Friday, April 19, 2013

Love Maths aur Dhokha

Love Maths aur Dhokha:
It’s only later in college that we realize what true love means; or so we like to believe. Relationships, romantic interests and crushes from our time in school seem petty and immature. It’s a different thing though that as soon as college gets over, a couple of girls get married and the definition of “love” changes yet again for their college boyfriends. But no matter how many times we break up and form new relationships, we always remember the old ones. All our serious crushes from school, the girlfriends, the almost girlfriends, the person with whom we shared our first kiss… All of them stay neatly listed in a note somewhere in our neo-cortexes.

But don’t you think it’s unfair that none of us have listed any of our subjects from middle school in our list of almost romantic involvements? Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not suggesting that I “loved” those subjects. I’m just saying that they had a lot to offer me in terms of relationship experience.


English teachers were always the classiest in school, and you could tell that they would not be cooking aaloo-gobhi for their kids back home. I could only picture them making pasta in white sauce, or cutting off the ugly edges from pristine white slices of bread. Such was the subject’s charm.

I loved spending time with my friend English. I could just keep staring at her beautiful weightless body lying open on my bed on a Sunday afternoon. She would always let my parents believe that I was studying. It’s hard to find friends who you can trust enough to watch your back like that. I also loved how easy going and free she was. She would never make me feel guilty about staring at my phone’s screen while I was with her. If someone asked me about my favorite subject, the answer was always “English”.

Going by the amount of time I had to give her to prepare for an English exam, I knew that we had a natural connection. Spending time with her was so effortless, so magical, that I knew we would last if we got together.

I thought we were meant for each other, but when I dared to look at my exam results, I knew that destiny had other plans. I should’ve understood that I was giving myself false hope right on the day when I asked my English teacher, “Can I go to the toilet?” and she replied with, “Yes, you ‘can’, but you ‘may’ not.”

Later in life, I realized that even “Can I go to the toilet?” is acceptable in modern English, but I can’t go back and change my past. I still wish if I could make her my lady, but I have to accept the fact that no matter how much of a connection we shared, she was always out of my league.

I wish I could ask her why she didn’t feel for me the way I felt for her, but it’ll be too much for my heart to hear the words, “but I always thought we were very good friends.” She taught me what it felt like to be friend-zoned. I’m just happy that no one has been able to “score” with her till date.


For a guy and a girl to get along really well as a couple, they have to be best friends first. Science was very different from English. What set her apart from the latter was her adventurous and edgy attitude towards life.

She was undoubtedly one of the most fun girls I knew. I remember when she told me all about making babies. The whole class was in splits, and the teacher just stood there, embarrassed. Some people found it weird that she kept insects preserved in jars at the biology lab, but that was just her thing.

I still remember how she once showed us magic by turning a yellow strip of paper blue. The science teacher tried to convince us that it was litmus paper and saliva is alkaline in nature yada yada, but I think she was just jealous of all the attention that Science got from the boys in our class.

She also helped me burn one of my friend’s arms once when I held a magnifying glass while sitting on the window seat in class. Oh, man. She was amazing!

We just grew apart when I suggested taking our bond to another level and all she cared about was if the bonds under her microscope were covalent or ionic. It really hurt at first. I remember crying the night before my science exam in the tenth grade, filling my notebook with all I could remember about her and still not being able to make her feel satisfied that I knew her well enough.

I miss her at times, yes I do. But I will never get back with her because I know that at the end of it all, my tears were merely a solution of H2O and NaCl to her.

Social Studies

She was one of those average girls in class. She wasn’t really attractive or anything, but wasn’t very ugly either. I mean, I couldn’t picture myself spending my life with her, but I was sure she’d find someone of her type someday.

SST and I shared a very formal relationship. We weren’t dating or anything. Her idea of a “date” was very different from mine. Also, she was always interested more in a person’s history than focusing on how she could build a future with him. We were on different planes altogether.

She came dressed in Indian wear at times and called it her “history” look. The days that she wore western formals, we called her “Civics”. She would wear jeans and t-shirts on other days, earning the name “Geography”. I think the last name was given to her because some of the boys said that her body map could be easily marked around her tight fitting jeans. But I, honestly, never looked at her like that.

We were aware of our differences and yet respected each other for our individuality.


We’ve all known that one girl who has loved us and wanted to be with us from the bottom of her heart. Yeah, she’s wanted all that, but we’ve wanted none of that. Hindi was such a woman for me in school.

First of all, I want to clarify that I know it’s very mean of one to call another person ugly. It’s not something one can control. And I’m not saying that I’m very good looking either. But, theek hai yaar, mother tongue and all, but I’m not interested in her. I can’t force it now, can I?

Hindi was always one such chape woman with two oily braids on either side of her head. It wasn’t surprising to me that I could easily picture my Hindi teacher cook aaloo gobhi, tinde and lauki for her kids back home. I was sure that her idea of making pasta was putting a pyaaz tamatar ka tadka to boiled macaroni. So, I hope you get what I mean.

I remember the day she went all saas-bahu on me saying things like “Poora din toh Hindi mein baat karte ho. Mere saath rehne mein sharam aati hai?” I had to consciously try to get into the habit of talking in English just to show that I was genuinely not interested. Matlab, do baatein kya kar li, haath dho ke peechhe padh gaye bande ke!

I finally blamed the school syllabus when she asked me why I wasn’t spending time with her in the eleventh grade. You may think it was really mean of me to not tell her the truth, but I’m sorry to say, I have no reason to feel guilty.


Now, this woman gave me a very hard time! Extremely calculative, I hated how complicated she was. Also, it just made me sick how she kept asking me to “prove” my love for her.

She would never believe anything that I would tell her, no matter how anyone with two eyes and simple common sense could decipher all that I had to say. For example, asking for silly things like proof for why a specific triangle is equilateral. I mean, when it’s obvious just by looking at it, why ask me to prove it using some weird logic and then proving my point wrong. It was so manipulative of her to do that.

I hated how she just assumed things, and every discussion always started and ended with her “x”.

Also, she had this annoying habit of taking offence whenever I called her “Maths”. She wanted to be called “Math”. It’s really difficult to be with a person who has so many issues with one’s own identity. I wish her parents would’ve named her Diksha. Then I’d have called her “Dick” all day.

It was my only relationship where I had to take professional help and seriously considered taking counseling to make it work. I won’t deny that the coaching really helped and despite all the failures, the final results were good. That is when we decided to part ways on a good note.

Like they say, sometimes it’s best for both people to take their own course in life.

As you can see, I’ve been through a lot in my life. So before you talk about how experienced you are in love, remember that “jis pyaar ke school mein padh rahe ho na tum, ussi school ke subjects ke aashiq reh chuke hain hum!

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Dear Sister Moong ki Dal

My Dear Sister Moong Ki Dal:
My Dearest Sister Moong ki Dal,

As I sit here in Vancouver and hear the news from my desh every night, I worry about you. I worry a lot. I wonder how you’re doing back home in Delhi. I wonder if all the other places you visit in the country make you feel loved. I also worry about your marriage, you simple little darling. I know you don’t let the sorrow of rejection show on your beautiful face. You’re so simple, so nice, and I don’t understand why no one would want you.

Your sisters have now begun to worry, too. Don’t you ever think that they’ve forgotten you! Yes, they are doing really well for themselves, and at times it seems like they don’t belong with you; but you must never forget that we’re family. We love you no matter what. However, there are some amends that you’ll have to make. One has to change with the times and it’s about time that we stop blaming luck for your fate. You’ll have to get up on your feet and show the world how tough you really are. It’s the weak who get walked upon all the time, and I can no longer see you in such a state.

It’s not a stroke of luck that your sister, black dal, is doing so well. She realized that the only way a woman can make a name for herself in the society is by being a tough lentil to crack. Despite her dark complexion, she overcame all odds and is now ruling the vegetarian Indian cuisine. Not a single day goes by when her name is not printed in each and every menu of the country. Learn confidence from her, as you can see how she’s turned her usually ill perceived color into her beauty. She has to face a lot of pressure in her workplace, the cooker, every day. Learn from her the courage to push yourself to the extreme and then see yourself being raised to the pedestal of highest appreciation.

Your sister, black dal, has a lot to teach you. You may not be born with all the talent in the world; and it may not be in your nature to be something that the world expects you to be. Learn from her that your victory is in appreciation of the individual qualities of the people around you. She would never be the same without a dollop of butter and a spoonful of tomato puree. But she knows how to work in a team and bring out the best in herself. It’s a big lesson to remember.

Learn from your sister the importance of adaptability. Appreciate the beauty with which she adapts to the Dravidian palette by inconspicuously changing herself into not just the dosa, but also the uttapam and the vada. Remember that change is an important part of life, and the only way you can stop it is by being relatively more dynamic than change itself.

It’s a hard world that you’re living in, and people are going to walk upon you if you let them. Learn from your sister that it’s completely normal, and necessary to show the world how tough you really are. Your words can speak volumes about your personality. Be tough in the way you carry yourself; learn some basic self defense. They don’t call your sister “maa kidal for nothing. Try picking up a packet of Lijjat papad and look at the ingredients for a moment. You’ll know kitne logon ko tumhari behen ne papad bilwaayein hain!

Your other sister, channe ki dal, is walking in her elder sister’s footsteps too. She’s conquering the western states of Rajasthan and Gujrat with her beautiful ability to accept change. Khakra, Fafra, Dhokla, Pakore… Open an evening menu and you’ll find her adorning the pages with her ubiquitous presence. Also, you can’t deny how much of a boost the tadka has given her to make it to the prestigious main course faction.

Your sisters are travelling far and wide. I’m not embarrassed to admit that their charm has won them permanent visas to lands that I can never even imagine visiting. They’ve come a long way, and they’ve worked really hard for that.

You must also not forget that you’ve always been the mother’s favorite. You have a gentle nature, and so much more nutritional value. It pains me to see so much latent talent go unnoticed every time that a chef dares to put you on his list of offerings, and not even a single guest cares to appreciate the goodness that you have to offer.

I know you can do it! If you believe in yourself, I’m sure that day isn’t far away when every Indian family that goes out for dinner would name you before calling out for dal makhni and shahi paneer.

Lots of love and good wishes,

Your elder brother,

Pindi Channa

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