Friday, December 27, 2013

Revival (attempt)

Since I’m writing after so long, I’ll just start off from where I am. Some changes have happened in the last year, but I will attempt to reflect those in the writings that will follow in the next few days. I hope that makes my story contiguous and understandable.

Its nearly the end of the year. Peeps and I returned from a week long road trip in the Southwest. On our return journey, we got talking about what the US has and doesn’t have to offer. Amongst what it doesn’t have, are clearly, learnings from a long historical past or an intriguing culture. But we quickly moved to what it does have, something that most folks disagree with.

To start with, the geographic beauty in the US, from what little we have explored in the last few months, is nothing short of mind blowing. Specifically, our experiences in the Redwood forests, the lonely expanse of the Death Valley, never ending rocks at Zion or the vast grasslands at Tehachapi, all uncovered a magnificent visual, incomparable to anything I’ve seen before. We did enjoy the coast at the Big Sur, but acknowledged that it doesn’t come close to the ocean in South East Asia or East Africa, or the highway diversity, which can’t compare to India’s. But geological formations such as the one I just mentioned, were an eyeful for us.

Another thing which the West, and specifically the United States, offers is an insight in to the history of the last 200 years. The contrast across the last two centuries is strikingly visible here, probably due to the absence of anything meaningful before. But credit where credit is due. We travelled through the Borax works in the Death Valley and realized just how recently these vast distances were covered in much less sophisticated manner. India and most of my beloved third world, unfortunately doesn’t offer such contrasts as the extreme modernization still evades us there.

Moving beyond the travel, a third aspect of the US, which I absolutely and passionately love, is the choice of food it allows. I’m a relatively simple eater and don’t enjoy restaurants as much as many others do. In fact, holidays are often my reason to detoxify with simpler food, owing to the lives we ordinarily lead. This country allows me to do so much with food. I get what I want, where I want. It’s a joy to cook at home, and it’s not difficult to find clean and well-made food outside either. I can cook all kinds of healthy food, without it having to be boring. My experiments so far include burgers (medium rare), hung curd wraps, roasted sweet potatoes, lots of green juices, a variety of salads, and many more. For someone who has very little time but a big desire for well made, clean food, this country has a ton to offer.

I’m happy to be able to breathe some life in to this space, but know better than to commit to it yet. It’s that time when I make new plans and set new goals. This year I’ve asked Peepu to humor me with an experiment. We will make 3 resolutions (big or small), of which two will be those that we set for ourselves, but the third will be set for us, by each other. We need to be kind and practical, but at the same time, suggest something that we believe will overall make life better. Peepu has agreed to participate, so I’m keen to see how this works out. And as I type this, I realize how this is one of those grown up things, at which I would roll my eyes, a few years back. I guess the world will have to cope with me growing up.

There’s no music as I OD-ed on my playlist on our 530 mile drive back. But the song that’s still playing faint in my mind, is ‘This is the life’ by Amy MacDonald

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Age of a Woman

Cold Sunday morning and John Lennon singing Stand by me.

2013 has started. We're a;ready 20 days in. I've said good bye to 2012 and I'm looking forward to a more active, alive and balanced 2013.

Peepu is in the Maldives this weekend for a work event. I chose not to go to avoid the travel. I'm surely missing out but I've had an incredibly productive weekend. And its only half over.

We're heading to Frankfurt and Tromso this month. If the reader prays, please pray we are able to meet the Aurora Borealis. I need to pack for these 12 days. How I always end up ion Europe in the winter! We're going to give our parents company this time :) And there's little else that brings more joy than being with family.

Nidhi, Puchu and I had a great evening, and one with only the ladies, after very long. Our conversations went from marriage, singlehood, travel, common friends, outfits, jobs and books. What balanced individuals one might think. Its one such conversation that led me to open this page and write. Growing up.

We are as a generation slow in growing up. At least the privileged city kids. When we were in school and college, we tried real hard to grow up fast. Wearing make-up early, drinking at 17, making relationships more intense than necessary, having sex early. And now, this same generation, is just refusing to take on life as 30 year olds. Too young to have children, conversations which can match any 24 year old's, occasional childish behavior, shock when someone actually chooses to stay home on 31st Dec, TV shows, the Wii. I was four when my mother was as old as I am today. I don't feel strongly at all about 'marriagable age' but I'm not arguing with nature. I will be a less fit, less healthy mother. When I get to it.

This isn't intended at self-criticism. Its an observation on the generation.  I see people over the age of 30 announcing that they wore a dress today after months. As a generation, while we work hard and crave (and announce) the good life, we've also, more recently, made a big deal about not needing to working too hard. When we see someone working 16 hours a day, we're quick to make a judgment on how they are corporate slaves. We value ourselves just so much. I hear people telling me 'its just a job'. How I hate that mentality?! One spends at least 1/3rd of their week at work (me 2/3rd). I don't understand how one can be transactional and not passionate about it. And if you're mildly passionate, its not 'just a job'. Its a critical part of life, for which tradeoffs need to be made, just like for your family and friends.

Clearly, we are the generation in transition. My friends from the West seem to be more in sync with the order of nature than my desi mates. We aren't taking on new roles as readily.

May be we should re-read The Seven Ages of Man.  Except that stage four doesn't make any sense to me. And isn't that where I'm supposed to be now?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A world of our own

It’s a Sunday evening spent in Bombay. I’m sitting on the bed at the hotel, and Peepu is sitting on the couch facing me. We spent the weekend at Sula Vineyards. I visited after 4 years and its changed a bit, for the better. We didn’t get the private bungalow this time, but the small resort is just as lovely. The weather is just perfect! Its chilly, with a mild drizzle every now and then. Its green, and there’s a lake. I went biking, after 19 years, and wasn’t too bad at it. Fit as ever.

When we arrived at Sula on Saturday morning, we spent the first few hours cozying up in the room. Last weekend, I had force-shut the last season of Desperate Housewives before the last two episodes, only to save them for this weekend. It was one of the best finales I have seen. I think it was the underlying fun in even the most severe situations.

And now I’m facing a recurring and temporarily severe situation. Peepu leaves for Delhi in a few hours, and even though it’s a few days each week, it makes my heart sink. Or turn blue. Or something sad. I soon get to work…and then this short weekend, so much like a dream, will be over. Just a cold breeze, a late night walk in the vineyards, a few glasses of local wine, and sharing coffee in the balcony over a few songs….that’s all it was, but yet so precious.

I turned 29 this month. I can feel the age. It has brought so much experience, learning and goodness that I can only look forward to the years to come. I have pulled back a lot. I meet fewer people. I take fewer photos of myself. I shop less. I eat good food. I have brought back the music in to our days. I spend a lot of time outdoors, and even more in physically challenging my body’s limits. I have de-cluttered life- of people and things which weren’t adding much. Of course, there are many that do (people and things), and those stay in. And this way it works just fine. Tw!

The music is ‘Wonderful Wonderful’, all thanks to Desperate Housewives. And to Peepu, for making this life wonderful. Here’s a line for you… from the song and from our private lives

Some quiet evening, I sit by your side and we’re lost in a world of our own. I feel the glow of your unspoken love, I’m aware of the treasure that I own. And I say to myself, its wonderful, wonderful, oh so wonderful my love. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Because some times you have the strength

I'm a guest on this blog now. I'm not here for long today. Just want a place to leave a smile. :)

A smile because after two rough days of getting mindfucked, I'm back in action. Its amazing how just a few hours back I was lethargic, lifeless and anxious. In huge part, thanks to Peepu was holding me together and myself for fighting back. Its true, there's little else which can provide an uplift like a few hours of exercise, a beer, music from school days and the support from a loved one.

Why mindfucked? No real reason. Everything's perfect on the surface, and even two-three levels down. Knock on wood! Just some days are crazy and they become frequent, and then frequently crazy.

The music is the Unforgiven, by Alvin and the Chipmunks. Very appropriate. An undeserving yet mildly disturbing situation can only be equated to this song

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Women and me

So its holy and its international women's day! To me, its a mid-week holiday, a perfect spring evening, 7 pm, at my spot by the window, dusk glancing through, the warm yellow lamp providing me enough support so I can write. Its a few days like these, when I get time on the Mac. The Mac isn't a Mac in my life. Its sole purpose was for me to write. The Mac is the other side of my life.

Holi doesn't interest me much. It never has. I like the day primarily because the afternoons are all mine, since most places are deserted while the world sleeps the bhang off. I did get my beer this afternoon, along with a lot of playfulness, though color and water had little involvement.

Women's day has of course never been of much interest to me. It just never had much significance. I got thinking this afternoon. What does women's day mean to me? I'm all for women's rights but have been, touch wood, fortunate enough to have fantastic men in my life. These men have celebrated me! Every day around these men, my father, my husband, my past boyfriends, has been a celebration of me. Fortunate is right. So I'm all right. But this women's day, I started think of the women in my life. And I decided to write my wishes for them and myself

~True desire. Desire so intense, it makes you strong and driven enough to make the happiness yours
~Independence. Without freedom, the spirit is stifled. Live free. Remove all stereotypes, social expectations, pressures to be normal, or pressures to be unique, and just feel free. Free to roll along.
~Solitude. I've found myself to think deepest and clearest in times of solitude. I wish us all these special moments, which we must live only for ourselves. The power of solitary thinking is immense. Its a workout for my brain, and fuels problem solving and intelligent thinking
~Love. Unfortunately, love fosters dependence, and fear of loss. But there's a power in love. It cuts the rest of the world to size. or even smaller. A few moments of togetherness significantly alters my view of what is significant. I wish you the love you want...passion, calm, convenience, companionship, whichever works for you. But I do wish this for you, and every woman I know
~Strength to stand by yourself. I am no expert here (or on any of the above). But every time I see you move away from yourself, even a bit for your family, husband, society, mother in law, it breaks me. Don't change your job (unless you don't like it), don't change your last name, because its yours, whether you like it or not. Wear that little skirt. Break that fast if you're hungry. Pile on pounds. Stay unmarried. Stay single if that's what makes you happy. Kiss the girl. Marry outside your religion. DO what defines you. Chances are, people will get used to it. And the love will continue.

Have a happy life! To Megha and others around me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Free people

I just lived the perfect weekend! A great mix of old and new friends, one Tam wedding, moments of love with Peepu, pesto chicken (again for Peepu), a solitary cup of black coffee in the quiet, lonely cafe over a quick Ruskin Bond story.

It was the wedding of one of my very dear friends. It started as any association would- perchance, through common connections, but over time, he has become very special to me. I (consciously) made very few friends in business school, and most of them were at the wedding. I also met, after five years, an old flame. It brought with it some reminders, and more importantly the great feeling of not regretting what you did earlier. Not feeling guilty, nor sorry, not apologetic. I'm sure he felt the same way. Live really does go on, and it must!

I have been heart-broken once in my life. It burnt me. I felt helpless and wronged. But its moments like today that help me realize that the wrong-doer is rarely focused on doing any wrong to any one. The 'wrong doer' is only trying to free themselves. And in that process, they may hurt or even break a few people. But a few years down the line, once the dust has settled and you- the 'wrong doer'-are forgiven. And just in that spirit, for all the times I have been miserable for being wronged, I'm going to continue to pride myself over the 'wrongs' I have done. Unfortunately, most personal associations don't come with a contract or rules of engagement. Broken hearts are a hazard of such associations. A few years back, I let go of the disappointment of a broken heart and freed myself of any malice, or even emotions towards the person who had 'wronged' me. It was just as important to free myself of any guilt of having 'wronged' some one too. The meeting this morning reaffirmed my confidence in freeing ourselves of all sorts of guilt.

Isn't guilt a self-inflicted trap? I'm human. I make errors. I'm no genius. Nor do I ever aspire to be. If I make errors, my reasonably intelligent brain directs me to correct them. In this process of correction, some people get hurt. In stead of priding myself over fixing the situation, I chide myself silly for the accidental hurt it causes. Whoa! This is SO unlike me. Yet, I like the sound of it. This deserves to be added to my resolutions for the year: don't die in guilt.

I'm watching Peepu. He's lying on the couch and drifting in to sleep. Soon I'll have to wake him up, ask him to put the laundry out, change and then come to bed. There's joy in that trouble too. Each moment is precious. I guess that is how marriage is different: each moments brings with it more love, intimacy and unfortunately dependence. After very long, today I went to a cafe by myself. The fact that it felt incomplete only made me want to chest bump myself for having been a super single trooper. I can see why some single people pine for such intimacy. Its because its awesome- it really is. And at the same time, I was pretty neat (and dirty) single-ette who rarely wanted any of this, and carried along with sun shining on her shoulders!

Here's to a glorious past and a blissful present. Love.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Just landed in Bangalore. One of those times when at 1130 in the morning, I'm at the Windsor, because our meetings are only in the evening.

I don't have much to write. I just heard the awful news about one of my seniors having cancer. I won't say much because a) I heard from some one else and b) I don't want to share any more information on her. I just feel terrible and I'm praying for her. When you've been out of touch for several years, that is probably the most you can do. I hope she recovers- because she deserves to