Monday, April 01, 2013

It has happened

I have caved to intense peer pressure from the two people who regularly read and moved to wordpress. Sadly damelo is taken so I have reverted to my blogging roots. Also, I'm not 100% sure I like wordpress so I might come back. =D

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Isn't it ironic?

So yesterday was a very very eventful day in the history of the Clan of MinCat. My father is a do I put this mad. He and my mother's brother have this habit of bouncing around the house in the afternoons acting out strokes and bowling actions. Yes, really. Yes, they are 67. My sister won't ever wear her Tendulkar shirt because the one time she wore it, he got out on a duck and then we lost the match. My mother has once--a moment remembered with complete glee--hopped down the stairs on one leg while balle-balle-ing her arms to go buy chocolate because we beat Pakistan. My niece was throwing her hands up in the air with fingers pointed whenever anyone said sixer before she could stand.

I think you get the picture.

Now I, ever the changeling, have never really given a shit. I mean okay, when there's a big match on and everyone's excited and it's the last ten overs; when it's an excuse to faff off from work or studying, sure I've run about madly watching cricket and yelling and screaming. The child of the self proclaimed high priest of cricket, who is waiting for a form to ask him his religion so he can say cricket, I could not help but imbibe much information and awareness of the cricket world. And when I started work here, I ended up being assigned cricket books to copyedit since I actually know what an off-break is. And then it just stuck. So I ended up with cricket book after cricket book. I don't know if I blogged about my my immense rage towards SRT when he scored his damn hundredth century the day I was handing over the updated bio, a day that was a Saturday and then I went MAD trying to get an extra chapter in. There was the Bishan Singh bio by the world's most horrible man. There was the Harsha Bhogle columns reprint. And then there was the hundred centuries book, by a Hindi journalist and full of cricketer interviews, which meant I basically had to write it. And then we missed the date because we weren't ready to publish. Which is when inspiration struck.

We decided to rework the book, which was basically in the format of a writeup on each brilliant century and then another writeup on Sachin and the century by someone who had played with him, preferably in that match. We turned it into the ultimate Sachin tribute. The book is out in stores now, and really is one of a kind. But I shall not plug it here. Working on it was HELL because there was no system to the way things were stored and unless one knew instantly what the names of grounds were and so on one had no idea which order the chapters went and so on. I really went mad. Like seriously. HATRED. ANGER. In those days CB was still speaking to me, and kindly assisted me with some sorting, and of course I just called the priest every so often for consults.

Last evening, we had the book launch. It was thrown together in forty-eight hours by the author, and we were all skeptical about it, coming right after the launch of the Yuvraj Singh book, studded with luminaries of the cricket world. But it came together. And how.

Which brings me to the ultimate irony of MinCat, least cricket interested of the Clan of MinCat, meeting Both Sachin Tendulkar and M.S. Dhoni. The former looks 25 and REALLY needs a stylist. The latter looks 35, distinguished and REALLY HOT. Like YOWSA. Be still my throbbing ladybits. Sachin was there briefly, and once he left Dhoni took the stage. And left me so impressed. Such an articulate man. Such presence and good humor. Having promised to relax and give an interview, he just did it. He stayed an extra ten minutes, chatting with author's family, and when author's dad went up on stage to give him the book, he touched his feet. I have heard many people talk about the team, the nation etc, but I have never felt it ring with sincerity like it did when this guy talked o how he would help Dinesh Karthik get better at batting even though they were in competition for the wicketkeeper's position, because who cares, India has to win. So what if I have made 23 Test victories and dada has made 22--at the end of the day it's India's victories. When I retire I want to join the army. And go to the front. To the north-east and fight in the real wars.

I was left just a little starstruck--enough to breathlessly ask him to sign my book and gawp a bit when he smiled and handed me the pen he was using--which sadly was not mine. Of course clan MinCat is seething with joy and envy, and my sister, when told her birthday present now includes a Sachin autograph admitted it would be a hard present to top.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Life and those not in it

At Jaipur this year I met this girl. It was brief and drunken but she seemed fun. And then she added me on Facebook and we began to chat and it got funner. And so we hung out a bit. Which became a lot. And then I realized that I had met the person missing in my life. Well one of them anyway heh. She's my age, and has my problems. This hit me like a bolt when she began to tell hilarious stories of her misadventures in love and lust, and I listened to her wisecrack about the boys and what they said and what they did and how ridiculous it all was and I could hear and see myself in her. I could hear the hope that cynicism was trying to douse; I could see the despair that strength was trying to banish. And it melted me. And I rejoiced that I would finally have a friend who was:
1. A girl
2. My age
3. Physically present in my life
and most importantly
4. Would always always ALWAYS get where I came from without my having to explain it because she too was single, didn't want to be and came with her baggage of body image and weight.

Here was someone who would instantly understand the history behind a statement, and never ever say to me with the best of intentions and all the love in the world 'I wish I had your life' 'You don't know how painful it is to be married' 'God I miss being single' 'Don't worry you have time' 'You have such a great job' and all the other kind, well-intentioned and infuriating things most of my friends and well-wishers who fit the criteria of 1,2 and 3 usually say to me.

Of course there is a complication, which is largely my own fault but more on that another time. The point here is to articulate what it is I find so immensely frustrating about talking to my peers about my life, and what's not in it.

I started rereading Venetia today, a favourite Heyer of many aficionados I know, but one that has never captured my imagination. But somehow it did this time. So I wrote to my only school friend, with whom I bonded over Heyer after all, and who LOVES this one, to tell her I was reading it and it made me wonder if I'd ever find my Damerel. And she, who has her own host of problems and trouble of course, wrote back to say that Damerels don't exist, and we women are raised to think we need men, but only she's beginning to think we don't need them--they just exist to make us stronger. And for some reason that straw broke the camel's back and I proceeded to rant all over the poor girl.

You see, I was raised to think that I didn't need men at all--only I discovered that I do. And I'm not talking about boinkaboinka. Then I struggled with guilt for years for daring to be so weak and pathetic, before coming to terms with what I wanted, and understanding that everyone wants different things. Sometimes what we want is because of what we've got and haven't got and sometimes we just don't get what we want, and sometimes we get what we want and it's painful and horrible and not nice at all, but there's no way of knowing how it will turn out for anyone. My sister and I often end up unable to say anything to each other because she is immensely frustrated with her career, but she has a house, a husband and an enchanting child I never get to see enough of, and I have a life where I don't have to come home exhausted after a frustrating day at work and deal with tantrums and not have the option of eating Maggi cos I can't be arsed to cook and instead have to think of a healthy nutritious meal that I can put together in the time I have with the ingredients I have.

Maybe if I'd gotten married at 23, or any of my married friends who tell me this had gotten married at 31, we'd all have entirely different perspectives. Maybe we'd be happy if we switched lives, because of the people we are and have become. Maybe our discontents are a result of what we want and don't have making us ignore what we do have, and maybe they are to do with the people we are and what we really want from life. We'll never know. But I do know that the loneliness and emptiness of my life is painful and horrific and often too much to contemplate without losing it. Thinking that I might never have children, that when my parents die all my family will be 15000 miles away, that at the end of the day my bed will always be empty and I, the most physically expressive person I know, will live a life with very superficial physical contact--these things are not about needing men. These are about things that come with the package of relationships. If I could be gay I would try. It's not about a man. And its not about friends because one by one their priorities change--and I can't blame them for it either. How can you make time to just waste with someone when you barely have time to sleep because you're dealing with work, in laws, kids? Just like I can't blame those guys I was ranting about for suddenly not having the time and headspace for me, because they rightly devote them to their new relationships. How can I demand you don't hurt me this way when you are not hurting me; it's happening passively? And how can I wish for you to stay alone like me when I know what comes with it? But how can I not be hurt by it once again not being me and by once again being released into wider community than the close knit circle we were?

It is an innately human impulse to seek companionship, to settle down as it were, and the older I get the harder it is to deal with what feels increasingly like my inability to do so. I don't know where it stems from--me, society, dumb luck--I don't know how I can know; all I know is that it IS and I have to deal with it. And its harder to deal with when I can't be around couples (as has happened to me now) or I can't talk to people about it without having to defend so many things. I end up spending all my time with other single people, who are four years or more younger than I am, and that comes with its own attendant stress.

It's not easy to deal with the things one has to deal with in a relationship. But it's not easy to deal with my life either, unless you genuinely want to be alone. Which I don't. And sometimes it hurts me and frustrates me deeply the way people dismiss this difficulty, when I am well aware of and consciously acknowledge the difficulties in their lives. And it also hurts me how I am so bitter, how I can no longer feel unadulterated joy for the happiness in other people's lives, how pictures of my super juniors' babies on Facebook make me want to smash the screen, when I am truly happy for them.

But mostly it hurts me how I am constantly haunted by my life and those not in it.

EDIT: This song seems to help in a stopgap way =) Ironically OA introduced me to it so it, also, carries mixed feelings. Which makes it very apposite for my life after all...


**Disclaimer: I am not mad at you or ranting about you Kutti. This is just a rant of peeves.**

Following merrily in the able steps of The Bride and haathi, I am going to rant a bit about all the things that happen in my daily life that annoy the CRAP out of me.

  1. Answer your email goddamit! YES YOU! Yes you're super busy. But it takes five seconds to say okay 1pm. or I'm busy, remind me. Set a freaking template. In the workplace it's ridiculously unprofessional. ESPECIALLY INTERDEPARTMENTAL. Don't make me start that petition to have a rule where we tell your boss if you haven't responded in 24 hours. And in your personal life, it's disrespectful. Plus it removes all right you have to whine about people not staying in touch with you.
  2. Be on time! If you know you're always going to get into the meeting at 1045 not 1030 THEN WAKE UP FIFTEEN MINUTES EARLIER! If you know it takes you 20 minutes in no traffic if you get an auto the second you walk out the door, then LEAVE THIRTY MINUTES BEFORE YOU HAVE TO BE THERE!
  3. If you are late, DON'T LIE! BBot used to do this all the time and it drove me MAD! 'I'm just leaving baby', which meant he was in his boxers smoking the second last cigarette before he showered. It's SO disrespectful! You're a paploo whose time has no value so yeah I'll string you along. GRRRRRRR. 
  4. Return calls! Especially if you are in a relationship with someone, call them a dear friend, they gave birth to you or supported you emotionally/financially for no reason other than that they are related to you or you live with someone. Again. IT TAKES FIVE SECONDS! If you're so stressed out by being accessible to people then DON'T HAVE A CELL PHONE! Tell people to email you/call a landline/use smoke signals. But if you have a cell phone then CALL PEOPLE BACK.
  5. Soak your dishes! Heck I'll settle for pick them up and stick em in the sink. You can always tell people who have had to do a lot of dishes in their life, because they ALWAYS put thei dishes away in the sink, scraped AND rinsed. 
  6. BOYS! Yeah this one I don't even need to explain do I? Heh. Seriously though, WHAT is it with boys who call every weekend and call you dear friend and best friend and worry about what you think about the people in their lives and ask for advice and help and take the time and love you gladly give, ask you to make plans with them, but then the second they start seeing someone, KABOOM! Gone!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Dating Desert

The other day (okay long ago), my boss began to discuss her cousin who is trying to get married. She said the girl was trying all the matrimonial websites, and really making an effort to meet people and so on, and it was really quite difficult for her. This girl is 26, btw. She's also smart and pretty, though dark-skinned, which is as much a cross to bear in the arranged market as my weight and age are. Anyway, the conversation led to dating and men and suchlike things, and then my boss said, 'All my guy friends my age are single. (She's 36) Oh, no wait, X just started seeing someone and Y is coming out of his divorce...' and so on. And it hit me! There's a window!

For urban Indian women today, you meet guys in college, and then when you start working. Lots of us meet them in B-school, or whatever postgraduate things we do. You meet them by the time you're about 25 or so and then you get married by the time you're about 28 or so. The interesting thing here is that, if you haven't met a guy by the time you're 28 or so, you suddenly realize that all the fun guys, all the guys you went to school and college with, all the guys you'd like to date are already long-term dating/engaged/married. This is not to say that there aren't single guys in your age group--it's just that they're all single for a reason. Usually one of the following:

1. Commitment phobe
2. Brutally dumped by someone and therefore has trust issues
3. Hopelessly in love with someone who is married
4. Deep issues, like The Architect, who needed a shrink and maybe even medication (this does not mean that someone with a mental illness is not dateable, it just means they need to be taking treatment!)
5. All-round player: oo look new shiiiinnnnyyyyy!

So then you are left with no choice but to date younger guys, except, if you, like me, are looking to settle down etc, the younger guy is at least the age difference plus two years behind you on that track. So then what? Then you wait, and once you're thirty-five, all the divorced guys start to appear.

I looked back at my life and thought about this, and I realized this is rather true. At 27, when I'd found my first relationship, I was so sure that I could hold out for more. But in the two years since my break-up, I'm beginning to see that the possibilities I had 27 no longer exist. I did not see this at that age, and perhaps i went about rejecting guys on the basis of things that I now think of as eminently adjustable to. My boss, when we had this conversation last year, told me how sh had also not really met a dateable guy in ages, and now, she's 36, she has. Not that that's evidence per se, but yeah. I now go around earnestly imploring all the young people I know to be very sure they're breaking up because they really don't think it'll work, not cos of some rather solveable problem. Or at least to prepare to cross the dating desert and hope they'll make it to the other side optimism and faith in humanity intact.

Monday, March 11, 2013


(Wheee two months!)

I was deep in serious conversation with the Object of Affections the other day and he said something that precipitated an epiphany around a subject The Bride and I have been debating for a very long time. 'I've always thought I'm pretty self-sufficient,' he said, 'but I have realized I'm really lonely.' And then it all came to me in a big whump--what the fuck does that even mean?

When someone says they're self sufficient, or they "don't NEED anybody" (as Lithium is very fond of saying whenever I am feeling particularly insecure of my place in his life), what exactly do they mean? I've poked and prodded and probed and usually it seems to come down to 'I won't make myself vulnerable to anyone'. On the face of it, that's a pretty worthy ambition to have. If you're not vulnerable, then you can't be devastated by someone (which is usually what's happened to make people wary of letting it happen again). This makes eminent sense. Only, it is also fairly impossible.

Think about it. What does it mean to be completely emotionally independent? Does it mean that you never call anyone when you're having a bad day? A good day? A bleh day? Does it mean you never think of any person when you need comfort? Does it mean you never show your emotions to another person? And, most importantly, in the case of people who say they have always been like this, does it mean you never have done any of these things?

For most of us, we have some sort of bond with our families. Maybe only one parent, maybe a sibling.We had at some point, a best friend, a gang of brats we played gully cricket with. A cousin who visited one summer and we spent hours talking to. A first love. A latest love. Homo sapiens is a social species. That's how it is defined; that's how it evolved and that's WHY it evolved. So why must we constantly try and deny this? There are some people who have has horrific lives of abuse and loss and they cannot say they had these things, and we tend to see that as tragic. Then why do we act like this is something we actively want to encourage, like it's a state of being that should be worked towards?

Because we're terrified. Heck I'm terrified. I live in a constant state of low-grade terror--that occasionally spikes up to high grade terror--because of the number of people I am vulnerable to. But somewhere along the way I realized the vulnerability is the flip side of love. In some ways the definition of loving someone IS giving them the capacity to hurt you. And they usually do, but that doesn't mean they don't love you, or even that they meant to. Sometimes, as happened with Boytoy recently, when he decided he's ready to find a real girlfriend and move out of our fake relationship, it's entirely incidental and even you know it. And you know, all the naysayers who told me this was a mistake because he was going to move on and I'd be hurt will be nodding right now, only if I hadn't let this happen I would never have had all the love he does give me still.

But I digress (as always heh). So what happens is there is a whole generation of people who hold their "self-sufficiency" high like a flag and drown alone in their loneliness, because they cannot even admit to themselves that they ARE lonely, let alone begin to do something to make life better. And that's what I told OA. How can it be strange for a thirty-year old, like me, to feel the pull of companionship? In my case, I would really love to make a plan that doesn't have to come with an inbuilt potential date of termination. In my case, when I'm plummeting to the depth of the pit where my demons live, how can I not want a hand to hold, a warm body breathing steadily next to me, or even in the next room? How can we persist in believing that this is abnormal and weak? There is no shame in needing companionship, in seeking a partner, in "settling" because you don't want to be alone. We are not programmed to be alone--we're just telling ourselves that because we're scared.

As for the the other ways to look at self-sfficicency, The Bride has done an excellent job of summarizing our views.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Weverb12 #23 communicate [LISTEN]

Describe a conversation that you had this year. Why was it memorable?

I'm sure I have had many conversations this year that were interesting, engaging and possibly even life or thought altering. And of course, most of them were with The Bride, as she says here (shameless me plug hee). Some were with Chocolate Boy, who has turned out to have been possibly Big Mistake of 2012, because of sigh him not talking to me anymore for no reason I can fathom. Several were with Amma, some with Scoo, and plenty with a random selection of people across the board. But if i were to look back and think of a conversation that I can point to and say this, yes this very conversation changed my life dramatically, it would have to be the one I had with OW, The Bride and S.

S is a friend from the days at Toilet, except he wasn't really a friend. He worked in the same team as I did, our tiny group of ten, and we had a ton of friends in common. But--he later explained this to me--he doesn't socialize with people in his team, so always remained slightly douchebaggy and distant. I ignored him. Then one day in 2010, I ran into him in a bar in CP completely unexpectedly and we made polite conversation. He disappeared again. Then, one day in July I saw something on his Facebook about living in Delhi and asked if he was here. Very enthuly he replied and said let's get a drink, which we did, since 1. I can't say no, 2. I was DESPERATE for friends and 3. Any excuse to drink.

Our hour-long quick drink became three hours and five drinks and so began a lovely friendship involving alcohol and hilarity. The thing I liked most about S was that fact that he had that trait I call Hyderabadi, where anything goes. You want to hang out and I'm having dinner with a friend? Come! That super openminded welcoming attitude doesn't exist in Delhi, and I really appreciated having the security of convivial company when I needed it. He was relaxed and tolerant, and would happily talk about anything, and felt no need to talk exclusively about what interested him, which again is super rare.

Then The Bride came to visit and I drummed up drinking company--after all the girl hadn't had a nice desi out drinking with friends in dive bar scene for so long hee. OW and S both came, and OW displayed some startlingly adolescent behaviour--which should have warned me, but sigh I must always believe the best of people. And we ended up, OW, The Bride, S and I, in my house till 3am, having a long ideological discussion on gender and and identity politics. And throughout that conversation I would find myself opening my mouth to say something, only S would say it instead. Or I would say something and he'd nod frantically and say 'EXACTLY!' And I discovered over the course of that conversation that this man (yes, man, not boy) is a revelation. He is actually everything I would want in a partner--not because we agree, but because we seem to approach things the same way, with the same mindset and attitude; because we both believe in live and let live, and persuasion, not yelling. I cringe as I say this, but he was kinda like the male version of The Bride.

Starting that conversation, I began to see all these sides to him I never knew existed and (you know where this is going...) today he is a very dear friend, and of course the object of my affections. And well, the object of HIS affections is his girlfriend of ten years. Yay MinCat, I sure know how to pick em. Though I should be glad this one is wrong only because of said girlfriend--nothing to do with who he is, which is usually the problem!