Love – Either it’s real, or it’s nothing.

Love.

We’ve read about it in books, seen it in movies and experienced it in life too. Though not too many of us have been lucky enough to witness real love.

You may now ask what is ‘real love?’ Love is love, isn’t it? It’s how your heart skips a beat when you seen that person or when you hear them call out to you. Isn’t love the feeling you experience while feeling their fingers slip through yours while walking down a street or them getting all protective about you when you’re in a crowded area?

Yes, love is all of that. But real love is something you feel for that person even when they’re not around you or maybe even when they’re not a part of your life.

Real love is that feeling of being complete, of being whole, of knowing that things are perfect just by thinking about that one person. It’s that feeling that brings a smile on your face in your darkest hour or your weakest moment.

I’ve been in love before – said those three words I thought meant the world to me and even uttered those promises of undying love and being together forever. But some wise person once told me – “Nothing lasts forever. And love? That’s just an emotion. It screws you in the head, over and over again.”

I had all but given up on finding love again and immersed myself in doing things that kept me away from thinking about not having a special person in my life.

That’s when I found him. In the weirdest of ways, in the most unlikeliest of situations. I wasn’t sure if he would love me back. If he would feel the same way for me as I did for him. But I didn’t really care. Love can be one-sided and you can actually be happy. You have someone to love, someone to care for; and that is the best feeling in the world.

There were sparks, unsaid words and feelings so strong that neither of us wanted to give up on the other. We didn’t give us a name. We didn’t tell the world about us. It was our secret.

I wasn’t sure if it would last for a long time. The longest I’ve gone with someone was two years, and despite this seeming different, with my history of screwing up relationships, I knew I would mess up.

It was him who took the lead. Gave me the strength to believe that miracles do happen in life. That it is possible to find someone who could make you go head-over-heels and someone with whom you would want to spend the rest of your life with.

It’s impossible to explain how you feel about a person. Words don’t add up, you become a complete failure at creating a simple sentence and there’s like a permanent blockage in your head.

But there’s something about being in love that makes you poetic, no matter if the poems don’t end up rhyming.

There’s something about being in love that makes you want to put pen to paper and write them a long letter, no matter if you end up saying the same things to them.

There’s something about being in love that makes you want to shower them with romantic quotes, flowers, and links to songs you think they might like.

It’s safe to say that he gave me a reason to look forward to in life. To wake up in the morning and know that there is someone out there for me who wants to see me, baggy clothes, disheveled hair and all. There’s someone who misses me and wants to spend every waking (maybe every sleepy) moment with me.

And there’s someone who I wish to spend the rest of my life with.

“Can you wait for two years?”

I’ll wait for you for the rest of my life, if I have to.

I’ll never forget that day, nor the exact moment. That was my Platinum Day of Love, and I want to share that with him.

I know this is real love. Those six words have made it clear to me. Saying ‘I love you’ isn’t always necessary. Sometimes, it’s small statements like these that have a HUGE impact and make you realise that “This Is It.” It takes just one moment to know that. And if that moment never comes, it’ll never come. Because real love, can’t be forced. It just happens.

And I’m glad it’s happened with me.

couplePicture courtesy: Google Images

 

Suicide – An easy way out?

Day in and day out we hear stories of people committing suicide. And I always end up asking myself, “Is it really that easy to just give up everything in the world and take your own life?”

Reasons are varied for taking such a drastic step – family/financial problems, maybe you flunked your class or your boy/girlfriend dumped you or worst still, you were made fun of and humiliated in front of a thousand others.

It’s easy to think that ending your life will make things easier. They will get easier for you, not for the others around you. It doesn’t take long to pick up that knife and slit your wrist or have an overdose of sleeping pills, or the age-old technique of hanging yourself from the ceiling fan or jumping off the terrace of your building.

It’s difficult to open up and talk about things that are going wrong in your life. It requires a lot of strength, something that most of us 20-somethings don’t have. We’ve all been through bad break-ups, fights at home and maybe even workplace harassment.

Ending your life just to run away from the not-so-pleasant things in life is the behaviour of a coward. But I’m not shy to stand up and say that I AM A COWARD.

I have been hurt a number of times in life and sometimes, I’ve even wished I wasn’t born. An abusive relationship; a one-sided love affair and I thought I was done. I couldn’t take anymore.

I walked into the kitchen at 2.30am, picked up my mother’s sharpest knife and washed it. I went back into the hall and sat down on the sofa. Placed the knife on my wrist and without thinking I made a tiny gash right next to my nerve. I was frightened out of my wits and cut my wrist deeper. I was crying and it definitely wasn’t the pain I felt from the cut.

It was the pain you had given me. It was the pain he had given me. It was the pain they had given me.

As the blood continued to flow; bright red and thick; I placed a cotton pad over it and pressed hard. I wanted to end my life so badly just then.

But for a split second, I imagined my mom’s face when she saw me that way. I imagined how she would feel. My parents would only blame themselves. They would keep saying that they failed as parents.

And I couldn’t do that to them. I couldn’t put them through that. My worries in life weren’t bigger than their place in my life.

I rushed to the washroom, put my hand under cold water and finally the blood stopped. I sank to the floor of the washroom and cried. I don’t know for long I sat there, but eventually I realised one thing -

Suicide is an easy way out. You can end all your worries and get rid of all your fears. But it’s your parents who have to deal with what comes after.

Are you prepared to let your parents walk into your bedroom the next morning and see your dead body there?

Are you willing to let your parents feel such immense pain and hurt which can’t ever be healed?

Death isn’t always the answer to everything. I’ve learnt it the hard way.  The worst part is if you attempt suicide and fail. The scars left on your body may eventually heal, but the ones left on your mind never heal.

Go see a counselor or just call a friend. Speak whatever’s on your mind. Write a letter. Take a vacation.

Just don’t kill yourself. Suicide is NOT an easy way out. It just adds more pain to lives of people around you.

You could die randomly any day, even while crossing the road or in your sleep; but taking your life with your own hands, isn’t worth the effort. Your life may not be precious to you, but it is to others. If you can’t live for yourself, live for your parents. You owe it to them.

The Letter

 

 

Pen and Paper

Pen and Paper (Photo credit: Guudmorning!)

I sat with pen and paper

Thinking of what to write.

Should I have told you what I wanted to?

Or should I have said what you wanted to hear?

The truth is bitter,

We both know that,

But it’s out there

And everyone can see.

I uncapped the ball-point pen

And started to write.

Let go of all my emotions

And kept writing until the first ray of light.

Would you read it?

Would you be able to relate to my words?

Or would you chuck the note out of the window?

Page after page revealed how I felt about you,

Line after line expressed my thoughts.

I wrote the letter because I wanted to.

Did you read it because I wanted you to?

 

Fast-forwarding my relationship? Not really!

Hotter Online

Hotter Online (Photo credit: Cali4beach)

I read Thought Catalog religiously, either while having breakfast or while traveling, and it’s not always that I happen to disagree with stuff posted by them. Over the weekend, I read a post on the site which spoke about how due to technology enhancements, we’re allowing ourselves to be over-accessible (read: have virtual relationships). While that does happen in a lot of cases, I simply don’t see why reaching out to people over the internet is wrong.

If you’ve seen “He’s Just Not That Into You”, there’s a Drew Barrymore scene where she gets asked out on MySpace and her colleagues are not in favour of it. Here’s what she says,

“Things have changed. People don’t meet each other ‘organically’ anymore. If I would like to make myself seem more attractive to the opposite sex, I won’t go and get a new haircut. I Update my profile. That’s just the way it is.”

And that is exactly how things are. I’m not saying that you need to spice up your profile with *cough* fake details about yourself, but we’ve all done that bit of online stalking before actually meeting someone.

Things were different before. You bumped into a random guy, you exchanged a few shy smiles, and you may have never seen each other again. That doesn’t happen online. You’re always around each other – seeing the Facebook updates, or the unending Tweets, the pictures on Instagram and check-ins on Foursquare.

You know what kind of books he reads, or the kind of music she listens to. You know their tastes in food, and even their taste in people. It seems quite easy then to send them a message, and if your initial conversation goes okay, there’s a strong possibility of you’ll hitting it off well offline too.

The so-called ‘disadvantage’ of meeting someone for the very first time and things going kaboom is rather disheartening. You wore your best dress and sprayed on your best perfume, but when you met, apart from the customary “hi’s” and “how you do’s” you had nothing much to talk about.

Just as Mark Pino had his experience of what he calls “fast-forward dating”, I had one too, and it wasn’t in the least like the one he had.

I had a long drawn crush on the guy, but never really had the courage to speak with him. Added him on Facebook and the very first conversation we had, put me off him, completely. There was no spark, nothing I had ever imagined. Had I met him for the first time and had that happened, I’d have never wanted to see his face again.

But.

We started speaking again. Random day-time conversations lead to lingering late night conversations. We’d stay up to hear the crows start cawing and see the sun streaming in through our windows. And this was before we’d even met!

It all felt hunky dory, but friends warned me to be on my guard.

“What if you don’t like him when you meet?”

“What if he’s gay?”

“What if he acts like a jerk and spills his soup while eating it?”

These and loads more of these –  They tried hard to put me off. It didn’t work.

I finally met the guy, and we hit it off! He was exactly how he seemed online, even better, if I may say so.

I had fallen for him during the virtual exchanges we shared, not knowing whether the same chemistry and spark would exist when he was in front of me. But it was. At least for me.

Coming back to Mark’s post – “The perpetual connection to someone can ultimately lead to a severe disconnect. We never got to experience those cute conversational nuances like interrupting each other because we were about to say the same thing or seeing each other’s eyes light up when we discussed things about which we were passionate. Those fun moments of complete mental, emotional and physical presence were totally lost to the habit which had now become ritual. Technology. How did this happen? When did we become okay with hiding behind our cell phones and computer screens?”

Things were different with us. We behaved the same way we did online. And yes, we have a song too. Not one we sent each other via YouTube, but two actual songs we listened to and dedicated to each other while lying next to each other.

I’m all for exchanging cheesy handwritten notes and flowers and chocolates. But sometimes, that’s not as feasible if you’re not in the same city. What started out as a simple, online crush has now developed into something so much more for me.

Are we seeing each in the real sense of the word? I don’t know. But we are together, online and offline. Yes, we fast-forwarded our relationship, but it worked.

Don’t shy away from getting close to someone you admire or find intriguing over the internet. You never know what might just come out of it :)

PS: Make sure the person isn’t a 50-year old man/woman with a beer belly and a moustache :P

You’re All I Want

I walked up to him
With a smile on my face.

He looked happy to see me.
Gave me a hug when I got closer,
And said “You look really pretty.”

He never said this when we were together,
And my mind went into over-drive.

I sat in the passenger seat of his car,
While he stood next to me and smoked.

We spoke about work,
And life,
And how things had changed.

He told me he was seeing someone,
And how hard she tried to please him.
He said he knew what he was doing wasn’t right,
“But I can’t stop myself from thinking about you!”

He wanted me back,
I knew it.

In other lifetime,
I would’ve jumped with glee,
And said yes.

But one look at your picture,
And I was reminded of your importance to me.

I told him in as many words,
I was seeing someone too.

It wasn’t technically that way.
It wasn’t any of his business too.

I showed him your picture,
And told him all about you.

Maybe I was harsh,
Maybe I could’ve given him another chance.

But I had you.
I had us.
And that was all I knew I’d ever need.

Why Can’t I Be A Football Fan?

Why aren’t women easily accepted into the fold by male football supporters?

India – Where everyone’s supposed to be equal according to our laws and there isn’t supposed to be any bias based on caste, religion, or sex.

India is where I live, and India is where I’ve learnt to survive as a female football fan.

I’m sure there are many like me out there, but when it comes to voicing our opinion, apart from ranting on Social Media there’s nothing much we can really boast about.Society is so used to demeaning the status of the Indian woman, that at the end of the day, she forgets who she really is at times.

And when it comes to something like football, which is one of those typical “guy things”, I’ve come to realize that most maleswouldn’t appreciate it if a female challenged his skills or even his knowledge.

So what is it about the male section of our society?Are they jealous? Are they sexist?

To our faces, most men behave extremely sweetly and also pretend to be impressed when we say we follow football. Walk away and one will find them cracking slightly offensive jokes at our expense, which vary right from supporting a particular team to sporting a team’s jersey, and even about the offside rule.

Women have had to put up with some very patronising behaviour at times in the still fairly masculine world of football. We all recall Sky Sports dinosaurs Andy Gray and Richard Keys’ jibes at a female Assistant Referee – ’Do us a favour love, do you even know the off side rule? When male officials get it wrong, it’s because they’re inept. When female officials get it wrong, apparently it’s because they’re women?

Anyone with two eyes, a marginally functioning brain,and enough female friends, knows that women are a significant part of the football community worldwide, and now in India as well.

Women, and I’m speaking on behalf of all the female football fans I know, don’t watch or support a football team just because they have ‘cute players’. Also, supporting a team just because they’re winning trophies isn’t something a woman would do. But having said that, I won’t deny that there are a certain number of ‘plastic fans’. Those numbers, however, would be considerably less if compared with men, so the ‘plasticity’ of fans is common across both sexes.

In my opinion, there are three main types of female football fans:

  1. The ones who love the game, and everything that has got anything to do with it. They’re the ones who won’t miss a single game for anything in the world, and even if they can’t watch the game live at the stadium, they make sure they watch it on TV.
  2. The second type also love their team, however, they’re a little less dedicated (if I may say so). They’ll buy their team’s jerseys, support their team during their ups and downs and keep abreast with everything that’s happening. This section of fans is rather important for they’re the ones blowing up Twitter and Facebook, demanding that games get streamed if not aired live on TV; they’re constantly buzzing on Social Media when it comes to their team and football in general.
  3. And the third type are the ones who’ve jumped on the bandwagon – just because everyone else was doing it! They know who the players are and they definitely know who the hottest players are, but ask them what was their team’s ‘back four’ during a particular game, and they won’t have a clue.

Too many times on Social Media and in person, female fans have been labeled “glory hunters” or “plastic fans”, which is rather uncalled for. I have to say this to all men, with due respect, that women are definitely aware of the “Offside Rule”, thank you very much. We cry when our team loses, cry harder when we win. A player’s injury affects us more than our own and it’s the end of the world when someone leaves our club.

We rant on Twitter not because we want to attract followers, but because it hurts us when our team doesn’t perform well. I don’t see a reason why people think we’re trying to boast about our knowledge of the game when we tweet about it; we just love the sport!

Growing up in India and breaking all the rules when I fell in love with Thierry Henry was the defining moment in my life. Football took precedence over everything else – even friends.

What was the case with me 12 years ago stands true until date.If my team has a bad game, my entire week is ruined. And if my team has a brilliant game, it goes without saying that I’d have a brilliant week.

Football is directly responsible for my state of mind.But no matter how much ever I love my club, and no matter how many tears I shed – not to mention the very colourful language I use during a game – I’ll always have that question mark on my loyalty. Speaking from experience, and I’m sure most girls’ experience, it doesn’t take long for a guy to point fingers and spew venom.

It’s really sad some of things women are told by various people, just because they love a sport.

“You’re fat and that jersey looks ugly on you.”

So if I’m not “sexy” or “hot”, I’m not supposed to wear my team’s jersey? Is that what all female football fans are perceived as? Sex symbols?

Just recently, I received a not-so-comforting tweet – “You’re a girl. What do you understand about football? Go make me a sandwich, *****!”

I laughed it off then, but somewhere inside it stung.Why can’t I have a place for myself in those hundreds and thousands of football fans?Do I need to prove my knowledge and love for the game at every single step?

A Nike campaign comes to mind at this juncture. Sometime during 2010, they released a new video – “Paving The Way” – which had young boys thanking the men’s national team for inspiring them, and surprisingly, it didn’t feature a single girl. The advertisement was subject to some criticism for the same, but the male community was quiet at large.

Just because I am a woman and I live in India, doesn’t mean my place is in the kitchen or inside the four walls of the house. We’re independent and strong women, and if we love a sport, as much as men can ever think of doing (or even more), it’s high time that they made space for us in their world.

We may be emotional goats, but we’re loyal football fans; and at the end of the day, that is exactly what matters.

Note: This article was originally published in the March print edition of 90 Minutes, which is India’s only football magazine.

If I were a kid, I’d love to play with Simba!

Spread over an area of 5000sq ft, the Simba Store at Oberoi mall is designed to showcase the range of safe and high quality products for kids of all age group

The Simba Store offers an international shopping experience, best quality & safe products from more than 80 brands and 6000+ SKUs from Simba group, aggressive pricing and around the year activity calendar for kids.

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The toy industry in India is growing rapidly (let’s not even take into account the number of children who don’t get to play with toys!) and Germany based Simba Toys is India’s fastest growing retail brand portfolio in the toys and games domain. It has a range of over 80 brands and 3000+ SKUs available in the Indian market.

Last Monday, 25th February, The Simba Store celebrated the launch of their fifth toy store in India at Korum Mall, Thane.

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The grand jamboree offered an array of entertainment elements for kids and families like magic show, performance by jugglers and clowns, games and live music. The celebrations which ran for the whole week saw kids being participating in competitions like drawing, table tennis and SQUAP. The winners of these competitions were awarded gifts and certificates.

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Spread over an area of 1000 sq ft, the store is an ultimate treat for the entire family offering a wide range of toys to choose from. These include the exclusive licensed products of Avengers, Hello Kitty, Disney Princess, Cars 2, Spider-man, Spongebob Squarepants among others.

Toys at Simba Shop are priced from Rs 39 to Rs 70,000 and will cater to every segment of the society. Simba stores works with a clear mandate: maintain safety and therefore all toys are compliant with German regulations which are the most stringent in the world.

How I wish I could become a child again!