Thursday, August 20, 2015

Good Bye, Dear Blog :-) !!

Dear Blog,
It's been almost three years since I stopped writing you. To be frank, when I first started writing you six years ago, I didn't have any plan on dumping you; I thought I would become a famous blogger and write you forever ;-).

But you know na, stuff happens and I dumped you long ago.
Why am I returning to you after so long? 'Coz I want to end things between us with a proper closure. Not that it would matter to you--you are not a sentient being! This closure is NOT going to matter to you. But to me, it does. I believe in closures. There are times when you move on from something, but it's important to properly end things and tie up the  loose strings. Even if it means saying goodbye to a blog. Yup !! I'm back to my hopelessly-idealistic-madly-in-love-with-life self :-) !! Ha ha... And that's the very reason I want to close you with love and respect.
I started writing you with lots of hopes and dreams. I was an aspiring blogger ha ha. Anyway, I never became a famous blogger, but yes, writing you was so therapeutic. I do feel embarrassed when I go through some of the entries, but pouring out all my feelings onto you definitely helped me so much. I didn't even have a journal back then, and you were the only place I could write on. Ya, you meant a lot to me. Even though I started writing you on a happy note, somewhere down the line life got complicated. I moved away from my "true self" and became a "real life person" as I say so in my previous posts. Ha ha !! Time changes! Now I'm back to what I was years ago, to what is actually my true identity. So much has changed, yet the basics remain the same: I was, I am, and will always be "Just a simple human being who loves life, nature and cooking" :-)
Yes, I am at such a happy place today. Have totally moved on from all the negativity and toxicity in my life. A positive feeling envelops me, my Guardian Angel is giving me signs that right now I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in life. I am so peaceful, happy, content, and excited! When you are happy, you get nostalgic and start introspecting. That's how you came into my thoughts again. And I realize that you meant so much to me once upon a time, and I should say a proper goodbye to you.
Yes, my Dear Blog, you meant a lot to me, you helped me analyze my thoughts, you made me feel like a "blogger", and even if just a couple of other people read you, it still meant a lot to me... I feel so nostalgic coming back to you after so long--and I will surely return to read you. You are a place where I can come to any day in future and get a glimpse of the "old" me :-) !!
So this is my last post on you. Thanks a lot, Good Bye :-) !!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Time to QUIT :-) !!!

Why the hell have you turned into such a coward, N?
It was the unmistakable voice of my soul. My poor inner voice had been yelling, shouting, crying and pleading with me for months to listen to it. And I tried to ignore it for as long as I could. But I couldn't anymore. I have become a coward. I have become the person I was always afraid of becoming.
A typical real life person.  Someone who pretends everything is fine when their soul is crying. Someone who does what they would rather not be doing. Someone who uses their circumstances as an excuse for not listening to their soul. Someone who hates their job but doesn't have the guts to quit. There was a time when I used to find such people disgusting, and today I have become one such person.
This just can't go on any longer. Come on, N.
I feel disgusted at myself, ashamed of what I have become. And it's good that I am feeling this way, at least I know it’s time to face the truth.
But you know you can't take up another job right now?
It is the voice of my brain, who of late has been trying to force my soul into buying its logical arguments. My brain is right in a sense: father who is undergoing cancer treatment is scheduled to have a surgery in December, and I have to be home for at least a few weeks. No company (save my current employer) is going to grant any of its employees, leave alone a new one, so many leaves. A new job at this time is out of question. And to be frank, right now I am feeling pretty messed up, not really in a position to look for a new job.
Ok, I can't take up another job right now. But I can QUIT this one!!
Of course, why not? While it's true my family is going through a crisis, it's also true that no one is financially dependent on me--and I have enough savings to see through 3 or 4 months comfortably without a monthly pay. Situations aren't really as desperate as my stressed-out mind had made them out to be. I already feel lighter as I decide to quit, come what may. I am not bothered about the future; the future will take care of itself when the time comes.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Interview Call

I have an interview, and I am en-route to the avenue riding in an auto. International School. I have an interview at a school! But I am not a teacher--the interview is for the position of a content writer. This is your dream job. Give it your best. I am nervous (obviously!). The road is so muddy, but I don't remember it raining the previous day. I am afraid the auto would get stuck in the mud. It doesn't, and I reach the school well before time. Kids in uniform wish me. "Good morning, madam." I smile to myself as  I make my way to the office. I stop short as I remember that I have forgotten to bring my resume or writing samples! How could I? I glance at my watch, its only 10:30 am; the interview is at 11. I wonder if I should just rush home and get the needed documents. I am confused and lost in thought. Just then an invisible voice addresses me. "Leave it", it says, "As it is, you can't take this job. What is the use even trying?" But a part of me doesn't want to give up so soon, I know I can't take this job, but at least I can attend the interview. I am still contemplating what to do. The sun is getting warmer and I wiggle my toes. They are getting sweaty under the bed sheet. Then I open my eyes. I am confused and I look around. 
Oh! I get it. I just woke up from a dream; but it was so vivid that it felt real. Wide awake by now, I get ready to start my Sunday. I feel upset because of the dream, almost tearful. That was my dream job! But I didn't even get to attend the interview. Anyway, I make myself some hot tea infused with fragrant spices. That perks up my mood and I get on with my chores.

It's Wednesday and I have just arrived at my office. I check my mail. There it is, shouting at me from my inbox:
I open the mail, and hurriedly read through the contents. Yes! This is the job I had dreamed about!  A sense of deja vu envelops me as I stare at the computer screen. Isn't it weird that something I dreamed about is actually happening? It’s funny, but I don't find it strange at all; it is as if I was expecting this to happen. That little invisible voice calls out again, “Come on! You know you can't take this job!" How much would I have loved to argue with that voice! But I don't. I know I can't take that job even if accepted. I delete the mail and get on with my work--the work that fails to give me joy anymore, the work that drains me so much that I wish I could quit.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Evil Granny

Recently I called up my granny, who at 77 is still one of the most beautiful--and active-- women I have ever met. After exchanging the obligatory pleasantries, both of us were stuck for a while as neither really had anything to say to the other. After a few seconds of awkward silence, granny re-started the conversation...

Granny:  So how’s your job going on?? All exciting and rocking?
Me: Err no. It’s not at all good, I am fed up.
(Not that I actually meant to say this and upset granny, but sometimes the truth spills out unintentionally)
Granny: Oh!! Good, good. I am glad you like your job.

Huhh??? Didn't she get what I was saying?

Me (this time intentionally): Well granny, I said I am NOT satisfied with it, I wish I could resign!
Granny: Hey, that’s great!! So you really love your job? You can also write on tourism.


Me (frustrated, but trying not to sound irritated): Granny! I am fed up of my current job. I would have left but....
Granny (interrupts me mid-sentence): Yes, you go get a job that involves writing on tourism.


No, she is not senile, and neither is she hard-of-hearing. Of course, she knows that I work for a publishing house that publishes textbooks. And she is very much aware of the fact that due to a crisis in my family I can't leave this job now even if I wanted to. 
So what explains her behaviour? Pure indifference. Since she is in no way affected by the issues I am going through, she is least bothered. She didn't even listen to what I was saying!! Sure shot sign that she is not concerned about me in any way!
OK. This brings up the issue--why does she need to be concerned about me in the first place? Just because she gave birth to the woman who gave birth to me? Of course not!! I don't suppose she is obliged to "love" me! But why does she pretend to do so then? Why does she keep on asking me when I would visit her? Why does she say that she misses me? Why does she want me to call often? Why all this pretenses when she is not even concerned about me at the very least? To project to the society that she is a caring grandmother? To impress her daughter (my mother) that she is interested in the well-being of her children? Whatever!!

And do I love her? Maybe I did when I was little, and too innocent about the ways of the world. To be frank, I wouldn’t say I am very close to her as on today—not after those of her manipulative attempts to brainwash/blackmail me when I still was naive enough to trust herthough I really do care about her, and am concerned about her welfare. Now that we had never really been close, I guess this incident simply adds to the already expanding chasm between us. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Just Because...

The rose tint of my glasses is fading. Yes, it really is. There was a time when I used to be too idealistic, too optimistic about life. And people. Though life (with all its ups and downs) hasn't disappointed me so far, people definitely have. I have finally come to understand how selfish, mean and manipulative some people can be. Of course, the fact that I am so trusting, soft-spoken and emotional doesn't work in my favour. Anyway, I am glad that I am still idealistic and optimistic enough to view those who hurt me as sources of invaluable experience and important life lessons.

Just because…
  • someone doesn't comment on your personal life, beliefs, etc. doesn't  mean they respect your viewpoints/opinion/personal choices. They could be plain indifferent.
  • someone says they are "a bit busy" doesn't mean they actually are. It simply means you don't figure on their priority list.
  • a guy says he doesn't want to lose you doesn't mean he actually values you. It simply means he wants you to ignore his wrongdoings, and stick with him in spite of all his misdeeds.
  • someone calls you frequently doesn't mean they actually care about you; they could be bored and looking for some time pass (or looking for someone to dump their emotional garbage on).
  • someone is being friendly doesn't mean they are really friends. Maybe they just want to get some things done through you.
  • someone says sorry doesn't mean they realize/regret their mistake. They could be doing this to simply end the argument--without having to sort out the issue at hand.
  • someone lends you a shoulder to cry on doesn't mean they are genuinely concerned. They could be doing this just for the ego-boost they get out of supporting a "poor helpless soul in distress".
  • someone seconds each of your views/opinions doesn't mean you both are like minded. They could be pretending to think like you so that you can be "friends".
  • someone swears that they will change doesn't mean they actually will. It is just a tired old ploy to make you forgive them once again. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Disillusioned (Almost)

"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup."
                                                                               -- H. L. Mencken

When I heard the word "idealist" for the very first time, I thought it was a swear word. Way back as a teenager I was sharing my world views with my brother when he wrinkled his nose with disgust and muttered "Idealist" under his breath. I did not know what the word meant; I actually had to look it up in a dictionary. The definition did suit me. But I could not understand why he found it disgusting. 
Coming back to the present, I now realize why my brother made a face. Sometimes idealists can be so foolishly optimistic about life that it gets annoying. Real life does not operate with storybook simplicity but some people are immature enough to think it does; I had been one of those naive idealists. 
Now I finally accept some truths that I for so long had refused to acknowledge. 
  1. Idealism fades off with age: When I was younger and high on idealism, I sincerely thought I would be like that always. But the more you experience real life and observe the world around you (with all its problems, unfairness and complications), the more you lose your idealistic beliefs. 
  2. Time and distance can (and do) alienate people: We like to think that if two people are really close to each other, then time or distance cannot come between them. Maybe in the case of an ideal relationship in an ideal world. In the real world things are different, and external factors can definitely create distances between people. 
  3. Fulfillment of your most cherished dream may not give you much joy: We all have certain dreams we hold close to our hearts, dreams that we cannot wait to see fulfilled. But many times, the fulfillment of those dreams fail to give you that much anticipated sense of contentment, or worse, could even disappoint you. 
  4. Everything does not end perfectly: There are perfect ways to end things. It is possible to end relationships smoothly or leave a job in the most amicable manner. But still every ending just does not happen in the most ideal way in spite of your best efforts (there are many other forces at play in addition to your efforts). 
  5. No relationship is unconditional: Obviously familial or romantic relationships are based on numerous conditions though all this time I thought friendships were unconditional. But no, there are conditions in friendships as well. Still friendship is one of the least conditional (not unconditional) relationships of all. 
  6. Money is important: Idealists who prefer a simple way of life think that they can easily manage with lesser amounts of money if they keep their materialistic needs minimal. Nice thought, if you ignore the fact that life is not one smooth long ride. An emergency or medical crisis can strike anytime, bursting the bubble of anyone who thinks that money is not that important. 
  7. You cannot always follow your heart: This is one really sad fact. It is so easy to preach that one should follow their hearts, no matter what. But it is often impractical or unwise to blindly follow your heart without considering the after-effects. Sometimes you just have to put up with the circumstances and wait for times to change before you can actually follow your heart. 
  8. At times your intuition won't answer your queries: There are times when you desperately need an answer to a life question and turn to the only source you know won't betray you--your intuition. You ask it a question and wait for an answer, but receive no response. At times it feels as if your intuition has gone blank, no matter how much you rephrase your question, how much you pray, you don't receive an answer. Your intuition will never betray you, but it may not answer your questions every time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Opo Challenge

Bottle gourd was my enemy vegetable number one. The only time I ever used it in a dish was while making raita which turned out pretty well.But lets face it, anything (just about anything) slathered with mildly spiced yogurt sprinkled liberally with freshly ground cumin tastes good on a hot summer afternoon. I have heard about lauki ka halwa though I had never been ambitious enough to try my hand at that.

I just can not tolerate it in a curry. The bland translucent pieces of this ubiquitous summer vegetable floating in a gravy really turns me off. But now that summer is here, it is inevitable that I have to face this dreaded veggie sooner or later. And to add to my woes, I have a room mate who simply adores this gourd. So I know that very soon my fridge would be well stocked with Opos.
Opo squash. That is just another name for bottle gourd (or lauki, or dhudhi or long melon). The name "Opo" sort of has a cutesy element to it, and that somehow makes it sound less icky to me.
Anyway, this year I have pledged to make opo a regular part of my diet, there are just so many arguments in its favour. It is available in abundance during summer, is cheap, and healthy. If only I could brainwash myself into cooking it!
A couple of days ago, when I returned home to a smiling room mate and two smooth pale green opos, I knew it was time to get going and face the ultimate bottle gourd challenge.

I wanted something quick, simple and--edible. Since I cannot tolerate lauki pieces, I decided not to let any remain in the final dish. What if I pressure cooked it and mashed it up? Then I could make some sort of a bharta with it, the unappetizing smell of the gourd overpowered by the strong flavours of onion, garlic and coriander. And that is what i did.
The resultant dish was not very appetizing to look at, but it was edible nonetheless.
Ah! What a relief! I had successfully disposed off one OPO!! Just one more left to kill off.

Now I have become more confident. We will have opo kheer this weekend.