Monday, March 9, 2015

How to become...

Yeah dear reader, don’t give me the look I know it’s been long...not just long but a veeery long time since my last post so I am here to officially inform you that I have been suffering from writer’s block *self-proclaimed*  and so I have my friend Abdul here who will be writing today. 

Here is a short bio about our guest writer,
I am an aspiring writer currently based in Dubai. I hate revolving doors. They are dangerous. I absolutely love Christopher Nolan movies (#NolanForPresident) and secretly listen to Katy Perry songs. I have an inquisitive mind and oddly shaped feet. I am one among the ‘tens’ of people from around the world who believes the letter “W” should be renamed to “Double V”.
He writes AWESOME!, not as much as me though. Oops, Did I say that loud?! :P
But let me not bore you anymore. Till I recover from my laziness, *ahem* writer’s block, stay tuned for new posts. Have a nice read! Do comment and tell us how you like this post. Enjoy!


How to become...
It has been well over 90 minutes since I took seat in front of my laptop. And my eyes stay peeled on to the screen. We have all been there; how the hell did it go from an innocent YouTube search about MS Excel for beginners to Benedict Cumberbatch can't say penguins? (I hate to admit but it's actually adorable, check it out here). The ‘suggested videos’ column of most video streaming websites can act like a wormhole that sucks you out of all the free time you may have.

Ever since stumbling upon a suggested video of a NASA mission, I have been hypnotized. I was both mesmerized and confused at the scale of scientific ingenuity and political redundancy. Of course I am referring to the campaign...uuhh... ahhem...I mean mission to the moon. It would eradicate even the slightest notion of the moon landing conspiracy people might have. Nevertheless I was amazed and intrigued. I wanted more. I sat for the whole show. God bless YouTube Playlists.

And then at about the two-hour mark I decided to take a break. Take a walk over to the Mosque I've been meaning to go for a while. And during that walk....that dimension of time. It's different. Like waiting at a bus stop, or taking a ride on the elevator. You are neither here nor there, too far from home and not close enough to your destination. I mean it's just a 5-minute walk, yet in that pocket of time, thoughts begin to flood my mind. I had just gotten off of close to 2 hours of space science and I was ecstatic! My world knew no bounds! I wanted to fly off on a cosmic adventure into the vastness of space! And then reality bumps into me in the form of a Filipino pedestrian I walked too close to. I apologize for my mistake.

Interstellar: My favorite movie.......by the time I watched it for the 4th time. 


But how do I become an astronaut? Never seen a job posting from NASA or ESA in all the classifieds I've browsed or the LinkedIn profiles I've stalked. Never had a racist astronaut uncle who describes black holes in a memorable way. Never seen an ad for a college that gives away free iPads if you apply for an astronomy related course. So how do I go about this? Where do I get this information?



The logical next step was for me to go to the mother of the entire world's data. Yes, as you've been thinking "Why can't he just Google it?” I decided to do the same. But how do I search? What do I type?

Google search terms are more intimate than you might think. When you talk to people or pose someone a question, in person. That question goes through multiple rounds of filtering in your mind all in the span of a second; it's a heuristic process of refinement. But a Google search, now this is more spontaneous isn't it? You don't even have to spell it right! She will casually make a grammatically corrected suggestion for you. And yeah I've decided to feminize Google. And you can be open to her. Go ahead and scale down the abstract barricades while translating your thoughts to words, she won't judge you. We've all done it; Google search bar: ‘How to find the right job’, ‘What to gift a friend of a friend? ’, ‘What color is the blue & black dress really? ’, ‘Why is Kim Kardashian really famous?’

Be right back....I have a few Rajinikanth jokes to make

This was me thinking on a different trajectory, about human behavior when given privacy and truly express their undiluted desires. A car swiftly whizzes past reminding me of the busy road I am about to cross. That moment demoted me back to my initial level of thoughts: How to become an astronaut? And that is exactly what I decided to Google. Right after which I had an epiphany, sort of. I form a bridge to my 2nd level of thoughts about how people use Google search terms. And I wondered: What would Google suggest me when I type my incomplete Google search: ‘How to become....’?

I think it's common knowledge that Google suggests based on popular searches people have made all around the world and our personal search history (Though I've developed a habit of periodically wiping mine out..... you know, for privacy). The Google suggestion bar takes into account billions of internet users, most of them young. I wondered. What would people type after ‘How to become’? I mean it's a pretty representative genre of searches. I would assume that the demographic of such a search term would lie mostly in the range of 15 to 25 years of age. And what's so compelling about this search term is that it's so personal. I can very easily imagine a timid 14 year old kid, too embarrassed to ask his friends or parents, Googling ‘How to become an Ice skater’.

Who do you approach when the people closest to you are no longer an option? There is Google. Doesn't matter when or where, she is always there for you....as long as you pay your internet bills.
Once again I ask myself: What DO most youngsters want to become? I suddenly felt heavy, like a drenched rain coat weighing down over my shoulders. I felt that once I get back home to knowing the answer to that question, it would be a privilege or a burden. Either way, I had to put a pin on it as I had reached the entrance of my intended destination. It was time I removed my metaphorical pair of shoes of curiosity and reasoning.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Adios Orkut!

You have 3 new scraps, 2 friend requests and one new fan!

Does this kind of a notification sound familiar? Or do we know only likes, comments and wall posts?
I am not sure how many of my readers have used Orkut or if any of you will miss it when it shuts down on September 30th. It was the first experience of social networking that I had. Finding old friends , writing scraps and rating friends were all favorite things to do.

Your popularity went a notch higher with the number of fans you had or the cool ratings you got! * Blame the hormones man :P* The scraps turned out to be like chat windows * Damn, my orkut scraps are so embarrassing now that I can’t help wonder what an idiot I was then :D .Not that things have changed massively now: P *

Making new friends through mutual friends was common .Orkut was in fact our first play ground where we started stalking. But it wasn’t sneaky initially *Sigh it was quite, late by the time I realized that Orkut gives each of its users the names of the users who view their profiles unless you deactivate your privacy settings* But nevertheless stalking people was an interesting past time *Oh please! Save the look! All of us did/still do it :P*

It was the new shiny website which we got attracted to! I remember wondering what  xoxo ,tc ,hf,muah, and umpteen other abbreviations were at one point of time. Slowly it became a part of life but I guess we were less obsessed by it unlike Facebook these days. I mean we didn’t have to like each other’s pictures or comments, we didn’t necessarily scream out to the world when we were having lunch or visiting fancy hotels but we still kept in touch with our far flung friends * I know not all of us do it ,but there’s still a vast majority who do. I mean no offence to anyone who is very socially active :P* .I am sure, had Fb not taken over the social networking arena  Orkut would have brought in these features.

 Friends poured out all the love in their hearts through testimonials which brightened our days. It gave us the sheer joy of connecting with old friends , stalking on our crushes, reading feel good testimonials  and then one fine day Facebook replaced its hot spot!

Walls became definitely cooler than Scraps ,Pokes more fun than Fans,Albums and Tagging replaced photo sharing   and we all quickly gave our ‘likes’ of approval to Fb . That’s exactly when Orkut started becoming a memory.With this fast paced life where we quickly adopt new technology , Orkut was replaced very soon in a way that we hardly ever go back to it . *If Twitter was active when Orkut was forgotten a new hash tag trend would have been created : #RIPOrkut #FbFTW .*

                                


This post was for the generation who advanced from Orkut to Facebook and still remembers fondly the initial days of introduction to social networking *And all the stupidity we did then :P*. If you guys also have such memories share them with me. 
Till my next post,keep smiling*friendly glee *and have fun . 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Poem - Nature ,man's twin

These are few lines that I penned when I found a wispy similarity in the way Nature and humans behave,I have personified Nature but these are what I felt ,



Veins inter-weaved in the leaves
Gazing at the world below
Absorbing every vision like eyes                            
Taking in a beautiful view

Come sun,rain or wind 
I stand dynamic and strong
Yet ever so vulnerable
All too similar to the human mind

Gently swaying in the wind
Brushing the neighboring branches                       Like hands waving in glee
To renew the bonds of love

As drops of rain fall upon me
Washing down layers of dirt
Like tears shed to wipe away hurt

Leaves bid adieu
To the bodies that gave life
Like mortal men departing
From the beloved ones in their life.




Hope you guys liked it :) let me know if you find more comparisons ;) 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wasup! Err - Small talk !

It has been pretty long since my last post and suddenly during one of my long journeys to my office this topic came to my mind and here is my ramblings on Small talk :)Happy reading! 
Scenario – Huge crowd waiting to get their hands on the breakfast they have ordered at the college canteen. I place my order relatively later than most of them there, yet I get mine faster :P

                                     Reason simple  :)  Small talk  :)

Me:  Hello Anna (Elder Brother )! Epdi irukinga?(How are you?)
Canteen Anna:  Nalla irukan ma ( I am good).Epovum pola Masala Roast thane? ( It’s your usual masala roast right?)
Me:  Ama na (Yes) .Thank you * smiles*
I get my order in the next 2 minutes,while the others wait longer .

This conversation with someone as simple as the Canteen Anna can help you in multiple ways.You brighten his day in a small way as you don’t just swoop your order and ignore him .You ask about him and also thank him.I remember days when I shared candies with the Annas (Brothers)  in my college canteen.They would feel shy to take,later with a little coaxing they pop one to their mouth and give a happy smile.Those are simple acts for us,but for them these are things which makes them feel good. 
 As I Google small talk, all that came up was how to use it to build a conversation on and how effective it is to establish a common ground between two people as people like to talk to similar people.I would say it is pretty true,small talk not only builds relationships and networks ,it also helps you brighten peoples days. For those who don’t know what small talk is , it is a communication attempted to fill the silence in an awkward situation or start up a conversation.*hey,hows the weather ! sort of conversation :)*
The canteen incident isn't one of a kind, another incident that happened was around two weeks back when I went to get a photo collage done for my parents. The guy at the studio was adamant that getting a discount was impossible * Oh yeah! why would I let go of a bargain, yeah I am stingy I would rather put it as frugal spending :D* Then during the time he took to print the collage I struck up a conversation about IPL as it was playing in the background, followed by his  personal acquaintance with my dad, then about India, how life in India is different from Dubai and by the end of the conversation when I had to pay the bill he gave me a 20 Dirham discount! :D *See what a 5 minute conversation can get you :D hey reader,don't gimme that look I was pretty short on cash then or I always am :P *
Another interesting conversation I had was with the public transport driver, he was giving me career guidance asking me to seek employment in the Dubai Road and Transport Authority citing example of a woman who heads the Satellite Transport Management System * he did mention the perks and huge salary I would get :D* .
These incidents are with normal people whom we come across every day ,who knows maybe that commuter you travel with could be your potential reference to a new job  or even a guide to a new experience . :) With over 7 billion people in this world, we come across at least 200 people daily from the security guy in your building to the cashier in the supermarket each one of them with a life of their own with vibrant experiences. So just a hello will lead to several more conversations which will enlighten us,give more perspective and even new bonds which brighten our days as well as theirs.A simple thank you to the driver who drops you to and fro,to the waiter in the restaurant or even to your professor at the end of a class is a small gesture but speaks a lot about you and makes them feel at least a little happy :)
                               

So what are we waiting for Smile *friendly glee* and say hello to that Newspaper boy or even to the little school boy sitting next to you in the metro J.If you don’t feel comfortable doing it,not an issue go about your own way and someone else might just say hello to you and put you at ease J.But when you make small talk beware of intruding personal privacy of people as well!At times it could be bugging too! I am sure we all catch up on social signs pretty well! *If not ,I ain't responsible for your actions :P * 




 Live life Carpe Diem and keep that beautiful smile on your face  :)  *wide grin :D *
My reader you are free to debate,argue and agree too on what I have written.Hope you liked it and till my next post ,Adios :)



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Vishu timee! :D

It has been quite a long time since my last post and here is one on Vishu :D
Vishu aka  the Malayalam New Year,falls usually on April 14 or 15th every year.It is celebrated with the usual  exuberance of any festival, it is also a harvest festival which is a reminder of the days of our forefathers. Vishu also means equal as it is the day during the equinox, when there is equal number of hours of daylight and darkness.
Now I shall stop providing Wikipedia like info on my blog and write what I wanted to about Vishu :P . Definitely my readers would by now know the fact that it is not that Vishu is a harvest festival nor that it has equal day and night hours that makes me feel so happy about the festival! *duuh* It is the festival where you get Kaineetam (Tradition where elders give money to the younger ones),Vishu Kani (the first sight in the morning), then the epic Sadhya ( feast) it is the elaborate meal on a big banana leaf where you will be treated to almost 25 dishes with rice ( a buffet where you needn't move around – everything comes to you in a specific order) then crackers and new clothes.
Yummy sumptuous Sadhya- The Keralite buffet ;)

 Vishu Kani arrangement is a fun thing to do in India, because the yellow golden Laburnum flowers are an integral part of the Kani and since we did not have these flowers at our house,we invariably plucked them from the trees in our  neighbors’ houses ,and in houses where they act like they can’t share a few flowers we take it without their consent *yeaah steal :P I am pretty sure that the people from whose backyards I “borrowed” some flowers without consent from  them will not read my blog, even if they do for the greater good they will forgive me :P*,  and in case it’s on the  higher branches all the monkey acts to get some so that the Vishu kani is perfect for the next day morning .Then setting it with Vegetables, fruits, mirrors, pictures and idols of God, Money, Gold and lot more things which depending on each household varies. And the even beautiful part is the view you have in the morning, usually my mother wakes me up and leads me to the place where the Kani is set and it is the first view that you have once you open your eyes. An auspicious Kani at dawn on the Vishu day is considered lucky for the entire year. It’s not every day that you get to see such a beautifully set view in the morning.

 
As a person who has spent only few Vishu’s in India with my relatives, the times I have are cherished memories. Especially watching my grandfather read the Ramayana and listening to him narrate the stories for me, also our conversations where he reminisces about his young days,then visiting the temple with him . Followed by, pestering everyone who comes home that day for Kaineetam. We used to literally visit *in reality,raid * every house in the neighborhood acting like kids spreading the joy of Vishu but there, just to get our money :D. Being the youngest one was good and bad then, because as the youngest some of my kind elders would give me more money and others would just be like’ you’re a kid what do you need money for !’ and give me less than my sister * What do they know about the financial needs of a ten year old! Hmph*.I also had to deal with extra” smart” brothers who would give coins and get away with it and their supposedly valid reasoning for it is that for Vishu Kaineetam it should be given only in coins and not notes! *Can’t blame them, coz I do it now :P*
The sumptuous lunch which is like a half an hour ritual *actually the time is variable, based on how much you hog*. After which there will be games and conversation and the usual laziness after a heavy meal! *burp :P*
Even in my 4years of hostel life, I used to set up Kani with great fervor , it was the only festival I religiously made sure to take the pain to celebrate. Though I don’t really believe in the auspiciousness of the Kani,the entire joy of setting it up and waking up in the morning to view it gives a sense of happiness that I cherish.

For those of my readers who could relate,I am sure you might have had a good time reminiscing old memories and for those of you who are getting to know Vishu for the first time- it is today and if you have Keralite friends around bug them to treat you with a Sadhya :) *fully vegetarian deliciouss meal! *
I would love to hear your favorite memories of the festival and for my readers who are wondering about Vishu it is a festival like Ugadi, Tamil New Year and Lohri *that’s all I can think of now*  .

So dear readers,   Vishu all a Happy Vishu ;D *pun intended* Hope all of you have a brilliant year ahead :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

OMG !! It's Board Exams :O


It’s been long since my last post and it’s high time I wrote a new post and here it comes!

 Oh it was  the last day of the shortest month in the calendar and this day has been a nightmare for me during two years once in 2007 and the other in 2009,reason Board exams * I can already sense a feeling of solidarity from my readers: D *.
Before I unravel the misery of my board exams, I will tell you about my ignorance towards this pressure point date. Having an elder sibling in the house who has been through it before equips both your parents and your sibling with unfathomable expertise on the subject. And clearly when my sister wrote her first boards in 10th and fretted a bit about her exams, me being  the primary school kid - was laughing at it * yes, quite a pain in the neck sister I was, my sister still strongly feels that way! :P!*
And belonging to a family where academics is given high priority, it’s an unspoken rule that you need to score good marks*yeah that’s the scenario at almost every house!* .This is the score card at home:
·         90 % and above is extraordinary- You will be suffocated with love, surprises and what not! All this is hypothetical coz I haven’t ever got there!:D
·         85 % above is very good – You get lesser benefits than the above one but still can’t complain :P
·         80% - 85% we are satisfied but you could do better – in this situation I will be under scrutiny over why the marks went down.
·         Below 80%- I really don’t want to write it here: P and I have been in there quite a few times!

So when I was in 10th, pretty much my school, parents and friends were enough to make me understand the seriousness of Board exams. The scary stories of my answer sheets being evaluated by some teacher in some corner of India and that they might not understand my handwriting*oh yeah my handwriting is worse than the one on a doctor’s prescription:D*,then the nightmare of not attaching the graph sheets, followed by my sisters expert advice that I should use black ,blue  ink, underlining, writing in points so on and so forth!
And one of my best friends in school was also the topper of my batch, so you can imagine my state.  She would be well prepared, all set for the exam and I will be looking for my text book just then! She used to get a little nervous and that was my cue that I am totally underprepared! She was a positive influence I must say * Thank you J *!
So after all the model exams conducted by my school which is like the toughest exam you could give before facing boards coz it will make you feel like an idiot and that you don’t even have a chance of getting 80 percent in boards *yeah, those model exams are meant to scare you and make us work harder *!

Eventually, I  actually started studying only in February making up a plan and trying hard to follow it. That was my month of hibernation; I like to think of it like giving my brain breathing space for the rest of the year and making it work under pressure for just two months! Its effective, at least for me:D*My mom hates that though! Consistency is her motto! *

                                   

My dad pretty much gave me the end rule – I expect you to score well-I don’t care how you do it!
So Feb 28, was the last day before exams when everyone’s worried and wondering how the exams are going to be. It’s also the day I analyzed how effective my planning for Feb has been * I ain’t going to tell you how successful it was*. Both in my 10th and 12th grades  Feb 28th was filled with good luck wishes and calls from near and dear ones who seemed more worried than me! And their constant advice – Don’t get tensed, you’ll forget what you learnt so just relax and go and the best part is revise all that you learnt!  I so wanted to tell them that, firstly I need to know something to forget when I get tensed and secondly that “Revision” is something I can ever find time to do because to revise you need to learn first, which I do only last minute hence I combine learning and revision together *multi tasking:P* . And I am sure that Feb 28 is one of the busiest days for the Gods as he/she will be bombarded with lot of prayers from fretting kids, and anticipating parents &teachers.
This blog post is to all the students who are writing their board exams and to all those who have been through this pressurizing experience: P. And this is just a funny take on these exams from a person who underwent the grueling CBSE Board exam experience and did pretty ok in terms of grades *grueling is a hard word,I would say over accentuated*
All the very best to all those who are writing examsJ. Do your best and you will pass with great grades J.And finally don’t get tensed, after all its not the end of the world and board exams are pretty over hyped! And one of my favorite things to do in my exam halls were to smile at my examiners as they will be all serious *Boards duh!* and they also expect us to be tensed. By smiling at them they would come make conversation and help me get into ease :D *Please do not try this unless you can make meaningless social small talk :D ,coz else it will be plain awkwardness *

Till my next post keeeep smiling and have lots of fun J .And don’t forget to share your memories of your exams  J.

Live life Carpe diem  ;) *oh yeaah!I am using fancy vocabulary!Thats just a new word I learned ,it means  Enjoy the present !
  


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lil Bundle of Joy !


This is my first post in 2014 , and I thought I will write about how a tiny lil one changed our lives at home since 2012. Being someone who has always liked kids but had  never carried a kid properly or taken care of one till I was 20 years (I guess that’s why when many of my friends cribbed that crying kids are annoying I always defended the kids :P). My baby nephew was my first live hands on experience  in handling a kid. What I didn't know was how he would change the lives of my parents, me and obviously his parents ( because at one point our mornings were his nights and vice versa)  . Before I delve deep into changes that Arya ( that’s my nephew’s name) brought into our life, I want my readers to just think of a small kid in your life whom you love so much and changed your days for at least some time J it could be a nephew, niece, baby sister or brother.
I definitely felt old when all my loving uncles and aunts  had derived such sadistic happiness from telling me that ’You are an aunt now’ (Like I didn't know!*sigh* I guess that’s their way of getting back at you for making them feel old when you were born :P then I must have loved it :P) .After that I was fascinated by Arya’s puny self , his diminutive fingers and limbs trust me I was so scared to carry him all I would do was just keep looking at him ,I think that’s my way of reacting to the tiniest sprout of human life up close. He grew up fast and since then he has grown to be a ball of energy bubbling with happiness and tears at the drop of a hat.

That's Arya! He is giving me the Look !*notice that raised eyebrow*


He made me go through two very fulfilling experiences that made me realize that my emotional side is not really dormant. One was him sleeping off on my shoulder and while I walked around the house tapping him to sleep. He cried incessantly for his mother but as she had gone out, I was playing with him, distracting him and  finally he got tired and crawled up to me and he just slept off in my arms.His soft body with his tiny hands around my neck just sleeping peacefully was a small act for him but it was such a joyful moment for me. Then, the second one was him sitting on my lap and we eating together, dissecting the food to the tiniest munch able bit for him and the happiness in watching him eat it .These are trivial day to day events for people with kids all around but for someone who is with a  kid for the first time these are embodiment's of trust, life, emotion, love  and care. My sister is still in awe at my  bigheartedness towards giving him all that he asks for, while I wouldn't even consider it if my sister asks for the same thing!:P. And he is definitely getting all my ominous privileges I used to enjoy being the younger one *my parents seem to have just upgraded me to a higher level of responsibility and its plain bad!*.
And he even becomes a mini walking alarm clock who does not enjoy the sight of me sleeping and devises new methods to wake me up like scratching, horse riding on me, pulling my hair and the best is him climbing on me and sitting like he’s just conquered the Mount Everest! *oops I forgot to mention the happiness my sister derives from watching me getting woken up!*
Right from the day he was born to this day, he is the special one in my house and in all our hearts. The way we animate ourselves and sing rhymes to his wish to put him to sleep *yeah he just lies in the bed like a majestic king giving us cues to change the rhyme when he gets bored!* or piggybacking him all of it are special moments  which I will cherish always .My nephew is quite the charmer you know, he knows to get his way with everyone and if he sees a slight flash of displeasure in us for something that he did he just comes up to us and hugs and says “I luub yoo” what more is needed to melt our hearts!
So this is to all the tiny little bundles of joy in our lives who have changed us, made us experience a lot of emotions, made our day and given us tons of memories. We all have been those little ones some time ago and made everyone around us feel the same. So let’s just enjoy the feeling and those who have such experiences do share and let me know what you feel J.

Till my next post keep smiling and shower all the love on your tiny ones and enjoy every moment of it coz soon they’ll grow up and you’ll wish they were babies again J.