Elin, Sarah and Tracey.
They’re the names of the first girls I ‘fancied’.
That was ages 11, 11 and 14.
Takeela, Louise and Zoe are three more (all from my teen years).
I guess you remember many of your first memories of ‘first things’ – they tend to stick with you
I didn’t really understand the feeling I had then. But I felt funny around these girls – that I liked looking at them – and I didn’t really know how to manage it.
So I did what boys do best, and in Elin’s case, I absolutely ignored it.
In Sarah’s case, Stephen caught me looking at Sarah and told me ‘do you fancy her or something’ to which I promptly said ‘no!’ and went into ignore mode as well
In Tracey’s case, I asked her for her phone number so we could coordinate walking home as we lived down the same road.
After phoning her and simply asking a load of questions because I had close to zero small talk skills (I think I’m very much still the same in that quadrant – but it’s just more acceptable now) – word got around that I’d done this and Tom and Kye had an amazing time ripping into me because of it.
This culminated in Tracey not wanting to go out with me upon us finishing our walk home and me chortling ‘what so I’m dumped already!’ My heart pounded as I stormed away and thought ‘oh god these guys are going to have an absolute field day with me’
Throughout my childhood, I noticed a clear racial distinction. During my primary years, there wasn’t an Indian/African/Chinese person around I could even be friends with.
St Matthews – my primary school was 98% white.
Evelyn’s secondary school was 95% white.
There were no family friends to even speak of when it came to my parents – so my cousins occupied my life.
And then the best friends I did have through my childhood; Anthony Fisher, Jay Summer and Karl Fulton, Kye Cole and Thomas Perryman, and all the other people whom I’ve mentioned…
Well, they reflected my upbringing – there hasn’t been an Indian amongst them.
I tell you all of this because as you know – it wasn’t Indian girls I thought of and found attractive growing up as a consequence of this.
And yet; if you look around you’ll notice (as is usual in life) that ‘birds of a feather stick together’.
I first began to notice the above when I was 14 years old.
As I became better friends with Tom and Kye, I also, by extension, got to know their friends. Every single one of them was white and then there was me; Deepak.
It made sense as we were low on ethnic minorities in the year in general.
But I never knew how to feel when someone in the group might say to me ‘for an Indian you’re alright D’ or ‘D you’re definitely my favourite Indian’ or when I was once with everyone and one of the group hurled abuse at a ‘Turbinator’ – i.e a Sikh man with a turban.
These were good people who said some childish things and I don’t hold a grudge against them for it.
I’d just started at Bisophshalt Sixth Form and had become firm friends with Tom and Kye, and by extension began to be friends with their group as well.
The difference between Sixth Form and Secondary school was that we had a lot of new students join the school.
And this is where – having not really spent much time around British Indians – I began to notice some key differences.
There was a group of around 10-20 Indians who all spent time together – and there seemed to be a distinct racial divide. Indians/South Asians tended to stick together and then white people tended to stick together.
I happened to be in a group of white people as that had been the upbringing I was used to.
And this was the true beginning of me recognising I was ‘different’ from ‘my people’.
British Indians tend to largely stick together for the most part, and 9 times out of 10 when it comes to couples you’ll see that Indian men tend to have Indian women as partners. Sometimes (like in the case of all three of my sisters) – you’ll find Indian women with English men.
But by and large, it’s extremely uncommon the other way around.
So when it comes to stereotyping – why would a white female see me any differently? Especially a British White Female?
Now as it turns out, over the course of my relationship history – I have not been in a serious (more than 3 months – let’s use this as a benchmark) I didn’t get into a serious relationship with a British White Female.
The only one I recall I may have gotten into one with was interested in India in general anyway.
The other women you’ve seen me reference were British-Nigerian, British-Jamaican, French-Ghanaian and Italian – so all ethnic minorities here in the UK anyway.
Dating has always been a struggle in that respect. I’m relatively tall for an Indian (186cm), and I spent a fair amount of time going to the gym – so much like my beautiful sisters – when I did meet pretty Indian women – they were (like my sisters)….much shorter than myself.
And then culturally they tended to have an Indian community of friends with similar challenges, issues and things in common (guys too often time). I did not.
I was busy trying to make it as a rapper so my community from 16 onwards was a definite mixture of Afro-Caribbean and white.
For all of the reasons above, I’d always found it difficult to make a connection with British Indian women; and having spent most of my time around white/Caucasian women during my formal education and then black women during my music education – it made sense this was where my romantic interests lie.
But that was definitely not obvious inside out. The world/women saw me and saw an Indian male and that came with a series of assumptions about who I was interested in and who I would date.
And there were some pivotal moments in my life that have helped me with communication, personal and business growth – as well as of course – romance and relationships.
My superpower is reading.
I was an English Literature major at Warwick, so I was used to reading books upon books upon books.
Alongside this – I had vis a vis backpacking – ample opportunity to continually communicate and ‘sell’ myself on a daily basis.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve mostly travelled/backpacked alone.
6 months at 18, 1 month at 20, 3 months at 22, and then a series of solo adventures throughout my 20s as I moved from Lisbon, Rio, Turin, Amsterdam and more.
This (if you desire so) – actually gives you a huge amount of pitch practice. And given my historical insecurities; coupled with my own personal ambitions – I’ve always wanted to grow.
- Deepak decided that he doesn’t want the perception of my Indianness to prevent me from meeting/dating, anyone, I wanted to.
- Combining this with reading up on dating via books on behaviour, psychology, dating, s*x, romance, and cooking (I’ll dig these out at some point)
- And the 1000s of people I met at a high frequency through solo travels and being extrovert
It just meant….I have had much more practice than someone who hasn’t travelled alone quite as much as I managed to.
Over time as I moved through my 20s, I made some startling discoveries.
At 19-21 during university, I thought weight training was critical to changing (physically in this case) how I’d fare dating.
At 24, I grew my hair longer and lost weight and discovered it didn’t impact anything at all
At 27, I stopped caring and realised more so than ambition, humour and a passion for life are actually three key tenets for any relationship you get in (whether personal or professional)
And that can ultimately stand (especially in the UK) as a true differentiator.
Most British people are pretty reserved/formal.
I came from a household of 8 people in a 3-bedroom house alongside cousins in similar situations with everyone running and screaming around the house.
I was used to chaos, and in life ultimately – you do work with what you’re strong at.
Then combine it with reading>practice>reading practice….
Until Daniela came in and changed everything for me.