Fat Loss is Easy… Said no one ever!

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I’m a little upset today, okay I’m very upset because I went to the gym where I was told that for my age, I’m grossly obese (I added the grossly part). Then she went on to explain that obesity doesn’t mean what I think it means (eye rolling moment). She also told me that for my weight and height, I should be around 43 years old. Which part of this entire conversation is supposed to motivate me to lose weight? I mean, body shaming leads you to feeling shitty about yourself, starving yourself and yes, hating your body image.

I’ll tell you why this bothered me. It bothered me because when I walked into the gym today, I didn’t hate my body and definitely didn’t know I was obese so when I did 2kms on the treadmill, I had fun. Every moment which followed this conversation with this trainer made me want to kill myself trying. I am a self motivated sort of person and do not do well with insults, which aren’t in anyway constructive but destructive.

What pissed me off the most is how every single trainer in that gym is now after my life to lose weight so even when I’m super exhausted, they think it’s me being lazy and keep taunting me about losing weight. I have a full time job and I spent close to 2 hours at the gym post that so forgive me if I feel so tired I want to pass out.

Oh, and in the middle of her telling me I was obese, she also tried to sell me the idea of a personal trainer (paid of course) and visit her over the weekend as she’s also magically a dietician (imagine that, huh?!). You all must also understand that I realize that I need to lose some weight but in no way am I obese!! (or am I?!)

Fuck you, trainer. Fuck you for putting this evil seed in my head which is going to do more bad than good as I will now stress over the entire world viewing me as obese.

What a start to the new year, huh?!

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Bad Dishes Make Good Stories… said no one!

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I’m back after a long hiatus and I have news, not big news like I’m getting married or something, which I also am by the way in a little over a month buuut I tried to cook. Stop rolling your eyes!! Anyone who knows me even a little bit can tell that cooking and me, we just don’t gel well together and that my friends and readers, is a fact. Anyway, so I have to introduce you all to a fellow colleague of mine who is probably the only reason I try and do anything at all in the kitchen because she told me that even when I’m horrible and useless at it, I should just chin up and try again. Jo, take a bow!

You might think that my will to cook started recently but no, it started a long time ago and every time I thought that I got something remotely right (translates to edible), the next time would be a disaster. This would make me quit trying. I also have to confess something. I’m a big fat snob when it comes to trying new things, either I ace it on my first few tries or I don’t do it. You can imagine how many resolutions I made and broke over the past so many years for the same reason. Again, stop rolling your eyes!!

Coming back to my present predicament, I made a biscuit pudding or what resembles one for my office party tomorrow. For all of you talented chefs (men and women who have mastered the art of cooking without having to struggle like me) who are wondering how something that simple could be messed up, I urge you to stop reading this immediately, Gordon Ramsay is calling. I did what every smart (so called) girl does when she wants to cook something, I called my mother. You must understand that my mother is no ordinary woman. She and her two sisters, just like my late grandmother and their mother are great cooks. They are the women who get complimented on anything and everything they make because they are superwomen!! Anyhow, my mother diligently told me how to make it and then, added… it’s not that hard to mess up. I think that was the moment when I knew that I would definitely prove her wrong. Sigh. I tried very hard to follow all the instructions but guess what, I don’t have layers. I just have one whole big mash of chocolate, biscuits, nuts, raisins, cherries and cream. Not a bad combination but guys, it ain’t Instagram worthy. Hell, I can’t even look at it!

I decided to refrigerate it, tell my mother and her sisters that I ruined a simple recipe such as biscuit pudding and die a slow death as I post about it. As you continue rolling your eyes, imagine the faces of my colleagues at work who’ll be eating my pudding!

 

Dear Diary…

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I woke up this morning and I could just feel that it was going to be a beautiful day! I woke up a few minutes before my mother screamed my name from the kitchen and I was excited, like really excited!! I woke my brother up from his deep slumber, got ready for school, had breakfast and rushed outside to join my friends on our daily ride to school. My little brother is too small to ride a cycle by himself so he sat behind me as always and we rode through the narrow lanes, laughing and discussing what fun we would have at school.

The Morning Assembly was boring as always, with the National Anthem and saying the pledge; I still don’t think I know the right words and nobody told me why it’s important to learn them anyway but I make sure to do as I’m told. I’ve never really understood what democracy really meant, because if it’s so different from military rule, why is everyone always telling me what to do… At home, it’s my parents ordering me around and at school, it’s the teachers and principal. Nobody really listens to me and wants to hear what I have to say. Why should they? I’m just a kid.

The principal reads out these suggestions which students have made and I know she reads out only those which her favourite students have made so I never bother to pay attention and I’m waiting for Math class to begin because yesterday, I got all the problems right and it feels like I’m getting a hang of it now. This teacher is really good at explaining things and I’ve never really had a teacher show interest in me before. I’ve always thought that I was only average and as the teachers keep saying, very naughty but this teacher makes me think I’m special and I want to try and be really good from today, with a little bit of mischief of course. I’ve been so excited that I spent all evening practicing really difficult problems that we hadn’t even come to yet and got help from my neighbour who seems to be really good. I was so sure that nothing would ruin my day because I was fully prepared. I would be those students teachers would write remarks like, “He has great potential!” or “He will make us all proud!” as comments to parents in my report card. I really jumped the gun on that one but a boy can dream, can’t he?!

We all walked back to our classroom and I was really excited now because we were going to start with Math and that’s when it happened. I saw Arvind running outside the classroom and I thought he was going to get in trouble for being late so I shouted out his name really loudly. The next thing I know, PT Sir came into class, walked right up to my seat and hit me across the head four times. My ears were ringing and my eyes were tearing as I watched my favourite Math teacher walk into the classroom and everyone was staring at me. The PT Sir was yelling at me for shouting in class, which was pretty ironic, now come to think of it but I was in so much pain, shock and humiliation to think or react. He told my newly appointed Math teacher that to get us naughty, disrespectful students to listen and be disciplined, she had to hit us. She looked at me and her expression changed, almost immediately. It went from happy and hopeful to mean and strict like all the other teachers. From that look in her eyes, I could feel myself becoming one of those average students once again. I still tried really hard to focus but I just couldn’t and I got all the problems wrong, which was a perfect ending to a small dream.

The other classes went by so fast and nobody even asked me whether I had done my homework, had lunch or anything. My friends were too busy being naughty and mischievous in class to notice that I hadn’t spoken all day. I picked up my brother who immediately noticed my face was a little swollen and I tried to smile but it hurt. It wasn’t the physical pain really, it was knowing that when I woke up this morning, I didn’t think I was just a Security Guard’s son. I was a student who was good at working out problems, who could some day become an engineer but I realised in less than a day, how my dreams will remain just that, dreams. I let myself believe just for a few measly hours that I was more than what these teachers thought of me, because that one Math teacher thought I was a little more than average. Guess not. Who cares?! I’ll go home today and probably go and play with those older kids in the next lane, who seem to be really happy all the time and for some reason, their eyes are always red. It’s probably a better use of my time than doing homework for a subject I know I’m never going to understand. Who needs Math when you’re probably going to follow in the footsteps of your father and join the trade of providing security for a living? Math was a stupid subject anyway. Yesterday was just a fluke.

PINK

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You know the feeling you get when you’ve watched a fantastic movie and just have to talk to someone about it? That’s what I’m feeling right at this very moment. Unfortunately, it’s an odd hour and there aren’t too many people awake but if I don’t get these thoughts out, I might just die.

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I write this, not just because this movie moved me somehow but because this stirred up so many memories where I’ve been told to keep silent because it was a matter of my pride or dignity. Funnily enough, there were times when I kept silent myself thinking that people would think that I was ‘that’ sort of a girl, not even realising that by doing just that, I was creating a part of me which needed to be shunned from the public.

“Girls who pierce their noses are sluts. Girls who wear short skirts are whores. Girls who smoke and talk to boys, prostitutes. Their parents haven’t brought them up right. Girls who stay out late and are seen at pubs, escorts.” Any of these sound familiar? This is what a girl who has a so called ‘WILD’ side goes through.

I’ve been called bipolar and sometimes I believe I am because there’s a part which I show the world and there’s another part which I tend to hide from the public eye, which is exactly the opposite of who I really am. I like to dress up, get drunk and go dancing with my friends whereas there’s a part of me which also likes to curl up, watch a movie or read a book. When did that decision of choosing one from the other brand me into a particular TYPE of woman?

There have been instances when I’ve been eve teased and groped by men on the road but I didn’t tell a soul because I was always worried about being in the limelight as the ‘victim’ of something which I brought upon myself. This was in broad daylight, on the main road, when I was dressed in decent attire which didn’t accentuate any part of my assets. And yet, here I was thinking that somehow I attracted their attention and it was my fault somehow. Do clothes matter? Does it matter that I’m drunk and supposedly asking for it?

This movie drove the point forward about a modern woman’s position in society, where she works just as hard as her male counterpart, has late hours and wants to stay apart from her family independently, without her honour being questioned. Women who smoke, drink, have late hours, hang out with men a lot are loose, should not be given the freedom to do these things and worst of all, it’s okay when a man decides to ‘tame’ her. A man raping or sexually assaulting a woman is a sign of him showing the woman her place and his masculinity is empowered by that act.

No.

This is by far the most powerful word I came across in the film when it defined every emotion I’ve felt when somebody has tried to show me my place. We say no to violence, verbal and physical abuse in a relationship but funnily enough, at some point we all go back to it because as women, we are taught to endure.

My number was once leaked to a sexual workers website and I was harassed for weeks on end by strange people calling from all over the country. My reaction? I changed my number. I didn’t make a formal complaint to the police because I was scared of what they would call me. Why would anyone do this to me? Why me? Yet, they did and they got away with it. This was a couple of years ago and I’m still ashamed of what I let happen to me and funnily enough, every time I check my ‘others’ folder or check my Linkedin ‘inbox’, I know the horrific messages that await me. Do I do anything about it? Nope. I do what most women do… let things slide and forget about it.

I can’t hope for a day when I’ll have a man to come and save me from these situations because sometimes, it’s the MAN i’m tying to run from. My father thinks that I should learn self defence because it will train me to be prepared and AWARE of everything around me (FRIENDS unagi reference). While I ponder over that, let me go and clear my ‘others’ folder whereas all of you out there who are awake and reading this post, go watch PINK!

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Home, I Will Miss You…

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I know that by the time I wake up, the morning pooja of our neighbours downstairs would have begun ringing through the apartment. I know that a waft of jasmine will be in the air because someone would have just plucked them and very soon, the smell of coffee will invade my nostrils and the rhythmic sound of feet tapping the wooden floor from the Bharatnatyam School next door will gradually set the mood for all of us. Sadly, it dawns on me that I won’t be home to experience all this tomorrow morning because I’ll be far away from familiarity and closing in on alien ground very soon and there is this indescribable ache which has started somewhere in my chest.

I was running around my apartment over the past few days and as I bumped into the resident auto driver, Subramaniam and greeted him with an “Neenge eppidi irrikinge?” (How have you been keeping?), old grandmothers chatting and talking, neighbour aunties asking what I’ve been upto and how much I’ve grown, how my friends were… I felt safe and protected. I knew that within the four walls of my apartment, the world couldn’t hurt me. If you’ve stayed in an apartment, you know how everything you do is scrutinised be it a friendship with the opposite gender, a new piercing, bad habits (they’re waiting to see you fall so that they can parade how their children are better than you), good habits (they’ll lecture their children to become like you), what time you come back home, what you eat, where you go, what you wear… the list is endless!! These neighbours are also those aunties who will give you cold water when you’ve been locked out of your house, lend you money to buy ice-cream when your parents aren’t home and babysit/help with your homework when working mothers get caught up. These aunties are those that soothed you when you lost your child to cancer and helped you move on gingerly. These aunties are those that got competitive when playing table tennis and made unwarranted comments about your playing but they were also the same aunties who patted you on your back when you did well in your exams.

I’ve had many of my most memorable moments in this apartment, which may sound silly to many who’ve never stayed in an apartment before. To begin with, you’re famous because nearly everyone knows who you are and your name will be yelled at the top of their voices on many occasions, like when they’re outside your apartment and you’re doing your homework (it helps when your parents don’t let you out often, sometimes they just let you go to stop the yelling!), your parents will definitely be informed if you’ve broken windows or banged up cars (eh… don’t even ask!) and yes, the all famous… ‘whose got a crush on who’ phase when the entire apartment would be informed, within a few minutes of that secret being let out to that ONE confidant. I used to babysit kids when their parents pretended they had a social life for a few hours everyday, watched them have fights, soothed their wounded hearts when other kids wouldn’t play with them and kept them happy and smiling. I would stand guard when my friends did unspeakable things on the terrace (remember the bad habits?) and I have easily helped out at least 3 friends with their record diagrams because… that’s what friends did back then!!

My flat friends are either studying abroad, engaged, married and parents to children and it seems so wrong that we’re not children anymore. We’re not still worrying about marks or whether our white canvas shoes were polished or whether our friends would love the new pencil box you bought. Strangely enough, we still keep in touch through Facebook and it’s wonderful raking up these wonderful memories which make our apartment, the perfect home to so many of us.

My grandmother from the neighbouring building would be out on her evening walk on the terrace and she could see every single thing I was upto here. I know they would never admit it but I think this was an intentional act to check up on me and it used to be tedious having to explain to her why some boy had his arm around my shoulder, when honestly it would have been nothing but friendly. I missed my ammachi a bit then when I looked up at the terrace and didn’t see her there and it made me a little sad, knowing that those days are gone. Our apartment complex have these benches where I’ve cried my eyes out to Karthik who has been my closest friend since I was 13 or 14, I think over broken hearts and bad grades and those small things seemed so enormous and life threatening then. And now… even though out relationship has been nothing but platonic, the aunties wonder when we’re getting married to each other.

I used to hate their inquisitive nature but once you’ve moved around a lot, stayed in a lot of hostels where you were close to invisible, an aunty asking you why you look so tanned isn’t as bad as you’d think. An aunty commenting on how your dressing sense has changed over the years makes you wonder how much they really noticed about you and how much they care. If you’re ever faced with the decision of choosing an apartment over a house, I would suggest you choose an apartment every single time because as invasive as we might think they are… they actually have your back!!

Picture courtesy: http://www.craftshub.com

A Sex Worker’s Plea

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Open me up for the world to see,

And still I’ll scream, “I’m free! I’m free! I’m free!”

Free from being treated like a burden,

Free from a life where food is uncertain,

Free from poverty which bleeds me dry,

Free from a situation which forced me to break down and cry.

Free from a husband who beat me sore,

Free from a house to run, oh what a chore,

Free from a belly bursting with his seed,

Free from producing more mouths to feed.

Open me up for the world to see,

And still I’ll scream, “I’m free! I’m free! I’m free!”

I did not bring this upon myself,

I had to escape the hell I was in or I would lose myself.

You ask me was this the only way?

I answer in assertion as this was a brighter day…

I was 14 when I first felt the pain,

Today, this job leaves me everything to gain.

When he touched me there, it felt so wrong,

And every time hence, I’d wonder for how long?

Open me up for the world to see,

And still I’ll scream, “I’m free! I’m free! I’m free!”

Never liked it at first, neither do I now,

But it’s a job I have which keeps me grounded and how.

I don’t answer to a boss who eats into my pay,

And yet, everybody looks at me as though I’m prey.

I want to stop but nobody would take me back,

I’m a whore now, just with a large money sack.

Who needs them now? I have my own.

They have seen me yearn and they’ve seen me grown.

Open me up for the world to see,

And still I’ll scream, “I’m free! I’m free! I’m free!”

They look at me funny, as though I’ve gone astray,

How do I explain to them that I’m happier this way?

I make the calls and get to decide,

Who lays on top and who gets to ride?

My rates are set and so are my hours,

How different am I from perks your corporates shower?

It’s a hard job and I labour for money,

Stop the ridicule and making this funny.

Open me up for the world to see,

And still I’ll scream, “I’m free! I’m free! I’m free!”

Every time a man touched me, I felt this itch,

As time wore on, I realised it would make me rich.

I remember those days when I wanted to scream,

Now, it feels like it was all just a bad dream.

Stop judging me because of what I do,

Just try and empathise and let me live as I do.

I have a deal when I sleep with no husbands or fathers,

Only men who are single and have certain disorders.

Open me up for the world to see,

And still I’ll scream, “I’m free! I’m free! I’m free!”

You think that you know me and yet you don’t see,

The troubles I’ve gone through and what makes me ‘ME’.

Imagine a girl of 14 set out on her own,

With nothing but a baby on her hip to call her own.

I chose this way out of my own pain and misery,

Yet, everyone is still trying to make me free.

What do you want to make me be?

A decent woman, a wife, a mother of three?

Open me up for the world to see,

And still I’ll scream, “I’m free! I’m free! I’m free!”

I don’t need your pity, I don’t need no alms,

I’m fine working this way, honestly with no qualms.

I work by my rules, isn’t that nice?

I pay for my own wheat, vegetables and rice.

No husband to steal my wages or bow down to,

I use a stool when I can’t reach those heights I want to.

My girl is almost 14 and I don’t want her to be,

Anything she doesn’t want to, take it from me.

Open me up for the world to see,

And still I’ll scream, “I’m free! I’m free! I’m free!”

Did you know I pay taxes? No labour is tax free.

There’s hard work that goes into what makes me ‘ME’.

The next time you see a sex worker on the street,

Just remember this simple sex worker’s plea…

We do what we do because it pays

Why not make it legitimate, all of these lays?

Why should I switch jobs and become what you want me to be?

I’m a sex worker and I swear, “I’m free! I’m free! I’m free!”

This piece of creative expression was something I did for a class I’m doing on Social Interventions in India. It hopes to capture the feelings of a sex worker and how they actually might like being employed in the same but are forced to take up other jobs as they feel what they do isn’t legitimate.

Always Lost in Translation

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If one could read fluently, confidently, in every known language, one would have no need of translators or translations; one could read Homer on Mondays, Akhmatova on Tuesdays, Swahili poets on Wednesdays, and so on.
― Abraham VergheseCutting for Stone

When you’ve studied in a Convent School, you’re taught to respect a language and more often than not, it’s not your mother tongue and very rarely does it happen to be a regional language either. In most cases, it’s English and for the better part of my 28 years, believed that people who spoke grammatically correct English were a class apart. I’m glad I moved around a lot after school, which made me believe how it’s actually contrary to popular belief that speaking fluent English makes you the smartest and brightest of the lot. In fact, I think it limits your vision and views to a great extent.

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I’m glad that I was brought up with grandparents because if it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I would have ever learnt to read, write and speak Malayalam, as funny as it might sound to the ear. My spot at the bottom of the divan while my Ammachi would watch Malayalam serials and movies made me fall in love with the nuances of the language. Summer brought Ammachi’s classes on reading and writing which is still something I’m struggling with, now that she’s no more. Church brought me closer to Malayalam music and singing words which I wouldn’t comprehend until much later.

My Dad once told me that while my mom and I were traveling by ship with him (he’s a retired Marine Engineer), the crew consisted of many Japanese and even though I was hardly 3 at that time, I picked up a few Japanese words. Imagine that! It’s scientifically proven that children can pick up close 4 or 5 languages by the time they are 5 or 6, if they’re in the right environment.

Traveling by public transport always helps you pick up language and I’m grateful to my Mom for ensuring that we took a lot of bus and auto rides where I learnt how to politely and well, rudely drive a good bargain in Tamil. It also helped that my parents enjoyed Tamil and Hindi movies so I was brought up watching and falling in love with a lot of regional cinema and music. What definitely helped were friends like Kk who spoke Tamil slang and made me fluent in a completely different version of the language which is more popularly known as cheri Tamil. You must also understand that when your primary language is English, any other regional language will make you sound like a petre which I proudly flaunt whenever asked whether I speak Tamil.

School and the oh so tiresome, SECOND LANGUAGE… It was a terror from the start and I swear the only Hindi I learnt in school was due to my binge watching of Tu tu Main Main. My mother would spend hours trying to ensure that I learnt the language but with nobody around me who I actually needed to converse with in Hindi, it never helped. The coward’s way out was what I opted for by the switch to Sanskrit to get better grades during the board exams, which I ended up learning for 4 years. Sanskrit was actually fun (doubt if there was any learning) because we had a brilliant teacher who really went all out in trying to explain the nuances of the language and anytime, anyone would pass our class we would be reciting the oh so famous ramah ramo ramaah. It became like this daily recitation which was pretty hilarious for anyone who didn’t know what we were really trying to do.

Then, the brilliant move to Surat in Gujarat when everyone looked at me funny because I looked and talked funny (dark skinned, wore strange clothes, spoke primarily in English but secretly understood Hindi but never let it out because that would be blasphemous). Those were my darkest days, I think because I think I got bullied the most because I didn’t speak Hindi or Gujarati which infuriated most people because I didn’t know the NATIONAL LANGUAGE. Yes, I know NOW that Hindi isn’t our National Language and an Official Language. If only I had been that smart then, at 18. Anyway, 5 years in college had me learning Hindi and Gujarati (I can read Gujarati too!) which helped because of all my professors, seniors, classmates, juniors and the chai walahs who bore with my broken language but always encouraged me to speak nonetheless. It also definitely helped that I travelled 36 hours from Ahmedabad to Chennai by train at least 4 times a year and had a LOT of people to interact with. (we now call them STALKERS). Little did I know that all of this would only groom my learning.

I moved to Ahmedabad for about 2 years where shopping, eating, travelling and friends were my sources for picking up the Amdavadi slang. It definitely helped that my maasi, maasa and brother spoke pure Gujarati and Hindi. My first few words daapi (left) and jamni (right) were picked up from my maasi while she was directing the auto walahs.

My move to Jaipur in Rajasthan where I was exposed to the purest form of Hindi and forced to adapt because I was dealing with state officials was the icing on the cake. All my learning in school added a little, I guess but it was more of interacting with everyone around me, especially children and old people, learning their accents and dialects which made me finally comfortable to take trainings in Hindi and most importantly, draft official letters and make notes in Hindi. It was I think my proudest moment ever when some official complimented my Hindi. (I think he was being kind)

After 10 years of being in Hindi speaking states, moving back to the South, Bangalore especially was the hardest task ever. Kannada is not similar to Tamil and Malayalam, not even in script and I struggle on a regular basis conversing with the cab drivers and auto guys who just do NOT understand any language I speak and that is actually saying something. It’s been over 9 months and my best Kannada is still, nilsi and gothila. I think I’m not trying hard enough as my mixture of Tamil-Malayalam-English normally gets me places. I understand what people say sometimes if I strive really hard but I give up halfway thinking that it’s too much effort.

To make things more interesting, I decided to learn Esperanto (a constructed language) from a multilingual professor; which made me actually chat with random strangers on certain sites about India and what I’m doing as a student etc., using my very good friend (Google Translate) and practicing it on friends who can speak Spanish and of course, listening to MUSIC in Esperanto and having my own dictionary of words learnt!

The purpose of boring you through my history of learning languages is to say that it’s important to know English, yes but it’s even more important to know regional languages to enjoy conversations and experiences which you can miss out on otherwise. Walking into a village and striking up a conversation with someone needs them to be comfortable and you speaking an alien language isn’t going to help. Honestly, I think it’s much more than that as it adds more meaning to your words and clarity. I jump between languages sometimes because I feel there are certain words which lack the feeling and emotion for what I want to say. When I say soodu soodu kaapi in Tamil and hot hot coffee… it doesn’t give the essence of what I actually mean to say. Just like vaashi in Malayalam doesn’t translate into ego as much as it intends to. I think aukhaat in Urdu is the perfect example when there is no comparison to a similar word in English.

I recently watched an award winning Malayalam movie with really bad English subtitles and I understood what ‘Lost in Translation’ actually means. The words were made to sound so harsh and alien even as to what was actually intended.

Of course, there are hindrances to knowing too many languages as well, that it’s difficult to stick to one language at all times!! I think I sound weird sometimes when I stutter and stammer for minutes just to get out a simple word, because my mind was looking for an equivalent in another language but it just didn’t work. All my life I have been made fun because of my funny Tamil, because it wasn’t proper enough, my poorly pronounced Malayalam, my accented English, my atrocious Hindi grammar and my too sweet Gujarati. I’ve laughed along at times, got angry at times and felt alienated sometimes but you know what, I think it’s okay because it means that I took the effort to learn and that effort taken means that I can travel to various parts of the country and not be bothered about language or how I’m going to survive there. Being a Grammar Nazi myself, I understand the importance of it but to actually experience life, a few broken grammar rules isn’t going to hinder that. Language is about communication!!

My only regret in life is that I didn’t read many books in regional languages which I think has stunted my knowledge to a great extent. To anybody who is learning a new language, read books or comics even, speak to anybody who will listen and watch a lot of movies!!

Kannada and Esperanto, you will be conquered soon before I move on to something else but I think the take away from this post should be that it’s never too late to learn a new language!!

Picture Courtesy: www.pondrepod.com

When 2016 Comes To Shove…

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Picture Copyrights: Anjali Mariam Paul

Sometimes, the road less travelled by ensures that you get lost, fracture a leg, break down and lose your sanity, amongst other things. Things get better as everything is momentary, nothing is permanent. What is water today might be ice tomorrow… It all depends on how long we want to wait it out and see what we make out of life’s obstacles and challenges. Learn to respect everyone around, be it a 5 year old child or a cow on the road. Your perception of the world doesn’t necessarily need to be anyone else’s and your right of opinion is just the same as anybody else’s. Be kind, as you never know whether your mere presence, your smile or your words could be the altering point in someone’s life. Don’t waste time being mean because that time could be spent in falling in love with a new song or a new book or a new concept. Eat what you want, when you want and how you want despite how you think you’ll look in those figure hugging jeans. It’s not worth giving up that yummy sinful looking piece of chocolate cake. Live everyday like it’s a special day because you never know when it’s going to be your last.

Write about Hitler if it makes you happy, do a nude sketch of someone if that’s your thing, travel to unknown places if you want to, click selfies to cherish every moment if you’re scared you’ll forget it… just stop worrying about anybody else. You are you and you have every right to be YOU!

Don’t try and be somebody else because there is nobody as unique as YOU! Wear clothes which you’re comfortable in, do things you want to do and most importantly… learn to say NO.

Tell your friends and family how much you love them every chance you get because they deserve to know how much they mean to you. Finally, love with no conditions because you’d rather have loved with a whole heart and lost than not loved at all.

A new year asks for new beginnings and here’s mine to being the childish, immature, spontaneous, gluttonous and silly ME!

Provoking Thoughts During A Bus Journey

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lonely-girl-on-the-bus-1280-1024-7838

There’s something soothing about a long bus ride, taking you to a world away from the one you’re stuck in. (If you’re staying in Bangalore, then you know that it means a daily commute to anywhere. As a matter of fact, it’s faster for me to cross the border to Tamil Nadu than to reach MG Road from where i stay, in Electronic City.) But, that isn’t the point of this post. I’m referring to that same bus journey which takes forever but is a journey into your past, reminiscing about moments lost, fleeting moments of love and betrayal…

A few hours when you can let your tears fall, without people intruding in on your pain, telling you that things will okay when maybe you don’t want it to be okay… What if you just want to wallow in self pity for a short while? Shed tears where have been left unshed for hours, days, weeks and months… Enjoy a song a little more emphatically than you would otherwise… cry a little harder at something which didn’t require even a fleeting thought… remember people who walked out without saying a word… And as you wait at a signal, look into the eyes of random strangers and see your pain reflecting in their eyes.

Give someone your best smile, knowing only too well that in this city so big, there’s no chance in hell that you’ll meet them again and if you, you can consider it serendipity.

What is it about bus rides that makes me creep into this new avatar who is oblivious of the physical constraints and just lets me be… What is it? I cry a little harder, I smile a little wider and I enter this world where I am one with myself.

I stare a little too deeply into the underlying violence that exists in the lives of the hawkers on the road. I can see the police lurking close by, probably for a cut or to drive them away once they’re give the order. How did they get to live a life like this? Did they ever get a chance to enjoy a childhood when the main concern was enjoyment and not sustenance? Do their children go to school? Do they dream just as I do? Do they dream at all?

As the bus takes a route where I’m surrounded with skyscrapers, I wonder how many of them come out of their balconies and think of jumping off just to feel the exhilaration of not being caged…

I hear a child laughing ecstatically at something at the back of the bus and as his mother tells him to quieten down, I want to tell her to let him laugh because the innocence of his laughter will be lost in a few years an his gurgle will be the only thing that resonates off the walls when you’re worried about his tests, exams, fees, extra classes and future dreams. Let him laugh as much as he wants… Just let him be.

Picture copyrights: Girl on the bus saved me (Can’t seem to source the artist. If anyone knows, please let me know.)

When 28 Becomes More Than A Number

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The trick is growing up without growing old.” – Casey Stengel

Khumbhalgarh Memories

I apologize to my readers (yes, I mean YOU guys who accidentally decided to click on the follow button and have to bear with my posts in your reader or those of you who are forced to read this because you guys are my friends on other social networking sites) for not posting in the longest time but, as you might not have known… I’m back in college!!

This means that most of my time is spent fretting about reading and comprehending what the third electoral system is, what Purchasing Power Parity means, why Marx is a big dickhead, how SOCIETY means a lot more than what I thought it was, where the country is headed with it’s crossing of planetary thresholds and most importantly, WHY I NEED TO KNOW ANY OF THIS?!

After being a working professional for close to 5 years, coming back to college when you sneak a bottle of scotch into the hostel, being hammered and going to class the next morning, worrying about attendance, response papers, grades, open courses, credits and looking like a complete idiot when you raise your hand to answer in class makes it all so overwhelming. I can’t pull all nighters anymore, my body can’t stomach drinking more than twice a week and it’s as though I’ve just realized how relaxing SLEEP is because that seems to be my favorite pastime.

The most entertaining part of it all is I spend more time asking everyone around me how old they are just to convince myself that I’m not the oldest but guess what, most of my closest friends in college are close to 7 years younger than me and I absolutely love it! I didn’t realize it until today that no matter how old we get, our love for comfort food in the middle of a stressful weekend before an Economics test, Hersheys Kisses, a peg of Taliskar Skye when we feel the world is going to crash down on our heads, gossiping, donuts from Krispy Kreme, momos and random talks about the state of the world we live in makes us all ‘same same but different’, no matter how young or old we are.

I might not be the skinny, bad ass me that I was around 5 years ago, with an eye-brow piercing and attitude that would cut you down to size (that’s how I remember myself anyway) and that’s something which has taken me a few months to realize. I have changed and evolved into this person that I am now (whoever that is) and I’ve resolved to enjoy being this ‘new’ me and not have that number shadow my every move.

28 is definitely more than a number to me, it’s more like a doorway to a new life and to think that it took an Economics test to make me realize this… 🙂