Someone once wisely noted in a
movie I found myself tuned into- ‘When you feel excited and nervous around
someone, it means that it’s not love but infatuation. When you feel calm and at
peace with your surroundings when with that person, that’s true love’. Well, I
can attest to the veracity of that statement since that is precisely how I felt
when I first met my to-be husband.
When I chose to look beyond the
initial annoyance that was intended to impress, something clicked somewhere. I
will coyly avoid any mention of a crush that had long since seeped in. The
difference though was I went in with a bulletproof armour (or so I thought) and
came out more helplessly in love than ever before. It did not take a lot for me
to realise that this was different. He was different. Refreshingly so.
He had managed to challenge my
intelligence, test my patience and poke fun at my prejudice all in our first
conversation. Moreover, as clichéd as it sounds, he made me laugh like no
other, question life like no other and most importantly, made me happy like no
other. That is far from all that our relationship built on. We shared many
common opinions, trivial stuff that you do not normally blink twice at, but it did
not negate the importance of it all.
When you pride yourself on being
a romantic at heart, you do not expect to fall for someone who is so much more
than that. That is precisely what I had to contend with as we courted. With a
grand romantic gesture from him, I would fail miserably if I tried to
reciprocate. He was always that step ahead. Our relationship was never perfect
but it was as goddamned close to that as it gets.
I felt like me, comfortable in my
own skin, early 20’s acne and all. He even found amusement in my sarcasm,
joining in more often than not. No longer did I have to explain or laugh alone
at my jokes. Coming from an engineer’s mind- our frequencies matched.
We tested our union every way
possible- financial, long distance and any other way you can think of. Even
survived in-class marriage course exercises in church! So that calm feeling
that sunk in from day one has kept us together no matter what life decides to
throw at us. I wake up everyday knowing I am with the man who was made for me, who
sees the best in me, who has stood by me in every temper tantrum and who
refuses to let go of my hand when times are tough. Every time I look at the big
sparkler sitting pretty on my ring finger, I am reminded of how our love has
only grown in the years we have spent together- the good, bad and ugly.
There is no disclaimer that can
prepare you for this never-ending battle. There are days when the scale is your
best friend- bringing only good news and there are days when that steady,
digital number is the last thing you want to see first thing in the morning.
All those hours you spend at the gym working up a sweat seems meaningless when
you see that all-important figure just stagnate to a point of annoyance.
This is when you begin to chide
yourself for scarfing down that plain whole wheat English muffin with low fat
cheese down for breakfast. You then begin to slide into questioning your
ability to stick to a low carb diet that is rich in home cooked protein and
freshly tossed salads. You begin to wish that losing the last few pounds to get
to your target was not so hard. Losing the first few was a breeze and served as
the perfect motivation to keep at it but when the plateau hits, it hits hard.
You then turn to the app that is
helping you keep a track of all the calories that you are consuming and
burning. Even though you have best convinced yourself that you are tracking
every single calorie taken in and burnt at the gym, there seems to be no
logical explanation as to why the pounds are not melting off as before.
Turning to your support system on
YouTube to a score of fitness gurus who profess their success stories and
attribute their sustenance onto their diet programs merely by sticking to the
plan with no cheat days, you begin to wonder how you can fit your hectic work
lifestyle in with domestic chores and healthy living. It is hard to understand
how you have forced your body into survival mode by a sustained calorie
deficit- this is where even switching up your workout routine does not seem to
Talking about workouts- tell me
how forcing intense cardio onto your legs until they feel like Jell-O doesn’t hasten
the weight loss process? Alternating between the steep incline of the treadmill
and the intense pace of the elliptical to some rapid spin cycles and then
topping all of that off with some core fusion. This is done in combination with
some weight training for all the problem areas- chest, legs, abdominal and
triceps. The pain is real and the sticky sweat trickling down the side of your
face is a reminder. Staying hydrated before and after is key too.
What seems to be the problem? How
do you find that motivation to keep going?
Any of you in similar shoes out
there? Any words of advice for someone struggling to shed the last few pounds that
are keeping you from skinny toned fit? Do share your thoughts in the comments
Those fairy-tale happy ending stories seem a lifetime ago
when you finally feel the weight of that cool platinum engagement ring wiggle
onto your formerly plain ring finger. There is this ‘pinch-me-so-I-know-it’s-real’
emotion coursing through your body. A surreal pallor grips you when you
ultimately reconcile with the implications of the trigger-happy decision that
was just made in a fleeting moment.
The first thing in your head is the big white dress and that
flower arrangement clogged aisle that you must wade through without any clumsy
moments. It is precisely then that you wish you had been like the other little
girls plotting their dream weddings on scrapbooks with stolen pictures from
some of mum’s pretty girl magazines. The struggle is real for the tomboy in you
who never envisioned the big fat wedding, let alone having to star in it.
The excitement in the room is palpable when you make the
announcement of impending wedding bells. I would like to believe it is normal
to feel like there might be recipients of the news more thrilled than the announcers
are. Right? Setting a practical date is the next challenge- there is always
going to be the naysayers who cannot fathom an executable plan in limited time.
Getting past this is the first of many hurdles – a harbinger of what is to
A couple of days after normalcy has set in and the regular
routine has begun to kick in, you are tempted to Pinterest ideas for everything
from wedding colours to bridesmaid dresses to bridal gowns. There is the
constant pressure of living up to those perfectly poised and beautiful brides
with not a love handle out of place and enough hairspray to last your normal
hair through the better part of a year.
For the OCD, control freak in you, a little black book seems
to be the best option to ‘manage’ the chaos that is the list of tasks to do. As
if planning a wedding far from home was not hard enough, there is the budget
that you must not blow for what the logical ones claim is “just a few hours of
merriment”. Then there is the group of “enforcers”. You must categorically
avoid those ones unless you want to nod your head yes into debt. Then there are
the ‘advisors’. The ones who tell you “not to end up paying for the wedding
after the wedding”. To be honest, that is actually good advice. Let us not get
into the other bits. Your brain must conveniently forget and or classify them
as ‘not applicable’.
For the couples planning a religious ceremony, there is the
additional responsibility of the rules of faith. There are courses that prepare you for the
upcoming “doom”. The goal seems to make you realise how the whole idea of
marriage is a big mistake and how your partner and you are just not prepared to
be taking this step. Long story short- ultimate terror. It takes a calm control
& ultimate faith in your relationship to be able to avoid drowning in the
Finding the dress is sometimes harder than finding the one.
You go in with a checklist of what you think is good for you based on those last-minute
pouring over bridal magazine sessions and countless google searches, and you
come out with something completely different. You go in determined not to leave
with a ball gown, convinced you would end up looking like an upside down
cupcake but then you fall in love, all over again, with this Vera Wang beauty
that hugs you in all the right places in spite of being one.
Your brain will convince you not to micro-manage every
detail to ensure your sanity but there is always the ridiculous perception that
you can work endlessly for a year to plan this one perfect evening. One for the
books. Even if you are not royalty, it is nice that you can come close to
having a day that celebrates a union of two hearts with all the glitz and
glamour your financial situation can afford.
As if the to-do list, that keeps getting longer, is not enough,
there is familial pressure to keep at bay and put to bed. This one in
particular is the hardest because there are a crazy number of strings attached
and feelings potentially being hurt. You do not want to be the rebel or pot
stirrer in your new family and you do not want to be the evil conspirator that
is destroying the other in the eyes of their family. You must not cross an
unfortunately skinny line, at all costs if you must make it through the days leading
up to the wedding unscathed. It defines the nature of the relationship you will
have with your old/new family for the rest of your life.
Quite realistically, it is a once-in-a-lifetime right of
passage into adulthood that is almost inevitable. For those of you in shoes
similar to mine, you will associate with many of the sentiments shared. For
those of you wanting to get into these shoes, this is not my attempt at warding
you off the very idea. I would just have liked to be better prepared for “what
to expect when…”. I hope this helps.
With a little more than 3 months to go until my big day, I am holding my breath towards our attempt at a “and they lived happily ever after” like those fairy tales I used to fall asleep to oh so many years ago.
They glisten into glory the moment the great luminescence of the Sun has bid adieu. There’s a spectacular joy in watching them twinkle as they battle the heavy curtain of darkness that engulfs their entirety. Lone warriors fighting a battle that is not to be fought but only to be lived through in transience..
Like a growing mob, they swell in numbers as the night ages gracefully. Some do not even need the prompt of the fading twilight to join in the swarm. They’re there, alone and silent as they wait for the rest of their army to join in the battle- the first ones to come and the last ones to leave- like alcoholics during happy hour. As the heavens above transition from a clementine orange to a murky purple, like beacons of bedtime, they appear in the distance as if smiling happily at the end of another long day. They watch as the last of the flocks return to their abode- aerial and terrestrial- as they attempt to make the best of the fading daylight. Tufts of grey clouds sail past into the distant horizon in mute agreement to the commands of established geography.
Then there’s me- perched up high enough to watch the tranquility of the landscape burst into a mayhem of myriad colours. True to this great nation and everything it stands for, there’s this quiet beauty in its diversity. It is indeed intriguing to watch the conversations that ensue in morse. There’s the frantic transitions of the traffic lights in a perfect solidarity along a single, long stretch of road – like soldiers rising up for battle at the command of their general. There’s the bleak dots of yellow that mark the townhouses that surround the massive clump of trees that form the park, that contrast strongly against the livid orange streetlights that stand tall and predictably apart. There’s also the river of liquid gold flowing along the curve of the freeway as the crowd journeys on- like a conveyor belt at an extrusion plant. As the visibility diminishes, the orchestra of white lights come into the fore one block at a time just like an audience wave at a soccer game.
As the heavy sky charcoals into a blackened envelope around all that is, they twinkle in the distance like belligerent toddlers daring their mothers to punish them after throwing a fit all while demanding a soft serve ice cream. For the solitary souls longing for the comfort of humanity, they serve as a constant reminder of the chasm of chaos that dictates the very purpose of survival.
And in the midst of this glittery and transient paradise, a silent reign over a darkened landscape, is the certainty of another spectacular show, come seasons or snow…