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Yesterday Amaya attended her 3rd culmination day at school. She is just 2 and half year old and still in Playgroup. Ideally as the name suggest Playgroup is for playing and having fun.

Her school has culmination for every phase of the learning, Its not a big function but where children walk to the stage and talk about an assigned topic/object in front of the assembled parents. Talking means a few words and not even sentences.

The last two culmination had ended in silence for Amaya. She went on stage, saw the big audience and froze. Unable to utter a word she came back. Not that she was disappointed as she does not understand why the whole fuss is about. Although we were little worried. Many children do speak. Some confidently, some scared, some amused. After coming home, she is babbling about the same topic.

I am ok with it. Her father and mother (Us) did not speak much in school till they started college. It was wrong to put expectations on her. She is there to enjoy and not run a race.

Yesterday was different. She went to the stage and said all her lines properly. She sang the song that was required and ultimately said bye to everybody. I, sitting in the audience was surprised, happy and proud.

I have to admit, It’s a good feeling to see our child succeed.

Last April when we took admission to the Playgroup, the intention was to help her interact with others. Living in a house of three, we were her only world. She has always been cold to strangers. She takes time to talk to people and even children her own age. At that time she was speaking only 1-2 words.

We were worried if we were pushing her too early.

By June she was speaking more words but we were not sure how the teachers would communicate with her. We were not sure if she would enjoy school  and be with complete strangers even if it is for 2 hours. She started her school, she enjoyed it and she looks forward to going to school. After six months now, she is chattering continuously sometimes refusing to stop and mostly refusing to listen.

I guess she needs time to learn to control her enthusiasm. She needs her time to learn and discover. She will take her time and my job would be to give her that time. Let her learn and discover without the pressure of any result. I don’t know if I do a good job. Maybe not 100% perfect but then parenting is always learning.

She and me…..Together!

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Two things happened before I met her again

On Monday evening, I got a call from Mathew informing that Lize has been admitted in hospital because of labour pain. Lize and her husband had the reputation of coming late for every engagement they had to attend. I was pretty sure that the child would follow his/her parent’s footsteps and come late than the 10 February deadline.

But the child decided to make its presence felt on 17th January’s evening. We all were at the hospital waiting for Lize to deliver. However due to complication Doctors took a decision to caesarean late evening. Finally when the operation completed, 18 January had already dawned. Kavya was born just after midnight of 18 January 2011. A little underweight, the baby and her mother were in good condition. After waiting with the happy parents, we went home. I had to be in office the next day.

The next day when I reached office, another surprise awaited me. I was promoted after missing an opportunity 6 months back.

18 January was turning out to be a good day.

I decided why not meet her today and hopefully complete hat-trick of good news.

I messaged her to meet me in the evening. She did not reply for a long time. I thought she might not be interested after all.  I learnt after marriage that she kept her phone in her purse and would not look at it for many hours. Finally she did reply with a confirmation.

We decided to meet 6:30 at Dadar. The day passed like that with more office issues than thoughts about her. With so many rejections, I had stopped being excited about these things.

I started around 5:00 from the office. At around 6:00, she messaged me "I left"

I smiled. My devil mind and my eager fingers was tempted to reply "I Right".

But the question was about impressing the girl and a message like this would put the odds against me and my sane mind decided against messaging her. I was as usual on time and surprisingly she did not keep me waiting much.
Dadar is a pretty crowded station with lots of restaurants and place to sit. It was not my first trip to Dadar to meet a girl and I had a good idea where to go.

But then she stumped me. She did not want to sit in a restaurant and she would prefer sitting somewhere and talking without the waiters disturbing us with bills. Only place where waiters would not disturb was "Cafe Coffee Day" but she did not want to sit in a restaurant at all.

We decided to walk to Shivaji Park and talk there.Shivaji Park, a big public ground and a very famous landmark is almost around 15 minutes walk from Dadar station. I suggested we can also talk while walking.

So we started walking and talking as we walked. I told her about me and she told me about her. We talked about our expectation regarding our partners and we talked about everything that we could think of and can help the other to make decision.

We walked along the busy Dadar streets talking, sharing and discussing our life. Shivaji Park still eluded us. Neither of us were aware of the road to Shivaji Park nor we felt the need to ask somebody. We were just engrossed in our talk that it didn’t matter that we were walking for a long time. When the light finally started fading, we decided to come back to Dadar station failing to find Shivaji Park.

Shivaji Park was the destination but the journey was more interesting!

Walking back I had made my decision. But then it was always a one-sided affair but I needed her to confirm too.  It was a good thing that the decision was based on us rather than the complete family

She had also made a decision. When we finally parted way in Dadar station, I asked for 2 days time to revert with my decision. Later she told me that When I told her about two days, she was pretty sure my answer was No.

I bid her good bye and asked her to message me when she reached home.

As I took my train to Borivali, I almost knew that my search was over!

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The “meet the girl/boy meetings” for marriage are really the odd meetings. The idea is to have people talk and understand each other in a very very short amount of time. In Indian context it becomes even more difficult when the parents and relatives get involved. Everybody is looking at the boy and girl and expects them to know each other and talk about their future in front of everybody.

Not only its difficult but rather embarrassing. I for one always insisted that I meet the girl at a neutral venue. However my mother did not approve of it and said that no parent would approve their girl to meet a boy alone.

I found it rather amusing. I wasn’t calling them in some shady secluded space but in a public place. I was being the best of gentleman or what I knew of being the best of gentleman. I talked to them politely. I tried to get most from the discussion and told them everything they asked or did not ask about me especially what matter for a girl to choose her husband.

I even paid for the hotel bill.

During the last 2-3 searches, she insisted that we meet like many others searching individuals. I did not argue. But the results were the same.

Denial!

As a matter of fact, I found that girls preferred to talk without their family. They were more forthcoming about the type of husband they were looking for without being judged by others. The Indian family structure prefers to give less rights to their girls. Although this is changing fast, we still like to be stuck when the family want to take decision for the girls.

So when Amu’s family wanted to meet, I did not have high hopes. As usual my sister-in-law and mother made the house neat and tidy. Its amazing that our house could be transformed from clutter to highly organized for such special occasions.  The time was fixed at 4:00 PM Sunday, 16 January 2011. As always I was always the same person without preparation or special clothes for the occasion.

They came a little after 4:00 PM. She came with her Mother, her elder sister and her brother-in-law. I had already seen her on Facebook. I had sent her my photo in the mail.  She was in the same white dress with the green dupatta as in her Facebook photo.

We had some snacks specially brought for the occasion. As expected it was odd. My mother and brother talked to their family understanding their family line-up. It seem my mom’s cousin brother was once their neighbour.

I, meanwhile was stealing a glance at her. It would not been appropriate to stare at her especially in front of her family. They asked me about my job and salary. I asked her what were her expectations. She wanted a man with good heart and stable financially in his life.

I satisfied one condition completely and one somewhat. 1 out of 2 is not bad at all.

My mother wanted to seal the deal and asked me to go in my room and talk. I said a firm “No”. It did not look like a good idea with both of us talking in my room with my and her family waiting outside. I told them I wanted to meet her alone maybe in a day or two.

After the usual discussion on the families and village and the ancestors and our jobs and current bad state of public transport, there came an awkward moment when there was nothing to discuss. A long silence with people looking at each other. Anybody who must have attended this kind of meetings knows this silence.

Finally relief arrived when her mother said that they better get going. I told them, if they decide to go-ahead we will meet in a day or two sometime in the evening.

I took her number. They went away that day with the promise of meeting again.

I decided to meet her on Tuesday as Mondays are always busy.

2 days from that day, life was going for a big change!

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Same time last year, our house was in a major frenzy. Guest had arrived and I was getting ready for the big day.

It was strange being the centre of attraction. Me as a back bencher was suddenly on the stage with all eyes on me. But then it went rather smoothly.

And now, Its been exactly a year since Amu and I have been married.

Wife has been asking me “How does it feel?”

The truth is, I still don’t know. The happiness feeling is there but how does one have to feel after that?

Completeness! Maybe! Probably! Certainly!

I wonder how I lived before her. I was not unhappy before her. I took life as it  came and more or less it was a contended life even though it lacked that special someone besides me.

I think people who are never happy without certain someone or something are rarely happy after the someone or something in their life.

And now a year later, does it really needs to be analysed on how it all went?

I would say no!

Marriage has brought big changes, in me and in my life! I think I have become more responsible. I have become more rooted.  Marriage is about being responsible, taking things as they come and adjusting to the other person’s needs. Its about taking a step toward each other instead of expecting the other person to walk the distance.

Seems like I have become more preachy too.

So the last year as the question was asked has been really good that it scares me. I have been happy and with Amu at my side more happier.

We both wondered how the first year would be and its finally here. There is no celebration and nothing special. We usher the anniversary quietly.

Celebration are not needed as the whole year has been one big celebration.

Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst!

Wishing you a very happy anniversary Amu!!!!

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Bangalore is far away from Kodaikanal and Kodaikanal is far away from Ooty.

The South India trip was more exhausting. Based on our experience of earlier trips, Me and my friends had decided that we would take it easy. But we spent more time travelling than visiting the places.

Somewhere in the trip, just after new year, I got a call from Amu’s family again. I was totally lost who was calling. A couple of angry phone calls from office had completely ruined my mood.

I told them again that I would be out of Mumbai and would be coming later that month. Finally when the trip was completed, I was back in Mumbai. I opened my email to find one more proposal from a matrimonial site. There was another mail from my colleague in office who had sent a proposal from his neighbour’s acquaintance.

It was not like that I was getting proposals every week and it had so happened that there was no proposal for months putting my mother in panic mode and now in January 2011, I had got three proposal to choose from.

My mother always insisted that I match the horoscope so I sent my complete details with my horoscope to all the three girls. The first to reject was the one recommended by my friend. They probably did not like my photo because out of 36 supposed to be matched points in the horoscope, we matched 28. We did not even meet.

Meanwhile Amu’s brother-in-law called me again. I had not forgotten about it but then I had not followed it either and I couldn’t recall that they had sent me the mail. It was from her brother’s id and I said “I don’t remember”

Later Amu told me that she was angry when I said that I don’t remember. She snatched the phone from her brother-in-law and told me to look again. I apologised and promise to look again. She had decided that if I did not remember, she would not pursue the proposal further.

Thankfully she did not take the harsh decision.

The second was a girl (girl no.2) from far-away suburbs on the Central line of Mumbai local trains. She worked in the other end of the town, Churchgate. Compared to that, my travel to office was luxurious. I asked her to meet me in Dadar. She came with her brother and father.

We talked for sometime but then I did not feel it clicked. The girl looked good but she was the person I could say “hi” to someday but not one I would like to spend my life with. I still gave it a “50-50” chance with the promise of meeting again.

Meanwhile Amu’s horoscope was shown to our astrologer and apparently it did not match much. Going ahead was out of question now. I got a call from Amu’s brother-in-law enquiring about going ahead. I told them about the horoscope thing but they said that they had shown their astrologer too and he said it matched to the minimum points. Coincidently her mother and my mother believed in astrology.

I did not have answer to her brother-in-law’s query. I told them to talk to my mother because she had the horoscope checked. They called my mother and asked for a meeting. My mother told them the same thing but they said that it matched on the border and it didn’t harm if we met each other. My mother suggested to have a meeting in the temple again. The date was fixed to 16th January 2011 which was a Sunday.

Meanwhile after thinking it over, I was ready to say “no” to girl no 2 irrespective of what would happen with Amu. I decided to meet her again to see if meeting her alone would make me change my mind.

I met her 4-5 days before meeting Amu and we talked. It did not click again. Although saying no is very difficult task and I have said it a couple of times if not always, it stills difficult. Getting a negative response is quite easy and expected.It became more difficult when the girl was keen on the proposal.

I tried calling her to say no but she did not pick up her phone. Finally I SMSed her my answer. SMSing a critical decision like that on phone is not a good thing to do but I do agree its the easiest.

And just like that I was down from 3 to 1. With the horoscope going against us, I really did not have any hope for the Sunday meeting. But I was not keen on meeting them in the temple because of my earlier experience a month ago. I suggested that we meet in our home which was a walking distance from the temple.

And then without any expectation, I waited to meet her family on Sunday!

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………………..To Be Continued

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Last year 16 January was a Sunday!

And last year on this very day, I met my wife, Amu for the first time.

Its been one year since we met for the first time but it started long time back.

I started searching for a wife way back in early 2008. My mother enrolled my information into number of Marriage agencies. I joined the many matrimonial portals becoming a paid member. Till 2011 came, I was a veteran in rejections.

When the rejection started 2 years back. everyone blamed me. They were sure that I was rejecting all the girls on some stupid flimsy reason. I for one knew that I did not have the luxury of saying no to most of the girl.

My mother was sure that I had big list of expectation which the girl did not meet. Coupled that with my insisting that I meet the girl alone added to the reasoning that I was wrong somewhere. I guess everyone was sure that I was wrong and me not getting a bride was my fault!

Even though I had proved that it wasn’t! I was totally frustrated with the matrimonial sites. They kept pestering me for more money promising me a match made in heaven. But three years of rejections had taught me a lot.

December 2010

The year had not been great

I was without a project for more than 2 months. The new project in November was turning to be frustrating. I had to leave my earlier project because of major differences with the higher-ups and I had spent all my Diwali in bed being sick for various reason. I am not even counting how many times I had been rejected.

Life was looking down

I was looking for the year to get over and was desperately looking for the year end trip to South-India. I needed a much needed break. To top it all, few weeks before the trip, I met a girl in the temple near-by with her parents. I hate the so-called “Seeing”/”Looking” program. Its embarrassing and does not hold any value. The only people who are happy are the parents who get to see the girl and boy squirm in their seat and analyze the person based on looks.

There is no value added exchange of words in the talk. Just a stupid smile and stupid questions. But then it has been the tradition. Thankfully it is changing.

Predictably  and thankfully the girl rejected me.

The trip was planned for 30th December 2010.

My mother as always had shared my horoscope and my information with various marriage bureaus and acquaintances. One such person was our neighbour in the adjoining wing. His son also had to go through a late marriage. He shared my information with his acquaintances, one of them being acquainted with Amu’s Mami (Mother’s Brother’s wife).

Amu was also on a trip in Christmas of 2010. The coincidence was she was in South but she came back before I left. Amu’s elder sister was still to be married and they were looking for a boy for her. Amu was not supposed to get married till her sister got married.

However when my proposal was sent to the family, they decided to see how far it went.

Amu’s brother S contacted me few days after Christmas and before my trip. Because of the bad bad year I did not want to take a decision. As always I was sure of nothing substantial and only thing in my mind was the break and the holidays.I asked him to send the information to my email Id. I replied back with my information to his ID also mentioning that I will be out of town for a few days.

And then……………. I forgot about it!

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….To Be Continued

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Its that time of the year again when I look back at the year gone by. Earlier I would have lots of post mapping them would make the task easier. Now as I write lesser here, there is not much of a help.

The photoblog takes most of the time. Posting one photo a day has become a ritual, a habit. More than a thousand photos and without a break is an achievement. But then I miss writing here.

Its not that I have much to write here too or maybe I am just plain old lazy.

But its time to look at the year that went by!

Undoubtedly the biggest event was finally meeting Amu. When everyone said that there is always someone destined for you, I laughed. All these years I have seen people meeting with their partners but the destiny always missed me.

So unexpectedly at the start of new year, when I did not have any expectation, I met her. Its been 7 months since our marriage and life is a different ballgame altogether. Relationship and marriage is about understanding, patience, love and trust and for both, its learning on the job.

So for that single reason, 2011 would remain the most loved year of it all.

On the professional front, it was a year of learning new tricks with a major role-shift. I changed from being led to leading. Decision making changed from “them” to me. It also increased my stress level but then its part of learning.

The photographic interest became more than just an interest as money was spent on upgrading my kit. It was learning again when I took more than 16000 Photos and that statistics speaks volumes in itself. I still click with an instinct but understanding the technique a little too better.

The writing took a downhill with Full2 Faltu seeing lesser action. I guess it was giving more importance to other things in life and keeping that soft corner for writing closed. There was once a time when not putting up a post for 3-4 days would make me impatient.

Now I accept that I am not a writing machine. I am still at 3 figure post numbers  after 7 years of writing while my photoblog crossed 4 figures this year. But then in my defence, with more that 16000 photos a year, I have all the fuel to keep the photoblog going for years.

I stopped or let me say I wrote fewer post because I write what I want and when I don’t want, I don’t write. This blog is a place I want to visit when I decide to visit memory lanes. So good and bad and whatever in between, I will write when I feel like.

Its a new year and I decided to keep my eyes open for the world around me. Make some observation and speak my mind of. I don’t know how successful I will be but then I have never made plans and I don’t plan to stick to one. That’s why I don’t have a new year resolution.

So in a year when doomsday prophecies are making round and without any expectation, I prepare for a life full of expectancies and surprises.

And with the same surprise and hope wish all the few readers of Full2 Faltu a very happy and hopeful 2012!!!

 

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