Sunday, October 30, 2011

The New Love Story - Episode 2 (The Frozen Cookie)

"Tada", said Nadia, her roommate, enthusiastically as she peeled open the huge cardboard box.
"Go ahead and thank me", her roommate spoke as she rubbed her hands excitedly.


"Excuse me? I...". Nadia was perplexed. She was pretty sure Tara would be as excited as her about the Ziisound system.

"...thought you also wanted a sound system, didn't you? I mean, music...hello?", Nadia finished.

"Yes. Not until I ordered the same online last week"

"Bitch, you didnt!", Nadia said aloud.

"Oh well, I can cancel it I guess"

"But hey happy anniversary,", she squealed in delight as she hugged Tara.

Tara squirmed. "No hugs. Goddamit, how many times do I tell you no hugs"

"OK OK. I was just excited about us"

Nadia and Tara had lived together for 1 year now as roommates. As for Tara, that was a record of sorts. She didn't like roommates or rather none of her roommates had liked her. She felt like that kid tossed from one foster home to another. The first time she moved into the tiny studio with Nadia, she had no hopes of making it this long with her. Specially since she was so much different from her.

She was your typical giggly, loves-pink-and-boys kind of a girl. She had thought this would last 3 months tops i.e if she avoided encountering her completely. "Familiarity breeds contempt". She believed in that. That described her roommate situation time and again. But Nadia. She turned out to be not-so-hard after all. It all worked like a charm.

"Btw, your man sent you chocolates. Not sure of the occasion. I put them in the freezer. Now don't you scream, there is no...."

"Omigosh!!!", Nadia screamed ignoring her

"...No necessity. Never mind", she whimpered.

Just then the doorbell rang.

Nadia stopped short on her way to the kitchen and went to fetch the door instead..."Oooh here's pizza". She tipped the deliver guy generously.

Tara was least interested in food at that point. Her mind had been pre-occupied ever since she was called in by her boss the previous day. It was still running in her mind's eye.

"Tara, please sit down", her boss had said. "How are you doing?"

"I am good"

"I wanted to have a little chat with you now, if that's ok"

You know what you want to tell me so stop the crappola and tell me

"You work hard and your columns are usually very good. In fact that piece you wrote about the female Amazonian warriors was very thoroughly researched. But.."

But what you jerk? I spent sleepless nights on that article while you were in Hawaii with that mistress of yours.

"But you know, we cater to a different audience"

"Diverse", she corrected her boss.

His boss sighed.

"Look Tara. You are a great research writer. But at the same time we also want a column that connects to people. I am afraid there is plenty of talent out there for this job. Since I knew your dad very closely, I dont mean to give you the pink slip. This will be the last time we have this conversation. Life is not that bad if you choose to look at it that way."

She got up to leave without reacting. As she opened the door she heard her boss say...

"And one more thing, drop that attitude"

"Tara, Tara, Tara", she heard Nadia yell. She snapped back to see Nadia irate over her.

"This isn't from my boyfriend. This is for you", she said aloud waving at the chocolate tin she picked from the freezer.

"You have a secret boyfriend eh? And you don't even care to tell me? To your roommate?"

Tara opened the box and neatly aligned in two rows were chocolate chip cookies. Frozen.

And a note that said "Cookies don't cry"

WTF did that mean?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The New Love Story - Episode 1 (Pilot)

She flipped opened the book and closed it back within 5 minutes.

"Bullshit", she heard herself say a little too loudly. She looked around the cafe and found people going about their business.  She let out an apologetic smile, to no one in particular.

Every day, over the past couple of months, she tried to read Eric Segal's Love Story and make some sense of it. Zilch. Every time it left her annoying within 5 minutes of reading it. How could it be that so many people love this book? She wondered.

Her phone buzzed on the table as she stashed the book in her tote. It was Sheila.

She peeked at the text for a split second - "Why aren't you returning my calls? This time you call me or we are not talking. Bye". Good, she will stop texting me then, she thought. She stashed the phone in her tote and lay idle on the couch at the cafe. She had nowhere in particular to go to. She sulked and toyed with the idea of going to the musuem. But gave up.

Her gaze followed to an old couple sitting two tables away facing the windows that overlooked the street. She watched as the woman struggled to squeeze some ketchup from the bottle. And then her partner helped squeeze, only it was all over her the table and her blouse. They laughed at their folly and cleaned up. Then she looked at another couple seated right across them. One typing intently into his Macbook and another fiddling with her smartphone. There was no way she could tell they were a couple, she was driven by her pure intuition for people in public places.

She couldn't help but laugh at the apparent irony of things. She fetched her journal from the tote and wrote some lines...

"Love can be experienced, only by two people as a whole"

She intended to write some more but was distracted by her hunger pangs. Apparently the coffee made her more hungry. She suddenly got up and walked out of the cafe. It was surprisingly a bit warm for a winter afternoon and she wasn't complaining. She stepped past the street performer on his saxo and the homeless guy who wanted beer money. "Oh well, atleast he is honest about the money", she thought. As she passed several designer stores at Soho, she cringed at the mannequin dressed in a stunning pink bridal dress. "Sucks, who wears pink to their wedding?", she muttered.

Deep in thought, she dashed past a guy in a houndstooth shirt, standing at an intersection. Little did she know, they were going to cross each other's path very soon....

Meanwhile totally unaware, she spotted a YOGO truck at the corner. "Nothing like food", she smirked to herself.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dolls are overrated

Lately, I have been craving gifts. Coming from me, that will be a huge shocker for my friends.
I have been swiping my credit card left, right and center. And waiting, like a hungry cheetah, on the great holiday sale. When my apartment will be swarmed by furniture, digital gadgets, books, books and more books. There is always charm in hard bound books. Kindle editions fail to impress me. But we shall talk about it some other time.

Btw, when was the first time you got a gift? Do you remember?

I can't say it was my first but one of the first gifts I got was this doll I could carry with me. It had blond hair, blue eyes and dressed in a yellow jumper suit.

In an effort to make it look more Indian (yes, as a kid I thought blond hair and blue eyes were overrated) I dyed its hair black.  Wait for it...with a black sketch pen. Yes, I took the effort to sketch each hair on the doll's head. Also I sneaked into my mom's dresser and used her lipstick to smear all over the doll's mouth. Plus, I was secretly annoyed with the doll's ability to shut its eyes when it rested on its back and opened its eyes when it stood tall. So annoyed that I forcibly held her eyes open as it lay on the floor.

Needless to say, the verdict was out. Dolls were not meant to be.

My dad assumed there was something dysfunctional about me. He confessed to me later that he would think, "Why is she acting like a retard?"

Dolls were physically abused. Check.
M&M's were chewed and promptly trashed. Check.
Soft toys were abandoned and thrown from the first floor of my house straight into the mud (yes, I seemed to have done this). Check.
A beautiful pink frock ripped apart. Check.

Of course, my dad had to try, like any other good parent. He also understood my choice of apparel after some key observations. My wardrobe was revamped. I had two pair of blue jeans and a set of 6 t-shirts that said "HAPPY" on the front in different colors.

And then my lovely toys arrived.

(1) A big ass truck.

(2) A pink panther made of rubber that I could twist (I also had an accompanying song and dance movement I did as I carried it).

(3) And a boeing airplane replica. We were made to be.

My three awesome playmates.

Didn't I say, dolls are overrated?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dude stop

So today at lunch, I raced across buildings to get to food. You know I can do anything for food.

I usually read or talk on phone or stare blankly at people in the cafetaria. Yes, I love people gazing. So much fun. Eavesdropping is a strict no-no. Although I can't really help if someone talks too loud, right?

So two dudes squatted right beside me. You know the ones in their hoodies wielding their smartphones and gorging on tons of meat from their plates. I was hoping to hear some nerd conversation (sigh!) until the dude went totally tangential...

He talked about his vacation with his girlfriend in some Asian country. No surprises there.

Until dude A asks dude B, so how did you guys meet?

To which he says, "Ah, nothing. I went to this African education awareness program you know."

Dude A shoots a confused look. Dude B comes to his rescue. "So you don't really get it, do you?", says dude B. Dude A is still on his confused look.

Dude A: I wasn't aware that you were into such charitable things

Dude B: Well, here's the secret. You go to hackathons for pizza and soda and coding with bros. You go to charity events and programs to check out some cute looking girls.

**I cringe silently**

Dude A: Really? (Rolls his eyes)

Dude B: Lots of cute chicks there..Sign onto this mailing list. They have something going almost every other day. Plus you look really good when you show up, as if you really care. That sort of thing makes a crushing impression on girls.

Dude A: What is that mailing list? (Brings out his Nexus)

Meanwhile, I am wondering, I just didn't hear that. Did I?
So where do I look for cute guys then? On the soccer field? Men's locker room in the gym?

Why should boys have all the fun?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shame happens

That's right. I talked about shame. I didn't talk about happiness, joy, pride, laughter...all the good things that you and I want to hear about. The human mind is complex. We crave for attention and worthiness more than anything else. Ask yourself, honestly what do you love most? Shame or pride? Obviously the latter. Yet, we do not realize that to make it to pride, you have to knock shame out of the way...

As a kid, you don't know what shame is about. You are fearless. Shame is unheard of. All you are is inquisitive. Hungry and foolish. You are your own limit. You didnt need self-help books nor counsel from people on "Do this and not that". Yes, you are fearless.

I remember till date...when I walked upto stage facing about 500 odd people in my high school. To sing. To sing a song, impromptu. No practice. No drama. No fear. No nothing.

I walked upto the stage at this prestigious singing competition and sang the cheesiest romantic song from a popular Bollywood movie then. I remember my brother sitting in the far corner of the school stadium, burying his face, in shame. I could see his friends ridiculing him - "And that dumb ass is your sister?"

I knew nothing. I didnt feel a thing. In fact, if you want to listen to the song I sang, it was this one, right below. Click on it and you will go WTF. And correct, it was the male version that I sang. Because the male one had easier lyrics that I remembered.

Yet, I didnt feel a thing. Also there were so many expectations, I was told later, of the student who sings in the competition. You had to sing a patriotic song I was told to be even considered worthy of winning. Needless to say I didn't win. I remember my cute looking classmate who sang the "Nanna Munna Raayi" song had won second. I wonder if the first was Vandemataram.

Oh screw it. I was overjoyed once I finished. I went straight home that evening, threw my bag and shoes off and ran to my dad to announce how glorious the whole thing was. I told him how people had laughed.

My dad asked me - "Did they applaud?"

To which I said - "No, they just laughed. Why?", peering at him closely as if to ask if that was important..

All he said was - "No. Jealous bitches. You did great" and went back to watching the news on TV.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Passion is not your girl next door

The recent demise of Steve Jobs has left a profound impact on many. Suddenly, his words begin to haunt us. What is it that you really want to do?

When people ask me what my passion is I tend to speak all over the place. That should tick the BS alarm. To know my passion I should understand what the word passion actually means.

Passion is madness. Yes, you need to be mad enough. Crazy enough. About something. Something that speaks to you all the time. As if you are hallucinating about it. Something that becomes your best friend.

There are lots of traps though...Now if you like watching movies, that ain't your passion. We all like to goof around a bit. That ain't your passion. Your passion is what you would want your ideal day to be. What do you think is your ideal day? Not the "goof-around-in-your-pajamas-all-day" day. I mean "I-will-wake-up-from-my-bed-to-do-work" day. That's what is passion.

We all have obligations of some sort. Some ugly, some not so ugly. The sooner you get rid of them, the better you will be, the closer you will get to know/put your passion in execution.

Someone tells you what you are thinking is crazy, that is a sign of great times to come and a sign that you are indeed passionate.

I am not sure what pushes someone to "just do it". But from what I observed there seems to be couple of motives...

1) If you have to prove someone wrong.
2) If you are pissed off with your status quo.
3) If something keeps you up all night and you are sort of restless as a result.

My peak happened because I was under the spell of number 3.

I was just a kid then. I wasn't intelligent enough. I wasn't smart enough I was told. I was told I could never add and multiply numbers. I failed in Math. Again and again. It pissed me. It drove me crazy. Crazy enough for me to understand how it all works. Remember there was no Internet then. (Lucky b******* todays kids). I had to figure out. Everything. Every. Thing. No help. No money for those priced tuitions. No parental help either.

So, if I wasn't intelligent enough, how did I do it? It is called the human potential. Go Figure.

However, that just ended there. You know what I mean. That wasn't passion. That was just motivation.

Passion comes from enjoying and loving something profoundly. I knew how to manipulate through Math. To beat it at it's game. But I didn't learn to love it. No sir. Math was not my idea of fun (aka its not my passion.) Hence proved.

Passion is something you can describe in a short phrase. It is sort of like getting to say "I Love You" to your partner and he/she magically understands what you mean.

So what is your passion?

Sunday, October 02, 2011


I was having a usual Sunday today. Relaxing. Drinking Tea. And you know, the usual loafing around.
Until I remembered a NYT article a friend asked me to read and I read. And lets say I just got..SCARED

These sort of almost superhuman, stretching beyond comprehensible human potential is very very scary for the very simple reason. Where has all the fun gone? Remember? Three letters F, U and N?

Life seemed so simple when my parents lived. Getting a job, having a kid, taking care of the kid and planning for modest savings. That is all was needed. People were content and led a happy life in general.

And look what happens now...

Happiness is overhyped. Suddenly making good grades and getting a corporate job at a multinational (whatever the heck that means) company is just sub-standard. That also means you are not happy anymore. You are almost ridiculed to be just hanging onto that 9 to 5 job. That is so LOW now, no?

There are a zillion books on how to maintain self control, be a rock star at work, be indispensable, take over the world...yada yada. All of a sudden, you ask me to become Hitler? Where is the fun in that? Notice how there isn't a single book on how to have fun? Haha. I mean seriously, if there are books on diet, yoga, leadership, programming etc...why isn't there book on how to just loaf around and have fun.

Hmm. Make me want to think if people are really enjoying what they do today or would they rather put their foot into everything just so that they get a respectable place for themselves in the grand scheme of things.

Only one word comes to my mind - INSANITY