Friday, December 19, 2008

Revisit 2008

Its been a year of firsts; an eventful year to say the very least!

Its December, Christmassy, cool, and since I'm holidaying, the atmosphere is perfect for me to sit back on a couch (the one at home - my couch - do not be mistaken) and reflect on the last twelve months.

- Had some good greaat times with some great people.
- Let down by some, and
- Had faith reaffirmed by some others. :) :) :)
- Went to GOA ! Had an abso-fantasto-amazing time. Fought a lot with the people of my blood for this, and I'm glad I did.
- Wrote an important exam :) and did well at it.
- My first job out of college suddenly ends as my company suddenly shuts shop. First layoff, if you can say that. Sniff.
- Frantic job search launch.
- A quiet and well, disappointing-for-the-most-part birthday in the midst of that chaos.
- Negotiation with potential employers.
- Adieu to the old place.
- Ooh - another secret first that i'd like to signal to people that already know it - how best can I arrange to do that - Umm.
- New job. New things to learn, new and amazing people to learn and get inspired from.
- New and different friends. A peek into bonds already formed, and an effort to make a place for myself in there.
- Old friends going through a lot of tough changes - and standing up for themselves. Yay!
- Coming to terms with the fact that some friends will be friends no more.
- An attempt to define a purpose: introspection on a deeper level than normal.

Its been a fine year. I do have a few complaints, I admit. But its a net positive. I learned so much about myself, and to an extent even applied those learnings in an effort to improve the self. :) That doesn't happen so often, successfully, at least. I'm still trying.

Although of course,
there are a few things that the heart wishes it had. I wonder if 2009 is the year for any of those. I hope it is.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vacation Chronicles #1 - Are we there yet?

Would you believe the Bengaluru International Airport is home to birds? That little tiny birds move about at a height of about a foot from the floor with carefree abandon? Is it planned? To make it look like you were in natural surroundings?

That was the only thing surprising about my first international flight out of BIAL. The rest has been spoken, written and ranted about enough to keep me informed - but no one told me about the birds :)

I travelled by SriLankan Airlines - which dictated a transit at Colombo. I spent two-three hours there, not before a short flight with a little energetic boy on one side (who was anxious to ensure that his food was vegetarian) and a man on the other side of the aisle who caught fancy with the fact that I read I guess - till I gave him a cold stare.

And would you believe it, the Bandaranaike International Airport had a blackout :( How tragic is the state of affairs. The electricity was restored soon enough, but only the main lights and basic requirements. The shops, internet connectivity, and anything beyond the basics were gone. And then the second flight that i had to get on, got delayed by another forty minutes. :)

The flight to London - looooong :(
Oh btw, to all those who wished me well before I left, no I did not get the drop dead gorgeous man by my side, who I would hit it off with really well ;)
I did have a sweet old man though as a travel partner, who watched all the movies peacefully.
I read the whole of a book called Girls of Riyadh. Quite interesting, and not surprising, if it is true.

And finally I reached hooome, my dear brother was there to pick me up with all the winter wear that he could possible wrap me up with, before we stepped into 5 degrees C of weather. I didn't feel the cold much, possibly due to the fact that I was one big Desi Wrap. Hah, I said 'desi'. I'm glad about that though, because the cold was one thing I was terrified about before leaving. I hope it snows before I leave !! :)

More to come later, I better live some vacation off the net too :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wednesday Weirdnesses #5

I missed it last week didn't I.. Matter not, since no one noticed/pointed out. Anyway, my excuse is cliched : forgot. I did remember, in the middle of the day, when I had absolutely no time.

So then I asked a friend to point me to some weird stuff on the net. And he said, I don't go weird hunting!!
Me: No one does... (except me off late.)
And then he suggested I post something non-weird... for a change.
Me: That sort of defeats the purpose.
End of conversation.

In parallel, a conversation with another friend.
He: Yeah actually I found something on reddit, list of sex offences, really funny, and weird.
Me: NO no, my blog is PG!
He: Heh heh, ok... so am I.
ME: How are you PG?
He: I'm very PG
Me: ????????? [Exactly that number]
He: whhaa... you son't think so?
End of conversation.

Forget not, that I really had no time.

Aaanyhoo. That would be quite enough of making public my chat conversations with friends. Lest my friends (aka the readers of this blog) not endeavour chatting with me anymore.

For today, I give you a word I haven't heard before. I say this because I have this funny feeling from the core of my womanly intuition that I am probably the only one who hasn't heard this before. But I'll tell you anyway.

The word, dear mathematicus, is Zenzizenzizenzic. :)
What fun!! - say I.
It means the eighth power of a number, derived from zenzic, "square of a number".

Also, since I skipped last week, here's a bonus one!
Honorificabilitudinitatibus !! which means the quality of deserving honour or respect.
Enjoy. No, really.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Alone! Yeah!

I had a thought. Yes, time to celebrate. So I mentioned to this guy that there are no songs that inspire you when you are alone. There's nothing that celebrates being alone. Remember the song, 'Akele hain, to kya gham hai..' ? Starts off well enough, but then you realise that he's only saying its ok to be alone, as long as you're with someone. Sort of an anti-climax.

My friend says, Yeah, because it sucks to be alone. 

Hmph. Whatever happened to finding happiness within yourself and all that? Self-dependence? INdependence. 

That's all fine, apparently. You need companionship, he says. It's boring otherwise

That's just plain wrong.  One should be okay with being alone. Primarily because there is nothing wrong with being alone. And by alone, I mean I mean either a lack of friends or a lack of love, or the lack of whatever makes you feel alone. Because there is nothing wrong with it, a lot of people live all their lives alone, and its OK.

Write me a song that celebrates the idea of being alone. I hear so many people announce they love to be left alone to themselves. That they don't like company. How they're so proud that they are anti-social. And blah and blah

Write me a song. Or better still, find me a song that's already written. Come on. Please. Pretty please?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wednesday Weirdnesses #4

Yeah, I get that its not a good sign that the only posts on your blog are the ones that were supposed to be just a side affair. A lot has been going on. Aaand I have been granted access to (many) episodes of Grey's Anatomy. So guess where my time is going :)

Coming to the lot that has been going on.. (Yes, I have this new found love for increasing the font size at random points) Nothing new has happened : work has stepped up a notch, hence I am coming home late. Once I come home I log in again. I have this other really important work to do, but I am the master of procrastination. And then I do what I do really well - nothing.

So we found you a weird link. Actually a link talking about something weird. We don't think we came across this in the papers. We haven't been reading those much these past few days. We think after reading the above two paragraphs, you must understand. We don't even know if it is true. So take with a peench of salt.

Can I still say Happy Wednesday?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wednesday Weirdnesses #3

Flying cars, they said 50 years ago. I think they meant the Metro. I believe there was even some talk in the papers a few days ago.

Well here's a article from 2001.

Sneak preview:
"Now, stop," Kamen says. How? This thing has no brakes. "Just think about stopping." Staring into the middle distance, I conjure an image of a red stop sign--and just like that, Ginger and I come to a halt.
Have a fun day.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wednesday Weirdnesses #2

I realise how subjective the definition of weird is. But we have a vague idea, and we'll go by it. 

Today's weird find is MapOfStrange, describing itself as 'Strange things in Google Maps.'

Check it out, its got beach writings, google errors, and pics of crop circles!! Its also got a tag on 'ghosts' - I can't figure out what it points to - but I am curious!

Have a good day :)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Analyze this.

It's the last week. Bangalore felt quiet and eerie all of a sudden. Oh, definitely not the Diwali nights. Bomb bomb bomb, those went. I mean the mornings after. For a blissful few days, the streets were empty, the city was silent. And accompanied with this strange new avtar of Bangalore, was a sense of nostalgia. I felt I was in the Bangalore of 10-15 years ago, of when we had just moved here. Of course I attributed the 'feelings' to the fact that half the city was away on vacation, and hence, not in the city.

But then. 

The noise has now returned. As the city warms back to its present cacophonic self, I haven't lost the 'feeling.' I have this surreal feeling from time to time of being back in the past. Not recent past, but atleast eight-ten years in the past. 

What could it be? A sudden stillness. An odd quiet. A few elements of the present I feel more distant from. Freud would've had something to say. 

And what about you, perceptive reader? Do you have a Freud-like-or-not theory for me?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wednesday Weirdnesses #1

I've decided to start a weekly post celebrating the eccentricities of life. So every Wednesday, starting today, I will present to you one hand picked Weirdness from across the globe.

For today I present a Weird Word.

Presenting to you,  slubberdegullion.

As if the world wasn't short of invective already, slubberdegullion means a filthy, slobbering person, or "a slobbering and dirty fellow, a worthless sloven."

Its etymology doesn't seem to be consistently agreed upon. Slubber seeming to come from the english 'slobber' and the second part likely from French goalon "a sloven." It could also apparently be "cullion, an old word for a testicle (it’s related to French couillon and Spanish cojones), which by the sixteenth century was a term of contempt for a man."

There you go, one more way in which to show your wrath to the world outside. And probably not have them know it!!

Happy Wednesday !

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cafe Aarogya

This might be the first time I am doing a review of sorts. I don't usually care enough to review too many things, [sheepish] but this place deserved mention. This is a place that I happened to chance upon today. I'd gone to Jyothi Nivas College, Koramangala (Bangalore!) to see Russell Peters in action. Looked around for a quick bite before the show started, and happened to find this place called Cafe Aarogya.

The website tells you a lot, but I can give you an idea. It is in very simple terms, a healthy food place. Tasty food with healthy ingredients.

I went with a couple of friends. I had walked out of the restaurant below because they didn't serve sandwiches.  Then we decided to try our hand here. No sandwiches => disappointment. A different sort of menu with exotic and 'healthy' sounding dishes => some disappointment again. But we decided to try it out. 

We were greeted by the store manager who explained to us that all the food is made with healthy ingredients, cooked with olive oil only, a minimal amount. We opted for a soup (Tomato and Basil) which was very impressive. It had just the right touch of spices. We also went for the whole wheat aloo paratha with Low Fat curd, again very nice, with zero oil as far as we could see. Also the Corn Sheekh kabab, which they serve with green chutney - tasty! I also tried low fat chocolate smoothie :) which is made from unsweetened cocoa powder, palm sugar, skim milk and other healthier alternatives.

Overall, we were a very satisfied three. I'm very impressed at the effort that has gone into experimenting and coming up with a fabulous array of dishes that are definitely low on oil and tasty. Their food is prepared without heavily processed and refined foods, sugar, dalda or vanaspati, soda or artificial substances/alternatives, preservatives, artificial flavourings. 

This place is like a heaven for the health-conscious or even slightly-health-aware. Strongly recommended. Check out their website to know more about them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The.. brain.. hath.. stopped

It's not working anymore!!

Now, now, those who would merrily like to take this opportunity to inform me that it never did in the first place, calm down. Remember those merry old days when I would use the blog to say the silliest of things without inhibition? I would tell you about sneezes and commuting, God and slimming advertisements. Sigh, even that isn't happening anymore!

Have I stopped finding joy at the silly nothings?
Hell, have I grown up ??

I actually do have some things to tell some people, but unfortunately I cannot tell everyone, so this blog is not the place for it :(

But then, what do I do to revive the rusting grey blob resting within my skull? It does exist. It does rest there. No arguments.

My dear readers, i beg of you, save me, save the blog.


Well actually, just tell me what to do to get me ideating again! (Ideating, hmm, isn't that a weird sounding word?)


Thursday, October 09, 2008

The mystery..

..of the perfect pair of jeans..(or genes, for that matter.)

This time I'm even willing to settle for near perfect. :) Then why does it elude me so...?

I find it hard to believe that the makers of this fashion product do not cater for the masses. Why else could any pair that looks half decent otherwise, not look half decent when you well.. wear it?

And if they do cater for the masses, I find it hard to believe that 'the masses' have such perfect bodies. I mean, take a look around. Its not all lovely.

And therefore.. shouldn't more effort be going into making the 'imperfect body' jeans? Or am I so far removed from the average? :( That's so depressing I'm going to go indulge myself some more. Chocolate anyone?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Getting. Wanting. Needing.

There was this song, not so long ago, that caught my attention with these lines: I want you, I don't know if I need you.

As I write this today, I am overwhelmed by instances of us not being happy with what we have anymore. A friend recently said this was because we had too many choices. I said the availability of options should make us feel empowered. He said it only leaves more room for dissatisfaction. Meh, glass half full, half empty, thought I.

Life wasn't supposed to be this hard, was it? I envisioned myself years ago having to make a few choices at different points in my life, and making them easily enough. You can roughly translate this post as "Coming to terms with reality." :)

But seriously, I speak not merely for myself, but also close friends that are a part of my life. All of us have, in some way or the other, well within our reach, that, which is close enough to what we always wanted, but is not really "it". And as a result of that, we are not willing to settle. Is this the arrogance of youth? (The grey-haired wise men do not think as we do.) Or is this the type of persona, that we got conditioned to grow up into? Will it change? Will we settle once we hit the rough spots? Or will our adamance pay off?

And do we always know ourselves well enough to know if what we want is really what we want?

Relative perception, ladies and gentlemen, the killer. Reduces you to knowing nothing about anything. At all.

The cat got killed.

I read an article that told me how to be successful.
It said I should know something about everything.
Then it pointed me to an article on how to do that.
That article said I should be curious about everything I come across.
Then it pointed me to an article about how I can cultivate curiosity.
Curiously enough, I was curious.
That article told me that the way to cultivate curiosity
In many many many words was
To be curious.. (who'd have thunk!)
Then it pointed me to another article.
I wasn't curious any more.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sulk and Grumble

Friend tells me my blog is a mess. No he wouldn't insult the writing (right at my face.) He was merely pointing at the splattering of unnecessary thingummies on the blog page. Ironically it started when I said I was a messy person, in general, and he said yeah, look at your blog. Hence the erstwhile l-o-a-d-e-d aMUSEings blog page has been stripped down for a newer lighter b-o-r-i-n-g look.

And then I grumble grumble mumble nevertheless.

That's the thing.. So how come we can't take criticism when its not even something we're unaware of! I've never been the gracious acceptor, Mommy knows that very well. Its not a tragedy either, but well, at least I can write about it.

Why does one twitch when someone else points to you what you already know? Ah its this person who goes by the name of Ego, that sits pretty in the way of what is potential betterment.

Note to friend: Do not fret. Do not take me seriously either. Now try viewing it, don't you tell me its crashing again. And again.
And yeah, see me as the bigger person, who did the right thing. :)
Still grumbling though.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Feeling like a child today

No the worries did not disappear.
Neither did the unacknowledged fear.
But I felt like a child today.
I giggled, I grinned, I smiled.
The way it was as a child.
Seems so long since I felt this way!

Reminds me of the song of yesteryear:
Main zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya
Har fikr ko dhuein mein udaata chala gaya.

I volunteered for an event at CRY recently. We had a street play near an anganwadi and also had children of the community performing to current popular songs. It was fantastic! A treat to the senses. I will link you to the details of the campaign once I get hold of the newspaper article which will sooooon be out. But meanwhile I can only tell you what fun it was to help these kids learn the 'steps' for the dance, get them ready for what was possibly their very first public performance, and watch them dance beautifully. (It was their innocence that bought me the beauty.) It was wonderful, to say the very least. 

And then of course the post event celebration :) Dancing with the stars I will call it. And then the pack of stars attacked me when they saw I had a packet of chocolates. 

I also met some great new people, refreshed my life just a tad bit. Yay!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Live to Die? No, Live Forever!

Above were the words on a pamphlet handed to me a few days ago as I was walking on Commercial Street.
Science has advanced in so many directions, even to exploring space - but the subject of DEATH remains largely unexplored. Few are the doctors, scientists and philosophers who have studied the subject of Death - of the phenomenon of Death itself and of what happens after Death. Scientists are ever expounding to the world truths about the human body and its brief existence on this planet, about the atoms, and about natural cataclysms - but little is taught about this terrible end called Death that comes to every man.
Religious fundamentalists have long stopped considering science as something they can condemn, or even make people condemn. Some time during the battle between religion and science, science won, not in the sense that the battle succeeded in getting many to abandon blind faith, but that religious people now began to accept science (while not letting go of religion) and people who favored scientific and rational thought in the first place, have long abandoned religious ideas.

The stance changed from 'There is no science' to 'There is science in religion too'.
So now how could we still incorporate something scientific into our teachings, and yet make it sound like we're the ones to follow?
And then the answer, that comes, I presume, after extensive research, is Death.
.. One person alone has unlocked the mysteries of Death and revealed to mankind the "New and Living way" to life and immortality..
Since you can guess the rest, I won't quote it.
But it was distasteful. The common man is afraid of death. To play on a person's fears to convert them to a particular religion is distasteful. It is just not right. Our country grants you the right to follow whatever religious practices you might want to. But to mislead and market a religion taking advantage of the vulnerable man's fear of death is wrong.

I disapprove of trying to convert people to another religion in a way that one would want to take over the world. If you want to co-exist with science, you can also co-exist with other religions.

It reminds me of childhood days where all of us had come up with explanations of why we all prayed to different Gods. There is only one God we believed, we all just have different versions of him. No one wondered why the one God wanted to go through the trouble of being available in different versions to different people on the earth and yet didn't want to actually show himself. A lot of things didn't add up, but we were peace-loving, unquestioning good kids who didn't try to one up each others deities. We had a lot of respect for one another.

Wonder what happened to that kind of thinking.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Silly Etiquette Dilemmas

Its a known fact that there are a lot of Indians, especially those from a non-urban background, are not very well versed with table manners. By table manners I don't mean using the appropriate utensils - even most 'urbans' don't know so much about which fork gets used for what !

I mean the more sinful ones - burping, talking with mouth open, noisy chewing.

My only question is now : what does one do when one chances to eat beside such a person?
Is there a way of letting them know that they're being improper, or is sitting through the ordeal the only way to go?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

We'll be frands foraver

It is friendship day, yet another slotted day given to us to celebrate that which doesn't need a day to be celebrated. Having said that, I'm still in favour of setting aside a day to celebrate things like love, friendship, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers - those which we would never end up celebrating as much if we didn't have a special day dedicated.

So I fondly reminisce the days when we wore uniforms and met each other with typical school-girl fervour to glorify our own interpretations of friendship. The day had an extra dash of colour, possibly symbolic of what (we thought) the friendships brought into our life.

I recall the more talented and the more dedicated of us persevering for days before, making pretty little hand accessories, more famously known as the Friendship Bands. The rest of us either attempted shoddier versions or settled for the store-bought versions of our loyalty to friends. They served as more than just testimony of our long-standing friendship. For some of us, it was an opportunity to befriend another. (Possibly someone of the opposite sex that you've been eying for some time.) And for some it was a fine time to make amends with a person you've been warring with since last year.

If we didn't have a shortage of bands we'd give them to almost anyone whom we'd usually have as much as a casual conversation with. The real friends were yet to be filtered out by then. You have to have some troubled and testing times to identify the diamonds, don't you? And so it was. It took years to see the real ones shining through. And not surprisingly, they were the ones I'd known the longest. We grew in a similar environment, and that probably fashioned our compatibility the way 'compatible' must be. As we grew, I came across a few more gems, but they weren't as easy to come by anymore. I feel it had less to do with the world outside, than it had with the time we now allow another person to size up as a friend.

At the risk of sounding old and unable to keep up with the times, I say that friendship isn't what is used to be. And then to show that I can keep up with the times, I say friendship is still around, its just different. There are some people you can count on, but it no longer needs a band - thank the stars for that. For an adult, it is an implicit understanding. An unspoken dictum. If you're still around after all that, you're in. And oh, I hope you can laugh.

I did not want to end this with corny notes, and so I will end it with one that sounds ridiculous yet rings vaguely true: (source unknown)
Friends are like Bacon bits in the Salad Bowl of life.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Stray and I will Spray!

Amidst all types of obsessive-compulsive disorders we can be diagnosed with in this day and age, where every blip in personality traits can be diagnosed to a personality disorder, I present to you something about me.

I hate walking on crowded streets. I hate being in crowded buses.

Now, don't write this off just yet, I'm not done. Let me explain. I, just like all of womankind, feel disgusted with men 'brushing' past oneself. Ah, now you know where this is headed.

I don't know how often, but I acknowledge that some/much of the time, the brush is accidental. There is really no place to walk on the streets. But just because there is a percentage of cases that are beyond doubt deliberate, I cannot breathe easy when I am out on the streets.

I trust no male I don't know. In a paranoid sort of way. If you see me walking on Brigade Road anytime, (before I see you see me) you would find me walking with my arms forming a barrier of sorts. I don't care. I'm paranoid about men just looking, even though I know that in a crowded street, the eyes eventually must fall on someone, unless you walk looking down, in which case you would definitely (accidentally or not) crash into someone. Of course, I digress, but you know the look I'm talking about, especially if you're a woman. Even then, the 'look' is nothing in comparison to the brush.

I've seen that many female friends are not really bothered by this stuff, they've learnt to dismiss, or be unaffected. I ignore, but I am not unaffected. And I'm sure there are many like me.

In the days when I traveled to college by bus, I spent 3-4 hours a day in the buses. Every woman would agree with me on the trauma that is the junction where the sections of the men and women meet, especially when the bus is crowded. I really didn't know, but it felt like the men were trying everything from the Subtle yet Disgusting Men's Handbook.
I'll give you a picture of the scene. When the bus is really crowded, there is not much place to breathe, let alone move an inch here and there. The rest you can imagine.

There was the time when I was riding my two-wheeler (my Kinetic Honda) home and a guy on a motorbike starting riding alongside. This was no crowded area where he could go nowhere else - he was deliberately doing it - and I still don't know what he saw in my jacketed and helmetted self or in my rather old Kinetic Honda. He was alongside for almost 3-4 kms. I picked up speed and so did he, but then I took a sharp turn at a road without losing much speed (and without indicating) and I'd lost him. Thankfully, he didn't put any more effort into that. I was terrified till I got inside my colony.
I remember another incident as I was returning from college one day. I used to park my two-wheeler somewhere near the Shivajinagar bus stand - so it was a short walk from where I got off the bus, to my vehicle. Short but on a relatively empty road. This man began walking alongside me. I slowed my pace, and he did too. I quickened up and then he would too. I decided to just walk as fast as possible to get to my vehicle and some form of civilization. I was terrified. I wondered if he had a knife. He then called out and said in an overly wannabe anglicized voice, Hey, hi, how are you? to I like your haircut. In that situation, these lines, which I would later laugh at, provided no relief. I just ignored him and moved as quickly as I could. Thankfully, once I zoomed off, I saw no trace of him.

These are just some of the (lighter) ends of the spectrum, where some guy was just trying to chat me up or maybe even asking for hairstyling tips, and I will also acquaint you with an incident on another end.

I lived for a short time in a hostel with 3 other roommates. This is an incident that happened with one of them. She was much older to me at that time, and was just engaged to be married. She was with her fiance somewhere in the Majestic Bus Stand area. A man brushed past her and touched her where he shouldn't have. She was enraged. She was one of those women who would speak her mind boldly and fight for what was right without fear. She screamed out loud at the man and he began running. She asked her fiance to catch him, I don't recall what his reaction was, but he definitely did not run. She then ran after the man in her heels, full of rage, but lost him somewhere along the way. At the end of the day, she felt violated, and not less, diasappointed with the reaction of her fiance and other men around.

This is a one-off case, and I have seen men in the same situation to run after and beat up the violator and bring justice. But is that the solution? To have a man around and have him ready to bring you justice each time?

Before I present what I have presented on this blog already, ie, my favourite Pepper Spray, let me tell you one final incident. I was in a bus, which was not really crowded this time. I had a seat and there was this man standing a little ahead. I noticed he was falling ahead rather unusually each time the bus braked, but I paid no further notice. I think I was reading when suddenly I heard a really loud noise. Like Thhapppp!! The entire bus looked up. It was a large lady slapping this man. Turned out he was drunk and falling deliberately on either her or someone near her. She was hurling abuses in Kannada and slapping him again and again. His eyes were blood red and he was trying to look aggressively defensive, angry that she could suggest he had done anything of the sort, but he was too intoxicated to pull that off. The conductor caught hold of him and made him get off the bus. He was drunk at 11 am in the morning.

That day for me, was like a big Hurrah! for all of womankind. I knew I didn't have the courage to pull off what that lady did, but I admired her for it, and hoped to atleast be able to stand up for myself.

Nonetheless, the first two incidents did inspire me to order the Pepper Spray and keep one by my side at all times. You can take a look at the available products here and order it here. Be extremely careful with it and use it responsibly. It is only permissible under law as self-defense. Read these FAQs before you order or use it.

And I hope the title makes sense now :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I joined this dance workout class recently. Despite the tragedy of waking up at 6 am (read that as 6.30 am - that would include hitting the snooze alarm thrice - consistently) every single weekday, I find myself enjoying it quite a bit.

Mostly he plays hiphoppy kind of music and then we do aerobiccy kind of moves, since of course this is a workout class. Oh btw, there is a poster at the class that says this about hiphop - that it stands for His/Her Infinite Power Helping Oppressed People. And I believe that piece of information actually traces its roots back to some (but, naturally) hip hop song. Politically correct, nonetheless, pliss to note.

But then on some days he plays Bollywood music, which I very much luurve, especially for a dance session. But then one day came a song that was a bit over the top, even for someone like me who allows for a lot. Remember Jodha Akbar and its songs? Most are ok, but picture moving, working out, if you may, to the trumpet that announces the arrival of the emperor. And then we go -

Azeem-O-Shaan Shahenshah


Ja-LA-llu-Din Ak-Bar.

All the time we're merrily practising Jazz moves or doing hip-hop (to Akbar's Infinite Power) or some jazz like that. I feel like we've all been taken over by aliens and are being hypnotised into doing this stuff, because, believe it or not, nobody minds! No one has a problem with the ridiculousness of it all. We all rather enjoy what might be role-playing as the emperor's subjects, hailing him and all the glory that he's brought us.

And then we promptly switch to celebrating the Race that life is. A race of our breaths, a race of desires, and of heartbeats. Ah, intoxication.

Six to seven girls (and one odd boy - i don't know where he comes from - he's a different one almost every time!) dancing to the shahenshah's tunes. We wake up early every day, arrive bright eyed and do the jig when are minds are most impressionable. Sounds like its part of some big-brother-ish conspiracy.

See this is why we're all urged to work out early in the morning - take in the fresh air - and experience some different other-worldly experiences :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Back is Me.

Dear Blog(-diary-friend-ish),

Well, Hello. I've been a little hesitant to write of late. Not quite sure why.

Meanwhile. Its been a tough few weeks. Some choices that evaded me at first. And then some choices laid before me. Some difficult decisions I've had to make, and some other decisions that I've had to deal with. Sigh .. At times I wish this was an anonymous blog. Believe me, I'd have a lot more to say then! Come to think of it, maybe I will start one now that I have thought of it. But then I have also thought of the fact that I am becoming more and more cynical by the day, so, yeah, Tough Luck there, potential-anonymous-blog!

And in other news..
I joined (new) work on the 26th of this month. Closer, bigger. Better? Don't know yet. Haven't really gotten into it. I'll miss old workplace and all its niceness. And all my friends. Sniff. And all the people I didn't get along with. Them too.

I went on a Scrubs-watching marathon recently. Two seasons. There's something addictive about the series. You just can't stop watching it. And in between switching episodes comes for a while a surreal feeling. You almost believe you can dole out snappy, witty lines - nay, whole paragraphs - and - as if that weren't enough - even snappy, witty comebacks that are material enough for an entire play. Of course, I say this in retrospect, because when I'm under the spell of Scrubs - I am in a daze - I almost wish I could address people like that - 'Hey Barbie' and 'Hey (girl-name)' - guys, ie. Too bad if you haven't seen it. See it. :)

I finally finished Sense and Sensibility. Frankly, while I'm in love with Jane Austen's language, I found this book a tad strange. Ah, but you get lost in the words. Now I'm reading (or attempting to read) only about 4 books in parallel. One of which is another Jane Austen, but with more promise, Emma.

In today's news..
When I voiced concern over an autorickshaw's incredibly paced meter, he had this to say:
"Chalte chalte theek ho jaayega"
In effect, as it keeps running, it self-corrects. Some kind of feedback system unfairly biased to the people who have to go the farthest distance.
And then about 60 seconds later, where he might have otherwise stopped if he wanted to stop, his wire cut ho gaya and he stops. This is not the first time an autorickshaw driver has pulled the wire-cut on me, but sadly, there's nothing I can do about it. I got off, refused to pay him more than what I thought should be the fare. Thankfully, he caved sooner than would have fallen my act of a determined and courageous stand (to not pay more). And then no other auto took me either.

Saw the new Indiana Jones movie today. Masala, timepass, far-fetched, funny, fun.

That would be it for now, blog.
Just to let you know I'm alive. Still around.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Enlightenment #4: Rach can't say Goodbye

Varry Hard, I tell you.
Either I find it hard to actually say the bubbyes or I can't let go.

Saying goodbye is odd. I stay stone-faced, afraid to let the emotion show. Which is odd as it is. You'd think courtesy calls for a little emotion on the face. I'm sad that you're going away. No, really. Of course I feel something. Not exactly tragedy befallen, but I get it! So I become uncomfortable, and then begin asking meaningless questions like 'how are you going to manage there' and 'spoke to the others'? And I forget the important stuff like contact information. Which i'd debate the importance of, considering I don't really make the effort to keep in touch. My keeping in touch with old friends on chat is limited to
they: Hey what's going on?
me: Nothing much. What about you?
they: {replace text with relevant story}. How's work and all?
me: Good, going on.
they: Anything interesting happening lately? How're the others {names of Common Friends here}?
me: Haven't spoken to them much lately. but yeah, guess everyone's doing fine.
{more uninformative answers here from yours truly}
(bleah.) See how interesting a chatter I can be??
And thus i try ending the goodbye process as soon as possible. Keep in touch, Take care.

And then there are the tragedy befallen goodbyes. Here I just refuse to let go. No no no. Sigh. Opposite ends of the spectrum. Clinging on to old memories Rach. What is it about old times that makes them always seem so good? At what point do all the painful memories get wiped out from the thing we call nostalgia?
Howzabout I say ok, this was good till now, now I have a chance to hit Refresh, and jump to the next stage without obsessing over the previous. A chance to do something different.

We live, we learn.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Two questions

Do optimism and hope set you up for more disappointment than otherwise?

Does an optimistic attitude reflect in and thereby improve the way you work - would that mean lesser chances of disappointment?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Of big bags and Tags

WnG here tagged me a while ago. Quite some time ago. A month and more has passed and now I get down to doing it. In my defense, I was merely waiting for more interesting times. But then I realised that this is as interesting as it gets, so I've taken out my rose-coloured glasses and I'm telling y'all what my handbag contains ('tis more like a backpack, but ah poe-tay-to po-tah-to!)

Anyway, here goes. If this gets boring, you have her to blame.

  1. A blue folder with papers (ooh, official, can't tell you about them!)
  2. Blue scarf. This is to protect my hair when I'm travelling in autos or to keep underneath my helmet. I'm paranoid the elements of nature will blow my hair away someday if I don't protect them. There isn't much that I can afford to lose at this point.
  3. A pamphlet of a rajashthani/gujarati buffet lunch near the workplace. From almost 7-8 months back. Hmm.. I've been clearing my desk at work and adding junk to the bag.
  4. Bills. Old bills, new bills. Credit card, phone. Bah.
  5. Notepads. One partially used, one recently acquired and therefore being used with fresh enthusiasm. I have a thing for notepads, they excite me. I never end up writing anything substantial, neither do I read what I've written, but I get excited nonetheless.
  6. Thick wallet. And no, not because I carry a lot of cash. There's enough junk in there to warrant an entire new post.
  7. Hee haa. Bare necessities. For the post-gym-shower to the office transition. The next few numbers - Sunscreen.
  8. Comb.
  9. Livon. (Hair again).
  10. Deodarant.
  11. Chapstick. (Lotus, chocolate flavour)
  12. A book on Digital Design. Ah, interesting times.
  13. Broken earphones for listening to my type of music in the gym.
  14. ID card. Ho-hum.
  15. Those face-wipe tissues from flights and otherwise. I have 3 of them in my bag. And I wonder if I'll ever use them.
  16. Sanitary pad.
  17. Safety pins. Cautious Rach. Prepared-for-worst Rach. Carries-junk Rach.
  18. [Sheepish] An old diet plan that I never really followed. Atleast I still carry it. Sigh.
  19. Pens and pencils. Broken and unbroken..yet.
  20. More notepads. A special mention for my CRY notepad. While I'm on that, I wonder if any of you would like to donate to CRY.
  21. Two lovely, smooth, tiny pebbles that come from some beach during my visit to bhaiyya-bhabhi in UK.  I've a thing for pebbles also. I remember picking out the nice smooth ones from the ground (bachpan mein) and considering them to be my lucky charms. For about 3 minutes. I'd forget soon enough about it. These ones are still in the bag.
  22. Oh my mouth freshener. I carry that or Orbit gums. I've found it useful, I have. :)
  23. Old passport photographs that i'd die if anyone saw. Hmm.. one thing to put away.
  24. Book. The Road Less Travelled, gifted to me by him on this day.
  25. And, not to forget, my Cobra Pepper Spray!! Thankfully, I've never had to use it till now. But I'd suggest to most people out there (girls, especially) to keep one handy for self defense. You never know.

And at 25 I end this rather elaborate list. If you're still awake, I'd like to tag Suprita on this. C'mon girl :) I'm waiting.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gah + Bah!

I feel depleted of creativity.

My writing is lacking 'freshness'.

Something's got to be done.

But what?

Then again, I'm feeling .. alright.

Life's alright. Still haven't found my wave. But life's seems alright. :)

My latest gtalk status message reflects just that - Just tell yourself, Ducky, you're really quite lucky. :-) Quoted by a Dr. Seuss. You can find more words of wisdom here.

My picks :

I'm sorry to say so
But, sadly it's true
That bang-ups and hang-ups
Can happen to you.


Will you succeed?
Yes you will indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

Nothing spectacular, I know. But the matter-of-fact-ness topped off with rhyme are but little pleasures of life. :-) I'm loving it...! :-D


:s/Freshness/General Rant

Haf fun. Life goes on.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Vishu !

Happy new Mallu year!!

Today I'll tell you of the other of the only two Malayali festivals I know of. Here's the first one.

It is basically the first day of the our new year, and the harvest festival.

So every year we make (read Mom makes) this setting in front of the Gods called Vishukanni (meaning seen first on Vishu). It is the first thing we look at when we wake up. The custom actually is that the eldest lady of the house sets up the kanni the previous night, wakes up first and lights the lamp and sets it up completely, wakes up the rest of the family, who usually are supposed go to the puja room with closed eyes, and look at the Vishukanni first thing. It is believed to be auspicious for the year that follows.

This time I took special care to note what goes into the kanni. Mom first mixed 9 kinds of daals (pulses), kept it with rice.


Alongside were vegetables like coconut, white melon and fruits like bananas, mango, jackfruit.

Then she kept gold jewellery, silver coins, money, new clothes, kumkum, etc. Lamps are lit beside it and there is a Kanni Konnapoovu or Indian laburnum that's also around.


A vital part of the setup is a mirror, through which we should be looking at all these things.

And so, here is the final Vishukanni that I looked at first thing this morning!


Now we come to the kaineetam part. How can I not dedicate a special section to the Vishu kaineetam that is sort of the central part of this festival for all children. The elders of the family starting with the grand father or father give away Kaineetam to the younger ones. The Kaineetam consists of coins (now mostly notes) with Konna flowers, rice and the gold from the Uruli. The gold and the rice are returned to the Uruli and touch the eyes with flower. This is when you would see the kids back home become rich overnight, what with the large numbers of doting adult relatives.. :)

And what good is a festival of prosperity with out great food or our Saddhya, and fireworks too!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Life and a friend called Uncertainty.

I can say with fair amount of certainty that I have never had to deal with much uncertainty. Life flowed along, and I drifted well with the waves. Somehow, everything always fell in place. It was a rare thing to be thrown off one wave and not find another to surf on soon enough.

I'm not complaining. I understand how much worse things could have been. Trying times are also known as interesting times in another world. I'm sure I have it in me. But how long will it take to find my next wave? The answer to that, my friend, is something that only my cliched buddy, Time, can tell.

Until then, I cannot miss on all the opportunities that these times bring, even if they are camouflaged beyond recognition. I'll find them, and I'll enjoy the character building. :)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Life After UPS

Darn, it's hot!

The UPS that we depended on so heavily for some years now, has acted up. Its just dead. And we are soo unprepared.

There was a time when the home was stocked with candles. Then we graduated to a cute little solar powered emergency lamp. It charged on the sun's rays and provided us reasonably bright rays when the sun was on the other side of the earth, and well, there was no electricity supply. That didn't live too long. Some more emergency lamps came after that. But none to match that one.

But today there is nothing. No candle, no fancy lamp. We are plunged in darkness. I relive the old nights of summer when the electricity went off, leaving us helpless in the heat. If it was exam time, I squinted by the candlelight. Everyone had some independent-of-electricity thing-to-do. Come out in the open and chat with the neighbours. Read by the candle. Chat with family. Play antakshari. The UPS changed all that. I can probably still go chat with the neighbours, but their UPS is still working. :)

Now the only light I have is that of a laptop with a battery backup. But that won't take long to run out on me either. How tragic.

Oh well, I'll go read some e-books while the battery's by my side.



And I just realise I can't publish this till the electricity comes back. Modem has no battery backup. Sigh.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Happy Birthday, Me.

I turned 23 today. (Now, now, only a few more years of publicly talking about my age.)

I learnt a lot of things this past year. Things that I may have learnt the year before too, if I'd cared to pay attention. But the new wisdom stands starkly in front of my eyes because the Cosmos cared enough to show me my lesson twice.

Now I must be nice and learn. :)

For one, I think I've become more perceptive of people around. But then, I thought I was perceptive earlier too. Maybe I've learnt about the things I didn't quite do the right way. But does that mean I won't do them the same way again?

What do I wish for? Among other things,

  1. My writing to become better and of more consequence.
  2. To be more in charge of life (and not have life take charge of me) -  but unlike previous miserable attempts at doing so. :)

What am I thankful for ? Having a truly great family that is always around for me. Having some great friends.

I'm happy for a lot of things that happened over the last year. Sure, there're some things I'd do differently now that I think about it, but I'm glad life unfolded the way it did.

Here's to another year of ..

I wish I knew what. All I know is that things are changing, and life will be very different.

So well, here's to .. interesting times, as someone refers to it.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

How to Have an Argument

Step 1

Be bitter. Nothing says "argument" as well as bitterness. Feel it in your heart.

Step 2

Clam up. Statistics show that this is the best way of making the smallest differences of opinion turn into wildest, stormiest of arguments.

Step 3

Bring to the fore thy bitterness. There will be times when Argumentees will not even see that you are bitter. To let them know, you have to play around with a fine thing called Subtlety. Pass by them, show that you are pretending that you haven't noticed them. Do not acknowledge them unless they do first. If they do, smile, but make it look difficult, what with all the bitterness.

Step 4

Ride on your ego. There will come a time when the clamming up will get to you. You'll want to let Argumentee want to know why you are bitter. Give Argumentee a piece of your mind, you might say. But no. Wait till they ask you why. An infinitely long cold war is better than setting aside your ego and talking about your differences.

Step 5

Never talk in low decibels about what's bothering you. Shout, if you must. Do not even bother with calm explanations. Wait for your feelings to get the best of you, and then explode! 

Please note, there is no room for Mature, open-ended discussions, in today's world. Rather impractical, I would think. Where does it end? Next you'll say you needn't have been bitter either! Things like stepping into the other person's footwear.. Simply Preposterous. It's like there wasn't enough monotony in life already.

Twenty years later, wouldn't you rather say you lived your life interestingly ? What use is peace ? :)


Disclaimer : Above steps, although noted from the real world, must be followed at own risk. Degrees of success in argument vary from individual to individual. Escape from monotony guaranteed.

Friday, April 04, 2008

This too, shall pass.

How much meaning the above line holds today. To remind us that the one constant in the universe is change.

A little prodding around on the internet revealed to me many stories that are thought to be the origin of this phrase. The most popular of them seems to be one about King Solomon.

One day, when he was low, he asked his ministers to go look for a ring that he had seen in a dream. It made one feel happy when one was heart-broken, and sad when one was happy, he said. His ministers set out in search of such a ring and eventually one of them met an old jeweler who carved into a simple gold band the inscription, "this too shall pass."

Another version of the story says he sent one of his ministers, Benaiah, to look for such a ring, to humble him. After months of search, Benaiah, decided to take a walk in one of the poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day's wares on a shabby carpet. "Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?" asked Benaiah. He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.

This too shall pass.

I'll leave you with a poem and some songs here and here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Someone tell me.

Humans are addicted to depression. I feel we like to feel bad.

Don't people avoid addressing issues that make them uncomfortable?
Then why do we let our thoughts go back again and again to the things that upset us, or make us unhappy? Shouldn't our in-built escapist attitudes help us run away from those very thoughts? We do try, but it requires a conscious effort. The way we're wired, I'd have thought it was simpler than that.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Are you up for it?

The Indian Autorickshaw challenge.

Sounds like fun. Quoted as "The World's Most Bizarre Sport - Endurance Rickshaw Rallying 2008."

Worth a look. And worth a go for the adventurous.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bus Karo.

My Lingarajapuram days live on.

So I did the usual today. Waved at what seemed like a squintillion autos and pleaded that they take me home. (And squintillion, I learnt from Some Person on the internet, is a number so large that you have to squint to see all the zeroes it has.)

Till this guy came by.

I made my bid and waited for him to ask for a bribe to accept it. You know, 20 rupees extra, 100 rupees, one-and-a-half. Something.

He nodded. I looked at him, thinking maybe he was unable to make up his mind about what/how much to ask for. He only seemed to be signalling for me to get into the auto. The Miss you need to get in if you want that ride look. It took some time for me to register the fact that he wanted nothing more than the fare. Nothing. The sun had set, it was officially night and he demanded nothing extra.

Something had to be fishy. My find-a-ride-after-sunset algorithm had not accounted for this branch. Yet. Was my algorithm going to be proved wrong ? Would I, for the first time, reach home without paying the add-ons that came with every trip back home ?

And so Detective Yours Truly kept a watchful eye on the meter, expecting it to jump from minimum fare at some spot earlier than the usual. And whaddaya know. It didn't.

So I let my attention divert to the book that's been occupying me lately. (Yes, I read in Autos. In Jiggly, Shaky, Rickety autos. Even at night. With the light from my mobile phone. It is an experience on an altogether different level.)

The next I glanced at the meter was once I reached home. Well, it was about a 15 bucks greater than what I have been paying (or expecting to pay.) I'll give him a little allowance for the ever increasing average route length (attributed to ever increasing one-ways.)

But then came the latest auto-driver-fun-thing-to-do. Convert meter fare from the old Six rupees per km to the new Seven rupees scale. Its like the new ace up those khakhi sleeves. The new gotcha! at the end of the ride. Many of them have clearly upped the meter to the new rate, kept the minimum fare showing at 12, so they can do a double dance.

Sigh. I paid him quietly and went home.


I've been using the public transport (buses) lately. Quite convenient in that you can read without a mobile phone to assist you, buses have electric lights. But inconvenient in that you have to change buses, and it takes longer.

But the biggest plus, Cheaper! Rs.11 for a trip back home! Go for it - one of the few solutions to the city's congestion problem.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Imagination Indulge #2

Why she went away

[ It would be good to go here first ]

It was unusually silent today when I got back from work. I thought she might have guessed that I was coming back early to surprise her. It has been more than a year since we were married - many months of thinking that I had made a terrible mistake. Of marrying someone I didn't enjoy being with.

She was different from me. I liked to talk and indulge freely in conversations. She, I will conclude in retrospect, liked to think in solitude. I liked to go out, she shied away from stepping outside the house. Maybe it had to do with her upbringing, very different from the urban lifestyle that I had been grown up being exposed to, even while being in a very strictly conservative family. I don't know how to explain this. My parents were very orthodox. They looked down on the very characteristically young and urban indulgences of partying, smoking and drinking ; even just going out very often. Like many second generation Urban Immigrants, I didn't share their views, (I don't smoke, I drink ocassionally, I go out very often) but lived at peace with them. Outside of home, I was a different person, and that was that. Seemed like my marriage, arranged by my folks, was to continue my double life.

I tried to get her to open up, to talk, but it seemed like swimming against the tide. I think she only wanted to be the good wife, cook me good meals, serve me - but I wanted a companion, a friend. She didn't see that. I don't believe she understood that. Even whenever my friends came over, she was only preoccupied with preparing the dishes and serving everyone. And then standing in a corner, taciturn, playing her role of the demure housewife.

On our anniversary, I had asked her that morning if she would like to go out in the evening. She said she did not. I took it that she was not interested in celebrating the occasion. How was I to know she had plans if she wouldn't tell me about them ? I went out with my friends and celebrated anyway. What I remember of the next morning were the stifled sounds of weeping, but it was too late to say or do anything.

But I do regret that day, when that ominous phone call came. Some friend of hers had called. I'd handed over the phone to her. Her face brightened when she learnt who it was. And she transformed into someone else - someone I knew not. Enthusiastic, excited, lively. I don't know what came over me, maybe jealousy, maybe rage, maybe both. At the fact that she could be a friend to someone else, but not me.

I still regret that day. That I am only human is not an excuse. But I want to save our marriage. The person I saw on the phone that day was in some way the person I was looking for all along. But maybe it was too late. I came home early today to talk to her, or try to make her feel with me the way she does with her older friends.

But its eerily silent today. Her silence is missing.

Awfully long :) I just got very (gleefully) carried away. I was flooded with many many options on what character to give the Creep (let's call him that, for convenience). One was a filmi I'm-going-to-die stance (hey I didn't say the options made sense :D), another was the I'm-so-horrible-please-forgive-me, this is what I settled in on as the most reasonable.
Brickbats, come if you must, be kind, land softly. Bouquets.. oh, never mind :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Imagination Indulge #1

I did all that I could.

No one could tell me I didn't try. That weekend, when he invited his colleagues over, I slaved in the kitchen for days before, in preparation. I looked up recipes on the internet, followed them by the word, and created marvels, if I may say so myself. They appreciated it, I could see it on their faces, though they didn't say much to me. And that night he complained that I didn't make enough conversation with his friends. Dumb, he called me. And what about the time when Mahesh called from Bombay? I don't know what angered him so much. I had to keep the right side of my face hidden from even the maid for almost a week after that. Mahesh had only called to say he was getting married. Maybe he should have just sent across an invitation by post. But then I had called Mahesh back when it was decided that I would marry - Him. him. I remember being so excited.

And I tried. On our anniversary, I decorated the entire house, prepared my best dishes and wore my best dress. I was excited to give him all the gifts I had brought. I waited for him till 2 the next morning, when he arrived. Alcohol Odoured, Odious. Within a few minutes he passed out on the living room couch. He never knew, of my preparations, or of our anniversary.

I really did try. You had told me once. Real strength is in knowing when to give up and when to hold on. I held on. For as long as I could flap my arms and stay afloat in that drowning sea. But today, I must give up. And I know. I know I can stretch this attempt no further.

And I'm scared, Pa, of the world outside. Of what the world will say. Of what You will say. I hope you get this letter before I arrive. I do not know how to face you now that I have given up. I do not know how to say these words to you.


I acknowledge that my posts are getting increasingly dismal :) Trying to tune my imagination, and as I said here, I thrive on grief when I write ;) Allow me my indulgence while I work how I can switch to better emotions..or none at all.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Enlightenment #3: Grief is good for me.

"A dull yet persistent ache, from where I suppose the heart is," said someone. "That's how it feels."

Being sad makes me want to write. Oddly enough. More of my posts are products borne out of some amount of sadness lurking in some corner, than are not. Of course, a rare few have been penned rather gleefully, and those I can count on my fingers - of one hand only.

But it always makes me feel better. Writing therapy, you may call it. You may even write it. (Sigh.) Almost equivalent to the diary I had when younger. I still have it, two of them actually, with a little lock by the side. I treated it like a secret friend, and would revel in telling it all that happened in my life. [It even had a name, but I'm guessing that's one detail too much! ;)] And selfishly enough, as life went on, which it does, I began to turn to the little locked diary only as and when I felt sad. Pour my heart out, as it may be, and even gift it a teardrop or two. But I'd emerge feeling more lighthearted after the exercise.

This blog is what I turn to now, much to the distress of readers, which is when the periodic Vague Post gets churned out :) But thankfully I have the good sense to not confide in the world. By world, I obviously mean the small subset of the small circle of people I know that actually read this blog, and some that I know not.

Confide or not, there is something therapeutic in writing. Writing anything. And I urge you to try it.

Oh, and grief is good. Why? Because I believe it inspires me to write. And brings out parts of me that I rather like. :) That being said, inflicting grief on me may not be the best birthday gift right now :) I still would choose happiness over likeable parts'o'me. Gift me a book or somethin'. But like my friend says, 'Maybe a tear to keep you human.'

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Between Today and Tomorrow.

He woke that morning, excited, elated. He had decided to give this another try. He would celebrate the day, celebrate what he had. A loving family, something to do everyday, creativity, someone.

Today was the day. He was going to do it. He would now sacrifice without question. He would show them that they could trust him again. That he was a dependable adult, responsible in action.

The first thing he would do was tell them all the truth. Today. That would be the first and most significant step. Once he had done that, conquered that mountain of a feat, everything would fall into place. He would rest without guilt. Without a pricking conscience. Yes, he would do that. They would all understand. Mistakes are part of being human. They know that, they make 'em too.

Alright then, lets gather up the courage. Not an easy task it was. Come to think of it, he wasn't much used to speaking his heart to most people. Why was that? He reflected on his life and how he failed to speak about important things, when it was most needed. Baring one's heart should have been made a course in school. Compulsory. How to talk about what's on your mind. Of course, some of his friends would've aced the course. That pony-tailed girl in class 9. His best friend in college. He was very often rather taken aback by their unabashed sentimental honesty. What did it take, he wondered, to be like that? A little more courage, a little less shame at feeling the way one does, he reckoned.

Courage, he remembered, that he now needs, to tell Them things that they might not want to hear. Would they really understand? Maybe it will only make things worse. What one does not know, does not hurt, went the old cliched adage. But it would make things better, he had reasoned it all out. The first step to better things, he reminded himself. But then, did he really have to? Was it worth it?

Maybe I'll tell them tomorrow, came a thought. Yes, tomorrow I will. Just not today.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Enlightenment #2: I've forgotten how to have a phone conversation

Tut.. and Too Bad, someone would say.

But definitely not on the phone.

I'm suddenly nostalgic about school and college days. I'd have something exciting to discuss with a friend, and we'd talk about it for hours on the phone. We'd make hour-long conversations out of 20 second incidents, and analyse and assess events and people in and out.

At this point I'd like to digress just a little bit and tell her that I miss her and all those conversations!

In school it was the landline. Papa, especially, would be very particular about the size of the telephone bills. He could never see the point in talking for so long to a person you'd just spent the whole day with! I'd calculate exactly how many minutes of talk our quota of free calls afforded me, and imagine myself speaking for only that long. Somehow the numbers on the bill were never in sync my expectations ;) So it was that I longed to talk on the phone, on and on, at the risk of that huge bill, at the risk of my parents' anger. Landline bill: A few multiples of thousand, definitely making it into 4 digits.

College. I stayed in a hostel for a while. There was a phone there which you could use if you had a calling card. I'd buy just as many cards as my allowance could afford me so I could talk. (Just a clarification, not that these calls were the focal point of my life back then, but they are of this post, so you get the point!) I'd ask friend to call from home landline, but friend also had bill-pressures. The parents got me a mobile in some months; again, it was expensive, and I ate into my very uni-directional bank balance, a significant chunk for the calls. It was expensive even for people to call me. But no matter what, we spoke. SMS's were there, but some matters just demanded a full-blown conversation!

Fast forward to now. I can afford those calls today without guilt. I cannot complain that I have no one to talk to. But the art of talking on the phone has slipped by me somehow. :) I'm distinctly uncomfortable picking up the phone to catch up with an old friend, new friend, any friend. I'd rather send a text message that allows them to respond at their convenience and me then, at mine. Or chat with them. Phone conversations, down to zero. Landline bill today: 3 digits. Mobile bill: Just about crossing 2 digit figures and around! I send text messages, a lot many around me can vouch for that. But something about the 'real'ness of a telephonic conversation has me shying away from it. Not wanting uncomfortable silences anymore. Not knowing what to talk about.

Obviously I don't see that as a good thing. Technology has brought the world to my fingertips, and the means to bridge all gaps, only it couldn't ease me into doing so. It couldn't make me drink.


Bangalore, Anil Kumble Circle, where St.Mark's road meets MG Road.

As you wait at the 90 second long red signal, it doesn't take long for a child of about 8 or 9 to emerge at your windscreen and begin wiping at it with a dirty rag. You don't want it, you tell the kid. That doesn't bother him, he continues wiping. With that, he presents a practised expression of helplessness. He's been taught this, you can tell. Then he abandons the attempt at cleaning, almost on cue, as he sees he need to play the sympathy card next. He emotes and expresses hunger, helplessness, poverty. He's ready to jump on to the air-conditioned vehicle you are comfortably sitting in, even as it moves. It does not affect you, you have seen the trained expressions of pleas all too often, from him and his friends. You drive on, the signal has turned green.


The question that lurks in the minds of the conscientious: does giving alms encourage the act of panhandling? And If I refuse to give them a tiny part of my earning: my conscience pinches me. What if he really has no way of getting a job? I'm relatively well off and I denied a hungry man food. Something I have taken for granted every moment of my life. What if you had to think about how and where to get every next meal of your life?


The elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, the unheeded. They beg.

And then there are the able-bodied, fit enough to find work, but they don't want to do anything else. They don't want to earn their income by providing some value in return for it. Why?

There is the unwillingness to get out of the comfort zone one has slipped into, asking for alms and maybe earning even more than they might have otherwise.

Some have made a profession of begging. Some have made businesses of a moderate scale of this profession. Networks have been built to manage these businesses. Territories marked. In the midst of this, a child is exploited, a woman beaten, and robbed of what little they do earn for their abusers.


Are you okay with people earning their living this way, while you work hard for your earning? Are they not working, braving weather and the condescension of people, for measly wages, albeit providing no value for it? What about the children who work for them, the ones who should be at school, but are being taught instead to engage in emotional trickery to get alms from people? Would you give them a job if you force them away from this means of living? Would you be able to find them one? What is the solution to this?

“Charity does not mean that the land should be full of beggars. We can provide some support and means for the beggars, but provide food, clothing and other conveniences in such a way that you are not encouraging laziness and begging.”

- Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Indian spiritual leader, b.1926)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Enlightenment #1: I cannot figure out people.

Its that simple, really.
Everyone else seems to be so much better at guessing what shade of grey another person is.

Me. I've been proved wrong so many times its amazing.

.. that the trustworthy person actually cannot keep any secrets at all!
.. that this man, who always keeps his word, **newsflash** actually doesn't!
.. person with integrity (whatever that means) actually has none.
.. weird person with weird mannerism is actually nice.
.. lady who makes absolutely no sense whatsoever might actually be doing some thinking.
.. person who cannot think beyond self does mean well.
.. well meaning, simple friend has some self-centered motives after all!

Important Note.. There's no one-to-one correspondence in the above list with the people around me right now. But somewhere on this track we call life, something of the sort seems to have happened to everyone.

The Other Important Note.. is that I have now been enlightened.
1. To never trust own instincts on anyone.
2. Choose reliable friend for whom your instinct has actually turned out right. High risk involved here. This feature must have been tested thoroughly and extensively, over a long period of time.
3. Friend must also have much higher instinct hit rate than self, preferably greater than 90%.
4. Use friend's instinct, since self's are of not much use.
5. Preferably back up with another friend who matches criteria 2 and 3, if at all it is possible to find more than one.

And since I have now proclaimed this out loud.. Use your good sense and do not trust me on any one. I can give advice though, that I can. Analyse situations and tell you why someone is behaving the way they are.

But the sixth sense that I have supposedly obtained by virtue of being a woman, that cannot figure out people. No sir-ee. Nyet. Not yet, atleast.
Until then, I'll direct you to Trusted Friend. S/he's alright.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Turn Back Time

Why'd I have to watch that cricket match all day yesterday.
A few hours of study and I'd have aced this test.


I shouldn't have said that.
It was uncalled for.
Now she's hurt and there's nothing I can do about it.
If only I'd thought a moment before speaking.
I wouldn't have lost a friend.


Why didn't I appreciate her when she was with me..
If only I hadn't been so selfish.
I wouldn't miss her today.
I would cherish the times we spent together.


Why didn't I understand them while they were around?
I wish I had seen them as I do now.
If only I had stopped for a moment and looked.
I wouldn't have taken them for granted.


I should've spent more time with him.
Played when he asked me to.
Brought him the toys he wanted.
He's grown up and gone far away now.
If only I didn't think myself so busy.
I would have given him all my time.


If only she hadn't left home in a huff.
If only I'd spoken to her that morning. Not been so adamant. Then I would have driven her to the office like I always did.
She wouldn't have taken that cab.
She wouldn't have been in the way of that bus.
She'd be by my side right now.


If only I could turn back time.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Beware of what you wish for, because it might just come true.
Shooting star.
Coin in the fountain.
Cutting a cake.
Crossed fingers.

When something isn't in your hands, wave this magic wand. Wish for a miracle. Wish for the impossible.

How many times in your life have you had your hopes pinned on one wish coming true? How happy it would make you, how different things would be, oh, just that one little thing.

When I was little, long long ago, I recall chanting: I wish all my wishes come true. It was my one catch-all wish. I figured sometime someone would grant my wish. And then I'd test it too with a I wish I had an ice cream cone in my hand right now!

Ah, childhood.

But then again.

Are my current secret wishes as ridiculously impossible as they were back then? What's the difference between them and that magically appearing ice cream cone? Aren't they just as much of a fantasy? Maybe that's the difference between then and now. The word 'impossible' is now debatable. The thin squiggly line between aiming high and hoping for the impossible is blurring out.

And even dashed hopes are nothing that the spirit that's hard to break can't take care of.
IF... I don't get my ice cream, that is. :)