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End of Expressway - 4 days ahead :-)

My life has been running at express speeds for more than the past 6 months and I mean it quite literally. It started in December when my cousin got married in Nagpur, a day after my third wedding anniversary (which we celebrated with the whole of my paternal extended family on the eve of my cousin's wedding). We returned from the wedding and within days proceeded to Pune for the Baby Shower, which was immediately followed by Divya moving over to Indore for the next few months. I went to escort her to Indore, and directly flew to Kolkata to a close friend's wedding.

Since then, my schedule has been pre-decided for every weekend - a compulsory travel to Indore every fortnight, and spending many (or rather most) in between weekends in Pune with my parents (except the few when they came over or I had too much office work piled up to manage a Pune trip). So much so that, this Friday, when I told the maid to come on a Saturday, she gave me the look for the boss who asks you to work during a pre-approved leave!

Anyway - the expressway ends finally! This is my last weekend alone - the next weekend, I travel to Indore but to get Divya and Navyaa back, though to Pune first and in a week or two to Mumbai. Finally! And I am not just relieved but almost ecstatic - how life changes you!

I had contemplated that living alone would be something I'd enjoy - after all I enjoyed all my bachelor days! But I hadn't imagined that living as a Bachelor before marriage is as enjoyable as unpleasant the same is after you get used to a Grihast (ग्रहस्त) lifestyle.

For starters, the whole charade of managing the maids, the bills, the presswallah, and other routine - alone - is quite gruesome. Second, you (at least I) can no more tolerate as much outside food as you used to (possibly a sign of ageing :-| ), which as a corollary means you should take care of the chores of buying grocery etc every week - but this time, all alone, without anyone to help or even accompany you. I recollect, I had met a friend's friend at the wedding, who was still a bachelor, and since I was yet to "start" my new bachelor life then, and to his credit, he had warned me about all this while we were chatting at the airport on our way back.

The second part of the problem comes from your habits and those of your friends - which have changed. I can't really put a finger to it - but due to a combination of the fact that I was never available over weekends and also that Divya was not with me - I haven't been to a movie since October last; I would have visited a mall possibly once and that too because I cousin wanted to buy a laptop; and I tend to spend more time at the office on weekdays. So, the whole old way of life is somehow looking like a distant past :-).

Another thing that I wonder is whether something changes physiologically after you cross 30? But this article tells me it does not - so I guess the only other explanation is probably social changes around you. For one - you don't have company. Before you get married, you have friends for company, who have as much free time as you do, and who have the same habits as yourself. As you approach the 30s, almost everyone around you gets married (so do you probably!), and so everyone's habits change. And in between this period, if you happen to have to stay alone again, you become - temporarily - a misfit of sorts in your social circle. That doesn't mean your friends avoid you, to the contrary, I have had more invitations for dinner and lunches in the past 6 months than every before. But more than the attitude of others - its something inside you which makes things not so enjoyable, alone.

Anyway - there are some of the things which I did enjoy. Cooking - I am a bad cook - and I say this from experience! But my cooking skills have improved in the past 6 months; I can make an omelette confidently now, I am even able to make a sabzi - though doesn't taste great and no two preparations have been consistent. I have also started enjoying YouTube more than TV - and the credit goes to a combination of absence of 'family TV time' and 'working on the laptop till late night after which nothing comes on TV'. I have also enjoyed occassional evening runs in the local park - alone listening to music (on weekends when I was in Mumbai).

All said and done - its been an interesting half year for me, of course also momentous as I became a father! And starting the next weekend, the real fatherhood will now begin and I am really looking forward spending time with my daughter and 'again' with my wife (as a bonus, my mom's going to be with us for the next few months!).
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