Eye, Me & Myself

Me with my new glasses

The misadventures of the new smartphone generation: Admit it – we are all suffering from the inescapable ‘Digital Eye Syndrome.’

For a soul who was constantly on a laptop for close to 10-12 hours everyday, and at times even more, it was natural to have my eyes affected badly. To add to that, I never spared them even after getting away from the laptop; I continued to consume absolute trash on my smartphone, further torturing the windows to my soul.

There came a time when my eyesight could be best described as looking at the world through a butter paper. The same clarity reflected in my life vision. “Where am I going?, Why can’t I see my future?, What is the meaning to this digital existence?” I had over-fatigued my eyes and it would be in good faith for their sake alone, to undertake remedial action straightaway before I spiral gradually and permanently towards blindness.

I began accounting my time on screens, both laptop and smartphone. Realizing it was way too much for two little eyes in a 24-hour cycle, I made quick changes. Apart from work related reading, I restricted screen time to the absolutely necessary only. But, one can never get away in this digital age – there’s always a screen near you!

I also visited the eye doctor and he wasn’t interested in listening to the symptoms – blurred vision [check], double vision [check], pain in the eyes [check], pain in the head [check], pain in the … [ok, never mind!] He was just proceeding with different types of eye tests, all the while nodding at the symptoms that are now generic, not just restricted to the IT workers.

“No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.”

The fact that you are finally able to book an appointment with him, in the next month, with Lady Luck favouring you over countless weak-sighted others, is a milestone of an achievement. Getting through to Kaun Banega Crorepati is way easier, I tell you!

A poster on his entrance extolled the virtues of eye donation, quite teasingly. I went back in, after having been diagnosed with a bad case of the Digital eye, and both long and near-sightedness, and asked in all innocence, “I am not eligible to donate my eyes, right?” “Wrong! Even a blind person can donate their eyes as long as their cornea is healthy, just ensure you (rather your corpse) is taken to the nearby government hospital within four hours of death.”

This immediately got noted down in my ‘Did you know?’ list.

Talking about interesting facts, the lady before me was asked to visit again after an HIV test. I was more embarrassed than her to hear the doctor’s assistant yell out the name of the government AIDS testing center. For a moment, I was quite muddled: Am I visiting an eye doctor or what? So it seems that STDs also affect the functioning of the eyes. One more to jot down in my ‘Did you know?’ list.

Now I look at the bright side of things. Because after all, “No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.” I could get scarlet fever and go blind. I could get meningitis and go blind. In all likelihood, I could have an evil kid poke a pencil into my eyes, and cause blindness, not to mention severe shock and bleeding, too!

I indulge in eye exercises, these are all over the internet and that’s the irony of it! I meditate, the side effect of which is restoration of the eye and nasal muscles. I also give them adequate rest – you see they are your precious pair after all – the windows to your soul.

They say hindsight is always 20:20. Looking back now, I see many things I could have done differently. In fact, I have a growing list of things I’d like to tell my 18-year-old self, the time since I have been staring at a computer monitor. So, I caution my nieces, my friends and other folks to ration their screen time. Also, anti-glare screens and glasses do not make much of a difference.

Eye exercises, vitamin A-enriched foods and adequate rest are the only three  weapons in your arsenal. Save your eyes, save your world in this digital age!

The Joy of Journaling

A close friend of mine, a mother in her late 30’s, feels a sudden sensation of ‘the world going round and round’, while waiting for her son’s school bus one afternoon. Next thing she remembers – parents of other kids hovering over, trying to talk her back to reality. Regaining consciousness, she is escorted back to her den, to her existential blackhole: nothing escapes her home. All her anxieties, lists of things to do, expectations to live up to, just about everything had taken a toll on her. They just made themselves home, they had no way to get out.

The blackouts had turned frequent. She joined Sri Sri’s Art of Living, alongside taking medications for low blood pressure. ‘I feel so good, you should try it, too!” she sang to me.

The therapeutic benefits of a meditation course have been proven time and again, but there is not much about the positive changes brought about by the simple act of ‘writing a journal.’

I began writing a journal as an 8-year-old. It may have not lasted even 8 days, given my extreme anxiety and sleepless nights over being spied on by my siblings. Reminiscing the entries, they were mostly a vivid description of my dreams, the ones you see with shuteye. One was about how I had discovered a particular mountain, just like other climbers had, with no gravitational pull on one side. The people ahead of me, slowly jumped down, giving wings to their ultimate dreams, and were soon floating about in air, maybe 1500 kms above sea level.

It’s now or never. I got off too. I became a bird, just gliding real slow all around.

Jotting it all down on those pages was so much bliss: the very act of recalling the feeling of being a bird, talking about my wish to, perhaps someday, set out on a discovery mission for the magic mountain.

Another entry I remember is about how my mother taught me to ‘fly a butterfly like a kite’ while returning from school, and how I instantly rejected the idea, because passing a thread through butterfly wings might be hurting them. The other entries in the little journal may have been imaginary stuff – I can’t recollect any more. All I know is me tearing off the pages and then tearing each page into little pieces – me, the human shredding machine!

Later, I tried again but encountered only false starts. The fear of someone finding my diary lying about minding its own business, reading it and knowing the goings-on in my mind, was too extreme for me.

So, I stuck to blogging – logging on the world wide web. It was not personal anymore. I weaved cryptic words into little poems to express what I was feeling inside. I made fictional accounts of fictional characters, actually telling my story. People read them as poetry and fiction, not a soul knew the stories hidden between the lines. This was fun, but not as liberating.

Your diary is your road to inner peace. Your diary is your friend, your philosopher and your guide.

So I stuck to personal diary writing again – late last year, and have been going strong till date. It’s the best part of my day; I look forward to putting pen to paper and jotting down whatever comes to my mind that time.

Therapists have long proven the benefits of keeping a journal, specially after going through trauma you can’t explain to another soul. History is replete with famous people and their diaries, without which we wouldn’t have known their humane side. Inventors, Philosophers, Visionaries, Artists, Shapers of our world have maintained notes or journals of their random thoughts throughout the day. Explorers loved their travel journals while Thinkers loved their book of ideas.

The Anne Frank Diary is a classic window to the joy of journaling. Hiding from Nazis, this Jewish girl all of 12 copes with her anxieties, dreams and aspirations and the eternal fear of being caught, by making time to write the day’s happenings, and her ideas about growing up to be an adult.

Whatever be your standing in life, it can always be tackled by writing away your fears and worries, your anxieties and hurt feelings. I believe like reading, writing too, is to your mind, what exercise is to your body. It can purge out the toxins just when the pen touches the paper, the ink flushes out the unwanted.

Moreover, it helps bring clarity at the times you are quite muddled. In this age of instant gratification and mindless scrolling, swiping and virtual escapism, a diary is a real thing; you can savour it at leisure, look it up for ideas or just ogle at the vintage beauty of a bygone era, still very much yours.

Your diary is your road to inner peace. Your diary is your friend, your philosopher and your guide. Write your own story. Own your day. Jot down things that brought you joy and also those that made you cry, things you’d love to do, friends you’d love to make and places you’d love to visit. Go on… discover the daily joy of journaling!

Ajji – a D.A.R.K revenge drama that’s uncomfortably satisfying

Ajji is just like any other granny. She’s frail on the outside, her wobbly knees could give away any time. Yet she never ceases to run that feet-powered, ancient yet trusty sewing machine. What’s wrong if she can help contribute to her family’s meager income? And, what’s not to like if the family has a little girl all of 10? The girl’s mother sells home-cooked eatables on a bicycle and her father works at the factory. The family stays in a dark, dingy slum with a pregnant out-of-work prostitute as a neighbour.

Ajji is tender at heart, just like marshmallows she melts to her grand daughter Manda’s very being of existence. Still, the depths of her love can only be fully fathomed at the end. How far would she go, to save the dignity of her beloved Manda? Because, where there is a little girl all by herself, minding her own business, there is a big, bad wolf, too!

Ajji, the dark thriller directed by Devashish Makhija and co-written by Mirat Trivedi, is an Indian take on a Korean revenge thriller, but minus the action and the gore. It slowly builds up your hunger for a fantastic revenge by our wobbly, old granny, as it generates hatred for the bad guy in the pits of your core, but finally leaves you very satisfied in the climax.

One night Manda does not return home; a search party comprising the duo gets into action – our wobbly Ajji and her faithful companion, the pregnant prostitute. Together they find the little girl dumped in the trash, brutally raped and bleeding. They bring her home, call a cop who then proceeds with a fake investigation, and adds more insults to their collective injury.

Although Manda identifies her attacker as the son of a local politician, the cop refuses to file a report citing the family itself is into illegal/unlicensed activities. They could be jailed instead, he frightens them. So, life goes on as usual at home.

Our little Manda has no clue about what has happened with her, her mother is strangely aloof about the mental repercussions of this lowly crime on her 10-year-old. She is worried about having to cook eatables and then sell them on a cycle all around the area. “Is this my life?”, is her top most concern!

Ajji decides to take up the matter, and we begin to wonder – ‘How?’ On one side, there is utter poverty, helplessness and frail knees, and on the other, there’s political power dynamics at play. But, her single-minded determination takes her from pinning down the bad guy’s hiding den to ultimately pin him down – badly bleeding and bruised, writhing in pain, with no idea about what just happened.

Source: Wikipedia

Ajji is never, even for a moment, revealing in her expressions. There’s no inkling of an actor’s angst or pretentious venting out fumes of revenge. Just pure, effortless playing of an inwardly resolute but outwardly frail old woman. “I know what I need to do, and I’ll find my way to accomplish it, come what may.”

A particularly long scene between a female mannequin and the bad guy sets the level of gore and misogyny that exists in our society. Post watching that scene, just as ajji is from behind the bushes, you are scarred for life. Like her, you too sub-consciously start working out a plan to do unto him what he does to helpless little girls and women.

The cinematography is like truth; it’s ugly and you need to take it with a pinch of salt. There is absolutely no effort to hide the truth – the sinister truth about dark, unsafe places and big bad wolves. The hardly there background score only adds to the thrill.

The film’s poster is understandably dark in tone, but if one were to look at the wolf in it, they’d know they are in for a sumptuous meal of revenge!

The 2017 film has deservedly been a part of prestigious film festivals all over the globe, and is now available for paid screening if you’ve missed it. On a budget of INR 3.5 crores, in under 105 minutes, Ajji is one memorable film for lovers of dark cinema.

Party for one

I’m a shy and introverted being, and have always been as far back as I can remember. When my dad took me to my first interview, I was all of four. The little me held on to my dad’s lap for dear life; I was certain the principal was a monster in disguise, and this interview was just a front to catch children.

The gentleman placed a colour chart on the table, and pointed out at the squares in random manner, while I whispered the name of the said colour into my dad’s ears. This is the only man I trusted, and would only tell him what I knew. “It is my supreme right to keep my knowledge of colours a secret, only meant for my dad’s ears.”

I flunked the personal interview and test.

It must have been a traumatic experience for my parents to see their intelligent, creatively-inclined but painfully shy last born, not make the cut for her admission to kindergarten. The road to ‘getting her an education‘ is already a bumpy one!

That is my earliest experience of stress caused by panic I caused to my parents. They tried a few local schools but our education system is full of assholes – they are trained to say No! “We cannot take this kid, she just hides behind you tugging at your trousers, or climbs onto your lap and replies into your ears. How do we know if she has any cognitive skills at all?”

My dad – the impossible optimist and a teacher in his early career – had a long talk with the first principal. He got him convinced that there is no learning hurdle here; this child is only shy. I guess writing and some drawing assignments ensued. It saved my life. I was cleared for Junior Kindergarten!

I am 40 now. From 4 to 40, nothing has really changed. I am awfully shy still, and yes I can write and paint to save my life!

In fact, if someone were to harm me like an assault or something, I choose to get my revenge by writing about it. It could take the shape of poetry or prose, but write I will. No revenge is as sweet as describing all the bad things I would do to that person. In hindsight, I believe my parents should have taken me to a counselor, or probably enrolled me in dance or martial arts classes.

Let me not digress. This isn’t about failed parenting, quite far from that in fact. This is about my anxiety that could be at best a reluctance to step ahead and say a ‘hello’ even if I’m dying to be friends with a particular person, and have already imagined a lifelong bond until death do us apart types, and at worst a sudden choking by this invisible monster, a feeling consistently experienced when I enter a party, a meeting or a group interview.

I had so many chances I blew cause I was too damn shy!

One time I nearly began gasping for air, my throat went dry and I forgot all about C and C++, programming languages I was supposedly good at. I felt like I was speaking but words were stuck somewhere between my head and my voice box.

I knew later this was a repeat stress interview, just like the trauma I underwent to get into kindergarten. Nobody cares if you know the right answers, they just want to see you speak while looking at their eyes.

The perks of being shy are none really. Like an old Hindi idiom goes: ‘Jis ne ki sharam, uski phuti karam‘, meaning ‘The shy ones mess up their own destiny.’ And I’m a shining example. I revel in my shyness. I also got sick due to it.

I used to avoid having lunch for a whole six months, during my very first job as a ‘Field Researcher’ with a market research firm, at the tender age of 17. You see I just couldn’t face the stares. People are really rude when it comes to staring at a girl eating her food alone. This is trespassing and should be treated as such.

But, the worst part was me choosing to store all my waste liquids in my bladder, because to empty it, I would need to use the loo – the keys to which were kept at the reception. This was a common toilet, shared by many of the offices in the nearby buildings.

Shyness just didn’t affect my overall well-being; it has kept me away from discovering new friendships. I hardly socialize with new groups. I prefer to stick to my old ones. But, some things are good  with being shy – I don’t talk much and that makes me look intelligent. First time acquaintances are under the impression that I probably know a lot about the discussion at hand!

The other by-product is a focused channeling of my expression. There is no anxiety or a sudden welling up in my stomach when I indulge in creative writing or painting or just reading a book. It’s like my life is so happening – I’m writing this on a Friday night while relaxing Zen music plays on SoundCloud.

Party for one is my kinda life. My kinda Friday chilling out. At 40, there’s no changing that. In case your kids are shy, don’t yell at them. My parents never did, and see how I turned out! 😀

FOMO in 2018

We are all together in this – this Fear Of Missing Out on the best things in life, actually the best things in other peoples’ lives. This endless scrolling through our social feeds right through till midnight – lest we don’t miss out on Ms. Darjeeling ki Babydoll’s special surprise birthday party, which surprisingly was planned by her two BFFs (read sidekicks), and executed by Babydoll herself, of course without her knowledge!

We never fail to amaze ourselves with our ceaseless energy to troll others. Glancing through ex-colleagues’ LinkedIn profiles, trolling through a target individual’s Facebook and Instagram feeds, carefully scrutinizing the hashtags, decoding the meaning between the lines and arriving at our fantastical conclusions about his or her’s glorious life. What to do – we are like this only!

Like ‘eavesdropping’ is a legit human instinct, so is ‘trolling’ in this social networking age.

The Fear Of Missing Out is so acute and widespread a phenomenon the world over – the first world that is – that most of us have quietly succumbed to the fact that FOMO is the new normal. Everybody has it, so it must be OK. Which implies FOMO equals OK. When was the last time you heard someone is OK with their phobia?!

Most of us live with phobic disorders for the larger part of our lives without being aware of how acute our condition is. We walk back when a black cat crosses our path, heaving a sigh of relief from the horrors that would have been the order of the day otherwise.

We do not share our pregnancy news early on, lest evil eyes kill the baby in the womb itself. We do not tell about the recent slip disc episode that kept us from being oh so productive at work and somehow uncool in this age of the fitness rage. And we certainly do not share about our secret love affairs, despite the umpteen conditions that form the foundation of it, cautiously sticking to the – ‘We are just buddies’ phrase.

We thrive on FEAR. Our insecurities make up for most of our pseudo hashtags.

FOMO drives trolls, some of whom go to the extent of making sarcastic posts or comments, bringing upon themselves more harm than they could have possibly brought had they not trolled in the first place. We know our lives are good, we are often reinforcing it every time we share a picture on social media with the hashtag #lifeisgood, but we hardly believe it. For most of us, the grass is always greener… on the other side of the fence.

But, this is far from the truth. Because, the grass is greener, where you water it, my friend!

Fact of the matter is that true FOMO is essential, the Fear Of Missing Out On Real Life. FOMO ORL. FOMO in 2018 must be relegated to missing out on what truly matters to us, what brings us inner peace, what remains with us till the grave.

In 2018, we must fear missing out on the best things in life, like savouring a hot cup of tea at ease, without indulging in the pointless affair of sharing a picture of it on Instagram complete with the hashtags #hotcuppa #teaporn #iamatealover #teaaficionado #chaipanti #ifeelnaughtea and oh, not to forget the universal hashtag – #lifeisgood! (Fun fact – Yours Truly is a certified criminal in the use of #lifeisgood :))

In 2018, we must fear missing out on holding this little bundle of joy in our arms, lazily enjoying its cooing, rather than subjecting it to pure mental torture with endless selfie attempts to get the perfect one – baby nephew and bua all smiling away inside the perfect happy family frame. You know Instagram feeds have a short shelf life just as babies who grow really fast. Enjoy the purity of a baby, these little humans do not ask for much.

In 2018, we must fear missing out on the joys of travel. Getting lost in the wonder that is a sunrise, is way better than clicking a snapshot of it and sharing it with sleepy people on the other side of the planet. Clicking selfies with the locals only because it looks cool on your social feed is nothing enriching compared to the experiences you would have, had you spent time talking with them exchanging tales of love and longing.

In 2018, we must fear missing out on the joys of cooking for our loved ones. We cook in haste and spend most of the time in making the dish look good, for our social feeds. Missing out on the ingredient of love is like missing out on salt, well almost! What is the point of #homechef #instacook #sundaycooking #notagreatcook when the taste buds aren’t happy?!

FOMO in 2018 needs a new definition. Let us resolve to FOMO on the best things life has to offer this year. Cheers to #FOMO on the best of 2018!

Adios 2017!

Tosh

It just feels like yesterday that we rang in the New Year. January 1, 2017 was an eventful one in so many ways, little did I know this new year not only would I experience the amazing feeling of snowflakes falling all over me, but also ushering in an absolute change in origin and scale of my life. For starters, I was at a very high altitude at a village called Tosh in Himachal, with the kinds of temperatures I’ve never felt before. I was as Madonna crooned: Frozen, at many levels than just my body.

I was certain this was my last night on this beautiful planet, I remembered my mother fondly nursing the infant me. I was chilling to the bone the whole night, but miraculously stay awoke and alive to see the morning of January 2, 2017. Well, Happy New Year to me!

Now as the year draws to a close, my life needs a closure too. The many expectations from this year that came crashing down just a few months ago, the many goals that were left untouched as I didn’t feel worthy enough, and the million unsaid words that will remain so, all of it now deserve a closure.

I imagine myself writing them all on a sheet of paper, or perhaps a bunch of papers, folding them and shoving them inside a bottle and throwing it in the sea. Swaha to the Sea Goddess!

A wise man once said that for the things we have to learn, we learn by doing them. I have to learn watercolour painting. I have to master the medium, else I might just shrivel up and die. The last four months I haven’t painted at all, it all felt so pointless. How do you laugh when you are being strangled?!

A harsh truth had revealed itself, the beautiful world I had so lovingly built came undone. The reason: a human parasite, a being that sucks out your light, your energy, your dreams, all the while flashing a crooked smile at you while you are looking away. This being was always there: hidden, discreet and a smooth operator in stealth mode. But, The Universe always gives you what you need and not what you want.

I needed this. This tight slap of reality. This series of lies, deceit and mind games needed to come to an end, And, it did, thank the good lord for that. Now I am empty. My slate is clean but with a thousand words wanting to weave themselves into poetry, a thousand colours wanting to blend together as a painting, a thousand wishes waiting to come true.

2017 was as much filled with love as it was with loathing. You know love and hate are two sides of the same coin, they are mutually dependent; without one the other cannot exist. And I also met with a new personality, a new me – a human being with a kind and compassionate heart. I almost want to embrace myself in a big tight hug!

Part of this is credit to my upbringing. “Forgive those who sin against you, as it is your own Karma, else it would have never happened in the first place!”

It is so true when they say that character is what you are in the dark. I could have become a monster out on a journey of revenge, but as an old Chinese adage puts it so wisely, and which I so followed, When you go on a journey of revenge, dig two graves,” the rainbow is back in my life. I no longer seek to hurt this parasite, it is anyways sad that it is incapable of surviving on its own.

But, I do feel a lot disappointed in myself that I did not achieve the 50 paintings target I had set for this year. I barely touched a little over a quarter of that number, only 16 paintings to be precise but painted with heaps of gratitude nevertheless. It is really fortunate to be able to earn a decent living while you go about following a deep dream that’s been brimming forever inside of you.

I hate goodbyes but such is life. Adios 2017, you have been thus far the most significant year of my life. I have grown a truckload wiser!

Cheers to all my loved ones and admirers, may you have a great 2018 ahead. Sharing some of my works from this year:

A post shared by Vinaya (@oldfox004) on

A post shared by Vinaya (@oldfox004) on

A post shared by Vinaya (@oldfox004) on

A post shared by Vinaya (@oldfox004) on

A post shared by Vinaya (@oldfox004) on

A post shared by Vinaya (@oldfox004) on

A post shared by Vinaya (@oldfox004) on

A post shared by Vinaya (@oldfox004) on

A post shared by Vinaya (@oldfox004) on

A post shared by Vinaya (@oldfox004) on

Waiting for your favourable reply…

[Warning: Read at your own risk]

Hi dear, good morning,  go through my profile once again & decide or pass this message to those who really need my help. i have just started my journey in the titanic ship as dassan and looking eagerly for rose to share everything whatever i have with me till reach my destination. In the ship i like to do romance, like to help her and support her fully. waiting for a chance, whoever she may be, i  dont know, expecting the luck of getting good and nice girl or women as a normal human being. it is not a friendship in the ship and also not necessary to make friendship but it is beyond the friendship level because sharing love and affection with a girl has totally different meaning, it has more value forever. it is not neccessary to get marriage. Marriage is just a approval ceremony to link male and female only. friendship is different, making love & affection is different, marriage is different. i am in second catagory. come, we will enjoy. see my face and talk, leave me if u dont like. give me a chance to go with you.reply me. dont be silent, be frank, nothing to fear,it is not a very un-usual thing, the way just to be happy in safe manner, waiting for your favorable reply, thanks. no compulsion, it is upto your own wish and decision”.

The above letter is unedited, unadulterated  version from a certain ‘Mister Peri Vendhan’. Just copy-pasted here as is, else it would lose its very essence of existence; its very reason to be. And hell no, I haven’t made it up. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. This one is a gem of a proposal.

A while back, I had received this email proposal; I would have given it a pass had it not been bombarding my inbox every two days, like an incessant banging on my door. When I couldn’t take the banging [pun intended], I risked a read and am still recuperating. The after-effects of a catastrophe may take time to fade off, but not considering Mr. Vendhan‘s kind offer of help will leave one immortally wounded in the heart.

I have considered His Highness’s kind offer of help and am carefully evaluating his way ‘just to be happy in safe manner.’ Here is my reply to you, kind Sir, hope you do not mind the open letter format I’ve chosen to respond to your offer, I gathered there are other nice girls or women who could do with your generous offer of help and support.

Dear Mister Vendhan,

Kind Sir, May I please have the honour and privilege of addressing your Highness as Dassan of my Titanic, only for the purpose of this open letter? Dearest Dassan of my Titanic, I am deeply touched by your deep efforts to search for your Rose, with whom you wish to ‘share everything whatever you have with you till you reach your destination’. You know, the Titanic was doomed – it never reached its destination.

But, I understand your idea of destination is more inclined towards a romantic kind, you certainly do not plan to travel any place with your Rose.

You mentioned about what you intend to do in the ship: your idea of romance, help and full support for Rose is an exhilarating one. Any nice girl or woman would jump to that, but I sank, I’m unable to fathom the depths of your love for Rose. You say that ‘it is not a friendship in the ship, it is beyond’. You say that ‘sharing love and affection with a girl has totally different meaning.’ I think that was deep. And the Titanic sank real deep… oops!

I am a lowly nincompoop, what to do! I fail to comprehend the meaning of ‘totally different meaning.‘ All I know is that boy meets girl, falls in love, they get married and live happily ever after. But, in your story, I fail to see a ‘happily ever after.’ Will Dassan fall off the raft so his Rose could live? You know you seriously need to watch that movie.

So Dearest Dassan of my Titanic, I went through your profile a thousand times over, and like you so desired, I decided to pass this message to those who really need your help. I sincerely apologize from the depths of my heart for rejecting your kind proposal. Although there is no compulsion as you state, it is upto my own wish and decision ‘to see your face and talk, leave you if I don’t like’, I am deeply sorry for not giving you a chance. Believe me, I too wish ‘to be happy in safe manner.’

And, I do understand your point about there being ‘nothing to fear,it is not a very un-usual thing, the way just to be happy in safe manner’. Trust me, I am not scared at all to sail this ship with you, dearest Dassan of my Titanic. The issue is me: I just can’t see myself as your Rose. Who am I and what have I ever done to deserve you, your kind heart, your generous love and affection? 

I’m deeply sorry once again for dashing your hopes ‘of getting good and nice girl or women as a normal human being.‘ I am a nice girl. I am normal too but just not privileged enough to set sail with you, dearest Dassan of my Titanic. Perhaps your Rose is blooming somewhere, some place as she reads this offer coming from the depths of your heart. I wonder how she will express her wish to sail with you.

Anyways, good luck to you Mister Peri Vendhan, I hope and pray that you two are united soon. Hoping this is a favorable reply.

Happy Sailing!

oldfox 004

Your age is your discount!

This April the 4th I turned 38. It may not be a big deal, in fact it is just a number, but it is a significant one nevertheless. From a size ‘M’, I’ve grown to a size ‘L’ if comfort is what I’m looking for. I need to stub out a few beard hairs every week, else risk looking like ‘she-man’. I carry around a tyre like a stationary hula-hoop around my waist.

I’ve begun to eat more than I need, exercise less than I must, talk more than I should, listen less than what is good for me.

I’ve begun to eat more than I need, exercise less than I must, talk more than I should, listen less than what is good for me.

My thought processes have chosen their absolute paths around my cranium and the connected nervous system. Everything there is to learn in life to sustain a decent livelihood has been done with, and my grey cells have gone into hibernation. I feel a terrifying vaccum inside me is sucking in everything from my insides, forming a lump of non-renewable mass to be never transformed into energy or set anything into motion again in life.

Apparently, this is what is termed as mid-life crisis, or the perceived notion of reaching a ‘dead end’ in one’s journey, because everybody (read society) says so!

The so-called ‘People of the Society’ now have a fair understanding about me, and by that qualification, they can now advise me on what exactly I should be doing in the 38th year of my life.

Happy 38

A coincidence off-late made me mull over my age. It so happened that I was seated at a popular Chinese takeaway, waiting for my parcel, when right adjacent to me was a standee, displaying loudly: “Your Age is your Discount”. A beauty salon was looking to boost its haircut sales.

I wondered, “Can my age be discounted in real life?

38 tells me how much grey has begun to set in; how fatigued is my body; it nudges me to go for a health check up so I could wring any hereditary or lifestyle diseases right away while the nasty things are still in stealth mode. 38 tells me I’m closer to 40!

38 defines where I am in life with respect to where I should’ve been in life as per my life goals. It tells my government to put me in the next demographic. It tells the people around me that I have now arrived at a ‘big’ juncture in my life, that I should now take life seriously, that I need to now worry about my aging body and not flush my eggs down the toilet bowl – and here is where it all ends, sadly!

38 also throws up some very vital questions: Am I sporting an age-appropriate waistline? Should I colour my greys? Have I under-achieved compared to my peers? Do my friends and family miss me? Does my age bother my other half? Can I still reach the finishing line? Am I a failure?

Wait… these don’t look like vital questions, in fact, these aren’t even questions!

These are fears implanted over the generations, in you and me; like a wheel it goes on and on in a never ending cyclic path, consuming every fresh idea that comes its way.

These are fears implanted over the generations, in you and me; like a wheel it goes on and on in a never ending cyclic path, consuming every fresh idea that comes its way. Satan’s other name is Fear!

Age can be discounted had we been told how many years we would exist. Let’s suppose a human life was designed to live fully till 100 years, and then the aging process would set in. In this imaginary world, I could avail a 38% discount the whole of this year, and really look forward to turning 39.

But, we are mortal beings with no number attached to the lives that die every second. They could be 3 or 8 or 38, and still mean so much to the people in their lives.

The only way to keep going on is to ‘unlearn’ everything they tell you to. Stay in the ‘now’ and not worry about the future and certainly not about age, because as someone wise once sang, “Que sera, sera.”

Cheers to all of us who are 38 years ‘young’ this year!

Maid 2.0

Uborka-2

My bai woes are unending. This year we shifted our home-office to a new place in the same locality, an extra room with an additional balcony meant more space between the Mister and me. Life had become so peaceful that I almost began to worry, remember the Universe’s first law of Happiness – “This too shall pass”. Now picturise a happy sun saying this to you.

Little did I know that my inner peace would be ruffled soon by the new maid. Her name means ‘Poetry’ and just like they say, “There is magic in poetry”, there was magic in her, or rather her work. Dust vanished into thin air, as she walked into every room. Things sorted themselves as if by divine reconfiguration. The Mister and me lived like the King and the Queen in their squeaky clean apartment…until.

She came. She saw. She conquered.

The day we set foot in our house after all the packing and the moving and then the unpacking, we saw a quaint figure watching us from a distance. The next day, a lady deliberately crossed paths with the Mister and ordered him to employ her as our maid. He placed the ball in my court. She came to me the next day and pleaded for the job.

Maids and me have always been in an abusive relationship. They set the rules and I quietly abide by them. Do read “Maid in India” and “My maid and her newfound efficiency” for an accurate context.

The new home ushered new hopes, so I decided to let go of past trauma. I told her to come from the next week, but she started that very day. She sweeped and she mopped, then she mopped some more and left me a happy soul.

Days went by and just as the Mister and me were getting newly accustomed to our clean home, and hassle-free maid, things took an ugly turn.

It started with her reporting time that swayed anywhere from pre-breakfast to lunch-making time. Some days she came even before I could open my eyes fully. When I complained, “It’s too early”, she’d say, “I have to go out.”

Some days she comes in when I’m preparing lunch and offers no explanation whatsoever. When it turned into a daily habit, I asked her, of course in a feeble voice, as to what is the matter in her life. Is she going through some mid-life crisis? Does she need a break?

She said, “I got more houses to clean now.” I kept mum.

Then came the holidays. One time she went on a vacation for ten days, of which only four were informed ones. I didn’t dare to ask her this time!

Dust can be neither cleaned nor be destroyed, but it transfers from one place to another.

Dust is transferred from one place to another, just like the law of conservation of energy that states – Energy can be neither created nor be destroyed, but it transforms from one form to another. The dust law applies to all maids.

My house is as much clean as it is dusty!

This month, she has set a new rule, well two actually – one we cannot ‘not be present’ at home whenever she comes, and second, we need to inform her in advance if we will ‘not be present’ at home whenever she comes.

The Mister booked Sunday tickets for ‘Mad Max Fury Road’ on a Saturday evening. I had to have them cancelled, as we hadn’t taken requisite permission from The Maid.

Life has come a full circle when it comes to maids. It’s almost poetic. She says she has a very tiny child (this is a new story) who acts as per his whims and fancies (look who’s talking).

I have almost given up in my hunt for the perfect maid. They say, “Life is finding love in the imperfections” and it is true. We don’t look eye to eye anymore, and I don’t dare occupy the bathroom…whenever she comes.

Image credit: Vectors 4 all

My maid helped me rediscover my passion for life

Time and again I get questioned on why I don’t blog here more frequently. That’s like asking my maid why she turns up at my place so few times of the year. It’s just that she has a ton of household chores to deal with in her home already. Like I have a ton of posts to write about at the Lighthouse blog – the blog we run from our home-office. So no big deal really. But, all this was in the past. It’s a new story altogether. Read on…

Yesterday I had this uncanny feeling that she is watching over me, smiling away to herself. Why am I day dreaming about her, you ask? That is because she has gifted me with her “indefinite absenteeism”, ever since the morning of my birthday last month. It was a crazy working Friday and I was looking forward to her making it to my house, so we (the Mister & me) could enjoy a clean home at least for the one special day that comes once a year.

goodbyeAlas she dashed our hopes! This despite saving more than a quarter piece from the Monginis Swiss chocolate cake for her. This despite wishing for her to visit us when I blew upon my birthday candles. This despite praying from the bottom of my heart.

In fact, she dashed our hopes the day after that and the day after that day too. She seems to have taken an oath to never visit us forever. I still await the day I catch a glimpse of her somewhere – you know I owe her 3 days of last month’s pay, if we were to ignore the 100 days she hasn’t turned up in the last year.

Somehow, she must have stumbled upon these blog posts I write about her. The first signs started showing right after I described my encounter with an assortment of maids and finally ending up with the best of the lot in ‘Maid in India’. Soon after I had complained about her frequent absenteeism, of course in my blog, she started showing up more frequently until she reported every single day. This I described in my blog post ‘My maid and her newfound efficiency’. But, alas she has chosen to desert me.

And maybe it is for good.

Now my weekends are more clogged with the laundry, the basin and sink, the floors, the bathroom, the cooking range, my weekly head champi, along with my lost-and-found love for art and crafts. Yes, the entire time I had all these weekends, I never did a thing except stare at beautiful and incredible pieces of artwork I explored on the internet. But, now after my maid has abandoned me, I have finally re-discovered my sole purpose for living – my passion for the arts. I have been busy in the weekends doing some kind of art, and of course the house chores.

There’s a silver lining at the end of dark clouds, they say. For me, it has been my maid’s uninformed disappearance for close to two months now. And I hope it remains that way.

Image credit: Photobucket/Vicki Berson