Tag Archives: Married

5 Things I’d Do Differently As An Unmarried Girl

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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 

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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 

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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

My 6 ‘Moments’

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My 6 ‘Moments’
“Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.”

I read this somewhere and I thought; How apt! It’s been almost three months since we got married and somehow, I remember this time not as months, not as weeks or even days either… I remember it in moments. Some of them were precious.. the others, scary… I’ve picked out 6 of them to share here… The others, I’d rather keep to myself.. 🙂

I’m-A-Complete-Disaster Moment

A week into being married, we were either ordering in or cooking very basic food at home. But I knew this couldn’t go on for long. So, beginning one Monday morning, I decided that for a week, we would order nothing from outside. I will prove to myself that I can take care of my home and put wholesome meals on my husband’s plate thrice a day. Monday went well. A good breakfast, a neat lunch and a filling dinner. Tuesday saw me a little rattled but I managed the routine again. By Wednesday’s dinner, I had run out of the recipes that I knew. That night, it hit me that I wasn’t prepared for this! Thursday I muddled through with some rudimentary recipes from the internet but I was unraveling fast. Cooking three meals a day is not an easy task. There are so many things to consider; likes and dislikes, what ingredients do you have, what left overs are in the fridge, how much time do you have, what’s the average appetite.. and believe it or not, once you begin running your own kitchen, you’ll see that it feels like ten seconds pass between clearing the plates after one meal and beginning preparations for the next! There is no respite! And being raised by my mother and my grand mother – two extremely efficient home makers – I had standards to live up to! So between the endless chores through the day and the worry keeping me up at night, it is no surprise that I miserably broke down over the charred remains in my kadhai after I’d burnt Friday’s breakfast. My husband was still fast asleep since he’d been working late the earlier night which left me sobbing over the sink as I scrubbed the kadhai, wondering what he was going to eat when he woke up. In that moment, I felt lonelier than I’ve ever felt before. My darling of a husband had been doing everything he could to make sure our life could go as smoothly as possible and here I was, a clumsy mess of a woman who couldn’t even serve meals for a week without incident! I felt wretched, gripped by fear that I was going to bungle this whole thing up… It took an hour long chat with my mother to calm me down. Finally, I got bread and served toast and tea for breakfast. And though it was a perfectly acceptable breakfast, the feeling of being inadequate stayed with me. It was a couple of days later that we had a chat and my husband forced it out of me… and the man made me feel like a master chef with the way he reassured me about my cooking skills!

Enough-With-The-Teasing Moment.

I started to lighten up a bit after this. The euphoria of being married had settled down quite a lot but some of our close family and friends were still pretty kicked about the ‘newly weds’. Small anecdote: We had spent our wedding night in a hotel with one of those horrible spring mattresses which appear fun at first but ruin your back. It resulted in my husband asking for a back treatment from my father-in-law who is an exceptionally amazing acupressure therapist. Do I need to quote the jokes that followed? Wedding night followed by the groom having a back ache? You get it right? yeah… it was pretty funny and almost everyone made snide comments for weeks after that. In fact, for the first month, no one could resist teasing us and to be honest, I enjoyed all the attention. But then, it started getting repetitive… I know we have a place of our own and we can ‘do it’ a zillion times a day if we want to but the fact is, we didn’t! We did so many fun things… slow dancing to no music… cooking together… endless tickling matches… intense nerdy movie marathons… so so much more than just sex… So after a point, all the innuendos and teasing started feeling churlish… Like, there came a point when I felt like shaking the next person who throws a layered comment at me and saying, Look! We are not rabbits in heat! We do other stuff too.. OK? I vented my feelings and the husband, knowing my temper very well, pulled out the fire hose (Don’t you dare twist that in your dirty mind and snigger!) He too found all the teasing pretty annoying so we just sat and laughed at all the naive commentary people made about our private life over a peaceful cup of coffee. After that, whenever someone (with a few exceptions) spat out a predictable teasing comment at us, we just exchanged a look; knowing that we’d laugh at that when we got back home later.

I-Miss-Mom Moment

Life likes to sucker punch us when we least expect it. Since we’d spoken about the stress of the chores, my husband took up a lot of the work and we even cooked some meals together.  Whatsapp came to the rescue and I got mom to send me recipes every day. My husband and I went vegetable shopping together so we picked stuff that both of us wanted to eat. That eased off some of the stress. Still, life wasn’t a song yet. Amidst all this, Sankranti appeared around the corner. Mr. Iyer made me Gajar ka Halwa which was splendid despite it being his first attempt… that was a moment in itself but like I said, some moments I shall keep to myself.. Now, like I said, I had standards to uphold and there was no way that I was letting my first festival as a married woman go by without doing something special. So I decided to make tilgul laadus. For years, I’d helped mom make these so it wasn’t a big deal. I got the exact recipe from mom and went about making them. For those of you who don’t know, this involves melting jaggery, adding sesame seeds and other ingredients to it and rolling the mixture between your palms into smooth laadus before the jaggery hardens. Yes, it is hot and yes, it stings your palms! Like hell! As I made these, I thought to myself, what kind of a masochistic woman invented this recipe..? And somewhere, a memory stirred… Once, when I was a little girl, I’d asked my mom, why she did this when it was so painful? and she’d said, “Because you love to eat the laadus so much!” And I missed mom… it was almost a physical ache, like a constant toothache that wouldn’t go away. I cried myself to sleep that night. But then morning came and I found the husband stealing the laadus and eating more than were healthy for him and that made me smile… they’d turned out almost the way mom’s did.

What’s-My-Name-Again? Moment

Weeks passed after this. Work was catching on and I had episodes to deliver. When I was mailing an episode I realized that I’d signed the e-mail off with my maiden name. That brought on its feet the embarrassing realization that I had sent all earlier mails with the same name and signed for couriers and debit card slips with it too! Two months and I still hadn’t gotten a hang of it! For someone who’d been so excited about us being Mr & Mrs Iyer (Like the movie) I wasn’t very good at using the name. I decided this wouldn’t do and used my old school teacher’s trick. Yep! I took a pen and paper and wrote my name with the ‘Mrs’ and ‘Iyer’ prefix and suffix in place some twenty times. Days later, I was placing an order for home delivery with the local cold storage. The guy asked for my name and number. I almost used my maiden name… but then paused and said, Mrs. Iyer. Believe it or not, I think I blushed when I said that!

Where-Did-My-Time-Go? Moment

Now, between managing home and work, I woke up one morning and realized it had been two months since we got married!   There were so many things that I had wanted to do by now and there had never been enough time! What if my life went by like this and I never got to do the things that I had wanted to do? Imagine this. This post has been in the drafts folder for a month now and I’ve been meaning to complete this and post it for days! I’m an adventurous soul. I thrive on DIY’s and travel. What if I woke up one morning and realized that it was our 50th anniversary and I hadn’t done anything other than keep home and finish work? It was a paralyzing fear and I knew I did NOT want that to happen. From that day, I made a conscious effort to make sure I got some time to do something I wanted to even if that meant ordering in for a night.  Life is about balance and I was not about to lose mine so early into the game.

I-Can-Do-This Moment

After the first few weeks of chaos, life settled into a manageable cycle. Somethings became routine. I still had my fears of being a messed up wife but not as much as before. I’ve mentioned twice earlier that I had standards to live up to. Now let me elucidate a little on that. As a child, I’d seen my mother and my grandmother putting together ingredients and serving magic on my plate. In my grandmother’s presence, even with the most unexpected of guests showing up, there was always enough to go around and then some. Yet, nothing was every wasted. She always recycled leftovers into some amazing treats! One of the things that my grandmother routinely did was make Ghee. We never purchased ghee from the market. And the day she made it at home was a fun day for all of us kids. When she churned the butter out, we got little lumps of it along with a glass of the buttermilk. And when she put the butter on the stove to make the ghee, the house filled up with the waffling aroma of it. When the ghee was ready, we each got rolled up chapatis with ghee and sugar. In my mind, She will always be the epitome of the house proud home maker and I will always see her as that plump old woman sitting at the kitchen platform, surrounded by that heady aroma. If I could be half as good as she is, I’d have achieved something. Keeping that in mind, I’d started collecting cream from milk practically from the day we started living here. After making two batches of butter, I took a deep breath and set about making ghee.. and when I finished, my tiny flat was filled with that same aroma… it was like going back in time to our old bungalow… though a tiny, almost insignificant achievement, I had been able to do what she used to do… I’d made a little bit of the magic that had filled my childhood.. and as I stood staring at the golden liquid in a bottle, I couldn’t help but smile.. I’d done this… I’d made it… and somewhere, it was a reassurance that I could do this… I could make this new life work… of all the chats I had with my mom and my husband, this moment in my kitchen was the most reassuring one.

As I publish this post, we are a week away from finishing three months together and I am already managing much better. I’ve found normalcy in chaos and peace in things as simple as a perfectly shaped, fluffy chapati. I still have these moments; of desperation, of victory and of wonderment. Each passing day brings with it new moments and with each, I grow a little. I realize that I’ve rambled on through this post but I think I wanted to get this out there. If there is one thing I’ve learnt, it is that no matter what the situation, you are never alone. There is always someone out there who knows exactly where you are standing. So this post is to all those newly weds out there. You may have these moments too… and when you do, I want you to know that you are not alone. We all go through these and if you hang on tight through the tough bits, more often than not, the view on the other side is pretty darn good!

Photo Credit: Meraki Pictures (I Love You Guys!)