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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Seasons greetings...

My Christmas's over the past few years have uniformly sucked. This year I decided I'd quit whining about what I couldn't have and make this Christmas really special. And I tried. I really did. But Christmas was Christmas as usual. Some nice moments, lots of hard work, and an amazing display of the power your family has to affect your mood.

That said, this Christmas was special for many other reasons. So many things have become clearer over the past few days. So many questions I've had, have been answered. Unexpectedly. Beautifully.

I don't normally write about religion. I do believe that everyone needs to believe in something, but that's for each one to find for themselves.

But this is Christmas. And I need to say this...

The world is going to hell and God isn't interfering. And I can understand His viewpoint. Most people today don't want him and don't believe in him. And as the world steps away from God, I can picture him sitting down resignedly and watching sadly as everything gets messed up. And I feel so sorry for Him. It must be so hard to see your baby turning away from you and telling you to keep out of his life. Because though the scrapes and cuts your baby gets when he's playing games with his friends don't matter in the end, it's hard to watch him fall and cry while you just stand by.

So this Christmas I'm praying for a little interference and a little meddling in my life in the year ahead. My life needs it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

This one is for the girls... especially for me...

After this post, I intended to write a companion piece to give some advice to all the girls I know. I held back because I truly believed it would be useless. Most girls who need advice are those who'll never take it and I include myself in that category. While I'm normally sane and reasonable, I've been known to fall crazily in love in the past. [Emphasis on crazy] At times like that my common sense deserts me and I'm convinced that though everything everyone says is right, my case is different. Of course my case is different. Everything I've told everyone else a hundred times couldn't possibly apply to me. Could it?

Well now when I'm all sane and balanced and definitely not in love, the answer is a very clear YES, IT COULD. SO I'm writing this post for myself. So that IF I'm ever blind and deaf to everything my friends tell me, I can come back to this post and get a virtual kick on my butt.

1. If you're sad more than you're happy, the relationship is NOT worth it. He may be a sweetheart. Really. But no matter how nice he is, if you are not happy then walk away and find someone who can make you happy and let him go free to find someone who's more suited to him.

2. Don't blame the 'other' girl. [This one I haven't been guilty of so far but I've seen it happen far too often.] If your husband / boyfriend / fiancé isn't as faithful to you as you'd like him to be, lay the blame at his door. Don't say "it's all that bitch's fault. She chases him, etc, etc" There'll always be people out to cause trouble. There'll always be women who'll tempt him and men who'll tempt you. The responsibility for being faithful is his and yours alone. DON'T blame the third party for YOUR bad choice. Because that's what it comes down to. Choice. Choose someone who doesn't betray your trust the first chance he gets. If your boyfriend or fiancé does cheat on you, thank your lucky stars that you found out in time and MOVE ON! There'll be someone better out there. Almost anyone would be better than a cheater after all.

3. Never ever be in a relationship with someone who makes you feel bad about yourself and keeps running you down. If he meant it as a joke but it upset you, then tell him and ask him not to do it again. If he does it again and then says he was joking and that you're not a good sport, the relationship will survive only in two ways. Either you consciously decide to toughen up so that you no longer feel bad about what he says, or else he agrees to lighten up on the criticism. Nothing else will work. In the long run, comments that make you feel bad about yourself, will kill your spirit.

4. Try and have your own life. Try and have your own friends. If you're used to having a lot of male friends, don't suddenly cut them out of your life just cos you're in a relationship. You can't expect your partner to replace all your friends. He'll be in over his head and desperate for air in no time at all.

5. Decide which principles you CAN'T compromise on and make the rules you live by very clear. Be flexible about all the rest. Respect his rules and his principles too. If they clash with yours, then you're going to have some serious problems. It's easy to compromise verbally, but when push comes to shove, if the issue is something you're really passionate about, then it may be best to go very slow or call it quits right in the beginning, when it's easier to walk away. Don't bury your head in the sand like an ostrich and then wake up a year later realising that it's still bothering you.

6. DON'T EXPECT MIRACULOUS CHANGES AFTER MARRIAGE!!! I've seen many girls who've put up with crap, confident that life would be better once they're married. Well so far I've haven't seen any miraculous changes after marriage. Small changes here and there, yes. People who show their adaptability before marriage may change quite a lot after marriage. But people who're stubbornly clinging to something all through the courtship period before marriage are probably not going to be reformed afterwards.

7. Don't ask for more than you're willing to give. It wouldn't be fair and could lead to built up resentment over time. Vice versa, if you're feeling resentful cos you're giving more, then just take a break and stop being such a carpet for him to walk over. Most of your sacrifices are probably unasked for. In fact they may pass totally unnoticed. That DOES NOT mean (a)you should do something he never asked you to do and then (b) tell him about it and (c)expect him to do something equivalent. If you want to do something for him, do it out of love. When you are feeling angry or resentful, stop doing it.

8. Keep any promises you make and watch and see if he keeps his. Trust is the bedrock of any relationship and it's earned by your actions every day. Don't lie to him, even about the small things. If you don't want to talk about something, avoid the topic. But never ever lie. Because when you're caught, things will never be the same again. This applies equally to both, so notice these things. I don't care how dreamy things may be at first. If he lies to you, MAKE A NOTE OF IT. It's best to be alert about these things right at the start. You wouldn't want to wake up 5 years later realising that you can't depend on the guy you've just wasted half a decade on.

9. Take him at his word. Most guys are very literal. If he says he's not sure then HE'S NOT SURE. If he says he needs time to think about the relationship then HE'S NOT SURE. This is a good thing, as long as you don't allow your rose covered dreams to influence what you're hearing. If he says he's not ready for a relationship and needs time, then take him at his word. If you are willing to take the relationship at his pace then don't bitch about it everyday. Wait a reasonable amount of time. If things are not working you always have the option to walk away. If you think he's already had enough time to make up his mind then you can always say "sorry, but I think I have to move on."

10. This one is pretty much covered by the previous ones but I just had to say it again. YOU CAN ALWAYS WALK AWAY. Too many girls I know (and I've done this myself) stay in a bad relationship just out of habit and affection and yes, sometimes out of love. We have to remember that we're choosing our own life everyday. We're choosing to be miserable. We're choosing to get hurt. We're choosing to close ourselves to all the wonderful guys out there by remaining stuck in bad relationships.

Because that's the truth. There are so many wonderful guys out there. Guys who can make you smile. Guys who can be both, men you can rely on and boys who'll make you laugh. Guys who'll let you grow and who will grow with you. Who'll encourage your secret dreams and who'll make you feel like a part of them. I've always wanted a love that I didn't have to question. A love that was without any doubts. And there are many guys out there who are capable of such love. No one should have to settle for less.

Life is a choice. When you wake up some morning 20 years hence and look at who's lying next to you, I hope you'll find that you have a smile on your face. With that picture in your mind look long and hard at the guy in your life today. Have you chosen well?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bitterness

I'm tired of bitter people. I'm tired of trying to cheer them up. Fine. So I'm a happy person most of the time. That does not mean I have an inexhaustible amount of cheerfulness stored in me. That does not mean that some one can be bitter and sarcastic and not affect me.

I don't mind sad people. I feel bad for them but it doesn't drain me.

I don't mind sarcastic and funny people who think life is crap but who don't really give a damn. They'll just have fun in their own way. You won't find them moaning and looking enviously at others. You won't find them thinking the words "if only" a hundred times a day. They may smile at you mockingly but they have no bitterness in their eyes.

What I can't take any more are those souls out there who have been given a bad deal by life (or so they believe) and who refuse to ever forget it. And they refuse to let you forget it. Ever!

They give you a smile that tries to say "Look at me. Look how bravely I'm facing these trials life has thrown at me." Any chance they get they'll refer to the rough deal they're facing. Any attempt to cheer them up is met with "of course you wouldn't understand. You don't understand how the real world is. You think it's a good place. Well, you'll learn in time."

Bitterness is a futile feeling. A feeling of pain that often is twice as bad as the the pain that originally caused it. Hope can help you overcome it. But hope will find it tough to survive without the right atmosphere.

Like I said, there are those who'll say I don't know anything about it...

Well I have news for you, all you bitter, pathetic people out there. I may not have gone through the exact same crap you have gone through but I've gone through my fair share. And while there may be days when I cry, and there may be days when I want to sleep and never wake up, there are always other days. Better days. Days when life is good and clean. And if you try you can make the days balance out. But you have to try. You can't sit back and wait for life to make you happy. You have to grab every little bit of happiness life gives you. And you have to soak in it. Even if it's just a little drop of happiness,.. taste it, feel it,.. make much of it. That's the way it'll be entered in your memory. Then when things aren't so good you can take it out, unfold it carefully, and it'll help you carry on just a bit longer.

It'll help that little something called 'hope' survive in hostile territory.

And it'll make life a lot easier for those who care about you.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Goth Name...

Proof that I've got too much time on my hands...

I went here and found out that my Goth name is Beautiful Nightmare

I'm not even sure what a Goth is but I'm ready to join them immediately! Any group that calls me a beautiful nightmare has earned my loyalty.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

LASIK surgery

Back after more than a week... but with a really good excuse...

I had an eye operation.

See, told ya it was a good excuse.

So ok, the operation actually took just 10 minutes. 5 for each eye. So what? I've got to follow loads of special routines for one full month. ONE FULL MONTH.

The procedure is also known as:
1. Refractive surgery
2. Corneal reshaping
3. Vision correction

The past week has been hell. No reading/writing/watching t.v./using the computer/using the gas stove/washing my face...

Yes, I've had to wash my face in secret. So my mom doesn't see me. Because even if I try n explain that I'm just washing the bottom half of my face she'd just run on and on about how reckless I'm being. About how I shouldn't take chances. After I've already taken a really big one.

Lasik surgery is very safe. BUT... well there's always the chance that you could go blind if there's some instrument failure or through that good old standby - human error. And she didn't mind me taking a chance on that. Mother's!

Anyway, everyone's been demanding a special come-back post. I thought about writing about my fascination with guns/swords/bikes/guys who ride bikes/shaved heads/relationships/the purpose of life/inappropriate humour/death/sex/religion and ofcourse that old favourite - love.

But (yes,yes, heave a sigh of relief) I decided to stick to a very practical post for once. This is going to be a mere recital of how the surgery was carried out. Or as much as I could figure out. Every operation is shown on a T.V. screen outside the operation theatre so my folks could probably explain the whole thing a little better. I did try to watch an operation the day after mine, but my eyes kept tearing up. I think they didn't want to be reminded of the abuse they underwent. Or maybe it was just the strain of looking at the T.V. screen.

Ok, after running loads of tests the first day i was sent home with instructions to wash my hair and do everything I might want to do to my eyes. I'm not kidding. One doctor told me to do my eyebrows. Huh!

The next day they ran most of the tests again. I'm not sure if they thought my eyes would change overnight or if they didn't trust their equipment. I don't like either possibility.
They made me wear a green tie-around robe over my clothes and put plastic bags over my feet and my hair. (Maybe they weren't exactly plastic bags but that's what they felt like and I wasn't wearing my glasses so...)

Then they put anesthetic drops in my eyes and made me wait for the doctor. (Those drops really made a difference. I'm not sure how much actual pain they prevented but just thinking about them helped me convince my eyes they shouldn't be able to feel stuff they insisted on feeling.)
The damn chair didn't have arms and I was really surprised to find that I'd actually fallen asleep waiting for the doctor. The doctor was a really nice guy. The kind of guy who makes you scoff at the chance of the human error I mentioned above. Anyway, I was finally lying on the table, positioned properly under the machine, tucked in like a mummy. Then they covered my left eye and all I could think was 'just a few seconds, that's all it takes'.

They were very fast, I have to say. First they told me to hold my right eye open and they covered it with a clear plastic sheet/wrapper of some sort. My eye closed despite myself but they didn't seem to mind. I found I could still blink under the wrapper and I thought they'd have to do it again but the doc just started cutting through the plastic. It was scary enough when I was lying there, it was worse watching it on the T.V. the next day. I haven't seen scissors so close to an eye before.

Then he told me to focus on the pin point of green light above and told me I might feel some discomfort. I kept telling my eye it had been anaesthetised but I could still feel the pressure as he pressed down at the edges. As I saw the next day he'd put something round around the eyeball to prevent my eyelids from closing. Not a pleasant experience. My eyes started getting all teary immediately. I didn't know what he was doing the next minute but my folks said that's when he used a little brush or instrument of some kind to clean the surface of the eye.

Then came the worst bit. I saw it the next day and it looked almost as uncomfortable as it felt. The doctor told me to look straight at the green light and when my pupil was centered he put a suction thingy right over my poor pupil. It actually wasn't very uncomfortable when he did it to my right eye but but when he did it to the left eye, I had to focus pretty hard on the anesthetic drops.

After the suction came the best bit. The doctor had to cut a flap in the top layer of the cornea. This flap would be folded back so that the laser could be applied directly to the third layer. They'd warned me that everything would go black as the cut through and I'd expected to be scared but I can honestly say that I wasn't scared at all. My poor eye was so tired of all the bright lights and of being forced open that it was a relief when everything started to go black. It seemed to take quite some time and when they finally lifted the flap back and I could see again my eye was a bit rested and ready for what came next.

The next bit was the main part. I had to stay focused on the red light of the laser. Once or twice my eye started drifting but the doctor was a sweetheart and he kept telling me how well everything was going. It's so very hard to stay focused on one little light when your eyes are forced open. It's so damn tiring.

Anyway, getting back on track, the laser reshapes the thickness of the cornea by burning bits of it so I also had to put up with the burning smell. Again, they'd mentioned it before otherwise I'd have had a fit. In a way I enjoyed the burning smell. It seemed to carry with a it a promise that the whole ordeal was almost over.

After the laser bit my eye muscles were so tired of focusing on the red, I didn't really care what they did next. They put the flap back and then flushed my eyes with some liquid. I know I said the suction was bad but in a way this might have been worse. The liquid was so irritating I hardly noticed when they removed the clamp. I shut my eye and before I had time to let out a sigh of relief, they'd covered it and were moving on to my left eye.

The laser bit on my left eye seemed to take much longer because I focused so well, the doctor didn't stop at all. My folks said the left eye was faster but it seemed to take a looong time because the doctor stopped all his encouraging prattle, making me wonder if I would be blind in one eye and if he was just trying to cover up some horrific mistake he'd made!

After the operation he told me I could open my eyes and walk out of the theatre. Yeah right. I opened my eyes and wished I hadn't. The rest of the trip home was a blurry uncomfortable mess. Everything was too bright. Everyone was too loud. All I wanted was to curl up in a hole and sleep. Even after I went to sleep I had to wake up every hour for the eye drops.

And then at 4 in the afternoon after my dad put the drops in, I opened my eyes and all at once I knew it had been worth it after all. No irritation, no discomfort. Just a red mark on each eye that will take some time to fade. Life is so good.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Last Resort - Inside my head...

Voltaire said it best, "To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth".

Ever since I first came across that quote, I've been impatient with people who worry about 'speaking ill of the dead'. I'm not suggesting that one should go around exposing a dead person's secrets. All I'm against is the 'hushing up' that families do to protect themselves, all in the name of the dead.

Suspect wrote a story in memory of a girl who died tragically and unnecessarily. Twice in the past I've been sure that I was going to drown. They say there are three stages to drowning. Fear, Anger and Acceptance. I don't know if that's true but I've felt both the fear and the anger. Death is something I think about a lot and after reading the story I wanted to know what I would be thinking in her place.

This is my version. There's anger and fear but I found I couldn't follow her thoughts right till the actual act. It's entirely fictional. But written exactly as the thoughts unfolded in my mind.

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I wonder if this is it. Is this the whole deal. This is it??? What the hell is life supposed to be for?

I wonder if they’d feel sorry when I’m gone. Will they wish they’d noticed me. Damn them all. Everyone’s so involved in their own stupid lives. They think I’m fine. Why shouldn’t I be fine. I have 2 parents. I’m being educated. I have a home. I have enough food. Of course I must be fine.

I’ll show them. I’ll make them sorry. All of them. I’ll do it when they’re due back in an hour or so. Mom will come back first. She’ll call out. I won’t answer. I’ll be swaying in the breeze. Ha! That’s funny. She’ll get annoyed. I must be lazing around. Ignoring her while she calls. She’ll show me. Ungrateful me. I don’t appreciate all my blessings. What a child I am. Never thankful, never showing them that I understand how much they give me everyday.

She’ll climb up. Cursing on each step. Anger giving her the energy to climb, where she never would otherwise. Where’s that girl. If she’s awake and just pretending she can’t hear me… Ungrateful wretch.

She’ll push my door open. That’s why I’ll have shut it. So that she doesn’t see me from the stairs. She’ll push the door open… and then what? I can’t see further than that. She’ll try and cut me down I suppose. Quietly. By herself. So that incase it’s not too late, no one comes to know. She won’t be able to. I’ll be too heavy. Not like the pretty, delicate girl she would have wanted. My neck will be stretched. Like a chicken. The bones will have snapped. I hope they snap. If they don’t snap, it’ll be s..l..o..w.

I don’t feel so good. I don’t want to think about that. Much better to think about mother finding me. Will she cry? Just one pure cry of grief. Without wondering what people will say. Without hating me for doing it. Will you cry mummy? Will you hold my cold feet and cry all over them as I hang there. Or will you run out of the room. Reluctant to look at my dead body. Reluctant to face a girl who was so so weak. Despising me.

No. Surely you’ll cry. Please cry for me mummy. Please please. Please think of how much you loved me though I was never as good as others. Though I made you ashamed of me. Though I failed. If I don’t do this then I’ll disappoint you again. I can’t bear to see the way you don’t look at me. The way you both avoid me. Pretending, hoping that you could close your eyes and make me disappear. Dad says he can’t face anyone. That they ask how I did. And that he has to look away as he answers. He seems to think I wanted this to happen. That I was playing the fool. I wasn’t mummy. I swear. Will you believe me when I’m dead? If I write it in my last letter to you? I’m just stupid. I’m just not smart enough. I’m just. not. good. enough.
I’m not like both of you. Mummy will you forgive me for not being as smart as you and dad. I tried. I really did.

It’s not fair of you to punish me for not being as good as you hoped. It’s not fair. I bet you’ve often wished I wasn’t your daughter. That you had no daughter. Definitely not one like me.

Well you’re getting your wish aren’t you. Satisfied now?

Dad will reach home. Mom will hear the door opening downstairs. She’ll run out of the room and shriek. Tell him to come up fast. Look what She’s done. She’s… shes…

He’ll come up. Running. Feeling cold. What has She done. Everything ruined. Feeling faint with horror.

He’ll enter the room. And that will show him. He’ll know that it’s all his fault. Her fault too, but she’s too stupid to know that. Or maybe she’s just too weak to admit it.

Or maybe they’ll just blame me. Maybe they’ll be all smug and sanctimonious. We gave her everything… how could she do this to us… Yeah. That will be their line. But even if people say I was mad some of the mud will stick to them too.

Yes. Some of the mud will stick to them too. I’ll do it. Damn them all.


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Saturday, December 02, 2006

IFFI 2006

IFFI is almost over. As expected I started enjoying it after it crossed the halfway mark. I'm like that. Nothing tastes good until it's almost over.

I saw Borat, Mirch Masala, The Shadowless Sword, Beerfest and Alexandra's Project so far.

Borat... can't really say anything about it. Go watch it.

Mirch Masala - This I could write pages about. But I'm not going to. I went in for it expecting a light hearted 'popcorn' movie. I'd just got the movie summaries and I didn't have time to read about it. (to all Indians reading this... Doesn't Mirch Masala sound like a lighthearted flick?) It's based on fictional (?) events during British rule and it's NOT lighthearted. I would have walked out if I wasn't so curious to know what happened at the end. Unfortunately though I watched the full thing, I'm still not sure what we're supposed to understand by the last bit. The director was answering queries at the end of the screening and I really wanted to ask him how the story ended. I didn't because everyone else seemed to get it. Don't watch it unless you like movies with a 'message'. But if you do watch it, or if you've seen it before... please tell me what we're supposed to assume happens at the end.

The Shadowless Sword - A Korean movie. Nice for those who like sword fights and kung fu. Luckily I love sword fights and kung fu because there wasn't much else. Yeah, and the lead guy was kinda cute.

Beerfest - Go watch this. It's described as Fight Club with Beer. I normally hate beer but I walked in a little thirsty and by the time it was half way through I would have given almost anything for a chilled beer. I think it was the scene where the guy was drowned in beer, that did it.

Alexandra's Project - Damn. hmmm... Rolf De Heer is the director. They're running a special 'retrospective' on certain directors and he's one of those selected. All his movies are running packed. I had to stand in line for 90 minutes to get in for this one and I think more than 50 people who were standing in line for almost an hour were turned away.
It's a slow movie interspersed with shocking moments that keep your eyes focussed on the screen. The end was very very annoying because practically, there's no way it should end that way. But that's just my opinion . In the world of 'arty' cinema I'm sure it was fantastic. All in all... watch it if you can.
Warning for the prudish: Quite a bit of full frontal nudity.
Warning for the squeamish: Attempt to pierce nipple with pin shown in detail. I'm not sure just how it was done because I was squirming in my seat and my eyes kept shutting involuntarily despite my best efforts.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This makes me laugh each time I read it...

If you've read everything on this page before, go read the post titled 'Made In India' (Posted Nov.27th).

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happiness Is A Warm Gun.

Suspect has finally put up his version of a story I wrote a few posts back. Go read it here.

But it hurts so bad I can't take it any longer...

When you cry until you can cry no more.
When you feel like you'll never be clean.
When you lie awake in the dark wishing you knew if you are healed.
When you face is puffy and your eyes are red and you feel like you'll never feel good about yourself again.
When you wonder if you'll ever be worth the effort.
When you wonder how long you can depend on the mercies of relative strangers.
When you want to feel physical pain just so you stop thinking.
When you'd give anything for a hug.
When you listen to the same two sappy 'girlie' songs again and again just because they help you cry.
When you'd give anything for a shoulder to lean on.
When you're needy, whiny and desperate.
When you're least attractive.
When you are not worthy of being loved by someone good.

That's when you need love the most.


And when there's no one around, that's when you turn to God.

I prayed for love and got peace. That ain't such a bad deal...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Moi = IFFI delegate

I am officially a delegate for IFFI. That's the International Film Festival of India. Me. A delegate. I wonder who accepted my application. I wonder why they accepted it. I'd applied for myself and my dad at the last minute on a whim. Dad's application has been turned down. Again I wonder why.

Oh well, now I'm faced with bigger problems. The delegates can go watch movies for free. All well and good, unfortunately no one I know is a delegate this year. And as those who know me will vouch, I've never gone for a movie alone. At the same time there's no way I'm going to let that delegate pass go to waste, so guess this is going to be another first.


-> Stand in line with strangers.
-> Mournfully note that all the cute guys are accompanied by girls.
-> Ignore perverts who try and brush past unnecessarily close.
-> Glare at those who try to do more than brush past.
-> March into the theatre with the glare fixed to my face so that people don't think they can walk over me.
-> Search for spot between some women.
-> If I can't find a spot like that look for kids or guys my age or younger. They're easy to handle.
-> Avoid old men like the plague. You can never be sure what they're up to.
-> At the end of the movie wait for the crowd to thin out before leaving so as to avoid pinches and pokes.
-> Congratulate myself on having seen a movie alone.


Yeah... the benefits of being single...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

moving away...

Warning: This contains a lot of whining. You might prefer to skip to the end of the post.

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I got my appointment letter today. Yet another part of my life is over, another begins. I don't know exactly when I'll have to join work. Hopefully I'll be able to spend Christmas and New Year here in Goa. Everybody spends Christmas and New Year in Goa. I wouldn't have been worried but apparently there's some training I have to go for first. I guess they'd love to get a head start by finishing our training in December itself so that we could start work in January. Anyway I guess it'll sort itself out.

As long as I can remember I've been glad to leave home. Every college tour I went for, I used to be miserable at the thought of coming back home. When I moved to Bangalore I never really felt home sick. I enjoyed my life in Bangalore. I enjoyed the freedom I had and the knowledge that I could do exactly as I pleased. And yet, I'm not the kind of person who's happy in any one place for long. After little more than a year I was bored of Bangalore and when my mom fell sick I was glad to come back home to help out.

This time... I haven't even left home and I'm already feeling guilty. Feeling guilty cos I hate the thought of deserting my parents. I know it's normal for children to move away and though this isn't the first time I'm doing it, somehow as I grow older the guilt increases. I suppose it's because I'm conscious of the fact that my parents are also older this time around. They deserve to have someone at home to look after them. They deserve to rest after all their hard work all these years. But I can't live at home any longer. It's stifling me. The ideal situation would be to live in Goa but separately. That's not going to happen. Even if I found a good job here (impossible task) the concept of someone living in his/her own apartment when there's a 'family residence' is something that hasn't caught on here. Both sons and daughters are expected to live at home and travel to work atleast until they get married. Well I have no plans to marry anytime soon and I can't stand the idea of moving right from one family to the next without some free time.

So to get my space I have to move to another city.

And yet I feel guilty. I know I don't do as much as I could about the house but even the little I do will be missed. I wonder who'll keep the peace when I'm not around. I wonder who'll help mom cook. I wonder who'll help dad with the chores. I wonder who'll help my sister with her projects. I wonder if my dog will be alive much longer. I hate the thought of missing his last years. I wonder who will fuss over the cat everytime he cries. These past few months he's gotten used to sitting outside my bedroom and crying till I let him in. Will he continue to sit outside my empty room? Whenever there's a computer problem I won't be around to help. Whenever my folks have some silly queries about their mobiles I won't be around to answer. Whenever my mom needs someone to listen or dad needs someone to talk to, I'll be almost 500 kms (300 miles) away.

But in the end what I feel doesn't matter. Thoughts may lead to actions but if they don't, they won't mean anything to anyone besides yourself.

Either way who gives a shit.

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Suspect has written an adaptation of the story below and it's really good. He's trying to convince me to put it up here but I think it belongs on his own blog. If I succeed in convincing him, it'll be up on his blog on Sunday. Otherwise it'll eventually come up here.

Suspect has rewritten it with the focus on what fascinates him the most. No prizes for guessing what that is.

Woozie if you want to rewrite it with guns, go ahead.

If anyone else feels like producing another version, feel free to do so. If it's not too long and if you want me to, I'll put it up or link to it or something.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The simpler choice...

I'm finding it tough to write posts these days without getting too personal, so I thought I'd write a bit of fiction to keep the cobwebs away from my blog. Enjoy. Or not.

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Mary woke up and scrambled out of bed. It was Ryan's 8th birthday and she wanted to be the first to wish him. She was almost 6 years older than him and loved him almost as a mother would. His real mom was a pale shadow in their lives. When her dad had first introduced her to them, she'd been 9. Terrified that her papa would love the little boy more. Terrified that she'd have no one left to love her. Looking back from her vantage point she wanted to laugh at herself. Her father wasn't capable of loving anyone. But Ryan had turned out to be the most precious thing in her life. Smart, funny and loving, he'd turned to her almost from the start. His mother had seemed totally apathetic about it. As if it didn't bother her that her only child was more interested in spending time with his new step-sister than his own mother. She was a tiny woman. Mary was already taller than her and twice as strong. Things had worked out. They usually did.

Mary had taken charge over Ryan the way she would one of her dolls. She learnt to feed him, bathe him and put him to bed every night with a new story she would make up just for him. His mother had receded into the role of cook, house keeper and babysitter for the time Mary had to spend in school. Her father was a vague presence about the house. They were quiet when he was around. Life was simpler that way. When they crossed paths he seemed to feel polite conversation was a must. He'd ask Mary about school and pretend to be interested in her answers. Mary was polite to him. Things were simpler that way.

But today was different. She woke up Ryan with a kiss and helped him dress. Today was a very important day. She'd heard Them talking almost a week ago. His mom. Her dad. Talking about how maybe they should live apart for some time. How they shouldn't rush the divorce. Then she heard Her say, "I won't move out until after Ryan's birthday. Let's pretend everything is ok till then". Mary had gone to bed that night wondering what she could do to stop them. Not that she cared about the divorce of course. But she would not leave Ryan. Maybe she and her dad could keep Ryan, or maybe she could go with him and his mom.
The next day when her dad was at work she asked Her about it. The only reply she got was a lecture about listening at doors. Then suddenly She'd said, "I'm sorry Mary. What you're suggesting isn't possible dear. But don't worry, you'll see Ryan very often. We won't be moving far away."

So Mary had retired that night once again wrestling with the problem. She even prayed to her dead mother asking her for help. And when she woke up she knew it hadn't been in vain. Now she knew what she had to do. Now all she had to decide was which one she should kill. Her dad? Or Ryan's mom? There were points loaded in favour of both of them. His mom had been the one to suggest waiting until Ryan's birthday was over. That gave her one point. It had been surprisingly thoughtful of her. But then She didn't work. So if she killed her dad they'd have to find an alternate source of income. Score one point for dad as the bread winner. Well She did cook, clean and watch Ryan when she wasn't around. That would have been a point for her but dad could easily pay someone to do those things. The score remained tied. But then She would be easier to fool than dad. Score one for Her again.

And so Mary went on, giving a point first to one, then to the other. Until today. Today they were still even and her time was running out. It had to be tonight. She had to decide fast. In desperation she asked Ryan, "Ryan, who do you love more? Dad or mom?" Ryan was busy trying to tie his shoelaces and didn't answer immediately. She wanted to shake him. This was life and death! Finally he turned and said, "well, dad said he'd buy me a new bicycle for my birthday, so if he has, I guess I love him more today".

Mary relaxed. She'd seen the bike. Had helped hide it behind the sofa. Now she knew who it had to be. She'd even decided how to do it. After dinner dad would drop some of Ryan's friends off. Ryan's mom would be a bit 'high' and very affectionate the way she always was after a party. It would be a simple matter to lure her into the balcony. To show her the spot where the railing had come loose. To get underneath her n tip her over. She was such a tiny thing. She'd just have to see that she kept Her glass well stocked all night. That way if she passed out there would be no need to play act. Yeah, it would be simpler that way.

Her dad would tell the cops about the divorce. She would tell the cops she'd seen Her crying secretly. The cops would have to decide whether it was an accident or suicide. Mary sincerely hoped it would be declared an accident. She didn't want Ryan to grow up believing his mom had committed suicide. That wouldn't be good for him.

Oh well, things would work out. They usually did.

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Read Suspect's version here.

Really... go read it now.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Life is a series of blog posts...

Recently I noticed that my life seems to have turned into a series of blog posts. Unwritten ones of course...

It starts when I read the newspaper over breakfast. The news is no longer just 'news'. It's fodder for this blog. I read some shocking news. I angrily compose some posts and then rewrite them in my head. Unfortunately when I shut the paper all those drafts are deleted automatically.

Somebody rings the bell. A salesman. I drive him off, composing a post on the dangers posed by such wandering salesmen. I end with absurd advise on driving them away. Yup, a real nice post. Pity it won't last till I get on the comp.

I've got an errand to run in town. I struggle to kick start my bike and compose another post on how unsafe those damn kick-start thingies are. It whips back so fast my leg gets hurt and while I'm swearing the post becomes unprintable.

I'm riding to town. Another post gets drafted in my head. All about how lovely and unspoiled Goa is. It gets canned for being too sentimental.

A cop stops me and asks for my licence. I thrash the entire police department in my head. I use blistering language and load the post heavily with sarcasm. It's so much fun but I know the actual thing will never live up to it, so I regretfully consign it to the black hole of unwritten posts.

I haggle with someone and draft a triumphant post on my bargaining skills. Then I remind myself that this blog isn't fictional and I save the idea for use when I become better at bargaining.

There's a sudden shower as I ride back home, so I plan a post on my love-hate relationship with the rain. I'm drenched by the time I get home and I've forgotten why I love the rain. Another post has to be postponed.

I have to make dinner. I write posts in my head about all my favourite dishes. Unfortunately I burn the dishes I'm supposed to be watching and I lose all interest in anything to do with food.

I sit in front of the computer before going to bed and I can't think of a single thing to write about. I think about all the posts I drafted and discarded in my head all day. I mourn their loss. I decide to immortalise them with a fitting memorial.

Hence this post.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Don't live each day like it's your last.

I've heard people saying that everyone should live each day like it's their last. That's a load of crap. The world would grind to a halt if everyone did that. Who would go to work on their last day on Earth? Not me. That's for sure!

Some years ago, my dad told me I'd die at 40 if I didn't improve my lifestyle. He denies it now but it's sunk in pretty deep. Though I laughed at the time, I think ever since then Ever since then I've lived my life as if I were going to die at 40. Every year I count down to the day.

Believing something like that makes me want to spend more time with everyone I love. It makes me renew bonds that might grow weak with time and it makes me appreciate those that maintain themselves.

It makes me read whatever I want to, whenever I want to, no matter how much work is piled up.

It makes me do things most people would label 'useless' just because they make me happy. I've danced on the street with a friend once just cos he said we'd never danced together.

It makes me avoid people who might prove a drain on my emotions. They might be wonderful people and sometimes I regret it, but in the end I just don't think it's worth wasting time on people with issues and hang-ups.

It makes me squeeze a laugh out of everything around me. I put on my sober face when required but I find it much too easy to laugh these days.


But one thing it does not do, is make me want to go out and work hard just so I can earn a fortune by the time I'm 35 or 40. What would be the point?

Most people work hard and slog their butts off so that they can relax when they get old.

Since I'm not sure I'll ever have the privilege of dying 'an old crone, lying in my bed' I think I had subconsciously decided to live the other way around. Relax now and work hard later.

Does that seem like a good thing?

Nah. That's not so good.

Particularly if I don't die at 40.

I now have 15 years to go. And I find myself thinking of all the times my dad has been wrong.

Damn!


Friday, November 10, 2006

Yeah, yeah, whatever.

I've put the red button there on the right cos I've always liked it. It'll be there for a week or so. I strongly advise against pushing it.

[Edit: Now it's at the bottom of the page cos though a week is up, I like knowing it's around just in case I feel like playing with it now n then...]

Suspect
The blogger formerly known as Suspect has changed his blog template a bit. It made me feel like kicking my heels up too. I don't want to hear any critical comments about it. As someone remarked recently it's my blog and I can do whatever I want with it. If you don't like it, go suck eggs. If you absolutely hate it, email me.

Edit: I've removed most of the changes for now cos P says they screw up the page in Firefox. I'll check in out on Firefox as soon as possible and redo it if I can. Unfortunately I'm learning how to do it as I'm doing it so expect some hilarious mistakes!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Packing...

I love packing. There's something magical about packing. A promise of things to come. Of a journey somewhere. Of people I'll meet and places I'll see.

Packing isn't essential before a trip of course. You can always go along 'on the fly' so to speak. But packing prepares you for what is to come. It forces you to think about what lies ahead. It may slow you down at the start, but your trip will be much smoother if you pack well. No stops to shop on the way. You have everything you need and can focus on the destination.

Aaah, the destination. For many people the destination is the whole point of the journey. I disagree. If you approach the journey in the right frame of mind you'll find that every moment on the way has its own charm. Every wayside stall you stop at, every porter you haggle with, every cup of coffee that scalds your tongue, everything blends together in a wild rush of images and sounds.

Not that I have anything against reaching my destination. The excitement, the rush and then the feeling of utter relaxation. The contentment of knowing you've reached safe harbour.

Until it's time to pack again.

Monday, November 06, 2006

5 reasons why this ain't a soft porn blog.

Another day, another post.

Suspect has suggested I start a soft porn blog. Here are 5 reasons why I don't think that's such a hot idea.

1. I don't think there's anything hot about genitalia. And Wikipedia says that's what soft porn is. As for the rest of the porn family... I get bored watching people have sex unless there's some kind of story. And I've been told if it has a story, it's not porn.

2. I'd like to have a variety of readers. Not a pack of sex-starved 15 and 16 year old guys. [Actually when it comes to porn I believe most guys fall under this category.] [Yes I'm biased.]

3. I don't approve of people who download free porn. Porn is an industry. I support industry. Pay for your porn. Somewhere else.

4. I'll be very rich someday which usually means interviews and fame. Hence I'd rather not provide fodder for future interviewers.

5. I'd much rather have a torture blog. Unfortunately suspect seems to have that up and running already.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Giant Pubis

I got the following in the mail and was fascinated. Real life is really weirder than fiction. It's easily found on google so I have no qualms about putting it up.

But... for those who found the Luis Royo picture 'sleazy' or inappropriate... please read no further!
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The police of Los Angeles had a lot of fun last year, when they were filling out papers to register a series of car accidents. As it turned out, drivers were losing control and running into other vehicles because of a giant picture of woman's pubis, which they could see displayed on the front part of an oncoming car.

The LA police started desperately looking for the unfortunate pubis and came upon the tracks of a young hairdresser named Nelly Node. Nelly's passion for arts made the young woman photograph her own crotch and put the zoomed picture on her Volkswagen Beetle. Nelly decided to use such a shameless method to prepare her college course work, in which she analyzed the art of design.

The witty student's idea worked for the college professors: she was proudly driving her "pubic beetle" until the police arrested the woman. The court ruled that Nelly's car was creating a dangerous situation on the roads: the girl had to paint over her car's hood. Here's a picture of her VW "before" she had to repaint it.









Thursday, November 02, 2006

Damn Drunk Tourists!


THE GOOD

The day started of great. Was chatting with a friend till 4 am and had to be up by 5.30 to go for morning mass. [All Souls Day] So decided it didn't make sense to sleep for just an hour an half. So when the electricity went at about 5 am I wasn't really bothered. I was glad it had happened on a day when I was awake. Figured it would be back by the time I got back, just in time for me to take a nap. I enjoyed riding my bike before sunrise to the chapel. Lovely cold breeze. Saw a small crowd on the way but didn't stop cos there were cops and I don't like cops.

THE BAD

Reached the chapel and things went downhill from there. Mass was slow, then had to make polite conversation with someone I don't like and when I got home, still no electricity. My dad went to check and found that some stupid damn tourists wrapped their vehicle around the electricity pole/transformer [whatever]. The transformer actually landed on their car. [So says dad] So no electricity the full day. Maybe more. No lights, no fans, no microwave, the food in the fridge starting to complain about the heat, and worst of all... no Internet!

THE FANTASY


Having been driven out of my home by some idiotic tourists who can't control their liquor here I sit checking my mail and whining about all the work I could have done if I were home.
And as I sit here I meditate on just how vindictive I want to be. I still don't know what happened to the tourists. The saints of Goa usually protect all drunk people here. [They don't protect the innocent souls the drunk drivers run into!] The tourists are probably starting to work out how they're going to recount their adventures once they're back home. But... I can always use my imagination. Apparently the trauma caused by the passage of electric current through the body (as from contact with high voltage lines or being struck by lightning) involves burns and abnormal heart rhythm and unconsciousness. Now that's a very satisfying thought!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

9 weird things about me...

I've been tagged once again by suspect. So now I'm supposed to spill the beans about 9 weird things about me.

I can think of several things which can't be put on the list. Why? Cos you never know who'll be reading this. And yeah, I also want to keep suspects mind clean. It's a hard job but someones gotta do it!

1. I love staying up and sleeping after sunrise.

2. I can never throw out paper. I have old receipts and bills that are almost illegible stacked all about the place. I also have my old kindergarten books, every letter or note ever written to me, ... (you get the drift).

3. I once lay down in the middle of the road on a dare.

4. I can't spend new bank notes. And if they're in series I'm lost.

5. I get really bored shopping for clothes and shoes. I can picture people shaking their heads. Trust me, it counts. All the girls I know love shopping.

6. A guy once paid me to yell at his friend.

7. When I get really bored I sleep. Anywhere! I wiggle about, find the most comfortable position, blank out all the disapproving looks and sleep. I've done it on buses, in theatres, in church, at shopping malls (while friends shop - for clothes, aaaargh), ...

8. If I'm really sleepy I can sleep while standing too, as long as I've got something to rest against or to hold on to.

9. Some girls look at guys shoulders, some are fascinated by butts. Me, I have a thing for their hands. Arms too, but hands specially.

Ok, that's it for me. And out of a wholly justified desire to share the trouble I tag Glenn, Cecilia, and CrazyRhyme.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The man with the power...

He was a mild meek mannered man by day. He seemed to have a complete life. He laughed with his wife and kids in the morning, joked with his friends at work, and they all said, "oh that guy! he's a nice chap".

But little did they know that underneath that calm, sweet exterior there lurked another man. A man with a secret life. A man who influenced hundreds of lives each day.

Why? Because he had power.

Everyday as he waited for the bus he'd look around for someone who needed his help that day. Aaah, a girl wearing a short skirt. Who did she think she was. She was just asking for it. Standing there with that attitude. He'd stare at her legs. When she shifted uncomfortable he'd exult with satisfaction. Oh, she was enjoying it wasn't she. The bitch. His eyes would roam upwards. she'd turn her back towards him. Pity.

Then the bus would come. He'd reach the door and then purposely slow down so that she could enter first. He'd press himself against her and delight if she stumbled and lost her balance. Then he could officiously press forward to help. Oh madame, do you need some help. He'd extend his hands and hold her arm. She'd shake him off and glare and walk away and stand next to the driver.

He'd look around. She was starting to act tough. Too bad. But there was so much choice here.
Ahh, there was a pretty girl in a salwar. She hadn't seen him yet. No matter. He'd stand next to her. Oh, that was a curve. He swayed with the bus. She felt so soft. Damn, he wished he could use his hands. No matter. Maybe he'd just rub himself against her. She was trapped by the people around. All his. What! She was trying to move away. Turning to glare as if she wasn't secretly turned on too. Yeah right! Sorry madame, this bus is so crowded no? Public transport is so bad.

She's saying she has to get off at the next stop. It's his stop too. But he'll wait for her to get down first. That way she has to squeeze past him. There'll be a lot of confusion. She'll be worried that the bus might not stop for long. And the bus will be still. His hands will be free. To 'help' her squeeze past him.

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I made myself literally sick writing this. I feel like puking up my lunch. But I decided to post it anyway because I know this man. Almost every girl will know him. Or someone like him.

I've met him on buses, at work and even in church. He has made me feel helpless. He has made me feel like I'm to blame.

I haven't met him recently because I now avoid public transport and crowds as far as possible. But not every girl has that luxury.

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Edit: Oh yeah, now I carry safety pins every time I'm forced to use public transport.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

with apologies to all Tarzan fans...

I found myself watching Tarzan yesterday. I've never bothered to watch the whole thing before cos he always reminds me of an animated Arnold Schwarzenegger with all his bulging muscles. I've never seen the start. This time I started watching when he first meets Jane...

Anyway this is my take on the scene where his chimpanzee mother is showing him the tree house where they found him for the first time.

Start of scene: Tarzan picks up an old photo of his family and turns questioningly to the chimpanzee...

Mother Chimp: "Yes, that's your family Tarzan. Your father, mother and you."

Tarzan: "What happened here!?!"

Mother Chimp: "You see, it was a long dry summer that year... Food was scarce... We were roaming the valleys searching for our next meal. And then one day, just in time for dinner, we saw your family."

A reminiscent smile plays across Mother Chimp's face...

"We feasted that day. We wanted to have you as an appetiser but we were too hungry. We started straight off with the main course. Your dad was excellent, and your mom made a fine dessert."

Tarzan makes a strangled sound, Mother Chimp carries on undisturbed.

"We carried you along intending to fatten you up a bit.
I've never held with playing with one's food as you know. If I've told the kids once, I've told them a hundred times not to play with you. But it was no use. We were forced to keep you as a pet."

Tarzan's eyes fill with tears, and he bawls like a baby.

Mother Chimp: "Now what's wrong?!?"

Tarzan: "You mean I'm a pet???"

Mother Chimp: "Well, yes. Why? What's wrong? You've had pets of your own. What about the baby rabbit you rescued, and the little antelope you used to play with..."

Tarzan: "But mama... you don't understand... I ATE them!!!"

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Edit: Ok, the chimps are actually gorillas. For all those who give a damn. :)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Abuse

I have a friend who I'm going to call Layla.

I first met Layla when I'd just had a big change in my life. She was distant at first. We lived in the same flat and though we were thrown together a lot, she stayed aloof. At first I thought it was cos she was so proud of all that she'd achieved. Though she was just a couple of years older, she had a good job and was earning really well for someone of her age, sex and background.

And then I got to know her story. She had an abusive boyfriend. She'd been hurt many times. Hospitalised twice. She'd tried to kill herself once. All that money she earned went straight to her account and her dear boyfriend kept her ATM card. When she needed money she had to ask him to withdraw it and then had to account for every penny she spent.

I didn't realise how bad it was at first. I thought he was just a controlling jealous freak. I was a little rude to him one day when he dragged me into one of their fights. That day she came home with her hand twisted so badly she couldn't use it for almost a week. Another time he kept calling and cursing and we were so scared that he'd come and try to hurt her we both got out of there at dawn and stayed away the whole day.

I kept telling her to leave the guy. She kept telling me she couldn't. That this was the life she had chosen and that she had to stick to it. She was just in her mid-twenties but she believed she couldn't start again. She used to tell me everything would be okay once they were married.

I left that place a few months later.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this here. She's married now. To the same guy. I've met her and she seems the same. Her life hasn't changed much. I didn't ask her if he still beats her. Call me a coward if you will, but I didn't want to know. I saw the way he yells at her. Some things never change.

It takes courage to face things head on, sure. But it also takes courage to cut your losses and walk away. I wish I had helped her find that courage.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Monday, October 16, 2006

This one is for the guys...

For some reason guys are always comfortable coming to me for advice. Single guys and not-so-single guys. And since all girls discuss their problems with their friends, I've had to deal with more than my fair share of 'relationship problems'.

This post is for the single guys who say they don't want to remain single. It's NOT for those singles who've decided that they'd rather stick to their bachelorhood. It's not for guys who are just looking to get dates. That's fine as long as they know what they want. This post is only for those single guys who say they want a serious relationship. I've listed what I believe are 2 major reasons most guys I know are having trouble 'getting a girl'. There are loads more. But these two are real problems that most guys will ignore if possible. I have friends who think they only need a great car n oodles of money to get girls falling all over them. Well, no car and no amount of money is going to get you a serious relationship with any woman worth having.

1] Most guys don't really like girls. As human beings. And I'm dead serious about this. Most of the guys I know, like me as a friend, but they insist that girls in general are 'money-crazy bitches'. They think girls are shallow, vain, shopping-crazy, manipulative etc. And then they all bitch n moan that they have trouble getting a girl. That is so crazy. Girls can pick up the signals you send out. When I'm talking to a guy, I'm not going to want to spend time with him if he gives out a signal that says that he believes that all girls are bitches. No way. Not even to prove him wrong. I might have tried to get him to change his mind 5-6 years ago when I was very naive. But now I know that anyone who thinks that way, is just going to be on the lookout for evidence to prove his point.

2]Most guys know nothing about girls. And they don't want to know. Not really. They'd be bored out of their skulls. They assume that all they have to do is meet the 'right' girl n then everything will fall into place n they'll live happily ever after. They don't realise that any girl can be the 'right' girl if they just take the trouble to learn about women. All women are similar. We can all be angels or demons at different times. Very few guys will take the trouble to try n understand the girl's point of view. Tell them there's a book that will explain women and they don't bother to read it. What kind of attitude is that. If a guy can't be bothered even before getting the girl, what are the chances he'll bother later. Slim to none. Even if there's a problem later he'll just pretend there's no problem until the girl walks out on him. And then he'll bitch about her to his friends. You can't expect to understand women instinctively. Women are different. We think differently and we act differently. What we think is caring you think is interfering. You see the problem here? We go out of our way to show you we care. We expect some appreciation and love. Instead we get crucified for 'interfering'!

I'm not defending girls here. So please spare me calls n mail telling me girls are evil and that guys are to be pitied. If you think girls are evil you should be determined to stay a bachelor. Nothing wrong with that. Some girls may indeed be worthy of scorn. But reserve your scorn for those girls. Don't shove all your anger and all your 'issues' on every girl you meet. And please do read some good 'relationship' books.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Clemens Konieczka - 'Old Room'

I'm not sure what I want my blog to look like. All I know is that I was fed up of the old look. Hence the all black look. Expect to see changes every now n then until I settle on something timeless.

And since I'm not in the mood to post I'm just going to add one of my favourite works of art here.

It's called Old Room. The artist is Clemens Konieczka.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Shiv Sena

My blog needs an update and I think I've rattled on long enough about myself. Also it's been a long time since I've had a chance to vent my spleen at someone or something. So instead of focusing my illuminating spotlight on myself today I shift the focus onto one of my pet peeves: The Shiv Sena.

Warning: If anyone reading this is a supporter of the Shiv Sena, please stop here and go back to inciting trouble somewhere. You're not going to like what follows.

For people expecting an unbiased post: get real! I know I'm right. Why shouldn't I be biased.

Ok, for starters, if I had to test a nuke device I'd stick the Sena on an island n try it on them. They are communalists of the worst kind. The kind that portray themselves as nationalists. In fact they actually seem to believe that. Poor souls. I don't know what the Sena high command i.e. Bal Thackeray, really believes, but he banks on the frustration of the middle class and keeps the fires burning.

If the Sena doesn't have a viable issue to riot about, lo and behold, they'll create one. I've been trying to remember all the stuff they've done over the years. It's tough. I think I'll just start this off with what I can remember from the top of my head and I'll post a scrap or two everytime they riot again. Just following their antics will ensure I post often.

In 1998 Shiv Sainiks attacked movie theatres in Mumbai over Fire, a Deepa Mehta film with a lesbian theme.

In 1999 I remember their outcry against the visit of the Pakistani team. The threat that they'd dig up the cricket pitch at Mohali. In fact they actually did vandalise the cricket pitch at Firoz Shah Kotla in Delhi to stop the Pakistani cricket team from playing there.

I remember the protests each year against the celebration of Valentines Day. The Hallmark stores that were stormed and the cards that they burnt. Their reasoning... The celebration of Valentine's day is a western concept that should not be allowed in India. Whether they believe India and Indians are the personal property of Bal Thackeray is a question that should be settled sometime soon. Maybe a few open debates on the issue would help settle my queries. Unfortunately the Shiv Sena isn't known for it's debating skills. The last editor of a local daily that tried to take them on was attacked.

I'm not sure what the official Sena response to that was but they have a pretty standard spiel that they use each and every time the violence goes too far and they have to excuse themselves.

They used it when a statue of Bal Thackeray's wife was defaced in July(someone threw some mud on it... big deal). I think even their own supporters would have said their reactions were disproportionate to the original incident. However the standard Shiv Sena response was parroted forth as usual. "Of course we don't endorse violence, but our people are very high spirited. They could not bear the insult." Details below

Earlier, the statue of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's wife was allegedly desecrated at Shivaji Park on Sunday morning by unidentified miscreants.

In protest, Shiv Sainiks went on a rampage and torched a tourist bus in the area. They also blocked the main road at Shivaji Park.

The Sainiks claimed that the miscreants had thrown mud on Thackeray's wife, Meenatai's, statue. Meanwhile, a bandh has been called by the party in Navi Mumbai.

Shiv Sainiks also damaged a police outpost near Shivaji Park alleging that the police failed to nab the culprits although the outpost was just a stones throw away from where the incident took place.

Shiv Sena has said that it would not allow state Assembly proceedings to go on until those responsible for the defacing of the statue are arrested.

A clash was reported from Andheri in which a senior police officer, Rajendra Thakur, was seriously injured. Sainiks burnt effigies at Andheri West and all shops were shut down in the area.

Meanwhile, at the Mumbai domestic airport the ground staff has gone on a strike to protest against the incident.

"Things had gone out of control but now the situation is returning to normalcy. However, sporadic incidents of stone pelting have been reported. Extra reinforcements have been called and Sena leaders have assured us that law and order will not get out of control," Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police, Arup Patnaik said.

At Shivaji Park, the police fired teargas to disperse protestors.
Senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi has threatened drastic action against those involved in the desecration of the statue.
Joshi has threatened to bring life to a standstill in Dadar and other Sena strongholds in the city.

"Meenatai, whom the Shiv Sainiks called Maasaheb, is like God to us. Our God has been insulted here. There will definitely be reaction to this," an agitated Joshi said.


This was said of a woman whose greatest role was the one she played as wife of Bal Thackeray. Whether putting up with him, earned her a statue in a public place is anyone's guess.

This was said of a woman whose husband was prosecuted for inciting communal violence and who very famously threatened "India will burn."
Thackeray warned. "I am not threatening but warning. The NDA Government had better be aware. This is not a virus that will be restricted to Mumbai and Maharashtra. It will spread through the country."

What more can I say...

You may wonder what today's violence was about... The Shiv Sena is starting to feel the pangs of succession. Bal Thackeray's nephew n protege Raj Thackeray, left the party and set up his own, when his uncle decided to stick with his son Uddhav Thackeray as his successor. Today the workers of both the parties clashed. Yippee. It may be bad for the average mumbaikar but as a distant observer I can't help but gloat over the idea of dissension in the ranks. Maybe they'll all kill each other.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Better safe than sorry... or not.

This isn't really meant to be a post. It's more of a commentary on the replies I got to my previous post.

I've always thought following one's dreams is the highest call there is. And that's what I always tell everyone. I'm the girl who advised a friend to quit law n follow her dream of becoming an air hostess. She didn't take my advice. Is she happy now? I don't dare ask. Whenever anyone comes to me and talks of following their passion, I'm happy for them and do my best to cheer them on. Not that I ever advocate anything as drastic as walking out on your day job when you've got a family of four to feed. But when you have a chance, you should grab it, and thank God for it. I guess I honestly believe if you have a passion you can make it work.

My problem was that I had no passion. All I wanted was to have a good time. I got good grades cos I enjoy learning new stuff. Exams are easy for me. I rarely topped but then that would have required more effort than I was ready to invest. But finding something to work for, something that I'd enjoy doing even if I was a millionaire n didn't need a job... now that was hard.

And somehow I thought everyone would be happy that I finally found my dream. But everyone's attitude seems more along the lines of 'better safe than sorry'. I'm not just talking about my blog-world here. Even in the real world, no-one, not one person I've mentioned my idea to, is in favour of it.

Of course that's not going to stop me. Luckily for me I've been blessed with the ability to go my own way reagrdless of the approval or disapproval of people around me. Except my parents. Their disapproval always hurts even when I don't let it show.

Which is why they know nothing of this.

But I'm still surprised by the number of 'better safe than sorry' people out there. It's scary but exhilarating. I guess I'm one of those people who loves being in the minority. I love all you people who care enough about me to try n keep me grounded. But, damn it, I want to fly!

Just curious... all you people reading this. If you didn't need to work, if you had all the money you could ever want, what would you do with your life? How would you spend your days? Lazing about might seem attractive for a while but men (and women) are said to need a purpose in life to keep them happy.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost

---------------------------------------

I'm fast approaching a fork in the road, and I truly believe that I must take the road less travelled. I only wish I knew why. Is it laziness? Is my choice based on all the wrong reasons?

All I know is that it is something I must do. It is something I have always done. How could I have been so blind not to see before. Do travellers sometimes take the wrong road. And if they do, are they doomed to always walk alone. Does their heart travel on the other route leaving them dispirited and lonely.

I want to be a complete person. I want to be a happy person. I've seen people settle for what they think is the best that life can offer. That's just a load of crap. Do what you have to do to survive, but do it whilst you walk on your own road.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tagged!

About a week back I was tagged by suspect. I very stupidly said I'd do it. That was a few days ago, true, but never let it be said that I don't keep my promises.

[Any smartass comments about the movies I like n you'll burn in hell if I have my way.]

1. The last movie you saw in a theater, and current-release movie you still want to see:

Hmmm... these days I seem to be watching only Hindi movies in the theatre. No idea why. Anyway the answer is 'Woh Lamhe'. Just saw it today. If I'd answered this last week I'd have answered 'Lage Raho Munnabhai'.
Current release... maybe 'Dor'.
But definitely want to watch 'Zindagi Rocks' when it releases. [Do y'all see what I mean about my Hindi movie phase.]

2. The last movie you rented/purchased for home viewing:

I don't rent movies any more. When I can buy 5 movies on 1 DVD for just 80 bucks in Bangalore it seems pointless to rent. And when I do buy, I buy in bulk. I last bought 10 DVD's together. I'm not going to list all 50 movies here so I'll answer this by saying the last movie I downloaded was 'Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest'.

3. A movie that made you laugh out:

English - Overall the most I remember laughing was at a real old one called 'The General'

Hindi - 'Lage Raho Munnabhai'

4. A movie that made you cry:

English - I can't cry at sad scenes. When people are dying I laugh So here I'm listing 2 movies which always make me cry with... well not happiness. Just some strong emotion.
'While you were sleeping' - the wedding scene when Sandra Bullock leaves Peter at the altar.
'Independence Day' - During the speech.
I've seen both many times. N I cry each n every time.

Hindi - 'Lage Raho Munnabhai'

5. A movie that was a darling of the critics, but you didn't think lived up to the hype:

English - Far too many to name but will just list a few sets that didn't deserve the fame they got.
Mission Impossible 2 & 3 [I loved the original T.V. series n hate Tom Cruise so this is easy]
The Matrix Sequels [Too dark. Literally]
the Godfather Sequels. [yes I love The Godfather. Both the book and the movie. And I hated both Godfather 2 & 3. N I don't care what anyone says]

Hindi - 'Rang De Basanti' [I tried watching this twice at home n fell asleep within the first 10 minutes both times. Since it's India's entry at the Oscars I'm hoping the remaining 21/2 hours are better. ]

6. A movie that you thought was better than the critics:

English - Nope. Got nothing to complain about here. The critics pretty much agree with me.

Hindi - 'Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna' [I've written a full post on it here which says it all.]

7. Favorite animated movie:

English - 'Shrek', 'The Lion King'

Hindi - Don't think I've ever seen one.

8. Favorite Disney Villain:

Don't know if this counts but I love Tom. I always hope he catches Jerry and swallows him whole.

9. Favorite movie musical:

English - I love old English movies so this is a tough one but I think I'll pick 'Seven Wives for Seven Brothers'

Hindi - Almost all Hindi movies are musicals so once again a tough one. Three movies where I really enjoyed the songs are 'Josh', 'Kal Ho Na Ho' and 'Woh Lamhe'.

10. Favorite movies of all-time (up to five):

I'm just going to pick one. N anyone who has a problem with my choice can go suck eggs.

'Shrek'

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Matka Man

Something happened a week ago that made me want to rant n rave. However I practiced the self-control for which I am known n held off. I decided if I still felt like blogging about it in a week I would do so.

Well here I am. Mad as a hornet.

This post is my reaction to a conversation I overheard. I wasn't supposed to hear it but I couldn't help myself. I rattled about making a lot of noise so that the people talking would hear me n shut up but no luck. They were totally absorbed. The conversation was between my dad n another man I've known all my life.

That man has a problem. Maybe addiction would be a better word. I'm not going to get into specifics but it's a form of gambling. For the sake of clarity I'm going to call him Matka Man. Just incase you don't know - Matka is a type of illegal lottery that many people are addicted to. This guy isn't addicted to matka but the effects are the same. Right from the time my dad first knew him he used to spend his time n money gambling with some friends. At the time he'd just gotten married but that didn't stop him. Not even the arrival of 2 children over the years had any effect. Then all of sudden he cleaned up his act. He focused on building up his reputation. He's always been known for his integrity n efficiency n with a lot of hard work he retired last year as the head of his section.

And then, he started gambling again. It's causing a lot of turmoil in his family. His wife earns about half of what he used to and they depend on his pension. And yet, every day, the Matka Man will be out gambling. One night my dad n I had to go out in our car searching for him cos he hadn't come home even by 1.00 am. and his wife was terrified. He refuses to buy a cell phone. Probably because he wouldn't be able to disappear as freely as he does now.

I don't know how the conversation started that day but I was privileged to hear his reasoning. According to him he has no other way to pass his time. When my dad suggested a little part time work or consulting he was adamant that he had paid his dues n was going to 'enjoy' his retirement. According to him he gave his wife a part of his pension n since she didn't know about the part he was keeping for his gambling each month it couldn't hurt her. And this from a man who keeps saying she's spending too much on their children. I pity his wife. With her salary n the portion of his that he thinks she deserves she has to meet all the expenses as well as her kids demands n there are lots of those.

Why do men like that ever marry? Matka Man would have been much happier if he'd stayed single. A man who puts his enjoyment above his children's needs, in my opinion is a total failure as a husband and as a father. And all this from a man who keeps talking about his personal integrity and moral values. He'll defend his 'principles' till he's blue in the face. Can't he see what he's doing wrong?

He prides himself on being an intellectual. He loves to debate with people because he can use his reasoning n language skills to confuse them. And then he sits all smug convinced that he's superior to just about everyone else. I used to respect him before because when all's said n done he does have high principles in general and he's usually willing to listen to reason. But now, after being forced to listen to him defending an indefensible habit n still sounding self-righteous, I'm having a hard time even looking at his face.

Matka Man did his best to convince my dad he's in the right. That he deserves the freedom to enjoy the rest of his life. My dad did his best to convince him that gambling was just as much of an addiction as alcohol n drugs. That life can be enjoyed even without such selfish behaviour. But the conversation wound up going round n round in circles. So the Matka Man left as he'd come, still smug n convinced he'd done no wrong. Still bewailing the fact that his kids aren't as great as other people's kids. Forgetting that they had to grow up living with an absent father who never showed them they were valued. Still complaining that his wife was a nag. Forgetting that he had made her one. With his feet set firmly on the road of self-deception. Trying to convince the world to walk with him.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Mosquito Mafia

Many of you reading this will assume I'm just trying to be funny. I'm not.

The past few days have been one long war against the Mosquito Mafia in my house. The battle ground is the computer room though we have little skirmishes on the stairs and on occasion in the hall. Actually those skirmishes are usually one sided. I see the enemy relaxing defenceless n swoop, ruthlessly decimating all in sight. But the main battle in the computer room is another story altogether.

The mosquitoes very cleverly took possession of the room so quietly n secretly that no one noticed. The first time it came to my attention was a couple of days ago when one of them (must have been drunk) came buzzing around my head. I killed him of course. What would you have done. And yet, though the kill was only in retaliation to the attack, the mosquitoes decided it was matter of honour and declared war. I was attacked relentlessly. I'd get a few n the rest would lie low. The moment I sat down n lowered my defences another squad would be sent in to take me out.

Eventually I prevailed and the mosquitoes were forced to retreat to higher levels. I would have accepted that. I'm a peace loving person by nature and I would have been ok with sharing the room. As long as the bottom 6 feet were clear they could have had the rest. BUT... I reckoned without their thirst for revenge. The survivors got the word out and soon reinforcements from other families started pouring in. I realised I needed help too. Unfortunately in these sad days good help is hard to find. I tried and met with ridicule. My sister howled with laughter (she still giggles everytime I kill a mosquito), my mom advised Odomus. I refused. There has got to be a better way of defending oneself. I mean c'mon, it's all very well for skunks but really...I didn't ask my dad for help cos I knew he'd wade right in with flit and though personally I love the smell, I knew it might result in my mom leaving before the mosquitoes.

So as you can see I had absolutely no option but to do what I did next. I know it may seem like an unfair measure, but you know they say, 'all's fair in love and war'. And anyway, since they were the ones who brought in outside help, I figured I could take the high tech route. Using brain over brawn. Hence the shift to biological weapons. Some might say overkill. I say dead is dead. Doesn't matter how. Hence I moved the 'All Out' thingy from my room to the war zone. Now the mosquitoes brains are so addled they come and sit peacefully right next to me. At which time I take great pleasure in squishing them. Of course I've considered the fact that they may be trying to surrender. Huh! Unless they find a way of holding little white flags they'd be better off making peace with their maker.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Updates on C Law conferences

I wrote a really nice letter to my old prof telling him how I really need his help sice I'm at the crossroads, blahblahblah. About 5 or 6 in the evening.
The very next morning I found a reply in my Inbox. A lovely email telling me he's been there n giving his no and telling me to call him anytime and also telling me he's coming to Goa from the 17th to the 19th for a one day conference shceduled on the 18th at the International Centre and that we could meet up then. He suggested that I call either that day or the next.
I called him that very evening. I don't know if I was a bit rushed n if he felt uncomfortable or what. He suggested i sign up to attend the conference if possible and said that since he now had my phone number he'd call when he reached Goa. I asked if it was his first trip here n since he said yes offered to show him around if he wanted since mom n dad had told me to offer.
Anyway we didn't talk long cos he said he was travelling.

The day after that, on the 9th, I attended a conference on C Crime and C Laws. It was fascinating. The guy from ASCL was especially good. I asked and apparently there is one course I can do there that will make me a C Crime Investigator. I've been in the 7th heaven cos of that. Only today am I coming down to earth a bit. Even if I do well there what guarentees are there I'll get a job. Very confused.

Hope my prof can help me thought I'm doubtful cos I realised that he's an expert in IPR n C Law. Anyway I've signed up for the conference so if things go as usual by the end of the conference I'll probably decide to study that!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

petty worries, death & life.

Life is speeding up so much that I find I've no time to read and write as much as I want to. My blog is suffering. Somehow this isn't an isolated phenomenon. Everyone with whom I've been in touch seems to be snowed under their own work. Maybe it's just that time of the year. The time before all the vacations. Maybe that's why life speeds up so much. Though come to think of it, all this rush is probably a way of getting things done before the year ends. Everyone's just trying to show that they've accomplished so much this year. Something to look back on with pride.

I feel so lucky whenever I realise I'm complaining about little things like being busy, and having people try to walk over me. Those are the times I realise that I'm one of the lucky ones. Someone very close to me recently lost her baby. Things that my friends and I mourn about, like jealous co-workers and busy schedules and homesickness and uncaring boyfriends/girlfriends actually seem like things to be counted as blessings. As long as we even notice these little worries it means we have nothing major going wrong in our lives. As long as I can get upset about the Shiv Sena and other communalists it means I have nothing to complain about closer to home.

At first I just couldn't understand what she was going through. It's hard for those without children to understand what it's like to lose a child. Only if you're close to someone who has lost a child will you see and feel a little bit of what they go through everyday. It's bad enough losing the child when it is small. It must be so much worse to lose a child later. A distant relative lost her 20 year old son when I was about 11 or 12. I remember overhearing my parents discussing it. I'll always remember the sound of my mom's voice when she said, "imagine losing him now. Just when she thought all the troublesome years were over. Just when she thought that now they could relax and enjoy life with a grown up child to support them." And she wasn't talking about financial support. All parents come to depend on their kids just as much as kids depend on their parents when they're young. For support, sharing and love. I believe that when a person dies it's the people left behind that suffer the most. I honestly am not scared of dying, but I am scared of dying before my parents and putting them through something like that. No parents deserve that.

Life is so twisted. When you're with people who care, it's easiest being the one who draws the short straw. Who's on his way out. It's easy to tell God to pick you, instead of someone you love. But when you choose to die or flirt with death you have to remember that though you'll be free from this life, you're condemning the people who care about you to misery. When I see people risking their life without reason I want to scream at their selfishness. Sometimes they've gone through a lot of pain themselves and use that as an excuse for their disenchantment with life. I want to tell them it's tougher and braver by far, to choose to live with the pain for the sake of others who love you.

Most of the time you don't get to choose who lives or dies. If you lose someone you love, remember you can't help that person with anything besides prayers. But you can help those left behind. The dead don't need us. The living do.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Pepsi Crap...

Recently colas were in the news for containing excessive quantities of pesticides.

The Pepsi defence team had the bright idea of airing an ad where some Pepsi executives and a guy in a white lab coat get together n announce that the chemicals found in Pepsi are within permissible international n national standards.

C'mon you idiots! If you'd managed to get Coca Cola executives to advertise for Pepsi that would be something. Sure the Pepsi executives are going to tell us its safe.

I find the ads particularly amusing because of an email a friend sent me with the following pictures. They may be fake or doctored for all I know but they are very funny. Specially in context with that ridiculous ad that airs all the time!


Picking the right shade for the Pepsi!



Washing the bottles is hard work!



More Washing...



Getting the washed bottles into the crates, waiting to be filled up



Pepsi being filled



Putting the fizz in!



Picking the best caps!




Capping the bottles



Checking for leaks



Quality Check!