Write

I like how wordpress has it’s ‘Write’ button right at the front of your page. And it just says ‘Write’. Not ‘Compose’ or ‘New post’ or something slightly more, for lack of a better word, flowery. Just, plain, straight, write. Like an order.

Anyway, so I was wondering just about a few minutes ago, as to why people write at all. Not referring to ‘write because writing is your job’, or because ‘the world deserves to know your brilliant ideas’, but write, in general, especially blog posts. Or even in their journals. To make memories, yes, but not everything you read online is a diary entry of sorts. So why?

The answer, I believe (because I am most capable of having interviews with the self), is too many thoughts. Not memories, not ideas, not stories, general thoughts. Mostly fleeting, these thoughts do not have the power to become opinions and come out in discussions necessarily, or more often, these are thoughts you are not even sure who you can share with. I mean, you might have a person or two in your life who will actually be interested in listening to what you have to say, but the absolutely exhausting and busy lives we lead, they won’t always be available. Also, the sheer frivolousness of these thoughts, will sometimes stop you from mouthing them out in the open. I mean, when you are talking you can say ‘the traffic was terrible!’ but while writing you can say exactly how terrible without a person in front, look like they are all set to to tear your head off for the excruciating amount of detailing you are capable of.

Hence, writing. No one is here to judge you, unless ofcourse, you are very famous, in which case you have crossed over the line, and are some sort of a writer (ok, professional blogger, before the elitist ‘writers’ sue me) who people look forward to read. Folks who read someone who just writes for the want to pen down their thoughts before they forget, will mostly be people who have similar thoughts, who feel good about having company when it comes to handling little things like terrible twos among toddlers, or a last moment assignment at work, or mid-life crisis. Even if the people reading you do not associate with your thoughts at all, they just play along because you get to know someone else’s perspective. There are arguments, but far and few, especially if the topic is controversial or if the writer gets personal about some trait that unfortunately, you identify with. But all in all, it’s a peaceful world of coexistence.

Which is why, while my book-reading tends to fluctuate, I am somehow addicted to checking out my blog feed every couple of days. I sometimes wonder what I get out of knowing the on-goings of someone else’s life, people I hardly know, and their thoughts on topics that I don’t relate to at all. But there is a fair bit of calm I get from reading these posts.  Whether it’s for the way they describe what they ate, or the funny story of their kid at school, or heartbreaks they had and recovered from. If you think of it, they are actually like little stories – only the writer is not trying to reach out to the world with it. It’s just out there, visible to all, but seen only by someone who chances upon it, and realizes that it is worth their time.

Which might be yet another reason why people write. Because thought they can’t see who, the stats say that there is someone sitting in another part of the world, reading what you have written, and nodding along going ‘Oh boy, I get you’.

Advertisements

October Monday*

It has not been a very happy beginning to my week, because no week that starts with me having an episode with my car can be happy. Before one jumps to conclusions that I seem to have way too many episodes with my car, going by the fact that I wrote about one just 2 posts ago, let me assure you, it isn’t the episodes that frequent, it is the damn posting that is infrequent. Because I am a bloody careful driver – almost a worried one in fact – and I do not f**king break rules. So when these episodes happen to me, I am very, very pissed.

Back to my episode metric, I have been driving for a year and 5 months now, and I have had three situations. 1) When I scraped my car on a pillar inside my office parking because I over estimated the space between said pillar and an idiotically parked cab 2) When the stupid bus driver smashed my mirror and blamed me for scratching his bus and 3) Today, when a cab squeezing in through my right made me swerve nervously and bang into a cab on my left (my fault, I know).

But today was exceptionally annoying because, I kinda was at fault – which annoys me more somehow – and add to that, while the cab guy left after mouthing a few abuses (the damage was some paint from my bumper transferred to this door), another guy in another car, who had no business whatsoever and was just bloody audience, started gesticulating towards me to pull over! Ofcourse I didn’t and ofcourse I was put off and quite obviously, in conclusion, today sucks.

Well, that’s just the beginning of the week, and I assume I should just gear up for all that’s coming up. The long Diwali break (for those who took it, we had a day off exactly) is over, which means that there a lot of folks on the floor sending mails about sweets, and that is seriously hard to resist. I am however, in control, and have stuck to just two pieces, one kaju katli and one mango barfi. I totally love kaju barfi though it is amazing how they can pack so much richness and calories in that tiny sweet. Yum. There are also excited wishes of ‘Belated’ Happy Diwalis floating around quite a bit.

Which brings to back to a very recent observation about loud people. I mean the literal loud, screaming at the top of their voices kind. I always had a theory that maybe they were hard of hearing hence they raise their voices to ensure they can be heard because they themselves can’t. You know, like the older generation which still believes in screaming into the phone when the signal is poor like that would fix everything. But no, that doesn’t seem to be the case because I have come across this category of folks, who are loud and proud (of it). Like, they create noise in general and then create more noise celebrating their extraordinary ability to create said noise. And the whole world is gifted noise and I am gifted a migraine.

Which also makes me want to give a special mention to people who really believe that they can do no wrong. No one wants to be wrong, I agree, I hate it myself, but unfortunately, there are times when you just are wrong. And maybe you didn’t know it then. But when you do, why is it difficult to accept the mistake and move on? Seriously. If I were to choose between someone who makes 10 mistakes a minute but accepts them, and one who makes 1 mistake a minute but refuses to, I would choose the first in a blink. And yes, I would kick myself for it if 10-mistakes-a-minute continues it in future, maybe even kick him, but I would still, never regret giving him a chance over the latter. Because, it is just, more, annoying. Period.

Anyway, all this extra dose of happiness in one day had me so overwhelmed that I poured it out in this post, though it hasn’t all been so bad. As in, it’s been good, and bad, and good again, the typical cycle of things. But I will restrict to this for now, and write about brighter, more beautiful aspects of my very happening life in a different post. Hopefully on a day that doesn’t start like this.

Till then, wish well for me. Thank you.

*Yes, we are accepting awards for pathetic titles now.

Zo-oming in

Zo is turning 6 this week and I have started feeling like the typical mum of a 6 year old does – amazed at how the little one is not so little, and bawling at the fact that she’s growing up so fast. It is not cool, the way I feel, and I do not like it one bit.

This is actually the only reason I am on the blog right now, furiously typing away before I decide that what I am writing is all gibberish and then close this – sometimes (thankfully) saving the draft, and at other times, losing out completely on the memory that could have been. The problem is, I also feel that I am forgetting how it used to be – especially with Zo. The other day, I read this one post when she was 2, and it felt like I had made it all up because it sounded so cute – only I did not. I never do. I don’t even post an opinion till I feel absolutely strongly about it, because if it is a fleeting thought, it will pass, but it will stay recorded here for eternity (or till the internet exists), and years later when I will be old and grey (oh who am I kidding, that day is today), I will be like ‘who is this person writing all this’? And I don’t want that. Agreed, we all change over time, but I have started believing that we don’t really change, we just modify, adjust, compromise, but the core ‘us’ remains the same.

Well, I can say one thing for sure, it’s clear that my ability to go off-track while posting hasn’t changed at all. So back to Zo. Zo turns 6 this week and she is such a little person now (I am pretty sure I must said this before when she asked for apple or something when she was one but now I know that back then I had no clue what I was talking about), that I have full-fledged conversations with her about life and stuff. Not deep stuff, but like, when my boss sets up a late evening meeting knowing well that I would need to leave at that time, I tell her, and she understands, sympathizes even. It is an awesome thing really.

Another thing that’s happened is that she reads now. Reads, reads – not reads alphabets, or tries to form words using phonetics – reads. She started reading small books towards the end of last year itself (earning her the ‘passionate reader’ title in her graduation announcement, I think I mentioned it. If not – she was called that, and fashionista. Yes, mommy was very proud), but now, she reads Enid Blyton. I think this is it, I think if this continues, and I pray to God it does, I will feel extremely accomplished. Anyhow, the by-product of this that we have what we call ‘reading sessions’ (very cutely pronounced as ‘sections’ till a few months ago. Oh God my baby is all grown up), where we both snuggle and read our respective books, silently. Bliss, by the way, is this.

She is crazy sensitive too – in a funny way. Like if she accidentally bumps her head against yours, whether you react or not, she will cry, not for herself, but for you. It is adorable, almost heartbreaking till it gets annoying because she usually doesn’t stop crying if she starts. Which in mommy concepts means has a potential to turn into a coughing fit or a cold, both of which are terrible things.

She is an out and out fashion-fiend who will explain the difference between off-shoulder and cold shoulder (she did, to The Dude, it was fun), knows about ‘occasion-appropriate’ dressing and helps me pick my own outfits (I mean real advise here). Admitted that all her fashion sense is pretty much an offshoot of what I think, but then she also bluntly states that she’s a mini-me. Yes, I am basking in all this happiness till it lasts.

There is a lot more that’s there, and I wish I could store it all. I was wondering yesterday how good it would be if the Black mirror episode where you could revisit thoughts from the past (much like the penseive in Harry Potter) was true. I would just need to replay a record from the past and I would never lose sight of all that was. We wouldn’t constantly worry about losing out on precious memories – something that I do a lot these days. But then I think, maybe, it is this inaccessibility that makes the times gone by all the more amazing.

Because all that stays are these little bits, through photographs, and these intermittent blog posts, a few chats and mails, that remind you only of the parts that you actually want to remember.

7/12

These are bad times. Bad-bad times. I seem to be falling into an endless abyss of problems with a monetary impact. Like I am not sure if I mentioned this, but I damaged my pretty iPhone’s screen yet again, a couple of months ago. Mind it, it is still not 2 years old. So yes, after spending money on getting a fake screen and using it for 8 months, I damaged it yet again – this time because Zo sat on it (true story). So it didn’t break, but something went wrong and it had a permanent old Doordarshan style flickering going on, till I replaced it, yet again.

Only, now, the battery said goodbye. The phone would randomly switch off, and after a while it became a landline, by which I mean it had to be continuously kept on charge, which pretty much destroys the purpose of a ‘mobile’ phone I think. So I decided that I had enough of it and shifted my sim to a standard dual sim phone my company provides. So much for style.

Then, a bus hit my car. Or as the driver suggested – my car hit and scratched the bus. I like this story a lot. I have tiny i10 that I drive with utmost care (and worry) and don’t even try to squeeze into gaps a Fortuner would have just passed through. One such day as I was inching through the mess that is the traffic inside my office area, a large – strike that – a ginormous Volvo bus that was next to me, slowly sidled to it’s right, and hit my rear view mirror, which got flattened to the other side, with the mirror dangling off a wire. But here’s the thing. While I am a very cautious driver, I am also a very angry one. So I showed my temper through vigorous honking, which is saying something, because I avoid honking at all costs.

Now the bus driver, I presume, got all defensive at my obvious distraught, and kept going till we both were out of the jam. Here, he stopped the bus in the middle of the road (horizontally, blocking all traffic), got off, and came to me and said – ‘Aapki gadi ne meri bus ko scratch kar diya’. I gaped at him for a minute, the mirror still dangling, until my UP upbringing came to fore and I rolled down the windows and well, started shouting at him about the ridiculousness of the claim. By this time, people had gathered around because – 1) Woman driver 2)  The bus had blocked their path. And for one of the two reasons started supporting me vociferously.  In fact, at one point, amidst all the shouting a guy told me to ‘Calm down, I’m handling this right?’ , much to my indignation, because it was my car and I deserved the road rage. Anyhow, nothing came of all this and we all eventually went home and now my mirror is in place, held by a paper clip and some tape. Sad.

Then, last week, our Fridge conked off. This is right when we are planning to move out anyway and have tonnes of expenses coming up. But then you can’t live without a fridge, and we are planning to let out this place, which meant we had to get another fridge. And we did. But this was yet another blow. And just when we were getting cooling back into our lives with the fridge, my car’s AC stopped functioning, as if to balance it out.

Then on Saturday, The Dude got it all fixed up, and we drove merrily to my parent’s place, and parked the car, and for no reason, some idiot visitor from some other house bumped into my car from behind and BROKE the number plate into half. I mean seriously. Is there no end to this drama? So yes, I am driving with half a number plate that I plan to stick with Feviquik – and pray it works.

And in between all this, all our expensive online purchases started getting jinxed too. First it was a Marshall speaker the Dude had been eyeing for very long. It arrived, we set it up and all was hunky dory till the next morning when it just wouldn’t switch on. Huh? What? Ofcourse we had to return it. Then we ordered an Amazon Fire Stick, which also, seriously, stopped working after day 2. By this time I had given up. And while they did send a replacement for the latter, I am extremely worried about things in general. We even tried ignoring all this spate of bad luck and re-ordered the speaker from another site, which did not move from ‘processing’ to ‘shipped’ for a week, after which we finally cancelled it.

Then, there are multiple (and I mean multiple) issues with the house as we get it done. I mean, who knew it was so much work right? And all this just when I had started feeling very ‘in control’.  But turns out, there is no such state, in reality. So all I can do is, cross my fingers, hope for things to get better, and sip on this interesting Ayurvedic Tea from Tata tea – and repeat to myself all of whatsapp’s most cliched messages. Keep Calm. Take one day at a time. This too shall pass. Life’s what happens when you are busy making other plans.

Or my personal favorite, Screw this.

Big fat ten

Last Friday, The Dude and I completed 10 years of legal togetherness. It was a nice day. We took the day off and then went to our new house because the designers were to have a final look and collect the keys from us to finally start the interiors. And for once, they reached before us on time, which was like a gift in itself, because come on, who does that anymore anyway? So we met them, and were entering the building when we realised that we had forgotten something small – small in size and not importance (unfortunately) – the keys. So we drove all the way back through the traffic and got them keys. In the middle of all this I took a work call I had been anticipating all morning, and that lasted 3 minutes.

Then we went to this little cafe on the way, called the Driven cafe. It has like this bike/car theme to it, you know where all the decor is essentially from a garage? But it was nice. We decided to go sit upstairs because we assumed it would be nicer. It was alright. There was a guy sitting there scrolling through his phone with earplugs and a T-shirt with the cafe name on. So we waited for him to turn around and maybe get a menu or something because we have seen restaurants and cafes do that in the past. But that didn’t happen, so I sat and clicked pictures of the place and The Dude went down to find out that it was all self-service and the menu was on the blackboard, which I thought was very European, and also very lazy.

Then we ordered some coffee, I was about to order the regular Americano I prefer at cafes when I saw an ‘Indie-Americano’. I had to ask ofcourse, because this was 30 bucks or 45% more expensive that the former. The lady nicely told me that they would add haldi to the black coffee. I don’t know if you know that I am quite adventurous and a real risk taker when it comes to trying new food, but this was way too much for me. I mean 30 Rupees for a pinch of haldi in my black coffee is worse than that whole haldi doodh being sold as turmeric latter drama. So I refused it and went ahead with my regular Americano.

I also had red velvet cake and cream cheese in a jar, which was quite awesome but paled in comparison to the weather outside – grey and rainy. It was also absolutely peaceful – because we were inside. The place was playing the kind of music that kids these days listen to, but we were ok because the alternative was to hear the cars honking on the busy street. We spent a good 2 hours chatting and talking nonstop,  before we got back home to sleep for a while, which meant I slept and The Dude sat and scrolled through his phone, which is also the usual meaning of afternoon siestas in our household.

In the evening, we had decided on a nice place for dinner to celebrate. I had bought a dress for this, which is pretty much a lie because I had generally bought a dress which I do quite regularly because Online shopping is so awesome and it was just that I hadn’t worn it as yet. Just like the other few clothes I haven’t worn as yet, but this one made the cut and was deemed as my anniversary dress because we do things like that.

The place was nice, the food was good, though the portions were sort of small. I really didn’t mind it as much because that would mean 1) I would have space for dessert, something I miss every time despite my love for sweets because I am already too full by the time we reach the end 2) I wouldn’t end up with a balloon of a stomach destroying my ‘outfit’. Anyhow, it was a good evening, filled with a lot of talking and random discussions and before we knew it was almost 11 and time to head back home.

At home we sat for maybe another hour or so in our beautiful 19th floor balcony, talking and chatting about work, and the house and Zo, before we finally headed back to bed, content. The good part was that I felt it had been a happy day, one well spent.

The best part was that it felt exactly like every single day I have spent with this guy in the past 10 years.

 

Loyal Stalkers – Book Review

Last week, I was waiting for the latest books I had ordered on Amazon to be delivered, and was in for a surprise when I was greeted with not one package, but two. The other was from PanMacmillan publications and in it was Chhimi Tenduf-La’s third and latest book – Loyal Stalkers.

9781509876303loyal stalkers_2_jpg_251_400

 

I am not sure if you remember, but 2 years ago, I had read and reviewed this author’s first two books – The Amazing Racist and Panther, and they had been incredible in my view. This third book, is a collection of short stories based in Sri Lanka.

I am not a very short story person, and I had my apprehensions when I picked it up. There are more than 10 stories – telling us about the lives of people in Srilanka. These people came from absolutely varied backgrounds and situations – what with stories involving smugglers, cricketers, security guards, house-help, rich socialites and even a serial killer. The very span of the different facets of Srilanka living that you could see through these stories was downright astounding.

The highlight of the book however was that every story had some character, main or otherwise, linked to some other story in the book. This was not a surprise element, and is mentioned on the blurb itself. But I think that the subtlety with which these linkages were handled is commendable. The stories also panned across different times, and you would see the same character in a different story at a much later, or sometimes earlier phase of their life. And through this, the author ensured that he brought about some amount of closure to each character and their life, an aspect that I am immensely thankful about. Also, while I know it is not realistic expectation, but the only minor grudge I had was when there were characters I wanted to know more about, and expected them to come up in other stories, but they didn’t.

Not all the stories were your typical happy endings, but then reality never is, is it? And while some stories made me cry, some made me smile, and some actually made me cringe at the rawness, the graphic detail – the warm undertones remained through out. Yes, I do of course have my favorites in the lot, but that is more an individual opinion about the actual events that happen, rather than the story itself.

All said and done, I think it was extremely engrossing read, and I would recommend it to anyone. In terms of rating it, I might go as far as calling it Chhimi’s best work so far, more because of this unique format that offers you variety, but brings you back to the all encompassing common theme of life.

Once again, thank you Panmacmillan, and Chhimi for sending this across – I am sure everyone reading it will love it!

Horrible people

I have concluded that there are a lot of nasty people in this world. If you are wondering why it took me 34 long years to figure this out, umm, I don’t know. But better late that never they say and I say okay.

Anyway, when I am saying nasty, I mean real nasty – the kind who seem to get pleasure out of saying hurtful things to others. Now don’t get me wrong – I do not mind, in fact believe in, being hurtful to horrible people – but it is always in reciprocation. Like if you are sitting in a café, sipping on your Latte, and someone walks up to you and goes ‘Hey!’ and you are like ‘Hey’ and then they are like ‘Long time’ and you are like ‘yeah, very long!’ and then they are like ‘Let me join you’ and you are like ‘Sure’, and then they sit down and say ‘by the way why are you so stupid?’

Now here it is perfectly normal to say, ‘Oh no, looks like you are confusing me with someone, maybe you yourself. OR YOUR WHOLE FREAKING FAMILY.’  Hurtful right?  You might even call it on overkill, bringing in the family and all but I still believe that this is acceptable. Bottom line, meanness in reciprocation is not meanness but justice.

So in the context of the above, I am talking of the person who came up to the person drinking his latte, and not the latte drinker himself. I think you get my point. Yeah, so I think that the world is full of such people. They are there everywhere, like flies, buzzing around and annoying you like that’s the sole purpose of their life. Only, the flies are actually looking for food, and I am sure the buzzing has some relevance too, but these nasty people are like that for no particular reason.

You can identify a nasty person by the way he reacts to a happy update or piece of information about anyone except for himself. Like if you tell a person in this category, that ‘Do you know X got promoted?’ his response will be dismissal, or shock, or sarcasm, basically anything but genuine happiness. In fact, if you think showing genuine happiness on another person’s success is tough, let me clarify that this category will also not respond with a neutral stance which as per my personal belief is what one maintains if they don’t feel that the person deserves it. They will react in the manner best suited to their kind, i.e. nastily.

Some other examples* of nastiness can be –

  • When you tell someone about the new home you bought and they react with “Why would you want to buy a house there? It’s so crowded!”
  • When you tell someone that you read with your child everyday and they react with “I would rather have my child be in sports than become a geek.”
  • When you tell someone about your child’s daycare and they say “I could never leave my child at a daycare, so unhygienic!”
  • When you tell someone that your child loves the pancakes you make for breakfast and they say “I don’t like giving sweet breakfasts to my child, it’s unhealthy’
  • When you say your daughter has a strong resemblance to her father and they say “Poor kid, she will end up looking like a guy!”

*Inspired by true events

Basically, I am talking of folks who think it is absolutely normal to voice their opinions, however hurtful, however mean, just because they can. They have no control over themselves, and no understanding of when they should stop. This kind also finds it hard to take hints, I have noticed, but that might be because all this nastiness has crept up their almost non-existent brains and replaced whatever little bit of IQ that existed (hopefully) in them.

Which is why, I strongly advocate avoiding people who tend to make unprovoked, unwarranted and definitely unacceptable statements, which technically they should shove up their even nastier behinds. But instead they vomit it out like it’s their birth right.

And all we can do is sit and hope they choke on it someday.