33

The finale: When this Coffee met her Bagel.

This has been in-the-works for a while now(close to a year), but I took my own sweet time to put it down in words and this has been an exceptionally hard post to write. Meeting this boy was surreal and serendipitous and would not have happened without some strong intervention from fate, or intuition, if you will. Maybe the universe really does work in mysterious ways, and you catch feelings when you least expect it. Like stomach flu, but in a good way. No?

So, ladies and gentlemen, here’s Mr. PB!

It started from a state of being absolutely and totally over any kind of dating, including online matrimonial portals. I had met another boy(#7) that I haven’t written about who was eerily similar to Boy 6 and deserves minimal mentions. Yet, I gave him a few chances and the last dinner date at his place and a walk on the beach confirmed that I never wanted to see him again. Well, the cringe that I felt inside when he touched me, should have sealed the deal, but I was still giving him a chance of redemption. Anyways, I was done and I let him know that.

But me being me, I opened the Coffee Meets Bagel app for ‘one final time’ and came across this one profile. I cant say much about his pictures because to be honest, I wasn’t sure for a few dates which one was I dating! The dude had most of his pictures in sunglasses, OR with his similar looking brother! Sheesh. But something about his profile caught my eye and I decided to try and connect with him. Alas, that lasted for a day because once we exchanged hey’s, he asked me about my non-profit work, and I was blown off with a ‘That’s a nice story but I worked way too hard and I gotta crash’ text after my reply which was more or less like a 250 words essay. I was convinced that it was a lie, because, err, I may or may not have used that in the past. A few days later, after no communication between the two of us, CMB reminded him that it was the last day before the line was closed off. I had assumed this interaction to be the end of it, just like many other missed chances. But the notification seemed to have prompted him to leave his number to get in touch later. I saved his number, with no intention of texting back. Because, hey! Ego! Y’all know me well enough already.

A week or two later, my grad school buddies were in SD for the weekend, and I had S+A’s wedding to attend that Sunday in OC. Hilarious drinking ensued on all 3 nights with some heart to heart talks with my favorite girlfriends(and the boys too) across the table as well as continents, who somehow convinced me to give dating another shot. Some incidents on Saturday night, and the wedding itself, pushed me further towards his profile’s direction. The boy’s profile was looked at and judged by the girls ‘during’ tequila shots and I was hit in the head for not texting back. So I did. 🙂

As soon as we started texting, he asked me out for a drink and I suggested one of my favorite places for a Brewery event that I already had planned on attending that Saturday. Because God forbid, I have to change my plans for anything or anyone. Now that I think of it, I set the date up to be a failure, unknowingly. There was all that beer(he is a whiskey kind of a guy), the brewery is stuffed at that time(he prefers places we can talk in peace, or dance at!), my friends could have been there(dumbest idea ever, duh) and the event had only vegan food(only PB was a happy bunny here). I had already reached and was waiting for him to show up, and then he did…

I don’t really know how to express it all in words, but the fact that we spent almost 6 hours together, should tell you enough how the date really went. We left the brewery within the hour and walked over to a cocktail bar next door, and that place stands as witness to the most beautiful turn our lives were taking together. We spent the next many hours sitting on barstools there, where we had assumed we would be spending just the next hour perhaps. We drank cool charcoal cocktails, ate some yummy food, talked about all things sundry, while my heart did backflips everytime he laughed and clapped his hands together! His eyes caught his smile and it was making me flutter. He drove me back home and dropped me just outside my apartment. We said bye, I went in and I panicked. I had caught feelings…

We met, and we couldn’t stop meeting. I missed him when I couldn’t see him, and when I saw him, I couldn’t have enough of him. And, he really was busy at work and not bluffing, as I initially thought. Dude’s a workaholic! I haven’t told him this yet, but I was falling so hard for him, that I was losing sleep! We attributed it to stress at that time, but I knew what was up with me. I was losing my appetite(that’s the most obnoxious sign), I was failing to understand jokes and I could not stop thinking about him. I really hoped that he was feeling the same way about me, like my soul depended on it. Post some amazing cocktails, an adoption event by my dog rescue, a movie where I tried hard not to cry, a beautiful evening at Mt. Soledad, a Cinco de Mayo with homemade tacos, some Ramen and Pho, a dash of dancing, some weekend trips to snow clad mountains, a first international trip together, here we are.

We have had an amazing year together, and I still have the giddy school girl feeling inside me when I think about him, see him and snuggle into him. He loves reading, traveling and sports, and plays cricket for the local league. He has a curious and intelligent mind, with a will to leave more positive impacts on the world. He has never lived with dogs before, but his compassion towards them, and towards people, makes me happy. One of the best things about him is his emotional availability that makes him very expressive with words and they have so much sincerity in them. He is an absolutely wonderful friend and family boy. He loves to laugh freely, sing loudly and is not afraid of showing emotions. He is very expressive about showering me with love, irrespective of us being alone, or with another hundred people. When he squeezes my hand, or me, I feel that all is right in the world. And, oh so handsome! This gorgeous and wonderful boy is mine, and I am his.

I feel like he gets me. He gets my silences, and my laughter. I have opened up like never before, and although this vulnerability freaks the bejesus out of me, I don’t mind it. I do have my moments though, of course. My famously thin skin, the ability to take each and every word to heart and then stewing over it and my bucket loads of insecurities are making this all pretty fun too. Ask him! He calls himself an overcommunicator, and I tend to shut down, so he is making me come out of my shell. I am learning to express myself in ways that I never have. The calm that he brings over me, remains unmatched. He is the stillness to my turbulence, the words to my silences, and a perfectly suitable ear to my rants. We couldn’t be more opposite to each other, yet we somehow ‘meet in the middle’, and will hopefully continue to. So, this was what the heavens had planned for me, and I truly am grateful for this wait. We are in love with each other, completely and hopelessly.

Finishing up this story that I have held to my heart for almost a year now, I feel a beautiful energy surrounding me. Being newly engaged, and so deeply in love, I somehow cannot think of having it any other way. He is the most spectacularly amazing thing that is happening to me, and I cannot wait to see how we shape up together. Our story has just begun and hopefully we live a beautiful life together. Me and mi amor…

29

The dinner dilemma

“Baby, let’s go out tonight.
What do you want for dinner?”
“Sure, that sounds cool,
I am cool with whatever.”

“Where do you wanna go?
Entrees and desert to share.
Fine dining or fast food?”
“I don’t really care.”

“How about some Italian?
And that wine tonight.”
“Umm, I don’t know.
I want something light.”

“Let’s get some Ramen.
The weather’s cool.”
“We just had it few weeks back.
Not really makin’ me drool.”

“We can do some other Asian,
You sure like Pad Thai.”
“I want something spicy.
It’s not in my top five.”

“Indian sounds good,
To stir up the flavor,”
“We eat that all the time.
Curry over and over.”

“How about Pizza or sandwich.
We shall get that fast.”
“But baby, I will be hungry again.
That definitely won’t last.”

“Just tell me what you want,
Enough of this game.”
“I knew you don’t care for me!
All your loving words are lame.”

“No babe, I am sorry!
We will do what you want.
We shall go out and eat.
Or I will cook if you shan’t.”

“Meh, I don’t wanna eat at home.
Let’s just go out.
You decide where to,
That I don’t wanna think about.”

The BAE suffers daily,
Driven nuts by a girlfriend or a wife.
I may be strong and independent,
But this is also the story of my life.

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Haah! This is me day in and day out! With the significant other or with friends, my story is the same. I hate having to decide anything, specially cuisine and place to eat. I have almost cried because I couldn’t decide and have also made a few people shed tears by saying NO to everything. My strong Libran characteristics make it worse for me.

I hear the same going on with Shawn and his GF. This was partly inspired by one of his stories the other day. 🙂

The xBF had come up with an interesting solution. He would start asking what I was absolutely not feeling like having and then would narrow it down. So I had no other drama to entangle him in. Smart guy, him.

Public note : Girls, please don’t get mad at me. This comes from true experiences, but there’s no generalization. All of you who can make up their minds in a snap, I bow down to thee. 😀

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.