Are you sure you want to delete?

Hitting the “delete” button. That’s all it practically takes to sever ties now. Thinking of nipping the negativity in the bud? Look into your phone. The solution to a fulfilling life sans any negativity and replete with optimism lies in there.

All you got to do is remove the negatives – applications, people, games, names, faces, friends, knowns and unknowns who seem to sap the energy out of you. Life will be great after you have purged your phone. Instant phonic purgation and mobile catharsis!

So are you sure you want to delete? Yell “hell yeah” and hit the sucker. Boom!

Of Frizzy Hair, Incorrect Fashion Sense, and No Make-up

Y with X

X – Hello, Miss Frizzy Hair!

Y – Hey, what’s with the frizzy hair?

X – You know something – you are ruining that pretty face with that frizzy hair of yours.

Y – Ummm. So what should I do?

X – Get it tamed. Get it flattened. Will help you look more groomed. And please add more colours to your wardrobe. You have such a boring wardrobe. Dump those full-sleeved shirts and boring denims. You can pull-off anything with that body of yours. You have the right body, you know. My girl got to be the best – the hottest in town.

Y – *Smiles* But I like wearing that kind of stuff. And seriously, I appreciate your concern for my lack of sartorial skills, but I would prefer not being told what to wear and not to wear.

X – I feel that in a true relationship we need to bring out the best in each other. It’s a process that works for both us – I tell you things that will have you as a better person. And you tell me things which you think will make me better.

Y – So you think wearing fancier clothes and “taming” my hair will make me a better person?

X – Now you are getting me completely wrong! Did you even pay attention to what I said? I said that you are ruining a pretty face with that unkempt hair. And that you have a body that can carry off the hottest of clothes! Pretty and right body! I wasn’t belittling you, duh!

Y – But I would prefer someone who accepts and appreciates me the way I am. For them, I would voluntarily, and even without being asked to, work on making myself better.

Y With Z (And not X – About a month later)

Y – So what kind of clothes you prefer to see me in?

Z- Anything that you are comfortable in…

Y – But I wear jeans most of the time. That’s what I am comfortable in.

Z – I am fine with that. What matters to me is your comfort. I don’t think you will enjoy my company to the fullest if you are not wearing something you are comfortable in.

Y – And do you like women in make-up?

Z – I don’t like heavily made-up woman.

Y – So what attracts you in a woman?

Z – I get drawn to her if I get the right mental vibes.

Y – Why were you drawn to me?

Z – I find you cerebrally stimulating.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Y is a 28 year old woman, while X in his early thirties and Z in his early forties.

Of course, you must have guessed it by now whom Y gave the boot and whom she embraced gladly.

We like reading such happy-ending tales where the plain-Jane protagonist ultimately finds her prince charming -  sadly only in blogs and story books. But are we actually accepting of plain looks and bright brains? I would be wary if someone told me their preferences were the other way round.

But then who would not want Aishwarya Rai eyes (wear coloured contact lens for them), Megan Fox nose (did she not get a nose job?), porn-star round boobs (let’s search breast implants), Beyoncified buttocks (they actually have gluteal implants for a bigger behind too, I swear), waist the size of your 5-year old niece (corsets help; if you can’t breathe in them get a tummy tuck), and poker-straight hair (with a poker face, enter a hair salon now!).

Are women and beauty product companies entirely to be blamed for skewed body images that we carry? Is it just because of that hoarding of Aishwarya Rai on the traffic signal signalling us that we want better hair? Or is it the constant pressure of our spouses and loved ones to look better?

Also, is the idea of bodily perfection only that of people belonging to a certain age-group (more so of people below 35)? I personally find slightly more mature people more practical and less rigid on matters of weight and waist. Most of them want you to be of a healthy mind and body.

The idea of beauty has changed over times. What was once considered voluptuous and beautiful is your present-day fat. Curly is your present day frizzy. Too fair, then don’t be surprised if someone calls you as bloodless as a vampire. Dark, then someone might suggest you rub oatmeal mixed with bird poop for instant fairness. If you are slim, they call you anorexic. Plump, they call you emotionally disturbed on your back. Receding hairline, rub onion juice on your pate. Thick hair, get them pressed.

And the non-sense continues till you feel like declaring “this world is ugly as a f**k”

Even worse is our constant endeavor to fit into the conventional stereotypes of body-image right. We hit the gym to look like a porn star in bed. We workout so that we can wear that black dress that Halle Berry wore on the red carpet. We zip our mouths even on festivals — which were originally thought of to enjoy the smallest of pleasures to our senses (including that of taste) — so that we look slimmer on our dates. It’s surprising the number of articles and blogs which come out during the festive season which tell us how to control our tongues literally eating during that one day of feasting.

Mind it – it takes 3,500 calories to make up one pound. That’s almost 7,000 calories to make up one kilo. If you are not on a record-breaking spree, with a decent appetite and a luxurious spread in front of you, gulping 7,000 calories in a day of celebration is an almost impossible feat.

Why can’t we think of having a better body only for ourselves? Why can’t we tell ourselves that two inches lost from our waistline would do us good by reducing the disastrous belly fat?

Why can’t we think that  running helps our cardiovascular system run right? And not just helps tone our thighs and increase that thing called thigh gap.

That moving our body makes it better, not just looks-wise. That building muscles sans the scary powders and steroids  helps us stay healthy and not just attracts chicks looking for Hulk Hogans in bed.

___________________________________________________________

Y with her BFF (Few Days Back)

BFF – Reconsider your decision to invest so much in a smartphone.

Y – Why?

BFF – I suggest you buy a cheaper smartphone and get your hair treated.

Y *Facepalm*

Thursday Mornings Gone Bad

You wake up feeling all groggy and worn out a couple of hours before your alarm is scheduled to blast off sleep from your brain. Those 1 hour and 58 minutes pass off in a jiffy. And in that greed to not miss those last two precious minutes of dreaming about your crush, you end up sleeping 15 minutes more. The result – a Thursday morning fiasco.

You did your maths correctly the previous evening – a total of 40 minutes in the washroom doing your routine everyday poopeeping (that was gross and graphic alright), brushing, washing-scrubbing stuff; four minutes to clothes, hair and perfume; two minutes to putting on socks and shoes — and you felt you were the present day Aryabhatta.  Not so fast. That avarice to grab more shuteye made a plain”I-stick-my-tongue-out-on-you” mockery of your math or lack of math skills.

In that confusion and panic that ensue, you forget taking your towel to the bathroom. Or worse your mother or wife or sister or whatever towel-relation is applicable in your case lovingly keeps it in the other bathroom. And then you open the bathroom door and shout for your towel. And everyone seems to have stuffed their ears with airplane-styles ear plugs or worse, simply put you on mute. And then you walk out of the bathroom all dripping and cold. In full monty.

Your thermal wear seems to have entangled with your quilt (this is January North India cold). Your socks seem to have been gobbled up by the elusive thermals. You head back to the drawer and spend another 15 seconds finding an alternative set of inners and socks.  And then your favourite belt disappears. *Poof* Magic. Vanished into thin air. And that’s when you finally realise the importance of having your denims altered to fit you right.

Alternative belt or no belt, you ask the lady of the house to pack your breakfast so that you can have it at work. That’s because the mathematician in you calculates the time taken to pack your breakfast is equal to the time it would take to put on your shoes and stuff. Another five minutes for making it crawl down your esophagus (my Biology rocks).

You grab your stuff and run down the staircase, only to find you forgot your keys. You sprint up again, get hold of your keys, and finally hit the road at 20km/hour + the usual speed you drive at. Suddenly you feel you are the focus of everyone else on the road. You feel you have become a magnet for pedestrians, dogs – both mongrels and fancy pets, rickshaw wallas and their auto brethren; they all seem to have taken a liking for either you or your car and  are perpetually attracted to you. Or they have gone suicidal and want you to add them to the accident mortality rates of the country.

You honk, break and curse. In English, Punjabi and Hindi.  And finally make it to your workplace intact – in one piece. Like a succulent piece of steak ready to be devoured by your workplace. Bad Thursday.

What’s Azadi For You?

Is it chutkara from your clingy girlfriend or boyfriend?

Is it a day off from work?

Is it completely quitting work?

Is it quitting work, shaving your head, and enrolling yourself with a Ladakh monastery?

Is it a free fall from a hilltop or a bridge (courtesy a bungee tied around you)?

Is it crooning your favourite number in the middle of the road?

Is it sipping a cup of Joe in your favourite mug, with your favourite book in hand, in the midst of your favourite people?

Is it trying to fit your backside into your kid’s tricycle? Or taking a quick ride down a scary slide?

Is it a long bike ride with the wind blowing into your face and completely ruffling your hair?

Is it skinny dipping in a hot spring? (most of our snaan ghats are segregated for males and females; you could very well be a free bird and  go full monty and enjoy this moment of azadi)

Is it mouthing the choicest of gaalis on the top of the mountain to hear back the echoes?

Is it listening to “Echoes” by Pink Floyd with your lover?

Is it walking down the alley whistling and kicking  pebbles and beer bottles and caps?

Is it committing the sin of plucking a beautiful rose from a forbidden garden and planting it in your hair?

Is it kissing a complete stranger?

Is it winking at a complete stranger who sort of seems to show interest in you?

Is it giving a “come-hither” look to that interested stranger?

Is it booking a hotel room with that beautiful stranger?

On a saner “Mother Teresa” note, is it going on a sabbatical for social work in the North-East?

Now do you really think that “man is born free and everywhere he is in chains“… All you need is a true intention to be free. There are azadi opportunities galore.

Odditissey 2014

Early 2014 is a good time to reflect on the absurd ways in which the way you think and behave alter. After some rare moments of introspection and “silent” soliloquy (confined to my mind, minus any external audiences), I realized that I am growing odd and strange. I have listed some of the oddities that really surprised me:

Oddity #1 - It’s been 17 days since we ushered in 2014. And it was on the 17th day of 2014 that I realized I was still hung up on 2013 (I was using 2013 for all my reports till now). Usually, I would let go of time. In early 2014, I didn’t.

Oddity #2 – I would delude myself into thinking that I could be all gooey with emotions 24*7, that my disposition was similar to that of eternal embers – I could stay aglow in the warmth of mirth and good company forever. But in 2014 I realized that my mind is a lot more stoic and my disposition similar to that of ice – incisively cold.

Oddity #3 – Dependence was my biggest sin. Lack of dependence has now become a virtue for me in 2014. And a very very bad habit too.

Oddity #4 – Diffidence (on a personal level) had a vice-like grip on me till quite recently. However, now I border on being brazenly insolent, and brashly nonchalant. In 2014, I don’t give two hoots to what people think of me. 2014 will see me as a risk-taker and a tension-giver.

Oddity #5 – I would try to garner knowledge and wisdom (in the most dismally minuscule quantities) from people who would qualify as well-read and intelligent as per my list of criteria. Come 2014, and I try to learn the tiniest lessons of life from all sorts of people —right from my maid-servant to the person whom I officially declared as a moron, and even monkeys.

Quite odd, indeed! But then that’s life… You are odd and willingly want to stand out like a sore thumb, and despite that you try to even out with everyone. That’s so queer, Mr. 2014. Can you tone down a bit?

A Brother To A Brother

Brother brother,
mother is dead.

Don’t worry brother,
I will make the bed.

Does it bother you,
will you be safe and sound?

How can you forget this brother,
for you I can be a bloodhound.

Though I am puny and you tower over me
I will protect you from dogs, snow, and sleet.

Brother brother,
mother is dead.

Don’t worry brother,
I’ll keep the kitchen fire burning red.

Though you know a lot more than I do,
I can still help you, brother, save a nickel or two.

Brother, brother
mother is dead.

Forget your worries brother,
it’s time to go to bed.

—- An 8-year old to his elder brother

The Present – Your Very Own Present

Live in the present. Because this present (which when bygone becomes the past) is the gift that life gives you every single moment. Your each and every single breath is this present– this gift of life– lived. It’s essential that you don’t allow this present, this very moment that you are living, to be blocked by the cobwebs of the past. Let go of the past. Do not let the bygone present eat you in and wear you out.

Sometimes, reminiscence brings back pain. Sometimes, it brings back joys. But don’t hold on to reminiscence for long as it is is just the present gone stale and bad. Some reminiscences often haunt you. Mere mention of these has your pulses racing and your head spinning into  a vortex. Negativity starts spewing through your veins. Brain activity directs these juices brimming with sadness, ache, discomfort and  anxiety to reach each and every nook and cranny of your body. You complain, you whine, you pick-up fights with your mind enslaved by the bygones. Forget them. Get over them. They are not worth wasting out this moment that you are living. They are not worth fighting over with the wonderful presents this present brings you.

I will turn the hands of the clock to the presents we anticipate, or more simply put – the future. Your anticipation and what happens in reality need not necessarily be superimposed over each other without making any adjustments or trimming their edges. Sure, the anticipated present helps you soar high, gives you a chance to imagine happiness and and enjoy moments of joy which are not yours at all. But then that’s what the future is – a figment of imagination, a piece of fiction, a novel script which will never be transferred to the celluloid. That’s when you need to hold the wide gallop of the horses of imagination, and get your senses back to enjoy the gift that you’re living right at this moment – the present.

 

Lizard For Dummies

I am the shrunken version of a dinosaur. They say the closest progeny of a dinosaur is a bird. They are wrong. I am T-rex dinosaur’s closest relative.

Crocodiles are my relatives too. I mean, do I even need to tell you all this? I look like one, for Pete’s sake.

I cling to your walls and ceilings just to affirm the fact that you inferior immortals are, well, inferior. You guys have to look up at me. And oh what sadistic pleasure I get when you squirm and scream with fear at my sight. Blame my ancestry for that – dinosaurs were my great, great, great (raised to the power 10 million) grandparents.

I stick my tongue out every now and then – at you, human beings! You guys are so damn funny and ambitious. You run after me with your slippers in hand; you even brandish disgusting objects like broomsticks at me. But tell me, Mr. Sniper, did your aim ever land at the target? Yes? NO!

Blame that on my ancestry again – one of my great, great, great (raised to the power 1000) grandaunts was seduced by a cheetah once. See, I have all the good genes!

You are demeaning me by calling me a “house” lizard. For God’s sake, don’t you guys watch Nat Geo? Heard of the Komodo dragon? That’s the blow-fish version of me.

We, House Lizards (how much I loathe the term), are superior to human beings. Period. Can you change colors the way we do (yes, we’ve mated chameleons too; we attract chicks and their ilk with our uber good looks)? You have to use your 10 clumsy digits just to get yourself to consume the rotten inedible stuff that you call “food”. Food lands right there into our mouths. Talk of our highly evolved long tongues based on the principles of ergonomics!

(Disclaimer: The author of this post forgot conducting basic research while working on this article. Biologists and evolutionists, stay away!)

Love Is A Humbug……Not

The cynic in me wants  me to believe that love is more of fiction than reality. The die- hard, hopeful romantic in me wants me to revere love in its purest forms. Sometimes I am tempted to replace the word “rose’ in Gertrude Stein’s famous line, “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”, considered to be the epitome of the description of the beauty of a rose, with the word “love”, making it “Love is love is love is love”. Many a study was undertaken to find out the mysteries of this esoteric feeling called love.

 

I remember watching a documentary on the Discovery Channel where scientists associated the feeling of love with release of  chemicals like dopamine, pheromones and serotonin which have been associated with increased pulse rate, lack of appetite, and sleeplessness (all signs of being in love). It is funny to believe that I have loved  a particular Mr A because whenever I would see him, my eyes would transmit pictures of him to my brain,and my brain would respond by releasing the aforementioned chemicals into my blood stream. But then why at all would my brain react in such a manner when I caught a fleeting glimpse of him, or on a mere thought of his crossing my mind. These are some of the mysteries that perplex me.

 

I am sure we’ll get a concrete answer to these questions soon. For the time being, I would like to believe love to be a virtue, an emotion, rather than a chemical locha (as described by Murli Prasad Sharma in Munnabhai MBBS).

Icarus Rises

Rachel got a new pair of wings yesterday. And all she wanted to do was soar high in the sky, and get as close to the sun as did Icarus. Of course, without having to fall back to reality.

She unclipped her tied wings and spread them wide. Zephyr from the West cooed into her ears, beckoning Rachel to climb on her wave and speed past the night. Time – or lack of it – was what nagged her the most. She wanted to size up the world, kiss the sky, live it up with the stars and dine with the moon. And a couple of hours would not suffice.

Suddenly, she felt like a live time bomb ready to explode any moment. In her panic to make the most of these two hours, she  climbed up the rooftop. She tried to balance herself by grasping the serrated edges of the roof tiles with her toes. Her heart counted out aloud …one two three four five six seven eight naaaaaaaaine teeeen..And lo and behold, she pushed herself off the roof. She silently besought the wings to save her from falling to death. And they obliged..Off she went with them, the wings gently lapping the wind and Rachel riding high on the tide.

She zipped along the narrow alleyways, a good 2000 feet above them. She gasped and gaped at the glow-worm-like flickers of light at the stadium. Her heart lit up with an inexplicable mirth as she flew round and round drawing shapes of 8 over her school. And then the siren honked…TRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring..it rang through her ears..Her wings had 5 minutes worth of life left.. And she had miles and miles to go.

She was left with no choice but to hike a ride back home. “Theater?”, asked the benevolent driver looking at the feathery wings jutting out of her satchel – now at rest. “Yes”, replied Rachel, all smug and joyful. The contraption had worked.