Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Follow Your Heart And Stay Married: An Interview With A Couple That Does Just This..

Today’s post is a little special as I feature the story of a young and adventurous couple who have taken to the path lesser known. 

This post talks about a couple, Saurav and Pooja, who recently tied the knot. What makes them different from the rest is the fact that while both of them love travel, Saurav has taken years off from his work and has travelled to more than 50 countries so far! 

I know Saurav through a common friend and his travel trips have continuously inspired me to travel but more than that I was intrigued by how he managed to lead a stable life of love and marriage by living an unstable life of a traveller himself. To seek answers of these questions, I decided to interview them.

Saurav and Pooja together
Here is my conversation with both of them. Read on with great interest. Saurav would inspire you to follow your heart and Pooja would tell you how to keep your mind in place while you follow your heart.

How did the two of you first meet and how long have you known each other for?

We met soon after we got to know each-other through a common friend. This was back in March'11 ..We're introduced on Facebook through our common friend in Jan'11 and after two months of chit-chatting, I flew from Bangalore to Delhi to meet her

Saurav - How did you first take up travelling? Was it planned or was it an impulsive trip that led to the trail of countless trips later? How did Pooja react to your decision of taking up world travel?

I showed the first symptom of being a wanderer when I was 4 but I got seriously bitten by the travel bug at the age of 21 while I was sleeping in a bus.

Back in 2006 when I was working in Udine, Italy; one fine weekend I decided to explore nearby places. I took a bus ticket to Tarvisio which is at the Italian-Austrian border but fortunately I slept and when I woke up I found myself in Villach, Austria. It was like waking up in a foreign land where I had no idea what to do. After panicking for an hour or so, I learned to flow with the flow. There was no returning back after that. I believe that in order to explore a city, we must get lost in it and as of Apr'14, I've done that over 200+ times in 50+ countries.

Pooja welcomed my decision. She could not join me then as she was doing her higher studies although I tried my best to convince her to leave her studies and come with me for world exploration. 

Saurav - Tell us a bit about your project of ‘a year full of Sundays’.

Sundays are the days when we don't usually work under someone. We don't have a boss on Sundays and we do what our heart says. After 5 years of 9 to 5, I decided to live one year in which I could give full time to all the things I always wanted without caring about making money or working for anyone else. So I took a gap year and named it a 'year full of sundays'. I traveled extensively that year and extended my comfort zone whenever I came across an opportunity to do so. I documented it on a FB page here

This video explains how it went in 94 secs. You can watch the video here.  

Pooja - What do you do? Are you also a traveller like Saurav?

I'm a special educator and a travel enthusiast. Not a traveller like Saurav. I like to splurge while traveling but he likes to torture himself while backpacking. Just kidding!

Pooja - When Saurav first told you about his year long travel plans, what did you first think? Did you ever feel it was insane? While he followed his heart, did you feel you were left behind?

I think the reason that I never felt that it was an insane decision is that he is quite good at convincing. I got sold to his idea of the year full of sundays and he made sure that we keep meeting in between during his gap year. We met every second month or so while he was travelling all around. If he would have been away throughout the year, it wouldn't have been easy for me. 

Saurav and Pooja - When Saurav went for his travel, how did the two of you keep in touch? Did it strain your relationship keeping the ‘long distance troubles’ in mind?

We were constantly in touch through Facebook and skype. Saurav documented almost each day of his gap year and although it was at times tough to be away, we were always looking forward to our next meet. 

We had our share of fights but I don't think YFOS strained our relationship. Rather, while being apart, we realized we cannot live without each other. 

First, please accept my heartiest congratulations on getting married. I saw your pictures on FB and you both looked fabulous. Now that you are married, what are the plans of settling down in one place. How do you plan to keep travels coupled with setting up a house and running it?

Thank you Surabhi and Womanatics team! Our plan is to keep a balance between work and travels and never settle anywhere for long. We would like to move our basecamp every 2-3 years to a new location and continue traveling till we have energy to do so. 

Saurav and Pooja frolicking on a beach resort in Maldives

Pooja - How do you think a couple can live together happily while suporting each other in their individual endeavours? I personally feel a little space is essential in every relationship. Do you agree?

Totally agree with you, Surabhi. Infact, I think a couple can live together happily ONLY if they support each other in their individual endeavours. A couple should stay together as if they are best friends. 

Saurav - What is your advice to youngsters who have a passion burning deep inside their heart but have tied themselves up in 9-5 job or in the vicious circle of work-home-family? How do you think they can break it and give wings to their desires?

Don't hesitate to give yourself everything you ever wanted in your life. It's better to cross the line and suffer the consequences than to just stare at the line for the rest of your life. Just jump off the cliff and build wings on the way down. 

One last question to both of you - If I ask you for one small advise about keeping a relationship healthy and happy, what would it be?

Forgive even when it's hard. Do what you love and break the rules once in a while :) 

Hope you guys enjoyed reading about them as much as I enjoyed asking them these questions. Show some love and shoot in the comments! :) 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

In Love Affair With Nature: A Photo Essay

I knew Pahal would have a special relationship with mother nature when my father planted a tree in our colony's park the day Pahal was born! She has a special relationship with that tree which was born on the same day as her. Every year when she goes to her Nana's house, she waters that tree as if she is nursing her own soul.
Trying to figure out the vastness with daddy
Her relationship with nature that began with the planting of a tree has continued thus far and has become much more loving, giving and fulfilling. It is now an integral part of her life, her upbringing and her personality. 

Pahal trying to catch a butterfly in our garden
The life long love that sprouted in Meerut found its way to blossom further in Andaman and Nicobar Islands when her daddy was posted here.

Watching sunset; She was trying to play with the sunrays here
Pahal was barely six months old when we first moved to Andaman and Nicobar Islands in February, 2011. After landing in Port Blair, we straight away headed to Diglipur, which was about 300 kms away from Port Blair and required transfer by ferry twice on the way.

Enjoying the boat ride in Andaman sea

After eight gruelling hours of travel on bumpy, snaky roads, we reached Diglipur at about 8 pm, checked in the guest house, ate dinner and finally I stepped out to have a glimpse of my new place - a place that would be my home for the next one year. Covered in dim blue lights, the town was sleepy and serene. Cool, gentle wind coupled with the sound of sea waves was flowing around and even though I hated my journey here, I knew I would fall in love with the place sooner than later.

My first encounter with nascent life other than a human child; three bird hatchlings on a nest in our garden
Diglipur was, as expected, a contrast to the busy Delhi life in every possible way. No commotion, no chaos, pure air, kind and honest people, lush green forests, white sandy beaches, pristine hills and crystal clear sea water - the place was full of nature and I felt elated to have the opportunity to bring up my baby so close to nature.

Pahal walking on her own. She was about 13 months old when she went down that road all by herself without looking back!
By June end, Pahal learnt to walk on her own and now, along with her mother, she was ready to explore the place as well. We both spent hours under the shade of coconut trees, walked by the river side in the mornings and went for a stroll along a beach in the nights.

This was Pahal's favorite goat or rather a baby goat; Pahal was about 14 months old then

Every morning we would bring our neighbour's goat to our house and Pahal would feed her while we fed Pahal as she played with the goat. Spending about an hour each morning with goat made Pahal understand the kind of leaves goats prefer and and she now could recognize her pet goat in its herd.

Playing in the water on her own oblivion to the world around her
Frequent visits to the nearby beaches made Pahal extremely comfortable even in the strongest water wave currents and she revelled in the frothy sea waves when other kids frighten at the sight of water. She spends her time in the nature and with the nature. 

Frolicking on Avis Island with Mumma

Nature has become such an important aspect of her personality and her needs that in our last trip to Delhi in Jan 2014, Pahal desperately wanted us to come back to Andamans and as a result, I am back here again (I had packed all my luggage when I left Andaman in Jan, 14 but came back for here).

This bird would often come inside our home and one day while she tried to play with my dupatta, I decided to play with it!
It is not just Pahal who loves the clear, open sky. I and Sanjay feel blessed too when we inhale the clean, fresh air that feels like the most purified air on this planet. 

Father and daughter relaxing on Ross and Smith Island
We three have formed our relationships with nature in our own sweet and personal ways. Sanjay loves to relax in our garden on a weekend after a hard week's work or prefers playing with Pahal on a beach than to spend time with her on video games.

Mother and daughter relaxing in a hammock in our backyard
I, on the other hand, find solace and sanity when I read my favorite books on the hand made hammock that hangs in our garden. 

We are so in nature that my birthday gifts to Pahal are also these hand painted seashells that have her nickname written

It is this closeness with nature that has made me a better person - more tolerant and more accepting in nature.

Here is Pahal holding a baby bird that fell down from its nest
But the most important story of love is the story that my baby shares with her mother nature. Her day begins with the sunrays that come sieving in our room through the window, progresses with the various living beings she plays with - kittens, puppies, calves, fish, butterflies, baby turtles and baby birds and finally ends when she finds her chanda mama among the confusing galore of shining stars.

Pahal playing.. err..caressing her cutest kitty
Initially, when I had come here I was worried about her education (for the lack of schools and play schools), her health (there is just one CHC in the district) and her friends (she does not have company of children to play with; there is hardly anyone around here). There were times when I wanted to go back to mainland only for Pahal's better upbringing. Little did I know then she is blessed to be so close to nature - a privilege not granted to many, not even when they need it the most!

Pahal's another pet; We call her magic fish because we dont know its English name!
Pahal may not have friends here, but she has several pets. She empathises with animals. 

The mother of the Pahal's favourite Kitty

At the tender age of 3, she knows that eating non-veg means killing animals and that is not a good thing to do. She understands that snakes also need a home and when it rains heavily, their homes are destroyed, which is why they come into our house to find refuge. 

A snake that was resting on a plant in our garden and I spotted him while I was strolling around! Many more snakes have appeared in our house - in bedroom, in kitchen, bathroom, gate and right in the mainhall
Unlike many kids of her age, she has learnt that Centipede is so called because it has numerous legs and that at the sight of a centipede, she should get onto the chair, for it can not climb.

A centipede that suddenly made an appearance in our wash basin and I saw it as the first thing in the morning!
I thought I was always a nature's person for I have inherited that from my father. I have my roots attached with villages where they still finish dinner by sunset. But now I feel, more than me, Pahal is a nature's girl and I am happy to bring up my daughter so close to the environment that I am sure she would be a better human being for she practices compassion each day. 

I couldn't realize that my young daughter is now big enough to hold a coconut all by herself and drink from a bamboo straw; She loves coconut water and can now tell you which ones tastes better!
Like every curious mother, I sometimes compare her with other kids. When I talk to my friends who tell me how their kid participated in a fancy dress competition or finished X no. of levels on a computer game, I do not know whether I should pity them or pity myself.

Clicking pics of the flowers that bloomed after a long time
Though rarely but sometimes it hurts to know that Pahal does not know about the latest gadgets and toys but at the same time, it is delighting to know that she understands the seasons. She can tell whether it would rain the evening and she knows it because she stays outside a lot and because she watches rains, clouds and sky. She may not know about cars and bikes but she knows high tides and low tides of the ocean.

Caught on the camera while she was secretly making a house in the water!

Last weekend, I went to Havelock Island and there I showed her a Sea cucumber. Few minutes later, she showed me a family of Sea cucumbers resting near a coral.

Pahal was showing me sea cucumbers; we counted some 120 sea cucumber on that beach and we know there were many more than them
It is heart warming for me to see Pahal growing up like a matured girl who understands the meaning of love, not just literally but also spiritually. She believes in nurturing - herself and the other lives around her.

Pahal caught hold of this bird on its first maiden flight; poor thing couldn't fly so Pahal held and later we gave the food to this bird; it now perches on our roof every morning
It has been more than three years now that we have lived in different parts of Andaman and we have loved it. In a place, where people call it a punishment post, we feel we have been bestowed with nature's love which is a rare gift these days. 

There can not have been a better place to bring up Pahal, than a place that is abound in natural beauty, nature's resources and nature's creations. Pahal has grown with nature. 

I am showing a baby turtle to Pahal; She was watching it excitedly while we clicked the hatchling
We are now moving to Delhi, maybe in a month or so. I understand that she may find it extremely hard to find her Andaman companions in Delhi but nevertheless, I am prepared to create a garden for her inside the house, if I can't make one outside.

Nature is where love is. Love is where friendship is and friendship is when it is 100% real. 

Note: This post has been written as an entry to 'Welcome to Kissanpur' contest organized by Indibogger.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A CEO's Reply To A Girl Looking For A Rich Husband!

Read something quite interesting online so thought of sharing it here:

(source: facebook)
The following is what a women posted on a dating forum seeking a rich husband:

I’m going to be honest of what I’m going to say here. I’m 25 this year. I’m very pretty, have style and good taste. I wish to marry a guy with $500k annual salary or above. You might say that I’m greedy, but an annual salary of $1M is considered only as middle class in New York.
My requirement is not high. Is there anyone in this forum who has an income of $500k annual salary? Are you all married? I wanted to ask: what should I do to marry rich persons like you?
Among those I’ve dated, the richest is $250k annual income, and it seems that this is my upper limit.
If someone is going to move into high cost residential area on the west of New York City Garden(?), $250k annual income is not enough.

I’m here humbly to ask a few questions:
1) Where do most rich bachelors hang out? (Please list down the names and addresses of bars, restaurant, gym)
2) Which age group should I target?
3) Why most wives of the riches are only average-looking? I’ve met a few girls who don’t have looks and are not interesting, but they are able to marry rich guys.
4) How do you decide who can be your wife, and who can only be your girlfriend? (my target now is to get married)
Ms. Pretty
A philosophical reply from CEO of J.P. Morgan below: 
Dear Ms. Pretty,
I have read your post with great interest. Guess there are lots of girls out there who have similar questions like yours. Please allow me to analyse your situation as a professional investor.
My annual income is more than $500k, which meets your requirement, so I hope everyone believes that I’m not wasting time here.
From the standpoint of a business person, it is a bad decision to marry you. The answer is very simple, so let me explain.

Put the details aside, what you’re trying to do is an exchange of “beauty” and “money” : Person A provides beauty, and Person B pays for it, fair and square.
However, there’s a deadly problem here, your beauty will fade, but my money will not be gone without any good reason. The fact is, my income might increase from year to year, but you can’t be prettier year after year.

Hence from the viewpoint of economics, I am an appreciation asset, and you are a depreciation asset. It’s not just normal depreciation, but exponential depreciation. If that is your only asset, your value will be much worse 10 years later.
By the terms we use in Wall Street, every trading has a position, dating with you is also a “trading position”.
If the trade value dropped we will sell it and it is not a good idea to keep it for long term – same goes with the marriage that you wanted. It might be cruel to say this, but in order to make a wiser decision any assets with great depreciation value will be sold or “leased”.

Anyone with over $500k annual income is not a fool; we would only date you, but will not marry you. I would advice that you forget looking for any clues to marry a rich guy. And by the way, you could make yourself to become a rich person with $500k annual income.This has better chance than finding a rich fool.
Hope this reply helps.
J.P. Morgan CEO

(I found this piece here.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How Do You Define A Perfect Marriage?

In my last post I talked about how we tend to compare our marriages with others'. In this comparison trap, we ignore the individual differences and brood over the relationship that two people share that looks fantastic from outside. 

We all have heard people exclaiming 'Oh! look at them. They are so perfect together!' or 'they are made for each other'. How often do we swoon over 'SRK and Gauri'? I do each time I watch them on TV for that DDecor ad (though I swoon more over how good Gauri Khan looks after two kids and less on how they both look together).

We know that no two marriages can be compared as each marriage is a unique play of characters and a plot laid down by its characters. Now this brings us to the question of 'is a marriage better than the other?' or we can ask 'is perfect marriage a myth?'

The Perfect Marriage

A marriage is a relationship between two people - two ordinary, imperfect people. Now when people can not be perfect, how can their communion be perfect? How can anything that is comprised of two imperfect beings be perfect? 

Yes agreed, there are marriages that atleast 'seem' to be perfect. They are mostly in love, never argue, show affection in public, agree with each other on almost everything and they claim they have a happy married life. There isn't any dearth of such couples (which is eventually a good thing) and we feel as if they dwell in a cocoon of love, life and laughter, but it would be wrong to assume that these people live in a perfect marriage that does not have a dull moment at all. 

Every marriage has its own 'moments'. There are tiring and trying times in all relationships let alone a marriage. Each couple goes through a tryout period that tests their persistence and love for each other. Marriage is not an agenda. If it is, it has to be decided by you. 

There is no single rule to marriage and nor there is a perfect definition of marriage not even the one that your grand mother tries to explain or your mother-in-law tries to coerce you to follow. 

Each marriage comes with its own manifesto. It may be something silly - playing dirty jokes with my husband (and this is perfectly fine with both of us) - or anything that works for you and your man. 

You two would decide what kind of marriage you want. You know your idea of love. My idea of love (even though I blog about love and relationships) or your mum's idea of love would be entirely different than yours and your husband's. 

Find out your language of love. Create new language of your love

Find new ways of finding happiness and fulfillment in your marriage. 

Do not live by what I try to preach here on Womanatics or what your bestie tells you. Make your own rules. Break them to create new, better ones. 

Just remember nothing is perfect. And perfect is simply over hyped. Won't you get bored if you simply nod in yes to everything he says or vice versa? Wouldn't it be monotonous to just say 'I love you' each day at the same time, in the same tone? 

It is the imperfections in a person that teach us to love someone truly - to accept him with his faults. To learn to know him better in his inconsistent, cute and sometimes not-so-cute ways. 

Do not look for a perfect marriage for there is none. Look for a loving marriage. A marriage where two people love each other to make their marriage work, come what may. Look for couples who are each other's biggest pillars of strength. 

Look for the kind of love that you want and then tell him what you want! That would make your marriage a perfect marriage, if that is what you want. :) 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Marriages Can't Be Compared

We humans have a tendency to compare our lives with others, mainly with our peers. In this comparison, we compare many aspects of our lives - career, family, money, number of trips abroad and marriage. 

My best friend has a happy married life; her husband showers her with gifts; she does not take good care of her husband and kids; this couple fights so often; this doesn't even argue and blah blah. While it is considered healthy to compare oneself with others, it is good only if it is done as a way of reality check. If you begin to fall in the comparison trap, you will only lose. 

I often get emails from readers who say that they wish they had a husband like X or like Y. They wish they had a marriage like their best friend's or sister's. This comparison is not fair. 

(Source: istockphotos)
Now we can measure most of the things in life. He grew faster in his career means his career is more rewarding. He recently bought a house and a car shows he has more money and so and so forth. What we can not and should not compare are the qualitatively subjective things that we have. Marriage is one such thing. It cannot be compared. 

Each marriage, just like an individual, is unique in its own sweet or sour ways. Marriage is an extremely personal and the most intimate relationship. It is a bond that the two people married to each other share in their unique, coded, contracted relationship. What is most important to you as a couple may not be important to others at all and vice versa.

Marriage comes in a package. You cannot pick single item and say you want this in your marriage and not that. It is not a free market where attributes are on sale and you go pick your choice of qualities and then design your own marriage. Just the way you expect your partner to accept you the way you are, you also have to love him the way he is. This new and original combination of a unique you and a unique him will give way to a unique marriage.

(Source: Facebook)

I have a friend who never fails to explain how the best quality of her husband is that of making early morning tea for her every day. She feels blessed in her marriage because she has a husband who helps her in daily chores and helps her out in most of the things she does. Her only grouse is that her husband does not let her go anywhere on her own. He accompanies her to most of the places and since he is quite dependent on her for almost every thing, she finds it extremely difficult to have her 'time with friends'. She is more than okay with it for she feels proud of the fact that her husband can't live without her, not even a day. 

Another friend has a very friendly, fun-filled relationship with her husband. They play around like kids, teasing each other and I have never seen them arguing. Not that they don't but whenever they do, one of them cracks a silly joke and the whole issue evaporates like volatile spirit. I often envy them when I see them laughing out as mad at each other. But on the down side, the wife recently complained how she feels her husband never 'listens' to her since he turns everything into a joke! Still she does not mind it as she is happy to share so many laughs with her husband and she too dreads arguments so this setting of churning out jokes on every issue seems to work for them. 

I, on the other hand, have a husband who does not lift a finger at home and who hardly tells a joke. Even he attempts at anything to do with laughter, it turns out to be so bad that it irks me instead of making me smile. But he lets me do my things. He is a yes man who mostly has yes to whatever I say or ask. Similarly, he may hardly play with me but he listens to me at length and understands me and my thoughts better than I do. This works perfectly for me as I have servants to help me at home and friends to joke around with. I wanted a husband who would let me have 'my time' and would hear me out patiently. 

We all three had a conversation few days back and we realized that it works the way we want. My husband may seem boring to my friend who has a fun-loving man or he may seem too un-interested to my first friend who has a dependent husband but it works perfectly fine with me. Similarly, I may have my thoughts on their husbands but I know my friends are happy with the way their men are. 

The point is we can not compare two marriages. No two marriages are alike. They are similar but not same. All happy marriages are similar for they have couples who want them to last longer and all unhappy marriages are similar for they have a couples who are not willing to make them work. 

Instead of comparing, try to make the best of what you have. I would love to play with my husband like Pahal does or I would swoon over him if he cooks for me someday but instead of complaining about these, I have chosen to feel happy about what he gives me and what he is best at - letting me be me and understanding me to the core! 

(Liked this post? Then please share it with others. Lets spread some joy and wisdom around..)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ask Womanatics: He Makes Me Feel Guilty, Should I Still Be With Him?

Question, (Excerpt of the email): 

Hi Surabhi, 

I have been in a relationship with a guy for over 6 years. I loved him and I believed he loved me too until he broke up a year ago saying his parents were not ready for our marriage. I requested him to convince his parents but he said they would never agree. In the meantime, I got an onsite assignment and I am in Europe right now for the last one year. Now that I am here and he is back there in India, he says he misses me a lot and wants to get back with me. 

I am not sure if I want to be with him or not. Each time I think of breaking up with him forever, I think about those six years that I spent with him and feel that I should be with him. Mainly because he makes me feel guilty about those years. He says he also spent six years on me and now when everything is sorted out, I am leaving him and this makes me a selfish woman. 

Meanwhile, in the last year I figured out what I really want. I realized how possessive or rather over possessive a person he is. Right now also he questions me a lot and keeps messaging me. He wants to know every single thing I do. In the last six years it was me who was after him and begged him to marry him and he simply walked away. Now when I am on my own, slightly better emotionally and do not feed to his ego, he wants me back. Also, he aspires to be in Europe 

My question to you is that though I am almost certain that I don't want to be with him but when he says that his life is ruined because of me, I feel guilty and I sometimes think of marrying him. What should I do? 

(Source: Facebook)
Womanatics Answer: You asked me what should you do and my simple answer is - leave him

First, the most important thing required for any relationship is missing here. Second, there is no other good reason for you to be with him. 

Just because you were in filth for six years does not mean you have to live there forever. People who make you feel guilty for ruining their life are simply drama kings and queens. 

Every individual is responsible for his life and he can not attribute his own miseries to others. If his parents did not agree to get him married to you a year ago then that is his problem and not yours. 

The problem here is of emotional guilt that he is trying to give you. Believe me, this is just his trick to get you weak. He has realized that you are an emotionally stable woman now who knows what she wants and who won't run after him to marry him and thus the only way left is to make you feel bad about yourself. 

Such people are emotional drainers and muggers who come into our lives as leeches and exploit us while sucking away all the joy and happiness of a relationship. 

You must stay away from him. Stop answering his emails and do not respond to his messages. 

Let him figure out what he really wants from life. That is his task. 

You also do not have to feel bad about being in a relationship with him. You did not know how it would turn out when you got into it. You loved him without knowing the outcome and that is perfectly normal. 

I understand every girl wants to get married to her first love but if that does not happen, it does not mean you do not fall in love again. 

Give yourself a second chance. Choose a better person. Fall in love one more time. :) 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ask Womanatics: Husband Treats Me Badly!

Q. Execrpt of the email: 

Hi Surabhi, I live in one of the gulf countries. Women here are already suppressed and being married to a self centred man adds to my long list of woes.  I love him, take care of him, our home and my son. But my husband's attitude is deteriorating every day. I am married for 13 years and have a son who is 12 years old. I have never felt any kind of love from my husband. He does not like my touch. If I go near him, even when he is sleeping, he simply shoos me away. He does not share anything with me. Earlier I complained but since last 3 years, I have stopped complaining. I take life as it comes. Still, my life has not changed. 

I can't share my problems with anyone as I don't have friends here. Talking to friends and family in India is also a big problem as then he taunts me on phone bill. Whenever I complain, he threatens me he would divorce me and I become silent. My parents are old and live in India and I can't share my problems with them as well as I don't want to give them worries. 

Situation has become so bad that last week my husband got enraged on a small thing and he picked up the phone saying he would call up my parents to take me back home. I literally begged him to keep the phone down as I couldnt see my parents being dragged in all this. I actually touched his feet and then he talked to them normally and kept the phone. I was so relieved then but since then I am always scared of what if he again calls up my parents and threatens them? 

I see couples here and read about my friends. When I see a happy couple, I feel jealous. I feel sad and frustrated. I always dreamt of a happy, married life but happiness is something I have never experienced in my marriage. Last month, my husband slapped me because I told him I wanted to visit my parents as my father had fallen ill. He argued that he didnt have enough money to pay for my ticket. Next month, my in-laws are visiting us here. My husband has paid for their tickets. 

I have a son who has now become silent. He was a very out going kid but now he seems too frightened. He is developing stammering these days though he had a perfect speech earlier. My life is hell. But I have to live and I want to live for my son. How do I get my son back? 

Please help. 

Womanatics Says:

It is indeed hurtful to see men who take their wives for granted and think of them as slaves and someone they 'own'. While I believe you must stand up for yourself I also understand that being a middle aged woman it is difficult to decide to divorce or even live separately. 

Your husband seems to be the kind of person who just needs a servant at home to do his chores. And it hurts me immensely to see that you have been in this kind of marriage for the last 13 years and this is the first time you are discussing your problems with someone! For these many years, you have been hiding this pain inside you and bearing with all the insult and humiliation! You are a strong woman. Very strong woman. 

I just wish you put this strength to a better use than simply tolerating your husband's atrocities. But we leave that aside for the end of this post. 

I think the main concern here is of your son. Since you live in Muscat, that adds to your troubles because the place is quite restrictive for women. I feel you must put all your concentration on your son and help him become the best he can. 

You must be very patient with him. I don't know how your husband is with your son. Does he love him and cares for him? Take care of his needs, wishes and feelings. Hear him out and talk to him. Talk to him as much as you can. I understand you dont go out often but try learning new recipes and prepare them for him. You need to make him feel that he is loved. Atleast by his mom! 

I have seen a similar case at home. One of my cousin sisters is married to a jerk. The man is not just an alcoholic but a useless fellow who does not earn a penny. They have a son too who is the most well behaved boy I have seen. My didi also lives a life of hell. She can't leave her husband who terrorises their only son. Thankfully, didi started working long ago and even though they all three stay together, she now takes care of her son's needs and the mom and son are the backbone of each other. 

So, this is one lesson I learnt from her. She one said, 'I have to double love my son because I need to compensate for the loss of his father's love. I now focus only on my son. I sometimes forget that I have a husband.'

I think you also need to keep this in mind and spend more time with your son in understanding him and less on thinking about your husband. 

I'd also suggest you to take up some freelance or part time work. You can work from home. You are an educated woman. Try to look for some part time assignments that can give you some money or can make you atleast partially financially independent. Maybe you can just start writing articles or start a blog of your own or anything that you are good at. This would enable you to have your own  money (so that you are not dependent on him for your travels to meet your parents) and also a sense of confidence. When your son sees you confident, he would also feel more confident about himself.  

You can overcome this bad phase. Your son would provide you the avenue to find a new purpose. 

Coming to your husband, I don't understand the reasons of his aloofness from you. He may have his own set of weird reasons. Since you have mentioned you dont want a divorce, I now assume that you have to live with him. And since you have to spend the rest of your life with him, I believe you must still try to make it a little better for yourself. 

Try to talk. Try to understand his love language. Do things from his point of view. I am sure you must have done all this but I still want you to try. Not for him, but for yourself. 

You mentioned your in-laws are coming to live there. I know in-laws are another brigade who can turn a marriage upside down, but I also know that many men want their parents to be treated royally. If your husband is one such dork, then try that as well. 

I just want you to be at peace. My heart aches to see women who are deprived of the biggest blessing of marriage, while being married themselves. I wish I could do something for you. As of now, I can hear you out. Patiently. At length. Please feel free to share your feelings, thoughts with me. I am always there. 

But all this while, remember you also need to stand up for yourself. Love your son. Tell him he is much loved in his family. 

I so wish you tell your husband that he is a coward if he slaps you. So, if you can do that, its the best thing. Else, even if you need to compromise, compromise with dignity! 

Feel free to write to me. I'd happy to hear from you.