Don’t fall in love with a guy who kisses you on the forehead. Do not fall in love with a guy who inspires you to be more than who you are.
Who tells you on your face that you are wrong but still continues to love you. Don’t fall in love with a guy who will answer your call even at 12 in the night and make sure that you are okay.
Do not fall in love with a guy who simply accepts your life, friends and friendships and never questions you on them. Do not fall in love with a guy who can be Romeo and come down just to see you and nothing else. Do not fall in love with a guy with whom you CAN have long conversations – that are non romantic. Do not fall in love with a guy who listens and who shares his dreams with you and seeks your opinion on matters that concern him. Do not fall in love with a guy who is transparent.
Don’t even think of falling in love with a guy who lets you hold his hand and also holds yours and walks forward, as he realizes his and you realize your dreams…. because when you fall in love with a man of such character, irrespective of whether he stays in love with you or not, irrespective of whether life takes you apart or not, you will never come back and be the same. You will struggle to be completely and entirely independent because his love will have changed you. Either you keep him forever, or do not fall in love with such a man at all.
It’s 10.30 p.m. and my friends call me, “Hey! We’re coming to pick you. Tea treat!”
“Sure! What’s the occasion?” I ask.
And my question is answered as I get into the car and we start talking.
“That’s like an arranged marriage turning into a love story?” I conclude, after hearing a detailed version of how a friend fell in love with the girl he went to see for an arranged marriage. We all rejoice but only before one strange interaction.
Someone comments, “But you know what! We just can’t meet like this once we’re married.” The girls look at each other. “Sure” we say, marriage does shift priorities. It’s obvious to be busy and occupied once married.
But strangely the conversation shifts gears and all of a sudden the guys are talking about all the permissible limits of our friendships as though friendship with women is more like a drug – not allowed post marriage. I start to feel a little uncomfortable.
After all, weren’t these the same guys we grew up with? Can we so easily over look the many years of school or college or work – the various walks from where we women, know the men in our lives – and simply accept an instruction to tone down our warmth and affections?
The weather is suddenly more chilly. Someone brings us all Tea and we hold the cups in hand to re-construct warmth on a chilly December, winter evening.
One of the guys, once again starts to speak of an “All guys trip”
The girls look at eachother as they animatedly make plans.
“Hello!” we say, “aren’t we a part of the plans?”
“But once we (the guys) are married, we won’t get a chance to travel together and have fun. You girls should understand.”
And instantly I feel two things.
With the men getting married, they want us to know that they can’t really be ‘friends’ with the girls, the way they were before.
With the men getting married, they don’t want the girls to be a part of the plans, trips, get-togethers they’re planning, somewhat in preparation for a married life ahead.
And the ‘dost-dost-na-raha’ feeling stares in the face.
I am close to 27 now and my standards of finding a partner, are high. I must first fall in love and be convinced enough to marry. But that’s my personal life and my choice.
Being a single woman or a woman not married yet, does not mean that we’re likely of pinning intangible expectations on people we know!
My friendship with the men in my life is irrespective of their commitment or marital status. And that’s simply because – friendship is different and romantic love, different.
And then again, we do love the people in our lives, don’t we? And how do you express the love and affection you feel for people, when they aren’t birth – siblings? Like I love my sister. I give her a hug. I love my friend, I give him or her a hug. Aren’t friends, to some extent, close to siblings?
Friends are the people we grow old with. Sure, we have spouses and partners and cousins – but friends are peers. And so, should a change in relationship status reflect upon your associations with others?
Being a feminist, and someone who has forever lived in a male-world, I somehow always surpass gender in my associations. Sure I have learnt of “ways of men” and I know of a language that I may never speak, but I accept them the way they are and see no difference in my friendship extended to men.
The discussions on a guys-only-vacation start to ensue once again: On chats, groups, meet-ups and once again I find myself revolting to the very idea.
I think we as women, understand. We understand other women. We understand that women would like their men to be committed and ask me on any day, and that is exactly what I will advocate to any guy friend in my life.
But, when your friendship dates back in years and months, knowing eachother as individuals, growing professionally, personally and emotionally – then must gender come in the way at all?
One of the girls chirps in, “Apsara, you know what! We’re all going to be the same before and after marriage, it’s the guys who are going to change. Bidai ladkon ki ho rahi hai.” (We’re giving away the guys in marriage. )
I do totally respect and understand that friendship always has to be two ways – if the guys don’t want to keep it, it’s not going to exist.
And that again raises two points:
What are the ethics of friendship if it is “okay” now and “not okay” after being committed?
If that’s the case, then one must not encourage anything that cannot be explained to our future partners.
There is this strange scene I remember from one of my favorite TV series: Ally Mc Beal, Where she talks to her roommate saying “I feel a sense of commitment to my future partner, even before I have met him”. All though the statement is weird, it does ring a sense of truth.
Does the guy have a say or not?
I remember having this discussion with a girl-friend once and she said “I think he would need to put his foot down and tell both the women that they matter and they better cope with the fact that they hold different but significant value in his life. I think…. That’s a step the guy needs to take, make and walk.”
And that brings me back to my disappointment with society! Yes…. now the matter has escalated and I ask a greater question: despite so many years that we have come as a society, we still face these challenges of perception.
I remember my early twenties, where an over intrusive admirer had a problem with every male individual in my life. He was almost a stalker and he called me once, while I was meeting a friend.
Stalker: Where are you?
Girl: Umm xyz place.
Stalker: What are you doing there?
Girl: Umm discussing work with abc.
Stalker: How can you be at xyz with a guy?
Stalker: I am coming there.
Stalker: Why are you here?
Girl: <No answer because the stalker deserves no explanation>
Girl <in the head> : Because my friends are the ones who have stood by me through years of test and times of struggle, they have shared my joys and offered a hand – in love and friendship. And HENCE – I am here.
And perhaps I am too ambitious to expect the same answer from all the men in my life.
To expect that they place our friendship at the same degree, level and stature as I do – as women do in general – without the gender coming in the way
Of course we have our own little things – the girls night outs, conversations and to-do lists. And the guys certainly have a lot more of that – the guys parties, the bike rides at 2 am and other things – which the girls are not a part of. And that is fine.
But what stings a bit, slightly, is the idea … of letting go, in advance…. For reasons that are best unsaid. That’s what pricks!
And that takes me back to the ideas of Love that I have frequently discussed in the past years – love must happen, we must grow and evolve. We should be open to idea of Love and in a similar way, in friendship with gender differences, we should be open to idea of letting go.
Yes, I am open to the idea of letting go – just as I am open to the idea of falling in love or living single based on circumstances. If the men in our lives have women who are not comfortable with us, then the possibilities of friendship taking a backseat arises. (I am talking about people not having time. That’s fine. My best friends I haven’t spoken to in ages but I know the friendship stands) But if the women respect eachother and role of friendship in the lives of their men – would a healthy, beautiful relationship, friendship and extended family not be possible?
It strangely gives me a feeling of women being typecast – I am telling, that’s not true. The woman you love will never be insecure if you love her enough.
It all depends on the way WE conduct our relationships.
I am taking the liberty of quoting another friend’s girlfriend here. (A story very close to my heart and couple whose kids I am going to spoil :p)
My friend had stopped talking to me over certain misconceptions. And my repeated requests to understand the problem had failed. Eventually, after months of void, I received a letter from him reviving our friendship. It was his partner who has encouraged him to do so.
In a private conversation with her one day, when I thanked her for being understanding and considerate in encouraging my friendship with her partner, despite barely knowing me as a person, she said – I could see what an inspiring companionship you both shared. And I must respect that. Had I had friends who were male and had I shared similar rapport with them, would I not expect my boyfriend to understand and accept the friendships?
She moved me with her beautiful words because I know how much that friendship mattered to me.
On another day, I was to make a movie with a very dear friend. We’d once been founding members of a youth group, today we were meeting once again over a common goal. I desperately wanted to make the film and once he read the script, he loved it. We began work but repeatedly faced hurdles.
On one anxious day, I came across content that had striking resemblance to my piece of writing. I panicked and frantically tried to reach my friend over facebook chat. When I couldn’t get his response, I created a group chat adding his girlfriend and whining about the unexpected situation.
Within seconds she replied – Dear Apsara, relax and have faith in your work. I am sure the two of you are very talented and are going to do a remarkable job with the film. You must remain composed, irrespective of the fact that certain situations aren’t in our hands. I am sure when you make the film, it will be unbeatable. Trust me, it’s a very strong act.
The film is yet to be made, but what filled my heart with even more optimism was the fact that my friend’s girlfriend turned out to be the most mature 😀 handling both of us and encouraging a positive perspective and action plan.
These women, individuals in themselves, understand.
These women, us women, we understand: and that’s where women are beautiful.
On the threshold of 27, I see so many of my girlfriends married and many turned mothers – they are busy – raising their husbands and children (:p) BUT, I still haven’t lost them. Yes, we cried on the wedding day…. And we did all that drama for the women…. But strangely, and painfully, seems like it’s the MEN we’re bidding goodbyes to.
As we finish off with tea and head back home, I remain silent.
While the men prepare for marriage, it’s not that the single-women-friends are waiting to cling on and ‘be the same’. For the single, individual, even moderately ambitious woman, we are NOT dependant on men and we will certainly NOT intrude on married life spaces. That I must receive the disclaimers, saddens! A little bit of my heart breaks there…. And the tea is JUST not enough.
I make myself a cup of tea and call a friend – I tell him I am disappointed.
He laughs. He asks me:
If you were committed, would you really want to hang out with your group as much, plan trips of travel with your friends and do things without your spouse or partner?
And I answer with puzzlement, “Why wouldn’t I?”
Perhaps my expectations from life are far too ambitious – but yes, if and when I am committed, I would
expect my partner to understand the associations in my life – the ones that have molded me and made me, Me. I will expect him to have his friendships and let me have mine. I would love for the circles to mix and blend and make one huge, harmonious family – but even if that does not happen, I doubt I’ll trade one set of relationships for another. I think the beauty and the challenge lies in balance and understanding.
Perhaps it’s a long shot for me, but for my married and committed friends, I pray that you keep your Friends and give each other space and freedom in relationship.
I pray that it be only responsibilities, physical distance, and life passions that possibly distance us – and not social limits of bias and sad presumptions that already fragment our society!
My best friend shifted to America two years back. I mentally prepared myself to “let her go” … perhaps, time and space would just drift us apart. But contrary to my expectation, in past 5 years of my life – everything changed – but my relationship with her; it only became stronger.
As I am thinking about this, I recieve a call from my 22 year old “adopted son” and we have a 2 hour discussion on ‘work and strategy’. He was an intern for the organization I work with and we shared a very formal relationship, until the day he left for the States for higher studies. Who would have thought we’d share a common ambition, ever after that?
And right now, I am making a farewell “gift” for one another close friend, who is migrating abroad. That sets me thinking about this post.
My friends are “far” closer, despite being far – because of this virtual opportunity. Because there are these things called – e-mail, facebook, skype and whatsapp and many other things that technology has gifted us.
And then I make another objective observation – I do have a great number of virtual friends. These are people you’ve met in the not-very-regular manner and they’ve still become your friends. But how honest are virtual friendships?
Forever, we find ourselves debating on “How good is it?” Is it safe to be out in the open? Is it safe to reveal everything about yourself? Is it safe to accessible?
I remember a speech by the fantastic woman, Sheryl Sandberg. While talking of Facebook, she said something like – this is the era where people define their own identity. It’s no longer the clandestine chat rooms of the late 90s and early years of the 21st century, it’s now about the person behind the screen.
I relate to this feeling just like the guinea pig on the experiment table 😛 No.. seriously!
I mean… there was this time when I wasn’t even on Facebook. My work in Radio, demanded that I keep abreast with things around and hence, I made my facebook and twitter account. Twitter became more of use to me while I worked as a music journalist and gradually, I adopted the platforms to enter my life.
I remember the first time I put up a status, just some random thought, and I got some instant likes. I thought “Wow! Why should these people be bothered about what I write?” and many months later, in a discussion with my sister, she said, “well! May be your updates get attention because they are honest, have life and something for the reader.”
I hadn’t even realized it. (Of course, that’s my motto now, for this blog – The reader should have something in it – to take home!) But as I shed my inhibitions, and began to open up, I found great deal of people on the network responding to things I said or did.
My work further propelled me to reach out to a larger audience of people, and I found myself in an all new arena – it’s not just the shows I do anymore, it’s the people I come across and the friendships I’ve developed over the years.
Twitter went from being a research domain, to a space where I just say absolutely anything. And Facebook went from being personal, to a space where I could put up posters and request attention and support for things that needed to be reached out.
And this is the turning point.
If you don’t have a cup of tea in your hand right now, then go make yourself one:D And then come back to read. [Also Like the page on facebook.com/alwaysovertea – because I LOVE to listen! You must connect.]
Now come back and I have some great perspectives to share:D
Now here it is: Two things as always.
Actually – 3. First and foremost – the awesome people, the people you love – your married sister, your mom and dad back home, your niece and nephews, your cousins – all those lovely people from your life – who aren’t exactly where you live; those people who mean the world to you but you as they say, you can’t have everything at the same time. So here – the phones, the internet, the emails and Facebook help us to live those relationships in an all new way. It’s lovely in a way (except when you have stalking relatives who form an opinion on everything you’re doing :p In that case, it’s a little tedious, I admit ;))
Now the two things:
That stranger is Your friend – connecting with like-minded people anywhere in the world!
The New era of Love stories 😀
I am now going to share what I pride in – I have been able to find real people in the virtual world.
These are people who you’ve never met and yet, you connect. They connect through similar or dissimilar thoughts, the connect through the mind and the heart. And the strangest part is that, I feel a “universal” love for all of them! 😀
I mean.. who said it’s weird to love someone you’ve not met? Dude! On the other side of the screen, is a person just like you – A real person, with real feelings and real emotions. A person who is genuine, who shares your interest to converse and that stranger is your friend.
And from that point of “universal” love, I am suddenly struck by the “What if?” question 😀
What if you find Love, romance virtually? What if you fall in love with someone you’ve not met?
I asked my friends the question, and they thought i was quite mad 😛
But think about it this way – do you remember the era in the past? the era that talked of rich love stories? The times when people lived far apart, waiting for spouses to return from war or work or travel – and STILL remained in love? That era that our grandparents knew of – loving someone in manner which did not necessarily require a physical presence 24*7 ….
The thought gave me shivers.
We know of awesome couples who’ve met through matrimonial ads in the papers, in just the past decade. Fast forward to today, matrimonial sites have brought people together. So now, that brings me to the question of – virtual love stories.
Is it then not possible to find true friendships and possibly, romances – virtually?
I try to weave a story in my mind – a virtual friend – an author, shared this concept of “55 fiction” where stories with a punch line are told in just 55 words. I try it.
She re-reads his letter a fifth time and then picks up the phone. She sends him a text: “I think I am in Love …” He answers with a question“…In Love with me?” “No” She replies, “In love with the perception of You, that I have.” He smiles. And she smiles. In their own worlds.
And as I revel in the awesome story I just weaved, I see this other friend online.
A friend I met on twitter, randomly discussing some random #Hashtag.
I say: Heya! How u!:):) Good?
And he replies: Like never before!
And somehow that livens up that second, so tremendously! I have never talked to him, never met him, and have absolutely nothing in common (except that he writes just as
beautifully as the posts on Half a cup of Tea ;))
All I know is that – he’s a real person, with just about similar challenges as anyone in “our real world” would face, he writes the same exams, goes to the same college as many of our friends, he works in a company where your friend works …
He is a stranger, but…. he’s your friend 🙂
There’s one more thing that’s playing on my mind as I write this post.
A few weeks ago, I had some differences with a virtual friend. We were so close, that I was almost working alongside him, despite the fact that we’ve never really met! Now, in the real world, I am sure I’d have been able to placate; but in virtual world? Virtual networks? How do you do that? That’s when I realized that that is one of the biggest limitations in the virtual world. It’s not just a battle between two people, it’s a battle between two people along with the delete button, power switch and disconnect option! 😛 You might just feel some relationships are so terribly real, some friendships so extraordinary…. but then….
And just as a ponder the questions of “How real I am”, I see a beautiful e-mail from a woman who tells me, she loved my blogs. And we discuss life briefly. Over the weeks we exchange a few e-mails, and develop a friendship and there I realize, I am a real person in the virtual world as well!:) I am real!
Ah. Finally! So we all do find our own “identity” on the web!
Our generation is definitely going to know love and friendships like never before; there once was a time when people probably had to be silent not having found “like minded” people and times and stories, where people would actually NOT have found love, had they not come online (Shadi.com) for instance.
So yes … what we have today, is tremendous.
Besides the people I’ve mentioned above, there are so many other ways in which people touch our lives – and it’s not always the regular way of connecting! A person I met on the bus, went on to make it a point to be present for my first ever Play and got me a souvenir from Dubai! Or my friend’s girlfriend from another city, whom I’ve never met – yet, connect so instantly.
I am sure, you must be having such stories too!:) A friend’s friend, now your friend? A person who you met at a concert, ended up staying in touch? Someone who you met on the train, went on to become a crush? 😛
All I want to say is that, trust this space…. because on the other side is a real person and like I said, our generation is going to know friendships like never before! it’s Tremendous!
And the most important part of my “tremendous” experience is my best friend, whose birthday it happens to be today. (Umm no.. it doesn’t “happen to be today” – it is :p And I’m very thoughtfully posting it on the 7th of December by USA times :p)
I could have written a post on how beautiful our relationship is, how she has seen me through everything in my life, how my whole life is in the e-mails we’ve exchanged, how time has made us stronger … and loads of personal stuff. But I din’t do that… because this post is not about telling you HOW special such a friendship is. It’s about coaxing you to look into your life and think of the awesome friends you have – And then you shall know HOW I feel about Anne.
And I shall now dedicate this post to her!
Just like they dedicate books? Novels? … well, here’s a blog-dedication! : )
Happy Birthday darling!
Well, who said Long distance doesn’t work?!! 😉
I’m going to close with saying – That stranger friend……. Exists!
p.s. doesn’t matter when you read this blog, if you liked it, drop a comment. And, I’d feel super nice if you also wish Anne happy birthday.. Yay! Thanks! 😀
The thing about expectations is that, people don’t like it.
You don’t like expecting things from others and they don’t like that you expect things that they can’t fulfill.
You don’t like them expecting things from you and you don’t like the burden of their “expectation”.
For instance, people say “You shouldn’t keep expectations”, blaming the person who owns the expectations.But the point is that, as long as people remain humane, they’ll continue to have emotions and as long as emotions exist, there will be expectations. But, in this world that’s so virtual, understanding valid expectations is only going to become all the more complex. Of course, not all kinds of expectations are valid (take a Bollywood scene where the heroine wants the hero to jump off a cliff for her. No, we are not talking about such expectations. We are talking about little daily life expectations.)
There is no rule book that says, “This is what you HAVE to tell your friend. And this is what you must NOT”. There is no rule book about how to behave or conduct your relationships. They all rest on emotions and hence, expectations. Expectations are just as true as commitments and they happen without words. Yes, even commitment happens without words. You commit to people, you commit friendships, even before you know it consciously because the bonds that we form with each other, happen without any declarations. Think back about your best friends, did you declare ever, “From today YOU are my best friend”? Or did you just realize one day, over a cup of Tea or perhaps, over a discussion of woes, or perhaps with age, that you’ve really been there for each other and that, indeed; YOU and your best friend, are best friends.
Relationships are things we realize. Connections happen and they happen all the time. It’s all about how we want to take it forward. We can determine the direction and that’s about all we can control. Everything else is real. Feelings, emotions, expectations and commitments – they happen and they aren’t wrong.
So, if you are one of those people who’ve felt, “Hey. She should have told me this.” And then shun it off saying, “Hmm… it’s okay… kuch commit toh nahi kiya tha” (Hmm.. we hadn’t committed anything to each other, so I better leave the thought ignored), then it’s time to realize, it is okay.
It’s okay to expect from people who are close to you.
It’s okay to demand their attention.
It’s okay to tell them about your expectation and talk about it.
It’s okay to explain to them, that some expectations happen without words, and that, they should understand what your feelings are.
However, if there is an awkward void and you don’t know how to deal with it, lie low. If you have expectations from someone, and you think it’s too insignificant to the other person, don’t drag the matter. Bring it up once, talk it out. If the “talking” doesn’t happen or doesn’t work, then let go. This is the “virtual” age. You will meet loads of people, and you will pass loads of people. With the way we all connect now a days, we are bound to find many, many real people around us; many real connections which just may become stronger. And as they get stronger, we need to flexible in two ways:
1. Understanding that expectations will happen. And if, the other person doesn’t seem to be in a position to fulfill the expectations, let go of the expectation. Keep a healthy space and a balanced relationship.
2. Respecting the other person’s expectation. Understand, that from all the interactions that you have with people, there will be expectations. You have to weigh the expectations against the importance of the person in your life and the relevance and feasibility of the expectation; and then take your decision on fulfilling it. But in either case, respect the expectation.
So that thing about expectations? THAT thing they say You must not keep?
Well, that’s not right. You may keep your expectations; just understand, acknowledge and respect them.
This is something that has always been true, but somehow, we forget and keep wondering and wandering. I thought about this, this morning as I sipped my cup of tea, and observed the young kids in my garden.
My maid has two kids. The boy is 5 the girl in 2 and a half. The boy doesn’t share, throws tantrums; while the little girl is warm and affectionate (though both are adorable!). The other day, his mother had bought him a packet of wafers which he was enjoying completely, by himself. I went down to meet them and began to play with the kids. The little girl suddenly ran in, and looked at her mother and said, “Maaarruuuu?” (timidly asking, “mine?”) with the politest, sweetest, most innocent tone. Her mother replied, after a pause, “nathi. Bhai badhu khai gayo”.(“Nothing. Your brother ate it up)
She just looked down and sulked without saying anything else.
I just can’t get over that “Maaarruu” in the little child tone. I went home and got her a bowl of chips, which she gladly shared with her brother, who had already started throwing tantrums because I dint give him a bowl.
And then I wonder; who teaches these little kids what’s right and what’s not?
Who makes them who they are?
Sometimes I remember learning things like we must always speak the truth. I don’t remember whether it was only my mother who taught me that, but I do remember her telling me never to lie. I remember being hurt when my friends would borrow a pencil, and then lie that they returned it. I remember feeling hurt, not at the loss of the pencil, but the fact that people could lie. As a child, it was hard to believe that something like that can happen. Somehow, I never experienced the fast benefits of lying, and consequently, have never developed the courage to do so. But that apart, I wonder, what makes me this person?
I think sometimes, if had a daughter, would she be like me? Would she become the person of the virtues I teach? Or would she just be someone she is born as?
And then I understand that saying, “Accept people the way they are and that is what love and relationships are about.”
We are, forever, the people who we are.
We develop, we change, we grow …… all within the purview of the person that we already are. We can be trained about right and wrong… Perhaps, a character can be developed. The child can be taught to share. But his basic instinct, I guess, shall remain. The little girl on the other hand, may learn to not share with those who aren’t ready to reciprocate. But by instinct, she might remain compassionate.
And when I understand this…
I suddenly accept all the people in my life the way they are…
I suddenly realise, that I understand them far better than I did. I also realise that some of them may not like it; the feeling of being read….. sometimes when you understand people too much, it can prompt them to move away…. For their “space”. The easier thing is to understand, and accept; and not question.
Yes… I do understand YOU very well… I understand what you think and why you act in a specific manner. I understand you need to be who you are; so that you can be; so that you can find your answers yourself.
I understand who you are.
I understand what friendships are.
I understand your shortcomings.
I understand your personality.
I understand that people are –
They may grow, they may become;
I understand that I must take you as you are.
And I understand…. Because it’s a part and parcel of this hyperactive, super analytical brain 😉