Monday, August 4, 2014

A toast to my virtual presence

Dear You,

Yes, I know who you are. And I know that you know who I am. Maybe virtually. Maybe I know your face and you know mine - even if it is only because of the profile pictures. I might remember your name because of your frequent updates. I'm not so active on social networking. So I won't be surprised if you cannot put a name to my face or vice-versa.

Times are changing, aren't they? We sat next to each other a while ago and even carried out conversations you say? Do I remember any of it? I don't suppose so, but let me admit that I do admire your memory and your perseverance. Is that what it is? Perseverance because you don't seem to give up! You try to push yourself into my memory and monkey around there. You're adamant about staying put there.

But what if I want none of it? Is it even possible? I dread to think... my life seems meaningless without those meanderings, peeks and peeps into your life. And yours. And yours. It is almost as if I cannot exist without you. Without your virtual presence, should I say? I know what you're doing. And where you're doing what you're doing. I even know how you're doing what you're doing. It's information overload, you say? Do you want to apologize? Oh no, please! It's all very important to me. It's not about you. It's about me. I need to know what each of you is up to. Lest I cannot digest my food. I cannot sleep for God's sake. I need to peep into everything, and everyone's life, around.

You're asking about my life? Well... does it even matter? Not to me, I'm afraid! I just do what I am best at doing. SULK. Sulk because my life is not going the way yours is going. Oh yours is so bloody brilliant and fantastic and colourful. I try to copy, to imitate, to at least fake part of it. But I fail miserably! And I retreat - crying! Wallowing in self-pity.

You say you bought that brand new tab that I've been eyeing and saving up through my nose for the past God-knows-how-many-months! Oh how I hate you - but only secretly, mind you! I cannot really show that hatred online you see. You've to come to terms with fake love and admiration if you want our virtual friendship to continue, blossom and become meaningful - in the virtual world. I don't really care if you're my friend once I log out. Do I? Let me see! Looks like I don't! But this charade has to continue.

Did you say you are wondering about your choice of your next car? Me aside: "Oh God, you have one effing family car already. Why the hell do you need it, show off?" On your wall: "Wow... amazing! I think you should go for this because of these these these reasons. And congratulations in advance. Lucky person. I'm so happy for you."

My life sucks. I'm trying still... I'm trying to adjust my lifestyle and my profile pictures and my status updates to match yours. You had a sizzler last week? Big deal! I had two continental and one Chinese nights last week. See, I'm definitely better than you! Oh God, but you're buying that posh new camera. Since when did you start showing interest in taking pictures? Oh it's for the selfies you say? Maybe now I'll eat only one meal a day and try saving up more money to buy a better camera than yours for my future selfies.

Hey, which grooming parlour do you go to for that glow on your face and the shine on your hair? I cannot seem to be able to get a freaking hair colour from the supermarket near home, and go to the next door beautician to get my bloody grey hair covered... Looking young is the in-thing you feel! Now how can I admit openly that I don't earn as much as you do but I'm compelled to maintain a lifestyle on par with you. On weekends you eat at plush places while I do the laundry at home and iron my clothes on my own because I cannot afford the expenses. Also, mind you, I'm a mother and a wife. I've duties, you see. So my inability to take care of myself and be(have) as cool as you can be easily camouflaged with fake pictures of me laughing with my only child and click a selfie in a side angle so my grey hair and uncared for skin don't become prominent. My child's innocent smile is what captures everyone's attention. And voila, my profile pictures are also well taken care of!

You don't seem to understand this double-life I'm leading... but let me tell you this. Look into yourself and you'll see what I mean. Because this is exactly what you're doing too! We're all mirrors of the mirrors - reflecting off each other and behaving like this is life. Maybe this is life. Who am I to complain, after all? So let's still be friends in the virtual world and praise one another outwardly. See you soon (with another update about how effing good my own life is - doesn't matter if my real existence is in complete contrast to my virtual presence). Take care. Muaahhh (something I've learnt to do a lot in my virtual world).


Sunday, March 23, 2014

What's in a relationship, sans gender talk?

"Everything," I'd say! Explain, I shall, if you permit me a few digressions.

A day, a story, and a perspective:

"A man who really loves you and wants you to be in his life forever will never give you reasons to doubt him. He will never take you for granted… He will always keep you above everything else. He will fight for you and not with you… He will remember your likes and dislikes and will not forget what is important to you. He knows you the way he knows his own shadow… His own soul… His own life."

I read this on Facebook a few days ago and was wondering, once again, about relationships. Why should the above things be true only in case of the man, the husband? So, does it mean that a woman need not really love the man in her life and need only wait to be loved? Suppose it was posted by a man instead of a woman, words like the 'man' and the associated pronouns would have been replaced by 'woman' and related pronouns. Frankly speaking, not in Arnab Goswami style of course, I feel the onus lies on both the partners. How can love and relationship issues be different from one gender to the other?

'The war of the genders' is a highly misused, and abused, phrase. So are terms like 'love' and 'respect.' I really love, and totally relate to, what Sridevi says in 'English Vinglish' - 'I don't want love. I want respect.' Once both partners learn to respect each other - respect the significant other's opinions, ideas, tastes, likes and dislikes, interests, and passions, love will happen quite naturally. And then the battle of the sexes will end automatically. And naturally! Somehow, I feel, it all boils down to ego which is a deep-rooted emotion and plucking out which takes a lifetime of futile efforts.

Another day, another story, and another perspective:

On the first day of their marriage, wife and husband decided and agreed not to open the door for anyone! On that day, first husband’s parents came to see them, they were behind the door. Husband and the wife looked at each other, husband wanted to open the door, but since they had an agreement he did not open the door, so his parents left. After a while the same day, wife’s parents came, wife and the husband looked at each other and even though they had an agreement, wife with tears on her eyes whispered, I can’t do this to my parents, and she opened the door. Husband did not say anything.

Years passed and they had 4 boys and the fifth child was a girl. The father planned a very big party for the new born baby girl, and he invited everyone over. Later that night his wife asked him what was the reason for such a big celebration for this baby while we did not do it for the others! The Husband simply replied, because she is the one who will open the door for me! Daughters are always so special !!

This story hit me real hard as it was a bit unpalatable to me. Its appeal to me was much different from all the touching/ sentimental comments that flooded the status update. I felt this can be looked at in a different perspective where the moral of the story can be perceived as below:

"The husband changes himself completely for the wife and sacrifices everything (including his own parents) for her sake, in order to keep her happy always. But the wife doesn't really seem to care for him or his parents as much as she does for her own family."

I agree that daughters are extra special... being a daughter myself and a mother of an amazing daughter, at least I should know that daughters are indeed special. But I also know that the world around is cruelly ignorant and our actions can be perceived in so many different ways - highlighting the grey areas especially! This story, to me, is not really a happy one. It's a real sharp comment (probably in the most subtlest possible way) on the sad state of affairs clouding the most amazing institution called marriage! :(

As my husband insists - always - understanding and trust are the keys to a successful marriage. And those are the very same things lacking in marriages these days - and that's probably why so many couples are falling apart. If the husband can support the wife in a joint agreement, I wonder why the wife cannot do the same for him! If the husband is willing to accept his in-laws' family with open arms, why does the wife find it so difficult to do just the same! I always wondered if it has got to do with the mental make-up of both the sexes. And if what everyone says - Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus - is true!

A different day, a new quote, and a newer perspective:

In yet another equally disturbing quote that's doing the rounds on social networking sites, the ultra-modern, educated, economically-independent Netizen women preach that the man shower his love on his wife in abundance "in order to gain their children’s respect. Love your wife, show the children that you care for her! So they’ll learn how to love, and respect women when they grow up!" Or something to that effect! I’d still hold on to my point and say, this is quite so true in case of the woman too! "Show your children how to love and respect the man in your life… and in doing so, you’re doing a favor to your girls by teaching them how to do the same – without bringing in biased concepts like ego, sacrifice, independence, individuality, and so on!"

I’d personally love it if my daughter can punch in the face of the man who troubles her in any way – not to protect her ego or her superiority complex, but only to uphold her self-respect and push her self-confidence level up by a few notches. That’s the positive spirit I’ll try to inculcate in her and make sure, as a woman and as a mother, that she knows how to be feminine without being submissive, how to be a woman without being a feminist, how to be independent without being arrogant, how to be selfish without being mean, and how to be herself without being egoistic…

I hope mothers – everywhere – are listening! Mothers with daughters, mothers with sons, mothers all kind, and mothers from around the world!