Facebook Fatigue

Selfies

Gorgeously dressed bodies lolling about on beaches, canoodling in night clubs, more selfies

People I remembered as hunks having balding pates and bigger paunches strolling down beaches and puffing up hill

Once hot women trying to look hotter and younger

Ibiza, Shanghai, Scotland, Paris, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Washington, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macha Pichu, New York, Himalayas, Ladakh, Uttaranchal, Uzbekistan, Gobi Dessert, Dubai, Turkey, Afghanistan (yes that too)

Lovey dovey couples striking poses, once-self-proclaimed enemies now bffs

Change the world, stop the war, stop rape, conserve the environment, feed the hungry, liberate the inner child

Sign a petition

Join a movement

Like even if you don’t like to

Comment

Update

even it just means telling the whole world and the Martians (like they care, yes they do exist havent’ you read, really where were you) that you are happy/sad/lonely/hurt/intelligent/bitch/asshole/loaded/mental

that you burnt your biriyani

that you can boil water

that you can cook maggi noodles

that you woke up early to make breakfast for your lovely wife

or you stayed up late to make out with your doofey husband

Ah facebook

life doesn’t exist outside of it

friends don’t exist without it

you fart, you sneeze, you orgasm, you burp, you are alive

Yay facebook

So what happens one fine day when you wake up and see your life has passed you by on facebook

where everybody has travelled everywhere

married

had kids

got divorced

got promotions

lost jobs

lost lives

RIP

RIP facebook

Living

Still Alive

Breathing

Sleeping

Awake

Aware

 

 

 

 

Writing Techniques

I love to write and read. They are manna to my existence besides pet dogs, family, gardening, travelling, watching movies, a good Riesling and cooking of course. So I invariably, unconsciously end up doing a lot of both. Now I’m no expert while it comes to writing but I seem to communicate better in the written word than the spoken. So oftentimes I have people with great ideas who would love to write but are inhibited by themselves asking me: “How can I write more, how can I write Better?”

Well I don’t claim to know much of both, but, for starters, here is what I have learnt over the years as a journalist and a communications professional.

1. The first trick I was taught was to consider writing like a work of art. If you are given a canvas to paint what would you do first. Sketch an outline and then fill in the colors, right? (Correct me if I’m wrong here or if there are better techniques I’m always wanting to learn). Well writing is the same. So whether it is an essay, a term paper, an email, a case study, a marketing brochure, an article, an interview or a short story ALWAYS have an outline.

This outline could be a story idea where you know how it ends and begins so connect the dots. The plot is your canvass to paint as you please. Same with an essay or a term paper or  a case study and here you are luckier since you already have a theme.

2. Always write your thoughts down on paper before you start tap-tapping on your keyboard. This will help you Structure your thoughts better. Help see if there is a logical flow.

3. Write what you believe in else it ends up a farce. Now this could be difficult with writing a piece of marketing collateral, say a brochure for an underwear company that wants you to claim they make undies that give you the power of superman/woman ;0. Hehe, get creative.

4. Writing is all about letting your creativity flow. Don’t let others judge your creativity or tell you how bad or good you are. If you are willing to read what you have written once, twice and several times more than my friend there is someone/people out there willing to read you. Of course this doesn’t mean you malign another’s character or spew vitriol brandishing your pen. Writing gives you artistic license but it also means being responsible for what you write.

5. Don’t take yourself too seriously as a writer, that is where you falter. Writing is about having fun. Whether you write about yourself, some one else, a product or a theme but always inject humor (if possible).

6. Write and write and then write some more. The more you write the better you get at it. This dated NYT article is worth a read  if nothing but to understand the world’s most prolific writer Mr James Patterson. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most number of NYT Best Sellers. Of course, he uses co-authors now to write novels published in his name but this also gives him more time to concentrate on books he wants to focus on, so he says. But the point is the prolific nature of his writing. So write now, today, this instance.

7. KISS still holds true. Sigh, and this was one of the most difficult things I learnt since early in my career as a writer I was given a subtle message that more is beautiful and only much later did I realise ’tis not. . You don’t need to write long-winded sentences or obfuscated text. Simplicity is key to all things good, and this is especially true in writing. Writing is after all a means of communication and if you keep it simple it is easier to get your message to your reader.  

For those who don’t know (huh anyone there?!), KISS = Keep It Simple Silly/Stupid 😀

8. PROOF READ. It has become a fashionable trend these days to write in sms lingo, use atrocious grammar, unintended bloopers because a busy writer forgot to do a basic spell check or even write without periods and other punctuation. STOP! If you plan to become the next blockbuster author pay heed to what you write.

9. At some point in time all of us deal with the Writer’s Block. Simple way out. Get back to basics. Writing is an exercise and that is why our grade school teachers pushed us to fill up reams of paper with our thoughts, ideas and purpose. Some times the best way to beat the Writer’s Block is to write, even if its is nonsensical!

10. Develop your own unique style. While injecting humor is a good idea, it is easier said than done. All of us have our own unique style of writing. Some of us are staid and old fashioned, while some dashing, some irreverent, some humorous, some wield a poison pen but coat with irresistible doses of sugar, some are bitter, some are sweet, sometimes cloyingly so. So what’s yours?!

 

The Spotted Devil and Permaculture

I have never seen mum so happy to get back from a holiday and needing a holiday from a holiday.

She has been glued to her favorite soaps trying to catch up on what she missed, whatsapping her fav. people, having hot water showers and just putting her legs up.

Grandpa is busy strolling around our house with a wistful sigh at times. He misses the greenery and the cicadas and the sound of silence.

As for myself, I still can’t get over the fact that I actually managed to trace Gummalapur and be a part of this awesome experiment of giving back to nature what rightfully belongs to her, the forests!!

Meet Navzer and Shahnaz Kotawala, the sprightly, bubbly Parsi couple with ever-smiling faces and a warm hug to all their visitors who come to volunteer at their forest farm.

Navzer & Shahnaz An ex-Air Force officer, Navzer is the brain behind this venture, while Shahnaz is its heart.

Located nearly 54 kilometers away from Bangalore at the edge of the Thally Forest Reserve, Navzer and Shahnaz’s forest farm – Gowri Navadarshanam- is a part of the Navadarshanam campus and ideal for people who want to get away from it all.

The reward: you are away from any wisps of modern technology and right in the lap of nature. And you get to taste some yummy Parsi food, home made jams and pickles.

It is back to basics.

You learn to sleep listening to the sounds of the Cicada and the rustling of leaves.

There is no AC or fan. Phones don’t work and neither do laptops and i-pads. The farm is powered by solar energy.

You will not find leaky faucets here nor hot water taps. Every drop of water is precious. Rainwater harvesting is the main source and the farm is monsoon dependent.

Your day starts at 6 am or earlier if you want it to. You can help Navzer in his daily chores around the farm or help Shahnaz prepare the breakfast and clean up the garden.

Irrespective of what you opt for one thing is certain, this is an authentic experience.

The farm itself is spread over 6 acres, of which the couple has inhabited nearly 2 acres with their beautiful English-type cottage, with high ceilings, a huge kitchen, a well-appointed living room, a lovely loft, their sleeping quarters, a guest room and  a room stacked high with carton boxes, groceries and other precious items that makes surviving on this farm easier.

Thanks to Organic Terrace Gardening and Shankary I was fortunate to experience permaculture at close quarters and in a very small way contribute a wee bit to reforestation. Permaculture, a concept propounded by Bill Mollison, Sepp Holtzer and David Holmgren,  is a contraction of the word “permanent agriculture” or “permanent culture.” What Navzer and Shahnaz have tried in their forest farm is be true to the principles of permaculture. They grow their own food, conserve ecology and our precious natural resources.

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If you think it is easy, just think again.

Imagine having to look after poultry, milk cows, feed ducks, fend off poachers who try to lop off sandalwood and teak trees on the wilder part of your estate; lack of water due to 2+ years of bad monsoon means you create your own drip irrigation system, a system for rain water harvesting so your vegetable patch and fruit orchards receive enough water to give you tomatoes, broad beans, french beans, different types of limes, okra, cucumber, lettuces of different varieties, oranges, guavas, pomegranates, pumpkins, papayas, onions and herbs such as thyme, dil, basil, mint, coriander and curry leaves; wash vessels with the precious little water available; tap solar energy to cook and power the few equipments you have on the farm; wake up every morning irrespective of ill health and do all this with a single farm hand to help!!

Incredible, but true. And this is what Navzer and Shahnaz do. You can read more about this dedicated couple here.

They welcome volunteers to help. You can write to them at nfkothawala at gmail dot com or call 86757 88769 (handset) or 92436 04508 (fixed line).

EPILOGUE:

On my last day of the farm I took out ‘In The Jungle’ by Kenneth Anderson, an Indian born British writer who wrote about the Jungles of South India. I was deeply engrossed in Ghooming the jungles when I felt a tap on my shoulder and jumped.

The previous night, mum had said she saw two fiery greenish-gold eyes stare at her from the windows. I told her it must have been the family’s pet calico cat but secretly hoped it was either a leopard or a panther she may have seen.

Anyways recovering from the fright, I looked up to see Navzer standing with a smile, “Wait here, I have something to show you.” I was still trying to recover from the tap when he walks in, holds out a diary, points to an entry and asks, “Who do you think this is?”

In bold script was written the legend, Don Anderson.

I nearly fell off my chair.

The DON ANDERSON, actually stayed at their farm a few years back.

Don Anderson is Kenneth Anderson’s son and features very prominently in several of his stories. In fact, I had completed a chapter in which father and son go hunting a leopard. When I reveal this to Navzer, he smiles indulgently and asks, “Do you remember crossing Gummalapur?” “Of course, I do. How can I forget since you used it as a landmark to direct us to your farm.”

“Well,” he says, “This is the very Gummalapur where his story the Leopard of Gummalapur is set in. In fact, Devinakottai is located close by from here. ”

And to think I had pestered the members of the Kenneth Anderson Society to help with tracing the routes of all KA’s adventure, and here I had, inadvertently stumbled upon one of his maneaters!!!

The Maneater of Gummalapur: The Leopard of Gummalapur, also known as the Spotted Devil of Gummalapur was a maneater responsible for the deaths of 42 people in the villages of Gummalapur and Devarabetta in southern Karnataka. There is a wiki. KA was summoned by the District Magistrate to hunt down this leopard and he was successful in his third attempt.

While I was unable to go to Devinakottai since Bambubhai had to drive us back from Anekal and hates night time driving we plan to make it the next time. Watch out for a post devoted to the KA circuit soon……

Till then, Happy Ghooming 😉

Blazing a Different Path

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Ah, Robert Frost and his Road not Taken, standard English textbook fare for most of us who studied in the 80’s.

I gush and I gape whenever I meet someone who I feel/believe has taken the road less traveled by. It has been an aspiration for therein lies the secret to living a fulfilling life, a contended one.

And today, I met 2 incredible human beings who are living my dream, of blazing a new trail ……

I stumbled upon both by chance. The first through a friend who liked the FB page and the second coz of the first.

The Puzzle

When I browsed the FB page, I did a double take. How can some one be so foolhardy I thought? This is escapism taken to its extreme ran another train of thought. Perhaps this person has really been hurt or is running away from deep emotional trauma cried a voice from the inner recesses of my head. What motivates this man to travel the length and breadth of the country on his cycle stopping at remote communities and then staging a theatre act (street theatre style)? Doesn’t he read the papers? How can he survive without a toilet, without money, without his family, without comfort, without all the bare necessities like a roof over the head, 3 meals and more, friends to hang around with and so on and so forth?

The more I followed his travel and read his updates, the more intrigued I was….to analyse, arrive at a conclusion, understand, fathom what made this man undertake the journey he did.

The Solution

So when I found out he was dropping by where I stay I literally hounded him to meet up. The first was a washout thanks to an unexpected attack of the migraine but I got second time lucky. And how!! Not only did I get to meet The Cycle Natak, I met another intrepid explorer Andre Unger as well….

And so came 2 inspirational hours of freewheeling conversation with Andre and The Cycle Natak, who shared his journey with candor  humor, humility and a seeming sense of the unself-conscious self!!

Of course, I have to take you along this journey my dear reader and share the fascinating  nuggets I stashed away as I walked back to reality……..

The Cycle Natak

Over pepper sausages, a ham sandwich and chai, cold coffee and mosambi juice The Cycle Natak unraveled his secret to a happy life and his unquenchable urge to explore and travel. I will not dwell upon what motivated my friend ( I consider him that for he let me share his journey, if only for a while) since you would perhaps want to meet him and hear his story in his own voice. 

His 2 and a half year journey has obviously been adventurous, but what entices as this 24-year old speaks is his maturity and wisdom, something you would expect from a 70+ wizened sire who has seen, experienced, cherished and lived.

“It is not the destination but the journey that makes my travel interesting and gets me going again and again.”

“People are good. It is when you project goodness that you get goodness in return.”

“It is the truckwallas who have time and again let me hitch a ride with them that makes me feel good about getting back on the road again. They are honest, and would share their last piece of bread never expecting anything in return…..It is the laborer who takes me to his home and heart after just speaking with me for a few moments, happily sharing his frugal meal, which is not even enough for one….And then, I have had rich folks give me a 500 rupee note and ask me to take up lodging at a motel … And then, there is a villager who takes me to his home and gives his bed..”

“You learn to take the moment and live in the emotion of that moment but after it’s over, it’s over. You move on to a new one, a new moment, a new emotion.”

“At times, you have to just let go and let the dam burst because the more you carry with you the more dangerous the outburst. I remember sitting on the road in a particular phase of my journey just crying, venting out my frustration but then I had to shake myself off and move on..hoping there was something better ahead” (This when I asked him if he felt frustration and negativity at seeing how society was, how little progress we have made in spite of the India Shining chimes that play on)

“The condition of women is pathetic but it is far better that what it was so you can imagine how miserable it must have been…….women still think they do not have a right to conjugal happiness, that they owe it to their husbands to sleep because that is their duty.”

“Being a Muslim is not as issue when you get people to see you are a traveler, a human and not a caste.” (When I asked him if he found it difficult to get access to shelter or food because he was a Muslim)

“You have to feel empowered to be empowered. I was in some tricky situations but the fact that I spoke LOUD, spoke with Empowerment got me out.”

“You are answerable only to your (inner) self not anyone’s sense of what you are or who you should be….”

Andre Unger

Thanks to The Cycle Natak I also connected with Andre, an intrepid explorer, a risk taker by conventional measures. Giving up a well paid job Andre just took off on his bike traveling from Kanyakumari to Ladakh.

He hasn’t gone back to corporate sludgery by choice and instead opted to become an entrepreneur to “take off when I want to and not have to work 12 months to earn that week of well-deserved break.”

“We set off on a journey wanting to discover ourselves but what we don’t realise is we are who we are, no different from what we were..just more conscious of the self.”

“We are conditioned to eat 3 meals a day when we should actually eat when we want and not live by convention.”

“Being content with what we have and leaving a little for the rest will take you a long way.”

“Do what you want to do before you say it’s too late.”

“You don’t need to have an answer or an explanation or a reason for everything that you do, sometimes it is the doing that matters.”

………

Wow, I could go on but I won’t. I hope it has tweaked some part of you that wants to do something but is waiting for the right time, the right moment, the right sign to pursue your dreams..to pursue that elusive Will-o-the-wisp….

And even as I write this, I realize blazing a trail doesn’t have to be something dramatic or unconventional it could just be that one small step you have dreaded to take for an unknown fear, an unspoken taunt, or perhaps an unconscious inner barrier…

Stop….

For now is that time, and that time will never return.

And to all those who have taken that small step every day in a small way….Cheers and More Power To you…..

Staying Unconnected

I have practically lived in a cocoon these past 3 weeks strapped to a bed with a white ceiling and a whirring fan for company, if I don’t count my family, the reliable i-pad and books.

Cut off from the outside world the internet was my gateway to the world since the daily paper brought with it the daily dose of rape and mayhem, corruption and petty politicking.

Predictably, I have piled on the pounds.

I have also been hit by the need to know, a child-like curiosity about everything.

How the concept of time came to be?

Why is it I remember anything related to movies but nothing with maths?

Why do kites come out only between 10 and 1?

Why is it that my neighbor’s baby quietens when it is wrapped in her bosom and starts yodeling when he goes to his dad?

How technology has evolved? Where once I used to dial in to numbers whirling the numbers around the phone now I touch a contact and the dear one is on the other end, both audio and visual and as live as virtual gets?

Why Linkedin brings better job openings than a monster does?

How a chip inserted into the skin can track and monitor your vitals? A boon, considering that we will in less than 2 decades become a fast aging population and geriatric care will be the need of the hour. Scary, if this same chip can trace my every move; know my DNA structure; the number of times I have donated blood or visited hospitals for illnesses; the mind boggles at the possibilities.

How children staying in very remote areas can still get access to quality teachers thanks to initiatives like Skype in a Classroom and Coursera? Surprisingly, high speed connections are not even required!

How is it that initiative not experience lets you surpass your current economic or social limitations?

How the world is filled with infinite possibilities?

How the world is limitless?

And it all starts in your mind……..

 

Dangerous dalliance

Every one loves being complemented on their looks, and this quest reaches greater heights with greater weight and greater recession, not of the wallet but the hairline and the age.

Too general, eh?! Well, the next time you are at a party just become a fly on the wall and here are some of the lines you may well hear…

45+ receding hairline gentleman, “Oh, I know I still have it in me. After all, my son is just 5 year old and he needs  a sibling. Now I don’t know if (she) is up to it” with an arched look at spouse in waiting….Now does this gentleman continue to be one??!

35+ at office gathering turning to the PYT, “Oh you know what they say…” and goes on to crack a vaginal joke. PYT simpers and hot shot cracks a few more lewd and lewder jokes

40-approaching high metabolism lady who would give any 16-year old a run for her money with her non-existent waistline at mixed party..”Oh, my daughter says maa your stomach should be like Katrina Kaif,” when envious women & raised eyebrows turn to look at trim saree clad figure droooled at by men in gathering.

Nearing 30-gent with rockstar abs “Oh, I wouldn’t know really it’s god given either you have it or you don’t” and nudges PYT with a leching grin.

Let me know if you heard anything funnier… I’m giving away complementary passes to the nearest CCD if you win this prize 😉

 

 

The Great Indian Railway Bazaar

With due credit to Paul Theroux, and dedicated to my girl Chota Don!!

Nothing beats the Indian Railways if you want to meet the real India or Bharat as some may say.

PART 1

It starts from the time you try to book your tickets through irtc. If you know other ways of complicating a simple booking process, please be sure to write to them. I’m sure they haven’t conceived or employed all of it and your suggestions will be more than welcome.

Or perhaps they wish to keep the online booking process nerve wracking just so you walk into the rail reservation counter or any of the 3rd party agents and provide them gainful employment and revenue.

If you plan to take pets along, pray to the Gods, steel your nerves, take a deep breath and proceed.

Now here is the rule book according to the Indian Railways. But rest assured nobody including the kind souls at the luggage counter will know of it.

Always, always plan this part of the journey well in advance.

I didn’t.

As with everything else I do, this was a last minute decision. But the zillion+ Indian Gods smiled on me and there was an angel at the luggage booking counter as well.

Since I was traveling on the South western railways and my boarding point was yeshwantapur station I had to approach the luggage booking counter here. Finding the luggage booking counter is nothing short of a treasure hunt.

It is after Platform 6 at the farthest end. A lonely godown cum warehouse where bikes, turkeys and furniture reside.

PART II

Have a smile on your face at all times, and do not let murderous instincts and aggression take over.

The guard at the outpost is a friendly soul and always willing to be a part of your sorrow when you are trying to make the railway personnel understand that “Yes, sir I wish to take my dog along.”  “Yes, he is my own dog.” “Yes, I will be there at all times to take care of him.” “No sir, he doesn’t bite unless provoked.” “Yes sir, of course I will be there at the destination to collect him,” and so on and so forth.

This interrogation done, a form is given for you to fill up. Do not worry by the complexity. I’m sure most of you will find a trignometric problem easier to solve. For the duds like us, the railways have pasted a completed form on one of the walls, which is obscured largely by a pillar. If your sharp eyes catch this form and you have filled it up that is half the battle won.

Walk over to the gentleman/lady at the counter and wait patiently for them to finish their important phone call or chat with their buddies at the next counter before shoving the form up their nose.

Remember, these are important people working for the Indian Railways, so don’t ever rush them.

After an hour and forty minutes, if you are lucky that is, they will look at the form and inquire about the date of journey, which stupid you have already filled up! They will then ask you about the train number, really how stupid are you , you filled that up as well!!

Such repeat performances later, the lady/gentleman will shove the form back under your nose and say “Why did you bring this now? You should have told us your journey is after a week. You come back one day before the date of journey and give us the completed form.”

“Huh, but didn’t I inform you in the first instance the journey was a week later.”

Huff and a puff, and I will blow your house away. Unfortunately you can’t my friend. So patience and come back a week later.

This time you are the wiser one. You know where the luggage counter is. You have the form filled up, and you are ready to fork out the fees that will see your darling pet travel with you.

Aha!

They have you again. Fool you.

“Sure, give us the form.”

“Oh, good. You completed it.”

“Ok, I will paste it here. Come tomorrow morning an hour before the journey, pay the fee and you can take the dog to the luggage van.”

Sweat glistens on your forehead and you are ready to black out. Courage, dear heart, courage.

PART III

The day of the journey draws bright and early. You circumvent the maddening crowd, you yell at your folks to head to the coach and haul all the luggage so the coolie can take it onwards. You pray that the luggage doesn’t get lost, let alone them.

And you run with your hyperactive dog to the luggage booking office.

And he has to be really hyperactive you see, after all he is excited as you are on being able to travel on the GREAT INDIAN RAILWAY BAZAAR!!

At the luggage counter:

Where is the dog?

Here he is sir.

Your dog.

Yes sir, mine. See, he knows me too (of course, the mutt decides to snarl and growl and refuses to obey you)

Hmmm….

Ok, pay (consulting a book) (and all he had to do was lift his head and look at a huge poster on the wall opposite that says Dogs, cats, horses – RS 60) … yes pay 60 rupees.

You happily pay the money. (this is the nicest part since your dog travels cheaper than you or even your senior citizenry folks)

Now listen young lady, if the brake van doesn’t have a kennel than I cannot allow you to take your dog with you. You will have to wait for a van that has a kennel.

See, they know how to keep you on your toes.

But, but sir my parents are on that train.

I’m sorry young lady but those are the rules.

But sir, I came here last week and they never told me anything about this.

Hmm, fools.

Sir, please please do something.

Let me see. (A benign smile)

Ok, do one thing, take this along with you and show it to the guard. Mostly, the brake van will have a kennel. So don’t worry.

Off you go in search of the guard, who is invisible. You send a silent prayer, locate the brake van (usually the last coach on the train after the disabled coach) and open it gingerly.

Ah thank you God. I will break coconuts and I will pray and I will worship and I will give you my pay, etc etc…..There is a kennel after all. Hallelujah.

You quickly shove your mutt inside. This is when he realises he is a dog, a descendant of the majestic wolf, a member of the pack. He will not let you shove him easy.

You need to have a jujitsu hold handy and be ready to block, tackle, push, pull and get bruised and battered in the process before your mutt goes in the danky kennel and you are able to slide the door down.

After the wrestling match is all but done you hear a voice.

“Here, young lady, what do you think you are doing?

Just a minute sir.” And with one last reserve of energy before you give up the fight you push your mutt’s butt inside and down goes the door and you turn around sweating.

“Yes sir. What am I dping? Well, I have booked my dog’s passage on this train. Here is the receipt. I spoke to the station master and the booking counter person who have asked me to contact you since you are the most important.”

And your try to give what you think is your most winsome smile.

The guard looks at your sweaty, pasty face all bruised and battered.

He looks at the receipt.

He smiles.

“Ok, but be sure to get here when the train makes longer stops at junctions X,Y and Z.”

You are ready to do a jiggy and kiss him as well, but remember you are sweaty and your folks have probably given up on you by now.

So, run baby, run.

Have a good trip. Bon Voyage!!!!

P.S: Before you break out into a grin, remember you will do an encore at the return point as well, and God forbid if there is a dog already booked before yours or if there isn’t a kennel in the brake van. Good luck, baby!! Just remember, the guard is your best friend. For now, forget the dog.

Moving On

How apt! The year draws to a close, and I start preparations to move on uprooting myself after 11 bitter-sweet years of trying to grow some semblance of roots.

The adventurer in me welcomes the new, while the escapist shirks the responsibilities the move entails. This time I’m not as footloose and fancy free but the oars are firmly held.

Amidst all the great memories I accumulated during these years what I also have is unshakable dust & visible grime. Moping them off is not as easier as it was a decade back. Age does that. Your sense of things past is sharper than what is or what will be.

A small plaque hangs over the mirror which reads:

\\”To my brother- …..we have weathered all the highs and lows of growing up so close, of normal joys and problems we have always had our share. But in resolving difficulties and sharing moments fond we’ve formed a good relationship and built a lifetime bond..”

And as I troll through my documents to find a photo of the two of us together, I find none. All I have are  remnants of cards exchanged, rakhis tied, books gifted and endless memories of stolen trips, childhood mischief, juvenile fights, teenage confidences, and the hugs. Fills my heart to know I have one person I can always turn to and count on in my deepest despair and priceless happiness. Touchwood.

The cleaning spree continues and I discover a 1952 hardbound edition of One Thousand & One Arabian Nights and several leather bound classics with silverfish happily residing inside. I find a scribbled note to myself in Hugh Prather’s Note to Myself & look at the date of purchase – college but don’t remember what caused the angst?

Tattered, dog-eared copies of Jeeves & Wooster fight with the Blandings Family and Psmith, and just when I think where are all the other colorful Wodehousian characters, there pops out Picadilly Jim and Sally. Ah, life; Perfect life!!!!!!

Underneath the cobwebs I find a chocolate wrapper neatly folded and probably kissed (traces of lipstick) and a thread. Cobwebs from the mind are cleared and long walks down avenued,breezy r0ads spring up. Hand in hand, a stolen glance, a stolen kiss, a smile, a hug – love was in the air. I look around and I find the bill for a kitchen sink (my birthday gift) and I wonder, where is the love?!

A moth-eaten saree that still has the whiff of a wooden stove and I’m back in my grandma’s lap cuddling myself into a ball so I forget my maths homework and dad’s caning. Can’t believe I lost her so young to cancer. For some reason Nostradamus comes to mind and his prediction of plague and the apocalypse. But instead of filling me up with despondency I smile. My precious rock gifted this book when I passed out of seventh. He taught me English & the other assorted combination of subjects late into the night to the bells of Radio Moscow and the hzzzz of Voice of America.

Lucky this time, got this image that captures the three most important people. mater, nanu and my rock. Well thank God for small mercies.

For all  the scars and the grime, Life has been kind.

For all the people I lost, for all the relationships that fell by the wayside there is someone/something new.  Life is good.

So here I’m already and eagerly awaiting the next ADVENTURE.

XXXX and hugs to all those who have come by to read, comment and silently glance at this, my journal. THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS.

Adieu and Au revoir!! 

 

 

Hope

December always makes me maudlin. Tis the season to be jolly and forget all your follies, or so my wise friends say.

A good one to follow actually as the year comes to a close and a new one awaits at the threshold. Are you ready to usher it in with hope and gratitude and belief that you are looked after by a force greater than you can fathom?

Why?

Where were you when I was burned and broken
While the days slipped by from my window watching
Where were you when I was hurt and I was helpless
Because the things you say and the things you do surround me
While you were hanging yourself on someone else’s words
Dying to believe in what you heard
I was staring straight into the shining sun

Lost in thought and lost in time
While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
Outside the rain fell dark and slow
While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime
I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life

These lines from Pink Floyd’s Coming Back To Life  resonates poetry, angst and hope. And it has stayed on with me through all the times I nearly got burnt and broken. When I mentioned this to a friend, his response: Shit Happens.

True, shit happens so have toilet paper handy 🙂

Whether it is your inner resilience, your belief in a higher self or a greater force, remember if something is dumped on you it will be eased as well.

So hold on and hang on. Remember, this too shall pass……

Have a good weekend, and stay blessed.

Spamming

I have written on Netiquette earlier but a spate of incidents in the recent past prompt me to add a postscript to the post 😉

Nearly everyone’s FB wall has been spammed with links that proclaim to contain Bin Laden’s video (the Seals attack!!) and links that claim to let you know who your top follower is and how it may include your ex and not to mention all the comments on IPL!!!! NOW REALLY….Are we living in such a voyeuristic culture that we need to click every link that promises SHOCK value when we know its spam.

Not only Facebook every day living has gotten to a point of getting spammed.

Mobile phones are replete with messages from banks promising personal loans, health insurance, great investments; travel agents promising once-in-a-lifetime offer and free tickets to godknowswhereandwhocares; yoga classes at your doorstep and home delivery of something akin to ATKINS diet….NOW REALLY….

Emails have too few mails and too much junk. You would never realise you were important or even LIVING until you have mails from YAHOO, MICROSOFT, SHELL, BRITISH PETROLEUM,GOOGLE sending you lottery winning notifications; mails from MARUTI, VIDEOCON, WINDSOR SHERATON, BPOfirms, unknown recruitment firms offering you a BIG break, a GREAT job; mails from your Nigerian uncle, Chinese grandad, African relative and European cousin offering you an inheritance; mails from the FBI, WHO, UN asking you for personal details……….NOW REALLY….

And try having a conversation with someone and if the topic, God forbid, is politics or cricket, everyone and his uncle has an opinion on it and the conversation is no longer a dialogue but a frenzied babel…NOW REALLY..

Spamming culture is here my friends, and where do we go from here??!

YOU TELL ME would love to know………………………………..