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Log kya Dekhenge, Log kya Kahenge!

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

To introduce myself succinctly, when I told my parents about my boyfriend at the cross roads of “sahi umar” (right age), “dhalti hui jawani” (diminishing prime of one’s life) and “shadi karlo” (get married), they were relieved that there is only one.

Well, that would kind of indicate that I have had a handful of guy friends, multiple boyfriends (inclusive of phases of polyamory too) and now I am finally looming into and definitely not launching into my thirties, losing my glow and the guys together. Hence, getting married is the last resort if nothing else.

Hey, disclaimer there before we go on: “I love my parents. I love my boyfriend too. I adore my life. I love myself just as much I love these three balusters of my life. Or maybe a tad more? Can I affirm that? Let’s just say I balance it out between events and mayhems.

Okay so moving on; here is me in 8 Bullets. Read them carefully, because I'll keep referring to them time and again:

  1. I am 24, Indian, female, vegetarian, 5"4, exotic on the Indian skin tone chart (trust me, shouldn’t tan much)

  2. Topper since childhood, Engineer (cum laude) turned data scientist (least common of the stories I am going to narrate here)

  3. I am slim, hot, teaching yoga, definitely getting hotter by the days

  4. I ride a bike - in the terrains and to the office. Now I drive a car too — ditto!

  5. I play badminton some evenings with my guy friends and swim with my gal-pal some others (nothing conclusive here, that’s just how my circle is)

  6. I have lived with girls, boys and boyfriend(s) equally in the last 7 years since I left home

  7. I am teetotaler (now! I drank 19–21 legally; then I made my choices)

  8. I haven’t slept with all the guys I befriended, but being amicable many of them have made it to my wall (my Social Media wall to be precise).

That’s where it all began indeed; the 8th bullet (that I took) !

One fine evening this guy friend of mine visited my wall, uploaded a picture of us together on a bridge from an outing during the dead of the night before and wrote “Happy Birthday to u!!”. No kisses, no hearts, no emojis. Just the twilight, bridge, him and I. Well, that birthday my mother didn’t send her wishes, my dad didn’t call me up; the day passed and I just wondered why (clueless).

This was logo ne kaha 1 in my life: “Ladki ki aisi harkatein rahin toh ladka dhundne me joote ghis jayenge” which plainly translated to English by the Google is “If such actions of the girl continue, then her dad’s shoes will wear out in search of the boy. — I was 18 here.

“Ladki ki aisi harkatein rahin toh ladka dhundne me joote ghis jayenge”

Hey, disclaimer again here, I have studied in a coeducation school, had guy friends always since then including the ones who always came to my birthday bashes. So, what went wrong this birthday when I partied with some new ones.

Well, somewhere 1000 miles from the bridge, my aunt had seen the pic, called up my parents and predisposed them to look for late night, a room, a balcony (the bridge), their daughter and a male. That was it! It was easier done than said! I always wonder what would it have been like if my relatives had gone online during the Orkut era. Then I go a step back to wonder, why the hell did we have open-to-all scraps then! End-to-end encryption is so chic!

Fast forwarding to hack 8:

Live the life you want, let that pic actually be of a balcony kiss, flaunt your love to the world if you like it, but filter your Facebook friend list to no niggling relatives.

A suspicious pair of eyes, a woman holding a megaphone and another woman with a book and checking something out with her specs down
How I Navigate the Log Kya Kahenge Life

Let’s move to bullet 7 - I am teetotaler (now! I drank 19–21 legally; then I made my choices)

This will go less in the direction you expect it to go. When I turned 19, being a good daughter, I asked my dad if I can try alcohol. Given the recent chain of events, this was my dad’s response:

“Kuch bh karo, bas Facebook par mat dalo”.

So, I would actually reiterate hack 8 for bullet 7 and be an oferdrincere for the next two years.

Why I left drinking is for another time but I want to bring to the fore that this hack was researched, tried, tested, lab tested for effectiveness with infinite hits, trials and fails of course. Apart from being a good daughter, I am a good employee as well.

So, one thing I have learnt over past 4 years of my day job is, once you achieve the results, it is de riguer to narrate the story, the hardships, the kaputs too. That’s what gets you the promotion.

So here are my failures before I actually discovered hack 8. The essence is in stopping being the rebel you are:

- Kya aapko mujhpe bharosa nahi hai ( Don’t you trust me)

- Log kya kehte hain use kya farak padta hai, aapko kya sochte ho usse padta hai ( I don’t care what the society says, all I care about is what you think)

- Main ye dohri zindagi nahi ji sakti ( I can’t live this dual life)

- Kya aap meri side nh le sakte ( Can’t you take a stand for me)

All dead ducks. To be honest, Kuch toh log kahenge..logon ka kaam hai kehna is just one side of the coin. The other muffled side is Laga chunri m daag chhupaaun kaise ghar jaaun kaise

Bullets 5,6;

I think by now you would have realized that I learnt not to kiss and tell about to/discuss with my family.

Before we move to Bullet 4, let’s talk about an arrow because not all wars fought had bullets. Not all of them were wars. There were spats, quibbles, tiffs. There is something that I missed telling you in my bio.

Something that my parents would have never missed were they given a chance to draft my matrimonial bio. I am a Kulshrestha. Though Google will give you a huge historical chronicle when you start trying to savvy what I just mentioned, let me quickly explicate it for you. I am a Kulshrestha by caste which on literal dismantle becomes: Kul (family) and Shrestha (uppermost).

Kaise gire hue khayal hain tumhare

After 24 years of paying heed to the KULSHRESTHA menage, the closing curtain is that the mere noesis of this literal disunification has added a heavy weight on the attitude of the people born in this caste. So in all effects, society comes first but conventions and rituals come foremost.

Circling back to the day I asked my dad to try alcohol, a few days later, I went ahead and asked my dad if I can try chicken. Well one would imagine post the alcohol bagatelle, this should be a cakewalk. But here comes the response:

Kaise gire hue khayal hain tumhare” (which sounded more to me like a response to - “Dad, I am pregnant. Can I abort it?” – see because this would have happened behind closed doors until I hadn’t tried to socialize the world with post-abortion trauma via Facebook and because it’s not against the rituals, I think this would have been a SURESHOT YES).

I haven't tested it yet (hopefully), but furnishing this information to the best of my knowledge.

The Looks (Covering Bullets 1 & 3)

Well, let’s talk about my looks quickly for a while now. I summarized most of it in bullets 1 and 3, but let’s mosey by a few things that happened there:

Skin Complexion issues in India are trites, let me take you a level beneath. The gums. So my incisors (the front teeth) are very intimate, they overlap with each other. I can’t say who came on to who but they sure wanted each other bad. As I looked at the world around, I agreed more and more to the adage that smile is the most beautiful accessory once can wear. So why not get it straightened. I was 21 by then, I was earning, I recently got my bonus! If the braces were AIDS; I had all my protections on. So, I went back to my dad (of course to discuss this), here it comes:

Get the braces. But don’t come to any family functions for the next one year. Everyone will see the braces. It wouldn’t look good”– of course there is no one click manageable privacy wall here.

By now, you would have gotten a gist of what the issues were– let’s generalize it – whatever can be seen and can be taken by the society, for the society and of the society as the slightest negative in me on the path of being the next best daughter in law to be found for any eligible guy in the next 10 years, is forbidden.

Well, I could have attributed all of what happened to “Generation Gap”, but this last one I am gonna tell you just repudiates it so strongly (ta-da! bullet 4 has the climax in flashback) :

Of Bikes & Boyfriends

When I turned 20 and my hormones did finally mature (yeah! I was a tad late; gene effect ), I fell in love with a friend (exactly my age, definitely the same gen). The passion part of it is for another time, not at all on the lines of this article, but amidst all the romance, the butterflies, the awws and awes, the sizzle, I wanted to buy a bike. I never thought I had to ask him. So I “told” him. To which he said “Buy a scooty instead. I don’t know how to ride a bike. I won’t sit behind you. The whole college will see. It wouldn’t look good” – I should have left him then, but I waited until he ditched me. That’s for another time too. But as we used to narrate in Kindergarten – "THE MORAL OF THIS STORY IS IT’S NOT THE GENERATION GAP. IT NEVER WAS. IT’S SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT AND WE ALL KNOW WHAT!"

Buy a scooty instead. I don’t know how to ride a bike. I won’t sit behind you. The whole college will see. It wouldn’t look good

I found ways to navigate this life, I hid somethings, sugarcoated others, rebelled the feasible ones, gave up the ones which weren’t and lied aptly about all others. I am living the life I want while everyone around I love is happy. I will sum it up using what my stakeholder often explains to me – “Right presentation to the right audience”. The question still lingers – Do I love myself a tad more? A tad too much more? Can I affirm that? Umm, But are you the right audience to know this? One never knows. I wish one knew! Let’s just say I balance it out between events and mayhems.

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Arindam Taak
Arindam Taak
Jul 27, 2021

Eloquent 👍👍

Riya Kulshrestha
Riya Kulshrestha
Jul 28, 2021
Replying to

Thanks Arindam :)

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