Tag Archives: smile

Muse.

For writers, in life, some people end up becoming a muse – thinking about them gets the words flowing, the ideas add up and the fingers don’t stop typing (or writing)!

I was introduced to this concept of a writer and a muse way back in 2010, when the first season of Castle was being telecast on Star World India. That night I was switching channels with the remote in one hand, the landline phone’s receiver (good ol’ landlines!) in the other, sprawled on the sofa, talking to my soul sister about if we should have really skipped the party our batchmates were at, at that moment. After thirty seconds of awkward pause, each of the two imagining how outlandish the idea was to get out of your pyjamas, put on the little makeup our mothers would allow us to and dress up for a night out with people who you’ve hung around with for 14 years of your life, almost 8 hours each day. No, thanks! We might as well have crashed at each other’s place and have more fun poking fun at life! Which is when I came across Castle – the 90’s kids that I am, Tata Sky and it’s schedule of shows was new for me and I excitedly checked out the episode summary by clicking on the ‘i’ button of the remote. I was hooked – line and sinker!

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Beckett was a smart ass, Castle was a pain in her smart ass (but ruggedly handsome!), the plot was thrilling and funny, and there were English subtitles which helped me follow the dialogues delivered in hushed undertones at the crime scene. Little did I know that 8 years down the line I’d still be a fan of the man whose name I’d made fun of! I mean whose last name should even be Castle?

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But why am I telling you all this? Oh yes, muses! Castle found his muse in Beckett and I understood the importance of one. I haven’t fathomed the psychology behind it yet. I found mine a few years ago. I only found him back again. ūüôā

Welcome back. The blog missed you! ’nuff said.

Graciously Yours!

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The curve.

How you greet a person is often the lasting impression on their mind about you! But it also does much more for your brain and your hormones. A harried, impatient first look leaves a negative note. A blunt hello with no eye contact leaves the other person feeling unimportant – they may not be your beau, your banker or your next CEO, but no need to drill it into their senses. A dull hello defines the course of a duller conversation. And no hello or a greeting? Well, doomed there. Now imagine being greeted by a smile! A simple hello, a wave here, a handshake there. It does go a long way to show that you’re there, if not to share troubles but at least to bring a smile. That curve does go a long way – more so than we have ever thought about.

“There are four important chemicals in play in your brain: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins (we will shorten these chemicals to D.O.S.E. for the sake of convenience). When you smile, your brain releases a DOSE of these chemicals automatically.”

Now let us break down the workings of the four chemicals :

D – the joy of finding what you seek – The Happiness Hormone

O – the safety of social bonds – The Hug Drug

S – the security of social dominance – The Mood Hormone

E – the oblivion that masks pain – The Painkiller

So you see how important that smile of yours is! It doesn’t just release a DOSE for you but also for the one who responds to your smile. Baby steps to happiness!

Graciously ‘Smiling’ Yours!

TedX Adventures!

I was probably in school when I first heard of Ted talks from a relative. I didn’t pay much attention, after all you only retain about 20% of what you hear. (Research says so, not me. I’d peg it down to even much lower, considering how my requests at a certain workplace almost always fall on deaf ears.) I heard of a Ted talk next when I had to deal with understanding how a brain stroke had affected my father. After that, it felt like I was possessed. A window into a new realm had opened up for me. I could hear people talk about their experiences, learning, conventional thoughts, unconventional theories, the changes they’d made around them, the changes they’d undergone in themselves.

Two years ago, I attended my first TedX conference and it left me inspired for a couple of months, itching to do something different with my life. After that I started writing regularly, trying to be better at the one thing I enjoyed doing most – writing! Today, I am working on the last edits of my novel and look at the timing! Tomorrow I am attending my second TedX conference. The venue is the same, the organisers same but everything else’s changed. I am so much closer to realising my dream, my book might see the light of the day in just a few more weeks, or maybe months! Who knows? But I know it’ll happen. It has to.

Last week, A and I attended the TedX adventures lined up pre-event. A workshop on RJing and another on acting. Such eye-openers they were. Or if I were to be honest, they simply confirmed my suspicions! I’ve always loved the radio. It has been a constant for the past years in my life, through new stations, new RJs, even new cities. I have always admired the quips my favorite RJ comes up with but in the workshop I understood the creativity and work that goes on behind it, exciting to say the least! He needs to be making a point each time he’s on air and that is a tough ask. Considering how well, he does it, leaves me all the more impressed.

Oh and the acting workshop! Oh my! A has always been interested in movies and acting so it was meant to be the one for him. But me? Oh I can do the amateur dramatics required for April Fools and emotional blackmails but emoting on cue? I suck at it! There was a point when the mentor was pushing me to be angry and I tried so hard that I ended up laughing. A was standing across the hall from me and he later told me my face was blank at that instant, in place of anger. But people who’ve seen me angry know that it shows on my face. Just not on cue. After my two seconds of embarrassment, even the mentor realized he’d better spend time working on others. And I will only say this once, but maybe I should stop calling out which of the Bollywood stars can act and can’t. They sure do a better job than I would have.

I guess I could always write the scripts for the actors. Someone needs to do that too, eh!

More updates on TedX adventures coming soon!

Graciously Yours!

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Karma.

Karma, they say, bites back. Sometimes in the cold.

When you’re sweater-less!

Taking you back to a couple of months ago. A friend returned from Kashmir, the ‘Paradise on Earth’, having toured among the snow capped mountains and under the blazing sun, in the cold, dry and biting winds and by the sparkling lakes. He came back to Bangalore rejuvenated and a pair of jeans short. Which he somehow, quite conveniently didn’t realize until a week later.

Of course once I knew about it, I didn’t let him stay in peace. Poor guy, he couldn’t even mourn peacefully his expensive, recently purchased at a massive discount (but still expensive) pair of jeans.

But before you start snorting away in laughter like I did, at his plight, wait and think. Read the title of the post again and if that doesn’t tell you what the rest of this post is about, well the rest of the post will tell you what it is about!

Coming to the matter of karma. Technically, this post would have been about the wedding I attended last weekend in Agra. But as fate would have it, or rather, as karma would, it’s about a sweater. And yes, you guessed it right, if you did guess, that is. A lost sweater.

I lost my inexpensive, low on market value but extremely high on intrinsic value sweater, the one I used to wear and twin with my little sister. This was the sweater which kept me snug and warm on my first trip almost two years ago with practically 15 strangers! This was the sweater which first came to my mind each time I thought of wearing one. And it was in my favourite colour. Damn. And I forgot it in the hotel room’s cupboard. My lone piece of clothing lying in the dark depths of the cupboard.

Though it didn’t take me as long as him to figure out what had happened, the housekeeping staff says it was already too late. I’ve now lost it. Forever, maybe. Unless my sister agrees to donate hers to me. (Could you all please be kind and request her on my behalf too?)

So, I guess my friend has the last laugh, even in his sorrow.

And signing off, a tad sad, though actually laughing at the post I’ve come up with,

Graciously Yours!

That’s us. Twinning.

Puppy Love.

i-am-the-kind-of-person-who-says-hi-to-20796184He looked up at her every now and then. She barely noticed him. Or so he thought. He stole glances, hoping she’d smile just for him. But then he’d look away the moment their eyes met. And curse himself mentally the next second for not having held his gaze. “Woof,” he said, soft enough to have reached no one beyond his tail’s reach. But she heard him! She turned and walked towards him. Picking him up from his litter of nine, she held him up and close, rubbing her nose into his face. “I want this one, Daddy!” she called out, rushing over to the other end of the store, holding him in her plump seven year old arms, her red and white cotton frock rubbing against his two month old skin.

‘Man’s best friend’ they called him. She would be his, though. He knew it already.

Graciously Yours!

In dedication to all dogs I've said hi to! You're the unconditional love people claim doesn't exist. 

Polo, hope you are resting in peace. You were my first.

 

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!

Of People and Things.

Naksh was singing at the top of his voice! “Papparah Papparah Papparah… Badtameez Dil Badtameez Dil… Ahh… Haan

“Oh shut that radio thing off and stop jumping on the bed,” Shailjaa scolded her eight year old son, Naksh!

No longer jumping, he smiled at her and stood there, the hand held radio his father bought as a gift, still blaring what people called music these days!

She was still angry at him but this child of hers could not be least bothered! He’d misplaced her earrings and she couldn’t find it anywhere. She was sure she’d given to him to go and keep it by the bedside table. She’d even boxed his ears two hours ago but he came back and sat beside her in no time! Now he was jumping on the bed unashamed.

“Get out,” she said, dropping the freshly ironed bed covers and pillow cases on the bed. “I have to change the bed sheet.”

“Mummy, I am sorry,” he said, and walked out of the room, forlorn and dejected, head hung.

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Shailjaa didn’t reply.

She pulled off the old covers angrily. Unfurling the new covers, she went to the headboard side and struggled to pick up the mattress alone to push the new covers beneath. Something fell from behind the mattress onto the floor beneath. She bent down and looked under the four poster bed. Two pieces of gold shone out to her. One within her reach, the other rolled off to the other end. She crawled under the bed and got her hands on both the pieces. She craned her neck upwards to look at the bed from under. A coffee flavored toffee was sticking out from behind the mattress, fighting gravity, pinched in place. She pulled it out too and crawled back out from under the bed. She sat on the floor, head resting on the bed, turning the earrings back and forth. They were the ones for which she’d boxed her son’s ears. She felt terrible, devastated almost. She now recalled picking it from the bedside table and having kept it on the bed. They must have gotten wedged between the mattress and the headboard during the course of the night. She lay her head on her knees and held herself close. She sat that way for more than a few minutes and swore to herself she’d put people over things here onwards.

Getting up from her place on the floor, she went out of the bedroom to look for her son. He was standing in the balcony, listening to the radio. She snuck up behind him and dangled the toffee in front of his eyes. He whirled around and smiled broadly. But then he saw her face and his smile dimmed a little. Her heart pricked.

“You want this?” she asked him.

He shook his head.

She felt sad.

But then he said, “I want the mango flavor.”

Her heart jumped with joy! “I’ll get you those later. Right now, will you please help me with covering the bed?” she asked.

He nodded her head vigorously. Then he raised a finger and asked, “Can I jump on the bed after that?”

“Yes, we both will,” she said, laughing.

Beaming with joy, he ran towards the room, and she noticed as she followed him, that his radio was lying in the balcony. She picked it up and placed it on the table – a lesson learnt.

Graciously Yours!

Lost and Found.

He was rummaging through old letters his deceased wife had written him during a long marriage and before. He also found his first and only Valentine Day card from thirty years ago.

Tears welled his eyes immediately when he read and re-read the sender’s name etched in crayons. He called her. This would be his first conversation with her in more than two years. “I want to take you out for dinner today. Will you be my valentine?”

She wasn’t sure if she should even receive the call but she did. “Me? But, Daadu. Also, today is the 21st of January,” said his recently divorced thirty eight year old grand daughter.

“I¬†found the¬†Valentine Day card you’d made for me years ago,” he said, not going into further details.

Eyes closed, she pursed her lips and barely managed to say, “I’ll pick you up at seven PM today,” before tears brimming with¬†happiness rolled down her cheeks.

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Graciously Yours!

It’s Your B’day!

Finally coming around to a proper b’day dedication for you!

Dear D,

If friendships were made in heaven, ours would almost make it to that list. Well, almost ‘cuz you gotta work on being perfect from almost perfect. I crossed the perfection threshold long ago! ūüėČ
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I still have to figure out why I disliked you in the beginning, so much so that I wouldn’t want to pay attention to you. But the tables turned soon. You should thank me for that! ūüėČ You get too much attention these days, too much for your own good! And I don’t mean just from me.

You’re a good friend to have, trustworthy to the core, too practical for even me to comprehend at times and entertaining like none other.

Here’s a small wish for you:

May you get bored less often,

May you start with Sherlock Season One!

May you keep winning cricket matches,

And less of those Tinder matches!

I hope to keep brewing trouble,

And see you rise from the rubble!

May your whites take you to success,

They make you look good, I confess!

May the love never diminish,

Before you get bored, I’d rather finish!

Happy birthday! To the guy who’s guided me when I couldn’t make decisions, who’s supported me when I needed a shoulder, who’s never asked for an iota in return,¬†knows which promises to fulfil and which he can get way with breaking!

You’re not perfect, and well neither am I.

But we can keep giving it a try. ūüôā

Graciously Yours!

P.S.: In the age of smartphones and 13 MP cameras, how do we  not have enough pictures?

Marmee!

She’s flawed. Yet she’s perfect.

She’s elegant. She’s hardworking. She’s barely tired. She’s always concerned.

She taught me to accept nothing lesser than what I deserve. She made me bold. She proved women are at par with men.

She put me to sleep on long days. She stroked my hair telling me how proud I made her. She let me make up my mind about what is right and what wrong.

She taught me life. She learnt from me too. She shared her mistakes, overlooked mine. She broke rules. Yet she respected them.

She let me fly free. She brought me back to the earth when I lost my way. She cried at my success. She held me through my failures.

She fought for me. She let me hold her when she was weak. She showed me her weakness. She became my strength.

She’s my ‘Marmee’. And I couldn’t have asked for any better!

Some days, I miss you here. Other days, I write about¬†you! ūüėČ Love you, Mom!

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Graciously Yours!