Monday, 30 January 2017

The Birthday Dress

January is my birthday month. And no matter how sad I think it is to turn older with each passing year; it’s definitely no reason to avoid a wonderful chance to party with all my close friends. This time however; thanks to my friends finding love and getting married and of course, me making some new friends (gotta thank the stars!)- The ‘close friends’ circle had expanded and now constituted of 50 odd people. So well, more the merrier – I thought to myself; as the thought of buying the perfect party dress consumed my mind.

Since we had scheduled the celebrations for the weekend, I decided to utilize my birthday leave by looking for the perfect dress. I spent an entire day strutting from store to store at the mall, with my head up in the air- it was like no dress could ever satisfy me! Too ill fitting, too casual, too wintery, too long, too conventional, too basic, too old-fashioned- all of them were a little too much, yet not good enough.

I believe there are two types of people in this world- one, who know exactly what they want and the other kind, who have no idea what they’re looking for. This holds true in all aspects. And I’ve always been the first kind. I’ve always known exactly what I’m looking for, exactly what I want. In case of the dress too- I knew exactly what I was looking for- Glittery, Knee-length and Shiny. I’m very particular and intransigent with my tastes in fashion and absolutely refuse to take advice from anyone at all, and thus, the difficulty in finding the perfect dress.

My disappointment levels were rising, one store after another. And as the closing time of the mall neared, my frustration levels shot through the roof. Who knew finding the right dress would really be as difficult as finding Mr. Right? However, I refused to settle. I returned from the mall- having bought two dresses but with an intent to keep the hunt for the birthday dress on.

Next day, I convinced Naina to check out another mall with me. Zara- disappointing. H&M- full of junk, and people. Promod- very average. Mango- no no. Vero Moda- Nada! My sorrow knew no bounds and my mind immediately started to think of Back-ups and other new ‘unworn’ dresses I have at home that could come to the rescue. But just when I had started contemplating settling for something that was already available with me, Naina pulled me inside M&S. I reluctantly entered the store as I was pretty certain of not finding my ‘type’ in there. M&S always does sober, really classy clothes- not glittery or shiny.

I, nevertheless, decided to explore the racks for something I may like. And there I saw a Black dress- sober, lacy, calf-length and cold-shouldered. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for; and I saw that only a single piece was available which was one size smaller than what I usually wear- but I decided to try it on. From the minute I tried that dress on, it felt like it was made for me, and I knew that, that’s exactly what I wanted to wear for my birthday celebrations. I showed it to Naina and she loved it too! One size small, non-shiny, calf length instead of knee length, black non-glittery dress made its way to my closet, my heart and my birthday party- I was surprised at my own self. Compliments flowed in at the party and the dress was an absolute stunner.

The dress shopping incident taught me one very important life lesson- Sometimes in life we think we know what we want, and we keep looking for it everywhere, in every nook and corner, in each part of the world, everywhere we go. But then, we find something else, that is nothing similar to what we wanted in the first place, but it fits so perfectly in our lives that we change our minds. This just doesn’t hold true for the clothes we buy. It holds true in life too. I’ve always been on the lookout for a really tall, talkative guy, whose world revolves around me. That’s how I had always pictured my Mr. Right; yet here I am, falling for this guy who isn’t really tall but has the cutest smile in the world. He always says the right things, and every single time that I look at him, I feel lucky to have him around. Is he someone I always wanted? No. But with his nerdy charm, kinda dorky personality and sensible talks- he did manage to find a place in my heart and my life- and he fits perfectly; just like the dress.

So here I am, open to possibilities, and opportunities; saying yes to what may have a chance of bringing in even a little bit of happiness in my life- looking out not only for what I want, but for everything. And maybe, just maybe, we’ve all been looking for the wrong things. Maybe we think we want something, but universe has other plans for us. And maybe, we don’t really even know what we want unless we see it in front of our eyes. Maybe what we’re seeking is not meant to be; and what’s meant to be is really just a mystery. So keep your eyes open, take your chances, have an open mind, and never say no without trying something out. You never know what life has in store for you- I hope it’s the latest collection! And I also hope that you too, find your perfect dress, just like I did.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Turning 27

As the new year set in, I was feeling mixed emotions. Sitting in my balcony and enjoying the sun while sipping Jasmine Tea on the cold afternoon of 1st January, I began to think about turning 27 in 3 days. I like to think of myself as an overgrown teen, and like any other person in their mid 20s, I too dread ageing- not because of under eye circles, grey hair or decreased metabolism that may set in in a couple of years; but because I’m essentially scared of not having it all figured out. I absolutely hate people who laugh off the subject with the clichĂ© – “Age is just a number”; because the mirror tells you differently, your body tells you differently, and relatives sure don’t leave a chance to remind how you should be married with kids by 27.

It’s the most confusing, most scary time of my life, I thought to myself. I thought about some of my friends who were ageing along with me. Kabir, at 27, seemed to have his priorities in order- work, work and work. Sanvi was enjoying her life at 29 without a husband and kids. Anand had recently turned 30- single and fabulous. But then there was a school friend- Kim, who was married to a loving husband and had two kids just at 26. Shweta, an ex-colleague was running marathons and was a fitness star on Instagram at the age of 24. A college friend- Sahir was creating waves in Bollywood at the age of 28. What was I doing? What had I done in all the past 27 years? – I could not stop thinking.

It started to seem to me like I was on a deadline; like I needed to do something to change how things were going. But what could I really do? At this point in my life, where I was meeting and talking to new and interesting men- who wanted to take things slow; my relatives insisted on me quickly getting hitched to one. My mind, slowly, was realising the importance of saving money, investing money- but my heart just wanted to go out and shop as usual- ‘buy that dress, eat that cake, travel the world, let’s spend all that we have!’- My heart whispered. My body certainly could use some working out, but still refused to get out of the cosy blanket every morning.

I wondered what were these conflicts all about? Did men my age really not want to get married yet? Or was I looking at the wrong kind of men? Or looking for them at the wrong places? Was ‘saving money’ really a dying concept as my heart wanted to believe? Was it wise to spend it all and live it up? Was fitness overrated too? Or was it just an excuse to sleep for a little while longer every morning? I was surely confused; and had lost my ability to think clearly.

But then I came across this on my Facebook Timeline; and I believe it was totally a sign from god- no matter how cheesy that may sound.

Indeed! It’s true! What I was completely missing out on, was the most important point- Life isn’t a race and I’m not someone else or in the same situation as theirs to compare myself with them. Instead, life is a journey- a beautiful one. And as days unfold, I can only work harder, stretch my boundaries, try to be a better person, believe in a beautiful tomorrow and appreciate the little things. I can’t stop growing older, but I can choose to become wiser, and enjoy this very journey of life.

So here I am, making peace, with my 27 year old self, and assuring myself to be a better version of myself 1 year from now- irrespective of my relationship or financial status. Cheers to turning 27; Cheers to life.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Mean Reds

Anyone who’s watched “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” knows about the “Mean Reds”. Audrey Hepburn’s character Holly describes them in the best way possible and says they’re different from the usual ‘blues’- “The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of.As a millennial, I’m astonished they could read our minds way back in 1961, because forget blues, I get them mean reds all the time!

Just a while ago, I had one of the suckiest days of my life and the waterworks wouldn’t stop. Sitting alone, watching the season 3 finale episode for ‘Younger’; I tried to figure out what went wrong through the day. Except for maybe the Subway guy putting one slice of cucumber extra and too much barbeque sauce in my sandwich- I couldn’t think of anything else that could have possibly annoyed me. Why couldn’t I get myself to stop crying then? Why couldn’t I just be my normal, happy self? Why couldn’t I stop thinking about my miserably failed past relationships? Why couldn’t I stop wondering about all the what-ifs?

Sure I could blame it all on PMS and move on in life (which btw, is a genius idea to convince your own self). But was it just that? Or was it just another day experiencing the ‘mean reds’? Every single day of my life these days, is a mystery. Will I have my job tomorrow? Will my best friend Kabir still speak to me tomorrow? Will the Limited Edition mac lipstick still be in stock at the stores tomorrow? Will things work out between me and the mysterious guy? Will I ever really be truly happy?

I could finally understand what caused my ‘mean reds’- the fear of what would happen tomorrow. They say we should take life as it comes- one day at a time. But we still save up for our future,  get higher education to perform better at our professions, plan vacations months in advance and invest in the future of our children too. And the constant worries of our future don’t let us live in the present and we lose our minds, and thus the ‘mean reds’!

And what could I do to avoid them? Should I just stop thinking about it all? Should I be like ‘Liza’ and live in the moment? But is it really possible to elude our pasts and stop bothering about what the future may hold? It isn’t. Life is tough as is; and worrying doesn’t help, but we can’t stop our brains from working overtime, especially on the nights we can’t sleep and on the days that we encounter PMS.  So what’s the best thing to do in such a scenario- I asked myself?

The answer became clearer as the finale episode drew to a close. The truth is, we can’t avoid planning and contemplating about our futures, but we can stop being afraid of it. As cynical as we may be, we must not forget that life has its own way of throwing surprises at us. Hate your job? Who knows when you’ll find a new, better one- keep looking. Heartbroken? Don’t think you could ever fall in love again? You’ll be surprised when you do; and it’ll be more magical than a fairytale. Financial Troubles? You’ll have it all figured in no time! Relationship issues? It’ll all work out perfectly well. The key is positive attitude. Look at your future as all bright and shiny and that’s how it’ll be. Don’t lose hope sweetie, just not yet- your bright future is just round the corner.

Saturday, 14 January 2017


­­­­Sitting on the comfortable couch at my nail salon, as I waited for my turn, I couldn’t help but overhear two women chattering. Both of them were talking about their partners. After a few minutes, I now knew their names- One of them would be in her early 20s- Rashi, and the other one was in her late 20s- Ruchi.  Ruchi couldn’t stop talking about how her husband was a busy man; and she would get bored at home all day; and how he would sometimes even work on weekends and avoid their shopping time. Rashi had also jumped on the bandwagon; and started describing her boyfriend who’d rather be indoors on weekends and play video games than go out with her.

As my turn finally came, and my nail artist started working on my nails, I couldn’t help but wonder if the lives of these women really did revolve around their men? At least that’s how it did seem from their talks! I thought about some other important women in my life, to gain a little perspective. My friend, Anamika, would always talk about how her husband who gives her too many gifts. My colleague, Devina, wanted to dump this guy she had been dating for 7 months now, because he started to put in extra hours at work as appraisal neared. Alisha, another colleague, couldn’t stop complaining about her fiancĂ© who was overprotective of her.

I quickly thought about the last 5 conversations I had had with any women that day. And, things became even clearer as I realised all 5 of them had been about men. Even the lady who serviced me at the nail salon hadn’t hesitated to tell me about her husband’s ill health while greeting me. Is it really the truth? Are we, as women, so obsessed with the men in our lives that we’ve run out of topics to discuss with friends and family? Are the men all we can think about? Do our lives just really revolve around them?

Picking out my favourite classy red nail paint to do my nails with, I wondered if Samir would like it. I quickly came back to reality when I realised I was doing it too. I was being obsessed with my man too! Every single time that I painted my nails, or did my hair, or make-up, or wore a nice dress- I would always think if he would like it; and would even send him a picture.  Samir, as a man, would probably not know a thing about nail shapes, or lip shades, or dress lengths; and even if he would know, would he really care? He always complimented me- but that’s not the point. What was I doing?
Just like me, Ruchi and Rashi were also constantly obsessing over the men in their lives too; instead of focusing on building lives of their own. We, as women, need to understand the importance of building our own lives; and not being so focused on the men we’re with that we see nothing beyond them.

Years back, when I had broken up with Dhruv and he had decided to move across the country, I had no friends, social life or hobbies.  It was then, that I first realised how important it was to build your own personal life, even though relationships can be all consuming. Coming out of that break up was undoubtedly the toughest thing I’ve had to deal with; but it could have been easier, if I had a life outside of my relationship.

Were Ruchi, Rashi, Anamika, Devina and Alisha making the same mistake that I had made years ago? Sadly, yes! Instead of having a life outside of their relationships, they were just getting sucked into their relationships; and constantly talking about their men.
Ladies, you need to understand- sometimes relationships work and last, and at other times they don’t! Build your support system, have friends who dote on you, pursue hobbies and arts, do what you love, spend time with people who’re important to you aside of him! Remember- men may come and go, BFFs last forever.

And for god’s sake, when you talk to others, talk about your friends, your parents, your health, your likes, your dislikes, your hobbies, your interests, your weekend, your weekdays- but rise above talking about your man!- not because he’s not an important part of your life; but because there are other things that matter too. Don’t make your life all about him. Want to shop? Go with a girlfriend. Want to check out the latest movie? Take your sibling. And lastly, be understanding- understand if your man showers you with gifts, he probably loves you that much! Understand that if he’s being over protective, it’s because he cares! Understand if he has to put in all those extra hours at work- his job is as important to him as yours is to you!

When you don’t see the men in your lives quitting their jobs for you, or asking you to play video games with them, or expecting you to take them out for haircuts; why do you behave in a manner that seeks approvals and validations? Why do you burden them with tonnes of expectations?

Having said that, remember that building your life outside of your relationship doesn’t mean you ignore your man- the investment has to be equal in both things. You man deserves you time, attention, love, care, affection as much as you deserve his. Hence, I think I will paint my nails red today, just how Samir likes it- not because I need a compliment or an approval stamp; but because he will appreciate that I thought about his choices! So you do something too, to bring a smile on his face- but don’t forget to bring one on your own face too- that’s what matters! 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

What are friends for?

I sat in my office cafeteria eating lunch, all by myself, as none of my friends had turned up to work that day; and I started thinking to myself how miserable it is to be eating alone in a room full of people. I had often spotted people eating alone at work; and I always offered them to join me and my group- made me wonder why no one was offering me to join them.It wasn't really hard though; I was probably making it seem like a big deal in my head- sitting there, eating alone. Life is full of bigger and more real struggles; I thought, What had been the most hardest times of my life? The hardest of things that I've had to deal with in the past- I began to ponder.

Cramming up for those exams? Walking up to my crush with the fear of rejection scaring me to death? Struggling at work? Worrying about my health issues? Crying about not having my life figured out while my friends found their 'happily ever afters'? None. The hardest times have been the heartbreaks; and to deal with them. I never thought I'd survive a heartbreak- ever; yet here I am- have loved and lost, have suffered and recovered- but the heart still beats!

I have the most stubborn heart I feel- the kind that gets shattered into a million pieces; yet still doesn't lose it's ability to love with each of those pieces; that can see the heartbreak coming yet still wants to take a chance; that never gives up and is always trying to fix itself. So for me, 'heartbreak' isn't a once in a lifetime thing- It's something that happens each time I decide to give myself a chance, to give someone else a chance, to give love a chance, to give life a chance. It's not because I'm overly trusting, or I give to many chances, or fall in love easily- It's only because my heart is fragile. Won't yours be, after being broken?

But fragility and stubbornness aside, the bottom line is- I've survived, and how. How did I come out of something that seemed so impossible to deal with? It was because of my friends. Our friends are not just our partners in crime, but our support system as well. Theirs are the shoulders you can cry on, theirs are the hands you can hold in difficult times, and theirs are the jokes that never fail to cheer you up. I have been extremely fortunate to have been blessed with the most amazing friends.

Kabir has been there for forever and has never ever left my side. We may or may not have ever spoken about the stuff that bothers us, but our comfortable silences have calmed me down for days at a stretch. Ours is a friendship that doesn't really require words. Piu has been my go to gossip girl. On the days I feel down, a simple call from her telling me about the dramas in her 'sasural' is more than enough. Aryan's fruitful advice to 'fuck my problems' has never failed to inspire me to wipe my tears and move on in life. Naina's mature take on things; and Anand's telling me to just focus on my own self and not date anyone ugly puts things right in perspective for me every single time.

And if i'm still having a bad day? Sanvi takes me out for sheesha at our favorite cafe and we can just sit and talk at length about men and more; Tanya moves the focus from Men to Makeup and I'm all engrossed in no time; Ishant brings in the tastiest food for me to gorge on and forget my worries; Payal cracks the most stupid jokes that still manage to draw a smile on my face and Rajan tries to have a heart to heart but gives in to his impatient listening skills.

All in all, these are the people that help me get through each day, through life. So as 2017 sets in, these are the people that I realise are the most important ones in my life, and will continue to be. These are the people who've been there with me, through all the ups and downs and through thick and thin, and these are the people that deserve my gratitude. I'd thank them here in this post, because they've always been there for me, but no, because they had to be there; After all, what are friends for?

So this year, don't make those stupid resolutions that you can't stick to- make a simple choice. Be there for your friends, at least for those who're always there for you. And love them! because they are the ones that make your life better- worth living.