The grass is always greener…

December 17, 2010

I’ve been doing a lot of whining about being tired of the 9-5 routine and taking this year-end opportunity to reflect on my life while making plans for the future.

It’s serendipitous to find this write-up from 2003 when I relished in the glory of a work-free routine — albeit only for six days.

It’s a good reminder that work (besides house work) nourishes my soul … that part hasn’t changed a bit. The part about my whole world revolving around my husband? Well….

Have a read and you’ll know what I’m talking about:


I had been looking forward to a month’s vacation between semesters since the day classes began. This would be the first time I’d be able to relax and enjoy the complete and unsaturated bliss of idleness.

I arrived in the United States five months ago to pursue a two-year graduate program. I slogged for the entrance exams, routinely kept awake to draft that perfect resume, e-mailed furiously for financial assistance and managed to finally get admitted to all the colleges where I’d applied.

This was just the beginning.

Two weeks into college and I knew I had axed my own foot.  This was no joke.

A full load of classes, a thesis to prepare, exams, a new culture, new friends … and on top of that an extension of the long-distance relationship with my boyfriend! We’d already endured one year of e-mailing, IMing, and phoning … now it would be two more years of the same! I knew that coming in, but to experience it has been something else.

Sure, I have been busy this past semester. So busy that there was nothing more I wanted than to quietly get married and stay at home for the rest of my life.

I mean, really, it’d be such a cool life. Just to get up in the mornings, cook breakfast for your hubby, send him lovingly to office, clean the house, take a long luxurious bubble bath, prepare lunch for him, sit and eat together in the balcony warmed by the benevolent Californian sun, sleep a while, watch television, make a sumptuous meal for dinner and finally relax and unwind at bed time. Wow!

Writhing with envy at the fate of all my married friends, I continued researching for my homework assignments late into the night. There was just one thing that kept me going – the thought of that long Christmas vacation.

The vacation turned out to be more of an anticlimax than I could have ever imagined.

He had three days’ leave from office during my entire month’s stay and undoubtedly those three days were the best part of the holiday. The rest…well, I constantly kept telling myself that “this, too, shall pass…”

I wanted to be the model wife and what better chance than now to show him what lay in store…

He insisted on having his daily diet of cereal but I insisted even more that he eat the fresh aloo parathas I poured my heart and soul into making every morning. He coaxed me to go out of the house in the afternoons but I refused to give in to the idea. I had to look up recipes on the Net, clean his wardrobe, do his laundry, iron his clothes – my hands were full. Who had time for an afternoon walk?

Three days of cooking, washing and ironing later – there was nothing left for me to do.

Cooking isn’t that difficult, really. All I needed to know was how to make the basic masalas and then everything became easy. I had all the time in the world to relax. And relax I did – for one whole day. The following day, the idea of relaxation was stressing me out.

I wouldn’t want to let go of him when he dropped in for lunch. I would resort to calling him every half an hour to ask him how his day was going. I had even begun to talk to myself – just to keep company you know. He would come home by 8 p.m. and I would have had enough of watching NBC 11, Home Improvement and The Simpsons by then.

Dinner was mostly about what he did in office – technical jargon, half of which I did not comprehend, and a good night’s sleep was not on his mind yet. He would have to attend online classes and finish assignments till the wee hours of morning. Being a full time employee and a part time student was no easy job and I could see the way he was slogging it out.

I, on the other hand, had nothing substantial to do.

Certainly, this was not what I wanted from life. Even our conversations were dulling down with my only utterances being “Umm Hmm.”

As much as I admire all my happily married homely friends and all other ladies who choose to remain housewives, I know for a fact that I cannot be one.

I itch to do something more than just routine chores. I love bubble baths and spas but I would rather have had a hard day’s work to my credit to be able to relish an hour of lazy indulgence.

Interestingly enough, my subject area is such that I don’t have any dearth of work. All I need to do to keep myself busy is read and write.

I am now utilizing my time doing just that. And in between, I do wash the dishes, water the plants, do groceries and take an evening walk. Life, suddenly, seems to have revealed to me a lot about myself.

And he’s back to enjoying his bowl of cereal each morning.

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10 Responses to The grass is always greener…

  1. anon1No Gravatar on December 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    “He coaxed me to go out of the house in the afternoons but I refused to give in to the idea. I had to look up recipes on the Net, clean his wardrobe, do his laundry, iron his clothes – my hands were full. Who had time for an afternoon walk?”

    This post is probably from when you were but a fledgling but seriously ? Clean wardrobes, laundry, iron clothes ? Who does that ? I mean, of course, people do that , but who does that WILLINGLY ?! :)

    Also for the record, housewives I know aren’t indulgent or lazy.
    And I’m more than a little bothered that anyone would think that! They don’t spend their afternoons taking luxurious bubble baths and watching Home Improvement :) Most of the women I know who have chosen to stay at home (middle-class, non-millionaire types), pursue several creative hobbies, read, write, and of course do more than their share of housework. They may not have financial independence, but that doesn’t mean they don’t keep themselves gainfully employed…

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm

      Remember that I wrote this in 2003 — seven years have certainly added some wisdom to my thoughts. We’ve already established that the women you know are a different subset than the Indian women in my social circle. I based my idea of an ideal, sedentary homemaker’s life from the examples in front of me at the time. I didn’t say, even once, that housewives are lazy — I know they work their asses off — but the ones I knew then (and a majority of the ones I know now) don’t have any regimen to exercise in any intellectual activities. They go to malls, take care of the kids, the house, socialize, watch movies … not many read and not one of them writes. Their hobbies are cooking and gossipping … or shopping. So, if you assess the situation from my vantage point, and knowing what you know of me from this blog, you’ll see why trying to spend my days doing all this and no cerebral work could drive me up a wall. I wasn’t trying to diss anyone by resurfacing this essay — just expressing that sometimes the things we think we’ll love doing, aren’t necessarily the things we end up enjoying.

      • anon1No Gravatar on December 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm

        I know what I pointed out wasn’t the mainstay of your essay, but the line below is what made me wince a lil bit..
        “I love bubble baths and spas but I would rather have had a hard day’s work to my credit to be able to relish an hour of lazy indulgence.”

        Maybe I just misinterpreted your ‘tone’..

        But, in any case, you are right, we definitely know different subsets of housewives.

        Happy holidays MB !!

  2. MattiasNo Gravatar on December 18, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    You are a good writer.I bet you are looking for the home based business that would fit in for you as the writer you are.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks, Mattias. I can’t wait to get started with the new phase of my life! Not sure if a home-based business is the way to go, but if home is where I am (in any part of the world for no specific time period), then yeah, that would work :-)

      Thanks, again, for your kind words.

  3. TinaNo Gravatar on December 18, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    You’re very wise, Mansi-that’s why I keep coming back to your blog. And very human in all your frailties, too. Yet, unlike most of us, you face those frailties head-on.

    You don’t pretend you’re perfect; you don’t pretend to have all the answers. You’re just brave enough to keep looking, keep asking, and keep blogging. So what if people criticize your choices and your words from years ago? Unlike most of us, you put them out there, in public-your words, your life, your self.

    Like I said, you’re brave. And wise. And that’s why I keep reading. You see, you’re an inspiration.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm

      I am touched, Tina. I’ve never claimed to be wise or perfect … nor do I aspire for perfection (it’s only a myth, right?), but I like to be able to put my thoughts out there, ask questions, and have conversations that help broaden my mind, and in turn give my readers something to chew upon. I really appreciate your continued readership. Thanks a lot.

  4. anon1No Gravatar on December 20, 2010 at 11:39 am

    :) :) *people*

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      LOL. Yes *people*

  5. Ronnie ChrisieNo Gravatar on December 23, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Interesting, Mansi. Fun to read some of your older stuff. Life is a journey and I think this older post really reflects your awareness of that. I think there’s a happy medium out there for you. And, I think you’re just beginning to try and figure out what that is. And, your smart enough to know that it’s not the same for everybody, even if others are coming from the exact same perspective/place as you are. Good luck, my friend, and happy travels!


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