Saturday, November 17, 2012


Life doesn't seem so serious when you're with friends, does it? They have a way of making the heaviest burdens and responsibilities seem weightless. They form the silver lining around the dark clouds of gloom & despair. They give you a reason to smile again, even if just for a moment. Especially your best friends.

With your best friends, you don't need to be strong all the time... you can be exactly how you're feeling at that moment... joyful, crazy, naughty, sad, scared, ashamed, worthless, hyperactive, cranky... whatever you're feeling. And they'll listen to all your angry rants and "senti" outbursts with an equally blank expression on their face... and when you're finished, they'll ask "what have you been drinking?"

And if you say something nasty to your best friends and hurt them, it doesn't take a lot to apologize and make up, 'coz your best friends already know you're the biggest idiot in the whole world, and they still love you the same. In fact, they probably love you BECAUSE you're such an idiot!

They don't let you give up. They'll argue with you, scold you, even bully you if necessary! In fact, sometimes they can be so relentless, and just go on and on and on, that you'll do whatever it is you're supposed to do, just to get the irritating souls off your back!

And when you fall, they may not pick you up, or even help you get up, but they'll laugh so hard at your clumsiness that you'll want to get up anyway, just so you could punch them in their face for laughing at you!

But yes... you cannot save your gorgeously huge piece of chocolate cake for the end of the meal, if your best friends are around!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Disclaimer: The following post is written purely in the context of India - my country.

In the mid 30s of my life, I've had the opportunity to give some serious thought to marriage and everything else associated with it. And I have come to certain realizations. I have blogged on this topic earlier too, but with all my experiences and observations in the last one year, my insights on marriage have deepened considerably. So I've decided to update this space.

. . . . .

I have realized that a "love marriage" does not necessarily translate to more stability and understanding than an "arranged marriage". At times, "couples-in-love" spend more time just partying and making-out, than they spend in building up genuine "understanding" with each other. At times, "couples-in-love" don't bother taking off those "rose-colored glasses" for years, so that when reality finally hits them after marriage, they find it hard to keep pace with it.

I have realized that not having similar interests in life doesn't matter as much in marriage as not having similar values. Once many many years ago, a guy I'd just started dating had mentioned that he would like his parents to live with him after marriage, and that his wife should be okay with that. The fact that he explicitly mentioned this had come as a real surprise to me, because being a family-oriented person myself, I had always grown-up with the belief that parents-in-law were an automatic extension of the spouse... like a "for given"! But I was young and stupid back then (read: "naive"), and wasn't aware that everybody in the world might not have similarly strong family values. Now, when I look back upon it -- all those good-humored quips about how I would manage the domestic chores after marriage with my asthmatic condition... the leg-pulling about wanting to go through the excruciating process of child-birth twice... the common dreams of having a small corner of our own in this huge world, with a family to our name, complete with a dog (a German Shepherd in my case, Golden Retriever in his!)... and his clear dislike for workaholism -- I realize that if not for these indirect, yet, very strong pointers towards a marked preference for family life, I would have never even considered dating this guy! It's not something you consciously think of, I guess. You automatically tend to gravitate towards people with similar values, even if you haven't specifically discussed them with each other. Which is good, isn't it? Just imagine the kind of friction between a person with strong moral values and another one who'd sell his conscience for money!

Speaking of money, I have realized that even modern, well-educated Indian men, who may be totally against dowry in the form of car or gold or cash etc., may still want the bride's family to spend lakhs of money in a lavish, but entirely useless, wedding reception for their hundreds of 'baraatis'! And I have realized that for some such modern, well-educated Indian men, a working wife is the new form of "dowry". Then there are the extremists (both guys and girls)... they may have been interested in sharing their life with someone for years, but the day they find out that the object of their attraction wasn't exactly "born with a silver spoon" as they'd believed all those years, they refuse to even acknowledge them as their "friend"... let alone as their "future life partner" or "girlfriend/boyfriend"! Like I said above... just a difference in values. For some people, relationships matter more than money. For others, it's just the reverse. Personally, I'd take the former any day... even if I have to compromise with a Golden Retriever instead of my German Shepherd!

Then I have realized something about the inherent friction between a mother-in-law & daughter-in-law. Some MILs are not ready to change their ways with time. For example, even in today's hectic lifestyles, they may still want their DILs to use 'chakki-waala-aata' instead of 'packet-waala-aata', even with a working DIL! They may adamantly refuse to eat dishes cooked by their DIL in a style different from their own. Small things really, but they add up to create some really hostile environments. Quite unnecessary, if you ask me. Then there are some DILs, especially those who've been living on their own for a long time... they find it very difficult to make space in their lives for their in-laws. Quite silly, in my opinion. Personally, I'd love to have a senior woman in the house, in charge of things, teaching me, guiding me... but perhaps that's because I lost my mom at such an early age ???

Anyway, I have also realized that for some couples, marriage is like a "social license" to spend day-in and day-out with their best friend, who is not of the same sex. Seriously! If you spend some time with these couples, you can actually make out that their relationship is not like the stereotype Indian 'pati-parmeshwar' and 'charnon-ki-dasi'! Ok maybe that was a bit exaggerated in today's scenario, but you get the point, don't you? They don't behave like the typical Indian formal-and-polite husband & wife. They tease each other mercilessly... wife calls the hubby by his name (and some really weird nicknames too at times!)... hubby even makes tea if his wife's girlfriend drops by for a visit! And they play Uno or Scrabble or even just Carrom on the weekends and whenever else they get time! They seem to talk in a secret language sometimes, and they have private jokes that only they can understand. (Like Swati and I have a private joke about her contact lenses, and whenever we start laughing over it all of a sudden, everyone else around us thinks we've gone mental!) They are completely informal with each other... and even with their in-laws! In short, it's a real treat to be in the company of such couples!

And I have realized that some people (girls, mostly) marry for the financial security, some (usually the guys) marry for clean clothes and hot meals, some get married for sex, and some marry just to fulfill their parents' wishes and the so-called "obligations towards society". Very few people actually marry for love... for the fact that they really want to grow up together with a person they are fond of...

P.S. - See, the trouble with Golden Retrievers is that the name "Steele" wouldn't suit one of them as well as it would a German Shepherd! And you guys know how much I've wanted a dog called "Steele", ever since I've had that crush on Remington Steele!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


There are people who seem to remain at peace with the Universe, no matter what the Universe throws at them. They are quick to smile at the slightest reason, laugh openly and whole-heartedly, and usually manage to say/do something nice to/for you.

And there are people who naturally jump to the assumption that the people in the category mentioned above have everything. "If you aren't complaining about your life, then it must be perfect!"

Then there are people who just don't know how to be happy. They can never appreciate the beautiful gifts the Universe has given them, and they keep blaming everything/everyone around them for their unhappiness.

Then again, there are people who pretend their life is a fantastic roller-coaster ride... while in reality their relationships might be stretched to the point of breaking, their finances may be hitting the very rock bottoms, and the combined effect of the two taking a serious toll on their health!

There are people who start acting really weird if they perceive that you have what they lack. In fact, interactions with them leave you feeling guilty for having whatever they don't have! (I know... that's why I said "weird"!) And if you happen to be in the first category, you might also be left wondering what hit you!

And finally, there are people who believe that nobody's life is perfect, that nobody has everything, and that everybody is just putting on masks for the world most of the time.