What is it like to be Poor!!!

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Too lengthy. Just read the sentences/words in bold if you don’t have the time/interest.

June 2007: I secured a seat in one the finest engineering colleges in India. The fact that it was in my home town was an added advantage. I was over the moon, I got what I strived for. We were a family of four. My mother was a house maker, dad worked in a private auto-mobile company and brother was studying in the seventh standard.We lived in a small apartment, I had a pentium 2 computer and my dad had a two wheeler. We were a happyhappy family.
We were a happy and self sufficient family overall.

August 2007: My classes started and Computer Science was what I always wanted to study. First month in to the college, I made new friends, learnt so many new things. It was amazing.

Meanwhile, my dad had a very good colleague, me and my brother called him Watermelon Suresh Uncle from our childhood( I don’t remember the exact reason for the prefix). Dad and him had been working in the same company from 12 years. They were  the best of friends.

September 2007: I started feeling insecure when I used to hang out with my friends, everybody had a bike and “branded clothes” were the attribute with which people were being judged( or at least I felt so). I placed thedemand for a two wheeler and you know, money to buy “branded clothes”. My parents fulfilled everything. I had a bike, three new branded jeans and four branded t-shirts. All n the span of one month.I still remember going to college wearing my brand new Levi’s jeans thinking everybody will notice and admire. Apparently, except the gang which always talks about branded clothes, nobody gave a damn.

November 2007: I seemed to have everything, I attended classes, my longing for branded clothes was reduced. But wait, I didn’t have a touch screen phone. I raised a demand, this time I had to argue. My parents were reluctant. How could they be? I had do all sorts of melodrama to get it approved. Yes, I got a touchscreen phone.

Jan 2008: I was happy, but wait, my computer was too old for an CS undergrad who was getting good grades.I wanted a laptop. You know, all the cool guys in the college have one. I raised a demand, this time, the answer was a flat NO. I knew i was demanding too much. So, what next, after days of pleading, my dad agreed to buy me one after two months. I decided to “manage” for those two months with my Pentium.

Feb 2008: It was getting difficult for my dad to mange all new  expenses. He decided to change his company for a hike. He moved into one more auto major, and things were fine. He liked the new company. I even got a chance to visit this company.

April 2008: As promised I got my new laptop. Yaay. This had a graphics card too. I loved playing Need for Speed Most Wanted on this. My studies got a little affected by my gaming,

Fast forward

Here comes the twist
Dec 2008: Remember Suresh Uncle? Well, dad had lost contact with him after he switched the comapany. So, Mr Suresh had taken a loan of 50,000 INR in 2005, the loan was supposed to be for five years. And guess who provided the surety for that? Yes, you got it right, my dad. Apparently Uncle had only six EMI’s and the interest was getting accumulated, Dad gets a notice to home. He tried to reach his once closest buddy. He couldn’t. He was absconding from the company from three months. After a full month of rigorous search, we finaly found out where his wife and children stayed( they had shifted to another house). But it was of no use, they said they had disowned him because of his bad habits and they had no clue about his whereabouts.

The EMI was too much, and interest getting accumulated every month. My father could, in no way pay the instalments.How could he, when it was even more than his salary.
We sold all our jewellery and my bike, we somehow afforded to meet ends for two months.

There was one thing which was worrying me, my college fees and my brother’s school fees. I knew it was impossible. I applied for aneducational loan, and got it.( I still remember the face of the bank manager).

My fees is done. What about my brother’s, what about the remaining instalments?
My parents had given me everything they could. I felt it was my turn now. Imade a decision, to join a BPO. My family did not approve of it. They were planning to sell our small apartment, which was disastrous according to me. ( The money obtained would not be sufficient). After a lot of persauation, I joined a BPO, I explained my problems to the HR and they put me in the night shifts.

THE REAL TURNING POINT.

From May 2009 to August 2011 I worked for 9 hours in the night and went to college during the day. It was the toughest phase of my life.
I slept precisely for 3 hours, extending till 4 or 4.5 hours if you could include sleeping in my cab during my travel to office.

I had many things to take care of. I knew I had to study harder. I knew my grades matter the most. I wanted to get placed in a good company.

Some days I just felt like giving up college, I wasn’t able to handle it anymore. I requested my manager in my company to schedule my weekly offs only in the weekdays. I’m glad he agreed, this made me give entire two nights for my studies. I never told any of my lecturers or colleagues/manager about my situation. I did not want any unfair advantage over others for anything. I still remember the night when I finished a whole data structures book.

I got promoted at my office It was going very good and I considered having a career in the BPO industry.

Some days I did not have anything to eat. Mom used to prepare in the morning, but I would wake up late. I was mostly on 9PM to 5AM shift, I reached home by 5:45 or 6, sleep at 6 15 and get up at 8 45. College was at 10, so I had to leave home by 9 30. Sometimes I would not get up at 8 45, I would extend till 9, which gave me no time to pack my food. Mom used to leave home at 8. She had started teaching at a nearby primary school. I found everything near my college costly. I used to just take 5 buns for 10 rupees and eat them. (My “branded clothes” friends did offer me a lot of monetary support in terms of canteen, lunch etc but I declined all of them). Buns are healthy. I used to drink coffee on some days. I was literally out of every friends gang in our college because I had no time to hang out.I used to sleep if some class got cancelled.

One day, I applied for a leave from the office. My manager was surprised since it was my first leave since I joined. I prepared my resume and took my dads old income tax file and put all my certificates inside it. I failed my first three interviews, in the technical round. I couldn’t attempt the fourth company. Fifth,rejected after HR. Sixth, not even first round. I came home and cried. I did not know what to do. BPO? I was getting 16,000 INR per month. My mom tried to console me. She fed me that day. I still can’t forget that day.

My resume was not shortlisted in the seventh company. Eighth company it was.
I got placed in one of the best companies that came to my college.

I am happily working now, all loans being cleared, dad bought a car recently. But I still use the same laptop which my father bought. It’s too old for somebody like me( haha, just kidding).Brother is doing his engineering in the same college as mine. My marks cards are in the same file till date. Our apartment hasn’t changed, nor our strength as a family.

Effect of this on my current life.

  • I get a lot of time to sleep now, but I don’t sleep. I utilize my time in doing something useful for the society. I clean the drinking water facility near my apartment every week.
  • I never waste money, not even a single buck. I don’t pay any beggars. I buy food and give it to them. 10% of my salary is used in this regard.
  • I use a basic phone(the touchscreen samsung is with my bro, and yes, it still works). My colleagues ask me to at least buy a phone which supports internet, but I never the need.
  • I do not have an account in any of the social networking sites. I feel, they are a waste of time. I joined Quora after I saw one of Oliver Emberton’s answer on productivity.
  • I avoid eating at restaurants, I try to manage with noodles/bread whenever I’m out. In some rare situations, I try to find the cheapest restaurant possible.
  • I call up all the people who have helped me through my tough times once every month to keep in touch and to thank them.
  • My family has been my greatest support. From a spoilt brat to what I am now, I owe a lot to my family. We go to the temple every Friday to thank god for giving us the strength to come out of the toughest phase of our life

I want to convey the following things to young people out there:

  • Your parents are your biggest support. Never trouble them. They always think for your good. Obey them.
  • Don’t get carried away by “show off” friends as I did. Branded clothes, bikes, fancy phones, all these things do not matter.
  • Spend money wisely. If possible try to open a savings account and save your extra money there .

I had tears in my eyes while writing this, it’s 2 AM in the night, life teaches you lessons, sometimes the hard way, I’m proud to have learned it.

I’m writing it anon because I don’t like Social attention. I hate it. Suresh Uncle, if you are reading this,I would thank you, for you were the reason I changed, I have become a better human,

Untold Story

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A few months back, I was on my way to reach a movie theatre where my girlfriend was waiting for me. I was late already, so I had to rush on my two wheeler.

Suddenly, an old lady, maybe around 70 stood beside the road  stretching her hand to get a lift. I was late, but I couldn’t resist stopping.
She sat on my bike and when I was about to start, she said “Son, Please stop. I have lost my medicine. They would have fallen on the road from my bag when I was walking. They are very costly and I can’t afford to buy again”.

I stopped immediately and she got down. She was worried and almost cried. When she was getting down, I saw some bandages on her back. She asked me to help her find them. I parked my bike beside the road and started searching for her medicine. At last, I found them and I gave it to her. She felt very relieved and thanked me.

Then, we came back to the place where I parked my bike and we started. On my way, I asked about her bandages and why she was alone.

She said, “My husband died after we had a boy. Then all the responsibility was on me. I raised my child with great difficulty. He was a good student, he got a scholarship for his study and everything was going well. He got a job and we moved into a good place.
One day on his way back home, he got into an accident. I had to sell everything for his treatment. But, unfortunately, after two months, he passed away. I was all alone and had no one. After my husband’s death, I knew I had to move on and raise the child. I loved my child and he was everything for me. After his death, I had no reason to live. But, I thought life has to move on and worked for my living.
Few days back, I had a surgery and I was discharged today. I couldn’t walk all the way home and God sent you my son.”

After listening to her story, I had no words. I dropped her at her place and gave her my mobile number and said, “Think of me as your second son and feel free to call me at any time for any kind of help. From now, you will be going to hospital along with me.”

She smiled and said, “Son, I am glad you said that. I don’t need any financial help from you. Come to see me when you are free, that’s all I need”.

From then, I visited her whenever I was free, took care of her medical needs without letting her know.

She passed away a few days back. I took care of her rituals in the place of her son.

Heart Touching Story

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A doctor entered the hospital in hurry after being called in for an urgent surgery. He answered the call asap, changed his clothes & went directly to the surgery block. He found the boy’s father pacing in the hall waiting for the doctor.

On seeing him, the dad yelled:
“Why did you take all this time to come? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have any sense of responsibility?”

The doctor smiled & said:
“I am sorry, I wasn’t in the hospital & I came as fast as I could after receiving the call…… And now, I wish you’d calm down so that I can do my work”

“Calm down?! What if your son was in this room right now, would you calm down? If your own son dies now what will you do??” said the father angrily

The doctor smiled again & replied: “I will say what Job said in the Holy Book “From dust we came & to dust we return, blessed be the name of God”. Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go & intercede for your son, we will do our best by God’s grace”

“Giving advises when we’re not concerned is so easy” Murmured the father.

The surgery took some hours after which the doctor went out happy,
“Thank goodness!, your son is saved!” And without waiting for the father’s reply he carried on his way running. “If you have any questions, ask the nurse!!”

“Why is he so arrogant? He couldn’t wait some minutes so that I ask about my son’s state” Commented the father when seeing the nurse minutes after the doctor left.

The nurse answered, tears coming down her face: “His son died yesterday in a road accident, he was at the burial when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he left running to finish his son’s burial.”

Moral: Never judge anyone….. because you never know how their life is & what they’re going through”

 

How to Pick Your Life Partner – Part 2

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This is Part 2. 

Often, the key to succeeding at something big is to break it into its tiniest pieces and focus on how to succeed at just one piece.

When we examined procrastination, we talked about how a great achievement is just what a long series of unremarkable tasks looks like from far away. In the pixel post, we looked at a human life up close and saw that it was just an ordinary Wednesday, again and again and again—and that achieving life happiness was all about learning to be happy on a routine weekday.

 

 

lineup

 

 

I think the same idea applies to marriage.

From afar, a great marriage is a sweeping love story, like a marriage in a book or a movie. And that’s a nice, poetic way to look at a marriage as a whole.

But human happiness doesn’t function in sweeping strokes, because we don’t live in broad summations—we’re stuck in the tiny unglamorous folds of the fabric of life, and that’s where our happiness is determined.

So if we want to find a happy marriage, we need to think small—we need to look at marriage up close and see that it’s built not out of anything poetic, but out of 20,000 mundane Wednesdays.

Marriage isn’t the honeymoon in Thailand—it’s day four of vacation #56 that you take together. Marriage is not celebrating the closing of the deal on the first house—it’s having dinner in that house for the 4,386th time. And it’s certainly not Valentine’s Day.

Marriage is Forgettable Wednesday. Together.

So I’ll leave the butterflies and the kisses in the rain and the twice-a-day sex to you—you’ll work that part out I’m sure—and spend this post trying to figure out the best way to make Forgettable Wednesday as happy as possible.

To endure 20,000 days with another human being and do so happily, there are three key ingredients necessary:

1) An Epic Friendship

I enjoy spending time with most of my friends—that’s why they’re my friends. But with certain friends, the time is so high-quality, so interesting, and so fun that they pass the Traffic Test.

The Traffic Test is passed when I’m finishing up a hangout with someone and one of us is driving the other back home or back to their car, and I find myself rooting for traffic. That’s how much I’m enjoying the time with them.

Passing the Traffic Test says a lot. It means I’m lost in the interaction, invigorated by it, and that I’m the complete opposite of bored.

To me, almost nothing is more critical in choosing a life partner than finding someone who passes the Traffic Test. When there are people in your life who do pass the Traffic Test, what a whopping shame it would be to spend 95% of the rest of your life with someone who doesn’t.

A Traffic Test-passing friendship entails:

  • A great sense of humor click. No one wants to spend 50 years fake laughing.
  • Fun. And the ability to extract fun out of unfun situations—airport delays, long drives, errands. Not surprisingly, studies suggest that the amount of fun a couple has is a strong predictor for their future.6
  • A respect for each other’s brains and way of thinking. A life partner doubles as a career/life therapist, and if you don’t respect the way someone thinks, you’re not going to want to tell them your thoughts on work each day, or on anything else interesting that pops into your head, because you won’t really care that much what they have to say about it.
  • A decent number of common interests, activities, and people-preferences. Otherwise a lot of what makes you ‘you’ will inevitably become a much smaller part of your life, and you and your life partner will struggle to find enjoyable ways to spend a free Saturday together.

A friendship that passes the Traffic Test gets better and better with time, and it has endless room to deepen and grow ever-richer.

2) A Feeling of Home

If someone told you you had to sit in a chair for 12 straight hours without moving, aside from wondering why the hell they were making you do this, your first thought would be, “I better get in the most comfortable possible position”—because you’d know that even the slightest bit of discomfort would grow to pain and eventually, torture. When you have to do something for a long, long time, it’s best if it’s supremely comfortable.

When it comes to marriage, a perpetual “discomfort” between you and your partner can be a permanent source of unhappiness, especially as it magnifies over time, much like your torturous situation in the chair. Feeling “at home” means feeling safe, cozy, natural, and utterly yourself, and in order to have this feeling with a partner, a few things need to be in place:

  • Trust and security. Secrets are poison to a relationship, because they form an invisible wall inside the relationship, leaving both people somewhat alone in the world—and besides, who wants to spend 50 years lying or worrying about hiding something? And on the other side of secrets will often be suspicion, a concept that directly clashes with the concept of home. This is why having an affair during an otherwise good marriage is one of the most self-defeating and short-sighted things someone could ever do.
  • Natural chemistry. Interacting should be easy and natural, energy levels should be in the same vicinity, and you should feel on the same “wavelength” in general. When I’m with someone on a very different wavelength than I am, it doesn’t take long before the interaction becomes exhausting.
  • Acceptance of human flaws. You’re flawed. Like, really flawed. And so is your current or future life-partner. Being flawed is part of the definition of being a human. And one of the worst fates would be to spend most of your life being criticized for your flaws and reprimanded for continuing to have them. This isn’t to say people shouldn’t work on self-improvement, but when it comes to a life partnership, the healthy attitude is, “Every person comes with a set of flaws, these are my partner’s, and they’re part of the package I knowingly chose to spend my life with.”
  • A generally positive vibe. Remember, this is the vibe you’re a part of now, forever. It’s not really acceptable for it to be a negative one, nor is it sustainable. Relationship scientist John Gottman has found that “couples with a ratio of fewer than five positive interactions for every negative one are destined for divorce.”7

3) A Determination to be Good at Marriage

Relationships are hard. Expecting a strong relationship without treating it like a rigorous part-time job is like expecting to have a great career without putting in any effort. In a time when humans in most parts of the world can enjoy freedom and carve their own path in life, it usually doesn’t sit that well to suddenly become half of something and compromise on a bunch of things you grew up being selfish about.

So what skills does someone need to learn to be good at marriage?

  • Communication. Communication being on this list is as silly as “oxygen” being on a list of items you need to stay healthy. And yet, poor communication is the downfall of a huge number of couples—in fact, in a study on divorcees, communication style was the top thing they said they’d change for their next relationship.Communication is hard to do well consistently—successful couples often need to create pre-planned systems or even partake in couples’ therapy to make sure it happens.
  • Maintaining equality. Relationships can slip into an unequal power dynamic pretty quickly. When one person’s mood always dictates the mood in the room, when one person’s needs or opinion consistently prevail over the other’s, when one person can treat the other in a way they’d never stand for being treated themselves—you’ve got a problem.
  • Fighting well. Fighting is inevitable. But there are good and bad ways to fight. When a couple is good at fighting, they defuse tension, approach things with humor, and genuinely listen to the other side, while avoiding getting nasty, personal or defensive. They also fight less often than a bad couple. According to John Gottman, 69% of a typical couple’s fights are perpetual, based on core differences, and cannot be resolved—and a skilled couple understands this and refrains from engaging in these brawls again and again.9

In searching for your life partner or assessing your current life partnership, it’s important to remember that every relationship is flawed and you probably won’t end up in something that gets an A in every one of the above items and bullet points—but you should hope to do pretty well on most of them, since each one plays a large part in your lifelong happiness.

And since this is a daunting list to try to achieve in a life partnership, you probably don’t want to make things even harder than they need to be by insisting upon too many other checkboxes—most of which will not have a large effect on your happiness during dinner #4,386 of your marriage. It would be nice if he played the guitar, but take it off the list of must-haves.

I hope Valentine’s Day was good for you this year, whatever you did for it. Just remember that Forgettable Wednesday is a much more important day.

 

How to Pick Your Life Partner

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How to Pick Your Life Partner

To a frustrated single person, life can often feel like this:

How to Pick Your Life Partner

And at first glance, research seems to back this up, suggesting that married people are on average happier than single people and much happier than divorced people. But a closer analysis reveals that if you split up “married people” into two groups based on marriage quality, “people in self-assessed poor marriages are fairly miserable, and much less happy than unmarried people, and people in self-assessed good marriages are even more happy than the literature reports.” In other words, here’s what’s happening in reality:

How to Pick Your Life Partner

Dissatisfied single people should actually consider themselves in a neutral, fairly hopeful position, compared to what their situation could be. A single person who would like to find a great relationship is one step away from it, with their to-do list reading, “1) Find a great relationship.” People in unhappy relationships, on the other hand, are threeleaps away, with a to-do list of “1) Go through a soul-crushing breakup. 2) Emotionally recover. 3) Find a great relationship.” Not as bad when you look at it that way, right?

All the research on how vastly happiness varies between happy and unhappy marriages makes perfect sense, of course. It’s your life partner.

Thinking about how overwhelmingly important it is to pick the right life partner is like thinking about how huge the universe really is or how terrifying death really is — it’s too intense to internalize the reality of it, so we just don’t think about it that hard and remain in slight denial about the magnitude of the situation.

But unlike death and the universe’s size, picking a life partner is fully in your control, so it’s critical to make yourself entirely clear on how big a deal the decision really is and to thoroughly analyze the most important factors in making it.

So how big a deal is it?

Well, start by subtracting your age from 90. If you live a long life, that’s about the number of years you’re going to spend with your current or future life partner, give or take a few.

(Sure, people get divorced, but you don’t think you will. A recent study shows that 86 percent of young people assume their current or future marriage will be forever, and I doubt older people feel much differently. So we’ll proceed under that assumption.)

And when you choose a life partner, you’re choosing a lot of things, including your parenting partner and someone who will deeply influence your children, your eating companion for about 20,000 meals, your travel companion for about 100 vacations, your primary leisure time and retirement friend, your career therapist, and someone whose day you’ll hear about 18,000 times.

Intense shit.

So given that this is by far the most important thing in life to get right, how is it possible that somany good, smart, otherwise-logical people end up choosing a life partnership that leaves them dissatisfied and unhappy?

Well as it turns out, there are a bunch of factors working against us:

People tend to be bad at knowing what they want from a relationship

Studies have shown people to be generally bad, when single, at predicting what later turn out to be their actual relationship preferences. One study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that speed daters questioned about their relationship preferences usually prove themselves wrong just minutes later with what they show to prefer in the actual event.

This shouldn’t be a surprise — in life, you usually don’t get good at something until you’ve done it a bunch of times. Unfortunately, not many people have a chance to be in more than a few, if any, serious relationships before they make their big decision. There’s just not enough time. And given that a person’s partnership persona and relationship needs are often quite different from the way they are as a single person, it’s hard as a single person to really know what you want or need from a relationship.

Society has it all wrong and gives us terrible advice

→ Society encourages us to stay uneducated and let romance be our guide.

If you’re running a business, conventional wisdom states that you’re a much more effective business owner if you study business in school, create well thought-out business plans, and analyze your business’s performance diligently. This is logical, because that’s the way you proceed when you want to do something well and minimize mistakes.

But if someone went to school to learn about how to pick a life partner and take part in a healthy relationship, if they charted out a detailed plan of action to find one, and if they kept their progress organized rigorously in a spreadsheet, society says they’re A) an over-rational robot, B) way too concerned about this, and C) a huge weirdo.

No, when it comes to dating, society frowns upon thinking too much about it, instead opting for things like relying on fate, going with your gut, and hoping for the best. If a business owner took society’s dating advice for her business, she’d probably fail, and if she succeeded, it would be partially due to good luck — and that’s how society wants us to approach dating.

→ Society places a stigma on intelligently expanding our search for potential partners.

In a study on what governs our dating choices more, our preferences or our current opportunities, opportunities wins hands down — our dating choices are “98 percent a response… to market conditions and just 2 percent immutable desires. Proposals to date tall, short, fat, thin, professional, clerical, educated, uneducated people are all more than nine-tenths governed by what’s on offer that night.”

In other words, people end up picking from whatever pool of options they have, no matter how poorly matched they might to be to those candidates. The obvious conclusion to draw here is that outside of serious socialites, everyone looking for a life partner should be doing a lot of online dating, speed dating, and other systems created to broaden the candidate pool in an intelligent way.

But good old society frowns upon that, and people are often still timid to say they met their spouse on a dating site. The respectable way to meet a life partner is by dumb luck, by bumping into them randomly or being introduced to them from within your little pool. Fortunately, this stigma is diminishing with time, but that it’s there at all is a reflection of how illogical the socially accepted dating rulebook is.

→ Society rushes us.

In our world, the major rule is to get married before you’re too old — and “too old” varies from 25-35, depending on where you live. The rule should be “whatever you do, don’t marry the wrong person,” but society frowns much more upon a 37-year-old single person than it does an unhappily married 37-year-old with two children. It makes no sense — the former is one step away from a happy marriage, while the latter must either settle for permanent unhappiness or endure a messy divorce just to catch up to where the single person is.

Our Biology Is Doing Us No Favors

→ Human biology evolved a long time ago and doesn’t understand the concept of having a deep connection with a life partner for 50 years.

When we start seeing someone and feel the slightest twinge of excitement, our biology gets into “okay let’s do this” mode and bombards us with chemicals designed to get us to mate (lust), fall in love (the Honeymoon Phase), and then commit for the long run (attachment). Our brains can usually override this process if we’re just not that into someone, but for all those middle ground cases where the right move is probably to move on and find something better, we often succumb to the chemical roller coaster and end up getting engaged.

→ Biological clocks are a bitch.

For a woman who wants to have biological children with her husband, she has one very real limitation in play, which is the need to pick the right life partner by forty, give or take. This is just a shitty fact and makes an already hard process one notch more stressful. Still, if it were me, I’d rather adopt children with the right life partner than have biological children with the wrong one.

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So when you take a bunch of people who aren’t that good at knowing what they want in a relationship, surround them with a society that tells them they have to find a life partner but that they should under-think, under-explore, and hurry up, and combine that with biology that drugs us as we try to figure it out and promises to stop producing children before too long, what do you get?

A frenzy of big decisions for bad reasons and a lot of people messing up the most important decision of their life. Let’s take a look at some of the common types of people who fall victim to all of this and end up in unhappy relationships:

Overly Romantic Ronald

How to Pick Your Life Partner

Overly Romantic Ronald’s downfall is believing that love is enough reason on its own to marry someone. Romance can be a great part of a relationship, and love is a key ingredient in a happy marriage, but without a bunch of other important things, it’s simply not enough.

The overly romantic person repeatedly ignores the little voice that tries to speak up when he and his girlfriend are fighting constantly or when he seems to feel much worse about himself these days than he used to before the relationship, shutting the voice down with thoughts like “Everything happens for a reason and the way we met couldn’t have just been coincidence” and “I’m totally in love with her, and that’s all that matters” — once an overly romantic person believes he’s found his soul mate, he stops questioning things, and he’ll hang onto that belief all the way through his 50 years of unhappy marriage.

Fear-Driven Frida

How to Pick Your Life Partner

Fear is one of the worst possible decision-makers when it comes to picking the right life partner. Unfortunately, the way society is set up, fear starts infecting all kinds of otherwise-rational people, sometimes as early as the mid-twenties. The types of fear our society (and parents, and friends) inflict upon us — fear of being the last single friend, fear of being an older parent, sometimes just fear of being judged or talked about — are the types that lead us to settle for a not-so-great partnership. The irony is that the only rational fear we should feel is the fear of spending the latter two thirds of life unhappily, with the wrong person — the exact fate the fear-driven people risk because they’re trying to be risk-averse.

Externally-Influenced Ed

How to Pick Your Life Partner

Externally-Influenced Ed lets other people play way too big a part in the life partner decision. The choosing of a life partner is deeply personal, enormously complicated, different for everyone, and almost impossible to understand from the outside, no matter how well you know someone. As such, other people’s opinions and preferences really have noplace getting involved, other than an extreme case involving mistreatment or abuse.

The saddest example of this is someone breaking up with a person who would have been the right life partner because of external disapproval or a factor the chooser doesn’t actually care about (religion is a common one) but feels compelled to stick to for the sake of family insistence or expectations.

It can also happen the opposite way, where everyone in someone’s life is thrilled with his relationship because it looks great from the outside, and even though it’s not actually that great from the inside, Ed listens to others over his own gut and ties the knot.

Shallow Sharon

How to Pick Your Life Partner

Shallow Sharon is more concerned with the on-paper description of her life partner than the inner personality beneath it. There are a bunch of boxes that she needs to have checked — things like his height, job prestige, wealth-level, accomplishments, or maybe a novelty item like being foreign or having a specific talent.

Everyone has certain on-paper boxes they’d like checked, but a strongly ego-driven person prioritizes appearances and résumés above even the quality of her connection with her potential life partner when weighing things.

If you want a fun new term, a significant other whom you suspect was chosen more because of the boxes they checked than for their personality underneath is a “scantron boyfriend” or a “scantron wife,” etc. I’ve gotten some good mileage out of that one.

Selfish Stanley

How to Pick Your Life Partner

The selfish come in three, sometimes-overlapping varieties:

1) The “My Way or the Highway” Type

This person cannot handle sacrifice or compromise. She believes her needs and desires and opinions are simply more important than her partner’s, and she needs to get her way in almost any big decision. In the end, she doesn’t want a legitimate partnership, she wants to keep her single life and have someone there to keep her company.

This person inevitably ends up with at best a super easy-going person, and at worst, a pushover with a self-esteem issue, and sacrifices a chance to be part of a team of equals, almost certainly limiting the potential quality of her marriage.

2) The Main Character

The Main Character’s tragic flaw is being massively self-absorbed. He wants a life partner who serves as both his therapist and biggest admirer, but is mostly uninterested in returning either favor. Each night, he and his partner discuss their days, but 90 percent of the discussion centers around his day — after all, he’s the main character of the relationship. The issue for him is that by being incapable of tearing himself away from his personal world, he ends up with a sidekick as his life partner, which makes for a pretty boring 50 years.

3) The Needs-Driven

Everyone has needs, and everyone likes those needs to be met, but problems arise when the meeting of needs — she cooks for me, he’ll be a great father, she’ll make a great wife, he’s rich, she keeps me organized, he’s great in bed — becomes the main grounds for choosing someone as a life partner. Those listed things are all great perks, but that’s all they are — perks. And after a year of marriage, when the needs-driven person is now totally accustomed to having her needs met and it’s no longer exciting, there better be a lot more good parts of the relationship she’s chosen or she’s in for a dull ride.

The main reason most of the above types end up in unhappy relationships is that they’re consumed by a motivating force that doesn’t take into account the reality of what a life partnership is and what makes it a happy thing.

 

So what makes a happy life partnership? We’ll explore in Part 2 of this post.

SRK

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SRK
01
Bollywood’s King Khan whose ‘Chennai Express’ overhauled and swamped the Rs 100 crore club, once tried his hand at a small restaurant business in Dariya Ganj but couldn’t succeed. Surprisingly, his first salary was Rs 50 which he earned by working as an usher at Pankaj Udhas’s concert in Delhi. When he signed ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’ as an actor, he completed the entire film for Rs. 25,000 only. Even on the opening day, he sold this film’s tickets at the booking window of a Mumbai cinema! SRK is scared of poverty as his parents died in debt.
02
Actor Vivek Vaswani is known as SRK’s mentor in Bollywood. During his struggling days, Shah Rukh had no place to stay in Mumbai so he lived with Vivek, who later helped him to meet industry people and helped him to get into Yash Chopra’s camp. According to Vivek, he tried his best to push SRK out of his house but failed. However, he says whatever he may have done for him in the past, he did as a friend. “You do things for friends, simple, and hence it was nothing really too great. Anyone would have done what I did. I am proud to be his friend,” stated Vivek once in an interview.
03
Shah Rukh rose to fame by playing negative characters in his earlier films and even inspired his peers to play anti-hero roles. Interestingly, when ‘Baazigar’ released, everyone discouraged him saying that his career is over now in the industry. “Even my best well wishers told me you can’t be a hero again since you’ve killed a woman. But it paid off. In the long run, everything is sustainable, if you stick to it,” said Shah Rukh. No doubt, the film left many Indian viewers shocked because it didn’t adhere to the typical Bollywood formula. Nonetheless, the film raked in huge moolah and SRK again came out a winner.
04
Shah Rukh is very particular about his fashion and lifestyle. Known for having a classy sense of style, he prefers wearing black. “It’s easier since no one can tell if I am repeating a garment. I have a fetish about the fit of my jeans and the clothes I sleep in. They have to be of a certain material. Also, as soon as I have worn my jeans after a bath, I wear my shoes and socks. I don’t take them off till I am in bed. I never wear slippers. My feet should always be covered. Sometimes even when I am lying on the bed, I wear shoes.” He likes to match his socks with his shoes not with his trousers. He even makes sure that his pyjamas are freshly ironed every night because as he says you never know who you might meet in your dreams!
05
Shah Rukh has a great fetish for numerology. All of his cars have the registered number 555 as he is very superstitious about it and believes it brings him good luck. Even his personal email id also contains the number 555. Not only do his personal mobile numbers have the combination of 555 and 40 but wife Gauri and all the senior officials working for him have either or both of these numerals as a part of their numbers!

You are being missed.

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There she was, raising her arms, to say “Hello”. It was a function organised by her school committee in Kamani Auditorium. She was in a special school. She wasn’t a perfect child. She wasn’t a normal child, for that matter. She had problems with speaking clearly, suffered from a low IQ, and was blessed with a pure heart, unlike normal people.

It was some sort of a Play. The stage was coloured with different kids, each of them with some unique problems. The audience was built up by their parents. There were also siblings like me who were assholes enough to not give a fuck at what was going on. I was busy. In texting. Making sounds. Staring at girls. I was probably trying to do everything but look at the stage. And there they were, enacting a play about forests. My sister was given the role of a tree, and she was performing it quite beautifully by roaming around the stage with a teacher chasing her to bring her back to her position. When she stood at one place, the other tree started moving. It seemed like the whole scene was inspired by Lord of the Rings. But sadly, it was not. When she saw me, she screamed “Bhaiyaaaaaa” at a voice which can make Arnab Goswami blush. I ignored it as if I didn’t hear her. I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of those kids who understood nothing. This doesn’t make sense right? Exactly, it didn’t. But forget about replying, I didn’t even look at her. The whole play got over after half an hour and we were allowed to take ‘our’ kids with us. My father hugged her so tightly that I was embarrassed. Again. I don’t know what’s up with me and embarrassment. We seem to mix together quite a lot. My mother removed her brown cap which she was wearing to get the look of a tree. I ignored her, again. We came back home.

A few days back, I was at GK-2. GK-2, if you don’t know, is one of the most Posh colonies in Delhi. I was there with my girlfriend. We were drunk, drunk enough to realise that we were drunk enough. Oh, I forgot. We had company. Her bestfriend was with us the entire time. When we came out of the Lounge, they both started talking with each other, forgetting the fact that I was with them. But I was okay with that. Not because I didn’t have any other choice, but because I am an introvert, and introverts are okay with anything and everything. So as they walked down the street, making the road look like an auditorium, I noticed something. An aunty, nearly 40, was carrying her kid in her arms. It was awkward because the kid was no less than 14 years. This wasn’t what caught my attention. It was something more. It was the brown cap that the kid was carrying, which he intentionally/unintentionally dropped on the road, just in front of me. When I was about to give him the cap, I realised it was the same cap that my sister wore that day. A replica. Everything was blurry already due to the booze and then the cloud of tears were about to burst. But I started making jokes. That’s the thing about me. Make me uncomfortable and I will make you laugh. Leave me in an awkward situation and I will make you laugh. I don’t get along with emotions. I don’t let them enter my heart. I don’t want to. I have stored some of them there and trust me, I am fine with it. So yes, I returned the cap to him while ruffling his hair. The aunty said “Thanks”. I said “No problem”. There was a pain behind that no problem.

That day when we came home, she asked if I liked her play. I said it was okay. You need to be still if you are performing the character of a tree. She ignored it. A few days later we were in the hospital. She was suffering from cancer. We tried everything that we possibly could have, an average salaried family could have. But it wasn’t enough. She died a week later..and her body was still. So were my heartbeats. So were the trees. She acted quite beautifully that day.

There was a pain behind that ‘no problem’. I wanted to take that cap and bury my face in that forever. I wanted to cry hard, for once. I wanted to escape. I wanted to meet her for one last time and say “You will be okay” and that “I love you” and that “I miss you”. But I couldn’t. It was too late. It was too late to say that I watched the entire play and she was goddamn brilliant. I wanted to get up and hug her when she screamed Bhaiyya. I don’t know if I have a rare IQ making me one in a million, but if I do have or ever had, I wanted to give it all to her. If time gave me another chance, I would have figured out something to solve her problems, to make her read, write, learn, live. But the only chance that I had, i ignored. I don’t know where she is right now, or what she is doing, but what all I know is, I would have loved her. And I still do. I always will. I guess it’s too late to say this. But dear sister, I miss you. Come, visit us. See your dad crying when we leave him alone in the room for a while, see your Mother crying when she is making food, all alone in that kitchen where you used to help her in making rotis. See your brother crying, once in a blue moon, when he writes his diary, or this blogpost if that matters.

Come, please. You are being missed.