The moment I stepped out of the airplane, the air came down on me warm and heavy! My body knew it was in Calcutta before my brain could even decode the neural transmissions. I can feel dampness in my breath. My hair feels sticky all over. And my jeans feel like they’ve shrunk two sizes. Time to tie my hair in a bun. Calcutta, here I come!
As I walk down the too familiar lanes of the neighbourhood I was brought up in, I see known faces, known shops, the same muri seller, fruit vendor, cobbler, security guards and even beggars. I smile at them, some smile back, some don’t. Some remember me, throw a greeting, others don’t, wondering if the heat is playing with their mind. Even the graffiti on the wall seems the same! A wave of nostalgia washes over me again, yet again. I say yet again because every six months that I head back to town, I realise how little it has changed and how the comfort of knowing the place makes me feel happy and sheltered.
The more I look around, draw comparatives, recall memories of times spent in the nooks and crannies of the city, the more I realise nothing’s changed. Nothing’s changed and yet something has. The city has moved on without me yet it remains the same. I can smell the sweat, hear the shouts of the boudi in the bus, see the kids taking a shower under water tanker tap, feel the camaraderie only this city exudes. And yet I too have changed. The nostalgia washes over as waves but I know that I will swim through these too. Home still feels home but I don’t rush to read through my scrapbooks or run my hand over the trophies I’d won.
Maybe, like the city, I too, am growing. Older and wiser, each day.
While I sleep, the world around me is awake. Not today though. I am awake too. But only in the body, not in the mind. But then was I ever?
These people, the ones out here – they know something I don’t. They look at me and exchange glances. They stare me down. I look away. But for how long? And where? They are everywhere. They point towards me when I don’t look. I can feel it. Or is it my imagination? They pause while I walk by. I walk faster. Rushing along, not sure where I am headed. The road is straight, lined with concrete on both sides. Trees grow from within the concrete. The people – they’re all moving in the opposite direction. Only I walk towards the horizon, the horizon where the Sun didn’t rise from.
They don’t look at me. They stare through me and yet their gaze is piercing. I look away too fast. I can’t read their eyes. Is it pity at my ignorance? Anger that I don’t bother? Or is it angst at how I am spending my life? Caution that I want to join their tribe? Or are they curious? Do they not see me as one of them?
I know I am different from them. My necessities are luxuries for them. They might have lesser than me but their smiles reach their eyes. They build a life while I simply redecorate. I have all that I want and more than I could ask for. What do I do with these though? Why are we really living? Or is it death that we await?
My week started on a bad note – regular household issues – oh yes, we bachelors have those too. No maid, cook screwed up the food quantities, delayed to work, no transport, traffic and oh, the heat! So coming up, are a lot of moo points. Take it or leave it, but do read it!
As I strode purposefully towards the main road, following my Mom’s advice to calm down, cars and bikes zipping past me, a cab honking at me for taking up road space (well, the footpath could give me a sprain, they’re that bad), I saw a cow ambling at 10 am in the morning, barely moving enough to place one foot ahead of the other, ten seconds at a time.
Cars conveniently circled around her and went their way, not even bothering to honk. Why me then? Why was I expected to be on the footpath when this cow could do whatever she liked? Why did I have to chide myself for being late for office at 10 in the morning when this cow could just loiter around, literally doing nothing!
“Eat more meat.” “Focus on your calcium intake.” “What about carbs?” “And when will you take those multivitamins?” So much talk about food and food preparation. If she’s hungry, she doesn’t even have to go to the kitchen to whip up something or Swiggy food! She can just regurgitate food ingested earlier and chew it again! Not that I want my ingested food back in my mouth, urgh, but just sayin’!
She can be white. She can be black. She can be brown. Or even a mix of all three. And she’ll still be loved for who she is. Why? Why do I have to then worry about being tanned? Why can’t I just be I loved for who I am?
Oh and here in a country where Hinduism is largely significant, she even gets protection for just being who she is – a female. Talk about harming a cow and behold the furore that will persist. While we two-legged women carry around pepper sprays even in broad daylight – for the exact same reason – because we’re females.
And that’s how I ended up with an existential crisis conferred upon me by a lone cow, walking at her own pace in the middle of a road, refusing to make way for the world rushing around.
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!
I’d lie if I said you had me at hello, but once you had my attention, dear fellow, there was no looking back. I waited for you all day long and it was only by the night that you came – in my dreams. I stuttered when I spoke to you, flushed when I spoke of you. I’d be surprised if you even gave any second thoughts to my presence while you were the only presence that persisted in mine. Soon, you walked away out of my life, I flailed at your memories to keep you on my mind until someone else had me at hello. I say love. Others, infatuation.
It happened! It was inevitable. Some day or the other I was bound to be in its clutches. Now I know when my friend says she’s zoned out or that she can’t put pen to paper.
I have the the writer’s block! I can’t seem to get to writing. But I wanted to take a break from taking a break at the blog now! So here I am blabbering about a blocked me. At least, you’d know I am still alive and well, which I am.
Anyone knows how to get rid of the writer’s block?
Be pre-warned that this has nothing to do with feminism or being a snob.
How many of you men have been shopping with women – your friends, sister, girlfriend, mother or to purchase gifts for your friend’s female friends? Whether you have or haven’t, not many of you must have noticed the stark contrast between the number of pockets a woman’s attire lacks versus the deluge of pockets in a man’s attire.
While shopping, we women have a lot of options to choose from. Let’s say I want to buy a pair of bottoms. My options begin from jeans, jeggings, shorts, trousers, capris, plazzos, harem pants, jogger pants, mini skirts, midis, maxis and these are just the western wear section, without going to the different fit styles available.
But most of the time the options haven’t really met my expectations in terms of one simple thing – pockets.
Why don’t my clothes have pockets?!
I have had to purchase trousers without pockets because apart from that one lacunae they fit really well. I have erroneously purchased plazzos which only had a pocket seam but no actual pocket! My jeans are such snug fits but with pockets large enough to only accommodate half the size of an average 5 inch screen smartphone.
Our kurtas don’t have pockets, neither do the dresses we wear. Skirts are out of the question when it comes to pockets and even the wallets we have are crammed with things because who’s heard of compartments? It is so inconvenient to be carrying your cash, cards, phone and other essentials in a separate pouch, when men can simply fill it all in their pockets and roam handsfree. On one hand, we women have so many options but barely practical while men seem to be comfortably carrying on with tradition. The most common men’s wallet designs have barely evolved since the 1950’s, it seems.
I don’t say all brands are an issue. But most brands are!
There are some days when life does not make sense.
Then there are more days when your manager does not make sense.
Then come a lot of days when the news does not make sense. Picking up a few of those gems!
What say you? Are you prepared to ruin your good day? Well, or maybe brighten up a bad day? 😛
Like the article mentions “Despacito is a song in Spanish about slow love making.” Translated lyrics here. For so many of us Indians and also non Indians out there who think sex is and should remain a taboo, here goes. The song you so love to jive and hum, blabber words you don’t even know the meaning of and think that Spanish is only spoken in Spain, wake up! Life just dealt you a joker. Now what will you do with it?
Okay, call me demeaning, if you want. But if this would have happened at a Railway Station washroom, I’d go all, ‘Maybe there have been worrisome incidents in there and there’s a context that isn’t being reported.” But if you tell me that a Church had to take such a step for women’s safety, then well, I’ll return in a while with my argument after laughing my guts out. The Church also needs to be worried about women’s safety in their premises now? Or is this an excuse for men to now make us more worried than we already are about our safety so that they can have a good, authorised peep show. Wonder if the CCTV footage reviewers also have to take the vow of celibacy.
So I understand we’re going all digital and laptop usage is at an all time high. Yeah, well, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that bit out. But what I am left wondering is why is Cambridge scrapping exams due to bad handwriting? We could have done this with the thought of saving paper, contributing towards cutting lesser trees, maybe slow down global warming or at least be happy about having done something to slow it down, even though it seems inevitable now. But no, we’re scrapping it because the handwriting is illegible? How thick brained are we really?
Oh, yes! News of the week. The iPhone 8 got launched. The iPhone 8S too. And the iPhoneX too. Poor iPhone 8 and 8S. They became obsolete within two minutes of their launch! Need I say more?
Then this happened. Bewakoof.com which when translated in English means foolish, lived up to their name for the first time. They launched a tShirtX. You shouldn’t think so out of the box also. Too much of anything is bad!
And with that I’ll end my tirade and only ask one thing – does the nation really want to know these news? #NationWantsToKnow.
P.S. : What have you come across of recent that you want to rant against? Tell me. Maybe we think alike!
As 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.
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.
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!
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!”
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!
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.