Oct 23, 2013

Why can't I wake up these days?

No, I'm not about to venture into dishing out a diagnosis of some weird first-world affliction ("Chronic Somnambulistic Syndrome" but i just made that up) in a bid to collect sympathy or funds.

It's just sort of analysing my waking up patterns from an existential point of view.

I mean it's not that I don't get enough sleep or like I've been partying myself to shame the page 3s from Miami Shore (or wait, was it Jersey shore) or that i've been working too hard and dozing off on my desk and waking up on it.

I have perfectly normal hours, (barring those odd days where the amount of work far exceeds the availability of time/inclination), I'm not a clinical insomniac but I just don't like..to go to sleep earlier & wake up full of beans about the day!

Most days I'm just killing time (that I don't have) on social media, cracking an odd joke or a tweet there, going through cat memes on fb like I was doing a thesis on them or watching VitalyTV make an ass of himself on youtube (that guy is funny though!) before my eyes pop out of behind my head and i drop dead on the laptop. Anything to make the night last longer and...delay the morning.

And then I wake up, with substantial help from the alarm clock and the fact that i have a job and I absolutely can't call in sick anymore and gosh! That breakfast at office is amazing! (I mean those fresh waffles & maple syrup alone make me get up and come to work, at least 60% of the time)

Basically, I  should feel like this: 

But I feel like this:

Let's just say, I can't wake up, because, the waking hours have stopped looking promising.

I don't know if this is professional or "life exhaustion" or just an unhealthy disregard for being excited anymore, but I just don't find myself to be...motivated enough to get out of that bed, (and no it's not even like the most comfortable bed on earth. That one's back home at the family house) and get dressed, have to deal with people, and get lost behind a desktop/laptop all day and live the corporate life, where I am not a big fan of my work. At least not anymore. And I know I'm not winning a Nobel prize or a love-letter from my manager.

Maybe it's the fact that my patience, or rather, enthusiasm is at the far end of its waning curve. I mean I was for the most part that person who'd be full of things to do, stuff to create, ideas to hatch and quite raring to go but that's been replaced with a strange complacency about the status quo. And I'm past aware that I should take stock of the situation and before I totally become ensconced in the whole "Ok this is my life now and I've to deal with it" rut, i need to get out, rethink my career, job, relationships (or the lack of them), etc

I think the day you stop looking forward to waking up, and seizing the day is the day you stop living itself.  All I know is, I'm (still, surprisingly) too young, rather ambitious and maybe slightly too full of ideas, to give up on life -i mean mornings, in general like this. 

And a good start, would be to, WANT to wake up, everyday. Ok maybe not the days it's 20 degrees, and I'd just rather stay in, listen to some Angus & Julia Stone, while my maid gets me some tea in bed; but rather in life where I'm all "Let's do this, day!"

Aug 13, 2013

being better Indians...

Here it is. Another Indian Independence day. Internet patriotism will go into an overdrive. Status messages will be put up. A hashtag will trend on twitter for a day to make celebrities out of ordinary people. Flags will be hoisted and waved. Notes ( like this one ) will be written. But then is this just another day in our calendar to play to the gallery? Or should it mean something more to be able to say you're truly proud of being an Indian?

Type "we are Indian..." at Google. And no it's not Google being racist. The search results are based on the most common queries searched.

Disclaimer- this is a spur-of-the-moment note. I haven't done any significant research on it but these thoughts merely stem from my observation and a deep-set anger that is geared towards the hypocrisy that most of us Indians have for our country. And according to me, you could be called a true lover of your country, only if you could claim to do all or most of the following.

Look beyond cricket! If you can't, at least support your 'world number 1' team when they've lost that title....They win a trophy and the whole country is united & the next moment their effigies are burnt the day they lose that status? Apparently cricketers owe it to their country to win a tournament and not play for the sake of a sport. Did you know a bunch of girls from Jharkhand won football matches in a tournament in France, despite little funding and no hullabulla created about it?
Or that Milkha Singh was an ace athlete ad an Olympian before Farhan Akhtar played him.

Watch where you spit out that godawful paan, throw the plastic cup or sweep the kachra from your house conveniently into a corner into the road 'cuz, you know everyone does it, what difference one more makes''? Exhibit A:

Give that seat to the woman standing in the bus, before you chant that done-to-death redundant cliche 'ladies first'.( Really, ladies' first in what? In getting mentally & then physically raped on the road or for being discriminated against in every sphere of the social and professional system, while the world watches on in an almost sadistic helplessness. It's ironic how some Indian men lech at you, almost mentally undress you, on the roads, but go to a nightclub, and an Indian guy wouldn't have the confidence to walk up to you and strike up a decent conversation with a woman.

Before that incessant cursing of the politicians, 'Oh India/politicians is so corrupt', check within. You're a part of the corrupt ecosystem. When was the last time, you agreed to pay a chalaan of 300 for jumping a signal versus 'settling it off' for a 100? For every cop you think is just out there to rob you, the drunk, traffic-violating you, there is the poor 8-k-a-month earning cop putting his life on the line, to show you directions or even drop you hope on his bike when you're helpless. (has happened with me)

One of my friends from work started this website "Political Vedanta" categorizing all the politicians & leaders of the country. One step towards awareness, another towards action.

By all means, take that swanky vacation, do the African Safari or and check out the Statue of Liberty ; the world should and needs to be explored. But do go experience the beautiful diversity that India is. Ladakh could make the Swiss Alps blush, Rajasthan could show the British Queen a thing or two about royalty and Miamis could learn the art of' Susegaad from Goa. The Indian tourism could really do with an internal boost. If still not convinced just watch any of those Incredible India ads.
Despite all the bad press it gets, incidentally India is one of the hassle-free, and cheapest places to travel around. Check this brilliant Quora thread: 

Sign-up for or at least respect the defense forces of India ( For the uninitiated- the Army, The Air force and the Navy). Inarguably the only people in the country who have earned the right to complain or celebrate being a part of this country. My respect to all you awesome, brave guys out there, putting your lives and visceral pleasures on the line, to save our ass, just so that we can complain about being a part of this nation ever after.

Serve the society, and not just because it's cool and will add value to your resume. I must have come across more white people than Indians, serving and doing great work in the social sector in India, in the most preposterous conditions and genuinely making a difference in a country that could do with it the most, while my Indian friends choose to to play golf & laser tag instead.
I remember this time I was collecting funds for a flood-relief drive for Uttarakhand flood victims and same people who proudly instagram a 400 HRC burger shied away from giving a 100 citing "but you never know who the money goes to".

Appreciate and read up about things Indian- Indian Art, Indian music, Indian languages. ( How about learning some Hindi-or any other Indian Language- before proudly displaying an English Grammar Nazism for starters.) Indian clothes, Indian history and yes not to forget Indian education. That one year in the UK will get you lots of great pictures, but know what? Unfortunately, you will most likely still be considered a person from a '3rd world country' out there and you will still come back here to get a job worth your stature and respect.

Do not trash talk your own country to foreigners to please the white ass! Really they'd respect the country and you, a lot more, if you did.
( Today is "Dress Indian" day at work. None of the men in my team followed the theme. Except one.
The white guy from Zurich office wearing a splendid red kurta!

You don't have to be proud of being an Indian today, if you are not, any other day.

A great ad on things that define us.

Jai hind.

Jul 30, 2013

Signs & clues

Does anyone believe in signs of things to come? Or subtle clues that happen to be around you, when something's about to happen.

Maybe I'm just hell intuitive.
Woman+ Cancerian+ Analytical mind, perfect recipe for being so too.

But of late, I've actually begun to acknowledge when these happen to and around me and let my decisions be influenced by these little helpers in my head.

Small example (and things like these happen millions of times) I'm leaving my house in the morning for work, and I happen to peek at the umbrella hung over the hook, forever, by the door, but this one time I pause for a bit, look at it but go on anyway.
Later that day I'm out and it starts raining, leaving me stranded.

I tell a friend that I've been (politely) trying to evade, that I can't hang out because I'm sick, viola I catch the strongest case of the flu a few days later and I can't come out, for real.

Do my lies become truths or I made those lies out of some subconscious intuitions about them?

Not just that. Another angle in this mind labyrinth: I read or get to know the meaning of a word for the first time and seconds later I hear someone around use it.

The other day, I was just heading out for lunch and kept looking for my wallet, didn't find it. But my debit card was lying outside & I kept in my backpocket. But at the back of my mind, I wanted to ideally carry the wallet.
A few minutes later, when i was at the restaurant, I discover that I'd lost the debit card. How?
No idea! Gone, like a puff, without a trace.

One of the more remarkable recent examples. I was planning to quit work soon.
Almost resigned even but I kept delaying it week after week for some reason, even unknown to me. It just "didn't feel right"
Then this project, after my own heart, comes along, I work on it and if I am successful, I get to travel.

Meanwhile, at the same time, somehow I'm seeing NYC everywhere. I see a movie that's based around a trip to the UN (The Dictator, in case you were wondering), I find a long-lost "I love NYC" keychain, people around me are traveling to the US at the same time.
And bam! They tell me I'm traveling to NYC and to the UN for that project.

I'm beginning to listen to, nay, recognise my instincts and that I think it's true what they say about listening to your heart, that's where it all is.

Jul 24, 2013

An epic movie, a bike sandwich, full moon & a pink cushion

I usually don't blog about such isolated incidents of my life as they happen so often but something about how last night's events panned out, compels me to document the day, so i can read back on it someday and have a smile or a chuckle about it. And maybe someone else will find the hilarity in it as much as I do.

A regular day at work, and an impromptu movie plan with let's say R and S later, I found myself at the inorbit mall, to catch a late night show of the highly-acclaimed, and the current movie of the season "Ship Of Theseus". A little about the movie before I proceed to the after-events.
It's a film that branches off into three subfilms focusing on different issues like finding your calling through a handicap, a monk's battle for animal rights at research labs and veganism, and a stock broker's tryst with doing good, that ultimately tie back into one big link that they all had been given an organ implant by the same person.
The movie is unlike anything Bollywood has ever produced. It's classy, arty, almost each frame is a work of photographic brilliance ( I did go "Wow, what a shot" every 5 minutes, almost to the chagrin of R, next to me, annoyed by my review of the movie after it)

The movie ended at around 1, a little later than I expected and there was no way, I was riding an auto back home that late into the night. I ask S to drop me to the office, (since it's close from the mall) as I had to come back there in a few hours anyway, but no, home I must be dropped, the guys decide.

So what do we do? I'm not very proud of it but in retrospect what the heck!
The 3 of us, do a triples on the bike! Oh ya, there we are, three mature adults on a Bajaj Boxer with me sandwiched between the two guys. (The last time I was in such an "arrangement" was a few years back with a couple of Spanish friends on a Bajaj Chetak!) Awkward, funny and not to mention, illegal but bah at 1:30 at night, broke, and with barely any other option, we did it anyway. I could not stop laughing, S couldn't stop wracking his nerves about running into the cops and R couldn't help cringing in pain on every speedbump or pothole that S expertly tried to avoid.
I think I even remember R complaining "Hey guys, I think I'll definitely need a testicle implant after this ride!" in true spirit of the movie we had just watched.

The weather was so brilliant that after that rather, ahem, interesting 15km bike ride, the 3 of us decide to go to my place and chill for a bit. But, almost as per a script, I discover that I don't have my house key on me.
Neither does the security guard who always keeps a spare housekey for me. My phone's out of battery. Flatmate is not home.
The 3 things that never happen when I do have the key on me.
After trying, unsuccessfully, to devise ways to get in or break in, we give up & come down to the parking lot of the society, which if not as brilliant as from my house, still affords a brilliant view of the city. So the 3 of us sat there, lit up one, overlooking the city lights, the pacing clouds, and the full moon! ( Oh yes the full moon has come to symbolize such epic times in my life, that I could do a series of "Things that happened during that full moon night")
In the neighbourhood somewhere, blared out 90s bollywood numbers, including "choli ke peeche kya hai" and at that moment, the cinematic appeal of the whole scenario right there, with us sitting there, high literally & otherwise, looking at the glittering city lights in front of us, and a dried out swimming pool below us, a faint chorus of bollywood item songs trying hard to compete with my phone's music player, probably wasn't lost on any of us.

After an hour or so, it was time to call it a day and homeless for the time being, I decided to crash at R's place which meant a majestic bike threesome again! This time though, I remembered the sparkling fuchsia pink cushion that i'd bought from the mall while waiting for these guys to turn up and offered it to R to keep under him on the bike to protect his, well, which he did and thanked me for it.

I don't think I've been as amused, embarrassed, entertained or impressed, all at once in the same night, before. And to think just 24 hours before that, I was at a cafe near my place post midnight watching "a lot like love" while it poured in buckets outside, stranded almost.

These little moments, in hindsight, I think I live for them.

Jun 30, 2013

25 things nobody tells you about life

25th birthday. They say it's a milestone year, quarter life crisis and all. But for me, birthdays usually come with (apart from all the binge drinking) a lot of baggage, my own that is.

Get me thinking about life, what I've done, achieved, and where I am going. More like an existential crisis for me. I'd like to think I have grown wiser (almost reluctantly) and i should share some of what *I* have learnt about life, people, relationships, and all that grandmother stuff, in the last 25 years of my existence.

Cold, cynical & of course my personal set of perception, here goes, things *I* have observed, condensed in 25 points (Thought-catalogue much?) that nobody else tells you about life.

1) Nobody owes it to you to have a good time. You need to go out there and make it happen for yourself. People hang out with you because they're having fun, not because you are.

2) Give strangers a chance. By the sheer fact that they're that, they are the only ones who don't disappoint. There is a sea of kindness waiting to be unlocked. Today you're on the giving end, someday you'll receive it. In another form, from another person. The keywords are pay.it.forward.

3) Most people don't care how smart, kind or talented you are. They will like you based on how you make THEM feel & what you do for them. For eg people like funny people because they make them laugh. You might have a friend with a mind like Einstein's but at the end of a low, tiring day, you want to run to someone that'll give you a warm hug & make you your favourite cup of ginger tea.

4) The internet is a blessing if you use it to get/share knowledge, network, make new friends etc. It is a curse if you let it replace your real life or blur the lines in between.

5) Travelling is the only way to know the world, life, people way beyond text books, novels or a job and grow a sense of tolerance and appreciation towards the diversity we live in/inspite of.

6) People will disappoint you & more often than not, it's your closest friends who will. Easier said than done, but it's about keeping your expectations low because whether or not we realise it, we start expecting people to react and do the things we would, had we been in their place but we forget that a person's approach to doing things is influenced by their perception of you, their experiences & conditioning.

7) We tend to over-romanticize things. A love story made in heaven for you could well have been a testosterone fueled romp for someone else. The key is not get emotional & believe it's for real until you see that ring on your finger.

8) Pamper yourself. More than anything, including your house, your friends or work. When the years go by and you look at those deep-seated (pun unintended) craters on your feet, you'll wonder why you were the last person on your priority list.

9) Your family's love is the only selfless love. Most everyone else is on a mutual-benefit relationship.

10) Dogs. Nothing feels better than waking up to your dogs on your side. To hell with Rabies, ( don;t quote me on this but) let that dog lick you on your face & heal you up to bliss.

11) You can do without your parents or just about anyone. Life will have a huge void, and you will miss them, too painfully at times, but you were born with the ability, strength & instinct to go out on a limb.

12) Not everyone has to like you. Just you don't like everyone. And it's alright.

13) The nicer you are, the more you'll be taken for granted. So while I've seen myself mulling overnight on personalised cards/gifts to friends on ocassions, carrying them food when sick or otherwise playing the nourishing-mother, i'd be surprised if I see even half of that ever coming back to me. 'Cuz I'm just that girl who does things. I'm supposed to.

14) Blaming others for your failures is a sign of being a failure itself. You only get what you work for. And if someone *has* screwed you over, again you deserved it for letting them screw you over. Or maybe you really did ask for it.

15) Making a difference feels good. Not many realise it but being able to work for the underprivileged is a privilege in itself. Sometimes an unexpected act of kindness, making someone smile or just that extra mile to make someone's day does more for you than the receiver.

16) Looks do make a difference in how the world treats you. Chances are, the day you look your best will also be the day you're made to feel your best.

17) They all wish you a happy birthday but only a very few do anything to make it so. They're for real.

18) There really is no substitute to self-respect and confidence.
Respect yourself and be assertive and the world will follow. Feel like shit one day and voice it out, and they peg you just about the same, even if they say otherwise.

19) Everything illegal isn't necessarily bad. And vice versa.

20) Being frugal is nice but being a miser is not. Spend on partying, buying yourself good things, travelling, attending shows, contributing to a cause- whatever adds value to your life. Enjoy the sunshine before saving up for a rainy day.

21) People who read a lot, look & sound impressive at first but scratch the surface and you'll realise all they have is borrowed wisdom. To put it crudely, all erudite but a very little contribution to the society or even to you as a person.

22) It's not about how long you've known someone or how often you meet that determines the quality of a relationship. It's about the moments you've shared with them, in whatever time.

23) People do judge you behind your back, yes, and everyone loves a little gossip & a topic of conversation. So do you. Never blindly trust anything you read in the grapevine about anything/anyone. And as I read somewhere "nobody is ever the villain in their own story."

24) This works differently for different people, and I've never fortunately needed to experience it first hand but from what I've seen around, never quit the day job till you have clarity in life about "what next". The loss of a source of a steady income and the ensuing depression/id crisis is still not worth living the uncorporate life.

25) Age truly is just a number. You could be 50 and not have lived. You could be 20 and have a world of knowledge, experience & thoughts to enrich your own & others' lives.

C'est la vie. Carpe diem. (And other cool phrases in foreign languages)