Category Archives: Friends

It’s time.

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I met someone recently who has had a kidney transplant, is under 40, and lives with the threat that the organ will be rejected at any time by the body. Other than that person’s ordeal which has affected every aspect of life, I came away convinced of two things.

One, I will do everything to ensure that I do not ever need such palliative care that neither makes me a vegetable nor sets me free.

Two, I will donate as many of my viable organs as possible. The donor lists in India are so long and scary that you constantly have to wait for people to die, to get a chance at life. Please donate your organs and convince people around you to do the same.

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Gaining independence but losing ground

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I have always loved and read this blog. And no, this is not a feminist blog. It is a blog with strong opinions. But if being honest and having strong opinions means a feminist, you need to read up on what feminism today has evolved to. I read the earlier post  and a girl’s email to it some days ago and it got me thinking.

It is true. We are slowly gaining a lot more ground in terms of economic independence and the capability of making decisions.  I look around and see most of my colleagues and friends who are single which is fantastic as they are taking their time and exploring various nuances to find the right person. When one says right person, I assume, that person means right in nature and thought. Someone who would not want to change you. Someone who would respect your space, especially in a economic context and so on. The manifestations of these (what should be normal but are quite rare) thoughts are things like respecting your parents, not patronizing you, considering your input while making a decision, not forcing  to do anything you wouldn’t want to do. This should also hold true for women I assume.

But what I see instead is that women want all these fabulous traits in men but can rarely spot them. Not because they do not exist but because women might not like how the wrapping looks. Women still want rakishly good looking men who were bad boys till they met these specific men, then, the women would change them and make those men what they want. That is worse because, at least, earlier women were clear on what they wanted and went after what they wanted. They spend their lives changing men (muttering about wars and battles) and that was life for them.

For a single woman, in a society not ready to handle single women after a certain age, this fake  feminism and liberalization can be cloying. Because, then every year someone who knows someone is getting married at (Oh my god! lucky her) 34, the predominant sigh of relief is “Thank god, HER search is over”. Because there are liberated women, as a friend calls them, in control of their shakti, but reduced to all manner of pandering for finding that divorced man, because she herself is now divorced!

Because brides, now, in the midst of their mehendi, turn around and announce that feminism is bullshit, forcing other potentially strong and speaking-their-minds women cowering into a corner. Women who run businesses but struggle to lose weight and achieve the shape they think they should be and wonder why are they unmarriagable. Women are labelled divorced (likening it to something bad) because ‘she feels so strongly about men’.

Have you ever encountered these women?

Just shapes. Not good or bad.

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Everyone always tells you that the path to true happiness is self-love. On one hand, it sounds like something a guru would say and something you would hear and not really dwell on, and on the other hand, it is something very few truly manage. For it would mean never comparing yourself to anyone else – for the positive or the negative.  Whether it is job, money, men, friendships, and any other form of validation. This can apply to every aspect of your life but one area it hit home acutely recently is beauty.

We all think we know what beauty it is more so because beauty, as school aphorisms have made us mug up, lies in the eye of the beholder. But does beauty also mean that if the beholder thinks you could use some improvements, your beauty lies diminished?  All along people would say things like ..’but you are tall,’ or ‘your nose looks like HER nose’ or many other such lines and I would think, so what? I don’t like what I see in the mirror so these lines mean naught to me.  Just because you like some part of me better, does not change any thing for me.

In the last two odd years how I look at myself has changed. I do not know if it has changed in a good way or bad but my worth is not comparative anymore. I feel so much better now. And all I seem to want to do is want my other girl friends to understand why. In the process of trying to explain to them, I realised that it is perhaps a step they need to journey to on their own. I know I faced a lot of negativity when I changed the way I look. I changed it because I changed the way I thought. It affected people I did not expect because they perhaps weighed themselves against how they thought I was. That truly was my inkling. I have not changed, I would think, why have they?

Sometime ago I remember discussing with another writer how India needed its own Jezebel because there were bound to be women who had a mind of their own and weren’t afraid to own it. But Indian women are too far away from that. I am an urban, educated working woman and it is unbelievable how many conversations that I have been party to are about men, how to get them, what to do to get them, why we weren’t getting them, are we not attractive enough (therefore) and so on and so forth.  This post stood out like a beacon on my feed home page. Another post on why it is important to accept what you are without qualifications.

It does not matter whether you are a feminist or not, a house wife or not, a mother or not or trying to fulfill one of the many roles you are expected to or not, if you believe in your core, nobody can take that away. Otherwise you are constantly a shell, trying to fill it with substance you think others want to see there.

It’s all over the place

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This is what words to do women who can read. Make us believe that the unbelievable is out there. Hopefully soon I will be able to write a similar ditty: How to date a man, no matter what he does or reads or is.  After all, what you get is rarely what you have in mind.  (This is not a hopeless-all-is-lost statement but more like sometimes you need to stop trying to measure people by things in your head and just accept that for who they are and no who you think they are. )

I like who I am when I am with you

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I’ve noticed I need positive people around me. I do much better when I am not beating myself up over money being made, weight being gained or lost, or general futility of life. I sense of lightning of spirit when I leave the company of some people. People who will always point out mistakes, obstacles and faults. People who always see the bad, the unhappy, the shortcomings, the less, the not haves… We aren’t perfect and there is no requirement that we should demand it always, around us too, is there?

I need someone who encourages me to do my best, believe in myself, encourages me not berate myself, not belittle myself, not constantly compare but do my best and help others do their best.

I read a post on selfishness today morning and realised we really attach a lot of stigma to thinking of ourselves and ours before anything else. I know if I become a person who helps bring out the best in others, it will be very liberating and, in a way, my way of helping others get where I am. Letting people trample over me in the effort to be selfless is not really cutting it for me.

I didn’t think I was a positive person but I have to come realise, it is a precious balance. The slow steps you take towards your goals and the glimmer of achieving them can be easily destroyed by a  careless comment, by an insensitive soul, who thinks their unheeded advice is what you need. Sometimes you are required to just let things be. Why is that so hard?

The bigger question is how do I tell the people who pull me down, that they can’t be a part of my active life? Or how do  I become strong to carry them forward?