Monday, December 13, 2010

Playing Agony Aunt

I'm currently sitting at the Mumbai airport yet again, and while I should ideally use this time to work on some essays, the brain is simply not working in that direction. Since some kind of productivity would be nice, I'm going to instead try and reproduce a post that wrote itself in my head yesterday, and which sort of got reinforced in the past hour that was just spent with the best friend.

I don't think I've ever written about love and relationships on this blog, primarily because, well, there's never been anything to write about. And no, there still isn't, not really. But it's that time of year when you tend to start thinking about the last twelve months, and for various reasons, I've spent a lot of time playing Agony Aunt to friends about their relationships this year.

Two very dear friends found themselves in relationships this year; one ended soon after, one is still going strong, touch wood, although the friend concerned does keep asking me how the guy concerned can still like her despite knowing her so well. Another friend broke up with her boyfriend of two years, because he's not ready for commitment, and doesn't know when he will be.

At least three friends at last count have their parents looking very actively for a suitable match - much hilarity, outrage and heartbreak has ensued from this process; maybe someday when they're able to look back and laugh at all of it, I'll churn out another post on it. Yet another friend keeps getting in touch with his ex-girlfriend, finds more proof of the fact that she's as weird as I always told him she is, and then comes to me to vent it all out.

I have also discovered that the childhood ideal of thinking that the cutest love stories are the ones where childhood best friends fall in love is really not true. It is actually very awkward when one good friend from bachpan ke din starts having feelings which are not returned. I still think the sweetest love story I ever saw on celluloid is the one between the Bachchans in Sholay though.

But I digress.

In college, I was always the one who said marriage is not a priority, my career is. That still holds true, but the fact that I am now in my mid-twenties means my friends are a lot more vocal about trying to convince me to believe otherwise - because for them getting married and having kids always was and still is the ultimate dream. Some near spats have happened over this - I don't tell them to make their career a priority, who're they to tell me to change my dreams?

At the same time, maybe it's because of my continued singlehood (is that a word?) that a lot of my advice tends to be on the more pragmatic side. While I will rant a bit if you tell my friend "we're in a normal relationship, not a serious one" (what in the name of heaven does that even mean?!?), I will also understand where another guy is coming from when he says to my friend that he wants to finish his MBA, figure out his career, and then think about settling down - because that's where I am too. And if you tell me - like someone tried - that it's okay for him to think that way and not me, because I'm a woman, I may stab you.

I will also point out that for all their protests about me being too practical, for lack of a better word, I can pull out at least five chain mails between the gal pals where everyone has been giving advice, but when yours truly has written in, they've written back saying that is exactly what they wanted to say, and I always put it so well. True story, sachchi.

Sometimes though, being practical does take a flying leap out of the window. Like when you want to convince your friend to take a chance with the guy she's on the verge of falling in love with, no matter what the complications involved. Because you know that if they do manage to work things through, it'll be worth all of it. I once told a friend that I believe if a relationship is meant to work, it will. Not because of destiny or any of that stuff, but because I do think that if two people genuinely care about each other and want to be together, they can find a way to make it happen. I'm not saying it's easy - I've seen enough to know it rarely is. But it can happen no? I'd like to believe so at any rate.

I will end by saying this: playing Agony Aunt over Gtalk is SO much easier than in person or even on the phone. At least the other person can't see you rolling your eyes in exasperation that way. Or hear you take a deep breath to calm yourself down before reacting to their drama.

I think I'm done rambling for now. And since I was flying somewhere over Western India when this post got finished, and am now back home, I think I'll go sleep for a while.

PS: OH. In other, and sorta related, news, the parents complete 27 years of togetherness today. So yay!

PS2: Does a public shout out make up for the lack of gift? No? Dammit.


That's me said...

I am a reluctant Agony Aunt since a practical attitude is non-existent in my system. I often find it difficult to give advice in relationship matters because my rationality get messed up with emotions.

Tell me, do the emotional upheavals in someone else's life spill over into your routine life? I often remain cranky and annoyed and disturbed after a long session so I steer clear of it.

Oh, and with regards to the marriage issue, I just so agree with you. But what disturbs me is that I am in my early twenties, waiting to start working and people are already telling me how this is the right age to get married. Grrr....

Ann said...

oh rara it is true, you do say all that we want to so succinctly with the well practiced sigh and rolling of the eye with such precision each time it is warranted and when not:p
I suspect we have our inane convos just for your reaction.
On another note, you closet romantic why was there no mention of that?

a traveller said...

@Shwetha: Not really. It depends on how close the friend is, and how upset he/she is. I usually go into outrage mode over how can anyone hurt them, more than anything else.
Also I'm fairly self-obsessed so that helps :)

@Ann: I don't like you very much. I am not a closet romantic, I am a cynic pretending to be a romantic pretending to be a cynic. True story.

antiglam superstar! said...

hau haaye! you were playing agony aunt on gtalk? why was I not invited? heartbreak.

And yus career most important is. If parents chuck you out of the house for not getting married or husband beats you after getting married where you run to baba if no money. Silly people.

You means me. You don't get scared. Clooney's a gent. :P

R said...

chill karo na. I guess it's harder when you're surrounded by friends AND family discussing shaadi at every opportunity and fod gorbid the marriage season is only worse. I keep telling M how lucky I am ki, aside from having fairly trendy fam, my parents' shaadi didn't work out. AND that my cousins are in their 30s and not married yet. Phew.

Not that I'm against it but I would prefer a de facto situation. I think it means more if someone stays with you because they WANT to and not because they're tied to you. Bit idealistic for arranged marriage land, but o well