To the adventures of a Solo Trip: Thank You all the Good Men in the World.

To the adventures of a  solo trip.

Thank you all the Good Men of the world, Thank you.

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This is going to be a bit long with real life experiences in details. Read at your own risk. Rantings ahead 😀

It was only a month ago, that I was found arguing with a friend on how men never understand equality. I was mad angry and I kept blabbering that all men were alike, and the society is so biased with them, that no matter what they do, they always find a way out of the mess, they get in. And, we suffer for  their deeds. My friend is very patient. She kept calming me down and trying to make a valid point by mentioning how good her father is and how good my father was, and that should be our standard to judge men and not some random guy who is molesting, abusing another woman to satisfy their ego.  Howsoever I was not convinced. The woman in me was reminded of the broken marriage one of my closest friends’  is going through, how much her husband tortured her before she finally let go of him. The girl in me was reminded of the threat I read in the newspapers daily about the molestation and rapes that were happening in the various parts of our country. The young professional in me reminded me of the gender-bias I faced when I just started working. The seventeen year old was reminded how much I had to struggle after my father passed away, just because I was a girl. There were men who told me, girls are meant to be married off and their father’s property and business to be divided among people who had sons. I was reminded how my mother was warned to not trust a girl child with her property and that the girl might run away with all the money. So, I was not convinced. I had too many reasons to call men privileged and the society biased.

One week after this incident,

I was travelling to Chennai for some work. I was mad late for my flight. I didn’t pre-book my tickets. And they only had a middle seat to offer me. I enquired about the aile and window seat beside me, which they informed were occupied by two middle-aged men. Now, I was super uncomfortable. I walked back to the Spice jet guy and told him if he could change my seat. He informed me that seats were filled and that he couldn’t help. Almost a minute later, he called me back to inform me that he would upgrade me to a SpiceMax seat without any extra charge, and that he understands that it would be uncomfortable for a girl to sit in between two strangers. I thanked him, boarded my flight happy and smiling.

Reaching Chennai, I had to go to Kancheepuram, a 70kms drive from the airport. I booked a cab. The girl in me scared with the innumerous molestation events we hear each day about the girls who travel solo, and considering it was evening time. The car broke down midway at a place which had bare population. Exactly what I was fearing. I had no water, no food, the night was nearing and the place I was about to stay at, for the workshop closes at 10 pm. I didn’t even know what to voice, I saw him making some phone calls, talking in Tamil. I was shit scared. Airtel net wasn’t working and I couldn’t even send my location to a friend or family. Out of fear and panic, I spoke nothing and waited till the driver fixes the car, praying God that I don’t get into the newspapers the next morning for being killed for travelling solo. Half an hour later, a group of four men came and were talking to the driver. The driver knocked at my window to offer me water.  He informed me, that it would take 20 mins and they would fix the car, that he had the mechanic come up. I still did not believe him, but I didn’t have the guts  to argue. Half an hour later, he started the car and took me to my destination, dropped me safe and sound. Said a sorry meekly for the inconvenience caused and left. He also mentioned that if he left the car, to get the parts repaired, it would have been faster, but he didn’t want to leave me alone, for it was unsafe. I thanked my stars. And, realised how wrong I had judged these men. I looked up at the sky and smiled. Voiced a thank you silently.

When I reached the venue, it was 10:30 at night. The gates were closed by 10. I somehow managed to get in for I knew for sure no food was waiting for me that night, and I had to sleep food-less that night. The place looked like those age-old holiday homes. I entered my room, unpacked, refreshed and around 11:15, there was a knock in my door. I was super sceptical to open it. I opened it slightly to see an old man standing with what seemed like food in his hand. He came inside the room and sat himself on the chair and asked me to eat. . It had Sambar, Rice and some potatoes semi-fried. I was like *what the F? Nobody does that to me?* in my mind. He had mistaken me for Tamil, because of my brown skin colour. I told him that I was a bong. He had poor English but I loved how he wanted to communicate with me. He told me that he is the cook here, he is being working here since the last 50 years. It is his duty to feed everyone before he sleeps. That he has a granddaughter who would be of my age, and that he had not seen her in the last 12 years. Finally when I was done eating and he was going away he shocked me by saying, that he saw me entering the gate all tired and hungry, its not his job to serve after 10 but he went to the kitchen cooked and brought me this meal hoping that if he is good to me today, someone somewhere will also be good and kind to his granddaughter. I was so touched. Till that day I only believed woman that a kind hearts. That Man changed my rigid thought I was stuck with since the last 10 years I have lived without my  father. I thanked him and dozed off to sleep.

2 days later, when I was done with the workshop I wanted to visit Pondicherry. Excited with the good days and good people I was living with. I realised, a happy woman is only the result of good men around her. I booked zoom car to drive to Pondicherry. I was out of my cage. I felt free. I found a place where I felt safe. Chennai to Pondicherry is like 155kms drive on the ECR- Eastern Coastal Road. It took me 3.5 hours to reach Pondicherry. The beautiful blue Bay of Bengal on the one side of the ECR and greens on the other side. That drive was the most peaceful thing that happened to me in the last 10 years, it was that serene.

I reached a different India. By then, I had begun to wonder if its just Tamil Nadu which was this safe or is it my perspective towards men  that needs to change. And suddenly from the nagging and sulking young woman to the extremely happy young girl. I felt good. I took a quick walk in and around the streets to see the place I was living at, before I called it off as the happiest day of my life. I lost my way back to the hotel. My phone was drained out of charge and dead. I had no idea how I would return back for I believed cities like this shut down sooner than ours. And I was right. I found no autos. There were very few people in the streets and they barely understood what I spoke. I was walking aimlessly to find atleast some help, and then I bumped into this guy and he only spoke Tamil. “No English” as they say. I tried explaining him by naming my hotel a 100 times. He signalled me to follow him. I was sceptical but I had no way anyways. I was mad scared for it was dark, roads were empty and I had no other option but to take a chance and trust him. I prayed to the almighty and followed him. 2 mins later, I spotted my hotel. How dumb of me! I was wandering two streets away and couldn’t find my way back. Howsoever the Tamil boy nodded and greeted and went away. True Indeed.. I was in a different India.

Next morning, I walked up to the roof of the restaurant for my breakfast. Most hotels in Pondicherry have roof top restaurants. Wow isn’t it? So after my breakfast was done, I met this girl. She introduced herself as the social marketing head of the hotel. Assuming she would be a local, I asked her what is the best way to get to Auroville. And, I just couldn’t believe what she uttered after that. To quote her exactly, “You are a solo girl travelling? I don’t think you should go to Auroville all alone. You know its all forest and unsafe there. Even if you take a driver, whats the guarantee you would be safe? The driver could be unsafe too.” I was like but I came all the way from Calcutta, I can’t miss Auroville. Infact, I was thinking of driving myself to the place. And she said, “Look I am nobody to ask you not to but if you are really that brave please go but do carry some pepper spray along with you. Last time my friends went there they were robbed, inspite of being in a group.” I bid her and walked down with mixed feelings. Because I had heard all good things about Auroville. But she was a local and she had negative things to say. I didn’t know whom to believe. Howsoever I went out to see more of the city. I hired a Vespa to get wings to fly around 😛 So I visited the churches, the temples, the Sri Aurobindo ashram, the beaches, the french café. I kept asking the same question to almost everyone I met that day.. is Auroville unsafe? So the Tamils claimed it to be dominated by foreigners so anything can go wrong; and the migrants said the local Tamils in the village can rob you on the road. I received a mix response. I had always been a stubborn kid all my life. I found a sense of thrill in doing the things that were forbidden. I decided to drive the next morning to Auroville. It was around 12kms from the place I lived in. Almost a cake walk for me, but  I had never driven to any village before. I was such a city person. I lost my way. The de-route took me 6 kms extra. After driving for 25 odd minutes I reached somewhere near the Auroville Beach. I had a left turn to take and drive another 7 kms. Initial 2 kms had hotels and people but post that it was all empty. And, to be honest I was a bit scared of the tyres. What if they punctured, whom would I seek help from? Howsoever very soon I reached a place so green that I had almost forgotten all fears and was busy appreciating nature at its best.. clicking pictures, collecting flowers and studying trees. Yes almost. 😀

And suddenly Airtel had no network. I didn’t know which way to go. I waved to a running vehicle to stop him. I knew he wouldn’t stop. For we the city people barely stop in these situations. We are taught not to stop on empty roads. We fear to be robbed. But that man stopped. I asked him about the way and he asked me to follow him. It was not his way. He went out of his way to guide me to the right route. I had started pinching myself by then asking myself if I was dreaming. Wasn’t it to good to be true? That’s how we are conditioned to grow. We are asked to not believe strangers, who knew strangers were so good. After around 10 mins, he pointed me to the centre. I thanked him and my stars. He left. I wonder if these men didn’t exist what would we women do.

I got a pass to the Matrimandir. Drove to the beach, ate at the bakery and was reading an informative that I collected from the Visitors Centre. Suddenly I recollected what my father always said, “Never punish the second person you meet for the wrong encounter with you had with the first. For every bad man that you meet, there is four good that you will see.”  I never really belived him for the life I had seen after him, without him was very tough on me. But that moment, with so much of goodness around: all that he said made sense to me for the first time. My thoughts took me back to the life I had spent as a fatherless daughter in the last 10 years flashed in front of my eyes. Yes, there were cousins who wanted to break me emotionally, but there was a brother, not related to me by my blood who stood by me through every emotional low. Yes, he was my father’s brother who insulted me and challenged my capability as a girl child, but there was an uncle, not related to me by my blood who believed I would overcome every hurdle that would come by. Yes, she was my aunt who warned my mother that I would run away with a boy with all the money, but there was a teacher who believed I would turn into one of the finest women living. Yes, there were too many selfish people that I always talked about. But rarely have I acknowledged the good men who have supported me when I was losing it out on humanity. To every jerk who stares at women as if they are going to eat you up, there are men who understand its uncomfortable for a girl to sit in between two men in a flight. To every uber incident that we hear every other day about women being harassed, there are men like Shakti Anna, who drove me safe to my destination inspite of the breakdown. To every mysterious old man tales we read in the newspapers who turn out to be serial killers, there are men like Gopal Pattan who gave me food at almost midnight. To every passerby who ignores people at trouble, there are men like that Tamil boy who helped me despite not knowing my language. To every road robberies and rapes we hear of each day, there are men like the one I met on my way to Auroville who went out of his way to help me for nothing in return.

Dear Good men, It is for you, we feel safe. It is for you, we feel privileged. It is for you we still hope to bump into a better human being, and that not all of you are rapists and opportunists. And this trip changed my perspective. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart from all the people I mentioned in the above instances to the people I couldn’t. I thank you all. There were more instances like so but mentioning them here will only lengthen this post. But before I end this, to all the woman who have suffered inequality for being a girl child.. Know that not every man is alike. Some men are good and they treat you like they treat their mothers and sisters at home. Raise your boys well, teaching them equality and they will make the world a better place to live in.

But before I stop typing.. one thing that I need to mention: Be careful too, not all men are good either. If I fell into the hands of one bad man in the whole trip. I wouldn’t be alive to tell you this story. And if something bad would have happened, you would have blamed me for taking all these risks that I did.  Because, the good and the bad, they all look good in the beginning.  What I learnt was, think good and trust people. If everybody out there was bad, the world would have no longer been a place to live. Its always a balance between the good and the bad. Choose wisely!

Love love!

Why are you not open to relationships?

 

So, this week I met this old school friend of mine, who asked me this eerie question: “So why are you not open to relationships?” I tried those, “I am yet to fall in love”, “It doesn’t happen to me easy”, “I keep falling for the weird ones”. And, finally after jabbering quite a lot, we got diverted and the conversations took its usual turn. But this night, I have been really thinking, this might be the common question asked to many women like me. So, what do they answer? So, I did this quick survey asking a few of my friends, on how they react to this question. People came up with answers like, “I am a workaholic, I don’t have the time for love”, “Maybe, its not the right time for a relationship yet”, “I am yet to find the right one”, “I have been into too many shitty relationships to get into another”, “I still have something left with my ex”, “I am in love with my freedom, I don’t want to be committed”.. And Blah!
And, then I asked myself, whats your reason miss? Well my answer is no different. I fall for the good guys and get bored of their goodness, and then, I fall for the bad guys and realise they are bad influence to my soul. I am back to square one.

So, the conclusion is you will have plenty men come your way before you figure out why you always keep falling for the wrong ones. Here, I am making a quick list on why they never work out usually.

  1. YOU BECOME WHAT YOU READ.

So, once in a blue moon comes these books, tv series or movies that almost tells your life story. You relate to their protagonists. Automatically their love interest is what you start looking for around you. Anything close to that character and you fix your target, failing to realise what looks good in books, doesn’t even work closely in real life. You imagine yourself as the damsel in distress and expect a saviour like that in the books and movies. But real life is Savdhaan India and Movies are Fifty. Get real girls!

  1. YOU LOVE THE CHANGES A MAN GIFTS YOU.

You have been an arrogant brat all your life. Nobody could ever chance you. Suddenly you have a friend who is too keen in your life. The more you ignore him, the more persistent he gets. Your resistance breaks down. He adds an unexplored side to you and you suddenly find yourself doing too many things that you weren’t comfortable with at first. These changes gives you an adrenaline rush. But girl are you really inherently the person he’s making you into? Or is he just influencing your thoughts? Check out!

  1. YOU FALL FOR BAD BOYS.

All your life, you have had boys running after you. You have always have had all the attention. Suddenly you come across this guy who doesn’t care about you, he won’t even bother being nice. Your mind takes it as a challenge and there you go, tumbling down that tunnel, trying to win him over. How do you not see it? It’s written all over him—he doesn’t care. Or are they playing mind games with you, you would never know.. unknowingly, you would do all that he would make you do with his ignorance. Watch out girls, its only your ego. Draw a line before you fall into their trap.

  1. DOMINATING OLD MEN MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD.

Strangely enough this concept is so cliché and common. The idea of having an older boyfriend never gets old. You initially love it for they are more mature and you start believing on their experience of things. And then their master stroke in every argument, “I am older than you and I know it better than you”, kills your perspective. Now who’d ever want to be in a relationship like that? Some women still do, most of them opt out.

  1. INTENSE LOOKS COULD KILL..

He is tall. He has a pair of deep intense eyes, beautiful lips, wonderful voice. Oh well, not everything can be controlled, especially not lust at first sight. You ignore the fact that you might even not be compatible with each other. You ignore all the red flags just for the pleasure and the thrill of being with him in the moment. Be aware girls, not the best way to go about!

You’re clearly not thinking straight here, so there’s no saving you from your own doom. So, this time think before you fall for another wrong guy.
And, forgive me for being so preachy.

Lots of Love.

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The Ambivert I have become..

So some years ago, this night.. this time.. I would be out, all decked up in a pretty dress celebrating the New Year’s Eve now. And now, I am sitting up on the window pane at the top most floor of this building and watching people dance on the streets celebrating new years. That brings me to write this post so that I can help more people like me understand themselves better.

I was born to an extrovert father and an introvert mother. As a kid, I was more attracted to my father’s lifestyle. I loved him. More so, I wanted to be like him. So that was my adolescent years all about. Travelling multiple times each year, being outdoors, being social in most public gatherings, meeting new people, making friends, starting random conversations, getting to new places that’s opened up, laughing hysterically, long phone conversations described me. And this was my lifestyle too. I was a rich daddy’s spoilt brat. One fine morning my dad passed away. I coiled up for years trying to become an introvert in the sadness that prevailed in me for the loss of my favourite person, my beloved mentor. But like they say, life goes on and we are forced to live the life we have always lived, rather conditioned to grow. My lifestyle remained the same, but growing up cultivated my choices.

No, I was not an introvert yet.. but I started taking life through a different set of lenses. I started going out again after a few years had passed away. I suddenly realised, I didn’t like the crowd any longer. I was no longer the flamboyant speaker who would speak to new people, and make friends in seconds. In fact I preferred to be the observant. I loved being that. It was a peaceful place to be. I travelled and I still do, but rarely do I talk to a co-passenger. On Friday nights, I chose to skip dinners and cook at home. On Saturday nights, I chose to skip pubs and read a book instead. On Christmas Eve’s I started skipping the parties and opted for quite dinners. On New Year’s Eve I started skipping the countdown bashes to sit down on window and think about how to make my life more organised and watch other people celebrate their Eve. Like most introverts, I didn’t have the expression issue. It was always my choice, whether and when I wanted to or not. I could still speak up my mind. I could still laugh hysterically provided I am with a friend, but I make new friends no longer. I could still talk to a random stranger but I preferred not to. I only talk when a topic excites me or I keep a strong POV about it. And, as soon as I am done proving my point, I would not utter a word and be the best listener. I am always looking for knowledge in any form, listening to people and their experiences help me fetch them. I am so sorted in my professional life that you would never know how unorganised I am in my personal life. One day, I am up to get the world, and I am the most social person you ‘ll ever meet. And on another days, all I would do is sleep over the whole weekend. I need peace and quiet time with myself. I am very persistent at times and very impatient at other. Pushed out of my limits, I am quite a monster inside me. I can relate to both introvert problems and extrovert problems. I am aggressive, whimsical, and  then I get bored easily. But no, I am not shallow. I am an Ambivert!

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There is a very thin line in between an extrovert and an ambivert and then again an introvert and an ambivert. An ambivert can be a bit of both the worlds, yes they have problems in the crowd and yet again, they can hang around in the crowd, provided you can keep them curious and excited.

At 25+ some years

So they ask me.. why didn’t I get married? At 25+ some years, when do I plan to get married? Why do I always postpone marriage proposals? Who is my ideal man? Or am I secretly in love with someone they don’t know? Or is it that I am so heart-broken that marriage and relationship is not in my checklist? Why am I not in their list of “normal girls”? Why do I change my professional choices so often? Why can’t I stay in a routine 9to5 job? Why can’t I stick to a normal life? Why do I feel the need to travel so many times a year? What am I running away from? What am I running after?

Well, I am running after happiness, peace and prosperity. I am running away from negativity, crabs and all that is mundane. I plan getaways to explore, to stay away from the crowd. I travel for I seek happiness in my solitude. I have only one life and I want to live to the fullest, I don’t want to be bound by a 9to5 job. Ofcourse money is important, so I look out for options I can take as long as I am young and free. Law, Psychology, Designing, Apparels, Business.. I have it all in a single platter. And, I want to explore more. What is your list to be a “normal girl”? Yes, I am a girl who wants a home other than the one that belongs to my father and my future husband. I like being independent and more importantly I love being Free. I am a reckless driver, whimsical writer, maniac photographer, a travel enthusiast, an aspiring globetrotter, an advocate of startups, paranoid gambler, a crazy kid, doting daughter, loving sister, angry friend, and an impatient n silly lover. And if thats not your definition of normal, I am not. Heart-broken?? Well I believe I have two hearts – one is always broken, the other is always whole. Yup, I am secretly in love. Self-love is the term. I don’t really have a definition of an ideal man yet. Someday I hope, I would. You see, I am a free-spirited, bold, laid-back, independent girl and I care way too much about myself to even think about someone else. And to that question, why am I not married yet or not going to marry anytime soon?? That my love is because I am yet to find a man I would die without.

Heels n Peels. My Growing up Deals.

It was not very long ago. I loved high heels.
Not very long ago, i would shop across the whole city for the best shoes with the best heels.. the higher, the better. It made me a li’l more taller and I would walk with dignity. The huge cars. The short dresses. And my high heels, what a picture perfect Life I had.
Life switched a little. The motorcycle took over my car. The rugged jeans took over the cute dresses. HIGH HeeLs were constant. The bike ride. The wind in my hair. My messed up curls. Hairs in my eyes. Somebody scared on the ride.
And, I laughed.

Growing up, isn’t as good as I had thought it would be. I somehow, don’t wear heels anymore. Not, because I can’t wear them, but for I don’t like them anymore.

It oddly reminds me of peeling oranges.
As a 7year old, I was obsessed with the entire process of peeling an orange. On winter afternoons, all I would do is peel oranges and try sqeezing it on my cousins around. Eating it was very rare though. Never would I get bored of the texture, colour, and the awesome smell. Specially the way I could spray the colourless liquid onto my skin, squeezing the peel.
That just made me Happy.. made me giggle as well.

Now, I haven’t peeled an orange with much heed in god knows how long. Yes, I drink orange juice on every winter afternoon though, had it not been that, i probably wouldn’t have even remembered the smell. I don’t even remember seeing the peels in the last many years, forget the squeezing.

Today, High Heels remind me of Honey Singh’s song and I try finding extracts of Orange Peels at my body scrubs. Growing up, really isn’t worth it. Life has got more and more complicated. Now, its more of Make-Money-Grind, Stress, Competition, and things that definately doesn’t give me JOYS. I miss the small joys in life that made me smile. Silly joys, i could call joys without being laughed at. My point is, whats the point in growing up.. when smiles become rarer, joys harder to find and cheap thrills mundane?

Some joys are thankfully still alive.

Love, Alone was never Enough.

“You walk with him a li’l shy.. shy to get closer. You look at him constantly with d corner of ur eyes. All you wanna do is to listen every piece of utter rubbish he speaks. All your boldness gets wasted.. in just gathering the guts to hold his hands tight. His activities gets onto your nerves and his one attempt melts you(the strongest of the lot) to a shapeless heath. His smile becomes an award earned and his laughter compensates for every loss in the world.” Quotted from my Old Blog.
And then one fine day, all of these things fade away.
The hardest lesson that one has to learn while they grow up, and is reminded again and again.. is that: Love alone is never enough. It is a lot of other things that surround it. They are all wrong when they say, “Love is the best thing that could happen to you, that all you need is love.” Its really not about Love, it is about “The One”, that we fall for. And we blame the emotion all the time.

I personally believe “if-someone-doesn’t-love-you-the-way-we-want-them-to, they-don’t-love-you-at-all” theory. But, the truth is, we don’t care about love, we care about how it makes us feel and if it doesn’t feel right, no matter how much the other loves us, it wouldn’t matter. How selfish, isn’t it?

That’s the tragedy. Some people will never amount up to that no matter how much they love us and those who amount up to everything seldom love us back. Yes, there lies the tragedy. Love, Alone was never Enough.

 

its Okay!

The hardest lesson I learnt is that good people also hurt. Growing up opens a lot of doors for us, kills the definition of good and bad, black and white and fades it into the unhealthy shade of grey.

Some people that you believe are you angels also offend you. No matter how loving they are, they will sometimes be harsh and mean. No matter how perfect they are, at some point or the other, they will say something that you weren’t expecting them to say.
And that is okay. They are only humans and not angels.
I think it was the “okay” part that was the hardest for me to grasp.

It is okay when someone you are affectionate about behaves a little irrationally. Its okay when they don’t love you back anymore.
Too often we just forget that. We ask for a break but we are not willing to give one. Sometimes, the easiest and the most peaceful way is to give up. Give up on a few people who are messing with your set of expectations. If not permanently, may be temporarily. I would rather become the tree that sheds off its torn-away and faded-yellow leaves to accommodate the newer and greener ones, than the tree that dies with all its faded and old leaves.

Period.

But stabbing it is a must do.

I am quite a loser. I stick around. Specially, when I am not needed, or wanted?
Its hard for me to realise that I am not wanted anymore. Inevitably, I had chosen to be around someone’s life for longer than I should have. I realise, it is quite a flaw that I comprise.
It’s simple. Probably my role in their life has ended. And this is the kind of rejection that’s hard to accept because I had been once so important for them. It is hard to accept that my role in this story has ended. It isn’t my story anymore. And probably, it’s time to move on. These words are a brutal stab in the heart. But stabbing it is a must do.

But, I don’t let go easy, never.
So, here I am trying to find my way back to my own story rather than hanging out in the sidelines of another.