The people behind the jobs.

I just spent about ten minutes crying my heart out.

Now this could be mostly because of PMS, but there was a definite trigger to it.

Like most working people in metros now, we order our groceries from Grofers, which is pretty much the next best thing after sliced bread. Today evening when the bell rang, I was expecting my order’s delivery. But when I opened the door, it was the building watchman looking extremely agitated. First he asked me if my husband was at home. That not being the case, he asked me to come down and talk to the delivery guy who was behaving extremely rudely. I was quite surprised, because this has never happened before in the last 8-9 months that I have been ordering from Grofers. The guys are mostly quite polite and efficient. Anyway, I went down, calmed matters down and told the delivery boy to come up to the house. I was obviously mad at him, because I assumed that the watchmen were correct in what they were claiming was his very rude behaviour. I fully intended to call up customer support and ensure that this guy never came to our building again. This delivery boy, I noticed, was literally just a boy. Probably still in college. I asked him his name and curtly took the packages. He was trying to explain himself, and then I saw how he was teary eyed. I suppose that he thought I asked him his name to complain against him. He could barely speak with the emotion and was trying to tell me how sorry he was, and how it would never happen again. How he would have parked outside the gate but he couldn’t walk so far with the heavy bag and if he parked outside his motorcycle would be towed away. And I realised that this was probably this boy’s first decent job. This was probably how he supported his family. This was how probably, I don’t know, he was paying for someone’s medication …and all the possible Bollywood movie scenarios you could think of.

And it hit me. We, or rather I, have been so careless in my complaints. All these mushrooming ‘service’ start-ups with their one-call-away customer support and feedback stars have kind of desensitized me to the people who are actually providing that service. I don’t think about how maybe an Uber driver would lose his job if I give a really low rating  – or how putting in an ola complaint about a rude driver would be the difference for his family between a decent month and starvation. I don’t think how tweeting mean things back to the poor kid running the Vodafone twitter account would be reflecting on his performance score.

I don’t think anymore. I just demand. The best service, the politest people, the nicest customer care,  the best value for money, the most awesome everything.

I don’t know if this is everyone, or I’m just a super horrible person – but I have made a new resolution today.

Stop and think of the person behind that technology. Judge the service, the system, but be generous to the people running it. They are people too, just trying to do a job. Earn a living. Just like me.

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Putting on glasses.

You know the first time you put on glasses?

If you have suffered from short sightedness, you would know what it feels like. No matter how old you were when you first got them. You can’t ever forget the way the trees were suddenly not just green blobs, and the leaves were sharp and defined and had outlines! When you could see that your crush did not have perfect skin and you could read what the teacher was writing on the board without having to peek in your neighbour’s notebook. Or when you wake up in the morning and realise that there is something missing. The world is unclear.

The world, it has no outlines.

And then you get the glasses. You know what colors really look like. What it means to really see.
That’s what being married to the person you love is like. You have glasses, and if you’re lucky, they’re rose-tinted and the world is perfect. Just perfect.

Why do mothers stare?

Have you ever thought of your mother as a person?

As not just the cocoon of warmth, the food provider, the problem solver, the shadow around your life which sustains you?

Have you ever seen your mother?

Not as the person she is now – but as what she would have been.

Mine, for example, had me when she was 23. I cannot imagine my life if I had a child to look after at that age. How is that our mothers had to grow up so much earlier than we did?

Ever gone out with your mother? To places she is not comfortable in, meeting new people? See her trying to cope with a world which moved on and left her behind?

I know a lot of us might have mothers who moved with the time and enjoy doing new things and live their lives. Such as they are. But have you ever thought what their lives would have been – if they could have lived them at 20 or 18 or 16 like we did, instead of having this mad dash at catching up at 40?

Try and see her in an unguarded moment in these sojourns, where she is ‘living her life’ and watch her stare off into space. Staring at the life she might have had, had she not been a mother. Stare at the things she gave up, the dreams and hopes and ambitions she might have had – the enormous burden of sacrifice she carries.

No wonder being a mother is the worst job in the world. It comes with so much regret.

How do you know?

It’s fifty years. At a stretch. It’s thirty at a minimum.

And I have spent less than 2% of it with him yet.

So how do I know that it will last the rest of the 98% of time? (You know I’m not that very drunk, since I can do all this math)

I guess I knew when I met him for the first time. With less than 0.01% on the tally board.

Or I will know when I finish the 100%.

Or I might never know.

You see, we have been grossly misled. By society, by books, by romantic comedies, and by happily ever afters.

There is no such thing. That is what we need to know.

Not the acceptability of someone as a particular someone. Not the passage of time as a burden to be borne. Not love as a conquers all solution.

All we need to know with any certainty is that when we sleep at night, it’s better with someone, than without someone.

That’s how I know.

When I turn in bed and find his arm blocking my side of the bed.

I know I don’t mind. This. Or any other space he might want to take. In the current 100% of my time, he can have all the 100%.

That is all one needs to know.

Touch.

It’s a strange world you find yourself in, once that world is made of two. 
When you do things,  that go against the grain, that you would rather not do. 
Not for someone else,  no.  It’s because you are not you,  it’s you and him too.
And you don’t even need words, because blasphemously,  just a touch is enough.
The worst things happen, and even your prose starts to rhyme.
Because after years and shitty years,  Life says,  fine now it’s your time.

Mommy, my toy broke.

Remember when we were kids and we got new toys?

For me it was rarely if ever. Barbies mostly. In shiny boxes, with perfect hair.

I barely took them out of the box for the first month or so.

Eventually it would be taken out, only in the company of other Barbie owners, to sit and have grand high tea, and cautiously brush hair coz that blonde stuff did not grow back.

And then right back into the box – this went on for about six odd months.

Then the decline was rapid.

The shoes were the first ones to go.

At about the eight month mark, all that blonde hair was down to the scalp, cut away in various hairdressing experiments.

The clothes went next. Taken off and put on so many times that they no longer fit.

And the first year anniversary was invariably with a few limbs missing – the Barbie now being used as the one legged alien woman attacking the city – to be killed in an epic battle by the younger brother’s GI Joe’s.

Time  to get another, new shiny one.

It’s been quite a few years. But I would still like to go to mommy and say ‘my toy broke, give me a new one.’

On most days.

Falling. Or flying?

Falling in love is a complicated phrase.

Falling itself is a complicated thing.
It includes a loss of control across so many dimensions. Sometimes it’s your fault,  sometimes it’s the ground’s.  And either way,  it hurts.
Maybe that’s why flying is described by some genius as the art of missing the ground.
So why do we use this metaphor for love? It is supposed to be an uplifting feeling,  something which takes you out of yourself. Makes you a better person,  takes you a notch above. Basically everything which is not associated with bruised knees and broken bones. Then why have we,  as humans,  decided to equate love with so much hurt. It’s an ironical humor which you wouldn’t really associate with people who are willing to kill others over their choice of imaginary apocalypse causes. Maybe it’s because falling voluntarily is the ultimate way we can show trust. And what is love,  but an absolute trust in someone else’s ability,  yet unwillingness to hurt us.
Ability and will. These are the two variables of trust. The ability to stand,  yet the willingness to fall. That’s all that sets one relationship apart from the other.

Possession.

How do people let the people they love go out into the world?

To see that horribly important person dress up, smell good and walk out. The number of ways in which you can lose them are so overwhelming.

Someone else might just take them.

Someone else is out there.

Remember that, before you take someone for granted and think you own them.

I love you, as an experiment.

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

It is an incredible feeling to tell someone that you love them. Either you see them fluster or you are embarrassed or basically just a bunch of feelings happen. It’s awesome. That is, if you are not one of those people who are just too jaded to say it any more. Try saying it to someone at 28, at 30, at 32. When you have been through the love of your life and have cried buckets over someone and have felt your heart literally break down in pieces. You go through all that, and you basically preserve your emotions in a vat of alcohol, safe for all eternity.

That’s when you realize. It’s an incredibly dopey thing to say.

I tried doing it a few days back. Not because I felt the emotion. I did it just to see what it feels like. You know, like sometimes you try on a dress or eat something different or drive really fast or do one more shot. I decided to say the L word.

And it’s not like it used to be. Remember how it used to be? Doesn’t teenage angst give a pathetically golden sheen to everything? If I knew we sounded this stupid while saying it when we were 15, I never would have been able to have the chequered life I have led. Embarrassment kills a lot of experiences.

And it wasn’t stupid because I put myself out there or anything like that. We’re adults. We’re allowed to do that. It was more because what I felt was the incredible weight of a thousand bollywood clichés and gazillion SRKs standing with their hands wide open and a mishmash of about a hundred Adele song lyrics.

I said it. Then I cringed.

Listen. If you really want to make someone believe you, don’t use these words. Or just text them.

Talk. Fuck. Eat.  

We don’t give enough credit to the people we like.  We go around looking for that one true love, that one true hallmark moment, that one true soul mate. The one true is a fallacy that we all buy into, actively promote, buy chocolate and wine for, sleep at night dreaming of while hugging our pillow. All this while the people we like stand around filling in the blanks. We think it’s for the meantime. We think this is until I find the one.

This is until this is replaced.

Like is such an underrated emotion. It does not lead to turmoil. No one you like will ever break your heart. No one you like will make you feel like you are mad. No one you like will turn you into an emotional junkie looking for the next hit of endorphins (unless you exercise with the one you like, pun intended.)

Why then do we not give like a chance?

We wait and obsess and wait some more and question our taste in men and our self worth and wear shoes too tight and dresses too small and lipsticks too red – all this to turn into a bird of paradise for someone’s idea of it.

Have you ever sat back and thought what is your idea of paradise?

Mine is talking. And eating. And fucking. In fact, everyone’s is. We all do everything we do for these primal needs, Maslow’s interpretation be damned. No relationship needs anything more.

Now, if you do agree with this, take a moment to figure out the opportunity cost of the years you have wasted with people you love, trying to talk to them, or listen to them or even figure out what you both want to have for dinner.  And compare it to the excruciatingly fun times you have spent with people you like hanging out with and were not looking for a happy ending with.

Listen, forever is really long when you’re not having fun.

Find someone you like. Find someone who likes you. Forget about everything else. Get your standards up.