My favourite ghazals, the rain, some alcohol, a good book, the moon, and hot coffee.


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The choice to customize is always tricky, especially when it involves being able to tweak your own life. You have freedom, and you have choices, and you can do whatever you want. I would compare my customized life to an ice cream tub. You know when you have too many choices while buying ice cream and you end up with a weird flavour because you tried mixing all the colourful attractive scoops together? Something like that. I’m living a weird colourful life in an ice cream tub it seems.

I’m underpaid, I’m independent, I’m paying my own bills, I’m doing what I love, And I’m happy. I wanted this life, and I have it now. (Yeah, I would love to earn more money, but hey, don’t they say something like you should do what you love and success and money would follow? I’m waiting for that ideal situation) Despite the problems, this wait is way more tolerable than what my life was till a year ago. I was overpaid (Yes, I truly believed so, and that depressed me), I was dependent, everything was taken care of, I hated my job, and I was terribly stressed about everything. There was a lurking sadness, always. And though it was somewhere inside me, in a little corner, hiding all the time, I felt it surfacing sometimes at odd moments- like when I was two drinks down, and listening to Mehdi Hassan; It surfaced in the form of a tear, in the form of a half-smile, in the form of a sway of my head. It did. And I enjoyed it. Funnily, I grew fond of it. I grew fond of how I enjoyed my grief, and explored and discussed philosophical questions with myself. Like I would have these complex discussions going on in my head, and I would just smile like a retard. It’s such a triumphant feeling you know, like you’ve found a life hack or something.

As days passed by, and things remained the same, I discovered it surfaced at other times too- when I looked out of the window at the downpour, when my own grief touched me through the sound of the rain. And I loved it. It surfaced when I saw the moon, pale, a little more than half, reminding me of the incomplete things in my never ending, rolling-all-over-the-floor to-do list. Sipping hot coffee and looking at the clouds through the huge glass window of my office tower, sometimes watching flocks of birds forming patters in the sky and admiring feeling jealous at their beautiful execution of creativity; secretly writing poetry sitting in the office washroom, and feeling ecstatic; being deeply and inextricably buried in a good book for days. All this, and more helped me survive the constant unrest, the constant sadness of not being able to find where I belong. And I feel stupid saying it, but I had fallen in love with my grief. When you feel you are sinking and you just embrace life for what it is; not resisting, not fighting. May be I had just befriended the little things that reminded me of it- my favourite ghazals, the rain, a good book, some alcohol, the moon, hot coffee. May be.

Last month, for the first time, something unusual happened- My favourite ghazal- Ranjish hi sahi by Mehdi Hasan didn’t stir the same emotions in me as it always did. I didn’t feel happy to be sad. May be because funnily, I didn’t have a reason to be sad. I somehow felt at peace with myself. For that ephemeral moment, I felt I was doing fine, and I don’t know why, but I didn’t like it. I had liked the sweet confusion, the seeking, my pursuits, I had liked all of that. I wanted the same old familiar feeling, even if it meant feeling a little low. Sometimes when I feel things like these, I seriously doubt my sanity. Like seriously, what’s wrong with me? (They say humans can never be happy, I now know what they mean.)

The following week of course, I was busy again. I was anxious and excited about doing well at work and there was commotion. But I just couldn’t stop thinking about what I had felt that night. It was something I had never experienced before, but it was also short-lived. And yesterday, I found myself looking at the moon and brooding again. Once again, I had a reason to ponder over the mysteries of life. Once again I was feeling low about something, and then feeling happy about the discussion in my head. Like life was making sense to me in weird ways. Call me mad, but that’s a major survival trick.

Of course, I need to work on and figure how to be happy when I am really feeling happy though.

Lol. kidding. 

 

It got so wicked, my dream..


It got so wicked, my dream.

It got so wicked, my dream,
I decided to jump off the high-rise,
Sudden, rushed, I pushed myself,
A free fall, too short,
I woke up,
With a jolt,
In another dream, dreamy,
I was lost, I wandered,
Through the bushes,
Into the wild and beyond,
Saw a sparkling river with diamonds,
Stole the sparkle,
Hid it in my pocket,
Ran, and ran, and ran
Till my heels hurt,
And my breath died,
I stopped and saw a shadow,
Who was it?
A person,
Myself,
Coming to a halt,
In front of me,
It was me!
Her pockets sparkled,
I looked at mine,
They did too,
She clutched hers, and ran away
I followed her, into the wild,
She looked back, and ran faster,
She was horrified,
I, just too numb
She stopped at the edge of the waterfall,
Catching her breath,
She couldn’t run any further,
She breathed hard,
And looked down at the sparkling water
And then at the sparkles in her pocket,
And then at me,
It got so wicked, her dream,
She decided to jump off the edge,
A free fall, longer this time,
Her scream,
echoing in my ears,
And with a terrifying, sudden jerk,
I woke up in my bed,
Or,
Was it her?

ऐ रात धीरे से आ ज़रा


ऐ रात धीरे से आ ज़रा
रौशन हो रहे हैं माज़ी के सितारे
चाँद भी छिड़क रहा है चांदनी सुहानी
दे रहा है सिसकने के दो चार बहाने

*

ऐ रात धीरे से आ ज़रा
ये महफ़िल आज कुछ अजीब सी है
यादें बिन बुलाये बैठी हैं
और शमा भी बुझी बुझी सी है

*

ऐ रात धीरे से आ ज़रा
आज नींद का कुछ पता नहीं
ये ख़याल बहुत सताते हैं
बाकि तुमसे कोई गिला नहीं

*

ऐ रात धीरे से आ ज़रा
ऐ रात धीरे से आ ज़रा ..

.

.

.

माज़ी- Past

I’m looking for that moon.


I'm looking for that moon.

In search of the one controlling my life. Because clearly, I am not.

….

I’m looking for that moon,

That pale elusive ball of nonsense that is causing this rise and fall in me.

This flip in my gut, this sudden surge, this turmoil that capsizes my very being.

*

I’m looking for that moon,

The one with craters, that is digging out deep parts of me to make me like itself.

A puddle here, and a puddle there filled with a loss of self.

*

I’m looking for that moon,

The one that glows with something borrowed and something thrown back.

Illuminating me ephemerally, and then taking away my glory.

*

I’m looking for that moon,

The one that grows with pride one day and shrinks in distress the next.

Because it is shrinking me too, an inch, every night.

*

I’m looking for that moon,

The one that plays hide and seek, behind a tower, a cloud, a tree.

And when I whine it flashes a silver lining, like handing a rattle to a child.

*

I’m looking for that moon,

Because I am no more enjoying this game, for I’m not the sea, I get cracks.

Every time I’m lifted and plunged back in a frenzy, I get cracks.

…..

Being selfish.


ME

Selfishness is a luxury not everybody can afford. You don’t pay for it. Somebody else does.

Sometimes it involves cutting a part of your conscience and letting it bleed.

It requires a blindfold, painted with your own damn face.

It requires you to be a parasite, sometimes a guilty one.

It requires carrying your interests on top of your head while others struggle to protect theirs from being trampled down by your feet.

And yet there comes a time when you seek this evil, after having terribly and hopelessly failed as a selfless being.

It comes easy when you are young, expressed in the most innocent way-not sharing that new bar of chocolate with your sibling. Simple. It is instinctive then. It is natural. It is what you are born with, this selfishness. Until you are taught and conditioned to treat it as a vice and relinquish it forever. You forget all about it. You rub it off your mind, you bury it down somewhere, sometimes feeling guilty about its subconscious resurfacing. You are a good person, you tell yourself, a selfless person. Just like you had sworn to be a truthful person when you were once caught lying by your mom, only to realize later that lying is inevitable.

So yes, years later you look for it once again, to get some elements of it back, to make it your own, because you can’t be this person anymore, you can’t be a host to all these parasites anymore. You wish to be one of them. Because that is how survival works.

May be that’s why we were born with it. May be we were never meant to give it up entirely, and just use this ‘anti-value’ in moderation. Sometimes taking from people and sometimes giving them unconditionally?

But again, selfishness is a luxury not everybody can afford. Sometimes you can be selfish because someone is letting you be. You will be returning the favour later, or may be you get to be the ultimate selfish human.

यह कैफियत है कैसी


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अब तो किसी को बताई भी ना जाए
यह कैफियत है कैसी,
यह मुश्किल है कैसी,
कि दर्द में तबस्सुम,
आंसू में ख़ुशी,
मात में भी जीत का जश्न,
मनाता है यह मन..

की उजाले में अँधेरा,
शब में रौशनी,
सुखा कर, फिर आँखों को
रुलाता है यह मन..

यह कैफियत है कैसी,
कि भूले भी नहीं,
वो शाम, वो बातें,
वो चमक, वो मंज़र,
और नए नज़ारों,
नए ठिकानों,
की ओर कदम
बढ़ता है यह मन..

Word meanings: तबस्सुम: smile, कैफियत: condition or state

14 outrageous and funny anti-women quotes in Chanakya Neeti


Chanakya Neeti

I just finished reading Chanakya Neeti, and found myself deeply shocked, and confused as to how a great scholar, an exceptional economist, and a clever administrator like him could be such a misogynist.

Undoubtedly, this book has some really good analogies, and some very wise thoughts. But largely this book is chauvinistic and misogynistic. The fact that it was written in another time does very little to provide a defense for such views. If it is so anachronistic and doesn’t apply to the current social environment, then why is it so widely read and appreciated?

Every mention of women in this book is either about her being a prostitute, or about how she should take care of her ‘character’, or how she ought to be faithful, or how deceitful she can be. No words like ‘character’ or ‘faithful’ are used in the context of men.

I wonder how many men this book has misled. If anything needs to be banned it is the anti-women parts in this book.

Here are 14 utterly outrageous and funny anti-women quotes in Chanakya Neeti that will make you cringe:

1. Women have a knack of talking to one man, casting an askew glance at another and loving secretly a third man. They can’t devotedly love just one man. (Material for the next sexist Honey Singh song?)

2. A woman quickly depletes a man’s potency but milk immediately restores it. Also, an added justification by the translator : ‘Ayurveda also believes that if a man drinks hot milk quickly after copulation, his strength gets revived’. (Now Now Now, a woman does what?)

3. The brass pot can be cleaned with ash, copper gets cleaned with acids, menstruation purifies women and the river water becomes potable after flowing through rapids. (Now that’s quite a comparison. So if menstruation purifies women, then how and when do they exactly become impure again?)

4. A woman is a liar, deceitful, foolish, greedy, impious and cruel. These are the innate attributes of a woman. (Wow, quite polite, and what about men? No mention.)

5. It is better not to have a king than having a king who is a tyrant; not to have a friend than having a wicked friend; not to have a wife than having an unfaithful wife. (What about unfaithful husbands? No mention. )

6. A woman doesn’t become as pious by giving alms, performing rigid austerities, and fasts and visiting sacred places, as by having the water she gets by washing her husband’s feet. (Wait. Whattt?)

7. The wife’s sins are suffered by the husband. (And the husband’s sins? oh of course, he can’t be sinful.)

8. A roving king, a roving brahman, and a roving Yogi are adored, but a roving woman is doomed. Meaning- an efficient ruler is always on a move, a brahman should not be attached to a particular place and so should move around to gain knowledge, and the same is true for a Yogi. But if a woman keeps on moving she exposes herself to a variety of dangers which could bring her disrepute or even the way to doom. (So that’s where they get the idea of ‘keeping women at home’ from.)

9. For good days one should save money, women should be protected even if it takes the money saved. But for self preservation the money and the women should be sacrificed. (Let’s talk about commodifying women.)

10. Fire, water, women, fool, snake and the royal family- beware of all these. They can prove fatal. (Women can be fatal. hmmm.. Our very own Honey Singh thinks the same-
I swear choti dress me bomb lagdi menu?’)

11. An unsatisfied brahman and a satisfied king perish. A shy prostitute and a shameless bride of a noble family perish. Meaning: A prostitute’s profession is such that if she is shy she loses her clientele. But the bride of a noble family has to be shy to win everyone’s respect. (Some professional advice for prostitutes. Because that’s the only profession mentioned by him for women.)

12. Learn courtesy from princes, sweet speech from the learned scholars, lying from gamblers, and deceit from women. (Ok so women do know something after all.)

13. Compared to males, females eat twice the amount of food, possess cleverness four times, display courage six times and have hunger for sex eight times. (Now how on earth did he measure that?)

14. A good wife is one who serves her husband in the morning like a mother does, loves him in the day like a sister does and pleases him like a prostitute in the night. (No comments.)

 

PS: The cover page says ‘more than 20,00,000 copies sold’. I wonder if ML Sharma owns one too. *Sigh*

Little pinching luxuries


Yesterday I with a hand on my heart hesitatingly paid 500 bucks at Hard Rock Cafe for a drink that usually costs Rs 150. And since I am not used to splurging anymore (read: I am jobless), it hurt. Quite a lot. I wanted to be the parsimonious freak miser I have become now a days, but then I thought, what the hell, its just once in a couple of months that I splurge spend like thisnot in the slightest convinced that I’m spending on something even remotely worth it. So I did it. That innocent yet special green piece of paper was immensely missed.

Its strange how we insidiously cease to value money. Now that I know my phone wouldn’t beep with a ‘new credit balance’ message from Citibank on the 30th of every month, I begin to realize how carelessly I swiped my card.

But sometimes its okay.
Sometimes its okay to treat yourself with sweet luxuries. Like this ‘not so worth it‘ drink.
May be its not about the drink; may be its about buying the luxury of being there- listening to live rock music with your friends, losing yourself in the great musical ambiance while sipping the overpriced sparkling liquid.
But yes it did pinch.

HRC’s profit, and on a philosophical note- happiness these days, is made up of ‘little pinching luxuries’. (and may be ‘little punching necessities’ for some)
And we don’t really mind it.

To NOT be courageous. That’s what my country has taught me.


Image: dnaindia

image: dnaindia.com

 

I am a coward.

I don’t have courage.

And even if I do, I choose to hide it under an unsaid fear.

I don’t have the courage to stop and thrash the guy on the metro who tried following me. I just take a detour and escape.

I dont have the courage to return his lecherous stare with an abuse. I just look away.

I don’t have the courage to think I can do something if something goes wrong. I just plan to run.

I don’t have the courage to teach him a lesson. I just forget it.

I don’t have the courage to stand for myself. Because no body in this country will stand for me- not the police, not the judicial system, not the government.

Because now I know, that the guy staring at me thinks girls deserve to be raped. Because the potential lawyers of these rapists think the same. Because according to ‘Indian Culture’ girls are the one at fault.

Because now I know, that I live in a country where even a high profile rape case is dragged for over two years, leave alone the ones happening in villages. Where the victim’s parents are repeatedly embarrassed on national television. Where criminals are such confident freaks that they have no qualms about raping a girl and then boasting about it on camera, unhesitatingly blaming the girl, with not even an iota of shame in their eyes. Where the government is more concerned about the image of the country being marred and tourism affected by such outrageous and horrendous statements, than by the act itself.

Why should I show courage and be a fool then? Why should I not keep shut to protect myself, than shouting out loud after the damage has been done, when no one would be listening ?

So lets not be courageous then.

That’s what my country has taught me.

That’s what I feel every single day when I step out of the house.

To NOT be courageous.

 

 

~India’s Daughter Documentary banned

~Still in shock

Just something


I couldn’t really decide what to call this piece of poetry. So here’s just something.

 

Just something

I took a leap, fast and high
After a long, tedious crawl
Should I build my wings now?
Or gear up for a free fall
*
The air feels thin and cold
The light falls on my face
Its a gamble, a game of cards
And I saw you hiding my ace.
 *
The clouds come along with a message
They crackle and drench me down
The lightening falls, its dark
They take away my only crown.
*
I see them fly past me
I see them high with pride
More beautiful than I am
Yet ignorant of my ride.
*
I see the world below me
Taking its usual course
Dreaming dreams of power
While I dream of force.
*
I am floating now, weightless
I hear a familiar voice
And this time I cover my ears
I realize it was always my choice.

Of teachings and learnings Part II: My MAD moment!!


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Its a strange realization; A strange thing to digest; A strange thing to understand.

We learn a lot of things while growing up and eventually begin to assume that they are as natural to everybody as they are to us; that everybody is aware of the things we know by heart; that everybody ought to know what we have always known. How can they not? We somehow never get to the simple understanding that sometimes the most obvious, the most taken-for-granted thing could be the most alien for someone else.

We live in a big big bubble, ignorant, oblivious. We look at the world through this thin transparent iridescent layer, thinking that everything we see has a tinge of color to it. That everything is just like we see it or want to see it.

I stepped out of this bubble with MAD, and saw a different world. A world I now think should be altered a little, should be made better, happier.

Yesterday I had my usual class with my lovely girls in grade 9. I have been doing pronunciations in my class for sometime, and realized that all the girls had a problem pronouncing words starting with Sp, Sc, St, Sl, Sm, Sk etc. So they would say “Ischool”, and “Ispread”, and “Isky”. In one class a few weeks back, I helped them all get all these words right, except this one girl who was finding it difficult to pronounce them correctly. No matter how hard I tried to make her say the words slowly, she would unwittingly say them beginning with the sound “I”. While I was a little baffled at her difficulty in pronouncing something that was so easy and basic for me, that was also the moment when I realized that her tongue was used to it. This was what was natural for her. This was what she knew by heart.

It had been four weeks since I was trying to help her get it right, but I saw that she was getting a little embarrassed and intimidated in front of other kids who could say the words correctly. So I decided to not poke her too much, and let her take her own time.

But yesterday, I don’t know why, I was just really motivated to try once again. So I began slow, helping her with the phonetics of the words, and guiding her through it.

And in one magical MAD moment, she just said “School” absolutely right!

I have no words to explain that feeling. I almost jumped with excitement, and clapped for her. I asked her to repeat all the words, and she just got into the flow. All words correctly pronounced!

The satisfaction, the silent happiness on her face was something one has to see for themselves to understand. Its inexplicable.

That’s when I knew. The bubble needs to be pricked. The world needs to be explored. Not everything is natural for everyone, not everything is easy for everyone.

And we, can make a difference.

Of teachings and learnings.


Ironies make you write, inspiration makes you write, and I guess I am really lucky to have found both of them together this time. So here I am breaking my 3-month long writer’s block with an epiphany.

One of the strangest ironies of my life, is the realisation that my learning has increased manifold since I have taken up the role of a teacher.

Being a part of Make a Difference has brought about an inexplicable, life altering change in me. It has made a lot of things clearer, and blurred the ones that were unnecessarily prominent in my life.

We live by an idea pretty much all our lives, and then one day it all comes crashing down. We feel hollow, and full till the brim at the same time. We feel half, and yet complete at the same time. We find ourselves sad, and exhilarated at the same time.

“I think a thought, I like it, I fight for it.

I live a little, and find another,

And then weep over the lost idea, laughing “

(A quote I recently wrote, that explains this feeling for me.)

Make a difference has given me endless such moments to add to my memory cart, and the ‘difference’ we were to make, is equally and very deeply felt by me too.

The exchange of experiences and anecdotes, with hidden chocolate chips of knowledge and wisdom, make my every weekend a time to look forward to. Last weekend, I took a class of 15 kids, age group: 4 to 7, and strangely I learned a great deal about life in that two-hour class.

I was taking a lesson on different shapes, and wrote on the board names of all the shapes along with their drawings. There was no space left on the right side of the board, next to the rectangular face I drew, so the word ‘Rectangle’ didn’t fit. I unwittingly broke the word into two, and wrote half of it in the next line. (Making it clear though, that they were supposed to write it as one word)

Rectangle

Unaware of the innocently disastrous mistake I had made, I continued teaching, until I checked their notebooks and realized that each kid had copied “Rectangle” exactly the way I had written it on the board. I broke into a quiet laughter at their innocence, and then made them write the correct spellings again.

Rectangle

I realized how impressionable they are. I realized how wholeheartedly they trust me. I realized how careful I will have to be from now on.

I had almost forgotten about this incident. But something strange reminded me of it today. While I was practicing my Urdu lesson (yes, one more development, I am learning Urdu. I have been away from this blog for a really long time I realize. :/), I was trying to copy the letters from the book exactly the way they were written on the line, carefully trying to make sure that I was correct with the spacing, and the part of the letter to be written over, bellow, and touching the line. There was a scanned page on the left side, that had handwritten letters, and I was trying to copy them as they were.

Urdu

I made the first letter on the right (Urdu is written from right to left), exactly like this one above, touching the line, and then the subsequent letters on the left a little above the line, and practiced like this all day.

Urdu

Then, I glanced upon the next page of the book where printed letters were given, and couldn’t help laughing. I realized that the floating letters above the line wasn’t the norm, but just a writing style of the person who wrote it.

The only thing that came to my mind at that time was:

“Recta”

“ngle”

And I smiled.

 

 

PS: I missed by blog’s 4th Birthday (October 7th) in all this writer’s block mess. So Happy Birthday Blog! I love you <3

What do you do when..?


What do you do when

What do you do when the perception of yourself you have grown up with suddenly begins to bend and blur?

What do you do when the shift in your thoughts is so drastic that you wonder if they are your own?

What do you do when stability begins to cause discomfort and a touch of turmoil scares the life out of you?

What do you do when the middle ground pacifies and haunts you at the same time?

What do you do when propriety demands importance and in your head you feel, What the hell?

What do you do when you understand what being selfish feels like and enjoy it guiltlessly?

What do you do when your talk with yourself, once comforting, becomes obscure?

What do you do when your feelings are so ephemeral you are scared to act on them?

What do you do when you learn the art of deceiving your conscience?

What do you do when right becomes wrong and wrong becomes unquestionably right?

What do you do when the path less travelled by seems treacherous?

What do you do when you realise that failure is not just a word?

What do you do when happiness becomes boring?

What do you do when your masks begin to melt and you have no intention of rebuilding them?

What do you do when you don’t want to smile?

What do you do when lies flow so naturally you begin to doubt reality?

What do you do when losing something feels like you found that one elusive thing you always wanted?

What do you do when you no more seek change, you want transformation?

What do you do when your favorite mug cracks and hurts your hand, but you still wish to keep it?

What do you do when silence and solitude become luxuries?

What do you do when beliefs become theories, and you discard them all?

What do you do when you realise that alone actually means lonely?

What do you do when life teaches you new lessons superimposing the previous ones?

 

What do you do when you realise not every question has an answer?

 

Who moved my cheese? I moved your cheese.


 Who moved my cheeseI moved your cheese

Everyone who has studied management knows about them. Everyone who hasn’t studied management knows about them. And everyone who wants to study management definitely knows about them. Why are these management classics and self help books so famous?

Sometimes, thinking about their titles makes me cringe. Such ridiculously funny names! It’s like every title tells a story of its own. “Who moved my cheese?”.. “I moved your cheese!”. What the hell is happening?

What? Not funny enough? Lets try Hindi, as I say, some emotions are best expressed in Hindi..

I MOVED YOUR CHEESE

Really???

This is what comes to my mind when I come across these titles. Straight from the heart!

Who moved my cheese? – By Spencer Johnson

Idea of the book- An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

You are enjoying a pizza, when the person next to you pulls out a big pizza slice from the divided circle, accidentally stealing some extra cheese off your pizza slice that is lying right next to it. You miss the great tragedy while it happens, but after a while notice with utter astonishment and disbelief that your pizza slice is half naked. You shout out loud:  Who moved my cheese?!?

Moral of the story: Change is inevitable. You should be aware of the changes happening in the Pizza-eating-habits of people, and not freak out when your cheese goes missing. Ok?

 

Eat that frogBy Brian Tracy

Idea of the book- 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

You go to a Chinese Restaurant with your friend and on the suggestion of the waitress, order a live frog sushi, along with soup. You decide to have the soup first and ‘procrastinate’ eating the frog because it’s kinda freaking you out. And right then, the froggy makes a sudden high jump, and your friend shouts: Eat That Frog!!!

Moral of the story: You should not procrastinate and eat the frog first. Or maybe if you are a hard core procrastinator like me, then let it go and wait for a frog from the side table to jump in. Pichaaak..

 

The SecretBy Rhonda Byrne

( Not really a management classic, but self help YES!)

Idea of the bookWhatever you want will come to you.

You hate this person and want all his hair to fall off.  So you shut your eyes, and imagine the hair fall, strand by strand, smiling gleefully. You open your eyes and the person is bald! You exclaim: Omg The Secret!!

Moral of  the story: You realize the barber had accidentally shaved this person’s head coz he was angry because of a fight with his wife, who was cheating on him with another man, who was angry with his boring wife, who had lost her job, pushing her into depression. She was replaced by another lady who was sleeping with the boss, and … you get the idea..

Say with me!!, when you want something with all your heart, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. Yay!

 

The One minute Manager By Spencer Johnson and Ken Blanchard

Idea of the book- One-minute-goal settingOne-minute-praisingand One-minute-reprimand

Girl to Boyfriend: Ok Lets Shop Today! We’ll go to the mall and then I’ll buy a hot dress, and then I’ll buy matching shoes, and then I’ll……. ( Goes on for 1 minute)

(Boyfriend makes a face)

Girl : You are the best, You are the sweetest, you are……please lets go…. ( Goes on for 1 minute)

(Boyfriend says “No”)

Girl: You F****… You A***… You…… ( Goes on for 1 minute)

(Boyfriend says “Lets Go”)

Moral of the story : The one minute rule totally rocks!

 

Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work By Jack Canfield, etc.

Ah forget it ! My creative patience ran out on this one.

 

How we stop reading books


How we stop reading books

While some of us are in denial, still considering ourselves ‘Readers’, there are others who have finally acknowledged the ugly truth- that they have turned into nothing but ‘Screeners’. Here’s how we slowly and unwittingly, stop reading books.

1)      It is an insidious process. It starts with something as harmless as not wanting to finish a book because it feels too long. Your speed dips from 50 pages a day, to 20, then 5, then 1, and then you begin picking up your book once in a while just to look at the cover and smell the pages, probably to reassure yourself that reading still excites you.

2)      The truth is, theidea’ of reading excites you now. Only the idea. Discounted books on Flipkart and Amazon still galvanise you into an online-order-frenzy, and you are still buying cheap second hand books from roadside stalls. Your book shelf begins to overflow- books now occupy your bed, your bedside table, your dining table, the sofa. They are everywhere. They are everywhere, and you are not reading.

3)      You somewhat acknowledge your dying reading habit. What to do now? You move to convenient reading options like news websites and blogs. You download mobile apps like feedly to read posts from your favourite sites on the go. In short, you switch to quick-reads where a topic or idea is encapsulated and served to you in 100 to 800 words, which isn’t that bad, until one day when you find yourself hurriedly scrolling through the web page after the 250th word. You don’t have the patience to stick with a story for too long. You don’t have the patience for books.

4)      Slowly oatmeal.com and quora.com take over, and that is reading for you. And guess what, you find it satisfying.

5)      Your 3G plan betrays you once in a while, and you have more excuses to not read. You open your laptop, inadvertently enter ‘f’ into the address bar, enter into the crazy world of shares, come across a few funny memes on the UPA government or Justin Bieber or Rajinikanth or Alok Nath, you laugh, press like, move on. Then you come across somebody’s very long and enthusiastic status on some steaming political issue with 50 comments below, and you begin reading. That’s the only time you are reading in the day. And guess what, you find it satisfying.

6)      You go to your Goodreads account and realise you have nothing to update. You browse through your ‘Currently reading list’, find 3 pending books you don’t even remember taking up, and then after some thought, mark them all as ‘Read’. Then you find some more books you read 5 years ago and rate them, with reviews. Again, guess what, you find it satisfying.

7)      As if you weren’t fooling yourself already, you find more ways to pacify your guilt. Now watching Game of thrones with English subtitles is reading for you. No prizes for guessing… You find it satisfying.

Amidst an abundant supply of short-crisp-whacky-funny-and-sometimes-intellectual one liners and memes, your patience begins to rust, and a sense of false satisfaction takes over. The ideaof reading books still excites you though. Only the ‘idea’. And what is really sad, is that you find it satisfying.

 

PS: Congratulations! You have successfully read a reasonably long post. *A pat on the back* This means you can still complete that abandoned book. Go. Go.

What we choose to remember


Memory and Memories

Memory is a funny thing, and funnier is our desire to be able to choose what we remember.

When I was in middle school, one day I decided that I wanted to scribble down all the weird stuff happening in my pre-teen life. I was 12 years old then. So very diligently, I started writing my daily diary with date and time (yes time, very accurately. God knows why) on the top left of the page, and then addressing my diary as “Dear Diary”, before beginning to pour myself out. I was excited about this new exercise of recording my life, and the idea of going back to it after years and reading about who I was.

Soon the latter began to excite me more, and I found myself reading my old diary entries every other month to experience the thrill of coming across something I had forgotten. Of course, I remembered everything clearly which funnily, disappointed me. I never realized that subconsciously I was wishing for a fading memory. I was a kid then, and had no understanding of the essence of my pursuit.

Today I wish the same, but with a somewhat deeper understanding of what I seek. I want some memories to wither, some emotions to mellow down, some feelings to fade a little. No I don’t wish to forget or erase out moments completely, I just want their intensity to faint. It’s easier to forgive, it’s easier to move on, once we are out and far from those crazy whirlpools of memories.

Memories are meant to fade so that we can evolve. Imagine remembering everything that you have experienced till date. It will comprise of a lot of conflicting information, a lot of contradicting decisions taken by you in your life. A little forgetfulness should be good, no?

We change with time and so does our memory, and that can be a little tricky too. Sometimes, it alters experiences in our head, and we remember things differently, not aware of the subtle distortion. We think we know it all, but we don’t. Our memory tricks us, may be for the good. I don’t know.

I am reminded of this brilliant book by Julian Barnes ‘The sense of an ending’, that talks about how the imperfections of memory define us, and affect our lives. It has some very interesting quotes that I’d like to share:

* “History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.”

* “We live with such easy assumptions, don’t we? For instance, that memory equals events plus time. But it’s all much odder than this. Who was it who said that memory is what we thought we’d forgotten? “

* “When you are in your twenties, even if you’re confused and uncertain about your aims and purposes, you have a strong sense of what life itself is, and of what you in life are, and might become. Later.. later there is more uncertainty, more overlapping, more backtracking, more false memories. Back then, you can remember your short life in its entirety. Later, the memory becomes a thing of shreds and patches.”

**************************

I guess I got a little mixed up in my thought towards the end-a little distracted from what I actually wanted to convey through this post. Nonetheless, I hope the effort was not completely futile. What are your thoughts?

Little shots of fantasy


Little shots of fantasy

 

I am a dreamy kind of person and am well aware of my dreaminess, which is bad, because it makes me analyze myself too much to be able to live peacefully.

Sometimes I envy those who live in oblivion. People who are awesome and don’t know it, people who are idiots and don’t know it, people who are dumbasses and don’t know it. At least they can be at peace with who they are.

Being dreamy is exhausting; constantly splashing yourself with ‘purported propriety’, and the so called ‘ways of the world’. You realize that your own world feels more real, and better than the one you wake up to each day.

What I thought was real

What I touched and feared

What felt part of the world

Were little shots of fantasy

 *

Lying awake

I found a little comfort

In the warmth of these

Little shots of fantasy

 *

Joining the stars

Chasing the cars

There was something sincere

About these shots of fantasy

*

Pinched my skin hard

Shook my head again

Never woke up, I needed

These shots of fantasy

*

I made space then

For this harmless addiction

A little intoxication

By these shots of fantasy

*

I was seeking reality

It never ever occurred

Reality isn’t real

Without these shots of fantasy

 

# I am still writing poetry. I guess I haven’t lost it completely yet. Phew.

# Life.

Go Goa Gone- 9 Things I won’t forget from my first Goa trip


IMG_4840

After hearing from a dozen people that I had committed a sin by not having been to Goa even once in my life of 23 years, I finally decided to correct my wrongs. This year I decided to celebrate Holi in Goa, and The Holi Dip felt gooood. *Feeling Sinless*
My path to sinless-ness in Goa wasn’t straight though (no pun intended) -It was full of some unexpected, amusing experiences, especially (and surprisingly) at the Airport. Read on..

 

1) At the Goa Airport, while I was waiting for my boarding pass to be stamped for the final check in, a gentleman dressed in a crisp black suit and surrounded by an air of authority was trying to manage the crowd, and in one of his desperate attempts, he shouted, ‘Please make a one queue, Please make a one queue’.
I…. just made a one queue then.

2) They did not scan my luggage at the Airport. Why didn’t anyone tell me that before?!!??

3) The entire Goa Airport had 4-5 kiosks in the name of eateries, called Chicago Crust. The food there had nothing to do with Chicago or crust by the way, and it was so trashy, stale, and annoyingly overpriced, that I realized my DU College Canteen had a better menu.
When I asked the guy at one of the kiosks to give me an extra paper glass as it was too thin for boiling hot tea, he refused since his owner had a count of the glasses, and so he could not give out extra. Total Bus Stand Feel.

Marigold Garland

4) For the first time in my life I saw Christ statues adorned with marigold garlands at resorts and road sides. Funnily, they looked like little temples and nobody seemed to mind. Though I noticed a Russian guy looking at one of the statues sceptically. I wonder what he must have concluded about Indians.

5) Some shacks in Goa spelled the Cocktail ‘Mojito’ as Mohito in their menus.
Now that, was Deep.

6) Goa has Traffic Police! Yes, no kidding. Goa has traffic police, and people ride bikes drunk and stoned, and without helmets, and Goa traffic police has police posts too, and they are covered with Hindi Condom ads, and Goa actually has traffic police!

NO-NO

7) Ok so apparently, you can do whatever you want in Goa. Consume all sorts of illegal/banned substances, and no one bothers. But! You should not be seen chewing pan or gutka, not because it is harmful for health but because they like cleanliness in their hotel and because You are Indian.

 

20 Bucks for posing

8) The guy who was making a temporary tattoo on my ankle wanted 20 bucks extra because I wanted him to pose for a picture. I just said “Bhaiya rehne do fir”, and asked him to leave. He instantly knew I was Indian, and posed for free. Bargaining Instinct *-*

photo 2(4)

9) After my proud bargaining moment, I was met with this strict and firm sign board asking me to refrain from ‘Bargening‘. I was touched, and never did it again. ~.~

 

 

 

~ Got any unforgettable Goa experiences to share?

12 stupid things people tell you when you are thin.


12 stupid things people tell you when you are thin.

In all these lean years (no pun intended, I’ve had an eventful life) I’ve realized something of deep value.

If by some genetic lottery you happen to be unchangeably thin (which is incredibly awesome), you have unknowingly subscribed for an onslaught of absurd, astounding, hilarious, and absolutely ridiculous remarks by sometimes very random people.

While I wonder what exactly is wrong with being slim, (if you exercise well, and eat healthy), people have their own set of funny ideas about it.

Here are 12 super stupid things people tell you/ ask you when you are thin:

1)     Don’t you eat anything?

Actually I was waiting for the Food Security Bill to be passed.

2)     Arre, You have lost weight!

Yes! I lose a Kg every time I meet you. Spot on!

3)     What is your weight, 30kg?

No actually it’s 28, rest is my clothes and shoes.

4)     You go to the gym?? But why? You don’t need it!!

Oh so you haven’t gotten over all the fat people running on treadmills in those Asian Sky shop ads? Sigh..

5)     Are you anorexic?

Uh, Dictionary?

6)     How can you eat so much! You are thin!

Actually I have Multiple Personality Disorder, and my alter ego is an eight year old fat kid who’s always hungry. *closes eyes and jerks* Can I have a Double Cheese Pizza, Double Decker Burger and a Double Chocolate Milkshake please?

7)     Ek foonk marunga/marungi, udh jaegi.. hehe

I know Jajantaram Mamantaram had a deep impact on your brains as a kid, but in reality you don’t go around blowing people away.

8)     Why are ‘you’ taking the stairs? Isn’t the lift working?

Oh I was just counting the number of steps. Good to revise numbers no?

9)     You can fit anywhere.

I know right! I’m totally a Lego block.

10)     You will put on weight when you have a kid.

All my life I thought this was true for all women!

11)     You are so lucky, you can eat ‘whatever’ you want!

Exactly! I had tried chalk, mud and toothpaste as a kid. And guess what, I’m still thin.

12)     Do you buy your clothes and shoes from the kids section?

Absolutely, did you miss the Lilliput tag on my tee?

Some French Cake?


Collages

I don’t know how and why I end up finding inspiration in pastries.

Last time when I wrote about the ugly pineapple pastry, wherever I went people greeted me with “Aur Saloni, pineapple pastry khaani hai?”.. not letting me get over the memory of that overpriced piece of nonsense. So I’m happy to write about French Strawberry Chocolate Gâteaux this time.

Going a little off-track, I sometimes wonder if I should have opted for Sanskrit over French as my third language in grade 8. I mean look at all these cool learned people spurting out Sanskrit shlokas flawlessly nowadays. I attended a session on The Bhagavad Gita at the Jaipur Literature Festival last month, and was extremely fascinated with some of the speakers who seemed like they were straight out of the Mahabharata. (uh, not coz of their costumes)

Anyway, so regarding the language decision back then, all I can remember is my desperation to get done with the horrifying Hindi as early as possible, and so French, though a completely alien language, seemed nothing less than sweet. And now it seems sweeter, when it is easier to pronounce all these sweet little French things like Gateaux! X.x

Ok so coming to the point, I was at Costa Coffee in Connaught Place some days back, and the grandeur of this pastry, oh I’m sorry, Strawberry Chocolate Gâteaux caught my eye. I immediately decided to scrape, tear, discard undo my pledge to never buy pastries with overpriced tags (It was Valentines Day, I was out with my chick friends, and self-indulgence is very much allowed on such occasions \m/), and quickly tried to recall my French lessons on Boulangerie (French for Bakery). I decided it should be Gate-oh.

I stood at the counter to confidently place my order, and then the naughty curious kid in me decided to check if the lady on the other side knew what she was selling.

ME: Excuse me Mam, can I have one of these Smoked Chicken Sandwiches, and one of these Strawberry Chocolate.. umm… how do you pronounce it Mam?

She looked at the menu for a while, shrunk her eyes a couple of times, and then very confidently said “gate-ee-oo”.

I looked at her blankly and I guess she understood that she must check it with someone. So she turned around and asked another guy, who seemed to have been eavesdropping for sometime but was trying to avoid getting into the conversation. He looked at the computer screen and dramatically uttered that one dangerous, formidable word ( for all those who have been students of French, yes it is formidable). He said “ uh.. its gate-ox!!”

I must admit that he had an intelligent, intense look on his face, and I was bloody sure he would nail it. Sigh.. I just looked at my best friend, stifled a laugh, and said Thank you.

Ok now people call me a Grammar Nazi and a Literary Freak/ Snob and shit like that, but here the deal is something else:

  •  One, I was not laughing ‘at’ those people for not knowing French words which 99% people don’t really know (and aren’t supposed to know necessarily), I was just surprised that they didn’t know what they were serving us, and Costa Coffee seemed to have never made an attempt to familiarize their staff with the names of their products.
  •  Secondly, why not call it a Cake? When most of your customers don’t know the difference between a Cake and a gâteau, your staff doesn’t know how to pronounce it, then why try to be fancy?
  •  Ok trivia- What would you call a conversation on homosexuality?  “Gate-ox” !! (ok sorry couldn’t resist this one)
  •  My next stop, A French Bakery.

Pleasures of the Senses.


Pleasures of the senses

So here I break my 2 month long sabbatical from blogging. I don’t regret not updating Onomatopoeia, I don’t regret abandoning it, I know my blog won’t judge me, I know it will take me back with open arms , I know it missed me as much as I did, and all this while I also realized that sometimes you have to let go of one awesome thing to explore and experiment with other awesome stuff! —-Deep breath. Ok, done with excuses.

So, A very happy New Year to all my readers! :D

2013 for me ended with a bang! So many new things learned, so many epiphanies, so many Ooo moments! For the first time I found myself indulging in guiltless pleasure, and I might sound like a hedonist right now, but yes it is addictive.

The thing about addictions is that they stop feeling good after a while, and then you just do it because you have been doing it. After all, there’s only so much fun you can have! You can choose to live in illusions, but the need to find yourself creeps in eventually. You miss the silence, you miss the calm, you miss reading your favorite book, and sipping your favorite coffee from your favorite mug. You miss the simpler things in life.

So after all the traveling and meandering, endless music concerts, crazy parties, hanging out, sleepless nights, and endless jokes, it’s time to settle down.

Breaking through the old wall,
Leaping across the fences.
I reached a world, too blingy,
Of the Pleasures of the Senses.

It pleased my ears with harmony,
My eyes saw beyond the veil.
I breathed in a new life,
I sang like a nightingale.

I felt a touch unknown,
I danced like never before.
I watched myself sway,
Getting lost in the roar,

It feels like a dream,
But now I wish to rise.
I miss that old wall,
And what lay inside.

I miss the pleasure I knew,
Of a deeper pursuit.
Of reasons and meanings,
Of depth, of root.

I’ve now turned around,
From the pleasures of the senses,
Will I be taken back?
I’m preparing my defences.

PS:

I haven’t thought about my new year resolutions yet, but I found these two thoughts strolling across my mind.. Think it over..

* Is it wise to make mistakes on purpose just because you think you should have them to look back on and laugh? ( umm.. because I think I’m way too infallible to make them unintentionally, the idea doesn’t sound too bad.)

* In a world obsessed with tags, people don’t accept and digest grey areas too easily. If you don’t fit in black or white anymore, it’s okay to carry with you some shades of grey.

PPS: This post could not have been more random. Please bear with me and pray with me, for a better post next time! Thank you!

An innocent Pineapple pastry.


An innocent pineapple pastry

Ok so I have (accidentally and unintentionally) been to innumerable burning-a-big, irreparable, and-irreversible-hole-in-your-pocket-kind-of-expensive overpriced eateries in my life.  I have been to places that have made me feel like I owe a grand debt to humanity for splurging spending on food. I have been to places that have actually made me use my otherwise-seldom-thought-of-phone-calculator, and the long forgotten math and tax rules, to quickly check if the restaurant owners are not making me pay for all the freakin customers.

Anyway, so a couple of days back, I was in my office till late at night, and so my colleagues and I decided to go to the food court in the tower and get something interesting to eat. I felt a pineapple-pastry-craving, and ordered one from a newly opened Italian joint. As I confidently stood ready with a 50 Rupee note, the shop manager suddenly uttered three  formidable unbelievable words, “Mam, 100 Rupees”.

100 bucks for that ugly, disfigured, discolored (and smudged at the sides from the equally ugly adjacent black forest pastry) pastry!!?  I looked at my colleague amused and horrified, and then quickly glanced at the price chart on the wall. As if smugly knowing guessing our predicament, he explained without asking: “Mam, Rs 85 for the pastry and Rs 15 for VAT and Service Tax.” I nodded, even more amused now.

I didn’t take my order back. I was taught in school that we should not judge a book by its cover, not judge people by how they looked, and applying the same analogy here, not judge a pastry by its ugly unattractive icing. What if it has a soft heart?

So we let the guy pack it for us, and reluctantly handed him a crisp 100 rupee note which, I now realize, could have got me so many other better, and beautiful things (yes, the emphasis on the appearance is very much intentional).

So now we were all set to dig in the pastry of the millennium. It looked at us hopelessly, as if embarrassed, and aware of its real worth. I was searching for this emotion in the pastry guy’s eyes. I mean I would definitely have hesitated before asking for 100 bucks for that pastry. The guy was surprisingly clear and overconfident sure of his tone and words. Crazily exorbitant High DLF commercial space rents- this is what they do to people.

Keeping all these feelings aside, we finally had a bite. Pardon the exaggeration, but it tasted like sh*t. My colleagues and I exchanged sympathetic glances, and we finished it anyway.

I realize that bad experiences can sometimes make us hopelessly optimistic. We eventually indulge in self-pity and want to believe that bad luck cannot find us every time. So whenever we are on the verge of experiencing something pathetically awful undesirable, the little hopefuls in us convince us that life after all isn’t that unfair. And we go for it. Well, okay, after this, optimism is overrated.

So what do bad, expensive pastries teach us?  (It’s amazing how bad things are such great teachers!)

1)      The burden of high DLF commercial rents is passed on to ugly pastries.

2)      We can guiltlessly, unhesitatingly, and boastfully judge a pastry by its icing.

3)      Pastries are never worth Rs 100. Don’t buy them. They will pinch you forever.

4)     Pastry shop guys can be deceivingly confident about their products.

5)     Knowing VAT and Service tax rates is a good idea.

6)     And as mentioned above, optimism is overrated.

 

What a bad movie can teach you.


What a bad movie can teach you

So its Friday, the (always) much awaited weekend is here and you are desperate to watch a good movie. There’s no good movie playing in the theaters, and so you pick a not so good movie going by the trailer (which can be mind-bogglingly, shockingly-deceivingly-misleading), and ignoring the below average IMDb rating of 5.7 thinking that critics can be unfairly harsh at times (all the forced optimism just to have a movie to watch). For the first time you realize how good you are at defending something you totally lack belief in (Bad movies make for occasional epiphanies).

The movie was ‘The Fifth Estate’, and yes it was unbearable.

So the movie begins, and you think of all the cool dialogues the Sherlock guy- Benedict Cumberbatch had impressed you with in the trailer. You patiently wait. Oh the beginning isn’t too bad. Here comes a cool dialogue- “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth”. Ok that’s an Oscar Wilde quote. But hey it’s cool! (trying-to-see-the brighter-side).

The optimist in you has straightened up now. It’s not that bad. Another 20 minutes pass, and the story builds up. You don’t get any of what is happening, probably that’s part of the build-up. You wait for some more time. May be it is the kind of movie that gets better after the interval?

Ok so the interval is here, and you still don’t get anything. Now what? May be it’s the kind of movie that reveals something magical in the end with a sudden jolt, leaving you with that ‘Ahh’ moment? Ya may be. Patience is the word.

You start getting restless, and can’t stop talking about how bad the movie is. And guess what! A guy sitting next to you tells you that you shouldn’t be talking while watching a movie because it disturbs others!! Whatt! Are you kidding me? You wonder how hard it must be to fake interest in something so outrageously boring, while making an extra effort to show others how good you are at faking it. You can’t help but notice the guy’s school boy pants, crisp shirt and tight sleeveless sweater perfectly complimenting his nerdy spectacles, trimmed beard, and a weirdly feminine soft voice (ok ok I’m not judging). Fighting a hundred questions in your head, you decide to say a polite ‘sorry’ and get back to watching the movie. Out of curiosity, you look around to sense some boredom, may be spot some fidgety people like you who can’t stop checking their phones every 5 minutes, or may be some sleepy-yawning people, or may be some people talking. Nothing’s happening! You mentally calculate and conclude three possibilities –

1)   Either you are dumb (which I would like to believe that I’m not)

2)   Or people have gotten extra smart- so smart that they understand stuff that you think will require some special code to decipher.

3)   Or they are too busy impressing god–knows-who with their pseudo-super intelligence and super powers pretending to understand this incomprehensible and inconceivable nonsense.

I really respect those 4 people who walked out of the theater after the interval. Well you don’t like something, and you have already wasted your money on it which is not refundable, so why waste your time too? I wonder why I was sitting there till the end- May be waiting for another cool dialogue. And ya one more came – “ Only someone who was so obsessed with his own secrets could have come up with a way to reveal those of others”  (for Julian Assange- Founder of WikiLeaks). Not bad, I thought;  But definitely not worth 350 bucks.

So what did I learn from this bad movie?

1)    Tremendous amount of patience and self control (for not asking the nerdy-feminine-guy to shut up)

2)    Abstinence (from walking out of the theater)

3)    A couple of cool dialogues.

4)    How good people can be at pretending they like something.

5)    How bad I am at pretending I like something.

And last but not the least..

6)    That bad movies can make for a decent blog post!

Happy 3rd Birthday Blog!! :D


Happy Birthday

As kids, we have all dreaded going beyond the stout door of that dark, creepy room- unaware of what/ who awaited us. Fear of darkness has always been a stubbornly inseparable part of our nightmares. As we grow old and wise, things more or less remain the same- We still fear opening some closed doors, we still are wary of who or what mind find us on the other side, and we still try to find comfort in the faint wash of light that serves no purpose anyway.

The funny thing about fear is that it usually comes with the thought of the unknown- We fear what we do not know, we fear the unfamiliar.

Today my blog completes 3 years, and I recall abandoning one such cringing fear at the beginning of this unpredictable journey- The fear that I could never write.

It’s strange how fears can turn into something so beautiful. :)

Happy Birthday Blog!

The Lunchbox- A brilliant movie.


The Lunchbox

Note: This is not a critical review.

“Can you fall in love with someone you haven’t met”-  says the clichéd tag line of the much talked about movie, The Lunchbox. This, along with the trailer of the movie seemed pretty ordinary as opposed to the extraordinarily welcoming reviews by the critics, which got me curious.

But after having watched it, I must say, The Lunchbox is one of the most mature Bollywood movies that I have seen in a long time.

The plot has been given in almost all the reviews, so here’s the crux of the story by Rajeev Masand, CNN IBN :

Neglected housewife and caring mother Ila (Nimrat Kaur), determined to spice up her loveless marriage, heeds the advice of a well-meaning Aunty in the flat upstairs (a terrific Bharati Achrekar, heard but never seen) and whips up a killer meal for her husband. But as luck would have it, a rare error in Mumbai’s famously efficient dabbawala service results in the tiffin landing up at the desk of a grumpy accountant on the verge of retirement, a widower named Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan). On realizing that her lovingly prepared meal was eaten by someone else, Ila encloses a note in the steel lunchbox the following day. Saajan writes back and this pair of strangers begins a tentative friendship through routinely exchanged letters, sharing with each other their dreams, their memories of loved ones snatched away, and their empty lives. …. The third wheel in this story is Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s character Shaikh, a younger officer poised to take over from Saajan. Cheery, optimistic and always making the most of an opportunity, Shaikh forges a bond with the taciturn Saajan despite the dour older man’s initial reluctance.

~ ~ ~        ~ ~ ~        ~ ~ ~

Love is a tricky concept, which can be portrayed in myriad ways, and Ritesh Batra (Writer-Director of the movie) has tried to present it in the most unconventional, most subtle style, in his brilliantly told story.

The movie reminded me of a famous quote by Paulo Coelho I have let myself be swept away by the first person to treat me a little differently.”

What is love but to be treated a little differently after countless failed attempts of making yourself be noticed? What is it but the inexplicable feeling of content that one feels on learning that he is acknowledged and understood?

The movie captures the brilliance of subtle nuances that make up our lives, and how they are so easily ignored. The dialogues are crisp, humorous, deep, and say a lot more than one can comprehend in one go.

Here are some that I really loved:

  • In one of his letters to Ila, Saajan writes:  ‘I went to check out a burial place for myself, and they told me they were left with only vertical spaces now- they had run out of the horizontal ones. I wondered if I will be standing even after I die.’

That is what one thinks when one spends an entire life standing in long serpentine queues and in insanely overcrowded trains and buses- Will there be peace after death?

  • Another dialogue that really got me thinking was, “ kabhi kabhi galat train bhi sahi jagah pohcha deti hai (sometimes a wrong train can take you to the correct destination) ”– which comes as a fresh dose of optimism, and the belief in the possibility of coincidence and chance.
  • When Ila’s father dies after prolonged illness, the first thing her mother says is “Mujhe parathe khane ka bahut man kar raha hai  (I feel like having parathas).”

Superficially, one might not understand the essence of the deep feeling that her mother felt. No matter how much we love someone, when that person becomes a burden, and we submit our lives to their service, the love changes in meaning. It becomes a bitter weight on our shoulders that we are too afraid to question. We stop feeling, we stop addressing our emotions. And then one day, when that burden lifts, we feel relief; a strange relief that we desperately want to be accompanied by guilt. For the first time, we acknowledge our needs, our feelings, and that is how Ila’s mother feels after her husband dies. She feels hunger, her immediate need that always got overshadowed by the need to feed her sick husband first.

  •  Saajan reminisces and recalls his childhood, writing to Ila: We forget things if we have no one to tell them to”.

As we grow old, our memories get entangled in a labyrinth and begin to fade. It is only with sharing and reliving them with our loved ones that we can keep them alive. Simple, yet so true.

I must say that the movie ended a little abruptly. But when I come to think of it, a concrete ‘happy‘ or ‘sad’ ending would not have done justice to it. It is like poetry that is left to the imagination of the reader, and it is there in that confusion, that ambiguity, that the beauty really lies.

~Definitely worth a watch. Don’t miss it.

PS: the dialogues in the post might not be word-by-word

Date a guy who reads!


Date a guy who reads

~Here’s my version of – “Date a guy who reads!” ;) ~

Date a guy who reads. Date him because it will be unbelievably easy to gift him a convenient copy of his favorite author on almost every occasion, saving you from the harrowing experience of shopping for all the boy stuff, which ultimately will not even be liked; because well, you know nothing about video games/ bikes/ fancy cars/gizmo-gadgets. (And you never will want to!)

Date a guy who reads. Date him because there is nothing more seductive than being overpowered by a guy in a literary conversation; to be looked at through that thick dark frame that boasts of intellect- those smart eyes gleaming at you. You feel like fainting in his arms, but then you will miss the Shakespeare reference that he just started with! Omg stay awake!

Date a guy who reads. Date him because he will not say ‘eksetra’ instead of etcetera, or ‘Old- timer’s disease’ instead of Alzheimer’s disease, or ‘expresso’ instead of espresso, or ‘irregardless’ instead of regardless, or ‘supposably’ instead of supposedly, or ‘volumptuous’ instead of voluptuous, and yes last but not the least, mis-pro-nown-see-ay-shun instead of mis-pro-nun-see-ay-shun!!

Date a guy who reads. Date him because he will understand your metaphoric references, your vivid simile, witty oxymorons, and dramatic soliloquies, and will happily return them with equally vibrant and intelligent figures of speech- Not to forget, playing with onomatopoeia :p

Date a guy who reads. Date him because he will never tell you that ‘he didn’t went’ to the place you asked him to, or ‘didn’t brought’ you your favorite chocolates, or ‘couldn’t completed’ the book you gave him, or didn’t ‘eated lunch’.
If you want to escape daily literary shocks and avoid being witness to the holy grammar being slowly murdered, this is the guy for you.

Date a guy who reads. Date him because dealing with ‘books’ being preferred over you is any day bearable, digestible, less condescending and disparaging than ‘football’ or any other boy toy. (Trust me this is true!)

Date a guy who reads- He will be sexy all the time, awesome all the time, and well, will not require to switch between dictionary.com and You!

PS:

Say- “I wana date a guy who reads” :D

Don’t say- “Hey, stop eating, and quote Shakespeare right now!”

PPS: Happy Hunting :P

Sin is a puppy that follows you home


Sin is a puppy that follows you home

Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin”

– An interesting yet puzzling idea that I found in the book that I just finished reading – The fault in our stars, by John Green.

In pursuit of a life characterized by free will,  are we aware of our sinful intentions? Or is it that sin finds us one fine day, while we are busy exploring our freedom- as is rightly described by one of the funniest and weirdest book titles that iv ever come across- “Sin is a puppy that follows you home” by Balaraba Ramat Yakubu.

Sometime back, I was having a conversation with a friend, and he intrigued me with his idea of ‘sin’. He said, “Most of the things that we have been brought up being told are sinful, are not even half as sinful

That got me thinking- Are some things really sinful, or are just a taboo in our society?

Other than the obvious ‘wrongs’, I have always associate  sin with an act that crushes your conscience and fills you with an incessant guilt, sooner or later. Now that could be a subjective thought too.

Nonetheless, I’ve tried to capture the idea in this piece of poetry:

Sprinting away from the darkness of your sins,
As the stark reminders flash across,
Asking for a closure, a consummation,
Around your neck, hangs the albatross.

It won’t abandon you, the pangs of regret.
Your remorse shall be acknowledged by none.
For mistakes are often boastfully repeated,
The dark pursued, instead of the sun.

To break free or wish for the labyrinth,
The dichotomy is here to stay,
You have not been forgiven for your sins,
And yet you demand a fair play.

It pushes you deeper into the hollows,
Until light gives up on you,
Until you no longer seek atonement,
Until false is your new true.

The pangs are no longer felt now,
The evil in you revels,
You look at yourself in the mirror,
And YOU are someone else.

PS: May be its all about eating a fruit from the forbidden tree- disobeying and betraying god!  But then what about atheists and agnostics?
PPS: How sinful are you? :P

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag- Loved it!


Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

I have never really understood movie reviews.  Sometimes I feel like the critics are literally struggling to find flaws in a movie, just for their love for denigration. Sometimes it seems that all of them are a part of an unannounced competition of who-will-say-the-movie-sucked better. I wonder who these reviews are written for! I read a few for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and I’m glad I did not check any newspaper ratings before I went to watch it.

I think BMB is a very good movie. A tribute to the legendary athlete Milkha Singh, it is a story of emotions, courage and determination, and provokes an array of pathos. It is amazing to see how all the characters together conjure up a brilliant visual composition. The cinematography is commendable!

The movie opens on the race tracks of the 1960 Rome Olympics, bringing to surface the bitter memory of Milkha’s agonizing defeat in the 400 meters race, where he finishes 4th. The way the scene is recreated is astonishing- how he is shown as a slave of his haunting past that nudges him, disturbs him, leading to his defeat.

Farhan Akhtar’s character is a delight to watch with his typical Punjabi accent, rippling muscles, long hair, and beard- sweating it out as he carries a boyish innocence that eventually turns into furious determination to be the best. His comic timing made for a few laughs; we know he is a natural at that! This looks like his best performance till date; his effort definitely shows.

****

Some screw-ups

  • Sonam Kapoor could still be seen struggling with acting, and I don’t understand why she was shown with so much make up when she was a villager.
  • The movie had some unnecessary and avoidable songs. It is a biopic, you don’t need the typical bollywood song and dance please!
  • Some scenes were unnecessarily stretched and got a little boring.

These flaws however, were easily overpowered by some brilliant performances.

****

Some nice things to take home from the movie:

Identifying the distractions:

How distractions in his early professional life sway him away from his goal and his passion, leading to defeat; how this defeat shakes him up, pushes him down, makes him acknowledge the distractions and then gives him the strength to straighten up and sprint towards his aim with much more determination and gumption. Truly inspiring!  It’s all about identifying these ‘illusionary distractions’ in our lives that blind us. Once we know how to pluck them off the path, nothing can stop us.

Revisiting the past:

His past haunts him for years- it becomes a force that pulls him back. He tries to ignore it, avoid it but eventually decides to face it. Gathering all the courage that he has, he visits his old village in Pakistan, revisiting the traumatising memories from his childhood that the place holds. He cries his heart out, getting out all the pain, all the agony that had clutched his heart. He feels better.  Sometimes our past requires a little more than just a sweep under the carpet.  It requires us to stare back when it tries to frighten us, to let it resurface when it claws its way out, and face it. Sometimes our past needs a closure, and it is only then that a catharsis is possible.

Never stop dreaming big:

He dreams of a National Holiday being declared in his name, and it does happen. His hard work, his determination, and his will power, make him ‘The Flying Sikh’. Never think of a dream as too great or too unrealistic to be true. Be an innocent dreamer, seek the unachievable. Have faith.

 ****                                                                                     

All in all, it was a very refreshing movie. I wouldn’t mind in the least if it was longer!

I would like to quote a line from the review by the DNA that I really loved :

The beautiful irony of Milkha Singh’s life that this consummate biopic captures so ably, is that he really didn’t aspire to anything. He ran simply because he had to.

And the mountains echoed ~ Khaled Hosseini


Khaled Hosseini

“So, then. You want a story, and I will tell you one.”

Begins Hosseini, his words ringing with an assurance, a promise to deliver one more time, what his readers want from him; A tale, in his exclusive style, The Hosseini style.

When an author has given two bestsellers that have stirred the entire book-reading world, and those are the only two books he has written, you know his third would have to pass through a fire ring of expectations. With his “Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” he introduced the readers to the lives of people in Afghanistan, their struggles, their hardships, their predicament, their relationships, all shadowed by the cruelties of the Taliban. His powerful characters, and his engaging narrative take you by surprise, and personally, though I wanted and expected the very same feeling from “And the mountains echoed”, I was somewhere afraid and anxious for him; After all, It is very difficult to beat yourself, after you have delivered perfection.

But he stirred me once more, with his unbelievably intelligent story-telling skills. He beat himself with this one. Really.

And the mountains.. is a collection of 9 interconnected stories, very carefully and delicately woven together; every link holding an element of surprise.

The book opens in Afghanistan, in a small village, in the year 1952. A father is narrating to his children, a story of an evil div, who takes away a child from every house in the village. This becomes the tale of Abdullah, and his sister Pari, and how their father has to make the most difficult choice of his life. The story then unfolds to introduce new characters, their lives, their relationships, across Kabul, Paris, California, San Francisco, and the Greek island of Tinos.

With every story he dips the reader in a different pool of feelings, thoughts and epiphanies, colouring him in a new shade every time. By the time you find yourself comfortable with one story, and discover the links, he pulls you out of one pool, and dips you into another, one that holds a new story, a new colour, a brand new essence; and you feel comfortable, again; stunned again.

And the moubtains echoed

And the mountains.. is a tale of sacrifice, separation, and a delayed reunion. It is a compelling exploration of one’s desires, one’s need for freedom, and the ultimate decisions that would either break you, or your loved ones. It is an attempt at understanding the nuances in relationships, catching the unsaid, and wording the unknown. It is about expectations, their fulfilment, and sometimes their disregard. It is about those fearless moves that change the entire course of your life, forever. It is all of it, and more.

I don’t remember the last time I teared up while reading a book. By the time I was wading through the last 20 pages, reaching the consummation, I was full of a myriad, inexplicable emotions. It is one of those books that give you those OMG-how-did-he-come-up-with-that kind of moments. A must read!

I can’t wait for his next, which is not going to come any soon, I know. And yet, I just can’t wait to be surprised again.

~~~

Some of my favourite quotes from the book :

“I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us.”

“I learned that the world didn’t see the inside of you, that it didn’t care a whit about the hopes and dreams, and sorrows, that lay masked by skin and bone. It was as simple, as absurd, and as cruel as that. Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.”

“When you have lived as long as I have, the div replied, you find that cruelty and benevolence are but shades of the same color.”

 

Will I see a plane today?


images

With this I foray into the world of fiction. My very first short story! *nervous*

*

He climbs into the bus as quickly as he can, and then anxiously looks around, peeking from between the heads and shoulders blocking his way. He can’t see it. What if it is taken?

He pushes his petite frame through the crowd, getting nudged from all sides, struggling to get there.  Finally, he gets a glimpse of it. The last window seat on the right. It is untaken. ‘YES’, he silently sighs. He rushes to take possession of his favorite seat, before anyone would decide to plant a bag, or a lunch box, or a jacket on it to claim it.

A girl is moving in front of him, and he has his eye on her. She reaches the end, and then suddenly bends a little towards the right. His face tightens and then loosens up quickly within seconds, as he watches her taking up a seat on the left. A big sigh this time! He slows down now, and lazily drowns himself in his comfort zone, with a content smile on his face.

He looks out of the window, eagerly waiting for the bus to move, eagerly waiting for it to reach that road.

This is his favurite part of the day, withdrawn from the world, letting his gaze wander, aimlessly, and playing the game of intuition- that strong voice in you that never fails you; A voice that tells Zahid if a plane, with twinkling red lights and gleaming magnificence, would fly over his bus.

The bus takes a turn, and they reach that road; the one that runs parallel to the runway of the city airport. He straightens up, his face glowing and eyes gleaming with the anticipation of experiencing the familiar, yet unknown. He leans out, holding the horizontal rods running across the large windows of the bus, staring up first at the sky, and then at the colourful, glowing runway, waiting for the feeling.

‘Yes or No? Will I see a plane today? Will I?’ He finds himself searching.

And then, within seconds, he just knows it. He finds himself smiling; a very confident smile.

‘It will come, Yes, it will’

For a strange reason that he is unaware of, he knows it will come.

His eyes remain glued to the lit path, as the bus takes another turn. He cranes his neck to get a better view. He doesn’t see anything. It is not coming.

His thoughts start to wander now. ‘What if intuitions could go wrong?’. ‘What if the voice was wrong?’, he muses, a mysterious smile lingering on his face, refusing to leave.

‘If I don’t see a plane today, I would be discovering something new’, he starts talking to himself. ‘Very strong feelings too could create illusions; illusions of certainty!’

His smile grows bigger at this thought. He is still looking at the runway, hoping for something unexpected, waiting for a conclusion, a consummation of his struggling thoughts, when suddenly he sees a shadow descending, with wings, and flickering lights. ‘It’s a Plane!!!’ He exclaims.

‘Yess, It’s a Plane!!’

He stares at the huge magnificent figure with wonder, as it swiftly sweeps across the sky, filling the air with its roar and growl, as if asserting its arrival, its authority. He watches as it slowly lowers itself on his left, between the two parallel strings of colorful lights. There is something about planes that fascinates him; that transcends him into another world altogether, that makes him lose himself, and that makes him struggle for that window seat every day.

There is a unique shine in his eyes, and now his smile transforms into a fully stretched grin. His intuition wasn’t wrong; the voice wasn’t wrong.

He is amused at the play of thoughts in his mind, at the sudden switching of sides; at how his mind smartly created a back- up plan to defend his own intuition.

He always fails to understand his own mind, his own feelings, his own expectations, and this excites him. He likes the confusion, the unexpected turn of events, the sudden rush, he likes it all.

He leans back now, and catches a final glimpse of the plane, crawling on the runway and disappearing into the dark, as the bus takes the final turn.

To shake you out of your being.


To shake you out of your being.

There are some moments, some experiences, that transcend you to a world you wish you could have forever. My recent camping-trip to Saat Taal was one of them.

*

When your gaze travels across the sky, and a million eyes are glued on you.
When your eyes join them with invisible lines, creating magic that no one knew.

When the darkness comforts you in ways unknown, and the silence stifles all sound that was. When the stillness moves you to insanity, and compels you to cease your life, and pause.

When solitude accompanies you in your meandering, and you leave the crowd behind somewhere. When you aimlessly let your eyes explore, without another pair returning your stare.

When you choose to breathe when you want, and hold your breath at your own desire.
When arms stretched out, you can scream, fearless, you don’t exhaust, don’t tire.

When you row till you are in the middle of nowhere, and then look around to feel the waters talking. When the waves scare you and tempt you too, and you watch the ripples giggling and mocking.

When you just wrap your eyes and think no more, and let the place engulf you.
When you know it is for you, this has been done for you,
To shake you out of your being.

The fire.


The Fire.

I like this fire. This fire that burns me.

This fire that dries my throat;

that makes me gulp with an unknown fear, while a strange frenzy stirs me.

 .

I like this fire, this fire that chars my thoughts,

this fire that sets everything aglow, until the heat becomes unbearable and consumes me.

It suffocates me. And I like it. It strangles me, and I like it.

.

Its hard to breathe now, I’m losing rhythm.

And I like it. I’m losing vision, I cannot see, and I like it.

A drop of sweat travels down my cold forehead, sparkling off the light of the fire that

burns me. And, I like it.

 .

The heat is growing, I see orange and red, and I like it.

Everything else is dissolving, the fire is melting it all, and I like it.

Now I wish to remould, make it the way I want. How I like it, how I need it,

AND I LIKE IT.

The Sweet Sacrifice


sweet sacrifice

When the moon shines with all its glory,

The sea is high, it shouts its story.

*

The moon glistens, and listens to the clamor,

Silently smiles, at the childlike stammer.

 *

Embraces itself, for the sweet sacrifice,

Can no longer watch, the tears, the cries.

 *

The silver light fades, over each day,

As the moon cuts itself, and throws away.

 *

With each little piece, the sea falls low,

It calms, and sleeps, as the silence flows.

*

The moon disappears, as darkness forms cover,

Hiding it peeks, at its love, its lover.

 *

The next day, the sea wakes up with a smile,

And the moon picks up a piece from the pile.

 *

Ready once more, for the stories, the cries,

And choosing over its glory, the sweet sacrifice.

Mysticism. Reason. Irony


mysticism

I see ‘mysticism’ on the other side of the road. Serene, smiling at me – that luring smile.

The sky is overcast with irony, as my way to the divine is fraught with logic..
To be mystic, I need to sacrifice my rationality, and stifle my reasons.
To be mystic, I must express wonder at the obvious, and never question the seasons..

But reason never abandons me, and my questions never seem to end.
Defeated, I attempt to question my questions, waiting for a nullifying effect; may be I could reason my way through?

My efforts barely suffice to turn things around, and I stand on this side of the road; waiting for the sky to glow with blades of lightening, and the air to fill with growling thunder..
I wait for an omen to guide me through this stillness, to shut my mind so I can think no more..

For thinking makes me find logic in my being; It makes me want to solve the mystery.
It takes away the magic of living in the dark, when you are clutching on to nothing, but faith.

Because being in the know doesn’t always imply ‘enlightenment’ ..
And Reason, doesn’t always assure that you are right.

New Year. New Energy. New Wisdom


New year. New Energy. New Wisdom

The year gone by had been quite eventful. A mixed bag of highs and lows; A mosaic of multicolored bits, some dull, some bright, but together conjuring up a big nice picture. This is me. This picture is me.

I appreciate every wish that came my way, every criticism that scarred my belief, every joy that escalated me, and every bad day that pulled me down. If it wasn’t for these diverse bits, the picture would have been incomplete.

The New Year has brought in a magical new energy. Every year, unfailingly, this energy charges me. Wouldn’t it be cool if we lived on mercury instead, where New Year would come every 88 days!? (It wouldn’t be cool literally though :P ) So I plan to make the most of this energy, and make as many new year resolutions as I can :D

The previous year, one word that ruled my thoughts, was ‘wisdom’. It has become quite my favorite word by now. ( It has even found a place in all my birthday wishes !)

I know it’s almost cliched to say this, ( and I also know that most people who do, don’t really know what they mean to say), but I feel wiser than the year that passed by ( at least I think so :p ).

Having experienced varieties of foolish people, and creatively new acts of sheer folly, I have realized that Wisdom is an unacknowledged necessity. Some people just take the wealthy of ‘Healthy Wealthy and Wise’ seriously, ignoring the rest. People who think that being sensible and wise is being ‘boring’, take their very first step towards foolishness with this thought.

So this year, ( my words of wisdom to all :p) try and practice wisdom. Make an effort to gather and understand things which your heart usually refutes as unimportant (silently knowing its importance!).

Too angry at someone? Yelling at them feels like the best thing to do at the moment, knowing you should be calm? Too quick to jump to conclusions about someone based on superficial traits? Always doubting people’s intentions ? Letting your ego get bruised too easily?

Get hold of your impulses and practice. It will be easier the next time (Tried and Tested!).

There are very sudden situations, and extremely unexpected events that require a ‘well thought of’ reaction. And I have seen myself, and people around me failing to deliver. I have realized something about spontaneity; It too comes with practice sometimes.

It is these little amendments that can make life simpler. At least I think so. You never know, somebody might be genuinely wishing you some sense! :p Worth giving a try !

What do you think about ‘practicing wisdom’? Ever tried?

PS: Happy New Year to all :D

Is your toy broken?


Is your toy broken?

They won’t crane their necks to see beyond.

Won’t teeter on the edge, to peek down under.

  They wish not to sweat, to scrape out reality,

      They notice misdemeanours, ignoring the blunder.

*

What makes much noise, is quick to be seen,

While the silent pleas, will fall on deaf ears.

The boastful acts will be called bravery,

While the invisible efforts will be tagged ‘fears’.

*

No one will buy your story, until you climb the roof,

They see what distracts, what compels.

No one will pay heed, to subtle hints,

Because ‘What shows, only that sells’.

*

So you wave vigorously, after the sobs and weeps,

Yell out loud, what was earlier spoken.

And they suddenly turn around, displaying wonder,

And ask you, “is your toy broken? “

.

.

.

PS: For the people in general and the government in specific.

Sweet illusion.


I danced on songs unsung,
Hummed with tunes unplayed.
I watched the magic with delight,
The magic whose tricks were displayed.

*

It came again, the sweet illusion,
To stir me once more.
Too real to not believe in its glory,
Too vibrant, to ignore.

*

It nudges me, my past,
Even tries to blindfold.
Yet my eyes gleam and glow,
Wishing to see, to unfold.

*

I danced on songs unsung,
Hummed with tunes unplayed.
I watched the sweet illusion,
As with my humming, it swayed.

*

And beckoned, one more time,
I too wished to sway.
On songs unsung,
And tunes unplayed.

When.


When you know life is perfect, and the perfection surprises you to the extent of seeming unreal.. Imperfections start surfacing, taking you by surprise, once again.

When you no longer identify with yourself, feeling like a stranger in your own body.. A rush of familiarity reminds you of who you once were..

When you acknowledge the epiphanies that hit you, feeling deeply enlightened..Something will still stop you from taking the next step; Making you just greet them with wonder and then forget.

When you think you have settled down, in the ‘new change’.. You see the thin line muddying; the thin line between adaptability, and changing your fundamentals forever.

When what you know seems alien, and the unknown you seek to know.. Adventure will take over experience, and you will slowly let go.

When you see history repeating itself; as disastrous as before.. Sometimes you just sit back and wait, until it turns ugly.

When your wisdom tells you that you are not wise enough.. Your foolishness laughs at you; it controls your wisdom.

When reasons are too obvious, and you are glad they are not announced.. Yet a part of you, wishes to be told.

Its raining awards :D


 

Very visibly, the last few months have been a spoiler. The unplanned sabbatical from blogging stretched on, without me realizing. I cannot precisely blame any one particular thing for my absence, but yes, CHANGE, is undeniably the biggest factor underlying all the reasons..

So in the midst of changes, time crunch, new priorities, I forgot about my blog’s 2nd birthday, which was 7th October (How could I :( !!!!!).. When I realized it 4 days later, I literally sunk my face into my palms, feeling too guilty, too embarrassed to face the situation. And that is when I realized, ‘It’s time to act’.

Some days passed, and I was surprised at myself for not being able to write. More than surprised, I was scared. All my resolutions to write were followed by procrastination, giving me reasons to be disappointed at my own self. And then came a surprise  :D ; An award by a blogger who I love to read at any time of the day; One who always comes up with something refreshing to light up my day; One who has recently suggested me some really nice books too.. ;)  thank you so much Ashna : ) Pages from a young diary

A few days later, I received another award from a fellow blogger, who always surprises me with his new ideas, penned down with subtle beauty; An amazing story-teller, with great imagination ~ Thank you so much Usama for such a thoughtful award :) Randomized

So with these beautiful reasons to write again, I leave behind my laziness (or whatever it was), and finally declare that I am back :D

Here are the answers to the questions asked by Usama, as part of the award receiving ceremony ;)

-Name one superpower you’d definitely like to have, if you could.

I think I would definitely want the power to influence people’s minds, since there aren’t many people around the world I agree with! The foolishness around me surprises me at times, making me too proud of the little wisdom I have! (all this at the risk of sounding egotistic :p)

An amazing clear-water sunset beach with cool breeze & exotic fruit trees OR a beautiful green hillside with a landscape of close cropped gardens & a breathtaking waterfall, choose.

This question makes me imagine- What kind of a setting would bring out better poetry? Ummm.. I say the beach :D

– Are you a morning person? If not, would you rather be one?

I have been a night person all my life! And these 4 months have left no stone/rock/pebble unturned to turn my life upside down. My office bus picks me up at 6.30 am!! (yes you saw it right), and now even on Sundays, I wake up with a shudder at 5.30 am sharp, and that too without an alarm clock!! (thanks to my highly adaptive biological clock..!)

Do you read books? If yes, which one took you longest to complete?

This question somehow sounds funny :p

I absolutely love reading books..!

The fountainhead by Ayn Rand has been on my ‘currently reading list’ for the longest time; almost 3 years! ( well it still is :p) Somehow, whenever I picked that book for a read, something or the other came up. May be certain wisdom wants to come to me some time later ;)

– You have a time machine, you can’t change your past, which year would you like to go to and why?

I would want to go back to the year 1993..PRESCHOOL!

No worries, no stress, no thinking required;  just be cute and play with clay :P

– If you’re given an option of getting one post from your blog published in a magazine or a journal, which one would it be?

This one is tough!

Umm, i think it would be the first prose i wrote, surprising myself, “My cup of life“. It is one of my favourites.. :)

– Is your blog a window to the world or a window to your self?

My blog is my identity. I cannot imagine a life detached from it, and in more ways than one, it reflects me and what lies deep within me. I would say, it is the world through my eyes :)

 

 

 

 

 

PS: After having written this post, I feel really light; alive again. But I still have a lot of catching up to do! I have been missing out on so much..

Hope to be back in swing soon :)

Would you recognize a miracle if you saw one?


Would you recognize a miracle if you saw one?

Well I’m not the one seeking an answer to this simple yet profound question, rather I stand on the other end, pondering what this question really means..
A week back, my mom went to a book store and accidentally a book called ‘Synchro Destiny’ caught her eye. She picked it up for me, knowing how I love reading on unusual topics.

So this book, written by Dr Deepak Chopra, the bestselling pioneer in mind/body medicine, asks this question.. Would you recognize a miracle if you saw one?

What is a miracle?

Something that causes amazement; something that would make us marvel; something that would make us rub our eyes in astonishment; something that is beyond our rational justification. If we ask ourselves, ‘when was the last time I saw a miracle!?’, probably, we might end up recalling a magic show that we had seen during childhood days.
The fact is that miracles are all around us, taking place during the same monotonous routine which we follow every day.

Today while I was waiting for my office bus in the morning, my eyes wandered across the sky and I saw a flock of birds floating in the air, in a ‘V shape pattern’. As I watched, they smoothly changed their pattern, all of them moving in a synchronized way; none of them lost sync, and now they were flying in a straight line. I watched in amusement; It was so beautiful.
Such a miraculous view!

Since childhood, I have seen such flight patterns many times, but it was this book that made me enjoy this view; made me wonder how these birds never bump into each other! How come they never stop to look at where the other birds are going; how do they precisely know when to turn?
We all have seen those underwater shows on discovery channel, where little fishes swim around in complete synchrony; changing direction at the same time. How is this happening? Did you ever wonder? Frankly, I never did!

The author explains this in his book; he says, “This Synchrony is choreographed by a great pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature, and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul! ” The instantaneous communication we see, comes from the spiritual level, the nonlocal intelligence in the virtual domain (Some concepts that he explains in the book). He mentions many examples of such synchronicity in nature, between various creatures, including human beings! ( like you think of calling a friend, and suddenly you get a call from him/her, at that same moment!)

While this book is about a lot more than what I have been trying to reproduce through this post, these explanations by him stirred me in a way that changed the way I think.

Isn’t life really full of miracles? Isn’t it that we are just used to taking things for granted?

For a two-year old, this world is a ‘magic show’! Every little thing is a miracle. But as we grow up, we stop questioning, we stop wondering. We fall into our routines, and fail to look beyond the usual.

Since I’ve started paying attention to my surroundings, I realize how there is scope for ‘little miracles’, and ‘little surprises’ amidst the monotony that surrounds us.

It really is amazing!

PS: I highly recommend this book!

Funnily, engineers have been studying the movement of birds to understand their sensory mechanism, and somehow use it as a solution for traffic jams! :P

PPS: There is so much more to write, and so many new things that I came across in this book! In my next post, I shall try to capture some more ideas and thoughts from ‘Synchro Destiny’, and of course, what I learnt from them.. :)

Lost and Found..


When you seem to be playing

Lost and found

With your own self..

*

When for touching the surface

Once again

Deeper, you delve..

*

When you stare at the wall

Aimlessly,

But conscious, of the lack of aim..

*

When vacuum makes you

 Wish for a refill,

And the touched brim you drain..

*

When you ransack your mind

Looking for something

That you are not sure exists..

*

When you follow your thoughts

To see what next

They wish to fiddle with..

*

When you wish to tear

 Off your skin

And emerge out anew..

*

When you wish to let go

And yet

Hold on too..

*

When you wish to wander

And not tell your steps

Which path to take..

*

When sleep doesn’t come easy

And you lie down

Wide awake..

*

When everything seems

Out of sync

And you wish for some control..

*

Just know the next lesson

Is on its way

To stir up your soul..

Office Diaries : I wish for a creative prompt..


Looking around at the colorful dullness.. I wish for a creative prompt..

I see the cheerful banter and the serious jargon, cross each other like strangers in a crowd;
the corridor has an air of unfamiliarity, an air of sweet confusion..

I see the content smiles and the slogging faces, together working in the same bay;
their eyes meeting occasionally, and saying all that is unsaid..

I see the stillness and the wild commotion, play their role in parts; Wishing to overlap secretly, but trying (and hoping) not to.. ;)

I see satisfaction and the lack thereof, play the game of hide and seek; both sitting on the scales of balance, and wishing the latter to rise..

I see, I notice, and I explore, the little world around me; this world, a melange of disparate pieces, waiting to come together..

.

.
PS: Who says ‘working’ can stifle creativity? :p

# It has been more than 3 weeks since I have joined office, and the fear of not being able to ‘write’ was killing me!
# In my office, people dress up in ‘business Casuals’, which informally means they can wear almost everything, ( :P) , hence the line, ‘ Looking around at the colorful dullness’ .. ;)

Search..for something NEW


Things my mind ponders over,

Notions that I believe are new,

My discoveries, my findings,

All seem to be stolen by YOU.

*

Every direction, every way,

Every path seems trodden, taken.

Every idea I think is untouched,

Has already, been stirred and shaken.

*

The only thing new, are the footprints,

The marks, and the trails I see.

That tell me I am not the first,

Someone else was here before me.

 *

I thought and thought and finally concluded,

‘My search’, must never stall.

There must be something, ‘unturned’,

Something waiting,

After all….

 *

Every cliché was once original,

Every thought was once raw.

Joining the bright dots in the sky,

New ideas, I began to draw..

Your existence, is camouflaged..


If you have never wondered ..
How many stars light up the firmament..
If their twinkling is a bagatelle..
Your existence, is camouflaged..

*

If you have never trailed..
your fingers on the window..
Covered with mist, longing for some art..
Your existence, is camouflaged..

*

If you have never realized..
That this world holds a mystery..
If nothing seems like magic..
Your existence, is camouflaged..

*

If you have never questioned..
The pouring down of rain..
If the droplets never clap for you..
Your existence, is camouflaged..

*

If you are never amused..
To see the sun drowning..
If you have never tried to reach for the horizon..
Your existence, is camouflaged..

*

If you have never looked..
At the deep dents on the moon..
If they are just scars for you..
Your existence, is camouflaged..

*

If you have never paid thought..
To the reason for your existence..
If you are flying like a stray kite,
Your existence, is camouflaged..

*

If you haven’t yet heard..
The ricocheting voices..
Telling you to have your own voice
Then your existence, is camouflaged..

*

If you haven’t yet mixed..
A few colors in the palate..
If you haven’t yet painted, yourself anew..
Then your existence, is camouflaged.

PS: This poetry is inspired from the book Sophie’s world by Jostein Gaarder.  The German poet Goethe once said, ‘ he who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth’. What I understand from these lines is, that  one who cannot learn from his past, one who is not curious to know about the things around him, and one who has never tried to know about our history of three thousand years, is just EXISTING, not LIVING!

Knotty fingers


They say, ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop’; well I have been completely idle for 15 days now, and I don’t feel any devil dwelling up in there!

In fact this idleness has given me a much needed sabbatical from my busy and occupied life; a complete break from ‘rushed thinking’. I have felt a certain kind of calmness in my mind.

I have felt my mind breathing; taking in newness from my surroundings, and exhaling processed observations in the form of my thoughts.

A week back, I met one of my mother’s friends, who is a doctor, a ‘Sleep Specialist’ ( not a specialisation you hear very commonly).  We were generally discussing something, and he suddenly noticed my fingers. He told me that I had ‘knotty fingers’  (knotty fingers are thin from the bottom, then slightly wide in the middle, then thin again, and then finally slightly wider on the top). I had never heard of such a thing before! He told me, that people with knotty fingers are ‘philosophical’ in nature.  They want to go to the root of every matter. They analyse and think before they act, and they are creative!

This is what ‘knotty fingers’ look like

Well, he was right ! I do love thinking and my own philosophies just don’t cease!  As soon as I returned home, I researched on people with ‘knotty fingers’, and I was utterly amazed at how accurately my traits matched the typical traits of a person with knotty fingers! This revelation made me think about things even more.

I have been pondering over the meaning of ‘wisdom’ for quite some time now.  What is wisdom? Is its meaning standard for the entire world, or can it be subjective? Is it innate in a person, or can we acquire it? When can a person be called wise? Should his wisdom reflect in all his decisions? Or can he waver too?  I seem to have been obsessed with the whole idea of wisdom!

Very strangely, while going through the root of the word philosophy, ( I feel I am a true philosopher, I don’t even spare words when it comes to going to the root! :p) I found out that it is a greek word, made up of Greek philein, meaning to love, and Greek sophos, meaning wise. Thus, philosophy means, ‘love of wisdom’. This fuelled my curiosity to know more about wisdom, and also about philosophies of great philosophers. !  ( So I am not to be blamed for thinking too much! What do I do when one thing leads to another?)

My Maternal grandfather once gifted me a thesaurus when I was young. On the first page of the book, he wrote ‘knowledge is power, and when tempered with wisdom, it becomes an irresistible power, FORCE’. I was too small to understand the meaning of this immensely wise quote then, but as I have grown, its meaning for me has changed several times. Sometimes I have confused knowledge with wisdom, and this quote has corrected me.  And this is what I think is part of ‘acquiring wisdom’ ; beginning to understand things more clearly!

I don’t want my search to end, I want it to continue till the end, my end. I don’t seek a conclusion, I doubt if I will be able to handle having reached a conclusion, in fact I doubt if there is a conclusion meant for this query. I just wish to evolve with my search, for there is greater pleasure in the climb.

PS: Do you have knotty fingers? ;)

 

The pictures have been sourced from google

Fulfilment and disenchantment


‘Fulfilment’

Fulfilment can be bought with money.

This feeling can be snatched or stolen.

Or it can just be earned.

It can be possessed by involving one’s self in unimportant activities, as trivial as indulging in a sinful bar of dark chocolate; For a thief, it may mean getting hold of a rich man’s wallet; It can come with watching a favourite TV show after a long working day, or with spending a relaxed evening with one’s family.

A lot of us are happy and satisfied with the small doses of ‘fulfilment‘, that life treats us with, and we should be! A narrow, day-wise view of life can sometimes make us value and cherish moments that usually get overlooked in the larger picture.

But sometimes, this fulfilment takes a step ahead, and starts filling up our days with illusionary pleasure. Some things, that should just give us a sense of happiness, start becoming too important. They begin to make us smugly satisfied with what we have.

There needs to be a dividing line between fulfilment and letting it fuel complacence. Some of us get accustomed to the minor, fulfilling, daily acts and don’t bother to search for the greater fulfilments of life.

What is important is not the feeling of fulfilment, but the ‘awareness’ of its source, and means of achievement.

Short term happiness can make people detached from the realisation that a larger purpose is awaiting them; that they need to recognize it and act towards it.

Endless factors around us, make us feel important, sometimes undeservedly, which pushes us into a dark room of illusions. We, all starry-eyed, do not let the darkness affect us, and then, disenchantment comes with a price.

We need to get rid of the vicious cycle before it’s too late; We need to open our windows to a more wholesome view; we need to disenchant ourselves, before its price becomes unaffordable!

 

 

PS: a little vague; not one of my best posts; yet, a feeling that is very strongly felt.

My Wanderlust..


My wanderlust grows on seeing this wall..
Dull, cracked.. Yet standing tall..
Returning my push, returning my stare..
Challenging my will, with a dare..

*

 My hands spread out, on it’s wrecked plane..
My ear touching an old stain..
I pretend to hear the blocked sound..
My wanderlust grows, as I feel bound..

*

The small window, glows at me..
It talks to me, lures me..
Yet I just stand, still and wait..
For this wanderlust to eventually fade..

A few odd days..


Sometimes I feel that a few odd days are strategically interspersed in my otherwise perfect life, just to give me a break from satisfaction, from happiness; to shake me out of my complacent mode and give me a hint of what life actually means; to tell me that strength within cannot be built if I live an easy life.  I need to drop a tear, I need to pine, I need to feel pain, I need to experience the deep valley of sorrows, after the exhilarating climb.

The odd days, self-invited, come and stay for as long as they want; leaving me shattered, and groping in the dark. I feel choked, restless; oblivious of what I am supposed to do in order to breathe. With despair engulfing me with all its might, I feel like giving up my last drop of hope, my last breath of happiness, my last smile. At that moment, just when I’m on the verge of breaking down, I see a huge, magnificent ball of light, inviting me in. It is the entrance to ‘happy days’. I see colour, I see smiles; I see happiness, once again. I am back up, continuing the climb, this time with a little more happiness, a little more gratitude, towards life.

Suddenly life seems magical; The ‘Perfection’ that was missing, decides to knock at my door, again. My smile decides to make a curve, again. My eyes are ready to twinkle, again.

After having crossed the valley, I understand why it had come in my way; why it had fraught my smooth life with so much grief, and such turmoil. I see the disparate pieces finding their way; I feel enlightenment.

I know it would sound absurd, but somewhere I’m glad for the bumpy ride that those odd days brought along, for it made me cherish the happy days even more.

This post is dedicated to two of my loveliest friends Monica and Divya. Love you :)

Little imperfections..


[This post is in response to Preeti Shenoy’s weekly creative prompt :
Can a relationship be like a tea-stain? Why or why not?]

 

Just when your eyes gleam at the ‘perfect setting’: tea for two and a piece of cake, smiles, joy and laughter, an unanticipated ‘trip’ shakes you up. You watch your happiness spilling, along with the golden brown liquid, all over your bright white table cloth. Your hands, hastily groping, get punished by a burn, and your bright white table cloth, with a tea stain..

Every relationship is like a cup of tea; some are sweet, some bitter; some dark, some light; some strong and some mild. Each one has it’s own colour, it’s own flavour and it’s own essence.

There comes a time in life when you trip; trip over uncertainties, problems, disagreements and discontentment, and can no longer hold on to your cup of tea. You let go of it, but it does not leave you; it leaves you with a tea stain that shall remain with you, forever.

Yes, some relationships become like ‘tea stains’..

Tea stains; you constantly splash them with water, sour them with lemon, and all they do is trick you, with a temporary ‘fade’. Their rebellious resurfacing makes you want to give up.

You give up, you just let them be, because they remind you of the ‘perfect setting’. They remind you of the smiles, the laughter. Reminiscence, makes you look at them, and make some space for a ‘little’ imperfection, a little memory.

After all, nothing is perfect :)

PS: This is my first attempt at Preeti Shenoy’s Creative Prompt :)

Learning to tell jokes. Phew!


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I like my desk better now- with lesson plans, colourful worksheets, fun videos and audios on my desktop, and a daily task of creating something new.
It’s scary too, of course. Imagine standing in front of a batch of Japanese, Spanish, Indian, South Korean, and French speaking students, and trying to crack a joke in English. You are subject to instant validation and frankly, in the internet age, I’m not used to it. But sometimes, you have no escape, you just have to crack a joke, and it has to be funny.

Like last week, a student asked me what humour meant. Now how would you begin to explain humour to a beginner level class without cracking a joke? So you take a deep breath, muster some courage to build a joke around the first thing that comes to your mind, and shoot! If your students laugh, it means they all understand it. And you are like woah! they all get a joke in English! If they don’t, you feel shaky in your knees, and struggle to cover it up with a better one. It’s so tricky you know, they won’t get the jokes you have grown up with, and you have no idea about what they would find funny. And if they don’t find it funny, how would you get the meaning across? Sometimes you find a student strangely staring at you, with big eyes and raised eyebrows just when you think you’ve told the best joke of your life. Trust me, your world comes crashing down in that moment.

Sometimes my jokes aren’t funny, what’s funny is how all the students suddenly start looking at me when a question is asked, expecting an instant answer. You need to be quick, spontaneous. I have never been spontaneous. I’ve always been in awe of people who were, thinking it’s something you were born with. You know those people who don’t plan at all? I thought I could never be that person. Well, I was wrong. Eventually, you become that person, quickly learning to construct meanings with words and contexts your students would understand, and sometimes failing terribly. But I guess it’s okay; being tested every day, watching myself fail and then laughing at the fiascos every day. It makes you realise how fallible you are, and it’s important because every failure puts a tiny crack on your perfect self-image.  And when that happens, when you see a less perfect version of you, it bothers you like nothing does, making you want to mend it right there.

I’d read somewhere that we should try and fail at something every day. They say it helps in getting over the fear of failure and trying new things. I think it’s working for me. Well, it applies to telling jokes for now, but that’s progress no?

 

On being a teacher of the ‘funny language’


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A learned man said to me once, “Why do you want to become an English language teacher? It’s a fucked up and funny language.” It was a cloudy day, perfect for epiphanies, and so I let one mess with my brain again.

The two adjectives he used caused enough stirring in me to stick to my resolve to become one (effects of prolonged exposure to banality and monotony in life, I believe). And so I began on this journey, to a destination I thought I knew and understood. It’s been less than a year since I started teaching English professionally, and all I can say, is that I was wrong.

One of my students is a bright young boy who works as a waiter at a popular pub in Gurgaon. He always keeps me on my toes by asking me curious questions about the English language.Mam, on recharging my phone, why do I get a message saying ‘Your balance has been credited’? Don’t we use the ‘ing’ form of verb with ‘has +been’?” He asked me one day- with I don’t know why- a naughty smile.

While I know the English grammar rules, and also the fact that the mere possession of knowledge doesn’t suffice, I realized you have to be a teacher to really understand your own understanding of certain things. You have to pass on the concept in the best, the most creative way possible.

I asked him at the beginning of the session, as I do with all my new students- “Why do you want to learn English?” That day, I couldn’t help but notice a deep sadness and dejection in his eyes

I want to be able to speak English fluently so I can become a manager at a pub one day. And so that people would respect me. Nobody really respects the waiting staff. Whenever something goes wrong, even if the customer is at fault, we are reprimanded, and expected to apologize”, he explained, with his lips curved in a strangely gentle smile of despair.

I have seen these people at restaurants, the ones who for some twisted reason have grown up to believe that they are the most superior beings on this mortal planet. Being sarcastic at best and, rude and disrespectful at worst, these people think they own the place. The ritual of whistling, shouting out ‘Aey hello!’ to address the waiters is common. But, when I heard about it from this young boy, his eyes full of dreams and aspirations getting misty, his predicament pierced me like a sword. It angered me. I felt for this boy who was smart, humble, worked 16 hours a day, earned a livelihood for his family, and spent a considerable part of his monthly salary on learning English, with the belief that this language would earn him respect. I don’t know what’s disheartening if this isn’t.

His response that day changed the way I viewed my profession. Hell, it made me rethink the meaning of my choice to become an English language teacher. I realized that my perceived sense of responsibility towards my profession was all wrong. Since that day, I have taught many such students, who spoke in their native language with great confidence, but transformed into meek, underconfident strugglers the minute they switched to English. Some of them were so conscious of their pronunciation, that they wouldn’t speak the word but would spell it out to ask me the correct way of pronouncing it. Trust me, this really scared me as a teacher. 

You know English in India is not just a language- it’s like a degree that gives you confidence, promises you better prospects, better opportunities, better jobs, better livelihood, and it hurts me to say, but respect. May be I was aware of all this before, but now I am a part of this process for people. I am no more doing a job for myself alone, but for people who invest their trust in me. Teaching has changed me so much as a person; I have grown more perceptive, humbler, and yes I’m no more the judgmental grammar Nazi I used to be.

Ten years ago, my uncle had asked me what I wanted to become when I grew up, and I had said anything but a teacher. Surprised, he asked why, and I said, because nobody respects teachers. I don’t know what was responsible for this idea. May be the teasing and making fun of teachers at school which I hope, we all are guilty of indulging in. When I look back now, I just feel sad about our childhood sensibilities and morals.

But today I am glad I’m a teacher; I feel happy to see my students learning and becoming confident; their dejection dissipating as classes progress, and something meaningful is learnt. It’s amazing how these classes don’t just improve their communication, but also transform their personalities.

Lack of self worth, be it for any reason, can be the most dangerous thing for a young mind. I have been through this phase as a teenager, and I know how fucked up it feels. I don’t want people to go through it because of a language, and that too this funny language.

It would just be sad.

 

The wicked yellow ball tricked me again


 

Mike-Palmer-Starlight-Reflections

It was odd, the story, you made it odder,

Treason, treachery of the highest order,

Ready with my sword and soul gift wrapped,

I stood with no armor, at the border.

*

The wicked yellow ball tricked me again.

*

I ate my map, I killed my guide,

The desert was abandoned, the oasis had dried,

He attacked me with words, some black some gold,

I looked up at the Leo, the Scorpion, and sighed.

*

He saw me, and then at the starry night,

He drew out his arrow, and aimed just right,

Then the one up there, pulled the bow hard,

I saw two Orions, ready to fight.

*

The wicked yellow ball tricked me again.

It just stood watching the game get inane,

And then it rose, and lost the pale,

It turned white, I was in pain.

*

The arrows met, clashed, whatever,

There was thunder, downpour, lightening, whatever,

The Orions watched, and  I wondered,

Life, death, after life, whatever.

*

So I died, once, and then again,

In the midst of chaos, battle, rain,

I was ready this time, I swear I was,

But the wicked yellow ball tricked me again..