4

Raw reality

I am a fan of realities being shown exactly as they are. Sugar-coating is nice, but over the time, saccharine sweetness is boring. It is nice to make something sound beautiful to make it attractive and lucrative and probably comforting, but hiding the grim reality behind a situation does more harm in the long run. Give it to me straight without coloring it pretty. I am an adult and I can take it, and I expect the same from the other person.

I saw an article that I forwarded to my friend last night on WhatsApp and I was amused and amazed by it. It showed motherhood in its raw, open form. It has a selfie of the dad with his baby in his arms, where the new mum is also seen in adult mom diapers from the back. She decided to post it anyways because she wanted to show that motherhood is all about the cuteness and the rawness at the same time. Labor is about a human body going through unbelievable transformation and there is no point to shy away from it when almost half the world’s population goes through it. Similarly, there is nothing good that comes out of hiding issues behind the curtain, like post-partum depression, medical issues, stitches, br*ast-feeding. The more women are aware, the more their ability increases to take informed decisions about their health and the little one and the whole process. Having a child means coming to know the extent your body can break and re-mould. It makes sense to know all aspects of it.

Same thing goes for having periods. About half of the world bleeds. And the onset can be annoying, painful and inconvenient. But it happens, and it is a part of the shoddy deal. Men, it is about time you stop acting immature about PMS and periods, and women, please stop being embarrassed, and being uncomfortably sneaky. It will help both genders to snap away from the awkwardness of menses and be more adaptive and accommodating. Shout-out to my friend for carrying my emergency pad and Ibuprofen in his jacket-pocket so that I don’t have to carry any bag to the club.

From all the movies, and books(Mills and Boons, I am looking at you!) and all the seemingly perfect couples around us and on YouTube these days, it becomes slightly disconcerting that our idea of relationship is that of a honeymoon period that lasts forever. Every friendship ends in a relationship, every relationship has a happy marriage, and everything is perfectly rosy all the time is fiction we have been led to believe. Only recently has Bollywood decided to explore unreciprocated feelings, one-sided attraction, heartbreak and awkwardness of breakups. I actually know people who don’t believe that marriage can be quite a bit of work to maintain even if there is good compatibility. It is a relationship that needs constant nurturing with TLC to make sure that you don’t actually murder the other person in their sleep. You may have been in love with someone for a month or 5 years. But living under the same roof comes with its own host of issues. The better this reality sinks in, the easier the process becomes. A whole another chapter can be written about the awkwardness of intimacy. What is shown to be so beautiful and romantic every single time, can be anywhere from cringe-inducing, to rolling-on-the-floor kind of laughter, before settling on that right point.

Coming down to vanity, when I go around shopping, I see these gorgeous outfits in stores, with beautiful back detailing, etc. These days in the world of style blogs and red-carpet fashion statements, it feels amazing to look at the clothes and it is not even that difficult to find an affordable version of it thanks to fast fashion retailers. But what always stumps me is the question of appropriate innerwear for the clothes. The actual story is that celebrities and their outfits have a relationship cemented by backless br*s, silicon pasties, double-sided tapes, gel shoe soles and a gazillion safety pins. Of course, there are girls who are willing to go to that length and they do look every bit stunning. But I just want to dance freely and have the ability to sit down anywhere. I was watching the Golden Globes and when Viola Davies was giving her winner’s speech, I noticed stretch marks on her arms. It made me feel so happy that a celebrity like her on a global awards show had no qualms in hiding her scars. She was showing off her muscular, bad-ass arms and they were the highlight. The marks were an ode to the amount of effort she has put in to get that fit body. It is a reality of life and just goes on to show that you did actually grow up, irrespective of being a man who built up his body or a woman who filled into hers. It is a testament to growth. Behind the beauty in the stunning bodycon dress and high heels, lies a reality that the woman accepts and chooses to subdue or enhance as she deems fit.

It feels empowering to read articles and posts that show what actually life and being human being is. I like untouched pictures that show the way you are, and not what you are supposed to be. I love hearing and reading stories about life and love that are put across with straightforwardness. Uncomfortable they could be, but shouldn’t be shunned. 

So, here’s to growing up, and accepting things as they are, and not as I dreamt they would be. *Cheers*

31

Why don’t I have new friends anymore?!

I was reading Pepper’s blog post here about friendships and I wanted to write a comment, which ended up being an essay on its own. So I thought, I may as well type out what I feel about my friends and friendships.
 
I was talking to a guy the other day, and he said something on the lines of, the more you live in USA, the lesser friends you tend to have. It made me think and I realized it’s not completely wrong. At least in my case, the statement holds weight. The only part being different for me was USA. This has happened to me every time that I changed schools or colleges. I have always had hesitation in talking to new people that I meet, and my insecurities about myself tends to compound the situation into total absurdity. I have switched so many schools, and my experiences with getting bullied, have made friendships difficult. For some reason, sustaining friendships was also a hard task for me. But it changed quite a bit in college, where I found some life-long friends(hopefully). Having verbal diarrhea is also not a big help.
 
Talking about friends in India, we were a group of girls and boys in the engineering college who are still together on different levels with each other. The girl group(we were roommates) is still together on Whatsapp. But my relationship with them is quite non-existent. The onus lies on my own personality issues too, but I will not take the blame on myself completely. I think I have stopped trying to please people, which was a compulsive habit even till a couple of years back and that has resulted in some acidic conversations. I do not feel welcome there, and so I don’t feel like I am a part of that group. Exceptions being of course Ani and Moo and I hope they understand my point of view. From the group of boys, I am friends with most of the boys who I was friends with earlier, but there are two people who are firmly within my circle of trust. Hazra and Shib are, and will always be family, and it makes me very happy that they are aware of this and reciprocate.
 
After moving to USA, I have switched between people and between groups and had reached a point where I needed only two people. The xBF and Abhi. The situation got weird after the xBF left, but Abhi made the time easier for me. We are not in the same cities. But he and Nisha are among the people I can count on if I get in trouble. Abhi is like the brother I would have had if I had one. I like to think that they are aware that I can be counted on if they ever need me to be there.

I have another really close friend who I work with and workout with(we recently paid extra for the gym membership, so that we can continue that after trying to work out alone since the last July). We have our lunch together where the other accompanies the person even if they have a lunch box, and we meet over the weekends to watch movies and have lunch again. We share stories, jokes, frustrations and work gossip and we yell at each other. People have mistaken us to be dating, but they realize eventually that we have turned into siblings, squabbling with each other. So that makes a grand total of THREE people around me who are friends in real sense of the word.
 
After a certain age, the dynamics of friendships change from complete buddy to people needed to spend evenings with, and even to call in case of emergencies. I may have a lot of friends around me, but friend-friend is becoming the Loch-Ness monster of people. There is a need to lower the bar of expectations when it comes to friendships. You cannot expect someone to show up when you crave a steaming bowl of Pho, leaving their partner or their kid behind. It is just like how you will not show up to spend an evening at the bar with your buddy during a work week. Situations change, priorities change, and the biggest cause of worry, proximity to each other changes. If we talk about making new friends in Grad school or at work, friendship thrives when you let your guard down, and that is seemingly impossible with so much competition involved. It is a cut throat world, and most people tend to hide their vulnerabilities.
 
When younger, friendship is a survival tactic. Proximity in school, college puts you together. You need someone to kill time with, to say the least. When family, partner, work and life are thrown into the equation, the unstructured relation of friendship becomes more vulnerable to collapse. It is no longer a real necessity. How well one deals with friends and balances relationships, depends on an individual’s personality and the need for social fulfilment. If they make a FRIENDS 2.0 I am sure Rachel and Phoebe haven’t met each other in 3 years. And Ross hasn’t heard from Joey since he moved away.

In the end, it all boils down to this insanely accurate definition.

  

37

Turning 27…

…is hard!

You start getting asked if you are married or not more than a national average of 3 times a day. People assume if you are not a marriage material or why else you can’t even snag a husband. It gets worse when people start wondering why do you not even have a boyfriend!

You go to a store and anti-ageing is pushed onto you like no tomorrow. There was a time when taking care of wrinkles began after you turned 35. Now, mid-late twenties is already so damn late that you are on your way to looking like a pug.

You are still stuck in a limbo because clothes at Macy’s and Nordstrom look too aunty-like and you still fall for the pretty teeny bopper clothes at Forever 21.

Going out and partying induces a major calculation drive that involves what time do you need to wake up the next day and how many hours of sleep you shall get.

Beginning of the month brings about a ‘Woohoo’ for the start of a new month budget and a ‘Waaaan’ when all the mortgages and rents and EMIs leave your bank accounts

You can no longer wolf down those 3 slices of pizza without freaking out about that belly bulge. ‘A moment on the lips, forever on the hips’ is here to stay, baby!

Binge drinking brings about a worse hangover than ever. Your stomach also refuses to co-operate anymore and say hello to way too many restroom visits the next day.

Teenage acne has given way to adult acne. Hmmpphh.

If your skin was dry all your life, it starts turning oilier. The reverse is also true. In short, your skin hates you now.

Say hello to being called ‘Aunty’ by your friends’ babies.

So, it happened on the 26th of September for me and I am dealing with it with a mixture of trepidation and happiness. I thank God for his little mercies and for making me see another year of life. The ball is in His court now to start turning up the ‘good’ about my days.

PS : I got my driving license card on Saturday and it is here to stay till 2019, babay!