V-Day

So it is here again… before you know it… the day of red roses, pink hearts and all the candy that can make you sick. I always hated V-Day. For a while, I even believed that it was because I didn’t have that someone ‘special’ to go out and celebrate and all that. Then I realised, I wouldn’t go out and celebrate anyway because it is weird! But it is a festival for those young and in love… and still idealistic.

And companies make money… I have two drinks for the price of one. The world goes on.

But then I found this ONE link today… and I just can’t stop laughing.

I’m not being cruel… but come on! it is funny! If you put up a video of you professing your love for someone online, expect to get mocked. Tom Cruise still hasn’t lived down his declaration of love on Oprah. We are, after all, mere mortals.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Social Networking Killed The Mystery

Remember those times when you met someone at a party, got only their first name and maybe where they worked and then you went around asking all you friends at the party about who that person was and slowly trying to find out more about them, their phone numbers and then try to stage a meet somewhere, if you realllllly liked the person?

Do you miss it?

I do.

Why?

The mystery, man, the mystery. Curiosity is what really drives man… we like to take things apart, poke at things and really ‘find’ out about things. So the process of actually finding out something about someone would make them more enchanting. Or a little ‘non’. Depending on the information and all that. And every time you found a piece of information about the person, it was like a ‘eureka’ moment.

So when you finally got to meet the person, it would be nice. Like you’d really worked for it and this was a reward.

And then came Zuckerberg and Facebook. He got the idea right – everyone wants to know if you are single or not and they all want to find out more about you.

So now you meet someone at a party, come home, log on to Facebook, key in the name and the workplace and boom! you’ve access to the person. If the person is extremely privacy conscious, then you might have to do a google search. If you’ve had more than a minute’s conversation at the party, you send them a friend request and they actually let you into their lives!!!!

And in less than a day, you know where they work, what music they like, what movies they like, their hobbies, common friends, workplaces and maybe even their party crowd or set or whatever. You decide in a matter of a few minutes if you really want to pursue this further or not.

No mystery. It is like… choosing fast food at KFC instead of a beautifully cooked meal in a nice restaurant.

I do like the convenience of Facebook, particularly for business networking. It is easy to keep track of people and keep them updated. But every now and then, I get a message from someone who I barely met at a party. I wouldn’t know their name or anything else and they find me on Facebook and go “hey remember me? let’s be friends and totally open our lives up to random strangers.”

And here I am thinking if I should really do that. It takes months and years for us to get close to people in real life and yet here is someone sharing a slice of my life on an everyday basis just through a network. I’m not going to be pricey but I think you do need to work to know me, oui? That is the fun part… Maybe because of all the time shortages, we do need a quick entry… but the romance… the mystery… the drama… the sense of accomplishment *sigh*

Here’s the other bad part – your personality becomes restricted to just what is online. There is so much more to a person but we begin interacting on those lines, and sooner or later, begin to believe just that?

Social networks – murderer. Of mystery, of romance.

(Face it… getting a ‘cute’ online heart aint the same as a bunch of flowers waiting on your doorstep)

Dating

The dating world out there is a minefield. There are so many possibilities, so many disasters and worse. Even after you think the guy/girl is cute, there is the approaching them, agreeing to go out, compatibility and all that stuff.

So in all this drama, if two friends seem to be hitting it off, or if one friend is coming on a little strong to another friend – do we really have the right to warn them?

Personally, I’d appreciate a well-placed warning about someone whom my friends know is not particularly stable or wouldn’t suit me.

Here are two scenarios:

Friend A is hitting on Friend B. B isn’t particularly interested… because she isn’t on the look out right now. So she politely says no, thanks. But A persists. And persists. Till B starts feeling it is a little creepy.

What do well meaning friends say when she turns to us for advice? Giving advice, I’ve found, often comes to bite us back in the ass. Nobody complains if things go well, but if they don’t… people are looking for someone to beat up. So I try this balancing act… and wonder what I would want to be told in a similar situation.

Some friends say ‘tell him straight up that he’s a loser and you are not interested.’

While some, the romantic ones, say “give him a chance.” And I’ve begun getting irritated with those well-meaning friends recently… because you go by instincts in relationships. Sometimes, you fear getting involved even if you like the guy… and then the push is good. But when you are clearly not interested, is that push good? And how does one politely tell A to buzz off?

Scene 2:

Two friends are hitting off really well…. you introduced them. Both are really good friends of you, though in different ways. But A is more the happy-go-lucky sorts, while B is slightly the traditional sort who is trying out her new shoes. And B is also getting a few ideas. As an adult, I’d say let it run its course. She might get hurt, or they might end up together. Why should we interfere?

And then you remember the trauma she went through the last time something like this happened. You remember the sort of person she is and he is. And you want to smack yourself for introducing them, and break both their necks for behaving like idiots.

***

The point I’m trying to make – in all these confused words – is that there is no sure remedy. The most unlikely people end up together and while the perfect fit sometimes fall apart. So how do you know when to put in your two pence worth, or even if you should?

My readers would perhaps unanimously say ‘stop meddling’. But we are humans… we always meddle. Even the ‘well-meaning’ advice you gave a friend that the guy is a loser is meddling. Or advice that he’s the best guy they’ll ever find. While the final decision rests up to the person, close friends’ words do matter. I’ve often disregarded what my friends told me… or even the voices in my head said. And it is generally been a disaster.

When we are too close to the picture, we cannot see the details that mar the prettyness. We just see a beautiful, blurry tapestry.

The Wedding Of The Century

At least for the next couple of decades – Prince William and Kate Middleton.

If you live anywhere in the U.K., you’ve probably heard every single detail that is to be heard, and perhaps a few times embellished as well. People are scared to call it the ‘fairy tale wedding’ because they did that once and look how that ended.

Anything to do with the royal family is always… exciting. You could say it is a waste of time and space but the truth is, we’ve all grown up with fairy tales and this is the closest you can come to one.

I am a huge Diana fan. The woman is what fairy tales were made off… she had the looks, the charisma and the completely bizzaro attitude that is required to be a princess. She perhaps even had the steel underneath it all but the public didn’t really care about that.

What she really was – a young, confused woman who was catapulted into the chains of traditionalism and confines or a royal family and expected to deal with it all really well. To top that off, she was married to a much older guy, who in public photos, didn’t have even an ounce of charm she possessed.

But things like this happen every day and if the media was not intent on capturing her every move on camera, we probably wouldn’t care. But she was a princess and she photographed so well. And people wanted to read about her.

This isn’t about Princess Diana though. This is about her daughter-in-law – the first non-blue blooded woman to enter the royal family. It is good to know that they are loosening their belts a little bit. I never really followed through every bit written about the couple or her over the years. I found Prince William extremely cute once upon a time and that was that.

Every British media organization, including the BBC is carrying pages and pages about the couple. And the hoopla about the wedding details has not even begun.

They are still speculating if they dare call her the next Diana.

Nobody else could possibly carry that hint of vulnerability and the charm Diana did. And we wouldn’t want a repeat of that either. Middleton seems more down to earth, practical and hopefully, a little more confident in dealing with royalty. She’s been with the guy for nearly a decade now, so she has some idea of what protocols are. Well, one could argue Diana was born into a royal family but that is a checkered past and she was a kid.

The next year will be a drama – who will design the wedding dress, where will they be married, who will be invited, who will not be invited, who will be the maid of honor, the best man, who will preside, who will be the wedding planner, where will they honeymoon, where will the live. And the question I probably care most about – who will be the photographer.

Circus. It starts again. And hopefully, this time, with a better ending.

Link of the day: This article on Guardian – talk about being snobbish!

Life is an ocean into which we can stream though different avenues. Does it matter what little rivulets we are made up of? Or what paths we flowed through and what dirt we left behind?

We all meet and cross at some point… sometimes together and sometimes apart. Does it really matter where we came from?

Where we came from perhaps forged us. Gave us those very characteristics that made us special… but does the new streams we mingle into need to know our past, our stories. It is a curious thing… because I think not and then someday I catch myself wondering why someone is the way they are. What incident prevailed to create that particular ridge in them… and so we go back, even if we don’t want to.

Should we go back? Doesn’t life really begin at the moment when we meet?

Old Friends, Old photos and Sitcoms

A tummy full of good pasta (finally!). An evening spent browsing photos and paintings. And then whiled away in a coffee shop, just chatting with old friends.

What is it about old friends that is simply so… refreshing. I actually cannot find the exact word for the ease I feel… while talking to them, or even the silence shared. Perhaps I have been around the others too long and had forgotten how it really can be. No efforts at conversation, no need to say anything and yet so much to talk about. And the ease with which you pull each other’s legs.

There have been many that are close to me… some still are and some have just wandered away. But there are only a handful with whom I never have to worry about opinions, judgements, upsetting them, ego clashes and one-upping the other. It could be simply from the fact that these are nice people. And I don’t say that because they are my friends. But they are generally not spiteful, the sort that back stab you.

Of course there are other good friends. But there is a slight disconnect, a slight difference of opinion.

After having lost friends to various things at the age of 25, I have learnt to cherish relationships. I know the effort it goes into maintaining a lot of them… but as they say, the best things do come easy. There aren’t complaints if I do not call them for a week. They call me. That isn’t an ego thing.

Or maybe just the confidence of knowing where you stand with someone. That is what lacks in most of my newer relationships… the fear of crossing a boundary. Of saying something that is probably politically uncorrect about them, even if it is true. Or of calling them too much or too little. Or of them misunderstanding your intentions – particularly in the case of a guy.

That perhaps bleeds over into my other relationships. Appear nonchalant… don’t give them too much importance… don’t call them too often… who makes up these rules? Rather stupid, aren’t they, when we are all looking at the same thing? It happens if it does. If it doesn’t… well…

***

I found a bunch of old albums – from the days before digicams – yesterday. College snaps. Ethnic day… the days when we had some extra exposures to finish… trips… oh how we have changed! Fatter, sleeker (I like to think), shinier, polished… and as… immature as we ever were. Perhaps some of us are slightly wiser but when you meet those old friends sometimes, you revert to the person you were then, along with all the… miseries and inconsistencies.

But those photos made me smile… even as I looked at myself and laughed. Oversized t-shirt on my skinny frame. French beards that were the trend on the guys. Horrible attempts to wear a sari (at least for me. Every other girl friend I had least had bodies made for saris and managed to carry them off with elan. I didn’t even own a blouse… didn’t see a point in getting one stitched for the once-a-year-event, so I wore my mom’s blouses altered. My mother does have an excellent selection of saris. But what looked beautiful and elegant on her, looked like… well, a 12-year old wrapped in a 9-yard cloth on me) My hair was super frizzy because I hadn’t yet discovered products to tame them into shape yet. I looked like a kid and perhaps, despite my know-it-all attitude, I was one.

I feel a lot more sober at 25… and older, wiser… too old sometimes. Perhaps that is why we drink… to experience the madness of youth again.

Oh I’m getting maudlin!

But it was fun going through those photos and trying to put names to some of the people in it. How could I have forgotten people in 5 short years?! *Slap*

Ironically, I ran into someone I had met in college. I had done an article on him for the college newsletter… and though his company was barely getting started then, it is a fairly well-established and known deal now. I didn’t expect him to remember me… I met him maybe a couple of times or  more. But he did. “It is a unique name,” he said when I was surprised.

It is. I am, too. But I still am surprised he would remember.

***

I pulled out my Sex N The City cds today. Remembered I had them when I was hunting for something (now that I think of it… I didn’t even find what I was looking for!). So I grabbed the first cd that came to hand and played it. After watching the movies, I am sort of turned off the whole sitcom. I used to rave about it earlier. Their dating escapades and gyaan seemed so relevant to what happened to me that particular day. But then… I got jaded.

But I played it again today… and it was about Carrie beaking up with someone and dealing with the aftermath. There it was… the rules about breaking up, the way of dealing it with.

“You take exactly half the time you were with someone to get over them. And then you repeat everything you hated about them over and over again in your head,” Charlotte says.

No no… I’m over the boy. But it definitely took longer than half the time. And I tried hard to repeat everything I hated about him but that didn’t really work for me. And the first meeting… awkward? No? I don’t know… I guess I expected to run into him a lot more often given our hanging out places were the same. I was constantly braced those first few days. Weeks. And then… it fades.

I do wish I were in touch. Friends. The whole disconnect is bizzare. But whatever…

The women do look jaded and I haven’t gotten to loving Carrie anymore. But it did make me realise I didn’t do any of the traditional break up things… no tubs of icecream, no rebound guy, no tons of shopping. Funny how things go on.

Photo of the day:

Lab Bokeh, originally uploaded by Jagdey.


That thing called love that ties us up in knots. That thing called relationships that leaves darts in you long after it ends. That thing called a fling which you throw away so easily.

So  many names for being with a person… and so many more definitions in today’s world. It was perhaps easier in the 70s when you met someone and you were either with them or not. Now, you are friends, then you are something in between, then you are dating, then you are in a relationship, then it gets complicated and then you are just sort of seeing someone and then you move in together and then you think about getting engaged. You get engaged and then you wait again and then maybe you head towards marriage or maybe not.

Who the hell came up with all this stuff?

The Concept of Love

When you think of two people being in love, it is usually the image of a pretty girl, a cute guy and lots of pretty stuff around. Advertising and stereotyping has entered our sub-conscious.

Somehow, all the love marriages and the people love images were associated with cool couples. The Deepika-Ranbir, Bipasha-John kind of people rather than the more demure… Nandita Das and whoever she is married to. Even Das is easy to imagine as a celebrity but the normal people… your neighbour with the frizzy hair and the bad teeth, the short guy who you see in the elevator everyday, the woman who’s incredibly huge… you never think of those people in “love”.

My mind (yes, i feel really shallow) somehow assumes that they will eventually get married to someone their parents pick and because tradition requires it. I’m sure they have crushes and stuff but I never think of them as being in a “relationship”.

Recently, a friend of mine posted pictures of her honeymoon on Facebook (where else!). They were in rather gorgeous places and most of them with her and her husband hugging each other and looking at the camera. There was a subtle shift in me – one, because I had never known this friend to be physically demonstrative with anyone. Two… it was just bizzare.

You take someone who has been very reserved, not the sort who talks much to guys, the sort of person who wouldn’t even hug a friend goodbye… and you try to picture them cuddling with a guy – the brain sort of fries.

But there they are, in the gorgeous backdrop of Nepal or wherever, hugging each other and smiling blissfully in the camera, happily in love (touch wood!). She isn’t the sort who would wear the sleek and sexy clothes, the perfect hair and the great pair of sunshades… yet, when I see them in the resort with a bunch of other people like that, they fit.

Why do we have such stereotypical ideas of love and couples in our head? A relationship is with anyone that you connect with, which is hard enough.

This brings me to the movie “Honeymoon Travels” which completely ripped apart the concept of a honeymoon, as well as what a couple should be.

You had Ameesha Patel as the typical bubbly, over-dressed, talkative Punjabi, with a similar guy. The sort you don’t particularly associate with a love marriage. You had the posh couple of Sandhya Mridul and the guy – the sort you have the image in your head – but who turn out to be a complete dud. And the KK-Sen couple who fall somewhere in between. And the classic Shabana Azmi-Boman Irani pair – the people who fall in love in their 60s.

And they are all on a “package” as opposed to my classic idea of honeymoon where you are alone with your guy.

There really isn’t a point to this post I guess. I’m just trying to understand why we have these stereotypes in our mind. And it works the other way as well. Sometimes people just assume that the well-heeled girl is on a date or with her boyfriend when she’s with a guy and being friendly. She is supposed to be ‘fast’ and ‘modern’ hence she dates. Nobody thinks she is in love either. She is expected to be at the other end of the spectrum, without a heart, without feelings and just because she is also physically involved with the guy, it is assumed that is all she wants. Of course, this rarely applies to the hunk (hypocrites again!)

But it is still accepted that she is dating as opposed to a girl with bad hair and in a salwar. She is dating too… but the clothes make the perception and the reaction all too different.

Link of the day: Little People: A Tiny Street Art Project

Friends Forever

Dedicated to Tsu.
Good Luck.

Being citizens of the net world today and software, we are used to separation. A close friend in US, another in France and another in Japan is nothing unusual. There are emails, there is skype and video conf. You don’t even miss the saturday night drinking session, thanks to video chat.

Yes I am used to my best friends living far away.

Yet, in the past couple of years, I carefully steered myself away from relationships which moved. The ones that already had were fine but I wanted friends here, the ones who would come over at 3 AM for something, the ones you could catch up for a movie or a drink or mere silence. Most of us were settled around here and the ones who left didn’t count.

But now, after a long time, when a good friend is leaving for another city – a city which is barely an hour fly time away – I wonder about the impermanence of relationships.

I know we’ll be friends (or maybe not – forever is a long time) because we would want to. I am not much worried about the distances driving a spike in this relationship… but I wonder, in today’s world of change, where are those relationships that stay by you? Or has the definition of such relationships changed as well?

My uncle and aunt have friends that stretch back to 50 years. They still get excited about meeting an old pal from school. Short distances were long then. My uncle’s friend who lives in a town about 100 kms from here – a couple of hours drive at the most – stays over for a couple of days when he ‘comes to town’. They talk about the weather and the news, but when they sit there in silence, you see that friendship born of being together for long. They perhaps have not been there are every crisis the other one did. That is something perhaps of our generation… speed dialing a friend and removing them from the friend’s list when the friend doesn’t reply… but there is a solidarity which completely surprises me.

I perhaps have that… otherwise there would be no way to sit in a cafe, drinking coffee, whiling away time and chatting nonsense. Those hour-long phone calls simply would not have been possible.

And maybe when I’m 70 and in a rocking chair, I’ll realise what set apart these relationships from the other fleeting ones.

But the one truth of my generation – it isn’t the distance that kills a relationship. It the lack of intent. And any place is only a flight away.

Song of the day: Vitamin C – Graduation (Friends Forever)

Marriages

About 10 people I know have gotten married in the past 6 months. I have 5 ‘wedding clothes’ in my wardrobe now. And as more people enter this minefield, I hear  more stories… and more questions…

1. Do you change your surname after your wedding?
I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve heard this question. In the 80s or perhaps earlier, it was accepted that the girl would change her surname. But now, it is a debate… Every time a friend asks what I think about it, I merely shrug. I wouldn’t change my name. But that is what these girls said as well… and now they wonder how it would be considered…

My mother didn’t change her name but years after her marriage, she had to do it because people just assumed that her name was followed by my dad’s name. Rather than deal with the hassle of getting the name on the cheque changed everytime or the legal documents or whatever else, she now goes by both names.

My sister on the other hand, changed her name. I don’t know if she ever did it legally as well but all her email IDs and cards read her name followed by her husband’s name.

Is it really a loss of identity? Or could be considered a changing of identity? In today’s world, should it even be called a changing of identity or merely an addition to the roles you already play?

I hate the thought of changing my name or even my address. I cannot even remember how many places my name and address would have to be changed. Plus, considering my profession, that would be splitting my identity. Oh and not to mention the legal hassles!!!

2. Own place?
I thought this wouldn’t really be an issue anymore… but apparently it still is. Parents are more accepting of this, but only if the house is overcrowded. Indian families hang onto children and everyone else like leeches sometimes. I can see a clear line between those who get their own pad and those who don’t (and are even okay with it).

I just wonder – wouldn’t you want the independence and the fun of having your own place? Yes, it involves cranky maids and waking up at 6 AM to get the milk perhaps but it also involves decorating it in any crazy way you want, having friends over at all crazy hours and without having to explain their craziness to your parents or worse, in-laws;  just that space to breathe…

***

Okay marriage is a minefield and I do not even want to think of all the issues that are involved in it… least till I’m forced to enter that land.

But what about relationships? A new relationship… how much do you let yourself be immersed in it? Can you ignore friends and your life? Would you sit hour after hour with your boyfriend and his friends because you want to spend time with him, when you can’t really follow the conversation and though you love to talk, you can’t talk much because it is stuff you don’t connect with?

How many compromises would you make for a relationship? It is a juggling act, as I’ve been learning… between you, the tug-of-war between what you want, you and him, you and friends and friends and him…

Song of the day: Paint the town red: The Hotcakes