Tag Archives: ramblings

A Smile Here. A Smile There.

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He looked visibly frustrated. And he had reasons to be so. He’d been on his feet for almost half the day and the ordeal was not over yet. He kept shuffling his feet across the floor, trying to visit each table more than once. He knew his boss was keeping a tab. He had to sell the offer they had just rolled out. He collected the offer pamphlets from the doorman’s podium.

He walked to the nearest table. The occupants were conversing. “It is bad manners to intrude,” his teacher had taught him in school. He didn’t want to intrude but his job demanded otherwise.  He went up to the table, excused himself and started explaining the offer to the customers in the middle of their meal and conversation. Halfway through, they took the pamphlet and resumed their conversation. Not a smile, not an acknowledgement, not even the plain old nod. He called it the ‘wallpaper theory’ – he was like the wallpaper, essential but not cast a look at, never smiled at and walked past. Well, at least they were better than those customers who turned around to shout at him, or be rude, or asked him to go away! Oh yes, there were such too. They’d look up and say, “Could you go away?” If only they knew how to even say please.

Every trip to the bathroom involved washing his face more than peeing. Waiting on tables wasn’t his dream job, this was no one’s dream job but if he wanted to get a monthly cash deposit in his bank, this would have to do. He had to remind himself every couple of hours that this job was more important than rude and impolite customers, than being treated like wallpaper, than having to carry people’s soiled plates, sleeping with a pain in the feet which seemed like it would never go away again, and a bruise to your self respect each damned day. But it would have to do. They say no job is small, yet the way they behave each day belittles him.


I met Bhanu, who works at a fast food outlet here in Bangalore. I don’t know what his story is, why he does what he does, how he motivates himself to wait on tables all day long, how he lets out all the frustration that is more than visible on his face, but I am sorry I couldn’t get a smile on his face! Probably one smile from me wasn’t enough to make up for his tough day!

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Let’s try harder next time and be more polite to the ones who have jobs that could not be further away from the term ‘job satisfaction’. Can we do that?

Graciously Yours!

Unravel the Travel!

As promised (to no one in general), here’s a continued set of anecdotes from my trip to Gujarat!

Let’s begin right from the beginning of the trip, like is the norm unless I choose to write in reverse chronology. That’s a good idea but for another day!

Anyone who’s spent even a day on Bangalore roads would know how terrible a nightmare they can be, especially if you have a flight to catch. So  for my own mental peace and for all practical purposes, I left from home, four hours before my flight was to take off! And lo behold, I reached in just about an hour and a half, much to my annoyance and my cabbie’s surprise at my annoyance. The good people at the flight customer support counter however sent me off on an early flight as reward for my unacceptable promptness.

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That’s a long way to go! At Ahmedabad Airport.
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That’s a lot of lights! And white. At Mumbai Airport.

We came across not one or two but three locations where there were rubber band sellers – and when I say rubber band sellers, they were only selling rubber bands! A handcart full of crimson, kale, azure, gold, grey, fuchsia, violet, saffron, striped, polka dotted rubber bands! Out of curiosity, I asked one of those vendors what the price of the bands were and he said 1 rupee! Yes, you read it right – freaking 100 paise! 1 rupee! My first thought was how are they even surviving! My second thought was to buy a dozen or so of the bands. My third thought was exactly how much is the production cost of these bands if people are managing to sell these at such a nominal price!

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You get transported to the era of mutinies and sepoys with your first step in. At Diu Fort.

At one of the beaches, my sister was polite enough to do the human thing of clicking a picture for a couple of guys who requested her to. One of them started making small talk with her asking her if she was a resident of the town, did she know any good places to eat, et al. Having answered in monosyllables, we started walking away when one of them called out to her asking her, “I’m from the States. Would you want a picture with me?” Surprised, she refused. He insisted again asking, “Are you sure you don’t want  a picture with me?” While I was wondering if I could place his face to any of the Indian Americans I’d seen on the USA shows, my sister was muttering, “He’s freaking flirting with a 20 year old! He is almost double my age!”

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That’s vandalism, in modern times! At least something is changing with times. At Diu Fort.

We had visited a set of caves, to which there’s dispute about whether it was a geological formation or dug by the Portuguese for formation of the Diu Fort. Either ways, it was a beautiful maze of earth cut out in a variety of eerie and curiously un-human ways. There were stairs ending into nowhere, rocks hanging out precariously, cuts in the ceiling which didn’t seem to explain the purpose or history of its creation! And because it was so huge and devoid of many tourists, there were spaces where you couldn’t see another person as far as your sight and the maze allowed. The silence was harsh enough for you to hear your own breathing and each step you took creaked the twigs and dry grass below. I was thankful to have gone there during the day! In the midst of this little nowhere, was a bunch of DSLR equipped photographers capturing a to-be married couple’s shots. The pictures will turn out to be pretty, I tell you!

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Photoshoot, in progress. At Naida Caves.

When I recounted the saga of being stuck on the highway in a three hour traffic jam in the early hours of a new day, I did not mention a first I encountered! I managed to locate and confirm my first constellation sighting in the skies! It was the Big Dipper constellation, as confirmed by the StarTracker app I use, when I was very sure that it was Big Dipper! I wish I could have captured the night sky as pristine as I saw it, but technology has its limits and sometimes, what you see is too beautiful to be captured as is on camera. The camera just cannot do justice.

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Grainy, but memorable. At a resort in Gir.

Graciously Yours!

2016 flew by!

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We are pleased to announce that another trip round the Sun is almost complete! Ushering in the new year! Hoping it be it brighter and better for all. Picture courtesy : Gopal Goel. Idea courtesy : Yours truly! 😉

What is time?

The ticking of the seconds hand. Dawn giving way to dusk. Mondays coming back! The turning of the pages on a calendar. The change of calendars itself!

Wikipedia has a more interesting explanation :

Time is a component quantity of various measurements used to sequence events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change of quantities in material reality or in the conscious experience.

We are at the edge of changing of calendars now. We throw out all things 2016 and bring in 2017. It’s a chance for people to start afresh, break away from the routine and monotony of dreams being chipped off, make new resolutions again and hoping this would be the year when they get completed!

2016 was a mixed year. Like any other year. And as we have less than 24 hours left to complete another trip around the Sun, I am going to grab this chance to end 2016 on a happy note!

  • Here’s to parents who are supportive, understanding, strict yet loving, caring and worrying, give me so much freedom that I want to go and put my life’s reins in their hands.
  • To the sister who relishes every chance to laugh at me, life would be incomplete without her constant support.
  • The mentor who toes the line of friend, philosopher and guide to the dot! Thank you for reminding me what my dreams are made of.
  • To that friend who stitched my open wounds and has been my pillar of emotional support. I wish people saw you in the light I see you in.
  • To the Sherlock fan who makes it a point to keep a smile on my face, whose care melts a little of the walls I built, each time.
  • To friends with whom I explored places, wandered down new lanes in old cities, sang to tunes, danced till our feet hurt and welcomed sunrises happier and livelier!
  • To the new city, new people I met – some drifted away, others came close – all taught me more about life, myself and that there are so many things to do in life that an existential crisis should start having an existential crisis about its’ own existence!
  • Special mention to the co-workers and seniors who encouraged me to follow my passions, enjoy work, be fearless, learn from mistakes and keep stress at bay.
  • To John Green and Hank Green for reminding me every day to be awesome, to Elon Musk for really being awesome, to Justin Trudeau for giving me hope, to Warsan Shire for making me fall in love with your words, to Praveen Sethia for keeping my laughs alive, to those life stories which fed me with courage, faith, honesty and dreams, and to those innumerable supportive bloggers and friends who make me look forward to writing and keeping the flame of my passion alive!

Here’s to a happier, healthier, crazier and love filled new year for all of you! ❤

Welcome 2017. Be better than 2016.

Graciously Yours!

Pssst : Do you even recall what your 2016 resolutions were? How much of it did you manage to achieve? Let me know! And then I’ll share mine! Till then, I am trying to recall exactly what they were! 😀

Travel Trivia!

What is one of the perks of living with friends and in a city which has innumerable weekend getaways around? Simple! Weekend getaways with friends. Okay, I promise the rest of the post is more sensible. 😉

After culminating the latest one, I thought I’d pen down some travel trivia for you to go bonkers over!

  • No matter what clothes you’re wearing – shorts, skirts, full pants, or even pullovers, people will stare! And this happened to me at 5 in the morning, at a little eatery by the highway where we went to enquire if there was a decent washroom we could step in! Thanks to the cold, I was so covered in layers I could barely see my skin, yet they were staring. Still wondering why.
  • Oh India and public hygiene! At which hour shall thee improveth? The bladders of women are tested to their limits and liquid diets are a strict no-no. Petrol pumps have never been more interesting and highway eateries more scanned. All for a place to answer nature’s call.
  • When buying food  for a trip, remember even if every one refuses that they’ll not eat fruits, they will! When hunger strikes, the count of apples and oranges will reduce. So be an angel in disguise and buy those for everyone!
  • Also, if you go to the beaches, like I did, pick up those shells! There’s no better memory of a beach you can collect. Assuming with naivety that you wouldn’t want to carry along sands or dead crabs or seaweed with you as memory!

Graciously Yours!

Picture Courtesy : Nitesh Jain (my footwear hasn’t been captured so well before!). 😉

Trip Courtesy : Mukesh Agarwal! For the consistently stupendous and amazing planning of our getaways! Your ‘coolness’ knows no bounds! 🙂

FanGirl-ing over Daniel.

I generally don’t do mid week posts. And certainly not early morning mid week posts! But here’s one thanks to Daniel Fernandes; and my roommate who rushed around the house waking up probably every soul in the building while she tried to not miss her morning flight from the airport 72 kms away!

Why I hate Fawad Khan – Daniel Fernandes Stand-Up Comedy

So Daniel Fernandes hates Fawad Khan. Quick update for all those who are lost. Well, Daniel Fernandes is a stand up comedian I admire because his genre of comedy does not necessarily involve literal below the belt material or undertones and overtones so harsh and vile that they need to categorised as adult material. Fawad Khan is a Pakistani actor who is the latest but not the last butt of Pakistan hatemongers residing in India. So why does this deserve a post, you ask?

Because :
1. I was surprised to read the title of the video. I didn’t think Daniel would actually say this. Considering it is a pretty baseless thing to say. Because Fawad is an actor by profession who acts to earn his livelihood and is nowhere involved in the policies and decision making of Pakistan and India not coming to a peaceful resolution to the 69 year old enmity.
2. I was too sleepy to remember that Daniel has a classy sense of humour that has enough sarcasm to make my day! Every day.

Now that we are at the point where we are being smart rather than liberal, I have a confession to make! Remember the chai wala who became famous and then landed a modeling contract? The same one Daniel is talking about.

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I didn’t like the pictures from his modelling assignment. The first picture was rustic, reflected what he is and showed such an honesty in his eyes. The one from the modeling assignment? Well, it just looks so made up, which it actually is. I am not saying he doesn’t deserve a modeling assignment, but is that all we can give him? Is the equation forever going to be so simple? Every good looking person should be handed a modeling or film assignment. Will their looks always overpower the values that define them, the stories they’ve lived through, the love they spread, the depth of their thoughts, the reason for their existence?

There are so many arguments Daniel has sarcastically and directly slipped in to his act, that I could write half a dozen blog posts on them! And maybe I will. But that’s for another morning. Not this.

I’ll leave you to do your thinking. You have a brain. Be smart, not liberal.
I think. Therefore, I am.

Graciously Yours!

Some Salsa Spice!

One of my fascinations has always been ballroom dancing! Though not strictly ballroom, salsa is what my feet dabble in these days.

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Salsa, believe me, teaches you life lessons! And so much about interpersonal relationships. No, no! Don’t laugh. I’m serious. Read on.

 1. Twirl the girl!

So salsa, like most other ballroom dances, requires the men to take lead. So, my dance partner, gets to take me forward, backward, left, right, all at his own will. Boot up, men! You get the girl and also get to make her dance and spin at your own will. Does your girlfriend or girl friend allow you that otherwise? 😉

Also, you find it’s not so easy taking command of the ship, don’t you? So value those who do. 🙂 Irrespective of their genes.

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2. Actions speak louder than words!

Now that you get to twirl and spin the girl at your own free will, how do you tell her what your will is? You can’t tell her, ‘shush, left now’, ‘no, no, anti-clockwise twirl’, ‘go, right, right, not left’ in the middle of the song. Who’ll count the beats, feel the tune and dance freely then?

So what do you do? You gently direct her, lead her with that hand of yours on her shoulder, and not say aloud! It requires practice, patience and response. Also gives you a life lesson!

3. You make mistakes and you accept them!

You will miss counts, step on your partner’s feet (sometimes on your own feet too!), become clumsy after doing very graceful turns – all of that’ll happen, whether you’re in the first beginner’s class or almost completing your advanced classes. But with the music still playing, what do you do after committing a mistake? Accept it, apologise and move on! Improvise.

4. Helps avoid the mirroring psychology.

Wikipedia says,  Mirroring is the behaviour in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family.”

Note, mirroring happens subconsciously. You don’t realize when it’s taken over and you are slowly blending into the crowd and losing your uniqueness.

But when you’re dancing with your partner and you start mirroring them, i.e. you start looking too graceful as a man, or too macho as a woman, you consciously start tearing yourself from mirroring. You start holding out your own self, accepting yourself as you are and hopefully even loving it.

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5. Feminism, much?!

Yes, salsa requires the men to lead and women to follow. Isn’t that what the whole world is screaming about? Or at least half of it. But. Everything in life isn’t about feminism. Sometimes it’s okay to let the men lead not because they’re men, but because the dance requires it and women are inherently more graceful at spinning and twirling than men are. It’s okay to let go and trust your partner. And even if he does fail you, help him get up and succeed together!

Also, I am not a feminist. More, a humanist.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Keep dancing!

Thought Flash #7

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Warning : Quick Geography lesson ending in History!

Look out at the sky tonight. Every night. Till you can shift your gaze from the waning (or waxing, depends on when you’re reading this) moon, to the dimming stars barely giving us a glimpse from the clouds, haze and dust these days.

The Sun is the nearest star to our planet. Go a little further and you have the Proxima Centauri which is 4.2421 light years away. A quick Google search indicates that the top ten nearest stars to the Earth are all within ten light years away from us.

Do you know what this means? There are a billion stars around us we can lay our terribly limited human eyes on. And the light coming from them that helps us see them is from a lot of years ago! 4.2421 years in case of the Proxima Centauri. Or 10.322 years in case of Ross 248, the tenth nearest star. Or ULAS J0015+01, the farthest star from the Earth which is 900,000 light years away.

As you look into the sky, you, my dear friend, are literally staring into the past! Every single night! Those stars may have long moved away or collapsed or given birth to black holes today, but you get to be a part of their history by simply casting a look at them.

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Maybe somewhere, from one of those celestial bodies, a past you could be staring back at the present you in the multiverse! I’ll stop right there. 🙂

Picture Courtesy : Martin Mark.

 

11 outta 10!

Scene 1.

A mother-daughter duo peacefully watching a Tom Cruise film. He’s just started to run.

Mother gets a call. Daughter gets to hear only one side of the conversation.

Mother : Hello ji. Salutations!

Mother : All well, yes!

Mother : Oh! No, not really.

Mother’s tone is now changing. On the screen, Tom Cruise is running faster!

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Mother : Of course!

Mother gives daughter a look. Daughter knows this look. A storm is approaching.

Mother : It’s not a problem at all!

Mother : See you! Buh-bye!

Tom Cruise is still running. The man needs to learn when to stop! Mother pauses his film. Cruise is cruising in the air.

Scene 2.

Half an hour has passed. Mother is in the kitchen. Daughter is cleaning up the place. Guests are coming over for lunch, having self-invited themselves! Time to refurbish the house!

Daughter looks around the hall. Pleased with herself at having cleaned up early.

Daughter : Mom, it’s done! I’ve cleaned up the place.

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Mother (peeks out of the kitchen) : What’s done? Fluff those cushions. Put your shoes back in the rack. I still see things on the dining table! Why is your mobile on charge? And will you shut off the music! It’s getting on my nerves!

Flabbergasted Daughter : Umm, Mom? I’ll go out in an hour, remember. Why put the shoes back then? And the things on the dining table? They’re called cutlery. In which you’ll serve them food. But if you want, I can get banana leaves! And my mobile is on charge because it is very normal to charge mobiles! Like we stay here, remember? And Kishore Kumar is getting on your nerves?

Mother (barely audible over a running grinder) : You’re not going anywhere. Not when  I have guests over! And do what I ask you to do!

Daughter (sighing in exasperation) : Of course, I am not going anywhere now. Time to shut you down today, Cruise. Mom’s not going to be watching you save the world today. She’s too busy going bonkers.

Mother : Will you get me the vegetables from the refrigerator?

Daughter (laptop, speakers, mobile, chargers all under her arms) : Well, if you’d asked me to, then I would. But you never did.

Mother : Keep these devices away. And get me the vegetables now!

Daughter : Yes, Madam!

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Mother : And hurry up!

Scene 3.

The guests have arrived. Lunch has been had. Now is the wait. The wait for them to leave.

Guest 1 : The food was so good! How did you manage to make it so soon?

Mother : Oh nothing of the sort. I was as it is planning on making something special for lunch today.

Daughter (thinking to herself) : If only they knew that the lunch special was two minutes of maggi!

Guest 2 : Then we should come over more often!

Mother and daughter look at each other and then smile at the guests.

Mother : Why not!

Daughter : Why? Umm, not.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how worked up is your mother when guests are to arrive? Mine is 11! 😉

Graciously Yours!

P.S. : Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is NOT coincidental. Any character and event depicted here is NOT fictitious. Similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is NOT coincidental.

 

Grabbing eyeballs!

The security check queues at the airport can be long, more so if you’re travelling just at the outset of one of India’s most celebrated festivals, the festival of lights, Diwali; also if you’re travelling from Bengaluru, the second home of most Calcuttans, to Calcutta, obviously their first.

What better way to pass the time than to Sherlock around a bit? Presenting to you a list of the kinds of women we came across in our fifteen minute queuing up experience!

  1. Apparently effortless : These women are my favourite! Combining style with comfort, book in hand, hair tucked behind ears and travelling light! At 7 in the morning, when you see such women moving around like they were made to travel and early mornings at airports are a daily commute for them, you envy them a little. Just a little. Because that’s followed by the thoughts of my room being in a mess due to packing and unpacking every weekend for the past three weeks. Then I settle in my place of grass in peace!
  2. The young moms : Every time I travel, I come across young mothers with their first borns cuddled in their arms, trying to put the babies to sleep, or entertaining them with clucking noises, pointing out interesting looking people, or randomly distracting them from crying! A few lucky moms have such friendly, quiet and smiling babies that their travel turns to be a anecdote filled one, a blessing in disguise!
  3. Oh so prim and propah : These are few and far between but can be spotted from a mile away! We were lucky to land one such sighting. They look like they’ve landed out of a fashion magazine. They behave like they’ve been landed right out of the sky. Some times their expressions are so contorted they look uncomfortable in their own skin! They are prim and proper, mostly rich and extremely out of place in a bunch of commoners. So much so that the one we saw was actually maintaining a hand’s distance from the women in the queue.
  4. The shaded beauties : You’re inside the airport. The sun isn’t at its’ best. The light isn’t too bright for shades to be used. Yet, you do. I wonder why? Are you hungover from last night’s parties? Have you been crying your eyes red? Are you trying to avoid letting people know you’re seeing them? Or are you, oh my God, escaping the world? Take those shades off, for light’s sake!
  5. The casual chic : Me! And many like me! Simple three step process : Get out of bed. Put on clothes. Dab kajal. Brush your hair (and teeth). Done! Okay, I know that’s four steps not three. But whatever. My style. My rules.

Diwali Bonanza Offer!

The queue jumper : Need I say anything about them? Except that the one I met yesterday very cunningly crossed over the ropes to go join the next line when the guard wasn’t looking. She saved all of two minutes! And earned a lot of angry glances.

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What does the men’s queue look like? Any takers who’d care to elaborate? 😉

Graciously Yours!

 

Picture Courtesy : Colorbox

Ideas in collaboration with : Sakshi Malhotra!

Thought Flash #6

If marriages are indeed made in heaven, are you telling me God actually went about match making on the basis of caste? Or religion? Or even for that matter on the basis of gender?

Souls, as per last understanding, were gender-less. Caste-less. And religion-less. So how can my soulmate be from the same religion or caste as me?

Shouldn’t arranged marriages and ‘matches are made in heaven’ be mutually exclusive?

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Graciously Yours!

P.S. : This post is by no means an attack on your personal beliefs. I’m rather questioning mine.