The Lonely Goose

Facebook, over the past year, has been taking us down memory lane. A recent trip took me to this status message:

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Romantic as it is, it also reminded me of something – I haven’t been in a relationship in five years. I’ve been in love, of course, but it never grew outside of my heart.

And if you’re as emotional as I am, you probably understand the desire to avoid that grey area in your love life. The one where you’re with someone without being with them. The moment your heart flutters at their name but you can’t call them yours. The physical and the emotional Friend with Benefits.

I can’t do that. I’m too serious. Too emotional. Too insecure. I need that security blanket we call a relationship. It may not last forever. I may know that the term ‘girlfriend’ will never turn into ‘fiancé’ or ‘wife’ even. But I still need that promise. That commitment. Even if it’s just for a little while.

And so exists those evenings. The ones we all have. The ones we can’t avoid. The ones we, as single people in our twenties, endure without a choice.

Yes, I’m talking about all you single people struggling to make ends meet with that all-too-insufficient money you’re making while working four times harder than the guy who makes four times the money you make and would just love to come home to someone for that oh-so-amazing hug but you can’t because you don’t have the time for a relationship and when you do, there isn’t someone who wants to date you!

I know how that feels! I know those long evenings where you’re struggling to not make that desperate call to that person you know is the wrong one. And it’s not because you’re horny, no. It’s because you just want to cuddle up on a comfortable couch and watch that crappy series finale of How I Met Your Mother and use that as an excuse to make out like teenagers who’re too afraid to get to second base while in the real world, they’re getting everywhere we aren’t.

It’s torture, isn’t it?! Your arms craving to hold someone. Your lips tingling to be kissed in that comforting, not-ending-in-sex way. Only, you’re sitting alone and you tell yourself – This is better. This means I’m going to end up with someone right. All this will make sense when I’m old enough to find the right one. When I have the time to find the right one. – And you believe it! You believe that little pep talk about the future and decide to distract yourself by logging on to Facebook and Voila! She’s not pretty. He was always an asshole. But here they are. Happy. In love. And you hate being jealous but “How does this person who is just not nice in life find love so fast and I can’t even find a boyfriend pillow?!”

I know how that feels. And if there’s anything that makes this worse, I know what it is.

LOVE SONGS AND ROMCOM MOVIES.

Adam Sandler, with his egg shaped head, goes on FIFTY first dates within 3 hours. You.. You can’t find one date if you lived to be fifty. So you turn off the TV and put on some loud music and try to dance your woes away. There’s only one problem.

Your playlist’s agenda of the day is to make yours worse. So your time away from all things that remind you of your singledom completely and utterly destroys you the moment your earphones blast Landon Austin, in all his glory, singing Once in a Lifetime and you’re wishing. You’re praying. That in that moment this would all fade away. That the Earth would open up and you’d be sucked into a vortex where it’s never lonely. Maybe become a part of NASA’s sleep for 72 days program so the need to walk becomes so high, you no longer want to cuddle. Or maybe take a family vacation! Surround yourself with enough drama and at the end of it, you’d scream at the idea of people!

Yes, I know what this feels like. This evening of being so miserably single that you’re almost ready to just give in and call that person who will be the biggest mistake of your life.

And I’m here to tell you, don’t do it.

Because right now, it sounds about perfect. But tomorrow, when you’re in the middle of an important meeting trying to embarrass the guy who makes more money by working less and your phone buzzes constantly getting you cold stares from every person in the room, you’ll wish you’d listened to me.

Better a lonely goose than an underpaid office clown.

 

 

 

 

 

Trust in Time

Timing of Your Life

Let me begin by saying, Happy Independence Day / Weekend to every Indian out there..

My grandmother was here to visit a few days ago and in the middle of a normal conversation, she suddenly turned to me and asked, “Do you want to get married? There’s a boy looking for a bride.” My face was probably a comic strip with shock, fear and absolute horror. “Of course not. I’m so young !”

Note : Born into a culture that encourages arranged marriages, I am blessed with parents who would happily nod their head should I bring a man I love and ask for permission. However, I choose to get into an arranged marriage for two very important reasons.

1. I honestly believe that my parents know me better than I do. Also, I’ve given them the checklist. So now it’s their problem you see..

2. There is a certain quality that I am drawn to in men. It is a quality every guy I fall for or date possesses. That specific quality is called – Mentally Unstable. I don’t think it is fair that my future generations should suffer for my bad choices.

Anyway..

Turns out, I’m not that young. In fact, my dad promises that this might just be the first of many such proposals that people from different social groups will bring to the table in the near future. This is also a warning – The timer is officially on.

And with every tick-tock I can feel the future, I dreamed about as a teenager, inch closer and closer. It is no longer “When I’m older, I will..” It’s along the lines of – “Now it’s time to..”

I can deny it, I can run from it or I can accept it. The one thing I cannot do is turn back time or make it stop.

We all have these lists of things-to-do. Not particularly a bucket list but just certain things we want to do before we reach a certain point in our lives. I have a list of things to do before I get married :

  • Write a book – I don’t have to publish it, but I have to finish writing it.
  • Read every book on my list – I will be sure to post the list later.
  • Travel alone.
  • Go hiking in North India.
  • Visit as many religious places as possible – Not as a spiritual person but from an artist’s point of view to absorb the architectural marvel that people in ancient times with no modern technology were able to achieve.
  • Learn to cook.
  • Invent a recipe and master it.
  • Get rid of any addiction.

By addiction I do not always mean drug abuse or being an alcoholic. There are simple things in life that we get so used to, we forget what it feels like to live without it. I found the one thing I spend 14 hours a day on – Facebook.

On any given day, if someone had asked me to delete my Facebook account, I would have laughed and said no. But this time, I voluntarily did that and I cannot explain how ridiculous I felt when the first night without it I felt so insecure because I did not know what the world was doing. I felt a little ashamed that my life had come to that.

I have chosen to adapt a healthier lifestyle – It is not enough if your mind desires a hiking trip. Your body has to agree too.

Someone from the outside may say that these are small changes, but in my life, these are mighty and I wonder..

If you read my previous blog, I mentioned that someone was hospitalized. If that hadn’t happened, my grandmother would not have visited me on that particular day which automatically means she would not have mentioned a groom on the looks and I would not have gotten a one hour lecture on how the future is here. My Facebook account would still be intact and I would still be addicted and insane.

Everything happens at a certain time and everything happens for a reason. The one week I spent walking through hospitals made me realize I’m getting older. My grandmother’s question made me want to act on that realization and I don’t care how childish this sounds – I am proud to have taken those baby steps towards the things I want. And I hate to accept just how peaceful I feel knowing that I’m working towards my goals.

We don’t always get to choose what happens, when. We have all cursed time at some point in our lives. On Independence Day, my grandmother turned 79 and I cursed time for aging her too fast. I cursed time for taking away the years I spent with her and turning it into mere memories. I thanked time for not slowing down and letting me grow up when she looked at me with so much pride and said “My granddaughter bought me a birthday dress with her money !” Time is our worst enemy when we’re happy and our best friend when we’re upset. Time is the only thing we cannot control. It hurts and it heals. Whether you’re a billionaire or a homeless person, time does not sway and only gives you 24 hours in a day. Time is the only thing that treats us all as equals. And when you think about it, time is all you have to do anything in this world.

Trust in the timing of your life..

The People Who Change Your Life

“There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.”

– Sushan R. Sharma

I didn’t believe in this statement because I was oblivious to it. I thought the decisions that changed my life were always mine. But it’s incredible how someone who has had minimum to no important role in your life can influence you in a way you can’t define.

When I graduated high school, I was at cross roads. I didn’t know what to do with my life. College? Work? Marriage? I had no clue. Then I befriended someone on Facebook. We’d attended the same school and we knew the same people. So we started “chatting.” He asked me what I did for a living and I said, “Nothing. Still trying to make a life choice.” He then asked me what I’m interested in and what I like doing and I told him I’m very interested in music, movies, writing and so on. We got into a more detailed conversation about it and he said I sounded like a media person – “Mass communication or if you know what you like, a specialization course in film making or audio engineering. Study that. I think you’ll like that. You can even try applying for my university.” It was a passing comment in an unimportant conversation. I didn’t realize it had made an impact. I didn’t realize that he was the reason, two months later, I’d looked at those options. I didn’t choose the university he’d suggested. But I ended up pursuing media in a university of my choice.

Until a few months back, I honestly believed it had been my choice to pursue a degree in media at university. I was the one that wanted to do this. He and I had lost touch and I’d even forgotten all about him. Then one day, a friend of mine mentioned his name and I said “Oh wait ! What about him?” Apparently, he’d had a cardiac arrest and had sunk into coma. His parents were praying for their son’s life. It shook my heart because in that moment I realized, the reason for my happiness, the reason for my new goals and career choices had come from him. When I’d had no idea what to do, he’d given me direction. What he had mentioned as an option in a passing comment, I’d explored and made a life out of. The worst part, I’d never thought of it that way. I had always believed it was all me.

This pushed me to wonder how many more life choices of mine have been influenced by other people. It blew my mind when I realized how my life constantly changed for the better and worse because of the people I met and the things they said. How I’ve made choices based on simple conversations.

I don’t know how many of you remember Orkut – A social media website created by Google. It was India’s biggest “It” site before Facebook. In 8th grade, a girl in my class suddenly turned to me as I was leaving and asked, “Do you have an Orkut account?” I had no idea what it was. I’d never even heard of it. If she hadn’t mentioned it, I probably never would have. But that day, I ran home and figured it out. I even opened an Orkut account. An account that has changed my life in such an incredibly massive way. It has given me the worst memories I can imagine. But it has also given me someone I call my best friend today. Orkut was the reason I wanted to study abroad. Studying abroad, I met different people. I learnt new cultures. I explored boundaries. I set my own limitations. I also met a girl who later on moved to the country my dad lived in. So we hung out every time I visited my father. That girl started dating a really friendly guy and he introduced us to his friends. With one of his friends, I ended up having my first serious relationship. The worst and the best man I’ve met so far. That guy became the reason I picked a university in that part of the world. The course, however, influenced by a man now in coma on a hospital bed.

I met a girl at that university. She helped me through my break up and we became best friends. She cared for me, loved me and today, she’s like a sister to me. She made me want to be a better version of myself. She always told me, “Stand tall. You’re worth it.” With her words, my family’s support and an accepting society, I figured myself out. I took pride in who I was.

Accepting myself, I also learnt my likes and dislikes. This helped me find other people who were like-minded to me. I dated one of them who introduced me to his friend. That friend and I became pretty close as we both volunteered at a film festival. He taught me about his culture and the customs in his religion which made me curious and I figured out my dream job. After travelling innumerous hours across the globe and learning so many new things, I know now, I want to travel and live in different places and learn new cultures and languages and write about them. Something so very different from my former dream job as a “House wife,” modernly known as “Home-maker.”

Funny, to think, it all started with a casual “Do you have an Orkut account?” !

Honestly, take a second. Think back. You’ll realize just how none of your choices actually really came from you. Your worst enemy will start feeling like the best thing that ever happened to you.

I call my friend every other day and ask him, “How’s he doing? Is he awake from the coma?” My friend always wants to know why I’m so interested. I never tell him the story. The story of the guy that changed my life.

It’s a story I will keep to myself. When he wakes up, which I honestly hope he does, I will find an opportunity to thank him. For giving me a choice. For giving me a dream. For giving me a life. Until then…

 

Update : The guy passed away on the 22nd of June 2014. His mother was by his side and his close friends and family went to the funeral and paid their respect.