Monday, June 30, 2014

Positivity

I was thinking about the sentences I speak and I realised there are more of I dont think this would work rather than I think this would work instead. The extent to which positivity is absent was shocking. If google is to be believed, it takes 3 positive thoughts to counter a negative one. No wonder I feel so low at times! I have decided to be consciously positive and surround myself with those that are too.

This social experiment of mine worked well today and I feel so much happier than i have in a long time on a work day. Sometimes we fool ourselves thinking that somethings have to be done because they make sense or because they have to be done. But it takes a lot of guts and strength to combat negativity and move towards being positive. No matter how much i have to watch what I speak and hear, I am going to whole heartedly try. 3 negatives to neutralise one positive is so scary to think about. :)

Hot Potatos

I am fascinated with Potatos. I love them. I just cant cook it too well and I know its not very good for my health so i really dont try to eat it often. But heres the funny thing about potatoes and me. I never finish them. I just waste them. Every single time i order them, or cook them. I waste them. I get bored and feel its not worth the effort. Or I wake up and realise the potato is badly done. It was just alluring from a distance and is pretty rotten close up. Or funnily I am so full, I cant eat a bit. Familiarity breeding contempt.

I realised this holds good for a few things I am fascinated with in life also. People or books or anything. As long as i dont get to do it too often, I am fascinated and long for it. A conversation, a whiff of the wind, anything. But after some time, something or the other comes up and i get bored. This doesnt hold good always but recently, i realised that someone I felt was amazing was not as great and maybe, just maybe the fascination with the friendship was much bigger than the friendship itself. And I just let go. I dont feel a thing. I know i sound stupid and maybe even cruel, but the term "dropped it like a hot potato" holds good for just too many things. :)

Art from Waste

When I was in school, we used to have a fine arts week. One week of competitions where every body gets to participate and show case their talents. I would always go for speech and poetry and at times music, but there were a few events I thought was a waste of time. Well, remember I was not the most mature person around and i was in school.

One of those was this competition called Art from Waste. The participant had to pick up useless things like say exhausted battery, vegetable shavings etc. and make some artifact from it. My head could not even conceive anything to do with a  lot of these things. For me, the other things were easier. Maybe thats why I could never appreciate this competition. Today, I remembered some of the things my classmates had made and I was wondering how I can recycle the waste lying around my house too. All the packaging material my books come in that i never throw away, the flowers from my garden which is blooming like crazy now, the half chewed collars (Well done Laika and Zoya), the newspapers.. Well, I am not sure how I am going to make use of some of these things, but i have decided i will. I will atleast de-clutter my house and donate this. Someone told me, newspapers can be used to make books for the blind. Somebody will make art from this waste..

How to train your dragon 2

Amazing, Beautiful, Catchy and absolutely fabulous film. I loved the first part and this one was even better. Maybe, it was a little melodramatic but totally worth the time. I am getting ahead of myself here. As someone keeps telling me, i need to structure my thoughts better.

The plot centers around a new villain who is creating a dragon army and wants all the dragons in the village. Hiccup decides to go and reason with him and in the process meets his mother who was assumed dead. His mother is this super cool dragon rider who has been giving the villain a run for his money by saving all the dragons his troop catches. Hiccups friends are imprisoned by the villain and it is up to Hiccup to reason and save the day. A pretty well thought out plot with a good screen play and direction.

I loved the relationship between the dragons and the children. (Pardon me but it reminded me of my dogs and me.) It was so heart warming. Hiccups mother is kick ass. She has style, charm and personality. I loved her devotion to the cause. Hiccup, Astrid and Stoick were as lovable as ever and all the side characters made the movie "picture perfect"

Coming to the dragons. I thought id never love a dragon as much as toothless but Hiccups mom's dragon comes a close second. What a personality and how so cute! The shots in the dragon's resting place are so scenic and I wished i could live in such a paradise.

Sometimes i just want to buy a big piece of land and stay there with a lot of dogs. I envied Hiccups mother's life. The love and the camaraderie you get is unparalleled by anything else.

A good watch. One of the best movies this year.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The sub urban life

This evening we went exploring in the villages nearby. It was so serene and beautiful. There were dark clouds teasing me with random rain drops and the wind kissing my cheeks as I cycled past roads with dogs, cows, hens, goats and of course people who waved at me. We took a slightly different route and ended up in that part of the district we've never been to.

We ran into our milkman there and he invited us to his farm. It was a small patch of land and they were harvesting cauliflowers. It takes 2 months for a flower to come out and they were sending it to the k r puram market. We picked the veggies from the garden and pushed our cycles back home. It was such a wonderful feeling. I want to evaluate organic farming a lot more seriously.

I started thinking about how the small time farmers transport produce and how they cover their costs. It was actually very difficult for us to get those cauliflowers in our cycles and considering the selling price it was sad to think of how much they'd actually make selling a 20- 30 a day. Profit after pesticides cost, transportation, labor etc and I realized the same high investment , high return held good here too. I am wondering how I can help them.

Movie marathon

I've watched more movies in the last 2 days than in the last 2 months. And funnily, I liked most of those or parts of it. This is mostly thanks to my flight back from Germany. On a separate note, Air India's Dreamliner is good.

Hachiko was brilliant and made me move to tears. It reminded me so much of my dogs. The dog was so good. I wonder how they trained it so well. The direction was seamless and Richard Gere has a special place in my heart after this movie.

Another movie was Kashmir ki kali. Don't ask me why I watched such an old movie but I guess part of the reason was Sharmila tagores extraordinarily pretty face. God that was beauty. The movie was ok. A little melodramatic but I really loved the romance in the movie and all the villainy too.

Next it was gulaab gang. I couldn't watch the entire movie because my flight landed but I was maybe 5 minutes away from the end. I loved Juhi and Madhuri in the movie thought the violence was a little over the top for my taste. The side characters were good and added a lot more flavor to the movie. The screenplay was decent and I did not get bored and gave up my sleep to watch the movie. I think that's a good thing.

Today morning it was my big fat Greek wedding. I'm surprised I'd missed it for so long. It keeps playing once in a while in television but I never payed attention to it. Still worth the time and it was one of those oh so cuteeeee movies.

I've been watching criminal minds too and I guess its high time I got out of the couch and went for a round of cycling.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Standing up

Its painful. Literally and figuratively. I've been on my toes for the last 7 hours and its so difficult. I can't begin to sympathize with the women and men who do that every day.

I have three more hours to go and I'm wondering how I'll go through that. Tie that in with the food or the lack of it today and I'm very tired.

I thought that the metaphorical standing up was tough. This is tougher.

The expensive leak

I don't write about bodily functions as a rule and I don't intend to now either. Yesterday I had to use the bathroom in a train station in Germany. I had to pay some 50 euro cents for that. Roughly rs.40. The loo was pretty clean and I started thinking about some of the pay and use toilets in India. When labor there is so much more cheaper, why are we not able to maintain it well? What's driving this bad sanitary conditions in the country? Is it because we don't care or is it because we don't give due respect to those that labor so hard in those places or is it because our population is unimaginable? I don't know. I am just thinking.

Heidelberg

I visited Heidelberg on Sunday and I fell in love with the place. The relaxed aura with dogs on leash, smiling families with little kids and extremely healthy couples was a sight to behold. I thought I'd stepped into one of those happy happy English movies. We took a three hour cruise down the rhine river and the engineering to make the fall gradual was mind blowing. It made me regret my current career choice for a few seconds.

The castle looked so majestic from the river and the view of the same from the river is not something I'll forget in a hurry. The place was so well preserved and clean that I couldn't not compare it with some of the Indian counterparts. The latter is huge and sprawling but just so badly maintained that the beauty is more often than not covered by filth.

I've fallen in love with Europe and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Traveling

I'm traveling for work and in Germany right now. I'm loving the experience. I haven't traveled for work in a while and getting this opportunity to better know people and see their softer sides is lovely. We went to Heidelberg yesterday and it was mind blowing. The cruise, the brilliant weather and the amazing company made my day.

Europe's telling me to take myself less seriously. Now that's next to impossible for me. But I'm going to try. At a time and place where I'm questioning a lot of things that I never did before, why don't I challenge and change this too?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Neither friend nor foe

Someone told me, that they prefer to have neither a friend nor a foe. While I did not react ( of course i did, but not too much) at that time, i have spent quite sometime thinking about that statement. I realise I would prefer either a friend or a foe. Not for me this speaking to someone because you have to keep up appearances. I have acquaintances of course but I never tell them things. I dont tell them about how I feel, or what i am thinking about or something close to my heart. I cannot. Sometimes, my close friends end up becoming acquaintances and in the transition phase, I continue to speak, but usually am already cutting down a lot.

I dont know what i would do without my friends. I really dont. When I am in any kind of crisis, i turn to them. When i am happy, I turn to them. When i am depressed, I turn to them. When i am angry, i again turn to them.

My first poem which got published in a coffee book edition was about enemies. I was in Class 11 then and perhaps my language would be better now. But the message remains the same. I do not know what I would do without my foes, because they add the spice my life needs. They remind me why I have to keep working harder and living to prove a point (apart from living of course)

To me, to live truly, you also have to have those emotions which make you feel alive. What relationships give you is just that. Maybe, I am another extreme when it comes to some of those emotions (as some of you can attest), but I need my friends and I need my foes. Maybe they are temporary, but then i acknowledge they exist.

The strays

Yesterday, a stray bit a kid in my complex. The stray was actually a pup about 4 months old. Not even a dog. If i hadn't had dogs, my reaction to this situation would have been different. Now that i have two, my first question was - "why"? What drove the behaviour of a species who knows its life is threatened if it attacks humans? I did not get any rational answer from those that witnessed the incident, so I dont know if the kid threatened the dog in any way.

A few of us met to discuss the issue of handling strays and then i noticed a few idiotic security guards chasing the other dogs within the community in a bike and trying to catch them in a cover. The one which bit was nowhere to be seen. I couldn't bear to witness it and was secretly glad when they escaped by hiding. You really have to admire their intelligence.

The garbage thats left out is what attracts the digs. But when you are really scared of something, no amount of coaxing can make you think otherwise. You think the dogs out to get you, whether you attract it in some way or not.

We were discussing how to catch atleast the pups and put them up for adoption. Unfortunately, we werent able to decide anything as the pups are usually well hidden and finding them is an issue. I am just angry with myself for not being able to do anything about an issue where i can at least try to save a few pups. Or maybe, I should just think that i cannot do too much more and make peace with myself. Else, its going to be difficult to live with myself.

Slow death

All of us have to cope up with loss in one form or another. Loss of love, of a friendship, of a person to death, of a job, of face, the list is endless. I think i am losing something which i thought precious and the funny part is i can slowly see the loss. I feel like i am watching a paper boat i made with lot of love being taken away by the tide or like a ship made to carry weight, sinking because it did not have that one minor design change that could have made it last longer.

The pain is sharp when you realize its starting to sink and then it numbs over time. But the sad thing is, sometimes the mind plays tricks on me and reminds me of something minor that was such an under rated pleasure. Then, I want to dive in and save the damn thing. But I know in my heart of hearts, that nothing I do, can ever salvage and the easiest thing would be to walk away from the scene. However, human beings are attracted by horror and I cant help watching mesmerized. Despite knowing the ending, I cant help myself.. I cant peel my eyes away and unwittingly, I shed that lone tear, thinking of all that was. Slow death is anyday much worse than a quick one. Maybe, it teaches you all that you are capable of, but it doesnt make you stronger because the end is predestined.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

To be or not to be

Nope.. I am not talking hamlet here. Just using the bard to capture your attention. I am confused. Like really confused about something I feel strongly about. My heart tells me to not give up. Not my heart exactly but the emotional part of me. But my brain tells me to just let go. I know we place a lot of importance on gut feel. It usually works for me though in the case of a few people its screwed me over very badly.

But this case is different. I know this is important to me but the lack of me being important there is screwing things up. Rather it taking time and effort.. The whole importance thing.. That is making me have some serious doubts.

I'm referring to counselling dogs here among other things. I don't know whether to do a course and start moving on or just not look beyond what I have and what I need for the relationships in hand. Do I really need more? I know I can give more but should I try?

The unwritten..

Words have a very strange power. They make you happy, angry, sad, delighted, depressed and well a lot more. To me, words mean a lot. Actions a lot more, but I am speaking about the words in the books I love. I am reading this brilliant graphic novel series called the unwritten and it's playing such powerful games with my mind that I don't know where to begin to react to it. I don't intend this to be a book review but rather a collection of words to remind me of the emotions this series brought to the fore.

I am being sucked into the concept of how history, culture and life as we know it can be shaped by powerful words and I am buying it, big time. This novel makes me want to get back to writing. To finish that story I started last week, albeit in a very different tone than I would have wanted it do take. It makes me want to devour all the books in the series and build a shrine in my head for Mike Carey and Peter Gross ( for this idea of theirs alone!).

The boy Tom Taylor and his struggles to cope with abandonment and stardom and reality are so real. I don't have to live in a fantasy world to relate to it. I love the mysterious Hexam and Taylor sr. Any true blue reader should read this book and redefine how life can work. I am seeing magic in everything around me and it's far more powerful than few random words that sound like spells. I can't write more without revealing the plot. As all of you know, I suck at writing reviews so am not going to get into it now.

I am somehow reminded of the sleepless nights I spent reading Sandman, waiting for Morpheus to come and take me away. Here, I am not in love with the characters but with the concept. I've got more than enough practice at falling in love with people that I've shifted to concepts now. They are definitely a lot more fun as they come with far less baggage.. :D

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happiness

True happiness has to come from within. You often find it with or through someone else but for it to last.. It has to come from inside. Come post the acceptance of who you are and what you are capable of and how much you are ready to give up for something you really want. It comes only post a loss, because unless you know what it is like to not have, you won't enjoy what you have. It only comes post the confusion and the heart break. Only at those moments you feel truly alone and admit that being alone is actually not that bad and accept that no matter what the society says, you are your best friend.
I'm not recommending a state of being alone here.. Rather saying that until you're happy by yourself, you can't find and retain peace and happiness.

What crises teach you...

You don't know when a crisis will hit you. Nothing can prepare you for it. You don't know who'll you be with or what will happen when you get hit. You can't predict your reaction. You might often tell a completely different story if you are asked to imagine a scenario similar.

Crises teach you things you never expect to learn. They tell you who you are as a person. Emotional or practical or maybe even a little necessarily cold. They tell you what you should know about yourself and about the world. But more than anything they tell you who really matters.

Often times there are relationships you don't pay heed to because of a lot of reasons. Your fights or the possessiveness or just the fact that the person is sometimes boring or maybe because you don't appreciate how deep the bond runs. During a crisis the way they are ready to stand by you, opens your eyes wide and pins up those eye lids you conveniently shut out. There are those who mean a lot. You know it and they do too. Some of them give you the space as you need it. Some of them try to get you back to normal without being too intrusive and funnily some just forget. The open eyes notice that too.

There are things you pay undue attention to on a normal day. The way a room is, the dirty floor or even a unrelated gossip. The emotions all this stirs in you. You realize how really insignificant all this is. Your open eyes notice this too.

The things which did not matter begin to matter and the things and people which did, you realize should never have in the first place. None of us like these realizations because they expose our weaknesses. But the stronger ones see it, admit it and accept that while one can forgive oneself, being too forgiving to a few things and too unforgiving to a few others is just not right. Sometimes you really have to let go of all that you think is important, but is actually secondary and move on.

The world is a big place full of wonders and horrors, friends and foes, likes and dislikes and between all the blacks and whites the shades of grey which did not make sense start moving towards either black or white and you wake up to a better day. Some things are just not meant to be and some things don't deserve the attention, love and importance you mistakenly gave them. Neglect and move on. Shift Del is a wonderful thing.

Friday, June 13, 2014

When symbols keep you sane

Sometimes, I feel that the value we associate with things is not because of what they are, but because of what we want them to stand for. Symbols keep you sane. Symbols tell you that everything is going to be ok. Symbols tell you that you are not alone. I am referring to the symbols all of us unconsciously see. Maybe symbol is not the right word for it. But i am going with it for now.

A few examples I can think of are : The friend whose opinion matters because you think he/she is like you. The trip you look forward to, because you ought to do things like it, the restaurants you visit as they are supposed to be good. You are trained by the world around you to pay attention and importance to these symbols till unconsciously you start doing it normally.

I am in love with a few symbols and they have come to mean a lot to me. In some cases, they define my life and without them my sanity is questioned.

Elysium

We named our house elysium and I so often feel I'm in one, when I walk in the night. One of my best friends is staying with us for a week and he and I were walking the dogs an hour ago. It was such a beautiful night and having these three with me, I felt like I was in heaven.

Walking helps me cope and I don't get it when folks don't get my love for walking. I am so relaxed and in love with everything around me. As I am speaking with him right now this room feels like an Elysium. I don't like sitting in restaurants or coffee shops when I can sit in a house. I realized long back that fancy drinks and ambience can never give you what even a glass of water - with someone special in a room without fan can..

I love this Elysium and I love those that make my world one.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

When realizations dawn

Realizations dawn at times real strange..
Dawn right at those instances when you least want them..
Right at those places where you least expect..

That second when the red carpet gets pulled right beneath you..
That second when the championship volley ball hits you in the face..
That second when a speeding car crashes in the pavement..
That second when a call is about to end
That second you realize the power of the unspoken word
That instance you know somethings are never meant to be..

I wish that dawn they do not..
I know that dawn they always will
and leave me grappling at straws
wandering down unknown roads without a map
and with crazy timelines to meet
without those familiar hands to guide
and especially without that one voice you keep seeking
that will bring you back to the world of the sane.

I know not ways to handle these instances
I have not the courage to keep seeking the truth
Some truths I feel are better left alone
Some truths so much better to be someone else's reality
Definitely not mine
Definitely not today

But greet it I must
Accept it I ought to
though i really want it not..

The everyday insults

Today, when i went to get a document signed, the person got on my nerves for some reason. Then I got thinking about the everyday insults I face while speaking to someone and which just makes me want to avoid the person who did that

1. Someone not looking at you while talking
2. People sharing computers and chat conversations
3. Un-returned calls and messages
4. Forgotten conversations
5. Cutting in (esp when you cant stand the person) on conversations

Its a very short list but lately some of these have been putting me off a lot..

That phone call

Who do you call when you want to share something significant? Who do you call when you just want to hear a persons voice to feel happy? Who do you call when you want to share something insignificant which is significant? I have a very short list and Ive been privileged enough to share my fears and ideas with them. I have been a little disturbed about random things and frankly hearing a voice or reading a message has calmed me down so much. I wish this lasts forever and I really hope that that phone call is always this special..

Monday, June 09, 2014

Fishing together

They say that its better to teach someone to fish than give them a fish. I agree as the recipient rather than as the giver. I feel so much more awesome when i give the fish as teaching to fish is going to take time.

Today, I realised yet again that the one who teaches you to fish is giving you a lot. Its this person with whom you are comfortable fishing - for someone like me, it is fishing without fear of not getting a single fish and with confidence that if you catch something big, someone is there to help you pull it up. Both nothing and something big are the same because the experience of fishing becomes something special when done together. Whether its writing an excel formula or learning to drive, or teaching a dog tricks, doing something together and learning is such a wonderful experience.

When words fail

Sometimes, words fail you when you really don't want them to. I started writing a story today and after some point, I just could not go forward. The story was there, the plot right in front of me, but I felt i couldn't do it justice. I felt words fail me and I just kept staring at Microsoft word for a long time.  Maybe, it was too close to heart for it to proceed. Maybe, I did not have the right setting. I do not get it. When i start writing, I usually do not stop. I just go on and on.

But one thing I do get is how ready I am to work towards changing the plot. Whether in life or in the story. I am tired of whining in the sidelines. I want to make the change. I hope then my story writes itself...

When the two roads diverge

Today was one of those days, I saw two roads diverge. I of course wanted to take the easier way out but I really did not have it in me to do it. I saw me losing all that I stand for and a part of me rebelled. I have picked the one less traveled by, but like Frost says, way is going to lead on to way and I wonder if my choice is going to change significantly over time. But whatever happens, like fat that icecreams deposit on your mid riff, it is going to take time to go away...

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Teeny tiny adventures

Life gives us the most unlikely of adventures.

When someone forgets a phone and travels in a bus and you try to reach them, angry at their carelessness, worried about their safety and relieved when you finally get to see them. I wonder how people survived before the cell phone. Must have been an interesting experience. This was my first adventure today..

I cycled some 7 km today. This is the third time I am cycling this week and am delighted I managed to do it. I've decided to add cycling to my fitness list. The fresh air of the village, the crazy dogs and the ups and downs of the road enthral me. There's a song in my head and I wish I could sing it aloud but am conserving my stamina for the ride. Hopefully soon, I should be able to sing along in this adventure.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Of replays and rewinds

There are some defining moments in life. The day when you realize beyond doubt that losing something is not an option. The day, a look is enough to convey so much words cannot and a touch so special that your brain wakes up to realize that something is going to change your life forever. A paw touching you or a hand holding you. Some moments which you cannot forget because they mean the world to you. They make life so beautiful that you want to continue to exist in that minute for much longer and you go back to revisit that spectacle which took your breath away and made you fall so hopelessly in love with life. The moment when you were somewhere else driving into the sunset.

I wish I can freeze a few visions and keep replaying them in my head. Some are photographed but those that aren't, I just keep replaying them for fear of forgetting. Or perhaps, its just an excuse to go weak kneed and starry eyed.. They make me dream and hope. To hope- the best thing about life..

Empowered

I have written quite a bit about me driving. I've told how it felt to go through known roads and a few unknown ones. Today I drove 28 kms through completely unknown routes ( largely uninhabited too) to reach a resort. I loved it.

While going it was just me and Google maps and music. I felt so empowered and marveled at the technology making it so easy for a stranger to navigate effortlessly. The safety of not having to stop and ask also meant a lot. I had company while driving back and strangely I remembered the route. I am always scared that using google maps kills ones sense of direction but today I felt the fear was groundless. I feel so empowered.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Dog days

We had to travel without the dogs. It was for around 30 hours and they stayed at a friends place. Now, both of them are pampered there plus they had two labs for company. I was convinced they'd throw a tantrum for coming back home..

Still, the welcome we got when we went to pick them up was so awesome. I felt so blessed and I am so glad that my life is full of many dog days...

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Support network

We all need one. Sometimes when I am feeling blue, I reach out to one of the many numbers and have a long chat. Or just send a simple message. Funnily I don't find solace from social networks. In fact sometimes they make me feel stupid and actually uncool ( for a few minutes only cos my life's awesome most of the time)

I am wondering what happens to those who don't have such a support network. How do they cope? What if there is a way to create such networks? I'm not talking about social forums connecting people but about offline ones as well. There is this online community called Bombat dawgz and I get great ideas for taking care of my dogs. But I would love to meet some of those people as well.

Just thinking through a few ideas to build a support network for those that need it and wondering if I'll do something about it or just let it be another thought in my head.