Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hot/ Cold

After much experimenting, I have come to the conclusion that a freezing cold water shower has the same effect on a homo sapien as a boiling hot water shower.

A shower, after all, is just a shower.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My quotable quote

I wish I had either a purpose in life or had no purpose in life. We all live too long for our own good 'cause we're either looking for a purpose or running away from a purpose.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Never do these

Bunch of things you should never do:

One - Have your pet watch Tom and Jerry with you. My dog decided it was absolutely ok to run straight into a wall after. He ended up hitting his nose against the wall pretty hard, and I am very glad that it did not change shape!
Two - Let your cat even LOOK at the newspaper when its open to the comic strip page. He WILL idolise and begin to think of himself as Garfield. And he will think it's ok to kick your dog off the table (wait a minute, how did your dog even get there?) and smack a spider dead just when you're about to put your food into your mouth.
Three - Forget to water your plants, and use the manure that has chemicals that will make it realise it wants to eat you.
Four - Forget to feed your fish. They will die.
Five - Take your pet snake with you to school/college/work, it might decide to eat your classmate/colleague's pet mouse.
Six - Introduce your cat to your fish, dog to your cat, snake to your mouse, frog to your moth, monkey to your banana shrub, garden to your rabbit, or worst - partner to all your pets.

The end of the world

India will know the end of the world is near when (no, not when they place a ball on the floor and it does not roll because of the death of the magnetic field, but when -)

~Sachin Tendulkar retires
~Amitabh Bachan stops appearing in any and every ad
~Ash is no longer beautiful
~A.R.Rahman cannot think of a variation tune for Airtel
~Lata and Asha stop being playback singers
~Shah Rukh Khan is no longer entertaining
~We win a formula one race
~When people in India realise that we won an F1 race (refer point above) 'cause they took their eyes off the cricket match

It'll mean the end of the world for us Indians, that's for sure!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Some things I wonder

Can stuffing a sock into someone's mouth to stop them snoring kill them?
How do you oil a dumb person's brains? 'Cause I think that might actually help.
Is there any calculation or theory I can count on wherein I whack a glass top table with a hockey stick and it doesn't shatter?
Can you fart mid intercourse?
Why DO birds wake up so early?
Will auto guys ever not argue for more money?
How do you make a pair of shoes that you can wear the left shoe on the right foot and vice versa? Maybe I need to have a serious conversation with the guy who made my mojris.
Why don't women's shoes come in size 8-9 easily? Or women's jeans in waist size twenty? Not like I need THOSE anymore, but when I did, shopping was even more torturous than it is now. Yeah, not all woman love shopping, some hate it.
How do I find myself a pair of shades that don't make me look blind or like a fly with compound eyes?
When will the sky fall on our heads?
Why can't stars just be shiny dots on a jet black curtain over your head throughout your life? What if they're not actually giant balls of gas millions of miles away? Everyone believes that just like they all believed that the earth was flat long ago. No, don't tell me things like - but now we have technology to tell us this this that. Have you gone to a star and seen it for yourself? The sun is the sun and not a star, plus you haven't been to it anyway. Fine, I believe that the moon's not made of cheese anymore, but see? It's gotta be concrete evidence like that. And no, I'm not 9 years old, but I can still ask those questions that I had then, they were superb questions. :P
Why don't trees walk around? I mean, show those vegetarians that its not different that they kill and eat things too, in fact sometimes they eat them without killing and cooking! It's all about being on the top of the food chain. We're omnivours. So don't preach to me that I should kill only plants and not animals. My being an animal lover has no connection. Will you sue a tiger 'cause he ate a deer? Or wait, another omnivoure - a bear for eating a fish?
Anyway, moving on, why does your funny bone produce a feeling much like an electric shock if you bang it to something rather than just hurting like the other, normal parts of your body?

These are all rhetoric... don't answer them. I take freedom of expression seriously - say the stupidest things! ;)

Mosquitos

Mosquitos. I wonder if they ask themselves existentialist questions, ever. I'm curious to know if they know or wonder why they're born, what purpose they serve, etc. I should learn the language of the useless creatures and find out if they have any answer that makes any sense at all. I always ask - why do mosquitos exist? They're creatures that are better off extinct, but no! They've been alive since the dinosaurs were born. I'm just glad they're not as big still. Maybe they derive sadistic pleasure out of buzzing into our ears when we're fast asleep at night. Wait, some of you sleep next to people who snore, so maybe it doesn't make any difference to you when these insects decide - ho, lets go wake these stupid huge things that can't fly. They can't fly after us! What them blood sucking idiots don't realise is, we're bigger than they are, and we have two hands and we know how to perform the clapping action. Also, someone smart invented mosquito repellent. (Who was it? My GK sucks, so sue me!) So. Back to the most important question, especially when there's a power failure - why do mosquitos exist???

Funny?

So, I've decided I wanna write funny. Not funny like - hallo vat is ur name, whr ur frm? or funny like holding a pen in my toes and writing or writing each word in an entirely different language like - vous ist bahut tumba beautiful, but hey, thats actually pretty funny. I mean, writing funny rather than sad. At least, give it a shot. There needs to be more smiles to go around. And I've only written morbid and depressing stuff until now, so may as well. I'll laugh, whether or not anyone else thinks I'm a riot! And also, its harder to write funny. Dude, Douglas Adams, Ogden Nash and that lot completely rock! :) Also, writing at four in the morning with your eyes itching when you've just woken up because these ideas were in your head and you simply had to write them down when you were on this roll 'cause they'd not be in your head anymore when you woke up the next morning is quite helpful. Oh, and the birds just woke up. I should sleep. I'm hungry. Ah well, maybe I should wait till 8 in the morning. I have work to go to, gasp! Should try not to fall asleep at my desk because I was trying to be funny in the middle of my sleep cycle. Ok then, goodnight! (good morning?)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I miss you fools

I know you all miss me reading out what I wrote as we sat around the steel tables at Udupi with chai that the guy had already poured into the cup 'cause he knew we were going to ask for it :P and masala papads and roti curries and idlis and talking about what one teacher had said that day or how another had put us to sleep and we took pictures of Langdi sleeping while her hand was still writing, showing everyone the mental pictures Cherry and Fire hair had taken in class and laughing and Nutty getting annoyed at the cigarette smoke, and Silky trying to hide it from the lecturers who came to Udupi also and Discoshanti wanting to go buy Rocksters for 100 bucks from that chappal shop and Adidas being on the phone all the time or talking about how the bitches in our class wanted to make us tear our hair out rather than work on the documentary and Cherry being diplomatic through it all. :)

Yes, this is why I miss you all.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Windows

A picture taken from many windows away. Framed, within the borders of the window, curtains silent. Tilted head and relaxed frame, a faraway look in the eyes. Hair split over shoulders carelessly, half smile frozen. A picture taken from many windows away.
Are reasons enough to justify actions that, had you a conscience, you would feel bad about?

Everything is fine in moderation. Its when it becomes an addiction that it gets dangerous.

I sat sipping my whiskey as I watched them. Through the clouds in their heads they were slowly powdering it fine, rolling, sealing, lighting and putting to their lips. Each time they sucked hard on it, closed their eyes, and passed it on.
He with the light brown hair did the same thing, but when he opened his eyes, he was smiling, claiming it had not affected him at all. They continued passing, sipping their drinks between joints.
And then suddenly, he with the light brown hair sat back, head leaning backwards, with eyes closed. Breathing. Then, the rancid smell of vomit filled the air. He stayed in exactly the same position. Some of the others got up and started to try and shake him into wakefulness. The others watched. He with the light brown hair began to choke. To choke on his own vomit.

He nearly died that night.

And yet, he tries to mock death in its face every day. It was as if that close call had filled him with a new curiosity - perhaps a curiosity that would be quenched only when he looked death in the face and death did not look away.
He with the light brown hair. As he pulled himself closer and closer towards the edge, he seemed to be getting more fanatic pleasure out of the small little lit roll of paper. He couldn't do without it.

I remember talking to a few of my friends. Its not wrong to try something out, is what I say. But don't let it consume you. I've tried it too, a joint. And not just once, about three or four times. But never have I wanted it purely because of how it made me feel. Never did I crave something just so I could feel how it wanted me to, or just so I could escape. I've had my phases where I tried smoking for what you would call a relatively long period of time. Four to six months is a relatively long period of time. But none of that, I found, was worth any more time. I chose my way of life, and I like it just the way it is. I've tried. I can tell you how it works. I can tel you how it feels. And I can also tell you that its not worth it.

Tricks

You would think time was playing tricks on you. One day you're new to something, and the next day you're discovering a grey hair on your head. One minute you're making life changing decisions, and the next, you're contemplating every decision you've ever made in your life.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

In the middle of the road

We were headed to dinner. The restaurant was on the opposite side of the road. The divider was low on our side of the road, and high on the opposite side of the road; a four feet jump from the divider onto the road. We crossed the road on our side, where the divider was one step above the ground. But when we got to the middle, there were too many vehicles coming from the opposite side. The distance between the ground and the road was too great for us to jump an run across the road fast enough to avoid being run over. So we decided to just sit there in the middle of the road, in the grass growing on the divider, and wait for the traffic to pass. There we sat, for fifteen minutes, with the lights blurred on either side of us, cross-legged, laughing for no particular reason. When the traffic died away, we jumped off and crossed the road, laughing all the way up to the restaurant. It would have made a superb photograph, had someone captured us in an aerial view.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hampi

I knew as soon as I entered the place. I am a village girl at heart. The wonderful smell of fresh cowdung, covering the floors outside every house, like a rough carpet, cool to the soles of the feet. People whose language I knew as my own. Bullock carts on narrow roads. Trees.

Where we stayed, the back was just fields, and you had to pass the buffaloes to get to the edge of the fields. I spoke to the buffaloes. They seemed happy. Five of them, two being calves.

I went past the haystack and found myself a comfortable spot on a rock just beneath a lean tree. And I sat there, my eyes closed, facing the green that was unlike any other green I had seen before. I shut my eyes and sat, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, hearing the sounds of the birds that the wind gently brought to my ears. My skin felt like it was glowing. It was the best time I have spent with myself.

We went to the ruins. The old temples, the old buildings. Took countless pictures. But despite all the laughter that was floating around the group, I felt separate from the rest. The old buildings drew me to them, beckoning. See what so many in the past have seen, they said. The stones, rough to my touch. I could feel how intricate the carvings were beneath my light fingertips.
I could imagine, how centuries ago, people would have sat, laughed, touched, and built these. In my mind, the picture transformed, and I saw how they would have been when they were the present, when they knew the people who had built them, in their days of glory, when people were not coming to look at them, but lived them. I could have spent hours, just looking, just touching, just smelling, just imagining. I could have lived those lives, I thought. I wish I had lived those buildings in all their grandeur. I wish their beauty was a part of me, and I was a part of their time. All I can do now is imagine and marvel. I could spend hours, no days, just being there, with the knowledge that this piece of stone has seen so many like me, seen so many lifetimes flit past... so many, that the decades and centuries may have been only seconds.

I cannot begin to describe just how relaxing the trip was. I did not want to leave. I wanted to live in the fields, watching the sunrise, drinking in the fresh air, smelling the cowdung and hearing the birds be their carefree selves. I want to really live where there is life, both old and new. The combination of the fresh and young with the wise and crumbling. Hampi is beautiful.

Coorg

I love hearing the leaves crunch under my feet. And the birds and the crickets. And the shying away of the touch-me-not when I gently run my toes over them.

Look there. Look how the sun is changing the green colour of the hills. Atop the hill, 360 steps above the temple. Windmills border the scene, in wave pattern of the hills. A stretch of various shades of green - a brown road down there, tree tops like sponges dipped in green dye. Uneven terrain, touching the cloudy sky. A drop falls. A rooftop or two trying desperately to be visible among the lush greenery. Its like a painting. Dark on one side and light on the other. Shades of green.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fade Away

He's talking to me from across the table. I can hear his voice, see his hands move describingly as he speaks, and I nod to make sure he knows I'm listening.
And slowly, his voice gets softer and softer and softer. I can still see his hands moving, his mouth opening and changing shapes as he intonates, his eyes pointing in my direction. I hear a buzzing sound coming from the back of my head. My vision blurs, and he turns into fragments of floating colour. And as I strain my eyes to focus on him again, I see instead, the face of that boy I loved. I hear his voice. The buzzing is louder, enough to block the other guy, but through it I can still hear him.

Fade away honey. I'm trying to listen to somebody else.

I'm dancing because I love to. My favourite song is playing. I can feel his breath on the back of my neck...
But I'm dancing alone.

Fade away honey. We've had our last dance.

I lie on my side, alone, trying hard to sleep. I cannot, I cannot. I feel the weight of his hand around my waist, fingers loosely entwined in mine. I can feel his lips grazing the back of my neck.

Fade away honey. I need to be able to sleep.

The breeze caresses my face, as we sit, drenched, soon after the rain. I can feel his hand on my lap, wet and heavy. The tea we're sipping slips, warm, down our throats. We remember the ice, and smile. I'm sitting by myself.

Fade away honey. I need to enjoy the rain and tea alone.

I walk on the dark street, my hands deep in my jacket pocket, listening to the sound of my shoes on the ground, watching the road disappear from beneath. It drizzles. I look up and smile at the wind. And the drops fall lightly, clearing up my mind with the smell of the rain. I walk, away from how I was, away from how you were. I walk towards a new beginning. I walk towards bliss.

Fade away honey. 'Cause I need you no more.

First Times

~ I saw a woman in a saree in the road, late at night, smoking a cigarette secretly!

~ Cute guy in the bus whose name I found out.

~ Karaoke in a public setting.

~ Partied all night while pub and restaurant hopping.

~ Slow danced with a boy

~ Had a B-52 and Kamikaze

~ Went para sailing

~ A proper Goa vacation on my money, without family.

Passion

I've been playing basketball since I was in the 7th grade. It's been nearly a decade since I was first introduced to the sport. And it would take more than words to explain how much I love the game. To be able to feel your blood pumping up and down your entire body, throbbing with adrenalin, and being able to feel the trace of a drop of sweat down the side of your face. And during a game, being able to hear the wind and the cheers rushing past your hot ears. How the wind hitting your face feels cool against the high temperature of your body. Feeling the heat almost vaporise and form a blanket around you when you stop, trying to breathe.

I can vouch for the fact that one of the best things invented by man is a team sport. Besides keeping you fit, it teaches you how to handle yourself in a team, it teaches you how to handle yourself in a team, it teaches you discipline, it teaches you how to be a gracious loser. In those forty minutes on the court, you can almost see a summary of life. You feel thrilled, pumped and happy, at the same time tense and worried, and at once powerful and confident. Looking at your opponent, your senses are tuned and your ears perked in anticipation of the next move that he/she might make. You judge a person's body language and make calculations using your spatial ability almost instantly. And when you're going for the shot knowing that you're going to convert, you're lifted by a confidence that you can't feel any other way, and as you take those last two steps to the jump and the shot, time slows down, and you can't see or hear anything else. And then you land to roars and shouts because the ball went through the ring in one beautiful swish.

Prayer of Pain

I can hear it, screaming, the voice. Praying, over a loudspeaker. I learnt what he put himself through that day. Physical pain. The voices are coming from every direction, haunting. The voices are mourning. It's a little disturbing. I... my heart goes out to him, but I can't say anything. It would be the worst thing... it would be too offensive. The voices gave me goosebumps.

And then I heard a beautiful voice... Josh Groban's voice and it soothed my mind... His deep voice, and his fingers on the piano. It was relaxing. And I want to be on Abbey Road.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Above this

So... Above this, I have decided to come out of my shell and put up slightly personal stuff (of course, again much sifted through stuff). If you get who, what, where and when, you get... and if you don't... keep guessing 'cause I ain't tellin' ;)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Team Sports

Basketball. The game that I am so very passionate about. Not only because it is a great sport, but also because it helps me keep fit, and is a great stress buster, but most importantly, because it is a team sport.

Being part of a team and playing basketball for nine years of my life has defined a large part of who I am today. Not because of the wins or the losses only, but because I had to be a team player.

There are many things I learnt, being on a basketball team. One of them was discipline. Discipline to be punctual, discipline to concentrate on the ultimate goal – to convert a shot. Discipline also goes hand-in-hand with dedication and diplomacy. You can become the perfect team player if you’re a person who is disciplined, dedicated and diplomatic.

There have been innumerable instances when I’ve been in teams where there were people I didn’t get along well with. There have been the occasional times when I’ve lost my temper, when I’ve made mistakes, when I’ve made a bad judgment, and my teammates have had to cover for me. There have also been times when my teammates have made mistakes, and I’ve had to watch their backs. This comes with coordination and understanding, and also anticipation skills. It is in these situations that one has to learn how to be diplomatic because what you say can motivate or de-motivate a person instantly, which is reflected in the game.

A team game is all about masking the loopholes to display perfection. Nobody is perfect, and everybody has their differences. The most important and valuable quality that a team sport builds into your personality is the ability to coalesce and move as one, to see how someone on your team will benefit because of something that you do, which helps your team score.

Being a single unit is the challenge, and that is where your chance to prove just how great a team player you are is presented to you. Playing a team sport is almost like leading your life in those forty minutes on court.

A team sport makes one a team player, and prepares one for life. Without having had the opportunity to play a team sport, my life would definitely have been very incomplete.

Lengthening Human Life

One of man’s most fruitful ventures has been to lengthen human life. With the amount of research that’s being done in the medical and scientific fields, it probably won’t be too long before human beings become invincible.

Over time, medicines have helped people overcome deathly illnesses, and also, to a large extent, man has managed to fool nature’s rule of survival of the fittest and has escaped mass epidemics unscathed. The only things that seem to be stopping him are natural disasters and the natural life age limit.

Even though a longer life may seem like a boon, it probably would not be so. For one, you would keep growing older and not younger, and even if you were permanently young and invincible, you would get bored of it. And, there would no longer be a constant cycle to life, because, to keep the population under control, people will probably be born without reproductory organs so as to keep the same people living comfortably in their own space. And lack of variety definitely gets monotonous.

Also, with the current state of the planet, it would probably be a better option to die early rather than love a longer life and watch the world deteriorate. Because the deterioration is not even gradual anymore, anyone would agree. The world is changing at a really rapid pace – global warming, increase in natural disasters, and so forth. They are all only signs, minor trailers of what’s in store for us within the next two decades.

Thus, as brilliant an idea as it might seem, and as many opportunities as it may provide, lengthening human life is not the best idea, and that is my personal opinion.

Introvert or Extrovert

Back in college, one of my core subjects was psychology. We had many tests to determine various aspects of our personality, and one of them was to decide if you were an introvert or an extrovert. My results proved me to be a healthy extrovert.

An extrovert is a person who is characterized by extroversion; a person concerned primarily with the physical and social environment or an outgoing, gregarious person according to the dictionary.
On the other hand, an introvert is a person who is a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings, or a shy person; according to the dictionary.

I know introverts, even though I am an extrovert. It’s good to be able to see both sides of the coin. I am happy being an extrovert, although in some ways, I am an introvert too. Foe example, I don’t open emotionally very easily with people, and with most people, I need time to get comfortable.

In fact introvert and extrovert are two extremes. Everybody (nearly) can be classified as an ambivert, which is a balance of both. That, of course, explains why an extrovert is an introvert in some ways, and vice versa. We all need to find that perfect balance that suits us in life. As long as we’re happy with who we are, it doesn’t make a difference if we’re introverts or extroverts.

Experiencing Another Culture

If I was American instead of Indian, would I be the same person? If I were Spanish, what would my name be? If I were French, would I covet Paris?

Being Indian, I have had the privilege of being able to experience the variations within the Indian culture. Fortunately, I have also had the opportunity to make some friends who are not Indian, and are from various parts of the world; there’s my Canadian friend, my German friends, my ½ Iranian friend, my Singaporean friend, my French friends and my British friends. This does not include Indians who’re living outside India or were born and brought up outside Indian territory.

I am very intrigued by people who are from different cultures, different backgrounds, and with completely different views on life. It’s so interesting to learn about the differences between their lifestyle and my lifestyle. I like to learn about them with am open mine, objectively, because what they believe in and who they are because of it, makes them so different from me.

I love finding out what they think, how they feel experiencing a different culture – the diverse Indian culture at that. What do they think of the people, the food, the traffic? Wouldn’t it be the most amazing thing to be able to read the thoughts of people who step into your country for the first time – Awe? Disgust? Amazement? Amusement?

Unfortunately for me, I have not visited any other place other than Singapore that’s outside of India. I would love to travel, to experience different cultures, interact with people in their own land of comfort. With my limited perception of what people who come to India think of India, I can’t draw any conclusions of what people envision India as. Do all Pakistanis hate India? Do Sri Lankan people think of us as similar to them? Do people of Saudi Arabia think we’re backward? Do people of China think we’re an overpopulated country? Do Africans think we’re racist?

In fact, the question many times is even – do people think India is still largely a village or filled with jungles and people riding elephants; a land of snake charmers every few feet? We all have our own perceptions of every country based on what we learn and how much we get to see of it.

What is most important though, is to enjoy it all to the best of your ability; being open minded and respectful when experiencing another culture.

An important person

Each and every one of us is an important person – important to somebody or the other, in some way or the other, for a specific period of time.

You are an important person because you are somebody’s parent, teacher, daughter, nephew, cousin or friend. You are important to all these people, and also perhaps to your dog. But what is most fascinating is that you’re an important part of the threads that connect people. After a point of time, you understand that you are impacting someone’s life even without knowing it. Because one person you know might, through a long chain of people who are not connected to you at all, know your best friend. And it is a small world, and what goes around does come around.

My personal belief is, that at some point or the other, you will realize the impact you have had on something, and maybe without knowing it, how important you were to someone, or in a particular situation. It’s not “written” in a book that ‘at this and this time, you will meet this person on whom you will have such and such impact’. Rather, it is determined by the choices you make in life, and the paths you choose to take. It is determined by how you do things, who you know, how you know them and how long you’ve known them. This is something I have almost come upon by chance, by living life, falling, learning; and it’s not ‘philosophy’. Either way, the most important thing to remember, is that you are an important person.

An Important Event

Is a wedding an important event? For most people, it is. In fact, it is for almost everyone. People plan their weddings years before they have even found somebody to get married to. Many people can even picture their wedding in their heads – they have a vague idea of what kind of wedding they want to have, and what kind of man or woman they want to be with for the rest of their lives.

Birth of a child (especially a first child) is an important event for everybody too, and an occasion you cherish. I have had many important days, like getting my first job, or my first day of college and so on.

But for me, one of the most important and memorable days of my life would be, the day my sister was born. The entire time during which my mother was pregnant, when I kept changing my mind about whether I wanted a younger brother or sister, right until the day I first saw my little sister at the hospital was the most important event of my life. Seeing her there, plump and asleep, with fingers, toes, and fingernails oh-so-tiny and delicate, brought me a kind of happiness I had never known before.

Everyone has had or will have an important event that they will cherish, no matter what. To me, the birth of my sister (and all the time I spent with her from then on) was one of the most important events of my life.

An Environmentalist

Global warming is becoming a growing concern. There are unpredictable natural disasters everywhere. Today, something you do without thinking in your house could be one of the causes for a hurricane in Oman. Not shutting a tap properly can cause a flood where you are, but can deprive another place if water for survival. There are few people who think about things they do before doing them, with the health of the earth in mind.

An environmentalist is not necessarily a person who goes all over the country with a backpack, cleaning, putting up fliers and preaching. An environmentalist is merely a person who is aware of the fact that the little things we do without thinking adversely affect the planet.

I, as an environmentalist, do a few things such as not littering, shutting running taps wherever I go, I advice people not to litter, I get my vehicles emission tested… little things like this that may not seem like they make much difference, but if you do put all the small things together, they do. Like they say, and ocean is made of millions of tiny droplets of water.

All we need to do is be a little conscious of what we can do to make the world a better place, to use a cliché. After all, when you think about it, what little things we each do does add up, and we all make a difference sometimes even without realizing it. You see, being an environmentalist is not difficult at all.

A Successful Person

What defines a successful person? The clothes he wears? The money he has? The company he keeps? I think the above do play a role in measuring the success a person has had, but these do not necessarily define success. To me, success is happiness. If I am happy doing whatever it is I am doing, then I’m bound to have become happy and grown to like it more because it made me feel successful. When you achieve your dreams, you are successful. Even if, through the journey of life, your dreams kept changing, and you went ahead to achieve them, you have been successful. Success is determined by growth. And reaching a point where you claim to be successful does not mean you stop growing. In fact, success is incessant growth. Because once you are stagnant, you stop being happy, and if you are not happy, then you can’t possibly be successful.

It may sound like a very ideal and almost clich√© thing to say, but when you think of all the people who are actually successful, it may not be because they are the richest people in the world. A tea stall boy in India is successful if he passes his twelfth grade with flying colors. That’s what success is all about.

People may not look at me and, especially because I’m young, say that I am successful. But I think I have been, because I managed to sketch out some dreams for myself, and I have grown closer to achieving them. Yet, there is room for growth. And I am happy. I am a successful person.

A change in Attitude

For five years of my college life, I had worked hard only before the exams began, and otherwise I was just fooling around, making friends, relaxing, enjoying life, and basically taking it easy. I never had to be serious about anything, really. And the fact that the lifestyle I was leading never caused anybody any problems, and in fact, worked great for me, I grew extremely comfortable in it, and I changed, my attitude evolved to suit it.

And then, I finished college and started working. First, for a small documentary film making company, and then for Google. In my time at the documentary firm, I never felt the need to behave any differently from how I had been in college, and I can’t say I did great work, but I did a good amount of good work. But three months later, when I shifted to Google, I realized that when Google said “You can be serious without a suit”, it meant – bottom-line – be serious.

It took me a while before I understood that another change in attitude was in order. During this time, my performance varied. It rose and fell, creating peaks on my graph, indicating that I was capable of good work, but I was lazy too. It was time for me to adapt to the work culture and get serious. I could not afford to lead a life of not caring any longer. My attitude to life has been changing slowly. And it’s definitely a good thing!

Women in Military Combat

When I was young, I wanted to join the air force; be a combat pilot. Just imagining myself in the air in one of those beautiful fighter planes used to give me an inexplicable thrill.

Until one day, I found out that (in India) women are not allowed to fly combat planes. The reasons given were – “The plane is suited for the physique of a man, and besides, women are biologically not in a position to handle that kind of pressure, even more so when they are going through their period cycle.

Although I am no feminist, I fail to see the logic in that reasoning. Life does not stop for women in every other respect when they go through their cycles. In fact, they’re expected to carry on as they generally would. What makes flying combat planes so different?

Besides, more than anything else, it’s a matter of choice. Man or woman, combat fighting should not be forced. It is very honorable to be in the military, and a matter of pride to have fought for your country. If it is forced on anybody, it is plain painful. Whether the participants in military combat are male or female, the bottom line is that they must at least have the choice.

Women in military combat may not be commonplace, but there are more and more women who’re physically and mentally strong, and are eager to prove that they can be just as aggressive as anyone on the battlefield. And also, it requires a lot more character and courage for a woman who has been suppressed for so many years to take a step as great as this one, and yet, hold her ground.

Violence in Movies

The amount of violence shown in movies is almost directly proportional to the violence in real life. And many movies are true stories, showing real life violence on reel. Whether or not violence shown in movies has caused an increase in the amount of violence in real life is debatable, but one thing is for sure – they are related.

Over the years, the amount of violence we see in the movies has increased. Commercial films never showed violent and gory scenes in as much detail fifteen years ago, as they do now. This has probably been the reason for people getting desensitized to violence. People can tolerate watching more blood spill, more people injured, tortured or killed nowadays. This is not to say that there weren’t movies about violence made; there were. For example, ‘Life is Beautiful’, which is a film about the Holocaust, possibly one of the most violent events in history, but the audience does not see and bloodshed. But, if I were to take an example of another movie in today’s age that was about something violent, an example would be ‘Blood Diamond’. Of course, there are movies even today, that have disguised violence, but they are few.

These days, there aren’t too many movies that are “too violent” to watch, because repeated exposure to violent movies, and to violence in life itself has increased the peoples’ threshold for tolerance of violence by degrees. There is probably no way of stopping this vicious circle of violence in movies connecting with violence in real life, but it should not become the cause for us being absolutely nonchalant about somebody who’s badly hurt and needs help.

Time

Time is relative. It flies by when we are at the peak of our happiness, and it crawls by, painfully slow when we’re having a bad day. If I were to build a time machine considering this dynamism of time, rather than by using the standard ticking of the hands of the clock, then I would make sure to elongate the ‘good times’ because they get over too quickly.

Wise people say that time heals everything. Thus, our experiences in measurable time, especially the bad ones, are gradually tucked away in the back of the mind, only to be brought forth to relish moments of nostalgia.

Yet, time fools memory. Some of my best moments in life I have almost forgotten. There are impressions life still pictures and videos in my mind that I have to make an effort to remember. Things begin to overlap. One set of memories flows into another and also joined by things that are imaginary. And with all the swirling pictures and episodes, a lot of things become difficult to remember correctly. Sometimes you even surprise yourself because you could remember, in all its detail, an incident that occurred more than a decade ago accurately even though you can’t, for the life of you, remember where you kept that pen you were writing with fifteen minutes ago.

At the same time, you understand yourself better with time, and the ‘good times’ you had can be your best companion.

Man has been trying, almost forever, to capture time, control it. But the closest any of us would possibly come to doing that is, capture the memories in our heads and play them back and forth and jumble up time.

Television

I have grown with the television. It first came to India around the time that I was born, so I have even lived in a house where there was no TV, though after a point the TV became something everybody had, so imagining a house without a TV is so hard.

I have seen the TV grow from a huge bulky box with antennae to the sleek, awesome LCD screens of today. I have seen the TV grow from DD1 and DD2 to 500 TV channels on Satellite Network Television. I have seen in grow. I have seen it grow from ‘button on the telly’ operate to remote control. It has metamorphosed from the tiny box to the Home Theatre System.

And we too have grown along with the television; grown from that crazy phase of addiction to ‘the idiot box’ (remember Roald Dahl’s poem ‘On Television’ from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and how everybody loved it because it told the story of the television in every household at that point?) to the ‘Aah, so who feels like channel surfing today?’. The TV has become so common that it is merely another piece of furniture, a common must-have article in the house. In fact, it will soon probably become a fashion not to have a television set at home!

Also, people are too ga-ga over the computer now for the television to hold their interest any longer. Although, one must admit, that however old the television gets, it is one of the ‘coolest’ inventions of mankind!

Regret

Regret is pointless. Regrets only exist because we look back and think about how we could have done something differently. Why I say regrets are pointless is because unlike the greatest tool in a computer, CTRL + Z, there is no undoing what is done in life. And constantly looking back at something and contemplating about how you could have done this or that better, or you shouldn’t have done that won’t get you anywhere. In fact, those moments spent dwelling over the past may have been more useful than you thought, and you might later regret letting them slip by.

I don’t think I have any regrets, because I’m moving ahead in life. People who are filled with regrets, more often than not, stagnate at one point of their lives. To overcome regret, a lot of motivation is needed, but what we don’t realize is that regret is eating into our motivation and also our self esteem – questioning ourselves before doing something, wondering whether by doing it like this instead of like that, might make us regret it later.

Living without regrets is not impossible. You prevent yourself from moving forward when you live without forgiving yourself. As is the well known quote – ‘let bygones be bygones’ because nobody is going to gain from anything by holding back in anticipation of regret. There are obviously many things you did in your life that you’re not entirely proud of. Rather than crying over spilt milk, gather yourself and realize that at least you learnt something from whatever it was you had done. Many times we can’t even anticipate that we might do something that we will later regret. But that is just a part of life that you can’t be complete without.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Advertising

When he was born, he wanted the latest diapers and baby powder. His parents would get him everything he wanted, and he made a fuss by crying incessantly if it wasn’t the brand he wanted. Only Huggies diapers and Johnson&Johnson’s bath products!! Nothing else would do!!!
He had heard them in his cosy slumber in her womb. He knew his parents were expecting him, and were doing everything to give him all the comforts he needed. Watching recorded tapes, increasing the volume of the telly when there was anything baby-related, and the most effective – other mothers talking. It was as if he knew exactly what he was cut out for, and coming out of the womb would be no shock… Nah, piece of cake!

“When Ashmu was born I only used huggies! They absorb so well!!”

“I personally thought Pampers diapers were best!”

“I used just cloth diapers for my children. Cuts down on costs! I put them in diapers only when we were going out”

“WHAT?!?!?”

(Whispers everywhere – “How cheap! She wants to save money even when it comes to her baby! What a miser!”)

He had already decided in there (there was nothing else to do in there anyway except kick his mother once in a while – he didn’t do it too often not realising that it was the only chance he would get to do that and be considered a miracle, he might’ve done it more often otherwise!) how he was going to look when he grew up – what toys he’d have, what clothes he’d have… it had to be LEGO and HOT WHEELS CARS and Weekender Kids clothing. He wouldn’t mind Dolphin either.
There he sat now, plump little kid, not even able to talk yet, but getting exactly what he wanted.
When they went out in the car, he’d keep his eyes peeled, revetted to the billboards along the sides of the road, planning on what out of that he wanted to have, to wear or to be.

Darn, I wish I had watched/listened to/looked at a lot more advertisements as a child. I would definitely not have had a career-planning crisis like I did! (This was until I finally realised that hey - my career simply had to be in the advertising business, it was taking over everyone’s lives and thought processes… perhaps even before they were born!!!)

Essence

This is such a blank feeling. When you really want to write, but you can’t. There are so many different thoughts and emotions in my head right now, all whirling around, overlapping, mixing, colliding, contorting, screaming. Music is my soul.
Today, I thought of all the things I am passionate about. Music tops the list, then there’s writing and dancing and playing sports – I enjoy basketball in particular. As I read somewhere, dance is music made visible. A sport is dancing to the music of your heartbeat and to the throb of that adrenalin rush. It’s that numb feeling before kickoff, it’s the peak when the sweat is dripping and the blood is pumping. It is the muffled sound of the cheers that make their way to your ears across the niosy wind of your speed. It is the last lap of tired muscles, and it is the sweet pain of a groaning body. It is the breathlessness of the same sort as the drumbeat or the chord struck on the guitar and the final pose, held for ten seconds before the bow.
It is the flow of words, dripping of music, blinking of a step and jump and heartbeat of a shot. There are so many parts of me, but they are all one. I am many, but I am one. It is one heart that beats to the beat of the drum, at the same pace as breathless running, fluid expression and my ink stained fingers.
It is the love I have for my dog, my family and my friends. It is the tightness in my chest of the wounds of somebody else. It is the cynical me turning soft. The sadistic me turning pale with worry. It is the unbeaten me turning white with fear. It is spinning colours, muffled heartbeats, throbbing brain cells, aching fingers, burning muscles, hypnotic state. It is all me. I am one, but I am many.
How can I describe the thing I have become, changed into; and at the same time contain who I was, peeking now and then and getting fresh air today and the day after tomorrow? I live with not just me, but me as well. And with me. I am many, but I am one.
My eyes are seeing, my skin is feeling, my ears are hearing, my nose is smelling. I am breathing and I am holding my breath. I am dead but I am alive, I love life and I want to die, I am stone, but I cry, I am peaceful and I am violent, I am high and I am sober, I am open and reserved, I am walled up and talkitive, I am friendly and I don’t care, I eat, I starve, I am born and I am gone.
I am modern and I am traditional, I am in control and out of focus, I love me and I hate me, I am confident and fearful, I am the hunter and the prey, I capture and I lose, I fight and I am the peacemaker, I have values and I’m flexible, I am rigid but I’m graceful, I am man and I’m woman, I am star, I am dust, I am tech savvy, I hate technology at its levels of advancement, I admire the ship and the plane, I don’t want to build them, I can fly and I’m like an Ostrich, I am loving and my words sting, I am fair and I strike when I’m hurt, I am docile and dangerous, I am hot and I’m frozen, I admire and I envy, I like who I am and I want to be somebody else, I am multitalented and I’m useless, I am heavy and I’m silly, I am progressive and backward, I am insane and sane, I am thirsty and I share, I am energetic and lazy, I am loved and I’m alone, I’m awake and I’m asleep, I am thinking but I’m blank, I’m a seductress and I’m shy, I can stand alone, and I want those arms around me, I am passionate, and I’m plain.
I am angry and forgiving, I am loud, and silenced, I am assertive and I succumb, I am this and I am that. I am powerful and I am weak.
I am one, but I am many.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Mystery

The threads of connection. How closely connected are you to everybody around you? You might think you understand somebody, but actually, you don't. Can you know somebody well without understanding them? Possibly not. And what happens when you think you know someone and understand them well, when something comes along that irreversibly shatters this belief? How long must you know somebody for, to really know them? Even then, do you really know them?

Everyone you meet is complicated. And usually, you see only one or maybe two out of their three dimensions. There's always going to be something you just don't know. But, by some chance, if you do know every aspect of a person, the element of mystery is lost, and your interest dies. When you know something so well, what else is left to explore?

So how is it that you stick to your best friend even though you know everything about him/her? At least, you think you do. What I want to figure out, is how someone's interest keeps ticking in someone else, no matter how long. And why is it that some people lose interest in you much faster? Can you judge how interesting you are by the number of people you know and have stuck? Whether in an intimate relationship or a good friendship, what keeps you ticking? Can you put your finger on it? Is it that the other person has something new every time you meet them? Is it because they make you laugh? Is it because they are multi-talented, or intelligent, or good looking? Is it the activities that they do? How true is it in such cases that opposites attract or birds of a feather flock together?

I've grown up to realise that after a certain point in everyone's life, age stops to matter... the lines of division dissolve with the knowledge of the birds and the bees, and a better understanding of people and the world. You might get along well with a person who is five years younger than you and a person six years older than you. So is it interests then? Or opposing ideas or different points of view? Or experiences? Or a combination of them all? With the number of people who have come and gone from my life... and those who've stayed... it will always be a mystery to me as to WHY. Did they admire me for something I could do? Or want to help me out with something I couldn't do? Did they like what I said, how I said, how I dressed, how I looked, what I knew, how smart I was, how funny I was, how many things I could do, how well I could do those things, how many things I knew about, how broad minded I was? Is it the situations that people are in at that point in life and time that draws them together? Why does time many times change your relationship with someone or your understanding or inability to understand them?

I keep changing so much... so I wonder about those who have been friends with me for years... do they change with me to like me? Or do they accept the change and still like me? And what about me, myself? What gets me about people? Is it about how they can help me with something later on in life? Or just being connected to them in some way makes me feel good? Or because they look good or do the same things I do, or do something completely different? Really, I don't think I'll ever really know. It will be a mystery to me always - why we really like some people, and why we don't like some, and how not liking can change into liking, and liking can change into not liking.
According to me, the mystery of why men and women are so different, or 'how to understand the mind of a woman' is less great than the mystery of what makes people click.

Reflections

I saw reflections in the mirror
Of people around me - strangers almost
I've known them too less
And I'm not of much importance
To any of them - no capturing
A permanent image, solid
Non existent, but for wisps of memory
I reflected, into the past
Of the good times, how perfect
And I want those moments back
Now, today. Missing birthdays, faces
And the love. I was loved.
It made me remember how I felt
When I was loved.

She's gone

She was a beautiful dancer. And ever energetic, graceful in everything. What we had in common was love for animals. How many dogs she had! I'm never going to forget going to her house on those many occasions, nor traveling in the bus together, nor dancing at Boogie Woogie, competing with each other. I won't forget how she greeted me with open arms and a big smile when I met her after school. Such a good listener. She was so gentle, her voice, her long hair and her eyes.

The news came as such a shock. I would never have thought that I would never see that pretty face, those smiling eyes again. I would never have thought... Not her.

And the tears just came.

Memories

Memories flood my fragile mind
Holding me back, making me stop
And stand still to let it soak in
The smile nostalgia brings
Forming and dancing on my face
"Those were the days" I think
"Them beautiful days of love
And laughter and joy"
Then suddenly I stop and wonder
Are memories good for me?
They make my heart flutter
With forgotten happiness
But they make me stop,
Long for time to run backwards
I slow down where I now am
I kill some future memories maybe
Because I am too lost in old
'Strike a balance' I think to myself
''Cause life is very incomplete
Without these precious memories'
Memories make me smile
And give me hope when I'm low
They're worth a fortune, memories
Nostalgia comes with a pinch
Of sadness at the knowledge
That those days are gone by
And there will never be
Another time, day, place, person
Just like what you remember
But the joy is in the fact
That you knew moments like that
That you have memories
For company, no matter where, what
And that makes you gifted
You have the most precious
Memories.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Stereotypes

People are strange

When you're a stranger

Faces look ugly

When you're alone

- Jim Morrison

These four lines capture perfectly, the result of breaking a stereotype.

The dictionary definition of 'stereotype' is - "A fixed idea that people have about what a particular type of person is like, especially an idea that is wrong."

Especially in India, we live with so many stereotypes, that sometimes you lose count of how many. There are stereotypes related to career, to domestic life, to choices we make in our everyday lives, and ultimately, to who we are.

Women in India are only beginning to break out of the roles that had been defined for them centuries ago. Its only in the past two generations that women have been stepping out of their womb-like homes, from the lifestyles they have been leading, and into the "man's" bread-earning world.

Breaking out of a stereotype is one of the most difficult things to do. Whether its being a man who'd rather be a home-maker than work and earn money for the house, or being a woman who makes a decision not to marry to follow her career path. This is exactly what is captured in Jim Morrison's poetry (and also lyrics). When someone thinks out of the box, challenges a belief of the society, they are essentially breaking a stereotype. From the very first man who said that the world is not flat, but is round, to the woman who proved to be a better political leader in India; who were perhaps not recognised as people who had made breakthroughs in their lifetime, but only later appreciated, stereotypes have ruled the world.

A stereotype is not only usually wrong and followed by a large mass of people, but also, many times, a stereotype offers one a comfort zone. For e.g. in today's world, we all live by the stereotype routine of life - we are born, we study, we work, we marry, we reproduce, we watch our offspring grow, and we die. It may seem like the perfect way of life for all of us, perhaps because another way has not been ever explored. Not because there is no other way, but because people are afraid to break away and experiment. And those who have done it, are usually not recognised for their efforts, rather, they are looked down upon as being 'stupid enough' to break from the 'normal' path. Little do we realise what a commendable effort it is to break a habit that's not just a habit you have, but a habit that is common to all people.

So, for everybody who lives with and among these standard means of existence, there are still a lot of things that are questionable - and a lot of things that we don't even consider as stereotypes. This article, therefore, is just some food for thought.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Something.
 
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