Monday, August 29, 2011

Show Me The Money, Honey…

This is an eternal debate… the debate between men and women. About who is more selfish in the relationship? As a girl, I can go on blaming men, pointing out the negative points of the opposite sex. But today I am in a good mood to explain.

Many a times I have argued with guys who have several grievances against girls. They complain how girls show more interest in men with currency power. How girls can be manipulative in wooing the men they set their eyes on! How money can be a decisive factor in a relationship!

Yes, money matters honey!

But majority of us are not gold-diggers. Rather, we search for successful men.

Ambition to cement a strong position in the society; honesty, integrity, courage and the drive to follow and achieve that ambition, a few of the traits we look for in an ideal man. A few very vital traits.

Selfish it might sound, but this is the brutal truth. Of course, romance has to be there. We won’t go and get hitched to the first rich and successful man who comes across. Every individual will have his or her reasons for choosing to be with someone. Attraction, mutual admiration and respect, the thrill of romance and lust, all the elements are important. But above all, we want to be with a man who has earned our respect for the man he is.

A few of my friends recently got married, agreeing to arranged unions. They broke up with their boyfriends and decided to start life afresh with men selected by their folks. I was as much surprised by their decisions as their exes. When I asked them what went wrong with the relationships that had seen so many seasons together, their replies were mostly similar. Being in love is a divine feeling. They were so much in love that they were ready to wait eternally for the boyfriends to become financially secure. But the guys were not committed enough – neither to their goals nor to the promises they had made to their loves.

In the words of one of these friends, “He was not man enough to chase his dreams and convert them into reality. Money would have automatically flowed if he had guts to do what he wanted or rather, claimed he wanted to do. I had given him all the time in the world, promising that I would wait and thus, supporting him in all endeavours. But somehow, it was all talk and no show. He could not motivate himself. How long could I have waited? Today I am married to a respectable and successful man who can provide a secure future to me. He might not be the ‘Great Love’ of my life, but I respect him and so does my family.”

In today’s scenario, working girls like me won’t rely on a man to survive. I have grown up watching and admiring a strong lady like my mother who has never, till date, asked for even a sari from my father. She is a respectable doctor, just like my father. But we girls will always prefer to be with a man who is more educated, more successful and more responsible than us. We are not after the money, but after the man whom we can trust to be supportive if the need arises. The man who can pamper us if and when we want (come on, we girls love to be pampered!). The man whom we respect and whom the society respects.

I know many will find fault in my thought-process. And they are welcome to have their opinions (just like I have mine). After all, men and women will never agree on same points. The twain shall never meet. But rather than blaming women for behaving selfish, don’t you think you need to take a deeper look at the situation? Be a man, own up to yourself, stick to your goals and we will stick with you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Dear Juliet…

This weekend, I watched a beautiful ‘little’ movie named “Letters to Juliet”. I am terming the movie as ‘little’ because it is such an endearing movie with child-like innocence and honesty that touches the core of your heart. It’s like a leisurely poetry that takes you to an ethereal world, devoid of any corrupt or depressive element. A completely romantic movie but not at all sugar-coated. In a quiet way, it paints the stories of true love. The fact that the story is majorly set in the beautiful country sides of Italy, especially in Verona, the City of Love, the movie has secured a special place in my heart. Italy, according to me, is the heaven of romance with its virgin beauty and thus, tops my list of ‘places to explore before I die’.

The plot of the movie is based on a curious tradition in Verona where women of different ages write to Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet) about their stories of loves and heartbreaks. A few women, who call themselves ‘Secretaries of Juliet’, reply to all the letter-writers. The story is based on such a reply written by the lead, played by the beautiful and delightfully talented Amanda Seyfried, the only known face in the movie.

Today, I am writing to Juliet inspired by the movie and the reply written Sophie (Amanda). So here it goes:

Dear Juliet,

‘What’ and ‘If’ are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life. 

‘What if’?!

What if you had never had the night sojourn on the balcony with Romeo?

What if you had decided not to drink the intoxicant that made you appear dead?

What if Romeo had arrived a few minutes late?       
What if Romeo had broken your heart after your feuding families agreed to your union?

What if you were born today and not in Shakespeare’s imagination?

What if?...

Juliet, if you were born today, would you have still believed in ‘true love’? What if Romeo didn’t have the time for the rendezvous at night? And if he had, would he have serenaded you from the ground as you looked on from your balcony? But I guess that would be highly improbable considering the fact that you would be residing in some high-rise building. So Romeo would rather prefer to take the lift and meet you when your folks are not there.

What if you ever came to know that Romeo, whom you considered your soul mate and true love, was cheating on you?

What if you come across a more perfect man than Romeo who truly understands and values your worth as an individual?

I have never felt what a love like the legendary Juliet’s feels like – the love to cross oceans for, the love to fight the world for, the love to see beauty even in the viciousness of the world. But dear Juliet of 21st century, tell me, is it worth all the heartaches?

You care for him, you worry about his worries. But he forgets to wish you even a ‘good morning’. You want to talk about your dreams and passion with him. But he doesn’t listen, all the while giving you a “I-know-it-all” smile. You are upset and he doesn’t notice. All you want to do is take a stroll on the beach but he ignores even meeting you. Reason, he doesn’t have the money to take you out! You painstakingly plan for surprise gifts which he likes and he is off to party with others (which includes a few girls with whom he cheats on you). You think of a beautiful tomorrow with him. He says he needs time to be financially stable. You understand and silently wait for him. You perfectly understand that he is not a match as expected by your family and is actually not a perfect husband material. He is always needy – monetarily, emotionally and physically. You are more talented than him and you can earn more than him. You have met nicer men than him. Many of them earn more than him and a few of them are embarrassingly younger than him (but he is not embarrassed!). These men respect and admire you. You know everything. But you ignore it all.

Why Juliet why?? Why do you keep on believing in true love? Why do want to keep on living with these recurring heartaches?

But don’t think I am a cynic. I know true love exists. But its been polluted or diluted, whatever you want to call it. And Romeo, my dear Juliet, is not that true love you are looking for or deserve. You don’t deserve to shed those teardrops on your guitar for a loser like him. 

You need to think over and analyse, "What if I dump Romeo before he does the same as it is bound to happen?!" Trust me Juliet, the world will once again be beautiful, just like you.

Dear Juliet, you are a courageous lady. This is the reason which has enabled you to tolerate an idiot like Romeo. But you need to stop playing the victim. Romeo should just be another chapter of your diary. Actually he doesn’t deserve even a page. But all his negative aspects would at least create one positive aspect in your life – you will understand how strong you are to come out of a bad situation named Romeo!

Hence, dear Juliet, this is an appeal to you. Please let go and move on. Life has many more beautiful experiences in store for you. There is a happy place for everyone in this world. Even Romeo might have found one. But you, Juliet, deserve only the best. And I will pray that your true love is waiting for you at that place.

Keep on the faith Juliet!



Friday, August 19, 2011

Blueberry Cheesecake

I need a break from all the monotonies that seems to be cramping my life. Like a typical Virgo, I get bored of things after a time. Thus, I always keep a lookout for newer aspects, newer horizons and newer colours in life.

Why am I talking about this?

The holidays last week gave me the opportunity to break away from the humdrums. I chose a quick escape to my friends in Delhi. So, there I was, in the city which had been my second home for nearly 5 years. And there they were… the familiar friendly faces whom I was missing dearly. My weekend was all planned and set.


There is a saying in Assamese which translates into, “What you plan doesn’t materialize because the one-eyed destiny stands in the way”. A bad news greeted me at the airport. A friend had met with a bike accident and he was admitted in the ICU. Sunday morning he expired. May he rest in peace.

We plan so many things for ourselves and for our near and dear ones. This friend had been planning to get engaged to his girlfriend of seven years by the year-end. Life is so cruel, so unpredictable and so short. All my friends and me were hit by a disastrous thunder bolt. We understood what a catastrophic life we all are living.

And it’s us who have been turning life into one catastrophic circus.

Let’s talk about me.

I realized that I have been living such a sad life. I always value my ego more than anything else. While in school, I had a little fight with a classmate who was also a very good friend. We didn’t speak to each other for a year. Finally, we broke the ice on the last day of the board examination. Now if I recall those times, that was such an idiotic phase. But again, we were kids.

But today as grown-ups, has anything changed? Not at all. In fact, all of us are becoming prouder and more egoistic as we are growing older. In my case, I am always extreme. If I like someone, I can go to any extent for that someone. But if I don’t, then I keep looking for an outlet to let out my wrath. I, my friends and non-friends, all of us are part of this humongous crazy circus. In the race to the top, we have become so cold-hearted that we don’t even look the lesser-privileged. Our problems are so small in comparison to many others.

Look at the struggles of Anna Hazare and Irom Sharmila. They are fighting for the survival of others while we are fighting like cats and dogs to outdo each other. We talk about supporting Anna’s crusade against corruption but how many of us will actually not try to bribe police after jumping signal or buy movie tickets in black. I have bought ticket in black many a times as I didn’t want to miss the movies and I didn’t even realize I was indulging myself in corruption.

In the last few days, I am seeing the world in grey-scale. I want to be happy but something has been keeping me restless. I am always irritated and bitter. Many are surprised the way I have become a quiet person. Trouble is I know I am changing and I am not at all fond of this sarcastic me. The friend’s death has made me realize the unworthiness of all the ego hassles. After that, I have apologized to a few persons whom I had offended. That has lessened a few burdens. And it didn’t matter whether everything has been sorted between me and those persons.

Yesterday, as I strolled in the rain, I was feeling a pain (the pain is still poking at my heart like a sharp pin). I have to see the world in colours... beautiful butterfly colours. So, in the endeavour to be a happy ‘Me’ again, I gorged on my favourite blueberry cheesecake. Yes, I was hoping that the sweetness will brim over life’s cup. And it did, to an extent. 

I can’t turn into a new person overnight. At least, I hope to see life in a new brighter light. But I don’t see any point in planning the steps towards that. Just like I enjoyed the taste of the blueberry cheesecake, I will take life as it comes. Happiness quotient is there for everyone, even in the blueberry cheesecake. So, just savour each moment.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Mirror Lies

I don't have a story to tell.

But again,

The mirror lies.

The smile is sparkling at my lips,

And my eyes are speaking

A language beyond my comprehension.

The whiff in the air

It is not my scent,

But it smells familiar. 

I am again staring deeply

At the reflection on the mirror,

But it is not me.

Your purple cold soul

Is laughing back at me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Surviving in the Satan’s Alley: When Things Fall Apart

This weekend started on a bad note. A very depressive note. The Mumbai weather is continuing its gloomy avatar. Although I love the rains, this one time I would have loved a clear sky. Several factors added to the gloomy mood. Most of my flat mates had gone to Pune for a short trip. So on Saturday evening, I returned to an empty dark flat. But something else was bothering me.

I was feeling uneasy. I had just discovered that I was living in a vanity, a pride that I was a good judge of individuals. But I witnessed something that shocked me beyond my wits. My illusion simply shattered. Human nature and behavior will never fail to amaze me. Why do men and women rush after things that might very well be unattainable, and in that rush, neglect what they have in hand? Why are human beings so greedy? Or, in modern relationships, so ‘lusty’?

Many must have heard tales and even witnessed tales about men cheating on their wives or girlfriends. Actually there is nothing surprising about that. But trust me when I say women are also not far behind. Personally I have seen many girls cheating on their boyfriends and a few of them have been in relationship since a decade. And majority of them have no sob stories to justify the adultery.

So when I discovered the same case is happening with someone I know, I felt sorry. I am not sure for whom though. But I was definitely feeling low; there was a restless heartache. The absence of company at that moment only added to the depression. I have been alone before. After all I was residing alone in Delhi. But for the first time in my life I was feeling lonely. Thankfully my friends (love them!) kept me company over phone. And thankfully, a few girls returned to the flat.

But Sunday morning again began on an irritating tone. I was woken up by the shrieks of the girls that there was no gas in the kitchen and the landlord flatly refused to send a new cylinder as it was a holiday. Thus, my day started cursing the landlord, the world and my life as a whole. Surviving in a big bad metro like Mumbai is not easy for a single girl. Nothing romantic or fancy about our lives as depicted in those countless Hollywood chick flicks. Honestly, there is no fairy tale brewing here. The problems in personal and professional lives make a mess of your own life. I feel that I am gradually turning into a sarcastic person, a facet noted by many till date.

Anyways, I survived the daytime watching a few movies munching on a few snacks. But towards the evening, I was bored. So I escaped to one of my favourite places in the vicinity – Landmark bookstore in the nearby mall. As I was taking in the aroma of new books (I just love that smell) and going through the shelves, one book caught my attention. It was “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron. I had never heard about the book or the writer, but that may be because I am not a self-help book person. The book’s title and cover attracted me, might be because of the emotions which were going through my mind.
The next two hours were pure magic. With Eagles and Pink Floyd playing at the background, I got immersed into a whole new world. I experienced a new spiritual awakening. I will take the liberty to quote a few paragraphs from the book to make you understand what actually made me happy:

“We want victory or defeat, praise or blame. For example, if somebody abandons us, we don’t want to be with that raw discomfort. Instead, we conjure up a familiar identity of ourselves as a hapless victim. Or maybe we avoid the rawness by acting out and righteously telling the person how messed up he or she is. We automatically want to cover over the pain in one way or another, identifying with victory or victimhood.

Usually we regard loneliness as an enemy. Heartache is not something we choose to invite in. It’s restless and pregnant and hot with the desire to escape and find something or someone to keep us company. When we can rest in the middle, we begin to have a nonthreatening relationship with loneliness, a relaxing and cooling loneliness that completely turns our fearful patterns upside down.”

Thus I learnt about the middle way. What is the middle way? Read this:

“When we feel lonely, when we feel hopeless, what we want to do is move to the right or the left. We don’t want to sit and feel what we feel. We don’t want to go through the detox. Yet the middle way encourages us to do just that.”

According to the author, if we scramble for security from loneliness, anxiety and hopelessness, this will only bring in momentary joy and the vicious cycle will continue. The middle way is to feel those heartaches, let them settle and make peace with them. We will gradually find contentment. In the words of the author, “We are cheating ourselves when we run away from the ambiguity of loneliness.”

At the risk of being labeled as preachy and boring, I will recommend this book. This will be a good way get rid of all those toxic emotions. At the end of the day, my happiness and peace of mind matter the most to me. And same should be the case with everyone. This will at least make the world a less depressive place.

(P.S. Note to all the cheaters, call me old-fashioned or unreal, but a few moral aspects still matter. If you really want to enjoy the life, at least please let go the poor person who is in a relationship with you. Finish it and then the world is your playground!)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Best Friends Forever... & The Cliché Continues...

We have outgrown the shackles of teenage dramas. Or have we?

As I sipped my hot cuppa last night and went through the birthday list of the month, I noticed an alarming decrease in the number of people in that list. After residing in so many places over the last 10-11 years, I have encountered all sorts of individuals who have added to various chapters in my 27 years of life. Owing to this, the calendar should have been full of reminders. As a teenager, I used to maintain a colourful scrapbook with all the birthdays marked in ‘cute girly’ way (you know, with hearts, flowers etc.). Today, thanks to advancement in technology and lack of time, I only manage to maintain the list on my cell phone organizer. However, thank god (and Mark Zuckerberg) for those birthday reminders on social networking sites that I manage to fulfill the social obligation of wishing people on their birthdays.

But the topic of this note is not the birthday reminders. As the prologue states, I am raising a doubt whether we have outgrown those teenage years. Tomorrow is the ‘Friendship Day’. Once upon a time (my god, I sound so old!), we used to plan something elaborate to celebrate the day of eternal friendship. Since we friends were together almost 24 x 7, it was very difficult to hunt for gifts for each other. So sojourns to the market, especially to those Archies and Hallmark stores, had to be planned very discreetly.

Today, I am reminded about ‘the day’, thanks again to social networking sites. Yes, ‘the day’ has slipped out of my mind. Just like the birthdays of several ‘friends’ from my calendar. As you become part of the adult world, you forget about little joys of life and sometimes about those invaluable parts of your life – ‘friends’. You become unsocial despite signing up with numerous social networking sites.

But then do we really? I remember the birthdays of my friends, the friends who have been my family away from my family. I don’t require any organizer to remember them. They have seen me through my ups and downs, been with me through those upheavals. They don’t come with any ‘conditions applied’. They love me for the crazy person that I am. And I love them because they are equally crazy!

My friends! Thanks for being there. I can behave like the drama queen that I am without the apprehension of being criticized. I can relive those teenage or even kiddish nautankis because only you understand the depth in those acts. We have grown from silly confused girls to confident worldly-wise (we like to think so) women together. Yet, I know only you understand the silly little girl inside me. And yes, we will continue to live life in our own terms… others can take a hike!

So, without any more drama, here it comes… Happy Friendship Day sweethearts! Love you all!