Category Archives: Moi

Insiders

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“How can we form new memories, if all we do is, create whatsapp groups and message memories from the past?. ” asked one of my cousins. It did not make much sense to me the day he mentioned this, however today as I came across one of the lines in a book I was reading, kind of reminded me the true nature of that question. The line read “We become insiders to the past, and outsiders to the present”.  We love to be insiders, period. I guess if we feel at home in the past, it is natural that we love being in it, as we are true insiders there.

Many of us are coasters, and we love to drift along with time. The expectation is that, time will create circumstances, make us meet people, create opportunities for building memories. It is not like we put in effort to create the old ones, why do I need to do it now?. The above argument has made perfect sense to me for long. I guess time does create all of this, but may be not necessarily in a way you would enjoy, not necessarily in a way you would cherish at a later time. If you believe in quantity, I guess time will not disappoint.

I want to believe age is holding us back, lack of time is holding us back, but sadly it is probably our closed mind. I guess, I need to unblock myself. I need to put in some effort. Here is a list of things I came up with, as note to myself.

  1. When you meet people whom you are comfortable with [Read people from your past], stop remembering older days, meet at a newer setting, and think of newer topics and activities.
  2. When presented with a new social event, prioritize if it involves new people, or a new activity.
  3. Think of at least one activity every weekend which you have been wanting to do in a long time, and do it.
  4. Reconnect with people from various parts of the world whom you have lost touch with, and check what they are up to.
  5. Listen to what your kids say or want to do, they will always surprise you.
  6. Travel alone at least once a year. You will invariable make new friends.

I would love to hear some tips from people out there in the blog world.

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Looking forward.

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I looked forward to every exam during my school and college days, it was in a way looking forward to their results. For a person who was from lower middle class, these results held the key to a good job, and a comfortable world, both of which I looked forward to. For 21 years of my life, largely my goals were very simple, study well get a good job was its motto. I really looked forward to end of this phase, where I thought I can spend my time on my other interests and goals.

I looked forward to visiting ‘America’ a dream country. I somehow never had it in me, to migrate there, enjoy their standard of life. This was long before I even developed enough maturity as to why I didn’t want to move there. When I started to work, and many of my friends chose America as a country to go and settle, I looked forward to visit the country. I looked forward to see what is it that, attracts so many people, I looked forward to experience the standard which everyone was so happy about.

With all the material things which I looked forward to, I never had enough thoughts on how much I was missing out on the human front, on the emotional front. I started looking forward to more meaningful friendships, a meaningful relationship, and whole lot of people in my life who will add new meaning to my life.

As I grew older. I looked forward to even more riches. I looked forward to a 4 figure monthly salary, I looked forward to buying properties, I looked forward to owning things which I missed out on growing up, I looked forward to eating out when I can.

There was a time, where I looked forward to the final series of tv show friends. I discovered books. I looked forward to reading authors whom I adored, reading about things and plots which were so vivid and varied then what I am accustomed to. I discovered writing and I looked forward to reaching out to people through my blog. meeting and knowing more people online.  I discovered travelling, and I looked forward to travelling to many places which I carefully picked out from the world. The idea of planning and picking places to go, places to eat at in itself was a big thing to look forward to, much before I ended up in those places.

I looked forward to parenthood. I knew I would love to pass on things to my child, I looked forward to many things he started learning.

Recently I was asked by an ‘app’ what is it that I was looking forward to.

Bam!.. I didn’t have anything which I was looking forward to. The discovery that I was not looking forward to anything made me really sad. Instantaneously I messaged a friend about this, if it is sad that I don’t look forward to anything now. I don’t think anyone can answer that to me, but still in a desperate attempt to get over this discovery I was making an attempt to get some comfort. There is nothing I could think of at that moment as to why  I do not have anything to look forward to,  and if it was ok to be that way.

A great feature to many of these online music website, is their playlists. There is playlist for everything, mood you are in, activity you are doing, the city you are at, the singers you love, the time period you are thinking. You name it, there is a playlist for that. I was listening to a random playlist that morning on my travel to a destination for my vacation. As I was travelling with someone, I did not have much control on the music they played, and I was struck with this random playlist which kept playing songs. As the time passed, I started to wait for the unknown lyrics and tunes, some which I ended up liking, some which I wanted to desperately end, some which were too average for me to develop an opinion on them, some familiar, some alien to me. I really looked forward to listening to the next song in the list. It was so in the moment that, the looking forward to lasted just a song, and there was no holding onto. Two days later as I was back from my vacation and on my way to work. I wanted to try this again, where I play a random playlist and relive that experience.

I realized I have begun to see my life as this playlist, with random sequence of familiar and unfamiliar things, with lovable and not so lovable events which I eagerly look forward to. Unlike long ago, where I had concrete things to look forward to, I have more blended canvas for a life, where I know there are going to be occasions where I look forward to things which are short lived, and then move on to other things. Some of the things life throws at us are highly challenging, some of these challenges last a long time, they test our patience, they test our skills, some let us win, and some defeat us, at the end if there is one, there is going to be another challenge. We get to meet many people, some stand by us, some move apart, some stick to us long enough, some are happy to hug and say goodbye. We buy new things, some we look forward to, some we save up for, some are impulsive buys.

 

I have no clue what is going to be tomorrow, I look forward to that unknown. Looking forward to what’s in store. Looking forward to life.

 

Fatherhood blues

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These are times when I feel guilty. guilty of chosing career our my life. The guilt was not much until I got a life, I had a family, I had a wife, I had a son. The guilt grew exponentially as my career picked up at the same rate. For someone who swears by his perseverence and determination to make things better at work, and feels responsible for all the problems he can spot and works his best to solve them, his personal guilt also ends up showing up like a problem which needs to be dealt with. This is just plain sad. The worse though are the strange things I end up doing to feel less guilty. Career is like any other dangerous addiction, it sweet poisions your life and body just like any other addiction, which atleast come with a warning on the package. Everyday I have this strange feeling of having to make this tough choice between being what I am at work, and being a father.

Sometimes I learn rhymes, I watch tv shows, I also listen to music which my son likes, just to make sure I am not left far behind from his world. When I am away at work, or going back late to our house, and I am feeling left out from his life, I have something to fallback to, to get a glimpse. There is also a secret hope, that in whatever little time I have with him, he doesnt think our worlds are mutually alien to each other.

Kids love their moms, and moms love their kids. There is nothing that a father can do which can count as a bigger scarifice than what a mother does without even realizing it. I wonder if there can be jealousy in parenthood. At the cost of sounding petty, I admit there is. I feel jealous at various times when I see my wife bond with my son without any effort, and at the ease with which he clings to her. As an engineer, I can write pages of reasons why this happens, and how or why I dont end up doing any of those things. There are times when your mind does not accept the nature, and just wants to compete against it. I have always believed that when someone says “its not a competion”, it is a way of covering up the loss. Parenthood is not a competition, moms and dads dont compete with each other. Why do I have a feeling that I am losing.

Parents are like mixed doubles team trying to win a championship of parenthood. Each pair have their own strategy, their good and bad plans. Some of the tactics are universal though. The idea of good cop and bad cop being one such tactic. World hates sterotypes, but how much ever we hate anything, you cannot ignore its existance. For ages fathers have been the bad cops. Kids predominantly are always told to tidy up or face consequences when daddy gets home. Many a times they look at us, and probably must see a cop with a baton. I hate being the bad cop. I would love to be the good cop, and be the one my son runs to when my wife plays bad cop. Like any good team, I guess all dads have to byte the bullet and assume of the role of bad cop. It is not easy.

I did not know I was an alpha male, until I realized I was, one day. I see that my son is turning into one day by day. It is not an easy task to deal with two alpha males in the family. I am sure my wife has already realized it.

When kids are growing up, there are many little pleasures they bring about. There is nothing better than your little discoveries when they have picked up your traits, specially the ones which you are proud of. The joy it brings is something which cannot be explained in words. I love my son’s obsession with time. He sets a time for everything that he does on a daily basis, and makes sure he sticks to it. More importantly he makes sure the other people stick to it too, and keeps hurrying up my family if they are running late. There are times when people can literally catch me smiling when this is running about. Yes, he also has opinion about everything under the earth, and he fights for his views till the end of the earth. I told you, two alphas are horrible thing for a house.

I remember few years ago when I was a new father, my wish was “I wish I could enable debugs for kids, it would have been so easy to solve their problems”. Children do not work as per our plan, in fact they hardly stick to their own plan. I guess they are not a project that parents work on, they cannot be planned and executed. It may sound dumb, but our minds have just got tuned to our professions so much that we deal with everything like we do at work.

Kids are hyperactive, and they love to keep jumping from one thing to another. When they are asleep they are the best things on this planet. The look of innocense on their faces, the unknown smiles in their sleep, how they cling to our bodies, and how they scoop into our chests. One of the best moments of my day, is when I curl up next to my son in the morning when he is still in bed. There is nothing worse then when they wake up and tear themselves away from you. < pun intended >

Bad fathers have too many expectations from their kids. All fathers have expectations from kids. I am not able to choose one.

Staying Middle

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I have been proud of my middle class upbringing for as long as I can remember. The middle class values has kept many of us grounded, yet providing enough of a launchpad to fly. Growing up I hardly had to face a clash of values with upper class, as I hardly knew anyone very rich. Unlike the popular opinion of middle class that they are always aspiring to move higher, I am of the firm opinion that, the best part of being middle class is the heavenly contentment that we grew up with. We did not have to struggle for basic means, and we hardly cared about what was available with the uber rich. In a way we loved what we had, and aspired for just a little more which was just slightly out of reach.

Most of the people I know have moved up a notch higher now. It could also be that people I now know, are those who are a notch up. I get to see a lot more people who are uber rich, I know what is available with them. World has changed so much that information of what people can aspire to reach is glaring into our lives from all means. We can buy them with a click of a mouse, we can get money to buy them with a click of mouse. There is a constant pressure to ‘upgrade’ or ‘upscale’ yourself from by peers, by media, by companies who want to sell, by one’s own family too. Consumerism in general is at an all time high.

Whats the trouble you may ask?.

My mind is still the same middle class. I guess it has changed a very slight bit, but I can guarantee you, it is not substantial enough. I still think twice before chosing a restaurant which charges any price more than the south Bangalore Darshinis, I stopped watching movies in multiplexes because the prices are just atrocious, I always buy my clothes when the prices are the least on online websites, I do not care about the brand names as long as I like the products, I choose to use the cheapest means of travelling, not over-caring for comfort, I dont think it is okay to buy a gift of any price based on who the gift is for, I also dont think it is okay to spend on items which every one else has, I think it is not ok to pay 200Rs for an ice cream, when the same is available for 30Rs, infact my favourite ice cream is Nandini because it is a lot more creamier than the expensive swiss brands. I don’t even want to get started on the ‘organic’ produce.

Being exposed to upper middle class, and lower upper classers means that I am constantly exposed to complex hurdles which are often against my own principles when it comes to money matters. The restaurants we choose, the toys we buy for our kids, places we go, entertainment we want, brands we choose. I just cannot agree with many of the things my peers do. It’s not like they care about my opinion, however the drift and colonization can be easily seen over a period of time.

I guess its not easy to stay middle, it is also not easy to kick the middle out of me.

Random Randomness #201901

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Its a new year, and a happy one so far, and as they say “all is well that ends well” so 2018 was a happy one too. I can’t complain much, can I?

I wish all my blog world friends a very happy new year. For those of you who are contemplating on getting back to blogging, you are right, 2019 is the right year for it. Those of you who have been silent lurkers of my blog, thank you for being around and as we have known all these years, we will continue to know each other, albeit silently.

I usually do not like to begin a new year with a randomness post, I love heavy topics, and the usually the first one is a heavy one. My mind is rebelling against all rules, and here it is, the first post of 2019, it is a random one.

Traditions

The word gives us a feeling of something ancient, something which is being followed for ages, however it is not always true, we keep developing new traditions all the time. One of such recent traditions of mine is that for the new year. Its been a while since I developed this new way of celebrating new year, every year on 31st December I go to bed early around 9:30pm. [usually 10pm is my bed time], I get a full night of sleep and wake up late by 7am [usually 4:30 am is my wake up time], I go for an early morning walk around the streets of Basavanagudi for about an hour, and end the walk with a cup of hot coffee at Upahara Darshini. Being someone who loves have a routine in life, having these traditions and sticking to them gives an immense pleasure. Watching the daily life of hundreds of vendors and street walkers, to whom the 1st of January makes absolutely no difference is an added bonus.

Reflections

December was a month of loss, as we lost my uncle to cancer. My uncle, being a very live person, with a huge zeal for life, was an active member in our lives. He had a lot of love for music, for food, for culture for everything you could think of. Seeing him go from being fully alive, in person, to being a picture on our walls within 15 days was a big lesson in life for us, on how impermanent life is. On the day he left us, as we were seeing his body being shifted to the crematorium, I witnessed something which has struck with me for a lifetime. I saw my cousin sitting in the vehicle next to a body which once was his ‘appa’, he sat there with his eyes filled with tears, and his 2 year old daughter continuously crying and shouting ‘appa’ for her father who was leaving her behind to go see off his ‘appa’. Till today, it fills me up with tears. Our loved ones can just vanish with such short notice.

Resolution

Whats a new year without resolution. I am a person who loves new year resolutions, and this year like any other, I did resolve something. Last year, in one of the farewell speeches, a colleague of mine had a fun description of one of our common friends, he said, “X is such a person, if he sees his house is on fire, he will go back to his bed thinking he will worry about it tomorrow”.  It made me introspect a big deal, I am kind of a person who would be worried, if a house is on fire in the neighbouring town. My resolution for 2019 is “Stop worrying, you can’t change the world”. I have had a good beginning so far, I have stopped worrying about work, at work. I wish to stick to this resolution as much as possible, and try to enjoy my days.

Indulgence

Being conservative is my forte, I would be the last person to spend on indulgence, If I like something very much, I would probably check the price tag and settle for something which is 1/4th the price, and at the end of the day be happy for having done that. I attribute my conservatives for my middle class upbringing, and am very proud of it. 2018 ended with a piece of big indulgence as I bought something which was on my mind for a few years now. I had loved this ‘easy chair’ for a very long time now, the one which is of the folding kind, and has a plush cushion and a comfortable and relaxed seating. I had looked at the price tag on it for about four years now and pushed myself away from it thinking it is not for my kind, and may be I will buy it when I retire from work. I walked into the store this time around, and finally made up my mind to buy it. My wife was in for a little shock, as I bought the chair this time around, she did admit later that she was pleasantly surprised that I finally bought something which I had been eyeing for a long time. I have to admit, I felt guilty for a week after buying it, and now when I sit on with a big smile, the guilt is somewhat buried.

 

Game

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For as long as I remember, I have been playing this little game on my walks. Mornings, on my way to the bus stop, many a days I revisit this game, which brings a smile to my face, almost instantly. The rules of this game are simple, there are no rules. All you do is let your mind walk through some memory of yours, and relive the minute details from the past.  Here is one such day, and some of the memories which lit up my face that day.

Motorcycle rides with a good friend. Everyday he used to stop at my place on our way to our university. I stayed just 5 minute walk away from the college, but still he used to be my ride every single day. I used to stand at my window watching the street, and as soon as he arrived I used to hop onto the bike. It is funny that we had so much to talk about in those days. EB-1356 has stayed on in my memories long after it was sold, long after the window was raised down, long after my friend moved out of this country.

5 kids on the rooftop, do you need any more fun?. I remember climbing onto windows and then onto to rooftop, and creating a slide out of a bedspread, and me fearlessly pushed onto it, from the top, as not so sturdy hands of my cousins held the top and the bottom corners of a make shift slide.  I would kill my son, if he tried this, but how ignorant we were then, and how much of a bliss it was. I remember some of the best summers with my 4 cousins, at my grandfathers old place. We have all grown up and apart, we no longer share that close a bond, each one living their own lives with families to take care of, with problems of our own. I close my eyes, and remember the slide.

The day at a coffee shop, she sat opposite to me, her eyes red with sleepless nights, and swollen big with all the crying. It was the first time I was trying to console someone close to me, and I had no clue how. I knew the people involved too well, and it was tough for me not to be partial. As she spoke to me, tears rolled down her cheeks, she did not care to hold them back. I have known her for a large part of my life now, and we still get meet once in a while, but that day I felt really close to a friend.

What is better than watching a movie in a language you dont understand as a kid?, coming back home and enacting the whole thing from morning till evening. We were pretty professional about it too, we had a producer, a director, we had makeshift costumes, and to my absolute disliking a wafer thin villain, me. Being the youngest came with all bad side effects, you are the loser villain who gets bashed up by the hero through out the movie. All through one summer we played “shooting” as we called it. I remember locking ourselves for the whole day from breakfast to lunch, and then post lunch to dinner shooting stupid scenes. I truly wish we had recording our version of “jagadeka veerudu atiloka sundari”.

Studying was fun, it really was for the geek in me. More than studying, I loved my month long schedules before my semester exams. I used to spend a lot of time, preparing complex schedules about how I would spend my time leading up to my exams. I remember how they used to have plan Bs in case I miss, and how I used to love when I used to challenge myself to go faster than my plan. One sad thing about anyones life, is that you cannot go back to it at any cost.

Coded letters from my dad. what would I give to be able to get my hand on one of those today. My father used to work out of state, and he would send these wonderfully hand written coded letters to me. The backside of the inland letter would have the codes spelled out for each letter, and I had to substitute the codes to be able to really make sense of the letters. I vividly remember my joy on decoding the letter, and how satisfied I went to bed on those days, when I got his letter.

Ah the bus stop is here, and I get myself back into my kindle.

Blame it on Principle

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Its funny how people end up crossing the line when it comes to principles and ego. For as long as I can remember, I have liked people with strong principles. ‘It does not matter what you believe in, as long as you believe in it strongly’, this has been my motto. I guess growing up in a strong middle-class family has a lot to do with my love for principles. I have seen my grandfather, my mother and then me all having similar outlook, and now I see my son developing into one of our kind.

When I was young, I sounded right to me always, I still do. however, with age, I can spot the times when I am just another stubborn alpha male, who can go to any lengths to prove to myself that, my principles are correct, and I did not lose the battle against it. Whenever there is a clash between me and my mother, many a times I see that more than the ego, it is the clash of principles and how we are not able to convince each other that we are right. The exact same thing happens with me and my son, in which case I win most of the time as he is too young to assert himself. However, I am sure, I will start to lose as he grows up and sticks more to his guns, and as I age I will continue to hate losing even more.

Well wait, did I say lose?.. this is exactly how it turns from the clash of principles to something of winning and losing and alas it has turned into a question of ego.

I remember watching the movie “Mohabbatein”, at an impressionable age when I was smitten by the thought of school romances, my mother had a very different take on the movie. She couldn’t stop crying while watching the scene where Amitabh concedes to the rule breaking Shah Rukh Khan admitting he had been wrong with his principles and discipline, and admits that the colourful happy go lucky hero has the right outlook on life. She could not control her tears, and on probing she revealed to me that, she cannot watch how the ones who insist on right things always lose at the end. I could not relate to her feelings back then, however experience has made me see what she must have felt.

People with strong principles inevitably have strong choices. We just cannot see how anyone can choose, anything else, beyond our reasons for our choice. What we don’t realize is that, every other person is a person on their own, and they have their own sensibilities and their own conviction. Some may have less conviction then others, and may be bullied for a while, however when it comes to what matters to them most, they do stand up for themselves, and when those people happen to be the ones we love the most, the hurt is beyond doubt humongous

When people lose, I guess the most common reaction is denial. The loss is never accepted, and it is always brushed aside with a hope that the loss will turn around into a win. Well life is not a stock market, where our losing stocks can turn around one day. In fact, life is not even a game of win and loss. Denial phase lasts for different periods with different people, and reality takes its own time to sweep in. In many a case, the reality brings with it a feeling that the ship has sailed, and there is no way to get back to the coast. Ego yet again prevents most of us from turning our loss to a win, as we are not willing to take that first step of acceptance.

Having said all this, I still don’t like to lose, I still love my principles, I still get hurt a lot more for sticking onto them.

What shall I say, its one thing to realise, and a whole different thing to act upon it. I guess there will be an age, a person who will make us act open our realisation. If not anyone else, time will play that role.