Countries Apart

It’s been a long, long time. The amount of time can’t be numbered. Well it actually can be, but it honestly feels like forever. It feels much more longer than what it has been.

Nearly two weeks ago, while chatting up with fellow students a guy asked me, “So, do you like it here in India better or Dubai?” And the speed of my response was that of the speed of lightning. “Dubai!” is what I blurted.
He was taken aback with how instant my response was. That I didn’t even blink my eye and just uttered my answer.

When I was about eight months old, my parents took me to this magical little country called the United Arab Emirates and I have stayed there for majority of the life that I have lead until now.

Indian by nationality, India is this place I’d come once every year or two years to visit my grandparents and extended family. A vacation spot you can say. A two month summer vacation would all be spent in a country which is my own. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

I never really formed an opinion about how I liked India as I never spent a good enough time to do so. But ever since a little kid, I didn’t really enjoy the time I spent here. I love my grandparents but the country itself never had much of an appeal to me. I never felt a connection. Well I was a kid, what more could I expect?

Growing up, I was surrounded with voices. Voices that held the words, “India is your home country. It is who you are. You love this country!” so tight, that these voices felt like it had an underlying honesty in it. And I felt like U.A.E. is just this temporary place that life had us stationed at. India is home you know? India is what I should love.

Should.
Should.
Should.
Oh how this word echoed in the back of my head whenever I started feeling affectionate towards the country I resided in. Whenever I’d see those news headlines. When I entered this country.
A compulsion to love a country only because I’m from it. And I felt guilty that I didn’t.
What can I say, I was a kid!

It was only when I started growing up, started experiencing things by myself and stopped listening to the voices around me that I realized – it doesn’t even matter. What matters is how I feel. And what I feel is something I can’t help.

I love U.A.E. I love the life we lived – I lived – there. It was a life I could call a life. Not what I’m leading here, living here.

The guy then proceeded to ask me what is it that I love about U.A.E. That makes it better than India. India is my home country you know? India is my home, how can I not like home?

Here’s what I believe. Home is where your heart lies. Home is where you can be yourself, unafraid of being judged. Home is this sanctuary where you are accepted for who you are and are loved without any strings attached. Home is where terms and conditions aren’t applicable. Home is where you are surrounded by family – a family that loves you for who you are.
And I found all of this not in my apparent ‘home country’ but in a country that housed me for an unaccountable time of my life.

U.A.E. was this place where I could un-apologetically be me. A country where people from all over the world live in unity, one of the very first things I learnt was that humanity comes first. Humanity is what is more important than that passport you hold in your hand which indicates your nationality. Humanity trumps everything.

I grew up with quite an open mindset. And I knew I had a so called ‘open-mind’ only after living here. Because up until now my thoughts and my mentality was something so frequently seen, I never knew it was such.
A country where religion or the state of India you’re from doesn’t matter, I grew up celebrating various festivals from all religions. I grew up with friends all over India and not only learning but also enjoying their various traditions and customs.
We all were different and we liked being different. We accepted it wholeheartedly.
I grew up in a country that was incredibly safe. A country where my parents and I never feared of our safety. A country so clean. And looking at the number of parks and beaches that are present you wouldn’t believe that it is actually a desert. Ha!

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Let us not even talk about the food and the malls there. It’s where I learnt that food is love, food is life.

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All I got in India is a sight of aunties who are professionals in stalking people and have mastered the art of poking their nose in other people’s business. All I got to see is this unimaginable amount of bullying done in a school, a school which is supposed to be a child’s second home. All I learnt till now is how in the end a girl is supposed to learn all the household chores and that you’ll receive a stink-eye if you don’t know how to by those around you.

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All I got to learn is how to keep my mouth shut because people here can’t stand opinions that stem from an ‘open-mind’. All I have observed is that it is very well possible to fake yourself in front of people. That it is possible to not only lie to others but to yourself as well about who you are. Faking who you are at the core only to please the people around you. To lose the essence of who you are because being nice to those aunties and nodding with whatever they say is more necessary than voicing those opinions in your head and demanding respect for who you are.

All I learnt is that it isn’t safe for me to step out of my house. All I have heard is how we can be divided according to our genders. A boy is a boy, a girl is a girl. There’s a box for everyone and you dare not break it open. After all, you are who you are right?

All I learnt is that perhaps humanity isn’t what comes first. Perhaps what caste you belong to, what state you belong to, which God is it that you follow is what is more important. That is what defines you, you see? Screw how good a person you are, I will form opinions about you based on an identity that you didn’t create for yourself but were labelled.
Labels. Labels are more important you see?

U.A.E. is the country where I found people who accepted me for who I am – this socially awkward girl with big dreams and a stubborn heart. A straight forward girl who isn’t afraid what others think of her. It is the country where my anxiety levels weren’t this high because I felt comfortable. I could be me.

My parents, who have lived here in India unlike me, today also long for the day when we could go back. They don’t feel comfortable here. I see a side of my mother I never saw before. She, she finds it hard to communicate with people here. To connect, to make friends here.
If a person like her, who always is the life of the party feels so, my state can’t even be expressed.

I will agree that there are exceptions in both the places. Neither of the countries are perfect. But this is how I feel.

U.A.E. is the country where my heart lies. U.A.E. is where I felt the most comfortable being me. U.A.E. is the country where I was accepted wholeheartedly, no matter how weird I was.
U.A.E. is where I could exercise my mentality without being judged.

U.A.E. is where humanity comes first. Not blood relations or nationality, but humanity. And humanity will always come first to me.

India might be my home country, but U.A.E. is what I will call home. I could be biased, after all I did spend my entire life there. An attachment will definitely be present.

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This is how I feel

Call it what you may but all I know is that while I have one foot present here, another foot of mine lies in U.A.E. When that trigger is pulled and that gunshot enters the audible range, I will run.

Run.

A Quick Look At The Past Three Years Of My Life

Hey-lo humans who are reading this poorly constructed post!

So as you all know, I disappeared for three years from my blog because of a little thing called life. And for those of you who don’t know – well, now you know!

There are plenty of questions in everyone’s head as to what is it that happened in these past years. Today, as the title reads, I’m going to be addressing just that.

So let’s begin from the start shall we?

I had to move to my hometown as we, well, had to move out. My hometown is this area which neither is a village nor town. I like to call it a town-village. I have no idea how else to describe it. Is this really a term though? Or have I coined a new term? Am I the inventor of a new word? Oh my God…..

I spent seven months there with my grandparents, my aunt and uncle and my younger cousin sister. Also this dog. Can not forget the dog. Ugh.
In the start I had few bits of le internet thanks to my younger brother’s constant whining and crying but I refused to use it largely because I had to save it up for him. Things an elder sibling has to do. Sacrifices and all for the younger one. Pfft.
I only used it to keep in touch with my friends (read : annoy the crap out of them) and things were going okay, until my laptop crashed. Big time.

No internet, no system – living those seven months was a complete torture to sum it up in a nutshell. So many people, no source of entertainment, so many people, constant bugging, so many people.
Yes, I said ‘so many people’ a lot of times. Why do you ask? Well,  imagine a socially awkward girl among a whole bunch of people. Perhaps now you can understand how annoyed I might have been.
And I’m Indian. Add that to the mix. Now imagine the situation. Can’t? I never could either. Until I lived that nightmare. The horror *shudders*

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Seven months later, we moved to a different place. Another crappy place. We didn’t have proper water facility for goodness sake! No internet again but finally as we were staying by ourselves, we got a cable connection for our TV. So I spent time watching a lot of series’ again. Boy oh boy was I so happy!
I’d go around saying, “My name is Barry Allen and I’m the fastest man alive! GO FLASH YESYES!!” My mom would just stare at me in utter disappointment. She’d say, “You’ve started again. Why are my kids not normal?”
Quick forward to the present day – my mom loves The Flash. When I used to watch it on TV she’d go all, “Woah!”, “My God!”, “This is awesome!”, “He’s so fast!” etc. She loves Empire the most though. She was shook by the season 2 finale and started screaming, “WHY DID THEY NOT SHOW WHAT HAPPENED AHEAD? WHO FELL?!” When I went home and binge watched my shows, she asked me to tell her what happened and I showed her the clip. She then proceeded to ask my father why is it that he unsubscribed to english channels. If he hadn’t, then she could see little glimpses as I’d watch. I miss mom..

Back on the topic at the hand, I stayed there for around 9-10 months I believe. It was until my school wasn’t decided. And when my new school was decided and also our flat picked out, we moved out to stay at the place where I currently am residing.

How has my life changed? Well, I ended up having two gap years after my tenth grade. I completed my twelfth year in a span of three months and somehow managed to pass with decent scores! I made new friends who are absolutely amazing and have restored my faith in humanity a little bit
I know, I know. Me? Making friends? When did this miracle happen? Yeah, I’m surprised too. Life is full of surprises now isn’t it?

Currently I’m pursuing my first year in the field of Engineering in a college away from home. Hostel life. BLAAAH.
Finally a step towards achieving my dream has been taken and I couldn’t be happier! Yay!

Situations were horrible and we faced a lot of hardships. Life turned out to be nothing like we had imagined and majority of the time we all were just really upset as to how events were turning out to be. My brother wasn’t the least bit upset though. He just was happy he got to see Power Rangers………………

In short, life wasn’t the slightest bit easy. When we thought things are starting to get better, this storm would knock on our main door and say, “Did you order for a problem?”

Things are finally shaping out better now. I’m proud of all of us for managing to keep ourselves together and come out stronger from the experiences. I know that all of this has made me so much stronger, a level of strong my twelve-year-old self never imagined she would reach.

Things are okay. Life isn’t great but it’s okay. And I’m fine with okay.

The Crap I receive for Engineering

When you are 17 years old and advancing towards the last year of schooling, you’re generally interrogated by the people around you about what it is you plan to do after you finish school. What direction you are heading to is the first question anyone who meets you asks you.
It isn’t any different for me but I somehow feel that my choices are stirring up people other than my family and I.

If I had chosen a path that isn’t generally a preference then I seriously wouldn’t be bothered. But what amazes me is that I get all kinds of shit for choosing to embark on a journey that many, many people choose as well. I have assumptions, arguments and disbelief snowballed towards me almost everyday which to be honest, the 14 year old me din’t expect was coming her way.

With me being Indian, it won’t come to a shock to many people when I say that I have opted to do Computer Engineering after school. That’s because a lot of kids here do that. Why do they do that? Because even though there are thousands of options to choose from, majority of their parents have pressurized their kids to go for this. It’s a field where a lot of jobs are open. That does make a lot of sense considering that we live in a technology – driven world doesn’t it?

Because of the widespread attention engineering has been getting over the past years, many people have started to resent it. The number of trolls and memes made on engineering will take a century to count. Engineering is like this option you choose when you don’t know what you want to do with your life. A lot of people blame parents for this because they are the ones who pushed their kids into this path. They don’t let their kids do what they want with their life and hence we have people with no passion at all in the field. No one wants to learn something new or do something because they enjoy it. They’re just here because their parents forced them, and now they just want to get this over with.

If you have parents like mine, who want you to do something that you love, kids enter fields that are not engineering. They go for what they love and mostly, it isn’t engineering. But then there is me.

You see, my decision of pursuing Computer Engineering is totally mine. Nobody influenced my decision. I’m entering the field because that is where my passion lies. But most of the people I associate with don’t necessarily believe me. Shocked expressions follow with a little bit of assumptions.

“So what are you doing after school? Please don’t say engineering!”

“Uh, I am doing that. What seems to be the problem?”

“Oh my. I feel for you. My parents are also forcing me to do the same. I don’t really know why do they not think about us!”

“No you’ve got me wrong! My parents din’t force me…..”

“So your grandparents did? Or some stubborn uncle?”

“Nobody from my family has forced me to do engineering. I’m doing it by my own will!”

“Seriously? But ….why?”

“Because I want to? I love computers. “

“Are you sure you’re not covering up for your parents actually forcing you? It seems to me that you are.”

“What?! Why would I do that?”

“It’s okay. believe me. We’re here for you. I know your parents mean the world to you and all that, but we all are the same. You don’t have to cover up for them to make them look good. We understand you.”

“I don’t understand what is going on. I think you are misunderstanding me. My parents haven’t forced me to do engineering. They want me to do what ever I want to. I chose this. I want to do this.”

“So wait, your parents are allowing you to do anything you want to?”

“Yes!”

“Are you mad? You have such awesome parents and you’re doing this? Seriously? What is wrong with you? If I were you then I’d do something really different. Something I love. Why in the right mind are you sticking to this? You have a chance to break free. Why are you not doing that?”

If I meet someone and don’t have this conversation with them, then I’ll consider them anything but human. That’s how much I’m used to all of this. I’ve been getting this crap since the day I decided to do this.

I don’t really understand. Is it wrong to want to enter this field? Am I committing some sort of felony by loving this career path? Has the scope for this field really gone that low? Do we really not have people like me out there, who wholeheartedly want to do this?

If this wasn’t enough, you have so many articles that look down at people doing engineering so poorly. They’re treated like dirt. Why? Just because they’re doing something everyone is doing?
So many people say that people who are doing engineering are fools. They won’t go anywhere in life and success will never be theirs because there are thousands of people doing the same as them. You’ll only be stuck with that 8 – 5 job and you’ll never reach the heights. Everyone is only doing this because they want that good salary. It’s all about the money. And if you decide to study ahead? Definitely because you want even more money. You say you love what you’re doing? “You aren’t fooling anybody honey” is the answer one person gave.

I was receiving so much of trash, that at one point last year I just din’t want to go ahead with this. I wanted to just let it go and do something different. Maybe then this would stop, I thought. But the thought itself made me so upset that I knew that no matter what people or some bullshit article tells me, I can’t stop. My heart lies there and there is no way I’m turning back.

I am doing engineering. Computer Engineering to be specific, which I’m very well aware that many people do. But I like to think I’m different from them all because I want to do this. And maybe I will study ahead but not because I have money in my mind. I’ll do it because I want to do it. Everyone may think that I don’t have a life but I do and this is how I choose to live. I may fail but that is my failure and no one has a say on that. Not you or your article.

I don’t look down at people who have been forced to do this. I feel really bad for them and I do hope that they get to do what they want sooner or later. Maybe the jokes made are something they find funny. But I do know that even though people like me aren’t a lot, we don’t find this funny. It hurts us. It hurts me.
I can’t say that what everyone says doesn’t affect me because I’m that kind of person who wants to keep everyone happy and I sometimes tend to care a bit too much about how people perceive me. So all of this does bother me. But this has reached such a peak that I can’t even be bothered to give a damn anymore.

I have a question though. Why do some people write such bitter articles? Let me know if you know the reason.

The Pack Of Humans I Need To Call Family

I think one of the main identities we Indians have all around the world is that we have a huge family. I’d like to blame Bollywood movies and television serials for this. But movies din’t just bring it up you know? There is a certain level of honesty in this fact.

I remember having this one conversation with my school-mates while I was in UAE about how big our families are. While most of my friends were going on and on about their uncountable number of family members, I was just sitting there in astonishment. I then exclaimed, “Gosh you all have such huge families! My family at the most just includes my maternal and paternal side. And they don’t have huge families. I can literally count them!” My friends first laughed thinking that what I said was a joke, but later realized that what I said is true. One girl said that maybe I din’t know my family at all and was kept under the dark about more than half of my family. I laughed really hard at her.

I shouldn’t have laughed.

Living in a foreign country where hardly anyone from my family lives, my parents and a few relatives convinced me that we had a small family. They’d talk only about a few people and when I asked them about any more people they always said, “What more? This is it!”

I always thought that we just had an immediate family. All those distant to distant to distant relatives is something I din’t have and I was so, so happy about it.
Until I came to India to stay and lead a life here.

The first time I got to know that I DO have an extended family is when we came to stay with this uncle of mine. My mom said he was her brother. Now, I know her real brothers and also her cousins. So on asking her what kind of brother he is, she said cousin.
Wait what? I thought she had just one cousin brother! From where did this one pop up? She then told me she has more cousins about whom she never told me about as they weren’t  in touch due to the busy lives we all lead in different countries. So when she finished telling me about them all I thought that this was it.

By now you must have realized that when I think this is it, it isn’t. More was ahead for me.

On one Sunday my mom received a call on her mobile. The person said that he and his brother were coming to visit us at our house. Till I was able to ask her who they were, they magically appeared on our doorstep just minutes after the call! (Family members I tell you. They’ll just come out of nowhere. Ugh)

One of the two brothers came to me and said, “Keerthi! Do you know who we are? I remember the last time I saw you, you used to wear those Gandhiji type glasses and you were so tiny! Look how big you’ve gotten. Still short though. Hahaha!” You yourself told that the last time you saw me I was 6 years old. Now how will I remember you?
I went to the kitchen and told my mom that I have no idea who they are (I could’ve told them directly. But meh, anxiety and all that) and she told me their names. I remember receiving chain e-mails from them a long time ago. Other than that, I don’t really know who they are! They were having a gala time with my mom and dad and I was just like, “Hehe. Very funny.” Or like, “Yes I do remember. Haha!”

While in reality, this was me

Note : The first two people are those two brothers. The character with a moustache is my dad and the lady is my mom.

Note : The first two people are those two brothers. The character with a moustache is my dad and the lady among that group is my mom.

Now every time someone came to visit us, I started counting how many family members I do have till now. But one fine day I couldn’t count because it was waaaay too much! How can there be so many humans in one family?!

I recently went to my home state to visit my grandparents and then comes another shocker. I realized that all the people who lived in our town-village (I say town-village as my place is neither a village nor a town. It’s something in between and I don’t really know what the in-between is called) are all my relatives! My mind was blown away to some distant land.

How are they related? Well, they are some father’s brother’s son-in-law’s nephew’s dog’s best friend’s owner’s grandchild. Yes you read that right. But this is just about one person you know? There are plenty of others who are related to us like that. Normally we won’t consider such people as family, just friends. But no, not in my case. They ARE family and they will be invited for our cat’s wedding. Also when we build a house. Also when we celebrate someone’s pregnancy. Basically every household event, people like these are invited because they are family.

I don’t know how does everyone remember who is who and how they are related. And their names too! What is the secret to this great memory power of theirs? *Calls grandma to know how to get excellent memory*

Getting to know so many family members also means that you basically have every type of human that exists on this planet in your family. And they aren’t always of the good kind which saddens me a lot. My family members include a few gangsters, gossip kings and queens, pranksters, wannabee hipsters, wannabees and sadists. I feel that only I am the human among these bunch of aliens, and I don’t consider myself a human at times so that’s a shocking fact!

If an outsider would see one’s wedding photo album, they’d be astounded to see that there are more photos of family members rather than photos of the couple. And also the fact that if you take that album to my grandpa then he’ll tell you how exactly is every single person there related to us. I don’t think I want to marry because then I’ll have to get married in front of a bunch of people whom I don’t even know! Woah!

Well as much as I can go on ranting about this, I need to accept that these bunch of random strangers are my family. No matter if I don’t know them, I have to say hello to them and welcome the dialogue, “The last time I saw you, you were wearing those Gandhiji type glasses and you were so tiny!” with a smile no matter how pissed that line makes me. I will have to listen to my mom and dad talk about my grandpa’s brother’s neighbor’s son’s neighbor’s daughter’s brother -in-law’s – son’s  fiance’s ex-boyfriend’s sister’s story!

I just have to bear with this drama. I have no other option…

Dear 30 year old me

As the title of the posts suggests, today I’ll be writing a letter to the thirty-year old me. I chose to write a letter to my future self because I think about the future a lot. Like, a lot. I don’t know why though. So I thought maybe writing a letter to myself would be a good idea. It could also be a silly idea too. Argh, you decide.

And now brace yourselves. Here comes the letter.

~~x~~

Dear future me,

How are you? Are you good? Wait, why am I asking you questions when I know I can’t know the answers? Silly me. Now answer these questions, and the questions that will follow in your mind. Or just send me another letter in reply to this via time travel. Time travel must have been invented by now right?

You might remember yourself typing this letter as you have a great memory. Wait, your memory is still great right? Don’t tell me your memory power has reduced. Back to the point, you might not remember what was happening while you wrote this letter so let me remind you. I’m mocking the advertisements that are on the television right now. Also, I’m still depressed about the fact that Justin Timberlake is going to have a concert in Abu Dhabi even though its been nearly two weeks to the news. Currently there is no news about him ever coming here for a concert. I don’t even expect him to come here. When I was in U.A.E. , he never came. 😦 Please tell me by now you have gone to his concert. Or any concert of your favourite artists. Have you at least gone to one concert? I hope the answer is yes. If you haven’t yet then um, GO TO A FREAKIN’ CONCERT ALREADY! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Okay don’t be upset, this was just the inner fangirl screaming. Just, try and go to a concert okay?

I hope this random picture I copied from Google Images motivates you to go to a concert.
If you have been to a concert, then I hope you’ve had the time of your life like these strangers seem to be having so.

Now you may not remember why I decided to post this letter on my blog rather than write an actual letter with my pen. The thing is, if I am to actually write a letter then where will keep it? And moreover, how can I assure myself that I won’t misplace it in the next 13 years so that when you do turn 30 you are able to read it? So that’s why I decided to post it online, because the internet is forever and I know that you will come to this blog even if you aren’t blogging because you’d like to remember what kind of a teenager you were. The kind of teenager who is actually very pessimistic but from the past two days is feeling very optimistic for some unknown reason. It’s a refreshing change I must admit, but I don’t know if this will last long. You tell me, am I an optimistic 30 year old?

So, how is life 13 years from now? Is it all that you’ve expected it to be or nothing at all? Maybe somewhere in the middle? I hope while you’re reading this, you’ve achieved want all I want to in the future. What I want right now is to study a lot. I want a really good job and give back to my family. Make them proud and make sure that they don’t need to do anything anymore for me. It’s time for me to repay them back for all their efforts. You might remember all the trouble and problems your family had to face while you were me. So I’m hoping that in the future, I’m able to make everything all right.
But remember this. Don’t beat yourself up if you weren’t able to get into a big college, or if you aren’t working in a huge company. If you may recollect, I don’t have a dream college or a dream job. Which ever college I get into, or whatever company I work for doesn’t matter. I’m going to work hard wherever I am. Have you done that? If you have then you have nothing to worry about. Are the people around you happy? Are you able to give back to mom and dad? If the answer is yes, then you are living the future that I want.

By the way, please don’t tell me you’re married. If by some freak of nature you are married then I hope it is after what all you wanted to achieve career and life wise. Now I’m going to ask you a few questions. (If you aren’t married then feel free to ignore these.)
Did you seriously find a guy worthy enough to marry? Did you actually find a man who ticks all the check boxes on my list? Did this person really agree to tolerate you for an entire lifetime? Is this the man that I see in my dreams? Did my series of dreams come true? If the answer is yes to all of these questions then I’d like you to pinch yourself around a hundred times because this is too good to be true. I’m shocked at this thought itself!!!

The main aim of this letter I guess was to make you realize what actually makes you happy. As much as boxes of chocolates make your day, actual happiness is what I mentioned above. Why am I telling you what really makes you happy? Because I know you’ll whine about every small little thing that you don’t have. (If you have stopped whining, then I applaud you for this change!) As I said, I’m feeling very optimistic and I am giving all sorts of advises to everyone. So this letter is sort of me taking advantage of my streak of optimism and advising  YOU. Because you may need it.

I’m going away now as I should stop now. I hope this letter helped you in some sort of way.

Bye bye,
The 17 year old Keerthi

P.S. Is my brother still good for nothing? If yes then I suggest you to break his PlayStation 20 or any other gaming console he owns. This should teach him lesson. Do make sure you have your own gaming console before you break it. Because you’ll have to suffer as well. Now why would you do that to yourself?

~~x~~

I know that this letter was really, very long and I’m extremely sorry for this. I apologize from the bottom of my heart. *hangs head down in shame*

Now that you have reached the end, I would like to ask you something. Have you ever written a letter to either your elder or younger self? Have you ever thought of it at least?

On being called ‘Funny’

We are just 3 days into the new year, and I witnessed a miracle! On the very first day, I was called ‘funny and hilarious’ and on the second day I made a friend of mine cry of laughter! This is nothing short of a miracle for me, and a great start to the New Year.

I know what you’re thinking. “What’s the big deal in being funny?” , “Why is she hyped about such a trivial thing?” or maybe something else but the fact is  that this is a huge thing for me.
Why you ask? Well people, story time starts now.

A long, long time ago (I mean nearly 6-7 years back, not a hundred years ago) I was pushed by my parents to make friends with people who crack jokes a lot and laugh at the smallest of things. This decision wasn’t an easy one to take, but they knew the time has arrived for me to know what laughter is. It was a risk they were taking, letting a serious person like me enter a different world where people engage in laughter rather than talking about sensible stuff. There was the danger of me getting diverted into the wrong direction. But still they took the brave decision and said, “You have to do this Keerthi. You have to.” My mom hugged me tight before letting me go to that wild school bus and told me to be brave and not fear the obstacles that would be placed in my path to this unknown world of laughter and jokes. I was scared, very scared. But I mustered up the little bit of courage I had in me and went to the last seat of the bus and told the species sitting there, “I want to know what laughter is is. Can you please make me laugh?”
Everyone was shocked. No one had ever heard me laughing. And this sudden request was very astounding to them as they felt they have a duty to do. And then a few phrases were spoken on which the entire bus started laughing. I could hear the echoes of laughter in that bus, and then felt that there are a few eyes looking right at me. I din’t know why.
I stared at them back and one girl said, “Why didn’t you laugh?” I said, “Why will I laugh?” That girl then replied, “That was a joke. It was hilarious and you din’t laugh?” I replied very firmly,”Wait a second. That was funny? What are you even saying? That was not at all funny! How could you all laugh at it?”

My exact reaction at that time

The entire bus was silent. No one could believe what I said. The entire morning and the afternoon in the bus was spent by the school’s most funniest girl trying to make me laugh but I din’t even smile.
Another girl then said, “Maybe you are one of those rare people who has a very high sense of humor. I bet you if you tell a joke the entire bus will laugh.” I gave this task a try but failed miserably. From then on, I’ve laughed at only a few jokes which people say were the best of the lot but I’ve never been able to make anyone laugh. Every game where making others laugh was the aim, was a miserable failure and a loss for me. I was called a different specie of the human kind and I believed them.

I laugh at jokes and other funny things more now, maybe because everyone is finally getting their humor levels up to my bar, but I was never successful at making one person laugh. And then came this blog. I was just being myself and a few friends came up and told me, “There are some really hilarious stuff in your blog posts” , or “That post was really funny” or the most common one – “This post cracked me up. It made me laugh!” My reply to all of them was, “WHAAAAT?!”

I din’t believe all this and was convinced that it was some sort of flattery because there is no possibility that the one who is known to dissect jokes to a point where there is no sense in it all, has now made people laugh. It’s not possible! But then came the night of 1st January 2014.

I was chatting with a friend of mine and just told something and she said, ‘OH MY GOD. THIS IS THE MOST HILARIOUS THING I’VE EVER COME ACROSS! From where did you come up with that?” I said, “It was just my brain. And I din’t intend for it to be funny!” And she said, “This was so funny, I was laughing for five minutes straight!” And I was dumbstruck. Did I really make someone laugh?
And the very same thing happened yesterday where I made another friend of mine laugh till her stomach hurt. Did I really do that?

If this the magic of 2014 or a result of myself watching videos by various Youtubers on YouTube, I really don’t know. But all I do know is that this is a moment of victory for me and I am going to celebrate this moment. Because who knows whether I will ever be able to do this again?

When questions about marriage are asked to a teenager…

Belonging to an Indian family, marriage is a huge thing for us. Especially for us girls. I really don’t understand why it is so, but I have no other option than to live with it. So all this really doesn’t bother me. Do what you want, talk what you want. As long as it doesn’t involve me, I’m cool. This attitude of mine seemed to help me escape wedding talks of my cousins, but it din’t when it came to um. me? I know what you’re thinking. A teenager and marriage? How’s that possible? Well obviously I’m not getting married! I’m not even legal. But that doesn’t let me escape!

Now that I’m in India and in the close vicinity of relatives, they talk about weddings. And when they see me, they start having speculations of how MY wedding is gonna be, and whom will I marry! Well obviously they don’t just jump on the topic, where’s the sense in that? It normally starts when they talk about my future. The talk starts very subtly with the first question being, “What profession do you aim to go for?” And after 5 – 10 minutes of talking I won’t even realize how they ended up talking about my wedding day!!

Now these ‘serious’ talks only last till those relatives are at home. But that is not the only ‘marriage talk’ that exists you see? You constantly get teased about it by your parents, especially your mom. To help you understand better, I will now provide some examples.

“You don’t even know how to cook till now! I’m telling you, no one will want to marry you when you grow up. No one!” – How is cooking and marriage related is something I find very difficult to comprehend. And cooking isn’t rocket science! We are just teenagers right now. Its not like we are gonna marry tomorrow!!

“You can’t even clean your own room? What will you do when you get married and will have to clean the entire house? Do you really want to leave a bad first impression on your in-laws?” – Um, haven’t you heard of house servants? I think they will be of great help. And I really don’t think the first thing my in-laws are gonna tell me to do is to clean the house. I don’t think cleaning my room should be associated with my marriage. Again, I’m not getting married tomorrow!

“If you want to marry a good guy in the future, then you have to study very well for that and get excellent grades. If you want to marry a beggar, then you can continue to get these average marks.” – Our class tests also come in this. According to our mothers, we are gonna take our class test paper and show it to the world after 10 years. This an incredibly good logic. I’m surely gonna do this. I might even frame my kindergarten test papers and hang them on my wall…

If one person is incredibly close to their mother like I am, then only will the following example occur.
“Just imagine. 10-12 years from now, we won’t be talking like this. Why? Because you’ll be married to someone and off to his place! I can’t begin think how fast these 10 years will pass by. I wonder how the guy you or us choose will be.” *laughs* – This is the joking part I was talking about. This is what comes up sometimes when we sit to talk. This is why I sometimes feel like running away from the room while talking to my mom. This is when I smoothly change the topic. This is when I drift away to my room and face-palm myself.

So I think the examples have given you enough explanation of how us teenage girls are always taunted about marriage. Thank the Lords that my mom isn’t so strict and not so serious about marriage and because of that I haven’t heard the first 3 examples in my house. Only the last one! 😀 But I pity my fellow friends who go through this on a regular basis.

So to all the great family relatives, the mothers and also the siblings who do this, kindly stop. We aren’t getting married tomorrow. When we are getting married, you can talk your heart out then. Stop assuming what we are going to do after 10 – 12 years. If we don’t get married even after 10 years (that’s my plan) then what will you do? Would you really like to be a matter of joke to us?