Going to South America was one of the best decisions that I ever took. And the nine months I spent there is the shining skyline of my chaotic life.
As I returned back and tried to stand straight on Indian grounds again, someone told me about a writing competition which was looking for entries from women who had traveled solo to South America.
Yes, I was one of those women.
Why do we need a purposeful, meaningful life?
We are born, we start breathing, do a few things like school, college, job, and then die. Each one of us — hopefully — adds something to the world, we all evolve, become smarter, and this repeats.
In the end, we do not come out alive then why does everything — a broken relationship, a lay off, a fight at work, a stomach ache, a smartwatch — matter so much? What is it all adding up to? Evolution?
It is adding up to life — to these moments that the life is collectively composed of.
Why is it important to have a purpose, meaning to our life? So that all these moments together are a melodious song and not a cacophonous cry.
Everyone asks me where did I go, what did I do, what did I see, how did I feel, how did I manage such long travels, and how did my family react?
They say that I am lucky that I get to travel so much.
I smile. Sometimes, I lecture that everyone can travel. Why don’t you take a sabbatical and go?
People laugh. They shake their heads as if I had asked them to do the impossible. They say it is not easy. What would their parents say? Office won’t allow. Their partner is settled here. It would be too expensive.
They think these are unique problems.
Over the years, I have approached various men — both successfully and unsuccessfully.
I initiated the flirting and conversations and intimacy. I have realized expression makes everything easier. Don’t bottle up your feelings for long — unless expression would ruin everything.
Think what is the worst that can happen.
In college, I approached a friend — we used to gel really well together — but he acted as if there was nothing. Hurt, I acted stupid and this rejection gave me the best-drunk story of my life. More on that in another article.
All of us — men and women — think that we need seductive powers to approach people. No — approaching people — some of whom might be our romantic interests — is a matter of confidence and needs social skills. It is not a mission — it is a day to day activity. You need to make people conformable around you. No magic tricks, no email courses, no guides, no love gurus can teach you this.
To understand how to approach women, let us look at what are women exactly looking for.
I was unsure about this topic but then I thought of all friends, their friends, colleagues, men and women on internet and dating applications or marriage websites (this is specific to India) — looking for a date, a relationship, a life partner. Someone to share spaghetti and a glass of red wine at the end of the day or a samosa and a chai in the evening. To watch a movie on a Saturday night tucked in bed with grilled chicken on plate and whiskey on the rocks in glasses. To go for an impromptu drive in rain on a Friday evening with classical music on the radio. A post-Sunday-lunch lazy sex with soft music in the background.
We all have friends, family, roommates, work, paychecks, hobbies, goals but we all need someone to look at us with a burning warmth in their eyes. To say that we mean the world to them. To say that they won’t be able to live without us. They crave that one hug of ours in the morning. They want us to bear their children, sleep the rest of the nights in one bed, and celebrate Diwali and Christmas together. When they see a slight cut on our finger, they over react. They hold our hands sometimes and tell us that everything would be all right.
I thought this day would never come but I am six days away from turning 30. I would have to change both the digits of my age in all the pre-filled forms on the internet.
A twenty something me was working for software and finance giants, drinking way too much way too often vomiting in pubs and on Karnataka – Tamil Nadu highways, angry with family, running after people, quitting work many times, roaming around the world on my own when my mother thought I was at home or traveling with a friend, falling in love too many times, living in with someone knowing it was not going anywhere and feeling shattered when the obvious happened, cooking in restaurants and my own kitchen for hours, almost gone to Italy for a culinary course, dragging strangers to dance floors in pubs and bars, stranded at South American borders, taking lifts from random people on streets at random times, saying things that should have been kept private, unsure of what I wanted.
Once when I was in the sixth grade, I asked my sister to make sandwiches for my school picnic. A string of events occurred, and she declared I was selfish. I used to often realize that I was more interested in getting my work done, rather than the feelings and engagements of other people.
The realization that I was a bad person and that people knew about it was suffocating. I understood that I would be left alone if I did not change.
I consciously tried to become a better person by caring for other people and showing that I cared.
Why relationships are important?
Whose shoes shall I wear to mull over James Damore’s memo? By now you would know who is James Damore? An ex-Google employee who got fired as he tried to explain why there are so few women in Computer Science.
Should I be — a class topper who outperformed all boy students in mathematics and physics throughout school, the only female software engineer in a batch of sixty-nine boys, a writer who wants to bring balance into the world, a data driven individual, a laid off former employee of a well-known finance giant, a feminist in denial face, a woman who wants to be called intelligent rather than beautiful, an observer who has seen passionate women around her outperform men specifically in computer science and engineering or someone who acknowledges and accepts the differences between men and women?
None of the above.
Neuroscientist Anil Seth says, each fraction of a second, millions of neurons work in your brain to generate your conscious self-experience — your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. Without consciousness, there is no self, nothing.
Our brain receives signals from outside and also, inside. The signals that the brain receives from inside are not only of our experience but of millions of years of experience that has been passed through our DNA. Consciousness is an interception of two different signals: coming from outside (the sound and smell and noises and information) and coming from inside (of yourself and based on your beliefs and information).