Millennials and Marriages

Millennials and Marriages

I asked a few people, who are well into their twenties and thirties, about their opinion on marriage and starting a family. The answers were mostly the same across the board. The group I was talking to did NOT want to get married.

It’s crazy, you’d think that with the wedding industry growing as it is, people would actually want to take the plunge as well – but no. Women say that men change after the wedding happens, and men say that women change too. Millennials are confused as they come, and they say they don’t need any more on their plate. Fair point.

Someone said that people don’t know how to date in their own lane and the same goes for marriage. You marry a super rich someone, who’s had a lavish lifestyle, promising to give them the life they’ve always had, but as soon as you’re married, you want them to tone down so they can fit your mold – that’s not done, they said. Imagine if Rose had ended up with Jack, she would definitely complain at some point about him not being able to give her the life she’d been used to, they said. Another reason why some people don’t want to get married would be the fact that most people make enough to give themselves a comfortable lifestyle – but they cannot cover the cost of having kids and raising them because, to put it frankly: “Kids are expensive.”

A few women that I know have decided to never get married because waking up next to the same person and watching them grow old with you isn’t as romantic as movies make it out to be. At this point, I was going “Yikes”, I kid you not.

All these strong opinions against marriage ended up driving me a little insane, so I asked people the same question on Instagram: and this time, the opinions were divided. Honestly, that’s such a relief because I’m getting formally hitched in two months and I could do with a few people saying they would love to get married, too.

One person said they wanted to do it and didn’t care who the other person was as long as they were good people. Arranged marriages are still BIG in India. A couple of people said they wanted to do it because premarital sex, unfortunately, is still frowned upon. And someone else said they wanted to do it because they were deeply in love and couldn’t imagine being away from their partner for one more second. This made me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Go, girl! You get him.

Ooh, and someone else said they wanted to wear Sabyasachi and be featured on the designer’s Instagram page. Girl, if you’re reading this, I hope and pray that it happens one day. And soon. This brings me to the last thing I want to say – What do YOU think of marriages?

Bengali Weddings: Part Two, The Bad

Bengali Weddings: Part Two, The Bad

To read the first part, click here.

It’s getting super hard to keep up with things at this point. We barely have two months left before some major life changes happen. I’m about to become someone’s lawfully wedded wife, and oh my God, I couldn’t be happier. And ooh, about that.

Bengali weddings, of course, come with their own set of rituals. The one that we’re already done with, the Aashirwad, is the first step towards the madness that the actual wedding almost always is. At least, I’m pretty sure mine is going to be nuts. I have crazy family friends who say the most inappropriate things. And my dad has crazy friends who have questionable motives. I’m sure you’re familiar with such people, they exist everywhere.

On the day of the Aashirwad, people got wind of the fact that the Mister would be coming over to my place with his parents, officially, for the final talks of the wedding. And I kid you not when I say that everyone in the whole neighborhood actually appeared to be queueing up outside my house, or even leaning out of their balconies, trying to catch a glimpse or two. My guy belongs to a very refined family from Bangalore and all of them were taken by surprise to see this. What decent community does things like this? And my neighbors have all built their houses SO close to ours that they could see everything through my open windows. I think I died of embarrassment, a million times over, that day.

As if that wasn’t enough, I had people come up to me and ask me what the guy’s family had gifted me. Apparently that’s the culture, the norm, to ask someone what she’s been given as a gift from her husband-to-be and his family. I still fail to see the culture bit, but okay. I’m waiting to post about the good, if there’s any, about this particular Bengali wedding. Stay tuned.

Bengali Weddings, Part One: The Ugly

Bengali Weddings, Part One: The Ugly

I don’t know if this is a thing will all relatives, or just some of the people in my (very, very extended) family but…

I have a huge family, okay? Back in the day, nobody had heard of birth control or television or any other form of entertainment. This meant that their only source of um, relaxation, ended up resulting in tiny humans and burning holes in the parents’ pockets, putting the ever growing family into economic stress. They also used to get married in their early teens, making teenage pregnancies super common. Many kids would die of complications following childbirth and their husbands would end up marrying other kids. Sounds gross, but that used to be a legit thing, child marriage.

My grandma got married at a young age too. Her first child, my oldest aunt, was born eighteen years before my mum came along. My oldest aunt is in now her seventies, and my grandma passed away ages ago. I don’t remember her much, unfortunately, but she was a nice person. Same goes for my Dad’s mum. I don’t even remember having met her. The only memento I’ve got of hers is a photograph of me in her lap, and she’s wrinkled as a prune and I’m barely two. And I look mighty uncomfortable as heck.

Having said all of that, it also means that when you’re about to get married, the whole clan comes to town. Irrespective of whether you’ve ever met them or not. They just seem to pop out of thin air. Suddenly you have three hundred aunts and five hundred nieces and you’re a legit grandma and aunt and aunt-in-law. If you’re the bride, your parents have to bear all the expenses – from the relatives stay to their comforts. And when your parents are extra and don’t get the concept of low-key weddings, the budget overflows and puts your parents in debt. Sometimes you need to end up selling assets, sometimes you give yourself depression and stress but you won’t chill with the number of heads on that guest list because you’re a prominent member of the society so you’ve to make your kid’s nuptials a grand affair. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The age gap between my Dad’s siblings and my Dad has also resulted in my oldest cousin being born over TWO decades before I was. He calls my Dad “Uncle” but he’s only a few years younger than my Dad. *Jeez.* The rest of my cousins are way older than I am too, and we never really meet on the daily. I mean, the last time I ever saw any of these guys and their wives would be like, 2013. And it was awkward as heck. I didn’t attend any of their weddings but they’re all going to show up when the next wedding happens. Yikes. And with the estrogen comes the judgements. And with the older women, comes the tongue-clacking and the nosy behavior.

If you hate people and have awful social anxiety, nobody notices you going into depression because they’re too busy making your mum show them your wedding shopping and making snide comments about every saree you’ve picked. And about your weight. And about your dark circles and thinning hair. And the list goes on.

By the time the wedding approaches, it’s a miracle if you have any hair or body weight left.

Why Netflix Should NOT Be Banned In India

Why Netflix Should NOT Be Banned In India

The Indian government has been on a banning spree, lately. What’s the newest addition to the list that a few people want banned? NETFLIX.

Netflix has been accused of trying to spread Hinduphobia and showing India, as a whole, in a bad light. (Here’s the article.) Sometimes Twitter goes out of its way to wrongly motivate and spread hatred, thereby ending up creating unnecessary debates that everyone can actually live without.

Homegrown shows like Sacred Games, Leila and Ghoul are doing a great job of telling a story. As a Hindu, who’s also remotely not very religious, and an Indian, I don’t find any of these shows offensive. Yes, there’s cussing, and yes, it’s inappropriate for certain audiences, but isn’t that the norm for almost all shows across the platform? Also, this ban that people are asking for, seems super ridiculous to me. They banned websites that show adult movies in India. People still watch. People will always find ways to walk around the obstruction and do as they please, anyway. VPN makes that super easy. So what gives?

There’s legit no point. Once the government bans something, it becomes the forbidden fruit that everyone is tempted, beyond their wits, to taste. And they do it. In essence, banning things will only encourage viewer engagement.

It’s this toxic little chunk of people that actually use religion as means to create a rift in the population. NOT the TV shows in question, or a subscription service, no. Sometimes people become religious fanatics that takes over their whole lives and they let it affect everything they say, do, preach or practice. This, to me, is very wrong. Religion was created to ensure that the community was doing well – and not to cause fights. Unfortunately, the tables have turned now and people only use it as per their convenience.

If TV shows had the power to radically change things, influence people, a lot would have changed by now, right? And to be honest, since people misuse everything – religion, politics, resources, other people – what comes next? A ban on people?

#ThrowBack – An Excerpt

#ThrowBack – An Excerpt

Do you remember your first day of grad school? I remember mine like it were only yesterday. I remember the cadaver on the cold metal table, and the stares.

Most importantly, the stares.

I stuck out like a sore thumb, so I tried very hard to blend in. I was painfully aware of myself and my flaws, all magically modified like crazy, because I was in a whole new place. I’d never lived away from my parents before and going to live in one of those hostel things was very uncomfortable at first, and I’m sure a lot of people can relate. Now that I look back on those days, I realize that I’d only gone to med school super far away from home, to get away from the bubble that I’d been living in all my life. An overprotected bubble, I might add.

The people were mostly from upscale metros. I was the only one from the Podunk tiny town. Sigh. I felt so uncomfortable there I thought I would die of anxiety just from walking into class and have people make fun of me. When you’re a kid, you don’t understand what’s happening, and sometimes you don’t understand what bullying feels like, until it’s too late. I got made fun of my crooked teeth, my hair and my stoop (they called me that), and I was overweight on my first day of college and I was made painfully aware of that. Usually people come up to you when you’re new, make conversation and that’s how you become friends – but when it came to me, nobody really ever approached. Except for this one girl who became a good friend – she was just as gorgeous on the outside as well as on the inside – and although we’ve lost touch, I’m forever grateful. Bless her soul. I honestly hope she’s happy wherever she is because I’m sure she’s slaying it out there. She was badass. Truly.

So that first month passed by pretty fast, and I noticed myself losing weight. The food wasn’t very nice – it’s normal when you’re eating in a mess – and at some point, I got bitten by depression so hard, I stopped going to school. While the other kids maintained a routine, I would stay in my room and only go to the classes I enjoyed, and ended up alienating myself further. That was also how I ended up losing six inches off my waistline. Go me. That was also the start of my tiff with things like anemia and vitamin D deficiency, both of which were self-induced. While the other kids were busy studying, getting into relationships with classmates, and having artists do their anatomy projects, I was busy drawing my own anatomy diagrams. And I loved it. I’d forgotten how much I loved to sketch, and funny as it may seem, drawing the model of the heart from Cunningham’s manual actually calmed me down.

At this point I also discovered eyeliner and tight-lining, and went ham. That was how I created the illusion of smaller eyes. The stares and the comments eventually stopped and I finally achieved what I’d been trying to since day one – I became invisible, successfully.

Movie Review: Secret Obsession

Movie Review: Secret Obsession

Going to cut to the chase here and say, “Issa NO.” Just no. I wasted my afternoon watching this absolute trash of a movie trying to justify having done it – came up with zero reasons to actually tell myself that it was okay.

Truth be told, I’m offended.

Netflix messes with you sometimes. I loved YOU, which actually told the story of a psychopathic serial killer from his own point of view. And I assumed that Secret Obsession would be similar, but boy, was I sorely disappointed.

First off, you can actually tell the whole story from the trailer itself. Where’s the fun in that?

She still has fake lashes on. Slow claps.

I’ve to admit I watched it for Brenda Song alone. She played London Tipton in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and I was such a huge fan. She plays Jennifer Allen who gets hit by a car and suffers from short term memory loss, with no memories of her life or her husband. This guy Russell comes up to her and introduces himself to her as her husband and she says yeah, okay. And she goes home – a suspiciously large home – with him. She comfortably settles into the role of a housewife because Russell says she’s quit her job and eats an obnoxious amount of breakfast eggs, and goes about trying to see if anything at home triggers her memory. But Secret Obsession did her dirty. Her character is bland at best and there are so many gaping pot holes, you’re going to give yourself a headache just by trying to keep track. Mike Vogel, the psychopath that plays Russell, isn’t just crazy enough. He photoshops himself into her life, edits a whole bunch of photos, including the wedding photo, but forgets to blend in the skin tone and edit major stuff like fixing his own reflection in a photo that shows the back of the real Russell’s head. Which Jennifer notices eventually – by then it’s too late.

Look at the obscene amount of scrambled eggs she’s eating.

Like, honestly.

There’s a good cop with a tragic backstory that finds out about the knock off husband pretending to be the real husband, and he does some investigation and finds out the real tea. The other thing that gets me is the completely baffling timeline. Three months, and fake Russell KILLED Jennifer’s (Song) parents and they’ve decomposed funny. There’s also a strange man that leaves flowers and Russell kills and buries him in the backyard. Nobody finds this dead person. There’s also a scene where Russell gets mad because Jennifer won’t do it with him and he has an angry outburst and grips her arm tightly. Okay, dude needs to learn to get it under control.

Eventually Russell gets found out and we have a happy ending with Jennifer limping away in heels. Why would anyone put her in heels when she’s clearly limping is yet another mystery to me.

A few people have liked the movie, but it’s a hard pass in my opinion. If you’re bored and want to get drunk surreptitiously out of your skull and need something to distract you, watch Secret Obsession. Have a great weekend, folks.

The Savior

The Savior

Jemima was twenty-four when she got married to a jewelry store owner. They had a good life. He would come home late and leave early. And he would constantly obsess over how Jemima looked.

Every month, he would send her to the biggest clinics in the country, just so she could get several procedures done, ranging from chemical peels, to microdermabrasion, sometimes a nip here and a tuck there. Six years had gone by, and they led a comfortable life.

Jemima was also very lonely. When you’re thirty, married to a rich person, and living in a big house with only walls for company, you do get bored. And neighbors kind of talked, a lot. Jemima always felt very useless and insignificant. And she prayed that someday she could help someone and be treated with respect. That’s how a few of her habits were born. One day, she complained to her husband that she couldn’t really eat anything anymore.

He was mildly alarmed, because he’d given her a strict diet chart which she followed religiously. Her diet comprised largely of fruit and no carbs whatsoever. This helped her maintain that twenty two inch waist of hers.

“When was the last time you actually ate something, Jem?”

“Dinner, last night. My belly kind of hurts.”

“I’ll have Ron drive you to Dr. Samuels’ today. I’ll call and get an appointment, don’t worry.”

He kissed her on the temple and left.

Jemima was in surgery when her husband’s store was broken into. They took everything. Emptied the registers, stole millions worth of jewelry. He thought he’d lost everything when he got a call from a very astonished Dr. Samuels.

“I just got robbed, Dr. S,” he sobbed, “I don’t know what I’m going to do!”

“Come to the hospital immediately. There’s something you’ve to see.”

He rushed to meet Dr. Samuels. Nothing could have prepared him for what he was facing. Recovered from Jemima’s abdomen were about three kilos of jewelry. A couple of rare Rolexes. He almost cried.

“How’s Jem doing, Dr. S?”

“She’s stable.”

Jemima’s husband had never felt so relieved before.

“AntiPropt”

“AntiPropt”

I looked at Em, hunched over the new batch of eye-drop formulations we were going over. Em has had myopia her whole life, and by the time it stopped getting worse, she was already a twenty-nine year old. I remember the conversation we had once, very distinctly, like it were yesterday.

“I’m so tired, Sean,” she’d told me, “Of being the only one in the family that’s not yet married.”

“That’s okay, marriage isn’t a big deal, you know,” I’d told her.

Em had shaken her head and said that she was Indian, and being as old as she was, and unmarried to boot wasn’t considered a good thing in her family. I told her I failed to see logic.

She’d sighed and explained, “It’s a thing. An actual thing. Indian parents don’t understand you, it’s true. You could be doing well career-wise, but you aren’t doing anything till you’ve actually gotten married to a nice guy and made a few babies. And I keep getting rejected. My parents are worried.”

That had sparked my interest. Em was beautiful: she was tall and stately, had dimples when she smiled (which wasn’t very often), and also had one of the sharpest minds in the lab. She was a brilliant scientist. Sometimes I considered her my competition, my only competition.

“I’m sorry I’m being nosy, but why would you keep getting rejected?”

She’d pointed at her eyes and said, “Proptosis and high myopia. They won’t even do LASIK on me. My eyesight is really bad. Minus eleven diopter.”

And she’d cried a little. I’d passed her a tissue, patted her on the back and gone back to the lab.

Present day, she would still get upset over her eyesight but she tried to shove it under the rug and pretend to be fine. But I could see through the façade. Strong Em had reached her breaking point. I’m trying to not be too intrusive but I notice Em pick up a of couple eye-drop samples that weren’t meant to be there, which she then proceeds to pocket casually. I know exactly what those samples are. I look down at my notes and smile to myself.

Two months later, Em walks in and she no longer has proptosis. No longer has myopia. She also has a shiny new ring on her finger and new veneers.

She’s hugging back everyone who’s congratulating her.

I’m at my station, working on my patent. I’ve decided to call it AntiPropt and it’s my baby. It’s my brainchild, my new eye-drop. It essentially penetrates the eye to slowly absorb and dehydrate the eyeball over a course of few weeks. Oh, but not too much, so that fluid loss from the aqueous and vitreous humor happens over a span of time, and doesn’t happen too drastically because having a shrunken globe is again, messy. And once the process is completed, this leads to a shortening in the actual axial length of the eyeball, making the images form on the retina like it normally should, thereby curing myopia without any invasive procedure. This drop had taken me years to perfect and Em has been my first successful test subject.

She comes over and hugs me.

“Thank you, Sean,” she says, “for my new eyes and my new life.”

“Wedding Dress Shopping.”

“Wedding Dress Shopping.”

Dana wants this big wedding. She’s so excited. She walks into a fancy boutique on Friday morning, with a whole entourage, all wearing pink. Jose, the camera guy, and Sammy, her assistant are in the mix. Dana tells herself that it’s going to be fun. Her Tiffany Nova square cut ring sparkles in the late morning sun.

The girl that’s going to be helping her with her dress walks in, and everyone is so pumped.

A round of hellos are exchanged and the champagne’s poured and Dana goes in to try her first dress on.

“I’m so nervous,” she tells Charlotte, the bridal store girl.

Charlotte pats her on the shoulder and says, “Aw, honey, don’t worry, it’ll be fine. Let’s get you changed into this beautiful ivory strapless. You did say strapless was your style, right?”

Dana nods and puts on the dress. Charlotte helps her tuck it back and secures it with clips, and she walks out to meet her entourage. Jose is still filming. Dana wants the whole thing done vlog-style for her YouTube channel, it’s been a fun seven years on there.

“OH MY, that’s stunning,” Sammy says. Sammy’s been trained to exclaim appreciatively at everything Dana does. Sammy is also really good at keeping secrets and that’s why nobody really knows who Dana is getting married to. Everyone’s looking forward to meeting the mystery guy, but every time the topic comes up, Dana giggles and brushes it aside with a wave of her long red nails that almost looked like talons from some mythical creature.

She goes on to try four more dresses, and buys the slinkiest one because everyone likes it the best.

“When do we meet the man now that the dress is done?” someone asks in the comments that afternoon when she posts a mirror selfie in a white dress on Instagram.

“Soon,” Dana replies with a winky face emoji.

Now she must find a guy since the last one died from an accidental stab wound to the carotid. The murder weapon? A woman’s blood-red talon. Incompetent police work overlooked this, and the murderer effectively got rid of it. No arrests were ever made. No one knew who the man was and where he went. That’s what happens when you don’t have a family and you end up in a dumpster with nothing to identify you with. The case was closed and filed away, never to be opened again.

Dana throws a glass at the mirror, breaking it into little shards.

“Why wouldn’t any guy last till the damn wedding?” she screams at her shattered reflection.

50 Word Story: Stand-Up Comedy

50 Word Story: Stand-Up Comedy

Morgan’s at the bar, cracking jokes. That night he meets Sally, they fall in love.

Sally likes comedians.

Deep down, she hates anti-feminist jokes.

Soon, she adds a new piece to her collection of shrunken heads in the basement. Morgan fits right in with the rest of the offenders.