Saturday, January 25, 2014

Yeh Raaste Hai Pyaar Ke?

Disclaimer: part fact, part fiction

It was Friday afternoon as I was driving back to Ahmedabad from Gandhinagar.  It had been a productive day, meeting bureaucrats, talking to them.  As a journalist who's new in her field, I still find it hard to talk to people.  I have taken time to accept that it *is* my job to ask questions and it is *their* job to answer them.  My asking questions does not mean I am disturbing them.  I was pulling together my thoughts about the last 5 hours spent at the state capital, and forming plan of action as the radio played the 90s songs.  90s songs always make me nostalgic because growing up, television was my constant companion (before internet took over as my new best friend).  I've never had many friends anyway.  A Salman Khan song triggered a few memories and I smiled to myself. Only then did I realise that I had a smile on my face all along, and the memories just made me smile broader.  For inexplicable reasons, this made me burst out laughing.

At the same moment, I noticed a guy on his bike was flickering his headlights.  I thought he wanted me to move away from the fast lane so he could overtake.  I obliged.  He overtook, and I noticed "PRESS" written on his bike.  Hmm. Birds of same feather, I smiled.  He look at me through his rear-view mirror and slowed down.  And before I realised, I had overtaken him.  From the rear-view mirror, I could see him smile.  He again flickered the headlights of his bike and I let him overtake again.  This time I was determined not to overtake.  We are not in some thrill movie.  Racing is dangerous.  And I like to be safe.  However, he slowed down to the point that I could overtake him even if I were walking.  (okay, that's an exaggeration)

It repeated a couple of times, till I finally rolled down my window and asked, "Yes?"

"What's your name?" he asked.  Okay, maybe he's a journalist and he has seen me before, and he's being polite.

"Sneha", I say.

"I'm Tushar", he said. "You know we cannot keep racing each other, right?"

"Well, we sure can.", I said and took off my sunglasses.

"Can I have your cell number?" he asked.

What?  Is this some new trick in the books that I'm not aware of?

"Umm, no, I don't think so." I said.

"Do you want my cell number?" he asked.

"No, thank you." I said. "It was nice meeting you", I added before zooming off.

What just happened.  Did a complete stranger on a bike ask for my number? में इतनी भी सुंदर नहीं हूँ .

At some point I managed to lose him, and I reached office.

Rest of the day went by in a blur.  It was a busy day.  It wasn't until 9 pm that I turned off my computer.

I could feel the chills as I walked towards my car.  As I sat, I noticed a note stuck on the glass wiper.  I got out of the car, and read the note.

Dear Sneha,

It was a lovely co-incidence to see you today.



I froze. 

(to be continued, maybe.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Wedding I Attended

I suck at small talk.  Even more when I'm expected to talk to people I'm not particularly fond of.  And I am related to a lot of people I am not too fond of.

Last evening I spent amidst people, some I like, some I don't and some I tolerate because if I don't bow down to take their blessings, mother would disown me.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't hate all my relatives.  I even like some of them.  But then, whats the point of having relatives if you are not allowed to get irritated by them?

It was a cousin's wedding last night and despite my protests on attending it and even trying to throw the "I've to go to work" card, mother didn't relent.  She even tried to get me to dance, but I didn't pay any heed and pretended to be busy on a call when in reality no one ever calls me.  Except my boss, maybe.

Anyway, I just thought of documenting the evening I spend avoiding people for posterity sake.

I am also coming up with a "How to avoid small talk 101 series." Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's Geek To Me

Indian comics? You mean Tinkle? No.

Francis Cleetus has drawn some really witty, interesting and funny toons in his compilation.  Yes, internet and memes form an integral part of our lives these days and this compilation has some subtle, some laugh out loud strips.

I don't quite know how else to put it, but if you have spent a lot of time figuring out the use of F11 key on your laptop, go for this book.

Name: It's Geek 2 Me
Author: Francis Cleetus
Price: Rs. 250 (currently Rs. 149 on Flipkart)
Courtesy: Flipkart

Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister - Apple and Harley advertisement

What better time to come out with a 'political thriller' where the fictional prime minister is not from either of the major parties than the 2014 general elections looming over our heads? Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister by Tabrik C has an interesting theme, starts off well, but somewhere along the line, the plot is lost.

It spans out more like a 300+ page advertisement of Apple and Harley Davidson.  Because of course India will have a cool PM, Sidharth Tagore in 2016 who loves his Harley.  And his opponent, one Rukmani Devi, who likes to listen to Siddharth's speech on her iPad.  Attention to details, you see.

It seems a bit of a rushed affair, because though the plot is promising, there are lot of loose ends.  Or probably I'm not bright enough to understand the subtleties the author has used.

Or maybe I just spaced out midway because the whole book keeps shifting between 85-86 to 90s to 2016-17.  And there are some 1 page chapters, and then he jumps to a different time period.  At some point I stopped reading which year I'm reading about and started playing guessing game about which period he's talking about from the content.  I think I had a mild headache after I finished reading.

And the nuclear blast that takes place in the book in the first chapter, does not find any mention till the book is over.  You are left wondering isn't the book about the Prime Minister who will miraculously save India from a terror attack? Because I was hoping it would be that.  I was a tad disappointed because I actually had a lot of hopes from the book.

All that aside, if I ever get to meet the author, I would like to tell him I like his name. Tabrik. I may or may not have developed a crush on his name.

Anyway. I think it is worth reading once, but finish it in one go, because if you give it a break, you'll have to re-read it to get back into it.

Book: Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister
Author: Tabrik C
Price: Rs. 350 (Pre-order now for Rs. 263 on FlipKart)
Courtesy: FlipKart

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Diary of a Reluctant Feminist - Review

Baby is going through a divorce, but her Punjabi family would not hear any of it.  Denial that marriages sometimes don't work out and that love is an important part of a relationship forms the basis.

Having encountered something similar at close encounters, I'd say I could relate and understand a lot of what was written in the book.

Don't get me wrong, it is not an emotional saga of a struggle of a woman who wants her marriage to end because there is no love left between her and her husband.  It makes me laugh a couple of times and I could relate to a lot of part about being brought up by Indian parents with love, food and overwhelming guilt.

However, I wish the book said more about her relationship with her husband.  While she has anecdotal stories about her entire extended family, we hardly read anything about her husband.  Or ex husband.  When the theme of your book is getting divorce from the husband, I think the husband should've made some appearance in the narrative too.  Also, reasons on how they fell out of love, or generally, something more about the relationship that went sour would've added some more drama.

It read more like an extended blog than a book, but definitely good for light reading because the sticky subject of divorce in India does not emotionally drain you out.

Title: The Diary of a Reluctant Feminist
Author: Bhavna Bhavna
Rating: 2/5 
Courtesy: Flipkart. Click here to buy.
Price: Rs. 299 (currently Rs. 199)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The year that was and the year that will be

As cliched as the opening of this blogpost, I had been wondering on writing up a yearly round up of sorts since a while.  But never got around doing it.

Why should we even celebrate new year? It's just a change of date.  Spoken like a true hipster who doesn't celebrate new year because it is too mainstream.  Apparently it is just a date change which we humans invented.

Dude, for that matter, everything was created by humans only.  Including your birthday. So please don't celebrate that also.  Oh, wait, you don't do that anyway, because you're sad  you're getting a year older.  And why should you celebrate one year closer to death. 

It is because of people like these that people like us need therapy.  Anger management so we don't punch them in their face for being incredibly depressing.

Anyway.  2013 was a good year.  I got a job, which I love.  I got to see my name in print, which was awesome.  I saved up a little and got the gadgets I wanted (iPad Air and Nexus 5, I'm now starting a fund - Help Nirwa Buy Mac Fund, kindly donate generously) which was fabulous and I am in love with both the gadgets.  I also started taking my health seriously.  Nothing feels as good as sweat dripping off forehead on goodhair day.  Which eventually turns into hair-so-greasy-let-me-tie-them-in-braid day.  I started making conscious efforts to be happier.  If a person is drawing me down, I tried to push them away from me.  I stopped letting other people be charge of my happiness.  I do not need toxic people in my life, even if they are friends.

I still get into the sad mode when I feel I don't have friends adn I am not loved, but that's a deep rooted emotion and it will take time for me to get over that. (I have always known I need therapy, but talking about deep rooted emotional issues does not come easily to me.  Also because no one has even tried asking me or knowing what my issues are.)  So while I'm not there yet completely, I'll get there.  I'm on the right track.

I started to enjoy my own company and stopped depending on internet for my eternal source of happiness.  (internet still rules my list of things that make me happy, but it is now not the only thing on the list)  I go off to this Zen cafe near Sundervan or at Chocolate Room at S G Highway on my own.  With a book. (yes, got back to reading with a vengeance.)  These two places are near my house and I don't have to wade insane traffic to reach.  I'm usually found sitting in a corner in either of these cafes on Saturday evenings. It makes me happy.

I stopped making efforts to make other people happy.  Because other people's happiness is not my responsibility.  This may sound selfish to you, but it just made me less sad.  I spent so much time making sure I make other people happy that I even tolerated mildly toxic friendship which was a lot like me being friend with a dementor and it was sucking happiness out of me.  I think everyone of us has issues.  We all need to learn to deal with them without making other people's lives hell.  You have anger issues, deal with them.  I'm not taking no shit from anyone anymore.

And what I look for in new year? Well, more health, more happiness (because iPad and Nexus and of course, Kindle), career getting a direction (yay, more news).  These are the only things I can think of right now.

Also, anonymous gifts and fanmails and snail mails are more than welcome. <3 br="" nbsp="">