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Men & Relationship Conflicts: Adapt Or Fall

It’s a near-universal fact that men avoid the ‘relationship talk’ as much as they can. I also sense a feeling of helplessness in the average man when it comes to the woman he loves. Assertiveness is easy when it comes to rivals, opponents and competition. But men seem unable to bring it to the fore with someone they care about, especially if that someone is a woman.

The social dictats complicate matters. I can’t refute the fact that a lot of women use tears and emotional blackmail to have their way. There’s practically no way out for a man in such a situation. Taking a stand, pushing back and even holding onto what he believes will be seen as harsh, heartless & cold in such times.

Personally, I think anybody who resorts to emotional blackmail deserves only a harsh response. But I am a woman. The same labels may be hung on me but somehow they don’t devalue my social standing as much as they would, a man. Like most women, I’m aware of this fact and much as I hate to admit it, it doesn’t always stop me from using it to my purposes in a relationship conflict.

The battle of the sexes is not new. But it seems to have reached diabolical proportions. As long as each side has an equal win/lose chance, it stays an exciting, entertaining game that comprises much of our adult lives. But when one side starts to gain an upper hand at such a rapid rate, while the other fails to keep up, the game must be lost to an ugly battle and nobody will be the winner.

This is the reality and the man is just going to have to summon up the courage to go against an ancient more, to stand his ground. The changing times lay their pressures on everybody.

Image via Ambro on FreeDigitalPhotos

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*If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram

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The Truth About Attraction Of The Opposites

You know the phrase ‘opposites attract‘? What nobody tells you is whether they ever end up happily ever after.

Enter Exhibit A: One human male who is (by his own admission) best epitomized in pop culture by Shrek. Reclusive by nature, irreverent in attitude.

Exhibit B: One human female (Me! Me! Me!) that you are well-acquainted with so we’ll save the metaphors for another day. Naturally sociable, fervent by nature.

Put these two together. Pour in a bottle of opinionatedness, stir in equal parts of intelligence and independence. And what do we have?

No, don’t go awww. Some of our conversations (?) would stop you dead in your tracks. Sample this. After the Babri Masjid case verdict was delivered, we argued for 3 hours! Not that either of us was part of the judiciary. Huh, when did that ever stop anybody from having an opinion? Or in our case, two opinions?

Yesterday ‘words’ were exchanged for over an hour over….the Mumbai Marathon. No, neither of us plans to participate. And uh, this, uh, conversation took place around midnight. On a working day.

These were the more ‘intelligent’ things that it seemed we could admit to arguing over. How about exercise regimes, career moves, housing accommodation? How about Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, street food, social structures, other people, recreational activities? If there’s a way to have two opinions over something, there’ll be three. And that’s just counting one of us. If there’s no way on earth something can be argued, believe you me, we’ll find a way. *Groan* Sometimes our conversations only end when we’re both too croaky-voiced to yell anymore.

Yesterday after our marathon debate (yes, pun intended), he concluded,

We haven’t learnt to disagree properly. Yet.

Grrr. Now I’m angry because he thought of it before me. But to salvage my flagging ticker (remember the scene from Pyaar ke side-effects?), here’s my thought.

I’m confident, bold, assertive and articulate. Okay, fine, immodest as well. I know, I can be overwhelming. It takes a very specific kind of person to get along with me. Someone who won’t be shaken or let me run over them. He’s as much of that as it gets.

He’s the world’s most infuriatingly stubborn stick-in-the-mud. It would take a vital force of nature to shake him out of his point of view and swim along in the flow of life. Heh, you looking at me? I got that in bucketfuls, baby. Barrels of it. Talk about an irresistible force meeting an immovable object!

I was grouching about this to my friend A (who is one half of a nice, well-behaved, placid-looking couple).

I’m sure everyone thinks we are horrible, fighting all the time!

He laughed and said,

No, you seem like a sweet couple that bickers a lot.

The other day I bent over to pick up a book from a below-eye-level shelf at the store. When I straightened up, I groaned and by way of explanation, offered,

“Backache. I must have slept on it wrong.”

“Ooff…idiot.”

was his succinct reply. Well, that’s actually romantic in Mr.Everyday parlance.

I suppose I should just shrug and accept an indelible fact. We are never going to stop bickering. We’ll probably be one of those couples that fences with walking sticks, in our old age. And then whoever falls first will be helped up by the other and set to rest. It won’t be me. (This is my blog, after all!) Uh huh.

🙂 I can barely wait.

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*If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram

Caveat Temptor: Boyfriend Beware!

If true love is finding that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life, Mr.Everyday is doing a damn fine job of it! Now that we’ve wiped the stardust out of our eyes and reality is setting in, the hitherto charming differences are starting to wear thin.

I knew I was a sociable person but the reality of just what a big, crowded, noisy, busy life I have is becoming clear to me only now. He has what might be described as a regular Joe lifestyle and what in comparison to mine, seems like citizenry to Coventry. He goes to work, he pays his bills, he occasionally catches up with an old friend for a movie or ‘the boys’ (exactly one-two-three of them) for a night of inebriation. Never forgetting the boy’s toy, his XBox that fulfils the function of his absorbing, fulfiling hobby. I on the other hand, have a running tally of multiple books being read, a constant tickertape-like stream of output and input to the social media, people I ‘do coffee with’, ‘grab lunch with’, ‘catch a brunch with’, ‘take tea with’, ‘have dinner with’, party with, hang out with, chat up and cosy up with.

I have a busy life, he has a quiet one. But that’s not even the start of the problem. I (rather successfully, if I say so myself) juggle these sometimes conflicting priorities and engagements in my life by careful planning and balancing. I love Outlook (ask anyone who’s worked with me), keep my phone calendar synched to the various plays, movies, meets, luncheons, dinners, calls, gatherings, concerts and events that compete for my time. I figure out places to meet that will suit the parties and purpose involved and also be convenient and accessible. I may be organized but I’m not boring. I milk the 60 seconds worth of my distance run to full capacity. Above all, this is my life and I love it.

He, on the other hand, ‘likes to take it as it comes’. Oh, how I hate that phrase! It scores right up there on the hatelist with ‘going with the flow’, ‘keeping it flexible’ and ‘not over-thinking things‘. It makes me grrrrrrrrrritttt my teeth and growl like an angered wild cat.  Tiny wisps of smoke start to curl out of my nostrils and flames leap out of my ears. It goes against everything I believe in, everything I stand for, everything I am.

I gave it a shot, I genuinely did. As with everything else I do, I conscientiously strove to live outside plans and schedules and organization. The result of that was that this is the sixth weekend that a much-awaited Pune trip has failed to happen. Calls have not been returned. Movieclub screenings have been missed. People have been kept waiting or hanging for days on end and proposed lunches & dinners have still not happened. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the time but it makes me shudder to think of how much more could have been done. Just think of how it could have been better (and I know it could have been done)! More comfortably, less stressfully, at lower costs, for longer time, better seats, more movies, tastier food.

Finally, I threw a volcanic fit. Yes, I’m not one of those genteel ladies who can ‘air their grievances’ and the man was made aware of it.

The thing is, I realized that most people tend to live in a certain way, driven by their own temperament and the demands of their lives. There may be some merit to being spontaneous. But I think many times that is just used to excuse laziness and an unwillingness to take responsibility for some admittedly boring activities.

Being organized is not a hobby. I don’t go into raptures over the perfectly sorted out filing system. Lists don’t give me orgasms. Bullet points are not my favorite accessories. But these things make my life easier; they really do. There is no way on earth I would have managed to sustain an active writing output, a very demanding career, a large social life and a family life without being organized about these things. And these habits stay. It deeply troubles me when things are not clear. And I am not compulsive about it. I know life is unpredictable and there is much that we don’t have control over. But the purpose of an organizing system is to make chaos more manageable. I’m not as bothered by a plan that didn’t work as I am by the thought that a plan wasn’t even made.

The trouble is, this works just fine for oneself. I have managed to be an organized person even while living with one rather messy person and working with several chaotic wrecks. In some cases, I have been able to influence (or indeed, bully) them into following my systems. In other cases, I’ve taken care of what I could and ignored the occasional stray sock that lands on my chair or looseleaf papers scattered close to my table.

But how do you interweave your life with someone whose fabric is a different consistency and indeed, not even woven? There are common friends, social occasions to be attended together and ‘together time’ which has to be planned factoring in two different schedules and now, different ways of being. The last time I spoke to Adi, we estimated the most convenient times for our phone conversations, based on his schedule and mine but also his girlfriend’s and my boyfriend’s. On the other hand, Mr.Everyday’s modus operandi goes along the lines of,

“Yeah, we could catch that movie. X was saying he wanted to see that movie too. Don’t worry….I’ll go again with him.”

I feel not just murderous but like Velma Kelly in Chicago, singing,

It was a murder but not a crime
I didn’t do it
But if I done it,
how could you tell me that I was wrong!!??

Can chaos and order make peace?

I have a new relationship adage to add to the thousands of platitudes we’ve been fed over the years (and none of which are working right now, dammit!).

Few people die of a volcanic eruption or a plane crash. In most cases, it’s the tiny damn things that are going to kill us. So fug the differences in age, background, upbringing and language. I think we’re going to spend a long time fighting over the damn calendar.

And then he looks at me with that shy smile and says,

People like you make the world run. People like me make it interesting to run. Besides, there’s no one else I’d rather be miserable with.

…and even my diatribe, my rant, my tall declarations are silenced. For the time being. 😉

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*If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram

At The Movies

Movies are a complicated business these days.

There is the hysteria of the Fridaygoer who will all but maim in a bid to get to the box office first and then spend most of the movie updating his Facebook status from his phone. Then there’s the desperate reek of a Saturdaygoer who didn’t get any party invitations, doesn’t want to spend over a grand at a pub entry fee and will spend it instead on overpriced, stale multiplex food watching what everyone else pretended to watch the previous day. And of course there’s delightful Sunday characterised by screaming kids and loud aunties yelling popcorn orders to their husbands in the aisles. Weekdays used to be saner but now thanks to the kuttewaala network, Tuesdays are a mad melee of excitable collegians! That leaves Mondays when it’s too early to legitimately enjoy anything in this workaholic city. Wednesday is the sole movie night for the sane-and-wanting-to-stay-that-way.

Of course even this elaborate (and much elaborated-upon) decision complicates manifold with the arrival of the significant other. It quite makes one wonder what one ever thought one had in common with the other and exactly what the stuff of those endless conversations must have been. Do men change post-relationship or do we both?

Take this week’s movie date. The weekend scan of the listings had us at a standoff at the box office. Perhaps that’s why, in sheer desperation (or lack of foresight…we’re waiting on that one), the boyfriend rashly offered a compromise,

I’ll watch Eclipse with you if you’ll come for Predators!

Much to his amazement, I nodded. He hasn’t yet learnt about how patient even this impatient one can be….it’s early days, after all. Not a minute wasted, he rushed off to get the tickets. A few minutes before we entered the hall, better sense appeared to have prevailed and he asked (in a super-hopeful voice),

“You were just kidding about wanting to watch Eclipse, right?”

I fixed him with a don’t-you-dare look. So he tried another tack. (*Sigh* I keep telling the boy to learn to die gracefully)

“If you like this movie, it doesn’t count, okay!?”

“Predator for Eclipse. We had a deal, dude!”

And suddenly, the man next to me shook his head violently and addressed the boyfriend.

“You DON’T even want to think about it! Such a waste of time!”

Before I could glare at the boyfriend, rap strange man on head for butting in or yell ‘foul!’, they two had launched into a comparative bashing of Aisha and Eclipse. When they finally broke it up, boyfriend grinned back at me triumphantly and said,

The masses have spoken, see!

My characteristic ‘as-if’ eyebrow shrug before I said,

Thank your stars I didn’t ask you to watch SATC2 with me. Now let’s get this over with.

I sat through the movie without comment. And when the lights came on, he had to admit that it really hadn’t been a very good movie, after all. 🙂

Weekend booking plans start now. I’m going to wrangle a double-or-nothing deal out of this one. SCORE a point for the lady! 😉

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*If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram

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