Amazing people who make me go on n on n on:)

13 December, 2015

Yeh Kya Tamasha Laga Rakha Hain!

You know it's absolutely the nicest feeling when people come up to you or message asking if you've seen a particular movie and whether you liked it enough to write about it on Facebook as an essay-ish status. That is what's been happening in the past ten days as friends on my Fb list have been expressing curiosity to me in person, about what I have to say  of 'Tamasha'. How shamelessly celebrity-ish of me to declare it, hain na? *gloats*

Unlike earlier days or the period B.S. (that's Before Seeya for those who have arrived late to the party), we do not watch just about any movie in the theatre  nowadays. And definitely not immediately. The 'once in few months' disease has taken over. The reviews obviously sway the decision of whether or not we should make the effort for it. Tamasha we went for because Seeya wanted to watch it, having loved the songs especially "Tum saath ho" (a proud moment for me as mommy having discovered she might finally have some "proper" taste in music *looks up at heaven in a silent gratitude prayer*)

Honestly I was quite curious to experience Tamasha myself. Not in the longest time do I remember people giving such extreme reviews about the same movie. They were either loving it to the core or completely disgusted by how boring it is. Whatever happened to good old "one time watch hain" type ke reviews bhaisaab? (Like anyone would watch any movie the second time anyway. Oh, you would? No issues. Please, by all means do).

And you know what's the funny part about having watched and been done with Tamasha? I still don't know if I really liked it. So, let's dissect it. Like I say, I always get more coherent in my thinking once I put it in words. Though sometimes more lost too. Sigh!

When it comes to love stories, I may write about unconditional and deep focussed love but somewhere I believe only in the pragmatic side to the matters of the heart. So while I put my money on love, the other approaches to it like one sided love or perishing in the memory of a love lost or loving irrevocably someone you've never spoken to or yearning in the thorns of irreplaceable love are all more fairytale-ish domains if you ask me (yes, despite my hopelessly romantic standards). The concept of ethereal love sounds beautiful but you doubt if it's possible or feasible. You may say otherwise, feel otherwise yet truth is ~ nobody is irreplaceable.

Due to this perhaps I had trouble digesting Rockstar although I had easily gulped it down and let it flow bewitchingly through my veins when the movie was released. But can you really let your whole life just pass by or go down the drain because one woman left you or one man did, whom you met and spent a week with? Aren't we a little too spoilt for choices in today's times? Or maybe it's just the case of 'only he can tell where the sole itches, who wears it'.

Tamasha went down well with many for the very reason that they could relate to the loneliness of being in a world that isn't theirs. Look around, all spaces teeming with the twenty somethings who look fitter, meaner, more confident and at the same time terribly broken. Look deeper and you find a haunting aloneness even in crowds, manifesting itself in aloofness in case of some and coldness in case of others. And often it takes just tender loving care of one person to lift the veil of hopelessness that grips these lives. Hundreds of people you maybe in talks with but not one whom you can talk to. Hence the plausible hypothesis that the absence of that one person can really crush the earlier dwindled self-faith of someone.

I wish the film had opened better though. That staged dramatic scene was a bad start. And then too much of childhood foundation, when you really have the sparkling brilliance of Ranbir to emote just about anything in the most stirring of ways. Is it just me or does Ranbir appear sad to you too, even in the happier of frames? Like also in the commercials for that matter. The kind of unhappiness that makes you want to hug and cuddle him (Even spooning if he agrees to it). He needs to do a very happy film asap. That loneliness is becoming his trademark. And boringly so.

And probably the viewers went to the theatres expecting Matargashti of 'Dilliwali Girlfriend' kinds (I forget the name of that movie, sorry). You know, when you hope to see Salman and they show you Irfan instead. Now Irfan is not really a bad bargain and I'd rather prefer him any day (as far as onscreen viewing choices are concerned) but then you get the drift. We become those overbearing adults half way through this movie, feeling the whole lack of acceptance of the hero, as being rather sissy. "Bah! Nonsense! You can't earn a living through drama and story telling. Saare duniya Phir yahi karte phire. Why grow up from childhood! Sabko adjust and compromise Karna padta Hain! And some more blah blah adult shit."

Actually yes. And movies like always, sell us dreams that show we don't HAVE TO adjust and compromise. What they don't tell you is that it happens with one in thousands. And not everyone can be that One. We feel a tug of restlessness somewhere because we didn't get that choice to break through those barricades and we hate it. We hate us. We hate anyone who is able to. We hate such movies that show life beyond convention for they confuse the fuck out of our beliefs that we don't want to accept.

I want to travel the world, live by the sea, write the days off, soak in cut-off-from-the-world-love and just be. But can I give up my responsibilities as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter-in-law of the house to just be? I have to be happy with the glimpses of what and how I get these. And so does everyone. "Please adjust" mentality. Tamasha revels in celebration of those who manage to break through without breaking down.

Whether you're a corporate slave, a thriving businessman, a doting mother, the bread earner, a house maker, a college goer, each one of us is suppressing some urges somehow. So we feel a tinge of ache somewhere as the Tamasha unfolds. We know how difficult it is to be ourselves in the surroundings that aren't us. Yet most of us are lucky to survive it without major meltdowns. Lucky to find love. Lucky to still be.

Tamasha manages to strike that cord but somehow some harmony is missing. Or perhaps I was too inclined to not have Seeya bored through it and ask us to take her home, to really find that substance which I felt was lacking in the over all impact that leaves something in our heart for a longish time.

The trouble is everyone in today's times realises he is different but can't do a thing about it except blend in. It needs way more strength and grit to break through conventional modes than normal human prowess provides individuals with. Let's be happy someone finds his happy place. Let's try to bring it in ours in whatever little suitable ways. For the Tamasha was there before us and would go on whether we're there or not. Like they say, the show must go on. And as for whether I liked the movie Tamasha or not...hmm, we didn't really get there, did we?

08 November, 2015

Diwali Ki Safai.

"Diwali ke safai" they say. Mandatory and expected each year. Cleaning away every nook and corner of our living space so that it sparkles to everyone's attention. But within? Nobody has the time or inclination to tear apart the skin and bones to see if we need some cleansing inside too. Holler ~ Oh hello, in there? Everything okay?

Maybe we need to blow away some dust of anger that's subtly settling in. Mop gently some disappointments which are eating us away from the insides. Wash and rinse away some mistakes we made or just scrub off some particles of jealousy, greed or plain monotony that have begun to cling to our fabric.

A good annual clean up, I'd say. But then aren't we too busy in trying to conceal the flaws of our exteriors with ornamentation instead of putting them to light? Thode dhoop dila do, unhe bhi, unn garam kapdo ke jaise, toh shayad phir se pehen ne layak ho jaaye. Make up, fake concerns, happy lives, plastic smiles, beguiling words and voila! We're done with making the surfaces seem unrippled at least. Who would have the time or desire anyway, to observe with a keen eye, the storms brewing within? We're so busy in keeping intact our own crumbling lives!

Last New Year's Eve, we had bought some expectations. As the year moved on, we felt we bought them dear. By half year gone, we realised we were cheated. And come Diwali, the glaring darkness within stands in stark contrast to everything bright outside. And the realisation that the expectations would go whoosh again like opening up with your tired fingers, the end of a balloon you inflated, to let go.

Happens. No sweat. The trouble however would be, when in another couple of months from now, you do not bet your all to buy those expectations again. No, don't let them fool you. Those wise heads who say ~ expectations are the root cause of all misery. For if you don't harbour expectations, how do you know you have to go where. This time however, let the cleaning process not pile up. Let it be Diwali each day. Or each week maybe. Keep brushing off whatever you feel tends to settle and pile up.

That pending sorry, that burden of heavy ego, that intolerance for what's not in accordance with your will, that broken heart, those silent cries of getting what someone else has, that urge to keep up appearances for those "char log" or just plain glaring voids of something missing that you can't put your finger on. Let go. So that the coming year breezes past, leaving you with a sense of not having robbed you off and leaving an indelible impact nevertheless.

Just this morning we sat at the breakfast table, me and G at 9am. That's how his days have been. Working all Sundays mostly throughout the year. He's a very hard worker, this husband of mine, with work being his focus like Arjuna just looking at the fish's eye. He took a bite and asked if I missed him on Sundays. I served him some more and said I do. He wondered aloud if I meant it with a "really?" I assured him again with an "I do". Though through this past year, perhaps somewhere getting used to of him being at work seven days a week morning 10 to evening 10. He added ~ and whichever Sunday we might be together we often had a tiff. I suggested we were still better off than many couples we know, who'd rather tear each other apart when together. He nodded. Apologised for keeping me at home through Diwali while the world indulged in merrymaking. I smiled and said it's okay. I'm proud of him. And just like that a bit of another tiff was avoided. When I would have expressed my disappointments with him not being there. And he his dismay at doing it all for us and yet we weren't happy.

So it takes kinda less and gives kinda more. This little effort. This little let go. It's 10 pm on a Sunday, a few days before Diwali. We haven't really gone out to party in some two months now. Except a couple of invitations in between that my husband can't do anything about but attend. Regrets, no. A sigh, maybe yes. But much easier at heart now than in years erstwhile. Maturity perhaps. Realisations probably.

I am tucking Seeya in bed after having taken her around by myself, yet another day. I await his return and feel sad already thinking of his tired frame and the streak of self annoyance troubling his harrowed face, for not being there. But it's a good life. Not today but some day soon. And the belief still strong, his niceness wouldn't go unrewarded no matter how much every one around him squeezes it to their own benefit.

Oh hell! I think too much missing is happening and I'm beginning to make less sense. What to do, when writing is the only way, you get to be at peace within you. You guys have a happy Diwali and go hug your loved ones. They do way too much for you that you don't always see and rarely do they try to show. May our lives truly light up. 

31 October, 2015

Open Letter to Twinkle Ji.

Dear Mrs Kumar or Ms Khanna or Ms Bhatia (er never mind, I'm sure you have a take ready on how women should not change their surnames post marriage, keeping in mind their individuality and stuff. How regressive!)

So just, 

Dear Twinky,
I was 'amused' to read your take on Karvachauth, for the lack of any better word to summarise my feelings after having read your lines and also whatever lay in between them. It is amazing how independent and rational thinking we can prove ourselves to be, with the mere power of our pen. And how pretty darned chuffed dear Akshay must be, with the knowledge of you having a good action plan chalked out in case the poor man gets tapko-fied by a freak accident, performing one of his dare devil stunts! Little does the hunk know, he has a dare Devi at home, much better attuned to facing the terrible atrocities that fate may have in store for her as a wife. No, don't get me wrong. It's wise to preempt tragedy that may befall, to the minutest detail. You must increase that life insurance claim too baby, just to be more foolproof. Don't trust these silly fast stories. We need more concrete proof than what history or Google can oblige us with. 

Quoting madam's subtle lambasting of the silly tradition for lengthening the poor man's life "the unfortunate circumstance of your spouse’s demise merely frees you up to place ads in the matrimonial column, go on online dating sites and feverishly attend bar nights, the zeal for such taxing endeavours seems a bit extreme . . ." Aww. Mommy must be so proud! How very wonderfully far sighted are we, Twinky! Almost tempting the gods up there to give the good woman her much sighed for freedom. 

Go on, exercise your choices, woman. Eat during the fast and let god's wrath fall upon that puny soul of your husband. Better than having to eat your words later. Tell you what, keep a box of chocolates (better still, diet chocolates) in your closet the previous day. And before adorning the paraphernalia in the evening for the Karvachauth thaali puja, gulp down a handful just to prove the bloody historians and religious goons wrong. Go on baby, why suffer when you can feast, though privately of course. Shh, not a soul should know and we'll zip our mouths and keep within your secrets like you gulp down your saliva in self pity or the wallow of not being able to shampoo that one day. I mean just imagine all those pretty, traditional dressing up photos without gorgeous, flowing tresses! Tch!  

I could understand a woman from the ordinary class cribbing about having to go hungry and thirsty all day after (like me perhaps) having to get up early morning, wake up the whining child that hates her for doing so, pack his tiffin, send him to school, rush off to work herself, return and pick the child back from school, spend hours on getting chores done for him and go about putting the house in order till it's time to slog with his homework then drop the child to activity camps and go to gym and blah blah (Yes, yes I have a tough life. Don't go all "Tch!" Not to mention, also click selfies in between and upload fat arsed Facebook statuses like this one)

But then madam it's cute to hear your dukh bhari daastaan about getting up at 'bat and owl hours' of 5 am; for isn't that the "unearthly hour" around which most "infamous Bollywood parties" end? Aww. (Stop turning me into an aww machine, will ya?) 

And your concern for the poor pet tortoise showing how you care for the animals, took my heart away. Now will somebody give you the philanthropic or humanity award already please? Pretty please! (P.S. Mrs Tortoise is very jealous of your overtly flowing affections. She's decided to keep a fast too from next year)

But then again, perhaps I am not the best person to judge here, not having gone through the rigmarole of a day spent in extreme hunger and thirst. We as wives in our family through generations, do not exercise Karvachauth in its rigid traditional avtaar. We begin fasting from 5 in the evening after the thaali puja till 8.30pm, when the moon whimsically though generously appears. So we get to dress up, observe the customs for about four hours, not wake up in the wee hours of dawn, eat our guts out in lunch and dinner, get money and all that jazz in gifts and yet be branded as wonderful wives that husbands adore through their long lives. Piece of cake, isn't it? (So stop this open letter already, you bitch - you might be saying)

The idea here is, each one to his own self. Either do things with respect or be self respecting enough to not do what you don't believe in, only to condemn and strip it apart eventually. Nobody is stopping you from sipping your "scotch on rocks" baby but then having a sip of water from the hand of your husband with glowing smiles on your faces, possesses a fairy tale-ish charm of it's own. Let us live the Karan-Johar-on-screen-lives no, for a few hours? Wish we all also had the luxury and money to do it generally, throughout the day, every day. Sigh!

Besides in most educated households, I find mothers-in-law insisting on the bahus to have cold coffee and fruits at least in the evening. Belonging to a small town and yet to come across a saas that would say "Observe the Karvachauth warna hamare naak kat jaayege" 

We do something because we chose to do it. Not because we want to please someone. For honestly, there are countless things we still do, without caring if it pleases the same others or not. I fail to understand how criticising old customs makes us more liberated. I haven't been to a temple in months. I don't believe in deities residing only in a particular compound. I can close my eyes and connect. Yet I see no need why I should dissuade someone who does it everyday with utmost faith and hope. Why take away a bit of pleasure that he derives from his make belief? And having said that, I'd be the first to jump with immeasurable delight if you were to take me to Vaishnodevi anytime. Double standards you'd say? Naah, just bending around the ideas to imbibe what I chose to as mine, move along the paths that give me comfort, pleasure and the satisfaction of doing something worth while. 

I absolutely love the idea of Karvachauth. That one day when we don't eat for a few hours and use it to emotionally blackmail the dear husbands. That one day we show we want to do something special to please the special man in our life, akin to buying new lingerie for some or preparing a sumptuous meal for another or maybe buying the latest iphone for him for someone like you. Just one of the many inexpensive yet effective ways in which we would like to show we care. Not because we "have to" but because we want to. 

This one day I get my husband to come early and we get to spend a few precious minutes on the terrace by ourselves in the moonlight. The idea that he gets a chocolate each year only today, to lovingly put in my mouth while I bend down to touch his feet(only today again), with the dangling mangalsutra in my neck that sees daylight just on this one day through the year! If we go around looking for a point in everything, then we'd soon be a nation without festivals, culture or heritage. What's the point of celebrating Diwali or Holi? Why burn the poor Ravana? Why save historical monuments? What's the point of getting married at all? 

While looking for points, maybe we're crossing too many lines? Anyway, all I know is that there's some magic in that embrace under the moonlight after you've looked at his face through the "channi". It kind of eases some of  the creases that may be appearing in your monotonous day to day lives as a couple. There's a glow on a woman's face that she derives from the strength of having done something tough. There's pride on a man's face when he watches the wife all dressed up for him whether or not she keeps that blessed fast. For it's his day. Like Mother's Day, Children's Day, Valentine's Day maybe. Let the poor man enjoy it, for the rest of the days, he anyways doesn't have a say. 

Wishing a long life to all husbands and wives and strength to the Population Control Board. 

Yours lovingly, 

10 June, 2015

The Underrated Father's Love.

Last night I saw a movie and cried myself to sleep. "Everybody's fine" - A Robert de Niro flick. And I have been in love with this man since the longest of time. Like our very own Amitabh Bachchan, some people don't age no matter how many years mark on their faces. He's one such fellow you can't help but warm up to. Those dimples even on his sagging cheeks. Haye. But more on him in another post someday. 

Anyway, this movie was about a father who spent all his life coating PVC on electric wires that run around the city, losing his health in the process. Now after his wife's death a few months ago, he tries to reconnect with his four grown up kids in different cities. One by one each one cancels the plan to come and meet him over the weekend that his lonely life had been planning forever and so he decides to visit them himself. And all the children try to put up the facade of a "fine" life, hiding from him how each one struggles in his own way to survive. 

Movies like this you can't help but delve into a thought process. Father's love is so underrated that it could break a mother's heart. Here was this man who was asked what were his ambitions in his younger days and all he said was "to be a good father". He sits down to wonder why all his children were for hours on phone with their mother but didn't know what to say beyond a few words when he called on them now. The children defend themselves in their conscience with the argument that it was just that the mother was more around than him. And hence the conversations were easier. 

Such are fathers. 
There could be actually two broad classifications of fathers:
1. Someone who is there actively involved in your growing process, putting you to bed, taking you to your swimming class, talking to your teachers about your progress, calling everyday to find out what's happening in your life. He's the one children run to in troubles as he carries them over his shoulder, fretting about the dripping ice cream from the cheeks or the mismatched socks with the shoes. Basically a mommy-ier version of a dad. 

2. Then there are fathers who go about in their 'earning the bread' work to the best of their abilities, for they think that's the only way they can assure a good life for the children. They aren't there every night to kiss them goodnight or every morning to drop them to school. They won't be vocal about how they care for you but would keep badgering the mother to find out what's wrong because the child's face shows a few lines of worry. They won't probably remember what class you're in but they would glow by just an occasional hug that the mother is otherwise showered with all day from the kids. They aren't the vocal performers per se but the silent, conscientious spectators. They're very watchful though not involved. They don't have the time to pursue the gym or nurture a hobby or indulge each night in revelries for they obsess about being a hundred percent next morning, to give a hundred percent at work, to ensure a hundred percent harmony at home eventually. 

Such is my father. And such is my G. People who wouldn't be holding the finger of the child all through the way, but silently never let go off their eyes on them. A father who would rarely tell you all the places where you're right but would make sure to point your wrongs, for he wants you to have a smooth life. A father who won't be so hassled by the trouble falling on himself but could cry like a baby at the first hint of a problem over his child.

I've seen my father bawl like that for the slightest tear trickling down my eye in an emotional moment and later having forgotten about it. But he having lost his sleep for many a nights over it. He'd never come and ask me what is wrong. Because he feels perhaps less exposed in making mommy his mouthpiece. Happy in small joys, content in little risks, unbothered by the need to appear strong or unscathed by burning ambition. Just another regular guy next door. They never ask for much but they give you their all. The  children become the focal point and things silently but surely go about revolving round them. 

They would never manipulate their children. They would never seek comfort of their own over the slightest unease of their child. They would never say they're on your side but never ever not be there. You'd feel an invisible layer of comfort and safety you'd be blanketed in just by his presence.

If you feel it's tough seeing your mother age, you haven't seen your father soften with the passing years. It warms and kills your heart at the same time. My father is no super hero. He doesn't know all my questions. But he would have all the answers. He's not slaying my demons. But he's hushing them for me in his own conspicuous ways. Unlike mommy, he won't always tell me that I'm wrong just so there is harmony around, when I'm feeling tied down. He'd tell her to let me decide what I want. Something that he handed to me gradually for he realised I can now handle it well.

And today on his special day, I just want to say thank you and I'm so so proud of you papa. And I love you.

27 May, 2015

Marriage Is Not A Sorry Institution.

I always get into these discussions somehow with young people over the worthlessness vs worth of marriages. It's surprising how many youngsters are at the brink of giving up on the belief in it or are in the maze of an astounding fear of the institution. Especially arranged marriages. 

I have these weird theories about life on various issues and there are several at play regarding marriages too. I would say it is a bit rash to write it off the list in your twenties. Just because we give you the right to drink and vote and drive, it does not mean we stand by and watch you throw away your peace.  

I believe no person can live as an island. We aren't programmed that way. We're meant to interact, share, evolve in togetherness, sometimes with one and for some, along with several. If you think you're better off creating and enjoying what you're building now in your hay days, rest assured you'd be standing and watching it be ruined by your very hands eventually. Unless chanced by circumstances, the idea of shunning marriage by own sweet will would only leave you with regrets. Like they rightly say "Yeh shaadi ka ladoo hain...blah blah".

That need for having people goes up and down through a meandering curve in our lives. We grow up, time changes, perspectives overhaul but the inbuilt craving for a person on whom we can claim some amount of ownership, stays. If you think you can survive the later years without a companion as you did in your twenties and thirties (while the frivolities of life kept your body and mind occupied), you may have to think again. Breaking news: You get more vulnerable as you age. 

Marriage in itself isn't wrong or right. It's two people venturing into it, shaping it in a way that appeals to the eyes or is grotesque depending on how they've handled it. Youngsters in today's time have at their disposal seeming luxuries while making this decision. Unlike us who had to decide within a meeting of half an hour, whether or not we want to spend the rest of our lives together. These days the decision is made over several meetings and even prior phone conversations whereby you get a good inkling of what you're getting into unless you're totally daft or clueless about what you want. 

That brings us to the grand old idea of "What we want". Ask someone at a "marriageable stage" about what they want in a life partner and they would probably begin by 'I don't know' and then give you a long scroll down kind of list of what all they expect or should be there (Yes, make it impossible for anyone to match that granth so you eventually get to crib you never got what you wanted) I ask them tell me one most important thing and they stare back with jaws dropped as though I'm expecting the U.S. nuclear codes from them. It's impossible, they cry. I give in and let them pick two. But only two. 

Do that with yourself. Two qualities. Let them be the priority with a give and take on the rest of the package. You know it sounds filmy but when you really desire that one quality (most important for your happy existence) in your partner with all your heart, the universe and you yourself conspire to bring it to you. Unfortunately we're so inexperienced or immature at this stage that we fail to judge what we really want. So please, can we keep aside "he should make me laugh" or "she should be a family girl" etc out of the room. Think of QUALITIES people. 

When I was in the 'marriage market' a decade and a half ago, I remember silently praying for just one thing "my man should be very loving and love me unconditionally" and you know what, I got just that. Whereas some of my friends wanted "all riches and luxuries" or "drop dead gorgeous wife" and you know what, they ended up with just that too. It's only in hindsight that you realise you should have wished for a bigger picture had someone told you there's actually an invisible genie (you could read that as subconscious too) listening somewhere. 

Marriage is an institution which extracts crazy amount of respect from me. Sure live-in is nice, hopping from one girlfriend to another is exciting. But that security that comes through the idea of being in a sacred contract is unmatchable. The idea that there's someone waiting for you home or someone coming back to you each evening, is often enough to help you take just that one thing in life at least, for granted. 

That comfort you get, to have your partner by your arm in a crowd of people matching shoulder to shoulder with theirs! You're lost in polite conversations and you look around and there he is by the bar, your man giving you the look to come over to him coz he's read it in yours after years of being with you. That is how two people evolve together. You understand. You know. And you work for it to work. Things that a marriage provides. 

Imagine working on all of that in a long standing live-in relationship and one fine day you get to hear, it's not working, let's see other people. And you pack your bags or are told to pack your bags and leave, just like that. No fear of law or society. No binding of any kind. It's like you know you can drive without a license but you also know it can land you in deep shit when you fall in trouble. 

You ask where is love? Well, you grow fond of even a pet that you take under your care. You mean to say two people who are like minded and have decided to stay together and are at a phase to please each other, living under the same roof day in and out, cannot feel any affection for each other? Oh come on! We aren't stones. Unless we become firm like a rock to not let another seep in. That's why the need to cautiously walk into such an agreement when you have the choice. Do it when you feel this is it. Not to shut up the pressuring family or to be polite to a stranger whom you might crush with a 'no'. 

In the long run some marriages run out of passion or adventure or conversations. It's not because of the failure of the institution. It's because one of the two involved slowly gave up and the other let him or her. Or because they were just two very different people who evolved separately. You made the wrong choice of a partner not the wrong choice of partnership. 

There are happy couples too in this world, you know, despite the temptations and distractions that modern lifestyles are throwing at them. Look at such couples. There's hope still. No reason why you should not strive for it. I don't believe in quotes like "Better to be alone than lonely with someone". I say "Better to believe there's hope than think it's hopeless". 

Be with people, risk getting into relationships, to know what you really want. I'm not saying become a Casanova and go around breaking hearts. But you can't stand a mile apart to gauge if the heat of that bonfire is enough, can you? So don't be scared of risking your heart in someone's hand. Do it after you've used your head. Don't be boggled by the idea of an arranged contriving of falling in love. People through centuries have lived in it. Stop dismissing things just by the merit of them being around for a long time. There's often a good reason why they have. It's unique to see bits and parts of you falling in love with bits and parts of another each day. 

Marriages are beautiful. It is the foundation on which a child must be brought in this world. Kudos to single parents. But if you have a choice in your hand, I say exercise it. Be there. Be there with your all. Do that. Do it with a purpose. Then be done with it, if you run out of choice. But that choice, make sure you choose to use. Best of luck. 

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