Thursday, January 29, 2015

Struggles of being a journalist

Being a journalist is not easy.  Especially when you come without a degree in journalism or any prior journalism experience.

You see, some of us come without baggages. 

I have come across some really, really smart people and am glad they are the ones who write news based on which people form their opinions.

At the same time, there are a bunch of conspiracy theorists whose ideas are terrifying.  My first instinct is to make fun of the media but then I quickly realise I am now part of this circus myself.

I am torn between two worlds.  Of a rational reader who takes everything with truckloads of salt.  And a journalist who tries to be honest to her profession and tries to give a balanced write-up on the news that are presented to me.  

Every time I write a story, I ask myself, am I being honest to myself as a reader? Well, at least I try.

I am still in awe of people who have been around way longer than I have.  I blush like a teenaged girl when some of them recognise me because honestly speaking, any sort of attention makes me wonder. (totally blaming the lack of confidence about myself to the years I spent studying Chartered Accountancy that drained me out of all my energy and positivity.)

I want to reach out to most of them and talk about their experiences, but you know, most of them are so wary of people approaching.  Or at least I think they are.

As I said, as someone who comes without any baggage or any knowledge of years of gossip about them, I am approaching them with a fresh slate and I genuinely want to know them.  But all your moves are probably questioned.  It baffles me. 

Oh, and who you meet, who you interact with over Twitter - they all become topics of gossip for months to come.  Like really.  

No, I am really interested in meeting people, listening to their stories.  I find them fascinating. 

So will I stop doing what I enjoy because some people may take it otherwise?


I will still go out of my way to compliment someone.  Because a compliment never hurts. 

It is nice to be nice.

But in journalism, it being nice makes people suspicious.


I just don't want to get disheartened and question the choice of my career.  If any senior journalists around have a word of advice, I'm all ears.

Friday, January 23, 2015


All of you animal and dog lovers who advocate #AdoptAStray, I have some good news.  I have half a dozen strays in my lane to offer.  

The adorably cuddly creatures are a delight to have around.  Here's why:

1.  Our lane (6 houses in total) have had 9 pairs of shoes destroyed including a pair of shoes which a neighbour paid Rs. 15,000 for. I admit I laughed at it because serves him right for taking my parking spot.

2.  Ghaghra of our domestic help went missing the other day.  Investigation revealed BigBrownDog3 took a fancy to it and snatched it from the place where it was drying and ran away with it.  It was found near the Amul garden outside our society, a good 200 mtrs away.  The domestic help refuses to wear the ghaghra again even when I offered to get it dry cleaned.  While it is highly amusing and I am laughing really hard as I type this, poor thing was traumatised that a dog ran away with her ghaghra.

3.  Last night I had to sit outside my house in the car, all locked and rolled up windows because all six of them decided to get into a fight.  Amidst all the growling and barking, they didn't realise that I had silently parked next to them.  After a good 10 minutes, one of them realised an alien object next to them and looked directly at me.  And growled.  I'm going to assume they recognised my presence and not any paranormal presence because that would scare the shit out of me.  Guess seeing me had a calming effect on them because then all of them decided to form a circle and sit while looking in different directions.  Each took turns at random interval to look in my general direction.  It was terrifying.  I was not sure if I could now try and get into the house.  Then as luck would have it, they just decided to get up and leave at the same time.  Maybe God does exist.

4.  Our pet peacocks, which have been adopted by the mother, (no, they are not our pets - do not sue me - they just come home and have food and water at our place. I just like to call them pet peacocks) are being chased away by these adorably fluffy growling creatures.  Not something that makes us happy.  Peacocks are pretty to look at and we like them.  At least they do not bark at us.

So yes, I, on behalf of our entire neighbourhood, am offering these balls of fur for adoption.  Since so many of you are advocating #AdoptAStray, kindly look no further and come over and take them.  Take them all away.  Goddess Saraswati (because Vasant Panchami tomorrow) will bless.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

24 hours without phone

So last week my phone decided to switch itself off at will.  It had been bothering me off and on for a month but the entire week last week was super frustrating.  It took me about six hours to figure out a pattern.  If the pressure on the power button to tun on the screen was less or more than optimal pressure, the phone would switch itself off.

It was frustrating especially when I wanted to click pictures of food and birds taking shower in the bowl of water we kept for drinking especially when one bird attacked a squirrel when it wanted to drink water from same bowl.

It was frustrating in general because if I'm bored at work and wanted to go through Twitter or post other awesome observations, and I would turn on the screen only to realise the stupid phone was switched off since a while (and I don't even know how long).

So finally I gave in to the frustration (I prayed every day to God that please please please let the phone be alright and I will do whatever you tell me to - well, God didn't listen to my prayer - not gonna listen to whatever He asks me to do now - maybe it was God's little way of teaching life lessons that 'lyf sux, lol' or something like that) and took the phone to LG service centre.

Since it was out of warranty, the dude even told me that if motherboard has gone mad, I may need to replace it which will cost me 13k. It's like I might as well get two new MotoEs with it and have four phones. (because dual sim and two phones - you guys, please don't make me explain jokes.)

Anyway, cutting long story short, I was without phone for a good 24 hours.  It made me a little cranky.  And also how much of a technology slave I am.

Like I could not tweet for the duration I was in office. Sure Twitter is accessible, but as a rule, keeping social media out of work computers. (Also, don't even remember how the web client works - who uses Twitter for web anyway?) That made me sad.

I had no access to phone numbers. I wanted to schedule a few appointments for today, and I could not because those damned numbers - who remembers them? Maybe a physical copy of numbers may be a good idea - need a minion to write down the numbers and decipher some names I have stored as "Babu Fruit" and "Vikas Zen" (okay, Vikas Zen may be the dude I've met in Zen cafe, and aah, no wonder I had forgotten his name. OMG. he must think I'm a horrible person when in fact I had just forgotten his name. :()

Anyway. No WhatsApp.  No texts. (when I did turn on the phone, I had some 8 WhatsApp conversations and zero text alerts - just goes out to show no one texts me. :( ) (sad also because of the 8 conversations, only 3 were from "people" and 1 was a good morning forward, and 1 was a message from Dad which he had forwarded and 3 were group messages which are muted - basically, no one loves me. :(

No alarm in the morning.  Because I don't have a clock in room - maybe I should get an old fashioned alarm clock for my room. Because you never know when your stupid phone ditches you.

And no calls. Like, no one even calls me. :( I am such a delight to talk to. Why wouldn't anyone call me? My phone has been functioning since last 2 hours now and not a single call. :(

Basically, 24 hours without phone taught me I can live without my phone.

And nobody loves me.

(yea, blaming it all on the hormones - already had 2 Nestlé Munch and 1 single finger KitKat)

Feel free to message me today and ask me to join you for a coffee on Friday, ok?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Two years

It has been two years since I last cried myself to sleep at 5 am feeling absolutely worthless.  The feeling where you do not realise you cross the thin line between feeling extreme irrevocable sadness (which you eventually overcome with time) and clinical depression (which requires therapy and lot of love and patience).

The two years have been good years, though.  I realised I am worth more than I was made to believe I was.  That despite all the quirkiness and the geekiness and my love for Salman Khan, I deserve the best the world has to offer, just like everyone else.

I have learnt that I'd rather live with "oh, wells" than "what ifs" and that life is too short to regret letting anyone know how you feel about them, especially if it is love.  So what I am a prime and shining example of unrequited love. At least I am not giving up the hope! (Yes, Karan Johar and Yash Chopra would be extremely proud of me)

I have learnt that I enjoy being with people as much as I enjoy solitude.  Solitary walks are my "me time" - the time I look around and observe nature.  Some times I wish I carried my phone so I could take pictures.  But then other times I am glad I don't. That is my one hour away from technology.

It has been two years since I realised there is a limit to being a pushover.  And that everyone should fight their own battles, and that I cannot be fighting their battles for them.

From being a timid, under confident girl, I now do not feel awkward talking to people.  I have realised that while I suck at small talk, I still like talking to people.  That 2012 was one of the worst years of my life and at times I am glad it happened because in hindsight I realise that that year shaped my outlook - it made me realise that I need to get rid of toxic people from my life.  I cannot let them thrive over my positivity and energy.  That if you have to try way too hard to make things work, then it is probably not worth the effort.

I can't wait to find out what this year has stored in for me.  I am very, very excited about life, even though it sometimes decides to conspire against me.  After all, it is all supposed to work out in the end, right?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Science of falling in love

It's funny how everything has chemistry involved.  You thought it's your heart that falls in love, but actually it's your brain with little help from the chemicals secreted in that tiny little brain of yours.

I always thought I fall in love easily.  But then, I am rational too, when it comes to love.

Example: I may have harboured feelings for Salman Khan all through these years - falling in love with him all over again every time he would smile or hold that intense gaze or just laugh his heart out, but I also know I can never let him take me for a drive.  (I mean, I'd rather take him for a drive, heh.)  Even as a fangirl, I am open to people making fun of his terrible movies.  So, you see? The rational part of me kicks in when I see bullshit around.

But celebrities apart, I would still fall in love easily.  (and easily fall out of it - because one sided and when it's not reciprocated - the negatives are glaring in my face like red flags, like the chances of the person being married or something?) 

So maybe I need to fall in love smarter.  I mean, so many people around me have found The One, how hard could it be for me? (well, apparently, very - where are the single, interesting men who are not assholes?)

Anyway, so I came across this article which talks about falling in love with anyone.  It's says how talking to someone, and answering few personal questions, and having a few commonalities between two people, you could fall in love.  Apparently, someone conducted an experiment in a lab, and the "subjects" ended up marrying each other six minutes later.  Like, really. (I am willing to be a subject in such experiment, provided the other subject is kind of cute.)

But is it really that simple? Who am I to answer - I just confessed I fall in love easily.  It doesn't take too much to make my heart flutter. (of course, staying in love is harder - because you know, the feeling has to be reciprocated by the other person to continue to stay in love - maybe that is also one of the reasons I fall out of love easily too - perils of one-sided love)

Also, the writer here has mentioned very important point - that for the experiment to succeed, both persons have to be open to the idea of falling in love with that other person. (yes, so that means I need to find such a subject - looking for subjects - send in your applications with recent passport size photograph)

So, yes, I am looking for a love enthusiast willing to be part of the experiment - where we are both willing to fall in love with each other.

Here are the 36 questions: (after answering these we have to look into each others' eyes for 4 minutes - so yea)

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

So, any volunteers?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to be a celebrity visiting Gujarat

Celebrity is a wide term.  I am using it to even include diplomatic celebrities, like heads of nation and #WorldPeace organisations and movie stars and basically everyone who has been written about in newspapers at least once in their lifetime.

How do you visit Gujarat as a celebrity?  Here are the pointers.

1.  Always, always go to Sabarmati Ashram because that's all we've got as a tourist destination.  Like, really.  Ahmedabad has nothing to offer otherwise, except my amazing company, though.  I am a delight to be around.  (like really, your trip to Ahmedabad is waste if you don't meet me - I am cute, have dimples and am adorable :P)

2.  Always say kem chho.  Nothing pleases us Gujaratis like seeing non-Gujaratis, especially non-Indians go kem chho on us.  If I ever go to Japan, I'll totally go konichiwa on everyone I come across because I'm cool like that.  So, kem chho is the Gujarati konichiwa and we love it.  (If you're British with an adorable accent, even I may find it amusing)

3.  Announce you love Gujarati food - like really - what is there to not like about our food! If you're non-Indian - it suits your taste buds because it totally kills your perception of Indian food being too spicy.  Every Gujarati worth his sugar would be delighted if you know the difference between dhokla and khaman. (yes, they are different items)

Okay, can't think of more right now, also because I got to get ready for work. But I'll be back.

Extreme excaaaaaaaaaite at tomorrow being a holiday because nothing pleases me more than a mid-week holiday.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How to annoy me little less

Disclaimer: This is a rant. Trying hard to be generic and avoiding particular issues because I feel like it. (yea, I may generally need to cry a little and a hug and a nice cup of coffee and I'll be fine - no, nothing wrong, just pissed at the rest of the world)

Last few days, my bullshit tolerance has come down drastically and I am not proud of that.  I am usually cool as cucumber but then as they say, you do not want to anger a patient person.

Having said that, let's be clear - stop being stupid.  No, really.  It is really not that difficult. Please stop being stupid and bullshitting.  I am a nonviolent person.  I do not harm anyone.  But when you display your stupidity in all majesty, I have to try too hard not to punch you in your face.  This makes me cry.  YOUR stupidity makes me want to cry.  This is not a good thing.

Okay, this is mostly about people being insanely stupid but since I cannot say specific incidents (without risking giving away their identity, mostly because I am not into public shaming. It is not my duty to reduce stupidity quotient of the entire world)

Anyway, people also need to appreciate small gestures people do for them.  Instead of telling me then and there what else should I have done.. and how I could have done it better (which I did without you telling me I should because you are my dad GRRRR I HAD DECIDED I WONT GET INTO SPECIFICS BUT TOO HARD TO RESIST THIS ONE) Just for once say thanks and that you are proud of me. GRRRR GRRRRRRR.

Okay, rant over.

Not really, but if I go on, I will end up saying way more - and never say things when you are upset. OMG. I need to get dressed too.

Ok, need a hug. :(

Monday, January 5, 2015

Investments vs Returns

One of the biggest lessons I learnt last year was to invest in a relationship only if you are getting equal or more returns.

That is is okay to be selfish enough to expect equal amount of love and affection and respect in return for the emotions you are investing.

This was an important lesson mostly because all my life I have taken upon myself to make sure I rescue people out of the emotional shit they are going through by sacrificing my own emotional (as well as physical) health. (you see, then I would not just eat my own emotions, but also emotions of the people I am being the anchor to - now I have made amends, though.)

I'm not saying I am no longer available for them.  I am.  But expecting that they respect me in return is what I have realised is not wrong.

Every one of us goes through shit.  We all have our battles to fight and demons to slay.  I am fighting it out on a daily basis, and so are you.  They may be different, not saying mine are bigger demons than rest of the world.  But then, if you are going through shit, that does not mean you walk all over me because "you are the only one I open up to".

If you think I am so important in your life, be nice.  Just be nice to me.

And by relationships I mean all kinds - friends, siblings even parents.  I don't know how to elaborate this without offending the "Indian traditions"(because parents have such strong hold on so many of the decisions we make, that they forget that we are individuals and our happiness could be independent of their happiness and they need to accept us as someone who can decide for themselves and some times, we don't need their validation or approval for certain life decisions), but some day we shall catch up over a cup of coffee and talk about it.

On that note, I will end this post.

Mostly because my mooli ke paranthe are ready and omg, first monday of 2015 and I got little running around to do with the information department getting the passes for the upcoming Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and Vibrant Gujarat events and so much chaos, my god.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ashadh Ucharam

I'm pasting it here so it remains here forever. Because I love these couplets. :) 

Ashaaadh uchaaram...megh malharam
bani baharam... jaldharam...
Dadooor dakaram... mayur pukaram....
tadita taram... vistaram....
Na lahi samharam... pyaas aparam.....
nandkumaram nirakhya ri....
Keh radhe pyaari... mein balihaari....
Gokulll aavo... giradhari......
Re..ji re... Gokul aavo girdhaari....

My phone may or may not be possessed

So I had decided I'll do something awesome when the sun rises in 2015.

I slept through it.

It was awesome.

But then I woke up at 9 with phone battery at 12%.  I plugged it in and when I was ready to face the world, I walked down at 9:45.  My phone battery had reached 50%.  Hmm. I'll just use mom's phone's charger and it should be cool.

However, I forgot.

I made a call and decided I will go window shopping.

You see, I don't *need* new clothes, just *want* them.  Just window shopping, I promised myself.

That's when I decided I will stop being slave to technology.  I decided I will not recharge my phone all day and see where it goes.

Yes, I carry a power bank, and yes, I carry a charger too. I could totally recharge my phone, but hey, I am not going to break my first resolution in first few hours of new year no?

By the time I left for window shopping, battery was at 40%. (I had made just ONE phone call.)

I got a pretty new kurta from FabIndia (why are all the things I want so expensive? Why can't things just appear out of thin air for me? I mean, I totally deserve that)

Came back, and quickly fixed a quick lunch, left for work (ate at office, because cannot reach late on first day of new year, also salary day) and saw a WhatsApp alert from V which went hi hihihi hi.  Okay, I need to reply, I'll do it when I reach office.

Fuck. Battery at 16%. Wtf. I didn't even do anything. Was my phone, that was in my jeans pocket, heating my body or what.

Anyhoo, so I quickly text V that hi hi hih and happy new year and will mail.  Rest of the conversation happened over 34 odd emails sent back and forth.

Now, I had kept the data turned off since I reached office - got to keep that battery till I reach home - don't want mom calling me to tell how she found 6 parrots when she went for her evening walk and panic that she couldn't get through.

At 4 I think of checking if I got any whatsapp messages. I turn on the data, and even while sitting idle, the damned battery had gone down to 8% in 2 hours.

No, no one had WhatsApped me. Like, no one does. :(

In the mean time, I decide to turn off the phone.  (I checked Twitter only once to reply to a DM which had a link to some Twitter gossip. :D)

I just got home and mom made me grilled cheese sandwich (basically, roasted bread on tawa and put a cheese slice between two breads and had used Amul's garlic herbed butter to toast it) and I wanted to instagram that, but couldn't because phone would die on me. :(

I felt so miserable not being able to instagram my food. :( :( :(

Anyhoo. After I turned off the phone and turned it back on, the battery remained 8%.  I mean, it is 8% even now, good 2 hours after I turned it off and back on.  Maybe there was a rogue app which needed the quick fix (switch off and switch on) or maybe my phone is possessed.

I'm willing to bet it's the second one.


Setting phone on fire.