Sunday, 23 July 2017

Of Life, and Deadlines

Inspiration- My Girlfriends :)

The best part about family dinners? Food. The worst? Relatives.

At one such family dinner, while I was gorging on my absolute favorite cheesecake for dessert; and thanking god for helping me get through the night and reaffirming my belief in him- one of my uncles, for some reason, thought it was appropriate to yet again bring up the subject of marriage. My cheesecake, suddenly seemed to have lost all its sweetness and flavor.



Sometimes I wonder how, and why, as a society, we're so obsessed with the idea of "A happy married life"! I wonder, if that's all people want? Is it everything? Is it the natural progression in life? Like a thing you have to cross off your to-do list? And if yes, then why?

We all set personal goals. Mine usually revolve around vacationing or something new that I'd like to learn. But there are people, some friends of mine too, whose lives revolve around the idea of the perfect marriage. Their personal goals? Study, work, get married, have kids! But if they scout for answers deep within their own self; I wish to know if that's what they really want? And if yes, is that 'all' that they really want? Is the idea of a "Happily Ever After" so appealing that we're just following the herd and not focusing on what we really want or how we really want to live? Or is it that we have been conditioned to believe so and because of that we're unable to think straight and focus on our real wants?



Talking to a dear friend Suman the other night, I realized we all are in the same boat. We all, marriage obsessed or not, want the same thing. Men, women- single, married, dating or just sleeping around; irrespective of their relationship status tags, and most certainly irrespective of their age and social status- deep within, all of us, are looking for someone to fill the emptiness in our hearts. Someone to call our own, someone to love, someone to be loved by, someone who we can belong to, someone to effortlessly hang out with, someone we can be completely ourselves around and someone who can fix us!



Some of us seem to think marriages help us find that 'someone'! We think that marriages lead to love. So we give that a try! Works at times, and doesn't at times- but hey, at least we try! Then there's another set of us- we know we're not emotionally available, so we 'keep it casual' and keep hooking up with different people until we find that someone who can fix us. And then there's a small group of us- who look for that 'someone' in every person we meet, only to be disappointed over and over again- yet we never give up. We have faith, so we wait, patiently, while the society mocks us and asks us to quickly find someone and get married. If only, it was so easy.



I feel, as millennials, no matter which of the above categories we belong to, we lead very comfortable lives in general. We portray ourselves to be strong, happy, content and in a very comfortable and fun space. And sooner than later, in the process of convincing others about how amazing and fun and comfortable our lifestyles are, we start believing the same too. We don't feel like we're missing something or there's a need for 'someone' in our lives. But the truth is, there is. And what we do crave right now, is a little discomfort.

The discomfort that stems from someone checking up on you- if you got home safe, if you remembered to take your medicines, if you got that promotion at work. The discomfort that stems from making time to catch up, putting in efforts to be liked by someone's friends and family. The discomfort that comes from putting together the ingredients for that one home cooked meal. Whether or not you realize it, that is the discomfort you crave. The discomfort that comes from companionship. Life isn't meant to be lived alone- that's true- and I guess deep inside we all know it.



However, being pro-companionship doesn't mean I'm pro 'forced marriages with deadlines'. Having said that, to each their own. But in my personal opinion, don't get married because you have to, or because you've reached a certain age, or your cousins and friends are getting married or because your biological clock is ticking. Get married only, if and when, you find that person who you're willing to take up discomfort for.

Maybe we need to change our mindsets, and be honest about what we're looking for. And that's love and companionship, and not Marriage essentially. Once you find love, marriage can come after- if you like. So go out, date, or don't date, approach people you like or meet your perfect match the arranged marriage way- but just don't settle because someone told you- "you should have been married by now"! Me here? I'm just gonna wait for Mr. Right; who seems like he's coming around 'sooner'!





Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Heart Wants what it Wants

‘It’s a funny world out there!’- I thought to myself while sipping on my passion fruit ice tea at my favourite café. The couple sitting across from my table seemed unusually imbalanced – romantically I mean. The guy seemed like he was in love with the miss who constantly kept asking him about the next expensive gift he’d buy her or the next restaurant where they should be going on their next date. I could literally feel the guy’s pain and disappointment as he tried to make some genuine conversations, only to be shut down. I wondered why he was with her. I wondered what made him stick around. She wasn’t the prettiest of girls to be honest, and her dressing sense pretty much sucked (who wears full- flared calf length skirts to cafes?). To add to that, she seemed barely interested in him or what he had to say.

Thinking of them brought me back to my own self. What was I doing? I’ve been forever hung over this one guy who probably doesn’t even think of me like once a month. But in my mind, he’s this perfect guy who I’m convinced is ‘the one’. How many perfectly nice, decent guys have I passed on over the past few months because of this guy who can’t find a fuck to spare, you ask? Let’s say it’s a number I can’t count on my fingers.



Discussing the same subject with my friend Alice the other day, I realized she was in a similar situation too. She too was waiting on a guy, as she thought things were going in a good direction- but it was probably all in her head. He apparently responded to her texts in monosyllables and almost always turned down Alice’s attempts at hanging out. And on the other end, Alice had a long queue of men, waiting to hang out with her, asking her out, vying for her attention and showing immense interest in her. But who was Alice interested in? The guy who couldn’t respond to her texts in complete sentences.



Why does this happen to the best of us? Why do we set our hearts on this one person out there, irrespective of what they feel for us? Why do we choose to live in this self- created fantasy land instead of the real world where love and relationships are a two way street? Why does unrequited love exist at all? Has practicality died? Perhaps it has.

Maybe the answer is that we don't wanna walk the two way street, we don't wanna be in the real world because the fantasy one is safer. It is yours and only yours, nobody can take it away from you. This brings up to mind the theme of Karan Johar's latest film, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, where incomplete love is complete in itself. In one of the dialogues of the film it said that this love is not divided between two people so only one person owns it, and that's what makes it beautiful. Hopelessly romantic? Perhaps. But if love is not that of the person, and hence not of one's interactions with that person, but that of the beauty as Plato famously puts it in his Symposium, then surely there is more beauty to be found in the fantasy land than in practical approach to love that is so much needed in the cold reality of today's world. 



Reminds me of another friend, who fell for this girl, who would make him run errands all day, but would laugh it off if he asked her out on a date. Horrible- if I think of it. What must the guy be going through?

The truth is, when we like someone, or we have a crush on them, or fall for them- we can’t differentiate between what’s right and what’s wrong. And we somehow happen to celebrate the smallest things or gestures associated to the object of our affection. When my supposed Mr. Right texts me, it makes my day! Hell it makes my week! I lose the ability to decipher and understand that he just texted me, and it’s not a big deal. 10 other guys text me on an everyday basis.



But is it sane? Is it the right thing to do? Are me, Alice and the guy at the Café on the right path? I’m afraid the answer is No. It might seem like it’s fancy and very movie-ish to live in this fantasy land where you and your crush come together one day and sing love songs and dance around trees; but the truth is far from it. Because it holds us from moving on, from finding someone better, someone we deserve and someone who deserves us. It also hinders our personal growth.

Having said that, facts and figures aside, love is not a game of rights and wrongs. It’s above truth and lies and what lies in between. It’s above monosyllable texting and way above running errands for someone we like. So if you know, it’s love, don’t give up. Because as Chuck Bass once said- “you don’t give up in the face of true love, even if the object of your affection is begging you to!”



And of course, The heart wants what it wants. And my heart wants to wait till Mr. Right comes around. 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Dating Diaries


There’s nothing more mundane these days than sitting at family dinners and being asked about marriage plans. By now my answer is pretty much rehearsed- “We’re looking, let’s see when the right one comes along”; or I tend to stick with “Soon” if I’m not feeling particularly chatty. Sitting at one such family gathering recently, trying to escape all the marriage chit-chat, I decided to text this guy who I had recently started seeing, in order to escape my boredom.



As a rule of thumb, I do not date per se. It’s been a solid policy for several years now. It’s not just because I feel the men out there are not worth my time or attention, but also because with arranged marriage on the cards, there’s little room for the entire dating process. Also, I’ve never liked someone enough to date them. But with this guy, Rohit, everything seemed so perfect, that I thought I’d give it a go. I know sometimes, more often than not in fact, men like Rohit, are too good to be true. And that has been my personal experience as well. But the heart, was stupidly curious, and so I thought, let’s bend the rules a bit.



Rohit was a moderately decent looking lawyer who was not only well travelled but also well read. And boy, could he sing! And play the guitar! And shake a leg! And basically talk about anything under the sun. He was nothing short of perfect; until he was. As days passed, and I got to know Rohit a bit better, I realised why my anti-dating policy had really been intact all these years.
While seemingly perfect, there was a simple fact that was an absolute deal breaker in Rohit’s case. He was boring. Yes, at the risk of sounding extremely shallow, I couldn’t tell him that, but that’s what he was- Boring. 



Endless talks about the court room drama, and to add to that the talks about the extremely humdrum lives of the people involved in the cases- our discussions were usually a snooze fest. I was surprised at the regularity at which I had to listen to reviews of books and movies that I hadn’t even read or watched, nor did I ever intend to. I was also surprised at my own self for not being able to tell him how boring he was; and the level of patience that had suddenly decided to show up in me, was exemplary.



Long story short, I didn’t want to call someone boring and seem shallow while I break their heart for perhaps the vainest reason. So I decided to draw a little inspiration from “How to lose a guy in 10 Days” and voila. With help from a friend, and the movie, I decided to throw some tantrums and get dumped instead of having to face the consequences of telling him how boring I found him. And within 10 days, I was Rohit-free.



I’m sure there are many of you out there, not knowing what the right things to say are, when trying to break up. And my advice to you would be to not say anything at all, as long as it’s harmless. Sometimes, the truth can break hearts and break people. Not everyone is equally strong to hear things that you dislike about them. Sometimes the easier option is to get dumped rather than dumping someone for seemingly shallow reasons.

We all don’t know what our faults are. Maybe Rohit found me boring too, but refrained from saying the same just like I did. Who knows? The ultimate point is, that just like we all have our unique flaws, we also have unique tastes and quirks. My friend Sakshi doesn’t like men who are too tall. Raj, a colleague, recently stopped seeing a girl who he felt was extremely chatty. Mohit, another friend, didn’t click with a girl he was seeing because all she could talk about was fashion.


The truth is that in their own unique way, all of these people are perfect and they’ll find someone compatible to their perfect self. Till then, they may date tall, chatty or fashion savvy people, or they may not. But what they shouldn’t do is break hearts! So stay true to yourselves, but lie a little to others. And believe me, you can lose a guy in 10 days if you want, it does work, unlike in the movie! If you need help, get in touch ;)


Sunday, 16 April 2017

It's Complicated

Waking up late on a Monday morning and not having to show up at work has its own set of perks; for instance, you can enjoy your coffee sip by sip rather than gulping it down- and that, as all caffeine addicts know, is a divine feeling in itself.



After the usual shower, breakfast routine, I settled myself comfily on the couch with Cosmo in my hands and men on my mind.

Flipping through the pages, I stumbled upon one of my favourite sections- The Cosmo Quiz! In this particular issue, it was about finding out if the guy you’re dating is ‘the one’. “Interesting”- I thought to myself. With each question of the 5 question quiz, a different guy came to my mind.



1     The sweet ex, who I’m still friends with.
2     The touchy-feely green-eyed guy I recently went out on a couple of dates with.
3      That friend for whom my feelings come and go, like waves by the shore.
4      My Mr. Right, who disappears on me for weeks at a stretch.
5      And; the crazy yet charming tattoo artist I met at a party last week.



Trying to scout for some answers from my own self, I started to ponder- What if I had a choice to make? What if I was to choose one guy out of these 5? At least for the sake of the quiz! Let me tell you how supremely difficult a task that is. Because even though Guy 1 is sweet, he isn’t seductive like Guy 2. Guy 2, while seductive, isn’t someone I have a magical connection and a great rapport with, like I have with Guy 3. But Guy 3 is not someone I imagine myself spending a lifetime with. That I can only imagine with Guy 4; who is probably not as interested in me as Guy 5 is. Then again, Guy 5 is not really that sweet to me.

Bummer!



It’s a circle I think; one that I’m definitely trapped in. In all honesty, I don’t see either of these guys being “the one”. But then, with all these guys to occupy my mind, and my time- I haven’t even given the probable right guy the deserved chance. Whenever someone asks me out or I see someone potential out there; I somehow manage to come up with excuses like- “I’m not looking to date.” Or “I’m sorry, I don’t do this.” Or my perennial favourite “I just got out of a bad relationship, and I just need to focus on myself!” All these excuses could honestly be hash-tagged: #shitsinglepeoplesay

The truth is, I live in some sort of strange bubble where there’s a lot of hope. I think to myself on certain days that maybe Mr. Right would finally realize we’re meant to be and ask me out. On other days, I find myself going back to Kuch Kuch Hota Hai days, and think of how perfect a couple would me and the BFF make, if I could sustain my feelings for him and of course vice versa. And then; the charm of the tattoo artist allures me, but then I realise that things can only be steamy with the green eyed guy! I honestly never give a thought to getting back with my seemingly sweet ex, because that chapter’s closed; but the point remains the same.

And the point is- I’m not dating anyone, I’m not in love with someone, and I’m not even pining over someone; but my relationship status is still- “It’s complicated”. Strange, isn’t it? But relatable too, right?



When the world all across talks about Polyamory; us girls here are still trying to move on from the self-inflicted “It’s complicated” status. I wonder why we tag ourselves to that. I wonder if it has to do with the deeply instilled fear of commitment in us millennials. I wonder if it’s just a part of our nature to keep options open, until we absolutely have to make a choice. And when do we make that choice, really? When we finally have to give in to society’s pressure and opt for arranged marriages and succumb to the shackles of domestication, then? Maybe. But maybe not.


Give it a thought. A meaningful monogamous relationship is waiting for you out there- you just have to get rid of the “It’s complicated” tag, just like I have to. Polyamory is for another day maybe. Right now- get out that sexy dress, go on that date with the guy that wants to take out, have a good time. Who knows you might find “the one” on your next date? And give those 5 guys who’ve been running on your mind- a break! Trust me they’ve gotten tired of running, and you should move on too. Be Single, not complicated. You’re a girl, not a math problem.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Almost

I guess I was in 2nd grade, when one of my teachers emphasised the importance of learning the art of being fluent in the English Language. And honestly, there hasn’t been one day in my life when I’ve questioned her words. Touted as the Grammar Nazi of the group at times; I secretly, do enjoy, when friends and acquaintances reach out to me for drafting their mails, texts and what not.



English, as a language, is so beautiful in itself. The words, the phrases- I can’t think of a better language to express oneself; unless of course, if you’re a poet and Urdu is your forte- that’s a totally different ballgame altogether.

But well coming to the point; I recently watched this movie called- ‘Before We Go’- nothing special though. But it did make me wish and hope for a better climax for the story. It’s about two people, brought together by fate, who spend one eventful night to eventually fall for each other but still end up going their separate ways. How tragic is that?

And that made me wonder about all the tragic moments I’ve experienced in life. And I realised, that there’s been nothing as tragic as stories, chapters and moments of my life that have been left incomplete. Establishing a common pattern, I realised that the most tragic word of all time in the English language is- Almost.



I almost said goodbye to the job I hated. I almost told him I love him. I almost bought that dress I liked. I almost took that Goa vacay I’ve been planning. I’m almost done being friends with her. I almost told him the truth. We almost met. We almost fell for each other. I almost said yes.
Almost- when you’re there, but not quite; just not yet. The truth is, nothing causes more regrets in your life than ‘Almost’. It brings you face to face with what could have been. And it’s such a tragedy to be so close to what you want, and to see it slip away in front of your own eyes. We are often afraid, to make up our minds, and to take a stand. We don’t make choices that we need to, that we know are important to be made, in time. We take things for granted. We take people for granted. We take our own self for granted too. In this race called life, we forget to make time or take measures for things that matter the most in the long run.




And in the end of it all, when we reach the finish line, our life is nothing but a list of “What Ifs” and “Almosts”. And if that’s not a tragedy, I don’t know what is. So go out there, do the things you’e always wanted to. Check off those items on your checklist. Call back that old friend who has been trying to reach out to you. Stop doing what you dislike. Take chances, burn bridges, apologize, forgive, dance, fall in love, make friends, travel the word, do everything you want to- Live! Don’t ‘almost’ live. Don’t leave your story incomplete; because years from now on, when someone talks about you, they shouldn’t have to wish or hope for a better climax.


Friday, 10 March 2017

Mr. Right Vs Mr. Right Now

I’ve only ever been able to sustain one long distance relationship in my life; and that’s been with my BFF Piu. We can talk for hours and not feel any discomfort whatsoever and the fact that we haven’t seen each other in years, doesn’t change things one bit. In one of our recent late night conversations, we started thinking about this difficult choice we girls need to make; to choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.



Piu has been really lucky, to have found Mr. Right at the right time. Me, on the contrary, not so much. Always on the lookout for Mr. Right, I’ve successfully managed to turn down all the Mr. Right Nows that I have encountered over the years. I didn’t even give so much as a thought to the Mr. Right Nows- what if one of these men that I’ve turned down, was Mr. Right? You never know. I can’t say for sure.



But what I can say is- I’ve found someone recently who checks all the boxes; and surprisingly he’s much more than those ticks on my checklist. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a man and I could not be happier to have found someone like him. But even though he does seem like he is Mr. Right, probably the timing isn’t right, or he’s just not that into me- what do I know?

Screenshots started piling in our chat box, as me and Piu tried to decode my Mr. Right’s texts. “Why are women considered complex?” I thought to myself. While Mr. Right certainly does seem interested; he’s hot and he’s cold and he disappears for days at a stretch and forgets I exist. That doesn’t go down well with my attention seeking self (guilty as charged!). Piu’s suggestion was I tell him I like him, and ask him if he wants anything to do with me, else I should move on. But was it the right thing to do? Giving him an ultimatum of sorts? Would it be wise to show desperation? Having said that, I have already mentioned to him a couple of times how much I like him; but does that mean he absolutely has to like me too? Can’t I deal with rejection or just make peace with the fact that I’m not right for my Mr. Right? Clouded with thoughts and feelings, Piu and me decided to not pursue him anymore. Because for him to be Mr. Right, he has to stick around and feel the same way I feel; and feelings can’t be forced with an ultimatum.



But the problem is, that the moment you stop pursuing Mr. Right, you realise that Mr. Right Nows have piled up. So what do you do? Piu and me started discussing the possibility of a Mr. Right Now being Mr. Right. This one guy in particular, has been chasing me for days, and he has the cutest smile a man can have (very SRKish) ! What’s more? He treats me like I mean the world to him and has the nicest things to say. I could actually see him being Mr. Right- one day, some day!



So what would you do if you were me? Would you pine over Mr. Right and pray he realises what he’s missing out on, or would you go about your life with the more ‘available’ Mr. Right Now? Guess you could do both or neither at all. We as women, are conditioned to choose one! We overthink situations and force ourselves to decide even when not making a choice is also a choice we can make.



So I’m just going to take away the focus from my Mr. Right as well as Mr. Right Now and focus on myself for a bit. Who knows when Mr. Right decides to knock my door? Who are you focusing on- Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now? And don’t you forget- sometimes Mr. Right Now, may also be your Mr. Right. As Piu says, it’s all about timing. Gotta love the girl for her words of wisdom!




Monday, 6 March 2017

Fix You

Lying on my bed feeling miserable, for the 6th consecutive day, I started to wonder why I wasn’t able to shake off the flu. One thought led to another, and I began to think about everything that was going wrong in my life- I was losing friends (some of them, I don’t even think I should refer to as friends anymore); I was having troubles at work; I was not able to focus on writing; the guy I liked wouldn’t text me back; financial issues cropped up out of nowhere and to top it all I was extremely ill and had no energy whatsoever to even get out of the bed. These do sound like first world problems- but they were problems nevertheless.



I tried to deduce a pattern; and it wasn’t long before I arrived at the conclusion that all my problems would be fixed once things went back to normal between me and Kabir. Me and Kabir have a tendency to blow up the tiniest of problems, mix them up with our super inflated egos and just stop talking to each other till one of us tries to fix things! And it is my sincere belief, that every single time Me and Kabir stop talking to each other or fight about another one of our trivial issues- my world falls apart; nothing seems to work in my favour and my life basically becomes this big mess that I absolutely can’t deal with.



In a desperate attempt to get my shit together and ‘fix things’ that night, I texted Kabir telling him I missed him. But what good has ever come out of midnight texts and desperate attempts? Needless to say, Kabir was rather unflustered and didn’t think it was necessary to reply. 



What did I do next? I decided to fix my own self and stop my world from crumbling down around me. I decided to take matters into my own hands and not depend on someone else to ‘fix me’.In another week, I started to feel better physically and I was able to concentrate more on building my life. I didn’t regain the friends I lost because I didn’t want to. Sometimes people hurt you, but letting them go is the best decision you can make. The troubles at work finally came to an end. Work itself actually came to an end; and I got the necessary break I had been craving for. Before I even realised, everything started to fall in place, and fix itself. And what was it that was required from my end? Just a little bit of effort and faith in my own capabilities.



My life may not be the ‘ideal’ life or the one that’s the source of envy for a bunch of people out there. My style of living is not something a lot of you would actually conform with or relate to. But what will be common for you, me and everyone out there is that more often than not, in the past or in the present, we’ve based our happiness on someone else, we’ve given that someone else the power to rule over our emotions or to ‘fix’ us. But that’s wrong! The only person responsible for your happiness is you. Giving another person this responsibility is too much of a burden on them.

So as March sets in, I’m taking charge of my own life and deciding that every time things require fixing in my life, I won’t be thinking of Kabir or anyone else- I’ll take matters into my own hands and fix the shit out of them.


Here’s hoping, that you too remember, that the only person who can ‘Fix You’ is ‘You’!