Saturday, December 27, 2008

Veni. Vidi. Vici.

My life has taken a 360° turn in the last three months of this year. This time has taught me three important lessons. So here are my revelations, explained perfectly in the three words uttered by one of my favourite heroes from history: Julius Caesar.

Veni (I came)

I came to the conclusion that love is fleeting, success is momentary and friendships are fickle. Which means it is all transitory.

Contrary to these revelations appearing to be a major let down, I have never been happier. Cos now I realize that the one true thing I need to be happy is me, myself and I. It is when one tries to find their own worth in others or in outwardly actions that the dejection comes. The three things I hold dearest to my heart and the source of all my joy until now have been given and taken away from me throughout these months but I reckon it is all for the best. I (re)discovered and then subsequently lost a dear love. I earned a great job solely based on merit but then was made to question whether I deserved it. I found a new sole sister for life but had to break equally important old ties.
I now know that happiness lies within ones self and I am at peace with myself and content with what comes my way.

Vidi (I saw)

I saw what life is like from the other side of the spectrum. A place where there are no boundaries, no questions and no restrictions.

My daily existence is marred by a constant juggling act between reality and the surreal. Born into a household of tradition, orthodoxy and religion... I am an ultra-modern, free-spirited atheist. For the first time in my life, I was living on my own, in a new city, immersed in sin. From the hassles of having to make my own cup of coffee in the morning to worrying about the no-show of the maid. From the worrisome laundry bill to the irksome grocery shopping. From the less than enthusiastic morning trudge to get the newspaper to the uninhabited painting the town red at night. I did it all, and enjoyed every moment. Soaking in each memory to last me a lifetime.
The days made me understand how precious independence really is. I need to reclaim my own independence again, some day soon.

Vici (I conquered)

I conquered a fear that had plagued me for a long time. That of self-doubt. I learnt how to relinquish control, not try and hold onto everything too tight and just let myself be.

As a sworn control freak I tend to over-analyze, re-think and be unnecessarily critical about whatever I do in life cos I worry about what will happen if I do not do everything perfectly and how others will perceive me. That behaviour has in the past led me away from many a good moments and wrecked me with constant worrying. Now I have loosened the noose I had put on my life and done what I never would've done before. I go with my gut instinct and not what I consider to be the appropriate thing to do.
It has made me into a better individual who is willing to take more risks and not always do what's right.

As perhaps one of my most tumultuous, action-packed and emotionally draining years draws to a close... I am ready for the one ahead.
It's a fresh playing field. I am a changed person. I have a better attitude. I got a new job. I've found deliciously new mistakes to make. Bring it on 2009!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The City of Screams...

There are some situations that shake the collective human spirit, ignite the mind and evoke inspired words... Then there are situations such as the one unfolding in the heart of my motherland, as I write, that just makes one feel trapped, helpless and broken.

Mumbai, India, 2:25 pm

41 hours and counting... The city of dreams is still under siege. Two edifices that have up until now defined the landscape of the commercial capital of India have over the course of 2 nights been converted into the base of a new kind of urban battleground. Of the kinds previously unseen and perhaps unimaginable.

The operation is well on its way to completion it seems. Both hotels are under the control of the security forces, finally. But as I sit with a constant, uninterrupted stream of images flashing across the TV screens, my mind is still coming to terms with the gravity and magnitude of the loss. One ex-colleague missing and unaccounted for. One friend shot dead point blank. Another struggling for dear life. Along with countless other acquaintances, friends of friends and even strangers.

Never before have I felt as human and mortal as I do now, praying for those I have never met and perhaps never will while cursing the wretched ones who caused this pain.
Most of the people I know have one collective reaction: Counter-attack!
I grieve for those who died and those who lost their loved ones just as much but I do believe that violence begets violence. It becomes a vicious circle and it never stops. And it shall begin now. The finger pointing, the accusations, the guns, the bombs and the plans. We bear witness to an age of suspended warfare. Now we will see how its victims will react.

I won't go into statistics. There are enough concerned citizens already doing that. I just hope for peace. And wish that the screams won't go unheard. God speed!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bittersweet Bow

Quickie status check
I can't believe I did it but I finally, actually, really quit. It was long overdue and needed so badly cos I stopped growing in this job about six months back. From then on, it was just another day and another issue to get to press. The media freebies helped ease the pain of course :)
But frankly I can't live like this for long. The obvious reasons for sticking around this long were all monetary. Which reminds me... I don't think I've paid my wi-fi bill this month, so you never know when I'll be cut off.

Since I am still connected, might as well ramble a little...

Today was my last day and I'll just say it was melancholic, exciting and bittersweet all at the same time. Having worked at this place for almost two and a half years has made it my second home. The colleagues are almost like a surrogate family. And the pathetic excuse for a coffee probably runs through my veins along with blood. But today I had to say goodbye and I so suck at it. I have these long pauses and awkward half hugs for fear of coming across too strong. Terrible habit.

Oh golly, the net is still working!

Rather than save or be judicious (as if), I took all my meagre savings and invested them in buying a much needed new laptop. Yay for Mac! And for getting my hands on some budget air tickets so I can start my birthday month as an unemployed, aimless, carefree vagabond in Goa. Yes, that was my birthday resolution and I am actually doing it come tomorrow morning.
So while I am off being a beach bum, hoping not to freak out about the fact that I have nothing to do once I am back (cue the panic attack), you guys & gals have a good one. I gracefully bow out of the ranks of the useful, employed masses as my first vacation in one and a half years beckons.
And the connection seems to be losing strength, so cheers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Mistress Of Vices

I would love to start this post by a clich├ęd line such as, "When I was a little girl growing up in big, bad Delhi... My mother taught me not to be a sinner." Alas, all half-veiled attempts at masking the true nature of this post will take away from it, so that's a no go.

When I was a little girl growing up in big, bad Delhi... My mother taught me one fundamental truth—you either live in society and follow its rules or you live outside it. Hence began my life long love-hate relationship with 'society'.
I like(d) ruffling feathers, breaking the mould and giving the gaping mouths something to gossip about. And being a sworn atheist, I embraced my one true religion completely. If you still haven't guessed it, its vice or sin if you please.
My personal mantra: "Good girls go to heaven, bad girls have all the fun!"
Before you shake your head disapprovingly, there are rebels without a cause and then there are sworn rebels. I never found conforming any fun and when it feels so good to be bad, why bother!

Vice (v[imac]s), n. [F., from L. vitium.]
A practice or habit that is considered immoral, depraved, and/or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refer to a fault, a defect, an infirmity, or merely a bad habit.

So even though all the holier than thou individuals look down on me from their moral high horses... I know that the truth is that we are all sinners. One way or the other. If you got something you love, if there is anything you crave, have a strong need or desire for... It is probably forbidden.

And that keen observation brings me to the Seven Deadly Sins or Capital Vices/Sins. A casual dekko at this hilarious list of condemned deeds got me thinking and then writing and then idling... Leading to this post 2 months in the making (lazy bum!)

Appropriately enough. Let's start with Sloth. Now the fact that this post was stewing in my drafts folder for over 60 days is proof enough of my laziness. On most mornings, my constant struggle to get out of bed without the prospect of a quickie (I mean a caffeine shot!) is a ritual in itself. But Sunday perhaps is my ode to laziness. Kind souls (friends or mostly mom) provide me with food and the self-collected huge stack of books and movies entertain my bed sojourn all through the day. That is the perfect 'sloth'ful Sunday for me.

Wrath or anger is infact my primogeniture. I got it as an inheritance from my male ancestors and I am now the master of my very own anger estate. I run, govern and monopolize it. Which basically means no outside factor can get me worked up unless I allow myself to let it. Quite unlike my Libran birth, when my otherwise calm demeanor is shaken, this woman's wrath knows no bound. Though thankfully, manic Monday (which is a bitch at work) is the only day I let the week get to me. By the end of the day, dear pals have drowned me in enough lush therapy to make the rest of the weekdays 'spirited'.

Tuesday is my full on Envy day. Simple enough reason. I come from an orthodox Jaini family and even though I have already broken my vows by eating beef and drinking like a fish... Grandma's bullying still turns me into a devout follower on this day. No onions, no meat, no liquor. No fun! I envy every single person who can live a normal life :(

Greed rears its ugly head by the time midweek Wednesday rolls along. Media night, ladies night, happy hours... Whatever, wherever. If it promises to get me cheap booze, then I am up for it. Since Wed' is also my busiest day at work, post-office, usually after-midnight hours are spent pub-hopping in the quest to satiate the greedy barfly in me.

By the time my hung over, half-dead self gets up on Thursday, Pride rules my mood. Vanity is as vanity does and the late office check-in equates to very, very useless but very, very selfish time spent indulging in pedicures and massages. Or spent on shopping sprees, usually meaning admiring ones image in giant size shopping mall mirrors. Tsh, tsh!

The most injurious of all my vices is Gluttony. For those of you who don't know, I am a food writer. In case that isn't clear enough, I basically critique food on a weekly basis. Yes this is part of my job and I get paid for it. So the onslaught of the weekend is heralded by an unmonitored, unstoppable consumption of every, and all type/sort/variety of food known to man. Sometimes all three of my meals are review assignments. And if you've ever had the (mis)fortune of being fed like a cow meant for slaughter... You might just understand the amount of food that an eager restaurateur/manager piles on my table. Don't get me wrong, I love it. And so do the lucky friend/colleague who accompanies me. But let's just say, it is quite the unhealthy proposition and is followed by furious attacks at the treadmill.

Last but by no means least. My fave sin aka the most fun... Lust. If any of you deny being a victim of this one, you do not deserve to be here. Now to put it simply, my recent residentship of Freedomville (revert to last post) has led to an increased surge of hormones. And by virtue of being the only day of the week that does not preceede a working day, Saturday is my carnal karma day. Ever since my active membership of the lust club, my heart and head are ruled by only this sin and I can give up everything in the world but this. Trust me, I have tried.

So there you have it, seven sins for seven days. Hey, that has a nice ring to it. And as the Keeper of Temptations to the Mistress of Vices would say... Better late than never!

"Forgive me father, for I have sinned and I love it!"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Snippy, snippy... Bang, bang!

This is by far one of the most 'self' focussed months I've had in a long time and so I feel compelled to rant about it...

Besides the purgatory 'breaking of habit' spoken about in the last post, I had my A-ha moment (you know the ones where you find what you are meant to do in life), went through a mini makeover (as all inspirational chick flick plots involving personal growth must), spent zero money on shopping (that is THE big achievement!), gave my almost rusting brain a fair bit of writing exercise (outside the mandatory office work), meandered my way through one of Delhi's infamous underground market (the one where good gals supposedly do not go after sundown), met a LOT of old friends and usually did so over copious amounts of coffee and/or liquor (extremely fun either ways!)

Being single for the first time in almost 7 years is a refreshing change and really puts your life in perspective. Although a lot of people said I was turning into a cynic after reading my last post, I think of it as breaking the shackles of twosomes and being free. No more pre-ordained mid-week meals, Saturday night plans, Sunday movies and such.
Welcome Freedomville's newest resident: SIM

One's A-ha moment comes all of a sudden, out of the blue and when you least expect it. Just comes and hits you out of nowhere and BANG, you are never the same again. Like a relatively new but good director spoke to my colleague about how he was poised to become a zoologist until he saw a great film that changed his path. I found my calling over a completely random and unrelated conversation with a friend.
Life altering career switch is now in the pipeline

Then there was the SNIP and snap. You must've seen some film where the underdog heroin emerges from a cloud of perfume, hair products, mascara et all and has her day in the sun. I cut my hair (in accordance with dear pal Riyu's words, "Usually one gets radical haircuts when one is going through a transitionary phase.") took those summer dresses out of the closet and broke in the high heels. Feeling good, baby!

Oh and then there is the writing. If you have ever been involved in brainstorming sessions which see a small idea that matters to you take shape over numerous, sleepless nights and through innumerable discussions to become a full fledged project close to your heart... Then, you'd know what I am going through. The oppurtunity just fell in my lap and even though this work after work consumes my life at times, I am loving it!
If all goes well, you guys will hear about it soon. Fingers crossed.

And that brings me to the priceless Palika Bazaar foray. Even though that hilarious day deserves a post of its own... Renovatio and SIM's day out at one of the biggest illegal/black market adda's in town ensued a lot of memorable hilarity. Besides the fact that both movie lovers were making their debut scouting for rare to find films in the bewildering market, the pair collectively tower about a good 2 feet over most people's head which essentially means that the two mini giants standing in the middle of the bustling, underground (read low head clearance) market looking like lost puppies made for a one of a kind, perfect Kodak moment. Not to forget the rigorous 'screening' process that the guardian of our destination put us through before we were shown the light :P
P.S: those of you who read Reno's musings and complain about his decreased writing... I plead him daily to write about this adventure but with no avail.

Last but by no means least—there is no better way to spend gloomy, glorious, happy or otherwise mundane... heck, any type of day... than by catching up with old friends. School mates, college pals, old chums, long lost buddies, random acquaintances... its all bloody great! Mix in crazy amounts of caffeine or liquor with these endless conversations, gossiping sessions and philosophical discussions and you have a winner.
Added bonus: being introduced to a fab new single malt by a discerning connoisseur, regaining a lost love for JD on the rocks, having my first of many glasses of a beautiful South African wine and bringing one of my fave brews (the Hawaiian Kona) into the life of Reno who I also initiated into the coffee drinking process 2 years ago. Cheers to that!
fyi all the money saved from the non-shopping is now spent on these drinking bouts. Plus, it might be turning me into an alcoholic. Cheaper ideas anyone?

SIM is back, snipping-ly new and with a big bang. Over & out, for now.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Habitual Creature...

I have said it before, I'll say it again... All human beings are habitual creatures and no matter how hard we try to get out of the vicious circle of making the same mistakes again & again, we always tend to give in to our weakness aka habits. And what is so god damned precious about our habits are that they are peculiarly ours. Otherwise good judgment fails us as far as these go.

Beloved friend picked up the ciggie along with me in college... A way to tide the time in between all those missed lectures. Three years since college, two job changes and numerous smoke breaks from work has led to her terrible compulsion. A habit that forces us to sit outside in this searing heat 'cos she cannot smoke inside. Talk about being out casted. I quit the cancer stick in the first few months, after realizing that smoke smelling hair and fingers are not very becoming.

Formerly fat cousin thought it would be a good idea to go on that crash diet. The jibes and jeers finally got to her. Umpteen diet plans, almost ritualistic gymming, non-existent social life and 5 dress sizes smaller... she still vehemently monitors every morsel of food on her plate. Closet anorexic, but an up and coming runway dream to the world. I started with her but gave up midway, knowing fully well that I best get comfy in my skin now, if it is to last me a lifetime.

One time school pal and old ex came from a repressed childhood. As an adult, he thought it was okay to translate his emotions into a physical form. Started out with light pokes and slaps. Soon enough they became full fledged assaults. He is now seeking counseling for his habit. Me being witness to his actions promised myself I would never ever resort to that, no matter what my past and how much the present angers me. I took up the Israeli martial art Krav Maga to channelize that rage.

The point of such detailed scrutiny into others lives is just to highlight how one's own habits die hard. No matter what other vices you are able to deal with, there is something in life that gets to you and never lets you go.

Assumed identity SIM started seriously dating at the age of 16. Successive failed relationships, numerous bitching and TLC sessions with girlfriends over junk food and LIIT's and lots of venting blog posts such as this one later... She is a serial dater. Her crime? Dating all the wrong kind of men. Or maybe she's the wrong girl for the right men... But even knowing fully well, the kind of damaging effects these men are having on her, she keeps giving a chance to love. Her habitual crime? Hopeless romantic, even in the face of great adversity, SIM will manage to carve out her own piece of loving memories. That is perhaps the reason why she refuses to be depressed and blue.

The recurring theme is that it starts early, you get hooked and never give up. The tricky bit about my hard to break habit is that no amount of medical intervention or psycho-analytical babble will help. I got to do it myself. Just realising that very scary bit shook me out of my stupor. And putting those thoughts into words has turned out to be a purgatory exercise, almost therapeutic.
My new mantra now — When love comes knocking at the door, sneak out the window! I shall break the habit or die trying. Fight it out, be a trooper. Or as my dear buddy Viv would say, be a super trooper! I do believe I get it this time, but when I actually break the habit, I'll let you know :P

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Healing Touch...

We all need some form of healing in our life. Whether it be sexual, mental, emotional, physical or even spiritual. You might not even know it but a casual moment of a stolen touch from somebody and the warmth it emanates deep within you is a type of healing that can cure the sourest of demeanors, the worse of moods and the severest of pains. A loving handshake, an admiring pat, a tight hug or a deep kiss will last you a lifetime and bring a smile to any face.

I have been on a journey of healing these past few months. And I found that ‘touch’ in the most unlikely places. People often surprise you with the love and kindness they carry within themselves and I derived my strength from some such individuals.
A stranger who has become my dearest companion in a matter of six months… A childhood friend who had a (mock) fight with me for the first time in 12 years just ‘cos I hadn’t called her in eons… An ex who let go of me so I could move on… The woman who gave birth to me, giving me a new lease of life with her wise words, and the former boss who’s inspired writings echoed my own deepest thoughts and hidden fears.
These are the people who have helped me heal.

The sexual healing from scars I had been carrying along for years came with that stranger… No it wasn’t a one-night stand. Its what the difference between making love and having sex is. The kinds that rekindle your lost innocence.
The emotional healing from an often ambivalent and nonchalant attitude towards those closest to me came with that friend… She taught me how to love people unconditionally.
The physical healing from an insatiable yearning that wrecked my being with guilt came with that ex… He held my hand while I inked my skin with a symbol that connected us both.
The spiritual healing from sworn atheism and a prolonged irreparable void came with that woman… She spoke to me like an adult and not like the child she had bred and gifted me with wisdom that only a mother can.
The mental healing from unvoiced anguish, anger and hatred came with that former boss… Her near daily blogs chronicled much of my own woes and worries.

Go on and break down that invisible wall that you’ve built around you. All is not wrong with the world. And for all the evil and bad surrounding us, there is always the little good in everyone.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Caught In The Middle

Happy New Year :P
I know that I am a little late in the day to be wishing that but something or the other has been keeping me away from writing. I won't blame it on anything else but sheer laziness perhaps. Coz no amount of work kept me away from ranting here in the past. Maybe it is a burnout so to speak. From words, from the web, from emotions. Everything. A complete cut-off from all ties.
But it has been an eventful few months nonetheless. When one thinks about it, there is so much to write and then sometimes it seems there is nothing at all. The same way that when one looks back there is so much that seems to have been left behind. The people, the memories, the situations. And then you are reminded that there is more ahead. Lots yet to be seen, many more people to meet and miles to go before I sleep.
Sheesh... This is turning out to be a typical introspective New Year post. So I must end it here.
P.S: One of the things I did in between was to get my first tattoo. The symbol means much more to me than it gives away. Will talk of it at a later date. Cheers!