Thursday, April 30, 2009

She will Conquer

I always hate starting something new, there is always that imminent feeling of where do I begin? As I sit before the computer screen rattling my nearly empty head away, I suddenly realize, well the beginning is always a good place, right?

She joins the Ranks of the Supposed Millions:

Frankly, I have been too depressed to write. I know this is no big great surprise even to me, but without getting too overtly dramatic about it, the last odd month or so has truly been, well how should I put it mildly, aha, yes, a crappy one.

I walked into the office exactly when the clock struck ten, was almost proud of this momentous achievement of punctuality since Mumbai has successfully instilled pathological tardiness into my being. The impending feeling of utter misfortune hovered over the confines of the office space may have vastly contributed towards me quickly hustling out of bed briskly and heading towards my adversity. The box office figures for the weekend were in the previous day, shiny new mass appealing source of entertainment from our factory was a massive box office dud! The air was fraught with unbearable tension and gloom. The honchos pottered around importantly from one cabin to other all day long carrying stacks of papers that divulged the financial state of the organization. I calmly fixed my ass in my chair all day, hopefully looking poised and serene, juggling multiple acts of thinking positive thoughts, performing calming breathing exercises, reading self help articles on the internet, flicking through Vogue and looking for cheap flights to Thailand for a long, well deserved break. Quite proud of this intuitiveness that I have developed over the years, I can somehow always sense when my life is going to come crashing down around me with a deafening thud, then I can effectively start disaster management, well at least a day in advance.

After all despondent discussions were temporarily suspended by all the important people, all the expendable individuals ie. ME were ushered in. The hideous, ugly news was broken, I was getting laid off because the financial state of the company. Oh dear, I groaned in my head, its happening, its happening! I was prepared for it actually, had a damn good inkling of it almost twenty four hours in advance, so I smiled through the long drawn out explanation and almost felt bad for my boss, the man looked genuinely tormented about having to give me up. Small, small consolation, I was valuable, thunderous realization immediately after, well not enough to keep my job.

I would be lying if I said that at very instant, my existence came to a shrilling, screeching halt, but longer the conversation continued, the worse I started to feel. There he was looking at me sadly with large remorseful eyes telling me how incredibly unfair and unstable these times were, that I must not loose hope and channel my talent (yeah right, which one?) in a constructive manner in this time of forced sabbatical. As the level of encouragement in his seemingly hollow words grew, so did the irresistible urge to slump my head on edge of his desk and break into a long, agony wrenched wail that would eventually progress into a full throated sob.

In the end I almost managed to keep my dignity intact by not exhibiting a full fledged reaction to the dreadful news of my unemployment, but instead settled for a small show of hysteria by fleeing from the lunch table in frenzy and locking myself in the bathroom for a whole twenty minutes weeping bitterly, tad bit too worn out to keep up with the one big, happy, work family farce.

A Little Unsettled and Distraught, but doing Alright:

After the initial gloom and doom of professional disaster was somewhat abated, was once again almost back to positive, enthusiastic self. Was actually quite glad, after all it is only the forth month of the year, far too early in the calendar to slip into all too familiar negativity, plus it seemed like such a waste to let months and months of disciplined effort to stay focused and hopeful go all in vain, also seriously excited about a million new possibilities that lie ahead.

The joys of having copious amounts of time and channeling it in the right direction, finally embarking upon a long desired career as a freelance writer, sitting with my laptop on my lap, churning out fantastic stories for distinguished publications around the world, being loved and respected by all, being featured in India Today’s top ten people under twenty five list, okay being realistic, scratch that and make it under thirty list. The possibilities the possibilities, but first very quickly must check Naukri for any interesting job openings, just in case, always good to have a back up plan.

So there I was ready to take the world by storm, a powerful new voice in the literary world, ready to pleasantly shock the nation with maturity reflected through my poignant writing at the tender age of twenty five! Wrote to every single editor I knew and even some I didn’t know shamelessly name dropping in hopes of nabbing any freelance assignment cast my way. Bloody hell, its hard getting writing work in a recession, no one’s hiring, but what’s worse, no one is hiring writers, period. In times of great financial turmoil, the value of the written word is totally annihilated! Should have trained in something valuable when I was younger, but too late to regret stupid decisions made during tumultuous, angst filled teenage years when life of the starving artist seemed glamorous and justifiable. Tried very, very hard to maintain calm demeanor, repeating hay necked quotations like “failure is the stepping stone to success” and “Rome was not built in a day” to self over and over again. Also managed go on a few job interviews on account of dwindling bank balance, very much against own will.

Finally some success, have been hired to write play for eighth graders by an education company. Only problem, must write it in contemporary language, also must incorporate geography, science and math syllabus into the historical setting of the formation of the East India Company. Right, did the James Lanchester use compound interest to do the math when trading with the natives?

Also writing and editing and some politician’s mini-biography to make some much needed bucks on the side, have realized though well conducted research and much contemplation that it is indeed ironic that these so called ‘civil servants’ and ‘social workers’ have unfathomable and I’m sure unaccountable amounts of money. While they rally as the ‘common man’ and ‘for the common man’ their kids travel in Mercedes and BMW’s, study at ridiculously expensive private schools and all of them have a freaking MBA from some university in the U.K. Obviously intelligence and merit do not serve as valid prerequisites for a top-notch foreign education in their case. Seriously, where do these so called ‘aids of the masses’ get massive quantities of wealth to fill their own coffers and secure the bright future of their children? More importantly how fair is it that they get everything that I want with such relative ease, when I am busting my ass in spite of repeated failure and get nothing I desire even though I am actually quite worthy and deserving?

Speaking of repeated failure, I totally messed up my GRE, big surprise! Actually, to be honest and fair, I did really work hard, assiduously pouring through the books over the last few months. I am not one of those frazzled, nervous test takers, I don’t loose my poise and composure while writing examinations, after the initial jitters have settled, I manage to easily slip in the flow of things and do what is required, only this time around it happened to be a really hard test. I walked out of the examination room shell shocked, thanks to instant scores I knew what I had earned, too stunned to speak, I headed home zombie like. I had scored lower than any of my mock tests. I had done dismally, my months and months of efforts and my hard earned money all down the drain.

At the moment I really did feel like a catastrophic failure, after everything that had gone terrifically wrong over the last year or so, I really did so badly want this to work in my favor, me, God or fate messing up something that was so incredibly important to me did feel like a cold, hard smack on the face. I spent two whole days rethinking my career goals. Maybe this was a sign for the universe that my academic life is officially over and I should not harbor dreams of a higher education. I also kept mulling over my subject matter, after all, there are numerous talented writers around the world, what is the chance that I am going to be picked among the hundreds that have applied. Oh dear God, I have to now invent twenty pages of poignant, startling, prose, which will be my ticket into a writing program. But art is so subjective, how can I possibly fathom what will work where?

Mommy and I:

Who ever said that unemployment is bad is a stark, raving lunatic. After the initial discomfort with free day time hours has passed, things do eventually metamorphosis into ‘jolly good.’ Have developed a highly productive schedule, which entails waking up post ten, writing until late noon, lunch, nap, tea, writing, exercise, dinner, reading and bed, of course not strictly in that order. The beauty of now ‘working’ from home is fact that blossoming friendship between mom and I has now officially reached its zenith! We are fantastic together! The perfect house companions! She is warm and caring and incredibly supportive of my ambitions. She cheers me up whenever I feel like the universe is conspiring against me, relentlessly plotting my doom. She makes me delicious lunches and hands me pillows when I whine in my mid-afternoon stupor for one. We both stay awake till all odd hours of the night reading our respective books; sometimes my head rests in her lap. My heart bursts with great love and admiration each time I glance in her direction, but sometimes she really does look so old and tired. I compensate for being less useful around the house and expressing my sincere, heartfelt gratitude but buying her expensive things that she can totally afford but will never indulge in. We make one hell of a mother-daughter team and truly are happy together. Sometimes I day dream about this lovely arrangement continuing forever, I feel so cherished in the company of my mum, she loves me in spite of the fact that I don’t have a job, my prospects of a bright professional life are dismal so far, I am horrible at taking standardized tests, I don’t have a whole lot of money and no man loves me and wants to marry me! Only the most unselfish, saintly, divine creature can unconditionally love so rubbish of an offspring.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And then, God created a "Saturday"

Once upon a time in a not so distant land, in a time that seemed almost comprehensible there lived a girl who took pride in being rather intuitive. She may not have been the prettiest, smartest or funniest damsel on the block, but she was always a decent judge of human character and sexual preference. She took certain pride in her flair and ability to grasp the essence of most people, thus channeling it as important survival technique in an overtly vicious world, shielding her self from the company and influence of those she deemed less favorable.

This served as a great mechanism for categorizing people and storing them in neat little boxes that she had created in the rather chaotic realm of her imagination, a meager yet important way in which she brought some method to the madness that played havoc in her head each day.

The valiant and heroic protagonist of this tale, in her hunt for some much needed relaxation and carousing journeyed to a dear friends weekend bash in hopes of participating in some good old fashioned revelry. Hope they say is a funny thing, it’s essential it have some in healthy, moderate doses, but like it is with most things in excess, a little too much optimism can more often than not lead to overt disappointment, or so she had learned from the times gone by.

So with little expectation other than the humble urge to have a moderately amicable evening, she stepped into the playing field, gallant but cautious. Meeting new people and being your glaring best always seemed like a chore to her. It’s a rather daunting task, to be observed and perceived by all those faceless names, your brain whirs with a million thoughts trying to frantically cling onto that one great idea that could sustain a somewhat appealing conversation of decent length, all the while your eyes narrow with a hard gleam, your retinas contract in a sometimes futile attempt at visual recognition, you end up looking like you wish to skin the other person alive at that very spot with a brand new butcher knife, when all you’re are trying to do is earnestly contemplate if you have ever seen them before.

As if the act of arousing a stranger’s interest in a remotely interesting chatter isn’t Herculean enough, there is of course the painful humiliation to bear when he casually flicks his wrist from left to right and mouths, “see you around” without so much as asking for your phone number, crushing any vestige of hope that you might see him again, without coincidence playing a part in any future meetings, if they do occur that is.

You make a respectable exit form a lackluster meeting and move of to the next set of people in hopes of emulating a magical moment you may have witnessed in fiction before. Your conversation opens with a tentative smile as you wait for the perfect cue to interject with something remarkably witty. You succeed, he laughs, you laugh, you look, he looks, you look again this time more closely, you notice the hair (it’s styled and fashioned in a distinctly peculiar way), you observe the voice modulation(there is a certain whiny drawl to it), your grin widens as your mind goes “the dudes gay.”

The pressure to be infinitely charming and attractive eases, you slip into a causal but relaxed banter, everything seems great until the fine gentleman turns to you and says with a swagger , “so where can I meet some hot chicks in the city?” You want to erupt into fit of laughter but politely bite down a snigger, name a few places and make a quick exit, doubting for the first time your general intuitiveness about people. There was a time when gays were gays and straights were straights and our heroine could distinctively tell the difference between the two. As she inquiringly peers down at the generation below her, she is perplexed about this new hybrid crop of youngsters whose outward appearance is distinctively queer, but are unhesitant about declaring their affections for the fairer sex, talk about confused!

As the night progresses, so does the levels of alcohol in everyone’s blood stream. By then our anonymous lead is somewhat over the initial disappointment of being blatantly rejected by someone she considers a fine specimen of the male variety. She gingerly holds her plastic cup filled to the brim with suspiciously large quantities of alcohol and “mingles” through the limited confines of the space. Her eyes gleam unnaturally from the liquor rapidly coursing at an alarming rate through her blood stream; her cheeks flush form the heat of the vodka, little beads of sweat form on her forehead indicating the advent of what promises to be a stifling summer. All insecurities and anxieties that may have previously been a cause of great dismay now seem frivolous. She is truly having a wonderful time, because nothing anyone says makes the slightest sense!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sometimes it feels like Never

I hate mushiness that crops up in this general order of existence. Okay that’s a lie. I do secretly enjoy it, but I am terribly, terribly embarrassed to admit it, even to myself. How I have pined for all those exceedingly romantic, unrealistic moments to crop up in my very own life each time I have read ridiculously passion filled verse from the numerous romance novels that crowd my bookshelf or sighed with utter longing and desire each time I view an nakedly endearing moment between two lost, lonely soul craving for love at its finest in the numerous chick-flicks that I have watched time and again in great secrecy.

Dates are important. Birthday’s, birth anniversaries, death anniversaries, random encounters with perfect strangers who remain just that or sometimes manifest into something more are all days that play a monumental role in shaping our lives. Whether we choose to admit it or not, we are all enslaved to these days, they are absolutely pivotal to our existence. If they haven’t materialized yet then we wistfully long for them in our most private and intimate thoughts, even if we are in denial about them in public view.

August 1st is one such day in my life. Yeah, I know it is a ways away and normally the thought wouldn’t as much as cross my mind if I was engaged in a tormenting or time consuming endeavor, but since life is trudging along at its own lazy, meandering pace, I am suddenly left with a little more free time during the day than advised for a well balanced existence, which gives me the unnecessary opportunity to ponder about the ghosts of my past and think about all things melancholy. The empty mind is indeed the devils workshop, or in my case the killer of all thoughts remotely happy, after all isn’t tragedy oh so poetic?

Normally I am not the fatefully self-deprecating types. Sure, I do it time and again because it is fun and in my most witty moments, it even draws a few laughs from those appreciative of a scathing sense of humor, but for the most part, I would like to consider myself to be a poised, well-balanced human being. I love myself too damn much to ever have the audacity to end my own life, however trifle or trite it may seem, even to me.

Everyone is allowed to go through a bad patch, as am I, it’s all a part and parcel of what some wise asses term as growing up. In my weakest moments I have gone through bouts of self pity and acerbic loathing, which I have done infinitely well to mask from the rest of the world. The deep sadness that sometimes plagues my soul never lasts more than a few days, okay sometimes maybe a few months, but no longer than that. No matter how hard I try, it is extremely difficult to kill that self assured girl that lies somewhere within. Sounds like a great mantra to save yourself from going completely mental, but it is also a sure fire way to single-handedly destroy any vestige of a love life one might have once possessed. I mean let’s be honest here, most men prefer the damsel in distress, the woman ridden with trepidation and mental imbalance is far more alluring than someone who seems infinitely capable of handling her own business.

Most men have a God complex, I have it too. In more ways than one I sometimes feel like the messiah, specifically placed on this planet to bring salvation to all poor bastards that need a shoulder to cry on. This makes me an excellent friend, but a horrible girlfriend. When ever a life altering implication threatens my mostly regular existence, I prefer to retreat within myself and solve all crises at my own accord and pace. No self respecting knight in a snazzy Armani suit could possibly tolerate the thought of his “girl” being completely adequate and adept at cleaning up her own mess.

Men who tell you they prefer independent, strong women are terrible liars, sure they may appreciate the beauty of it from afar, can even clearly comprehend the merits of having such a person in their lives, but the neutral, third person perspective is a lot more fathomable when it is non-applicable to your own situation. When such a person does enter their life, it is more than enough to make them feel infinitely inadequate and terribly helpless and run off to the next dim-witted bimbo that needs help lifting her mammoth suitcase into her carousel at the nearest large airport.

This long, seemingly meaningless rant does have a purpose. I have carried my own large suitcases for way too long. The result of which I will be single for two whole years August 1st. Normally, I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmingly sentimental about it, actually I’m really not, but then ever so often you see something or someone in particular that trigger those long dormant fairy-tale fantasies that leave you breathless with an unexpected pang of longing.

Celebration doesn’t really require any real legitimate reason. People engage in all sorts of carousal for the silliest reasons, so I figure I should take this with a stride, swallow the overwhelming sense of hopelessness with a tight, clenched smile and gulp down a few vodka tonics and forget how pathetic I feel in a much occasioned drunken stupor.

It all seems like a hilarious, cruel, unfair joke, since I don’t even feel the compelling need to date on most days. All I want is a regular stress-busting romp in the sack three times a week, no questions asked. I guess some of the seemingly easy quests are the hardest to execute.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One of the Boys

It’s not like I have gotten frivolous over the course of the last few months, far from it. I have just gotten really tired of being so incredibly serious all the damn time. Like with most things in life I am a late bloomer to this profound, life changing realization. Oh well, better late than never some wise ass once said.

There is some serious, unadulterated joy involved in being lighthearted and headed, not having to act and be like I’m carrying the weight of the whole wide world upon my tender shoulders. It feels like nirvana, or at least the kind of temporary nirvana one attains from toe curling sex. I don’t know about anyone else, but the feeling of physical emptiness (like that of an empty vessel drifting towards horizon at a leisurely pace) one experiences immediately after those few seconds (or if you are lucky even a few minutes) of intense, blazing, tear inducing physical sensation is reason good enough to thank the lord almighty for this human existence. It’s definitely God’s way of compensating for all the misery, strife and crap one endures though most waking hours. Well almost, if you are lucky enough to experience it that is. Even here we are sometimes screwed over by the mysterious workings of the universe in someway.

I am certainly basking in all the glory that living one day at a time brings. This is something that is an entirely new territory for me and like it is with anything novel, I am having a truly wonderful time exploring all the facets and peering at every single nook and corner. Of course, the down side to all this is I do not feel any compelling need to blog, well at least not in the serious pseudo-intellectual kind of way that I previously did. Not that I am calling myself an intellectual or even a pseudo-intellectual, far from it. But thank God for epiphanies, however late in life they may occur that make you say “Hallelujah.”

I love the ladies, well in a totally heterosexual way. I have been blessed with a healthy share of purely platonic male friends. On second thought, it might not be that great of a blessing as I may make it out to be, but for better or worse, I happen to enjoy a decent, amicable, trustworthy friendship with quite a few men. The boys are lovely, some of them even make great friends, sometimes they even offer an interesting perspective when prodded enough for an opinion.

It’s different with the women; there is always that initial dislike and suspicion. Everyone is everyone else’s competition, whether we would like to admit it or not. But after the initial hesitation and distrust is overcome and each others intentions are clearly interpreted and understood, women become each others most trusted, cherished allies.

I spent Valentine’s Day with my two guy friend ‘R’ and ‘A’ having a few drinks at Banana Bar, a perfectly respectable way to spend Saturday evening; it was a matter of pure coincidence that it just happened to be Valentine’s Day. I am vain. My vanity coaxed me to look great, which I did. I am not going to interject with some false modesty here, I am humble in more ways than one, but I am also honest. My honesty compels me to acknowledge my own spiffiness. You know I can digest the fact that these two lovely but ignorant men failed to notice or acknowledge my fabulousness. I can almost live with that. But the sheer audacity to completely bypass me as a specimen of my specie is something that I find entirely unforgivable!

The conversation started innocently enough, we are all single and laidback, not hung up over the fact that we are here together instead of being with our respective significant others and totally keen on have a decent enough time. Sounds great on paper right? Well it was for the most, until the time the art of ‘wooing’ and ‘seduction’ became the topic of intense discussion.

I am modern, liberated woman with some strong antiquated beliefs. Chivalry to me is not dead and most men and women indulge in affairs of the heart with the purest and noblest of intentions, well at least in my head. I have wasted hours upon hours of my waking life indulging in some of the cheesiest romance novels know to man. This has only further strengthened my conviction in the epic romance. So excuse my complete and utter aghast at some of the ‘techniques’ and ‘psychological play’ men employ to bag that hottie standing alone by the bar.

It was then, right at that very moment when I missed all my girlfriends, dearly. On the day that occasions the celebration of ‘real’ love, these guys went on about how the sad, lonely chick was the perfect target to get into the sack that evening. At the zenith of their vulnerability, these fabulous women suffer for the worst bout of fragility and self-doubt on this day that makes singledom a matter of great shame. In short, a perfect target for ones salacious intentions. Right at the very moment, I clasped my eyes shut in frustration, wishing I was with someone else, someone of my own gender.

For all my cynicism and pragmatic thought, I can at least muster the courage to admit to my many, many flights of fantasy with my near and dear ones of the same sex, without being thought of as desperate, vulnerable or worse of all needy.

Nearly impossible to do that with the guys. Especially when you are ‘One of the Boys.’

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This Hangover called Life

Okay, so I haven’t blogged in a very, very long time, I realize this as I cast a furtive glance at the calendar on my official Outlook mail box at work. Oh no, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I haven’t had much to say, there have been plenty of instances that have occurred in the course of the last two months or so on which I would like to put in my so called poignant cent or two. But then there are months and well then there are January’s that occupy every spare second of your waking hours and leave you with very little time to peruse and participate in things that actually hold some sort of interest to you.

There is no particular, glaring reason why I am writing this on ‘Valentines Day’. Yes, I am single, no I do not exhibit any symptoms of bitterness, cynicism or any other colorful adjective used to described under-sexed and unloved women in their mid-20’s without a significant counterpart, whose close friends are already basking in the glory of holy matrimony or well on their way towards hitting the alter in the near future. This post is definitely not geared towards belittling ‘V Day’ either, I am sure there are plenty of other folks in the blogging world that might be already doing that, instead this is going to be an unnecessarily long, detailed account of what’s rattling my universe, written today purely for the reason that my dear boss will be back to the office on Monday from a ten day long work expedition abroad and who know when next I will find some free time to write at work.

After wasting away a good ten months being completely wretched, disagreeable and utterly pathetic and miserable, during which I drank myself stupid intermittently, I finally swore on all that was holy and important to me (well that would be me) that I would stop being so goddamn pathetic and melancholy,at least a respectable amount of time.
A vacation is a good a place as any other to make a brand new beginning, and did I make a fantastic start or what!
My dearest friend Em, my traveling companion on this Thelma and Louisesque adventure of self discovery was pleasantly surprised and delighted to see a whole new naughty, carefree, flirtatious side of me. Okay, so it really wasn’t so much of a journey of self discovery as it was letting your hair down and acting like an irresponsible eighteen year old that snogs every alternate guy at the bar. I probably wouldn’t have done half the things I did if Em and D (both in loving, committed relationships) hadn’t put the proverbial gun to my head and extracted a promise out of me that I would have enough fun for the three of us and do all the things they were missing out on. (Have at least three evenly spaced out flings, make out with at least five different boys and consume enough adult beverages to get seven portly men extremely intoxicated.)

I think I may have fallen in love, with the holiday me that is. The holiday me is relaxed, carefree, cheerful and fun! (Gasp!) Her days are filled with lazing on the beach or relaxing by the pool reading a book until all odd hours of the day and diving into the clear blue water and disappearing in-between the waves for unaccounted amounts of time. She knows not what anxiety is, at least for that brief expanse of time. It’s a wonderful feeling when the world seems a whole lot more pleasant and tolerable and the copious amount of giddiness that follows after is truly intoxicating.

January (Still Extremely Hung-over from my vacation Revelry)

Like I said before, there are months and then there are MONTHS that turn your routine upside down. I shamelessly admit that the great, dizzying euphoria from my near perfect vacation accompanied me back to Bombay as I once again embarked upon everyday life. Sure the sights and sounds of smog filled Dadar station crowded with honking cabs and loud, rambunctious cab drivers that tried to swindle the few extra pennies out of you, darkened my mood a tad bit, but even they could only do so much damage.

For the longest time I had the worlds silliest, goofiest, most hugely content smile plastered upon my face that made me look vastly more attractive that I already did, that and I had a fabulous, honey dipped, syrupy, golden hue to my skin.
The world was my oyster and no man too unattainable, I even enjoyed the act for a brief period, until reality finally set in. Some twelve odd formative years in a catholic school embeds you with enough guilt to make you feel culpable for the wrong doings of an entire army of libertines. Every time I steeped out of my door to enjoy a boisterous evening with the buddies, images of the receipt confirming my two hundred dollar payment and my exam date swam before my eyes. What followed was a series of terrifying nightmares, being stuck all alone in an examination room, suddenly forgetting how to comprehend the English language, failing my driving test, it was really awful.

That’s when I realized that my guilt was ultimately too much to grapple with and I must, must dedicate a good chunk of time towards my academic goals. Plus, it’s absolutely no consolation when you realize that your memorization skills aren’t as strong as they previously were, or that you have gotten a tad bit stupid over the years from the lack of adequate, constructive brain activity.

When your paycheck partially comes from your writing abilities, it becomes extremely difficult to find the time or the enthusiasm to peruse any sort of leisure writing, especially when every single coherent brain wave is dedicated towards writing countless press releases, devise “creative” marketing strategies that never see the light of the day and come up with story ideas that ultimately end up in the trash can as just another rejected, useless document. Whenever I feel inspired to write, I am too tired to type, whenever I have enough muscle power to sustain an hour or two of hammering away at the keyboard my mind draws a blank, life is a bitch.

Just when things were trudging along at their usual humdrum pace, I quit my job. Well, almost. I love my job, I truly do, I would shoot myself in the head if I did this for the rest of my life, but for now it works. I have been broke all my life, okay well not exactly broke, but I have never had enough money to over indulgent. So when after more than twelve months my boss refused to discuss my raise I put in my papers. The thought of not being able to afford a trip to Thailand in the summer or pay for my subsequent graduate school applications is enough to make want to pack up and seek my fortune elsewhere.

I won’t get into the messy details. Today, I still hold my job, work for the same money and have probably destroyed all chances of getting a substantial raise in April. But I do have ten days off for my exam!

February (The month of love, but none for me)

I went to a friend’s birthday party last weekend. I won’t lie to you; I looked good, actually I looked great. There was the usually drunkenness and joviality around the house. Of course what seemed like a million pictures at that time were captured as testimony. I am not the most photogenic person in the world, actually that’s a lie, I photograph horribly. For most people the camera adds ten pounds, for me it is nothing short of forty. Instead of looking cute, snazzy and vivacious on my best dressed days; I vaguely resemble the Pillsbury dough boy, soft, round and pudgy, but with boobs.

On the rare instance that I manage to get captured in a decent photograph, which doesn’t make me look like the bloated fortuneteller at the roadside carnival, I save it on all available computers (because you never know which one might crash) and paste it on all my public profiles.
As I was saving the picture on my home computer, my mother who has a rather active, somewhat annoying interest in my social life happened to spy on it and made me display it for her viewing pleasure.
“You look so lovely in it!”
“Thanks mom.”
“It doesn’t make you look fat at all!”
“Yeah I know.” I rolled my eyes in annoyance.
“Look at you, you look pretty! How can guys not fall for you after looking at this?!”
“Ahhh…” I mumbled.
“It’s got to be you. I am sure they are ALL interested. You probably scare them away with your aloofness and unreasonably high expectations.”
“Yeah, that’s probably it, why don't I bring one home next time and you can directly quiz him about his lack of interest in me.” I replied with a chuckle.
“Nothing to laugh about!” Huffed mom in frustration, as she went back to the kitchen.

Today (Self love is the Best Love, no?)
Single and dateless, but I think I will have a good time tonight, probably because I want to. I don’t have to worry about having the perfect hair and makeup and dress or getting rid of the zit on my chin that shows no sign of leaving. I can let my hair down, get sloshed with good friends have a fantastic evening and still have enough time tomorrow to put in a few good quality hours of studying as I have no boyfriend to rush off to and spend “quality” time with.
Life is perfect!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Oh Dear God, It's that Time of the Year Again!

Most definitely my last post of the year, I have made up my mind that I am not going to spend precious, albeit fickle words boring everyone including myself with exaggerated plans of self improvement and hopes and dreams of amassing obscene amounts of wealth and catching up on the backlog of much needed happy moments. Neither is this space going to be wasted on overdone reflections of the recent past and wistful contemplation of the near future. I have done that plenty of times. So what shall I write about I wonder?

A good place to start would be a recollection of the hilarious happenings of last weekend that once again familiarized me with the idiosyncrasies of my clan. December is probably one of the busiest months in the calendar year. Not only is there plenty of work to catch up on before the large hand of clock breaks its near perfect synchrony as it creeps past the midnight hour indicating the onset of another year, but finite hours that the days in December offer are often packed with festivities and celebrations of various kinds. Weddings dominate this long list of revelries that occupy my social calendar each year, more so now that I am getting older. Not only do I have to be an active, willing participant in sharing the trill and excitement of distant and not so distant relatives as they embark upon a supposedly long, wonderful, adventurous journey through health and sickness and which ever other clich├ęd phrase they use to describe it, but friends too are now included in the equation!

I am not complaining though, I love weddings, not so much for the people and social interactions bit, but mostly for the superfluous factors like the delicious food, the seemingly never ending, free flow of booze and of course the dancing, especially the dancing. Okay, so my rather traditional Maharashtrian family does not include any of the above in their matrimonial festivities, but none the less, I grudgingly admit I do like attending family weddings, although the enthusiasm this time around is dampened.

So the second, not so distant in relation, but far away in affinity cousin got hitched last Saturday. The celebrations were trite but pleasant none the less. Everyone one was in a good mood, willing to go along with the motions of the day. The mediocre meal was finally consumed after hours and hours of waiting. Circa 2008 and we are still waiting for the boys’ side to be sated first? How truly archaic and unfair, but hey, I don’t make the rules, when it is my time I shall make sure that delicate scales of justice are more or less balanced. All those that are hungry will not be denied a morsel no matter what side they represent!

That evening, after the bride was packed off to her new home amongst a great flurry of tears, the K clan gathered around in my cousin’s living room. They were engaged in a much enthusiastic postmortem of the wedding, my aunts strained relations with her siblings and last but not the least a detailed comparison between the pros and cons of using the Indian squatter toilets as opposed to the infinitely better looking Western style commode!

My sister and I were vaguely paying attention to the content of the animated cacophony that encompassed the place, until the conversation steered towards intimate details about everyone’s bowel movements. Suddenly our ears piqued with great curiosity as we started at each in disbelief!

“Is this for real?” I questioned silently as I pointedly stared at her.

“You better believe it.” She replied as a highly amused grin played upon her lips that threatened to break into a full-fledged chortle.

For next twenty minutes (yes I know the exact time as I made it a point to peek at my watch right when the conversation began and precisely when it ended) we heard a heated debate on what was really better for you, the good old squat a technique that plays havoc upon your old wobbly knees and agitates your arthritis or the great genius of the Western style toilet mechanism that is a sure fire way of preventing those aching joints from getting any worse, but a no go if you suffer from mild to severe constipation.

“Squatting puts pressure on your lower belly and therefore helps gives you faster, much needed relief.” Said Aunt #1, without a singular moment of hesitation, as if she had great authority upon the surface.

“Yes, but the pros of the Western style toilet most certainly outweigh the cons. There is always fiber that you can take to soften your bowels, but arthritis is tough to manage.” Aunt # 2 said.

Let’s just say that what continued to ensue was one “shitty” exchange. I wish I could assert that this was actually the worst part of the evening, but no, sadly it doesn’t end there. I have an embarrassingly loud voice that I sometimes fail to take notice of. I maybe in a perfect, not too loud conversation with someone, when suddenly my voice takes a life of its own and the decibels rise exponentially with every passing word. I have been chided for it in the past and have often burst a blood vessel work wondering why this is so. Until last weekend I had no bloody clue and then it hit me, whether it is bowel movements, someone’s husband, the growing price of potatoes or my husbandless state, my family is amazingly noisy! Always trying to one up each other, not by the sheer strength of their argument or their great insight, but purely on basis of how incredibly loud they can be!

First as children and now as adults we had to always scream to make our voice heard and put in our two cents. If you can’t scream it out loud, you ain’t got it is the Kulkarni motto. Be it right, wrong or plain outright ridiculous was another issue altogether. Then there is uncle R who is plagued with verbal diarrhea, no matter what the situation demands, no family gathering would be complete without him making inappropriate remarks constantly.

I can go on and on about the eccentrics that make up the K clan and their sometimes hilarious and often annoying attributes. But just when I get a tad bit too unhindered with disparaging remarks, I notice an uncanny resemblance between us, that’s when the realization dawns; we may not be all that different after all. This is when the insults die in my mouth and the ferverent prayer begins, “God, please don’t let me be like them when I grow up!”

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Month in the Life Of

Okay so it’s that time of the year again when I pretend to stop writing about someone else and write about me as me.

A lot has been happening recently, not in the blow my kickers off exciting kind of sense that will have me reeling back for ages, but nice, pleasant instances that have cropped in the last odd month or so that have generally put me in good spirits. Of course all the credit for my amicable nature and jovial social interactions goes to me. It was late, late November when I finally decided to sit back, order a large over-priced iced latte from Gloria Jeans and think about my life a tad bit pragmatically. I eased back into my seat after being hunched over for almost three quarters of an hour nibbling off tiny, tender bits skin and flesh from the corner of my right thumb, a nasty nervous habit I indulge in whenever I try to focus hard on something. As my arched spine silently and profusely thanked me for the change in posture, I slowly sipped on my drink, carefully rationing the contents of my cup so that it can strategically last the entire duration of my serious, much needed self analysis, I was completely aghast to finally come to the conclusion that I have been an unhappy, hateful, pessimistic, self-pitying, self-loathing cynic. Now all these attributes may sound almost poetic in some brooding, deprecating, long haired artist with a dark sexy stubble, I might be wistfully attracted to, make no mistake, in retrospect, when abiding in oneself, these traits actually put a huge damper on personal growth and happiness.

Okay, so this life altering personality change didn’t actually occur exactly at that very moment. I need to rewind a tad bit more and revisit that evening when I went on a dinner date with my friend A. I have known A for a while, he is by far one of the nicest individual I know and I say this with the utmost fondness for him and all that he represents. It’s a complete fib that nice guys end up last or nowhere at all. I know realize (maybe almost a tad too late?) that nice guys always end up in the right place, we as creatures of infinite stupidity ( and I include myself in this list) are either too dumb to realize they are absolutely wonderful or extremely late to get there. Being normal, functional and sorted isn’t all that bad I figure now, in fact it is indeed a redeeming attribute. So A was passing through town, on his way back to the US of A and was kind enough to grace me with his presence for that short few hours that I now strongly believe altered my perception, well at least for the time being.

I was generally in my morose state of mind, which by now had become so damn familiar that I failed to recognize that it might be highly infuriating and frustrating to others (and sometimes I really wonder why I have so few friends?) so A and I were catching up after a very long time, as usual I was going through my grocery list of quibbles in life when A suddenly interjected and said, “hey it’s time you did something about them you know.”
I have heard this before and I have been quite irritated in the past to have been reminded of the obvious. But for some unexplainable reason this time around things were different. End of the year bout of wisdom perhaps? Or sheer desperation that has finally tamed my wild stubborn ways? What ever the reason maybe, that’s when it dawned on me, all of this year I have done absolutely nothing but complain, bitch and ultimately moan about everything under the sun, but when it was actually time to do something about my trails and tribulations, I did very little, either because I was too afraid to move out of my comfort zone (however miserable it was, it was still awfully familiar) or deathly frightened of failure.

Epiphanies are a funny thing, when they finally happen to you, either you realize with great dismay that the time has long passed for you to bring about that much desired life change or they fill you with that much needed spurt of unexpected enthusiasm and courage in just the right doses to make that elusive dream a reality, or at least give it a damn good shot.

So as I sipped my iced beverage (by now I was almost to the bottom of the cup) and decided to wake up from my self induced existential slumber. I rushed home, begged mom to lend me her credit card (she is quite old fashioned and till this date remains unnecessarily paranoid about online credit card transactions) and enrolled for the GRE exam. I had finally mustered the courage to give my MFA a shot. Of course at that impulsive moment I didn’t realize how incredibly stressful it is to secure a graduate school admission.

My intense research began the next day and to my great dismay, I realized that I have missed most fall deadlines. My average sized brain, which only has the limited capacity to store and retain information over an extended period of time does not give me the liberty to take the exam overnight and actually requires me to put in a few sincere, dedicated hours of study each day. So April 25th is sort of the judgment day for me, when I will finally know what my future holds in more ways than one.

2010 is sort of a ways away, I mean 2009 hasn’t even dawned yet, but time has a way of slipping by me, without as much as a whispered warning. I know that if I don’t start now, another year might just go by without much to account for its passage and I can’t let that happen again.

I finally feel like I am getting my life sorted in some ways and it’s an incredible, incredible feeling. As nerdy as this may sound, it feels good to work towards a goal, to have a goal that I have started to shape into a reality. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing all this to get far away from this mess that is my life here? There is a strong evidence to suggest the same. But then I justify it to myself by thinking that what ultimately matters is my happiness. I may not be strong enough to live my life according my own terms here, but there might be some place in some obscure, remote corner of the world where I may possibly be able to do so. So what’s the harm in embarking upon a journey to find this destination?

Now that I have these self induced pep talks running through my head time and again, life is indeed beautiful. I have been smiling and laughing a lot, which I have discovered to my great surprise and joy that I highly enjoy. I have a fabulous new hair cut that I look super cute in and I have lost some weight since I have cut back on the alcohol and started going on walks again. I look and feel good. This I like and I am vain enough to admit in public.

I do realize that the end of the year encourages us all to make unreasonable, unattainable resolutions, which we forgo by the second week of January, but since my dreams come with a price tag of two hundred dollars just in enrollment fees, I better do something about them!

Oh yeah last new years eve, I was sick, all alone at my desk writing my first post. This year I will be in Goa with friends, hopefully snogging some cute guy at the stroke of midnight. Maybe this year won’t end on an awful note after all.