Choices and Expectations

I was speaking to an old friend of mine and both of us started reminiscing old days and old friends. So far, everything is normal.

Then we started speaking about a particular old friend who is brilliant, but for the last 7 years nothing has changed in his life. He added another child to his life, but that also didn’t bring any change in his routine. He comes to office at 10, has coffee at 10:30, hd a standing call with his team at 12:00, goes for lunch at 12:45, then goes for a walk, then coffee break at 3:15, and then he leaves for home at 5:00. The only change in his life is brought by friends who wants to throw a lunch party, or they want to have ice cream in the evening instead of the coffee. Our company has undergone so many changes, but nothing in his life changed. His work still remains the same. He didn’t change any aspect about his work, his bosses quit, but he didn’t bother stepping up. Me and my friend were so concerned how come he doesn’t get bored? Isn’t he looking for something more from his life? He is in his early 40s, after travelling all across the world, how come he is satisfied? He has so much potential but he doesn’t use even a percentage of it.

This made me wonder why am I surprised? Who am I to expect anything from him? Why should he change anything about himself to satisfy us? Maybe he is satisfied, maybe he isn’t, how does it matter to me? It is his choice, why should he live upto my expectations? But! But, as his friend, isn’t it my role to speak to him about it and maybe push him to other newer things? Normally, these things doesn’t bother me, I believe in people leading their lives the way they want to live. I don’t know how to get away from this conundrum. Whenever my friends are sad, I do make it a point to ask them, if they are okay and if they want they could talk to me. Lot of them do and I know I do help them, because they do make it a point to tell me later.

But, in this case, I know he wouldn’t talk to me about it, he will just shrug it off and crack a joke about abyss. So despite ranting about it, i am nowhere closer to making my decision about this situation. We make our choices, sometimes we live upto people’s expectations and sometimes we don’t. It doesn’t matter. Only thing which matters is, is our happiness. It is our most basic human right to be happy and I think we should do everything in our capacity to be happy. But does that mean for the sake of my happiness I should ask my friend about his problems? Sounds selfish, and I don’t know the answer yet.

Thanks for reading.

Girl Gang and breakups

We are so different and yet so similar. I recently went on a post-break-up drinking binge with a friend, which was eerily satisfying. I have had break-ups, but nobody has ever taken me out for a night in debauchery. Not that I don’t have friends who will indulge me, but in India, we never thought ‘drinking’ was a solution to get over the break-up. We always felt talking or crying will heal us faster. I don’t want to generalise, but we (my friends and I) like drinking and associate it with socialising over the weekend. So this drinking and cribbing about the recent-ex, dancing with strangers was straight out of sitcoms and movies. We still didn’t want to sleep with strangers. My friend was as upset about the relationship she had for a month as I was for a relationship which I had for over a year. It means the length of the relationship doesn’t matter, just the intensity of the relationship.

The evening started with getting dinner out of the way, so we ended up in the ‘Subway’. We decided to get the moaning out of the way so that we can start drinking without any impending doom of crying. Turns out it was a really smart decision. Subway is normally empty on a Friday night, so our crying, cursing was hardly witnessed by anybody. We 03choose the quietest bar so that we could talk further and make plans to destroy our lungs slowly. Normally, you would have bad service, bad table, but when you are going through a break-up, the universe also helps you with small providences to not break you completely. Honestly, if the universe was helpful there would be no heartbreak, but that’s not the point.

By the time we finished our first drink, the bar had a DJ, so we didn’t have an option but to start dancing with random strangers. We like being friends with everybody when we are drunk. That’s why the girls behind us started checking upon us as soon as we started dancing with a really weird guy. It is a universal girl code.

Both of us messaged, texted and abused he ex online. We weren’t proud of it in the morning, but what the hell. We stumbled, purchased crips and took the tube back home.

This led me to believe that girl code is universal, we hurt the same, we might deal with it differently, but our friends are always there. Everybody around us shows us how to deal with our pain, gives us a memory or a laugh which helps us to move on. It takes time, but we do heal. We will always be thankful for our friends, strangers, gay dancers, the extra nice bar keeps, DJs and nosey girls at the next table to help us deal with ourselves.

 

How can be less irritating?

What is my irritability quotient? Recently, I had two unnecessary fights with a friend of mine, and I thought he was being unreasonable. Naturally, nobody likes to be wrong, so I am going to rationalise it by blogging about the event. Maybe I am too abrasive, which irritates people. He purchased a watch online and the delivery was delayed by a day. He moaned, cribbed and concluded that nothing ever good happens in his life. Then he saw an apple watch and he wanted somebody to get it for him from the US. We speak every day and at least once he talks about an apple product or recommends me to buy one. oh, whenever he is buying anything he goes on a complete lack of communication. I don’t know why he thinks that I will be mad if he buys anything, I know I will make fun of him, but that’s it. I don’t care what he does with his money. If buying something gives him happiness, then he should. But, if only things give you happiness, it leads me to worry that something is wrong with him, maybe he is depressed or maybe there is some underlying issue which I had to uncover. So I asked him and he went ballistic, said he has to tread carefully around me, compared me to a neurotic friend of ours, and said he can’t be himself! I went nuke-level ballistic and said he is a friend and it is my right to ask if there is anything wrong with him. I was worried and I am going to keep doing it. He doesn’t think my reasoning has any logic and he ignored it!

Today, he is at a kid’s birthday party and he said he can’t handle family engagement, because they give him creeps. I asked him why and he said because of in-laws, relatives etc. are just annoying and he can’t handle it. So I said, “can you tolerate your family?” his reaction “I didn’t like your question, can you tell me why this question” I reacted by telling him if it is your family function you wouldn’t be bored because we are programmed to like our family and anything associated with it. I also told him not to be personal. He went on a rant for 5 minutes and I ended the conversation with okay because I didn’t want to fight.

Now, I don’t know how to react, it turns out that I have to be careful around him. Every time I ask a question, I have to check if it is politically, emotionally, personally right so that he doesn’t get mad or get irritated. Because he doesn’t see the logic in the way I asked the question, because he ends up immediately connecting it to something personal and would get insecure around it. I do think I am a bit irritating because I do want to be right, but, that doesn’t always stem from bad intentions. I am genuinely worried that he might be depressed. I really don’t know how can I be less irritating and still convey the emotion. photo.jpg

Gifts, why? You have given me an Obligation!

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I hate giving gifts and I hate receiving gifts. Because in both the scenarios I have no idea what to do. I have friends at work, who whenever they visit a place, they get me a gift. Now, when I travel, I am obligated to get them a gift, but I really don’t know what to buy for people most of the time. With friends, I normally ask them what do they want and I buy that. I know there is no element of surprise, but at least there is no disappointment either. And I really get them what they want. I hate that this is a cycle.

One of my friends gifted me a watch for my birthday, and I couldn’t think beyond clocks and gifted him a batman alarm clock! I thought I will write a poem along with it about Superheroes in our lives, but I just couldn’t finish it on time and my gift was delayed thanks to US customs.

Another time, I wanted to take my friend out for lunch during her birthday, she ended up surprising me with Chocolates! This made me wonder, what makes me a bad gift giver?

  1. Connection – Am I not a good enough friend? Do I have a connection with them at a superficial level that’s why I can never decide what to buy? But, then I have never been able to buy good gifts for my friends either. I have been able to surprise them with birthday parties, but never great gifts.
  2. Attention – Is it my attention to details? Apparently, people do tell us what they want, it is our friendship duty to listen to them and get them that gift! I always thought I was a pretty good listener, I am practically an agony aunt because I always listen to people. So this can’t be a reason.
  3. Lazy – This could be the reason that I am lazy and I don’t want to think or go through the effort of buying the perfect gift. But, this is not true either. Because I do spend time buying not so exciting/obvious gifts for my friends.
  4. Miser – I know that this is definitely not a reason, because I overcompensate by buying a really expensive gift, which might not be worth it!
  5. Genetics – I do want to blame my parents because they are not great gift-givers which stunted by natural phenomena to buy good presents for others. But why do I feel miserable when I receive the gifts?
  6. Social Skills – I know I do have poor social skills, I am awkward around people, which makes it difficult for me to show any emotion while receiving gifts, ergo, I don’t like gift-giving festivities.  I just have to confer with my friends and confirm my theory.
  7. Materialistic – I know I am materialistic, so technically, the gifts should bring me joy, but it doesn’t. Sometimes I feel so guilty that I don’t use the gift at all.
  8. Age and Gender – this seems reasonable. I can buy anything for kids under 6, but I can’t think of a thing to buy for boys. I have bought things for my nieces, but I don’t know what to buy for my nephew. I bought him ONE t-shirt and so many different things for my niece.
  9. Relationships – The closer you are to a person, you tend to be more creative, but not me! I always buy clothes for my entire family. They love it, but I can’t think of anything else to buy for them. I dabble and buy wallets and bags as well, but that’s the extent of my creativity. or I go crazy and buy utilitarian gifts like phone,  keyrings!
  10. Self-indulgence – If somebody asks me what I want, I don’t have an answer to that question either. Because I really don’t know what I want either! I buy things I need for myself, sometimes extravagant, sometimes reasonable, but I have never desired something and bought it. My friend has been coveting apple watch (i don’t know why) and bought it. He couldn’t think straight, till he knew he was getting it. I can’t think of a single thing I desire. Maybe I am dead inside.

But, I strongly feel we should eliminate the concepts of making somebody happy through material things and focus on being happy around each other. A lot of people will roll their eyes and think I am a hypocrite, but you have no idea the amount of guilt and stress I go through when I have to buy something for somebody, and especially if it is a birthday or I am visiting them after a long time. I don’t think it is wrong to desire, but you have to think about people like us as well. Maybe create a wishlist and help us gift you better next time. And please don’t give me anything!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris

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History is one man’s version of what happened. Is it a perception or did it actually happen? Unfortunately, Something like World War II did happen and the hours inflicted upon Jews did happen. So, why am I stating the obvious on a Saturday Night? Every movie that I saw, every novel – fiction or non-fiction didn’t bring anything but pain, misery and aghast at the horror which exist in this world.

I am trying hard to develop a reading habit and instead of acting like a hoarder, I ended up buying 2 books. I was sceptical when I started reading The tattooist of Auschwitz, preparing myself for the agony and the heartache. But instead the whole positive approach of the book impressed me. I couldn’t stop reading it, I was sucked into Lale’s journey and started rooting for him to get his love. People make sacrifices for love, they fight the world, Lale bribed Nazi’s to keep his lover alive? How many of us who have loved or are in love can say that? It is one thing to give your life for someone you love, but can you keep them alive? You fight all odds in a place where hope doesn’t exist, how do you keep that faith alive? How do you get the will to go on? Apparently, they removed the electric gates so that the kidnapped people couldn’t kill themselves. I want to call them kidnapped, because they definitely weren’t prisoners. They did no crime and were kept in an inhumane place against their wishes. I remember when I was in Berlin in 2017, I couldn’t bring myself to get down at the holocaust memorial. This was one history which collectively made the entire world ashamed.

I couldn’t finish the last few pages of The diary of Anne Frank and cried the entire time when I was reading Second Hand time by Svetlana Alexievich or The Kite Runner.

But this book was different, despite the obvious expression around the camp, there is this man who keeps the flame of positivity alive. He not only helps himself but gives hope to all who doesn’t have it in them to feel any. Our brain’s first reaction is to shut down, cower under pressure and try to end the agony. This book gives you glimpses of the bleakness, but it always try to show you love, human kindness and a tiny bit of hope. I had a particularly crazy week at work and was happy that I had something to go back to during my short tube rides. During the last few chapters, I started reading it slowly because I wanted to prolong my association with the book. There was a smile on my face, something I could never consider while reading a book  on WWII.

If you haven’t I would recommend reading the book, it might brighten your day and help you find perspective during difficult situations. When you have struggled to live everyday, no problem seems big enough. And, if you found the person to go along with you during that journey, you don’t need anything else. And, in case you haven’t, don’t despair, your own company should be enough for you. It doesn’t mean you are lonely, it just means you have accepted your place in the world.

Hope you enjoy reading the book.

Why I think I am born in the wrong century….

Watching random reruns of period movies and reading books from 18th century forced me to believe that I was indeed born in the wrong century. And I think I can easily justify my reasons:

  1. Clothes – With layers and layers of frocks, pinafore, frocks etc will hide my fat! Imagine, clothing which will hide all the carbs that I binge eat on! Plus there are so many options, morning dress, afternoon dress, evening dress to choose from.
  2. Food – There are just so many meal times that I would keep eating whole day and not be judged by people for constantly chewing!
  3. Activities – All the activities expected from women were revolved around reading, walking the gardens, painting, knitting… And I definitely don’t mind just relaxing and being paid compliments for it.
  4. Social Circle – Our social circle will be small and exclusive and we generally wouldn’t let people let in unless it’s by marriage or work related. And people wouldn’t judge me when I am not jumping up and down to make new friends.
  5. No Rights – Women are not supposed to think or have opinion. I know it’s not ideal, and I don’t think I can live with it, but this is fantasy and in my fantasy it is okay. We wouldn’t be taxing our brain on silly worldly problems, and I can concentrate my energy on important things like what to wear, where to eat etc…
  6. Ignorance – Because I am a woman, people wouldn’t expect me to know ghastly things that happens around the world, for the fear that it might bore be or better yet, might be too delicate for Lady’s ear. So much fun! I can be selective in my knowledge and not appear dumb.
  7. Old Spinster – The reasons for my being spinster could be because of my being talentless, penniless, which people would understand. Versus now, when despite these ‘shortcomings’ people would like and it’s just my ‘stubborness’ which is in the way!
  8. Food – Despite being middle class, I would be able to afford a cook, which means no more cooking..I don’t really like food that much, but still cooking to fill my stomach is too much!

Obviously all of this would work only if was reasonably rich, which I think I will be,  considering we are wishing for things which doesn’t exist.. Ah to live life in a period drama.

 

Thanks for reading!

Why being a Don might not work for me…

It is a boring Sunday afternoon, I am yet to shake off the alcohol and sore muscles from yesterday’s barbecue party, which means, too much sitting and watching random movies on internet. Which led me to write this blog: There are many jobs in the world, which I wouldn’t want to do, but there is definitely one which I wouldn’t do because of the precedence set my the movie industry. I would never want to be in the mafia, a don or a female version of whatever that is. The whole industry (if I can call it that) has been glorified, that I will be impossible to live up to that expectation. And my reasons are about a dozen and then some:

  1. Pressure: Frankly, every job in the world is a pain and does have its pressure point, but being in the mafia is unbearable. The sheer pressure, the whole “mafia never forgets” is too much for regular folks like me to join. Even if you could, you can’t forget or forgive somebody.
  2. Expectation: Because of the movies, the books, the job has been glorified so much, that people, society, cops, politicians almost everybody has too much expectations from the mafia. You have to live uptown those, otherwise nobody gives a damn. And if you have a don when nobody gives a damn, what kind of don are you! So, there, the Expectation is sky-high
  3. Racism: It has to be in your heritage to be in the mafia, you have to have 100 years of Sicilian or something equivalent in your blood to be in the mafia, otherwise you will always be a wannabe mafia, an outsider who can never reach the top rank. That’s bullshit! I am killing people, it should be enough.
  4. Honour among thieves: Yeah, so if I meet the above criteria and have the “right” kind of blood, I will do the bad things, but “ethically”. How crazy is that? I am doing bad things, there is no right way of doing bad things. Just because I fed a hungry dog, doesn’t justify my shooting a pigeon.
  5. Family: Family always comes first, you must never put family above anybody or anything. But sometimes, the family is too much to bear and they are the first ones you ant to get rid of.
  6. Clothes: Why do all the mafia folks have to wear shiny clothes? or have gold tooth, or have a gold bracelets? When they have all the money in the world, why can’t they just buy Armani suits and wear Rolex? I mean everybody knows you are a mafia, why do you have to be tacky?
  7. Fitness: The top bosses are always fat! and the sheer pressure for the guys in the lower rank to be fit is crazy! With my current body, I am just fit to be a top boss! The whole exercising, walking bit is the reason why i never wanted to be a zombie or a vampire.
  8. Dancing: Almost all the mafia guys can dance, I can’t dance to save my life! It will be so difficult for me to fit in when everybody is doing a tango and I will be doing the ducky dance (even that all be bad I am sure)
  9. Procreate: So, we are running for our lives, we are feared for our safety, yet we will have so many kids and then we will be constantly worried about their safety.  Why do we do that?
  10. 20/20 Vision: Have you ever seen a mafia movie, where the guys need perception glasses? Noooo, they all just have 20/20 vision. It will be health hazard for me to try and kill a guy, when I am stopping every few minutes, to clean my glasses during fog or rain!
  11. Working Hours: I mean they don’t have weekends off, that means you are supposedly working all the time. Although, my weekday work hours would probably be the same or maybe on some days better than at my current job!
  12. Peer Pressure: The whole per pressure to drink, do drugs, or gamble is too much for me. I can get high with a bottle of sweet soda, I am not safe around too much alcohol  or other crazy products like that.
  13. Klutz: I have been  klutz my whole life, so it will be better not for me to join the mafia, because I will trip while chasing a guy or probably shoot myself in the foot “accidentally” giving the other guy to finish me off.

So I guess its sufficient to say I have to keep looking for my dream job and at this point cross being a don as one.

Thanks for reading.

 

Why my being single is uncomfortable for you?

Me – a 33 year old women live in a big city, ‘all alone’ makes some people extremely sad. They don’t know what to do when I tell them that I am single and what makes it worse is when I tell them that it’s by choice. They get all squirmy, when I tell them that yes, I go out alone, I eat alone in restaurants, I go to movies alone, I go watch plays alone, I go visit  places alone, I go to Holidays alone.  They feel sad for me, they pity me, and some of them actually congratulate me on me being ‘brave’ in this big bad world, and few tell me that it is actually awesome that I am alone, away from all the craziness and resposnibilities. And to some of them I become a role model, somebody who ‘supposedly’ is so comfortable with herself, that they aspire to be me!

Now, my problem with this entire situation is, why does being single has to mean anything at all? Do I dance with joy and have tears in my eyes when I see you walking down with your partner and kids? No, right? Then why do you have to feel sorry or feel anything for me? I am in this place by choice, if I wanted to change my status quo, I will work on it, I will go to dating sites or matrimonial sites? But I don’t feel the need, I don’t have any void. I am not against marriage, but I am definitely against doing something because everybody else is doing it or society expects me to. My existence probably matters to 20 people, and it is okay with me.

It is bad enough that you become the targets of lecherous men, who think you will put out, because you have got to be lonely but it becomes worse, when people start giving you the sympathetic look. But more than them I feel like punching the douche bags, who applaud and cheer me on just to show they are on my side and are modern in their outlook towards their life. Few of the guys who have asked me out can’t understand when I turn them out, they can’t imagine, that an old maid like me is really in a position to turn god’s very own manifestation down, unless I am a “LESBIAN”. Guess what Jackass, my sexual preference is irrelevant at this point because my basic human instinct abhors your existence and your thought process.

My living on this planet is none of your concern, I support my own existence and if it bothers you, turn your face and ignore me. Trust me, I don’t care and probably would appreciate because that means you are true to yourself.  My being single shouldn’t make you comfortable and if you are worried that your precious children will learn wrong things because of my presence, then you have a reason to be worried. If your kids are looking at other people and aspiring to be like them, that means, that you are not doing a good job as parents. So really, what was the point of being in a relationship and procreate?

So I am begging you, that next time you see a person eating by herself, leave her alone. She is fine.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Daddy’s Little Girl

Why are we always Daddy’s little girl or always daddy’s princess? Whenever we want something we aren’t allowed, why do we run off to our daddy? Why do we feel the safest, when they hold us in their arms or when they let us hold their finger to help us cross the road? Or when they give us space but always making sure that we are safe and at the same time independent. A simple cold, a slight fever, freaks them out. They get so worked up, they keep checking up on you despite your age. Why do we always think our Daddy’s will be able to solve any problems, and why are daddy’s always strongest?

It is a blessing to feel all this with the man who stands by you through thick and thin. Even when he is admonishing you for the choices you made in your life, he will stand by you.  He will make sure that nobody dares say a word agains their darling daughters. I am one of the luckiest girls to be loved by such a father and I love him equally. I can do anything for my father.

That’s why this week’s post is so difficult to write. One of my closest friend recently lost her father to Lungs and Brain Cancer. I don’t know how to comfort her, I don’t know what I can say to ease her pain? Does this pain ever lessens? Does the pain ever lessens for the man you loved your entire life? You loved his as a child because he seemed invincible, you grew older, he started getting worried, and finally he grew older and you started getting worried. Even when you know, the fight against cancer is difficult, you pray, hoping for that miracle. You don’t lose hope ever, how can you? He is your Superman, the man who is supposed to be around you, protecting you, cherishing you, and loving you in his own way. I don’t think there is any pain comparable to this. You get over everything, and I am sure you get over this as well, but you can never fill this gap in your life with anybody else.

It is really big deal, when your father stands next to you against everybody, supporting your decision and telling anybody and everybody to back off and how your happiness is the most supreme thing for him than anything else.  These ordinary men, are extraordinary for daughters like me and my friend. We don’t give a damn, what mistakes they have done, in our eyes, they can do no wrong, because the way they loved us. These heroes are ready to face any consequences, social stigma, family ridicule, to protect their daughters. They know we get our strength, our courage, our attitude from the way they have treated us, and they always ensure they don’t disappoint us. Thankfully, we daughters don’t hesitate to tell our fathers how much they mean to us, how much we love them, because they never hesitated to hug us or kiss us then why should we fall behind?

It will always be difficult for daughters to say good-bye to their fathers and I really wish the god gives the strength to my friend to go though this journey smoothly. I hope she will be able to tell her daughters ones day how much she loved him and how he cherished her.

I am sure father loves their son’s as well, but that’s for another time.

Thanks for reading.

Love Story?

Today I want to talk about a girl, I have known for over 10 years and I truly think the world needs to now her love story. These kind of stories do happen, but amidst the hustle of our day-to-day life, we forget them, we forget to cherish these individuals,  even though he was awarded country’s highest peacetime gallantry award (posthumously).

A simple, smart and ambitious girl, moved to another city for her masters and met the love of her life; the kind of love we write blogs and books about, the kind of love we all aspire to live through at least once, but rarely get to experience or even witness  it. I was lucky enough to have met these exceptional couple and instantly fell in love with their story, their commitment and their love for each other.

If you are an indian, or have lived in India or have know an Indian friend or seen any indian movies, you would have realised how getting married in India is not just about individual choices, but it’s a family and sometimes a community affair. Everybody has to agree to this decision process, and they don’t care about what happens to you after, but they all want to be involved in the process. Let’s call my female protagonist Mary (common christian name) and her gallant gentleman Ram (common hindu name). They met at the basketball court, when Mary first laid eyes on this gorgeous hunk, who was equally taken by her beauty and when he saw her at the court few times, he finally got the courage to ask her out. It was just meant to be. Mary called her best friend and told her all about Ram, how he is perfect, how dreamy he is and how lucky she was that he chose her. She was 23.

She told her parents about him and not trying to be dramatic, they called her back home and told her she can never marry him. Like any other indian parents, they consulted, family, friends, pastors, teachers to discourage her, but when you meet your soulmate, you don’t get deterred by talks, threats, or blackmails. She waited for two years, till her parents told her that fine, we can consider this guy, if you two promise not to talk to each other for a year. And if after the year, your love is as strong as you both say it is, we will get you married. We are a stubborn race, instead of eloping or ignoring their wishes, we try to convince our parents to marry us off. Because, we want them to understand us, be part of our lives, see what we see in our life partner, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t and sometimes they disown us or sometimes they kill us (literally).

During this one year, she wasn’t staying with her parents, because her dog didn’t get along with her parents cat. Although, she lived alone, but despite that she didn’t speak with Ram for one year. She made her best friend talk to him, just to see if he is okay. He listed in the army and was posted in the conflict region. When we are surrounded by people who lie to get ahead in a job, or veil the truth to get their way, we are also surrounded by such individuals who stay true to their word. Like i said, you rarely get to meet such people, and when you do, you are truly blessed to be in their presence.

One year passed too soon and at the end of the year, their parents got them married, as promised. They were supposed to live happily ever after, but terrorists hidden in the village that night had other plans. He would never see his daughter graduate, or his wife grow as a professional, he would never be able to hug them or kiss them good night. He would never be able to tell them how much he loves them, because our religious beliefs somehow convinced us to attack innocent civilians in the region. He received the highest military honour that the country could bestow, but I still the miss the love-story which started as extra ordinary and before it could become ordinary, ended so abruptly.

Thanks for reading.