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.

Rules

The community we live in has a lot of speed breakers inside. Must be the case with all residential places I assume. We have close to 9 bumps in the circle from the entry to the parking to the exit. It makes sense too, I said to The Dude, because at all points of time there are walkers, and children cycling or skateboarding around on the same pathways. But he mentioned that a lot of people had been questioning the relevance of these bumps, because they were quite annoying, and also that those who were missing the sensibility to drive slowly inside the community, would drive rash with or without the bumps.

I am not convinced but it made me wonder if that was the case, why do we have rules at all? If the rule-breakers would break rules anyway, and the rule-keepers would do the right thing, with or without the rules; who are the rules for? The only thing I can think of is that the rules are for the ones on the edge. The ones who are maybe doing the right thing not because it is the right thing to do, but because, they would be in trouble if they did not. And, additionally, they actually do not want to be in trouble.

Let’s take the example of kids. We have so many rules for kids. Like TV time is limited to an hour. Now the reason TV time is limited to an hour is because it is not good for their eyes, and also it makes the kid lazy and lethargic. Technically, if we were to tell the children that they were not supposed to watch TV for more than hour, because that would be bad for them, they should understand it. But they don’t. Because the joy of watching TV is much higher in their minds than the weak eyes and laziness that we scare them with. Heck, they couldn’t give a damn to these things. But then they are kids, and the assumption is they are not ‘mature’ enough to grasp these things. So we make rules. We switch off the TV in an hour, and we threaten them with punishments if they refuse or fail to do so. But then again, they are kids, and they aren’t expected to make sane decisions. They need rules.

But what explains the same thing for grownups? So you know you are not supposed to eat at your desk at work because the crumbs will attract pests. There is a written rule around it. Now there are three kinds of people here. Category 1, that believes that this makes sense, and so will never eat at their desk, because they know that it will attract pests. Category 2, that doesn’t believe this nonsense, and even if they do, they don’t care enough to abide by such rules, and they are ready to a take a chance and get caught. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?

Then there is Category 3. Category 3 finds this rule an inconvenience, and category 3 would readily eat at their desk if not for this rule. But because there is a rule, this category decides to not eat at its desk. Category 3 does not want any unnecessary trouble. For these guys, the pain of being caught breaking a rule is bigger than the pain of actually abiding by it, and so, they do. This is the category for which rules are made.

And assuming that there is an even distribution of people in all 3 categories – we end up having 66% of the people eventually abiding by the norm, whether or not they agree to it; as against the 33% it could have been otherwise. So the rules ensure that at least theoretically, we have the majority behave in what we call, the right way. Which honestly, is not too much of a price to pay. Which is also why those 9 speed bumps do not feature on my ‘list of things that annoy me’ as yet.

And we should all be thankful for that.

Fine

It just struck me, as I booked a meeting room for a catch-up to discuss how I was going to survive a two-day workshop which I am supposed to be facilitating (God save me. And the poor souls attending the workshop), that today is my Blog’s birthday. I clearly remember one of my oldest blog-buddies, also one of my friends from K, making a mockery out of my over enthused announcement of the blog’s 2nd or 3rd birthday saying that he can pretty much guess what I would be writing 10 years down the line – basically the exact same thing with the year updated by a decade, if I was still blogging, that is.

I cannot find that now, but guess what, I actually am here, on the blog, writing today, 13 years to the day I created my livejournal blog, and copy pasted my post from the K blog to get started. Yes, I know my frequency has been close to pathetic, but hey, I don’t think any of the folks who I started this whole journey with, have written in years now. It’s amazing, and amusing, how this habit stuck. And it’s also interesting that I have never thought of closing the place down.

So my blog is a teenager, and that would be the most important thing about today. Other than the fact that life is has been moving along at the regular pace with the regular speed breakers and other basic breakdowns once in a while. In terms of headspace, I’m happy to report that I am way sorted and settled than I was when I last blogging frequently, towards the end of last year. Not that things changed, they don’t that easily, but instead of trying to change everyone and everything around me, I focused on changing the one person I have control over; me. The end result has been quite miraculous.

If you ask me, I am living the textbook life of a working mom. I say so because the two things that keep me on my toes are my professional and parenting status. Everything else is peripheral, adjacent, being force-fitted into the blank spaces scattered around. Ofcourse, there are days when I feel that I am failing at both the central and the side responsibilities, and then there are others where I feel like a champion, but these days are too few and far. But like I said, I’m handling it.

So yes, blogging is just another of these peripheral items which seems to fall off the radar more often than the other things, because it needs me to switch on the computer. Fortunately, yet another item, reading, has managed to stay afloat thanks to my resistance to making the Kindle my primary source of books, which means there is always a book with a bookmark on my bedside table. Plus, the television seems much less attractive when it is placed in 40 degree Celsius + atmosphere, and I am a total television snob who refuses to watch anything on a screen smaller than 42 inches. So the only entertainment I can imagine in my air conditioned room with pathetic wifi, is a book, which will let me turn the pages without having to struggle the way I do with my Moto G’s screen. I’m not complaining, at all.

I do read blogs though; there is some sort of comfort I find in reading about the lives of folks I hardly know, or rather hardly knew some time back. A lot of the older bloggers have quit, but I still have them on the reader, because you never know, they might just return. Back to that sense of comfort, maybe it’s that whole ‘you’re not the only clueless one’ vibe that reading about others’ gives. I also spend a fair bit of time on Instagram which makes me happy, sappy, and warm. And it’s probably my main connect to social media now, since Facebook is fast receding in the background. I mean, who knew checking out selfies of school/college friends and staying updated on what they had for dinner and reading their declarations how much they love their families would get boring yes?

Other than all this, I have been spending hours and hours in the last few months; on designing what I am assuming is our dream house. It’s been awesome and exhausting, picking colors and themes and textures and laminates. Making space for the books, and the bar and the photo walls and the balcony gardens. It’s been very tiring, but very gratifying to see all those thoughts and talks take form on paper, I can only wonder how it would be to see it all in reality.

Ofcourse there is a lot coming up too – like being mommy to a primary school kid (yes, Zo is in Class 1 now!), like the actual movement to the new house, the holiday we are working on fitting in between all of this chaos, and the actual work at work, which seems to be relentless. But I am alright, I always ultimately am. In fact, if there’s anything the last 16 years of adulthood has taught me, it is that everything, ultimately, does work out.

And I am not questioning that.

2017

So 2017 is here, and I have stuck to my word and taken it very easy – no resolutions, no I-have-to-do-x-y-z-today-so-that-I-do-it-through-the-year on Jan 1st, no anything. Instead, I woke up on 1st Jan to a very messy house, something you can expect when the night before involved 3 couples and 3 extremely high-on-adrenaline girls between the ages 5 and 7, let loose to do their thing after dinner – which lasted way past midnight. Plus, our house help was also on an official off celebrating. So if the 1st of Jan is a trailer of how the year is going to be, the one thing you should avoid is visiting us.

I also did not do any of the things I ensure I do on the first day of the year. Like I did not read, at all, not even the trashy fashion magazine I subscribe to. I did not write, and there was no pressure this time – because I did not sign up for the Blogathon this year. I definitely did not eat healthy, because how else were we supposed to finish all the leftovers from the party, including the delicious cake one of the guests brought?  And the 1st was a Sunday, so there was no workout class either that would force me to move my butt.

What I did do was relax. I woke up, drove down to the mall to check out clothes for Zo (it’s amazing how nothing lasts more than a couple of months, and not just because they grow out of them), and came back empty handed – again a never-before kinda thing to happen to someone who thrives on end of season sales. The clincher was the fact that I did not even wander towards the aisles and aisles of clothes displayed for grownups, and not even ‘70% off’ tags in gigantic fonts deterred me from my plan. I actually only checked out what I had come for – Zo’s clothes, or to be even more specific – Zo’s leggings.  Anyhow, that was an epic fail mission, so we returned, finished all the Chinese food and some of the tandoori platter’s remains, and then slept for 2 hours.

In the evening, The Dude decided to go to the gym. Once again, his decision to workout did not motivate me, at all. This is also to be noted as a rarity because the only thing that makes me guilty about not working out is if The Dude does. Talk about being self-motivated. Anyway, I decided to continue my day’s schedule of having done absolutely nothing and took Zo out to the sand pit. And we spent a good one hour doing just that – nothing, and surprisingly, neither of us got bored.

Once we returned, we finished our dinner, and Zo watched her first hour of TV in the day – big win for a no-school, no-daycare day. After which, she went to sleep because Monday was school day, and I wrapped up the day with some online shopping to make up for the stuff I got nowhere in the day. I think we were all in bed by 11, though it would have been 12 before I fell asleep because of all the afternoon sleeping.

Now that the week’s started, nothing’s changed still. I am still taking it easy. Only, I can slowly see that line demarcating easy from lazy disappearing, so I thought why not visit the blog? And that’s the only reason why I am taking the pains to update you with the details of my laid-back, resolution-less, unplanned, useless, lazy 2017.

As far as I can see, I am on the right track.

Making way for the new year

I have been dying to do a 2016 round-up post, more so because everyone around me in the virtual world is, but I had two things stopping me – 1) Laziness (surprise!) and 2) A precondition I had set for myself, something I just had to do before I was “allowed” to post.

I know I am supposed to explain the precondition a bit more at this point, however, I would rather make it a part of my retrospection. 2016, as I already mentioned in one of my earlier posts (I think), began quite bright and enthusiastically, but through the year it slowly faded away because (and here I will ask you to excuse me for using such exaggerated cliches), life happened. 2016 was crazy busy, professionally, personally, generally. And quite honestly, I had myself set myself up for it.

There were a few things I had decided to ensure in 2016, quite simple things really. Things I claimed I loved doing. Like read more, and write more, spend more time with Zo, spend more time with The Dude, work out, see new places and also, study. Considering I had also started a new job in December, and a new job pretty much means flailing your limbs around trying to catch hold of something, anything that would keep you afloat, there were just way too many things to handle. In other words, 2016 punched me in the face with all that it had.

I did not give up, no. Thankfully. I did what I do best instead – I got completely stressed out. Nothing seemed to be working in my favor, and I seemed to be doing nothing right, or atleast right enough. So I whined and whined about it, to myself mainly, and then to The Dude. 2016, on the other hand, decided nothing of this was worth it’s time and refused to slow down. Time just flew. And I went along with it.

Things happened, ofcourse. For one, I wrote, a lot I might say. I did two blogathons, one in January, one in April – successfully. I started one more in November but heh, who was I kidding? But still, of the total 510 posts I have published in 12 years, I did 76 posts this year. And this is only second to maybe 2004/2005 when I was jobless, baby-less and a B-schooler, which pretty much explains it all.

I read a bit, not as much as I would have liked but I fell more in love with the two Japanese authors I feel rule the written world for me right now – Keigo Higashino and Haruki Murakami. I did not study at all, and I missed the deadline for my assignment submission by “let’s get real, you haven’t touched the books till now”.

We traveled ok – there was his gorgeous trip to Germany and Switzerland. We did just 2 road trips, much to the indignation of The Dude. And we closed with a short trip to Goa, our back up plan for holidays that don’t materialize. I definitely did not meet my own expectations when it came to spending time with Zo. Again, maybe it was the new job, maybe it’s because I think a lot about what people think, but I was unhappy. This added to my general melancholic attitude towards the year.

I definitely worked out a lot this year – not in terms of quantity maybe. But I joined classes for the first time, and I stayed put. With 3 months of bunking between March and now, I think I still rate myself “achieved” for this goal. Also, I grew to love this form of a workout, where you have company, variety and basically new levels to push yourself to each day.

There were things I did which I did not plan to as well. Well, there is this one thing I did. I started driving. This was a big tick off my mom’s “must-do” list. I still think it is a wee overrated as a concept, especially with all the options available now, but I do enjoy the bit of time I spend behind the wheel. Also, it beats getting drenched in the rain or waiting for the Uber to arrive or the surge to go down. And I am sure it will lovelier in summer.

So after all the moaning and complaining through the year, I am strangely at peace now. I have worked out a couple of things for myself, including charting out a timetable of sorts, that lets me give my all to work, and also to Zo. The last two months helped me in that. And just going by that, I do not dislike 2016 as much anymore. I am fine with it, there were goods, there were not-so-goods, there were bads too. But eventually, it’s all worked out ok. Except for maybe the study thing.

Which brings me to the precondition that was the bottleneck to this post. I have 4 subjects, and the new timeline for submitting the assignment is March 31st 2017. I finally started studying in December, and promised myself to finish one of the assignments before I wrote on the blog. But man, it’s not easy. I mean who knew that writing an essay on 20th century British Drama, or attempting a critique of Shakespeare’s Dramatic poesy, or discussing The Alchemist as a satire (only ONE of which I had to do, since everything else in this course assignment was done), was so bloody tough! I tried and tried, and finally found a loophole. I did a 20 mark question in another course to sort of make up for it last night.

Which is why here I am. And I have decided that I am making no wondrous statements and resolutions for this year. 2017 is the year where I will not pressurize it with my expectations of awesomeness. 2017 is the year of letting it be.

And then sitting back and seeing how it goes.

Day 7 – Politically correct

I decided to work from home today, to get done with all that was put on the back-burner for a while, because that’s what always happens when important stakeholders visit. The typical showcase of PowerPoint skills, the hundreds of meetings, the dinners and lunches and teas and discussions – and before all that, the preparation, which also means a working Sunday sometimes. Not always, but this time it did.

So a day working from home makes perfect sense, considering you get time to recuperate from all the talking overdose. I am also trying to recuperate from a runny nose, which made a sudden (but expected) appearance when they decided to recreate Antarctica on the floor, to welcome the Westerner. It made no difference that he was in a jacket all the time, which might have been a sort of an indication to tune it down, make it Canada maybe? But all we got was Antarctica, and I am no Eskimo to survive it, and so I sit here sniffling into a handkerchief.

As I am typing this, my phone is continuously beeping, thanks to an ongoing political discussion on my B-school whatsapp group. Only, by ongoing, I mean “going on for more than a year”.  And by discussion, I mean “Look what the folks you are supporting did wrong today” match. I have very limited political opinions myself, and more often than not, I see myself shifting from reasoning or facts to “let’s stay positive and hope what’s happening is good” – basically abstract gyan. Also, I think I am way too selfish to think of the greater good or bad as of now. While there are some things I am pretty opinionated about, politics is one thing I feel I only give any importance if it impacts me or those who matter to me.

Let’s take Trump as an example. I remember joking with a colleague a day before the election that Trump winning would be as big, if not a bigger joke than Rahul Gandhi becoming the Prime minister of India. I also added that if the people did elect him, maybe they do deserve to be governed by a guy like him. But he won. He did. Which means, maybe I just didn’t know as much about what him being elected meant to the folks who elected him. So while I walked around in disbelief for a day, I pacified myself later that maybe it’s for the greater good, only I am not aware of it. Plus, how much does this impact me? It doesn’t.

Which is why, when it comes to Social media and politics, I keep my trap shut. I am friends with folks from either end of the spectrum and I think that while my opinion about any political party, or anything that they do won;t impact me as much directly,  as saying it out in the open will. Because either way, there will be detractors, and these are folks who I assume are my ‘friends’. And in my case, even my immediate family has highly opposing views. So, I am better of ignoring all that they have to say. And even if I do notice it, I’d rather nod along in agreement or vehemently oppose it – in my own private space.

Because while it might look like a frog in the well situation, heck – it is;  atleast I will be a less stressed out, happy frog.

Day 2 – November

November is a nice month that I am personally fond of. One, it is my birth month and despite the fact that I no longer look forward to growing older numerically, I still like the idea of having a day for myself, not necessarily literally, but atleast in theory. Two, because it is the month before December, the holiday month of the year. Not that I have holidays, I don’t, but over the 11 years of working I have realised that it’s not a holiday until your client is on holiday. And December is the holiday month for them, making life infinitely better for me. So November, is like the Friday of the year.

And ofcourse, I am looking forward to this month too. Despite a prolonged client visit and a probable working Sunday, it just feels like that ill-timed meeting set up on Friday evening, when you had decided you would leave early and do nothing – you know, spoils your mood for a bit but doesn’t ruin it, because come on, it’s Friday! In the same way, in my head, it’s November and just for that fact, nothing can ruin it.

I have things planned for the month. The first weekend of November has me and the dude going for the happiest music festival again, which is happening in Hyderabad for the first time ever, which is a huge thing because this festival was one of the things I regretted leaving Pune for. The next weekend is the working weekend and I will avoid talking about it at all. The weekend after is a no-plans weekend, which would mean I would spend the day researching and hopefully finalizing some house related work. And then, as a grand finale, we are off to Goa for the last weekend!

So all in all, this is going to be a busy, happening month, and quite frankly, the problem with updating the blog is going to be threefold 1) What do you write ?2) When do you write?  Which will bring us to the big, resultant, overarching question 3) WHY IN THE WORLD DO YOU GET INTO THESE THINGS?

Anyway, since the plunge has been taken, and the pep talks to self given, there is no escaping it now, and there will be no attempts to as well. And I will just believe that the spirit in which November was started will see me through this marathon, this month and through this year.