Merging into sameness

Filling water in my flask in the office kitchen, I shared stories from yesterday evening with my colleague. As I walked back to my desk I was aware of how snug my jeans felt. Leaning back in my chair, ready to face the day, I was suddenly reminded of Friday evening. K and I spent a nice evening with UL and family. We went to the temple and to Hot Breads from there. As we sat around the table, my attention turned to a couple sitting across from me. They look like newly weds I thought and went back to attack my sev puri. I heard her anklets and got distracted again. The next hour or so we were there, I kept sneaking glances at the girl. There was so much running through my head and I felt I had to apologize for staring so much.

You see, she was wearing anklets, a metti, a very elegant watch, a nice diamond ring, her long hair braided with two slides keeping stragglers falling into her face, her shiny thali kept glinting in under the dull bulb above them. She was looking deeply into the eyes of the person sitting against her, toying with her ring and her hands punctutating her conversation with its fluid movements. Her eyes were bright and lively. Every now and then she would adjust her well fitting top pulling at the neck line and waist and glance around uncomfortably. As she walked up to get a pastry, I noticed her jeans were baggy and then I knew.

She was me eight years back. Right down to the metti on her feet. For that one moment, I could see my life flash before me. The changes, slow and steady. Every year losing some of the ‘traditionalism’ and merging into the sameness around me. As I left that night, I turned around one last time to see her. To remember what it was like. It was bittersweet.

13 comments

  1. I guess I can see this as most desi gals who come to the US!! Weird though…me was never like that. Yeah I wore any one symbol of marriage – metti or karugumani but not too particular! Now, I am told I have to wear that to my cuz’s wedding by paati….I said no, I will not project a lie. Don’t know if I have to laugh or cry!! πŸ˜€

  2. Good observation – I have often noted the change in me and wonder if the carelessly thrown ‘you’ve become too american’ is true and whether I should feel guilty about it. And then I remember the recent realization of comfort in my own skin, of being aware of my rights and responsibilities and of the freedom to exercise those rights and responsibilities when I choose to do so. Of not judging my merit as a daughter, daughter-in-law, wife or mom by the clothes I wear and the jewelery I choose to wear, but by the person I have become πŸ™‚ And I like the metamorphosis.

  3. As usual very well written Laks. I went back to the days of trying to fit in, retain the indian-ness by wearing metti, thali etc and yet try and fit in the american way without compromising on the way I pronouce the words πŸ™‚

    I second Radhika and would like to say that I like what I have morphed into now πŸ™‚ I have defitely become a more confident individual who does not deny her roots nor hesitate to embrace new horizons πŸ™‚

    Thanks for taking me back to the good old days of FOB!!! πŸ™‚

  4. Nicely written… and its just an observation and not judgemental πŸ™‚

    When I was in uni… I would wear low waist jeans, mini skirts… and I have long hair… it will be one or two plaits depending on my mood… and no matter what dress I wear… I will always have a pottu… and I have had friends telling me that only my face look homely but my dressing is just the opposite… I would be like… why? do you have any problem with it? I wear whatever I like as long as it suits me and make me feel confident… and as for my face… I should ask God why it looks homely…

    Now… my dressing still the same… long hair in plaits most of the time… metti no matter what shoes I’m wearing… thali chain.. and pottu… everything will be there… I just love it that way… its me…

  5. wow you express so beautifully!
    When a friend of mine sent his Holiday party pictures taken with his newly married bride even I was transported back to our first holiday party so yeah it is bittersweet πŸ™‚

  6. I too like what I am now, but yes I do miss the carefree attitude I had then.
    For me I never used to wear Thali or Meti or Sindoor then and now. I was always against the fact
    that we as women have to portray our marital status whereas men in Indian society don’t have
    anything that marks them.

    But yes, I do like to wear Meti,Thali etc once in a while as a jewellery with Indian clothes and that too
    if it matches with my clothes πŸ™‚

    But yes there is something that has changed in me over these 8 years, it is subtle. I have found
    food options even though I hate cheese and don’t eat meat.

    Maybe I am getting more tolerant to Non-vegetarian food as my kids are eating that. But the fact remains
    I never touch it, it is Ro who has to to feed them and clean them. I am carrying my beliefs, but don’t know
    where I have changed!! Still wondering…..but for sure I have changed.

    Nice post that really made me ponder.

  7. What a blog, again you write so well, this is the umpteenth time I tell you this.

    Bitter or sweet – I dont know. Those are innocent times. When I knew only one guy in the whole world, to ask about anything from grocery to laundry to jewellery. Still I ask my guy, but I know my answers also.

    PS: I want to try wearing my metti again. I always wear my heavy 7 sov. wedding chain all the time. I dont use pottu with pants.

  8. @Suman: I know that only too well. Sigh!
    @Apar: You were always a step ahead. How did the wedding go?
    @Radhika: You hit the nail on the head. Articulated so well what I actually wanted to say!
    @Laks: Loved your comment. Specially the “become a more confident individual who does not deny her roots nor hesitate to embrace new horizons ”
    @SK: I can relate.
    @Selvi: I always envy people who are comfortable in their shoes. I never have been. I guess part of my wistfulness is because I feel like I compromised something to become what I am today.
    @Shankar: πŸ™‚ Thank you. Maybe my poetry is more in prose?
    @Saras: Thank you. We really got to talk.
    @Anamika: You should!! Good Luck for your cert. exam
    @aarthi: Thank you very much. I look back on my new bride pics and wonder where that girl went. ;p
    @Manchus: I can relate to what you say. we all evolve in our own way based on our surroundings. It is always nice to remember where we came from.
    @slk: Thank you! Perhaps I should start a fan club on Facebook. Just kidding!! I have recently taken to wearing my metti on occasion and love the golusu with capris. πŸ™‚ I never liked pottu with pants anytime.

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