2

Look how far we’ve come…

I met up with my friends from my Lonavala days over the weekend in San Jose. We used to be a trio when we started college. All three of us from different backgrounds, found some common ground amidst the chaos of 20 girls sharing a large hall in the first 6 months. We were roommates as well for almost 2 years after that. It will be a mighty understatement if I say that ‘yep, we have had our ups and downs.’ What we had was a family drama that will last longer than your bag of popcorn. But, we grew up(almost!)

It was a very fun weekend with a lot of happiness sprinkled around generously. Looking back, I realized one thing. We all have come such a far way from what we were. It is quite astounding because if you stand from the outside and look at us three, you will be hard-pressed to find a common trait that binds us. Our similarities are indiscernible. We are 3 girls with a very strong sense of individuality, with 3 absolutely different personality traits and 3 ways of thought processes. We think on completely different levels from each other, yet mostly, the end is similar. It’s almost like we are trying to reach the same point, but we take different routes. 

Back in college, when we first met, we did realize that our backgrounds were so different from what we were used to. Yet, we had a common plane. Specially in the first year, having common subjects and living in the common hall and eating in the cafeteria bound us somewhat. Going forward, two of us were in Mechanical Eng department and one was in Computer Eng, but things were still similar to a level. Yet we had our very strong differences. Only commenting about myself, boy, was I rigid! A lot of changes came into my personality and behavior over the years as I got influenced by situations and people. S and A have had a more lasting and a very deep relationship with each other over the years and they both are much easier to understand than all three of us together. I did drift apart, but it was mostly okay for all of us.

Not that I have lost my sleep over it, but last weekend found me questioning the existence of common plane and if it indeed is important. Moo, Ani and I bond over a myriad range of topics. We love similar things and hate similar things. Our families have very similar traits. Well mostly the way we bond is Ani yelling at Moo and I. We do have our differences but that also just blends with the way we are. Maybe that is a result of us molding together as friends over the last decade. But with S and A, I am finding it very hard to point at what is making us tick now.  One has a Roomba and wears flipflops on carpets, one had no idea about Legos till a week back and doesn’t like mushrooms, and one obsessively drinks smoothies for lunch and hates Beiber and loves T. Swift. Interestingly, I have noticed that with almost every topic, among the three of us, two will have the same view about it and one will have an opposite outlook.

But I suppose, it doesn’t really matter. As long as we continue to laugh over the ridiculousness of PG certified but actually X-rated Bollywood, we should be good.

12

Of hanging out, dollars and couples…

My friend and I had a talk on whatsapp sometime back. He is the same guy who I visited in Baltimore and who’s getting married in January 2017. He was expressing his views about trying to move out of India for settling abroad with his wife. The topic moved to how I am looking forward for a friend to get a project in US/Europe, to have another vacay together and how fun that would be. He said he was jealous and how he would love to take more trips. He started talking about it boiling down to our paychecks and that being the reason we can do all that. The discussion even turned to him calling our other guy friend SK hopeless because he has become very non-committal about making plans with ‘I will let you know’ as the most often spoken sentence by him. Ironically, his wife keeps asking why don’t they all meet up more often. I took my certain stand on the topic which resulted in him again focusing on our paychecks and the seemingly comfortable lifestyle we have in US with our high frequency of taking holidays and trips.

When he told me about SK, his wife and that he has to depend on them to plan a trip for him and his wife eventually which seems near impossible, I was not entirely convinced. My stand was that you should be asking people once or twice and if they don’t commit, you should go ahead with your plans. Unless their reason to want to wait seems solid, I don’t see why anyone should wait around. His point was about SK changing after being with someone. It did not particularly resonate with me (and I am thankful for that!) because my best friends, with who I just took another roadtrip to the Bay Area, have never let their married life making me feel cut off. Same goes with Mad and DD and exactly the same with other non-Indian couples that I hang out with. In my previous relationship, we always looked forward to times with friends and had no qualms about that. I have been the 3rd or the 5th wheel plenty of times without feeling awkward that I am imposing myself on them and hopefully they felt the same when I was with the xBF. I understand they need their privacy and their personal time together. But they are also setting such great examples for me to follow in the future when I will be committed. One need not say goodbye to a social life and friends and become hermit crabs after getting hitched. Practically, atleast until children come into the picture because that’s a whole another topic of discussion.
 
I asked him to ask SK and the rest once or twice if they want to hang out or take a holiday together. Any more than that is a game of chasing and we don’t entertain that. All of our trips have involved quick agreements on where to go and who all want to come. If out of 6 people, only 3 are ready, he should go ahead and plan it with the 3. There is no reason to can the plan. If you keep waiting for all 6 people to come to a conclusion, the plan is going to take 20 years to take shape. Moo very well knows what I am talking about here. 😉
 
My other point of disagreement was him blaming income and other expenditures. I agree that holidays and trips are expensive, specially with the flight and hotel costs, but there are so many ways to budget travels and it can be even a quick day trip, if you REALLY want it. He was trying to say that the reason me and Abhi-Nish and the rest manage to hang out is because we have the spending capacity. I will not be in denial that we do have a slightly better spending capacity than a lot of my peers with the same level of experience in India, but he should know that if we earn in dollars, we spend in dollars as well and even we have plenty of responsibilities back home too. We hang out because we want to, and we don’t depend on how much we can spend. It could be as simple as driving down for a lunch or doing an activity that was a good deal on Groupon. All my friends who are married or in relationships, also have other set of friends who are couples or are single. Sometimes they do their own things, and sometimes we all hang out in groups, or sometimes it’s just me and the two of them. We all do actually want a social life and that’s the whole reason we have managed to stick together yet. That feeling is not governed by how much we make. In fact, we are free enough with each other to express if we are feeling the pinch of cash at any point. 

There cannot be an end to this argument. Maybe it just depends on how some people prioritize their lives. I have very few friends and it would be a sad situation if I lose even those. And my love for traveling isn’t hidden at all. As far as I am concerned, I don’t think I will be very happy if the only face I see is my other half’s. Let’s see if I turn out to be a hypocrite or not!

*————–*

PS: This comes across as a super whiny, better-than-thou post. I am not trying to say that I am better than others in the way I am living my life. I feel I haven’t been able to put across the main point that if you want to be with friends and/or travel, you will do it come what may. Gaaah! I give up. It’s not my day. 

10

Keep your MOJO flyin’ 

There are enough people in the world who want to kick you in the b*tt. They exist to bring you down, call you names and show you what a loser you are, which you so are not.

And then there are some ‘friends’ who will tell you how average you are and how being average sucks. They will cover it up with a very nice sounding ‘Be the Best or the Worst, no place for Average’. You will tell them excitedly about these simple things, and they will bring you down. No matter what you are, you will just be a ditzy little child.

You know what? Don’t let anyone steal your MOJO. You need to tell them this :
 
“I am f*ing average, and smart, and yes, I enjoy silliness. You of course can see only BS because your head is so up your own……….”

PS: I cant quite say that because of the inherent need to be liked by everyone. Siiiiggghhhhhhh. But the least I can do is shut my ears to their trap.

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.

  

16

Sisterhood of the world QnA

I got nominated for a fun questionnaire by Boiling Wok called ‘Sisterhood of the world Q&A’.

  

I have lurked on Boiling Wok’s WordPress ever since I started reading her comments on IHM’s blog. I loved her insight on certain taboo topics for women, and her take on gender inequality, feminism and the institution of marriage. Cheers to you, and your thoughts, girl!
She developed a set of questions and these are my answers below:

1. One beauty product you would recommend to your girlfriends.

If you have confused skin thinking that it’s a pimply teenager instead of a 28 year old over-the-hill adult, or suffer from extreme lack of sleep thanks to Netflix and Facebook(stalker!), MAC select cover concealer is your best friend. Period.

2.Three books everybody must read.

a. Harry Potter series : According to me, a person who hasnt read Harry Potter, is missing a bit of his soul. Although a word of caution that i have learned, do not start a fight about “How have you never read/seen Harry Potter!!!” on a date or with someone you are crushing on. Girl, its not gonna get you anywhere.

b. The Kite Runner : It changed my thought process. Past is not something to shut away for good. Revisiting it, facing those demons or just contemplation can help you become a better person. As long as the obsession over past is not unhealthy, it can be a catalyst for a good future.

c. Biology lessons from Std 12th science : It surprises, no, shocks me when women don’t know anything about their own bodies, forget about cluelessness about male anatomy. Ladies, you should at least know what the hell you have on and inside your body and how it functions.

3. Favorite online shopping site.

I am currently obsessed with Amazon.com since I am setting up my new apartment, but Target.com is where I get most of my packages from usually.

4. Favorite phone app.

Google maps! God gave me a gift to be able to visualize fluid motion in cavities, but took away my own sense of direction on roads.

5. One dish you are really good at making and its recipe.

I make really good tawa paneer and I follow this recipe here on Veg Recipes of India.

So, now I have my own set of 5 questions for you guys:

1. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

2. Which is your favorite ice-cream flavor?

3. If you could make a signature scent, what would it smell like?

4. Describe the last dream you remember. Bonus point if it was naughty. 😉

5. What was your last Google search about?

I would like to nominate the following ladies for this questionnaire.

1. Srishty

2. Moo’s Khayals

3. Bhakti

4. Kinmin

5. Pop Goes The Biscuit

6. Cookie

38

How I met my first blog buddy!

Guess what I did over the weekend?? Which happened to be Friendships day coincidentally. Yay! I met the fabulous Popgoesthebiscuit, her husbadoo and the cutie pie that is Bandar.We have been looking forward to this meeting since the time they decided to move lock, stock and barrel to San Diego. I was so excited and a bit nervous about it. Well, she already knew about my crazies from my posts so I did not exactly have much to be nervous about. First impressions and all that. 

We met on Saturday evening where I drove to her apartment. The original plan was to stay overnight, but her furniture is still in shipping from New York. So a sleepover is still in the pipelines. 😀 I met her hubby and baby Bandar, who talks nineteen to the dozen but speaks the most amazing things. She showed me this magnet with a picture of the three of them in Langkawi and I managed to confuse her for 5 minutes that it’s not her but me in the picture! Pop almost killed me by telling Bandar that I am PB auntie but I convinced her to call me PB Maasi instead. Phew! Crisis averted. 

After that, Bandar, Pop and me walked down to a park close by where I was the troll running behind Bandar in this swing-maze-slide-thingie. I loved hanging out with them two there because we could have a heart to heart chat there where we discussed everything we have written about or not written about. Some old stories, and some new ones. She was curious about certain things and I had promised to fill her up whenever we would have met. So, I did just that. 

That was followed by a walk to PF Chang’s where we had dinner. We turned it into a happy girl’s night out with baby B. She was being such a good kid and I think they are amazing parents! Bichari was given totally bland food in the name of kid’s menu and yet, she was eating it with all the stories being built around broccoli and snap peas. 😀 She was really tired and wanted to go home, so P came over from their apt to walk back with us and she was so delighted to see her daddy! 

It was an incredibly fun meeting where not for once we felt like we are meeting each other for the first time. She was exactly as I had expected. It was almost like we have known each other for years and we are just meeting each other after a little gap of time. When I had told my mom that I was meeting a blogger friend, she said it sounded just like meeting a pen-pal. 😀

This is like the start of a new friendship, which doesn’t feel like new at all! The best kinds! 🙂

45

The illusion called ‘Tomorrow’

Tomorrow never comes. What we have is today. I have lost a lot thanks to procrastination, fears, anxiety and my dependency on tomorrow. I always felt that tomorrow will bring a better answer than if I ask the question today. Tomorrow was my hope. Tomorrow was my everything. My fear is of rejection, of failure, of bad news, of disappointing news. My fears have ruled my heart and have prevented me from seeing the life, that I see with closed, sleepy eyes every night. And many afternoons. My dreams have the hope that my real life has given up on. You know that old candle that has a lot of wax but the wick has burnt out to its end? I sympathize with that poor candle.

I have done a lot of un-doable things. I have been on many adventures. I have been good, and I have been naughty. And I have been happy , I have been moody, I have been angry. But, I have been very afraid. I don’t go to doctors. I am convinced about bad news. I would rather not hear it. I lack courage. People think I am very confident and have gumption. I don’t deny it. But behind that personality, is a very scared girl who feels she has been thrown in the eye of a storm. One wrong move and she will land up God-knows-where.

 

The xBF at MIT, Boston, from one of our trips. With the hypothetical/real floating question mark.

 
But what I don’t want anymore are ‘what-if’s. For me or for my loved ones. I don’t want that shroud of regret on our actions in the future. I don’t want that giant question mark looming on our heads day in and day out, taking over our lives. I am a giant worrier and over-thinker. It is bad enough being confused but I don’t want to make it worse. Ironically, today the usually inactive him posted the following on FB. These are the smartest words spoke on Breaking Bad.

  
It has been a rough day today. I am hormonal and my back is killing me. My last night dream was about seeing the xBF’s family and stalking them and eventually getting engaged to him. For the umpteenth time. Mid-morning, my co-worker who is also my friend, caught me on my desk with tears streaming down my face, while chatting with Moo online. Moo’s predicament and the hurt she is feeling, translated literally to me when I burnt my hand with hot boiling water. 

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.