Monday, April 23, 2012

Turning 25

In close to four years of blogging; I’ve never really felt the need to blog about my Birthday. Until now, they were all relatively small numbers, there were other things to write about. But 25 is a big intimidating number. It means, I’ve been around Planet Earth for a Quarter Century now and officially enter the famous or rather infamous Quarter Life Crisis.

There is an overwhelming need to pen down my feelings on what it feels like to turn 25. A million questions loom ahead of me; I have to face them all, but there is no compelling need to accept them all in my folds. I have learnt to let go of a few and focus on what really matters to me.  25yrs is a quite a long time; in the course of this long arduous yet enriching journey – there have been moments which have taken my breath away, brought me back to earth with a thud, realize the value of relationships and people involved.

I’ve watched things go awry, over analysed incidents, wasted a lot of precious time on post mortems, wasted copious tears on people who hardly mattered and incidents that were beyond my control. All these left me sapped of happiness and contentment.  Alongside all this – I’ve spent time with people who mean the world to me, learnt life’s valuable lessons under their watchful eyes, succeeded in my attempts and watched them succeed too. I’ve learnt that happiness lies in making the best of what you have and the best lessons amongst all these have been – working on my strengths, diversifying my interests, and most importantly accepting me for what I am.

I was hoping a couple of my close friends would come up with something like 25-Awesome-Things-About-You sort of list. Since that hasn’t happened, I decided to take in a moment of perspective and thank the people who’ve left indelible marks in these 25 years.

To my teachers and professors from school and college, for loading my brains with knowledge unlimited and helping me grow as an individual. Thank you for being encouraging at all times and especially during PTA meetings, thank you for not letting my folks know how notorious and talkative I was.  Special thanks to Kumar Sir for being more than just a Professor, for being that Father figure and a very prominent guiding force. I will forever be indebted to you for adding that Sanity Filter into my head.

To Soms and Neesu for being besties for over 12yrs now! That’s an achievement ok? We’ve been partners in crime growning up, goofed up, stuck to each other after years of school, have had the best times. We also learnt to accept each other for what we are. I can’t thank you girls enough for all that you’ve been all along. You girls are truly God-Awesome and you know the rest of the story. Love you two to bits!

To Neelu for being an awesome Didi-Jaan, you’ve made me realize what it means to have an older sister, when my cousins were in faraway land. Special thanks for introducing me to Makeup, Amma thinks you are too innocent to have caused colossal damage on my makeup spending.

To AM for being my lost-Twin-Sister from Gujju Land. I still can’t believe we’ve never met each other and have still managed to stay in sync with each other’s sensibilities. Jai-ho to our sense of humor, grammar policing and telepathy! Oh btw, you are the best Grammar Police ever.

To Gitu for being what the SoMCA guys christened us – Soul mate! I must thank you for adding an extra character to my collage. We must stay in touch more often. You made SoMCA more livable and helped me bring forth my potential. Thanks a Bunch Woman!

To D for being the blood hound who can smell trouble and be the shrink whenever applicable. I admire your ability to call a spade a spade and it really helps because I know what you say is for my good.

To the bestest brother – Adi for just being there when it really matters, for being that pillar of strength and support when I should be the sensible one. I’m bloody proud of you for what you are. I get all emotional when you actually speak up for me. I still can’t believe you are all grown up now.

I wouldn’t be sitting here in the dead of the night penning this down without this Woman.
To Amma for being the best role model any girl can ask for. I will forever be in awe of how you’ve managed to garner love, respect and trust from people whom you’ve met in these years. You have brought us up with the best values and given us freedom to spread our wings. You’ve moulded me into what I am today. You’ve instilled confidence when I’ve been down in the dumps, brought me back to my senses when I strayed.  I really don’t know if I will ever be able to emulate you as a mother or a daughter in the years to come.  To me you are the epitome of Goodness.

To Appa for being that role model. You are one man whom I truly respect. Sometimes, I guess it's a little more fear than respect. I know I've fallen short of your expects many a times, but am thankful that you've taken it in your stride. I can only yearn to be the perfectionist you are.

To the Corporate World for turning the once uncomplicated, happy and cherubic soul into this insensitive woman with a good layer of thick epidermis. You have flawlessly executed the act of mercilessly slaughtering my confidence, puncturing my motivation and left me with no zest for living. Your exemplary behavior in terms of Public Display of Emotion where you wanted me strung and quartered for a second made me feel that the aforementioned woman should have aborted me instead.

But that was just for a second, I have realized how important it is to maintain dignity and composure at work.  All those people who grouped themselves together cemented my beliefs even more. I wholeheartedly thank you guys for clearing the cobwebs in my head.  Since then I’ve been absorbing every activity with a teaspoon of salt. 

You guys deserve the credit for helping me rebuild myself from those little shreds on the floor. I have learnt that there is no greater joy than recouping yourself to brace something a million times better. I will leave a blazing trail when the right time arrives.

To Shillu and Ramya for being the *first friends* I made in the hard-nosed corporate world! You girls are examples that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

To the Women who are no-more – Meenamma and Jaya Paati for being the best story tellers and nurturers.

Finally, to God, for bestowing me with so much goodness and happiness.  I totally understand that these trying moments in my life are to make me better and emerge stronger.

Peace Out 

Friday, April 6, 2012


Brave yourselves up for the next Guest Post by Aditya. Accomplice, brother, best friend, life saver, guinea pig, driver and everything else rolled into one. Adi as he likes to call himself is an Automobile - Cricket and Football lover. Spends time clicking photographs, playing football and breaking hearts.

Enough said I guess.


A 2007 Human Resource Development reports that developed countries should cut their carbon emissions by at-least 20-30% by 2030 and 80% by 2050 ; if the Earth has to be saved from the adverse effects of global warming  It says only developed countries , India for one has been on the developing list since time immemorial. I understand your predicament, it says only developed countries , how many more years, I wonder. Let us pause for a while and take things into perspective.
        Humanity is on the verge of facing a series of climatic changes that will wrack havoc on the planet. An entire civilization will be swept in an underwater grave. Flora and fauna find it difficult to cope with the temperature changes. How many of us prefer living underwater ? I DONT! Melting of glaciers, even snowfall has reduced its occurrence and intensity . It doesn't matter to nature if you own a Rolls Royce or a Mercedez because whatever be the brand, pollution is all set to rise.
         In all probability if we need to leave behind traces of life when the world eventually ends, the Air-conditioners,  LCDs,  BMW, i-Phones .. will take center-stage. Combating this problem is indeed very difficult. Humanity stands amidst a grave danger of perishing. Planting trees is the order of the day but deforestation is what happens. It is estimated that if all the ice on Earth melts, about 200 feet of water will be added to the surface of the oceans. Stats show ice has been shrinking 10% per decade since 1980.
        I sincerely hope that the USA does not have plans of setting up underwater industries . You already have the world's oil bank in your custody. Iraq, Libya, UAE are living conquered examples. So when exactly is World Environment Day ? Any guesses ? Google was created for you. Technology has to be thanked for helping man create things he would never have dreamt of. The same technology can be used efficiently to benefit the world.
         We may live in India, Australia or anywhere for that matter, but the world is where we belong. Scientists can only predict that life can exist on Mars, Moon or whatever but we may not see the light of the day. Just wait and watch what happens. We've all read about global warming, carbon emissions , greenhouse gases at-least for those 3 marks in Environmental Science. Have we ever bothered to dig deeper? We've always been waiting for an emotional speech from a leader or a soul stirring article and I hope you've found your way here. 13 year old Severn Suzuki delivered a brilliant speech meant for the leaders of tomorrow at the United Nations Summit in 1992.
         At ground level, my college organized a clean-up drive in and around Coimbatore for which my best friend retorted "Dude, I DON'T PAY 1.6 lacs for cleaning garbage." This sums up the attitude of the world . The impetus is on Attitude Change. I agree its easy to preach , hard to follow. Two hours of power cut in Chennai and people lose their brains. Coimbatore, Trichy and others have close to 11 hours. And where does all this conserved power go? Electricity Board or to the nearest stadium hosting an IPL tournament? Two matches per day , 6 hours of electricity and we're SUCCESSFULLY into the 5TH YEAR! So much for *CRICKETAINMENT* ? Talk about saving ELECTRICITY!
         Wake up India , its high time we pulled up our socks and started moving in the right direction. Birth control ( India has the second largest population* ). We have so much more in hand .Vertical farming , afforestation , having a small garden in your terrace wont do any harm . Every little drop counts. Captain Planet rightly said ; Reuse , Reduce and Recycle. Reducing the use of Chlorofluorocarbons(Google is there for you) and acceptance of methane as a fuel. Not charging your cell-phones after 11 in the night .Using non-conventional forms of energy like solar, wind, hydel power. Embracing Electrically powered vehicles, Car-pooling and using more of public transport, shifting to natural gas from coal will do a world of good to us .We know it all; but sadly, none of us put it to practice. I did sound like some geography teacher but someone always has to open our eyes.
        To all those souls for whom this article created a sense of responsibility, pang of guilt or even an emotional stir in your heart, please practice first and then preach. As far the rest are concerned, please AVOID this, 2004 Tsunami sorely missed you , but hey .. 2012 eagerly awaits you :) Good luck. Your patience is appreciated. 8 years is indeed a long time to wait.

Peace out!

Severn Suzuki's Speech. Please spare 7 minutes of your time, thats all it takes to listen to Kolaveri TWICE :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

M for My-Rage

When I wrote this two years back, my folks weren’t considering packing me off. I was still in my final year of college and my only focus was on completing the MBA degree and joining a God-Awesome Company. My folks had always followed Buddha’s Middle Path. In a matter of 9 months; – “What’s the plan?” became as popular as “What is Beti-B’s name? “

Matrimony is one hell of a rollercoaster. I haven’t seen the end of the ride yet, but the reverse rolls, turns and jumps are quite an experience. Just when the ride slows down a little and you are made to believe this is probably the end of the process it does another somersault with a headlong plunge leaving you in No-man’s land. And you have to start all over again.

People don’t really need a rhyme or a reason to enquire, all they need is a moment. Take for example this *Paati* who was lighting lamps beside me at the temple. This lady had Tam-Brahm written all over her; typical red saree with a thick gold border, a huge pottu and a heavy dose of kumgumam. Enough said I guess. And this was the tete a tete that followed;

P: Unnodu peru enna?
S: --- Blah blah
P: Enna padichirke (this is how they calculate your approximate age, Tam Brahms are bloody smart)
S: MBA (mind voice – if I told you my qualifications, would you get me a job at P&G as their Brand Manager?)
P: Oh! Enga vela pakare?
S: Inga than orui kutti company le. (I have been taught not to divulge too many personal details to strangers)
P: Apdiya? Amma Appa ellam enga iruka?
(Now, I got a drift of where this conversation was heading, I wanted to sprint out that place ASAP)
S: Ellarum inga than irukom (I was playing it safe)
A few more arbitrary questions about Amma , Appa, Veedu and Naikutti later –
P: Ennaku terinja oru nalla paiyan irukan; inga than madras la china company la irukan..
(She pauses for a second, gauging my reactions)
S: Oh apdiya! Seri Maami, naan kalambaren. Aparama pakalam!
And then yours truly literally scurried out of the temple and stopped only when I reached my floor.
I’m not against the institution of marriage. Like everybody else I plan to settle down when the proverbial near perfect one or that momentarily perfect one arrives. I know that this entails a lot of sacrifices, adjustments and giving up on a lot of things. The process is surely long drawn and you cannot jump into the wagon because everybody else is.
The old ladies in the family want to see you married because according to them ultimate happiness is an equivalent of marriage. Dear Paati, Please stop saying you holding on to the last shreds of your life to see me married. You are alive because your biological clock hasn’t given up on you yet. Sorry if am rude, but that’s the plain truth.

Random Maamas and Maamis: The conversations start like this – Oh! What is your daughter doing? Very good, is she married? There is some 3rd cousin’s distant relative’s son – he is all of 30yrs; will you be interested? I know all of you are well meaning folks, but give me a break! I still haven’t gotten to the stage where I have to make do with 30+ men with balding heads.  
According to the Tam-Brahm theory of Good Girls – if you are nearing or over 25 – there must be something **terribly** wrong with you. Your answers like; am still contemplating, I haven’t found the right one yet, none of the guys are good enough – will be highly misconstructed and they will come up with their own theories.

If you reject boys on your own accord – you will get branded as an incorrigible overly educated brat.  If that’s not convincing enough – say yes to a boy under pressure and then back-out on grounds on non-compatibility when you’ve not even finalized on anything; people will go to the extent of blaming your upbringing.

Dear ladies and gentlemen, you know what? It’s my personal life and it’s not meant for public display. If you are interested in gossip, I’d recommend reading the Times of India or Deccan Chronicle. I see no reason why my single status bothers you as much. There are a gazillion issues plaguing your lives and I’m not an eye sore.  When my folks don’t consider me a societal liability, you guys are third parties with no rights on my personal life.

So next time around before any of you decide to ask Amma; “Any progress, any news?” Please remember, I’m not in the ICU Ward of Malar Hospitals counting my days.
I rest my case.

For the record, am in no dying hurry to get married, I still haven’t hit my late twenties but the Ladies in the Tam-Brahm Circle have taken it upon themselves to make me feel miserable. I have also come to understand that when it has to happen it will happen effortlessly.  Sounds very philosophical, but that’s how I’ve trained myself to brave the idiosyncrasies.

The day I get married, I will use my marketing skills to their fullest and make sure, each one of your jaws hit ground zero. I would rather wait for a couple of years and settle for a  guy who’d like to go on a vacation to *Machu Picchu* and do a Thalaivar Jig; than settle down for a guy who says his favourite dish is “Paneer Butter Masala”

Peace Out!

PS: I walked back home listening to this