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Elder brotherly

Scene 1:

She comes down home. Aerosmith has come down to town, and I have a ticket. she forces me to get one for her too. I crib, but oblige.

During the concert, she gets lost. There is no connectivity on the cell phone, and I am scared. She doesn’t know anything or anybody in this city. Enjoy the music? You crazy?

Then, outside, I meet her. Where the hell were you? What the hell were you doing? I scream. Relax, I was headbanging with that gang over there! I am hysterical. But also extremely happy. She had a lot of fun.

Scene 2:

She takes a flight (I pay for the tickets) and comes down to my place. I have my marriage coming up in 3 months, and I need moral suppport.

I get her home from the airport…. and she looks around the house. Steady gaze at the wine celler. I have a good one at my place, dad-mom don’t, we are kinda conservative this way, back home. Drinking at home is taboo.

I open the vodka for her and the whisky for myself. She literally wolfs down 2 pegs, and then a few more. I give her some gyan on how to drink like a human being, and she couldn’t care less.

Scene 3:

My marriage. Her friends come along. Never met them earlier, but they act as if I am some kind of a god! The guys stammer, the girls try to be impressive. They have been told that, indeed, I AM a god. Like, are you kidding me?

And they literally tell MTM that she is the luckiest woman in the world.. Like hell! Are you really kidding me?

Scene 4:

She says, get me liqueur chocolates from the US. And MTM and I have a laugh. She is not bothered about the chocolate, she will have the liquor and throw the chocolate away, MTM says.

Scene 5:

I am a little worried. What happens when she starts earning? Will she become a drunkard? I decide that I will get one extra perfume, and give the liqueur chocolates a skip.

____

I want her to be all that I am, and all that I am not.

Yes, protective, yes, in a way. Of course. Say for example, if you dare to hurt her, even a little, you might just be bumped off by one of the contract killers. Hell, I have the money.

But I really also want her to have the kind of wild fun that I had when I was her age. Or travel out to an alien country like you did, Mword. Or pass out after alcohol. Or have a dopey-punk-rocker boyfriend. Or both. I want her to have all the fun that she can. I know she is. And I know that she knows how to take care of herself. How? Simple. I ask, could I have somehow taken care of myself in such a scenario? And the answer comes, yes. That’s good enough. and thereby the fear, during the rock concert. And I know all about addictions. I smoke.

I don’t track her daily movement to ensure that she is safe, that is NOT elderbrotherlylove, I have a truckload and more faith in her ability to handle herself, and also know that if she is in the kind of trouble which she knows that she cannot solve by herself, the first person she will come to, is me.

I never ask her about her whereabouts, and neither does she ask me about mine. We never ask, are you alright? But instead the more prosaic Are you having fun?

____

Yet. She knows that I created the roadmap for her success by my (relative) success. And she never followed. Better than I ever was at Math or Science, she went ahead and studied medicine because I had already done Tech. She never read books as a kid, and all because I did. And never quizzed, because I did.

She understands the roadmap, yet never took the road.

And Ma says that she’s never seen two siblings, with a half a decade and more separating their births, fight as much, as often, or as ferociously.

____

You wouldn’t understand, Mword. Infact, let me rephrase that. The failure over here, is in my explanation, not your comprehension. I cannot explain.

Let me just say this…

Being an elder brother is nothing similar to being ‘just like an elder brother’.

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There are three sections I categorize my male friends under. A, the type who can’t stop talking about how much alcohol I can guzzle. B, the type who assume the role of the protector, and can’t stop talking about how insane or mad I am. And C – the ones who are genuinely happy for me, and cant stop talking about why I should not be afraid.

JT and I have known each other for the longest time. We are very different people and if and when you find us in the same room, you would be surprised we even know each other. And in any case, we haven’t spent much time together in the same place, but phone calls and emails always worked. For everyone. Over years we grew close. Hell, he even knew my password at one point of time. I did confide in him to get an opinion, to get the occasional reassurance.

JT takes the role of the protector seriously. He worries about my well being, worries about who I meet and worries about how long I stay out and how much I drink. He even worries about what I write on my blog, and if I indeed am in trouble. Much more than PD. PD has a sense of trust in me, JT doesn’t. I thought being married would change it all for him, that he will be busy with his wife and times. Doesn’t seem to have done a thing. Needless to say, when I informed him I was doing this trip thing on my own, he freaked out. Needless to say, he was the last person I dared to inform. He asked me four hundred questions of hows and whys and how-could-you and why-should-I. Needless to say, it upset me to no end. Because I assumed he would be happy for me.

So during the trip, I made the (fatal?) mistake of sending him my phone number to inform I was safe and sound. Which started a barrage of texts and phone calls at odd hours – real late nights, real early mornings.

I accidentally left my phone at home one day, came back to see 6 texts all of which said “I am freaking out here, there is noone I know who is with you, call me back, text me back, why did you have to do this?”. I called him back the next day, a little unsettled, and said “I am fine. Safe. And, I assumed you would be happy for me”.

Then that day, in the height of all that excitement, there were only two people in the world I wanted to share it with (PD not being one of them! And sorry Retro, I didn’t have your phone number). JT called, I screamed on top of the crowds’ euphoria saying he will have to call back in 10 for it was all madness and that I really want to tell him what was going on. Like, give him a live feed. He texted back saying he is freaking out, he is worried about me getting back home. He didn’t pause for a second. I assumed, he wasn’t happy for me.

That did it for me. I called him back in ten, and fought back. People around me assumed I was fighting with my boyfriend. After which, I didn’t take his calls, or reply to his texts. Occasionally 6-7 would come at one go. Some would threaten. Some would say “Screw you. Goodbye”. I didn’t reply. I didn’t pick up the phone. I did a mean thing, I know, but it was getting too much for me to deal with. And I wanted a peaceful 7 days.

He is like family. And family is entitled to obsess. But more than anything, he is a friend, and it bothers me to see that I can’t be honest to him. That I am so afraid of him.

And I really am not sure if I need to explain to him. I have no siblings, so I am not sure how this elderbrotherlylove thing works (Post idea: Retro). I feel 28. Old enough to not inform people constantly of my whereabouts. To PD, maybe. My parents should have realized by now that it’s an impossible task. (I left home roughly 10 years ago) And I realize, again, that people (family or otherwise) will do this to me only if I give them the liberty to believe I am answerable to them. Constantly.

I know this too shall pass. We will patch up and apologize. But I am heartbroken, somewhat.

And in a moment, I have figured what really makes a friendship tick: it’s honesty. You can have selective truths in a marriage, but not in a friendship. I should have the guts to tell you everything. Don’t get me wrong, I want you to worry. I want you to care. I want you to ask if I am doing fine. But all that shouldn’t take over the one premise that’s precious in friendships, that I want to very unselfishly share my emotions and experiences sans fear.

PS: There is no reason to be proud of me for having gone on a trip alone. (My mother now claims, she is ashamed of me) There were 20 other <25 year olds. At least at my age I can pay my way out of troubles.

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Have you seen ‘Baby Borrowers’? Good if you didn’t. Pathetic.
There are some Reality TV realities one really does not want to see.

So here is the story.

Id is MTM’s best friend. Or not. Id is MTM’s second best friend, after Cil. I went out for sushi with Cil the other day, he stays right here in California. Cil and I, we get along fabulously well, and it was a super time, what with both of us enforced bachelors discussing life, marriage, and about business ideas that we have….

But this story is about Id. I have met Id and his wife during the marriage. Skinny, rather cute thing. And Id is a reasonably successful guy in his own merit. Unlike Cil, I haven’t got to know Id well enough yet, but have heard a lot about him. You would have met him too, Mword, during the marriage.

Now MTM had recently had mentioned that Id is having some marriage problems.
 And on discussion today, she was mentioning how things are not working out… so they are planning to go their own ways. MTM of course is very angry with Id for this hasty, almost pigheaded decision, and really, so am I. And that takes us back to ‘Baby Borrowers’.

Neither marriage, nor having a baby, are playthings. You cannot say ‘Okay, take it back, I don’t want it anymore’. People have this pathetic idea that marriage is a kind of a finality. And that ‘Okay, now I have settled down’. It isn’t. This isn’t a fucken Hindi movie with the last scene being marriage, and that they lived happily ever after. Marriage is only the start. To have a great marriage, to actually ‘live happily ever after’, one has to be able to commit to himself / herself to put in an effort to make it work.
 In fact, not just one, but both will have to make an effort to make it work.

And opting for a breakup just because you can is not solution. And opting for a breakup just because things are not perfect, is not a solution either. All you idiots planning to separate from your spouses after 6 months of marriage, ask yourself that question. Have you really made that effort? Have you really tried very, very hard to make marriage work?
 And, very importantly, have you looked at the option? How are you sure that the next time, things will be any different? Or that single life will be all that good?
I know, I really am in no place to give judgments, I myself have not been married for such a long time, but yes, MTM and I have made the pretext set very firmly. We know that we need to work at it, and we have pledged that we will put in the effort. We might fail of course, but that will definitely not be because of a lack of effort.

So like MTM, I too think it is very childish, this decision that Id is planning to take.

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You are lost, mind you. You haven’t lost, you haven’t lost it, you just are lost.

You were never gregarious. You were snappy. You were fun alright, and good ….

And we, all of us, had the need for people. Four years in a hostel make us needy. Make us needy for other people. For conversation, for banter, for the pulse of being. For the proximity to other beings.

And then you left the country. I am sure the Masters were fun.

And now you say you don’t like it here much. You say you have a circle of friends, but you don’t meet often.

And then you are sad that you don’t have a girlfriend. And you are sad that your parents come along only about once a year.

And now you refuse to go back to India. And I know why. You think that going back will be akin to accepting that you have lost. You haven’t, believe me. You have done well for yourself. You have the degrees and the credentials, and a nice job. You have secured your professional future.

Be strong. Do what you know is right. If you are too ashamed still, maybe Australia? Shanghai? Hong Kong? Singapore? Closer to home?

Just don’t ever say that you cannot go back to India because there is so much of pollution there…

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Dear Retro,

We could have had this entire conversation over email. But we have to admit, you and I are more exhibitionists than voyeurs. If our conversations could manifest themselves as a person, we would put him/her in a glass house for all to see, but we would leave the little mundane details about the whos, whys and wheres out. Our conversation would be a chick. Trust me. Because she will dig the attention.

But I digress. The point of this post was to tell you why women say “Techies/Men can’t talk

Men own a conversation. Men, strangely, have very clearly defined tastes. You can’t make a man sway from his domain of conversation – sport, or hardware, or literature or music. You can’t make a football guy talk F1, unless he is an F1 guy too. PD is not a cricket person, and really doesn’t care two hoots. He would just sit there, shake his head, nod when the conversation turns to cricket. But you can’t beat him at music talk, can you?

The intelligent chicks, the interesting chicks are supremely insecure about being left out in a conversation. We can’t talk our domain of expertise — even if we do, you wouldn’t care, it doesn’t interest you. So we learn our Joe Sats and Rushdies and F1 and the importance of Nvidia graphics cards, just so that we can understand every conversation around us*. Though we can’t hold a conversation, have a fair idea of what’s going on**.

After a while, it gets tiring to keep up the pretense and hence the refrain. Men get confused because it was the same woman belonging to the conversation a while ago. But understand that the woman just wants to be included. It’s the same need-for-attention theory.

So it’s not that the men don’t know how to talk – men just don’t know how to include.

And this is how women talk. This is how you talk to women.

love, always,

Mockingword.

Footnotes:

* You would admit that my entire knowledge of Pink Floyd is almost entirely acquired from someone. He, on the other hand, what did he learn?

** So, on any given day, I talk sport/lit with you, Life’s troubles/Impressionist art with P, Music – Metal/rock with R, Music – Swing/Classic Rock with another friend, Movies with someone else, Hardware/Gaming with G, Finance with colleagues. Yes, that’s my average day. I doubt if you can dabble in conversation about Assassin’s creed. I can. The strange thing is, I have hardly had a conversation about anything that I am truly mad about – say Cirque du Soleil for instance – even with you. So if you happen to go to Vegas, watch this for me, please.

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All the men worth a conversation are self absorbed. Somewhat.

All the women who talk and are worth talking to are great attention seekers. Yours truly being a big example.

All women sound like tall, hot, well endowed, hot, slim, hot women to the most men. Even if the women repeat 400 times that they are not attractive.

All men sound exceedingly witty online. I wonder why.

All people sound smarter online than they do in person. They have wiki and google for help. I do too. Take my word for it. I say Diane Arbus. Do you know who she is? Now you do.

All people find it easier to confide in someone they don’t see face to face. All people would rather confide in strangers than their partners. That’s why clinical psychologists earn a fortune.

Most men trolling the internet are single. Married men/taken men/men with something to do seek guy time and football time/tennis time/guitar time.

Most women trolling the internet are taken. Single women love to be heard and hence write chick-lit blogs , anonymously, to whine about the lack of men. Married women/Taken women – insecure as they are — love to be heard even if it’s just to whine about their jobs and hence troll every single social space.

Scraps->Direct messages->Email->Feverish emails->Gtalk->Exchanging pics is the normal progression. You are not the first one to have discovered it.

*hugs* are easier than real physical hugs. and luv-yas and miss-yas come with their share of ambiguity.

Men would like to give cyber-sex a shot.

Women just get addicted to the attention.


Cyber relationships are not about man-woman disasters. Women should potentially be scared of other women too. Believe me, I have a stalker – a chick – and that story is far more entertaining than any of my other ones.

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As in, …. ‘every guy (especially in Tech School) needs a lesson on how to talk to women’….

Common refrain. From many women. In college especially. Especially in Tech colleges….

Which makes me wonder, why don’t women need some lessons on how to talk to men? Especially tech-college guys? Why is the art of being able to talk to women such a treasured commodity?

Now Mword, here’s one of those rare MCP posts, and you are allowed your rant, but here’s the question….

Is it because women assume that they should be wooed, and not vice versa? Ahem, hang on, weren’t we talking equal opportunity here? And speaking of tech colleges, isn’t the issue primarily that of supply and demand? Basically that girls are fewer to be found in tech school, so there’s this associated prima-donna status, and we Indian males are oh so openly desparate (and from my limited experience I say, so are the women, just a little more covertly so, that’s all…)…

On the same point, ther is a common refrain that tech college guys are boring. I would beg to differ (and with some amount of pride I say that I have some credibility here, I have rarely been called boring, by women or men); and I will mention that there are a host of interesting tech-school guys waiting to be found.

So you would like your man to hold a conversation with you on books or movies or similar stuff; here’s the question, ladies. Can you hold a conversation on football? Or trekking? or guitar tabs? or cars? or heaven forbid, motorbikes? Seriously, who is boring here? Can you hold a conversation with a guy? Or is it only the guy’s responsibility to hold a conversation?

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