The Math Problem

I turned 30 last year.

And before I did, I remember making a hue and cry about it. I spoke about having set certain ‘before 30 goals” for myself and my failure to achieve most of them. Of course, most of the said set goals might sound really random, quite crazy but a lot of passionate thinking went into them. Like the ones below.

Finish reading Gone with the Wind and War and Peace. But I hadn’t even started reading these books yet.

Download all the Hindi and Telugu songs sung by Udit Narayan on my iPod. I hadn’t finished collecting Udit’s songs while very depressingly, his son, Aditya, that Potla from Pardes, was already all grown up and composing music himself.

Start a society that worked towards helping Indian couples in love aspiring to get married but could not due to problems at home based on baseless differences such as caste, religion, age etc. Not a society that helps couples elope but the kind that sits both families down and makes them see reason. The kind that would explain to parents that if two people are majors and are in love and want to get married, they have every right to do so. Most of my friends, who were my inspiration to start this society for lovers, had given up on their love and were married to whom their parents chose for them.

Donate my hair to a place that made wigs for kids battling cancer. My hair would not meet the minimum length requirement with any hair donation organization.

Learn to speak and understand the language, Tamil, fluently, and do a Mani Rathnam movie marathon without requiring subtitles. I still could neither understand Tamil completely nor speak fluently.

The craziest one of the lot however is, Meet Mahesh Babu, Prakash Raj, Raghuvaran and Trivikram at some point before I turned 30. Well, I did meet Prakash Raj and he turned out to be an extremely unemotional and arrogant man I sincerely felt like punching straight in the face two seconds into the two minute conversation I had with him. Raghuvaran is dead and I really don’t know if I want to meet Mahesh Babu anymore. Trivikram, my love, my sweetheart, is continents away from where I currently am.

While dealing with all of this, I had to pull a 19 hour work shift on my 30th birthday and I slept for the remaining five hours. I remember not taking any phone calls or replying to texts on my birthday. I mean, the whole thing sucks. Who on earth likes to get all old and wrinkly. Besides, with increasing age, the ability to take risks decreases. You cannot make decisions based on chance. Everything needs to be done calculatedly because you mature enough to understand that one decision of yours may have several different implications. And I love taking risks but felt like I was running out of time or something. It was all way too depressing and painful for me.

Until weeks later. My manager told me, ‘Stop being such a baby about turning 30. It isn’t such a big deal and trust me; it is way better than turning 53. Do yourself a favor. Pick up your business cards and write every little thing that you have accomplished over the past 30 years and then, it wouldn’t seem so bad after all. When you look back at these cards when you are 40, take my word for it, you are going to be pleased’

I didn’t trust her at all. How was that going to make me feel better, I wondered. But I decided to give it a shot anyway.

The first card said, ‘Got a Bachelor’s degree’

‘Followed it with a Master’s degree’, the second card continued.

Have three and a half true friends for life. The kind of friends who will stand by me, no matter what, no judgments whatsoever.

Dropped work and took a trip to a place I always wanted to visit, California. With my mom.

Not having known how to even ride a bicycle for almost 27 years of my life, I finally got my driver’s license.

Fallen truly in love, lost and never learnt from it. Willing to do it all over again.

Made it to two of my best friend’s weddings.

Visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Maintain a not-so-active blog of my own.

And so on.

I really do not know if that made me feel any better. I can only probably tell nine years later, perhaps, when I turn 40.

I turn 31 this year. I finally went to the store and got myself a copy of Gone with the Wind and War and Peace. I plan to read them soon. I still listen to Udit on YouTube, no downloads yet, but I hope to get to it someday. I am pitching my society for Indian lovers idea with a bunch of people with very little luck. I donated 12 inches of my hair to place that makes wigs for kids with hair disorders yesterday. I have been using an app on my phone that teaches me Tamil and I believe I am becoming fluent. The movie marathon is right around the corner. And, I often cross my fingers hoping I bump into Trivikram, sometime, someday and profess my love to him.

Turning 31 doesn’t hurt anymore. I guess I have reached the acceptance stage of my grief. And I have realized that I should live by the minute and brooding over not being able to finish reading a book by a certain time period is not going to get me anywhere. But, I am not going to lie. On certain days, the number reality hits. And hits quite hard and on such days, there are friends and there always is alcohol.

So it is okay to crib about the number. It is a big deal, at least until you learn to come to terms with it.

Cheers!

-A happily, unmarried woman who’s 30, or as one of my friends would say, ‘who’s technically running 31.’

The Waist Band or the Waste Band?

We have all been born, raised and live in a fancy world. The one where we love to show off. Everything needs to be done with a lot of hungama and of course, fanfare. Come on, we all know that it is cheaper to send Mangalyaan into Mars’ orbit than it is to produce a Shankar’s Ai or a Rajamouli’s Baahubali. Our priorities man, they are always kick-ass.

Of course, I am generalizing. But that’s what happens in general. And that is why I go back to my most favorite and controversial topic. Our weddings. Whether a father has a house to claim as his own after working for nearly 50 years and as he is nearing his retirement does not matter. He simply has to marry away his children with a lot of wealth. One of my room-mates once told me that most dads in her state go to the bank and take a personal loan to get their daughters married because the in-laws expect the bride to bring in a lot of gold. And that’s what her dad did for her sister’s wedding and that he would take another personal loan for her as well, when the time came.

Well, the fanfare, wealth, food, jewelry and all that is fine, but at least when we are spending lacs and lacs of rupees on all this unnecessary crap, why are we supposed to buy jewelry that looks like absolute shit. Take the waist band or the waist belt, for example. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is the ugliest piece of gold I have come across my entire life. I think it’s more of a South Indian tradition, but I could be completely wrong, maybe it is only an Andhra Pradesh thing (yeah! Mr. KCR, that includes the new state too), I don’t know. But basically, a gold waist band is a really thick, ugly looking piece of gold that’s worn on a saree, obviously around the waist. It always reminds me of one of those belt bombs, that’s how big most of them are. Now, I am not completely against them, I like the really, really thin ones and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the thin, sexy ones are not much appreciated in the market. edit 2 You see what I’m talking about? I mean, why, why, on earth do we have to buy a gold belt that looks like it was created only to strangle your self esteem. And to make you feel like a decorated cow at the farmer’s market. Now there are different kinds of people who will tell you different things and try to enlighten you on the absolute necessity of wearing or owning something as ridiculous as this.

The Financial Advisers: This is the group of people who self appoint themselves as your nearest kin and well wishers. It will seem like they have all graduated with an MBA in Finance from the IIMs and are therefore, the best advisers on how and where you invest your money in. ‘You don’t like the waist band? What are you even saying. It is gold, amma, gold always means investment. Whatever happens, gold is like property, it will fetch you loans, and blah ‘ they say. Okay, I get it. We are growing old even if we don’t want to and it is good to have some savings and investments, but why on earth does only buying a waist band amount to investment. First of all, I don’t care for that amount of gold, I would have to live on the streets wearing a gold waist band if I purchased it. And second of all, why can’t I get myself a dozen gold bracelets and really thin gold hoops in different sizes instead of this stupid thing. At least those I will wear without feeling embarrassed in public. Okay so I will get myself one and wear it on my wedding day, where am I going to be able wear it to without looking like a fool afterwards.

Or actually, why can’t I buy myself some really nice platinum bracelets. That’s what I like and I am sure that counts as investment too.

The Pretentious Gold Diggers: There is this one friend of mine who is on the heavier side, she weighed about 70 – 80 kilos at that time and her parents, after an extensive search, finally found a guy for her to get married to. We were quite surprised when the groom’s family approached my friend’s family and told them that they were not expecting dowry of any sorts. I have a bucket load of opinions on dowry and am very against it, but let’s not get into that right now. Anyhow I was very happy for my friend until the groom’s parents came back and said, ‘well, we don’t want any dowry but just get a gold waist band made for your daughter.’ Seriously, what the hell. And they were asking for one of those really thick ugly looking ones and they knew for a fact that, the regular ones available in the stores wouldn’t fit my friend owing to her heavy personality and her parents were forced to spend tons of money in the name of ‘no dowry’. How cheap! I mean, what if someone cannot afford that disgusting piece of gold! To these people, I just want to say, well how about this cute little buffalo for your daughter in-law, hey we promise, she comes with a gold waist band.

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The Thunder Stealers: Now this is a very weird category. The kind of relatives and/or friends who want to steal the bride’s thunder. The bride would want to be simple with no additional extravagance and when she is not wearing the waist band on her wedding day, these people will put on theirs and parade in the wedding halls. How self engrossed can you be? It’s the bride’s day, one of the most important days in her life and you are out there just to use this as an excuse to show off your collection of gold. Who do you think seriously cares? I know this one stupid family who got introduced to one of my friends just one week before her wedding, and they pretended to take up a lot of the wedding responsibilities, that is fine, but on the wedding day, the bride had clearly demanded a simple wedding, and they put on their stupid belt flashers that glow like stadium lights and started walking around. The worst part is, one of the aunts asked the bride if she wanted to wear her daughter’s waist band. How ridiculous. It wasn’t that my friend couldn’t get one for herself, she despised the very idea of a gold waist band. Why is that so hard for you to understand. And more importantly, why can’t that be considered normal?

Usually, I wouldn’t even notice whether the bride was or wasn’t wearing one and the people around her have one on or not, but you want to be in all the pictures with the bride you barely know and are constantly on the stage and your stupid band is shining like a million suns and blinding me and over shadowing the bride when I am trying to take decent pictures of her.

The Wedding Jury: Yes, you got it right. This is the group that will sit and judge the bride and her family. The bride for what she’s wearing and what she is not and her family for not being able to provide for her on her wedding day. They are the ones who can write in blood and give you a guarantee that your married life will be a happily ever after if you wear the right amount of gold. After all, that’s the factor that determines how happy and successful someone’s married life is, right? ‘Oh, she looks so dull without the waist band, at least her parents should have gotten her a plain and simple one with no fancy design. And why is she wearing such small earrings, I wonder if they are gold.’ they will say. Can someone please explain to me how all the gold I wear on my wedding day will help me constrain my anger and not yell at my husband when he forgets to wash his plate after dinner.

And that brings me back to, I will never want to own one of those big, fat, bright yellow bands. Not before my wedding, not on or after my wedding.

So eventually when I do give in to all the family blackmail, and sit down in the podium on my wedding day without the waist band, and you are there, please do not judge me. If I personally invited you, you’d fall into the category that doesn’t judge, but there will be a bunch of people who get invited automatically and I will have no say in it (that’s how it works for us). I will personally be distributing a printout of this post, so you can save yourself the trouble of trying to decipher why I’m not wearing the waist band. But if you see me wearing the really sleek and sexy one, again, you will have a copy of this and will understand that I am not completely against the idea of the waist band, I just hate the really thick and expensive ones that shine like the sun because personally, I feel embarrassed to wear it.

And finally, if you do turn up at my wedding and see me with a gold waist band that looks like a belt bomb, please call the cops, because if someone managed to slip that around my waist, they probably are also forcing the groom on me, so please come and save me!

I hate you, Mark Zuckerberg.

Dude, Seriously! What was your problem? The world was a happy place. People derived joy from beautiful things and lived in the moment. And then, you came along. Your chauvinist Harvard going ass had some serious girlfriend issues that lead to a series of events and you came up with Facebook. Okay! I saw The Social Network and you deserved what you got. And look at what all that has led to. You have made people’s lives revolve around your stupid website.

Facebook is such a part and parcel of our life now that I log into it even before I check my e-mails in the morning. You’ve made me addicted. You are like most men. You are just cashing on the fact that most people take interest in what is going on in other people’s lives rather than their own. Yeah! But that’s not why I really hate you. You have caused people to a social status through your social networking site.

I was once talking with two of my friends and one of them was looking at a potential suitor. I asked my friend for his name and quickly tried to pull him up on Facebook, and he didn’t have an account. The other friend who is more of a nerd pulled his profile up on LinkedIn. But I involuntarily retorted, “No! He doesn’t have a Facebook profile. What kind of a person doesn’t have one. Reject him!?!” Now you see what my problem is. You realize what you have done to millions like me?

I hate being photographed. When I am out on trips with friends, be it at the beach, or at the mall, or at the Empire State building, I want to absorb the beauty of the place. You know, to see the beauty with my eyes and freeze a beautiful picture with my mind and keep it in my heart forever. Do you know what that feels like? But this is what I get.

Hey!!! Let’s pose.

Take a group picture. Take a solo picture.

Put this up on Facebook. Tag me.

Please don’t tag me.

No, don’t put this one up. I’m closing my eyes.

Take my FB display pic, na!

I’m looking too fat. Let me stand sideways. Take one more and yada yada yada.

Thanks to you! One of my friend always stands a little aloof from the group when we take group pictures. No hugging her or putting hands around her shoulder. Why? So that she can crop herself later on and use it as her display picture on Facebook. You know, you sorta brutally murdered and buried Orkut ruthlessly for most of us. We didn’t even have time to shed a tear and mourn over it. Well, the Orkut days. They were good times, you know. Because they let you know who visited your profile. If you fought with a friend were not on talking terms with them, you could find out if they still cared about you by seeing if they visited your profile page. Orkut had testimonials that you could beg your friends to write for you and then show them off to the rest of the world. You stupid Harvard dropout. You came up with the timeline, and the feature to edit comments and statuses, do you know that a testimonial means much more?

You make people depressed. Two years back, when I had just graduated and was desperately looking for a job, I used to Facebook a lot. One of my juniors had gotten married to this really handsome guy and they lived somewhere in Europe. This girl posted pictures with her handsome husband in the pretty backdrops of Europe every single weekend. I felt happy for her initially and wished her joy and all that. But you know, when you don’t have a job, and are worried about how to pay your bills, such happiness rubbed right into your face doesn’t help much. I hid her updates. Yeah! Such a killjoy. What could I do? I couldn’t hate Facebook then, I was addicted.

You know what else you have done to people apart from making them bury their heads into their smart phones and waste time on Facebook while sitting in a restaurant and caring as little as mosquito shit about talking to the person they are dining with? You have caused people to tag themselves all over Facebook instead of enjoying a movie at the theater or being excited about a ride at the amusement park.  And you have to trust me on this one, I heard that once a bridegroom was posting live updates during his wedding. I pity his poor wife. I really do. You also encourage people to stalk. Well, you may argue that you have worked really hard on your security systems or servers or whatever, and that people cannot hack and all that. But you know what, I got nearly 365 photographs from a friend’s profile for her calendar wedding gift. Of course, she is on my friend list but I could obviously access her friend’s friend’s photographs as well. Talk to my hand on this one because I a computer toddler who doesn’t even reset passwords and calls Customer Support to download a new antivirus software that is just two clicks away on Google for free.

Now I am an addicted Facebooker. And I am a normal girl. I sometimes share crappy and long status messages. I like it when people agree with me and I get mad when people don’t. So I won’t complain about everything. Mainly because I’m a software nitwit. I like the Timeline because I enjoy going back to see how much mature or dumb I have gotten over the last few years. It’s a good calender record. I also like the fact that you can edit stuff because I’m usually aggressive and type too quickly in haste. But I think what I liked the most thus far was that after one of my posts sorta went a little ‘viral’, I got a lot of appreciating messages from unknown people and I of course, totally and completely enjoyed the attention. There was this one guy who sent me his recorded songs. How sweet, no?

But here is why I actually hate you. Why does the world have to revolve around your website. Like it is some platform to declare love, express hatred, wage a war, and what not.

Three years back, I worked part time every weekend and used to get really tired. My room mate and one of my best friends had this annoying habit of not making her bed when she woke up. I told her a 100 times that it bothers me that she doesn’t fold her blanket when she wakes up and she really didn’t care. One evening, I got back from a 10 hour work shift and I saw that her bed was not made. I lost control and yelled at her and in a minute, we were calling each other names and it seemed to me that we would never talk to each other again in our lives. I was really angry and in no mood to apologize and stayed in the room. My friend banged the front door and barged out of the house. But can you imagine what she did before that? She sat in front of her computer for two quick minutes and removed me from her friend list. What the hell? I mean, seriously, I wanted to punch her face with her laptop. Of course, I barged out of the house too, and it turned out that we both went to the same place on campus to sulk. It was a beautiful fountain called The Lady of the Mist. So, I just decided to get over with the fight. The fountain tends to have that affect on you. We apologized to each other, came back home, had dinner, and we became friends on Facebook again. She continued to not make her bed and I learnt to deal with it.

Two years back, two of my best friends ganged up on me and drifted apart. Now this wasn’t the ‘make-your-bed’ type of fight. It was a serious one. And here is what these two people did. They blocked me. Like literally blocked me. And this was the time when I didn’t even know you could block people or whatever on Facebook. You know, again, because I am a computer toddler. I don’t know or care to explore all these stupid features that you have to offer. It was one thing to ‘unfriend’ me, but to block me??? Like I never existed or something. That was when I began to think. What’s this whole stupid deal with you? Why has your website gained such importance. It was during these times that I realized that if the both of us (me and my fighting friend) complimented a common friend, she would say, “Thank you Sahaja and blah blah.” And I would be looking for ‘blah blah’s’ comment there. Eventually, we all came back to our senses, and the blockers are one of my best friends again. So all is well now.

Until very recently. I got blocked, again. By somebody else. I mean, it hurts, pal! What do you stupid blockers even think? Why do you block people? To shut them out of your life? To prevent them texting you? Can you shut them out of your mind? What is it? Blocked on Facebook means blocked from the mind, eh?. Wow, masterji, what brain power, like it is some button with the on and off switch. Can you bestow your Baba Ramdev powers upon me too, please?

Yeah!Why is this moronish Facebook the declaring and deciding factor.  Whatever. I have always been and will always tug along with this over sized emotional cloak on me. That’s what always causes me to think like a drama queen with only my beautiful heart and not with my supposedly sane head. So I have many friends, I fight a lot, and always go back to being friends. That’s the way I am made. And that is why I cannot hate the blockers. And that is why I will not ask the blockers to grow a pair of extra arteries and ventricles that help their heart think better when they think about me. All I will do is channelize my energy towards hating you, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg. Because you created this mess and yet, at the end of the day, you got the girl you started off with. You had your happy ending. But remember, you are one additional reason why the world has a lot of fake smiles, artificial affection and empty love floating around.

Those Four Shades

I have a theory about love. Yes, the girlfriend-boyfriend type of love. I came up with it a very long time ago, have looked around me, and seen that it does work on people.  If you are already my friend, you would have heard this theory at least a million times from me.

So love comes in four stages right after it takes off. Those four stages, I associate with four different colors. Now, my theory is generally not gender dependent and can therefore can be applied to anyone who wants to wear these shoes.

The Pink Phase: This is the happiest phase. The phase where you have just fallen in love, you know, the committed-to-each-other type, not the one-sided-pining type of love. So obviously, you could be on the roof top, screaming with joy. Literally. You are ecstatic and everything around you looks hyper happy and super pink. The lovey-dovey baby pink types. Nothing or no one matters to you except the person you love. This person is in your life, in every inch of it. In your dreams, on your phone, at the restaurant, in your college, and sneaks around your colony, and you absolutely love it. You will find yourself sitting with a group of friends and texting away, or looking out of the window while riding a bus and blushing for no apparent reason, or just calling friends you haven’t spoken to in a year, to scream into their ears that you are in love. You are sometimes so self-and-love adsorbed that everything else seems like a void, be it family, friends, exams, or career.

Life’s like a fairy tale in this phase. Perfect and perfect. Well, if you are still a teenager when you dive into this phase, you can sometimes act royally cranky. You will sit at a Coffee Day and read its tagline: A lot can happen over coffee and start to smile involuntarily. You are a firm believer in romantic comedies and will dream of watching your favorite ones like the Titanic, Sweet Home Alabama, You’ve got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle holding the hands of your loved one. Because, holding hands is true love.

Life, to you, is a beautifully directed Gautham Menon’s film that has a happy ending seasoned with Ilayaraja’s background score.  When your friends ask you to tell them how it all happened, you are always full of energy and in the mood to act all Udit Narayan-ish, and sing, “Aankhen khuli ho ya ho bandh, Deedar unka hota hai, Kaise  kahoon main o yaara, yeh pyaar kaise hota hai…” And actually, you wake up the sleeping poet in you and write up some really crappy poems, feeling like Trivikram all the way. These poems can go from anywhere like,

“You are Someone….  You are that someone whose hands I would like to hold and walk on the beach… You are that someone who makes my heart melt when I look into those eye that speak volumes… You are that someone in whose arms I could lay for the rest of my life cause love is pure, and such pure love is here to stay….”

to,

Premavaa?…Na premaavava? Premakai preminchava.. Na premavai  preminchava…. 

Prema anee, na premanii, ika nammavaa… Idi premani, mari ooha kaadani telchava…”

So, when you are saturated with all these emotions, you practically have no time to fight. This phase usually lasts for a few weeks, a couple of months if you actually picked a living angel to love.

The Green Phase: To start with, I wouldn’t call this the reality-dawning phase, because you know, the color is still green. And green means good to go. You however descend from cloud 9 or higher, and come to terms that you are in a relationship. Obviously, since you have digested that you’ll realize that your loved one is indeed your priority. You realize that friends and family are kind of important, so you try to make some time for them. Okay, you at least act like you are trying.

This is the phase were you want to pee all over your loved one’s territory. You know, mark your area so that nobody trespasses.  Sometimes, if you are two fools in love, it works well for the both of you. It usually does. But there may be some rare cases where one over does it compared to the other, and that may lead to a cute fight. This is the phase where possessiveness looks endearing and complimentary. Like you know, “Awwwww.. Baby.. You are jealous!?… You know,I love you. I just did that to see how much you love me.” And, anything that’s said on those lines is completely acceptable. That’s because you are listening to a lot of AR Rahman made music, sung by Sonu Nigam. Bring in “Ishq Bina” with all the “Tumne ishq ka naam suna hai, humne ishq kiya hain” here.

The first thing you want to hear in the morning is your loved one’s voice, and the last thing you want to listen to at night, is probably a lullaby by them. Because this is the phase for all the cuddly, cute, and revoltingly cheesy pet names. So even if their lullaby sounds like a donkey braying, all you can hear is Sonu Nigam singing, “Tu jo paas ho phir kya yeh jahaan… Tere pyar mein ho jaaun Fanaa…”

This is a seemingly important phase because, this is the phase you show your loved one that you sincerely care for them. You could start with being very eager about doing their work for them. If their laptop’s broken, you are willing to stay on the phone with customer support for two hours to get it fixed. If their scooty breaks down due to an empty tank, you make sure you are just a text away from getting help. If their records need to completed, you offer to sit up all night and finish writing them. And, you are saving up all your pocket money to buy an expensive ash tray and gift it to your loved one who is a smoker since the movie, Khushi, has kicked your sanity in the butt and turned your green color love bulbs on.

Fights!? Yes, you do fight here. Not quite often though. Most fights are over trivial things like, “why did you not wish me good morning today, or why did you get so carried away with work and forget to have your lunch.” Just remember, these fights don’t last long. A few hours maybe. And then, you are calling and saying, “Sorry, baby. It’s my fault,” and the other person goes, “No, no. Sweets. It’s actually my fault so I should be the one saying sorry.”

Ego!? Excuse me! We are in love. This phase lasts anywhere between six to twelve months.

The Red Phase: Okay, this has to be the reality-phase. The color says it all, no? Well, it’s actually more or less the yellow phase, when things are changing. And a yellow light, as we all know it, can turn red or green. So this is probably not a phase when people change or things change, but a phase where reality becomes, you know, real. In this phase, you can live for a day or two without any romantic good mornings and good nights. You focus on your loved one but that’s for about 70% of your time. You know love is important and all that but, you have to start thinking about a way to be together for the rest of your lives. So that means figuring out ways for you graduate, get a job, and be independent enough to take your loved one home to meet your parents.

So some priorities are juggled around. And that definitely is a good reason to ask for some headache causing troubles. Your intentions are always good, you know, because you are looking at the big picture and working towards being with your loved one for the rest of your life. But you want that rest of your life to start five years later. That’s why the present is neatly shoved into the back seat of your car and tucked under a blanket. It may begin with forgetting to ask if your loved one if they had lunch, or whether they took their sinus medicine, but will eventually lead to promising to meet at a restaurant for a date night and showing up 25 minutes late. Yes of course, the date wasn’t forgotten about, it was just pushed into the night by 25 minutes. So what was a, “Awww.. It’s okay baby, I understand you are busy, I will wait. Just come soon okay, we are going to have so much fun”, from the Red Phase (because it can never happen in the Pink Phase) now turns into a, “What!?!?! Is that it? Is this the importance I get for planning out this entire evening with you? You have changed!”

You Have Changed! This single sentence is what officially changes your yellow lights to a completely deep red phase. Every time love happens between two people, it is beautiful. I mean, if love is the most beautiful thing, then this sentence is what ruins it. It shows you that you are close to your exit. It gives you the feeling you get when you look at the sea. At the stretch where the sky meets the waters. You know that they never do, but you never explore that fact. So this phase is where you know that your relationship may or may not end, but that’s the area you never want to explore. People fall in love with people and, people don’t ever change. Never. It’s just that life gets shuffled often, and we start to think, “You traveled 200 miles just to see me on our first anniversary, and now you have forgotten that you were the one who gave me this watch for the occasion. Do you really love me?” Here is where you have dropped Sonu Nigam and Udit Narayan from your head and shifted gears to Hariharan’s, “Tu hi re… Tu hi re.. Tere bina main kaise jiun…” or Arjith Singh’s, “Tum hi ho..”

This phase requires a lot of reassuring. Reassurance that you need for yourself that you are in love and reassurance from your loved one that they are in it too. There are a number of fights here. A little miscommunication, some dodging from the truth, a  lot of forgetfulness and copious amounts of ego. That automatically leads to ‘no talking to each other’. In this phase, you are strong enough, oops, your ego is strong enough to act like you don’t care and so you can stay without talking with each other for a day or two. Not more than that. But, trust me, at the end of those two days, there are couple of tears, a few hugs, and lots of bottled up love. Every patch up will seem like this is the last fight you two are ever going to have.

This phase may last for at least two to five years.

The Black Phase: The color say it all, doesn’t it? This is where you put on your warrior’s dress, arm yourself and cruise across the waters to see if the earth and sky actually meet. I mean, you want to explore the possibility of an explosion. Your patience seems to be wearing off. You cannot tolerate the person you once loved anymore. It feels like you are in love with a chewing gum. You like it, but you can do without it too. Also, a chewing gum because, gum has it’s flavor initially, for the first ten minutes in your mouth probably. And then, the flavor is gone. It is tasteless but you just continue to chew on it for a really, really long time, and don’t want to spit it out. Ah! This phase is exactly like that. After the flavor is gone, you can’t seem think of why you are holding on to it, and you can’t seem to think why you should let go of it either.

Love seems so surreal. It’s not just them. It’s you too. The phases have reversed. What you did find so appealing about them, you now cannot stand it. If you once admired their self-esteem, you now call it unnecessary arrogance. If you once thought that they were being protective of you, you now call it unreasonably ridiculous possessiveness. If you once considered their child-like innocence cute, you now call it utter stupidity.

You, who loved talking to customer support for two hours to get their laptop fixed, cannot make a two minute phone call to check why your utility check bounced back. You are wondering why they are so stupid to not have checked it there was enough gas in their scooty tank. You don’t like it that you have fallen in love with someone who isn’t responsible enough to take care of their own tasks, like writing records. So when you fight, you aren’t dying to patch up. The love it there. But now, it has just got up from the back seat of the car and is lazing around somewhere in the trunk. Fights in this phase go on for a few days. Some times a week. And when, one of you puts you ego aside and calls, what was a, “Baby, I’m sorry, it’s my fault.” becomes a, “No. You did this. It’s entirely your fault. I can’t imagine you would even think I will say sorry. You know what, I sometimes wonder how I even fell in love with you. I called you up first, isn’t that good enough?” This phase is probably the first time that your exes get mentioned in fights too, sometimes.

Anything to do with them is like listening to Thaman’s drum-beat-only music. You will start to figure out that Shahrukh Khan makes crappy and revolting romantic movies and that there is nothing great about them. You understand that you were once stupid enough to blush to Udit  singing “Ho gaya hai tujhko to pyaar sajna” in his high-voltage-packed nasal-voice while SRK is busy shaking his head like a 40 year old who has deliberately acquired autism, of course with his with his silly, annoying smile.

Birthdays and anniversaries are forgotten, dinners are missed, sometimes an act of kindness is not appreciated, more often, love is forgotten. This is the phase where people either decide to work things out and stay together for life, or call it quits.

About 60% of relationships keep twitching between the Red and the Black. Almost 30% of relationships are running between the lines of the Red and the Green. Seldom do 10% of relationships stay in the Green. And trust me, nobody stays in the Pink forever.

But then, everything is fair in love and war. So, whatever said and done, everything will be back to being normal. You will stand up, dust yourself and look ahead. Then, there is the same heart, a new start, and fonder love. It is a vicious circle, this inevitable beauty called love.

**********************

Again, this is my theory. The statistics and logistic are all, of course, made up to support my baselessly lovable theory.  For what it’s worth, I am a hopeless romantic. 

Band Baaja Bakwaas!

I hate weddings, big, fat Indian ones in particular.

They give me a weird vibe. An anxious bride in a heavy pattu saree adorned with more jewels she can possibly carry reminds me of a decked up goat ready for slaughter at the village fair. Or a nicely decorated ox ready to pull a bullock cart for the rest of his life. The crowd, the noise, the ‘aunty groups’ poking their nose into other people’s business and discussing dowry and gold, thousands of flowers withering away, and food, lots and lots of wasted food just turns me off.

It was lunch time and I was trying to catch up on some regular news on ndtv.com when I noticed a pop up that said, “Watch ABC’s makeover on Band Baaja Bride”. Just to kill those 15 minutes, I clicked on the link and watched an episode. That evening, I got back home and watched a few more. Band Baaja Bride is this stupid show where a bride is selected from a pool of applicants to wear a Sabyasachi outfit on her wedding day. The stupidity part comes in when the hosts, Ambika and Bharat take the bride and knock the tube lights out of her pea sized brain. Okay, I would be a hypocrite if I said I wouldn’t be proud if I had a Sabyasachi or Manish Malhotra designed lehenga hanging in my closet. I agree, they are amazing. I also consent to the fact that every bride wants to look beautiful and perfect on her wedding day but the question is, how far will you go to look beautiful on your wedding day? And, what is your definition of a perfectly beautiful bride?

As such, we live in a society that knows nothing but to judge.

Aunty 1: You are 28 and you are not married? Rama rama.. If you remain like this only, you will get twisted babies at 35.

Aunty 2 (at a friend’s wedding): Psst! Do you know how much dowry the girl’s father is giving? All that jewelry is 10 carat gold it seems. For matching matching sarees.

Aunty 3 (if you belong to the groom’s party): No no! Girl is not good. Ears look like an elephant’s, she is dark, she is very short and fat.

Aunty 4 (to Aunty 3): Yes yes! Paavam! He is a software engineer in America so he had only 15 days leave, so he came quickly and had to say yes to the first girl.

Mother-in-law (to Aunty 3 and 4): Hmmm.. It doesn’t matter that she is well educated, independent, decent and comes from a good family, she is not perfect. I will just remain uncivilized and comment on her looks. Her fate! Even Band Baaja Bride rejected her plea for a makeover. Yeah! Let’s just ignore that my son is bald and has a squint eye.

Indian society has made weddings a difficult affair for women, a highly acclaimed business affair, rather. Your dad needs to put his life savings into it, your brother needs to work his ass off to get everything ready, and your mother need to take BP pills to keep her anxiety down as your D day draws near. So much of a business investment that will simply go down the drain the next day. And finally, nobody cares.

In addition to an ‘already pain in the butt’ scenario, this brainless BBB has to come in and give more ideas. As it is, a women’s confidence is constantly subjected to trauma when foolish directors make ads that show that only fair women get jobs, and darker ones will be turned down in an interview. That if you use a certain type of sanitary napkin, you will loose a basketball match. That if you use a particular bar of soap, you will remain young. At the worst of them all being, if you have dark private parts, you will have a sad marital life. Why target women? Why not have a “Santoor for Men” advertisement. Something that has a kid running up to Madhavan or Saif (who use Santoor) while yelling, “Daddy!!!!!” and, the female photographer can go, What?!?!?!?!

Now BBB in all it’s novelty, points out to brides, that they need teeth polishing, or hair straightening. What shit! I don’t blame them entirely. I blame the brides too. Why the hell do you have to come on national television say things like, “I have a broken front tooth, I am afraid I may not be able to give a beautiful, open smile on my wedding day.” Or, “I have very curly and dry hair. I’m concerned that a pigeon will come and lay eggs thinking its a nest.” And, “I have been wearing glasses all my life and I’m allergic to contact lens. Oh Gosh! I want to pose for photographs without my glasses on but I don’t want to be blind too.” Seriously, what were you girls doing for the last 10 years? Couldn’t you just go and see a good dentist, hair stylist, and lasik surgeon. I mean, if your tooth, hair, and glasses didn’t bother you then, why now? Or are you just so cheap that you find pleasure in making the channel pay your bills.

Besides, nobody on the show actually cares about what you wear or how you look on your wedding day. Its all about displaying the Sabyasachi collection. If otherwise, why would Sabyasachi convince a bride who always wanted to wear a red lehenga that green is the color for her? Why would he convince a bride who wants to wear a lehenga to her Sangeet so that she can dance a step or two that she must wear a pattu saree?

The Botox injections for an eyebrow lift and cheek alignment, don’t even get me started on that. As such, an Indian woman is considered eligible for marriage based on her looks and sometimes her dad’s property, and now you come up with this whole artificial face lifts thingy. What are you going to do next? Bring in plastic surgeons and cloning experts to make replicas of Ambika Anands and Aishwarya Rais, I mean, your definition of ‘beauty’. What message are you trying to convey? Aren’t women allowed to have bad hair days, dark circles due to stress, walk on flats next to their really tall husbands, go without a facial for a month or two, and sometimes not wear any make up at all?

I would consider this post almost incomplete if I miss out mentioning the people who file the applications. If it is not a desperate bride dying to wear a Sabyasachi, it is either her mother, or mother-in-law or the groom himself. A few grooms on the show say ridiculous things that makes me want to crack open their skull like a walnut. “My fiance is perfect, but I want BBB to make her ‘more perfect’ on the wedding day”. What does that even mean, you superficial moron? Go and look up ‘perfect’ in the dictionary first. And, only ‘on the wedding day’ is it? Are you saying that eventually when her eyebrow lift drops, her hair goes back to being a bird’s nest, and her tooth filling falls out, you will not be in love with her anymore. You should stand in front of the mirror first and check out your not so perfect beer belly, bald head, and that prickly stubble that you think looks sexy on you. Why have only a Band Baaja Bride, why not have a “Grooming The Groom”? That would give a chance to help you realize your insecurities, talk about it on national television, and make your already perfect highness look ‘more perfect’ like a greek god on your wedding day.

My point is this. Weddings are supposed to be auspicious and joyful. What matters the most on your wedding day is whether or not you are in love with the person you are promising to share the rest of your life with. Whether or not you have all your near and dear ones around you to share the love and joy. Not whether you have bad make up, or a waist band that doesn’t fit you well. There was this one girl on the show who apparently moved her wedding day to an earlier date just to be on this stupid show and wear a stupid Sabyasachi outfit. If I were her groom, I would have called off the wedding then and there.

Please why don’t you just let a woman be!

Let it be okay if she acts at the spur of the moment. Let it be okay if she wants to be dressed in a casual kurti or a pair of jeans and a tee, and get married at the registrar’s office. Let it be okay if she to wants to take her ‘potential wedding budget’ and write a check to an orphanage ensuring that a few hundred kids eat decent meals for a couple of months. Let it be okay if she doesn’t understand the fuss about wearing a saree and lots of gold. Let it be okay if she wants to give importance to her marriage rather than her wedding day. Let it be okay for her to be confident and love herself, her body, and everything about her, her imperfections included.

Let it be okay if she hates weddings, big, fat Indian ones in particular.

The Burden of Being Size Zero

Dear fat, fatter, and fattest people,

I call you fat with such confidence cause till date I have not seen anyone thinner than me.

Hey you, and you, and all you fat people out there, I hope you are all “fat and fine”.  Well, I’d assume so only because you are so healthy and fit and cannot absolutely mind your business that you find immense pleasure in taunting me about my weight. This taunting that you do, I assume, is a fervent effort you make to feel good about yourself instead of trying to dig your nose with your healthy fingers. (Oh, wait! Do they even fit into your nose?)

Let me bore you with some tiny details about my childhood. When I had to give my entrance exam to get into Primary School in Grade I, we had to qualify and pass through three rounds of extensive testing. One; a knowledge based exam, two; a short interview, three; a medical exam. I prepared for the written exam for almost a year, but my mom was the most tensed for my medical exam. I was 12 kgs and looked like a bag of bones when stripped down to skin. My mother prayed really hard during my medical exam and told the examining doctors that I had just recovered from Typhoid and that’s how being 12 kgs at the age of six was justified.

22 years have passed since then and I have put on 23 kgs since that day, meaning I am now 35 kgs or approximately 77 pounds. My goal over the past four years has been to hit 80 pounds but I have not succeeded so far. I have been mocked at, taunted, ridiculed, and questioned over and over again for being this.

As it is, I go through a lot of trauma when I go shopping. Being a girl, I hate to shop for clothes because I never find the right size or should I say, the small size. And when I do, the piece I like is gone. In addition to that, you expect me to deal with you. Each time you call me thin, skinny, malnutrition-ed, weak, and ask me to put on some weight, I want to call you fat. I don’t want to yell, or making sly remarks at you, I just want to call you fat. This is because I know that it would hurt you and I want it to hit your mud filled brain that being called “thin” feels the same too. No, it is not okay to call me thin!

Let me begin by telling you that when your incompetent Comupter Science addicted and Mathophilic brain was dozing during interesting Biology lessons, you missed the chapter on metabolism. If you had been awake then, you would have saved yourself from this embarrassment now and figured out that people who are very thin, often, have high metabolic rates and that it could possibly be the reason why they cannot put on any weight. And it would have given you the power of logic to recognize that the human body is an enormous, unfathomable, natural and scientific machine that structures each body’s response in a slightly different manner and that makes it extremely difficult to predict the way one responds or behaves. But, no! You won’t get it cause you have only studied the Pythagoras Theorem that has been so monotonous over centuries, and worked with lifeless computer boxes that have one basic and banal design. Besides I also expect that you do not know about diseases like Marasmus which is why you call me “malnutrition-ed”. I demand you go and educate yourself, see lots of pictorial images before you use your boneless tongue to call me “a bag of bones”

You fat people, you come in so many different categories too. Some of you are just so fat and jealous that I’m so thin. That is why you throw questions at me like, “When was the last time you ate?” If you used that rusted brain of yours, you would know that everyone eats everyday, atleast people like you and me. The ones who are less fat among the “fat group”, you think no end of yourselves. You are also somewhat proud of your figure and you think that you are thin and right. So when you see me, you are shocked that there is someone thinner than you out there, so do your best to kill my self-confidence and obviously, you fail. The rest of you have no other topic to discuss with me. When you see me after months, the first thing you say is, “You are still the same and sooooo thin, you haven’t put on any weight?” Yes, like the only work I have to do in this whole wide world is to try and put on weight by drinking gallons of coke and munching away hundreds of packets of potato chips just so that I can please your carcass-picking soul and have you tell me that I look fatter than the last time you saw me.

You also throw me at the back seat of the car, you make me sit on your lap in an auto rickshaw, carry me up to fix your fused bulbs, push me over the fence to fetch your shuttlecock, make me run up and down the stairs when you have forgotten your handbag in your house, widen your eyes until they look like an owl’s when I order a large drink, and snatch fries off my plate assuming that I will not be able to finish them. First of all, you have the audacity to do these things, and then you complain that my bones are “poking” you. I would love to say to you then that I love your body fat and that you feel like my pillow and that I’m grateful to you for that.

Also, when you have the cheek to mock at my weight, just keep in mind that I can do an eight mile hike in a few hours, leading and entertaining the group with my chatter and songs, while you need to take several protein drink breaks. And, when we go shopping together, and you laugh at me that all the clothes in Size Zero and XS (or XXS) are gone, I pity you. I have to sympathize with you stunted brain that fails to show you the logic that all clothes in my size are gone and the ones in your size are left behind only because normal people are thin like me, and not many people are fat like you.

You, yes you married tongue-wagging Aunty! This letter is almost incomplete without a special mention of your crazy perception about people like me. As it is, I hate to see your and your attitude at weddings. Yes, those functions where you think you are the bride and wear a saree and gold that could be in par with your body fat, I’m talking about those. You have no shame and you know no respect. The bullshit you talk with my mother. You tell her, “Whaaaat!?! Aren’t you feeding your daughter? Are you eating all her food?” At that instance, I want to box your ears and ask you, “Aunty, it looks like you have spent all your money buying gold for this wedding, are you going to have money left to feed your fat kids or will they eat you when they are hungry?” Then, the other group of aunties, the ones who wonder how you are going to get married if you are so thin. You are so concerned and you behave like I am going to marry your son and pose for your family portrait. Oh, Please! Spare me the torture.

For your kind information, I am healthy. I fall sick less than once a year, and I have not even caught common cold more than five times in my entire lifetime. I don’t vomit when I smell cow dung, and I can do my own work without acting like a patient when I have my period. So better act sane and treat me with respect and integrity and don’t you dare judge my capabilities based on my weight. And the next time you want to butt into my calm head with your nitwit comments about my weight, laugh at me, and try to convince me that only Kareena Kapoor is Size Zero, you better think twice about it cause I may be small but my mouth isn’t.

Sincerely,

The girl who has been Size Zero since you, I and everyone can remember

The Carries and Gellers of Womankind…

I think my forehead is a placard that has compassion written all over it. Perhaps I have a very very long nose that just pokes itself into everything. Either this or my friends think I have been in the shittiest of relationships.

My friends have ‘mostly’ approached me for relationship advice, or so I presume. Knocking the room no. 52 door at 2 am, asking me how to tackle her insecurity mania the day after my eye operation, making drunk ISD called across continents just to cry her broken heart out, and pleading to play cupid and shoot the arrow of love, I have faced every little piece of this shit.

On deep contemplation, I cease to understand the complexity of women. Their complexity is just an inch and a half longer than male complexity. After all, Oscar Wilde said, “Women are meant to be loved, not understood.” 😛

Well, you got it! This is going to be a long one. So grab a snack or two, brew up some coffee to keep you awake through this one because, here, it’s Friday night and I am all charged up on red raspberry margaritas. (Blogstops don’t provide free food and coffee but thank you for stopping by) 😀

A drama queen that I am, I try to cast a broader net, as if the drama in my life doesn’t suffice enough. So, I microwave some popcorn, and watch loads of romantic comedies. Both, series and films. Over the years, while the popcorn has failed to add me any body fat, the list of series has gotten longer. The more I watched, the more the hideous illogical concept thrust itself into my face.

The women in them.

A bunch of fools, I tell you. Most stories have two men wooing the same woman. Usually, one man is an asshole, while the other is a gem. You, me, and the celebrity character herself, all of us know this fact. And yet, as I watch them through the years, the foolish dud of a woman ALWAYS chooses the ‘asshole’ guy. Why? Why? I mean, WHY?

Here, I warn you, don’t ask dumb questions like, “What are the women in Desperate Housewives desperate about?” or, “Does Sex and the City have free porn in it?”

Let’s start with Carrie Bradshaw. Carrie is our celebrity woman from Sex and the City, the silly annoying woman who looks like a horse. Mr. Big is the big asshole. The commitment phobic ______ who loves her enough but cannot or does not want to marry her. After a painful break up with him, she meets this cute and heart warming guy, Aidan Shaw. I mean, seriously, after he cuts his hair, one can tell the difference between him and his dog, and he is handsome. Our Mr. Big who wasn’t ready for marriage and all that sorta crap marries Natasha (some xyz). Mr. Big basically wasn’t just up for marrying Carrie, and she was this desperate woman who needed commitment. Oh! He also treats her like the paper towel he uses to blow his nose into. While Aidan’s really the commitment type of guy and even wants to marry her, this complex horse cheats on him. Eventually the series ends with Carrie and Mr. Big ending up together.

Lexie Grey from Grey’s Anatomy. This young and beautiful doctor falls for the really old and hot Mark Sloan. And, when I say hot, I mean a true peacock. Although Mark, in the past, has been the asshole, he falls in deep love (whatever that means) with our beautiful Lexie Grey. However, Mark has other priorities like competing with Derek Shepard, and wanting to become a father. Young  Lexie is not up for it, and they break up, twice. Once because he wants to adopt his daughter’s son, the second time when he becomes his lesbian friend’s daughter’s father. Dr. Jackson Avery comes along. People who watch this show will love Dr. Avery for his eyes. Dr. Avery is young, sensitive and fun loving. Someone with whom Lexie would have been so happy. But our darling Lexie needs drama. So she gets these feelings back for Dr. Sloan and Dr. Avery has to let her go. Time flies. Finally, Lexie Grey tells Dr. Sloan that she loves him, and dies in a plane crash.

Heer from the recent Bollywood film, Rockstar. God alone knows why JJ was portrayed the way he was. The arrogance, the pain-fame funda was so artificial. Anyhow, Heer marries this normal guy and she is suffering from a life threatening disease. She had a chance to die peacefully, but the asshole man, JJ, ruins it for her. Heer leaves her husband to be with Mr. Celebrity JJ. He gets her pregnant, and this worsens her health condition, and eventually she dies.

Susan Mayer from Desperate Housewives. Mike Delfino is somewhat the perfect man for her. But nooooo! She has to go and have an affair with her asshole ex-husband, Karl Mayer. Meera Pandit from Love Aaj Kal. She had to dump the matured and sensible Vikram Joshi for the foolish moron, Jai. Seriously, Jai? The kind of man who realizes that he’s in love while he’s getting mugged? Having known Dr. House for more than eight years, Dr. Cuddy still expected to get out of the relation without being hurt? Melanie Perry from Sweet Home Alabama. The one who loves the life at NYC and leaves her husband, Jake Perry, cause she thinks he’s too uncool. And, then says no to all her dreams and aspirations, and her boyfriend; Andrew Hennings, goes back to the rustic life with Jake Perry. Please note, she said NO to Patrick Dempsey.

Over the years, the only two sane celebrity characters I have come across are Monica Geller from Friends, and our very own Geet from Jab We Met. Ms. Geller knows what she wants and chooses Chandler Bing over Richard Burke. Mr. Burke is not only too old for Ms. Geller, but we don’t like him cause he doesn’t share the same dreams that she does. 

Geet! This girl deserves a standing ovation. She had the sense to give it back to Anshuman (all the bad words included here), the man who treated her like shit, and choose our Mr. Right, Aditya Kashyap. 

That brings me back to,”Why do women always make, or are shown to make the wrong choice?”

A Tollywood flick, Jalsa, says something that sums up to this. Being with the asshole guy is like life in a jungle, and being with the guy with the big heart is like living in a park. The logic being, life in a jungle is all exciting and never boring, while a park becomes monotonous with time. What stupidity!

Listen up, women! As much as we like adventure in the jungle, we go trekking only once or twice a year. Besides, there may be snakes, and scorpions, no food, and NO toilets. In a park, there is security, there is calm, and there is laughter and joy. 😀 As much as we drool over Christian Bale as Batman, we always want to come home to a Chandler Bing. We don’t need the assholes who burn our gifts, have the nerve to ignore our calls, and who treat us with “I’m the high-school bully” attitude.

So screw the Gotyes and take pride in being “somebody that HE USED to know.”

You don’t have to act all Adele’ish  and let him be your “one and only.” You don’t have wish to find “someone like him” cause being with him once was traumatic enough.

Let the Carrie go, and let the Geller come in.

There is fun in choosing Mr. Nearly Perfect. (Of course, who are we kidding? There is no Mr. Perfect) 😉