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too much

Everyone says life is no bed of roses. They all say it. They say it all the time. So often that we’ve forgotten who said it first. Maybe it doesn’t matter who said it. If everyone agrees then it must be true.

Here’s what I think.

The ‘I’ had to come somewhere right. I re-watched part of Princess Diaries when it played on Star Movies last week. I watch trash. The part where pretty Anne Hathaway goes – “And then I thought about how many stupid times a day I use the word ‘I’.”

For unfathomable reasons, that line made me feel guilty. But where you’re at is my blog. So I am allowed to say I. Guilt thus suppressed I will continue. Yes, I.

Going back, I’ve been thinking about ‘life’. Funskool made a load of cash by making us play a game by that name. Robert Benigni thinks life is beautiful. The Mintrox ad folks have you believe it ‘eej hard’. They say here after any disaster, natural or otherwise, that life has to go on.

Now this life is taking me to a juncture where a decision will have to be made. It is not going to be an easy one and I’d like to buy time. Time is fast running out though. Because life is no bed of roses.

But who cares for flowers? Not me. I’ll just run headlong into this decision when the moment comes. I never liked roses.


old and beautiful

Udaipur is like an aging woman of exquisite beauty.

To the outsider she seems divorced from reality, her present funded by alimony drawn from an eventful past. Now her days are spent in lazy hope. She is longing for change while still working her old charms to survive.

The historic town grapples with problems that most emerging conurbations in India are privy to; coming to terms with nascent modernity in the midst of royal palaces and countless temples. Water needs to be managed. Electricity needs to be continuous. Traffic needs to be organised. Garbage needs to be collected. Cows need to be moved out of the now busy streets.

Yet it is these cows, dung, garbage and crowded lanes that attract riches which will ultimately sponsor the city’s development. It visibly delights tourists to see monuments decorated by filth and neglect. And they, like me go back and blog about it. The romance of going to a place where poverty squats by the roadside, guides try to bait you in broken English, flies buzz around little sweet shops, where Srinathji was born and where Maharana Ranjit Singh kept his 1600 wives.

People are tired of this make believe royalty. Royalty in no way defines the everyday reality of this place. The vicious circle is so clearly defined in Udaipur now, it screams at you. It will be a while before the fog clears and catharsis happens. A while before the old woman decides if she wants to age gracefully or invest in botox.

Meanwhile shopping is fun and cheap. Bags/shoes/earrings for 150. I think I’ll be heading there again soon.

It’s complicated.

blacksheepAll the universe is a social networking sham. Today it is Facebook. Yesterday it was Orkut. Tomorrow a different site will call the shots.
The power they command is unreal. Why do humans rely so much on a virtual reality? The writing it seems is on the ‘wall’- virtual is bigger, better, cheaper and less trouble.
But imagine a scenario where husbands wish their wives good morning via Superpoke. They will have fights on FB too.
Husband- hello wife
Wife- Why didn’t you ‘like’ my status today?
Husband- the damn server was down so I didn’t see it.
Wife- It’s another woman isn’t it? Take that.
Husband- Stop throwing eggs at me! Can we talk about this at home?
Wife- Oh no. I’m never poking/talking to you ever again. Also, you are no longer my neighbour on Farmville.
Then husband sends wife some petunias and cherry cola through some gift application that makes it all good.
Detestable. The mass hysteria has to stop…before my mum starts boy hunting for me on these sites.
Fellow humans, it is okay to be social networking so long as you don’t forget to do it in the actual world. Call and meet people some time. Tell your thoughts instead of tweeting them. In conclusion, nothing’s quite like a real world hug.
And this I choose to say on a blog.
The cheek of me. And you. Get offline loser.


Meri rai me, Red is the best.

redyYes, I have a mobile phone. A Nokia something something.

I named it ‘Red’, but commonly refer to it as ‘the damned thing’.

It’s a curse to not care about cell phones when you belong to a generation that swears by them. By default you are counted among those who are glued to the gadget, talking for hours, furiously texting minute-by-minute updates of their life to friends. And friends of friends.

Sorry if I break the monotony…but I don’t make lengthy calls or message/forward jokes to even chuddie buddies regularly. In this respect I feel united with the previous generation who are proudly technology-impaired. The thumb numbing cell phone culture does not impress me. The idea of being so accessible is disturbing and adhering to it would make me feel vulnerable.

Why do I own a phone then? Some would rate this mystery on the same scale as the bermuda triangle. My popular explanation- “for emergencies” (read- my folks like to know when I’m getting home and if I’m going to eat dinner)

The scant attention the lal dabba gets from me is hardly a secret. Silent mode is my favourite thing in it. I forget to recharge. Balance has been 0.63 since the last call that was made over a week ago. Also I prefer dumping it in my bag instead of carrying it on my person…which explains why I miss calls. I have lost Red on more occasions that I can remember and incredulously, it has always found its way back. At such times, I admit I have sensed a reluctant camaraderie between the two of us.

The act of writing the above ticked me off but I owe my trusty piece of junk this much. Gah.

To Red, who has withstood my less than gentle handling, who hides in unseen corners of my bag when I need peace, who waits patiently for those rare Vodafone top-ups, who has died several deaths and come through singing a bright song, I dedicate this post.

In a weird way, you understand me. Someday, I’ll figure you out.


the post without a title

It was an hour into the exam and a painful hunger pang began eating at my insides. Writing with a slow pen and a tired mind, I also became very conscious of several mistakes I had made in the answers.

I could either (a) correct them now or (b) pretend there are no mistakes and simply complete what remained of the paper.

Unlike Forrest Gump, I didn’t turn back and set things right. I moved ahead, doing a consistently mediocre job.

That choice came out of something my favourite professor had discussed in class last year- The dictatorship of mediocrity.

In our search for acceptance we have all played with this idea. Some of us who studied with Sanjay Ranade will recognize and comprehend it. Others mechanically deal with this itchy truth.

The truth is that 2 hours do not always suffice to write a flawless paper, a result of which is the hurriedly compiled bunch of mostly inaccurate answers. And somehow this arrangement seems to substantiate the errors. The world works like that. Hence, we act with guilt free imperfection.

Another truth may be that your boss is mean to you only because he knows you’re a lot better than he was at your age. Or that you should have got the lead role in that school play so many years ago.  Surely you know more than the pest who raises his hand and yells out answers in class (after overhearing you while you uttered them quietly) Really how many times have you smiled through the selection of the worst idea as the topic of a group assignment, thanks to social pressure and general amusement at the freaks you got stuck with? Right, maybe that’s just my life but substitute it with whatever you might have faced. I’m not doing all the thinking for you.

We know mediocrity sells. Credit does not reach the one who works hardest. It is awarded to the one who works loudest or whoever is prettiest. In conclusion, mediocrity is not merely accepted, but put on a pedestal and applauded.


Rarely about how much you know than how much you show. You might not like to admit it but you’re in the game. You either play it with vigour or watch and cheer. Still you’re there.

So I think I made a smart choice.

You’re not still reading this are you?

No seriously.

Get a job.


the song of sparrows

Most Sundays allow me the liberty to stay late in bed. Most Sundays I wake up to the screechy voice of the maid, dishing out gossip to an impassive audience. My sis and I fondly refer to her as ‘the sparrow’. My maid is a smart woman and like everybody, she has a story.

Leave her drunken waste of a husband and come to the city, she did. She lives with her folks now and provides for her 12-year-old daughter, besides dealing with stigma that is ruthlessly attached to her. Does backbreaking work so she can give her child a decent education. Very admirable stuff.

She could have been a woman of supreme substance if she had stuck it completely in society’s face though. But the sparrow chooses to practice her own discrimination. In hushed tones, she calls my neighbours an inferior lot since “they belong to a lower caste”. Much of the respect hitherto garnered comes crashing down.

This caste-crossing-into-class war makes a convoluted and, for me, a disturbingly remarkable picture. As is ritual, my stream of grimy consciousness flows and I try to derive sense from it.

Perhaps for those that suffer at the hands of disdainful people, the simplest way to get back is to join in disdaining another. Like when we play down our problems by pointing out that people in Africa are in more troubled waters. Or like the brown man calling the black man dark. Caste won’t buy anyone a nice house in a good neighbourhood. And even when you work your way into that neighbourhood, class won’t fully defeat the communal judgment one is destined to face.

We all find a comfortable brand of bias to live under. The sparrow will chirp. And maybe it’s justified because an owl probably hooted at her.


doing the Right thing.

I still do not have a voter’s card. I might get one made since I am told it is useful as identity proof. Plus I like cards with my picture on them.

The recent elections passed without me exercising my shiny new right to adult franchise. I am not proud. Even if I had voted though, what was to be proud of? Show me which party or candidate in my constituency was worthy of approval. To select the lesser of the evils seemed like an evil thing itself. Asking me to judge which shit looks prettier is unreasonable.

The 49-0 campaign ended in disaster. Big chunk of voters did not know of the procedure and others who knew were met with clueless election officers.

To make your disapproval felt, you had to ask for and fill a separate form so that you may lawfully show all the candidates your middle finger. It makes no difference to the outcome though. What is the blasted use of this? It’s like hating cricket, still going to the game and closing your eyes or sticking out your tongue as a sign of protest. The cricketers will still have the last laugh. And they will laugh loudest at you.

In hindsight, maybe the election officers are not uninformed at all. They know all the rules in the book. Imagine what a tough job it must be, supervising those many folks through the day. Adding to that, you tell them to fish out special papers for a mere 20-30 people and clear their doubts, wait while they write out details, fold the forms when they are done and safeguard them. When, in fact, their no-vote will have as much utility as my pet amoeba. It is little wonder then why the smartypants officers fake ignorance. Bless them.

This rant is only a figment of my stunted thought process. You must not subscribe to it. To those who are still reading, my decision is that I will wait on the world to change. Let 49-0 become a part of the secret ballot. Let it become a button on the damned machine and be counted so that thug-like candidates are not allowed to contest in further elections. Allow me a right that will help stem the damage.

Then I will gladly make a trip to the polling booths, and not as a spectator.