Categories
Thought and Reason

Everyone needs a grandparent!

There’s no questioning it. Everyone needs a bit of pampering. A little love, much adoration 🙂 and even some unquestioned ‘authority’ that leads them to believe ‘they are the boss’. Who better for this role, than a grandparent?

We live miles (and miles!) away from home, but do head back once or twice a year. The bond between child and grandparent is simply beautiful. It does not matter that they have a 60-year-gap between them. It also doesn’t matter that they don’t always understand each other’s accent! Neither does it makes a difference whether they are communicating with each other or simply sitting in amiable silence, watching some crappy TV program.

Kids who receive absolute adoration from the grandparents are ‘blessed’ if you ask me! I think the admiration builds much confidence in them, and it lasts a lifetime. I remember reading these lines somewhere, sometime (but even Google isn’t able to retrieve it for me!): ‘if you have a heard a river in your childhood, it is likely that you will hear it all your life’. That’s the way it is when one is blessed with loving grandparents. I have had the fortune of having one adoring grandmum 🙂 Just thinking of her makes warms the cockles of my heart. Senility will catch up one day,and perhaps turn her into a nit-picking and grumpy lady 🙂 (I’m nearly there myself ;-)) but nevertheless, my love for her is just as unconditional as hers for me 🙂

Why is it that kids are relatively de-stressed with the grandparents around, as compared to the parents? Do we push them too much? Do we want them to be ‘perfect’ (despite not managing it ourselves?!) Or do we use their behaviour as a benchmark of our success as a parent?! Whatever be the reason, in general grandparents seem to share a better rapport with kids than do the parents. Their relationship is quite stress-free, with not much expectation or conditions from either side!

Let me also confess that I am a little envious of people who can leave the kids at the grandparents’ every now and then! Bringing up a child is quite a challenge. I would go so far as to say managing a career is easier than bringing up a child. Yes, every job is difficult, but the task of looking after a child beats them hands down! So if we have grandparents to sneak in and take the pressure off, that, is sheer heaven 🙂

Now that’s another fact that grandparents don’t always want to ‘look after’ the kids as their previous generations did! They enjoy doing this ‘part time’ 😉 but not as a full-time job, and I think they are right! Afterall, they have lived their entire life working really hard to bring us up and provide everything we needed! It ain’t quite fair to expect them to become full-time baby-sitters at this age. I wish more people realised it!! Having grandparents is a luxury that not many can afford!! So the ones that do, add this to your blessings 🙂 🙂

So here’s to all grandparents. No matter how loving/bitchy they are, or how generous/stingy they choose to be. And certainly, irrespective of whether they ‘look after’ our kids or ‘not’. Just ‘being there’ and ‘supporting our children’ is a blessing 🙂 whether we accept it or not.

Rant Warning:

On a related note, I find it annoying when people say going to India once or twice a year ‘is very lucky’.

Honestly, it is a choice! One chooses to either save money, buy property/jewellery/gadgets/etc and go on exotic holidays around the globe! Or one chooses to save every penny and travel 5000 miles to indulge one’s self in the familiar sights, sounds (read, cacophony!) and smells (er, anyone heard of Onyx?) of the home town. Now that calls for another post altogether!!

So all those lovely folks who say this to me again .. er.. please, please don’t!! Danke 🙂

Categories
Thought and Reason Short story

A bagful of peanuts

Every now and then, something beautiful comes my way to show me that Life is the greatest humbler! 

For instance, all of you (my regular readers) know I have been in India during the Easter break. I usually carry bundles of old clothes (in great condition) to give away to maids/helpers back home. This time again, I took a box of clothes and my mum distributed it among some regular helpers. One particular shirt was slightly over-sized and hardly used, and we decided to give it to our fruit-seller for one of his three sons. He accepted it with his usual quiet demeanour and left without saying a word. I wondered if he even appreciated that it was still a good shirt and would use it for his child, or quickly sell if off for a few rupees on the footpath the next day!!

Let me quickly clarify that I was NOT looking for ‘gratitude’ as people sometimes do. My belief is that people who receive things from me are actually doing me a favour by helping de-clutter my house and in turn, my life! So there was no question of gratitude. Only, a subconscious wish for some sign of ‘acknowledgement’.

Anyway, a few days passed, and the incident had completely vanished from memory.

Late one hot summer evening, the door bell rang. Mum answered it, and was surprised to see none other than the fruit-seller. He simply stood there, quiet as he always was, looking looking tired in a crumpled brownish-yellow shirt that was once probably white.

Mum was surprised, because it wasn’t the time to buy/sell fruits! She opened the door anyway, not knowing what to expect! Usually, helpers who visit late in the evening, are looking for some help, usually in the form of money. We waited to see what he would say/ask for.

To our surprise, the fruit-seller just passed his hand around the half-open iron-grill-gate and handed over a bag overflowing with fresh peanuts (monkeynuts). And walked away without a word.

We stared at each other – dumbstruck, tears brimming our eyes. A big bag of nuts. It would have probably made an excellent snack for three hungry children that were waiting for him back home. Yet, he chose to give it to us. In his own quiet, humble way, he had shown us that to give something, one only needs a big heart!!

The magnanimity of the poor fruit-seller left us utterly humbled!!

I don’t think I have words enough to explain the lesson in humility that I learnt that day. It was certainly one of the most beautiful incidents ever.

I wish we had more of such people around. They certainly make the world a better place!

This post is a participation in the Blogsplash (24th April 2012) in celebration of FionaRobyn‘s book ‘The Most Beautiful thing”.

Categories
Thought and Reason Tags

Tag you’re it!

I’ve been bitten by the ‘Tag You’re It’ bug too!! Kind courtesy: The one and only Bhai of blogworld. Our dear Hitchy!

The Rules:

1. You must post the rules!
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Here are the questions Hitchy asked, with my answers embedded.

1.) If you could have any superpower, what would it be ? Imagine !
>> To make anyone slim OR fat! I’d round up all the mean folks and make them super-fat, so they are grounded for life. (Er, today happens to be my Mean-Avatar day!!) I’d also grant nice people with a great figure (if they so wish it!). So be in my good books, people!

2.) What was your favorite childhood television program?

>> Spiderman and He-Man.. they both give me a feeling of ‘Sunday’ 🙂 day of rest and fun!

3.) Have / had any celebrity crushes ?
>> Hritik Roshan, who else!!!

4.) If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
>> At the moment it would be India, cos I’ve not been there for almost 6 months!! Yeah, I’m homesick.

5.) Name 1 thing you miss about being a child.
>> A calorie-free life. Not that I ate sensibly then, I was blissfully ignorant of words like Carbs, Monosaturated fat, blah blah blah.

6.) Name the one comic/book character that you loved the most and why ?
>> Er…. Suppandi 🙂

7.) What is the one thing that you are dying to try but haven’t had a chance to do so yet ?
>> After watching ZNMD, I think I might want to try sky-diving sometime, provided my BFFs join me!

8.) Do you have a role model – someone you want to emulate? Whom do you admire the most?
>> Chetan Bhagat.. who else can relentlessly dish out so much crap and still manage to become a best-seller?!!

9.) What do others make of you ?
>> (You mean, on my non-bitchy days, right?) That I’m very caring and pleasant.

10.) Have you ever gotten into a fight or punched someone ?
>> Nah! I’m too nice (read: timid) for that! But there are a lot of people I’d like to punch some day!

11.) For Girls – If you woke up tomorrow to find out you are Brad Pitt, what would be the first thing you’d say upon looking in the mirror !
>> Go, look for Writerzblock and take her out on a lovely date to Paris 😉

Okay, my job’s done. Now its your turn!!!

These are the lovely folks I’m tagging:

1. Ashwathy
2. Urmi
3. Snowleopard
4. Vaish
5. Aaroo
6. Reema
7. Uma
8. LG
9. Shilpa
10. Bikram 
11. Mon

And here are your Eleven questions:

1. If you were crowned ‘Ms/Mr/Mrs/etc’ World, how would you start your ‘thank you’ speech?

2. If you had to turn yourself into a cartoon character, who/what would you choose?

3. What would be your response to a troll comment like ‘Your blog is utter crap!‘?

4. If you found a bag of cash (huge cash), what would you do? Take it to the police station, keep it for yourself, or any other option?

5. Describe your first poo/wee accident as a child. Ha ha ha!:wicked: If you don’t remember, then just invent one!

6. If someone pays you a million dollars to watch a scary horror film, sitting ALONE in a graveyard at midnight, would you do it?

7. What is your one piece of advice to Rahul Baba (Gandhi)?

8. If you could banish the Bacchhan parivaar, where would you send them?

9. What is your proudest moment?

10. What is your most romantic moment?

11. And finally (phew), if you had a time machine, which year would you transport yourself to, and why?

(Needless to say, if anyone wants to willingly become a bali-ka-bakra and take up this tag, please do so!! The more the merrier!!)

Categories
Thought and Reason Incidents

Good boys don’t watch porn!

So the last couple of days have been eventful! India won against Sri Lanka. Voting began in Uttar Pradesh. And three ministers from Karnataka resigned, amidst accusations of watching pornography during when assembly was in full swing!

TV news channels aired footage of the ministers Laxman Savadi (Minister for co-operation),  CC Patil, (Minister for women and children), and Krishna Palemar (Minister for ports) using a mobile phone to watch a porn clip.

Excerpt from Mumbai Mirror:

‘The two ministers, who were sitting next to each other, had no inkling that television cameramen had taken position in the gallery right above them. Savadi, bored by the speeches, began fidgeting with his cell phone. As cameras zoomed in, it could be clearly seen that a porn clip was playing on his phone. Patil then leaned towards Savadi and got completely immersed in what was on show.The duo watched the clippings for almost 10 minutes, with Savadi holding the cell phone under the table. They looked up only after the day’s proceeding ended.’

On being caught red-handed, the ‘honourable’ ministers came up with a host of explanations…

1)      Savadi claimed he was watching an incident of rape of a woman, not ‘porn’, to “prepare for a discussion [in the assembly] on the ill-effects of a rave party” in the state recently. (Well! Really?! But why DURING the session?)

2)      Savadi also claims the clip was of a ‘foreign woman’ and NOT a Bhartiya nari (‘Indian woman’). (Right! He was not watching an ‘Indian woman’ so he has clearly not offended Indian culture!)

3)      ‘I am not a criminal. It was not my phone’. (Reminds me of the lame excuses kids use at school!!)

4)      ‘We are not so uncivilised as to watch porn films’ –  CC Patil, minister for women and children. (So, only uncivilised people watch porn?!)

So what is the outrage all about?

1)      Gross misconduct

Is the problem ONLY with watching porn? I don’t think so. Many people watch porn (Wiki says – ‘More than 70% of male internet users from 18 to 34 visit a pornographic site in a typical month’).

Watching porn does not mean you are a ‘bad person’. ‘Good boys’ also watch porn! But the point is, when and where do you watch it? The objection is neither on feminist nor religious grounds, but on code of conduct and accountability!

Each session of assembly costs money – the tax payer’s money. Take a look at this article that talks about Parliament assembly disruptions costing Rs.2 crore per day!

Assembly (or ANY place of work, for that matter), has a code of conduct, rules and some basic responsibilities. Whether the ministers were watching porn or not, the question still remains – why were they doing it when the house was in session?! Even if we were to be as gullible as one can possibly imagine, and believe, for a second, that the ministers were indeed watching a gang-rape in order to prepare for a discussion, there is NO EXCUSE for doing it during working hours!

2)      Hypocrisy

Isn’t it surprising that people having the power and authority and who claim to be ‘moral police’ themselves often contradict themselves by their actions? Let’s look at the following examples.

Does the name ‘Pramod Muthalik’ ring a bell? Members of the Sri Ram Sena group had threatened to punish or marry off any young couples found together on Valentine’s Day. They were also the same thugs who had beaten up girls ‘in a pub’.

While people in power advocate ‘upholding Indian culture’ they resort to gross physical violence without batting an eyelid!!

Remember the controversial ‘Slutwalk’? Many groups of people in India protested ‘against’ the movement for its use of the word ‘slut’ as well as the thought of ‘women dressing like sluts’. Apparently, the movement was not allowed to take place in Karnataka, because it was ‘against Indian culture’! Excerpt from Times of India: “The vice-president of a women’s organization in Malleswaram called me and said that if any women were seen in skimpy clothing during the Slutwalk, they would be beaten with brooms”

On one hand, authorities ban a movement against rape, and on the other, they vicariously do the same by watching porn?!

Interestingly, on the lines of what Andhra Pradesh top cop said, Minister C C Patil had recently assumed the role of moral policeman, advising women to ‘know how much skin they should cover!’ so they can avoid getting raped – “I personally don’t favour women wearing provocative clothes and always feel they need to be dignified in whatever they wear.”

 

Makes one wonder, was the woman in the clip dressed inappropriately, perhaps ‘arousing’ the curiosity of an otherwise ‘civilised’ man?!!!

 

Such incidents only prove one thing – the sleaze is in the mind of the criminal/perpetrator! Therefore, instead of pretending to respect women and Indian culture (and then watching porn during an assembly session!), perhaps they should focus on being sincere in their work, for starters!

3)      New lows all the time!

For a country whose image has been severely tainted with scandals and scams, we seem to find new lows all the time!

BJP leader Manohar Parrikar has supposedly just said proclaimed:

“There are people all across the country who do worse things. Congress leaders have chopped women and burnt them in a tandoor…Then there was the Bhanwari Devi case (from Rajasthan). They (the three BJP ministers in Karnataka who resigned yesterday) were only watching and not doing it!!”

The three ministers are perhaps not the ‘first’ people to engage in this deplorable act, but they sure can be the last!

Why are our standards so low? In UK, ministers were forced to resign for over-claiming expenses. In India however, we live through a new scam each day! The 2G spectrum scam, Nira Radia tapes, Commonwealth games scam, Adarsh housing scam… the list is endless!!

AND YET, ALL IS FORGOTTEN.

We hit a new low each time. This is one such case!

The BIG question now is – What will India decide? Is resignation enough?

This link refers to the weaknesses of the cyber act, due to which the ministers CANNOT be booked by the cyber police!

Will the ministers receive any punishment at all? Or will they get away (as always), because as they claim, ‘good boys don’t watch porn’!!

Categories
Incidents Thought and Reason

Do fashionable girls invite rape?

Do fashionable girls invite rape?

IHM has written extensively about this topic, and there really isn’t much more than I can add. However, here are my two cents.

—–

In what seemed to be a re-enactment of the origins of the Slut Walk, Andhra Pradesh top cop Dinesh Reddy recently made a statement that ‘women who wear fashionable clothes provoke men, leading to increase in rape cases’. He indicated that modern and fashionable women are more prone to rape, BECAUSE of their inappropriate dressing. While many people were outraged, many others have applauded him on his courage!!

I lived in India for most of my life, and I can tell you for a fact, that EVEN IF YOU ARE COVERED FROM HEAD-TO-TOE you are still very much at the risk of being sexually abused.

For starters, how easy or difficult do you think it is for a woman to travel in a crowded bus without being touched inappropriately by a fellow passenger?! A young child, a teenager, a mother of two kids – nobody is spared. As long as one is a woman, she is likely to be molested at some point in time. Do you know how many middle-class woman living in Mumbai carry a sharp safety pin while travelling on a crowded local train? I was advised this ‘technique’ when I lived in Mumbai for a couple of months.

The groping, pinching and other lecherous behaviour that happens all the time, on our Indian roads and public transport is beyond a civilised person’s imagination!! To blame that sort of lecherous behaviour on the clothes of the victim sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

A potential rapist sees his victim as an object and nothing else. There are no statistics to prove that a woman wearing a modern dress is more likely to get raped as compared to a woman who is conservatively dressed.

This article (see link) talks about molestation statistics in our Capital city, New Delhi. Atleast one woman is molested EVERY DAY.

Are we really so naive as to believe that all those women who were molested or raped were dressed ‘inappropriately’ or ‘fashionably’?!

How about our villages? Those poor women are not dressed ‘fashionably’, and yet they suffer the humiliation and trauma of rape.

For a country that claims to treat women as ‘goddesses’, statistics surprisingly indicate an increasing amount of crime against women!!

Also, do read this shocking extract from http://www.thp.org/reports/indiawom.htm

‘In recent years, there has been an alarming rise in atrocities against women in India. Every 26 minutes a woman is molested. Every 34 minutes a rape takes place. Every 42 minutes a sexual harassment incident occurs. Every 43 minutes a woman is kidnapped. And every 93 minutes a woman is burnt to death over dowry.

One-quarter of the reported rapes involve girls under the age of 16 but the vast majority are never reported. Although the penalty is severe, convictions are rare.’

Let’s get to the ROOT of the problem.

This interesting link describing the various causes of rape

Every single reason for rape (lust/show of power/etc.) has entirely to do with the mindset of the rapist, and NOT the outfit of the victim.

The problem is not that girls are getting influenced by the West and/or are wearing fashionable clothes, thereby ‘provoking’ men.

Rape happens IRRESPECTIVE of the victim’s outfit and NOT BECAUSE of it.

If we take a step backward and analyse the situation, we find that our society is plagued by a strong ‘rape culture’.

Wiki defines this rape culture as:

‘a culture in which rape and sexual violence against women are common and in which prevalent attitudesnorms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or tolerate sexual violence against women.  Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification and rape apologism

As a society, we still tend to BLAME THE VICTIM. We believe that the victim is responsible, either directly or indirectly.

That way, we not only transfer the burden of rape on the woman, but also seek to excuse the rapist for his barbaric behaviour.

Statistics have not been able to prove the link between the victim’s outfits and incidence of rape. Please read an extract from this link ‘Through a Rapist’s Eyes’. Though this is applicable to the US, the underlying issue is very relevant to India too:

‘There is no data to suggest that a potential victim is at greater risk because of how she is dressed. Remember, 70-80% of assailants are known to their victim, so tactics of stranger rapists aren’t needed.’

More statistics only support the above statements by revealing that around 2/3rds of rape are committed by known persons rather than strangers!

Therefore, the point is – Rape is PREMEDITATED. To claim that a girl wore fashionable clothes, thereby provoking and INVITING rape is baseless.

And for those who really believe that covering ones’ self from head-to-toe protects you from rape, please do read this bold article.  Rape happens even with women who are completely covered behind a veil.

To be fair, I do understand that wearing revealing clothes might attract more attention in a country that is sexually repressed! But does that justify rape? NO. Rape is crime and you cannot simply BLAME the victim by the flimsy excuse that ‘she was wearing fashionable clothes’!

I think this comment on Yahoo beautifully sums it up: ‘A rapist has a totally different mindset. It’s much more sinister, because he is actually serious about his plans. And to a real rapist, the outfit probably doesn’t matter much at all’

The need of the hour is not guidelines on Indian women’s Dress Code, but concentrated efforts to get out of this gross rape culture.

There is no such thing as a ‘right to rape’!! The quicker we realise it, the better for us to evolve into a truly civilised society!

Please, do share your thoughts on this.

Categories
Thought and Reason

The Virtual world – Virtual or Real?

With many of us living a parallel life ‘online’, one wonders if this throbbing, invisible world is really virtual anymore?

I remember reading a chapter on ‘the Internet’ when I was in school, and quietly dismissing it thinking it was too ‘theoretic ’. I could not have been more wrong!!

Right from my cute 8-year-old neighbour in Chennai till 70-year-old retired school teacher aunty, almost every single person I know is alive and kicking in the Virtual world (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_world).

Facebook FeverFacebook, Twitter, Google wave (and many more!)… ‘being online’ is not merely a part of life, but a basic necessity for many! Facebook discussions, for example, are so real that I often find myself pondering the entire day about a single thought floating around somewhere in virtual space. Some people go so far as to claim their life has improved with being able to instantly gratify their need for friendship! We are so involved with the online world that it begins to affect our day-to-day life. We do things, go to places so we can tell the world we have done it. We argue, we strive desperately to show we are right, we eagerly seek approval.. and all this from a community that we do not ‘see’ but only ‘read’.

Media Mania (pic courtesy Hindustan times)

There is this nagging urge to make a strong online presence. It could start off with a completely useless discussion on New Year resolutions that you know will not see the light of day! Or RT-ing anything that Big B, Junior B, or Beti B say (or gurgle, as the case may be). Or even reading a controversial article and throwing barbs at the authors hiding behind a shield of anonymity.

One thing is certain – no matter what form our online participation takes, it is certainly assuming gigantic proportions. Statistics indicate that many Facebook users spend more time on Facebook than face-to-face with friends.

Basically, we do not live in one single world any more. There is this invisible, pulsating virtual world all around us, drawing us deeper and deeper each day.

I wouldn’t say it is a vice, though. Let’s take a look at the incredible benefits of our virtual world:

  • Pretend to be friends with @SrBachchan and go ga-ga about Beti B’s name
  • Find love in chat-rooms (Sure, that makes a great story to tell your grandkids!)
  • Golu (Pic courtesy Wikipedia)

    Valiantly keep Indian culture alive. Especially all those lovely NRIs living in the ‘aasum You-Yes-Yay’ who post photos of exotic Golu and drool-worthy Paniyaram!

  • Say NO to dieting and exercise. I mean seriously! All you need is Photoshop. And tada!! You have a . Throw on a pair of dark glasses, Copy-Paste Santorini in the background, and notice how easy it is to get ‘liked’ without the Kolaveri of sweaty gymming.

    Instant makeover (Pic courtesy home-make-over dot info)
  • Keep a watch on the better-half! You wonder why his SMS reads ‘stuck in boring office party’, when he is simultaneously ‘tagged’ realtime with some hotties via ‘HTC Wild fire for FB’ 😉

Keep an eye on that teenage cousin who wears two-plaits and goes to a girls-school, and quietly tip off her mom when some weirdo with spikey hair comments ‘Dat Pic Lukng Hawt’. Whatever, dude!
Find out what your retired dad is upto these days (even if you don’t really want to). Dirty Picture at xyz Cinema with abc’. Gulp! Shouldn’t Zuckerberg think of introducing an upper age limit on FB users?

  • Free campaigning for events and functions. All you need is an IIT/IIM based story, and Voila! you are the next Chetan Bhagat, and FB is under a deluge of your ‘book launch’
  • Forge great friendships and even greater enemies!
  • And best of all, you get all this for FREE!

All the same, we suddenly have many lurking dangers!

  • Trading Facebook for Treadmill. Er.. not a great idea, really!
  • At the risk of an anti-climax, most of those porn videos that you think are ‘Chi..chi!’ and then click when nobody is watching, are actually spam and could contain viruses. What is worse, the bleddy link does not even play a video afterall!!
  • Attack by virtual trolls. There seem to be an increasing level of aggression and barbed attacks by anonymous trolls who trade subjectivity for offensiveness. Actually, getting to watch a fight for free should go under ‘merits’ of social media, but then, it isn’t always pleasant, is it?
  • Identity theft – This is more common than we think. When I saw my mum receiving FB notifications, I wondered how a lady who refused point-blank to turn on a computer, suddenly got so tech-savvy. Duh! Someone had stolen her ID!
  • Mc Merry!!! (Pic courtesy www dot overgroundonline dot com)

    There is just no privacy! You can’t lie to your organization or school. Like, for example, you cannot bunk school and go to Inox or McDonalds, because somebody is always watching.

  • And what is worse… those annoying/boring/nevertheless curious folks you desperately try to avoid in real life, keep such close watch on you, its like having a personal Bodyguard
  • And on a serious note, considering the amount of time and effort you invest into social media, you really cannot estimate the value of ‘return’. Unless you consider ‘3 hrs per day on FB = 5 kgs gain p.a’.

Evidently, all these merits and demerits of the virtual world are quite tangible. Increasing awareness, thoughtful discussions, resultant mood swings(!), friendships, enemities, losses (of time) and gains (of weight!) are all real.

Can we still confidently draw the line between the online world and the real one?

Do we know when exactly a Facebook campaign suddenly gains huge momentum, facilitating a mass-protest in a country (eg., Egypt protests organized through Facebook and microblogging site Twitter)?

Pip pip Pippaaaa! (Pic courtesy telegraph dot co dot uk)

Why! We even saw a bunch of ‘real’ people who witnessed the Royal wedding and promptly went on to create a Facebook page for ‘Pippa Middleton Ass Appreciation Society’. The page has 241,492 fans!

We did not see this coming (And I don’t mean Pippa Middleton).

We did not realise when or how the virtual world became an integral part of the real one. When being ‘online’ changed from a one-off indulgence to a gnawing daily necessity! When the power of the online world began to threaten that of the real one. Or when thoughts floating around online started influencing mind-sets in the physical world.

What do you think? Is the Virtual world really virtual anymore? Or is it so real that it poses social and even political dangers to society?

Pic courtesy: Wikipedia

Perhaps we should ask Kapil Sibal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Cross-posted on the nri dot com)

 

Categories
Humour Incidents Thought and Reason

I know I’m old when…

I know I am old when…
1) While filling in any application (even a darn credit card), I have to scroll, and scroll, and scroll a couple of pages down, to reach my ‘Year’ of birth!!! I mean, seriously, it wasn’t that long since I was born, was it?

2) I watch the Idols of our teenage years (SRK or Juhi Chawla) on screen, and realise they have considerably aged!!! So if a young and vivacious’Ghoonghat Ki Aad Se’ Juhi is a comical-looking old woman now, that makes me.. er.. Ok, let’s skip!

3) My kid asks me, ‘Mummy, which is bigger? 4 or 33?’ I reply, with a smile, ’33’. He laughs happily. When I suddenly realise, the ’33’ he is referring to, is … me!!

4) An Alumni meet is planned, and we realise it has been TEN YEARS since we left college! How could T-E-N years have whooshed by??! 🙄 I mean, I don’t know what happened in this decade!

5) For the first 5 years of my career (or say, all 5 years of my career), people who used to report to me were double my age! I used to feel sorry for them. I suddenly realise, in a few years, I will be one of them!!!
6) All the ‘kids’ in the apartment block that my parents live in, greet me with a cheery ‘Hi AUNTY!’. I have gotten quite used to that one. But the next lines are what shock me out of my wits. I ask them ‘How is college?’ and they guffaw and reply ‘Whaaat Aunty! I have been working for 4 years now!’

7) I meet my parents every 6 months or sometimes, more frequently than that. And every time I see them, they seem more ‘sober’ and ‘quieter’ (considering that we are a strange family, in the sense that none of us acts appropriate to our age!!!)

8) I log into Skype to chat with an old friend, and we realise, that it has been 9 years since we saw each other!!! I mean, NINE years is a long, long time.
9) I read this lovely post on ‘decision making’ and the start of a promising career!! I realise I have come a long, long way. I mean, not that I have a career, but it has been a couple of centuries since I was at that juncture of ‘opening my first bank account’ 🙂

10) When you lovely readers read this post, and send me loving ‘Awwws..’ and kind ‘Hugs’, then I’ll feel like a total piece of crap. Aged crap!!

And on that cheerful note :lol:, I wish you all a very happy week ahead!! Live life to the fullest folks. You just don’t realise how Time flies. And very soon, you might be writing a post like this yourselves!!!!

Categories
Book review

Three in a row – book review

I can proudly and quite unashamedly proclaim that I’m a sucker for chick-lit and romance (er, novels, that is).

A friend was leaving on vacation, and very sweetly offered me two of her novels, that I grabbed outright.

So first, I read ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks. I was not expecting much more than a light and refreshing read, and I have to say it proved to be more than that. It was a typically quick read, replete with romance and emotions, suspense and drama. All in all, quite an enjoyable book. Leaves one wanting to either fall in love, or envelope someone special in a bear-hug, and never let go.

****Spoiler alert**** I wonder if this Bollywood movie was made AFTER or BEFORE the book was released?!!!

Rating: 3/5

Then I grabbed ‘A Walk to Remember‘. I was expecting to see the same amount of mush in this book, but very interestingly, I found a lot of humour instead. (Now, if I’m a sucker for romance, then I’m an even bigger sucker for humour :-)) The author does warn you in the prologue. He says, the book will first make you laugh, then cry. I wholly agree. You will have more than a few laughs in the first half of the book, and even the second half, despite being sad, is extremely sweet. The book reminds one of the innocence and freshness of youth 🙂

Rating: 3.5/5 (enjoyed the humour)

And yesterday, I happened to get another book from the library. I had reserved ‘Atlas Shrugged‘ after reading a FB message by Rakesh (and loads of comments from our usual comment monsters :lol:) and I THOUGHT I was going to collect this book, but happened to bring home ‘Dear John’ instead.

Now, I confess felt very slightly bored, at the beginning of the book. However, it rapidly picked up pace, and I found myself, wanting to finish it before the day ended. And I did 🙂 (Kind courtesy: Little brat who very sweetly decided to keep himself occupied with winding his microphone around his hands and legs!!!!)

The synopsis of the book certainly does not do justice to the plot. This is not the usual ‘love story’.

For one, the characters in the book have been etched so beautifully, that you feel their love, their anxiety and their pain. They are very real.

Secondly, it gives one a glimpse into the ugly face of War, and how troops deputed in war zones actually spend their life. One actually ponders about the futility of it all.

And third, the book is not just about the love between a man and a woman, but also about the delicate relationship between a father and son. I loved the way this was brought out, in a very subtle and tender way.

To me, the character that stands out the MOST, is one that is mentioned neither on the back-cover nor the website. It is that of the Father of the protagonist. He is a simple, good man, who lives his life exactly the same way each day, but is a terrible social misfit. The father suffers from autism, and the way he reaches out to his son, in his own unique manner, twists and wrings your heart!!

Every character is true to life, and in those couple of hours spent on reading the book, one actually understands WHY each character takes the decisions he/she does, and how it seems both logical yet sad.

You must read the book, to FEEL what this is about.

I loved it, and I think it has made me more understanding of how a developmental problem can affect the lives of the person and his/her family and loved ones.

A note of caution : .This is a heart-wrenching book. It left me incredibly sad and dejected, wondering why life cannot be more simple. So, please save this for a long weekend, where you can recover and bounce back to your happy self 🙂 before the week begins again.

Rating: 4/5 (Exquisite characterisation)

Something I found to be a common undercurrent in all three books, was the almost naive, but constant emphasis on ‘true and ever-lasting love‘ (assuming, there is such a thing!).

I also liked the fact that the author managed to keep the ‘hero’ and ‘heroine’ from not jumping into bed, at the drop of a hat (or anything else for that matter). I understand that can be quite a put-off for a Mills & Boon fan 😈 😆 but it made ‘love‘ seem more special. Old-fashioned, perhaps. But ‘sacred‘ nevertheless.

As for the language and quality of writing, I was not expecting much, being ‘romance’ and ‘chick-lit’ and all. And neither am I into reading ‘difficult’ books (aka, I can’t understand them 😛 I’d much rather read a simple easily understandable sentence, rather than a paragraph full of words that contain 4 or more syllables! 😆 So yes, the language was simple, engrossing, and made all the books an entertaining read.

I just happened to find this link on Youtube.

So, if any of you happen to be die-hard romantics, do grab a copy and a bunch of tissues.

Happy Sunday, folks.

Categories
Humour Incidents

Friday Fun – Look what I found! Day 12: Project 365

Guess what I found this morning, as I was de-cluttering? This!!!!!

This timeless, gorgeous piece of music by the once-upon-a-time-gorgeous Lucky Ali!! Click this link to listen to the song on Youtube.

I have many lovely memories associated with this song, and with the tape too, so this picture (supposed to be part of my Project 365), warranted a post on its own 🙂

Warning: Long, boring post ahead!

So, this particular song, ‘O Sanam’ is one of my most favourite EVER! It reminds me of freedom, of being carefree and incredibly stupid. But then, such is the beauty of youth, isn’t it? To do whatever you wish to do, without stopping to weigh the consequences!! And to just be exhilarated about nothing!

The first time I heard this song, was when I had joined the mandatory ‘Higher diploma in software engineering’ course at Aptech. Those were times when parents would be mortified if their child was not taking up a ‘campooter course’! And who were touchingly oblivious to the fact that their children who worked overtime stating ‘combined studies’ were busy generating business for the seedy ‘Valentine’s Day flower-vendors’ on the footpath 😉

Anyway, in the computer Lab (where ‘flirting‘ = ‘switching off a girl’s computer to piss her off!’ (Sigh!!)), a friend was evidently SHOCKED when the gang was discussing this song ‘O Sanam’ and I had no clue what it was!! So I went back home, got the song recorded at the local store. Yeah yeah, those were the days, when we used to jot down the names of ‘supposedly trendy’ songs and get it recorded at the local video store, because that was just way cheaper than buying an audio cassette!!! (And while the recording used to be pretty decent, we were also blessed with hearing the ‘recorder’s’ flowery language/cusses/etc. during the ‘in-between’ gaps between songs :-)) I digress again! So, I finally heard the song!! And, to a romantic like moi, that was a sheer piece of heaven!!!

Once I moved away from home, to do my MBA, my mum sent me money to buy myself a ‘walkman’. I dragged a friend along every seedy street in Pune, to find a good, but not too expensive walkman. And this is what I bought for an exorbitant Rs.1100 🙂 It even had a speaker and recorder (AND it still works, after an entire decade!!) We (my roomie, an extra illegal roomie and I – and when I say ‘illegal’ I only mean, this girl, Miss S, was ALWAYS in our room, despite not actually living there, so my landlady used to stare at her, with evident dislike, every time she came home!! And which we conveniently ignored :-)) have listened to many lovely songs on this walkman, and needless to say, O Sanam was one of them!

And the last (please don’t say ‘Phew!’ :-)) memory is that of roaming the streets of Mumbai, at 1 am, in a cab full of friends, that too at the expense of the company for which I worked 😈 I was working on a project, and when my work got over, a bunch of very close friends arrived, we piled into a Taxi, and simply roamed all around Mumbai.

We went up and down the beach, saw the Hiranandani apartments from afar, and gaped, in awe 🙂 I don’t think any of us even dreamed of owning something like that in our lifetime!!! We were ‘just out of B-school’ and we thought the world of ourselves! And yes, since I was ‘working beyond office hours‘, my noble friends ‘suggested’ I bill the cab fare (which was an enormous Rs.430 :lol:) to the organization, and I very sweetly obliged. I hope none of my ex-colleagues are reading this 😉 And oh yes, I missed telling you, that throughout the drive in the cab, we listened to this tape.

And O Sanam was etched in our memory forever!!

So there, folks. We finally come to the end of the post. Please, do me a favour. Before you shut the computer on my face 😉 do listen to the song. Here:

And, DO SHARE YOUR MEMORIES, with this song, if you would like to 🙂

Categories
55-er Short story

Sparkling eyes – 55 word fiction

Pick-up time. The children chattered excitedly, as rains lashed.

A little girl quietly waited for Nanny.

‘Sofia!’

She looked up, surprised. Her eyes sparkled.

She ran and hugged the woman.

The woman pushed her away.

‘I only came because its raining. Can’t come everyday Ok?’ she snapped.

‘Yes Mummy’ Sofia nodded.

The sparkle had disappeared.

PS: I actually witnessed this incident when I went to collect my son from school this evening (names have been changed.. rather, assumed). One moment, the little girl was so excited. The next moment, it was all gone. Like a balloon had been deflated.

I wonder how many times we behave like that Mother. Not realising that the absence of a smile, or a hug, can dampen the spirit of our beautiful precious children? Don’t mean to be preachy, but I do hope, we will more consciously try, to reciprocate the wonderful and endless love that our children shower on us….