HONEY, SHOW ME THE MONEY

So, here I am, despondent, after watching yet another pal of mine slip away.This raises the question – does money change people?

This raises the question – does money change people?

Unfortunately yes. But not everyone, of course. There are some sections of people who seem to think that they have conquered the world when they get a job or start earning. Well, there’s something that they are not earning though, and that’s respect.

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I’m not going to preach the banal stuff like “when you are unhappy, money doesn’t heal but friends do” because money certainly buys the expensive Häagen-Dazs or Ben and Jerry’s ice cream your soul pines for in order to gulp the sadness down. But what you need more importantly is a shoulder to cry on and a hand to stroke your back. Without those two, a person would truly be a paragon of poverty.

I have seen people who choose friends based on factors like looks, financial status, and popularity.

There was this acquaintance of mine who agreed to date a guy only after he confirmed that he owns a car. There was this childhood friend who worshipped a girl in her university class (despite being snubbed) just because she’s beautiful. And I can never forget the friendless gawky boy in my high school, who grew up to become an actor and even has a fan page now. During our reunion, the very people who bullied him and made him feel worthless ended up taking selfies with him.

The pattern disturbs me. If these are the factors on which a friendship rests, then I don’t want friends.

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I’m lucky enough to have some amazing friends, who have stuck by me through thick and thin; who have seen my worse and loved it; who brought out the best in me. I’m sure I would be phoning them even after thirty years and nothing will change. We would just become busier and more exhausted due to the added duties that come with age. But our affection towards each other will remain the same.

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Well, as for the passing clouds, who have ushered momentary fun into my life and left without a trace—I thank them for the precious memories and rewarding lessons.

So, this “pal” I’m talking about has decided that her old friends aren’t worth her attention. Maybe she’s in the process of making new ones or maybe she’s not. But the arrogant attitude she displayed made us all gape in shock—Is she the same innocent wide-eyed girl we met a decade ago?

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I did what I gotta do. I REMOVED HER FROM OUR MESSAGE GROUP. Sigh. It’s petty, I know but that’s my act of revenge. I had to take revenge because it’s my thing. I don’t leave a wrecked relationship without retribution especially when it jeopardizes my self-esteem.

I must have sufficiently spooked my readers by now but look at it this way; when a person whom you have regarded as a friend mocks your failures in front of other buddies, you have the basic responsibility to avenge your dignity.

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Money turns a person into a smug cat. They start believing that they need no one and set out by severing old ties one by one. This happens mostly to individuals who let the allure of wealth override conscience and let it take precedence over relationships.

I prefer to surround myself with people who would stay with me for the long haul rather than the ones who would judge me based on my accomplishments or the lack of them thereof.

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Choose the right friends and they’ll show you the meaning of joy.

 

 

 

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DOMINANCE DOESN’T EARN REVERENCE

We all have relatives who love to dominate and belittle anyone who is inferior to them. For some it’s elder sister, for many it’s husband, for most it’s mother-in-law, and for me, it’s my maternal aunt, who stops at nothing to feed her superiority complex.

She’s the youngest in the family and thereby she never got the chance to brandish her impudence quite often. And here I am fulfilling her needs.

So there I was perfectly lost in my own girly world of nail colors and clippers, when she trotted towards me with an air of superiority that’s unseen even in the meanest of bosses, and demanded me to clip and colour her nails. That was not where it ended. She wanted me to decorate her toenails too. And frankly, I didn’t find that offensive at all. What’s the big deal about touching toes of a family member? But when my grandma looked at her in surprise because she never ever coloured her nails, prompt came the condescending reply, ‘This is the time when I have to make the most of her services.’

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Services? Do I look like a slave to you, woman? What the hell do you think of yourself? Tell me that you can’t reach your toes with that belly of yours hanging in between, I’d be convinced; say you are not trained in colouring your nails as deftly as I do, I’d be honoured; but you want to use my services? I mean, yeah maybe she enjoys having her smelly paw over my face but at least she can be subtle about her awful intentions?

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I would so love to get your feet off my face, Aunt Meano.

Man, I need to make sure that our dates don’t clash when I pay the next visit to my parents’ because I can’t bear the sight of her dopey grin and domineering personality.

She makes me the butt of every inane joke she cracks, trivializes every contribution of mine towards helping my mom in household chores or whatever and also scoffs at the baggy shirts I wear for my comfort, seizing the opportunity to brag about her daughter’s dress choices.

This brings me to the topic of relevance – domination.

Why do we feel the need to dominate? Why don’t we treat everyone as our equal? Does it harm? Does it lower our status? If anything, it elevates our footing and we win big time in terms of respect.

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So, taking cases I’ve heard and seen into account, I deduce that the people who like to feel strong by exercising control over others do so because they’ve never experienced what it feels like. For example, if I were the youngest in the family, then everyone expects me to pay heed to them. I have no say in anything important because, you know, I’m still a kid. Being a sidekick has boundaries. I have to listen to whatever the older ones say. After being under someone’s thumb for so long, I’d feel the urge to see what bossing around feels like. And when the time arrives, I make full use of the newfound reins and don’t care what the person whom I regard as a minion thinks.

That’s exactly what’s happening to my aunt and to most of the people who love to dominate. Take a mother-in-law for instance. She has been bossed around by her own mom-in-law for so long that as soon as her daughter-in-law arrives, her mind flashes a bingo sign.

This is not the logic for everyone of course. I decoded the workings of a dominant person’s mind but it obviously doesn’t apply to the world at large. It’s just something I’ve noticed around.

Whatever the reason may be, each person deserves respect. Just because you are older and in higher position, it doesn’t mean you can toy around with underlings as if they are puppets. It might be sadistically uplifting but morally wrong. So wrong.

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Remember, everyone is important and should be treated with the same respect you expect to be treated with.

HUMAN HAMMERS

Humans are carpers. And it’s an immutable, unbearable trait.

A wedding is about to take place. The groom’s mother views the bride’s family with much contempt as the latter has decided to conduct the wedding at a small church and booked a medium-sized hall for the buffet. That’s all they can afford without sharing the costs; plus it was beyond the budget they have planned. But affines are never satisfied, are they? They just need that one thing to hold against you.

After the nuptials, the mother-in-law takes direct digs by griping about how her cachet among her high-society friends and relatives came down due to the economical wedding the girl’s family has managed to pull off. How the congested church made her feel claustrophobic. How the food items at the dinner were not properly garnished. How the chillies in the biryani were sliced too thin and also how the server didn’t smile at her. The girl took the offence in silence.

Now time comes for the mother-in-law to marry her daughter off. And she doesn’t pick any fancy beach resort or a backyard of a mansion as the venue. The wedding’s going to take place at her home—the cheapest option available.

I cited this example not to stereotype anyone. I wanted to pinpoint the kind of hypocrisy that prevails in majority of humans and how people take delight in hammering anyone that doesn’t share their DNA. But say one thing even remotely unfavourable to them, they would be glaring at you with fangs ready to sink into your throat. You can dish it out but you can’t take it.

Why are our thoughts and morals so warped? Our favourite pastime is to criticize. We condemn everyone for everything just to feel better about ourselves. God, why are we born this way? Why can’t we be more pure and acceptive?

The kind of people I’ve seen in my short existence so far has made me a cynic. I see a person spending as meagre as a cent on a birthday present to someone but expects to receive a gift worth one hundred dollars in return and if you don’t sate his anticipation, then get ready for some serious arraignment and bad-mouthing. Wow, doesn’t conscience dictate human thoughts and actions anymore? “We give, we take” is how life is supposed to be within a society. But I see more of “You give, I take” in people these days.

It’s important to take the other person into account always simply because we can’t spare the price of being an outcast, which would be the definite consequence of acting like an ass.

Expect the other to do what you would do in their shoes. You can’t aim to be treated like a queen while you view every other person as your minion. I see that most of them are not satisfied with what they have. They want additional, that too for free. Isn’t that nasty? You’re basically hoping to lick on someone else’s sweat. Produce your own sweat instead of being a parasite.

When you bundle up jobless people together all they do is gossip, pummel and slam with limitless ardour.

‘Mr. X doesn’t hold his wife’s hand in public. Things are not right between them. I give four months max.’

Maybe Mr. X is just shy and doesn’t like PDA.

‘Miss Jane had a tear in the dress she wore yesterday. She’s so broke.’

Probably, Jane didn’t notice the hole and unfortunately became the subject of your hole.

‘Mr. Y uses a basic phone despite being a millionaire. Such a cheapo.’

Perhaps, Mr. Y loves simplicity and doesn’t heed barking dogs.

Such is the dreadful situation. If you have nothing to do, then do nothing. But do not hammer. It hits very hard.

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HOW TO DEAL WITH INSOLENCE

Rude people are not necessarily bad people. They just need a lesson or two about manners and respect. But we can’t go about philosophizing 30-year olds on how to behave. It’s their damn responsibility to treat others the way they want to be treated. Or else, someone like me would watch with eagle eyes for an opportunity to exact revenge.

I don’t let go of the insult of being yelled at unnecessarily, the humiliation of being the subject of embarrassing jokes in public, the belittlement in front of even an ant. I convert the incidents into a camera reel and replay them frame-by-frame till there’s retribution.

Movies like “Mean Girls” and “The Clique” give youngsters a strange sense of belief that being cheeky is cool and it’s even regarded as a funky trait. In reality, society views rude people as bullies. Reality doesn’t work the same way as it does in movies. At least youngsters can be taught and will learn from experience. But what about adults like my twenty-three-year-old germophobic cousin, who shouts at me for offering him a glass of water? You read that right.

He arrives at the living room, tired after a long nap in the afternoon. As a responsible guest, I offer him some water, in the presence of his parents and other relatives. He refuses.

‘Have some. You look weary,’ I insist.

‘I said no. Just leave me alone!’ he says in a mildly loud voice.

‘Are you sure?’ I say just to be polite.

‘God, just go. I don’t want your stupid water. Did you even wash your hands? Get out of here!’ he yells.

I felt the whole building shake from the sheer loudness of his annoying voice. Stunned by his hostility, I retreat from the spot without a second look at his skunk-like face. The hall falls into a cloud of silence, although they’re used to these meaningless outbursts from the thoughtless man.

Nah, he’s not mentally unstable like all of you might be thinking by now. He’s just someone who loves to shout at others with no consideration towards their dignity. If he was worried about germs, then he could have let me know in a civilized way. But, no. He chose to humiliate me.

I shrank into a corner and forced the prickling tears back into my eyes as I vowed revenge.

This sweet cousin of mine was asked to drop me at my place the next day. He whined like a sick monkey before agreeing to his mother’s order. I saw an opportunity and schemed while on my way, seated beside him in the car. He wasn’t speaking anything. I thought of several ways I could start a conversation so that I would get a chance to insult him but none of them was non-pretentious.

Finally, we arrived at the destination. My aunt, his mother instructed him to carry my luggage up into my apartment. He was especially not happy at being my porter but he obliged any way. He got out of the car to pull out my bags from the backseat. The watchman nearby was thinking whether or not to help. There was a lot of buzz around on the street with people going about their chores. As he lay his hands on the handle of my bag, I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Take your dirty hand off my bag! I’ll carry them.”

He was gobsmacked, not being used to taking an insult in public. I removed my luggage from his car and disappeared into the building. Yes, everyone around gave him weird looks and I left with a satisfied smile on my face.

From that day onwards, we greeted each other with icy glares. I lost a cousin that way. But God, it felt so good. That’s how I treat brash people. I give them the taste of their own medicine. Most of them don’t even realize that they’re being impudent because they get accustomed to treating fellow humans like doormats.

My cousin is so kind and caring; tall and attractive; stylish and sophisticated; uncouth and apelike. The last two qualities negate the former ones obviously and he had few friends and many haters.

They say, ‘Don’t waste your time on revenge. Those who hurt you will eventually face their own karma’. That’s some unrealistic rubbish. If someone slaps you, you need to show them how painful a slap can be. I’m not promoting revenge but I sure believe in an eye for an eye.

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When it comes to rude people, they need to know that they can’t get away with ill-treating others and taking them for granted. An antidote to insolence is insolence. Rude people, if not stopped, turn into bullies. Hence, they should be taught a lesson that they won’t forget.

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MY SUPERHERO

A father is indeed a candle that melts in order to spread light to everyone.

Yes, I remember that today’s Sunday and not Thursday. But it’s also Father’s day. Here’s a post that’s a tribute to all the dads, who also double as superheroes.

Why is that there are innumerable quotes on the significance of mother but not many on the sacrifices of a father? Why is it that since childhood, we have been taught to regard a mother as God—as in the famous quote, ‘God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers—but dads were relegated to the position of admonishers and disciplinarians? Why is a father’s love underrated?

A mother bears our weight for nine months whereas a father bears the collective weight of the whole family all his life. His sacrifices go unnoticed, his protection seems like suffocation, yet his love remains limitless. We rarely get to see our dads, as they’re always hard-pressed with work and responsibilities. We whine about how little time he devotes us but does he ever complain about the encumbrances that are compelling him to toil round the clock?

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There’s the cabbie, who shifted to a different country, far away from his family, only to earn daily bread and pay his children’s tuitions; the menial labour working at a construction site, who can’t afford to move his family due to the maintenance costs and limitations; the Navy employee, who misses the birth of his child and doesn’t get to hold it in his hands for another six months. Their stories make my heart ache because they are forgoing their comforts for the sake of their families’ better future. Couldn’t they just find some low-paying job in their own country, be near their families, eat home cooked food and play cricket with their children? A father is indeed a candle that melts in order to spread light to everyone.

We just see the candies and chocolates he gets for us on his return from work but do we ever think of the miles he has to drive to get them and the harsh sun he has to battle in the mid-afternoon? He pays the bills, takes us shopping, treats us at our favorite restaurants, cracks “fat” jokes at the expense of mom, unfailingly sends us the first “good morning” message on Whatsapp, gives us silly monikers, has an encyclopedic brain and still . . . and still, allows us to boss around and even enjoys being dictated by his children.

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He slaves and strives to provide but expects nothing in return. He is an epitome of patience and affection. An embodiment of love. He doesn’t show or express but his eyes betray the compassion.

My father, for me, is a security blanket. I need his presence, either in person or through phone, in order to feel protected. His jokes, no matter how inane they are, act as a break from monotony. His smile fills my heart with warmth and his laugh tickles me.

I’m an adult but will always be his little girl, seeking protection from the big, bad world. Please never leave my hand, Dad. I would be lost.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. I love you so much that no amount of words can describe it. I hope this post would make up for my wordlessness.

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Oh, Mom, don’t get green-eyed already. I love you too and you know that.

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MY REFLECTION

When I look in the mirror, I see her. When I try on a dress, I visualize her in it. When I’m eating chicken fritters, I imagine her face as she gulps down the hot chow. When I see a thrill-ride, I vow to come back with her. She is the best present my parents have ever given me. It’s my sister.

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My sister, who is two years younger to me, is like my reflection. She echoes my frustrations, understands my discontentment, weeps for my sorrows, and celebrates for my joys. If it weren’t for her, I don’t know if I would ever have come out of the multiple crises I had faced during the short span of twenty-four years. She stood by me like a pillar of strength.

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People around us often wonder what we talk about because our mouths are never shut when we are together. Our blabber mostly consists of digs and barbs at people who dare to cross our paths. But past that futile gab, there’s a strong bond that can’t be broken even by Thor’s hammer. We have had our share of fights and quarrels like all siblings do. But we also developed the kind of attachment that yokes us tighter every time a serious argument threatens to rip us apart.

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Ever since she was born, I have treated her like my baby. My responsibility. My happiness. At school, I was her bodyguard, guarding her against bullies and lunchbox snatchers. At college, I was her protector, cushioning her from the blows of adolescence. And now, I’m her giant watchdog, ready to pounce at anyone who so much as considers hurting her.

Well, I have been doing a decent watchdog job except for that one time when a neighbor’s pet Labrador was set free and it came galloping towards me like a lion. At once, I let out a dramatic, loud scream and jumped behind my little sister. I was 22 then.

Oh, there was another incident during our childhood, when I accidentally locked my sister up in a room with a flying cockroach. Cockroaches creep me out. I’m phobic and allergic to them. So, when I see that beast flying, you can expect me to either pass out or go bananas. The same happened and I skipped out flailing my arms like a mad person and instinctively closed the door of the room, which held the monster in loose, without thinking twice about my sister who later emerged, bawling her eyes out.

Okay, don’t judge me by those two instances. I verbally attacked a teacher, who hit my sister for not submitting her homework on time and I was barely eight years old then. Animals scare me. Okay? I hope she doesn’t read this post because I have denied those incidents ever happened.

Anyhoo, so, sometimes, I imagine what would have happened if I were an only child. It’s a terrifying thought. I don’t think I could have survived my teenage and twenties without her by my side. She’s like a star to my night sky. The source of glitter and light. We often dream of making it to 100 together and playing the same old silly games even on our respective deathbeds.

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Gosh, it sounded okay in my mind but now it’s too morbid. Excuse me for the gloomy end.

I dedicate this post to all the siblings in the world. Let’s all fight, kick, curse, punch, slap, tease, torment, and above all, love each other to bits.

I apologize to my sister for enduring my bossy bearing all these years and thank her in advance for putting up with my future antics.