Thursday, December 22, 2011

I pride myself in my logical thinking abilities. I don't have a purely emotional perspective to anything, but then i compensate for it with sufficient amounts of sensitivity in my practical-ist and reasoning attitude. And that has held me in good stead, nothing completely unexpected than my analysis results when emotions are concerned. What does shatter all my pride in the matter is, 'the idiot's view of the world'. This totally illogical reaction that will spring up in front of my eyes, something totally flabbergasting. It's difficult to accept it or reason it even in retrospect, how could i have imagined it in a pre-analysis. Sorely lacking on that front in my analysis skills, one that i'll never be able to overcome probably. But with the growing temper, it's a growing concern. I'm going to burst a nerve some day soon. Where do i go hide from the idiot's view, definitely don't have it in me to face it anymore.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Remembering Leh

Since morning, i have tried to start doing two different tasks, given up each for the other, attempted to start learning four different things, actually make that five, and given up each one for the very next wandering thought. Also, made three different plans for the near future, and day dreamed about them one after the other. The only feat accomplished is getting past half a day at work. I find myself quite hopeless, can something just snap please; and get me out of this lazy spell.

In other updates, we had a good long holiday in Leh. It is undoubtedly an experience of a lifetime. Every time i looked at the different shades of brown of the hills, and the blue and white skies, i was overwhelmed with the vastness. Funnily enough, i felt just the opposite, when the flight was descending to give a peek of the snow capped mountains. They looked small and yet within reach, like i could hop from one peak to the other, easily, if only i wasn't bound in an airplane. The flight was full of tourists from other nations, the backpackers mostly, who looked roughed out from similar prior expeditions. The two of us as usual were sitting seperately, so there's no name calling involved in the claim for a window seat! And that is advice number 1, if you're taking a flight to Leh, do anything to make sure you have the window seat. I'm sure the road trip from Manali must give you gorgeous views enroute, but you do make up for those views once you're in Leh. What you don't get on that road trip is this bird's eye view, which is just something out of this world, and it very literally feels that way.

In Leh, the first feeling to hit me was; 'awestruck', with the beauty that surrounded us. But quite annoyingly, like a song that you can't stop singing in your head, the next thought that got stuck in my head for most of the next few days was that there are no trees. Yes, i knew it was a desert that i was going to, and i knew not to expect trees, but you see, those barren mountains weren't talking to me like the sea does or the trees do. And i could not think past it whenever i looked into an expanse of brown and blue without a speck of green. I could look at the ocean all day and be completely engrossed in the rythm of the waves forever; or look out of a window to a blanket of trees relaxing my eyes for hours together. I am one of those people who can sit and do nothing as long as my surroundings have a calming effect on me. Which wasn't the case in Leh. So, we walked endlessly in Leh. So much so that we did not even take a cab from the airport to the guest house. Trekked down to the guest house with google maps directions written down on a piece of paper.

Spent time getting familiarised with the market, ordered too much to eat as i wanted to eat everything from soup to momos to chopsuey, all that just for me. Ru was eating his usual mutton curry + roti. The good thing being that most restaurants, just like this one, were multi-cuisine giving you a wide variety to choose from, not letting any of their visitors feel left out. And that included people from Spain, China, India, Israel, most parts of Europe, which if you notice is a lot of cuisines in one menu. The best part about that being, that every single item listed on the menu was actually available. We booked ourselves a rafting trip in the Indus river for the next day and headed back to the guest house.

Every time i looked up into the sky from the raft, it made me feel dizzy, as my mind would get confused if the river was flowing or the sky, or was it the mountains. Fun neverthless, you see there was a flowing river, i don't need much more than that to forget everything else. And it did not look like it was a very strong current, until that one moment when i looked back at Ru, and drifted away in a matter of that one moment from happily swimming in the calm water to the strong current. The kayak had to come rescue both of us, but even that was fun :)

We were back in the market, and that's really where you spend all your time in Leh. Pick a good spot overlooking a busy crossing or some shops, the vibrancy of the place leaves you feeling happy inside. We walked into a travel agency to find out if they could arrange a shared cab for us to Pangong Lake, and were introduced to these two mountaineers who were just waiting for such an arrangement themselves. In no time was that done, we went back to eating and people watching, our favourite thing to do there.

We left early morning next day for Pangong Lake, and had planned to camp there for the night. Our driver, Tashi, kept us entertained all the way with his twisted humor, which Ru enjoyed a lot since that's the exact kind of joking around he does too. You know the kind where you make up fake but believable stories in front of gullible audience. The journey was really long and some of patches of road were in bad shape, so my back went for a toss. The roads were so narrow that it looked like there was enough space for just one vehicle, but Tashi was a fabulously skilled driver. He said that the hills were dangerous to drive on, and sadly there are a few people who've started drinking and driving rashly there. Thankfully for us, we had Tashi, forget alcohol, he did not even drink water. It's hard to believe how he survived without water because the weather is extremely dry and i had a water bottle with me constanly. But the other two guys, V and T, the mountaineers who were with us, informed us that the locals indeed drank very little water. They both had been in Leh for many days, and had some very interesting insights for us.

Tashi told us about all the "historic" locations, related to the shooting of 3 Idiots, and well the China war also. There was also a jade hill on the way, where we could've found some gems if only he had stopped. We reached the lake almost by evening, but the sun was still shining, which made the lake really blue. As the sun set, the blue water now looked clear and colourless, but gorgeous neverthless. We looked at the home stays available there, but then decided to go for the tents by the waterside to camp for the night. The mountaineers chose the home stay as they were on a backpacker's budget, and really sleeping in tents was nothing novel for them.

With nightfall the temperatures fell really low, and gave Ru a cold-stroke and he had a severe headache the whole evening. But the sky, oh the sky, it had a million stars in every square yard of the sky. And we just looked up in every direction, and the sky, it was bright without even the moon. It was the starriest, most beautiful sky that i have ever seen. I wish there was the moon. I suspect i even saw a shooting star, it was gone too soon for me to know if i really saw it. Did not make any wish as i wasn't even sure :|

We woke up early so we could see the sunrise. The morning calm made the place look even more serene. It was a slightly cloudy day, and we could see the sun playing hide seek among the clouds. The lake turned bluer as the sun shone and came out of the clouds. And then as we had to leave, it turned darker and prettier the farther we got from it, the lake's way of holding our gaze as we tried to leave it behind and go. The heart almost wants to turn around and give it some more of the attention that it's seeking.

The next day we went to two of the monastries, Hemis and Thiksey. Hemis is the oldest and largest monastery in Leh, and as legend goes Jesus Christ also lived there for some time. Although there is a lot of mystery surrounding this, and nobody in the monastery admits to it; there are quite a few people who have researched this and found evidence for the same. I can give you a starting resource here http://www.kashmirfirst.com/articles/other/hemis_manuscriptl.htm

The monastries were my first brush with Buddhist rituals, and the museum was a very interesting peek into their history. An aura of calm and peace surrounds the place and the people there, which is such a beautiful experience on a holiday. The people of Leh are so positively influenced by the religion that in our whole stay there, we did not come across even one aggressive person. The only time we heard someone honking on the roads was when a car with a Delhi registration wanted to overtake on a two lane road with oncoming traffic. Leh is a tourist place, which is open for only a few months every year, this is the only time the locals do any business here, but still they are not fleecing any tourists. The locals who come out to talk to you with a smile and offer help without you having to ask. It's hard to believe them at first, because we're not used to niceness without any motives. But here we leart to just trust them and respect the bonds that they're trying to build with us.

The next day happened to be the a bandh in remebrance of the victims of the cloud burst that happened last year. The shops, restaurants, everything was closed. Which gave us a day to sort out the photos, a task that usually gets pushed around if not done in time. And yes it took us a whole day to do this, there were so many pictures clicked. A photographer like Ru could just go crazy here. Next day, we were walking around the market when i saw a couple of people looking at the sun. Curious, i look up to see this amazing full circle rainbow around the sun. Now, that's like a perfect cherry on top isn't it!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It came to life!!!

I wanted to write a story, to see if that part of my brain was even alive. The last time i came up with something creative was, never! Talking to a friend got me to even think of trying this, he was asking me to try drawing and painting. I thought about it after work yesterday and decided to come up with a character, i wanted the protagonist to be a boy. I wanted it to be a boy who was nothing like anyone i've ever come across. I did not want my regular thought process to apply to how this character is in his life, nor did i want someone else from my life influencing this character's thoughts and actions.

I did come up with a character sketch for my protagonist and the central theme that the short story was going to talk about from his vast life.

It was to be someone who decided one day that he would never have a constant lifestyle. As soon as he started feeling settled in his ways, he would move to something new. He would spend effort in ensuring that he wasn't falling back to the convenience of his previous lifestyles as far as possible. He would move countries, pick a different job, learn a new skill, a new language, but never be constant. All of his experiences lead him to the realisation that, each new world that he embraced, was as similar to all the earlier ones at heart as they seemed different in habits.

That was going going to be the story that i would write, if i hadn't come across this guy, living the life i just imagined yesterday. Go read 29 life lessons from him that he learnt in 8 years of travelling around the world.

From Benny Lewis' blog

29 life lessons learned in travelling the world for 8 years straight
July 11, 2011 | 145 comments | Category: culture, positive mentality, travel



Eight years.

That’s 416 weeks, or almost 3,000 days.

This is the amount of time that I have not had a fixed home; moving to a new country, culture and language every few months and taking absolutely everything I own with me. It has been a significant percentage of my life, and it’s still long from over.

I had actually done some travelling before - a couple of summers in the states, and an entire month already in Spain. But about this time back in 2003, on the week of my 21st birthday, I left Ireland for good. I had graduated university a few days before, and knew that I’d only be coming back “home” for visits (I’ve never once missed the family Christmas dinner). But it’s not really my home any more. Since then, “wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”.

After devoting my life to them, university and schools had taught me nothing of any real importance. I had gone through as many books as I could and thought I knew it all, but the fact of the matter is that I have become the person I was meant to be in the last 4/5 of a decade, while on the road. And I certainly still have a lot left to learn.

Since yesterday was my 29th birthday and this week is my 8 year “travelversary”, I thought it fitting to share 29 of these revelations with you of things that I have learned on this journey. Many of them are about life in general, but these are actually my observations after meeting many people from all over the world:

1. Everyone everywhere basically wants the same thing
Vastly different as the world’s cultures are, if you speak to Italian millionaires, homeless Brazilians, Dutch fishermen and Filipino computer programmers, in their own languages, you start to see that we are all incredibly alike where it matters.

Everyone just wants validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future. The way they verbalise this and work towards it is where things branch off, but we all have the same basic desires. You can relate to everyone in the world if you look past the superficial things that separate you.

2. Deferring your happiness to the future is a terrible idea
Too many people presume that when they have that one thing they can work towards for years then “everything will be alright”.

This is delusional.

When you get it, there’ll be something else missing in your life. I fundamentally believe that long-term pure happiness from one particular situation or achievement is a pipe-dream, but we can learn to be content with what we have, live in the now, all while enjoying the progress and changes we are making.

If your whole life is working up towards one really big major goal that you hold on to for years, then you will have a major anticlimax after the dust settles. Work towards it, but stop deferring your happiness.

Get there slower and enjoy the ride. I like how it is portrayed in this video:



Enjoy the show, and don’t wait for the finale. A song I really like (in Spanish) reminds me that the present really is all we have.

3. “Someday my ship will come in” is bullshit. You will NEVER win the lottery. Be practical.
People seem to have a strange concept of how luck works and how the universe/some diety/karma/their lucky shoe or how “they deserve it” will mean that things will eventually fall into place for them. You are “due” to win the lottery or will get swept away by prince charming any day now. “You deserve it” (as if others don’t).

This is a misunderstanding of how the world actually works. Perhaps I’m wrong and praying or hoping that it will all work out, or generally being a nice person is what really “does the trick”, but why not actually get off your ass and do something tangible too while you’re at it.

I personally don’t believe in magic or fairies or astrology or sky wizards or large-scale invisible inexplicable forces at work on petty daily activities of humans. I’m sceptical about such things, and believe they are all impossible/ridiculous, and knowledge of this has enriched my life. As a practical person, I see the world as a very logical place with physical and social rules and understanding this has helped me live well in it.

The universe owes you nothing, you owe it to yourself to be the master of where your life ends up.

4. There’s no such thing as destiny. This is excellent news!
Destiny is used as a cop-out and standard excuse by most people for why they don’t do something with their lives. The thing is, it doesn’t exist.

Your limitations are not set by who you know, where you were born, what genes you have, how much money you have, how old you are right now, what you did before or other things that you can claim are your stamp of failure for life.

If you are determined enough there is a shitload of opportunities in life that are totally achievable with minimal cash, regardless of who you are.

5. Seek out people with different beliefs and views of the world to yours and get to know their side of the story
As you can probably guess from #3, I have some beliefs about the world that don’t jive with a lot of people’s. However, a lot of people get their meaning in life from believing in things I don’t. If everyone thought like me, the world would be a very boring place.

So when I meet someone with a very different belief system to mine, it’s better to get along than to try to “convert” them. This is as true for how the world works as it is for language learning methods, fashion, movie tastes etc.

When someone is sure about something and has believed it for many many years, then you cannot convince them with a few cleverly picked words. Everyone is closed minded about something, including me. They have to discover it themselves over time or just continue believing what they do. Don’t take responsibility for convincing the world you are right. It’s important to acknowledge that maybe you are actually the wrong one.

The world is much more fun with people of varying interests and beliefs. Despite my scepticism, in my travels I have hung out with astrologists, palm readers, very religious folk, conservatives, and people who hate technology. And my life and experiences are enriched so much because of it.

Spending time exclusively with people who agree with you on everything would never challenge you and allow you to learn so much more.

6. Living a good life is the best way possible to convince people
Enough words and enough arguing. Just live by example and soon you’ll have people on your side when they see your results and how passionate you are. No need to “convince” them. Just show them that you are there, tell them how you got there, and they will start to realise that maybe you aren’t that crazy after all.

7. Nobody has it all figured out
Almost everyone has problems and puts on a brave face - don’t presume they have it easy. You see of each person what they let you see. You have no idea what they are going through or what they had to put up with to be in a situation that you can consider “easy”.

This is universal - millionaires, students, the cool kid, the party animal, the introvert and everyone in between has more to their story than the superficial restricted one you see. Never dismiss them as having it easy if you don’t know the entire story.

8. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know”
There is a stigmatism in some cultures to admit ignorance about a particular topic. Don’t dance around the issue - just say I don’t know. Honesty is way smarter.

9. More money will NEVER solve your problems
As long as you are not living in the street or going hungry, then you do not “need” more money. When you spend enough time with people who are actually living on next to nothing, but having a full life, then you will truly understand this. Everything that is wonderful about life doesn’t cost a penny, and the rest is way cheaper than you think it is.

10. Possessions own you
Look at the real reason you want to buy more expensive crap and realise that it all comes down to validation from others in one way or another. You don’t really need any of it unless it’s directly related to essentials in how you work or survive.

The need to buy new crap dictates your life - it fixes you in one location with that house and furniture, and it governs how much money you need to earn. And it almost never actually enriches your life in any way. The less you own the better.

11. TV is the greatest black hole of time available to mankind
I wasted so much of my life before age 21 spending 3-4 hours a day watching TV. Following shows that I “had” to see, in order to “relax”. I regret almost every second of it. The whole world was passing me by outside.

TV was an important part of the 20st century, bringing communication and news to the masses, but now it’s wasteful. People get biased news through it, when much better alternatives are available, watch terrible TV shows through it that teach them nothing, and it sucks so many hours of their lives away that they seem to forget about when they delude themselves into thinking that they don’t have time to pursue real passions in life.

TVs encourage people to be antisocial. The only TVs you should be watching are someone else’s - go to your friend’s house to share a series you like if you must, or go to the bar with your mates to watch sports. Your life will not be enriched by sitting at home watching a screen with zero interactivity to it.

12. The Internet is the greatest tool ever available to us, but daily use must be capped
Unlike TVs, the Internet is interactive and allows you to take part and become virtually social. It connects communities all over the world and without it, the last 8 years simply would have been much more difficult for me for many reasons.

Having said that, it has the same potential as TV to become a black hole of time. Use it to enrich your life, but put a cap on how much you use it so you can get out and live that life. Replacing one screen with another (even when you use it to chat to people) is just escaping the real world, which is much more beautiful.

13. Get outside and do something with other people
My favourite website in the world is Couchsurfing.org, precisely because I spend so little time on it. It has simplified my travel life tremendously by allowing me to host people to maintain my languages, and to search it for interesting people to meet up with.

The world that is worth experiencing is not in books or on TV or computer screens. It’s with other human beings. Stop being shy and get out and meet them!

14. Speaking only English is incredibly limiting to non-tourist travellers
If you are visiting a country for a weekend, then you can check into your hotel and order food in an expensive restaurant and get a guided tour in English. You can even make local university educated friends, and successfully create a bubble to protect you from the local language for as long as you like, and delude yourself into thinking that this is the way things are.

But you will never truly experience the local culture if you limit yourself to being able to interact on a deep level just the well educated part of it. English-speaking travellers miss out on so much - not speaking English has defined most of my travels and the amazing experiences I have had would have been impossible if I didn’t try to learn the local languages.

ANYONE can learn a language. When I was 21 I thought I couldn’t do it, but one day I put all the bullshit excuses to one side and just spoke it. Speaking a language from day one is the ‘secret’ to being able to learn it quicker and at any age.

15. Modern foreign culture does not have to satisfy your stereotypes
Every country in the world is modernising but this does not mean that they are westernising or Americanising. What makes them unique does not have to satisfy your “quaint” tourist-brochure view of them. Leave ignorant stereotypes aside and have an open mind about how modern life is like in that culture.

Not all Irish people drink, not all Brazilians samba and play football, and Germans, Dutch, Filipinos and everyone else will surprise you if you leave your presumptions about them at the airport.

Respect the differences, try to adapt to them yourself and realise that to them you might seem backwards in many ways.

16. Take your time
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in countries that are more “easy going” it’s that they are way wiser than the rest of us in their pace of life. People and countries that do everything quicker also do it worse. Take it easy and go slowly.

Enjoy every bite of food, walk at a slow pace and take in your surroundings, let the other person finish their side of the conversation while you listen attentively, and stop in the middle of your day, close your eyes or look at nature and become aware of your breathing.

17. You can’t please everyone
“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” - Bill Cosby.

State your opinion and stick to your guns. If you are confident enough and share your idea with enough people, you will piss off someone no matter what you talk about. That’s their problem, not yours.

18. Trying to be cool or following trends is for mindless sheep
Peer pressure is for people who are afraid of their individuality. Stand up for yourself, and go against the flow if that’s what you feel is best. What’s cool now will be frozen over in a few years.

19. Make mistakes - and LOTS of them!
Mistakes are how we learn. Failures are the stepping stones to success.

20. Wear sunscreen
Seriously. Protect your skin. Follow that and all other advice in this video:



21. Stop thinking so much and act
People think their way out of doing everything that’s worth doing in life. The reason I feel I’m getting so much done in the last years is precisely because of how much time I give to over-analysing whether I should do something important or not: None.

22. Dance and sing whenever possible
Dancing and singing are great releases and forms of expression. It’s hard not to feel good after a session of either!

23. Making new friends is easy and so is appreciating your current ones
My entire eight years travel has been alone. I arrive in a new nation without a single friend waiting for me in many cases. I have no connections, but I make them anyway. I find a party online and go straight to it and say hi to everyone. Soon, if I try enthusiastically enough, I’ll find people I can socialise with on a regular basis.

If you are friendly, genuine and charming, making friends with people from every culture and background is possible.

When people who are surrounded by family, networks, work and school colleagues, other friends, clubs and communities they are a part of… tell me that it’s hard to meet new people I feel like slapping them in the face to wake them up to the opportunities around them, which I haven’t had consistently for almost a decade. Look around you!

24. You don’t know what you’ve got ’till its gone
Don’t take anything for granted. I couldn’t afford to pay for accommodation one night and had to sleep outside on a rock because of it. Ever since then I appreciate having a bed, couch or hammock, no matter how small or where it may be, because I know what it’s like to not have one. One night was enough to burn it into me - I sigh a breath of relief every time I go to bed now.

I went partially deaf due to an ear infection for two weeks and appreciate my hearing and all the beautiful sounds around me all the more because I got it back. I also gained an appreciation for signed communication that I’d take advantage of several years later.

I’ve never lost anyone close to me, but I hug my family members and tell them I love them every chance I get, and clear any bad air with friends and don’t hold back on sharing my emotions with them. Life is too short - if I lost anything important to me then I want to make sure that I never wasted the time I did have with it or with him or her.

25. Swallow your pride and apologise
Never hold a grudge and never try to win every argument. Sometimes it’s best to let your pride slide for the sake of clearing the air with someone. Be the first to say you’re sorry. Never wait for the other person to make the first move.

26. Doing anything specifically to impress people is stupid
People will never give you the validation you seek if you try to be a dancing monkey for them. Saying how many languages you speak, how rich you are, who you know, where you studied or what you do for a living, or trying to show-off in any other way to get someone to like you, or working for these things just for the bragging rights will leave you really disappointed.

People are impressed by those who aren’t trying to impress them and are comfortable in themselves and social and interesting. Sometimes to be “interesting” all you have to do is be a good listener.

27. People are not alone in being alone
One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a long-term solo traveller is if I feel lonely. The short answer is no. The long answer would require an entire post in itself.

But the fact of the matter is that loneliness is much more common around the world than I previously thought it was. I was actually much more lonely in my university (fixed) life than I am now. And I meet many people who have vast networks of social groups who feel desperately lonely because they feel nobody gets them.

Then others who simply changed their lifestyle in some way (not necessarily by travel, but perhaps marriage or starting a demanding job) and have lost contact with all their childhood friends because of it, also feel lonely.

I’ve talked to many people who are convinced they are the only ones who feel this way. Each time I hear a similar story I can hear the Police in my head “seems I’m not alone in being alone…” Believe it or not I find this very comforting when I am genuinely separated by thousands of kilometres from anyone who even knows what my name is. Even though nobody is in exactly the same situation, the amount of people in the world I’ve met tells me that I’m very likely not the only one in such a situation, even at that very second.

No matter how lonely you might feel, there is always someone who can relate to you. Perhaps you can’t talk to them right now, but they are out there.

28. Love isn’t “all” you need, but if you don’t have it in some form, your life will be very empty
We don’t need love to survive, but without it there will be a huge hole inside you. Make sure that every day you have someone (family, friends, lover) to remind you that you are special. If you postpone this part of your life until later, after you get or do that thing you want to do, you will continue in that lonely path indefinitely.

29. The most important lessons in life can never be expressed in black and white, but must be experienced
I thought I knew it all back in university - and that everything of importance can be found in books. But the truth is that the most important things in life are very hard to put in black and white, including what I’ve said in this post.

When most of the world’s information is at our fingertips, a mouseclick away, it makes it feel like we don’t need to experience any more. Movies, books, or “living vicariously through someone else” means we can apparently get the general gist of anything.

This is false. Experience is the greatest teacher of all. Stop reading about or watching the world passively and start living it.
—————-

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

what's looking up..

Alright i know, miserably failed at that attempt on a blog marathon. But look at the good part, i've never posted this often ever, that's 4 posts in a month :) And i know people post 300+ posts in a year and i still find 4 posts in a month worth bragging! Baby steps, ok!!

Remember the complaining about the job that i did, not too long ago. Well that, is looking up now. So there's more options than one to choose from and each one is more than a step up. Looking forward to the next few months, because i don't have any idea how or where i'll be at the end of it. I'm actively avoiding working out my options, will just take what seems like the best course when the time comes to make a choice. Every option is positive right now, even staying right where i am is a good bet it seems. Couldn't be more positive than this.

Something else that i'm looking forward to, is the trip to Leh. I hope, pray, wish that nothing jinxes this one, since it's been planned a lot ahead of time unlike all our other trips so far. Fingers crossed. Ru is actually up for river rafting there, i'm knotting up all my fingers.

Now for something that i'm proud of myself for. Setting two people's dormant lives in motion. Giving things a direction. It's their merit and work totally, but i take credit for setting the ball rolling. I'm eager to see how this turns out for them in the next couple of years.

And i feel like i'm falling out of touch with some friends, so i'm going to email them this blog address and ask them to start or resume blogging. Also, will stop fidgeting with the permissions on this one. It'll always be open to them atleast.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I am - tag

I am

..still an idealist, an optimist, a pragmatist.
..a feminist, one for equality.
..very petty and George Costanza like sometimes!

I want

..my carefree self back.
..a son, more than a daughter.
..to go on a long road trip on a bike sometime.

I have

..tremendous enthusiasm for sports.
..a comprehensive packing checklist for myself.
..a lot of animated, very real, conversations in my mind, going on most of the time.

I wish

..i wasn't as lazy.
..i had some amount of patience and perseverance to take care of my hair and skin.
..i could concentrate better.

I hate

..inconsiderate behaviour.
..making small talk, intrusive questions, the perpetual salesmen (the kind who can not stop bragging about even the most inconsequential thing)
..being part of gatherings where the men and women invariably seperate out to sit and talk of wars and hair care tips, respectively.

I fear

..ghost movies.
..old age, i really wish i would die a natural death before i start feeling old.
..not much else particularly.

I hear

..keyboards clattering for most part of my day.
..the breeze so strong these days, in the swaying trees, flapping curtains, and the shaking window panes. It's the loveliest time of the year in Hyderabad.
..Ru's constant banter at home.

I search

..my inbox for old conversations and read them sometimes.
..for an equilibrium.
..for reason in any situtation.

I wonder

..if we're supposed to grow patient with age? Because i'm going the other way!
..if i take myself too seriously sometimes.
..what goes on in the minds of babies.

I regret

..not much, and never really felt guilty for anything ever.
..the indiscipline that's become a way of life now.
..giving up the opportunity to live in a hostel during college (a little bit).

I love

..playing, swimming, being active
..lazing around is also a favorite
..looking at the moon, chocolates, solving math/logical puzzles, beaches, being out in the rain, cafes, watching sitcoms...

I always

..weigh my words.
..work on reason more than emotion.
..am up for a game.

I ache

..in my lower back all the time.
..for the impromptu meetups with friends, that living in the same city afforded.
..for simpler times.

I usually

..am sleepy all the time.
..don't plan things ahead of time.
..can't remember faces or names.

I am not

..creative.
..very comfortable saying 'No' to anybody.
..very expressive in words.

I dance

..only when drunk
..with two left feet
..completely out of rythm! :p

I sing

..along the cd in the car
..completely out of tune
..mostly when nobody's listening

I never

..can understand how people with double standards convince themselves of it.
..understood fashion. It's just not my thing.
..try too hard, push my limits. I've got everything in life too easy.

I rarely

..give a second thought to what i'm wearing or how i look.
..wake up early.
..went to class in college.

I cry

..at the drop of a hat lately.
..at movies, even the tears of joy :)
..never in front of an audience

I am not always

..the most organised.
..on time.
..strong enough to take it all.

I lose

..my cool with dad most often.
..my temper with ru most often.
..my patience with the present set of colleagues most often.

I’m confused

..about religion and god.
..about what i want from my career.
..can't think of anything else.

I need

..a new job
..to stop procrastinating
..a new laptop

I should

..cut my hair short.
..work on losing that flab.
..and get some strength into my left arm too.

I dream

..more than a normal person should, only during the waking hours though.
..of being a professor.
..very small, never thought of reaching for the moon.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Slut-walk

Posted this comment on Chandni's blog, and it was as big as a post so cross-posting here. Also gives me the much needed second post in follow-up to my last post :)

I am not in total agreement with the whole movement being imported to delhi. I’d read about the incident when it happened in Canada, and then i read about the slut walk that was organised there. The people there were clued into what brought about the slut walk. So it made sense to call it ‘slut-walk’, it was in response to that particular comment there.

Here in Delhi / India, a slut-walk is coming around without there being a context in which it was named thus, atleast for the majority so. It’s losing its effectiveness and making it sound like the word slut is being used just to make it eye-popping. The twitterati is reacting to the word (which is a shame really) and the purpose is lost in the word there.

I remember the blank noise project did a similar walk and that rang true to everybody, and i heard a lot fewer smartass remarks on it. Even the pink chaddi campaign, it came as a reaction to something that everybody saw on their tv sets, criticised it. So even with the eye-grabbing banner, these campaigns did not get over-shadowed by the banner and a word alone.

Now, i will go sit on the fence and type the rest of the comment.

Somebody mentioned in an earlier comment that, rape should not be forgiven because it leaves a mark for the rest of the life. I have a huge problem with that. How come its the victim that commits the suicide and not the rapist. Why doesn’t it leave a mark on the rapist’s life more than the victim. Why do we make sex so sacrosanct for women, that the woman who got raped thinks its the end of her life. She wouldn’t think so if she was robbed, or met with an accident say? A man turned into a beast and raped a woman, but it made more of a damage psychologically than physically. So much so that she prefers to end her life, than have to face the world after that. She’s been had, her life is over? Why is sex the ultimate badge of honor? For women alone! not for men!
Slut-walk is the perfect word for it then.

Monday, June 6, 2011

kick off

Starting June 6th - One post everyday, till the 5th of July. It's daunting alright, but who knows i might just come out victorious. Don't have a theme, or someone to give me a nudge. I will get it done by myself, hoping to! 'Think yourself strong and strong you will be' kind of philosophy. It works to a large extent i believe.

The brain can fool you into believing things, nobody is far from being schizophrenic.

And that makes me wonder now, if those who believe themselves to be strong are really the most vulnerable?

Those who laugh the most, carry the most grief within? Anger maybe? But something other than laughter.

Does it work the other way as well?

Does a tear only signify that the pain is bearable, it still hasn't reached a stage where you're only left with a smile.

Constant contradictions i've observed around me, within me at times. I guess zen is a place where it will all stop mattering, making you numb to feelings. No contradictions; there'll just be peace.
Sounds blissfull!! And that one word, telling me how distant.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Aging impatience

Things that contribute to my aging impatience

Work - has been stagnant, there have been rays of hope or let me put it as dangling carrots shown to me at regular intervals. The appraisals this time, went all up on praises in words, but nothing to show for it at the end of the month. Went and told my boss, how unhappy i was with it, but then he discussed all of his problems, corporate mumbo-jumbo as consolation to me. They show me hopes of a triple jump in position soon enough, this year, but i don't see much going in that direction.

Social life - close to zero, don't know anybody here. I've always known that i can't take too much of family, i need a good dose of friends as breathers. Yea i go out, watch movies, try out restaurants, good food, good music, travel a lot, shop at a whim, but i don't have more friends than one. And that one is sadly not enough, i'm used to having a handful. I especially miss async and H-Man.

Negativity - I don't like life events analysed microscopically, having people come and talk to me of what other people are talking, people who complain a lot, asking me personal questions, unsolicited advice, judging others, pessimism, going back and forth on the same thing un-endingly. Having all this surround me day-in day-out, all this without friends to go to!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rant of the day

"I am like this only"

And that very 'like this only' is the root cause for a lot of troubled times. You see it clearly, you realise it, you know for a fact. That. Is. The. Problem. But then, what can you do, 'you're like this only'!!

Why do some people love being unhappy? It's the easier way out sometimes, requires you to be lazy about your own life in some terms, but isn't it so much more difficult to continue to be in that state. It'll need effort to change that trait in you, that one thing that you realise is a cause for so many unhappy times. But then you would rather not. 'I'm like this only' qualifies as a reason for everything to stay the same today, tomorrow and forever. I hate how ubiquitous this sentence is.

Why is it so important that you stay the true you, even after you know there's a shortcoming. What does it even mean to say 'I won't be myself then’? It'll all be better for you!! Two extra steps and you would've reached the balancing point, you'll be a 'new' you, but still a 'true you' (whatever that means!). I can never get what’s the point in all the personality analysis, and knowing the real you, if someone can't work to overcome the shortcomings in themselves.

If you realise the problem, then why can't you solve it! At least try to!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Havelock 1

In some time I will forget how relaxing it was a place to spend the day sitting immersed in water, waiting for a crocodile. Can't recall any of what I experienced in the other places we travelled to. But before that time comes, will put in words, the experience that was Havelock. And no, there was no crocodile, just a lot of travelogues read during the planning phase of the trip that spoke of crocodiles, none that the writers had themselves seen. Of course the ones who saw it might not have been able to come back, tell the tale. Just that reading about so many people saying a crocodile ate up someone sitting on this beach and swimming in those waters, was a little scary. Not enough to prevent us from going of course. And then like ™ Ru, he read up all the negatives mentioned anywhere on the internet (which also included dogs growling across Radhanagar beach come evening), all this while I was happy with the first picture of the blue water I saw and was doing the ™ Ferret ‘excited but not showing it’. He spent some years in Port Blair as a school going kid, many years past. Now with these negative reviews and just being his usual self he said, “let's spend a lot of time in Port Blair, and go to Havelock and Neil islands as day trips”. Nothing was booked yet, apart from the flights to and fro Port Blair via Chennai. The itinerary was all up for grabs, but this was not what I could've settled for. So I had some arguments in my own mind, playing his part and mine. And then while talking about something totally unrelated with him for real, brought up the point of wanting a beach holiday and how all I will end up getting is looking at a town. Again, truly like ™ Ru, he immediately agreed to my terms and did all the travel research and booked us a fabulous holiday in Havelock!

We set out on a Wed night from Hyderabad, and our flight from Chennai to Port Blair was at some unearthly hour of morning. Going by how awesome the airports are now in all the cities that we have to frequent, we assumed that Chennai being a metro city was going to be no less. We planned to spend the 5-6 hours of the night at the airport itself. Sleep for some roam around for some, was the plan. I’ll just say it wasn’t the best of airports (or the best of plans). Have seen smaller towns with better terminals. We pulled up two benches closer together, put our feet up on the one in front and tried to fall asleep. Alarms set and strong instructions given to self, to not oversleep and miss the flight (Ru has done that in the past, sleeping through announcements being made for his name to board the flight. This story is as amusing to me today as it was when I first heard it. :) Oversleep, did I say! As I shifted from one position to the other, looking for a comfortable position with enough support for my back, it looked like Ru was sleeping peacefully. Only I’m not too sure that was possible, it couldn’t just be me not finding a comfortable position to lie between two chairs. As I had settled into one position, a gentleman came and asked me to excuse him for waking me up and demanding that chair opposite me, the one I had my feet perched on. With my eyes half shut, I looked around to find that there was not a single seat available for him, the floor was covered in some places too with people who’d come better prepared with bed-sheets, the security officials chairs were taken up too, even the baggage trolleys were all gone. Fine then! Of course we woke up to switch off the alarms well before they could ring, went and checked in as soon as they opened the counters. Slept through the flight, we’d taken seats separate from each other so we could both have window seats. I for one did not use the window at all. Woke up only when the flight was just about to touch the ground, and the lady sitting next to me showed me her house which was just next to the runway. I was half asleep, I hope I smiled indulgently enough.

Reached Port Blair (PB) early Thursday morning, got out of the airport, looked around for our airport pickup arranged by the resort where we were going to stay at Havelock. We’d also asked them to book us a ferry ride from PB to Havelock island. Ru had all the excitement on his face, pointing to me all the places and streets he could remember in PB. There was my school, there was the supermarket, there was the post office, there was the library, and so on. We’d got us a private ferry from Makruzz, very comfortable and well managed. But you weren’t allowed to go and stand by the rails, so no feeling the wind in my hair on the sea! That will have to wait for another cruise. The only other ferry that I’d ever been on was going to Alcatraz from pier 39, which was a small trip, but thoroughly enjoyable. This one, sitting in an a/c compartment that I was not to get out of for the two hours, was a damp squib only because I had lofty ideas associated to any ferry ride. It’s just a mode of transport on water that provides you a chair to fall asleep in when you have spent the last night trying to sleep on another chair.

...

Havelock 2

There we were, in heavenly Havelock as they say. We were going to be staying at the Eco Villa Palm Beach Resort, and waited for someone to come and pick us up from the jetty as promised. Called them up, and then someone rushed to get us. And it took them all of a few minutes to reach us, because it was just about 2 kms from there. We should’ve just walked! We reached the resort in another few minutes and met the very friendly owner of the resort, running the whole show with a 4 member strong team. The owner, his sister and her husband, a cook, and a cleaner. An affable crew that managed everything super-efficiently. This resort was chosen over the other ones that Ru and I had looked at, because this one had rooms closest to the beach. Ru took my ‘beach holiday’ wish a little too seriously I guess. We were staying in a duplex non a/c villa which cost us about Rs. 3000/- a day, which was much lesser compared to the other ones that we’d considered. The whole resort was built totally in natural material, the tv and fridge in the room really seemed anachronistic. (No, anachronistic is not the word, that’s something from the past, isn’t it. What’s the word for something that’s from the future? Anyway, you get the point, it was out of place!) We’d gone in the end of March, and we never even needed to switch on the fan while sleeping under the blanket. And then from all the travel we’ve done, we do realize that spending on stay is not the best use of money. The room is hardly ever used all day, for anything more than dumping the bags. Which we did, dumped the bags, went for breakfast. There was a TV in the restaurant, along with some books to choose from. And the TV sat there neglected. We went into our room after breakfast, and even for the lazy bums that we both are on any regular day, felt fresh and ready to explore here today. The beach was just twenty steps away from our door and I couldn’t resist. Ru got his camera in hand, not yet ready to touch the water and I got into the sea drenching in the warm crystal clear water, breathing in the beauty that surrounded us there. I think half the relaxation in a holiday is when you stop to take a deep breath while taking a mental picture of a sight. Ru joined me in some time, and we sat there for a long time, appreciating the thoughtfulness to have some nice music playing non-intrusively all along in the resort.

We had lunch, clicked pictures of the cat and dog playing with each other, and then set out on the two-wheeler they’d already arranged for us. Took a map of the island, booked a scuba dive for the next morning and headed to the Radhanagar beach. I haven’t seen any of the other 9 best beaches in the world, but this was definitely one of those top ones. Ru walked around with his camera and a squinted eye, I kept my camera in the bag and looked all around me. Of course it’s his pictures that we look at upon returning, but I don’t like the camera much. I remember in our first couple of holidays together, it used to bother me no end. I would say, “I feel like I’m on a holiday all alone, only I know it’s not true!”. But we’ve found our peace. Now, we make sure to have a camera each, ‘coz he doesn’t like to part with his camera. And when I come back, I’ve got some pictures too. Just to show that I wasn’t there alone getting my pictures clicked on burst mode :) Coming back to how beautiful the beach was, I’m no wordsworth, can never describe something as subjective as beauty in more words than one. And this one was every bit as gorgeous as the word is supposed to describe. There were hermit crabs making starry patterns on the beach, people jumping in with the waves, pulling others into the water, lying on the sand, reading a book, staring into the sky while holding a book up to read, running on the beach, walking on the beach, just there on the beach, as the waves came and went by in a rhythm. The sun was beginning to dim, so we could look at it now. We were walking across the beach when we saw Rajan, who is sort of the unofficial mascot of Havelock, popular for being one of the few ocean-swimming elephants. Love them elephants, and this one can swim, double the love! But he’s old now and is not taken into the ocean anymore, he was just being taken for an evening stroll and the mahout made sure to take him away into the woods before a crowd could gather. We got our pictures though to cherish. Customary sunset pictures taken, although it was clouded by the ,,err clouds, still beautiful colours in the sky. Out came the dogs now that Ru had warned about. And although I’m ok in the company of friendly dogs, these dogs were anything but friendly. And I’m sure they can sense fear, which was when they started growling and almost charging to scare us even more. And because I wasn’t being the fearless tigress that I imagine myself to be, Ru took the guardian’s role. We picked up sticks and walked back as calmly as we could.

...

Havelock 3

We had barely started from there when it started raining, and there my holiday became as perfect as it could. One of my most favourite experiences, riding a bike in the rain. Ru hid his camera under his t-shirt and shielded it as long as he could. Then we put the camera in the under-seat space, and rode freely. And then it poured so heavy that I could no longer see anything, we took shelter in a building. Kids played around in the parking lot where we stood, there really were no rules to what they played. It was like Calvinball, and they did not even have a ball for that :) It didn’t look like it was going to stop raining, so we left the moment it seemed to get a little better. Dried ourselves up and ready for dinner at our resort. There was only one cook, who would cook it fresh from start when you ordered something. There was no pre-cooked stuff handed to you from a microwave. It took time for the order to come to your table, but then it didn’t matter so much, the time. Ru even ordered mutton biriyani, and got it in a very reasonable amount of time, tasting good enough for him to finish it off. Ru did his part of prepping for the next day, emptying the memory card in his camera. And we were looking forward to the next day more than any other, because we were going scuba diving!!

I’m still at the same level of swimming proficiency as a year back, which is the “I won’t drown immediately” level. Ru can’t swim, has no interest in learning to swim, if he could swim naturally he would probably like it, but he can’t spend effort on it! So we were resigning our lives to the instructor, when we signed that procedural declaration. All instructions taken very well, Ru as usual had a dozen questions for every word the instructor uttered. Got into the body suits, with the flappers, and mask in hand, I was super-excited. I wanted us to go at the same time, but then there was only one instructor available at that time, so we had to go one by one. Ru went first, because I didn’t want him to be out alone thinking up another hundred questions and possibilities! So there I tried to swim in the shallow water, while Ru was down under much deeper somewhere. I was really glad that he’d agreed to go, he’s not one for such activities, so I waited patiently. And then he came out after about half an hour maybe, we had paid for an hour. It so happened, that he saw all the corals and fishes around him and was mesmerized by the beauty. Since he has to express a thought as soon as it hits him, he opened his mouth to say ‘WOW!’ Out went the breathing regulator, and there he remembered the lessons he’d just learnt on scuba diving :) He came up, and then it was my turn. It was just WOW WOW WOW, thankfully I say things in my mind before uttering them out :) The instructor kept pointing out directions to look in whenever something exceptionally lovely came by. He made me reach my hand out to touch a tiny little fish and it pecked on my finger and went away :) I was wary of touching any corals or plants and would try to fold up my legs whenever we got close. Oh so weightlessly drifting away among the colourful fishes, it was awesome. My head started aching in some while, and I asked the instructor to go back up. We were far from the shore when I came up, he said we went about 8 metres deep. That was an experience of a lifetime there, and I want it again!!

...

Havelock 4

We headed out from the dive club, and we had to leave the next day. So we set out aimlessly, on a road that we hadn’t taken till then. There are only three roads in Havelock meeting at a point, of which we’d already seen two till the end of land. Went far into the direction the road took us, and then it started to well up in the skys. We thought better to stop at a café, so headed back to a German one we’d seen on the way. Verily so, it started to pour as we stopped our bike at the café. Watching the rain is such a joyful thing to do! Headed out as the rain stopped, and went to the Silver Sands resort café for lunch. This was one of the other options that we’d considered for our stay, and as beautiful and comfortable it looked, it seemed like any other textbook resort with made up beauty, now that I’d stayed at Eco Villa! The lunch was good and one of the restaurant staff came to ask us how we liked the food, and where were staying. Got chatting a little and he told us he was here from the past two years and used to work in Delhi earlier. When we asked if he liked this place, he said ‘it’s nice, but then there’s no night life’. As romantic as the idea seems when Ru says that he wouldn’t mind working from Havelock if his office would let him, I’m not sure he won’t find things to miss about the city life. We checked out a few shops on the way back from there as we’d been asked to get jewellery from andamans, didn’t find anything worth buying glancing across the stores.

We went back to the resort to do our favourite thing, sit on the beach. Packed up, for we had to leave the next morning. I was once again super-excited, as were leaving from Havelock to go to PB. But this was no ordinary departure, we were taking a sea-plane!! We got onto a motor boat and reached that platform in the middle of water, where our plane was waiting in the sea!! Our pilot Wendy had come from the US, and was flying the 9 of us to PB in style!! I’ve finally seen a cockpit and there’s another item ticked of my list (after having been driven around in a limousine). We landed in PB, the nice gregarious family that was with us in the plane, gave us a drop to our hotel. We checked in and set out on foot to go pay homage to Ru’s school and all other memories. There were board exams going on, so we couldn’t go inside the school, but I clicked him standing like a school kid in front of the entrance. We walked around, went to the Annapurna café, where they would come as kids, the Aberdeen bazaar was explored a bit, jewellery bought, lovely corals and stones were there to choose from. Went back to our hotel and then again headed out to go see the cellular jail sound and light show. Stopped by at the Carbines Cove beach on the way, which was filthy, we’d just come from the pearly white beaches of Havelock! The tides were growing stronger and stronger and we ran back to our auto as it started to pour again. The sound and light show was cancelled for the rain and we didn’t want to go back yet. So we asked the auto driver for what else was there to see, he took us to the naval museum. I was disappointed to see the sea horse in an aquarium, it was really tiny. I always imagined sea horses and penguins to be as large as horses and humans. It’s such a letdown that I can’t hug a penguin or ride a sea horse. The museum store had similar kind of jewellery available there as I’d bought. Ru bought some information CD pack about the Andaman & Nicobar islands. It was still raining when we hailed another auto to go back to the hotel. Got talking to the auto driver and he said we must visit the government Handicraft shop. Of course, we’d completely forgotten about the handicraft suggestions we’d read about. Went there and saw a lot things that we’d seen in Dilli Haat. Bought some of the things that we’d left behind at Dilli Haat.

Ru came back with a resolve to go back to Havelock for a longer holiday, when we’ll do nothing other than laze around on the beach. Our plans always involve us lazing around somewhere :) But I do like my holiday to be eventful, this one offered me a new excitement every day, loved it! Hoping that we do go back there many years hence! Till then, looking forward to many more such destinations!