Love Aaj Kal [Love These Days]

So, you might have heard of all the fairy tales on Love stories. Do listen to this story too! Because this is no story nor is it a fairy tale!

Now, I know you would protest that love is made in Heaven and that subsequently marriages are made in Heaven too. Yes, if you go and ask my parents or your parents they would approve of this fact. But then a lot happened. What happened and how? If you want to know, read on!

2020 October, Place : Gurugram – Manhattan Brewery.

I enter an enclosed area where I can hear what everyone is speaking aloud. So I dig into what a specific couple is actually talking about. I realize they are talking about their relationship.

Comic relief : A ship that will never sink is FriendShip! Ok? You must have heard Mustafa Mustafa song by AR Rahman? No? Fine, listen to it now ok?

Ok, lets get to the point now, Love Aaj Kal!

I saw that the couple were quite into each other. Literally! There was PDA definitely. For those who are wondering what PDA is – Public Display of Affection. To be more clear, they were actually making out in public view.

Now comes the interesting part. The girl starts talking. What she says will leave you in astonishment. Same as me. I had never heard such a proposal in my whole life.

Ok, so the boy kept on repeating like a parrot that we are still testing waters with our relationship and that we still need time to take it to next level.

You would have already guessed that the guy started speaking like this because the girl started asking him to commit to their relationship. Then the girl went on to say something more that caught my attention.

So, here’s how the conversation progressed.

Girl : “Ok, see let me know if you want to take this forward, lets commit to this.”

Boy : “I need some time to actually see where we are going with this. I really don’t want to commit to this unless you and I actually realize we are suitable for this. Let’s not hurry.”

He kept saying “Lets take this slow” repeatedly. “Lets not rush into this, lets see how our compatibility goes.”

To this, the girl went one step ahead and said this —

Girl : “My best friends they are married and both of them have a partner outside their marriage!!!!!!!!!!! So we can have similar arrangement. I am not rushing you into this relationship. Just that I am saying I am open to this kind of an arrangement.”

Boy : “Yes that sounds practical, but I still need time to commit to you.”

I was flabbergasted! I wanted to approach both of them saying I am a Dating Coach and that I wanted to speak to them separately on why they need to reconsider their conversation.

But by then the waiter came up to me asking me to pay the bill. So I went with the flow.

I just wanted to share this story because I felt it was too displaced and shook the very pillars of a relationship. But if that is how the future generation feels, then who are we to put a blockade. Maybe we need to learn from them? I don’t know.

Let couples find happiness and make babies after marriages or babies before marriages. Let them fix a partner outside marriage or within marriage too!

This is latest Love Aaj Kal. I hope Imtiyaz Ali is reading this!

–Varun Gowtham Mannava!

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Love Love Love!!! (soon to be a Romantic Fiction book/ web series)

How Akash, an introvert from Chennai becomes an extrovert, makes his way through a lot of friends and establishes himself as a Love Guru in Delhi. He meets his first true love Shruti in a Speed Dating event and they connect on that very night. Shruti is from Bengaluru.

For the next 4 months Akash and Shruti have a ball realizing how special their first meeting was and how their first meeting was filled with such serendipity. They move in together (live in) for almost 2 months now. The first fight starts off on a stupid insecurity issue (from Shruti’s side). But slowly these insecurities harden and they quickly realize its because of their mindset. They have opposite personalities.

One year passes in ‘live in’ and things don’t improve. The fights didn’t end. They try to give deeper commitment a chance. They get engaged thinking this will reduce their insecurities and liken their mindsets. But it only makes things worse. The fights get more nasty, physical (from Shruti’s side) and more frequent.

They sit down on a Sunday morning and talk their hearts out. They decide to break the engagement and move on.

Then on Tuesday, Akash meets Neha, a girl from Delhi, casually at a bar. He engages her wittily in a conversation and they get to know more about each other. Akash learns that Neha recently got engaged. He tells her that his engagement got broken 2 days ago. Neha tells Akash that they both meeting that night could be a sign (of the universe) since she’s already contemplating breaking her engagement too.

Few days later Neha breaks her engagement with her fiancé Amit and starts dating Akash.

Now Amit tries to trace Shruti and befriends her and tries to make Shruti fall for him. Shruti also tries to break things between Akash and Neha!

And so the cruel love-games kick off. Who will emerge victorious and how.

“2 couples. 3 love stories. Highly twisted. Highly romantic. Highly contemporary love stories of modern Indian couples.

–Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Food Preferences in a Mumbai Family

When you (Varun Mannava) are from a strict vegetarian family and your partner (Shraddha) is from a strictly Non vegetarian family (from Mumbai) and that too with three siblings – one younger brother, one elder sister and one elder brother, you would want to appreciate and remember what their choices are. There is so much diversity and preferences in just one family. And when your partner keeps mentioning this every once in a while, its better to document it in a blog and share it.

This also acts as a reference whenever my partner quizzes me if I know what cuisine / dishes she likes. Now that she has started eating vegetarian more than ever for the last two years, it makes even more sense for me to document this for her future reference, just in case she forgets all the non vegetarian delicacies she used to like. What say? Ha!

Below are the preferences of my Partner’s Family! (in the words of my Partner)

Egg preferences :

Sunny side up – Shraddha, mother, younger brother,

Both sides fried – elder sister

Omelette – father

Any variety – elder brother

Dosa preferences :

Crispy dosa – mother

Soft dosa – father and Shraddha

Cheese dosa – younger brother (no tomat0)

Masala dosa – elder sister

Just dosa – elder brother

Sandwich preferences :

Cheese chilly toast (vegetables crushed) – father

Vegetable sandwich – mom (without cheese) ; Shraddha (with cheese)

Chutney masala sandwich – elder sister

No cheese sandwich – father

Sweets / Desserts preferences :

Bombay Halwa / Jalebi (soft)/ Motichur Laddu – father

Jalebi with Rabdi – younger brother

Crispy Jalebi – mother

Bengali sweets – Shraddha

All time sweet – Khalakand, Modak, Puran Poli

Fish Preferences:

Surmai – mother

Bangda – father, elder sister

Bombil – Shraddha, younger brother

Prwans – elder brother

Meat Preferences :

White meat – elder brother, father

Red meat (Mutton) – younger brother, Shraddha

Chicken Lollipop – all time favorite of Shraddha

Roti Preferences :

Plain Roti – father

Butter Roti – Shraddha

Garlic Naan – mother and elder brother

Any Roti – elder sister

Vegetables Preferences :

Bhindi / Brinjal. Last preference for everyone. Shraddha never tasted Paneer till got engaged with Varun Mannava. And no Rice ever for Shraddha.

And in My Family, the only preference is that my father doesn’t like Paneer. That’s all. My elder brother, mother and I eat anything and everything vegetarian. Obviously no Non Veg!

— Varun Mannava

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Dil Bechara : An emotional farewell to Sushant Singh Rajput!

With all that’s been happening in bollywood industry since the passing away of the 34 year old actor, Dil Bechara movie feels actually like a Crystal Ball prediction for 1 hour 40 minutes. The film is definitely a fitting and a well deserved farewell movie for Sushant Singh Rajput who was always treated like a guest in the industry and never allowed to settle down. Its hard to watch this movie without thinking of the elephant in the room, which is the sudden demise of this promising actor. In a way, it glorifies his struggle and in the end it fades away leaving a permanent impression on our hearts.

The premise is quite bold. In a world of feel good romance movies, crime thrillers and mindless comedies, Dil Bechara talks about the realistic challenges that we are facing these days. Health (physical and mental)! The director Mukesh Chabbra starts this movie just like any teen college flick. Usually the girl in such movies has heart aches or butterflies in the stomach but here Kizzie Basu (Debutante : Sanjana Sanghi) has a tumor in her Thyroid gland. She hardly comes across as a debutante and portrays a variety of emotions and expressions with great ease.

The setting is fixed : a middle class home, Jamshepur town, Tata Main hospital, College and a lakeside junkyard (with a view). This is where most of the movie revolves for most of the 100 minutes duration with the exception of Paris for 10 minutes. However there is never a dull moment in the movie all thanks to Manny (Sushant Singh Rajput) who not only brings cheer and life into Kizzie’s lifeless mind & body but also in the audiences mind. He plays a 23 year old ‘happy go lucky’ boy who is also arrogant and has a way of getting his wishes implemented. He fits the role perfectly. His partner in crime JP (Sahil Vaid) definitely evokes a laugh or two and fits easily into the character. JP wants to make a movie of his own, especially with Bhojpuri tastes in mind. Manny is a Rajnikanth Fan! Kizzie is a music lover. All three of them are united and engaged through art and they exploit this inclination to pull each other up whenever one of them is down with the burden of life. Literally.

A R Rahman is back with beautiful tracks. I am still waiting for them to grow on me but I love the track “Khulke Jeene Ka”. Its sad to hear how the two academy award winning music director is a victim of favoritism and misunderstanding in the hands of a talentless gang in the bollywood. I honestly did not know A R Rahman was the music director until two weeks ago when the trailer was launched.

True to its title, its the heart that always suffers. However it is a personal choice. We cannot make others suffer for us but if they want to suffer for us we must not stop them either.

Who would have thought people would act funny or misbehave in a funeral setting and if they do then try going one level deeper and understand they only do it because they don’t want to waste their short span of life attending funerals! It makes complete sense in a deeply philosophical point of view.

And who says life is normal for those who have a fairly healthy body. The artist who Kizzie adores and worships is definitely a sight to watch even though he makes his presence felt only for 2 minutes. Those 2 minutes felt like a lifetime thanks to his unpredictable mental condition.

Watch the trailer, then watch the movie. Otherwise you may not be ready for the deep roller coaster emotional ride that this movie promises to deliver.

–Varun Gowtham Mannava.

 

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Lockdown Gyan: Why moving to Chennai was the best decision my Father ever made!

My Father Srinivas Gowtham Mannava was born in Baapatla and studied in Guntur (near Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh). He was into stage acting during his childhood and had moved around all of Andhra Pradesh in his capacity as a stage actor. This did not affect his schooling or college.

He got into Mechanical Engineering in a college in Mysore. This was Karnataka. So now he knew Kannada other than Telugu which was his mother tongue. He was quite hardworking because he was not naturally gifted. He had to work hard to clear all exams. He had a knack for engineering drawing.

So I was wondering why he did not choose Bengaluru as his destination to apply for a job post his Engineering degree, or why he did not return to Hyderabad/ Vijayawada to take his career forward. He chose CHENNAI! And that changed everything. At least for me and my brother!

My brother and I were born in Visakhapatnam. That’s because my mom’s parents were put up in Visakhapatnam. That’s all.

Imagine if my brother and I were raised in Visakhapatnam we would be clumsy telugu youth (no offense to Telugu youth, I mean such bad dressing sense and such gaudy home paints?). Probably my brother would have started a hero fan club(which he still can, I have no idea why he hasn’t), given his inclination to movies and I would have settled down for a job at Vizag steel plant or some nationalized bank. Both our brothers would be married with two sons/ daughers and thinking about which junior college to seek admission.

Thankfully, my father chose to move to Chennai. Maybe because he got a job there! Also maybe because my father got mugged while he was in college in Mysore. He explains how he got scared of the muggers in great detail and that how he handed over all his money to them. This may have had an impression on him about Kannadigas. I am not blaming all Kannadigas here, I loved Lucia, K.G.F and cursed myself why I didn’t know Kannada. I guess we are digressing from the point here. The point is CHENNAI!

Chennai / Madras is an amazing place to raise a family (Anyone can live in Chennai, with 5 rupees or 5 lakhs). My parents, both Telugu all their life, learnt Tamil so soon. For instance, if anyone breaks traffic rules, my father used to abuse him in Tamil (Madaiyaa) .. means Idiot!

Now focussing on the header of this blog! Why moving to Chennai was the best decision my Father ever made!

I mean come on! Illayaraja! Need I say more? Ok if you want me to elaborate I shall.

Illayaraja is the God of Indian music! Mozart and Beethoven (if alive) would have thanked him for making such memorable film songs. There is an Illayaraja song for every emotion, every function, every aspect of everyone’s life.

Imagine, if my Father had chosen to stay back in Visakhapatnam, starting from Thalapathi and Guna, my brother and I had to listen to all mind-blowing songs and movie dialogues in dubbing telugu! “En Deva ve koonutiye daa!!” .. “Nanban naa enna nu theriyuma unnaku, Suriya na enna nu theriyuama unnaku?” … “Abhiraami Abhiraami … ” . All the way from legendary 90’s movies and dialogues and songs down to Vaigai Puyal Vadivelu jokes! Most of my Telugu and Kannada brothers and sisters have no idea who Vadivelu is and how his humour makes you laugh over every situation in life, including mugging, losing a job or getting thrashed by your wife. Trust me, I know hindi, I have watched major Bollywood movies too.. no comedian can beat him.

And the whole world knows about A.R.Rahman. All his tamil classics were worthy enough to be enjoyed in their natural language and not dubbed language. Mani Ratnam tried his hands in other language but was not as successful too. That does not mean he was any lesser genius than some of the Hollywood filmmakers!

Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth! No more words to explain. Some of my work colleagues in Gurugram used to and still call me THALAIVA! All thanks to my one decision my Father made during his 20s! Had he, for one second thought he didn’t like the language or the culture, my brother and I would never proudly told our cousins that we knew TAMIL!

Tamil is such an addictive language and culture that even when you are commuting to school, you would read Thiruvalluvar in the buses! 2 lines like Kabir doha. Its just 2 lines but those 2 lines had a deep meaning. Those 2 lines make you a responsible human being all your life. The least expected from you is to understand Tamil scripture and understand what Thiruvalluvar is trying to say.

Tamil politicians are the last thing anyone wants to discuss. But, Amma canteen is a model for the whole country when it comes to filling poor man’s stomach! One plate idli in Gurugram costs 75 bucks, whereas in Amma Canteen it costs 2 rupees! See that’s what I am talking about.

My father may have made a lot of mistakes like a lot of fathers, but moving to CHENNAI was one thing he did right!

And last but not the least! I made amazing friends here in Gurugram just because I was from Chennai. Can you beat that! At first Sanjay (a Sindhi from Chennai) asked me where I was from in Soi7 (a popular pub in Gurugram during 2015-2017). When I told him I was from Chennai, he was so happy. No literally, he was so happy as if he found moksha! I am not kidding. Then I met Binoy who was from Kerala but brought up in Thiruvanmayur, Chennai! That’s all, my gang in Gurugram was set! We used to speak in a Language (Tamil) which no one understood in Gurugram. What else would one ask during a pub outing?

Chennai also has Marina Beach! (no more words)

–Varun Gowtham Mannava

 

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Vedanta in Dating

Ok, so 5, 000 (yes, Five Thousand!) Years ago, what was the most toughest task in Indian Civilization? Think deep. People were all goodnatured back then. At least that’s what we can deduce since they didn’t have a greed based economy back then.

So what was the most sought after desire back then, at least in India? The answer is Liberation through Self realization!

So 3,800 years after the Vedas came into existence, there was a 16 year old boy (Adi Shankaracharya) from Kerala, India (the newest kid in the block, if you wanna think so) reiterated a few of the previously researched techniques which would make self realization task much easier. He presented the world his new concept called non-duality (Advaita).

Fast forward to current age and time. What’s the toughest task in this era? Impressing a man/ woman that we seem to like. Yes?

If Self realization (for Liberation) has a pre-defined approach/ technique, then why should Self transformation (for dating approach) be any different. If you like someone and you rush to tell them immediately like a telegram or a whatsapp message then there could be repercussions or simply rejections too. Are you ready to face them?

So approaching a person for Dating has some rules just like approaching Self realization for Liberation that Vedanta prescribes. So why not use the same guiding principles for self transformation before approaching a person that Vedanta prescribes for self realization?

In fact if one thinks again, one can use the same guiding principles for any discipline in their life that Vedanta prescribes for self realization, be it Self Transformation for Career or Exams or Passion etc?

High Five!

So let’s just focus on self transformation related to Dating approach for now.

Vedanta prescribes 4 path approach for self realization. Lets understand how this 4 path approach intersects with  self transformation for Dating approach.

SADHANA (Self Realization) CHATUSHTAYA (four means)

The four means are as old as the Vedas itself. Try now to understand these four essential requisites for self realization.

Viveka is discrimination between the realistic and unrealistic approach. Good and bad character of the person you wish to approach etc.

Vairagya is dispassion from unrelated topics and unwanted materialism to enable undivided attention to the goal of self transformation before you approach the person of your interest.

The third requisite is Shad-Sampat, the sixfold virtue. It consists of Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha and Samadhana. All these six qualities are taken as one because they are calculated to bring about mental control and discipline, without which concentration and self transformation is impossible.

Mumukshutva is intense desire for self transformation. If one is equipped with the previous three qualifications (Viveka, Vairagya and Shad-Sampat), then the intense desire for transformation will come without any difficulty.

The aspirant who is endowed with all these four qualifications should then approach a Guru who will instruct him/her on the knowledge of his/her real nature. The Guru is one who has thorough knowledge and experience.

One should then reflect on the inner Self and strive earnestly to attain the goal of Self transformation for Dating approach!

— Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Community based Matrimonials in India : Facilitators or Distinguishers?

I was watching a regional (Tamil) comedy channel on TV. I was inconveniently surprised to see a matrimony ad where two people are happily married because they married within the same caste. Being within the same caste helped them understand each other’s expectations. They love the fact that their respective partner is so humble and hardworking because they belong to that caste.

Ha!

I burst into laughter. This ad breached a number of red flags in my opinion. The harmony of a society is best upheld when there is minimal discrimination as we all know already. In the developed countries discrimination still exists in the form of Race, Sexual orientation, Wealth. Although many countries, organizations and corporations within these countries are trying their best to normalize these differences. The difference in wealth may never be abolished but the abuse or discrimination on Race and Sexual orientation can definitely be eliminated.

While the world is heading towards emphasizing the human oneness aspect, we have a country filled with 135 billion people where many take strong adherence to their caste. One may not have 2 meals a day due to utter poverty but they still go nuts if someone from their caste marries someone from another caste. Honour Killing episodes across the country have been widely covered in the newspapers for several years. Despite this we see a legitimate business that glorifies discrimination and enables matches based on divisive feelings.

Yes, The Matrimonial sites! These sites are allowed to enable and carry forward caste based discrimination in this country. What gives these sites this right? The most common reply to this might be that it is the society that divides. They just facilitate the match making and don’t enforce caste adherence.

matrimony

Love is Love.

If togetherness is the ultimate goal for someone to find a partner, then why look at the Annual salary, height, weight, skin complexion, looks, language, extent of orthodoxy, caste and religion. If one feels their suitable match can be found through the nature of humility, education, passion, awareness and compassion then why add so many additional attributes and distinguishers?

What will society think? These days no one cares, at least in urban areas. Villages and small towns should change too. Shouldn’t these matrimonial sites be leading this cause and shouldn’t these matrimonial sites be celebrating the inter caste / inter faith marriages? Maybe, one day they will. For now these sites are technological Facilitators for marriages in societies and families that strictly adhere to distinguish.

–Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Who Am I? : Part One

When you are a party bee who hangs out with your wolf pack at least twice a week and converted your passion of hanging out and making new friends out of strangers into a Dating Guru, the last thing you want to hear is a 21 day lockdown.

To tell you the truth, in the last 35 years, this is the first time many from my generation were even hearing about or experiencing such an extended lockdown. I can only imagine how the younger generations will feel about this.

While my father keeps talking about the politics and the ground level impact of this lockdown, most of the people I know are mostly skeptical either about their health or their industry’s health. Obviously we all know this is the only topic in all the news channels (although, they are getting quite creative too of late).

I decided to use this downtime to understand the world inside of me instead of the trending topics and frustrations outside of me. Nice, but where do I start?

So I watch this video by Swami Sarvapriyananda (Ramakrishna Mission). He talks about a dream that Goddess Sita’s father (Raja Janak) had where he loses his kingdom after a loss in a battle and he gets a bowl of milk to drink after many days of starving but even that falls down. He wakes up from the dream and suddenly starts asking what is real? The wakeful world or the dream world? It so happens that no one in his kingdom knows the truth. At this same time, a highly enlightened sage (Ashtavakra maha muni) enters his palace. He explains to Janak Raja that neither the wakeful world, nor the dream world nor the deep sleep world is true, the only truth is the FOURTH (option).

The FOURTH here is also called as Turya. This Turya is the only reality. It is the consciousness. Its also called ATMA. So this means whatever we see, hear, see, feel or smell in the wakeful / dream/ deep sleep worlds is not true. The FOURTH does not care about the remaining three worlds but these three worlds derive their identity from the FOURTH. The FOURTH is pure, un-stainable, unattached, omnipresent source of knowledge, purpose and energy. The FOURTH does not see any distinction between the living and non-living, sees the whole universe as one and one as the universe.

This ultimately means all the worldly pleasures that we crave during our birth as a human, all the material sufferings we go through during our birth as a human does not impact or affect or reward the FOURTH. This makes it easier for us to reduce the cravings (i.e. whether I own a Mercedes or do I look charming or which smartphone do I carry) and also brave the sufferings (diseases, separations, losses etc) during our journey as a human.

Watch this space to know more about what Ramana Maharshi talks about consciousness in my next blog post – “Who am I? : Part Two”

— Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Similarities between Professional Networking and First Date

As weird as the title of my blog post may sound, the strengths and weaknesses of an individual remain consistent in all domains of life. If one is mentally and physically strong, they could go out there and achieve anything. For example, Roger Federer. But not all of us are as strong as Federer so we need to look at our strengths and weaknesses. And if one of your strengths is that you are good at making friends from your school age irrespective of the gender, then you are definitely going to make a strong professional network. If you were good at studies, then you were probably groomed with the intention that friends will spoil your study routine and so you would have grown up a loner except for some other selective nerdy friends. For example, Sheldon and co from the Big Bang Theory. The same pattern extends at your workplace too. Result : You are unable or reluctant to network even when you have an IQ as good as Einstien himself! But Networking at workplace is important in a lot of ways than you can imagine. This everyone knows and you would also have realized by now.

Alright, now that the narrative has been set, let’s revisit the title of this blog. Yes, people who are good at their first date are good at professional networking. If you don’t agree with this title, stop reading and go do some other nerdy things that you were doing before being distracted by this blog. I sincerely apologize for wasting your 2 minutes. But if you are interested, read on!

Now that we agree on the premise, being a passionate Dating coach myself who has personally transformed from being an introvert to an extrovert and coaching quite a few individuals to transform their thinking about Dating, I want to jot down a few observations that help in converting a first date into success and help professionals apply similar approach towards professional networking. Yes, this is actually happening now and I am giving you these tips on networking inspired from the first date approach!

Expectations

It is very important to set the right expectations. What are you expecting from the person who you are looking to engage with. This is most important than what the other person is trying to extract out of you. If your expectations are low key, you will never try too hard to impress. It is very important not to try too hard to impress, especially when the person you are trying to impress is a few designations up the ladder. They would have seen thousands of people trying to network with them in the past for various reasons. If you can read the other person’s expectations and if they seem too high for you, its better not to pursue. Because at the end of the day one of the two is going to be disappointed, And we don’t want that, do we?

Intentions

Try to have clear and non toxic intentions. No one is going to solve your problem for you. The person who you are going to network wont either. If you go with a quid pro quo approach, it may not work out well. Make sure your intentions are clear, that you are genuinely interested in knowing about the other person and what they do or what their qualifications are. Also you have to make sure they don’t have any cryptic intentions behind letting you network with them. This may not be evident instantly but keep your eyes and ears open, especially during the first interaction. If you get some negative vibes, try ending the networking attempt and walk away.

Judgement

At least during the first interaction, its very crucial not to be judgemental about the person or what they do. Its a cloud that would block sun rays from reaching your eyes. Unless you see or listen clearly to what the person has to offer, how can you gauge where this interaction is going to take you? Too many interactions have failed just because we go with pre-conceived notions about how people dress, how people talk, how people conduct themselves at their workplace. The coconut is hard and hurtful on the outside but deep inside they are soft and nourishing. Are you looking for nourishment or appearances? Its for you to decide.

Unique Signature

Everyone has a unique talent. Agreed that we are all working for our bread and butter (with a few exceptions, of course, who are working just for some diversion). So its very important to discover that unique signature of the person who you are looking to network with. Its also equally important to let the person know what your unique signature is. Now if you ask me what your unique signature is, then its time for some introspection. Find out your passion. Your passion is your unique signature. Its not your hobby. Its your purpose in life. Some of us are gifted in doing certain things. If you are still struggling to find your purpose, then remember what your parents or siblings or friends used to appreciate about you. Maybe it was a natural talent that you were unaware of but everyone else around you could see clearly that you were born to do. This gift may have gone into deep freezer because you suddenly realized its not going to help you earn your bread and butter. Dig deep. Bring it out of deep freezer. Present this to the person who you are networking with. No one wants to talk only about work, trust me. Similarly you should show equal effort in knowing what the other person’s unique signature is. If none exists, don’t interrogate, something will come up in subsequent networking windows.

Happy to help

One thing what people remember most is that one person who helped during the time of crisis or apparently seeming times of crisis. Everyone has their own workload. That’s the whole purpose why one might be employed. However, what is more desirable is that when we know someone is in a tricky situation than us and no one is willing to help the person, then if we lend a helping hand without any expectation of being repaid in cash or kind, then we would leave a true impact on the other person. Bottomline is that everyone is working for the same organization. So if you have some 10 minutes to spare and this 10 minutes is definitely going to help the other person (not necessarily in resolving the issue on hand but emotionally), then you are their messiah. Remember, times change. Tomorrow, you could find yourself in a similar situation where you thought someone should come and save you. At such a crisis your network will definitely help. Not necessarily to pay your debt back but in true professional sense. End of the day, that person works for the same organization too!

Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Dating Games in ‘The Game Of Thrones’

Disclaimer : This is my own personal account of Dating instances in The Game of Thrones series. This is not to belittle men/ women/ persons from the LGBTQ community. Most importantly this is not to disappoint or hurt any of the fans. This is just my own independent interpretation of the characters’ success/ failure in the Dating domain. Who won and how, who lost and why.

When I say Dating instances it could also mean a successful relationship for a short time or for a life time. It could also just mean a romantic moment between two characters.

  1. FOMO – Fear of missing out:

Arya Stark & Gendry

This is in the most recent memory of all the viewers, so I would like to start with this. FOMO is a great strategy which works more when women use it but when men use it, they may be perceived as someone with low confidence levels or self respect, but you never know. Arya Stark uses this strategy at the right time and succeeds too. This is also to be noted that true to her age, this is a common strategy among present day teenagers (18+ of course) to get what they want not just in the dating domain but in other domains too.

Bottom Line? FOMO is IN!

2. Too hot to be Single and Yet Single:

Podrick Payne, although he worked initially for Tyrion Lannister, I am not sure if he had picked up some inspiration from Tyrion in terms of performance. But he seems to be the most celebrated among women (sex workers). This makes him super hot and yet he doesn’t meet someone special through the series. This trait is quite common in everyday life. Men who are sought after for their performance rarely realize that they are sought after. Maybe, it is this ignorance that keeps them detached. Maybe Podrick was able to keep himself occupied in the service of his masters.

Tyene Sand, One of the 3 sisters who knows she is the hottest and yet she doesn’t fall for any man. This could be because she was on a mission for revenge. However that doesn’t stop her from teasing men (even an enemy) every now and then with her hotness. She teaches us that beauty can be the most lethal weapon.

Bottom Line? Its cool to be famous for being Hot!

3. Arrogant Men – one succeeds and one doesn’t:

Khal Drogo vs. Joffery

Two men start off by pissing off the women they wish to pursue. While Khal Drogo forces Daenerys into a physical relationship through his sheer intimidation and personality, Joffrey throws the crown prince card on both Sansa and Margery but is unable to make an impact even after becoming a King. This shows that although men maybe initially rude and thorny, the woman may choose to bear it provided they prove they are worthy of their rudeness. Also when the time comes Khal Drogo saves his Khaleesi by taking her side and is also ecstatic about the arrival of his son. Joffrey on the other hand can’t even wield a sword properly and keeps scaring his ladies with inhuman scenery and punishment to innocent subjects, clearly showing us the reason why he never won the love of his ladies

Bottom Line? Don’t start a fight that you cannot win.

Joffrey and Margery

4. Brats who earn respect eventually:

Tyrion Vs. Theon

Two brats. Both underdogs. Both insulted by their respective fathers. Both are famous for their manhood. While Tyrion falls for Shae and learns the lesson hard way, Theon who molests initially his own sister (not realizing that it was his sister), goes on from a proud man to a slave who eventually loses his manhood through various turn of events.

Tyrion tries to forget his unfaithful girlfriend by getting busy in the affairs of Kings Landing. He also treats his wife with great respect even though he is forced into the marriage. That’s how he earns the respect of Sansa. Theon reconciles with his own fears and fights back for his foster family – the Starks.

Bottom Line? Don’t be a Brat if you want to win the heart of the person you pursue.

5. Stockholm Syndrome – You know nothing Jon Snow:

Jon Snow & Ygritte

This is a classic case of the punisher falling in love with the prisoner. If you look as innocent as Jon Snow when you get captured, then victim act can win you a cool person like Ygritte. Since this was first observed in Stockholm, this pattern is named after it.

Bottom Line? Stockholm Syndrome may win you affection but it won’t last because the truth and reality catches up.

6. Unrelenting Pursuit will always turn the woman off:

Brienne of Tarth & Tormund

This Tormund reminds me of every bollywood protagonist who constantly pursues his girl to the point where the girl gets embarrassed publicly a number of times and eventually falls for him. Whether such a thing happens to Tormund is yet to be known but I strongly feel it wont happen. Especially a woman of honour like Brienne would never fall for this nonsense.

Bottom Line? Don’t pursue if you get no attention. Go home.

7. Non-materialistic Love:

Grey worm & Missandei

Grey worm, as we all know, is part of the unsallied army. The manhood of these unsallied men are chopped off when they are young so that they grow up to become strong warriors and can fight with more energy than normal men. This actually frees up a man’s mind away from the thoughts about how to impress a woman. However we still see the impossible turn of events where Grey worm falls for Missandei and she falls for him too. This is a very rare form of affection.

Bottom Line? Relationship is not just about physical satisfaction.

8. Damsel in Distress matched Innocence:

Gilly & Samwell Tarly

Gilly has lived all her life in a damn shady place. Sam gets appalled looking at these circumstances. His innocent heart starts feeling for the damsel in distress. She acknowledges his innocent love towards her.

Bottom Line? Damsel in distress makes a man act. A man’s innocence strikes a permanent impression on a woman’s heart.

9. The womanizer:

Little Finger & Catelyn Stark ; Lysa Arryn; Sansa Stark

This is what villains are made of. They will never truly fall in love for a woman but they trap the most loyal and most innocent of women. These women will never find out whether that man loved them/ still loves them. Unfortunately this is a big hook and these women repeatedly commit the same mistake of trusting such men.

Bottom Line? Never trust the person who don’t express their feelings openly towards you, even while in private.

10. Leadership Traits:

Robb Stark & Talisa Stark

The King of the North! Robb Stark carries that vibe and confidence in his body language. This does a great deal in winning friends and life partner too.

Bottom Line? Leadership qualities have been a great attraction since cavemen days.

11. Partners in crime:

Cersei & Jamie

The thing about winning love by being partners in crime is that it stops abruptly once the crime is not as exciting as it used to be or when one of the partners suddenly grow a conscience and protest from committing that crime anymore. Also you should be game to every crime and cannot choose to opt out of one crime and still want to partner in another crime.

Bottom Line? Be a partner, but not in crime.

12. Sometimes you have to earn the right:

Cersei & Euron Greyjoy

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Sometimes you may win the affection in 2 weeks. Sometimes you may need to steal an army to impress the woman you love. If you have the patience and determination, you will get rewarded ultimately.

Bottom Line? Male species build nests/ homes first before they earn the right to spend time with their lover.

13. Puppy Love which ultimately turns lethal:

Margaery & Tommen

Puppy Love remains a vivid memory of the past for those who grow up. But those who don’t want to grow up from the puppy love or listen to advise get terminated. Trust me, the human mind keeps learning and evolving. I don’t even like the genre of songs I used to listen to a few years ago. Seek ‘grown up’ love. Puppy love nurturers will only face disappointment from their partners either in the form of rejection or not being up to their expectations upon becoming life partners.

Bottom Line? Puppies are not cute forever. Puppy love also falls in the same category okay.

14. The Polys:

Being a poly attracts a person who is a poly and the only way to retain such a person is to continue being a poly and letting the other person be a poly too. Phew, I think that’s self explanatory!

Bottom Line? It’s Poly. No rules. No lines.

15. The most loyal Romeos:

Daario vs Daenerys vs Jorah

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This is easy. Both these gentlemen love Khaleesi and express the same to her in a very straight forward way. She will never accept their affection because they have gone out of the way and bent backwards to display their affection for Khaleesi. Haven’t these men heard of something called a Spine?

Bottom Line? Its okay to display extreme loyalty to your friends but when the same is done in the dating universe be ready to get Friend-zoned.

16. The career move:

Melisandre & Stannis

Quid pro quo is a tricky thing. The Red woman wanted immortality and Stannis wanted to be the ruler of the seven kingdoms. Its a huge career move. One wrong move and it fizzles off and may end up in a bloody mess.

Bottom Line? Don’t mix business with pleasure.

17. The Loyal Bond:

Ned Stark & Lady Stark

Whenever there is an irreversible situation/ decision made keeping overall reputation and peace in mind, the most loyal partners never discuss anything until both of them are comfortable. This may take years but it does not impact their everyday life. They continue to live together and show no distrust towards each other.

Bottom Line? When in doubt, trust the partner and keep quiet till the other person admits to something. Don’t start enquiring about their ex’s or one night stands.

18. The Typical Devadas:

Robert Baratheon for Lyanna Stark

Like Devadas (a fictional Indian character), Robert loses his entire kingdom, his life, his mind and drowns himself in alcohol over his lost love Lyanna Stark!

Bottom Line? When faced with failure in Love, remember not to become like Robert! Also how would Jon Snow have been born if Lyanna chose Robert over Rhaegar Targaryen, huh?

— Varun Gowtham Mannava

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