Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Dancer and the Mirror

I had started learning Bharatnatyam at the age of 7. And, if I have to be honest about it, I hated it there. I was tired after school, and was siphoned off from the bus stop to a dance class in the interiors of qutub area, and I understood nothing.
The dance school had a huge hall with s stage and there were senior dance teachers who would be teaching various groups in various corners. If my memory served right, you started with one teacher where you would do warm ups (being the basics), and then go to the next teacher who would take your class - meaning who would ask you to do the items that you have learnt. And then finally, you would go to the teacher who would be teaching you your new set of steps in the item that you would be in the process of learning.
There was also a mandatory singing class, and a lot of complaints from my guru to my mother that, she is wasting her money on me by making me learn dance and that I can never learn. Maybe I was/ am beat deaf.
I remember taking a sabbatical from bharatnatiyam in Class 9, citing pressure to study and the class 10th boards. And I remember studying very hard and praying that I get good marks so that I can ask my mom to never send me back to dance class. It was in the months after my class 10 boards and before the results that I joined the summer workshop at The DanceWorks Studio by Asley Lobo. I was lost there too. But, somehow felt a little familiarity. After the summer workshop was over, and I started school again, I forgot about dancing. And it was in college that I joined the regular classes at the DanceWorks.
It was there, that I after months of training, finally looked at myself in the mirror, and not to set my hair, but to check my posture, and smile while enduring the pains of the pirouette or the extensions. It was there, where I met dance teachers, who always encouraged, and who were always positive. It was there where I learnt that to look in the mirror is an act of courage and confidence. We all look in the mirror do our make up and hair and see how we are dressed, but we never really look. The moment we would really look, into our own eyes, and our own soul, is when we realise the real pain inside our heart and the fact that we are always overlooking at things, all the time.
Those 4-5 years, I was at the peak of my confidence. I was a much happier person, and I looked superb. It was a time where I felt a part of something.

Right now, today, as I write this, I realise that I have not looked in my own eyes for a really really long time, and that I am at a point in my life where, I want answers, and I don't want to second guess any of my decisions. I want to be a much happier person, and I want to really make the most out of the life that I have. I don't want to think about how much would I have to cry in the night, because I laughed a lot during the day.  I want to be that dancer again, with her mirror, who was ready to conquer the world, come what may. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The mystery of the missing dupatta and about being thoughtful and thoughtless

This morning when I left home, I distinctly remember carrying my duppatta with me, along with my purse and my tiffin. I sat in the car, and throughout the 30 minute drive that dupatta did not trouble me. It did not slither down to create hurdles while I was driving, and because of all the things that are happening around me, my drive becomes my thinking zone, I forgot about that dupatta.
(I usually put the dupatta along with the tiffin, the purse and the other jing bang on the passenger seat so that everything is accounted for, and today, I did not follow my protocol.)

So, at the end of my drive (which is at the starbucks close to my office), when I got down to go and collect my coffee, the dupatta did not slide down, and I believe that I missed it falling off me, when I got out of the car. When I got back into the car to go to office, I of course did not remember about the dupatta. Three minutes later, about halfway to my office from Starbucks, I realise that I had a dupatta and its missing. I stop my car, frantically search in the car, turn around the car and drive back to where I had parked my own car, but there was nothing there. No dupatta.

And, in all honesty, I have NO freaking clue, where, why or how the hell did it even fall off me and I did not realise it? It is not a small thing. It was a big green and black printed dupatta! The good thing though is, that the kurta that I am wearing is not with a dupatta, so, there is nothing missing per se. And the kurta with which this duppatta came, has faded, and I was going to throw it away in any case.

But, the fact is, that I am not a careless person. I believe that I am a careful person, and I abhor losing things because, I have not followed protocol (as set by my own self!). This is precisely THE reason, why at times, things need to happen the way I want. Because of the protocols that I have set. Sometimes, one has to adjust, but for things as regular as going to work, there are things that I like to follow, so that I don't miss out on important things. Like, I have travel kits. When we were in Mumbai, we used to travel a lot, and because last minute frenzy often makes me anxious, and I hate forgetting (because, I get reprimanded for forgetting), I had prepared three small bags with travel toiletries, things that I can't travel without and which are important (even a toilet paper). It always helps me because, if we have to travel on the shortest of notice, I have these three bags that I toss in and I am set. Plus, of course, my purse has everything that I need too!

I am sometimes jealous of the people, who don't care. But I think my anxiety tops that feeling of jealousy. I'd rather travel in peace than with worrying about pooping in dirty toilets without paper.

So, yeah, there are things that have been protocoled (I don't think that this a word), and when it is just me, I can follow it. But when its a team (like having the Husband), it becomes too many questions, answers and logic. As has been established via the previous post, I lack logic.

So yeah, my dear dupatta, wherever you are, you served me well, and I miss you, and I am sorry that I lost you.

Being thoughtful is again a perspective. I mean, what being thoughtful means to me will not necessarily be akin to your perspective. And rest of the disclaimer about the thoughtfulness will be somewhere in between the post or towards the end.

So, I have a colleague in my present office, whose girlfriend's birthday is on the coming weekend and he has been working super hard for making it super special for her. I know this because almost all of us in office have helped him :D.
The thing being, that he has picked up stuff for his girl by observing various things, by carefully scrutinizing the conversations that they have had (albeit in the last three months, but give the guy the credit!). His girlfriend is also a lawyer, and she has travelled a lot, and she had in a conversation mentioned to him that she is looking to create a space in her room where she can probably have a map which is marked in some way to mark all the places that she has been to. So, he starts looking and finds a quirky map, which he gets mount on a softboard. The map is foil covered, and the person can scratch the places where all they have visited, and each scratch is a different colour, so you have all the fun rediscovering the places that you have been too, and literally scratching the travel itch. In another conversation he heard her mentioning that she is looking for a phulkari dupatta (traditional punjabi embroidery duptta), and he asks around, he asks us, we help him find vendors, and he reaches out to at least 10 vendors (found via facebook and instagram) and finalizes on a beautiful piece. Not only just finding the vendor, but asking the right questions as well, after consulting I believe his mom, and us girls too in office. Apart from the other knick knacks of gifts, he got her a pair of swaroswki earrings. And mind you, they were not just selected on a whim. While helping him go through the on-line catalogue, he was so sure about the earrings that she wears, because, he notices. Yesterday, when everything came together, my other colleague SR asked him "So, boss, how much was the dent?" and he replied by saying that "This not a dent, but an investment! After all, she also thinks through, and ensures that whatever she does for my birthday is with as much thought and effort.."
Now how sweet is that!
Of course, there is a dinner planned and what not, for the birthday.. but I think, it is just such a pleasant change to find a guy, who actually thinks through the gifts (most importantly, thinks that he has to gift).
Like I had said above, that this may not sound so thoughtful to a lot of you. But I always think that the art of gifting is an art too. It takes, so much of an effort to find the right thing for the person that you are buying a gift for. Sometimes its easy, sometimes, it is a task. For my BFF, whose godbharai happened about 10 days back, I drew a blank on what is it that I can gift her, especially since she has said no baby gifts till the baby comes. So, I had read somewhere that to be mums should be gifted "ladoo gopals", as a sign of happy healthy babies, and boom, I got that for her. It may not have been expensive, but it was thoughtful (her mom in law said that, so I know).

It need not be expensive. But it should be thought through. Like for Husband's 30th, I went to great lengths. Though him being him, he did not tell me, whether he liked it or not or whether I got it right. But, I would like to believe that I did do a good job. I started 3 months in advance. I literally learnt how to use a new program. Did so much DIY, that I was super happy and satisfied.

You know, when you do put in the effort, things just work out. One has to be more observant, ask the right questions and look for guidance, where one can find.
 As a matter of fact, even between my parents, I see that there is no gifting thing, but then when it is their anniversary or one of their birthday, they do reach out to us. My dad will always ask.. so what is it that we should by for your mom, or mom will always observe that Dad may need something (like a phone or a camera, or even a night suit) but nevertheless they observe.

I always used to think that movies and romance novels have raised the bar. But then there are the kinds who really look around and find the thing that is right.

This maybe a materialistic perspective to being thoughtful, but of late, I am in a place that I can't see my half full glass, so maybe this post helps in colouring that water, so that I can see damn glass which is half full.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Continuing the "Nobody" rant..

I read a lot of articles written on "artparasites", they are the articles, poems which have a flow in them. Even if it is an essay, the words flow like perfection. So many of those essays and poems resonate within me. Often, making me realise that the inflictions of my imagination and the traumas of my daily life are not my own. There are other people facing the similar (if not the same). (Like I had said, I am not even a hero in my own story).

So while browsing through the website today, I came across an essay , which was titled as "Mediocrity is Underrated", and it is written by a 19 year old. This nineteen year old writes, "Perfection might be the order of the day, but it’s an incredibly lonely place to be. "

And, while I agree that you may have less to no real friends, it also a place where, you wish to be.

Who doesn't want their world to be perfect, and in worlds that are perfect, perfection may not be a lonely place.


I looked up narcissist, and it seems that me wanting appreciation from the people around me doesn't fit in the definition.
In any event, I think, I have figured out my problem, or the so called problem about the identity crisis that I am facing. About me being a nobody.
I think, I just can't make up my mind about what is it that I want, and what is that I want to be. Do I want to be the "tyag ki devi" types of bahu and beti.. or would I rather be the mean and the selfish kinds, not looking beyond my own interests.
The thing being, that I believe that I cannot be mean or selfish. If I am, I keep looking for ways to make up (to the person, to whom I was selfish). It is as simple as this: The husband wants to go out on a weekend to meet a friend outside the city. And he asks me, and I am like "Oh, do you have to, its the weekend." And he doesn't go.
In retrospect, when we both would look back to it, he would say, that I don't "allow" him to be. And I will retort, but I did not stop you. And he would reply back by saying, "I know, that you did not say no, and that I was free to do what I wanted, but I was not welcome to do it".
This statement because of the way it is, would take me time to understand, and then when I would finally understand this statement (or the likes of it), I would continue to swing like a pendulum thinking.. "Am the kind of wife that stifles her husband?" and on the other hand thinking "Why the fuck won't he want spend time with me? We only get the weekends" And because, in my brain there is another dimension, I would also end up thinking " But, if I have to go and do something on my own, on a holiday, he never stops me... I should be more acceptable" and then back to the square one "He lets me go, maybe because, he doesn't want to spend time with me". By the time these thoughts are processed and something comes out  of my mouth, it is totally irrelevant to the discussion at hand, and I sound like an ass, rather than someone who deals with logic day in and day out.
I end up feeling all kinds of guilt, then all kinds of frustration (why do I have spell it out every time.. its been so many years how come he doesn't know how to please me...which in a usual couple argument is often thrown back at me with the line "that I never see the glass as full")... and any action taken after such an argument leaves me even more confused, "Did he do it because he wanted to.. or because, I wanted him to?"
My emotions, and the range of thoughts are totally haywire, and maybe because, I am so dependant upon people telling me what to do, how to feel, how to react all the time, I become deranged with all the emotions. I mentally prepare a very strong speech about a certain situation, and that speech never comes out. Instead some blabbered nonsense comes out, almost like there is no connection between my brain and my vocal chords.

I hate sounding the way I sound in this post. Miserable. Confused. Angry. Antsy. And somehow plain needy. I wish I was a better person. A smarter person. But alas, this is me, And I am sorry.   

I am a nobody

For all my life, and trust me it's not been short, all I have done is trying to live up to the expectations. 
I just don't know how else to live. I try to make everyone happy. I don't remember the last time anyone bent too sideways for me. As for me, I think all I do is appease. Appease the Gods, the fate, appease the family, appease the boss, even my dog. 
I remember all those nights in my teenage, when I cried myself to sleep just hoping that I am understood. That for once my parents are proud of me. I remember windering about what is it that I do wrong. Why can't I ever get things in my brain. Why am I not tall, or pretty or thin? Why am I not talented? Why am I never good enough? Why is it that so wine else is better than me. I remember getting all the accolades in college, and being told that I am the one eyed kind amongst the blind. So much for being at the top. 
I am still not good enough. I still can't talk properly. I can't talk think properly and I can't seem to comprehend properly. 

It's almost 30 years of my being and I still can do nothing right. I am as ordinary as anyone else, the whole thing about being special.. It's nothing but new age mumbo jumbo. I am not even the hero in my own story. I am a nobody here too. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The tales of the Twisted Truth and White Lies!

We lie everyday. Every single day we lie to ourselves and to the people around us. Sometimes it is to save our own skin and at other times it is just for the sake of convenience.

Saving our own skin is mostly the reason when people would like to twist the facts.. and present it in an empathetic manner so that the punishment is not so severe. Like, when the marks in a math paper are poor, its often the paper that is tough and not the effort that is less. In work situations it is even worse, because unlike an exam paper, when one is working, there are so many circumstances that often play into one situation that even if you don't want, you end up twisting the facts to suit your ownself. When this is done by the boss, and all the blam is put on the juniors, the juniors feel that they are being short changed often leading to conflicts at the work place.

I am not condoning the lying and the scheming of the bosses and seniors, but we live in times of greys and not black and white. Sometimes, these twsited facts are the line between you being called a great and not getting a promotion. I would want to believe that each time any one of us decide to twist a fact in our favour we know what we are doing, and hope to God that the repercussions or karma does not come to bite back at us.

And then we twist the facts just for the sake of convenience. I know of an ex colleague of mine who would often tell the boss that "the work is done, but I have asked the Client for some information, and that has yet to come" even though she had not even started on that work. She admitted to this over lunch, and simply substantiated it by saying "You know the boss, right!". She said this to avoid any conferntational situation with the boss in front of the whole office. She claimed that she indeed has asked for some details from the Client and would only start work on the assignment once she receives it.

We do this a lot. We twist the facts, to save our asses and to avoid questions and confrontations. In work situations, it is like controlled nuclear reaction, you would often know what is the worst that can happen and you would accordingly take precautions ASAP, in order keep chaos at bay.

But in personal relatiohips, more often than not it creates a rift that you don't how to fill.

About 11 years back, when my parents had left me and my grandma (and the maid) to our own devices for two months, I did nothing that a teenager would do. My boyfriend was an online one, so the only thing that I would do is sit till 2 a.m. chatting away to glory. I did no sneak outs (helped my BFF to do them) and no partying per se (having my bff over and making pasta and pizza and staying up all night just the two of us does not count because my parents did know that I was doing that). However, I did do one thing stupid, I harboured a friend who decided to run away from her own house because her parents were very strict and even though my grandma showed that she knew nothing, she knew everything. The parents tracked her down to my house and police came, and the parents realised that we were just a teenage girl and grandma, they apologised for bringing reinforcements, and took their daughter away. My grandmother forbid me to meet that friend ever again in my life, and I obeyed her. Once my parents came back, she very gently broke the news to them and they just pulled me up for it. But we did not hide it from my parents. So, thus we came to learn the art of "breaking the news gently" to the parents.

But that was with the Parents.

In relationships of more intimate nature, lies/ twisting of the facts kill it. I learnt it the hard way. The husband also (this happened almost 6 years back) learnt this the hard way. But when you are married and everyday life is like a set of tasks on a to do list, the lies of convenience are often the way out. No further questions! Simple things like, "Did you do xyz thing?" .. is often responded as "Hmmm, oh I, I tried, but did not happen" whereas you wouldn't have even tried doing that task because you forgot. Forgetting is a sin in a relationship, especially if the tasks are time bound (a.k.a- bill payments/ ordering groceries!). Oh, and it does not happen initially. In a new relationship, it starts with "Oh, I forgot" and with the constant nagging and arguing that is entailed between the couple, one just never gets to know when lying for the sake of convenience takes over. It comes to the forefront when the one who has been lied to gets to know about it and doesn't know what to say or how to react. The first instinct is to fight. Then the next is to ignore. And often that is the course of action that you take. Ignore. But even though you ignore, you start second guessing each action of your partner. And then, you start feeling guilty. You start feeling like it is you, who has been behaving in a way that is an anamoly and that you do not instill enough confidence in your partner that you should be told the truth. And finally you start questioning your own credibility/ worthiness and your place in the life of your "life partner". Which leads to frustration and trust issues.
And the vicious circle continues.

You fight. You make up. And then you slip back in your old habits, till something comes up and you follow the same cycle again.

Yes, there is no black and white. And I am the last person to preach about "truth, and nothing but the truth" because truth is often a perspective to a situation. My truth maybe your lies. But we are not talking about morality here. We are talking about situations between people, in circumstances, where it can be avoided.
I am the kind of person who would bend sideways a lot for someone I care, often even take the blame.. but I am also the kind of person who expects that I am in loop, and from people who are like super close to me I don't expect twisted truths and white lies. And therefore I try that I don't twist the truth to the person from whom I expect the simple truth.
But alas, we are human, and we are flawed.
Or maybe we have become so grey or maybe the times have become so complicated!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

For the love of "grey": A take on TV and its shows

Since the time I have been married, I have hardly watched TV. Which basically means that I haven't watched the cable television! My dear darling husband got me hooked to the idea of having our own media liberary. Hence we download our shows and religiously watch them as and when we get an opportunity. As a ritual we watch a couple of those together and then there are some that we watch at our own pace.
Add to the mix the launch of "Netflix", and boom, we have a plethora of shows from the west to whet our appetite for the television series.

The latest one that I have been hooked to is called "Blacklist". It is about a fugitive (an FBI most wanted) who has a blacklist of various thugs and who insists on engaging with a single FBI agent (who is the other protagonist) in the show in order to help FBI to take down the most wanted.
Similarly, there was another show in the past called the "White Collar", in which an ex con man teams up with an FBI agent in a twisted legal fashion to complete his prison sentence.
Then there are other shows, like "Madam Secretary", "the Good Wife" and the cult "Friends"; and various others that tackle various subjects that are different.
The shows are an exaggeration to an extent but the exaggeration is rooted in the reality of the people and who they are.
Almost all the protagonists in the western shows are REAL. They make mistakes and are not honour killed by the show writers by dialogues and music that is like cat scartching a wall. There is no black or white. There are women, yes the lead women who express their anguish, and who fall in love, despite being married. Who get re-married or find love again.
There are hidden agendas that they are pursuing for their own sakes, and which does not necessarily mean that their moral compass is OFF.

These real characters put shame to the protagonists in the Hindi television serials. It is impossible to relate with the Tulsi's and Parvati's and even the younger "yo" kind of characters that the Hindi TV Channels (or as a matter of fact, the Indian TV Channels) put forth to the viewers. How am I to believe that if I think about myself a little bit more than what I think about my family in general, it makes me a proverbial bitch who doesn't care. Or that, if I want to kiss a few frogs before I find my prince charming, I am a whore/ slut or characterless.
It is exactly this mind set that the country is trying to free itself from (thanks to the well read, and the internet). There are few who believe that it is okay to be selfish, and to sometimes put your own interest before the interest of an extended family who has nothing better to say.

The most glaring example of the disparity in how the television shows are treated (or rather how the television studios think about the intelligence of their audience) are the reality shows that are aired. Barring KBC, there have been no reality shows that are crisp. Even KBC for that matter now has become fraught with sob stories.
Another example of this disparity is the MasterChef series. MasterChef Australia as a show is just raising its standards every year, by the participants and the food that they portray. The hosts cum judges have become international celebraties thanks to the way the show runners have been running the show. And MasterChef India, oh well, from the bad quality of the food and the judges/ hosts, it is nothing but an emotional journey. There is no food journey at all.
And that is exactly the same with all our reality shows. They are fraught with more drama than talent. In an episode of 60 min while 15 minutes are kept for adverts, the rest of the content is not worth a 45 minute show. From antics of the host and the antics of judges, the sob stories.. it just gets worse every year. The singing/ dancing/ talent shows break your patience. With celebs coming there to promote their movies and then dancing/ singing with each contestant.. it is like publicity at the cost of the audience brain.  The show "Dancing with the Stars" which was adapted to "Jhalak Dikhlaja" was actually quite professional in the first 4 installments, and then it became like the rest. More antics and less content.

While the good thing about the reality shows is that it is a season based format, they trouble you only for a month or two or three but the drama shows on TV, the daily fix of the wives and mothers and some of us (till couple of years back) just go on and on and on with the same thing. A villian who will never change and a protagonist who is the epitome and a mixture of all things nice. There is always the family which is interfering in the love life of couples (married and unammried alike) and people scheming for the property of the others and they just don't stop. Unlike the shows in the west, where each season comprises of limited episodes.. here it will take two months (which is like 24 episodes) for one little thing to happen. In the current season of Blacklist, in episode 7 the protagonist finds out that she is having a baby, and by the 18th episode she has delivered the baby. The timelines are almost real.

Thank GOD for Zindagi TV, and Pakistani shows, which follow the similar format as the shows in West. Where the acting is good, the script is strong and make up plays NO role in a woman's life. Hell, they are even better dressed than the indian counter parts. As a matter of fact, two indian serials matching the genre and the style of zindagi were also introduced on the channel, but the writers just could not find that magic.
I am from the time when Waghle ki duniya, Buniyaad, Shanti, Junoon, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Shriman Shrimati, Tu Tu Main Main were in vogue and they were GOOD SHOWS. Even Flop Show by Jaspal Bhatti, was a social sattire and as a matter of fact, Movers and Shakers with Shekar Suman was a great show too.

While TV has moved into the realm of 24x7 liecenses, unfortunately the content has degraded to nonsensical shows and I wish that K revolution bought on by Ekta Kapoor had not happened and that TV viewing was a refreshing experience rather than a cringing one.

It is from the world of TV and Cinema that we, public at large set our compass. And while there is always meaninglessness that one finds on both these platforms, it is imperative that the audiences also start demanding meaningful content.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Turn on the HEAT!

The month of May has arrived with vengence. 
As Delhi recovers from the failed Odd- Even 2.0, the ban on the taxis run on diesel as a fuel by the Supreme Court (which was extended twice, btw) came into effect, and therefore today, the traffic was on a stanstill on the arterial roads of Delhi (because these taxi people wanted to protest). 

The temprature is being shown at 46 degrees celsius, which makes the travel to and fro  from office a free sauna experience. The only reief being that, I am driving and therefore I son't have to go through the pains of the public transport. 
Which by the way is one of the major reason's being cited by the 'experts' for the failure of the Odd-Even 2.0. 

My thing with traffic is that, people do not adhere to lane driving thus choking at the bottlenecks (especially at certain points, where everyone knows that there will be a bottle neck). 

In other news, it seems that the holiday that I was looking forward to is not happening. 

Little Sister is finally wrapping up her masters and is all set to come back for a longer period to home, before she joins the work force in full fledged capacity, and then we will be planning things according to the limited casula leaves, paid leaves and any other kind of leaves. It will be a huge thing for all of us, because, officially everyone in my family will now be in the "adult zone". Which is not a great thing. (For all that it is worth, growing up is the MOST overrated thing in the world)

I completed ONE month at my new job, and barring the cussing situation by the guys of the office, which I am getting used to, this seems okay for now. Being too optimistic about your workplace means that you are looking for an utopian situation, which vis - a vis an office is not true. 

And that is all there is to the start of May. 
Lets hope that the doubts remain as it is.