Tag Archives: ramblings

Why ‘Outspoken’?

The word that is doing the rounds in most of my social media accounts and now here too – ‘Outspoken’! The name of our team’s in-house public speaking forum at work.

Three weeks of effort, bonding with friends over brain wrecking sessions, hours of script editing, listening to audio recordings of speech practices at the oddest hours, reaching work early, leaving for home late – it became a habit.

l6q0y_f-maxage-0_s-200x150
Oh shoot. Why did we begin this? Breathe, breathe.

The fright of the stage, fear of performing sub par, worrying about being a nerve wreck – not for myself, but for others. All of it so that the other people I know also feel the rush of confidence on the stage I’d once felt.

giphy
Who’s backing out now? Will anyone even come?

Last week, I wrote about the event (a meeting for an audience of more than 80 people – we wanted bigger, better, grander) coming up. This week we are done with it. Not only did we manage to create joyous ripples of success but even five days after the event, mention of it creeps up in conversations.

jim-carey_excited
We didn’t know either we’d be so good, but thanks!

I’ve been thinking for a while now about why the event mattered so much to me. It took a lot of space on my already full plate. My manuscript editing got hampered, my work hours stretched into my sleep hours, I forgot to eat on time, I was hardly being able to compartmentalize and prioritize and these are all things that really matter to me! Then why? I thought about it – a lot. I tried explaining myself to people in a lot of fancy ways. But it is time to come clean. I have always been afraid of public speaking. I still am. I still fear I will fall short of content, or blabber too much, mostly about Elon Musk, or if I will have cold hands. Thankfully, shaking knees got chucked out of the window over the months. So yes, this is me. But I took my chances. I got pushed by a couple of people, they know well who they are, and I realized I could be less nervous and more confident. It dawned on me that with time, I could be the one addressing an audience. And I wanted the others to see, know, feel and acknowledge exactly what they and I had been missing out on for most part of our lives – the chance to let go of the fear.

I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the lives of people around me. This lets me make a difference in mine through theirs. With you, I too get better. With you, I laugh. With you, I cry. With you, I walk the talk.

And that is exactly why I did it.

giphy1
Can’t stop dancing the happy dance!

Graciously Yours!

Scarred.

conceal-scars-640x250

I scared you. The knowledge I had of you, scared you. I became the personal diary you never wrote. You could see the ghosts of your past reflected in my eyes, each time you looked into them. I became a reminder of what you were trying to forget. My comfort with you, scared you. You dreamt of coming out of your shell, greeting the world like you used to but the fear of being trampled upon pushed you inside again. You had lost the real you within yourself. You did not want to be reminded of it. Not by me. You thought it was easier to push me away. At least, you could still stay safe in your shell then. You wouldn’t disappoint anyone again. You wouldn’t worry about hurting anyone again. It would be just you and your memories. You wouldn’t have to owe anyone anything again. That was easier, wrong but easier. You chose to hide behind your scars. You chose to leave me behind. I was you. You were me. You chose to leave yourself behind.

Graciously Yours!

Alone, not lonely.

He wanted to soar,

To places that were beyond,

The reach of others,

The fancies of their minds,

The places no one went to,

Because they would be alone,

And that is what he wanted,

To be alone, not lonely,

Invisible, not blind,

Peaceful, not wanting.

He couldn’t explain,

Words failed him,

But the feeling grew stronger.

Until one day, the parrot decided,

To break free and soar.

images

The Sun had just risen,

Water bowls were being changed,

The door was left ajar,

The others stared at it,

But no one made a move,

Only he flapped his wings out.

He turned to see, the cage that

Looked smaller from afar,

Their red beaks and green wings,

Becoming dots in the vastness

Of what he saw.

And that was his moment of truth,

When he was invisible, but not blind.

Graciously Yours!

Nostalgia.

evszefhAs I stood by the the window of the balcony, my nose was pressed to it, my breath frosting the glass around my lips, I saw the winds outside swirling, droplets of water being bullied into submission, lights from the night lamps streaming through the air, making the paths of water borne air above the road, visible.

I yearned to step outside of my house and go play basketball in the rains, with the people below, kids I presumed. Their shrieks of delight floated uptil a dozen or so floors above. Instead I did something better.

I slid open the windows of the balcony, that kept the water borne winds out and was welcomed to winds so cold, no air conditioner could compete, the freshness of ice and spring combined! The hair at the nape of my neck stood in attention, out of excitement.

Back home, whenever it rained, torrentially as it was looking to today, my sister and I would sit at the window sill, legs hanging out into the dark, lightning flashing us time and again, shrieking in delight at every wave of wind that whipped through us.

As the water hit me, wave after wave, I shivered in excitement, and cold, but nonetheless not agreeing to go back inside! After all, the heat of so many days needed more time with the rains to sod off!

Staring up at the skies, blinking at every lightning flash, I felt the water seeping to the roots of my hair, the sides of my neck. I stood with my arms by my side, shaking but not willing to go into the house again. I looked down at my feet after a while. I was soaking wet from the top to bottom! Giggling, rubbing my arms, I slid the balcony windows shut, greeted with warmth in the hall. I’d missed the rains. I missed my sister more now.

Graciously Yours!

A Smile Here. A Smile There.

3d10efd9d6ff765e9e15d71a7cbeebc5

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!

e3621fb78e8966f24338761b066514eb

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.

img_20170123_073314_hdr
That’s a long way to go! At Ahmedabad Airport.
img_20170122_223440_hdr
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!

img_20170125_163040
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!”

img_20170125_161509
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!

img_20170125_152057
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.

img_20170123_185510_hdr
Grainy, but memorable. At a resort in Gir.

Graciously Yours!

2016 flew by!

img-20161219-wa0098.jpg
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.

chai-main.jpg

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.

background-img-4

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.

tumblr_mqqglpxbmz1r187pho1_500

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.

tumblr_nexwzk0a0p1spqpjeo1_500

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!