Dreams Unlimited

While you are going through your daily life just working or whatever, and you suddenly realize that you were probably meant to do something else in life. While growing up all of us have different dreams and aspirations. There are those lucky few who manage to convert their childhood dreams into their adult careers and be happy about it. Most of us follow the herd and find something which will translate into a career to make a decent living while all the time pining for something else.

The other day I was talking to a friend who always wanted to get into tennis, but then eventually settled into a safer choice of getting into a career in science, which if nothing would definitely pay her bills. While growing up some of us want to be astronauts, actors, cricketers, maybe scientists. Some of us are good at music, at drawing, love animals and think of becoming vets, good at designing etc. But hardly anyone thinks to convert these loves and dreams into a career. Usually the adults tells us that drawing, writing, music are good as hobbies but are not going to provide food to you. And we usually just go with the flow, hardly bothering to protest unless we are very passionate about something, and frankly at that age you are not bothered to be passionate about anything. We grow up to be engineers, scientists, doctors and along the way our hobbies and other aspirations just fall behind, unable to compete with our “mainstream” careers. But then as you grow older you realize, “Oh boy, I was so good at this….what would have happened if I would have stuck to my guns and made this into my profession?” By then it is usually too late to make these things into your careers. Then maybe on some lazy Sunday morning you can think about what ifs and shake your head.

Though in my opinion the best part about having mainstream careers is, it gives you funds to hone your childhood dreams. Funds to maybe finally try and realize them, and you might just realize that you are better or worse than you originally thought you were. If you are better, then great…you have something to escape your daily world from, and if not, then it’s good that you didn’t quit your day job! None of us can see into the future, just contemplate on our pasts. Life’s all about making the best choices you can at that moment in time. And then sometimes, it is good to just think ‘what if’ and have a rosy picture in your mind than to have your childhood aspirations shatter around you.

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Changing roles…not yet!

I read this funky post somewhere while idling my time on internet. I would like to keep the details to myself about the post. The main gist of it was about this Indian guy who was working for a relatively unknown IT company and was therefore unable to get a “good Indian girl” to marry him. His assumption was that, since the Indians in his region are clever enough to know best of the Silicon Valley companies, they aren’t keen on marrying their daughters to some guy working in an unknown US company. Of course there could be other n number of reasons, but this was the reason that was included in the post. Then it was described how he has finally found someone, but that girl refuses to cook traditional Indian meal, though she loves to eat, and she demands that he cook her food daily. So turns out our protagonist in the post was learning traditional dishes to please the girl and her family. It didn’t seem like the guy had any qualms cooking for his future wife, and if he did, the post didn’t mention it. But the interesting material was obviously in the comments section! The initial comments I saw were by women. And guess what, every single of them is telling this guy to not marry that woman! They say, “Run away! You will get a better life partner.” Then people start commenting about how marriage should be partnership and all that jazz.

Most people were asking if the wife will at least clean if she doesn’t cook. I obviously have lot of issues with people following societal norms mindlessly; so my first thought is, “Why do they care whether the wife cleans or not?? Why do these people care to judge that woman whom they have never met and never will??” But the crux here is nobody in an Indian society bats an eyelash when demands are made on the bride. It is considered a matter of fact that the wife will cook, clean and work. Also most of the couples living and working in US don’t have household help because it’s expensive, so the wife does cleaning and other stuff too. It is obviously expected that she will do all those things, and the husband will “help” when he isn’t tired. But since it’s the husband making these demands nobody usually raises a voice.

Coming back to the post, very few sensible women and quite a few men actually said the other side of the story. They actually were surprised that this has happened in India, and said kudos to the girl for making such demands and actually getting away with them. While any kind of demand isn’t an auspicious start to a relationship, men get away with getting women doing things for them even without making the demands.

Worse thing about this situation is the women themselves. We need to do everything for our husbands has been so deeply ingrained in our psyche by Indian society and “culture” that anyone daring to think and be different is immediately judged harshly. We talk about changing the way Indian men think about women, but maybe we should first try to change how we women think about other women.

The thinking woman’s guide to real magic

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker, was a huge 500+ page book. Like the other readers have mentioned, it would have been good to have a sequel alert on this book.
It starts with Nora-a literature graduate whose life is in a bit of a mess- getting lost in the woods and stumbling into the Fairyland. The fairyland reads like an episode of “Once upon a time”. It has all the requisite characters; an evil fairy queen, beautiful but cruel prince, maybe somewhat nicer Fae and all the crazy magic. Nora is magicked into marrying the cruel prince so that the Fae can have heir. Somehow she realizes that not everything is hunky dory in her fairyland and gets rescued by a powerful magician Aruendiel. This magician brings her to his castle where she sweeps, cooks and does general housekeeping while Aruendiel continues to be rude and dismissive towards her. Eventually she starts to learn magic from him and follows him around on his missions. So obviously in between all that she falls for this rude, obnoxious, sexist, egotistic magician. She even makes him read “Pride and Prejudice”- she somehow finds her copy of the book in the magical world. In her defense, I guess she couldn’t help falling for her savior.
To make a 500+ pages long story short, Nora learns enough magic that she saves Aruendiel when he’s in trouble and figures out that he likes her as well.
My thoughts: this was a strictly ok read. It is a cliche of a naive girl falling for an experienced, rude 100 yr old man! Though how she falls for a guy who murders his pregnant wife for adultery is beyond me. Yes, it is written well, but needed some major edits. Especially the part where Aruendiel is talking about his past…wayyyy to long! I skipped over those parts, it was completely irrelevant to the story. But then the author has just skimmed over the parts when Nora starts learning magic. It’s like all of sudden she can do levitation spells and water spells and crazy algebra (she’s an English Lit grad!) If you want to read about magic, I am sure there are better books out there. I am not going to bother with the sequel

Sisters!

I grew up in a female dominated household with a whole bunch of sisters. With one older sister and older female cousins, it wasn’t surprising that when I was in high school; I used to pine for an older brother. My fascination with an older brother was so that someone would give me fast rides on bikes and introduce me to his friends. Though in retrospect, it seems as if I was fascinated with the idea of a brother because I was surrounded by estrogen all the time and wanted a change-I went to a girl’s school, hence only had girl friends, and was surrounded by sisters and aunts all the time!

But as I grew older I realized having an older sister was so amazing. As I grew up my sister changed from my older sister to my idol, and from my idol to my best friend and confidante. As I grew older our difference of 6 years started shrinking and today she is my partner in crime and my shield against my parent’s wrath (which I used to and still do incur on regular basis as I am the rebellious one in the family!) She taught me to be sincere about my studies, responsible in conduct and she taught me how to be a good daughter (though I am not sure how successful she has been in trying to make me a good daughter!) J When I threw tantrums around because I couldn’t understand Math she patiently sat down and taught me everything. She is the one who came running with my biology supplies because I was clever enough to forget my supplies at home on the day of biology lab exam!

Having an elder sister makes life beautiful and easy. She is the one who faces your parents, she’s the one who gets yelled at because she’s supposed to be elder and more understanding. Being the younger one, you get to learn from her mistakes, so that you don’t make the same in life. She is your surrogate mother, your friend, your idol all rolled into one! It doesn’t matter how many best friends you have, but no one gets you like your sister. She’s the one who knows you and your dark secrets and still loves you. And when she has a family of her own, you realize that she won’t be able to give you as much time and there will be times when you won’t be able to meet her for months, times when you won’t be able to talk to her for days…but just knowing that she’s there for you makes life easier.

Reasons to marry

If you are a woman in your 30’s, single and an Indian, I bet you are being hounded; yes hounded is the right word! Everywhere you go, if there are Indians around you, chances are they are going to be insanely curious about your marital status. And then if you attend an Indian social function or you make the mistake of meeting a bunch of older Indian relatives, you are crucified! I am not exaggerating, it does feel like crucifixion when a bunch of married older Indian women start giving you a lecture on the importance of marriage. Then they proceed to tell you how compromises are important in married life, and that it is important that you should get married to the next guy you see, more importantly they want to tell you why you should consider yourself lucky if you even manage to find a guy at this ripe old age of 30!

In India or abroad, Indians don’t change much where marriage and related topics are concerned. Here are some of the top reasons why a girl who is now 30 should get married ASAP!

1)      Top reason: YOU ARE GETTING OLD: Yes because, age is inversely proportional to your market value. The older you get, the lesser your market value. Simple Economics you see!

2)      It’s best for everyone, if things happen at the right time: Because as long as the time is right who cares if the guy is right for you or not!

3)      Men your age now want to get married to younger girls, so your pool of selection is decreasing drastically!

4)      When will you make babies: everyone around you (friends, younger cousins, 4th cousins twice removed….) is getting married and having kids. Of course your main concern should be your ticking biological clock and making babies, doesn’t matter if you want them or not!

5)      Being a married woman makes your life easier. Because people will stop looking pitifully at you, wondering if something is wrong with you.

 

I am sure most of you girls have heard some or the other versions of these reasons. These reasons are of course delivered in a very condescending tone by ‘well-meaning’ relatives and friends. Usually their tone implies that everyone means well for you other than you yourself of course! I am lucky since I am in the US, all this well meant torture gets toned down, but on the other hand when I go to India, everyone is out to make up for the lost time; which means, lots of torture in a small amount of time. It makes your head explode and makes you wish you could run far far away!

While my parents are very understanding and amazing, they still have to live in an Indian society and within its constraints. So usually there is always a relative who is ready to comment on their daughter’s singledom. Because of course, how can I be complete without a man by my side? It doesn’t matter that I do everything on my own right now from cooking to managing my own finances, but how can I be a complete woman without having an able bodied male by my side?

I am not against marriages and compromises. I am just against getting married because the society tells me that it is way past my time to do so! I am against having a label of married just so that I can please the hypocritical members of my Indian society.