I am sitting on the roadside as the crowd flashes past, the traffic flows and stops with the signals. Some look at me with a feeling akin to sympathy and understanding - they throw a coin my way - I turn my face away. I once rode with dignity the streets they now wander. I know what they think; but they won't understand my plight, until they find themselves here, where I now wait.
The waiting is neverending, it would grind the backbone of an ordinary individual. But I am far from ordinary. I can endure this with more mettle because this is what I have been weathering all my life, the failures and the rejections and the just-misses. This is what each stepping stone called 'Loss' has been preparing me for, over the years.
Some people are born irritants. There is no escaping them. You try to avoid them but they manage to sneak up behind you and ruin your day the best way they can, with the best tools at hand. You are sometimes left wondering (almost admiring) how they manage to do it so well. And when you find that some of them hang out with each other, you wonder... do they irritate each other so much so that the friction sticks them together? Or is the togetherness a method of sharpening their tools against each other, in anticipation of their next victim?
I woke up after seeing an 'explosive dream' - a dream with a lot of illogical explosions in it, with me in the thick of it - mingled with the appearances of some people from my past whom I haven't thought of for months, perhaps years. Where do these thoughts come from? And when I woke up, everything was out-of-sync. I could get absolutely nothing right.
Furious helplessness, and decisions forced into my mouth.
I badly want to get nasty with someone and ruin someone's happiness !
Now I know. Among animation movies, there are excellent ones, there are average ones and then there are below-average ones. Of the last I will not speak much except that there aren't many in this category, and the few that are, are scattered across the globe. They continue to entertain the children, however do not find much admirers in the adult audience.
Kung Fu Panda undoubtedly falls under the first category of the Excellent Animation Movies.
There was a time when superheroes ruled the world. Much of the human population was captivated by their absolutely unreproducible adventures. Ordinary mortals could not even dream of approaching them, let alone imitating them, and the Universe lived in contentment that such successes are for the extraordinary lives. But that is far from the case now. The world has been educated that ordinary people are capable of far greater achievements than the superheroes! For example, a big, fat, flabby Panda can defeat the most feared snow leopard Tai Lung, who was not stopped even by the Furious Five masters of Kung Fu (Monkey, Mantis, Viper, Crane and Tigress)! It took the greatest Kung Fu master of all China to point out to him that his weaknesses are his greatest strengths.
Excellent movie, featuring the voice talents of Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, David Cross, to name a few.
This is an old thought, perhaps as old as human communication itself. There are a great number of such quotes floating about the universe which we are aware of, yet have not spent enough time to decide whether we believe in it.
And then suddenly one day we come across it for the infinite-th time and are struck by how true it is, how our lives are the undying evidence of its truth.
Whether whatever happens is for the best or not, I leave you to contemplate. But the thread of what happens to us today, leads way back several years, to our birth or even beyond.
My immediate (mis)fortune does not owe its origin or reason to the events of yesterday. It leads back to choices I made years ago. If I really bother to go back and write down each instance that led to the next event in line, I may go back about fifteen years (at the very least). Some are decisions I made, some have been forced into me and some logical decisions just came my way and I followed their direction.
This line of thought has a negative effect. At some point, we may end up regretting the decision we made. Had I not chosen that path, maybe I would have ended up in a better place. Chances are you may have landed in a worse mess!
However, at least in one instance of my life I have found that, even if I had made a different choice than I did eight years ago, I would have ended up exactly here! Curious, strange perhaps, but true. The paths would have been different and many of the people I encountered would have been different, but I would have landed exactly (or very near) where I am now.
We Indians are by and large a spiritual lot. We may cover ourselves up in the most modern guise and use the international parlance, but somewhere inside we are still attached to the beliefs and traditions we were brought up with. We have often heard of "actions in this life affecting the next life" (which is an altogether different and lengthy topic!). Who knows, our actions and situations of this life may have their roots in our previous life.
This perhaps explains (partly) the train of thought that initiated this blog post.
Two persons with different sets of experiences, mindsets and behaviour (but in the same age group and in the same environment) are given a problem where they need to express their reactions to help the questioner out of a difficult and emotionally challenging situation (which he feels is an insult on top of injury). Each one is unaware of the reaction of the other to the problem.
Here are their reactions.
- Justifies that the situation is right and is as per "Policy".
- Tries to make light of it and says it isn't an issue at all.
- Says that You are being too emotional and should not do anything in fury.
- Says, I perfectly understand your feelings but I cannot ease it for you, there is no humiliation involved as you seem to think, the situation is perfectly justified.
- Says that I am on your side, but you need to endure it.Trying to avoid it is like showing your protest which is quite uncalled for.
- Says, You will ruin relationships if you try to dodge it. Finally you are the loser; if you go through this though you feel it isn't right, you will benefit out of it.
- Says, I have already spoken to the concerned person to make things easier for you so that you don't have to go through this agony.
Mumbai was(is) like a furnace. When I first stepped out to Ground Mumbai, I was reminded of the generator in my office during the power cut (which is an infuriatingly common occurrence, come summer) that radiates heat waves, and looked around for the heat generator before realising that it was right beneath my feet. There was nothing to do during the day time except perspire, take a bath, perspire, take a bath,... And indulge in a lot of juicy fruits - mangoes, oranges and grapes of the tastiest kind were in season.
But a holiday is a holiday; Bangalore and its environment were temporarily forgotten and we merged with the Mumbaiyya life. But it had to come to an end like all good things and we fell to harsh reality with a Thud.
When we got back home, Bangalore welcomed us with a warm, grim air like a mother reprimanding a child who came in late from play. But like the ever forgiving mother, she showered love in the form of heavy rains complete with lightning and thunder (too much love, I say!). The stuffy air inside the house took a while to be blown away by the cool wind.
I had been long aware of the existence of weblogs in this universe. A number of years ago, when the concept of blogs sprouted like mushrooms after the rain, I was not impressed. I read somewhere that a blog is a "public diary" of an individual, where one can post just about anything for the whole world to see. "Nay", I thought. "I would not want the whole world to see what my immediate family is not allowed to know." I did not realise then that I had hit the nail on the head. A blog is meant to consist of stuff that the whole world reads and shares, many a time not even known to the family, unless they are visitors of the blog too!
"Why would anyone want to post their feelings and thoughts to the world at large, to be read by people one hardly knows exist?", the skeptic in me thought, as I pondered over blogs that reviewed the events of the places closest to the author, his/her analysis and opinion on some or other instance that meant nothing to me.
A bit of this stolid mentality was blown to bits by my friend who has been in the blogworld for about two years. When I began following hers, I wanted to create a blog of my own, more to give expressions to the cluttered thoughts which are aplenty in my mind than for the public eye.
I began following other blogs also by known and unknown people, which I found interesting (my regular visits can be found in the blogroll in the right pane under "Blogs I read"). There are others that I read however there is a probationary period before they qualify to get into my blogroll (Ignore the arrogance - I cannot show it anywhere else!). Many bloggers write and discuss specific topics of their interest, whereas some others (like me) write about anything under the sun. What keeps me in a blog and ensures I return is most definitely the topic. If the writing is elegant, the subject can be anything or nothing, it matters not. Intentionally or otherwise, I began leaving footprints at the pages I visit, leading others to come to my world. I had arrived.
The Blogroll ("Blogs I read") is a great concept, wherein I do not have to explicitly visit a blog every day to know if there are updates, I only need to keep my eye open and tilted to the right to see if a blog has come to the top of the list with a new post title.
Recently I was pleasantly surprised to find my blog mentioned in two of the blogs I closely follow: TheSixChix.com and Written Inc.
Perhaps the first blog (after my friend's) that I bookmarked and began visiting regularly was Sandra Bell-Lundy's Between Friends blog. I am an unconditional fan of Between Friends cartoon strips which I read every day in the Times of India - Bangalore Times, and every day find myself amazed at how the occurences in the lives of Susan(especially), Kim and Maeve are similar to my own. I have this habit of googling around for information whenever I find something interesting. So I stumbled upon her blog and never left it since. She introduced Book Lust, the Six Chix and Nellie Blog. I found the Weekly Story Book from Nellie blog, which I found very useful as it provided bedtime stories for my son - a new one every week! - because I was tired of inventing stories every night.
Comments? Now that you get my areas of interest, any blogs you recommend?
Experience means finding oneself in a territory that looks devastatingly similar to the one from which you had run away years before, and remembering to tread cautiously so as to avoid a similar calamity.
"This job requires working late, as our clients are Europeans and their day starts after our lunch", the interviewer said. "That would be a problem", said I. "I need to get home by half past seven. I have a small son, you see." "Oh! Half past seven? Hmm-mm." "How late do you think it will get ?" "Around eleven-ish? It happens only once a week, maybe twice a week." "Eleven is too late, I don't think I can take up this job."
"Why don't you go for teaching," the lady said kindly, as I got up to leave. "Get an M.Tech and join a university. It's a cool job. You get vacations, classes would be an hour or two a day and you can reach home early. Perfect job for a woman!" I was silent. She went on about the benefits of being a lecturer.
"But I don't want to do that", I thought. "why can't I do what I want and still be able to manage my personal life?"
The people are floating helter-skelter like feathers caught in the breeze. The future is fuzzy and uncertain. The situation that had seemed manageable on the other side of the crisis, now looms before them, large and unnerving. They gather together and whisper to each other. They look around, as if expecting their destiny to pounce on them before they are ready. They share their apprehensions and grab any straw that comes their way, hoping to escape from the prowling beast that is their Fate.
When I get back from office the first thing I do is drop down on the sofa and reach for the TV remote. Yesterday HBO was playing Perfect Stranger, starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis. Everyone knows Halle Berry is gorgeous, I found yesterday that I like her acting too (I don't think I have watched any of her movies - even the James Bond one). Cool !
Yesterday seems to have been Bruce Willis Day - at 9PM, it was Armageddon. One of the movie channels keeps playing this movie so often that the moment I see the team in orange astro suits walking towards the rocket, I escape from the area. Yesterday there was absolutely nothing else anywhere so I ended up seeing it without feeling much. There are so many movies with the theme of the-darn-guy-who-is-the-best,-forced-to-save-the-world, that it no longer gives us any thrill. Instead, sometimes it gets so irritating to watch the "long-suffering" expression on the hero's face.
Last week's movie was No Reservations, an average romance with the setting of a restaurant kitchen. Nothing worth mentioning here, except that Catherine Zeta Jones looks awesome as usual.
I am a comics person. I can sit an entire day reading comics. (In fact, that is the kind of day I like.) When I find a new comic strip, I pounce on it. Maybe I am a little outdated, but this comic strip Family Circus is new to me. (I can hear you say "Where in the world have you been?")
Comments? I had once mentioned the cartoon strips that I follow. Add this one to that list and let me know which are the others that I missed out - introduce some more to me!
The concept of Taking one's own path makes me quite uneasy. How many of us have been (or will be) bold enough to drop everything and follow our dreams? To have the courage to take a chance and see if we are successful in what we love to do? What pulls us back from pouncing on our aspirations is the fear that we may be wrong, our dreams may not be what they seem, and we may end up adrift like a raft without a rope to pull it in to the mainland, which may capsize when the water current is too high. If such a situation arises, we are afraid we may not survive the thought that it was of our own doing.
My Father loves photography and used to spend all his spare time indulging in the different aspects of the art. But he too, considered it as a hobby, never attempted (as far as I know) to make it his career. Photography was confined to his spare time when all his responsibilities towards work, family, friends and others were attended to. (The uncaring daughter that I am, I never knew if my Mother harboured any such dreams during the days of her career! She is addicted to books and would put her hand on any that comes her way, maybe she would have made a good writer, had she given a try!)
I know many others who have hobbies they can make their careers with, but are afraid to take the leap and continue to cling to their unsatisfactory jobs. While it does have a certain advantage when your hobby is not bound to a deadline and you can be as unhappy at work as you please - "it is only a job" - it sure takes away the pleasure of "loving one's job".
I stand at a juncture where I can now take a diversion from the straight road ahead of me, try to cut across the bushes, but at the risk of finding myself in the middle of nowhere, and regretting that decision for life. On the other hand, I may end up finding a destination beyond my wildest imaginations, that would make me immensely proud to have been brave enough to take that step forward. In other words, throw software development to the wind and try my hand at what I love doing.
Comments? Share your success stories. Motivate me!
Pick a group of caterpillars (yuck! I know - Just imagine it, don't really go caterpillar-picking) and place them side by side on the ground. The caterpillars being an active lot, will start crawling in random directions, at times approaching each other and at times going away from each other, hitting a stone and rebounding, defying all laws of Chaos. Now take an aerial view of the people walking outside the office mumbling into their mobiles, and check their trajectory.
The glue that binds us together is mutual trust. It is not something we intentionally create or manipulate. It grows over the years unaware to us, and is brought to our notice by an absolutely insignificant piece of occurrence. A relationship built on trust rises like a house of cards, vulnerable yet balanced. One little snap and the entire construction starts falling apart.
Rebuilding the devastated structure may be impossible, since it was once tarnished by a fragment of distrust.
I was obsessed with a little grass blade in the garden that was bending down to the ground like an inverted 'U' and not shooting up to the sky. Why can't it grow up straight, with dignity, why is it bent on twisting and disgracing itself? I said to myself. But then I spotted the earthmover at the corner of the garden, ready to mow down the entire greenery, now what does it matter whether the grass prefers to grow up or down?
Read this article in today's Times of India regarding coping with retrenchment.
Here are some of my observations of people reacting to having been unceremoniously expelled from their organisation.
- One person finds solace in blaming the management for throwing out the wrong set of people, and all the incapable ones that are inside.
- Another frantically updates his resumé and searches the websites of the best-known companies for an opening and channels his profile through any aperture he finds.
- Some others spend their time in groups, joking about the top people in the organisation, and how the rest of the "saved" set of people are also doomed, their turn is yet to come.
- A few others spent a couple of days after the shocking event (of having been kicked out) laughing about it, telling everyone that "I am out!", only to grow gloomier with each passing day as the truth dawns on them.
All of them are a depressed group of people clinging to their dwindling self-confidence and trying to convince themselves that they are not good-for-nothings and to build up courage to face more career hurdles in the dark recession-hit future before them.