Sunday, September 28, 2008
You're thousands of miles away from the rest of us today, but as close to our hearts as ever. Happy birthday babes. Have a totally awesome, really special day. Lots of love.
This afternoon I met up with some of my closest friends from College. Those friends are the most valued gifts I got from College. Of late, we've been more frequently in touch and have been meeting up more often. It's always totally great to catch up with each other, to have someone with whom you can share your worries, your fears, your apprehensions, and your joy. It's great to know that there's someone else who's going through the same stuff you are. Someone who understands what you're going through and is there, by your side, to guide you through the dark tunnel, and to celebrate with you when you see the light at the end of it.
I was just going through the College website today. I didn't come across anything that I didn't already know, but it felt great to reaffirm that I've walked the same portals as Barkha Dutt, Khushwant Singh, Anurag Mathur, Amitav Ghosh, Shashi Tharoor, Upamanyu Chaterjee, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Arun Shourie, Kabir Bedi, Siddharth Kak, Shekhar Kapur, Roshan Seth, Salman Khursheed... and I could go on with this list for an incredibly long time. It's long enough to make me feel proud of the fact that I graduated from such a distinguished College. In spite of the fact that, in the five years since then, our College has constantly been in the news for all the wrong reasons, I still feel great every time I think about everything I learnt there, the friends I made there, the three glorious years I spent there, the incredible heritage and history associated with that place.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Some tidbits of knowledge that I've gathered from my experience:
- Life is too short to live with regrets. Do just what your heart prompts you to do. Find your passion in life. Spend quality time with family and friends.
- Don't base your decisions on what "society" deems correct or acceptable. Nobody, other than your immediate family and close friends, really cares what you do or how you do it. And they are not going to be there for you to set things right when they go wrong.
- Being happy is entirely in your control. It's not about what happens to you, but about how you see things. It's about how soon and how well you are able to come to terms with the stuff that you cannot change or that was not meant to be the way you wanted it to be.
- If someone does something wrong or bad to you, not forgiving them only makes you unhappy and puts your happiness in their control. Let go of your grudges, forgive, make your peace, move on.
- Life doesn't always give you what you wanted, when you wanted it. Sometimes you are made to wait, to learn to be patient. Sometimes you get something totally different from what you wanted and realize that it was a lot better than what you originally thought you wanted. Your long-awaited Prince Charming may turn out to be an evil, devilish, scheming monster, as opposed to the extremely loving and caring Shrek you eventually end up with.
Here's what I wanted to say here. Even if we women are engineers or scientists ourselves, we don't want men to behave like total geeks all the time. We like it if the men in the house are qualified enough to fix all the electronic equipment in the house whenever it needs fixing, because that saves us a lot of time and money. (In this context, you may want to revisit what I wrote about my brother in Life With A Geek.) But we do not like it if they explain to us how all that equipment works. We most certainly do not like it if they explain that sort of stuff to us just because they feel like it. Hey, we know you know all that stuff, we like the fact that you do, but that is just the kind of knowledge that we don't like you sharing with us.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
We all know that, in India, a wedding does not take place between two people. It takes place between two families. And that makes a huge difference to the way things work. Because, I think, once two people get past the initial phase of getting to know the basic things about each other and the slight awkwardness that exists in the beginning, there are not too many things they can disagree strongly about. Once they agree on the significant things in life, the little things can be discussed and worked out. It is when you try to please everyone in your family and everyone in your partner's family that the trouble starts. Because, let's face it, it's not easy to please that many people at the same time, all the time. Whether you are marrying the guy you've been going out with for years, or the one who's always been your best friend, or the one you just met, it's pretty important to be familiar with his family background. Because you are going to be taking them on as your family. I'm using this set of pronouns here because, in India, this is more applicable to girls. I think venturing into marriage is venturing into completely unfamiliar territory. If you know the person beforehand, then you have a map to guide you, but you discover, gradually, that some of the landmarks mentioned on the map no longer exist and the ones that do, aren't on the map. As some wise person said, "It doesn't matter who you marry, for you are sure to find out the next morning that it was someone else." This may be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on the ways in which this "someone else" is different from the person you thought you were marrying.
We do a million things to minimise the risk involved in getting married. We try to go out with the other person for as long as possible before deciding. We hope that the position of the stars and planets at the time this person was born can tell us if the union will work. We consult all the friends, relatives, astrologers, priests, everyone we deem qualified enough to voice a useful and consequential opinion on the subject. But after all this, it seems to me that it's a stroke of luck that determines whether or not things work out, coupled with a strong, determined effort from both sides to make them work. But well, the map of the unfamiliar territory needs to have enough attractive tourist spots on it to give both partners reason enough to put in this effort.
That's just my view. You may say I've become cynical about all this stuff. I just think I've become practical. I am no longer living in my fairytale world which houses the hope for a Prince Charming who comes riding on his noble stead. I am now looking for my Shrek. Someone who does not necessarily fit the image I always had in mind. Someone with whom the relationship requires a lot of hard work, but who is also willing to put in the same amount of hard work.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Jahaan aap ho wahaan suraj ki kirane pahunch jaaye
Andhere raaston mein bhi
Aapko hamesha roshni nazar aa jaaye
Aap jin raaston pe chalo
Wo sadaa roshni se jagmagaaye
Zindagi ki har khushi aapki aankhon mein ho
Aapka har aansoo humein mil jaaye
But this post is not about me. This is for all those who are dear to me and are stepping into a new world in the near future. This is to wish them well, to let them know that nothing less than the very best is wished for them as they move towards this new phase in their lives. To wish that this forthcoming time is as beautiful as they imagined it to be, possibly more. Have a happy married life people.
This song has a lovely, happy feel to it. I should listen to it more often. Here's an extract from the lyrics:
I feel good, I knew that I would, now
I feel good, I knew that I would, now
So good, so good, I got you
Whoa! I feel nice, like sugar and spice
I feel nice, like sugar and spice
So nice, so nice, I got you
When I hold you in my arms
I know that I can't do no wrong
And when I hold you in my arms
My love won't do you no harm
And I feel nice, like sugar and spice
I feel nice, like sugar and spice
So nice, so nice, I got you
But you know what the worst part is? We don't even realize that we need to find time that is just ours. We don't acknowledge that we ourselves are the only ones who can make ourselves truly happy, truly satisfied with life.
Pretty recently, someone whom I wouldn't exactly call a friend but who I am quite friendly with and have a lot of respect for, talked to me during a phase when I wasn't feeling too good about myself. He told me, among other things, to spend money on myself. Well, yes, I'd always known that spending money on myself makes me feel good, but I'd forgotten. In the last couple of weeks or so, I rediscovered that spending even a small amount of money on myself can make me feel totally awesome if it's spent in a well thought out way. You don't have to throw away a fortune, but loosening the purse strings once every so often is certainly good for you. Whatever is in your bank account is your own hard earned money. What use is it, if you don't spend it on things that make you happy? After food, shelter and clothing, isn't this the exact reason why you make the money in the first place?
In short, here's what I'm trying to say. Find your passion in life if haven't already. Once you have, pursue it. Not necessarily full time, but maybe as a hobby or an occasional escape from your cares. Spend time with just yourself, doing stuff you like doing. Stuff that makes you feel good about yourself.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I am really happy to be writing this hundredth post on Random Musings today. In the last four months I have rediscovered the forgotten joy of creative writing, gained some more self confidence, found a terrific way to give expression to everything that goes on in my mind.
This post is for Bhatti, who encouraged me to start blogging in the first place.
For Akash, whose "uncommitted commitment" to write comments on my blog always kept me going.
For Sumit, who made my day on my birthday by telling me that he chalks out time twice a week to read my blog. He'd never written any comments until then, but he couldn't have given me a better birthday gift than a comment here.
For Aditi Madan, Aditi Gupta, Abhinav, Alok, Vikas Jain (the one who was my junior in DU), Kavita, Jayant, Dr Amber Habib, Tulika, Chaya, Rimmi, Geeta, and everyone else who ever wrote a comment or a mail praising or criticising anything I ever wrote here.
For Bhavna and Aarti, who always read everything I write, and let me know that they do, even though they never write a comment.
And yes, there was the time when I told Ashish that I wouldn't write anything more on my blog until he read everything I'd written so far. He did, eventually, although my patience gave way a little before he managed to do so. But he wrote a large number of comments on various entries during that particular week, most of which made me feel really good. There was this one particular morning when, as soon as he walked in at work, he told me that I write really well. I still feel really good when I recall how he praised this particular post that morning. This is also for him.
I've discovered that you don't always get what you want. You generally get something completely different. When I wanted to be a journalist, I set out to be a Mathematician. And I was happy being one. When I had my heart set on Mathematics, I landed up in the software industry. And I am happy here too. There's no telling if I'd have been any more or less happy if I'd got what I originally thought I wanted. I mean, writing makes me really happy, but only because I write exactly when I want to, as much as I want to, and about what I want to write about. Writing in a constrained environment may not have kept me as happy as my current job keeps me.
There are other areas in life where this is equally applicable. But I don't feel like talking about them right now. I just feel like telling everyone who's reading this, and myself, to be happy with whatever cards life deals you. Appreciate the good things in your life. Don't hang on to thoughts of the "If only..." kind that make you upset. Not to say that you should let go of your dreams. Most certainly not. Go after them, by all means. But know where to draw the line. Know how to distinguish between what you really need or want and what you can be happy without, if only you put your mind to it.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
We need you to make us feel good about ourselves. To tell us that we are beautiful. We may not be Aishwarya Rai, but we may have a really lovely smile. Or really beautiful eyes. Tell us that. And remind us of it every so often. It would also be great if you'd compliment us once in a while on how well we balance work and family and still find enough time to spend exclusively with you. Or how good we are at the work we do. That, coming from a man, does wonders for our self esteem.
We do need you to be truthful and honest. An occasional white lie in response to a question like, "Does this dress make me look fat?" is fine, but never, ever lie to a woman on the bigger, more significant things in life. Because she'll find out sooner or later. And when (when, not if) she finds out on her own, it will be a lot more damaging to the relationship than it would have been if you'd told her the truth in the first place.
We love surprises. Showing up at our workplace unexpectedly or sending us flowers for no occasion is going to make us feel really special. Not to say that it's not important to send flowers or bigger gifts when there is an occasion. You better remember our birthdays and anniversaries and make sure that those days are really special.
We're all a little insecure. We know we have our male friends and colleagues, but we're always a little jealous of your female friends. Not that we want you to not have anything to do with any of the other females on the planet. We know it's only natural and healthy for it to be so. We'd just like that, once in a while, you should remind us that we are more special than the other women around you. And don't just say it. Show it.
We want to be respected. We want to be acknowledged as confident, well-educated, professionally qualified, financially independent individuals in our own right, in case we are all those things. And even if we aren't, even if we are homemakers, we do not want to be treated like doormats and we will not have you walk all over us and have your way in everything. This is not the nineteenth century. We are just as significant in the scheme of things as you are. We do not owe you anything more than what you owe us. A relationship needs to be based on equality, understanding and trust. And it all needs to be mutual.
Okay, I guess I have a pretty long list here. I think this should do for now. I'll follow it up with another post on the subject if I feel like it some other day.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
To dil ki dhadkan jaise ruk jaane lagi
Har lamha jo tumse door reh ke bitaaya
Usme bas tumhaari hi yaad aane lagi
Ye jaanta hai dil ki tum hamaare na ho sakoge
Phir bhi tumhaari hi chaahat humein khwaab dikhaane lagi
Gham mein tumhaare hi kandhe pe rona chaaha
Tum kabhi bahut door the humse, kabhi is dil se
Humne hamesha tumhaare hi paas hona chaaha
Zindagi chaahe in hoton ko hasi de ya in aankhon ko aansoo
Har jazbaat mein, har ehsaas mein tumhi ko paaya
Tum chahe saath mein baithe ho ya meelon door
In dhadkanon mein, in yaadon mein bas tumhi ko paaya
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I am not into rock music in general. As a matter of fact, for the first couple of weeks or so after I laid my hands on the music of Rock On!!, I was constantly listening to the non-rock tracks that it features, namely Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein by Dominique Cerejo and Phir Dekhiye by Caralisa Monteiro. I'd heard Caralisa's voice in a remixed track from Salaam Namaste and Dominique's in a couple of tracks from Neal 'N' Nikki. I liked both of their voices in the first instance. They have this freshness, this energy, a quality that I cannot describe that makes me feel connected to whatever is being sung about. Even though the actual words of Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein are rather arbitrary, they seem to convey a deep meaning that all of us can connect to. It carries a hope, a hope for a happy, successful relationship where communication is at the forefront. That is something a lot of us want, need, would like to have. And Phir Dekhiye is beautifully worded and carries a beautiful thought at the core of it. And it is beautifully sung. It tells us that we all need to have a dream, something to love for, something that we are extremely passionate about, something we care deeply for. It is this something that gives us the happiness we need, that defines who we are.
In all the music reviews I've read online, people generally talk about the tracks in the order in which they are featured in the album. But of course, Random Musings are, well, random.
It took me a couple of weeks or so of intermittent listening before I grew to like the other tracks in this album. The title track and Sinbad The Sailor continue to focus on the general theme of the movie, which is about following your dreams, no matter what the rest of the world thinks or says about them. No matter how crazy the world deems you for dreaming your dream. It is never stupid or crazy to follow your dreams. And Farhan has done a terrific job, rendering all the tracks which he has sung for his film.
And then there are the whimsically worded Socha Hai and Pichle Saat Dinon Mein which do not seem to have any particular meaning, any particular rhyme or reason for existing in the first place, but they give the movie its flavour. I think the movie would have been grossly incomplete without Pichle Saat... The live version that actually features in the movie is a version that makes you connect to the characters, to the band, to the movie. It makes you feel involved, part of whatever is happening.
And then there is the loveliest track of them all. As the members of Magik themselves stated during the movie, this is the track that gives the album its depth. Tum ho toh hai sab haasil, Tum nahin toh kya hai yahan... Beautiful. Just beautiful. And the way this song is featured in the movie is so... well, emotionally stirring. But I'm not going to repeat stuff that I already wrote.
And there is one track which I didn't like too much, but even this one is very hummable. I've been humming Zehreelay Zehreelay intermittently over the last couple of weeks whenever I've needed a break from Pichle Saat... and Tum Ho Toh. As Akash says, "the music and lyrics of this song make a perfect combination for this song to be called the most stupid song of recent past." It's given us a lot of laughs over the past few days. Especially when Akash was traversing the length and breadth of our floor, making sincere attempts to popularise this ridiculous number.
As they say when the closing credits roll, "Don’t download the music, buy the CD." It's most certainly worth it.
I just don't understand why, even in a day and age when women are doing just as well as men are doing in every field, the institution of marriage still does not comprise of equal rights and equal duties for both partners. Why is it that, even if a guy marries a girl who is just as well qualified as he is and earning a comparable sum of money, he'll still expect a large sum of money and gifts as part of the dowry? I mean, here is a girl whose parents have put in just as much time, money and effort in giving her a good education as your parents put into your education. An earning member is being added to your family. Why do you need her and/or her parents to push themselves beyond the limits that they can comfortably afford?
And that's just the beginning. When it comes to household duties, they're all hers. Does it matter to you that she leaves the house at the same time in the morning and comes back at the same time in the evening as you do? And contributes equally to the household finances? Well, why should it? She's the woman of the house. She should cook, clean, take care of your parents, supervise the domestic help. If you have young kids and one of you needs to take care of them, she's expected to sacrifice her career. If you have deadlines to meet and stay late in the office, that's supposed to be normal. If she does the same thing, she's told stuff about acceptable behaviour for bahus from respectable families. If you get an opportunity to go abroad for a long term, that's welcomed with a great deal of joy in the family. In her case, she's questioned on who will take care of the household duties during that time.
We've come a long way since the days of Sati. But we're still unable to come out of the mindset that it's absolutely essential to have a son. That his education and upbringing are more important than a daughter's. That if you cannot afford to educate both your children, your son gets priority over your daughter. That when a wedding is being planned, the girl's parents should spend all the money and the guy's parents should always have the upper hand in making all the decisions. Even in well educated, urban families, this is the attitude. And what totally eludes me is that, even women who are well educated and have a career of their own, have this sort of attitude. I mean, if we don't stand up for ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to ever do that?
We need a major change of attitude here. And we need to be more vocal about it. More clear on what we expect, need and want from our prospective in-laws and from society at large. Even one girl who does something like what Mahima Choudhary does in Lajja can make a difference, albeit small, to the way we think and act.