Saturday, November 29, 2008


She looked up to say,
I won't be coming no more this way,
I have been here all I can,
And there is only so much that I can plan,

He looked across to see,
All the dust, the grime, the sentimentality,
Should I wrap myself in this haven?
Or satisfy the lust of life I have craven,

She looked beneath to find,
All the pieces strewn in her mind,
Together they made up some memories,
Of all the love, the pain, the atrocities,

He looked far to feel,
To ease his heart out of the golden seal,
Inside it fluttered, strong and able,
Outside it mustered, dark and sable,

She wondered why, when, where,
She lost her soul, her will to care,
He longed for the time,
A little more still, eternity to find,

Together they stared,
Haplessly, beyond compare,
Was this all there was to be?
Nothing more, nothing less, nothing in between?

If tomorrow never came,
Are we to die in shame,
Of knowing not who or what we are,
To live a life that heals the wound, but never the scar.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Riding Escapades

Well, after all the lengthy and quite thought-provoking (I hope!) writings over the past few articles, guess its time for some light and funky ones (someone quite rightfully reminded me of that :)) So, lets see – light and funky….. "light" and funky, light and “funky”. The only thing that I know is light and funky is the cute looking lamp in my bedroom – "light" and “funky”. Sorry, I know, that was a bad joke! Aaaah!!! I know! I can always write something from my bike-riding escapades. Not exactly light (if you count me mouthing some heavy expletives :-D) but funky and funny indeed sometimes .

Ok... so.... which one of these 214 stories would make an impact? Story 49? No, that’s not funky, that’s not even funny. 186? Nah! That guy was not all that indecent. 125? Well, that could be light and funky except for the fact that I almost lost a toe when the idiot standing next to me stomped his feet on mine while stopping at the signal. Ouch! Hmm… well, now that I think of it, I don’t think just one story should qualify as being light and funky. Maybe an assortment will do… the more the merrier, right? So here are some random occurances from a journey that might enlighten and enliven you… the journey I take everyday to and from office plus a few other places on the run.

Now, the ride to office has been quiet an interesting one over the past couple of months. Earlier I used to travel about 10 kms to a god-forsaken place, that later didn't seem so god-forsaken after all :) Now, I have to travel even further, another 5 kms to another god-forsaken place, which I know not when will get promoted into a non-god-forsaken place. I think I would be quite happy with it being god-forsaken, if only it was also human and traffic-forsaken. Oh my! You should see the amount of traffic and the sea of people that I have to literally cross every day to get to work. And it is not funny at all!! Especially when the travel is some 15-odd kms each way, it gets less funny every day.

When I'm riding and being a mute passenger, I always have this thing about people who navigate through any kind of traffic. You know bikers who think they can literally squeeze into 4 inches of space with the shiniest and largest bike ever, a wife and 3 kids on board. I almost burst out laughing every time I see someone like this. In fact, I encourage them (not out load) to keep on, till they find the right spot! :-D Another area of interest to me is to see fellow women-riders. Not just how they drive/ride, but how they even can! Now, I know this is a sensitive subject, but lets face it. Women are not good riders/drivers. If you thought I would say within brackets – 'except me', sorry! I don’t like to go easy on myself, and I know my flaws (and goodness-es). The thing that 'we' lack is effective judgment skills and compensate for that with too much brains! How many times have you seen a lady rider/driver drive like her whole life depended on it? Many right? I can say for sure that she would definitely not consider driving a pleasure. And she will not hesitate to honk, even when she knows that she is the only one driving on the road. “What?!! That rat crossing the road doesn't know I’m coming!!!” I personally have had some minor incidents of almost ramming into the behind of a car or bus (!) just to stop in the nick of time. The reason? Poor judgment skills of not knowing how hard or fast to brake. With (of course!) the counter effect of me shouting (never out loud) expletives at the car or bus for having stopped sooner than I ‘thought’ it would. Typical, ain’t it? But I am happy to inform you that after almost a year of riding, my skills have definitely shown improvement, quite to the point that I don’t brake at all these days! Ha, ha!

The last time I laughed my wits out was when I saw a considerably new car parked right in the middle of the road. Now, this road divides itself into 2 main sections on the sole basis of a convenient ‘here-I-am, there-am-not’ divider. I always make sure that I navigate to one side of the road as soon as I enter it, so that I can spare myself a whole lot of confusion. So, one night I am driving home late from office, and I enter this road. A few meters down, I know there should come the start of the divider, but instead I see this car standing. I mean, from behind it just looks like its standing there, innocently, like it forgot which part of the road it was supposed to be on. Quite possible! I slowed down for it to move, turn, back-up… it didn’t. By the time I approached it, I kinda knew something was not quite right about the way it was parked. Who would park in the middle of the road, in (almost) the middle of the night? Are you crazy? Or do you think others are... to not notice it? By now, I am almost passing it by… and what do I see?? It has banged right into the start of the divider and is so smashed up that you actually can’t make out the front portion of the car. Now, that is a sorry sight indeed, but I found myself laughing so hard that I was afraid I would fall off my bike. Right from that spot to my house, which is about 5 mins, I laughed and laughed and laughed!! Who in their right frame of mind would miss a divider that is almost 3-4 feet tall? It stands there like a bull on the road. I understand that if you are blind or blinded by other things (if you know what I mean) it is quite possible. But even then, it is totally amazing that one should ram right into it without making an effort to try and avoid it. Sheesh!

And oh! Don’t even get me started on the honkers! Yes… the impeccable category of people who know just about what to do with a vehicle other than drive. They can sure honk your wits out! Well, I guess I'll reserve that for ‘light and funky' – Part 2 or 3 or 4 :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

To be (free) or not to be!

I don't watch TV. Not because I don't like watching it, or that I don't get the time, or that I have better things to do. I just don't watch it. There was, a time when nothing could separate us - the TV, and me that is! I knew every show, on every channel, every time slot, every re-run that ever re-ran, every actor (their real and reel names), every soundtrack of every movie and TV series (my favorite is the soundtrack from the BBC series - Pride and Prejudice :) ; those who have seen it/know it, might agree), every character, every storyline, etc. etc. etc. This was way too long ago. It's amazing how school and college seem like the time when you could do all you wanted and still have time for more. You need to finish that assignment for your History project tomorrow? No problem, it'll get done before dinner, and you can still watch Dr. Doogie Howser M.D. Need to help your kid brother with a math problem, no sweat. You can do it in-between the commercials for the X-Files :)

Those were the 'real' times. When watching TV was not such a bad thing after all. I would totally credit my fluency in the English language and the ability to understand different accents to watching so much of Star Movies, and some of the English channels that don't exist anymore. Now, the point that I am coming to is not whether we are free to watch TV or not! Hey, just because I don't watch it anymore, doesn't mean you don't have to either ;) You are free to do whatever you want. Or are you?

Extraordinarily, one night I find myself switching on the telly while having dinner. Maybe I just wanted to catch up on whether a person who was supposed to die in a serial 5 years back was dead or had been re-born for the 8th time :-D So, there I was, trying to make sense of all the moving 'news' and up comes a commercial. Now, I like commercials. They are more informative than probably all the "theory of relativities" put together. Snippets, that are to the point, no frills, decent (most of the times at least!), educative (a lot of them are), and most of all - fun! At the end of a commercial, a good one, you are left with a feeling that what you just saw, might actually be useful to you. Plus, they are a logical break from the guy who was supposed to get a heart transplant episodes earlier, or has been in a coma, for God knows how long! Now, the commercial that came up was a good one, a very educative one at that. It was about contraceptives.

Without giving away the name of the product, it was about emergency contraception for women. This is not a run-of-the-mill ad. Far from it! A sensitive subject such as emergency contraception can never be run-of-the-mill :) For those who do watch a lot of TV, you might be aware of different variations of the portrayal of the product, the need as well as the benefits of emergency contraception. I happened to see 2 variations. One where the friend literally demands for the 'time' and shouts (nay, advises) that the girl may have to go through abortion; and the 2nd where the friend and the girl are traveling to a family planning/abortion clinic (this was the one that came up when I was sitting down for dinner that night). And as this ad came up, I immediately found myself paying attention, and connecting it to the first version. I must say, I didn't like the shouting friend. I know she meant well, but she didn't have to be so rude.

The 2nd variation, I felt, was more subtle, with actions and emotions and faces speaking louder than words ever can. As I sat there for the rest of the dinner, I hardly remember what I saw on TV next, cause my brain was already working overtime trying to analyze both these commercials. Somehow, in the 2nd ad, what struck me was the helplessness of the girl who has to make 'the decision'. And, the way in which she is looking at the friend for an answer, a solution, something. I started thinking... the ad clearly provides women the 'choice', but does it provide them freedom to exercise it? A woman has the choice to go in for emergency contraception. That is what the ad is talking about... and of course, they are trying to sell the product, right? But, how many women will use/have used it? 1 in 5, 10, 30, 50, 100, 1000? After all, you might argue, that this is not like some bathing soap that people need to use everyday. True. Absolutely correct! But, for those women who need it, are they 'free' to exercise only their choice, and not their freedom?

In today's day and age, we hear of women reaching heights like never before, shoulder to shoulder with men, even beyond! Scientist, astronauts, philanthropists, industrialists, geniuses even! Women are doing things we never thought possible 2 decades back. Then why is it that the ad portrayed the girl with her looking all lost, and seeking for 'help'? If women have reached the sky, why is it that the girl did not know about emergency contraception beforehand? Or even if she missed out on that education, why is it that she is all 'scared and afraid' when she has to make another choice, quite possibly, the right one! Was it because the company was trying to gain the viewer/public sympathy for the young girl who might lose out on her life because of this incident, and thereby gaining acceptance for emergency contraception and their product? Was the ad trying to tell people (read women) that things could be set right by taking the product, and that otherwise unavoidable circumstances, can now be avoided? I don't have anything against the makers of the ad or the product. Its decent and they are just trying to make a living. But, are we listening to what is really being said?

How come there is no ad that says, that as much of a choice you have for taking emergency contraception, you also do for undergoing abortion? Why is it that the former is acceptable (even skeptically), but the latter is not? Why should a woman hold her head high and take an emergency contraception, rather than do the same thing when walking into a clinic? Should she always turn to a friend, to tell her what to do? Have we as a society equipped her with only fear and helplessness when it comes to making decisions that can be life-changing? This piece doesn't even have to be about women. My trail of thoughts has only come from these 2 types of ads that I have seen till now, and the emotions and underlying meaning that it has evoked in me. Even if you take the case of children, have we given them 100 choices, but no freedom to exercise it? How many parents would let their kid turn into a rock-star, even though he was promised at the age of 10, that he could be 'whatever' he wanted to be? How many kids will paint pottery for the rest of their life. No siree! Not my kid! Isn't that what you thought to yourself? Which child would want to tell its parents that they want to be a doctor rather than join the family business of collecting garbage!

So my question to you is - "Are you really free?" and more importantly "Do you want to be?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Know Thyself!

I know it might sound cocky, selfish, arrogant, and whatever first person emotion you want to attach to it, but seriously tell me. When was the last time you praised yourself? Gave yourself a pat on the back, gave yourself a treat? Or are you still expecting the person who has never done that to come do it for you? Or do you think you deserve praise only from others and not from yourself? Oh! Grow up! You think the world is gonna shower itself on you for all the things you do? For all that you are? You are sadly mistaken. Maybe if what you do and who you are is a mountain instead of a molehill, you might be lucky enough to get noticed. Even then, it is a risk that would need to be pulled off very neatly. But for all the small things that you do, don’t even expect the risk to back you up. You are all by yourself, whether you like it or not. And don’t think that you are going to be raised on that pedestal; just wish that if you do, you are lucky enough to not get hurt too much when you fall off it.

We all do things thinking that somewhere down the line, it will pay up and that we will get our dues worth. That is quite human, in fact more so when you have been taught to do good deeds without expecting any results. We are always looking for people’s approval, their take on our actions, if we were correct in doing something or not. Even when we know we have done something right, we need just that one nod or smile to put us at ease, that what we did, was the right thing to do. It is every child looking up to its parents for that candy it was promised, for eating its vegetables. Few get it, are happy with it, others get it, but keep yearning for more, like they are shopping coupons – the more you get, the more life gets ‘discounted’ for you, whereas the rest never gets it

Now, I’m not sure which category to belong to. (If you do already belong to one… good for you.) And, what if I don’t want to belong to any of these and remain independent. You know like those independent parties contesting the elections, hoping for that one stroke of luck that they will win! What if I don’t need anyone’s approval other than my own? As a matter of fact, I don’t think I have ever belonged to any category at all. For as long as I can remember, I have been my own person. That is not to say that I have lived my life to however, and whatever I wished it to be. My! If only I had the guts to do that… I would surely be in a different world altogether – maybe for better, maybe for worse. My parents have done the best parenting ever, and they still are; that goes without a doubt. They have made me and my sister experience everything that an individual needs to experience – through our own mettle. I am proud to say that whatever I am in life today, is because I am born out of them. And nothing and nobody in this whole damn world can do anything to change that. They have never expected anything out of me, apart from what I am capable of giving. And it is this ‘capability’ that has given me the strength to take on anything… anyone.

It might be foolish to say that I have never sought the approval of my parents. Of course I have! When I was a child, I would try to write as neatly as possible, in my best handwriting. My dad was a stickler in matters of handwriting. He used to make me and my sister do ‘handwriting practice’ at least for half of our summer vacations. But, when we were done with our writing, we never went to him, for him to take a look and tell us – “good job”. We knew that when he came to know about it (and that he always would) he would be proud and that was enough for us. Even if he would point out a flaw, there would always be a look on his face that would say, “You have done me proud”. Even today, when we achieve something, purely out of our own ‘capability’, we know that our parents are proud of us, without us even having to tell them anything.

Is it because of the fact that I don’t yearn for their approval? Is it because I am too cocky to give them credit for it? Is it because I feel I am too good for myself to do any better? It might be any or all of these… in their own credible circumstances. But, I feel it is largely because I have looked at my own approval of what I am, before asking for anyone else’s. I know what I am, what I am capable of and so do my parents. They are a splendid extension of what I believe myself to be. I have always felt that you need to look at yourself from your own eyes, before you borrow someone else’s. And believe me, you won’t need to borrow anyone else’s, not even your parents’; it wouldn’t do you justice at all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Of Liberty, Equality and Faternity…

You know, many a times I have often wondered what it would be like if we all went about our own business without looking, caring or bothering about what others do and how if really matters to us. At many instances, I have wished and pleaded within myself to have the strength to be able to do that, and for people to respect the same, as well as reciprocate with a similar attitude. I mean, it never really helps to butt yourself in when you’re absolutely not needed. I have lived in a city that embodies independence in its truest form and where working hard is just the beginning to working your ass off to be where you want to be :) I currently live in a city where people are smart, but would not want others to think so, least they are taken ‘advantage’ of, where independence is confined to your bathroom, and working hard is just a one-off thing. Now, I don’t want to get into a comparison of cities, their cultures and personalities. Guess it’ll make for good reading some other time. The crux that I want to get to is why is it, that no matter how much we want and value our freedom and liberty (as we call it), we are ready to sacrifice others’, by butting into theirs?

I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt, try to look at both sides of the coin, so that I don’t end up being prejudiced and narrow-minded (no, no, no… that will never be me.. I hope :) ) Recently, I came across someone I have known for sometime, cross that line of liberty that I had drawn so finely. In fact, after the incident, I didn’t know if it was I who is to be blamed or she. Because I didn’t know if she was wrong in taking liberty to cross that line, or if I was – to think that she couldn’t or wouldn’t. The incident is of least importance, but what has got my brain winding is the whole scenario of how people think they have the right to know why things are the way they are with you. Now, why is that? I can be mean and rude and say – “it’s none of your business”, which believe me, I have already said inside my head :). But, smart that my brain is, it doesn’t let the truth come out of my mouth and instead makes me smile and give some lame reason or excuse for me being the way I am. Crap!

Freedom is not something you have to choose from, be sorry for or wish you had it, but don’t want it :). It is not even your birth right (now all you patriots, please don’t kill me!), it is just who you are! Although in this day and age, it is often other people who decide the exact date and time for you to come into the world and etc., etc. But you know what the funny thing is? I feel there is no such thing as freedom, liberty, equality, brotherhood and all those concepts that are upheld for their altruistic values. All there is – is selfishness. I know, I know, I may get beat up for this, but think about it. Aren’t we all just a tad selfish in whatever we do? Take the incident I was talking about earlier. The person who thought she had a right to know why I am the way I am, wanted to find out something about me. Something that would make her feel superior to me, because she is obviously not what I am. That made her selfish. What made me selfish? The fact that I thought that only I had the right to know what I truly am, and no one else is entitled to that privacy. We are all selfish in whatever we do. Even the most saintly of all saints is selfish. He wants to attain something no one else can, and I am pretty sure that he won’t like it if everyone got it :) But then again, selfishness is also taking care of only your business, and not being a pain in someone else’s. So the next time you find someone being a pain, or if you yourself are one, try being selfish. Who knows… you might just understand what it is to be free!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Of all the things we thought we would do...

Sometimes you have all the time in the world and you don’t know what to do with it. Other times you have everything to do in the world and no time to do it. Currently, I am in the former phase. I loved it – for a whole of 2 days! Now that it’s been 12, I am beginning to wonder if there ever was a phase when I didn’t have time to breathe. Believe me, there was! These days I sit and wonder (wow... that’s hard to come by :) ) what if we had all the time in the world, and we could do anything and everything that we wanted to, would we? If there was nothing beyond us, and nothing we could not achieve, could we?

Would we really do something about that broken chair, that has been broken for the past 6 months, and we thought we would fix 2 months back? Would we clean out that drawer that we know houses everything other than that one pin we need? Would we climb to the top of the tallest building in our locality and scream at the top of our lungs – “I love you ____”? Would we ever be able to accept the fact that we are as good as we can possibly get and maybe a little more? Would we walk barefoot on the grass in the park, just because we wanted to? You know, many of these things are not dependent on the time or the possibility of the event. It is just us who has to put our head together to get it done. I have a clock on my nightstand that ran out of battery – 3 months back. Almost every morning when I get up and see the clock, it dutifully displays the same time – 0535 hrs. Now, I wish I could tune my body to get up at this time, and make the life of the non-batteried (am not sure if that is even a word, but it sounds kinda cool) clock a little worthwhile. But as that doesn’t seem to be happening in the very near future, I might as well settle to buy some batteries and tune the clock to when I do actually get up! (If I kinda lost you there, I totally understand. :) ) But somehow, even that doesn’t seem to happening. Because if it did, it would have happened 3 months back… and I wouldn’t be writing this piece in the first place!

Procrastination is what they call it. I call it pure laziness :) (Never been a fan of big words.) But then that is too hard for us to admit, right? We?? Lazy?? No ways!! We watch TV, we sit around all day, we ride our bikes and cars, we go up to the 25th floor – in the lift!, we get our vitamins – from our 4th mug of beer. Do you know how stressful these things can get? And to do them over and over again - everyday! We need to go to a salon to de-stress. Lazy?? How can you even say that?? Of course we got the work done… when the 5th and final reminder came, of course we fixed the chair – when we sat on it without remembering it was broken and fell on our ass, and of course I changed the batteries on my nightstand clock…... I think!