Monday, February 13, 2017

Life, I don't have time for you

I was told everything is transient
I know nothing lasts forever
But I still try and keep
Memories close to my chest
And regrets in my back pocket

I fish these out regularly
And then I reminisce and smile
Or remember and weep
I sometimes get the blues
And other times red in anger

While my memories and regrets take over
Life takes a backseat
It waits patiently for me to take notice
To have a conversation, to share a laugh

But where do I have the time?
There is so much to mull over
So many anecdotes to recollect
Few heartbreaks to get over

And then tragedy strikes
I stop dead in my track
I take stock

I store the memories in a corner
I discard the regrets in the bin
I slowly pick up the threads of conversation with Life
It responds hesitatingly
After awhile I shake its hands confidently, "Can we spend more time together?", I ask
With a hint of a smile, Life replies "I have been waiting for you to say that for years"

Friday, January 13, 2017

Follow your heart

It's a slippery slope
It's a messy design
A convoluted journey
And sometimes there are no signs

But follow your heart
Oh follow your heart
To find that spark
Just follow your heart

Your coffers may dwindle
You'll become fan of minimalist
But your soul will soar
And life will turn out fantastic

So just smile your way to following your heart

It's a mixed bag
Walking on clouds one day
Living in grunge the next
The music is sometimes soft
But sure never fades
You waltz one day
And tango the next

So just dance your way to following your heart

You are able with paint with no brush
Write your own life story
Weave a future with no fabric
Compose a never-heard melody

So just sing your way to following you heart

But it takes courage
It needs patience
Quitting is not an option
Keep moving the only solution

So just work your way to following you heart

It will never be smooth sailing
Self-doubt will be your companion
You may wake up in cold sweats
But will go to sleep dreaming

So just dream your way to following you heart

To find that spark
Just follow your heart

p.s. if you don't trust me, trust HIM (and no I don't mean God)

Friday, January 6, 2017

What crappy 2016 taught this

1) We live in a digital bubble

Our friends on social media are similar to us, their friends are similar to them and thus making our immediate and extended social circle in the digital world not too different from us. Thus we believe what is being shared, liked, discussed on our Facebook posts and Twitter feeds to be the way the rest of the world should think, worse behave. Hence Trump winning the elections came as a shock to so many of us. We voiced our support for Hillary unequivocally, expressed aghast on Trump's opinions loudly and rallied our views on social media (without any voting power whatsoever) truly believing it would make a difference. 

We forgot to look at the real world i.e. 90% of people who live outside our digital bubble whose issues are different from ours, whose views are radically apart, the ones who voted Trump to power. We could not fathom this turn of events and many of us are still reeling from the after shocks.

We all need to understand that there is a world outside the digital bubble we've built for ourselves and our friends and their friend's friends don't make up the all of the real world. 

2) Sharing on social does jackshit

Changing your profile picture to represent LBGT colors, adding the national flag to your DP, posting and re-posting pictures and news articles about Paris attacks and Syrian refugees does not make you an instrument of change. You are a sympathetic observer at best, an armchair activist at worst. 

I am not dissing social media or its users. I am leveraging it too to share my views. But time comes when we need to step up to take action and move out of the Facebook walls. 

What did any of us actually DO to affect change on miseries that 2016 bought on the world? Jackshit! 

Instead of having our fingers fly on our keyboard to lambaste the next atrocity, we can keep away our devices and using our hands and heads to affect change. It can be as simple as volunteering at a soup kitchen or a random act of kindness towards a stranger. Hell, start by being kinder to the Uber the driver who turns up late or show more compassion to your household help.

3) Believing everything we read on our smart phones is not smart

For any world event from Brexit in Europe to Demonitization in India, there are not only several views, but multiple 'facts'. It's almost impossible to distinguish what is accurate and what is misrepresentation. 

The problem of 'fake news' is ironically real and even Mark Zuckerberg is finding it hard to deal with it. Fake news leads to real profits. And these fake new sites stand a chance to make lots of money by providing false information and using channels like Facebook to make it go viral. While both Facebook and Google have taken steps to block many such sites, there are still several corrective measures needed before this issue goes away. 

So next time you want to forward that video, post that saucy news article, stop and have a think. Who exactly is benefiting from your this? Besides making you sound like a pseudo intellectual and providing social currency to trade for likes and comments, you are really doing anything.

4) We live in terrible times

Which show no signs of abating. Why would anyone drive a truck through a Christmas market in Berlin? Or open fire in a night club in Orlando? What sick perverse people and organizations think and act in such heinous manner? I cannot for the life of me understand. But what is clear is that this is the world we are living in. And while we can't change things at a macro level and find solutions to Syrian refuge crisis or ISIS, we can do much more on a micro level.

We can exhibit more tolerance. Tolerance towards to people who look different from us, who talk a strange language, who pray to different God. We need to start seeing more oneness in each other irrespective of race, religion, color, caste or what us urban elite are usually guilty of, class. 

We can teach our children to rise above these differences, to stand up to any form of bullying, to become color blind, religion agnostic and class tolerant. We need to deliberately curb any ill feelings while having an open conversation with our kids, so they are better prepared to face the challenging times we live in today.

5) We gotta have faith, faith , faith

In the eternal words (though taken a bit out of context here) of the legendary George Michael who 2016 took from us along with several other stalwarts, we gotta have faith.

Faith that despite the craziness around us, we can still rely on each other. Isn't the sharing economy of Airbnb stays and Uber pool rides testament to that?  

Faith that we all can modify a bit if not change completely in these trying times. 

Faith that we are just one tiny spoke in the hub and we need to each do our part to keep things moving.

Faith that there is a beautiful world outside social media which we need to relate to more. With that am getting off my iPad and heading out for a morning walk.

Happy new year folks! 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Just Read

Read a book
Any book
Every book
Just pick a book and read

Read for a lark
Read to smile
Read to cry
Read to think

Read to question
Read to challenge 
Read to debate 
Read to change 

Read for pleasure
Read through pain
Read to hide
Read to escape

Read to change your world
Read in lieu of travel
Read to step into the future
Read to walk back through history 

Read a classic
Read a short story
Hell, read a comic
Just pick a book and read

Read a book
Any book
Every book
Just pick a book and read

Saturday, October 8, 2016

This was not her story

It was ordinary for her. It was exceptional for him. She compared it to the many before. He had not much precedence. She forgot about it soon after it was over. For him the feeling lingered for weeks. She went about life like nothing had happened. While he was bewitched and lived under a spell.

She often wondered if romance resided only in insipid rom-coms where the bad boy magically altered his callous ways for his lady love. But enter the next handsome charmer with a winning smile and she was bowled over. She was attracted to the cocky ones. With the instant chemistry and unbridled passion. The lust and romance. The intensity and drama. She then tried harder. She went further. Thinking that would make them stay. She even bent over. Though that hurt like hell. But it always ended the same way. In heartbreak. With them forgetting her almost as easily as they were attracted to her. She could not break the pattern. Nice bored her. Sweetness tired her. She liked it spicy. Much like biting into a chilli padi. The burnt crimson should be a deterrent. But the sensation on her tongue was intoxicating, getting her to throw caution to winds yet again. 

Sitting in an idyllic beach bar, she twisted her straw mindlessly. He watched her from a distance. Awe stuck at her nonchalant manner. He did not believe she would be interested but he could not resist sending her a drink. She turned to look at him and mouthed a thank you. Her lips were wonderfully shaped, like if she kissed an envelope the pink lipstick would make a perfect kiss shape. He gingerly gestured to sit on the stool next to hers. She shrugged like she couldn't care either way. He sat down, more confidently than he felt.

He was drawn. She was not altogether repulsed, like his ex-wife used to be. He took that as a positive sign and asked her to dance. She laughed almost rolling her eyes but his vulnerability stopped her. He seemed un-chilly like. Almost chocolaty.

After a few dances, she agreed to go for walk on the beach. They sat on the soft silvery sand. He talked. She pretended to listen. He was enthralled. She was vaguely curious. He leaned forward, anticipating the head tilt, so he could kiss her. Instead she stretched her body backwards lifting her head towards the starlit sky. Suddenly she faced him, came forward and placed those perfect lips on his. A kiss that was hungry yet sensuous. He kissed her slowly, enthralled. Then she pulled back. He held her hand and they sat silently listening to the night sounds. She stood up and said she had a wonderful evening.  

They exchanged numbers. He was already planning the next date. She was already forgetting this one. This was not her story. All she wanted was to become immortal in someone else's. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

O Weary Traveler- A Poem

O weary traveler
Come sit awhile
Your travels can wait
Your worries will abate
If you just simply sit awhile

O weary traveler
Let your shoulders rest
Take off those bags
Slip into some homely rags
Even strong shoulders need a good slump

O weary traveler
Put up those feet
Put that coffee table to good use
Your shoe rack misses your shoes
Long-traveled legs long for some rest

O weary traveler
Can I help you unpack?
That baggage of painful memories
That load of sorrowful guilt
Lay it all out, step by step

Don't be shy, open it up
Let's show and tell
Believe me I have my share
I carry it around everywhere
I too now need to put it down

O weary traveler
Let's put this baggage down
Come sit beside me
Come sit awhile

Saturday, September 3, 2016

High School Stereotypes that don't go away

I was at Sanil's school yesterday for the Curriculum Evening for middle school. Three plus hours of walking from class to class for teacher briefings. Objective was to put ourselves in our kids shoes to understand their schedule and expectations from the teachers. Sanil warned me it was 'lame' and I 'did not have to do everything the school asked' and 'be Ms. Goody Two-Shoes' all the time. I did not pay heed to his advice. 

Very kindly the school advised parents to wear comfortable shoes. That advice I totally heeded. I was very sensibly dressed. 

- No legs, no cleavage show (have to look mum-like)
- Glasses firmly perched on my nose (so I could read the slides)
- Jeans and Long sleeves top (so I don't freeze in the air con)
- Minimal make up- just light lipstick (same reason point No. 1)

But at the last minute, just before I was rushing to catch my Uber, I slipped on my latest acquisition. A ring. Now women my age should adorn solitaires or semi precious stones at the minimum. My ring was this:

- Picked up at a local flea market
- Designed by comic enthusiast who makes jewelry from original comics. Batman cuff links anyone?
- And truly and totally irreverent

No one else noticed. No one would care. But I love doing one tiny little thing that does not conform. Always have...

I was also the one who carried my small pink notebook in my purse to jot down important points during the teacher talk. 

I was back at being the nerdy girl in school who lived in her own world.

Then I looked around the classroom and found every one of the stereotypes

1) The Front Bencher- The first one to put the hand up to ask questions
2) The Cute Guy- on the next table, who is always taken
3) The Flirty Chic- who would chat with every handsome male teacher after each session 
4) The Lost Guy- who moved from class to class following the herd and totally unsure why he was there in the first place (reckon this was his wife's punishment for forgetting some anniversary)
5) The Social Butterfly- who flitted from parent to parent exchanging numbers and creating whatsapp groups at speed of lightening
6) The Man's-Man- who walked around like he was in command but in reality was only there as his wife insisted he get 'more involved with the kids education'

And I am not even getting into the nation stereotypes like the Asian dad who took on the challenge to solve the Math equations the teacher had put up on the board. Or the desi sherni mom who asked about the dates of the first assessments and wrote them on her thick bound folder in deep red ink (ok, there was no folder. It was a piece of paper. And the pen could've been blue)

I could not help but our inherent traits ever change? I am still the girl who stands away from crowds, talks to only few people she knows and always sits at the corner tables where she can get in and out unnoticed. 

So if we have not changed since High School, why do we expect others to act differently? 

The jerk who broke your heart in college is no different from the grown up man who at 40 still suffers from commitment phobia.

Or the popular cheerleader who was nice to you only because she wanted to borrow your notes, is no different from the mother who only calls you when she wants pick up/drop off favors from soccer class.

Or the cool kids who want you in the study group but not in the fancy parties are the same ones who would reach out when they need help to organise a community event but not have you over for the after-party.

But then, just like that, you find your people. The girl who was shy but had a wacky sense of humor. The boy who read Fountainhead at 14 but was not pretentious about it. The mum who suppressed a giggle every time sherni wrote in her bound folder with the red pen. The man who was more comfortable chatting with the kids and getting to know them rather than strategizing to impress the teacher. The lady with a resting bitch face like yours which actually hides the mischievous glint in her eyes.

Next time you are at a school, in office or at a networking event, look around carefully. You will find your crowd- those people with whom you feel like you truly belong.

They existed in high school and and they are around now. And once you find them every PTA meeting is as much fun as being back in the college canteen.