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Friday, December 28, 2018

Why Women Overthink !!


Situation X:

A girl name MO and a boy called Ro are dating.
You know dating right ?

A phase where  90% of a relationship is about figuring out where to eat.

So after one of their dinner dates, just as they get inside the car for their way back:
Mo remarks with a smile so BIG, that she could eat a Banana,…sideways !   “Do you know, As of tonight, we are dating exactly 6 months.”
And then there is what seems like a LOUD silence to Mo.

Mo thinks:
“What is it about? May be he is confounded by my remark. Maybe he thinks I want to push him into an obligation which he doesn’t want !”
Ro thinks:
“Hmm.  Six months. Wait a minute. I got the car from the dealer then. It’s doing okay except for something with its steering.”
Mo thinks:
“Where are we going ? Would we continue dating or would Marry, have children. Am I ready for that kind of commitment? “
Ro thinks: “Oh no the car is overdue for servicing but the steering may not be covered in warranty.”
Mo thinks: “He is upset. I can see it on his face. Because of my overgrown romantic notions about a knight riding on a horse , I am letting go of the person I truly feel good with”

Mo finally finds her voice and says :  “Ro, please don’t torture yourself like this. I should never have said anything. I feel so guilty.”
Ro is CLUELESS.
Mo: “I know there is no knight and there is definitely no horse. “
Ro: "HORSE ?"
Mo says crying : Its just that I need time. Ro, What do you think? And looks at Ro expectantly.
Thinking as fast as he can Ro finally comes up with something he thinks might work.
And he says: "YES Mo"
Mo: “Oh Ro, Do you really feel that way ?”
Ro: “Yes Mo.”
Mo gazes lovingly into Ro's eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves… a HORSE.
Ro then drops her back. She a conflicted tortured soul, weeps until dark.
Ro on the other hand takes a bag of chips, lies down on couch and watches Television.
A tiny recess in his mind says that something major was going on in the car but since there was no way to figure it out, he thinks it best not to think about it.

Mo on the other hand calls up her friend or even two friends and they discuss the situation for 6 straight hours. Analyzing every word every gesture for any nuances of meaning.
They discuss the incident for weeks, even months, without any of the girls reaching any definite conclusion and not getting bothered about reaching a conclusion either.

Women  over think. That’s a fact.
The problem is we spend more time about what our men are thinking than they actually spend time thinking.
We women take all our relationships very seriously may it be with our partners, parents or friends. We know everything there is to know about our friends including what we should not know.
But Men, they would spend years playing cards with their friend and all they would know about them is what car they own and some funny nickname they would have given them.
We are so concerned about our friends but Men simply hang out with their friends and have a good time, all the time.
I recently questioned my husband:
“You friend is marrying such a dumb girl. Why don’t you warn him and make him aware?”
His answer: “Why should I? He didn’t alert me when I was marrying you?
How Insensitive.
Men don’t realize that you can’t just speak anything you think but you have to think what the other is thinking and then speak.
Last year, I had a huge altercation with my husband when he gifted me a mixer while I actually expected him to gift me a piece of jewelry on my 7th wedding  anniversary.
And then in his frustration, took away the mixer and he gifted me his seven Commandments instead (a list I am sure he got somewhere off the internet).

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect
an answer you do not want to hear. Like If you think you are fat, you probably are. Do not ask
me. I refuse to answer.

2. Sometimes, I am not thinking about you. Live with it.
3. Come to me with a problem only if you want help solving it. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
4. You can either ask me to do something OR tell me how you
want it done. Not both.
5. Anything I said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. All comments become null and void after 7 days.
6.If I ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," I will act like nothing's wrong. I know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
7. I am not mind reader and I will never will be. My lack of mind-reading ability is not proof of how little I care about you.

With all these commandments and illogical reasoning, He was simply prolonging the altercation. Didn't he know that no fight ends until the more sensible one (ME!!!) has the last word.
You see, he may have given up on his mind reading ability but I have not GIVEN UP, neither on my mind ability nor his.

Tell you what, I think women over think because they  CAN over think!!
Not all everybody has that capacity.
We can over think about relationships, people, past, future and dates.

You see, my husband may forget my mother’s birthday but I would never FORGET, neither his mother’s or my mine. We have to the capacity to think and bring together not one but two families. To think about not only our home but the outside world.
So lets not question why women overthink but accept and cherish this fact for it is their charm.
Just like we should accept and cherish that men don't overthink for living in the moment and being uncomplicated is their charm.

Oh, I know,.. I know... I have talked a lot, without actually coming to any definite answer about the question in hand ,
But Tell you what, I am a woman, and A woman may think a lot, talk a lot but she still does not give even a fraction of what she thinks.

Think about it !





Monday, July 9, 2018

Adieu, mon ami !

We stood besides the cemented pavement across my new office. A few vehicles buzzed about. For a while both of us looked aimlessly at the vehicles passing by. She turned her gaze away from the road and looked at me thoughtfully. She then said "Chalo phir, milte hai". Okay then, see you.

She gave me a side hug, like we always had whenever we met outside of office, Only  this time I was rather inert.  She moved away quickly and proceeded towards her car. She sat down at the driver seat, put on her shades and smiled faintly at me. She waved to me and I waved back.
My eyes trailed her car until it was not to be seen. Suddenly, I started feeling giddy inside and my eyes were laden with water.

I had once promised myself never to cry in front of anyone,  after one specific incident.
Most of the times I was good at keeping that promise.
But I simply couldn't help then. There were not one but many people on the road watching me cry.
I wiped my tears and made effort to cross the road and get back to office , to my empty workstation.

Tears kept trickling...

Why did she mean so much to me ?

Not that we were related by blood. Not that we grew up together.
She is a Marvadi , I am a UP Brahmin married in a Punjabi Family.
She is strong willed, outspoken , stands up for herself and believes in smart work and usually is an optimist.
I am meek, soft spoken, hard working, sincere and a diehard pessimist.

What did her going away to a far away place mean to me?

No quick tea breaks,   wherein I would fill her with my days happenings.
Who would be interested in those trivial details now ?
Who will listen to my rants, so nonchalantly ?
Whom would I now philosophize with ?
Who would reprimand me for being a pessimistic every now and then?

Most importantly who would never judge me for saying or doing anything, and just let me be comfortable being myself ?

Her going away would mean a change in routine.
No.
Its a change in life.

It been 7 years but it seems like yesterday when we first met. Providence you may call it.
It was one of those early days at my previous organization, I was having lunch all by myself when a lean, dusky girl with expressive eyes and hair set in a single braided plait approached me.

"Can I join you ?"
I looked at her and then at the cafeteria. None of the tables were empty.
I smiled.
We made a small talk and got to know that we had both joined recently, and that we both had been in US up until last year,  I at Florida and she at California,  the two edges of the same country.
We noted each others names and decided to have lunch together from now on wards.
I confess, I have had many lunch buddies and she was just one of them. But none of them had grown so special.
Our daily talks materialized to something more meaningful day by day and we felt a connection.
She was the first one to whom I broke the news of my pregnancy outside of my family.
That very day she wanted to share something too. But stopped after hearing my happy news.
Much later I came to know about what she wanted to share. It was a sad chapter from her life, but she held back because her Mom-to-be friend should be happy, no matter what !
She often joked that my baby would grow up to be like her (and guess what, shes turning out to be like her) for we had spent so much time together during my pregnancy, talking about everything under the sun. Work, people, marriage, relationships, mythology and philosophy.

Post maternity, when I joined back she had her own lunch group. A lot of things were going on my mind then. Work, baby, health, family. I hardly had time for anything, leave alone friendship

Our relationship could have died out slowly BUT for her.

She excused herself from her lunch group slowly and joined me for lunches.
The fact that she preferred a new Mom with all her woes, and left her gang of girls who had not yet started their family and could discuss more cheerful things,  meant a lot to me.
She chose to listen to my endless rants about how my life had changed, but her being there, mattered a lot to me.
She has reprimanded me many times for being pessimistic. She is the only person whose chiding I don't mind. For I know that she does not reprimand me because she thinks low of me, on the contrary I know,  that she respects me and  wants to see me somewhere. Many times she has pushed me to realize my complete potential.

She was the one who pushed me to find a new Job.

"Job change ? But I am settled? I mean I have a child, a family. I cannot work extended hours. On top of all that, I write, I chant . Where would I find a new job which would accommodate my routine. A new job would bring new challenges."
That was me.

"Please keep your excuses to yourself. At-least start finding out whats happening in technology these days. At-least start studying. At-least start applying. You never know you may land up with the very job you had been looking for !".
That was her.

And I made a career move.
And she did too. She got a wonderful career opportunity but at a faraway place.
She'll find new friends, I will find new friends and life would go on.

As it had, up until now.
Except that I could not stop crying.
I can never ever, even come close to return what she had done for me.
I cannot thank her enough.

Neither can I thank enough my other friends.

I have been very lucky, I had a share of good friends.
Starting from School, .... where I met a very sincere girl who wanted to achieve something and yet was so grounded. She was very special to me. Still is.
Thank you Pooja.

Then I met a girl who made me realize that you could be studious and great fun at the same time. That it was okay to watch movies as long as you study hard. That life can be fun if you make fun of your own miseries. A girl with the world's most beautiful personality.
Thank you Rupali. Its an honor to be your friend.

Thank you Neha for being my friend, even though I don't call you enough let alone meeting you.

At college I met some of the most wonderful girls and boys. It was there, that I discovered that you could have friends in boys. And what refreshing perspective they bring. They don't overthink like us girls but that doesn't mean they are insensitive. They live in the moment and make best of any situation. Shishir and Sharma ji, thanks for being there and supporting me.

Once I started job, I found new independence and new friends in colleagues and roommates. We thought alike, faced similar challenges and connected well.
Monica, my days at Miami passed though smoothly because of you. Thank you.

Thank you Neha Nigam, for retaining my faith in human goodness and in my myself. You exemplify the spirit of not giving up and making your own way despite all odds.

Thank you Seema for simply being what you are. Donot change yourself for anyone. Your are very special. A dynamite in store, yet as fluid as water.

Thanks to my wonderful friends at Toastmasters and Sokka Gakkai who strengthen  my faith in myself. Especially, Anjali from the former and Smita from the later. Thank you girls for bringing me back from my bouts of lethargy to my passion for public-speaking and spirituality.

Lastly, Thank you Rachit , my friend, my husband , my life.

Now, Why does friendship mean so much ?

Some relationships are like a wedge in one of your shoes . Something screeches, every-time you put your foot down. It doesn't hurt but.. well... its just not natural.
Some relationships are like wearing a shoe that fits. It protects, makes us comfortable and ...confident.

Friendship is a gift.
A friend accepts you the way you are and they cherish you for what you are !
Most of the relationships cannot be chosen. You do not get to choose your parents, siblings, cousins , neighbors, colleagues and sometimes not even your life partner.
But friends, You choose them , don’t you ?
You are with them and they are with you not because of your family, status, money or looks but because they like being with you.
You don’t have to wear a mask in front of them.You can be yourself and that is very liberating. They may reprimand you at times for your vanity or absurd idealism but its because they genuinely care for you. No vested interests.

I remember having read a story about a sweet vendor who was taking a cart full of sweets to the village fair. Four hungry passersby observed him.

One of them  approached him and said rudely: "You are so full of yourself, You are have a cart full of sweets. Why not offer some to passersby. Why ? Now Give some to me ! "
The vendor stopped the cart and gave him two pieces of stiff and tasteless Pakwan.

The second passerby came by and said to the vendor "Brother. I am hungry. Please give a few sweets to me."
The vendor replied : " Why not ? You called me brother. Here,  take these brother. ", giving him a handful of sweets, enough to alleviate his hunger.

The third passerby came by and said "Baba , Please give some sweets to me. I have a long journey to take."
The vendor replied sweetly :" Son, take these . It my duty to feed you.", handing him enough sweets to keep him going throughout the day.

The fourth and last passerby approached the vendor and said nothing. Simply smiled at him.
The vendor smiled back.
The passerby then said: "My Friend, wouldn't you feed me, your friend ?"
The vendor stopped the cart again. This time there were tears in his eyes.
He said :"Friend, this cart is now yours. You take it to the fair. I will simply walk along with you."

The first time I read the story it didnt make that much sense to me , as it does now.

In a life partner you have expectations. You may get disappointed every now and then, if your expectations are not met.
Family is pure love but it is also bound by duty. And Duty is a heavy word.
But Friendship is something beyond love and duty. Actually it doesn't have a defined boundary!

Another special thing about friendship is that age doesn't play a factor.

I will show you how. The best thing which happened to me after I got married was that I found a very special friend. Now Marriage is not easy. It is not easy task for you as well as your new family.
Its a life changing event !
The first person to wholeheartedly accept me as I am , with all my flaws, was my new friend.
She made sure that I belong.
My niece , my friend, my inspiration.
A girl so young, yet so mature.
She was the one who encouraged me to take up writing. Makes time-tables for me, every now and then, to aid me accommodate writing in my daily routine and has lately been pushing me to take up singing !
The time spent with her is sheer bliss. When I am with her, I forget who I am..... Or shall I say, I truly discover who I am.
Its a beautiful bond I share with her, thanks to her and her equally wonderful parents who didn't mind sharing her, a part of their heart, with me and let the friendship bloom.

Hmm....

I am going on a memory trip, recollecting all my friends to convince myself that I am not friendless and that I can get going without you.

But its all in vain.
I still miss you NIDHI.

When you went away, you took away a part of me with you and there is a part of you in me.
Your beliefs, philosophies and our shared experiences have changed me and I am  not the same person, I was 7 years back.

And now realize,
Chai ke liye jaise ke toost hot hai, waise har ek friend zaroori hota hai.

Adieu, mon ami !






Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Being Normal

The below is the article which fetched me 2nd prize in the 2017 edition of NUHA Global blogging contest.

The Jury Verdict is here

--------------------------

What do we mean by being normal?
Does it mean being acceptable in society?
Perhaps.
And who by the way, composes the society?
The Normal people.
Who decides what’s acceptable?
The Normal people.
Heard about normalization? The simple term ‘normalization’ refers to adjustments made with intention of bringing entire probability distributions to a common scale.
A common scale where we can weigh (or shall I say judge) everyone and decide if they indeed are like everybody else or else they are not normal.
The dark want to look fairer. The fair want to look suntanned. A lot of effort is put in to trying to be what we are not.
Introverts expend a great of energy to initiate small talk. For if they don’t, they would be taken to be snobbish or rude. Can one imagine what kind of energy they have to exert to make a small talk? Rehearse and rehearse in their mind what they have to say, only to find that the moment they gather guts to say something, the general topic of discussion has moved on. They sweat all their energy only to appear “normal” or acceptable.
Doing something that does not come naturally to you only to please others generates a lot of negativity. Once negativity seeps in, we have little energy left to devote to things we truly want to do. Like say, the introverts would want to write, paint or read in a secluded corner. Where they can be themselves. Where they can be accepted for what they are. Where no one is going to judge them.
Similarly, the extroverts who genuinely like being with people, who take genuine interest in others’ lives and who derive energy from crowds are told to subdue themselves. They have keep control over their harmless urge to talk to people, for the fear of being assumed insincere or for the fear of appearing shallow.
Why can’t we accept people as they are?
Why do we have to draw a median and try to normalize people? Why do we try to set them in a mold?
Are we afraid of something?
Yes. We are afraid of people who cannot be set in the mold. We like to label people. We feel comfortable that way and in control of things. Once we have labelled a person we know how to deal with him or her. However, an unconventional person is a threat. How do we deal with him or her? We are unaware of what their powers might bring. We are afraid of the unknown. We are afraid of change.
We try to be normal. We try to be like everyone else, blend and camouflage and hide in the crowd. We don’t want to stand out. Why? Are we cowards? Perhaps yes.
Why don’t we wear our identity and our individuality on our sleeves? It takes courage. Acknowledge that. It’s okay to be a coward. But at least respect other’s courage. Why push them, demean them, scare them into giving up their courage? Let them celebrate their individuality, their courage, their ab-normality. Let’s get inspired from them. Make the world a more flavored, more varied and spicier place to live in.
Tell me, why does a man always have to breadwinner? Why is his worth always measured in terms of what he has earned? Why are less ambitious men frowned upon? What’s wrong if a man wants an idyllic life? What’s wrong if he chooses to rear his children? Why do attach a stigma and push him to prove his mettle? Why is a woman who is ambitious frowned upon? Why can’t she make her own choices? Why does she have to cook to appear normal? Why would we set boundaries on how a man or woman should behave?
Boundaries are to be set if you are causing harm. If not, push the boundaries. The only harm you are causing by adhering to the boundaries is to evolution and development of the society. There would never be a Frank Lloyd Wright in architecture, there would never be something called Modern Art, there would never have been a Kiran Bedi (the first female police officer in India), had certain individuals and groups not decided to break the boundaries of what’s normal.
The only abnormality which should not be acceptable by the society are the activities and philosophies which bring harm to ourselves or the others. That should not be “acceptable” or “normal”.
Let’s do ourselves a favor and be accepting. Let people do what they believe in. Accept them for they are and society would progress tremendously. We are all brilliant at something. We really are. Either we have not found out about it yet or have found it but have taken effort to suppress that brilliance in the quest to appear normal. But a set of brilliant but repressed individuals would lead to nothing but downfall. Paulo Coelho was committed to mental asylum by well-meaning parents because they thought writing was not an acceptable profession. Many youngsters in countries such as India are forced to take up engineering and sciences and give up arts because the former are considered more lucrative by their parents. Being an artist seems like a wild goose chase. These countries have lost many potential artists and given way to mediocre engineers who may not enjoy what they are doing but are doing it because that’s what everyone else is doing.
It’s okay to have opinions. But acknowledge your verdict is not final. Feel free to reject something you don’t like, but accept that it is perfectly okay for someone else to embrace it. Don’t adhere to the herd mentality and pick only what’s in and happening. But pick what you truly believe in. Give that freedom to yourselves and the others. Set your life free. The world would be a better place to live in.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

The fire within !

Excerpts from my recent speech which fetched me prizes at Club and Area level Toastmasters  contests and a chance to represent  my area at Division Conference.



----------

It takes fire to light a candle, A lighted candle to light the other candles, and a blow to extinguish them all.
The fire I am talking about is the fire within.
The fire,  which unsettles, which shakes us out of our inertia and makes us feel alive.
The fire,  which has to be discovered and rediscovered time and again.

There is a spark within all of us, waiting to be ignited.
The question is:  What ignites that?

Let me share what ignited my spark.
As a child I was shy and introvert.
The very thought of going over stage gave me jitters.
So one fine day, when I was asked to recite a poem on stage, I knew what it was going to be like.
I went on stage and …….blanked out. The faces in the audience looked at me expectantly. An expectation, I knew I couldn’t fulfil.
I got down from the stage dejected,  for I had to face….my parents.
Now my parents were just like….. "parents". They always had high expectations.
Have you ever seen an absent minded professor looking for his glasses while he is actually wearing them.
Thats my father.
Have you ever seen a lady "breaking" an item of gossip to the friend who originally told it to her originally.
Thats my mother.

So, you can imagine what I am.
I am the girl who put this (wrapper)  into her mouth and throws this (chocolate) away .

Fortunately or Unfortunately, when it came to me, my parents never forgot a thing !

The first thing my father asked me as I got back home was: "How did it go?"

"It was bad. I am no good."

“Oh Don’t you worry. You are destined for greatness. Acknowledge your fire to succeed.”

Destined for greatness. Fire . The words made no sense.

My father continued: "Come here, show me your palm”

"Ah. Your life line and heart line don’t meet. There's a gap. That’s rare!
 This means that you are destined for greatness.”

The next time I had to go on stage, I looked at my palm and said:  “ It’s going to be fine …for I am destined for greatness.”
I went up on stage and ......smiled at my audience.
And they smiled back!
That fuelled my recently discovered fire.

From that day onwards, I took challenges after challenges. The results were not always favorable but I gave my best.
There were times when well-meaning people asked me to take it easy.Sit back and relax.
But…there was always this…fire,….this hunger instead me, asking to do more. Pushing me to ask for more.
It because of this fire that I was able to make into my dream college : The IIT.

It was sometime during college that I discovered a book on palmistry.
And Guess what I found ?
I found that the lines, the gap meant ….NOTHING.

Do you remember the time when the truth about tooth fairy , or Santa was first made known to you ?
I remember the time when my I came to know about my father's ruse.
For I was 19 and studying at an IIT.
Was it a lie that fuelled my fire.
No.
It was belief.
My father’s belief in me.
It is belief that fuels the fire within.


Only recently I met a very talented friend of mine who was dejected after a professional setback.
I tried to rekindle her fire but she said: “Don’t you mention fire. I got fired. How much more fire do you think I need !
Charu, You wouldn't understand, You have a great career, You have a supportive family, You win international blogging prizes. You don’t know !”

I said “I know, for I have lived your journey!  But you don’t know, ....You see a great career but do you know, that it had been stagnant until that one opportunity came by.
You see a supportive family but do you know how we struggled to understand each other.
You see a blogging prize but do you know about the 14 rejections the same article received.
I just have not given up my ...FIRE.
And have you forgotten what you were ?
You were the only one from our batch who had the guts to write to the board of education that we were bored of their education !"

I made my friend recall all of her achievements, including the non-academic ones and told her that she was “Destined for greatness.”

Appreciate generously, for it is your belief in others goodness that lights up their fire.
Be generous but genuine. If I appreciate my shabbily dressed friend for being a fashionista would that work ?
No.
Fore Fire needs fuel …not sand.

It takes a lighted candle to light another candle.

But what if our own candle is getting extinguished. What do we do then ? Wait for another candle to light us ? What if it never comes by ?
We can ignite our fire ourselves. By self-belief.
If I am comfortable with myself and acknowledge my strengths and accept my weaknesses, others opinion of me would not be a blow.
Say I know myself. I know that I am forgetful, I know that I am conservative while taking risks but I am hardworking and sincere.
If someone tells me “You are so forgetful. You made a mess.”
I would say pleasantly. “That I am. Sorry for inconvenience.”
If someone tells me “You are a lazy bum. You dodge your work.”
I would simply say calmly : “That I am not. You simply do not know me enough.”

But what if its not a blow of words but a wind of problems ?
Then, lets develop a passion so big , so grand, that all your problems would seem smaller.
Haven’t discovered your passion yet, then develop a purpose. Your purpose may be to rear your children, to give something back to the society or simply to be a better person.
It was the fire within, which help Helen Keler, a deaf, mute and blind girl to achieve what many of us can only strive to achieve.

Today, you may cherish your family, your well-paying job, your assets. But they may not remain with you forever. At some point, Your children or spouse may move on, you may lose your job, you assets. But one thing that is going to be with you until you give it up yourself, is this fire within you. No matter how old you grow , no matter what troubles you have, it will still help you grow.

Lets Cherish this fire.
Lets burn the candle of laziness, negativity and self-doubt with fire of passion and purpose
Just look around, you would find many lighted candles.

Toastmasters,
Tell me why you are here today ?
You have long passed school. Why do you still come here and deliver assignments?...Carrying CL, CL manuals in your arms...

Are you here for some monetary benefit ?

No.
You are here to  experience butterflies in your stomach when your name is called out here.
You are here to fail. To try
To feel alive.
To inspire and get inspired.

I salute your fire.
And Although, I cannot see it on your palm or your forehead,.... I can see it in your eyes and your smile, that you are:   “Destined for greatness.”

Acknowledge. Protect. Cherish. The fire within !


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Why Couples Fight ?

Excerpts from recent speech for Toastmasters Advance Communication Speaking Humorously track:

--------


There’s a topic which has been on my mind a lot lately. You see, I am such a peace loving creature.
And I always avoid confrontations. Any kind of.
I am loving mom to my daughter. An amicable colleague and dutiful daughter in law….. and a forever bitter wife. 
Yes !
When I am with my husband. Alone…..
I get transformed, I into a loathsome monster and start pounding on him for most of my woes at office and at home.
Why do I do that? Why do I pick up fight with him?
Why do I hold him singlehandedly responsible for all my woes?
Does that happen with you too?
Is there a couple who doesn’t fight? No.

Why do couples fight?
Expectations!! We expect them to get us moon and want us to…dance to their tune !
Couples fight. That’s a fact. While some arguments are important and even necessary, most of them are about inane things.
So what do you think couples fight most about?
Money?
Kids?
Housework?

Not according to a new survey from Vanity Fair which says 36 percent of couples fight over …….
The TV remote control !
The most likely bone of contention?
Sports or no sports.
For many couples, the only time they get together is in the evening, when they plop down in front of the TV. And argue. Over control of the remote, over what to watch, over the volume, for crying out loud.

Accordingly, the height of romance is giving their partner control of the TV remote.
I once asked my loving aunt who has been happily married for over 25 year if she ever fought with her dear husband.

“Oh. We fight daily. At least, two times a day. Once after we wake up and once before we sleep.”
I looked at her in astonishment.
Is this the same sweet ever smiling aunt of mine. ?
She explained “Married for over 25 years we still fight over who gets to pee first when we wake up. going together would be too messy."
“And…we argue about whose going to get back out of bed to turn the light off. We are both stubborn so many times we sleep all night with the lights on."
Now, I am no less than my aunt and I fight with my husband about sillier things.
Like….
Hangers!!
He insists I'm stealing hangers from his side of the closet, while I KNOW that he's stealing hangers from my side. I even caught him red-handed one day!
The last time we fought we almost spent a whole day arguing how to spend hypothetical lottery winnings.
Hypothetical !
Once we argued about something that we both agreed on because we both couldn't understand each other's sentences.

Over the time I have jotted a pattern in our fights:

There are the “I gave it to you to borrow, not to keep” fights
We’re so sweet on each other that we are all up in each other’s clothes and personal space, breathing in one another’s musk, flannels/tees. Until one day when he asks for his muffler…
“um, that is a staple in my wardrobe now? You gave it to me!” I say.
“I gave it to you to borrow, not to keep”  He says.

The “but I’m so comfortable!” fights
We are so cozy in our blankets while our significant other gets up to use the bathroom. Upon seeing them amble over on their return trip, we demand that they get us the remote, or the bag of chips, or something that is so necessary for our survival but we cannot get up for it because:
“Ah I am so COMFORTABLE.”

The AC wars
I get cold in the middle of the night and turn the AC off. He wakes up sweating and blasts it. I wait for him to get back to sleep and turn it off. He waits for me to get back to sleep….The cycle continues. 

The Netflix Wars

“Do you want to watch Game of Thrones?” He says
“No, I want to watch How I met your Mother-“ I say
“Okay, what about House of Cards?” : HE
“I kind of wanted to watch How I met..-“ : I
“We could always do Mad Men.”
“I WANT TO WATCH HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.”

The “you always…” fight
When trying to make a point, we often turn to generalizations when we lack the foundation our argument needs in order to hold up in relationship court. “You always do ______” is the hilariously desperate last-ditch effort to make our point !
My Aunt always said that she didn’t really love her husband until they argued for the first time.
True love is being able to look at someone and say, “you are so, so painfully wrong and stupid. So human. I love you.”


So, my dear folks, continue to fighting , continue falling in love…BUT with each other.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Living Together !!

Excerpts from my Humorous speech which fetched me first place at Club and Area level Toastmasters Humorous speech contest, a second prize at Divison level and a chance to represent my division at District contest which had contestants from all over North India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan.

***********

Year 2009:
There was a girl who was focused and ambitious.
An IITIAN and an Introvert.
Her motto: The less people you deal with, the lesser your problems.
She had a hard time talking to people, for she would always say something awkward and then spend rest of the day feeling sorry about it.
When my mother,..I mean her mother told her "Get out of books or you will never make any friends !".
She was like "WOW ! I wish"
She went about wearing Tee shirts which said : I am a social vegan , I avoid MEET.
M E E T !
She had plans to give her all to her career and join Brahmkumari for spiritual growth.
That was the pic of her dream home. (A picture of an isolated home on an island)

However when she was making these plans, someone up there was laughing.
Who was laughing ? God.
God has a good weird sense of humor.

Year 2017:
The girl is living with Grandma in law, mother in law, father in law, sister in law, brother in law, niece, nephew, daughter and husband AND she is a  toastmaster. Unbelievable.
Contest Chair, Fellow Toastmasters:
Whose that girl ? Its me!!!
Tough guess, I know.

Now let me tell you how a typical day in a joint family looked like.
Say an object, a flower pot which is at Position 1.
Person A comes says "Why is the flower pot here? No sunlight and fresh air here." And keeps it at Position 2.
Person B comes and says: "Why put the vase here ? It does not blend with the surroundings" and puts it at Position 3.
Person C comes and says : "According to Vastu, the vase should in the north east of the house." and puts it at position 4.
Person D comes and says : "Wheres the vase ? I put it here a few minutes back."
When I tell her about Person C and position 4.
The reaction I receive is:  What? What? What ?

Trust me it hurts here (pointing at heart) and here (pointing at neck),  when your decisions are challenged. Receiving and giving, such jerky reactions is also one of the causes of my cervical.
Perspective,...some see the glass half full, some half empty, ...my father in law sees the glass on the table, and say "Who put it here ???".
Mine, may be a  Melodramatic but its a modern family, with benefits. And of us have access to smartphones, tablets. The quickest was to call a family meeting is to ......turn off the house wifi and wait. Everybody comes running.

While I was try to figure out my new family and they were trying to figure me out. I was also working towards building my relationship with my husband,... but in vain.
Consider this :
I was once very angry with my husband and gave him silent treatment for an entire week, at the end of which he said, “Hey, Honey , we’re getting along pretty great lately, Aren't we ?"

That day I realized that I was not only his better half but his bitter half !

Different strokes for different people. Same words mean different things when spoken by different people. As if we speak different languages.

The question is how do we manage despite all the differences. The answer is : We may be different, but we are all good here (pointing at brain/loose screw) , no no I mean here (pointing at heart)

From my father in law, I have learned how be hardworking, from my mother in law, I have learned how to be a balanced person, from my husband I have learned ... :(act like thinking hard).. how to be patient listener; from my sister in law I have learned how to speak up; from my brother in law I have learned how to play it cool.

And from the kids, Ah the kids, ...I have learned honesty, calmness and lessons in science and  philosophy.
NO, its not the other way around.

My three year old Nephew Dev comes to me and says "Chahchi, Dolly hit me "
"Oh my poor darling , Why did she hit you ?"
"Because... I hit her !"
Honesty is indeed the best policy ...Simple, Cool and uncomplicated..

Another time I was chiding my then 2 year old who despite my best efforts to potty train her, had soiled diaper. I said "How may times have I told you to tell me when you feel like pooping. It must be hundred time. blah blah blah...."
My daughter observes me for sometime and when she thinks she has had enough, she looks up in my eye and simply says "Mama,... Statue!"
Shes Cool. Takes nothing to heart.

Now, Let me tell you how I figured out that its not the sun which revolves around the earth, but earth rotates.
I hear little Dev screaming "Chachi, the house is going round and round."
I rush to find a rotating Dev , ... I hold him steady and tell him "Dev, its not the house. Its you."

Its not the house its you.

When things go round , I mean wrong, perhaps its not the people in the house , Its you who has changed?

Now tell me, How many of you play with your children ?
Ahhhhaaaa....
How many of you say "Please go play with your brother or sister. That's basically the reason we had them."
Those who do not play with their children is that because you don't have children.
Perhaps you have but you don't realize that they are yours!
There's a line from the movie "Collateral Beauty." which says:  "Your children don't have to come from you, they have to go through you."
Since my niece and nephew go through me each day. They are mine.

Let me ask you a funny question. I am such a funny person.
Does buying a piano make you a pianist?
No ?
Similarly, bearing children does not make you a parent. Having a sibling does not make you a brother or sister. You have to  experience them . However irritating it may be.

They say that a family that eats together stays together. There is a very deep thought behind it.
Reminds me of my daughter asking at the dinner table "Mama, Where's Dev Bhaiya ? his pizza is getting cold....and eaten .."

I would go one step ahead and say a family that laughs together, stays together.
Laugh, fight, agree, disagree but Live Together!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

From an Intellectual to a Romantic !




After having the book proposal for my supposedly "intellectual" novel rejected by a reputed traditional publishing house, I was sharing my woes and feelings of dejection with my friend.

She said: "Dont lose heart Charu, ...Continue enhancing your heavy duty novel...However , in the meantime Why dont you write something ...light ?"

I: "What do you mean something light !!"

My Friend: "Yeah something lighter, ...something more entertaining,...something more fun.. like Romance !" And her eyes lit up as she said stressed upon the last word.

I: "You want me to write something shallow?"

My friend: "Oh Romance is not shallow. It makes life beautiful. Love is a emotion so pure , so dream like that no one can help being effected." And she smiled again.

She got me thinking. Inspired by her , I decided to write Romance. It took me a few days to finish my story and when it finished was when all the trouble begun !

What I wrote was neither a short story nor a full length novel. Who would publish it ? And I didn't have the heart to drag the story further only to increase the word count.
Finally Newconceptspublishing decided to publish my work in ebook format. Thanks Madris DePasture for having faith in me and my work.

I want the book to do well so that NewConceptspublishing can continue supporting authors like me.
Though the book is about Romance, it does have a soul. It is based on the basic premise that no matter where we come from it is not alright to be judgemental. We can love if we judge. We cannot be truly happy and accept people in our lives if we judge. The book helped me discover a romantic in me and hope the readers enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The book is dedicated to the those impractical guys who believe in love at first sight, to the girls who think with heart.
To the girls who love reading mills and boon, and to the boys who love those girls.
The below is the link to the ebook. Its only a click away :)

https://www.newconceptspublishing.com/product-page/tell-me-you-are-mine