Presently from inside my head- VIII

Have you been bitten by a snake? I have been bitten by a snake. Not in real life, but in my dreams some ten days ago. I have been bitten by a dog in my dream, a dog that doesn’t let go off my palm, while I squirm in my pain. I constantly dream of death, it’s like a weekly feature in my dreams; somebody has to die. I am constantly running in my dreams. I appear for exams unprepared in my dreams and I fail the exams that I seemed prepared for in my dreams. I have always wanted to stop dreaming. Why? Because they visualize some of my deepest fears. When I look up for their meaning (yes, I Google everything), it reads that my dreams symbolize anxiety. That’s another thing, I have always wanted to stop being anxious. But wanting is never good enough. You need a plan. And my anxiety mitigation plans almost always fail.


I was 14 when my cousin got married. It was the dream marriage, not in terms of opulence but in terms of affection. She married the guy she fell in love with; even if it took years to materialize, they stood by each other. I always wanted love like that. I wanted to model my love life on hers. But as it turns out, some wants you outgrow. I have another cousin who got married last year. When we talk about her life, I realize that love often is nothing but a sense of comfort, a sense of ease that you find in the company of a person. Even though we have that dream couple in our families or our friends or in our figments of imagination. But our love does not have to be necessarily that love. Because we might find our own brand of affection. We might find love in ways that were once alien to us. We might find love in immensity that seemed unbelievable at one time. Maybe love is nothing but discovering a safe haven in another person. Maybe our love is meant to be its own brand of enlightenment.


For 15 days in my life, I was going to be a doctor. And then I switched paths. Because I thought that I was better suited in a non science career. I thought I’d make a good journalist. I wanted to be a journalist. Or maybe a storyteller of some sort. I wanted to tell stories for a living. Then, I got knocked off in a completely different direction. Because I liked the subject of accounting. It’s easy to fall prey to the illusion of liking something that you’re good at. I fell prey to it and here I am, writing 150th time about career and identity crisis.

6be96270d7ca76bcb2c523ff756fb96f-frederico-garcia-lorca-federico-garcia-lorca-quotes


There was an interview that I should have appeared for. It was for the profile of an assistant director in a production house. I wanted to take a chance at it. I enjoyed television. I enjoyed imagining spin off stories for the shows I watched. I enjoyed thinking ahead of the last episode. I was obsessed with television. But I never went for that interview. Because I thought about how my decision would affect the people in my life. But I never thought how passing on that opportunity would affect me for the rest of my life. I want to undo that decision; I want to undo that day; I want to be rid of this regret; I want to at least  try.


I think it was five years ago, when someone had caught me off guard with their impolite words. I was sitting in their room and they insulted me. It was a pre meditated attack. I walked out without uttering a single word. Why? Because I hate confrontations. I hate being unkind. Between then and now, I have witnessed people being disrespectful to me. I still don’t say a word. Why? Because I took all those moral sciences lessons to heart. So I don’t hurt people. I let them hurt me. How do you erase all these values? How do you stoop so low with your words and actions? I want to learn that. But I don’t know where should I begin from.


 

Advertisements

Take me to the hills or not

I don’t know how many of you remember those yellow boxes in our NCERT books. Yellow boxes perched in corner of the pages of our social science text books. Yellow boxes that housed interesting trivia revolving around the subject body of a chapter. Yellow boxes that every teacher emphasized on reading because they made a good opportunity for High Order Thinking Skills question.
I enjoyed reading them because often they were real life insights on topics like colonization, universal suffrage movement and industrialization; sometimes in symphony with the text and sometimes in conflict. Like there was a woman’s speech about right to vote highlighting that when we talk about suffrage it is only for half the human population that is men. There was a letter from a Marathi woman to Mahatama Gandhi explaining that she wants to endorse the Swadesi movement but culture calls for her to wear a sari that measures 9 yards and she does not have the resources to afford 9 yards of Khadi. There was a story in chapter on industrialization of Mumbai and London where the gods come to visit Mumbai and Lord Vishnu ends up being dwindled by a shoe seller. In the same chapter, a yellow box talked about the planned beautification of Paris. It included a remark from a poet that the city looks like ‘a tree, a bench, a kiosk, a tree, a bench, a kiosk and so on’. This line has stayed with me through the years.

I have been in Bangalore for 7 months now. My typical Wednesday looks like googling for a weekend getaway, the modes of reaching that place, the options on the accommodation, the popular haunts, activities in that area and at least one blog documenting the comprehensive travel experience. The catch here is that I don’t go to any of these places. Sometimes I am lazy, sometimes I am confused, sometimes I am scared, sometimes I have another plan and mostly I am not able to understand what I am looking for in terms of travel. But the first weekend of June was an exception because I went to Coorg.
Out of all the weekend getaways from Bangalore, Coorg is the most accessible in terms of the number of night buses that ply to and fro from Coorg and the distance. I was torn between Ooty and Coorg. However, that week I had two people tell me that Coorg is extremely beautiful and I read an article which called Coorg the Scotland of India. So I decided that I will go to Coorg. Amidst the boarding point shifting to 20 kms away, cancellation of my homestay booking, contracting a very inconvenient common cold and a couple of panic attacks later, I reached Coorg at 4:30 am.

IMG_20170603_073421
With no bed in the foreseeable future, a head riddled with Cetrizine and surrounded by a ubiquitous smell of cinnamon, I settled down on a bench and started making an itinerary in my head. I decided to walk towards Raja’s seat to catch the sunrise which was still an hour away. From where I was standing, the road turned into three different ways ahead. I followed the one that seemed closest to the directions on Google Maps. I continued on the circular path, reaching a point that offered a peripheral view of Madikeri. Behind me was the Madikeri fort and whether or not this was Raja’s seat remained open to debate because the navigation stopped working.
From the make believe Raja’s seat I walked in one of the other two directions. I walked and saw hills and houses, I walked and saw trees and arched ways, I walked and saw temples and churches, I walked and saw ‘Scotland of India’ before me. I looked at the view and remembered the hills I have been to and the landscapes that we find in our drawing books. I walked up to a modest looking eatery cum grocery store and helped myself to filter coffee. It was a small shop housed next to Ganesh Coffee House near the bus stand. It was a good cup of coffee, neither too strong nor too sweet, just the right proportion of everything. The vanilla sponge cake, which I tried later in the day, made for a good accompaniment to the coffee. I paid for the coffee and headed to the Omkareshwara temple.
The Omkareshwara Temple is situated in the centre of a water tank. It was built by a king who could not sleep peacefully after having killed a Brahmin. He was advised by his religious counsel to build a Shiva temple. So the king built the Omkareshwara temple. Barring a woman who was there for her morning walk I could not find anybody else. I wandered there for a little while, offered a small prayer and then found myself a deserted spot uphill that overlooked the hills and the temple.

IMG_20170603_071508
I stood there and thought about a number of things. I thought about that line on renovation of Paris. That line holds good for the Coorg that you see in pictures. We may not rework the places that we visit but we do recondition them in our pictures. In our pictures, we take the good bits of a place, the good trees, the good hills, the good roads and the good houses. But from where I stood, the air had a waft of cinnamon and a faint hint of dampness, the paints on the houses peeled because of the rain, the roads were muddy and there were open sewer lines. All of which evidence the existence of a community there, all of which form part of the narrative of Coorg. Then why do we use our fancy filters and tweak our pictures? Then why do we omit the less picturesque facets from our travel chronicles? Then why are we so obsessed with our travel destinations conforming to a certain standard of scenic beauty?

Standing there what I understood was that you never see what a place is in entirety until you visit it. No website, no travelogue can promise you the perfect landscape and the perfect vacation. It’s mostly individual. It’s mostly trial and error. That’s why I would like to travel again, for that little thrill of discovery, for that chance of stumbling upon what remains unspoken.


So that was my travel epiphany. What about you? What have you learnt from travelling so far?

Presently from inside my head VII

  • I was once facing trouble solving a problem in an accounting lecture because I had missed an earlier lecture. A friend then argued with me that sometimes it doesn’t hurt to ask for help. To which I told her that somehow I prefer figuring things on my own and not depending on others. She did not understand my point and felt that I was being a snob pretending to know everything. However, we don’t even talk now, which substantiates my belief- try not to depend on others. Because the fact is that people leave. They leave for better people, better environment or better opportunities. When you begin to depend on people and then those people decide to leave, it is troublesome to go through the process of un-depending on them. Not that I blame them for leaving, because sometimes had I been in a similar position, maybe I would’ve left too. Or maybe, I wouldn’t leave which makes the process of people leaving all the more unsettling.
  • I have always failed to understand what comfort do people find in raising their voices. If raising your voice could render your mistakes correct, could prove a person guilty of a wrongful act or could give you a moral high ground, then trust me all of us would have simply raised our voices to solve all our problems. The reason that I will not lift my volume against you is not because I don’t have a valid argument against you but because I understand the difference between a loud argument and a meaningful argument.
  • The most exhausting task in the world is to sit idle. Imagine you are made to sit in a place for a fixed number of hours. There is nothing that you can do but sit and stare ahead. Also, you have to keep doing this for a period of 3 years. That perhaps is the most daunting task in the world.
  • Why don’t they make shows like Gilmore Girls anymore? Why do all our shows have to be about power play and vengeance? People are being killed, people are being overthrown, people are being tortured, people are being exploited for personal benefits and people are being subjected to substance abuse. That pretty much sums our shows these days. Gilmore Girls is simple- it is centered on families, friendships and young love and a lot of coffee. It is warm and identifiable. Unlike today’s young shows, it is not juvenile at all. In spite of it being so straightforward, you are so invested in the characters that sometimes it is difficult to pick a side. Should it be Max or Luke? Should Rory go to Harvard or Yale? Should Lorelai be so unpleasant with her parents? The underlying point being that sometimes ordinary lives make for appealing plots.
  • Never be polite with an inconsiderate person. Because, it gives them the assurance that no matter how discourteous and self centered they be, their acts of unkindness will never rebound to them. If you want to be good, there are a lot of people in this world who could benefit from an act of kindness.
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you are surrounded with people who are acting stupid? These people are nice to you otherwise but their stupidity is hurting you. And then you find yourself in a conflict on whether you should resent their stupidity or ignore it because at the end of the day they are good to you.
  • I have almost a hundred ideas in my head that I want to write about. But, I will never be able to make time for any of those. Sometimes, I think that I should cut them short and include them in a random post like this one but at the same time I think that will such an inclusion do any justice to those ideas. Ultimately, I end up not writing about those ideas at all and they lay in that silent corner of my brain, consistently reminding of my negligence.

 

 

 

Presently from inside my head IV

  • Conversations are not my field of expertise, but I have a small advice. When someone calls you, talk to them properly. Talk to them without that air of withholding information, talk to them without giving them the impression that the call means nothing to you, talk to them without rubbing on them that you do not have time. If you are really busy, do not take the call or drop a message or make time later on and give them a call. Because on their end, they had made the effort to reach out to you and hostility was not what they were looking for.

img_3242-1300x866

  • Have you realized that we are constantly surrounded by people who want rationalize everything? It appears as if we have this unspoken obligation to analyze anything that is placed before us. For example, two months ago the internet was going gaga about the success of Pokemon Go- how it has managed to generate the numbers that it did within the first week of its realease. However now, every third day there is an article trying to unearth that why  have the numbers fallen so quick. My point is that it is not necessary for every game to appeal to all sorts of people alike. Just because a certain set of people do not enjoy it does not make the game flawed or the entire segment of augmented reality banal. I never found Temple Run or Subway Surfer or Angry Bird interesting but that does not raise questions on the game. The same goes for Pokemon Go and a lot other things that are incessantly being analysed every day rather than simply being accepted.
  • Something that probably most people do not realize about me is that all it takes me is a minute to feel sorry for people and their problems. I was watching the new Nescafe ad where a radio jockey is struggling to garner listeners for his morning program. I was sad for him. Like I was sad for Roger Federer when he broke into tears on losing the Australian Open to Rafael Nadal in 2009. The interesting bit is that I had never followed Tennis or Federer and his game. I just saw him crying and began thinking if there was anything I could do to save this man from this pain. I don’t know why I am writing this down but often I think that I should covey to the world that I am not as cold and unmoved you perceive me to be.
  • People have a checklist when it comes to looking for a soulmate; I do too. The person that I settle down for, should qualify on those fronts. Among other few simple requirements it includes a good sense of humor and  a patient ear to the many (albeit repetitive) tales I bring home every day. Lately, I have realized that one of the most important (and less talked about) considerations is that he stands by you during shifting homes or a white wash or wood work or any other renovation. He should help you in moving things, in sorting out what to keep and what to give away and in making space for perennially expanding belongings in perennially shrinking cupboards. That is the kind of person I want to be with.
  • There are days when I want to write to the Human Rights Commission talking about how my earnings befit below poverty line citizens and how my apprenticeship leaves no time for something as small as running an errand or how little is my work being acknowledged or how many explanations do I have to give for sick leaves. September is the busiest month at my work. For the uninitiated, I am working in Tax Audits and 30th of this month is the last date for filing of Tax Audit Reports. I have longer working hours (double of my usual) and working Sundays. Most people I know find the months of August and September exhausting. But here’s a secret, I relish Septembers. I enjoy that sense of urgency, the rush to get things done, that tension in the atmosphere- all of which you will never experience on the 1st of October.
  • Here’s a small something else about work. Last year at this time, all I wanted was to be better at what I do, to have a comprehensive grasp on taxation. I have that now, I understand things better and I have a more effective approach to any audit that I do. But I miss how work was last year solely because of the people I was working with, how light the ambiance was around this time last year. This goes on to show how conflicted I am as a person.

 

Presently from inside my head- II

  • Have you been on Pinterest, seen all the DIY crafts and been excited to try them? I feel that, however I had never been remotely inclined towards anything that my crafts teacher made me do in school. It always seemed an inconvenience to me. Perhaps because she would ask me to get a poplin cloth or a matty cloth or some other cloth, and try embroidering a flower on that and then a leaf and then a climber. But did she ever ponder, what use would that cloth be of to me. Nothing. However, I can make use of a lot of things from Pinterest, flowers and fairy lights in upcycled bulbs, centrepieces from wine bottles, photo monogram or any of the mason jar crafts. Even if they may not qualify as being useful at least they will look stunning in the living room and that supersedes all.

4aa024eaa27dd6f29be5895716ce4c54

  • Don’t you think that they should just stop telecasting Friends? I love friends, I have my favorites too, ‘The one where no one’s ready‘, ‘The one without the skiing trip‘, ‘The one where Ross got high‘, ‘The one where everybody finds out‘ and most episodes from the first six seasons. However, from Zee Studio to Star World to Warner Bros. and now to Romedy Now, television has compulsively fed us with images from the lives of twenty somethings trying to survive in New York to the point that I am no longer fascinated to see them. I don’t laugh at certain jokes, the laughter track irks me now and I have analysed it to an extent that their world appears unreal, unattainable, something about it that cannot be reproduced given our economy and hostility.
  • When we are young, we constantly repeat to ourselves and others that we will not change. But I have changed and my perceptions have changed. I used to read a blog on Tumblr. Any post that I would read felt as it was my own life, my understanding of reality presented in better poetic words. I read the blog after some three months today and every thing seemed alien. I could no longer feel the resounding appeal of her work, I could no longer sympathize with her agony. So I say, I have changed. And this is simply one example of the many stances that have shifted lately.
  • Often when someone approaches us and bares their raw emotions to us, they don’t demand from us to make sense of the chaos. They simply want us to listen. I am not denying that some people appreciate being led to the solution, likewise some people want to clear their head so that they can unearth the solutions themselves. So, the next time someone wants to talk, do not draw out a pros and cons analysis of their situation, just listen, they’ll figure out the rest themselves.

Presently, from inside my head

If I am looking forward to an innovation at this point in time, that is a gadget which helps me transport a smell to another person. Like a small jar where you can trap the air in your vicinity and send that to someone so that they can smell the divinity you are surrounded with. How did I think of this? Every time I cook and I stand edged against the shelf, on the precipice of breaking into tears, it is the smell of the food that supplies me with hope of not having completely failed in my effort of bringing something edible to the plate. My food always smells thrice as good as it tastes. The time when I made coffee cupcakes, I was so drawn to the batter as I mixed the lukewarm coffee milk solution into the flour and the cocoa powder. Once the cupcakes went into the oven, the kitchen began to smell like a cozy patisserie round the corner. I had never imagined that I had it in me to cook something that smelled so magical.

lost-in-thought-by-davies-babies

I am 23 and I should be earning. I am 23 and I should be earning. I am 23 and I should be earning. I am 23 and I should be earning. I am 23 and I should be earning. Who said being 23 came easy.

I want to be a success story. For instance a FitBit success story, even though I don’t own a FitBit but a Jawbone Up Move and Jawbone does not run success stories on its blog. However if it did I would not make it, because for that you have to move and I don’t move but sit and yearn to be a success at moving. If you think of it, the magnitude of your commitment to say x is directly proportional to the intensity of your desire to achieve x. I fail that relation because my desire may be very strong but I commit very little to it. So, afterall I am a success at something, of a being an exception to this relation. And I am not just talking about being a success at FitBit but making a general comment on wanting to be a success in life and the omniscient void when it comes to working towards it.

If you meet me in real life, I come across as a neat person. Eight on ten days I look neat. But these days there is something about my appearance that is odd, that is not neat. I haven’t been able to figure out what that is but I know that there is something, that irks me every morning when I am getting ready.

Imagine, you met a certain person at a certain place and point in time. Everyday both of you’d be in the same place, you talked and grew fond of each other. Eventually you reached a point in time that they moved to a different place. But you are in the same place and on some mornings you sit where you’d sit earlier and miss watching them walk through that door and want to resurrect that time in this time. Even though, to long for this, is pointless because you are both closer than you were then but the longing is still housed in your heart and is housed as a compelling guest that keeps on revisiting you.

On some days, I have this unexplained urge to go out alone for say a quick snack or coffee or looking for clothes and on some such days I have done that. However every time I am out alone, people look at me in a strange light as if there is something embarrassing or worrisome about being out and lonesome. So every time I am out on my own, I rush through the entire affair which is contrary of what I was trying to achieve, to be able to sit in peace, undisturbed. If only there was a way I could do this without thinking about others.

I don’t wear ornamental jewelry or conspicuous jewelry. I like an understated appearance. However I am wearing a black dress at a cocktail party in a month and I have bought a golden neck piece to go along with that. Now, every time I go through a shopping website I end up saving a number of jewelry pieces, minimal elaborate and intricate ones. The voice in the back of my head coaxes me to proceed to checkout. But I don’t. But I know that one day I will. One day I will end up collecting an entire lot of ostentatious jewelery that will always seem too tedious or unwieldy to wear.


 

Image found on the given link.