At the Wedding

Two years ago, around the same time of the year, I had very enthusiastically written about my cousin’s upcoming wedding. A wedding I had been looking forward to attending after a long time of steering clear of all celebrations in the family.

More correctly, at that point, I felt I had moved on from mourning the death of my marriage and was back to my normal self, to enjoy the occasion in the right spirits.

But little did I know what lay ahead of me. An impending feeling of loss had been waiting to drag me into the pits. A fear clutched me by my ankles and refused to let go of me. Every move I’d make to stay my normal self, my feet wouldn’t budge.

Two years ago, I couldn’t muster enough courage to write about this overwhelming experience, but today, I can’t sit at peace till I am done pouring my heart in this space.

The change in me, the desperation to talk about my fears has its roots in the recent experiences I had at a family wedding and I want this out of my system ASAP because I am to attend another grand wedding in the next few days.

Anyway, let’s get back to what happened two years ago.

The very idea of a Bollywood theme wedding left me feeling uneasy with the anticipation of an overdose of drama, especially when the hosts were the most dramatic members of my family. Trying hard to keep my sinking heart in check, for the sake of Pari, we finally landed at the venue.

I wanted the hard work I’d invested in getting fitter than I had been in over 5 years keep my spirits high, but nothing, not even the lure of wearing the latest designer dresses could make me look forward to the ceremonies.

At this point, I want to highlight, that in the past few years, I have come to trust my gut more than I’ve ever listened to my heart or the mind for that matter.

An unknown sense of restlessness was slowly filling up my system. The cold treatment being meted out to me, by every member of the extended family, didn’t go unnoticed. What would start with an enthusiastic hello would lose all energy by the time, “So where are you working these days?” was asked, hardly 30 seconds later.

Though my mother, like always, defending her side of the family, said, that the coldness was a mere figment of my imagination, I couldn’t seem to overlook the sneering glances my 3-year-old darling was attracting, being stuck with a good-for-nothing single mom.

Though I had anticipated it all, I was stunned by the fact, how these remarks still affected me. It came as a blow to my belief that I had overcome my past, had moved on in life and was comfortable with the status of being a work-from-home, single mom.

I know, my financial situation isn’t even worth a mention, especially when my cousins, younger to me by 5 to 6 years are earning 8 figure salaries. But that shouldn’t be a point of discussion because I am neither financially dependent on anyone nor am I shedding tears to gain sympathy in my current state.

However, society doesn’t behave in ways that are logical to our sensibilities. In the protective presence of my parents, no overtly hurtful comments came my way, but I still missed the candor, the purity of meeting the extended family after a long pause. The plastic smiles, the synthetic busyness was very new and made the food difficult to swallow despite its richness and my hungry stomach.

In my mind, I was busy doing the math, that I had arrived around an hour back and had to stay for 54 more hours midst these cold hearts, trying to act happy, when I could barely breathe normally in that smoke-free, AC hall that still had room for 100 more people despite around 150 people already present there.

I couldn’t stop my mind from wavering to the thoughts of why the uncles, aunts and my cousins couldn’t see me beyond my marital status. I was unable to fathom their small-heartedness that refused to warm up to an innocent 3-year-old, so many of them were meeting for the first time.

I was much relieved when Pari and I stepped in our hotel room and locked the door shut. I had never before experienced freedom in the confines of a locked hotel room like I did then.

The afternoon sped fast, chitchatting with a couple of friendlier cousins and not-so-nosy aunts. The early evening was spent savoring the delish snacks with hot tea because Pari and I hadn’t eaten our lunches properly.

All was well, till we dressed up and were ready to put our best foot forward for the engagement ceremony around 7 pm. As I had dressed up Pari before I started getting ready, she wanted to go out and play with other kids than watch me get dressed up.

So, Pari left with my parents while I half-heartedly started getting ready for the ceremonies. While I was still deciding on my shade of lipstick, I could clearly hear the crowd cheer as the DJ played Yo Yo Honey Singh’s hit numbers.

After dillydallying for another half an hour, I stepped out of my hotel room, not a single soul was in the corridors. Not even the hotel staff. The glittering lights, the shimmering chandeliers, made me reminisce how my baby cousin used to yearn for a princess’ wedding as a kid.

As I reached the elevator, a strong scent of cologne blinded my thoughts. I was startled by its striking similarity to the cologne my ex-used and was too numb to think anything. Inside the elevator were three couples, more or less my age, who were too excited and busy in themselves, taking selfies to even notice my quiet presence.

The one thing that my dazed mind couldn’t miss was how much in love these youngsters looked. I felt a pang of loss rise in the pit of my stomach that moistened my eyes in less than the time the elevator took in reaching from the third to the ground floor.

On the blog, I share the day when my heart bled for my lost love & the dead marriage (following a difficult divorce) while attending a cousin's wedding. Read the details in the story on the Blog! #theerailivedin #heartbreak #divorce #quotestoliveby #quotes

Suddenly, I was the only one who didn’t have a hand to hold. I was the only girl who wasn’t looking forward to anything that evening. I was the only soul who was smiling on the outside but was crying on the inside, or so it seemed.

I have no memory of who all I met at the ceremony, what I ate and how the evening went past. I was too busy pitying myself for the absence of love in my life. I know, for a mother, a child’s love can mean the world, but despite having Pari in my life, that evening made me realize how much I longed for companionship.

The following two days were spent, restlessly wanting to escape from that lover’s paradise that was a holiday resort 20 kilometers outside the metro city that wasn’t my home.

The following month was spent reflecting, reevaluating my emotional well-being, reassuring myself that it was perfectly normal to miss being in a romantic relationship after having spent three-quarter of a decade in love (one sided or not isn’t the point of concern at this time).

Time flew and though I attended many weddings in the past two years, another wedding of a close cousin happened just last week. This time, I was sure that nothing could set disturb my newfound state of calm. Not even PDA or being the only single woman (of my age group) in the vast length and breadth of my family, present there.

The good news was, this time around, the wedding involved the extended family of my father’s side, unlike last time. The cousins of this side have been more understanding, warm towards Pari, with many kids of her age, too happy to have found a spirited mate in her.

For a change, I enjoyed myself, eating, chatting (as little as I normally do), meeting new people, I did not feel conscious of my marital status. I wasn’t feeling suffocated (having ceremonies in the lush lawns had a huge role to play in this) and neither was I struggling to keep tears away. Being myself was a happy change, despite the palpable coldness and the deafening silence on any topic pertaining to my existence from various corners.

Being myself was a happy change, despite the palpable coldness and the deafening silence on any topic pertaining to my existence from various corners.

The weird sense of loss dared to breeze past me but seeing my new-found composure decided to stay away, not daring to rub its shoulders with me.

It almost felt like an achievement to have been an active part of a family wedding without feeling left out. I am hoping the upcoming wedding shall prove to be a similarly exciting experience because now I am ready to answer anyone asking me “What do you do to keep yourself busy?” with “I write” without a hint of guilt or the need to explain myself.

The song on my mind: Ye kya jagah hai doston ~ Umrao Jaan

Rewriting my life story

In moments of great despair, battling depression, fighting streaming tears, I have often wondered what would it be like if I could rewrite my life story.

It comes across as a wishful thinking, another extension of the ‘What ifs‘ that have a way of creeping into our system from cracks only to make us wallow in self-pity.

The above train of thoughts paid me frequent visits when my wounds were raw and heart still bleeding post a breakup. However, over time, I indulged in introspection and reflection on my life in an attempt to understand where exactly had I faltered.

In the beginning, I was consumed by an insurmountable amount of guilt and frustration of having ruined my life, the way things had come along.

It took me a lot of writing and deconstructing life into small, analyzable events, to note, that on most occasions, I was no way to blame for anything that happened in my life.

Seeing ourselves in kind light doesn’t come easily to many, including yours truly.

But the hurt and guilt cocktail was not letting me exist at peace. Work felt tedious, peace felt fictitious and my smile lost in thin air.

Initially, my desperation made me wish I had chosen otherwise in every decision that took me the wrong way. I shifted blame to others for influencing me in one way or the other.

But as days passed on since I sat to rewrite my own story, I came to see, that despite what had caused me so many grievances, it had somehow failed to change me as a person.

On so many occasions, engrossed in a dialogue with myself in the peaceful early morning hours, I mustered courage to say it aloud to my myself, that if I were to re-live my life all over again, I would perhaps make similar choices again with the kind of experiences and age-appropriate wisdom I had when I made those choices.

when-i-sat-to-rewrite-my-life-story-i-stumbled-upon-painful-memories-and-guilt-in-the-dark-cold-corridors-of-my-mind-peace-dawned-when-i-accepted-that-i-had-done-enough-and-could-have-noway-change

This was a needed detour in my train of thoughts. I realized that when I was down to the dumps, I had allowed so much room to negativity in my mind, that all I thought was painted in dark notes. It was not about who did what or not, what happened or what did not, it was my fear and frustration of a failed marriage overpowering my conscience simply because I perceived myself inadequate as compared to the yardstick set by the society to gauge the success of relationships.

I was battling against myself, misguided by my expectations, fueled by my fears in my mind’s battleground. When I was confident, I have had enough, I chose to set myself free, not-guilty of any of the charges I was holding myself up for.

How did I do it?

I revisited the bad memories. Like, the very moment where I felt things started to go sour or where the roots of my guilt were feeding themselves. The exact point where my ex-husband abandoned our day-old-child while I was recuperating after suffering a cardiac arrest hours ago. I had forever believed that it happened because I wasn’t good enough. I had failed to keep him loving me enough.

But now, I knew better. It was not about me. It was finally time for me to set the record straight and understand that I was more than enough and did everything in my capacity to make my marriage work. His leaving us (me and Pari) was nowhere about me.

This understanding was liberating. It felt like a crack of dawn after a long, cold, winter night. I had finally rewritten my life story, freeing my soul from uncalled for guilt and negativity. The story still had the same plot as before just the characters were more enlightened and breathing free. They weren’t trapped in their self-spun web of negativity.

It isn’t always about choosing the alternate path that can set us free in our lives. Neither is it about our shortcomings, that we blame to have landed us with failures. Rewriting our story is about setting the record straight, acknowledging the reality that more often than not we couldn’t have changed the events or their outcomes because it wasn’t about us in the first place.

The song on my mind: Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai ~ Guide

Hello Autumn

hello-autumn

Autumn isn’t my favorite season,

Yet I love it for a reason,

I was born in this fiery bloom,

That sparks the leaves with feisty plume.

The air has the nip,

The temperatures begin to dip,

There’s more to autumn than what meets the eye,

I can hear its ‘Let Go’ cry.

The fall of leaves,

Unburdening trees,

Inspire me to relinquish,

Be generous, bid adieu to anguish.

Share, care and dare,

Let your soul go bare,

Believe life is threadbare,

Celebrate every moment while we’re still here.

Autumn isn’t the fall of life,

It’s the fuel of life,

It enacts impermanence,

To inspire diligence,

In all we do,

To make our dreams come true.

Let go of all vices,

That’s splattering sin on life’s slices,

Behold your power, hold your goodwill,

Grow within in months of chill,

To sprout,

To bloom,

To gift your life new beginnings.

This pursuit is precious,

This transition is tedious,

But is imperative,

To realize we’re all but a universe’s derivative.

This autumn,

Celebrate growth,

Sow generosity,

Sprinkle gratitude,

Practice reverence,

And

Prepare to connect with your core.

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The song on mind: Mera kuch samaan  ~ Ijazat