Tag Archive | love

Is he Prince Charming? Maybe not!


Most women when asked about qualities they look for in a partner you hear things like smart, successful, tall, handsome, well educated, ambitious, etc. Thinking carefully about it now, I realize how none of these are important or remotely helpful in choosing a partner you are genuinely going to be happy with. 

To me the most important qualities are also the most under rated – sensitivity and sensibility. How tall or successful your partner is not help your relationship sail through if he doesn’t know how to understand and empathize. 

I believe the importance of these qualities are amplified in a family situation especially if you are a woman. In every society, tending and caring for the kids and the home is seen to be the woman’s job. With such ingrained and unspoken stereotypes it becomes more important to have a sensible man by your side. You need someone who can challenge the norm and ask himself “Does this have to be a Mommy thing” or take the backseat by saying “Mom’s are better at it”. To build a true partnership, it takes logic, empathy and coming forward to take more responsibility . 

A number of people I know are frustrated because they cannot find a partner but most if not all don’t even look to be in a relationship where you do justice to the word “partner”. A lot of times especially in Asian arranged marriages, when true partnership is discussed at the start of the relationship people ween out and say is something they wouldn’t be OK with. They tend to want that woman who comes on all those vacuum cleaner or baby food adverts on television.

Unfortunately, I have seen this hesitation or even hostility towards shared responsibility come from highly educated, well respected men in society who have dream jobs and perfect careers. At this point I can’t help but dismally wonder what will bring about the shift in thinking if education couldn’t…

My advice, if he is not sensitive or sensible  then don’t waste your time. He is one of the many toads you come across before finding your Prince Charming. Keep calm and move on…

Disclaimer : I don’t in any way mean to imply that this train of thought is only among Asian men but I don’t think it would be right to speak about other groups when I or my friends don’t have any personal experiences. 

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Drawing the line


line-in-the-sand

Drawing the line between bending and bending until you break, that is what I am going to take a stab at. Though it may sound like its an easy distinction but when in a relationship, it really isn’t. The world is jaundiced with our obscure theoretical view of “love”.

This theoretical view of love bothers me… No, it doesn’t just bother me, it outright annoys me. People idolize and idealize love, they make you want to believe that differences don’t matter and truck loads of turd. Our literature, music and movies  ingrain this concept into us and this couldn’t be further from reality. If you hear anyone who says “Love is enough” (I am sure you will) punch them in the face if you can because this is one of those trashy lines you should just dismiss!

I think its unfortunate that people go starry-eyed and dump logic behind this theoretical love and ruin any shot they have at real happiness. When I was thinking this way, I thought maybe I am just emotionally numb but on reading Mark Manson’s article ‘Love is not enough’ I just felt re-assured that I’m not emotionally disabled. One of my favorite lines from the above article is “It’s possible to fall in love with somebody who sucks for us and our happiness.” and it hits you hard especially if you have something to relate to.

There is a fine line between adjusting and sacrificing yourself in the name of love – you’ve got to discover and define that for yourself else you’re going to be bruised through the whole relationship drill. This is one of those phases where you should dismiss what most people say because their views are tainted by the theoretical starry-eyed love. Love will not fix the underlying issues you have in your relationship. It may seem odd but I relate Taylor Swift’s line “Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes” with this thought.

You’ve got to sit down for yourself and decide where you want to draw that line between adjusting & self-sacrificing and there is no right place for it. Its what suits you the best.

Love, bliss and shining stars


Selfless love, bliss and shining stars are terms I’ve always heard and cringed a bit. For those of you who know me know I am not a mushy person. Never would I’ve thought that I would put up with someone’s shit and still love them. But as always I was proven wrong…

Expression of ‘selfless love’ is unique at different ages & phases of our journey. I think mine came at the age of 20 when my first niece was born. Kyra took over my position of being the baby in the family. In fact, the first day I met her, she was this tiny package of sheer perfectness. Seeing her that day I just couldn’t close my eyes and miss a moment of admiring how flawlessly beautiful she was. Of course, the next morning wasn’t great but I think it was totally worth it !

I lived with her for her first 2 years and I can without any doubt say those have been the best! Each day was a new lesson with her. My first lesson came in week 1 with her, it was when I realised that it is in fact possible to clean someones shit (literally) and still love them more each day. That’s when it struck me selfless love can have simple and humble beginnings like this. I know this may come across as shallow and even trivial to some people but this is the strongest emotion I have experienced.

The best things always come to you for short periods of time and so was my experience of living with her on a day-to-day basis. Kyra, I wish I could watch you grow up each day and spend all my time teaching you things and warning you of every personal failure so you can sail through this journey of life. Having said that, I assure you the distance will not save you from me chewing your ear advising you and teaching you everything even if it is not in person.

As you grow up and face challenges of your own, I want you to know there are a lot of us looking out for you. I cannot promise to have all the solutions to your problems but what I can promise is to be a patient listener. To be there for you if you need to make any 3am calls or sharing things without the fear of being judged. I assure you there is nothing at all that can change the way I feel about you in this whole wide world. 🙂

But I have to warn you there is a one thing I cannot promise you. There is a price to pay for all of that abundant love (selfless love is a bit overrated huh?). I cannot promise you that I wont be that crazy aunt who embarrasses by hugging, kissing & chasing you in front of your friends.

In the end of this post, I want you to know you were the one who taught me how to love and what being blissfully happy means. Not like I haven’t already embarrassed you enough, but I will still go ahead and say you were, are and always will be my shining star!

KyraGuga

Water for Elephants


waterForElephantsIn essence this is clichéd love triangle where a guy meets a girl. She plays a damsel in distress and the guy rescues her from her evil husband. I know this doesn’t in the least sound new or exciting but I have to confess that an unusual setting and a great narrative is all it takes to make even such a clichéd story line gripping and  entertaining.

This story is set in the post war depression period in the US. Jacob who is a medical student at Cornell university – studying to be a vet. He looses his parents in a car accident and doesn’t have a home or money for tuition. In a moment of daze he leaves he climbs onto a train which happens to be the Benzini Brothers circus train. Soon he finds himself as the vet for the exotic animals there.

The circus here reveals something dark and grim under the glamorous and entertaining appearance. When the number of people on the train grew more than its capacity or if some employees suffered from incurable diseases due to contamination, the solution was to simply execute them by pushing them off the moving train.

Another classic example for this is Marlena’s marriage to August. On the exterior their marriage is rosy and picture perfect. August seems charming, caring and more. But on looking a little deeper you realize the reality isn’t quite this. Marlena suffers in the relationship as August is a schizophrenic – she eloped from home for the charming August who in reality did not exist. Not having a home to go back to, Marlena silently suffered in this dysfunctional relationship. And then Jacob comes along and there is an instant attraction and rescues her.

Overall, this is a good read. But like I said earlier the main story line is not unheard of but the setting in a larger than life post-war US circus is a winner. Another positive is the narration – the whole story is narrated by Jacob who is in his 90s and in a nursing home. A casual summer read – not something that will knock your socks off.

Overall verdict : 3.5/5

Beneath a marble sky


marbleHistoric fiction has come to be one of my most loved genres and I couldn’t help but fall in love with this book. This tale has everything that a great story has – battles, victories, romance, politics, greed, lust and more. Hailing from India and never having visited Agra or seen the Taj Mahal this book has made my urge to visit Agra more fierce.

As a chapter in history we have read about Shah Jahan building this architectural marvel of a mausoleum in loving memory of his wife and also about the wrath of Aurangzeb and his succession to the throne. But never have given such a first-person (though fictional) thought to the process.

The story is narrated by Princess Jahanara who is the daughter of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. She is intelligent, witty, a hopeless romantic, brave and knows the rules of politics and power. As a child she learned a lot from her mother Mumtaz who herself was a kind and intelligent women. Other important characters are Jahanara’s two brothers – Prince Dara & Prince Aurangzeb. Dara was to be king in succession is portrayed to be kind and open to all religions while Prince Aurangzeb is someone whose greed for the Peacock Throne and conservative interpretations of the Koran portray him as insensitive and brutal.

Meanwhile, Jahanara is married off for political reasons and loathes her husband. He is everything she despises – insensitive, does not respect women, illiterate and crass. During a childbirth Mumtaz passes away. After her demise, Shah Jahan becomes inconsolable and lost in grief. He decides to build a mausoleum for Mumtaz and asks Jahanara to head the project. This is where she met her Isa, her lover.

Jahanara suspects Aurangzeb’s intentions to succeed to the throne and overthrow his father and does her best to warn and prepare Dara but unfortunately that doesn’t have quite the ideal outcome. Aurangzeb kills Dara and imprisons Shah Jahan and succeeds to the throne. Jahanara manages to escape and leads one of those ‘happily ever after’ fairy tale endings.

My favourite character of the book is Ladli – who is Jahanara’s gorgeous, witty and loyal Hindu friend. She comes to Jahanara’s aide when the Peacock Throne needs her. Her language and use of expletives just cracked me up. She adds some more colour to the already wonderful tale. This book is a must read! Entertaining and gripping all at the same time.

Overall verdict: 5/5

Lovers and Liars


A passionate love affair. A happy young family. And a successful 30-year marriage.

But which one will be destroyed by the truth?

Sophie and her sister, Jess, grow up knowing that a few little lies are necessary: You look great. It was only a joke. He’s just stressed. It doesn’t matter. Everything’s fine.

Everybody does it, don’t they?

But what about the big lies – about love, power and money? When Sophie discovers her father’s secret, and Jess falls in love with the charismatic Jake, Sophie has to look at her own life again. Should she keep quiet or tear her family apart with the truth?

And if she tells, who will pay the ultimate price?

I picked this book for casual light-hearted reading whilst travelling to work everyday as I did not want a rather heavy subject to be thrusted upon me. The title and the prelude suggested that the book was about relationships and betrayals, in short a family drama. I expected the subject to be rather something for easy reading which wasn’t the case. This book deals with the issue of domestic abuse.

The plot revolves around a British family of 4 based in London. The family includes Paige, Bill, Sophie and Jess. Paige is the main character of this story who is the victim of domestic abuse and doesn’t realize how she has been manipulated and exploited over the years. She does everything possible to save her marriage with Bill. He is an arrogant manipulative man who has a construction business and needs to in-control of everything and everyone. Sophie is their elder daughter, who is portrayed as a typical pretty, spoilt, popular girl. She feels responsible of taking care of everyone when in reality, she is the one who needs help in taking the right decisions. Jess on the other hand is a tom-boyish rebellious daughter which is a very big contrast when compared to her lovely sister. In the book, Jess’ character has shown a great spirit in taking decisions being independent and ‘thinking of herself’ which some members in her family are unable to do.

Sophie discovers Bill and his accountant Anthea Jones are having an affair and is in a fix whether or not to tell Paige about it. She tries to convince herself that she was blowing things out of proportion and that they had developed a personal comfort level with each other due to working together for long hours. Eventually the whole family finds out about this affair which Bill manages to very conveniently defy.

Bill is someone you can hate through the length of the book. He mistreats his wife, is an alcoholic. Does all the threatening in an extremely smart manner, spies on his wife, does everything to control her, criticizes her, ensures she has no friends, etc ,etc. Poor little Paige thinks he is just ‘under stress’ because of business is in trouble. Slowly she finds out the truth behind his behaviour. The manner in which the thought process of Paige has been showcased is great. How she makes the revelation that she indeed is the victim of domestic abuse, that her husband is not merely ‘under stress’ but a fanatical control freak and liar. I believe these are the most interesting and gripping parts of the book after which the unexpectedness of the book is rather low. You seem to be in a position to guess the ending which was rather a let down to me.  Overall a good read.

Final Verdict: 3.5/5

Sarson ka saag and Makki ki Roti


For those of you who don’t know this is a famous Indian dish that is typical to Punjabi’s. Sarson ka saag refers to the leaves of the Mustard plant and Makki ki rotti is an Indian bread made out of Corn.

Ingredients:
Sarson ka saag(Mustard Greens)           1kg
Fenugreek leaves (Methi)                     250gm
Spinach                                                    250gm
Green chillies                                 3-4 in number
Ginger(chopped)                                  4tbsp
Garlic(chopped)                                   4tbsp
Salt                                                        to taste
Red Chilly powder                              to taste
Onions(diced)                             3-4 medium sized
Tomatoes(diced)                        3-4 medium sized
Oil/Ghee

One of the following depending on choice :
Turnip                                                        250gm
Baathu (Goosefoot/Fat-hen)                 250gm

Chop the Mustard Greens, Spinach, Fenugreek leaves, and one of the optional ingredients. Next, add these and ginger, garlic and salt to boiling water. Once boiled, grind it to get a green paste.

Next, in a pan heat some oil add the finely chopped onions and fry them until golden brown. Next add the chopped tomatoes and red chilly powder and cook until the oil leaves the bottom of the pan. Finally, add this to the green paste and bring to a boil. Add some extra butter or ghee before serving.

For makki ki roti mix powdered corn and wheat flour in a 3:1 propotion and knead the dough. Make sure it is not very soft as it may make the process of making the roti extremely tough. Using only corn flour (please note it isn’t cornflour that I am referring to, it is powdered corn ) would make it impossible to make roti. Wheat flour is added to help it bind better. This cannot be normally rolled using a rolling pin (belna) as it does not hold well together. You would need to do it by hand. This is a bit of an art… Still learning from my Mom! 🙂 Cook this like a regular roti (with a little extra butter/ghee).

Hope you all enjoy your saag and makki ki roti!

“Gunjan- Isn’t that a guys name?”


My my! The questions that have been stalking me all twenty one years of my life are “Whats your name again?”,” Isn’t that a guys name?”…. This post just displays an individual frustrated with the same questions over and over again! I am hoping this tells people that GUNJAN IS A GIRLS NAME!

The whole wide world is okay when both girls and guys have names like Krishna, Surya or Kiran. But when they hear GUNJAN sabke paet mein dard kyon hoti hai?!?!  Aaaaarrrrrgggghhh! This is the something that has been annoying me all my life! Even as a kid I got fed up of people calling me weird variations of my name Kunjan, Kunchan, JUNJAN (that was the worst! ). It is totally annoying when people ask your name 10 times and then say ‘isn’t it a guys name?’. My first instinct is “BUZZ OFF!!!”. These people who say all this talk like they are masters in the language and know which word is feminine and which is masculine.

So for the information of all those people who are still not convinced… Gunjan is a feminine word!

Just for evidence sake I am citing this Hindi song “Bhawaron KI Gunjan” starring Randhir Kapoor and his wife Babita. Please pay attention it is ‘Bhawron KI Gunjan’ not ‘Bhwaron Ka Gunjan’…

As a kid I was frustrated that my family had to give me a name which came along with soo much explanation and confusion.As is a known fact that you tend to enjoy hard earned things more than what you take for granted! So fighting for my name actually got me more attached to it. And today I totally absolutely LOVE my name! (No I am not acting like the Kareena Kapoor of Jab we met but I LOVE it!!!! 😛 )…

I found another similar article and it is for a name Shrinidhi and here is the link to it…

I am hoping that the readers will think twice before asking questions anyone like “Isnt that a guys name again?”….

East Vs West- Dilemma’s of a NRI


I don’t know how this thought came up but I do think it was interesting one…. This is not about why we ape the west or the cliched stuff! It is just about the differences…. That’s why I call it Dilemma’s of a NRI! 😛

Something I have never been able to understand about the way the human mind perceives things is that, why it always plunges to look for differences before discovering similarities? This makes the statement ‘humans are innately social’ sound plausible. If we humans were innately social beings, then wouldn’t we be looking for things that would help me identify with someone instead of the those that don’t? I just don’t seem to understand this!

(FYI, I am a north Indian born and brought up in South) For instance, when I meet someone from the south of India, they call me a North Indian while in the north i am known as a Madrasi. Who am I really? People in the south think I am not one of their kind while people in the north feel the same way. If this is the case in migrating from one part of the country to another, imagine migrating to another country all together! Phew! Another dilemma of a NRI, that which relates to what we love to have a big fat ego about-identity…

Ok, moving on… The next in the list is Arranged vs Love.This may not seem significant to a non-Indian but it makes a world of a difference here in India. Traditionally, a spouse is chosen by the family of the bride/groom. Many non-Indians have appreciated this because even if things dont go your way you always have your family to bank on and you WONT have to have sessions of  “See… I told you” ‘s… It does remove the risk factor involved but what’s the fun! 😀 😛

Next being Wash Vs Wipe! 😛 Some people from the west are completely baffled seeing a bucket and a mug in the restroom and wonder its use while people from rural parts of the country do not get the logic of having paper in the toilet! Such a wide gulf even in following nature’s MOST basic rules…

Buckets Vs showers!
The MIGHTY Indian Bucket is the cynosure yet again! This is a mighty contender of essentials when it comes to the daily Indian routine. Even when it comes to the daily activity of bathing, the bucket makes its presence felt. Quite the contrary most english bathrooms lack this and rely heavily on showers.

Hand Vs Spoon
Coming to eating habits now… The desi Indian would any day prefer eating with their hand rather than using spoons, forks and knives… Even for me hunger is satiated only when I eat with my hand… I am a true DESI at heart! 😛
On the other side, the west beliefs are it is unhygienic!

There are a lot of other differences but I guess I will stop here. If you can come up with any others let me know…

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