July 14, 2014

Perspective

What is right and what is wrong? Or is it always that during a difference of opinion, one is absolutely right and the other is absolutely wrong? Then again, what is absolute right and what constitutes absolute wrong? And why is it that we have a mountain of differences in opinion with those who are supposedly our 'close ones'? Why do we have world wars amongst ourselves instead of agreeing to disagree? 

Someone please tell me what is a 'norm' and who gets to decide that? Just because a pattern is created, does it mean that it has become an universal truth? Why is it that when someone wants to not do what is considered a norm, they are wrong? And if 10 people say one thing against only one who thinks otherwise, is the lone person wrong? 

Why is one person's dream, a dream, and other one's dream is an act of copying? How is it that someone's ambition is pride worthy, while someone else having an ambition is a crime? What is the limit of dreaming? And who is the judge of that? Why do some people have all the right in this world to dream while others can't even dream about dreaming? Aren't our dreams valid, no matter where we are from or who we are?  

Who gets to decide what is a 'priority'? The person living it or the person worrying about the person living it? How is it that having a say in what your priority is, is termed as empty-headedness or stubborn or even dumb? Why does friction always lead to jumping guns and calling the other one whimsical? And how come being whimsical sometimes is a bad thing and being extra disciplined always, a right thing? 

Then again, what is right and what is wrong?

~ Sneha

July 12, 2014

Future

What is future? 

For Ma, it is patterns. Stars, planets, and demi-gods, come together and project trends. Where, she studies their alignments and guesses what could happen next, just like my grandfather and many others from my family. And surprisingly, she is always right. 

For Pa, it is actions. Judging the present, learning from the past, drawing a parallel, and planning the next step. Where, he tries to keep away anger, pain, even excitement, and sieve through the situation, challenge every angle, and observe every argument to make the best decision. Fearless, in all his glory, just like a lion ready to fight a herd of elephants. 

For Ashi, it is rationale. A student of Physics, Maths, and Aerospace; it is all about connections. Analyzing the equations of time spent to project the prospective events, questioning the logic of the respective links, and combing for the situation with the most logical explanation.

That leaves me. And future. For someone who lives in present, future is a scary concept as is past a painful lesson. I see future as an opportunity. A place where my present might lead me to. Where I will still have no regrets. Where I will still bleed for the right people and causes. Future to me is an extension of my present, a reflection of my actions. A parallel of my present. It looms over my head but doesn't worry me because everyday I am a step closer to my future. It does scare me when Ma comes to me with dangerous patterns and their prospective warnings, but then I also have Pa who believes that I am fearless like a lioness. That I am not a coward. That instead of living in fear and halting, I will examine each and every way that is in front of me. And if changing the course is the best way, I will chose that. Not because I am afraid but because it is the best way. And almost always best ways are not the easy ones to pick.

Like right now, I am struggling with finding the best way. My opportunity is almost within my grasp and Ma has again come to me with patterns. Pa wants me to pick 'my best way'. Ashi wants me to analyze each angle. And all three of them are waiting for me to decide.

Right now, I am cursing the day I wished to have the ability to make decisions for myself. Because IT. IS. NOT. EASY. However, that doesn't change anything. Except, it leaves me with a question that is punching my gut for four days now... 

Standing at the cusp of change, what do I do about future? 

~Sneha

May 25, 2014

Stranger

The brighter side of the weird world of social media is that you meet your share of strangers. Some are creepsters, some are good for networking, some inspire you, and then there are a rare few who amaze you. You don't know whether to ignore them or to welcome them. And what's more astounding is that they don't care. They simply make way for themselves in your life. Now, is that good? Frankly my dear, I am at loss of words.

These weird ones take it upon themselves to keep you happy as if you are lacking at that job. And they will come up with every trick in their bag to sell that to you. They will treat you with attention even though they know very well that it is not going to flatter you. And flatter you? My my they will play with words to do just that. They will tell just what you want to hear and repeat it whenever you want to hear even though you never wanted to hear it in the first place. 

You need help? They are there. You want to talk? They are there. You want to curse? They are there. Want attention? They are there. Don't want attention? They will still give it. Alone at party? They are there. You avoid them? They are there. Feeling insomniac? They are there. Stressing yourself? They are there. Walking alone late in the night? They are there. Being a grumpy child? They are there. Pouting? Being difficult? Stubborn? Illogical? Rude? Mean? Don't want them around? They are still there. Aren't they weird? Call them that and they are still there. 

Isn't that enough to make your already over-thinking mind think even more? They are not one of your friends or lovers, not even acquaintances but they are there even before you say holla. You don't want them taking any position in your life nor do they want to. They are not one of those nice men who are too good to be true or take home to mama. They are rogue, blunt, mocking, street smart, devilish, brooding, and can be really  mean but somehow they want to be there for you and want you to be happy. No ulterior motives. No expectations. And definitely no master plan to get into your pants. 

So C, what do we do about you? Call you a welcome stranger or to-be-ignored stranger? Say thank you and be nice to you or ignore you till you reveal your 'so called' real colors? 

My over thinking mind says, whatever maybe the case, you will still be there.

May 13, 2014

Of letters and mails

Remember the old days? The pen-pal days? When you would pour your thoughts and words over a paper, seal it with fondness and post it to someone next door, next city, or beyond the seas to a different country. I always fantasized about having one such pen-pal. Though it never happened. As a kid, I thought my existence was incomplete without it as everyone in my school had one or at least they claimed to have one.

As time passed in came the wave of Yahoo chat rooms, Hotmails, Orkut scraps, followed by the new age Facebook wall, Gtalk, Twitter timeline, Snapchat, WhatsApp, WeChat, Kik, and more. The charm of writing a heartfelt letter got buried under the mountain of easy, smart, and advanced ways of communication. I love technology and it is (if not indispensable) an important part of my life. But if only we could have a balance between the old and the new. 

Stupid as it sounds, I found this balance in Gmail. Yes, the equilibrium that I was craving for came in the form of a technology. I like the freedom it gives. I can write pages or even a line and take my own sweet time to do so. Once sent, I need to wait for the other person to read it. Also, it doesn't tell when the person has read it and when he/she is going to reply (if they plan to reply at all). Oh and the excitement of finding the reply in my mail when I open it is second only to finding a letter addressed to me, on my table.  

On and off I had an habit of chatting over mail but after having a conversation once that spanned over 200 mails (send + receive) I realized that this is the closest I can get to exchanging letters. Not because I don't have the patience, I do, but because people don't. And the recent exchange that just crossed 21 mails (+ still going strong) made it clear for me that I like Gmail as I like writing letters. Though even I am guilty. Yes A, I am saying this to you. I still have to reply to your letter and trust me, I will. :) 

Maybe I should get down to it right now.

May 11, 2014

As you dream, so shall you reap

As kids, bro and I used to love dancing. Maa would tune in to a radio channel or a music channel on tv and as the song played, both of us would dance to its tunes. The laughter that ensued used to be so care-free that it still brings a smile to my face. 

Maa is not a dancer. I had the making of one. And brother was too shy to dance in front of anyone but us. To say that I used to love dancing is an understatement. I wanted to be a performer. I used to imagine that there is a huge audience cheering for me every time I used to dance in my room/living room. Expressions and matching steps to the tunes came naturally to me. I had to simply switch my mind and behave as if no one is watching yet imagine that an audience is cheering for me. Stupid yet true, this how I used to think.

I was really happy when Maa enrolled me into a dancing class. I had no clue about Bharat Natyam except that Hema Malini used to look beautiful performing. We had three classes a week and I used to look forward to them. They were grueling. Bharat Natyam covers a lot of theory including the mudras and postures. Its practice sessions used to leave me with bad backaches and sore knees. My shoulder muscles used to be stiff but heart used to be super happy. In few months, I passed my first level with good grades and Guruamma wanted me to continue. However, I couldn't. I don't remember the reason though. Given a chance, I would go back to Bharat Natyam in a beat.

Maa didn't stop here. She knew my love for dancing and wished for me to learn a new style. And I did. Our society had a lot of Gujaratis. And Navratra used to be a big celebration. We used to have a live old school style band. First, there would be a Puja to please the Goddess. Then the older ladies would play Garba in praise of the Goddess. Slowly, the younger girls and ladies would join them. And later the men. Maa would push me to join them. And as a kid it was easy because you don't care if people are laughing when you do the steps wrong. Well, anything that kids do looks cute and that helped me. For years, I would play Garba with the Gujaratis and later in my teens, Dandiya. Over the years, those nine days taught me those two styles so well that today when people see me play Garba, they mistake me for a Gujarati. And when Maa sees me play, I can see the pride in her eyes. Garba gives me so much joy that even today if I hear a band playing during Navratri, my feet will automatically take me there and I will dance like there is no tomorrow. 

The last time, I took to stage was six years ago for an inter college dance competition. The days have gone but the high remains. I still crave the thrill, the adrenaline rush, the giddy numbness, and the leaping heart beats that comes along with the performance. Stage does that to me. Be it dancing or speaking, I have a love-hate relationship with the stage. And it all started with an elocution competition in my 8th grade. 

For the first time, I was picked to represent my school in an inter school elocution competition. I still wonder why, because I was a really shy kid in school. I never opened my mouth, used to stick to my bench, hardly raise my hand for anything, eat, play, learn, go home, and repeat. That day changed it all. I had to go in front of 40 kids from 13 other schools and speak for two whole mins. Imagine my horror! I can't speak in front of my class without stammering and here I am going to be laughed at by students from other schools. I prayed for a miracle and wished that the Earth would open and swallow me. However unlike Hindi films, no miracle happened to me. I didn't strut to the stage, nor did I speak like I have been doing it for ages. I just went there, clutched my paper hard, squeaked my name, and ran back to my place. Well, if an earthquake had to hit my place then, I would have gladly welcomed it over the prospect of going to the school next day.

The only good thing that came out of that disastrous performance of mine was no one bothered me with elocution competitions anymore. The down side was that I hated being bad at something. And hence when I made it into the junior college, I made sure that I take liking to that stage and speak. Speak till I no longer fear the stage. I left my shy days wrapped with stage fright back in school. Junior college saw me opening up and talking - on and off the stage. It was then, I realized that if I put my mind to something I can excel in it. 

I still remember the first subject I got an A+ grade in. In my fourth grade, I got it in drawing. I used to never pay attention to it as it was something I used to enjoy. I would mindlessly doodle while studying, sitting in the class, on benches, and even on exam question papers after I was done writing my exams and had to wait for the examiner to grant me leave. In my listless school life, I skipped taking the Elementary exams. And in 9th grade, I wanted to directly take Intermediate. Dad wasn't up for it because there is no career in drawing so we won't waste our time. Once again, Maa came to rescue. With a month to go, I managed my pre-boards, sports, boring science practicals and yet practiced drawing every day. If this was a movie, I would have passed with highest grades because off course mere pass Maa hai but in real life, I managed to pass when everyone was sure I would fail. That's like squeezing out victory while facing a lion. And the cherry on the top is that my inclination towards art still breathes life in my life. 

Maa used to tell me that if I put my mind to something there was nothing I couldn't do. And if you see my list of 'What I want to be when I grow up' you'd realize that I took her advice very seriously. I wanted to be a dancer, a model, a badminton player, an artist, a runner, a teacher, an astronaut, and a boss (because they have their own cabin and my dad was one). 

I got into advertising and am loving every minute of it.  However, I have stopped dreaming like I used to as a child. Just because I have the job I love, it doesn't mean that I can't have more than one life. What happened to wanting to be an artist? Or learning a new life basic like driving? Or taking up belly dancing that I have been contemplating about for ages? Or taking a month off and traveling? Saving up and buying that god damn camera so that I don't wait for someone else's camera to be free to plan a trip? Or take up that offer for teaching and share some of my knowledge? Or move to a new place and start with a clean slate? 

It takes me back to the care-free laughter that I used to share with Maa and brother. We used to do what we loved and it used to give us immense happiness. As I grew up, 'doing things because they make me happy' mantra got diluted because after all it is a tough world. But what if it is? It was not easy when I was doodling as a kid, or learning a new dance style, or battling that stage fright. Then why does it seem like a mountain to climb today? It all boils down to putting my mind to it and excelling in it. I need to give it a chance or I would never know what awaits me on the other side. Or the other country.