Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Relationships : Casualty of Circumstances & Timing


I’ve realized that some relationships are transient but nonetheless beautiful and enriching for all that.
It’s been said that a relationship is a lot like a painting. I tend to disagree. Well yes, a relationship does indeed begin much like a painting, with a blank canvas and infinity ahead. And relationships do need solid foundations, much like the background layers on a watercolor. But beyond that, how similar are the two, really? For any true work of art, the artist works his way across the canvas with a definite goal in mind. Relationships, on the other hand, aren’t entirely constrained by the participants. They sometimes flourish and more often flounder, occasionally doing both.
Circumstance and timing come together in a thousand different ways to encourage a burgeoning new relationship, or to whittle away at the bedrock of a marriage, or sometimes even place prop upon prop to buttress the sweet beginnings, only to wash away the entire romance in a flood of bad luck and incompatibility. A relationship therefore, is a living, breathing entity with a mind of its own. All we can really do is ride upon its back and hope for the best. You might place a bullet in its chest and bury the beast, leaving it for dead. And indeed you may have killed it, but you are just as likely to see it gamboling back to you as alive as on the day you first saw it birthed into being. Both a blessing and a curse, a relationship is what you make of it. You might find your paths diverging in the woodlands, and it may be time to shed a tear and whisper a goodbye. Other times, you collide with each other as you turn a corner and all you can do is brush yourself off, take a deep breath and say ‘Hello'.
There will be a small corner of your heart, somewhere between those veins and arteries, which will belong to him/her forever.

Many breakups, especially those from long-term relationships, involve walking away from a good thing. There are still many positive aspects to a relationship that ends, it's just that those good things start being outweighed by the bad things. Or even harder, a realization that there are bad things to come, and so you make a pre-emptive breakup. One of the hardest parts of breaking up is remembering this ratio, the underlying logic of the decision, and not fixating on all the wonderful parts of the person you're walking away from.

And finally, it's difficult to recalibrate your sense of self as someone who "doesn't have a partner." Your identity becomes tied up in the partnership. You train yourself to think of their happiness along with yours, to plan events that you'll both enjoy, to think what they'd say before you make decisions. The process of unlearning that is arduous, and becomes a constant reminder of what you've lost. Similar to the reimagining of the future, this pops up in all sorts of small ways that hurt each time, as you slowly break the habit. Ultimately, though, this is the reason you broke up in the first place: because you wanted to be an individual more than you wanted to be a pair. It just takes awhile for your identity to catch up. And the worst part is, you don’t even know how to put a closure and lift your belief off those beautiful empty promises. Because putting a closure with this person feels like cutting away this large chunk of your heart! Is there even a way to time travel and undo all the memories that have crowded your heart?

The positives : Break ups are like second chances to live your life. After the pain, you will feel a sense of waking up from a deep sleep. You will get time to work on yourself. Either you pull yourself out of the storm or let it carry you to another shore.
Remember...
  • True love empowers you. It does not choke you.
  • We may be important to people but not all the time. The biggest challenge is to accept this. LET GO.
  • Life is not fair. It never was and will never be. We just have to live it anyway making the best of ourselves and giving our best to others and being good and truthful.
There is a universal truth we all have to face, whether we want to or not, everything eventually ends. As much as I've looked forward to this day, I've always disliked endings. Last day of summer, the final chapter of a great book, parting ways with a close friend. But endings are inevitable. Leaves fall, you close the book. You say goodbye. So, say goodbye to everything that was familiar, everything that was comfortable. Move on.

People will leave you. Often without any reason.
One moment it will be so real but will soon be a distant memory.
Memories will fade.
Life will go on. Without apologizing.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Biggest Flaws In Arranged Marriages In India?


It's based on money and looks.
You can even meet 3 boys or 3 girls back to back on the same date, and pick out the best one. If not, you can meet the next batch of prospects.
It's like shopping. Just like you visit a store and check out a hundreds shirts to buy one who suits you best, same way you jump into the arrange marriage market and chose the best one out of the lot.
But really are they the best one? Some girl's side always want a man who's rich, who's earning in lakhs, who owns a car and a house, who's parents are really good, and seek no dowry. Some boy's side want a girl who's fair, white (as a bulb), slim, tall (not taller than the boy), educated (not more than the boy obviously), who can be a perfect wife and daughter in law. And of course dowry is welcome. Horoscopes are matched. Rahu, ketu, shani decides whether or not two people could be good life partners. Understanding and compatibility? Lol, what's that dude? Rahu ketu rocks!
The guy meets the girl, for maximum half an hour, in some cases 10 minutes, in the presence of parents and families sitting right in the next room (yay so much privacy). The guy and girl are terrified, often asking common questions like hobbies and passions and alcohol and education and jobs, etc. After 10-30 minutes, the families enter back because according to them 25 year olds can choose a life partner in just 10-30 minutes. A life partner and a pizza are equal, both should take 30 minutes. These are the same families who takes forever to finalize even a TV. But when it comes to arrange marriages, 30 minute rule should be followed.
How can anyone, ANYONE, understand how the other person really is in just 10/30 minutes? HOW? The second meeting is only permitted when you say yes in the first. If you say no, the second meeting is not happening. How is anyone supposed to really know about someone in such circumstances?
Yes, in the modern times, people can communicate more via mails, messages and calls. But still the time period, the communication is just too less in arranged marriages. It can take years to know a person. Sometimes is does work in the favour because of the surprise element, but more often than not, there are lot of incompatible couples almost forced to live together because of the social boundaries of the Indian society.
It's not that the arranged marriage setup is totally bad. I'm sure it does have it's own advantages, but as India is progressing, I really wish it looses it's importance. People should be allowed to choose their own partners, according to their own compatibility, and not on the parameters of caste, religion, money and looks.
Lies are very common in arranged marriages, lies about salary, family backgrounds, previous relationships, habits, the girl puts up the best dress and make up, that's a lie too. The guy puts up his best behavior, lie. If you have to marry someone, shouldn't that person see your natural face and behavior?
The biggest flaw of arranged marriage is that it's just like a game of gamble. If you're lucky, you can hit the jackpot, if not, then only Lord can save you.
In arranged marriages, people just scan around and quit, thinking it will not hurt feelings as there is no bonding between girl and boy. But it hurts some individuals, to be treated as commodities.

The matrimony profiles are not truthfully filled, because it is filled by the parents, most of the times. For e.g someone is a non drinker/non smoker as per their profile; this can be because the parents don't know this fact about their kid, or that the parents know and conveniently leave this out to broaden the scope of potential matches.

Health/medical history are not usually revealed in this process. The most commonly hidden ones are depression, epilepsy, impotence, night blindness, heart issues. Have personally heard or come across many such cases which eventually ended up in messy divorces.

Most Indian males are confused a lot. Especially the ones who are earning comfortably well and are pretty settled in their careers. Sometimes, I pity them and mostly they invoke pure disgust in me. They feel threatened when they talk to a girl who has her own mind.

Most guys are certainly not good looking at all (I know it's shallow to even type this!), yet expect to find a beautiful and pretty girl (according to their fucked up standards). Often the excuse given for the beer belly, dark circles, receding hairlines and tobacco stained teeth is job pressure and the fact that they earn better than the girl. So money justifies everything, wow. But if you are 28 and look like a 40 year old, then it’s not just aesthetics that are going against you, but it clearly shows you are not physically healthy and take your health for granted. Isn't it?

Pleasing everyone, except the bride and the groom : Even the opinion of a distant relative, who was virtually invisible until then, begins to take more precedence than the bride/groom.
 
Expectation Management: It pivotal to understand that that the current generation is leaps and bounds ahead of older ones. We don’t blindly follow things but we need to rationalise everything and then decide what suits us best. So first and foremost don’t judge the boy or the girl from your expectations (in-laws/parents), rather appreciate how well suited they are for each other. Also, understand that the girl didn’t spend the last 25 / 28 / 30 or 32 years of her life to just become "the wife". Don’t let marriage be a deterrent in her professional growth or whatever her aim in life is. The boy and his parents should not look for someone ONLY to clean, cook, look after the house, and take some work load off the mother - Maids are better suited and qualified for these tasks, not a wife. That doesn’t mean a girl wants to run away from all these responsibilities, or I am looking down upon maids, but these responsibilities shouldn’t be her ONLY part of life, after marriage.
Don’t try and pressure a girl by saying she is a part of the "new" family. The girl is as much a part of the new family as the boy is of her’s. Respect, love and honor is a two-way street. It mustn’t be demanded, rather earned.
FOR PARENTS - Also, parents must learn to cut the umbilical cord. Don’t expect them to move-in with you. Let the couple figure out what works best for them. There is no rule that says, what worked for one will work for all. Let them make their life the way they want, face the hurdles together, make mistakes and learn from them. That’s what a marriage is, right?

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Book Review #105 : Letters to My Ex



Title: Letters to my Ex
Author: Nikita Singh
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Pages: 144 pages
Price:  ₹199
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9352776585
ISBN-13: 978-9352776580
Genre: Contemporary Romance

The reason I chose to read this book is nostalgia – the sense of nostalgia this very picturesque cover enticed me. The bundle of letters tied together with a piece of string with withered stamps and postage marks; the promise of connecting you to a loved one. Yes, I’m a sucker for charming covers.

I was so excited to read this book. Its a short book. One can finish it within hours. The book revolves around Nidhi and Abhay. Nidhi who broke her engagement with Abhay writes letters to her EX. 

To cope up with her inner dilemmas and to understand herself better, she starts writing letters (which she doesn’t mean to actually send to her ex).

At some places, the format did not go well with the plot. A few letters were literally conversations, taking out the essence. The emotions were bang on in the last few letters and it was then I could actually connect with Nidhi. So, if you love reading letters and if you are someone who writes regularly emails to your lover, then this book may have something for you.

With these letters, the writer tries to understand the reasons why people fall in love, the reasons why they stay together, the reasons they break up. She tried to explore what happens when two people who love each other deeply break and what it takes for them to find their way back to each other.

Something about the title of Nikita Singh’s book will either make you smile or make you cringe. It will bring back memories about one or several ex’s and the things you want to say to them.

And through the lovely chapters, we – the readers – are lead to the real message; to look beyond the superficial factors of relationships and ask the hard questions. Do we truly understand and support each other? Do we deal with issues at hand or sweep them under the carpet? Do we even know what we want from ourselves and from our partners? I think this book is a must-read for youngsters in love; at the same time, I feel it will only truly resonate with those who’ve had their hearts broken. This tale reminds you that it’s okay to step back and reassess who you are, who you want to be and who you want to be that person with.

And most of all, Nikita’s simple yet insightful book urges you to be brave. To say the unsaid things, the hard things, the hurtful things, the kind things; to ask for what you want, to give all that you have without being afraid of what will happen.

I found the book riveting and gripping in a way, as it makes you want to know what happens next. The good editing and reader-friendly font helped hasten the pace of reading. 

Well, overall it’s a simple, good read.

My Rating: 4.5/5 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Book Review #104 : The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck



The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life, is a good guide to figuring out what you want in life and at work, and how to achieve it. The route to this, Manson believes, lies in not caring too much about everything. Once you give up the need to feel exceptional and be positive and happy all the time, as well as your fear of failure, you will be better off. “The world is constantly telling you that the path to a better life is more, more, more—buy more, own more, make more, f*ck more, be more,” says Manson, who advocates that people focus instead on figuring out what’s important. As Manson puts it, what determines your success is not what you want to enjoy, but how much suffering you’re willing to sustain to get there.

Using his own life as an example in the book, Manson talks about how the pressure to be exceptional led him to drugs and serial womanizing. It’s only when he realized that neither he nor his problems were special that he cleaned up his act and worked towards becoming an entrepreneur. He credits his success to his lack of fear of failure. “Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something. If someone is better than you at something, then it’s likely because she has failed at it more than you have. If someone is worse than you, it’s likely because he hasn’t been through all the painful learning experiences that you have,” he writes.

The insightful and funny perspectives on life are what make the book well worth a read. It’s full of breezy advice as well as the I’m okay-You’re okay type of transactional analysis. Its success lies in the fact that it’s all very colloquial and conversational, and so easy to digest.

Well I was skeptical, people were saying this book is just a compilation of his blog posts and there's not much new material in here. It's true on some level. But not entirely. The order of chapters and the flow, all paints a bigger picture than reading just his blog.

On a negative side, since this is a compilation of his blog posts, it doesn't flow as well as if he would've written it from scratch. Each new chapter has some level of disconnection from the previous. It doesn't interfere with the experience, but not really. It did bother me.

Feels like, he has a lot more things to say, but hasn't said it. This book a bit very restrictive. More explaining and elaborating would've gone a longer way.

RATING - 4/5 

Monday, 18 June 2018

Follow Your Bliss ...

 
Follow your bliss ... If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” — Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell, who specialized in applying lessons from mythology to modern human experiences, was the first to use the phrase “follow your bliss.” He saw it as an essential part of the formula for living life to the fullest.

In other words, if you do things you are passionate about, you'll feel fully alive and doors will open up for you. Sacred space is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

Anyone who is willing to leave the well-trodden path that many before them have traveled and follow their bliss on the road less-traveled can do the same thing. Is it easy to follow your bliss? Of course not; that is why Campbell calls it “the hero’s journey”: You’ll have a chance to encounter every dragon (fear) that lives within the darkest caverns of your mind that wants to keep your life small and safe... and I can attest to that. 

Your re-defining moment doesn’t happen just one time in your life; it happens every time you make a decision to follow your bliss, again, and again, and again. There are new doors awaiting your arrival. The adventure is its own reward — but it’s necessarily dangerous, having both negative and positive possibilities, all of them beyond control.

Having said all this, there are a certain “bliss myths” I want to cover here : 

Myth #1: Following your bliss means simply doing the things that make you happy.

Myth #2: Following your bliss means quitting your day job.

Myth #3: Following your bliss means you’ll be instantly successful and feel blissful all the time.

Myth #4: You only have one bliss. 

 

Bliss may be defined as a natural direction you can take as a way to maximize your sense of joy, fulfillment, and purpose. Sometimes people equate bliss with being in a state of euphoria, but in reality, being blissful is the state you’re in when you’re doing what brings you a deep sense of joy. When you’re in a blissful state, you’re listening to the voice of your heart. To achieve and maintain a state of bliss, it’s important to be open-minded and to be a risk-taker—walking the road less traveled. 

 

To seek your own personal bliss, you might wish to sit quietly and meditate about a time in your life when you were the happiest. Remain with that moment, as well as the feelings stirring inside you. When you think you’ve figured out at least one thing that makes you feel blissful, then stay with it. Write about that state. Recording your feelings can help you dig deeper into self-discovery and determine the ways in which you can follow your bliss—always keeping in mind that bliss is a calling that’s calling you. Bliss is a winding road. It is the byproduct of a life well lived. 

 

Find your bliss station. Does this idea resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Book Review #103 : 50 Cups of Coffee: The Woes and Throes of Finding Mr Right


Name of the book: 50 Cups of Coffee
Name of the author: Khushnuma Daruwala
Length of the book: 224 pages

A written account of Dia’s journey of 50 long cups of coffee, moving forward with the hope of meeting Mr. Right. However, going by the story, the journey is more about catching hold of Mr. Perfect, rather than finding Mr. Right. Dia deals with the hardships of meeting strangers, trying her luck at speed dating, and surviving in a conservative society.

The first 100 pages comprise of intense man-hating, with Dia having to deal with all kinds of men that ultimately fail at becoming an eligible match, whilst crushing on men she can’t have. Also, speaking about the importance of the book titled ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ and how it is a real life-saver for the ones looking to date. 

As the journey folds out, the protagonist slowly begins to address her own traits and how all the hate, has slowly turned herself into being one of them. Since the lead character is female the detailing the author included in the ways how each date would go makes this book stand apart. Like how women thinks and what are the characters they are on the look for.

Kudos to the designer who have illustrated a classy design to the cover. This book is a short one and ideal for non-fiction readers and also for those who are on the look to find their right companion. So if you are on the look out for your ‘Right’ partner grab this one.

“50 cups of coffee” is a beautiful account of a 30 something girl who is trying hard to fit into the Indian world. When the society is all about getting married by the age of 25 and less concerned about the choices of women towards their life partners, the character Dia is adamant on not settling for less! The determination to find Mr. Right and the pain to go through a lot of Mr. Wrongs is a journey that every girl has to take today. And when Dia signs up for the marriage meet-ups, each cup of coffee seemed a little obnoxious and perplexing than the other.

The book takes you on a journey of personal experiences, juggling of thoughts, a lot of judgments and insider details of 50 coffee dates that Dia took to find her Mr. Right. The writing is crisp, full of wit and amazingly wrapped with a lot of puns. With sharp words and to the point phrases the author manages to keep you intrigued to the story. The marriage scenario and the emotional turmoil of the character will relate to you if you too have been thinking of settling with marriage. “50 cups of coffee” isn’t 50 chapters of coffee dates but an account of personal experiences revolving around Dia – the character who is on with the marriage proposal through matrimonial sites and the things she finds she cannot settle with. With each date there comes a new theory about men and evaluation of their so called ‘type’. With sarcasm, judgments, ‘facepalm’-moments and common traits you will be reminded of a lot of your own dates!

This book is a light read! Makes for a good laugh on your own past dates, a gossip the about the search of grooms and also a go-to guide for women who are trying to make their mind up for marriage while finding it hard to meet their Mr. Right. Not that you will get a solution – but that you’ll realize you are not alone! 

Khushnuma Daruwala’s 50 Cups of Coffee – The Woes and Throes of Finding Mr. Right is a lighthearted look at this aspect of Indian pre-matrimony. It works very well as a hilarious collection of anecdotes of a single woman in her mid-thirties meeting prospective life partners from matrimonial sites on first dates.

Daruwala, on the other hand, is not here to give you advice, instead 50 Cups basically sets out to “lift the spirits and offer a sense of kinship” to women who have suffered dating disasters. Fifty Cups of Coffee is a delightful, tongue in cheek take on the Indian dating scene.

Only Khushnuma, with her supreme talent, superior writing skills, and hawkish observation skills could have penned down this hilarious masterpiece. The little cups of wisdom after each date gone wrong are equally amazing and totally entertaining. Seriously, ladies, they are words to live by. Literally. We’d have a much better existence if we did so.

I absolutely love the writing style in this book. It is fluid and unapologetic. The author opines on anything and everything and she microscopically analyses all these guys the dates are with and she doesn’t shy away from saying anything. I like that. I liked that I could relate to what was happening and that is a huge bonus!

If you're interested in knowing about the details behind internet dating, and finding the perfect match through matrimonial sites, 50 Cups of Coffee is just the right pick. Hilarious and quintessential, this book will not let you down.

Rating - 5/5

Friday, 8 June 2018

Book Review #102 : The Last Lecture


If you know that you have a very short time of good health, how would you like to spend your time? You want to fulfill your dreams, spend quality time with your family or do what you are best at. Very similar is the case of Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was asked to give a lecture and he couldn’t imagine it to be his last one. Randy said “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand”.

This book is inspiring, motivating and can craft the inanimate to life. The author has beautifully combined humor, intelligence, and wisdom. He has exemplified many stories which cover subjects like hard work, team work, sacrifice, self-confidence, modesty, dreaming big, perseverance, positivity, courage and dealing with adversity. For the reader, the book is a glimpse into the life of a dying man who fights every moment to be alive and not a mere story.

He finds himself winning the parent lottery. He was influenced by his loving and supporting parents. During his life, he learnt many lessons from his experiences and has shared them in a striking manner. He also reveals how he achieved his childhood dream of becoming a Disney Imagineer, getting to Zero Gravity, being the coolest guy at amusement park and playing in the National football League (which he never made it).

The book shows a transformational change of his life when he is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, portrays the changes in his day to day life and how he managed to achieve more in those turbulent times. He always maintained a positive outlook. Pausch loved his wife and children and he expressed it after every slide of his last lecture. He has dedicated his last lecture to his children and concludes by looking forward to sharing his dreams for his children. He recounts that his wife Jai was his caregiver and this means a lot to him. This book makes us feel like family to him, supporting him in his battle against a terminal cancer.

In a chapter entitled, “It’s About How to Live Your Life,” Pausch talks of his cancer and it’s effects on the remainder of his life. He described how he tried to live his life and offered some tips on coping saying “this is what worked for me.” He talks about giving yourself permission to dream big, and achieving your goals. He points out that we all have a finite amount of time and energy and that time spent complaining cannot help us achieve our goals.

The book is an easy read, that’s packed with a lot of punch. It’s a collection of 61 short stories and is a celebration of a life worth living. Pausch packed a lot of distilled wisdom and knowledge of his 47 years.

There are many nuggets of wisdom interspersed throughout The Last Lecture.
  1. If you want something bad enough, don’t give up.
  2. Luck = Preparation + Opportunity.
  3. Recognize when it’s time to change your strategy. “I signed up for the hardest treatments that could be thrown at me because I wanted to be around as long as possible to be there for my kids.” When Pausch realized that, that was not going to be the case, he changed his strategy to leaving a legacy and spending quality time with his wife and each of his three children.
  4. Get the fundamentals down for everything. Have you mastered the fundamentals for your job?
  5. Your attitude affects the outcome of every situation.
  6. Complaining does not work as a strategy.
  7. Value people more than you value things.
While reading The Last Lecture, I gleaned three questions to differentiate us, and I’m still trying to answer them for myself:
  1. What are three things that matter the most to you?
  2. What’s unique about you?
  3. What do you alone truly have to offer?
Written in a highly personable and conversational fashion, The Last Lecture is part autobiography, part life lesson, and all heart. Through a quick tour of his life and career, Randy demonstrates how one should live while being candid about his impending death.

Despite his condition, Randy’s writing is light-hearted and upbeat. One can’t tell from the prose that its the work of a dying man as its often peppered with deadpan and occasionally self deprecating humour.

Perhaps the hardest part of the book to read are the sections where Randy writes about his family. One can feel how painful it must be for him to plan so many things ahead – writing little notes to his kids, making videos, bringing his family on various activities etc – while in the throes of death.

It is certainly admirable that Randy manages to rise above his circumstances and to continue to be a teacher even unto his death. As the author himself has shared, the book isn’t about dying but about living. I do know for sure that it has provided me with lots of food for thought about what I should do with my own life.

What readers take away from The Last Lecture is in this same vein. The book isn’t about one man’s struggle against cancer, or the outcome of his treatment (Pausch died on July 25, 2008). It’s not an overcoming-all-odds story. It’s about making the most out of what you have, and enjoying every minute of the adventure, regardless of how it turns out in the end.

RATING -5/5

A must read.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Stubbornness Drives Relationships





"Rishtey ZID se chaltey hai." my father whispered in my ear at my wedding. Best relationship advice ever. Sums up #BangBaajaBaaraat (Web Series) ~ Sumeet Vyas.

I have often wondered, what is it, that makes people stick by each other’s sides, years after years. I often get the answer almost naturally, as fed by the world, as love and respect. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are the basic (level 1) emotions needed to thrive a relationship. But the most important that I feel, is never spoken about, it is stubbornness.

I have seen so many relationships having “love and respect”, but no stubbornness to make it work. They just randomly end, because the two sides are not ready to be ziddi about the relationship. The stubbornness that come what may, I am not leaving his/her side. The ‘stubborn will’ to never let go even if you see a person at his/her worst, is what keeps the relationship breathing. We all love a person at his/her glamorous best, the time when we see their dark side, we find things tough to continue. Whereas to talk of, in reality, this is the most crucial time to truly accept someone as your lover. Somehow, my generation lacks this ‘stubborn will’ and is always on the onset of leaving broken things (rather than mending it) and going on an onset of searching the ‘better’.

Stubbornness to stick by each other definitely pays off in a relationship. “You deal with your hell and I am walking off, because I am only meant only for your good days” is a wrong attitude. When you know, you know – a karmic / soulful relationship will NEVER make you choose only the good side of your partner.

Soulmate relationships are far and few but when they do occur, they often last the test of time. This kind of relationship is marked by an intense connection between two people, one that may even be difficult to convey into words. Two people just “get each other” — they may finish each other’s sentences, are best friends, and have adopted the us against the world mentality, among other things.

When soulmates have found each other the feeling is likened to two pieces of a puzzle fitting perfectly together. This is not to say that soulmates won’t experience problems along the course of their relationship. But, they will be able to resolve their issues more easily than couples who aren’t bound by soulful ties due to their ‘strong will’ to make it work, beyond anything else.

Irritations are inevitable in relationships. It's just not possible to find another human being whose every quirk, habit, and preference aligns perfectly with yours. The fundamental challenge in a relationship, is "figuring out how to negotiate and live with your partner's irritants in a way that doesn't alienate them and keeps the two of you connected." When marriages/relationships don't work, often the partners are fighting not over big issues but over petty differences.

Relationships are not something that happen TO you. They are something you make happen. You have to proactively take a hand in making a relationship happen.

The ability to eliminate relationship irritants lies within each of us. They may sabotage good relationships or not. It all depends on how you interpret the problem. Let go of the Disney fantasy. Prince Charming is not waiting offstage to come dashing in and sweep you up. Real world relationships work, when YOU take efforts to make them work. The whole idea is to treasure each moment you spend next to each other and to love one another truly, purely and freely, and continue to do so, beyond petty things.

Book Review #101 : Milk and Honey


Book - Milk and Honey
Author - Rupi Kaur
Genre - Poetry
Publisher - Andrews McMeel Publishing
Hit the shelves on - November 4, 2014
Pages - 204


This heartfelt collection of poems hit the shelves November of 2014. I saw milk and honey in the local bookwalah shop and decided to embrace my poetic side and purchase it. Needless to say, I was baffled with what I found folded into the pages. I was expecting an inspirational slightly tacky read much like how I viewed poetry prior to this. What I found was vulnerability, startling bluntness, and a pure and raw story laced into the pages of Rupi Kaur's poetry.

Kaur breaks her book into four parts; the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. The poems open in a bit of a dark aura. The hurting depicts the author’s experiences with sexual assault and the struggles of overcoming family issues. This section is a bit chilling.

The next section, the loving, is a more uplifting read. The poems are sweet and idealistic. These are the ones that couples want to read to remind themselves of why they are still together.

The breaking returned us to a darker place in Kaur’s life. Any girl that has ever endured a break up after a long term relationship could find a relatable poem in this section. While these poems were sad, they were also very realistic and relatable.

The last section of milk and honey accomplished exactly what I think the author was aiming for. These poems empowered women to embrace themselves and to value who they are regardless of the turmoil they have endured. I would recommend this section to anyone going through a break up or just yearning for some comfort.

Overall, I really enjoyed this compilation of poems and would totally recommend to anyone who is looking to heal from a bad experience in life or breakup.

Btw - Upon publication, ‘milk and honey’ sold over 1.5 million copies, defying expectations of modern poetry’s popularity. In an age favouring easily digested thriller novels and celebrity biographies far above verse, this collection of poetry is certainly the exception to the rule. Perhaps this is due to Kaur undercutting the impersonality of a modernist aesthetic with accessible, simplistic language. Kaur does not subscribe to the belief that poetry must be difficult to be meaningful, championing a direct and inclusive register that unites her personal experiences with the reader. Combining a first person perspective with the repeated second person pronoun ‘you’, Kaur further bridges the gap between her poetry and her audience. She forges a link that causes the reader to imagine themselves not only as author, but as muse. Pointing beyond the page at ‘you’, Kaur rejects the division of the reader from the writer, assimilating her own experiences, memories, and subjects with her audience.

VERDICT - ‘milk and honey’, is a ‘modern classic’, worthy to be read out loud, written in texts to loved ones, and learnt by heart. The reminder to appreciate yourself and to embrace emotion is timeless.

The book teaches you that life is filled with terrible and heartbreaking moments but within those moments you can find great things. Great things that you might have missed if you were not looking. There is so much meaning and emotion behind every word, and it is even relatable. Several of the poems deal with situations that many face today.

RATING – 5/5

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Book Review #100 : The Perils of Being Moderately Famous




Title: The Perils of Being Moderately Famous
Author: Soha Ali Khan
Publishing house: Penguin Random House India
Pages: 207
Price: Rs 299

In the book’s first chapter, ‘Big Shoes, Small Feet’, Soha (meaning star in Arabic) speaks of people sometimes knowing her as ninth Nawab of Pataudi and brilliant cricketer Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and versatile actress Sharmila Tagore’s daughter or Saif’s sister.

The book, containing 9 chapters, begins by saying that if you bought/borrowed/shoplifted this book in the hopes of finding out the secret behind Kareena’s glowing complexion or what Bhai really meant when he talked about nepotism and eugenics, then unfortunately this is not the book for you. Here she mentions, to her credit, that she is content to bask in reflected glory while seeking out her unique destiny. Her self-deprecatory humorous streak shines through in a comparison of her paternal grandmother’s rigid daily routine as compared with that of her own on a non-working day.

Writing about her father, she mentions how if he went shopping in London for a pair of socks, he would buy just that, without falling prey to consumerist temptations. After a car accident, he said, “I lost sight in one eye but I didn’t lose sight of my ambition.” Even after he’d retired and was hospitalised, surrounded by tubes, masks, drips, pills, syringes and doctors he refused to make a fuss and was always polite, ever-charming – making every technician feel comfortable, despite his own discomfort.

In ‘Wakeful City’, in something most people can connect with, she candidly mentions how financial jargon of investment banking can be akin to googlies. She adds that for bankers SLB is Securities Lending and Borrowing and not Sanjay Leela Bhansali, just as PC is P Chidambaram and not Priyanka Chopra.

About the 2005 floods in Mumbai, she recollects how she was stranded after her car stalled on SV Road and how warm total strangers were in going out of their way to give her directions, offering drinking water and the use of their phones. At one point, when she sat shivering on a stationary BEST bus, two women across the aisle glanced at her and whispered to each other, making her think of getting off the bus. But one woman said, “It has to stop sometime, don’t worry.” Here she candidly admits that they were not judging her, she was judging them. She ended up chatting away amiably with two women for two hours and for those two hours they were comfortable companions of circumstance. This bond with the city, its people, their resilience and compassion made her keen as per her own words, to do Tum Mile, the 2009 love story set against this very deluge.

A disturbing recent phenomena she flags attention to, is of how people misuse social media to revel in hate and troll people they have never met and know nothing about. In this context, she cites two examples of the time she was targeted on Twitter for having expressed regret over former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan announcing his exit in 2016 and then on another occasion when she had worn a sari.

About relationships, she opines that many seem to survive only on the surface, with an emphasis on having fun and living in the moment. It is too tedious to share our deepest feelings, too hard to commit to being there when things get too tough, too demanding to learn from our mistakes… so much so that people have stopped really knowing each other or impacting each other’s lives. It is more of an existence and less of a life, a life more empty than full. And love is not the absence of irritation, conflict or disappointment. It is hard work and there is always room for improvement.

This breezy read with reader-friendly text font sizes is based on her personal experiences and has warmth, candidness, humour, offers insights and features never-seen-before images of her family, childhood and her daughter Inaaya. It is hoped this book will help clear up people’s misconceptions about her and add to her fans in the days to come.

Only Soha Ali Khan should write a memoir. Because what other woman, even on the peripheries of contemporary Bollywood, would get away with writing that her husband frequently "does something that makes me want to get up and punch him in the face." This follows a sentence where she is half-admiring, half-mocking husband Kunal Khemu’s arms which are so sinewy that she can see his muscles flex when he types something into his phone.

Most chapters in this book have the easy quality of early 2000s personal blogs. And if ever Khan had a noble mission in writing this memoir, it is frequently sidelined by her desire to make a joke. Frequently the jokes are about herself. Like discovering as a full-fledged adult but half-baked Bengali that the Kolkata journalist who referred to her mother as Sharmila Thakur was not wrong; she was just not using the anglicised version, Tagore.

Perhaps it’s because Khan is not selling anything right now that the book has this bright, genial and extremely enjoyable quality.

Soha has written crisply about her life so far. Knowingly or unknowingly, she has made sure that the readers do not get bored of her anywhere in the book. This kind of regulation comes in writing only when people are comfortable in their shoes.

I am in awe of Soha’s writing skills. I don’t know if she can ‘flirt’ with the camera or not, but I do think that Soha Ali Khan can trifle with words. In about 200 pages, she has written on genres like travel, cricket, cinema and romance giving a glimpse of what all she is capable. Though she might not be very popular, undoubtedly she has lived a life full of stories and adventures.

I really wish though that the cover of the book was more appealing. The land we live in does judge a book by its cover and it’s time that Indian publishers take notice of this.

It is, a well-written book as well. It doesn’t bore you with unnecessary anecdotes, everything has a purpose. Soha talks about her grandparents, parents, brother, husband and her new bundle of joy with utmost candidness. With an extremely fluidic writing style, which is simple enough to understand but doesn’t score low on finesse.

I would recommend this book to all those readers and non-readers too who just want to read and spend some time in reading book written with sheer honesty. It is enjoyable.

RATING – 4.8/5