Thursday, 15 January 2015

25 Lessons I learnt while living alone in a new country

Having lived in Mumbai all my life, moving to the US was an experience.. These are some of lessons life taught me.

  1. Develop a hobby. Preferably something you can do alone. (photography, running, swimming, sketching, yoga, etc)
  2. Take on life’s ‘surprises’ with the attitude that there will be something positive for you in the whole experience. (either way you don’t have anyone to crib about it to!)
  3. Invest in good underwear.
  4. Learn to love your own self.
  5. Stop being afraid of being alone. Learn to eat by yourself in restaurants and go to the movies alone. It’ll generally make you less dependent on others and also help you appreciate good company better.
  6. Girls – always keep a fake story prepared in your head to fend off unwanted advances.
  7. Its totally okay to cry. No one’s life is as perfect as seen on facebook or instagram.
  8. Don’t be afraid to tell your family how much you love them and how much you miss them.
  9. At the same time, don’t be afraid to share with them how much you enjoy the independence.
  10. Wake up for the sun rise once in a while. Try to see the sun set sometime too.
  11. Taking the public transport helps you understand the city and its people better.
  12. Once in a while, read / write in your native language. It will touch a part of you that people in that place may not see often.
  13. Not having a shower once a week is okay!
  14. If you think you deserve something, ask for it. Tell the other party why you actually deserve it. Realize that you are most likely alone in your fight.
  15. Take good care of your own health. There wouldn’t really be anyone to take time off for taking care of you.
  16. Occasionally, go for long relaxing walks by yourself.
  17. Make at least one real friend – one you can call in case of an emergency, a shoulder to cry on, someone you can trust.
  18. Its okay to not be in love with someone. If and when it has to come, it will. Don’t let that affect the way you decide to live your life.
  19. Indulge when you feel like you’ve earned it. That time, that moment, those feelings will never come back.
  20. However, make sure you save money for a ‘rainy day’.
  21. Stay in touch with your old friends. They know a big part of you and appreciate it too.
  22. Learn to smile, say ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’ a lot more. It makes you come across as polite and courteous.
  23. Once in a while, stay off electronics. Go to a park or the beach or for a hike.. and let go of all your electronics in the car. Play, run, get a tan (without a selfie on facebook!).. make a real connection!
  24. Find a place in the city where you feel peaceful.
  25. Be a tourist once and explore the city. That way, when someone visits you, you can actually give an opinion. Also, you would have then explored the city as a tourist and as a local.

Living alone and independent in a new country is challenging, rewarding and a life changing experience. Make it count well.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

You and I

You and I..
You make the worst first impressions 
I smile and have a dozen expressions
But we both love give the perfect smile when we take a selfie!..
I get happy high on you
You get drunk on beer too
And yet we both love single malts and LITs
You love caramel popcorn and horror movies
You are the only reason I even watch movies
But then we both cuddle up for a F.R.I.E.N.D.S. marathon..
You are the life of the party
I plan and organize the damned party
But we both love a quiet night in the house eating maggi in pyjamas
Your heart makes your world go round
I am disciplined and rules bound
Yet we both break rules and follow each other..
I get upset and simply shut down
You argue with love and not a frown
But we can't sleep without kissing each other good night..
I am critical and realistic
You are encouraging and optimistic
But we have the same dreams .. to travel the world.. Together..
You.. and I.. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

10 Things easier for married folks in India

After seeing so many friends, colleagues, acquaintances, cousins step into the holy matrimony I can say with some confidence... being married in India is tough. Very tough. And I say this because I am single. At 26, my wedding is priority for my parents for quite some time now. Having said that, it got me thinking.. Being married actually has quite a few advantages over being single. Its like a license to get away with a lot of things.

1. You can 'indulge' if your significant other (s/o) is comfortable with it.
No longer do you need to live upto the 1970s standard of living cuz you and s/o are the decision maker of your house. Wearing shorts, drinking, smoking, partying, dining, vacationing in the Himalayas, the list goes on!

2. Telling recent acquaintances that you are married saves so many unwanted passes.

3. Women can travel to countries like Dubai or Saudi Arabia without hassles. Try that when you have a boyfriend or when you are by yourself. 

4. You have a permanent companion to get bored at other weddings or to take fabulous cross country trips (or they can at least be a backup option)

5. You don't have to listen to aunties at family functions talking about some bhua's masi's grand daughter's cousin who would be a good match for you! (They may start pestering you for having kids, but at least thats in your control.)

6. You can crack non veg jokes (thats the indianised version for dirty jokes) without raising eyebrows.

7. You are no longer treated like a child (even if you are married at 22!) Your financial decisions, or major life decisions are relatively less influenced by the parents.

8. When traveling alone, less number of random men check you out if you are visibly married (mangalsutra, sindoor, ring on the ring finger, etc)
Otherwise, anyone just seems to believe that they acquired rights to scan you from top to bottom.
And anyone you meet can ask you, "Why are you not married yet?"  or a random cop / TTE can ask "Why are you traveling without your husband?"

9. You don't have to answer the question: Why aren't you married yet? Why didn't you find someone in school / college / work / locally / on the street / random cousin's wedding / etc. Its as if our life's mission is to just find that one person and get married ASAP.

10. You have some company to do everyday things: Going to the movies (some movie ticket booking apps actually double check if you ever try to book a single ticket!), clubbing (Couple entry is free! Why?! What wrong did the singles do!), dining (table for 2 gets you the corner side romantic one.. table for one gets you a stare!), someone to indulge you when you have a craving, someone's opinion when you are shopping...

I'm sure this list will have more additions over time.. Feel free to add some in the comments!
Meanwhile... Singles.. I am still on your side and its definitely a good life.. More on that.. coming up soon! :)

Thursday, 6 March 2014

For the unhappy soul...

I took up the 100 Happy days challenge on facebook. I am on Day 57 and honestly, it feels fantastic.

This challenge showed me that no matter how irritating and frustrating life is sometimes, there are surely a few things in a day that can make you smile. Life isn't as tough and as complicated as we want to make it. Often, we are so overwhelmed by the problems that we cannot find strength to look for and implement the solutions. Sometimes, we fail to communicate, ask for help. There are times when we are just exhausted by the drama and the endless cycle of bullshit. It is definitely not the easiest time in the world.

That old phrase.. 'The grass is always greener on the other side'.. got me thinking once. If the other side feels that the grass on my side is green, then what in the world is stopping me from enjoying that! 

The philosophy kinda stuck. I decided to see what was green on my end. turns out.. quite a bit. 
Living in a beautiful city (Los Angeles - So much to see and explore).
Saving money for some excellent vacations. (East coast, Vegas, SF!)
Making new friends and learning so much about random things (Did you know that a chinese surname with 2 consonants implies that someone in their forefathers was like a celebrated genius!)
Learning that food is one of the best ways to know about a culture or a person.
Doing stuff alone, may be looked at weirdly sometimes.. but is oddly satisfying.
Realizing the importance of family and well, they understand your importance too
Understanding that boys, all over the world, are the same. Oblivious, Emotionally challenged.
So now, everyday is a choice for me. To brood on what I cannot control OR To accept it, not let it screw my head and show the damn world that I can handle my own shit very well.

2 months ago, I was sad, lonely, in a foreign country, struggling with personal and professional stuff.
I needed something to keep me going everyday. The challenge was just the beginning. I will recommend it to anyone who feels that they simply need something to look forward to everyday. 
It made me realize that I need to be brave and selfish for my own happiness. I am capable of that. And that, it is not a bad thing.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Yet another New Year!

I read somewhere that man is probably the only creature who takes time so seriously.. The birds, the trees, the animals, no one apart from humans seems in a rush to make as much of time as possible. I had never thought about it in such a way. We use time so often to discipline ourselves.. Trains to catch.. Flight schedules, meetings, daylight savings (why not just adjust your schedules to make the most of it?!), birthdays, anniversaries, timezones, alarm clocks. We humans are obsessed with time. And a new year (apparently) indicates a passage of significant amount of time in our lives.

This whole concept of 'the-rest-of-the-nature-not-taking-it-seriously' kinda stuck to me. We do certainly delve too much into the past and hope too much from the future. It does add drama to our lives. 
But honestly, its a lot of fuss about one date. Why can't we make a resolution on any other date. Its gonna be as unsuccessful as all your past resolutions were! We are allowed to party (and not pay exorbitantly) the rest of the year too. Maybe its just a common day everyone decided to take off. You can introspect anytime during the rest of the year too.. Its not awkward. (What is a little awkward is putting it up on facebook for the rest of the world to read!)

I'm not saying I don't like NYE and the celebrations. I like an excuse for a celebration. But I think we have too much fuss around one date. I like to take lessons from nature. Let the world run on its pace and not time it. Let everyone just enjoy life and not run behind making up for lost time (cuz honestly whats gone, is gone.)
As one of my favourite artist pens in one of his songs..

"Well I’m sick of this town, this blind man’s forage
They take your dreams down and stick them in storage
You can have them back son when you’ve paid off your mortgage and loans"

Life doesn't have to be a time-bound plan. It could just be a free flowing river, a fish in the sea, a chase of your dreams.

Make today special by starting to chase your dreams. And then repeat the same tomorrow. And the day after. And so on. I think, life will be one big party then.

Psst: I do make resolutions. This year, its to travel to new places more. Atleast once in every 4-5 months. And I've already started it. Discovering west coast. :-)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Quarter Life Crisis

So… I see this link on facebook and damnit! A realization sets in with my morning coffee... Whoa… I am already facing a quarter-life crisis. There’s a decent job, no boyfriend (no desire to have one either!), life is routine, hobbies are occasionally thought of (more like yearned on), friends are there but busy with their own lives, parents want me to just get married and fast. Sigh!
I again begin my daydreams of really enjoying life like I want to. Work 9 hours a day, 4 days a week. Travel on shoestring budgets and just discover places. Read and read a lot. Lose those extra inches and get a fabulous body. Discover something I am so passionate about that I lose myself in it and lose myself in this world. And so on… Everyday, atleast once a day, I daydream. 4 months away from being 25, I wish I were still 18 and would’ve done more. I wish my life were different and I wish I would do something.

The interesting part is, I know a lot of folks going through the same. They are bored with their jobs, they want no serious relationships (or are so committed in one that it doesn’t particularly count) and they want to read or travel or work in an NGO or just start something. There are just too many people of this category. And it made me wonder.. Why are we all so dissatisfied and unhappy? We have the ability and the power to make decisions for ourselves and yet we complain, we agonize, and rarely do anything about it.

The truth is we are a struggling generation. A generation trying to desperately bridge the gap between old and new. A generation who has seen the likes of the handheld phone and the smartphones to google glass. (Yes, our parents have also seen them, but unlike us, they are happy with the old tech!) A generation to have seen movies in single screen halls to multiplexes to Movies on demand on your home theater. A generation which has seen joint families, housewives and double income nuclear families. A generation that debates whether 24*7 connectivity is a boon or a curse (Remember the fav topic of school essays: Science a boon or a curse. Simpler times!) A generation that has seen a recession cycle and that actually understands how the economy works, how it can be fixed and well, how we can sit around and do nothing about it.
‘Ignorance is bliss’- that was the old saying. In today’s world of knowledge economy, all our wealth is knowledge. And I fear our generation has too much to process, too many things to consider and reconsider, too many options to seek information from. And with the rest of our world’s success and aspirations being rubbed on our face everyday with facebook and instagram, we really don’t want to make ourselves feel more miserable.
The average 25-year old today has seen enough changes in the world, that the pressure to make the right decision gets the better of us. Keeping up with this change is what we are learning and we Indians… Well, we are keeping up with the westernization vs. traditional war as well! It is a war out there… A war to get the perfect job, the perfect partner, a corruption-free developing/growing country, a robust economy… 

So lets cut ourselves some slack and do what we actually want to do. Make quick decisions and stick to them. Not think too much cuz that always made the decision more difficult. Let go off the pursuit for the 'extra' knowledge.. Why? Because you can. And stop this war in our own heads and hearts. Cuz whatever the war may be outside, we would finally want to die with no regrets and only peace in our lives.

And yes.. Happy Birthday Harry Potter! :)

Saturday, 30 March 2013

26 Things That A Perfect Guy Would Do

26 Things That A Perfect Guy Would Do... (Why 26... well.. my birthday s on the 26th! Thats why! ;) )

1. Know how to make you smile when you are down.
2. Try to secretly smell your hair,  but you always notice.
3. Stick up for you, but still respects your independence.
4. Give you the remote control during the game.
5. Come up behind you and put his arms  around you.
6. Play with your hair.
7. His hands always find yours.
8. Be cute when he really wants something.
9. Offer you plenty of massages.
10. Dance with you, even if he feels like a dork.
11. Never run out of love.
12. Be funny, but know how to be serious.
13. Realize he's being funny when he  needs to be serious.
14. Be patient when you take forever to get ready.
15. React so cutely when you hit him and it actually hurts.
16. Smile a lot.
17. Plans a romantic date full of  cheesy things he wouldn't normally like to do, just because he knows it means a lot to you.
18. Appreciate you.
19. Help others out.
20. Drive 5 hours just to see you for 1.
21. Always gives you a peck on the cheek when you depart from each others company, even when his friends are watching.
22. Sing, even if he can't.
23. Have a creative sense of humor.
24. Stare at you.
25. Call for no reason.
26. Quit smoking, chewing, drinking,  or drugs - just because he loves u that much to quit it.
No.. I dont do Mills & Boons.. But there's a girl inside all of us who loves to be treated like a princess.. :)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Things Change

He couldn't smile. Even though he was sitting right there. In the very same place. In her arms. He was so close. His eyes, poring into hers. Looking for something. Anything. He hadn't been so close to her in three years.

Three years.

Three years back, his  head was all messed up. It was a mistake. A genuine mistake. But this was it. He had to, had to mend it. They both were broken, but they could fix this. He did believe it. Three years had put a lot in perspective. A LOT. He had changed so much. And this change was for good. He was a better person. Sorted, focused.

All he knew now was that he couldn't bear living without her. She was his everything. And he had to win her back. He knew she'd love the changed him. Love him just like three years back.

Damnit! Couldn't he have been like this, then?

But this, this isn't about the past. It was about the future.Why was she not saying anything? He had told her everything. He held her hand. Squeezed it ever so gently.

She looked away from him. A silent tear escaped her eye. Taking in a deep breath she looked back at him. The eyes looking into his felt alien. She said, gently holding his hand, a lump in her throat, 'I'm sorry. I am not in love with  you.' He insisted, 'Why?' He knew there was no one else. He knew she loved him, insanely. He knew she cared for him. What the hell was wrong about this? Why for god's sake couldn't she love him back? He persisted, 'Things change love. I've changed.'

And that was it. She couldn't hold back. Something snapped and she just broke down. All she could manage to say was 'Exactly damnit! Things change.'

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Simple Joys of Life

Getting your favourite dish for lunch
No traffic lights on the way back home from work
Winning a game of carrom (or any other sport!)
Someone saying, 'You've lost weight'.. :D
Talking to an old friend
Haircuts/ manicures/ perdicures :)
 Random channel surfing and stumbling upon a good show.
When your crush smiles back at you :))
Laughing so hard that your jaw hurts
A good conversation
Checking out a hot random stranger ;)
A song on the radio that is totally 'You'
Finding out you have the exact change (while commuting)
Reading a horoscope which says its gonna be a good day!
Getting a handwritten letter

*Excluded 'love' related stuff, cuz lets admit it, every moment is love ought to be joyful!

If the simple joys of life make you happy even today.. You are indeed a lucky person.. Cheers to smiling and thanking God for the good times spent!

Do comment on stuff which makes you happy and you never know you may be speaking on behalf of a lot of people!

Monday, 23 July 2012


So many questions.. 
And answers that open doors to more questions
And its a stupid loop..
Like a whirlpool.. deep and more deep..

It doesn't stop until you give up..
You give up or you take a stand.
Right or wrong seem to be the wrong choices here
And the right thing to do just brings up more questions

But stay there.. it feels out of place
And it feels forced and unnatural.
But just like the consequence matters,
So do the methods

Let the whirlpool go away
And let the sea calm down
The water shall be clear
The answers will be there.