You do You (So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened)

So, on my last visit, my dad said to me ‘when you go back to Nepal, would you give a call or have a chat with our neighbour’s son who is also a doctor. I met his father and we had a talk. I said, I will let you know. You also know him. I think he was a few years senior to you.’

‘No, I don’t’. I replied, cautiously and also a bit surprised because it has been quite a while since any of my parents wanted me to meet someone. I did drop a hint some months earlier when I was with my ex that I might be dating someone outside our nationality and/or race. Mom wasn’t so keen to listen more after that but Dad sounded quite open minded at the time. ‘As long as this person is hard working, trust worthy and is a family person’, he had said. And oh boy was I glad at the time, cause honestly he ticked all the boxes.

‘Why don’t you give him a call?‘ I said to my sister, who is 2 years younger than me. Currently in a relationship with her long-term boyfriend of 6 years, also Nepalese. ‘Dad said you’, she replied ‘and you are older’.But you keep asking me to fix you with doctors, here is your chance’, I insisted. ‘Whoever it is, I have said my daughter will keep in touch’. My dad answered putting a pause to our conversation. ‘He comes from a good family’. He said.

My sister looked at me and winked suggesting one of us should probably take the chance. Of course at this point we are not too serious to actually be invested on it, but unlike other times when we would absolutely be deterred by the conversation of finding a husband, this time we are not. Dad seems to have taken it as a positive hint and was quite glad he brought up the topic at right time when both of us were in the room. Sort of like, he was giving us the opportunity to speak up now if we were seeing anyone as potential partner. She was quite. My sister and boyfriend both haven’t introduced themselves to each other’s family and it is difficult to explain ‘but there are certain things’, that might make them both fail on their parent’s checklist, only a Nepalese would understand. And of course I was quite myself. A little relieved I suppose that my parents don’t know nothing about my previous relationship. Otherwise they would be hammering me constantly on talking about details and questioning on my decisions.

I didn’t take the name. But I did say to myself, ‘why not? No harm in talking right?’. Who knows, I might land in Nepal today and get married the next week. They say ‘marriage is in written in hands. When it happens, it happens.’ One of my best friends recently got engaged after just knowing the guy for few months. ‘You know how it is, we are from same culture and tradition. We understand each other, we know our expectations, our values match and we had a connection’, she said. I understand. I completely understand, now more than ever. Although I did comment ‘I still think it was too soon.‘ One of my friends who was brought up in UK but had a Turkish ancestry said, ‘I value my family and family life. I have so many cousins and extended family. It would be nice if she could be a part of it as well. If she was from other nationality with different beliefs, she would feel displaced at home.’

Problem is, it is like finding a needle in haystack, searching for someone who is your absolute fit. I will say, I did look into dating sites hoping to find an Asian match but there were more European faces than Asians! And ones that did have inclusively Asian population looked far too strict with their beliefs and criteria. And also sort of felt like, if you did start to speak to a person, you should absolutely be committed to the relationship. Be ready with a garland on your hand because soon you are going to be Missus from Miss… I don’t know why it gave me a little chills, I should be fine with that right? Because so far my dating history has been, ‘Go to a date and Woah! committed! My dating app doesn’t even last a week. Here 3 years for you, yeah am fine with ongoing 4 months with you.’

‘Don’t pick the first bag you see when you go shopping!‘ Mom says. Either I am being very lucky finding what I exactly want right away or I got problems.

‘Of course he wants me. He has been with so many girls. And now he knows, I’m a good girl and I make a good wife. But I feel like, I jumped too fast in this relation. I haven’t dated other people. I don’t know and I don’t think I’ll ever know if there is other person somewhere meant to be for me’. My friend vented her insecurity. ‘I don’t want to make a wrong decision. But its too late. Don’t jump in a committed relationship girl. I am telling you from experience’.

It seems like we are all worried about ‘making wrong decisions now days than deciding on our feelings. Would you blame us? ‘Everyone is traumatised at our age’, my other friend commented. ‘Something in their past, something from their previous relationship. I don’t know. Honestly I’d rather be alone. I am a modern woman yes but I also have traditional values. I want a man to be still a man, to make me feel protected, provide for me, be strong so that I feel feminine at least sometimes. I like being a woman. But the way it is going looking at my dates, they want me either to be their mother. I should have more or stable salary for them so they can take rest or not even work & support them financially. I am expected to cook and clean after I come back from my shifts while they sit on sofa and enjoy TV. On top of being a wife. Listening to them vent out constantly 24/7, support their mental health issues. Look pretty, keep the romance alive when they don’t even try. And that is if they even want kids. The idea of responsibility just knocks them out. And in case if they do, there’d be one more big baby I’d have to take care of. It’s all about them. What about us? Honestly all I need is a sperm donor. Even if I am in a relationship, he’d free to go out and have fun. It’d be just for a name sake.’

I suppose the conversation did take a little dark turn after sometime. Although I did kind of started laughing remembering Southpark Season 20 where Eric Cartman has this theory about ‘men being used to milk semen and write jokes in mars’ by women. Watch it. It’s very funny and that’s quite a dark sense of humor but looking at how situation is going on, I do agree most men and women, at least our age seem to be carrying out a lot frustration against each other.

We all got issues and we all got responsibilities. How much of your issues am I willing to make mine, depends on how much I am going to vest my energy on you? And how much will you vest on me? Of course one end is always shorter but to what extent? I look back sometimes and remember 2:00am calls walking at night from work to home. He was sleepy but he always wanted me to make a call. I suppose his end was always shorter but I did try too from my end. I did take 4 hours trains walking from stations to stations alone by myself after work hours, putting alarms in between so I don’t doze off and miss stations.

I guess what we all are looking for, is that right person our heart and soul truly wants to hold on to. And a reciprocation of effort. That men and women now days and our age, honestly are too scared to put. Without reciprocation, it only becomes an energy draining process.

There is a very good video circulating now in Instagram from Teal Swan where she says, ‘For people who have a hard time with boundaries and for people who call themselves empaths its actually the same childhood experience. It’s that in childhood you’ve got an unpredictable adult. And that, unpredictable adult whether you’re consciously aware of it or not, presents enough of a risk to you that you have to be hyper attuned. Because every move they make or don’t make , has some implication for yourself. So what a lot of people don’t like learning about emapths is that because of this traumatic type of childhood experience they learn how to pay hyperattention or hyper attune to anything in room that is not ok. That’s why you are never gonna meet somebody who’s got this thing who’s like ‘you know, I just love being around people, because I feel amazing,’. Cause they’re gonna walk in room and instead of attuning to person who is happy, they are gonna attune to the person who’s got the issue. Because that’s where the risk is. In case you wanna know why empaths always feel like crap. That’s why’.

I wonder if my choice are subconsciously skewed as well. Maybe I too have an empath personality that makes me attuned to looking at faces with stories. One forgets survival often comes with traumas. When I had first joined a dating app, I started chatting with this lovely guy who after a couple of days, called me crying, barely breathing saying he felt very depressed and he didn’t know what he was going to do that day.

Wonder if the answer is, we don’t look for someone like us. We look for someone opposite in personality. Someone that balances us out in some ways. I was very happy in my relationship with my ex. Despite our issues. Till this niggling feeling came around whispering ‘Is he really the one?’ And of course later came the major things I could no longer over look. Normally I would make my decisions with my heart and my brain. I have always been very cautious person all my life. But 4 months ago when I went on a date, I went by with an impulse. I did really feel maybe I did meet my match. ‘Take a chance’, I said to myself. Now I wonder whether it was the empath in me and I question whether I was really ready to be in a new relationship.

He will use you and leave you the second he is back up on his feet’, my friend warns me.

I absolutely adore this person. This person, I am dating. He is so smart, I can’t even understand half the things he says. He has been through so much, but he is still trying to do his best. He is strong, is a fighter, dreamer but he is lost at a difficult place. I am trying to be here for him as much as I can. But when he calls me from the pub at 02:00am from some place out of my reach talking about how he hates his life, sending me one or two words message only now and then between few hours, keeping me awake and anxious for his safety; I don’t know. I worry, I hope he doesn’t drive but when I hear women giggling on the background; honestly I don’t know. ‘Leave him’, I recall my friends say. For some reason, they all disapprove of him but the empath in me is reluctant to let go. A voice in me takes his side and says, ‘they don’t understand what he is going through, you know it well’. But when he tells me, ‘you had a very sheltered life didn’t you?’. I am speechless. I don’t deny it, I did. But he doesn’t talk to me because he doesn’t think I’ll understand. He is bitter, for some reason bitter to me.

In some ways I am a little worried now of my choices. What if I am predisposed without second doubt to pick up on certain personalities of people all steps of my life? I’d rather be alone. To protect my emotional health. To avoid emotional rifts coming my way, everyday. As one of patients said ‘All my friends got married. Some of them settled. I did not want to settle. Life is too short‘. I am scared. Scared shit! Apologies for the language. But how long do you stay scared for. At some point, you got to take a chance. For now, its a gamble. May be this is beginning of our love story or a start to another. Who knows? 😉 At least one thing is certain, I will no longer wait on things to happen waiting for my boyfriend/ partner to make his way on our plans. I will no longer look back and miss on the days I couldn’t attend the parties, the night outs, or the movie times. I will never miss out on ‘me’ time anymore because I am no longer a kind of person who invests too much on relationships. NO. I will keep living my life and keep my focus on life goals, if our plans align ‘you are welcome’. If not; Ciao, Adios!

Question is NOT ‘are you right for me?’. Question is, ‘Are YOU right for me?’

So you’re a doc, a foreign cuisine and Corona happened (Chasing diamonds)

I am 5’2, been told- of small frame but I’m quite sturdy and stocky. ‘Thick’, as Joey used to say it. Similar built to my other Nepalese ethnic origin sisters, as in shorty with wide hips and bow legs. My knees don’t meet and my legs only come together at my ankles. Not a great shape to be on tight jeans pants but I still love to wear them.

When galla lined us on a row for selection he looked at the legs first. At how much gap there was between the legs, the more they bowed better they were. Sign of strength, strong genes’. My father once said to me when I was young. ‘Or of nutritional deficiency’, I had commented. At which my mom frowned, saying ‘Nonsense. We had you pumping on vitamin pills and syrups all the time. You are healthy. And don’t wear those tight jeans, they make your legs look like those of football players’. 

We grew up in village. We didn’t know what was the right diet for the children, what nutritional needs they had. We gave them whatever we thought was good. It might be true you know.’ My father reflected on my statement looking at Mom’s direction and reminiscing his days of being a young father of two on his teens.

I almost puked at the word ‘right diet’. At the memory of mom making us drink hemp seed oil with milk on a 400ml cup. 1/3rd of the cup was just oil floating on top. We had to drink it on one attempt pinching our nose because it tasted horrible. And we had to because mom did not take no for an answer especially if she believed it was indeed very good for our health. Hemp seed craze only lasted for a month, thank god for that, otherwise I am pretty sure we’d have died young with heart attacks. I’m told the seed oil cost fortunes at that time.

We were short because we carried heavy loads in the village. They didn’t have to carry any. It might just be how they are’. My mother disagreed, strongly, on my dad’s suggestion.

But my brother was really tall and your mother and uncles were really tall.’ ‘He was so tall,’ dad started laughing, focusing his attention to me now. ‘That one time, when we had to take him to hospital in a taxi we had very hard time fitting him in. His legs were dangling out of the door!’

My friend Suj feels, it is all to do with the loads we carried on our backpacks as students everyday. ‘8 books for 8 classes  a day with 2 notebooks for each, a diary, lunch box and a water bottle. That’s a lot to carry,’ she reasoned. ‘But that still doesn’t explain why younger generation of my cousins who are still carrying same weight backpack are climbing like vines to the sky while we just got stuck here halfway.’

As you can read, we talk about all sort of things. There is never a time to run out of topics with us. Between me and my parents, friends and my siblings. People say, I talk less! Wait till I am with right bunch. I could just say ‘remember that time’ and they would go like ‘Oh I member’.

I am very close with my siblings. Lot of memories together. One advantage of having strict mom whose idea of protecting was often locking us in our flat, we became best of pals with each other. Four. A good number to divide in two teams for every games. Cards, ludo games, and especially carrom board. Were so good at it, the adults would ask us to join them if they had a missing person in their team. Even on days we’d fight, we would make up right away. None of us could stay mad at each other for a long time. There was nowhere to go but to confront our feelings. To this day, I cannot stay mad at them longer than few hours.

I remember, our TV used to be locked inside a giant glass cupboard. There was only specific times and weekend days when we were allowed to watch our programmes uninterruptedly. ‘I will let you guys watch the TV when you guys are done with homework’, mom would say but then she’d be gone for hours and we’d miss our favourite shows on cartoon network and animax. So one day my oldest brother decided that he needed to learn how to pick the lock. And bravo he did! When the door to that glass cupboard went click, all four of us were hysterical. One of my best memories in life. Taking turns to stay guard hourly so that the others would be warned as soon as Mom showed by the the red house on corner in the neighbourhood, was fun. Took her about 5 mins from that point to reach our flat on third floor with multiple grilles and locks. By the time she showed up, we’d have hyperventilated our adrenaline and be sipping on colas as if nothing happened. Although, I do have a feeling, Mom caught up on us after a year. She started doing this routine where she would touch the top of TV with palm of her hands as soon as returned.

Having siblings of similar age, who understand you inside and out is amazing. ‘Nothing like blood’, as they say. I never had to work hard to build relationships outside my comfort zone because I had them. Not like, I did not try to. But, I realised after being miserable on my own for a while, I would rather be with one genuine person I can relate to. Than a group of giggling girls who back bite the second one leaves or boys who are all about being macho, proving they are tough and doing so very stupid things. At home, I had these 3 genuine people of my own. Fell down the bike and avulsed her scalp and my little sister did not speak a word about being on a ride with me. Held my little brother upside down because he spit on my face to teach him some manners, that little brat did not even report a single word to mom when she came home. And where do I even begin with my oldest brother, no matter what trouble I got into, he always had my back. No questions asked.

Loyalty and trust doesn’t come automatically I suppose, when I look at my parent’s relationships with their siblings. My father did not attend his brother’s funeral. ‘I couldn’t get leave‘, he said. But you could see, he had been broken so many times by him, he was long gone from his heart. My mother called me a few days ago, crying over some thing her sister had done again. She never learns. But, I suppose it hurts more when family betrays you.

You won’t be like us, would you?’, they ask. ‘No’. I reply. It would never come to that. Our binding faith on each other comes from years of investments on each other. All these little things we went through and the memories of it we carry. My parents and their siblings never had these opportunities. As soon as they learned to walk, they went separate ways. ‘Lesson is never trust anyone. Especially not your friends’ Dad says. ‘Tighten your own purse strings, that way you won’t ever have a reason to blame. And, never show your weakness to anyone. People have fangs underneath their armpits ‘ Mom adds.

But, everyone needs someone to trust to. One never realises the impact of having right people in lives, until one is on a shithole and they need help. Being an adult living on your own, you have to factor a possibility, life can suddenly change. You don’t always have your health to count to nor the job security. Today living in a five star hotel, tomorrow you may become homeless. Who do you have to go to? Find that friend. Find that family. There are four people chipping in for my expenses when I can’t meet my months end. They are not rich. A little over 1 grand, 2 grand at maximum sometimes in a month and even none on their pay check. But seeing 50 from one, 100 from others and even 20 for god’s sake! Makes me so happy. There is no better sanity pill in the world than soothing words from the right person/from the right people saying, ‘Don’t worry, I am here for you’.

A friend of mine said to me, ‘I am alone. Its just me’. At the time, I didn’t grasp the feelings behind those words. ‘I am alone too’, I thought. But he wasn’t implying a literal sense to his statement. Knowing him now, I now know he meant ‘he had no one to fall back to’. It felt lonely to put myself in his shoes then.

Parents, siblings and best friends. No money will ever be enough to buy those relationships. Some of us were blessed from the start, some of us- didn’t have that beginning. Especially past teens, relationships are hard to establish. Because by then, as young adults we exactly know what our personality is, what kind of people we are comfortable with. By then we will have set our borders and constructed our high walls, everyone else will automatically shunned out. If you ask randomly now, majority of people will say they met their best friends or their long term friends when they were little, in school or some kind of camps. But there are people out there who didnot have that chance, children out there who won’t have that chance. One fails to see the invisible reach the safety and security of family has to offer outside homes. In school playgrounds or even while venturing out in the world. The confidence to approach strangers, open themselves up to them. Yet is not the lack of effort I feel, it is fear of disappointment that it will only be temporary.

Which is true in many cases. So, if you have opportunity to invest on genuine people you should. It is an investment because it takes time, effort and commitment. Trust and loyalty is not granted even in blood. It is hard to love a human. It is. After you have seen the things they do, hear the crimes and sins they have committed. What obligation does anyone have to accept that stranger that may very much become a bad decision or a liability some day? But everyone needs someone. They do. 2 individuals coming together in good faith makes families, whether they have romantic afflictions or not. That is when pillars of strong foundations are laid. Relationships thrives and blossoms in that footing. Finding diamonds takes work. Many times it is an empty chase. Of course it would be. You know how precious they are? But if you do find one, it will all be worth the wait. Remember, never be too disappointed. ‘Only a diamond cuts out a diamond.’

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