Saturday, December 18, 2010

Solitude

Solitude, as they define it, is 'the state of being or living alone'. I always thought of it as a peaceful happy word. Where there is quiet, and there is no discontent. Where the mind doesn't look for people or answers. On the other hand, the state of being or living alone is just that...lonely. It is not solitude. It is piteous and it just makes you look back to the time when friends were around, when plans were aplenty and well, when you were just effortlessly happy.

Being comfortable on your own is tough. If you learned how to, you just earned my respect. It is human nature to be needy. We crave for affection. We crave for attention. That's how we are. Sometimes we don't tell them, but we begrudge them for not being around. We blame. Because that makes it easy. That sounds fair. When small things you do become reminders of the people you care about, being alone becomes tough. Thoughts are good when you have a plan chalked out. When it is all hazy, you are definitely better off without any. Thinking is pure evil. At times.

So, like I said, solitude and being alone are not synonymous. Solitude is when you're reading a good book. Looking at a beach on a sunny morning or at mountains on a chilly winter evening. You have your favourite person for company. A person with whom lack of conversation is not an awkward silence. And in this peaceful state, you close your eyes. And you smile. That's solitude.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Notes from Office

  • Office and blogging do not get along very well. So, if you are trying to write a post, like I am, chances are you will end up with a lot of drafts. Like I have. You will try to edit them, but the anti-creativity, sleep-inducing, boss-hovering aura shall just make you blankly stare at the screen. Like I have been doing for the past so many days. (Does not mean I don't have work! :) )
  • There is nothing like 'less work'. You either shirk work or put your sorry ass on the line. Currently, am a part of the latter. Next week, shall switch allegiance to the former. Expect a different post altogether on 'Tips to Shirk Work Effortlessly' ;) I am quite the pro when I choose to be. :)
  • That one hour after lunch is marked by the onset of sleeping sickness. One of those Murphy-like laws state that the moment you close your eyes for five minutes, thinking its safe, your boss shall walk in with a 'I know what you just did' swagger. 
  • Job satisfaction is like looking for gold at the end of the rainbow. And the more you expect from a job, the more you become leprechaun-like. :) No wonder us folks from B-schools top the leprechaun hall of fame. ;) We just expect the moon!
  • If you joined IT (as a pseudo consultant) and thought you would never look at an SQL query again, who were you kidding anyway! 
  • Even if you find ONE person with a good sense of humour in office, hold on to the person like you got dumped by titanic and he/she has the only lifeboat around. :) It is rare. 
  • If you know more than your boss does, shut your trap. 
  • Learn the art of Alt-Tab. The moment you spot familiar movement at a risky distance, fingers should press the combo without the brain instructing it to. Someone calls you behind your back, again..you know what to do. This art is an important entry in the book of  'Pretence of Work'
  • Power napping in the loo is a pretty popular phenomenon. Quite the savior too! Stop frowning at it.
  • You will always reach atleast an hour later than you planned to in the morning. You will always leave two hours later than you planned in the evening. Does not hint at your planning skills at all.
  • Good looking men (or women) always work in some other city. And some other company. they don't exist in your own. 
  • No matter how much you earn or how little, the balance enquiry on the 15th of every month shall give the same result.
  • Paycheck day. Forget the above. Praise thy lord and thy luck for the blessing that is your job.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Ain't no sunshine

Sunshine left. Its literally been dark and dreary in Chennai. Atleast I think it is. Finding things to do has become tough. Home doesn't seem like home anymore. Just another place I stay in. The problem with friends is they make your life so blessed that you forget how life was without them. This is what I had written a good month and a half back. Ran short of words since then. Missing people has become an acquired habit since then. Old friends...close ones..lost ones..just all of them. I want to pick up all of them, put them all in one city and then grow old happily ever after. Yeah, my happy ever after stories are not the cliched boy meets girl stories. Mine are different. Nice different I think.

Retreating monsoon has hit Chennai finally. There is a joy in walking on the beach, with the clouds and drizzle to accompany you. Living in a city with a beach should be on everyone's list. This city gets brownie points for the beautiful beaches and the proximity to Pondicherry. Its not Goa but its quite something. :) Come without prejudices, and you might just end up liking the city I currently live in.

Two big big weddings coming up. Dada's and a friend's..a friend who is my sanity keeper..a friend without whom I can't quite imagine what growing up would've been like. Big events like these put me in denial. Don't judge, it is all pure unadulterated happiness. But am no good with change you know.

Someone very dear mentioned that there's a lot of good that comes with change. Makes life unpredictable. Keeps you intrigued. Intrigue after all is the cure for boredom. A disease I suffer from. But yeah, change can be formidable too. Hits you where it hurts the most. And then says, deal with it. We deal with it in many a ways. Look back or look forward to things. Phase out and let time just pass by. Closet oneself or venture out. Get stuck in the 'what-if' loop or pretend nonchalance. There is no time-tested hence-proved formula to it. We deal with change - good or bad. Boils down to hope. Hope of days with lesser thoughts, easier smiles, comfort and a whole lot of warmth. You just got to keep hoping and wishing for it. Wish for it long enough. Then wait for time to do the trick.

So am hoping for sunshine tomorrow. Not clouds. Not rain. Atleast for a few hours. Did I mention how much I miss sunshine? Guess I did. :) Like the song goes, it's not warm when she's away ;)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Trekking for Dummies

I have been trying to stall time. Trying very hard you know. It has kept me busy. Since I haven't managed to stall it at all (I mean with technology here there and everywhere, we can't do this much!), I have been moping. Long face. Zombied look. Refusal to do anything I like to do. See what I am driving at. The blog also stayed dry. Vented my ire by silence. Lesson learned in life - Time spent in whining is time wasted. Change is still the only constant. And as I say this, the sage in me rests in peace.. :)

So I had promised someone I'll write this. This one's for her and for trekking novices (enthusiasts nonetheless) like me. A little faint hearted. A little wobbly in the face of great heights and great depths. But we never say 'No' to adventure. :) I do make 'us' sound so good!




So you know you are a novice trekker when

  • You pack skimpy clothes (read tiny black Esprit shorts) and actually wear it while trekking on rocky hills with prickly shrubs all over. Please add ample incessant rains to the picture. (Note to myself - New found belief in God's existence. He eradicated all leeches with his third eye or so I'd like to believe :) )


  • You think you can coolly carry a tent and your backpack and hike up the trail described in the previous point. All at the same time! You might want to rethink your strategy or start looking like Rambo.


  • You carry a school bag in the name of a backpack. Or or or..wait for it..a laptop bag which was your company's first and only gift to you. On both counts, BAD idea! They are not water proof and they have so much space that one's got to choose between food and change of clothing. Sigh! In monsoon, that might not be the choice you want to make.


  • You think you should head back to momma and hot soup 15 minutes into the trek..and again 27 minutes into the trek..and yet again 39 minutes into the trek..with a 'Don't think we will live to tell our kids about this trek' look in your eyes.


  • You believe you can walk up a slippery big big rock and you actually do walk up. Just to realize you're in the wrong direction and you've got to walk sideways now. Ummm..okay..stuck are we!


  • You also believe that you shall closely watch other people climb up the same slippery big big rock and then follow suit. Just to be stuck somewhere midway..looking like a frog who's been rudely thrown on a wall with its arms and legs in all directions. You might have noticed that the frog slowly and surely slides down after the throw. :P


  • You are walking in a line (the novice line mind you..the experts are already up there somewhere :P) and suddenly you realise that the leader of the novice line doesn't know exactly where to go. Now its a bad situation to be in. Because the trail has prickly shrubs and to avoid that you're bent at a weird angle. Your only view is the a$$ of the novice walking in front of you. So there...you're an upside down 'L' shape in the middle of nowhere...can't stand up..can't go forward..can't go back..can't turn right..can't turn left..you're just there staring at you know what. Small tip - Laughing when stuck in such unmentionable situations is again a BAD idea. Its unavoidable too. :D


  • You have packed food which you think will last the night but end up finishing midway itself. Then you silently thank God (again!) for the rain, because now you can't pitch for the night. You pretend to complain nonetheless about the rain and how sad it is that you have to have steaming hot food for dinner (slurrrrppp!) instead of bread remnants and wild berries.


  • You think that a tent can be pitched ANYWHERE and go ahead with the trek without any knowledge of the terrain. Finally you realize that tents cannot be pitched on rocks at an angle of 60 degrees. You still try bravely. Look up...look down. Few steps here..few steps there. Have a rushed discussion. Then decide morosely that you have to head back to civilisation. All the while, you silently thank God (again and again!) and pretend to be sad about the cosy hotel where you'll be spending the night under a comforter.


  • You pack all your clothes in that water-friendly bag of yours and take them for the hike. You ofcourse thought you will need a change of clothes when you stay in that tent in the night...afterall getting drenched was a valid cause for concern. So once you check in to the hotel after the long arduous trek, you realise you have nothing to change into. In such dire situations, you might actually take help from the opposite sex. And that, my friend, from a guy's point of view might not be such a good idea. :D

Quoting Murphy yet again - When things have to go wrong, they will go wrong. Then there was this other equally knowledgeable person who said that the best way to learn is by making mistakes. So keep the faith, even if you just nodded in agreement to all the points I made above. Just make sure that when you're bent at that weird L-shape in a terrain full off prickly shrubs, the a$$ you're looking at is of a buddy who makes you laugh in such moments. And the experts that went ahead somewhere are the friends who come back, give you a hand and tell you "Stop being a sissy! Its safe...lets go!".

Thursday, July 29, 2010

......

Its inexplicable. Sometimes,all of a sudden, the mood changes to an awful shade of black. For no reason or rhyme. Nothing seems right inspite of almost everything being just that. Right. Flaws become prominent. The niceties become elusive. I want to be that 5 year old who can throw a tantrum without being judged. You know..stomp his feet...scream his lungs out. Being an adult can be such a constraint at times. The instant cure known to mankind for such a state is chocolates, which I don't have access to. To be specific, Lindt 70% dark chocolate. And am nowhere close to it, considering am in Chennai and its post 1 am in the morning. So am just sitting around on the beanbag...listening to dire straits..shunning company..playing the anti social bit to perfection.
This state of being must have some deadline of sorts. A short one at that. A few more hours like this and I would want to drug myself to sleep!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wishin' n hopin'.... :)

हज़ारों ख्वाहिशें ऐसी कि हर ख्वाहिश पे दम निकले
बहुत निकले मेरे अरमान लेकिन फ़िर भी कम निकले

Mirza Ghalib said it in style. We are all dreamers to the core.As we grow up, our dreams also grow. Exponentially so. As a kid, all I wanted was a Dairy Milk from dad, bedtimes stories from ma and peace from dada. Since then, age has come in the way. The dreams have become bigger. Sometimes frivolous. Wishful. But they are still there.

I wish I looked forward to every day. No Monday blues and no never ending Thursdays (I think its the longest day of the week!). Wish that age was a constant. One should get to choose the number. That drool worthy food was extremely good healthwise. I wish love happened all the time. You know..that warm feeling that gets us grinning goofily while staring happily in space :). I wish that hot men were aplenty. And that they were nice too. That boredom wasn't something to be terrified of.

Wish that work didn't feel like work. That I was paid for every place I traveled to. And an extra bonus for the added fun and frolic. That distance was a problem I could resolve with genie-like capabilities. I wish that family stayed around...always. And so did friends. Like I said, we never stop wishing. Give me all of this and I shall come up with yet another big 'I wish' list. It all boils down to one thing. Happiness. Its a perspective. A way of looking at things. Wishes might or might not come true. Smile nevertheless. Maybe your smile is what someone wished for. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hiatus

Life happened. For the past two months. The usual you know. Changes small and big. My reticence to accept the new. My yearning for everything that was familiar and comfy. And so the silence. I talk when happy. I write when happy. My system shuts down when ruffled. No I haven't been moping. Was just taking my own sweet time to settle down in good ol' Chennai.

So now I am back. Missed the blogs. Realised they unclutter my mind. This new phase of life has a routine to it. Routine and I never got along too well. The two years prior to this were spent in the most unruly manner. I don't miss college as such..but yes.the omnipresent friends..the random plans at weird hours...the relentless pursuit of fun in many a strange ways. All that is sorely missed. I never let them know how much. Mush is not good for the image :). And since when has words been sufficient to convey anything! :P

Murphy's law states that the best laid plans go awry. When you really wish for something, it falls short of what you asked for. Maybe it wasn't Murphy...but some wise guy did come to this conclusion. Chennai was an exception. I wanted to come here (yes you read it right!). And the plan has played out to perfection. I am in the Tam's City of Joy. I stay with some very dear friends. Its not a flat, but a home I come back to. The city has not shown a day of bad weather, ever since I've touched base. And that my friend, in Chennai, is nothing short of a miracle. A month and a half of good weather! So all is well. And yet, I took almost a month to adjust to everything. Definite signs of being hopelessly spoilt :). For the truckload of patience that Sunshine is, truckload of lowe right back at you.

Am slowly and surely finding my way around here. Some things worth a mention -

  • Apparently here, there and where all sound like the same word in Tam. A friend did try to teach the intricacies involved - 'inge' is here and 'enge' is there. Actually I still don't know which is which and I have decided to use them interchangeably till I put myself in a fix. Till then, its 'inge stop' for all the auto walas to 'stop here'. :D
  • The Sun Direct (cable) customer care folks talk in Tamil even when one takes the option for English. So we end up having parallel conversations with both of us not making sense to each other. Conclusion is that cable recharge shall be done by anyone except me!
  • 'Teri ma' apparently means 'Do you know'. Now really man..up north these words are the who's who of Hindi abuses. So I'll take a while to smile and say 'illa' or whatever the word is for 'no' everytime someone asks 'Tamil teri ma' :)
  • Thou shalt buy vegetables from the local vendor only when the requirement is of potato, onion and other common things which people understand in English. Saying you want bhindi won't get you anywhere. Ofcourse, Reliance Fresh is my saviour most times.
  • Our bai talks only in Tamil and loves to talk. Irrespective of the target audience. :D Its pretty much a game of DumbC with both sides losing desperately. Its quite hilarious because mostly I am an observing and highly entertained third party (Roomie gets to play :P )
  • Every second Tam is called Srini. Every third one Bala. The frequency of these names is alarming to say the least. In one meeting, I had to address three Srinis. The communication gap was not my fault. :)
  • If you want to watch a Hindi/English movie in the weekend, you must book latest by Wednesday evening. Beyond that, make other plans for weekend.
There are a whole lot of other things which are different here. Some funny..some foreign. But am guessing that a person from here thrown in Delhi could throw up an equally long list of eccentricities. So what the hell...we all deal with change..I shall too. So here's a promise to post more often. Travel every month (this month Andaman on the cards :) ). Like the life I live (love is too strong a word :P). Keep in touch with all that matters. Remain sane. Yet retain the insanity that defines me. More later!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

SuperFreakonomics: Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

I thrive on trivia. So, this book caught my fancy. This book is full of it, and that too backed by statistics! I am the sort of person who calls up a friend to just tell him/her something as random as 'Lets go to Greece this year'. That's another thing altogether that its a serious plan now. :) But you get my point. The random quote on a guy's tee...the endless what-if speculations that my mind delves on..stuff like whether 'intimation' is the noun form of 'intimate' :D ..I can spend hours with such random thoughts. Don't judge me. My friends were forewarned that they'll have to put up with a lot. :)

Getting back to the book, its quite an interesting read. Don't try to read it at a stretch..mind can only take in limited amount of data..and the stats in this book, you might want to pay attention to. There is this entire chapter on prostitution. I was reading it while on my way to Calcutta. Dad noticed what I was reading, and needless to say, didn't quite approve of my choice of literature. :) The authors make a pretty cool point about how to stop societal menaces like prostitution and drugs - by penalizing the buyers and not just focus on the suppliers. Cut the demand and you have cut the root of the problem, they say. Sounds just about right, except for the bit that men world over might get a li'l ticked off. :)

Then there is this bit about altruism. Now I am a believer of motives. Selflessness never quite hit the right chord with me. Incentives drive everything, the world over. So, when they talked about 'Warm-glow Altruism', it made a lot of sense. You give not only because you want to help but because it makes you look good, or feel good, or perhaps feel less bad. Think about it. The beggar whom you gave a five rupee coin at a traffic signal. That coin was not supposed to make him richer but was supposed to abate that uncomfortable feeling you had on seeing them..while you're probably chilling in your air-conditioned car. Told you, am a sceptic and a cynic. Cold and mean eh? :) 

Amidst all the hue and cry about global warming, this book is a refreshing take on such doomsday predictions. Quoting from the book - When the solution to a given problem doesn't lay right before our eyes, it is easy to assume that no solution exists. Uncertainty has a nasty way of making us conjure up the very worst possibilities. Yeah right, so we don't know yet what to do about all the emission gases that we are pumping in the atmosphere with glee. But hear this one. World as they knew it in the twentieth century was going to come to an end because people didn't know what to do with all the horse-shit that was being produced from the only mode of conveyance known in those times..the horse-carts. :D Then came the automobile which restored sanity in the world. So Mr. Al Gore, please chill..sit back and relax will you?! There is a way out of this problem too. We just don't know it yet. The simplest solutions are the hardest to come by, because they stare at you right in the face. For the geeky scientists, don't read this book and don't pay heed to what I say. Toil on, till you find that solution.For people like me and you (if you're laidback and optimistic), don't lose sleep over it. 

After the Murphy's law, I am now a believer of 'Law of Unintended Consequences'. Says Wiki - 'Any intervention in a complex system may or may not have the intended result, but will inevitably create unanticipated and often undesirable outcomes'. I think sometimes desirable too. :) This book has a fair share of its examples. So does life. Mine and yours. This post is long because I liked the book. For those who relate with the things I wrote, read the book too. Its worth the time and money spent.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Family Matters: Rohinton Mistry

I am spending my days reading whatever I can get my hands on. 'Family Matters' by Rohinton Mistry is a poignant tale about a Parsi family. This one is not a must-read, but there is something about the book that stays with you. Each family has its own set of problems and probably when you compare these problems, they're mostly in the same vein. That's why maybe we connect with these stories at some level or the other. A Parsi family with its fair share of ups and downs. Skeletons in the closet that keep surfacing time and again in the nightmares of Nariman Vakeel..the dying protagonist of the story.

We are all flawed in many ways..sometimes by choice and sometimes by circumstances. Living with a dear one who is dying. Choosing between food and medicines for the limited amount of money available. Job frustrations. Indian families are well versed with such conundrums. This family is no different.

What I liked in this book was the grandkids' unadulterated love for Nariman. Their inability to understand why adults behave the way they do. Their simple point of views..their gestures. We forget simplicity when we grow up. We get caught up in the humdrum of our daily lives. We forget that a smile goes a long way. That holding hands sometimes is the only way to let someone know that you're there.

There are moments in this book. Well written ones. Ones that make you smile. Ones that make you take a pause and think. Might get a tad dull at times, but like I said...bits of it will stay with you.

Monday, April 26, 2010

That sinkin' feeling!

Suddenly the only kind of time I know is free time. I know I know..my last post had an entire list of 'Things to do to kill time peacefully'..but that list also has an expiry date. Can't say I didn't see this coming. I mean what was I expecting anyway. MBA check. Partying check. Traveling check. Spending time with friends...never enough..but yes, check for the time being. So once my bucket list (which in this case was a list of to-do things before going home for good) ran out, I knew I had to board that train. Good old New Delhi-Patna Rajdhani. With its motley bunch of crass politicians and their hooligan sidekicks. Yes, I had them for company and no, I was not abducted.

Its been around fifteen days here, and the strange bit is I took this long to settle down. Settle down at home..I know it sounds quite ridiculous. But its the truth. Almost a decade away from home has made me a stranger to everything familiar. A couple of days or a week entitles you to guest-like treatment. But more than a month at home is the real deal. So I groped around for familiarity in the beginning..got psyched out..psyched out my folks..cribbed like the world was coming to an end..sulked...I was a 'moron' in every sense of the word. I wonder sometimes why do parents put up with their kids. Kids who can be such a pain! And then I settled down. And then it all sinks in. It fits. Blazing heat. Electricity cuts. Water cuts. Fights with dad. Awful jokes with dad. Ma's school. Ma's cleanliness fetish. Relatives. Marriage. Sermons. Don't know when did I forget that this is home. This is where I belong. This is who I am.

This post of mine has taken a serious turn. That was not the intention. If only I did things by design! :) Now to fill up the empty hours in a day, I have started taking swimming lessons. Anyone who remotely knows me would know my love for water. Last I took lessons..some six odd years back..I had managed to drown in six feet of water. Thrice. To my instructor's utter horror and my fellow swimmers' utter joy. She did save me each time. I think I had increased the membership of that swimming place..for my time slot atleast. I was such a sight..shouting 'Help!' the moment my feet couldn't touch base.

Now fast forward to New year 2010. We were in the sea wearing life jackets. There was NO way anyone could drown. Good ol' me had to down a couple of beers to let others convince me to take that ride...and still I was pretty sure i was heading towards a watery grave. Then Rishikesh happened a month back. My indignant friends had to row upstream in Ganges because I was twirling in the eddy and refused to swim towards the boat (I was wearing a life-jacket again!).

The point is I am really scared of water. So scared that the thought of swimming scares the living daylights out of me. I guess the pics make it evident enough! So I thought how much worse can it get. And so the swimming lessons here (Yes, for all you prejudiced folks...Patna has clubs with swimming pools in it!). I am learning. Floating. Splashing everyone around me doing what I think is swimming, while they shield themselves from the aqua-attack. Instructor says I am doing good. She is a kind lady. Six days down and many more to go. I hope not to give up this time. They say its child's play. And I am a hopeless optimist. :)

 Its been a while since I last blogged. So the long meandering post. Missing the life that was. The friends I adore to bits and pieces. Liking the 'home'ly feeling. Looking forward to the new life, which is still a month away. The past, present and future. We live in each one of them everyday..in a round robin manner. Way past the home curfew hour. More later!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wasted

I always thought of writing as a long term goal. You know how it is. Be profound. Write a book. Be a part of the elite 'lit' group. Glass of wine and some artsy discussions. The good life. :) I don't want to get up in the morning and think of clocking hours. Everyday. The thought depresses me. The irony is that am going to start working in a few months. Start clocking hours I mean. This post of mine has no line of thought. I finally have found free time for myself. It was an aberration for my two years of MBA. But here it is now. Twenty four jobless hours in a day. It is amazing. I have made a job out of killing time. And I could make a killing out of it. :P

For the uninitiated, here are a few pointers.

1. Sleep. Like it's a sport. And you're out to win the game! :) Let the divisions in a day become faint. There is no rule that says one should get up in the morning. Get up anytime. Eat. Sleep again.

2. Read. MBA took away my habit of reading. I begrudge the fact. Books are my first love. Alright, kidding. A close second after food. But still, books have always been dear. So am back to reading some good and some outright trashy books. What the heck..there is no phrase like 'wastage of time' in my Book of Phrases anymore! :)

3. Eat. Close your eyes and think food. The first thing that comes to your mind, order! The healthy routine should start once you start the unhealthy routine of going to work everyday. All is forgiven before that.

4. Channel surf. Some say TV is trash. I mean really!..no one forced you to get glued on to Rahul's swayamvar! I love TV. Period. I still watch stuff like Home Alone with utmost glee. I like the subtitles that come with most channels nowadays. I know decent bit of english but still, I like the subtitles. These Americans you know. Sometimes their slangs and accents are hard to catch. :P

5. Think. Now this is the best bit. Think back. Think forward. Preferably, stick to good thoughts. Thoughts that can make you smile while you are lounging on the bean bag and channel surfing (but not looking at anything in particular). I don't understand people who say live in the moment. Sometimes that might work. Most of the times that seems mundane. So I daydream. I do live in moments. Happy ones. Loved ones. Old ones. Ones which are only in my imagination.

6. Make mental checklists. You could also take the effort of putting that in writing. I am just so very lazy. So I make mental ones. Learn to swim. Learn the guitar. Go to Greece. Lose weight. Fall in love etc etc. Some easy ones. Some improbable ones. Doesn't hurt to think it though. :)

7. Roam around from room to room. Check phone for people to call, but don't call. Just check. Generally stare in space. Drink water. Open the fridge. Stare at the contents. You know. Be a zombie. Caution - Can drive people nuts. Kindly do this only when you're alone at home.

I could go on and on. Am getting better at this, as I write. Its an art and I am fast mastering it. MBA is done with, and I should be writing a sentimental post. For all the ones I befriended and loved. That's on my mental checklist. Goodbyes, am not good with. Its like a chore. So I'll take a while to bid adieu. Till then, I'll get wasted. Not in the colloquial sense of the word. I'll just read. Eat. Sleep. Think.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fear

It is tangible. Sometimes. It is human nature. An inherent trait. Some fear less. And then some are like me. Afraid of the thought of a grey cloud, in the happiest of times. Add to it some scepticism. Some cynicism. That's fear to me. Fear of missing that one step while humming nonchalantly down the stairs. Of never finding my feet on solid ground, while afloat in water. Of those few seconds of free fall while bungee jumping. Of not doing things right. Of not saying the right things. Fear of the sudden anger and the words that come out with it. Of forgetting the person who's so dear today. Of crying, just to find that there's no shoulder to hold on to. Fear of not telling people how much they mean while you have the time. Of knowing that I cannot turn back time. Neither can you. Someday someone will go so far, I won't be able to reach them. Some one will walk away. Loneliness is not scary. I fear they'll never know how much I cared.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sunshine

This is an apology. A post for Sunshine. My reason for many a smiles. Why the apology? Because am such a goof up! And I really don't think there is an instant cure for that. So the post and the apology. :) I keep talking about my friends in my blogs. Why not! They make me the person that I am. Good or bad..you can go ahead and blame them! :) They are my best critics. So if I have a mean trait, blame my friends for not pointing it out to me. :)

I digressed. I'll get back to my original line of thought. So there are these two weeks in January, when living in Delhi is pretty close to hell. The days are hazy and bone chilling cold. The brain freezes and refuses to function. And then suddenly, there is this one day when the sun does come out. And when you stand outside and the sun rays warm you up..in a way that can only be felt..thats the kind of warmth Sunshine gets into my world. :) Just that with her, there's no winter. No season. She's like that. Everyday. The problem is that I can't cure her winters. I am cold at times. Selfish at times. Nice, only sometimes. And so the apology.

She is reticent. She judges. But she cares. Not the in-your-face kind of affection, but the 'I got your back..no matter what you do' kind of affection. That's my safety net. This kind of safety brings with it a kind of recklessness. Blaming my stupidities on her patience for my idiosyncrasies is a cheap stunt. I know. Told you am not so nice. Every time I tell myself I'll be more responsible, I end up on the wrong path. I err. She smiles and forgets. Someday I'll stop erring. For now, the apology.

I have come to realise that I mention Ma in almost all my posts. So I'll stick to the norm. The other day Ma and I were discussing marriage. It is amazing how often we talk about it..knowing very well that such discussions are quite pointless. She expressed concern about how I haven't liked a guy yet. I told her that the most amazing people I know are women. The gender being the catch. They set very high benchmarks and no guy has yet matched up to those high standards. :) Needless to say, Ma completely ignored my wisecrack. But, I did mean it!

So Sunshine. This post is for you. To tell you that kick my ass. Give me an earful. Am improving as I write. Day by day. It will take some time. Till then, stay on. The eccentricities and insanity won't go away. The irresponsibility will. Soon. For now, bring on the daily dosage of 'moron' and 'scoun'. They keep me on track! Love ya! :*

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Random happiness

I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand 
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand 
Life is good today. Life is good today... 

Some song by Zac Brown Band that I have been humming since morning. Please don't take the lines literally. I am not drinking beer..not in the morning atleast! :D Its my state of mind. Not a worry in the world. :) I am a cause for worry..to Ma atleast. But in my mindspace, its like the joys of spring and autumn put together. Ma is still waiting for the day when I'll take life seriously. I do. But not today. Not now. Not when am sitting in my room, listening to music and smiling goofily. For no reason at all! Or for so many odd reasons that I stopped counting. :)

Dada says 'More choices..more thoughts'. That's his reply to my perennial confusion about everything. Have been getting the 'High time you should get married' talk with alarming frequency. From expected and unexpected corners. But dada says 'Enjoy your freedom'. :) In a family of perfectionists, he allows me to not worry about my eccentricities and flaws. He is the benchmark of good behaviour. The  perfect son. He can do no wrong. It's comforting to hear from him that its okay to err. At times. I think that kind of freedom keeps one grounded. Keeps me rooted.  So today I shall enjoy my freedom. Tomorrow maybe, I'll be a li'l more serious. Like Ma keeps saying - I'll give settling down a thought.

I'll need a new post to talk about dada's impending marriage. :) Its almost ten months away and the Shome family is already kicking up a storm. :D But na, not here. Some other post for that. 

Am full of contradictions. So much so that my thoughts also change directions at an alarming rate! On one of my hopelessly jobless days, I was thinking how time has flown by. Two years of MBA. They just whizzed by. Then last week I realised how time has stood still. Change is not the only constant. I met a friend after almost a decade and it felt like yesterday. We are both still full of utter nonsense, and yet we make perfect sense to each other. Everyone should have a couple of such friends. The constants in your life. When life overwhelms you in a good or a bad way, an earful of abuses from them is all you need to sing the song I have been singing all day long. :) So when I am being my irritating self, and Sam and Divs say - f*** you bong!....I smile and think of an entire decade spent with them. I wish everyone had that kinda luck! No sarcasm here :)

As I hum, am thinking of the good times. Of snow capped mountains and friends sipping brandy. Of a new job at a not-so-new place. Of partying till late into the night and then heading out for coffee just to see the sunrise. Of conversations meaningless and meaningful. Of waking up with that warm feeling.

Yeah...Life is good today! :) :)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The year that was..

I learnt diplomacy last year. Here's an example. If you ask me, how was the year that went by, my reply would be - Good and bad..in bits and parts. :) The 2008 me would've grinned and said 'quite awesome!'. Like the child  who burns his hand, yells his lungs out and then forgets it all as soon as he sees a bar of chocolate, I would forget the lows and stick to my reply. The 2009 me is not an improved version at all. Life is still all hunky dory and I still think that there is a silver lining behind the darkest of clouds. But yes, I learned diplomacy. So the year was a mixed bag of sorts.

So I take stock now. A checklist of things that I was supposed to do. Things I wanted to do. Things I shouldn't have done.

Studied - Hell no! It took me an MBA and an obscene amount of money to realise that I can study no more. Just wrote my last paper and swore to myself to never touch those darned things again! I can read but not study, and there is an ocean of difference between the two. Learned nothing from my post grad degree and I do hope my current employer doesn't come across this blog of mine. :)

Got a job. My justification for the obscene amount of money I mentioned before. :) Its a blessing to get exactly what you want and I am blessed.

Read books - Sadly no. Don't judge me. I love books. This year just whizzed by and I have read a measly few. But am back with new resolve. Got a long list to finish.

Travelled - A hell lot! New cities and old ones too. With friends, with family..for work, for fun...for no reason.   Chennai, Bangalore, Pondicherry, Kolkata, Bombay, Karwar, Sikkim, Darjeeling, Pune...phew! Loved every bit of it. Something about new places..their idiosyncrasies..their eccentricities..the people..I could really travel for a living! :)

Friends - Met some and lost some. Some law of balancing the good with the bad I presume. Met some awesome people. I mean really, can't remember what life was like before knowing them. :) (Here's to you - Sunshine and Saantu!). The ones I knew before came closer. The ones who had drifted away drifted right back in. Some people went away, out of reach. Such is life. Black, white and grey.

Love - Happens year after year. I've realised I don't just like people (that is, when I do like them), I fall in love with them. Some particular trait, the way they care, the way they are. Can be anything. So yes, I fall in love again and again. I am emotional and I get involved. I am pretty hopeless. :) I like it.

Danced till there was music. Danced like no one's watching.

Became a recluse. Not intentional, but somehow got comfortable in my corner. Its a good thing, to be able to spend a day alone and still come out of it smiling.

Flirted/Dated - Yes yes :). Good for health, they say. ;)

Cried - Like a baby. Over lost hopes. Over mushy movies. Over the absence of close ones. Over goodbyes. In fights where anger comes out as tears. In silence when eyes talk. Over nothing. I just cry easy.

Tried getting over my fear of height and water. Been years, still struggling. Floated around in the middle of the ocean (wearing a lifejacket), if that counts for anything. But the heights and depths of it still gets to me.

Stayed fit - No no and no! :( Being a Bong so does not help the cause. We Bongs get high on food. Good food and lack of physical exercise. Not good. Not good at all! I need to go on a war footing to cure this.

Survived on music. Like air and water. The first thing I did when I woke up and the last thing when I slept off. Listen to music. So, thank you to the likes of Pearl Jams and the odd Pitbulls for replacing the silence with rhythm. :)

Wrote - Yes, more than often. Sometimes on blogs. Sometimes to myself. On tissue papers. In notebooks.

Grew up - The age bit, inevitable! The mind bit, avoidable! :) I'll focus on the latter. Learned a li'l, grew up a li'l. Threw tantrums like a child, but still managed the occasional grown up's view of the world. That view is just shortlived though. Coz like Bryan Adams croons, I wanna be young for the rest of my life! ;)

Like I said, its been a good and a bad year..in bits and parts. I will choose to remember the times that I smiled. I will hope to learn from the mistakes I made. I will revel in the happiness and I will forget the tears. For those I hurt, I am sorry. For those I loved, I am all mush. Live with it. For those I yelled at, it was just a moment. Never meant it. For those I forgot, call me and tell me I'm a jerk. For those I call friends, thank you. For everything.

Past perfect

They say start afresh, it's a new year! Think new thoughts. Make new plans. Some new resolutions, so what if you break them the very next day. The key word is 'new'. I say stick to the old. :) It keeps you rooted. Came across something that I had written while on my way to Chennai before my internship. No reason for not posting it. Simply put, I forgot. So here it is.

'I managed to board my train to Kolkata without any hassles. Baba’s foolproof planning might be a small reason. So, on my way to Bong Land, and then to Lungi Land(Chennai) for two months. Everyone’s already given their fair share of sympathies for the one place I didn’t want to go to, but thanks to some people I know, it’s not a scary thought after all.


I miss home. Every small bit of it. The photographs on the walls. The computer which chooses to restart as and when it fancies. Maach (at 4 in the morning!). Pizza from Sweet Home. The creaky cranky lift. Ma’s despair over the mess I create everyday. Cold coffee. Baba’s lectures and his to do lists. Comparisons with my oh-so-perfect dada. When I am there, I realize how much I miss all this and more. I am probably a misfit. Amidst the niceness, the religiousness, the attention to details, the perfection –  I don’t have much in common, but I know I belong here. In a weird crazy way.


Working parents and a visit home on weekdays means extremely rare conversations. Today evening was one of those rare moments. Chotokaku (chachu), baba and I talking over tea. Am penning this down because I don’t want to forget. Considering my sieve like brain, forgetting things comes pretty easily to me.


These were stories about daadu (my grandfather), thakuma (grandma) and daadu’s brother. Daadu has always been a legend of sorts. I have only heard about him. Daadu was a loud man, voiced his opinions unabashedly without bothering about the rest of the world and their views. He hated rotis, thought they should be banned from the face of this earth. Only parathas and luchis (Bengali puris) deserved a place in this world. His rules for attending any marriage/occasion was that the entire family should eat in the first round itself, lest the hosts fall short of food. Amidst such rules, ma entered the family – a demure convent educated girl. The road that led to our ancestral home was so narrow, that baba had actually taken her there on a rickshaw for the first time. The rule was that the new bride shouldn’t walk to her home! J Many of these functions that ma attended with the rest of the Shome family, daadu would call out loud for her and shout out across the table – aage kheye naao, shesh hoye jaabe! Pore golpo koro! (which means eat first, else it’ll finish. Talk later). Ma and Chotokaku would diligently turn into various shades of red. On hindsight, we kids love to see chotokaku enact and re-enact those scenes.


There was a movie theater right next to our home in Bhagalpur. So close that whenever baba and kaku would get bored, they would go watch 10 minutes of a movie and come back. We shared a common wall. Once some poor soul decided to pee on the common wall. Poor soul because of what I am going to write next. So, daadu’s brother becomes indignant and comes up with a brilliant idea. Asks baba to get hot water. There was this small hole in the wall. They poured steaming hot water on the man on the other side. I guess he would’ve learnt to use the public toilets!


Baba was thrown out of school in class 3. J He had pelted stones on the teacher. I know I belong because I was suspended from school for 15 days for exploding a bomb in school during diwali. I think I had seen pride in baba’s eyes, which had vanished instantly seeing ma’s fury!


Ever got the feeling that you didn’t know your parents too well? I do. All the time. What were they like in college. Did they mess up at times, like I do. Kaku told me today that baba was awesome at fishing. That no one could beat him at carom. That he could give the pros a run for their money in badminton. Do they see a bit of themselves in us, or did we fall short of what they actually wanted us to be?'

This is where I slept off. Did I fall short? I don't know yet. Don't think I ever will...