Never Make Decisions When You’re Angry or Horny, says Lara Bagai

She will be the big Three O soon, has a super bitch competitor in business, has the whackiest supporter there too, has the craziest bunch of friends (like all of us) and they are all congregating for her 30th. For a whole week. And yes, she has this filmy deal with her not really buddy friend, that awaits realization at her 30th too. Meet Lara Bagai.

In the first character interview on The Tales Pensieve, inKonversation with the Dilli ki Chhori from Milan Vohra‘s Tick Tock We’re 30. She is spunky. She is serious. And she is Supremely-Crazy. Girls read on. Go bonkers. And try out her advice 😉

Hey Lara. Welcome to The Tales Pensieve. Glad to have you around your 30th Birthday! Game for an interview ;)? Trust me this will be super fun…

Let’s start with talking about the last 29 years of your life. So who is Lara Bagai?
Wow. That’s a mega question! 🙂 It’s like trying to tell someone what your favourite music is! Well, I guess I’m a pretty normal kind of Delhi girl – nothing out of the ordinary to look at. Barely 5’ 1” and never got the hang of high heels. My hair is thick, wavy and for the first time in my life I’ve grown it out to shoulder length. Not that it makes much of a difference, because it perpetually looks like I’ve just come out of the rain – whatever the weather! My saving grace is my skin, it’s quite decent I suppose. My friends tell me I have a fantastic smile (I think it’s too toothy) and stunning eyebrows. I ask you, when is the last time you ever even read an option on a quiz:

I’m attracted to her because of
a) Her boobs
b) Her legs
c) Her eyebrows

See what I mean? 🙂 I studied in an all girls’ convent school and I’m quite sure I might have turned out to be one of those girls who read romances tucked away inside her textbooks, dreaming of some fairytale nonsense. But luckily for me, I grew up in this colony Sarva Niketan. It was like a little India spread around a park… I had this really great group of friends and each one of them was completely crazy in their own way. We’re all still in touch. In fact, they’re now threatening to come down and have this big reunion timed around my 30th birthday. The whole jing bang! Nanhi, Sai, Sita (he’s not a girl, but he’s a lot soppier than Nanhi, that much is for sure…and of course Reeti, Pap, Daniel, Maneka, Fat Riya, Thin Riya and Pathak…even Nishad. Nishad wasn’t really my friend. More like hung out with the guys. Anyway, these days, it’s just Nanhi, Sita and me left in Delhi. We meet up at least once a week. My folks live in Dehradun and I live in Delhi because that’s just where I love to be. My friends, my work…it’s all here. See, I’m a model coordinator and I’m not doing too badly for myself. I run my own production company. It’s tiny but I love it. I also volunteer at a relationship counselling centre in Hauz Khas.  I go there for an hour every Saturday you know? I’ve always been good at sorting out everyone’s issues. I mean it. Seriously.

tick-tock-we-re-30-700x700-imadgz3azn7vhzavWhat is this pact with Nishad Nath? You really, genuinely don’t want to honour it?
Obviously not! And I mean, it’s not as if he’s actually going to drag me by the hair and say, woman you have to marry me because you haven’t found anyone else and the clock’s going to strike 30 and a deal’s a deal kind of crap. No no, that way he’s not loony! It’s just that he really used to bug me in the old days – he could always find some way to tell me what was wrong with Ranndeep, the guy I was dating back then. Well it didn’t work out with Ranndeep and me. But you think I want to give Nishad the pleasure now of saying I told you so? Not a chance!

Nishad has turned out to be quite a magnet, no? I would have had a crush on him – you know the brooding arty type. You ever had a something for him?
Oh Please. Pleaase! If anything, he used to epitomise the kind of guy that could just turn you off romance. I mean I don’t know any other guy who can screw up a perfectly normal Clapton song like you look wonderful tonight with his caustic running commentary! But I admit he does have nice hands. Typical artistic long fingers. I remember noticing that only in an objective way of course, from back then.

What does friendship mean at 30?

At Sarva Niketan the sleeping arrangements kept altering everyday, as relationships underwent change with each day each gossiping session. This is Day 2!

At Sarva Niketan the sleeping arrangements kept altering everyday, as relationships underwent change with each day’s twists and turns and fast changing dynamics. This is Day 2!

You really love these mega type questions don’t you? 🙂 I’m telling you, Taara ji at Bharosa that counselling place where I volunteer on Saturdays would take you on as a volunteer at her centre in a jiffy! Most of the time all we ever do is listen to our clients vent and then ask questions like ‘And how do you feel about it?”

Look for me friendship is no different at 30 than it was at 20. I would do anything for my friends then or now and I’m also really chilled out about whatever they want to do. Honestly! Look at Reeti, no one knows what she’s up to. One day it’s that aromatherapy stuff, another it’s that kalaripayatu business she’s hooked on or that EFT nonsense, tapping away like chimps. Forget anything else, we don’t even know which way she swings these days and it really does not matter. But one thing that is different at 30 I think is that in fact now my friends matter even more. I know it sounds clichéd but it’s true. That’s why I’m making sure I am wrapping up as much work as I can manage so that we all really do nothing but spend this week with each other. Nanhi even has a brilliant plan to get us all to do least one thing every day from the stuff we used to do back then. I’ve gone completely bonkers trying to figure out who to put into which room. The worst part is figuring out how to handle Daniel and Maneka. Not only have they split up, neither of them know the other one’s coming! It’s another one of Sita’s bright ideas. God, how many times I’ve tried to work out the sleeping arrangements in that house we’re taking on rent in Sarva Niketan. See!

The one and only question we all girls face when we are unhitched and over 26 is the big M-word: Marriage. Aunties, grannies, neighbours, maids and laundry women…the list is endless. What do you suggest is the best way to duck the ever-hovering M question?
I’ve cracked the system. Now they dare not even bring up the subject with me. You’ve got to start this parents/ aunties training early on. There are three things you need to be on top of. One, never ever ever let your family get any updates on any of your friend’s love lives, and especially if they are going around meeting prospective specimens. Earlier Sita used to constantly go off to meet random people. His bhabhi’s sister’s mother-in-law’s other daughter-in-law might have suggested someone and what grief I used to get from my mom at his willing milne mein kya hai attitude. Now I make sure none of it gets to her ears.  Two, keep your folks on their toes by producing one undesirable candidate after another. Wannabe actors, drummers, born-again whatever religion you can find… Start early. I’m not kidding. By 18, ask if you can also invite the current cause for your folks’ sleepless nights to come along for cousins’ weddings etc. Or, you can try having them worry you’re not into guys. But it may just end up adding more pressure on the M question, so it’s a fine judgement call to make. Third, and this has to be started at least by the time you’re 16 or 17 years, Reshmy – always maintain with your folks, that there’s no way you’re going to agree to marry a guy unless you’ve lived with him for at least 5 years before marriage. When you finally produce anyone even halfway presentable, they’ll just embrace him wholeheartedly.

Nishad & Lara step out into the PURPLE BALCONY, they watch the driver and the aayah romance, Nishad comments, "Interesting, isn’t it, how someone is always utterly attractive to someone else? For every male tree frog, there is a female tree frog whose dry skin and warts and bulging eyes are the most divine. And to you, Lara Bagai, a karela is a thing of beauty."So he remembers I love karela. So what? "I take it your interest in frogs is purely academic?" I snigger. "I promise you I am not in danger of being madly besotted by one anytime soon," he half smiles. While Lara stands alone on the PINK BALCONY one night: That blurry shadow is no tree. It’s a figure. And it’s landed right behind me. Gasp. It’s Nishad. "Are you trying to kill me?" I manage to say through gritted teeth. Teeth, that two seconds ago almost had my tongue for a midnight snack. "Don’t be silly," he says with a sheepish smile, "only the good die young" COME ON LARA CAN'T YOU SEE, I REPEAT I WOULD HAVE HAD A CRUSH ON HIM!

As Nishad & Lara step out into the PURPLE BALCONY, they watch the driver and the aayah romance, Nishad comments, “Interesting, isn’t it, how someone is always utterly attractive to someone else? For every male tree frog, there is a female tree frog whose dry skin and warts and bulging eyes are the most divine. And to you, Lara Bagai, a karela is a thing of beauty.”So he remembers I love karela. So what?
“I take it your interest in frogs is purely academic?” I snigger.
“I promise you I am not in danger of being madly besotted by one anytime soon,” he half smiles.
While Lara stands alone on the PINK BALCONY one night:
That blurry shadow is no tree. It’s a figure. And it’s landed right behind me.
Gasp.
It’s Nishad.
“Are you trying to kill me?” I manage to say through gritted teeth. Teeth, that two seconds ago almost had my tongue for a midnight snack.
“Don’t be silly,” he says with a sheepish smile, “only the good die young”
COME ON LARA CAN’T YOU SEE, I REPEAT I WOULD HAVE HAD A CRUSH ON HIM!

Looks like you got to try the wrong ones out till the right one came along. What is the best thing about right going wrong?

Can I be honest? When you think he’s the right one and it all goes horribly wrong, it hurts; that’s an understatement. But still, all that stuff about – you’ve got to have kissed x number of frogs before you meet Prince Charming… I don’t buy it either. I mean what if you’re so busy kissing all these frogs you keep running into because you’re trying to quickly get to number 34 or 35 (whatever that magical number is supposed to be) just to reach the right guy, that you don’t even know when the right guy came and went in between all that. I think for me, the best thing about that one time when everything went wrong with Randeep taught me to protect my heart, but not so much that I don’t keep it open.

What is your favourite thing about being single and 30?
You never have to act like you care about a sporting event! Am I glad I don’t have pretend I give a rat’s ass about those races Ranndeep used to compete in and assumed I was dying to see!  But really, I love that I can actually spend time doing my thing. My work, my counselling and hanging out with my friends . At least now they don’t complain they never see me anymore.

What is the best and worst thing about having all your childhood friends around on your birthday?
Well, it’s not likely any new guy is going to be able to make any headway in a romantic sense with me, when the whole jing bang is around. But the best part is, I’ve roped in this really deelish guy called Perzaan– a Turkish model to act as my heavy duty banker boyfriend – just to take the hawa out of Nishad. I am sooo looking forward to that. And Reshmy, Perzaan is seriously hot, even though Favio, my stylist friend thinks the guy is gay. We’ll see. The week should be fun!

Finally, any Lara wisdom to all the bachelorettes out there?
Never make decisions when you’re angry or horny!
Hold on a bit – if there’s a guy that’s right for you and he really wants you, nothing will keep him away.
Meanwhile, Stay Calm & Glug Margheritas.

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Meet Lara in Tick Tock We’re 30: Goodreads | Pensieve Review