Saturday, August 20, 2016

There is still time!

My Objectives : 2011

1. Change Job
2. Save 60% of Monthly income
3. Go on a Euro trip , if not World Tour
4. Write a full length novel
5. Visit Himalayas

My Objectives : 2016

1. Change Job (the same ffng job that I held 6 yrs ago)
2. Save Money (even if it just Rs. 1000)
3. Visit a foreign country (even if it is within Asia)
4. Write blog post regularly
5. Go on any trek (even if it is a nearby hill station)

What conclusion do you derive from the above list? Absolutely nothing less than pathetic, I suppose. I do not blame you. I myself am shocked to realize where I stand as opposed to where I thought I'd be. This just proves how limiting life becomes (or you limit yourself) as you grow older & older.

Think about it, all of us would have been asked this question at school - "What do you want to become when you grow up? What is your life's ambition?". My answer had always been "Space Research" . I was always fascinated by the sky and all things beyond our visibility. The mystery land just waiting to be explored by the mighty Captain Gayathri (my own version of Spaceman Spiff, back then). Yes, even then I was too dumb to create a cool alter ego. The point is, I bet not even 30% of the entire world population would have actually become what they had always wanted to do.

I had read somewhere that Passion is not just about being extremely interested in something, but it is about being good at something. Only when we excel at something, do we get motivated to do it more and more. But unfortunately, studying and clearing an exams with top marks is the only thing that is expected of kids. Even though they do not excel in it, it is the only thing that the society "motivates" them to do. There arises the basic conflict of interest. Kids get two options - 1. To pursue their own interests even if that meant scoring poorly in school tests  OR 2.  To fight their interests and earn the support of their parents and end up doing what 80% of the lot choose to do.

Most of them take the easy way out and never realize what they are missing out on. They are the so called "blissful ignorant" ones. But there are the other few unlucky ones who realize this when it is too late and keep regretting their decisions all the way through, without once trying to make amends.

The purpose of this post is to re-iterate that there is still time, even if you are 65 years old and are suffering from some illness (Watch the movie "Bucketlist"). If you are somewhere in your late 20s (like yours truly) when these goddamn thoughts enter your brain about how you are stuck at a job you hate and there is no way out, please do yourselves a favour and stop whining. Now! You should be happy that you have a job in the first place. You can still cut down those extra pair of sandals / handbags / gym subscriptions which you can do without and save your money to accomplish those more important things on your "to-do" list. Like "Go on a Euro Trip, if not World tour".

Now is your time. Go figure.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Indian Weddings!

Boy loves Girl.
Girl loves Boy.
They get married and live happily ever after.

How I wish this were the case of all the weddings in India. 

Ladies & Gentlemen, I am here to talk about the "interesting" process of weddings in our very own Incredible India. 

Having gone through this ordeal of getting married myself recently, I can share some of my experiences with you all.  Weddings are probably the most over-rated functions according to me. Almost 6 months prior to the actual wedding day, the minute I announced that I was going to get married,my girl friends started getting excited about the entire shopping process - the dresses I'm going to wear, my accessories, hair-do, slippers and what not. You would know that every one of your guests has a free will to comment on how you are dressed, if your make-up is good or over-done for that matter. If that isn't applying pressure on the bride, I don't know what else is. 

Hailing from an orthodox Tamil Brahmin family or "Tam-Brahms" as we call ourselves these days , our weddings usually happen for three straight days from dawn till dusk, with absolutely no time to rest. There are so many small ceremonies one after the after, that you loose your count after a while. The saddest part is that the bride is expected to have a costume change and show up in a different silk sarees each time she makes an appearance. Mind you, those sarees are not easy to handle. A normal saree is big enough for me, imagine where I would have gotten lost under that mammoth 9 yards saree. Phew, it was a big task for me, alright.

 Wedding is supposed to be one of the important and certainly a memorable day in a person's life. But for me, it was all a blur of smoke. Two literally sleepless nights rendered my eyes half shut during the whole lot of events, I could barely see what was happening. But my mouth was frozen in an eternal smile like the Joker from Batman, for I had paid the photographer a lot of money.

Every retailer, be it a florist, a caterer, a fashion designer or a wedding hall owner, literally go on a looting spree during the peak wedding season. Currently, the Indian wedding Industry is grossing over Rs. 100,000 crores and is growing at a rapid speed of 25 to 30 per cent annually. The estimated cost of a wedding with no expenses spared, could be between Rs. 5 Lakhs to Rs. 5 Crores. According to a recent study, a person in India, spends almost 1/5th of the entire wealth accumulated in a lifetime, on a wedding ceremony. If a person of my financial standards can spend around Rs. 10 lakhs on a wedding, no wonder Salman Khan can gift his adopted sister a Rolls Royce car and a Studio Apartment in Bombay overlooking the Juhu beach.

With time and the development of technology, people have become more tech savvy,but it has done nothing to change their opinion when it comes to finding a good match for their sons or daughters. Instead, they use this new found skill of operating the internet to upload their children's profiles and horoscopes on to the numerous match-making websites. I bet you, there are only few things funnier than some of these profiles. Where do I even start about Dowry. In principle, this custom should've been abolished decade ago. But even now, in some cases, if the guy holds a degree, he is eligible for an Alto. If he has done a PG or Doctorate, his market value shoots through the skies; and do not even get me started about the so called "America Grooms" or guys settled in the USA.

Two people, having spent considerable amount of time with each other, decide to commit themselves to a relationship. Two people, in a relationship of over 5 years or more decide to get married. But all some parents care about is two random pieces of papers that they hold in their hands in the name of horoscope. Immaterial of the no. of years the couple have spent in love, the parents still need those two papers to decide if they will be compatible to each other or not. DO YOU SEE ANY LOGIC IN THIS?  I certainly don't.

No one can put it in better words than Chetan Bhagat did in his book, "2 States". 

In India,
Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy.
Boy's family has to love the girl. Girl's family has to love the guy.
Both families have to love each others'
After all this, the Boy and the Girl should still love each other.
Then they get married.

What I believe and what my husband always loves to point out, is that "It is always better to be with a known Devil than an unknown Angel". I am not here to pick and tell or to argue about Love marriages or Arranged marriages.  All I want to say is that the ultimate choice of when, how and most importantly to whom to get married to would have to be with us and not decided by anyone else. 
Thank you.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Daughter to Daughter-in-law

How life changes in just 5 letters, from being a daughter to daughter-in-law. Why do the parents even get their daughters educted, employed and then married If right from when to wake up, when to take bath, what to wear, when to eat until when to sleep is decided by someone else. Why do the girls even need a life? Forget gender equality, where is the basic respect that a human being deserves? Everybody knows that this is unfair. The men keep quiet because it suits them and they don't have to move a muscle, and the older women are so used to be these rules that they think it is a sin to do otherwise. The ones that are caught between these chauvinistic and submissive clans respectively are the younger generation who end up being clueless as to what to speak against and what to tolerate. Even if they do not care about the names the society would call them with, they do care about the so called "honour" of their family and shut their mouths most of the times. A life living under these rules is totally worthless. To grow a girl child and let her live under these circumstances is almost equal to female infanticide, for,  breathing alone does not mean living. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Manu!

It is just like how Harry and Ron sat next to each other for the first time on the Hogwarts express. We had no idea we'd become such good friends and be together for almost 8 years. HP has actually played a major role in this.

May be not as adventurous as this, but we sure have had our share of fun together. I didn't know what I was thinking, packing my bags and taking that train to Wayanad with you. Maybe if we had thought that through a lot, we wouldn't even have had the guts to go there alone. But it turned out to be a fun trip.

From people who kept talking, judging others, passing comments, gossiping all the time, making friends with other rich people, it was a welcome change to meet you and the much needed silent company you provided ;)  I was glad to have had your company to talk my kind of books and movies. You were a tough one to crack, I've always thought of you as "Miss Mystery" since it was hard to know what you were thinking. But soon you became my Partner in crime for all the things I am sure I wouldn't regret when I grow old. In fact, there is still quite a lot to do on that Bucket list.

GOA was an altogether different experience. Don't remember the last time I had so much of fun on a trip. Going to exciting places is one, but having a person who enjoys the same things you do is very rare. It was one hell of a trip which I will cherish for a long time to come.

You have no idea how much you mean to me, especially when it comes to our "Workplace". It is not only reassuring, but also very consoling to know that a soul just like yours is sitting somewhere in a desk nearby, hating this job as much as you do and is probably dreaming of a similar faraway land with blue beaches, white sand, tanned swimmers, and cool drinks. 

I still have a lot of plans that involves you and me and anyone else who's interested, in taking that World Tour to all the places we've dreamt of going. Let's make a 5 year pact and visit at least one new country for every 5 years. Here's wishing you a great birthday and a lot of happy surprises this year.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

World Reading Day 2015!

I miss the time when I used to lock myself up in my room for hours together, and read. Keep reading unless I have to eat or pee. Reading has kept my childhood lively, creative and helped me conjure a hell a lot of imagination. Thanks to reading, my English is what it is now. I see a few people in my work place and wonder if they have ever set their foot in school. My pre-independence era born, 8th grade failed, 93 year old grandmother can speak better English than a few people in my work place. I don't know if I should feel sorry for them or gloat about my more than average abilities. But this place has ruined reading for me, they are trying to make me one of them by constantly making me accustomed to bad language. I might forget what little I know and adapt myself to the conditions here. God forbid, I should not live to see that day.

Immaterial of the number of New Years I have spent after joining work, or number of resolutions I have thought about making, I have never been able to sit back and finish reading a book ever since. Getting married has only aggravated the situation. I have no alone time now. I know a lot of people suffer from loneliness and depression, and I shouldn't be cribbing about having no space for myself, but I can't help it.
I wish I could go to some exotic location, have food and drinks brought to the place where I sit, where I can find myself a cozy place to sit with my book, that also has an awesome view and READ.
Read as long as I am  bored enough to come back to this world I so hate and lead the monotonous life that this is proving to be. Wish I had a Time Turner. Wish I were Hermione Granger... or any other character from HP for that matter.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Part III

The guys looked at each other unsure what to do next. It was Vijay who finally turned around and looked at the two bulky men standing ahead of them. He thought to himself, they were four of them against two of the goons. And they had their bikes ready to make a quick escape whenever they get a chance. With this in mind, he went a little closer to the two men. From the light from the torches, he could make out something shining in the shirts of the two men. As he went closer, he noticed that the two men were wearing some kind of uniform which was a bit relaxing for him. They were guards of some kind. He turned to the others and said, "Guys, looks like they are some local guards or policemen. " "Well, that's very comforting", said Shyam sarcastically. Sridhar was staring at the two men who had now come close enough to their bikes. they looked like watchmen up close, but they were huge and looked savage, nevertheless.

One of the men spoke menacingly in Telugu, "Yevaru da meeru, Yekadalunchi ostharu". Shyam was the one to reply first, "Sir, nanga Tamil. Chennai.." The guards quickly surveyed them and it seemed as if they understood the guys' predicament. Then one of the guards pointed his torchlight at something behind them. The four boys turned around and looked at a big hoarding bearing the words "National Forest Campus". They now understood that they had just entered a campus without permission. The guards, knowing that they were lost, showed them their way back towards the iron gate and outside the campus. There at the fork, they now saw a small, almost non-existent board with the words "Trespassers Prosecuted".

Cursing themselves for the situation they had landed themselves in, they decided not to make any more foolish decisions that night. They went back the way they had come to a a village where they got themselves lodging in a hotel which must have crossed it's expiry date a good ten years back. They had not only wasted valuable time in their midnight fiasco, but were also seriously behind their schedule. None of them could wake up early the next morning. By the time they woke up and started their journey on Day 2, it was already past eleven. Not trusting the maps anymore in village regions, they asked the villagers for route all the way till they reached Hyderabad that evening. Entering a city after so many hours was a welcome change to the four guys. All they wanted to do was to have a full Andhra meals each and rest their butts for an hour before proceeding towards Delhi. During that one hour break, Shyam had to manage his calls between his default girlfriend and his other on-off back-up girlfriend. Sridhar, Vijay and Amit made their own phone calls to their families and kept the details to the minimum. Once they were done with the more-than-fulfilling Andhra meals, they started their ride towards our Capital city.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Part II

A quick check on Google Maps told them that the shortest route to Leh would take them almost four days if they keep up good timing. They would have to pass through Andhra Pradesh via Hyderabad on the NH9 and drive towards Lucknow on the NH7. From there the journey was pretty much straight-forward via New Delhi to their ultimate destination – the amazing mountainous landscape of Leh Ladakh. Among the four of them, Amit was from Delhi and thus knew Hindi very well. Shyam too had attended the basic Prathmik & Madhyama classes to impress a Punjabi girl back in college and knew a little bit of Hindi, at least enough to ask for directions in case they were lost. Sridhar and Vijay on the other hand were clueless when it came to any language other than Tamil or English.

            They set off towards Andhra on Saturday morning. Sridhar was sitting pillion with Shyam in Shyam’s Pulsar, while Vijay was in his Unicorn and Amit in his own Pulsar. The trip to Andhra Pradesh was around 500 kms. They planned to reach there in 7 hours, i.e., by Saturday evening and camp at Hyderabad for the night. They congratulated themselves for the perfect plan on their first day. But after a few stops for food, fuel, nature’s calls and various “take-diversions”, they could only cross Andhra around 10.00 PM on Saturday night. After a quick group discussion, they decided to proceed towards Hyderabad before stopping for the night.

 It was Sridhar’s duty to manage their navigation as he wasn't driving. As they drove through the night, they reached a fork on the road. Sridhar quickly checked his phone for directions. According to the map, they were supposed to head straight; there was no mention of this fork on the map. It seemed like they were the only ones in and around that area, they couldn’t find a single human soul who might give them some direction. Cursing Google Maps loudly, they stopped to think of a solution. They would have crossed the last village about an hour ago which would be more than 30 kms back. Vijay suggested that they should turn and go back to the village for the night. But Shyam insisted that they had come a long way ahead and couldn’t waste their time or fuel by going back. After a few minutes of discussion, the group proceeded towards the road on their right which seemed slightly wider than the one on their left.

Sridhar started to worry a little as the road they had taken became narrower with every turn and street lights became non-existent. Although he was sure that geographically the direction they had taken would lead them to Hyderabad, he was clueless as to how safe these roads were or which part of Hyderabad they would emerge out of. It was already nearing midnight and there was not a single human being in sight. The only light visible was emitted from their bikes’ headlamps.

Finally after what seemed like ages, Amit shouted, “Guys, look over there”. They could see two small specs of light in the distance. The lights weren't from any vehicles in the opposite direction or neither were they from the street lamps. Sridhar immediately got cautious. He said to Shyam, “Wait, Shyam.  I don’t think we should go any closer”. But excited from seeing the lights, Vijay had already gotten ahead of them and was speeding towards the source of the light. Amit, Shyam and Sridhar had no other choice but to follow.

As they drew closer, they realized that the lights came from powerful torch lights held by a couple of bulky looking men with thick mustaches. The men quickly reached the middle of the road and blocked the road ahead of them. Amit started panicking and said, “Guys, turn, let’s go back. I’m scared”. He had just voiced the other’s thoughts out loud. They were just 100 yards from the men when they stopped their bikes and tried turning back only to find themselves facing a big iron gate which had certainly not been there before.

To be continued…