Let's Catch Up!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Journey


Friday evening. That beautiful time when you finally put the horrendous week behind you, and look forward to the weekend full of promises of laziness, sleep and fun all in a span of 48 hours.

Friday evening. When everyone runs early from work if possible. When everyone is in a hurry to get home and move on with life.

I wrestled my way through the crowd, found a comfy spot in the middle of the train, and mentally surrendered to two hours of drudgery. As the local pulled out of the station and began to gain speed, a disturbance ran through the crowd, enough to snap everyone out of their busy dream worlds. Women standing near the door suddenly started screaming hysterically. Next thing we knew, we felt the train jerk slightly. Then everything was back to normal. Everything except the hysterical women at the door.

It took a few minutes for the full story to come out. A man had tried to get onto the train, slipped, and got sucked under the train.
And our bogey had gone over him.
The thuds we had felt.

There was stunned silence in the bogey as the realization slowly sunk in. We had just gone over someone. Someone was probably dead. We were on the train that killed him.
Everyone looked shaken up.

Slowly, people returned to their books and phones, albeit slightly zombie-like. The train stopped at the designated stations. More people got in. Chatter filled the bogey again, as it chugged away from the spot that had changed everything. I spent a restless night reliving those bumps on the railway track, the jerks we felt, the futility of it all.

For the next three days I woke up early in the morning and ran to the door to get the newspaper and scan through it for any news of the person. Was it an old man? Was it a young boy? Did he survive? Were there loved ones mourning somewhere? What did he do? What had his life been like? I desperately wanted to attach some identity to this person, something more than just a bump I felt while standing in the train.

But nothing.

A lot of other important things had happened in those few days. Tata’s announced their new heir, FDI in retail increased, politicians were being politicians, Sachin missed hitting a century. But nothing about a train going over a man at Grant Road. At this point I would like to believe that somehow all this was some huge confusion. Maybe he just slipped and didn’t actually go under. Maybe the jerk we felt was just his bag or something. Maybe the women at the door were mistaken. Maybe someone was plain tired and crazy and hallucinating. Right now, I’d rather believe anything, than the fact that his life was just that insignificant.

I’d rather believe that it was all in our heads.
That the train didn’t continue like nothing had happened.
That life didn’t just go on.
For all but one.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fate

Because sometimes, some things are just worth putting up again.


He came into this world
A little bundle of joy
He looked around impatiently
And waited for her to join

She came into this world
Farther this world round
She basked in his love
And waited to be found

They grew up in two corners
Knowing deep in their hearts
They were meant to be together
Existing far apart

Somehow they always knew
Somewhere they were meant to be
But in the name of growing up
Mature was he, and she

Years passed and so did dreams
Of destiny love and fate
They chanced upon each other
Too little, too late

Why did you take so long? She asked
Where were you when I cried?
I was waiting for you right here, he said
Waiting the entire time

Why didn’t you wait for me? He asked
Why did you give up?
You were a figment of my imagination, she said
It was time to grow up

As fate shone down upon them
Victims of their own belief
This world claimed many a cynics
And drowned them in its grief

But two souls brought into this world
Meant to be, meant to be
Lost faith and yet found each other
And made their own destiny.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Under My Umbrella!

Today, as I sat comfortably in a car heading to office, my new Ray Ban aviators (Yeah babay!!!) shielding me from the sunny concrete jungle outside, it suddenly occurred to me that I have actually been in Mumbai for almost one and a half years now. Now I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you had been anywhere near me, and had to suffer my raves and rants about how much I struggled alone in this new city initially, you would really beg to differ. And more importantly, what this really meant to me was that I had actually managed to survive two complete cycles of that dreaded season called the monsoons.

So?
So I spent the great Monsoon ’10 actually yearning for sunlight for once in my life. I would have nightmares about walking a kilometer through gutters with dead rats around me and cars splashing that gutter water right on my face. And then I would wake up, and walk a kilometer to office through a street which was pretty much an open gutter with dead rats and splashing cars. And it made me angry. At everything and everyone. It made me angry at the government for such crappy infrastructure, it made me angry at the auto-rickshaws that refused to ply, it made me angry at all the Mumbaikars who loved this disgusting worm-muck cocktail of a city. And I huffed and puffed and ranted through it all.

I was in general a much happier person in 2011, for a variety of reasons. New job, new apartment, new life, new me. And a whole lot of love. But even as I blamed 2010 for all my bad luck and bad decisions, it was with great apprehension and distrust that I approached Monsoon ’11. 

And then I was presented with that beautiful gift, something I treasure more than anything else in the world.

My new umbrella.

Now, I could just put up a pic of the umbrella for you, but then some things are better left to imagination, don’t you think? So here goes, I’ll describe it for your brain to conjure a perfect image of it.

It’s huge, big enough to cover two of me, and believe me, that’s big!!
It’s dark blue, and…take a deep breath...has little white hearts all over it.
And the cherry on the yummy cake….it has a pretty white frill at its edge.

Ok, stop rubbing your eyes. You read right. I’m carrying a frilly umbrella with hearts. And it’s not plain black. I’ve even been called Mary Poppins because of it (well, there really can’t be any other similarity now can there?). But you know what? I absolutely LOVE it.

I love it for all the love with which it was given to me. I love it because it makes me feel protected. I love it, because, well, it’s magical.
No, no, not that dreamy sort of magical crap.
It’s a real magic umbrella.

In the whole of Monsoon ’11, in which I did take an auto to office most days, in fact travelled all the way to a garbage dump on the other side of the planet for a few months even, I must have used that umbrella a total of some five times. I always had that umbrella with me. But it always ceased to rain for those few moments between the time I would step out of home, and step into a rickshaw. AND, I would get a rickshaw. I-kid-you-not.

Magic, I tell you.

And a whole lot of love.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Two Hours of a Lifetime


 I sat at my desk, glaring alternatively at the late hour proudly displayed by my watch and my excel sheet which adamantly refused to pivot the massive data. As the cells slowly began to get hazy and merge into meaningless data, my mind wandered off to the question which had been naggingly poking me at the back of my head for quite a few days now, just because someone asked, just because I didn’t have an immediate satisfactory answer.

What would I do, if I had two extra hours in my day?

I blinked, and refocused on my excel sheet.
Would I finally find the patience for my ailing laptop to hurry up and finish the work in those two extra hours?
Will I actually meet my deadlines two hours in advance?
Will I finally join those dance classes I’ve been eyeing for months?
Or actually work out?
Will I, in all probability watch more tv?
Or just chase that ever-elusive sleep?

Sighing, with a last forlorn look at my watch, I finally shut my laptop, and stepped onto the busy streets of Mumbai. If there is one thing this city teaches you, it’s the art of walking right into crowds, without really looking into anyone’s eyes, elbowing people and making way for yourself. Survival of the fittest, they say. And it has its ways of pulling you in, and drowning out your despair in the waves of crowd making their way to the next minute of their busy lives.

As I stood in the local train, stuffed like a sandwich spread in between other sweaty passengers, my mind went back to those two beautiful extra hours. Maybe I’ll take a cab and sit like a queen, instead of standing in a way that seriously questions the concept of personal space.

An hour of standing later, I pushed my way through Andheri Station, onto the next hurdle…finding an auto back home. After sundry rejections, I finally manage to find one, and rush up the stairs to reach home. Maybe I’ll spend the two hours actually bothering to report the errant rickshaw-wallas. I chuckled to myself.

Home. That sweet relaxing place. Apart from the few troubles like food and plumbing and bills to be paid. I checked the reminder on my phone and groaned. Friend’s birthday party tonight. If only there was a way to get out of these social conventions.

There’s work to be done…hours to be slept…people to be met…time to be wasted…
And I stopped, disgusted with my own thought process.
And then it hit me.
How I should spend those two magical extra hours in my day.

Maybe I’ll be less of a machine and more of a human being. Maybe I’ll walk at a pace that humans were intended to, and not the PT Usha contenders that we have turned into. Maybe, the next hour in the train, I won’t just sit there listening to music and minding my own business, maybe I’ll actually look around me and really see the others in the train. Maybe I’ll ask them their stories, realize that there is a life that exists outside of myself and my worries. Maybe I’ll look into their eyes and try to imagine their stories. Maybe I’ll look outside at the world passing by, and finally see the beauty of it all. Maybe the next time I see an accident, a person in distress, a road fight, I’ll actually stop and help. Maybe the next time when the man with the luggage bangs into me at the station, I’ll actually turn around and confront him. Hell, maybe if that man had an extra two hours in his day, he’ll actually stop to apologise. Maybe I’ll take the time out to smile at random strangers, in the hope it makes their day better. Do you really remember what the sky in Mumbai looks like? All I remember of the sky in this city is high-rise buildings and construction. Maybe I’ll go outside, and just spend some time looking up at the sky, and the stars and the moon. Maybe I’ll take some time off in my day, time which is not about me, about money, about work, about commitments, but instead about time, and life, and space. Maybe I'd be less cynical. Maybe I’ll be a better person, and live the rest of the twenty four hours in my day in a more humane way than I do now.

Maybe so will others, with their two extra hours.

One can always hope.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Do You Remember?


Remember the days, in school, when you looked forward to your wild college days?
Remember the days, when all you wanted to do was get out of home and go to new places and meet new people?
Remember the days, in college, when house parties with booze was the happening thing?
Remember the days, when you fought with parents over how not-understanding they were?
Remember the days, when rebelling was the thing to do?
Remember the days, when you behaved like an angel and saved money all year long to go clubbing that one time with friends?
Remember the days when the DJ played your favourite songs?
Remember the days when you were the last person off the dance floor?
Remember the days when you woke up with a hangover, and still managed to attend all classes?
Remember the day when you started to work, and swore you’ll lead a sober lifestyle?
Remember the days when your job sucked, and you realized you needed more from life?
Remember the days you partied by night, and worked by day?
Remember the day you changed your job, and your lifestyle changed with it?
Remember all the days you worked?
Remember all the nights you crashed early?
Remember the last time you finally took out time and went clubbing, again?
Remember what you felt when you saw all the kids, with no intentions of getting off the dance floor till the DJ gave up?
Remember all the teenagers in the restroom, redoing their makeup?
Remember not putting on makeup?
Remember all the times you turned down party invites, and chose to curl up in bed with old episodes of Ally McBeal in stead?
Remember how weekends are now about banks and plumbers?
Remember how your parents started sounding almost right about most things?
Remember how suddenly, sleep is now the most important thing?
Remember how old you feel?
Remember how old you actually are?
Do you remember?

P.S. On a lighter note, they say that 24 is completely the new 35. Oh wait, I don't think that was a lighter note. Oops. My bad.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

O Captain! My Captain!

The thought. The ideal. Perfection, dented, in the most beautiful way to create true unblemished beauty. The long list with all the pointers written with a permanent marker, and some with invisible ink, all ticked off.

Irrespective of whether Captain’s already in my life, whether he’s my imaginary soul mate, or whether he’s a small figment of my optimism (that’s really for me to know, and not for you to be nosing around in, don’t you think?), I sometimes stop to think just how difficult this world really is for him. Because you know that little checklist I just mentioned? Well, it’s been formed over all of 24 years honey. And frankly, if there’s one thing life teaches you, it’s that the list just grows, more and more, all the time.

And these past 24 years have been colourful and informative, to say the least. There has been a plethora of old Hindi movies, with the song and dance numbers, sexy Hollywood films, romantic French films, and literature varying from the classics to the vampires of today. The image may sadly actually owe its origins to the first time Shah Rukh wooed Kajol in the DDLJ, starting to take shape only after Tom Cruise “Had me at hello!”.  And then there were the Keanu Reeves, Val Kilmers and Brad Pitts of the world. And then came about Johnny Depp. And the world as we knew it, was never quite the same again, now was it?

So the Captain should obviously be as sexy as Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, just not as stupid.
He should as deep as Depp, but without the hidden levels.
He should be as strong and possessive as Edward Cullen, just not as nauseating.
He should be as suave as Rhett Butler, but frankly my darling, he should give a damn.
He should pull out the chair for you to sit in, but first let you decide where you want to sit.
He should be funny and flirtatious like Hugh Grant.
But sophisticated and downright proper like Colin Firth.
He should like you in your pretty dresses, but love you as much in your torn pyjamas.
He should infuriate you like Austen's Darcy, and maddeningly love you back as much.
He should treat you like a lady by the day, and love you like a lady at night.
He should dirty dance like Patrick Swayze, and come back to haunt like his Ghost.
Every time you do something wrong and apologise, he should say sexy lines like Oliver Barrett IV… “Love means never having to say you’re sorry…” SIGH.
He should publically serenade you like Heath Ledger, even though there are ten things you may hate about him.
He should go bonkers like Archie, with the drooling tongue and the hearts and everything, every time he sees you dressed up.
He should stick like The Notebook’s Noah, writing 365 letters 365 days a year to you.
He should look into your eyes like Shantaram, and know in an instant what your deepest fear is.
He should cook meals like Masterchef Australia, and still polish off the last of the mess you concocted.
He should cover you with his overcoat like Darcy, as you run out in your leopard Bridget Jones undies onto the snowing road, and kiss you like he owns you.
He should have Clooney’s salt and pepper hair.
He should make you want to change every last little atom in your body, just for him.
He should love you, just the way you are.

Oh my poor sweetheart Captain! My heart does go out to you. For till yesterday you just had to be the guy who earned a decent living, and me the gal who cooked at home and waited for you to come back from office. But today, it’s a whole new world. A world which demands you to figure out how to be this super-Rhett Butler-meets-Edward Cullen-meets Jerry Maguire-with brains like Depp-mutant-person even before you can figure out how to be yourself.

Except…you’re all of that already.
And so much more.
My Captain.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And the Bulb shines on like the Sun....

On a brighter note, because I have been advised to look at the brighter side of things, and not crib continuously, here’s me being all bright like a 100 watt bulb.

I now have the opportunity to travel cross country (actually just cross-Mumbai, but that’s worse than cross country, because frankly I would love to travel cross country) all the way from Andheri to Grant Road. That means I get to travel by that lovely mode of transportation called the local train. Now Captain believes that every person in this city needs to do a train stint at least once to be able to really be a part of this city. I pointed out I couldn’t care less about this city, I have done a brief train stint, and I already did a much hated Blue-line stint in Delhi, so frankly I already bid my time, and should just be allowed to skip all the grinding happening here. Captain laughed an evil laugh. Sigh. Evil laugh always wins, doesn’t it?

Now, the local train happens to be this beautiful place where you catch the sights and sounds of real Mumbai and the real people aka the common man. The way he lives. The way he breathes. The way he survives.

Also the way he ogles. And the way he sweats. And the way he’s everywhere. And too many.
Oh wait, optimism.
*Takes deep breath*
Let’s get back to that one later, shall we?

On a truly lighter note, I came back from Delhi to find I have a new flatmate who chooses to reside outside my kitchen. In the one week I wasn’t home, she nicely made her bed and got downright comfy. She also laid eggs. Captain said, “Ooooh, omelette!”. I was a little more skeptical. And my flat mate was downright in love.

And then Earl came. Name credit goes to flat mate.

Earl figuring out this awesome world where he gets to sleep on the drainage pipe
So now we wait, for the bloody things to grow and fly out, while they nicely dirty and stink up the place. And live off our ration.

I also named the next one in advance as Milly.

Except Milly seems to be a bit moody, and seems to be refusing to come into this bitter pessimistic world to begin with.

Sigh, Milly, it’s a tough world out here, but it’s really not that bad.
Because eventually you board the right ship, anchor at the right co-ordinate, and dance into the night with Captain.
And these are the words coming from sweet optimistic me.
Who nowadays just smiles like an idiot. And freaks the crap out of the common man on the train.
Oh beautiful world!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rants from the Past

I have this thing where when my head is full of thoughts, specially angry thoughts, I need to write. Type really fast, and hard just to get them all out of my head. It calms me down. It’s the simplest therapy I know, and the most effective. Almost as good as talking to someone who understands. And sometimes, even better.

And so somewhere in my laptop there usually is some incomplete word doc or the other, full of emotions galore, useful while it lasted, not looked at ever again.

It’s usually never put up for fear of pissing off someone or the other, for being scared of family and friends, for being the usual reserved person that I am.

And then I realized, I’m censoring my own blog. Which kind of ruins the entire point behind having my own blog to begin with.

And then I saw the first post, the supposed vision and mission of my new blog:
I want to write whatever I want, without feeling scared, without being judged, without worrying about society, and worse, friends.
But I want to be me.
And you know what? I should be able to do all of the above being me.
And that’s what I want this blog to be. Me, stripped down to the core. Me, speaking my mind. Me, being truthful. Me, as I am today, at this very moment. Me, being me.

Oh Blah.
Sigh. So here’s me trying to be brave, putting up my last outrage on word, in its purest form.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear little Bitch,

I would’ve written this as an insensitive open letter to a Delhi boy, but the simple fact is that you’re not from Delhi, you’re from bloody everywhere which should technically not be listed as civilized, but you get away with it anyway. So instead I’ll just write this as an insensitive letter to you, you little jerk, because that’s how much you annoy me, and deserve nothing more than to be called a little Bitch, because frankly there’s nothing chivalrous, gentlemanly or even slightly masculine about you. Because, well, let’s face it, that’s what you are.

Now here I was minding my sweet lil business, being cordial and nice to you, because that’s what’s expected out of humans in general, and there you were, poking your nose into places which it really wasn’t meant for now, was it?

So I was actually cordial to you. I guess that was my first and biggest mistake, because I realize that people in lil bitchland don’t really ever get spoken to by a girl, now do they? Or maybe I should’ve talked to you more, and showed you a bit of my Delhi Punjabi side, just enough to scare the shit out of you to ensure you maintain your distance. But then, I’m not a Punjabi. And I didn’t believe in roughness. And I didn’t realize you never really graduated from middle school. And were standing in the wrong line when God was distributing brains. And manners.

So you fall for the pretty ones, and it doesn’t really matter if they have brains. Oh wait, we just assume they don’t have brains, now don’t we? And that they’re little flower pots for you to adore, and ogle and drool over. And talk about, let’s not forget talk about.

Because let’s face it. You never really had a shot at the pretty girl, now did you? And she never really did pay attention to you now did she? And the one with the brains, and the looks, and the chivalry and the manners got her now, didn’t he? And you are worse than the chewed up gum stuck on his shoe, aren’t you? And you know what, you just made me appreciate him more, and realize how lucky I really am. And how rare he really is.

So what will you do now lil bitch?

Oh yes, drool over the next unsuspecting half decent thing that walks through the door.

Sometimes I wonder who I hate more. Those disgusting men on the streets in Delhi, who make orgasmic noises when they pass you by, stick just a little too close in the Blue-line bus, stare like you’re public property, or you. The former are openly despicable. But you pretend. And that makes it so much worse.

But you know why I really hate you? It’s because you proved me wrong, again and again. You made me feel like an idiot for thinking that this world is not all bad, and everyone deserved a fair chance. You made my views against prejudice fall flat. You made my pride about not being unfairly judgmental go and hide in pure embarrassment behind my own back.

You made me hate Gujjus, and Chartered Accountants, and Marhus, and Baniyas. You made me judge your family and upbringing. You made me skeptical about your whole gender. And I never liked the fairer sex to begin with, so see what huge awesome choice you’ve left me with. You made me stereotype in the most disgusting way possible, in the way I have always been against it. And you made me realize how necessary it is to act exactly the way society dictates. Because society is made up of worms like you.

You made me abuse incessantly. You made me doubt everything I ever did and said. And you probably shocked and troubled any of my family that might be reading this. (P.S., to my family, this isn't worth being shocked and troubled about)

I hope you’re happy.

In your little uncivilized, unmannered, prehistoric world where women should stay at home and cook food for your stomach and pop out little babies for your inheritance.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have actual work to do, in today’s world, where women work, and aren’t in office for their legs to be ogled at and lives to be discussed.

And after all this crap, I’m stuck here saving your sorry ass.

Truly no regards,
The Naïve Girl.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Because I nod while listening to you, say 'Fair Enough', and then go ahead and tell you the REAL way of doing things


You remember that annoying guy in your MBA class who just had had had to have his views heard in class? Except they weren’t really his views, just the teacher’s views reworded?

Remember that rather prim-and-proper female in your last competitive Group Discussion, who sweetly opened the forum by introducing the topic? And then listened? And summarized everyone’s points, just a little more prettily in the end, and concluded them as her own?

Remember that know-it-all, who loved to give you advice? Truthfully, you were going to make that choice anyway. He was just the guy who kicked you from behind as you dilly-dallied on the diving board at your rather-scream-inducing-scary-deep swimming pool.

Fast forward a few years, some sexy hair straightenings and cuts, a few rather well tailored suits, and there you have her/him – a Consultant.

Now, I have had the fortune of working with consultants. Err, actually, I am a consultant.

And to be rather frank, as much as you might abuse me, and however redundant I might be to your actual value chain, I do love being the one who delivers that final painful kick to your not-so-well-shaped behind and sends you tumbling into the dark waters. Or even better, you pay me, to tell you exactly what you’re doing wrong. My pleasure, dear Sir.

*End of boasting*

Because, well, let’s face it, there’s a reason the net is full of consultant jokes.

And well, you know you’re a consultant, when:
  • Your wardrobe looks like a Van Heusen/Louis Philippe showroom
  • Your biggest joy of the day was conjuring the most complicated IF function in your excel sheet
  • Your emails to friends contain tables
  • You love bullet points
  • Your ketchup bottle has a minimum-level mark for the next bottle to be bought
  • You find it easier to write a report than to read one
  • You’re the preferred secret keeper. Because, let’s face it, you know everything about everybody, you just can’t say it.
  • When your girlfriend puts on her best slutty look and coyly tells you she’ll make it up to you, you ask her to put it on email
  • You have nightmares about forgetting to file your time sheet…again.
  • You ask for bills for…everything that the client might remotely agree to pay for.
  • You have a frequent-flier card for all the major airlines, and enough points for lounge access, and a bank balance which doesn't necessarily reflect the same
  • Your whole team has a Blackberry
  • Everything you say has a mental (*Conditions Apply) in the end
  • You add a ‘contingency expense’ column with a ten per cent buffer to all your holiday plan excel sheets
  • Oh, you have a holiday plan excel sheet
  • Actually, you have an excel sheet for…everything
  • You mentally audit literally everything in your life…the long queue at the petrol pump…the inefficient service line at your favourite restaurant…the possible cost saving which can be implemented by your flatmate…a possible time saving in your Mum’s cooking regime in the kitchen…the system for timely replacement of toilet paper at your office….
  • And well, let’s face it, you can pfaff your way out of tough spots

That said, this might be a good time to mention that I have frankly met some of the most intelligent/impressive people in my current office. So just in case you are from my company, and know me, you’re probably that awesome person who inspires me each day to come to office, find faults with others, and mail it to them in the most amazingly beautiful excel sheets.

*End of ass-kissing-in-case-you-think-of-firing-me-for-this*

So. Not. Joking.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Last Molecule


I have been gone a long time. And I guess I owe my six loyal followers an update.
The past week has had my highest high, and my lowest low. What makes it worse is the fact that perhaps, my real lowest low is yet to come. And for once, putting it down in words just makes it worse.
My highest high came with the realization that home really is where the heart is.
The lowest low? The realization that the Pie was apparently not worth dying for after all.
The future lowest low?
Try being broken down by will. Try putting yourself back together, when you least want to.

And it’s ironic that today is the day I read this post by Atrisa. Today is the day I read about Hadness.

Today is the day I decide to wait.
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