India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
February 18, 2011

Someone to love…

Interviews by Nasrin Modak and Malvika Sah

Three contemporary women share their views on men, romance and kinship. From being in a long-term alliance to waiting for Mr Right to dating an older man, Nandana Sen, Sameera Reddy and Shahana Goswami speak to Verve straight from their hearts

Nandana Sen
On long-term commitments

When I met my Mr Right What can be more wonderful than finding your soulmate? I don’t believe in lying about being in a relationship, even though that’s the norm in this industry. I value transparency over the seduction of mystery and tantalisation. You’ll never find me spouting clichés like, ‘We’re just good friends,’ or ‘I’m single and ready to mingle.’ Why would I wish to deny or hide that, as if it’s something shameful? But it’s a fine balance – I don’t believe in making every detail public either. I am a very private person and believe in preserving the sanctity of my love.

Defining Love  The things that are most precious to us define our needs, but defy definition, ironically! I, for one, would not be able to emotionally define water, or poetry, or love. All I can say is that I can’t live without them. For me, love is the most beautiful part of being human.

Significance of Valentine’s Day Even if the Hallmark Conspiracy Theory is true, I believe in embracing every opportunity to express love – not just to my boyfriend, but to my friends and family as well. My personal priority is to spend as much time as possible with my loved ones.

Formula of surviving a long-term relationship There can’t be one formula, right?  I think with time, every couple figures out their own way. For me, clear and consistent communication is key. It’s critical to be truly tuned into each other’s desires and needs – be it psychological, physical or emotional. I feel it’s very important to talk every day, and learn to listen – truly listen – to one another.  So, even when we’re in different continents, we make it a point to catch up on all matters critical and trivial. The other element in my ‘formula’ is hugging and kissing- a lot!  For me, demonstrating my love physically is just as important as talking.

Pros and cons of being in a long-term relationship It’s pros all the way for me, my friend. I allow no cons in love!

Live-ins as a gradual next step to a long-term relationship Making a commitment to the one you love is very important – private or public. Just as a live-in relationship can have every little strength of a perfect marriage, I have seen marriages in which spouses are happy to live very separate lives, emotionally and/or sexually. I’m no prude, but a marriage like that would never work for me. I’m nothing if not incurably romantic and I would always prioritise loyalty and trust over a nominal social or public status with no true commitment deep within. Having said that, do I think I’ll get married one day?  Absolutely!

— Malvika Sah

Sameera Reddy
On waiting for Mr. Right

Meeting Mr. Right It’s just that connect, that will make me know that he is the one. Something that I can’t put into words.

Where are all the men? If I knew where they were, I wouldn’t be single right now! I think they are out there but they are too intimidated to come to me. Honestly, deep down inside I am too simple. I have a thesis on this topic that I shall explain some other time. I just think men are too intimidated by us actresses.

Troubles of being single Plenty. Being made the babysitter at my friend’s get together, being single on New Year’s and Christmas (I got a taste of it this year), Parents constantly nagging you to find the right one and settle down soon. Actually, it isn’t that bad.

Bliss of being single All my married friends envy my lifestyle. I can do whatever I want whenever I want without being answerable to anyone. Personally one gets a lot of space when you don’t have a partner, but then the grass always looks greener on the other side.

My dream man I like self-made confident men with a good sense of humour who don’t take themselves too seriously. For me, a passion for living and travelling is everything.

What people say  Every single friend of mine has tried to be a matchmaker. My parents are always on my back, finding me rishtas which I keep avoiding. I don’t know whether to go the old-fashioned way or the evolved way of a love marriage. Although in 2011, I look forward to meeting someone new.

An ideal relationship It is when two people respect each other, they don’t clamp each other with insecurities. The secret is to grow with your partner and truly enjoy everything he has to offer even though it may not be fantastic.

— Nasrin Modak

Shahana Goswami
On dating an older man

When I met him We met through common friends at a friend’s home. Then we got in touch two years later on SMS and one thing led to another. I was not expecting anything but it just ended up that we were very unusually well matched!

The upside It is to have a partner who is stable, sorted and aware of the fact that you are still developing. Milind Soman and I are truly two individuals who have not become one, but remain a unit of two and not a washed down or confused amalgamation of the two separate personalities that we are. In simpler words – space coming from a sense of great security.

The downside A momentary lapse in knowing your reality. It’s the fact that sometimes you forget that the person you’re with has been through all the revelations, the excitement, the still-naive-outlook-to-like phases of their life. But at least Milind doesn’t ruin the surprises in life for me.

A sense of security A man being older cannot be a reason to make you feel secure. I am secure because we are honest and we trust each other’s honesty. Being with an older person adds to my security that at least there is one constant in the relationship – a person who is firmly formed as an individual, and is who he is. That allows you to feel anchored while you go through your changes as you’re growing up.

What keeps the relationship going? There’s really no formula. We don’t stress on keeping it going and this works for us. One important thing I’ve learnt from Milind that we are all responsible for our own happiness and only when we are successful at keeping ourselves happy can we make a relationship last. So the minute you take the burden of keeping you happy off the other person’s shoulders, it automatically makes for an easier relationship.

Dealing with differences We don’t deal with them! Differences are healthy. In fact they are the point of celebration in our relationship! Sometimes we may even end up agreeing with one another naturally, but that has never been the aim. The aim is always to keep oneself happy. As Milind would always say, ‘Do what gives you satisfaction.’ So there’s another perk of having a wiser, older man in your life.

— Nasrin Modak

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