Qarib Qarib Single – Refreshing and realistic

The name of the movie is Qarib Qarib Singlle. I thought it was Qarib Qarib Single Single. I enjoyed the movie in the first half thoroughly. Few good laughs. In the second half, I felt the movie lost its plot. Nonetheless, it was better than most Bollywood movies.

Yogi and Jaya meet through a dating website. Jaya is a 35-year-old widow. Yogi must be older. What is the romantic life like for a single woman in her mid-30’s in India? What is dating like through these mediums?

In a pro- nepotism industry where most love stories revolve around good-looking college students who magically fall in love over a series of songs shot across foreign locations, a realistic romantic plot revolving average people, in mid-30’s is a breath of fresh air. I will overlook all other parts of the movie which I could not relate to (like how come Yogi was rich!)

Here is what worked for me:

  • Jaya’s single life

The casting song captures Jaya’s lonely, uneventful, painfully boring life brilliantly. The highlights of her day are her skype chats with her brother. Doing well in her career, confident at work and hesitant about relationships. She spends time outside of work babysitting her friends’ kid, cats and paying for their shopping too. Her friends seem to be taking advantage of her.

I remember an episode of Sex and the city if which one of Carrie’s married friend with kids had shamed her for buying very expensive shoes. Her friend told her that she has a very lavish lifestyle, something which was a luxury for her – a woman with a family. Carrie counted how much money she has spent on her and her family so far – Wedding gifts, children’s birthday gifts etc. Story of all financially comfortable, single women. Little (big) things we buy for our friends and their kids are always measured against our “lack of real responsibilities” in life. I had written an article on this but never published it. I do not wish to get boycotted by all my married friends! 🙂

  • No efforts towards relationships

Jaya seems to have accepted her single status. She does not seem to be doing anything about meeting people until one of her friends reminds her that she might “regain her virginity”. This phase also comes in the lives of single women. Where they give up on men completely!

  • Dating sites

Jaya is hesitant to put her picture on the site. The moment her profile becomes active, she starts receiving all kinds on creepy messages.  It reinforces her belief that probably she should not have done anything! Something that has probably happened to all of us!

  • First meeting between Yogi and Jaya

Yogi looks extremely objectionable the first time Jaya sees him. It reminds me of the movie, ‘Life in a metro’, in which Konkana’ s character meets Irrfan’s character for the first time. She rejects him because he stares at her chest (something he later tries to justify to her)! In both these movies, Irrfan Khan looked weird to the women, and the audience the first time. However, as the story progresses the women saw the better side of him. Does that happen in real life too? Someone who we meet through a dating / matrimonial site is given second chances? What would happen if instead of being judgmental we would give them a chance?

  • The ex- factor

Both Yogi and Jaya seem hung on their exes. However, they don’t realize this about themselves, as much as they realize about each other. This for me is the number one biggest turn-off in a man!! A deal breaker!

  • Ex-lover turns into Mamaji

Yogi lives under the misconception that his exes are destroyed because of the break-up! He meets one of his exes, who is now happily married with her family. She introduces him to his children as “mamaji”. Yogi explains this happens in small-towns.

I know this is true. Non-lovers were put into “rakhi brother” categories, before the “friend-zone” was invented!

  • Good acting and zero songs!

Irrfan is perfect. We know that already. But I had never seen Parvathi before. She was very good too. Reminded me of another actress, Madhu from Roja. Nice to see a character of a hindi film heroine who was just being herself. Not young, not wearing skimpy clothes and not dancing to vulgar lyrics, not even in a dream sequence. This itself is an achievement!

Go for it! Better than most movies we spend our money on.

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Thirty Years of Me!

On my 28th birthday, I had posted this article. I had even created a separate category on my blog called ‘Birthday Memoirs’ based on one article! Last year I got lazy and shared the same article again. But today, I have turned 30. How can I not write about it!

Give me some sunshine. Give me some rain. Give me another chance. I wanna grow up once again.

Last week, I was on a whatsapp video call with my cousin and her six-year-old daughter.

Cousin: What’s the plan for the birthday?

Me: No plans. I am turning 30!

Kid excited: Mausi’s 30th birthday is coming up?

Me: Shh! Don’t say 30 out loud! It is a secret between you and me.  Don’t tell anyone!

Kid with a thumbs up: Okay Mausi. Secret. Done. I will tell everyone you turned 39!

Me: Hey! What kind of a secret is that! The secret should be beneficial to me!

Kid confused and disappointed. She had given her best shot at faking.

Cousin: You should reduce Mausi’s age. 39 is worse than 30!

Kid was still confused. She did not understand why turning 30 was bad. Why was turning 39 even worse? It did not make any sense to her.

Past few months I have been upset about turning 30. Should have talked to the kid sooner. She would have made me realize it really does not matter!

Last year this time

Aaj kal paon zameen par nahin padate mere, Bolo dekhaa hai kabhi, tumne mujhe udate huye

I was pretty happy. I had a new job. New friends. An international family vacation.  In the beginning of 2017, I won an award for blogging. Life seemed to be going well.  And I was pretty optimistic that by this time, this year I would have un-singled myself!

Oh dear men!

No! Not all men! Just talking about the men I met this year. Instead of becoming partners for me, most ended up becoming case studies for my articles. One became the sole inspiration behind my series, ‘To the Geet without Aditya Kashyap, and the Queen without the international vacation’.  I think this year I have written more about relationships that any other topic.

I had met a gentleman through an arranged marriage set-up. He was good-looking, soft-spoken and well-dressed. It was during the phase when I was certain I should get married. He lived with his parents. He was very clear he would continue living with his parents after marriage too. He said that I will be “allowed” to do whatever l liked. As long as I respect his parents and take care of them.

Few years back, such a statement would have sounded harmless to me. But I have become smart. Or rather experiences have taught me better.  I imagined my life of marital bliss with him.

Wake up before everyone else –

Pehli Kiran Jab Se Uge, Bhabhi Meri Tab Se Jage. Sabka Pura dhyan Dhare Woh, Shaam Dhale Tak Kaam Kare

Feed three adults.

Seek their permission to go to my parents’ place. Actually anywhere.

Be fully covered since the moment I leave my bedroom.

Forget about watching Mindhunter. Or Game of thrones. Or anything. 

Not being able to put my legs on the center table stand while watching TV. Ever.

Weekends will be spent grocery shopping. Identifying sales from Big Bazaar. And watching Indian Idol for fun.

Is it worth it? I asked myself. Don’t answer the question. Most of India is doing this. So I am pretty sure it is worth it.  It just made me realize that in case it never happens for me, or happens much later in life, it is okay. I am not missing out on a lot!

My current life

I made a lot of friends this year. From Shaadi.com to tinder, from Jeevansathi.Com to Trulymadly, from meetups to events in the city– I was everywhere! I Did meet some nice and interesting people through these mediums who I would not have met otherwise.

Weekends I get up at 12. Have lunch and head out. Evenings are usually spent in some nice restaurant / pub.

Come on, come on, turn the radio on. It’s Saturday and I won’t be long. Gotta paint my nails, put my high heels on. It’s Saturday and I won’t be long

Come back at night. No wonder, a lot of women in their 30’s and 40’s prefer not to get married unless they meet someone awesome. A lot of single women I know and I myself spend a lot of time and money on ourselves. Hair spas. Hair smoothening. Sexy dresses. Fun events. Nobody to answer to.

What was good this year

Writing has been going well. My articles on Womensweb, as well as on my blog did really well. More people have been writing to me. Feels good.

My sister and niece visited twice this year. Niece is a lot of fun to be with. She is also one of the most affectionate and loving children I know. Till the time that she was here, I would look forward to coming back from office. She would give me company for everything – Whether it is staying up late at night, or going to gym. She makes me believe in all the good things in the world. She also makes me believe in marriage and family.

People and their ways!

Kuch to log kaheinge, logon ka kaam hai kehna

I have spent most of my life overthinking and overanalyzing. This year also, like any other year I have been hurt by some people’s words and behaviour. Today is a good day to let go of all the bitterness. Let me focus on better things. I have noticed that I may not like what some people say, yet I am grateful that these people have managed to stay in my life. Even if they say some stupid things, at least they call, text or show up.  Better than the ones who are not in touch. I guess this is the first sign of ageing! Gratefulness!

The single factor

Single Rehne De Mane Single Rehne De, Happy Hoon Main Happy Happy Rehne De!

The other day, I went out with four of my girlfriends.  We are all in the age group 29-42. All single women. We started talking about boyfriends and our broken relationships. One girl decided to ask what each one of us may be looking for in a partner. One girl said she wants someone who is a poet or an artist. Shayar type. Another one said she would prefer someone who is earning very well, in a stable job because she wants to be a homemaker.

I don’t know if it was the Vodka but all of this just made me laugh. I told the first girl, if she likes poetry or art, why doesn’t she do it herself?  I asked the second girl, who should be paying for her expenses then?

I am not laughing at them. I have no right to, as someone who spent the entire year trying to unsingle. I am laughing at all of us. At the expectation that someone will come, and make our lives better. The emotionally unavailable boyfriend who does not want to commit, the undekha anjana shayar, or the decent gentleman who promises a stable life, provided his parents are taken care of. Single, wise, older women still waiting for a man!

Do Patte Patjhad Ke Pedon Se Utre The, Pedon Ki Shaakhon Se Utre The, Phir Utne Mausam Guzre Vo Patte Do bechaare, Phir Ugne Ki Chaahat Mein Vo Sehraon Se Guzre

I guess it is badly ingrained in our minds that relationship will make us happy. I have had enough with this expectation. And the efforts directed towards achieving it. The next year will be all about me. About all the things that I have wanted to do. Here are some:

Teaching kids

When I was in the United States, I used to volunteer to teach children at summer school. I was quite young myself – about 16. There was a kid (fourth grader) in one of my classes, who was Hispanic. He struggled with English. I struggled with him.  But he was hard-working. I tried my best to help him improve. He responded.

On the last day, his father had come to pick him up. The kid had got a rose for me, as a thank you. Except that he felt too shy at the time of handing it over. So, he gave the rose to his father to give it to me. The father was sooooo cute!! He thanked me for helping his son. The awkward, short, scrawny, braces wearing teenager inside me could not stop blushing.

I also taught Kindergarten another summer. Those kids were too young to learn anything. But they were very cute and innocent. Teaching was a very rewarding experience. Not because of the cute Hispanic man. But because I really enjoyed myself. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher.

I don’t know how I will achieve this with my full-time job and writing. But let me for now put it in my to-do list for this year.

Taare zameen par…

Lasik surgery

I don’t know how many times I have gone to the doctor, got an eye-check-up, weighed pros and cons (there is hardly a con), nodded when the doctor has asked me to come back for a final consultation, and then chickened out and never returned. People who have got laser surgery have told me it has made their lives much easier. I think I should too. At least I would become less averse to travelling, and water sports. Maybe I should stop watching youtube videos on the surgery, because they just scare me. If any of you have got it done, please do let me know how it feels like.

The book

I think about it every night and day, Spread my wings and fly away. I believe I can soar, I see me running through that open door

I hope the book that I have been working on gets to see the light of the day. I also realized I have posted very few guest blogs this year. Please do keep sending me story ideas.

GMAT and MBA

This is the most farfetched idea. But it is still there. Maths had always been a nightmare for me. I used to dream that I have failed in Maths even long after I had finished school. Then came chartered accountancy and the nightmares became real. I used to have a recurring dream that I have failed the CA exams till years after I had qualified. But those dreams had stopped. Until recently.  I dreamt that I  failed in Biology. I have never been a Science student. I attribute that dream to my struggle with Maths with the GMAT book I bought this month. My sub-conscious brain probably could not process failing GMAT yet and substituted it with biology.

I met a friend from the US who is doing MBA from Singapore. I had met her though blogging. I confessed to her that I am not really interested in GMAT or MBA. I just want to get out of here. She said that it is a common reason for a lot of girls from the Indian sub-continent!

But I think two factors would not let it happen for me. 1. I love India way too much. 2. I am horrible at Maths.

So there. I better end it now before this post becomes an autobiography.

Maula tera maali, O hariyaali jungle waali,
Tu de har gaali pe taali, Uski kadam kadam rakhwaali

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But Why Do You Even Want To Get Married?

Received an email from a woman who is single and has been searching for a guy for a long time. She has a full-time job, good friends and a good life. That does not change the fact that she is looking for someone for marriage. She is in her early 40s. She also wants to have kids. She is a happy person. But when she tells people she wants to get married, they start saying so many annoying things.

The first question is ‘But why do you even want to get married!’

I can relate perfectly. How many of you are single? When you tell people, you want to “un” single, do they judge you? It is not like you are saying that you are desperate or unhappy or incomplete. You just wish you had someone. Many people who say these things are actually married themselves.

Here is a short list of some of the things people say to single people who are looking. Feel free to add to the comments.

  1. No one can complete you!
  • When did I say I was incomplete?
  1. Be in love with yourself first!
  • Main meri favourite hoon….?
  1. You will find him once you stop looking!
  • Does he know I am looking for him, and therefore hiding? Shh…he might hear us and hide back!
  1. When you are happy you attract people…
  • Been happy… attracted people.. Now what?
  1. If you feel lonely alone, you will feel lonely in a relationship too.
  • What does this even mean? Did they think so much before getting into a relationship?
  1. Your spouse could die. And you could not have a child. So, marriage does not guarantee that you would not die alone.
  • Wow…what optimism!

I guess when people mean it is better to be single than married, they mean to say it is better than being in a bad relationship. I agree. If you see your friends desperate and unhappy in a bad relationship just for the fear of being alone, please go ahead and help them see reality.

But if they seem to be happy and doing well, yet searching then it is a normal thing to do! They do not need to justify anything! Isn’t it natural (for some people) to want love, romance, marriage. kids?

I am a feminist. I do not believe that marriage is the ultimate goal of life. It is a personal choice. It is okay to be single.  It is also okay to wish for one.  It does not mean that someone is weak. Single people do know relationships do not work sometimes and that marriage requires a lot of work.

Let us be a little kind to our divorced friends, and the ones who are older yet single. Let us not decide that it is better for them to be alone! Let us not tell them that marriage is this reward they will get once they have attained the above checklist! It is a well-meaning thing to say but it does not help them!

 

 

 

Sometimes The Best Closure Is……. Complete The Sentence

I was 12 when I had the term “closure” for the first time.

At that time, I was living in the United States. A 17-year-old woman had gone missing after her morning jog.  She was a high school student, ready to apply for colleges with her whole life ahead of her. There was an extensive search initiated to find her. Everybody was praying for her safe return.  After some 15-20 days, her decomposed body was found in some forest, with her throat slit.  The murderer was already caught, and he was the one who has led to the body.

The news reporter broke the news with a solemn face. She added,

“We hope that this has given some closure to the family.”

I hated the term. How could knowing that their daughter was dead, killed brutally, and finding her body bring anything positive? The reporter was trying to say was that were in trauma for the past weeks by not knowing what happened to their daughter. Now at least, they knew…

At least. Another term I despise…

As I grew up, I came to know that the term closure was used in the context of relationships very often. My next encounter with it was in an episode of Friends. Rachel falls in love with Ross but only after he is with Julie. Rachel is now at a restaurant on a date with a new guy but all she can think about is Ross.

Michael: Look, I’ve been through a divorce, trust me you’re gonna be fine. You just can’t see it now because you haven’t had any closure.

Rachel: Yeah! Closure. That’s what it is, that’s what I need. God, you’re brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that? How do I get that?

Michael: Well, you know, there’s no one way really, it’s just, you know, whatever it takes so that you can finally say to him, “I’m over you.”

Rachel: Closure, that’s what it is. Closure.

She then borrows a phone from a reluctant man and dials Ross.

Rachel: [on phone] Ross, hi, it’s Rachel. I’m just calling to say that um, everything’s fine and I’m really happy for you and your cat who, by the way, I think you should name Michael: And, you know, ya see there I’m thinking of names so obviously, I am over you. I am over you and that, my friend, is what they call closure. [hangs up and tosses phone in the ice bucket]

By the end of the episode, Ross realizes he is still in love with Rachel, and they end up kissing.

Bollywood loves closure too. Lovers almost always come back. They apologize. They repent. They want to be taken back. The heroine either takes them back and they live happily ever after or she find another guy who is so much better! Pyaar to hona hi tha, Queen,  to name a few.

The best example I can think of is Jab we met (I loved the move like everyone else). I have blogged about it before in To The Geet Without Aditya Kashyap and The Queen Without the International Vacation. Geet calls up Anshuman, and showers him with abuses. He hangs up, looking traumatized. He also realizes his mistakes and comes back to Geet. Meanwhile, Geet falls in love with Aditya Kashyap. She gets to reject Anshuman, make him feel like an idiot and then marry Aditya Kashyap. What a wonderful closure!!

But real life is so messy. If someone actually says the things they want to say in an attempt for closure, they will get to hear an earful, and end up feeling worse. It could be a chain that needs to be closed for our sanity. Maybe we reach out but get no response. Maybe we decide not to call in an attempt to savor what is left of our already damaged self-respect. I don’t think we get that many closures in relationships, (unless we are a fictional Bollywood character). Quoting from my own article:

What about women who don’t necessarily find another man like Geet? What about the ones who don’t get to travel like Queen but continue their routine life feeling worthless after getting dumped? Living each day with a spout of misery with the most cherished moments of their lives becoming mere memories  and evoking mixed feelings? How do they ‘get over’ someone?

Maybe closure is overrated. It is still as absurd as when I had heard it for the first time in my life. When someone is gone, they are gone. There are no ifs, buts, what ifs, how, why. There are no answers. At least not answers that we will get from another person.

The harsh truth is there may be NO closure. We have to somehow make ourselves understand. I did research to find the best thought to complete the sentence – Sometimes he best closure is…

But I did not like anything I read. So here is my list. Please feel free to add to it.

Sometimes the best closure is knowing that I tried.

Sometimes the best closure is knowing that there is nothing else I could do.

Sometimes the best closure is accepting that I may be hurting, but I am not broken.

Sometimes the best closure is knowing that I have survived the biggest pain I have ever known.

Sometimes the best closure is closing the door to the negativity within me, and I alone have the power to do it.

Adding a good one sent to me by a friend, after reading the article:

You have to accept that some chapters in our lives have to close without closure. There’s no point in losing yourself by trying to fix what’s meant to be broken. – www.stevemaraboli.com

And finally the one from ‘He’s just not that into you’ , the dating Bible for women (along with Mathhew Hussey’s videos)! It is not on closure, but it is on happy endings. Isn’t that what we are all looking for?

And maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy… maybe its you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is…just moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this… knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken hearts, through all the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up.” 

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Indian. Female. Single. Do You Know Her?

In some parts of the world, being single is just a relationship status. In India, it is defiance. Especially if you are a woman, in your late 20s or older. In a culture of ‘chat mangni and pat byaah’, facilitated by family members, distant relatives, enthusiastic neighbors and well-meaning strangers, being single is an abnormality.

Read the full article on Sheroes

What Are You More Afraid Of – Ending Up Single, Or Being With The Wrong Person?

When I was young(er), I used to obsess with my looks when I would be meeting a guy for the first time (or maybe first few times). It did not matter whether it was a date, or a meeting with someone for an arranged marriage.  I would wear high heels trying my best to camouflage those 5 feet 2 inches. I would struggle with those curls, which made me look so unruly. I would ensure that my eyebrows were perfectly made, even if it meant running back to the parlour within a week.

If I would not hear back from the man (this kind of thing happened in the arranged set-up), I would analyze the things I said, what I ordered, what I wore and how much I ate. I would try to figure out what was it that didn’t work, (even if I myself had no interest in meeting that man any further).

Cut to few years later. I am on the verge of turning 30 and single.

My visits to the parlour are restricted to once in two – three months.  I am more concerned about being regular at the gym.   

Those eye brows – Oh they hurt like hell! My benchmark now is Krooh Singh to determine when they have grown too much.

Those heels –  I can’t manage them for more than a couple of hours. I am short! Nothing can change that. So why torture myself.

The hair? – I am just glad that it is still with me, and has survived brutal, frequent blow dries, and smoothenings.

No, I am longer afraid of what a man thinks of me when he meets me for the first time. I am no longer afraid whether he would like me.  I am only afraid of whether I would like him. I am afraid that I may like him, but then he would turn out to be a jerk. The kinds I have dealt with in the past. The chauvinist. The abuser. The philanderer. The fake feminist. Or a combination of all of these. The kinds I write about. The kinds who are the antagonists in my stories. The ones I ask women to be beware of.

Is this what elders have always been afraid of which is why they want girls married early?

Marry in your early 20s! Once you are older, you will become too stubborn about what you want / don’t want!  

Is it because it is more difficult to fool me now?

A close relative had set me up with a man who said some things to me, which I found extremely misogynist.  It is difficult to explain to someone 30 – 35 years older than you, why you did not like someone they thought was perfect for you.  I tried to explain myself, that I did not like him although he may be a good person. It reminded me of a scene from the movie, ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’.   Priyanka Chopra’ character says that she does not have the feelings for her husband, which she should have. Her mother- in-law replies, “Haan, but problem kya hai?”  Ranveer Singh’s expression was priceless.

The relative was trying to be kind and patient, by allowing me to justify why I did not like a perfectly good guy (according to him).  I was waiting for a “But problem kya hai?”

Instead he said, “Well, he could not like something about you too.  It is not like you are Queen Victoria!”

No, I am not Queen Victoria. But I think of myself as a progressive, loyal, caring and intelligent person.  Decent enough to be a companion for someone. Would I compromise on these values that I am looking for?  Absolutely not! It is not like I am asking for good looks or money!

Let the 30th birthday come along! I am not afraid. Let me be single for some more time. I am not afraid. Sad, maybe but not afraid.

The only thing I am afraid of is ending with the wrong person. Again!

The (Really) Short Guide For A Single Woman Dating Again For A Long Term Relationship In India

Are you a single woman in India and considering dating again for a long term, meaningful relationship? Here are some things you should know.

Read more on Womensweb 

The (Really) Short Guide For A Single Woman Dating Again For A Long Term Relationship In India

Have you ever watched a movie in a theatre alone?

A close friend of mine had pre-booked two tickets for a movie at a theatre near her place. (Let’s call her Preeti). Much to her disappointment, her companion ditched her due to some some last-minute work. A couple of hours before the show, she made some frantic calls and messages on Whatsapp groups to ‘donate’ her two tickets. Given the distance and time constraints in a big city, it is not surprising that nobody was able to make it on such a short notice. The tickets were wasted.

I asked Preeti why she could not go for the movie alone. She wanted to watch it. The theatre is walking distance from her house.  She said that she did not want to go alone. It would be too weird. People would be staring at her. She would feel too conscious. I told her that it is a multiplex in a mall. Not some single screen theatre from 20 years back.

You need to be more brave in life! I said to her.

Now, Preeti is a girl who has been staying away from her family since college. She has an MBA degree. She lives with flat mates and is fairly independent. She does not remember the last time she borrowed money from her parents. She pays all her bills.  No wonder, she became defensive at my statement. She said that she has traveled alone in an airplane / train. Isn’t that brave enough? There are so many people who do not even do that.

I told her that doesn’t count. She does not have an option there. What would she do? Not go home for Diwali / Christmas break? Or search for people with the same hometown in office and align travel plans as per their leave balance?

I asked a couple of more friends. Here are few other situations we discussed:

  • No friends have showed up at office
  1. Have lunch alone at your desk
  2. Try sitting with some other group for today
  3. Go early for lunch so that there are less people
  4. Skip lunch
  5. Just go alone!
  • Friend’s birthday coming up. No company available to go shopping
  1. Keep asking all the people in phonebook until someone agrees
  2. End up gifting after her birthday
  3. Pool in with someone who already has a gift
  4. Just go alone!
  • Original example. Planned to go for movie, tickets booked. Companion ditched last minute 
  1. Ask the neighboring Aunty / housemaid to join
  2. Curse your friend, make him / her feel guilty and stay home
  3. Try selling it in black
  4. Just go alone!

I think you all know by now, I have always exercised the last option. Sometimes, because nobody was available. Sometimes by choice. It doesn’t matter. I have ended up enjoying being by myself. I have never regretted the time. It has always felt good and refreshed. (And not lonely and pathetic)!

Bottom line is, if I have company great. If I don’t, it will not stop me from doing something!

So, to all the ladies – If you ever find yourself in such situations, don’t be afraid to spend time by yourself. Give it a try at least. Don’t outright reject the thought.

Who knows, you may end up feeling very empowered and independent! 🙂