Friday, 26 December 2014
Saturday, 13 December 2014
Monday, 8 December 2014
I am a selfish bitch.
Someone got raped on Friday. Someone like me. A young career woman on the way home after an evening with friends. And all I can think about is I have done the same. Tons of times. I did it last Friday. I didn't take a cab home, I rode on the ladies compartment of the Delhi metro. Apparently separating the sexes is the only way to keep women safe now. That is, till the next case. Maybe next time it will be the Metro. Maybe that's the next way my freedom will get curtailed.
I want to move to a different country. Where women in public spheres are not seen as aberrations or threats. Where religion is not a polarising force. Where national leaders don't express the need for a 'holy book' for the country. Where people from the majority community don't peddle crap like 'We have taken enough'. Where donor agencies are not welcomed with open arms to make the country more 'business-friendly', especially when their ulterior motives are known. Where young educated women don't have to give up their dreams and careers to have happy family lives. Where different points of view have the space to be heard without being branded sickular or sanghi. Where people question and debate, don't believe and accept. Where the family elders don't bemoan cultural pollution when the young embrace their rights to choice. Where people forget who or what the 'other' is.
Sunday, 16 November 2014
Friday, 14 November 2014
|Bhutan-Relaxing after a morning walk|
|Maldives-Sneaking out for a mid afternoon break|
I got asked by a thirty something globetrotting professional woman whether I wasn't getting too old for marriage. And whether my parents were not introducing me to suitable bachelors.
|Ghastly ornamentation in Bhutan|
|Ghastly ornamentation in Delhi|
|See, just the names change|
|They are not paying me for this, I swear|
Monday, 28 July 2014
I wrote a poem when I was eight that got published in a a really dull children's magazine (no, not Champak). It was about a cat that chased rats and sat on a mat. That's how far my poetic instincts ever went. May be excepting something insincere about world peace/ poverty/ despair I wrote in middle school. And my benchmark to judge poetry was simple-I liked them as long as they rhymed.
But then recently, late one night, when I was moping alone about how I was too old to be this clueless about life, I stumbled upon these lines:
"These paperboats of mine are meant to dance upon the ripples of hours, and not reach any destination."
And this simple line written by a white haired gentleman many years ago, uplifted the mood of a person born four generations later.
I know I have these vague ambitions of making a difference in people's lives. But can anything I do (as an average economist, consultant or government servant) match the kind of a impact a poet can have?
Think of how happy the average Bollywood lyricist can make you.
Feeling daunted by work or life?
"Mitti ke parato ko nanhe se ankur bhi cheerein....
Suraj ki kirano ko roke yeh salakhen hai kahaan; sapno pe pehren de, yeh aankhen hai kahaan"
Or the more prosaic,
"Tension vension kya lena maathe pe bal hote hai
Beparvah muskano se hi masle hal hote hai"
"Lena dena nahi duniya se bas ab tujhse kaam hai
Teri ankhiyon ke shahar mein yaara sab intezam hai
Khushiyon ka tukra mile ya mila dukh khurchane
Tere mere kharche main sab ka ek daam hai"
Stunned by nature's beauty?
"Aasman ke chhat pe hain apni duniya
Khilkhilati jismein hai apni khushiya
Chaand ki chalni liye
Taare chunte hai hum
Jadui hai yeh jahaan
Hai nahi koi gham."
Of course this is not to deny that the same sentiment could be described by
"Yeh blue hai pani pani pani pani
Aur din bhi saaanny sannny saanny".
Friday, 11 July 2014
Thursday, 26 June 2014
Saturday, 7 June 2014
The e-rick driver is in a good mood. He sings 'Suhana safar hai yeh mausam haseen', while facing the risk of a heat stroke.
I down two glasses of iced tea within the first thirty minutes. I come back later for a third, but the ice cubes are over. I settle for masala coke instead.
I make my job sound way cooler than it is to people I don't like (Guess who). I am more honest with my friends.
I feel happier seeing Rawat bhaiya (who ignores me) than any of the professors at D school.
I spend inordinate amounts of time talking to professors I didn't even like in D school. But let's face it-there were very few profs I did like.
For the second time in my life, I follow every word of a speech. For the first time, someone is giving me advice I really need.
They serve vegetarian shaadi wala food. I die a little. The shaadi wala desert (ice cream with hot gulaab jamuns) saves the day.
I salivate at the description of food served at a friend's wedding. I am shocked I have a friend who has had a wedding.
I introduce a friend to my colleagues. I feel weird having colleagues.
Friday, 30 May 2014
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
Monday, 5 May 2014
And short term.
And since I really need to rekindle my interest in economics, I will be posting economics related content for the coming two months. I am aiming for weekly updates, as of now.
Of course, that means you (dear, reader) are probably going to lose interest.
Or maybe I will be a really fun economics writer, like this guy here, the other love of my live.
Sunday, 27 April 2014
I have always reasonably enjoyed others' however. Turns out even my own blog's (which has to be sad on one level, but let's ignore that for the moment).
The day began (fashionably late) with me shelling out 300 bucks to quell my academic curiosity, at PVR Saket, that citadel of pretentiousness (with its Walk of Fame) and over-pricing.
However, 300 rupees are only enough to get you cattle-class seats-hard, uncomfortable and affording no privacy to the couples (and to us from them) flanking us from all sides. And because fleecing customers is not criminal enough, the theatre decided it was acceptable to make its patrons sit for an extra twenty minutes while a palanquin perched Katrina Kaif traversed through badlands looking for the man(go) of her dreams, and little girls made puppy eyes at their fathers to make them quit smoking.
Even the writers of these montrosities however, put more thought into their material than the writers of the actual feature film. It's one thing to take an interesting concept and make a bad film; it is another thing to take an interesting concept and make a boring film. So boring that the opening sequence with three mustachioed gundas establishing that Kangana Ranaut's Alka was a b****h, k*****ya and what not, had me dozing off (like a middle-aged uncle, but let's ignore that also for the moment).
Not ones to let any money go to waste, my friends woke me up and the three of us decided to sacrifice our well being for the greater good-entertaining our co-audience with live commentary on the happenings on screen.A very unappreciative audience as it turns out. Some people left our side to go sit in front. Another school-masterish guy, disapproving of all the fun we were having, applied to a higher authority-the usher-to silence us (that could be the plot a really fun slasher flick). The usher in turn issued us an ultimatum, the end result of which was that we left the theatre in the middle of the film. Voluntarily, mind you.
The rest of the very hot Delhi evening was spent having cold coffee,
A very enjoyable evening indeed.
Friday, 25 April 2014
Read about Day 3, Day 4, Day 5 and Day 6 here.
I have been to the beach before, with my parents. My mom always ensured that if I ever ventured into the sea, it was not beyond a point when the water was more than ankle-high. She would clutch my hands if I tried to go deeper. The instinct to protect.
I have always wanted to escape that protection. Not in the way teenagers rebel (I completely skipped that phase). But just out of the wish to experience everything. Out of the desire to feel everything there is to be felt. And purely for selfish reasons. If I hoped to be a writer some day, I could imagine events. I couldn't imagine people's emotional reactions to those events, could I? How could I write about someone falling in love, if I had never been in love myself? Or about loss, if I had never felt the hurt.
But this has led to the oddest thing. The realisation that anything that happens to me is useful (in the sense of adding to my life experience, and hence the material for a book I may or may not write in the future), the hurt I feel is always dimmed to that extent. I am able to step back and analyse my feelings-like an outsider. Like a critic reviewing a film.
Is this related to age, maturity? Is it because I don't have other people to talk to (on a daily basis), that I have these intense discussions in my head? Or is it really because of the writer-ly ambitions? (Which will probably just remain ambitions if I keep using words like 'writer-ly').
It can't be maturity. If anything, over the past nine months, since leaving campus, I have become more vulnerable. Earlier, the only thing that could get me upset were feelings of aimlessness, insecurities about my career and if bad things happened to my family or friends. I could get over anything anybody said or did to me by (mentally, always mentally) abusing them. Because those people were never important. And the important people cared too much. It's not like that anymore. But then, wasn't that the point of escaping all that protection?
Thursday, 24 April 2014
Read about Day 4, Day 5 and Day 6 here.
This is probably cheating.
But don't tell me you would rather read a hastily written post than feast your eyes on these:
|Because every trip begins at the airport|
|View from Paro, the city with the airport, Bhutan|
|Is it possible for a country to be unhappy if this is what it looks like?|
|Gate to the cafetaria, Tiger's Nest|
|Even the tramps have THE life here|
|Budhha Statue: Look at the trees for some perspective|
|The view of the Tiger's Nest monastery from the Cafetaria|
|This could be an Airtel ad|
|Have some more beauty|
|Photo Credit: Mehul Gupta|
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Read about Day 5 and Day 6 here.
I am going to recount a childhood incident again. Not because I have nothing else to talk about (I have lots actually), but because there is nothing else I can coherently post about, in very limited time.
I think I was in 5th standard when we first performed a play in my colony.
It was Christmas. And my first attempt at writing something that did not involve rhyming 'cat' with 'mat'. I did a terrible job-the 'play' was essentially a bunch of kids mouthing facts about Christmas traditions in English.
But since parents insisted on encouraging mediocrity (and English) we were much appreciated.
So the next year, before Diwali, we decided to stage a 'Modern Ramayana'.
I don't remember who wrote it-it was essentially a bunch of bad jokes strung together-Ram looking for his Ray-bans before Vanvas, Hanuman being mistaken for the Monkey-man, and so on. But we were at an age when Kaho Na Pyar Hai counted as a piece of art.
The casting was very controversial for that play. There were three major male roles- Ram, Lakshman and Ravana and we had three male actors. Those roles went to them unquestioningly (though Ram and Lakshman had major ego hassles between them).
There were a bunch of girls and one coveted female role-Sita. (I can't for the life of me remember whether we had a Surpnakha).
I decided not to audition for Sita, but claim the role of Hanuman instead. That's because I knew the only other role was for Jatayu (who dies midway) and the Vanar Sena. Which is what all the people rejected as Sita were relegated to.
The play itself was a little bit of a disaster.
You would think scientists wouldn't be very God-fearing. But someone from the cast blabbed about what we were doing to their Scientist (or spouse of scientist) parent. And they objected to the mockery of religion.
Half an hour before the performance, we decided we would change the names of the characters to Ashwarya (Sita), ShahRukh (Ram) and Salman (Lakshman).
Most of us forgot that 3 minutes in.
And the audience couldn't figure out why Shah Rukh asking for Raybans before a Vanvas was funny. Or why he was going for a Vanvas in the first place.
Some of the audience also heckled a dying Jatayu. So Jatayu got up from the dead and went off-stage.
Ram and Lakshman (sorry, Shah Rukh and Salman) forgot their ego hassles and ganged up against Jatayu to berate her.
Jatayu promised never to play with us again.
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Read Countdown to Blog Birthday-Day 6, here.
Hindi films always make a song and dance (quite literally) about jawani (youth).
The best part of my jawani (till now) have been my three years of college.
The best part about college was that it was so uneventful.
My childhood on the other hand was legendary.
One year my (then) best friend and I pooled in our books (which weren't many) to open a library. Our patrons were our playmates in the colony. Often, they also donated to our book collection.
We returned the favour by charging them for a monthly membership (Rs. 2/-).
Worse, we made them sit in the library (a common room in the colony, otherwise used for dance/music/art classes, rehearsals for Durga Puja and kitty parties) for half an hour every week to read.
Once this kid (who was a year older to me) came to my house and asked to be let off 'library class'.
I refused. The rules didn't allow for it, and he had promised to abide by them (by signing a form, whose master copy had been typed on a type-writer. We were too cool for computers.) His mother approved.
The power apparently went to my head though. Allegedly in one year, my friend and I appropriated Janmashtami funds to build our book collection.
We haven't been forgiven for that yet.
Monday, 21 April 2014
I saw 2 States last weekend.
The trailers during the interval were more interesting than the movie.
Alia Bhatt was wonderful though.
Now only if someone advised her to not do bland romantic comedies. (And physically restrained Randeep Hooda from doing trash like Jism 2).
The two trailers I saw were of Revolver Rani and Samrat and Co.
Revolver Rani looks horrible. But I am still going to watch it out of academic curiosity. And to express solidarity with the feminist cause. Though I doubt that's what the film-makers were going for. It looks more like they first saw Neha Dhupia in Phas Gaye Re Obama, then watched Loin and his moll in Yaadon ki Baarat , and decided how fun it would be if the tables were turned. Not that that's a bad thing.
The hero of Samrat and Co. is a detective. He sports curly hair, goes around in a coat with an upturned collar, and talks very fast. In one sequence he runs out of a building (presumably in pursuit), stops in front of the gate, shuts his eyes and seems to concentrates hard. Maps appear on the screen, indicating directions (presumably of the possible routes his quarry may have taken).
And ooh, he has a 'seventh' sense. Since the sixth one is so passé.