Welcome to the myriad of moments that whisper into my Life!
I got married on 18 November 2013.
Ever since, people have been asking me, “How does it feel to be married?”
And I answer different things to different people at different times! They range from “It feels great” to “It doesn’t feel anything special”, depending on my mood and the person asking
In fact, I really do not know the answer. On the day of my marriage, I did not realise at what precise point of time, I became married – whether it was during exchange of garlands or putting of vermillion on my forehead or walking the seven rounds or signing on the marriage registration form!
Earlier, everybody told me that a wedding was like a fairy tale. Friends prodded me to enroll myself in bridal beauty treatment packages and enlightened me about chocolate waxing, gold facial and pearl dental treatments! I was advised to get blouses stitched by designers, buy saris from boutiques and invest in diamond jewellery (apart from the traditional gold)! I was told to get 8 hours of sleep and drink 8 glasses of water every day! I was also informed about special diets which would help me lose weight but not my natural glow! I was even gifted eye gels 6 months prior to my wedding to cure my dark circles.
A variety of people deluged me with questions like – “Who is doing the catering?” “Will you have fish and chicken or prawn and mutton in the menu?” “Where will you go for your honeymoon?” “Will artificial or real flowers be used for decorating the venue?” “Are you arranging for transportation for the close relatives?” “Are you quitting your job since you are now based in Calcutta and your husband is based in NCR?” “Who else have you invited from our group (so that I can co-ordinate with them for a joint gift)?”
At the end, all it took was me, my husband, the pandit and the marriage registrar to finish it off and our parents and elders to bless us!
After it was all over, I wondered whether it was necessary to spend lakhs and lakhs of rupees, endure sleepless nights, worry about every minor details of organisation, listen to advice from different people and then endure their displeasure, for something which could have been completed so simply and easily?
Or was it so nerve-wracking for me because I almost single-handedly organised and planned my own wedding? From deciding the photographer, make-up artist, traipsing all over Calcutta for buying not only my trousseau but stuff for everybody else, arranging transportation, planning timelines, deciding the venue, its decoration, the caterer and the menus, checking whether everything was in place every five minutes to ensuring that my parents do not collapse from exhaustion – I did it all.
Now, I am back in the blogosphere, with a new location, new office, new house, new family and a new marital status. ;P
I am still in the process of settling down in my new life. I will soon come back with my views/notes/opinion/advice on the process, planning and execution and the feelings associated with the most important event of one’s life – marriage.
I turned 28 on 28th October. Yesterday.
Unfortunately, it was not a ‘happy’ birthday at all. I had a very hard day at work throughout. The only entertainment that I managed was treating my colleagues and going out for dinner with parents.
Just before I fell asleep, I thought about my birthday last year. And my life in between.
Last year, on this day, I had a party – laughing, drinking, eating and chatting merrily with my close friends. It was a Sunday, so my party began on 27th evening and continued till the wee hours of 28th.
This year, I went to sleep at 10 pm!
Last year, during this time, I was suffering from writer’s block. I was hardly blogging, except to write book reviews for Blogadda and a few posts on random topics. I had not written any fiction in a long time. I almost believed that my writing was finished.
This year, I received the intimation that my short story entry to the “Rupa Romance Contest” has won 2nd prize amidst thousands of entries! It will be published by Rupa Publishers as part of their maiden anthology of love stories – An Atlas of Love! Even though I have been published by Westland in their Chicken Soup series earlier, this is the sweetest success in my fledgling writing career till date.
I am confident that my writing is not over, not yet; may be never. I love writing and a few months’ of inaction cannot deter me.
Last year, during this time, I was single. There is nothing extra ordinary about it since I have always been single.
Then, I found my soul mate. We spoke for hours, every day. We exchanged scores of sms-es and whatsapp chats. Then we said ‘yes’ to each other; even before we met!
At the risk of me sounding uncharacteristically mushy, he is the one I have been waiting for all my life!
And now, I am set to marry him next month. I will also shift from Kolkata to NCR post-marriage. This means big changes, both in my personal and professional lives, are about to come.
How life somersaults within a year! And I went to sleep with a smile.
This story was written as an entry to the HarperCollins Indiblogger Get Published Contest. It reached the second round but was not among the winners. This story, even though was not picked up by the Publisher, is very close to my heart since I had witnessed something very similar when I volunteered for an NGO working for the LGBT community in Kolkata.
Edited to add:
I had given up hope for a long, long time till today morning, when I received a phone call from Rupa Publications (where I had sent this story as an entry for the “Rupa Romance Contest” after being defeated in the HarperCollins contest). I was told that I have won the 2nd prize!! My story will be published in an anthology to be published in 2014!!
I have never been happier!
Thank you Rupa and the judge, Anuja Chauhan, for helping me regain my confidence in myself.
The story has been now removed from the blog. Those who missed it will now have to buy the book ;P
Of late, many people – ranging from fellow bloggers to my close friends to my neighbours to even my mother – complained that I do not blog these days.
Sadly, this is true.
Today, I stared at my blog home page for 15 minutes, trying to assimilate all the reasons for not blogging and came up only with excuses –
# Writers’ Block – Even though I have usually posted more fiction than anything else, this does not make it a fiction-only blog. A glance at my “tag cloud” confirmed that I can write on topics like My Funda, Bengali, Books, Friendship, Marriage, Relationship, Travels etc etc.
# No idea on what to blog about – ‘Really’, I asked myself! ‘Of course not’, I answered. I can write about my first experience with Japanese cuisine, how to earn money for free, my recent discovery of a few good TV series, why I ended my online library membership etc etc.
# No time – My inner conscience shouted, “Liar, liar” in such a loud voice that I had to cover my ears! I reminded myself that I had blogged more regularly and more creatively at a time when I was at least ten times busier than what I am now. So this has to be the lamest excuse that I can give myself.
So, finally I told myself – STOP PROCRASTINATING and start WRITING.
Those who know me well, know that I am particularly good at doling out unsolicited advice! They also know that I border on obsessive compulsiveness at doing internet research for every single decision that I take or purchase that I make!
You want to buy a new smartphone and are confused between Samsung Galaxy and HTC (or Sony Experia and Nokia)? I did months and months of research before I bought my own phone and you are welcome to listen to me for an hour on this topic!
You are planning to buy a DSLR for the first time and are (again) confused between Nikon and Canon, or a prosumer and an entry-level DSLR? While I am no expert on photography, I am an expert on the opinion various people have on these endless debate topics! I can also direct you to various links of forums, websites and personal blogs of renowned photographers to search for these answers yourself.
You have finally decided to start investing your money? Are you standing at the cross-road of equity versus debt, fixed income versus penny stocks, ULIP versus term insurance, tax-saving FD account versus tax-saving PPF account? No, you cannot ask me the meaning of all the jargons used in the financial world but if you promise not to be judgmental, I can give you a tip or two about personal finance.
These days, my friends avoid asking me, knowing well that I can’t stop once I start showing off my knowledge in a particular area. I need a different outlet and so I decided to turn to my blog. It is my space and I am free to say that I am world’s most intelligent being here. My only request to the already dwindling number of readers is not to unsubscribe themselves from my blog but bravely face the forthcoming onslaught of occasional gyaan!
And wish you all a very happy Dussehra (or Shubho Bijoya, as we Bengalis greet each other). May the Good always prevail over the Bad.
Your parents assume that you do the most challenging, exciting, remunerative and ‘noble’ work in the world.
Your sibling (non-lawyer) thinks that you do the coolest job in the world because you are trained to lie as part of your profession.Your sibling (lawyer) tells everyone that he/she knows more law than you do.
Your male relatives are confident that you will bail them out in case they are caught stealing, cheating, murdering or raping and for free!
Your female relatives are also confident that you will fight their divorce cases in the event their husbands are caught stealing, cheating, murdering or raping and for free!
Your friends (lawyer) take it for granted that you would like to discuss Hart-Fuller debate, the new Companies Act or the ‘rarest of the rare case’ principle of capital punishment whenever you meet up in a coffee shop.
Your boyfriend/girlfriend (non-lawyer) thinks you do an exotic job without knowing that you either sit in a corporate office staring blankly at the laptop screen all day or sweat it out in the grim corridors of justice.
Your boyfriend/girlfriend (lawyer) thinks they are better at what you do.
Your conscience tells you that you should take more vacation, spend more time with friends/ family/ partner/ spouse and less with clients.
Your mind tells you to plan your retirement from the profession at 40 and do other more meaningful things.
Your heart reminds you that you are in this job because you love the subject, like deciphering and interpreting both simple words and intricate phrases, enjoy interacting with people and at the end of the day, feel happy about solving a problem.
I strongly believe everyone must change jobs at least once as it greatly helps one to compare his situation. I know it sounds like everyone must date at least once to compare partners in life or everyone must travel to compare the exotic places to the bleak town one lives in; but believe me, changing jobs can change one’s perspectives drastically.
It can make you appreciate coffee more than tea just because the tea in your new office is a little better than sweet, hot water. It can also make you work more hours because the AC is better or because you get free dinner post 8 pm!
After working in Office 1 for 3 years, I changed to Office 2 in March 2012. The following is my comparison of how a few things changed for me –
Office 1 scores a 150/100 when it comes to surfing net through the office internet. I could browse all sites freely over the office LAN. All my blogging glory days belong to Office 1. I used to participate in Blog-a-ton and regularly post on my blog. I had also taken part in the marathon and extremely time-consuming and competitive Bloggers’ Premier League, where my team won and I was adjudged the “over all best player”. However it does not mean that I never worked; it only meant that I had to spend more hours in office to make up for the lost time in surfing.
Office 2 is super strict with its IT policy. Forget social networking sites and blogging platforms, even the most mundane sites are blocked. It has resulted in my prolonged absence from Facebook and this blog (I know I am blaming office internet for not blogging, but I really believe it has contributed at least 10% towards my absence from blogging). I have my smartphone to thank for being able to read my mails. Result – in Office 2, I work more in less time and go home early!
Office 1 used to let me in at all hours and without asking questions. All I had to do to record my presence is stick my forefinger at a machine which was programmed to recognise my prints!
Office 2 does not let my car in without checking the booty for hidden bombs and me without a cursory jab at my bag with a metal detector. Without my employee access card, all doors in Office 2 are closed. And if you forget to swipe it while getting in, since you will not be able to open the door from inside!
Office 1 made me shift my work station thrice in three years! Last two times, I was given a cabin! I was so glad to be able to shut the door and enter my own world! Oh the joys of a phone with caller identification – I could avoid my boss’s calls! Over all, having a cabin was the best perk of Office 1.
My first workstation in Office 2 was a cramped cubicle, but away from the focus. Being the recluse that I am, I loved it despite lack of space. However my second and present work station is a big cubicle space located centrally in my department! I like the extra space but not the lack of privacy. I like the fact that there are two visitors’ chairs but not the fact that everyone around can see what I am doing.
If I miss Office 1 ever, I miss it mainly for the eating joints in the neighbourhood - Calcutta street food at its very best and splendour! You want milk tea from the roadside stalls? Check. You want chicken biriyani for Rs. 35/-? Check. You want a complete meal consisting of roti, chicken curry, dal and bhaja for under Rs. 15/-? Check. You want a variety of sweets as dessert? Check. You want some fruits to end your meal? Check. You want juice, nariyal paani, phuchka, churmur, masala muri, papri chaat, roll, sandwich, momo… phew… anything at all and you have it in the neighbourhood of Office 1. After all, it is the High Court para!
Office 2 is in a more sophisticated corporate locality. You have five restaurants and two dhabas nearby. You want to step out for an evening snack? Be prepared to spend more and still not be satisfied. The taste, feel and look of the street food of High Court para of Calcutta is unmatched, truly.
If the food environment outside office has worsened, the food environment inside office has improved manifold.
Office 1 had good lemon tea and tomato soup, while Office 2 has good elaichi tea, black tea, frothy, creamy coffee and hot chocolate, served every two hours!
Office 1 used to charge for lunch, while Office 2 gives free lunch!! Office 2 also has free snacks which include patties, samosas, muri, pakoras, chicken roll, dhokla etc.
Office 1 had fancy cups and saucers, while Office 2 has disposable paper cups! But who cares?
OPPORTUNITY FOR EXERCISE
Office 1 gave me ample scope for physical exercises in the form of running to the Court from office, dashing up a hundred stairs of the Court, go to the second floor from the first floor in office 20 times a day to meet boss and carry around fat files, which completely shapes and tones your biceps and triceps.
Office 2 has a gym, which I attended 5 times in the last 1.5 years.
Need I say more on why I am struggling with weight issues for the first time in my life?
AND THE REST…
No comparison of workplaces can be complete without comparing work quality, environment, experience etc. etc. However, this post is not about whether I am happy with my new role or colleagues or bosses or HR policies or salary – it is only about the more important aspects of work life. :-)
How has a change of job made a difference in your life? The comment box is all yours.
When a man is discovered dead by poisoning in his empty home his beautiful wife, Ayane, immediately falls under suspicion. All clues point to Ayane being the logical suspect, but how could she have committed the crime when she was hundreds of miles away? As Tokyo police detective Kusanagi tries to unpick a seemingly unrelated sequence of events he finds himself falling for Ayane. When his judgement becomes dangerously clouded his assistant must call on an old friend for help; it will take a genius to unravel the most spectacular web of deceit they have ever faced…
This is Higashino’s second novel, translated by Alexander O. Smith and Elye J. Alexander. I have reviewed his first book, The Devotion of Suspect X here and mentioned that it was one of the best crime novels that I have read in a while. Like all other Devotion fans, when I first heard of a second novel from the same author, I wasted no time in signing up when Blogadda offered it for review.
Just like Devotion, Salvaton of a Saint is less of a whodunit and more of a howdunit and whydunit. Ladies’ man and billionaire Yoshitaka Mashiba asked his beautiful and patchwork quilt artiste Ayane Mita for a divorce because ‘they did not have children after one year of marriage’, knowing that he would then move on to his mistress and also Ayane’s apprentice, Hiromi Wakayama. Two days later, he is found face down, sprawled on the wooden floor, with a spilled cup of coffee next to him.
His wife who had a motive, was miles away at her parent’s place while his mistress, with no apparent motive to kill him was present throughout. Arsenous acid is found in the coffee, which was drank by Hiromi a day before, but with no fatality. So who poisoned Yoshitaka with such precision and how?
This question torments Detective Kusanagi and the latest entrant to Kusanagi’s department, feisty female detective Utsumi. The approach that this book takes is to take along the readers through a very detailed police procedural and investigation. Even though the readers already have a hint about the culprit, they go through the working of a detective’s mind as they figure out the relationships between the three, unravel Yoshitaka’s past and take a peek into their lives to find out how the seemingly perfect crime was pulled of.
Kusanagi’s feelings for the beautiful Ayane prompts Utsumi to knock the doors of Professor Yukawa, who teaches Physics at the university but loves to solve unsolvable riddles like how poison reached the coffee cup. After a number of failed attempts and conjectures, he eventually comes up with the most brilliant but utterly impractical method of poisoning. But there’s still no evidence to nail the murderer. By the time the evidence is conjured out of a drawer and the suspect is confronted with it, I was hoping for a quick finish; something which I never felt while reading Devotion.
At times I must admit the book feels tedious — probably because the police investigation is so painstaking — and the solution is quite contrived and highly implausible. But I did enjoy the police banter, particularly the tension, competitiveness and humour between Kusanagi, the old, jaded detective and Utsumi, the young, bright and tenacious detective with sharp intution. Nothing in the book is inconsequential and one might be tempted to read it twice; the first time for the enjoyment of the story and the second to pick up on all the clues and cues that were missed originally.
And while I don’t think Salvation of a Saint is a patch on The Devotion of Suspect X, it is nevertheless a good read about a complex, puzzling case with an emphasis on deciphering clues and figuring out how a simple crime could be committed so perfectly. If you are looking for a crime novel that is refreshingly different, definitely give it a try.
P.S. – It is time they stop comparing Higashino with Larsson. The Japanese author has his own unique style in the world of crime novels.
My rating – 7/10