Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Musings of an 'Unsettled' Heart

When you belong to a typical Punjabi family- family get togethers and functions become a norm. Another thing that becomes a norm? This question- "Why don't you settle down now?"

Ever wondered why they refer to getting married as 'settling down'? Because you got to settle. You got to compromise. You got to make peace with living the ordinary life. For some of us, who are lucky, getting married may not exactly translate to 'settling'. But for the rest of us, it does!

Very recently, one of my cousins, who has just turned 25, decided to start 'bride hunting'; much to my shock and dismay. But well, his life- I thought to myself! However, my relatives and family had a different take on it altogether. "He's 25 and already thinking of settling down. Look at you." exclaimed one of my aunts. "You should get married now; else when'll you have kids" said another one.

The entire situation put so much mental pressure on me that I started to contemplate if I was the one 'wrong' here. I wondered if this is the so called 'ideal' age to 'settle' and I was just being a rebel- because clearly my relatives did have me labelled as the 'black sheep'. By the twist of fate, surprisingly, around the same time, I met a guy who seemed a lot into me. Let's call him Mr. Maggi Noodles! Why? Because he literally fell in love with me within 2 minutes of knowing me!

So, Mr. Maggi was caring, gave me a lot of attention, made me his priority and also 'claimed' to be in love with me. As a Capricorn, I have my own set of trust issues, so I always thought there has to be a catch. From my parent's perspective though, he was the perfect son-in-law material- pretty well settled financially, extremely religious and influential. Even though I had no feelings for Maggi, I decided to take things forward, because of the fear of missing the bus! And of course, Mr. Right didn't seem like he was coming around, so I decided to 'settle' for Mr. Right Now.

Now, just to give you a little perspective, in my entire 'short term' dating history- never have I ever been interested to go out with someone on a second date (Still surprised about the number of dates with Mr. E!). But with Maggi, I decided to go on a second date. Did I like him enough for a second date? No. He was pompous, arrogant, rude, seemingly selfish and spoke excessively about 'the power of money'. But i still gave him a second chance, a second date. Why? Because I was willing to settle.

Some days later, however, when I came to my senses, and shrug off the idea of 'settling'- I decided to say goodbye to Mr. Maggi, who as it turned out was never in love with me to begin with, but wanted to get into my pants. After blocking him across social media, I wondered what the fuck had gotten into me- that I was willing to settle for someone who I was certain I would never like or love. Maybe I was giving up way too much, too soon. Maybe I was willing to 'settle' when my heart was 'unsettled'.

In all honesty, what Mr. 25 year old Cousin does with his life is his decision; and what I do with mine, is mine- solely. Yes I want to get married, but I do not wish to 'settle'. The quest for Mr. Right, can be exhausting and daunting, but my heart isn't willing to settle- just not yet! So I'm giving myself, one last chance, one last guy- one that I'm certain is Mr. Right, even though he says he isn't! But who knows what the future holds. We can only keep the hope alive!

So here's to all of you out there, with an 'unsettled' heart like mine- don't settle for someone who doesn't make you laugh. Don't settle for someone whose principals and values you don't agree with. Don't settle for someone who you don't want to come home to, every single night!

If you do however, have to settle, settle for those small little imperfections in your Mr. Right (when you do find him), that make him who he is. Soon, those will be the imperfections you fall for! My 'supposed' Mr. Right? I'm already halfway in love with him to even take notice of any imperfection! He's impeccable!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Finding Mr. Right

The truth of the matter is, that you wouldn't know what real fun is unless you've been bar-hopping around town with the girls. Gulping down LIITs one after another, exchanging flirtatious glances with that charming guy across the bar, and dancing to songs you can hum along- all while wearing your cute LBD and having your girl gang by your side- is a high like no other!

I've been truly blessed with some wonderful girl friends! And girls night out is more like a holy ritual- one that constitutes endless chit chat, checking out men, and talking about Mr. Right! This time around, the talks about Mr. Right began, thanks to my cheekiness.

Dancing on peppy Bollywood numbers, it wasn't long before the cute guy on the table close by caught my attention. We exchanged a few glances before he got up and started dancing closer to me. Suddenly feeling butterflies in my stomach, I couldn't help but notice his smile as he tried to come closer, all while keeping his dance moves on! It was fun to say the least. However, in all honesty, I don't know what I was expecting from this impromptu rendezvous; and I was kind of surprised when Mr. Cuteness walked over and asked me for my number. What surprised me more though; was that I refused to give it to him.

Now, now, now! This has never happened before. I've literally exchanged numbers with guys at restaurants and bars before; sometimes even in the washroom queues; other times even with drunk girls who I end up befriending. So this 'No' came as quite a shocker- to me, and the girls.

On the way back, when all us girls were in the car- Alia decided to break the silence by asking the unavoidable- "Why didn't you give the Red Shirt guy your number?" she exclaimed! My answer was pretty clear and straightforward. Having recently met someone who I really like, and who I honestly believe to be Mr. Right; I don't want to flirt around with men and just want to focus all my energies and efforts on the one I really do like.

This sparked the debate about how to spot Mr. Right. How do you know someone is Mr. Right? How do you know you've found him?

As per Alia, who is currently in  a committed relationship, yet has set an year-end deadline for getting married keeping 3 very well thought options in mind- Mr. Right is someone who loves you, and prioritizes you. Dia, who's always running into fuckboys, defines Mr. Right as someone who doesn't look at her as a sexual object and genuinely cares for her and likes her. Anjali, who is bitten by the 'Bollywood Bug'- just like our very own Mr. E; expects violins and guitars to magically appear in the scene when Mr. Right walks into her life. And she definitely expects butterflies in her stomach.

As per me? I told the girls that anyone can give you butterflies in your stomach. But Mr. Right is someone with whom you feel at peace with. Mr. Right is someone who you can be yourself with; someone who lets you be, and doesn't try to change you as a person. When you hug him, and you feel at home in his arms- that's when you know he's Mr. Right.

I do agree with the girls to some extent though- Mr. Right has to essentially love you back, though he can have priorities of his own, just like you do. And he has to genuinely care for you, though I'd prefer him sexually objectifying me too. Violins and Guitars? As Eric Segal rightly puts it- True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.” 

So excuse me while I go mull over if my 'supposed' Mr. Right thinks I'm right for him. Meanwhile, let me know what are your thoughts? Have you found your Mr. Right yet? How do you think you'll spot him?

Monday, 14 August 2017

Men and their Sexpectations

Story Credits- My dear friend Natashaa

Everything else aside, if there's one term, all of us millennials need to be aware of right about now, it's this- "Sexpectation"

As per Urban Dictionary, it is "The state of anticipating or expecting sexual intercourse from a social encounter, be it a date, a party, or a booty call. It describes a period of optimistic waiting that is just shy of a sure thing."

Funny, isn't it? How men always ask you to keep your expectations at bay and make it seem like absolute blasphemy even when you expect them to text you back; yet have no problems with sexpectations on their part! How ironic! 

Let me give you a slight example here. Let's go back to Mr. A, Mr. B, Mr. C and Mr. D from the 'First Date Shenanigans' piece. 

Not too long ago, Mr. A fell for me. I told him I wasn't interested but he insisted on being friends. In a matter of a couple of days only, he grew extremely fond and protective of me. Later that week, thinking it was harmless, I agreed, when he insisted on tagging along with me and my friends for a short vacay. Turns out, this new 'friend' of mine, had 'sexpectations' and was extremely disappointed when he found out that I didn't want to sleep with him, to the extent that he tried to force himself and asserted  "not everything will happen as per your liking" Surprised? I was too! 

Another classic case; Mr. B, who i went out with just once, that too ages ago- hasn't given up on his 'sexpectations' till now! I wonder why! I have already told him multiple times that I'm not interested in him and that my heart is set on someone else.I'm never going to magically wake up wanting him. But somehow, Mr. B doesn't stop trying. He still thinks someday he'll have me. Even as I write this, he's texting me, asking me to give it a try! How men love the chase!

Talking of Mr. D- he was really nice, in the sense that we never really got beyond his boring book reviews and courtroom drama to actually discuss his 'sexpectations'! I've been lucky in that case because I not only despised him, but, considering the man hated furniture, I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to live up to his 'sexpectations' anyway!

The truth is, and this is just my opinion, half of the men with sexpectations, these days can't handle rejection. In all honesty, even some women can't. But if today a guy tells me he's not interested in me, and I should move on, in all likelihood I would move on and not want to stay 'friends' with him. Men, on the other hand, think it's a great idea to try to be friends with someone who doesn't want to be romantically involved and/or sleep with them because that gives them an opportunity to chase her until she changes her mind. They think that being around and available will make the woman sleep with them. So they're usually like-

"Oh you have a broken heart?- Sleep with me"
"Oh did your cat die?- Sleep with me"
"Oh, you fought with your friends?- I'm here, sleep with me"
"Fling before the ring? - Sleep with me"

And then they act surprised if the woman doesn't want to sleep with them.

The other half, have this sense of entitlement. And don't get me wrong, but i guess it stems from the way they've been brought up- gotten every toy they asked for as a child so now they need every woman they lay eyes on! Sadly, it doesn't work that way! As a man, you're not 'entitled' to sleep with any woman you pick, unless she says she wants to!

So dear men, stop having these 'sexpectations' if you have to force them down our throats. If sex is all you want, be upfront about it. If we want it too, we will say it and it'll be a win-win. If not, let it go. Deal with rejection. Deal with the fact that there's a woman out there who doesn't want to sleep with you. Don't try to constantly change her opinion about sleeping with you. She's a woman, not a conquest or a mission that you're trying to accomplish.

I'm lucky to have escaped from Mr. A! But it's time, we as women, realize that we can't trust every 'sexpecting' person wanting to be friends. It's time, we stick to the friends we already have and stop trying to make friends out of those men we don't like back, as a charity case! That's what I'm going to do! I'm going to cut all ties with Mr. B starting right now. And that's how, finally, Mr. A, B, C and D's tales come to a wrap! Who knows, you'll probably be hearing about Mr. E next! Or Mr. Right! Or maybe they'll be the same guy.. Or two vastly different guys.. Life is full of surprises.. And so am I!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Romance, Love, Dating, Sex- the whole shebang!

Very recently, with some help from a mystery man (let's call him Mr. E), I discovered my love for pairing wine with ice cream and there has been no looking back ever since. This weekend, weight gain concerns aside, I decided to spend the night with Zareen indulging in girl talk and my new found love for the wine-ice cream combo! Like any other girls night, it was a typical session of boy bashing, fuckboy tales, talks about cute guys and the men who have our hearts. Of course, diets, yoga, dance classes, recipes, travel plans, other girls, were discussed too; but the focus remained on men and their moves.

Talking of Zareen- she had gotten casually involved with this guy called Vicky recently, whom she had met through a popular dating app only a month or two back. It was going nice for them- No strings, low expectations, and lots of fun! In all honesty, freshly having dealt with a heartbreak, that's what Zareen wanted anyway. However, it's never so simple, is it? 

As days passed, Vicky began to involve Zareen in parts of his life. He made her meet his friends. He started sending her mushy texts. And basically, in more than a few words, told her about how this was more than just sex. Now I get it- he was probably just confused; or perhaps he wasn't giving much thought to what he was saying because he wanted things to continue the way they were going. Zareen on the other hand, picked up all his very obvious signs, and started to think if he thought more of her. Already nursing a broken heart, this girl started to sew pieces together, just because she thought Vicky genuinely liked her and wanted to be with her. What did Vicky do? Fed her assumptions and and expectations just so that the sex doesn't stop!

I looked around and understood, how common this was. What do men do to continue sleeping with women they don't probably even like? They feed lies to them- lies women want to hear.

"You're the one I love"
"I see a future with you"
"It isn't just about the sex"
"You're important to me"
"I can wait for you all my life"
"You're the one I want to get married to"

Do I even need to mention how wrong that is?

So here's my advice to all the MEN out there-

1. Don't lead someone on. Make your expectations clear in the very beginning. If sex is all you want, be upfront. If the woman wants the same, win-win. If not, part ways.

2. Don't lie or sugarcoat your words. Never confuse 'I want to fuck you' with 'I like/love you'. If getting into her pants is what you're looking forward to, don't say ' I can't wait to make love to you'. No matter how similar that stuff sounds in your brain, it's vastly different. There's a difference in being polite, and in making someone believe like you want to be with them- forever.

3. Be a man, leave her be. If you're not interested in someone, tell them clearly. Don't say 'let's see where this goes'! Tell them it's going no where.

4. Don't introduce her to your friends, family, colleagues etc, or involve her in any decision making about your life, if you only think of her as a 'booty call'. That qualifies as misleading.

5. Lastly, do not, i repeat, absolutely do not make a girl fall for you, unless you have an intent to catch her. Love is not a joke. Heartbreaks are real. Women are people with real feelings, and usually, sex is more emotionally involving for us, than it is for men. So if sex is all you want, don't make it seem like you like her or love her.

And my advice to WOMEN?

Don't fall for the lies. Learn to read through the lies. And when you do meet someone nice, genuine and someone who is really into you- still be cautious. Because you know what sleeping with that guy is going to do to your heart and mind!

And remember, the only reason why you should do it with someone, is because you want to. And it's completely possible and sane to want to do it with someone you have no emotional connect with. It's also fine to want to do it with someone who you feel for, even though they may not be in the same headspace as you. Just don't go out giving pity fucks. It's a choice you make, a conscious one, make sure you don't regret it.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

First Date Shenanigans

Story Credits- My dear friend Natashaa

Going through a magazine's Facebook page, I stumbled upon an article titled "6 tell tale first date signs that he likes you". Having recently been on a couple of 'first dates'; I decided to explore what the piece of writing said. As I clicked on the article, in the 10 seconds that it took to load- my mind raced and I thought of the guys my first dates have been with. I also thought about my self- judgments about them and if at the end of the date I did think they were interested or not.

In all honesty, once I was done with reading the article, I was more confused than before. Let's say I went out on a 'first date' with 4 different guys in the past year (Bad Stats- I know!). Guy A was nice to me, tall, and was pally with my friends too when we accidentally bumped into them. Guy B was again, nice to me, tall, smelled great and knew how to shake a leg. Guy C was very sweet, had the cutest smile, seemed extremely genuine, aside of being nice to me. Guy D was extremely smart and sensible, and his voice would melt a woman's heart in  seconds. Mr. A, however, was arrogant, pompous and rude. Mr. B? self centered. Mr. C had the most distracting eyes- the kind that make you forget what you wanted to say. Mr. D was boring.

While all guys had their pros and cons, I felt a strong need to understand and decipher, at least for the sake of my fellow girlfriends out there trying to decode their first dates what sort of signs to look for to understand if the guy is interested in you or not. Here's what is my combined learning from the article, Mr. A, B, C and D as well as my own dating experience.

1. No two guys are the same. I thought if my date liked me they'll probably kiss me at the end of the date. Truth is, Mr. D was in love with me already when we first met. But did he try to kiss me? No. How sometimes, we as girls, feel scared or skeptical of letting off our feelings too soon; some men too, if they genuinely like you, won't want to make you feel like they're only in for the physical aspect of it. So no matter how much he wants to kiss you, sometimes he would not do it- maybe he won't get the perfect moment, or maybe he'd want to wait and take it slow so you trust his intentions.

2. Men can be sweet in their own way. Mr. B got me chocolates, Mr. D sang me the sweetest song. But who was the one that made me feel really special? Mr. C, since I knew he was really busy and he went out of his way to make time for me. Don't get me wrong here. I know making time for your date is a pre requisite and not really an additional thing. But, efforts count, efforts always count. When someone takes initiatives and texts first, or calls you out of the blue- it's always appreciated and rarely ever goes unnoticed. 

3.The rush factor. In my experience, good things take time. Patience indeed is a virtue and you absolutely can't be rushing something that you want, to last forever. If your date has discussed how he can't wait to take off your dress- please run away. In all likelihood, he's either only interested in sleeping with you or is extremely desperate to find someone who gives him even a tad bit importance. Lucky for me, I caught Mr. A's intentions early on.

4. The time factor. Did he have to cut the date short due to an emergency phone call? Most likely, he's not into you. Unless there's a real emergency, it's just a lame excuse when he says his room-mate is depressed or his mom is awake waiting for him. Don't fall for that. Be smarter than that. However, if he says he'll only be able to spare an hour even before you meet, that means he's most likely planning out an exit strategy- meaning I'll leave in an hour if I don't like you. So if he sticks around for longer, you know where you stand.

5. Follow up. It's been more than two weeks and he still hasn't called or texted? Of course he could be busy, buried under a rock or even dead. But what will it take for you to move on? Remember, if a guy is into you, you will see some efforts or initiatives from his end. If he doesn't try to reach out to you, in all likelihood, he doesn't want to. Please gather whatever is left of your self respect and move on.

So all in all, the bottom line is that men will be men. There would be no definite signs to be honest; because most of the times, they themselves are confused about what they want.I still haven't been able to decode all the 4 guys i mentioned above. However, the above factors may be considered to be as pointers to follow on your next 'first date'! My next 'first date'? I have decided to take a break from 'first dates'; because I'm still distracted by those eyes I mentioned about. Maybe one day, I'll find myself, lost in them. So long. Happy Dating :)

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.