Thursday, October 10, 2013

Once upon a time

Songs have tele-portation power!!! They can instantly take you to a certain place and time in history or over to a certain person. They can lift you in a minute from a rather bad day. They can bring in a smile. They can make the world seem alright again. They can turn you back into a child again, they can make a goofy teenager out of you. You can become a carefree college-goer from a boring, mellowed person!!! 
Late night, still working for office, I heard this song. It took me back to my college. I remembered, what I once was... always studying in the end and talking and having fun for as long as possible. I wonder where that person is now. This song brought that back to me for a second!

My roomie used to sing this song back then. The good ideal student, among the careless lot of us, the one who made sense Always!!! 
She was so right when she sung "Rahein naa rahein hum, mehaka karenge... ". Love you Aastha!!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

By default

I have been wanting to write this since a long time.

There is this movie "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag". Nice movie based on a very admiring person...

But, that did not settle in my memory as much as a particular scene in the movie. After the partition, a lot of Hindus from Pakistan become refugees in India. In one such refugee camp, this lady (Milkha Singh's sister, played by Divya Dutta) has to live with her husband and her brother. There are other dislocated folks sharing the tent with them, until they get some rehabilitation. This camp is like any other refugee camp, with just the basic amenities, and a dupatta hung for partition to give some sense of privacy in one corner.

In the night, the husband goes to the far end and orders her wife "Idhar Aain" or come here to press my feet. It wasn't a request, or a wish, but rather an order which is used to getting fulfilled. Meekly she goes, and the muffled voices indicate marital rape. This hit me hard, knowing that its not just a phenomenon that was common half a century back. Its still here. Still undiscussed and tabooed as it was half a century ago.  

And I thanked Lord for a sane husband. But, what made me sad was how the defaults changed in my mind. Why do I feel the need to thank for a normal husband. Since, when did the contrary get so intermingled in our society that we began to accept that as just another possibility that you may have to make peace with it? Why does it not get as much space as it should in our minds? Why do we consider domestic violence as fate and not a crime? I hope educated, independent women would stand up for their rights and not tolerate non-sense. But how long will it take for us to get there? Are all educated, independent women also truly independent? With the cases of rapes and child-molestation rising in the country, are we even serious in dealing with it? Or will we continue to tell our women to not go out in the night and be safe? And are they actually safe at home too?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lets Grow Up

Those who have not watched "Bombay Talkies" and intend to watch it, may stop reading further.
It has four short stories by four different directors. All the stories can be quite clearly associated with their directors, their take, their story, their style.... Looks like since, they did not have the pressure to tell just one story and get the producers money back, they could say what they wanted to... 

One of the story is by Karan Johar... I am not really a Karan Johar fan, but I have to give it to him that he brought homosexuality from close closet and out on the silver screen. He started with "Kal Ho Naa Ho", with a hint of homosexuality and gradually turned on the heat higher, showing men kiss in "Dostana". Here also, he picks up homosexuality as his topic. 

I had expected that after seeing this for so long, Indian audience would have grown mature. That we would be more accepting of men being attracted to men, sadly I was disappointed... People were laughing and giggling when a man was hit on by another man. There was a clear difference in how people would react if a woman finds a man attractive and when a man finds him attractive. We still find it hilarious and funny and not normal. And what is hilarious on screen would be unacceptable in real life. We would make fun if a boy told he likes boys or a girl likes girl.... 

Its still a long way for us... But, hope some day we will grow up... Continue to make us laugh Karan...

TOW Strange Wish

I am at a weird place in my career and life in general... its a new for me.

Job-wise... since some time it has been majorly a drag. I can't blame too many outside parameters for it. And in overall, its still a lot better than average. Its just that I don't look particularly forward to Mondays now and start sulking from Sunday afternoon.

But, lately, I look with a tinge of wish when I see a housewife or those having the liberty to decide when and how they want to work. I long for a house where I know where things are and not really dependent on the maids. I wish some days, where I would have the whole day to myself, arranging the flowers and curtains... thinking what should be cooked for dinner... making chips and papads... talking to the ladies in the society... and in general a more responsible home life and less responsible office life. Probably its just a case of grass being greener on the other side... I am constantly reminded by my friends that even though I have two days a week for the aforementioned tasks, I don't lift a finger. I don't do the cleaning, getting sense of house, arranging up in the weekend and would in all likelihood not do even if I was at home 7 days a week... would probably get terribly bored, not knowing what to do and sulk some more. I guess they are right... I don't know how to spend the entire day by myself... I don't have the knack of being a good homemaker... never had.

But, somehow, I just get this sudden urge when I hear someone has taken a break or are not working... Don't know if its just a passing whim or someday it will be strong enough to get hold of my better sense... Hope Not!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

TOW Shaadi

This is one of those posts that may not get published in a long time. Or it will get published when it has lost its significance in my life.

The question is about marriage, arranged in particular and love too in Indian scenario. In India, you know you are going to get married some day from the age of 2. We live in a society where it is inevitable. Marriage is one of the things we hold so dear. We have lavish weddings,  months and years of thoughts behind it, and gossips of marriages stay in people's mind far longer. Who is getting married to who and when... this is what we seem to live for. And if you are not married/ engaged to be married soon by the time you are 25, you need to change your lifestyle. a. Stop attending family gatherings or if you are so fond of them have a plastic smile. b. Stop getting irritated by constant questions. c. Accept that you will have to get a new set of friends frequently as they move to marriageLand.

So, what do you do when you hit the age, you know you cannot or do not want to stay single forever. It is sad in general and tougher in India, because all your friends will leave sooner or later and whether you like it or not.. they drift apart into a new set of problems. If you had a choice, you may never change your life, of free, no-strings-attached, life with family and friends.

You can make the brave decision of not compromising on your ideas, wait for the perfect one, who may or may not come while it matters. May be you will find him eventually and it would be a fairy tale ending...may be you won't and it would be an ending nevertheless.

Or may be you decide to settle down. Call it growing up, accepting life, family rants or peer pressure or all of them. You have two options, love marriage or arranged. I am of the opinion if you didn't fall in love till now, the probability is bleak further too. Not to dishearten anybody, just a practical view. You may however get into an arranged-love. You meet a guy.. colleague/ friend of friend/acquaintance , you realize he is also single and that you can actually talk and he would be accepted by your parents easily. All in all you consider all criteria of traditional arranged marriage and then fall in love ;) You may call it love, I don't.

The second one is called arranged marriage. Your parents ask you to see a certain guy. Some girls make it easier for their parents and themselves by saying yes easily. But, even if your parents are broad minded enough to let you take your own sweet time, how much can you know. Yes, you can talk to each other and may not kill each other as soon as you have the opportunity too. But beyond that what? He does not exactly look like Shahid kapoor and doesn't talk like best orators, he doesnt read the same books as you or share your other passions. What if it ends up like a life on parallel tracks, you live your life, he does his. You just share the apartment and the bills. What if it just ends up being another mundane couple. What if it doesn't turn out to what it could have been. What if...

A sufficiently long enough time has passed and I can now happily publish the post. Guess, at some point you just have to take the leap... And I am glad I waited long enough to meet him and quite happy that things unfolded the way they did....

I just want to say... I love you....

Dear Mom,

I know I have been a Daddy's daughter all my life... and I still am... But I want you to know:
I scream "Mummy" everytime I am scared or shocked.
I feel sad when I leave home, every single time for not having talked enough to you.
I have in the past rejected your advice, but you should know, I have done exactly what you said all those times.
I miss you so much when I am sad or broken... I know going over to you will ease everything.... and it does.
I see how much trouble it is to have your kid ready for one fancy dress... and you took all the trouble so that we participated in everything... from dance, songs, skits, debates, swimming, embroidery... everything. I can't thank you enough..
There isn't much you don't know about me... Somehow coming clean to you always kept me sane...

Dear Papa:
Here is something I copied from another blogger, and the credit perhaps goes to an Ad, but so aptly describes what I feel:

' To the first man I ever smiled at..
To the first man I truly loved..
To the man I looked for in every other..
To the man who thought I grew up too soon..
To my father..
The first man I belonged to..'


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Attempt to sanity

I have decided not to write any more posts about how lack of sincerity and a general carelessness bothers me to no end. I will also not complain how people can expect that they should get everything, without putting in any efforts to deserve it.
Won't crib about this any more... or atleast won't crib in written...
It has been almost 2 months away from home, away from the husband, away from all the maids [:(] and I am sullen in general. I have to drag myself out of bed and literally force myself into trying to be enthusiastic or atleast pretend so. But, I am failing miserably on more than one fronts. I can see its a vicious cycle, but I can't break it. I think, its time I took a break from job and did something else for a short while...
But, for now, heres a list of things that can bring a smile on my pissed-off-for-no-reasons face:

1. Call from home. Even without saying anything to the folks, things do turn up better.
2. A reminder from the husband that it will all settle down... its just round the corner
3. A new post from some of the bloggers I love to read.
4. Stumbling on to a blog that I love
5. Talking to old friends over some senseless bakar. I can do this for hours and weeks, undoubtedly...
6. Witnessing a general act of kindness or an innocent child
7. Some old song that I like to hear suddenly coming up on radio or TV
8. Watching some old photographs
9. A rerun of 'Friends'

It will be some time before I figure things out, untill then, a shot of above will keep me sane...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I want to break free!!!

Sometime I wonder, how things that come so easily to some are so difficult for others.
How you can't do a thing, that others have been doing effortlessly.

One such thing for me is to close my eyes, look the other way and pretend I did not see. And it seems to be the default way for so many, to shrug and say, not my business, not my concern. And often, for their own work, 'I didn't realize I had to do this'.
I wish I could do this, to just be concerned with my work. I notice, that everything, that I cannot see being wrongly done and do a voluntary act to correct, becomes my work. I get bogged down by work, which wasn't mine in the first place. I can see it impacting my work, but I know no other way to live!!!

And the other thing is to give up. I have a job, that I like and used to love. Sometimes, it becomes such a drag and I am left to wonder why can't I just give up, just say I quit. Why do I need to fight every battle. Why can't I just say this is stupid, and insane, but I won't fight it either. I so wish I had either a much higher tolerance to non-sense or I could just turn my back and walk away from it all...

Perhaps, some day, I will learn to live... 

Monday, January 28, 2013


At last, digging out from drafts...

I had thought, to write a post about US, as soon as I am back... and had a lot to write. But few weeks of hectic office are enough to wipe off everything else in the mind. 

I must not deny, I went to US with a lot of prejudice and a determination, almost to a fault, not to like this country. In fact, I knew I would hate it, and the visit would just confirm it.
I began right, hating the long time it took to clear the customs and rules in this country.

There were sooo, sooo many people of different races everywhere. Whites, browns, blacks, Asians all living, rightfully claiming their share. May be a lot of them crib, missing their country, or  customs, saying that there is no place like their country, but what you can't deny is that they are still there. In fact, I was quite amazed to see so many non-authentic-americans there. It became a game for us, to guess the nationality/origin of different people. It was then, it began to go wrong. My hatred began turning to dislike and then was wiped of. Agreed, that in giving employment to all these people, US is gaining in terms of economy, yet the fact is that, so are those coming and settling there. 

So, instead of writing about why I don't like this country, here are some incidents:

The guy who refused to go down: We were going to Niagara falls in a tour bus. The 50 odd people in the bus were a mix of Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Europeans and one young lone American boy. Enroute, we stopped at the top of Watkins-Glen Gorge, and the tour guide told us all in different ways that we all will go down the gorge where the bus will come. Everybody, reached down on time, except the one American, who for some reasons decided to go back to the top and call from there. Why? We would never know. Perhaps, he wasn't used to listening and accepting???

The guys who wouldn't see two confused people: We were on a train, holding a map, wondering where to get down. Looking at each other, thoroughly confused. A typical teenager looking guy walks up to us, talks in Urduish-Hindi, tells us where we should get down and goes back to listing to his music. Thank Yous and gratitude following him :)
Another scene at the train station. We were trying to take the parking ticket and the train ticket from the machine. Struggled for some time with the train ticket, it didn't seem to work for us. Not knowing whether the machine is not working or it just hates us, we wondered the next course of action. A guy from a group of young boys shouted 'It ain't working. Go to the one down the hall'. You can't hate them for this.

The guy who did tell the way: We rented a  car, but could not get any GPS. Still, riding on adventure, sheer confidence and a belief that maps should work too, we drove off in New Jersey. Only to circle a block thrice, before realizing so. Asked an old gentleman, who had the patience to stand for 5 minutes, guiding very thoroughly. I could't call this country a fast-paced-one after this!!!

The girls who didn't stop talking: Walking in a shopping mall, you could hear from 10 aisles away, how American girls shop and talk :D They could give us a competition in being loud in general!!!

Manhattan: Just loved it... All the scenes from different serials showing New York played several times in my mind. I was foolishly looking for Phoebe in the Central Park or Ted on the streets :D

We shall have our culture

When we Indians are asked how we feel about our country, the answers will vary based on our mood. A sense of sadness or disgust in recent times over gender violence, state apathy, corruption, etc. And a sense of pride and happiness over Indian culture in more "normal" times.

But, I wonder if we have not just exaggerated Indian culture and reached to this state. Are all our problems not a manifestation, misuse or misinterpretation of our culture.

Isn't our obsession with our culture partly responsible for our state? We are following the culture, forgetting the intent and base. The dogma is there, but the truth and reason behind it is forgotten conveniently. Or is it that when we weren't looking, someone took all Indian scriptures book, removed out all the roles and responsibilities of men, highlighted the ones of women and called it culture???

Women should not go out alone in the night. Women should not be working out late in the night. They should be nicely covered, shouldn't tempt men. They should not loose their virginity before marriage. They should be maintaining the household and accept the man chosen to be their husband?

What about the part of Indian culture where men were supposed to look after, honor and protect their wives? When it was the princesses who had their Swayamvar and chose their groom amongst the many eligible men? When rape, domestic violence and torture were unheard of. When it was a sin to lust any woman other than your wife?

But now we have given up the idea of 'Ideal Men'. We are talking about real men, men with lust and greed. And we are still talking about 'Ideal women'. Its an unfair comparison. Either, we should teach our boys and men to be ideal and deal strongly if they wander off. Or we should accept the reality and just honor one ground rule, you are not allowed to hurt anyone.