Friday, 24 November 2017

Are you good enough?

Another day, another lot of people, and a few hours discussing matters of the heart! This time, the people were in their mid thirties to forties, and all had the same compliant - "we can't find anyone who suits our preferences."

This is something I have written reams about, but this comes up in every conversation and there seems to be no satisfactory answer. So this time, let me ask a question!

"Do you suit people's preferences?" When we talk about our search for "the one", we have a long list which usually goes like this -  good looking, 5 figure income, fun, sense of humour, should make me laugh, look after me, not be too attached to parents, love travel, love to give me gifts and surprises...

WOW! That's some list! It's almost like we are setting out to get the perfect car or house!

But what no one ever talks about is what they plan to bring to the table! So you have 40 yr olds calling other 40 yr olds - too old! You have a person with a corporate job calling other corporate job holders boring, and you have people who don't know the difference between "their" and "there" calling everyone else uneducated!

My question is, when will we also look at ourselves? It's great for a middle aged person to want to be with a lissome young ting. But what about the PYT wanting to hang out with the middle aged person?

To us, unfortunately, everything seems to have become about Facebook pictures! We want to look at perfect profiles with happy, airbrushed pictures. In fact, we seem to want to become perfect profiles ourselves. But does a perfect profile mean perfect compatibility? does looking good in pictures together mean being good for each other?

Are we looking for an extension of arranged marriages where profiles are the only things that matter?

When did we forget that people are not profiles or pictures or the posts they share on social media? They are in fact, supremely interesting beings - a sum of their strengths and weaknesses, perfections and imperfections! Why do we ignore people and look at profiles? Why do we not converse or even chat?

And meanwhile, we have a lot of people, perfectly good people, out looking for the perfect profiles, still single!

Go change it, I say! Connect, converse and discover. Look beyond how you will look with someone or if the person will keep you entertained for a lifetime of give you all you want, because, trust me, someone who puts a smile on your face is better than someone who makes you laugh! Because small smiles are what relationships are made of!

And remember, the perfect match is a shade of foundation, not a person!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

How to get married quickly - the fail safe way

I have written reams about this (you can look at my earlier posts), and yet, I get new fodder for this thought on a regular basis. A lot of it is from personal experiences and a lot from being an eavesdropper. I am also unofficial agony aunt to a lot of single people, men and women! And one thing I hear regularly is, "Please introduce me to a nice guy/girl." This is from people genuinely looking to get married so I know that the intentions are "honourable." And I do introduce them to people regularly - it's my job you see.

The one thing I have noticed regularly is that no one wants to put in the effort. This is the day and age of instant gratification and we want this in our relationships too. But how are you going to have a relationship with anyone? Asking is great, but how does anyone know what kind of person you would vibe with? Chances are, even you don't know. And if it is age, income and community that floats your boat, then arranged marriage is the only sure shot way. Parents know us best. They have put up with our nonsense forever. So if it's instant "correct" connection you want, then this is the route to go. But if you want to fall in love - ah! That is something else altogether. And you need to work for it. Trust me, the fruit will be well worth it - the walking on air, the smiling when his/her name crops up and a general feeling of "all's well with the world." This is something worth putting yourself out there for.

So to all those in search of love, like, and relationships, do it yourself! That is the only way to find your soul mate. Get out there, meet people and explore their minds. Don't shy away from that coffee, or lunch or breakfast, trek, travel, being online - just meet meet meet! And be patient because someone may introduce you to a lot of people, but you will have to work at getting to know them.

And remember, no one really knows you well enough to pick the perfect partner for you. That is your job. So quit being in a hurry and enjoy the scenic route. Trust me, I've been there, it is worth it just for the stories you can tell.

And when you meet someone you like, go for it. Stop waiting to see what else is out there. But remember to stay safe! And remind yourself, that you cannot ask someone to "find you someone to love!"

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

How to fall in love - A user's guide

Of all the stories in the world, love stories are my favourite. They make me smile, laugh out loud, get misty eyed and I carry them with me at all times. They give me hope, joy and a lot of peace. Yes! I am one of those annoying women who love a happy ending. But even if there isn't one of those, I love the journey. I want to hear every love story ever told, look at wedding albums even if I don't know the people and I want to make people fall in love! Yes! I am one of those annoying women.

I have been in love constantly in life myself - with men, plants, long as I am in love, I'm happy. But it wasn't always like this. I had my share of unhappy endings. I was miserable and scared to do it again. Until I met Prashant (he introduces himself as my "bitter half", my "victim", but that's another story. And I did fall in love with his sense of humour!)

I had started Footloose No More because I wanted to get married - or at least fall in love again - or meet someone I liked - and then I would see what happened. But, I now admit it - I was not really committed to it. I met people but never took it further. Or I avoided meeting people altogether. It was so much easier to stay in my comfort zone while pretending to be making an effort! And, as I told myself, had I not started Footloose No More? Wasn't that effort made? So I never ventured out. It was too much effort. It was easier to do coffee with Ritu, dinner with Gayatri, walk with Shehnaz, and go out in the evening with my usual bunch of friends, all of whom I had known all my life, most of whom lived within a 2 km radius of me and made me feel good about myself! I was a fulfilled and complete person. And that's the truth. I also secretly wanted to experience the rush of love, and that too is the truth!

Then I met Prashant. He wanted to meet, go out, have coffee, dinner, get to know each other....whew! That sounded like a lot of hard work. And for once, I decided to do it. I did all of the above. And that is when realisation dawned! Falling in love, finding someone to be in love with was work! It was a bloody process. You had to step out and meet people. You had to forgo that prior commitment to long standing friends, get out of office and keep yourself free to explore! Because sitting at home was getting me nothing!

I'm glad I made the effort because I did find that feeling again! I was complete then and I'm complete now. And I had no reason to worry or fear the unknown. Because I step out into the unknown everyday! I don't know what any day will bring. But I don't fear it. And I am still the same girl I was. Romance, love, marriage, kids - they didn't change me (apart from turning me into the woman who likes to give gyan, but bear with me). If anything, it's given me more strength!

I have no idea of what life holds for me in the future (there's the great unknown again) but I've learned to enjoy the excitement of it!

As for my friends, they are still around. I still do the coffee, dinner, walk and party, sometimes with husband in tow and sometimes without! And no matter what happens i life, I'm glad I did it. The effort is worth it just for the stories I now tell. Trust me and go try it!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Things we need to talk about before the wedding.

We often have a million questions milling in our minds that we'd like to ask of the person we are emotionally investing in before making the final commitment. It often takes months before we get the answers to these questions. By then, it's tough to stay in the relationship or break up. How do you know how a person thinks in advance without killing the romance? You get on to

To get a preview, read the article below. It first appeared in Zee News online.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

How to make sure a girl never goes out with you!

Once my friends decided to introduce me to a single, eligible guy (that's the only time they did it because that's the only dingle guy they knew). Everyone seemed to like him and the general cry was "what a fabulous guy. Let's get him and Varsha hitched." So I landed up at the party, a little wary, but willing to give him a chance. The guy was hanging about the door, waiting to meet me. That was strike one against him - he was too desperate! Why was he not with his friends? After all, the party had been organised so we could meet, so why not be yourself? Do the things you would do at a party? Why wait like a wolf? It's not like I could run away after all that my friends had done to make this happen!

Anyway, we met - and he wouldn't let go! He told me everything about himself. Within minutes I knew what he did, all about his family, what he liked and didn't like, who his friends were (most of them were in the room but he told me anyway), all about his education, yada yada yada... Strike 2! Let me discover it myself!

Then came the questions - what do you do, how old are you, what do you like, how many siblings (my brothers were in the room too, but why not ask) blah blah blah...strike 3! Stop the interview! You sound like your mother doing a "ladki dekho." I wanted to ask him if he wanted me to sing, walk in a straight line, let him sample my cooking and knit a sweater for him! (Can't cook, can knit)

By now, I was desperate to run, anywhere, even off the balcony! But he wouldn't let go! I was trapped! I had come there to meet him, and by God, he was going to make sure that happened! I couldn't dance with anyone else because he wanted to show off his moves, which included about 35 left feet, I couldn't get myself a drink because gentlemen fetched drinks for the ladies. Now I'm a sucker for gentlemen, but this time I wanted to give up being a lady.

He kept asking me out (which at the start of the evening I had wanted to do anyway) - movie? I'll book the entire theater if you agree. Dinner? I'll fly you wherever you want to go? Coffee? I'll buy you the coffee shop! He could actually afford all this, but by now I was willing to be a nun to get away from men. Thoughts running through my mind were, "men are idiots." Finally, I was rescued by my brother and taken home where I switched off my phone to avoid him. He did have a lot of strikes against him.

I met him again years later, he was happily married except I pitied the wife, until he spoke to me. He said that he really wanted to be married. He had been looking for a long time, but hadn't found anyone. So when he met me, and I seemed like the right type, he tried everything to impress me and made a mess. After a few more interactions, I realised that he was in fact, a great guy, who just did everything wrong that evening! And when I remembered this incident, I decided to write this post.

I meet a lot of great guys who would make someone a wonderful spouse. The problem is, they are either too nervous about asking someone out, or make blunders in their eagerness to make an impression. In both cases, they come across as either simpletons or creeps. So here are basic rules to asking someone out -
1 -BE YOURSELF! You don't need to be like any of the other guys who are suave and glib. If that was the only thing that mattered, they would not be single too.
2 - Don't talk about your money and success. We can see it. And when you keep talking about it, you come across as someone who just got it and doesn't know how to handle it. Remember, actions do speak louder than words.
3 -Be polite!
4 - Repeat to yourself - do not touch. Do not touch. Do not touch.
5 - Don't lie because sooner or later you will get caught.
6 - We know you're eager to meet us. But stop pushing to meet NOW! Ask us out at a decent time. 1 am, just because that's when you'll be done with meetings makes you sound like a creep!  Instead, wake up early and invite us out for breakfast.
7 - Stop asking us to come to your house! Or to come to ours. WE WILL LET YOU KNOW WHEN WE WANT TO DO THAT!
8 - Revise no.4!
9 - Do not message and call late at night. Stick to human hours and tell the Dracula in you to go away!
10 - Revise no 4.

And women, please be kind to men but keep your safety in mind!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Age is just a number...

If you are woman in your 30s, you've probably heard it already. And if you haven't reached this "ripe old age" yet, then rest assured, you will be haring it sooner or later. This line is not usually used to make us feel ok about being "old", "past our prime" or make us feel good. It is usually used by ignorant men who think this is the way to impress us.

There are even versions of this...and when we hear them, these are the answers running through our heads...

"Oh you're older? Don't worry. Age is just a number and I'm ok with it!" Whew! I was really worried that you may not be OK with me being an adult, since you clearly are not!

"Wow! You're older than me? Awesome! Will you pamper me and look after me?" Of course! All my life I've waited to find an imbecile to look after. In fact, I'm going to marry your dad, the officially look after you, my child!

"I've always wanted to be with an older woman! I bet you can teach me stuff!" Firstly, if you've reached whatever age you are and not learned "stuff", then I'm really sorry for you. You need help. So sure, I'll teach you, I'll teach you some manners, how to respect a woman and a lesson, though not necessarily in that order, because clearly, your mother failed at it.

"You're older. At this age you should be over this wanting to be serious thing and go for some fun!" Sure, I'm up for fun, but your idea of fun and mine will never match. You're just a moron and I already am looking down upon you.

"Your experience and my youth would be a perfect match!" I'd prefer my palm and your face to match!

We know what you're saying, and it's not complimentary.

No matter how you say it, a man saying this with a leery grin just comes across as a sleazy creep. We understand that you've watched porn and it's your fantasy, but really, do we look like we fit in? And don't even try to put on the "I'm so sincere" act. We can see through it. Which is why we sometimes actually marry younger men and go on to "look after them, teach them, have fun and be a perfect match", because with the right man, age is just a number.

But the thing is, this line is used by boys, not men. And we know the difference! You see, we've had more years of practice spotting them than you know.

Here's a lit of women who knew the difference and "men" who meant it.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

The New Year Resolution!

On a bright sunny morning, I got into the lift to go meet my kids over breakfast. They were staying with their grandparents (they seem to prefer it), when a lady got into the lift with me. She gave me a wide smile and I returned it thinking she must be someone I know.
"How are the kids?", she asks me.
"Fine. They've begun to speak. Quite a handful now." I reply politely.
"How old are they now?"
"18 months."
"Time to have another one. No?"
I stare at her in bewilderment! Last time I checked, my mom in law was home, my mom and assorted aunts were completely disinterested in my reproduction plans (even before I had the kids), and this lady didn't look familiar.
"You must have another one. Children need siblings", she persists.
I wanted to say, "as you command! In fact I'll name my next child after you. Oh wait! I don't know who you are. I've never seen you before and I probably never will again. I will only remember you as the crazy lady in the lift, but what does that matter? If you think I, a rank stranger should have another child, then it is clearly my duty to do it!" Instead I politely say, "Well I do have two!"
"Oh!", she sounds surprised. "I thought the other one was not yours!"
And the crazy old bat got off the lift, probably to go and ring someone's doorbell and interfere in someone else's life.
Turns out, she visits someone in the building and has seen kids playing downstairs. So she took it upon herself to give me some advice! She seemed like a well meaning old lady, but there wasn't any good in this conversation, was there?

And this pretty much sums up our lives! Strangers, friends, relatives who decide to inform us of how they think our lives should progress. "Finished college? Get married." "Studying art? For what? You'll make no money and just waste your time." "Shifting abroad? Take your parents." "Got married? Have children." "Making enough money in your job?" "Not got a car yet? Work harder!" "What? Don't have your own house? Do you want help finding a better job?"

The thing is, though we either laugh or complain bitterly about these people, most times we let these things influence us! Look back and think. How often have you wanted to do something and stopped yourself because "what will people think?" "My friends will laugh at me." "I will be called desperate!"

This getting influenced is pretty subliminal. We're conditioned to conform and everyone has the right to comment somewhere in our sub conscious. And it doesn't end will nosy old neighbours and aunts. Our friends have the right too! However evolved we may be, we do think of what society will say and end up giving up a lot of our freedom and happiness willingly, though we may not realize it.

"Can't drink too much. People will think I'm a lush!" So? Will these people be paying my bills? "Can't marry that girl. She's great but not pretty enough and I want my friends to be impressed by my wife's beauty." This one is not direct and pretty much self generated. "Can't go out with that guy. I like him but he's bald and people will wonder why I'm with him!" Really? Would these be the people who will never lose hair?

When I was single and started Footloose No More with Abhishek, our friends laughed - called us desperate! Hell yes! As Abhishek very wisely puts it, "desperate is a positive word! Only if you are desperate  for something will you go out and get it!" Desperate for a new job? You'll hunt. Desperately hungry? You'll go out and get food in biting cold! Desperate for a drink? You'll call everyone in your phone book to see who wants to go out! Then why not be desperate for the things that could bring you joy? Why think about what people will think? Is your life not all about you?

As I look back on my life so far, I realized that everything I've done that brought me joy was insipte of what anyone thought! I went out and led a full life, full of little joys and giant troubles. But it was all my own. And if I were to weigh it, even when I failed, I failed with joy at having given everything I wanted a shot  without caring about what anyone thought.

And I learned the greatest lesson in life - People who matter don't mind. And those who mind, don't matter!

This new year, go ahead and try it. Live for yourself. It's your life and you get just one shot at living it the way you want. It will never be perfect, but it will be yours and what you make of it.

This year don't make a resolution, start a revolution - for yourself!

Happy New Year!