Thursday, December 29, 2016

No place like home

There is no place like home..
Even if no place is home

Where do I feel the most at home? It is not a single place usually. It is anywhere where I can be who I want to be as of that moment. That is the final conclusion I have come to about this word. 

As another year draws to a close and I introspect, I come to conclude that where I feel at home has changed considerably the last year. I abandoned the house we built with so much love and honestly, I feel nothing much now. It was just another shell, that hosted the soul that was my home. I feel at home in airports, in places I have never been to before, when I am with those I love, when I am alone, when I am with strangers. I feel more at home with myself as I have actually gotten to know myself better, accept my flaw and look for my improvements. 

Thank you 2016 - for reminding me there is no place like home, and home is where I am at home. :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Time of the year

It is that time of the year again, when I am not sure if I should be happy or sad. Happy that i had a great vacation or sad that it is over. Over too soon. 

I wonder, why is it that we seek vacations out so much? If we are really happy with the lives we have set for ourselves, why do we need to seek a break? Perhaps, the breaks are over rated. Perhaps, we need to find joy everyday instead of looking for those small cracks or windows of opportunity, that will take us closer to a Facebook wall full of likes. I read somewhere that when somebody likes your picture, the high you get is similar to what you would when you smoke. Though I love the attention, i am scared of flaunting too much of my personal life online. So I post maybe once a month and comment once or twice a week on things. 

Every time I come back from vacation, I find new things I want to do. Maybe, that is why we need vacations. To give us time to introspect, because nothing else can give us that time. I have been so caught up with my life that i have not been writing my diary or updating my blog in quite sometime. Busy living it so i don't have to document the life. From today, I am getting back to doing that. Take a few minutes out to rehash and relive. Not the everyday nuisances, but the things which stood out. I believe, i don't need to sit in an exotic locale for something to stand out. Hopefully, that belief will sustain me till the next vacation and also help me find out if there is something else out there I ought to be doing. 

I love traveling and I love my job. I just wish I can sit in exotic locations and work. That way I get to do the two things I love together. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Google photo magic

I had taken just a handful of pictures with my phone camera in Phnom Penh. Google made such a beautiful video out of it. Even me, the non techie who doesn't want to save my data in the cloud is now ready to, if that's what I get in return. Sigh. Then, it goes ahead and gives me this beautiful edit to a picture I'd taken. Long live technology!

Another old poem

The walls close around me as I stand on an open ground..
The colors blur and everything turns to various shades of red and grey
One for the loss and the other for the invested minutes dead,
Both irreconcilable and both unredeemable
The present fights a losing battle with the past 
Soon zombies, with squelching eyeballs and rotting flesh cloud my vision,
Digging themselves out of shallow, half baked graves..

I supress the vomit no more and let it flood right out, 
Only to watch my guts wash away the miseries of today..
The never ending deluge from deep within flows, and there's born a new river of filth.
The streets empty, swept away, the crownless flies crowd to celebrate the birth,
Of a brand new kingdom!
All that was buried, never truly dead, pouring out, to find a new home,
Killing an unfortunate, unknowing host..

Monday, December 12, 2016

Farewell

This was probably, my best kind of goodbye
Not one where we could not let go,
Not one where we had but no choice,
Not one where conversations became like chewing a tasteless bubble gum, 
For the mouth was bored and there was no space to spit..

This was probably, my best kind of goodbye,
As we competed not, for the best last word,
We wept no tears for all that could have been..
and we laughed not at memories
We never did have a chance, 
Eyes wide open, I pen a goodbye

This was probably, my best kind of goodbye
Farewell, my love,
Perhaps you were a passing fancy,
Perhaps you were all that would ever matter,
Perhaps you were just another choice..
Whatever it was, farewell..

Eternity in my hand

Sometimes you hold a thing in your hand. You just dont realize what you are holding in the first place. It is something quite desirable to someone else, but something you really do not value. Probably because you never sought it, it just came your way. 

You hang on to it initially as it was already in your hands. It did seem to stay there and you had no reason to not hold on. It was not uncomfortable much, it was quite easy to just settle. 

Then, something grates. You know something is not right, but you dont know what is wrong. You are effectively left holding on to something, because you have to hold on, not because you want to, without realizing you never needed to do it in the first place. It just belonged somewhere else. 

The it can be anything. A job, a relationship, a book or any habit. How difficult is it to actually let go? Quite very difficult. Some habits are quite hard to break. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Messenger from Hell

You're the messenger from hell,
My personal angel of death
You're all the sins personified,
You're all that's wrong
And you're still all that's right

Wordlessly, you tempt me with your mere existence..
Helpless, consciously, gladly, I succumb

If this is hell,i forsake heaven,
For without you, heaven hath no charm
And with you, hell is full of an unsettled calm

You're my missing piece,
One sent to make me mould myself,
One sent to make me see the world beyond
One sent to remind me, that constants, are over rated..
That change is the true ruler, now and forever

We will change, but i pray we change together,
Two individuals, as distinct as they are the same,
As lost as they are enlightened
As confused as they are clear..
If this was not meant to be,
Nothing else can be..

Transcendence

I dream walk in reality
Dream perhaps in one realm
Reality in another
Who am i to pass judgement, even if the experience is mine?
Who am I to tag reality from a dream?

My reality, another's dream
My dream, another's reality.

Would I love life any more if my dreams are less painful?
Would I dream any more if my dreams transcend effortlessly to reality?

Maybe, In a parallel realm, the dreams just aspire to transcend,
Transient dreams, care not for their creators
They move through the spots the resistance is lowest,
And reach destinations, maybe just not where they were wanted,
Perhaps where they were needed...
Maybe where they will always be forgotten..

Meaningless Middle

If there is nowhere else to be,
Why isnt here good enough?
If there is nothing else to do,
Why isnt this all that can be?
If there is nobody else to hold,
Why am I not enough?
The questions surround me
I run away from the question marks
that are intent on a game of tag..

I look into the mirror,
the tired eyes of a stranger staring back
I know not this person, our paths don't align
but our paths are the same
I dread this optionless existence
I am too tired to dream
I am too tired to sleep
I am too tired to even exist

But exist I must, for the end is never an end
it is just another endless beginning
Nothing ends and nothing ever begins..
There is just the meaningless middle
left to ponder a beginning that never was
and an end that never would be..

Out for the world to see

I have decided to post the poetry I have been writing recently in my blog. I do want to get it published, but since I dont lose the copyright if it is in my blog, I want to post a few of the poems here. My first effort in letting the world read what I really think.

Changes galore

In one part of the world, the highest denomination has now become null and void. In another, someone very few people expected to win, has won an election and has become the most powerful man in the world. While I do have my usual opinionated rant about both the incidents in my head, the one thing I am celebrating today is my new Macbook Pro and the fact that I was able to print 4by6 images of a few photos I had taken. They looked amazing. 

I was not able to buy post cards in Lassen, but I made my own. That, is a change I actually like. That, is a change I am looking forward to embracing everyday. 

Friday, October 28, 2016

Contrasts

Should you know despair to know hope?
Should you know pain to know pleasure?
Should you know love to know neglect?
Should you know anger to know calm? 
Are the opposites needed for meaning?
Or are things just as they are?

I knew black independent of the white,
But the blackness more obvious
as the whiteness was when both were known..
Is it that simple then? 
The intensity of everything, much more
when the contrast comes to play..

The emotion no less valuable, 
Just a lot keener, a lot stronger
with the contrast to lend value..

You rise from the depths,
The pleasure of the high - longer!
You fall from a height,
The fall - just harder

Love,just is
Pleasure,just is
Hope, just is
and Calm, just is..

But it also is not..

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Setting the world on fire

I thought I was setting the world on fire,
I forgot I was the center of my world
I burn this instant, by myself and bright
My vanity happy at the light, despite the pain,
The darkness around clears, but at what cost, I wonder?

Did I set myself free? 
Or did I imprison myself in a burnt out husk?
I burn bright this instant,unable to extinguish,
Powerless to change the course I have set in motion..

Too late to turn back, too late to hide- 
the bright light a dead give away, 
No longer the dark, my friend to surround me..
No longer the dark, my companion to protect me,

Unwittingly, I called upon his foe
Oh, why did i tempt fate so?

There is destruction - unseen, unimagined
My limited mind, having never perceived
the extent of the damage..

I reach out, then withdraw,
Destruction is sought not,
Even by the abnormal..
For there is just damage in the wake..
Was rebirth just another delusion?
Was I better off, hiding?
Should I have picked a delusion - with better chances of survival?
Could I have?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What is normal?

A couple of days ago, at a work dinner, we were talking about Ramanujam who had such brilliant ideas that he revolutionized the world of math as we knew it then. We progressed to speak about painters, artists and other people who had ideas, people who we call genius. 

I began to wonder - what if there were a lot more out there, these geniuses, who just never expressed them in the right place at the right time? What if they were locked away and considered insane, instead of being applauded for their genius? I mean, someone who questions the norm is either too smart or too crazy at times.

What is sanity anyway? Isn't it an over rated figment of our imagination? What is normal? What was normal once is no longer normal now. We struggle to fit in, to stand out, to move on, to reach out, in short, we keep struggling as we think about some semblance of normalcy, that we aspire towards.

What if you had no ways and means of knowing anything else but what you do? What if truly revolutionary ideas are accepted without being questioned too much? Rather, what if they are debated without being judged? What if things can exist together as much as they cannot? What if we make peace with all the what ifs and acknowledge that nothing can ever be normal the same way nothing can ever be unique? Would life become simpler or more complicated? And aren't simple and complicated just mere ideas?

These mountains

These mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb ~Unknown

A friend of mine had this as her Whatsapp profile picture and she sent it to me, to make a point about something we were discussing. It got me thinking. I have been lost and I am not ashamed to admit it here. I would have been a few months ago, as I usually know where I am going. I am the one that always has a plan in mind and works hard to achieve it. I know what I want to do, where I want to go. A few months ago, a couple of things happened which have led me to question my definition of right and wrong, my world view and every damn thing. I am not ready to talk about in a public forum yet, but suffice to say, it has made me want to be a lot less judgmental about life in general.

The last month, I have not expressed myself. I have just been lost in thought and driving myself crazy. Staying with my friends has helped me a lot (Thank God for them and their belief in me even if i am insane) and I have put down a few mountains I have been carrying. I have not been carrying them for a long time, but it seems like forever. Maybe, that was an interim state in my life and this is a new stage that is very different and still very similar to the earlier one. 

I refuse to carry the mountain any more. I am going to climb it and get it over with. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

When they go low

People will go low, lower than you ever thought they could. Michelle Obama says, "When they go low, you go high". That is interesting - so is me maintaining my state high as it is higher than the low they have gone to? Or should I actually go higher than where I am? I am just pondering about the quote because I did love it and I want to remember it.

Waking up

Sometimes, you wake up, though you've been wide awake for hours and you realize, you were actually fast asleep. Now, the hazy dream like state was nice, but you were actually letting your muscles go to waste, because you weren't using them in reality, only in a fantasy that was nonsensical. Maybe the fantasy was more real than reality, but it is in no way, shape or form, real. What do you do? Go back to sleep or stay awake, stay away and move forward? I think I'd like to keep moving forward and damn the pain the consequences.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sometimes

Sometimes in life, when you don't really know what to do, I think you should try something that puts you out of your comfort zone.
It's OK to be wrong about a few things. What's not OK is to not accept you were wrong and cling on to things that don't make sense or things that ought to keep evolving.
So what if your identity is one of those things? What if your identity is not related to what you thought it was related to? What if you are as big as you are small?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Lemons

Someone I know had posted in FB - when life gives you lemons, make lemonade and throw the seeds so that someone else can also have lemons without life giving it to them. Why do i even post it here? Right now, I feel words have lost their meaning and I have no energy to write about anything else. Hopefully, I start writing random nonsense soon. :)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Poisonous Elixirs

Speaking to a few people, is like getting to sip the elixir of life. You feel alive, invigorated and all set to conquer the world. Speaking to a few others is like getting to sniff the poison that came from the milky ocean when it was being churned for the same amrutha. (Shiva has this to save the world. A very interesting story). The funny thing though is that, initially, you do not know about the elixir or about the poison. They are both new tastes. How do you know whether you are getting the elixir or the poison?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Racing to the finish

Sometimes, I feel like I am racing towards a finish line. Running so fast that everything around me blurs. 

Like, one of those pictures in the sports pages, where somebody beats a world record and they have this picture with just them in the focus and everything else out of focus. I do not have time to think, I do not have time to see, I just let my legs lead me. Do I even know what I am running towards? Why? I cannot stop right now to think, because the answer is not what I seek. I am just running, because that is the only thing I can think of doing right now. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Legacy

I got my grandfather's ring today. I wasn't expecting it at all but the moment I saw it, I had to have it, as I was reminded of him. He passed away in 2011. He was a prominent figure in my childhood. We had a friendly relationship and used to squabble over television channels, movie actors and of course food. An orthodox man, he made a lot of allowances for me and my sister and was quite open minded and encouraging. He was a feminist as far as we were concerned and used to take an active interest in my social life, when i was in college.

His health deteriorated as he aged and his last few years were quite unlike the early years I experienced with him.

I can't claim to miss him because my life has changed so much, that even I don't recognize it any more.

But often times, when I see children I'm reminded of all the snacks he used to get us, the comics he got me almost every other day when he went for a walk, the days he would listen to me as I prepared for speech competitions and his enthusiasm to read anything I wrote. He had a good life and in his own way, helped me have a good one too.

Thatha, wish you were here to see it all, but I know you'd have been happy with most things(definitely not the doggies).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Evolution

You fall down, you get up, you fall down again. Then you try to figure out why you fell. Sometimes, there is someone available who will tell you that. Other times, there is nobody around and you keep making assumptions with the available level of visibility you have and worse still, you never listen to the voices around.
You fall, you rise and you never give up. You can only evolve if you figure out why you fell and try to avoid it. In some cases, that behavior might be integral to who you are, so you can choose something else you want to do and accept that the fall was perceived and not real. In some others, you might become a better version of who you really are.
But whatever it is, fall. Else you are going to be who you are and the way you are, and everyone can do with some improvement or the other. If you think you don't need to, you're wasted anyway.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Systemic changes

We've a grandmother in my extended family, who never had kids. When I was a kid, I was used to my granny telling me that she didn't have any family of her own in a tone that indicated pity. At that time, I didn't question it either. My concept of family and the importance of it was very traditional then. 


As I grew older, I started noticing her in a very different light. She was far not independent, encouraging, had a lot of different ideas and was in general some body I continued to like and pay attention to, even though my relationship with everyone changed over time. I now realize that she was someone who was looked at differently because her choices were different from the traditional ones. In this day and age, her choices might still not be applauded, but they would not be judged as much is what I think. I was thinking about her as I was battling with a few basic questions myself as a few unexpected and expected events unfold in my professional and personal life.

What do we do when there are some ideas that are very different from ours? If the ideas are ahead of their times, they are applauded in the future, but in the present, the person who has the idea and decides to live with it, is the one that bears the brunt of the criticism. 

When you want to live differently in any system, personal or professional, it is never easy. 

Many wage a losing battle and give up. Perhaps they are frustrated, perhaps they are unhappy, or perhaps they even learn to live happily after some point. What works for majority, should have something fundamentally secure that would help anyone settle into it right?

Some garner forces and try to present a uniform front, even if the ones on their side, are united in nothing else but that one tiny idea. Some try to make smaller changes and still go with the flow in most cases.

A handful keep trying to do what they think is right and challenge the system, knowingly or unknowingly. 

This post is a dedication to all those who refuse to give up. I know it looks like you are fighting a losing battle, but perhaps, the battle is what defines you and gives you unlimited joy. Maybe, it is not a battle in the first place, but just a new way of living. Maybe, you are not alone as you think. There are 7 billion people in the world, and somewhere, there is someone else who is going through the exact same thing as you, no matter how unique you think your situation is. 

Remember them and stay strong. Perhaps, you might be happier if you can let go, but letting go, is never going to help you remain happy long term I think. If it could, you would have already done that. Hang in there, the best is yet to come. 

Striking a balance

I am trying to strike a balance.

I claim that there is a range of values between the probabilities of 0 and 1. But in reality, it's easier to take the zero or the one in a lot of scenarios and not even realize it. For eg, x likes me vs. X hates me is an easier stand to take than accepting that x likes me in a few instances, might be neutral in a few more and might actually dislike my ideas in a few more. I'm simplifying my conflict with the most common example I can think of, because the others are difficult to pen down too.

How do you strike a banana? Is balance over rated? Can I truly believe in something if it's not black and white? Philosophically the answer is yes. But realistically, I don't know the answer. Rather, the answer varies by the situation. Perhaps all this introspection is going to lead me down a path of self awareness. Perhaps not.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Graphic imagery

I'm really disturbed by how we let social media get away with anything. In the name of awareness and outrage, this idiot had posted a video of a dog being tied and beaten. I accidentally saw five seconds of it as when I scroll down, sometimes videos auto play. I was very disturbed. Isn't circulating this video as bad as making it? Why do we allow such videos and images to exist? Why do we thrive indirectly on suffering saying, it was so horrible and I'm going to show you just about how? When we certify movies, in the day and age where just about anyone can star in a home made movie, how can we control the violence in it?
Should it just be the job of citizens who'll immediately block it and refuse to let it spread?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thankful

It has been a long day. Long week in a few ways, and as I sit down, all i want to do is crib. 

Right then, two cuddly, loving monsters come and lie down on either side of me as I sit staring at my laptop. I want to thank him up above for giving me such unconditional love. 

Thank you for that fine day in 2013 for planting the thought of getting a dog home. It has changed my life for the better and perhaps, also made me a better person (at least in their eyes)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Control vs. Strength

A very wise person asked me today, if i know the difference between control and strength. Rather, what the difference was. Honestly, I immediately said, "Strength is knowing things will be ok even if they are not in control" 

Do I truly believe that, yes. Do I actually implement it in my life? Not always. Often, I hold on to ideas, dreams, aspirations and even a habit, even though I might not like it, because it offers me the ability to control it to some extent. Maybe, I will be ok if i let go of it. Not maybe, I will actually be ok if i let go of it, but the fear of letting go and losing control over rides my belief, in my strength. Will I truly be able to rise above the obvious and reach a stage where I have control and am strong or even one, where I am ok drifting and accepting that once in a while I have to let go before I swim against the tide towards what I want? There I go again, talking about swimming against tides and controlling my actions. Will I ever reach a stage where I will be ok letting go of control completely and surrendering myself to the will of the universe? Take life, one day at a time? Like one of the sadhus I aspire to be like?

Stepping back

Ages ago, I wrote about knowing the difference between persistence and stupidity. Rather knowing which causes you are going to see a positive impact if you keep persisting and which are the ones where you are banging your head against a wall, hoping it will crumble. 

I am now trying to take a step back and evaluate my life and honestly, I realize that I have been acutely stupid in a few cases. I hate thinking of myself as stupid. :( So, I am trying to firstly forgive myself and secondly accept it is ok to be stupid, even eternally.

When you contemplate, life seems far less scary because you can truly see where you have come from to where you where. For me that picture always brings a smile on my face. Maybe I have a bloated head. But that same bloated head is being constantly banged against a wall and it was the thickness that prevented my skull from being cracked. 

In a few cases where I had to just walk a few inches forward to get what I wanted, since I had  a bleeding head, I ended giving up. And, I did not understand where I was doing what. I am still not sure if I know, but accepting I am stupid has been liberating in a way, so let me figure out how to do what I need to do next. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A world of possibilities

In front of us, lies a world of possibilities. We refuse to see it at times, because we are so scared to open our eyes to it. Most of us walk around with eyes tightly closed. We are stuck in beautiful comfort zones which we created for ourselves, but we cannot truly get out of. We are stuck in nice fancy boxes. They are nice, they are fancy, but they are still boxes. I want to break out and truly embrace the world in front of me. 

As I write this, I realize that nothing is stopping me from doing that except myself. So as of this moment, I give myself permission to think beyond the obvious, see beyond the visible and question everything like Ruth, my friends four year old. 

Why should I do this? Why is this not possible? Who do I want to be? The last question is the one I think I will leave open ended for now. For, the world I will embrace might be completely different from the world I know and the person I will become might be someone, I never thought I could be. 

Fundamentally a few things might not change - like my love for reading or my love for animals, but perhaps a few more might change. So I am curious to see how Harini in 2017 views life. The one in 2016 is a lot less scared than the one in 2015 and in general a lot more ready for adventure.(Or so i like to think)

Enforced calm

Today, Bangalore was eerily calm. There was no honking, no traffic blocks and when I took my dogs for a walk in the evening, there were no cars interrupting Laika from crossing the road. This is not the city I know. There was an eerie atmosphere in a way because none of the shops were open. The ones that suffered the most were the bachelors who never cook because they had to stock up on maggi ahead of time and be happy with it. Thankfully for me, I had had a great harvest from the farm, so we had enough vegetables to sustain us. 
Yesterday, I got really annoyed watching television so I avoided it like the plague today. I was quite at peace to be honest. But when I started thinking about why I am enjoying the quiet, I could not really be happy. My city, the one I have made my home has effectively been brought to a standstill by hooligans. Hooligans who are probably unemployed and that want to create a ruckus over an issue. If they really are worried about water shortage, the last thing they would do is burn buses and other public property. To put out these fires, water is being wasted. The exact same resource they are unwilling to share. I sympathize with all those people who now have to work on a saturday. Or those that are working from home. Every single company would have faced significant loss thanks to the unrest. The impact would be felt all over the world. Even if it is quite minor. All for what? 
Should I use my super power (analytics) to predict where and how unrest can happen and how it will spread and come up with a way to prevent it? Is that even possible?

Challenging oneself

Last night, while speaking with a friend, I realized that something I was petrified of, was not actually that scary. Once that realization sunk in, I am actually looking forward to doing it. It is going to be a very different kind of challenge than the one I am used to, but this is going to be something that could potentially change the way I look at life and perhaps, my life itself. 

Is the effort worth the outcome? Maybe yes, maybe no. But is the effort an experience I want? Yes. What matters most to me is growing through an experience that is not necessarily what I am usually comfortable with. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Spreading panic

I guess most of us are aware of the unrest happening all around Bangalore thanks to the Cauvery water issue. I am not really qualified to comment about the row so I will refrain from doing that. 

What irks me is how much of a panic is constantly spread by Whatsapp, Facebook and of course our own media. They sensationalize things so much that you end up thinking that the world is going up in flames. There is definitely unrest, but more than the unrest, there is panic, there is fear and there is unnecessary bias that gets spread thanks to self righteous, supposedly aware people. 

In this world where everyone is married to their devices and blindly trust the messages they get and pass it around, it is so easy to spread fear and panic and mass hysteria. I just received the picture of a headless man who supposedly died trying to save his TN registered lorry from protesters. The incident happened near my office. I am definitely going to have nightmares today. What is the need to share such messages through Whatsapp groups? How does that help the situation? Why are we all so glad to forward unnecessary information around? A TV channel reported imposition of 144 even before the police knew about it. How can media be so careless? Why are we so happy to spread fear? How can I change this? Am I always going to be helpless? Is running away from this place the only solution? 

Lastly, why do we call goons who burn buses and beat up people as Tamils or Kannadigas? They are not. They are goons. They do not represent us and never will. 

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Silences

I love to talk. It is very noisy wherever I am. But recently, I have come to love silences. Possibly because the possibilities for what conversations I could have had in those moments of utter silence are limitless. Those conversations within my head are ensuring that it is never truly silent, but in a way, the silence is deafening. I wonder what I should do now..My silence in the blog has also been driven by this need to not share anything for a change. Things dont change as much as they change..

Monday, August 29, 2016

Drifting with the current

I love to plan. I have back up A, B, C, D and E at any given point in time. It is very difficult for me to take life as it comes. That does not mean I cannot embrace change. Usually, I am quite comfortable with change, but I like thinking about multiple scenarios and thinking about what would happen in each one. :)  It is my favorite hobby. 

Recently, I have come to see that even the best laid plans sometimes don't pan out and what happens instead is not bad at all. In fact, some of the best things that happened to me were the least expected. Not even the least expected, they were the unimagined ones. I guess, when you come with plans for your life, you look at only the picture as you have visibility to it. But life is much bigger than anything you can ever see. You cannot truly expect to even comprehend it in its entirety. 

Yesterday, after a particularly frustrating conversation, I realized something - I have built a raft and I have been tiring myself to no end by trying to take it towards a destination, a destination I actually have no clue about. The more I try to go towards it, the more I feel the current pulling me in a completely different direction. Some things in life are worth the struggle, I don't deny that, but right now, I don't want to struggle as I am not sure, if the destination, the hope of something that might happen, is worth losing the present over.

So, I am sitting happily in my raft and letting the current take me in the direction it pleases. I am still alert, watching the current, making sure I am not drifting into some waterfall and falling down to a certain death, (At the end of it, death is the only certainty, but that is not what I want now) and taking in the beautiful views. Living in the present. These couple of days have been calming and already I see a few good things happening. 

Knowing me, I know that some island will catch my fancy and I will start trying to take my raft towards it. Just not today, or maybe this week or maybe athis month. 

Or perhaps build a ship after I reach this destination and conquer the island with the big guns. I don't know what I might do. The uncertainty has its charms and the possibilities, limitless. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Small things

I watched TV after a two week hiatus. I saw these really great ads for Havells.
The first one is of a kid studying in the flickering light and this lady sets him up with a light from her house. He feels his book light up, looks at her and smiles.
The second is of a girl standing outside a saree shop alone and asking someone to come soon and pick her up because it was dark. The shop owner runs in SVD switches on the light. They share a smile. I love both these ads. It reminds me how the smaller things in life sometimes mean a lot. Also about how a story can be told in a matter of minutes. Beautiful. Keep it up whoever you are.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Prayers and promises

Can prayers help us keep promises we never made, but should have? Do I need to promise something explicitly to actually stick to a decision? What if, in a two way street, I am stuck one way, because of words never said and because of words said? 
Random thoughts on a late work night. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A prayer

She was the one that found me. She found me, when I did not know I was lost. She loved me with all her heart and never expected much in return. She gave me solace when I could hardly find it and she was always there, looking at me with those beautiful eyes, full of love and acceptance. Zoya, is becoming worse and I feel so helpless and frustrated that nobody is able to find what is wrong with her. Every vet visit fills me with such sorrow that I just want to go drown myself somewhere.

I dont know what is wrong with her. I am praying that we are able to find what is wrong at least this time around. I want her to get better. I want the dog who used to run and jump and skip and play every day. I am ready to come up with ways to expend her energy. It is heart wrenching to see her lie down wearing a huge t shirt and stare at me with those eyes. 

I am praying that she recovers sometime soon and that I get my favorite naughty pup back. Someone please save us. 

Cure for stupidity

Is there any cure for stupidity? When I am talking to someone who cannot see what is right in front of them and is searching all over the world for it, I want to just scream. I am actually screaming inside while hoping that the voice I am hearing is inside my head and has not magically escaped and found its way out.

I am not mild mannered. However, I have learnt diplomacy. Honestly, early man had it much easier. He/She could just grunt and walk away or throw a club at someone's head. I cannot do that. I can just hope and pray for a cure for stupidity. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Mental image

Today, I was browsing Facebook(I'm one of those daily browsers who doesn't post much in terms of content. Or so I like to think) when I came across a friend suggestion. This lady was wearing a short skirt and hugging a tree. I couldn't recognize her at first. Later I realized, this was one of my neighbors whom I'd never spoken to, possibly because I'd pegged her as very conservative. Then, I spent sometime looking at the Facebook profile pictures of my friends. I realized something interesting. We all have a mental image of ourselves and sometimes, that might be in complete contrast to how the world sees us. We could be chirpy, pretty, sensible, angry, sexy, youthful, serious, old, patient, impatient, etc etc. We try to portray that through images and in a controlled environment like Facebook, we work on our pictures to express ourselves. We can't always be how we see ourselves to be. But the times we are, we can definitely preserve that memory.

How I see myself has changed so much over the years that sometimes, it doesn't make any sense to me at all. The girl from 5 years back, might actually find me quite irritating now and the current me is finding that funny. I wish there's a way to plot mental image evolution. If only I can look into people's heads and see how they see themselves. It will be fun.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ornery vs. Ordinary

Every time I read the word ornery, my brain usually replaces it with ordinary. I don't understand why that happens. Given that one means bad tempered and the other just means something average, I often wonder.

I remember the first time I read the word. It was when I was reading William. Someone called him an ornery boy. Anyone who has read William knows that the author uses a very colloquial way of writing. But still, ordinary did not sit well in that sentence.
I found the meaning and I did remember it.

Perhaps because I knew ordinary first, it still doesn't register. Maybe I should try using ornery in more sentences and let it stay in my head. Hmmm

There are days

There are days
When a lobophile hates words
There are days
When a foodie starves, willingly
There are days
When conversations seem pointless

There are days
When nothing makes sense

There are days
When the pain makes you forget
Every single pleasure

But these are the days
That exist to remind you
Of all that's also good in the world

For you can't identify the light
Without the darkness
You can't value love
Without the pain
You can't value words
Without the silences
And you can't value companionship

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Eternity

I've been rereading Sophie's world. This was one book I absolutely fell madly in love with when I was very impressionable(sometimes I think I still am). Anyway, reading it makes me wonder about eternity. Are we all just forms that come together, because we're what we're perceived to be? If there are no perceptions, if there are no judgements, how would we be? How much of our physical form is inseparable from our mental view of who we are? Would we look different, act different if we thought of ourselves differently? Given that even millennia are meaningless when we think of eternity, can a few seconds actually be equivalent to millennia?

These are all random unrelated questions, but perhaps they are related, in that they all came from me in this exact same order.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Surprises

I am in love with valparai and sethumadai. We ended up here when we least expected it and this trip has been such a revelation. I realize how much more I can do and see what all I can possibly do with life. When you least expect it, life throws surprises your way and if you're ready to embrace it, you get rewarded in ways you never thought possible. A wise person told me, you might not get what you want, but you'll get what you deserve. That's what I believe in too and if anything the last few days have reconfirmed that belief. Life is beautiful.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Paths

Yesterday, we were planning a drive from Cochin to Madurai(that didn't happen). There were two routes shown in the ever efficient Google maps. One was ten minutes longer. I was thinking we should take the one that took less time when I noticed the distance. The one with ten minutes more was actually almost 100km longer.
At that point, every person thinking of going and looking at maps has two choices. Go through a more scenic route, that will slow you down, take every minute as it comes, crawl along watching the world. Or go through a faster route, with speed as your constant companion and good roads egging you onwards.
Both the travelers will reach the same destination and even at around the same time. But it depends on the person as to how much they'll enjoy the path. Someone who wants the beauty will derive great joy from the scenic route. The time wouldn't matter as the experience that would matter to them was the immersion.
Someone who thrives on the speed and the easy roads will love the second path. Put them in the opposite paths and reaching the destination will be the only joy they derive. If they have any energy left that is. Sometimes in our enthusiasm to reach a destination, we forget the fine print. Sometimes you don't even realize there's a fine print. Life is funny that way.

Time bound

If there was no time, what would you do? I thought of this today when I was reading a very interesting article in brain pickings. Removing time from the picture will make life a lot more interesting and definitely more confusing. Would money continue to have value? My concept of money is again, as something that is given to me for work done that is typically time bound. When I was doing all this thinking about time, we missed the route we were supposed to take and ended up taking a different one. Neither of us were perturbed as we were not on a time limit.
Here is where this gets interesting. At work, we all have time limits. You need to finish things in a certain time limit. Else ultimately your company is not going to make money. So how do you tie timelessness with this? Timelessness is your personal choice. You can talk about it, implement it in your time. It isn't that time doesn't exist, it is that time doesn't become a measure of what and how you do. When you are getting something in return for your time, that someone else depends on, you have a choice, to only do what you love and by virtue of doing something you love, time doesn't matter. Or you do it even if you don't love it, because you get that time in which time doesn't matter. You are still bound by it, but not as much as you would be otherwise.
I'm racing against time most of the time. I set SMART goals where the T (time bound) is also a factor. I set it for everything. Including writing. When my friend told me to write with the assumption that everything I write will go into the trash, but the fact that it is going into the trash will reduce the probability of something going in the next day, I was upset. "why should I waste time" I argued with him. But it wasn't a waste of time. It was an investment, a practice. Somewhere along the way, in trying to live my life, I've forgotten to enjoy the process. The path is more fulfilling than the destination, because the destination is just death.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Quirky works

I saw this picture at an arts cafe today. I really loved it. The photographer as well as the models had a quirky sense of humor. When you start watching the world for what it is, you see a million things that you wouldn't have noticed normally..

I love you

I don't notice the birds or the bees
There didn't interest me then
They don't interest me now
I don't see the beauty in unexpected places
There's so much to admire in all that's known
I don't see a brand new me walking around conquering the world
I don't see a gamut of unknown emotions

With you, I see what is, for what it is
And I still continue to observe
And for that, I love you

Means of expression

I keep evaluating new ways to express myself. (Ok, my photography blog has to be updated, i have the pictures, i am just taking my time in posting it) I found this video blogging website someone had recommended to me. 
I tried a couple of video recordings and I actually liked it. Maybe, I will create these journals and store them somewhere so I can revisit it a few years later to see how I sounded. ;)

Expected value

Last night, we were supposed to go to Thailand. We had driven down to Cochin when a friend messaged me a news article about blasts that rocked the country. We started evaluating staying back.

Since I'm an analyst, we decided to look at the expected value. The probability of the blasts happening again near us, multiplied with the value of our lives, subtracted from the probability of nothing happening multiplied with the cost of cancelling/rescheduling our trip. As logical as I claim to be, I couldn't put a value to my life. So the cost of going ended up becoming huge and we cancelled the trip. This got me thinking. We can't rationalize(at least I can't) when there's a perceived threat to our lives, no matter how miniscule it is. Why is that so? Given that there are billions of lives in the planet, why do we all think(me) that we're so indispensable?
Maybe, like my friend says, it's all about wanting to thrive. I can't ever accept that in the scale of the universe I'm a nobody. I'm convinced that even as a tiny particle, I've a role to play. Maybe that's my ridiculous ego at work here. Maybe, it's much more than that or much less than that.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mirror and shadow

I always thought I was the mirror and you were the shadow,
You found yourself in me and I gained meaning
What is a mirror if it reflects nothing?
What's a mirror if it cannot help you find yourself?
I loved the symbolism and you loved the view..

Little did I realize then, that mirror and shadow we weren't,
But two mirrors facing each other, setting up a million realities
Each as meaningless as the other
And every single one lost forever

The crack in one reflecting light from elsewhere ;
The other facing death penalty unknowingly,
For with the loss of one identity, comes the destruction of another,
Unless new meanings are found and new directions sought!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Embracing the dark

Within all of us, there is a very dark part. This part is seldom seen and acknowledged by us. The whole world gets to glimpse it on and off, (depending on how much you express your emotions). We are often told that it is important to be happy. But I guess the important message we miss is that, we have to be able to embrace all aspects of our personality. The dark, the light, the anger, the joy and the depression. It is not easy. It is especially difficult, if you condition yourself to remain positive. I met this brilliant poet named Arundhathi, who told me, being positive is not about always being happy and cheerful. It is about actually being able to see the different shades of black and still embracing it. It is about being hopeful about life, with all its shades. 

This weekend, I scared myself with the kind of poetry I was writing. I never knew I could write something like that and in a way, embracing the dark has set me free. Perhaps, I will post it in my blog or I will get it out as a book. I dont know. I just have to make an effort to write. (One reason the blog has been relatively inactive is because I have been writing poetry that I don't post. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2016

A weekend to remember

For the last couple of days, I was at the Bangalore poetry festival. I seldom try to approach or interact with celebrities as I have preconceived notion that they might be too busy. But this weekend, I spoke to quite a few and their attitude and encouragement made my day and hopefully will remind me to stretch my limits.

I was watching a panel which had Vasundhara Das. She sang a Spanish song and I was so moved by her voice. The whole room was transported to Spain when she was done. I didn't understand a word but felt an array of emotions. After the session, I walked up to her and tried striking a conversation. Surprisingly, she was very down to earth, easy to talk to and cheerful. She encouraged me to follow my dream of singing mentioning that age can never be a true barrier. I also took a photograph with her, which is going to end up being on my desk some day.

Then, there was a session with poet Arundhathi. I was a volunteer at the fest and had interacted with her on Saturday. She had such grace and poise, so I wanted to listen to her talk. Her poetry collection was also quite awe-inspiring. There were a few poems in it that inspired me to reach out to the darkness within and actually write like I typically would not. I spoke to her after her session today and the conversation was quite enjoyable. Some day, when I get my poetry collection out, she would have definitely played a role in inspiring it.

I also met some wonderful regional poets - Mr.Sachidanandam from Kerala and Ms.Kutti Revathi from Tamil Nadu. They had quite a few revolutionary ideas. The former's poetry about Mad men and the latter's about tigers made me just stop in my tracks. The best part, they were open to talking about it with a nobody (Nobody in literary circles right now)

The whole experience was mind blowing. I was so inspired to write. (I have been writing a lot of poetry that I have not been posting in my blog. It was also one of the reasons I wanted to go to the festival)
I am really inspired to seriously evaluate my writing career.

Organizations like Atta Galatta are doing a great service to the creative scene in this town and I am thankful for them. This was definitely a weekend to remember. 

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Fear of the future

I guess everyone, goes through a stage in their life when they keep seeing a million options and they don't know what is going to happen. Each road seems either as good or as bad as the other.
I've a very strong fear of the future now. I don't doubt that I'll face it, but I'm scared of the changes and how the transition phase is going to be. Maybe Mars is in retrograde or something right now. Or I'm just as imaginative as ever and creating scenarios when there are none.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Rediscovering life

Sometimes, you think you know yourself well. What you want, where you will be and how you will be. Then, you go through some crisis(often self imposed) and are left questioning and rediscovering a new part of you, that you never knew existed.
Recently, I fell in love with life all over again. It happened in a strange place, in the middle of a museum hall. I was looking at the painting of Irises by Van Gogh. I'd never thought I would fall in love with painting and look at it in so much detail. It was magnificent.
The story behind it was also interesting. Van Gogh painted it when he was in an asylum. Isn't it strange that something so beautiful was created out of an in built frustration? Not strange, amazing rather. How connected is life, if Van Gogh's breakdown all those years ago helped create something which woke me up from a slumber.

Habits

It is really so easy to fall into a habit. I think the human mind is conditioned that way.  Sometimes I think if you'd followed routines in the times gone by, predators would have figured it out and eaten you up. So you could not have had a routine necessarily but you could have a few habits. (my excuse for those times I'm not punctual)
Sometimes, once we break a habit, no matter how comfortable it was, it becomes very difficult for us to get back to it. You feel bad, as you remember the joy the experience gave you and are actually sad too, knowing it's never going to happen again.
I'll take a moment, to remember a few habits- good, old, interesting and bid them adieu.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

When you least expect

Sometimes in life, when you least expect it, something so beautiful happens that you are left wondering if it was real, or if it was just a dream. Something unexpected and quick.. It leaves you wondering and questioning all that you know about life. 

Given that life is about the moments that take your breath away, I want to take a minute to thank him up above for those surprises, that make life well worth living. Thank him for reminding me time and again, that no war is lost until the final battle is fought and there are beautiful things waiting to be discovered if you drop preconceived notions and embrace life..

Friday, July 29, 2016

Connectedness

I have a very strong belief. That every single thing, is connected in ways, well beyond the human imagination. This belief helps me when I am stuck in difficult situations. I try to see how some learning from that point in time might help me in the future. Over a period of time, this has helped me become less judgmental (I didnt say non judgmental. I cant truly be that way) and helped me see other's perspectives and accept my own and live with my decisions.

The last week has been very special to me, as I realized once again, how a million tiny decision I have taken, have brought me to this place and time. I am seeing a lot of things very clearly now. I don't think I can regret anything, because, even things I thought were late realizations, were not truly late, because if they had not happened when they happened, i would not be where I am now. Where I am, is beautiful and so unique in a way. My path, is just mine alone and there are those that join me for a bit. I have to accept that paths might intersect, but finding one that has the people I want to be with, is not always easy. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Entrapment

Today, I visited the la Brea tar pits. There is an observation pit there, that shows how animals got trapped in the grease pits. Ashpalt can be solid or liquid depending on the temperature. So, parts of an asphalt deposit could be solid and parts liquid or the same area could be solid in winter and liquid in summer.
A lot of leaves, water and multiple things on top of the ashpalt can make it look like a normal first floor, hence confusing animals that could wander into it.

A huge herbivore could have walked towards the pit and gotten stuck right in a pit. It's cries would have attracted carnivores. They predict around 10 carnivores for every single herbivore trapped. A few might have gotten a piece of the trapped animal, but quite a lot would have gotten stuck in the pit along with the prey. This is called entrapment.

Funny thing, this helped us get oil and we are now able to learn about the world all those thousands of years ago, from these fossil deposits of multiple animals trapped to a slow painful death.

A couple of things got me all fascinated.

First was how a few things  however miniscule survive across thousands of years and tell us about a world set so far away in time. Tiny fossils showcase, a whole forest floor and here I'm able to see it come alive across eons.

Second, the whole taking the easy way out thing. You go for something thinking it's easy. But, it's actually not all the time and there's so much more than meets the eye.

A few predators might have managed to make good and escape, but a majority were stuck in a situation where they got exactly what they wanted, but it was not what they thought it was. Haven't we faced that situation in life too? Nothing can ever truly be easy. It just comes with fine print we never notice.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Meaningless halves

What's joy without sorrow,
What pleasure without pain?
What's the light without the dark?
What's the night without the day?
What's the heat without the cold?

Some halves, don't make sense
Without the other
Meaning is meaningless sometimes

When all is said and done

When all is said and done, at the end of the day, all that's going to remain, is hopefully a hand full of dust. That in itself is in a few cases unlikely.  Then, what's the point of it all? If all that remains is nothing, what's the point of all the joy, the sorrow, the heartache? Going down this line of thinking depresses me to no end.

Whenever this thought upsets me, I tell myself that in a lifetime, there are some moments that truly take your breath away. They come from nowhere and not always with the people you expect. Those moments are worth all the craziness. All of us have those. We just need to acknowledge it.

There are some moments, which help you create something that stands the test of time at least for a short period(I love old buildings, paintings, temples and sculptures). It won't be everyone who gets to do it, but all of us in a way contribute to the art and the thought that survives. The romantic in me thinks that the muse is always unknown and eternal in a few cases.

Apocalypse

In a place far far away
From everything familiar
I come out rinsed from an immersion
In beauty across the ages
Somethings from deep within
Find a way to finally come out
Out in the open
Out despite the opposition
Out despite the internal struggles
For a few fundamental truths cannot be hidden
For all too long.

I come out, expecting to be greeted
By a blast of heat
A strong denial of truth
Instead, I'm greeted by a world caught between
Is that apocalypse? Or is that liberation?
Are the two even that different?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Metal boxes

I was reading an interesting book called metal boxes and the main character had never lived outside a ship of one form or the other in that. He'd never seen the skies and finds it very scary when he experiences the open. It was a science fiction(a well written one) but there is a grain of truth in it.

We're all stuck in metal boxes of one type or another. These are the sanitized version of the world we create for ourselves, because let's face it, the world is a scary place. When we peek out of these boxes, we find things to embrace at times. But then, if we're judged by those we least expect to, we want to crawl right back in and never come out. I guess, it's all about a risk, reward, evolution thing. If you're ready to look beyond your metal boxes(there's not always a necessity) and try to expand your reach, you might be rewarded with an evolution, but not always. You might be beaten black and blue(metaphorically of course) and left to fend for yourself. What you choose to do at every point in time is completely up to you.

I just hope I don't lose the child like wonder when I look at the world most of the time. My box looks so comforting and cozy. I want to crawl right back in at times.

Wisdom in the strangest of places

"Here's where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let's make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let's make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don't need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own 'happily ever after' for ourselves"

The quote above was by Jennifer Aniston. Now most people who know me or follow my blog know I'm not star stuck(shahrukh has a piece of my heart but I'm not crazy about him to be honest. Just works that I like him more than the rest). So quoting a celebrity(I meant the TV kind) is the last thing I'm supposed to do. Still this line of hers stuck a chord with me. I really feel that somewhere along the way we've all become so lost in text book definitions(didn't I rant about this last week?) that we've forgotten a very basic thing. Individuals are as similar as they're different. Everyone has their own version of happily ever after seems to be a nice thing to say. (the cynic in me says ever after is over rated)

Last night, when I was talking to someone(a very enjoyable conversation), I realized something. I've been yapping about text book definitions all the while, been aware of biases and still not been trying to get to know a few types of people(there's also the other fact that I've to stay in touch with those I already know)

I'm letting my existing biases cloud my head unintentionally. No matter how many times I come to this conclusion and go through a whole de biasing exercise, somethings happen to shake my foundation again.

I'm not going to become an Aniston fan overnight and go watch friends. But I'm going to derive joy in the knowledge that a celebrity who's so different from me also does agree with me on a few things. Even one that looks picture perfect. I don't want to hear the whole motherhood is a joy line from someone again. All of us deserve our own version of happiness and should learn to accept that what gives us joy might not be what someone else seeks. Of course, if you seek joy with that person, then it's going to be tricky.

I can find my own happily ever after, I'm not sure what my path is going to be and I'm going to promise myself to try and derive joy in ways that make sense to me.

When the time is right

It's funny how sometimes when you look for a sign you find it in unlikely places. Today, I read this post by Paulo Coehlo(I love Veronica decides to die, a point unrelated to this post I know) and it resonated a lot with me. So putting it out here. To remind myself. Just in case, I forget.

"When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change. At such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.
When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat and despair are the tools that God uses to show us the way."

I truly think I'm not afraid and I believe that the best is yet to come. But is that belief driven by sheer bull headedness or optimism? Does it even matter sometimes? I also believe that are multiple such paths. Just a few are too critical to be ignored. You still can, if you are think that the what if, of my following the path is something you can't live with than the what if of following the path.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Consumed by fire

I just had a vivid image flash in front of my eyes. I am coming out of a very scary fire. I'm a little burnt in places, covered in soot and walking out relatively unhurt. I pause, sit down catch my breath, thank my stars and then go find a bucket to try and douse the fire. I think I'm more consumed by the fire than I'd ever like to admit. Even if I'm safe, I can't stop till it's put out. It can expand its reach someday for one and someone inside might actually need help.

Drown in an avalanche?

The great thing about life is that it's easy. The greatest thing about life is that it never seems so. I am a believer in signs and the fact that everything happens for a reason. On days when I've doubted myself, a chance conversation with a stranger on random things, has made me find myself, even in an avalanche of my thoughts.

It's a different thing that I've been avoiding being found for a long time. Maybe I need to accept that fact first and get ready to face the world, in my own terms and not in the ones defined by it.  Life is easy and the best, is yet to come.

Blue, grey eyes

What's the color of your eyes?
I'm convinced it's grey till I see a flash of blue
I see beyond the obvious
Through the magical lens I hold
You're found, you're lost, you're stuck between worlds
I see beyond this realm and I wonder
If the color could tell me much more
Your eyes magnetic and magical
All I have to do is to close my eyes
For it to flash right in front of me
Wish I could look into it all day
And forget reality for a change.

(I fell in love again, with another dog)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Conquering fear

A lot has changed about me over the years. The way I look at food, the company I keep, my attitude about a few things, my professional life, my involvement with animals etc. But the one thing that hasn't, is my interest in writing and my dream of becoming a writer.

In some ways, I claim it's not just a dream because I write in my blog and even if very few people say something, it does reach an audience. Perhaps, I can go back to my favorite argument that I don't write for an audience. All of us want validation and even if I didn't write keeping it in mind, it makes me happy if what I write resonates with someone.

Here's a bitter truth about me and writing. I'm really scared of criticism and have never shared some of my (what I think) best work in any forum. There are quite a few short stories and poetry languishing in secret corners of my phone and laptop. Perhaps my fear stems from my probable inability to handle rejection, as this is the one thing that means the most to me.

Maybe I'm inherently pessimistic here, as it's going to be easy for me to use it as an excuse to have an eternal dream, rather than face the reality, that the some day I'll put myself out there, will never come if I don't think about it seriously and stop making excuses. Recently, a very good friend of mine told me to stop writing and I was so mad. That day was also an eye opener as i realized, whether I like it or not, expressing myself is my super power and I can't let it go so easily.

I'm going to try and get a poetry collection out there. I know poetry doesn't sell, but I don't really need incremental income. I know people might not read it, but I know there will be a few who will. I know there will be critics who might find my short lines disturbing, but there will be people who will like it. So, I'm going to try. Make an attempt. Conquer fear and actually do something that scares me more than jumping out of an airplane.

I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, but I know I will, because if I don't do this now, I never will.

Diversity

A lot is being done and a lot more is being said about diversity in the work place. I wanted to write about my experience for a long time, but I never got down to it. This is just my personal experience and I can't claim it is going to be the case for majority. It could be the exception and definitely not the rule. That said, my two cents.

There are amazing people out there, who respect and value employees and colleagues irrespective of gender and age. I've worked with some of the most wonderful mentors and colleagues who've helped me learn, who've groomed me and really stood by me when times were tough. For every person who tried to discriminate based on my age or gender there were many more who did not. I had a very bad experience early in my career, which definitely made me stronger but which could have potentially killed the enthusiasm in a few other people, so I know I'm being thankful for the right reasons.

I'm thankful for having met people like that and I wanted to put it out here to remind myself to be one of those people and to tell the nay sayers that all is not bleak, there are good people too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Diesel

This Sunday, I was out with my friend and we met her niece's dog. It was love at first sight for me with the Doberman. He was so gentle and huge. I walked him around the area they lived in, played with him and was very upset to leave him behind and go sight seeing. I didn't know my friends family too well, else would have stayed back with the dog a lot longer.
I never thought I'll become that dog crazy person, but honestly, given a choice, I'd pick a dog for company any day (I don't want to say over human beings in a public forum).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Creative expression

So here's the thing. I don't like using swear words or hearing them. Makes me feel all weird. I know quite a few, in fact I spent quite a bit of time in college picking these up. Earlier I did have quite the potty mouth for a bit as a few of my friends loved to swear. Over a period of time however, I've come to detest that habit and feel that people who swear are creatively limited. They just have the f word or the b or the c to fall back on when things fail. They can't think of creative ways to curse which are definitely more fun.
Don't you think calling someone "a person who's head sways in the wind because it's so empty" more fulfilling than using words like bimbo? A lot of people I know find it very appropriate to swear. They do so at every single opportunity. I just want to tell them, that they're limiting themselves and not challenging their creativity and vocabulary enough. There are more fun ways to mock the world.

The global village

This Sunday, I had the awesome opportunity to go to the railway museum in Sacramento. They display the entire history of the California rail road and show how the railway lines helped make the country more prosperous.

Often, I think that the one thing, that truly helps people evolve and prosper, is having access to the rest of the world around them. It was through a rail road or highways earlier and now through the internet.

Imagine how wonderful a farmer must have felt when his produce reached the market, in one tenth the time it would have normally taken?.

I'm sure the rich and famous got to see all the beautiful sights in their life time which they would have had to struggle a lot harder to reach.
This generation is luckier because with cheaper air fare, we are now sitting in different corners of the world and watching it go by. I marvel at how much we've learnt over the years(and how much we haven't still) and how in my lifetime, so many things I didn't even dream about, have become everyday occurrences. It's such an exciting time to be alive and I'm glad to live in a global village.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The third gender

Yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation with my friend and her brother. The topic was about transgenders and how more and more people are coming out in the open and questioning their gender identity. I was actually a little surprised about the topic as I've never really paid attention to it in the past. However that said, I wonder how relevant is our basic identity of gender and age? Aren't these just means to help us have something basic to cling to? What if what's considered the norm is  unacceptable to me? Why should I stick to it just because everyone thinks I should, when it actually has to do with just me?

The problem is, gender, something actually personal is not something that's left to the individual at the end of the day. Were taught there are two genders. We treat boys and girls differently. Let's leave discrimination out of it for a minute.

Take using bathrooms for example. If I'm a woman who is a man, then I need a gender agnostic bathroom. Same case if I'm a man who thinks I'm a woman. How many companies can afford to have gender neutral bathrooms in all buildings? What about people who are very sure about their gender and don't want to use gender neutral bathrooms? Is it OK to offend them? Are men OK walking past tampon disposal units and women across urinals? (Maybe both won't be there, I don't know)

I realized I think I'm open minded, because in a lot of cases, things beyond my range of acceptance, don't even come to my notice. Some day in the future if I have a kid, who wants to be gender neutral, how would I behave? What's the identity I want to give myself? Why should gender be the most basic one?

Poke zombies

OK, two days ago, I didn't know what a Pikachu was and I had quite an awesome life( I still do). This whole Pokemon go game and people's obsession with it has just surprised me. I was walking down mountain view, when I saw a lot of people standing in a corner with their phones. I thought there was a celebrity visit or something and looked around.

I saw posters for a farmer's market and was super excited but people were still not moving towards it. Then my friends suddenly stops me and says, "This must be a spot". I tell her that were definitely on land, when she decides to catch a Pikachu on her phone. I was initially excited thinking we would embark on a treasure hunt and then deeply disappointed to see it happening on the phone. It's an augmented reality game where you catch a creature that's in your phone screen but the background changes based on your location. (This is my best explanation, Google it if you're still curious)

Then I walk down Embarcadero this evening and I'm again shocked to see people staring into their phones instead of looking at the beautiful view. This apparently is another spot. I don't know what to say..

I'm going to sound judgmental, if I ask them to actually look at the birds and the sky instead of their phones. They're trying to capture a Pikachu and I'm trying to click a pic, two screens through which we interact with reality. Are really that different? Have we lost the ability to interact with the world without a screen as defense? 

The picture is of the view that stole my heart. I'll prefer this screen to the game screen. I justify it saying that I really try to capture something way beyond beautiful.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The problem with text book definitions

"He looked at me and I melted right there. There is no way this is not love. It has to be if it makes me feel that way." A typical line in a romance novel (I have been reading a few as market research recently)

Now, here is my problem with it. I am sure some people feel that way (perhaps) when they see someone but idealizing an emotion is never a good thing. You start expecting it out of your relationships and soon forget to enjoy what you actually have. 

We have been fed bs in the form of Hollywood and Bollywood movies for a really long time. I am one of those big fans of romantic movies. I prefer to watch those but here is the thing, they are my "escape" from reality. I don't expect them to come true. I mean, I would love to get flowers and chocolate (I will eat it up in seconds) but half the things that happen, screw up your head. 

You are going to lose on the little everyday things and after a point stop seeing beyond the whole, "I need another person to complete me". Listen well and good - "You need to love yourself first, know yourself first and not become a version someone wants you to be".  It is nice to have a companion with you every step of the way, but if you are not there for yourself and if you don't know yourself, what kind of a companion will you even be? Why do we not give importance to the knowing oneself part in any movie? Why are all our stories about relationships? Why aren't our stories about celebrating life and celebrating ourselves? ( I love queen for that)

In India, we seldom get a chance to truly be alone. Typically, people end up from living with our parents, to living in a hostel (if you are lucky), to living with a spouse. Some of us are now getting to live with room mates and get to know ourselves a little better before we get married. That is definitely a good thing, but there is a problem even there.

We find it easy to stick to text book definitions. I mean, live in with a guy as it is a cool thing to do and marriage is so uncool. Get married because he swept me off my feet and we are sooo compatible. Don't get married because I am an independent woman. All these are actually fun, if you do it because you want to and not because you think you ought to. 

In our constant search for happily ever afters, we miss the beautiful present. We are constantly searching for the perfection that is non existent and forgetting to fix a few tiny cracks in time, these cracks just become bigger and soon crack right under your feet pushing you down a black hole of depression. We see the world through a very skewed lens, forgetting fundamental things. This happens irrespective of whether you are single, living in, married, it doesn't matter. 

I see more and more people picking up hobbies they dont totally relate to, because that is what they ought to be doing, going by the text book definitions. I see lust playing a major role in relationships while you wait for the guy to change. (They never do, it is who they are and love cannot change personalities like the stories say. It just makes you blind to faults for a while and once your rose tinted glasses get scratched, you are left feeling cheated and it is nobody's fault but yours) We tolerate bad behavior instead of correcting it. We embrace skin deep ideals and forget to find out about things which truly matter.

I am reminded of this scene in run away bride where Julia Roberts finally learns how she likes her eggs. I actually laughed at that scene as I wondered how you will ever let someone dictate your preferences so much. But recently, I have come to observe how people become unrecognizable to fit in with someone else - can be a spouse or even a peer group. Social drinking is the best example. If you are not someone who enjoys drinking but still does it, because it will look bad if you do not drink, when everyone around you is drinking - you are changing yourself to fit in.

Are we becoming entities because we are being brainwashed to become one and forgetting how to be individuals? Why don't we look for better text book definitions? Even better, why don't we create new definitions? 

This post is about romance because I think in a lot of ways love and relationships make the world go around, but not always in a positive way. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Privilege

What is privilege? Is it being able to spend without thinking? Is it being able to make life choices about who to marry, when to marry, when to let go, when to have kids etc without much interference? Is it being able to walk out any time of the day without being judged? Is it getting three meals a day? Is it just having the freedom to speak your mind?

The more I interact with people the more I realize that privilege is a very subjective term. There are folks with oodles of money who don't have the privilege of making life choices. There are those with the privilege of making life choices, but don't have enough to choose from. There are those with the privilege of living in big houses with enough food, but don't have the freedom to even think, let alone talk.

Why is life never simple? Why can't I simply categorize people one way or the other and just let it be? I have to analyze and I have to accept that everything is relative and that each person's suffering, no matter how trivial to the outside world, is still their cross to bear and it might not be an easy one in a lot of cases.

Connectedness

When we get down to it, in the most simplistic way ever, are we all really that different? There are definitely superficial differences that are primarily a result of economic status, family, region of birth etc etc. But when you try to peel the layers and get down to the core of a human being, don't we all effectively want the same things, once the basics needed for survival are met?

Love, acceptance, power in a few cases, the list is not that big. How we want it and what all we pick for it varies, but fundamentally every single person is fighting similar battles. We don't want to accept it, because looking at the world through an us and them lens makes life simpler. If we figure out a way to meet the basic needs of majority, would philosophy then thrive? Would acceptance and peace become the norm? Or would there still be a craving for power? I need to read more to understand.

The marvel called technology

I guess I've already spoken about my renewed love for photography. I've got an awesome DSLR as a gift and my one issue was I was so used to editing pictures in my phone, I was finding it a little labor intensive to open my personal laptop and move things to it. Last night, my friend and I discovered how to transfer pics from my camera to my phone via NFC. Technology is truly marvelous and I'm still speechless as to how convenient everything is and how we've solutions for almost every technical problem through an app.

Buzz

Airports are always just so busy. Everyone hurrying around, staring into their phones and in display screens looking for their flight. Everytime I enter an airport I feel so happy. There are so many places to go, so many things to do and all you have to do is book a ticket I romanticize air travel because the poet in me loves the thought of flying. It's so awesome right? HK airport is so beautiful. I'm taking a different route to the US this time and I'm excited to say the least.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Just let us be

This is going to sound like a rant. It's in fact a frequent one that I've tried not to let into my blog too often.
To quite a few folks not part of this IT generation, we look like aliens from another planet. We earn a lot, spend our time in frivolous things, insist on picking our spouses one way or the other. We either have a love marriage or have a set of conditions even in a traditional arranged marriage set up. We've friends in the opposite gender and we go on trips to far flung places. We do things in a few years what earlier took a life time to achieve.

I know we're limited in a few ways, but we're all trying really hard to find our way. It's not easy because though we seem free, we are still influenced by the thoughts of a previous generation, the society in general and the world view. We feel the lens of the world on us, watching us through a microscope. The omniscient social media doesn't make things any easier. We're being judged by our own generation too to top it. Or so we think, ignoring the fact that everyone is stuck in their own problems.

We face the same pressures, we have the same heartaches. A few try to be detached but quite a lot struggle with it everyday. In more ways than one, we are lost and trying to find our way out. Let us be. Don't make things difficult for us by asking us what our plans are.
Don't talk about the millions someone from an IIT you read about in a paper is earning. Don't talk about the big houses. Don't talk about our irresponsible lifestyle where we spend on frivolous things and shop so often. Please don't talk about marriage. You've no idea about the heartache we might have experienced. Don't talk about children. You don't know how many of us want one or don't want one or are going through treatment that's not working. We're not ready to open our hearts to everyone. You don't understand or trust us, so how do you think we'll open ourselves up?
Just let us be. Not all those who wander are lost and all that glitters is definitely not gold. Somewhere inside those huge houses and swanky cars are people trying really hard and defining new boundaries. Just let us be. That's all we ask of you.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Frog in a pond

A Kenathu thavalai - effectively means someone, who is relatively limited, because of the exposure they have.

A Kenathu thavalai - someone I thought I was never going to be, as I moved from my small town to a bigger city and kept reading books and interacting with people every day. 

Technology is supposed to have made the world a smaller place and opened us up to different cultures and thought processes, significantly different from ours. Unfortunately, my recent observation is that, with the advent of personalization, the opposite is happening. 

Take your Facebook news feed for example. You keep receiving updates from people you interact with the most and those whose viewpoints you usually agree with through liking a post or commenting on one. Take the news articles you are fed in your apps for example. The headlines and the news items that might interest you are also customized. So much so that you might never know about what happened in Baghdad (might not even know where the place is too) and still think you are quite aware of things happening all over the world. You have a view point, google it and you are going to find thousands to support your view. Even if it is something like how drinking everyday is very good for your health. Never mind that there could be millions opposed to it. You can choose to be influenced by things that are closest to what you want to believe in. Not necessarily as well researched as you think it is. 

There was an article circulating in my newsfeed. A supposedly viral one about a lawyer's lament that his wife was not working when he was struggling day and night. Taken in isolation, it can be perceived to be something a majority are agreeing with. While in reality, it is the majority, who interact with you, that is actually a miniscule population which can afford to have a 14 hour day in a comfortable office and earn enough in a day that people sometimes take years to earn.The majority out there, is still trying to get a damn toilet built so they can actually go somewhere in privacy and are struggling to go work in houses/construction sites when they have a tiny baby at home. Are educated young professionals like us truly aware of the world? 

Take something as basic as maternity leave for example. We all expect companies to give us the three months, but how many of us think that a maid who works for us might need it too? While we are going around flushing twice without thinking, in swanky offices, people in the very next street are not having enough water to drink. While we are spending thousands shopping for clothes and feeling bad about our inability to afford something new, someone out there doesn't even have a tear free dress. We only see our friends wearing smarter clothes, going around in bigger cars on more expensive vacations every single day. That to us, becomes an aspirational state. 

Our struggles and issues are real to us, but we are all frogs in a pond, maybe one of intellectual snobbery, maybe one of privilege (having food, water and a house to live in is a privilege. Make peace with it), but a pond nevertheless. While the best minds in the world are figuring out how to make someone click on a button, millions are starving. 

This realization sunk in recently, when i was going through a personal crisis and a lady I met pointed out to children in a slum nearby and asked how they survive. I was ashamed to admit I had never even noticed them that day as I was lost in self pity. Unwittingly, I had left one pond only to jump into another and become a frog in that one. 

My only promise to myself is this - to see if in some small way, I can try to make the world a better place. I have been seriously contemplating something for a while now and I hope that by the end of the year, i have a plan in place. Or maybe, I am going to love my pond so much, that I will just stick to it - as I am way too comfortable and getting out of my comfort zone is not something I am ready for. 

Friday, July 08, 2016

Sensitization

Today, I was speaking with a friend when he brought up the topic of sensitization and how some of us who claim to be open minded actually carry deep biases. One example he gave was around how women are perceived.

The point being that women who are successful are harder on other women because they expect them to strive and do as well and not take the easy way out.

There is an inherent bias on how we want them to be and if they don't measure up, we moan about how they take the easy way out.

I don't agree with that because honestly, in an ideal world your stand should not vary based on gender. Maybe successful people in general could be harder on the rest of the world. Even that's a sweeping statement that's very general, but far more acceptable than the one about women being harder.

I belong to a school of thought that says that yes, we view the world through our biases, but if we acknowledge it and try to bias ourselves be more diverse, then there is always hope.
I truly hope that the fact that differences are as shallow as similarities will sink in someday.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Feeling like a kid

I still remember my 6th standard summer holidays. For the first time in my life, I was glad to have vacations ( I loved school). I had TV video games at home and I spent all time playing. I was in love with Mario and I could not get enough of him. Somewhere along the way, I lost my interest (I guess our console stopped working).  I got myself a new laptop in 2009 and one of the first things I did was install a flash version of Mario.

In 2011, I was walking down Tippasandra, when I saw a shop selling video games console for 1k, I ran and bought one home. The damn thing didnt look good in large screen TV and soon gave out. My PS3, does not have mario and I completely forgot about the flash version I had in my older laptop. 

Today, I was spending sometime on my photography blog ( i am not ready for criticism yet, so it shall remain a secret) when I remembered Mario. I am not sure what triggered the memory. I found the flash version and I spent a good 90 mins playing it in my laptop. I felt like a kid again. Some memories, though forgotten, when triggered, take you down a beautiful path. Mario, you will always hold a piece of my heart that nobody else can take away..

Windows to the soul

The eyes they say,
Are the windows to the soul
Eyes that tell the world
So much more
Than anything else can

Hide them all you want
But the glimpses I get
Remind me
Of the human
Looking for something
They don't want to admit
They even want

Tarzan's Jane

"Every Superman has his Louis Lane,
Every Tarzan his Jane,
and I have you.."

A decade ago, I chanced upon these lines in a diary of a friend. I did not know who Jane was then(I haven't read Tarzan as a kid, so sue me). I did find out later and last Friday, I got to see a very gutsy Jane in the silver screen. Tarzan was a visual treat and I loved the movie, just because of the heroine. So rather than a typical review, i thought I would write about Tarzan's Jane, who stole a piece of my heart. 

For the first time, I liked a female lead in a predominantly male super hero movie (Black Widow in Avengers is a character I love, but she is not the female lead). In the scene where she sits on top of a tree, mad because Tarzan refuses to take her to Africa, she looks so vulnerable and gorgeous. Contrast that with the scene where she is tied to the boat by the villain and she actually smiles when she sees a butterfly and refuses to be scared by the villain's threats. I fell in love when she jumped into the water from the boat to escape her captors and releases her friend who is held in a cage over the water. Her dinner conversation with her captor deserves a special mention as that is the best example of wit and the fighting spirit of a woman who refuses to be kept tied down.

I am really glad that there are women with a functioning brain being portrayed in movies. It sends out the strong message that while the woman might love being romanced and cared for, she can also take care of herself and hold her ground like Jane in this movie. 

She still had some screaming to do, but she had balls and was amazing. I wished then, that the few lines from that forgotten diary had been meant for me. :)