The Blog Awaits a Post

It has been a while since a sensible post has been posted here.

I have reasons.

And the sensible posts will appear here soon. I have been busy. A wonderful initiative has captured my imagination. It’s not that I cannot write a post about what has captured my imagination. I will. In good time. At this time, I can only say that your friends are the most important people in your life.

You may decline a dinner invitation two weekends in a row; you will miss calls and not reply in a while. But your friends, will remain your friends, right? Some of my friends will know what I am saying; some will not. For those who do not understand:

Let’s catch up; dinner, perhaps?

:)

To Break a Rule

This is not a post!

But it could have been.

But we have rules. Of how things should be. When we don’t have rules, we have agreements. When we start, there are rules by others that we follow. After a while we make our own rules. Then, we have their rules and our rules. And we have many rules. Eventually – we have so many rules, we have no idea which ones we follow and which ones we do not.

Some of these many rules we break. Because we can.

We prove, why we break them. It’s logical, even, often.

That one Wednesday evening, we ponder.

Of Thumbs: Green & Brown

Someday I hope to befriend a villager, just when he hasn’t taken a break in a while, and while things may be going well, and he feels a sense of sameness surrounding him. I’d like to know if he would “leave it all” and settle down in the city. Not in a financial sense, because that would be a no-brainer. It’s the sameness of it all that I want to know more about. Perhaps people are the same everywhere – their daily sameness gets to them and they want to jump on the other side of the fence. They usually have a fleeting experience of the romance it offers; and they imagine, perhaps it has more to offer than what they experienced in that one weekend.

Baby Chilli Plants

Baby Chilli Plants

I am no different. The village, the river, the lush fields, fresh air and such, where I’ll grow tomatoes and chillies all day long, all year-long. A laid back life that’s all laid out to a very fine detail. The power of imagination bestowed on us is a prolific scripting tool. But escaping from the sameness is not easy. When I recently decided to exit a sameness, it took me almost a year to scrub away the scent of that sameness. While we may know something in our heart, the mind has a muscle memory of its own. The conflict is not an easy one to resolve. Needless to say, it was extremely difficult. Comfort is a synonym for sameness, and, depending on which word we use (and mean) it can be nice and cozy or boring and lifeless.

I started growing chillies and tomatoes in the congested window sills that Bombay flats offer. It was to be a prototype in a pot for the fields that were to come. The plants grew well and flourished, but bore no fruit (or vegetable, in this case). I justified the stunted growth of the plants to the lack of space and the polluted air in the city; and imagined, the wonderful job I could do when I would “leave all of this and go to the village.” But that justification died an almost instant death, when I outsourced the management of the plant to an expert — my mother. The chilli plant flowered. My mother took over and a month later there were three chillies. Both my parents have green-thumbs. My father, well, he was banker. Different sort of a green-thumb.

I have since concluded — under protest, that due to circumstances beyond my control — that I have brown-thumbs; perhaps an ancestral gene that chose to express itself after deep slumber.

One plant, which I took care of, once sprouted three beans. So, perhaps, I have brownish-green thumbs.

Three Beans

Three Beans

Happiness 2.0

Since the time my friend has introduced me to the song – Happy, by Pharrell Williams, I’ve been conflicted, in some ways.

It’s not so much about the song as much as about the music video. There are people in the video who are dancing (and prancing) all along the video. It’s a great way of expressing your happiness, I will concede, yet I am unable to relate to the video. The song? Yes. I like the beat, more so, because you cannot ignore what it makes you feel.

This post is marked version 2, for a reason. I wrote about Happiness a few years ago. I didn’t post it then, but what I saw on that day in 2007 is the photograph that you see below. No reason or rhyme, but I was really HAPPY that day!

The following post may turn out to be old wine in new bottle, but we do not know – here goes.

Lone Tree- Split-toning

My happiest times have been when I am with my friends. I will not say family. Because the folks in my family with whom I have shared the happiest moments are my friends. You spend a few years in life, and the line that separates friends and family gets blurred. A wise man once said, “Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.”

Don’t worry about it now, you’ll know when you get to the age that I am.

While I cannot dance, and perhaps that is the reason, I have never felt like “dancing-out my happiness.” Not that dancing-out your happiness is a wrong expression, please note.

Love was the first victim; I feel happiness may be the second, of how commerce will appropriate our feelings: first for their advantage and then to dictate how our feelings should be expressed. Products and services aren’t sold on the basis how how good they are; they are sold on the basis of exploiting our senses of how we feel. By itself, there’s nothing wrong associating an instant noodle with a core human emotion; I take umbrage that it potentially tells us how we live our emotions. [An Example - YouTube Video of a Nestlè ad] Should personified cuteness be banned? I don’t think so. There is so little that we can do to capture happiness in a one-minute TV spot. The problem occurs, not when it becomes famous, and we have a million likes, but when we think that is the personification of happiness (or any other happy emotion, e.g.).

The extent of our experience of happiness is un-capturable. How, when, where and in what manner we experience it, is beyond any creative director’s comprehension. First because the manners are so many, and second because the manner is so myriad. So, we should not succumb to the narrowed celluloid expressions of what’s nice. While they are specific expressions, our own meanings and experiences should matter much more.

Sometimes,

we smile without reason, staring at our computer screens on a late Tuesday afternoon
we imagine non-existent people in the space we occupy and we have a laugh with them
we escape an ongoing conversation and feel blessed to be here
we wonder, without a trigger, what a wonderful life we are living

and, many such instances.

The best feeling of all, is when love envelopes you at 4:00PM on a Thursday and you can almost feel that you might explode. Ah, well.

If and when possible, we have to cherish these moments, for they are the true markers of the life that we are living. And with equal strength, we have to let them go, so that more such new instances are possible. Happinesses are ephemeral; there’s no clinging. It’s like, you have just one slot of happiness and you have to keep clearing it out to make way for new ones.

And how we celebrate that new occupant in the slot, is all up to us. No one can tell us how it should be. Not a cute ad, not your friend’s happy-status on Facebook.

I think, I’ll go do a funky dance and I’ll leave you with this. Enjoy! Be happy – In your own way!

Days of Magic

They are not necessarily the days when magic happens — these days of magic. They can be quite ordinary and may deserve no more attention from us than what the other days deserve. It may be a weekend day, when part of it is spent at work, a small bit reading and a short nap. And then you would go and have a lovely dinner at a new place.

I like these magical days that, otherwise are not magical at all. While not being magical themselves, they bring out the magic within us. And that smile you have, which you just cannot stop using.

Such magical days, perhaps have a lesson for us: every day can be full of magic — if you are willing to believe.

Remains of the Day: 014

I’ve started with coffee again. Just kept missing it too much all these years. All I had to do was to start making it and  drinking it to not miss it as much.

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There’s too much of worry going on about the blog. A friend had a few thoughts on why the blog isn’t doing so well; of all the things he said, one stood out in the spotlight: it just isn’t as good. I need to define a DNR for the blog. “It just isn’t as good,” is equally true of people and everything else in life. Everything should have a DNR associated with it. Makes way for new things. (see also: Current State of Indian Politics)

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Pull is so much better than push. It makes more sense.

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Charity should be a two-way street. Don’t give it, unless solicited and don’t ask for it, unless needed. Especially the giving; charity and dignity have an interesting relationship which I sense, but am not equipped to articulate. At least not now.

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Siri would never understand what Sushant Singh said all through the film, in Shuddh Desi Romance. For that matter no human would, either. Bad diction, unfortunately, has become fashionable. Yes. I saw it. Ridicule me. I deserve it.

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How you see someone is not how they are. They are, how they are. You have to see them in the way that they are. It follows therefore, that they cannot be who you think they are. Don’t try.

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My thoughts about Pain and Fear haven’t changed much.

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I think it’s quite ambitious of me to have a three-digit running counter for these Remains of the Day posts. I am amused because, first, I actually believe somewhere in my heart that there will be at least 999 such posts, and second, I wonder what I’ll do after the 999th post.

Saga of the Sarees

I have always been partial to the Saree. I have always believed that is a very graceful garment, and accentuates elegance. Notwithstanding that I am partial, I also once said that the Saree is the one thing that is Decidedly Indian.

Kosa Silk; Chhattisgarh

Kosa Silk; Chhattisgarh

Since fashion rediscovered the Saree, it has entered the designer category, and is evolving as more celebrities take to it and bring it to the front-lines. Yet, little is known about the different sarees that exist in the country. I am sure women know more about it than men do; as I am equally sure that there are many things about the saree that even women don’t know. For example, did you know that there are 80 different ways to drape a saree?  How many types of sarees are there? What do you know about the different types of silk used in different parts of the country?

Whether you are a saree aficionado, or have just curious interest to know more about this versatile garment, or need to make an informed decision when you choose the perfect gift, here’s one place you should visit:

SAREE PE VAREE – The Many Sarees Of India – a blog on discovering Sarees, by Punam Medh, who says:

In my years of being important, I never stopped loving sarees and continued learning and reading about them – through books, knowledgeable friends and my masi, my biggest source of information. Through the weaves of this garment I discovered my country’s history, traditions and culture. I understood how saree craft was at one time tightly woven to the economics of a region. And my love for the garment continued to grow.

I hope you will enjoy learning and loving the garment as much as I will.