Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is someone getting the best of you?

I am getting tired of starting again, somewhere new. Were you born to resist or be abused?

Recently, I was exposed to the development sector professionally. I had earlier heard a lot about the work being done in the sector in India and I was interested in doing my two bits. I was sadly forced to deal with some realities that have since haunted me. I understand that some of it is a problem everywhere and that causes more worry rather than reassurance. To some, there seems to be a distant understanding of a field, of it being situated outside one's immediate surroundings. This is the most disturbing part for me. I was always of the belief that if we could not change our immediate surroundings in a small way, then a 'larger' change couldn't be experienced. However, many differ with my notions of change and values. What makes matters worse for me is their complete lack of need to keep to their word, which I have always felt is the essential part of working with people and communities. 

Keeping up appearances, Keeping up with the Jones', Fooling my selfish heart,  Going through the motions, But I'm fooling myself, I'm fooling myself

Such ideas and notions have challenged my values, ethics and behaviour patterns. In some ways they have strengthened me for the cause I believe in and driven me closer to where I hope to be someday. But I find it discouraging and disheartening to be left dealing with such realities so early. I had imagined cynicism would arrive much later. Much to my dismay, I need to deal with the bitter truth of the matter as I struggle to not lose faith in my own capabilities and talents. But I know the anger, distress I feel against the injustice in the world can be used for good rather than allowing my insides to erode. 

Whisper words of wisdom, let it be...

As I start moving on, I am lucky enough to look forward to the wonderful things the year and life hold for me. To help me change my mood and prepare me for larger, more relevant battles.

Were you born to resist, or be abused? I swear I'll never give in, I refuse. Is someone getting the best of you...

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Wildings: Book Review

A small band of cats lives in the labyrinthine alleys and ruins of Nizamuddin, an old neighbourhood in Delhi. Miao, the clan elder, a wise, grave Siamese; Katar, a cat loved by his followers and feared by his enemies; Hulo, the great warrior tom; Beraal, the beautiful queen, swift and deadly when challenged; Southpaw, the kitten whose curiosity can always be counted on to get him into trouble… Unfettered and wild, these and the other members of the tribe fear no one, go where they will, and do as they please. Until, one day, a terrified orange-coloured kitten with monsoon green eyes and remarkable powers, lands in their midst—setting off a series of extraordinary events that will change their world forever.

Books written about animals' perception of humans is not a new concept. That being said, despite not being a cat lover, this book has opened the doors to a whole new world. The story is fast paced and intriguing. You find yourself moving quickly from page to page, anticipating the next fight or what trouble Southpaw has gotten into. Though Mara and Beraal are the most detailed characters, you find yourself captivated by all the others. The cats communicate with each other by linking to a cat network through their whiskers. One night their network is interrupted by the calls of a new cat, called Mara. The calls are very strong, indicating that Mara is a sender. Disturbed the cats set out to hunt this powerful outsider, only to find that it is a kitten that has no clue how to control the sending. Beraal takes Mara under her wings to train her to send and link.

The book is definitely written by somebody who knows cats well. The new terms – Bigfeet, Sender, linked - she has coined extend the experience of the book, leading the reader into a cat world. But there could have been many more such terms adding to the larger scope of such a book.

I am unsure if this was supposed to be a whimsical tale about cats or if it was intended to be more serious than that. But if not anything else, The Wildings is a terrific adventure situated in a corner of Delhi ensuring the reader is seriously entertained.

The writing:
It is clean, uncomplicated and well knit. I loved the descriptions in the book. They make the scene of the ruins of Nizamuddin come alive. The personalities of each cat is different and you begin to see each of the characters strengths and weaknesses. It is a pleasure to see how the magic unfolds as they defend, fight and get along with each other.

The illustrations:
Fabulous! I love how every black and white illustration adds a bit more class to the book. The illustrations are superbly done and leaves one looking forward to their next appearance. Their existence makes this book worth the price.

My verdict: I recommend you to read. A MUST read for cat and animal lovers. I am not sure I wish to label it an adult book or a children's book but I think it might actually be really fun for children to read. The language enables readers across ages to enjoy it. The imagery makes for light and enchanting reading for adults. If possible, I suggest you take this book into a park and enjoy it. Let the wildings come alive (like they did for me)! You never know, a bunch of beautiful Kites might be flying around above your head :)

Price: 595.

Sneak peek into the illustrations: 

One   Two
This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Still I rise.."

For a while now, I have been very angry. So much so that my anger was not making sense to me. I knew I needed to calm down to see things objectively. But I also knew after a long time of being hurt, I had finally found it in me to turn those feelings into anger. Now I do believe that anger is not a bad feeling. It is not an unnecessary feeling. In fact I find it an important and a driving force sometimes. But I also know that anger that lingers can turn into bitterness (and if there is one thing I hope I never am, it is bitter).

So for now, I have let myself be angry. There will come a time when my anger will fade away only leaving traces behind of what I should to take away from this experience. Hopefully I will be driven by that feeling to not treat others badly, to try to be a good person.

Till then, I softly repeat the words of a wonderful fighter and feminist...

"Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise...

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise." - Maya Angelou

But still, like air, I will rise.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Introducing Lulu! :-)

Three sure shot ways of turning my day around.

Step one: Walk out of office.

Step two: Scream Lulu.

Step three: See him happily passed out or running towards you! Either way, he's a mood changer.

Introducing, Lulu! As his previous mistress fondly calls him, The dog that lived. He had a brief period where he fell really sick and then went missing. His absence upset me as I missed the little sanctity that he always brought in plenty. But one fine day, he returned. And what a magnificent recovery it was! He came bounding into my arms and made the most adorable noises as he sat next to me.

Even though, he has found himself a nice home, he still comes running to me every morning before work and every evening after. Only ever so occasionally do I have the fortune of capturing this active, hyper and loving dog. (Picture is cute no?)

There are far better stories about his misbehaviour and the ease with which he settled himself in my heart. But for today, I just wanted to remember and bask in the love and warmth he brings into my life. Cheers to the brattiest dog I have met! :-)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy birthday Amma!

I have tried many times before and failed every time. I don't think it is easy to write about any mother; your own is far more difficult. As she turns 50 tomorrow, I will try to attempt it.

Ain't she pretty? :-)
Amma, as we call her, is a remarkable woman. She is calm, yet fierce. She is kind, yet not naive. Our relationship was on the rocks for a long time. After years of fighting and reconciling, we have found our little corner where we can talk, laugh and just be. She visited me in Bangalore and stayed for a week. Professionally, the week was miserable. Personally, it was a discovery. I discovered my mother's strong faith and her love for travel. Both of which I had already come to see in her. But this week was an up close, personal discovery. I saw her put up post-ids in my house of slokhas to protect me; I saw her climb 600 stairs to go to Shravanabelagola; I saw her crave to travel to Talacauvery.
A few years ago, this feisty woman had a bad fall. Travelling a lot in the seated position gives her body aches. But she bites her teeth, does it anyway and then sleeps with a hot water pack. How does she do it, I asked her. She said, life is short. I have too much to see still. Even after she returned from her vacation in Bangalore, she is busy making plans to drag my Dad to a temple in Kerala, if not Badri. Remarkable right? I wonder which one is more powerful in her life. Her faith in God, or her love for travel. Somewhere along the line, the two streams of thought have blended into one tough river that keeps her happy and sane.
They say, you get a lot of your parents qualities. I look at her and I want so many of her traits. Her kindness: She used to visit an old aged home to serve lunch. A couple of times we did it together and I saw how much the old ladies, the nuns and even the volunteers loved her. It made me love her a lot more. Her love for teaching: Oh so often she will offer to teach children for a minimum amount and take as much interest in their education as she would in mine. Her giving nature: I snap a lot. No wait, A LOT. Especially with her. But she gives and gives and gives. I want this trait of hers. I want to be that giving. Change: I don't think I have ever met someone who has accepted change like she has. My dad used to travel a lot when we were kids. He moved cities and she went with him. Even there, he travelled a lot.  Somehow, she got used to it. She tells us stories of how it was hard at first, but she adjusted and found friends around. I can't imagine being that way. I tell her that and she says, it will happen with time. Reading: She loves to read and often asks one of us to buy her some books when we go shopping. Recently, she was complaining that she cannot find Tamil books in Hyderabad. I hunted online and much to my surprise we found books on Flipkart by her favourite Tamil author (YAY!) I went ahead and bought her a few books. :)
I have hung out with my mother in the past few years much more than before. We have had deep conversations about life, marriage and love. We have had pointless conversations about people. We have laughed and laughed. It is hard to imagine another relationship like ours. It is hard sometimes to think the same two people fought like rat and cat just a few years ago. But our relationship has matured and I am eternally grateful for that. 

I love you Amma! For the woman you are and the woman you make me want to be! :)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May the years ahead have lots of travel and lots of encounters with the force above!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Once, on that street: A play by Dramanon - Review

Despite having lived in Bangalore for 5 months, I was yet to see the much talked about Rangashankara. Finally, I booked tickets for my mom and me to see the play 'Once, on that street' by Dramanon at Rangashankara. The play came recommended by my dear friend and also by my sister. The blurb described the play as a story of failed love stories, three friends (two males (Shekhar and Karan) and one female (Maya)) and a decision. The suspense was built and I was extremely excited. (Be warned: Spoilers ahead!)
The play starts with Karan and Maya having a casual conversation about love, life and friendship on the balcony of the apartment they share. The jokes were 'new age' as my mother called it but even she agreed that she found them funny. The story line was based on an event one drunken night that led to a serious decision for the characters. The non-judgemental tone taken by the play was refreshing and allowed the audience to take away their own sense of the theme. However, the reasons behind the female character's decision were not portrayed well. I do believe that part of the reason for this was to allow the audience to think for itself. Maybe her decision was convincing enough for me but my mother on the other hand failed to see the reason and sense behind it.
What I liked most about the play was that the actors were very comfortable in their skins. It was a casual exchange of dialogue which gave the play a very natural ring. There was just the right amount of drama, laughter and reality to make an hour and twenty five minutes fly by. 
However, the seriousness of her decision (which affected not just her life but the men too) was not given enough screen time to develop and felt lacked maturity. Karan's character continued to bring a sense of seriousness to the play. For me, his was a role that could have turned out really badly and didn't. His good acting skills and sound presence on the stage gave the play a grounded touch.
Barring a few awkward scenes of kissing that I felt (and my mother agreed!) could have been avoided, the play is worth watching and comes highly recommended by me!

My rating: 3.5/ 5
Mom's rating: 2.5/5

Comment: If it is coming to a city near you, go watch and let me know what you think :D

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tales from a dog and a doggy lover!

I am a huge doggy person. I talk to strays, I name them and if I can I feed them. Some strays have had the misfortune of being dragged to the vet by me. Seven years ago, when we got my adorable Layla home, my parents weren't as psyched us to start with. But once the little angel came home, she settled herself comfortably in all our hearts and in our home. Now our individual and collective life without her is plain incomplete. (Ya. I am cliche.)
Part of having a dog and being a doggy person, always meant one of us ended up talking for the dog. This strangers and friends (who don't get dog) have never really understood.
For instance, in Layla tongue, "really" was always "weally" and "Mittu" and "Muuutttuu".
Thanks to a colleague at work I was led to this rather hilarious site:
http://textfromdog.tumblr.com where a man has conversations with his dog. It reminded me of the multiple conversations we have with Layla and I decided to list some out.

Human: DOG! It is time for a bath.
Dog: Screw you.
Human: Lay, come on. Its been ages since you had a bath.
Dog: Leave me alone, Munnu.
*Human attempts to carry dog*
*Dog shows human her underside*
Dog: Nani nani po po! I win, you lose.

Human: Come on Lay! This road is perfectly fine.
Dog: Rubbish. There are ghosts on this street.
Human: I can't see them.
Dog: If only you were that cool.

Dog: MUTTU! Munnu has decided to make me her pillow.
Human1: Get off her Ross!
Human2: I can't believe she told on me man.

*Dog staring out the window*
Human: What you looking at Lay?
Dog: I am contemplating the importance of my life on this planet.
Human: Oh! Profound.
*Human eating Mango* *Dog perks ears up*
Dog: oooo!! Can I have some?

*Mom puts pedigree in bowl*
Dog: YAY! Mamu time! Yum yum.
*Inhales her food* *Ten minutes later*
Dog: Muttu.. I haven't eaten. Please give me your bread corners.
Human: Hmmm. *throws bread corners*
Dog: Haha! Tricked ya.

Dog: Ooooo! Lizard. 
*Tries to put paw on it and fails*
Human: Dog! Don't fool around.
Dog: I am saving you from the lizards.
Human: Rubbish! You need saving from them.

Do share your doggy stories and your conversations. And yes, I am completely cwazy!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Getting away and letting go..

Lets get a few things out of the way, I think too much (usually) and I am one of those people that most people would say takes life too seriously at the young age of 21 (almost 22). But every once in a while, I loosen up, let my really-short hair down and have some fun. The month of march gave me a few occasions to do so.

After lots of hard work, I finally had the good fortune of having two simply fabulous weekends in March. I went home for a weekend, which meant sleeping on the perfect dog Lay, laughing with my awesome sister D, chilling with the happy family, spending time with my lovely man P and the bonus of hanging out with a dear childhood friend, A. It was relaxing, rejuvenating and everything I needed. I returned to work with my well known hanger-in-my-mouth happy smile. :D

Just two weeks later, two of my sweet friends, AJ and K, decided that we just had to run far away from the city and the madness of work. And that is exactly what we did. We went far away into the woods. I indulged myself completely in the sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feeling of being around mother nature. After just a few hours of truly appreciating her and the relaxing, I saw something I had never seen before. As my friend AJ lazed around on the hammock under a beautifully lit starry night, she spotted something flickering near a tree. It was a tiny, yet fancy Firefly. I just watched it flutter and fly around for several minutes, completely absorbed in its beauty. The tiny fella took me by surprise and I kept staring. Soon, we went to bed in our tents and slept a good, fulfilling nights sleep. Bright, early and foggy, we set out on a nature walk. It was exhilarating to see birds I had never seen before and smell the fresh morning air. Who would have realised that happiness was that simple?

After a good breakfast, we rushed to a waterfall nearby that everybody was talking about. Huffing and puffing, we walked on, soon enough we heard the sound of the waterfall get louder and closer. And, there she was, not too big, not too small. Just perfect. As my friends urged me to go stand under her, I just remember letting go. I let the cold water fall on me and numb my senses. I let go of the negativity and the disappointment I had been carrying along. For in that moment, it was just me and the cold water. I don't remember the last time I felt that liberated.

I am grateful to AJ and K, for not just taking me along on this trip, but for reminding me that life is about these simple joys. About those jokes that just don't make sense. About getting child-like excited about a starry night. About jumping around on a trampoline. About smiling, singing, laughing, eating and living. :-)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rain! Rain!

I can smell the oncoming rain! Can you?
Oh how awesome it would be
to be with you now.
To run wild and free.
To fall asleep with the rain outside.
To listen to your heart beat as the rain drops fall.
To take a walk outside after
the rain has washed the place free of grime.
Fresh smells. Fresh sights.
The beauty of a stroll together.

Oh I can smell the oncoming rain. Can you?
To taste the fresh air.
To cozy up to a warm cup of coffee.
To be whisked away in your arms.
To see stars after the sky clears.

Oh I can smell the oncoming rain. Can you?
The joys of lazing around and reading a book.
The sensation of knowing you are around.
Hot bajjis fresh from the store.
Warmth and love right there for show.

Oh I can smell the oncoming rain. Can you?
Your presence wraps me up.
I wish you were here tonight.
To smell the rain.
To taste the love.
To sense the longing.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A familiar silence

I moved into a home of my own in Bengaluru in the end of January this year. I was very nervous and even terrified of what was in store for me. I had not lived all alone before. I kept wondering, would I cook every night? Would I cry myself to sleep cause I was lonely? Would I be scared of the darkness? Would I eventually need a roommate? I have now successfully lived a month and two weeks in a house all alone without too much drama. I have had sensational nights alone, some spent laughing with friends and family and I have had bad nights alone as well. But the good definitely overpowers the rest. It is strange because so often I have been told its wonderful to come home to loved ones or a known face.And that eventually I am going to feel very lonely. But after a month, my home, its smell, its dark corners, its quiet spaces, its quirks, are a warm welcome. I like to hear that familiar sound of the fridge when I walk in. I like knowing exactly where all my stuff is. Most importantly, I love the liberating feeling it gives me to pay my own rent, electricity bill and just run a house.
Being the youngest child, my family loved to pamper me. I was never faced with the need or overwhelmed by the want to cook or clean because someone else was always doing it. So moving out and living alone was a way for me to grow up. Shockingly, my home now (though small) is actually very clean. I wash my own clothes and I love doing it every Saturday morning. I found myself take to living alone very naturally. I always loved my space but living with a happy family I never had a reason to feel alone. Living alone does bring with it that challenge of never having someone around for a hug. And I am truly glad that I am handling it well. In fact, I am loving it quite a bit.
As I work for long hours each day, coming home to an empty house is often a relief. But every once in a while, a strange feeling creeps up on me, to question if this comfort I have with being alone means something far more serious. Now, I just push the thought away and go back to enjoying my solitude. For after all, if it makes me happy, it can't be that bad right?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Cause self reflection is needed :)

Psych Babbler is a wonderful blogger I began to follow a while ago. She tagged me in this post. After much procrastinating and pushing this away, I have finally sat down to finish the task. I loved doing this tag cause it helped me reflect on my writing and allowed me the time and space to see if I have grown as a writer. I am glad that there has been some change. But I know there is a long way to go.

This post is to writing and to self reflection. Both of which keep me alive and happy. :)

So here are the categories in which you nominate your own posts. :D

— Your most beautiful post: I loved writing this piece cause the boy touched me. I don't think the content is beautiful. But it is the post that touched me. So in that sense I think its beautiful. http://srinidhir.blogspot.com/2011/11/his-remarkable-eyes_25.html

— Your most popular post: 'She's not just a pretty face' --- I write a lot of random posts but I never expected that so many people would like this post. My blog stats show it as my most read post. http://srinidhir.blogspot.com/2011/11/shes-not-just-pretty-face.html

– Your most controversial post: I think that I like the comments part of this post more than the post itself! http://srinidhir.blogspot.com/2011/08/sluts-are-us.html

– Your most helpful post: I have received mails about Bama after this and I think it is helpful in some way. :) http://srinidhir.blogspot.com/2011/11/falcon-in-skies.html

– A post whose success surprised you: I am shocked to find that so many people relate to the idea of a quiet space. :) http://srinidhir.blogspot.com/2011/10/quiet-space.html

– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved: I am not too often proud of my work. But this one i hold very very close to my hear. http://srinidhir.blogspot.com/2010/11/statelessness.html

– The post that you are most proud of: This is the only section I am posting more than one. I am very partial to these two posts despite them being a little childish. I like the idea and I think I didn't execute it too badly. 

Blogger nominates more bloggers to take part: 

Spaceman Spiff: Only started following you this year. Would love to see your list.


Red Handed: I am dying to see which one you are most proud of. :D

Arpita: :D Common dig up those archives!! :D I wanna read :D

Confessions of a chocolate obsessed: I am sure you will enjoy doing this :D

Anybody else who feels upto the task can please go right ahead. I think it is fairly enjoyable :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friends and acquaintances

I think I don't make friends very easily. Being an introvert, I take time to let my guard down. But a couple of times in my life, a few friendships were natural and barely took any effort from my end. I remember the conversation with J never stopped flowing, after we started talking. People around us couldn't believe that we had gotten so close, in such little time. Suddenly, we both (who are otherwise not so big on talking) were constantly chattering to each other. The comfort I shared with her, I never really found elsewhere. There was indeed something so relaxing and calming about conversations with her. Even now, the relationship is just as comfortable as it was when it began. It is just as fascinating, too.
I just assumed I got lucky with her as such an easy relationship had never presented itself to me before. I always had to work hard to make it work. But recently, I encountered another wonderful woman. I would like to like her AJ, similar to MJ which she would like I am sure. My friendship with her got off to a smooth start and it is still smooth. I like her personality and love her company. Too soon to tell, many would say. But I have a good feeling about her. Just like I had a wonderful feeling about J.
This got me thinking if I indeed I had judged myself all wrong and that I could make friends easily. Then I remembered what Richard Bach says in Illusions, "Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book review: 3's a crowd.

“A secret, sexual, romantic or emotional involvement that violates the commitment to an exclusive relationship”, is the definition used to describe infidelity in the book. 3’s a crowd is self-help book on “understanding and surviving infidelity”.
The book has a casual and very conversational tone to it. I understand that perhaps a lot of the examples quoted in the book might have been from real life stories. However, I kept feeling like they were cliché or too made up.  This I felt especially in the section where the author, Vijay Nagaswami, discusses the hallmarks of having an affair.
Prior to reading the book, I had a skewed idea of what an affair meant. I am not sure the book really helped change that. I do think that the author has done a good job of maintaining throughout the book that neither the “transgressor” nor the “aggrieved” is the victim. This is probably the very essence of any relationship, surviving the blame game. But I think practising that in reality is a lot harder than Nagaswami makes it out to be.
The author also briefly addresses the difference in the way men and women react to infidelity. I would have liked if this was further dealt with.

What I liked:
  • The conversational tone of the book.
  • The multiple examples that make the book not too boring (which is what I think when I think of self-help books, sorry)
  • The positivity that infidelity can be survived. Something I feel is quite lacking.
  • The attitude that infidelity could sometimes even be a random act that doesn’t mean anything in the long run.
  • The forward thought of addressing that often infidelity is just a sexual act and perhaps means little.
  • His language is pretty straightforward and the flow is good too.

What I didn’t like:
  • The fact that he just did not address the issue that some couples do not want to look past the act of transgression. (this could be seen as a good thing, but I felt that it needed to be 
  • The many examples after a while I began to read in a funny voice because it sort of became a joke.
  • I felt the book did not help me see the side of the transgressor, which I was hoping it would. I think this is something that is lacking in the book.

I would like to quote one of the examples, incase I am just being biased:

“One day after she had a bitter quarrel with her husband, she broke down in her cabin at office, when Samarath walked in. He asked what was wrong, they began to talk and Samarath began to play the role of a counsellor which came naturally to him. However, with Rati it was different. He started developing feelings for her. And she for him, since they spent nearly twelve hours a day at work to meet punishing deadlines. One day, almost naturally, he held and kissed Rati, who reciprocated with equal spontaneity. This set off a tornado of guilty in Samarath’s mind and even though nothing more than a kiss happened, he felt he had let Asha (his wife) down inordinately.”

Rating: 2/5
Final verdict: Not my type of a book.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mind space

So many people, so often quote Virginia Woolf and say that 'all a woman needs to write is some money and a room of one's own'. Now I completely agreed with that. Until, I had a house of my own (a rented one), a fixed income and I still couldn't write. I racked my brains for long hours. Stories, fiction and real life incidents, played over and over again in my head but I never had my usual uncontrollable urge to pen it all down. I would sit with a book and a pen and find myself blank. It isn't writers block, I know. But there is a block. To top it all, I feel a restlessness that is a sign of my withdrawal from writing. I tell myself, it will pass and I will be buried in my writing soon. But a month on, I haven't written a productive word.
When I sat down to write about my state of mind, it struck me. Woolf was not just talking about a room in its physical terms. She must have also meant mind space right?
It was suddenly so obvious. As much as writing is a stress buster for me, it is also an act that I can only take part in when I separate myself from the world. To be able to do that, I need to force the inconsequential, useless thoughts out of my mind, sit down and write.
Writing is now a part of me that enables me to think better, live better. But if I have to engage with writing the way I enjoy, I need silence. Not just from the world, but from the harsh voices in my head. And sometimes what I need is not a room or house of my own. But a space in my mind which is free of others opinions of me. And I need it soon.