Let me begin by saying that I don’t think any man can truly understand what it means to be a ‘modern independent’ woman, especially in a society likes ours. Ever since the movie Pink has started playing. I’ve had conversations with a few male friends of mine, all saying how brilliant the movie was. While I cried my eyes out through the movie, my belief, has been strengthened by the conversations with my male friends, that a man, cannot even begin to understand the ordeals of a woman in our times.

Yes, the film does a brilliant job of portraying the skewed mindset of our society against our women, but it also brings out so many other things that a man cannot even begin to imagine.

Let me take the movie as an example and bring to you a few more dimensions to it. The first half of the movie, starts with the girls worrying about the fact that one of them attacked the guy with a bottle, potentially rendering him blind from one eye. The entire time, they are overcome more with fear of what might happen, if the boys filed a complaint against them for assault, rather than being furious about the fact that one of them was sexually assaulted, that the guy forced himself on her. And as shown in the movie, a girl, even if she tries to file a complaint against the molestor / rapist, is deterred, by almost everyone she meet or thinks she could talk to. I myself have been dissuaded by my very own parents when I told them I wanted to talk to the parents of a 12 year old boy, who had groped me, in my very own building. Yes, you read it right, 12 year old. I cannot begin to imagine what the world has come to when I have to now fear even the 12 year olds. You might tell me that that was a one off case and that I shouldn’t make such a big deal out of it. But try, for one moment, to understand, the concept of the ‘sense of security’, which is a very fragile thing. Which once broken eludes us forever. Do you know what it feels like to constantly live in fear? Fear of being eve-teased, fear of being touched inappropriately, fear of being groped, of being molested, of being raped? I cannot tell you how many times, just how many times I have been touched inappropriately and been groped; a crowded market place, a crowded bus, under water, a bus stop, anywhere and everywhere. So many of these men look for just a moment, where they could touch you, feel you up and quickly get away. And trust me when I say, there are just so many times and places like that, where it is just so easy to do that. You might understand if I tell you how disgusting it makes a woman feel, but I doubt you’ll ever understand what it costs a woman. Or how high is the price of that sense of security that a woman loses in that one fleeting moment. In those moments, she is not just robbed of her dignity, but also her peace of mind and her independence, forever. For despite the fact that she might step out again, go out late at night, venture out in crowded places again, but she will NEVER, EVER feel safe again.

I cannot explain the horror of walking on the streets of Delhi at any time of the day. The way men even your father’s age will look at you, makes you want to crawl under a rock and hide forever. I cannot explain the horror of being out on days of dahi handi in Bombay. When every hooligan thinks that he has a license to leer at and touch every woman he can lay his hands on. I cannot explain, what, when you are at a ‘family restaurant’ with your guy and the middle aged man, sitting right across your table, looks at you in a lecherous way, does to you.

Do you know how it is to live, always having to think of what I can wear or not wear, depending on how a man might get ‘provoked’. I can’t wear a short skirt or a cleavage showing top, why? Not because I am uncomfortable in them, but because the dick heads don’t know how to control themselves if they see a woman wearing a low cut top or clothes in which her legs are showing. Why is that my fucking problem!? Why can’t I wear what I want to wear? Why can’t I be out alone, irrespective of the hour of the day? The fault lies with the rotten men, with the irresponsible parents who forgot to teach their sons to keep their dicks in their pants, and I have to suffer? Is that fair? Why am I being punished for boys who weren’t raised right? Why am I robbed of my freedom, my peace and my sense of security because there are desperate men walking on the streets? They are the ones who should be caged and tamed, but instead I am the one who has to manage my timings and my clothes and my company. WHY?

I have written about this before Social networking: the new villain..and here I am writing about it yet again. Simply because I see this so often and its so saddening. People share their lives with the whole word, invest in so many virtual friends, over chats and whatsapps and forget to connect with a special few. Instead of investing in one, or a few they spread themselves thin on everyone.  They are busy counting ‘likes’ and waiting for ‘comments’ that they forget to live the real life. Busy capturing pictures and ‘checking in’ virtually that they forget to check out of the virtual world, disconnect themselves from the noise and really live in that moment, worrying about how it’ll ‘look’ on social media.

When I was in school and college, I remember the anticipation, the excitement and the joy of calling up a close friend, those short n expensive STD calls were things I still remember, the conversations, I still cherish. But now that we have the money and the calls don’t cost as much, we’ve become reluctant to call, reluctant to make an effort, reluctant to invest. How can we ever have real relationships if we are not ready to invest in them. You’ll find it amusing that I fell deeper in love with a man who, on one of his out of country trips, called me and talked to me over the phone for an hour, raking up a phone bill of over 10 grands. Why? you ask? Simply coz he wanted to hear my voice, talk to me, tell me how his day went and ask me about mine. As insane as a 10k bill might sound, in this digitally connected world, it was an equally insanely romantic thing. He wasn’t counting the ISD minutes, neither was I, well, I was busy falling harder for him 😛 The weak wifi signal didn’t weaken our love, it made it stronger. We didn’t put our love on the wifi ‘line’ and we didn’t hold it ransom to internet connections. These days, if you are not on a free messaging app and FB consider yourself anti-social since text messaging and calling are pretty much dead, though who knows, Jio might just bring romance back in our lives with its ‘free calling’ plans! 😛

Its perfectly alright if you want to share your life with the whole world every now and then, share your thoughts, your moods and highs and lows with a long list of people you’ve either never met or hardly met, but in case you are looking for love or you are in love, I’d strongly suggest that you care less about the list of contacts, the likes and the comments online and rake up the mutual likes, comments, compliments and conversations in your real life rather than the virtual one.

At the end of the day, you need to decide if you want to be the book that’s judged by its fancy cover page alone, that people come, take a look at, admire briefly, maybe flip a few pages of and then put back on the stand and move on. Or do you want to be someone’s favorite book? The book that finds that one person who’d want to read it from cover to cover, scribble in, make notes and mark a few pages, and keep coming back to em’ coz they are in love with it.

Over the past few years, with my experience with men, there has been one thing, that, when I look back now, I have seen over and over again. I give a disclaimer right away saying that this is not a debate of the fairer skin vs the other sex. I am not implying that women are better coz I cant. I can only talk about men and my experience is based on the many I have seen / met /been with.

Let me rewind a little and I go back at least a decade.  Been in a relationship for almost 5 years, but then at the end mommy and daddy resist and the relationships ends. Missing! A pair of balls! Then there were those who want to be with you but always have an excuse on the sides, oh I am already in a relationship, oh my parents will never agree, oh we are from different castes, it’ll never be accepted. Missing! Several pairs of balls!

Oh did I tell you? The type I just mentioned above includes a few who would get married to a girl of their parents’ choice and still want to keep in touch with you, still want to meet you and God knows probably still want more. I duly shut the doors on them so I never found out what they might still be interested in.

Oh I almost forgot to tell you about a guy I met through a matrimonial site, who had lost his father only a year ago. He still harbored a grudge against his father that his father didn’t accept, that his son, now 32, was now the man of the house. A few dates later and with things moving closer to both of us saying ‘yes’ to each other, his mother calls up my parents one fine day and tells them that it wouldn’t work out and gives some horoscope shit more than a month after things started. I call up the guy and ask him about it, and he says he has no clue about it. He promises to talk to his mom and get back to me the next day. End of story: the guy goes absconding, refusing to return my calls or messages. The mother showed the ‘man of the house’ his rightful place I guess. And these guys want to marry a girl and bring her home to be subjected to the whims of their families? So much for being ‘the man of the house’

Fast forward to today, a man (or so I thought) goes the gentleman way, holds doors for me, does those small little things for me that would make every girl go week in her knees, makes me fall in love with him, asks me to marry him and then two weeks before the wedding, backs out and disappears, never ever turning back to as much as even offer an explanation as to what happened, why he changed his mind. And voila! Another pair of balls goes missing!

Man up boys, grow a pair, tell me what you want or do not want. I can take the truth. You think I am only good to go to bed with? Tell me, and I’ll know how to deal with you. You think marrying me would be taking on too much and you did it just for the thrill of the game? Tell me, at least after your game is over, at least I will know the truth.

So this is a humble request to all and sundry, to kindly return any pair of balls that they might find, lying about, since quite a few men (at least, I have met) are missing theirs. Any clues in helping them find theirs would be highly appreciated.

To all the men, we women today are fully capable of taking care of ourselves, financially, emotionally, sexually, mentally or any other way you can think of. We don’t ‘need’ you. We might wear our heart on our sleeve, we might hold the door for you and let you in. But when we do, be sure to understand that we respect you and are willing to share our lives with you. Don’t try to take us for a ride and certainly don’t take us for a fool. When you give us those nonsensical excuses, not only are you wasting your time but also ours. And its not about time really, its demeaning that you would take us for a fool thinking that we will fall for those excuses. Don’t sugar coat your words, don’t hide, don’t make excuses, tell us the truth coz we can handle it. We might be heart broken, we might stumble, we might fall but we will be back up again. We have some amazing friends and family to fall back on, who’ll be there for us no matter what.

We will fight for you if you deserve it, we will stand by you if you respect us and we will give you our everything if you truly love us. Just don’t mess with us, we don’t want any bad blood and there shall be peace. And if you can’t respect us, we will still hold the door for you, only this time, with an ‘Exit’ sign marked on it.

The last few days, I have been feeling guilty, guilty for I have cheated. No one knows about it though but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Worst part is I can’t stop myself, I still fantasize. I admit, I like variety, I like to shake things up a bit every once in a while, I like the idea of conquering a new unknown.

I should focus, focus on the one I have in hand. Damn! But I get tempted so often. I need more self-control. I should settle down with this one and then move to another, after all of the many that have come and gone, I have stuck to this one for the longest, but who can stop oneself from fantasizing now, can one?

Yes I am in love and have been in bed with my idea of a food start up for quite some time now. I am already making headway in setting it up but then I often get tempted by other ideas that come to me, while reading the Economic Times, reading about other startups, seeing various challenges that either I or people around me have faced. My mind picks up a line of thought, of execution and runs down to the last detail in a matter of minutes. Oh! the rush, the high! I get so turned on! And there it is. Before I picked up the newspaper, I was pondering over the next step that needs to be taken to set things up for the food venture, I was planning my next day at work and now, here I am thinking about another. I try to hit the brakes and push the thoughts out of my head. I try to calm myself down by jotting the idea down in one corner of my work diary, hoping that that would satiate my mind, make it believe that I will take it up later and plead for it to work on things that it should be working on right now. There are moments, very brief moments when I think it has stopped, that I can focus on my current venture again now, in peace, but I’m mistaken, the other one comes barging in and brews up a storm in my mind yet again.

This is what I think is called adrenalin rush, people get it from performing dangerous stunts, by taking weed or by indulging in extreme sports but I get it like this. Someone described me as a start-up junkie. And guess what, I’ve fallen in love with the term! I’m not a fan of labels, but this one; well bring it on! I would love to be called a ‘start-up junkie’.

A new idea, a new possibility, a new venture.  The freshness of it and the thing where my mind flexes its muscles that have started to relax a little since the last one is pretty much ready to go live now. All the planning and details are almost covered, it has all given way to execution and daily tasks. My mind gets bored, looking for something new and it could come from just about anywhere. So after one passionate whirlwind affair I lay it down in the memory book… my diary, promising it, I will return. What happens in the meanwhile? Well, all I can say is, a little bit of flirting on the sides never hurt anybody. Peace.

Gone are the days when love was synonymous to a few stolen glances, love letters and long wait. Now everything is digital and virtual. The romance is certainly gone.

In simpler times, when we met someone at a particular place, secret glances were exchanged, our hearts would flutter and that’s where the romance would start. These days, a meeting is immediately followed by a friend’s request on Facebook. Put the name online and google gladly obliges. It throws up the person’s entire life in front of us with links to the person’s FB profile, professional network, blogs ets, enough for us to start with. Secret glances and those love notes are replaced by virtual ‘winks’ and ‘pokes’. Gone are the days when finding someone included befriending the other person’s friends and physically making rounds of the other person’s place hoping to catch a glimpse of the person. These days an overdose of minute by minute updates and truckloads of pictures that is further supplemented by self-posted status messages leaves no scope for imagination.

Romance was in the wait, in the effort one would take, to find us, to know us, to try and find out what we like or what we don’t. Today, finding it all is only a click away.  Tiny scribbled love notes with rendezvous place are replaced by watsapp messages. Think about it, when was the last time you made something for someone you loved, a card, a note, a handwritten love message? All that is replaced by probably a visit to an online shopping portal where we order an expensive gift that’s delivered right at the other person’s doorstep and satisfactorily lets us ‘check’ our ‘to do’ list saving us any guilt for not having ‘done’ anything on that special someone’s birthday. Think about the time we spent in getting it all done? A few minutes, an hour at max! I can bet!

I wonder if that is why our relationships are so brittle these days, coz probably we feel too little and are barely invested in them. Time is replaced by money and emotions, by emoticons. The time that elapses between ‘liking’ and ‘acquiring’ someone has significantly gone down along with the effort that used to go into it and probably that’s why we find it easier to move on the next.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against social networking or social media. Though I am amazed at how eager people are, to lay their lives bare in front of the entire world, its totally a personal choice. Where I do appreciate the ease with which one can find something or someone online, I certainly do believe that our usage of social networking sites et all has killed the romance. I hope we are able to turn it back on.. coz romance is in those little games, we used to play..

 

I don’t think I’ll make it through the night

I don’t think I’ll see the next sunshine

In case you still find my heart beating inside

Something in me, forever would have died

 

Your drugs possibly can not cure

The pain I have chosen to endure

The pain, I was too scared to inflict

Glad no one else had to bear, coz to me it befits

 

But tonight when I go to sleep

I don’t want to carry the weight with me

So I’ll sing a song only few could hear

Of what my heart couldn’t stand to bear

 

To those I knew, who held me near

Don’t blame yourself and don’t fret dear

Coz you could not ever possibly know

The pain, I did not want to show

 

I am sorry I learnt to lie to you

And didn’t let you know what I was going through

I tried so hard not to show

Coz I got too used to being alone

 

So tonight when I close my eyes

Just let me sleep and don’t deny

The peace, I choose, to embrace

Just let me go don’t make me stay…

 

Just let me go, just let me go……..

 

With tears in my eyes
I lie on my bed

with a pain in my heart
and a question in my head

a question I often dont dare to ask
coz I know the answer, and my hope wont last

even in the darkest of times, I've stood tall
with a smile on my face, carried the burden of them all

gave them the strength when I myself was shattered
cheered them up, when my soul was battered

but is there a soul, who would know how I feel
look into my eyes, and know the smile is not for real

someone who could fill that gaping hole
in front of whom, I could bare, my mind, body and soul

is there a soul who would carry me home
when I'm drowning in pain and all alone

someone to whom my silence could speak
in the arms of whom, peace, I could seek

but is there a soul who would know
how to keep my heart from sinking so low

someone who'd know how to keep me sane
in my worst moments of weakness and pain

is there a soul......