Marriage Arranged

Two neatly dressed but visibly nervous people sitting in a cafe. The guy is firing one question after another and the girl is trying to be calm and answer one at a time like,

“Oh. To be honest, I am a sleeping beauty and I love sleeping. Actually, I work out once in a while when I think I am growing fat. Otherwise, I like to sleep. I love sleeping.”
Guy: “What kind of movies do you like?”
Girl: “Actually, I  love sleeping more than movies..”
Guy: “Have you ever been in a relationship?”
Girl: “Umm.. to be honest..yes.”
Guy: “Oh. May I know why did you guys break up?”
Girl: “As I had said before, I like honesty. And I found out that he was cheating on me. So I broke up with him.”
Guy: “Do you have an Aadhar card.”
Girl: “No, I don’t have an Aadhar card.”
Guy: “May I know why?”
Girl: “No, no. I have no problem with the concept of Aadhar. I don’t even know what is all the fuss about. Banana baki hai. I am planning next week.”
Guy: “Achha..And do you have Jio?”
Girl: “Yes, I have a Jio number but not the dongle.”
Guy: “May I know why?”
Girl: “As I had said, I don’t need the internet as much while I am travelling. And I love”
To be continued…
Few months of late night Q&A sessions and One Year Later, selfie on FB with the caption:
“No1 knows me more dan u. No1 loves me more dan u. Five Month Anniversary with d luv of mah lyf”

How Not to Confuse Your Ego With Your Self-Respect

Two words: Ego and Self-respect are used almost interchangeably but there’s an important difference between the two. It’s a life-changing difference. This difference brings peace and removes the unnecessary, regular conflicts. It hurts marriages, friendships, cultures and societies. Ego prevents you from saying ‘Sorry’ when you must and it makes you selfish when you must not. It’s a permanent pursuit and not a temporary change.

Self-respect is about maintaining your confidence and a boundary in light of situations where someone is treating you unfairly. It is more of a self-assessment. Only when you fail to meet your standards, you fail in this game.

I wasn’t treated well. I wish I was better treated. I will talk about this.

Ego is more about our superiority for others. It is all about hierarchies.

Someone didn’t treat ME well. How dare they? Look at them, they are nothing in front of me. I will get them to undo that.

Ego brings in insecurities. You are constantly worried about what other people think of you and how you should correct that. You get offended more often and have strong burst outs. The world has seen the worse with influential people and their egos getting hurt.

When you are told that you have a lot of Ego, it is time to think. Forget the other person, you need to know whether you are in this viscous trap of irrationality.

This concept is important in India currently because there are many anti-social elements who want the people to get offended and angry over absolute non-issues.

They want that everyone should follow what they say, otherwise they should leave the country. While the country is of each and every citizen. People are being told to shut up, to not express their opinions or concerns. This is ego.

A Communal riot is a game of ego. Giving a supposed answer to someone, an eye for an eye, is all about Ego. Any mob behaviour is about ego and hence it is irrational.

While there are positive examples of people who’s self-respect was hurt and then they answered back.  For example, Mahatma Gandhi. Interestingly, self-respect is non-violent.

How We Think We Look Like, With EGO
How Stupid We Look

Offended by Your Imagination

Offended by Your Imagination

“How can you even think that way?” “How dare you write that?” “How could you paint such a thing?”

It would have been easier if we lived in a free world where people were free to use their minds and make their choices. Art could be interpreted. Mythology could be interpreted. And imagination would not be caged. This could coexist with a society only if people choose to see what they like and abandon what they don’t.

I find a similar feeling creeping across various parts of my brain when I watch the Kapil Sharma show. “C’mon! It’s so funny!” you’d like to point out. I’m sure it is. There are definitely parts where I crack up. But those are usually not when a fat person is being shamed or when a journalist (woman) is being asked about how she maintains her beauty, instead of asking about her profession, how other women/men appearing as women are infantilised. But yes, still there are parts that are funny. Few. But there are. The same with Koffee with Karan. I find it terrible to bear. Questions asked about childhood crushes, facial hair, ex-partners etc.

Once, I actually timed an AIB video and tried to see it beyond the swear words. There was actually not enough content. The punch lines were not funny without the swear words. Beyond everything, that’s not how we talk every day. They’ve stood up for some amazing things of course. And have done podcasts with some of the best people.

There’s no outrage though. I try and avoid the shows I don’t like. It’s just a choice.

Some of the things are offensive, yes. I get offended, yes. But I can choose to not see something and discard it if it offends me. Those misogynistic husband-wife jokes can go away only if people discard it and find them to be useless. Or if there is a funnier reverse version available.

This very idea of choice can change the scenario. If people are given the opportunity to make a call about what they appreciate and what they don’t, there’s no need of censor or morality grounds. It’s the idea that an entire mass of people is largely stupid and their entertainment and other choices need to be regulated- needs to be discarded.

Make your own decisions. Don’t let people tell you what to see and what not to.

Whom to Love: When Women Love Women

Whom to Love: When Women Love Women

Last year in September, two women in Mumbai, who were said to be in a relationship and attempted suicide after they were spotted on Marine Drive by the girl’s father and were forbidden from seeing each other. While one of them died, the other survived after she was rushed to the hospital.

People ask questions like, “Are there any lesbians in India?” This sounds similar to, “Do we still have chicken pox in India?”

India is a land where women’s bodies, sexuality and life choices are tightly reined in by familial and social pressures. If you’re a lesbian, it is a double trouble: You are a woman and you are homosexual. Section 377 of IPC criminalises homosexuality and hence cases of extortion, physical abuse by the police, discrimination in schools, hospitals, mistreatment by goons in public, in general, are not uncommon. Indian parents see it as a question on their sanskar. And then comes fear: What will the society think? They take them to psychiatrists who would prescribe electric shock treatments and drugs to cure them. Continue reading “Whom to Love: When Women Love Women”

Feminism Needs Sisterhood

Feminism Needs Sisterhood

There was a debate on ‘sexism’ going on and someone shared her point about how she has faced unfair problems in her corporate office. Then another woman brings out a point about lower caste women facing immense issues at work, about the hardships they face. To my astonishment, it was brought out as an argument and not like a separate point. It started with ‘aa badhu to theek che pan..’ meaning ‘All this is fine but…’ There is a blatant divide between women all over and some people generously attribute it to the ‘female jealousy’.

It is very human to compare your problems with others and wanting to be seen as the worst affected. Same goes for women. Even though almost all problems get covered in the purview of some countable issues of patriarchy, politics, casteism and religion, we never see different women coming along to support one another.

Women are otherwise naturally built to be more empathetic. Women all over India are facing consequences of some particular ‘sanskar’ elements like not arguing (popularly known as ‘answering back’), obeying ‘hierarchy’, not knowing how to say ‘no’.

Continue reading “Feminism Needs Sisterhood”

Where is the Love?

Disclaimer: This is a long, detailed, analytical piece about dating, relationships and marriages in India. I am solely responsible for the thoughts within.

Right at the lunchtime, the office bell rings. When the door is opened, you see a handsome dashing guy entering in, with a tiffin in his hands. He hands it over to one of the girls in the office. What follows next is a series of Whispers and giggles. As kids, we used to play this game called ‘Chinese Whispers’ where a phrase was to be told to one person, and a chain of conversation was to be formed with the same phrase. In this case, the phrase that reached me was ‘She found him on TrulyMadly’, giggled the person next to me. The phrase sounded like it was about a product on Flipkart but it was indeed about the guy. TrulyMadly is one of those dating apps. The app offers a number of games like ‘Foodie Funda’, ‘Hocus Pocus’, and vivacious stickers to express things you might or might not be able to ‘describe in words’. TrulyMadly is not alone in the race. Continue reading “Where is the Love?”

Quirky Dating Advice People Ask On Quora

Quirky Dating Advice People Ask On Quora

I was a curious child, a little more than usual kids. Having a very patient father, I remember myself (and he reminds me at times) asking him a lot of questions, all the time. Why is the moon travelling with us? Why do we stop seeing the red lights? Why does the dog bark at our car?

Why is the moon travelling with us? Why do we stop seeing the red lights? Why does the dog bark at our car? How come I can’t do a full split? Can you pull this truck with your bare hands like we saw in the tv show yesterday? What do people do after they die?

Never in my earliest of the memories do I remember my father getting angry on me. He would answer all the questions patiently without a word. Then I grew up and like everyone else, resorted to google. Especially Quora, the platform where you can find, ask and answer any question on this earth. Anyone can ask a question and anyone can answer. People also mention if they have a relevant context/experience to answer a particular question. People also give links to other websites/studies. The truth is that I have not yet asked a single question on quora because I’ve not had to. Every question that I have wanted answers for, was always listed on it. But I love answering questions on quora. I’m proudly one of the ‘Most Viewed Writers’ for Ahmedabad on Quora. Another section that I find interesting is Dating Advice. Because people ask really weird questions when it comes to understanding the opposite sex. Here are some of the questions and my answers to it:

I wonder what kind of lingerie can make men crazy?

Are men monkeys or snakes? No, they are not. Hence there is no sure shot way to make them go crazy. There can’t be one brand that beats all or one kind of lingerie that will seduce all men. However if the man loves you, and if you love that man back, anything would work just fine. If he doesn’t love you, LaPerla or whatever Victoria’s Secret wouldn’t work. Continue reading “Quirky Dating Advice People Ask On Quora”