Skip to content

Torchbearers lurk in Shadows

June 17, 2010

We were in an alien city the other day. We did what people do in alien cities. We got lost. Actually the person driving the car got lost. I don’t drive. Yes, I do feel that that somehow would exonerate me from having to know the way and hence the subsequent blame that comes with not finding it. I also know that that’s crap but what is not is that, not driving makes me more susceptible to asking for directions. Don’t you go making this a man-woman thing now.

I think the pleasure of navigating lies with the person behind the wheel. Losing your way often results in finding adventure when you have all the control. With control comes the thrill of determining the next move – the provocation of impending discovery, the extended comfort of making decisions that are bang on, the anguish after ones that are not, the joy of correcting yourself and the general euphoria that comes only in moments when you know you’re breathing freedom, moments when you believe in free will. Who can tire of knowing that the road ahead depends on him?

The *passenger-seat-company* meanwhile, gets the pleasure of spacing out – the way you can only do when you relinquish all control or stand unaware of its existence. The bliss of watching your thoughts run into each other is liberation of another kind, intoxicating too. At its worst it is but laid back idleness. At its best though, it brings your senses alive. This particular freedom is quite diligent about knocking at the walls inside our minds. You’d think it’d be distracted once a few bricks are down and there are new windows to peep out of but it rests only when they’ve all been razed. I guess it’s the only way when you’re in transit and powerless. You belong nowhere, you know nothing. All that lies in your control is creating the new and unseen. Maybe the first travelogue was born out of this need. While, the idea of navigating is pure romance, I remain partial to this other freedom for the way it allows my mind to nurture what it loves best… thoughts. I think it’s why I’m not exactly possessed with excitement at the thought of driving around but can’t resist drives.

But then there is that wretched entity called time. It is a constraint that is known to strangle all freedom irrespective of what kind it is and the capacity in which it is being enjoyed. It pulls the most leisurely brooders down to earth and whips them into becoming practical. I thus, ask for directions. And I did. It was a heritage building that we looked for so I assumed any person could be relied upon. We slowed down at a tea stall that was entertaining a dozen late-afternoon slackers. One in particular, was not exactly attentive but he was the closest to us. You could tell that he had just been handed his cup, full and steaming and all. Possession of freshly made tea however, didn’t seem to break his daze much. He was perched on his bike, staring blankly at his feet. Of course I could relate to his daze so almost hated myself for snapping him out of it just to ask for directions. At the mention of the building though, he stepped down and drew himself tall, cup still in hand. I braced myself to internalize complicated directions but much to our surprise, he said, “I’ll take you people”. “Is it very close?” I asked. “No, but you’ll waste time finding your way, soon the place will shut down for the day” was his explanation. He put his cup aside on a plank, full and steaming and all. We were soon following his lead through the chaotic marketplace of our slightly-less-alien-and-more-friendly city.

Was our impromptu guide that kind a person that he’d chuck his tea and fantasies and step out in the raging sun to maneuver through choked traffic just so a couple of knuckleheads could click some fancy pictures of a dilapidated building and put them up on Facebook? Ok so he didn’t know about Facebook intentions or he might have (should have) refused, but still.

Or was he that proud of his town’s heritage that he couldn’t bear the thought of any visitor not appreciating it?

Or did the sense of duty and purpose towards helping strangers meet their goals give him joy that was more gratifying than all other freedoms?

It’s not an altogether absurd idea. Some of you *would* do that wouldn’t you? I know I would if I could. What good would his intention and knowledge be if he didn’t have his vehicle? I need to become a better driver.


Answer this?

May 21, 2010

When I miss conversations I ask questions.
Answer this for me?
I don’t care if you get literal or esoteric or philosophical or metaphorical.
Tell me what’s on your mind is all I ask.

On Ambition

May 5, 2010

Have you noticed how so many of us, so often feel ‘low’? Maybe it’s just us bipolar ones but as soon as we are a notch below “the-ideal-happy” we become aware of the sink. And we dream of going up a rung again. It makes us realize that something is not right with us. That something ought to be done about it. “Time to distract yourself” we tell ourselves and start watching some inane sitcom or call up some small-talk making person we otherwise would never call. Why?

It’s like hotness. 10/10 hotness is the ideal. Yes, every time I look in the mirror I’m very aware of the fact that I’m about 2.74 (us geeks, we love random decimals, especially if they rhyme with 3.14) on that scale but I don’t start doing sit-ups each time I’m reminded of it? Do you go for a run each time your elbow digs into that extra tyre? Why don’t you? Too much work? And happiness is just a ‘state of mind’ so it can be reached instantly? Minds are *so* much easier to work on than bodies.

You wish.

I say D-I-T-C-H.

Strive for cool. Cool is when you’re trying for nothing.

Take an hour out for a run.

Take a couple of hours out on things you love (has to be double than exercise please)

Live with the tyres and sunken feelings at other times.

And if you have more than three hours to spare to really work on your mind and body. Hell, You’re Sorted.

Multiple Choice

April 24, 2010

For my confused friends. And I’m not leaving myself out.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this makes you go “it’s not that simple”. Well it isn’t. I think that’s one of the wisest realizations of all respectable intellects – that hitting *simple* is complicated. Which is why, all respectable intellects must eventually fall back on their gut (wow you totally didn’t see that coming huh? I could have just said listen to your heart and made you hurl).

What is simple then? How does one fall back on the damn gut? That great releaser of know-it-all instincts?  The only answer I have is that you know. Do you know anything? Something? That…yes…you know a bit about that? It will feed your intuition because that’s what happens to the things we really know. They get devoured by the intuition monster which then does a funny dance that our brains can’t ignore and all the stupid of our life follows. All the stupid that defines us, makes us tick and helps us wade through the crap we were sure of drowning in. We are all about the stupid. It’s just effing hard to remember it when you need it the most. When choices are breathing down your neck. Yes. The times you *really* need to remember everything you’re about? Are when you know you could easily do any of many things.

Complicated: is trying to find that perfect scheme of things which will blow your mind and rain comfort down your parched brain. It is waiting for that moment when everything you want strikes the right note with each other and your thoughts jiggle in harmony.  It is doing all you can to make that moment happen. It is thinking all you can to make that choice ‘naturally’ emerge, all the while gathering alibis that will readily vouch for that choice. Maybe then, life will be simple?

Simple: is being ruthlessly honest to yourself. It is knowing that you’re a weakling who can’t do without some things. It is owning up… to yourself…(in secret perhaps?). To keep it simple, you keep the one thing you can’t do without. And you hold on to it. You wear it around yourself because all the things you chose not to grab and accommodate? Boy that’s gonna make its presence felt. Antidotes however, don’t make you immune.

Immunity in fact, is never an option.

Knowing that, what do you wanna try? Complicated or Simple?

Look Ahead

April 10, 2010

Today I’m convinced that the devil lives in what is behind you. Though it doesn’t really imply that there are angels waiting for you in what lies ahead. If you stop driving though, the chances of being run-over be quite high.

Convenient. This life thing. Very.

Who cares Wins

April 10, 2010

Last year I set out to find answers to one simple question – What part of her family life does the Indian home-maker love the most? Such questions are often asked in agencies, what with almost every product hoping to make its way to the home-makers’ shopping lists and every brand hoping to find a cosy spot in their minds. This was no different. Oh the speculation. We’ve seen our mums and grannies and sisters and cousins and ourselves and it’s not hard to imagine what the happy moments must comprise. Each one of those imaginable answers is valid. But it was fun to ask them anyway. Just to see which memory takes the cake? It was usually an unassuming one, plain and ordinary, but riding ahead of all other thoughts. They didn’t even need to be asked. These front-runners of their minds tumbled out as if dying to be relived.  Imprints of love have more mileage than any other. We all know that.

I can’t come up with any happy memories of my own tonight. So I decided to dig some of these up. They never fail to amuse me and make me wonder all over again… what would the story behind each of these memories be like?  

‘My in-laws and their extended family had come over… even though my husband made arrangements, he was too busy to participate… so I took them on a trip around Gujarat and handled all the planning and decision-making and really tried to take care of their comfort … so my mother-in-law went  – you’re like my third son!’

‘My father-in-law had great confidence in me, he’d be the first person to say “she can handle anything on her own” and never doubted my ability to shoulder any responsibility’

‘My parents had come to visit. My husband unexpectedly took leave from work and all and took us all on a trip and he took it upon himself to entertain my parents. I felt really cared for that day.

‘My husband booked me a spa session on valentine’s day as a surprise… I myself had never been to a spa even though I kept thinking it’d be the thing to do…’    

‘This one time my son saw that I was extremely tired and offered to make me breakfast… he can’t even serve himself food normally…’

‘My husband reads out peaceful, spiritual things to help me calm down, it’s the best stress-buster’

‘My mother in law was illiterate but very religious. My father in law used to sing/read out religious verses to her in the afternoon’

‘My husband took my parents for a movie. My dad had always refused to enter a theatre, he was a traditional reserved man but my husband managed to persuade him anyway and there were no complains’

‘You’ll be surprised to know that I don’t have the patience to make tea for my husband according to his timings so I just put it in a flask but every Sunday he wakes me up with steaming hot tea – no matter what…’

‘My husband was far away on our anniversary I was actually expecting to spend it alone. Last minute he took a bunch of flights and trains and god knows what he did but the doorbell rang in the morning and I opened the door to find him standing there with a bouquet…it was out of a movie’

‘There was a time when my husband stood up against his own family members in support for my father. That day I was grateful to God that I’m married to someone who sees my family to be his too’

‘On valentines day my husband filled a friend’s gazebo with flowers, teddy bears and candles and surprised me by taking me there… I’m a fan of these things’

‘I can’t cook. He doesn’t expect me to cook. He’s a foodie mind you. I could NOT have asked for anything more’

‘On our anniversary I had been visiting my mother’s house. When I came home my husband and family literally swooped me up in their arms and surprised me with a decorated house and a small party going. I thought they had lost their minds…’

‘My daughter gave me a surprise b’day party at 12 in the night just between the two of us. She had put balloons and cake in a room and bought me a lil present. It was silly but sweet.’

‘My husband made it a point to teach me how to drive after we got married so that I could have my independence. I would’ve never learnt otherwise and I am really glad I have this freedom.’

‘My husband cooks really well even though he doesn’t need to do it on a regular basis. Sometimes when I’m tired from work though, he himself takes the initiative of cooking for our whole family of seven. I don’t even have to ask’

 ‘My husband always catches me off guard.  He knows me well… when I’m least expecting something he surprises me with it… like say I’ll find him waiting for me somewhere or he’ll still sometimes take my hand while walking… it helps to know that I’m on his mind as well…apart from other things… ”

 And men thought their wives bitched bout them the first chance they got.

Fighting hunger gets you delicious returns =)

April 1, 2010

About a couple of months ago I had written about our epidemic- spreading hunger and Hippo’s fight against it in this blog post. Not Hippo the animal. Yes Hippo the animal. Well Hippo the brand. Hippo the Indian snack food brand that insists on fighting hunger with food and LOVE.


Through a personified love- spreading, joy-causing, warmth-giving, happiness-infusing HIPPO. A Hippo that talks to us from the pack.  A Hippo that talks to us from the adverts. A Hippo that talks to us  on twitter . And Hippo doesn’t just talk. Hippo makes our heads swoon with affection. Why? I mean seriously, what is it about this voice that is sucking us in? Sure it’s cute and entertaining and witty and funny but so are the  many other smartly written pieces of communication out there?

Yes. But what sets this apart is that it’s painfully endearing. I say painfully because we’re not used to this kind of empathy  anymore. Especially if it exudes such innocence. Extending it or expressing such love  is considered to be a weakness of our times. And here is a faceless entity extending heaps of it. To everyone. No questions asked.  And boy have we have been starving for it. Literally, figuratively, metaphorically, whatever.

So much that it is unsettling. We don’t know what to do in the face of it. Sure you can be nice to Hippo in turn. But it doesn’t seem good enough. So we do what we know best and what can be tried at the least. We join its cause. We spread the word. We buy the snack. We share it with friends. We take Hippo’s loving hunger-feeding voice to the uninitiated.

Why do we do it? Are we that gullible to marketing gimmicks? Or are we that jobless in life? A bit of both you could say but the truth is that we’re tempted. It just happens to be that effective a nudge. The entire Hippo experience. Call it the power of love and nice flavours to match it (I recommend the blue one, Italian Pizza, goes well with the texture and feel of the snack) but I would do this with no returns any day. And I would’ve continued to, but it so happens that I did get some returns!

I came home to find a large Hippo Hamper waiting for me! With a more-than-sufficient supply of Hippo munchies that’ll keep me occupied for a while now!! Here’s a glimpse:

But what takes the cake is THIS letter! I mean just look at it. Read it. When was the last time you got a note like this?

Well I’ve never gotten it. It’s not the kind of thing we do anymore. Even when we were kids it was probably a bit much? Maybe that’s why Hippo’s innocence must remain childlike. It is not acceptable coming from adults. Or anyone with ‘good sense’.  And that’s why Hippo has us charmed to bits. An almost-fictional entity giving us much needed real-world warmth.

If evil, deceptive, profit-making marketing is gonna make me feel like such. Bring it on. I will buy such products. I will follow such brands. I will listen to what they’re saying. I will do what they ask me to do.

Thank You and Congratulations Hippo 🙂 You rock. ❤ ❤ *Hug back*