Saturday, 9 December 2017

Of Strong Independent Women

There's one thing you should know about me (actually 3 things)! I categorise the people I go out with into 3 Groups-

  • Group 1- People I'm not very comfortable around- I drink wine- there's something about sipping it slowly, looking like the classy girl I am- that has made people fall in love with me in the past. (This is when I don't speak anything non-sensical)
  • Group 2- These are the people I'm comfortable around, so LIITs are what I order. If they don't serve it with straws, I get disappointed because then I gotta put in some effort into lifting the glass. (This is where I can decipher the shit I'm saying, but I say it nonetheless)
  • Group 3- The set of people who I love and adore and have an unbreakable bond with- I mix everything without a care. I also try other's drinks, or sometimes finish them up too! (Who cares what I'm saying or doing?)

Now, neither am I an alcoholic, nor is my tolerance towards alcohol very high. However, when it was date night with Mr. E, I decided to be courageous enough to order LIITs and officially put him in Group 2! What was next? 2 LIITs down, and endless hours of useless conversations and overeating which he decided to be party to- I decided I'm the strong independent woman who needs no man to hold her hand and help her down the dark alley of stairs. Result? I fell and hurt my ass!

Luckily for me, he decided to help me out and firmly held my hand while my drunk-hurt ass decided to sashay down the staircase. Now before you go aww, this is not about how nice Mr. E was that night. This is not even about how the drunk me hurt my ass because of a whim. And it's definitely not about what happened later in the story. This is about what being a "strong independent woman who needs no man" truly means.

Being strong- I associate it with being emotionally stable, knowing how to handle your emotions and yourself, and not just in front of people, but in front of the mirror itself. It doesn't have much to do with your physical strength, yet has a lot to do with being self aware and knowing your shortcomings and constantly working on the same. It's about being secure in your own skin. It's about knowing that you can survive anything and everything. Am I strong woman? Yes, very much- yet I'm still working on my shortcomings- trying to keep anxiety, paranoia and skepticism at bay- knowing that no matter what the storm brings if it comes, I can, and I will survive it.

Being Independent- Well, what is being independent if not self-sufficient? It has everything to do with knowing that you don't need anyone at all- man or woman- friends or enemies- to get by in life; realising that you are the creator of your own destiny. The thing about being independent is that it's like an addiction- enjoying your own company, having a life of your own, and living with the freedom of doing what you like, as you like, when you like! Am I independent? Hell yeah!

Not needing a man?- Always remember, you never need a man. You always want him. If you need him- you're not a strong independent woman. And this was my biggest realisation that night- I wanted him. 

Being a strong independent woman doesn't mean you have to be 'Ms Know It All' or 'Ms On my Own' and be a feminist of sorts. It can mean that you're an emotionally strong woman who is happy and content in her life but loves her man and his opinions and support nonetheless, even though she can survive without him. For instance, every time I need an opinion on a dress, I hit up Mr. E- but that's because I value his opinion, not because I trust mine any less. And trust me when I say this, there's immense strength and confidence in being a strong independent woman, who wants a man, yet doesn't need him as a matter of survival.

But every now and then, although, all us strong independent women, want to be reminded of the love and care and attention that we deserve; not because we need it but because it's a nice feeling to be loved, cared for, and appreciated. Sometimes, we would like to be kissed on the forehead (because let's face it, those are the best), or we'd like our men to hold our hand while crossing the street, or just tell us how beautiful our strength looks on us. So here's putting out feelers for Mr. E- and hoping for all the women out there, to be strong and independent- yet never hurting their ass in the process. And having said that, love your man, take the hand that he's giving you to hold- but love yourself more, and remember that when someone is being nice to you, it's not because they doubt your strength or independence.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Could I be wrong about Mr. Right?

As I stood on the rooftop of a popular bar in the city, with brooding eyes and endless thoughts about how currently things were going with Mr. Right- I couldn't help but think what the catch was! Finding myself stuck in a sort of 'too good to be true' situation yet again, I began to wonder if history was repeating itself. Was it possible? Could I be wrong about Mr. Right being Mr. Right? Or was it just my overthinking brain that was reflecting too much on the past yet too little on the present?

Contemplating sharing my concerns with Mr. Right, I wondered if I even had a leg to stand on when bringing up these so called 'concerns'- or were they just fragments of my brain working overtime to accentuate the effects of the past- just looking to fuck things up with Mr. Right?

Talking of the past, however, my 'too good to be true' situation was pretty typical of sorts. Girl meets Guy. Guy sweeps her off her feet- talks about the future and can't stop showering her with compliments. Girl falls for the Guy. Guy thinks of her as a won conquest- gives excuses about being busy at work hoping the Girl would be smart enough to get the hint- doesn't really have balls to man up and say he's done. Girl finally gets it. Slaps him. Gets over it. Moves on.

Did it hurt? Very much. Does it still hurt? No. But once bitten, twice shy. They say, the first rule of any relationship is to never let them change you. I concur. But what if it wasn't them, but the relationship that changed you? Those couple of months with 'Mr. Too Good to be true' not only made me a more cynical person, but also made me doubt even the sincerest of efforts made by Mr. Right. I started to look for motive behind each and every move Mr. Right made.

For instance, when he brought me presents!- I should have been happy because he's probably the first guy to do that for me- instead, I was doubtful. "Did he get the same ones for his other girlfriends? Is he trying to lure me into sleeping with him? Is it just the stuff that someone else gifted him and he just doesn't like it enough so wants to pass it on?"- Endless thoughts clouded my mind, yet I hugged him and thanked him because I honestly loved it all- but it was just hard to believe.

As time passed, I started to rubbish my disbelief and thought to myself if it was actually possible that he liked me? Sure, i could ask him directly, but Mr. Right isn't one to express feelings or give direct answers- so one's gotta let his actions do the talking. Yet as days passed, Mr. Right started to get extremely busy with work and that took me back to the past within no time.

Don't get me wrong- I'm all for people having their own space and I'm pro 'work first'. And anyone who knows me and my equation with Mr. Right, knows that I have an unrealistic level of faith in him so I know he won't lie or wrong me. But in that moment, all I could think of, was that one guy who used work as an excuse to bail on me. And as anxiety and PMS got the best of me one night, I decided to ask Mr. Right if he was done with me. He was probably surprised about my sudden outburst and didn't know what hit him.

How he responded to that isn't really important because like I said, he never gives direct answers. But what's important to note here is, that I put across my feelings and told him my past was the reason for my paranoia and anxiety. And I'd want you to know, that like me- you, Mr. Right and everyone else out there has a past too. And the fact of the matter remains, that no matter how hard we try, it will continue to haunt us. We all come with a baggage of our own. We all need someone to help us with that baggage. But no one can help you with your baggage unless you tell them it exists. Maybe Mr. Right will help me with mine. Maybe I'll stop being so cynical and trust his actions more. Maybe I'll understand that he's not that guy from my past. Maybe he's that guy who's genuinely into me and there's no 'motive' behind his efforts- like there's no 'motive' behind mine. Maybe with time, and a little bit of more reassurance I'd know about what baggage he brings, and I know I'd want to help him deal with his.

Until then, I'm going to keep my anxiety at bay. And I'm going to remember, just like I'd want you to remember- no two people are the same; just because some guy in your past was a douchebag, doesn't mean the one in your present is too. People who are cheated on in the past can get loyal partners. People who've been mistreated in the past, can find someone who thinks the world of them. And people like me, who've always been on the giving side of efforts, can find someone who puts in efforts for them- without an ulterior motive. So here's hoping Mr. Right isn't scared away by my 'baggage' and can help me unload it. And here's hoping all of us are 'baggage-free' super soon- because you can't get rid of the past but you can do away with the baggage! All you need is a little bit of help!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Labels, Titles and Desires of the Heart!

Talking to a colleague about one of his married friends, I realised there are people out there who cheat without guilt. Somehow, I had previously been oblivious to the concept- so this shocked me.
That night, talking to a close friend Priya over the phone, I asked for her opinion too. She wasn't as surprised as I was. Maybe it was the difference in our way of thinking- or the fact that she's been cheated on one too many times to be shocked by it anymore. But all this made me wonder, if commitment in today's date even meant anything? Or had it completely lost it's value? Or was it just me who laid so much importance on loyalty, while for others, it was just overrated?

Talking of Priya- she had entirely given up on the idea of commitment or labels. So she started out in a 'friends with benefits' arrangement with her childhood pal Ashish. Ashish who had very recently broken up, made no bones about the fact that this was exactly what he wanted. As time passed, Priya found herself wanting to talk to him about 'defining the relationship'!

What was she hoping the outcome would be? - She was maybe expecting him to tell her he liked her more than he let on, or it wasn't just about the physical aspect, or that their relationship actually meant something to him. What happened instead?- He decided to ignore the talk, conveniently.

Maybe it was because to him, what was between them, meant nothing. Or maybe he was commitment phobic, or hated the idea of labels! Or perhaps it was because Priya didn't directly ask him anything by putting her feelings forward and instead just vaguely mentioned if he was still in the same state of mind as when they started out.

But that night, talking to her, I tried to understand why was she looking to label her relationship. As per Priya, she was unsure about their status, and if or not she could see other people- and if Ashish would be okay with that. She wanted to be on the same page as him. I began to wonder if this was only Priya's problem or were me and all my other friends plagued too?

Why are labels and tags so important? What's all the talk about 'Defining The Relationship'? To me, personally, I would want to define mine so I'm able to introduce my man to the most important people in my life without him getting creeped out! And of course, when you're so into someone, you want to tell the whole wide world who they are! And why not! Also, being on the same page, relationship wise is important. But more importantly, don't our hearts determine our relationship statuses and loyalty levels rather than tags and labels?

If you start out with an intent to define your relationship just so you can assess whether or not you can see other people- isn't that intent wrong in the first place? And even though being on the same page is important; isn't it wrong to expect to know the other person's feelings before you express your own? Why can't we decide what we feel, independent of what the other person feels for us? Why are we so scared to put ourselves in that vulnerable spot?

My advise to Priya and to everyone out there who's in a nameless relationship of sorts would just be this- don't stress too much on labels and tags- let your heart decide that for you. Yes exclusivity is important and so is being on the same page, so that of course you don't stay loyal to the guy who got married in 2015. But then again, define your relationship for the right reasons; not because you're just curious what the other person thinks! Don't be scared to put your feelings out there- that's the only way to love a person known to mankind.

Another piece of important advice? Don't mince your words when it comes to having the talk. Men, and even women, are not mind readers or magical creatures who would understand what you mean without you saying it. Dropping hints is so 2007- we are not teenagers anymore and straight talk is the norm of the day!

Also, remember that even some married people cheat on their spouses and people in committed relationships also sometimes stray and end up cheating on their partners. Labels and Tags don't determine a happy committed relationship where no one cheats- it's all in the heart! I know I'm loyal to someone who I don't have a defined relationship with. Why? Because that's how I feel in my heart; and because luckily he didn't get married in 2015! Loyalty is a state of mind, and a decision taken by the heart- don't confuse it with relationship statuses!

Rise above the labels, and tags- but at the same time don't be fooled by a man wanting to have 'boyfriend' rights and privileges while not being man enough to acknowledge your presence in his life.

And anyway, till you find 'the one'- isn't defining any relationship just a little futile? Till then, just pay attention to feelings, and give the labels a rest!

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Grocery Shopping Saga

Life in the new city had more or less settled in. I finally stopped whining about not being able to make friends- by bonding with two fun colleagues, and making peace with alone time. Moving into the new house was 'challenging' to say the least- but the idea of setting up a household and staying by myself had appealed to me for quite a while now- so I had jumped right into this- with a lot of excitement.

Two days into the new house, I started to question myself. Why? Because the new house was smaller than my room back in my city! "Let's call it 'cosy' and make peace with it"- I thought to myself. Then came the weekend- and I decided to pay a visit to the supermarket to set up my house and kick things off! After loading up my cart with spices, utensils, buckets, baskets and all sorts of consumables; I picked up the most important thing- a bottle of wine!

After 5 hours of hopping around the supermarket, hunting for deals and discounts and stocking up on all the stuff that I convinced myself I needed, I finally proceeded to the billing counter. After seeing the billing amount, let's just say I was thankful for that bottle of wine I purchased!

Now, as fellow humans, you'd understand, that we only have two hands roughly comprising of 10 fingers, give or take. So obviously I needed a hand with my bags, which, were 6 in number- aside of the buckets and baskets. A really generous and helpful man decided to get creative while helping me and fit some bags into the buckets! I thanked him with a smile and he left while I stood there waiting for my cab which was 19 minutes away ( yes, that's Bangalore for you!). And just when I was hoping for the day to end without tiring me anymore, it started to rain cats and dogs (that's Bangalore too!). I moved my ass, and my stuff back to the covered area of the supermarket and luckily, 30 minutes later, the cab arrived.

There was no one in sight who I could ask for help with my stuff, so i decided to ask the driver- who was a doll and helped fit all my stuff in the boot of his car- barring the wine bottle of course- which I needed for the long way back home. After about an hour, I finally reached my new home- which is on the first floor. It was still raining and the cab guy, irritated by the rain, and the traffic- wasn't much of a doll anymore and dumped me and my stuff right outside our building in the rain- can't even blame him.

Let's just say, grocery shopping that night, cost me 1/5th of my monthly salary, 4 broken fingernails, a torn dress, few scratches on my arms and a major muscle pull in the leg that ensured I stayed home all day Sunday. What was worse? I had to organise and store all my purchases myself too.- The struggles of living alone no one warned me about!

As I went to bed that night, partly in tears, I wondered how nice it would be to have a boyfriend in the city- at least for the sake of shopping. Or at least a strong, manly friend, who can just lift the bags and take the burden off my delicate hands. So when one of my friends suggested I meet her friend Manan who stays in the city- I obviously said Yes!

But that's the thing with meeting new men- they remind you of the one you really really want, yet isn't here- and that makes living alone in the city even harder. But that's the stuff no one talks about- No one tells you that not many people will help you if you're a single girl in the city. No one tells you that it is difficult to be by yourself and have perfectly manicured hands. No one tells you that the loneliness sometimes might take a toll on you. No one tells you that you gotta manage it all on your own and still have a smile on your face. No one tells you how much you will miss people back home. And sure as hell, no one tells you that you'll meet men like Manan who'd want you to sleep with them in exchange for being friends.

So for all of you out there, who are staying alone, or multitasking- managing yourself, work and a household- all by yourself- kudos to you. You're doing something so amazing, so brave, and so bold- that I'm proud of you, as proud I am of myself. A little suggestion- stay strong, stay positive, keep that bottle of wine closer, and men like Manan- as far as possible. Life gets easier as it passes by- especially if you have someone who's willing to voluntarily go grocery shopping with you- men like these are hard to find; but hey, I found one who suggested it himself. Mr. E probably doesn't know what he's getting into- maybe he will find out 'sooner'!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Are you Ready for Love?

Moving to a new city is always exciting- new job, new life, new people- New You! I firmly believe that we as people, are constantly trying to reinvent ourselves from time to time in our own eyes- fixing our flaws, bettering our dressing sense, adopting a more positive outlook towards life and just becoming better versions of our own selves. Hence this new version of me, in this new city, had a lot to look forward to- new places, new stories, new home and of course, new men!

After spending 20 days in a hotel room, with a very basic routine of going to work, coming back, watching a sappy movie, texting my friends, talking to the parents and sleeping- I finally went out one night for a party one of my friends invited me to. And there I met this guy- tall, big smile, twinkling eyes, and a lot of flirtatious glancing from across the room!

As he walked towards me to make conversation, I wondered why was he attracted to me in a room full of pretty girls! Maybe it was the black dress? Or the 'she's new here' vibe? Or was it me laughing too much from having downed three glasses of wine already? We were already conversing before I had a chance to figure out the answer to this ongoing confusion in my head!

As I sipped on my fourth glass of wine, he became more charming, his travel tales became more interesting, and I was surprised to know how similar our family backgrounds and lifestyles were. He asked me if I wanted to go out for a walk and I was game, obviously! But the moment we stepped out, his smile started to remind me of how much I missed Mr. Right's smile. And from there on, I lost track of our conversation, as all I could think about was Mr. Right, his smile, his laughter, his talks, his stories, his face, his touch, his scent- Him! It was in that moment, I realised how perfect Party Guy was- but it didn't matter, because he was not 'him'.

With my mind obviously not being in the present situation, I wasn't surprised when I twisted my ankle and was just about to fall when Party Guy saved me- and there was a moment- he leaned in and I turned away. I apologized to him, told him I was in love with someone else, and ran away without looking back- obviously at a lousy speed, considering my twisted ankle.

I surprised myself that night! Was I really in love? Or was it the wine exaggerating?  Sober, I would admit to having feelings for Mr. Right, but I wouldn't just call it love. Not Yet. Why? I didn't think I was at that point in my life where I could afford to fall in love. That night, trying to sleep, I craved Mr. Right's company- I missed him; so much. And I thought to myself about not being ready for love. But that's the funny thing about life, it happens, whether or not we're ready!

Ironic, isn't it? I'm the kind of person who always has a plan and sticks to it, so as to be able to control the outcome. But this took me off guard; and I wondered what was I going to do about it? Was there anything I could do about it? Would I ever be able to tell Mr. Right? How would he react? Would he want to stop seeing me considering he's made it amply clear that he doesn't have and will never have any feelings for me? Haunted by all these questions, i decided to term it 'Infatuation'- I refused to accept it as love. Consider it my escape mechanism, while I'm fully aware that the reality doesn't change even if I decide to escape it. But I'm still hoping it will! Why? Because I'm not ready for love! And sometimes, if you pretend for long enough, you start to believe it.

But what I'd like you to take from here is not how I choose to escape life while it happens; but to understand that we're never ready in life- for anything. For better or for worse, your plans won't always work out, and sooner than later you'd know why they didn't. And I'm hoping I'd know the reason of mine not working out too! Till then, this is how I'm gonna deal- and while I do that, no more party guys! Because how could I deal with all that with Mr. Right constantly on my mind?

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Parting ways, Letting go, Moving on!

If I haven't already emphasized on it enough, deciding to move to another city wasn't easy. What was even more difficult? Bidding goodbye!- not just to my family, but my friends too! Like I've mentioned time and again, I'm blessed to have the most amazing friends. And when Zareen and Aryan decided to put together a farewell just a couple of days before I left, I knew I'd have to deal with saying 'goodbye'!

Dressing up that night, a million thoughts raced through my mind! Shrugging aside the endless thoughts, I slipped into my new black skirt, put on my heels, and was ready to go!- "I will not cry"- I had made up my mind.

We were all having the best time- Endless chit chat, lots of selfies, and a few round of drinks down- just when everyone was about to wind up- Zareen suggested we go for an after party to another place. All us girls, at least, were totally on board with the idea- wanting to dance the night away. And I thought keeping the tears at bay, should be rewarded with some dancing.

As I was walking towards the car, I saw Zareen coaxing Kabir to tag along for the after party. I overheard their conversation, and it turned out Zareen had invited over Mr. E as well, amongst other people, as a surprise, and that's why she was convincing Kabir and his girlfriend to tag along for the after party so that they could meet him too. I decided to join the conversation, spoiling Zareen's surprise and requested Kabir to stay. I told him, in more than a few words, about how much I'd like him to come along and meet Mr. E. But Kabir turned my requests down in the most blunt way possible and right there, I broke into tears! What was funnier was that Kabir seemed unperturbed.

While Zareen and Aryan consoled me, we moved on to the after party, where Dhruv and his sister decided to accompany us, much to my surprise! And then of course, the girls are always by my side! Mr. E showed up; I acted surprised- more for his sake (he came all the way!)- and that's how I wrapped up one of the best nights the year has seen!

Next morning, wrapping my head around all that went down last night, I decided to text Kabir, telling him this isn't what I expected out of him. Turns out, he wanted to put the blame on me, for one of my friends mentioning about one of the flings Kabir brought along to a party last year! I have never been more surprised! That's when I made up my mind about this being over- me and Kabir! I decided to call it quits- to part ways, let go and move on! Not because I valued his friendship any less; but because I refused to be treated this way.

Over the past 6-7 years of being friends with Kabir, I've almost always observed how I'm sidelined whenever he has a new love interest- which should not be the case, since I'm just another friend- a time consuming, attention seeking friend!- but just a friend! It was anyway getting hard on me when Kabir constantly gave me excuses for not being able to catch up over the past few months but could make time for 2 movies and 4 dinners a week with his new girlfriend. Hypocrisy is intolerable!

And I wanted to shout and tell Kabir- "If you do have flings, that you get to parties and introduce to people- they will be mentioned and talked about sooner or later! If you decide not to tell your partner about your flings, it's your issue- and me or my friends refuse to take responsibility for slipping their name in a conversation completely unintentionally."

The incident on my farewell was the nail in the coffin. So here's an advice for all of you out there- stay loyal to your friends! I'm a firm believer of the saying- "Boyfriends come and go, BFFs last forever!". And here's conveying my future Mr. Right- "Please stay loyal to your friends, because if you can't stay loyal to those who've stuck with you through thick and thin, how'll you ever stay loyal to me?"

And that's how I'm closing Kabir's chapter. Do I still feel blessed to have the most amazing friends? Yes- my inner circle is all those people who showed up for the after party! Here's hoping I find some amazing friends in the new city too!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Life Lessons from Mr. E

Sitting at my favorite cafe with a bunch of my closest friends, as the smoke from the shisha escaped my lips- my mind drifted away from the ongoing conversation and I thought to myself how much will i miss all my Delhi people if I decide to move to Bangalore for a new job opportunity that had presented itself! I couldn't help but wonder if it would be the right thing to do; if it would be a wise decision to make- considering all that's there at stake! I wasn't just bewildered but I was also torn between the heart and the mind; between present and the future! And nothing seemed to help.

Next morning, crying in the shower, contemplating whether or not to make the move to another city, and having my general chit-chat with the almighty- I had a moment of epiphany. I realized I had nothing to cry about! Things were finally looking up- I had found a job that I was certain I'd like, Mr. Right did seem interested in me, my parents were going a little easier on the 'Shaadi' shenanigans, and I had lost enough weight to fit into a jeans two sizes smaller! Why was I even crying?

I was scared, of never being able to see my friends again, of not being able to sleep in my mom's lap, of never being able to cook in my own kitchen again, of not being able to shop at my favorite places in my city, of not being able to watch another horror movie with Mr. E! And that's when Mr. E's words struck me!

Long long back, when I was passing my days watching 'Gilmore Girls' on Netflix while at work; Mr. E suggested I quit my job if I didn't feel like continuing it. When I told him how the idea of spending the rest of my life with just one particular person scared me, as I'm pretty commitment phobic, he said it doesn't have to be this way! His advice- 'If you don't like it somewhere, Move! You're not a Tree!' Now, you may argue about this piece of advice coming from Jim Rohn and not Mr. E, but well that's where it came to me from.

And suddenly, as his words echoed in my mind, I had supreme clarity on making the decision. I felt so secure, knowing that if I didn't like it in Bangalore, I could wrap up my stuff and come back- to my mom, to my friends, to my city, to him! Knowing and understanding that I reserve the right to change my decisions without being worried about being labelled as fickle minded- gave me immense relief and helped me become more confident about my decision. Suddenly I didn't have anything to be scared about!

Mr. E had also once told me- 'Failure is acceptable, Regret is not' ! And in all honesty, I didn't want to regret not taking up the job I so wanted to, just because I was scared I'd miss people. The truth is, I'd probably miss them- yes! But will it be worth it to stay for a bunch of people who I think would forget me if I'm gone? No.

Yes, they do say 'Out of sight is out of mind!'. But I like to believe the age old saying of 'Distance making the heart grow fonder'. I guess it's a chance I'd have to take. And maybe this distance will actually show me who deserves to be a part of my life's journey!

So here I am, taking a chance, moving to another city, even though my heart's in Delhi. What am I taking with me? the most amazing memories, and all these life lessons Mr. E has taught me! And just before I left, he taught me another one that has kept my tears at bay for a bit. He said- 'Nothing is permanent, not even the distances' and I'm certain I'll see him again, I'll see my friends again, I'll be sleeping in mom's laps again, and of course baking in my kitchen again! Until then, Bangalore is home.