Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cut it out

So the birthday was spent mainly in quiet contemplation. Really it was nothing more than the exhaustion and loneliness of a house used to having parents and a sibling suddenly emptying out. Yes, we have been sans any form of parent in our home since the end of last week and all the tiredness of being on the trot 24/7 with entertaining, cleaning, cooking and good behaviour, mostly, had taken its toll.

In the months running up to this birthday I have been giving serious thought to what I want this next year to look like. I am a great believer in resolutions and make then for New Years and once in a while on birthdays. The New Year ones are invariably to do with ‘don’t eat this, don’t eat that’. The birthday ones are a tad more soul searching and happiness seeking. This year I have made three large ones:

1. Last August, 48 weeks ago, a week after moving house, V and I joined the gym. Against my better judgement, I must add, as I have never ever stuck to any programme of exercise or diet for long. Somehow it has stuck. And we are here in week 49 with me weighing 10-12 kgs less than I did (depending on day and number of chocolate eaten) at start point. The gym going has dipped over the last two months with visitors and erratic schedules but we have kept at it fleetingly (read twice a week) and the grams seem to be creeping back on. Well, resolution no.1 is to cut out the flab. I am going to take this to a higher notch and am aiming to lose 15 kilos in the next 6 months. Yes, I am THAT fat.

2. In my youth I harboured misguided dreams of being a world class chef. Thankfully I came to my senses as I had neither the temperament nor talent for it. I also discovered I have the ambition of an overfull slug on a cauliflower. I do however enjoy cooking very much and feeding other people the leftovers of whatever I wolf down (see pt.1 for where this has got me). This interest in cooking led me to set up a failed blog with just one introductory post on it. And I am that lazy that I have not yet bothered to even delete said sad blog. Coming back to the point I have lost my cooking mojo. I am bored with everything we eat at home, even though we try and eat a different cuisine nearly everyday. I'm at the point where I never want to see another meal cooked by me as long as I live. That is how staid my repertoire has become. So this birthday I resolve to cut out the slackness and bringing back to life my interest in good food. So I shall buy one new cookbook a month and try and put that zing back into our meals and stomachs. And I will delete that horrid-haunting-me blog.

3. This third one is the biggie. I have come to the unhappy realization that pretty much my entire life it’s been all give give give and no take take take. My life is filled with people whom I think are my friends but who clearly view me as nothing but an acquaintance or a friend when in need.

What started this one was a memory of a conversation with a school classmate where she convinced me to come to her house to spend an afternoon as my house was too far away. I was an uncomfortable teenager and eager to please and be included in the hallowed circle of ‘friends’ and gave into silly requests like this not ever once questioning how the distance between our houses would change whether she came to mine or I to hers. I still remember my dad always uncomplainingly driving to pick me up from far flung corners of Delhi when no one would agree to come to where we lived in the sticks. Perhaps I was not a nice teenager and needed to make the extra effort to make any friends, but I highly doubt that. As I grew older and more confident the wheat fell away from the chaff and I found friends that didn’t care where I lived and seemed to like me for me. An adulthood of living in different cities has been blessed by technological advances like text and email. Life is all fast paced and yet nowadays I feel like a slow-fast motion film where I am standing on a train platform, quite still, and around me figures are blurred by the speed at which they move. Of course the sign around my neck says ‘Please like me’.

The move to this city five years ago left me all anxious about friendships – those left behind and the need for new ones in this city. Here I was, newly wed and now trying to forge friendships with a new world of people that had to like me. We slotted into various vapid social circles but I still needed proper friends, like fresh air, to breathe and help me find my place in this continuum. It is hard work, this making friends business and it’s not a skill that comes easily to me. I have worked at it with diligence. And hand on my heart I can say I have always been the better of two friends, loyal and trusting to a fault. I have carried pregnant women’s shopping, hosted dinners, lunches, brunches, teas, baked cakes, remembered birthdays, anniversaries, bought thoughtful gifts, called, texted, enquired and appropriately reacted to births and sickness, let my house be used like a dharamshala, lent my ears and shoulders to others woes, given asked advice on where to get groceries, where to live, how to find help etc. Well, I have been used one time too many. Probably because I try too hard and attempt to turn every person I meet from acquaintance to friend in 25 minutes. That is my downfall. And now I am rectifying it.

So this is my resolution. And you will not like it. But really I do not care. I am 32 and for once in my life I see clearly. I am done trying to be the good one and have everyone like me. This year it is all about me. I am cutting out the crap – people whom I have taken as friends over the years but clearly are not in it for anything other than selfish reasons. I am distinguishing between friends and acquaintances (page out of V’s book of life) and although for me this is a painfully hard task I am sure I will be the richer for it. I will not send you long emails telling you about my life and then smile at a one line reply. I will not stand somewhere and wait in pouring rain/ sweeping winds because you think its OK to be late. It is not. It is just plain simple disrespectful. I will not listen to lame excuses of why we cannot meet up. Or why my house is too far for you to come but yours is that tad closer. I will not invite you to my house again for a meal after having you round to mine a hundred times and not once being invited to yours. I will not remember birthdays/ anniversaries. Or rather I will remember but will not call/ email/ txt. More than anything I will no longer listen to your lame ass excuses. My life is as busy as yours - even if I do not have a child (which is just everyones excuse these days) - don't assume I have the time to fit you into my schedule - I too have a life. I will be ruthless and horrid and make you work to be my friend. Because, I agree with the darn ad, I am worth it.

I am in my 30’s for crying out loud and have discovered that there are friends to be had out there. Real people. Good people. Who want me for their friend as much as I them. The rest of the lot will slowly but surely be cut away. I say slowly because they won’t notice till they need something and turn to me. I won’t be there. And I won't feel guilty.

PS. Pt. 3 also counts for hundreds of thankless relatives. I will NOT call/ email because I have to. I will not buy you gifts you can then give away. I will not go out of my way to come see you. I’ve done it enough already. Now it’s your turn. Or not.

PPS. What I really did last birthday: Long overdue cleaning all day Saturday followed by trek across town for dinner of Indian-Chinese grub at my ever favourite Dalchini. Was woken by the endless texts and different sung versions of Happy Birthday of people not realizing it was 7.30am and that I was not quite awake. Did not get act together till way past mid-day and was being infuriatingly indecisive on picking lunch place. Finally chose Tayabs. And followed that up with going to buy part of fabulous birthday gift from V. More on that later.


  1. 1. I think Resolution 1 and Resolution 2 are really tough to maintain in tandem... no?

    2. Hear, hear for resolution #3!

  2. Nee: Re. 1 & 2. No actually - just different food, better quality, small portions (for the taste not the fat) - combined with rigourous gym and much saying NO to nonsensical chips and my greatest downfall, chocolate.

    Re.3: Let's see what other reactions this brings. I stand resolute!

  3. Anonymous10:15 PM

    Bravo for resolution #3 - life really is too short for spending time with people who don't really care.

    Okay, 30, please share more as to the workout you did to lose all that weight and what you're going to do now to lose the rest of it?

  4. So I hope you had a super birthday! 'Tis just another reason for a party I say! (if you're looking for reasons, that is! ;)) Hope you get to keep all your resolutions! Cheers! :)

  5. Good luck with all 3 resolutions. 3 moved me immensely and the thing about remembering birthdays really touched a chord.

    More power to you,girl. Have a splendid year :)

  6. You have had way more than your share of horrible people, haven't you? Where do you find them?

  7. Atta Girl! (For resolution 3) :)

  8. Anonymous5:05 AM

    I have had to trudge to distant Bombay suburbs on my short trips to India because my friends found it difficult to come meet me in the city where my folks lived. And the thing I feel most guilty about is yelling at my mom on one of these trips for having asked me to stay at home as she wasn't getting enough time with me.

    I now suggest a central place to meet. If my friends really want to meet me then they will come. And their husbands can look afetr their kids!!

    Good luck with Res 1 & 2. You can do it!

  9. Hey belated birthday wishes, lady! And cliched as it may sound, it does seem like those people you've been putting so much effort to stay friends with, really aren't worth it. Seriously, they can go take a hike! You deserve better, and sure you will find them.

  10. Anonymous3:31 PM

    Excellent. Excellent resolutions. I want to borrow them.....hopefully you have time to make new friends ;-)

  11. Wow res 3 is very brave. I dont think I have the courage to do that as yet, though I have trudged long distances to meet friends and still do. Let us know how it goes please, maybe it will inspire me to get my act together too.

    and i agree with SW, hope you have time to meet up with your new acquaintances, who are great 'friends material' even if i say so myself :)

  12. you already know what I think of your resolutions... best of luck! hugs

  13. Awww.. you're growing up.. I remember when you were 30 :P

    Hmm, you know I lost 1 kg in 6 days.. that too just by jogging ;) I also intend to lose 15 kgs.. so i'm gonna keep you as competition.

    I could quite relate to pt. 3.. keep at it lady!!

    See you at the finish line less 15 kgs :D

  14. OMIGOD! I missed it. Hope you had a fantastci day and heres to lots more of your special brand of online fun. (makes you sound like a porn star I know, but you know what I mean babes!)

  15. Just read this...I like your resolutions...esp no 3. I can relate to how you feel - not in the same exact way - but in how some friendships fall apart when you think they are for life and then you realise it doesn't really matter in some cases - they were not real friends to begin with! I find that it is harder to find friends that truly share your happiness - almost easier to find friends who will lend you a shoulder to cry on...

  16. Happy belated birthday 30in2005!!! Here's to a kick ass year ahead and yeah, to keeping those resolutions!

  17. ps...I love tayyabs too.

  18. Anonymous6:57 PM

    I have been reading your blog for a while...it's funny reading this page I could have sworn you were talking about me! Love Dalchini - good choice I live around the corner from the place and it is my comfort food when I long for home...funny I turned 30 in 2005 as well...too many similarities! Spooky! LOL

  19. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. Happy Birthday to you!

  20. You go 30in2005. These are hard resolutions but some great realizations.

  21. Happy Birthday! So with you on the world using their child as de facto excuse for everything and replying to long missives with a one liner.

    This is your year! Take time out for yourself.

    And for the nuggets of wisdom you dispensed, "der aayi durust aayi" type situation here. (Hope I got that muhavra correct, my Hindi grammar is rusty)


  22. Happy Birthday and wishing you a great year.

    For the post.. oh well, I could so relate to parts of it. Lets say a comment is too little space, and I need to do a whole post on this.

  23. Anonymous6:18 AM

    Hope you have a lovely year and hope you find friends who are worthy of you.

  24. Hello! You've been tagged :)

  25. Hey happy Birthday! I love your resolutions!

  26. Happy, happy birthday!!!A couple of more days and I'll be there as well. 32 in 2007, lovely age huh:)
    I totally get your "are they really my friends?" question. The past couple of months have been an eye-opener of sorts. I hope you stick to all your resolutions. My resolution will be to lose 10 kilos and I am pretty certain I WILL NOT get there!

  27. Everyone: Thank you for the birthday wishes and the support re: reolution 3. I really thought I would have to write this and duck for cover. I underestimated you and I apologise. I shall report back on how all my 'friends' fall to the wayside and how I magically conjure up new ones!!!

    Planet Halder: Workout plan has been to hit the gym for 50 minutes 4 days a week. Need to move this up a notch - am considering a combination of Bikram yoga and spinning class....

    Rohini: I do not know where and how I find them. Or maybe they find me - I have some kind of sign tatooed to my forehead 'come walk all over this girl'.

    Southways and Silent One: Yes, seeing as after this hard post I now have no friends left in the real world I shall have to 'make' new friends - you know the pre-requisites, any takers?!!!

    J: You are back - YAY! See you at the finish line 15 kgs lighter my friend - Oct 15th or so I shall have to report back how its all going - I have just this minute finished chomping down and entire kit kat so as you can see it's not started too well!

    Iz: You do have a way with words - all that star quality copywriting coming in handy!

    AQC: You said it!

  28. Thank you all for your words of support and wisdom. I hope you have better friends and the strength to remove the detritus.