unmarried sister-in-law would get into a fit of rage in the evening when she and her husband went out for a walk after dinner. DG recalls how that God forsaken now ex’s sister made a scene at wedding reception. She would not go to the banquet hall because DG has snatched her brother, DG was yet to live with the man in the house.

If an over indulgent sister is not able to keep after once she is married she is appreciated for her non interfering stance. But once she is on visit to natal home she can make sure her brother knows her place. Rinku has this evil incarnate SIL who wants everything her brother bought his wife her argument is she won’t ask her husband because she wants to show him how generous her folks are. One time Pinku told his sister, if he were her husband he would have gone missing on purpose. Recently Pinku bought his sister a home because Rinku bought one, now he is paying her mortgage and his wife is preparing for filing divorce. Anti 498A club has been in the forefront saying women file false complaints against married SILs in dowry harassment, when they are not even living with the couple. One need not live with someone to botch their peace, remote controlling can be done over the phone and internet.

Women are selectively accorded privilege in one role and oppressed in another that way they are kept confused and fighting within themselves. All that fasting and praying is a sham when sisters and wives have to rip one another off and destroy peace of men in their lives. Why stay hungry, bother Gods and waste time, just get to the task, fight tooth and nail and get over it for good.

The previous post raised questions about role of siblings especially a brother in the lives of sisters. The unconscionable anchor viciously accused the brother ignoring the fact that sisters were no saints and had tried to break his marriage.

Isn’t it time we desis started behaving like adults and humans.

People Come into Your Life for a Reason

5 Dec


People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty,

to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend and they are.

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,

this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die.

Sometimes they walk away.

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met,

our desire fulfilled, their work is done.

 The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to

share, grow or learn.

They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it, it is real. But only for a season!

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build

upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have

learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season

or a lifetime.


In June 2006 DG received this message as a chain mail from a friend. She detests chain mails and just presses delete on them. But this was an exception as it came from Rinky, given her history of communicating it seemed crucial to open it. It had the above message and it further read… I am sending this to you to see how many actually read their e-mail.  Your response will be interesting.  Pay attention to what you read.  After you have finished reading it, you will know the reason it was sent to you. DG read it carefully and this is what she concluded:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.  When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.  When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.   

DG thought about all the people who came into her life at any given time and her life circumstances at that time. It felt so true, even of times when these people exited her life it became ever clearer what need was met and what she learned from it. Old man B came into her life just after she came to know she was divorced. She was in shock and was distrustful of ever finding happiness. She needed a friend who she could trust to believe in herself. Those short four months were one of the best times in her life. She’ll always respect old man B for making her feel safe and believing life is all about possibilities. They parted on ideological differences but DG fondly recalls those times and sends peace and joy to him.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are.  They are there for the reason you need them to be.  

DG had met Ms J at her church couple of times before she became homeless on reporting abuse. Ms J is a scientist like DG had married out of caste and religion. They both were pregnant around same time but could not keep in touch as DG miscarried and soon became homeless and Ms J went to Des. Friendless and homeless DG one time called her. On knowing DG’s situation Ms J neither gave a word of advice nor interrogated her rather asked how she could help. She really knew how to help an abused.  She offered to buy her a cell phone and include her on her bill. Later Ms J gave DG $8000.00 so that she could meet the financial statement requirements for F1 visa. She visited DG in hospital couple of times and loaned her money when she lost her scholarship due to relapse. She never laid conditions on her help and never judged DG. Her kindness reinforced DG’s faith in humanity. DG blesses her and her family.

During the same time she was introduced to Prof. C, her partner S and Prof. B they were all there to hold her hand when she was confined and could not see.

While DG was still homeless when she had a massive hit and run (she was a pedestrian). She was too broken to be sent to Des and could not live on her own either (her insurance did not pay for rehab). Her options were to go back to her abuser or seek help from desi community that was more inclined to send her back to him. She called upon a kind white Sikh family she had met couple of times during her homelessness. They took her in and nursed back to healthy both physically, emotionally and spiritually. She lived with them as family, after three years they asked her to move (as they were in need of room). It was exactly the time DG was ready to soar. Her proud spiritual parents looked at this move with pride; they had done a great job of fixing DG.

 Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.  Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.  What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done.  

DG recalled MM and Seem. MM was her junior in school and Seem was her classmate; both were so protective about her and so loving. Even their families accepted DG into their homes and made her hostel stay comfortable.  DG started avoiding MM as he had been pointing too many fingers at DG’s academic laziness and then everybody just moved on with their lives. And Seem she  just slipped through DG’s hands like sand on her palm. Couple of years ago MM spotted DG on net but her obsession with not to be part of any social networking sites did not gel well. She will always remember their kindness with a smile.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.  Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.  

DG wanted a project to work on and some romance in her life so God forsaken now ex walked into her life. There was no scope of sharing but enough for personal awareness and learning. She learned a lot about the magnanimity of her creator, her Resilience, value of life and happiness. The day she said her creator is her provider not her spouse it set her free from all fear in a foreign land and a new chapter opened in her life.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.  

Sister H, is DG’s guardian angel and she makes her laugh every time they meet.
They may teach you something you have never done.  

John and Ann her homeless friends taught her even those not in positions to give would like to share what ever they can. Often her friends on the streets would like her to accept a cookie or water besides their hugs. Once she did and it felt good because she saw the light of hope and acceptance in their eyes. Not just giving but to be able to accept  is also a blessing. Homelessness makes people invisible to rest of the world, as if you don’t exist and don’t matter anymore. Yes, DG knows it because once upon a time she was one.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.  

Both her God children give DG so  much spiritual joy she cannot put it in words…

Believe it, it is real. But only for a season! 

Yes, only for a season coz’ there are numerous others whose names are not mentioned here but DG respectfully recalls each one of them.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.  Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.  

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.  Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Each comment writer at GGTS enriches DG’s life and experience manifold.

>0 Replies – you may need to work on your “people skills”
>2 Replies – you are nice but probably need to be more outgoing
>4 Replies – you have picked your friends well
>6 Replies – you are downright popular
>8 Replies or More – you are totally awesome (and that’s probably why you’re
>on MY list)

First time DG sent it out she received 5 responses. Yes, sent it to only 5 people excluding Rinky. Check out how many you receive.

DG believes in moving forward and living in present. She has tried to keep in touch with people but she doesn’t believe in going back and seeking long-lost connections. Please share what do you think.

Desi Marriage: For All the Wrong Reason

28 Nov

Desi Marriage: For All the Wrong Reason

In all those years while she was still married that day, people call wedding anniversary never enthralled her coz’ it meant more drama than was on the wedding day itself. Last week it would have been a decade of misery that was cut short by divine intervention that DG can never thank enough for. There was no way of erasing the day from history while she was still married. The first anniversary after divorce is always assumed to be tough one, so our group facilitator late Joyce Harris (DG had joined divorce anonymous just two weeks prior to the D day) suggested DG ought to keep busy and have phone numbers of group members handy to call at any hour. Old man B signed up as DG’s phone buddy for that day. DG made a five hour trip to church and back that fatigued her so much that all she was a good night’s sleep. There after the joys of grad school, surgeries and rehabs never left room for sulking over the day or even remember the date.

This year something was different. Four days prior to “the day” DG started having some uneasiness that she could not define. She thought may be it is marking a decade that is making it bumpy jumpy. Bottom line she could not put a finger on what and why. She tried to recall why she got married in the first place. She realized what ever the reason it was definitely wrong. She began making calls to all her friends to ask why they got married. Here is what she found:

A, you met him here. Coz’ the pastor said marry this woman from the congregation and he was a good Christian. This good Christian was given some very unchristian love that he came out bankrupt and spiritually scarred. He still believes in the Christ and God but not that church.

Sexy (short for Sexsena) was tired of face offs he had with prospective FILs showcase brides and punditji (Hindu pastor) said R is the girl who’ll stick through him and Atiya would not entertain him. Wao, two men 11,000 miles apart have so much respect for their clergy. R is really a good lady but Sexy feels something is amiss even after eight years. Ask R and she’ll tell you, it was her age and with her looks her engineering degree and government job weren’t enough.

Atiya, you met her along with A. Was afraid of ending up alone after living a year in that scary working women’s hostel where watchman kept an eye on every visitor including DG. That hostel behind the Ph.D. hostel was our bête noire any one who could not get hooked in marriage moved there after completing Ph.D. The fate of those living there was bleak whole university knew what awaited them, some old looser or lurking married men…The fear of loneliness intensified after every body else got married. Within six months it felt two perfectly good people in a very imperfect situation called marriage started dragging it and now it is awaiting judge’s approval to call it TATA BYE BYE.

T, you met her along with A and Atiya. Marriage is what all good girls did after they completed grad school and picked up a job. All her life she was told she’ll some day marry a prince of her parent’s choice and live happily ever after. Prince, they did buy for her but happily ever after never happened, rather she was abandoned in a foreign country. Mo, is in the same category, she was abused and abandoned in Des.

IK, you met her here. Coz’ he asked her to marry him and she thought what if no one else asked. Thirteen years and two kids latter she was out of the door. Bitter earlier now claims never been happier.

DG, four years of courtship had fatigued her and she thought get married and get over it. May be yes, she was afraid of faceless people called log what will they say, she was a bad person who ditched him after four years, though the red blankets were staring her in the face; yes they were no longer red flags after four years. She was afraid of her reputation, may be she was scared of ending up alone. She definitely was a codependent. God only knows why she got married, she has no clue. Ok let’s blame her hormones; they clouded her thinking as her uterus refuses to do the thinking no matter how hard she tries to convince it.

N, she married D coz’ she had slept with him. Big mistake and we all witnessed her making another mistake by marrying him. She’ll punish herself for another few years before she calls it quits may be she’ll stay. She is getting comfortable there fighting his indifference and interfering MIL. Who knows …?

Rinky, you met her here. She wanted to do something for herself after following instructions from her parents all her life. S, joins her in saying she wanted to claim modernity by choosing her own mate and not going for backward arranged marriage. One is separated with child and the other is divorced.

Lal, got married even when he had seen DG marrying an abuser and suffering. His reasons are unique; he assisted her break free from her parent’s abuse so he is her only support. She has violent anger issues and he takes it coz’ he thinks she has no one else to vent on. Good Samaritan is being beaten black and blue. Backing out was not a choice for him or those jats would have killed him. Ah, what we do for so called love that is first to walk out of a relationship.

Sum, after break up with Al, he dropped his defenses to his parents or else he would have remained a bachelor. They saved his dharma from being polluted by marrying a Christian. And Al’s folks were happy that they beat the crap of love marriage out of her and saved her future generations from going to hell.

V, her parents threw her out in the middle of the night (now we realize they were trying to scare her from seeing a non Hindu.) But she rushed to An’s home and his mother summoned the priest for a quick wedding. After wedding both realized they were not even talking marriage yet. Here they were unhappily ever after…

SP, got married coz’ his mother needed a helper and she had already picked a girl for him. As the first born he had to set a good example for his siblings. His marriage is working well by grace of his mataji (mommy). It is working 🙂  but he would not confess.

P was the class topper she had to give up on M.Phil coz’ her parents had to marry her sister too who was two years her younger. P’s been married for 15 years now and that sister did not get married until three years ago. Poor P though she has managed to make it work even without love but is resentful at times.

DG asked Su if he loved his wife. He said, “What the heck I have been married for 10 years now. Had you asked in the first year or two I could have answered that question, now it is little complicated.” That is ok but why did you get married? His response was it felt right and he thought where else he’ll find another Vietnamese academic. When she posed the same question to his wife she said, it was like fishing for pearls to look for feminist Vietnamese man. What happened to love? Oh, that vanished once the tenure tracks hit us both. Now it is only marriage and feminism to fight for.

Oh, Sasha. Her marriage is based on mutual non interference, don’t ask don’t tell; devote your life and money for nation building through grassroots mobilizing and every thing will be alright. Haven’t seen them both together at any given time these two are always on the move. It works…

Darn none of us married for so called love they sing in the bollywood flicks and the Mills and Boons. Did love just pass us by or it doesn’t exist. We all married for all the wrong reasons. Was anyone thinking about companionship? Did anyone ask before marriage what was required? Does DG even know anyone with a good marriage? Darn NO with exception of her spiritual parents. Something is definitely wrong with DG or the people she knows. Is it like birds of feather flock together?

PS: There are numerous happy Desi unions; just that DG hasn’t run into them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. More power to them for making it work…

Desi Mothers: A Generation Lost in Translation

15 Nov

Desi Mothers: A Generation Lost in Translation

Readers are aware some half a decade ago DG was thrown out of desi married people’s club since then her interaction with them is very limited. Her life her obsession with karma and disinterest in other people’s business just makes her pretty more unfit to be part of any desi group. Couple of Saturdays ago she had wanted to attend a desi event and was looking for a ride. When she moved to this new location she had seen a senior Sikh couple around the corner. She was skeptical if she’ll make a courtesy call or she’ll let it be… Now her need to find a ride took her to their door steps. She greeted them in Punjabi and started her usual spiel. They speechlessly kept staring at her face as if she was an squeaking alien. They invited her in and offered a cup of tea.

As they walked in the lady just held DG’s hand and said “I still can’t believe you are real, and you are speaking Punjabi.” DG’s answer was, “please pinch me to make sure I am real and if you want I can talk in six other languages that I know.” The lady set the teapot on the stove and came to living room. She said before we go ahead tell me something, how long have you been living here? How old are you? Are you married or single? Where is your family? What do you do? DG was not prepared for this interrogation and for this reason she maintains distance from desis especially of a certain age group. DG has learned to be civilized and not throw the table so her responses were, less than a month, mid thirties, single, India, looking for work. Thank God the teapot started whistling. While the lady (now auntie ji) went to fetch tea DG examined the living room and kitchen.

The living room had very desi ambience, diwan like single beds in the living room with mismatched sheets and odd window treatments, an entertainment center with a TV and a music system, a load of religious CDs and DVDs, family pictures on the walls, a shoe rack near the main door, a kitchen full of mismatched things and pretty much disorder all around. With the tea began the conversation how DG knew the language and etc… Auntie ji began with a deep sigh:

They bought this house and moved in six months and eight days ago. (Wao, she knows exact days just like S who knows exactly how long it’s been her dry spell.) For a year they lived in a senior living. It was difficult coz’ they had just one bedroom and there was no freedom as such. (DG thought may be they needed their independence so preferred living there.) She pointed to the pictures on the walls and said, that is my son and his three kids, they live just on the south end of the town. Their daughter is in India married with kids. Then she started sobbing and narrating she was a teacher in one of the leading convent school in New Delhi and her husband was an engineer. She married her daughter pretty young and her son came abroad for studies and never went back so they packed their bags and came abroad to be with him. While he had a traveling job she and her husband found work to keep busy. They bought two homes across the boarder so that their son did not have to live in hotels (the parents made the down payments, they had sold land in des).

The son was reluctant to get married but parents (mother) kept pushing for a bahu. According to her she had almost checked out every medico desi girl in the US, Canada and Europe. The son would reject them or she would, this continued for ten years finally the son said find anyone I don’t care. She zeroed on a B.A. from a modest family for a bahu. The son did not like her coz’ she was not well read and lacked sociable skills according to him. Now the MIL (auntie ji) took it as her personal responsibility to make it right for the couple. She had promised herself she’ll bring in a daughter not bahu, so she’ll do every thing to make her feel accepted and settled in the new household. She’ll be exactly opposite of her MIL and show the world it is possible to be a kind MIL. She sent the new bahu to school to continue education, while she packed lunches for her and did the housekeeping.

In two years the couple had a baby; MIL immediately took off from work to take care of the baby and the new mother. Once the new mother was out of childbed things started to change, MIL’s work load increased, she was the one responsible for the baby and gradually two more children followed along with new dramas. Once bahu had a baby she became edgy, she started having problems with everything MIL did and she would not let her husband be alone with his parents even for a minute. Their son started acting up, yelling and screaming at the mother and often times not talking to the parents at all for days. After second child bahu asked MIL to give up her job for good as she wanted to work. MIL took it as a retirement bonus to be with the grand kids. Managing two homes across the border and three children under five became a full time job for MIL. Gradually the quarrels became so frequent that MIL felt she was a prisoner in her own home. It is then she asked her husband to move out.

One cold evening they walked out just with two suitcases. This explained the mismatched stuff in the house, all came from thrift stores in the community. It broke DG’s heart but all she could say was, this is karma and we all are making a choice whether to resolve it this time or come back again. She didn’t find a ride coz’ this couple avoided going to any desi event as they could not show their faces in the community that they were thrown out by their son and bahu. But DG had to promise she’ll visit again.

DG did visit again within next ten days. This time auntie ji invited her for brunch. There she met another senior gentleman, a recent widower living in the same senior living they lived in. His wife died two years ago. He said, his younger son would throw tantrum at a drop of a hat, beat his kids, yell and scream at his father. Poor man could not stand the child abuse and he asked his son to stop. But when the son did not he asked his other son to come and get him. He left with the elder son the younger one created another scene that his elder brother was trying to make him look bad. He did not want his father to live with the elder brother he insisted his father should go back to India or live with him. The poor old man had sold the land and house in India and given the money to both of his sons. Thus his only option was to move to a senior living. Here he lives not in peace but in utter silence; he goes to the grocery store every day just for the sake of getting out of the house. Why doesn’t he work? Economy is so bad who is going to hire this engineer after ten years of retirement. His last words kept ringing in DG’s ears, “I kept changing diapers and did not realize how much the world changed outside the home.”

DG asked if there were other desis in that senior living. He said there are 15 desi couples, their ethnicity he mentioned was Sharma – Vermas (read north Indian Hindus or just Hindus). DG met this bunch on another occasion and everyone had similar stories. None of them goes out to greater desi community because they feel slighted and ashamed of their living situation. Most of these seniors were professionals who came to help their children raise their kids. They are beyond working age even if they found work it is much below what they are qualified for. Most MILs asserted they wanted to make a difference by being good MILs unlike the ones they had. They kept asking where they went wrong. Some said they gave too much freedom to the bahus so the things went wrong and others said the bahus came prepared to use and throw them out. Strangely none blamed the western culture and influence. None of the MILs blamed their sons rather shielded them by saying it is their wives who instigated them; in a way totally exonerating the sons of any responsibility for personal behavior.

It is not just here in pardes but DG personally knows handful of nice MILs in des who are being ill treated by their own sons and DILs. These women are first generation working women who decided to make a difference by raising efficient daughters and productive sons and treating DILs as daughters. Are these women lost in translation of making a difference? They wonder if they should have been drama queens like their MILs and created living hell for their bahus to beget space in the home. This bunch asked DG if she could do something about this problem of an angry generation. She can blog about it.

Another one asked DG how come she is still single and where was she all this time how come she never ran into her. Had she met DG just half a decade ago she would have taken her as her bahu because DG thinks so much like her. DG was not flattered with this complement. Her nonchalant response was thank you but it wouldn’t have worked because I could like you but I can guarantee your son couldn’t stand a chance.

DG is wondering:

Is it a good idea to leave one’s familiar territory to go and help raise grandkids in a foreign land? If not then aren’t we desis known for our family spirit? Then what is the family for?

Is it wise to give away every financial asset to children be it Baagban san Avatar style or use restrain?

If these good MILs raised DG like confused daughters then how come they didn’t get similar confused DILs? Who riased these bad DILs?

Desi Lives: Jiyo Life Moments on Hold

24 Jun

Desi Lives: Jiyo Life Moments on Hold

An entry for Jiyo Life Moments Contest indiblogger.in . Help me win that T.V. for my Dad 🙂 .   

Please vote on http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=24075

Most religions emphasize on conducting one’s daily life in a manner that it will influence one’s other worldly future. The human life basically appears as a tool to attain that future position in the heaven (if there is one) on the Day of Judgment, parlok (may be it is only in India and Nepal side of the sky) or nirvana, the Enlightenment or the ultimate merger of human soul into the divine. All conducts during the life time are geared towards this goal of attaining a position in the other world that most of us are not even sure of.    

This carrot of reserved position in the other world acts as means of social control, it is a way of keeping ever burgeoning population on track and protecting those with little or no power in everyday life. Desi folk culture is full of idioms and phrases like I have to show my face to God, I can’t take it with me so I don’t want to attach my self to what ever material possession it is, only good name goes with you rest every thing stays here, even Alexander the Great left with nothing on and on… As if one needs an excuse (rather brownie points with God 🙂 ) to be honest or kind. I wonder is it not possible to be honest and kind on one’s own volition.    

Advocating restrain on seeking gratification is a means of social control so is emphasis on patience to enjoy the fruit of hard labor at an opportune time. This is future orientation so deeply imbedded in Desi psyche, every thing revolves around unknown future while present is missed out. As a kid I was repeatedly told to study and work hard instead of eye balling Chitrahaar or Sunday movie on DD 🙂 . This incentive worked wonders on 13-14 me. I would religiously finish my homework and chores. Brother and I were told to polish the family name with good grades and good careers (no discrimination here).     

Then all of a sudden I started hearing things all around, “No, you can’t do that, do it when you get married.” Be it wearing make up, skirts or going to movies. I am not alone many young women have heard that in their life time. All of a sudden the home I was born and raised in became alien to me and the one I did not know even if it existed became locus of my actions and conduct. Amu, Atiya, Rinky and many other friends share similar experiences.    

In late 80s I was about 15 when I watched Nalini Singh’s Hello Zindagi on DD. In one episode she documented broken promises, where married women disclosed how their lives were controlled and manipulated by natal and conjugal kin. A woman spoke from the dark to be anonymous how she was assured she could continue her education after marriage but was forced to quit after marriage. Another told how her dance career was terminated by her in-laws even when it was the condition of marriage that she’ll continue her dance practice and career. Now even her parents were silent on it, they said it is up to her in-laws. Yet another woman’s word stuck in my head she said, “In parent’s house my parents said we won’t allow you to wear skirts or go to movies. Do it in your home. Now I am here my MIL says we won’t allow this do it in your home. I want to know where my home is.” I have never heard or seen such restrictions imposed on men their lives continue and women’s lives are put on hold in a wait of unknown golden future that no one is sure of.    

It was then I decided to do what I had to do. I wore long skirts but never asked parents if I could go to movies with girlfriends. Basically I traded skirts for movies. I left home for hostel at 19. Lived a full life never did anything that I would not do if I were at home. An invisible fence erected on my own volition guided my steps. In a way my life was lot fuller than peers. Many of us suffered from dysmenorrhoea, all of us were told by different doctors it will get better after marriage, if not marriage then definitely after childbirth. Wao, again our female lives were on hold for that cure-all called “marriage, a package deal came with babies” (even if you wanted or not). I saw other women in the hostel getting engaged and married more arranged than love marriages because in the later men were peers so not yet settled in careers. There was this whole thing about coupledom.  After six years I too was sold to this idea.    

I now I pined to enjoy things with someone special that I was yet to meet. Unlike 50s, 60s, and 70s unmarried women in 90s did not wear Sarees in every day life other than on special occasions. Saree all of a sudden became a national attire of married women. I would go places for conferences; mom would give me extra money to buy sarees that I would like to for my wedding. I bought hand woven Sambhalpuris, Bomkais, Passapali, Ikat, Venkatgiri, Narayan Peth, Pattu, Kanchipuram, Bandhani, Lehriya Mothada,, Maheshwari you name it I had it in my collection[1]. Sarees safely rested in mom’s Godrej and I changed folds every few months to avoid disintegration of silk, in a hope of that special day and happily ever after when I’ll enjoy wearing them.    

Few years later I met someone and soon I went to Osmania for a course. Our class went to Golkonda Fort to enjoy sound and light show but my heart longed for him as if I had put my senses on hold. I did not want to enjoy anything with out him.[2] I was in Agra I refused to see Taj[3] because I wanted to see it with him. As our courtship prolonged I started missing out on everyday pleasures I could not go out with girls because I was waiting for him to arrive after his class. My total focus was on his career so that we could set a date. Now I realize there is too much hype about “that special someone” who’ll fulfill all your emotional needs and “that special day” that will set everything right there after.    

Came that special day minus happily ever after, the man had huge complex that my wearing sarees made “him” look older. He wanted to preserve his boyhood where as I was a full fledged woman with a household to manage. Those sarees kept resting in those beautiful gift wraps and we parted ways not so happily ever after… When my turn came the game was over I felt cheated and robbed of a dream. So much for that future that I awaited so long… I am not alone Khamoshi, Mehak and many more desi women are picking the pieces of their lives they had put on hold…    

We were still married one morning I woke up in the hospital, I was hit by a car. He filed for divorce. On the hospital bed it dawned on me I can put my life on hold for none I just got a second chance. I had to relearn to walk, dress up, read and write but now I definitely did not have to relearn how not to put my life on hold. I decided to enjoy every moment of my life. S took me to a Banff but now I was stuck in my past. I had no clear memory but my body yarned for him I thought if we could have made it work we could have enjoyed our first snow together.  S said, “You think that drama queen would have left this trip worth remembering.” Then I recalled, I had no happy memories from any outing not even from the happiest place on the earth so I reluctantly returned to present.     

We are creatures of habit and this “golden future’ awaiting us is surely beaten into our desi psychi by our desi culture. I returned to school in between rehabs and again I lost track of beauty in my life. I became an ever busy grad who did not even have time to smell the roses on her way to work. One fine afternoon I was walking through the soccer field it appeared not green but gleaming silver. I stopped for a minute and went down on my knees I exclaimed. Oh my, it is the new grass sprouting from the seeds. Tears ran down my eyes, Oh my! What a joy to see life, what a blessing to have sight and my knees that could bend once again. I was telling passers by about my discovery, most were puzzled 🙂 .    

 This joy did not last long I went on a ropes course and within a week my bad leg started hurting. We had hard time in establishing a diagnosis because I had hardware in my leg. From crutches I went on to wheelchair and then to walker but I still went to summer Solstice and enjoyed every minute. Five months and still no relief, I became sad and irritable.  One day my Spiritual dad[4] asked why I was so unhappy and what will make me happy. I was shocked, I said, “You know my leg is not healing and the pain is impacting quality of my life that is making me unhappy and I’ll be happy if the pain is gone.” To this his response was, “What if it never heals and you have to live rest of your life in pain are you going to stay unhappy for rest of your life?” It felt very insensitive I even felt hurt but then I meditated on his words I realized it made sense. I could not put my life on hold I could not let my physical or emotional pain hold my happiness as a mortgage. Within two weeks I was camping and climbed Mount Julian with my single point cane.     


Three months later I had another surgery. The day after sutures were removed I was on the cruise ship.[5] Few more health debacles but my life has not been hold for a minute.     My faith keeps growing stronger by day. I attempt to live in grace with kindness and compassion.

 I go dancing, camping, boogie boarding,  hiking, on ropes courses.  I’m in and out of rehabs, my bucket list is still long I am working on it. If someone comes along they are welcome join me on my adventures but I’m in no mood to stop or slow down for them.    

I can’t fianancially afford to go to Bali or Sydney at this time but I can afford to celebrate what I have. I can smell the flowers, tell strangers on the streets, I liked their shirt or shoes… I can give hugs to homeless people on the streets because I needed one when I was homeless…


 My life is nothing great it is a movie I have decided to script and direct with the help of my producer All Mighty. 🙂

Claim your life don’t let others define you define your self.  🙂 🙂 🙂

 If she can play by her life then why can’t I if I can do it there is no reason you can’t. Give it a shot unhold your life and make every moment a jiyo life moment…  









[1] I don’t have Baluchari and Paithani because he promised to buy them for me.    


[2] Sum, my friend missed his sweetheart so he did not enjoy it either. They too parted ways due to family pressure.    

[3] I never saw Taj because he wanted to take his mom along for honey moon. So we never went for a honeymoon 🙂 .    

[4] A white Sikh Family nursed me back to health after my accident. So they are my spiritual parents.    

[5] My spiritual family treated me to this cruise.

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From the wet market

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