Long Weekend 

It’s the second day of our 3-day-long weekend. We’ve been up since 6:30 am. 90 percent of our chores are done. I’m sitting on my comfy couch and enjoying the breeze which is making my lovely sheer curtains flutter. I can hear traffic in the distance but being on the 12th floor means that it’s too far away to annoy me.


Once I’m ready to get myself out of this couch, I’ll head to the room we’ve fashioned into a reading room. It’s another little piece of heaven for me.

Every once in a while, you make a purchase that  makes your brain scream out loud in horror but makes your heart dance with joy. Eventually the brain stops screaming and joins the heart in a temporary truce in a warm bubbly pool of contentment while you enjoy the relief brought about by this truce and thank your lucky stars you listened to your heart. The armchair on the right happens to be just such a purchase for me. Sinking into its cushiony depths is the ultimate stress buster for me.

I chose orange curtains for this room because I love the way they color the light.

 And of course, there is my bookshelf in all its glory.

  I haven’t planned lunch yet. The husband is napping in front of the tv and his input is essential for lunch planning. We moved into this apartment a couple of weeks ago. It was a physically and emotionally exhausting process followed by 2 very brutal weeks in office for both of us. That makes this long weekend doubly precious.

With the day stretching ahead of me there are a hundred things I can do. But here’s what I will do. I’ll sink into my amazing armchair with an amazing book and savour each second of this weekend as if it were the most amazing dessert made by the most amazing pastry chef in the most amazing restaurant on the planet 🙂 Happy Weekend !!

5 Thoughts on India’s Independence Day

So India has been independent for a while now. 68 years to be precise (forgive me if I am wrong, numbers and me don’t like each other). Back in the days when I was in school, this meant a flag hoisting followed by singing competitions, speeches, skits and finally sweets! Every school going Indian child knows what Independence Day celebrations entail. This is one thing that doesn’t change with time and I’m glad it doesn’t. But there are some things that I hope, change soon. Before I begin, I’d like it to be known that I LOVE India and there is nowhere in the world I’d rather live. Here are the top 5 things (in no particular order) , I’d like us Indians to change about ourselves.

  • Our Extremely Twisted Gender Perspectives – People may cry hoarse about all the lovely things India is and Indians do. But at the end of the day, for a normal girl walking on the street, India is a deeply misogynistic place. Misogyny is embedded so deep that we take it for granted now. On some terrible and widely publicized occasions, the collective conscience of our great nation is jolted. We go for candlelight vigils, sit ins , and protest marches. Lawmakers promise us changes, people make movies, people write articles, and then like electrons dropping from their excited state to their ground state, we go back to our usual apathetic selves, and content ourselves with throwing our thoughts out on social media (pretty much like what I’m doing now). What’s funny is, we worship goddesses. For a goddess worshipping nation, we’re pretty blind to the goddesses that walk among us. If India treats its daughter’s bad, it treats its daughters-in-law even worse. I come from a privileged family, where I have been the apple of my father’s eye. But for every one girl like me, there are a 1000 who don’t have the life I did. I want to be hopeful and say that the situation is not as bleak as I think. For every sentence I’ve written here, people will give me me a 100 examples to the contrary. But for every one of those examples, I have 1000 which prove them wrong.

    Source: Google
    Source: Google
  • Our Utter Lack of Accountability – By and large, Indians don’t like being accountable to anyone for anything. We don’t accept mistakes, and consequently, we don’t stop making them. We certainly don’t forgive anyone who points out our mistakes and proves themselves right. We ban whatever offends our sensibilities whether the ban is logical or not, whether it is constitutional or not, and then we think about banning whoever opposes the ban! The general attitude towards complaints seems to be – If I don’t Look, Maybe They’ll Go Away! I was almost paralysed with shock recently, when the GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) actually took my complaint seriously and fixed the the ‘dead for several months’ streetlights in my street! And what are rules anyway? Do we care if not following them endangers us and others around us? Think helmetless riders and pillion riders of two wheelers (Yes, I am OBSESSED with telling people to wear helmets when riding front or pillion).

    Source : Google
    Source : Google
  • Our Inability to Mind Our Own Business  and Let Others Mind Theirs– Everybody in India has heard the following sentence or some variation of the following sentence at least once in their lives – “Log/Samaj/<insert random neighbour or acquaintance’s name> Uncle/Aunty Kya Kahega/Kahenge?” , which loosely translated means “What’s every other inconsequential person who you don’t give a damn about or won’t meet for more than 20 mins in your whole life going to say about your life decisions?” I bet we listen to our own selves even lesser than Pinocchio listened to Jiminy Cricket! We listen to our parents (not something I’m against) who in turn listen to every person willing to give them their two cents about our life and our ways (something which I am dead against). For every Indian that follows his/her dream, news, there are at least 50 whose aspirations are nipped in the bud thanks to their concerns about who’s going to say what about them. Studies, career, relationships, marriage, life and death, nothing escapes the purview of the omniscient Indian Well-Wisher.
    Image Source: Google
    Source: Google

    But at the same time, we’re very good at immediately claiming connections to those who do beat the odds make it big, whether they are actually still Indians or not. Think Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai and Punit Renjen and Nina Davuluri. Think every spelling bee champion, and every school topper abroad, and every person with even the remotest connection to India. These are probably people who would be ignored and discouraged had they been in India, but now that they’re not here, just cannot stop drooling over their achievements!  Stop the slobbering please !

  • Our Tendency to Compare Everything in the Universe to Everything Else in the Universe – We Indians LOVE to compare. We compare everything from our clothes, cars and salaries to our kids and their marks with those of everyone we know directly or indirectly. Some might say comparison fuels competition, and competition is good. But is it really? What do psychologists say?

    Image Source: Google
    Source: Google
  • Our Shameless Hypocrisy – Indians are hypocrites. Period. I will not re-iterate what a million other articles have already said.

    Image Source: Google
    Source: Google

On his Blindness and Ours

This is longer and more serious than other things I write about and this took me a while to put down coherently.

Whenever I come across a poem which appeals to me, I commit it to memory. And then, when I’m in one of my spells of staring into nothingness with the teacup in my hand, I like to think about the lines of poems I’ve memorized. It’s something of a relaxation ritual for me.

On his Blindness by John Milton has been with me ever since I read it in 10th grade but lately, I’ve found myself thinking about this particular poem very often.

Back in 10th grade, Milton was the subject. Milton, anguished at his blindness, couldn’t fathom a life without light. How could he do God’s work when God had struck him blind?

 But Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need

Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state

Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed

And post o’er land and ocean without rest:

They also serve who only stand and wait

[Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_His_Blindness]

He reasoned with himself and went on to produce his magnum opus.

Instead of Milton, now I think of myself and everyone I see around me.
Maybe that’s because I’ve been reading about the death of a young banker, one of several, actually. These people who are younger than Milton, even younger than me ,were so overwhelmed with work, that they decided to stop living.

Had they even started yet?

I think about the scores of people in their late twenties and early thirties , who’ve encountered the Quarter-Life Crisis. It is no news that depression, anxiety among youth is on the rise. The disillusionment that cause this comes from Blindness.  Blind to possibilities, opportunities and inspiration, we plough on with our lives, losing ‘That One Talent‘ somewhere down the road.

At least Milton seemed to know what his purpose in life was. Even in his darkness, he was seeking a way to fulfil it. Did he also perhaps see death as a welcome relief?

Image Source : http://www.healthination.com/
Image Source : www.healthination.com

This blindness that’s crippling so many of us today, what is it , if not a product of years of social conditioning , and the burden of a million expectations? People are inherently different, and hence the parameters of success cannot and should not be the same for everyone. As the poem goes, there can be more than one path to self-actualization , and that is perhaps more relevant today than in any other day and age.

Let me start with Home. Even though they have our best interests at heart, sometimes our families push us into doing things which we’re not made for – Blindness. This continues into the workplace where we put in hours and hours for things we don’t feel motivated to do – Blindness. We’re afraid to make a commitment to ourselves, to explore things we like, because by now we can no longer see ourselves clearly – Blindness. And then some of us give up, because they really couldn’t see another way..

I am rambling now, but that’s only because this is something I feel very strongly about. If your child wants to be a painter, let him try to be one! If she wants to write, or help animals, or work with the homeless, let her, not because it’s going to improve her chances of getting into a  prestigious college and landing that 6 figure salary and making you look good in your circles, but simply because it might be her chance at fulfilment and happiness. Educate and enlighten them as best as you can. But PLEASE , do not burden them with your hopes and dreams and expectations! Teach them introspection. Teach them to take responsibility for their own choices. Let them make their own mistakes. Let them be human.

We as a society, cannot afford to keep losing precious young people because they couldn’t see past their next obstacle.

Image Source :http://advindicate.com/articles/?author=51c0ce13e4b084d494a71ab4
Image Source :http://advindicate.com/articles/?author=51c0ce13e4b084d494a71ab4

[ Header image source: http://advindicate.com/articles/1316 ]

What’s On Scarlett O’Hara’s Playlist?

I don’t know if I LOVE Scarlett, or HATE her. Passionate as she is, I cannot associate her with any emotions of mediocre intensity. I found this awesome post on 101 Books on what her playlist would have been. How could I not reblog this ? 🙂

101 Books

It’s time for another literary character playlist using Spotify!

Today, let’s look at what everybody’s (least?) favorite fictional southern diva might listen to, were she alive today and actually real.

I’m talking about Scarlett O’Hara.

She’s a strong, opinionated, feminine character who, usually, gets what she wants—including whatever man she wants. But she can be a softy too, and I think this playlist reflects her character well.

There’s the “screw you” vibe in Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know,” but there’s also the “I miss you and love you so much” vibe from Adele’s “Someone Like You.” It’s mostly mainstream, top 40 style music, because I think that’s what Scarlett would be in to. No obscure indie college bands here.

Basically, this is a playlist of break-up songs–because between Rhett and Ashley it seems Scarlett’s got more man troubles than mostly. And a lot of it is her fault.

See what…

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Jem, Scout and Jack

Books with children as protagonists fascinate me. To Kill a Mockingbird is hands down my favourite book on the planet. Though Atticus is amazing, I love Scout, Jem and Dill, and I love how long and hard they tried to make Boo Radley come out.

Atticus with Scout and Jem Photo credit: npr.com
Atticus with Scout and Jem
Found on:http://emblazoners.com/wheres-mom-and-dad/

Naturally, when I read Emma Donoghue’s wonderful book Room , I loved it too. Based on the Fritzl case, the book describes life from 5-year-old Jack’s perspective.

Despite being born in captivity, he is healthy, bright, innocent and hopeful, thanks to Ma’s efforts. He loves the world he lives in and enjoys what he thinks is make-believe. When both these worlds collide, though he’s shaken, he moves on, holding Ma’s hand.

Image Source https://www.pinterest.com/pin/86061042853926698/
Image Source https://www.pinterest.com/pin/86061042853926698/

I couldn’t help but compare both the books. Both deal with real life stories, both deal with the physical , psychological and social effects of captivity, and both talk about situations where despite terrible situations, courage, love and empathy shine through. There is understanding, acceptance, and a positive, if not completely happy ending.

What would Jem and Scout have made of Jack had they met? Maybe somewhere in my mind , they will 🙂

Unwrapping

About a week ago, I began to feel that my brain was about to burst. Well, not really.. But I was pretty close to that.

I had been home for a week because of a sunstroke, and had fed myself a constant stream of visual input. The result – an uncontrollable urge to plaster the walls of my apartment with every item of décor , furnishing and art I had seen, a mad desire to run into the kitchen and bewitch my poor oven to start throwing out dish after dish of delectables, the most annoying itch to pack my bags and fly off to Greece, and so on. You get the drift, right?

Well, turns out, I can only do one thing at a time. And just so I don’t forget everything bright and beautiful that I had seen and would see, I created a blog. Thanks to WordPress, it was the easiest thing to do !

Why did I call it Sherbet Lemon? I guess because one of these days, I had been dreaming of following Harry into Dumbledore’s study. Besides, I love that sweet!