Saturday, September 27, 2008

Searching for Love, the internet way

It is quite a journey, and I am learning it at every turn.

Way back in 1995, I had placed my profile on an Asian match making site expressing who I was, and what would it take to make the partnership work. My personal conviction was for relationships to sustain, flourish, enjoyable and be durable, they must be anchored in justness, the feeling where neither one feels taken advantage of or taken for granted.

It would be a moral crime to ask your partner to change for you without giving her (or him) the very same right. If you are not willing to change for her (or him) then you have no moral right to ask her to change for you. It creates an imbalance and consequently eats away the joy that both partners deserve. Change should be based on a lasting and a just equation. Life is about balance.

I received quite a lot of responses on that profile, to my chagrin, it was the mothers of the women calling and writing to me, the greatest disappointment came when a mother of a professor of sociology in one of the Canadian Universities called me up, I was taken back, she wanted to know the properties I own and heck; she wanted to know my caste, which I responded with “male” she turns around and asks me what that was again? I said, you heard it Ma’m, my caste is Male, Man, Mard, Pursh, looking for Female, Woman, Aurat, Naari; the other caste. After a frustrating interrogation (because I had liked her daughter’s profile) I asked her if she was interested in me or if it was her daughter. Of course, that kind of conversation does not go further. She hung up and I could hear the complaining her daughter had to endure.

I went to an Urdu Mushaira (Poetry recitation in the language of Urdu) in Richardson, my favorite thing to do. I was impressed with the language and voice of the emcee Najma; she had a dignified stage presence. Years ago in late sixties and early seventies there was a “Baji” on BBC Radio’s Urdu service, I listened to her every Wednesday evening at 8:45 PM in my home in Bangalore, and I had a crush on her voice and the way she spoke Urdu. Najma beat all that; she had the most beautiful radio voice I have ever heard. I asked her to co-anchor a TV program with me on channel 52 in Dallas, and then she joined me as a co-talk show host on Radio. We were just friends, never even held hands together. One day I told her the story of this Canadian Mom and she had her eyes wide open and asked me to fax her that profile. Later on that evening when I called her to find if she got the fax, she said that I wrote it about her without her knowledge. I reminded her that it was written much earlier and was on the net. That gave me the goose bumps and changed the world for us until she passed away in May this year.

Now, I am searching again, for a life time partner either her life time or mine which ever comes earlier. I listed my profile on a few mainstream sites and withdrew from some as there are some serious scams going on out there. I warn you to be aware of those. May be I was driven by that experience to write this column.

Laugh it out loud, when I say I did not know Diana Lane until a month ago. I see the beautiful pictures of this lady on the match making site and I could not resist writing to her. Then a flood of emails start flowing between this Becky Brewer and me, and within three days, this dumb ass experienced-me falls in love with this woman head over heels. I never thought I could be infatuated like this ever again after that Shakila craze in my college days, where I took my poetry pen name as Shakil, when she barely knew I even existed. I never thought my heart would actually pound like that, I felt the sucker beating fast when I put my hand on the chest. I anxiously waited for Becky to come on line and chat with me. She was the most perfect woman I ever came to knew, I was actually praying and thanking God for the good innings one after the other. Fortunately, the flow of communication was so beautiful that I saved it to read again, I liked that feeling of romancing, desiring some one, wanting to be with some one; oops, it was 50 pages in all! I hope to share that small story some day; meanwhile I will collapse that into four paragraphs.

Becky was an antique dealer from West Virginia shopping in Nigeria with her daughter. She did not have a phone number in that hotel and I believed her. Upon return to the states, she was going to visit me for a week in Dallas and I was going nuts, I was uncontainable as if Goddess of love Aphrodite, Apsara or a Hoor was going to land in my home. She even emailed me a copy of the Airline ticket.

A week before departing Lagos, she was devastated, Angel, her daughter fell from stairs and had to be taken to the hospital. A few hours later Becky chats back, she is down, she cannot get the Doctors to operate on Angel’s fractured skull, she did not know what to do, and she did not have the money either. I asked her to go see the US embassy as I would call them up to help her; I have some friends who could have done that. But she declined and said negative things about the Embassy, I did not agree, but I let that go. However, I was puzzled when she did not want to give me her passport number, where as she had asked me to give her my password to my profile on the listing agency, which I did, so she can make sure that they remove me from their site, she said, “ you are mine”. Man that kind of ownership knocks the guys down, even if they are fricking 56 years old.

You may have guessed it by now what happened next. I went to the Western Union to wire her the money. There are a lot more details, chicanery and tricks, but I will keep it to four paragraphs. When I got back home, there was another lady from Sweden on line, she had really liked me a lot but understood that “I was someone else's”. She had become a friend and chatted about different things, then she wanted advice, she told me the same story as mine, verbatim, her guy was from Belgium going to South Africa to shop for Diamonds, poor girl had wired him the money. I jumped out of my chair, dropped everything and called Western Union, luckily I had wired the money at 8 PM Dallas time, which was 4 AM in Lagos, Nigeria and the funds had not been delivered. They put a stop and I picked my money back the next morning.

Becky was crying on the other side and, by then I had done enough research and put two and two together. I was feeling bad, what if this was real? Would I let a little girl suffer in the hospital? Am I that selfish? Then I recovered and realized that she had me. I chatted (all of it was on yahoo chat) with her and told her to go get the refund on ticket, she had paid one way fare of $5,600.00 on KLM, and she had originally lied to me that she had paid in cash. The roundtrip ticket from Lagos-Dallas-Lagos was $1,050.00 and she had paid $11,200.00 for the two. It was a real booking paper faked by one of her scheming friends at KLM.

I got several of those emails, one was a Ghanaian girl going to back to Ghana for teaching, she said it was the noble thing to do; she was with her little daughter too. She sends me a picture of a pretty Vietnamese woman, when I asked her about a Vietanemese Ghanaian, she disappears. She did not even know the word Vietnam. Next day, I see the same picture with a different name. I am not scaring you, but just be careful. I have reported each one of those. I can smell those skunks from across the ocean now. No, I will take it back, it may even be next door operation. Perhaps this may not even be a girl; it may be a sweat shop operation where the girls or guys are paid $100 a month to net $20 to $25,000 a month by trapping people. I thought I was smart, I am glad I found out otherwise.

There was a time, where friends set up the blind dates, but every one knew each other. It is still operative but becoming rare, as no one wants to be blamed if things went wrong.

“Fear of Rejection” is the mother of all fears. We have several friends around us, but yet, we are afraid to ask. Before passing, Najma had reminded me that “I had not asked her out” because of that fear. She alluded to me that we have several friends and that I should move on with life after she was gone. That fear grips me again and it is real. I can stand up to any one including Bush and the McCain bullies, yet I am drowned in a silly idiotic fear.

Each one of us is stuck up with something or the other; there was this Debbie girl, who had a perfect female body one can only imagine, I found myself making excuses not to fly with her in her two seater jet to go for a dinner in San Antonio. I am scared of heights, my knees freeze and hands clinch. Years later when I married Najma, she drove through the little hill in Redwoods and decided to turn back as she could not see me my dark skin turning white. By the way, those are the only two fears I have; of heights and of rejection, yet I am a dare devil peace activist and a public figure.

When I placed myself on the net, the humbling experiencing started to become a routine. When the beholder in me sees the beauty in a woman, instinctively I want to know her, but when she does not even respond, I cringe like every one else. Then I look at my own situation, I do the same, when a woman wanted to connect with me, I find excuses. At least I wrote her back that I am considering another relationship. One lady demanded to know; what was it that I don’t find in her. I was pleased with her questioning but got turned off when she was flashing the money she had and that our lives could be set for eternity. The philosophical question we need to think through is what is it that attracts one to you, and you to the other? Is there a rhyme or reason to it? Are we biased towards certain individuals? Why did I not want to respond to her? I found myself not finding an answer to these questions and am glad about it; it is a humbling and an enriching experience.

And finally, I have written the following on the net, I believe it is a reflection of my heart and my mind, in the same order and I would welcome any comments and suggestions.

My life is simple and I enjoy every bit of it.

Each one of us is a unique being; we are our own models and have to live our lives responsibly. If we can develop an attitude to accept, respect and honor the god given uniqueness of each other, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

I do not expect us to be a perfect match for each other, but if we want to have good life, we have to have the willingness to accept the otherness of the other; be secure enough to live our own dreams, and be a catalyst to each others growth and grow both individually and as partners.

I have my own life mission "opening people's hearts and minds towards fellow beings", as you may have your own. We have to follow our dream, honor and cherish it. Individuality is important to me and I would fiercely guard each other's freedom to be who we want to be.

We need to consciously create a beautiful future for us; we have to make the time to listen to each other's achievement and frustrations on a regular basis with lots of love, forgiveness, kindness and humility.

When we make mistakes, it is good to know and share about it with humility to learn and avoid. We must consciously develop our tone to exclude blame and “I told you so” kind of verbiage. Either of us should fight the temptation of having an upper hand when the other makes the mistake, as it moves the relationship away from partnership to competition. We have to let it go and not be stuck in it and sacrifice the next beautiful moment of the day.

At the end of each weekend, if we can cultivate a habit to clean our slates; praise the goodness and kiss for the weaker points in each other. I welcome the kisses, lol! Forgive ourselves and our partner and commit to start the next day without uploading it with tension, apprehension, anxiety and ill-will.

Unconditional love and support is important to have an enjoyable life together. We have to be a relief valve to the other, and an allowance for brooding must be factored in our relationship. We have to give room and space to each other as needed. , our relationships with our families will remain intact and flourish, the more "sum of" we are, the better person we will be to each other. Love is not divisive, it is a multiplier.

Every thing will be an open book; we have to accept each other as we are over a period of time, without a desire to change the other, the more we are ourselves, the greater the bonding would be.

If Spontaneity exists along with thoughtfulness with moderation and modesty life would remain exciting. But, whatever we do in life, we must do it whole heartedly or simply not pursue it.

Our peaceful moments would be sitting quietly in a swing set in the backyard or the rocker in moonlit nights and gazing stars and the sky with refreshing breeze kissing our faces.

Listening to the music, together or each others music or our own, visiting friends and going for a drive, gardening are soothing parts of life.

I believe in creating our own sacred places of romance to visit frequently; it is something we can look forward to as a romantic pilgrimage.

My palette can accommodate most foods, but stable items would be Thai, Indian, Cajun, Mexican, Italian, steak, grilled fish or Chinese food.

Walking in rain and smelling the fresh smell of earth buoys me up, there is nothing like it.

I enjoy reading, writing and speaking on interfaith, pluralism, peace and Multiculturism.

Honoring and respecting every which way one acknowledges and worships the creator is my value. He (she or it) belongs to all, and all of us belong to him. He treats us all with dignity, in God's eyes, we are all his creation and he loves us all. We do have a choice to earn additional grace by being good to his creation; life and matter.

Although I sound religious, I am not, I am spiritual. Goodness centered rather than God focused. I believe the purpose of religion is to bring peace, balance and tranquility to an individual and what surrounds him or her; life and the environment. I would say, as the beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, faith is in the heart of the believer.

I enjoy being a composite of the cultures that make me a Muslim, an Indian and the American.

Mike Ghouse

1 comment:

  1. The internet is full of cheats and frauds we have been hearing eons years ago. The meaning of life for these cheaters is only left to earning 'money' by any fair/unfair means.
    Mike unfortunately you too became victim of lies and malices.

    Thanks for sharing your pains and experiences I am sure would enlighten many innocent ones on the net!

    Aur rahi baat aapki talaash ki...wo ek hi aapke saamne aa jayengi....aur aapko hamsafar ek baar phir mil jayega....Aap jis ki khwahish dil se karte hain use Allah zaroor pura karenge....:)Inshallah!