Sunday, January 9, 2011

Better Late Than Never

i was brought up in a way where thinking about boys was a sacrilege that is when i was in my prime. Good respectable girls weren't supposed to do that. Seeing boys romantically was a sign of promiscuity.
i still remember that after my ICSE (10th) in a convent school got over and when i had moved to another missionary school to do my Plus 2 something very traumatic had happened.
Dad to me : Dekho Munni ab tumhare class mein ladke bhi hongay. Chup Chaap padhai karna aur kissi ladke se koi dosti nahin karna. Love shove ke chakkar mein to padna hee mat nahin toh woh khandani talwaar hai na usse hum tumko kaat dalenge. Yeh bhi nahin sochenge kee tum meri beti ho.
Translated this means- Look Munni (my nickname) there would be boys in your class now. Quietly you should just focus on your studies and don't talk to boys. Don't you DARE involve yourself in SOME nonsense thing called love. Otherwise I shall cut you with that ancestral sword. I won't even hesitate not one bit to do so even if you are my daughter.
So that was the end of my teenage hormones that would have prompted my interest in boys in a manner where i could see myself  eligible for romance. i stuck along with my best friend who naturally was even more dead against boys and together we dreamt of staying on an island forever. Girls who discussed boys were like characterless and cheap and should be kept even further away than the arm's length. It didn't matter when other girls would tease us when they saw us together holding hands and moving like inseparables.
The first time i heard one of my returned- from- Welham- Dehradun classmate say, " Stop behaving like Lesbians Shivani !!", i didn't get her. In my naivety all i could ascertain was that there must be a country called Lesbia and the residents of that country are Lesbian and what could be wrong in belonging to a country. i didn't get any of it.
Didn't bother about it and still held hands and continued to be the same.
We were happy in our girly world and sort of hated boys because we thought boys were all bad since all they wanted was, only to get physical. Plus they smelt bad...of sweat all the time. Ugh !!

Outwardly all about boys was bad but inwardly and in my imagination there would be a TDH (Tall, Dark Handsome) faceless character...twilight...shores of a beach...fronds of palms...the silhouette of a girl and a man and oh so many French kisses...butterflies in the stomach and so on and so forth.
The concept of TDH was mooted in my imagination by my own indulgence in Mills and Boons. The masculine, strong heros who swept their ladies off their feet were mostly TDH'S.
Besides if the guy was the fairer one then how else would he appreciate mine and say to me, '' Gosh how fair and beautiful you are !''

The stories mostly started with PYT'S ( pretty young things) slapping the TDH'S and ended with the diamond ring.
i would imagine...and later day dream. Listen to love songs and keep seeing the faceless tall character in my thoughts.
The fact of the matter being that i was so eager to experience ROMANCE.
Falling in love and oh ! all that jazz.
Eager but not a desperado. My Dad's ancestral sword and his words that ringed inside me wouldn't permit me to be so.

Later tragedy kept happening till i got married. Received a few romantic proposals from boys but none who were my age. These belonged to two extremely different categories. i got proposed few times by youngsters. The first category had little schoolboys hopeless in their longing, boys ranging from age 8-15. Was flattered by their adoration but it was just something to be brushed aside. My own age group considered me to be an eccentric character who stayed away from boys. i wonder now how many thought that i was stiff. Some might have felt that i was not straight.  i don't blame them.
A girl who would feel awkward in the presence of  eligible boys and would not look straight but started fumbling and later scooted away hurriedly when she was been addressed to should be an eccentric/ gay only.
Only if they had seen the ancestral sword hanging in the living room of my house and only if they had known my Dad...only if...then i am sure someone would have made an attempt to show the least bit of interest in me.
Besides just like all classes have one beauty queen that the entire boy gang wants, my class too had a hep prom queen and i was quite a pathetic competitor. Who would bother to look at an eccentric girl whose hair was always oiled and in two plaits tied with the most lame red ribbons.

Then there were guys who were way ahead of my age. Some guarding angel from heaven monitored these kinds perhaps for i had to deal only with their looks and a few sentences that warned me to stay away from them and never to meet them alone.The middle aged men, sick men who probably had daughters of their own, if not my age but maybe a few years younger. Uff!!
i remember how i fired my physics tuition teacher when he said that i was the girl of his dreams who was giving him sleepless nights.
Didn't say anything to anyone not even to my best friend and preferred to flunk in physics rather than take tuition .
"I love you!"  from a few uncles later i finally thanked my stars when at age 21, dear Dad fixed my marriage.
i just got very lucky. The man in my life was a TDH and an IITian too.
So what happened next is history. i romanced but had doubts if that was true romance.
What i mean is, i kept thinking like i trained my thoughts...directed it...sort of manipulated it to make it feel like a natural romance.
Maybe my poor husband has not had it either. Both of us have missed that bus called FALLING IN LOVE.
So was my thought for such a long time.

And as i force him to sit and watch The Bridges Of Madison County, the movie,  in the mellow light of the bedroom soaking in that intense dialogue between Francesca (Meryl Streep) and Richard (Clint Eastwood), my hidden desire for this crazy little thing called ROMANTIC LOVE resurfaces.
First i turn to look at my husband and realising that i am looking at him he turns to look at me.
We both look at each other and revert back to the movie. When the movie ends i cry, sobbing uncontrollably.
My husband was gentle and asks me, " Baby what's wrong?''
i couldn't answer because i couldn't figure it out clearly and at that time attributed my tears to the touching scenes and the honest dialogues.
He let me cry for a while understanding the same and then hugged me to sleep.

It came to me later that it was not only the touching scene of Francesca's sacrifice and Meryl Streep's brilliant portrayal that moved me. Nor was Richard's extreme understanding of Francesca's predicament that moved me. It was something much more.
It was my own thoughts about love.

i thought there are a lot many things that each one of us have missed out in our lives. i cannot speak on behalf of others but then i know kabhi kissi ko mukammal jahan nahin milta....(no one gets everything in life) therefore we are prompted rather than reared in a way that teaches us to count our blessings. That helps to a large extent and we move on with our lives feeling or rather nurturing ourselves with whatever we can afford and have.
But in spite of all that there are times that some unfulfilled desire sneaks in like a virus that has caught us unawares.
i have often wondered rather imagined what that romantic love is really like. Will be dishonest if i don't say that i thought i have missed falling in love.
So what !  i must count my blessings for the man in my life has really been very gentle, loving and kind.

i have been so rigid about my thoughts of falling in love.
i have just longed for it in a particular fashion like how i have seen it in movies or read about in books and so have also nurtured inadequacy.
The reality being that with each passing day i have or rather we both have been falling in love more and more.
i have been receiving oodles and oodles of romance and have failed to acknowledge it because of my silly, dumbfounded rigidity.
How i have basked in the glory of love all this while and yet i thought otherwise.
What also made me cry was the absolute certainty about my husband's love for me and the realisation of my own foolishness.
Maybe i shall say no further of my own because i think what Francesca says sounds sublime. In her journal addressing her kids who are all adults now she says, " I've realised love won't obey our expectations. It's mystery is pure and absolute..."
And i can say for sure now,  how true !
i look back and don't consider Dad's warning to be a trauma anymore.  Maybe he was just protecting me from falling prey to that silly concept of love and the other disasters.
What would i have known of love when i was say 16 or 17. Something which is just attraction nothing else and after a while when the rigors of life makes one feel the grind,  the attraction fades and the passion dies.
At last finally i realise about love after all these years.
i look into the eyes of the man that Dad chose for me and i see that there's everything there i need for me.


  1. My dear Shivani:

    What do I say? I am a hopeless romantic but of course quite pragmatic too. I marvel at your ability to narrate tales brilliantly. As you were talking in this post, I could visualise that sword, your look, your dad, the boys . . .
    As I was reading, I was also parallely thinking of my experiences and how I could melt even now when someone looks longingly at me (winks). Shivani, in four months I am going to be married to my boyfriend and I cannot but help think of my life so far.

    I loved loved this one, as I love every other post or yours, which I have read.

    I can understand your crying after watching that movie.

    Much love,

  2. @Susan thank you dear for letting me know that you do make time to read my posts.
    i am loving ur words too :)
    Felt good to know that u understand my feelings.
    Now soon u'll start another new life...hope you remain fulfilled and enjoy every bit of that new life.
    God Bless the two of you now and forever.
    love and hugs :)

  3. Hi Shivani,

    Just gone through your new post. I like your writing style a lot. Though, it was not easy for me to understand the depth of your post(last 3-4 paragraphs). The reason could be me being 20 odd years old. However, the teenage part of your story was too good, especially your dad's word!!!

  4. falling in love is bliss but growing in love is more bliss. the former is temomery and the latter one is permanent.u r now with true love.we have always wanted more from what we have and thats normal.the more part is a dream.if the man is there to comfort u when u r low then there is nothing u r missing.this is love.

  5. @Anonymous thank you for stopping by.i am with you when u say that u didn't get me. i have this tendency of sounding vague.
    What i meant was Love is a beautiful feeling.But it is also a mystery. Falling in love is bliss...which i have not experienced the way they show in movies or in books. And because i have not attained that bliss i am giving less credits to the love that i have been receiving.
    i have not given growing up in love that admiration that it deserves.
    Have only thought about the romantic falling in love as LOVE.
    i expected love to be that and thought about my own life just as something of an arrangement for which i had no choice.
    But am amazed now that this arrangement too delivered LOVE.
    And it's high time i should start enjoying, cherishing this love the same way i would have enjoyed or cheished... mmmm... maybe a high school romance.
    i hope i am able to show you some depth of what i meant.
    Cheers 20 something!! and hope u keep your mind open to this concept called love.Have to warn you that don't nurture it in a fantastic practical before u take a plunge. And i hope this too much harping about love has not left u more confused.

  6. @Anonymous...err have some typos...ignore them.
    Read cheised as cherished.

  7. @Gauri thank you amazed by ur maturity and so happy to hear ur wise words.
    Hugs,Love u so much.

  8. hmm,,,, i got your point now.

  9. @Anonymous...anytime...thanks :)

  10. Good post Shivani. You have narrated it so well and I can see the expression on your face.
    With a teen and a 20 year old, I am wearing your dad's shoes(no talwaar though -:) But none of my warnings take effect. Parenting aint easy.

  11. @Preeti thank u girl for stopping by.
    Agree that parenting is tough and moreover with times a changing we as parents need to evolve too.

  12. Shivani, superb post indeed. Brought back my teenage days during which, falling in love was openly not possible though I must say I was among the last of my group to fall in deep love and boast having a girlfriend.

    FALLING in love is nothing more romantic than a cocktail of brain chemicals we get addicted to for 18 to 30 months at a stretch. After this we either break up or stay with our partners out of habit. I have seen people in love having the same symptoms as those with obsessive compulsive disorder: they do crazy things, take senseless risks and have endless thoughts about their loved ones.

    My answer to this, so what? Is it still worth falling in love? Yes, yes and yes again.

    So those lovely dreamy initial feelings fade. We all knew this. It doesn't mean your love is less valid. So you do mad things when you're in love. Thank God! Who wouldn't want to live life on the peripheries of madness with your emotions all over the place, your appetite suppressed and your skin glowing?

    I have fallen in love and I know how important it is for every human being to fall in love. Being in love means that the world, for a while at least, is a different, magical place with a secret only the two of you hold. How sweet all words sound, how helpful everyone is, isn't the sun bright. How fascinating your loved one is, was ever a person more interesting? The fact that others may not share your obsession only makes you feel more special. To me, Falling in love is like losing your temper - you forget yourself, lose your pride and become a slave to your emotions. It's great for the two in love, crap for everyone else.

    Thank god my dad did not have a sword to pre warn me the consequence of falling in love. The end result would have been fatal in my case. What with losing my temper and becoming a slave to my emotions.

    Thanks to your thought provoking post, I lived through the most beautiful phase of my life.

  13. @Tandarin Thank you...sort of overwhelmed too.
    And now more than anything else i feel i missed out on that madness.:(
    But it's ok. i have missed out on other beautiful relationships too. Like having loving grandparents to pamper you...or a best friend you can really count on...
    Maybe that's also life...missing some and keep guessing how it would feel.
    You are lovely...ur words sound so true.
    Loved going through ur words through which you have justified this crazy little thing called LOVE.
    Cheers Tandarin :)

  14. Now i know another facet of love! (wrt my own post on love). every time i blog, i visit yours to see whats new, and trust me it satisfies me with a visual treat. kudos again!

  15. @Kiran ...hey
    yeah that elusive thing called love...earlier i thought it was only in books...
    So many years later i questioned what was THAT which i have been basking in the glory of... all these years.
    There u have