Sunday, November 20, 2016

Five Preposterously Fun Ways to Say No To A Guy Who Asks You Out

For a blogger whose nom de plume is "Funny Gypsy" I've been blogging an awful lot of serious things lately! :)
In order to lighten up the mood a bit, I thought I should mention some of the funny (or not-so-funny) ideas I have in my head every now and then. Hopefully some part of this can be considered 'funny' (or 'morbidly funny')...
So here goes...

Five (+ bonus) Preposterously Fun Ways to Say No To A Guy Who Asks You Out

So here's the key: You don't want the guy to feel like you're rejecting him. You want him to think that you don't mind him at all (so he doesn't take it personally), but instead you're the one with a problem. Hence, you should say things like...

1) "If I had feelings for guys, I would have said yes. But at the moment I'm bisexual, veering towards lesbian, and I don't see myself feeling romantically inclined towards you or any other male. Maybe if you had a sex-change operation I would reconsider..."

2) "I'm a Manglik of the highest order (or perhaps you should say disorder?!). I'm such a serious Manglik that the family astrologers and priests have told my parents that my first boyfriend or husband will die a gruesome, terrible death and I will necessarily have to get a second boyfriend (or remarry). My parents are in a conundrum as to how to avoid unnecessary gore and also get me married to their preferred suitor (the son of a family friend) at the same time. However, since you've asked, I'm sure they'll quite happily agree to allow me to date you for a few months...till the deed is done with..."

3) "My family believes in marrying the guy you date and we have ancestral lands in a village in XYZ state and my husband shall be gifted on my wedding (although, being a modern woman, I will most definitely seek joint ownership). Nonetheless the village tradition requires that the husband of the eldest daughter (and that's what I am) be the caretaker of those lands and till the soil every summer for the first three days with the help of only the village oxen. This apparently ensures a good harvest season. Since I don't like villages in summer, I'd much rather stay in Delhi during this period, but you'd have to go do this, unless you want to face the wrath of the village goddess (not to mention the entire devout village).

4) "I'm an undercover Martian (I know they say women are from Venus but that's a popular myth; distorted by pop fiction). I don't mind breeding with humans, but I can't vouch for the quality (or abilities) of our offspring."

5) "I work for the secret service - can't even name the agency, that's how secret it is...if you're okay with being assassinated if my cover is blown, I'm okay with dating you. I know rival agents will never get to me, but I can't be certain of your safety.


6) The usual...."You're like a brother to me". Even better, if he's met your parents, "You're like the son they never had...they trust you and know I'll be safe with my brother!"

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Injustice Prevalent in the USA, from an Indian's Eyes

I came to the US with bright eyes, high hopes and dreams of working and learning from working in rapidly growing and successful firms in the US. A part of me wanted to settle down here to and eventually start my own edtech firm with a social purpose (that great entrepreneurship dream!), and another part of me wanted to learn from the best and the brightest and return to India to help my country become more like the greatest ‘developed’ country in the world. Despite not being sure of my long-term plans, I knew I was hungry to learn from living in, what I thought was, the best city in the world.

Boy was I in for a shock.

I didn’t undergo a culture shock (in the sense of not getting along with people or understanding what to do over the weekend) as much as I went through a morality shock. In India, we have a multitude of social evils like corruption, poverty, the subjugation of women and a nefarious caste system that permeates everything from marriage to voting decisions. However, arguably, most of our political parties understand that these are ‘evil’ i.e. these are bad and need to be eradicated. Whether they choose to take any action to do the same is another matter.

In the US, on the other hand, I felt like the same social evils had been ‘institutionalized’ in the garb of capitalism. 
  1. Corruption: Lobbying politicians and selecting Supreme Court Justices based on their ‘political leaning’ is the norm here! It’s both refreshing and disconcerting that the manipulation of some of the most important strategic decisions of the country is so open. (I’m saying refreshing because it is definitely counterintuitive that open corruption is considered ‘transparency’!) Be it gun rights, legalizing tobacco or even starting a war - so many of these decisions are clearly done as quid pro quo for financial and ideological support while political parties are campaigning
  2. Poverty: “There will be people left behind” seems to be the mantra rationalizing homeless and crazy people walking around the streets of New York or the working class that continue to lose their jobs as manufacturing jobs move overseas or simply become redundant due to automation. I was also appalled at how expensive a college education was in the US even for middle class Americans - such that it is normal for students to expect to graduate college with debt! Imagine being 21 years old and in the middle of a 4 year college degree and trying desperately to find internships and jobs under the burden of $200k or more of debt. I have seen people make the choice to go to state college or a lesser-known college with full scholarship just so they can graduate without debt. What they don’t realize is the amount of elitism and brand narcissism that pervades hiring decisions, especially by the best-paying employers in finance and consulting. It is unfair that the ‘best’ colleges are so expensive that even bright students that clearly qualify to get in have to consider whether they can pay for it (or fight for limited scholarships).
  3. Subjugation of Women: One only needs to walk to the middle of Times Square to see massive billboards with extremely scantily clad women (and in some disturbing cases, teenage girls e.g. American Apparel) for advertisements for products ranging from shoes to jeans to underwear. Then there are the topless women walking around and seedy men selling tickets to strip clubs in the neighbourhood. I don’t see how any of this demonstrates a society advancing women’s rights. The rare instance of limited male nudity I’ve seen in advertisements or marketing material is always targeting the gay demographic. I definitely don’t see any equality between the sexes in work either. Women, especially in client-facing jobs, are under a tremendous amount of pressure to look good all the time. Sephora and shoe stores are as ubiquitous as Starbucks in NYC as women cake on the makeup and strut in high stilettos that hurt their feet so they can fine to appear ‘professional’. Not only that, but they have to buy multiple high-quality dresses with appropriate accessories and and tailor them so they fit their bodies perfectly, while men cruise by in the dressing department with assembly line power suits and shoes. I didn’t anticipate the ‘fair and just’ world of the future to look like this for women. I guess I expected more equality in terms of pay and power instead of 'token' positions in firms where the imperative is to look attractive
  4. Nefarious Racism: I guess this needs no explanation, but America’s institutionalized racism is about as insidious as it can get. I can’t imagine the police force getting away with murder in any other developed or developing country (unless it is a conflict-ridden area or the ‘encounter killing’ of a criminal I suppose). In this country’s case, I am shocked by how many times policemen have shot and killed innocent people. Shooting to kill! Not even shooting to maim or just injure! I guess it doesn’t help in decision-making if your populace is filled with people armed to the hilt…but then why were so many of these shootings in cases where the victim didn’t have a gun? And worst of all, why is it that in most of the high-profile cases, the policemen involved have gotten away scot-free? If that wasn't enough evidence of racism, the country recently also elected a President who openly insults Muslims and immigrants. It is disturbing that part of his votes came from the hidden racists in the country who came out of the woodwork to vote him into power. I would still like to believe that most of the electorate did not vote for him only because of his views on race, but his thinly-disclosed economic policies?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Corporate Job without a Safety Net

I work at an MNC that isn't doing very well - a lot of people are getting fired left, right and center and even more people are quitting voluntarily for better and less riskier opportunities. I feel odd working so hard at my job, knowing that I could be fired and I don't have a backup plan. It's kind of disconcerting but at the same time it is a good fear to have as it keeps me on my toes, and forces me to stay sharp and abreast of everything work-related. I know life may have been easier if my parents were wealthy and had connections. I know I took a road off the beaten path by becoming the first in my family to enter a fast-paced corporate job. I know that corporate life has its challenges and can be exceptionally competitive, and especially more difficult if you're an introverted female. I know I've sacrificed getting married and having kids in order to make this happen (and thankfully, the lack of family responsibilities makes the fallout of being fired slightly less harmful).

I just have to be brave and trust in God and believe that everything will turn out for the best. Thanks to God I've come this far and I know there are many more miles to go. I find it amusing that my normally reticent self (at least in spiritual matters) is invoking God with so much fervour. I have a theory that the poor and the weak are more likely to believe in God, because their lives have far more uncertainty and the quality of their life is more likely to depend on strokes of luck and shifts in fates than in only their hard work and effort.

I still care a lot about my career and would prefer if I could be good enough at work that my firm:

1) Doesn't fire me, instead promotes me
2) If the whole company does go bankrupt and needs to fire me, I am so good that I find a job within a couple of months

That is the hope and the dream.


It is both thrilling and frightening to have your life hanging by a string, without a safety net.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What part of my heart bleeds?

I don't know if the periods of melancholy that I undergo are necessarily driven by world poverty. But I do know that I go through these painful periods of sadness when my head gets cloudy and my heart hurts and my mind races, unable to think of anything practical or useful other than world poverty.

In those periods, all I want to do is leave everything behind and alleviate world poverty. I'm serious.

All I can think is how unjust the world is. How unfair it is that millions of people live without enough money to get home from work, even after earning minimum wage (according to this article). Or how difficult it is for people across the world to find jobs, even if they are willing to work hard, because their jobs are being outsourced or replaced by robots. (Don't ask me how I find these articles - all I know is that they are attracted to me like bees to honey.)

I believe I have always been an exceptionally sensitive, "bleeding heart" since I was a child. But I only recently realised my "bleeding heart" may be a symptom of a very visceral belief, after a series of confounding feelings at a first date that left me certain of only one thing - I need help!

Long story short - a date was trying to impress by getting a special reservation at one of the most exclusive (4 Michelin star) restaurants in the city. Unfortunately for him, not only did I look unpleasantly taken aback by the opulence of the venue when I arrived, but I also sat through the entire 4-course meal looking like the spitting image of a glum, disappointed and deeply dehydrated fish out of water.

At the time, I didn't understand my behaviour and thought it was because I couldn't stand the guy. After some reflection, I realise I liked the guy's personality but didn't understand the need to splurge on a $400 meal when there was so much world poverty. World poverty. There it was again.

My mind has been obsessed with world poverty since I was a child. I carry the burden around like Jesus or Atlas, but without doing any of the hard labour they did. All I can do is mope, weep, get extremely depressed, accomplish nothing and feel deeply guilty again, in a repetitive cycle. I don't know why my heart bleeds the way it does. I don't know why it bleeds more than others (after all, I'm not the only one eating out at a fancy place.) All I know is that it bleeds and it is painful.

I know people say you shouldn't be guilty and you should unashamedly chase money and prestige and your career and some day that will give you the ability to write a check and donate to a foundation (or better still, create your own tax-exempt charity). I guess my heart doubts if that amount of success can ever really occur and questions why I can't just donate to my time and my life right now. Perhaps I feel guilty because I feel that the selfish, corporate way isn't the only way forward. Perhaps I feel guilty because I realise that the people for whom my heart bleeds are those the system has failed, and those that have been left behind in our competitive, unjust world. Perhaps my heart bleeds because I realise that my hard work, my time, my life, my colleagues and my income are all going into that system that perpetuates the inequity. Perhaps it bleeds because I realise that in a Rawlsian world, I could easily have been one of those left behind.

Perhaps it bleeds because it is trying to tell me that I will never be happy with more wealth and expensive meals - instead I will be happy by doing good and making a difference to the strata of society that I care about. Just writing that last line was so relieving :)

The only problem, oh heart, is who will pay the bills?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Funny Gypsy is Back!

To people who were following this blog and reading my posts in the past - Thank you for your loyalty!

To new readers - Welcome!

To those of you who thought I had died - No I am very much alive, but had fallen in love with an amazing man over the past 2 years and thought I was getting married.

To those of you who wish I had died - Not yet! Have a lot left to learn, share and achieve in life!

To those of you wondering if I am now married - Unfortunately not. The future mother-in-law looked at the stars and decided the astrological risk was too high. In retrospect, it worked out for the best.

To those of you wondering what my plans are now

I am learning that happiness comes with age, some wisdom and accepting what you enjoy doing :) It comes from following your heart, even if it means you might be a bit weird.

I will restart blogging about life, work, love, happiness and social issues. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing!
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