Red… For Hadia

SO we enter the abstract domain. Hadia, the inspiration behind this activity has herself asked me to write on “Red”.  This is what I feared. For me, anything that isn’t particular to the tee becomes nauseatingly close to psychoanalysis. And that scares me to pieces.

Yet, these are some disjointed thoughts that I associate the colour to.

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Mohabbatein was an all-round snooze fest. And as in every desert there blooms a cactus, yours truly took away a key message from the movie. Red Flower = Love, and Yellow Flower = Friendship. This of course was a part of the ever elusive Rose Day celebration in the cool college. And then the college I studied in had its own Rose Day celebrations. The only red roses I received that year were in a bouquet from a girl *cue confusion*. To her I remain eternally grateful for opening my eyes.

On a side note, I justified to myself that one offers red hibiscus to Ganesh idols because it’s “love”.

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I owned a red salwar kameez once which was just as gaudy as it was loud. It was bought for a school annual day event where the women were all “wives”. Of course the red was to be synonymous with married women. And that dress I wore whenever I felt like dressing up as Indian. I did the whole shebang with a bindi, and earrings etc. This phase went on till I realised the dress was suitable only in the context of “Ye Desh Hain Veer Jawaano Ka.” The only red I’ve worn since are a sporadic kurta here and there. Associations with choodha-wearing brides make me too conscious.

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I had an allergic reaction last year to who knows what. My face was swollen and was the shade of tomatoes. I ended up in the Emergency Room and then the ICU. But when I looked myself in the mirror, I realised this is what it must look like when an author says “he/she turned a brighter shade of red with embarrassment.” For me embarrassment is felt in the stomach, seldom shows up on my face.

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I remember my mother crying when I first started my period. I was 10, maybe 11. And she cried when she shared the “news” with her mother, then with her best friend and finally just cried every time she mentioned it to anyone. I didn’t get it then as to why she was crying if specks of blood showing up every month were normal, as she explained. A year later, the cramps began. Now, I cry every month yearning for the first decade of my life when I wasn’t bending double over my stomach.

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Marilyn Monroe looked like she had it all when she wore red lipstick. I think it was one of the late-night movies I sneaked a glance at oblivious to my parents. And then I noticed almost all of the “English film women” wore red lipsticks. At a discussion with peers (fellow preteens), I think one friend said it looked better on screen while another said it looked better on their skin tone than Indian actresses’. I bought my first red lipstick last year after a hijra woman I was interpreting for told me it would make my eyes stand out. Boy was she right.

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Priya Wal looked so damn cool in her red highlights in Remix, that Anwesha was my ultimate idol when I was in school. I wanted flaming red hair. Till I discovered naturally red hair. I realised I could never have those, or carry it off as confidently. The last time I was envious of the same was when I saw a senior colleague who carries off the red curls with better panache than Katrina Kaif in Fitoor. In my head, whenever I rebel, I have red highlights.

Let’s Work!

It’s not that I don’t like to write anymore. My problem is that I cannot handle who sees my content.

Writing on a public platform or even being on a social network presumes that you are making your life public. Facets of your life that you would like people to see and some that you wouldn’t.

I think I Overthink Stat 3

If you’re reading me from South Africa, you need to say “Aye” in the comments section. I’d really really like to get to know you!

When the time came to pen my musings, silly stories, and random tall-tales, the blog was the best medium to me. First, because well, it’s a diary. A diary I can share with people and a repository for me to get back to later in life. When I first started blogging, I was around 18, and this was my main aim.

Then I grew up, and my reason for blogging was to indulge in a different kind of network, the one of blogger friends. A lot of my friends blog much more successfully than I do; the point of this network is to encourage each other and write.

In my very honest opinion, the value of the written word, though always on the wane, has never been lower than now. In the words of my dad “Who reads your blog? Your friends? Family? What value do your train stories add to someone’s life?” SO honestly, why on earth will anyone in their right minds want to read what I have to say about  nonsensical events. Who am I?

This is when the real questions started being asked. Do I want to be ‘someone’? Someone who is read and followed? Someone with an interesting life that people with “lives” would want to read. Did I want to be the person whose personal life would interest people? Can there, realistically, be a division between the private and the public life? The answer, unfortunately for me, was a BIG FAT NO.

So at this crossroad, last year, I decided to de-personalise (not a word, I know. Thank you). My blogging was mainly about books and songs; activities I went overboard with over bored myself. Couldn’t resist.

However, my blog stats were at an all time high, people were talking, I was having fun… well sort of. Most importantly, I set an achievable target for someone who was even a little more motivated and disciplined than I. That’s where I failed.

Blog stats now.

Blog stats now.

I started experimenting with teaching early this year. It’s been a bumpy ride. More so thanks to social media and the multiple ways to peep into people’s lives.

After my first week, I had 25 new hits on my blog. This was something I had resigned to. Everyone wants to know what kind of a teacher they’re being dished out. What I did not expect were the hits that were bringing these people to my blog. Questions I knew were coming from my students because they were related to the little personal details I gave out in class.

I could either reconcile myself to the fact that this is where the dual personality had to be shed off or, like any sane person, I would turn my blog private. I chose to stop blogging.

I am not the first person with privacy concerns. I know that, believe me, I do. But my problems don’t seem smaller because everyone faces them. They’re just as terrifying and bothersome.

I decided that I could be “true” to my blog only when I was myself, and not the persona I was putting out in class. Like a dear student told me the other day, I am a youngish-short-woman in a field where your personality is the biggest driving force. How could I be a teacher when my students saw me as one of them?

I had to end the silly-person-with-a-lot-of-tangents-in-her-head image. Probably the truest I would be in public. Truer than my intellectual-reader-with-a-goofy-side image from facebook and more than my holier-than-thou-extremely-organised-teacher image. I am not those people.

Oh well.

Oh well.

Slowly, the key-words getting people to my blog started to change. It’s silly now, but less personal. I’d like to think it’s mostly because I have a more balanced approach to my class now, but it’s not true. It’s probably the lack of interest in a blog that has been discarded for a full year.

I didn’t do my year-end note last year. Something everyone near and dear to me asked about. Something I absolutely love doing. All because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add to this space anymore. Because I have no clue where to draw the line.

I’ve decided to blog anyway.

I think I Overthink MailI’ve decided to blog because the number of people reading my posts hasn’t diminished. I’ve decided to blog because a man took the pains to write to me from Pakistan saying he liked what I wrote as a teenager. I’ve decided to blog because well, I miss writing.

Hope you find the will to come back to me and work with me!

I need a favour…

Having studied literature and then liking to write and read isn’t an easy job, it isn’t the easy way out from the multitude of tougher careers out there as people might think it is. I not only do my work but I am obliged to a number of people to write/rewrite their essays, SOP, letters, speeches and help in all things related to language. It’s okay till the time I do not have work and wouldn’t mind “looking” at your work and approve of it; but more often than not I end up doing a Hermione Granger and write multiple versions of the same thing for people.

After having taken up writing/translation and whatever it is that I call “work” these days, it’s too cumbersome to do work for free for friends/family in the time I’d otherwise be charging for. It’s a curse to have a skill that others don’t appreciate as a profession. Tera toh English acha hain na, mere bete ko zara essay writing mein tips de. -_-

From avmarchitect.blogspot.in

From avmarchitect.blogspot.in

In a conversation with a CA friend I realised how wrong I was. He gets asked by people to look over his money matters, while an MBBS friend gets calls from neighbours when they have the sniffles. The law graduate friend constantly turns down requests from chaddi buddies to accompany them on trips to “scare” people and the engineer friend is required to fix mixer-grinders in the houses of all and sundry. My singer friend recounts how he was once asked to sing at the mourning/chautha for a friend’s father while the chef is constantly invited to potlucks where no one cooks anything.

Sportsmen/women have it the best though. At least they’re not asked to run from point A to B by acquaintances to showcase their skills at a birthday party or to box the host of a party to display that signature jab or hook. But I’m very sure there’s an aunty lurking somewhere who says field pe toh itna daudta hain, jaa sabji leke aa 10 minute mein.

Why do you hate me technology?

Let me bawl and cry today Ok? Let’s have a heart to heart and I’ll tell you my story and my problems.

At the outset let me clear that I’m neither technologically challenged nor a genius with gadgets. I’m just average. But I’ve my problems.

I spent most of my first two weeks of January rewriting the same assignments multiple times. Once they were lost, then corrupt and finally just not there anymore.

Let’s start with where it all started. I was started BMM five years back, also the time when computers and laptops played a very important role in my life. The system of examination is such, that 50% of all marks are allotted through internal assignments. Therefore, lots of assignments, articles, opinion pieces and reports were written and movies, drama and news clippings made on regular basis.

Twice in this period, my laptops (two different ones) crashed after a long night of work and twice hard disks with around 300gb of data, stopped getting recognised. This one time I made a short movie that was saved and playing fine, till the moment it was to be shown to the class. On the podium, on the same laptop, it refused to play. For no apparent reason.

So what does any sane person do? Keep a backup? I saved all my content on a friend’s hard disk. A week after mine stopped working, his did too. Surprise, surprise.

Obviously, then the issue had to be in one particular thing that was on all my devices and hard disks. Solution? I formatted the three laptops and quit using a hard disk while regularly buying and updating my anti-virus and anti-malware subscriptions.

Then I entered my Master’s, and once again, files wouldn’t open, random errors showed up and files that have everything typed and saved, show up blank on being reopened, with no auto recovery.

So let me finally tell you what happened this past semester. I filed everything on my pendrive, and then sent via email. Pendrive got lost after I submitted copies. It was still ok because they were submitted right? Wrong. The copies were misplaced and then my email was 99% full so I emptied my sent mail, spam and trash folders. Then a day later I get a call to resubmit them all.

Nevertheless, I wrote them and mailed 6 new files, all redone. Only to discover that 2 files were corrupt and not opening on the computers of 5 people I mailed them to, for back up, you know?

Which brings me to my question: why do some files get corrupt? An hour after they’re saved? When the laptop is protected and nothing seems to be wrong at all? Apparently, “there are many reasons”. Interestingly, there are more entries online on “how to corrupt a word document” rather than “how to recover a corrupt word document”. Sadists.

Anyway, I used all the strength left in me, did those all over again and printed copies before shutting the damn file. And then took five copies of the same before anyone lost them. In the end, everyone did 10 assignments, I did 16. Some people take their luck everywhere, no?

P.S. This post was typed on the blogger app on my phone around 9 days back. And saved. Saved. Guess what? It’s still stuck on “saving” a week later. Apparently this is a common issue to the app too. HAD to happen to me right? -_-

P.P.S. If you’re wondering if I’ve quit my book reading for last two weeks, you’re wrong. The reviews are coming up!

Let’s Just Reboot?

This blog was previously Silhouette-de-la-vie. It was the silhouettes in life. That was the phase of life I was in, I think, when I started this blog. A little unsure of my stand in a lot of issues and very confused on what I wanted to do in life.
It’s different now. Or at least I hope so. After more than a year long break from this space, I am back here. But nothing here seems like an extension of me anymore. That feeling of disbelief that it could have been me who so effortlessly wrote things that people laughed and bothered to read? In spite of having scores of options to choose from, they chose to read what I wrote! That feeling was nice, and I will not flatter myself. It took effort to pen down thoughts for all to read but things changed along the way.
I was a 19 year old student of Journalism at the time and looked at life as well as the people in it differently then. You are welcome to read all the posts before this one. There aren’t many anyway!
However, the 22 year old me, is quite drastically different. I cringe at some of the stuff I wrote and wonder how on earth did people have the patience to read through all that! And then I realise, I have some really nice friends who read what I had to say.
If you have been a friend of this blog and made an effort to keep in touch with all the madness I posted here, I am eternally grateful to you. However, the silhouettes now have some more light in them and are sharply defined for me.
Hence here’s the new name and new design of this blog. This one is closer to me at this stage of my life than the previous one. I hope you put up with the change. There might be another change if I feel like it soon.
Nevertheless, I am just as goofy as clumsy and as perceptive (I hope J) as I was before. Some things never change, eh?
So I hope to be more regular with this blog than I ever was with Silhouettes and I hope you enjoy this process of me thinking aloud as much as I love typing it out. Good feedback is welcome. Bad feedback will be welcomed with aarti ki thaali and chaawal ka kalash.. 😉

PS. There will be two posts today, I think! Let’s just reboot!! 

Imagining a dreamy hallucination…

I am sitting on some steps, right next to my building, with a stranger on the opposite side (Don’t even remember the face now), when a space ship appears, with the words “Udan Khatola” written across it. The man on the opposite side points his finger at the space ship, and disappears. Then I see some friend driving the space ship, and he asks me if I want a ride. I scream.

That’s a dream I saw a while back. Nothing special about it. Except for the fact that I am bragging about my absolutely horrendous “paint” skills.

Presenting before you: “Inside Utkarsha’s Head” – A visual representation of what I saw. Or didn’t. 🙂

Umm..did I mention that the material that the space ship was made from was something similar to the plastic that SINTEX tanks are made from?

Dying…

Once upon a time, I had a friend, who was true to me and gave me much joy. Through the friend I met so many other people, all of who became close to me. My friend gave me the benefit of doubt and let me speak to people as I wished and even share my joys as well as all that intrigued me. Soon, I hung out only with this friend and discovered a completely new world hitherto unknown to me.
But then came along another friend, whom I hung out more often, because my old friend had run out all resources available on me and there was nothing new for me to hold on to. I kid myself saying that I could be the ideal friend and hangout with both. But soon the new friend found me even better candies and a cooler group of activities.
I let the old friend go, without as much as a good bye. I was evil. My friend was dying, everyone said so, but I was not around. I was engrossed with the new friend. I still think of my friend sometimes, the first one, and wonder what happened. But I stop right there, just wonder.
My new friend meanwhile grew on to control me. And I let myself be controlled. I was after all hanging out with better and even funnier people now. We were all cool. We poked fun at my old friend, never stopping to think of all that had happened in the quest to be with the times. Times change. And they did!
I realised what the new friend was doing to me, and decided to let go and not have a friend at all. But all the people who came to me because I was with the new friend went away too. I convinced myself and found a middle way. I would spend only as much time as I would need to meet people and enjoy/benefit from the interaction. I missed the old times and wondered what happened to my friend.
They tell me now my new friend is dying. And very soon will. The doctor says in a few days a miracle is expected to better my new friend’s health. Will I hang on? Will I give up my new friend for a newer friend with better perks? Once all the people I know because of the new friend are also taken by the newer friend, I will inevitably move on too.
My new friend is dying. My newer friend on the other hand is most sought after now. Will my new friend ever survive the higher standards of cool that my newer friend is reaching? Probably yes, probably no. Will I stand by my new friend on the death bed? I do not know. Even as I see my new friend dying, I am smiling at my newer friend. With my newer friend, I see my friend. My first friend. Both staring down my new friend.
My new friend is dying, and I am watching. RIP Facebook.