Life is like that, eh?

I noticed this about a few girls I know. They do tend to dumb themselves when they are with their guys. Its quite amusing to see a lady suddenly becoming the damsel in distress when the guy is nearby. I hope I was never like this with any of ‘em…

Yippie! Supriya came down to Bangalore. But I am afraid it might have been a huge let down for her being an avid backpacker. Since it was a weekday, I couldn't spend much time with her. I couldn’t take her anywhere (not that theres much to do in Blore except for shopping & pubbing). I hope we’ll get to camp out or trek together before she goes back to New Zea.

Dandruff & hair fall shouldn’t be allowed to have such a hold on you. Im miserable. If you are going to tell me dandruff is unhygienic, just bugger off… Guess it’s a bit late to care. I will just have to think of Demi Moore and be happy (or try to be, sniff!).

I had a grilling interview with some uncle of a prospective suitor last week. I guess I was quite polite. And the nonstop question round included some piercing peep to life so far. Nothing too gory-personal, thank god- like the person who asked me if I was a virgin or not. Guess he got scared away by my nose-ring, uncovered head, smudged kajal & huge boots that screamed ‘METRO’!

I met Kripa after so long. Felt great. I had already warned her not to call/meet anyone else as I wanted it to be just the two of us. She was busy packing her paintings for some exhibition. A long scooter ride & strolling in SM Street after so long. Apart from the broken Hindi she picked up from Amdabad & some horny poem played in the shop we went, it was too awesome!

I wish I could say that my work life is pretty cool. Yea, my team is great. But is some kinda redundancy creeping into my attitude? I almost have to drag myself to my Karate classes these days. And what about that driving test huh? Aarrrghhhh…

Funny, just because we (friends, cousins) are in the same city, we think ‘yay, what fun’! yet we hardly get time to meet each other even occasionally. Its been more than a month since I last met Rachel. I wonder how Neeraj is doing, him & his superbikey dreams. Abhi must be super pissed at me for not picking his calls.
Hey… Sradha is coming to Blore. ‘Yay, what fun’! Haha… we’ll never change.


Divorces and Happy Families

An empty Sunday… Heavy rains, no power, no books… Too lazy to clean/cook/iron. My friend put on the Karan Johar flick, ‘We are family’. Yea yea I know!! But that was the only DVD in the house.

Soon lost in pillows and blankets, we were happily bashing and ridiculing the movie, especially the role of the clueless hubby, the transformation of beer-drinking beti to an ideal daughter… Predictably stereotypical!

But wait… its not that conventional too now, is it?

I mean this is the only Hindi movie I know which has handled the topic of ‘Divorce’ in a mature way. The divorced couple takes particular care that their affairs do not affect the kids, yet not hiding anything from them. They remain friendly and support each other. The hubby admires his x-wife’s strength of character and admits that shes a damn good mother.

Even extra marital affair is also not depicted as ‘wrong’. In spite of having a so-called perfect woman in his life, the hubby falls for another woman. The movie doesn’t specify any reason for that. My friend suggested that the mom, so wrapped up in her motherhood, might have neglected the hubby unknowingly. Whatever the reason is, its not important.

Why do we probe for justifications when it comes to divorce? Is it necessary that one of the partners has to be a villain? Nobody marries to divorce. They all enter marriage with high hopes of togetherness and all the rest of it (I am not talking about Marriage of Convenience here). Divorce is often a final solution. Why ruin it with numerous advices and sermons on adjustment?

I remember an interview of a famous actress in which she says that shes good friends with her ex-husband and are business partners. My mummy and aunt exchanged raised eye-brows. The meaning is all-too clear. Why did they divorce if they’re still good friends? Again the probe for ‘genuine reasons’? Isn’t anything that stops you from having a peaceful & happy relationship a genuine reason?

More than divorce itself, its immature handling of it like bitching about ex-spouse to kids to turn them against him/her, fabricating reasons to humiliate because court needs big reasons to grant divorce, false cases etc with sufficient inputs from relatives, we need to worry about. Disturbing trend!

I remember a student of mine from Delhi. “My parents are not bad. Just individuals who cannot get along as partners”. She is not one of those emotionally traumatized child hyped by media. She’s a thinking girl who is best friends with her Mom’s boyfriend and is OK if her Dad s to start dating.

Guess society lacks in this kind of maturity, but never falls short of doling out binge sermons to women to be like Goddess Sita.


Those days & Ina Mina Dika Times…

Some people have a way of influencing or even inspiring your life, decisions and all those crap in a totally unexpected & weird way…
Last weekend I was at Pecos with friends, Eric Clapton’s Layla playing in the background. Quite a huge relief that it wasn’t Akon or Justin Bieber! Not that I hate Bieber with a passion like some of my friends, but c’mon they play it everywhere…

Layla is close to my heart for 2 reasons. One its my Mumm’s name and two its IG and my song. For all those mad times we had in my & later her hostel room, Layla was a constant thingy. Burnt bed sheet, night time chicken cooking, ‘accidental’ smoke holes on my curtain, combine studies, assignments, Dariya Ganj n Pahar Ganj, our shifting n reshiftings, discussions on anythin & everythin under the sun, and OF COURSE lotsa bitching & cribbing…

And oh, even in Bangalore times (Nandi Hills trek & Koshy’s chit chats), I could feel the presence of Layla.

IG and my friendship was far from perfect. I used to easily misunderstand her, plagued by what they call the ‘small town’ complex and reinforced by my other friends.

One of my biggest flaws is that I find it difficult to trust. Instead I’d entertained thoughts like ‘why would someone as intelligent, pretty & popular (universally loved) chum up with me’. May be I resented the tag of ‘IG’s friend’? I don’t know… This in spite of her being there for me whenever I needed her and when not needed too. Ghoshhh… Immature college years, I tell you!

I never realized how much she has influenced me then… She has taught me to see good in everyone, every bad situation, just everything man…
I never realized this until one of my Kerala friends told me, ‘For God’s sake N, Have you joined sainthood or something?’ This was when she was random bitching about someone and IG’s words sprang out of my mouth… ‘You can’t judge like that… Look at it from her perspective…’ something like that.

I learned to let go of things from her, to forgive and move on…
‘Hate is a big word, N. And don’t you forget that…’

My uninhibited approach in relationships & people came from her.
She always used to say, ‘N, will this matter to you this much, sayyy next week?’

My life in metros opened my eyes to countless grey shades of life. But now I come to think of it, most of ‘em came from IG…


Is Live-in relationship a sign of liberalism or just an excuse?

A reunion at a friend's place... you know those talks about everything and nothing pushed by alcohol? It turned into a 'live-in-relationship or not' debate.

The concept of live-in rel had fascinated me at one point of time. The idea of defying social norms and being in charge of my life, sexuality and all the rest of it... Wow! Or is it the sheer free-thinking spirit of it? I don't know... I was all for it. But now? The funniest bit was I never even realized that I'd changed my views on it.

My friends looked at me as if I’d grown an extra head. They couldn’t imagine how I turned some sati-savitri all of a sudden! I know around a dozen couples who are/were in live-in. And all of them were abusive; mostly physical. May be those gruesome stories changed my mind. Then someone told me that I shouldn’t generalize live-ins to be bad based on those incidents, like those uncle-aunts saying that love marriages will never sustain.

But don’t we all formulate our views based on what we/our people experience?


Incident 1: I visited my friend who was sharing a 1 bhk with her bf. She was washing 2 bucketfuls of his clothes, including undergarments. For some reason, the sight of men’s underwear always grosses me out (my problem ). Well, its not that I’m against partners doing things for one another. But she suffers from severe backpain and he knew it. Not to mention emotional abuses and all the rest of it. Basically she was not happy. But it took her a long time to break it off with him.

Incident 2: Another friend decided to move in with her bf and we all met up at Mocha to celebrate. He was amazing, funny and intelligent with a Shahid Kapoor kinda cute face. We all loved him instantly. He made us laugh nonstop. He was ever the gentleman and dropped us back to hostel.

She stopped coming to college, stopped calling us. I didn’t think much of it. Friends do take a backseat when you’re in a new relationship. 4 months later I got a call from hospital. Her mother, who thinks that her daughter is in hostel! When I went there I was shocked. She was black and blue. God, alone knows how I managed to lie to aunty...

Incident 3: In this case it’s the guy. She put a full stop to all his bloke-time after they got together. Calling him every 5 minutes even in the middle of meetings, sometimes to check where he is or see if his line is engaged. I’m already sick of giving him the same advice. Break up! But according to him, when you look at the bigger picture, this nagging counts as nothing. And he needs a bigger reason to break up. Otherwise he’d end up being the villain. Thanks to her, hes now friendless and scared of being lonely. Hes still with her, unhappy but together.

Incident 4: Its not just students whos vulnerable and cling to abusive relationships, but high-flying professionals too. In this case, he made her sever ties with all her friends and even family. He used to beat her for speaking to other guys; check her calls and emails. It took 7 months and plenty of my talktime to convince her to escape.


And I can go on and on… May be its not the fault of the live-in system. Personally speaking, I don’t think Indians are ready for this. We are still so stuck in our so-called culture, conditioning and all those crap. Even when one moves in, she has this guilt-thing that ‘I’m doing something wrong’ at the back of her mind. If you yourself are not convinced why take this step? Or is it the sex? Yea, live-in gives a perfect platform to have sex. But come on… you don’t need to move in with someone to have sex. You-are-Adult, your life, decision and all that?

Isn’t moving in a bigger step than sex in a relationship? People become so weak emotionally… Isn’t love supposed to make people stronger and push them forward? Or am I stuck in some Utopian timezone?

Here are some million-dollar dialogues from my live-in friends-

“I’m scared to break up N. Anyway I gotta get married no? What if my future husband finds about this? He will divorce me. So better I stay with this guy only even if he beats me”. Some liberalness!

“He always makeup after a fight with gifts and pampering (fight here means beating). Then I feel bad and try to move on”. Nice technique, making the abused feel bad!

“He keeps threatening to send our pics to my dad. I don’t have any escape”. Last time I checked, blackmailing is a crime even in India.

“She cries at the slightest hint of break up. I can’t handle that. I want to find a way so that she won’t be hurt”.
When? In next birth?

These are the stories of my friends and college students I counsel. And I have their permission.


Cribs to God...

When it happened again, I just wanted to die, wanted to end it. I mean, I am sick of myself. This is the second time I am losing my purse in Blore. Someone found it, called me and returned it.
Though I had to travel to the other end of the city, search and find this person, which meant being late to work... So much of effort, money, time! And killer heat on top of that. I hate my life. No, I don't mean that.

Well, who says big cities are nests of rogues & opportunists? Blore has some honest people and I have met 2 of them...


Happy 123rd Mr. Chaplin

They say Charlie Chaplin's walk looked as normal as can be when his movies were originally shot...
I remember feeling so disappointed when I learned these technical aspects of old movies in my cinematography class...

I hope my children will enjoy your movies as much as I did.


I have a feeling that I am not going to be a...

... 'so-great' mom

I have always craved for a child, a girl child to be precise. My friends seemed surprised. For them I will always be the immature bacchi who will either change the channel or turn away even at the sight of a lip lock scene on the telly.

Its not that I am a great kids person. I am not. I don't fawn over 3-9 months olds or pull their cheeks and exclaim 'how chweet'. I don't even hold them and have ended up offending quite a few new moms. You know how they are. Well, I do have a special gift with annoying kids. Like if the kid is 3 year old then I'd be the 2 year old one.

Yet I want a child. I want to adopt one. No, I have no intention to be the next Sush (I mean, who can). I do visit orphanages in my free time. Others call this social service. Its not. I am doing myself a favour by filling my lazy afternoons like this. Orphanages are no discotheques but just as fun. Actually more so.

Now its not as if you adopt one just like that. In India, the legal peaks of adoption have no end to them. But forget the legalities of it, there are other pressing matters. You need to feel some connection. And I have felt it with her. Her name is Ziha. I named her.

I found her near the Blore railway station. I used to work for the B-organization for child welfare during weekends. They have 4 orphanages in Blore, though badly funded. I am not sure, but I think she was 8 or 9 months old. Her face was grubby, she stank, she was bawling; but it was love at first sight.

I couldn't take my eyes off her bluish grey eyes. When cleaned up, fed and put to sleep, I thought she looked like an angel. I became a frequent visitor at the orphanage. Before, I used to go to have fun with the kids there. After Ziha happened I had eyes only for her. She had me completely wrapped around her finger.

I wanted her. I wanted to adopt. But adoption procedures that too for an unmarried Muslim girl like me- do I need to say more? I remember telling Sister, "Juz give her to me. Who is going to know? I found her after all."

Constant nagging and pressure to stop seeing Ziha from my friends (social work trainees) who knew about this didn't help the matters. They kept attacking me with questions like- Even if you manage to adopt how are you going to manage? You don't earn enough to support her. What about when you go off to work. Kids need constant attention. What about your parents? What will happen when you marry? Oh my God! I wished to goodness that they were working somewhere else.

But it really stung when they said it was not love but an unhealthy obsession. I lost it.

Childless parents visit orphanages frequently. Every time when I hear about someone coming to visit from Sister, my heart’d beat wildly. I couldn’t help hoping that Ziha would go unnoticed from evil eyes. Shes mine. I despised myself for this. It wasn’t fair. She can’t wait in the orphanage till I make up my mind, till I tell my mummy and papa… And there was a huge chance that my request for adoption would be denied…

But again Ziha is a beautiful child and the youngest there. Of course she’d be taken. Sister convinced me for that. She doesn’t live at the orphanage now. I don’t know where she is now. I can find out if I want to. But I won’t. Its nearly one year since all these…

I have discovered an important thing about myself. I am not capable of true love. If I had truly loved her, I’d have fought tooth and nail for her. I wouldn’t have let her go. I wouldn’t have let myself be convinced by Sister that shes better off with ‘a mother and a father’. I would have told my parents the truth and done what I should have, no matter what. But I have let her go.

It was and is still like looking into a mirror that shows you your ugly dark side. Isn't it amazing, the length we go to convince ourselves (and of course others) that we are good people? Yet we forget that there is no escape from the evil in our heart, selfishness that bounds tight & cowardice that rule our hearts. Its easy not to fight, and its easier to give up half way... Why 'easy' always win over 'right? Of course we are experts at making excuses that insult conscience. And we let ourselves be convinced and then move on with a heavy heart.

I won’t say I love you Ziha. I have no right to. I hope, if there is a next time I will do what I want and what is right.


Celebrating Myself

Please have a look at this link.
This was the one accidentally sent to me by my well-wisher. To say that I was shocked would be an understatement. I was livid.
And I discussed this with a few friends of mine. One of them sent me around 20 other profiles with similar demands. She was like why are you so angry, this is sooo common.
I mean, look at the audacity of the guy to post this in a public forum and say so blatantly that girl’s father should be alive. They know they can easily get away with this horrendously sick attitude and all the cash packed in suitcase by the father-in-law.
Most girls’-dads take the cheerful view of- What is wrong in helping your son-in-law? At the end of the day it is all for my own daughter.
In all the cases I know (and I know way too many) love/marriage ends with the end of money-flow.
I am a 26 year old Muslim girl from Kozhikode. Unmarried. So unlike a normal working-in-another-city girl, I don’t look forward to go home these days. Wedding, guys, marriage, proposals and suchlike were occasional topics before. Now these are the only discussions at home. They say they’ve registered me in some matrimonial sites. Trying very hard not to think of me as something put up for sale at the mart, I plugged in my earphones.
I tune out everything around me when asked to look through profiles. I am supposed to comment, pass remarks, choose and like one! And yea, I can only like one. Thank god for small mercies!!
I feel bile rising in my throat. I pretend I gotta pee and rush to bathroom.   
OTHERS Say this
When I AM Like
MOM: How will you manage when you marry?
I’m your typical absent minded prof

FLATMATE: Your hubby will divorce you.
My room is clean but messy
MOM: What if we don’t find someone open to all your craziness
I love skating
FRIEND: Guys like ‘girls’, you know
Bikes are my passion
FRIEND: Men can be dark or fair, but they always want their girls to be fair.
(This is not true. I know many happy fair hubby-dark wife jodi)
I am dark and I don’t have time or interest for facials, sunscreens and sandal powders
You need to break this habit of sitting shut in the room. When you marry…
Privacy and space (no compromise)
FRIEND: Your mommy-in-law’d take you to task.
My chapattis are never round and sometimes burnt at the edges. Hopefully it will get good after more practice.
MOST: You are so arrogant. Its not good for a girl to be so arrogant.
My flaws, my problems, my business
Happy Women’s Day
Bollocks! Its like trying to pacify a dog with a bit of bone after you have devoured a full chicken in front of it.
We don’t need your gnawed bones. We know how to take whats ours

No matter how much I convince in what all languages I know, they will never be convinced. It will always be back to square one! ‘Baby, you need to get married’. I don’t know how to convince people that I am happy single and I do not desire a companion, at least not until I see my soul mate. And this is not because I have friends. It is because I love my independence, my choices and most of all myself, with all my flaws.
This blog post is on its way to Women's Web  


Its just a condom silly

Reading IHM’s blog about a lady’s flustering experience of buying a condom took me back to our fresher’s party at the main hall of Delhi School of Social Work.

Except for the precious one or two hardly anyone cried at seniors’ interrogation aka ragging at anytime. I mean, they were quite nice to me. But still I was feeling a tad nervous, least because I was a thousand miles from home. ‘C’mon now, you are not a 10 year old off to boarding school for the first time. You are an MA student.’ This thought didn’t help much.

Professors made speeches. Seniors danced, sang. We interacted and received gifts, nothing much. Then we reached the killer game. Seniors divided us into groups of 5 and gave 2-3 condoms to each group. I somehow stopped a horrified EWW escape me. Believe it or not, that was the first time I saw one. With shaking fingers I took it and dropped it immediately. We were supposed to think of OTHER creative ways to utilize a condom and present it to the audience. HOW?

Condom is kind of hard to touch, but light too. I tried to find out the stretching point to tear it. Wasn’t possible. Okay, now what? My mind was numbly blank or blankly numb. SB tugged the condom impatiently out of my hands. ‘Oh C’mon, Nidaa.. Don’t play with it as if you are seeing a condom for the first time’. She meant it a joke. I laughed, making her believe it so, all the while my heart was beating painfully.

She started handling it skillfully and came up with the idea. Lovers from different ships can use this to float messages to one another. We made a kind of play, something to do with a pirate and her mistress, separated and lonely in different ships. Another team blew it up real long, that it was almost my height, drew eyes nose and tongue and did something. After our presentation, I started to feel a bit dizzy. I sat down quickly. ‘What happened suddenly? You are shivering. Oh my God, you have fever. But you were alright 2 minutes ago…’ I knew SB was concerned, but I wished she’d shut up. My head was spinning.

Then just as suddenly I was OK. I can safely blame it on my first experience of touching a condom. 
Shamefully, I confessed to SB and IG that Im hopelessly inexperienced and don’t know anything. Heck, my main in high school was computer science and not biology. They laghed and were like its just a condom silly…

One of my seniors came to me as I was sitting far from everyone. When he asked what happened I felt a bit awkward.Then I burst out, ‘why why dya have to embarrass us like this, RJ Bhayya.. you guys are always thinking of ways to torment us girls…’ I was rambling. 
He wasn’t angry. He patted my shoulder and said as social workers we have to face lots. Like going to sex workers community and advocate use of condoms, like giving HIV workshops to truck drivers and suchlike.

‘If you yourself are scared of holding a condom, how are you going to help people and empower them?’ This game is to help you in the long run.
And it did.

I smiled at him and looked at my classmates. They were playing with condom balloons, throwing and catching. I got up.
‘Yes, Bhai?’
‘Its just a condom silly…
I laughed and joined my classmates in their foolery. At the time I couldn't help feeling that innocence is stupendously overrated.  

Months later, when at a workshop, a NACO representative was demonstrating how to use a condom. When he said you shouldn't put it on like socks, I was the one who laughed the loudest.


Okay Universe, I said I have had enough excitement for say, a month or so, after that mugging incident. And its NOT one month yet. I mean, c'mon give me a break! Or is it too much to ask you? Why don't you give virtual heart attacks to some others for a change?

Its like this... My phone fell down from the third floor window as I was guppa-fying with my friends. Down down down and it crashed just near where my friend parked her 'knight'. Numbly, I registered Rachel and Pallavi race down. But someone else reached there first. He picked up all the bits and pieces and deposited them in Rachel's hands as she came down. 

Then just as I was about to hyperventilate, she came running upstairs saying, "your phone is awesome. its still intact. Nidaa.. Nidaa.. See? Your phone is intact. You know what, I'm gifting this to my bro"!!

Take that all of you who have said/thought my phone as 'Blackberry Ape'. Its KARBONN K46! Get it?