Thursday, December 23, 2010

And my dustbin overflows..

Dear Diary

You cant imagine the amount of clutter that swims around in my head just now in the form of thoughts and emotions. I have been waiting to blurt them all out to you, but the moment I landed here, they have all evaporated out of the little window in my head.

But dear diary, I want to talk to you about this little wastepaper basket, lying below me that is overflowing literally with a lot of unwanted paper . I wonder how many trees have been cut to make all this paper.And those pieces of paper - they may have been useful to me at some point of time - a cheque intimation, a proposal , an e ticket, a policy reminder, a wedding invitation, a medical bill, a list of things to do - all lie crushed and torn today in that little basket out there.

Funny , I realize that life is a bit like that . People - friends, family, colleagues - we all lie in some waste paper basket after the need is fulfilled. I think of the many dustbins I may probably be lying in - discarded ..wonder if I was used in the first place to be thrown,if I was of any use to anyone...and I think of the people who have used me ; who probably cried on my shoulders, climbed on them and then flew away..Anyways, we are all pieces of paper ..lifeless, torn and crushed, lying in some wastepaper basket or the other

I look at the pile and wonder about the amount of paper that I have collected over the last year..or was it the last four years ? Yes, dear diary, its been four years since I bought this waste paper basket and the house that it is housed in. Four years since I have moved to Bangalore and all that I have accumulated is a lot of paper . Clutter. And I want them out of my system today. Thoughts and feelings. People. Its time for them to also find a place out of my life into the dustbin. Used or otherwise, they are of no use today. They have outlived their need. Its time for them to be lifeless, torn and discarded.

So, I know what you are thinking - another year ends and I have lost my sanity and gained a lot of weight..But another new year dawns and believe me , there is more paper to be collected .

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

Its been a regular week . Just a bit of rains, some work and yes, Ive been eating a lot of chocolates and chaats. And I havent been walking or hitting the gym and have been putting on weight. But you know what , Ive been meeting people. So, I met this guy, very smart and successful. I dont really knows what he does, but he seems like he knows what he is doing, which I guess is more important today.

But I found two things interesting. One, he was always tucking in his stomach when he speaks and was trying very hard to have this faraway , dreamy look in his eyes and you could see he was actually uncomfortable with himself and was probably worried about the way he was being perceived. But then, he was the centre of attraction. He carefully chose what he wanted to say. His topics could range from the Tundra to the local gossip in the film industry. Yet, he was trying very hard not to sound intellectual or trashy. He knew how to modulate his voice, wait for the right pauses and make the right noises. You know what I was thinking , dear diary..that was here was a man who made trivia , a knowledge .

Later over a drink, I stopped him when he was trying to tell me about a rare quality of gene in man that could make them fly. Ok,I just made that up. But his trivia was always like that, something which could be interesting,(ahem!) rare and unusual and often generated oohs and wows from people..but then at the end of day, he acknowledged that it was just useless trivia. It didnt really open anybody's horizon and would be either drowned in the drinks in the party or at the most be shared in another party. But then, I asked him what motivated him to collect these trivia..after all, no quizzer will ask him such questions .

He humoured me for a moment and asked , " Havent you heard of conversation currency ? " he went on to explain how diligently he read and combed the net to find such information that was not in circulation and the rarer and the less credible it is , it worked for him. " You need to shock people, not just interest him, it opens doors , you know. " I just heard a door close on me, when a phone rang. It was R on the line..I was surprised dear diary that he called me after 6 months . And then he went on to say " Hey listen, how are you doing ? I need a help. Am off to a party tonight and I need some gossip, anythg..filmy, media, fashion..meeting some people you time to prepare ..." Since when did people start preparing to go for parties , I wondered as I hung up the call on this newspaper editor.

Well, there were more interesting people that I met but I will tell you later. A friend is coming over for dinner now and I actually have to prepare - food !

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Who are these faces ?

Dear diary,

Everyday I wade through life meeting countless faces ,rubbing many a shoulder and shaking several hands, before walking home to enjoy my own private space . While some of these social meets are pure networking opportunities, many times, I have met people with whom I share similar wavelengths or can enjoy a laugh or even share a personal moment. Sometimes these moments become intimate - not necessarily physical, but also emotional and then I do not know what to call these relationships. For want of a better word, I call them friends .

And then there are people who are around me all the time. People who are related to me, is married to me, who has nurtured and managed me, people with whom I share a bond, And I call them family.

Sometimes there is a blur between the two, when friends become family and family become friends. But then to me, that doesnt matter. I remember when I was 17 and I was still in high school. I made a promise to myself - that I will try and be independent - financially, mentally or intellectually and even emotionally. While I have managed the same to a large extent, the emotional bit has always been a bit challenging. And that is when I learnt not to have too many expectations, except to people with whom one Ive been extremely close to. And these are people, Ive learnt to trust and believe in over the years and very few friends , besides family belong here, And even then, my dear diary, I have maintained a certain discretion - as they are individuals first and then my parent ,sibling or spouse.

But this is not to say that friends are secondary. There are times when I have leaned on them and they on me , but then neither can be a permanent crutch for the other. I have gotten up and moved on several times and have been grateful to my friend for being there and I have also offered myself as a crutch when the need arises. But then, dear diary, there is a difference between being there and being used na.and very often the lines are blurred as we are dealing with feelings here . Yes, I have been used and thrown and there are times that I have used, but I believe that I havent thrown anyone as yet..but then I am also human . I do not believe in formulae, my dear diary..

But then I refuse to believe that anyone unconditionally offers themselves to the other - be it friends or family. There is always a need that one is satisfying - be it loneliness or a feel good factor or just a selfish need to feel special and cared for, or show off to the world that you are loved and cared for . I think its also a hidden urge to prove to oneself that one is not really alone and hence the success of so many social media sites that seek to satisfy this gratification. You know, as Im writing this , there is probably a desire inside me that someone out there is reading me and nodding their heads ..

I have always been a private person and even though many people think that I am quite social and an extrovert, I draw a line when it comes to me and people. Be it family or friends, I realize that 9 out 10 people I meet and have met in my life are mere acquaintances. I am happy to share a conversation with them, laugh with them, crib to them, spend some time with them, even let them touch my life to a certain extent , listen to them, offer myself as a crutch to them, but then I draw a boundary . Call it a safety net, but it has worked for me.I go that far and no further. And I avoid favours for that brings in emotional dependency, because it weakens me further and creates a false sense of obligation. In rare cases I have opened my doors to strangers and very few have actually become part of my life . Most of the time, the relationship has either drifted away, in some cases, it has failed . But what I often realize is that when i have had have zero or little expectations of people, especially friends, then the relationship survives .

Expectations I realise only sets the field for disappointments , which in turn result in failure. Sometimes when my emotions for someone are not too deep, then the disappointment does not really affect me and that I believe comes with emotional maturity. I have faltered many a time here , but then I realize that my emotional investments on people have also been very low. This is probably one of the reasons that I do not go out for parties, or prefer big groups of friends or care for attending marriages and social dos. If I feel like connecting to the people I want to connect, I just pick up the phone or drop them a line or meet them over for lunch. And then I am done, until the next time the need arises.

And believe me, everything is a need - emotional, intellectual or physical. As we evolve, our needs change and with it , our circle of friends and family. Ive often seen the pattern in which people seek out each other. While many are out of sheer attraction,lonely people look for their types and intellectuals find their own group.But who are these faces ? What do they actually mean to us ? Do they just gratify our immediate need or give us a sense of belonging or a sense of security that we are not alone..Do we really need them ? And if we do, where and how do we draw the line..

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rolling stones gather moss

In my profile, Ive stated that I believe that a rolling stone gathers moss. One of my followers had asked me to explain and I had left that comment hanging then..However it didn't escape my thoughts and so I decided to explain my take on it.

I believe that we are all like stones rolling through life. As we pass by various stages,we rub shoulders against various people, collect dust through different jobs and polish our edges with learnings and finally come in contact with moss . Sometimes the moss sticks to us and adds to what I call an experience.

Sometimes we pause our journey of life, when we think we settle down in a job or a relationship, but the unsettled mind continues to roll adding more layers of moss within us. Sometimes the moss stays behind when we leave our temporary footprints behind, only to be replaced by new moss as we move along..we do renew the layer from time to time, shedding the old experiences and adding new learnings as we pass by one stage of life to another.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bombay ki Hawa 6

I remember the first time I experienced a sense of high. It was on my 22nd birthday and I had just had my first drink .And my companions were two new found friends I had met in a flight three months ago.

I remember that evening so well. I left hostel around 5 pm , walked up to Mahalakshmi temple and watched the waves for a long time. Long after the Aarti was over, I let the wave of loneliness overpower me. I wanted to spend some moments with people I could call friends.

I had been in Bombay for over 6 months and yet in that large metropolis barring a few classmates, I had no close friends. The only ones I could relate to were two men I had met a couple of months ago.

I had met A&S on the flight from Madras, hitched a ride with them and then lost touch with them . But a month later, the blackboard near the hostel phone announced that I had missed a call from A . I was excited and irritated - I hadnt taken his number and he has called back after a month and not left a number either. But common sense told me that if he had called once, he will call again. So I waited and the call came.

We three became good friends later on - well, if friendship meant enjoying each other's company, having a comfort factor, cracking up a bit here and there and not getting into personal lives ,then we were all friends then . And so, on my 22nd birthday, I reached out to the pay phone and asked my only friends to come over for a coffee to Marine Drive.

It didnt take them long to figure out and we realized that we were all January born and were Capricornians, except for A who was a cusp. And it was his brilliant idea that we celebrate and lo we were in Marine Drive having a beer each. The conversations poured in and so did the beer. I started protesting but A& S would have none of it. The Cindrella hour for the hostel was getting closer, and A poured more beer into my mug. Soon the tensions eased as I let my loneliness be lost amidst the laughter.

It was a new high. My first drink and I was out in a new city celebrating my birthday being treated by two men who were virtually strangers .The taste of beer mingled with the new found freedom, as I was enjoying the company of two people who until a couple of months ago I had not even met. And yet, in that strange bond that we were building without our own knowledge, a 22 year old was born . I felt light, my head began to swim and the reflexes relaxed. It was probably amidst all the dizzying effect of the spirit, I experienced a momentary moment of loneliness being quelled by unknown love and yet , at that moment all that I was probably thinking of was Sister Rosa and the witching hour.

A's wicked grin at seeing me high and talking gibberish still remains with me as I write this piece today. They told me later they were amused at my panic for I was apparently very high . A kept recounting later that I tripped, but I dont believe him. S was always the nice guy . He kept reassuring me as he flagged a cab and helped me into it. A deliberately took his time, munching the sandwiches, enjoying the last sip while I was half mad at him, almost in the midst of throwing the cutlery at him .I felt giddy as the cab left and drifted off to sleep for some brief moments while cursing them for getting me high . But somewhere in that sleep, I found a sense of what one would describe as happiness.

I did return late to the hostel all flushed and high as the taxi raced from marine drive to breach candy . My friends later say that when sister Rosa opened the door, I looked at her and said "The bus crashed." A cake was cut later at midnight , but all I remembered were the cheers from the evening !

Many birthdays have come and gone and I have been high on life as always, but A & S - I wonder where they are ! Well, I did manage to trace S, but A ...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bombay ki hawa..5

Recently in a conversation with a friend on people, I found myself saying the following without comprehending the full meaning of it. I said there were two kinds of people in the world - those who are with you and those who are not. My friend didnt react and I found myself brooding over it for a while.

Very often we meet people at different points of our life . They don several roles like classmates,friends, lovers, mentors, colleagues, bosses,partners, acquaintances, neighbours..While some choose to stay with us, some drift away into the oblivion. I am not referring to the broken relationships or the failed marriages here . Im talking about those people who have held our hands and lifted our hearts , laughed and cried with us and yet,they become faceless memories and the emotions that we shared at one time become fossils nestled in our hearts .

I remember my classmate in my nursery who told me not to cry as she felt like crying. I dont know where she is now. In my 8th std, I befriended a srilankan tamil and we used to spend hours chatting. I have no clue if she is in india or in srilanka.

But this post however is dedicated to those two men who I met in Bombay and are today lost to obscurity . No amount of combing through facebook, orkut, linked in have brought them back to me. I wonder where A & S are .

A&S. I cant help smiling thinking about them. I met them first in a flight from Madras to Bombay in September 1995 when I was returning to college after a brief holiday. I was just 3 months old in Bombay and I was already feeling like a veteran . We made eye contact quite frequently during the flight, but something held us back. I was 21, single and footloose, trying to grapple with my independent spirit and they were probably trying to get over a boring flight . But the body language was unmistakable. We finally spoke and when we did, it was about directions. They had to get to Worli and my destination was Breach Candy and we impulsively decided to share a cab after a five minute conversation.

A, I learnt was from Bangalore. Dressed casually in jeans and T shirt, he seemed to be indifferent to the conversation that S and I were having. When he did speak, he spoke in a quiet tone and always asked pointed questions. A seemed impatient with S who was giving me his entire story. S was a Syrian Christian from Trichur and was very friendly. He rolled his sleeves as he spoke and his wavy hair kept falling on his face. He was slightly darker than A, but his big eyes were warm and his thick mustache stood out in that very soft face . Both of them were IT professionals who had just returned from US and were on their first trip to Bombay. As South Indians in a big cosmopolitan city, we connected instantly in the cab. S had by then told me all about his family in Kerala ,while A kept looking out of the windown.We reached Worli and S said a quick good bye and rushed out while A took his time . He stretched his tall frame and reached out and paid me Rs 500/- It was agreed that we all three shared the money, but A would have none of it. And for the first time, he smiled as I looked up into his eyes and at his weather beaten face. Take care, he smiled again and the cab left . We didnt share numbers .

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bombay ki hawa..4

Am I really independent ? It is a question that has been in my mind over the last few months. Independence, according to me rests in your own mind and the ability to express your thoughts without a sense of being curtailed or controlled. But independence is also about how one copes in today’s world- at the workplace, with inlaws, among friends , for that matter in any society where control seems to be the buzzword. People like to control you not just by power, but even with emotions. There is always someone telling you how to live , always with well intentions, but they eventually rob you of your will to live life the way you want, to commit mistakes and sometimes make the mistakes again..Independence is also about acceptance – its about accepting the moment and your own state of mind . If you are weak and vulnerable, so be it. If you are consumed with ambition to reach a certain goal, its about being non apologetic about it. Sometimes your mind becomes overbearing or weak and that is when it starts controlling that a sign of being independent too ? And often how independent are we to control destiny ?

Many years ago, when I was a naïve 21 year old, I recollect asking myself the same question . Sitting on the last step of the Mount Mary’s church and looking out into the sea, I often thought over the meaning of independence. Did it fit the life of someone who was staying alone for the first time with no one to keep tabs and live your life without anyone out there to control you ? I could come home or whatever I called home whenever I wanted, go wherever my mind wishes, probably try alcohol or attempt grass or even find boyfriend(S) according to my wishes. And yet, I had no such desire then .Smoking and drugs has always been a no no to me, non veg is against my principles and boyfriends..well, where were the men ? (That’s probably a subject for a different post) .

I did wander aimlessly through the roads of Bombay, getting in and out of local trains and learning a lesson or two about friendships and relationships and enjoying many a beer by Carter road with new found colleagues and classmates – but that I realized was not the real essence of independence. The paradox of independence is that it is often coupled with the word responsibility, and it is when you are alone, you learn to be responsible and not necessarily independent. You are not just responsible for your physical being, but you also learn to be responsible for your decisions and your thoughts and actions and the way you portray yourself to others. Why am I rambling along these clichés ? Let me tell you the story of K ..

I finished my course in March 1996 and my internship in TV 18 started in April. At the end of the month, I walked into my boss’ cabin and asked her if I could get a job there. I was startled by my own boldness and later by my naïve nature when she did say yes and I took her word for it without a letter. I went home to Madras and told my parents that I am not coming back as I had a job and I would need to find a place immediately after my exams. My parents weren’t too happy but they let me be and I returned to Bombay in June for my exams. The hostel was very clear. I had to vacate on the 16th day, the day after my exams and instead of studying, I went looking for a roof over my head. I called up friends, read local tabloids and even asked my canteen guy, but finally I got hold of a broker in Bandra. I told her I had 3 days to vacate and I needed a PG. I also told her I had just 5000/- with me and I could afford her brokerage, deposit and the rent with that amount . She found a shabby pad for me near Bandra reclamation where two Goan sisters lived in a 2 BHK , a common toilet and bathroom and the entire flat was not more than 500 sq feet. I had to share my room with another girl while the other bigger room was shared by K with the two older women. My terms was simple. I paid Rs 1500/- a month for a bed and half a table, 2 shelves in a wardrobe . I could buy milk and keep food in the fridge and cook , but need to pay extra for gas and for telephone and I need to inform them if I was not coming back in the night. The room was very tiny, being in the ground floor and the kitchen was extremely dirty with fish and bones lying all over the table. Being a vegetarian, I had no problem with friends eating non veg or even storing meat in fridge, but I cannot take the smell of fish, especially when it is being fried. Nor can I take the sight of meat and bones lying all over the kitchen table after being cooked. Nevertheless I agreed, telling myself I will be out by 7 am and return only at late nights and all I need was a bed to crash.

I remember then setting eyes on one of the most scary looking men Ive ever seen . I was shocked . He was huge, massive like a giant from a fairy tale. His face was dark with large haggard looking eyes and his hair and unshaven beard almost merged into one. He looked a bully and spoke like one. I was silent for a moment as he enquired for K and left a message for her with the landlady . I was told he was P, K’s friend and he did odd jobs for the Goan sisters.

That is when they told me about K. My landlady almost considered her as a daughter and told me to look at her as a rolemodel. She was successful, beautiful, intelligent, articulate, confident and street smart according to the two women. And they were in awe of her. I was warned about her likes and dislikes and was told not to cross her path. She also got priority over kitchen, TV, bathroom etc..I finally did meet K after 3 days of moving in.

She was a petite girl, who looked street smart dressed in tight blue jeans and a tighter pink jersey sweater. She seemed like a no nonsense person who looked me over for a few minutes and then moved on to go to the church. Later on, I used to meet K once or twice in a week. She was silent, stuck to her work and often had the last word in arguments with the landlady. I never met her friend P for an entire month.Finally, K decided to be friendly. She started by once in a while announcing that she has cooked aallu paratha or bhajji for me and has kept in the fridge..sometimes she used to throw a couple of expensive perfumes or bawdy earrings at me and say keep it, keep it..she often came to my room to put on her make up and asked my opinion on how she looked everytime she tried a tiny weeny skirt or a tube top. She was always proud of her skin and complexion and said people called her a dusky beauty.I smiled indulgently hoping I will get free dinner and then K started telling me her story.

She said she was a third daughter of a rich man in Rajasthan who had plotted to marry her off to an older man for money. K had a knack for story telling and for drawing emotions. Occassionally the Goan women used to come and listen to every word she said. She spoke about her sister in Bangalore and a brother in Rajasthan. She also said how she had always wanted to be a model and that is why she ran away to Bombay without telling her parents.” Do you remember the Frooti ad – I was supposed to be the model, but the photographer asked me to sleep with him and I refused !” she said. K said she changed her name and became a Christian and now does some modeling whenever she has the time , but works as a secretary . She wouldn’t say where. She cried talking about her parents and about how P helped her in Bombay and that is why she still is friendly with him..” Did he scare you ?” she asked and laughed..Later when K went to sleep, my landlady took me outside and said, “ Don’t believe her, she just tells stories..she told me that P is her brother in law, who was once married to her sister, but is in love with her..and you, stay away from P and all her understand ..”

I nodded disinterested in K’s life then. It was just a distraction. I was learning to cope with my own emotions and work pressures and K was like a stress buster. She was always cheerful, her entire petite frame used to shake when she laughed and her eyes were full of mischief. On nights when I got home early , she used to drag me to Carter road and buy me dinner and we used to laugh aloud and sing songs together. We went to Mount Marys on Sundays and she used to tell me about the men in her life. Her boss, a married man was in love with her..what should she do ? She says he showers her with expensive perfumes. Another man keeps calling her on the phone..she used to just call him JI and said he lived in Andheri..she seemed to hold him in high regard, but said he is married too..She didn’t want to settle down, but did want to make it big in life. Her confidence, her charm, cheerfulness, her playful nature used to draw me out on days I was bored and lonely.

About four months later, my landlady told me that I had to move out as her daughter was coming home with her second husband in Dubai. I had just 15 days to move out. I asked K and she offered me after much deliberation, her friend JI’s flat in Andheri. But I wasn’t comfortable and I said NO, athough I had initially considered it. I moved on and found aunty’s place in Mahim-Matunga Road (West) and then never saw K or heard from her again until..

On a new year’s eve, I was out with friends in Jogeswari and we had decided to go to Fantasy land before partying at a friend’s place . And there I saw her, in shimmering gold, with loud make up, with gaudy earrings and an older man, not P at her side tightly clasping on her while she stood there, a disinterested arm candy. She looked startled on seeing me and then suddenly turned her face , uncomfortable, not just with me being there, but with probably herself..She suddenly got lost in the crowd and I searched for her in the crowd. I did find her later, but as our eyes locked, I realized this was not the K I knew….her mask had just fallen by the wayside.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bombay ki hawa..3

There is a wanderer inside all of us, searching for that elusive something. We give it names like love, money, fame, lust, dreams, goals..but try as you may, it is difficult to express that one word. Even the most focussed and determined soul will find it difficult to do so. The problem is most of us, including yours truly do not know what we really want and a bulk of our lives go in searching for that elusive Godot. Those who do not participate in this search, content themselves by just existing,but some of us manage to live a bit of our lives this way. Sometimes even before we know it, time whizzes past like water draining through our fingers, leaving us limp and lost.

Many years ago, when I first set foot in Bombay , I thought I got what I wanted. I also presumed that I knew what I wanted. A career in journalism, a sense of independence and an escape from cloistered life is all that I looked for then. Armed with a happy go lucky attitude, an inquisitive mind for a new challenge, a desire to seek a new experience , I landed in Mumbai, nervous and excited at the same time.
And around me was a collage of several minds all looking towards a new unchartered destiny. But one thing that separated me from my classmates was that I didnt share their fierce competitiveness . Their cut throatness shook me, their overpowering confidence unnerved me as I waited for my chance for a group discussion. I was confident in my own way and unlike my aggressive classmates, I let my assertiveness speak for myself. I wasnt the dark horse, but many told me later that I was like a chameleon, which could change colours..may be that instinct stood by me in later years.

Today I shut my eyes and the group discussion in the wide classroom came to my mind. We were a medley of girls from different states and were as parochial as we could get. The Bengalis stood their ground together, dominating the conversation at one end, the Punjabis at the other end. There were a few Tamilians, Malayalis with the Marathis and almost every single state was represented in the aspiration list. Yet no one could fit into the description called demure. The group discussion was the second round after the examinations and one needed to pass this before graduating to the personal interview session.

We could hear them though the door was shut.There was no room for articulation, only voices trying to shout over the other to put the other down. The judges smiled whenever someone raised their voice to form an opinion. It was important that we all spoke, it was even more important that we spoke our minds ..I got through that day despite the fact that I articulated my thoughts without necessarily interrupting someone..the topic by itself was not so important, it was your communication and your attitude that was given due either had it or you didnt.

It was also the first time that a naive madrasi learnt and experience a new word in the English language - a word that most of today's 21 year olds wear on their sleeve, a word that I grasped while standing in the verandah of my yet to be classroom , a word that I will hear again and again throughout my career and a word that changed connotations many times - ATTITUDE. If Madras shaped it vaguely , Bombay fine tuned it for me .And in my quest , this attitude gave me company, letting me live my life, while changing gears, while taking major decisions, while hitting my lowest lows, while being dumped, while dumping people..This has been one constant companion, no matter which shore Ive landed in . But today in Bangalore, I seem to have left it somewhere by the wayside and my quest has now multiplied two fold..oh ! how I miss that Bombay ki hawa..

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bombay ki hawa..2

Standing at the edge of the shore at Nariman Point and looking straight into the Arabian Sea , I was trying to juggle the multiple emotions that raced through my mind. Insecurity jostled for space inside an independent mind. A nervous energy shook me , probably it was a combination of both fear and excitement. It had hardly been a month since I landed in Bombay from Madras and the Arabian Sea was slowly taking over from the Marina Beach.

My life until then could be described by 3 Cs - comfortable, conservative and cloistered. I fought to break the shackles of that world and landed in Bombay as a 21 year old eager like everyone else to charter my own destiny. Bombay may have become Mumbai, but the city then and now remains the city of dreams, where an invisible energy seizes you and you dance along with the frenzied spirit of the city

However the Bombay where I landed was the Bombay of Mani Ratnam. The movie had released a while ago and although tensions abated after the 93-94 bomb blasts, a sense of distrust remained and violence was waiting to happen. I had just sensed it in my own hostel , when R , a soft spoken girl from Pune screamed at her Hindu roomate for dating a Muslim boy. "Do not go to Scandal Point alone with know what happenned last month na.." The film screening in the class yesterday had been Anand Patwardhan's Father,Son and Holy War.

Later in the evening, munching moongfili and looking at the sun setting over the Arabian sea, I wondered if this is the city romanticised by the films . I had met S, the boy R was referring to. We had all gone for movies together. We had even been for dinner and had gone over to meet his friends. He had even confided in me that he had just broken up with his girlfriend. " You South Indians have no clue what happenned and you have been here just a month and you are already trusting strangers..are you mad ?" R had yelled as I tried to support her roommate.

True, I thought today as I pen this memoir. We had no clue of violence and hatred. There were no TV screens with 100 channels breaking the same news nor was there internet and facebook or twitter throwing opinions and photographs at us. The newspapers and magazines were our only source of information and sensationalism was then a bad word . Ironically it was in this world of no mobiles , I landed wanting to become a journalism and study media. Little did I realize that Bombay the city itself was to become my school, where I learnt more than just media studies.


There is a lot of buzz thats going on at home. Well, it has nothing to do with me directly, but it seems to have caught me in its fold . Im just a little speck being thrown around by the gusty winds with no sense of direction or destination. In a way, the buzz keeps me going. I am not worried about the storm. But I am worried about the calm after the storm. That is when the mind starts becoming stormy and it needs to be calmed.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I love birthdays

In an hour, I will start celebrating. A special day that reminds me to look at the vast endless spectrum called life, filled with people and emotions. I often spend a few minutes before my birthday to reflect on the special moments and people in my life. Today as I think about the joys and sorrows that made 2009 , I remember some emotions and people from that year. The fear that gripped me when my father was in the hospital, the assurance that I saw in my mother's face, the grin in Sharath's face and (relief in mine)when I came back to the hospital room from the operation theatre, the peace that I saw in aunty's face when she opened her eyes to see me before breathing her last. Some close friends have stayed with me through these troubled phases and have brought me out of some of my worst phases this year.But each phase has been a learning curve as I emerge out of it to celebrate again. I am gifting myself a healthy outlook of life-not just the physical human body, but an overall mental and emotional health too..Ive promised myself that starting now, I will enter into a no conflict zone. Happy Birthday to me.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A shaky beginning

2010 began shakily. High energy, feel good phase followed by a very low phase exploring the dark facets of the minds. I recovered after 2 months of being extremely sick, only to regress further..Some lessons learnt

When the body is weak, the mind is weaker. No space for emotions then. Time to be silent, when staying calm is not possible.

You cant focus on just physical health. Mental and emotional health are important too.All the recovery is not real unless the mind comes back to normal.

The focus at all times has to be YOU.

Conflicts arise from expectations.

When a certain issue hasnt been resolved for a long period, accept it never will.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A new beginning

In another few days, I will actually turn a year older and so, in many ways, January goes beyond those three words - Happy New Year . It is indeed a new beginning. Ive just woken up from a deep siesta and I am writing this post with a lot of clarity in my head, although I have no clue what 2010 holds in store for me.

There is a debate inside me that is not yet resolved on the path that I would like to take . I am like the traveller in Frost's Road Not Taken wanting to journey down both the roads simulatenously. The only difference between Frost's traveller and me is that I had already chosen a path and I had stopped mid way down the road for a bit of rest and to enjoy the journey rather than rush to a destination. But a lesser trodden path beckons me enroute , while I feel a sense of remorse to let go of the path already taken.

As I face this Frostian dilemma, I realize that it doesnt matter which path I take, as long as it is full of challenges.I have also realized that the traveller in me will not stop as the quest and zest for life continues irrespective of where I am.A new shore is beckoning me for a while and I wonder if I will get there..I do see myself doing a lot of writing and reading in 2010 besides travelling. I have made a few promises about growing up a bit this year. I would like to avoid conflicts at all levels.

Last year was a roller coaster ride and a bumpy one at it, but has been interesting. I met a lot of people and a few continue the journey with me in 2010. It may be a stereotype to say that people widen your horizons, but its actually amazing to see how each person awakens a side to you, one that is sometimes lying dormant inside you, sometimes even unknown to you. May I get to see more of me this year through friends and strangers. That in itself will be something to look forward to.