Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Day 7 - About Matchmaking

So, here’s the thing about matchmaking. I dislike it in all possible forms. I dislike it in the vanilla space, I dislike it in alternative spaces. I dislike it in social gatherings, in schools, in colleges, in weddings, in when relatives do it, when friends do it, when colleagues, acquaintances (specially acquaintances do it). I do not like being put out there as a showpiece.

For most of the people who care for me, it is very difficult to understand why I wouldn’t be happy with people trying to find me people. Well, I didn’t understand it for some time either. Now I think I kind of understand it.

The thing is, I am an extremely extrovert person and I enjoy meeting new people, knowing them, interacting with them, making friends with them. However, I have realized that whenever I do that with an agenda – the agenda of making them my partners; a relationship goal so to say; I end up making a mess.

So, the way I see it, I would be able to really date someone only when and if we have known and interacted with each other for long enough. I need to know and reveal myself when it comes to a partner, in full, moles and warts and farts and all.

However, when people are trying to be my matchmakers, they are portraying what they think is the most relevant aspect of my personality in terms of the person they are introducing me to. This means there is so much more which was to be stated in terms of my non-negotiables that they didn’t. There was so much in terms of my must-haves which they didn’t reveal. My insecurities, my personality, my smile, my excitement, my whims and fancies do not get revealed in their full glory.

In the meanwhile, those that get matched are another story. Listen to this fun song. Mine aren’t even remotely this hilarious.

Yet, people who are trying to be matchmakers usually will ask me SO MUCH about my life in order to share with a third person (who I yet don’t know about), that I wonder, what’s the point. I mean if all you want to do is make an introduction, well, ask my non-negotiables and introduce us. Period. We will discover and figure out the rest.

Anyone who wants to sit in the centre of the relationships’ web and control, isn’t certainly welcome as a matchmaker in my life. All relatives, most acquaintances, most friends fall under this category. I understand when relatives attempt such things, because they are in my opinion, so used to schemes and machinations of human connect that some of them can’t give up. I also understand when some friends do it, but I totally get pissed off when mere acquaintances try to play games like these. 

I recently had an acquaintance, a guy, older, married, looking for a casual (claims non-casual) fling tell me that he needed to know the graphic details of my sexual preferences because he wanted to introduce me to someone. I told him off in polite words and wow, it was a shitstorm! The hidden misogyny, the façade, the mask, all came out shining its shitty glory.

On the other hand, another friend, peer, female, currently dating, almost my age, asked me just tonight if I was dating and if she could set me up. All I had to say to her was – “You know how I look, you know my preferences, you know what I want. If you really think you want to make any introductions, I am open to it”. Her response – “Yay!!”

Now that’s the kind of matchmaking I can happily handle. 

The trouble is that conventionally matchmaking worked. It worked because people lived far away, so it only made sense to pay priests, ‘nai’ and other such people to find matches. Then it got delegated to relatives, specially those married in distant cities. However, the troubles existed even then. Mismatched couples, lies, power centres and more.

I think the dating and match making apps do the same but the only reason why I can handle it is because it feels impersonal enough. If they started asking me in so much detail my sexual details over a phone call or in a face to face meeting, am sure I’d tell them to fuck off as well.

That said, I may still be OK with some people asking me all that information, since it would just make sense. Since these people know me well, have taken time to build comfort with me and to know me well enough, I am OK with them knowing about the gory details of my life. Rest? No please!
So, the next time you want to make a match of someone with me, please ask me the basics and let us explore the detailed graphics ourselves. Thank you very much! 😊

© Anupama 2018

Monday, 30 April 2018

Day 6 - About Love - 1

Last few days, love has been on my mind a lot. I have been meeting people, lots of them. Interesting, mostly; engaging with them. However, I have realized that I have met and interacted with so many men by now that I know exactly what kind of a man I want. However, what I call my preferences or likings, people call a checklist. People suggest that I should let go of the checklists and let them go and go with the flow instead.

Every time I try letting go of the checklist, I realize that the other person isn’t good enough for me. Then, when I don’t let go of the checklist, I am not good enough.

Apparently, NOTHING EVER is good enough: D Hence, I go on bitching about pretty much everyone I claim to have loved, family, friends, lovers, even myself; I keep doubting myself. Am I never going to be enough? Am I ever going to be enough?

Is it not enough that I do not judge you or your other partners without a moral compass? Is it not enough that I am always there when you need me, even when I may be dying myself. Is it not enough that I want you to be happy and that I don’t hold you answerable for my well-being? Is it not enough that I don’t hold you responsible for my grief or sadness? Is it not enough for all of us to live and love unconditionally? What more must I do?

However, all of that said, I finally get tired of being in the victim mode and soon stepped out of it. What helped me was binge watching the series of Troy on Netflix.

I see those trying to have, those trying to love, those resisting it and then those who give in to it, even justify it, defend it and go to a war for it. I see a entire full-scale range of emotions and people like Odysseus having to choose between personal love and the larger love for humanity. I see ethics going to hell, I see ethics being lived up to and yet love surviving and dying in the same moment together.
After, all that, in the very last scene, 4 people have survived a LONG war where everyone else has been destroyed, captured, and taken. One of them, a shepherd’s girl hugs a 9 years old child, holds him in her arms and whispers… You’re alive.

In that moment, all my self-doubt has gone away. I realized that it is a blessing to love and to live. It is a blessing to be loved. It's a privilege and not something to be taken for granted. All my illusions about love had gone away and then today I have love speaking to me in silent whispers. Love shows me the glimpses into its true nature occasionally.  Here’s one of those glimpses for you.

It shall always be enough...
An act of kindness,
A smile of joy,
A tear in solidarity,
A morsel shared,
Love, my love, shall always be enough.

There are more that it chooses to reveal and I will write more. Till then, much love to you.

© Anupama 2018

Sunday, 29 April 2018

30 Days Writing Challenge - Day 5 - About Disappointment

Let's talk of disappointment today. Some months ago, a few friends disappointed me a lot. I remember how clearly, were they operating from their selfish desires and their momentary lapses of sanity. I do not think they are bad, malicious people by nature. If they were, probably I wouldn’t be disappointed in them. I was disappointed because I expected better from these men, rather than what they gave me.

I expected that a friendship of 7 years, would stay a friendship despite all misgivings as well as financial transactions. I expected that professional people owned their work ethics, at least at the basic level of safety of people at workplaces. I expected that a friendship that had withstood ups and downs for 9 years, would mean enough for a married friend to not push his agenda on me. The fact is that I am disappointed in a majority of the male of my species.

The question I am trying to probe here is not why I feel disappointed. It is clear that I am disappointed in these people because I had expectations in the first place. Some of the other friends, mentors that I ran this past told me that some examples didn’t have to make me feel disappointed in more than 50 % of the human population. They also told me, there was no need to stereotype men in general. However, that said, the disappointment didn’t go away.

I tried to rationalize. I tried to list the reasons of my disappointment; reasons beyond my expectations. I tried to find reasons to blame these incidents on. I didn’t want to accept that ex-boyfriends could be stupid, friends could be selfish, seasoned colleagues irresponsible and spineless. I didn’t want to have to forgive, so I looked for reasons.

That is when I realized that I was not longer just disappointed, but even resentful. It is when I realized that my disappointment was morphing into something more than just that; something unpleasant, something that was no longer helpless but more sadness. I was hurt, I was sad, I was angry and I was resentful.

Once this was done, I needed to find out how to get over it. I knew my way out was not the sanctimonious forgiveness but the plain, simple hope. I needed to hope again, I needed to expect and look forward to these people and others. I needed to finetune my filters. I needed to remind myself that it’s OK to expect and it’s also OK to not have the expectation fulfilled. It’s IMPORTANT however, to hope that people are not malicious by choice and out there to get at you. Instead, people have their stupid moments and it’s OK.

It’s only human to fail. It was after I disappointed a few people without misleading them and without a malicious intent, that I realized that it’s OK to be disappointed. It’s OK to be hurt, it’s OK to be even upset, just not resentful.As long as there's the ability to hope.

And much abrupt an ending as it sounds, the fact is I am trying to write this post for almost a week now and I may keep trying it till the end, and yet not reach anywhere. So, as disappointing as it is to you and to myself, as you read and I write this broken chain of thoughts, I am going to send it live today at any cost.
Much Love.

© Anupama 2018

Saturday, 21 April 2018

30 days writing challenge - day 4 - for Prateeksha

Dear Prateeksha,

Thank you for asking me to write about something I know is so personal to you. Something we’ve shared in common in that small girls’ / working women’s hostel in Delhi. Thank you for allowing and requesting me to write about our ambitions, our dreams, our struggles and so much more. 

It’s been a privilege to witness your journey briefly and to be able to share mine. Of course, not to say that I am grateful to you for the support you and our other roommate (name withheld since I didn’t have time to ask her if she’s OK being mentioned publicly). It’s an even greater pleasure to be asked to write about those times.

So, I think there are a few things that I want to point out to you about small-town girls/boys having big dreams in a big city and their struggle and desire to achieve everything. First things first, we may be from small towns, people like you and me, we are not small in our being. We are people with the same spark of superconscious or the divine as is there in every other human being. 

In fact, there are a few advantages to being a small-town person. We are able to dream because there are things we haven’t experienced. At the same time, we are able to stay grounded, because we have seen what it is to want for nothing, and yet not have access to luxuries.We have dreams, ambitions and we are on journeys we often don't understand and can't cope with. We travel those paths nevertheless.


While our struggles of hunting for jobs, our problems with communications skills, our hungry hostel nights, our lavish meals of the simple menu in the picture below are common and shared, we each have our unique personalities. (Side note, remember this night? I still do :D ) While some of these struggles are also shared by big city girls and boys, a lot of times, their journeys may seem easier than ours.

Important however it is, to remember, that a city doesn’t make your journey easy or difficult. Coming from privilege or not doesn’t change the essence of your journey. What does it is your value system, your ability to adapt, your ability to share, give. I am not even comparing this with the journeys of the young people raised by families in large cities. I don't think we need to do that sweetie.

Remember, it isn’t a competition. Life isn’t about a competition Prat, it’s about finding more of yourself with every passing day. It is about remembering that some may have more privilege than you. It is also remembering about how there are others less privileged than you. 

The ability to speak of the fact that we had small homes and limited sets of clothes while growing up, is the real challenge. The ability to not be ashamed of our relatively humble origins is the key. The ability to remember that there are those who come from more humble origins and have achieved far greater things is the inspiration. The ability to talk of it without any complexes, superiority or inferiority is the real challenge in my opinion. 

I have seen you evolve from a young struggling adult to this wonderful, confident woman you’ve grown to be. I would say you’re a rockstar and continue being yourself. 

Be more giving, tread more gently, don't lose your spark, keep working hard and smart and enjoy the ride kiddo!

Much Love,
Anupama Di

© Anupama 2018