Distance keeps us together.

Ironic isn’t it? But so true. We live in the world of Facebook and Twitter where we are always connected to our closest and most random friends. Faceless strangers know who we spend time with, where we spend our time and what we like to do with that time.
But let’s put a bunch of family members together..and what do we get? Most likely awkward silences, forced conversations and meaningless chit chat. Today this is mostly what happens when families are forced to live  together. By families I mean kids who have grown up, newlyweds or even married couples who have to take care of their old parents!

What works for such families is a little distance. Spaced out meetings, less frequent conversations, less “interference”, fewer questions is the recipe for happy times. People today are more comfortable with closeness on Facebook rather than closeness in the confines of their home. Status updates have become the preferred way to communicate while “How was your day?” Is met with a sullen “Okay”.

Why are families moving apart to move closer? Why are we forgetting that people are here and now and not just an icon on the phone screen?

True

Aptly named, below is a short note by a very close friend – Karan. Beautifully written, he has summed up life in just a few words. I was spellbound the moment I read it and had to share it with you.  I hope you read it again and again, the way I did 🙂

“Long commute, Traffic, brain dump. Say what you will.

True happiness is the guy with more bottles of beer under his arm than he can handle, the woman with the new shoes, the mother seeing her child eat all he was served.

True contentment is taking a good dump, being in a place where phones don’t ring.

True desire is for a book that massages your soul. A man who listens. And a woman who would cradle you.

True relief is reaching office in time. Even better, not having to go some time. To the workaholic, it’s having finished everything.

True revolution comes from listening to Eminem, Dylan and Lennon. And setting fire to your life’s manifesto.

True life is writ large on the wall of public toilet door. Of loves and lovers that never were.

A true story is a construct. A good story always ends conveniently. A great story lets you think. A phenomenal one keeps you awake most of the night, and then hits you with a blunt instrument in the morning.

A true joke is one that warms the cockles of your heart, and  the perversion in your mind.

True courage is believing. True cowardice is never doing so.

True darkness can visit you in the blinding sunlight. True light may come in a pitch dark room. “

– By the effervescent, adventurous, curious and opinionated Karan Rajpal

P.S. Since this is written by someone else its doubly important that you click the Like button if you enjoyed reading this so that my friend knows that he’s quite the writer!

Love thyself to no “degree”!

I was talking to a friend yesterday and he plans to do an MBA soon. Needless to say, our discussions revolved around the three letter word. He was patiently explaining the process to me about dates and applications and SOP and essays and interviews and the entire hoola hoop that comes with doing an MBA abroad.

So an application for an MBA abroad gives you three opportunities to apply – Round 1, 2 and 3. I had a wholly of questions. And we started discussing his essays, and how honest to God his answers will be in the first round of application. It was all about honesty and being practical, and how he will say it the way it is. Which is great, but what if he doesn’t get through the first time around? Pat came the answer – then I’ll compromise!

And it suddenly struck us how similar a relationship and an MBA application could be! First time around you are yourself, and honest. You hope that the other person would get it. That they would appreciate you for who you are and love you. But you slowly realize that that might not work. And you start changing, a little in the beginning, and then maybe a lot – after a while you might not even recognize yourself. And you do all this, because the person or in this case the degree is very important to you. This is where my discussion with my friend ended. We both laughed at how ridiculous but true this comparison was.

But as I write this post, I realize actually how ridiculous a relationship like that would be. I’m sure this is true of many relationships. But I disagree wholeheartedly. For me, a successful relationship would be one where you are accepted and not changed. The truth in a relationship is when its cherished because of you and not because of who you should be. The future is less important and the present is cared for. Because the stifling, choking sensation that comes with someone trying to change you chokes your relationship too. At the end of a lifetime its but a dull lifeless vacuum because the two people who are a part of it, are not there themselves – they have turned into someone else.

I’ve learnt it the hard way. Its important to love yourself so much that your partner loves you back. Its important to speak your mind against a change that is not acceptable to you. Because you are pretty awesome just the way you are! And you better believe it!

French Vanilla vs. Belgian Chocolate

When I started writing this post, I wanted to call this Vanilla vs. Chocolate but then I thought that those are almost unheard of today. Even the plainest of them wants to be exotic so French Vanilla and Belgian Chocolate it is!

There was a time long ago that decisions were taken keeping in mind things like stability, security, practicality etc. Vanilla was preferred – because it was Sweet. Nice. Standard. Safe. Because it was liked by default and it did not challenge your taste buds enough to say – I want more!

And then came the options – it started with Chocochip which was inspired to give you a nutty taste that left you wanting some more. Which later became dark chocolate, which turned in to Belgian Chocolate – exquisite, decadent, sinful, rich, luscious and orgasmic! It leaves behind an after taste which is damn near unforgettable,  and keeps you craving for more of where that came from – unfailingly!

Needless to say at this point that I’m not talking about ice cream here. Our choices in men are similar. French Vanilla will never disappoint you because its safe. It will give you everything that you want, will never fail to make you happy. But are we willing to live our lives in the net of safety and or do we want to feel the thrill of adventure that leaves a shiver up our spine? Because if its ecstasy that you crave, there’s more to life than just French Vanilla!

UNHATING, courtesy Benetton

It’s a happy coincidence that I woke up to a question from a close friend on a Blackberry group– “The most important word in your life” to which all of us said things like Love, Companionship and the like. We sent each other smiley’s and hugs and hi – fives, feeling good about connecting so early in the day, and then went about our own merry business.

So I did my daily things – brushing, necessary unmentionables and then sat down to read the paper with a steaming hot cup of jasmine tea. I was in a good mood and that’s when I saw it – Coverage about the Benetton UNHATE campaign on the first page of TOI.

When Barrack Obama is passionately locking lips with Hu Jintao, on the front page of a newspaper then it’s sure to get the eyeballs!

So why has an organization which sells colorful sweaters and scarves decided to sensationalize political hatred?

Here is when I remember the National Pledge that we were made to recite in school – “India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters…” I’m sure our mums and dads always grilled the importance of peace, love, respect in to our heads every time we fought with a sibling or that friend at school or as I remember stole a Tom and Jerry eraser from my seat partner.

So what happened along the way? To us and these social and political leaders – the bigwigs of the world – the ones that define which way the world progresses or digresses? Well, we grew up!

The tumbles along the way of life make everyone grow up. Power and Money bring out the worst in the best of us. And we stop realizing that the Power of Love is bigger than the Power of Hatred. And it does take only a second to smile and extend a hand of friendship and love. But we don’t do it, because of our larger than size egos.

So Dear Benetton, inspired by your sensational advertising (which I love BTW) I would like to UNHATE some people in my life:

– RS you were a bitch in school, and you tried really hard to cause rifts between two best friends but now I realize that it was your immaturity and insecurity that led you to do those evil things. I UNHATE you today.

– UG I’ve always hated you for your meanness towards my little sister. But you are an insignificant part of our lives now. I UNHATE you.

Wow, that’s a revelation! There are only two that came to my mind when I tried to come up with a list of people I hate with a vengeance.

So is there anyone that you would like to Unhate?

*Picture courtesy: United Colors of Benetton

26 and Single?

That combination rattled a close friend of mine enough to start an email thread titled “I don’t have a subject line for this…”

The email actually went like this-

25 and single… acceptable .. actually quite cool!

butttt… 26 and single… ummmmmmm ????????

How is it that a simple number can get us usually-sensible-women to lose our minds in a jiffy? If you think about it, it’s just a number right? You jump another year, blow candles on another birthday cake. But it’s not that simple, is it?

You also start to think about your age every time you are asked for your DOB on a feedback form at a restaurant, or at the doctor’s or when you see your friend getting married on Facebook or even better, having a baby on Facebook!

Are we so conditioned to society that our brains switch off as soon as we reach the 26 mark? How can we suddenly disregard everything that we’ve earned in the last 25 years – respect, love, money, career, friends, experience to feel that the only thing that matters anymore is that we do not have a husband on our arm?!

And what do we need him for really? Companionship – There are friends galore for that! Money – You are probably earning truckloads already! Boredom – Ever heard of Bungee Jumping? Sex – I could give you that one, but there are ways to work around that as well.

To me, the simple answer is simple – Love. Marriage is a celebration of love. Or have we forgotten that, in this race to tie the knot, do the deed, get hitched before we turn that dreaded number of 26?

Why are we so afraid to accept that we haven’t found love yet? That we deserve love – a love that will keep us happy and smiling for the rest of our lives? A love that will make us feel beautiful and sexy and exciting even when we are grey and wrinkly and wearing adult diapers? And in the meanwhile, why have we stopped celebrating our freedom, and the fact that we are sexier, lovelier, more sinful, exciting, experienced in the ways of the world?

Always remember – good things come to those who wait, because we only deserve the best.

Miserably Addicted

Addiction is easy.

And it’s not limited to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes, as most of us see it.

Addiction can be love, happiness, even misery. Especially misery. How many times have we been hurt or dumped unceremoniously and cried buckets over it? And instead of wanting to feel better, we like to wallow in the misery? Without even realizing it, we love how sadness surrounds us because misery is an envelope of self-pity that lets us elevate ourselves to a pedestal where we achieve a God like status where we are above the world as we see it, and especially above the ones who hurt us.

It’s a bitter truth to swallow but it’s true. And it only takes a moment to realize that we have let ourselves become miserable. That in the misery, we are hurting ourselves more.

It’s not easy because self-pity is addictive. But addiction is an intoxicating mistake. And mistakes have one advantage – they can always be mended.