Author Archives: newmrsiyer

About newmrsiyer

I JUST got married... Excited? Yes! Nervous? You bet your ass, yes! We have so many plans in place... And yet, I have no clue how things will be from here... One thing is for sure. We are married and that status ain't changing till death pries us apart. Anyway, today is a new beginning for us. A lot of new things are going to happen. So I am adding one more to the list of new. Now that I've crossed over to this side of the fence, I'll be reporting from here about the exact shade of green grass. For those of you who are about to tie the knot, for those of you who are wary of the idea, and for those of you who've done it already; here is my column airing facts, throwing cautions to the winds, giving tips and asking for advice.

5 Things I’d Do Differently As An Unmarried Girl


Hi All!

Jeez! You’d think a writer would be more prompt and consistent with her blog! Apparently not… But cut me some slack… I’m running a house here with little to no experience! Anyway, I’m here now… So if you have absolutely nothing to do, read on!

I got thinking the other day about how much has changed since the wedding… how much I’ve changed… Not more than four years ago, I was sure I was not getting married. Now, I’m happy I didn’t stick to that. However, now that I’ve seen the other side of the coin, a few thoughts came to me about what I would do differently if I got to go back to being unmarried. A lot of these look like regrets but barring the last one, they are not. They are my learnings, things I’ve taken in my stride, written off as bad judgment calls and moved on. So here are the things I’d do differently if I could be unmarried again:

  1. Traveled More

1As a college kid, I traveled a lot. We had an active nature club in our college; The Wilson College Nature Club. And we went on several treks across the country. Even my media course involved a yearly trip with the class. Other than that, I did a little travel of my own too; a country wide stint with the Tata Jagriti Yatra to study enterprise led development all across the country. But after college, the traveling all but stopped. Now I wish I’d done more of it. I LOVE to travel… so does my husband. But the kind of travel you can do as a single, unattached young girl is very different from the sort you do as a married woman with a house to run. For one, I could have afforded to let curiosity be my guide and take me wherever it wanted. Now, my husband and I need to plan, prioritize and make contingencies for contingencies. Mind you, I enjoy this too.. but if I got a do over, I’d do a LOT more of the ‘young girl’ kinda adventurous traveling in the years between graduation and marriage.

  1. Taken Better Care Of My Health

2 I wish I’d eaten those fruits when mom told me to. I wish I’d worked out more often. I wish I’d made it a habit to oil my hair and maintain it well. If I’d done that back then, today, it would have been second nature and not just another thing I need to learn to do. If I get a do over, I’d go back and push myself to do these things till they became muscle memory. I’d keep myself fit and in good health, irrespective of the pressures of my career. I’d have eaten healthier, kept my hair long and beautiful like they used to be when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t about living up to some impossible standard of beauty. Think of it more as a self maintenance routine. If I could do that, I’d have a much better version of me today, a much healthier, fabulous haired version, much more adept at handling the stress of day to day life.

  1. Insisted On A Smaller Wedding 


I loved my wedding day. It was perfect! It was beautiful! Our pandit (priest) explained each step of the rituals to us and it felt divine! We had a relatively small wedding because both of us didn’t believe in the opulent, money guzzling mini festivals people have these days in the name of weddings. We saved ourselves a lot of financial headaches due to that but even then, it was not an easy feat to pull off. It DID burn holes in our pockets. And now, every time we begin to put things on the back burner due to financial priorities, I find myself wondering, was it worth it? Of course, having our whole entire extended families and friends there with us on that day did feel wonderful… but wouldn’t it have been a nicer feeling to have no financial worries in the first year of being married? We aren’t exactly cutting corners right now but I have a feeling we might have put the money to better use after the wedding day than on it. When we decided on forever, we’d toyed with the idea of a court wedding but given up on it not only for the sake of our families but also because we’d wanted to experience the rituals. If I got to make that choice again however, I am half convinced that I’d go for a much smaller, intimate affair with just our parents and siblings at the family court or a small temple. We’d have spent far lesser and had a much larger kitty to begin our life together with. Yes, it would have been a task convincing the families to agree upon this; a lot of people would have felt hurt and excluded but I could have come up with a way to convince them if I’d have tried. After all, they love us so much, they would have liked the idea of our secure life more than a big wedding day.

Note To Self: If my son/ daughter asks for a small wedding or a court wedding, I will not pressurize them into anything else. I’ll know that they have the foresight that I lacked and give them my blessings.

  1. Spent More Time With My Sister and My Cousins

5I enjoy the fabulous position of being an elder to one awesome sister and four cousin brothers on my mothers side along with being a younger sister to two elder cousin brothers on my father’s side. All my cousins are amazing. Yes, as kids we spent innumerable holidays together. We fought, had ‘adventures’ and created memories. But as the years built up, we saw lesser and lesser of each other. I wish that hadn’t happened. Now, three of my brothers live in three foreign countries… the remaining may not be distanced as much by space as by time. Yet, I feel a bond with all of them. We keep in constant touch via social networks and whatsapp but it is not the same. I wish I could have had a little more time with all of them. A few more summers and festivals that I spent instead with friends and work. If I could do it all over, I’d make it a priority to be with them more often. And though my sister and I lived under the same roof until 10 months ago, I’d spend more time with her too. Take her shopping maybe, or for a movie every once in a while… I wish I’d done that.

  1. Learnt More Of Mom’s Cooking 


This is a regret. It is not a learning, it is a regret. My mom is an earth shatteringly awesome cook… so are my aunts and my grand mothers. Thanks to that, I was raised with some of the best quality home made food ever that seemed to magically appear on the table at every meal. My mom made cooking look so easy, I never took it too seriously. I never understood the value of that food. As a teen, I made faces at the vegetables and used any excuse to eat out. But today, when I could easily order in for every other meal, my heart craves that soul food. Now, I bug my mom every day for her recipes and she whatsapps them to me. I know now as I toil in the kitchen, just how much effort goes into making one single, simple meal. Every time I cook, I taste it and feel, ‘its not as good as mom’s’. I often say, world peace is only one step away; get all the world leaders to sit at a table and eat my mother’s cooking… they’d be so contented, they wouldn’t entertain thoughts of something as wasteful and ridiculous as war. So if I get a do over, I’ll spend a lot more time in the kitchen with mom. I’ll learn how to make food the way she does so that when I have my own kitchen, I’ll know how to run it like her. And I’ll tell her how much I love her food as many times as I could because no exotic burgers, no amazing buffet can compare to the peace and tranquility of mom made food.

Piece of advice to the unmarried folks: go into the kitchen right now and hug your mom (or dad… whoever is cooking). And while you can, learn their recipes. Girls, don’t think this is a ‘backward’ thought… to learn to cook for your husbands… learn to cook for yourselves, even if you don’t plan to get married. Guys, you are no exception. You may find yourself a wife who will oblige to cook for you but you WILL miss your home food. So learn the recipes now so that you can make them for yourself later. I know my husband misses his mom’s cooking too. But since we live close to them, he gets a chance to go back and eat there often. You may not be that lucky… my mom lives 400 km away and I get the chance to eat at her table very rarely…

Its been 9 months since we got married and it took me this long to realize these things. I hope that this helps those of you who are in a place good enough to have the time to do the things you want to. I know it sounds preachy but twenty years from now, you’ll want a do over. However, no matter how badly we wish for them, do-overs are not a reality. To quote the MLTR song, Living is a one way street… So do it right the first time. Strive for the things you want out of life but in the race to get ahead of time, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate what you have. Take a look at the back burners every now and then and make sure you aren’t letting some of your dreams burn away. After all, Life isn’t about where you reach but about how you got there… enjoy the journey!


Much Love!

The New Mrs. Iyer

How To Train Your Finances


 More than six months of being married, living on our own, managing rents and expenses has taught us a lot. Add to it, getting a car (a Volkswagen Polo!) has been the kind of thing that leaves a lot of lessons in its wake. Especially being freelancers, our bank accounts have this nasty habit of soaring and plummeting at random. There is almost no discernible pattern to our incomes. So managing such rowdy, unruly finances is indeed a task. But I know now that it isn’t impossible. First and foremost, I bow to the man of the house, the husband for his awesome instincts for all this stuff.. Left on my own, I’d probably have fluctuated between buying out a mall and selling everything I own to manage a few meals… So here are a few things that we’ve done to help smooth things and grant ourselves a semblance of peace. 

1. Pre Wedding Planning: When we decided to get married, we discussed and decided that we’d be living on our own and not with our families. That meant a whole host of expenses that would crop up… Just the electronics would take away huge chunk of our money. So we did a smart thing. In the months prior to the wedding, we purchased our electronics as and when possible… The fridge, the washing machine and the microwave. With those out of the way, it kinda eased the pressure on the post marriage budgets. Think of it as building a home in instalments. This helps a lot… A LOT! 

2. The Wedding Fund: So we did this thing on our invitation cards, where we mentioned that instead of gifts, we’d really appreciate cash gifts. I am so relieved that almost everyone took the hint. Barring a couple of other gifts, we got cash which created a huge cash reserve for us. When we were setting up home, we used money from this pool, thus making sure that the set up expenses did not eat into our bank accounts. We got furniture, fixtures, appliances, etc. but we put a limit on how much we would spend so that some of that money could be kept aside as a reserve. I recommend this idea very much. Two fold advantage: you are not stuck with the gifts that you don’t want and you have plenty of resource to aid you through the first steps of married life. The leftover cash is also a helpful fund to fall back on for later. 

3. Unconscious Savings: We read about this idea somewhere and used it. As mentioned earlier, it becomes difficult for freelancers to plan savings because of the no fixed income thing. So we started this thing a few months before marriage and continued it even after. Whenever we spent money and got change in return, we kept aside the small denominations in a separate pocket in our bags. At home, we have a jar and a piggy bank; the coins go into the pig and the notes into the jar. It doesn’t pinch you when you put away a couple of bucks everyday but you’ll be surprised how much money can get accumulated like this! In the long term, when the jar and the piggy are full, remove the money and put it into a fixed deposit. Viola! You have a small savings pocket!

4. Chart Expense: At the end of each day, make it a habit to make a note of where you spent and how much. As you do this, you develope another habit; every time you are about to make an expense, you ask yourself if this is really needed. Don’t always hold back from giving yourself and each other a treat but  make sure that you are not over doing it. Just simply acknowledging where the money is going makes it easier to control it so that you are never in a place to ask, where did all the money go..? You’ll know where it went and why!

5. Watch Your Loans: This is my husbands brilliant mind at work. When we decided to get the car, we knew we’d have to take a loan for it. He wrote a long piece on a forum for Volkswagen car owners about getting the right loan. You can find it here. But one of the most interesting things that we have begun doing is that when we pay each instalment, we pay a little more than is due. In the short run, it doesn’t bother us much. Instead of around 8500/- per month, we put in 10000/-. What this does is that it keeps reducing the principal loan amount and in the long run, saves us a lot of money in interest. It also gets rid of the loan in a shorter period of time. We’ve also decided to put in as much extra money into the loan account as and when possible towards the same end. 

6. Have Fun: This is the most important part. I know people rolling in gold who lead miserable life. Don’t let your finances become a cloud over your head. Whatever the situation, you can handle it. In the meantime, life is happening to you. Don’t miss out! Have fun! My husband and I don’t need big, expensive things to be happy. He often brings me some funny shaped lolly pop or some simple flowers or candy and it makes my day! Be willing to be happy and anything you have, will be enough. Money does make life comfortable but it is not all that you need to be happy. Find little things to make each other happy. We are currently reading out Harry Potter to each other… We call it co-reading. I’ve almost swallowed the books as a child but he hasn’t read them so it is fun! And not expensive at all 😉 

Bottom line being, despite doing all this, finance is not gonna be an easy pet to keep but it is one of the many joys of being an adult (sarcasm detected?). Take it in your stride. Never pass an opportunity to make money. The legal, fair way.. Don’t go getting involved in nefarious activities and say I suggested it! And there is one more thing. Generate goodwill… With everyone around. Be good to people even if it is the guy serving your coffee. I believe the universe takes care of the people who care. Karma is very real, and she takes very good care of those who do good. As long as you can look yourself in the eye and sleep well at night, I think the rest falls into place. Don’t you think? 

My Birthday Wishes For Me


Yesterday was my birthday. The first one as a wife! This is one of the perks of being married.. I got thoroughly pampered! It was a fun day! The husband took so much effort to make sure I had an awesome birthday! He threw me a party at our place with a cake featuring Om […]