Thursday, December 23, 2010

The 2010 that was

The year’s drawing to a close, and I’m finding it hard to say bye bye. It is like trying to hold water in your palm. It is never possible to keep it back, it will pass; in it’s own sweet time, but it definitely will. This post is about the year that was, it is inspired by a fellow blogger’s post (). But I just wanted my own documentation of this year- it started off on awful notes, but went by pretty smooth when I toned down on my expectations.
The year started off with an all girls trip- Roo and Roo and I, to Bangalore, which I thoroughly enjoyed. February through May was not just the best part of the year but also a welcome break. The supposed final year project was not just easy-breezy but I also enjoyed the whole process, because a. I had an awesome guide at the company who took the pains to make me understand every bit of the pie b. It was in my favourite subject- Consumer Behaviour and c. I did not have to report to work every day- I used to work from home; I could hatch at home when I was jobless which gave me time to do enough reading to last a long long while. I thus discovered Edward Cullen and co, Eragon and Saphira. I even read some strange necromancer trilogy called Garth Nix or something like that. Said hi to the Girl with the dragon tattoo, wept along with Mariam and Laila in A thousand Splendid suns..On the whole, it was good year for enriching the personal literature.
The project also involved me going to Coimbatore on my own. Sort of a coming of age thing I would say, which made me value friends, my own independence and love the ‘what will come next’ feel as I walked around the city on my own. I loved every moment of that trip- met some wonderful people, got a head full of memories and learnt a lot many things.
Somewhere in between, amidst everybody around me getting jobs and me sitting depressed and jobless, I landed in L&T Infotech. I was not all that excited as one would expect- it was more of an ‘I also have a job’ sort of smug feeling. But the job required me to spend 2 weeks in Mumbai, as a part of their ‘Management trainee-Training’ thing, which was actually two weeks of nothing but fun. Again I met some wonderful people- from all over the country. The best part of it was that we were all like minded-same frequency-crowd, where nobody could actually stand out like a sore thumb. All my apprehensions about blending in/ being the only south Indian/ talking nothing but text-bookish hindi/ worst of all- not wearing the right sort of clothes (gasp) evaporated the moment I met the entire crowd. I made some very good friends there- Soham, Anup, Deepa, Sneha..Haresh. And though I do not talk to most of the others as often as I would like, I will always remember those two weeks as the best days of work-life.
I started work soon after that. The months that followed are a blur. But the financial independence that came with it was exhilarating. Vague memories flash by- Long drives on the ECR with friends, swiping the card whenever I came across any bag/shoe/clothing that caught my fancy, many nights out with the girls- one moment giggling over some comical incident that happened in school, tongues loose and minds filled with mirth; the next moment sharing worries and uncertainties about the future; wondering why we grew up.
The last leg of the year saw me desperately needing a break, so I took off to the western ghats with a few friends. For two days there was no worrying about the boss calling you to work on a Saturday, invoice completeness and other headaches. Two days of bliss.
Then it was time for some farewell. My colleague left the team at a time when I was not sure I would be able to take charge on my own. A very close friend of mine from work left for an onsite assignment at a phase when I was just getting to know people and much as I was happy for him, it was like the only person I knew from work was leaving me. In the same vein I add- Where there is a hollow, it is filled. I’m continually being surprised by people around me, and getting to know better the awesome people who had always been around me.
As the year is coming to an end, I look back and I see how much I have learnt. I have had to make some of the most trying decisions of my life this year, from letting go of someone/thing I never thought I would have the heart to, to hardening my heart and standing up for myself in the garbage that is called the corporate world- where everybody is out to get everybody else..This year, I lost a mobile phone, I still keep getting caught by the traffic cops, I don’t read as much as I would like to..And one of my best best friends is not talking to me for reasons best known to him. But I am also doing my extra language, writing more than I ever used to, and being more assertive. I notice stark shifts in the topics we discuss and my outlook towards life in general. I notice myself evolving. I am making new friends, I see myself wanting to go that extra mile and live the life I have come here to live.
I see myself changing. I only hope it is for the better.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Have you found your tree?

This is a philosophical-mind talk- post.
It was a rainy, gloomy, pathetic way to end the week. For want of something to do other than listen to the rain, I picked the Hindu Sunday magazine and was leafing through it, and came across this article. It was a travelogue. The author had visited Rome and had written her description of the city. It had a two line description of the author: “The author is a Japanese language expert and a travel-writer”.
That’s when I started thinking. I mean, if I wrote something like that and it got published, what would the description part be? “The author is a Management Trainee with a multi-billion dollar company, who is still unsure of what she is doing/wants to do with her life”.
All my life, I have always made it a point to own responsibility and not blame anybody else for where life had taken me or what I had done. It is my belief that whatever happened, did happen, because I had never stood up against what was happening, and had allowed it to happen. There is no point playing the blame game.
That brings me to where I am now. I have a job. Many people around don’t; that makes me appreciate it a lot more. I have a great boss and a super cool team to work with. I’m still in the trainee phase of the job, and I’m learning a lot- the nuances of the different managerial activities that take place in the organization, etc. But most times I wonder what I am doing over here. Deserving appreciations are given, compensation is good (but of course; never enough- heard of anybody who says he makes enough money?) and there is enough politics to keep me interested. But. Something’s missing. Maybe it’s the reduced time I get to spend with family. Maybe it is the fact that I come home only to eat, sleep and eat again; and rush back to work. Maybe it’s the absolutely negligible “me-time’ that I get- it has been ages since I ran, since I got a massage without thinking about what needed to be done about this report or that query. Maybe it’s the worry that these wouldn’t change- I see bosses and peers working just as long and hard as me. Maybe it is the guilt that instead of spending TIME with family I’m finding myself money on them and telling myself that I’m balancing the equation pretty well. Maybe it’s the knowledge that I am just another nameless, faceless contributor to the super-populated industry that garners the most revenue to the nation. Maybe it’s the knowledge that I’m easily replaceable- anybody can do what I do. I’m doing nothing unique.
Maybe I’m being ungrateful and thankless. But this is my life and I don’t want to look back on it after twenty years and say- where did it all go? I want to be a mum like my mum is. I want to watch my kids grow up, not wonder how they grew up so quickly. My list of ‘things that I want to do’ gets longer with every passing day- learn Russian and German and Spanish, learn the salsa, learn to cook super awesome meals, scale the Himalayas, go scuba diving, visit the Louvre, and Russia and the Niagara and the Singapore zoo. I want to cycle to Puducherry. I want to write a book. I wish to do so many things and I’m worried if I would be able to.
Now I’ll tell you a story. It was recounted by a participant- Gaurav, at last week’s Toastmasters at work. There was a hunter. He was a famous guy known for his bravery and hunting capabilities. One night he went to look for game. And he came back with a story. To the enthralled audience he said that that night, he walked into the forest that he knew so well. He walked and walked looking for deer or some game that his family could feed on, but to his misfortune, he found nothing. All night he walked and towards day break he was tired and dejected. Then he heard this earth shaking roar. He was in a savannah with head high grass and right behind him was a lion roaring for his blood. So the hunter took off on his heels and kept running till he reached the end of the savannah. What stretched in front of him now was a vast plain land with no tree or shrubbery in sight. The breathless audience asked him what he did then. “I climbed a tree” he replied, smiling. “But how could you climb a tree? You just mentioned that there were no trees there!” questioned someone. The hunter replied- “My friend, there is ALWAYS a tree. You just have to look for it!”
So today I started on my French again. I’m going to start running from Monday. (I’m hoping that once I publicize it thus, I will have no choice but to do it, if I ever have any inhibitions about getting out of bed on Monday morning). I have a crazy idea that might make a good book. And I am hoping that whatever plans I have inside my head work out well. I believe I found my tree 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bye bye Ravi :(

Those who know me well know that at one point of time I could not talk enough about my first (and only-at that time) team mate at my first (and current) job. For those who don’t, allow me to introduce Ravi Iyer. They say your first job is what shapes your entire career; so it is very important that you choose well, and give it your all. I think, what is more important is that you are lucky enough to land yourself in a team that helps you bring out your best. I think I was.
In the beginning I had a huge huge crush on him. Once, conversationally he had said ‘sweetheart’ and I was flying in the air and text messaged it to all the girls, and couldn’t stop grinning for an hour. Maybe that made working with him a lot more fun; but it was not all. He taught me many lessons, which I would remember, even if I forgot how he looked like or what he spoke like.
From day one, Ravi had been very patient with me, teaching me things (repeatedly, if needed) and made me feel at home. It was like- it never did seem like my first job after one point of time. I learnt a lot of things from him. The first one being, how important it is to work as a ‘team’. There had been many times when, due to ‘labor crunch’ we had had to stay back and work really late. Most of the time Ravi would have finished his tasks and I would have been slower than a snail, patiently working till 7 or 8, and then freaking out looking at how dark it was outside. Then he would say ‘Get up, get up, move, I’ll do it’ and finish whatever I estimated would take at least an hour, in a couple of minutes. I remember the first time he left what he was working on to help me out with some presentation I was struggling with, I told him I was sorry for taking his time or something of that sort; he said ‘aisa nahi hota hai yaar’- It doesn’t work that way. You want help, ask. It’s ok to ask.
He loves to teach- small things, big things. Some people, especially in such IT organizations, zealously guard whatever little they know from you, lest you climb a rung higher than them. I learnt that it is a joy to share what you know. For, when you teach, you learn too.
I remember this once, when there was this huge task that needed completion. Ravi was done with it and had to send it to a superior. It was very important that the task was error free, and he triple checked it before he clicked the send button. But the mail wouldn’t go. So we sent it from my mail id. As expected, the task was done error-free. And guess who got appreciated for it? Me. If I was in Ravi’s place, I would have torn the place down. (Appreciations are a big thing here) If Ravi felt bad; he never showed it. That made me tell the boss that it was him who did it, not me. But it also sealed my faith in him, that he was a friend and that he could be trusted. And I was so glad I did not have some bitchy, whiny girl for a team mate.
He has an opinion about everything. Sometimes he counters his own opinions. (It is a lot of fun when he does that). He can talk about any topic under the sun. He is very well read, but he never shows off. You would never guess it till you spoke to him. He comes up with the most unimaginable questions. The most recent one that he posed was, ‘People plug their ears with their fingers when they burst those loud, noisy crackers. If people don’t want to hear the noise so much, then why burst them anyway and ruin everybody else’s peace?’
Though we had some rough patches (once he wouldn’t speak to me for a week), every time I think of him, I think of only the good times that we had. This week is his last week at work, and throughout his notice period of 3 months, I was dreading the last day, because working without him is going to be very difficult indeed. His head wouldn’t pop out from his cubicle when I yell ‘Ravi, Help!’. I’m going to have trouble with making graphs, and he is not going to be around to tell me how to sort it out. But this I know- When I see my new team mate struggling with something, I can see myself helping him and telling him, ‘Aisa nahi hota hai, I can help!’

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My City, My Pride!

My city celebrated its 371st birthday a few weekends back. From Madrasapattinam to Madras to Chennai (I personally like Madras the best of the lot) the city has come a long way. Though largely unpopular for its conservative nature and relatively slow paced lifestyle, when bench marked with other metros, we Chennaiites like it this way, just the same. Chennai just wouldn’t be Chennai without all of that. And the Cooum. The “machi” slang. The haggling, over charging auto drivers. The scorching sun. And so many more!
Chennai is just a misunderstood city.
Then I wonder, what do we see in Chennai that the rest of the country misses?
Life is slower than usual here. We know our neighbours, their extended families, their joys and sorrows. We feed their kids, dogs and fishes when they are on vacation/late from work.
Our weddings are sober, silent events, but they are magical in their own way. A death, in contrast, is accompanied by loud, characteristic, one-of-a-kind music and dance.
The trains are less crowded. The buses are more frequent. When you call some unknown stranger “Anna” a brotherly bond suddenly springs into place, and stays till you say “thanks anna!”
We are obsessed with getting a medical degree or an engineering degree. Every family MUST have kids studying or intending to study either of these. Or they are frowned down upon. Words like ‘lesbian’ and ‘sex’ freak us out big time, and our pubs are mandated to close at 12 midnight.
The city has something for everybody. When I am absolutely bankrupt, I can go to the beach and still have the time of my life, without having to spend a single penny. Man, we adore our beaches!
WE HAVE RAJINIKANTH! In which sane world would you have people investing cores of money on a 60 year old hero? To most people here, Rajini is next to God. A Rajini movie should be watched in a theatre on the first day of its release, at least once in a lifetime. Experience electricity!
The Sun is at its best here. After freezing for four hours in the air-con, the sun is an unasked-for boon. “Soak” is the word to use. We love you, sun-dude!
We boast about the ECR like it is our family property. Imagine driving (read-racing) down a never ending road, with the endless sea on one side, and innumerable recreations on the other- from movies to paint ball to restaurants that cater to every cuisine and every interest.
We have a Sowcarpet which is a mini Mumbai in itself. We have Mylapore where you find a temple in every street. We have Express Avenue which is South Asia’s biggest mall. And we have Ranganathan street, where at any given time you will find atleast 5000 shoppers who will risk being trampled/suffocated to shop.
We have Vedanthangal- a bird sanctuary where birds fly from all over the world to roost every year. We have a croc bank where any homeless crocodile can find a home. We have a zoo (which I’d rather not recommend) and a national park. And an IIT which I highly recommend visiting. And a NIFT, which has such colourful classrooms and infrastructure- that every movie based on college/school life has a scene filmed there. We have the MIT and the Anna University (which churned out prodigies like our beloved APJ Abdul Kalam).
We have Kodambakkam- The heart of Tamil Cinema (I will not use the term “Kollywood”). We have AR Rahman, who springs surprise after surprise on us, and we love him for it!
We have the Moore market and the Burma Bazaar, where you can get anything that is not exactly “legal”. We have police men, some with hearts and some with deep pockets. And we have auto men who would make great lawyers.
We speak a language that is the national language of many other countries- Srilanka, Malaysia, and the like. And despite its complexity, our favourite costume is the saree. Well, it can be worn to cover, or worn to reveal. It can be both, the most decent or the most indecent outfit a woman could wear.
The ants and kuruvis (sparrows) make a meal out of our kolams everyday. And we love the variety that our cuisine offers us! To those who don’t know: we DO eat dishes other than Idly and Dosa. From uthappam to pongal to vadai- there is a lot unexplored by those who haven’t heard of these yet.
I want to write more but this post is a month old and crying out loud to be published. This list is just a glimpse of my city- It is a lovely place, sadly, very misunderstood. I love it, nevertheless.
My Chennai 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Things that you simply SHOULD do at least once in a lifetime!*

*These are MY views, this is MY list!

•Have a night long phone call with someone whom you can just talk anything with
•Moonlight-beach walk through for hours with a friend, with the water lapping your feet, and crabs scurrying all around
•Shop and shop and shop, then sleep the rest of the day
•Get drunk so much that you cannot hold your tongue anymore, about anything :P
•Ride the bike when it is raining hard, not worried about wet clothes or fever-colds that would follow
•Wrestle for peanuts or something equally insignificant with friends
•Meet school friends and laugh till you start crying, discussing the gone days- getting locked in the rabbit coops, discovering the ‘forbidden terrace’..
•Cheat in the tests, and almost get caught..and never learn from the experience :P
•Play a game of rules-free basketball
•Fall hopelessly in love, dream, doodle, sing, write, dance and cry over it
•Watch movies-rom coms, preferably, back to back, with the girls; and cry and laugh with the characters
•Sit in bed with piping hot chai and a book, with rains outside, knowing you don’t have to work that day
•Cook a meal with friends, and manfully eat it all :D
•Bitch about a bad relationship with the closest friends and feel re-born after the session
•Lick molten chocolate off the foil, fingers, nose and all
•Play hide and seek when you are 22 yrs old
•Throw stones and hit mangoes that are supposed to be off bounds, and smuggle them home without getting caught
• Walk out when yelled ‘Get out!’ at, go lounge at the canteen and run into the HOD over there
•Show the finger at someone who cuts across your path on the road..Or better still, abuse and run!
•Bargain..and win!
•Get thrown into the beach, and get drenched till the teeth chatter
•Walk in the woods, listen to birds, swim in a forest, cook and eat- Survival training!
•Run..without a care in the world
•Bunk college, hoodwink the watchmen and zoom out of college..or jump the walls, almost get caught..and RUN!
•Experience 120 kmph in a two wheeler :D
•Sing the FIFA anthem, out loud, in the road :D
*Sneak out of classrooms; jump walls; vrroom past watchmen..(ahh those days!)
*Have cotton candy in the beach
*Giant wheel!!
*Have a guy tell you he loves you..and means it
*Hug a stranger
*Pet a dog that's hungry for love
*Make somebody smile every day
*Walk in the rain
And well..much much more :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To Aid or not to Aid?

The latest kidnap-rape strategy that is making waves in Chennai is to get a small kid to wail in the road. The kid would then approach girls who appear to be travelling alone, and go, ‘Akka, akka, please help..’ They would have an address in hand; the address would be a house located only a street away. Out of sheer good will, the girl accompanies the kid to the doorstep, gets forcibly pulled inside and robbed/raped depending on the mood/taste of the creeps.
This bit of news was playing in my head when I got out of the train on my way back home, from work. Railway stations here are miserable places. You find all sorts of sick, old and homeless people in the railway station, because it offers them a free roof. It is such a crime to allow them shelter in a public space such as this because it gives one such a heart wrenching start to the day, every day!(“Why can’t the Government DO something??!!”) The other day I saw a drunk man roll down the stairs and drop down limp at the foot of the stair case, where his family was squatting. Everything went still, like for 2 seconds, then it was as if nothing happened. Trust me; you get to see all sorts of drama when you look close enough. I’ll save that for another post.
So yes, my mum had drilled it into my head- No talking to strange people, run away from kids asking you for help, never trust an unknown face, etc. As I walk out, there is this family- one boy and his mum, who is holding a baby. They are dressed in rags and it is drizzling. Everybody is rushing home to escape the torrent; and the boy is crying loudly- ‘Koi Hindi jaante hai? Please Koi Hindi jaante hai?’(Anybody follows Hindi here? Please, does anybody follow Hindi here?) I know Hindi well enough; I know I sure could help that family. They were just asking for help. Alone in a land that spoke an alien tongue, swarming with dark, mean, alien people. For a second I put myself in that little boy’s shoes and felt so sad for him, I started walking towards him.
Then I hear my mum’s voice go, ‘DON’T!!!’ I know it was foolish, I know it was baseless fear. But-What if it was otherwise? I do have a heart; I just don’t want it to stop functioning because of some avoidable error.
For a second that boy’s eyes found mine, and then I forced myself to look away and moved on. Only that it has been troubling me ever since.
Damn those creeps.
Then I happened to read something related to this, by Malcom Gladwell. I highly recommend his books, by the way. So he says there was this murder that happened somewhere in the US of A. A woman was chased and attacked thrice in an alley, over a span of 20 minutes, with 38 families watching from their windows. But not one soul dialed the police. Why?
A few researchers studied this, and found out that that murdered lady’s mistake was running into an alley that had 38 families. Because everybody believes somebody else will do it, and of course, nobody does. Had she run into an alley way that had just one family, she might have survived that attempt on her life. They even give it a name: ‘Diffused Responsibility’ The larger the number of people in the vicinity, the higher the diffusion. Call it whatever, it sure IS a mean mean world out there. You get screwed for helping people. You feel shitty for having not helped people. And worst of all; when you need help, most of the world runs away from you.
But I said ‘most’ of the world. There is one small percentage, of nice people in the world. That small percentage will always exist, no matter how what. That small percentage that EVER stays back to help you; those are the nice souls that exist, and will always exist. There may be creeps like the evil-rapists, but the world goes round because of people like these. Let the police force work about throwing the creeps in. You and I can work to making it a better place for the rest of the world. Like they say, angels are everywhere; you just need to find them. And try to be one of them.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

what women like

It has been a while since I blogged- work and the like keeping me; anyway, excuses, excuses! I was having one of those heart to heart talks with my bro yesterday; I was telling him how all of a sudden I was having these huge huge crushes on so many guys at the same time. I was thinking I had outgrown that phase, and now!
Crushes used to be a BIG thing through school. And they used to crop up so often. Thinking about them now, they seem so childish, but hey, all of us have been there and done all those idiot things; so I can speak about them. I walked into my very first crush in a restaurant the other day. He was my neighbour. Now, I cannot fathom what I saw in him, but I vividly remember cranky things I used to do when he was around. I was in 6th standard then, so now I excuse myself, and live with the embarrassing memories.
But technically speaking, what exactly is this thing all about? It is a super normal, natural part of growing up and hence, has to freak parents out. Even now my mum freaks out if I tell her I think someone is really cute. She has no problem with any guy friend of mine, until I tell her I think he is nice/sweet/cute. So I don’t give her those panic attacks anymore. We all learn with time.
I guess we mature with time. In the beginning, like through middle school, we used to discus boys who would have smiled at us in the traffic signal/tried to flirt with us in the train/ had been made to say ‘hi’ to us in some cousin’s wedding/ tuition mates(!!!) etc. Of course, we would perceive all these to be ‘cute’. Then through college, we graduated to having crushes on boys who were not necessarily cute, but smart in some way or the other. Some guy who was great at debating in the culturals, or who sang better than everybody else, or who had great attitude. I can’t quite remember now, anyway.
Then it has come to now. I guess at this age (I HAVE started talking like I have aged, right?) we look beyond all that, Now I tell my bro, “We started looking beyond face value, at the HEART level” and he snorts. According to him, girls never do that. HE is entitled to his opinion, anyway. Now, different things fancy me. I figured I like people who are funny and make me laugh. I like people who are gentleman-ly, those who will hold doors open for you (no, not many guys do that these days, what with all the feminism talks) and are concerned about you. I like people with whom I share common interests. Like for instance, I never used to look twice at my team mate at work till I heard that he lives alone with his two dogs he got from his home town. Now, he is this compassionate and kind guy who suddenly looks very sweet and nice to me. And we discus ‘Is Pedigree ideal enough for dogs?’ for fifteen whole minutes. Pretty lame, huh? Whatever :-)
But whatever it is, it sure is nice. What the heck, at least there is something to look forward to, when I start to work! I am sure that it will die out in a few days, till I meet someone who, say, can play great cricket! Till then, who is complaining?!!! The nice things in life that come for free! Cheers :-)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

“Friends" of the People

Disclaimer: This post has NO fictitious elements.

I had lost the mobile phone a couple of weeks back. It was a good phone. I was at CCD; I had left it unattended for a few minutes and suddenly, it had disappeared. People had seen this crowd of drunken boys take it and leave (and nobody raised their voices then) and told me all about it when I came back seconds after they left. Too late.

So I did what we all do when we lose a phone. Called Airtel and got them to block the number. Then I went to the local police station to lodge a complaint. I reside at Nungambakkam, so I went to the Nungambakkam Police station. I had never been inside a police station, ever. My head was swarming with stories I had heard about evil police men with nasty intents, so I took my bro along. And he got his friend. So the three of us enter, and meet a cordial police chap. He listened to our story and told us to go to the Vepery Police station because I lost my phone in Puraswalkam (which is closer to Vepery.)

So we drove to Vepery. We were directed upstairs. Apparently the crime branch men (whom we were supposed to report the theft to) were patrolling the city. Two other men were available to hear us out. So I started on the story again. Where I was, at what time it occurred, who were with me and so on. It was all okay till this point. Now started the cross questioning.

What followed were 30 minutes of harassment, for having lost something that belonged to ME, for mere carelessness on MY part. I came off in one piece, thankfully. Here is how it went:

Interrogator 1 starts thus.
So you lost your phone? What was its value? Rs 6500.

How old was it? Close to 11 months.

That’s all? We wouldn’t take that much an effort for a phone that costs so little, plus the depreciation value. Better you forget the phone. Sir it has a lot of pictures- The memory card was full of photos of me and a lot of girl friends.

Photos eh? That sort of photos eh? You people do all crazy things, then take pictures of the same, then lose the phone, then come to us! Bah! It’s not possible, lady. Even if we give authorization to lock the phone, the memory card can be used by anybody. Closed case.

By now, I'm shaking with anger. But no, it is not over yet!

Then interrogator 2 chips in.

So, where did you say you lost the phone? CCD sir.

Ah Coffee Day! You think we don’t know what crap goes around in that place? One day you just watch, we are going to seal that place up!

(Despite the seething anger, I wondered if these people had even been inside a CCD outlet.)
Interrogator 1:

So how many of you people went there? Four.
All girls huh? No. Two girls and two boys.

Turns to Interrogator 2.
There you go! TWO boys it seems. These people go with their boyfriends and get busy with them and miss the phone, and then they come here!

(I'm almost a wreck by now. Wtf man!)

So, does this place have a cctv? Camera tv? No, it does not.
Ofcourse! You people would not enter places that have camera tvs, would you?

(How gross! Are all police men this cheap?)

So where do these friends of yours stay? I stay at Nungambakkam, one stays at T Nagar, one stays at Puraswalkam and another at Sowcarpet.
(To interrogator 2)

Look at the connection sir! Everybody stays in different parts of the city, and they meet at some other part of the city! So that they can safely meet without bumping into anybody they know!
(What bullshit? But again, what could we do? We came voluntarily; we had to take all this crap. It was humiliating. Nobody had ever spoken to me this cheap all my life! Then the buggers ask about the family.)

What is your dad? Ah, bank manager? Very good. And mother? Teacher? Brilliant! So it is not a big loss, eh? This mobile phone? Your dad will buy you another even before you know it! So what do you do? MBA? Searching for a job? Ah, got one already? L&T? Wow..What is your pay package? 6 lakhs p.a? (I was bullshitting there)Very good!

(Then they started ‘madam’ing me. The transformation itself was disgusting. )

We will try madam. See, even we can buy a Rs 10,000 phone, but we don’t! Because even our phones get stolen! (Laughter) It is very natural; just make sure you get it insured next time, yes? Please write a complaint, yes here, and we will do what we can.
The complaint was written and handed over. Smiles and promises exchanged. Then we left, and never heard from them again.
I promised myself that I would never ever set foot in another police station again. Losing valuables is one thing, but to top that tension listening to downright bullshit from such characters is an entirely different issue. What are they trying to prove? That they are invincible, and we need to turn to them for aid at some point of time or another? These people need some lessons in psychology. If this is how they treat someone who has lost something as common as a mobile phone, I shudder to think of the plight of rape victims. No wonder there is a lot of crime around that goes un-reported. And characters like these bend to only two things- power and money. You have either, they take you seriously. If you have neither, you may as well forget your lost property. And the big guns sure need to do something about it! All said, that was one experience I look at with disgust- Friends of the people? Bah!

Friday, May 7, 2010

the thingy called love...

I was riding the bikey on the wrong side of the road today, and almost rammed it into this guy. He was kind of cute, by the way. And instead of swearing at me like all normal people, or even glaring at me, he grinned at me! That reaction confused me big time. I think my face contorted itself into an ‘Erm, are you sane?’ smile. But truthfully, it sort of made my day!

I got back home and told my brother the story. The conversation moved from what my definition of a ‘cute guy’ was to love and relationships.

I would say this entire Love thingy is such an enigma. It is wonderful, if you are with the right person. If it is directed against someone who is worthy of it, it sure is bliss. It feels beautiful when you are so full of it; like your heart might just burst with all of it in excess!

And it does not necessarily have to be the boy-girl love, either! Love is when my mum manfully swallows my chat masala flavoured first attempt-bhaji and says it is yummy, when I know it is not even fit for the rats in the sewers. Love is when my brother drives out at 11.00 pm to buy me ice cream because I went, ‘Please, please? I just FEEL like it, please?’ Love is when my friend Hari tells me,’ I so wanted to call you to talk last night, but it would have been 6.30 am IST, and I knew the donkey would be sleeping.’ Love is when Ravi anna, who left for his native for three days calls me after he returns back to Chennai and says he missed me. Love is when Sandy tells me, ‘Macha, I think you did right’ with an explanation she concocts out of thin air, even though I would have done something very stupid and embarrassing. Love is when one text message in my inbox-‘yeah baby, dunn worry’ will keep me going for as long as I want.

Love comes in so many different packages, yet most of us ignore these, choosing to hatch on the bitterest package that was handled by us ever. May be if we realise that, come what may, this folder would be one that can never be deleted away, it would be easier to accept its presence, than to try so hard to ignore it.

But as always, some things are harder to accept than the rest- some things that leave a stain on you, like ooze from the afore mentioned package. And after talking to so many people, I can safely conclude that we have company! Nine out of ten people have ooze stains in varying shades. It took me months before I dulled mine, too! Months before I could wear a skirt that was above my knee, months before I could strike a conversation with someone I never knew, months before I patched up with everybody who, I was told, were ‘not a great idea’.

And all this would never have been possible if not for the abundance of love that poured in from all directions that made up for my own self’s inability to love even myself. Got me on my feet and walking. Helped me forgive myself, and yeah, why is this becoming a self-pity post now? Long story short- What would I do without you guys?!! *Big Hug* Love you all loads!

This post is for one friend of mine, who is feeling pretty much the same way. Only that his stains are fresh and new. I promised him this, saying I was in the mood to thrash the whole concept of love. And I started writing... and realised this other friend of mine –Siva, was right after all: You can never abhor it. Because it sure is one thing that makes life worth living!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My eye-pee-yell !!

For some strange reason, I have never been able to stand cricket. Maybe it is because I have never played it. Even now, I can multi task (close my eyes and text message, sleep while having a two-way conversation, eat-read-watch the television while tuning my mum’s yells out for doing the same, etc) speak six languages, stand on my head, dress up in under 2 minutes (it made my friend Anhait wonder if I was really from Venus) and finish shopping for a new wardrobe in half a day; BUT I simply cannot bowl. I tried once, and the boys in my flat wouldn’t stop laughing about for an entire week. So I gave up.
I was very active in sports through school and college. Athletics, volley ball, basket ball, kho-kho, even kabbadi for that matter- been there, played them all; in absolute pro level that too. Even girls foot ball! Yeah, it exists in India too. I played that at the zonal level in college. I like to blow my own trumpet once in a while. It feels good.
So I have forever been comfortable with, erm, the games that involve balls with greater diameters. Like foot ball, volley ball, hand ball and basket ball. As they get smaller, I lose interest in them. So that explains why I steer clear from tennis, TT, squash- and cricket. But of late, cricket seems interesting. Is it because of the cricketer? :P (wink*)
The IPL fever was soaring, and I had no idea about even the number of teams that played in it. I was cheerfully hatching away at home- the blissful pre-job days. Last week, my bro got his hands on a couple of tickets, and very strangely, he insisted on me coming along. It was a Mumbai Indians Vs Chennai Super Kings match. I said ok, only because:
1.       I was assuming Mumbai Indians was owned by Shah Rukh and was all for it. I agreed to accompany my brother ONLY to catch a glimpse of SRK.
2.       I wanted to see for myself what all this fuss about Murali Vijay was. The Miss Universe ’09 (or was it the Miss World ’09?) considers him ‘very hot’, apparently.
3.        I wanted to look at the cheer leaders!!! I am straight.
So last Tuesday, we drive up to Chepauk Stadium. The match was to start at 8.00 pm. We reached there by 8.00 only to see this long long long queue. It was 8.40 when we actually entered. Murali was out by then. Then I crane my neck out searching for SRK. No sight. Then I ask my bro, ‘Shah Rukh is not here?’  
Blank stare.
 ‘Why should he be here?’
‘Isn’t this his team?’
He advised me to keep my mouth shut before people bodily threw me out for being so supremely knowledgeable and reverential about the game.
Atleast I got to watch the cheer leaders. All the boys I knew were cooing about them all the time. It was fun. Especially watching them dance to manmada rasa, pokkiri pongal and other Vijay beats.
I was not sure who to cheer for, because Mumbai is where i was born, and would mostly be where I would start on my first job; but Chennai is like, MY city!! Like Sandya says- Mumbai gave me life, but Chennai is my life. She actually came up with something very jin-chak, I just can’t remember it now.   So I decided to cheer for who ever looked like winning. I wouldn’t feel sad later, that way, you see.
It was CSK from the start. And the crowd looked like they would rip anybody who cheered for Mumbai, anyway. And I ended up having so much FUN! It was like unleashing myself of everything diplomatic. My brother was pretty cool with me yelling alongside him, and we were shouting and moving to the beats, jumping and thumping, shamelessly - all decency forgotten, for a few hours. We just needed a reason to yell. And it felt good!
So we would yell when somebody caught the ball, we would yell when another gave a wide, another yell when the fielders trapped the ball before it rolled toward the boundary- madness you might say. But it was fun :- )
I think every Indian ought to go watch a match at least once in his lifetime. Watch it with people who wouldn’t mind putting up with that hidden crazed- alter ego of yours. I was so sure it would be such a bore, but I loved every second of it.  
And I spotted Simbu :D I love the guy, after VTV. Blush*

Friday, April 9, 2010

'National Integration' ???

Last evening, Swaroopa and I were getting back home, from Besant Nagar, via an MTC bus. At peak hours, these buses are bound to be crowded. People yell and pull from all sides, and irritation levels are on the high.
This gang of boys tumbles in. They are typical examples of what we colloquially call ‘local boys’. The road side romeos. When you see these characters alone, they are harmless. Say there was a pretty girl walking by; and one of these is on his own, he would hang his head and sneak-peek at her from the corner of his eye. But when he is with his jing-bang gang, the girl is in trouble. They would hoot whistle at her, follow her wherever she is headed to and make her wish she was never born a woman.
   So Swaroopa and I are sitting in the last row of the bus, and there this nice lady is sitting in front of us. She did not appear Tamil; we assumed she was from somewhere North or West of the country. The bus started to fill, and yes, our romeos were in quite a mood, too. Every time the bus halted at a stop, they would get off. When it started to move, they would give it a head start of five seconds, and scramble into the running bus. So this nice lady had her arm resting on the window, and in the rush to get in, one of the boys accidentally clung on to her arm, thinking it was one of the window’s bars. She pulled her arm in, and started yelling at the entire gang, in the only language that India understands as a country- English. Like I said, had the accused been alone, he would have slunk away. But no- he had four more boys backing him. So he yelled back, ‘What is your problem?’. His knowledge of the language ended there. After that exchange, whatever the lady yelled at them, the gang mimicked it back at her, amidst loud guffaws. Trust me, it was humiliating to watch. What was more humiliating was that nobody raised a voice against the abusers. I did not too, I am ashamed to admit. They certainly looked scary. If that is excuse enough. But were so many men around too, and they were all sniggering at the scene. It was painful to watch. The lady got off the bus at the next stop. I’m certain this episode would torment her for as long as she lived.
   I have many friends from all parts of India, though they are all Chennaiites- Born and brought up in the city. Recently, I met someone who is working in Chennai, but is originally from Delhi, and we had this conversation on how the city treats anybody who cannot speak Tamil. After that, I have been extra receptive to such incidents, the fore said account being the most recent. If that lady had been my mother, she would have yelled at the boys with carefully chosen Tamil words. The other ladies would have joined in, and the conductor would have had to intervene. But no; she was, as my Punjabi bhaiya from Delhi says, a lonely person in an alien city, where it is madness to seek help from strangers- fellow countrymen, who would rush to help American ladies in distress, but oh, not others.
   I had never heard a non- South Indian’s views on the city prior to this. It made me sick. Auto men who charge Rs 600 from Central station to Loyola College when they hear your English with the Northie twang. Helplessness- you look around for help and nobody gives a shit about you, feigning lack of knowledge of English. Oh, but of course, if it was a Tourist asking for directions, the English would flow. When you tell your family that you are placed in Chennai, the news is welcomed with horror akin to being asked to live with crocodiles; ‘How will you survive there?’ From the way it looks, we are living in a mean, cold hearted city. Athithi dhevo bhava- to the dogs.
   Yes, the rest of the country gives us ‘Madrasis’ the same treatment, true. We look like a fairness fixated, oil-doused-haired, bunch of people who are out to get the top positions, everywhere. And we try to pull our clan up in all possible ways. And earn the wrath of the rest of the nation. Jeez, it really sounds cold! But somewhere, it needs to stop, right? Because you and I are educated, civilized, and beyond acting biased with people we meet based on where their home town is or what their mother tongue is. Where did all the patriotism and the ‘India is my country, all Indians are my brothers and sisters’ feeling evaporate?
   Whoa- That sounded like a pre-independence era unification speech, didn’t it? grin**
   One thing for certain, National Integration has no place inside the country. But it makes its presence felt outside the nation- in the US of A, UK and Australia. That will be my consolation, for now.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Brand Rush

My friend was in his element the other day. No probing was needed; he was spilling his story out in no time, ‘You know what Gita, my friend and I had this bet on whom had more branded items...Guess what! I won!!Ha!! By one..! I had thirty one and he had just thirty! Wow isn’t it???’ I was blank. I looked at my friend. I knew he was a brand freak, but only then did I fully appreciate how much- Casio watch, Fast track coolers, Levi’s jeans, Peter England shirt, Reebok shoes, Nike socks, an Adidas bag with a HP laptop, NokianN95, oh and throw in a Pierre Cardin pen...God knows what else made up the list! Actually, it was wow! I now looked at myself. Junk jewellery on my wrists and ears carefully picked off various vendors. One ethnic jute bag. Jute sandals from fountain plaza. My favourite mix-n-match salwar. Wow again!
I have never really liked the idea of shelling out a large chunk of my pocket money to buy something that I was most likely to be stuck with for a long time. Instead of one sandal from Metro, I prefer buying five from little shops that we have discovered through the years. Variety! I remember once my brother went without movies and outings for two whole months to save cash for a pair of Adidas trainers. Until I told him this. In the mid- 1990’s, in Bronx, a group of 13 year olds learned that the Nike trainers they bought for $180 actually cost $5 to make, and this led to a mass dumping of their old trainers outside New York’s Nike town.
What exactly is a brand? A brand is the reputation of the firm. It is a logo that acts as a short hand form of the company. It is a personality and a promise. And eventually it becomes a relationship between you and itself. It is something that you identify yourself with, and it becomes a part of you. Why do people blindly wash down gallons of Coke and Pepsi when they fully know that it is made up of potentially toxic substances? It is because the brand has grown on them.
But all this at what cost? In 1992, Nike paid Michael Jordan $20 million to endorse its trainers. This was more than what it paid its 30,000 strong workforce in Indonesia to make them. Women in Cavite, the largest trade free zone in Philippines, who sewed clothes for companies like GAP, have rules against talking and smiling. Toilets are kept padlocked except during two fifteen minute breaks a day. Seamstresses sewing clothes for high end western companies were forced to urinate in plastic bags they kept under their sewing machines. Guess, Mattel and Disney goods were exposed to be manufactured illegally by child labourers in Honduras. An Indonesian Nike worker is paid $2 a day to make trainers that sell for $120 in San Francisco Nike town. The CEO of Disney, Robert Iger is paid $9,783 an hour. Compare that to the salary of a Haitian worker who stitches Disney Merchandise, for 28 cents an hour!
These brands have strived hard to achieve this name for themselves. It is easier to retain their existing, faithful customer base than to create new customers. Faithful customers who either have enough cash to throw away on expensive merchandise, or others who scrape and save to buy themselves one, for the ‘cool’ look. Knowledge is a powerful tool! Deciding is something that is individualistic. But spreading the word is the least we can do! For the sake of all the labourers in Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Mexico, the Philippines and other corners of the earth. For the sake of women like Carmelita Alonzo who sewed clothes for GAP and Liz Claiborne, who died of pneumonia because she was denied time off from work. For the sake of humanity.

This is something I wrote for my college paper, sometime last year. It earned a brilliant review then. I found it in my mailbox, and felt like a post :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Oh no, that was not me *straight face*

I never liked filling in those annoying slam books, which were a habit during the ‘bye-bye’ days of school life. Apart from having to answer downright dumb questions like – My first crush, My happiest moment, and the like (which we used to answer with ‘The day I was born’, ‘The day I met you’, and so on, which of course, we never really meant!) One particular question which was constant was – Your most embarrassing moment. I mean, who want to make that public? Characters like me, maybe.
Everybody has moments when they wish they could just disappear. Something like that happened last week. My friend and I were having this only-girls chat, and the brother was in some other room. He is a nice kid; he doesn’t eavesdrop as much these days. Now my friend had read up something somewhere..about..erm, well what the heck, orgasms. So she was animatedly detailing the phenomenon and I knew this was no good. Embarrassing! So I kept going ‘shoo shoo’ and as a last desperate attempt, I nearly yell out, ‘Babe, chill! I KNOW WHAT AN O***** IS! (now it is a freak word) I know more than you think, so give it a break!’
 Pin drop silence.
Then an alien voice that is not supposed to be in the vicinity blurts out, ‘Oh? OH?’
Where did he spring out from? How do you reason something like this with your little brother? As both our lower jaws hit the floor, he gives me this oh-my-god-what-have-you-done look and stomps out.
Of late, I have suddenly developed this affinity quotient that gets me into trouble with, of everybody, the Railway police force.
We were birding near the Velachery Railway station. ‘We’ translates to three juniors and me; as a part of the MNS Bird Race. The Pallikarnai marsh is very close to the Velachery Railway station, so we walked to the marsh, feasted our eyes on the numerous water fowl, whooped and whooped watching a kingfisher dive again and again to, well, fish. Then we walk along the tracks to go back to the railway station when the RPF come running to us, whistles and rifles and all.
‘Terrorist a? Bomb vekka vandengala?? Who are you people??’
I was the oldest of the lot, and I lost my voice, because I felt like bursting into laughter. Yes, I’m shameless. Madhu, next to me, was munching on Chocos and almost offered the gun-man some. Gladys, the youngest, took charge then, and she was like, ‘Students, sir..’. That was it.
‘Suicide panna vandengala?’
Madhu tried, and lost. Loud snort. 
Final straw. They got us to the station, and questioned us again. And again. And again.
Then they realised we might be air headed, but innocent, after all, and let us away.
Thank heavens the place was empty.
Oh, and no bribes there. They are nice, duty conscious people, the RPF.
A couple of days back, a few of us went to the SRM University. It is in some God forsaken place out of the city, and we had to catch a train to reach there. When I was getting back, I had Raji for company. Our legs were killing us, and as the train chugged into the station, we notice the ladies compartment is full, with some passengers standing; but the one next to it is nearly empty. So we act smart and throw our noses into the air and make ourselves comfortable in the empty compartment. 
The train chugs into Tambaram. Suddenly, both of us feel like Pepsi, and we get out for some. Trains are frequent from Tambaram to home, so it was really no problem. There is the Ticket Checker. He had already caught one man who was travelling without a ticket, when he asked us for ours, we proudly flash our tickets to him.
We were good citizens.
‘Ma’am, this is a second class ticket. You have been travelling in a first class compartment. Please follow me.’
Shoot! No wonder it was empty. The train chugs out of the station, and Raji and I contemplate running into it. The man seemed to have heard our thoughts so he gives us this don’t- try-any-tricks look and ushers us into his cubby-hole office. He shows us the rule book and tells us that we have committed a crime that might land us in jail, and we better pay the penalty of around Rs 300 per head.
I cannot fathom why I find all these situations exceedingly funny. It was pointless because I did not have the cash, and even if I did, I wouldn’t pay. Because it was an honest mistake! So the guy shuffles around as we give him our family details, and then he pops the question.
‘Evlo kaasu vechirikenga?’
Now we are experts at this, aren’t we? And I was glad I was carrying a handbag. I dumped all the hundred rupees notes into the bag, and retain only the tens, and hand over the wallet. He counts the coins and notes, opens the portion that contains all my girl-stuff, and still pokes his finger inside and digs around, and finally counts a hundred bucks.
Of course, it is not enough. So he tries again. Leave the ID cards here, go home, get cash in the morning. Or (horror!) spend the night in our railway cell. Raji almost fell for it. She almost gave her ID card away when I kicked her foot. She thanked me for it later.
After some more pleading (Sorry sir, please sir, this is the first time we are coming by train sir) he allowed us to leave at last. ‘At great risk to my position and job’ were his words. Like duh!
What a waste of time and money. Sadness.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Of Swamijis and Media Scoops

Today’s news had more masala than we all could take. One of our very own, revered and respected swamijis had been caught red handed, on a video, doing it, in the ‘swamiji style’. With a once famous Tamil movie actress. She still looks pretty though. Matter of opinion, anyway.
The Nithyananda Swamigal is a well read guy, who spoke a lot of sense. My mum used to read him when she was in one of those ‘religious reading’ phases. I have never read his writings, or heard him talk, though. But he did have a lot of followers...all over the world. I don’t think you can have a lot of followers until you are really good, personally. The question is, really good at what? The point is that, he was a famous guy; now he is more famous than he can ever hope to be. And he has gone underground. Small ironies of life.
The thing is, I really don’t get what the big fuss is all about. Suddenly there is a lot of publicity, and believers who feel they have been fooled, go around his ashrams and thrash everything they can lay their hands on. I mean, come on! He is human, too, and well, he was just trying to get one of his basic physiological ‘wants’ fulfilled! He just looks less perfect now, less God-like. Why isn’t anybody looking at it that way? And that guy, he should be suing who ever placed the damn camera in his bed room for invasion of privacy, and not run into hiding.
Yeah, the previous paragraph is definitely a lot of madness. But hey, don’t we all have better things to do? Prime television time, and a news channel is broadcasting the entire video coverage for a full five minutes, into my living room! My mum is horrified/shocked, my brother roaring with laughter and is texting his gang: ‘Nityananda Swamigalin Thiruvilayadal-Watch Sun News, very interesting fore play tips’ . I was torn between disgust at having to witness near-porn with my mum and brother in the same room and appalled at the channel for having stooped so low to broadcast a catch. They even had an explanation: It is supposed to be a warning for the devotees to not fall into any more such ‘traps’.
Seriously, what crap, man!
I do understand that there is no business as lucrative as a ‘fake swamiji business’, and I also understand that whatever happens, our people, those who will themselves to be charmed by these characters, will always be charmed/harmed by them. There is nothing we can do about it. But that is not reason enough to broadcast porn (to those who have seen the footage, can I classify it as porn? I’m not very literate in that field, you see) into our homes. And yeah, it is a scoop. No doubt about that. (Infact, if an English news channel, one of those that thrive on string operations, had caught hold of this footage, they would have made enough stories out of it to last a week) But hey, let’s face it; haven’t such occurrences become common place now? If the guy was forcing people into it, yeah, he deserves the electric chair. But it was, erm, otherwise, in our man’s case.
What freaks me out is, if this is one famous man, what about you and me? Where is the entire ‘safe in the privacy of my room’ feeling? When I was a kid, and was told in school, ‘God is always watching you’, I did not like it at all. Now, I don’t know who else is watching me, because we are all just so vulnerable, and no, it is not a nice feeling at all.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The good old teaching days...

I had taken a couple of days off to go to Coimbatore on ‘Business’. I like putting it that way, it makes you feel important. Anyway, I was out there on project work, and on my first evening there, I was with Seetha at Gautham’s place for dinner. Gautham’s mum teaches languages and we got talking about her profession. I could relate to whatever she way saying because I used to do some teaching myself, ‘part-time’, for some extra pocket money. Those were the good days, man. Somehow, after I started on the MBA, there was no time to teach, and the vocation just fizzled out.
The first student I took in was Shoaib, who was then in class XI. He wanted help with French, and suddenly, I was a French tutor! Shoaib had his Quarterly Examinations the following week and he did not want to flunk French. But he did not know it too well, either. So we started with the alphabets, and moved on to the conjugations, and Shoaib passed. You have no idea how smug I felt. These classes were a lot of fun, because I was hardly older that the boy and it was not like a teacher-student relation at all. But they say there is strength in numbers, right. We were in a one-is-to-one ratio then, and Shoaib was a good boy. After he passed the darn exam, he became the ‘Boy who passed’, and I got popular overnight, as the ‘Girl who can make you pass French’. Such popularity is directly proportional to increase in the number of students. Soon enough, I had two more minds to ignite- Jason and Vivek. Now it was three-is-to-one, and I was doomed. A typical day would go thus:
Jason (J), Shoaib (S) and Vivek (V) arrive 30 minutes late. I’m not complaining, because I get to catch up on my beauty sleep. They trio saunter in, complaining about the sun or the traffic or football- They were all football players, National or State, I don’t remember.
J-What Gita, its Sunday afternoon, and we have tuition! We had practice all morning too!
Me- And exams next week right?
(More grumbling. I’m grinning, though. I won, right?)
S- Hey, I got a new phone, see.
Me-Whoa! Super cool man! (Anything compared to my camera-less, FM-less, MP3-less Nokia 2600 was considered super.) So, shall we start? What are we doing today? Passe compose? What has your teacher covered?
(At the same time)
S- Hey my sister is getting married in two months!
J- We are leaving to Vellore next week for selections!!
V- Hey, I am doing a solo dance for Farewell!!!
You get the general idea, don’t you? They would follow various strategies, the buggers J If everything failed, they would make up some non-existent boyfriend and watch me blush. But they were such sweet boys, and they did study! Shoaib scored a rank in French too. And then, all too suddenly, two years just flew...And we were done. They were my first ever batch of ‘students’ and they will always remain close to my little heart.
I even tried my hand at teaching Italian for three guys. In this case, they were all older than me. The moment they heard that I was a student, they all had these identical grins, and I knew this was going to be no better than my first batch. These guys were all working professionals, and one of them was even married. Twenty minutes into the first class, one of them, had a doubt.
“Gita, what’s for Fuck you in Italian?”
Now I did not know what was Fuck you in Italian. In fact, I did not know any swear word in Italian. I told them that the swear word session comes much later, not this early into the course.
Phew. It sure was fun too, though. And it was good for the pocket money. And I did learn a lot. These boys were good students too, and asked sensible doubts later into the course. And they gave me a glowing appraisal at the end of the course, and the boss kept offering me courses over and again.
Then the MBA happened, and I was cut off from civilization for two whole years, and did not take up any more ‘teaching assignments’. But every time I think about the good times, I can’t help but grin widely. And if any of you guys are reading this, thank you J You were all just too good! Cheers!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Erm. Yeah, whatever!

This might sound excessively school-girlish, and not just me...Most of my friends are also horror struck by this silly behaviour of mine. I mean, if it has come down to me writing a post about it...! One part of me does feel let down, too. By another part of myself. Ugh.
So it finally happened. The unthinkable. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a movie adaptation of a book would make me pick that book off the racks and read it. It was one night (another insomnia attack)when this harmless DVD lay within reach and though I was never a fan of this genre of ‘young adult’ stuff, I played it nevertheless.
Though I was reading the Bourne series then, and I never abandon books like this, by the noon next day I had all the four books ready and waiting. Now the irony was that I was very anti-Twilight all this while. Because it was simply NOT for people of my age!! My friend Sandya tried the ‘Shame on you’ trick on me but it did not work. Then I get to the books, finishing them off pretty quick, and as always, the movie paled in comparison. But it was this character that got me all hyper. Of course you all know who it is. Almost all the females who have read the series would be fantasizing about this man-vampire -Edward Cullen.
Now, I’m feeling disgusted. I assumed I was beyond crushes and everything, especially the ‘fictional’ ones. I haven’t had many of those, anyway. My last stable fictional crush was Ron Weasley, when I was in class nine. If you looked into my copy of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, you would find a faint pink tinge over the letters ‘Ron’ through the entire book. No it was not lipstick. Just colour pencil shading. Yes, I was crazy then. And Now!!
It is kind of alarming. Yesterday I was sitting in my friend Badri’s place. He was away on a phone call for two minutes, and when he got back I was ogling at Robert Pattinson in vampire attire, thanks to Google. That guy so perfectly fit the role! And see, just setting things clear, it’s the character called Edward that I like. And Pattinson just gives shape to the imagination..Like, you get it, don’t you? I might be crushing on Ron Weasley, but not the Ron that Rupert Grint plays. Grint is just an adaptaion I’d make do with, when I’m too tired for imagination. And now, there is this collage of Edward Cullen in posing in varied angles which is my desktop wallpaper. And my mobile phone wall paper. And I am feeling very very dumb with myself.
But I think Edward has gotten himself all this fanfare, because Stephanie Meyer has sculpted him that way. The kind of boy that all girls wish for. The understanding, caring, giving in, protective, possessive guy, who would always be there, no matter what. With just the right amount of give-and-take, just the right amount of jealousy, and trust, ample enough to keep them both going. Yeah, I know what the boys would say-If the girl was worth it, the guy would go to any extent for her. It takes two hands to sound a clap.
But what does ‘worth it’ exactly mean? Somewhere, it all boils down to the one word called love right? Now, that noun is an enigma. It might contain all the feelings that I listed in the previous paragraph, but, I believe, there is something more. Something that would make the difference.
And this term called ‘soul mate’. How would you know who your soul mate is? I mean, it sounds all nice and everything. I, for one, have a good idea of what I want my soul mate to be like. He (yes, soul or no soul, it’s definitely a he) should okay with having lots of animals around the place, like long walks and the beach and travelling, and books, and be a little patient and of course, caring, understanding, etc. But that is nothing to do with the soul, right..Anyway, it is just too confusing, too much of unnecessary thinking more like. I guess it would be nice if he was someone whom I wouldn’t have to put an act, to please, someone who could put up with all my crankiness and still call it cute (gross..I’m getting mushy now. Let us stop here for now) So That’s that. Till then, I’d just get back to dreaming about Cullen.

Friday, January 29, 2010

“No sex please, We are Indians!”

Caught you there, didn’t I? HA!
This was a GD topic in one of the many GDs I had subjected myself to, while scouting for a suitable college to do my MBA in. Now the topic could be approached in two ways, one harping on the great Indian culture (Yes, yes we know all about it) and the other talking about how taboo such a topic still is. Enough people have spoken about the first approach. I like the second *evil grin*.
Rewind: Class Eight, Zoology class. The teacher is desperately trying to make a class of 40 girls make sense of the Human Reproductive system.
“So you understand right?”
Uh-huh? Understand what? 
Ovaries. Follicles. Eggs. Lots of tubules with different names. Sperms.
Between suppressed giggles and sneak-peeks at fellow classmates, lots of nagging doubts remain unanswered.
Then one brave heart speaks up. “But ma’am, How.....?”
“Shoo. What child? Whatever you need to know, you’ll know when you have to.”
Lesson: Ask no questions. We will no more treat you like kids who are trying to bite off more than what they can chew.
All right..the teacher (Mum Number 2) won’t tell us. (Mum Number 2, because they are the ones who take care of us for all the time we are not under Mum Number 1’s nose).  Let’s ask Mum number 1.
So I make this list of all the questions I have, to ask her.
1.      Who is a lesbian?
2.      Why did Shiva anna laugh when I asked for a rubber?
3.      Chintu says if I get married and go to the temple and pray I’ll get a baby. Is it that simple?
4.      What is a ‘blue’ film?
5.      What does ‘fuck’ mean? Why did daddy slap thambi for using it?
6.      Why did you shoo me away from that Kamasutra book in Landmark?
7.      How.....?
My mum’s answers to those were:
1.      You are asking too many questions..
2.      That Shiva..I should talk to his mother.
3.      You stay away from that girl. What sort of things you girls discus at this age!
4.      You have bad friends who put bad things into your head.
5.      Promise me NOW you won’t say that word again!!
6.      Next time, you WILL hold my hand and never let go of it when we go book shopping.
7.      Go to bed..NOW.
But the forbidden fruit is always desired the most, isn’t it?
You won’t tell us? We will find out!
And somehow, (I still don’t remember how) we figured out answers to most of those ‘doubts’ of ours. I remember three of us pouring over an Oxford dictionary one rainy day, though. And the Mills and Boon series helped. Oh, and so did Mr Sheldon. That guy is God. Sort of.
But why why why is such a big deal made out of this??!!
I mean, we are going to find out at some point..why not you tell us, and we get the facts right; rather than doing it the tougher, more dangerous way? If you DO tell us, then it will be just another normal thing, instead of something that is hyped up to such an extent!
I don’t know..Maybe they find it kind of embarrassing.
Imagine your kid and yourself:
“So, son, today I’ll tell you how babies are made.”
Ugh . Very weird. But I guess we ought to get used to it. Well, I don’t know! May be it’s all part of ‘growing up’ as the wise say!