Ask And You Shall Be Denied


Ask And You Shall Be Denied

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Are you a man? A manly man? Have you ever bungee jumped from the high mountains? Have you ever gone deep sea diving amid a school of  great white sharks? Have you ever wrestled hand to hand with The Rock and Hulk Hogan? And do you think these are scary? You are wrong. There are things even more scarier than getting your maths exam marks. Like, romance as an example? Romance in the view of a single brown male for instance There are few things in this world as terrifying as asking a woman out on a date. Ask any man and he will immediately agree unless he is already married and pussy-whipped into submission. Then he will pretend he never dated anyone at all prior to meeting the one who said yes. The hardest question any male has ever faced in his life is asking a girl he fancies “do you want to go out sometime?” the answer means more than passing IIT and getting a H1B visa job. Its putting your fragile ego on the line to get crushed. Its being vulnerable to rejection on a most personal level- getting hit where it hurts.

Unless you are man who has been there, done that and got crushed you cant possible understand in its entirety that  internal struggle which every male  faces when he tries to be romantically bold with someone he’s just met and had a few words with in a social setting.  In most mens experiences, everything, every prior experience, every particle fiber in your mind is yelling “Just go the fuck home already, lock your room doors, put some sunny leone on and just shag off. Save your heart  from total damage, just don’t do this dude, run when you can”. But being a man means you close your eyes, harden your heart and do it anyway because there is an infinitesimally small chance (say like once in a million) theres a possiblity that she’ll say “yes, ok, i will have a coffee with you”. But chances are that nine times out of ten she’ll say no.  And that can feel like a kick up your balls just on the day you forgot to wear any undies.

The easiest way to deal with the pain of being turned down for a first date is to go get drunk with your friends. Its quite educative, especially if you are teatotaler and your friends like to drink theirs straight up on the rocks. Buy them a couple of drinks and watch how they philosophize it all away. Chill dude, it’s her loss, they  will assure you with a straight face “the bitch just doesntt realize what an awesome catch you are. She must have her own issues that have nothing to do with you. Just forget her and order us another beer”  and which is the cue to ring in that “tasmac song” in gana bala’s lyrics. Come to think of it, its not just your friends telling you that same shit- its not you, its her, everyone is saying it online. People who spend their lives creating and sharing memes on facebook and watsapp – memes analyzing all about love rejection and heartbreak keep saying the same thing that if a woman didnt straight up tell you why she wont even have a coffee with you, assume it’s because of her issues rather than because of any deficiency of yours. Its just not possible for any woman to weigh you up in seconds and make up her mind dismissing you as a possible longterm partner based on such a short scrutiny. And yeah, you might believe such love pundits at first. But then it’s late night and you’re wide awake, staring at the ceiling and wondering how you ended up becoming  such an unlovable person,the beast from the “beauty and the beast”series.

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And deep down in some part of your brain you know there’s not a lot you can do to change whether women do or don’t find you attractive. Your hit ratio, or to put it more crudely the hit-on ratio is very random and arbitrary and doesnt make sense at all. Not when you succeed and not when you fail. No one is going to share the real reason why they liked you or why they unlike you. Only that  the reason people are attracted to us  or not is for all sorts for reasons that are way beyond our control.  There is no need to worry about finding the the right words to spell it out, the right way to approach them to ask out, all that externalizing shit we use to convince ourselves as the the perfect way to impress and get that first date for attraction- doesn’t work that way.  In the authors experience there is no single right move at all . Some women like guys whom other women abhor at first glance and vice versa. One women’s hrithik roshan is another’s tushar kapoor.

Then there are those who offer  a quick fix solution (something which you’re probably tired of hearing a lot)- to be more self-confident. How many times have you heard that advice? It’s not about how you look, it’s whether you exude self-confidence. But what the hell does that actually mean? How can you exude self-confidence if you’re not, in fact, all that self-confident? And how can you be self confident after getting beat up all those many times on asking and facing rejection after rejection. Beats me. The only person who can be self confident in such a situation is a ghajini-type with total and instant short term memory loss.  In fact more than self confidence what you need is masochism (a form of sadism where you inflict pain on yourself) when you are about to ask out an insanely hot woman who you are damn sure is way out of your league.  Masochists never take no for an answer because they love getting slapped again and again – even when the opposite party makes clear that she is not interested at all- becuase they never believe that they are not desirable. They think they are the cats whiskers, the axe ad men and gods gift to women.  And you know what? Sometimes they get lucky as some women prefer the the persistent pests to the more suave gentleman who believes a clear “no” is a real “no” and moves on with their life. So being a bit of a bastard who doesnt take no for an answer often gets you that girl who would otherwise  brush you off at  first hit.

So to conclude its pretty much given that girls will say no and it hurts if they dont want you to. But you cant stop looking and stop asking and allow yourself to wallow at home in self pity, licking your wounds. You just have to go out there and keep asking- hoping the right woman says yes, the woman who feels lucky that she found you and vice versa. Good luck asking…

 

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My New Year Resolution(s) – Make That One


My New Year Resolution(S) – Make That One.

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After a shitty 2014 when I went through all the emotional upheavals you associate with being caught complacent in life and then being kicked on the ass by destiny/fate, I have rebounded back to attain some degree of mental equilibrium. It’s so easy to say shit happens and life throws lemons at you- even more easier to share it as internet memes- but when it comes to accepting it in the real world it takes a lot more than you thought you had in you- to deal with the vicissitudes of life in all its darker shades. But like everyone who goes through the shadowed valley and comes out the other end alive, I too hope to make a fresh start this New Year after conquering the demons which plagued my recent past. And to carry that forward I have made a new year resolution- yes, I said “a/one/single” and its simple in itself- to be more out there- there in public.

To explain in detail (and here comes the boring part dear reader- self psychoanalysis alert) every time I am traumatized by events I tend to withdraw into myself a good deal- just imagine a hurt animal retreating into a darkened cave to lick its wounds and there’s me. I have over the years tried to reduce the time period for such self-imposed seclusion but I have found out (through trial and error) that the process takes its own time and I can’t hurry it along without re-lapsing back into a feeling of solitude. So this time I have made the deliberate decision to go out there and socialize more as a way of showing fate that “keep throwing those lemons and see if I care”. This is my way of showing bravery, my way of showing that whatever happens to disrupt the normal peaceful routine of my life, I will not withdraw myself away from public gaze (and from the company of my friends) but would fight to remain normal and social.

Having made this my new year- 2015 – resolution, I have decided to invite more of my friends for meet and greets. Especially my online friends from twitter and Facebook with who I have interacted for many years online; but haven’t really met face to face. I am planing to invite all such friends for a coffee or a high tea and just sit across from them- a real person across the table and talk to them like I normally do online. This is my New Year resolution – to talk in person with all my online friends.

So wait for that invite dear friends- this year we will definitely be meeting face to face. Please join me for a coffee, tea, beer, lunch or dinner. And don’t worry- we need not discuss my life or yours- we can keep it simple and gossip about celebrities. Do join me, will you?

Book Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami


Book Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami

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The first book I read in this New Year was picked by selecting one the top-20 books of 2014 list from the New York Times, a book called “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami. I have never read any of Murakami’s books before and to confess the truth the first time I ever heard of him was when I noticed his name on the top-20 list.  The title was the thing which intrigued me first as it looked to be a bizarre translation of what must have been a perfectly normal Japanese title- as is often the cases with Indian novels whose English translators come out with laugh-worthy titles. But to my surprise as I read through the book I discovered that the title perfectly fit the mood of the book and the protagonist Tsukuru Tazaki indeed undertakes the epic journey of his life to discover why he is the only one left colorless among all his colorful friends.

The story is indeed all about friendship and how our friends leave a deep mark on our psyche- either for good or bad. The hero of the novel who also doubles up as the narrator – Tsukuru Tazaki is introduced to us as an engineer in his late 30’s working for a railway company and living alone in Tokyo city. After a series of failed relationships which don’t progress beyond a certain point and a crisis point in his newest relationship- a complete absence to achieve erection with his latest girlfriend- she advises him to face the demons of his past first- as it seems all his problems in bed stem from emotional issues unsolved and buried inside his psyche. She tells him that he can suppress his memories with a tight lid, but the history remains underneath and he has to face up to the truth one day or the other as that alone will give him a clue as to why he avoids any deep emotional intimacy with anyone.

And then Tazaki as he prefers to be known opens up about is past- about how he once was in a group of 5 friends in school- 2 girls and 2 boys- who all had nicknames based on different colors while he alone was called colorless by the group because of his amiability and tendency to go along with the collective decisions instead of taking a firm stand on anything. But surprisingly he alone has the courage to apply to Tokyo university after finishing school while the rest of the group join college at their hometown preferring to stay in the same locale and continue their friendship. After a year or so of college when Tazaki returns to his hometown for the vacation and calls up his friends he is devastated to learn that they have made a joint decision to cut him off and avoid him altogether. After failing to talk any single one of them, he gives up and returns to Tokyo where he goes into a deep depression and suicidal tendencies for almost six months till he makes a partial recovery and decides to concentrate on his studies. But the scar of being excluded from his once close friends makes him reject the idea of anymore deep friendships and over a twenty year period of his life- he stays alone with never once opening his heart to anyone.

So by the middle of the book, Tazaki decides to find out the truth of why he was excluded from the group and after tracing his former friends he visits them one by one after twenty years – to learn the reason for his sudden banishment from the once tightly knit group. To his shock he learns form his friends that one of the girls in the group – Shiro (white) – had claimed that he had violently raped her when she visited him in Tokyo at his university and that is the reason his other four friends had decided never to see him or talk to him again in their lives. When he vehemently protests his innocence of the crime, each one of his friends confesses to him now -20 years later- that they always felt that Shiro was lying and they didn’t believe he was capable of such a thing, but they had lacked the guts to say it out in front of the group when the group as a whole had made the decision. This strange confession consoles him even if it comes twenty years too late.

In the final few chapter’s Tazaki journey gives him a lot of issues to ponder about and he slowly starts seeing himself as more than the “colorless” person he had always imagined himself to be. When Tazaki on his final quest of the pilgrimage goes to Finland to meet the only girl left from their group, his accuser Shiro having died earlier, the other girl Eri (black) says she knew even then that Shiro was lying about Tazaki and when she had to make the crucial decision whom to believe and whom to support, she had felt that Tazaki was the strongest person among all the group and so had decided he could survive alone cut off from the group while the other girl Shiro would have collapsed into mental disease and hence she had gone along with the cold blooded decision to cut him off from the group. This confession gives him a new insight into the way he had always viewed himself and he returns to Japan a wiser and bolder man.

That colorless Tsukuru Tazaki the man who always thought himself as the victim of the capriciousness of his friends whims understands that he was the sole person they always though to be stronger than the entire group- this head turning revelation of the last chapter shows not only the protagonist but even ourselves how much of a wrong self view we carry about ourselves all our lives. When we assume that we are useless and good for nothing or are easily despondent- they are others out there who envy us for our strength, admire us for our gifts and appreciate our position in the world. All it takes for us to appreciate out true position in the world is to look at us, really look at ourselves, through the eyes of others- the answer will surprise us. So the book ends with Tazaki having conquered his emotional demons and regained his erection, calling up his new girlfriend and waiting for her to come back to him– confident for once of trusting others without fear of betrayal.

This is my second Japanese book- other than the 5 rings of miyomoto musashahi which I studied for its martial arts content and I was surprised by the depth of its insightfulness and the universality of its theme. Somehow, something in the book resonated within me and I couldn’t put it down till I had finished it in one go. I think I am going to read more of Haruki Murakami in the future and I do hope dear reader you will too.