In a constant state of chaos!!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Failure is NOT looking like the stepping stone to anything

I failed once more. A career change is something I am set upon. My mind is made up. I don't want anything else right now. Obstinate as a child who lies down and throws a tantrum on the dirty floor of a toy aisle. I want this right now and I am well on my way to taking that first step towards it. The only thing holding me back is one exam. The first time I fell short by 12 marks. The second time by 3 marks. Now I'm just plain pissed off. There is no easy way to say this, but I just want this so much so badly. Dreams are dreamt, shooting stars are being wished upon. I think the reason I feel so sad is that I know it is well within my reach and as mothers are wont to say "If only you put in a bit more effort". Well, I did! I put in that extra effort, but it just didn't pay off. 

Maybe I ought to join in Weight Watchers and take care of my health for a change or learn how to drive a car! Just sitting at home is making me stir crazy and depressed! I'm just a few minutes away from a pity fueled, self-loathing mental breakdown! 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Book Club Feb 2017- Goodbye Vitamin

Last week, I attended an author event for the first time in my life. I listened to Rachel Khong author of Goodbye Vitamin, speak about her well-received debut novel. I always wanted to meet some of my favorite authors and ask them all sorts of questions about what made them pen down those words that resonated so much with me. How did they know about what I was thinking and feeling? Once a book strikes big with me I always obsess about it for a few weeks (or years in some cases) and end up obsessing about that author and watching all their interviews and listening to their podcasts. Rachel's book did not draw me in as much to obsess over her or make it to my favorite shelf but she still has a fresh and un-crafted attitude and answered all the audience queries in an in-the-moment vibe with what seemed like her honest thoughts. 

Goodbye Vitamin is written in particularly fresh format. In short choppy paragraphs, not exactly like a diary entry but along those lines. It is as if she is writing down the small notes she is starting to notice about her life and also sort of rewriting her memories of her past. The book does not have chapters and sections; it does not have a set beginning or end time frame. It's just a year in the life of a lady with a father who has Alzheimer's.

Rachel talked about how personally memories are very important for her. Writing down memories and keeps small notes on it maintaining a small food journal, bu the book is not autobiographical. Fun fact, Andy Warhol maintained a smell library. I have no idea what that is but that's how he preserved his memories. More than than thinking about the characters and events in the book, I ended up thinking about my parents and my family and wondered about how I would deal with their growing old age and how my kids would deal with me in my old age. I want to set a good example for my kids to follow. But I don't want them to deal with me in the same way as my parents wish for me to be with them. Maybe I should leave a letter or blog post about how I wish my life is to be dealt with in case something happens to me suddenly. But then nobody reads my blog. So there's that. I resonated with Ruth when she moved back home to be with her family and help them through with her dad's Alzheimer's. I think she felt more grounded once she went back to her roots and revisited her old self and had time to think through each of her life decisions. I thought about my memories a lot and realized that my approach to many people in my life is based on their past. If I have a happy memory of a person a long time back, who now is a bitter resentful shrew and best avoided from my life, I am still fine with it. Should I remember people by what they were instead of what they have become now? Should I be doing that? I think I want people to associate me as being the one person who behaves the same as always. I want to be the one unwavering constant in their life. Is that normal? 

I would uproot my entire life, move my family back halfway across the globe for my parents and never regret that decision, ever. Never miss all the might have and might be's in my life and I don't even think I would have much help or support in this matter but still I would do it. I think memories became so important for me by living with my grandparents for a few years.I also miss them so much and miss playing silly pranks on them and vicariously living their past memories with them. I know more about my grandparents then any of their other grandchildren. I relished listening to their stories about life in the early 1900's and living through almost a whole century. How I wished I was a part of their life in their prime of youth. 

At the talk, I wanted to get Rachel's autograph on a color printout of an alternate book cover which I saw on Amazon rather than the cover of the copy I got to read. Just to preserve a memory of my first author event. But I met somebody I know on my way to the event and she joined me for it. I got embarrassed (I have no idea why or for what reason) and I didn't go through with it. I just went home and decided to watch "Thanmatra", Mohanlal's heart wrenching and beautifully acted movie about a brilliant man who deteriorates mentally after he gets Alzheimer's and sobbed my way through it as I have done every time I have watched that movie. 

Today was the monthly book club meeting and many of the elder members of our group who had dealt with people who had Alzheimer's mentioned they did not enjoy the light tone of the book and that the author seemed to be making light of this sad and scary disease and how they dealt with it in their lives. I felt like they all had the same lingering thoughts as me and rather than discussing the book and its characters they all had something personal to share. 

Memories definitely color a person's perception of an event in their life. If we talk to another person who was also there in that moment with us and if they have another version to say, will it change our memory also? Will our perception of that moment be skewered or will we continue to hold onto our version of it? Will there be a moment in our future when we will stop remembering a huge part of our life? These lingering thoughts are all that we are left with at the end of the book, not a thought spared about Ruth or Howard and his pants which may still be hanging off Christmas trees this year too. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Ghosts of Social Media

Today I got a birthday reminder from Facebook. It reminded me to wish a person who bid adieu to this world 7 years ago. He died in the prime of his life, leaving behind lots of dreams, hopes and wishes to be fulfilled, leaving behind a family whose tears have not yet dried and a child who never got a chance to know her father. He was very active on social media and was one of "those people"; the ones who are fastidious about leaving a like or a positive comment on every small thing on everybody's timelines. His name pops up regularly in my reminder list to remind me of the memories we made on Facebook and to rewind back on our "friend-versary"! And every time I think of him and other similar ghosts on social media, the truth hits me that there is no death on social media. Unless and until somebody goes into their profiles and deletes it off. They just float about in people's reminder lists and move about in auto created videos as a reminder of the lives they have led. 

Do we need social media to remind us of those who are no longer with us? No, I would venture to say, but then I stop to think and realize, instead of occasionally remembering somebody on random days, isn't it a way of honoring the dead when we remember them on the same days we would have wished them when they were alive? People alive mostly only remember the day of the departing and the sorrow that day filled our hearts with than the memories of happier times spent with them. What would they have wished for us to do? Would I leave my usernames and passwords with my next of kin, in case I find out my death is imminent? Would I want them to delete my social media presence or be another ghost profile? I got an answer of "who cares what happens when we are dead?" but then when we really think about it then why do we lead the lives we do if we do not care so much about the future? If social media is only as important as a frivolous time pass then why do we care so much about our public personas on it? Or is it a brief snapshot of a life "seemingly" well lived?   

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Book Club Jan 2017- The God of Small Things

Today I joined a book club at the public library. Something I have always wanted to do and I enjoyed it immensely. Far more than any other literary event I have participated in recently. A group of people who want to listen to what you have to say about a book you read, people who love to read anything and everything on varied topics and love to talk about them. None of the people around the table treated me like I was unique weird specimen or a person with a tendency for sesquipedalian loquaciousness (you see what I just did right there :-D please google it), which by the way I am not. They just wanted to talk about what they read that's all, very simple and straight forward. The reason I finally took that step forward was because of my curiosity about the first assigned book for the club this year, Arundhati Roy's first masterpiece - The God of small things. 

I have always wondered how non-Indians and non-Malayalees could make out the essence of the words in the book and how they perceived a story that was set in one of the most tumultuous of times in Kerala. An era where the growth of the Congress party in India, political ramifications of the Emergency, the rise of Communism and remnants of British influence all came to a boiling point and that too set in a dysfunctional Syrian Catholic family. The people around the table came from a lot of different countries and backgrounds and they viewed the book in a very interesting way. Most of them struggled much like I did with the chronological jumps in the story. More than the story what stood out for them was the way women were treated in the family even with very highly educated people in it. They were also surprised by the importance communism had in the story which is not a subject dealt with commonly in English books written by Indian authors. Due to the flowery and descriptive language of Roy's writing, some expected the mysticism of Salman Rushdie's characters to pop out in some places but instead found a strong dose of realism in the end. 

Only one question remains at the end, Is there a hero or heroine or villain in the story? Who would you attribute with those labels? Does any one of these broken characters deserve to be burdened with the weight of being at the eye of the tornado that swept through their lives? I wonder what it would mean to be the little bugs which crawls around everywhere between the characters, between the lines in this book that no one notices but is there as the silent spectator to everyone's actions when the story unfolded.  

2018 - A year for ME

I have to and want to and need to make 2018 a year for "me". I, Me, Myself, A year in the world where I will do the things that bring me happiness and get my priorities in line. Some might call me selfish and self centered to focus on something for myself. Maybe its true but I have lost a part of who I am and what makes me "me" and maybe its time everybody stopped expecting me to be the pillar and anchor to fulfill their dreams and ambitions. This is that year. The year I pray and pray real hard; try and try real hard and make it out of the things that pull me under this rock that I am living under. Time to burst this bubble of my life in which I coast over aimlessly, floating over everything that is sharp and jagged in fear of bursting it. 2018  here I jump off.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

CBEST - essay1

Ernest Hemingway once commented, "As you get older, it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary." In an essay to be read by an audience of educated adults, state whether you agree or disagree with Hemingway's observation. Support your position with logical arguments and specific examples. [CBEST English Writing exam (Practice Essay 1) ]

       A Hero is a role model. Somebody who has many admirable qualities be it physical, intellectual or spiritual. He is one who inspires a goal and gives a person something to aspire to become. This aspiration can be as simple as a slight admiration for a fleetingly small time period or even full blown hero worship that can last an entire lifetime. Heroes often change as a person grows older; in the same as one’s personality and goal in life changes as their outlook towards life shifts.

        A small child almost always associates the word “Hero” with a physically strong person more than behavioral qualities and strength of character. A happy childhood can very often lead a child to stand up and proclaim to everyone that their parent is their hero. At that young age, their thoughts are as simple as “I want to be as strong and tall as my Dad”. As they grow older their aspirations about their parents shift and then their wish morphs into “I want to be as accomplished or educated as my Dad”. Their wish is no longer to be as physically similar, but it might shift into an intellectual fascination. But then life happens, and as time passes and they grow older and get a better awareness of their surroundings and circumstances. They often come to a realization of the shortcomings in their lives and have a better understanding of their station in life and the people surrounding them and even form opinions about how their parents react to various events in their lives. They start to recognize the negative and positive traits in people and put thoughts to how they would have reacted in those same situations. Disillusionment sets in about those who they looked up to in childhood, who seldom have the same attractive shine under a different light at a different age.

       Most often, a hero is not even a real person. The importance of fictional heroes can never be downplayed as they have a very strong presence in every person’s life at some point or another. A very common example that can be cited at this point is Superman. A child loves his colorful costumes, strong body, ability to fly and being able to punch the villains in their faces. That is what first catches their attention and the hero always wins in the end. Always. Good always triumphs over evil. Then as he gets older, this child then realizes that Kryptonite is Superman’s biggest weakness and it is often used by his enemies to weaken him. But he still wins out of sheer force of will and ability to remain steadfast in his belief that evil needs to be thwarted at any cost even at the cost of his own life. At this point the kid, who is older now, realizes strength of character and will power is what he admires most about Superman. When this child grows older he may be ridiculed for still watching cartoons and even made fun of, for following the more or less same story line which superman has been fighting and winning for more than half a decade. His adult mind tries to find faults with his hero. The same colorful costume becomes an undergarment worn inside out, the strong will of his hero becomes a homeless man pining away for his destroyed world. The adult in him refuses and fails to understand the mindset in which he aspired to become someone like Superman. A fictional character who gave him much joy and enthusiasm in life till then becomes an embarrassment to be covered up and not acknowledged.

       Famous people like Mother Theresa, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, are all people who have become heroes to entire masses of people. They are heroes who have achieved many things overcoming great misfortunes and situations like, war, political unrest, famine, gender inequality and inspired entire masses of people to rise up and fight for their rights and beliefs. But often a common man who might admire these real-life heroes, still chooses to run away from these difficulties than stand up and fight for what is right. Fear of the consequences of their actions often demotivate people from emulating their heroes. Fear for the safety of their loved ones and fear of upending their lives often have discouraging results and they feel unimpressed with their mundane existence. This results in a sort of quiet disillusioned acceptance of being a non-hero even though these ideals may still linger in their minds.

       Being one of the great literary masters, Ernest Hemmingway, must have commented that “As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary” keeping in mind these adults who do not find their heroes in their themselves but still trudge on hoping for a way to be proud of themselves at some point in their life. Everybody needs goals to aspire to, no matter their age, size and color. Heroes are simply people who choose to face their fears no matter what form that fear may embody. They do not need to wear red capes, they just need to be happy with their choices in life to become a hero they are proud of.  

(874 words, 95 mins writing time)

Friday, November 03, 2017

Thor : Ragnarok - Trying too hard to be funny

I just came out of Thor: Ragnarok and the fight sequence music is still ringing in my ears!! That is the exact same music I hear in my head before I blow my top at anyone so I definitely identified with that 😄😄 

Writing a review about movies in the MCU is getting harder because they are becoming more like pieces of a big puzzle than a stand alone movie. So for someone who does not follow the MCU diligently this might be a let down. Because almost all the contrived jokes, hulk moments and loki-thor banter all reference previous movies and The Avengers. So you would not get any of that and it would fall plain flat for you. 

For MCU enthusiasts, 
-The biggest fault of this movie is that its basically trying too hard to be funny. Instead of throwing in thr jokes organically but now its more in-your-face. They were trying to make it more like the Guardians but ended up just bouncing of zingers as the second part of the ones in the Avengers. 
- Cate Blanchett as Hela is the best villain so far in the MCU. They should replace sedantry Thanos with Hela.. thats my 2 bits. She is really impressive in the very soft spoken, evil menacing way Meryl Streep played Miranda Priestly in The Devil wears Prada. A villain who whispers but chills you to your bones.
- It is the best Thor movie. But thats not saying much as the character didnt do very well as stand alone. MCU Thor is a team player.
- Hulk who used to understand one word dialogue like "Smash" "Attack", is now well on his way to an MA in English Literature!! 
- Valkyrie should have gotten more screen time and action sequences. She became an after thought by the end. 
- The BG score is really good and great music selection. 
- Ideis Elba as Himedall NEEDS TO/WANTS TO / HAS TO get more screentime and his character cannot be just a few minutes!!! That was my takeaway from the other two Thor movies and the same happened here also! 
- Dr Strange does not have much to do storywise and does not push the narrative forward. But I think Strange and Thor maybe be connected in the Infinity War movies, so this might have been like getting their introduction out of the way.  Dr Strange really seems to have grown into his own and he seems well on his way to becoming the Sorcerer Supreme. Cant wait to see his part in the next Avengers movie. 

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Fat.... or Not?!?!?

 Today I was fat-shamed in my office. Today, on Women's day of all days in the year! And I realized something just out of the blue. Truly, women are their own worst enemy, we don't need men to put us down. No, they don't shame us and stamp all over us as well and as thoroughly as other women do. 
 I have never been a skinny person per say mid sized or "healthy" as gossipy aunties would say. But there was a time in college when I was literally just skin and bones. That was mostly due to bad hostel food and the pressures of being in the fag end of college life and the stress of facing the big bad world without a job in hand. That was not what I would call happy times. But once I got started in my career and got married I started piling on the pounds. Fast forward to two kids later, and I have a weight scale that is under considerable strain, very low self esteem and massive image issues. 
 Then a year back I got a job in a very fashion conscious office at a premier fashion retailer. Here I found a friend who has grown into a best friend and shes an awesome fashion scrounging partner and combined with that I had a free rein to revamp my entire wardrobe choices with my office being situated right in the retail heart of a major city. I was a new person altogether image-wise. Gone were the loose button down shirts and floppy loose boot-cut jeans. I took pride in my new choices and got many compliments. Finally I had regained a bit of my confidence and then today happened. 
 The lady just pointed at my thighs and told me "are you on a diet? (No) If you are then it definitely is not working out. You should start eating salads or go on a juice diet. But in your case I doubt that would help. That's what happens when you love to eat." I just pictured my self confidence take on a blue tinged liquid form and I imagined it swirling down a tub drain slowly.... slowly.... painfully. 
 Then I marched out of my office and bought myself a large chocolate brownie base vanilla ice cream and decided that the best moment in my life is licking my spoon, crunching on the cone and waiting for the very last bite of this cone. The tip where there would be a piece of solid chocolate. That last bite and the happiness it brings me is what gives me the strength to ignore all the cruel people who just cannot bear to put forth basic decency to other people. ..... but lets be truthful... I really truly actually wish lightning would strike her dead in the spot shes standing right now!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Women's Day.... for what actually??

There is one question that bothering me ever since I first heard the term Women's Day! Why is the world waiting for Women's Day to celebrate womanhood? Do we need a "special day" to celebrate something that is one part of the human race. The more important half if you ask me. Celebrating womanhood has always felt like patronizing women to me! Come on everybody... lets celebrate the women in our life and give her flowers today treat her to something special today and then its back to the very same situation the next day. Nothing changes. Not one small thing. Nothing changes for the woman who was ready to receive those flowers and be treated special today! And why don't we come to that realization? Instead of posting sappy hallmark card/ FB status/ Tweet worthy dialogues out into the world and tagging the ladies in your life in that post, actually for a change try doing something for them daily. Learn to make a cup of tea for yourself, wash the dishes for her after dinner. One small action daily that can help ease the burden on the woman in your life. They actually really don't care about the flower you get them on this one day in a year, if they seem happy about it them trust me they just got swept up in all the marketing circus that is all our social media fueled lives!

Women are not the fragile flowers that men want to believe we are. If we have the power to create life, then we have to power to turn you to dust also. Don't laugh!! We really do. It really is our secret superpower although many women don't realize it (that's why its called secret superpower). Just imagine one day you wake up and the woman in your life is not there. How would you react to that situation? I can tell you one thing if that question was reversed, women would score much higher. Its not how you would react to that situation its how you pick up the pieces of your life after the world shatters around you and how you would troop on forward. We see blood monthly. We are not scared of this! We transform ourselves many times in our life its just a matter of time before that woman is reborn again. 

Stop patronizing the woman in your life! Its the very least you can do to celebrate "Women's Day" !!

....and if you really want to get her flowers make sure they come in a pot and don't die in two days time!!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

GOE - 5 Palli-kalkku Palathum Pattum!!

2 Maavin thai nattu….vithukal vaanghichathil,vellariyum vendaykkayum vithykaan petiiyilaaa !!

Saghaavu saleeesh and familyey kandu…santhoshichu…food adichu….pakshey ...vruthathil aayathu kondu onnnu koodan pettiyilaaa !!

Sabarimala …mookambika…parashinikadavu poyi…..palani pooovan petiyilaaa !!

Bangalore poyi…..again n again n again coimbatore povaan pettiyilaa !!

After long…..SVC ( Shan)yey kandu….but this time also washimney kannan pettiyillaa !!

As usual…rajeevineyum and shilpeyeym kandu…and as usual bangaloruril vechu durguviney kannan pettiyilaa !!

Salt and pepper kandu ( padam super ) pakshey chaapa kurishu kannan pettiyilaa !!
Kupikal kurey kondu poyi....pakshye 2 ennam polum theerkan pettiyillaaa !!
Giri mondey veetil ..salee mondey veetil poyi….sorry appaacha n james…saruchechiyey & soumya chechyey vilikaan pettiyillaaa !!

Achu….chinghu….cheeka..sreekutyy…meeenu…unnikuutan…maalu…shambu…akku…ooooh…naatilenghum unnikaludey bahalam….
pakshey vendtara samayam unniesindey koodye spend cheyann pettiyilaa !!
Raining keralaa...aaaah.....paranjriyikaan pettillaa....boootifullloo....boootifulll....eppo ethokey asswadhikunnu..
naatil ullappool ethindoyonum vila arriyan pettiyillla !!
Finally in kuwait....waiting for the next vacation....pettathahokey palisha adakan pettikanam next time....hihhihi...again waiting for the
next vacation...vacation...vacation...3 tharam.

Idhehathinte ee cherukadha ezhuthu ee emailoodee kaavyaathmakam aayii thudangiyirikkunnuu...... ithokke sahikunna najngale okke.. "poo"ittu alla "poo" paranju poojikkanam... alley ;-)

Ithinonnum pandu pattiyillaa pattunnillaa ennu paadi nadanna idehathinu ippo palathum pattunundu... (Kayyadi to Kala Master) 

P.A.Lee-yude udanee irangaanu irikkunaa krithiyude peru ee aduthu idayaayi adheham velipedithiyittundu... 
"Oru Palliyum Oru Puliyum". Travelogue aanennu paranju. Che Gueveraye pattiyulla "Motocycle Diaries" vaayichu haram moothu oru puli-ye vaalinu pidichu bike-me kettii pokunnaathine pattiyullaa kadhayaanu polum.

Shesham comments-il :-)