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Category Archives: life

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When Baby Ads hit home

One of the first things a new mommy has to learn is the poo face!
This one goes real quiet, red in face and super serious.

 
 

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Awkward

Social situations scare me.
I blame it on my childhood like all
things wrong with me. I was an only child, with hardly any friends outside my school and no cousins or playmates my age. People hardly visited us. Like language skills I picked up social interaction outside my home which means I do okay with people my age, tend to revere people older and have no idea what to do with people significantly younger. This has held me good stead as a student but as I progress in life I have realised the price I pay for being anti social and unapproachable. I have definitely paid it in my professional life but being married into a family that is social and very out there often makes me stick out like a sore thumb.
People often take reticence for pride. They don’t understand how something so natural, for why man is a social animal after all, could be tough for anyone. It’s easier to think the other person just thinks too much of themselves than imagine they are uncomfortable or scared in company.
But let’s focus this essay on how it feels to be socially awkward in a world of extroverts.
It sucks.
When your body language is closed, you struggle with small talk, you feel no desire to befriend new people or make them like you – let’s just say your life ain’t going to be a bed of roses.
I wish I could close this with 10 steps to work around this but I can’t. I can only hope the people closest to me understand my introvertishness and adapt their gregarious nature to it. I realise there are certain traits which will always be gold standards for humanity and preferring my own company on Saturday night and claiming no credit for work you do aren’t gonna be on it. I strive towards the established traits of universally loved human beings but it has taken me around half a lifetime to finally accept I can’t change some of my hard coding.
So next time you ( you being the standard issue social creature) see someone who seems more interested in their glass of water than coming over and talking to you- make the first move. They will be relieved and who knows you may be one of the few friends they make in their lifetime .

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2014 in life, Uncategorized

 

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Adulthood

That moment when you find yourself staring at a patent/ elderly relative and realise you haven’t really been seeing them as they are, but as they were a decade ago.
And in doing so, have failed to notice that wholly different person, with wholly different needs, has supplanted the person of your memories – despite your being convinced that you had been carefully monitoring their growing frailties.

Read this here. Had to share.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2014 in life, nostalgia

 

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Elephant memory

Do you know how captive elephants are trained to not run away? They have these 15-20 kilo heavy chains around their legs. Now you would wonder why an elephant which weighs tonnes could possibly feel constrained by a chain weighing a few kilos?
Of course there is a backstory.
When the elephants are small, the trainers tie these chains around their legs/or to a peg. When the baby elephant tries to run away the chain pulls it back. It even cuts the baby elephants legs sometimes further causing hurt. Soon enough the baby elephant gets conditioned that it can’t escape as long as the chain exists.
This baby elephant can grow upto a multi tonne giant as an adult but in its mind the 15kg chain is a barrier it can’t overcome.

Many days of the year I am that elephant resigned to the memories of failure. Except I know the chains can be broken but am too consumed by my memories of feeling inadequate.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in life, rant

 

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Being a feminist

Alternatively titled To not think feminism means being entitled in the times of Sheila Ki Jawani/Pour It Up/Insert relevant pop culture song.

Feminism is a dirty word for women of my generation. We snigger and loathe it quietly. Recently my organisation took up the task of workplace gender balance correction with great gusto. The men made in appropriate jokes about recruiting large number of women. But the women themselves? Well some of us were ashamed.

We don’t need special treatment. We are as good as the men aren’t we ? Glass ceiling ? What glass ceiling- the only ceiling I see is made of this nice woodwork.

feminism

And to a great extent it’s true. The lucky few of us who walk down these corridors have had it relatively easy. We have supportive families who gave us whatever they would give their sons, we cleared the right exams, got the right jobs, married supportive husbands, work in bias free environments.

But it still says something if I am still the only woman in a meeting room of 15. And yes and that’s why feminism is not a dirty word. We as a generation reaped the benefits of fight someone else put in on behalf of us. They where separate bathroom for women, gender sensitization courses and paid maternity leaves.

And this is about the maybe 0.001% of us who occupy managerial position in corporate. For majority of the women life hasn’t had this dramatic shift within two generations. But I will reserve my comments about the uphill task of women’s equality for some other day.

I believe in my capacity I can make it easier for women working with me. I can make boss-woman less of a novelty. And most importantly just because I got the handles to compete in less unequal field doesn’t undermine the struggles most of my gender goes through.

From one of my favorite books “How To Be A Woman” by Caitlin Moran

“We need to reclaim the word ‘feminism’. We need the word ‘feminism’ back real bad. When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, What do you think feminism IS, ladies?What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good shit GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?”

Word.

I wrote this years ago. I still find it as relevant now as on that day.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2014 in life, rant, Uncategorized

 

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The next decade

The Twenties were magical.
I had the potential to grow up to be anyone I wanted. I could have been a housewife, I could have been a statesman, I could have been a film star. Maybe not the last one. Or I could continue on the path to achieve the gold standard of Indian middle class ( of the 90s-00s definitely)- an engineer and an MBA. Twenties were filled with possibilities and the real opportunity to take risk with minimal consequences.
Metabolism. I could polish off buffet dinners followed by buffet desserts and my pants would be no wiser. Gym? That’s were Arnold Schwarzenegger would go.
Skin care routine. Hahahaha.
Tight tee with a slogan/quote..jeans..kohl and bring on the boys. I actually used to find things to wear at Linking Road and Sarojini and Megamarts of the world. Shoppers stop was for high end wear meant for interviews.
Knockoff drinks, party all night and wake up like it’s another bright sunny day in paradise.
Twenties for also a shit storm.
Remember the potential I talked about? Can you imagine the confusion. Imagine selecting a college out nowhere which offered a BTech over any snobs wet dream-Stephens. Imagine slugging it in mock CATs and mock GD-PIs. Yup that was my early twenties. And the job interviews. Perfecting those “perfect” answers.
And boys. Too much attention but none meeting the specs of your dream man. (There is a reason he is a dream man, he is available only in your dreams). The clash of indian sanskaars with your hormones. Not being sure if you are dating the right person. Hiding this person from your parents because OMG-our-child-never-thinks-about-sex. Getting burnt and realising you are apparently made of sterner stuff.
And the cheap shopping? Ohh that’s because you were perpetually broke. When your living off 3K a month it’s often a tough choice between food and fun. (Ohh no wonder the clothes always fit)
Your first job and feeling like a royal dunce. Going from being a student to managing a bunch of people who expect you to show them the path. Path what path, your drowning in responsibilities you never knew existed.

So where were we? Yeah the next decade beckons. 30 was the way beyond. Old age. Over the hill. But guess what, I kinda earned it. I lived a good twenties. I had my share if traditional fun and if my definition of fun now means a two hour afternoon nap then I think I kinda deserve it.
And hopefully the next decade will bring a new set of milestones and adventures.

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in life, nostalgia

 

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Nights in foreign shores

There are vacations spent in nice warm beaches or driving up the twisting curves of the Himalayas in cold evenings but there is an energy, a madness to spend it in a metropolis. One of the things people always say is how all global metropolis’ kind of resemble each other. Maybe it’s true- the same high rises, the footpaths, an efficient MRT system, expats at bars. And still you find the small quirks, something different because every metropolitan also tells it’s own story. I love being the tourist in a metropolis. Be the one who walks slowly as the world rushes by, try a new hole in wall cafe because it seems crowded, search out the subway to have the veggie delite, walk walk walk the city from tip to toe.
Hong Kong seemed like Singapore’s soul sister. At least the Singapore I remembered. A port. City-state (almost). Immaculately dressed office workers and an easy to figure out MRT connecting everything.

HK Skyline from The Peak

HK Skyline from The Peak

We did the touristy things. Watched the skyline that beat Manhattan to win the best city skyline award. Stood in queue for more than hour to view it actually from the Peak. Sat on the Star Ferry and watched the sun go down and the lights and sound show come on at the Avenue of Stars. And sat at the promenade and wondered how different our life would be if we lived here. This is an old game of ifs and buts we ask ourselves in every new place we visit and then conclude by convincing ourselves how we would rather be home.

Street Art

Street Art

 

 

We try staying out late when travelling provided the city is safe enough. Places change their personality once the sun goes down. Visited the Ladies night market. Saw the electronics- funky USBs, Dr Dre beat knockoffs, phone covers-nothing we hadn’t seen a year ago in Thailand or Malaysia. The things that was different-very street in HK is lined with beauty stores. Not the “fancy ladies” styled mom n pop types back here but chains of Sasa, Bonjour, Colormix, Mannings, Watsons- sometimes two shops of the same chain on the same road which made us wonder if we were simply going in circles. Had read somewhere Chinese and Koreans being the most beauty conscious in the world and it appeared alarmingly true. I hauled like no tomorrow-Korean brands like Étude house, samples on sale (legal?) from Clinique and Lancôme, sheet masks. Avoided the strange snail essence(!!) and placenta masks (what?).

The next night was spent gambling away some hard earned money at casinos in Macau. But more of the Las Vegas of East later.

Halloween celebrations on the street

Halloween celebrations on the street

2 nights later we were on our way looking for Soho- the global cuisine and entertainment centre of the town. Or so we heard. And on foot we discovered a city wide awake at 12 AM on a work night. It was Halloween. There were enough Batmen and slutty kittens around at Lan Kwai Fong. With the expats. So many expats, at bars advertising 10 shots for cheap rates. Coming from a city where shutters down at 11 to protect out culture and our women, it reminded me of Mumbai except this was at a different scale. The music , the street artists, made you want for this night to not end. Even in the foreign we settled on the familiar. Ordered our usual drinks, the usual starters and listened to the in house band croon to the early morning. The expats and glambots came, drank, made out and went.

We took a taxi back to our hotel. There is something soothing about not having to negotiate double the meter at midnight.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in life, travel

 

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