Friday, April 30, 2010

About Glossy Covers and Sweet Words

Glossy covers and Sweet words
Today it’s all about good packaging. I go into the mall and survey the many cartons lined up for perusal. The nondescript dull plastic bag that contains equally good stuff does not attract many hands while the high priced glossy bright carton does!

Tell me why?.....?
Advertisements are
more about neat storylines, star presence and jazzy graphics, and
less about product usage or product features?
Schooling is
more about how well a teacher can capture student attention and
less about what curiosity the student brings?

What is said becomes more vital than what is actually felt?

A child tells his mom...I want to watch TV more time. The mom is various magazines and articles that she must cover her thoughts with glossy packaging
She must u think that is right?
or say..I think it is time for you to read/sleep
or suggest...maybe you can draw a picture for me instead.
A plain YES or NO is replaced with – so many sweet words...May be it would be nice to … blah blah?
We do them disservice.
We have got this generation used to exquisite packaging. Life will teach them the hard way that content is more important that cover.
Then they will look for us … to question and to blame.
We better have a glossy cover ready!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Civic sense! Now what’s thaaat?

We call them ‘Netas’ which in English translates to Leaders. Now leaders are supposed to know what’s good for you. Right?

Our leaders surely know what’s good for us. Perhaps that is why, when I go foraging into new localities looking for 6th cross or Netaji lane I find sign boards positioned conveniently by the road authorities. But the name and number of the streets are obliterated by the ‘VOTE FOR BLAH AND BLAH’ posters which have been pasted on them. Our netas encourage the spirit of adventure and persistence. See, despite all the ‘VOTE FOR BLAH and BLAH’ signs, last Sunday I did find my uncle’s house.
Our leaders surely know what’s good for us. Perhaps that is why corners of main roads in Bangalore are decorated with larger than life size cut-outs and images of netas and all their umpteen supporters. So what if it wipes out a view of the oncoming traffic? That is little payment for the wisdom offered. Now this one tells us that a certain neta is celebrating his birthday with poor feeding in some temple. Surely that inspires us mere mortals to do our bit to wipe a tear like our netas do?
Our leaders surely know what’s good for us. No wonder then that daily problems like power-cuts, water shortage and jobless naxals are not really matters to be pettily worrying about. A little hardship will go a long way in purging your soul sir! ‘Which neta pow-wows with which ladies’ now thaaaat concern needs total attention and energy.
Our leaders surely know what’s good for us.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

That Makes Two of Us

both wondering, ‘What the hell is wrong?’

She deposited her home building material neatly in place. She just had to look away and lo! It just vanished into thin air. That had never happened before. This was obviously not the first time she was building a home. She had done it very effectively before and she had many successful tales to tell. But this time…things were different...

I hear alarming noises. It has never happened to me before. I know I promised to keep the electricity bill low. But this is not the first time I am breaking the rule of no AC in the afternoon. But this AC acts so strange, like it is telling me 'Hey! You forgot the promise you made to yourself'. It makes loud crackling sound; it fails to cool the room, and appears to have a mind of its own.

Yes that makes two of us wondering, ‘What the hell is wrong?’
So I call the Samsung guys to look into the machine. Guess what we found? We scooped out like a million hard sticks and twigs, collected by madam pigeon to make her nest. The poor dear deposited the sticks on the AC cover only to be sucked in the minute the AC was turned on during the afternoon.
Yes, we rarely observed the noise at night. I wonder why? Perhaps they don’t collect material after 4? For that’s when I would turn off the AC in the afternoon. Bird Watchers! May be you would know.

So now, two of us are happy. I know my AC actually has no mind of its own. And the pigeon is peaceful. The universe has answered her secret wish. The sticks stay where she places them. The smart Samsung guy has placed a ply sheet over the cover! Pigeon problems are not new to Indian cities. So AC manufacturers, why don’t you please provide a cover that will allow in air but not allow sticks collected by our dear feathered home-makers?
Pigeon bhi khush, AC bhi khush.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Take a bow ... thankyou ... thankyou ...

The day someone threw an insult instead of a rock civilisation was born….or something to that effect, said Freud. Let me add a gyan line of my own.
The day a child did a cute thing to win some claps ambition was born. We never grow out of that childhood do we? All our striving is for accolades. There are basic 4 questions that mould our lives
How big is the thirst to win accolades?
How many do you want to impress?
Whose clapping do you seek?
Whose look of admiration will give you a high?
The answer to these 4 questions decides who you are. When we reach a decision making point, whether it is a career you need to choose, a dress you need to pick or a life value you are to fix on - all decisions are based on our intrinsic answer to the basic 4 questions.
The thief, the juggler, the businessman and the sportsman, are what they are- so different from each other - because their answers to the basic 4 questions are different.
We always perform to a clapping. We really never grow up. Do we?

Friday, April 9, 2010

O Calcutta! Your Buildings Tell it All

You made me laugh, you made me cry
You taught me how to reason WHY?

Birla Mandir stands right next to MHS. A curious but popular nomenclature!
Shouldn’t it be called Lakshminarayan Mandir?

Sleek candy coloured modernity
Standing cheek to cheek with staid ornate antiquity

Large circular balconies an indulgence so typically Calcutta
Don't miss the cute post box at the door

Hey! Look at me!
I just had a pink beauty make over.

Salt lake - a part of Calcutta that we hardly knew
is now a happening new city

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Journey in Time

Today’s blog is dedicated to two wonderful persons - My uncles Sri Sheshadri and Sri Seetharam. To us they are Doppa and Titi. In fact to family and friends who know them, they are Doppa and Titi.

Their love is not because but their love is.

With them love is not something you earn, it is a blessing you claim as your own.

I feel honoured to be a part of this blessing and to claim it as my own.

Doppa celebrates success at a class exam because you are happy. And if you have not done very well you must be feeling low. So you get a special treat just to cheer you up!

At Doppa’s home the door is always open – to anyone who wishes to drop in and enjoy the warmth of a cup of coffee or an hour of chatter. After an hour of social chat the who guest gets up to leave is engaged at the door in fresh discussions, as if unwilling to let the favoured guest go.

His enthusiasm knows no bounds. He is all willing to take every guest around his Calcutta. He insists on showing off the Victoria Memorial, the Metro and the many other delights that Calcutta has to offer. A visit to New-Market, an indulgence at Flurys, a stop at the lakes and spiritual rejuvenation at Kali-mandir and Belur-Math are must-do’s when a long distance guest arrives.

When we remember that we need to buy a book at 8 in the evening, when we need to go into crowded puja pandals, when we insist that it is time for our treat at Kwalitys, we look to Titi…and it is always a happy YES, OK.

Doppa is now 95. But his charm is most endearing. He has a weak short term memory. But he retains his logic and his concern for all. I had the most wonderful time in Calcutta.
Watch out for more updates.

You see him here minding his one year old great grandson at a local mall. I look forward for an encore of this trip next year.

Titi and Doppa at the Cheshire Home

Doppa with great grandson at the mall

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What is it with the olfactory nerves?

They run to the head but touch your heart.

The smell of rain on parched land, don’t you just love it? Aroma of fresh brewed coffee, melting chocolate and wet nail polish…I agree these arouse varied reactions. Some of you find them a tad too overbearing. But count me out from that list. Though, I can’t think of anyone who does not see the word chocolate and conjure up the smell and the visual of aaah melting chocolate.

Is it only me? When I see pictures, actually the more well-taken ones, I can really smell the thing. Show me ads of a steaming cup of tea, or dollops of red tomato ketchup, or slices of lemon, or a dozen oranges tumbling one after the other and I can literally smell the thing.

Curious, huh?

At other times smells bring on images from the past. A mild fragrance from an agarbatti wafts into the street conjuring up for me images of my mother-in-laws meticulously maintained “god’s place”. Hindu temples have a characteristic aroma of burning camphor, oil wick lamps, fresh coconut and flowers. Oh! I love that.

Do emotions have smells too? Like, we perhaps smell different when we are in fear, or in pain, or in sheer happiness. They say dogs can sense fear by the smell emitted. Is that right?

There may some truth in this. Have you noticed? Schools smell different on Day One. The incidence of collective excitement and fear perhaps?

This week is catching up time for me. I am visiting Kolkata, where is spent all my schooling years. But then, I knew it as Calcutta. I associate my Calcutta with the

tung-tung of the cycle rickshaws,

permeating aroma of mustard oil,

heated arguments in chaste Bengali,

water as it gushes out of roadside hand pumps

mounds of singada consumed with fervour

red cloth that covered the large pots containing yummy puchka pani (tangy water for pani-puri)

mishti doi (dahi) that was sold in matkas (earthenware cups)

And ofcourse the prim school that I attended!

I associate it with a house I grew up in, with an aunt who cooked delicious meals for the family and for the guests who could drop in un-announced.

I conjure up at will the long corridor where we used to play hide-and-seek. I hated to be caught and be made to count.

And uncles who would pamper us, tease us and keep us enveloped in warmth of love. I am off to Kolkata for 3 days to be with my Calcutta after 35 years! Will I find what I live with in my mind?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tomato Ketchup On A Silk Shirt

O! Look what you did.
You have gone and spilt Tomato Ketchup on my silk shirt.
O! How could you!!!

Thankfully this happens rarely.
Thankfully most often our day is quite predictable. And like they used to say... God is in his Heaven and all's right with the world.

Consequently our actions are mechanical and habit oriented. A large part of our mental faculty is occupied with plans for the future or regrets of the past. A small sliver of memory space is left to attend to the present. You don’t need to be a genius to appreciate sonny’s drawings, to fill in the boring worksheets or to eat dinner. So when the going is smooth and easy your mind is practically elsewhere.

And then there is a crisis. An unpleasant situation occurs in the form of an argument or a hurt or…spilt tomato ketchup. Suddenly the mind jerks to the present. The situation merits all attention. Obviously this not-so-happy event is etched deeply in memory. You are wilfully building up a cache of unpleasant memories to be recalled mechanically.

When happy times are around, where are you?
  • Acknowledge the loveliness of the present.
  • Become actually aware of the nice experience life fills your day with.
  • Feel the warmth of the coffee cup. Bask in its aroma.
  • Drink in the beauty of the moment.
Your mind captures these series of Kodak moments. Life is now one joy ride of happy memories with a dash of distasteful ones.

Tomato ketchup on a silk shirt, notwithstanding!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

So, what are you doing?

Yeah, this is what they have been asking me, ever since I quit my e-learning job in Bangalore and came here to Delhi. I tell them, I keep home, I cook fine meals, read a lot, blog, I catch up with friends on fb, and just be myself.

Ye-e-e-es they say, drawing it out like a well worn chewing gum. Then a brain wave happens. You approach this XYZ School down the road. I am sure they will give you a job - a conciliatory tone. You could take English tuitions at home – a brighter tone. You were with an e-learning company you could go around and sell the CDs. They add helpfully. Yeah right. I picture myself at metro stations with 25 CDs in their fancy plastic jackets chanting CDs saab CDs -100 rupees for three.

Naa. I know that’s not what they mean. They are just trying to tell me that I am so smart and so sharp and so great that I should not be wanting to simply sit at home. But, hey! That’s what I want to do. ok? That’s why I quit. See?

But now I have a job. Last week we attended a discussion forum. At a friendly post discussion chat I elaborated on my above-stated-attitude. And you will not believe this. I met this gentleman who has started a company that helps people decide to quit their job.

So now I am working for this company. We have a lot of people who do not actually want to work. We help them lead an intentional life. We tell them how their life can be better when they do what they really want to do. That is, in this case, quit their jobs. I meet a lot of interesting persons.

Yesterday I spoke to a lady who has a 9am to 9pm job. She wants to quit as she has found no time to redo the home d├ęcor for seven years. We could sense her deep pain. I also met this 29 year old who wants to retire at 30. But this time we went all out to convince him that he should reconsider his decision… unless he could inherit a fortune.


Would you like to know more about my workplace?

Try this link. Click Here   So, what are you doing