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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Secret

I was semi-consciously humming a song I used to sing in the school choir:
Make me a channel of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me bring Your love,
Where there is injury , your pardon Lord,
And when there’s doubt, true faith in You.

O Master , Grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

It’s strange how the greatest lessons of life are taught in the very beginning of our journey but somehow during the course of time, we tend to forget them. I was thinking of the times I had let clouds of doubt shadow my reason- when I was afraid to ask because I thought I might not receive.

Seek and Thou shall find. But I was scared to seek even. What if it ended in a big disappointment? What if…? And the big question mark intimidated me. Kept me from trying my best. When you start questioning too much, you forget to be happy. I am not asking you to lead life with complete abandonment. But sometimes, faith is all you need to have.

It could be anything- a well deserved promotion, the love of your life, a project you have been longing to take off the ground- anything at all. Believe it with all your heart , and you will have it. Some might label it as pseudoscience; but trust me- it has happened - many times more than it can be labeled as mere coincidence.

Rhonda Byrne in her bestseller, ”The Secret”, quotes Michael Bernard Beckwith saying that : "Creation is always happening. Every time an individual has a thought , or a prolonged chronic way of thinking, they’re in the creation process. Something is going to manifest out of those thoughts. " ... and that is exactly why it is important to concentrate on what you want, instead of what you do not want.

Be true to the dreams of your youth. You, as a kid, knew much more about yourself than you know now with all your worldly knowledge. Trust yourself like a child would in its ability to explore its world. Even if the dark old basement was scary, you always managed to find your favorite ball that got lost in it- didn’t you?
Try again. Don’t give up on yourself. You deserve happiness. Maybe even more than you think you do.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Give someone a hug today

Jaadu ki jhappi was popularized in India by our very own Munna Bhai, MBBS(2003) where the protagonist insisted on curing people with a hug.

A video released in YouTube in September, 2006 depicts its main character as giving out hugs as he walks through the Pitt Street Mall, Sydney, holding up a sign with the words FREE HUGS written on it. You can read his story here

Today was a day when I felt like I could do with a hug. But since I didn't go out with a banner, I think I can ask you to hug someone who's with you right now. You never know who needs it until you give it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A suitable girl-II

I imagined Mom saying to Dad, “ I told you we should get him married off before he leaves for the States to study. At least we should have gotten him engaged to a nice Bengali girl”. And Dad giving his characteristic what-will-be-will-be look and turning the pages of the newspaper as if nothing happened.

I got rid of the idea and glanced again at the picture that bro had mailed me. He was holding his girlfriend in it. They looked so happy together that I almost forgot about the impending disaster- namely, what if my parents found out that their only son is dating a Chinese girl. Or as a matter of fact, any girl of Non-Indian origin.

I debated whether to be a dutiful daughter and let my parents know about it immediately or to be a devoted sister and wait for bro to tell it himself. Then, I saw the mail addressee. It had Dad’s email id too. I considered it safe to call home and ask how they felt about it.

Tring-tring. Mom picked. There is no necessity of any sort of preamble with this person at least. “Hey Ma, did you know about Dada’s girlfriend?” She was pretty cool about it. And she said that he had told her about it. Now it was my turn to feel hurt. And he did not tell me! Hmmph.

I thought Mom was the more prejudiced among the two, but I found Dad to be more conservative. “Is he serious?” Honestly, I did not know. And how did it matter even if he is? Mom opined that she is happy as long as her kids are happy. And she believes that they know what they want for their happiness. I smiled to myself.

Later, when bro got online, I asked him : What is her name? What does she do?
The usual stuff. He asked if Dad had seen the picture as well. I replied in negative. But I made the weather forecast above the abode of the Kars presently. Cloudy. Windy. Expected turbulence from an unexpected quarter. He laughed.

Then obviously, my very younger sisterly attitude: Tui amaay agey bolish ni! (You didn’t tell me before!). And he laughed again. I was trying to get the details of the relationship when he suggested I should get a Russian boyfriend for myself.

Me: Russian? I can manage to speak some German but Russian?
Bro: Ok. French then? They are passionate lovers. I will support you in your decision. Don’t worry. I giggled at the serious concern of my sibling over the abilities of my better half. Then I said- Thank you for your generous offer. But I am very happy with my present state of things.
He must have felt disheartened by my lack of ambition and adventure in case of personal affairs. But I think my parents have enough to worry about already. :D

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Words -II

The Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005 has remained my favorite for years now. Every time I read it, it inspires me to think how powerful words can be. The language is lucid; the style is simple and unassuming. An abecedarian might even think it is mere stating of facts. But when you are through reading it, you feel immense energy enthused in you.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull , The Alchemist and L’Étranger are a few books which have made a difference to the way I look at life but none exceed even 200 pages in a standard paperback edition. They tell simple tales and you wonder if it could have been simpler than this. Yet, the underlying philosophy is so profound, so intense that you keep thinking about them for days.

Maybe that is why I favor free verse in poetry more. It is not bound by a strict meter or rhyme. You can feel the rhythm when you read it. Pablo Neruda's Love is one such composition that has been a treasure since the beginning of my poem hunting days as a teenager.

As we grow up, our tastes change. The food we eat, the dress we wear. Even the habits we cultivate. Things may change drastically someday. Things I thought I'd never do, might be done. Human emotions are dynamic in nature. You can not predict a second before hand what you might feel and as a consequence how you'd react.

"O painting," says Faure, ".. sublime art, the highest, the most subtle,"
"Music," says Hadow, "rises into such heights of sublimity as no other art can attain."
"The supreme art.. Literature, the perfect expression of life." says Wilde.

For me, I am what I read. So even in all the uncertainty, there are a few things that I'll always like. And I'll strive towards that form of art, which transcends and is independent of the medium used.

Writing, like any other artistic expression- is the outflow of one's feelings. The greatest sin, therefore, is to curb its naturalness which gives it vitality, gives it life. Concrete and imitative or the abstract- whichever art form I use, the perceived object and the observer should become one. And so should the author and the reader.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Devil's own

The latest from C:
My boss called me..uske colleague ne < beep > main apply kiya hai
Mujhe uska interview lena hai
Aur uski faad ke use yeh batana hai ki he is not worth < beep >
....I hate myself

The background info is: C's boss had attended the PG program with the candidate for the interview, some 14 years ago when he made the "mistake" of insulting him. Now he wants to get even with the guy using C as a tool.

His present status is- he's avoiding phone calls of his boss quoting his occupation with "other" things- just to schedule the interview later and to buy him some time. The thought of having to insult a deserving candidate is killing him more than having to please his boss.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My best friend is..

Any guesses?
No points for those who know me personally- they know it aright.
It was almost an year since I last saw her. Ever realized how every second passes with great difficulty when you are awaiting someone? The clock almost refuses to move. Time seems to be frozen still and you wait with all eagerness for the moment when you can see that person again.
I was at the arrival lounge of Delhi Airport, expecting a certain flight from Kolkata to land, and for her to alight. I saw a celebrity walk past me, but my attention was focused on the conveyor belts to see which one would carry the luggage from home. And then I saw the distinct outline of the woman I love most in this world. The tears brimming in my eyes were the expression of a plethora of opposing emotions I was feeling inside- of longing and of getting, of missing and of meeting again. I held her in a tight embrace like a child clings to its mother. And I was feeling like a baby again.

She means "home" to me. A place that will take you back, no matter what. She is my refuge and yet my strength. She believes in confronting what she fears the most and she has taught me to do the same.

She means a unique flowery smell, the duplication of which I have not found yet. As a child, I would dig my nose into her clothes when she went out for work, just to feel her proximity. This is how I went to sleep in the afternoon after I came home from school .

Like every other emotionally insecure teenager I had problem accepting the changes in myself. She was the one who made me see the beauty in me. As she does in everybody around her.

I don't remember her hollering ever. When she gets angry, she doesn't lash out. She just clams up like an oyster. And that is what I fear the most. Her silence. It is more deafening than any rebuke I can anticipate. Every time I have been at fault, I have expected her to reprimand me, but she has answered me with quietude. Completely ignoring the fact that I have gone wrong somewhere. She prefers to say how things would have been easier if I had done the right thing, so I can analyze the situations myself. Her pet refrain then is " Nera beltolay jaay kobaar?" , meaning "How many time does the bald venture under a bel tree? The answer is Nera beltolay ekbar e jaay ! (He goes only once i.e makes the mistake only once) And I swear to make a new mistake the next time.

She also means patali goor-er payesh. Her sweetness is like my favorite rice pudding she makes for me. She is like the spring flower she offers to the deity in prayer. She is like the incense stick that doesn't make a screaming entrance but leaves a lingering fragrance even when it is extinguished.

Over the years I have learned to appreciate the words from a lullaby ..."Kiser maashi-kiser pishi, kiser Brindabon? Chotur dikey cheye dekho Ma boro dhonn" ( Something to the effect of.. "even Brindavan is nothing compared to a mother" )

I had conceived the idea to write this post on Mother's Day (US- 2nd Sunday of May), but then I thought- a bond such as this need not be celebrated on a restricted date.
Love you Ma

Monday, May 14, 2007

Truth and Scare?

I wonder if there’s anything called “the absolute truth”, or it is only the versions available and most vendible that survive. Winners pen down history and glorify themselves. The losers are always “the evil”. The good prevails or that is what we are taught to believe.
Think rationally and be woe begone. Why take the pain? Why have regrets? They are as personal and unique as fingerprints. Why wash the dirty linen in public instead of the lacy lingerie? No one wants to embrace your demons. Keep your nightmares to yourself. Let them stealth into your dreams, while you are asleep and most vulnerable. Keep that straight face and the upper curve on your lips. The show must go on.
I dare you to write the truth about yourself today before your pen bleeds to death.

Scared ? This Kafkaesque post deserves to be hidden.
Good Night.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spiderman 4? No thank you

The film is educational. It teaches young school-children (KG-goers I mean) how and where not to kiss. No snogging in the wilderness on hammocks please. When you get down, little creepy symbiotic things will stick to you and may cause you to change to something other than your usual loser self.

Harry has a very convenient short-term memory loss and forgets about his enmity with Peter Parker. Only to regain it after he shares a kiss with MJ who is already frustrated by Pete's self obsessed demeanor which makes him constantly talk about himself and leaves him with no time to listen to her. From a would-be-Broadway star, MJ takes up a job as a waitress/singer in a Jazz club and Pete has no idea till Harry tells him about it.

There's a confusing episode where MJ is threatened by Harry to break-up with Pete to save his life. ( First, weaken the heart policy) Why she doesn't tell the truth to Pete is not comprehended by my little dimaag.
Gwen Stacy makes an interesting entry ( after her wink-and-you miss appearance at the class ) when she's hanging from the busted sides of a high-rise building. Her father, Captain Stacy looks on as calm as she were strolling out in the lawn with her dog and asks "What's she doing up there?" to Eddie Brock who is clicking away with his shutterbug and claims "... I am dating your daughter" in the most inappropriate moment possible.

The comic scene of Pete's intended proposal to MJ turns pathetic and I see no reason why the feline Gwen should have her nails all over Pete when she knows he's with her girl. ( Later, revealed when she goes to the Jazz club with Pete and asks " Wasn't she your girl?")

The Venom concept is interesting and so is the tagline "The greatest enemy lies within". But somewhere it fails to be convincing like the previous Spidey films.
The nuclear demoleculizer has a guest appearance , albeit a significant one which transforms Marko Flint to Sandman. One thing good about the Spiderman heroes is that they are the victims of circumstances and that makes them more real. But this one stretches way beyond your imagination. Even Pete wonders aloud- "Where do all these guys come from?". Well, just where you came from. Marvel comics.

Harry Osborne undergoes transformation in an instant when his butler waits till the last moment while MJ's life is in danger and tells the truth about death of Harry's father (Green Goblin). The Gandhigiri Pete resorts to when he says “I forgive you” to Marko Flint will put our dettol heroes to shame.

The graphics were good but the storyline needed to be crisper and the edits could have made the movie an hour shorter. Too many sub plots made it appear as an epic. (Did Sam Raimi outsource it to Ramanand Sagar?)And yeah, we should have been spared of the scene where Tobey Maguire weeps at Harry’s death.

Yet, it looked like a good omen when a lady asked for directions to AUDI 0.7 at Spice for Ta Ra Rum Pum. And when I showed her the way, her kid said : " Par mujhe to Spiderman dekhna hai!" and flashed his ticket for Audi0.3. I asked the kid " Stay with me, I 'm going to watch the same show". I guess he enjoyed the movie more than I did. Coz he is still a believer.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tomb Raider : Urban

What is life without a little adventure? And if you are living in Delhi or NCR in an area in whose vicinity the road has been dug up for laying metro track, you don't have to go out looking for it. Just go out for a harmless stroll on a Sunday evening and you will know what I mean. I was in a hurry for an appointment with my beautician when I was faced with the option to make a detour and get late or utilize my rock climbing and stone hopping skills and be on time. I opted for the later.
Here are a few snaps of what I enjoyed crossing at Sector 16, Noida.

And finally, from the other side after I had crossed-

UPDATE: Shittt!!! This blog entry just made me a male ! :P
View the algorithm and gender genie here (you can copy paste the text of this post and see what I mean )

Also, if you have time to while away, visit this

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Identifying quality

Yahoo! My laptop is back from ICU. Now I can post what I had promised to. About quality and its importance in our everyday life.
When we talk about several management principles to improve quality, we feel intimidated because we forget that we judge "quality" subconsciously most of the times, even in mundane day-to-day experiences. For example, recently I had to courier a few documents overseas. Though I had the tracking number to keep note of the progress of the shipment, I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from concerned courier service provider notifying me the receipt of the papers and the name of the person concerned who had received the same. It was just one way of customer retention. Keeping track of the shipments of even walk-in customers.

Another incident happened when my friend wanted to buy a sunscreen lotion for herself. The product knowledge of the guy at the store was astounding and she felt spoilt for choice. When she asked for my opinion I suggested she took something which suited her skin type in stead of anything that caught her fancy. In fact, that chap convinced me to get a sunscreen with matte effect, when I already had one with a cream base.

Now, one thing that goes a long way to improve quality is innovation.
Here’s something I’d like to share.

Since I love drawing parallelisms, I’d like to say we can bring quality in our lives with just a little effort everyday. They say dreams don't come true, goals do. And it is all manageable when you write it down. So here are a few from my list of goals. I have tried to make them as numerical as possible.
1. I want to be an MBA graduate in 3 years' time with course titles- Marketing Communications , Business to Business Marketing, Computer Assisted Market Analysis and Planning, and Internet Marketing
2. I want to script at least one more book before I am 30.
3. I want to have a start-up in the next 10-15 years.In fact I have started with my domain name and server space, I need a web developer.
4. I want to complete M-3 level of degree in German.
5. I want to weigh 58 kg and wear my hair another 15 cm longer.
Got crazier ideas, but these were the saner ones.
Till next time,
Keep dreaming.