Fest, Feast and all the Fuss

meme12I, for one, love the second half of the year. It is so full of festivals, celebration, and of course holidays!

A few days back we celebrated Rakhshabandan- such a beautiful festival with such a terrifying name, I used to think as a little girl. All this week, I have been busy in looking for feminists, wondering how they missed the chauvinism in this one! What do they mean my brothers taking care of their sisters? Do they think, we can’t take care of ourselves?! What the….oh, but gift! I think I will pass my feminism card this one time! After all, everyone needs some pampering some time or the other, you know! Touché.

No, but seriously, festivals are so much fun! There is such good food, get-togethers, dance, music, sweets, delicacies, celebration, holidays, parties, and the whole pomp. Oh, did I mention food? (I know now why my weight never shifts in the direction I wish it did!)

And before long, I realize, they are oh so noisy!

Last week we celebrated the birth of Lord Krishna. One minute silence to all the teenagers who thought that celebrating birthday at midnight is so today’s thing! Uh huh, you have no idea about the #swag that Krishna is all about- and that hashtag was important!

Cowboy, lover, fighter, philosopher, politician, practical humorist and great friend – which other God can match Krishna? Some bits of Krishna’s life are so relatable, but then again, he is the one responsible for Bhagvad Geeta – and how does one believe in a book that is a by-product of a story, in which there isn’t even one natural birth, to begin with!

Anyway, I love the other by-product of the same – Dahi Handi! Oh my God, so much fun! I mean who said people standing on people, amidst a large crowd, with loud music, and splashing water, just to break an earthern pot with not even enough “makhan” for all in it, is not fun! Of course it is, if you rule out traffic, noise, and safety and Supreme Court orders.

Yeah I mean, when the orders are not in our stride, who the hell is Supreme Court to stop us from celebrating the way we always do! It’s not like law is applicable to all – it is as per our convenience. With the way things are these days, one doesn’t know if it’s the lord’s devotion at play, or commotion create by politicians!

There is actual celebration, and then there is virtual celebration. And lo, with my phone beeping all day, it felt like it was my birthday, and suddenly I am dreading the many festivals aka “good” wishes slated ahead in the year! There were more photos of Lord Krishna on my WhatsApp than Mathura-Vrindavan put together!

Anyway, I think Janmastami is well-placed – a perfect warm-up for the upcoming Ganeshotsav, or as we like to call it – a systematic display of who gets a better DJ – singing songs with lyrics rebelling religions – till they irritate the hell out of us!

Phew! Brace Yourself!

Miracles of the moment

7:00 am – The PatRiot – is the headline of a newspaper flashing on my phone. Every tweet, every discussion is about the JNU incident. Wow, I fail to understand who is sillier in this situation – the media, the students, or the government!

Oh, what a beautiful sunrise! Wow, the colours in the sky are right out of an artist’s palette! So serene, so calm, so perfect. Nothing, nothing at all could have made this moment more special or better!

8:00 am – At the gym. (Yes, I leave no opportunity of mentioning this – it’s a cool gym thing you know!) I need to get these kilos of! While, may be, I cannot do anything about the mental baggage, I think keeping my body light will at least take some weight of me- Literally of course, and emotionally as well! Oh come on now! Don’t stop! Keep going, keep going! Phew!

Wow, this stretch feels so good! My body is so much more flexible now, and I am able to do so much more than I ever could! Good job, me! My muscles feel relaxed, body feels fit and I feel wonderful! Now, that’s what I call a great session!

10.00 am – Office. Too much to do, too little time! Get this sorted, and that fixed! Oh, and how could I forget to make the call! Mondays! Arghhh! Well, I should have taken it seriously when I was told – Be careful what you wish for! Now, I am drowned in files and folders!

Whoa, do I love my work or do I love my work! Looks like a great day ahead. I am just so grateful that I am so busy in my life! That’s what I always wanted, didn’t I? Blessed.

3:00 pm – Still, at office. Oh God, why did I have so much rice for lunch! I am so sleepy now. Tonight, come what may, I am going to bed at 10 pm sharp. Whatever happens, I am not stretching my mind and body anymore! I want a pillow! NOW!!!

Oh, the food was so good today- Instagram perfect, you know! This world is just constantly conspiring for me to have an amazing day!

9.00 pm – On Facebook. Look at him at Ladakh! When did she get married – oh, what a lovely dress! These guys are having the most amazing time of their lives. And look at me – I can’t even breathe with my own consent, let alone go on holiday!

Just Imagine – millions and billions and trillions of atoms have undergone tremendous change, the weather, the world, the evolution, big bang – all of this just so that I could experience this moment this way! How can I ask to be anywhere else at this moment?!
Doesn’t this post sound more like the reality vs. our social media posts? While our lives on social media are so happy, so perfect – we are one thought away from making it a reality! Amidst all the terrorism, politics, corruption, discoveries, science, technology – we have our own universe, which is filled with such miracles in every moment!quote-every-moment-of-light-and-dark-is-a-miracle-walt-whitman-197558

Is love over-rated or over-rated loved?

Phew, this has been quite an exhausting week! It is a much-needed weekend for me, but alas, the weekend is going to turn out more exhausting than the week itself! For all of you who do not know, I love and religiously follow all the seven days prior to the Valentine’s day! And I realized I can be so demanding, that I myself am tired of fulfilling all my wishes! Yes yeah, laugh at my singlehood! *Sits in a corner and sulks*

And now there are a few guys who are looking at my column, then at the date, and my column, and the date again! Yes it’s here! In case all those red coloured heart shaped items all around, popping from nowhere aren’t enough reminder for you guys, here is a direct one! February is that month of the year, when the days are less, but salary gets over in the middle of the month itself! Of course, worse for you if you are better at the game! Oh, you know what I mean!Love

Given all the love, affection, fretting, dressing, drinking, commitments and single-hood, and marketing, this day wins the award for the most, the most over-rated day in the history of days – more overrated than yoga day or freaky Friday!

There are many myths and legends about why we Valentine’s day. The most popular legend goes like this:

In the third century Rome, when Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

HOW CAN A PRIEST WHO GOT PEOPLE MARRIED BE A MESSIAH OF LOVE? Isn’t that exactly the opposite? I render the entire reason of this day baseless!

Nevertheless, what I love about this day is that people become so creative! It’s like the rest of the year you are trying to be a great engineer or a doctor, or any of the so called respected (read-boring) professions, and then suddenly you come realise that you are a great poet, or a singer! This one day brings out the best in you, and by the way, if she takes two days instead of one to dump you, you must consider taking that talent seriously! That one extra day was just creativity quota!

And there are some who are neither good engineers, nor good artists. You will find them everywhere on roads – even more red than the Valentine’s Day gift you bought – beating the hell out of you! Oh they are just jealous. And unemployed!

With the “kiss of love” campaign, it anyway has been a rough year for love in our country! But with all that training, and practice, I think these goons are quite excited about tomorrow! Valentine’s day – bring it on, baby!

Well, I urge everyone to kiss goodbye to these silly days, which are just marketing gimmicks. After a whole column on it, I may not sound so, but I am a ban-this-day enthusiast!

Love thy neighbours. Send them home!

Oh, and please take Mr. Kher with you! Yes, I said it!

Just yesterday I saw a video that went viral on WhatsApp, in which a Member of Parliament was talking openly about sending the-religion-that-shouldn’t-be named to Pakistan. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been in our country for more than 2 minutes, since we know that hypocrisy is our favourite game, second only to telling people to lose weight na!

82795349Why can’t we let people be, irrespective of the fact that they worship Shiva, or Jesus, or Allah, or Tendulkar! What is weirder is – that they are praying! As they say, “If one person has an imaginary friend, we call him crazy. If a lot of people have the same imaginary friend, we call it religion.”

I’ve always been fascinated about various aspects of religion, such as its origin, evolution and the fact that your hands could get chopped off for writing about it. Having said that, it’s still nice to see how religion unifies society by providing nuts with an open-shitting contest.

(Relax. I’m talking about the nuts in someone else’s religion, not yours.)

That’s not to say that I am not religious! I fast regularly – mostly between bedtime and breakfast. I sacrifice my hair – generally on Saturday evening after a few shots of awesomeness- but I am sober ya! And I am perpetually wishing for someone to come from up there and do all that I am supposed to do – including picking up my lazy bum out of the cozy blanket in this perfectly air-conditioned room! I am born in a Hindu family, meaning I believe in comprehensive power of whatever BJP tells me to do!

The thing is, whoever invented religions did not think it would go this way! But I think, the efficiency decreased after one introduced marriages!

Calling India a secular nation is as much antithesis as calling a politician honest! I always thought of myself as a proud Indian, despite national embarrassments such as rape, violence and Rahul Gandhi! Don’t get me wrong. Violence is a great concept, if only we could have the freedom of expressing violence by shooting, say, umm..customer service!

I don’t mean to mock traditions! I mean they do help Ekta Kapoor mint money and put that oh-so-traditional Tilak on her forehead! If not for her, how would our children know that all mothers-in-law are horrible, and everyone who dies can come back to life – if only you wish (TRP) hard enough – and no that is not creejesus-dad-offensive-pagepy at all! But some traditions are – how do I say this nicely – downright stupid and irrelevant! And they work on the basis that women have an IQ of a carrot!

We really really need to start behaving as civil as animals, and let our “humanity” rest for a bit!

PS –I have timed this article such as to reduce the risk of being kicked by RSS – Romantic to Sanskaari Sangh – considering they must be busy arranging for their biggest moral policing event coming up next week! Wohoo to hatred on Valentine’s Day!

Marred-Age

It is that time of the year. I am in that time of my life. This time of the year is the worst time for me to be in that time of my life – It’s when two idiots have decided to go for it, mahurats have matched and Taj Gateway has an extra banquet hall all ready. The wedding season!

*match-making aunty flicks a tear of joy*

Till now, it was easy to play hide-n-seek with about just a million wedding invites each year. I didn’t care about them, and the great news is, they did not either! I was happy saving 4 hours of my life, and they were happy saving Rs. 800 of my plate!

So just yesterday I was still sticking finger in my nose, and today I am getting invites to my friend’s weddings – not my elder sister’s friend, or friend’s elder brother buT MY FRIENDS! MY FRIENDS!!! I AM GETTING SO HYSTERICAL JUST WRITING ABOUT IT THAT I AM SHOUTING! WHY GOD, WHY?!B9hXCnPIMAAYUAM

And unfortunately, I love these people- So, I am not only going to attend a total of 5 weddings but all 50 thousand functions of all 5 weddings! One of the few times I wish I was Christian- I do. I do. We go.

Oops!! I can feel it. Intolerance is rising. Shut up! No cares when you are not Amir Khan. *Sulks*

Anyway…

It’s the first time that I am actually using all those motivational I-kid-you-not-kid speeches given to children preparing to get into courses that are actually kidding them: Life is hard. Life is difficult. Deal with it. I spend 20 minutes each morning, using all the knowledge I can remember from the compulsory Yoga class (that I spent doing Shavasana) at school, preparing myself to clear all three rounds of the upcoming trial-

  1. Laden self with 200 kilograms.
  2. Practice and execute dancing on DJ wale babu mera gaana chala do! Without alcohol!
  3. Stand in a line as big as the population of Hong Kong to meet and greet the grin-stricken face of the bride and groom for a micro-second! Oh wait, that is not even a micro-second.

…And get unnoticed! Too much pressure on this little one, I say!

Frankly, I don’t mind other people getting married! I mean free food- Yaay! But things really turn seriously funny, or rather funnily serious when your parents start getting ideas! And it’s worse when you haven’t found anyone yourself, and they offer to help you out! I mean it makes you feel like a failure! It’s their way of saying – Tumse na ho payega, beta!

*digs a hole and goes underground*

I think for my own sake I should stop here. You guys can continue with surfing the web for latest trends, thinking of a reason to avoid that ONE wedding (share your ideas with me as well), buying cheap gifts that look expensive. And while you are at it, I would recommend investing in a great pair of shades. Too much bling is not too good for our eyes, you know!

*gets back to DJ waley babu…*

Suitcase-d

Well well well!

What a great ride last one month has been! Right from surreal Spiti Valley to absolutely magnificent United Kingdom, from sky-high mountains to soaring sky-scrapers, from the heart of nature to the magic of mankind! Wow, the contrast is just uncanny!

Rudyard Kipling famously quotes, “It is a world within a world, the place where Gods live.”, referring to Spiti Valley. I couldn’t agree more. Spiti valley is, by far, the most breath-taking place I have ever been to! Literally. The oxygen percentage was so less, that even the thought of doing a little work was tiring enough to make me pant! Phew. Hats off to people living there, sprinting from one point to other, one peak to other in no time! No wonder Kipling indicates it as a place where Gods reside, hinting the extremely difficult conditions for humans to live there!

Opened very recently to tourism, the place is not exploited, infested with tourists, honking cars and tons of garbage! They still could maintain the traditional way of their lifestyle, and are being able to balance the incoming tourist crowd, and their routine activities beautifully! Except for the bigger towns of Kaza and Tabo, all other towns have homestays, and even traditional pit-toilets, which, by the way, are way more hygienic than the clay tiles public toilets found in cities!

Staying with a local family, in the local clay houses, and getting a hand-on experience of their routine life, is one of the reasons why I opted for the volunteering program offered by Ecosphere- an organisation working for upbringing the life of these villages! And this experience of working in the farm, or making a drain (yeah, we did) while being surrounded by almost unreal, photoshop-ed view on all sides was the best thing ever! Just when I though I could never get enough of these mountains, the Spiti night-sky shows up! Oh my! It truly, indisputably was a blanket of stars! So many, just so many!

After my stint with these gorgeous mountains, biking through the twisted roads, alluring chandratal, glittering night-sky, serene monasteries, adventurous mountain roads, no network, hiking between villages, peaceful life, what more could I ask for? The immediately following trip to UK wasn’t so exciting as it should have been – only till I reached the airport!

And then gears shifted, excitement back, and I could really ask for more after-all! Contrasting to Spiti Valley, this was a very comfortable trip! Road-trip in Scotland, world cuisines to try, from highlands to beaches, an evening listening to ABBA while watching the super fun Broadway Mama Mia, chilling at Hyde-park, it couldn’t have gotten better! Get up – dress up – show up was the only mantra, so that we could click-click-click-click all through the day! Like they say, London is always a great idea!

This last one month has taught me to appreciate diverse contradicting situations! Everything has its own charm, if only we are in the frame of mind to accept it!

Besides, I am absolutely loving my life, living out of a suitcase!

One Year Of Writing!

Today, it was a great surprise for me when the website wished me a happy one year anniversary! It has been a year! OMG. Not completely believing it, I cross-checked with the date when I first clicked on ‘publish’ – 15 April, 2014!

Woot!!!

A lot can happen in a year. A few things you plan for, while others just unfold!  One thing I have realised is there is a great pleasure in doing something you love, but the thrill of doing something that makes you uncomfortable , and you successfully overcoming you inhibitions, is incomparable. And keep doing it till it becomes a part of you,  that you actually start another blog ( yeah, blatant marketing – upluscollective.wordpress.com), are always thinking of what next should I write about, are looking around for inspiration, and are always learning.

In addition to that, I also have realised that I use ‘absolutely’ a lot. And also, ‘also’ and ‘and’.

For me, just like I had hoped in my first post,  it was quite an experience. But I don’t think I have been able to really “improve” in my writing skills, or even to “untangle” my thoughts – I may just have ended up tangling them even further, in fact. But I am totally enjoying this journey, and that is what really matters!

Cheers to one year and more! 😀

#Note to self – Think about the next thing you never thought you would do, and jump (into it, of course)! 😉

Same Day. Four years back.

I had written this for my dad’s 50th birthday- 4 years back! Ironically, it makes much more sense to me today! That time it was a sentiment, but today it is vehemence to be – him! Here goes it…

 

Because you are so full of respect for your elders…
…I have learnt that the best classroom is at the feet of an elderly person!

Because of your practical approach to life…
…I have learnt that ignoring facts do not change the facts!

Because of the naughty side that there is to you…
…I have learnt that it is not necessary to “Be Serious” to be serious about life!

Because of your living-by-the-minute attitude…
…I have learnt that expectations and apprehension of the future lead you nowhere!

Because of your perfect playing of roles – “Sir” and “Dad”…
…I have learnt that to fly high, you need to be firmly grounded!

Because of your strength and firmness in any situation…
…I have learnt that fear is nothing but False Evidence Appearing Real!

Because of your child-likeness…
…I have learnt it is still possible to be 5 when you are 50!

Because you are YOU…
…I have learnt that i still have a lot to learn!

Make a difference. And it will summate.

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. – William James

So obvious, isn’t it? When I first read the quote, I was like “D’uh! Obviously, every single thing you do impacts someone!”

But when I reflected, I realized that may be we do the “bigger” things with this attitude – like working our ass off for someone else, stressing over their judgement about us, analyzing if the world would approve of our actions, being politically right, charity of money or time (because it makes me feel worthwhile), etc.

In doing all of above, we put forth our best behavior for the entire world, and save our worst (including what we get from others), for probably the most important people in our life. This is because we take them for granted, ourselves for granted.

Things that actually make a difference, like smiling to the mirror in the morning, will make a world of a difference to the most significant being to us – OUR SELF. And if we are able to do that, the rest is taken care of anyway!