In defence of Friendzone

So if you have been friendzoned you will in all likelihood be jeered at or frowned upon by friends. The Internet has articles giving tips on how you can avoid being friendzoned. It is a derogatory word and I seem to wonder why.

Firstly, for those still unfamiliar with the term Friendzone and are too lazy to Google, it simply means a one-sided love/sexual feeling with a member of opposite sex who considers you just as a friend.

The term Friendzone may have been coined in the recent years but the situation has existed forever.  There has been more than one time that I have flatly refused to go beyond platonic with a few dear friends of mine. No, I didn’t look down upon them then or even now. Rather it was the fear of losing them which was greater than any other ephemeral feeling. I can proudly say that all of those platonic friends continue to remain my very good friends even decades later. The bond has only become stronger. And for those few that skipped entering the friendzone, I really don’t know where they are today and frankly, I can’t be bothered.  I remember then shedding tears (and yeah, my wears!) for them then. Over the years it has made me simply laugh at my past follies.  Those ephemeral relationships gave me only headaches and heartaches.

It is awkward dealing with a Friendzoned friend as you are not stupid to not know what is going on with him/her. After much time (hoping that it will be understood), I usually bring the awkward topic up to break the ice. It is not easy. The emotions are running high from one end. There are those deeply rooted ideas that need to be dissected and discarded. It ironically jeopardizes my relationship temporarily with them but I know I will eventually make them see my point.

I don’t see why all relationships, especially with a very good friend should have a need to culminate into having sex or ‘blossom into love’. Are we too tired to have a variety of people in our lives that can fulfil our various needs? Why are we lazy and hope that this one friend can handle all our emotional, physical and other needs?

Nothing wrong in being friendzoned, really!

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(image courtesy: http://www.davidwygant.com/wp-content/uploads/635723523920520029683466699_Friendzone.png)

 

Interpreter of Falls with a thud

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Three mornings ago I had a fall. Not the phrasal pride going for a fall or the falling in love (how I wish!).  The fall where we lose our physical balance and land on the surface with a thud. I remember my falling down in slow motion. I felt every second and helplessly thought how I could defy gravity. I looked around to hold onto something but to no avail. My hands were filled with my gizmos without which I am helpless while I jog. It was a great thud. I chafed the right dorsal and elbow and got minor bruises on my left knee. I got up. Looked around. Collected my pair of specs, iPod, iPhone and my senses before I walked back home. Barring my senses, everything was functioning fine and without a scratch , talk about they being fragile! There was nobody on the track then. It wasn’t such a big deal too considering the fact that I could get up and be back on my toes right away.

I don’t remember having any memories of falling down ever as an adult; even the childhood ones are bleak. This fall got me physical wounds but also reminded me of the times when people I knew closely fell down and how it had an impact on me. Those sublime learnings took a manifestation finally when I went heading down the bricky track! Here are my interpretations and all the learnings – some that I have conquered, some that I hopefully will and some that I doubt I ever will.

Pride: Your pride is at stake when you fall down. Not one, but two of my very good friends from two completely different groups asked me “did somebody see you fall?”  Of course it was all in jest. But that is one thing you notice. I did look around too. And was happy to see only I saw it happen. Why do we take it as a humiliation? I need to still find an answer to it. [TO BE CONQUERED]

Honour:  So a few years ago when my dad fell down as he tried to dribble a stray football in a park I was upset. Not as much as for that I couldn’t help him since I was just behind him (bad reflexes that I have!) but more so as I had never seen him lose his balance ever. He was perfect. Someone who had a gait of a lion. Who has ever seen a lion fall down?  It however taught me that daddy’s are humans too. Spiderman does lose his grip sometimes but he will always be Spiderman! [CONQUERED]

Fear/Phobia: I witnessed a friend’s foot getting tangled to a chain-barrier as she was crossing over it. She fell right on her face. Ever since that day, which happened nearly two decades ago, I have a fear of such chain-barriers.  No matter how low they are to the surface I would rather skip crossing over them. The very thought of it is making me nervous now. [CAN NEVER BE CONQUERED]

Health:  I remember my mother telling me a few months ago, based on facts that people tend to start falling down more as they age due to a deficiency of a vitamin – was it B-complex? Only, if I had heard it better then because once she starts talking science I just try to grasp the essence and skip the technicalities and I confess I can’t tell one vitamin from the other! Which now means that I will be asking her to repeat herself on this subject (which she would be happy too like always!) and I would listen carefully this time! My diet needs modifying. [TO BE CONQUERED]

Mental: I must be thinking something! That is what I do usually – live in my vicarious world and play situations in my head that will most likely never happen in the real world. Not the superstar ones where I am dancing on the stage and have a frenzied audience but the ones where I have smart answers to everything and smart reactions to every situation! Pretty realistic but still a dream! Time to shake off the thoughts and replace them with practical ones. I can’t see myself falling down over them! [TO BE CONQUERED]

Philosophical: The crux- I am catching up with age. Strangely, all my mirrors lie. But this is a sign that my reflexes are getting poorer – the shoes are the same, the jogging track is the same. Time to toy with the idea that got planted this morning by my brother who, unaware that  I had a fall (pity he is not on my Snapchat!), suggested that I should try dancing as it is the best form of exercise. I need to give this a thought. My chances of falling down with a thud are less in this exercise forma. I will skip ballet anyway – my body is too rigid for it! [NEARLY CONQUERED]

Astrological: I fell down on a Saturday and my mother, who balances her life between uber modernity and unbelievable superstitiousness, was not too pleased when I recounted my “great” fall over the phone to her. It could be a sheer coincidence that most of the time we, the family, have a great fall it usually happens on a Saturday. She fell off a cycle in a cycle shop  on a Saturday herself about 6 months ago as she unwillingly mounted a new cycle to choose for me simply because I couldn’t do it myself as I was wearing a skirt! My daughter, again on a Saturday, had a bad fall from a cycle 2-3 years ago. I did go to the temple that evening to appease Lord Saturn for something I don’t know what I had caused his fury about. [NO COMMENTS]

What all one fall can do! Talk about Newton! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Upping our Cultural Heritage

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When you think of heritage you think of forts, monuments, old temples and other historical places. I was in awe of Kolkata when I visited it last weekend. Perhaps if I had not visited London umpteen times in the past I would not have been able to construe what others meant when they said that the city has a ‘colonial’ feel. I could feel it in the air, though not literally since we visited this city when the mercury was soaring to 40+ degrees and we were dripping sweat due to intense humidity. We purposely chose to stay downtown to get a feel of the city for our short stay. Sitting on a tram – an old mode of transportation just upped the city’s heritage status.

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It was a visit to Flurys – a heritage tearoom and bakery that fuelled the dilemma side of me. I felt short-changed. Not, price-wise. If it had not been for my father who told me of the place’s history I would have thought of it as a just another any day modern cafeteria. For the first-timers like me having a somewhat none-to-limited knowledge of the city I could not see anything heritage about it. The restaurant is not obliged to make an effort to make it look like a heritage site unlike, say a monument where you pay an entrance fee and expect to be connected historically with it. This is just a restaurant that has sustained itself remarkably for nearly 80 years and that itself is commendable. And paying some 250 bucks for a plate of 2 fried eggs along with toasts is not much these days. However, you feel the awe factor missing.

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I don’t have the facts but you can tell the place has a competition, if not a stiff one, from a renowned American cafe just next door!  The complacency that accompanies such heritage places unless supported by the government or an NGO is dangerous. The only key to keep the competition at bay is by using the ‘heritage’ card. So how do you do that? Simple! Give a heritage feel to the place. 1) Get a designer to work on the staff’s uniform. What was the uniform in the olden days and how it can be replicated or adapted in modern times. 2) Get a photo editor to work on the menu and give it an ‘old’ feel with a sepia-effect to the pages. 3) Get a creative ad agency to work on trivia-posters that can be nailed to the walls. And many more ideas can surface if need be. I have not invented the above-mentioned ideas. I have visited so many pubs and restaurants abroad that have maintained the feel of the olden times. The cobblestone-plastered walls, the original bells at the door, the old oak table at the reception and much more. It takes you back in time. This is how heritage should be dressed up as! You should be in awe as you step in.  And perhaps the customers will be happy to even pay more. They have got more than what they had expected. And you have no competition. A win-win situation for both the parties.

So when you see the royal princess from the UK visiting India dressing-up elegantly all the time it is for a reason. She is part of a heritage that she is maintaining in the public. For all you know, she maybe wanting to rush back to her room and wanting to change into a pair of shorts and a tank-top to beat the Indian summer heat! What a time to visit India!

So all you heritage-based places, time to pull up your socks!

(pic 1: Victoria Memorial Hall; pic 2: me on a tram; pic 3: happy tram drivers with my papa; all clicked by my phone in Kolkata – the City of Joy)

 

 

 

Online Reviewing – the good and the bad of it

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In the world of Internet you are a somebody. A critic, a philosopher, a photographer, an actor, a movie producer, just about everything. I am a newbie food reviewer. I am so close to being a book reviewer as well considering that I read a book daily but it’s my 5-year stint as a student of English literature that stops me from being that.  I don’t want to relive those college moments. I am also so close to being a hotel reviewer with all my frequent random travels.

It is a good feeling when you see your reviews being read by hundreds of strangers and many of them who then ‘like’ and ‘follow’ you on those websites. You feel more responsible for your reviews. You feel empowered. There are times when the management of the joint replies to your review explaining why so and so had happened. Gone are the days when you would simply read and go by a professional critics’ review. They can be utterly biased. The place knows that a professional critic is there at its domain or possibly it has invited the critic. So that critic will be in all likelihood treated like a royalty.

However, the trouble with a just-about-any critic begins when the critic in you overtakes your normal being. So every time I enter a food joint, even if it’s just for a drink, it is at the back of my mind that I have to check the interiors out, possibly take pictures of the place and even of the sole drink and of course then upload it on the website along with my elaborate review.

I have gone past the stage where I simply stroll into a food joint just to have some good time. My eyes are scanning for every minute details that are happening in my surrounding. And God forbid if my coffee is rubbish! Somebody like me who would earlier have just had the drink politely or even left it with a demure comment made to the barista is now fuming internally about it and that politeness is turned to arrogance on the Internet as I know that unlike before where only a few would have known of my experience are now multiplied into hundreds and even thousands of viewers – those thousands that live far-far away from where I had experienced my tiny little episode that now seemed like a nightmare (well, some really are!), who would possibly never even show up to such a city leave alone the cafe!

So the other day when I went for a reunion with a couple of friends I actually rang up a friend of mine the next day to ask her experience with the dish she had ordered. Her simple reply of ” oh baby, it was so good” was not sufficient for me. I interrogated her further. Was the bread hard? Was the topping tasty? Fresh? Tangy?  Was it just enough hot or cold? Well, I don’t know what she made of me but from her voice she seemed nonplussed. Good means good!

Internet is a good place to share your awful and amazing experiences with the world. However, the days of simply enjoying a book or food or just anything and just sharing them with a few friends have seen their days.  The word of mouth is no longer just of the mouth.

(The above image is snapped by me of a local restaurant that I frequent often and yes, I recently reviewed it too!)