How To Define a Friend

I have had so many friends till date… So many people have become a part of my life and shared memories that will always be cherished. I was always blessed to find people who understood me and I understood them. There were no talks about ‘hidden motives’ and why people did what they did. We were all good for each other and took care of each other. All was good.

Snap… Today is the day that most people who I have loved dearly in my very young years are gone. The perks of adulthood are finally taking a toll on my life. Look back and you see so many faces smiling at you. Look at the present and all the smiles you find are either fake, hiding contempt or fake, hiding a need to please me. I don’t want you to please me. If I am not naturally pleased by you, nothing in the world is going to change that. Understand this.

So it was only yesterday that I was talking about friends, you know the variety that goes for a long drive with you but don’t give a damn when you are lonely, sad or depressed. The friends who will laugh with you but will never come to your rescue when you need them. The friends who stay with you for some time and then are gone because they found something better.

I am kinda scared of the kind of people who always say yes. It is like being surrounded by yes men who would ruin your company one day. Of course, the negatives ones should always be kept at bay. But this special variety of optimism should also be dragged out of your life. Maybe you cannot avoid them altogether, but you should definitely  be avoiding their 2 cents of advice. Trust me, their advice is worth nothing but 2 cents in the real sense of the word.

I too have people around me who would gladly say yes to everything I suggest. I have people who would suggest that I am always right. These people are preparing for the ultimate doom where I will make a bad decision and they will be gone for their own good. What kind of friends are they? Opportunists obviously.

She told me yesterday that you should be with people for as long as you want them. She also told me that she does not understand what I feel. God dammit! You claim to be my friend and if you don’t understand what I feel, who the hell would? I felt sad at the premise of the story. I was explaining why we are good people and why good people never turn into bad people, no matter what. I was explaining why we all deserve someone good and why we should be good.

I was explaining why we should not be with people because they are good for us or because we can ‘use’ them. She refused to understand. Of course, she was trying to justify that people have treated her with disrespect and contempt and that is the way of the world that we should blend into. Of course, I was telling her that ┬áblending with the world is just another folly. Of course, I am not such a sinner.

Finding A Convenient Love Story

I have said this on many occasions and I will continue saying this till the end of time.

1- Love is sacred and idiots around the world are ruining it all.

2- We were not raised the way we are behaving, or were we?

Talking about convenient love. You know convenient love is that infatuation with a human being that exists because we try to become the brew masters of our heart. We create a situation where we can fall in love, develop feelings, act out on our feelings like there is nothing else in the world that we believe in and then leave as easily when our expectations are not fulfilled. All this while, we are blaming the other person for our loss- a loss that we faced because we tried to become the masters of our romantic destiny in places where it was not needed at all.

Look around you. Do you find love stories or do you find these convenient love stories? Do you find people getting attracted to each other simply because they are the best options available with them at a particular moment? Do you find people are falling in love simply because they ‘want to’? It is quite a distressful situation for everyone. We are living in a make-believe world. We are loving people like we are changing wallpapers on our smartphone screens. We are moving on like the past never existed, simply because just like the wallpaper, the feelings were also ‘virtual’ and nothing was ‘REAL’.

I am finding these convenient love stories everywhere. There is absolutely no small number of people who fall in love with practically anyone and everyone they meet. There are more who would fall in love with anyone who said that they ‘kinda liked them’. There are many who fall in love simply because they have nothing more dramatic to do and there are many who jump from one love to the other, blaming each ‘lover’ (well they were practically never lovers because they were never in a relationship, but never mind) for all the failures in their personal life.

I am also coming across a new breed of lovers. People who fall in love and pretend that they feel very deeply for the one they love (I hope they were actually in love once) often claim that they never had a past. This makes me feel awkward at first, uncomfortable second and then I am ROFLing my way into understanding today’s relationships.

What I am starting to have a firm belief on is the fact that LOVE IS NOT ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS and RELATIONSHIPS ARE NEVER ABOUT LOVE.

Girls Are Going Two Steps Back

Now before everyone who is reading this starts feeling offended, I want to claim that I have practically nothing to do with your personal choices. You have the right to exercise whatever you like and I may also have the right to comment or observe or even contemplate as a sane member of the society- a writer.

I am writing this post almost feverishly, quite annoyed by the fact that my generation is going two steps back instead of one step forward. Now, you can call me a liberal. A girl educated in an ‘ICSE’ school with a family that supports women’s careers before they start saving for their dowry, I was never someone who believed that finding a boy or getting married is the ultimate goal of my life. Of course, every girls has a thing for romantic notions but then I am talking about life’s callings, life’s ultimate goal.

As a 24 year old young woman who is almost touching the ‘silvery’ 25 next month, I am consistently being asked a question – ‘when are you getting married?’ I mean, seriously? Why do you even bother? My family, even my distant relatives are not bothered about it. But yes, people I know outside these two circles are posing a question. A couple of years ago, all we were bothered about was ‘who gets the best job?’ and look at what is happening today, all that we are concerned about is marriage.

Now people say that there is a ‘right age’ for getting married and that you should not be waiting for too long. One of my friends even suggested that getting married and pregnant before you are 25 is a better option as a female’s eggs start to mutate after a particular age. All scientific thing. On the other hand, there is a societal notion that getting married soon and having babies before you are, say 26-27, is better. I hope all of them are correct and I also hope that it is okay to get married around 25 but I feel so uncomfortable about this whole idea of marriage.

So girls around me are getting married or are getting desperate about marriage. Some of them are choosing whatever the best they could afford at the moment while others who always believed in fairy tale romances are now looking for a groom who could sustain a family. Men are being judged on their ability to earn and women are being judged on their beauty and the income of their fathers. YES! Come on, we all know it.

It looks like someone has hit a panic button in these women because of which they are going totally crazy about getting married. I don’t know if they really want to get married or not. I am not even sure that girls who suggest that they want to ‘WORK AND EARN’ are secretly wishing they found a well settled husband and live a comfortable life with him or not. I am not sure at all.

I believed that we were growing up in a generation where age was no restriction or even a compulsion for marriage. I thought that I could take my time, get a good career and earn a lot of money which I would spend on a world tour before finding a chap I would like to ‘settle down’ with. Now, everywhere I look, I find cool 30 something guys who want to hang out with like-minded women but have a wife and children at home.

I find 30 something women who tell me that they once had ‘this ambition, that wish’ that could not be fulfilled because they got married. Strange thing is that none of these people were married against their wish. All of them had a very lavish and happy marriage ceremony, yes ceremony. I am not saying a happy marriage because I hardly know a thing about their relationships.

I don’t feel awkward when girls my age, my cousin sisters and even my friends get married. It is all cool you know. You make a decision and you think that you could be happy with it. No hard feelings. But, I feel extremely awkward and totally uncomfortable when I see these young women adopting the entire names of their husbands. How, okay, let’s pick up two very common names here, all fictitious of course.

The girl’s name is Neha Verma and the boy’s name is Ajay Sharma. There was this trend where girls used to totally get rid of their maiden surname and use their husband’s family name instead. Like if the girl in my example got married, she would be called Neha Sharma. Okay, fine. I can digest. Cool.

Then there came a trend where girls refused to drop their maiden surname but did not mind adding their husband’s family name. So in the second case, the girl will be called Neha Verma Sharma. Yeah! Sounds funny but that is it. Fine. I can still digest.

Then came this weird trend of adopting the entire names of their husbands. In this example, the girl would be called Neha Ajay Sharma. Seriously? Seriously? Seriously? I know some people will claim that this is the tradition way that a woman should use the name of her husband, blah blah blah! But I personally feel very offended. No I am not a feminazi but come on girls, I hope life would have been better than that. My Facebook timeline is filled with women who have changed their names this way and it is as annoying as it could be.

It is like losing your identity. Yes, you love your husband. I understand that. But what way is this to show love, women? I am really annoyed with posts like ‘my first karvachauth with my dear hubby’.

Were we not raised to be women who loved their husbands dearly but knew that fasting for one day is no show of love and never, ever enhances their longevity in any given case?

Were we not raised to be women who knew that we could happily balance work and life if we wanted to?

Were we not women who were told that soap operas are merely bullshit that comes out of the minds of money mongering people who know nothing about production values?

Were we not made to believe that we have an identity?

I feel sick of these karvachauths. I feel tired of these elaborate displays of affection. I am genuinely scared of the kind of love that we are spreading in this generation. I feel deeply saddened that we are living a life that depends on Facebook and Instagram likes.

Times When I Want To Talk

These times when

I want to talk

Are times rather rare

These times when

I want you close

For a little cuddly moment

These times when

I want to hold

Your hand and write a sonnet

These times when

All I want

Is to speak like I never did before

These times when

All the emotions

Piled up for long stop their torment

These times when

Speaking is

The only relief I have

These times when

I sing a song

In my little room-cave

These times when

You feel a pinch

Of loneliness taking over you

These times when

All your ambitions

Lie sleeping and dormant

These times when

I am lying on the floor

These times when

I am staring at the door

These times when

nothing seems to exist

These times when

I feel like a perfect misfit.

India Needs Nationalism… Softer Nationalism

I am not opposed to nationalism and will never be. Was born into a tradition that believed India to be the greatest nation in the world. We have been taught about the ‘Sone ki chidiya’ that once enlightened the world with its wealth of knowledge and showed military excellence too. We were taught that the nation is more diverse than the colors on the spectrum and what binds us all is that one word, one blood that runs through our veins- India. We were taught that our India is the greatest and the best. Nothing compares to India. No matter how far away you are from India, you will always love its ‘mitti ki khusbu’. Everything about India needs to be loved.

However, the nationalism that we are witnessing on television and social media everyday is not the kind of nationalism I support. Since when did silencing those who dissent became nationalism. Our country was great in the past but currently, we are a developing nation that is plagued by hundreds of problems. We are a nation that still needs to focus on poverty, unemployment, farmers committing suicides, women being raped and men being forced to bribe for a better future. We have to uplift millions who do not get a morsel to eat. We have to uplift millions more who were oppressed for being dalit. We have to be more respectful to the people who fought for Indian Independence and even more respectful to the people who helped the infant nation crawl while several other economies were being born (and failing) every other day.

My country needs nationalism. We need nationalism that is softer and more constructive. We need nationalism that helps us in being better humans. We need to ensure that we always focus on the future. The people who are finding flaws with everyone who does not agree with the government and calling them anti-nationals, probably do not understand that we are not living in the 1970s. At this moment, India is one of the most sought-after economic destinations in the world (it could at least strive to become so). The world watches India closely. They are keeping an eye of how this nation handles its problems. If we fail as a nation and keep fighting with each other, we will put a black spot on our hard earned reputation

So why do we still need nationalism?

We need nationalism because it is important for a nation like ours to stay united. However, nationalism should never be confused with homogeneity. We can expect all the people living on this land to feel India with every heartbeat but we cannot dictate their lives. We should let everyone be. Let them live in peace and exercise whatever religion they follow. Ideologies are never destructive unless they lock horns with other ideologies. As a matter of fact, this nationalism binds us together but does not strangle us.

Nationalist and not strong, you must be kidding?

No I am not kidding. I am serious about what I say. Our nationalism should be about working together. Our nationalism should be about working twice as hard to enhance the GDP of the nation. Our nationalism should be introducing tax measures that does not burden our citizens. Our nationalism should be about making every child, every adult of the nation and also our tourists feel safe in our boundaries. Our nationalism should be about increasing production, being industrious, helping our farmers, giving a helping hand to the downtrodden and enlightening at least one person to love the nation that they are born in. This nationalism is not forced down our throat. This nationalism becomes the environment that we thrive in and helps us in making India shine in the true sense of the word.

My mother used to tell me that a nation like Japan excelled in so many areas simply because of an industrious workforce. They did not excel because they belonged to a certain religion or caste, they excelled because they got down to work. Germany could rebuild itself because of people. What about our people? Our students are not being trained well, our new workforce is not well educated despite spending lakhs and our old workforce has not been able to completely update itself. While we are busy shouting about our nationalism on Twitter and Facebook, our the ‘people’ who are building India are silently working. They are doing their bit to make millions proud while you and me shout, scream and proclaim we are nationalists while we are bunking schools, colleges and ditching our work. Who are you kidding?

We Can Make A Choice

So it was only a few hours ago that I was talking about being a dependent personality and suffering from self-victimization behavior. I was reading the post just now and realized how so many women around me are partly indulging in this behavior and becoming something they are not. I won’t suggest that I have never done this. I have for sure. I have also become clingy, posssessive and jealous for a short moment in time before I shrugged it all off and asked everyone to f*** off so I can focus on my goals.

Is it inherent in us, as women, to feel like a victim? Has it been ingrained in women to feel like they can easily fall prey to anything and everything? Yes, we are delicate flowers. Yes, we like to ensure that we stay happy and also try our best to keep everyone around us happy. Yes, we want the good things in life. But does that delicate sweetness of a woman necessarily needs to be accompanied by a sense of victimization. It is partly because women are often considered victims of their family, their friends, their boyfriends, husbands, kids, in-laws… everyone. It is partly because only a small number of women get to make a choice. Only a very small number.

Making choices can be so difficult. On many occasions, a woman’s choice will certainly piss someone off. That someone will be very close to her. The poor woman will certainly give a thought to the dissent and suddenly, she has transformed into a victim. A man, on so many occasions, gets to make a choice for his life and not be accountable or answerable for it. Not saying that things don’t happen otherwise but look at the structure of any middle class Indian family and you will see how true these words are.

We can make a choice. Who asked us to keep everyone happy all the time? Who asked us to look after everyone? Who asked us to pay heed to every opinion we come across and then silently cry on our beds with our teddy bears meekly trying to hug us back while we are clinching our fists, trying to cope with us a situation. I hope we all can make a choice and stop being a victim. Feminism of the west has given us nothing I say. They have killed the dignity of a woman and turned her into an object. Nobody respects a woman with brains unless her brains are used to seduce a rich man to marry her. Women with brains are not welcome. Women with big butts are surely welcome everywhere. Work out to get that booty in shape while I go and work on…. well, I will work on work.

Come On, Woman!

Talking about self victimization today and realizing how all of my examples (or my real life experiences with such victimization) are connected only with women. Yes, i mean women and women alone. There is not a single instance I can recall at the moment where a man played the role of a victim. The reasons could be many. Firstly, men rarely if ever are so emotional if they talk and secondly, it could be unmanly to be the victim. So I am not assuming directly that being a victim is a womanly thing to do. However, it is quite possible that the roots of such victimization are deep in our culture. Anyway, not talking much about the background, here we go and talk about the things that matter more.

The ‘Victim’ Behavior

As far as I see, self victimization is less about ‘being’ the victim and more about ‘playing’ the victim. I have come across so many people who are completely healthy, fit and have a good life but would not leave a chance to suggest and even to prove that they are a victim to their circumstances or to the people around them. Maybe one day (about 20 years ago) her father forgot something significant. Maybe today her husband did not come back home smiling. Maybe her kids are simply stressed out with their studies, exams and jobs and just don’t feel like talking at the moment. The victim will instantly believe that it is about her. She has probably done something wrong. More often, they have done something wrong to her because she does not deserve to be treated well. Yes, all these thoughts pass through her mind.

The victim thinks that everything that is going on around her is simply to let her down. She controls nothing around her and this is why she is being dragged around in any direction that the people around her wish to. You simply cannot give her power for she will want this power to be exercised by someone else. It is always the other person who has to take a decision for her. She cannot decide anything on her own. She feels left behind most of the time and would even indulge in some kind of reckless and absolutely senseless behavior just to believe that she is a part of the group. Often, when facing a situation that needs firm decision making, she would end up taking the wrong decision simply because playing the victim is easier than being the controller. She has done this all the time and she is aware of the ins and outs of the game.

She blames herself for everything and needs constant reassurance that she is loved and wanted. No matter what you do for her, it will never be enough. Maybe you died for her. You did the wrong thing. You should have lived to make yourself look like a miserable existence. She will find ways to find faults with herself. This woman has a keen eye for faults. The good news is that she finds faults in herself as easily as she finds them with others. The sad part is that most of these faults are imaginary. The bittersweet relationship that you will have with her becomes a downward spiral. Most of the times, she is depressed. As time passes by, it becomes difficult by the day to drag her out of this spiral. You either want a relief away from her or you simply enter the spiral yourself. Some people would prefer to speak out openly about this. The victim will stop playing the victim openly. She will still be the same from the inside.

Why A Victim?

Some experts blame it on genetics while some others consider it a part of the Dependent Personality Disorder affected by circumstances. I personally support the latter. Some people are definitely more dependent on others for keeping them happy (and sad). Imagine being with someone who would be happy when you pay attention to them and do nothing for them but turns extremely negative when you move your eyes. Sometimes, they become possessive and it is difficult to let things go. A couple of women I know who clearly exhibit this victimization are born and raised in families where being self dependent or taking independent decisions for life is not the norm. In fact, the parents also exhibit a very weird personality. On one hand, they are extremely controlling and protecting when it comes to their children. On the other hand, they are meek and submissive and cannot take the right decisions for themselves. The children, who are raised by such parents often end up taking a few decisions for themselves. Most of the times they are wrong. However, in general, the kids too are extremely dependent on someone for their happiness.

The dependency is such that rests on one or maybe a couple of people at a time. There is never a full span of attention. They focus their entire energy on one person or a couple of people at one time. Occasionally, their minds would digress and they would try to find solace in the sympathizing words of a another person but they would again like to come back to the stronger personality to lean on. After all, not needing anyone (including the victim) is also a sign of strength and this draws them towards that person. No wonder, a lot of women stay in abusive relationships even when they can leave simply because they love the thrill or dependency on a very strong (however forceful and abusive) personality. They like to stay close to a person who is quick, harsh and focused because they know that they cannot do this on their own.

Playing a victim also helps you in steering clear of the blame on most occasions. Imagine, being a part of everything without having to take the blame for anything that goes wrong. A victim, in her senses or not, wants to steer clear of responsibilities and answerability. On most occasions, you will find a person with such a dependent and self-victimizing personality working on jobs that do not let them take on a huge responsibility. They like doing the chores and have absolutely no problem in fitting into a mechanical routine. Moreover, the dependent and self-victimizing personalities I know are passive aggressive as well. They could end up being somewhat manipulative too. They get quickly attached to the stronger personalities around them and when they are rejected by them, they feel ill at ease. They may get depressed.

An inherent depression is always present in a self-victimizing person. Small bouts of this depression appear when they are focusing their attention on someone and do not get as much back. The depression is mostly in full swing when they are left desolate or rejected. Such a person needs help. The worst thing is that they are extremely clingy as well. They can cling to someone who helps them. If it is the opposite gender, they can quickly assume that the help is love and then problems will be given an open invitation to wreck a havoc in their lives.

In the end, they become what they thought they are in the first place – A VICTIM.