Saturday, December 17, 2011

If Marriages Are Made In Heaven, Please Let Them Stay There For A While

The latest demon in my life – marriage proposals. For the usual girls that we see in movies and soaps, that should be a lucky phase of life. Having grown up on a staple diet of Mills & Boon and Yash Raj films, I always thought that when I reach the age of getting marriage proposals will be the golden period of my life. And thus I, modern Frankenstein, created my own monster.

I don’t know where it all started, but suddenly, as I realized that I was a graduate, proposals started pouring in. I think some people take it as the standard ‘qualification’ to get married to a suitable groom who earns well and is a few years older to you. I read something about it when I was 15 – “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” said Jane Austen in my favourite romance ever. But the paradox of my life has come to be – "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman with a post-graduation degree and considerable appearance must be in want of a husband.”


But I am getting scared of stepping out of my house these days. The next-door neighbor wants me to get married to her cousin’s son. The front door neighbor wonders why I am not letting my mother search for a groom. This front door neighbor prides in the fact that she could get both her daughters married off by 19! However, her son is working and doing well for him. So, I realize that it will be completely ‘ulu-bone mukto chhorano’ even if do anything more than giving a nod to all that she says.

And that’s not all! One of the girls in the para, 3years younger to me, got engaged to a "professor" last month (it was an arranged match, so you know that the whole para is praising her for remaining single and her parents for having found such a suitable groom even though he is 8years older to her - but i suppose the gap in age only makes the match all the more suitable keeping the traditional Indian marriage concepts in mind). So that did enough to worsen my condition that was already suffering from she's-getting-too-old-to-get-married syndrome.

And yes, the final nail on the coffin was hit yesterday. By my other next-door neighbor who is a girl just a couple of years older than me. She is getting married in a few months which, I suppose, gives her the license to lecture poor girls like me who want to make a living on their own. So, I made the mistake of visiting her in the afternoon and we ended up having this conversation:

She: “Maami (my Maa) ke naki tui chhele dekhte dichchis na?”

I: “Chhele?? Ekhoni keno? Darao, age ekta bhalo chakri kori, ektu bank balance jomuk!”

She: “Meyeder abar bank balance ki? Ekhon theke na khujle to buri hoe jabi.”

I: “Buri? Iye… Mane… Ami ashi go…”

And I fled with my remaining pride.

So, here is my question. No, you know them all. So, I just wonder why they won’t let me live in peace. I have practically stopped socializing with people who seem to have nothing other than worrying why I am not getting married. And my Maa, my poor innocent Maa, she gets all so worried when they pour their worries to her. It takes me and dada some good deal of effort to sometimes scold her and sometimes soothe her that marriage is not the salvation of life. It is a choice, and not even an essentiality. We all make our choices, some early and some late. But with the education that we give our kids, we should also give them the opportunity to decide for themselves what they want. Getting a graduation or post-graduation degree cannot be the aim of everybody’s life. Some actually want to DO something with their lives.

Well, before this topic gets too serious and long, I just want to end it by requesting the Indian government that it should be made illegal to ask people “Biye korchis na keno?”

For heaven’s sake, “Taate apnar ki moshai???”

And a little food for thought here. How much have we actually advanced from 1813 and the days of Pride and Prejudice? We jeer at a Bride and Prejudice and criticize it for lowering the intellect of a smart girl like Elizabeth (or Lalita here). But what has actually changed? NOTHING.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Momma and A Thousand Things - Part-2

I was watching this program on National Geographic about a bridge in Japan. Maa loved the program, and was engrossed in it the way I watch Will Smith without blinking an eyelid! :) Yeah, I am wholly unapologetic about it :-/

Alright, so I suddenly found something about the narrator. Have you ever watched those translated-into-Bangla programs? I understand it does a great good to people who like to watch such programs but find it hard to follow the rapid accented English. But please translate it properly. They make the whole concept so confusing. I mean, there was this man who at first said that "Probol haowa ei bridge-er shotru" (strong wind is the enemy of this bridge). and then he goes on to say "Probol haowa teo er kichu hobe na" (Even strong wind will not damage it). It simply confuses straight people like me, that's all.

Anyway, back to the narrator. So, this narrator was sincerely teaching the technicalities of the bridge, and Maa was watching it as if her exams depended on it. And bang! Right at that moment I found out that the narrator sounded like Ranjit Mallik!! I'm sure you've heard Mr.Mallik, and if you are unlucky enough to not have done it till now, please rent a Bengali movie that stars him and watch and laugh! Well, women above 50years generally find him handsome, and a good actor, and may be even he is. But just his accent, that speaking-through-my-teeth-as-if-I-am-playing-a-jatra is too much for me!

And I make the mistake of pointing that out to my Maa. The reaction? The famouse how-can-you-be-so-insensitive look that almost made me want to duck for cover. But being the determined Scorpio that I am, I held my ground and swallowed my pride and watched the whole program.

P.S. - What did I do wrong if I seriously made that exciting discovery that may be N.G. was hiring Mr.Mallik for the narration? :(

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Momma and A Thousand Things

There's something called "mutual existence". That's exactly what happens between me and Maa. A small but significant example is to follow for you to follow my deduction!

Maa loves to watch channels like Discovery and National Geographic for all type of odd things like snakes, crocodiles, gorillas, cars, martial arts, chemistry, and what not. I admit she is versatile! I, on the other hand, am rather stunted. I prefer under-water, chemistry (though I still flaunt my Class-8 chemistry result where I managed to secure 33/300 throughout the whole year!! But then, chemistry didn't really seem this interesting as when it comes on tv!), martial arts (after all, I took Karate class for 4months when in high school and then the instructor resigned!! Yeah, that's very much an achievement, mind you!) and stuff. But somehow, I just cannot tolerate hungry, fighting, chattering animals. I guess they remind me of humans all around. :-/

Anyway, so Maa is sitting in front of the tv after dinner watching such stuff and calling me every now and then, "Aye, dekhe jaa!", "Ki sahos re eder!", "Ki buddhi re eder!" etc genuinely amazed exclamations. Now, not just I am least bothered about which snake has the largest head or which orangutan has been taught to dance like MJ, I also don't want to spend my bedtime stories hour while watching professionals doing things that always get more hype.

I think it would be nice to mention here that my Maa, being the typical innocent Aries, believes everything she sees. My childhood friends would always vouch for that, I know! They somehow prefer Maa more than me!!!! Anyway, as for her naivety, she used to be highly appreciative of the WWE matches, thinking that they were for real. And then, one fine Sunday afternoon, her two brilliant throwing-buckets-of-cold-water-on-innocent-enthusiasm kids (read me and Dada) revealed to her that these fights are all practiced and staged. I hate to think of the sad face that she made, almost like how-could-they-be-so-fake?

Enough about Maa. Let's please come back to me, after all I am taking the pain of typing while I should be taking a good nap. Ok, that was lazy and rude. Never mind!

Well, as for the West people doing all the amazing stuff. Somewhere, the post-colonial soul in me also gets all patriotic and wants to ask - 
* Why don't our fearless snake catchers find a place on screen while trained cockroach collectors do?
* Why are our movies termed as 'unbelievable' when they use imagination, and a Matrix or Scream is gaped at?
* Why is our indi-pop almost non-existent when Lady Gaga is all over the clubs and lounges?

Not that we are bad, but may be just that the Colonial hangover isn't over yet.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What We SAY Is Not Always What We MEAN

The last time I goofed up big time and told my Maa, “yeah I’ll listen to your from the next time”, I didn’t really mean it. sure you don’t mean everything you say, right? After all, what’s the fun in saying things if you always mean them? Some little misunderstandings, some nice gossipy details,  a few exaggerations – what’s life without these? So, I thought why not try to put up a list of things that we say but we don’t really mean all the time?

And here is a little intro to this section, from Lewis Carroll –

… `Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.
`I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.'…

Not really, you see. Sleeping while you breathe and breathing while you sleep is not really the same thing. (I borrowed this example from Lewis Carroll again.)

1. Leave me alone - So the first one is all about the typical Bangali ‘abhimaan’. “Leave me alone” is such an overused term, especially even when we don’t mean it. While we are secretly wishing the person would cajole us, nag us thoroughly till we happily give up and tell them why we are upset, the thing we say so many times during this process is “leave me alone”. I guess it is due to the excessive influence of Bollywood romance in our daily lives that we tend to forget that real life people are not really Raj or Simran who will stick along while we are being stubborn. So, a little uncalled for advice. If you don’t mean to be left alone, don’t repeat it. there are some really strange people around who don’t understand that “leave me alone” means “pamper me a bit more till I give up and tell you all”. Not everybody understands the thin line between anger and ‘abhimaan’!

2. You’re my best buddy – You are no more in school when your bench-mate won’t share their lunch with you if you don’t tell them that they are your best buddy. We have grown up, and some of us have grown tall as well(!!) Then why do we need to assure friends that they are the best friend we have? After all, how do we choose who is the best and who is not? One of my friends is completely opposite to who I am and we share a rapport for over a decade that even our parents fail to understand. And then I have this friend who is so fun to be with that we could spend hours together doing nothing and having fun. Another friend of mine, wherever they are living, we have constant contact and even when we get busy, we make sure to be in contact and share the daily things. Another is my strength to carry on with and in spite of things that happen. How do you decide who is the “best” one? It’s really tough, and also very unfair on the friends who love you so much.

3.  Love you too – Seriously, don’t say it if you don’t mean it. People may get bad heartaches afterwards when you tell them “oh, but I take you just as a friend!” It’s of course very liberal and modern to tell your friends that you love them, but just keep it for the really close ones. There is a fine line between fondness and love, and try to make this distinction. Especially for girls, we say “love you” too often, and may be sometimes just out of habit. But guys don’t really understand the casual “love you” things so well. so if you think this guy has a thing for you and you don’t want to have anything with him – even not harmless flirting – don’t tell him that you love him. Even when he has perhaps saved your life in some way. It’s going to be hard for him to forget your sweet voice ringing with those magical words. (Same here for the guys too.)

4.  Enjoy – I hate it when somebody texts me ‘enjoy’ when I am going for an interview. I mean, who actually enjoys an interview? It’s as bad as any exam, and perhaps even worse! Just the thought of going for a job makes me feel sad 'coz it reminds me that I am growing up. And not just that. Even when people have no clue about what the other person is talking about, they say “enjoy”. It’s become something like a standard reply to anything you don’t understand but feel the peer pressure to reply though.

5. Hmm… - And the three dots. Who invented dots, anyway? You don’t have anything to say, you text “…”. You are sad, you send “…”. You are pensive, you send “…”. And some people send them at the end of every sentence in a text, like “What are you doing?...” What is this supposed to mean, by the way? Don’t you know there are some exact punctuation marks in the use of English language? Even Microsoft Word shows “error” when you type "?" and follow it with "…" . You are angry, you send “Hmmmmmm…”. Why can’t people communicate anymore? Sms charges have reduced, and yet all we get is “…” .

I guess that was enough for a day. If I find any more of these expressions, I will add in another post.

And the reason for which Goddess Saraswati seems to be in my fingers right now is this - 

On my way towards office today, I took 2 buses of the wrong route only to realize just on time that I was on the wrong bus consecutively. Guess I was just too busy deciding who looks hotter - Hrithik or Ranbir!! Anyway, the 3rd time I asked the conductor twice till he threw me a nasty i-am-the-conductor-not-you glance.

P.S. - Somehow, I don't know how, I was not late!! (Phew)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reach Your Destiny

A post after quite a few months, and I am back with a whole new idea – a whole new perspective of the world. In these 3 months, I worked and I learnt, not just about the professional world but also about world around me. And if I may draw conclusion before I expand the ideas that are right now swimming in my head, I would say that I value my loved ones all the more after these 3 months.

So, what makes me so wise in just over 90 days? The very fact that I stepped out of my secured shelter and steeped out – stepped ahead. The very first step was a big experience. Yes, my first experience as an employee was not really a happy one. But that’s ok, you see? A lady I know said that it’s never a wasted day if you have learnt something. And these 3 months have taught me a lot. The most important thing that I have learnt is that reaching your dream doesn’t come easy.

I tried to find the quick way out and earn money in a good way but not by doing something that I liked doing. And somehow, the whole thing ended up being a complete disaster. Not just the work, but also the whole atmosphere. Let me not dwell upon that, for the ultimate point to be made is that I am trying to emerge out of it, with a new vision.

And today, standing where I am, I know that I need to reach my destiny. Contrary to the popular beliefs, destiny doesn’t come to you. You have to find your destiny, and recognize it. That takes time and courage and patience and faith and determination. Troubles will come which will try to deter you from your chosen path. But all you need to remember is that your destiny is what you deserve, nothing less and nothing more.

Is there always a grand plan to reach that destiny? I don’t believe so. After all, it is all unknown to you, what the road ahead will be like and how you have to reach the goal. So how can you plan it ahead? But you can be prepared, practically. You have to have knowledge about what you want to do, and find out more about the whole thing from those who might be in the field. If you are the first one to venture out in this particular area, try out the internet or professional advice. Being a grown up, I should not ask for any money from my family, so my “preparation” also includes being independent financially so that I can continue with what I want to do till the time comes when my chosen path will provide me with a real financial support.

I feel that I have found my destiny, and all I need to do now is to reach it. The path cannot be easy, and I never asked it to be so. After all, how can a grand plan be so easily captured, right? ;-)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Privacy in Relationships

It was Sunday afternoon, when I decided that I did not want to take a nap and add to the already increasing hours of sleep. So, I took the newspaper of the day and turned through the pages. And found an article which had the theme whether "ethical spying" on spouses should be tolerated. There was a snippet of a quote by the owner of a match-making company. This lady observed that spouses should share the passwords to their electronic world, may it be cell phones or mail accounts or other sites where they are members. Also that, spouses should allow each other to read the text messages in their cell phones (!!).

Now, my argument for and against this clause may seem radical to some, while I hope that at least a few will agree with me partially, if not totally. I pride myself on being a scorpio, who has her own little world inside her. So, I can accept it without qualms that I have secrets. If not great ones, then at least silly ones which are not always for the world to know, even for the people closest to me. So I completely disagree with the lady who advocated a complete sharing of information between spouses. We have our space and individualities, and being who we are, it’s a basic necessity to have a world of ourselves. I must make it clear right now before people start thinking that I prefer clandestine behavior, that I do not. I only advocate the cause of having one’s space. If you have recently watched the Bollywood comedy Pyaar Ka Punchnama, you might try to equate me with the lady there who was apt in repeating the phrase “I have my space… Don’t tell me what to do” and kept on doing things that she herself knew was not right. Please do not do so. I think of myself as a responsible individual who believes in personal privacy, and I do not see anything wrong in doing so.

It is a common issue with housewives to sneak around their husband’s cell phone or diary and try to find out what’s going on, and even if the poor innocent man was only having a text conversation with a colleague, she’ll make a Himalaya out of the mole-hill. Many of the marriage counselors these days advise their patients not to intervene in the privacy of their husbands. And it is practical too. The man works at office, has tensions related to a thousand problems and when he gets back, he receives cold shoulder and hot glances from the over-zealous wife. How do you expect the man to handle a Mrs.Marple after a long 10hours of job?

I do not support the issue of “ethical spying” when it is done by the husbands as well. The wife, just because she is termed as a “weaker sex” by orthodox society, does not count as a person bound to her husband by terms of violation of privacy. If she is a working lady, she has every right to have conversations with her colleagues. And if she is a housewife, which does not make her any less of an independent individual as far as her personal space is concerned, she should have the freedom to use her Right to Speech.

I understand that such ideal situations do not exist, and as Subhash Chandra Bose had once opined, freedom needs to be taken and cannot be offered on a platter. But according to me, spouses simply need to trust each other with their lives. If there is no love lost between them, the marriage is a sham. Then there remains no need to take the trouble of spying and worrying. If you trust him, you’ll know that he might enjoy a little flirting with a female colleague, but at the need of the day it is you whom he loves. She has you in her heart and you’ll trust your heart with it if you love her, in spite of the second and third glances she gets from men at her office party.

Isn’t it pretty annoying to have to report to somebody constantly?? Doesn’t it feel like you are submitting your daily reports to your boss at the office?? Well, if you like it, fine. But whenever it becomes a compulsion, a rule between people, it creates claustrophobia. It does for me at least, and I accept it. I believe in personal space, for both the partners. There should be honesty, loyalty and trust. if yes, there needs no tracking of text messages or call records or mails. That will be bad news for Emotional Atyachar people, for then, they’ll run out of their job of tracking infidel partners and airing the juicy gossip on television.
Nevertheless, if fidelity and love exists, why need we personal espionage system? We know them better to decide whether they are worth the trust or it’s better to just leave the cheat and move on!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm a sinner, I'm a saint. And I do not feel ashamed.

Ive never quite liked being complimented as a 'good" girl. Whether I'm good or otherwise, anybody else does not have the qualification to judge.They have not had to live my life. And I can't term myself with binary adjectives as I don't yet have the objectivity to look at my life, and however old I may get, I'm sure I'll never have enough experience to look at myself with objectivity and wisdom!

I had once heard that one is never 'experienced' in life. If one is experienced at 53years, he is inexperienced for the 54th year of his life.

For me, life is to live unapologetically. Why should you apologize for anything you have done? If it has turned out to be a mistake, you better learn from it and never repeat it in your life. And if it has done good to you or others, then it's foolish to apologize to anybody for that matter. Sometimes, we take a decision for ourselves, but feel sorry that this decision has kept us away from our loved ones or so. But why not think about it like this? The decision you've taken has improved your career, and if your loved ones really care for you, then they must be happy for you rather than complaining!

Also, sometimes, when we decide to take a strong step which may hurt someone, but we know that it is necessary, why should we feel sorry? The decision had to be taken, and we did just that. Parents disallow pocket-money or play-time when their kids are unruly. Parents feel bad, but they know that this strict behaviour is going to make the kids realize that they have done something wrong. Similarly, in each of our lives, we have to realize that whatever we know to be right from our hearts needs no apology to anybody.

We sometimes wish that the past was different. but do we really want the past to be different? If it was bad, it has made us strong and matured. It has made us who we are today. And if it was good, it has made us smile. It has given us memories to cherish through our lives. Don't apologize for your past. You have survived it. Be proud of it and of yourself. The mistakes you made have taught you things. And don't forget that the things which you sometimes consider to be a mistake in the present, are the things you had badly wanted in the past. It's all a part of your life, of who you are. You are not liable to anybody but your own heart! And the heart never lies! It never misleads you. Have faith that you'll survive, just like you have survived all the worst things in your past and are alive to be reading this piece right now!

Monday, February 14, 2011

and this is life.
just when i thought i have everything sorted out, and i'm the happiest person alive, i get to know life.
friends fall apart, strained relations with loved ones, confused ambitions.
how am i even going to express this in words? may be this is the "big bad world" of grown-ups. strangely enough, even when i was a little girl, i never quite wanted to be a grown-up. i always loved my days as they were. when i look back, i'm amazed by the number of memories i remember! and that means, i've grown-up.
and i don't like it.
i can't express it.