Chapter 10: …and there she went blushing.

I totally let me down. After having prepared the whole world for an episode of Runaway Bride, there I was, fervently relishing every moment of bridal bliss. It took me a carnival of a wedding and a couple of months of answering the stodgy old “How’s married life?” inquiry, to finally get to the closure of this ranting room I started.

With a bachelorette that must not be elaborated upon, and rituals that rolled out endlessly, it was the longest party of my life and I breezed through it like I was born to do it. To my surprise, the dichotomy that had gripped me all this while, passed before I knew it! For someone who was raised by the most reasonable set of parents, I suddenly felt like Master Tony in a bonus episode of “I dream of Genie”. For someone who didn’t throw fits of tantrum or made unreasonable demands, this felt like redemption. I could be the face on “wanted it, got it” memes.

A talented senior from school who now designs quirky wedding cards, offered to put up with my kooky fits, all for nothing, just so I could have an invite which was very me! Her reason being, “I can’t believe YOU are getting married, Ambalika!”

Suddenly, my hairdresser who has written me off as a “boy” all along, looked at me with gleaming eyes as if he had stumbled upon a pot of gold. He had a fortnight to fix me and, boy, was he thrilled! He rescheduled appointments, got a whole entourage waiting on me, met me off duty hours for spas and brought the world to tame my mane, all because “Ambalika darling, I never thought you’d agree to get married!”

My dengue-stricken friend landed straight from the hospital bed to my Sangeet stage grooving to ‘balam pichkari’, my wedding planner friends refused crore-worthy destination weddings, my choreographer friends rescheduled their winter shows, my budding C.A. friends settled for “semi-qualification”, my hot-shot banker brother-in-law saved his annual leave for now, my dying-to-be-mother friend postponed plans of pregnancy, my filmmaker friends turned down job openings in Bombay; when Ma fell prey to a wretched stomach infection, my Gujarati sister-in-law deftly took over patented Bengali rituals and ran the show “like a boss”; my critically ill grandmother pushed her way home from the ICU, my immediate family went without food, sleep, normality, sanity. The whole world around me seemed to have put their lives on hold because everyone, just like I, was so amazed that my wedding was indeed taking place. For real.

Since the Sangeet occupied most of me, I barely cited any signs of cold feet, at least after I reached Calcutta. The dance practices, edit sessions, the venue decor, the costumes, a whole retinue at my beck and call – all as a bribe to ensure I didn’t change my mind. To turn up for the real deal, the day after, of course.

To do which, i would have to have the time. To ponder, to fret, to shudder. The pre-production period didn’t leave me with even the smallest window for detracting thoughts. That is just how many relatives wanted to treat me to “ai buro bhaat” spreads. That is just how much of my waking time I spent shopping for “totwo” items. That is just how picky and organic I was being about every little detail, completely cheating on the crushing bride in me!

It all turned out to be legit, however. Because in place of ramifications, what took me by storm was an inexplicable feeling of excitement and joy. While i do detest the company of outsiders who are up to no good, I can’t deny that this was the closest I got, to having all of the people in the world who I love, at the same place, the whole time! The champagne and the cake were instrumental in soothing my briefly roughed-up nerves, during the signing of papers. At which, my bridesmaids shed a tear or two, too. The groomsmen did a splendid job of slipping in glasses of scotch, just in time to save us from overdose of remote, alien faces.

My father had ensured that no one went hungry or sober. Yes, sober. Not just thirsty. Consequentially, the entire battalion turned into swaying, slurring, manic jelly dolls and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Travelling sluggishly to work in a murky Bombay local now, when I look back, I see mine as the best wedding there ever was. Yash Raj included. Not only do I certify that the whole wedding crew (which could populate a small country) had the biggest blast of all, even the groom and I, who were supposed to be “in a trance” and “unaware of on-going activities”, really had the time of our lives! Stereotypes in theory, have clearly not been modeled on us.

What was most fascinating, however, was the cross-cultural, cross-origin, cross-social-circle mingling that reigned the week. My youngest cousin and my professor from B-School totally hit it off. Our school friends and my ex-colleagues bonded over Bob Marley and good marijuana scored from Lansdowne Road. Our friends from Bombay, Pune, Calcutta, Delhi and Singapore all hung in what seemed like the city’s largest clique that week. Not sidelining the fact that two of our best friends from completely different groups, are now very much a couple!

Furthermore, of course, everybody wanted a picture with everybody. As a result, my shutterbug buddies and cousins were the obvious hit, which got me close to a thousand breathtaking pictures from each of them. That, not even counting the ones from the guy who was paid to do it.

I tried at every step to make this sound like anything but an acknowledgment chapter, but I guess even cryptic folk like yours truly, would be bowled over by the kind of adulation that I was wrapped with. If “dream wedding” is any justification to the one I had, then a Dream Wedding it was!


Chapter 9: Murphy loves the bride.

Because when you’re just a fortnight away from the wedding, your skin will surprise you with random break outs.

And because you traveled to your home-town for the wedding, the change in weather will have multiplied the frizz in your hair.

Because everyone will want their 10 minutes of fame at your wedding by
a)Talking too much in public
b)Trying too hard to sound funny
c)Straightening their hair a bit too poker
d)Inventing some mindless “rituals” every now and then
e)The possibilities are endless.

Because you happen to be a picky little bitch and want to select every bloody item that goes into your bridal hamper, but you have no time to accompany the mothers when they want to go shop for those.

Because it is appalling that everyone else seems to have visualised a perfect wedding for you. Without your acknowledgment.

Because you thought dancing should be a cake walk. But with being completely out of touch for over three years, you forgot you can’t dance anymore.

Because you’ve finalised and re-finalised your sangeet list a million times and suddenly, one night, you go to bed gasping at how you could have forgotten “Gal mitthi mitthi bol“!

Because your tray of toiletries is packed and set but you forgot to add that tube of Boroline in there!

Because suddenly there is a new list of “do’s” and “don’t’s” which have sprung out of the blue and is conspiring against the elusive peace of mind you have been chasing.

Speaking of peace of mind, there will never be any. Or even “beauty sleep”, for that matter.

Because just when you started to think that your trousseau is straight out of a dream, Deepika Padukone’s lehngas in Ram Leela totally go on to distract you.

Because its too late to change anything.

Because ladies who are victim to monsters in law, want to impose “rules” on you all the time.

Because you rack your brains all week and can’t figure why the apparently “educated” relatives are so blindly steeped in superstition. Why can’t they just be like my 83 year old grandmother who has no regard for “man-made rubbish” and insists on merriment instead.

Because the supremely incompetent Indian Post has returned 11 of your invites, thus, further establishing their inadequacy.

Because you ate like a hog the past few weeks and now you have outgrown your blouses by a couple of inches.

Because it cannot be normal that all this frenzy actually makes you want to g back to work.

Because a “perfect wedding” is only for poor literature and mediocre cinema.

Chapter 8: God! What am I marrying into?

Bobbin told me I wasn’t writing enough lately, so I asked him to recommend a topic. He suggested “Sachin’s retirement”. In my wedding blog? Seriously, now?

I’ve often wondered how so many women have spent their entire lives with a man and still managed to be happy. It’s like bringing them up all over again.

And then again, a lot of women have wondered how I’ve been with a man for over a decade and still seem so in love. (Smug look)

It’s not easy, I say. Putting this show up!

He has just ruined everything for me.

I no longer identify with the feeling of just looking at someone of the opposite sex and feeling a sense of complete desire.

I look at a good body and wonder if he bathes it everyday or not.

I see a great smile and immediately recoil at the thought “what if he has bad breath?”

Even if I were to go beyond all the good looks and engage in some funny conversation with him, I can’t avoid a faint doubt that he must really suck with house work.

Bobbin is almost painfully compulsive about cleanliness. He won’t sleep till the spoons and plates really squeak!

He asks me for advice ever so often, making me feel all wise and judicious. Disastrous for the female ego now, isn’t that?

Oh.. And he has too many in jokes with me, for my liking. I’m always in splits when around him or calling him from office to tweak jokes that I hear through the day. No wonder we never find enough time on the weekends to finish with all the errands.

He stirs up cocktails for me in the middle of our Saturday nights in.

On the night that my parents are flying in, he gets home an hour early to clean up the house.

And then pours my dad his favourite whiskey. Flattery alert!

While drooling over gadgets online, he actually expands banner ads on shoes to check if I’d want to buy some of them.

He also took half my bonus amount and let it “mature” in some fixed deposit. Without my permission!

On a rainy day, he orders in some greasy Chinese that I love, instead of the rich, spicy Mughlai that gets him weak in the knees. Does putting me on a guilt trip turn him on or something?

When we’re fighting and I want to never see him again, he drops by my office for a surprise visit. With a bar of 5-star! Knowing full well that I hate surprises!

At his family dos, I am almost always crying with laughter and indulging in intense gossip. I don’t even have to remind myself to feel at home. I don’t even text my friends to bitch about evil in-laws! What a shame!

And his mom! Don’t even get me started on her. She takes me shopping for shorts and backless dresses for Durga Pujo. Then she mouths the word “sexy” when I’ve tried it on in the fitting room! She knows my favourite dishes and serves them with the same warmth, every time I’m over at her place for a meal. Its such a horrible thing to feel completely left out when girls around me are armed with stories galore, cribbing about existing and prospect mothers in law!

He lets me have my way so often that I don’t know how to deal with a “no” at work.

I just plonk myself on the bed at night and expect for the all the lights to be turned off, door to be locked, dishes to be put in the kitchen sink and alarm to be set on the phone.

It’s apparently okay to lie around in boxers all day and watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. re-runs, as long as there’s beer, smoked sausages and the both of us!

And with him on my team, I’d own any game of Charades or Taboo, baby!

I am so used to immediate surrender to sweet cravings that when I’m out with friends and they didn’t take the detour to stop for cupcakes, I would be disappointed.

He is so comfortable with me leading the wedding plans, that when my parents oppose to an idea, I can’t wrap my head around why they must choose practical implementation over my mindless wish-list!

I now dare to even have a wish-list because he fooled me into believing that it’s not mindless!

I no longer have a favourite spa because his massages are hard to match. So much so, all my girlfriends talk him into a neck-rub every now and then.

I now know no place else where I can totally be me. No holds barred.

I now know no other man who makes a better roomie.

I now know no one else who is good enough to be assigned as my “back-up”.

People asked me how one man, 11 years, etc. They think it’s love. Fact is, however, that the bar was raised far too high.

Quite obviously, Bobbin is the worst guy to be getting married to.

Really, he has just ruined everything for me.

Chapter 7: I’m freakin’ me out!

There isn’t much to like about weddings apart from the sumptuous spread, the “pineapple blossom” served in a stunted wine glass and, of course, the rarely spotted hot groomsmen who have made eye contact a few times. There ends the good news.

Bad news lies in having to ditch the denim trousers and struggle into something “weddingy”. And then to pin your fringes back, to avoid the painstakingly acquired goth-chic look. How defeated you feel, to forgo dinner plans with friends because this wedding, you just have to attend! Bad news gives way to misery as jaws start to feel locked from the measured, pathetic smiles we try to pull at our parents’ acquaintances at the wedding. Or the stereotypes who inquire with genuine curiosity, “My God! How are you so thin?”. Like they are expecting me to start handing out “liposuction” brochures at the wedding venue, any moment!

Speaking of brochures, I’m shocked at the type I’ve been collecting lately. Or even magazines. When I wake up late on Saturdays and glance through the magazine rack, it amazes me how I’m invariably drawn more to the wedding ensemble sections rather than those that cover crocheted shorts, sling bags and roman sandals. One day, about a month back, my friend Bonny and I were flipping through the same tabloid. While we both would usually be looking at the same page (something on the lines of “Adventure sports around Mumbai”), she soon spotted me checking out chandelier earrings and winced at my recent personality shift.

Holy Moly, what am I turning into? I have also started carrying a cute little floral diary in my bag which acts as the wedding handbook for me. Wow, I possess “cute” belongings now? What’s next? Will I also start throwing my weekends away with visits to the parlour and tapestry stores? I don’t even nonchalantly pass them sari stores by anymore. I stop and look. And I shortlist tailors for blouses rather than for peplum dresses. Every new exotic place I read about, is included in my “honeymoon wishlist”. On my laptop, I have so many reference images of decor, invites, hair and make-up saved, I surprise myself every time I browse through the folders!

You know what’s worse? I have even started wearing earrings. Now, to most girls, that would seem like the normal thing to do. But for those who know me better… Shocking, yes? I wear earrings all the time now. I don’t complain about looking “too dainty” or feeling uncomfortable around the ear, while tossing in my sleep. I don’t even mind my ear lobe looking half an inch longer, camouflaged with the quaint piece of adornment. All this, so I can pass on undergoing painful mortification when it’s time to don weights on my ears, as bride. By weights, I mean the gold danglers with thick butts.

I have also expressed regret to my best friend that I can’t remember when was the last time we had a regular conversation which comprised movies, men, shopping, careers, YouTube videos and other fresh gossip. Topical arguments between my mother and I, have now given way to cohesive conversations about the logistics, guest list and catering. Between emails, I engage in only making things worse for myself by scrolling through utopian Pinterest boards, thus feeling increasingly ill-prepared for what I have started to own as “my wedding”! To my card designers, I have become exactly the nightmarish client that I openly loathe – disseminating confused briefs, sharing unrelated references, backed with unreasonable deadlines. There must really be a god somewhere, since they still choose to be cordial to me!

Objectively, I have also considered symptoms of bipolarity because what I seem to be undergoing appears to be more than just the promise of transformation. What kind of non-characteristic behaviour have I been putting on display? Someone once rightly said that we tend to become those we hate. Are sayings now coming true? Or am I using them to thump the reality that bit me in the backside? My nagging fear is that the crushing bride might just be heading towards yet another blushing one. Now, that’s quite a statement, I’m afraid!



Chapter 6: Love in the times of Shahrukh Khan

Some call it fanaticism, some disregard it as childishness, some relate to it, some appreciate it, some laugh behind my back. Don’t feign surprise! You knew I wouldn’t go without at least one post on Shahrukh Khan in my wedding blog! Even if that means some sort of a force-fit. Some will find the title interesting and chance upon this read, some will read out of a similar kind of love, most will read because they love me and every piece I scribble, some will still snigger and think “she just always has to overdo it”. Some will even read it because now with Raghuram Rajan solving for fiscal worries and rapists being dealt with, they have very little to criticize and thrash, on their Facebook updates. In times like these, there is always SRK or a fan of his somewhere, to corner. Which proves, once again, love Him or hate Him, His name will get you there!

These buzzfeed posts which dole out hosts of hilariously appropriate reasons why “a bong girl won’t marry you”, or “you shouldn’t marry before 30”, etc. got me thinking why they haven’t considered the SRK fans yet! If you have noticed the same trend as I have, girls who love SRK find it that much harder to be swept off their feet and are a lot less likely to be found blushing in romance. Like Lily had explained in “How I Met Your Mother”, in every marriage/ relationship, there’s a ‘reacher’ and a ‘settler’. Allow me to tell you why you will always remain the guy who the SRK-lover “settled for”. And these dont even cover the cliches.Image


You can’t get your knees bruised, lips bleeding, back injured and arm broken… All in pursuit of your lady love.

You can’t look ridiculously cute while dancing in an oversized, turquoise blue pant-suit. Hell, you won’t even wear one for her!

You can’t run like Rahul in a trench-coat, on that bridge to get to Anjali’s summer camp. That slow-mo run has got to be one of the sexiest few seconds on celluloid.

You’ll vie for her father’s attention and you’ll indulge in flattery to get him to like you. But you can’t be as indomitable as to exude the fatal charm in “Tumhare papa mujhko nahi jaante”!

You can’t be businessman enough to be the only saving grace of a failing project, by getting crores and crores to its profit bag. Something like this.


You can’t, your friends can’t, NOBODY can fall, somersault or skid like Shahrukh Khan in action sequences.

You can’t beat the devil out of a gang of well-fed, muscular Punjabi boys, just to get her father to say “Iss ladke se zyada pyaar, tujhse aur koi nahi kar sakta.”

There is nothing that will ever come out of your mouth about a sport, that can ever overshadow the “sattar minute” locker room pep-talk.

You can’t get even Spaniards of the rarest descent to say the word “Senorita” in a way that makes you go jelly in the knees!

You can’t make mustard fields stand out as a thing of astonishing beauty by just holding your arms out and standing in the middle of one.


One leg twists inward on the toe, the other one stretched straight. The arms open up in perfect synchronisation, rising with just the right pace. Dimples flashing and those S-shaped eyebrows that get even the most pragmatic of us skip of a heartbeat. You got game to follow? I doubt it.

You cant train “rakshason ki sena” to win the hockey world cup; you can’t stop a moving train with your right hand, even in your superhero avatar; you can’t pass off as a college-goer at 42; you can’t play a retard and still look so desirable; you don’t have the sense of humour to laugh at yourself and retain the grace.

You haven’t successfully diffused 108 bombs without a bomb suit, because you’re not “the man who cannot die”!

You won’t appear for an unscripted interview on national television and be heard saying “I am Shahrukh Khan. Nobody intimidates me. And you can edit this line for the end of your show!”


Chapter 5: Reactions, reactions everywhere. Not one to be absorbed.

Note: We love our parents and will be at our civilized best around people who matter to them. Hence, I thought this page would be an appropriate outlet for me and the likes of me, who are getting prominent brow lines, keeping all the grievances of matrimonial reactions bottled up inside.

In all this inherent merriment and warmth and filial ties that reign our weddings, people don’t just stop at congratulating you on your decision to say yes to marriage. They actually take time out. To share their opinion, their excitement and give you feedback buttressed with the index finger wagging near your nose. Speculating aunties and the slightly sordid older cousins tend to bask in some sort of perverse pleasure, reminiscing over old, embarrassing stories which should have been discarded ages ago and not held so close to the heart.

1. The most (in)famous one, most likely to take place in a big room full of half-strangers:
“Really? *gasp* That little girl we knew is getting married? The same one who had peed on my lap at her rice ceremony? *laughs*”
(Me, aside: That’s right. Your seemed so hollow, I confused you with the pot I normally used.)

2. “Oh my! How grown up you are (look of genuine disbelief)! I have seen you as a baby girl!”
(Because it’s okay for you to age into a hag and be victim to arthritis, but for me to grow up to a regular 26 year old? My! That must REALLY be shocking!)

3. “You’re so tiny! Are you sure you’re old enough for marriage?!”
(No, my parents were so bored, they decided to execute child marriage so they could party in jail!)

4. “Gosh, how fragile you are! Don’t worry about being skinny, though. Once you’re married.. *Sheepish grin*.. That will be taken care of!”
(Really? How? Does biology prove that marriage will bloat me up? Or is your word holier than science? If sex (implied) made me fat, then isn’t it a damn shame that the lack of it didn’t make YOU at least lean?)

5. “Now that you’re getting married, in a couple of years we will be playing with your cute little babies!”
(Sure. Because the whole agenda of my life is to provide you with entertainment that will put me through shit, make me fat, give me sleepless nights and a life of parental imprisonment!)

6. “Lose the shorts. You’ll be a married woman soon!”
(My legs don’t scream out “C.E.L.L.U.L.I.T.E.” unlike yours. How about you lose all that bling? You’ll be low-cost sagging antique soon.)

7. “Have you started with your fortnightly facials, hair spa and other grooming sessions yet? You must! I know of this bridal package which…”
(Oh god, stop! I live with my fiancé, for the love of vanity! And even if I didn’t, the whole point of marrying someone you’ve known for years is that they talk to your blemished face and rough hair every day, without appearing even remotely concerned about either.)

8. “In all his pictures, your fiancé has a drink in his hand. Does he drink a lot? Why don’t you stop him?”
(Let us all take a minute to laugh at the innocent fancies of aunties who believe that the men of today are waiting to be told to stop, in order to really stop doing what they absolutely will.)

9. “You are so lucky. Your fiancé cooks and cleans!”
(Yes, because he wasn’t brought up to sit on his posterior like a princely Bengali Boy, who gets passed on as an impaired baby from doting mother to doting wife.)

10. The most offensive one:
“XYZ has the best insurance schemes. ‘X’ premium for ‘Y’ sum assured, blaahh. It’s about time you got that done. It even offers “spouse coverage”!
(This one, in particular, is downright unsettling. So you’re saying that all my twenty six years of toil which included heartbreaks, broken dreams, adolescence, laborious academics and thankless junior management jobs, never qualified me enough to insure my health/ life, as much it does now that I’m about to sign a few legal papers of lifelong bondage? There has got to be greater suspension of logic in this than in Chennai Express, the film.)



Chapter 4: Bridal Brigade

So they say I’ll need someone to hold my dress up when I have to pee! Or someone to pin the fringes back when my hands are covered in mehndi. Or someone to feed me the bite-sized kebabs while I keep my hands clean and ready to greet with. And hence, bridesmaids. However, with brides like me who evolve into monsters as they inch closer to the wedding, the role of bridesmaids is moving over to ones more pressing, that are beyond mere sweet gestures as mentioned above. The challenges are way bigger and nerves are constantly stepped on. Which is why I have carefully hand-picked my army which consists of those who I don’t run the risk of losing, even after the ‘Bridezilla’ state that I have the potential to attain.

Swati is my first cousin, though nothing short of a sibling. As a little girl, every grown-up, girly intricate detail I’d flaunt the knowledge of, around my awed classmates, was to be credited to her. Miral is married to my brother and to my need for an all-time girlfriend, for years now. Sometimes I feel like I’ve known her all my life. Much as I love these two girls, I will always hold it against them for having abetted my wedding! Watching me being the only one in this sorority living the blissful spinster life, Swati& Miru couldn’t wait to add that sense of belonging in me, it seems. For much over a year now, Swati has been driving past Falguni Peacock’s store and Miru has been smiling past pages of Sabyasachi’s published work, anticipating the impeccably turned-out Maids of Honour that they must look, at my wedding! Equally fervently have they been saving references on their laptops and newspapers clippings in their drawers, of bridal trends and looks that could inspire me. All this, apart from the regular pampering, smothering and planning for the bride-to-be. However, what most significantly makes them my Maids Of Honour, is their wise discretion of exactly which relatives and acquaintances I would like a safe enough distance from and which ones to be immediately dragged away to the food counter. They will know exactly how to stand like a wall between sermonizing ninnies and the irritable person that I’m gradually becoming! They’ll make up for all the fake-smiling and forced hospitality that I know I will nonchalantly avoid.

What follows is the ability of my “Sensational-Six” to keep themselves equipped with super-powers, even at the mere possibility of a break-down. Tried and tested. Presenting, my set of Bridesmaids& Bridesmen. As individuals and in unison, they are your quintessential picture of a perfect bridal brigade- with style, wit, spontaneity, efficiency and warmth, all blended together in just the right proportions.

Shruti- because she is the pro-active patronage. She will have figured out my snappy state of mind from a totally unrelated, 3-word long sentence I posted on a common friend’s Facebook update. And she will know just how to deal with me from there on. On D-Day she will remain within a distance where I can always make eye-contact with her, so she knows what exactly I’d like.

Toy- because she is my social police. She will, just like she always does, keep a check on my degree of meanness. She will imbibe a sense of politeness in me and insist that I be as civil with the guests as a presentable bride should be. All this guidance, while she will deftly dish out my lipstick from her purse and touch it up with utmost discretion and poise.

Megha- because she will know where to find me “mishti” from when I’m whining from my midnight sweet-craving. She will know that while everyone else will have wisdom to dispense, she can just quietly smile her way into finding me inner peace.

Maurice- because humour is the best medicine for a nerve-wrecked bride. The unique gift of pulling off a faux-pas with aplomb and the knack of placing her foot straight in her mouth with great poignancy, has made Maurice my favourite in-house comedian who doesn’t even charge more than a rounded Bengali meal and a few ‘puchkas‘ after. Irrespective of whether or not she achieves her dream of getting me on NDTV’s “Band Baaja Bride”.

My 2 sole bridesmen:
Rishav- He has a whole plan turned out to make my sangeet a grand one, all in the little time that he gets between juggling two business holdings and a large family. From allotting performers to songs, to designing the theme, to the overall presentation, he will be on top of his game and will have put all of his other appointments on hold because “Amba’s sangeet” will be his priority. And when the infamous bridal lows hit me, he will flash that electric smile and I’ll know how to pull along.

Utsab – my evil twin. He won’t try to rationalize my anxieties, he won’t try to calm me down, he will look just as unsure as I do. He will share the panic, pass me a half-lit cigarette and direct my gaze on the hottest guy in sight. While we both feast our eyes on the hottie, together, Utsab will utter one line, so packed with logic, I will be hallucinated into believing his every pacifying word.

Luckily, for my parents& brother, they won’t have to worry about juggling attention between me and the teaming masses attending my wedding. While they can serve the latter the refreshments and good cheer that they’re known for, my brigade will, fortunately, support the sanctity of the space I will constantly need!