A Complicated Status

‘Did you check facebook? She’s now listed as single!’

‘Oh I want to know what their scene is. Apparently both of them changed their status to ‘in a relationship’ at the same effin time!’

‘So am I allowed to hit on him if his status message is ‘it’s complicated’?’

Yeah, the above statements are extremely common in most conversations. Facebook is the fastest way of documenting your life and making sure your friends know what really is up with you. It’s probably a good thing according to Ms. PiWi. ‘We knew this couple from college who were so into each other, we knew they’d make it. When I bumped into the guy recently, it was natural for me to ask him about how girl was doing. And he just said they broke up and it was so damn awkward!!’ Ms.PiWi is sure that had he changed his status on FB and had she seen it, this incident would have been avoided! 

Well the relationship status also comes as a life saver when you are fishing for a prospective boy/girlfriend. Says a keen observer, ‘My friend liked a guy at work, they flirted a lot and all until one day she googled him and found his profile on facebook. He was in a relationship and my friend just withdrew from all the flirting.’ Of course, there’s another question that remains unanswered by the relationship status on FB. If someone’s relationship status is ‘It’s complicated’, what does that mean? Is this person in a relationship or out? If they are making it public that it’s complicated have they broken up? If they haven’t said they are single, re they still into the person?

According to some that status comes up when you’re in a place where you’re unsure whether you want in or out of a relationship. Some said that it was that confused stage that comes right before you start or end a relationship.

Basically, it’s complicated when you and the concerned person hit troubled waters. My take is, if your relationship is in trouble, you stay in and work it out or you opt out and choose not to work it out. I can’t understand why there’s the need to have that grey area. Anyway, a relationship status is something meant for the external world, so what are you conveying by putting the trouble in your love life out there, open to public? “I’ve never specified my status on Facebook. I don’t think it’s the kind of information I’d like to give out to all and sundry,” says AB. However, he thinks that people might change their status to ‘It’s complicated’ just to let people know that they are not comfortable talking about their relationship.  

The awkwardness could be because of trouble or uncertainty, that varies case to case. 

It’s not just trouble. It could be lack of clarity, problems that come with long distance, confusion about your or the partners’ feelings, a big decision looming or anything!’ says Mr. Bachna Ae Haseeno, who so far has been brining to my notice a fresh perspective on facebook relationship statuses. He further explains, ‘Assuming the person is a regular on facebook, you need to understand how often their relationship status changes. If it changes a bit too often, assume it is purely for attention.’ That makes me wonder, is putting your relationship status out there every time there’s a minor shift in the dynamics of your relationship just a ploy to get more attention from your partner or friends?

‘I have changed my status for the fun of it and nobody but my close friends gave a shit about it,’ says Mr.Shady. I myself have seen people suddenly ‘married’ or ‘in a relationship’ for the fun of it and I don’t bother commenting, so I understand Shady’s take on it. But Kris thinks a change in a relationship status creates too much chaos. He was in a complicated place for a year but didn’t bother budging from single to avoid the drama. I agree, the last thing you need in addition to your complications are dramatic responses to your status change.

Moral of the story: Think before you take the leap, but think thrice before you change your status.

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Can Love Be Arranged?

Love just happens, it can never be arranged- a very drunk A to a sober B who is getting to know guys through arranged marriage.

So B is a decent looking, intelligent, well qualified girl who’s also got a decent job. She explains, ‘I’ve played the field and none of my boyfriends would ever get my parents’ approval. That headache, I do not want. So let them choose, right?’
‘But why?’ C, who’s been quiet so far asks, ‘ are you that desperate to get hitched?’
‘No yaar! There’s no reason to say no to the process, is there?’

Now, that’s a conversation I overheard. You can call me a voyeur buy it’s a topic I have been pondering about for a long long time. I am a single 24 year old. My parents are fairly liberal, but they want to ‘assist’ me in meeting Mr. Right.

‘Beta, you haven’t met anyone and how many dateable guys do you meet anyway? Give this a shot. Don’t wait for the last train out!’ My father said to me one evening. There was no rational argument out of that one. I spend 12 hours at work (nah! Not going to date anyone at work!) and rest of the time I spend with my family or friends. There’s a slim chance of meeting Mr. Right in these circles. So this mad writer, novelist and a content manager decided to let the family look for matches. I won’t deny having interacted with a few ‘prospects’ and I’m not surprised that most of the profiles ‘forwarded’ to me have left me pondering (now that’s what I do the best!)

Most of those opting for arranged marriage are in it because it’s something they have to do. ‘You sort your career and the next thing expected is settling down. So yeah it’s the logical thing to do,’ a friend confesses.

Another thing about arranged marriages is that the love doesn’t come right at the beginning. The hopeless romantic in me wants to believe that you look for love and discover it with your partner. But I can’t help but wonder, how does someone’s caste, height, salary or designation help define this complex emotion called love!?
‘They don’t define it but are the practical things that you seek commonality on. Marriage is better handelable if these things are clear. Don’t forget that you’re deliberately looking for things in common, only to make the process of falling in love simpler.’ says a voice who’s been happily married and her marriage is part arranged part love.

My question is how do you know what you’re looking for? Isn’t that the fun part of falling in love, opposites attract, being completely surprised by the emotion?

‘That stuff works in movies. The opposite soon starts irritating you. You have a million fights and before you know it the relationship starts to emotionally drain you out!’ this voice recently broke up, so leave the bitterness be.
Despite the bitterness, the above voice has a logical point. ‘You could opt for either. There’s no guarantee of it working. But in arranged marriage you are a bit closer to reality.’
I disagree. Proof: ‘Wanted: a fair, good looking bride. Min: post graduate, ready to move to Australia temporarily.’ ‘seeking allegiance for a good looking, highly educated bride. ‘

Okay, so if she’s fair, you’re more compatible or if he earns more than 10 lakh a year you guys will make it to your 25th wedding anniversary? How is that close to reality in any way? Besides, in love marriage you probably know the flaws and problems of the partner. In arranged marriage, it’s all disguised.
‘My cousin got engaged to a guy, spent a lot of time with him and then found out that the guy would get fits regularly. The family denied it even when they were confronted. Obviously she broke it off! I feel in arranged marriages, a lot is left to surprise to ensure a good match doesn’t slip away!’ says another friend who knows arranged marriage is not for her.

‘Arranged marriage happens through family contacts and stuff. So, people vouch for the guy or the girl. The family is involved and there are more than two brains who give the relationship a thought!’ another friend argues.

‘Isn’t it better though that the two minds who are involved only think it through?’ The first friend retorted. And exactly at this point, I realized that this debate could go on forever. I was nowhere closer to finding out which one was a better option and I found myself standing right at the same point I was when I started writing this article.

In conclusion, it doesn’t matter whether you opt for arranged or love marriage as long as you end up making a balanced decision. ‘I have seen  enough love and arranged marriages fail simply because of the idea of happily ever after. Forget that nonsense, accept the flaws and smile for what you’ve got and you will manage a happy marriage.’ Concludes my grandma whose arranged marriage has lasted a good 56 years!

We’re Just Good Friends!

‘A man and woman can never be friends!’ Harry tells Sally who staunchly disagrees. They prove the point by sharing an awesome friendship, but the inevitable happens. They fall in love! 

‘I am so lucky! I married my best friend,’ says Naina in Kal Ho Na Ho. Some of us do fall for our best friends and don’t get as lucky as Naina.

Take Reema’s case. She was very close to Varun who shared a lot of common interests with her. Both spent a lot of time together talking about anything and everything. ‘I guess nobody around us could understand that we were just good friends. They kept brainwashing us to realize there was something!’ finally Reema developed feelings for Varun and he wasn’t sure. They took their friendship to a new level but it was a disaster. ‘We were great as friends but our relationship sucked. I knew too much about him and expected too much too. It just ruined our beautiful equation!’ Reema admits sadly.

Sometimes, two individuals connect on a level that takes them beyond their gender differences. In fact, this male female mixture brings a newer and a fresher perspective to the relationship. ‘I love getting serious advice from my best friend. He’s a guy and sees things practically!’ Sandhya always tells me. I adore her relationship with her best friend but quite a few of their friends have tried and nudged them towards ‘the next big step’. They both know that their compatibility is limited to friendship and nothing else. But not everyone can sustain this friendly ‘advice’ business.

Both the friends have to be extremely clear, matured and focused to sustain the societal pressure. ‘People can easily manipulate your thoughts and create unwanted complications,’ says Sameer whose best friend refused to understand that two people loving each other as friends does not translate into being ‘in love’. He believes that we watch too many films and believe what they have to say.

It’s like a huge plan to make sure the friendships across genders do not remain where they are. I used to go to a school where every girl tied a rakhi on her guy friends’ hands. This prevented the teasing, winking and elbowing. I thought getting out of school would change that, but it still exists around me in a mutated form. Labelling your friendship with ‘brother’ tags might be super sad, but at least it shuts the people around you up.

‘It’s a very treacherous situation. If you feel the passion and stuff, sure go ahead and take the plunge. But if you’re just getting together because people suggest it, and there’s nothing better to do, think again!’ says Payal who’s fallen for her best friend and has been enjoying a super fun yet mature relationship for quite some time now.

Everybody’s story is different and you have to let friendship be. To quote Miranda Hobbes from Sex and the City ‘Only the two people in any relationship know what’s really going on and nobody else!’ So, while it’s awesome to be best friends with the love of your life it may not necessarily mean that your best friend is the love of your life! You may still take that step but remember it’s a huge risk. It works for many but if it doesn’t, you stand to ruin your relationship.

Let Harry love his Sally and let Rahul and Anjali live happily ever after. Don’t let films or people around you dictate the course of your relationship.

PS: I’ve changed names to avoid any old stinky sandals flying at me. Also, this is no ‘Dostana’ inspired post. I was working on this for two weeks, and now that I got the weekend to look away from CampusJunkie, I have put it together! Watch out for my own review of Dostana, tomorrow!

Don’t gimme red!

Ok so it’s the time of the year where TV, radio, newspapers and magazines start harping about love. All the shops are coloured pink and red with merchandise and all the couples around you start planning dinners, gifts and what not.

Yes, Valentines’ Day is around the corner and although I haven’t been in Mumbai for the past 2 years, I haven’t been untouched by the pink phenomenon. In fact, the last two valentines’ days spent abroad have made me tolerant to the Mumbai Valentines’ Season!

In 2006, I was a desi student at University of Sussex. While the under-grads, changed their boyfriends every week and took periodical breaks from dating and coochie-cooing, it was sacrilege for them to be single around the second week of February. And those who didn’t bother with the dating through the year, miraculously pulled their heads out of their labs and libraries to check out other singles. All to ensure a date for Valentine’s Day!

My best friend at the Uni spent most of her year missing her boyfriend, but she didn’t make any bones about Valentines’ Day, one of the reasons why I love her so much. And I didn’t give a damn. I was busy with my thesis, my sister was going to arrive in a month and I had to save up for a grand French holiday. I’d rather damn the Valentines’ day. That was my Valentines’ in Brighton.

The year after that, I had moved with bag and baggage back to Mumbai and was visiting UK for my graduation. I extended my trip and was going to be in London for Valentines’ Day. Immediately, a couple of my friends concluded that I had got together with someone and wanted to celebrate the day with him. I didn’t need that lame an excuse to extend my stay in UK. I love that country. It was my home for almost 2 years.

But it was that valentines’ day that has made valentines’ season in Mumbai much bearable for me. Everywhere I went, there were people holding red roses. Every store’s window display was red and pink and hearts were in abundance. On the bus, tube and on the streets, everyone was kissing and whispering sweet nothings. I am sure, Cat Stevens was in London around the Valentines’ season when he wrote ‘Love is in the air’.

Some of the couples seemed genuinely sweet, but from my experience at the Uni, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these people were genuinely in love! Like my SRK says in a film called ‘Dil to Pagal hai’- How many of these people will even bother to see each other beyond this hyped celebration of love. Is it that, these same people may celebrate the next valentines’ with a different person in their arms?

By the time the Valentines’ season wound up in London, I was asked out by some 5 random men, I was tempted to buy myself a gift for bearing through this unbearably sweet celebration of love with gritted teeth and I realised that Valentines’ Day is the season to segregate those who are single by choice for this occasion and those who hook up to avoid being alone on 14th of February!

And yes, if you don’t hook up and do end up staying in with Tesco finest pre-cooked pasta and a glass of cheap wine- don’t worry the TV will remind you that the world outside rejoices being with someone by playing the mushiest films, mushiest videos and the mushiest episodes of popular television series.

The romance-cynic in me is happy! It’s the 3rd of Feb and nobody’s bothered to tell me that I need to be with someone this season… How I love Mumbai!

Imagination

His eyes are full of hope

But sometimes that hope just can’t cope

With the realities that he perceives

Perceptions deceive,

Until his heart grieves

For he begins to think he cannot…

The mind races with the heart,

An intense argument starts…

Hopes and fears, start shifting gears…

They are at war…

Deep blues of the iris deepen,

Open shut. Shut and open

Assuming this weird motion,

His mind resists, yet the heart has spoken.

A touch, a smile, a hug

Takes the conversation,

Beyond the realm of emotions

A bond that can’t be broken…

A bond with me, a silly girl…

What would I know of his woes?

He thinks,

She’s a girl and I am a man

She can’t understand.

I don’t, yet I hold him…

And to him all of a sudden,

I am a woman!

Some Girls

Some girls just don’t give up
Some girls never try,
But I never give up on trying…

Some girls wait for luck to strike,
Some girls do things their way,
I do things my way until luck strikes.

Some girls just seem romantic,
Some girls way too practical,
But I think I am romantically practical.

Some girls are so sane,
And some are just so insane.
But I choose to be sanely insane.

Some girls are way too modern
And some just way too conventional…
Look at me; I am conventionally modern.

Some girls want a prince charming,
Some girls just want a special guy.
Yeah! I am looking for a special prince charming.

I am not like some girls,
And yet I am like some girls.
But I don’t consider myself special.
Because to be ordinary is so very special!