Friday, November 28, 2008

Shaken and stirred

It happened on a Wednesday… and refuses to end. There isn’t a person in this city who is not reeling under the shock. Degrees vary but the anger, rage and sheer helplessness is being felt by all.
From the vegetable vendor to the CEO and his ilk everybody is not being able to think straight. Despite trying.
After ages it has managed to get the right TG thinking as well.
People who are not part of the swish set who dine at 5 stars regularly but the kind who do drop in occasionally, who have had some great times at Leos, watched films at Metro And taken the train back home from VT.
People like us.
Who have stayed up all night and the next day glued to news channels. Then felt the need to see something mindless. And instantly felt guilty.
Something needs to be done. Sure everyone is saying that. Yet the question remains, what can we do?
Lots of people have gone across and donated blood, which is great. Am not so sure how lighting a candle in your window helps.
I am as clueless as you, maybe more, but a few things that I do feel each of us can do is:
Do not spread rumours. If someone somewhere heard about some firing panic will not help. Ask the right people and pass on the accurate information.
Stop falling for the lies politicians tell. Whatever the party.
Be more alert and aware of what’s going on around you. If you see someone or something that gets you suspicious, make that call. Call the cops, call a news channel, a radio station, a newspaper and pass the information on.
It may amount to nothing but it is seriously worth the effort.
If we can get together and demand something from the government it must be better wages for the police. Like we just saw, many an officer and a gentleman.
Point out security lapses wherever you feel they are lacking. Be it your office, a mall or a 5 star hotel. Your safety is primarily your responsibility.
There is no point being rude and impatient with security personnel. It may not amount to much but it is not a waste of time.
And each time you feel it is a farce, protest. Raise a stink.
Tell your kids, kids you know, your help at home and everyone who you believe needs to be told, that terrorists have no religion. An eye for an eye does make the whole world blind.
Yet the solution does not lie in turning a blind eye.
So please come up with sane, do-able ideas and suggestions that we can implement now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Moody Blues

While picking up a hugely overpriced essential oil that was said to be a mood enhancer, I so totally cracked up.
Guess what? It got me in a great mood.
It’s actually true that when you wake up in a bad mood and let it persist, it can ruin your entire day.
Your adorable 2 year old can seem like a brat and make you wonder why you ever had him.
The number of cars on the road would have increased a thousand fold
The guy on the radio would get on your nerves
The cop who caught you jumping a signal was born only to torture you
And the weather in the world was getting worse, what does God think he is doing
Am sure you get the drift.
From God to the government to the vamp you call your friend, everyone seems to be conspiring against you.
Nothing seems right. You know you are being unreasonable but can’t seem to do anything about it.
At this point the person who asks any woman if she is PMSing deserves to be killed.
Why does everyone want to know the reason why you are so crabby
Besides if you knew why wouldn’t you do something to get the mood back in shape.
It’s so totally frustrating.
The colleague you loved flirting with seems like a pile on.
An innocent remark made by someone gets you mad
That’s when you wonder if you are feeling like this because you ate carbs at dinner last night
Or maybe it was that cigarette you had before yoga this morning
Or because it’s the 26th which adds up to number 8 which is bad for you
Maybe it’s time you really did see a shrink
Yet there are other things that work
Well they work for me, try it
It’s tough but sometimes pushing yourself to do it makes all the difference.
Do the Herculean task of plonking yourself in front of the tv
Trust me something mindless will catch your attention and make you realize that the women in the soaps have far larger problems.
Spend 10 minutes looking for your favourite CD and turn up the volume
Good music draws you into itself and moods can be elevated instantly
Everyone has this one trigger that works
Every time, time after time
For some it’s working out
Or cooking. Wow the matter paneer I made elevated my spirits instantaneously.
Or playing with your pet
Or sex.
Or going for a long drive. Though that could be wishful thinking in this city.
Whatever it is that works for you, do it
And only you know what it is
No yellow walls or therapy classes can tell you
Even when the weather is supposed to make you sad
Even when your partner is provoking you to no end
You can chose to not feel the mood nahi hai mood…

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My way or the highway

We have all had to at some point had to deal with people like this and hated it. Do it this way or I will make life miserable for you. Anyone who is in a position of authority can do it. Could be a politician, a religious leader, a boss, a parent, a spouse or just the guy with the bigger car on the road.
Admit it, it is tempting. This is what was done to me when I was less powerful so I can do it to you.
And giving in to that temptation is what has lead to the chaotic situation that we are in today. Everyone who has the power wants to control minds. What is bizarre that hardly anyone is complaining.
Someone thinks Harivanshrai Bachchan’s “madhushala” should not be read. Tomorrow it could be Ghalib or Shakespeare.
Or someone ask for your passport to decide whether you are the right guy to watch a Shahrukh Khan film.
Or whether your religious leader would “allow” you to cheer for Dhoni.
What’s the world coming to?
It’s bad enough that kids are intimidated and told that not just dad but even god and Buddha baba will harm you if you’re not good.
So you toe the line.
So that you get the right job and partner
And a flat in the building that will have you.
If that’s not bad enough, despite praying 3, 4, 5 times a day and paying your taxes, now it’s someone else who will decide the city you are permitted to live in, the movies you can watch and the books you can read.
Some one else will also form your opinion on who the good guys and villains are.
The one who screams the loudest gets heard.
Everyone just follows because it’s easy. Safety in numbers and all that jazz.
And this vegetable like exisitence will continue till someone else decides it’s pack up time for you.
Could be a doctor, an astrologer, a banker or a terrorist. Or shani baba on some news channel
So wake up and smell the coffee
look at the life you want to live
As osho said, don’t be the couch potato who will not even be missed by the tv set once he is gone….

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Half a life

Reading about the girl from meerut who killed her parents made Priyanka shiver. Not because of the sheer horror of it.
She felt like her namesake had lived out Priyanka’s secret fantasy and got caught.
Which was not fair. Priyanka could empathise with her, whatever the situation.
At 21, she had lost count of the number of times she had, while crying herself to sleep, wished they would just die in their sleep.
Whenever anyone assumed that being the only child she must lead a pampered existence, she wanted to scream. How easy it was to only see the surface and believe it.
Sure her parents love her. To the point of stifling her. She vaguely remembers her childhood when her father was not ill so often and her mother occasionally smiled.
They once went to India gate and had icecreams and they even bought her a pink dress with bows from connaught place.
What she remembers more vividly though, is her father being upset. And her mother telling her to be silent so that papa would not hit her. Like he hit ma after he was drunk.
Gradually(or was it suddenly?), things went from bad to worse. Money was less. The car got sold. She was not allowed to go on school trips out of town. Chicken wasn’t on the table everyday.
And the only answer she got from her mother was, when you’re older you will understand.
She grew older too soon. She understood a lot of things but what she could not understand is why her mother was so meek. Why didn’t she ever stand up for herself.
She came from a well to do family, she must have been pretty when she got married and she was educated. Yet she had no say in the house.
Her father decided what the mother and daughter would wear. Once she was 12 priyanka wore only dowdy salwar kurtas and was forbidden from talking to any boys.
Then her father fell ill. It was a rare neurological disorder and he just couldn’t walk.
He even stopped talking, once his best friend took over the business and her father was conveniently forgotten.
She wanted to fight with the “uncle” but her mother was horrified at the thought.
That’s when LKK began. How she hates those three words. Log kya kahenge.
They will still waste money out of their paltry savings to gift jewellery on relatives weddings “nahin to LKK”.
Or not let her take up a summer job at the mall. LKK.
Where the hell were all those fictitious people when her father was spending half the month in hospital. Or her mother going to her family to ask for money yet again for priyanka’s fees.

Yet priyanka had to put up a brave front. She had no friends since she could not contribute to conversations normal teenagers had. She didn’t wear those clothes or watch the same films. She wasn’t on orkut and without that there was no way anyone would be seen dead with her.
Death was something that was a mystery she had to unravel. Get her parents to understand that they were not yet dead so why did they always look like they were at a funeral.
Her father adored the sympathy people gave him.
Her mother reconciled to the fact that life had dealt her an awful lot of cards
Priyanka was sure she would run away
To hell with LKK
Yet she loved her parents enough to not want them to drag on with this sad morose life
She had to liberate them and get on with her life….

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tu hi to mera dost hai

Today my husband took me out shopping, after months of my asking. We got back tired after having bought half the mall and dinner at the fancy new place. Both of us were glad the evening had ended. I was dying to get to my lap top but he looked like he wanted to talk. It’s actually a pain to know someone so well that you can know what they want without their having to ask. “Who is rahul?” he asked casually. I could feel the colour rise to my cheeks.
“Just someone I met online”, I tried to make it sound casual. He shrugged and smiled the smile that I once used to love. “Well, he certainly creeps into your conversations a lot these days”
I looked away but actually wanted to tell him that he is the one who kept me going for the last eight months. While you were always too busy.
Rahul and I met on a social networking site. It was uncanny that we liked exactly the same things. His views on most things were exactly mine. We got chatting.
It seemed ok since we lived in different parts of the country. Till date we have not exchanged phone numbers but what we have exchanged is an integral part of our lives.
Rahul is special. There is no attraction or love. Any desire to meet either. Just a bond between two lonely strangers. We both know everything about each other. Maybe the anonymity makes it easier to open up. Maybe the fact that we are not in any relationship makes the expectations and the baggage that comes with it, vanish.
Maybe if we did meet and discovered flaws in each other we would be devastated.
What my always absent husband does not know is that part of my patience with him comes from the fact that I have someone to talk to. Someone who cares to listen, despite having a high profile job himself. Maybe rahul’s wife complains of the same neglect but like I have learnt from her husband, a little bit of selfishness is needed to survive. So I am not complaining.
In fact I am grateful that this stranger has come into my life.
Sure we fight, sulk and call each other names sometimes. Like normal friends do.
We also care a lot. Yet neither of us has voiced the need to be there for each other in the physical sense. Even if you are ill and alone or hurting after a bitter fight with the spouse.
Will this last? I honestly don’t know. I am practical enough to know that it may not.
I can’t afford to lose what we have worrying over what will happen in the future.
Maybe he is part of my life for a reason. A lesson I need to learn. When I learn it he may just vanish. Without a trace.
Today is what I have. And today seeing him pop up on my friends list makes me happy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


After watching a host of interesting productions at the just concluded prithvi theatre festival, I realized that Giribala was a play I truly enjoyed. After ages, drama, music and dance were so seamlessly interwoven that it actually took me into another space.
While discussing it after the show, at the prithvi café, I was just about coming back to terra ferma when I spotted the actress who played the main protagonist. Dressed in a simple salwar kameez and floaters. Absolutely normal.
Yet the image of her, who I had seen a few minutes ago, looking ethereal and capable of stirring such strong emotions in me, being so human was disconcerting. I know it’s not logical but I wish I hadn’t seen it.

I don’t think it’s just me but I can speak for myself. Sometimes the images, the magic in our mind should be allowed to stay.
This is why I would prefer behaving ostrich like, but not see the seamier side of some things…or people.

Maybe it’s unfair, it’s putting undue pressure, maybe they don’t even care, but there are some people who are meant to stay true to their talent and not do trashy commercial stuff. (In the current scenario, swanand kirkire and manav kaul are two people who I hope do not “compromise”)
Or couples who are meant to be together and never split…
And creative people I admire, not showing me their feet of clay.

In this age of everything be so instant and measurable, our imagination seems to be taking a beating far too often.
Where is the time to imagine a better situation, let alone do something to create it.
Sure, we communicate with a lot more people than we used to but how much do we know about them really, or care…
Everyone is checking out their options and moving on all the time but maybe if you let something breathe for a bit, it could have worked out just right

Which is why I still believe, that great love stories can happen between people who have never met

Or places that exist only in your head are as real as the ones on the map

Or that you can know a writer, a painter, a filmmaker or a musician, very closely without ever meeting them in any real time or space

Which is why, I guess, I will always avoid:
Going anywhere close to the beach, the morning after the ganpati visarjan.
Ever listening to remixed ghazals
People who say santa claus is not for real!