Friday, June 20, 2014

friday rant..



I thought about writing this letter to the woman incharge of seating in my office. But the risk of having an annoying over-friendly human replacing a relatively harmless machine stopped me...


Subject: I AM A WRITER, NOT A SCANNER.

Dear Jess,

Everyday I help at least one person to operate the scanner. I change resolution size, I change settings from black and white to colour and I answer banal questions like “Where is the USB port?” or “Do you scan?”

I am a nice person. And I continue to do it. But it is making me very unhappy.

I feel I should put up a rude sign that says, ‘Do not ask me about the scanner!’. On the other hand, I could start an alternate income where people pay me to help them operate the scanner, but I don’t think that is allowed as per my contract.

I sincerely ask you to move the scanner from next to me.
I understand this will greatly reduce my popularity and not many people will talk to me anymore, but that’s a risk I am willing to take.

Thank you.



Wednesday, May 07, 2014

2013


I’ve always thought that 13 was a good number. We lived happily in Flat No. 13 for the longest time. I’ve never hated Friday the 13th, despite the negativity that surrounds it. But last year left me absolutely confused. I was deeply sad and depressed for the first half of the year, and then my life moved forward from the stagnant plateau it was stalled at.

First Half:

My mother was battling Cancer for five long years. She had a wonderful set of doctors who were nothing but absolutely positive. No one ever mentioned stages, terminal-ness or anything morbid. She lived happily, although perhaps not pain free, for five years after the discovery. Then last year around April, around the time Easter happens, we noticed that her memory wasn’t what it used to be. Her usual Sudoku’s and crosswords were going undone. I blamed it on her just being tired, or bored of the same thing. But the signs were getting more obvious. She began forgetting names, dates and other things my mum would never ever forget. She stopped eating, because she couldn’t chew.
That’s when my dad and I decided to take her to the hospital. The last word she said to me was “Bye” when I was leaving the hospital to take her reports for a second opinion. She had a seizure in the hospital that rendered her pretty much motionless for over two weeks. By then she even stopped talking. I spent every single day in the hospital, praying for her to move and talk and recognise me.
Then one day, she smiled at me. My mother’s smile. I cannot describe that joy. It felt surreal. Like nothing could have ever made me happier. My heart swelled, literally. I could feel it. It filled my chest and throat and felt like it would pop out of my mouth. That’s the happiest I have ever been, to see her smile again.
The doctors could not figure out what was wrong. But my constant research of her symptoms online lead me over and over again to one thing. A thing I did not want to talk about.
She spent over two months in the hospital. With my dad and I doing whatever we could do for her. After four spinal taps and several scans, each rendering my sweet mother weaker than the first, the doctor broke the news to me, in the most nonchalant way possible. She had carcinoma meningitis or Leptomeningeal Carcinomatous.

“I knew that you over-paid heartless asshole, thanks for taking two months to tell me!”


Online, Leptomeningeal Carcinomatous, is an uncommon and devastating complication of cancer. Not everyone goes through it. It is when they find cancer cells in the spinal fluid and the fluid surrounding the brain that leads to the brain becoming a big lump of jelly, not being able to function and finally dying. That’s the inevitable. Death.

But at that time I was under the impression that I would be able to save her. Me. I would do everything, keep her extremely comfortable, play her music to stimulate her brain, talk to her, stay positive, massage her feet to heal the brain and everything else that I could read or learn about. So I did. When they finally told us we could take my mum home, I was on top of it all. Feeding her meals through a tube, cleaning her, changing her. I was going to make my mum okay. Every night I prayed that I would wake up the next morning and she would smile at me. But she didn’t.

One night I had this feeling something was wrong. So I slept with my head near her feet so I could see her face. We put of the light in the room and I could only see her face thanks to a streetlight. Through half-closed eyes I monitored her every breath. Then at 2am she heaved a heavy sigh and stopped breathing. I waited. Then panicked. Then woke up my dad. And he tried to resuscitate her by pumping her chest. With each pump he allowed the last breath to leave her lungs. But at that time I thought she was still breathing so when he gave up I frantically continued. Then I was hysterical. And after that everything, including the funeral is a total blur. She died on 30th of June 2013.

My dad is still devastated. And so am I.

Second half:
Besides my family, there was one more huge support. The only person I wanted to talk to when my mum was in the hospital. All my other friends wanted to visit and lend a ear, but I wanted nothing to do with that. I didn’t want sympathy I just wanted someone to be there. And he was. There was a moment when I thought; I will never feel love ever again because I am sapped out. But every time I saw him walk into the hospital I felt it.
After my mum died, I was a horrible person to deal with. Crying for everything. Hollow. Bitter even. But he never judged me or told me to snap out of it. I probably would have. I don’t know.
In early September ‘13, he told me to “make a ring”. He asked my dad for my hand in marriage, and if it was okay or too early. We got engaged in October and married this March. The wedding was wonderful and full of love and support from so many people. Our honeymoon, which was totally planned by him, was amazing.

2013 left me extremely emotionally drained. From extreme grief to a start of a happily-ever-after. Thankfully, post wedding and honeymoon, 2014 has been positively uneventful. For now.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

dreams



I had a dream about this blog. I dreamed that everyone who used to regularly read the posts, stopped. Oh wait…

Monday, April 08, 2013

limp twilight



So after years of resisting it, I finally succumbed to the whole vampire book rage. I read part of the Stephenie Meyer series, but I must admit it was not with an open mind. I did try to understand why these books were so popular with the ladies: is there something intriguing about being ravished by a cold, undead man who shows little or no emotion?

On the face of it: Yes. The book is written from a young, pale-skinned dorky teen girl, who clearly has some kind of death wish, which is amplified more thanks to her attraction to a sparkly-skinned bloodsucker. He’s handsome, he’s mysterious, he shows no interest until she is completely smitten and then confesses he wants to drink her blood. He disappears without warning only to make her pine (like the knee-hugging, lying-on-the-floor-while-seasons-pass kind of pining. And for those of you who don’t know pining, that’s the hardcore variety of pining).

So it is a love story. And clearly gushing girls around the world are only looking at it from that point of view. But thanks to my overly logical thinking, I began to analyze. Which is when it whole thing got creepy.

Firstly, this snowy cold place is that she has moved to, clearly lacks any interesting women. Because two of the most hunky guys around like this pale-faced dorky girl, and are willing to die for her. A bit extreme, no? (This reminds me of my new girl theory – very apt in this context) Frankly, any guy who is so intense with you in school is bordering on being a social psychopath. Warning signs should have been going off all around her.

Secondly, and this is a biological point, Edward Cullen is a vampire. Which means he is bloodless. Which means he has no blood running through is body. Which means he can never have blood gushing through his privates. Which means, that every single intense moment that he shared with Bella was her own active imagination. For him, it would be as asexual as kissing an iguana. Which in turn means, he was only using her for her tasty, tasty blood, and all this sexual tension was in the mind of Bella Swan (how typical for a woman to over think the relationship!)

Thirdly, given the fact that Edward would be very bad in the sack, thanks to the above conclusion, I find it absolutely appalling that this dumb girl chose the pale, dead vampire over a hot-blooded wolf-man. Seriously? I’d pick hairy over limp any day!

Lastly, this angst and drama that is overflowing out of Bella’s life, just makes every other teenager around feel like, ‘man… why doesn’t anyone want to suck my blood? I hate my life… I’m bored!” Not a very healthy frame of mind when you are already a lame teenager.

I think a lot of my irritation came with picturing Kristen Stewart’s face in every scene. There’s something about that girl that makes you want to throw her into a fire and film it so you can see her emotionless face go up in flames, over and over again.

Wow, that was violent.
On that note….



Friday, March 29, 2013

hall of worship

I'm not one to write about religious issues. But this particular one has been bothering me a great deal. For the past several years the parish where my parents have a home, have been asking the government for a plot of land to build a church. There is no Catholic church in this area and for over 12 years the priests have been renting a hall where they conduct Sunday services. A hall.

A church, for anyone who has been inside one, is a glorious place. And honestly, you don't have to be of that religion to appreciate it. It is serene and quiet, with stain glass windows and a beautiful alter. It's magical. And there is a certain kind of aura to the place, an aura that you will never get from a hall, no matter how much silken fabric you throw around.

It's been approximately 12 years and the government has kept denying the priests. So the parishioners have continued to worship in a hall. They have made the best of a bad situation, renting sound systems and having a make-shift alter (a wooden table) where the Holy Book rests. They've built a community out of virtually nothing, they have been denied spaces to rent saying that the neighbouring buildings have complained about noise, and they have trudged on, not complaining about it and hoping that one day their prayers for a real church would be answered.

Meanwhile down the road: A small statue of a Hindu God was placed on a small concrete mound, at the beginning of a large plot of land. Having being placed there by someone, it soon became a spot for locals to stop and say a small prayer. Soon that small mound was surrounded by some marble flooring, a few bells... And before I knew it it was a full fledged temple. Now, I cannot honestly claim to know what transpired between the government and that community. I do not know if they too had a tough battle to get this temple made, I don't know.And i don't claim to know.

But from where I am standing, I think it is unfair.

Nevertheless, this parish continues to make the most of what they have. They've been moved now to a school hall because the rent of the last place increased. This hall is bigger, they are happy to say, because it can accommodate the growing parish. But, they say solemnly, please continue to pray for a church.




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

promenade of numbers

There are Six guys, all dressed in black, taking turns to jump from a grassy patch to a slab of concrete about four feet away. I hear claps, as one of the guys makes the jump, the second guy flexes his arms, and spot jumps, prepping for his turn. I'm not sure what the purpose is, maybe it's a new exercise fad? Or perhaps a new Olympic sport? Whatever it is, these guys All have an uncommon interest in it.

There are Five people standing in a circle, a man in dread-locks plays on a small drum, the others hoot and chant. They all look like a rave party in Goa threw up on them. I spot the neon-coloured embroidered "Om" fanny pack from a mile away. I glance over as a crowd begins to form around them. The louder they play, the bigger the crowd. It is some kind of 'drum circle'. The crowd doesn't understand what these people are doing, but in India it doesn't take much to get a crowd.

There are Four middle-aged women all in 'shalwar kameez' and brand new Nike shoes. They squeeze together on a a single bench, all trying to get a word in, gossiping on their routine evening "walk".

There are Three young girls dressed in small shiny clothes, ready for the night of clubbing they have been preparing for. They pose with each other, in every combination possible, and finally ask an innocent passerby to take a picture of them. They all secretly hope they look the best, so it can be their Facebook profile picture.

There are many Two's: couples sitting under trees, on benches, in the bushes, on the rocks. There are crowds of them, each engrossed in their own private moment. Some are in the middle of a lovers quarrel, some are about to kiss, and some have been together for so long, that they stare in opposite directions, but still hold hands.

And then there is the One, Me, walking home from work, slightly hunched from the weight of the world. Bag in one hand and a bright golden inflatable guitar in the other.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

35mm of life

I have just come back from a work trip to the beautiful, magnificent, scenic Cape Town. I am lucky to have gone and I have no complaints. But I discovered a few things in my four days there. They may be silly at first, but I think they all, like most of life's learnings, have a deeper meaning that is yet to reveal itself. 
Firstly, I discovered that the people of this gorgeous land are friendly and very accommodating. The only downside is that they all wear very low pants. I saw more butt cracks in four days there than I have seen anywhere else (not that I keep a track of these things). It worried me at first, but then I got used to it, and it was almost inevitable that I would see one if someone bent or sat in front of me. So much so, it became an anomaly to not see one. As much as I love the scenery in Cape Town, that is one sight I would like never to see again, for a long time. 

Secondly, I discovered that I have an over active imagination that may borderline on paranoia. On the way back to India I was on a flight that seemed like a beginning of those corny airplane disaster movies, where something goes terribly wrong with the flight and people begin to show their true colours. First there was a man who began complaining to the ground staff about something or the other, in the plane disaster movie, he would be the annoying cynic who screams "we're all going to die", or the one who grabs a child from a woman so he can be saved first. Then there was a young cricket team. They would be the ones who help to get the people out, like forming a chain or something. They wouldn't be individual characters, but one mass of people whom in the credits would be called 'cricket team'. Then there was a mother with a crying infant, enough said. There is always a mother with a crying infant in disaster movies. She will be the sacrificial one who says something like ''leave me behind and save my child!". There was an old woman who complained to the flight attendants about the bread, they were more that peeved with her and tried to explain that everyone on the plane was getting the same kind of bread. She would be the one is sucked out of the airplane when the wing rips off. Cause you know, no one likes her from the start of the movie anyway. So then it got me thinking, would I be the protagonist? Would I keep everyone calm and instil confidence in the plane during the time of need. Personally, I think not. 

Which comes to my last discovery. I am quite wimpy. I like to think of myself as having a few leadership qualities, but maybe in a movie, I'd be cast as "Lady 3", and I'd say one line that does not take the film anywhere really. Like maybe I'd scream "listen to him", speaking to the cynic about the heroic protagonist who will save everyone. 

Yes, I'd probably be "Lady 3". And that makes me sad. I should change. I should take control. I should make myself the heroine in life's movie. take some chances, jump some bridges. I could have stayed a few more days in Cape Town. But Lady 3 felt a little scared to be in a new city all by herself. What if she didn't make it back? Lady 3 is a wimp and I want to change her. But that comes with time, as do most things in life.

And I have time, because thankfully Life is not a 2-hour long B-grade movie. 

P.S : I realise now how incredibly irrelevant the first point is. But I am sure there is a deeper meaning hidden there somewhere... I just have to crack it. Pun totally intended. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

anatomy of a rant


I just finished watching reruns of Season 4 of Grey’s Anatomy. I like the show. I like the medicine. I love Dr. Miranda Bailey. I love every other doctor in that show. But I hate, I hate Meredith Grey. I hate the protagonist of the show. I hate the character the show is named after. She is an annoying, self-absorbed, un-gorgeous, painfully whiney, stupid doctor. She gets this dreamy guy and she keeps throwing it away. How can one person keep messing up and still keep on being forgiven? So what if her father left her when she was 5, Christina’s father died when she was 5. So what if her mom was a giant bitch, Carev’s mom had a psychotic breakdown when he was a boy and he dealt with it on his own. Even if the Chief Resident calls her on a wrong she did, like operating on a patient, she brings up her dead mother and the pathetic life she is living, rather than being answerable to him, the Chief! And if that wasn’t annoying enough, she manages to make everyone draw their attention away from major issues because she is too busy drowning or putting her hands on a bomb. She is one of those people whom you would hate if she worked in your office, because she’s the one who knows the boss and gets personal favours from him. She didn’t write anything on her intern exam, but got a second chance. But when George fails, he doesn’t. Is that normal? What this show is teaching me is a lot of scientific stuff, how hard a doctors life is and also that if your mother didn’t manage to sleep with your boss, then chances are, you’ll get left behind. Stupid woman should have just drowned in Season 2.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

the sound of settling



So I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and the topic diverted to “settling”.

He is of the opinion that the older people get, the more likely they are to settle for someone who is remotely compatible to them, and thus embark on the serious relationship journey that eventually leads to marriage. Because marriage is not something people want, it’s a societal compromise.

Ugh.
As you can imagine, my initial reaction to this was disgust at his lack of enthusiasm about Love. People don’t settle, I said, they fall in love, they meet ‘the one’… if people settled then how do you explain the whole ‘I married my soul mate’ statement.

‘It’s a lie’, he said poker-faced. ‘You make your own soul mate. It’s a mixture of compromise and perception.’

And that got me thinking. I conceded, begrudgingly so of course. He was completely right.

Yes, it’s a damn cynical way to look at life, right? But it’s also a freaking realistic one. It makes you rethink the whole concept of love, or whether a concept like that even exists. It makes you wonder: Is there such a thing as a soul mate or love at first sight. Or are they all just gooey, lovey-dovey words for compromise and settling?
Is it like: You’ve always liked fried eggs before you met him, he likes scrambled. Suddenly you wake up thinking, hey, scrambled is not half bad
Or: You love sleeping with the air-conditioner on, but he likes the fan. Hey, he’ll just buy a thicker blanket.

Nope, sadly, if one is to go by this theory you’re not being a good girl/boy friend; you’re being a sniffling fool who is petrified of ending up alone and living with cats!

On the other hand, the positive, head-in-the-clouds, all-is-full-of-love hand, love is wonderful and the feeling you get when you know you’re loved is even better.

So what if everyone else thinks you have cotton candy for a brain.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

i do... not




So I was thinking about getting married. Like, you know, all the plans and preps that will go into getting a big fat catholic wedding together. And then it hit me. The most basic thing of all is the one thing I have no answer to: Who will be my bridesmaid?


I mean, I don’t have a best girlfriend who I can call and vent to or cry with and laugh while stuffing our faces with food and ice cream. I don’t have anyone with whom I have sleepovers with or share my every intimate secret with. I don’t have one person who will be that first friend whom I tell the ‘good news’ to, whatever the news is: a new job, a good interview, a marriage proposal even.(FYI: I haven’t had any of the above-mentioned things happen at all, but this is not really about that)


So while I can think of 500 people who I would love to invite to my wedding, when and if I get married, I don’t have that one girlfriend who will hold my veil up as I walk down the aisle or hold my legs as I nervously try to escape away through a back window.


And modern sitcoms don’t help. Friends is well, about friends. How I met your mother, is about friends. And even the socially awkward Amy from Big Bang Theory has friends. And all the women in those sitcoms will always have the answer to the ‘who will be your bridesmaid’ question.


This depresses me greatly.