Wednesday, 26 December 2007

On an Odyssey...

This NYT article has been much talked about and quoted by a lot of people. And the new buzz word is ‘odyssey years’.

The first time I heard the word, I visualized a twenty somebody sitting in a space craft and orbiting the earth wondering where his next stop will be. Okay, I know I am weird. Truth be told I can see myself sitting in that space craft! And I don’t know what my next stop will be.

By definition an Odyssey person is one who switched careers (I did from software engineer to journalist), has no plans of ‘settling down’ (the thought scares me) and has no clear sense of direction. That’s because I want to do a lot of things in the given time frame.

In my ideal world I would be writing, reading, doing photography, traveling, meeting people, learning a new language, learning about different cultures, making documentaries and studying. I manage to do a bit of all but not to my hearts contents. I refuse to be put in a box and be labeled. I hate getting stifled. And I would absolutely detest if I had to do the same thing everyday.

A lot of people would put this as ‘not been focused about career’. My only reply to them is what are their dreams? Did they remain dreams? If their answer is yes then they have wasted their life doing what was expected of them not what they wanted to do. You live this life once. How can you let go of it? How can you go through it with nonchalance or defeat? I think that is the scarier place to be in than not knowing your exact career path.

As the sunscreen song says:
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives.

I am not 22, just a bit older than that but that doesn't matter. Why should I be eighty and look back and say I wish I could have done this differently?

Somehow I have never liked straight lines. I could never colour inside the lines. I often asked – why is brinjal purple? Why not green? Who decided this colour should be called purple? Why is A the first letter of the alphabet? Why not C? Who made these rules? Why should I follow them? That should have been an indication of how I would turn out! Back to the point. I hate walking down a regular path. I like the road less travelled.

But to contradict my self, I have never taken giant leaps of faith, that’s just not me. I take small leaps, and I almost always land on my feet. The few times I fell down, I scraped my knees, got up and walked on. I think I will slowly get where I want to be. I have eyes firmly focused on it. I am slowly working on my career and my dreams side-by-side.

And the wise old people who didn’t know which bracket to put me in, now have one called ‘Odyssey Years’. It’s not something they would be happy about. Good Indian girls don’t do ‘these things’. But at least I am living my life as opposed to going through the motions of it.

I am definitely on an odyssey, a journey - called life. And of course I have no idea why I wrote this post!


On a completely different note, I came across this interesting forward at Vrij's blog. Do read it.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Winters and Nursery Rhymes

Blow, blow, blow your nose
Gently let out the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Now you can breathe

Blow, blow, blow your nose
Gently let out the stream
If you see a waterfall
Don't forget your handkerchief

Blow, blow, blow your nose
And as you quiver
Pray to god it ends soon
And don't you have to shiver

Blow, blow, blow your nose
Need tissues some more
If you have a sore throat
Don't forget to croak

Blow, blow, blow your nose
Loudly in the bath
No one will hear you
Remember not to laugh
(The snot might go in another open cavity)

Blow, blow, blow your nose
Gently let out the stream
'Cause if you're not careful
It will become a sea!

Blow, blow, blow your nose
Gently to and fro
If you do it hard enough
In all directions the water will go

Check out the original version here

Such a twisted nursery rhyme is a reflection of my state (or the state of my nose) right now. Excuse me now, while I reach out for some tissues!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

One conversation. Many connotations.

“Aap itney dino sey kahan thi? Aap dikhi nahi.”*

“Aap bhi toh nahi hotey they wahan. Waisey aajkal thora late ho jaati hoon. Shayad isliye….”

Senario 1
Maybe it’s a dialogue between two forbidden lovers who have been denied the pleasure of seeing each other everyday. They have now devised a way to see each other and talk to each other somehow. This is a snatch of that conversation.

Senario 2
Maybe he sees her at the bus stop everyday. She acknowledges his gaze. But both never had the courage to speak to each other. She hasn’t been coming for the past few days. One fine day he sees her again. And decides to speak to her.

Senario 3
I spot my regular auto rickshaw wallah as I am getting late to work and frantically trying to flag down a rickshaw. With a beaming smile I jump into the auto and proceed to have this conversation.

People, take your pick!

* Translation for non-Hindi speaking readers

“Where were you? I haven’t seen you in so many days.”

“Even you weren’t there. But these days I come a little late. Maybe that’s why…”

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Yes...I Did It!

Right I am doing bhangra and cartwheels and jumping up and down with whoops of joy. Sadly I am in the office or I wouldn't have been doing all this in my head. :D

Last Saturday I was dreaming if I will reach my goal, this Saturday I have started to climb the mountain and I can see myself getting there.

Everyone pray for me while I keep my fingers and toes crossed and inch forward!

Monday, 26 November 2007


She walks in pretending to be full of confidence while there is trepidation inside. And sees a sea of people milling around her. They have all come for the same thing. She comes out clutching a bag in her hands, clutching her dreams in her hands.

As she decides to go back home, by habit, she switches on the radio and hears

I don’t want to ever feel like I did that day
Take me to the place I love, take me all the way

It is a sign. After all, she remembers how she felt a few moons ago. She doesn’t want to feel like that ever. She knows where she wants to go. She silently prays that she gets there. That the dream becomes a reality.


In other news, this was my WTF moment of the day

Update: Wise Donkee has an interesting point about it here
Uropinion has an interesting poem here

Friday, 23 November 2007

Marriages are made in… banks

Ever since the ‘marriage season’ has begun, almost every day I get to hear stories of marriages been stopped because the dowry demand increased on the wedding day.

I was talking to someone yesterday who told me how for 8 lakhs they were getting a groom who was only in a Government job and not that good looking. And they couldn’t ‘afford’ a groom for 15 lakhs even though he was an engineer and quite decent looking.

This bit of information left me quite disgusted. Now really, are marriages equivalent to trading? Or maybe it’s a bit like an auction house. You bring out the goods and people start naming the price till the prized possession is bought.

I pity the parents of the girl who want to ‘sell’ her to a good groom and I pity the groom’s family who greedily extend their hands to get some money. Though this trend is prevalent across the country, I can’t imagine why educated people should restore to this? NRI grooms to HRD Minister Arjun Singh to common man.

Anyway, while doing research for a news story I came across this wonderful website. Do check it out. Maybe all hope is not lost…

Monday, 19 November 2007

Lots of Random Stuff

When you are greeted with sniffles, sore throat, coughs and smog filled mornings, winters have offically arrived. Not to forget sitting in the sun on a lazy sunday morning, curled up in the satellite (I have a name for my easy chair!), reading a book, snacking and then dozing off with birds chirping in the background. The bliss combined with peace of mind means I am ready to tackle the week ahead.

Was surfing the web and came across this post by Sepia Mutiny. I always suspected something was wrong with the Times of India website. Now my fears have been confirmed.
And heard this amazing song called 'Ban the Police' which I have been humming since the last few days. Has it been officially released? Do check it out. And here are the lyrics.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Battle Of The Sexes

The discussion started with my male colleague saying how women look ‘better’ in traditional roles like cleaning, cooking, tidying the house.

He went on to say that they shouldn’t think they were equal to a man because they were stepping out of their homes to earn. It was a man’s job and the women should just earn enough to satisfy their ‘shauk’ of earning. Otherwise success goes straight to their head and they think they become good decision makers while in reality that’s not the case. On top of it they refuse (oh my god what a felony) to cook food everyday, expect the husband to help around the home and change diapers sometimes too!

His attitude made me see red. And I am no raging feminist. Maybe I am just spoilt by the men in my life – My father and my male friends who think very different from the colleague.

As I vehemently opposed to everything he had to say, he thinks I will never find a ‘good’ husband. Or maybe a man tied to my pallu (not that I wear a sari ever!). And when I said that a man secure enough to be a man will probably never think like this, he said I was dreaming on. Before the debate could end in a fist fight (I know my karate punches and blocks) or a shouting match, I went back to work.

I leave this open to debate - Do men think that women should not have ambitions. That they should sit at home and make babies. And the man, with the virtue of been born a man will always be correct?

And I know that maybe largely people in this country think like this but to encounter such a man who is educated, has a working wife and lives in Urban India, to think like this is a bit weird.

Tell me what you feel.


On a completely different note, I had my ROFL moment of the day when Paris Hilton turned into an activist!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Childhood Memories

A few days ago, a colleague was sitting next to me and he suddenly said, “You remind me of Parle G today.” I just gave him a confused look.

Some days later, he walked past me and remarked, “Chewing gum, today.”

Just two days back another one said, “Hmmm…. Something in the air just reminded me of vanilla icecream.”

And that’s when I burst out laughing. My new body lotion is vanilla scented and every time someone gets a whiff of it, it reminds them of some childhood ‘food memory’ or the other.

The story behind buying it is also very interesting. I was looking to buy a body lotion for myself and as I sniffed through a whole range of them, this particular one leapt out at me and the smell of it was very comforting. I never read the label saying ‘Vanilla scented’. But I was drawn to the smell and I instinctively brought it.

Its interesting how certain smells can transport us back to time.

In fact every time I pass through Lutyen’s Delhi, a tree which has pungent smelling leaves always reminds me of Elaichi Cream biscuits I used to eat as a child. Do any of you remember the biscuit in green and white wrapper? I used to wonder how anyone can have a biscuit making factory in this elite area of Delhi until it hit me that it was the tree doing the tricks on my senses.

On another note, yesterday I managed to get my hand on some cigarettes while my mother looked on lovingly as I bought not one, not two but five packets. And told the shopkeeper, very sheepishly that they were not for me but for my niece and nephew. It was time to induct them into the family tradition.

Before you get scandalized, I’ll let you know I am talking about sweet cigarettes. Every summer I would visit my grandmother in the dusty Hindi speaking heartland of India. And one novelty (which is produced in Delhi but never sold here!) were those white peppermint sticks in a red and white packet.

And since I was there for a day, I decided to indulge myself.

On this note, the evil me is going to start a tag. Which is your favourite childhood smell and favourite childhood sweet and why.

I tag-


Go on and tag five more people.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

The OCD!

I am one of those people who procastinate till the last moment to clean up the room/ desk/ drawer etc. I wait till the pile of objects becomes a mountain. And since half my family has the neat-freak OCD it is war time at home (this story is for another post).

My desk at work bears the brunt of this all the time. All the papers strewn around give an impression how busy I am reading all those newspapers, articles etc. (Yeah right!)

Well a few days ago, the AC maintenance guys came for their quarterly checkup. Now half the duct is right on top of my desk and as soon as he opened it, a few dead insects landed in the corner (where-things-go-only-if-they-have-to-be-retrieved-once-an-year) on top of Time magazine and other sundry stuff.

Did I care to clean my desk? No. I just took the magazine, dusted the insects into the dustbin and kept it back.

A few days later, every time I would move a paper or reach out for my namkeen packet (which is on the opposite side of the desk) I would find a dead insect. I threw the nameek.

Things really hit rock bottom when I couldn't find my post-it notes ka packet. And its not not even in either corners. It was supposed to be somewhere in the middle of the damn table.

So this Friday, clean the desk abhiyaan took place.

And I heartlessly threw papers in the dustbin. Asked the newspapers to be put in the right place in the library. Organized my books by type, size, need, importance . Organized my magazines the same way. Organized my papers the same way. Organized my stationery the same way. Organized other sundry things the same way.

And realized the 'neat freak' genes have been passed on to me as well. Its just that they need some shaking up (and dead insects) to get into action!

Update (07/11/07): Wishing everyone a Happy Diwali.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Petals of Life

Making garlands of frangipani
Laughing without a care
She ran as the wind caught her hair
What bliss childhood was

Then he came along
Tucked the flower behind her ear
They walked hand in hand
Oblivious to the world

Decades have passed

She notices the petals strewn along
The white and yellow drying
She knows the end is near

Friday, 26 October 2007

And I Discovered Something...

I am one of those people who, if you ask things like – what is your favourite colour/season/month, probably will not be able to give you an answer.

Its because I couldn’t be partial to one colour or season or month. And God made them all so beautiful and different from each other that it would be blasphemous for me to identify one as my supreme favourite.

Now if you wonder where this post is going, I have to tell you that I have ‘discovered’ something.

Last Saturday I was working only half a day. It was a bright sunny day and as I got out of the office, I impulsively decided to take a walk. I dug into my bag, grabbed a juicy red apple and decided to soak in the sun.

I leisurely strolled up to the city centre and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It wasn’t too hot or cold, only a slight nip in the crisp fresh air. The weather was perfect and I sat on a bench observing shoppers, lovers, families, friends and office goers.

I have decided that October is my favourite month and the onset of winters my favourite season.

Tell me, what is yours?

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

New Home

After two years of blogging on Indiatimes O3, I have decided to move my home. Again! Its so typical of me, my desire to live a nomadic life that I shift my virtual home as often as I would like to shift my real one.

On a more serious note, my reasons for moving also include my frustation at O3. Most of the times the server is overloaded, basic features don't work properly, its low on user friendliness and the battle with spam is alomst always lost. Another concern is security.

Inspite of all this, I stayed there because there was a community but I have realized its not worth the effort. This first post and the next few others will probably be cross-posted on O3.

My first impression here is - This doesn't feel like home! This is probably a reaction when one moves to a new place and it feels unfamiliar to be there. I am still figuring out how the functions work, while the numerous options have left me in bit of a tizzy (and I am not that technologically challenged! ).

Anyway the journey of this zephyr will continue here.

For archives (11 October 2005- 15 October 2007) read my old blog here.