Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"I M from IIM"....Lamest pickup line !


      The Indian obsession with IITs and IIMs and other premier institutions in nothing new. It’s strange how kids from 9th grade are being pushed into “tuitions” to prepare them for “IIT-JEE” (I always call it IIT-ji, the way we say Sonia-ji  :P). I am in no position to sit in judgment and talk about what is wrong and what is right. I am the same person who decided to study law after doing my Engineering, so I can totally get it when there are people who are passionate or even obsessed about getting into courses/institutions that they love. What I do NOT get though, is how some of the kids (?) who pass out from these premier institutions, somehow begin to presume that it is their life’s “biggest” achievement and walk around with an imaginary halo around their heads. It is an achievement. No doubt about it. But please give me a break and drop the “MBA from IIM” from your introduction! I sense an immediate “jerk-alert” when someone starts off with “MBA” even before finishing off uttering their surname!
      The other day, I was in an intense discussion about marketing trends etc with a couple of friends. One of them put forth an idea, which did not make much sense to me and I made it clear that I could not bring myself to agree upon it. One of my friends immediately took offence and said with a sense of borrowed pride “How can you NOT agree? My cousin who passed out from IIM told me about it” I was mentally punching the air out of my friend and her cousin, but then I shrugged it off and left the discussion hanging mid-air. Its crazy how someone can presume that passing out from one of those biggies will somehow magically morph you into a know-it-all, walky-talky encyclopedia! Some of the smartest people I have known in real life are college dropouts. They have nothing to boast of academically, nor do they have high-paying jobs. But the sheer brilliance of their personality shines through when they behave and carry themselves in a manner which would put any of these biggies to shame.
         I am proud of my school and my college and I do attribute some of my finest traits( yes, yes, I do have some J) to the teaching and upbringing that was part of my school and college life. I am particularly fond of my school and I consider myself lucky to have been able to study at such a nice place. However, my school does not “define” me. What defines me though is all that I learnt there. My school is not a part of my introduction, but a part of my personality. And to me, that is all that matters. I have seen an “IIT AND IIM” digging his nose and pasting the booger under a table at work. So no matter where you study and what you do, you cannot claim special treatment or a direct entry ticket into an imaginary elite class “only” because you were part of something that is considered big. And you cannot claim to be right always.
         Aunties who frantically fix arranged marriages consider such guys to be the biggest catch. Yikes. Freaks me out! I cannot imagine getting married to someone "just" because he has a fancy degree from a fancy place! This post is not meant to conclude that ALL premier-institute-pass-outs are worthless showoffs or that all the underdogs (supposedly) are complete gentlemen. The point here is that it really does not matter! You have a degree from MIT, good for you!  All that matters in the real world is what really came out of that degree. If you want to be a brand ambassador of your institution, you may gladly do so ! But do not expect people to be in awe of you and take it for granted that you are a genius. What really makes a person is his/her personality. Show what your institution stands for, by LIVING in a way which would make your institution proud. Not by making it your middle name.

Monday, November 14, 2011

If you are happy and you know it :)

If you are happy and you know it, click right here,
If you are happy and you know it,click right here.....
If you are happy and you know it and you really want to show it,
If you are happy and you know it, click right here !

This one is my favorite nursery rhyme ! :-D















Never lose the child in you :) 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

We are a Politically Challenged nation !


    The political tamaasha in my country makes me cringe! Why is it that our nation has always been putting old, uninspiring septuagenarians on the front? The reason I hear all the time, is ‘experience’. They are blessed with ‘experience’. Come on yaar, we know better than that! We have no wisecrackers  here. All we have is selfish, fit-for-nothing morons who seem all set to make a joke out of themselves. We are not an easy crowd, us Indians. The sheer size of us is enough to scare anyone away. And we are geographically placed in such an awesome location that everything from natural resources to the weather, is conducive for unparalleled growth and development. We are quick learners. We adapt well to changing conditions. We work hard. We have bloody world-class intellectuals. Yet, all of our strengths are wasted in fighting the devils that we put on the chair to rule us.
     We are the world’s largest democracy. Do we even realize what a blessing that is? To be able to voice your opinion without having to fear that a tyrant dictator will chop your head off?  We make zero use of it, I tell you. Democracy is a farce here. To have one pro-citizen bill passed in the parliament, it takes a million years. Again, it is an old man who wants to fast indefinitely and ensure that the bill gets through. The media does its bit and hypes up the entire episode. The nation joins in the frenzy and soon, the fast becomes a sensation. Gandhi caps are pulled out, placards are designed and every roadside romeo marches along and makes sure he does not miss a chance to grin at all the cameras from the media fraternity that lunges forward into the crowds to catch all the action. The old man fasts, the young ones protest, “talks” are held and the newspapers are flooded with reports from all over the nation. Super. I like that. At least the voices are rising up.
       But then, what happens later? We are soon bored of all the sensationalism. And life moves on. I can bet a million rupees that half the idiots who were part of the protest had no idea what the bill was all about. Two months down the line, life is back to its normal pace. Hardworking citizens continue to pay taxes, so that we can help fill up the “treasuries”. Thank you very much. I have to produce “proof” to get my tax returns while scoundrels who pay nothing, move around scot-free.  The life of an average Indian is bleaker than it appears to be.
        We put up with all this non-sense and yet we manage to live good lives. We turn a blind eye to all these devils and carry on with our hand to mouth existence. Yet, there is no escape from all this negativity.  Right from the roadside shopkeeper to the traffic policeman, everyone wants to make a quick buck. They console their guilty consciences by comparing themselves to politicians who loot in millions. And just like that, every other person is looking at quicker ways of making money. Even if it means extending your hand like a beggar, looking around to see if someone is watching and grinning like an idiot while gesturing for a bribe.
      I always wonder these people manage to sleep in the night. I wonder how they put up with all the guilt. Beats me! Every young Indian who tries to squeeze himself into the system and tries his best to clean it up soon becomes a convert. Our political system is like a blackhole. Goodness vanishes in it. And still, the nation moves on. We continue to survive. How our country runs, I have no idea!
     Yikes, I just wish someone would knock some sense into all these old men and ask them to buzz off home. Bring in some fresh blood. Someone who can ‘talk’.  Someone with a mean streak, someone who is not afraid of saying it like it is! When I think of people with all the qualities that I would like to see in my ideal politician, at least five names cross my mind J that gives me hope. What kills my hope though is the fact that all these stalwarts are stuck in the Indian IT industry, expertly handling the internal politics of an organization J Ha ha, man, it’s everywhere! We are all filthy politicians in our own right….Just that the scale varies! Oh hum, I wish, I just wish they would ask me to pick the ones who will lead ! I would have chosen a dozen mothers from our locality and send them to Delhi….You know why? NO ONE knows better! :-D  Lazy husbands, naughty kids, erring maids, greedy vendors, selfish milkmen, crazy schoolteachers, weird neighbors and last but not the least, pesky relatives! If you can handle all of them at one go, I tell you, the nation is just a bigger version of all that. Much bigger. But what the heck, they can do it :-D  If nothing else works out, there’s always me ;) I will make a very fun PM…Just give me a chance :-P God, all this nagging is tiring me…Think about it, I will be back tomorrow to take my oath :D

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Beautiful Woman :)

She is no runway model,
She has no great fashion sense
No shining eyes or glittering nails
Her hair's not dark and dense

No shaped eyebrows,no manicure
No red lips that light up the room;
No pencil heels,no fancy bags,
she has no time to groom.

Yet she stands there in the crowd,
And you just cant take your eyes away...
Everything around is noisy and loud,
But her silence makes you sway!

And she stands there proud and tall,
Like a prized piece of art,
What she does have,after all,
Is a true,selfless heart :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 :) No 'one' is alone today !

I stumbled upon these beautiful pictures with seemingly simple, but rather profound questions and thought I should answer them :) Here you go! 



Younger Heart, Older head :)


Mornings! Mornings make me happy, mornings give me hope :)


  All the imaginary fears that build up in my head...Ugh, I could do without them !


   Love,Health,Happiness,Money,Fame


If "giving my life for" means "dedicating my life", I would be happy to dedicate and spend an entire lifetime for the cause of feeding the hungry. I am most vulnerable when I am hungry and I am extremely scared of being hungry and homeless.I would love to feed people ! :)

If "giving my life for" means "losing my life for", the answer would be 'Nothing'. No cause is worth dying for. I love being alive :) 


Pics courtesy : www.thoughtquestions.com

Love without expectation, even if it hurts... Give, even if it means sharing whatever little you have....  Live by your values, even if it means having to face the world alone :)
                                     
                                       

Thursday, November 10, 2011

'Lamba' Din and 'Chota' Bheem

    It's well past midnight now and I have had an extremely long day at work...14 hours to be precise! It has taken me every ounce of my willpower to get myself to touch my laptop again :-P I have tons to talk about but zero energy to type it out....I wish I had a robot, something like the one that Richie Rich owns....I wish I could just do the thinking and the robot would type it down for me :-D
    But I am not Richie Rich. I am Poorie Poor :-P So my only chance of getting a robot for myself would be if I could somehow convince Dr.Vaseekaran to lend Chitti to me for a few days....I am sure Shahrukh would readily agree to send Ra.One my way if I asked him to ,but sadly I do not want to be his Chamak Challo...Muhahhahuhahha :-P
    Hence, considering my zero-energy levels today and the lack of a robot of my own , I wish to take it easy tonight and go hit the bed right away...I will be back tomorrow with my trademark long post...Before I leave, here's a sneak preview of my extreme talent ! Did you know I was a painter? No ? OMG, how could you not ? Here's my masterpiece. A picture of Chota Bheem, the cartoon guy, thinking about his dilruba :-P

                                               
    Cute no? When I look at masterpieces like this one, I often wonder if I am at the wrong place ! But then I realize, this is where I truly belong...In front of a PC,maiming cute cartoon characters with my horrific drawing skills on MS Paint :-D But my nephew thinks I am a rockstar....Tee Hee Hee :-D

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pretense is betrayal of your own self

       I love studying human beings. It's just so astonishing to watch how our behavior is influenced by external factors. I see complete introverts morphing into extroverts, chatterboxes switching into silent mode, happy people going all sullen and sad, sad ones putting on a happy face, kids acting like grown-ups, grown-ups acting like kids....all based upon our surroundings and the company we keep. It's all good, as long as it is not pretense.By virtue of the prevailing situations, if you are naturally inclined and genuinely feel the need to divert from your general behavior and react in a different manner, it's acceptable. But if it gets to a level where you have to "pretend" to be what you are not, just so that you can "belong" to a certain group, just so that you can be "accepted" into a popular cult, it's not worth it. There is nothing in this world that is worth pretending for. If you are in a position where you are not comfortable in your own skin because you are busy pretending to live a life that is not truly your style, please do yourself a favor and step out of it RIGHT NOW !

       While we are always taught to be part of a community,a group and to belong to an identifiable unit of a society, it is just not right to stick to stereotypes only because everyone else is doing it. While being a part of a group without standing apart, gives you a sense of belonging and of security, it is just not worth the sacrifice of individuality. It is OK to not be OK with certain people. It is OK if you cannot be a part of something everyone else is a part of. It is completely fine to stand apart and hold your own ground, if that is what seems right to you. There is no need to put up with other's eccentricities, only because you think it would be rude to react otherwise. Anyone with a strong sense of individuality is bound to make a few enemies along the way. But if you sacrifice your individuality for the sake of "fitting in", you will just end up making friends you do not need. Tongues will wag, words will flow, but nothing in this world should EVER put you in a position that YOU do not want to be in. Because there is no bigger shame than trying to not be yourself. Do not run away from who you are, just because the real you does not fit into a stereotypical definition. It is better to be abhorred for who you really are than to be loved for who you are not :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our very own Grand Prix !

     Aah,it’s crazy how numbers just add up when I decide to blog! Today being the 8th day, it did not come as a surprise to me that I had to work in office till 8 PM :-( What I dread about working till 8 is that I will have to board the 8 PM bus ! Nothing peculiar about our bus…What’s very peculiar is the driver who brings us home in the 8 PM bus…Oh boy! Let me begin his introduction with the fact that he is a big time fan of Rajanikanth (Which rascal is not a fan of Rajni, tell me?) , owns a mobile loaded with all of his songs and keeps playing ‘Kilimanjaro, Yaro,Yaro’ in a loop !  What’s even more endearing ( or is it endangering) is that our driver hums along and goes “Aha Aha” when the chorus of the song begins , making it sound like a horny grunt :-p  
     For the uninitiated, here’s a link to the video of the song! Hit here.
   Now considering my high tolerance limits for eccentricities, all this is "jujubi" ! :-p What is NOT jujubi though, is the driving skills of our dearest driver! He must have been a royal war charioteer is his previous birth. He is a Michael Schumacher’s elder brother in this life. He is the Father of Rash Indian Driving. He does not hit the speed breakers, he flies over them. Our mini-bus roars like a Ferrari in his hands. It’s no use sitting at the window seat when he is driving because you will not be treated to any enchanting visions of Bangalore’s nightlife. What you will see instead is a blurred boundary of objects that whizz past your window.       Now, had this guy been on the Buddh International Circuit, it would have been perfect. Unfortunately for us, we have to traverse the pot-hole infested roads of Bangalore to reach home from work. One hour in the 8 PM bus is equivalent to 2 hours at the gym. All parts of your body will vibrate in rhythm with the frequency of the potholes. The number of vibrations per second is directly proportional to the depth of the pothole which we land into. But the beauty of the whole thing is that before our poor brains can receive the signals for sensing a vibration in the body, our driver would have taken us out of one pothole and into the next. So to make a short story shorter, the whole 1 hour in the bus is like an intense session of Power Yoga, Pilates and Baba Ramdev Twistology put together!
     If our guy were to drive any faster, I have no doubt that our kidneys would detach themselves from the insides and launch into our mouths! :-p If you do not hold on to the seat handle, chances are, you will be given a free swimming lesson too…Just that you would be swimming on the waterless, hard floor of our mini-bus :-| Now, if you make the mistake of leaving the windows open, you will run a risk of having your eyeballs uprooted from your eyes, your hairline will recede into your collar and your teeth will be plastered into your throat. Such is the intensity of the wind that blows through the window when he zips past on the flyover ! I once had my glasses flung across the seat and onto the floor. Today, while I was sitting in the bus, I saw a lady settling down into the opposite seat, with a book in her hands, all set to READ :P Yeah rightttt! Sure, why not ! Once we had hit the main road,she realized she was in a freaking time machine, not a bus :-p And then she tried to fall asleep. Only to be rudely reminded of the fact that before she could catch two winks, her head would get legs of its own and go bang itself hard against the seat rod…Oh, I know EXACTLY where it hurts ! It’s all déjà vu for me :-D
      When I look at people like our driver and myself, I feel sad for Mother India. Such a waste of precious talent. Our man should have been a Formula One racer. And me ?  Oh, I should have been the Prime Minister of India,don’t you think ? :-D I would have upgraded all the Bangalore Roads to six lane expressways and converted the whole of India into one big Formula One circuit. Sadly for us, are our politicians are into this only For-Moolah :-| Anyway, moving on, if you missed being a part of the F1 tamaasha at Noida, let me know. I will reserve a seat for you in our 8 PM bus  :P For free….You know why ? YOU will pay me once you have enjoyed the ride….It’s THAT good ;)
Let me go rest my rattled body now. Good night ! :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

And on the seventh day.....

Since today is the "7"th Day of the my blogathon and since I need to have at least "7" hours of sleep to function normally and since I am about to indulge in one of the "7" deadly sins of being an absolute sloth and since my PC is running on Windows "7" ( sloppy joke I know!), I will try to finish this blog within "7" lines and will leave you with a picture of me when I was "7" years old :-)
                                        
This picture was taken at my grandparents' home, right behind our ancestral home, just beside our favorite cherry tree in my grandma's beautiful garden! It reminds me of my joyful summer vacations and also brings back fond memories of my blessed,beautiful childhood :) Btw, this picture was shot at 7 in the morning ( Tee Hee Hee Hee.....I made that up :-p )

Now, off to bed I go ! ;)

P.S : Yes, I was blissfully barefoot for more than half of my childhood...I used to abhor shoes,socks,slippers etc. and I always wondered who was the idiot who came up with the idea of identical shoes for our two feet ! Had this rule not been in place, we would have been rocking our days in two different shoes at a time ;)

P.P.S : I did not finish this post in less than 7 lines ! Did you count already ? :-O

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ssshhhh!

     Over the years, I have come to realize that I make a pretty good listener. And I actually enjoy hearing people out when they seek me. Sometimes,we just wish someone would just hear us out, without doling out advice or suggestions. I can be that person and I am proud of that...Not that I do not give advice AT ALL, but I can kind of sense it when it's better to shut up. So playing Agony Aunt to suffering souls IS just my cup of tea and I love it. And I have taken it upon myself to safeguard the things that people trust me with. All these will go to the grave with me. So all's cool.
      But you know what ? I just cannot handle surprises! Or juicy gossip.Or silly secrets. Or secret crushes. The pressure of holding it all down is just too much! So if I am ever let into a secret that involves some juicy details that is not worth locking up, I just let it out :P I will simply walk up to the party involved and confirm if it's true...Ditto for planning surprises. I have had events in the past where I have meticulously planned to surprise someone, but just because I planned everything a little too ahead and could not go to sleep with the pressure of having to keep it all locked up inside, I called the party concerned and ruined the whole show :P Silly me !
                                        

      Let's talk about secret crushes. I just don't get it sometimes! If it's obvious that you have taken a liking for someone, wouldn't it be sensible to talk to the person and find out what he/she thinks, instead of going through days and days of agony wondering what all this would lead to ? In the past, when one of my friends confided in me about having the hots for a certain girl but being too scared to express, I simply walked up to the girl and let her know that she had an ardent admirer. Things did get a little dramatic, with the girl playing hard to get etc, but everything ended well. The two dated for a while until the boy realized what a bitch she was in real life and ran away from her as fast as he could :P Problem solved ! Had he not let her know, he would have wasted his time and energy investing his emotions on someone who wasn't meant for him. Even now, I take the credit for saving him ;)
      Now, while speaking out has it's own advantages, not everything is rosy and nice! I have earned few enemies along the way, trying in all good will, to let them know what rumors were doing the rounds and trying to find out if they were actually true. Lesson learnt. So now, I play it safe. When I sense that one of my friends is sharing a popular gossip,rumor,surprise etc with me, I warn them beforehand. If they plan to end the secret with a 'Dont let her/him know', I let them know that I cannot sleep over a secret. I HAVE to share it with the person whom the secret concerns :P If it's too much of a risk, then they better leave me out of this ! So far, this has worked out fine. I am spared of the details and I spare them the risk of ruining the secret ;)
     Khalil Gibran,in all his wisdom,says     
"If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees."
     I agree, I agree ! :P
     Now sshhhh,go to sleep !





Saturday, November 5, 2011

90 Seconds

       When the cab stopped at my gate this morning, I was all sulky. The thought of having to spend a beautiful Saturday at work did not appeal to me at all. As I got in, I rolled down the window and settled in my seat, determined to make the most of the morning drizzle! My mind immediately drifted off to think about how cozy and nice it would be to snuggle up under my giant comforter at home, with the windows open! Huh, that did not help my mood at ALL L it was just so unfair that I should be out and about on a weekend morning!
      We reached the main road. At 8 in the morning on a drizzly Saturday, the roads were a little less busy than on the normal days. The signal turned red ….my cab driver stopped and immediately got on his phone to let the transport guy at office know that we were on our way. A traffic policeman in his raincoat was muttering something under his breath. A transvestite, dressed in all her glory, complete in a red sari and chocolate brown lipstick, was moving from vehicle to vehicle, clapping her hands and demanding alms. A little street kid, lurking on the footpath, caught my attention. She was standing there, holding a loop, something that looked like a hoola-hoop. The minute all the vehicles had stopped at the signal, she put her loop on the pavement and moved a few feet away. She then did a somersault and landed INTO the loop on the ground. Within the next half minute or so, she twisted and turned her young body in a million ways, contorting herself into numerous shapes WITHIN the loop! It was still drizzling outside. But she went about her business, trying her best to entertain people stuck at the signal. And then she looked at the timer of the traffic signal. She still had another minute. Immediately, she ran from one vehicle to the other, collecting the coins that people gave her.


       The transvestite had completed her round by then and waited on the pavement watching the child collect her alms. My driver was getting impatient. The traffic policeman could not hold his mutter down anymore. He started raining curses on a biker who was trying to jump the signal. Within the next few seconds, all eyes were on the timer.
     The driver, wishing it would tick faster.
    The transvestite, wishing the vehicles would start moving slowly, so that she could collect her due from a newer batch of vehicles.
    The street child, wishing the signal would stay red a little longer so that she could collect coins from all the vehicles stuck at the signal.
    The traffic policeman, keeping a keen eye on the timer to ensure he gets his hand signals out at the right time.
    And I, indifferent to the changing colors of the traffic signal, completely lost in the beauty of this morning, watching the driver, the policeman, the transvestite and the child judging their next move based upon the changing traffic lights.
   The signal finally turned green, the drizzle was now increasing in intensity…the rain drops were getting bigger….the driver started the cab, the policeman blew his whistle and waved his hand, the transvestite was already walking towards the other side of the road…the side where the lights had now turned red. The little girl was holding on to her loop and running towards the red light lane, grinning as the rain drops lashed against her almost bare back.
    As my cab moved forward, I turned to my left to catch a last glimpse of the characters of my 90 seconds movie.
  The transvestite was  clapping her hands again. The child was getting ready to do a cart wheel. The policeman was screaming at yet another wayward driver……And my driver was turning the radio on…
It was no longer drizzling. It was raining. The policeman ran into his traffic island shelter, the transvestite put her sari over her head. The child….the child continued to twist herself into the metal loop. In the pouring rain…Grinning from ear to ear…While the rain lashed against her bare back.....
   My mind drifted off again to think about my warm bed and my cozy comforter….And I felt blessed! Working on a Saturday did not seem so bad at all…The 90 seconds movie had done it's job....I said a silent prayer and thanked Him for having given me a life that did not depend on the changing lights of a traffic signal….
Its strange where life’s lessons come from….

Friday, November 4, 2011

Is the world a stage, is our life a play ?

          I find it very difficult to accept or even assume that our lives are already charted out and pre-defined by a bigger force and that we are but actors on a stage, playing our roles and waiting for our exit some day. That kind of resignation takes away the very beauty of life...The thrill, the suspense, the wait, the hope and the dreams. If everything is already designed, defined and laid out in black and white, what are we expected to do? Where do we put to use, the spirit of being alive and human? We are capable of emotions, capable of thinking, judging, taking decisions and facing consequences. Wouldn’t the theory of pre-designed life kill the very purpose of our living?
          I believe that life is a series of decisions. At any point in time, we are offered choices. Each choice will have its own set of consequences.  We choose, we face the consequence. Along the way, we may stumble, make bad decisions, and make a few choices that may seem absolutely illogical and foolish in retrospection. However, at the end of it all, we know that what we are today is not a matter of just chance or luck, but the outcome of conscious decisions taken along the way.
          We spend sleepless nights, fervently praying and wishing for miracles, we seek answers and ask questions and have never-ending conversations with the higher power we believe in…..When things go our way, we celebrate. When things go out of hand, we sulk. We wonder what went wrong. We wonder if all the dreams and prayers were just a distraction meant to prepare us for what has already been planned.
            What we do not realize though, is the fact that, through each of these situations, the happy ones and the sad ones, without our conscious knowledge, we are growing in strength. Strength of character, of intelligence and fortitude. Preparing ourselves better by learning life’s ways of teaching lessons. Learning to take things in stride, learning to look for a silver lining and learning to stay positive through the toughest of times.
           We can choose to live out our time, smiling through the happiness, learning through the troubles and hoping through the uncertainties OR we can spend our time worrying if our happiness will end, if our troubles will increase and our uncertainties will continue to exist.The choice is again ours ! The beauty of it though, lies in the fact that though the choices are endless, the time is not! :)
           The way I see it, life is too good to be true. Too spontaneous to be pre-planned. Too alluring to be resigned to fate. . And too short to be wasted away in ignorance. Life is a realization. And the higher power we believe in? It’s like a lighthouse. Meant to guide us and help us choose the way. But the ultimate choice? Well, it is STILL ours :)





Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Pup

        At the Shirdi Sai Baba temple today, some people were handing out photos of Shirdi Baba with some of his wise sayings printed alongside a picture of his statue. When I got back home, I sat on the couch with the prasadam and picked up a photo and started reading aloud the quote that was printed on it. Here it goes

“ Be compassionate towards others and never turn away anyone from your door, be it human or animal. Love your fellow man for it will teach you kindness and caring”.

       The minute I read this quote, the first thing that crossed my mind was the pup. I must tell you his story. This happened just few months back.
       One stormy night ( I am NOT making this up, it was indeed a stormy night :)), we stepped out after dinner to lock our front gate. Cuddled on a foot rug in the corner of our compound was a little pup. He had rolled himself into a ball to protect himself from the cold. My mother pulled out a gunny bag that was lying around and put it on the ground so that the pup could use it if he wanted to and we left in the safety of our covered compound.
       We found him there the next morning too. He was up and about, moving around the place and we noticed that he had a limp. He was an extremely shy pup and as soon as he saw us step out of the house, he slithered under the gate and ran out, limping.
       When I got back from work in the evening, I again found him resting on the foot rug and the moment he caught sight of me,he ran out again. This happened for two days or so. By then, the pup seemed to have understood he was in safe hands. He would see him walking into our compound,resting and wagging his tail when he saw us. We have no pets at home, but a little pup taking refuge in our compound did not bother us.
        Until we noticed his eating habits that is !! :)
        From day one, my mother would keep aside some food for the dog and leave it on a granite slab for him to eat. But for some strange reason, the dog was a very poor eater. He would take a bite or two and then leave it at that. At first, we thought he would slowly get used to eating normal home food. But he did not. He would starve for days at end and he could see that he was losing weight.
        One day we caught him digging through a dustbin at the corner of our street and eating unmentionable items from it ! He seemed to have acquired a taste for all the weird things in the dustbin….Crazy pup! That same night, he did not let any of us sleep. He was continuously barking away, howling and scratching on the metal surface of the gate. We even woke up at 2 in the night to check if he was doing ok. He looked all fine and would wag his tail when we saw him, but would get back to making noise within the next half hour.
He teamed up with the street dog community on our road and starting creating a ruckus every night. He would promptly pee on the foot rug, bite all our shoes, drag our bike’s leather mat to the floor, leave behind the food that we left out for him and make a mess of our compound and everything in our compound started smelling like the street pup :)
        We did not let this bother us. My mother would clean the mess and we would speak to the little guy whenever we saw him and would ask him to be a good boy , eat something and behave well. But he seemed to be in no mood to listen to us. One night, he stuck his head into the metal railings of our gate and had almost killed himself. My sister freed him up in time. He continued to eat the filth from the dustbin at the street’s end and refused to accept any food that we offered him.
Since he was feeding himself on scraps, my earlier worry of him starving to death, began to fade. However, it constantly became obvious that he would kill himself by getting stuck in the railings of our gate. We cannot afford to leave the gate open for security reasons. Hence, we had to take a tough decision of trying to block his entry through the gap in our gate.
       Since it was practically impossible to keep a watch on him throughout the day, we put up a wooden plank alongside the length of the gate to ensure that he does not try the stunt of squeezing in through the tiny gaps in the gate thereby strangling himself.
      He did try to knock off the plank with his head a few times, but he then seemed to have got the message. Next day, we saw him taking refuge in a cozy corner of a vacant site beside our home. We placed his gunny bag there. Over the next week, we left some food just outside his new home, but he still refused to eat. We finally gave up.
         He was around for a total of three weeks or so, starting from the first day we spotted him. His limp was gone within the first week. Over the next two weeks, he made a lot of new friends on the street and soon after he disappeared. We never caught sight of him again. I have a hunch that he must have moved to a new neighborhood in our area :)
         Reading the quote about not turning away any animal from your door, I could not help but think of the circumstances under which we had to turn this guy away.  Considering the fact that our lifestyles do not have enough space or time to accommodate a pet and the fact that the dog was all set to kill himself, we had no other choice....If only he could EAT!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sins against my gender stereotypes

        There is a fun tag doing the rounds, which requires us to list down 10 things that are against our gender stereotypes. Tee-Hee-Hee :D This is just the kind of thing I love. Many times I wonder if I will ever fit into the definition of  a socially acceptable girly girl. I look like an acceptable one. But in my head, I am a devil of sorts. I just zoom around with a stolen halo to hide my horns. The tag asks for 10 sins, but from what I know of myself, I guess there will be more ! I just do whatever suits me fine rather than what our gender stereotypes recommend. Without further ado, here goes the list.


1) I do not shop often. Or for a long time. I zoom into a shop, look around, pick what I like and get the hell out of there in 20 minutes or so. 
2) I do not giggle. I laugh. I guffaw. Loudly and clearly. Without worrying too much about appearing ladylike.
3) I CANNOT shed crocodile tears. I am incapable of triggering tears. Just cannot do it.
4) I say it like it is. Sugar coating is not my forte.But I choose to be frank without being disrespectful.
5) I am not a big fan of hanging out with a gang of girls. I am choosy, picky and stick around with the ones that make sense to me. Truth be told, I get along better with guys.
6) I have NEVER gone "cho chweeet" over random babies or baby pics. When I see one, I smile, I pick, I plant a kiss. No baby-talk for me !
7) I LOVE blue. Pink ? Not so much.
8) I can change bulbs, fix random things around the house.
9) I do not have to be escorted around. I like doing my own thing without having to depend on someone to chauffeur me around town.
10) Comfort rules. I have minimal pairs of shoes. I do not color co-ordinate my shoes and clothes.
 Ok, ten done, but what's the fun in sticking to the rules :P I will throw in an extra one
11) How much I eat, depends on how hungry I am. Not on who is watching me eat.

Pick this tag if you like it :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Blogless Slumber ends !


       I had almost planned a grand re-entry to blogging with a kickass,witty opening statement to let the world know that ‘The Crowded Head’ is going to be REALLY crowded again ! But then, if you know me, you will know that anything I plan goes out the window very promptly :P Hence, sans all the dramatic excuses and profuse apologies for not sticking around on my blog more often, I choose to just let you guys know that I am BACK !Up and awake from the blogless slumber !

       It’s 11:56 PM and  I had tucked myself into bed almost an hour back. But more often than not, it takes me about an hour to put my “head” to sleep before “I” drift away into the land of yawns and good sleep! If the fact that I named my blog after my head isnt clue enough, let me just tell you, that my head is quite phenomenal. For many reasons…Being house to my glorious brain is one of them. If you do not know me well enough, I must use this opportunity to remind you of the fact that I am the same person who thinks her hands are two different people and has conversations with them :P So no prizes for guessing that my head shares the prized distinction of being a person too ! If you are the kind of sorted-out person that meditates, thinks about the ‘bigger picture’, believes in “energies and vibrations” and other mentally delicious stuff, please run away NOW ! I am totally incapable of any of this and get through each day talking to my “head”…Did you just say ‘psycho’?  I agree !

       I was having a tough time this morning, with my head trying to think of a million different things at once, making it highly impossible to enjoy the cup of coffee that I was sipping ! So frustrated was I , with the one million threads running parallely in my head, that I looked up at my head and said “ What do I DO WITH YOU?!” ….Aloud….In a room full of people…who thankfully, were busy watching something REALLY interesting on TV ( Thank goodness!)  THAT WAS IT ! I HAD to get some of these wise thoughts out on the internet and ensure that I am not the lone recepient of the crappy ideas that my head throws up :D

      So yeah, I was in bed almost an hour back trying to switch my head off and was reminded of my other head…’The Crowded Head’...Well-meaning friends have been reminding me of it’s existence with empty emails with just a subject line that says “ Why isnt the head crowded anymore?”  These emails did serve their purpose and atleast once a day I logged in to check what’s happening on my blog. I noticed from the tracker that people who googled for Arvind Swamy and Monsoons and life ended up on my blog. (Wow, I feel sorry for the folks who googled ‘life’ and ended up on my blog :D…How disappointing that must have been ! ) A stray comment here and there kept my blog breathing. And now I have reached  a point where I terribly miss writing here ! Come on, that’s like my lifeline, my road to sanity and my outlet for emotions ( insert bollywood-style expressions here).  It only makes sense that I continue to write and give Google a better chance to share my wisdom with the world :D

  And so ladies and gentlemen, thanks to a nagging head who will just not go to sleep, I am up awake at this hour of the night, promising to come back to write on my blog everyday for the next one month! I need to put such stringent measures on myself….kyonki….kyonki….kyonki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi !! Arrghh, why THAT now ?! Kyonki, I perform better under pressure ( Damn, I am giving away secrets here !)… So with that self-imposed disciplinary action against myself, I must tell you that you will be treated to tiny doses of non-sense every single day for the next ONE month….Stick with me..This works like a vaccine you know..at the end of this, you will be “immune” to non-sense. I promise ! :P

Here’s to uncrowding my actual head ! Here’s to crowding the Crowded Head ! Amen ! :D

Friday, March 25, 2011

Live like there is no tomorrow !

      Each morning, as I walk into my workplace, I take a minute off to look at Gandhi's image on the wall and read what's written below it.
             " Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever" it says.....
     Everyday I wonder what would happen if we knew today was our last day! Would we live it any different?Would we say things that we would'nt have said otherwise?
     Would we forget our fears and live our life to the fullest ?It's such a profound thing, that just thinking about it humbles me down!
     Today, the rain and the thoughts woke up the dormant poet in me.....And here's the result :)
     I am not a good poet....These lines are just my bare thoughts penned down straight...So do not worry much about structure,format etc :)

As I sit glancing out at the window sill,
Watching the raindrops play their game,
I think of all the dreams I had built
Of love,of money,of fortune and fame!

With all these thoughts running in my head,
I look at a floating leaf and find,
A helpless ant that was about to drown,
Struggling to find a helping hand....

I pick the leaf and lay it aside,
Sliding the ant off onto the wall,
He seemed to have made it, safe and sound
A life had been saved, albeit small !

As he crawled away to find his home,
I caught myself smiling a happy smile....
The tiny creature in all his innocence,
Had left me thinking about life's trial!

We build our dreams, all rosy and nice
Hoping to live a hundred years....
At the back of our minds,in the darkest space
We live with all our lurking fears!

The fear of death,the fear of pain
The fear of losing all that we love....
We push them back,deep into the space
Trusting the ONE who sits above!

But what if the day that begins tomorrow
I would never be able to see?
What if I were the drowning ant
With no one to set me free?

Would I then look back at my life,
And be happy that I lived it well?
Or would I be left with unsaid words,
That I wish I could somehow tell ?

We rush through our days,without ever stopping
To talk about the things that we feel,
There's always a day left tomorrow,
When we'll have the time to deal !

So many words that stay unspoken,
So many deeds that stay undone....
So many days that just go rolling by
With each morning's rising sun!

We are all here for a journey so short,
That we have no time to waste,
Say all the things that stay locked in your heart
Lest you forget them in haste!

Live like this day is your last day here,
Smile like you never knew any sorrow,
Forget your fears,laugh with your heart....
Live like there is no tomorrow ! :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Unaccustomed Earth - My Review


"That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet."  - From ‘The Namesake’ 

     Truer words haven’t been spoken! And with that line, she had me! Jhumpa Lahiri belongs to that rare breed of Indian origin writers who did not vanish away as one-book wonders. Nor is she the kind who can churn out a book every year. But each of her books, irrespective of the time interval that passes between two consecutive ones, make for very good reads! Especially for someone like me, who steers clear of any book that wins an award( I did not enjoy reading many of the award winning books), Jhumpa Lahiri has the rare distinction of being an award winning writer who has managed to keep me hooked on to her books. This post is dedicated to her in general and her book ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ in particular :)
       Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of 8 brilliant short stories. If the length of my blog posts is anything to go by, I am sure some of you would know by now that I am not a big fan of keeping it short ;) The more the words, the better! So, that kind of explains my aversion for short stories. I like lengthy, thick novels that run into hundreds of pages. With short stories, everything ends sooner than I like and the characters generally lack the depth of description and somehow at the end of it, even when a short story is good, I am left asking for more! So when I picked up ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ in 2008, I was skeptical. Back then, I had just completed reading ‘The Namesake’ and had loved it! So I started reading ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ without any high expectation! One short story into the book and I knew I had been wrong. Wrong in not expecting something spectacularly brilliant out of a Jhumpa Lahiri book! Because that is what she does...Her writing is silent, poignant and intense. When it’s her, you don’t just read, you FEEL. And that is exactly what happened in each of the 8 short stories. I felt an instant connection with the characters, as far removed from my life as they were, thanks to Jhumpa’s unfailing knack of inducing the reader’s love and empathy for each of her disparate characters.


The title of the book was inspired by one of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s quote, which appears on the front page.
"Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil.  My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth." 

       Hawthorne opines that human nature will flourish when transplanted in foreign,unaccustomed land. In that context, the title of the book could not have been better chosen as all the eight stories, as expected, are about the lives of immigrant Indian parents and their subsequent generations in America, the land of opportunities. The theme of Indian immigrants is repetitive in all of Jhumpa’s works and comes out very strongly in ‘The Namesake’. One would wonder possibly how different could the stories be, if they all circled around one single theme? Jhumpa artistically builds her stories around this common theme, making them look very similar and surprisingly different, all at the same time! Contrary to Hawthorne’s opinion of lives flourishing on foreign land, Jhumpa’s stories bring to fore the struggle of the Bengali immigrant parents and their children as they struggle to build their lives on a foreign land, subtly hinting that lives may not always flourish!

Lahiri is richly gifted when it comes to examining the extremely beautiful bonds that exist in a family. Husband and wife, sister and brother, father and daughter, son and mother, she displays extreme maturity and sensitivity as she dwells on how each role is exquisite and unique in it’s own way! She then moves on to explore bigger bonds, this time, between cultures.  Globalization has made this world a small village. But the implications are many. The turmoil and confusion that one experiences growing up in a society that has a confused concoction of multiple cultures and what such clashing ideologies can do to individuals has been brilliantly portrayed.
      Unaccustomed Earth runs slow, drilling into the depths of human nature, culture and society. Jhumpa’s style of writing moves you as you read along, and compels you to pause and think, instead of just reading. And if a book can get you to think, it is worth every penny you paid for it.
With eight different stories, you would be bound to think that one story could be better than the other. But in this book, there is no way you could rank one above the other. Each story stands out in its own way, creating a world of its own, in spite of the recurring theme.
In the interest of the people who are yet to read this book, I will not dwell into the details of the stories or their characters. That is for you to read and find out :) Just know that this book worth buying and reading! :) It will not take you long to finish reading it, in spite of the stories being longer than usual. Though the reading will not take much of your time, the thinking will! At many points through the book, I paused to think about something that struck  me and when I got back to reading, I would find that Jhumpa had written down my EXACT thoughts in the next few lines...It was like reading my own mind a second time :) No bigger joy than reading the work of a writer you can connect to! I have read the entire book twice in the past two years…I rarely ever read a book twice ;) So that’s saying a lot about ‘Unaccustomed Earth’!
        When I wrote a review of the book Shantaram on my blog few months back ( Click here to read it), I intended to get at least two readers to buy the original book... That goal was fulfilled with four people mailing back to let me know they bought their own books :) Thank you! Following the trend, I request you to buy or borrow the original ‘Unaccustomed Earth’ from a book stall/library instead of downloading/buying a pirated copy :) And once you are done reading it, do let me know what you think! :)

          Ok, here are some lines from the book, just enough to get you started ;) Happy reading!


"He owned an expensive camera that required thought before you pressed the shutter, and I quickly became his favorite subject, round-faced, missing teeth, my thick bangs in need of a trim. They are still the pictures of myself I like best, for they convey that confidence of youth I no longer possess, especially in front of a camera." 

"And wasn't it terrible, how much he looked forward to those moments, so much so that sometimes even a ride by himself on the subway was the best part of the day? Wasn't it terrible that after all the work one put into finding a person to spend one's life with, after making a family with that person, even in spite of missing that person...that solitude was what one relished the most, the only thing that, even in fleeting, diminished doses, kept one sane?" 
"She supposed that all those years of loving a person who was dishonest had taught her a few things." 

"He did not want to be part of another family,part of the mess,the feuds,the demands,the energy of it."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sometimes, a picture is NOT worth a thousand words !

       Today’s front page of the prestigious (?) Times of India Bangalore edition had me fuming. Right in the middle of the first page, the paper carried news about a child in Mysore who was chained like a dog for disobeying his uncle’s orders. Next to the news article was a picture of the child with his hands bound to the chain, sitting on the floor, turning half way away from the camera . To say that the picture angered me is an understatement. More than the hideous news about the child getting chained, it was the newspapers’ irresponsibility that irked me. The child’s picture was totally unnecessary. I am no big authority on journalism, so I accept the fact that my knowledge about journalism practices may be half baked. But it certainly seemed to me that the story could have been effectively conveyed to the world without the humiliating picture of the child chained to the wall.
       Sure, the picture drives the point home, giving visual proof the torture inflicted on the child. But how does it even contribute to the news being reported? I, as a reader would read the story and believe the newspaper’s version of it. But for the child, to be exposed to the world in that state, on the front page of a morning newspaper, is traumatic to say the least. There is a reason why war photography, containing graphic images of dead bodies of slain soldiers do not make it to the newspapers. The same applies to pictures of murders, rapes etc. Sure, your newspapers would be sold out like hot cakes if you carried all those pictures. But owing to the fact that the departed person deserves to leave in dignity , without having to be exposed to the world in his dead form, as a form of basic human courtesy, such pictures are excluded from the newspapers.
       But the child, whose photo was flashed today, is still alive. He is still in primary school and he has an entire life ahead of him. The chained torture that he was subjected to brought him into news. Few years down the line he may even wrap his mind around the fact that what happened to him was an unfortunate, inhuman incident and may even begin to forget it. But the humiliating chained picture of the child that was flashed to the world this morning, will serve as a constant reminder of the extremely vulnerable, embarrassing state that the world has seen him in. What would the journalist do if his own child was chained to the wall? Would he flash a picture of his son lying on the floor like a street dog? Or would his first instinct be to run to the child, rip the chain apart and free him? Wouldn’t he want to beat the hell out of that devilish uncle? Or would he rather prefer to click an image of the child in his sorry state and show it to the world in next day’s newspapers?
       The Indian media is pathetic! Sensationalizing the news seems to be their top priority. Reporting the reality is one thing, sensationalizing the reality with unwanted pictures is quite another! Agreed that the picture would go in as a visual proof of the uncle’s atrocity. But that’s for the court dammit ! At least, save the child from such embarrassment in newspapers .Responsible, quality and humane journalism is what the public looks for, more than anything else. What would a journalist do if he/she were to witness a person getting shot? Would his first instinct be to run to the aid of the person who was shot or would it be capture a picture of the crime? What if you are at an accident spot where the person involved in the accident is still battling for life? What kicks in first? Who screams out first? Is it the human in you or is it the media person within you? I am sure every photo journalist goes through the mental turmoil of having to decide the right thing to do in such situations. And at some extreme level, I do understand the logic behind photography at war sites. Many of these photos go on to win awards for portraying the emotions at play during those hours of turmoil. But in the wars, everything is said and done. People are gone!
       But the child in question here, has to face the world every single day. And ever since I saw that picture, I cannot help but wonder what he and his parents must be going through right now. The uncle, who inflicted this on the child, escapes almost scot-free out of the media glare, with just his name being included in the article. How does that even make sense? If the article needed a photo, it was a full blown close-up of this atrocious uncle. Flash HIS face to the world. Embarrass HIM, not the child. Let him know that the world now knows him as a man who chained his nephew. He deserves a grim reminder of his act every single day!
      I know each one of us would have a take on this issue. There may be some of you who would think that the picture was necessary. But seriously I don’t care! I am not even posting the link to the online version of the newspaper, for obvious reasons. For those of you who have seen the pic, this post may make sense. For the rest of you, you just have to take my word for it!
     I have to write an exam tomorrow, but I just had to get this out of me! Back to studies now!





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