Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dumbledore's Gay!!!!!!

Im a self proclaimed Harry Potter fan. I read the last installation of the series in one 12 hr long sitting. I spent the time between the final two books reading up every new bit of info available on the Leaky Cauldron (Google it). I had very serious discussions with my sister or any other HP fan around me on what could happen, and what would happen.
But nothing prepared us for this. And i must give credit to Ms. Rowling, or atleast to her PR manager for knowing just how to stay in the news. The hoopla around HP7 had just about died out, when another trump was thrown from the Rowling stables (i know i know, bad mix of analogies). Ms. Rowling announced to the world media that Dumbledore was gay. People around the world gasped in unison at this titbit. And then people like my sister shrugged her shoulders and said it wasnt surprising. After all, what could you expect from someone who wore purple robes, took pleasure in wearing a vulture topped hat and cried at the drop of any wizard hat??
So what Rowling has really done here is not shock people with her news.
She has managed to make a fictional character so real, and so alive that people even care about her news.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

अवंतिका Inked

Anyone watching the show Miami Ink (Discovery TLC) should do so at their own risk. Not that i have anything against the show. I love it. Can even be described as a fan. But the long term effects of doing so can only be described as...well...painful.
For the uninitiated, MI is all about tattooing. Actually its about people who make the entire process of getting a tattoo seem superbly simple and thereby instill in the viewer an intense desire to get one too. I too happened to be one of the awed and impressionable viewers. And thus the adjective 'painful'.
What i wanted to say essentially was that I am now the proud (and slightly sore) owner of a tattoo. After months of deliberation and reading up on tattoos on Wikipedia (whatever anyone might say, they do have some comprehensive and detailed info on stuff) and other Google offerings, i finally got myself inked. I voluntarily payed someone a lot of money to puncture my skin with a needle that went in and out about a hundred times a second (this is an arbitrary figure based entirely on the pain). I sat through 25 mins as if in a dream. An out of body experience. It felt like i was watching someone else getting tattoed, except for the pain. That was all mine.
It is that pain in fact that makes this tattoo worth it. Like ive been telling friends, my tattoo's small. But its a real tattoo. Its a pain inducing, skin puncturing, ink inserting, permanently staying tattoo. And its mine. And im proud of it. And myself.
Note: I cant wait to get another one!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Man is Not an Island

Having studied psychology, any student (including myself) will tell you with abslute conviction that any major trauma is bound to have influences on an individual's behaviour either directly or indirectly, and that therapy is a good option to keep in mind to help that person.
I believed it myself till a couple of years back.
Then the earthquake at Surat happened. I met an aunt who lost everything, her home and her belongings a couple of months after the calamity. But she seemed to be very calm about the incident, and was also discussing it in detail with all those around her. She didn't seem to be in any need of therapy. I was starting to study psychology. So i didnt think too much about it. Some years later the answer came to me.
Now, with events happening in my own life, and being witness to trauma and its after effects, im convinced that my answer is the reason why Indians have not caught on very well to the whole psychology and therapy notion, whilst the West seems to thrive on it.
The answer lies in 5 words. Man is not an island. Its as simple as that.
Post dad's accident, the thoughts in my head threatened to engulf and take over. I could see the same pain on the faces of my mother and sister.
And then the people came. Wave after wave of relatives and friends who stood around and talked. They asked questions, talked about what happened, got us to relive what happened. Not once, not twice, but a couple of hundred times. Anywhere else this could be construed as invasion of privacy. A disregard of the family's desire to be left alone. And at times even i felt the same. I just wanted everyone to leave us alone. But now im glad we weren't.
Im glad we were asked to talk. It was cathartic more than anything else. It was literally like extracting venom till there's nothing left inside. We spoke about it so much that all the emotions attached to it were deadened. What a professional therapist would ask us to do in his office, we did in the waiting room of the ICU.
So what i'm trying to say after all of this is that i'm glad i live in a country which believes with all its heart that Man is Not an Island.

The Art of Nothing

I propose to anybody interested (or bored enough to be reading this) the Art of Nothing.

This is not in direct relation to the Art of Living (as may be thought of by the name), but is related to being around people who always have to be doing something!! It started me wondering on how being able to sit, doing nothing productive, and not feel guilty about it is an that needs to be cultivated or atleast honed to some degree of perfection.
How many people do you know who can do this with ease?? A lot of people i know can. But a lot many more start itching if they're not doing something with their hands (and u perverts out there can stop smirking)! They need to be constantly picking up and rearranging things, straightening chairs and playing a wierd sort of musical flower vases around the house. They create work for themselves when the obvious is all done.
For someone like me, who has mastered the art of vegetating that is sacrilege. Its the refusal to allow yourself the time and leisure of doing nothing. It doesnt allow your brain to just let out all its air and uhmmm....deflate?? (I know this sounds potentially life threatening...but im sure people who are well versed in the AoN will be able to picture this process!!)
Basically what i'm trying to put across here is that Im happy not doing anything. When i answer "nothing" to the regularly aked "what are you doing?", i mean it literally. I dont mean it as a plea for u to tell me a hundred things that i could be doing. Nothing means that I am actually doing nothing. And enjoying every bit of it. So sue me.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Waiting and Hoping

There is nothing like gaining new perspective on life. There is no better place to do so than the waiting area of the Intensive Care Unit of any hospital. Life has never looked so fragile, unpredictable and totally out of our own control than in the last one month.

I spent the last month in one such waiting area whilst my dad lay enveloped by tubes, needles and machines battling one such unpredictability of life. When he went for his morning walk one Sunday morning, little did anyone know how all our lives were going to change.
But then, little did anyone else in the waiting area of the ICU know how their lives were going to change over one day, one week, or one month.

Families waiting for several weeks continued waiting, continued hoping that tomorrow would give them something to call home and be happy about. Parents experiencing parenthood for the first time were waiting to see their child out of a glass box and hold their child in their arms without having to be careful of all the tubes and bandages. Children living away from home were battling their personal demons about not being there when their parents needed them the most. Family elders were sitting there trying to imagine outliving their children.

Everyone was questioning life and its uncertainity. And in all this uncertainity and doubt, the one thing that shone through was hope. The hope that everyone lived with. The hope that everyone gave the other. The hope that made the waiting a little bit easier.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Blame Game

For the last week the papers have been all about Adnan Patrawala, the 16 yr old boy who was kidnapped and murdered. Murdered by some of Adnan's friends ranging in age from 17 to 28 yrs of age.

For a week now, Mumbai has been told and retold the story of Adnan. It is fast becoming one of those tales that grab the interest and emotion of the people in the city. One of those stories that has everyone gripped, that has everyone giving an opinion, that has everyone playing the blame game.
It started with blaming a popular social networking site on which Adnan had met his alleged murderers. Then there was some woman called Angel who was also on this networking site. Then it was the group of friends whom he spent a lot of time with, and who have been arrested on account of murder. Now the police has been blamed for leaking the news of the kidnapping to the media, and the media has been blamed for flashing this news all over the place, which apparently caused the kidnappers to panic and strangle Adnan.

In all of this, i have only one query.
What is the role of the parents in this whole tragedy?
From the regular reports in the newspaper, (a) it seems that a 16 year old Adnan had use of a very expensive car, (b) that he was allowed to stay out late at night and (c) that his parents had no idea of what people he met online.
As someone who has studied developmental psychology, the above 3 don't seem right to me.

A 16 yr old does not have the skills to handle the sort of independence that is given now a days. They still require supervision. They still need guidance. They still need limits. Adnan had the sort of freedom that can get dangerous for a young teenager. He had access to big cars, big money and no limits. He was easy target. His parents never questioned him staying out post midnight. His parents never questioned who his friends were and how he knew them. His friends had counted on that. They took a chance. Unfortunately for them and for Adnan, they succeeded.

I'm not insensitive to the loss of the Patrawala family. My condolences are with them.
But i hope this incident is an eye opener for those parents who allow their children whatever they want. It is all right to trust your children. But how do u trust others?
The only one to trust is yourself. The blame game never gets anyone anywhere.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Name Of The Game

Im writing this as the Wimbeldon Men's final proceeds. Not to say that im not watching the game. Im merely making use of the time Nadal gets his knee fixed in. And ok, so im smiling a bit at the thought of Nadal with an injured knee in a crucial match against Federer!! i did a few 'balle balle' movements when time out was called. So sue me.

I love Federer. I dislike Nadal. Not that he has done anything to deserve it except beat Federer a couple of times (and Nadal fans reading this, please dont give me stats on how many times he has done it and where and when and the exact score. Im really not interested)

This post is not about Nadal bashing. And as much as i would like to, its not about Federer either.

Its simply about how players become so much more than the game itself. In the beginning it is the game that defines the player(s). Give it time and brilliance, and its the players that define the game. People watch the game not for love of the game anymore, but for the love/admiration/awe/anything you want it to be, of the player(s).

I mean, my sister and i sat and watched about 6 straight hours of tennis, not because we eat and drink and breathe tennis. But because we wanted to watch the players playing those games. We rooted for the underdog. We cheered when 'our' player scored a point. We 'oohed' and 'aahed' when the ball was sent into the net. We sat and watched so much tennis because the final match had Federer vs. Nadal ( much as i dont want this to become about them, it comes around to that....!!)

What i want to say is that a game is only as interesting as its players are.
And since i really just wanted to express this, i'll end this here!

Ps: Federer won!!! yay!!!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Really Real!

How real is real?
Is the world we live in real enough?
Do we get enough real in our daily lives?
Or do we fulfill our need for the real and ordinary by watching shows on TV claiming to bring you the really real there is to see??

I personally feel there has to be a streak of sadism in anyone who voluntarily watches the newest reality show on the idiot box: Biggest loser something or the other. I happened to catch some 10 mins of it (in my defense im in pain and have been tied to my bed for sometime now, so this momentary loss of intelligence and taste should be pardoned).
And all of the 10 mins i was wondering:

a) Why would someone reach the incredible weight of 132kgs without doing something about it?
b) Having reached that weight why would someone agree to appear on television? (dont they know the camera adds 10 pounds?)
c) Having agreed to appear on television, why would they open their mouths and make statements like "kutte/ kutti bhuankte hain. Bhaunkne do. Kuch farak nahi padta." Like really???
d) Being that size (XXXXXL) why would the men even dream of getting into swimming trunks???? Like get a mirror guys! Really! Man breasts!!! ughhh!!

And then you have the other extreme.
From the really big (politically correct substitute for really fat) to the anorexic (or is it the weight challenged?).
Ever watched the Simple Life? I did. Once. To try and make sense of the whole hoopla! Didnt understand it. Not even a tiny bit. All i made of it was that these two young ladies were bored with having so much money and nothing to do with it. So they decided to go on TV and fool people into believing that they can do stuff that normal people do (read: wear no make up and work for a living)!!

And then there was the whole Big Boss/Big Brother syndrome going around. I dont even want to get into that! Really!! The media has made sure that we dont forget these anytime soon! (Shudders)

Seriously people. Get a life. And if it isnt real enough, get a web cam and watch yourself pick your nose. Better than seeing Rakhi Sawant doing it!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Of Tastebuds and Memories

The problem, as i see it, is that we dont appreciate the job our tastebuds do.
And then again, the problem could simply be that we dont appreciate what we put into (or sometimes stuff into) our mouth. Its unfortunate that the act of eating has become one that is purely mechanical and zero skill involving. Eating has been reduced to a "have too" rather than a "want to".
Why am i suddenly becoming all senti about not appreciating food?? Well, apparently, when one is forced to remain immobile, and be dependent on other people to serve you what you eat and drink, your latent memories kick into full gear and start sending some of the most painful signals to your tastebuds. Why painful? Because it is pure torture not being able to act on memories of the most sinful pav-bhaji your brain keeps thinking about and your taste buds keep salivating on!!!
My brain insists on thinking of what i categorise as "good food", which in my mum's dictionary simply means anything that has butter, cheese, white sauce, chocolate or icecream. Well, i can live with that definition! :-p
But you see, it is slightly difficult to explain to parents that i "need" good food. My type of good food. Not healthy food. Good food. There is a difference which the earlier generation fails to grasp (or maybe they just pretend that their age prevents them from basic understanding).

So now, here i am, lying in bed thinking about good food and barely stopping myself from drooling and chewing up my pillow cover!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Glass Toda Char Anna!

Since my last post i have been involved in events such that have me convinced that the universe is listening (and plotting), or that i have plain and simple bad luck(or good luck as may be the perspective)!
But im getting too far ahead. I'll start from the start.
Today happens to be the 12th day of a 21 day sentence as pronounced by my orthopedician on account of my slightly over-zealous efforts at the gym resulting in a damaged knee ligament.
Yes it is as bad as it sounds ;-p
So, to cut a long story short, im forbidden to walk, bend, or in any way strain my right knee and thus im occupying my time by either lying flat on my bed in the room, or in the living room in front of the TV. And if my folks had bought me that tv for my room which ive always wanted, i would have been flat on my bed in my room all the time.
And no. It isnt as much fun as it sounds.
Im fast realising...actually i awakened to this realisation within 2 hours of my forced house arrest, that resting and being waited on hand and foot isnt as great as it is made out to be. I think those are rumours started by people in similar conditions merely to ensure that others get tempted and get to experience the suffering!!! For suffering it is. Pure, unadulterated suffering. In fact im sure that ive sprouted a few roots and am fast going to start spreading (pun intended)
Which brings me to my primary woe (yes, the above ranting wasnt it) It is ironical that most injuries at the gym result in the victim being assigned to the bed for varied periods of time ranging from anywhere from one week to several months, during which time, the poor unfortunate soul (yes, those familiar with the soundtrack of The Little Mermaid may find this phrase familiar) manages to pile on all the few pounds that had been shed!
And that is something that is bothering me more than my knee. I mean c'mon, you drag yourself (finally) to the gym. Will yourself to get onto those machines that look like they have been designed specfially to enhance human suffering. After getting on you psyche yourself into actually moving on it - step by step by step until you actually look like you're working up a sweat and doing justice to the new gym gear you just splurged on. And then what? Your knee decides that it has had enough and that it could do with a 21 day vacation! Ah bah!

Khaya piya kuch nahi, glass toda char anna!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

To Shop or Not to Shop?

Shopping. One woman's food. My Poison.

I hate it. Ok, maybe not hate it, but definitely dont understand the funda of strolling around the same store a hundred times hoping that the price tags will reduce by some divine miracle by the time you come around to that one shirt you liked and which you think is grossly overpriced. If you like it you buy it. Period. What is the point in hoohaa-ing over a couple of hundred rupees when, if you dont get what you want, you'll be spending the rest of the day lamenting over what you didnt buy??!

This venting of mine stems from having spent an almost entire day with an aunt in one of the biggest malls in the city. Actually, i spent most of it hanging around outside the designer stores looking over the railing onto people doing wierd activities in the mall (note: why do people believe that screaming into a microphone and laughing in a cackling sort of manner means entertainment??) This mall we went to, has roughly about a hundred stores in it, varying in everything from size, consumer products and price range. So you'll find a store that says, on big yellow labels, XYZ price Rs.500/- OUR PRICE Rs.450/-, and then you'll find stores in which you need a magnifying glass to read the very large number printed in a discreet manner on very unostentatious tags. Sobasically, its safe to assume that there is everything for everyone in some one or the other store there.
But then it is said that when you assume, you just make an ass of u and me! My aunt just proved me to be an ass. Im still reeling from the fact that one can spend nearly 4 hours in just 2 stores, and then exit carrying 2 bags, light bags at that, holding one shirt each!!!! AAARGGHHHH! I mean if you do have to spend extended periods of time under the guise of shopping atleast have something to show for it, something that doesnt make your family wonder what happened here.All that you really have to show at the end is a pair of extremely tired feet, that seem like they are going to die and fall off any moment!
Conclusion: Never go shopping with someone who doesnt know the concept of a 'list'. Or better yet, give them cab fare and a road map of the city!!!