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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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The 90s Child

I read this brilliant article by Rashmi Bansal( who for the records I have been reading from 2005, and has passively played a role in motivating me to get my PG) and it was really the things I have been grappling with that she had put out there.

I grew up middle class and pretty much in genteel poverty(really cant find any other words to describe it). I went to an expensive private school but I can count the number of times we ate out as a family on the fingers of my hand. New dresses, electronic gadgets were a luxury I saw on my classmates with “business background”. I remember going to a friend s birthday party and gaping at a bar inside the house and mindblowingly she even had her own room and closet. I think I died a little the next time she came over to my 2 room apartment. But if there was something I could leave the rich kids behind it was cracking our educational system. I had a good memory and there was no question paper which was too tough. So there was just one mantra at home- study and make something of yourself. For me somewhere it meant aspiring to that lifestyle that I saw around me but couldn’t live. I was the middle class 90s child hanging onto dear life in a bus looking at the new Maruti Zen driving next to me.

So I powered through the right degrees and pretty much live the life I aspired to. I remember getting an allowance of 3K most of my engineering life from which I paid rent, utilities, food and fun. A good pair of footwear from Aldo costs more than that today and I have a cupboard full of them.

So now what? the business class has obviously moved on to bigger, shinier material comforts and I am in a pretty comfortable space myself. What is the mantra I should live by? What should I aspire for? A bigger pay check, some sort of self actualisation? When I have kids I still want them to realise the good ol “money doesn’t grow on trees”, make something of yourself etc but how will that message ever land when I also want them to go to the best ( read expensive ) private school around, holiday wherever they feel like, mall trip every other weekend and bow down to the goddess of consumerism by gifting them an iPhone when they are 2.

And what do I grow upto be?

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in life

 

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Finish Line

It has been so long since I have seen this dashboard vis a vis the multiple work related dashboards I see everyday. Have to say I had to reset my password and stumble along a bit till I got here.

This post comes after a year. In fact more than that. Not that I got any crazed blog followers begging me out of my retirement but today I was reading this woman’s blog- she was funny and she was real and for a moment she reminded me of me or rather how I perceive my writing to be. And I realized how long it has been that I have not written a complete paragraph.

It was a mixed bag this year. 2011 was very good, so I set myself some ambitious growth targets in my personal and professional space-took some risks and I wish I could say I came out with flying colors but I didn’t. I succeeded in some, learnt some hard lessons, regretted some decisions, and thanked God for the good in life. In my mind I am reviewing 2012 in a loop and thinking what could make 2013 defining for me in a good way.

I was in a slump in this last quarter- you know where you doubt yourself every step and like a self fulfilling prophecy your doubts result in mis-steps. It would have been positively comic if it werent happening to me.

And in the midst of this I decided to run a 10K. Like every year I had taken the usual-get-fitter-lose-weight New Years Resolution and like a good manager I wanted it defined. So 2012-Run a 10K became the one liner in my mind.

To put things in perspective I dont like to run (or any other physical activity which involves elevated heartbeat and any sort of hand-eye coordination) and it doesnt do anything for me physically or mentally. My body doesnt change (I fuel up more than I need ) and mentally I picture myself having a cardiac arrest or dying of boredom.

Once or twice a week I run 3.5 kms on the treadmill. Yes, I wanted to follow a training schedule. Yes I have a year long gym membership. And yes I did zilch about preparing myself.

And there I was at the Bangalore Midnight Marathon with my iPhone playing my workout-playlist. I wanted to turn back and run home instead-because I knew, I just knew there was no way I would hit the finish line. That 2 hours would be up-they would close the trail and they would find me crawling somewhere. Or maybe I would just give up.

I was convinced I could not do it. I would fail. In front of all these people.

The race started. Some people ran ahead, some fell behind. I was there in between somewhere and as familiar music played in my earphones I started to run. 35 minutes later with couple of walking breaks in between I was still running. And I had finished 5kms.

This was more than I have ever run in one stretch or one day. But there were people who were running their second lap and there were people behind me. So many people behind me. And suddenly I wanted to finish this. Finish this race. My mind saw the finish line and my body just obeyed. I was reduced to brisk walking/trot/bursts of running by the time I finished 7 but I now knew I could push the 3 remaining Kms out.

And I did. It took me a goddamn 90 minutes which doesn’t stand any test of endurance/strength/stamina/speed but I walked over that 10K finish line.

For many people this would be a physical victory- of pushing their body. But for me it was doing something that my rational-realistic brain said I couldn’t-I wasnt good enough for.(Wonderful adventures with my self esteem await you in archives through the link).There wasn’t triumphant background music at my finish line. I didn’t burst into tears. My perception of life and myself didn’t change over night. But it was a small victory for my self worth.

Of course now I have to run a 10K under 60 minutes to prove my worth. To myself.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in life

 

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Your only competition is yourself

Meh. Who am I kidding?

The past few months have been hard on the ego. I tell you ego is one canine of the female species.

Like I am sitting today lolling in my bed, in a pair of lame shorts and trying to find something on TV worth killing time. And there is nada. I mean I can watch only so much CSI on Fox Crime and only so many re-runs of Friends.

I can go out and watch a movie. Alone. But you know that’s where the super ego would  begin its tantrums. As I said my ego, lets call her E, is a super bitch. She wants everyone to think I am the smartest, the prettiest and the funniest person in the world. So when I need to go to a movie alone E is telling me “Your 26 and you are paying for your movie and watching it alone, sucker!”. On the other hand E is currently telling me “You are 26 and you are in your shorts and unwashed hair on Saturday night. You are the life!”.

So you see its hard to win with E.

Like waking up in the morning and getting ready for office with E telling you “Oh, that chocolate bar you finished yesterday mid night-look you can see it hanging over your belt” is not the way to start a day.

It gets progressively worse.

A meeting where desperate CP is going on.

E: “You remained quiet throughout. Everyone thinks your dumb.”

Me: “but..but  that project had no impact on my area!”

E: “So what? You could have offered some cutting insights to others. No use now-your dumb”

Me: (Sob)

So you see its pretty hard to compete and win with yourself. Harder than competing with others ever is.

Me(to sales girl): Do you have this in medium?”

E : “Lolz..as if ..woman ask for an L..whom are you kidding?”

E is judgemental. E is a people pleaser. She wants everyone to want to be me.

But thats not gonna happen. People have happy lives all by themselves you know. So you have to keep reminding yourself  with something like ” Look E, I live in an over expensive apartment, I drive my own car and I even own a pair of semi known designer stilettos. Not all 26 year olds can do that”. “But you cant walk in them..nananana”, E might say.

Then I should respond” I chose not to wear them everyday and break my spine and cause my knees to disintegrate at 30. If I wear flats every single day of my life its for my comfort! And yes that Lindt bar was so worth the muffin top!”

Its difficult to constantly battle inferiority complex on a day to day basis. To judge each word coming out of your mouth. To compare your life with those of others and wallow in self pity.

But I am at it. Everyday. I am sure E and I will share a common view one day about my self worth being equal to a gazillion bucks. Just dont hold your breath for it.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Profound love?

“We all dream of that chance meeting, that moment when we feel we are really living”

-Sunday Telegraph’s review of “The bridges of Madison County”

I have just finished reading the book-The bridges of Madison County.

SPOILERs ahead

It tells the story of a married but lonely Italian woman-Francesca, living in 1960s Madison County, Iowa, who engages in an affair with a National Geographic photographer from Washington, Robert Kincaid who is visiting Madison County in order to create a photographic essay on the covered bridges in the area. As dreams and responsibilities of a real world clash the ill-fated couple decides to part-their 4 day love affair defining the rest of their lives.

Hold on. Wait a second. A brief encounter whose passion will last a lifetime? Is it a Mills and Boons I picked up or a classic which is one of the highest selling books of 20th century.

Maybe am too cynical and world weary. The book is good, the language so simple yet you can feel the dusty afternoon Kincaid drives upto Madison County. The covered bridges and the gossip at the local saloon.

But can someone really experience true love-the once in many life times certainty in 4 days? forget in 4 years or in 40 years?Is true love really being swept off your feet by a exotic stanger who lives a life you can only dream about.

Infactuation-maybe. Lust-maybe. The heady cocktail of attraction and taboo-most definitely.

Why is that great love stories are often the ones that are ill fated? Where lovers see each others reflections and fall in love? Where they kill themselves because they cant spend a life time together?

It is because the heady, giddy feeling will never last a lifetime. Science tells its unsustainable neurological phenomenon-that our nerve cells light up at the sight of a beloved but this consumes an incredible amount of energy. To seal this initial bond to something stronger-a bond called affection it pumps enough pleasurable chemicals equivalent to a high dose of a good quality drug.

Affection is on the otherhand is something very different from attraction. It can sustain a happiness on seeing a beloved despite countless towels on the floor, choosing boy’s night out over movie and dinner plans, of gifting free shopping vouchers to family over you.

And that is my problem with all “profound love stories”. The four days are magical because you never saw who the other person really is. You see what you want to see. You see what what could be. And can some one be such a force of nature that those 4 days define your life entirely?

I know its fiction. I know am not supposed to find logical loopholes where love is all encompassing. After all in todays world a girl giving up her life for a vampire’s love defines the standard for love, Fransesca and Robert are as real as they get. Small town farmers wife and a wandering photographer.

Love for me is NOT never having to say I’m sorry. Love for me is to kill your ego and say sorry when you have hurt your beloved.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Something like love

Love happens or does it?

When you first met.

You found him cute so you singled him out for more conversation

or

maybe he talked his way to your attention.

Ohh he smiles and there is that cute way he curves his mouth

or

he also thinks Edward Norton is the bestest and he even gets your humor, wow!

You look at the next opportunity to meet him, stand a little closer, laugh loudly at his joke

or

you could be actually having a conversation you enjoy, where you are discussing if gloabal warming is a just a lot of noise. But its a charade that debate, you enjoy listening to his voice and yours intermingled.

He holds your hand to help you climb a steep step

or

reminds you to wake up early.

You are not sure if he feels the same delight as you do when he meets you. He must be-he is the one who is always calling you out.

The heart races a little faster, the sky seems just a tad more blue and you seem to be visiting the salon just a bit more frequently.

Remember how it felt when you knew for the very first time that the person you want also wants you in return?

Happy Valentines day!

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Not such an idiot really

Little late in the day, arent we-to wish a new year and then have post with a title which is obviously a play at movie being touted as “the” most successful in the history of Bollywood and which when I claim I found quite mediocre am promptly reprimanded of “failing to understand” and “being uhhmm snooty”.

I mean I really liked the movie-I laughed when Raju tells Virus exactly how an induction motor starts (Brrrrrrr..) despite it being the oldest joke in the internet, I nodded my head vigorously when Farhan says he just cant understand engineering however hard he tries (been there pal-every mechanics/physics class felt other worldly) but i cringed and cringed when a 40 year old playing a 20 year old delivered a baby through a vacuum pump. I am all for suspended disbelief, heck I must be one of the few people who actually err..enjoyed Gajini because that was hyper reality anyways-you couldnt believe any of it actually happened. But when you tout something as a mirror to our ailing education system why blow what you achieved through humor with ridiculous flights of fantasy.

So anyhow, I belong to the large number of people who pass out of engineering college every year who would have been so much happier if they had pursued fine arts. But when you are born into a middle class south Indian family there are only two professions in the world-doctor or engineer. Anything else is well just not good enough. It would be easier for me now to say my parents wanted that-it was their dream they lived through me. It would be so easy to shed a tear at an awesome career in say ad making I would have had. But I really do believe that is akin to washing my hands off any responsibility I have to myself.

Growing up I loved my arts and I loved my literature but more than those I loved a certain yuppy class of youngsters who were taking the Indian economy by storm. They were ambitious, newly rich and worked in companies like Google,Amazon in “the States”. They were the new growth engine of the country-they were software engineers. And I wanted to be part of it-part of that lifestyle that was guarenteed with that profession. A fine arts bachelors degree from a top DU college where I got admit didnt hold a candle to the Infosys job I saw at the end of 4 years of engineering. So I packed my bags and my dreams and went to my engineering degree in a non descript part of the country.

Of course life followed cliche after cliche were I struggled with subjects I didnt understand, appreciate or love. But all those do not matter in the Indian education system where the only real skill tested is your memory, which I had in plenty. Life offered a second chance to me where I could have left the tried and tested and persued what I want for my masters. But I couldnt. Doing what I enjoy is a small price to pay for secure career. And some part of me craved that success much more than writing books or making ad films. These were also my dreams to own a big house and big car and vacation with my loved ones around the globe. I could not throw those dreams away to chase a more selfish dream which really had no guarantees with it. So I played safe. It was a choice I made.

Every single day life gives me a chance to give up what I have to persue what I want. And every day I turn down that chance because what I have today is also something I desired once.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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