Sunday, December 16, 2012

Awesome Blogger & Liebster Blog Award – I’m tagged

 So I had been thinking it was a while since I scribbled, too many things happening, nothing too solid to type. That’s when my good friend Kalyan tagged me in my first ever Blog Award :D

So here are the rules:
1.If you are tagged/nominated, you have to post 11 facts about yourself.
2.Then you answer the 11 questions the tagger has given you & make 11 questions for the people you are going to tag.
3. Tag 11 more Bloggers.
4. No tagging back.
5. Person you tag must have < 200 followers

And here we go:
11 facts about me:
(I read this and thought, HA easy one. I eat those words right here, right now.)
  1. I surprise myself everyday. I keep learning something new about myself with every sunrise- and my tolerance and patience levels keep amazing me.
  2. My life revolves around family, friends, hobbies and work- in that order. I have no intention of changing that.
  3. I keep trying to do something new every now and then. Most times these supposed ‘things’ are new and stupid. And crazy. Im not proud of them.
  4. I have a HUGE to do list. (And I still believe we have only 5 more days to go)
  5. Dogs over cats. Black over red. Can’t choose between coffee and tea- but chocolate over ANYTHING!
  6. I cannot hold my tongue. I cannot keep secrets.
  7. I have cut more people from my life this year than I ever have all my life. Suddenly I realized I was being nice all the wrong people.
  8. I have something against altruism- self sacrifice and all that. I still don’t get it.
  9. I love sleep. It is what I do when I am happy/sad/stressed/bored/angry- name the emotion. If I had just woken up, then I take to writing.
  10. I can write better than I can speak. I cant lie, my eyes give me away.
  11. Yes, I still believe in fairytales :)

(That was VERY tough)

Next- Questions to be answered:
1. If you can write a testimonial for me, what would you write?
Kalyan- is one among the coolest people I have known. Such a soft spoken, dependable guy- A nice shoulder to lean on J Seen me through some tough spots- a big Thank You for everything :)

2. What’s the strangest talent you have?
Can shop under five minutes. Can get dressed under five minutes :P

3. Do you have weird habits?
Ha, no, I would like to believe I don’t!

4. If you knew the world was going to end tomorrow, what would you do in your last living hours?
Tell everybody who means everything to me that I love them. A lot of Hugs.

5.  Have you ever felt jealous of friends or fellow competitors’ success and how did you suppress it?
No, I have always known how much I put in, and when ever I have put in enough, I have always been rewarded.

6.  Have you ever been betrayed? If so, how did you douse the flames?
Show them the finger and move on.

7.  List down 5 music tracks which you would always listen to and would never get bored of.
Right now- on auto repeat:
A Thousand Years- Christina Perri
Angrezi Beat-Honey Singh
The Scientist- Coldplay
Roads Untravelled-Linkin Park
Kahin To- JTYJN (told you. I still believe in fairytales :P )

8.  If you are a guy, have you ever been got slapped by a girl? If you are a girl, have you ever slapped a boy?
No never. I might have used my elbow or my heel, never the palm.

9. What qualities would you be prescribing to a girl/guy to be ideal for you.
Haha, a lot of people have been asking me this. Pass.

10. Do you believe in life after death? If yes, what would you like to reborn as?
I do believe in life after death. Myself. No change. I love myself too much :P

11. Please explain ‘Einstein’s Relativity Theory’ in layman terms. (I know the Hot stove – Girl analogy. Please use something else!)
Erm. Okay its 11.50 pm guys! I’ll pass this too and just go sleep :P

Here I tag:
Deepa (Dont know her too well, taking the liberty :P )

The last leg- 11 questions for you guys.
Ok I shall make this very simple.
1. Blogging to me is_.
2. I recommend the following 3 blogs for you to read when you are free: _ , _ and _.
3. 5 songs on my play list. (Losing inspiration here)
4. The last 5 books that I read were___.
5. The one movie that made me cry__.
6. Some day, I will _______.
7. Ten places i want to visit before- whatever.
8. The one person who made a HUGE impact on my life would be?
9. The last time I goofed something up __.
10. New year resolutions for 2013?
11. (finally!) One secret that nobody knows :P

Ah, you guys rock!! 
Big hug :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Until Then..

Foraying into new territories. Novice attempts at feelings-y, short story writing.

Listening to the familiar notification alert, she absently touches the whatsapp icon on her sleek new smart phone.
“What’s up, Dumpy?”
“What what?”
“Had a bad day dude. Made an utter fool of myself today with a couple of Mumbai wala managers :|
“Who who?”
“One Anand Pandey and one..something Phadnis”
“Yeah..your floor?”
“Yes. Both are fools.”
She allows herself a little smile.
“Ahan? Why so? They threw so much attitude man.”
“They do only that best. One is a serious retard. The other chews paan and spits it everywhere.”
She giggles a little bit now. She also has the sense to understand that ABC corp has more sense than to employ Manager cadre people of such descriptions, especially in its Mumbai office.
Still, she eggs him on.
“Oh yuck! :D”
“And you know the best part?”
“Oh there is a BEST part to this? :P”
“He offers me a drop and Im sitting in the passenger seat, and he spits right in front of me, at  XYX gate. And it all layers on his limited edition City. It is so easy to spot his car in the parking :P”
She snorts.
“HAHAHA :D :D ok that made me laugh :P”
“Ok ok. Bye Dumpy. I’ll sleep now.”
“Ok bye :) :)
She doesn’t create a fuss about the abrupt ending of the chat. She had a problem with it when they were seeing each other. And a problem with his aversion to smileys. But as she warmed up to everything about him, their families got colder. Eventually both of them decided that it was futile to carry a relationship that caused so much heartburn to everybody else forward.
“Hummm.” She locks her phone and turns her bed side lamp off, the shadow of a smile still lingering on her lips.
A few hundred kilometers away he buries himself under blankets, trying to keep warm. He understands he will never be able to be there for her all the time, like he strives to, now. Just as much as he cannot stand to watch her sadness, he knows that he will never be able to turn her lips up, like he just did now, forever.
Still, he vows to himself, reading her gay, laughter filled text once more, Until that day comes- until then, I will make sure she never, ever stops smiling.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

She loves me.. she loves me not..

     So, it is 12 am here, and I am sipping sugar less milk and typing away about something that has been troubling my head for all of the past few days. Last night I had this TALK with a friend that stretched into sunrise- about how, plainly how stupid most of us can be at times, with respect to this cannot-do-without something called relationships.

     I have a friend named Arjun who told me something really sensible way back when we were in school. It goes like this. You know fire can scald. Some people blindly go by that hand-me-down knowledge that fire is bad, and don’t dare go near it. There are some others who see other people getting their fingers burnt, get some sense and stay away from fire. And then there are some others who realize the perils of it only after they stick their own fingers into the furnace- yes a lesson is learnt; but so is a scar earned for life.

    Here, I only write about what I have learnt- from experiences of my own; and what I have seen happening around me- to friends of mine, to people I know. All of us have burnt ourselves at some point of time or the other, haven’t we?

     It is so sad- that while most of us may be experts at giving free advice, we simply lose the power of sight when the protagonist of the soap happens to be ourselves. I see so many, many smart, successful and sensible men and women claiming to have found ‘THE ONE’ and singing dreamy duets with him/her, when  the one in question is holding a placard that screams- BACK OFF! Most times, we are so caught up in our own fantasy land, too confident about ourselves and our capabilities in making this thing work- because this is what I want, that we simply fail to see if we are throwing energy, effort and time into the right individual. More often than not- it is going to end up in heart ache, and at the end of it all, you will be the one to who the world says ‘We ALL told you so!’ – You were too wound up in your flowery dreams to listen!

     I am at a loss to understand why many of us- myself included- fail to notice these signs. I made a list of all the visible signs I could think of. You are free to add more to this list.
The first and foremost would be ‘I love you, but_’ When this comes from a man, especially, it is time for the woman to pick her clothes, bags and all the broken shards of her heart and run. In my opinion, when someone says this- they are simply being nice. We better take the hint and scoot. Because- when you try to sort out the first issue they have with you, they will invariably come up with another issue. Because, if a man or woman really, really wants something to work out- excuses tend to evaporate.New paths are created. Mistakes are absolved. Everything- from your stutter to your family- is taken in stride. A man who says, ‘I’ll take care of everything’ deserves you more that a man who says ‘I really, really like you- but ..’ 

     Sometimes- we come across people who are just too busy. I have heard this hurled at myself too, more than once. There will be people who you feel are interested in you, but whose priority list will never include you. And I am pretty sure that when it doesn’t include you today- it will never include you ever. For good, or for bad we will never know now, but being well bred and sophisticated people, it is best we make our exit from the back door in the most graceful way possible- and not make a scene.

     And then, for some reason or the other- there will be people who let go of you too easily. The smallest issue might turn them off; the tiniest fight might cause them to break things off. ‘Ok let’s break up’ will be their mantra. The other unwilling partner, ofcourse, would be as unrelenting as ever. ‘When I want this so bad, I will make it work!’ But when the other person is not willing to even share the responsibility of making it work- even a bit- then there is something fundamentally wrong with your choice, my friend. 

     Then there is this lot- who claim to love you- but hate you. They hate your guts, your dressing, your looks- somehow- you will never be good enough for them. YET they will cling along- for reasons best known to them. ‘You cant do this- you cant do are no good!’ flows the tirade. And Miss I-cannot-imagine-life-without-this-psycho will live through the daily erosion of her self esteem hoping her LOVE will make him change. Haha. Lady, grow up. It will never happen. Negativity is bad and negative people seldom change- get rid of both at Once!

Some folks out there might be waiting to get their fangs on me.
Love is holy, love is pure!
What would you know, you little thing-immature?

I seriously believe that Love is something that is a mix of respect, pleasure and joy. Mutual.

Matter of opinion. Like all other things in the world. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Circle of life ;)

Last weekend saw me enjoying myself at my first live standup comedy show. It was an Evam production and my (so called) friends lured me into it saying this famous blogger was going to be there. Now Local Tea Party is the name that this celebrity blogger goes by- he even tweets under the same name. And there have been many vain attempts at trying to figure his identity out, and hey, he writes pretty funny stuff, so I, erm, just went to check him out- and of course, have a few laughs at the show. Not in that order, but yeah.

So we crash at the Museum Theatre, and my friends point all the print celebs to me (‘Shush its bad to point, guys!!- Oh THAT’S him?!’) and then capitalizing on my early departure (movie date with mom) have gone to LTP and gushed about their friend ‘who has a HUGE crush on you, who came all the way JUST to meet you’ and blah blah’. *Serene, Buddha-Like face* Well, the focal point of this blog not being ‘Mean friends and ways to avenge them’, we will move on to what followed.

So apparently, LTP (No. I am not going to give his real name, muhahah), when introduced to my friend Ganesh, had immediately extended one arm, not for a handshake, but for an embrace. And that worked Ganesh up so much, that he vented it all out by writing a blog about the way he was almost harassed, and about how he saved his honour by jumping backwards and bringing the roof down. Ok, I love exaggerating things. For the correct version, please click here.

Something similar happened to my colleague at work. He was not as lucky as Ganesh, because the assailant was a very senior manager and my colleague was reduced to whispering about the incident to other boys in the loo; and that was how he got it out of his system. Here’s what happened. Me and X are gossiping about Y, entry of the manager M. ‘So, X, heh heh, what’s up guys? Arre, that document- is it done? Ok, bhej do, ok?’ *SMACK* on his butt. 


Poor X- slunk away in shock.

So see, my dear men- THIS, I would call- mild harassment. Or, say, you are peeing and somebody you don’t know tries to peek into your stall. But what ever said and done, the hue and cry you raise over something as trivial as any of these amazes me. Now, say if each of us women were to do something similar, the sky would fall.

There is one man who I have noticed, who loves to push himself into crowds in the subway. And when there is a woman within a finger’s distance of him, his fingers- on his sides, levitate against gravity- to skim her thighs or her hip. This happened to me once, and ever since I have been keeping an eye out for him- once I followed him from one end of the subway to another- simply to see him unconsciously –finger?- seven women along the way. Pray- WHAT high would this give anybody?!

There are some other men who cannot hold a woman’s eyes while talking to her. Every once in a while, their eyes would steal a few seconds to do a trip downwards, and then rise again. And when you get this treatment from senior managers, you can do nothing but ignore it, and roll your eyes instead.

Men pushing their elbows into us, men saying lewd stuff when we are within earshot, men commenting about the clothes we wear, the kind of people we hang out with, the way we laugh, the way we walk, who dropped us to work- our relationship status- frankly- I think such men are simply too shallow to have anything intelligent to converse about.

So in the end, nobody really likes unwarranted touching, unnecessary gawking and pointless comments. We women have been living with it and laughing it off for the past many, many years- that all these do not get a second thought. But once in a while, however rarely, when a man is in the receiving end of such treatment- words fail me :P Ah, the circle of life! :D

Friday, October 12, 2012

Of Lives and Purposes

The first time I noticed him was when he was showing his moves off in the basketball court. I never did get to see him much afterward, but a couple of days later he and a bunch of other trainees were assigned to my boss. My boss being busier than usual around then, delegated me to be the mentor for this bunch of very enthusiastic, very difficult to keep busy, fresh out of college folks.

Anyway, I used to run into him on and off, and sometimes used to see him walking around work areas in basketball clothes, sometimes hurrying to change, seconds before being called to attend some ad-hoc meeting, the occasional hellos, and the like. Most of the time, however, he would look so very lost or so disconnected, you would wonder if he really knew what he was doing here. Definitely, one who stood out against the very, very common IT crowd.

So the other day he came along to ask for some professional-career advice. And offhandedly he said six words that got me thinking a lot for the next couple of days.

You see, he said, I got into the Indian Army.

What followed was one of the most stirring conversations that I have had with another human being, about identifying his passion, working towards it for twelve whole years and realizing it. He spoke about his crazy medicals, he spoke about the SSB experience, he spoke about being punished for reporting late- at 8 am- wondering how on earth is it possible for any rational person to do so, after being kept awake till 6 am that morning! He spoke about the punishments that left him with welts on his arms and legs, about running 7 kilometers non-stop, about unimaginable tasks set out by the selection board- but despite all that, he spoke with pride about having bested it all. He had written a few words about it, which I wanted to share- they gave me goosebumps!

“This dream which took 12 years is realized now. I have cleared world’s toughest medicals. Met 18 of my to be brothers in arms and after meeting all of them I can assure you that you will be well protected- and you will be protected by some of  the best, most loyal,  most patriotic, lean mean and clean youngsters of India who have hearts of gold nerves of steel and fists of iron. Next stop would be The OTA (Officers Training Academy) Chennai or the IMA (Indian Military Academy)-  the world’s toughest military academy in terms of rigors of training, Dehradun, where a boy graduates into a man of honour. There may be 10+ IITs. There are 10+ IIMs. BUT. THERE IS ONLY 1 IMA.

As the saying goes “You can’t buy this uniform. You can’t buy the respect that it commands. You have to earn it. Think about it. It’s a decision that will change you forever and that’s a soldier’s word.”

This May, I visited a friend in Delhi. She is with the Indian Airforce’s ground service, and her husband is a Major with the Indian Army. When you speak the couple, their patriotic fervor grips you, and sometimes puts you to shame. He has served along the border, and across other nations as well. He trains forces now, and is sometimes called- to fight. She weeps a little when he leaves, for she is a girl too, beneath all her Airforce demeanor, and waits for his return. Over dinner one evening we got talking serious stuff. He was showing me battle field pictures, a lot of death- I should add, and describing survival tactics inside mangrove forests. along the deserts and in the extremities of the Indo China border. All this, so that we can sleep easy in our beds every night. And most of us don’t even know the National Anthem properly.

It is very easy to sit on the walkway and say, ‘Ah, the army, it’s full of corrupt people’ or ‘Oh come on, army folks? All they do is party all the while!’ I am not saying we all ought to go and enlist- we might not even get past ½ a round of the selections. All I am saying is, we all ought to figure out something purposeful to do with our lives..Something that would get people to remember us by..Something that you can look back on after you are 60 years old, and feel good about. And definitely NOT- oh, where did all the years go?!

Anyway, so I was asking the trainee if he was okay to break the bond and leave the company to join the Army. Most people usually simply abscond. It is a very costly affair. Pat came the reply. ‘I am an Army man. I will pay and leave!’


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bye-bye time- Once More!

I have never been good at handling adieus. Though I can never get weepy and clingy, inside me, my little heart would be doing a washing-machine spin, counting days down, letting the distance sink in, and then, finally, letting time take its course.

My first bye-bye was to Gautham who went away to Germany to study machines (like he doesn’t know enough already!) So Gautham is my trekking-cum-lets-check-this-new-restaurant-out buddy. He was working in Chennai for a year, and for one year, even though he was staying only like 40 odd minutes away, I hang my head in shame and say that I never did make much time for him. Some differences cropped up between us, and he kept rushing away to Coimbatore every now and then..Well, now we have a time difference of 5 odd hours, and now all the time that I had and did not use of makes me feel bad. Some things feel right when you experience them with an equally enthusiastic friend. Be it jumping into the sea, or falling flat on your face in snow, or digging into steaks and other God-knows-what-they-call-it dishes in restaurants that we would pick off the internet, or shopping in malls or feasting on home cooked food or discussing opinions and playing word games...Some things such as these, I miss, my friend. Not because I do not have other people to take me to such places. But because you in the frame made such experiences extraordinary! 

My second bye-bye was to Gaurav- who made the simple act of coming to office seem such fun! Incessant chatter- witty chatter I should add, and never ending laughter- is how I would describe things when this bundle of energy was around. Somehow, big issues would seem trivial and lambasting from managers would be laughed off over fruit juices and more fruit juices. Or over conversations under neon lights in our favourite hangout in Chennai. Somehow, he always knew what I wanted to hear whenever I was down in the dumps, and somehow, we never ran out of conversation topics. Sarcasm became an effective antidote for all the stupidity around us and somehow ideas would flow- and flow- though neither of us were disciplined enough to convert them into anything actionable. Gaurav, I am writing your farewell words to me- back for you- word for word- you know why- To take so much, yet give so little. To be understood so much, yet understand so little. To be inspired so much, yet inspire so little. That is what you gave me, my friend. I wish one day that I can stand at the top of the world and shout to God that I am blessed with your kind. You, my friend, is what the world deserves, the universe craves, and I prize! :)

My third bye-bye will be to my first best friend at work, Sameer, who might move, God willing, in some time. My fight-friend, the one person with whom I am entitled to be a kid (read un-friend, yell, scream, smile through tears, become friends again, laugh in a very un-womanly fashion, poke my nose into all his corrupt activities :D , blackmail and demand things and still know that he will be around, no matter what). Somehow when Sameer left to Pune, I had no hope of the friendship even continuing beyond the basic formalities that any relationship demands. Somehow, it stood the test of distance. Somehow, he always HAS been around to give me senior advice, to listen to me crib, to watch me grow up, to cry with me when I was grieving and to laugh with me when I was blissfully happy :) Thanks for always being the kite runner :)

I do know that next year, this time, things might-might not be the same. I do know that all our priorities might change-ARE changing- as we breathe, as the seconds tick by. I do know that nothing is certain, only change. But I also do know that these memories will always be around, to stay.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Faith- in what?

Indian history speaks about a famous mathematician and astrologer named Bhaskaracharya (1114-1185). He is often referred to as the greatest mathematician of medieval India. He is known for his treatises on Trigonometry, arithmetic, Algebra, mathematics of the planets, etc. Bhaskara's work on calculus, it is proven, predates Newton and Leibniz by half a millennium.

Now Bhaskara had a daughter named Lilavathi. As Bhaskara was a renowned astrologer, he studied Lilavathi’s horoscope himself and was aghast at finding out that she was destined to remain childless and unmarried- if she did marry, the marriage would not last. Hence, after a series of complex calculations, he came up with a time which countered this prediction- if the marriage was performed within the span of the calculated minutes, she would be blessed with a long and prosperous married life. So for the same, he made an elaborate sand clock, and told his daughter that she had to stand watch by it- when the sand reached a certain level, her beau had to tie the mangal sutra around her neck. The family waited and waited for the sand to reach the said level before dawn, but it never did. Indian marriages are usually conducted at day break, and when the sun rose, everybody knew something was wrong. On inspection it was found that a pearl from Lilavathi’s nose ring had fallen into the sand clock and had clogged the opening. The auspicious moment had passed..and Lilavathi remained unmarried all her life, devoting herself to mathematics and sciences.

Astrology, to those who follow it and practice it, is a science. Atleast in India. Any auspicious event is conducted taking into account the horoscopes of the parties involved. But the one occasion where astrology plays its most prominent and vital role is weddings. No Hindu wedding is conducted without proper analysis and matching of the horoscopes of the bride and the groom. Being in the middle of this drama, I was reading up on these. Here is what I found.

Any individual’s horoscope is drawn based on the day, date, place and time of his birth. The place and time play a vital role because the sun’s rays falling on the earth- after traversing and touching many planets- plays the most important role in shaping the person’s future. So the planetary positions at the time of your birth determine your birth star and your ruling planet, and when your ruling planet is ‘friends’ with the bigger planets (like, say, Saturn, for instance) that shape people’s destiny, you are in luck.

Now when you are getting married, one looks for 10 matchings between your horoscope and your probable-partner’s:
  • Dinam- Ensures the husband and wife experience a healthy life with all comforts
  • Ganam- Ensures a compatible sex life
  • Yoni- Ensures mutual love between the couple
  • Rasi- For continuation of lineage/children
  • Rasiatipathy- Ensures similarity in thought processes
  • Rajju- For longetivity of married life (life of the partners)
  • Vedha- Wards off affliction- ensures a healthy married life
  • Vasya- For attraction between the couples
  • Mhendhram- Wellbeing of children-birth of intelligent, healthy kids
  • Sthree Dheergam- Ensures that the husband can keep the wife happy
Somehow, each of these, I see, takes a dig at common problems that couples face today. Anyway, they say that 8 out of these 10 will suffice to make a good marriage.

The irony is, some marriages fail despite matching horoscopes. The answer to this is that the birth time might not have been recorded accurately. The birth time, I gather from our astrologer, is the time at which the baby cries its first cry.

Irony number 2 is what my friend Jen knocked into my head. Nobody other than us Hindus look at horoscopes. And it is not like the rest of the world is having a bad time out there!

Ah. Maybe ignorance IS bliss. How does one get into a marriage knowing it would not work?

Maybe getting into a marriage, with the mindset of ensuring it works out fine-with both parties making it work-is what is important.

Maybe it is ok to hand over the reins to fate and sit back and watch the show unfold.

All the answers ARE probably there- but maybe, just maybe, we better put our faith in God, rather than men.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Staying Foolish

So post Goa, yours truly has been very very restless indeed.

The ‘Oh what the hell am I doing here’ phase came back with a vengeance, oh how I so hate this phase!

So on a whim, I applied to some totally out-of-the-box  jobs- that I would so LOVE to do (which, once my mother heard of it, made her rush to the temple to pray for my sanity). To give you an idea- story telling/amateur theatre/script writing- these are the ones that are in the safe, sane side of the spectrum. So I did apply, I did get through a couple of them (much to my surprise), and eventually when we sat down to discuss the pay- I could visualize my dreams blasting into smithereens.

I will approach a different track now. People say, look at the IT industry, look what it has done to India today. I say- yes look what it has done. It has propelled the economy, it has given all of us such pocket-filling jobs, it has lifted the middle class up high and given the aam admi an identity. We have gained so much, what have we lost?

We, probably, have lost ourselves, in the process.

I do not speak for those in the industry who know and love what they do. There are quite a few such people, who are looked upto and given the respect that experts need to be given. My darling brother is one who would fall into this category. He is the ‘I am born to code, I love programming’ kind of soul, and yes, he gets joy from tapping away day in and day out, so whatever I write further excludes people like him.

It, on the contrary, includes a vast majority of us are sitting there clueless about what we are there for. We are nameless, faceless entities, easily replaceable ‘resources’. We drag ourselves to work every morning, wait for weekends, and month’s end we look at the bank balance and tell ourselves, it’s okay, it’s not so bad- it might-in some way-be worth it. And then slowly, we start existing, rather than living.

Most of the wary ones, within the first year, know what is happening and immediately cultivate a hobby. They have a parallel track running by. Photography, travel, writing and social work are the most common among these. The sensible ones switch as soon as they know this is taking a toll. The less risk prone ones (like me) stay on. Soon enough, you have loans to clear. Upgrade the mobile phone, upgrade the car..just a small one BHK won’t hurt would it? It’s for security! Oh, Marriage loan, vehicle loan..home loan. Now you are in a very, very tangled web. So then on, it is a race. Switch, see who gives you more money, switch again, see who send you onsite- switch again. And before you know it- you are pushing 40 and you don’t know where the good years went!

Thankfully, I have no such exorbitant obligations. Still I saw a wall the day this smart, young entrepreneur-CEO told me, ‘Sit down Gitanjali, we need to discuss more!’. Maybe because I just got used to the money here. Maybe because I know that my wanderlust is going to get a beating if I took the plunge now. Or that I will not be able to spend as much on simple nothings as I do now. Still I know, it is going to be now or never. Now the difference will not pinch as hard as it will after a year. And, deep down- I would be happy and purposeful. Still. It is a leap of faith. And I am scared.

I was reading Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers. He poses a question where he asks you what you might choose given an option: a $100,000 a year job as a toll booth operator- where you are required to do nothing but hand out tickets for 12 hours a day; or a $75,000 a year job where you work as an architect, and your job would involve designing complex structures and figures. Hands down, everybody chooses the Architect’s job. Why? Because, he says, this factor called job satisfaction stems from 3 criteria: A direct relationship between effort and reward, autonomy and a feeling of significant contribution towards the job in hand. You pay me for the work I do, you let me be the judge and give me a free reign to do it in my own way, and you give me a job that is fairly significant (even if it isn’t- make me feel that it is an important job!) then, I will be a satisfied employee.

We Indians- we are brought up to put security in front of satisfaction.  We need to put society in front of any outrageous-follow-the-heart decision. We better blend in rather than stand out. We are conditioned to stay hungry, and stay foolish. Sigh.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Goa is such a misunderstood place.

The moment I voiced interest about visiting it, down swooped the parental protection force, spewing me with reasons as to why it was such a dangerous/godforsaken/ crazy place to visit. But in the end, righteousness prevailed ( :D ), and that’s how I set off on one of the best vacations I have ever had till date.

This post will not be an itinerary of my trip; it will not even be a list of the ‘must-do’s in Goa. Goa is a place where one has to simply let go, and find what they would love to do, and trust me, there is something for everyone. This will just be a memoir of my best moments over there. And even though I had been there with a bunch of loud, crazy friends who love to live extreme, most of what I cherish- as will follow, will be self-contained, na├»ve,  simplistic pleasures that I have not experienced anywhere else but here.

Goa has this blessed rent-a-bike culture. For 200 bucks a day, one can have a two wheeler all to oneself, and riding these gave me such a high- because of the scenic beauty that enveloped me. We made the tour in August, which was the fag end of the monsoon, so Goa was at its colorful best. The crowds were minimal, and it was Mother Nature in all her glory. Sudden drizzles would bring forth involuntary giggles. The endless roads were lined, sometimes with mountains-moist and green; sometimes with water bodies- reflecting sunlight, or having birds skittering about the surface; and other times, with fields that have multiple, unimagined shades of green. Every turn that you take would take your breath away, so after a point you get used to the surprise and just try to imbibe as much awesomeness as you can. And there would always be more, coming forth.

Natural wonders apart, there are forts and more forts. And most of them would be set off against the backdrop of a beach. So you have waves, alternating between lazy and brash, relentlessly washing sand off the shore, and not very far off, would be mountains towering over, as if standing guard against the onslaught. Man’s wisdom takes over, here. So we have forts built on these mountains. Watch towers, once, now I just sit on them, and keep watching the waves, over and over, tireless- until one particularly naughty wave rises high up and douses me in salt water.

No two beaches are similar. Only the crowd remains the same. There are rocky beaches, sandy beaches, gravelly ones and vegetated ones. Even the colour of the sand changes from place to place..and then there are the famous beaches, and the friendly, welcoming beaches., and the quiet, untainted beaches. Local trivia led us to more than one un-famous but more calming beach. Soothing, stilling..all the turbulence outside makes you go shhh inside.. And the moment I found a beach-bed, I went shut-eye for a good half hour. That was the best sleep that I had in ages.

Saving the best for the last- Goa is every food lover’s paradise. I spent more on food than on anything else in this place, and I sampled every, every single item that needed to be sampled. Fish, prawn, chicken, pork and squid dominated my preferences- in that order. Pomfrets and King fishes- in every imaginable cooking style, fried or curry, whole or minced..heavenly! Calamari is nothing but squid, made Goan style, and the pork is safe and very common place still. Chicken xacuti, prawn balchaou- sound very appetizing, but they are currys like we make at home..cooked differently, with an imli twang to them. But the best- best of the awesome lot, would be the chicken cafreal that we had at Brittos. Candle lit dinner, great food, medieval setting, great company, with the beach in the backdrop..Does a girl need anything more to keep her happy? :)

PS1- I cant believe I have no food pics :|