Friday, 23 December 2016

Too Good to be True

Story Credits: My dear friend Natasha :)


As December set in, I decided to forage the racks at mall stores for my Christmas Day Outfit- it’s a self-made tradition honestly; wearing new red clothes on Christmas Day and painting the town red. After much effort, I finally saw this red glitter jumper that seemed just perfect! Staring at it from outside the store, I felt like all my Christmas outfit dreams had come true in the form of that bright red jumper. I went on and decided to see it up close! It was the softest jumper ever, and seemed just warm enough for a cold Delhi evening. The color was bright yet subtle; and the fabric surely wouldn’t make me look fat- I decided to try it on! To my amazement, even though it looked great on me, I decided not to go for it. It was because the jumper had a lining, a black flimsy lining that felt weird against my skin. I returned from the mall empty handed! The jumper was too good to be true!



Telling my friends over drinks that night about my dream jumper and the disappointment that followed; I realized that this happened with me recently in life too.

Almost 6 months back I met this guy Mayank, through a colleague. He worked as an investment banker and was well educated and well-travelled. We instantly hit it off. He dressed smartly, smelt great, looked decent, made me laugh and even put up with my tantrums! He was perfect! He was the guy I always dreamt about having in my life. In a short span of time, we developed a deep connection (or so I thought)!

Soon, between dinners and movies and giggles and midnight conversations, I found myself falling for Mayank; and since I’m not 19 anymore, I thought it was wise to check with him on how he feels before I take this any further. Mayank said he was fully invested in this, in me, in us and I couldn’t stop smiling for a couple of days post that. He said he saw a future with me in it and I started imagining how a life with him would seem like. He always told me about how nice his parents were and how his younger sister meant the world to him and I started envisioning myself as a part of his small world, his family. It all seemed picture perfect.




As a few weeks passed, I started to notice changes in Mayank’s behavior. He stopped texting me or calling me; and would only reply to my texts if he felt like, and usually would respond in monosyllables. He stopped asking me to meet up, and to go out with him or telling me how his days went by. I decided to put my foot down and confront him about these changes. He explained me how he was busy with work, and how this was one of the bad phases of his life, where he could use my support. He said he wouldn’t be able to give me time at all, since his work would take up most of the time. He explained how he realized he was being unfair but he didn’t have much of an option. I was disappointed but decided to be there with him in this so called ‘bad phase’ and make do with not getting the time and attention I deserved.

Slowly and gradually, the distance between us increased. We started to speak less, stopped meeting entirely since he was extremely reluctant even when I planned something; and even almost stopped texting. Days passed by, and I started to miss him more and more. I also started to wonder if he missed me too. But it seemed like he was happily living his life without me now; like he didn’t care about what he said to me just a couple of weeks back!

Tired of all this, I decided to show up at his door, and find out what was going on. And there it was in front of my eyes, the truth that I had been oblivious to- Mayank’s girlfriend! As tears rolled down my cheeks and into the box of chocolates that I was carrying, I started to wonder how long they’d been dating. Thoughts started to cloud my head as I thought if she could be his sister, cousin, colleague, a friend. Before I could come to a conclusion, Mayank came to the door and all my confusion was cleared.

He apologized to me, but said he wasn’t actually cheating on me because he never formally told me we were dating. He scolded me for having come down to his house like a spy and just not understanding his ‘hints’. I lost my cool, and decided to muster some courage and slap him right across his face- and I did. But he conveniently blamed me for my miseries and pointed out how I became too attached when he was only looking to sleep with me as a one time thing. I slapped him one more time, and left! And that was the end of Mayank’s story in my life. He was just like the red jumper- too good to be true!

It was a traumatic experience for me to go through all of this, but at the end of the day I had learnt my lesson- to not be fooled by appearances, or how people want to project themselves. I decided that trusting someone’s words or actions wasn’t the right thing to do. I also reached to a very important conclusion- when someone or something seems too good to be true, more often than not there’s something fishy for sure.

So ladies, if you have someone who loves you dearly, and has been by your side for the longest time but he can’t cook up your favorite meal, or you have a problem with his accent, or how he dresses- put up with it because even though he’s not perfect, he’s not pretending to be anything he’s not. Don’t fall for all the fuckboys trying to waste your time and pretending to be perfect.




And dear men, when you tell a girl you see a future with her in it; and then drop ‘hints’ when you want to break up- remember to chop off the balls you clearly don’t deserve. Do not, remember, absolutely do not pretend to be someone you’re not and project yourselves as someone’s dream come true just to sleep with them- you can pay for that stuff and get done without the melodrama and heartbreak- it’s easier that way! 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

You're Beautiful, it's true!

My recent vacation to Bali and Malaysia was a blockbuster in the true sense- loads of shopping, late night pool parties with the gang, hung-over days, finger licking food, amazing adventurous water sports, a little bit of pole dancing and some super wild parties! Anyone who has been to Bali as a single guy/girl knows how crazy the party scene is, especially in Kuta. As an average looking woman; who doesn’t get hit on a lot; I sure loved the attention I got there! When a good looking Australian man with the cutest smile winks at you from across the bar; it gives you a new kind of high! And when a tall German hottie, whispers in your ears and asks you if he can dance with you; your confidence level goes up a notch.



In our everyday mundane lives, we look into the mirror everyday- at the same face, at the same body, with the same eyes. We try to fix those circles under our eyes and diet for a flatter stomach. We never look at ourselves as someone who could be attractive, pretty, or sexy to someone. And we go on with life feeling like we’re just another average worthless person, and our confidence levels hit rock bottom. We don’t approach the men we like as we think they’re too out of our leagues. We don’t interview for our dream jobs as we think we don’t look the part. And we don’t even freely talk or speak where we may get noticed since in our minds we think we lack the charm and charisma.



And eventually, since we’re constantly holding back, we start losing confidence- the very same confidence that adds to our charm, charisma, our sex appeal! We start to become the introverts we never were to begin with. We start to live these parallel lives constantly worrying about not being good enough- for our partners, for our parents, for our bosses, for ourselves! But that’s not the truth!
The truth, however, is far from it. The truth is we’re good, really, really amazing in fact! But why do we need someone else to remind that to us? Why do we not feel good about ourselves without someone telling us how amazing we are? We often forget that we are attractive, and our attractiveness lies in our confidence.

My vacation was an eye-opener for me! Not only did so much male attention increase my confidence levels; but it also helped me love myself as I am and be more comfortable in my own skin. For someone like me, who has struggled with self-esteem issues; been extremely shy but always tried to put on a confident face- this vacation was truly godsend. Even the compliments I got on my pictures on social media, added to my confidence boost. My friends, cousins, relatives- most of them personally sought me out and complimented me on my taste and sense of style. They asked me where my dresses were from and how I managed to put my outfits together! A vacation hangover had never been so sweet to deal with earlier.

I came back as a reformed woman- a woman who wasn’t apprehensive, or uneasy. I came back as a smart, confident woman- full of stories, full of joy and enthusiasm, and fully aware of her attractiveness quotient. I wasn’t hesitant to flirt anymore, or to make the first move, or to exchange smiles or glances with that charming man across the room. I wasn’t shy anymore- at work, or in parties, or to talk to strangers.




So for all you girls out there, thinking twice before making the first move, and not feeling really good about yourself or your bodies- remember there are some really charming, smart and handsome men out there who find you extremely attractive and alluring- show some confidence and be your charismatic self. Don’t lose out on all the wondrous opportunities to flirt because you think your ass is too big, or because you hate your chin dimple! Trust me; a big ass is a boon! And that chin dimple, is supposed to bring you good luck! The only key to looking attractive is confidence; a lot of it. And if you still feel low and don’t feel very confident about yourself; pack your bags and take a vacation to that magical island of Bali- live your life; have some fun! What is life without travel after all?

Friday, 25 November 2016

Get your flirt on!

With less than 5 days to go for my vacation, my perennial panic mode was on! Hustling from store to store at the mall, looking for perfect vacation clothes and accessories; I started to feel extremely exhausted and decided I needed something to recharge myself. I went to Starbucks to get a fix of my favorite Green Tea Lemonade, but the long queue there made me feel even more exhausted. I had lost all hope, until I spotted this really cute guy who was standing second in the queue.



Without giving it much thought, I walked up to him and cheekily asked him if he could buy me a drink. He glanced in my direction, and after a little hesitation, agreed. Probably a part of him thought I was hitting on him; which let’s face it, I was! But I anyway offered him cash in exchange for my GTL and he happily took it off my hands, with a confused look on his face. Flirting was really not on my agenda.




We parted ways, and I walked inside to find myself an empty table. I was just about to give up owing to the excessive crowd, when I saw one of my college friends- Manya. She was sitting there, all by herself enjoying her latte and flipping through Cosmo. She still hadn’t stopped imitating me- I was flabbergasted! But well, I needed a table to sit and relax for a bit so I decided to approach her.



As I walked towards her, she noticed me and stood up to greet me. We hugged in the most pretentious manner and exchanged cold smiles, before sitting down to chat. Manya hadn’t changed a bit all these years- she looked exactly the same. I asked her about Anjul- the guy she had been dating since forever. Turns out, he had apparently cheated on her a year back and they weren’t together anymore. Manya talked at a stretch about missing it all- the feeling of being in a relationship; when someone constantly checks on you, when someone is there for you in your bad times, when someone asks you how your day was! ‘That’s a wonderful feeling indeed’- I thought to myself.

It had only been a short 5 minutes discussing relationship pros and cons, when the cute guy from the queue came and sat on the table next to ours. Manya noticed him in an instant; eye candy is hard to ignore, and resist. She immediately told me to check 9’o clock; I could only manage to smile in return, not wanting to mention my rendezvous with him. As Manya glanced in his direction and exchanged smiles (and numbers later!), I felt remorse for not having flirted with him earlier.



I understand that Manya was looking to date, and I wasn’t. But the truth remains that Manya was missing the feeling of being in a relationship and so was I. Why was I afraid to flirt then? Why was I so apprehensive? Was it the fear of rejection? Or the fear of a subsequent heartbreak? Or was it my general belief in the fact that men these days just want something really short-term? Whatever it was, it was certainly bothering me.

As I finished my lemonade and waved goodbye to Manya, I wondered if there were other women out there like me- women who were not into flirting, approaching cute strangers and reciprocating to smiles from across the bar. I was certain there were! But really, were all these women doing the right thing? Was I doing the right thing? I often think to myself about finding Mr. Right, but when I see someone or talk to someone, who has potential to be Mr. Right, I start walking in the opposite direction. How can that be right?




Women out there, just like me, need to understand that even the Princess had to kiss the frog to eventually find her Prince! You can’t just sit on your virtual throne, wearing your pink crown and expect to be swept off your feet by the man of your dreams- that’s not happening. For you to find Mr. Right, you have to make some effort too.  So next time you see a cute guy, or someone who you’ve had a crush on forever, or someone who talks in a way that makes your heart skip a beat, or maybe just that guy who seems to have a nice arse- approach them! Talk to them, and be at your flirtatious best- live a little, and have some fun! Who knows, you might just find your Mr. Right at that queue in Starbucks? I know Manya did! 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Choices and Chances



Often in life, we come across choices- choices we have to make; choices we don’t necessarily want to make; choices that can change lives; and choices that can change us! What we choose is what makes us who we are. 

 

I couldn’t help but ponder over the choices I had made in the past- eating too much fries, dating someone stupid, walking out of the right relationship at the wrong time, and even buying that expensive Zara overcoat which I’m pretty certain will never see the light of the day. As I thought about my choices, I wondered why only the wrong ones came to my mind? Why was it that I couldn’t think about one right thing that I’ve done in my life? Was it because, all my choices have been wrong? Hell no!

It was because that’s how we’re programmed to be; when we look back at our not-so-glorious pasts, we don’t think of the wonderful decisions we’ve made or the positive things that have happened. All we think of is the miseries and heartbreaks and difficult times that we’ve dealt with. Isn’t that just a little unfair? Isn’t that being a little too hard- not just on our past but on our own self as well? We keep piling all these negative thoughts about what we’ve been through, and these are exactly what associate ‘the Past’ with terms like ‘baggage’ and ‘insecurities’. Honestly, past is not the villain we make it to be!



As I gorged on my generous serving of fries at my favorite cafĂ© (still making this choice), I thought about my past- positively this time! What was the best choice I made? I didn’t have to think long and hard- the answer was clear and certain. The best choice I ever made was dating Dhruv- the same stupid guy I mentioned above. How was it the best choice if I thought he was stupid? It was the best choice because it was through him that I met my now best friend Kabir. 

Looking back at the past 10 years of my life, I realised how Kabir had been a part of all the happy moments, and the really sucky ones too! I realised he had been there, as a part of my life, for a really, really long time- and we had dealt with so much together- relationship troubles, work issues, drunken times, family problems, money issues, and even ‘us’ troubles! We had fought and made up endless times! He had been the only constant in my life for the past so many years; and I couldn’t even imagine how my life would have been without him being a part of it- who would’ve rescued me from a drunk men situation? Who would’ve teased me for my love and obsession of red? Who would’ve cheered me up after bad days at work? Who would’ve given me so much importance in their life even when I was a total bitch to them? No one would have done that; had it not been for Kabir. 



As someone else’s ordered Cappuccino ended up on my table, I couldn’t help but think about the endless times me and Kabir have had coffee together- and discussed life, work, friends, broken phones and broken hearts! Kabir always loves a good Cappuccino, and I’m not a coffee person. I immediately started thinking of how we’re so different as people- he’s this nice guy, and well I’m basically just rude; he’s down to earth, and my head is always up in the air; he makes friends easily, and I hate new people; and he has an extremely positive outlook towards life, and I’m the most cynical person on the face of this earth! I started to wonder why were we friends? How did it all start? And more importantly, how did this happen? Was it Dhruv’s exit from both of our lives that brought us closer? And if it was that, why did we stick around for such a long time? 

Things just started to become clearer, as I sipped on my Iced Tea (my kinda drink!). Maybe it was indeed Dhruv’s absence that brought as closer, but what made us be a part of each others’ lives for so long, was the CHOICE that we made. We chose to make up after every fight! We chose to stay friends! We chose to not let anything come in the way of our friendship! And lastly, we chose to keep going for all these years! ‘What if I had never made this choice?’- I thought to myself. I would’ve lost a CHANCE at all those wonderful moments I’ve shared with Kabir, all through the years.

And isn’t that what choices are all about? Chances! Making a choice today, gives you a chance at happiness. Like choosing to be friends with Kabir, was my chance at happiness! How lonely and insignificant my life would’ve been, had it not been for him? I can’t even imagine! 



So whatever choices you have to make today, make them – don’t wait, don’t dwell and most importantly don’t hesitate. Think of it as your chance to be happy. I know what choices I’m gonna make today- buying that dress at Mango, being patient with my mysterious guy, begging Kabir to talk to me (yeah! I messed up again), and finishing up those fries for one last time! What choices are you making?

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Eyes of the Beholder



As I sipped my Margarita, sitting in this new lounge that had recently opened on the street of my house; I couldn’t help but notice the cute guy sitting diagonally opposite to me on another table. I can’t say for sure if it was his dense beard, or his dreamy eyes- but I couldn’t stop looking in his direction. And then, our eyes met, he smiled- and I stopped looking! Why did I do that? I should’ve smiled back, and maybe then we could have exchanged numbers, and maybe we would have liked each other, fallen in love, gotten married, had sweet little babies with his dreamy eyes- but no, I didn’t smile back.





Gasping back to reality, with the Margarita still in my hand, I realized I didn’t like to smile much in general. Yes, that’s true, I always feel that my nose further broadens when I smile, and I don’t like that about myself. I think it makes me look really disgusting. But what had I just done? I had averted the chances of what could have been my fairy-tale love story, just because I didn’t like the way I smiled. How stupid was I? Turns out, I wasn’t the only one.


 
My friend Sunaina, who was sitting right next to me, never wore cut sleeves clothing because she thought she had flabby arms. My colleague Rajan, in spite of having a really charming personality, never approached girls he liked, because he was balding. Priya, a friend’s friend, thought people wouldn’t like her because she was really dark and had visible freckles. My friend Rohit, never wanted to be in pictures, because he was always conscious of his double chin. And me? I liked all of them, despite of what they thought about themselves. 
 
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, they say. Is it true though? If it is true, why do we find ourselves hating the way we look, at times? Why do we dislike certain bodily features of our own? Where does all the beauty in our eyes disappear when we look at our own self in the mirror?

 

This is the thing with people. We like each other, or connect to someone, or even fall for them because of a set of characteristics which draw us towards them- and in the process, we don’t even notice their flaws and imperfections. So then, why is it, that we all are so overly self-critical? Why do we feel that we’re supposed to look a certain way? Why do we go on hiding our imperfections like they make us less of a person? And most importantly, why do we lose chances at something great because of our apprehensions pertaining to how we look?

My cousin Sanya, always dreamt of being an air hostess, but settled with doing a business management degree once she passed out of school, because she thought she was too dark to be in that profession. She presumed a rejection was on the cards, and didn’t even take a chance at it- just like I presumed my Mr. Dreamy wouldn’t like me if I smiled back at him. The entire problem lied with presumptions. What we fail to realize is, that people in general, including us, don’t care much about how we look and how ‘imperfect’ we are. What they really care about is the smile we bring on their faces, the happiness we bring in their lives and the warmth that we bring in their hearts. And when someone truly likes us, they like us for our flaws too, because without those we wouldn’t be the same person. 

As I made my peace with that fact, and mustered some courage, I did walk up to Mr. Dreamy that night! I just smiled, and before I knew it, we exchanged numbers. His first ever text to me was- ‘Hey there with the pretty smile’! We never got to having the babies with dreamy eyes, or any of the things before that- maybe that had something to do with the fact that he was already married and was only looking for some side action (Men, I tell you!). 



But yes, I did start smiling more; and the world did start to seem better and more benevolent. And I felt more hopeful, of finding someone who’d maybe fall in love with the way my nose broadens when I smile; who won’t have as much of an issue as I have with my dark circles, who’ll maybe be accepting towards my chubby ankles! Isn’t that what life is all about? Finding someone imperfect, who makes your life perfect? Maybe it is; and maybe, just maybe, my fairy-tale would really start with a smile.


Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Curse of Happy Couples



They say every blessing comes with a curse; of course it does- I thought to myself while sipping on my skinny latte at Starbucks on a lazy Sunday afternoon, that I had decided to spend all by myself. As I looked around, all I could see was couples! There were the ‘cuddlers’ on the couch next to me who could really use a room. Then there were the ‘mushy talkers’ on the table right ahead of me who should have probably lowered their volume; and I’m unsure but it seemed like the couple on the table behind me was on a blind date. Surprisingly, there was one thing in common with all the three couples- All of them seemed immensely happy! And there it was- ‘The Curse of happy Couples’ which every blessed single person is doomed with.



Next day at work, as I opened my laptop, and my eyes (Monday morning blues!); I still found myself thinking about ‘The Curse’- My boss was happily married; my best friend was happily married; the guy who sat next to me had been dating his girlfriend for the past 10 years! I got to thinking, maybe the curse was real; maybe, all single people could see, was happy couples around them.

I was, however, quickly brought back to reality by my work BFF (we all have one!)- Aryan. He came to me to talk and seek my advice, as he had an ugly break up over the weekend. After talking to him for good 25 minutes, I was finally aware of the complete facts- it was ugly, but it wasn’t a break up! 

Aryan and Raima had been dating for a couple of years now; and Aryan had always told me about how this was just casual and temporary and he couldn’t really hear the wedding bells ringing around Raima. She, on the other hand, was probably not aware of Aryan’s intentions or plans, and had fully invested in the relationship- like any other sane woman in her mid 20s would. And now, Aryan had been wanting to break up, since he always seemed troubled by the constant misunderstandings, fights, and of course the signature ‘Don’t go here, don’t go there!’ But Raima, was not one to let go- and thus, the ugly fight over the weekend.



I knew Raima as a smart, good looking and sensible woman; so I was really unsure why she was not letting Aryan go, even when he made it explicitly clear that he didn’t want to stay in the relationship. What was she thinking? Was she so deeply in love with Aryan that breaking up with him was something that seemed impossible to her? Or did she subconsciously fear being single? After all, as it’s projected, it’s a hopeless world out there for singles. Whatever it was that was keeping her from going through with the break up, it was surely making things difficult for Aryan who wanted to part ways amicably and not hurt her at all.

I wondered who was right in this case- Aryan, or Raima? Or were both of them wrong?- Aryan, for having taken things too casually and not having made that clear? Or, Raima for purposely keeping herself tied to Aryan when she knew he wanted to break free? Why do women do that at all? Over the past few years, I’ve seen numerous women who emotionally blackmail men to not leave them; women who purposely stay in unhappy relationships; women who are cheated on, but still stay with the guy; women who are not given the time and happiness they deserve, but still keep their relationships going. 

Why do they do that? Is being single so much worse than being in an unhappy relationship? Are the everyday troubles of keeping a relationship alive not too much to handle? Is it all really worth the effort? And if we’re stuck in unhappy relationships, trying to make them work, won’t we miss out on the happy one just waiting round the corner? Is moving on so hard- even if it means having a chance at something better? Or was the fear too big? - The fear of not finding someone better, the fear of not being able to make it work and the fear of not being good enough. 



Clouded with thoughts, I decided to speak with Raima to get some perspective. Turns out, she was hopelessly in love with Aryan; and because Aryan had made it explicitly clear that he wouldn’t be able to put up with excessive phone calls, texts and restrictions- she had decided to mellow it down a bit- thus, trying to make it work. I was surprised! Not only was this woman ready to work on this relationship in which she was forcedly holding her boyfriend; but she was also willing to change herself for it? How much was enough? How much were women willing to give for relationships? And why? What was the ultimate goal- happiness, right? And how would this give Raima, or anyone any happiness? 

My advice to Raima was simple and it applies for all the women in this world- who are struggling to make their relationships work; who are putting in a lot of effort and are putting up with a lot of crap- just to keep their relationships going- STOP IT! Yes, stop it! Stop settling; Stop giving your complete self to someone who’s only willing to give you only half of theirs; Stop putting up with wrong behaviour, or actions; Stop being okay with being mistreated; Stop changing yourself for someone else; Stop questioning yourself about your relationship; Stop being ruled by the society’s norms; Stop trying to make it work! 



Having said that- ‘Don’t go here, don’t go there’ is never healthy in a relationship. Learn to trust your man, and trust that if he says he’s at work, he’s at work; if he says he’s just friends with that colleague, he’s just friends. Try to be supportive of your partner’s goals, and dreams, and aspirations; instead of weighing him down and holding him back by burdening him with mistrust. Love shouldn’t have to be proved- remember that! Be his girlfriend, not Sherlock Holmes. But also, know when it’s time to walk out; know when the door has shut; know when it’s over- at least when he says it! You deserve better!

And the one that truly deserves you and your wonderful self is out there! He’s perhaps late, but he’s coming for you; and he doesn’t want you to put yourself through all of this. So take out the scissors and cut the chords to the unhappy relationship that you’re in. Leave the man who doesn’t want to be with you. Give yourself a chance at happiness, because that’s what you deserve! And most importantly, talk about your problems and issues to your single friends. It might help you understand that being single is not that bad- it’s at least, nothing to be afraid of. And it also might help your single friend deal with ‘The Curse’- knowing that life isn’t a bed of roses for people who’re dating too; understanding that there are problems out there, for everyone alike. 

As I went to bed that night, with my ‘Happy Couples Curse’ broken for good; I wondered if the one that truly deserved me was around already; Or was he trying to get out of an unhappy relationship which a woman was holding him in? Or was he this guy at work I have a crush on? Or was he this mysterious guy I spent my days and nights talking to these days? Or was he the one my parents were eyeing on Shaadi.com? Guess I’ll have to wait to find out; and while I wait- a little flirting shall go a long way!