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.

*****

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”.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

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The Beach When It Rains… For Chaitri

There was a stage in my life when I loved to run around in the rains and get drenched.

Now I love to stay indoors and listen to some Petrichor appropriate songs (different from rain songs). And therefore I do not have a recent memory of the beach and rains together. I have one from a while back though. .. And it’s a moment I try to recreate here.

*****

The third year of college was an incredible year for me. If I were to plagiarise, I would say it were the best of times and the worst of times.

Therefore, once it ended and I was done with seeing docs, I decided to take a group trip. And this one was to Kihim and Korlaigadh. Also, whoever had heard of going to a beach in the rains?

Nevertheless, I went ahead with the plan. This post isn’t about the trip, though it was magical in itself. This post is about the beach where I got drenched to the bone.

*****

I’m a beach person. I’d been to Alibag before, and therefore to Kihim too. Yet, this time was different. Earlier I’d been with friends, and this time with strangers. And I guess that made all the difference in the world.

If you’ve been to Kihim, you’d know that it’s not the cleanest of beaches. It’s dirty, muddy and attracts the kind of crowd I don’t get along with- the drunken revellers who seem to be a constant presence on the beaches.

And ordinarily, I’d complain endlessly about these to everyone in the vicinity. However, as a stranger with a bunch of people who didn’t know me, I shut up. And if  you know me, you’d know that’s very difficult.

And then, as I tenderly entered the water, it started to drizzle. It’s frustrating at first, when you want to play in the waves but the rain hits your head… The first instinct is to run away and hide.

But imagine not being able to see the waves because everything in front of you is just… Water. So you give in, you let go.

I don’t remember too much from this trip, except that when I took a bath later, I still felt like the waves were moving me around. It was a Holi with the rain shower and pichkari-like experience.

*****

I don’t think I’ll love the rains on the sand too much now. I don’t even think I’ll love getting drenched either. But that one time, just that once, I didn’t really mind it so much.

*****

Yes, it says sukhi aatma.

Non-Monogamy or somewhere in the ball park area…For Sneha

I’d really appreciate it if you, as a reader, would decide for yourself if this is a topic you’d like to read. Skip to the next post if you’re not comfortable. Anyway, these are musings. There’s no point to it.

One of the things about being in the unmarried minority of 26-year -olds is ruminating on relationship dynamics all the time.

Non-monogamy isn’t new to these ruminations.

*****

As a curious, 10-year-old voracious reader, I came across the very scandalous idea that all of mankind was sired (umm, what’s the female equivalent?)  by 7 women. 

While my understanding of sexuality and sex was minimal (nil), it seemed strange that each woman would have SO many children. I had barely understood this concept, when I came across another scandalous article. A woman who talked about how she lived with her husband and girlfriend in the same house.

It took me another decade to grasp the concept of non – monogamous, polyamourous, or even non – heterosexual relationships. Yes, that long.

*****

My most favourite movie as a child was Kuch Kuch Hota Hain. Big surprise. If you grew up in the 90s, the eternally college going SRK was as irresistible as the basket ball-playing, summer camp-going Kajol. Rani Mukherjee was a by the way person in their love story.

And that was my point of reference for relationships for the longest time- soul mates meant to be together even if there are many people who matter to you much walking in and out of your life.

So you wait and you wait, till a person you’re meant to be with walks into your life. Or dances in. Or plays rugby. Or your mom spots one in a wedding.

Here’s the thing though, do you realise how much pressure that is on one person?

Ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi reh sakte. By which logic I should’ve had no trouble in being married by now. Multiple times. I could have a husband for everyday of the month, and then some.

And yet, it’s the expectation of being everything. The be all for one person for the rest of your life, for all your needs, that’s cumbersome.

*****

A worldly-wise friend of mine once said to me that you’ve not really been in a relationship till the time there are constraints on your life. While that’s not globally true, it’s a big disappointment for most people when their significant other is not jealous. Jealous = Invested in the relationship.

But then, heterosexual monogamy is the norm. I see friends give in to the pressure of relationships and align themselves to expected/accepted behaviour all the time. And  that’s because one is supposed to be in a long-term successful relationship.

I’ve seen many a person ruined by the pressure to conform. To be normal. Yet I find this elusive concept of a normal, everyday relationship slipping from my grasps. And that’s a struggle.

*****

I live in two houses now, one with the family and one with a flatmate. The latter is closer to work. I own two backpacks. One for work and one for travel. I have a bunch of friends to watch movies with, and another to discuss life with. I even own two phones, one for regular use and one back up.

Do you get the drift?

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – First Impressions (Spoiler-free)! 

It’s overwhelming. Yup, that’s the word for it.

First things first, I’m giving out no spoilers. Read the rest of this post if you want to know what I thought of it and  to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Is it worth buying?
The short answer: If you’re not going to have the opportunity to watch the play, YES.

The long one:

Fans who followed the release and the news closely, would know that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes off where the Epilogue of Deathly Hallows left us. But here’s the thing, I don’t think Harry Potter ever left us. And that’s what J3 (Joanne, John and Jack) do. 
So,  yup. The play is a play on nostalgia, on our extremely fragile sentiments and of  course, takes you right into its arms from the word go. If like me,  you read all the books when they launched, a typical rainy Sunday; this script will make you travel across time and space. 
Without letting out much, let me tell you this, the play reads like it was made for the fans. And I’m not complaining! It feels like the fandom and its likes/dislikes were taken into consideration. Every time a new scene begins, you’ll either have moist eyes or pants (sorry!). If you’ve been a demented fan like me, you’ll know exactly what’s going to happen next. It’s the how it happens that I loved. 

At various points of my two-hour read I had to take a moment to wipe off a tear or really take it all in. This is something I could root for. This is it.

Is the play intense? Naah. Is it funny? In parts. But is it a fitting continuation of the series? Really depends. 

What I expected from the script of the   play was the story. The answer to ‘what next?’, and that bit was marvellous. Even if it’s not the same trajectory I imagined. What I’m now excited about is the actual stage production, because this reads like it was meant to be a movie. (Sidenote: I’d be really disappointed if this is not turned into another money-spinner on the big screen)

The plot in itself is complicated and at times goes into the implausible. You don’t want to believe J3 did that! SHE did that. But I guess, as the demographic of the Harry Potter fan changes (we’re almost all adults), some things had to. And boy does that bring about mixed feelings!

So, should you buy it? Yup, unless you get to watch it first. Even then, I guess I’ll buy the final script for posterity (this one was an ebook purchased on Pottermore).

Should you go in with expectations of it being the 8th book? Nope. Think of it as a tribute to the series. To its fans.

So did you finish reading it too? Are you reading it a second time already? I am!

Let me know what you thought of it!

PS. Please no spoilers in the comments! 

Here Goes Nothing…

Ahem. I am going to blog like nothing happened. Let’s ignore the last year when I completely gave up on writing. Ok? OKAY.

********************************

“Oh God Why Me?”

I turned another year older last month. Honestly, I cannot pinpoint to anything that’s changed in the last year. The last few years though? A LOT.

Responsibility comes with age, said my school teacher. Ya, right.

I cannot for the life of me point to one phase of my life where I didn’t feel that I wasn’t surrounded by kids. Too many negatives in that sentence. Basically, I’ve always felt like I was surrounded by immature kids who could do with some growing up.

Which gets me to my current phase in life.

I don’t blog as frequently as I used to at one point. I take on more work than what I can humanely accomplish. Which leads to muddled up deadlines and a lot of apologies. Much like the kids in my class.

See, there? I am actually growing more rash, as I grow up.

One might argue, that growing up is actually about taking calculated risks. But really, I am too much of a scared kitten for it to apply to me.

SO what are the risks I have taken in the last few years? Let’s see…

  1. I decided to let go of a career I dreamt of having since I was a kid. Sigh. (The sting never leaves, does it?)
  2. I have decided to get totally disconnected to any mainstream news and pop shows. (Still getting there!)
  3. I decided to be a teacher. (This is not funny.)

I put myself up for scrutiny every day. Every single day. The fellow teachers, the snotty 17-year-olds who cannot even cook their own food, the neighbours, the friends. Everyone judges me, because I am a teacher.

And no, this isn’t the snide, oh-you-must-be-teaching-because-you-can’t-do-anything-else kind of judging. That I can deal with. It’s the career-advice and job-accomplishments type of judging. Big deal, you say?

“Everyone gets that!”

NOT really.

You see, the problem is this: Not all of us might ever have dealt with a civil engineer. Not all of us know exactly what a doctor does. Nobody wants to know what an architect does. Or even a designer for that matter. None of us have a clue what CAs do! But here’s the thing, every single one of us, has had a teacher. Probably for an extended period of time. This, apparently, qualifies all and sundry to tell me how to do my job.

Now here’s the thing, I am new to this job. I never professionally trained to be a teacher. But I am one. And if I need advice, I’d rather go to someone who is a teacher rather than ask you, Madame and Monsieur Randome. You, who were teachers for one glorious day in 10th standard when you lorded over a bunch of 10-year-olds.

Also, everyone who is a teacher has only one advice for everyone else. You learn on the job! You’ve no clue what a class will be like unless you’re there – experiencing that hate emanate from a multitude of sources. Hate, or awe. There is never an understanding or appreciation for what you do, in my very vast experience. Kidding.

There’s a silent understanding – ‘I will behave. Hence, it is my right to demand that you end the class 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.’

I get this, and I do this; because even if I may be this young-ish teacher who is still figuring out how to carry on talking when a 100 faces are furiously stabbing at their iphones; I was on the other side of the table just a few moments ago. And while I demanded of my teachers to be a little more considerate towards me, a person balancing her education and a job, I think I can extend the same courtesy to my kids.

Moral of the story? As I grow another year older, I’ve realised educating someone isn’t entirely my cup of tea. Not yet at least. I will probably need advice. Not yours, though. Maybe advice from the people I am trying to learn with. My students.

PS. This birthday bought some awesome gifts. That deserves its own post! 😀

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.