Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Coke, My Pain

Being a bank employee my dad was eligible to avail annual leave travel concession. Since the annual concession will only be for a very minimal amount, we used to combine the holidays over a period of five years which helped us cover more distance with a larger amount at disposal. One such trip was to Visakhapatnam, the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command. Mom’s brother was a commander in Navy and obviously they were our host for the vacation that year.

My brother and I had great company there with two of our cousin brothers who were almost the same age as us. We did have quite a lot of fun together day and night with games throughout, even ignoring the warning from the parents to sleep at night. I remember watching a black and white movie named Victoria over and again for multiple times at a stretch which today seems like an absolutely crazy thing to do! We didn’t care. We were having one of the best vacations ever!

The highlight of the vacation of course was a visit to the naval yard where uncle took us to the wonderful world of Indian Navy. I was excited and equally proud to be visiting a war ship! I could imagine multiple pairs of eyes, green with envy, looking at me when I get back to school and narrate all the wonderful stories to my friends. Truly this was meant to be an experience that was unique to me and something which no one else could’ve shared.

The dock was colored gray with multiple naval ships stationed there. Uncle took us to his ship and opened the fascinating world of Indian military for us! We were welcomed aboard by a couple of white naval uniform clad gentlemen. They promptly took us to a briefing room sort of arrangement and told us a few things we need to know while being on the ship. We were to mind the heights of the doors since they were pretty low which naturally didn’t apply to me. Small mercies of being a little kid :)

A few additional instructions were given and while this was going on another smart officer entered the chamber. He carried a tray with him on which was placed one of the most enticing sights I’ve ever experienced till then. Four bright colored cans painted with the legendary red color on which that magical word was written – Coke! That was my first ever introduction to Coke and a carbonated drink sealed in aluminium can!

The can was chilled to perfection to ensure that the beverage tasted the best. All the known definitions till date about chilled drinks suddenly seemed dated! I was so thrilled to see a can for the first time in my life that I was enjoying the beauty of it rather than trying to open and taste the drink. The officer suggested that it was time we took a tour of the ship. He must’ve noticed how amused I was about the can that he specifically said that I could take the can along with me.

The can was quite cold that I could hardly hold it with my bare hand. Mom being protective about her little one suggested that we’ll leave the can at the chamber itself, take the tour and come back and collect it. I agreed only after opening the can and taking a sip of it. We walked out of the door of the briefing room while the Coke can seem pleading, ‘Come back for me’!

The tour of the ship followed which was an absolutely mesmerizing experience. All the while seeing the different sections permitted in the ship my thought went back to that red aluminium can that seemed to be even more appealing than the gray object that surrounded me.

We finally finished the tour and reached where we began. I was so happy to see the briefing room again and eagerly jumped inside the chamber and looked at where we left the cans. To my utter shock and surprise I couldn’t see my beloved prize I received just a few moments back. I searched all over the room and to my dismay could still not find the can that contain the life giving brown color liquid that was to be one of the biggest highlights of the stories to my friends.

I asked my uncle about it and his answer left me with a total vacuum, that I felt it would’ve been better if that ship sunk right at the moment. He said, ‘Oh, you left the can there and the boys would’ve thought it was a leftover and trashed them’.

I could feel the chillness on the can creeping across my little heart. I felt a pain that was quite deep and it still remains…

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Where’s My Space?

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - March 2013
I had heard enough and more about the concept of space and how important it is in a married life. All the articles I’ve read till date have emphasized upon the need to give space to each other even though you promise to be together ‘until death do us part’. For someone who has been away from the family due to studies and job for almost eight years before getting married, to me this theory was nothing but an obvious aspect of married life.

I was a firm believer of this concept while I walked into the world of togetherness. Needless to say that I was in for some surprises since I was expecting the implementation of space in marriage at ease; this was not the case to be.I should admit that the individual in me got a higher priority during the initial years of marriage than the combined entity of ‘us’. Courtesy to the theory of space!

Soon, I realized that space is not the key aspect of life. We started discovering interests that were common to us. One of the biggest surprises that were in store for me was in the form of a TV show of which I had become a big fan during one of my assignments abroad in the US. The show being one which deals with criminal investigations with gruesome crime scenes, forensic science and autopsy procedures, the last thing I was expecting from my beloved was to come near the TV set while I was watching the show. To the greatest of my happiness she developed an interest for the show sometimes surpassing mine and our weekends became all the more interesting watching the show together with a much better vigor!

Multiple other experiences in our life evolved as we started rowing the boat of married life together. Many a things that were considered as ‘my interest’ became ‘our interest’. This was true for both of us. Be it the preferences for tea or coffee, having chappathy or rice for dinner, watch an English or Malayalam movie on a weekend; we were able to draw a middle line for these. These may seem very trivial, but once you start sharing your life with another person, tiny things like these may make or break your relationship. You need to be blessed enough to grow beyond these indifferences by finding the common grounds in the game of life you are in for together. As days passed by we didn’t even realize how ‘my space’ in our marriage was giving way to ‘our space’.

Finding ways of being together to share interests not only helps you develop an intimacy but also provides you with common topics to discuss. You’ll never be searching for something to talk when you have so much in common. These do not get created unless you put an effort to look beyond ‘my space’.

All said and done, we are not anti-space crusaders. There are hobbies and passions that we both cherish and find time to do that among all these. I love reading, probably a bit more than her. I used to crib initially that I do not get time anymore to do that. Now I find pockets of time here and there and it takes minimal effort for me to pick up a book and continue from where I left. She was keen to learn violin and found time to join a class while our little one was yet to stand on his tiny feet. We supported each other on these little joys of life.

In fact if I had used all the time I wasted complaining about not having my space, I would’ve done even more wonderful things than what I was able to accomplish otherwise! As I read somewhere, you became a couple to be that and not being single anymore. Knowing that there could be many things you could do together can be more fun than fighting for your space.

It is all about leading a life together and not two people sharing a house and calling it life.

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