Saturday, December 27, 2008

just another break-up

She never believed in 'love'. It belongs to the movies and books.. or in 'happily everafters', which is a phrase made just to make pretty ending notes for fairytales. Not that she's got anything against the words, but she prefers they better stay where they have to. In the books and movies and fairytales, i.e. They're beautiful as long as they're there. You bring them into real life, and they just lose their life.. just like fish out of water.

And then, He walked in.. said the very same words, and the only thing she wanted to do was to believe in them. It wasn't easy for her, but she did.

And then, He walked away. But now, she doesn't know what to do with the words. Heck, they don't even fit back into the fairytales anymore.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Give up!

I do give up on things. Some things.
What I believe is: Giving up of some things is important, to move on..
It is important to make sure that I don't give up on things more important.
Does that make me a loser?
No, I believe not.

I'm at the verge of giving up on something again. It's a pretty risky thing to do at this point of time. As with anyone who is rich in well meaning friends, I do discuss this almost everyday with one friend or the other. I need to. They always help me re-asses my decisions.
Most of them say, 'Giving up' is what losers do. Others fight it out.
But what when you know some Fights are not worth the fight?
Some times, you get so busy winning Fights that you end up losing the Battle.
And there are other times, when you know losing a worthless fight is OK, and that losing it might actually get you one step nearer to winning the Battle.

On a totally different plane of thought, of late, we've been hearing a lot about low financial tides driving people to suicides.. suicide is giving up on life.
Life is a Battle. Why did they lose the Battle? Because they chose to see their success in small Fights.
A broken relationship, a lost fortune. These are small failures.
It might make you look like a loser in front of the world. People might / will judge you.
But why align your success to their ideas?
There are always a bunch of people out there, ready to pounce on someone who's lost a Fight.
But the ones who win the War are those who don't give a damn about lost battles.
'coz they know how to win their Wars.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

feminists, anyone?

Whatta tag season this one is.. I'm almost at the verge of taking a break from blogging and doing some serious tagging these days. Not that I'm complaining. I like doing tags. :)
They remind me of those writing exercises back in school..
The difference now is that I can speak my mind, talk stupid or whatever and still get away with it, as against those days with strong emphasis on structured writing and stuff.

Seema tagged me this time on 'Feminism'.
Controversial topic, eh? sheesh.. Seema, how could you do this to me?
For all that you know, you could be driving away all my potential knights in shining armor.. you know.. with pot-bellies and bald-heads n probably a divorce to flaunt too. :P (no offence intended)
hmmph..
No, really.. it's something I have noticed. Any guy who's remotely interested visits my blog, and I can see from the tracker trails that they almost always unfailingly hit on the label 'women'. They fear I'm a feminist!! :D Almost making it sound like a monster. And then they start acting all cranky in an effort to sound empathetic. They tell me how they resent women who love pink, like red roses, swoon over chocolates etc etc... Now how do I tell them that I can die for pink, kill for chocolates and will love to death the guy who gives me a red rose. (tragic truth: No guy ever gave me a red rose. Well one almost did, way back at college, but I drove him away with one of my 'dont-you-dare-honey' looks... *sniff sniff*. Btw, for some strange reason, girl-friends always shower me with bunches of red roses. And when I share my sad ominous red-rose story with them, they specifically warn me against telling any guy that girls gift me red-roses, you know, for obvious reasons! :| )

My point: Being Feminine doesn't make anyone anti-feminist or vice-versa. Sadly, Feminism is almost always seen as an antonym of Femininity.

I've come across this question : "Are you a feminist?" quite many times.
and my all-time fave reply is a deep sounding: "it depends on your definition of feminism"
(psst psst.. that's my staple answer for any question flirting on the lines of a probably controversial discussion. How convenient! :P)

Feminism being an oft mis-represented/ mis-interpreted word, the 1st thing I did was to hit dictionary.com for the meaning of Feminism.
Going by which, it is :
1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
2. (sometimes initial capital letter) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.
3. feminine character.

And as long as we stick to that definition, I'd say, 'Yes, I am a feminist'

Though my perception of it is that it's all about providing equal opportunity irrespective of a gender bias. Now how a person chooses to use this opportunity should be totally left to the individual, but the 'opportunity' should be available without a bias.

Yes, just like the caste system prevalent in our country, which specifies caste specific tasks which were being followed through generations, there were also gender specific tasks which were religiously exercised all through ages. They say it's a part of our tradition / culture. But as any society improves with civilization, the caste based tasks kind of fade away and so does many of the gender based classification of Do's and Donts. But the prejudices attached with it still linger on. New age feminism, I believe is more about breaking the shackles of these prejudices.

Personally, I've been in situations where I was at a disadvantage, just for the reason that I'm born a woman. I have reacted differently every time.
Sometimes I fought back : Does that make me a feminist?
Sometimes I decided to just ignore it : Does that make me an anti-feminist?

# I've been to a school which was a co-ed till 4th grade. We all collectively hated the guys, and waited for the day when we can get rid of them from our school. I remember fighting them with wooden rulers which we were using like swords. We used to hurt and get hurt. I dont remember any of the girls whining when they got hurt.
It was fair play. I did not know what Feminism was, then.

# I went to a co-ed college for my pre-degree, and realised that things have changed quite a lot. I learned I'm not supposed to jump over a half wall, but should take the stairs like a lady, while the guys could always take the shortcuts conveniently. 'Not fair', I thought.
But then, realised that girls are much smarter and they have their own workarounds to turn those disadvantages to their advantage. A few ladylike moves, graceful smiles, thoughtful words and fluttering eyelids can get the guys to do almost anything for you. There you go! So that's the way women have their shortcuts. Impressive. But I chose to differ.
Was I a feminist then? No, I did not know its meaning then. Mebbe I was just too proud. or mebbe I did not like being manipulative. It just wasn't fair play.

# Engineering college: That was more or less a man's forte for a very long time. C'mon, how many of our Moms are engineers by educational qualification? In all these years, I just know one friend whose Mom's an engineer. And apparently, she was the only woman in the whole college then. Needless to say, one naturally feels like a second grade citizen in there, at times. I'm sure most of the girls would have. Some of us were aware of it, some never gave it a thought, and some chose to ignore it. "Oh Girls? They just mug up their lessons and get good grades. They sure are eye-candies in the college, though".
I never reacted to it. Did that make me a loser then?

# The professional world: It's been 7+ years, in an industry which is comparatively fairer to women than many others. My 1st job: The ratio of women:men in the team was 1:7. At my 2nd job, it was 1:5. By the time I took up my 3rd job, the ratio was 1:10. When I was hired, I was literally the only woman in an otherwise all-men team. So where did all the women disappear? As much as I remember, when I went to college, we had a 1:2 strength.

In the past 7 years, I've been asked more than once in job interviews, about "When am I planning to get married?" How many men would have faced that question for a job interview?

I have been told by one of my reporting managers, very frankly that generally managers are finicky about hiring women. 'If they are single, there's this constant threat of them taking a flight as soon as their parents find an NRI groom for them. If they are married, we are worried when they are going to avail a maternity leave. If they have kids, there's this constant fear of them taking a break to take care of their kids. Women just don't make dependable team members, you see'. How fair is that?

Which brings me to the most talked about reservation topic. I never wrote about it in this blog. Yes, I do support reservation.
Ok, so mebbe, personally speaking I am too proud to ask for a reservation. I know I'm privileged enough (comparatively speaking) to have got equal opportunities in many arenas to depend on it. But then, I should also acknowledge the fact that there are many many more women out there (rather 'in' there) who've been victimised by biased prejudices. Don't they deserve a chance to live their life like anyone of us? No one is talking about pushing the housewives to work. But isn't it just fair to provide them an opportunity, just in case they'd be interested in taking it up?

We try to play it down telling how the women would be turned to mere puppets. But hey, why don't we give them a fair chance and see how things turn out? The way people use their opportunities, is totally dependent on an individual, irrespective of their gender. We cant say all men in power use their opportunities better always, right? Then how can we assume that all women who are given an opportunity to be in power will misuse it?

Of course 'Reservation' is not at all a welcome word. That's why they are implemented forcefully against the wishes of a majority, which would rather not give that equal opportunity to the lesser privileged, and want to monopolise it for their own advantage. Period.

#Marriage: Well I haven't yet reached there to make a statement on it, but then from what I've seen and heard all this while, I guess I have my 2 cents of wisdom to share.
In a not-so-distant-past, men used to be called chauvinists if they demanded their wives to be housewives. Now, they say things have changed. Men look for working brides. Preferably working in MNCs. Tier I companies most welcome. And guess what, they are broadminded enough not to mind if the bride earns more than them. Very convenient. And why not? They have taken housing loans to build homes in their hometowns for their parents, and of course they are expected to send money home too. So, obviously, they can do with the wife's paycheck to maintain a lifestyle + buy a swanky apartment in the City. All in the name of being tolerant and modern. Very very convenient. Plus, she'll cook for you, manage your household, take care of you and rear your kids. Nice, ain't it? And lemme not get started about the Dowry system now!
Guess who's being manipulated here time n again?

#Streetsmart: I'm on my own most of the time. I don't quite like taking side-kicks along, or being a side-kick while I'm out there. It comes with its own share of issues, though.

I've been thrown stones at, by boys one-third my age, in the heart of Bangalore city. I wonder where they pick up such ideas from? I dunno if their folks at home treat their women like street dogs. They were a majority in terms of number, so I could not have reacted as I would've liked to.

I ride a scooter. In the small by lanes, I come across pedestrians who like walking on the middle of the road, just for kicks. I give them the alert horn. They turn back. 'Oh its a woman?! well, she can wait'. They get on with their elephant gaits. (You think I'm exaggerating? If you are a woman, try walking half a kilometer along a pedestrian path of any Indian metro city, and count the number of times you have to step aside for a man to pass by. The funny part is: half the time, we dont even realise that we're stepping aside. It comes naturally!) They used to bug me initially. Now I grin when I see them. One of my fave passtimes is to go give them a nudge with my scooter's handlebar. I love the look of disbelief on their faces, when they turn back startled. 'How could she?' written large on their faces. It's fun. The left side rear-view mirror of my bike's almost always on a state of swinging around just because of this habit of mine. Yes, I am evil.

4 years back, I took up this job in Chandigarh. Missed the office cab on the second day, so walked upto the nearest rickshaw stand, and the driver demands quite an unreasonable fare. I don't quite oblige, and the next thing I know is about 10 rickshaw drivers rounding up the one I'm in. One of them says: 'madam, hum paise hi toh maang rahe hain, koi zabardasti thode hi kar rahe hain'. I knew better not to talk any further.

Though I would love to, I think twice (well definitely more) about going on a roadtrip all alone to a new place. I have to. If something untoward happens, there'll be hundreds of them who wouldn't think twice before before calling me adventurous enough to deserve it. I don't think I could ever make a trip like that without worrying about the fact that my parents would be spending sleepless nights worrying/praying for my safety.

I wish things were better.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I know this is some topic I can go on and on about, just like any other woman worth her salt. I just choose to stop it at this, with whatever rushed to my mind in the past few minutes, in the light of some personal experiences.

I know I'm at an advantage to be born in this age and time, as compared to my Mother or my Grandmothers. And I wish, hope and believe that the daughters of tomorrow could inherit a world which is more fairer to them.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now, for the tagging part, I realise most of my blogger buddies around have already done the tag, so this time around, I'm passing this on to my newfound colleague-friend-blogger, S.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

root cause analysis?

Terror's become a way of life. Every time, the news flash says, 'The worst face of terror India has ever seen.' The terrorists always seem to surpass all their previous records, consistently. So much that we don't even ask about "What" happened anymore. The only questions asked are "Where" and "When". The "Why"s are usually not asked at all.

On a broader perspective, we all know the answers to the "Why" behind this whole phenomenon of well-informed, well-equipped, well-backed new face of terrorism.

#The after effects of minorities (in terms of religious beliefs / money / power ) being oppressed for generations together. The bottled up bitterness had to erupt someday.

#The games played for power, where our political leaders turn a blind eye to the possible breeding grounds of terror. In most cases going ahead to defend / support them to make sure their vote banks aren't affected.

A generation later, we are just coming face to face with the outcomes of this.
Half a century later, the ever-hungry-for-power political parties are still resorting to the same old measures, by defending the Moulvis and the Sadhvi's.

When do they learn to do a root-cause analysis of this, and curb down on these activities?
As of now, the "Fight against terrorism" is more like a fashion statement among the authorities. How many more valiant heroes / innocent lives do we sacrifice, before they make up their minds to understand that a caste / religion / political party is not what they are supposed to defend, but the peace and prosperity of a Country, which is their primary responsibility.

Monday, November 17, 2008

*beep beep* new stress buster identified

Quite a freaky Friday, this was.
Recession induced paranoia seems to have gotten the worse of a teammie who goofed up something and found the perfect scapegoat in me, to put the blame on.
Me thanking my lucky stars to have had the controversial discussion recorded in e-mail, managed to save my skin.
Pretty neat.
But that did leave me quite irritated and angry.

And to add to that, I had to make rotis for dinner. 'All that happens, happens for the good', they say. Thanks to my roti making task, I bumped into an awesome stress buster technique.

Knead the dough: Hit it, pull it, tear it :relieves 90% of the stress.
Roll it on the rolling pin : the remaining 10% evaporates.
Don't believe me? Try it the next time you are angry. And the added advantage is that you get super soft rotis to hog on, after your destressing ritual. How nice!

Now I know the secret behind all those Maa ke haath ka khana made with a whole lot of pyar.
So, this must've been a well guarded secret among the womenfolk who always managed to keep their cool and maintained that divine smile while rolling out rotis after rotis to the whole household.
Little does everyone know that the secret ingredient may not necessarily be pyar

I'm back at work today, with a divine smile to my backstabbers (ok, make that a smirk) , and all that. But no, I'm not sharing my super soft rotis with them anyways. :|

-----------------------------------------------------

In other news: Celebrated Children's day with a trip to the nearby zoo, with my Sis. No better way to becoming a child again than teaming up with a sibling and doing something which we've done as kids. We drove all the way to Bannerghatta National park, loaded with lots of munchies and a fruit juice can. Full on picnic, it was. Had fun. Though it wasn't all that nice to see some sad faces in their cages. And the safari was, well.. umm.. nice.
Hope you too had a happy happy Children's Day! :)


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

Monday, October 27, 2008

Addicted!

Tagged by my good blog friend, Cris to write about the 5 addictions of my life.

Hmm.. now that's something for which I had to "think", 'coz I realise, I never really gave a thought to my silly li'l addictions.. I've just been addicted, n that was it. Isn't that the nicest thing about addictions?
Lemme try and list down the top5 anyways! (So much for addiction awareness! :P)

As much as I can remember, I've been addicted to Addiction. It's been a looooong way through a series of seasonal, reasonless addictions one after the other.. I exercise them very ceremoniously, very passionately. :) How loyal!

#1: Change: I get bored. very soon. Be it Places, People (quite many of them, if not all -yeah, I know that's mean!), Lifestyle, Surroundings, Hobbies, Hairstyle anything. Could be that I'm addicted to 'Change', because I've always been enemies with 'Constancy'. Simple, ain't it?

#2: Memories: I have a photographic memory. I mean it literally. I can remember my best friend of 7th grade on the annual school day wearing this gorgeous pleated green skirt and this lemon green shirt. Thaaat photographic!
An addiction I'm not too happy about as it takes up a looot many GBs of space in my mind.. you know, this thing with photos and video files. The worst is when they keep running as a background process. It must be slowing down my mind processor quite a bit, I guess. Infact, I feel it's already eating into my short-term-memory-cache drastically. Scary!

#3: Sweets: I have a sweet tooth. And I spoil it to perfection. From those big round Dollar chocolates, through Sip-ups, Rose-mints, Poppins, Orange candies, marshmallows to Chocolates.. I've grown up with them. I love them. :)

#4: Reading: Anything. Again some addiction which's always been around as long as I can remember, after learning my ABCD's. From Comic books, through Newspapers (guess that's a full fledged addiction in itself!), to Books and even that odd interesting article that I find on that paper cover made out of used magazines (yeah, I've done that too!).

#5: Internet: Ah, like you didn't know! Why else would I be here at the first place! 10 years and still going strong! :)

And I tag:
Seema
Santosh
Dhanya
Divkiran
Nikhil

Thursday, October 2, 2008

get well soon, madam!

On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, a group of students in Delhi has apparently sent a bunch of roses to the Chief Minister of Delhi with a 'get well soon' note for her response on the death of a lady professional in Delhi.

What else could the citizens possibly do, when their elected representatives respond so irresponsibly to sensitive issues like these?

You are responsible for the safety of your citizens, which you shamelessly agree, you cannot provide. And you don't stop at that, but go ahead to tell people to go hide themselves in their homes soon! To address someone who was just minding her own business as "adventurous" is totally preposterous. An average working woman on the road is not flanked by black cats and security guards, as you are. You could definitely sound a li'l more sensitive than what you just did!

On an offshoot from the topic, I was just wondering how it's always women who react in the most insensitive manner when it comes to atrocities against other women.

Talking of atrocities on women, from rapes to eve-teasing, I've found more women blaming the victimised women on them dressing or behaving provocatively.
No one gives a damn about the perverted minds who commit the crimes.

When it's dowry harassment or dowry death or even a demand for dowry, it's the mother-in-laws who pull the strings more often than not.

Remember Kaushambi who was killed last year in a hotel room? I remember discussing this with a woman colleague then, who just said "Why did she have to go to a hotel with a guy? She deserved this only"
!!
Just because she checked into a hotel with her boyfriend doesn't mean she asked to be killed, right?

Wouldn't life be a li'l better for women, if as women, we could be at the least (forget being sensitive or considerate) fair to the women around us?

Monday, September 29, 2008

back to square one.

back to work after 2 months.

Initial reflex actions/ reactions/ realisations:
# The 1km drive to work today seems like the longest trip I've had in ages.
# The air freshener at office. It is repugnant. suffocating.
# The worst sound in the whole wide world- of swiping my access card at entry.
# People. Faces. Hey, who's this guy coming across at the walkway? Looks like a long-forgotten face.. lemme smile.. Wha?? Was it an exclamation or a question mark on his face? Gawd, I'm such a forgettable person!
# Another friendly-long-forgotten face.. ok, this one smiles.. He says I seem to have lost a lot of weight! good! nice! But, what's his name? gosh! I'm a forgetful person too, in addition to being forgettable. How nice a combination!
# I don't quite remember the current username-password combi of my desktop. Great!
# OK, now I don't remember my phone/voice-mail password too!! Double great!!
# I'm growing old.
# I hate this place.
# Why am I here?
# This is not a profession. It's just a job. Just a job.
# After 2 months, it's back to being a RESOURCE.

How does it feel? well... umm.. ahem...
God bless my soul!

The best thing about being on hibernation from the world for a while is that, I got to know who cares, and what matters the most. Time, which helped me re-assess my priorities. But then, once back to the same old world, it needs to be seen how I manage to implement it differently this time around. I hope I do. Wish me luck!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Black or White?

Once upon a time, during the days of comic books and fairy tales and grandmothers' bedtime stories, I knew only two kinds of people, the Good guy and the Bad guy.
The good guy beats up the bad guy and it's the End of Story.
How neat is that?

Later I learned that real people come in shades of gray. That's when I started placing people in different gradients of grayscale. (yeah, somewhat like those stupid color scale strips they show in the ads of skin whitening creams)
All's fine till that.

But now, I have a problem.
What do I do with people who are high on the Black level and equally high on the White level? You know, one moment you feel they are too good to be true.. and the next moment, they give you reason enough to believe that they are the latest earthly incarnations of the devil himself. Now this is where I'm at loss. Either I can see pitch dark Black OR blinding White. I find myself oscillating them between the extremes and never manage to strike a balance.

Do you come across people like that? How d'you deal with them, then?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

quote-unquote

Ding Dong!!! I'm back, I'm back!! (ok, that was a pathetically desperate try at sounding enthu.. :| )
So folks, it's been quite a while..
Sadly, things weren't as rosy rosy as I thought it would be. :/ My one month long sickness vacation has gloriously extended to a couple of months. hmmph.
Though I'm very fine except for feeling a li'l weak. Good news is that I'm almost almost back on track. :)

Major vacation activity :Reading a lot.. as in really really reading.. you see.. to the extent that I've more or less become friends with the librarian at the British library here. :)
Achievement of the week: I finished my once-in-5years customary read of 'Gone with the wind' for the third time.
One of my dumb quirks.. I'm planning on doing that till the time I don't find the book that hooking anymore.

Ah, there I go.. the real post is actually supposed to be the tag that good blog friends Chris and Seema have honored me with.
yeah, it's the gud old 'quotes' tag.
yawning?? how rude! :{

This is what the tag is about: “Jot down 5 of your favorite quotes from the various books you’ve read. If you don’t have the books with you now, googling (Wikiquotes and the like) can be used to find them. Tag five people and acknowledge the person who tagged you.”

As I'm in the 'Gone with the wind' hangover, I had to seriously fight this very strong urge to put up 5 quotes from only that book. :/

So, there you go!!

1. From Gone with the wind
"Hunger gnawed at her empty stomach again and she said aloud: 'As God is my witness, and God is my witness, the Yankees aren't going to lick me. I'm going to live through this, and when it's over, I'm never going to be hungry again. No, nor any of my folks. If I have to steal or kill - as God is my witness, I'm never going to be hungry again."

-Lying weak from hunger in a vegetable garden at the burnt-out Twelve Oaks, Scarlett decides that not only is she going to survive, but she is going to prosper.

2. From Papillon
"Make the best of what we offer you, and you will suffer less than you deserve."

-Camp Commandant

3. From Bhagavad Gita
"The mind acts like an enemy for those who do not control it."


4. From To kill a mocking bird
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

-Atticus Finch

5. From The Alchemist
"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."


And I tag:
hmm.. tough one, since most of the folks have already done it, I guess..
1. Santosh - I'm expecting a consolidated bill at my doorstep anytime now, for all the tagging tortures. Still.. :)
2. Divkiran
3. Surya
4. Anoop
5. Reia

Monday, August 18, 2008

Losing my POV

I've always been one hell of an opinionated person. If not anything else, but a Point of View is something I had on anything and everything, all the time. One just had to ask "So, what d'you think about...?" to get me started.

And sometime down the lane, while participating in one organised debate session during my high school days, I realised I could also own a point of view which is directly reversible to my original POV on that, and talk for it so convincingly to win the debate as well as make the rest of the folks believe that nothing could be more right than that.

Anyways, the point now is that, I'm losing my POV. Though not totally, but it's definitely hit the worry mark. Mebbe it's all a part of growing up (or old? :/ )

3 months back, I've been through one mess of a whirlwind time, where I was missing myself soo soo badly. You know, times when you end up doing a lot of otherwise dumb things. That's when I felt that my brain's out on a vacation.. or mebbe my mind went too numb to be sensible or sensitive enough.
I realise, Complacency can be quite dangerously destructive at times. One tends to be not too alert and start taking things in a laid back attitude and end up playing oneself into otherwise avoidable troubles and mistakes. And when I look back at the whole thing, I wonder what was the rationale in making that choice at the first place! The regret is all that is left to overcome, but then I console myself that it's human to err, as long as I don't make a habit of it.
I need to remind myself of a quote which good friend Bubbles shared with me once: 'When you don't stick to a plan of your own, you tend to end up being a part of someone else's plan'.

And then 3 weeks back, there was this series of bomb blasts in Bangalore, the very same evening when we were slated to travel to Kochi to meet up with a bunch of old buddies who were back in India after long. I amazed myself at my state of apathy. I usually feel strongly about such thoughtless acts of inflicting terror, but this time around, all I managed to react was 'Ok, ONLY one death. Thank God, those were low intensity ones.' It's more as though I've learned to accept it as a natural calamity which is bound to happen from time to time. Something over which we have absolutely no control. Though a couple of them went off within half a km radius from my workplace. And 5 of them within a 3km radius. Jammed mobile phone networks, frantic calls made from the landline phones at every cubicle, people clicking the refresh button on the rediff news page while the number of blasts went up, concerned e-mails which replaced sms es, e-mails from office security on the safeness quotient of stepping out, groups of 4 or 5 at cubes discussing the political side of it all wondering if BJP's coming to power in Karnataka was worrying the terrorists enough to act crazy, nervous jokes on how Bangalore has also joined the bandwagon of other usually terror target prone metros..
I was definitely worried that day, and that was just because I wasn't too sure whether my travel plans will have to be called off.
That was it.

Once at Kochi, Bubbles and her Dad came to pick us up, and on the way, Uncle was talking about the sense of apathy among the new breed of news channels. He was quoting a newsreader who seemed to have said "ONLY one death".
I gulped.

The very next day, we were to leave for Trivandrum. How could one go to someplace as near to home as Kochi and still not hit home? Besides I wanted to be at home to celebrate my birthday with family, go break some coconuts at the Pazhavangadi Ganapathi Kovil and go to the Vettucaud Church.

At about 5:30 pm, the ever so hospitable host, Dimple took us to the railway station, and was almost about to see us off when Bubbles called up with great urgency to order us to jump out of the train ASAP.
'Why?' I ask.
'There's gonna be bomb blasts in Kerala at 7 pm today. It's all over on TV!'
'Oh!' I say. 'I'll pass on the phone to Hema. Tell her that.'

Off we got from the train and headed back to D&B's place, after picking up the tickets for the next morning's train to Trivandrum. Switched on the TV and sat glued to it, waiting for 7 o' clock. Nothing happened, thankfully. But I again amazed myself at how numbly I was taking it all. As though I'm rescheduling my plans taking into account the possibility of a heavy rain or something like that.
Worrisome.

And then, back at Bangalore, the other weekend, we could hear sound effects of fireworks next door (read: domestic violence). It's another one of those episodes which those folks indulge in, once a while. (ok, read it as their usual weekend chore). An upwardly mobile young working couple with a 4 year old son. A meek man, an always gruffy woman and a real pesky kid. That's how I see them. Not quite your friendly neighbour.. (well that's more or less a myth in the Apartment culture anyways, thankfully. 'Thankfully', because friendly neighbours are usually 'nosy' too, by default, which is not too welcome.)

This time, the fireworks was a li'l more than usual, more in tune with Thrissur pooram. The kind that would traumatize the neighbors too. I dunno how many of us would have experienced something like that. You hear the decibels raise and you don't quite need a very fertile imagination to sense that the man must be banging his wife's head on the wall. Running around, throwing things. A hell lot of screaming. more hitting. more screaming. followed by even more hitting. Hema found it very revolting and wanted to call up the Landlord's brother who lives across the road. I stood there numb, dumbstruck. I also found myself silently praying that the lady would stop screaming, so that the man might stop hitting her. (I again surprised myself very negatively there!) And then there was silence. deafening silence. We thought one of them must have definitely killed the other. And then the mind started racing... thinking of weird possibilities. Will the police come? Should we knock the door? Will that be uncalled for interference? And then, to our relief, the elderly lady downstairs came up to check on them. Both of them apparently, were alive.
Very insensitively, I ask Hema to shut the door close.

The very next day, while paying the house-rent, I mentioned the event to the landlord's very-shy-to-talk caretaker brother. (He usually prefers answering in mono-syllables only. At times, a couple of words, when he's feeling very outgoing.) That day, he was cheerful, hence said 'Problem vacated' with a very happy smile. On further inquiry, I learned that the Lady of the house has vacated, lodged an FIR and filed for a divorce.
I think, 'Good for her!' That's it.

Terrorism and Domestic violence are issues which would have got me fuming any other day. Now I wonder if I'm just losing my POV or that I've turned plain insensitive and passive about things around me.

Mebbe Anubha is right. It could be just my current health predicament and the general low tide I'm going through. I should be alright soon!

On another thought, is our society getting conditioned to being more apathetic, day by day?
Have we started shrugging off anything that doesn't directly affect our lives?
Are we getting too engrossed in fighting our own humble battles for survival (read self-absorbed)?
Or are we just getting too used to saying 'I don't care', a tad too often?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Good News Bad News

Bad news is: I have called out sick, been advised to take some much needed rest for 4 weeks.
Good news is: Not going for work for one whole month. That couldn't have got any better!

Bad news is: One week of bliss is almost over.
Good news is: I have still got 3 weeks left. (ah, the eternal optimist in me, who wakes up not too often to make her point)

Bad news is: Not meeting people is soo not happening for a people's person like me. No gappe marofying, no shopping, no eating out, no hogging on chocolates. :|
Good news is: It's fun to wake up in the morning and smile, thinking of not having to meet the colleagues. :P

Bad news is: I guess I'm going to gain all the more flab, as much as I've (tried to) reduce in the past coupla months.
Good news is: those witch-like dark circles around my eyes are GONE! poye pochhu! (Do witches have dark circles? :/ The fact is: I couldn't think of any adjectives there. :| One is not supposed to try too hard while unwell, Right? )

Bad news is: I'm already missing all the fun at the yoga class.
Good news is: Now I'll have the time to do all those blog tags I have committed to. (Hopefully!)

Bad news is: I'm missing the coffee vending machine at Office. (as much as I hate it)
Good news is: I'm falling in love with Green tea. (which according to dear friend Su, smells of mehndi. ewww.. :D)

Bad news is: It sucks to be all alone at home, with such a cloudy rainy climate outside.
Good news is: Getting all those lovey-dovey thoughtful phone calls from concerned friends & family, all day.

I find myself smiling a lot of late, though!
Oh hell, falling sick can be fun at times! :)

Good News Bad News , incidentally, happens to be the book I'm hooked on to, currently. Manages to keep me at the edge of my seat .. ermm okies.. make that 'bed'. Not quite a fanciful proposition, though!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

happy birthday to me!

Three decades of existing, surviving, living on the face of Earth..
laughing my lungs out.. crying my heart out.
working around things at times, working through things at other times..
holding on.. giving up.
giving in.. fighting it out.
innumerable smiles, hearty laughs, many a grins, quite some frowns and the occasional spell of gloom.
finding countless miracles in everyday events, bumping into angels packaged as friends..
loads of love picked up along the way like those surprise sea shells along the beach..
betrayals that taught some harsh lessons..
many gains and quite some losses.
ecstatic times, moments of agony..
the blessing of having a wonderful life support system called family..

It's been a blessed three decades. Thanks to God for being so kind to me.
Happy birthday to me! teehee!

ps: btw, does anyone remember this ad of some energy supplement capsules called '30 plus'? Jeetendra used to jump all around and advertise it on Television while I was still in my teens. The jingle's been ringing non-stop in my head since the past few days. :|

And the award for the most thoughtful wish received so far on this birthday goes to P, for his: 'Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest :)'

Monday, July 21, 2008

sometimes I guess there just aren't enough rocks

'sometimes I guess there just aren't enough rocks'
- as Forrest Gump said it.

I wonder if one can ever get even with anything or anyone by getting back at them, for it can never be enough.
Forgiving, I believe, is the most 'positively' selfish thing to do. Not because it makes me feel saintly, but because that's the only way I can be at peace with myself.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

the week that was...

turbulent. bittersweet.

7 hours of shop-till-you-drop with a couple of new work-friends. Absolute bliss. Peer influence: ended up buying a couple of dangling ear-rings (not at all my style, but that's what you end up doing when you wait on girls spending a neat half-an-hour sifting through trinkets).Loved it, though.. surprisingly. The upside of spending that much time there is that, friends dont have to do their usual 'ding dong.. see my new ear-rings!' ritual to me anymore. I've started noticing them involuntarily and complimenting. Happy friends. :)

Su and me bought a pair of 'pink' floaters (yes you heard it right, I never thought I'd get pink footwear even in the wildest of my dreams.) again, loved it. As M says: 'ladkiyaan pink pe phisalti hain' :P Now we both look like 'kumbh ke mele mein bichhde hue bhai.. ermm.. behan?'. ok, wotever!

Best part about going out for food with Kannadiga friends: tried Akki Roti and Mangalore buns. A must-have-tried-atleast-once thing, if you are in Bangalore. Su, thanks for introducing me to such yum food.

Got to hear an interesting perspective on keeping a cool head while driving through the maddening weekend traffic in Bangalore, braving the honking and cursing. M, you amazed me, girl.

Realised that having friends at work is not exactly a myth afterall! Also, that shopping could be a good workout too! Talking of workouts, Achievement #1: I could get the chakrasana thing right, at the yoga class. It just came so naturally. Mebbe it's all in the mind, afterall. Almost sprained my neck though. But happy, nonetheless.

Nosy teammie strikes again:
Me (bloghopping to keep my sleepyhead awake post-lunch)
Nosy teammie: So Usha, are you looking for guys on the net? OR Are you looking at your guy online?
Me: What a thoughtful question. Thanks for asking. :|
I again wonder: why do the nastiest of nosy gossip mongers always happen to be men?

Another teammie met with a road accident. Happens to be a woman this time. Pandora box thrown open at the pre-team-meeing pep-talk. Battle of sexes on women's driving skills on the road. Sat with a calm bakte raho attitude. Realised I'm not that enthu about debates anymore as I used to be back in school. I no longer give a damn about anybody's POV unless they come try to tamper with mine.

Saw through another Black Friday at work. Axing jobs time. Saw a couple of nice people leave. One grows numb to it after a certian while. Disturbing it is, nonetheless. Learnt again that not caring anough is good at times.

Also, saw someone's well camouflaged truth coming out. You wont even be able to make out that they are lying through their teeth, because they very religiously start believing in their own lies after a while. I tell myself again: People are way too complex, anyways.

Scooter's silencer gone bad. Went around riding it for a day, with sound effects like that of those porukki dudes with their silly excuses of bullets. The next time, mebbe I won't frown at them as I usually do.

Went and got my hair chopped a good 8 inches. Liked the look. Tad too disheartened about the length of my crowning glory, but then it's perfectly in tune with my current mode of dumping excess baggage.. emotional, physical.. then why spare the hair?

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Giant Wheel

It scares me.
It makes my heart beat faster than I never knew it could, and brings it to a standstill that I feel I'm no longer alive.

A long time back, someone shared this secret with me, on enjoying the ride on a Giant Wheel.
He said: breathe in when it goes up.. hold your breath while you are up there, and breathe out when it comes down.

A good 11 years later, I got onto a giant wheel again, on impulse.. well, to be honest, the reason I got into it was that, it was the tiniest giant (kindly notice the irony) wheel I bumped into, in a real long time! :P
I did exactly what was advised.. and I did have a joy ride.

What I realised this time around is that, the Giant wheel trick applies to Life as well..
1. Breathe it all in when the good times come.. hold on to them while they are there.. and just breathe out the tough times.
because the giant wheel will always keep turning no matter what, and it's better to have a good ride while you're at it!
2. Be wary when something takes you on a high too fast, 'coz before you could realise, you'll be let down from a height, as fast as it took you there!
3. Whatever goes around, comes around. Also, whatever comes around, goes around.


===========================================
on a not-so-philosophical note:

Why am I talking about giant wheels today?
This is an eerie incident that happened last week.
And today, it's another nightmare.
I wonder why they are called joyrides, afterall?

Anyways, now that I'm in the 'getting scared-and scaring others' mode, lemme share one of my most dreaded nightmares.. [the roller coaster video clip from Final Destination 3]
Njoy! *evil grin*

Thursday, July 3, 2008

so, what changed your life?

I've been going through one of those metamorphosis phases in life. Things happen, take you offguard, sweep you off your feet before you could even realise, and thud! your are thrown down with a bang.. and then you pick yourself up, brush off the dust, nurse your wounds, think over it, promise yourself to be more careful, and without realising, end up altering your life and outlook towards it to an extent. Most of the time, this metamorphosis happens without awareness..

And then today, someone at work just caught me offguard: 'Hey!! Good Morning. So Usha, WHAT changed your life?'
Me: 'umm.. well.. ahem.. ??!'

Change is good.
*smiles*

other updates: went to the Infant Jesus church today, after a real long time. Experienced 'peace in chaos' for one more time. Loved it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

GOTCHA!!!



That's exactly where I was a few months back..
Miserable, and in denial mode after being pushed in to committing to something I've been running away from, for more than a decade now.

My certification exam voucher's validity was till June 30, and as any typical adiyal bachha, I was just putting it off to the (n-2)nd day. Actually, I realised I'm better off, as I just bumped into quite a few folks who put it off to the nth day.. I'm proud of you, my buddies!! no, really!

So, I've been making real honest efforts to get out of my mental block, you know..
Tried several silly tactics to trick my brain into learning it.
One of them was to go learn something I've always wanted to, so that I could balance it with something I've never wanted to learn.. n so, enrolled myself for the Guitar classes.. It was super fun. Though a few 'Bonnies' and '500 miles' later, I had to take a break from it.. (no, not forever. I'm definitely going to get back to it sooon!)
After the carrot trick, it was the turn of the stick.. so I've been putting off all those short trip plans, the very inviting trekk plans, postponing meeting up with all my lovely dost log until after June.

But in spite of all this, like any typical loser, I had 101 excuses to put off the preps for until the last couple of months.. and then, suddenly life went topsy turvy at all fronts possible.. and here I am, at the last one week of my deadline, with another couple of very important deadlines coinciding with the same.. and for toppings, the 7 year itch at work. wow! how better could that get!

But I'm not a loser, Am I? The countdown showed 2 more days to go, and I decided to pull up my sleeves, and go for it. Result? I got the certification and made it with a clear 75%. yay!!
It might not be a great score, but for someone who was so unsure about clearing the test, this definitely is like an icing on the cake!

I might have cracked tougher tests and fought tougher fights, but this success is soo soooo special to me, for its perfect timing.. This is exactly what I wanted right now for a kick-start.
Gee.. I can't stop grinning today!

I can't remember the last time I rode through Brigade road, with the crawly Bangy weekend traffic + the messy Bangalore rain, and still crooning away :



Have a super duper week ahead, people!! :)

PS: It would be unfair if I don't give due credit to Mummy's prayers.. God, really.. how d'you always listen to her prayers and not mine? well newys, as long as you listen to hers, I'm fine with it! :)
One beeg hug to Hem for putting up with all my dumb quirks and being my guardian angel, Anubha for pinging me with all the study materials, Dimples for all those memory tapping tricks she taught me a decade back. Suni, for re-kindling my trust in the 'power of mind' and Meg for that line: 'I want you to stand up and fight'. Su, Shals and Lalit, for being there for me. Love you, honeys! muah!
errmmm.. okies, that sounds more like an award speech.. well ahem.. kindly excuse, peopleses. I just got carried away.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

When somebody shoot you in the head it make you think

The lesson I've been trying to learn over and over again (and still learning) is that quickfixes never really solve any problem. Workarounds are just about turning a blind eye to the issue. So people, when I said having an ice-cream could cure me of a cold, it was just a quickfix. The cold monster is back again with all its might and for once I've decided to let it have it's way and don't play around it with my self-medications.

Yesterday, I went home with a heavy head and a heavier heart, and watched a movie, though the title wasn't too appealing for my state of mind then.. 'I love you to death' . 1st scene, 1st shot, was a pizza. So there we go craving for our favorite 'Saas bahu special' pizza from Sweet Chariot's.. (People who haven't tried that, please do.. again, a quick and easy way to clear a congested nose! :P) and top it up with a couple of mocha cakes..

The movie is a dark comedy.. A queer one.. It's hilarious in a certain way.. More to do with the way the story is told and is enacted.. the fake Italian accent.. and the underlying sarcasm.. A good watch for a tired weekday evening.

Why am I blogging about it anyways? Because I liked a line in that which I would like to quote in here:
'When somebody shoot you in the head, it make you think'
Very true, no?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The 'I' factor

Tadaa!! another 'tag' time!
Dhanya just passed on this tag, and I was more than happy to take it up.. When one is facing a bloggers' block, tags are the best things that can happen to her.
It's more of an 'I, Me, Myself' one, and I must confess it wasn't too easy doing it, as it seemed at first.. So, there you go!!


I am: blessed (touchwoood!!)
I think: rationally (how I wish i could suffix it with 'always'. sigh!)
I know: not much.. there's always more to know!
I want: to dig my teeth deep into a sinful chocolate eclair.. slurrrp...
I have: my sanity intact (no, really! tee hee)
I wish: I could have a pair of wings to fly around.. but i have my own functional specifications for them, though.. they should make no regular fluttering sounds.. well, will that make me a bat-woman then? a vampire? i don't need no blood, though.. only chocolate for me please, thankyou! :) geez.. that sounds like fun!
I hate: deception.. infact more than deception, I hate it when I let myself be susceptible to it. You know, times when your conscience winks at you and screams 'gotcha!!'
I miss: my brains.. They've been out on a short Carribean vacation.. come back, my sweeties!! you are being missed.
I fear: getting lost and not finding my way back.. so, I carry a bundle of rope when I scale unknown terrains.. but I just realised that there could be some saddistic mice along the way.. so next time on, I've decided to carry some rat poison too with me! (no, silly.. i don't have suicidal tendencies!! )
I feel: liberated
I hear: I hear thunder, I hear thunder. Hark ! Don't you? Hark ! Don't you? Pitter patter raindrops, Pitter patter raindrops, I'm wet through, So are you ...
I smell: hot popcorn.. flavored with freshly ground pepper n chilli flakes..
I crave: for some harsh sunlight..
Light so bright, that it could help me turn blind.. for a while.
Heat so strong, that it could burn my skin so bad and nothing else hurts more.. for a while.
Energy so high, that it could charge me up fully.. for one whole lifetime.
I search: with my specs on my nose.. I've turned myopic this April, you see!
I wonder: how it would be to live in a fairytale.
I regret: not taking the risks I should have... and taking the risks I shouldn't have.
Though I wouldn't really like to acknowledge it, and convince myself that I shouldn't really regret.. For all those actions shaped me into this person that I am proud of.
I love: my individuality. I also love to be one among the crowd.. be one unknown entity in there.. Does that make me self-contradictory?
I ache: to realise that nothing can be taken for granted in life.
I care: less. I wish I could care lesser.
I am not: a superwoman.
I believe: in impermanence.
I dance: when no one is watching.
I sing: when I feel like screaming.. (it's left to your imagination, how it sounds!)
I cry: when I feel helpless
I don’t always: cry.
I fight: for righteousness.. I also fight when I'm misinterpreted or misrepresented.
I write: perfect nonsense.. which somehow makes perfect sense to me while i'm at it!
I win: when I make up my mind to win.
I lose: when I know winning it would actually make me a loser.
I never: say 'always'.
I always: say 'never'.
I confuse: faith with trials.. (weird, i know!)
I listen: to erratic melodies.
I can usually be found: busy at my laptop. (boring.. i know!)
I am scared: of losing myself.
I need: to read, to travel, to explore, to re-invent myself from time to time. I also need my loved ones, my peace of mind and my share of jadoo ki jhappis.
I am happy about: the fact that I never let anything or anybody steal my happiness for a long time.

And I tag:
Macadamia girl
Surya
Anju
Santosh
Anju

**************

In other news: gotto watch the SATC movie. I tell you girls, it was truly therapeutic.. go watch it with your girlgang, I say! I went with my sis, to get over my cold.. oh yes, btw I just realised that good company and a movie like that, while having fruit salad with ice-cream can actually cure one of a very bad cold. no, really! :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

lost and found

Losing oneself, is the biggest pain one can endure...
and the ultimate bliss of all, is to reclaim oneself from one of those recycle bins..

Lessons learnt:
1. Never do a Shift+Del to one's own convictions, ever!
2. Recycle bins are Godsent. Say a quick 'Hail Mary' for them! :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

5 people I hate

Hatred is something which keeps brewing in our minds, how much ever we try to ignore it and follow the 'Art of Living' way of soothing our inflated egos. (which they claim is the cause of all hatred and aggression in the world)

Say what we might, it does feel good to vent it all out, hit it, kick it and get over it. And I'm going to do just that now *sleething teeth with a big bad frown*
hmm.. better!

I just realised I've been tagged by Surya, and guess what people, this is the 1st tag I'm taking up! A hate post!
Gee *rubbing hands gleefully*

It's all about listing down the 5 kinds of people whom I hate the most. n there you go!

1. The sexual molestor: The worst part about them is that those pervasive minds don't realise the impact, their idea of fun has on their prey. It's disheartening to hear a little girl tell her Dad: 'Daddy, I hate going to school by the Public bus because I hate the people'. Even worse when she grows up to be someone hiding in her own shell and dreading to step out alone. I wish they knew that they have scarred a human being for life, everytime they had fun!

2. The baby dumper: The men and women who believe that Sex is for recreation, and the unwelcome by-products are for the dustbins or the orphanages.
I got a chance to interact with a bunch of kids from an institution for the less-privileged children, this week. It was hard to see those glances, some of them looking through you, some so bitter, some not ready to trust anyone or anything, some trying hard to ignore the honesty in our efforts, because they know they cannot take anything for granted in life. And then those li'l ones who dont think twice before tugging on to that hand which is being held out to them. After a while, may be they will also realise that these hands reach out to them once in a bluemoon, when some people are in a philanthropic mood. Otherwise, they are let to fend for themselves.
My heart goes out to those kids who weren't lucky enough as these kids to find even an orphanage.

3. The damsel in distress: with their 'oh, what will happen now?' lines. What I hate about them is not the fact that they find their way to distress.. not even the fact that they keep binging about it and keep eating others' head out.. But the fact that they never really give a thought to 'what exactly they need to DO about it'.

4. The self appointed messenger of God: I'm not too much of a religious person, but I used to go to this church every Sunday for a few months during one of those tough patches in life, because I found that very much a stress reliever to fall back on it, when everything else was hazy around me. And one fine Sunday, I get to hear this 'world famous for his uplifting talks' pastor preach about how God is with George Bush and why Bill Clinton suffered disgrace because he is a non-beleiver (For the un-initiated, that was all about the Protestant-Catholic thingie). I never went to that church or heard his broadcasted sermons ever. They were no longer inspiring.
They are the messengers of their sponsors. Nothing less, Nothing more.

5. The devil in Angels' attire: I hate them for the single reason that they make me think twice before trusting the real angels that I come across.

================================================

And now to the 'passing the bucks' part, I tag :

Anju - I just chanced upon her fresh new blog the other day, and would love to hear her take on it.
Mathew - Don't remember reading an out-n-out hate post at his blog. It must make a fun read if he takes it up.
Dhanya - I like the way she presents serious thoughts. A very honest writer.
Bala - His is a convert blog, from funny prose to photoblog. Not too sure if he'd want to 'write' now? ok buddy, how about adding photos to it?
Will he? Won't he? :|
Santosh - I'm sure he'd love to spit a lot of fire!
Shalini - A dear friend and a beautiful writer. She's very much off the hook with blogging, of late. Would love it if she manages to take it up, given her hectic schedule of juggling between work and her lil'uns at home.
Naina We've had some crib-time together.
The grinmonster, serving her time at school currently. I'm sure she'd have found more interesting specimens to hate, in there!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The ubersexual Indian male has arrived! *drumrolls, please*

Yes, and yours truly just bumped into a handful of the species a few minutes back.
I'm yet to recover from the (not so pleasant) shock.

The venue was a Skin Care clinic organized at the workplace, setup by a Cosmetic Company, whose marketing folks definitely know how to push their products.

Initially, I did not want to go for it, as I was sure they're going to tell me some really awful things, and I'll have to go on another shopping spree to get over that.
Not happening! :|

But I just bumped into this lady who heads the HR team here.. and you know the HR folks.. To cut the story short, I ended up promising her, I'll go check that out!
Back at my desk, my cube mate pulled me along to the venue. The deal was a warm cup of coffee, which I so badly needed after that chat with the HR lady.

So what do we get to see when we reach there?
A waiting queue of 6 men.. yes, you heard it right! and not a single woman around!
We check with the girl at the registration counter outside.
'Are you sure this isn't the queue for booking those IPL tickets they were giving away??'
No, we are apparently at the right place.. Only, it doesn't feel like it!

6 guys in waiting. We meekly pull two chairs after theirs and wait for our turn.
Another person at the registration counter. Guy no.7 walks in, grabs a chair, squeezes it between ours and Guy 6 and nicely perches himself on it.. legs crossed and runs his fingers through his well gelled hair.. checks that the 4 strands of hair on his forehead is set well at 45 degree angle, alright.

ok, then there's someone else walking in.. we look out in anticipation.. another guy.. duh!
By now, my cube-mate n me sit there feeling.. well... quite out-of-place, to say the least..
Guy 8 sashays in, grabs the extra chair outside the checkup counter and carries it towards the end of the queue..
We tell ourselves.. 'Thank Goodness, for atleast he isn't the typical Indian ubersexual 'queue-jumping' man! and lo, he stops right there where Guy 7 is, places his chair there, out of the queue and lands himself on that. Eagerly ganging up with the rest of the boys and getting himself involved in the interesting conversation with his "oh really?"s and "yeah, exactly"s

I mean, where on Earth do you come across guys like this who love to be in a herd, sit together, share their concerns about blackheads, and talk about exfoliating creams and skin toners.. duh!
And we thought you were concerned only about Cars and the Stock Exchange and Cricket!

I tell my friend this doesn't seem anymore to be a good deal for a coffee..

I was already feeling giddy, and thought of excusing myself from there before the men start talking about threading their eyebrows and waxing their torsos!
I mean, of all the people, I never knew the nerdy looking techie guys are into all these, big time! u know!

Seriously people, we are ok with u as long as you have clean nails, wear washed clothes, know to eat your food without having it fly out through your teeth and yeah, use a deodorant.. that's quite something already, no?

Say what we might, we really do like gentlemen who hold the door for us (I cant believe I'm saying this.. As a Rebel-cum-Tomboy just out of school, I used to think it's a guys' way of degrading the girls!), or say 'ladies first' (in a nice way, you know.. not when you are going for your focal reviews /appraisals or awful things like that )

Back at my domain, I found myself discussing the misadventure with many a girl-friends.
Me: Hey girl.. you know what happened today...blah blah blah blah.. can you believe that??
Friend: oh yeah, guys these days are becoming like this re.. kya hoga humara! yahan pe bhi competition? hadd hoti he yaar..
Me: know what, S even asked Venugopalakrishnan Venkatachalapathy, what he's doing there?!
Friend: WHAT? that thair saadam guy, you are talking about?? he was there too?
Me: yes, re!
Friend: oh no, re!! I can't believe it!! and.. and what did he say?
Me: he said, 'Even we've got skin, you know!'
Friend: heh?
Me: hmmph..
Friend: hmm..

Coming to think of it.. I realise that there was something weird about the way we were viewing these guys.. rather scanning them from top to toe..
It's a familiar feel but in an eerie way.. Why, I know it! I've been at the receiving end of those piercing, disapproving looks many a times!
Around 2 decades back, when I used to turn up in a pair of jeans..
A decade and a half back, when I used to ride a scooterette to College.. and many more such incidents which used to get me these weird looks of 'just, what exactly is she trying to prove?'
It's the same look.Only, I am at the other side of the table now..

We used to call them MCPs then. And I'm wondering what are WE turning into, now? FCPs? :-/

Thursday, April 10, 2008

bespectacled

I've been seeing 'one two ka four' since sometime now. Friends were advising me that it could be the short sight thingie or even due to some big-time stress.

A few days back, my sis called me out to the balcony to show me this spectacular looking full Moon, and all I could say was that 'I see two Moon?' . My already bespectacled sis gave me a bear hug and screamed 'Welcome to the gang!'.

The grinmonster girl announced that it's a sign of falling in love(!) She had asked one more question to ascertain her postulate. 'Do you like dahi vada?' Irrespective of whether my answer was in positive or negative, she concluded that's it!

My eyesight's been getting worse to such an extent that I couldn't really see if the people I come across at the hallway are actually smiling at me. I find myself responding alright to explicit Hi's.. you know the 'wave-your-hand-and-say-hi types'.. Mostly I catch a fading out smile (due to no response from my end), when they get into my visibility range.. real bad! n also, I was literally petrified by Suni who managed to psyche me out with her 'it gets worse with every passing day' statement.

To cross-check the myopia angle, I even tried my cube neighbor's specs for short sight and everything seemed to look crystal clear.. which got me all excited about wearing a pair of specs like the rest of my folks.

Back home on my vacation, the first thing Mummy did was to send me off to an eye specialist (whom her supposedly better informed colleague friends unanimously recommended). So, off I went to this place where they made me read their ABCDs and 1234s, which to my surprise could all be actually recognized well, albeit the blur, which I had got used to, by then..

There was another very elderly lady who seemed to have the same symptoms as me. Only, she couldn't read. So they had this interesting looking slide with an 'E' facing different directions and the lady was supposed to tell them which side it's facing. The poor soul was thoroughly petrified by the assistant, and she ended up meekly saying a 'Left-Right-Up-Down' in a loop. You know how it is.. times like this when you wish you could help them in some way, but you simply cannot think of how.

With the doc, it was my usual conversation.
Me: My vision's getting all blurred these days. Gets worse with soft diffused light.. especially indoors?
Miss Doc: mmhmm.. you feel blurred? what else do you feel like? *smirk*
Me: (thinking) oh nyo!! not again!
(trying technique 2*, with a serious tone)Seriously, I think it could be short sight?
Miss Doc: *a li'l more obvious smirk* It would've shown up in you report if that be the case.

Directs her assistant to dilate my eyes and do the test again => Another painfully boring hour there with closed eyes, while I try and listen to imaginary tracks of Bon Jovi.. I guess I might've got carried away with those (imaginary) tracks and started humming along or mebbe played an imaginary guitar or even drums, because when I was finally asked to open my eyes, Papa was not anywhere around!

After enduring all that for the sake of my eyesight, I was again told that I'm perfectly alright. She must've made a mental note of her real diagnosis that I must be one of her hyper patients who could be cured with a list of unearthly priced medicines, because that's what she finally did to me.

I thought of getting another checkup done at the opticians where I was planning to get an anti-reflective coated lens, and lo, I am diagnosed -0.5D myopic.

By now my excitement had almost faded out into a sense of being handicapped, because this time the ABCD chart was farther and smaller and I could barely figure out the letters.

So I decided to go for my No.1 cure when I feel low, which is 'Shopping' as always. Only this time I had to shop for a frame for my eyeglasses. I've always wanted to wear a pair of specs which would make me look serious, you know.. I have a theory that people with huge studious lens are taken more seriously at office. Or you ought to be a body builder, which is almost equally effective if not more.I almost had that salesman at the opticians tearing his hair out, while I tried on every serious looking pair of frames and asked him: 'do I look more serious with this one on, or that?'.

I'm a smart shopper. I sometimes google beforehand. and I knew which kind of frame will have the impact I'm looking for. It's called cat-eye glass. But that doesn't help much when the salesman is not so google savvy. I had to explain it graphically to finally find my pair of glasses and then I asked him: 'Do I look like a retarded cousin of Spiderman, with this on?'. He did not respond.

I decided it was enough salesman harassment for the day to get me out of my blues.

I gleefully post my pic with my new pair of specs on orkut, and a friend calls up to inquire why I'm suddenly looking so 'behenji' types! :-/

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

*technique2: I usually go to any Doc with a pre-diagnosis. It's like I walk up to the Doc and tell him that I think I've got throat infection for the first time, and he asks me back with raised eyebrows :'So, madam, what are the symptoms of throat infection, if I may ask?'
I know it doesn't go down well with the Docs, and hence it is technique '2'.
These days, it's used only as a desperate measure when the diagnosis isn't going anywhere in the direction of what was expected (by me). -which is usually the case.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I feel autumn

Yes, that pretty much sums up what I'm feeling right now.. I feel like that lone twig which is still holding on to its droopy leaves, while all the twigs around are shedding their leaves and getting ready for Spring.

Almost every other friend is either switching jobs, going back to school, coming back home, flying away from home or moving in to a new city.

BujiSuni left last week and it's the Grinmonster girl's turn this week to pack her bagful of grins+charms and leave. I'll be missing you girls terribly and all our gupshups and cribbing over lunches and coffees.

G is back in town and it amuses me how easy he sounds about re-locating a couple of times in just a few months. Kiddie Singh and KM just left good old Quark for good. They have been among my last few friends who had made up their minds to stay back there till doomsday. KM's come down to Bangalore and his chronicles here remind me of my initial days in Mohali. Facing the culture divide and finding a home in a seemingly alien land, and to leave all that one fine morning, to take back home only a bunch of sweet memories and cherished friendships. It's been almost a couple of years now since I've been missing that kind of adventure in life. And now I can see how much the nomad in me has been missing all that!

Impermanence, though bittersweet, has always been a necessity for me and almost the only constant in life, all this while. Today, it beats me to realize that I've grown more or less complacent over the past couple of years. Wait, not complacent, I must be trying to fool myself if I say that. The fact is, I really feel stagnant.. which is sad..

The threatening-to-rain-anytime-now climate is not helping either.

This might all have to do with the fact that I'm missing Amoomma (Daadi) a lot lately. I always used to tug along her whenever we went to the Church in Chennai. And there at her Funeral Mass, when I turned to my side to wish peace, I almost half-expected to find her smiling face greet me. Some of these days saw me getting way too hypersensitive n paranoid about a lot many things. And to add up to the woes of seeing another death and a couple of heart attacks and strokes in the extended family. Life really is too short, isn't it?

On the up side, Dimples is coming back to India for good. Though it's yet to be seen how long she stays back. Planning to catch up with her and good old Kochi sometime soon. Hopefully, we should be able to realize all those backpacking plans we've been making over e-mails and phone calls all this while.

The only thought that makes me smile now is of my 2 weeks vacation to Home. I should be home by this weekend if all goes well. Lemme go pack my bags! Buhbyes, folks!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

This is Bangalore, Madam!

It's been an year since I moved into this new apartment. Which is good otherwise, except for this cumbersome annual activity known as 'Renewal of Rental Agreement'. Not at all a pleasurable activity, considering the fact that you need to do a hell lot of negotiations all over again. The landlord of this apartment lives in Dubai who comes down to India once in an year to visit his family (or to update Rental Agreements, I'm not too sure!)

He hands me the new agreement.
He: You can give me 150 rs. for making the new agreement. You can sign on the agreement and keep it to yourself.
Me (thinking): so kind of you *smirk*
He: We will keep a copy of the agreement. You sign, no?
Me: Let me read, no?
He: Madam, we are genuine people.
Me: I know, btw, you have taken off the % of rent hike for the next year. And have replaced it with this tricky, 'will decide on mutual consent'.
He: Madam, we will be fair. we can decide later, no?
Me: why don't we decide that now? like we did last year.
He: Madam, this is Bangalore. we can never predict the rents for the next year. you know, it may increase or decrease(!!)
Me: exactly my point. This is Bangalore, not Dubai. And we are talking about house rents, not the stock market, you see?
He: No Madam, you see, the guy next door just signed it!
Me: The guy next door pays you 20% less than what I pay as rent?
He: No, No, Madam, that house is not compliant with Vaasthu. And it has a smaller bathroom.
Me: And a bigger hall?
He: What difference does 2000 rupees make these days, Madam?
Me: Oh, in case you did not know, it does. We get paid in INR, not Riyal, you see?
He: What if we write 15 or 20%?
Me: Then I will have much time to find a better place for a better price. Btw, dint you just say that you are fair people?
He: Madam, you see the new building which is getting constructed on the other road. They are planning to charge 30% more than this.
Me: Folks who stay across the road pay 50% less than what I'm paying you.
He: OK, we will think about the % increment and let you know.
Me: And what's with this notice period of 2 months? Ideally it should be 1 month, no?
He: but Madam..
Me: This is Bangalore, Sir. We get notice periods at the offices here for only one month.
He: But, this is Bangalore, Madam.
Me: Thanks for telling me. I thought this was Vellarikkaapattanam! *Eternally grateful smile*

Monday, March 3, 2008

some waiver issues

I'm a self-confessed newspaper enthusiast. So, if I were to say what do I read the most, it has to be newspapers.. or what do I watch the most in TV, it again has to be news programmes.. guess it might have to do with some of Papa's habits rubbing into me.. So we used to have these discussions at home on current affairs, to which everyone had their own two cents to say.. well.. that was long before the days Barkha Dutt came up with her Big Fight, and the likes. And now, trust me, my appetite for discussions on current affairs have died a fast and silent death..

So these days when someone at office stops by my desk, looking forward to find an easy prey to get started with some analysis of the current financial budget, I run for cover.. the most effective and more used excuse is "I need to rush to the loo. Catch you later?" This one's a sure shot, I say! it used to work all the way from schooldays to work! Of course, one does run the risk of being labeled as someone with bladder issues or something even worse.. but that's ok, I guess.. there has to be a trade-off anyways, right?

So, this time, as usual, a news enthusiast in my friends network, forwards me the excerpts of the piping hot budget, and me like any other tax payer worth her salt, find the loan waiver to farmers amusing, wondering whether they would do the same to the huuuuge EMIs of the Indian Software coolies, someday down the line.. c'mon.. so, ok, you say, the farmers have been toiling hard, to feed the country while they've always been shortchanged, and all that?
So, don't you think our software professionals also do good to the society?
Infact, they play such an important philanthropic role in maintaining the eco-system.
For one
1. They pay huge taxes.. (so what, movie stars pay even more.. but let's not think of it now)
2. They pay non-sensical rents to the house/shack owners in the villages where their swanky MNCs are set up, apparently shooting up the real estate prices.
3. They pay through their nose to this breed of bloodsuckers known as house brokers, who make a living out of it. So, there you go!
4. Anyone from the sleepy autowallah to the grinning neighbourhood subjiwala charges the poor soul a double rate coz he's a software moron.
5. The RTO offices and Telephone offices loot him of whatever is left
6. The multiplexes and malls thrive on them.
7. They pay for a piece of land with their blood, and keep doing it for the next 20 years, during the course of which, the municipality lets them know that their dream house is right above a sewage canal, or that the site was actually meant for agriculture or the construction is illegal.

I mean, c'mon, all the techies take huuge loans, and what do you think will happen to them in case the recession takes (un)expected proportions? Can we too look forward to a waiver in that case, Mr. FM? Please do let me know if your answer is positive. 'coz I don't want to be the only techie around who took no loans just because she's paranoid about even thinking of living on credit. hmmph.

All this thinking made me tired and anxious, and to add up to the woes, my scripts were all running crazy. so, I think of grabbing a mug of caffeine.. (oh did I forget to mention the favor the s/w enggs are doing to the coffee industry?).. and this colleague catches me mid-way, who I guess was on the prowl to find another fool to discuss, yeah, you're right, the budget again...
She started talking a lot of statistics to which I was vertically nodding my head (so far, so good) and then she asks me what do I think of it? I don't quite like answering questions.. especially when I'm on my way to get a coffee.. so I blurt out whatever was running through my mind then.. 'you know i really wonder how many women past 60 yrs would be working as a salaried class person in our country, who can benefit from the additional tax rebates' and she comes with this counter statement which could put all the news channel discussion forum members to shame: "well.. you never know.. these days all the women look so young and all, that it's so difficult to guess their age..." !!?
Just when I was looking out for the nearest wall to go bang my head on, my phone rang! I've never felt more thankful to Alexander Graham Bell!

Talking of which, another conversation I overheard on the walkway.. (yeah, good guess.. I was supposedly rushing to the loo..)
Of two guys discussing a female colleague (Incidentally, the bestest gossip feeders and gossip mongers I've ever come across are all men! Could that be mere co-incidence?)
guy1: She's like, more of an introvert, I think..
guy2: no no.. she's not an introvert.. you see introverts are people who talk to themselves. She doesnt talk to herself.. only she doesnt talk to anyone else!

AAAGHH!!! yeh toh too much hogaya!

PS: Why don't all the people at office become that kind of introverts and start discussing the budget to themselves? No, seriously? At the least, they can blog about it, and send across the links so that we'll know for sure, what not to read. Fair, no?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

silence, please!

I'm an enlightened soul today. Now I see the wisdom behind the seemingly weirdo, but highly simplified Mallu nomenclature of using any random disyllable and (magic magic!!) making a name out of it.

So, in the Malluland, a Roji, Bibi or Cijo might sound like your regular Tom, D*ck or Harry, but when they step out of Malluland, it's a unique name.. no other being of any other place would have thought of such creative combinations of sounds, and making a name out of it!
and you think the name sounds too silly and simple? then there you go, we have tongue twisters for family names anyways! eat that!!

And then there was another trend in the Mallu nomenclature arena, which made its presence felt a li'l later.. of making names out of adjectives.. (a trend which was specialised by the Punj brotherhood, which consists of names like Happy, Lucky et al).. But the Mallus are too proud a lot to be copycats, so that trend died a slow death.. Though there were some creative use of adjectives, during that phase... So they named this school friend of mine, 'Gritty'. Hers was a unique name at school(she assured me she stills googles her name to make sure that no other Gritty has popped up on the surface of earth yet), which was good, as we didn't have to bother about referring to her by her full name as we used to do with many other contemporaries of our times like the Veenas and Smithas with initials ranging from A-Z.

well.. mine was also a pretty unique name at school... err.. barring the fact that every other girl in the school had an usha chitta / usha ammaayi in their family, i.e, if their Mom's name isn't usha. hmmph.. How many times have I run into old school-mates who would fish me out from nowhere and ask : 'Usha, right? I remember you very well.. 'coz you share the same name as my Mom's!!' gimme a break, I say!!

Another advantage of her name, as I just realised, is that it makes it easy for her long lost friends to look her up at the lost&found online apps like orkut. My bad.. I still couldn't trace her in there.. but thanks to her equally innovatively christened kid brother, I could manage to find my way to her. She's a happy homemaker now with a 5 yr old daughter. I must say, I was somewhat heartbroken to know that she isn't employed... I have no specific reason why I felt so bad.. mebbe because she was the only person I knew at primary school, who had a real ambition to talk about.. you know, other than the regular 'Teacher', 'Doctor' and all one is made to write about, in the name of compositions.. (which makes me wonder whether they have added 'software techie' to that list of yet.. should remind myself to confirm this with one of my astoundingly Yankee sounding fellow classmate kids at the guitar class..)

Coming back to Gritty, she was very much dedicated to her ambition of becoming an air-hostess even when she was 16.. that was the last time we talked before we parted ways. Me, to go the usual Engineering way and she, taking up her graduation in some stream which specialises in World History and Geography(no no.. no 'World Peace', that's for the Miss. beauty pageants, silly!), which she claimed, would help her abundantly in her career of choice.. So, eventually, after all those extensive planning with utmost conviction over all those years, it's sad she did not make it to that. She sure sounded very happy and contented with her life, and I guess that's what matters the most! but still... hmmph..

The most beautiful part about getting back to her was that, though she leads a life sooooo different in every respect from the one I'm living, yet we managed to connect so beautifully well with each other.. picking up the threads from exactly where we left!

We, like any other 'long lost-just met again' friends, started rewinding to that distant past when we belonged to a different world altogether.. where we were partners in crime, always getting under the nerves of teachers and class monitors.. That phase is very special to me , 'cause I've never been that person I was then, ever after school..

We were the most troublesome duo at class, so much that Sr. Kochutheresia used to call us 'chatterboxes' with a vengeance and frown which can be equated to showering profanities at us..
So, our 'Gooood Afternooooooon Sissssterrrr's were always reciprocated with a snappy 'shhhh... silence, please!' directed at us.

The teachers, when they used to catch us red-handed (should that be red-tongued?) would yell a 'Gritty stand up!!' ( primary school teachers were too good at creating a drama scene out of anything.. so they would never call both our names together.. One at a time, get the reaction of the single victim.. zoom from left, right and center like the Balaji Telefilms folks, and then summon the 2nd victim) and we being too smart (we still maintain, we were) wouldn't give her that chance to derive her sadistic pleasures, would both get up together.. and wait for the "Both of you, get out of my class.." after which, we get up and walk out chuckling to ourselves and knowing us, the hopeless chatterboxes, she would again scream.. "Both on opposite sides of the door, i say!" :D

The most wackiest days of school life was during those pre-teen days, just before getting into High School.. That was a phase when we collectively decided 'enough is enough' of the high handedness of the convent system and fought all those funny rules in our own ways.. It was fun, as the sisters or the appointed student monitors always used to live up to it and come up with counter tactics which made it all the more interesting for us to crack it.. For the uninformed, who think that Convents generally produce nice, just-out-of-finishing-school type girls, let me forewarn you, you could be terribly wrong. for all that you know, it also produces an equal number of rebel kids who eventually take their own time post-school to get back to a state of what is generally perceived in society as 'normalcy'.

Gritty and me belonged to a gang, to which I'm generally thankful for keeping that sanity factor alive in those days of insane rules and regulations and weird punishments. Like the time they came up with this rule of implementing effective punishments for students who prefer to talk in their mother tongue as against the Queen's language. Their logic was simple: humiliate, humiliate and humiliate till the victims decide to meekly adhere to the rules.. After the '50paise fine per word uttered in Malayalam' flopped royally, they turned to this innovative tactic of making a cardboard placard which read 'I spoke in Malayalam'. The game is, if the class monitor spots anyone talking in Malayalam, she makes the offender wear this placard around her neck during all the class hours which makes her feel like nothing less than wearing a garland of chappals, until she herself catches someone else red handed, talking in Malayalam, whereby she gives away the garland to the new bakra.. Needless to say, our gang being the most talkative of it all, had to have a member garlanded with the placard. But this time around, the garland was with the most innovative rule cracking gang(yes, cracking, not breaking.. there's a difference, you see!). So the strategy is: the offender keeps on talking in Malayalam by when the class monitor gets all irritated and starts arguing with her to shut up.. Our brave gang member doesn't, in fact she goes on arguing with the monitor girl in Malayalam till she forgets everything and breaks into a counter-attack argument in (lo!) Malayalam and our hero gang member hands out the garland very gracefully to the class-monitor.
I don't think I can ever describe in words, the fun we had, when the class teacher walked in to find the monitor herself adorned with the prized garland. That rule was banished the very same day.

which also reminds me of the nice Sr. Angela who made us write an imposition of "Empty vessels make much noise!" for one whole hour, to drill the point deep into our heads! I must say, that was the most innovative and efficient rebuke I've ever experienced at school.. She would've made a rocking Ad maker, i say! Also, she was the one who inspired us to do what was to become our first tryst with text messaging inside the classroom.. silent (well almost, except for the hushed chuckles which followed) and the most efficient mode of communication.

Ah, now I know who was my real inspiration to start blogging too.. Sr. Angela, you hearing? err.. reading?

Monday, January 7, 2008

the resolution fiasco

happy new year! so what is your new year resolution? -that's the new seasonal entrant in the ever challenged small-talk circuit..
n my answer is: nyo! um not taking any 'new' resolutions this year around!

ok, yeah, reason #1 is quite obvious.. it's that I'm plain lazy.. laziness is soo not happening, no?

#2: I already have a huge repository of unfulfilled resolutions inherited through all these years of optimistic planning.. and inherited property is not meant to be squandered, right? gee.

#3: 'recycle' and 'reuse' are the magic mantras these days.. from recycled papers to reusable code.
so, I'm planning to do a lucky draw, like they did it for the H1B visas, and decide who the lucky re-usable winners are!!
btw, could someone please tell me whether Resolutions are bio-degradable? The last thing I want is to have someone convict me for contributing to Global Warming! hmmph..

#4: my wise deduction from past experiences is that there's a weird pattern that all my publicly aired plans, kinda get jinxed :/

Looking back at '07, of all the resolutions I took last year, only one survived 12 months.. and it was blogging! yay!!! managed to make at least one post a month.. well, a post is a post.. as long as you don't do a quality analysis of it! ;)

the 1st runner-up is Yoga.. which I religiously practiced for a month, including the 60 suryanamaskaras which we were made to do on the Independence day to commemorate 60 years of freedom! (must tell u, it somehow felt good celebrating it that way!)
I could never get even the padmasana right, but I did manage to impress myself (if not anyone else!) by doing some hi fi acrobatics (I don't quite remember their names, though..)
which also made me add, 'join Jumbo circus' to my list of alternative career options, in case of the much prophesied IT career doom.

So, this time around, I've shortlisted 4 of them, re-cycled ones, for a second chance.. and someone tells me, the 8th of Jan is when all my stars support me to take on new resolutions! which makes me wonder, since when did they start predicting muhurthams for resolutions and all? anyways.. I'm planning to follow it this time and see how the good times help me accomplish it! will let you know if it succeeds!! :)

Lemme also take this opportunity, to wish all you folks a very blessed 2008!
May you find peace, loads of love and happiness, health, wealth and wisdom this new year.
and yeah, May you be able to outdo yourself in all your new year resolutions!

In other news: kick-started this year, watching the Return of Hanuman :)
(after marking my attendance at the church, of course! though I found myself doing more of perspective photography there, than praying.)
ok, so I'm a great fan or Hanuman and all dat.. but to say the truth, we were actually headed for TZP, though lack of farsightedness found us looking for Welcome, which was also sold out..so, we said 'jai bajrangbali!' and went for it!
Totally loved the movie.. one naturally ends up liking it, when accompanied by this cartoon fanatic of a sibling.. I call her fanatic, 'coz I find her acting like one most of the time.. that is, if she isn't busy driving me mad to act like one or laughing her head off watching a cartoon show.
and somehow, I liked the fact that we started our new year with that!

The positive change is that, I've now decided to call off my cold-shoulder treatment to multiplexes. what the heck, at least it gives one the option to make contingency plans, right? which are life-saving for people who survive on Plan B's, all the time.. or plan C/D, for that matter, as in my case!