Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Almost famous - the life of the Desi Divorced Diva

Amy Poehler  pretty much nails the post-divorce life for women like me, i.e. women who are smart, intelligent, pretty, and divorced. Yes, you heard right. I just said some nice things about myself, and you will soon realize that we say such things in abundance. It helps with our self-esteem and prevents us from being “broken.” I know. It’s unbelievable and freakin’ fantastic!

Truly ladies, I don’t want anything to do with your husbands. Firstly, and I hate to be brutally honest (but you’ve really not left me much choice here), they are just not my type.  Just because I enjoy a conversation, smile, take selfies, and have a way of hugging friends when I say hi, does not mean I’m flirting. That’s just me being me – confident and comfortable in my own skin (see I did it again). But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you? You could not for the life of you have an ounce of confidence if you had to always be so insecure about the man you live your life with. I finally get it. It’s not me. It’s you, or maybe him. (See? I said I was smart AND intelligent)

I don’t blame you. I feel sorry and would like to let you know I am here to help. I am divorced, and no, it’s not infectious. Husbands - you don’t really need to worry. I will not suggest they leave you because you don’t load the dishwasher or do the laundry. In fact, I just brought the romance back in your life. You see, you are now so scared your wife might leave you, you actually try to put an effort in your relationship. I told you I would help.

As for the other genre of husbands who now think I'm vulnerable and feeling lost, and somehow in your weird, sickening imagination think I might be the right person to help you spruce up your life while your wife is away - get the hell away from me. I cannot be that helpful either.

Thanks to my new status (not so new anymore), I’ve made lots of friends and am used to random calls, emails and text from friends, who I have not been in touch with for ages, asking me if I would talk to one of their friends. I am not complaining about this at all. I have loved to help out a few women who had no one to turn to through the process who would understand them. And I’m quite aware that there aren’t too many desi divorced divas in this region. So, I just want to let you know that I’m here. I just charge $140/hour.

These days, any party I go to, I know the women are dying to ask me the million dollar question – “are you dating someone?” Most recently, they want to ask me, “who was the guy you visited in New York? Is he single? Did you sleep with him?”  Yes, divorced women can have absolutely normal platonic relationships with single men. And not every single man in my life I have to date or sleep with or marry. Rest assured, I will change my relationship status on Facebook as soon as I start dating so you can sleep better. For now, the friend I just visited I’ve known for 15 years. So there is nothing of that sort there, you can now move on to the next guy you see me with on Facebook.

Being divorced is not easy on many levels. But being a young (yes, I’m sticking to it) Indian divorced woman takes matters to a whole new level of crazy eye-rolls and exasperated sighs. But most of all it made the prediction of that astrologer come true from many years ago, at least part of it. I became famous - the talk of the town. How many of you can add that to your resume? Now all I can hope for is that the second prediction will come true and somehow this is all going to lead to that enormous fortune. Till then, I'll remain single and almost famous and enjoy every bit of it.

-- Your's truly DDD (no you pervs - that's not my size!)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Women in Rape

Recently media has been flooded with news of rape in India. Having gone through sexual abuse at a very early age, I cannot even begin to imagine what rape victims go through, no matter what their age. When I was finally brave enough to talk about what happened to me, I realized it was not only our men who needed to be educated, and in some cases have their penises chopped off, but the women were equally part of this disastrous mindset that plague our society and culture.

If you know me well enough, you will know that I always say, a country that cannot respect its women, is far from being developed. But where women don't respect other women, is a society that will breed evil far worse than we can imagine.

I think the problem is far deep-rooted than what we'd like to see or believe. When I first talked about what happened to me as a child, one of the first reactions from an elderly woman, who I had previously loved and looked up to, was, "Why did you not say anything earlier? Did you enjoy it?" As an 8th grader, one thing I was sure of. I would probably never enjoy "it" and if I could bring justice down on the person who did that to me, I equally wanted justice for this woman who had asked me this horrific question.

These are the women who give birth to sons and set examples of how to respect other women. And this is the reason it is not all the men's fault. As mothers, we have shown our kids it is okay for the men in our families to treat us a certain way. We have reminded our sons over and over again, they are superior over their sisters and have taught them how to mistreat their wives, because as mother-in-laws we have done exactly the same. We have prayed every night in order to conceive this superior being in our wombs and have been a part of destryoing the girl child. As mothers we taught our daughters to cover up and avoid men and be introverts. We've asked them not to wear pretty clothes or use makeup or do anything that might enhance their beauty and warned them over and over again of the evil that presides and put the fear of rape in them whenever they got ready to leave the house. Sadly we never put the fear of rape in our sons when it came time for them to venture out. Thus rape happens in our streets, schools, police stations and even in our homes.

We've been this way for centuries. And no matter how modern or developed as a country we think we get, we always end up in the news as a country with the largest number of rape cases. Yes, I agree we also make the news with some brilliant achievements worldwide hidden between coverage of corruption charges, film stars and cricketers, but these are the things that keep us awake at night, make us switch the channel or close our screens when our kids walk past.

I sit here in California, by the poolside of my apartment where majority of the resident population are Indians due to the proximity of my apartment to a hi-tech company. We are inevitably the smart race. But here too, I see the difference between our sons and daughters, husbands and wives. And even though we are writing code and building systems that will shape the future of the world, we are also establishing the stepping stones of how these boys and girls will perceive our gender moving forward. It is as much the responsibility of our men, as it is our women, to bring change. And by change, I mean, to revert back to our scriptures and worship our women rather than abuse them.

And just as an FYI, I definitely did not enjoy "it."

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

You Know You Need a Life When...

  • You go to get your nails done and realize this is the ONLY male touch you have experienced in over a year. Your heart flutters till you look up and see his face.
  • Your first week night off, you station your ass on the couch for 6 straight hours and watch TV.
  • Your second week night off, you spend drinking with your boss who is also a priest.
  • Your ex-boss keeps texting you videos of all the renditions of "let it go" he comes across.
  • You decide to start working out, but end up eating 4 dosas along with other meat related stuff and washing all that down with some wine.
  • You look forward to Monday nights when you can watch the recorded Devious Maids episode.
  • You originate from India, but get really upset when Brazil gets their asses whooped at the World Cup semi-finals, which results in all-day moronic Facebook updates.
  • Your daughter rolls her eyes and says, "Mommy, are you listening to love songs AGAIN?"
  • The rare Friday you get off work early, you decide to schedule dance practise.
  • You make up for 13 years of good driving record with your first ticket which is a red light violation you got trying to make a right turn.
  • Your Facebook page gets flooded with photos of you wearing sarees and posing with the same people every weekend, weekend after weekend and getting tagged in the same photos taken by everyone at the event.
  • You get home and write stupid blog posts.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

When Moms Take the Night Off!

Its almost noon. I have barely moved an inch. I desperately need a shower, my armpit smells like Kolkata's waste disposal area. For all of you who have cringed each time you passed Dhapa while driving through the Eastern Bypass, you know exactly what I mean. But I continue to lounge on my couch and look at the clock. My brain is probably waiting for a sign when the clock tells me it is now the right time for me to move my ass.

This is what happens when three moms decide to go out one night and paint the town red. We forget our kids have sucked up every ounce of our energy. After one drink we forget we have no energy left. So we move on to the second one. The conversation starts to get really interesting. We are actually beginning to have fun. Time for the third drink. This makes us laugh a lot and we start talking to strangers. We begin to think we are finally living our lives. Everything feels so good. I am in reality talking to adults and not putting up animal shows with imaginary animals who live with us. What better could I want from life? I of course don't want this moment to stop. Not surprisingly, the cosmos keep coming.

By the end of our fourth or fifth (who's counting?) the inevitable happens. The moms are ready to shake some mommy booty. Right at that moment it sounds like a brilliant idea. None of us can remember when we were out dancing last. So we haul our asses to a nightclub and somehow manage to take whoever was in the restaurant bar with us. It seems the cosmos have made us social butterflies and I feel I can conquer the world.

What follows is a few more hours of crazy dance moves and lots of laughter. We forget kids, husbands, work and we live in the tiny moment we have allowed ourselves amidst our absolutely crazy lives and schedules. And we do the craziest thing of all - stay on till the club closes and we are actually asked to leave. Mommy Night Out mission accomplished!!!

Sad thing is, I'm not really hung over this morning (wait, noon). I'm just plain tired, which tells me I'm getting too old for this. Which also makes me make the point - no matter whether I am being a mom or not - I'm ending up tired. What the hell??? As I write, I have a group text going on with a few friends trying to plan a weekend getaway which will consist a lot more of what I just talked about. Why does that make me want to crawl back into bed and do nothing substantial today?

Well, there is laundry I need to take care of and groceries I need to get. Also, the clock is finally sending its signals. Wait no! My armpits are the ones sending me the final signals this time. No time to waste!

Thanks dear girlfriends for the much needed night out. All of the above states what a fun time was had. Just that, I probably need a whole month (might even be a year) to recover from it - LOL!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Goddess in Me

You have insulted me. You have unfriended me. You have held me and said, “you are like a daughter to me”,  just to backstab me. You have spread rumors about me. You have scandalized me. You have spoken about me. You have not spoken to me.

“You” are some of the respected members of the Bengali community in Sacramento. Some of you have now known me for over a decade. Some of you barely know me. But you are all somehow united in your judgment about a personal life decision I made two years ago.

I think it is now time I thanked you for your contribution in my life.

Why, you ask?

Because it is “you” who unleashed the goddess in me. Each time you tried to crush my soul and make me your scapegoat, you helped me rise. Each time you ignored me and my daughter, you helped me become stronger. Each time you tried to prove your own lame existence, you made me live.

I have often been questioned why I still choose to attend certain functions and gatherings knowing you will be there.  You see, I am not like you. I don’t have to hide and crawl. I have not done anything to you that makes me feel that way. In fact I quite enjoy you trying to do the avoiding and disappearing act. That is exactly how you should live - in fear. Because its time you realized, the goddess lives in me. Not in the ones sitting in your cabinets, that you pray to every day.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Sound of Music

When dark clouds overtake the normally sunny blue skies of where I live, I’m usually transported back to my school days. This transportation also stems from several old photo albums I found, while packing last night.

As of this morning, I’m a bit nostalgic and listening to songs that are not quite helping my situation to concentrate on the present task at hand.

While I listen to my playlist, I realize, there are quite a few songs that are so intertwined with a specific person or memory I have. So much so, it seems like it was just the other day.

Whenever I hear the song “Bahon ki Darmiya”, I cannot help but think of my “boyfriend” from 11th grade. All the lame excuses to run out of the house to see him, hold hands and feel like we were in “love”. I almost killed my best friend of a heart attack when she realized I was dating this guy. It all went downhill after I saw his dad in a “lungi” smoking “bidi”.

Songs from the movie “Pukar” most definitely remind me of my dating days in Bahrain. With hopes of a romantic evening, I had trotted along with my date to the theater, to watch said movie, hand-in-hand, head resting in his shoulder. Eventually his head ended up in my shoulder, his loud snores muffling the filmy dialogues. He had made a request prior to dozing off - to wake him up when Madhuri Dixit came on the big screen, clad in her blue chiffon saree, standing on the glaciers somewhere in Alaska and for just that  tiny moment, there was romance in the air. I cannot help smile to this date when I hear the song “Kismat se tum”

The women of Bollywood should protest to this nonsense. While women are expected to be skimpily clad in the snow, the men are cuddled up in warm clothes AND gets to snuggle with the actress. In olden days they made babies this way in movies such as “Aradhana”.  Another movie with great songs. But I digress.

The song, “Jab koi baat bigar jaye”, I think has the same effect on women of my generation, no matter which state or school you come from. This song just reminds me of my group of friends and all things school.

“Tum aye to aya mujhe yaad” takes me back to my friend’s flat in Jodhpur park. The endless adda sessions while sipping Old Monk and Coke and smoking packets of Wills, trying to forget my battles with dad at home. My induction to Bangla Band music was at this very sanctuary of the Sen residence. The red cover of Mohiner Ghoraguli’s audio cassette will never leave my memory. Amidst the endless cups of chai, some random Presidency students, and swirls of smoke, we would blast “Prithibi” and feel one with the universe.

Going back even farther, songs from “Qyamant se Qyamat Tak” takes me back to that day that went down in the history of Gokhale hostel - we had coerced our Matron to take us on a field trip to watch this movie in a theater. Watching Aamir’s sweet face light up the big screen lit up our tiny hearts and made it the best day of our lives, in times when all we had was a lousy radio to keep us entertained.

“Dil hai Chota Sa” transports me back to the Ambassador Taxi that held ten of us girls. We had the driver take us to Esplanade to watch that year’s biggest Bollywood blockbuster - “Roja”. Since we decided to bunk Madhyamik PT practice, we were in our school uniforms - probably the dumbest thing we ever did. The school got a call from someone of authority at the theater, notifying them ten of their schoolgirls were missing. The icecream we shared that day was the best icecream I will ever taste. I just wish I could savor it more - thanks to you - Sapto - our’s was the first one to be gone. Learned life’s biggest lesson that very day -NEVER to share my food.

“Que Sera, Sera,” will always remind me of you - Sapto. You were the ONLY crazy person in school who wanted to hear me sing, that too this song of all songs. Sumana - every time I hear Cliff Richards or Carpenters, even WHAM, I think of you and those weekend afternoons of “Band Box” on the radio - the segment that would play English songs. I knew, if not anyone, you would be listening with me. And I would feel very “cool” the next day in class when I could join in with your English music conversations.

Gone are those days. But the songs still remain with these special memories etched into each one of them, never to leave my heart. And in this day and age of gadgets and electronics, whenever I see clouds, my mind still wanders back to that junior dorm black box radio and its sounds. Little did I know then, that the music coming out of it would shape my life forever.