Monthly Archives: April 2007

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The end is the beginning?

The end is the beginning?
Have I arrived or am I leaving…
The world is round they say,
Will I come back from where I’m embarking?
Is this an end or a beginning?
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>Save me from advice spam!

Heard of spam – those unsolicited emails that occupy unnecessary space in your inbox? Heard of phone spam – those unsolicited calls from credit card companies and banks and what have you that will interrupt you in the middle of everything to sell exactly what you don’t need. Heard of advice spam – those unsolicited words of wisdom hurled at you from everyone, everywhere, for everything under the sky?

All kinds of spam are annoying. So you can block unsolicited emails by using the Block Sender tool or some special software designed solely for that purpose. And you can save your precious time from being wasted on unwanted calls by putting your name on the DND list of your mobile services’ operator. Unfortunately, nobody’s thought of an error-proof mechanism to save you from unsolicited advice!

Of course, like the unsolicited mails and calls, those giving out unsolicited advice are doing so for our benefit, except that we can’t see it. Not now, not ever! And yet, advice spam remains a largely neglected area of research. So everybody, right from your parents to friends, to fellow-commuters and colleagues are ready with their great, totally unwanted piece of advice on everything from how you should plan your career, when you should get married and have children, which car you should buy, which airlines you should fly, which face cream is best suited for your skin type, which counselor for your gripe, even what you should blog about and what not! And no, you can’t press ‘Block Sender’ to shut them up! Unless of course, you are one of those who have the innate ability for selective hearing – who can switch off and switch on mentally of your own volition. No such luck for me. I’m waiting to be saved from spam!

>Can I postpone my birthday to next year?

I don’t want anything to do with my birthday this year. I don’t want the cake and candles, the flowers and the phone calls. I don’t want a guest list or the gifts. I love being in the spotlight, but I do not want the attention this time. Does it sound totally ridiculous to not want a birthday at all – just this year?!

What will my birthday cake be like – chocolate truffle or chocolate & strawberry or chocolate & orange mousse or whatever? Do I really care except for their calorie count? What will I wear on my birthday. So many silly celebrations later, do I really care? What do I want this birthday? If you can’t think, why should I?

Maybe, it has something to do with growing up and realising that your birthday is just another day in the calendar. Maybe, it’s because I’m feeling fat. Maybe, it has nothing to do with any of this. Maybe, it’s the fuss that I’m fretting over. Maybe I don’t want people to make a big deal about the day I was born because these people don’t remember me on other, more important days of the year. Because my birthday party seems like just another good excuse for people to raise a toast to nothing and because I hate toasts, only this year though, and they don’t know that! Maybe, I’m just not in the mood. Maybe these are what they call birthday blues. So why can’t I postpone my birthday this year?

PS: Today is not my birthday

>A question of answers

I need some answers and I need ’em quick. Here are the questions:

  • Why is there no cut-off age for giggling? (Please somebody answer that! Please somebody tell the 30-year-olds in my office to shut up! Please somebody tell Aishwarya Rai to close her mouth)
  • Why are bosses never (okay, almost never) as smart as their subordinates?
  • Why do idiots know all the right people in the world?
  • Why are zebra crossings not simply called stripes?
  • Is a Red Light Area called so because you have to stop there?
  • Why do we HAVE TO grow up?
  • Why do fat people have such a good sense of humour?
  • Who says we have to be nice?
  • Why do the rich keep getting richer?
  • Would Adam still have eaten the apple if apples were bananas?
  • Does God know he’s cruel? Is he cruel on purpose?
  • Why is inane talk so comforting?

>Little known, should be known facts!

So you read the headlines last week and the stories that went under them. But here’s what you probably missed, like the reporters of those stories, and what the BBC Magazine Monitor compiled to make an interesting read…

1. More servicemen and women in the British armed forces have taken their own lives (697) over the past two decades than have been killed in combat (438) according to the Ministry of (their) Defence.
And we worry about petty issues like population explosion?

2. Serving anything more than tea and biscuits at a political meeting is an offence called “treating” and punishable by a year in prison or an unlimited fine, under the the Representation of the People Act 1893.
That’s in the UK, of course. Back home, the hospitable Indians would never dream of such a thing!

3. The record-breaking TGV train, which reached 584km/h, took 10 miles to stop when the brakes were fully applied in test runs.
Better late than never, right?

4. Human ashes are called cremains.
Now you know exactly what you’ll turn into when you’re dead!

5. “Lunatics, idiots, deaf and dumb” people are barred from standing for election under laws dating from 1766 which still apply.
If the law was applicable in India, we would have no politicians!

6. There is mobile phone reception from the summit of Mount Everest.
And whom would I call if I were standing atop the highest peak in the world…

7. Prisoners of war returning from Vietnam were told by the US government that the word “whatever” had become a common form of slang while they were away, to imply boredom.
So what did the PoWs say? “Whatever”?

8. It is cheaper to ship waste from London to Shenzen in China than it is to send it by road from London to Manchester.
Cheap and Chinese always goes together!

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The sun in my eye…


Why is it that when the world is melting into nothingness under the scorching summer sun, I can stand under the blue, blue sky and soak in the sunny warmth without minding the beads of sweat that form on my forehead and don’t take too long to turn into a trickle? I’ve wondered whether I love the sweltering heat because I’m an April baby or because some of my fondest memories are of times spend in the summer vacations…


The sounds and smells of summers that are enough to put off most of us in the northern part of this country can bring a spring in my step and put a smile on my lips…


It takes me back to those hot afternoons when my mom and I would pile up in a cycle rickshaw after I returned from school to go choose my birthday dress, of lazy afternoon siestas in the air cooled rooms.
It reminds me of morning walks I always planned and never undertook, that never seemed worth even contemplating in foggy winters.
It reminds me of summer breaks spent at nani’s with dozens of cousins, of little girls – me and my sister – stealing off from the hustle bustle of the house to get lost in the famed evenings of Hazratganj.
It reminds me of summer infatuations that came and went with each school session, of corn cod and cotton dresses, of papa’s promises of ice cream after dinner and work – whichever finished first…
It reminds me of reading late, late into the night because exams were in winters…
I associate the heat with strange things. Like freedom – from the heavy clothing of winter, from studies, from all that was not me and was winter!

>Self vs the Created Self

To run from yourself, you need a lot of space; for the self has a strange knack of catching up with itself.

And so half way through our lives, we’re panting, gasping for breath not knowing what we’re running to or away from, thinking we’re moving ahead when all we’re doing is moving in circles after ourselves, behind ourselves.

I read this quote somewhere in blogosphere a few days ago and couldn’t help but wonder at how the writer had so beautifully hit on the truth. Of how so many of the human kind are so ill at ease with themselves, not knowing what to do with the way they think and act and behave.

So they, and I, we put up a facade trying to be someone we are not, trying to fit in where we don’t, even look the way we don’t. Sometimes we break free from the shackles of stereotypes voluntarily and sometimes our facade gives way, exposing who we truly are – to ourselves and the world. Sometimes, we put up a front of fighting the stereotypes when we privately play along with them, believing in them. The bottom line is we’re trying to be people we want to be and what we want to be isn’t always what we are born to be.

How uncomfortable then you can get in your own skin as you struggle to make it fit this false you. And it keeps slipping away. Somehow, the happiest people are those who are fine being who they are and don’t have to say ‘Let Me Be Me’ ’cause they are being them!
PS: If this sounds like me philosophising, well, may be I am!