Take care, and farewell

Dear N,  

I am not so sure it’s a good idea to write you this letter, knowing you, anything to do with feelings and emotions of mine at this moment can only be considered as “more aggravations”. I can even picture you frowning while reading and pouting your lower lip. I apologize in advance this is a selfish act of mine (again!) as I just have to get it off my chest, else I might explode like a suicide bomber (you are supposed to laugh here). But I shall try to make this less aggravating for you. 

First I must make it clear that I am not giving you any hard time, so please do not read it in an accusative tone. Just imagine you are reading a chick flick love tale, a woman’s diary…

I always asked you a million questions when we were together – some hypothetical, some weird, some for fun, and some just utterly stupid…  I have an inquisitive mind, I always do, thoughts and ideas are always racing, mostly random. You used to entertain me and my questions, when you were not in a defensive mood. So, please don’t be defensive either.

Thanks to our discussion yesterday, this letter is now much shorter, I will only touch on the subject we haven’t touched.

Now I shall begin.

Let me start with thank you – thank you for putting up with me in the last three weeks, no matter what my reasons were, I do know having me here in the same apartment with you is the last thing you needed at this moment. On the third day of my arrival, you said you felt like a prisoner in your own apartment, well, now you are released and back to the free world. You’ll find a bottle of Malbec in the kitchen, I bought it for you to celebrate the sweet reunion with freedom.  

I also want to thank you for being gentle with me, ever since my meltdown on the sixth night. To be honest I still haven’t figured out whether you were handling me and treading carefully to protect your new relationship or you were just pitying me, when I asked you about this, you didn’t answer, probably you haven’t figured it out either, or just didn’t want to hurt my feelings. Whatever it was, thank you. It must have been an exhausting exercise, being stuck between the insecure new girlfriend and the “delusional” ex-girlfriend, and the latter had essentially “threatened” you two as soon as she landed…. About that, you do know I didn’t mean to threaten you and I wasn’t threatening, right? Please, I would have found it amusing if I was in a less miserable mood. 

I came for a closure 3 weeks ago, like I said yesterday, I was numb, couldn’t feel anything, exactly like Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in the movie “Demolition”. In the last 3 weeks, I did what he did, broke things to pieces, then try to put them back together again. It wasn’t hard, I was already broken to pieces. 

I was in denial, you might be as cool and modern as McIlroy, I was certainly no Wozniacki, breaking up via a text message just wasn’t real to me.  

I wished you would have told me about your involvement with A when I was here last November, that would have spared all of us lots of pain and aggravation. Your life would have been less complicated without having to entertain me for couple of more months; A would have been happier knowing there’s one less obstacle in her way being with you;  and I wouldn’t be tormented by not hearing from you for days, nor frustrated by being ignored, I probably could have buried my sorrow into busy work and moved on…. Save you 3 weeks of hell.

When I said I forgave you for everything you did wrong, I meant it, everything, including your affair with A . 

Yes, I know all about it, the affair. 

You came so close to tell me about it in the last two days, it must have been difficult, I have never seen you so upset before, was it the unspeakable pain gnawing you in the last two days? I was very tempted to tell you that I knew about it to spare you the agony, but the fear of ruining the last 2 days with you put a stopper in me, I bit my tongue, decided to write instead.  

The affair. 

Just like you were a bad liar, A was an awful actress – she was visibly grumpy and wouldn’t even look at me when she came to the seminar last November, the same happened when we met her and her mother at the Marina after their walk. Later I figured out it’s not she wouldn’t look at me, it’s that she couldn’t, how tormenting it must have been for her to see you being with me, holding hands, happy. Was she hoping I would have left the seminar in the afternoon? Was that why you didn’t let me rest my head on your shoulder? Was that why you offered to drop me off home at intermission?  

Then the dinner with your mom, C, and L, her comments about the changes and touches I brought to your apartment, I remember telling myself she’s either extremely observant or had been to your apartment frequently enough to know it so well…  

Throughout the dinner and the tea back in your apartment, she’s noticeably agitated, fidgeting. 

I asked you if A’s ok – you said she’s having trouble coping with her husband’s absence, I chose to believe it, although in the back of my mind I found it’s most unusual – she would be relaxed with company, if she’s struggling with lonesome…. 

The ironic thing about that dinner was that I was telling your mom how helpful A had being to you at work and how much I was grateful to her for looking after you… Later your mom thanked her for the very same, and I was pleased. How naive was I? 

I wish I could have remained naive. Ignorance is bliss. It’s certainly true in this case. Realize your loved one was having an affair – blow one; realize you have been lied to – blow two; realize your loved one was having an affair with the person you trusted and turned to for help –  blow three…

Each was heavier, harder, and lower than the last. 

What a fool I was.  

I had my suspicions, as usual I asked questions – as usual in my camouflaged light-hearted way, in the end I chose to believe the answers you gave. I believed that candle you have in the bedroom was bought by you to freshen up the air, even though I have never seen you used it during my entire stay and it has mysteriously diminished by half. You probably won’t remember my first comment about that candle – “I thought you are having an affair…” although I was smiling when I said it, I wasn’t joking.

And her messages were constantly popping up on your phone, constantly, weekends, late nights, I was thinking – these couldn’t all be work related. Was she checking on you? Checking what we were doing? 

So you see, I’ve already read half the story in November. 

Until I found a worn ladies top in your underwear drawer, tucked in the back, first I thought it was mine, and wondered how strange I packed a work shirt on a leisure trip, but soon I realized it’s the one I gave to A, as a gift, to thank her supporting you at work. 

If you only went on a couple of dates as you said and being “friends only” as A claimed, it is very odd her top would end up in your drawer, isn’t it? 

I must reiterate – I’m not giving you hard time, I’m sharing with you my thoughts. 

I am not going to deny that I was bitterly disappointed in you. I thought we had a wonderful two weeks in July together, then just few weeks later you started to cheat on me. I will not be surprised if it started with few flirtatious text exchanges, you are always an addict to flirtation, and A took you seriously, didn’t she? Who would not, after all you are very charming, and humorous, attentive, considerate, and sometimes endearingly awkward…  

I am sure neither of you would think it’s going to become something too serious, my guess is you two probably were passing time, or even had a pact, it was just a pleasant distraction, a welcome escape from the demanding job until her husband returns from overseas? 

Then shit hit the fan, and shit got real. A fell for you, right? 

Knowing A, her way of love would be intensive, clingy, and smothering (yes I read all that from one home dinner, two social outings, and three brief casual conversations), she would want to spend every waken moment with you and repose by you every night.  

Was that why you were not replying my messages nor answering my phone calls? Because you were occupied, day and night.  

I had always thought I was four weeks too late to save our relationship, I had kicked myself for pushing you too hard for an answer I wasn’t prepared to accept. But now, after all the dots are connected, it turned out I was actually six months behind.  

I thought I would hate you for the betrayal, but somehow there’s no hatred in me – although I rehearsed hundreds of times in front of a mirror to punch you in the guts before I board on the return flight, but I know I’m incapable of doing that.  

To the contrary, I forgave you for the affair. On the way back from Orlando, you told me the last year was the worst year in your life and the summer was very difficult. I feel sorry for you having to go through it alone, and I’m terribly sorry for not being able to be there with you.  

Do you still remember why we decided to give it a year before I join you?

I do.

1. We didn’t want the management think less of you for stealing one of their best staff.

2. We were not sure how this new job of yours would pan out so we agreed to wait and see.

Do you still remember?

I forgave you for the affair. 

What I couldn’t get over with, was the lies. 

A too, I forgave her for falling for you, I understand her pain, but I can’t accept her lying to me too. She has no right to do that.  

I went over thousands of times in my mind what to put in a text message to taunt her, as a way of sweet revenge, for her not holding her end of bargain, leaving you and me alone during my stay; for constantly texting and calling you outside work hours, like the hives appearing on your skin every night, making you itch (excuse the metaphor, but I do find it’s quite fitting), for scheming all sorts of little rendezvous by being needy, prompting you telling me more lousy lies… But in the end, I decided against it, after all, she’s not my problem.  

If I try hard enough, to see the positive side of her affection, I can see her bringing you all kinds of little things to cheer you up; being attentive to your every need, work and personal; acting sweet to your family and friends; and wanting to have your life organized – exactly as I would… 

It’s never easy to accept one can be replaced by someone else. As much as I dislike the fact, you replaced me with her, or to be accurate, you allowed her to barge in, to replace me. 

Nothing is more resolute than a changed heart, naive as I was, tried desperately to remind you the bits and pieces of me, of us, from the other side of the Pacific Ocean, while you were doing the best not to remember. 

You had had a change of heart. Not knowing that, I tried to pull you back, but only made you drifted farther away. 

I now can see how annoying it was for you to hear from me, and why there had been no acknowledgement from you whatsoever. 

Now I know, I’ll let it go, I’ll let you go. I didn’t realize it’s a right thing to do until the day we went to the show. I saw how unhappy you were, and there’s nothing I could do to cheer you up. 

If I no longer bring joy to your life, at least I can try not to spoil the fun you have. So I’ll let you go, set you free.  

Waiting is a tormenting game, whether it was the wait for sleep to fall, or the wait for you to reply my messages, to answer my phone calls, or the wait for the holiday invitation from you… Waiting is torture. I went to Sri Lanka because I didn’t get your invitation to the UK for Christmas, I thought that’s because after all these years you wanted an undisturbed holiday with your family and friends over the Christmas time, and I was too shy to ask you about it, so I went to Sri Lanka, it wasn’t really a holiday, it was an excuse, an escape, a distraction. 

I still don’t understand why you didn’t break up with me then and there when I confronted you last November, since all you have been doing ever since the last summer was avoiding me. Why didn’t you?  

I wished you had more faith in me, it’s the first time I was actually lost for words when you said you had never thought I’d leave my job for you. I’m disillusioned to learn that after all this time, you have no idea what kind of person I am. 

The last three weeks were the life I had planned for us, except for the tension. I had planned our daily routine would be just like that – I prepare breakfast for you in the morning, send you off to work, kiss you goodbye and wish you a nice day. After that I’ll have the household organized, dinner will be ready when you are home, in between I’ll work online, build up my little business, learn Spanish, to keep myself updated and connected with the outside world. Then we’ll eat together, I’ll listen to you going over your day, share my two cents here and there. We will get a dog, so you will walk the dog after dinner – part of your exercise. After that if you have to do some work again then I’ll read while you are on your computer, or we will be watching a movie together… Then we will go to bed, make sweet love before falling asleep, before another day start. 

If our relationship hasn’t changed, the last three weeks would be a dream coming true for me. But without your love, the last three weeks felt like three months, if not three years, clocks were on strike during the day and they moved trice the speed at night to catch up. You would be gone again before I could cuddle you for one more second… You probably felt the other way round. Now I’m gone, everything will be normal for you again. I’m sorry for subjecting you to the ordeal. 

I came here three weeks ago for a closure, in order to achieve that I have to know the truth, to understand what exactly happened, what went wrong. For my sanity, I have to know the truth. So I was hoping you would tell me the truth in person, I mean, the whole truth. As harsh as it can be, I deserve the truth. If you truly loved me, respected me, tell me the truth, please. 

I was planning to ask you if you are going to apologize to me about the affair – that will be my last question to you before I get on that plane, and I prayed to all gods up there you are not going to deny the affair. I do hope the man burnt my soul will be big enough to admit what he did. 

But I’m not sure whether I’d be brave enough to actually ask the question. 

You are like an estranged brother, albeit I’m disappointed you let the momentary weakness distracted you, albeit I’m saddened you allowed a difficult job got the better of you, albeit I’m devastated by your betrayal, I still care for you deeply, I still wish you every happiness and success. So, please, do me a favor, be happy, be good, be healthy. 

Whatever happens I will not be able to see you for a while. I have to serve the notice period at work, and have my life re-organized. 

Sorry to be a cliche, but recently this Adele song has been playing in my mind a lot, it makes me weep every time it plays on radio. I couldn’t put it better myself, Adele gets it. 

“…

Let me photograph you in this light

In case it is the last time

That we might be exactly like we were

Before we realized

We were sad of getting old

It made us restless

It was just like a movie

It was just like a song

When we were young…

…”

N – take care, and farewell. 

With love, 

x

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Self Appraisal of a Broken Heart

This is hard.

Much harder than I expected.

For the first time I am not in control.

Not that I’m a control freak, I do usually know what’s happening around me, my brain would think and analyse, and my heart to feel and sense.

But not this time, neither my brain nor my mind is working, my mind is blank, and my feelings are numb.

What’s happening?

Here’s what I know –

We were in love, for 3 years, I thought he’s the one in my life.

Then he got transferred to US 11 months ago, we didn’t give up, we carried on.

He texted to break up this Feb, 4 weeks later I arrived his apartment, self invited.

I want him back.

He doesn’t.

So the end should be pretty obvious then, there’s not much room for confusion or ambiguity. If this was happening to anyone else I would have screamed and shouted at that person and tell her to let go. I have screamed and shouted at myself, but it didn’t work. In the end I flew all the way from one side of the Pacific ocean to the other, searching for the answer that I may not get; In the end, I screamed at shouted at him, for letting it go.

That’s just stupid, of me.

Yes, I’m aware, I know it’s stupid, yet I’d rather be stupid.

I also know by coming over and had few text exchanges with his new romance, I’ve made his days difficult and myself top of his black list. It wasn’t my intention, somehow I just couldn’t think of anything else, I was angry, desperate, so another act of stupidity.

One third of my holiday has gone, although only a week, felt like a lifetime. He must have felt worse. I also realize if I leave now he would be much happier (or rather less grumpy), and his days could be much simpler (I am not sure about his life, life is always complicated). But no, I can’t leave. I’m too afraid. I don’t really know what exactly I’m afraid of, I am just scared, too scared to leave. As if I leave now, I’d fallen into an abysm of misery.

Coward, a dreadful coward.

It seems his hostility has gone, ever since my meltdown two nights ago. My facade of acting tough finally crumbled, I had to walk out his apartment, but only realized there was nowhere to go. That moment of solitude, was overwhelming.  That moment, I was terribly, terribly, weak. I still am.

I found a couple of video clips from the Take That concert night on my phone, someone in the work group chat must have had sent these to me and I must have had been too busy to watch or even notice these were sent.  What an inconvenient moment to watch them now, the lyrics woke up every single trace of sadness in me. I wept. Later an Adele song came on radio, more weeping… And after all these times I thought all love songs were silly?!

I read all the inspiring quotes, I’m sure they are right, I agree I shouldn’t let this define me and my future, I agree I deserve better.

But why, why I still can’t let it go?

Alas, I wish it was that easy, that simple, that logical.

“You will be in love many times in life, but only one love will burn your soul forever” – is this the one burning my soul?

 

Something Odd About Weddings

I don’t go to weddings if I can help, because I don’t like to be questioned by distant relatives and acquaintances about my choices of life. I once told my mother that I would prepare a list of “FAQs” for her to distribute at these occasions so both of us can be spared from feeling awkward.

I can count with one hand the number of weddings I have been to (exclude the ones my parents forced me to when I was a lot younger…). The first three were weddings of my best friends, and I emceed two for not having to give a big fat red envelope with a wad of cash (sorry for being stingy but I didn’t have much to spare then…). The fourth one  I was obliged to go, and the fifth one – that’s ultimately the most exciting one, no family interrogations, no judgment, just colors, music, mixed with exotic traditions, moreover, the fun! I enjoyed it so much that I had forgotten my limited tolerance of alcoholic beverage; I was the most inebriated girl in the north hemisphere… Ever since then I realized maybe I do like weddings, as long as there are no distant relatives of mine.

Well, here I am in my beloved India, and it is the wedding season again in the holy land. so I thought it may just be a seasonable moment to share with you all an interesting article I read in Times of India a while ago, my mother-in-law loved it a lot when I messaged her the bits and pieces, I hope you’d enjoy too …

Bengali weddings:  women from the bride’s family rise at the break of dawn and arrange a plate of aarti complete with sweets, twigs and incense, and go over to invite the Ganges to the wedding of their daughter. The holy river is believed to bless the girl in her future life. 

Bihari weddings: This could be a rather curious post-wedding ritual performed by any groom’s-side-of-the-family on bringing the bride home. Here an eager, expectant bride suddenly finds herself grappling with a huge earthen pot set on her head by her mother-in-law. Without losing time, few more pots are added to the pile while she is expected to bow down and touch the elders’ feet. As the dramatic scene is played out, all and sundry gather to see how many pots the new bride actually balances, which is ostensibly an indicator of her skills at striking a balance in the family.

Tribal wedding in UP: Sarsaul, a small town in Kanpur district has given a new dimension to wedding hospitality. In keeping with the tradition, the baaratis here are not greeted with flowers and rose water spray, instead tomatoes and potatoes are hurled at them followed by a round of choicest abuses. Your sides might hurt imaging such a welcome, but the tradition takes root in the belief that a relationship that doesn’t begin on a not-so-happy note always culminates in love.

Rabha weddings in Assam: The weddings of the Rabha tribes of Assam is an aesthetic affair. Performed as per Gandharva marriage tradition, the ceremony involves a simple exchange of garlands – no pheras around the fire, and a lavish feast to round it up with. An extremely patriarchal ritual, the newly wed on their first day together at the boy’s family home is expected to give a hand in cooking the afternoon meal and serve only to the male, elderly members of the family. For the rest, food is served in subsequent batches by the helpers.

Kumaoni weddings: The use of flags in the marriage ceremony sets Himachali weddings apart. Traditionally, a white flag called ‘Nishan’ leads the marriage procession representing the bridegroom, followed by drummers, pipers and a white palanquin carrying the groom. The last man of the procession carries another flag, of red colour, representing the bride. When the marriage party returns from the girl’s home after completing all ceremonies, the red flag takes the lead followed by a red palanquin of the bride, succeeded by the white palanquin of the groom, and the white flag at the tail end of the procession.

Tamil Brahmin weddings: At an Iyer wedding, just as the groom is about to step into the mandapam for the actual wedding ceremony, he has a change of mind and decides to pursue ‘sanyaasam’ (asceticism). An age-old Brahmin tradition ‘Kasi Yaatrai’ this, the bride’s father too plays his part of a distressed father by reaching out to the groom and convincing him to take up ‘Grahastham’ (family life) with his daughter who would in turn support him in his spiritual pursuit. Umbrella, Bhagwad Gita, hand fan and sandals are the props used by the bride’s father to win his would-be-son-in-law back.

My personal favorite is the Bihari pot balancing act, I wonder how long does the bride have to practice?

Coincidently this morning when I was browsing on a website, I found an article introducing odd wedding rituals around the world, here are the few abstracts.

Korea: In Korea, after the wedding ceremony, the Groom’s friends take off his shoes, tie his ankles together and beat the soles of his feet with dried Corvina-a type of fish! Apparently this will make the groom stronger for his wedding night.

 Finland: In some Finnish weddings the Bride’s mother in law or godmother places a china plate on the Bride’s head before the happy couple performs the first dance. When the plate falls, the pieces are collected and counted by the guests. The number of pieces determines how many children the newlyweds will have.

Ethiopia: On the day of an Ethiopian wedding the Groom and 3 or 4 of his ‘best men’ go to the Bride’s house. There, the entrance to the house will be blocked by the Bride’s family and friends. The Groom and his best men must sing strongly in order to ‘force’ their way into the house. Once inside the first best man sprays the house with perfume.

 Borneo-Tidong: The Tidong people can be found in Sabah, Malaysia and East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Newlyweds in this tribe are not allowed to go to the toilet for 72 hours. They are put into isolation and watched by their families. They are allowed small amounts of food and water. If they cheat, it is believed they will bring bad luck, like the death of their child.

China-Tujia: The Tujia people from Central China are the 6th largest ethnic minority in China. A month before her wedding the Bride cries for about an hour. Ten days later, her mother joins in. Another ten days later the Bride’s grandmothers, aunts and sisters also join in. This is called the Crying Song, unsurprisingly.

Carry on reading if you are not bored yet, I can tell you a few episodes of my own wedding.  Unlike the other brides, my only duty for the wedding was to get dresses of my own and the flower girls. The rest was all taken care of by my husband.

I ordered a white Chinese dress which confused the tailor in great deal, because in China, red is for weddings and the white is for funerals. Red is the symbol of joy – and what is more joyous than a wedding?

My wedding took place in South Africa; obviously it is too far to apply the Chinese color restrictions. Days before the wedding, I thought my dress may crease in suitcase so I took it out and hung it in the room; my sister-in-law panicked,  she told me the groom is not supposed to see the wedding dress before the day else it would bring bad luck… thank heavens the-groom-to-be was out for a party. The dress then had to settle in the back of a teenage girl’s wardrobe.

On the wedding day the photographer came to ask for my garter for a photo – I had no idea I need one – why on the earth someone wants a piece of bride’s underwear? It turned out there was no single adult male at our wedding, so I was relieved no one would be grumpy about no garter to catch.

The following day I found a silver sixpence in the envelope my mother-in-law gave me before the ceremony, only then I realized I was supposed to have that coin in my left shoe when walking down the aisle to attract fortune and success to marriage… until today I have no heart to tell her I missed it completely… I would not be able to manage it with open toe high heels anyway…

Apart from all these mishaps it was still a beautiful day, I will always remember the old lady decorated the whole reception with orchids to symbolize my oriental heritage.

When the world is so big it is impossible to know all traditions and customs of all cultures, “odd” and “bizarre” are subjective when the practices are foreign to our own, however if we look through the facade of “strangeness”, all the rituals across the globe are aiming for the same goal – a happily married life with balance, harmony, and abundance. I see weddings throughout of the world are great fun fairs, draped in traditions and customs, pinned with high hopes and happy thoughts. Regardless how marriages turned out years later, weddings are always one of the most unforgettable events of any married couple.

If you are like me, avoiding weddings just to shrink from distant relatives and acquaintances, maybe crash a wedding of total strangers will be a good fun. After all, it is the wedding season!

p.s.: If you ever did crash a wedding, please do let me how it went…

To read more about Oddball Indian Wedding Rituals, visit http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/relationships/man-woman/Oddball-Indian-wedding-rituals/articleshow/11682353.cms

To read the full story of Weird Weddings, visit http://www.shfamily.com/articles/2012/07/28/weird-wedding-customs/   ImageImageImage