Friday, 16 August 2013

My break from people

I noticed that my previous post did not garner nearly as many views or comments as my otherwise personal, venting, bare-it-all, vulnerable ones do. So does that mean that those are the only kinds people like reading about? Because they relate to them or because it’s a voyeuristic universe? I can’t tell. All I know is that I avoided the blog for a while for precisely this reason—I didn’t want to write vulnerable, whiny posts. I don’t like whiny people, so why would people tolerate my whiny-ness? Clearly, I was wrong.

I’ve been on a break from people lately. Well, to be fair, I’m slowly slipping back into the game, but for at least for two weeks back there, I stayed away from most people. Apart from of course my colleagues, who I see at work. Can’t give up my job—would never do it; it’s what keeps me going. For those 10-12 hours a day, I forget it all.

The reason I decided to take a break from people is simply because all of a sudden, for the last few months, my life had become shrouded with negativity. Nothing in my personal life was going right. I know I sound dramatic. But when you’re as tiny as I am, all of it can be overwhelming. My biggest strengths, my friends, were falling apart all around me. We call each other family, and suddenly all I could see was that this family was disintegrating before my eyes. The matters of the heart were not getting better. I was losing people closest to me—either temporarily or permanently, I couldn’t tell. After a point, I stopped blaming the universe and world for all that was going wrong, and decided to look inward. It had to be something to do with me, right? I mean, I could no longer connect with people I had known for 20 years, some for eight years, and some I had been intimately connected with for four years. What the hell was going on? My solution—work till I drop, go straight home and numb my senses (insert what you like here).

Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, this seemed to work. For those two weeks that I decided not to see people, not only did I feel lighter, as I had no expectations, and hence could not feel disappointed, but certain people who had dropped out of my life, miraculously reappeared—some for a moment, some maybe for good. Although I said I didn’t want to see people, I ended up spending time with those I really cared about, and some time spent on my own in introspection or with my favourite—a ton of books.

During this time, the only kind of articles that kept popping up on my newsfeed, etc., were on love, friendship, the importance of forgiveness, etc. Very unsettling. Of course, I read them all. They didn’t help much because the oscillation only continued stronger—one of those giant pirate ship rides that give you butterflies in your tummy.

I am slowly getting back ‘into it’ so as to speak, but I’m not there yet. And I don’t know whether and when I want to be ‘there’. Doesn’t it just sound cooler that I have no time from my hectic job to socialise or to think about my broken heart, etc? I think so.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Medicine - a money making machine

I’m literally sick of doctors. Not just in that I hate visiting doctors, hospitals, clinics and popping pills. But I am truly sick and tired of the kind of doctors I’ve met lately—and all of them seem to be the same. Unfortunately, I’ve had a host of problems lately which has led me into the cabins of a gynaecologist, an ENT specialist, a dentist and an orthopaedic. And every single experience has been horrific and blood-boiling, to put it mildly.

Gynaecologists are supposed to be gentle, understanding and patient. The one I met, supposedly a famous one, was anything but these. On first glance, she is a sweet old lady who treats you like a grandchild. But during the course of my two very short visits I discovered that she was impatient, snappy and rough—too busy to spend time on one patient; she had money to make! This woman was so terrible that she literally drove me to tears and I vowed never to return to her.

My ENT doctor has been one I’ve been going to for the last three years or so. He’s told me the same thing every time—I have a recurring infection. But I was never thinking clearly; to me, he eased my excruciating pain and that made me want to go back to him every time. He also instructed me to visit only one particular pharmacy for the medicines he prescribed, every single time. I never quite saw through this till my friends pointed it out. The last time I went to him, I was adamant not to go to the particular chemist so that he doesn’t get his cut. Thereafter, I visited at least 8-10 chemists across the city and none of them had all the medicines. Apart from this, he has always been full of personal questions (he remarkably remembers every single detail of my personal life, that I foolishly shared before) and does not get the hint when I don’t want to discuss it with him. I’m simply going to find a new ENT the next time my problem resurfaces.

Finally, I went to an orthopaedic a few days ago. He checked me out (after which my pain was only exacerbated) and after making some small talk, I exited his cabin to pay the OPD fee. It’s only then that I discovered that the fee for his moving around my wrist for less than 10 minutes was a whopping 1,000 bucks. I sighed but relented. Since I wasn’t carrying that much cash I asked whether I could either go to an ATM to withdraw the money or could pay by card. The lady at the desk said I would have to pay by card but would have to pay 200 bucks extra (this was after she had a quick conversation with the blessed doctor). Again, I sighed and relented. It was my fault that I hadn’t asked how much the fee was before I came and that I didn’t carry enough cash. I specifically asked her for a bill, which she said she would furnish once the payment was done. I was taken downstairs where I made the card payment and then returned to the very polite lady’s desk to ask for my bill. I was then rudely told that the doctor had left and I would have to come back for the receipt. I was fuming, especially since I had already made it clear that I need the bill—1200 bucks isn’t a small amount. She put her hands up and asked me to speak directly to the doctor.

I did send the good doctor a message who categorically told me that he cannot give me a receipt till he receives the cash in hand, which could take up to seven to ten days. In the interim, he told me, the hospital would give me a bill. Utter bullshit, either way.
What has happened to the honour associated with the medical profession? Yes, money is important for all of us, I don’t deny that. But for a doctor, is that all it’s about? Wasn’t the profession supposed to be about helping and healing people? When did it become about fastest money first, at the expense (literally) of their poor suffering patients?

I have truly had it with these miserable creatures. I’m so tempted to name each one of these doctors, but I’m using every last ounce of willpower to refrain from doing so. Henceforth, I’d prefer to either let my problems solve themselves, or take bloody good care of myself so that I don’t have to keep going back to them—alone, that too.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Feminaaaaa :)

Read my stories on! And read my friends stories on They're all fun!

Here's my latest one:

I'm a serial mover, so this is something about them. And please, tell me what you think about the stuff I write too; and what you would like us to write about. Talk to me, peeps! Lots of love xx

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Memoirs at a vineyard

The word ‘lush’ is truly justified by the green terrain offered by Maharashtra and its countryside. Drive to anywhere in the state, outside the main cities, and the colour you will encounter will blow you away. Luckily for me, I’ve enjoyed this lush greenery, time and time again, in the last eight years.

For me, the Sula vineyard in Nashik is steeped in memories. Memories of a long drive through the countryside; of endless vines inviting love and lust into the horizon; of twirling delicious wine in glasses, gingerly sipping it at leisure; of fingers entwined with a light, loving caress here and there; of a head on a shoulder, staring out into the vision that is the vineyard, together; of that look when that song is played for the first time; of endless photos taken, capturing moments never to return…

For the first time since I first visited Sula in 2009/10, I was given an opportunity to make new memories, while reliving the old ones through the mist of rain. I just spent three days at the Sula vineyard with the entire team of Femina, and what an experience was had! Do you blame me for being a blissfully happy workaholic who is head over heels in love with her job?

I think beauty and nature inspire every artist—be it a painter, writer or a poet. So why should I be left behind? Since I arrived late on a Monday morning, this blog post has been cooking in my mind. I’m sure the one in my mind read better, but this had to be put down.

The thing with memories is that it can make you happy and sad in equal proportion. Reliving good times will bring a smile to your face, yet the knowledge that those times will never return make your heart sink to your feet. And then you realise that you’re lonely.

Loneliness is a damned thing. It’s extremely difficult for most of us to admit that we’re lonely, even to ourselves; and yet, it’s one of the most common things felt among people of all ages, especially ones living away from home in big, bad cities.

When you have to go from enjoying someone’s company to suddenly not having that company every single day, you will get lonely. You may have friends and colleagues around; your job will distract you; and substances like alcohol and drugs will blur your memory into oblivion. But try as you might, admit it or not, that loneliness creeps in. It’s sad, depressing, heartwrenching and frustrating—more so because you’re feeling sorry for the one person who matters the most to you; you.

I suppose realising that you’re not alone in your loneliness, and that different people have different manifestations of it, helps somewhat. Once you realise and admit that you’re lonely, the process to get over the self-pity and self-deprecating stance can begin. Sula refreshed me this time, especially since I had a particularly lonely weekend in a house I don’t like. So I intend to change that. If I’m going to stay here for a while (and I must!) and I’m going to spend plenty of time there, I might as well get over my “I don’t give a shit about this place” attitude and get down to start prettying the place up. So that’s the agenda of this weekend.

If you read this blog regularly enough, you’ll know how often I oscillate between positivity and mindnumbing pessimism and depression. So I don’t promise that this streak will continue, but fingers crossed. I hope my next post can be of how I made my new apartment and room into home.

Till then, visit Sula vineyard, and have a glass of the Sula Late Harvest Dessert Wine on me. Cheers!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Learning it all the hard way

So I’ve been chastised lately by several peeps for my lack of regularity in updating this blog. Truth is, I’ve been avoiding it. There, I said it. For the first time since I started writing here, I don’t want a bare-it-all kinda post, and yet I fear, that as soon as I start typing, my mind will automatically go into vulnerable and open-to-all mode. And right now, for a reason I can’t quite fathom, I don’t want to do that. But let’s see how this goes.

There’s been an overhaul of sorts in my life in the last month or so. An overhaul I’ve been through a few times in the past, so I guess it makes me stronger every time, yet something that gnaws and chews at me every time, nonetheless. This overhaul has led to a new abode which I’m still trying to get used to, with very little luck. People have been giving me all sorts of ideas to spruce things up in my home but I just don’t feel like it. Maybe in time…

I’ve learnt some hard lessons lately, questioned a number of decisions I’ve made, and wondered where my life is taking me. Wondered about the things that I’ve been so clear and confident about till now. I’ve learnt that no matter what and who, everyone has their own lives and priorities and the sooner you accept this, the easier things will get—so don’t expect others to pick you up. I’ve now realised why people stay in bad marriages and relationships, or forgive their partners for cheating and murder, or search high and low for a new partner, or settle for much less than they want or deserve—for the companionship and security they otherwise provide. I’m not condoning it, nor am I dismissing it. I just understand it now.

I’ve learnt that you feel differently about different people, and the degrees vary as well—how you feel for someone and how they feel for you. I’ve learnt that sometimes your strongest convictions are shattered, but having them shattered just once usually isn’t enough. You’re not going to learn to give up or let go unless you’ve been trampled on several times over. Yet, somehow, you emerge strong—out of no choice.

But I suppose the toughest lesson I’ve learnt is that planning and giving your all to anything at all usually goes unrewarded. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about your destiny, which you can’t fight—try. I’ve learnt that you can get your heart broken by the same person over and over again, and it hurts the same, every time. I’ve learnt that expectations are worth nothing.

Today’s an especially emo day for me cos it’s the happy buddays of two very special men in my life. Two people who I’ve turned to, leant on and given my all to, in varying degrees, over the years. Two people I love deeply, in different ways, but who matter to me greatly, whether they are in my life or not. Sadly, I saw neither today, for completely different reasons. And I guess that just makes me sadder.

The big fat silver lining to this phase though, is that I’m completely and totally in love with my job. I’m being branded a whacko workaholic, but I don’t mind. This job distracts me, lets me do what I love doing, what I’m passionate about, pays me and gives me credit for it, and lets me be me. Femina, the magazine, the website, the people—all of it makes me inexplicably happy. I hope I never lose this spark, because after almost two years, I feel ambitious and focused again; and I suppose I wouldn’t trade this feeling for the world.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Complexion - a dark tale

Two of the worst things you can be born as in this country are being born a girl and being born dark-skinned. I inadvertently committed the crime of being born as both. One of my parents was devastated when said parent was told I was a girl, while the other was in tears when said other saw my skin tone—not the blushing cherubic little flower the parent was promised. I choose to not disclose which parent felt which emotion—one said parent reads this blog regularly, and the other one seemingly gets regular updates from it.

That India is obsessed with fair skin is a widely known, almost accepted fact. While advertising for alcohol and cigarettes is illegal, and the manufacturers of Rooh Afza are suing the makers of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani because their sentiments were hurt with some dialogue in the film, propagating fairness and suggesting that dark women have no confidence, cannot get ahead in their careers or will not get married, is perfectly acceptable and legal. Indians are known as brown-skinned all over the world and very fair skin is less common than dusky skin in the country, and yet, we all want to be fair.

I just read somewhere how even the words attached to each are so loaded with prejudice—fair (justice and equal) as opposed to dark (evil and twisty). I couldn’t agree more.

I grew up genuinely feeling bad about the skin colour I was born with—my mother and sister are both far fairer than I am. My mother, apparently, was as dark as I am, but once she moved to the US, the air and fruits of a foreign country turned her into the Cinderella version of fair. This was supposed to console me; that some day I, too, would be fair.

Relatives would always tell me, “Oh my God, why are you / have you become so dark?” Umm, you’ve seen me for years, when was the last time I was, err, fair? I still get it. Every time I go back home, some relative or neighbour will tell me how I’ve become darker. I’ve also been told how a photo of me with my very fair best friend looks like a black and white one.

My mother would return from weddings and give me a lowdown—what food was served, how the groom looked and most importantly, how pretty (or not) the bride was. And so very often I would get this: She was very pretty, rongta ektu chanpa (literally translated to her colour was a little covered / suppressed, ie. she was dark), but still, pretty. As if it’s a holy miracle that this girl with dark skin is pretty. How in God’s name did that happen? Must’ve been a fluke.

I don’t blame my mother. This is the country she grew up in, how progressive can she be? As I grew up, I developed and kind of, well, blossomed into my own, and started first accepting and then enjoying my ‘dusky’ skintone. People started complimenting me on my complexion, and first boys, and then men, started to get attracted to me largely because of the colour of my skin. I was initially surprised but once that faded, I revelled in it.

Today, I love my complexion. Often, I’ve tried to close my eyes and imagine what I’d look like fair, and frankly I cannot picture it. It just seems far too alien. My complexion, my hair and my eyes kinda grew on me, and everyone else.

Recently, I was on a weekend trip with my bunch, and the conversation veered to this very topic. My very opinionated friend seemed to take offence to the word ‘dusky’ as opposed to ‘dark’. She believes that by using dusky as a euphemism for dark, we’re further propagating this bias against the dark-skinned. Needless to say, she is not dark-skinned. While I wholeheartedly agree with her principle, I chose to sit this one out. Simply because she has not grown up with the kind of jibes and insults you have to hear when you’re of a certain colour. For those who have, and if they prefer to be dusky over dark, then so be it—whatever it takes to not hurt your feelings or pick at a raw wound. So I understand the preference of dusky over dark.

Frankly, I no longer give a shit about how my complexion is termed. That’s not to say that I didn’t grow up with a major complex, serious self-esteem issues (which, honestly, are not all gone), and just very hurt at the fact that my close ones thought me to be less beautiful than others because of something I was born with and that was completely out of my control. Which is also a reason I never use the word ugly, on principle. Or fat, for that matter, but these are for another post.

The entertainment industry the world-over today is flooded with ‘dusky’ women, and more are still sought out. I am dark, dusky, chanpa, whatever you’d like to call it—but yes, I don’t cringe when I look into a mirror, and that’s more than enough for my self-confidence.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


I’ve been meaning to write for a while now but have been at a loss for words. I know, that’s a first. ‘Lots’ has been going on and yet nothing. My mind is a mess and yet a blank slate.

I’m packing again. I’m packing up my entire life in Bombay in boxes and suitcases, just like I did three months ago and three months before that. It’s funny how your entire being comes down to just a few boxes and assets. Some you take with you and some you leave behind. Well, I suppose you leave behind far more.

I met a very special man last year who told me I’ll never settle in one place, and that I’ll probably be touring the whole world and be happy. I’m beginning to wonder—maybe he got this one wrong. Maybe he meant to say that I’ll never settle in one home; that the vagabond life, much as I hate it (since it’s within the same city) is the one for me; no choice there. Damn, that’s depressing.

Yes, I was in search of my happiness and for a while there, I found it. Rediscovered myself and all that. But once the rose-tinted glasses come off, you realise that the smile you’ve found is just temporary and perhaps just a way to put off dealing with real life, the way you’re whole life is about to change, as you know it. We all crave change and yet it’s scary to actually face it, isn’t it? When you, till a point in your life, were so convinced that it’s headed in a certain and then poof—in just a moment, it’s all gone.  

On top of all this, you have worry—not for yourself, because you know that no matter what, you’ll survive just about anything. Yes, it’s strength of sorts, but not out of strength of character so much as it is from lack of choice. Life doesn’t throw me lemons; it chucks melons at me.

But you’re worrying about those in your life, those close to you, or at least, those who were close to you at some point. What do you do when you can see someone you care about deeply heading down a dangerous path? You know it, the world can see it, hell, s/he knows it too—but will just not do anything about it. Paying heed to your worries is obviously not an option; you’d not be here if it was, to begin with. How do you tackle something that you can see slipping out of the person’s control, with helplessness setting in? Do you sit back and let that person destroy himself? Do you walk away because you can’t watch him doing so, well aware that he will, indeed, destroy himself? Or do you fight to save him, at the risk of your feelings, self-respect and perhaps any possibility of a relationship with the person, being destroyed along with him? These aren’t rhetorical questions; I’m genuinely throwing this out there, cos I’m helpless and clueless.

In the midst of all this, I think the universe is trying to send out a message. People have been dropping like flies—excuse the crudeness. This is odd, because people die everyday, but the nation and the world only cares when it’s someone famous, or even remotely famous. Did Jiah Khan make the right decision to end her life? Maybe not; but unless you’re in her shoes, maybe that comment should not be made. Committing suicide takes a whole load of guts (no, it’s not cowardly). Many of us have had the thought cross our minds as some point, but have subsequently chickened out. It’s only when life gets unbearable and that pain in your gut is so excruciating that you can’t breathe, that you take such an extreme step. I’m not condoning it nor am I condemning it. My only point in this would be—no matter how crappy your life is, there are still enough people who love you to bits; think about what would happen to them if you were suddenly gone.

I suddenly find myself a little dazed, a little confused and quite scared. I thought I was ready for something, but I find myself suddenly recoiling. I thought I was ready to take a certain step, but when I see it becoming even a little bit of a reality, I just want to find a rock and crawl under it. Damn, this rock has been mentioned too often—really is time to find it.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Hakuna Matata

The word ‘priorities’ has been thrown around a lot in my life lately—by me, to me, etc. So, it seems only natural that I write something about it. I’m not sure what it will be but I’m hoping that it comes to me as I type.

Lots and lots of stuff have been happening in my life, I won’t deny it. My friends (and I, too) get surprised at the number of updates I have for them every time I see them (which is sometimes every day). But I’m not getting into all of that now. The point is that the last month or so has taught me about the importance of priorities. Apparently it decides a lot about your life, what you should do, who you should keep, where you should go and generally where your life is headed. And I don’t just mean what your priorities are, but where you figure in other people’s priorities too.

It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? For most of us, our jobs and careers are our first priorities. And this doesn’t just mean how much money you’re earning, or how awesome your company is, but also how happy you are at your job. Job satisfaction usually is the priority, or at least should be, because if you ain’t happy at the place you spend ten hours a day, five to six days a week, you’re a lil screwed, buddy.

It’s after the job bit that the confusion and trouble starts. If you tell your girlfriend/boyfriend that your job is your first priority, they can’t really complain (or at least shouldn’t). The trouble is with the lack of honesty in figuring your priorities. You can’t tell someone that s/he is your first and foremost priority but in reality, treat him/her like the garbage you forget to throw out. Job first, friends second, family third, fun, games and alcohol, fourth… and buried under many more such priorities is you—at number 137. Nice. No thanks, I’ll take my priorities elsewhere, please.

Lately, a number of people have told me that I’m looking happier than ever before (or at least in a long time). I did not see that coming. Some people attribute it to a certain major (once again) change that’s happened in my life, which technically should leave me unhappy, but isn’t—if that makes sense. Others attribute it to my new job (I am inclined to go with this one). There are a couple of other guesses which I’d rather keep off the blog for now. But the long and short of it is that apparently, I am finally prioritising myself—first. What I want to do, how I want to do it, and who I want to do it with—this comes before anything and anyone else. Lucky for me and them, my family and friends are extensions of my being—so my happiness comes only from having them around me.  

I don’t know what it is, but I have been feeling lighter lately—working hard and partying just as hard. I’ve been waiting around for some people to make me a priority for so long, that I guess I finally snapped—and it just doesn’t matter anymore. Will it ever matter again? Your guess is as good as mine. Till then, I intend to use this apparent happiness on my face to the benefit of my skin—you know what they say, right, if you’re happy from inside, your skin glows and all that. Let’s see if it works. Oh, and I watched Lion King recently and Hakuna Matata is stuck in my head. I’ll take that as a good sign J

Means no worries… for the rest of our days…

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Mission happiness, apparently.

I should not call myself a blogger. Shame on me. In my defence, I literally have no time, and weekends are not for laptops and typing. Weak defence, I know.

So here we are again. Relationships all around me are crumbling—and by crumbling, I’m being polite. Misery indeed does love company, karma seems to agree with that. Why is it so difficult to maintain a relationship, especially when two people *claim* to be in love? Clearly, you’re not in love enough. People say, we’re in love, but love isn’t enough. In fact, I say that all the time. Well the truth, I think, is not that love isn’t enough; it’s just that your love isn’t enough to make it work. Because, call me idealistic, but if you really love someone in the *unconditional-swept-off-your-feet-inconvenient-delirious* sort of way, then won’t you move heaven and hell to make it work? To be with that person till your last breath? I realise that I sound dramatic and filmy, but that’s the kind of love I’d like to believe in. Not that it happens, least of all to me.

I recently read a meme that said “Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love should not be one of them.” I could not agree more.

When you’re with someone, that someone should make you feel like you’re “the only girl (or guy) in the world” (courtesy, Rihanna)—that you’re beautiful, caring, passionate, fun and just the best thing that ever happened to that person. Unfortunately, much of our self-worth is dependent on the *certain someone* in our lives. Unfair and terrible I know, but true (deny it all you want). But the truth also is that if the person you’re with makes you feel any less, then perhaps this is not the person meant for you. Or perhaps you are not the person meant for him/her. And if the feelings you are feeling about yourself, being with this person, is negative or veering in that direction, walk away. Take that walk of reason and walk away—you’ll do both a favour and give yourself and your *certain someone* a chance at happiness with someone else. To feel good about yourself with someone who will make you feel like that.

When s/he looks at you, you should feel the connection, the tingle running through your body like electricity—no matter how long you’ve been together. If you’re in public and s/he touches you lightly, you should want to leave and rush home to tear each other’s clothes off. S/he should be the first and last person you want to see every day, and also the first person you want to talk to if anything major or not-so-major happens. Doesn’t sound that difficult, right? Wrong. Apparently, asking for love, intimacy, loyalty, compromise and other such things in a relationship is like asking someone to squeeze water out of a diamond ring. Random analogy.

And then there are the distractions—a sureshot sign that it’s time to move on. These distractions can be anything from your friends, some unhealthy substances or a new person. This is tricky, because whatever you do is, at the end of the long-ass day, your decision and your consequences. Good luck with that.

Unfortunately, the decision to pick up the pieces of your broken heart and move on with your life, possibly with someone new, is not an easy game. In the real world, especially when you’re an outsider fending for yourself, many other practical factors come into play. So do you concentrate on mending your broken heart, moving on, or fixing the logistics of your life? All of them together, it seems. Joy.

So here’s how I cope, or should cope, or plan to cope. I will do what makes me happy, comfortable and makes me smile. That may mean being with my friends till the point that they want to kick me out of their homes; eating lots of chocolate, red velvet cupcakes and chai, following it up with a strenuous hour at the gym (cos, you know, you’re back in the market and you gotta look good too, right? The parents are going to start asking you for your ‘nice’ photos, whatever that means); or flirting with that new person who sends shivers down to your… err… spine.

So often I’ve been told, “Happiness is intrinsic; unless you’re happy, you can’t make anyone else happy. That’s what I do, and so should you.” Point taken, me lord! Hunting now for the happiness within, no matter what and how that may be done. Awrighty then. Mission happiness is underway.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Two to everything

So I suppose I can finally share my awesomely good news. I have a pretty cool new job. I am happy and most are very proud of me, most being the operative word. People who read this blog and know me, know what this job is. I’ll probably talk more about it in subsequent posts, but for now—baby steps. All I can say though, is that this could well become my dream job.

Unfortunately, the euphoria of this great life event has been significantly dulled, as I mentioned in my previous post, due to the behaviour of certain others.

God has a twisted, strange and evil sense of humour, I’ve come to the conclusion. Long ago, he brought a man into my life and made me entirely and completely dependent on him, without letting me realise this. And then suddenly, right when I was at the cusp of making some life-shaping decisions, for which I definitely needed him, he took him away—literally, one fine morning.

He gave me a sister who I am extremely close to but made a life for her that is thousands of miles away, so that I get to see her only about one every five years. How nice.

Then, after many bumps and falls, he gave me the almost-perfect love story. For the longest time, no fights, no ego, no communication problems—only love, laughter and lots of fun. People would look at us and say we’re perfect for each other, the cutest couple they’ve ever seen, etc etc.

Now, I was prepared for the honeymoon period ending. Nothing is ever that good for too long. But come on! How can you go from being crazy in love and having eyes for only one another, to constantly bickering, ignoring each other, understanding and accepting the differences between each other and yet, steadfastly not doing anything about it, regularly humiliating one or the other, and thinking only of yourself? How?

A relationship, any relationship, but more so a romantic one, is co-dependent. No one is asking you to give up your own identity, or your own life for that matter—but there is a certain amount of cause-and-effect that happens, a dependency on each other, and most importantly, a need and desire to make each other your top priorities, that is, if you’re looking at a potential future together.

You need two to tango; to clap, you need two hands; to kiss, you need two pairs of lips; to fight, you need two lungs and two sets of ego; to work out an issue, you need two compromising souls; and to make a relationship successful, it takes two. Take away your partner and you’ll look like a fool on the tango dance-floor (if there is such a thing); take away one hand, and you’ll look really stupid holding up the other in anticipation of a clap; take away a pair of lips and all you have is a pout—doesn’t come close to a kiss… you get my drift.

Just one person cannot invest time, energy and love into a relationship. You can judge whether or not the person you’re with respects you by observing how s/he treats the people around you, and how s/he treats you around people. If your partner does not respect you, or the people in your life, or if you feel a lack of respect for him/her and those in his/her life, the relationship is unlikely to work.

The most ironic thing is that my certain someone sent me a mail recently about how falling in love is easy, but sustaining that love is that much harder—it’s not about whether you’re with the right person, but about learning to love the person you’re with, and no matter what, sticking it out and making it work. But both need to work at it.

The article also talks about how many search and find solace from the demanding relationship outside of it—most commonly by cheating, but sometimes also by turning to alcohol, friends, or anything that keeps you away from the better or bitter half (latter adjective courtesy of a friend). Do you really expect your problems to disappear by staying away from each other and piling on the nastiness? Or is this the easy escape route?

I find God even more bizarre for having made human relationships and emotions so bloody complicated. Do you think the animal kingdom is wrought with such issues? I mean, Olive Ridley turtles mate and then the male turtle swims away God-alone knows where, while the female turtle returns to the mating spot to nest (as usual, the man gets off easy. I know, at this point, some people are going to bring up the Sea Horse, but really, let’s look at the ratio, shall we, people?) The point is, I doubt either the male or female turtle gives a shit about the fact that they may never see each other again.

We’re still not sure about life outside Earth, but I’m confident, and hopeful, that these un-earthly beings are free from the kind of emotional baggage we humans carry.

It’s easy to lose each other, break the trust your partner has in you and take each other for granted, and it’s that much harder to maintain and work at a relationship to make you happy, in the long and short term. It’s up to you to decide what you’d rather do.

I know, this is another one of em bare-all posts for which I’ll receive both flak and encouragement. But like I’ve said before, I’m a writer, this is how I do it, this is my blog and I’ll do as I please. If you are a part of my life in any capacity, it’s likely that you will be written about. No offence intended, if you don’t like it, you’re welcome to stop clicking. For the others, share share and share some more, the crap you have to deal with in your twosomes as well.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Leap of faith or walk of reason?

Something amazing has happened. Like really amazing. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but shortly, very shortly. And this is an amazing thing that I’ve been waiting for, for a long time. And it’s happened, but I’m waiting for it to really actually truly happen before rejoicing. You know? No, how will you, what with me being this vague. Soonly, I promise.

The point is, despite this awesome thing happening to me, it was immediately, if not even before, negated, or rather annihilated, by something not-so-nice that happened (read: positively awful). Of course, right? How can life, even for a day, be perfectly good and in sync? Nah, too much to ask for.

I’ve got this sinking feeling. It’s one of those feelings that is sadness mixed with anxiety and some dread thrown in, stirred up with a trickle of joy. Bizarre. Will it or will it not? Should I or should I not? What I’m asking right now is, should I take a leap of faith or take a walk or reason?

The leap of faith means that despite knowing that the odds are stacked against me, I follow my heart and go with what I want. The walk of reason would mean that judging by the height of the odds piled up against tiny, l’il ol’ me, I do what I should do, and not necessarily what I want to do, and walk away. Of course, it’s never that easy, is it? Too much at stake, too much to lose.

If I take the leap of faith, no doubt I’ll *probably* be happier in the short term—probably being the operative word. I might even be happier in the long run, too. But will I always wonder... what if? Is it...? Should we have...? Can you truly be happy with these many questions looming in your mind

If I take the walk of reason, for a very long short term, I will be miserable—tried and tested. But in the longer long run, does it make more sense, a better call of judgement? No easy answer is there?
And of course, while my mind and heart play this tug of war of decision, I am just confused. How do I behave? Do I pull back or give in? Love or let go?

During this entire internal turmoil that's searing through me, I did a weekend away with my family away from home—well at least some of them. One of my closest friends is leaving the city for a year to study and all that – bleh – so we decided to spend our last weekend together at a beach far away (more like in the back of beyond’s bum). But the further the better, and a blast was had (not the kind of blast I had on my birthday, but you know, metaphorically). This included tossing about a football (yea, apparently I can do that), playing taboo, and making the YMCA of our silhouettes against the setting sun. Maybe it didn’t quite turn out to be the YMCA, but ah well.

So often, when I’m with these guys, I wonder, what would I do without them? I mean, there are only so many people in the world in front of whom you can look like a mess and not give a shit, have no shame or any such thing with, and discuss absolutely anything, including detailed conversations on bowel movement. Apart from of course, knowing each other better than we know ourselves. I think everyone deserves to have friends like this—if you don’t, you have no clue the kind of madness you’re missing out on.  

One of the things we also spoke about is friends. How most of us have a different person to go to with different problems, but some of us have that one go-to person for just about everything, who will not judge and yet will be brutally honest with you (I do have one, and she does both, which is why I can’t do without her –she’s grinning ear-to-ear reading this, I’m sure). Over the years, those friends and your go-to people also change; they’re bound to—distance, growing up, jobs, partners and all come in the way. Does that mean you should no longer be friends with or close to the person who was once your go-to person? Certainly not. That person may have taken a different space in your life but if s/he mattered to you at some point, s/he will matter always.

I randomly think of people I called friends once upon a time. I think of her giggle while we slept over at her place, I think of his laughter at the bad jokes we cracked at the many house parties, I think of his hug at the end of a long day, I think of her tears when we were saying goodbye and the letter she wrote to me, calling me her sister, I think of the three-way phone calls with both of them late into the night. They all mattered so much back then and today, when we are no longer in each others’ lives, I still think of them—even though I may have been friends with them many, many years, almost a lifetime, ago.

I suppose you have to cut some people out to make way for the new—friends, lovers, relatives, etc. But it’s tough, and frankly, a little depressing. Sometimes, I wish, I could have em all back, just as always, and just keep adding more, till my life is exploding with love and laughter, and I still greedily ask for more.
I’m aware I’ve made little sense today, pardon me. But sometimes, you just gotta let it out. And guess what, I can—cos that’s what writers do. J

Monday, 18 March 2013

Happy birthday, Procrastinator!

So March 21 is my first blog’s first happy budday! Wow, a year passed by fast, and I’ve been a *fairly* regular blogger. I said fairly! But there are tons of things I learnt in this last year, via this blog and otherwise. Here are some. Oh! And my blog has crossed 5000 hits! I know that might be a piddly number for some other famous, cool, writer kind of bloggers, but for me, this is big! Back to the list. 

·         People actually read what I write. And even wait for my posts. :-o
·         I truly am a procrastinator. I procrastinate on everything. Sigh.
·         I throw some kickass parties.
·         No matter what, your girls are always there for you. A hearty laugh with them can cure many a heartache.
·         Change is the only constant in life. Relationships change, feelings change, equations change, you change. Not all change is bad. Sometimes, embracing change is good. It opens up new metaphorical doors and all that. Sometimes it’ll open up a new physical door too, like the one to a new apartment or a new job.
·         When a man starts chatting you up five minutes into meeting you, in person or via some sort of technological communication device, chances are that he’s trying to get into your pants. On learning that you are not interested / available, chances are that he will disappear. If he doesn’t, then he’s a good man and you should stay friends with him.
·         Even the tightest, most intimate friendships can develop cracks in them. These are the ones you have to fight for the most, try the hardest with, and will be the most awkward with.
·         Never take anyone in your life for granted—not your partner, friend or family. It’s important to keep making the people in your life feel special. It doesn’t cost anything.
·         Family is extremely important, no matter how dysfunctional yours may be. They will stand by you through it all. The moments you spend with them are priceless.
·         As important, if not more, is the family you choose outside your blood relations. They don’t have to, but they still do. That speaks volumes.
·         The one thing that binds people together, across religion, sex, cast, creed and other such stereotypical demographics is love, and generally, matters of the heart—relationships, break-ups, sex, etc.
·         Marriages and relationships will shatter all over the place, all the time. Do not judge your own relationship on the basis of that.
·         No matter how long ago you’ve lost a loved one, the pain never reduces, the wound never heals. You will still find yourself tearing up randomly on a regular basis.
·         There will be some people (read: friends) who will surprise you with their selfishness and insensitivity. Sometimes, it’s all about them or nothing at all.
·         There will also be a whole lot of people who will surprise you with their loyalty and love, over years and decades. Hold on to these people for dear life.
·         Love is not what they show in Hindi movies. Neither are break-ups or make-ups. There are no Hindi sad songs playing in the background. Everyone’s story is different and yet we all connect. Don’t expect the romance to be alive, day in, day out, year in, year out. But if, even after being together for two years or more, you can look at the person googly-eyed and wonder how you love this person so, consider yourself lucky.
·         Online shopping is evil. It’s so wonderful that it’s awful. Don’t succumb; it’s too late for me.
·         If reading is not one of your habits, you’re seriously losing out—books, online, anything. In the past year I’ve discovered that I can read anything—anything.
·         Having siblings is THE best. Nothing beats that bond.
·         A mother’s intuition is never wrong. Beware.
·       My father reads my blog, pretty regularly. My chats with him are always entertaining, in person or online. It’s a quirky relationship.
·         Being a woman in this country sucks. And it’s unlikely to ever get better. Excuse the pessimism.
·         No matter how forward and open-minded you are / want to be, you find yourself succumbing to peer / societal pressures. It just makes life easier sometimes.
·         I am not as ambitious, passionate or driven as I used to be. And that depresses the life out of me.
·         Whatsapp is awesome.
·         Holidays, weekend getaways, days off, are all underrated. Not that I’m getting or have gotten in the last year, much of any.
·    Life is never as awful or dramatic as it is in your head. Live a little; fun will become :) 

      So there. I’m pretty sure I’ve learnt a lot more, but my memory fails me with my age. Feel free to add more to the list! Waiting to learn some more nuggets. (Oh yea, chicken nuggets rock.)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The ones who make me proud!

As I sit here, passion- and drive-less, stressing every other day about setting up new home, and falling violently sick on the days in between, my friends are out there reaching dizzying heights of success. So this post is about and for those in my life who make me proud.

Disclaimer: Not that the others in my life *don’t* make me proud, but these are big and I want to write about them now.

I’ll start with my oldest friend on this list. I met her when I was all of six years old and my earliest memory of her is the gesture of friendship—sticking her thumb out at me while sucking the middle and ring fingers of the other hand (a peculiar habit she had that took forever to get rid of). My childhood bestie, with whom I’ve been friends with for over 20 years now, Sulagna Ghosh aka Suli, is an entrepreneur and upcoming designer. Her store, Sienna, is one of the prettiest ones around, where you will find clothes, pottery, decorative items and myriad other kitschy things which reflect the kind of person Suli is. She’s recently also designed her first collection of fusion wear, which is to-die-for (There’s a romper somewhere in that store with my name on it). Go to her store in Kolkata and buy stuff – NOW!

Next up is my college bestie, who I also happened to be married to—Rochelle Pinto. Madam (who is the husband in this equation) is now famous. Being a fashion journalist and a brilliant writer for years now, she recently launched her very-own, first-ever book! She co-authored a book with Kareena Kapoor Khan called the Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva, which I have completed. Rochelle has a signature style which is, however, never repetitive—a unique talent. And the best part of the book is that even though you can recognise her style, reading it feels like Kareena is talking to you. It’s a pretty book too—it’s pink! My favourite part—asking Roch for her autograph on the day of the launch in front of KKK :D Read the book, ladies; you’re bound to find some interesting tips in there for the long haul.

If you’re a meat-loving foodie, look no further and head straight to Between Breads in Bandra. This new fun, quirky and yummilicious burger and sandwich joint has been started by my enterprising college friend Reuben Borah and his equally enterprising partners, Paresh Chhabria and Ayank Verma. I promise you, you will be not be disappointed. The lucky friends aka us, had the good fortune of going for a tasting. We quickly returned and gladly paid for our spoils and have been in a food coma ever since. Beef, ham, bacon, chicken; even the veggie burgers taste good. The lemonades have an interesting twist; there are Archies comics strewn around the place (:-o), the decor is happy and bright, and the two good-looking owners will serve you themselves, taking great pains to make sure you’re happy with your meal. Chef Ravi is definitely getting this right. Between Breads is directly opposite Hawain Shack off Pali Naka—you canNOT miss this!

And last but not the least, my marad J Llewelyn Dmello aka Lee is now the Programming Head of 104.8 Oye FM, the radio station by the India Today group. If you’re a Bollywood junkie, or love Hindi music from any era, tune in. I’ve been bowled over by their collection of music way before he joined (I promise!), because out of the blue, they will play some song from your childhood or adolescence that will throw you into nostalgia mode. It may take you an extra minute to tune your car radio to this frequency, but it’s worth it. And when you hear a fun, sexy voice on the spots or ads, you’ll know who eet ees!

You guys make me proud, make me teary with joy and inspire me, all at the same time. How lucky am I!

PS: First time I'm linking pages to my blog - hope it works. Yes, technotards are me. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Blast-ed Budday

One month and no post—chee chee chee. And I call myself a blogger. But then again, my life has been excessively dramatic lately. In fact I’m thinking of chucking the book I’m contemplating thinking about working on (yes that’s how much I’ve been procrastinating on it) and write a book on my dramatic life. There will be only one book published and I’ll be the only reader, but still.

Anyhoo, the birthday just went by. And my, whatte budday it was. Since I’m ignoring the fact that I’m getting older, and am nowhere near what I imagined what my fabulous life would be like, I decided to party my *bums* off this year. Last year was an utterly crappy birthday, so I more than made up for it this year.

Although I’m currently observing (I actually changed that from doing to observing) Lent—yes, that means no alcohol for almost 50 days; no, I’m not Catlick but I’m doing it out of love and support, sigh—it was decided earlier that I get to take a break from the abstinence on my budday eve and on my budday, of course. (Only much later did it occur to marad that I had managed two days out of this *hyuk hyuk*).

So there we were, a whole bunch of my friends and I, at one of our favourite bars, drinking, singing, dancing and generally making merry. I cut a cake at 12 (I still adore this ritual), got calls from friends and family, and generally was very *happy*. Now obviously, since almost everyone was as *happy* as I was, no one wanted the party to end, even though it was a weekday.

So we headed to a friend’s place, all the girls piling into the car, while the boys chivalrously took autos. On the way, two my *happy* friends wanted balloons, so we stopped and bought a bunch of colourful balloons. We reached said friend’s building and continued taking photographs (of course, over 200 from the night) in the compound.

Suddenly, somehow, no one is quite sure how—a number of unverified reports—a lighter found its way under the balloons and all the balloons exploded simultaneously. Onto three of my girls’ faces and one boy’s arm. Whaa?

Apparently, these were not regular balloons. These weren’t even helium balloons because those don’t explode (some fancy scientific explanation). These balloons were filled with some form of flammable gas, which burnt like a bitch. We rushed the victims to the hospital at 2am and many tears, some ointment and a questionable night doctor later, we wrapped up the night around 4am. “Blast-ed birthday” indeed!

There was little respite afterward because we had to wake up in two hours and go sort out some new house thingy at the ungodly hour of 7am. Made it to work on time, worked all day, got said new home cleaned and then went out again to make more merriment.

Needless to say, it was an eventful and exhausting birthday. Can you blame me for not blogging? Oh and btw, I just turned 21. Okthanksbye.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Fidelity a scarce commodity?

When I was a little girl, I had a recurring daydream. I’d meet my soulmate when I turn 16. He becomes my best friend, we go to the same college together, move to the same city, fall in love and get married, have kids and live happily ever after. There was no space for dating other guys, having my heart broken or breaking other hearts, people hitting on me only for a particular reason—none of that. It was the perfect love story; one that couldn’t be made into a movie since there were no twists or turns.

I grew up and expectedly, my daydream was shattered into a millions shards. Many came and went; I broke some hearts and my heart was broken a few times. But nonetheless, I still believe in love, commitment, marriage, fidelity and the likes. Which is odd, because the concept of marriage scared the bejesus out of me for the longest time—not because I wanted to sound cool and say that I don’t want to be tied down or whatever excuse people use, but because my first-hand experience of marriage in my formative years was less than perfect.

Today I see fidelity has become a scarce commodity, a point of discussion with people actually debating whether or not it is possible. People I know fall in love, spend heaps of time together, fight, share, laugh, and then get married. I’m presuming that when they are getting married it’s not just for the party (as fun as that idea may be). You are taking a vow to love, cherish and respect each other, no matter what. Yes, there will be ups and downs, sometimes the road will look barren for long periods of time, sometimes you will want to either kill yourself or your spouse, or both. But in the end, you promise at that altar, in front of a fire or a cross or a courthouse, that you will stick it out. So why the question of whether or not fidelity is possible? Isn’t that the premise of most relationships, especially that of marriage?

When people tell me they think fidelity is overrated and not a practical expectation, I look at it this way—I love my mom. Now if I meet my friend’s mom who may be prettier, or more fun, or just cooks better, does that mean I...switch or move on to the other mother? Not really.

So why is it so difficult for people to stay committed in a marriage and uphold those vows? I’ve heard people say that yes, I’ve cheated, but I love her/him, so I shouldn’t lose her/him. Huh? If you do love the person, how could you allow your body to make love to anyone else? Isn’t it repulsive? I know love and lust are two different things, but isn’t lust a part of love? If you are truly in love with someone, aren’t you also attracted to that person, and hence won’t feel the need to satiate any physical needs elsewhere?

I’ve heard people say, “I love XX, but so-and-so is so cute, I just can’t resist!” I could understand that if you’re in a relationship where you’re not entirely happy or sure about the person. But if you’re married (and I don’t mean those weddings where you are forced down the aisle)... how?

I may sound old-fashioned, close-minded or just plain stupid. But it makes me thinks, in this day and age, when we have so many options for just about everything, from detergent to investment plans and cars, are we also beginning to look at options for our love and commitment? Is it really becoming that difficult in today’s urbanscape to stay loyal to one person, where you can have up to five people at a time?

I try not to judge but sometimes I can’t help it. Forgive the righteousness of this post, it’s not the intention. I’m just old-school. Despite seeing lots of infidelity all my life, I am a complete champion for faithfulness, loyalty, chivalry and old-fashioned, one-person, head-over-heels, going-down-on-one-knee, sweeping-you-off-your-feet kinda love. Is that too much to ask for?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Happy birthday Dadu

One of the earliest memories I have of him is of the night we returned from the US. I remember he bought Thums Up for us and though it was three in the morning, the entire family was chugging the drink on the first floor of the beautiful house he had built years ago.

After this, every memory of my growing years has him in it. He would be the guardian coming for our parent-teacher meetings, sit in the room while my sister and I studied in the porar ghor (which is my room today), often falling asleep and leaving us giggling with his thunderous snores. We’d take the opportunity to then pass chits and snacks to each other, while he slept blissfully on the floor of the room, comfortable in just his lungi and poite.

His would buy us whatever we needed—clothes, books, stationary, even underwear and other womanly items. He would cover our books before every school year started while we held the tape for him. Every other weekend, he and I would sit on the floor of our dining room and segregate all the biscuits he had bought in separate jars and tins. We would then eat those biscuits with tea on the floor of his room or the balcony; I would pour my tea into the saucer just like he would. Yes, we spent many an hour on the floor of our beautiful house.

Lunches at the Calcutta Club were always a grand affair, especially the Christmas lunches. A stop at the bakery before leaving was always a must. The discussion at the lunch table however, always embarrassingly revolved around my bathroom ordeals—so much so that today, I have no qualms in discussing the same with just about anyone.

I remember seeing him cry, for the first time ever, and my heart broke. I literally heard the snap and thinking of the image, I cried for hours afterwards.

He would drop me to the bus stop every single day till I was in my A-Levels and stopped going to school by bus. He would carry my bag, hold my hand and we’d cross the road till I was 16 years old. Once when my bag fell over into the fenced garden against which we’d lean and wait, he tried climbing over the fence to retrieve it—he was around 70 then. When it was time to start using the metro, he went on a few trial runs with me so that I would get the hang of it.

The amount of time I spent on the phone was always a bone of contention between us—why wouldn’t I just use that time studying instead? He often lectured my friends and me—he used to say, I don’t have two granddaughters, I have so many, because my sister’s and my childhood friends, especially my three chuddy buddies, were like his own.

The first time we had to rush him to the hospital, I was scared. I was petrified, but for some reason, I did not fear losing him. That thought had just not occurred to me. I mean, he had, after all, said that he wanted to settle our accounts over all the years with his nath-jamais (grandsons-in-law). So where would he go? He was going to give us away.

My AS Level results came a month before he actually left. I was thrilled and so was he—I got all A’s. He showed me off at his office (yes, the man worked till his last day) and brought home mishti. We then ordered pizza and I remember planting a kiss on the forehead of the man who was responsible for my “flying colours”.

About a month later, I had to fill out some forms and submit them to the British Council for a paper I was giving early, for my A-Levels. I took them on Friday but one signature or some such thing was missing, so the submission was incomplete. The perfectionist OCD kind of person that he was, he wanted at least five different copies of these to be kept with different people at different locations, just in case. I brought back the incomplete forms which he then completed.

Monday morning, as I was leaving the house, I looked up to wave him goodbye; he was hanging off the balcony yelling “BC BC!”, reminding me to go to British Council, submit the forms and bring home the photocopies. Anyone hearing this out of context would think he was yelling out a very dirty swear word.

I dutifully did all that I was told and brought the copies for him. He breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that now I would be able to give my exam.

Later that night, I was studying for an accounts test, my least favourite subject. He knew I preferred to study at night. But this night, for some reason, he called me up to sleep by 11:30pm. I would sleep in his room—him of the floor and me on the bed. He used to say that the AC’s direct vent bothered him, but I suspect that was not true.

Surprisingly, without arguing, I too shut my books and went up. He told me he was feeling well now (he had had a cold and fever the past few days) and that I should sleep since I had to wake up early. That was the last conversation I ever had with him. The next two weeks or so are a blur and yet I remember every single moment of it.

Birthdays have always been a big deal for us—a cake is a must. Today he would have turned 85. How I wish he was here so that I could turn to him for advice, and so that he could meet my special someone (I think he’d like him) and so that he could give me away. I try not to shed tears on his birthday; I definitely eat cake. The tears bit is easier said than done, but the cake is easy peasy.

Happy Birthday Dadu. Everything I am today, is because of you—my perseverance, my tenacity, the strength of my character, my values and ideals—everything. I know you’re still around, looking out for Di and me, proud of what we’ve accomplished today, waiting for it to get even better, because as you would say, “Ashol’er theke shudh beshi.” (The interest is always greater and more important than the principal amount).