Please click on the above link to read the full article on Women’s Web.
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.
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:
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…
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.
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
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.
- No one can complete you!
- When did I say I was incomplete?
- Be in love with yourself first!
- Main meri favourite hoon….?
- 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!
- When you are happy you attract people…
- Been happy… attracted people.. Now what?
- 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?
- 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!
This is my third article in the series. The first one was very general. At that time, I did not know that the series would get popular and I will be asked to continue with it. The second article was on divorce. This article is about getting over a relationship that never quite existed (to the other person).
Times have changed. Relationships are no longer well defined. People have also become more willing to explore without any commitment (not judging). When exactly does a relationship starts?
When one person says I love you and the other one reciprocates?
Texting all day and talking through the night?
The moment a physical involvement begins?
I have had friends who have got to know a man through a matrimonial website, talked over the phone, met maybe a couple of times and got emotionally attached. One fine day, the person just leaves and they have no idea what they did wrong. In dating terms it is called “ghosting”. (I don’t think there is any term for it in Indian arranged marriage set-ups. I have written more on dating in this article).
Then there are women who get into a fling or a short-term relationship. Except that they did not know that it would be short term. They were probably looking for something serious. They just realized after getting dumped the other person was not serious.
The women in the above scenarios feel heart-broken and depressed. The man may not feel anything because he never made a commitment in the first place. Was it really a relationship? Who gets to decide that? But does it really matter? The fact is someone got hurt. When you feel hurt and sad, nothing else matters much.
Such non-relationships should be easy to get over, right? But trust me they are not. There are some unique aspects to it that are painful. If you tell someone about it, here is what you are told:
It was not even a relationship! Doesn’t count! Get over it!
How could you be so stupid to fall for it in the first place!
While you are already dealing with the loss of not having someone with you anymore (no matter how brief it was), you also have to deal with your feelings being invalidated, by the guy himself, and probably those around you.
At least when a person gets divorced, or breaks up from a long-term declared relationship, they get some empathy. You get none! You feel a certain sense of shame for being so non-existent. Your friends secretly think you are weak and stupid. The best they can say is ‘forget him, not worth it.’ You did not gain any long-term benefits of a relationship, yet you got a very real sense of pain and loss? Not fair!
Somehow Bollywood has always romanticized unrequited love.
“Ek tarfa pyar ki taqat hi kuch aur hoti hai … auron ke rishton ki tarah yeh do logon mein nahi bat’ti … sirf mera haq hai ispe” – Dialogue from Aye dil hai mushkil. There was a beautiful song in the movie, also the title track which was all about being in love with someone who does not reciprocate. There are millions of other examples.
Yesterday, I watched a video of Matthew Hussey that made me smile. A lot of us try to hold on to the idea of someone, after they have left. Something to fill the void.
But think about this. There is someone of the opposite gender who you may find interesting. But they seem too hung up on someone from their past. Would you want to date them? Even if you try you will feel frustrated. Do you really want to become that person?
There is nothing attractive about “unrequited love”! Human beings have the ability to adapt! You become unattractive the moment you show that you have no ability to move on and you are stuck in the past! Even if you meet any decent potential partners, they would not prefer to have anything long term with you.
You don’t have to be ashamed of anything. You tried. It did not work. People who try eventually succeed. If you are looking for a serious relationship, you will probably find it. You are closer to finding it that most people, as you are trying for it.
I remember a girl who kept saying that a guy she met once who had shown a lot of interest in her, and suddenly disappeared was “perfect” for her. She mourned for him for a long time. She said she would never find anyone that great again. It is natural to feel this way when one day someone dreamy walks into a life only to leave making us realise that the dream was not real. But here is the thing. Someone who is right for us is someone who wants to be with us, not someone who fits the checklist. He is a great guy, and he spent some great time with me does not equal to he wants to be with forever. Harsh, but true.
Being sad and bitter will only make your personality less appealing. Less appealing to someone who may actually want to be with you.
“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”
― Joel Osteen,
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.”
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
I had received an article request some time back from a girl who wanted me to write about little things that women do, to express their care and affection for their husbands / boyfriends, which ends up annoying them.
Although she is married, I have expanded the scope here to include other romantic relationships too.
It took me a long time to write this, because I had no idea how to conclude the post. Starting it is easy. I can list the many things we all may do for our significant other:
- Calling or texting to check if he has reached, left from work
- Calling or texting to check if he had lunch at work
- Sending good morning / goodnight messages
- Asking about his health repeatedly when he is unwell
- Expecting the same from him, and feeling upset when it does not happen
Now, doing the above is not only considered annoying by some men, but also being possessive, and not giving him space. Expecting the above is considered a ‘need to pamper her like a princess’.
I have tried to read articles about how men and women think and behave differently. For instance, men can keep aspects of their life in different compartments. Quoting from an article:
We (men) like tools fitted just for a specific job and enjoy concrete delineations between activities: exercise happens at the gym, lounging happens at home, worship happens at church, work happens at the office, etc. Women on the other hand tend to mix information together: relationships, emotions, knowledge, past experiences, all come together to render a conclusion.
Women like to share their problems, and are more expressive than men. For example, a woman may be stressed about an assignment at work. She may tell her boyfriend / husband about her meetings, and how hesitant she is of her performance. The man at this point will try to provide her with a solution. (She may not be looking for a solution, she just wants him to listen). She may or may not apply his solution, but she will keep him informed of all the developments. This may involve not applying his solution, yet continuing to complain about the problem. A man at this point may get annoyed and even feel completely useless, as he does not know what she wants him to do. Some may be more mature than others. A man who is not too mature will make it an ego issue that she did not take his advice well, as a direct attack on his capabilities to fix things for her.
On the other hand, a man who is busy / preoccupied with work may not share anything in particular with a woman. He would just appear distant to her, and resort to his man cave. The woman would then torture herself with a lot of thoughts – has he lost interest in her, is he seeing someone else? A confrontation would make things worse, as he would get further annoyed and defensive.
Also, women tend to give a lot priority to relationships. Even when a woman is on vacation / girls’ night out away from her husband / boyfriend, she would still call and text him at the usual times, following the usual routine she may have set. A man on vacation / office trip / boys night out may end up not communicating at all! He does not even feel the need to explain anything because it is obvious that he has been away.
But, irrespective of how different men and women may be, is there any excuse to get annoyed, and express anger, when a woman is just trying to take care of the man she loves? How many other people in the world care about us anyway – parents, siblings, grandparents, a couple of best friends?
How many people will call and ask me if I reached home safely from a party? Maybe one person would whom I saw last. But who would do it constantly, everyday?
Does it hurt to appreciate the person who does that? Let us not take people for granted!! We never know how life would turn out to be. And unfortunately, we may realize the hard way, that people who care for us are rare to find and precious to keep!
The above may be a generalization, and I am aware that this may differ for every individual, and every couple. This article was written as a response to a situation shared by a female reader, based on her personal experience. Any contrary thoughts, or suggestions are most welcome as comments.
I watched the movie ‘Jab we met’ again over the weekend. This time it made me think very differently. It reminded me of the movie, Queen.
These two are my all-time favourite movies. The protagonists in both movies are women who have been ditched by the men who they thought were the ‘love’ of their lives. After the initial shock, desperation, and pain, both woman move forward in life, becoming better versions of themselves. Here is what happens:
- Geet meets Aditya Kashyap who she eventually falls in love with him. Aditya is not a cowardly idiot like Anshuman. He cares about her and likes her for who she is. Aditya literally rescues her. They live happily ever after.
2. Rani (Queen) ends up going on her honeymoon alone. There she sees life outside the confines of her life in Delhi. She makes friends from different walks of life, including a boy who has lost his family in Tsunami yet tries to be cheerful in life. She discovers an identity for herself, as she meets people who appreciate her culinary talents, increasing her self-worth.
3. Anshuman and Vijay, the respective exes of these women realize their mistake and come back. Geet and Rani get to dump them this time.
I completely support the endings, and like the way they were empowering for women. But do all men actually realize their mistake, regret their actions, and come back? The world would have been a much more perfect place. In reality, people dump somebody for good. They may not come back. 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?
I am not a therapist, but still that would not deter me from expressing my thoughts on the subject.
- The world is a big and weird place. There are all kinds of complicated people. Anything can happen. Stop torturing yourself with ‘Why,’ and ‘What ifs’. There is nothing you can do to change things.
2. Try some kind of fitness regime. Whenever I have done any form of exercise on a regular basis, I have felt good about myself. Set a goal. For example 30 minutes on the treadmill. When you achieve it, you will feel like you are in control of at least something in your life. Aspects of your life like relationships that involve another person may not be controlled. But this is something you alone can accomplish.
3. Get out of the house. I don’t mean to go and date. Focus on your interests other than men (I know I have used this line in my previous articles, I guess I just love it). You may not immediately wish to travel alone or with friends. The thought may make you feel sorry for yourself (as you would have rather gone with a significant other). Then don’t do it. But go for a movie, play, poetry recital anything that you find doable and affordable. Then keep doing it regularly.
4. Try working towards self-growth. You must have heard that ‘Living well is the biggest revenge’. Resist the urge to immediately find someone else to spite your ex. Do not be the other extreme either – Swear to ‘ruin’ your life by staying single to make him feel guilty. Instead, try to become better (eventually more successful) in whatever you are working on.
5. Take care of yourself. Go pamper yourself with a spa or a facial. Look good. When I was younger I used to think that being good looking was a pre-requisite for looking good. But over the years, the definition of ‘looking good’ has changed.
My friend’s mother is undergoing chemotherapy. She has lost all her hair. She sent me a picture of the mother recently, bald and lean. She was a very beautiful woman, and it pained me to her this way. But there was something lively about her picture. She had put on a dark maroon lipstick, enough to brighten up her face.
‘Aunty is looking good’, I had texted her.
Was I saying something inappropriate? Is it okay to say that when someone is suffering from cancer?
She had replied, ‘Yes, she is better. Thanks’.
Another woman I knew lost her husband unexpectedly few years ago. She was unhappy for the longest time. Her daughter posted a picture of her from one of their recent vacations captioned, ‘Mummy wearing salwar suit for the first time’.
It was a very natural picture. She was not even smiling. She looked consciously at the camera, squinting her eyes probably because of the blazing sun. The salwar suit was also very ordinary. She looked more graceful in her saris. But everybody had complimented her, including me.
What made her look good? Maybe the fact that she had put in effort to do something different. She had hope. Hope that although she had lost the most precious part of her life, she was still trying to make the best of whatever she had left.
So finally to all the Geets without Aditya Kashyap, and the Queens without international vacations, your life is still big and potentially beautiful. Look around you. Everyone is struggling with something or the other. You may not necessarily get an opportunity to ‘dump’ anyone the next time around like these women, but you can dump your negative thoughts for the time being. Life is a series of mundane days with some temporary highs, followed by longer ‘low’ phases. Give it sometime. Things will fall in place.
Sometime in 2002-2003
I was in junior high school in the United States. The English literature class was going on. I do not remember the exact context, but the teacher was asking for the “Reasons why people get married.”
The creative class was coming up with all kinds of reasons – procreation, money, security, pregnancy among others. One guy said “for love” which was followed by a mocking “Aww!” in chorus. One girl said, “Pressure.”
The teacher’s eyes brightened, as this seemed the most interesting and novel reason so far.
“That’s right.” She said. “In medieval times, some people were forced to get married.. Sadly, it is still happening in some parts of the world. It is called arranged marriages.”
I was completely offended. I wanted to raise my hand and correct her. No. Arranged marriages are not forced…. My parents, uncle, aunts, cousins are happily married. All arranged.
But I did not have the courage to speak up. I was afraid everybody would make fun of my accent, or even worse, my thoughts.
After the class ended, I brought up the topic with one of my classmates who was of Indian origin. She was the closest to a “friend” to me. She ensured to tell everybody that she was born and brought up there and was “one of them”. Although, her looks gave away her roots. She never seemed too pleased when I tried to associate herself with India. This time was no exception.
“Arranged marriages are ******. How can you marry a stranger?”
I tried to explain to her that all my relatives had arranged marriages. They are happy. Ultimately, marriage is about committing to each other and making it work. Every marriage is a risk no matter how long you have known each other. I also brought up the low divorce rate in India as a testimony to our wonderful marriages.
“Well, you don’t even belong to our generation.” She snapped.
In my defense, I was only thirteen.
Cut to 2015.
I am now a writer. I am having a discussion with one of my closest friends (also a writer) on how arranged marriages have ruined our society. Our personal experiences, and that of many close to us have completely transformed our fundamentals. We are together working on an article titled, “Why arranged marriages should be banned in India?”
We ask some men who are in their late 30s, early 40s. They got married early in life, when their personalities had not even evolved fully (in their own words). Their wives are of their parents’ choice, who take care of the family well. But, they badly regret their decision. They were too young to know what they wanted then. Over the years, they have realized that they don’t have much intellectual compatibility with their spouse. (They don’t mind discussing other compatibilities / lack of it but we restrict the conversation. This is from the men’s point of view, I am sure their wives would have their side of the story. Or maybe they are too busy taking care of their kids and in-laws to give their views on marriage to random women…).
Some excerpts from the draft of our article:
1. Arranged marriages promote the archaic caste system. One of the main reasons parents want to arrange their children’s match is to ensure that they marry someone from a similar culture background – caste, community, language.
2. Arranged marriages do not leave any time for people to date and get to know each other. Some arranged marriages may work. But is that logic enough to do something as illogical as marrying somebody you barely know?
3. Do arranged marriages actually work or people stay in them because they are stuck and have nowhere to go to? The reasons these marriages work may be the same for which they happened in the first place – social / family pressure.
We even thought that just like dowry, there should be stringent laws that punish people who arrange marriages.
At this point we realized maybe we should not publish this article…
Dating is on rise in India like never before. In my previous office, I hardly knew anybody who had an arranged marriage. On the other hand, there are others who want a love marriage, but cannot find anybody. Or their relationships don’t work out and they get tired of trying.
Relationships not working out or not finding anybody is nothing shameful. Rather, something natural and universal. I remember the episode from Friends, where Rachael turns 30. She is already depressed because she is getting old and still single. To add to it, Chandler gives her a card calling her grandma. She then decides that all she needs is a plan, and comes up with a reverse calculation:
“I should have the first one (kid) by the time I’m 35.
Which gives me five years.
If I want a kid when I’m 35, I don’t have to get pregnant until I’m 34.
Which gives Prada four years to start making maternity clothes.
But I want to be married for a year before I get pregnant.
I don’t have to get married until I’m 33.
That’s three whole years.
Wait a minute, though.
I’ll need a year and a half to plan the wedding.
And I’d like to know the guy for a year, year and a half before we get engaged.
Which means I need to meet the guy by the time I’m 30.”
We Indians take this calculation pretty seriously. While Rachael had calculated the age where she wants her first child to be 35, we probably take it at 25. And the countdown begins…
The other view – in support of arranged marriages
Why wait for something that may or may not happen when we can arrange our destiny? What if it gets “too late”? Too late meaning inability to have kids. What if there would be a dearth of single people in the opposite gender as we age – so we may lose out on that precious chance of finding any companion. Plus, who will remain single in India after a certain age? Only people with previous marriages?
So, in order to prevent such a “disaster” in the lives of their loved ones, well-wishers arrange their matches. Compatibility, attraction (What’s that got to do with marriage?) are theoretical concepts that anyway fade with time. It is all about compromise, right?
(PS: I do not support this view)!
Dating and arranged marriages
Modern India seems to be enjoying both sides. People are dating. If it doesn’t work out, there is always have a “back-up” option.
Dating is complicated to begin with. We don’t know where it is going. But in India, to add to the uncertainty of the relationship working out is the possibility of the boyfriend / girlfriend conveniently getting into an arranged marriage the moment clashes / boredom creeps in.
A man may allegedly dump his girlfriend to marry someone who is a more appropriate “caregiver” fit to his family, caste and language compatible. A woman may find an arranged match who may be better suited to make her more secure financially. These are ofcourse stereotypes. Sometimes, people just don’t have the heart to go through the pain of another break-up so they just give up on the thought of “looking out” completely. They want to make sure this time around marriage happens. Either way, modern day arranged marriages do involve some amount of dating, and getting to know the person. A lot of them are facilitated through matrimonial websites.
Can I really judge them, in the age of dating apps?
How do people in other parts of the world survive without well-meaning family members, distant relatives and neighbors finding them a match?
If as a culture we were into dating (and not arranged marriages), wouldn’t we end up finding someone or another? Or atleast continue to look? If only there was no make-believe time bomb ticking away…
I don’t really have a conclusion to this post. I did not publish my original article “Why should arranged marriages be banned in India”, as I felt it was too prejudiced, and offensive to most people I know. Plus, if something is working for someone, do I have a right to judge?
I just wonder sometimes, how our society would be without it..
Where we are not told that we will end up alone and miserable, if we don’t marry ASAP..
Where we could date, with no age barriers and judgment…
Where companionship is not about producing healthy children together…
Where we are given time to really figure out what we want from our lives…