A very delicious dish prepared with a little variation from the original recipe.
The best companion during lockdown.
Appreciate what you have, before it turns into what you had. We all have heard this before. But we still do not implement this in our lives. We keep on abusing the zeal given to us, until it is too late to realise what we had was way too precious to us, and is there no more. When you take things for granted, the things you are granted get taken.
I had always dreamt to marry a guy who would love me, encourage me, protect me, stand by me, etc. And I was even fairly lucky enough to find that person. But somewhere, I believe, I took my oomph life for granted. And somewhere, even my husband acted with decorum. We would have our differences, but that’s a part of any marriage or relationship. But what I personally didn’t realise was, we had some faults which instead of addressing to each other and talking to each other like matured adults, we would fight and scream on top of our voices. Eventually, get tired of fighting and then forget the topic without bringing a solution. All this resulted in separation, and eventually breaking the marriage.
Life was reasonably beautiful back then; but immature us just took each other for granted. It clearly takes 2 hands to clap, and while I do not know if my husband ever realised his mistakes, but by the time I realised mine, it was too late. I couldn’t do anything but watch him go to someone else. Maybe the love was still there, but sometimes the situation becomes so unbearable, that even the silence starts haunting you. You have become so tired of holding on to a marriage or relationship, hoping in the dead air for things to not only turn around but also become as exciting as before; only to realize that one day the bubble bursts, and you just have to let go. And even though you love your partner, deep within you know you are no more in love with them!
Taylor Swift has said “It’s hard to fight when the fight isn’t fair.” The same holds true for life also. Just when I realised my mistakes and started improvising on them, I came across guys who showed me an altogether new meaning of taking things for granted. At the beginning of the relationship, they show you rainbows, and once they are confident that you are completely theirs, they start showing you thunderstorms. Once they know you are madly in love with them, they assume you won’t leave. And you are constantly hoping, rather illusive that they will change. You even signal it out to them that the changed behaviour is unbearable and you may leave. So for a short amount of time they change completely and become all loving and caring, but go back to being ignorant in no time. With time, the hurt is so bad that it loses its meaning. You start becoming distant and stop caring. You stop satisfying their ego to give them a taste of their own medicine. But by doing this, I learnt one thing; recklessness is almost a man’s revenge on his woman. He feels he is not valued so he will risk destroying himself to deprive her altogether. The best revenge is, TO MOVE ON. If they cared, they would have showed you. There are no ifs and buts to this. Actions always speak louder than words. We keep lying to ourselves in the name of love by giving excuses to unacceptable behaviour.
Love is said to be a journey, not a destination. If you commit, you promise to love that person even when it is difficult to talk to them. The one man that I met didn’t even think once before playing with my emotions and broke me so bad, that I stopped feeling anything. He used me to forget someone and forgot me like I was just some object when she came back in his life. And the other man that I met became so reckless that I started to feel that only I was in a relationship. He fed me breadcrumbs and expected me behave like he was the whole treat. What was common in both these men? They were so good and loving in the first few months, committed, sweet talkers, promised to be with you in the good and the bad, seemed matured and actually looked genuine. But once they gained your confidence, suddenly all the promises were broken, the once matured men became someone who seemingly “didn’t know” what they wanted. If I addressed their changed behaviour, I was labelled to be sulking and nagging. ‘I Love You’ was just another statement used to trap you and then eventually to abandon you for an ex or next. While I was clearly naive and rather stupid to trust words; a more severe effect of this is that even though I still believe in love, I cannot trust a soul now. Many of us these days feel, “I will get anyone. There are a lot of fishes in the sea.” They sabotage and destroy the person they are with to search for something better outside. When they realise the grass wasn’t greener on the other side, or, when karma hits them back with the same thing of how they treated their partner, they come running back realising they had the best; obviously it is too late then. It’s said, “Women fall in love in the man’s presence and men fall in love in the woman’s absence.” Many men probably know this, but what they don’t know is women take longer to leave, but once they leave, they never come back!
Rumi, the 13th century poet had said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself” With all these happenings in my life, I have only learnt. Learnt to be patient, learnt the value of the present moment than getting anxious about the future, and, learnt to trust actions and not just words. I also learnt to never beg anyone to stay in my life; for where you are not celebrated and respected, leave. The moment after being let go, when we can finally let it go, is the moment when love once again has hope. And I want to keep falling in love even if I have already hit the ground. To young hearts; keep beating, keep breaking and keep falling in love. But never take anyone or any moment for granted. Because what you have today, tomorrow it just might not be there. And that will hit you like a bullet in the heart. By the time you realise what you have lost, it will be gone forever. If you love something, love it completely, cherish it, say it, but most importantly – show it. Life is finite and fragile, and just because something is there one day, it might not be the next. Never take anyone or anything granted. I had read an article about a man’s last words on his death bed. He said, “Wish I had paid more attention to the relationships I had in my life.” Value them when they are still there other than adjusting to their absence in the future. My intention is not to gain any sympathy, but only to help people to not repeat the mistakes I have made.
Having said that, there are times that I too feel guilty of not spending enough time with Casper and he was gone too soon. So this lockdown has given me an opportunity to take a break from the grind and spend a lot of time with Junior, take care of his health and wellbeing, laugh at his funny sleeping positions, talk to him random stuff and see him tilting his head, hug him tight where he tries his best to free himself and love him a lot more. My dogs have been the biggest blessings in my life. Having such short lives, they still fill yours with so much meaning, faithfulness and loyalty. And under no circumstances, I would take even a single moment with Junior for granted. For this time, will never come again – Spend your time with those who love you unconditionally, not with those who only love you under certain conditions!
It takes a strong person to remain single in a world that is accustomed to settling with anything just to say they have someone. Several women, at times, force themselves into romance, only because they are apprehensive of being single forever. The end result is usually misery, as in the process they start making compromises, and invariable end up losing their identity. The truth is, a woman who is unapologetically herself, comfortable in her perfect imperfection, doesn’t play the victim, never afraid to be on her own, vibrant and goal-oriented is so much more attractive, than a woman who waits around for a man to validate her existence!
Being in my late 30’s, its natural for my family and friends to be concerned about me being single – to the extent few consider it to be a taboo! I am accustomed to be at the receiving end of various advices; “your biological clock is ticking” / “life cannot be spent alone” / “right now you will still get a guy, later it will be too late”, and, as ridiculous as some of these reasons are; believe me the list is endless. While it is extremely easy to advice, what people, who I know only mean good, fail to understand is as we age, it gets more and more difficult for us to find the ‘right one’. It’s not the age which does that, for age is just a number. What happens is with age we mature, we learn to understand what truly makes us happy, and we are less susceptible to just settle for someone who really doesn’t understand or care for us. With the booming trend of social media, it is not difficult to find someone. But the question is; how genuine are they? And even if they are genuine, how compatible are we?
Personally, I have never been the one who would do a random hook-up, or anything even remotely similar to it. With age, and of course my past experiences, I have become so scared to get my heart broken again that I fortified myself with a wall of scepticism. It has become extremely difficult for me to immediately trust someone. It’s not that that I do not want to date or eventually get married, but I do not want to be the only one falling in love. I want to be loved equally as well, and I strongly believe this isn’t much to ask! The problem is you will come across people who will express their love, but it is fairly impossible to immediately judge who actually loves you, and who is pretending to do so. Most men I have spoken to, choose to conveniently assume I am available and desperate immediately upon learning that I am separated and live alone. To be brutally honest, I have learnt that only 3 types of men approach me, and this is the harsh reality of today’s world:
- Type 1: The married ones, who generally just are looking for a little extra spice
- Type 2: The confused souls who say they care, but honestly only want a physical relationship with pretty much No Strings Attached
- Type 3: The truly genuine ones who end up being some of the best friends I have made. But believe me, these are the rarest of the rare ones and extremely hard to find
After Casper crossed the rainbow bridge, my husband told me that very same day that he wanted to rework the marriage. I was content, but it was only an eyewash. Apparently, my husband had approached the divorce lawyer the very same evening. I was shocked, deceived, and realized it was better to end this legally once and for all. It made no sense to keep watering a dead plant, and more than a dead relation it was the trust which was totally shattered. I gathered myself together post getting off the depression medicines, and got back on routine and finally became open to dating. But it wasn’t easy at all. The dating scenarios had completely changed. There were so many new words and actions that I had never experienced in the past or even heard of, like ghosting, gas lighting, rebounding, etc. Unfortunately, I experienced all these the hard way when I finally had prepared myself to give love another chance. I had met a guy in my worst phase and told him everything about my past and he shared his. In spite of him being a dog lover, I thought he would understand of what I went through when Caspu passed. We never really dated but had become pretty close, and I had started thinking about him a lot more than I had planned to. Just 20 days after meeting him, I was ghosted. Yes, that’s when I learnt this word. And after some months I realised I would have just been a rebound to him. His ex came back in his life and he forgot me just at the drop of a hat like I was just someone to divert his mind off a break up he had recently had when we met. Ironically, that’s when I learnt the second trending word “rebound”. It was so hard for me to believe that when you share your personal life with someone and they promise to hold your hand through thick and thin, but end up being the same person they claim to never have been. I was extremely heartbroken. But once again, my baby, my dog, my Junior came to my rescue and never let me sink in. I realized I was actually stronger than before. I chose to give a piece of my mind to that guy, blocked him and never looked back. The following year, as I continued with my work and actually experimented with social media, I came across a lot of people. And as mentioned before, some became my very good friends, and other; I realised their intentions way too early and didn’t even bother entertaining them.
Life went on, and without me even realising, I kept getting mentally stronger, and being alone with Junior had just become the best way to live. I was so much happier, and, so was Junior. We enjoyed our time playing and dancing for no reason. If nothing, then I would take Junior out for a drive. Some of the best moments of my life are spent alone with Junior, and definitely, they are precious. Apart from that, my cousins and friends also made sure that I was not left alone. I started travelling, having so many girls’ trips, also my Mom and me travelled overseas just for shopping, family trips; all in all – life was beautiful!
Then, a friend of mine introduced me to a guy. As they say, you meet the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time. It was a long distance relationship. But this time, I didn’t give my heart away immediately. I took my time and being long distance, after months, we met in person. It is amazing how different a person can be over phones and in person. After a while, I started to sense that we were not for each other. I began to curse myself for a very brief period that none of my relationships are working out, and, probably, I am the toxic one, or I have some problem in me. Self-doubt can be a troubling and persuasive voice that holds you back. My thoughts literally made me beg this guy to stay with me, which he did too, but his behaviour towards me changed dramatically. He took me for granted thinking that I begged him to stay, so I will never leave him. He chose to call or text me at his convenience only, not reply to my texts for days, not tell me about his whereabouts and literally made me an object of convenience. I hoped and thought he would change for good but things only got worse. Finally, I opened my eyes, kept my heart aside, and called it off.
You have what it takes, don’t ever doubt yourself. Whenever you feel weak, remember the things that made you strong. Whenever you start to doubt yourself, remember those who believe in you. And remember this, when you start to doubt yourself, the real world will eat you alive. Victor E. Frankl (Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor,) has said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Once again, living alone, failed relationships, a lot of baggage, a fur baby who is no more; but here I am. Still cheerful and hopeful. I still believe in love. I have not given up on meeting the right one for me. Even in this world of divorces and breakups and hook ups, I believe somewhere the one meant for me will find me in the right time. Remember this, it is better to wait long than to marry wrong. Learn to be whole all by yourself. Be kind enough to let someone in, but wise enough to even let them go. Not everyone who enters your life is meant to stay. And it is ok! Learn from it, and move on.
Till then, Junior and I are living it playfully in this lockdown. He is a kitchen king (hahahaha). He is always in the kitchen when I am cooking keeping his hopes high that anytime some food might fall on the floor from the platform and he will eat it. Regarding his skin infection, he is doing absolutely great. The Saffron Oil did wonders and he is off antibiotics now. Apart from this, a very good friend of mine had to put his senior dog down due to complications from old age. It caused overwhelming distress to him to take this call and implement his decision, but that was the right thing to do. Seeing him like this is very upsetting. No matter how much time we get with our fur babies, it is never enough. Whether they lived for 5 years or 10 years or 15 years with us, their passing always takes away a part of us with them. It is never easy!
Christopher Walken has said, “At its best, Life is completely unpredictable”. There is no better situation to exemplify this quote than the one we are currently in! We all must have planned for the next week or next month; but who knew, the whole world would come to a complete standstill! COVID-19 has plagued the world, crippled almost every livelihood and has become a menace to the sheer existence of human kind. But you know what, everything is not lost; I strongly believe there is still hope, and we should use this time for self-reflecting. I can tell you this, because I have been through a similar time before. The only difference is, I self isolated myself because of a broken marriage and my baby crossing the rainbow bridge, and now it is a mandatory requirement called a Lockdown. If you are feeling low, or are stressed for your work or business, or the lockdown situation is making you feel petrified, then all I will say is that these surely are dark times, but If you do not see light at the end of the tunnel, consider it an opportunity to create an opening yourself, wherever you want!
Many of my friends tell me, “Wow! You live alone. You can do whatever you want and go wherever you want. No one is going to question you where or why you are going somewhere.” To my foreign readers, yes, living alone is not a common thing in India with many families still living with their parents or even grandparents. As weird as it may sound to you, yes, the Indian family system revolves around living with your parents and taking care of them as they once did when you were a child. Coming back to the topic, after lockdown, the perspective of many of my friend has dramatically changed. Now they tell me, “Now we know how difficult it is to stay home alone. We don’t know what to do. How do you live all alone?” Let me tell you this. I am pretty used to staying alone and doing my stuff. But it wasn’t like this always. The moment the sun would go down, I would start sinking too. Take a bottle of beer and would drown in my thoughts and create negative scenarios in my mind, and put myself in a state of panic (yes, I would literally get panic attacks). I have worked extremely hard on myself, and have leant to control myself the hard way. I would like to share some tips to overcome this time of crisis, especially your mental health.
- Whenever you feel down, start doing house work like, dusting, or moping the floor or making the cupboard, etc. Yes, it does sound like a simple task, but you will be surprised how much time something as simple as emptying your closet and re arranging it could take. Believe me, you will find at least 1 thing that will make you say “Wow, this still exists?”
- Get a hobby like painting or sketching or cooking or writing a blog, etc. Try out things you have wanted to do or thought of, but never had a chance to.
- If you have the urge to drink, distract your mind by putting on loud music and dancing to it. Drinking occasionally is ok, but do not become an alcoholic!
- If you live with family, involve them in playing some board or indoor games. If you do not have one, then check with your neighbours.
- If you have a pet, see some YouTube Videos to train them with new tricks and implement them.
- Talk to a friend or loved one. Use the opportunity to reconnect with old friends or family.
- Work on a side business. There are many ideas available on the internet which require less to no investment and can be done from the comfort of your house. And Warren Buffet had said, “Never depend on a single income source.”
- Start reading the book you had bought 5 years ago. If you don’t own one, try the online versions.
- Sleep as much as you want. Believe me, as easy as this may sound, it may be the hardest!
Remember this, patience plays a key role. Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance. You do not need to have patience with the task at hand, but infact, with your own self. Once that is done, the rest will fall through. If you expect results in a day or two, it is not going to happen. You have to be consistent and true to yourself.
As mentioned in my earlier blog, I was miserable post loosing Casper and had to seek medical assistance. The medications worked like magic, but the withdrawal symptoms which came after getting off the medications were terrible! I would get such bad and realistic dreams that I would wake up crying and scared. Many a times I felt like getting back on the medicines. But that would mean, being on medication all my life. I had to remain strong and what kept me strong was my love for Junior. I realised, that if I have to keep him healthy and sane, first I had to be healthy and sane. It’s all in the mind. I know it is easier said than done, but if you have the will to live and do it, you will do it.
Today, I am definitely living a more sane and healthy life. Before the pandemic, I would normally get tired by the end of the day and force myself to keep my hobbies active or go out socialising. But now, I complete all my work with enthusiasm. I am more agile than before; I cook different dishes, recipes of which I had saved since months but never got the time to cook. I paint every alternate day. I clean the house much better than what my maid does (hahahaha). I work from home with Junior by my side. I video call my parents every day. I play with Junior more than before. But here’s a catch. Do not over involve your pets in your current daily routine, because after all this is over, we have to get back to our normal life and they will suddenly feel left out. So after sometime, give a break and go to another room leaving them alone or let them be by themselves when you are working or doing some activity. Do not get them used to your presence all day at home.
Couple of days ago we visited the Vet in this lockdown as I freaked out after seeing a lot of rashes on Junior. As an over thinking person, my thoughts reached to the level of Junior probably having Skin Cancer. Turns out, Junior has Staph Pyoderma. It’s a bacterial infection and the most common skin disease in dogs. The Vet put Junior on antibiotics, an anti-fungal, and multi vitamins and we have to visit him again next week to check on the progress. A home remedy that the Vet suggested was to apply Saffron Oil on Junior 2 hours prior to giving him a bath and then wash it off with the shampoo the Vet has prescribed. Well, sounds good. But being a pet parent and many other pet parents out there, we all know how tedious it is to bathe our dogs. I always have to take a biscuit in the bathroom for Junior to come in. Otherwise it is a marathon in the house. I am running behind Junior and he is running away from me. And now, removing the oil from his body is going to be a task at another level. I will update you all how it went or did the oil work for his body in my next blog.
Times are tough, and I know everyone is fighting their own battles. I had recently read an article about many couples stuck together in this lockdown who had applied for divorce or who had just broken up and were planning to move out or who had just expressed their feelings of breaking the relationship. I realized I too was facing a somewhat similar situation at the moment. But only difference is, I am not staying with my husband. I can understand the awkwardness many couples are facing because of the above, but remember one thing, be patient and everything happens for a reason. Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. In the meantime, just know that this too will pass and everyone of us will come out as a brand-new person. COVID -19 and the hardships it has bought has made most of us realise that how little material happiness matters, and what we have, and probably take for granted, is a lot more.
Spend time with family, talk, laugh, cook and play. When this is over, may we never again take for granted:
- A handshake with a stranger
- Full shelves at the stores
- Conversations with neighbours
- A crowded theatre
- Saturday night out
- A routine check-up
- The school and office rush each morning
- Coffee with a friend
- Each deep breath
- A boring Monday
- Life itself
When this all ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be, and may we stay that way. I have no idea what’s awaiting for me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing, there are people with more troubles than mine, and at the end of the day all that will prevail is humanity! Try and help anyone you can; not many are as privileged to be able to stock up on groceries. Even if you can help one family with their daily meal, I promise you, it will bring you more happiness than any materialistic desire.
Stay home and stay safe.