The Girlfriend Zone

So I have been debating on whether or not to share this with you guys for a while. Maybe I felt kind of shy telling the whole world about the man that completely changed my whole world. Maybe on some level I am superstitious and did not want to jinx it.

This is basically what convinced me to write about it: The Friend Zone. It’s a post I wrote on February 2, 2012. Exactly one year after I wrote The  Friend Zone, I met Allister on February 2, 2013.

*Author’s Note: It just occurred to me that this was post I wrote on February 2, 2012: Reality check: Why I’m going to be the next Bachelorette. Either post works really. They both speak to my hopeless humorous situation at the time. 

As a lot of you may have come to know about me, I had my own views of what relationships should be like. I had never been in a serious relationship but I had a lot of friends who were in a lot of serious relationships and observations taught me many things.

People in average relationships seemed happy enough. People in great relationships, however, seemed…quiet. People in great relationships knew what it took to make it to where they were. I always wanted a great relationship. I knew it would take work.  But that’s okay…every great thing takes a lot work to obtain, right?

Against all the odds that I imagined there to be in this world, I actually found someone that also seemed to want a great relationship.

I am by no means an expert in relationships. I could have somehow gotten away before by telling you guys I was an expert at being single. But to being relationship-savvy I have no claim to fame.

As practical as I would love you guys all to have believed, I had very skewed, Hollywoodized ideas of a great relationship. Things were really not what I thought they would be when I finally got into one. Unlike what I imagined real relationships are like, there was no drama, no waiting by the phone and there was no sleeping around with a million people until one of us had life-changing epiphanies.

Allister and I met at a dinner arranged by a couple of girlfriends a year ago. He thought my plans for starting a business of writing online dating profiles was preposterous. I thought he was hotter than two rabbits in a wool sock. He offered me a ride home that night. I invited him to my place for house party the week after.

Three weeks after Allister and I started dating, he told me point blank that he wanted to be my boyfriend. Had I been the practical person I wanted to believe I was, I would not have wanted run for the hills. After years of being single, I had almost developed a Stockholm syndrome towards the Friend Zone. But he saw that. He told me that when I was ready, send him a postcard and he’d be there…still wanting the same thing. (All paraphrased)

Eventually our first major fight happened four months in. There was a lot of crying on my part and a lot of listening on his before he addressed what bothered me.  Contrary to how great I thought I was at being reasonable, he was better at deflecting fights before they escalated to destructible levels.

That was also the night he said I love you for the very first time. He told me later that it may have been the least romantic moment to me, but he never meant it more.

I turned 27 last September. He celebrated it like he was making up for for the last 26 birthdays he missed. That was when I knew that I would never ever be able to celebrate another birthday without him.

Everything about dating Allister was unexpectedly alarmingly easy. I was not sure if it was because years of failure had lead me to believe relationships couldn’t be drama free but I would always wonder if we were going wrong somewhere.

Where was the downside of being in a relationship that everyone talks about? People always told me to enjoy my single days. Being in a relationship has its rewards but it is SOOO MUCH WORK.

They were NOT lying when they told me it would be a lot of work.

Over the past year it took a lot of arguments, heated discussions and flat out fights with each other for me to realize that relationship are a LOT of work….on myself.

I learned just how blinded I am to my own faults. I pout, I fight, I bitch and I yell when I don’t get my way. Oftentimes, I found that the arguments we have had were born out of a sense of injustice I felt when someone else failed to do things my way and when I assumed the worst of my partner not realizing that having two people in a relationship ALWAYS means there are two sides of a story.

It took a lot of work for me to admit that I am a far cry from the perfect person I thought I was. And it takes a lot of work to fix it.

At the end of it all, the paradox of happiness that I stated in The Friend Zone remains true:

In order to be happy, you have to make someone happy.

In order to make someone happy, you have to be happy yourself.

If at all somehow by some fluke of the Universe, the fates are kind and bless you with someone that makes you happy, you best do everything you can to be the person that makes them happy. Even if it means you lay down your pride. Especially if it means if you have to lay down your pride. Because according to the paradox, that’s happiness.

And as someone who strives to make this guy happy, I can definitely attest to that.

PS: You can’t see her in this picture, but there was a thousand year old woman sitting on the side who came up to us with these pearls of wisdom for Allister: 1) Always wash your hands. 2) Never be mad at each other

So I will ask you this: What have you learned from your relationships? Here’s a  poll to help, but I would love to hear from you as well!

The Good Samaritan that never was

I have always prided myself at being AWESOME at life. Part of being AWESOME at life was seeking out opportunities to help the less fortunate. Like one time, I gave my gloves to some homeless guy. 

Another time, I gave my seat to a super pregnant lady. The look of gratefulness she gave me was enough to melt the heart of God himself.  

And another time, I was at Shopper’s Drug Mart, I almost bought a $5.00 gift card for the next person in line from me. I refrained when I saw that it was some old geezer buying Lottery tickets. Pfft…screw that! I may be awesome at life, but I’m no enabler. 

Anyways. 

The problem with this whole act of kindness thing that I’m mildly obsessed with is that there’s always an air of pride that’s dancing along with that.  I never do things for people if:

- It’s inconvenient for me.

- They’re crazy.

- If they clearly look distressed but also look like they are totally capable of lunging for the carotid with a machete and the kind of enthusiasm that only comes with being a repeat victim of the Toronto Transit Commission. 

Most people who need help in Toronto fit one or all of the above categories. 

And then I met Ivan last week. 

I was going to buy some groceries on my way home from work when a rotund little man with a cane and two heaping grocery bags was walking towards me. He was talking to himself no less. 

“EXCUSE ME, KIND LADY! Will you help me with my bags?” He was looking straight at me. 

He fit almost all of my above stated categories. Although, he wouldn’t be able to run fast enough after me with a machete with those bags so I obliged. 

“Sure, I’ll help you!”

“Thank you, kind lady. My name is Ivan and you’re a kind lady!!”  Of course I’m a kind lady, Ivan!

Turned out he not only needed help with his bags, he also needed a shoulder to lean on. Literally. He almost fell off on one side. When you’re not strong and you need a friend, you lean on Karen. 

To say his bags were heavy was an understatement.  If his bags were a food group, they’d be trans fat. If his bags were a feeling, they’d be a mixture of guilt and daddy issues. If his bags were a mustache, they’d be Tom Selleck.

The point is, I couldn’t actually carry his bags and have him lean all of his 250lbs on me at the same time. The only thing that kept me going was pride that I was doing something good. 

Ivan was a character. If the personalities of Walter Matthau and Uncle Leo from Seinfield had a love child, it would grow up to become Ivan’s personality. 

He shouted at everyone on the streets about what a kind lady I was. When he found out  I was Catholic, he yelled some more about how protestants are fools.

“NOT the place or time, Ivan”, I scolded back at him. 

“Whatever you say, kind lady”

Luckily, the City of Toronto is God’s own green earth of polite, tree-hugging atheists. All I got were stares of unadulterated sympathy. 

The subway station, where Ivan wanted to get to was three minutes away. Twenty minutes later, we were still crossing the street and Ivan was still bitching about protestants. 

He finally noticed that I was struggling with the bags and just stopped and asked, “Oh kind sister, would like some help with those bags?”

I stared at him dumbly.”No Ivan, you need help with these bags, remember?”

“Oh you’re such a kind lady”. 

By the time we got down the stairs to the subway platform, Ivan had already yelled at every passerby about how kind I was and I, in turn, was ready to fling his bags onto the subway tracks. 

The train finally came by. Ivan wrote his number on my hand and insisted I call him because he liked kind ladies. 

Before he left he yelled one last time, “WAIT! I have something important to tell you”

He said this with all the self-importance an enlightened Siddhartha could muster. Maybe this was the moment when I was to find out that he’s really a wise man and he’ll give me a piece of profound wisdom that would make sense all of that had just happened. 

“Remember, kind lady”, he said. “When you go grocery shopping today, stock up on juice. JUICE IS ON SALE!!”

Fuck you, Ivan. And the subway door closed. 

Moral of the story: Its okay to have a little pride when you seek to help people. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of doing the right thing. But its better to have humility. Because without it, nothing you do to help people will ever make sense to you.

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PS: Thank you all for such a warm welcome back. It feels good to see all of you again :)

The Writing Maladies of a Sensitive Blogger

For the most of this past summer I was MIA on WordPress. Believe it or not, the sentence “this is me showing up at the page” was all I could come up with. I would sit in front of this blank screen with the blinking cursor silently mocking my failure at stringing along a few decent paragraphs.

Eventually, I couldn’t bear to see it flashing before me, closed the tab and avoided WordPress altogether for the better part of the summer.

Why am I telling you this? Maybe I’m just looking for sympathy. Or maybe I just want to know that someone else out there can relate.

I started this blog in 2009. Three years ago, I was a very different person. Well actually, I was the same person but I saw things very differently. I started my blog for the same reason many of us start blogs. The feeling of an escape from life, or perhaps the need to have something new that is utterly and completely in your control. In my case, it was both.

The blank page was my best friend. I could fill it up with whatever I wanted. Life was a mess, but the page was clean.

I didn’t really care who read the blog. I loved to write. Writing made me happy, and my happiness had nothing to do with how many views my posts received. I learnt that I was my biggest critic. If I liked my post, then it didn’t matter who else did. If I hated it, all the positive feedback in the world wouldn’t be able to convince me I did a good job. 

And then something happened. Call it time or call it Freshly Pressed. Let’s call it Freshly Pressed. 

Freshly Pressed was probably the best and the worst thing that ever happened to this blog and its writer. Freshly Pressed gives you about 48 hours of fame and instant gratification, a window in which the world loves you. Followers and likes and comments rain down like confetti on the celebration of your blog’s success.

If you are a blogger who was Freshly Pressed, you may be able to attest that things change after that. For me, it stopped being about the love of writing and expression. It was now all about the audience. This is not to say Freshly Pressed was a bad thing. I ran into so many of you because of it, and for that I am grateful. 

But the pressure that I put on myself was definitely on. I placed my creative self-esteem in the hands of audience feedback. And solely positive feedback. 

If I didn’t think someone would like what I was going to write about, the post either landed in my saved documents or in the trash. As a result, hundreds of posts were aborted out of fear of disinterest, fear of negative feedback or maybe the worst- fear of complete indifference.

I seemed to have forgotten why I started this blog. The main reason this blog even exists is so that I don’t take myself too seriously. Ironically, I’ve never taken myself more seriously. For example, take this very post. It took me two weeks to write it and an hour and a half to come up with a title.

Creative process of normal people:

…whatever your definition of normal is

My version of the creative process:

I make this look more complicated than it really is

Of course, I cannot blame my blogging blocks entirely on Freshly Pressed. A lot of it was also personal issues that added to the mix. 

While I may have been absent from blogging, I wasn’t completely absent from reading some of the blogs I`m subscribed to. Mainly, you guys. This is where I talk about why Freshly Pressed was the best thing that ever happened to me. Take this any way you want to (actually, please take this in a good way) but I envied you all.

You all are fearless writers. (Yes, you!)  Whether it’s a post about finding roses in the garbage disposal, or a post about getting mad when people call you by stupid nicknames, or a post about the joy of getting voting stickers, you guys taught me that I shouldn’t care too much about other people’s opinions. Even if I do, it shouldn’t stop me from writing. You all have the metaphorical pair of blogger balls that I really need to start growing.

In many ways, they both feel the same.

Eventually of course, my summer pity party ended and I started writing again. Even if it was a post about talking to my blender, it had to be written if only to break the cycle of fear of not being liked. This post has no fancy play on words, no clever puns (except the blogger balls one, which is really a metaphor and not that funny). It`s the first time in a long time that I’m not trying desperately hard to impress everyone.

If you have gotten to the end of this post- Thank You. I may have spent a whole post talking about how you are indirectly the cause of my writing anxiety, but you are also directly the cause of infinite encouragement and inspiration. I could write another 3000 words about how awesome you guys are but I won`t because I’d like to stop being such a sap and get back to my usual no-nonsense sarcastic self. 

To all of you awesome WordPress bloggers, seeing you guys regularly on my reader has inspired me by kicking my ass into gear. Now I’d like to know your secrets: Why did you start blogging? How do you get past social acceptance fears? Does blogging ever feel like a job?

How to be thankful on Thanksgiving

It seems common belief that holidays of any sort can be hard on singles. Christmas time, the season of nauseating radio play of basterdized Christmas carols and long line-ups for the naked scanner at the airport, is usually tainted by Aunt Bossy at the annual family stroke-inducing holiday dinner.

Everyone has an Aunt Bossy. She’s the one with the candy cane earrings, a pearl necklace and a brooch that says “Jesus is the reason for the season”.  She may or may not be biologically related to you. But this doesn’t stop her from closelining you on your way to the cookie table with well-meaning insults.

“Why are you so thin, Karen? Are you on a diet? Your mother tells me you joined a dating site”, 

“Do you know your cousin Melissa just got engaged to that engineer from Winnipeg? Remember him? You know he has a brother? You’re not getting any younger”

Whether its Christmas, Easter, Sabbath, Black history month or the zombie apocalypse, Aunty Bossy’s solution to the question of the Universe is: find a man as fast as you can.
 
Of course you could shut her up by yelling ‘F*ck cousin Melissa and her goddamn engineer fiance!” promptly causing major family drama, a demotion from cousin Melissa’s wedding party and the lifelong family anecdote of ‘that time when Karen lost her cookies…just 3 seconds before she was about to stuff her empty soul with butterscotch.’
 
But of course you won’t do that. What you probably will do is sit there silently hoping cousin Melissa chokes on her half-price Easter chocolate.
 

Aunt Bossy.This is also pretty much what I will look like 30 years from now.

Apart from Easter and Christmas, there are also other obscure holidays like Labor Day, New Year’s, and if you live in Canada- Family Day and Victoria Day. Not to mention birthdays, baptisms, summer bbqs, anniversaries and of course Thanksgiving.

But for the purpose of this post not becoming any more of one of those angry, woe-is-me, single girl rants, let’s just focus on the real issue at hand: giving thanks on Thanksgiving.

In Canada, thanksgiving is celebrated a little over a month before our American neighbours. Nobody knows the reason for this; it may have something to do with the fact that every year, Canadians need a whole day in the fall to recover from the shock and panic of Environment Canada’s annual prediction that it will be a cold winter.

Thanksgiving, which is predominantly a North American holiday, was never a tradition I grew up with. My family was the kind that showed love by making dry sarcastic comments at each other’s expense. Christmas and birthday gifts were never exchanged and nobody sat around, held hands and talked about their feelings.

Usually I’m just grateful that Thanksgiving exists so I can have a day off. But after living in Canada for the past 8 years, I’m inclined to believe that North American culture dishes out public holidays in order to give malls silly excuses to hold sales so that single people with no families have something to do on their day off.

The only man I’ll ever need is Michael Kors

 But this year I wanted Thanksgiving to be different. None of this feeling sorry for myself bullshit. It was time to go back to the real reason for the holiday: Being grateful for everything.

As it so happened (like it often does), I had no real Thanksgiving plans with family or friends. But that didn’t stop me from starting my own Thanksgiving tradition: Having one day when I truly allow myself to see just how good I have it.

I thought I would go all out and have a hearty turkey dinner for one. But standing in front of the freezer section at my grocery store, I had to come to the acceptance that cooking a turkey, which weighed about the same as a three-year-old child, was perhaps not the most original or feasible idea for a gal like me.

I settled for a small chicken instead.

I’ve never cooked a full roast chicken in my life. The whole day was spent fussing over this damn bird that I had no time to think about all the things us fickle singletons fret about during holidays. To stuff…or not to stuff? (Gordon Ramsey says to pop in half a lemon wedge) How long do I preheat the oven? What if it turns out too dry? And what the hell does basting mean?

In end, I decided to go the heart attack route. No roast chicken can be dry if you cover it with 5lbs of butter and bacon stripes. And would you believe it…here are the results of a whole day’s worth of labor:

Just to drive the point further, that bread was fried in butter.

Never in my life had I ever created anything quite so fattening and delicious-looking. I sat down and said a prayer of thanksgiving. I gave thanks for the food, my life, my health, the fact that Immigratin Canada still hasn’t kicked me out of this country (just yet), the fact that I could still afford to eat a lard-laden meal without collapsing from a massive coronary (just yet), my family, my friends, and my future family, who I’m sure when they someday come along, will be thankful for the fact that there are no vegetables involved in this meal…and the few veggies there are are guiltily swimming in a tub of butter and bacon grease.

I truly had everything I needed this Thanksgiving. Even if Aunt Bossy thought otherwise.

And so this thanksgiving, whether you celebrate it today or a month and a half from now, may you always find something to be grateful for. And if you can’t, there’s always bacon.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of  you out there! :D

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Author’s Note: There were no turkeys, aunts, or cousin Melissas harmed in the making of this post. Last I heard cousin Melissa did end up marrying that putz from Winnipeg. Bitch.

Roots to roots: How hair trouble enkindled short-lived patriotic feelings

Today all of you are in for a treat. Not only have I decided to make one of my now exceedingly rare appearances to WordPress (cocky much to believe that this is a treat for anyone?), but I’m also going to give you a little glimpse into my Indian culture that I never bother bragging about to anyone.

If you are avid readers of Ms. Breezyk’s humourous blog, The Camel Life (if not, please stop reading this and click on that link first), then you would have known from one of her fairly recent posts that this hot chick seems to be having some hair trouble. Here, this is a photo of her woe:

Perfectly normal hair.

Do you agree that something needs to be done about those 4 ounces of dark mane on this loveable brunette head? No? Really? Good. Me neither. And I’m not just saying this because I have a not-so-secret girl crush on her. But regardless, I decided to step in and help her out with her hairy conundrum.

I suggested an old Indian hair remedy of dousing one’s hair with coconut oil. I’m not completely sure if this even works since I haven’t ever tried it. I hate the smell of coconut oil in my hair. Not to mention, the sight of your head looking greasier than a Middle Eastern oil well automatically renders you a social outcast. Between my unsucessful attempts at online dating and Breezy’s numerous cat photos, it is clear that times are tough.

Now is not the time for young, single gals like us to be walking man repellents. Our womanly inclination to over-analyze and obsess does that enough.

But back to coconut oil. Other Indians (and some “trusted” sites from Google) swear by it. And there is no reason to question my fellow (wo)men on this. We Indians are a hairy race. Someone must be doing something right (or wrong). So I told Breezy that if she gave me the time of day next week for another one of our wannabe hipster brunch dates, I would have a nice blue bottle of Parachute Coconut Oil (India’s finest) waiting for her. She agreed.

And so, off I set in my mission to help my friend. The task was quite simple. Buy Parachute Coconut Oil so we could turn this:

Smiley Breezy

to this:

Don’t joo get all up in ma weave!- Some hairy baby

Destination Little India, located in a small section of Gerrard Street in Toronto was a place I had only been to once before.

Now let me get something out of the way before I proceed. I am Indian, yes. However, my ties to my Indian roots go only so far as throughly enjoying Indian food. I don’t care for anyone’s useless unfavorable opinions about curry, I will down that shit like it has power to give life. Not only is curry the Indian word for deliciously delicious, it is also richly packed with antioxidants. True fact, all you avid inhalers of genetically modified blueberries!

Unfortunately, that’s as far as my emotional bond to my homeland goes. I think saris are horrible creations for midgets like me who need to be able to run from their stalkers without constantly tripping over 5 million meters of cloth. And let’s not speak of Bollywood movies. That’s a bitch fest that could go on for at least a week. Coincidently, that’s also how long a Bollywood movie lasts.  

I pondered over the love I don’t have for Indian things like saris and Bollywood movies and that one batshit crazy bitch who sings EVERY single Indian song in her high-pitched banshee voice that shatters the auditory senses of everyone around and their surrounding five postal codes.

Such is the nature of my love/hate (clearly, mostly hate) relationship with my country. And with this feeling, I slowly got off the streetcar to the instant olfactory explosion of fried everything, incense and curry dreams. It smelled like India, it looked like India and it sounded like India. Minus the pollution and stray animals.

Normally, this is the kind of scene that drives the point further home of how I had become too much of a spoilt North America city child. But at that moment in time, for reasons that elude me completely, I found myself wanting to stay.

Maybe it was the smell of curry that was at the level of amber alert for ambushing my clothes. Or maybe it was the guilt of being completely indifferent. Whatever it was, it drew me in and made me want to be here.

Perhaps the worst (or best?) part was when I found my legs uncontrollably walking into a sari shop. I audibly gasped at everything in there. Yards and yards of beautiful fabrics with beads and sequins and mirrors and handcrafted embroidery.

The Indian saleswoman obviously noticed my dumb tourist look and told me in Hindi that the sari I was looking at was on sale. Out of nowhere I started to bargain with her in Hindi. I didn’t even know I knew enough Hindi to string along a sentence without 97% of it being swear words.

I stood there in that store listening to music featuring the banshee voice and was surrounded by every colour in the rainbow.  I had a stupid grin on my face and an unexplainable feeling of pride.

This was my country. We have annoying music, we’re cheap enough to miraculously learn a language if it means we will get something half price, we have the best curry in the world and if our clothes are any indication of who we are then we have one of the most colourful, vibrant and happy cultures in the world. And for once, I was pretty freaking proud of that.

I would have taken some photos of all the sari stores I went to (yes, all of them. The patriotic feelings were too strong to resist). But I didn’t mostly due to signs like these posted everywhere.

I had easily spent an hour perusing every store and reminiscing  little things from my childhood. I finally made my way to the variety store and picked up one these suckers for Breezy:

Get ready for some hairy goodness!

Alas! All good things must come to an end and soon I was on the streetcar headed back into the city. I spent the entirety of the ride thinking about Little India like how one would think of a first date that they absolutely dreaded at first and yet went frighteningly well in the end.

And so Breezy, here is India’s beauty gift to you: A full head of luscious Kim Kardashian hair at the expense of being an occassional social leper.

As for the rest of you, don’t think I’ve forgotten you guys! I have an Indian beauty gift for everyone today (apart from the gift of myself) (HAHA.)

I hereby give you the recipe for the Gram Tumeric facial mask. Or as I would like to call it The Radiant Indian Bride Face Mask. (You fellas can do this too. No shame in being an Indian bride)

This mask is great for exfoliation, acne and dry skin. Pretty much covers everything annoying that could happen to your face before your big Indian wedding day…or a crappy Monday at the office.

The Radiant Indian Bride Face Mask:

3 tablespoons of gram flour. Gram flour is just the Indian way of saying Chickpea flour. You can find chickpea flour at most bulk food stores.

1.5 teaspoons of tumeric. Tumeric is an antiseptic and the key ingredient in making your face all glowly and radiant. Many believe tumeric is the next super drug that will cure cancer…which may be true. But it also stains like a bitch so don’t go apeshit with the tumeric.

You want to be a radiant Indian bride. Not a jaundiced troll.

2 tablespoons of almond oil. You can substitute with olive oil.

Milk. Pour in just enough to make this all into a thick paste.

Your freshly prepared homemade mask should look something like this:

100% organic!…says my Indian salesman smile.

Once you have that shitty yellowy looking concoction, you may proceed to cover your face with it.

Like so:

A face only a house cat could love.

Yes, my face matches my Captain Morgan shirt. And I look pretty darn happy about it.

Keep that crap on for about 10 minutes and then wash off with cold water.

And voila! Radiant Indian bride face for everyone!

You’re welcome, world.

The Friend Zone

This is what happens when I’ve been away for far too long. You lucky ducks get to read TWO posts in a row! Imagine that. You’re welcome all you chronic insomniacs!

You may all know my lovely and talented REAL LIFE fellow WordPress blogger friend BreezyK who’s praises I sing at every chance I get. Well, about a month and a half ago, Ms. Breezy asked me to guest post for her fabulous blog The Camel Life. Obviously I was pretty freaking flattered but as soon as that wore off, I was filled with anxiety about what to write about.

After a whole month of struggling with this post, it took me one night of insomnia to finish it.

So what was it that I struggled with so much to write about? It was a dreaded world where we all at some point either had to live in…or in my case, had to set up shop: The Friend Zone. This is one of my rare personal philosophical posts filled with my 2:00am epiphanies. I hope you will read it and maybe on some level even relate to it.

Without further ado, here is my post about The Friend Zone on BreezyK’s The Camel Life

 

Family Matters

I love long weekends. Especially when they involve sunshine and a whole lot of uninterrupted Facebook ex-boyfriend stalking time in my jammies. But some long weekends are different from others. Easter long weekend is one of them.

I moved to Canada when I was 17. My family unfortunately couldn’t come along for the ride. If I told you that my life was incredibly wonderful without having to deal with parental controls on everything, you would be believing a big fat lie.

The truth was that I was miserable about having no one to nag me for quite a long time before I started to appreciate it. Today at 25, after 8 years of being on my own, I don’t think I could ever move back with my parents. And I will guiltily admit that I don’t always miss them as much as they miss me. But there definitely are some days in the year that really get to me. Birthdays are a big one, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Thanksgiving weekend, Family Day- which is Canada’s cruel way of giving people without families a day off to lie in bed and cry, Easter weekend and most Sunday evenings.

This Easter weekend is no exception. But this year I decided that instead of being mopey about my family not being here, I’ll share you guys how awesome they are and celebrate them instead!

My parents are from a little state in India known as Goa.

My beautiful mother and my dotting, expert camera timer setter father on their honeymoon.

My mom met my dad at a New Year’s dance. She told me that he had a small bottle of an adult beverage in his pocket when he asked her to dance. He also stepped on her several times during said dance. Some 7 or 8 years later they got married proving that it is indeed possible to overcome mediocre first impressions, even if takes 7 years.

Dad:

My mother couldn’t have picked a better guy to have me with. My dad is one of the most hard-working, honest and affectionate people I know. When I was kid, he would wake me up at the crack of dawn on weekends and take me to the beach with him for a swim. I loved everything about those days. We would spend hours together in the water and come home at sunrise to the smell of freshly made breakfast.

My father skillfully keeping my head from falling off.

As I grew older and no longer cared much for early mornings, my dad replaced our beach dates with trips to my favorite place on earth- The Family Bookshop. He would let me spend hours in there perusing Enid Blyton books. He would let me buy a couple and now I’m pretty sure this was his sneaky way for steering me clear of video games. Till today I’ve never played a single video game. Tetris is not a video game.

Years later, when I was 17, my father held back tears and let his only daughter go off to college all her own in a strange country a million miles away from him. I think this was his biggest sacrifice as a father. Perhaps even bigger than the billion dollar bill he footed for my university degree.

Mom:

This photo was taken while there were bombs and gunshots outside during the Iraq/Kuwait war. My mother in her Sunday best, me with a big smile and my brother ready to punch someone

If you ever wondered where I got my sarcastic streak, you can thank this woman for it. My mother is as affectionate as my dad but she had her own way of showing it. Although she was never very vocal about her feelings, it was not hard to see her selflessness in everything she did for her family. After the birth of my brother, and the rise in the mischief and noise levels in the household, my mother’s aim at throwing  random objects such as hairbrushes, slippers, shoes, books and erasers at her unruly children reached expert levels. I’m sure she would have made us proud if throwing random objects were an Olympic sport.

 She was also the proverbial good cop in her and my dad’s parenting stratergies. For example, that one time when I threw the entire contents of my lunch in the garbage my dad’s way of punishing me was to cut off my food supply altogether. My mother’s way on the other hand, was to patiently tell me that when I died, I wouldn’t be allowed to go to heaven until I ate every morsel of food I’d ever thrown away in my lifetime. Till today I lick away the crumbs of my potato chip bag and would rather be sick than throw away a perfectly good fifth slice of pizza.

Years later, when I became a foolish teenager, my mother and I butted heads over everything and I used to think we would never be friends again. It took thousands of miles between us for me to realise that my mother was the best friend I could have ever had. And there was nothing I could tell her about myself  would ever change that.

 

Kevin:

Kevin and I at the Jack Johnson concert in Toronto.

My brother Kevin was born in Kuwait on August 3rd, 1990, just one day after Iraq invaded Kuwait. This earned him the nickname, Saddam Hussein. Although, this was a terrible nickname, Kevin was kind of a terror when he was a kid. Before he even learnt how to talk, he knew how to manipulate situations to his advantage. He would wack me in the face with a spoon and run crying to my mother with his hand on his face. Guess who got some beatings with a stick disciplined for that one!

I bullied him all the time but with the price of his own crafty revenge tactics. We used to share a room together and one weekend, he woke up early at around 6am and started vacuuming our bedroom. Specifically the space around my bed. Our vacuum cleaner had a decible index high enough to wake up the dead and small animals from hibernation. In an obvious fury, I complained to my mother, who immediately yelled at me for being such an ungrateful lazyass and that I was lucky to have a brother who was nice enough to do my chores.

Such was the nature of our hate/hate relationship growing up. And then, much like my relationship with my mother, everything changed when life separated us. Four years after I went off to college, Kevin finally joined me in Canada. Today, I barely recognise him from the mischievous little boy I grew up with. He stands at 5’10″, has a ridiculously sarcastic sense of humor and better taste in music than me. He is also the most awesome concert buddy and the only one in the world who can put up with me on an airplane. And even though our parents are still far away on major holidays, I still have Kevin.

I could go on and on about these three people in my life, but I know I should probably stop here. As much as I miss them, I am grateful to this distance for making me realise how much they mean to me and how lucky I am to have them. Perhaps some day when life works out, we will all be together and distance will no longer be there to teach me gratefulness. But until then, you will have to hear the endless antics and anecdotes that only serve as proof of how lucky I am to have such an awesome family.

Riding the bus with Ryan Reynolds

That`s right, children. I sit across The Great Canadian Adonis on the bus.

Now, before you ladies get your panties in a tizzy and you gentlemen abruptly stop reading this, cool all your tail feathers. I don’t usually do this but this is actually going to be a serious post about a life lesson I learnt this morning that I, against my better judgement, decided to share with you. Normally, I  like to keep my blog as light-hearted as possible, restricting it to mostly mindless humor to get you through your caffeine-fuelled robotic lives. However, there comes a time when something so simple and yet so profound happens, that one must tell someone else. Or a bunch of someone elses.

My story began last week when I started riding the Viva bus, a more human pleasant alternative to the TTC (my regular bus). The Viva bus stops at the same stop as the TTC and takes me to the same place where I have to catch my third and final bus to work. For the past week, I`ve been getting on the Viva and sitting directly opposite a man who is a splitting image of the photo you see below:

You think he's coyly smiling at you but really, he's just checking himself out on his tinted car window. (www.coolspotters.com)

He’s usually reading the paper but behind those designer sunglasses he’s really just silently staring into the souls of the unsuspecting working class around him. This was the one piece of excitement I had every morning of last week. Anyway, this Monday morning, I woke  up thoroughly excited at the prospect of starting my week with Ryan Reynolds staring into my soul as any normal hormonal girl would be.

As luck, or lack of it would have it, I got to the bus stop just in time to see the Viva pull in to the stop. I ran  to it like a wild zebra being chasing by a  lion. Alas! I got there just in time to have the doors of the bus close in my face, while the driver shook his head at me in complete indifference. I thought I might burst into tears. Not only was my soul not going to be stared down at today by Ryan, but it was also very likely that I wouldn`t get to work on time seeing as how the chance of missing my third bus was inevitable.

I stood there stewing in a pool of anger and frustration at the driver, at life, at Monday, at Ryan Reynolds, at myself. So caught up was I in my black mood that I didn`t even notice a TTC bus pull in right in front of me a minute later. The TTC bus was like a Nike sweatshop of carpal-tunnel syndrome suffering children…cramped, stale and suffocating.  And it was in that dark place on the TTC bus that I found my reason to write this post.

Even though I missed the Viva , I knew for sure that today, a missed Viva was not going to result in me being late for work because that suffocating TTC actually saved the day.

Now, I`m sure this touching story warms the cockles of your heart and everything, but really… why am I making you read all this bullshit?

Well…let me get up on my pedestal and tell you…

It’s a given that life isn’t always going to be a joyride with Ryan Reynolds. At one point or another I’m sure all of you must have suffered the pain of something you really wanted not working out the way you wanted to or not working out at all. I know I certainly have.

Maybe you came really close to landing your dream job only to have it snatched away from you. Maybe you suffered loss of some kind. Maybe you`re stuck in rut with nothing working out for you. For everything that doesn’t work out, the lesson of missing the Ryan Reynolds bus made me realise there is always another way to get where you want to go.

It may not be the way you planned, but you will get there. It may not be the same time that you planned for, but you will get there. It may not be the most convenient way to get there, but you will get there. And it certainly may not be with Ryan Reynolds sitting across from you, but you know what? You will still get there.  A thousand-and-five shiteous things could get in the way of getting there, but none of that will change the fact that you will get where you need to be at the right time.

 Of course, this goes with an assumption that you’re doing the best you can i.e. getting your ass out of bed, not keeping couch bugs company, applying for jobs before deadlines, running like a wild zebra etc.

 This is probably no new lesson for myself or for anyone else by any means, but its one I find very easy to forget.

 In the end, the one thing you really need for this to happen is hope. And deep (often VERY VERY deep) down whether you know it or not, we`re all hopeful. Even when your whole life is sitting in a large pile of doo-doo, you still hope something  will change. What other choice do you have other than to have hope?

Until then, close your eyes and know that while you are in the sweatshop bus of life, some people will get off and make breathing easier, the road will even out eventually, maybe you might even encounter some kind soul who gives you their seat. But even if none of those things happen, provided you don`t give up and get off, you will eventually get to where you need to be.

And that folks is my Monday sermon for you. *gets off pedestal and googles more Ryan Reynolds’ photos*

Murphy’s Laws for the 20-something single girl

Murphy was my kind of man. The only reason I’ve never been an over-optimistic fool who always sees rainbows in the black clouds of shiteous life events is because I’ve been too busy earning my diploma from Murphy’s Law School of Realists.  When I graduated from my actual University, I should have been given a bottle of cheap wine and the words ‘Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong’ embossed on my degree.

While some people think I’m a pessimistic Negative Nancy, drinking a half-empty glass of grump juice alone in my basement, I’m really just one of those  delightful bitches in your friend circle who, with very good intentions, bursts your every sugar-coated bubble of unrealistic and/or senseless fantasies by (often times) very untacfully telling you the cold truth. Especially if you’re a Scientologist who can’t handle the truth. (Sorry, I’m quite unable to string along the words “untactful”, “senseless” and “Scientologist” without hurling in a Tom Cruise reference)

Anyway.

This where Murphy comes in. Nobody needs a Killjoy Karen crushing every optimistic pipe dream of striking it rich by baking marijuana biscuits (although Aunt Mary-Juanita’s Ginger Snaps sound like they could hit spots you never dreamed you had). But everybody does need a health dose of reality once in a while to keep themselves from the bad stuffs of life: broken hearts, eviction notices, divorce papers, jail, a series of punches in the face, gonorrhea….the list of what could go wrong is endless.

 And so, I have complied a Murphy’s Law-inspired list of the truths of the 20-something single life with a healthy dose of humor. At the ripe old age of 25, I’ve learnt that the only way to get through single life is by lots of humor. Because let’s face it, when you get married, the only way you’ll be able to get through that is by lots of compromise and Valium (in that order).

In no particular order of importance:

1. Friends come and go, but dumbasses accumulate. The word dumbass is an umbrella term for stalkers, freaks, unsavory suitors, unhygienic clients, lazy Louises/Larrys, people with poor grammar and the man sitting next to you on the subway who smells like cigarettes and urine.

2. The degree of complications of a clogged toilet is directly proportional to how attractive the plumber will be when he comes in and asks you to explain in detail what happened. Karen’s Tear-free Guide to Unclogging a Toilet has some single girl tips to deal with this shitty situation, should you find yourself stuck in it.

3. The grocery line is full of coupon-holding senior citizens when the urge to pee is the most.

4. Buying an incredible looking purse at an incredible price will only make you take more notice of other girl’s purses and wonder how much they paid for it, where they got it and if it comes in teal blue.

5. The chance you being attracted to a guy at a bar is directly proportional to the chance of him having a girlfriend, a boyfriend or a very contagious terminal illness.

6. When grocery shopping for the single girl, the ingredient you need the least of will only come in very large quantities.

7. Beauty is only skin deep; overnight makeup goes deeper.

8.  You will remember that you forgot your bus pass at home just as the bus pulls up at the stop.

9. The single girl’s phone should only have 3 key features: the ability to call, text and split a restaurant bill with tax and tip among 7 people.

10. The subway train running in the opposite direction always comes first.

I wish I could come up with Murphy’s Law for the single guy, for the mid-life crisis stricken Walmart manager, for the cookie baking soccer mom and the parent-hating emo teenager. Alas, according to what I have learnt from blogging, one must write what they know. But I’m sure that from whatever walk of life you come from, Murphy would have had something to say about it.

So let’s get real and humorously dig out that annoying crap that life hands us and laugh about the futility of fighting it. Let’s accept it for what it is, embrace the nonsense and not just dismiss its existence in the name of optimism. As Murphy would say: Smile!…for tomorrow will be worse.

Tuesdays with Morgan

It’s official. Tuesdays have replaced Mondays on the scale of suckage.

Actually this phenomenon happened about a year ago when I realised that the only thing I ever truly hated about Mondays was the fact that Tuesday followed it. Perhaps because Tuesdays are the first day in the week when the crankiness of another weekend gone by too soon is not tolerated as a viable excuse for unproductiveness anymore. Regardless, Tuesdays should be killed off like the ogress mother-in-law character in every single Bollywood movie.

This Tuesday, the sky was extra gloomy and I had no time to make coffee since I had laid paralysed in bed for too long in the morning. Maybe it was that my brain was still trying to metaphorically smash its internal alarm clock  or maybe it was the thought of eating nothing but red peppers for lunch since I had been too freaking lazy to pack a lunch, but no sooner than I got on the bus, I began to ponder the meaning of life.

What’s the meaning of life? Is watching The Bold and the Beautiful, fighting other working middle class slaves to catch a seat on the bus from work and blogging about it really all there is to it?

(Spoiler Alert: Yes)

I took out my notebook never really intending this to actually warrant a blog post. I was not  feeling particularly existential or philosophical. Even my usual morning prayer of “Dear God, please just get me through this shithell of a day” was interrupted by someone letting out a godawful fart on the bus.  

It was only when I got on my second bus transfer that my caffeine-starved brain started to get all poetic on my mediocre life. The driver of my second bus was a replica of Morgan Freeman. In fact, when I saw him, I just gawked while my right hand flashed my bus pass at him on autopilot.

Y’alls know what to do for every one of my blog posts from now on… (www.slacktory.com)

He stared back at me with a look as if to say, “Shut your complaining and get on the bus, Ms. Daisy”. And then I opened my notebook and began to write.

Tuesdays suck. For that matter, so do Mondays and any other day that involves dealing with assholes. But that’s just a fact of life. You may say that you had a great day because you had to outrun just one crazy bag lady for the only seat on the bus instead of the usual four creepers and one lunatic who always talks to himself, but that’s just your way of seeing Terrible Tuesday in a positive light. Which is wonderful, because letting go makes the day go faster.

They say that all good things come to an end but you know what? So do Tuesdays. So what if this day is full of shit? There’s no way to get around it but through it. And at the end of the day, I’ll watch The Bold and the Beautiful and blog, which turns out, are my two favorite things. And if I’m really lucky (and I was) I’ll get a seat on the bus without having to wrestle hobos (no easy feat for me).

I realised that in the end, what I equated to mundane things at the beginning of this day (blogging, watching my favorite TV show, talking on msn with my mother) turned out to be the things that got me through the actual mundane. And in the present, I could be happy if that’s all there is. People spend the best parts of their lives chasing after the next big nothing that will make their mundane lives seem more tolerable never realising that the best part of life is happening while they out busy looking for it.

In the wise words of Mick Jagger “You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need”. 

I still cannot answer the question ‘What’s the meaning of life?’. I think it’s up to each one to find their own meaning. But I do know what’s the meaning of my life at the end of this Tuesday and it can all be summarised into one word: Weekends.

Before I got off the bus, I turned to Morgan and said “Have a good Tuesday”. He gave me a knowing look, a slight nod and half a smile. He knew. Freeman and I were on the same wavelength.

Either that or he had secretly just smoked a joint in the last 10 minutes. He was a TTC driver after all.