Day 129: Mind work

The last discussion with the psych was an interesting one; it felt satisfying to review a recent decision made with a certain mindset and to revalidate it with a mind in a different space.

 

I blame it on the cliché about distances and the hearts growing fonder and on the hallowed mental image we build of people when they are not around us. But in the middle of my first week in Switzerland for two weeks, it dawned on the SoulSurfer that we were meant to be something more than just friends. Between discussions about loyalty and support systems, and what makes people gravitate towards a few and not others, he asked me to be his exclusive ‘girlfriend’. And I said yes.

 

Fast forward two weeks, and there is an exciting surprise pick-up at the airport, there are new friends in my life that I hadn’t anticipated or planned on having, and something doesn’t feel right. A day of being back in the country, and I am already worried by that decision from two weeks ago. He is extremely raw and inexperienced; Who talks to their Mounts at such an early phase when even the other partner isn’t sure?; How far can you deal with the naiveté before it becomes too much?; And all of the discussion is based on some “Gold-coin” grand scheme of things that might not even interest you in the first place. What if?

 

I turned to H for her expert advice on the matter and at the end of that conversation, I had convinced myself about how difficult this whole relationship felt. That’s exactly what I shared with the SoulSurfer, when asking for a time-out. Relationships are supposed to be like well-oiled machines shifting into gear; smooth and effortless. Here, between his immaturity and his Mount and my absolute confusion about whether I wanted this or not, it all felt cranked up and rough; it felt like we were sanding the edges too hard to make them fit. The man walked away with a new compass in his hand, completely lost.

 

At the psych’s couch, I retold the whole conundrum that lay ahead, half expecting her to revalidate my decisions and to tell me what a wonderful move I had taken in my life by asking for a break in this complicated situation I had put myself into.

 

Instead, she gave me a theory about the different ‘kinds of minds’ that we all have. The emotional mind – the one that makes all the feeling-related decisions; the rational mind – the one that analyzes the pros and cons of every decision; and the wise mind that consolidates information from the other two before making a balanced decision.

 

It made absolute sense. In Switzerland, away from the physical reality of the SoulSurfer, my emotional mind had felt comfort in his proposal and had jumped to accept it. Back in the country, grounded in the reality of the day-to-day, my reasonable mind had researched on all the negative data points that predicted trouble and had immediately withdrawn from the bargain and boxed itself up. The wise mind had stayed quiet through it all.

 

As I sat in her couch, eyes shut, and reflected on what both the emotional and the rational were telling me, the wise mind finally took over. A lot of my worries with the man were related to my mental image and impression of the Mount, all formed purely based on my discussions with the SoulSurfer. Biased and unfair. Unfair twice over, because we cant really blame someone for how their families are, can we? Moreover, if I myself wasn’t sure of a future together and the expiry date of such a future, then why was I worrying today thinking about that unclear future? It was evident that a powerful, subconscious fear in me was to get into an engagement similar to the last one, with the mallu man. If you knew that there would be no forever and beyond in a relationship, would you still get into it because it felt right today? But, we didn’t know enough to validate that there wouldn’t be a forever and beyond in this one. And we did not even know if the forever and beyond was truly what I was looking for. And it did feel right today, didn’t it?

 

The wise mind reviewed the question from earlier, and answered with a ‘Yes’. There were things that needed clarifying, there were issues that needed resolving, there were priorities to be sorted and there was growing up to do. But all of that could happen, together, as we gathered more data. During that growing up, and gathering data, the wise mind always had the power to reevaluate and decide on the next course of action. It would have to deal with the consequences of that decision then.

 

But why worry today about something that needs to happen tomorrow?

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Day 115: And yet we never support our girls

Any trouble in married-land and we are already ready with our guns pointed at the girl. H and her married life has proved to me that marriage is invariably a union of two dysfunctional families, one that makes your own weirdeties seem like the better of the lot. It’s also a union where one party invariably makes more sacrifices than the other and they spend the rest of their lives either making up for it or being morose about it.

What is critical for them to realize is that sacrifices are expected, and are justified as long as they are balanced out. I’d like to see the man live in Bangalore for a month, working from here, while building his social circle here. He would understand exactly what H is going through after moving to KL to start her life with him.

Invariably, the woman is expected to make the grand sacrifices, of her economic, emotional and social stability, and is expected to fit in seamlessly into the newfound circles. Any inability or trouble in doing that is automatically deduced as the girl’s disability and poor upbringing. Any leniency or support from the man’s side is seen as him being a pussy or wife-whipped. He himself walks with the superiority of having done a favor, while a relationship is equal work from both ends.

What got me thinking on these lines today was the conversation with dad, when he almost seemed apologetic for his daughter’s temper and the trouble in the marriage. It’s funny how little they had made an effort to see what might be causing the ill mood, the trigger from the other end. I dared him to tell me one instance where the mother of that son would have accepted his flaws openly. To her, he is the unspoilt unpolished diamond from the lines of South Africa. And on the other side, we let our daughter take the stab for everything, even something like marriage that takes a village to run the show right.

The patriarchy was evident when he justified himself by saying, ‘How can I say that the guy is at fault when I’m sitting in his house and eating his food?’ What happened to the part of the meal that his daughter had paid for? I thought the house automatically became ‘their’ house because what is his is hers. No?

That’s why I say the girls should stay home with their mummies all their lives, S. Then you have the comfort of the same bed all along. Aaah those pleasures.” Scotch

Day 63: Expert Amateurism in Art

Over the summer, I realized that there was a term for people like me, better than “Jack of all trades”. I have no problem being Jack, but the maxim ends with him being the master of none, remember? Well, anyway, the term is ‘expert amateur‘. David Perkins, Research Professor at the Harvard School of Education, through his book “Future Wise” introduced me to the concept of an expert amateur. I can see that I am an expert amateur in a number of things. I can file my taxes by my myself, and my dad’s, enough to understand our deductions and our investment benefits. I can draw and paint enough to make a scene convey a mood. I can photograph enough to make it not look like an early attempt at photography. I can write enough to keep you all reading now, can’t I? I don’t know the little boxes that I could open to further reduce my taxes, I definitely cannot draw eyes and lips for the ladies in my paintings, and I cannot submit my photographs to the upcoming world-wide photography competition. I am not an expert, I am an expert amateur.

One other thing that I am an expert amateur at, and brings me great joy, is home crafts. I love upcycling products, and sketching stuff up to put up on our walls. I hadn’t done crafting in a while – life had caught up – and it bothered me. I remember getting some idea in the middle of the night, feeling that strange urge to get up and execute it, then reminding myself of the schedule for the next day, and going back to sleep. So, this Sunday, I finally decided to act on one of these ideas, dusted those sharpies and canvases, and the following happened.

Live, Love, Life. No?

“It’s always fun to have you doing all this again, S. Now I can rest in peace that I am not the only one messing up the house anymore. There’s as much of your stuff scattered around as there is mine, and that’s equality, bro!” Scotch


Scotch’s mess 

in the kitchen today. Martyrs: 4 Tupperware boxes, 1 cardboard box, and a packet full of sesame seeds