Marriage Woes!!

Marriage is a beautiful bond between two people who stick to each other through thick and thin even with no blood relation between them. Strongest of friendship cannot break the bond between married couples….this when the husband and wife are equally committed and consider the relation above all….when both of them uphold the vows of marriage to be a friend first and love, protect and cherish each other through all challenges life throws at them.

What if either one abuses the sanctity, the promise…physically, mentally or emotionally….?

Usually the abuse which comes to light is of physical violence, dowry harassment and forced abortions. What mostly does not come out as a marriage woe is the mental abuse, the belittling comments, the threats and not even the forced sexual activity because of the attached stigma of dishonoring the family.

It is no surprise then that the Supreme Court denied to deem the forced sex in marriage as crime….there excuse being “If marital rape is brought under the law, the entire family system will be under great stress”….Do they mean that if such a matter is not raised and we all turn a blind eye towards the issue then the family will not be in stress? Really? Because I believe that a family, where the wife is being subjected to any form of abuse, will always be in a stress whether she reports it or not!

These issues are real and very common but we read and rant about them, discuss about  them for few days and till another such thing happens we forget about such news and carry on with our lives silently thanking our stars that something like that has not happened to us!

And what if there is no physical intimacy between a married couple?

Recently, in the capacity of an air force unit’s commanding officer’s wife, I had the misfortune of being privy to a diametrically opposite form of abuse in marriage. The husband, in fact, never even realized that his behavior was the cause of his wife’s distress!

This woman came to me with a unique problem, one that I had never heard of earlier ever. She wanted me and my husband as the head of unit, to intervene and persuade her husband to have physical intimacy with her. The couple had been married for good ten to twelve years but they had no physical intimacy due to which she had not conceived and was being taunted by her in-laws and neighbors in village as infertile. For years she put a lid on the matter, bearing the brunt herself. The reason that caused her final breakdown was that her in-laws had started planning a second marriage of the man in hope for a child!

This woman’s husband was involved with some religious group which practiced abstinence from sexual activities. For no fault of hers, she was being subjected to such mental agony. Her request was simple that her husband should be ‘ordered’ to spend just enough time with her to impregnate her. He would be then free to return to his way of life with the religious group. She reasoned that if she could bear his child no one would blame her of infertility and they could continue to live under same roof with same indifference as past twelve years of marriage.

This poor troubled woman wanted to be held in her husband’s arms, wanted to be caressed, kissed, and passionately made love too. But she had been denied, for all those years, of any conjugal bliss. Her mental state was such that she looked gaunt and much older than her 35 years of age.

I was stunned to come across such a situation and was little unsure of how to address the matter. Both of them were counseled privately and we wished them well.

But will this be considered a crime… a mental torture by society and court or not? Or is it best for all to look the other way and let the family deal with this issue on its own too? Who should a person going through such a situation turn to?

In the recently released movie ‘PIKU’, the protagonist subtly mentions the sexual gratification as the need of women. People refuse to recognize that a passionate love-making is as important in a woman’s life as it is for man (however that does not mean at all that a woman can be raped in or out of marriage at the will, whim and fancy of man!).

Is it not the time yet to discuss such issues instead of caste and religion? Have we not come a long way yet to let women speak out about their desires? Is it not right yet for a woman to demand physical satisfaction from her partner in a way she wants?

Let us grow up and talk freely about issues relevant to humans without making it into something gender related. Unless men understand that a woman’s body is not a toy for them to be used at their will….unless the women have autonomy on their bodies, thoughts and desires…there will never be any justice…..rapes will keep happening…and women will keep curbing their own freedom!

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A to Z Challenge: Reflections!!

A-to-Z+Reflection+[2015]+-+LgThis is was the first time I stumbled on the A to Z Challenge and that too on the first day of the challenge. I wasn’t sure I could participate because the registration linky list was closed. But participate I did…..

And what a month it was! There is only one other challenge that I took in 2013 that of NaPoWriMo, which I completed too. I took A to Z Challenge to find out whether I could write at least 500 words everyday and to my surprise I did! I had not expected to survive the month though I very much wanted to.

However, there were times I wanted to write something else but the letter of the day sat large staring at me and I pushed the other thought at back of my mind so that I could concentrate on the letter. I realized that I am not good at writing on two different topics in a day along with doing other house chores…So that needs to be worked on!

The challenge was a wonderful opportunity to stumble upon but I am not sure I should bind myself with more such challenges which carry on for a longer duration… or may be I should first improve my typing and thought processing skills before taking it up!

I did get some very encouraging comments on my posts from co-hosts of challenge and new followers. Meanwhile I too read some wonderful posts. It would have added to the satisfaction of completing the challenge if there was a system of selecting the top three winners of challenge…… competition sometimes brings out better writing from people….it does from me ;)

For now, I am glad I completed the challenge. I will hopefully take out time everyday to write even without anybody to push me !

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Zonked out…..

Phew!! Last day of the A to Z Challenge. Honestly I am completely totally absolutely ZONKED OUT!!

clock woman

Image courtsey Google Images

I spent everyday wracking my brain to write something corresponding to the letter….everyday as the new letter loomed with the dawn break, I would start thinking about it. The LETTERS played with me as if I was a wind-up toy!!

After finishing the routine chores of the house, I would sit with laptop on my lap(…of course!) and start typing something then around 3:00 pm the sleep-demon would lure me to bed and my words on the screen would jumble up poking each other till the spell-check also gave up on correcting the mistakes!

An hour of sleep later, freshened up I would be again busy with kitchen chores….Eventually I would sit with my laptop again at around 9:00pm and by that time whatever I had already written would seem so irrelevant to me that I trashed it and write all over again!! Very slow at typing, it would take me forever to first think of the words and  then type them in logical sequence……

By then my poor husband would go off to sleep waiting for me to cuddle up near him….Alas!! Whole of the month he was deprived of touching my to-die-for soft, pearly dewy rose-scented skin! Actually, he is more relieved than I am!

I am happy I survived the challenge and in the bargain chronicled some parts of our vacation in America and realized that I could write 500 words everyday, if I really wanted to…. So may-be I will begin that story which I have meant to since some time now.

sleepBut for now, my daughter is at school….husband is out of town….I have finished all my daily chores…. so I will surrender to the sleep-demon who stands there near the softest pillow tapping his foot with impatience… And as Scarlett O’ Hara would have quipped…

“After all, tomorrow is another day”…I vow to carry on.

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Yikes!! You are Forty!

Ialarm clock still don’t believe I am forty! Well so what?

I still don’t hear the alarm bells going off even though  some friends keep reminding me….

Well, you are forty now! The clock’s ticking”

I don’t feel any change in me….my ambitions are same in fact even stronger now! My likes are same…more defined may be…..my energy is same ….more channelized now. My dislikes are same….I speak up now!

I am comfortable of my shape and size more than I ever was….. so what if little love handles have appeared where my lissome waist once was! My hair is still black with some greys at temples, my skin still doesn’t show any signs of wrinkles (thank God!)….I have always worn spectacles and eyesight is as good or bad as it was earlier!

Am I wiser, quieter, more responsible….I don’t know!!

What I know is that I pray for satisfaction in whatever I do…. for lifelong togetherness with my spouse…. for being always there when my kid needs me…. for dreaming big….. for more courage….

Its downhill journey now from here. How does it matter if your sari is in disarray? How does it matter whether your eyebrows are made or your lipstick is not the right shade? How does it matter if we don’t look attractive?” they say…

Why? I choose not to be bogged down by such thoughts….

Why shouldn’t I dress up if it makes my partner give me a second look? Why shouldn’t I entice my partner with a little bold color on my lips?

Why should I think about the lurking monsters of age and make my today depressing? Why should I age before it is time? Why shouldn’t I make the most of it while time is still on my side?

I rejoice I am at an age where I can give a piece of my mind to the twenty somethings….I can advise on kitchen skills….. I no longer need to explain why I was late…. I have the whole house running on my instructions…. I get to decide what stays in and what goes out of house…

Ha! I even get to say “I told you so!” more often….

So “Yay! I am forty…..lets get naughty!!

This is for A to Z Challenge.

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X-mas in Puducherry

Aurobindo ashram welcome urliThe only reason at that time, to plan a trip to Pondicherry, was spending quality time with old friends on their wedding anniversary but we decided to see the Aurobindo Ashram as well. We landed in Puducherry on 23rd December 2007 evening, the anniversary date. After quick shower and change of clothes, we all sat guzzling beers, remembering our childhood days, pulling each other’s leg, arguing, laughing at silly jokes, teasing…..me and my friend’s wife exchanged recipes, planned for some shopping……..Night seemed too short that day. We almost slept at the break of dawn.

The sun was on top of our heads when we finally woke up with surprisingly mild headache…

The next day we made a short trip to Auroville, bought souvenirs which were hand crafted by people residing there. The Matrimandir was not opened for visitors then, since some construction was underway but we still spent time in the shade of a huge banyan tree clicking pictures till our hosts decided to take us for shopping! The café at Auroville was decorated for christmas. Some kids practiced for a skit. The cute little Santa and snow-men near the decorated Christmas tree formed the backdrop of the kids’ stage.

Christmas decoration at Aurobindo Ashram

Christmas tree at ashram

By evening the whole market was glittering with multicolored lights ….Boards announcing the ‘Christmas-sale’ peered back at us from every shop….People were in festive mood, street peddlers sold balloons, candies, Santa Claus caps and decorative socks. Every corner already had somebody in Santa Claus attire shouting ‘ho-ho-ho’ to the passer-by.

Churches looked beautiful as if stars really had come down to celebrate Christmas next day. Outside the Immaculate Conception Church, we contemplated going in but decided against it as we did not want to barge in like tourists and disturb the people praying inside.

Immaculate Conception Church, PondicherryThe 300 year old Immaculate Conception Cathedral, one of the oldest tourist sites in Puducherry is the cathedral mother church for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore. It is also known as “Samba Kovil”.

The Jesuit Fathers came to the French colony of Pondicherry as missionaries in 1689. They built three churches which were destroyed due to the wars between French and Dutch and later by British. The work on present cathedral began in 1770  and was completed on 20 June 1791. The Church was the consecrated by Bishop Champenois. The Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary, Fest of this Church, falls on the 8th of December.  Mass services are conducted in Tamil and English.

Christmas rushSince we were not going inside the church, the next agenda for the evening was a lavish dinner treat to our hosts at a French restaurant….Christmas festivities everywhere had elevated our moods as well but the rush at restaurant brought us crashing down to mother earth……

None of us had remembered to make reservations at the restaurant beforehand….but that is where we wanted to dine so we stuck around waiting for seats to be vacated. It was a long-long  wait but the delicious food made the wait worthwhile!

Our short vacation ended too soon. I would have loved to explore Pondicherry…..its French colonial houses, avenues, promenade, guesthouses, churches, beaches….May be next time with more time on hand we will .

Au revoir Puducherry !!

This is also for A to Z challenge.

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Washington DC to Detroit by Amtrak

Having spent ten days in America eating all those refined flour breads, muffins, cakes, pizzas, pretzels, cinnamon roll, burgers…. we desperately wanted to eat home-made Indian food of Dal(lentil soup), whole wheat flour chapatis(soft Indian flat bread) and vegetables so we took a break and headed straight to my cousins home at Troy, Michigan.

We made sure to travel by most modes of transport when in America. ‘Union Station‘ being Amtrak’s headquarter was our obvious choice to travel to Detroit though my cousin was not very enthusiastic about our choice of transport.

Union Station is a major train station, transportation hub, leisure destination and the railroad’s second-busiest station. It also serves the Washington Metro, and buses. It also functions as huge shopping mall and is visited by as many as 40 million people every year!

Union Station, Washington DC

The station has huge vaulted ceiling which is almost 96 feet above the floor. Expensive material like gold leaf, marble and white granite have been used in the interiors.

There are many high-end shops, cafe, restaurants, salons and large waiting spaces in the station.

inside the union station

When all the checking of boarding tickets, luggage etc was over and we reached the platform from where we were to board the train, we noticed most people had left the platform and hurried to another platform across the railway tracks. Soon we realised that last-minute changes had been done and boarding was from the other side. We were totally lost Boarding the Amtrakbeing new to the huge station. We located the elevator and ran all the way to new platform because the it was already the departure time.

Two Amtrak trains were parked on the station and we had to confirm from the ticket checking officer about the one which was scheduled for Detroit. We were out of breath by the time we reached our seats.

Only after putting away our luggage and settling down in our seats, did we realise that we were not carrying any beverage with us. All the panic and running across the station had made us all very thirsty. But we were pleasantly surprised to find a small cafeteria on the train with coffee, juices, quick meals and a bar counter. We helped ourselves with the coffee and sandwiches while the seats filled up.

I sat playing ‘solitaire’ on my laptop when an old woman on the seat across the aisle, interrupted me and started advising on the game. Out of formality, I sat near her and let her explain me the game.

After a while, I realised that the woman had already consumed considerable amount of Vodka before boarding the train and was repeating her instructions and sentences to me. She asked for my email, misspelt my name and offered me some alcohol. She had half eaten sandwiches stuffed in her purse which was spilling over with scarves, reading glasses, water and what not. I felt the need to distance myself from her as in her drunk state, she started abusing other passengers, the speed of train etc. I did not want to be on her list of her offenders!

sight-seeing deckWe were there to enjoy our journey and the interaction with the old woman was eating into our fun time. I politely excused myself and went to the sight-seeing deck which had large glass windows for an unobstructed view.

The train chugged past beautiful country houses, small quaint stations, bridges, river, forest and hills….all making the journey worth remembering.

bridge

hill and river pass by

small station

Soon it was dark and we returned with packed pizza to our seats. As we slept off, we were rudely awakened by a commotion. Another passenger drunk to bones was arguing with the train staff disturbing everybody else. He had no clue where his seat was!

“I am JC man! People call me Jesus Christ…. Where is my seat? Why are you not taking me to my seat? You see, I am Jesus Christ …. JC”

He soon started shouting on another woman with a kid. His behaviour irked yet another passenger who threatened to bash him up. The staff interrupted and took the drunk man away.

With great difficulty, could I sleep again. Later in the morning, train reached Detroit. The old woman was already gone and forgot her spectacles, blanket and granola bars on her seat. Her seat looked more like a dustbin with empty liquor bottles lying all over. The man calling himself Jesus Christ and the man who threatened him , both were not to be seen either.

My cousin waited to pick us up at Detroit station. Our adventurous train journey ended with lots of memories stored in pictures and events that happened on board.

This is also for A to Z Challenge.

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Visitor at my home…

Few months back, when I came back from some grocery shopping, I couldn’t see our pet kitten at the gatedog Buddy, at his usual spot near the gate instead I saw this little visitor who seemed scared and unsure of his next move!

Buddy must have scared him‘ I thought as I called his name. Buddy however was snoring in shade under the tree in the backyard and was not at all bothered by the little guest or me!

I was vary of the kitten and did not want to encourage it by giving any tit-bit so I ignored it and carried on with my other chores. It must have found out a way to get down from the gate without attracting Buddy’s attention, because neither did we hear Buddy going mad at seeing a cat nor did we see the little kitten for the rest of the day.

The kitten had somehow found out whole routine of Buddy and slowly started visiting our home regularly. At night if Buddy left his meal half eaten, it was not to be found in the morning! Buddy’s water bowl also would be empty sooner. The little kitten, feeding on dog food, had also grown and suddenly become bolder. He would sit outside the kitchen window waiting for an opportunity to sneak in if the window was open. He would at sudden burst of speed bolt up the tree when Buddy went near his bowl. Buddy knew the cat’s smell but could never catch him and in vain kept barking on the (right) tree!

Our dog died because of some undiagnosed ailment. We buried him in the backyard. The kitten, now a cat, did not have any reason to be afraid anymore and would unabashedly lie in shade seeing me going about my chores. Its food supply had come to a sudden halt but that did not seem to concern it! I found the cat still growing larger and bulkier day by day… Its nonchalance now brought a smile to my face and I let it be, not shooing away like before.

Few days back….I heard some faint mewing from the window in the bathroom. There between the fly mesh and the glass panel of the window lay two small kittens with eyes closed mewing away for their mother!

The cat who had made our house its home was a female and now she felt safe enough to keep her newborns in the bathroom window near to humans!!

Now I can see two kittens huddled under the shade of tree waiting for their mother, their eyes two huge pools….yellowish green…I do not go much closer but the cat is not scared. She runs away to fetch food leaving her kittens as I stand there some feet away in the backyard.

We still haven’t recovered from our dear Buddy’s death. And I still do not entertain the cat and its kittens neither does my daughter want the cat family to use Buddy’s bowls but watching the two kittens fall over each other, mewing, trying to stand on their little paws…. has worked like a soothing balm…We smile at their antics, find a topic to talk about, remember how Buddy always got duped by other cats too….We do not shed tears every time Buddy’s name comes up…

The little visitor made our home hers and gave us a reason to forget our pain. Thank you Cat!

This is for A to Z challenge.

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