Monday, May 1, 2017

Airplane Memoirs


Let me not start with my usual rant of not writing enough (I guess that’s how my guilt gets its share of happiness) , so the below article I wrote it for an in-flight magazine, but unfortunately things didn’t work out and so here I am posting it in my loyal blog which motivates me to write even when laziness swamps me.
Thank you for stopping by to read my blog post, since I have thanked you don’t just leave- Go on read away!
 So, since you have decided to read I would like to start with a note that I am not going to gift you movie tickets for an upcoming Thalaivar movie (if you are not familiar with the term Thalaivar*God forbid* it is how we Tamilian’s lovingly call Superstar Rajnikanth!) or vouchers to shop at your favourite mall. But a few minutes of reading pleasure (or That’s what I like to think of it as !).

Just for my readers who don't know Rajnikanth (Thalaivar), here's an image of the promotion done for his movie Kabali on an Air Asia plane. Courtesy: Indian Express
                               
The airplane slowly started moving in the tarmac, the stewards hustle for final checks and take their seats
“ Ladies and gentlemen, we are now ready for take-off. Wish you all a safe journey.”

The giant man-made machine soars through the sky between the clouds flying effortlessly carrying tons of weight along with it. It’s been 112 years since the Wright brothers had their first flight and thankfully we have comfortable seats now unlike one of the brothers, Orville, who had to lie on his stomach on the lower wing of the aircraft.

 Welcome to the world of baggage queues, scary noisy toilets and midair dining experiences. The best part of it all , stunning bird eye views of the landscape below.
This was clicked on one of my flight travels from India to UAE,isn't the sunset beautiful?

As the flight takes off, you can see co-passengers chanting prayers to the Almighty for a safe trip which will be occasionally disturbed by a kid who needs attention! With hundreds of flights taking off every few minutes, God must really have a big server to process all these requests.I wouldn’t be surprised if his Inbox is constantly full!

During your travels, you will also come across co-passengers who think your shoulder is a free extension of their seat and doze off on your shoulder.You can handle these passengers easily, but there are some over concerned travelers who will dissect your entire life in a matter of minutes. Married? Studying ? Traveling alone? Aren’t you scared? Job details?  The lineage of your ancestors? What not! Don’t worry, you will get to know a share of their personal tragedies, happiness, and trivial information. Something to look forward to isn’t it?

With smartphones and tablets more popular, you also have annoying passengers who watch movies or listen to songs without headphones, these inconsiderate people do not even reduce the volume.So the best way to avoid them other than staring at them impolitely (which I am sure they won't understand) is to bring your own headphones.

But don’t let any of this dull the peace of mind you get when you are mid air, with no network coverage, just humans in a plane flying high among the clouds viewing the earth like a bird. The mountains, valleys and the sea look like paintings on a canvas.When you see the lights illuminating human civilization below you, you realize how you were a light down there yesterday for someone in an aircraft and the vastness of the world below you humbles and inspires you, all at the same time.

This picture here is an aerial shot of Dubai, and just watching this was such an introspective moment for me.

After this inspiring moment, when the plane lands with a thud back to earth, the mad rush to file out of the airplane begins.Then a seemingly calm airplane turns into a chaotic push and pull to get overhead luggage and move out to get out of the airport.   
So, till my next post , this is the annoying co-passenger who keeps the reading light on when you are trying to sleep- signing off. 
Hope you guys enjoyed it and as always do share your stories of travel J
Live life Carpe Diem!
And I shamelessly promise to write more often as always! (Hopefully I keep this one)
Another click which was taken, when I was trying to write in a flight.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The New Year Night Of Shame

The night was rather young and brimming with festive spirit, there were celebrations everywhere to welcome 2017. A new year with more opportunities, hope, peace, and love.But the crowded streets in Bangalore brought down humiliation, pain and unwanted sexual advances on the women folk who were there to welcome the New Year.
Two genders, at the same place, one left with a harrowing memory and the other the reason for it.
We read reports about the politician who said, how women “aping” Western culture were the reason for these shameful incidents. The lewd comments and piercing looks don’t stop even when you wear a saree or salwar kameez. You can feel the dirty stares scanning over your body, the unwanted groping in a busy bazaar, the whistles and comments objectifying your body, the wandering vile eyes looking for some skin all of this when you are in Indian clothes. So who is to blame?
Western clothes or not having a male accompany are not reasons to justify sexual harassment, there is no reasoning for this. It is a crime and this should not happen to any woman (or man). Every country should be safe for everyone to move about without the fear for their life and safety.
The women were touched, manhandled and molested by many unrighteous hands; reaching out for any female body they could reach to. Are we a toy of pleasure for your uncontrollable raging hormones?

Worships Goddesses but ironically the country is not safe for women.
Picture credits : Pawan Natekar
This does not end in the streets, it followed to the pubs and bars that night. A woman out in a pub to have a good time with friends does not spell out loose morals. She is there just like you to have some fun, you down a few drinks and can’t behave appropriately then leave (yes, go home!) but that does not call for you to grapple and feel her against her wishes to satisfy your twisted sexual needs.
A lady walking through a deserted street is an easy target for malicious men; the incident of the lady who was molested in Bangalore and caught on CCTV camera is one such incident, we all got to know the incident because of the video. How many such untold experiences? How many more women were left on the streets after an attack lying helpless and bruised like Nirbhaya (2012 Delhi gang rape victim)?
Even the police were left helpless by the intoxicated unruly mob, then how do you expect a single lady to be able to rescue herself from the hands of a bunch of molesters? Yes, there were brave women who fought back to these men and taught them a lesson so that they will never dare to repeat it ever again in their life. Kudos to you, Chaitali Wasnik !. Even in such instances, the bystanders and the crowd were only watching her response and not taking any action. Where are your morals common people of India?
Incidents like these are a reminder that India is not safe for women, so ladies for your own safety arm yourself with pepper sprays or any other self-defense tools that you are comfortable with , because we still have men in our society who have no self-control and are sexual predators.
It would be completely unfair if I do not mention the people (men & women) who helped the troubled women to safety. So yes, thank you for being human and doing the right thing.
May this unfortunate incident open the eyes of our society as well as our political and judicial system to make amends, take action and bring about change to the existing mindset, complacency and victim shaming. And fellow humans remember – there is no hard-and-fast rule that you should only help and support your family and loved ones; every man, woman and child in distress is looking out for your
kindness.

Note : This article was also published in Youth Ki Awaaz, the online meda platform on January 10,2017.

Monday, May 30, 2016

10 things I learnt from my 24 years on Earth!

It’s May 2016, we have forgotten the resolutions we made in January and are slowly realizing that nothing has really changed like we wish every New Year. But amidst this familiar routine, few things are added- a new job, shift to another city, relationship changes and so on. Sifting through all the  short lived resolutions , celebrations , heart breaks, joys, career gains, trips and umpteen other memories ; it struck me that I have been here on Planet Earth, a tiny speck in the entire universe, for 24 years (never ask a lady her age apparently, but what if she is a loudmouth like me !Makes it easier I guess J)  and  I wanted to write on what it is that I have actually learned in my time on Planet Earth.

During this entire time, I graduated  from school (14 years), Finished my college both undergrad & Masters  (6 years ), stayed away from home, lived on my own, got a job , and have been having  my share of fun! (My blog is constantly monitored by...F.. FBI (Nah!)  but by my parents so I will not let you know the details of “Fun”).I can already imagine the look my parents  are going to give me, anyhow lets worry about that later.

Image by Alex Noriega 

So this list is going to be few things I’m thankful to have known and will continue to follow ,while it may be things you  already know  .So, if you think it is right then you can take it forward, if not please do feel free to share your thoughts.
 I also do not want to sound like an annoying know-it-all-been-through-it-all because I still have tons of experiences to go through to be that boring ! So brace yourself guys! Here it comes :

  1.   Life isn’t really fair : Yes we say justice and fairness , but the world has its own ways and everyone’s selfish except for very few people in our lives. And just because life isn’t fair, does not mean you should not stand up for what you believe in and fight for it.                                     
    Nothing like, what Harry Potter books taught us! 

  2.    We are responsible for our happiness: If you have a monotonous routine which makes you dull – you are to be blamed. If you really want to be happy, take the effort to change things you want to. Indulge in experiences than in materialistic goals and surround yourself with positive people and goodness. And remember your mind controls how you feel, and you control your mind.                                                                                                                                                     
    Image by Heather
                                       
  3.     Go solo : I used to hate solo dining. As a person who is used to and loves being around people it was quite different for me. But as I started growing older, I found solace in being alone with myself .It gives you a calmness, clarity and a better understanding of your single best buddy – YOURSELF!. It could be solo- travelling, dining, driving or even just a walk! This is also the best time to pick your brain and drown in your thoughts.                                               
       
  4.    Be kind :  Yes ,we can be focused on our own happiness .But make sure you do not hurt anyone. Also do not behave in a way you would not want to be treated. Treat everyone warmly be it a stranger, an acquaintance or an animal .                                                             
    Image from Word Porn
  5.  Experiment: Yes it is something I need to do often as well. Our world with a history of over six million years and a relate able civilization about 6,000 years old with 7 billion people, definitely has tons of exciting and interesting things in store for us- we just need to take the initiative. We have our comfort shell, which we are too resistant to come out of. It could be trying a new sport or getting a pixie haircut, if you have had it in your mind, Go Do IT! You will either feel good or never do it again, either way it’s a change/realization.                                     
    Image by Alex Noriega 
  6.     Keep the kid in you alive : Don’t let the serious world intimidate and dull you. Go enjoy little pleasures and believe that anything and everything is possible by YOU. Do you want to jump puddles when its raining or collect sea shells on the beach ? What's stopping you ? Go do it, you will be happy you did.                          
  7.     Keep learning : We all wanted to be out of  school, college and start working (also read as laze around). But once we got “ that job” we  got stuck up to it, binding ourselves to that routine and working like a clock .It is good because it gives you money to go on , and a job where you hopefully like what you do and get the experience( to get the next bigger better paying job/ to reach your ambitions). During this monotonous rush,we forget that we need to keep our brains healthy .                                                                                                 Information is abundant today; everything is available at a click. So make time in your daily schedule to read new interesting articles, stories and books .If reading never seemed interesting to you , watch a video  or listen to podcasts - about something you have always wondered about like who built the Stone henge or what is the golden ratio? Also remember how inquisitive you were as a kid, why did you let that die down? Go ask questions, explore and be passionately curious (Einstein said that!)                                                                                        
    Image by Poemsporn
  8.  Learn to cook : That’s a survival tip! You don’t need to make an elaborate 4 course meal to make your future mother in law or wife happy, but you should be able to make a decent omelette sandwich or some tea to cheer you up from a tiring day. And feel free to send me some as well.  
  9. Travel : As a generation , we Millennial’s  are not tourists but travelers. We travel frugally and blend in like a local, instead of just visiting the touristy spots we find joy in relaxing in the nondescript cafes and exploring street bazaars. As a person who hasn’t traveled much but has kept it as a personal resolution to I would suggest the same to you dear reader. Go far and wide with an open mind, travel everywhere. It needn’t be the 7 wonders of the world; each city is a beauty waiting to be explored. Travelling  makes us aware of our fears and dependencies, and each journey will be an experience. What's life without a little adventure :)                                                                    
                    Image by Melissa 
     
  10.    Meet  people from different cultures & Age groups : Yes befriend that person from a different country or different place in India with  whom you haven’t spoken to because you have your cozy comfortable friend circle. Each person has a story and is living one, which might be similar to yours or very different .Talking to them will open up your mind and thoughts when you see how unique each culture is and yet in all that diversity some of the values are all the same. At the end of the day we are all human.
    Image by Alex Noriega 
So, don’t worry about people judging you , whatever you do they will .
There are many more things I can add to this list, but I do not want to be phoney so I have included only things that I follow or have learnt along the way.
So do let me know your feedback, if you think this is useful or not I would love to hear back from you !

Till my next post (which will be soon, InshAllah.) . Go live life Carpe diem ! J
Keep that beautiful smile on, there’s lot more in the world to seek, learn and discover ! J

P.S: The images used in this post have been taken from the Internet, I have linked the sources which I am aware of.For those which I do not know the originator, please send me a message/comment and I will link your profile to the picture.
Thank you for allowing me to use these pictures , they are wonderful :)
Image by Heather

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Marriage Trauma!

Everyone says “It’s time to marry” once we get to our 20's but do we feel ?!

So yeah as a country we are obsessed with celebrating  weddings with unnecessary extravagenzas and also a vast number of parents still consider marrying off their children to be a major responsibility *I mean it is ,but they soleley consider it their big to do task *.So what if the girl / boy is not ready to get married? Or does not feel responsible enough for that giant leap ?

For example , as someone who hasn't dreamt of their marriage since high school .To me marriage is still very alien and something I am not ready for *I doubt if I will ever be ready though!*. So with these conversations around me , followed by cribbing about the same dreaded marriage from my friends made me think why is this such  a big thing ! After all our parents have their own reasons for it and we have our own to stay away from it.

                  It should have been- Not sure if Marriage would suck for me or I would suck at marriage!

So, I set about my research and came across reports and columns in which even parents with such liberal and urbane outlook become awry when it comes to their kid’s marriage. So here's a list of few reasons why in general most girls who are 23 years old and above get hounded *Sorry men, nothing against you but generally most guys I know don't get pressured until they are 27* :

Reason #1: Everything starts with the visit to the astrologer *He who knows everything, supposedly!*.Then by a freak coincidence the stars and planets have to spell out ‘MARRIAGE’ which should happen within the next year or so. *Bam! Do you hear my world crashing!*.I really can't understand the undue importance Indian households give for astrology, roughly 4 billion people in the world seem to get by without planets, stars and astrologers showing them the way!


Reason #2: The new matchmakers of the 21st century, matrimonial websites. It is pretty much like an online marketplace for young Indians of “marriageable age” who apparently never smoke nor drink and is the epitome of the perfect bride/groom.In reality maybe they all are, but I just found it way too hard to believe. I was surprised at the variety and classifications I found there! Seriously, you can custom find your dream groom/bride- much like how you would get a Subway sandwich made :P .


Reason #3: Uncles, aunties and people I don't even know exist! She’s 23 when you are getting her married. What is your problem in life people? Don’t you have enough of worries yourself? Is marriage the only life mission of every girl? It’s as if, as soon as a girl turns 23 some psycho alarm starts ringing in their minds *These are times I wish Dexter was a real person*



Reason #4: Parents. It’s high time we stopped deciding “marriageable age” for men and women. We do not need to have a fixed checklist for life like this:
·         CBSE Board exams 90 %  -- Check
·         Engineer/ Doctor -  Check
·         Masters – Check
·         Job – Check
·         Marriage – Like really?! Why can't people just live their lives?!
·         Kids – uh just when I thought the list was all over!

                                         

People crib about marriage all the time , then why do you even want to force it on others? *sadistic people, I say!*.Marriage is such an expensive affair  and it is still considered a prestige issue in most communities. The children should be given the responsibility to fund their marriage and also to get married when they like *At least for those who want that freedom*!!


No offense to all my friends who are married, I wish you all a very happy married life and I am truly happy for you . While as for  those of you who are in a situation similar to mine, welcome to the club :(  . And if any prospective grooms / groom’s parents have read this then I guess you understand it’s high time you stop pursuing me, please find a more willing and appropriate bride for your son *Though India’s gender ratio is distorted, we still have 940 women for every 1000 men*.

If you have any thoughts on this or if you completely disagree with me and feel every girl on earth should get married by the time they turn 23 *I will find you and torment you!* please feel free to express it.

I hope to be more regular and write more .Till my next post , take care and live life Carpe Diem ;)
Keep that beautiful smile on :)

P.S : And when you comment please leave your names, Anonymous comments will be removed *Being anonymous  does give us a lot of power but let's  just save that for Superheroes*


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 :)