Monday, December 24, 2012

Where Art Thou Father Christmas?

Christmas of Black Tears

I still believe in Santa Claus. I still believe in the fables we heard, read, learned & carved in heart as kids - those tales of how the Good always overpowers the Evil. We also learned that naughty children don’t get Christmas presents from Santa; thus, we have to be good throughout. Childhood was simple – be bad, the bogeyman will take you away; but be good and you will be the best kid on Santa’s list.

The girl ‘Amanat’ from Delhi must have done something terrible this year to have encountered that terrible fate. The bogeyman or rather the whole bogeyman clan came for her on that dreaded bus. Similarly, that poor lawyer from Mumbai must have been so bad this year that she was molested and murdered inside her own apartment by a security guard who was supposed to ‘secure’ her! Or is it so that being a girl, none of the fairy tale and religious teachings applies to the ‘weaker sex’? The little bit of feminist streak in me pokes me when I say we are the weaker sex, but the unfortunate fact is that we are the vulnerable gender. We are sandwiched between pervert characters and rigid social attitude. Many ‘spokespersons’ and authority figures of the society often find critical points in putting the blame on girls although they proclaim it is for the safety of girls –
  • She was not dressed appropriately. Apparently jeans are more provocative than fitted churidars and midriff-baring sarees! Don’t get me wrong, I love Indian wears, especially sarees which make a woman look the most beautiful. But what a girl wears shouldn’t be considered an indicator of her morals. Yet, the archaic mentality is still plaguing the mass opinion (which also includes many women, sadly another horrific angle in the story)!
  • What was she doing out at that late hour? Same what your good son was doing – catching up with friends over dinner, trying to relax after a long, tiring day at work or simply trying to get out of the regular routine of cooking and cleaning utensils. If you have ever tutored your son to respect a girl’s modesty at any given time within 24 hours, this question would never arise in your mind.
Thus, as per the guidelines of the ‘social moral guardians’, most of us girls might never figure in Santa’s good list, unless we remain inside the walls of our homes. Oh wait, so those cases of sexual offences like rapes by family members or marital rape are just figments of our imagination or what?

It appears laughable to think that Santa stands for the Good in life. But he must exist because we know for sure that the evil bogeyman exists. Yet we are not finding any reason to rejoice and celebrate the season. Santa seems to have forgotten our kind, good or bad. It is idiotic of us to expect Christmas gifts from him unless it is pepper spray. Safe place at any given time is a mere mirage.

The sexual offenders are psychologically deranged and the chance of eradicating such perverts from the face of the earth completely is, sadly, nil. I think such a feat can be achieved only by either a whole bunch of superheroes or the apocalypse. So as the vulnerable fraternity, we the women are always at the danger of being groped, eve-teased, harassed, molested and raped - despite being on the good side. Unfortunately, there are hardly any concrete measures taken by our authorities to prevent and lessen the number of such cases. There is no fast and strict means of punishing the offenders which could instill fear among future offenders. So in every plausible way, we are in the neglected list of Santa. Yes, this is the third list of Father Christmas which some forgetful elf must have misplaced.  

No this year I am not finding any reason to be grateful, to celebrate the spirit of Christmas or New Years. For me and for most women, the season’s greetings are empty black alphabets with no ‘Ho Ho Hos’. I don’t want to sound pessimist but some part of me actually wanted Doomsday to happen on 21.12.12 as it would have ended everything – good, bad and ugly. Since it didn't happen, I can try to be optimistic about my childhood beliefs and ask Santa to give us at least one reason to rejoice – (a) safer world where crime can be prevented (doesn't hurt to think of futuristic crime prevention as shown in ‘Minority Report’) or (b) fast & strict judicial system dealing with offenders or simply, (c) a normal life for all the rape/molestation victims without any social stigma. 

Dear Santa, I hope you are listening!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stories… Memories… Legendary Lores… Friends!

“. . . the companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain.”  Mary Shelley

Sharing lunch boxes, books, audio cassettes (yes, we had those in our adolescence and teen days!) and anecdotes about anything and everything: from dreams & ambitions to music & movies, from life’s dilemmas (you know, the ‘teenage’ rebel dramas involving school authority, parents, heart troubles!) to many little joys, and of course, the opposite sex. How much I miss the golden school days! We may not be in touch with most of our school friends today, but isn’t it already ‘romantic’ to realize that you made maximum number of friends only in school! We may not know where most of them are today, but we still remember everyone’s name. One small reunion and the Pandora’s Box of memories always open up. School pals will always enjoy a special cherished place in our hearts.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”   C.S. Lewis

The first day in college and in my case, hostel as well… You search for someone with whom you can identify or connect immediately. You might hang out in a humongous group of batch-mates, but you end up being ‘friends’ with a limited few due to that connection. Those few friends end up being very important part of your life. They give shape to your persona, your life as you gradually step into adulthood. You become ‘philosophers’ with them, trying to decide on a direction of life. For me, they were my family away from home. They are my 4 AM friends till date. Even our parents seek them out if they can’t get through us… “Her phone not reachable”, “Is something bothering her?”, “She is being adamant about that xyz, please talk to her!” and so on.

The same story continues with a very few individuals whom you befriend after you finish academic life… 
They may be from work-sphere, your flatmate or someone introduced to you by some acquaintance. They are the ones who help you relax and rejuvenate after hectic work schedule. They hear out your frustrations, providing the shoulder to cry and let you get into high spirits.  

Thank god for these friends for life, those memories. The late-night or rather, till-dawn talkathon, midnight snacking and odd ice-cream cravings, SOS plea to guys to get those ice-creams, bunking classes to watch already-seen movies while lazing under the cozy blankets, experimenting in kitchen (guess we turned out to be fairly good cooks due to that without mom’s training), that crazy night on the roof during the rains, endless shopping sojourns and of course, the house parties. Given a choice, I will any day prefer those fun house parties where we cook our food ourselves and spend quality time with friends (ending up really high-spirited in every possible way) over the so not memory-worthy parties in posh night clubs. The photographs and memories of those house-parties always bring smiles even in darker times. Oh, the stuffs that happen during college days will create legendary stories for our next generations… our stories are at par with our favourite sitcoms like ‘Friends’. We are very proud of those stories!

“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face.”  Maya Angelou

Then there are those strangers whom you don’t know personally, may be you have not even met them. But there is always a warm connection with them. You feel happy to bond with them as you feel they understand you in certain way. You don’t even feel the need to talk to them directly. Pen pals (in older times) and a few social-networking pals today can cheer you up when you are feeling down and out. A few message exchanges… you can unburden your thoughts to them without being judged. I feel I am fortunate to have a few such friends who know me without really knowing me. It’s true, life can be stranger than fiction.

“We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.              
“Even longer,” Pooh answered.

I am not trying to classify friends. Truth is, friendship can’t be defined. There are no true friends… There are only ‘friends’… rest are just the people you know, or at least you hope you know. Friends, you don’t need to pretend to know them and you are also sure, they are also not pretending to know you. They simply understand.

So here it goes… Happy Friendship Day!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Parting with Memories of Life

Cleaning and organizing your closet is not an easy task. One of the most time and energy consuming tasks ever. Now I will admit that I have a certain level of OCD and like to see my closet well organized. One thing out of place… and my mind and hands start itching. Thankfully, hectic office hours and other things (read ‘too tired to even sleep!’) restrain me from indulging in this chore on regular basis. But after a point, loud music and cleaning spree gain momentum on one fateful day.

It always turns out to be a fateful day. I shall like to believe that majority of girls would understand what I am about to elaborate.

There will always be at least one item in the closet which is old, almost of no use and breathing its last few airs. An old T-shirt, a few junk jewelleries, some old notes… The list can’t be exhausted. These stuffs always stay; surviving each wardrobe-cleaning frenzy. We keep on holding to such a few stuffs in spite of the fact that they are mostly useless. Or are they really useless?

Us ladies are an emotional species, aren’t we? Those old its-&-bits of stuffs are just itsy-bitsy memories we hold onto. How? Just a few examples:

  • Memories of friendship: That Janpath pair of earrings gifted by a roommate/classmate, who was not your BFF. You probably don’t wear them anymore. Yet you keep them inside the earrings trinket box.
  • Memories of love: Those gift-wrapping papers which adorned the special gifts. Even the countless Archies/Hallmark cards and may be a few flowers (dry and dead) still sit pretty in that big paper gift box!
  • Comfort and warmth: That old T-shirt or kurta, which you probably sneaked from a loved one’s wardrobe (could be anyone from your dad to your boyfriend). You love to sleep in that since it’s the coziest clothing item even though you own best of the night-wears

Men may never understand these logics. Actually, this ‘girly behaviour’ is not entirely logical. But again, thinking from heart is not silly. The emotional value of those old stuffs score higher than many branded and expensive items you own. Throwing such items accounts for a painful, cold-hearted decision. Which is why, I said that cleaning the wardrobe always takes place on a fateful day… a day when you might have to take some hard decision to part with a certain memory.

However, we continue holding onto some items. And this is understandable. It is never surprising if those silly old stuffs survive each cleaning… Spring… Summer… Autumn… and Winter. Girls are emotional and we love to preserve memories which are dear to us. Come what may!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Crazy Stupid Love… Or Is it?

So that day of the year is here again. I have a love-hate relationship with the Valentine’s Day. I love the fact that a special day is dedicated to that special feeling called ‘Love’ (despite what many cynics have to say against it). I hate it for a simple reason – there is a dearth of ‘human touch’ in love and relationships of the 21st century and this day has turned into just another commercial pot-boiler. These days, my grievances are increasing because of a week-long celebration of ‘special days’ leading to 14th February. I have discovered the existence of days ranging from ‘Propose Day’ to ‘Promise Day’! Wow, I feel so out-dated. In my days, there were just good old Rose day and Valentine’s Day (as far as I can remember!).

Those were the silliest yet sweetest days! There was anticipation… lots of brainstorming and planning was involved to deliver the perfect V-Day surprise. It was not anything extravagant. It was always simple and personal. Like a hand-made scrapbook with photos, poems (self-composed) and hours of effort invested to design that ‘personalised gift’.

At the risk of sounding like an admonishing ‘aunty’, I genuinely feel there is less of heart-power and more of money-power involved in today’s relationships. Those splurging on materialistic stuffs appear more an effort to win some kind of unofficial competition between all the couples in the world. I, fortunately, belong to a generation which has seen best of all the worlds – from love letters to paper greeting cards, from email to social-networking sites and from SMS to Whatsapp or BBM. So I know to appreciate the best and the worst of everything. I rue the fact that there is simply no human touch in those ‘LOL’s and ‘smiley’s. The warmth of a hand-written, self-composed love letter can’t even be compared to those mundane online chats. The very idea of romancing someone through SMS, chats etc. is such a turn-off!

The beauty of romance, the concept of wooing that special someone has somehow become too mechanical and commercial. Of course, true love still exists. But too much ‘Branding’ of love, a pure emotion, is objectionable (at least from my point of view). Can the magic of romance take place through mere exchange of expensive gifts and wireless messages? I still view romance with little bit of rose-tint on my dark glares! Even though I can laugh at those fairy-tale climaxes of chick films, I love to watch them and wander into a make-believe world occasionally. For me, Simplicity is the magic word. Simple… go for KISS… Keep It Simple Silly! Let love be crazy and stupid…

Being a girl, I can’t give up on those mushy chick flicks. So today I wrap up with a dialogue by the spunky Emma Stone from the film ‘Easy A’. Take a hint guys…

“Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80's movies? I want John Cusack holding a boom-box outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80's movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number, for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.”

Wish John Hughes or even Karan Johar would have directed my life!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Karma, Ego & All That Jazz

My recent Facebook update read something like this, Those who hurt you will eventually screw themselves up. And if you are bloody lucky, Karma will let you WATCH!” I know it sounds mean and invites bad Karma in all probability. But after the likes and kind comments, retweets on Twitter and even a few comments in person later, I realized that I was not talking nonsense at all. Human beings are inherently vengeful and everyone wishes deep down something ‘not nice’ to happen to those who hurt him or her real bad. Since we are too lazy to take the revenge ourselves, well… let Karma take care of everything!

“Why this Kolaveri??” Hmmph!!! I meant, why such murderous rage? Are we genuinely hurt or is this a classic case of hurt ego? I guess to each his own.

I will cite a chapter from my own life. I decided to ‘unfriend’ someone from my friend list on Facebook. Simple reason being since we never spoke and there is hardly any chance we will ever talk as ‘friends’. I was not interested to know about any updates from his life and similarly, I was not keen to provide him the window to my life. Here I admit that my ego pushed me to do something like that. But this person seriously must be having greater issues with me. May be he never imagined I could remove him from my friend list. So he ‘blocked’ me on Facebook so that I can’t ever access his profile. Wow! Talk about ego, or should I say, the case of Inflated Ego. How wise is this person?!? Trust me when I say I laughed for a good measure of around 5 minutes imagining what thoughts and curses might have run through his mind for me. I am still smiling… (wicked smile). So in this case, who do you think was more childish, me or him?

Someone once funnily quoted, “Some people have such inflated ego that it probably has stretch marks!” Touché.

I too value my ego. But I am yet to reach the extreme peak. I am too laid-back to think about something ‘not nice’ happening in the lives of those who hurt me. For me two things matter – (a) It happened because it was destined to happen and (b) Whatever happens, happens for the best and since I am still alive and kicking, I must be God’s favourite child to be out of it. Rest I assign to Karma. I feel I must have earned real bad Karma to have experienced those hurtful moments. But so have those who hurt me. So let me enjoy my life while Karma takes care of all. For the record, I will consider myself fortunate if Karma allows me witness a few moments of ‘getting back’.

Till then…

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Love Stories

A new year has started. Till date, nothing extra-ordinary has taken place. But life is not mundane also. Except a recurring cold, I am pretty much enjoying 2012. There have been really nice experiences, some good fodder for creating and preserving a few wonderful memories.

But (there is always a ‘But’, isn’t it?)… I am ready to ponder over lots of things again. Can’t help it, it’s ME! Someone quoted on Facebook that the status updates and photos uploaded by friends on social networking sites can often make one wonder about the happiness of others and the deficit of such happiness in one’s own life. Let’s see…

My 2011 saw many updates on ‘relationship statuses’, ranging from engaged to married. Now I am feeling paranoid thinking if 2012 will see lots of babies photos uploaded!

Come on, I am thinking just like a girl… nothing wrong with that. We girls have our sets of apprehension and big ‘Ifs and Whens’.

Girls being girls, we are such emotional wrecks. Most of the time confused about our own wishes and heart’s desires.

Case 1: Girl is one of the prettiest and smartest ladies around. The proverbial beauty with brains, she has most of the boys eating out of her palms. By the way, she also belongs to that mythical class of girls who has a near Mr. Perfect in her life. It’s actually too much of a fairytale, isn’t it? Well, the twist is… the Mr. Perfect had to move out of town for good. Girl, who is doing really well in her field of job, is in confusion. If she moves out of this town, she will have to bid goodbye to her career. What should be her priority – Love or Career? She can date the best of the men but she knows it too well… her heart belongs to Mr. Perfect only. Huge dilemma!!!

Case 2: They have been together since almost a decade. She has always loved him unconditionally. However, he has never committed himself completely, always stating clearly that marriage is not an option. As long as it lasts, it is cool with him. So she has to take some difficult but final decisions. In order to initiate the process of ‘moving on’, she starts exploring other ‘avenues’. Reason? She has never been single. She ponders… is she jumping into the fire from the frying pan?!?

Case 3: Amalgamation of the above two cases. She can’t sacrifice her career. But she knows there is a huge dearth of Mr. Perfects or even Mr. Near Perfects. Emotionally gullible, she believes she can’t stay alone. Thus she starts depending on Mr. Rebound, not able to separate a fling from love. Result? She is still trying to dance on shaky grounds!

We girls love ‘Love Stories’. So we keep on looking for one in our own lives. Generally it is said that women are difficult to understand. Honestly, I think we girls are confused about our desires ourselves. We really don’t understand what we really want… except the fact we want to be loved. In these three cases, most often the girls might end up succumbing to hearts’ pressure of ‘being in love’. There might be exceptions, but most often heart wins at this tug-of-war.

Call it the moral of the story or the bottom line, we are, consciously or sub-consciously, into love stories and happy endings. So we love to see those happy status updates on Facebook and look forward to our own love stories (even if we don’t want to admit it openly!).  

So “Happy Status Updates” ladies!

Friday, December 30, 2011

A Last Note… Prelude to Something New

It’s that time of the year. The tick tock on the clock is distinctly audible. The last few hours are here… to end 2011 with an optimistic high; or at least with a hope to begin 2012 on a jolly note.

I am not that much into New Year resolutions. If you really want to do something (or stop doing something in some cases), why do you need any special occasion for that? But just for the sake of a new ‘yearly’ tradition, I also try to list down a few resolutions and simultaneously, come up with counter-attacking points. So here it goes:
  1. No junk food.  But 31st December night always leads to binging on all the unhealthy yummy food. So 1st January usually begins with gluttony, heralded by scrumptious cake. Let’s see how much I can resist pani-puris from 2nd January!
  2. Find a decent house… ‘my space’… in crowded Mumbai. Very difficult task. Monetary limitation, attachment to the expensive locality Lokhandwala, tricky property rules and regulations and above all, my laziness to go for house-hunting, all make it difficult to stick to this vital resolve. Moreover, these days whenever my parents start talking marriage, well the laziness engulfs me more. I mean, if I get married, again the mammoth job of shifting will arise… won’t it? Who wants to repeat the bothersome hard work called ‘packing and unpacking’? Yawn!!!
  3. Get that tattoo. This tattoo design has been in my mind since four years now. Only my phobia of needles has been preventing me till date. The new year might see me overcome this phobia. I will give it my best shot (I hope so!).
  4. Read more and more books. This is one resolution which I will definitely keep. It’s true, “So many books, so little time!” I will have to reserve time.
  5. Find the guy who is loved by my folks and most importantly, loved by me. Hmmm… this appears to be the most difficult. The less said the better!
2011 has been one roller-coaster ride. A year that has been unlike any other years of my life. There have been good, bad and even worst experiences. But that’s life. So why not take it with a pinch of salt… along with lime and vodka shots! Love it!!! Ohkkk… looks like I still believe in ‘Love’. A good omen! Cheers to 2012!!!

Let’s not fret about all those Doomsday predictions. And if worried, then let’s plan our individual ‘Noah’s Ark’. My own 'Namrata's Ark' sounds good already with the best specimens on board... What an amazing fantasy it is (wink)! 

Happy 2012 people!