The little things

I’m all about the little things in life. Whether it’s the small talk with the cashier/server at the canteen, the daily phone calls with my mum and sister, or some stupid joke I manage to crack in German over lunch with my colleagues, I derive enormous pleasure from tiny everyday things. They ensure my routine never bores me and that a smile is permanently plastered on my face.

While in my head these instances seem like the treasure trove of anecdotes to share with friends and family, my audiences are usually trying to figure out what exactly is so special about the fact that someone I greet at work every morning had a conversation with me about how moody our lift is. Then again, as I write this, I guess I can understand their apathy. It’s true. I talk just for the sake of talking.

While my life is graced daily with innumerable such simple daily pleasures, there are still some small ones that I’ve pursued all my life but have continued to elude me to date.

It all started last week. I was sat at a meeting wondering why time passes so slowly when you’re attending one. I glanced at my watch, my laptop screen, the projector screen, at the colleagues who were discussing some work that had to be done and back at my laptop. As my eye roved over the entire room, it happened to fall on the pen in my hand. A second glance confirmed what attracted the first one. It was happening! Finally! After months and months of using the same pen, the ink in the refill was finally getting over.

Now while this should count as a daily pleasure, I have never, in all my life, in 19 years as a student and the last 1.5 as an employee, seen the refill in my pen empty just as I have never used a pencil/eraser until it’s so tiny, it can’t be used anymore. Because somewhere along the way I lose them. ALWAYS!!

So as I sat there in the meeting, the biggest of balloons swelled up in my heart. The day I waited for my entire life, just a few days away. I’d done the impossible. I’d managed to use the same pen until the ink in the refill had come down to just a few pages of writing. So every day I came to work looked at the pen and tried to estimate exactly when the party would be.

And yesterday, with the day ahead of me filled with meetings, I was especially excited. So as the day wore on, I made meticulous notes at every meeting. Making sure I brought it back with me at the end of every meeting. It was going great. The ink was emptying itself out of the refill on to the pages before me. And then it was time for the last meeting of the day. We drove to the meeting centre and I sat down for what would be an hour of new information to me. The new subject matter required more concentration than usual but no note taking. So I sat at the back and followed the topic. Sorting out all the information in my head. At the end of the meeting we headed back to our office. Listening to my colleagues as they discussed what tasks they had ahead of them.

Back at my desk, I pulled out my diary to update my to-do list before I left for the day. I reached for the pen but my fingers grasped at thin air. Without too much thought, I dove under my desk, where I normally find a lot of my stationery disappears to. But I re-surfaced empty-handed. When my bag also yielded nothing, I sat back slowly and let the disappointment sink in. I’d left the pen at the other office. There was no way of getting it back. It was not to be.

Disappointment quickly made place for anger. At my carelessness, at my absent-mindedness. After months and months of using the same pen, I lost it when it mattered most. It’ll take months and months to get back to where I was. So I sit at meetings now, with inky hands holding a new full refill pen with leaks ink profusely, back to square one.

Advertisements

Way too much nonsense!!

The last time I published a post was 3 months ago. Not good. Not good at all! The last time this happened 3 months become 6 and that became more than a year. I’d promised myself to write more. Please note, it was a promise to myself, not a new year’s resolution I make just to break it the next day.

Anyway, here we are. 3 months and no post. So what have I been up to? Have I been travelling a lot and having exciting adventures? No. Have I been super busy at my job with a bossy boss? No, my boss is actually really cool! Have I at least been without Internet? Nope! I’ve come to a point where I can’t imagine my life without the world wide web but that’s a story for another day. Or is it? Can you even trust me anymore? Actually, have you ever trusted me to stick to my word? I hope not. Then I’d have to add to the already long list of people I’m disappointing.

Now that all that beating around the bush is done, let’s get to the elephant in the room. What exactly have I been up to? The answer is nothing.  A big fat, lazy, good for nothing NOTHING. I thought I would have more time now to blog than ever. I thought I’d be super-productive and churning out blogs every week until you all got tired and begged me to stop or something equally dramatic happened. But that’s what I thought. Didn’t really translate into action.

I do actually have a lot more time on my hands now than ever. Except for maybe summer holidays during school. I don’t have to worry about exams, or reports or anything. So I don’t have any excuse, let alone a valid one. I’ve been lazy.

The truth is, I’ve always blogged when I’ve had other stuff to do. I’ve blogged when I should’ve been doing other things. I blogged about the other things. Now, without school and exams and due dates, my life is a lot less dramatic than it used to be. Less drama means less ranting, less ranting translates to no blog. So basically I’m now a big old bore and need new challenges.

I always thought I’d be set once I started working. That’s everyone’s dream isn’t it? To have a secure job with money entering your account every month. It’s what we work towards from the time we’re 6. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job! I’m doing the things what I’ve always dreamed of doing but it’s not something I can blog about.

So, to surmount this new challenge, I turn to you my dear readers. You know how I write, and also what you like to read. How about we try a collaboration. You suggest and I write. I can’t promise that it will  be very good but I do promise to try.

We’ll never be royals

Last week Hollywood was rocked by 2 “shocks”. The first in the form of Dylan Farrow’s open letter accusing Woody Allen of sexually abusing her as a child and the second as the death of Philip Hoffman. Hollywood came out in drones to defend both celebrities praising their talent while grieving the unfortunate occurrence.

Every actor worth their buck and a lot of wannabes released a press statement or tweeted (really, whats the difference these days?) expressing their grief and extending the victims families support during this difficult time in their lives. The media too had a field day singing the praises of the amazing contributions made by both Allen and Hoffmann to the silver screen.

In all the chaos, the real story is lost and the real victims forgotten. While the media painted the two men as gods in their own right and as victims, the real victims – Dylan Farrow and Hoffmann’s family lay forgotten. Are you really telling me, we should be celebrating a paedophile and a known substance abuser? What have we come to?

They say art imitates life and vice versa. So who exactly is to blame for the glorification of these two disturbed individuals? People talk about what they brought to screen like it negates anything else they do. What kind of message is that sending out? If you’re famous you get away with anything?

I’m not comparing Allen and Hoffmann. They are 2 very different individuals. A child molester is much much worse than a substance abuser anyway! One enjoys himself at the cost of damaging the society while the other is busy destroying himself and indirectly to a certain extent those around him. But both share the fact that they hide behind their fame and evade justice.

Does fame really cancel out everything else? Well, it seems so these days, doesn’t it? If we “regular people” are known substance/child abusers, we are promptly put behind bars. When you’re a celebrity, everyone looks the other way. Caught with drugs? No problemo, hello! fancy rehab and thank you all for your support during this difficult time.

Celebrities continue to bask in the glory of their fame, untouched and unaffected by the ugliness of their actions. It’s as if their actions have no consequences. They behave as if they are innocent of the crime they’re accused of or even worse, that they didn’t know any better! It’s bad enough that they get away with what they do, what’s worse is that they have hordes of people who believe and defend them!

More closer to home we have Mr. Sanjay Dutt and Mr. Salman Khan. Both big names in Bollywood(no, I’m not calling it the Hindi film industry! deal with it!) and both accused of heinous crimes! But both living luxurious lives, releasing new movies and walking away with loads of money that WE provided! (Please don’t bring up the fact that Sanjay Dutt was in fact in jail and paid for what he did. He is still extended privileges others in jail are not provided, his sentence also not as severe and he doesn’t seem worse off from his stay in prison)

Celebrities are always in the limelight. Everything from what they wear to what they eat and what they do is news. they are trend setters and very influential people. They have immense clout over the millions wo idolise and ape them. Every time a celebrity gets away with something, actually, every time WE let a celebrity get away with something, it;s another reason for a “regular person” to follow suit. Unfortunately for them, they don’t have the money or the fame to safely carry them across the event. It’s like Lorde sings, In a torn up town, no postcode envy, but every song’s like gold teeth, grey goose, trippin’ in the bathroom,….

Now before you point out that celebrities are human too and they make mistakes too, let me say that I completely agree. So when you say they are human and they make mistakes. So doesn’t it also mean that since they are human they have to face the consequences? The problem lies largely with us “regular folk”. We treat the people on the silver screen as gods who can do no wrong.

How else would you explain the temples dedicated to actors or the 100 foot cardboard cutouts covered in garlands an showered with milk on opening days? How else would you explain the riots that occurred in Bangalore when Dr. Rajkumar was kidnapped?

We need to remember that actors are people too and that they deserve the same treatment meted out to them as to any other person. They need to face the consequences and suffer the repercussions of their actions.

Earlier you had Britney, then Lindsey, Ledger and today you have Miley and Bieber who are being spoken about for going out of control and wrecking their lives. We know about them because they’re celebrities. We don’t hear about the hundreds and thousands of other girls who worship these celebrities and imitate them because they may be lying in a body bag somewhere with the name Jane/John Doe on it. If we really want to rid ourselves of the plague that these people unleash on our society we need to show them that, no! bad publicity is NOT publicity!

The Devil wears Prada

Women, clothes, shopping and fashion. It’s a match made in, well, everywhere to be honest. Go anywhere you want, from the most glamourous city to a tiny village, you’ll find that all women share the same intimate relationship with their clothes and accessories. You could call it a part of us but really its an extension of our being. It’s something we come packaged in and separating the two would make it hard for you to see us for all we are.

Men call it superficial, materialistic and shallow even. But darling, if we stopped caring so would you. As much as you’d like to believe you are above and beyond fashion, you’re not. If you truly were, you’d take that mirror that you look into before going out everyday and smash it to bits. Let’s face it, we all care about what we wear and how we look. It’s just that women are less insecure about admitting it. We don’t have any qualms about being associated with a scarf or bag or  shoes. In fact, it’s an honour for us.

You see, the reason people gripe and whine about these things is because they don’t understand it. Since they don’t they paint us as shallow, superficial beings who care more about appearance than what lies underneath it. The thing is, that’s not the case. We do value what’s underneath it all but who doesn’t like it all nicely wrapped up in some nice wrapping paper? Let me help you understand this a little so that you can live the same joy that the rest of us “women” do when we put on something new or look for a top of that exact shade of mauve. Or at least have the “patience to put up with us” while we do that.

You have to understand that we’re all bound by our lives and the roles that we play in them. We’re students or employees and at the same time we’re also parents, sibling, spouses and friends. Living in the world we do, we tend to get defined by our jobs, our families and our social standing. These things not only dictate how we behave and what we do but also how we look and dress. And that’s where the problem lies. These rules or boundaries suffocate and limit us in so many ways. A lot of times there’s nothing we can do about it because the situation has our hands bound.

Shopping, fashion, clothes, these are the things that rescue us then. Inside the store, or in the closet, we can be whoever we want and whatever we want. We’re no longer defined by our social standing, job or even how much money is there in our savings bank account. We can be glamourous, sexy, casual or mysterious. The options are unlimited and the freedom limitless! It’s like having the world in your fist and everything under your control.

We can’t control everything that happens in our lives. You can work hard at it but whether it’s getting a promotion or coming first in class, there are also other factors that come into play over which you have no influence or power. But what you wear and how you look, that is something you can control. And knowing that there’s something that you can control, even something as common as your clothes, shoes or how you look, is still at least one thing working the way you want it to and there’s no feeling greater than that.

So before you trash someone else about what their appearance or about how concerned they are about their looks, try it yourself. Before long you’ll be longing for the heady concoction that is fashion. One sip and you’ll know just what power really feels like. And once you have, it won’t come as such as surprise to you that someone as powerful as the Devil wear Prada.

The internship chronicles – Part 1 – The beginning

Of course this was coming! You didn’t want to believe it was or even think it but here you go! I reach a significant milestone in my life and I don’t blog about it? What did you think this blog was for? Some highly sophisticated view of the world? Come now, don’t kid yourself. It was always about me! My life, what I do, what I think, yada yada yada. Now that we’ve eased into the topic let’s get back to the point now, shall we?

As some of you may know, I recently started an internship. 7th January to be precise. So any automobiles being made from here on out, well, let’s just say watch out. You didn’t think I’d actually name the company here now did you? I like a little mystery about me. If I gave you all the details what if one of you lands up where I stay? Not that so many people actually read this blog or anything but you know, there are strange people on the internet. Anyway, back to the point. I started an internship and this signals the start of a new series (please don’t bring up an old one. I’m working on it. I swear! *cross my fingers* ). This of course does not mean I shall blog regularly. Come on people, I have A LIFE!! Didn’t I just say I have an internship?

Now that I’ve put that point in your face, let’s move on. This internship is really good opportunity for me. I’m getting to learn a lot of stuff, meet new people, learn about what they do and most importantly, it’s invalidating everything I thought about how life would be when I started work. I mean I was realistic about it, a little at least. But oh no! Life has to show me otherwise. What is it with life anyway? Sometimes I feel that the only job that life has is to prove you wrong. In every single way.

So yes! working in R&D doesn’t mean you churn out new ideas everyday. In fact it’s a lot about looking at old ideas and wondering why they didn’t work or how to make it work. Of course you have new ideas but they involve more work than the old ones and man! is it hard! It’s fun, I’ll admit, to think that all the work you are putting in will one day translate into this amazing work of art (yes I think of cars as art. I think it’s a piece of art that you can actually think of owning. And if you don’t, well why not?). It gives you a certain sense of pride and satisfaction knowing that you were responsible for something that beautiful.

Now while the internship is teaching me a lot of new things about the industry and my subject, it’s also changing the way I live my life. I really feel like I’m growing up. I wake up in the morning(actually morning! I’m up even before the sun! and this is being done voluntarily!!), reach work at a particular time, eat lunch on time, sit in one place for more than 10 mins, talk softly and the list is endless. Basically I’m doing everything(well, almost everything) my mum always wanted me to do. Just that I’m a couple of decades too late(yes yes, I’m hinting at how old I am). So Ma, if you’re reading this, I’ll get married too, just give it a couple of decades *wink*. (I am so going to get a lecture about this tomorrow!)

So for now, I think this is enough. For more details stay tuned to this site (don’t, you’re just giving yourself false hope and waste your time). I’m signing out now. Gotta hit the hay early because I have work tomorrow (that sounds SO weird).

Can’t wait!!

It’s 3 a.m. and I’ve tried everything to try and sleep. It’s been the same the last few nights. And contrary to popular belief, no, I don’t have an exam (well, at least not for a couple of months). My sleep deprivation has to do with my longest love affair. Again, don’t get cheeky, I’m talking about Bangalore. In just under 12 hours I will start the long journey to reunite with my beloved city. In just 24 hours from now I will get to see, smell and breathe in my city.

I can’t wait! I’m excited, anxious and nervous all at the same time. It’s almost a year since I was last there and it’s the longest I’ve ever been away. Time has flown by but some days it’s harder than most to stay so far away and long for something that’s so dear. Something that’s been in my life so long now that it no longer feels separate. The city feels like an extension of me and I really do feel physical pain every time I leave. It takes a lot of convincing myself as to why I am doing it. A lot of convincing to realise, yes! the pain and the longing is indeed worth it.

But as hard as leaving Bangalore is, coming back has it’s own sweet sorrow. I’ve been away for a year. A year is a long time. A long time to be apart. Has it changed? Have I changed? Will it still be as comfortable as it always was? Will the time lost change the feelings I have for it? Will it still be the way I remember it? The questions are unending. The fear almost paralysing. But even the fear can’t drown out the excitement, or maybe it’s the heady concoction that these two make up keeping me up until I finally get there and get my answers.

Whether I’m arriving or leaving, there’s always a fair share of self loathing. They’re among the only moments I actually hate myself, and the reason is the same why did I leave/why am I leaving? As long as I’m away from Bangalore this vicious cycle will continue and unfortunately for me while my heart and soul truly do belong in the city, my head has a mind of it’s own and ends up winning the struggle. But it soon, very soon, I’ll be able to come back and come back for good. Who knows, maybe someday I may even get tired of the city. Okay, who am I trying to kid?! That’s NEVER going to happen!

Pretty

Pretty is what every girl yearns to be called.

Pretty is what every girl dreams of.

Pretty is what every girl aspires to.

And yet once you reach it, pretty is every girls undoing.

Until you touch pretty you are more, so much more than just pretty. You are strong, brave, successful, healthy, special,…. and yet you seek to run after that ever elusive prettiness. You look for it in the faces of those already christened pretty, in the cosmetics section of supermarkets, in salons and parlours around the city, in clothing stores at the mall, in age-old secrets from your mum and everyday in front of the mirror in your room. You look for pretty as you pout, as you search for ‘the dress’ for the party, in the exact shade of mauve,…. and you look and you look and you look some more until you find it.

And finally, OH FINALLY!!, when you have conquered your Everest, when you have gained entry into that blessed clique, when you believe you finally have the world where you want it, in your grasp, Alas! All you have managed is to fetter yourself to the chains of prettiness. From that moment forth, you are destined to forever remain in the grasp of pretty. For all else will cease to exist as you try to remain pretty. Not to others but to you. Because once you are pretty, you cannot suffer to be anything less than pretty. What started as a tag begins to define you and ultimately becomes you.

You see, being called pretty doesn’t suffice. Oh no! It’s not the end, it’s just the beginning! The fact that you touched upon that ephemeral quality once is a sign that you can achieve the feat again and you must. That’s a given of course! Why you ask? For the high, you silly boy! That moment when those two golden syllables are let loose, you are a slave to that momentary feeling of world domination, of being able to get anything you want, of total and complete control. Alas! My foolish child! How young and naïve you are! The world has played a cruel joke on you and you have misconstrued it to be reality. And hence, this irrational pursuit of a mere fleeting moment.

And now that you have been inducted into the hall of the hallowed, you are determined to stay there. You want everyone to recognise that you are finally where you belong, among your equals. And oh! the depths and lengths that you will scale to prove it so. Many a happy moment will you forego and forsake just to hear that cursed word again. You shall become like the queen, a prisoner of the mirror and until you find a way to break the spell, chained shall you stay. And much like the queen, you shall despise and detest anything that gets in the way of your foolish prettiness. And much like the queen shall you be despised and shunned. So much for being loved and admired!

Happy Women’s day!

As much as I would like to go on a rant about how having Women’s day goes against everything equality stands for and how people have a misconception that celebrating women’s day once a year entitles them to treating them like dirt the rest of the year, I’m going to take today as an opportunity to applaud all the great women in my life. Having grown up in a household filled with women and attended a girl’s school, it’s not very surprising that it’s mostly women who’ve inspired me. There are 8 traits that make up a woman – strength, dedication, nurturing nature, perseverance, faith, intellect and a desire for perfection. Each of the women who’ve inspired me are the personification of each of these traits.

To start with, I’m going to have to go with my Mum. What can I say about the woman who went through the ordeal of carrying me in her womb for 9 months and still not complain when I refused to arrive when I was supposed to? The fact that you had the patience to put up with my pickiness about food, inconsistency with my grades through school and rebel teenage years itself entitles you to an award. But I often forget that you play more roles than just my mother. And boy, do you essay them to perfection! You are the strength of a woman personified.

The second most inspiring woman in my life was introduced to me as a squalling pink baby. From then until now, I have watched her transform into the beautiful woman she is today. In the beginning you were just a tiny little thing, following me around and imitating me. As we grew older, I watched you come into your own. Watched you forming your own opinions, creating your own path and making your own destiny. You may be younger than me but you inspire me nonetheless. Your passion and dedication to your profession and your unwavering focus on your goals are just among the few things I would love to imbibe in me. You are the very essence of dedication!

The next two ladies were two of my most favourite teachers from school. The first of whom I met in middle school. History, Geography and English classes were never the same after that! Your different approach to each subject are the only reason I ever bothered picking my books up to study. Your encouragement then, is the reason I still write today. The second was my teacher in high school. The very first day of Chemistry class you moved from Gas laws to discussing how the Columbia crashed; I’d always hated chemistry but you got me to sit down and at least give it the time of day. If it weren’t for you, I’d have never considered engineering as a career option. You are both what nurturing is about.

My next encounter with a woman of substance was in class 9. I’d always thought of tuitions as a place where weaker students went. I used to assume that going tuitions meant you were dumb and the last thing I wanted, was to look dumb. But I am so thankful that my mum sent me to one. Your unending patience with our doubts and mistakes is the reason all of us are who we are today. You found something special in each of us and helped us recognise it within ourselves. You are the very image of perseverance.

This woman, is the biggest surprise on my list. We’ve studied in the same school but never the same class. Our meeting was quite by chance and would never have happened were it not for mutual friends. It’s incredible that among all the friendships through school, this is the one that has weathered time’s test and still stood strong. You have a knack for knowing exactly what to say, when to say it and how to say it. Your constant faith and belief in me kept me going even when I had no faith in myself. You are faith!

Lady number 7, is one who’s sitting pretty and far away. We were never very close through Pre-university but now I can’t imagine going through something big without you by my side. It’s amazing how despite not having been in touch for months, we pick up from where we left off without the slightest awkwardness. Many and more have been left tongue-tied after an argument with you. You seem to have an opinion about everything. Your quick wit and charm never fail to impress. You are THE intellectual woman.

The last lady in my list, is THE girl (inside joke) in our class. I used to think of you as very reserved but over the course of three years I got to know you better. Whether it was in class or out on the basketball court, you showed everyone just how a woman can do everything a man can, very capably and sometimes even better. Your unending desire for perfection sets you apart and you never stopped until you achieved exactly what you set out to do. You are what perfection is all about.

Each of these women are women of substance. Many others have inspired me in their own little ways but these women stand out against a canvas of myriad colours and people. They bring with them such vigour and brightness that you can’t help but feel their presence. Each of them symbolise the traits that make up a woman and every woman carries a part of them in her. The fact that a woman is the most beautiful and inspirational creature one would find is undeniable. We all owe our very existence to a woman and it is indeed fitting to have a day dedicated to celebrating her.

Ooops!

They say, To err is human but to forgive is divine. We’re all human alright, but we’re a long way away from discovering that ever eluding divinity. Once we make a mistake we’re immediately in the target and vision range of all those around us. After that, there’s a constant reminder of how you messed up. It doesn’t matter what you did before; the one mistake is enough to render your previous history obsolete. To quote Marc Antony from Shakespeare’s famous Julius Caesar, ” The good that men do is oft interned with their bones. So let it be with Caesar” and so it has been and continues to be with us too. People refuse to look past your moment of ill luck or bad judgement and judge you based on it.

In my experience when you mess up, you know you messed up ( for the most part, considering you’re not on substance abuse). You know it, you regret it. And the last thing you want to do is remember that. You wish you could leave it behind you and move on. You’re low on confidence and self esteem but are up to your throat in self-loathing. At this time, when what you most need is support and understanding, what you’re given instead is a cartload of judgement. Don’t misunderstand me, criticism is good, required even. But repetitive criticism is more harm than good.

Perhaps it’s the fact that we all know just how faulty we are on the inside; and watching others demonstrate their own faults somehow makes us feel better about ourselves, gives us the hope that maybe the other person is the same too and there’s nothing to worry about.  At the end of the day, we’re all only human, bags of flesh, bones and hormones filled with dreams, wants and desires. What else can one hope to do with that heady concoction but take a misstep or two?

We are spinning our own fates

People walk in and out of our lives every day, hour, minute and second. Right at this moment, there is someone on their way in or out. It could be a random somebody or a significant someone. The difference, between the random and significant some, is decided by you. A somebody in one person’s life could be a  nobody in another’s. The person is the same, it’s their importance and the role they play in each person’s life that’s difference. And that decision, lies with you. A fact we often tend to forget. We forget that the roles played by the people in our lives are decided by us and we hold the key to them being where they are. We put them in their position of power or insignificance. We are responsible for the people who affect us.

masquerade-ball300

True we can’t choose our families. It’s something we start with by default. But here again we make our choices. Some of us are close to our mums, others with our dads and some with neither. We still define the dynamic of each relationship. We believe we live under societal, peer or familial pressure and use it as an excuse for our actions and decisions. When the truth of the matter remains that we come under the pressure only because we to. We define the pressure we succumb to.  They only exist because we choose to acknowledge their presence. We decide who hold sway over us and we forget this. It’s not that we can’t, it’s that we don’t choose otherwise. This decision making is such a sub-conscious act that most of us don’t even realise it exists. We aren’t slaves to anyone’s opinions but our own.

It’s said that we hold our destiny in our hands. It’s not our actions that define and alter our lives but the decisions we take that lead to the actions. We hold the power. The power to shape our lives and mould our destiny. If only we would realise this. Realise that we are actually free and the only thing holding us captive is our own mind. Freedom is not just a physical attribute. True freedom starts with the freedom of the mind. As long as we’re caged within our minds, there’s only so much that the body can do.