Tug of War: Dream vs Reality

Caught between dreams & reality
 Little Rhea had many dreams
To go off to a far of land, surrounded by mountains with singing rivers and streams
To sit on the mountain top and ponder on the many marvels of the world
To sit by river and write beautiful poems to touch beautiful souls
To teach little children to read, write and dream of a life beautiful and full of wonder
 
Little Rhea had many dreams
To leave her small town for a big city
To travel to the far-off lands, to visit many countries and cities across the world
To sit on a tall tower in a position of power
With her power she would create a better world, she dreamt
 
“Oh, you must be someone of position and power”, she was told
She studied hard, worked harder, and slowly inched her way up the tower
Reaching the top is all that matters, it will give a new meaning to her life, she thought
Once on the top she was precariously perched, caged in lonely rods of futile power
She tried very hard to make a difference, but was torn between position and power
The material life and its glamour and glitter, kept her away from the dreamy mountains and singing rivers, from the little children who were waiting for her to teach them to dream
 
Many a night she would lay awake for hours, trying to figure what Rhea really wants
She has achieved so much – power, position, wealth, can she give up all up for a childhood dream
A gentle sigh would come out of her lips, “Someday I will. I will go to the quite mountains and singing rivers and write the unwritten poems and sing the unsung songs… Someday I will…”

Sometimes…

 Sometimes I say too much
Sometimes I say too less
Sometimes I am too verbose
Sometimes I am at a loss of words
I never know what’s the right way to tell you ‘I love you so much’
 
I love you so much, sometimes it scares me
Sometimes it gives me strength
Sometimes it fills me with unbridled passion and happiness
Sometimes it makes me miserable
 
Loving you, wanting you, the fear of losing you…
Sometimes I am convinced things will work out for the best
And we will walk hand in hand into the ‘happily ever after’, wherever that elusive land is…

LoveRules @40

Urmi was looking out of her bedroom window, sipping coffee. This was her favourite part of the day when the fading daylight brushes past night, soft darkness envelopes the world. Today being a Saturday, she had the luxury of enjoying the enigmatic twilight hours. Urmi hadn’t switched on the lights yet, she was enjoying the soft kiss of semi-darkness. In the quiet of the evening, her mind kept wandering back to her breakfast with Manju masi and her alarm on learning that Urmi has turned 42 this year. “And you are still single? Who will marry you now, some sad divorcee? What about children?”, Urmi was amused by her exclamation. Manju masi kept shaking her head as if Urmi has been hit by some grave misfortune. “You are pretty enough, why couldn’t you find a husband,” she said again pouring Urmi her second cup of tea. “I am happy on my own Manju masi,” said Urmi smiling trying to put an end to the discussion. Next Manju masi would try to pair her with all the single men in 40s she could think of, and Urmi dreaded that. She knew it was futile trying to tell her that she wasn’t looking for a husband, it’s smarter to change the topic.

She took out the saree that her mom had sent for Manju Masi as her birthday gift, Dhakai jamdani purchased from the weavers. Urmi’s mom and Manu masi grew up together, they were best of friends. While her mom got married soon after college, Manju Masi having suddenly lost her dad was burdened with the responsibility of her family. She took up a job in a school for the sake of her younger siblings. Once they grew up and got married, Manju Masi was left all alone. She was almost 40 by then, too late for her to get married in those days. A few decades back 40s was almost the end of all good things in life, definitely the end of love and romance. Urmi’s mom had always stayed in touch with Manju Masi, she often lamented the fact that her selfish siblings didn’t bother to help her find a husband. 

Image courtesy doplr.com

As Urmi looked at Manju Masi she felt sorry for the lonely life that she has been leading for the last 30 years. She felt fortunate to be living in a time when she could script a bold new story in her 40s. While Manju Masi and her likes were termed as spinsters in their 40s (middle-aged single women with no prospect of marriage), Urmi, on the other hand, has never felt more desirable. Some years back, she did struggle with the fact that she was nearing 40 and her love life was going nowhere. The constant reminders from her mom and aunts that her biological clock was ticking didn’t really help. Finally, she told her mom firmly that she couldn’t get married just for the sake of getting married and having children was not be all and end all of a girl’s life. Liberated from the constant pressure of marriage and motherhood, she walked confidently into her 40s – happy, successful and brimming with confidence. The world has started embracing the change and lauding the new-found self-assurance of the 40s. Urmi learned to ignore those who didn’t, they didn’t really bother her.

“Look at me Urmi. Living alone for all these years has not been easy,” lamented Manju masi. Urmi wasn’t sure how to tell her she didn’t feel alone; she was quite happy and content with her life. Male attention has never been a problem for Urmi. When she was young, she has loved in earnest and broken her heart more than once. Love was more platonic then, holding hands, a few kisses at the most.  Looking back, she sometimes wishes she was bolder then but those few stealthy kisses had their own charm. She remembers her first love that was meant to last forever. For when we are young, we believe in one true love and when that ends it hurts like hell. She has been hurt, lonely and sad. There were times when she would be gripped with fear and anxiety that she would probably be all alone for the rest of her life. In her quest for the perfect man, she made so many mistakes.

But the 40s were strangely liberating. They liberated her from the quest of marriage and motherhood. She was confident enough to pursue bold relationships, she could enjoy sex and intimacy without moral compunctions. She realized it was possible to have a beautiful relationship where marriage was not the prerequisite. With years, Urmi has gained the maturity and the poise to be in a relationship in her own terms without bothering about the societal norms. She has learned to love herself and value her space and privacy. She did feel lucky to have come across a man who complements her, be there for her while respecting each other’s space.

Relationships at each stage have their own set of challenges. In her 40s it was more about accepting each other and respecting each other for the way they are. Romance is more mature now, it’s more about enjoying the companionship, without unnecessarily fretting about the future. Surer of herself, Urmi knows she can deal with the future as it comes along.

When love swipes right!

Tanya got off the car and rushed towards the coffee shop. It was drizzling, winter rains, she was walking as fast as she could to avoid getting drenched. When she reached the covered porch she stopped, took a breath and tried to calm herself. “Maybe I should have cancelled this”, she thought. “It’ll take me ages to drive back in the rains, and all this for a Tinder date.” She ran her fingers through her hair and smoothed her jacket and started walking slowly towards the coffee shop.

love swipes

Confident, happy and single Tanya logged on to Tinder sometime back, maybe out of curiosity, maybe out of loneliness, maybe it was a bit of both. She has been in love before, has broken her heart, she still believes in love and could be hopelessly romantic at times. Though her romantic quests didn’t go the way she had hoped, Tanya was a positive and a happy woman, doing well in her job, popular with her friends. She had pushed back all thoughts of love for a while and seemed to be doing a good job of it. Then, one Sunday afternoon, while flipping through TV channels to kill time, she was suddenly gripped by loneliness and boredom. Her friends, most of whom are married, were caught up with their family or in some other errand. “Maybe I should try Tinder,” she thought, “who knows maybe there are interesting men out there.”

She downloaded Tinder on a whim and started swiping right and left. To her surprise, she matched with every man she fancied, and all of whom seemed eager to meet her and take things forward. The initial response was overwhelming and exhilarating, ‘maybe I will meet someone nice here,’ she thought. She was not unattractive she knew, but the men out there made her feel like a beauty queen. Her optimism, however, was short lived, when most of her tinder matches seemed to be only interested in sex or one-night stands. Some of them were married as well, looking for ‘a true friend.’  “I was really naïve,” she thought “to think dating still meant coffee, good conversations and sweet romance.  Holding hands and walking in the moonlit nights, like college times.”

As she was about to delete the Tinder app, the message notification blinked, “How about coffee on Monday?”  asked an almost forgotten Tinder match, Abir. “Well one coffee shouldn’t hurt,” thought Tanya. “Fine, let’s meet at 7,” she wrote.

When Tanya stepped out of office that Monday evening it was drizzling, and she had a good mind to call off her Tinder date. “It’s too late for that now, it would be rude,” she thought, as she drove to meet Abir on a rainy December night.

As Tanya, walked towards the coffee shop, she found Abir waiting for her outside, he came forward and shook her hands warmly. By the time they sat down they were already talking, like they have known each other for a while. They talked endlessly for hours, till Tanya realized it was late and she had to get back home. Traffic was crazy on the way back, but she didn’t mind. There was something about Abir that was so different from the all the men who cross her path, on Tinder or otherwise. He was sweet, charming, polite, a little shy and seemed genuinely interested in knowing her.

So, they kept meeting and talking and before they knew they were dating. “Watch out,” her friends warned, “not so fast. You met him on Tinder, at best he’s looking for a casual fling.” Tanya took a step back only to realize that they were both drawn to each other hopelessly and there was no looking back. Neither Tanya nor Abir had thought that they would find something so beautiful on Tinder, so they plunged right into it – into a journey of love, friendship and companionship!

Pen Pals – The Magic of Letters

inland letterOnce upon a time, long before social media had taken over our lives, long before Snapchat and Tinder, there lived a girl Tirna, in a sleepy little town Duru tucked in between three hills and a river. She lived in a small bungalow with her parents and sisters. Her father was quite an important man in Duru, and Tirna and her sisters went to the best school in the town. She was already in senior school and would be going off to college in Delhi or abroad in a year or so.

Tirna was a young girl with lot of dreams. While she was eager to explore the world outside Duru and was studying hard for it, she loved every bit of her little town – the slow flowing river that would get wild during the monsoons, the green and gentle mountains, white and grey clouds playing hide and seek with the peaks, starlit nights when she would lie on her back and gaze at the stars for hours, chirruping birds waking her every morning, beautiful flowers that blossomed everywhere in Duru. But most of all she loved the moonlit nights. Moon light created a magic for her, and she would sit on the terrace for hours losing herself in the magical moonlit world.

Tirna loved to read. She would spend hours in the small library on the hill top devouring on Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Leo Tolstoy or Anton Chekhov. She liked to write as well, she would pen down her thoughts in her journal, try her hands in poems and sometimes short stories. Her writing was still very private to her, her journal was carefully locked away in her study table drawer, away from the prying eyes of the world. Tirna’s letters to her cousins and relatives living in faraway places were the only writings her friends and family were privy to. She wrote long and beautiful letters to them regularly, sharing little things and happenings around her.

One day, as she was going through a magazine in the library, she came across a small announcement in the letters section – ‘Make new friends through letters,’ and listed in the announcement were a few names and addresses of people who would like to make pen friends. Tirna found this very interesting, she picked up a name randomly – Ankur Roy, an engineering student in BITS, Pilani. She took out her pen and pad and started writing a letter to Ankur, telling him about herself and her life in Duru. She wrote the address and posted the letter on her way back.

Weeks passed, she had almost forgotten about Ankur and the letter. One day as she got back from school her mother said, “There’s a letter for you Tirna. I have put it on your table.”  The letter was from Ankur Roy of BITS Pilani. Ankur was having his 1st semester exams, hence the delay in responding to Tirna. He hailed from Delhi, was a topper from DPS RK Puram now pursuing engineering in BITS. Ankur never had pen friend before and thanked Tirna for writing to him.

Tirna’s excitement knew no bounds – her first pen friend, getting to know somebody outside her little circle, it was all very exhilarating. She immediately wrote back. Her schooling was coming to close and her parents wanted her to take up engineering, but she wasn’t very sure, she wrote. Her grades were good, and she could probably get into any engineering college, and that seemed to be the sensible thing to do. After writing those lines to Ankur, Tirna realized she has never shared this with anybody before, not even her best friend Payal. In fact, she has been scared to admit this even to herself, afraid of disappointing her parents.

In his next letter, Ankur urged Tirna to go for what she wanted, not be pushed by others. Being an engineer was his dream, he wrote, and he will probably go abroad after graduation. Ankur and Tirna wrote to each other regularly, about their dreams and aspirations, about their little romances. When the girl Ankur liked started seeing someone else he was shattered, as if his world has fallen apart. Tirna’s letters urging him to focus on his studies and telling him that he will find someone else helped him move on. Tirna started sharing her writings with Ankur, little poems, short stories. He was her first critic and appreciative reader. Unwittingly over the months, Tirna and Ankur became best of friends and confidante. They shared their wildest dreams and silliest fears with each other, in their letters they would bare their hearts out without the fear of being judged. They were patient with each other, encouraged and advised it each other. Maybe it was the distance that was between them, maybe it was the medium of letters that created veil of security and intimacy.

When the time came, Tirna plucked up courage to tell her parents that she wanted to pursue English literature. She has already applied to few colleges in Delhi and Kolkata for the same. Though her parents were upset with her for a while, they ultimately gave in. Tirna got selected in a college in Delhi and left home and the little town Duru to pursue her dreams. She let Ankur know of course, and he was indeed happy for her. Meanwhile Ankur was now in 2nd year, getting busier with his studies, but he continued to write to Tirna regularly.

One day when Tirna got back to the hostel after her classes, she suddenly heard her name being called out loudly, she had a visitor. Tirna she wasn’t expecting anybody that afternoon, in fact she was soon to meet her friends in the café outside. She went to the visitor’s room and looked around but couldn’t see a familiar face. As she was about to leave the room thinking that she must have been called by mistake, someone called out her name a little hesitantly. When she turned and saw a tall, thin boy looking at her. “Do I know you,” she asked curtly. “I am Ankur, Ankur Roy.’ Tirna couldn’t believe herself, Ankur visiting him of all people. He was on a short break, visiting his parents in Delhi. “Thought I would surprise you,” he said.

Tirna somehow had never imagined meeting Ankur in person, and surprised she was indeed. She did envisage what Ankur would like at times, and there he was before her, a tall boy with an intelligent and friendly face. Tirna took Ankur to the canteen outside the hostel, and there they sat talking for hours, giving physical shape to the friendly intimacy of the letters. They talked easily like old friends who have met after years. They realised only when the canteen manager came up to them and said that he had to shut the place, it was almost 10 and they have been talking continuously for the last 4 hours. Tirna had to get back to hostel as she had a 10 pm curfew. Ankur visited her again the next day, before catching his train back to Pilani.

Tirna and Ankur continued writing, they would often talk to each other on the phone and meet whenever possible. Their first meeting or may be the first letter, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that grew stronger with years!

 

 

A New Year Love Story

Tiya wades through traffic impatiently on New Year’s Eve. She’s headed to the club to meet her friends where they will usher new year and then go to a friends’ place and chat through the night over a few drinks. This has been their ritual for the last few years and she’s excited about Tarun joining them this year, she sincerely hopes he does. While the over-crowded roads, slow moving traffic and constant honking irritates her, she tries to keep her spirit up thinking about the evening ahead!

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Like every year she’s been planning this for long time. It’s not easy to get into a good place in Gurgaon on Dec 31st unless you pre-book, and of course you are over charged. While she was thinking about all the trouble she went through to get bookings for the new year’s extravaganza in this club, she suddenly remembered the quiet and simple new year celebrations of her childhood – mom would cook a nice dinner, bake a cake and they would all sit together before the black & white TV (Westin was it?) to watch the special shows. First, a look back at the year that was, a recap of the important happenings of the year passing by that was presented by the suave DD news readers. Meenu, Geetanjali Aiyer, Shammi Narang and their ilk had a class and a poise that is completely lost to news anchors of our times.

Then came the much-awaited year-ender presented by a Bollywood star, with lot of nanch, gaana, smart one-liners and jokes and Bollywood numbers. In fact, all the different shows on different Bollywood award nights that we see now are basically a modern and glitzy take on the old DD format. The grand finale would come at 12 with a big star presenting a special number welcoming the new year. Tiya vaguely remembered Hungama 85 or 89 was it? After that they would cut the cake wish each other new year and go to bed.

Stuck in traffic that is barely moving now she suddenly missed those simple new year festivities, they didn’t do much but there was so much warmth. When she invited Tarun for the new year’s party he did suggest that she could come over and he could cook her a nice meal and they could watch a movie together or listen to music. But Tiya wanted to impress Tarun with the glitzy club and introduce him to her friends. Tarun however wasn’t too excited about the club, though he promised Tiya that he would try to join.

They have been dating for a while now but Tarun is yet to meet her friends. Each time she tried organizing a lunch or an evening do with her friends, there was always some last moment work emergency due to which he couldn’t attend. So, when Tarun suggested a quiet dinner at home instead of a party with her friends for New Year’s Eve, Tiya felt he was avoiding meeting her friends and that made her uncomfortable. May be Tarun sensed that and agreed to come.

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Tiya wondered whether she could even make it to the club. Most of her friends were already there and she still has an hour to go according to GPS. What if Tarun reaches before her, he doesn’t really know anybody. Soon enough the phone rang, it was Tarun he left very early so he could be in the club on time, and now that she’s yet to reach he will wait for her at lobby. Tiya felt terrible, the unending traffic and chaos frustrated her. Somehow, she manoeuvred her way to the club and found Tarun patiently waiting for her at the lobby. He’s been waiting for almost an hour with a bouquet of flower and an old fashion New Year’s greeting card. Tiya was touched, nobody has given her a greeting card in years. As Tarun smiled shyly, she opened the card, ‘It has been wonderful meeting you’, the card read. ‘Are you sure you want to go to this crowed club?’ Tarun asked, ‘we could still go to my place and have a quite dinner.’ ‘Let’s just go to your place, cook together and watch some TV,’ Tiya said, she’s had enough noise for one night. ‘But what about your friends?’ asked Tarun. ‘I will message them, we are very late anyway,’ said Tiya.

They celebrated new year over Tarun’s home cooked meal and few glasses of beer (Tuborg strong was their favourite drink). And they talked through the cold winter night into the new day!

Princess strides into a New Year!

It’s almost Christmas and new year is just around the corner! Like everybody else, our princess, let’s call her Maya, is waiting in anticipation for the festive season to ring in surprises and cheer. May be her prince will surprise her with a beautiful gift and they will walk into the new year hand in hand with renewed hope!

Princess Maya

‘What’s new in a new year?’, she has heard cynics say, ‘it’s just another day…’. But what’s wrong in hoping? Turning a new leaf? Isn’t that what makes life beautiful, wonders Maya. Now with Vayu, her Prince Charming, the festive season would be more exciting she thinks. Though her other admirers have been wanting in the wings, Vayu is all our princess wants!

Prince Vayu

But Vayu has been busy in other pursuits. Though he’s fond of Maya, she’s not the one who dominates his thoughts. ‘She likes me too much, she will wait’, Vayu thinks as he busies himself in work or just hanging out with friends. ‘The poor chap is working too hard’, feels Maya and goes all out to accommodate him and his ways. She leaves office early or moves her meetings around just to spend a few hours with Vayu, for he’s a busy man you see. Vayu comes and goes as he pleases, calls her when he feels like, dodges her calls when he wants. At times Maya feels bad, but things will change she hopes, for Vayu genuinely cares for her or that’s what he says.

Then one day, when Vayu doesn’t show up as promised she gets upset and confronts him, for she feels belittled and humiliated. They have a big fight and Maya decides that’s it! But Vayu promises to make things better and wins her over with affectionate words. Maya gives in and things do get better for a while, but soon Vayu is back to his old ways again. He changes plans and often doesn’t respond to her calls. ‘Oh, I would have called you back (at some point)’ is the only response she gets. Maya has been waiting to make new year plans with Vayu, and now that it’s nearing, she wonders in despair if it would be yet another lonely New Year’s Eve!

But she need not be lonely, for new years are not all about ‘Prince Charming’! Our princess Maya is a popular girl and she has many friends, some who would want to be more than friends. In fact, she has been dodging her admirers carefully not to offend Prince Vayu’s sentiments. But ‘where is Vayu when I need him?’, ponders Maya. ‘Maybe I am getting it all wrong, walking into a new year and turning a new leaf is more about me and not him’, realizes Maya. ‘Vayu can do what he pleases, he will come when he comes, and I will see him when I see him’, decides Maya.

Soon Maya is lonely no more! She makes Christmas plans with her friend and her little daughter and gets busy browsing recipes of Christmas cake which she plans to bake for the little girl. She plans to meet her friends over a drink and maybe she will watch a movie on New Year’s Eve. For Maya realizes that finding Prince Charming is not the be all and end all of life; it’s just another option amongst so many others that make her happy and fulfilled. Our princess will stride into the new year with new dreams and hopes…with or without prince charming!

The Princess & Her Tinder Tales!

Little princess

Once there was a pretty little princess who grew up in her little kingdom where everything seemed perfect. Though loved and pampered by her family and friends, little princess was not a lazy girl. She worked hard and planned a perfect future in which she would conquer the world and live happily ever after with her prince charming!

The little princess grew up to be a fine young lady and one day met her prince charming, or she thought. Enamoured by the handsome and intelligent prince, the princess gave him her loving heart. But alas, he carelessly tossed her heart away! The princess was shattered for he was the one, her true love, she had believed. She cried for months and hoped he would come back, but her prince charming was gone for good. Finally, the princess wiped her tears and went on a journey to conquer the world. The journey was lonely at first, scary at times, there were times when she felt alone. At times she missed him and wept for her prince, but he was just a memory now.

Princess 1

As the princess moved on the journey became exciting, challenging and beautiful. She conquered many obstacles, touched many milestones and made many friends. She ruled her world, was loved by many and was not lonely anymore. But at times she would miss that ‘someone special’. Go find him, her friend whispered. So, she looked for him in the garden, on the road, in every city and town, but alas he was not be found. But did you create your Tinder account? her friend quizzed.

Though the princess didn’t know much about tinder, she lost no time in creating an account. Just swipe right and swipe left it’s that easy, or she thought, and she was wrong again. In no time our princess was matched with many a young and handsome men. Then sang her praises and wooed her their intelligence and charm. The princess was flattered and happy, sure of finding her special one among her many matches.

But her happiness was short lived, for some of her matches were already ‘happily’ married and looking a ‘good friend’ or looking to network. Some were looking for casual intimacy, some confused not knowing what to look for. Though our princess was no prude she was shocked by the direct overtures of one-night stands and no strings attached intimacy. No not for me she thought, I am happier on my own!

Then one day out of her nowhere, one of her forgotten tinder matches reached out to her. Let’s have coffee tomorrow he said. Not expecting much she agreed out of sheer politeness. On a rainy winter evening she walked up to him waiting outside a coffee shop. He was charming and polite and as they started talking it was as if they have known each other for a while. So, they kept meeting and talking and meeting again and felt very happy to have found each other.

Nothing’s perfect and there are no ‘happily ever afters’, the princess now knows, she’s not a cynic though! She will take each day as it comes and make beautiful stories’ as she goes along!

Love Notes

Frog Prince or Prince Frog – Fairy tales inverted

frog prince

Didn’t we all love the story growing up – A princess magically transforms a frog into a prince with a kiss. As a girl I remember reading the fairy tale over and over, completely enamoured by the story and the images… the princess finally garnering enough courage to kiss the frog… kiss of true love, and the prince (frog) who promises to be true to her forever…

As I grew up and went looking for my prince imagine my disappointment when my fairy tale turned upside down. Each time I would meet my prince and greet him with a kiss he would turn into frog and hop away, leaving me alone and heartbroken…

Perhaps life is all about realizing that fairy tales are not meant to be, but that’s all right. We make our stories as we go along with real people!

First crush

Tough one! The dreamy grey-eyed lawyer who used to pass our house every day on his way to the court, or the tall 10th standard boy from my school. I was just 13 then…shy…reserved…, never had the guts to talk to either of them and don’t even remember their names now. They were my ‘dream dates’, literally…

I grew up in a small town where everybody knows everybody, anywhere you go you meet somebody who knows your dad or uncle making it very difficult for me to pursue my romantic interests.

Had a heart-breaking encounter with my lawyer when I went home last year – My dreamy-eyed lawyer has metamorphosed into a pot-bellied 50 something…tried very hard but couldn’t find a trace of his former romantic self….or, may be the romance was all me… influenced by Jane Eyre and Gone With the Wind it was my quest for Mr. Rochester and Rhett Butler.

Around that time, I also had a crush on a certain Pakistani cricketer …so much so that my mother was worried. His posters were all over my room… I imagined myself to be his ‘true love’ and I was confident that we would get married some day and bring an end to the Indo-Pak tensions…

First crush…funny, silly, seems utterly meaningless now… did make growing up so much more exciting…

Growing up, falling In and Out of love

I loved my student days. I enjoyed all the attention I got – those stares and longing glances, scribbled love notes, fumbling love yous. But at that time boys my age didn’t impress me, I fancied Rhett Butler! (Do kids still read Gone with the Wind?)

Love note

Our times were much slower. Months would pass before side long glances would graduate into a ‘hello’ and then may be rendezvous in between classes, holding hands occasionally. There were love notes and roses and mushy greeting cards professing everlasting love. Those were the days when we believed in ‘true love’ and ‘forever’. We reveled in the idea of love and romance, we believed in Platonic love. Physical intimacy came much later, sometimes never but that didn’t take away anything.

Hostel life offered more opportunities for romance. Dates in the college canteens, long walks in star lit nights, bouquets of wild flowers and of course lovey dovey greeting cards. That was the time when I could go out for a movie or a dinner date with my college boyfriend. That romance continued for a while even after I moved to Delhi.

Early years at work was more like an extension of college life. There were lot of young people around and we would hang out after work. Life somehow was rosier then, everything seemed possible. We would go all over the city in a DTC bus, hang out in Dilli Haat, stand in long ques for the Rs. 10 movie tickets (front row was available for 10 bucks in those days), McDonadls or Nirulas for dinner – funds were limited but life was perfect!

It wasn’t difficult to find someone you would like to date or hang out with. Blind dates were set up by friends which sometimes turned into sweet romance (which I then thought would last forever!). I fell in love, broke my heart and fell out of love. Then suddenly I got busy with my job and there was no time for love or romance. Finally, when I decided that it’s time to meet someone, love and romance had gone digital and there is Tinder!