Thursday, 27 October 2016

Choices and Chances

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Eyes of the Beholder

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Curse of Happy Couples

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 10 October 2016

Of Weddings and a Single Girl

There are certain things in life which are bound to happen. They’re totally inevitable and unavoidable. For instance, being heartbroken; running into your ex; finding them with someone hotter- What can we really do in such a case? We can prepare ourselves to face it, put our most stylish foot forward, and still hope to never have to face them! 

‘Hope for the best, prepare for the worst!’
This is the exact quote that came to my mind, while I was getting dressed to attend my cousin Rishabh’s wedding. He was one of the most eligible bachelors of our family- 27, good looking, caring, sanskaari, and his start up was doing immensely well too. Today was his day! He would get to live his ‘dream’ of getting married to his almost perfect girlfriend Arpita! After all, they had planned this day for years.  But like they say- one person’s dream, is another person’s nightmare! This was MY nightmare. What could I do? Dress the part!

Clouded with thoughts of what all I might have to hear from my ‘concerned’ relatives at the wedding, I carefully slipped into my black and gold dress; that did seem to make me appear a few kilos lighter. It was the perfect outfit; not too lose, not too tight- just right! If only it was as easy to find Mr. Right, I wondered! Turns out, I was not the only one wondering!

As I reached the venue, and greeted everyone, with the widest smile I could put on that night; I couldn’t help but fear the topic of my wedding cropping up. As petrified as a single girl at 26 could be in a room full of relatives; I sat on an empty table to check my work mails on the phone.  Once I was done checking my mails, the table wasn’t empty anymore. 

Before I could move from there, my dear Bhabhi started a fun conversation, pointing out how I was the ‘next one’ to get married! I could only smile in response, but Buaji had words to respond with. She exclaimed- “Do you like anyone? Are you dating someone? Come on you can tell your Bua, I can help you talk to your parents!”  I get it! Buaji was trying to help, but she had too many assumptions. She assumed I was dating someone, she assumed my parents were orthodox, she assumed I couldn’t speak to them, and she also assumed I needed her help! Before, I could wrap my head around all of that, Fufaji decided to give his 2 cents as well- “Is he from a different Caste? Or does he have the Boy problem?” I knew I’d regret asking this, but I went ahead and asked him what the ‘Boy Problem’ was! Turns out, he was referring to ‘Gay men’! 

Why would I date someone who was Gay? More importantly, why would someone who’s Gay, date me? What was Fufaji thinking? Clearly he had it all wrong. What problem do all of them have? Why is it that if a girl is single at 26, people assume she has to be dating someone or that she’s standing in some sort of virtual queue to get married? Is it hard for the society to accept? That a girl can be single, and happy, and not looking to settle down just yet. Or are they just jealous? Considering single people don’t have to pay for two, change diapers or even be held responsible for the actions of another person! Whatever it was, the lack of acceptance or the inadvertent jealousy- I decided I’d had enough; I needed a drink.

As I walked towards the bar, I could feel a 100 judgemental eyes looking at me. I reached out to the bartender and ordered my Scotch. One sip, and the world had already started to seem a tad bit better. But that was until I saw Vinay mamaji walking in my direction. As a reflex, I very quickly hid my drink at a table conveniently situated right behind me. ‘What are you doing here?’ – he asked; with an authoritative tone. ‘Looking for you’- was my sly reply! Mamaji  wasn’t one to believe my words, or my actions. He immediately decided to tell me about how Rekha mamiji  (his wife), always told the truth, no matter what the consequences may be. He went on to further praise her by saying that she had her life together at the ‘tender age of 23’ when he married her. At 26, as per him, my clock was ticking! Because mamiji had already had two kids by the time she turned 26. And her life was then COMPLETE! 

Just when it had started to become clear, that the purpose of my life was to get married, pop some kids, and have a doting husband who praises about me to his niece after 30 years of being married; mamaji decided to share some more pearls of wisdom. Perhaps he had seen my not-so-nicely hidden drink; when he went on to tell me how Rekha mamiji had never even touched alcohol till she was 23; which is what made her ‘marriage material’! He advised me to concentrate on getting married instead of being a workaholic.
I wanted to draw a comparison to the 1980s (mamiji’s era) and 2016, but really who would I be explaining? Was it even worth it? Trying to defend myself and my lifestyle to a bunch of relatives whose minds were already programmed to judge my character by a glass of alcohol that I probably enjoy only like once a month, seemed like fighting a war. What is marriage material, really? Is it that sanskaari, saree clad girl who goes to the temple every morning? Can’t it be the skirt wearing sassy chic that goes to work every morning? Why is it that the society has fixed norms and patterns to choose their ‘bahus’; while the daughters may do as they please? What is with this double standard of the society ? I wondered if mamaji was right.. What if my clock was really ticking? What if my Mr. Right had gone by and found someone else; since you know the workaholic me was busy working when I was 23? All these thoughts made me laugh, but helped me reach a conclusion!

There is no clock! There is no ‘right time’ and ‘right age’! Not just to get married, but for anything at all. And there definitely isn’t a virtual queue, in which ‘you’re next’! Then how do we know when to get married? The answer is simple. We marry when we want to, when we wish to- and when, we find our Mr. Right! 

As I came back to reality, and stopped dreaming about finding my Mr. Right just yet; I decided it was time to hit the dance floor. What are weddings for, if not shaking a little booty? But the dance floor was occupied; by just one person- my absolute favorite- Rekha mamiji! I watched in awe as mamiji set fire to the dance floor with her signature Naagin dance moves! Before I could enjoy the complete act, mamaji  took her away and apologized to everyone for the embarrassment mamiji caused! In my opinion, he didn’t have to- she was just having fun. Turns out she was a little tipsy!

As I strutted my fabulous, single, 26 year old ass to the table where my cousins sat ; I thought to myself- Maybe, just maybe, if mamiji had had a drink when she was 23, she would’ve known how to handle one now!