Thursday, April 21

"News Now"

Around this time last year, I was wandering aimlessly about Chennai while friends paced around J frantically waiting to see their names on notice boards hoping to make one of the placement lists.

Me? I was among the 'fortunate' few who happened to end Day One with an offer letter in hand.  Those who knew me were shocked at why I chose the paper I did in lieu of the `respectable' one.

First month in the paper, I got my front page. With each week, I was tucking away one more lead story into my bonnet. After six months,  I was pretty much where any newbie can hope to be.  Then, in a  move that made my Editor blow his top off,  I quit.

Turned down every other offer I got.  Chose to turn into a zucchini than work at a newspaper again.

Why?  I could opt for a diatribe and do what N. Ravi (incidentally, was one of my favourite lectures from J) from The Hindu seems to have done.   Or,  simply let Amit Verma say my bit for me.

Friday, April 15

Midnight Musings

Today, I was talking to a creature I've known for many, many years. It's not like anything this one says or does surprises, bemuses or even affects me in any way.  Yet, it got me thinking about how you can never really know a person. Like know.  Maybe because its so much of what you've made the person out to be as it is the person themselves? 

Take people in love, for instance.  Say, Harmony.  When she first told me about KKR, she described him to be Death by Chocolate meets Sex on Legs. When I actually saw him, he turned out to be a rapidly balding, mildly obese, wildly gyrating horror-on-the-dancefloor, who to me, looked unbelievably like an African Warthog.  Now, I can bet that both our versions of him are not even remotely representative of his actual self, which by the way is also my point. 

I do it ALL the time too.  I routinely fall in-and-out of love with random people, who if I know just that tad bit longer, makes me see them in this entirely new way, begging the question as to whether they were always that hideous, dumb and boring or if it was just me. 

Okay, lets suppose that's just the novelty wearing off because its new and unfamiliar mindspace.  But what about what I started with, not really knowing someone at all when in fact you assumed you knew them best. Say, as a wife would about her (cheating) husband.  A mother about her (gay) son.  A girl about her (back-stabbing) best friend. 

When you find out you don't, you wonder if they've changed so much, beyond recognition.  If you knew them at all. Or worse, if it was you all along that kept making them up in your head just the way you wanted them to be. 

Or maybe that's all nonsense,  and it's like Eliot writes in the Cocktail Party

Ah, but we die to each other daily
What we know of other people
Is only our memory of the moments
During which we knew them.
And they have changed since then.
To pretend that they and we are the same
Is a useful and convenient social convention
Which must sometimes be broken. We must also remember
That at every meeting we are meeting a stranger.

Monday, March 21

Love Virtually

When Andy Murray was asked to say something to the audience in a post-match ceremony at the Australian Open earlier this year, he looked straight at the camera and said "Watch out. That Blue Shirt, he' alien."  
I would have too, if Murray wasn't seven years too late. 

That Blue Shirt got married today.  Naturally, everyone who heard assumed I had died, if not of heartbreak then surely of jealousy, what with him having once been the great love of my life and everything. Assuredly, I did not.  Die.  Of heartbreak, jealously or any other emotional overdose.  I'm fine. If you must know, I have no idea why. 

My best guess is that despite my ardent attempts not to, somehow growing up happened. 

And, since he very graciously ordered me NOT to come to his wedding, (as if he feared I'd go and threaten to jump into the nearest well if he didn't marry me instead of his intended) I had no choice but to oblige.  Ergo, all he's going to get, instead of the awesome gift I would've got him (and everyone knows how awesome a gift giver I am) is this mention here.

There don't exist many people in the world whose happiness I'll put above my own. You have to be everything in my universe for that. For Blue Shirt I always have. And most likely, I always will. 

So on this midsummer day. Him I wish, to find sense.  And her, the sensibility not to kill him in the meantime.  But for both, all the happiness in the world. 

Yes, reader. It's still me.  Don't let all the grace and touching prose confuse you.  I can get like that sometimes. 

And, while we are here, a special mention to the girls. Though all the incessant "how are you doing" calls and tubs of ice-cream were unnecessary and ultimately wasted, it was all still so much fun. 

Jughead, you big bear, don't cry.  Yes, but you liked Blue Shirt and he was "cute" and its "so sad" and "he's such an idiot to let me go."  I promise I'll find a boy who's as cute and who you will like as much and who's not an idiot and then, you can marry him. 

Harmony, for leaving your 28 degreed Bangalore breeze to come down to Fires of Doom that Hyderabad currently is. Even though you couldn't see or hear most of anything I said or did, we still had a ball. 

Smurfette, your escapades with lungied men in Chidambaram cheered up me as nothing could have. 

Samwise, if we didn't do our daily rants and discuss dirty dreams and dissect past, current and prospective love/lust lives, how would we possibly remain sane? Or ever write our books? 

Cud, if it wasn't for you, crew-cuts and blond streaks, classroom smokes and terrace drinks would've been almost forgotten. 

Aghori, for offering to take me along to zendom. 

Amen, whose solution to the problem is to put a ring on it.  To your question, yes, I like sapphires.

As for me, I now have hope.  If Blue Shirt's able to convince a sane creature to have him for keeps, I'm not a lost cause after all.

Tuesday, March 8

Liar Liar

So the past few months have been about professing interest in random jobs, going to interviews, answering inane questions, being made offers which I then have been gleefully turning down.  Explaining to mother why I haven't found one job that's to my liking is tricky but essentially simple.  If there's one fundamental truth in the universe my ma believes in besides MTR Bisibele bath mix, it's that the world is out to get her husband and her little bambinis.  And it is up to her to protect us hatchlings from the dangers of this cruel, cruel world. 

Ergo, she has spent most of the last twenty-years identifying our probable threats and consequently honing her skills in counter intelligence, pre-emptive tactics and asymmetric warfare. 

A couple of years ago, for instance, her biggest fear was that Demon Kid (what with his lean frame, gaunt cheeks and love for paradise biryani)  would be mistaken for a youth leader of the LeT or worse, the Indian Mujahiddin whereupon he'd be jailed and tortured/brainwashed so much that he'd end up a real terrorist ala Hrithik Roshan in Fiza.  And then I'd have to go petitioning corrupt government officials trying to find him/prove his innocence while mother stayed at home and wept.  So she figured she was saving us all the trouble when she launched mission "My Son Is Not a Terrorist." For two years, Demon Kid was forbidden to remain underweight, speak hindi, wear a sherwani (any variation there of), grow a beard, wear white, eat Biryani or travel without his passport. 

Numero uno on her list for me, on the other hand, has been the same as when I was sixteen, eleven or seven.  Ma's theory is that ALL men, maybe excepting her husband and not-terrorist son, are perverts who just become more and more creepier the older (the more impotent) they get.  So, she drilled it into me early on that all of them men lived for one reason only -- to rob me of my chastity, not because I was a catch or anything (which she assured me I was not) but simply because I was a girl. And why, everyone knows what happened to that silly Little Red Riding Hood who didn't listen to her mother and walked alone in strange woods anyway. 

Also, the things that could happen to me if I disobeyed mother were (i) be kidnapped and get sold to sheiks in Saudi-Arabia who'd use me in camel races or add me to their harem (ii) be made into a child actor who'll endorse Rasna and Cadbury but never be allowed to have them (iii) turned into a nun who'd have to spend her life among sexually frustrated women lusting after a deeply troubled and imaginary man (iv) get adopted by a milk-man (v) be sent to jail for setting grandmaw on fire. 

So I spent my first fifteen years terrified of young men, old men, milkmen, women,  sheiks, camels, nuns and grandmaws. Don't you just have a bright, new, shining respect for me that I turned out so well despite the horror? Naturally, you would. It's okay, so do most others really. Modesty keeps me from telling you how many. 

Drat! Where was I? Yes, providing you context. So what I was saying is that fooling mothers is boring business. Apparently, they don't even need details, which is the most fun about telling lies anyway. Any variation of -- ma, the interviewer looked so shady/was old and touchy/ called me to a hotel for the interview/asked me to work night shifts/wanted to post me in Delhi -- seems to work. 

I really need to get myself a job, man. 

Saturday, March 5

Before Sunrise

At 16, relationships were simple.  You liked a boy. He liked you back. That was that. You threw yourself headlong into a relationship without so much as a sense of self-preservation, so sure "love" triumphed over everything. All the way it lasted, it was hyperreality. When you were happy, it had to be euphoria. You lit up like a candle every time you were with him.  Owned everything that was `you and him.' And, when he made you sad, pathos didn't quite cut it. You walked around looking like death warmed over.  Or curled into a ball and cried yourself to sleep. And, when it ended, which it inevitably did, you died a little with it. 

Or, at least I thought I did. Of course, I didn't.  All my angst was so beautifully choreographed in my head, I marveled at my own sense of drama sometimes. 

At twenty-two though, it's so very different. Now it seems, liking someone and having them like you back is not enough. It's not even a start.  Relationships, I'm finding out, are about everything else. Some of these I get, most I don't. My fears now are not the teenage insecurities I had then; they are more real, more rational.  Which in turn are compounded more and more by those I see around me. The bickering, the break-ups, the cheating, the compromises, the pain and the drama -- I'm not sure I even wanna go there.  

So, it's a weird place to be in, this.  On the brink of something new, at the tipping point.  Forced to choose whether to draw back from the edge and retreat to safe ground or let go and take the plunge. I'm scared senseless. But there's something else too, something that feels annoyingly like... butterflies?

Friday, January 14

New Arrivals

You know the good thing about my cousins? They are all techhies.  The good thing about tecchies? They either (i) end up going to the US to study or (b) pass out of mediocre colleges here and get placed in companies that send them to the States. (Mine, btw were all a) The good thing about the States? Amazon sells my (late) christmas gift for $189 there.

It was awesome, really.  I woke up one morning to see a cousin hand me a neatly wrapped package with an amazon sticker on it.  My mum had ordered it. I opened hopefully and there it was, my brand new shiny Kindle. I can't be sure yet but I bet this must be exactly how mothers feel when they are first handed their baby. I've christened him Sheldon Cooper. You know, like after Sheldon Cooper! He's quirky et all but I love him to death.

This, by the way, looks like a good year for me. Technology wise. Not three days  into the 2011 and I bought myself this. It's not exactly what I'd call pretty or for someone currently out of business but its very no-nonsense and adds to my new I-am-a-grown-up-so-take-me-seriously-and-pay-me-well! look, so thats all that matters.

Actually, something a lot of people don't know about me is how much cool technology turns me on. Almost as much as Brandon Routh, if you want to know.  And, don't make me tell you how much that is. Between Devil kid and me, the things we bought ourselves till now?  An iPhone, 3 Nokia (1 drowned, 1 lost, 1 stolen), a Motorola (lost),  a Blackberry, a Kindle, a 42"LCD, 2 iPods, 2 Laptops, 2 Cameras (1 lost), 2 Desktop (1 conked), an Xbox 360, a PS, a PS2, a PSP(lost) and my looney tunes battery operated toothbrush. And, they don't make for even a quarter of our needs.

Now you see why I desperately need that well paying job and that rich husband?  But let's not talk about either until we've found both, yes? Yes.

In other news, life changing decisions have been made. Some of which you will find here. I will speak of them in detail just as soon as I decide whether they were the best or the worst I've ever made.  Having said that, going against every grain of character, Grouchy has embraced the "every thing happens for a reason" school of thought.  Superimposed on an existentialist frame of mind, it's been going very well so far. So, no matter what happens, happy she's determined to be.

Pip Pip! Brand new new-year resolutions, book and movie lists are coming up.  So keep checking!

PS: Oh, and sorry about the highlights of the trip thing. I swear it will come up as soon as I can find it.  And that might take a while.  Internet is a big place, no?