Thursday, September 30, 2010

The games people play

So, considering that I’m single and have, in the past, had more than my share of dating misadventures, I’ve obviously had my share of the man-hating conversations with my girlfriends. These conversations, when I was in college, occurred under the giant tree outside the college canteen with all of us lolling and dishing out relationship advice like pros to the girls who actually had boyfriends. Sometimes, we ventured into scandalous territory and talked about sex. Those were not fun conversations, because most of us were still virgins and really didn’t know about being confident about it. That was also a time when the prude gene was still strongly bonded to me.

In Delhi, the same conversations often occurred in room no.21 that belonged to my friend N, who I visited in July. These conversations were a bit more risqué. One of the girls was almost engaged to this guy, so she had a lot to offer in terms of relationship advice. She was also gorgeous and half the batch was leching at her and trying to find an excuse to stay outside the girl’s hostel to get a chance to lech. The remainder of the group was in various stages of singledom and enjoying living it up. However, being in a new city and not knowing anyone came with the added attraction of doing something stupid and running away from it. A “what happens in Vegas” type situation if that makes sense. Build-up aside, my life in Delhi was not half as colourful as I thought it would turn out. Drunken misadventures aside, I mean. Those are a whole different story board! :-|

After Delhi, I moved to Chennai to do my MA at Mad Uni, and led a more intellectual life. And was in the most emotional relationship I’ve ever been in. Like ever. When we broke up, I couldn’t eat for a few days! When I don’t eat, people around me begin to worry. It’s a sign of something bad. No talks of amorous escapades in that time. My friend J and I were the kind of people who know without having been told about what the other person was going through. If I had that kind of telepathy with a man, I’ll jump off a roof in joy! (See, an event like that is an actual sign of the end of the world. I refuse to stick around to watch it actually happen :P)

It was only when I began working, in 2007, that these conversations even took on the tint of what actual man-bashing conversations were supposed to play out like. By this time, we’d been in and out of one stupid man-related situation or the other. Met most of the jerks that resided in the city and dated a couple of them to add to the overall effect. By this time, I was too cynical about life. You don’t grow older with the Gospel of Shruthi preceding you into every fucking conversation you’ve ever had with people and not turn cynical man. Every ass in town has judged you and will only say inane shit like – but you’re nothing like the rumours. Erm, rumour believing is if I’m a highly paid individual, like a celebrity. I’m your everyday fat chick with everyday self-esteem issues; WTF gives you the right to run around listening to rumours about me? I mean, seriously?! Get over yourself. I’m not going to forgive your dumb self because you told me I’m nothing like the rumours, bleddee!
Enough abuse now.

Back to the girl talk post.

My girlfriends and I take great pride in dissing men we know, knew and are trying to know. Their behaviour is fascinating and funny. I mean if you’re interested then just bloody say what you have to say and get it over with. How much time does it take you to come right out and say what you need to say to woman you want? I mean, seriously? But no, you have to flirt, and some other assorted nonsense that will lead to conversations with girlfriends that overanalyse every idiotic syllable out of your mouth! Pah! I’d rather spend that time and money (most of this happens over coffee or alcohol) on doing more interesting things. How many books I could have read? How much TV I could have watched? How many Fabindia kurtas I could have bought? Which brings me to the big question of this post; how the EFF will I kill time if these conversations don’t happen? How much can I read? How much TV can I watch? How many Fabindia kurtas can a girl own? It’s an extremely annoying situation.

However, if you read this book, He’s Just not that Into You, your only job as a girl would be to just get out there and leave the rest to the boy. Baaki sab time waste. Aiye. Where’s the fun in that? If it was that black and white, the world wouldn’t have so many problems. As time has gone by, a new colour has been introduced into the melee that is life, it’s called grey. We need to take it more seriously...

Monday, September 27, 2010

My, my self and I

“Two years. Two years. They don’t mean anything to you or what?” she asks me, sitting at the bar. She’s a few whisky’s down and it’s almost closing time. I’ve just recently joined the table and the people around me seem a wee bit offended that I was at the same bar with a different group of friends. These people are my colleagues, people that I spent 40 hours a week with. They see me from Monday to Friday between 10.30am and 6.45pm. We don’t mind each other. We share our lunches and we share stories about emotional mothers who are intent on us getting married and we sometimes go out and get good and drunk together.

For the most part, I’m the person that is part of the let’s-go-out-and-get-wasted gang from office. When I was seeing my ex-boyfriend, most of my time was spent hanging out with him and he didn’t think much of women drinking (it hampers our bodily capability of bearing a child and hence harmful for us and hence should not be a habit he said. I had some very serious issues with someone trying to make a decision for me because it had implications for my body. Especially because the person who gave me that reason hated children!) The few times that I did go drinking with my friends, he’d pick me up from wherever and lecture me until he dropped me home. But that is never going to happen again, so I’m not going to sit and waste my time bitching about things that happened in 2008.

Ever since I announced my resignation, the inclination that I feel to hangout with the people I work with has dropped drastically. Earlier, I would mind when only a certain few people would constantly attempt to bond after work, but off late, I’d rather not inflict on myself the nonsense ritual of having to deal with people and their mothers who have gone to my boss with things like – she doesn’t work, she’s rude, she’s difficult to work with, etc. I mean what kind of person must you be if you are oblivious to any and all forms of bitching and carry on with the people who have bitched about you? I, for one, cannot fathom that. My so-called self-pride is way, way too prickly about these things. I don’t hangout with people I bitch about and I don’t hangout with people who bitch about me. That being said, there has been more than one occasion where this rule has been overlooked for the sake of someone else only for me to realise that I should have just said no and avoided the accompanying headache.

Growing a year older takes me closer and closer to a more obstinate version of myself. When I was in school, I couldn’t care less about what the hell was going on. I knew that being the teacher’s daughter meant that people would comment on the fact that I was painful. (Considering that my mother taught English, it was a claim that I found stupid on many levels. How in the hell does one get to be a know-it-all with CBSE, school-level English? How?!) People who had a sincere lack of occupation went to the extent of spreading the Gospel of Shruthi to more people in Stella Maris College, to the point where some girl, who I met while rehearsing for an inter-year dance competition, came up to me and said something along the lines of, “I’d heard so much shit about you, you’re nothing like the rumours” (!!!). My one year in Delhi eased some of my own hang-ups and I’ve reached a stage where you’ll be the last person to know if, and when, I want to ignore the nonsense out of you. I have this ridiculous capability to let people ramble on and on about inane things. I also smile a lot at such junctures, which leads some people to believe that I’m friendly and such an awesome person. For instance, when I was at Mad Uni and drinking tea in between classes at the canteen, some random man walks up to me and goes on about his daughter’s application form and how no one was being helpful. My friend J was ridiculously amused and was barely holding back her laughter at my rendition of the attentive nod-smile routine. I just stopped him and directed him to the enquiries office and went back to drinking tea. J of course was like, why do you let these people ramble on? I just shrugged. That conversation was done. There was tea to drink and class to get back to. I was never going to see that man again. I’ll never know if I helped him at all. Nothing to lose.

Epiphany of the day? I like having this blog to talk to incessantly about myself. I do enough of it in the real world, but I can’t get enough of me!

-The end, for now ;)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Pregnant King

(And a new series begins. I mentioned that I spent more than Rs2,000 on buying books. I’m going to painstakingly tell you everything I think about them. HAH!)

The first book I read in my big bought-from-The-Landmark-Sale pile was The Pregnant King by Devdutt Pattanaik. It was the first book in months that I read on the 20-minute auto ride to work. That should have meant that I finished the book a year later or something, but I finished it in ten working days. This, for me, is a short time. For a book with these many sub-plots and complicated Sanskrit names, it was definitely a short while.

The book is the author’s re-telling of one of the many stories in the Mahabharata. He says in his note that he’s fictionalised it a bit, but the main narrative is the same. I picked this book up only because I’m a huge fan of Mr. Pattanaik. The last few books of his that I read were about mythologies, more specifically, God mythologies, and they blew me away. The tales he was telling were told with such simplicity and non-preachiness, that one couldn’t help but want to learn more about the purported 33 million gods in the Hindu pantheon. That is why I love the written word. Especially, the well-written written word. When a story is told in an engaging way, the reader can’t help the need to seek out more knowledge or experiences.

Which brings me to The Pregnant King. This book, although a fictionalized re-telling, has in it some debates that will make you realize a few things about us and our culture, history and heritage. It’s set in the Mahabharata – the supposed history of all the forefathers of this country. When this particular story unfolds, the Kauravas and Pandavas are going to war. The rights and wrongs of this war are being questioned. Allegiances have been sworn. Good will win over evil. Justice will prevail. However, one king does not go to war. He can’t. He hasn’t fathered an heir yet and hence cannot be sent to war. If he dies, his kingdom will go to waste. His journey as a boy and man and parent is what is traced here. Although my summary looks simplistic, there are twists in this tale. This is a kingdom where forefathers have abandoned the throne well before it is time for them to go. I need to add here that a Hindu man’s life is divided into four phases – each phase is marked by a certain set of duties. The first phase, Brahmacharya, is for knowledge and learning. The second phase, Grihasta, is for marriage and establishing a home and ensuring that your lineage is carried forward. The third phase, Vanaprasta, is to devote oneself entirely to spiritual pursuits as you have completed all filial responsibilities. The fourth and final stage, Sanyasa, is a complete renunciation of the world in search of the final release from the bondage of life, Moksha (more on this here). In Vallabhi, where this story is set, the ancestors of the pregnant king all lose hope and walk away from their world before it is time to do so.

All of that, however, does not compare to the tectonic twist in the cosmic fibre of this dharma-abiding kingdom. While performing a yagna for the begetting of an heir, Yuvanashva (the pregnant king) accidentally drinks the potion for pregnancy meant for his wives. What happens next? What debates arise? The questions and emotions that this situation creates are where the narrative really heats up. The king is now torn between his masculinity and emotions that only women experience. How does he deal with it? What knowledge in this cosmos could possibly help him make peace with his turmoil? For all this and more, read the book!

This book is excellently written and it doesn’t, at any given point, slip into that territory of author = god. Mr. Pattanaik managed to tell this tale the way it was supposed to be told, with the voice of a bard - a story-teller who carries a tale and lets it emerge and talk to the listener on its own. It is for the fact that this book upholds, in its own way, the Indian tradition of story-telling that I am deeply and, very profoundly, in love with this book. If you have Rs299 to spare, pick up a copy and read it. Ship it to your part of the world. Steal a copy, whatever. Read it. If you want to know more about us and why we are the way we are, despite 300 years of The Raj, there’s an answer in there, somewhere…

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Since my last post...

I’ve taken to drafting my blog entries on Word. I would always spend hours on the compose tab on Blogger for my posts, until I began my series. I did it purely because I needed to make a point and ensure that it was done well. However, while going through the “structured” writing phase, it occurred to me to try regular post composing on Word, just to see how it would turn out. My tendency to make socially inappropriate commentary seems to have been cut down drastically! I find myself thinking a little more carefully about what I’m typing and what I’m trying to say. It’s hard to not just go ahead and put my foot in it with aplomb (us Indians have a tendency to use such words in our copy).

So, this post is going to be a precedent for most posts, I think. I’m not sure. I have this dirty habit of starting out very ambitiously and then going back to the comforts of my routine. Case in point, my much-abandoned attempt at yoga. My mother was pretty sure that she won her campaigning of getting me to exercise. She knows that I am one of the laziest human beings alive, and I don’t have the mental and physical reserves of strength to bring myself out of this lazy funk phase of mine. Not yet at least.

Since my last post, in my real-time life some significant events have occurred. I’ve resigned. I have until the end of November to work as a journalist at The Times Group – Response. After that, I’m out of here and taking a month off to a) have a sit down with my family about my grandmother’s future and what needs to be done. (My 80-year-old grandmother has dementia, she’s diabetic, fractured her hand a few years ago and can’t use her right arm any longer, she also has no sense of time, places and people. We’ve tried everything from asking the next-door neighbours for help and they’ve been very very nice about it, but how long can we depend on them? My mother and aunt both work and they are gone most of the day. I work and am not at home. My aunt in Singapore comes down only once a year. Ever since my grandfather died in 2003, my grandmother has been home alone all day.) We’ve recently asked a home nurse to come home while everyone is at work, but how trustworthy, and more importantly, safe is that? Anyway, this needs to get sorted out. An old age home is out of the question, my aunt won’t allow it. Too complicated to explain so I’m not going to get into that. Option b) is to attend a couple of weddings and use my time of unemployment to get my head back on track. The year 2010, starting with my Chicken Pox bout has been one large mind fuck. Not the most pleasant experience that.

Starting January 2011, I’m going to actively job hunt and try to see what I can do about my future options. I don’t do hard-hitting journalism. I’m not the person with the by-lines against articles about the government’s inefficiency and the sorry state of affairs in the world. I’m the person who writes in all the supplements about people, maybe fashion and make-up maybe profile a doctor or two and an education story or two (about college events) and other such assorted light-hearted things. In the midst of this purely lifestyle beat are the hyper local supplements that I write for – covering everything from impending bridge work to meeting councillors of wards to ask them questions. I wonder if I should continue here. Apart from having made my writing more focussed, journalism hasn’t really instilled me with a social conscience. People only think I have one, which is sad, because I don’t and I don’t want one. For every indifferent soul like me, there are at least ten people who’re serious about what they do, for a planet of 6 billion, those are fairly big numbers (even if you were to factor things like city dwellers, etc). I’m happier co-ordinating the production of pages than I am out on the field chasing a story. Does that mean I should not attempt this genre of writing or that I should be a dedicated desk editor? Who knows! I know I don’t.

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What also happened was that a follower of mine on blogger went a little nuts on me. While it was a drunk email one night, it was g-talk messages that went along the lines of “–hi (a second later) –you there? –you’re hard to get through to – add me on Facebook –come to Hyderabad with your friends, I’ll be the tour guide –do I talk too much – when are you posting next” ---- all within seconds of each other. I got fed up of being polite (yes, I know) and blocked him. He sent an email the other day saying he’s sorry. Erm, dude, just because I’m pretty and polite doesn’t mean you have a chance, it only means I’m pretty and polite. Please go ahead and think I am a bitch, because I am one. I’m not going to make excuses for that. Nor am I going to spare your feelings. I can’t even think of the trauma I would have had to face if you were a stalker in my own city. So, do the world a favour and please find someone else’s writing to drool over if that is not too much trouble for you. You can’t catch a break these days because of the interwebs, it’s full of people who think they can string a few full-of-praise sentences and then get away with it. WTF. Seriously?! You think?

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In other news, I spent more than Rs2,000 on books. From The Unbearable Lightness of Being to Love in the Time of Cholera, it’s all been bought, name-written and scotch taped (I use scotch tape to tape the ends of the cover page because I don’t like my book cover looking worn out, I’m OCD like that!). The first book in the set of ten that I finished is The Pregnant King by Devdutt Pattanaik (review with new series to follow soonly). I’m reading the Unbearable Lightness of Being now, it’s a slower read that Pregnant King, but I’ll finish it for sure. Tomas reminds me of me way too much for me to ever stop reading this book.

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All this leaves me with a nice thought, that of blogging with more frequency. I came up with this gem only because I realised that I need to use this space more often and justify its existence. My neglected other blog is catching cobwebs in the blogosphere, sigh, that is asking for a revival too, but it’s pink right now (background-wise I mean) and needs some serious changes in its template and focus before it becomes a regular feature.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

The End (Or How I'm getting married pt6)

(About time this thing was done with no? I think so too. I mean, how long am I going to keep on and on about one subject of discussion when there is so much more to write about! shabba! Anyway, this is last in the series, until further events spur more such posts. I'm not married yet, so there's a LOT more to come from me.)

Apparently, when my father came to meet my mother, my mother’s two younger sisters aka my dearly beloved aunts, looked out the window and checked him out. Their report was that he wore nice shoes and hence my mother should just marry this person. My father, in his 30s was fit, what with army training and all that jazz, had this thick mallu-looking moustache, and so on. My mother’s younger brother was convinced that my father would beat my mother up! (Aside: when my mother was in her 20s, she was a babe! Gorgeous dusky skin and doe-eyed beauty. She’s still beautiful. She was one of those unattainables and my uncle thought some rough-looking, brawny, grew-up-in-Kannambra-village army officer may not be the right person for his delicate darling older sister! A look at their wedding picture will tell you that my mother was too pretty for my dad but hell, worse shit has happened in this world so whatever) His logic was, army man, all that rum-drinking would inspire some serious rage that would, in all probability, get re-directed on my mother’s face. It never did. That’s beside the point, but when you’re a brother, you think these things no? Mine doesn’t, but that could be a 21st century, evolution thing or simply the fact that I’m the diametrical opposite of the damsel in distress archetype.

However, my parents did meet and when they did meet, sparks or some such happened and they knew. Hence, a few months after that meeting in December 1982, they got engaged and in November 1983, they got married and continue to live in their version of happily ever after. My grandfather’s prediction of, “He’s an army officer, he’ll be healthy” (!!!!!) came true. My dad’s 61, he’s still fit and his once legendary mallu mane is now kind of balding, his moustache has some grey in it. He inspires my male friends into fitness regimes. They’re too scared to talk to him, but they think he’s awesome because he’s this fit and flat-stomached at his age. My mother went on to be the classic English teacher everyone is in love with archetype in school. She’s now principal of said school.

The thing is, somewhere in this meet suitable boy rigmarole of Indian arranged marriages, some people do find that one person they think they can spend the rest of their lives with and they do spend the rest of their lives with them. Now, I don’t know if it is a generation thing. I don’t know if it is because we’re Indian and family is bigger than just about everything else. I do know that I’ve seen many a happily married arrangedly married couple. In this entire saga, I did meet one interesting boy. We’ll call him R. He was tall and good-looking. Grew up in Chennai, which is an effing miracle because then he’d understand my stupidity and all the galeej nonsense language that I sometimes launch into. We’d both be equally awkward with our Malayalam, etc,etc,etc. I was a little kicked about meeting him. My family was thrilled! We knew everyone they knew and we knew that it’d turn out great. The night before I was on all fours scrubbing bathroom floors clean and mopping the flat clean and spotless. My aunts, uncle, brother, 10-year-old cousin were actively involved in cleaning and deciding the menu. After a lot of debate (Aside: My family is highly individualistic and extremely opinionated about everything. Other people’s lives included. So, something as simple as let’s give them egg sandwiches will turn into a hot debate about the logistics of executing said sandwiches and so on. This menu-deciding process, as you can gauge, took a lot of time) we decided to go with simple breakfast.

I was achy after a lot of cleaning, my parents were MIA, after I hollered for them, my parents descend the stairs and supervise the cleaning, and then add their own two bit worth of feedback and so on. Sunday morning dawns and I went off to an assignment and came back in time to get dressed and everyone was cooking and other such chaos prevailed. Once I was dressed there was no use for me, so I started reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in a corner while everyone was getting ready. So R and family arrive and introductions are made, I come out and smile in a socially appropriate and acceptable fashion. Serve everyone juice and then it’s time to talk to R. So we talked. He was a smart guy. Was as interested in books and theatre as I am. Lived in New York, bought season tickets to Broadway and other such assorted good things in life. I was thinking to myself, if this works, it’ll be good. So they left and everyone had a good feeling about it. My ten-year-old cousin was most impressed with him. My brother was too. It was all good.

In fact, it was all too good to be true. I got a nasty taste of the materialistic side of things when this proposal didn’t work out. I kept asking and my parents kept avoiding the question. I heard from a very reliable source that there was some talk of money etc. I was a little disillusioned after that. I mean, you meet someone interesting, finally, and it has to go awry! I’m still being viewed on matrimonial websites as a potential wife/daughter-in-law. Let’s see what pops up next!

Monday, September 13, 2010

How I'm getting married Pt5

(Had to take a break from all that autobiography. Apologies. The constant barrage of anecdotes became a little boring for me. Hence the break. Now, onto the rest of the story)

The previous post in this series made mention of a boy I christened V. The V story has an interesting enough back story. If one were inclined towards romantic comedies or Karan Johar’s school of film-making, then my meeting V would be that one script that elevated the arranged marriage from comic to epic. The arranged marriage would have turned into one of the glossy, aided-by-soft-lighting type films that Mr. Johar is so well-known for. But alas, V was not meant to be part of Bollywood formula lore, nor was I.

One weekend after lunch, we were driving back home when my father tries to open a conversation about my future. The thing is, my father is one of those typically stoic patriarchs. He mumbles when the words he’s using in conversation seem inappropriate to him. So most of the time, when Siddharth and I are getting lectured, acha talks in a half mumble, half this-baritone-is-going-to-tear-the-ceiling-to-pieces type tone. So, one evening in the year 2006, my 22nd birthday still a long way away, my father opens a conversation, “Chinku, there is this proposal that’s come for you. I think we should go ahead with it. His father is a retired IAS officer. The boy is based out of Delhi…” (the ellipsis here hints at some ridiculousness that my father thought was cute, we’ll leave that out).

My brother goes, “She’s still studying. Chinks, don’t agree!” My mother, in her best matriarch tone, “Siddharth, shut up! We need to start thinking of these things. It is our responsibility to get her married and frankly, the earlier the better.” It was my turn to say something and I could only blink at my mother. She was married at 27, her mother was married at 24 (which, in 1955, was late), her younger sisters were married in their 30s, she is the Principal of a school, educated and for the most part sensible, but she had suddenly gone and turned into some weird uni-dimensional character that we all see in the movies – that vague Indian-origin mother with the gold-bordered saree.

So, I just yelled back, “I’m not even 22. This guy is 9 years older. He’s not an IAS officer. He’s just the first serious proposal that’s come along, I can’t go and get married because you need to get your responsibilities over with!” My father’s face turned a good shade of purple. My mother was on the brink of one of her famous fit of the vapours. My brother, who was in college at the time, grinned! I called my younger aunt in Singapore when we got home and told her that I’m feeling traumatised and to please tell my father to back off. She did. My father thought my aunts were trying to sabotage his plans to get me married off. I thought my father was nuts. We were at an impasse of disagreements and other such dramatic things!

But we must not forget V. He’s one of the three reasons for this series.

In 2006, I was very busy being a total jackass at the University of Madras (ok, I have to clarify something here. Mad Uni, as I call it, has LOTS of affiliated colleges and is better known for its correspondence courses, but it also has regular functioning departments in its main campus. For my MA, I went to the Uni campus). I had just gotten out of a particularly difficult relationship situation and was not in a happy place. My parents’ hunt for the most suitable groom was beginning to reek of a weird kind of desperation. I realised then that once my MA was over with, the excuses to avoid the matrimonial process would run out. It would only be a matter of time before I “tied the nuptial knot” to use an Indian-English-ism! V’s proposal came through a common family friend. Our fathers met and they decided that they wanted to be related. My mother went along with the plan. Everyone was convinced that Col. K. Padmanabhan’s daughter would get married by the end of that year.

They’d sent us photographs. My father said, never mind that he’s a little dark. It’s ok. He’s a good-hearted person or some such thing. I must say, how the HELL does my father know all this? Did he spend quality time with V? Anyway, I was not in the least bit interested and told my parents, I really am too young. Please tell them to go away. They did, but my parents never stopped wishing for my forever after with a malayalee boy. After I told my father that, he kept bringing it up. They’re still interested. They still want you to marry their son, etc, etc, etc.

Fast Forward. July 2009.

In July 2009, I told my parents that I was seeing someone and I wanted to marry this guy. My father and mother suddenly went a little soap opera on me. My mother held her chest and cried big, fat tears of grief. My father cried because he figured if I told him early on, he would have let me go ahead and get married. My brother who was in Delhi at that time told me to hang in there. And me? Well, I was also crying, ranting and telling them that this was what I wanted to do, etc. Now, the trouble in my country is that parents love controlling their children’s lives. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. They hate having to live with the fact that their children are old enough to make informed decisions.

When it comes to marriage, Indian parents are by far the BIGGEST control freaks in the business. They hate having to allow their children the freedom to choose a life partner. According to them, having been married, for more than 20 years, gives them the credibility to exhort the virtues of an arranged match. Now, in V’s case, after the boyfriend fiasco was done with (he and I had a multitude of other issues aside from parental objection to wade through. We broke up in a very Romeo and Juliet context, yes. But we’re never getting back. The reasons are best explained in this post.) I was talking to him and telling him, look boss, I’m just out of a serious relationship right now and I can’t believe that I’ve agreed to this, etc. A few phone calls later, V tells me one day, “I want to give all this up and go into yoga full-time”… another day, “Am I the rebound guy?”… and other such choice-isms. I decided that there was no point in trying to make something work that I had no interest in. This guy was a total stranger and had not harmed me or mine in any way. There was no need to get into this at all. I told my mother that I cannot do this. It’s not working out, please be excuse me.

After July 2009, the marriage process took a 4-month break…