Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ms. MIA is back! Holler!

Dear Readers:

I know I have been MIA for the past few weeks, but I had a lot on my plate. But I am back, and I want to give Zee and Hero a big thanks for commenting on my blog in my absence; their comments were a sweet reminder of the blog that I had loved penning my thoughts in. Well, I have not been saving the world unfortunately in my absence, but I have been working hard to salvage a grade in an undergraduate class that is proving to be extremely challenging; so, I am diligently working towards attainment of that yet elusive grade “A” that I know I have both the inclination and the potential to earn. People who know me really well will attest to my ineptitude regarding science and lack of knowledge concerning ongoing technological advancements, and this class unfortunately has “study material” elements of both in large doses; I have been and am even presently learning in the class about nasceant fields such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and other pertinent information about computing power, which is where the trouble stemmed from initially. But even the matter of dealing with difficult and convoluted material would have been fine had I done well on the midterm exam, which I failed to do (although I did not fail the exam and garnered an average grade); this incident upset my goal on the onset of breezing through the course through quick perusals of the material. But I am confident that with whispered prayers to God from my well-wishers (family, friends, and maybe even the readers of this blog), I will be able to excel in this class like I wish to. Hey, a little hope never hurts anyone, right? (Wistful.) Anyhow, I will post the day after tomorrow a post of substance; but for now, this is just a short update on the goings-on in my life.

Ek Umeed :)

P.S. I wish the best for all of you, and I want to thank you for your patience. Funny story: My birthday is on the 19th of this month, and I keep forgetting the date until my sister reminds me that I am now officially of marriageable age by the yesteryear’s desi standards and that my unknown, unlucky, donkey bridegroom awaits me. What, you ask? Yeah, I know… (Bemused sigh.) Don’t you just love annoying sisters? I am definitely going to find mine and pull her pigtails one of these days. Hehe. ;)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Three Abortions and Clueless Parents

Dear Readers:

My sister has a roommate who recently shared the story of a close Muslim friend of hers that had three abortions previously; I will call my sister’s roommate Sabat and this close Muslim friend of her roommate’s Nadira. Apparently, Nadira had made a request to Sabat for the amount of four-hundred dollars to have another abortion. Sabat was looking for advice from my sister as to whether she should give the said amount of money to Nadira, which is why Sabat revealed the story of her friend Nadira to my sister. From what Sabat divulged of Nadira’s background, Nadira comes from a well-to-do family and does not (on the surface at least) lack for anything in the world. My sister had occasion to meet the mother of Nadira at an iftaar party, and my sister discerned that Sabat was right about Nadira’s mother: Nadira’s mother lives in a world of oblivion, ignorant of her daughter’s present unwanted pregnancy and lifestyle choices that made status quo possible. And Nadira’s father is too busy in his role as a bread-winner of the family to heed the goings-on in the life of his own children. In the desi community, the parents of Nadira are snickered and looked down upon behind their backs, but these parents still have no clue about this matter as it pertains to their daughter. After living in the U.S., not much shocks me. But this did shock me. How can any parents be that oblivious to their children’s behavior outside of the home? And though this is a perhaps an extreme example of children behaving in less than desirable manner (an understatement) without their parents’ knowledge, I have to wonder whether cultural or religious values and knowledge were dispensed in this case to the offspring.

I wish to mention that I did not use the real names of the people that I am writing about. However, I deliberately chose the particular name Nadira to represent the girl whom I am referring to because it means “unique.” However, we should all realize by now that these types of cases in the desi community are no longer as “unique” as we would like to believe, which is why the name stands an intended pun within this real-life story. And though I had intended to present more instances to solidify my case against wishy-washy morality in our present generation of desi community, I refrained from doing so because I did not know how I would incorporate these stories into the wider question that I have on morality of this generation. So, though I am not going to present more cases right now, I might have more on the subject in a future post. For now, you are free to take this post with a grain of salt, but I would like you to contemplate some on the subject as I am sure I will.

Ek Umeed

P.S. Since I am not sure exactly where I am going with this post, I pose a question to you: To what extent are parents responsible for ingraining in their children cultural and religious knowledge and values? And to what extent do the children shoulder the responsibility for the choices they eventually make? (By the way, thanks for taking the time to respond to my earlier posting, and realize that I have responded to each of your remarks in the comments' section of that posting.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

25 Little Nothings That Gives A Peak Into Me and My World

..Dear Readers:

Though many of you read your favorite blogs regularly (or at least try to) and perhaps have stumbled recently onto my blog by accident or invite, I wonder how many of you really know the people you visit the blogs of; I am referring to the “real” people behind the screen typing away their thoughts, passions, and life’s idiosyncrasies. So, just to demystify myself somewhat to my audience as a blogger, I shall share with you 25 little nothings:

1. I am: vivacious, yet reserved, and compassionate, empathetic, sincere, and faithful.

2. To me, blogging means: being creative in penning your stories and/or analysis, being expressive about your life experiences, and giving your readers a window to your soul and/or mindset.

3. My first crush: was when I was six; I thought I would be singing Bollywood songs with one cute and macho-wannabe eleven-year old boy, and live happily-ever-after. Alas, there was no happily-ever-after. (Sighs.)

4. My family is: my world, and the reason I smile.

5. I could die for: my family.

6. I am superstitious about: the nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach and “evil eye.”

7. I don’t like people who are: habitual liars, hypocrites, misanthropes, misogynists, abusers, betrayers, leeches, sycophants, phonies, and lechers.

8. I am scared about: dying before I live my dreams, and losing my family.

9. I would probably scream if I saw: creepy-crawlies, and shadows in the dark.

10. My favorite cuisine is: Indian, Italian, Greek, and Middle Eastern.

11. If I could be any animal, I would be: a bird because I want to fly, and I envy them the freedom that I imagine they have of building their nests where they will. Oh, to be free! Glorious indeed!

12. My best qualities are: my ability to be there for someone no matter what, capacity for unconditional love, sense of humor, wittiness, sharp dressing sense, and nurturing nature.

13. My worst qualities are: my moodiness, temper, oversensitiveness, indecisiveness, propensity towards procrastination, and lack of organizational skills.

14. I hope to improve upon: my lack of mastery over elocution, and timeliness.

15. What most people don’t know about me is: I prefer to call myself spiritual rather than religious and that I am goal-oriented; and I am likely to forgive anything for a box of chocolates, flowers or any such thoughtful gesture or gift. (Sentimental fool, I know!)

16. My favorite actor is: nobody, honestly; I do like certain actors, but it is not for their acting ability, for sure. (Hint: I like them for their _ _ _ _ _. Got it? Looks!)

17. My favorite actress is: Rani Mukherjee; I love her charismatic on-screen presence, and the warmth and welcome she seems to exude in her every smile. I also find her a superb actress, one of the finest in Bollywood. A “rani” (“queen”) indeed!

18. The quote that I find most funny is: the one oft found written behind the backs of trucks in India, “Buri nazar wale, tera muh kala.” [Translation: “Evil eye bearers, may your face be blackened with soot.”]

19. The quote that I find most inspirational is: Anais Nin’s thought, “Dreams are necessary to life.”

20. The quote that I find true to life is: Albert Einstein’s words, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”

21. My pet peeves are: people forgetting important occasions such as birthdays or not giving enough importance to the significant dates in the first place, and sheer idiocy of people in general.

22. My secret is: (Hey, if I told you my secret, then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore!)

23. I like to wear: casual outfits such as comfy pajamas, jeans, shirts; but sometimes, I like to dress in extremely fancy outfits as lahengas, especially at desi weddings.

24. My dream wedding would be: on a beach with nobody but our families as witnesses to the holy matrimony. My hubby-to-be (whoever the unlucky guy is) and I would make a commitment to each other with the “nikah” recitation done by an Imam amidst our professions of, “Kabul hai” (“I accept”). Of course, that will remain a dream because I have a host of relatives and my mother would not let me do “man-maani” (“what I desire in my willfulness”) in this matter. (Sighs.)

25. My dream is: (I will reveal it to you when I achieve it. Otherwise, I am likely to sound like a dreamy fool.)

Ek Umeed

P.S. I came up with these questions on my own and with inspiration from observing and reading umpteen times previously the usual format of questions asked in interviews of celebrities. So, now that I am done with the deal, I would like to say thanks to you all for visiting my blog, and writing your comments. I hope to see you back for more! I strongly believe that the quality of a blog is determined not by its writing, however good or bad it may be, but the quality of its readership. And therefore, I owe you my hearty thanks, for you all are indeed excellent!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Platonic Love OR Peekaboo Love?

Dear Readers:

Once upon a time, if you had asked me my views regarding a lasting platonic friendship to exist between the opposing genders, I would have voiced a boisterous “yes.” I now realize, however, that the path of friendship in scenarios as these is riddled inevitably with one or the other individual developing attraction or feelings for the unsuspecting friend; the attraction or feelings may develop slowly, but it will definitely occur at one point of time in the course of the friendship. The only case where I find this likelier not to occur is when either of the persons in the platonic relationship is already infatuated with or devotedly committed to another individual (and sometimes even that is not a deterrent). Another friendship case that I find plausible in lacking the potential for romance concerns either of the persons in the platonic relationship “truly” finding the other person unattractive physically. And that lack of physical attraction can be a result of sometimes sisterly or brotherly feelings for the member of the opposite sex. Odd, is it not? I would never have realized the blurred lines in friendships between platonic love and potential for future romance had I not witnessed the events unfold before my own two eyes in the case of a very close friend. Though I had heard or observed such events unfold from both proximity and distance at other times, my friend’s case really jarred me awake to “peekaboo love” amidst avowals of “just friends” from people involved in friendships with the opposite sex.

Out of consideration for my dear friend’s privacy (in the unlikely scenario that one of you should know her personally), I will keep attempt to keep her identity a secret by henceforth referring to her as “Sandy.” Of course, I do not know of any person in my acquaintances’ or friends’ circle named Sandy, which makes the utilization of this name convenient for my purposes of building upon my earlier assertion of truly platonic feelings not possible in a friendship unless one meets the criteria in which I find this probability to be slim. Just to refresh your memory, the question is whether long-lasting platonic love possible in a friendship between the opposite sexes, especially when the two genuinely begin with only platonic feelings for each other. As my friend, Sandy, discovered, the answer is mostly “no.”

I had met Sandy in my freshman year of college. Sandy is a very lively, fun-loving, audacious, trustworthy, and loyal individual; to top it all off, she possesses a lot of common sense, which is why this instance would lead me to dismiss my earlier professions of only platonic love possible in friendships between the different genders. Since I had always thought of her as a person with no reservations about sharing her feelings with me, I was surprised to observe that she appeared nervous and a bit lost in her own thoughts that fateful day she told me about her not-so-platonic feelings for a certain friend.

Though I am a very perceptive person, I had dismissed my initial observation of her nervousness that day as overactive imagination because I could not imagine why. So, I continued to converse with a passive Sandy that day, oblivious to the turmoil in her heart. But in the middle of our walk on campus, I distinctly remember that she had suddenly turned to me. Biting her lower lip and avoiding my eyes directly, she had said in a simple yet hesitant manner, “I like someone.” My reaction, as the girly girl I am, had been an excited exclamation, “Really? Who? Do I know him? Tell me; tell me.” At her silence, I had said with a knowing smile, “So, that’s what has been going on in that ‘beautiful mind’ of yours? Me likey.” I had laughed at my own quirky remark while she had remained silent but shooting darts at me with her expressive eyes for (what she probably deemed) my ill-placed humor.

“So, are you going to tell me or what?” I suppose she had been unable to resist my enthusiasm because I could see her previously hazed, dark eyes light up with humor again. In mock contemplation, with a moment’s pause, she had said, “Or what.” In my classic, mature behavior, I had made a face. And she had laughed. I had asked again, this time with a gentle prodding and genuine curiosity, “So, who is he?” The name she had taken had halted me in my tracks. He was our friend. He was like the brother that I had never had. And she liked him? (I shall henceforth refer to him as “Xavier” in the post.) I realized she needed me to say something that was helpful, but I could not come up with anything at such a short moment’s notice. Plus, I did not understand the situation and was curious as to how she had developed her liking for Xavier.

Sadly, I confess to my unoriginal, pathetic query, “Why do you like him?” After she explained to me that they had been spending a lot of time together, that she found him nice, charming, and funny, and that “he rocked her world” with his idiocies, I told her that I understood. To be honest though, I did not understand. But since as a friend, she needed my support rather than questioning of her judgment, I asked, “What do you plan to do about it?” She told me that she would tell him. I was shocked again. (If I were in her place, my own cowardice alone would have kept me from ever confessing my feelings; as a disclaimer though, I wish to add that I have never been nor do I plan to be in her place because I do not easily befriend anyone, let alone any member of the opposite sex.) Though I supported her decision as a faithful friend, Sandy soon found out that Xavier did not share her sentiments. That is when I began to think seriously on platonic love.

Can there be platonic love between members of the opposite sexes? I think not, for I do believe that spending time with someone does develop within any person a “soft corner” for that friend of the opposite sex. Unless that “soft corner” is entirely fraternal and/or sororal in nature, I can see how people of the opposite sex can get easily ensnared in the tangle of false security of liking someone as just a friend and later realize that one has developed attraction or feelings for the person instead. Think about it: Great friendships, in most people’s personal definitions, comprise sharing of and honest dialogue on one’s emotions, desires, and dreams. If one inspects the instance closely, you will realize that the expectation from a life partner is very similar to the definition of a great friendship: listening, conversing, and sharing of life, dreams, emotions, and desires. Then, it is easy to see how the lines of friendship can become blurred.

I ask you: How can you not feel attracted to a person of the opposite sex that you feel knows you inside-and-out, can complete your utterances before you, understand your thoughts before you do so, can tolerate you for more than an hours’ end at a time, and accepts you as you are? Most people assert that they want to be able to imagine or see a best friend in their prospective romantic partner. Why? An ideal marriage or romantic relationship comprises of a friendship between the opposite sexes; that is why. After all, what is to say that a platonic friendship will not lead to the development of the foundation for love and romance? I harrumph at platonic love because of the lurking possibility for that “something more” in the platonic relationship unless the aforesaid criteria of “unattractiveness” or “fraternal/sororal love” is met that assuredly eliminates the possibility of future romance. And therefore, if you happen to assert to your friends and family about “just being friends” with a certain her/him, do not expect them to not raise their eyebrows. Not all friendships are platonic; in fact, many, friendships are not platonic, despite the original intention for it to be or remain so. Within the friendship might lie that “something” simmering below the surface that both people are oblivious to. But can you deny that it might be there?

Ek Umeed

P.S. My post is not meant to be a warning against or disapproval of friendships between members of the opposite sexes but meant to highlight my wariness of such a friendship. Can friendships between the opposite genders ever truly consist of platonic love? What are your views on the subject? Any personal experience with the matter? Do share.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Memory of My First Fast

Dear Readers:

My first observation of fasting in the month of Ramadan occurred when I was just about six or seven years old: My father promised my sister and I beautiful gifts should we succeed in keeping our fasts, but I opted to keep the fast rather in the spirit of commitment to an “adult thing.” Since it was the first fast of my life, I remember eating what my father and mother prepared at the designated time called “ sehri” with enthusiasm. I did not think fasting would be that hard, but in some ways, it was both better and worse than I expected. I recall that time like it was yesterday; only, it wasn’t yesterday but years ago. My first fast was a self-learned lesson that I never forgot, a memory near to my heart.

When I decided to keep my first fast, I thought I might be very hungry in the morning, which is why I decided to eat overmuch at sehri. But what I did not account for was the nagging, pitiful thirst; therefore, instead of feeling hungry, I kept feeling thirsty throughout the day. I did not know what to do. I tried to contend with the thirst for as long as I could before I decided to complain to the Wonder Woman of my life: My mom. So, I went searching for my superhero, hoping to have her solve this problem in the way mothers are supposed to. But then… I still recall what I now term as the “moment of truth.”

Truly, I felt a child’s impatience and frustration at the situation. But I was confident my mom would know what to do. I felt thirstier by the minute, yet I could not catch sight of her in the expected locations. Where was she? My throat was really dry; I could just imagine cotton balls occupying the tiny opening space. Oh, how I desired to sip water and have the cool liquid slip past my lips and soothe my aching, parched throat! I was sure she would understand. But oh, where was she? Hoping to catch her in our cozy kitchen, I ambulated to the place and saw no one there. Disappointed, I was about to turn back, go somewhere else to search for her, when my eyes fell on the plastic carton boxes.

Glass bottles of Coca-Cola lay in the plastic carton boxes, superimposed one upon another in a neat column; I was in love with Coca-Cola sodas. (These cartons were sent weekly to our home in Kuwait when we resided in the Gulf.) I was tempted; I stood there for quite a few seconds, suspended in indecision and inaction. If I drank a Coca-Cola to quench my thirst, no one would know. But then an unbidden thought penetrated my covetous mind, “God is watching. And I shall break both His and my parents’ trust should I choose to partake in this wrongdoing.” With one long look at the Coca-Cola bottles, I turned my back to the tempting sight. From somewhere in my child’s big heart, I mustered the courage to tiptoe out of the kitchen, still thirsty, and still wondering when my fast would be over.

I never complained to my mother as per my original attention, ashamed and confused about what had happened earlier. As time past slowly in that day of my first fast, I got used to the thirst, and I especially did not feel it as acutely when my sister and I were busy watching television. However, when we sat in the car to attend a desi “iftar” party (a social gathering that celebrates the breaking of fast together), I started feeling thirsty in the course of the seemingly long drive to our destination. (The party was organized by one of the many friends from my parents’ large and active social circle.) When it came time to break the fast, all the uncles and aunties rose from their sitting positions at the party to hog the table comprising of delicious Indian food.

So, the opening of my fast became more delayed, until my mother realized that my sister and I had not been given a chance to obtain anything from the table. So, she grabbed some plates and filled ours with various delicacies. But I cared not a farthing about the victual; I cared only about possessing a fresh glass of water. When my mother finally handed me that glass of water, I could have sworn to its heavenly taste and the divine nature of the original morsel of food that day.

At the end of the whole shebang, my sister and I indeed received gifts from my father in the form of the most beautiful, most expensive and delicately-etched small 24 karat gold pairs of earrings that I had ever seen. But at that moment, I cared nothing for it. I cared instead about praying for all the hungry and thirsty children of the world; sadly, they would not be able to quench their thirsts that day as I eventually had in that iftar party. I cared much, just not about what I thought I would; I certainly did not care that I had accomplished the feat usually managed by adults. I cared rather about having acted rightly and having learned something worthwhile from it all.

Ek Umeed

P.S. Do you remember your first fast? What was it like?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Please, No Toads for Husbands! And That is Final!

Dear Readers:

I had never seriously thought about the possibility of getting married before but actually writing about the subject of marriage in my blog for three times in a row has led me to a certain conclusion: If I were ever to decide to throw the gauntlet and marry, I would require that my hubby has certain qualities. My list is short and sweet; seriously, no worries on that account. So, listen up, future dear! Please, no promises of bringing the moon, sun, or stars to kiss my feet, you hear? Only this, I expect and will accept:
That list should make you happy, Mr. Right. Do not fear. I seek someone who welcomes life with a “smile” and will in turn appreciate my flaws as well as my better qualities. Otherwise, I am willing to grow old, wrinkly, and ugly. Then as I pass away in my sleep at the ripe, stinky old age of ninety, I shall thank the Almighty above for at least not having sent me a toad. No husband to contend with for a lifetime better than a toad of a spouse!

Ek Umeed

P.S. After a serious previous post, I thought I would lighten the mood up with my silly rhymes and requirements.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Marriage: To Do OR Not To Do. That is the question. PART 3

Dear Readers:

Maybe the best reason to avoid marriage lies in the fact that so many marriages in today’s day and age fail. And fail miserably. Why, you ask? The answer lies in expectations. Most couples have come to rely on so high an expectation regarding married life and their ideal spousal partner that when the time comes for living the dream, they get a rude shock: The reality check of why-did-I-ever-marry-the-idiot when the individual is clearly below outstanding. How can a couple really sustain a marital relationship past the stage of its infancy when they have never thought past the walks in the sunset, candlelight dinners, and hanky-panky? The problem is that Bollywood/Hollywood has brainwashed young, unmarried women and men with the message about the near-perfect relationship so much so that anything falling short of that “gets the boot.” It is then we who are proved the fool a thousand-times-over: Having “bought into” the fantastic lies, we are now willing to take the first available plane ticket to Timbuktu to escape the “real world stuff.” Bad news, folks: The honeymoon period is over!

Women expect to be given flowers as reminders of the “I love you” emotion. Men expect to say the words once or twice and have women remember the sentiment always. These differences “can” and “do” cause couples to fight, but most people overlook that the fights are not the result of a gendered issue but the lack of understanding on the how-to-deal-with-problems stuff. How do you deal with problems when they emerge from expectations? Simple, really. You realize that expectations hold you hostage and seek to lower your expectations and discuss them with your spouse-to-be/spouse. But most people do not want to admit that they were wrong to have the unrealistic expectations in the first place. Whoever wants to self-proclaim themselves fools and nutty ones at that! So, they skirt around the non-issues to avoid the actual issue. Folks, we do not and cannot control when the next avalanche hits Utah, but we do control expectations we set of ourselves, others, and our relationships. So, keep them “real.” Marriages, folks, are created from the stuff of sweat, tears, and adjustments. Otherworldly experiences and happily-ever-after storylines are reserved for the likes of Disney’s Cinderella.

Marriage is scary. Marriage has risks. But most things in life worth having are both scary and risky. Fear should not hold us back from something we want. Fear of failure. Fear of other people’s mistakes. Fear of loving too much or not enough. All you can do is try to find someone who will prospectively make you happy and adore you for you, your flaws, failings, frivolities, and all. I know, and you know that marriage is important and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. But that is precisely why we are all petrified of the m-word. After all, marriage has no hard and fast rules for success. It does not work for some people, and then it works for others. So, should you marry? The point is you will never know if you have what it takes to sustain a marriage past the difficulties that plague modern couples if you do not at least give the institution a try. I also believe though that marriage is not for everyone, or put it another way, not everyone is meant to get or/and stay married. If you are of the latter category, do not fret; this is not a judgment. In fact, I have yet to find out which category I belong to, which is fine by me as I am not in a hurry to figure the matter out yet.

That being said, I will tell you that despite my best endeavors, I have to admit with some chagrin, I too have somewhat bought into the expectations of how marital unions or “the one” should be like. However, right now, I am not shopping for hubbies, just college supplies. And I am not looking to marriage as the answer to my worldly woes, just looking at and asking some tough questions of/about marriage. In the next five years, I sometimes see myself with a husband and sometimes I don’t; it all depends on my mood. I guess marriage is scarier to me than most people because I have an acute fear of failure in the relationship arena. I know that if and when I will love, I will love deeply and thereby have the potential to be hurt deeply as well.

Moreover, I am not your average-scared-of-marriage person. More like: Scandalized. Walleyed. Dismayed. And all so by the prospect of marriage. (Sighs.) It all boils down to: “I’m terrified!” It is not precisely marriage, I must admit, that frightens; it is the step into the unknown. No matter how much I am persuaded by other people that marriage is fulfilling, I am sometimes simply not swayed by the arguments. Because the argument does not strike a cord. Or address the underlying logic of my reservations, which is my unique disposition and mindset. I rarely readily accept changes in my life. I am a private person and cannot fathom giving my consent to having my personal time and space invaded by an alien. I envy the bird that flies in the sky and builds its nests where it will. I seek complete independence from the need of others. I am loath to risk my heart or love anyone other than my family. I want to experience personal growth without having life or “that someone” change who or all that I am. Alas, I cannot ascertain if I have the emotional capacity to love someone in the romantic way.

If I am not wrong, marriage should provide positive feelings of security and safety in the arms of the one meant for us. But I know that struggles of life make marriage harder everyday. Yet is love worth taking a risk for? Perhaps. Still I am scandalized by the thought of possibly romantically loving my spouse with every fiber of my existence and having him not return my feelings. I am walleyed amidst reflections of my expectations about blissful marital unions. I am dismayed by not knowing if I will ever find someone that will elicit within my stomach the nauseous feeling of being invaded unexpectedly by a thousand butterflies.

Honestly, I have never been in love. So, I do not even know if there is “a one.” Or if romantic love exists. All I can tell you is that I am terrified of the part in life where I wake up and realize that my marriage was a mistake. But I do know this: In marriage, one of the smartest things to do is not run at the first sign of a problem, not make a big issue of the small issues that will inevitably arise in a marital relationship, and frequently self-reflect to understand clearly the bigger picture in the frame of a relationship. And if I do marry, I know I will do the smarter thing.

As a last thought, I leave you with the unbidden, unwanted marriage-related question that seems to always penetrate my mind at the most inopportune of times, “How in the world will I ever discover if I have found the one person that is meant solely for me and who I can be with my entire life and whole heart, mind, body and soul?” I might have understated this question’s significance by introducing and summarizing it as only as a “marriage-related question.” I should say it is the “mother” of all marriage questions. And let me know if you have the answer. And maybe, just maybe, I will provide the answer before you if I find that my reservations about marriage have disappeared after meeting the right individual. One can hope, right?

Ek Umeed

P.S. Since I am a staunch advocate of arranged marriages and do not support the “getting to know ‘the one’ through dating business” before the marital knot is tied in “desi” cases, I find it hard to guess what kind of marriage I will have if I do decide to get married should I meet the right person. But as in the famous words of askance thrown by mankind towards fate and future at all odd times of human history, I say, “We shall see.” And we shall.