Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Men and Myopia

The thing with being in love is that you become the most annoying person ever. Especially if you're a girl. Your uncalled for, eternally sunny disposition can be of gross irritation to an entire nation and its populace. But see, being in love, especially falling in love, is the best, most blinding feeling in the world. It doesn't matter who thinks what, as long as the apple of your affection is twinkling away at you. It makes you ecstatic, but also seriously myopic. 

The leading cause of my myopia is Funny Men. Let me explain-

I was watching Louis CK the other night and he's, MY GOD, such a riot! My insides were instinctively curling with want. Imagine a man who can make me laugh all day; why wouldn't any woman want that. I proceeded, in my usual obsessive gusto, to look him up online. Somewhere among lots of videos and text, here is what I found him say, "Marriage is just a larva stage to true happiness- which is divorce!" Followed by lots of laughs I'll admit, some even awkward, and sure I'll consider it very talented writing- merely a script, but it suddenly made me realise why I'd sworn off the funny boys and their stupid funny bones. 

Funny guys are my cryptonite. Or have become, I have come to realise. 

Take the desi-type-funny guy I dated when I was 21. Or the subtle-but-hilariously-funny guy I dated when I was 23. Or the whiny-funny guy when I was 27. They have two things in common. They were funny. And they were seriously immature. Like a special kind of immature (read escapist) that deserves a brand new adjective to describe it. 

FunnyGuy #1: Having lived in the south of India most of my life, my exposure to real-life people who could tell really great jokes in Hindi was limited. Very limited. I met him through work, and I admit I kind of didn't like him too much when I first met him. Actually, scratch that. I kind of hated him. He was new levels of difficult to work with. Never answering my calls, never following up on anything he was supposed to follow up on, disappearing at important times. That should seem like a great, big SIGNBOARD in my face, right? STAY AWAY. ESCAPIST AHEAD. But err, no, no. Myopic remember? 
I hung out with him, dated him, and laughed a lot. A LOT. Until one night, he decided to get wasted, and confess to me that he was in love with me. The words came out of HIS mouth. And yet I found that it was only barely ironic-funny when he immediately put on his running shoes (metaphorically obviously), and sprinted out of my life.

FunnyGuy #2: Eerrrmmmaaagawd, so damned witty. He was Chandler-meets-Jeeves-meets...well, I don't know who. But man, he was funny. He took my breath away. He also knocked the air out of me when after three years of fabulously entertaining laughs, he ran for the hills for no real reason. 
Literally. Ha ha.
Guess that sounds funny. But isn't.

FunnyGuy #3: This one is my fault entirely, but in my defense, it was kind of trial-basis- like an outfit I was trying on. He was so slapstick, and I don't even like slapstick, but others did, so I thought I'd swing it. Try it on, y'know? He was just so funny with his 24/7 whiny, disgruntled jokes. But three weeks into it, his whining-funny suddenly seemed to take on dementor-like qualities. He sucked the sunshine out of the world. As if, god forbid, something nice should happen to him- his world would end, wouldn't it? I was out of there as soon as I could find an exit sign. 

Truth is, I still haven't gotten over my Love-Funny-Guys myopia, and I will admit I'm still looking for that perfectly funny-but-mature guy combination. But hopefully in the meanwhile, I can find myself some thick glasses to repair my vision. A knock on the head will also help.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Another Me, Another You.

Will you ever find another me if I ever leave you?
Will I ever find another you?

They say there are several Mes in the
Seven billion of us,
With our world full of differences.

Different Yous, and different Mes.
Maybe there are two of us each,
Or maybe four?

Will I bump into you in Hungary,
In Budapest,
On Sale Day, looking for a carved wooden table,
That we both put our hands on at the same time?

Maybe I’ll bump into you in New York,
In a jazz bar because we both like
The song, not the place.

Or perhaps I’ll see you on the Internet.
On a dating website,
While I’m still with you,

While you’re still sleeping in our bed,
Your hands on the book I’m reading,
Your book lying next to me while I look for another you,
In a parallel universe.

Will we be happier with each other’s
Other Me and You?

Will you be happier if you had me without me.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Warming My Cold Feet.

See the thing about fear is that it can seem bigger than you.

What’s funny is that most fears actually start as tiny little thoughts. Minor what-ifs, really. They sit there, festering and gestating, coming and going, becoming bigger, asking for more attention and whining if you don’t give them any. Far from giving them attention, we ignore them. Ask them to bugger off and come another day.

And yoohoo, they do. At which point, we have the audacity to actually be surprised. We expect the another day, to be an other day that is not today. We act petulant. We keep asking the fear to go away, until such a time as when it becomes louder and more demanding, and then we try to negotiate with it about its it next ETA.

Like a deadline that we’ve forgotten, we’re astounded, annoyed, and frustrated when it shows up again. We then try to actively, and rather stupidly, run away from it.

Stupid, I say, because the one thing that we cannot do (and yet, most of us do do), is run away from anything in our own minds. The longer we run from it, or hide it under our beds, the bigger the imaginary monster gets. It grows in size, new and shiny claws pop out, and if you leave it unattended long enough, it starts to speak in strange, scary tongues, with added spooky background music for effect.

I had one of these episodes recently. Mine was called Cold Feet (here on referred to as CF). Unlike the most well-known type of CF (the wedding bells variety), this one was rather unusual, and therefore one that I took time to recognize. You see, quite contrary to the wedding bells variety, where you’re shitting bricks about committing your whole life to someone and wondering if you’re making the right decision, my CF was my fear of committing to myself.

Surprised? Yeah, me too.

Here’s the story of my CF—

A couple of months ago, I finally decided to do the thing I’ve been thinking about doing for a while now— live by myself. I had been running around house to house, broker to broker, landlord to landlord, on my new-house hunting expedition. I had done this before, but the difference this time, was that I had to do it all by myself. As I’ve outlined in this post, I’ve always had a problem doing anything by myself (or rather, without company—which if you really think about it, is a different kind of problem, really).

When I started this, I wasn’t sure if I was looking for the right things in these houses, or if I had been talking to the right people, or making the right decisions. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to answer the preposterous questions that landlords ask you.

(Example1: Why does a single girl in Bombay want to live alone?
Example 2: Will you have many parties in the house?
Example 3: Will you get married and move away soon, you think?).

I also wasn’t sure if I would know how to pick the right refrigerator, or know if I got duped while getting the carpenter to do some minor repairs (actually, this one I still don’t have answers to).

I was just beginning to realize what I’d taken on.

It hit me, full scale, one morning a few days before I was to move in. I was supposed to meet the landlordman that evening to give him 11 post-dated cheques, and sign a contract with ONLY my name on it (how adult is that!).

And hence came the full descent of the CF. Because, dear god, will I be able to, or more importantly— do I really want to do this! ALL.BY.MYSELF!

Eating by myself, cooking myself, handing all responsibilities- big and small- BY.MYSELF. And the worst of them all, SLEEPING all by myself in a house. Oh, the horror!

I’m feeling hot and cold even as I write this (a watered down version compared to that day, I’m pleased to report).

But here’s what I did to battle my CF (it was the plan for today anyway. I believe in baby steps)— I wrote. I wrote about how this felt.

As I wrote it, I felt like I was, in part, conquering my fear. Or rather, telling it, that it’s silly, by doing something that reminds me of why I’m doing this at all. I was reminding me of the good stuff.

I sat by myself in an empty apartment with a suitcase full of books (it was the first and only thing I brought there that evening :) ), and my laptop, and I typed away in a silent house. I listened to the trees rustling outside, felt the wind come in (I have HUGE windows in my living room, whee!), and reveled in the sound of the tippy-tap of the keyboard.

I realized that this was one of the things I’ve wanted for the last few months. Nay, this is what I’ve craved for.
I’ve wanted silence. I’ve wanted just me. I’ve wanted my words, and my very own world.

And so here’s the conclusion to my theory on fears— you don’t banish them, and you don’t even need a grand plan to conquer them. Instead, what would maybe work, is to just show them the good stuff. Tell them that while they are very much real, so is the good stuff.


Monday, January 13, 2014

The Problem Is

The problem is, always was, that I loved you too much.

They told me. Everyone told me. To not do that. To never love you like that. But see, I didn’t see it. All I could see was you. You were a high. Something I could sniff when my day went south. Something I could inject to make my day go north. Something I could wake up to, with a feeling of elation. The feeling that I had done something right.

And the problem is, always was, that you played the part. To the T. You danced and pranced for me. You made me laugh. You made me cry, just enough to consider you an achievement. You made me feel like I was the only thing you lived for. You made me feel like a million bucks was tepid in front of me.

They told us. Everyone told us. To not to that. We may never stop loving each other, but what if we lost each other? What if something happened to either one of us? How would either of us get through it.

Well, you showed me how, didn’t you. You disappeared. You left me with a faith that I couldn't practice anymore.

The problem is, always was, that which they didn’t tell me. They told me not to love you like that, but what they should have been telling me is this – love yourself more. So that at least this way, when you’re gone I will still have had something left to love.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Fear of being a woman

Late last night, I was out at a friend’s gig, when I heard someone somewhere around me say ‘another rape, man; this time in Bombay’. I rolled my eyes and thought, ‘not again,’ and ignored it. I didn’t pause to find out more, I didn’t even pause to give it more than that first thought. As quickly as I could, I threw it out of my head.

This morning, on my way to work, I looked at my twitter timeline that was flooded with news of the #mumbaigangrape and as I read and read, I cried and cried.

I cried because I felt that girl’s pain (even if it was a fraction of it). I cried because I felt her fear. I cried because I felt MY fear. And I cried because I was ashamed.

I was ashamed that I hadn’t paid that comment last night any attention. I was ashamed because I threw away the thought that entered my mind. I was ashamed because I couldn’t even swallow or acknowledge what had happened.

I’ll tell you why I did it though- discarded the mention of that rape- no, it wasn't because I've become numb or indifferent. It was because if and when I let it sink in, the fear that goes down my spine is almost unbearable. It makes me want to go back in time to my mother’s womb, when they still hadn't figured out what my sex was. It makes me want to never do anything again. Never step out of the house, never dream, never dare to live. Because being a woman in this country, and to a large extent, in this world, is a curse. It’s one of those things that you just have to live with. As is the constant fear.

I ask my male friends, colleagues- do you know what it feels like? Most say ‘I’m sure it’s terrible,’ and make tsk tsk sympathetic noises (no disrespect to them). And some others honestly tell me with sadness in their eyes, that no, they can’t imagine what it feels like.

Well, I’ll tell you what it could feel like- it’s like walking in a lone street, in a strange country, where no one understands you or speaks your language, with your passport, your money and all that you consider yours in the middle of the night. All senses heightened, alert, knowing that you have to be extra careful until morning comes, and it’s safe again.

That’s what it feels like ALL the time for women. Except that there is no when morning comes.

We’re expected to be careful at all times. We’re expected, and do, watch our back at all times. Our sixth senses are on high alert, our eyes constantly making sure it’s taking in everything it possibly can in, and around, our periphery. Making sure there is nothing, and no man waiting to pounce at you, from the corner or from right out in front of you.

It’s so exhausting. It’s so nervewrecking. It’s disgusting, and depressing.

You put us on a pedestal and then drag us down. You make us the symbols of human future- the holy bearers of generations to come. And then you want to show us that in fact, you’re the one with the power- If you put us on that pedestal, then you can drag us down. You feel compelled almost, to prove to us that you’re superior.

I’m sick of it. Don’t put me on a pedestal. If I could give you my child bearing capacities, I would. If I could give you the empathy and the skill I have to bring up and nurture your children to carry forward your name into the future, I would. I’ll put you on the highest pedestal there is if you will leave me alone. I’ll put you on that pedestal if all that matters to you is that you come out glorious, more powerful and superior.

Please don’t glorify me, I beg you. Don’t call me holy, don’t think I’m better than you. I don’t want to live in constant fear of you raping me, taking away the only thing that you think will strip me naked and put me in my place. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ten things I’m terrified of in my 20s.

There are so many lists out there talking about the fabulous 20s, the puzzling 20s, and what have you. So I figured what’s one more. But this one’s about things that terrify me in my 20s about my future life.

1. I’m terrified that I’m losing out on time. Like the 20s are supposed to the best years- the ‘golden period’ if you must- where I’m paving, paving, paving the path for my soon to be illustrious future. And if don’t pave fast enough, I’ll never make that road, and then suddenly I’m 30 and then what will I walk on, omigod, I’ll be totally lost, and Omfg, omfg.

2. I’m terrified I’ll never live that travel dream I’ve dreamt of. People say travel young, travel young. And I’m terrified I’m making and saving all this money in my 20s only (not making that much money, actually) to forget the travel dream I had for later. I’m scared I’ll get caught up with other things like marriage, making money, and career paths.

3. Which brings me to... my career. I’m terrified I’ll never have the balls to do what I really want to do. I’m scared I’ll keep using the 20s to dream, dream, dream, stalling till the 30s, to do the ‘real thing I want to do’, and all that will end up being a sham because ‘logic’ ‘logistics’ or ‘reality’ will set in.

4. I’m scared that as I leave my 20s, I’ll become the person I always scoffed at- the person that always knows everything. That super closed minded person that probably thinks I’m a hippie, but he really, was the loser that lacked imagination. I’m terrified I’ll grow older to become that fool.

5. I’m terrified that post my 20s, I’ll want more, but in the most limited way possible. That my lists will grow longer, but only because they’re growing tighter. ‘I want my man to be a funny, non-smoking, open minded, non chauvinistic, scuba diving banker from an exotic country, who is generous and spoils me rotten, but also respects my independence...’ Or whatever, you know?

6. I’ve already noticed a lack of risk taking between now and when I was 17, so what’s to say I won’t become a paranoid person post my 20s, who’s like, ‘oh I don’t want to cycle through this gorgeous park because you know, I might fall and scrape my knee and it’ll be hurt for a whole week and the scab will be so ugly..’. You get the drift.

7. While I’m aware of the fact that I’m getting older, I’m acutely aware of the fact that my parents are getting older too. It almost seems like the minute I turn thirty, I’ll have to start giving serious thought to how to take care of them and make sure they’re okay. The thing about this is that, I’m not sure I’m ready to ‘take care’ of anyone, much less my beautiful parents, who I’ve constantly relied on for guidance and support. The thought of that role reversing is scary, more so because I’m terrified I might not not be as good at taking care of them as they have done for me.

8. I’m terrified I’ll always be selfish. So, this one is a little different- I’m terrified of something I am right now, that I really want to shed, and I think I may not be able to.

9. On the whole, I’m terrified of my entire identity changing when I’m not paying attention. I know it’s silly (which part of this paranoid list, isn’t?). Some people say we all evolve every 7 years; that if you look back seven years earlier, you’ll realise you were completely different. Still, I’m terrified of my identity changing and not having control over it.

10. Most of all, I’m terrified that the 20s might wear me down. That the disappointment I might face in this decade might make me cynical. Worse, it might cause me to settle, settle for less. And become that person that only lives from car loans to house loans, paying EMIs on everything I own and touch. Living a perfectly staid life, one that no one will remember. Not even me, when I look back at it. One in which I wouldn’t have realised my potential. One in which I’m just sheep.

The thing is though, I’m glad I’m terrified of all these things. Because that means I’ll try my damned hardest to focus on what I’ve dreamt for myself and avoid settling for anything else. I might change my mind, and I might change some of my priorities. But if I manage to retain my love for life and never settle for anything less than what I dreamed of as a child, a time when my dreams where the least diluted, then I think I’m sorted.

Catalogue #talesofacat

Here's picture story for a change. Below is my little Kittle in all his flamboyance, and fame.

We've had him for 5 months now, having rescued him from the streets (bless the power of twitter). He came to us as a Valentine's Day gift and what a little crazy gift he's been.

This is two month old kittle, when he first came to us. Funny story insert- we were told he was female. We named the poor bugger Ella and called him 'elegant' 'lady-like', and 'beautiful'. Two weeks into it, a visit to the vet and we had come back broken-hearted that we had to rename him (I love that name, Ella). He's now Garfunkle aka Garfy, and hopefully the awful memory of the two week gender confusion doesn't haunt him forever.

Garfy's obsession with teabags. I'm pretty sure one day when we're cleaning the nook and corners of the house we'll find Garfy's personal storage of these (ew!).

He's a lap-claiming, roaring like a lion (not), poser cat (more posu photos to follow- he fancies himself a model I'm sure).

It's almost like he's asking to be photogrpahed. He has these photo faces, just ready, pouting even.

We watch shows on my laptop together, my Kittle and I. And he still fits in my palm- he's a chipku one this fella. One of the friendliest fellas I met. 

Sometimes I'm convinced he's a dog- he rolls around like one and begs for food, and is destructive around the house.

Sometimes I wonder if he's human- look at the way he's claimed my favourite beer chair.

And this is how I know he belongs with me :D