Wanting Love…

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

I want to say this to you, right now. If only I could feel it too. I am tired. I am frustrated because I feel too much and expect and want more.

I love you, I said when we were saying goodbye.

Not as much as I like you, you responded.

Was that true, I now wonder. I’m not disputing what you said. I remember you changing plans to spend those last two nights with me. I remember your eyes, our hugs, your holding my hand and not wanting to let go, your hesitation in leaving the elevator door after our final goodbye.

Go now, I said.

I wish we had a choice. I wish we could spend some more time together, more minutes, more hours, more days…

Eighteen days later, it feels different. I do realize the constraints in our current situations but I feel what I feel. Time and again, I find myself wanting more – more time, more involvement, more you. I have been willing to re-organize my life and prioritize meeting you and spending time with you. I choose to do that.

I know that you like spending time with me and you did all that you could do. I also know that I can’t hold you responsible for not doing things you never said you will. You’ve been honest since the beginning about where you stand. Whenever we talked, you said that you weren’t ready for a long-term relationship. When it was time for me to move, you clearly said that you didn’t want a long-distance relationship. The irony of the situation is that when we first met,  I wasn’t ready to start seeing you. Or anyone else, for that matter. I didn’t expect to fall in love when I knew I would be leaving the city in the next few months.  And then I met you. And fell in love.

When I realized how much you meant to me, I was willing to change some plans. I tried to stay longer in the same city or close by, but it didn’t work out. I wanted to give things a real shot, to see if this can go anywhere, if what we have can last. Because I have been happy with you and it feels right. Because you seem to be the kind of guy I want to spend my life with. Because I think about wanting to raise kids with you, when I’m not even sure if I ever want kids. Because I respect and appreciate you for who you are. Because I feel seen, heard, valued and appreciated in this relationship.

I know it’s too soon. We’ve known each for only four months. I was not asking for any guarantees. I just wanted you to want this as much as I do.

We talk almost everyday. We Facetime often. I call you everyday because my day feels incomplete if we don’t talk. I don’t know what we have and where we stand. I am afraid to ask you, maybe because I don’t even want to find out. I am afraid to hear you repeat that you don’t want to be in a long distance relationship. This way, I live in the hope that we have something. As I get ready to leave the country, I just want to see you one more time. Because I am afraid that I may not see you again. Ever. And I know that it probably doesn’t matter if I see you this one time either, right? But to me, it does.

I love you. I have told you that a few times. I don’t expect you to say it back, I always tell you after. But some part of me wants to hear that you love me.

I am living my dreams and having the time of my life. You are a part of this time.

I miss you. I think about you everyday, no matter where I am, and what I’m doing. I just wish that it was reciprocal. Either you felt as strongly as I did, or I didn’t feel as much. I am a strong independent woman and I choose to live my life on my terms, as much as I can. However, when it comes to love, I can’t stop my heart from falling too fast and too hard. I don’t know how to not think about you or want you less. So I just hope that maybe you start wanting me more. On that note, happy four months!

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Resilience or foolishness?

Rhea didn’t feel like getting out of bed. She looked at the time and realized that she was late, again. She grabbed her phone to silence the alarm, glanced at her Whatsapp messages, and didn’t bother to read the usual forwards. Not really expecting anything important, Rhea checked her email and was excited to see Neal’s email – not just one but two. It brought a smile to her face and gave her the energy to sail through the day. As Rhea was in and out of meetings all day, she kept thinking about Neal’s emails and couldn’t wait to find the time to write to him. She found herself remembering You’ve Got Mail and smiling to herself during the day!

****

When Rhea woke up in the middle of the night, she checked her phone for any emails from Neal. Looking at her empty inbox, she wondered if he had disappeared again. She had responded to his email three days ago, the same day that he had written to her. Since then, she had called him a couple of times but he didn’t answer the phone.

****

As Rhea lay in bed on the cold Sunday morning, she craved to talk to Neal. It had been a week since his last emails. More than him, Rhea was frustrated with herself. She wondered why she let herself get excited again – isn’t this classic Neal behavior?

In his email a week ago, Neal didn’t really say anything about the story she had shared with him, he only responded to one of the questions she had asked him. Rhea wondered if he even read what she sent him. In his second email, Neal had asked for her opinion on a video he shared. Unlike him, Rhea had written a long and emotional response sharing her thoughts. As she over-analyzed the email, seeds of doubt began creeping into her head. Was Neal put off by her opinions? Did her ideas sound naive or immature? Rhea reminded herself that the main reason she felt attracted to Neal was that he respected her value system and thought process. She was not going to start questioning herself because a guy wasn’t responding to her emails. Not again.

As Rhea longed for Neal, tears rolled down from the side of her eyes onto the pillow. She wondered how she ended up in the same situation every few years, or even months. At the slightest possibility of love on the horizon, her heart began doing somersaults, like an over-enthusiastic kid not willing to accept failure in gymnastics class. Rhea found herself speculating if her heart is resilient or foolish or both? While she inherently believed in love and didn’t want to give up on meaningful connections, she was tired of picking up the pieces of her broken heart. Rhea mused, is the heart’s resilience necessarily a good thing?

****

You can read more Rhea and Neal stories here.

Song on my mind

 

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Cheat song post!

I’ve been sick for a couple of days, been very busy, sleep deprived, and exhausted! Weekend, wh’re art thou?

Leaving you with a song on my mind – Shaam tanha by Agnee! See you tomorrow!

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My Dinner Companion!

I watched this interview with Dev Anand and really enjoyed it. Even if you don’t know Indian cinema, it’s a very interesting conversation about life. Some things that he said spoke to me and here are my reflections!

He says that marriage is a personal affair and they got married secretly. I think I agree with the idea, I don’t see the need to organize a bollywoodesque show to get married. Since a few years, I’ve thought that I would prefer a quiet court marriage followed by a small reception with close friends and family.

When he talks about his marriage, it was interesting that they don’t have many shared activities and they are both content with the marriage. My first thought was that this is probably a public view of one side of the story, I wonder if this is the reality of their marriage. Maybe it’s true, but you never know. If it is true, I think it depends on the couple – what each partner is looking for in a marriage – if totally independent lives work for both of them, great! In any case, marriage shouldn’t be about losing yourself, it should be about sharing and growing together as well as individually…

Something that I can’t relate to is sorrows being short-lived. Maybe that’s how some people function or deal with life. Although, I do wonder if someone actually gets over things immediately, or are they just trying to distract themselves or running away from their feelings or sadness. If that is the case, is that a good idea? Isn’t it important to accept and deal with heartbreak and emotions, rather than run away from them?

He also talks about being a daredevil, about taking chances and accepting defeat (if that’s the outcome) and learning from it. A month ago or so, I read this article that said that at some point, you need to figure out what pain are you willing to bear to be successful at something. Everyone has dreams but what are the costs that you’re willing to pay to achieve those dreams. Life is not going to work out all the time. However, having said that, I think it takes a lot of courage to take big risks in life and not everyone has that courage. I think that courage is dependent on a combination of factors – some that are a part of your inherent nature and some from your upbringing. This article has been on my mind since a couple of days. I could relate to always being scared and careful and not having the courage or confidence to take risks. After a few conversations with friends, we also realized that sometimes, women are more risk-averse than men – it’s hard to say if it’s biological or social conditioning. As I have mentioned earlier, I have been thinking of making some life changes, one of them is taking a break for 4-6 months before I start working again. The uncertainty of it freaks me out because I’ve never done anything like this in life before. However, at the same time, I find myself wondering – if not now, then when? And why not? At some point, I need to learn to face my fears. I imagine the worst case scenario that it will be horrible but it’s only a few months and I’ll know that I tried and it doesn’t work for me. Or maybe it won’t be totally horrible, there will be some good moments, and some things I will learn about life. At the end of the day, it’s still very scary, and I’m learning to accept the fact that that’s alright, big changes are scary and that shouldn’t stop me from doing what I really want.

He talks about death, something that I have been thinking about for the last few weeks. I don’t fear my death anymore and I feel similarly as him. Except that he was 80 at the time of the interview, and I am 29. Death of a loved one is hard and painful for the ones who are left behind. However, for the person who dies, you’re dead, that’s it… Although, I think it’s probably easy to have this opinion when thinking about death philosophically, that doesn’t guarantee that that’s how I would feel if death is staring me in the face – you know, right before an accident or if I have a terminal disease… Especially considering that I am young and also feel that time is running out. I want to do some much in my life, it’s kind of contradictory to my opinion about death. Oh well!

He talks about his father never expressing pride for his success and achievement until his final years. I don’t agree with this attitude of fathers or parents or other important people in life not showing their appreciation. In my opinion, everyone is working hard and fighting many battles and genuine appreciation for their efforts and actions can go a long way to make their life easier and happier. I make it a point to implement this in my life.

So did you watch the interview? What are your thought about the interview or anything I said?

P.S. I’m sorry I haven’t gotten around to responding to comments, I’ll try and get to them this weekend!

P.S. 2 This is my 200th post, yay!

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Library love!

When I have four books sitting at the end table that I want to read but haven’t been able to, what do I do? I go to the library and get three more books and hope that I will read one of those! I got two books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an author I have been wanting to read for quite sometime. The third book is by Jennifer Weiner so that I have a light read if I don’t feel like reading something intense!

Meanwhile, I noticed the cool art at the local library and clicked a few pictures! Hope you like them! The top three are painted pillars in the library’s teen section! The others are a part of a winter art installation called Pop des Fleurs, you can read more about it here. I loved the colors and can’t wait for spring to come!

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Political Ideologies and Mindsets

I mostly refrain from writing political posts here. The biggest reason being that I’m not informed enough to write a politically coherent post about the current issues. The other big reason is that I don’t want to deal with the trolls and the hate mongering. Having said that, on some days, it’s so hard to write something unrelated. There’s just so much going on right now – the regular attacks on freedom of speech in India with the most recent incident being at JNU, caste-based discrimination and exploitation, media channels doctoring videos and assassinating people’s character that can ruin their lives,  unaccountable hooliganism, communal conflicts, discrimination based on people’s gender and sexual preferences, and so on. Then, there’s the refugee crisis in Europe, the terror attacks in Europe and middle east, presidential elections and the hate mongering in USA. I find myself reading more about India and USA but I’m not going to go into detail into any of these issues, this post is not about a particular incident but people’s mindsets.

Over the last few weeks, I have found myself wondering, what are the factors that decide a person’s political ideology?  What makes people question the status quo? What makes people liberal vs conservative? What makes an individual hate other people based on race/religion/caste/gender/sexuality/etc.? What makes people realize their privileges? What factors decide what an individual values more – human rights for everyone, capitalistic economies, or the concept of nation states?

If you asked me this question a few years ago, I would have said education. Today, I disagree with that answer. In my experience, education equals degrees that make you employable and doesn’t really encourage you to think independently. I don’t know if it was any different decades or centuries ago or is different in other parts of the world. In my opinion, our education system and society encourage us to conform to the norms, rather than question them. I primarily studied Science, for about fourteen years, during high school, college, and then graduate school. My education didn’t really make me question anything, instead it taught me to learn and accept things for what they are. Maybe, scientific research in the last few years has been different, but I feel like it doesn’t spill over much into real life. I sometimes wish that I had a more diverse education. I wish I had taken a few courses in psychology, political science, sociology, or history. I feel that a specialized education at such an early age not only limits the knowledge/information you acquire but also inhibits a free thinking mind. Do you think that that could play a role in determining people’s political opinions?

Family? I think the family upbringing may have a strong influence if you have a liberal upbringing. However, there are many adults who were raised in conservative families but grow up to be liberal adults. I don’t know if the opposite case is true, if there are people who grow up in liberal families but have conservative opinions. I have a hard time deciding if my upbringing was conservative or liberal. I think it was a mix – my mom is more liberal than many Indian parents when it comes to some gender issues such as women focusing on their careers, being financially independent, marrying the guys of their choice, and standing up for their rights. Other than that, I was raised in a middle class north Indian family and it was a fairly conservative upbringing.

Could the city where you grow up have an impact? While one would expect to see some heterogeneity, is there a correlation between people who grow up in a cosmopolitan city vs a smaller city or a small town or village having differing political ideologies? Maybe it’s the political environment in the college or university where you get your undergraduate or graduate degree? Could your inherent privileges (example economic class/ race/ caste/ gender/ etc.) influence your political opinions?

I grew up in India and lived in my middle class bubble for most of my life. In 2011, when I started volunteering for AID, I realized the state of human rights abuses in many parts of India, specially targeting the tribal populations living in central India. Only a year or two ago, I realized that manual scavenging and caste-based violence are still a reality for thousands of people. A month or so ago, a friend created a platform to share stories about caste-based discrimination in educated urban India, and that was another eye-opener for me. I think I’ve been cognizant of gender based discrimination and have identified with feminist ideas and principles for most of my adult life. I moved to the US in 2009, and I started reading more about feminism in the Indian as well as the western context. I am sharing all this to convey that I’m not sitting on a pedestal and judging other people. I’m aware of my privileges and I’m trying to understand my journey as well – of how I became relatively liberal in my thought processes. I  do have implicit biases that come up in everyday life, but I’m a little more aware now and question them.

I recently saw this on Facebook – “I’m apparently conservative on XXX stuff, I probably need to learn more about the topics.” I found it interesting and agree with the opinion that being conservative means you need to learn more about the topic.

Please share your thoughts – what do you think shapes a person’s political ideologies?

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Sunsets in Palaces

By now, you probably know that I love sunsets. So here’s another beautiful sunset, captured at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) in Jaipur!

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There is something melancholy about today evening, it reminds me of this quote:

“One day,” you said to me, “I saw the sunset forty-four times!”
And a little later you added:
“You know–one loves the sunset, when one is so sad . . .”
“Were you so sad, then?” I asked, “on the day of the forty-four sunsets?”
But the little prince made no reply.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

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