romancing the nightmare

At the brink of your sleepless nights, you reach a thought that is real, but has a touch of surreal to it. You can’t dismiss it, because it is a lure. It wants you to touch it, feel it, smell it. It wants you to sit with it and see it through.

But, you know if you do, you will go down a spiral. A spiral that is colorful and bright but so dark in its core that you are scared.

Scared like it were a nightmare. Is it not a nightmare? If it is a thought that can pull you into it by seeming so beautiful, is it not a nightmare?Sprial

It’s not just in form that you see its beauty. It just seems so right. It’s so much like something that can happen to you, that it perfectly fits within.

You are afraid of it, that’s why it makes sense. You are so scared that it shouldn’t happen to you, that it makes perfect sense for it to work its way in your reality. A negative world that seems just right for you.

What if it is really just a nightmare? Your own beautiful, little nightmare, that you have nourished, caressed and nurtured. Like you need it to survive. Nothing can be so necessary. Then, how can it be true?

How could you believe it to be true? – Even if it seemed real. Don’t you say that to your nightmares? How about trying that out with this gorgeous twine of yellow, orange, green, blue, and red? You are not real, you pretty thing, for I am now awake.

Will it then shoo away, when you wake up? Should you not do the honors yourself – laugh it out when the sleeplessness you sleep in, is over?

~ ~ ~

Now, if only, it were that easy, poetic and/or romantic.

Belief

No, not the religious kind. Neither the one in self. The ones that we have convinced ourselves as “truth”s. “Reality”. What is it made up of?

One incident. Two points of view. Or a hundred. A hundred truths. Or a hundred and first which takes a bit from each of the hundred?

The stereotypes. The judgments made based on those stereotypes. The backgrounds. The upbringing. The people around at the time the incident happened. The people around at the time the incident is discussed.

So much uncertainty and yet each of the hundred is 100% sure of his belief. Mind-boggling.

21 years ago, I’d want to say to myself

Live. Let live.

Learn. Let learn.

Not every problem is for you to solve. Not everybody’s problems are for you to solve.

Dad is right. Not always.

People are nice. Not always. And it’s ok.

Yet, when people tell you they love you, believe them.

Kiss. Experiment. You don’t know what you are missing.

Loosen up. Lighten up. You are right, you are reasonably funny many a time. But, the idealist that you are, right now, is not always fun to be around. Unfortunately, it makes you the other kind of funny too. The kind that people laugh ‘at’. You can fix it.

Don’t beat yourself up at every possible opportunity. Oops, I’m not setting a very good example am I?

* * *

This is in response to what started here.

Haircuts, etc

Yay! This is the place where I can complain. Yes, even about the awful haircut I got. For two years now I’ve been trying to grow my hair longer. Under the instruction of my hair-stylist (feel like calling her a barber in the most derogatory tone possible, because that’s how pissed I am), who I trust trusted, I would go to her every 8 weeks for a trim. And surprise, my hair never grew any longer!

This once I took matters under my control. I promised myself, I’d not go for a “trim” for six months. Meanwhile, I oiled my hair once a week (which my “hair-stylist” had forbidden*), religiously. Someone told me to have flax seeds (which is in general good for your health, supposedly) in various forms. And my hair actually felt healthier. So, there it was, even if it was psychosomatic. And lo and behold, my hair was longer by a good 3-4 inches.

About a week ago, I decided it was time for a teeny-weeny clean-up and shaping of ze hair. She complimented, “your hair has grown so  well!” Showed me the half centimeter she was going to get rid off from the front. And when I got home, I realized she has chopped a good 2-3 inches from the back! I was in tears.

My bad (like all else in life, only I was to blame.) I assumed she was going to cut the same length from the back!

I had a flashback, of my engagement day. I told the lady, I wanted very basic make-up because I hate the cakes they layer on you. No, she wouldn’t listen. And I looked like a white, plastic mannequin. Ugh! I have pictures, you will agree. (And no, I will not post them here even if they can be digitized.)

Doesn’t it matter one bit to these people, what the customer wants? And I paid a bomb too! Double unhappiness. Actually manifold than double, because I’m an above average person, when it comes to “being unhappy when money blows up for something I didn’t want.”

Why do I have no say in how I  look? Besides, it brings up way too many other questions. Is there no concept whatever of ‘customer service’? Should I never ever trust a ‘service provider’? I don’t ask to live in Utopia, but is it too much to expect people to understand I want what I want and not what they want. And I’m not even talking about the broader “let me live the way I want” statement.  Dress-designers, hair-dressers, make-up people, please stop telling me what I want to look like.

This is once when I won’t mind being called a drama-queen.

*her logic, which I bought, was that dirt sticks to you hair when it is oily and thus is unhealthy for your hair.

Blank

Have you ever had those people in your life, who you got along reasonably well with, even maybe, were close friends with and now, things have changed. They have changed. You have changed. And now you don’t really care too much for them. Maybe they don’t care for you either. That works out fine.

But what when they have offended you and you don’t like the way they are with you anymore? They haven’t realized what they’ve done and they don’t have any “issues” with the friendship.

There are two such “friendships” I clearly remember. In the first case, I don’t know what snapped, but I just couldn’t take the guy any more. Everything from his laughter to his mannerism to what he talked about annoyed me from the inside. I began to question my shallow self, “How did you tolerate him earlier?” My BFF (it’s cute, no?) says, he always annoyed her. So, let’s just say, I grew up, gained some depth in the process.

The other case was pretty straight-forward. I know the break-off point. The two women in question had an up-handedness when we were together. For the sake of argument, let’s say, my low self-esteem had something to do with it. But then there was this one incident when families were together and there was a snide remark about Navin. “That’s it”, I decided. Maybe, I used it as an excuse. Maybe, that was confirmation of what made me uncomfortable. Maybe both. What I knew was I couldn’t talk to them again. So, I just cut it off. I stopped taking calls, replying to texts, etc. They pursued for a bit and then eventually gave up. “Why did they pursue?” is something I never understood. I was civil when we met at a social event, but that’s about it.

* * *

What when, you still like the other person? You still want to share, want to talk, want to listen. You know they’ll understand, you know they want to know and tell.

But, there are these host of other things that went wrong. That are incompatible and will remain so. How do you let yourself forget about those? It’s all about protecting yourself from the anxiety and stress all over again. If I have to let a person consume all my energy, I’ll try a new person, no? So that I feel like less of a fool. If something happens twice, you cannot blame it on misjudgment. Even to the mirror, you cannot lie then.

And then there are those things, that felt like a knife through my veins. They’d hurt really bad if I let myself feel. The distrust, the inferior treatment, the total lack of compassion or care. I mean how does one start with a ‘clean slate’ when, “money value” was attached to a friendship. Will time ever heal that?

What if you were judged constantly for the person you are? What if a “special” friendship is “called off” by saying “I tried my bit” because two text messages went unanswered? What if your decision to not react to the hurt is blamed on my ego. When I put it this way, I wonder what is it that I “like the other person” for. What is friendship, if these basic tenets have already gone wrong?

I think the confusion is because I know not what I want. In a moment of weakness or outright listlessness, I want to rebuild the bridge. Maybe it’s general depression that makes me think that if I “shake hands”, “share”, “become normal”, I’ll feel better. At that moment of being “down”, I feel like I really, really want to do it. And every nerve-ending that has anything to do with rationale shouts a big NO!

It isn’t a brain vs. heart thing either. Because the heart would feel the hurt, if I allow it to, that is. And the brain knows that the other person is trying hard to make up. Really hard, even going out of their way?

Should I let my brain melt? Should I let my heart make me feel the hurt?

Permanent

This my 2.5 year old tattoo.

Like any well-bred, cultured, family-fearing, marwadi woman, I didn’t publicize it too much. So, just imagine how I cringed when bai (my naani, maternal grandma) said, “meetu, what happened to your foot?” Within a fraction of a second, she realized what it was . And her instantaneous reaction was, “I want one too” So that cringe that you had imagined, you can replace that with awe. “A small one, a dot, on my forehead, where I used to put bindi” BUT STILL!

My bai, I always knew, is too cool for her age and time. She’s an entrepreneur at age 74, no less. Her first question to me, whenever we meet is, “how’s your work?” Not “How are you?” Not “How’s jamaai-babu (son-in-law dear)?” Not “How are the kids?” If you are not a marwadi or haven’t known one, you cannot imagine how much it means to be asked about your work before the rest of what is supposed to compose your life. But that is another subject, another time.

My bai, I love her to the core, she is easily one of my favoritest people. My bai, maybe the only person, who brings a tear every time I think of her, just because of the awesome person she is. My bai is not easily impressed, she knows no other way than to call a spade a spade. My bai who I’d hate to disappoint.

My bai wanted a tattoo!!!! and one more !

So, yesterday, finally, two years after she announced it, I took her and my mom (who also wanted a similar permanent dot) to a tattoo artist. Why two years? Amidst general lethargy, I think I wanted to be sure she wanted it. It’s for-life and on-your-face (all pun intended) after all.

And what a fun two hours they were…

The tattoo artist (Rahul) was late by about half an hour, so I took bai, mom and maasi (maternal aunt) to a snazzy coffee shop. Wobbling along with the support of her walking stick, she said, “this place smells bad”. I think it was the smell of some non-vegetarian dishes. But my mom tried, “it’s coffee”. tee-hee-hee. Bai didn’t look convinced. tee-hee-hee-not! For the sake of reference, she doesn’t eat onion and garlic because they smell awful.

I was duly scolded, “what kind of a windfall permits you to spend Rs. 400 on coffee?” But how could I tell her that the way she smacked her lips in appreciation, after every sip of her cold coffee, made every naya paisa worth it?

Later, at the tattoo parlor, the guys took ages to set the whole thing up. And bai was getting impatient. “What are these boys upto? Why so many machines? Why is this guy wearing such a big ear ring? What are these boys upto again?” Just when I was going to remark, that’s how things are in Pune, slow and slower. I remembered just in time that bai is from a teeny-tiny village in Karnataka. “That tattoo street-hawker in the village, I think she died, she doesn’t do her rounds any more. She’d have finished 4 tattoos by now.” HA HA. True that, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, Rahul couldn’t get over the fact that this old woman wanted this “dot” as a tattoo. “What aaji (granny)? Tired of wearing a bindi?” And pat came bai’s reply, “Why are you wearing that obnoxious earing?”


Bai tattoo

When the process finally began, bai made the remark of the evening, “God alone knows how many onions this guy has eaten!” ALL of us (including Rahul) had a ROFL minute or so. He was duly embarrassed, and I was once again in awe of my uninhibited bai. How she must’ve curbed herself from saying the right thing all those years as a daughter-in-law and wife. :-/

An hour and a few laughs later we came out with two dots and memories, permanent.

Mom tattoo

(oh yeah! and mom got her tattoo too. )

Color

I’d like to see people have a little more color.

In what we wear, there’s beige and blue. Let’s bring in a little more hue.

In how we are born, black, brown, yellow or white. Can we be born colorless?

In the religion that conditions us, orange, green, white, and all. Surely, this can blend into a rainbow.

In the way we are, somber, upright and all too clean. Let’s bring in a little fun. Let our mood swings show from purple to orange to green.

In the way we think, there’s too much right, too much wrong. Too much black and white. Let’s bring in the spectrum within and beyond.

I’d like to see a little change of color in you and me.

This is in response to the IndiBlogger’s “Take Flight With Color” contest powered by HP LaserJet

Nothingness

How do people deal with it? The vacant mind, the spotless sunshine? It’s beautiful, but it’s still blank. It’s there, the void. And it needs to be dealt with. How do people fill the serene, the vacant, the spotless, the blank, the void?

I see people filling in disturbed, full, tainted, cluttered, chaotic lives with more of it. When they can do that, why do others find it difficult to fill a blank?

Some try TV soaps. Some pick a hobby or two. Some tweet, some blog.

I find it difficult to do any of these. I can’t even make myself blog till I have something I believe is marginally compelling to share. Is it the boring life I lead? But then again, a writer is supposed to convert the mundane into magic with words. Well, at least a good writer would do that.

What does one write about? I see someone as busy as Amitabh Bachchan blog and tweet like it was his religion, everyday, day after day. He has something to say every single day. Sure, he might have a team of writers to pen his thoughts down, but he gets it done. Heck, even this little girl or my son have something to say, every once in a while.

Why do I then, have such difficulty writing? My life ain’t empty. Not by far. But there’s nothing to go on about. I’m advised, “just write whatever you feel like, whatever you are thinking at that time”

I took that advice.Confused smile

The Cup is Ours – Links compiled

Like most of you, I popped myself out of the car window. I high-fived total strangers who were painted pink and purple. Holi had repeated itself in just two weeks. Random people joined me and chanted "SACHIN SACHIN" and "DHONI DHONI". I completed slogans started by huge groups, that I didn’t belong to, but somehow became a part of. It was surreal walking on the roads. A traffic jam without road rage. People danced without music. They stopped cars/people on foot and danced in front of them for the couple of minutes. The people stopped like that wore grins. There was music too. The Ganpati mandals celebrated out of season.  Diwali didn’t know what she was doing with colors and dhols. And all this without any hooliganism. There weren’t too many ‘full drunk’ people. There was the odd Pakistan bashing and slogans in bad taste. But interestingly, it didn’t bother me. Nothing more than, "arre, why?" followed by a quick "oh well, it’s their idea of fun."  But, it didn’t feel unsafe to look into that glint in men’s eyes as they walked on the street and together we cheered.

My otherwise blank brain had just one question again and again and again – “How? How can a bunch of people touching a trophy make so many people sooooo happy? How am I so happy?” How did they make me feel so proud and feel so insignificant (compared to what they are doing – the oldest of that lot is just one year older than I am for goodness sake!) – all at the same time. This is what I mean –

Relive the madness!

 

2 days later, I still can’t get over how Sachin finally allowed himself to enjoy the moment. I can never get over how Dhoni let Sachin take the honors, when it was as much Dhoni’s moment as it was Sachins.

My smile hasn’t gone, but I want more. So, came the scouring the net for more on the day that was, reactions, videos and photos…Here are a few that I liked, if there’s something that I’ve missed, leave a link in the comments. Here goes –

Video (link via @aaruc)- The Indian dressing room after winning the cup… :’D

Photos –

Twitter fun! –

DHONI, DHONI!

If there’s commitment, that’s victory for me.

Personal experiences –

Newsy stuff, but awesome reads –

Gautam is the thin man with the shaven head – for the past few weeks adorned with a replica of the World Cup – and body covered in the Indian tri-colour. For at least half a decade now, Gautam has been Tendulkar’s biggest fan, waving the Indian flag and blowing his conch shell at every venue Tendulkar plays. Today, Tendulkar decided to repay Gautam for his devotion.

Curious about that man who had the cup on his head? Here’s some stuff about him.

ps. These links are from various sources – Facebook friends, twitter accounts I follow and some random surfing.

Of dogs and bitches

Girls (and actually it won’t hurt boys to read this either), try this –

  • For today, DO NOT talk/think more than once about (only, if you complain about them/think of them with negativity. If positive, then think of them all you want) –
    • The all-important bai (Maid servants)
    • Kitchen and cleaning up
    • Husband/Boyfriend(s) 😉
    • In-laws
    • Kids (homework, disobedience, ungratefulness, and the like)

Anyone who causes the lovely lady that you are, pain – is SO not worth it.

Once you have done this today. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Every day.

  • We love the way men look at us. We love it better when they appreciate it in words. But, you know what? Nothing like a compliment from a woman. It always makes my day! (Hint-hint. Nudge-nudge)
  • Hate the pain you suffer?…say while threading, try this –
    • Relax ALL your muscles
    • Think of something else. Thinking about relaxing your muscles might be a good start, but – good, bad, anything…take your mind elsewhere.

From threading to labor pain, it works. I promise.

Hurt to the heart might also feel less painful with this technique! WARNING! Don’t try this on a fresh wound. Start from the 5th day, no pun intended.

  • First 4 days, find someone to talk to. You are not meant to let yourself go through trauma alone. If you were, you would be a MAN!
  • Yeah, yeah, yeah…men are dogs and we can write that in ‘caps lock’ too. But, each of us, each one of us is a lovely, charming, bitch.

Oh come on, you know that. We aren’t any easier to deal with. No one nags better than us. And get this, each one of us hates nagging and the nagger! This is only one example that classifies us as a bitch. We expect, we obsess. We assume, we extrapolate. We act and we over-react. Sure men do this. But that doesn’t make it right.

To a better me. To a better you.  To a better woman for that man to woo.

(and now let me get to doing at least half the things written above :P) Oh yeah…and a very happy woman’s day to you too!