At 28, life seems to have just begun. Coz 16, 18, 21 have all been like any other. Like a signboard you see outside a shop, on a journey. You see them passing by, but they have nothing much to do with your trip. They’re not like milestones that tell you “you’ve reached here”. Funny because, they are meant to be milestones. Because that’s when a sense of independence crawls in. The urge to break free, the restlessness to do more, the anxiety to know what’s in store for you – everything makes you look at life from a whole new perspective. One that’s got only you in it. Life begins to run parallel to that of your family but never seem to meet anywhere. Late nights never seem too late and weekends never seem to end. Such, would have been the life of many an 18 or 21 year old. Strangely, not mine.

Looking back, I realize that life had a lot to offer. An awesome childhood with some really good friends (Many of whom are still my best buddies), an equally exciting campus life, an awesome mom and a terrific dad as parents, an affectionate elder sister, crushes, true love, all of it. But what I didn’t seem to have was the feeling to be independent. I never felt the need to stay away from home. I didn’t think I had to live life on my own terms. I never dreamt of being alone in a new city, where nobody knew me, so that I had nobody to stop me from living my life.

While most of my peers eagerly waited to fly free, the thought of staying away from home gave me sleepless nights. But if life were to be such at 21, so be it. Thinking so, I packed my bags and started for a new life. Away from home for higher studies. I was by myself. And I was miserable.

I felt suffocated in my independent life. Nothing was the same. I never went out. I did nothing that I didn’t do back home. I was on a constant guilt trip. Every time I tried my hand at something new, I’d feel a chill down my spine. To me, doing what I wished, without my parents being around, was wrong. Such a bore, I swear!

And so set back. To home sweet home. With mom and dad and nothing to worry. Life was safe and blissful. No more risks. No more lies. And life went on.

Not too far, however. As I entered the late twenties, life began to take a new turn. New ideas started taking shape. New perspectives were formed. Questions raised. Explanations demanded. An age-long siesta was coming to an end.

Today, I look back and wonder if there’s something I’ve missed. And all I do is nod my head. At a time when I had the choice to grab life by its bars, I parked it aside. Safe and sound. And today, when I wish I had the freedom to surge ahead and not look back, I know it’s too late. All that I once thought was luxury, have today become my necessity. I guess if I’d lived life differently then, I’d be happy where I am today. I wish I could look back and tell myself, wow what a ride. Sadly, I think, the ride’s just started. And will soon have to see its end.

Optimism tells me there are still miles to go. Pessimism tells me I slept through my journey.


Saritha ki Swayamvar!

If marriages are already made in heaven, then what takes God so long to deliver it?

Disclaimer: I’m not the kind who thinks marriage is a waste of time. I am career driven, but marriage does not take a back seat because of that. To me, with the right person everything can be as fine as it is. You can call it high expectations, but I call it safe optimism.

I have to confess, however, that the whole process that goes behind this sometimes gets me thinking. Right from uploading a picture online to the “they might have something to talk” line, everything. Board exams can be called off, gay weddings can get legalized, but some things simply refuse to change.

That’s not all. The minute the word spreads that you’re in the market, new norms take birth. Outlooks change. And everything boils down to one word. Society. A man-made consortium of peeping neighbours, agony aunties and long lost friends who bump into you at the mall and gesture the thaali with their hands and go, “married”?
Coz I woke up late for my wedding? D-uh!

I can write a book on the kind of questions and responses I get on this subject. It’s hilarious.

So after surfing through a million “leaning-on-somebody’s-expensive-cars”, “mama-says-I-Iook-good-in-a-tie” kind of pics, when you finally like one, you think something’s moving. But no. You thought too soon. It's now that the villain makes its entry. The horoscope.

Astrology, I think, is a kind of voyeurism. You peep into somebody’s future to see whether they’re going to be happy or sad. And then decide on whether they need to be together. Interesting job, I should say. So, forget about the rest of the world you need to convince, try and get the astrologer to say a yes. He’s the man!

If he gives you the green signal, and you’re the girl’s family, things still have a very very long way to go. Wait for the guy’s folks to see what their man thinks. Not the son, the astrologer! The funniest part, he might have a completely new opinion to share. And you go back to square one. How then, can astrology be true? Different story.

When matters move beyond photographs and horoscopes, the real action begins. The girl seeing aka pennu kannals. This ritual can be divided into 5 parts.

Families exchange smiles, enquire about the journey, behave like family already.
The girl walks in (shameless ones like me will be right there for them to see when they walk in), the family looks at her, analyses, exchange glances, nods whatever.
The boy, who’s also there with ma and pa, trying to act his calmest best, and trying harder to catch a glance of everyone in that room with rapid eye movements, finally rests his eyes for a sec on the girl.
The family, now ready to demonstrate their broad mindedness, sends the boy and the girl to talk for a while.
Decision taken.

In an attempt to escape all the formalities, you try your hand at finding Mr. Right all by yourself. What goes in is just another complicated process. Unless of course, you’ve had the stars favour you always or you’re part of a bollywood flick.
So Mr. Right, wherever you are, how about catching the next train/flight/bus/auto/bullock cart. (No scrap the last one) and making an entry? It’s about time, don’t you think?


Praying for a miracle.

Everybody has a reason to pray.
How true. And it’s funny how all of us use prayer as some kind of a wish that’s been granted to us by a genie. The minute your realize you need something badly, you just close your eyes, frown hard and then repeat your “wish” ten times and then wait for “poof!” the miracle to happen.

And it’s funnier when people want YOU to do the wishing/praying for them.

Pauly: Sari, I want you to pray for me.
Me: Sure Pauly. What’s it for?
Pauly: There’s this business I’m into.
Me: Aah ok. So you want me to pray for the business to do well?
Pauly: No.No.
Me: Then?
Pauly: Actually, am sending a consignment from Blore to China tmrw.
Me: Oh cool. So you want me to pray that the consignment reaches safe?
Pauly: Noo sari! This consignment will be sent to Dubai.
Me: Aha. So..you
Pauly: No that’s also not what I want you to pray. The consignment has around 3000 Blackberry phones. And they will be sent to the poor and underprivileged around the world.
Me: Umm…
Pauly: Yea. So I want you to pray that they buy the blackberry.
Me: You want me to pray that the underprivileged buy the blackberry, right Pauly?
Pauly: (Now smiling): Yeah!!
Me: And wow much does a Blackberry cost Pauly?
Pauly: Umm..30,000 Rupees?

Wonder if Genies exist.


On the fence

‘So you love her?’ She asked. Her eyes yearning for a no. Her lips trembling with doubt. He nodded. ‘Yes.’ She noticed an uncertainity as the word fell. But his eyes were fixed as he looked ahead. Dodging a car that honked past. ‘I think I do’. He said. With his chin up this time, as if battling her doubtful eyes.

It flashed across her mind the whole night. The talk they had on their way back home. She smiled when she thought about him. She loved every moment she spent with him. But she also knew what she wished she didn't. That she wasn’t as important to him, as he was to her.

His world was very different from hers. He was nothing that she saw in her man. He was selfish. He could be mean. He laughed at her. And he really didn’t care. But he was different. That, she knew. She liked him, she as sure.

There was something, however, she didn’t know. And that kept her awake on various nights. She wondered what she meant to him. She feared if she’d be misunderstood. Perhaps it never ran through his mind. And she hated herself for feeling this way.

And that night after what he said, she felt distressed and anxious. Was he being true? Or did he lie? So that she’d cease the hope in her?


Dream. Smile. Live.

We’ve all been given two options. To be happy or not be happy. And everything depends on the choice we make. I chose to be happy. I chose to leave behind all that’s happened and to look forward to what’s in store for me with a wide smile. And I’m happy that I chose to be happy. :)

I mean, think about it. If life so far hasn’t been so good, there’s nothing much you can do about it now. But know what the best part is? That you have no clue what’s in store for you. And you have all the freedom to dream. And wait for the best. You can dream of a trip you might make, the man you may fall in love with, or a job that’ll give you all that you’ve always wished for. It’s a beautiful feeling. Reason why you’ll find me dreaming most of the time. :)

There could be another way of looking at it too. Think about what’s going to happen, fret, crib and spoil your present. Am sure most of us do that. I do it at times too. And that’s when I wonder why we think so much about something’s that’s yet to happen. Something that may never happen. Why waste time on it when you have complete control over your thoughts?

If it’s because it helps you prepare for the worst, I don’t think it’s worth it. Because honestly, nothing’s in our hands. No matter how hard you think or plan or whatever, life takes its own course. So it’s best to live the moment and dream of the future. :)

Nothing can be bad forever. Things got to change. And after all, hope is what keeps all of us alive, right? So smile. Life’s beautiful when you smile. :)


Future is now?

I don’t even know if can call this weird. Whatever’s been happening to me. One moment I’m all happy and looking forward to life and the other I really don’t know where it’s heading to or what I should expect. It’s been a long year. Yeah. Take it from the time I moved to Chennai. Actually long before that. But for now, let’s rewind only till we can remember.

Whew! What a year. Hell a lot of stuff happened in the past few months. From new hopes, new beginnings, new people, old stories, old feelings to a mix of everything. It’s been quite a ride. And as I come to close to completing one year, everything, one by one is becoming history. Making way for something new to unfold.

Change is imminent for sure! The days to come are gonna be so crucial, I can’t even explain. Life’s gonna change. Lives are gonna change. Times will change. I may change. For the good or worse, nobody knows!

It’s there right in front of me and I can see life taking a new turn. I’m counting days. And I think I can see very clearly what future awaits me with. It’s with fear that I’m treading the path towards a new tomorrow. It’s with anxiety that I wake up every morning.

There’s a plan for sure. For all that’s happening. And everything seems to be moving as per “the” plan. Set by whom? Dunno. But have to say, he/ she is great at his/her job! What it leaves me with, time can only say. Whether it works for me, fate will have to answer.

For now, I’m counting days. Trying to count my blessings. Crossing my fingers. Biting each and every nail. (Nothing left anymore) And trying to walk up straight with the really heavy load in my heart. Hoping, wishing, and waiting for things to be fine.


Weight Laws!

I badly want to lose weight. But not so badly that I’ll wake up at 6 am to go gymming. Or not so badly that I can give up on good food. But I have to lose weight like badly! Ok, now don’t give me that look. I’ve got enough of those and even more from people who'e heard my fundas about the whole thing.

The very first time I consciously got into a weight loss programme was four years back. I remember walking into a gym and watching people work out like there was an invasion expected and people who were fat would be beheaded. So much involvement, so much dedication.

I looked at them and then at myself. And in a day I was there too. Working out equally hard! Believe it or not, I would wake up early morning and drag myself to the gym and work out for 2 straight long hours! I was so proud of myself. I loved it when people looked at me the same way I looked at some others a few weeks back!

It went on for nearly 6 months. At the end of which, I was beginning to get used to people's comments. “You’ve lost weight”, “Hey what have you been doing?” And I would just shrug and say, “Nothing. I just workout a lil bit.” Yeah right! And once I was done with all the praises and feeling good, I was soon back to my old self. Over confidence I guess – that "Oh It just takes a few visits to the gym to get rid of that!" feeling. The few visits however never happened.

I tried hard to keep my eyes open and get myself on the treadmill. But the josh was no longer there! I felt too heavy in my head (Pun intended, Of course) to keep it going.

The following weeks and months saw various new ways to lose weight take shape! The GM diet, skipping, crunches (the max I did were 15?). Finally one worked! The no rice and a lot of veggies diet!

Man! Did it work wonders! I slept as much as I wished! Ate all the food I liked. And still managed to shrink. All I did was replace my lunch with veggies and give up on rice completely (2-3 spoons not counted)!

I remember the looks I got when I told people the way my diet worked! Comments like, “That’s not how it works”, “You’ll only fall sick.” Or just a mere shake of the head (Mallu style) meaning ya right, came in abundance!

The winner was, “Nothing’s going to happen. Wait and watch! You’ll remain the way you are!” I found myself searching for a vase then!

I know it’s hard to believe that you get to eat what you like and still lose weight. The lunch was all that I gave up. And that too not completely. I did gorge on rotis sometimes. Soups and fruit juices kept me going.

But the best part of all this was I could look forward to dinner! That was when I would pamper my taste buds by treating it to some yummy stuff I could bite into! And when it worked, it was once again compliment time! Oh, how I loved it when I shared the secret with those “wise” ones!

Then soon, Chennai happened. Away from home, left with no choice. I either had to cook my own food or eat what I got. Make a wild guess what I chose! I began eating anything and everything I got my hands on. With a heavy heart and (most often a heavy stomach) I saw them come back! All the fat that I got rid of with the rice was making its presence felt once again.

And now, as I write this, I wonder what I should have for dinner. The no rice diet has struck and eyebrows are raised again. But it doesn’t look like I’ll stick by it this time. For once, I’ll let the wise ones be. So much for the two divine creations called food and sleep!