Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Graphical Nature of Relationships

When you’re right in the middle of it, reasoning is muddled. But math can help in understanding the different progressions of relationships! You can actually plot it. I realized this in a JK Rowling-epiphany-while-riding-in-a-train sort of way. Ok fine, I lied – I was traveling in a plane and I don’t think my discovery will go on to become an epic 7-series book and movie blockbuster, but let’s not get stuck on details.
In Physics, there is no such thing as an instantaneous object. An object can have a certain width, breadth and depth, but it cannot exist until you actually introduce the 4th dimensional aspect of time. Given a certain time frame, that particular object exists! Relationships, similarly, are not quantifiable at an instantaneous moment, or what we call the present. In the present, you might think things are perfect, but you both may either be converging into a perfect marriage or diverging into a sticky breakup.
 Just like a 3-dimensional object cannot exist without the passage of time, the 4th dimension of a relationship is the amount of enthusiasm each person has in the relationship. If this is not making any sense to you, it’s cuz I’m totally making this crap up.
Anyways, let me explain with a graph:

If you plot your enthusiasm versus your partner’s enthusiasm over time, its best that your slopes don’t intersect, because that generally means you guys are starting to feel differently about each other, which could mean a potential break up in the future. Take a look at the graph above:  you start out undecided while the guy is pretty enthusiastic in the beginning, and after some amount of time, just when you start to get intrigued and comfortable with the circumstances—BOOM! Your ass has been dumped. Or your ass is not working out anymore. Or your ass has been replaced by somebody else’s ass.
Of course, an intersection doesn’t necessarily mean a breakup! If you fall under either of the two graphs shown below, you guys will be fine!
Here are a few others, with explanations. Which category do you fall under?
A.      On-and-Off

You guys can’t make up your mind and take turns liking each other. Hopefully your emotions will stop yo-yoing and you guys will realize that ya’ll can’t live without each other. This stuff makes for excellent romantic comedies.
B.      Not good

Yeah, you need to break up with him/her. Like right now.
C.      Incest

You found the man or woman of your dreams until you go to a family reunion and find out you’re related. That’s bad luck. But, looks like your cousin is still interested. …Awkward…
D.      Hanging on to the past

Ah yes, this is where the other person doesn’t like you anymore and you want to go back to the time when everything was perfect, so you build a spaceship and travel back in time. You think this is a totally rational plan to fall back on but, really, you need to stop living in the past.
Seriously though, don’t ever take my advice because the only thing these graphs reveal is my nerd-at-heart mentality. So, yes, PowerPoint decks can make anything look official, but we also know it’s just another way of putting lipstick on a turd. Good luck with your relationship or the lack thereof! J

© Copyright by Shilpi Chakrabarti 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011


Spain was a whirlwind. Spain was everything I desired and more. Ok fine, I wouldn’t go that far, but it was bloody fantastic. Let me tell you about it.
My friend Aash and I landed in Seville and decided the first thing we should do was something crazy. So we spotted the sole Indian girl on the bus and made friends with her. She had been to Spain several times before and she offered to show us all the local and hidden treasures of Spain in the next few days. She promised us the best food and drinks and fun and friendship. We waved goodbye to her as if we were childhood friends. We texted her later that day and she didn’t reply. We called her later that night and she didn’t call back. What a bitch.
That night we went to a Flamenco show. By the fourth glass of wine, Aash and I were caught up in the drama and anger of it all. “She,” I slurred, “is very passionate.”
“Why is she so pissed?” inquired Aash.
“I think she found out the guitar player is gay. I’m pretty pissed off about that myself. So frickin cute...I swear, if he wasn't gay, I would...”
Anyways, let's keep it PG. Aash was all about Spanish food for the first few days. She wanted only authentic tapas – patatas bravas, huevo y jamon, paella, sangria. Unfortunately, coming from the land of spices, Aash found almost everything bland including my company. “Hot sauce!” she would yell as she flung her fork and knife towards the waiter. The waiters had no idea what we were saying. One brave young waiter did try to figure out what the hell we wanted.
“Sal?", he inquired.
“No, no” we replied in exasperation.
Waiter: “Jamon?”
Aash: “…Jam?”
Me: “No, not jam. Ham.”
Waiter: “Vino?”
Me: “After this conversation, yes dammit. Bring four.”
Waiter: “Pimiento?”
Aash: “Pimi….yes! Those are those spicy green peppers right, Shilps?! Yes, damn you, bring me pimiento!!”
We high-fived in triumph, as if we just decoded Caesar’s cipher, when the waiter came back with some black pepper.
We stared at the black pepper, depression settling over us in thick, heavy blankets.
“Let’s go to an Indian restaurant tomorrow,” said Aash without preamble.
“Fuck yeah. I’ll be snorting the garam masala from the kitchen floor.”
Food aside, we saw some of the most brilliant architecture in Seville. In the middle of cobblestone streets, dotted with romantic street lamps, stood a Cathedral holding paintings and carvings of stoic Catholic beliefs and the remains of Columbus’s genitalia. Oh yes, we were different people in the romance-infused air of Seville. We got lost amongst the gypsies that insisted on selling rosemary twigs to Aash as if they were precious diamond bracelets; amongst the street musicians that played a heart-wrenching tune while we walked through quietly-lit streets; amongst the Plaças with street vendors selling balloons, and lit tops that would fly high into the air, and a whistle that made you sound like you inhaled helium, and many, many other essentials.
We took a train to Cordoba to experience more Moorish architecture and it was truly enthralling. We went to see the local Cathedral there, which had started out as a church and was converted to a mosque when the Muslims had conquered the Christians in that region. The mosque had then been converted back to a church after the conquered Christians re-conquered the conquered Muslims. The final architecture of the Catedral, today, is the result of layers and layers of testosterone, resembling a set of Russian dolls, with each doll built slightly bigger, and better and overshadowing the previous one.
We left the beauty and elegance of Seville, and were confronted by the blatant promiscuity of Ibiza. Ibiza was a beach town with a contrasting landscape: of quaint, quiet villages and large, glittery clubs. For a moment, I felt bad for Ibiza and its gradual progression from a pretty peasant towards a garish, gaudy prostitute. But make no mistake, this prostitute was by no means cheap. We ended up spending more money there than we did in the rest of our trip combined!
That night we went to David Guetta’s closing summer party. It was the epitome of fun. We were right there, staring at Guetta work his magic as neon glowsticks, heart-shaped balloons, lasers, smoke, and huge robots swayed to the rhythm of “I gotta feeling!” We were so deliriously happy walking out that we didn’t even realize a bunch of guys had felt us up on our way out. Or maybe that was the reason we were deliriously happy? Don't quite remember the exact order...

Anyways, we went back to the hotel room from the club, changed, took a ferry to an island and biked for an hour to a beach. Then we fell asleep on the sand like newborn babies.
Finally, we landed in Barcelona. I looked skeptically at Aash and said, “Listen Aash…I know you…we have two and half days in Barcelona, ok? We can’t spend it all shopping.”
“No, I know, we’ll go shopping on Sunday. We’ll spend all of Saturday doing the tourist stuff.”
We woke up on Saturday and walked into the streets of Barcelona with our tour books out, sneakers on and baseball hats snug on our heads. We were going to see Gaudi and the Sagrada today, but before that we were going to get breakfast. I took ten steps when Aash already disappeared into the nearest Zara. Shit.
I dragged Aash out of the store and decided to go for breakfast. We went to Pita Inn and our ‘breakfast’ consisted of falafels drenched in tahini and hot sauce.
“Jeez”, I said walking out, “if people knew the crap we were eating while in Spain.”
Aash giggled, “So far, Indian food, Italian food and, now, Middle-Eatern!”
That evening, we relaxed with a glass of wine on Vincent’s balcony. Vincent was the person who owned the apartment that we were renting. He drank his white wine with ice, which apparently is the norm in Spain. Aash and I also learned how to pronounce David Guetta’s last name.
“Who?” said Vincent.
“Goo-ate-ah,” replied Aash, “the DJ?”
Vincent: “Ohhhhh, you mean ‘get-ta’.”
Aash: “Oh, is that how his name is pronounced in Spain?”
Vincent: “….No…that’s how his name is pronounced everywhere.”
“Not true,” I replied, “In India, he is Goo-ate-ah. Jai Sri David…”
“…Balakrishnan Goo-ate-ah,” Aash finished off, completing the ridiculous lie.
Vincent never facebooked us like he promised. But Aash and I were fine. We were more than fine actually. We were happy and relaxed and delightfully free from the ties of real life. Here in Spain, as we walked the musician-lined labyrinth of streets, as we strolled and sipped Sangria next to a river, as we ate in a candle-lit café while watching women dance flamenco; we bonded, reminisced, and rekindled a friendship as ethereal and blissful as the enchanting region of Andalusia.