Monday, December 20, 2010

The Search Begins...

Would it make sense if I said that I’ve always been paranoid but have had no real trust issues? I guess not, but since I’m not exactly known to be a very sensible and coherent woman, do excuse me.
I’ve always been more than just a little scared of your average man on the street. And staying alone in a city like Delhi does not help matters much. I’m scared of cab drivers, policemen, security guards, bosses, colleagues and the trash collector (what do you know, they have something in common after all). But the fear strangely vanishes into thin air if they make conversation with me (sorry, cat-calls at a woman walking on the street does not qualify as a conversation, pervert).
As soon as a man engages me in a chat, no matter how boring or pointless, a very irritating part of me that will definitely get me in trouble someday suddenly decides to see the inherent goodness I believe all human beings bury beneath those sneers.
This leads me to believe that I’m your average bimbette who is clueless about what people are really like (oh come on, you didn’t expect God to give me beauty AND brains, did you?)
Oh by the way, did I tell you that I’m also the worst judge of character you will ever come across? No, really. You need to meet my friends if you don’t believe me. We’re all just a bunch of no-good losers who need to keep hearing those 3 words in repeat mode – You’re the Best! We call it positive reinforcement and we don’t care what you want to call it.
I’m not really in a self-deprecating mood, you know. I’m just very very very scared right now. And I have good reason to be – my family wants me to get married.
I know I’m going to be 30 in another year and a month and I know it’s probably a good idea to take the plunge and I know that a couple of years from now the options will start dwindling. But I also know that I don’t know a thing about what marriage or commitment or all that crap is about.
I mean, if you could get inside my head you’d see I’m not more than 15 years old. My mood swings are totally dependent on the food I eat. My priorities are Mommy and Daddy. My favorite TV show is still Tom & Jerry. My favorite book is Jughead Jones Double Digest. I still think a guy who is amazingly hot can not be a bad man. And I think bad men need to look the part.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t mind getting married. But how can I share my room with somebody? Especially a man! And I haven’t mentioned the scary part yet. All that sex that is bound to happen! I mean how do you say no when you don’t want to do it? And what’s the whole deal with sex anyway? Can’t we just kiss and stuff and be done with it? I have a strong feeling I should not publish this particular post on my blog, for the sake of any “suitable alliances” who might stumble upon it. But they should know what they’re getting into.
And that’s my other beef. What the fuck is it with men who want to know every teensy-weensy detail about your past? I mean, isn’t it good enough that I’m with YOU right now? You probably slept around with half a dozen women and I’m not asking you statistics about your usage and behavior. I don’t want to know why you broke up with whoever you were with. I don’t care how wild she was in bed. And most importantly- I DON’T want to know what endearing names she called you by and how hard it was for you to get over that particular relationship. Shit happens, okay?
I have to say one thing. Men these days are worse than little whiny girls you’ve just snatched their teddy bears from. I’m not a feminist, honest. I love men. Hell, I love them too much to settle down with one.
My best friends are men. But you guys are really all a bunch of whiny, over-sensitive, insecure babies who constantly need someone to pull you through your respective jumbled up affairs. And I’m sorry, but I’m just too sorted to let a man come into my life and mess things up. I’m not up to playing babysitter for a grown up man.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the family wants me to get married.
Since I’m not even remotely in love, the only other route that’s left for me to take is either Matrimonial websites/Matrimonial Classifieds/Matrimonial Aunties (pick one).
So Mommy dearest (in cohorts with my elder sister-ditcher!) decided to take matters in her hand and today forwarded me the profiles of two such “suitable” men. She called me at work (really, Mum!) to tell me to check those profiles and see if I think any are to my liking. So I did.
One of them was your typical babu-type man who I can just imagine driving an LML-Vespa scooter to work. He had attached 3 photographs- all taken in different part of the US of A which he had conveniently titled his photographs as (really, mister, a babu-type is a babu-type even when standing in front of the Statue of Liberty). This was enough for me to shake my head in disapproval. Of course, had those pictures been taken in a Las Vegas casino with him surrounded by chips, I might have considered.
The other man in question was undoubtedly nice looking. So I clicked on his biodata (why the fuck do they still call it that?) and I couldn’t find anything I could use as an excuse to say no for. But you know how it is with men like that, right? He probably will scrunch up his nose when the family sends my pictures (which reminds me, I don’t have one decent snap and I’d rather die than get all made up and get one clicked for this particular purpose). So in all probability, he’ll refuse (my ‘biodata’ will probably scare him off as well) and I shall have more time on my hands to rant about men in general.
And if he gives it the green signal too, well, that is where the paranoia I was earlier talking of will kick in.
Since I noticed that not many women write about their search via matrimonial websites, I’ve decided to keep you all updated about how the search goes and the twists and turns an average bimbette’s mind takes while on that route.
You guessed right. I have entirely too much time on my hands. Hey, Boss, give me some work to do!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Growing Young-The Digital Way!

You know how they say life always comes a full circle? I’m beginning to think they knew what they were talking about when they coined that phrase.
And since ‘they’ are usually talking through their respective hats, it brings me to believe that I’m growing old (of course that’s completely untrue, given my incredibly gorgeous reflection in the mirror and the fact that I’m barely 29 years old).
But let’s not wander too far from the topic at hand. Life always comes a full circle. Mostly around the waist.
And now might be a good time to update my blog about my life.
It’s been a month since I started working (again). This time in a digital advertising agency. Initially, I was nervous, skeptical and tried to curb my enthusiasm about it all. I still remember how utterly disappointed my enthusiasm was the last time around. But that’s one thing that refuses to stay in chains for too long. And so here I am hyperventilating about everything that’s remotely related to the digital arm of the advertising business.
This new place I’m working at is very different from the old one. The old one was cold, impersonal, overdosing on protocol and oh-so-corporately-correct. The new one is more now. Sure they follow protocol too. But it ends soon as you punch in your presence at 10 a.m. (a rule all companies all over the world should collectively abolish). The hierarchical structure is flatter, more transparent and every person is accountable for the tasks they handle (of course, that’s the worst thing that can happen to you if you are a slacker). I actually have meetings with the CEO of the company! Me! Can you beat that? I mean I don’t know a thing and there I am sitting across a man who is the founder of the company and answering a question like, “So what do you think about it?” The first time he asked me that I actually felt he was mocking me in a sadistic sort of way. But when the realization that he was serious hit me right between my eyes, I was so taken aback I just sat there like a zombie with my mouth hanging open and nothing coming out. So I just mumbled something in an incoherent manner and weaseled out of the situation. Of course, he knew what was happening because he let an amused smirk slip. But when has any smirk/smile/sneer ever escaped my eyes? Okay, lots of times but this one didn’t.
Anyhow, what I was trying to tell you is that this new place has a great working environment. I know I said that about the last company as well. But this one is better. Seriously.

Okay now an update about my non-professional life.
I’m turning 29 in less than a month, remember? I need to give myself some frantic blog posts in my last month as a 28 year old. You know how they keep saying that age is just a number? They are wrong. If age was just a number, why would it keep incrementing year after year without anyone bothering to do the math? Now don’t give me crap about the math involved when you take the present year and subtract your birth year from it to arrive at the number that’s your age. You know I’m only making a point here so don’t go all Aryabhatta on me.
So anyway, yours truly is turning 29 soon (6th January, if you please). You know who I can’t stand? Stupid 22 year olds who keep whining about how old they are now that they are going be 23 soon. Of course, my whining would probably extract the same emotions from a 50 year old, but 50 is really old, okay?

You know, there are reasons why I’ve not been writing as often as I used to. Firstly, I sort of lost faith in my ability to write even remotely well when I started working in the Marketing Division of a Digital Agency. Especially when I was so gung-ho about making it big as a copywriter. But then when I thought about it, I realized that none of the great writers started off as copywriters. And maybe that’s a rule. You let all the creativity vent up and then pour it all in a great book in one go. I sure don’t want to write tag lines and body copy and win an award for it (Oh who am I kidding?). But I do want to write a book that’ll make people sit up and take notice. And they will. Someday.

The other reason for my prolonged absence from the blog has been my perpetual presence on Twitter. I made my Twitter account sometime early last year but started actively using it just a couple of months ago. It’s so addictive now that it’s scary. But of course, this addiction will soon be replaced by the next big thing. Just like Orkut was replaced by Facebook and Facebook by Twitter (no, not according to statistics, just my personal usage).
I have met (virtually, of course) a whole lot of interesting people on Twitter. It’s a great way for people to interact, network, showcase their wit and generally rant. Though I strongly feel that most of the active Twitter users are single quirky-alones like me, who want company but only at a distance and on our own terms. Unless, of course, you’re a marketer or a bot (and there’s an extremely thin diminishing line separating the two).
I have met people on Twitter who think like me, talk like me but just are not as fabulous as me (this is what we call unashamed self-pimping in Twitter terms).
Retweet is the new copy paste. Follow is the new “You’re awesome” and Unfollow is the new “Shut up, already.” Of course, block is still block and is self-explanatory.
See that little widget on the right hand side of this page just above the “About me” section? Click on that, follow me, and see what the hype is all about.
Yes, that digital agency is not paying me enough to hire people to do my PR for me.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's a miracle!

We all have a talent we are proud of. Singing, writing, dancing, art, counselling, loving, sports...they all qualify.
We're all creators of our own masterpiece. And this creation may or may not have a tangible form. A tune, a poem, a winning goal, a child, a feeling...
All it needs is a little passion. A small pulse. A tiny power. A life of its own.
And life is a mystery.
Most of the time, it whizzes past us in a blur. Some days I wake up happy. Some nights I go to bed feeling miserable. But most of the time, I'm somewhere in between the two.
Just like everybody else, I have problems. But I never have to worry about food, water, clothes, a roof over my head or a family to call my own.
Ever since I was a child, I've wanted to witness a miracle.
Like every little girl, I waited for a fairy with translucent wings and a shimmering white dress to touch me with her magic wand. Call it an overdose of Enid Blyton's books in my early years, but I really did believe in pixies and goblins. For a long time, that's all I thought miracles could be made of.
It's strange how the definition of a single word changes at different stages in an individual's life.
When I was a teenager, a miracle no longer meant an encounter with my fairy Godmother who'd turn a pumpkin into a stagecoach for me. When you're 17, a miracle in an average teenage girl's life means making it back home before the curfew time your Dad's set for you. And believe me, Cinderella had nothing to lose in comparison! 
Now that I'm older (not wiser, just older), the parameters of a miracle have changed again.
For a long time, I thought it'd be a miracle if the ideal job offer would come through. But it did. A good job. A good boss. A good workplace. And as soon as it all came together, it ceased being a miracle.
I've never felt that meeting the perfect man would be a miracle. I've met men who've been more than perfect to me. I've met the other kind too, but let's leave that for another time.
My miracles meet fulfillment. And no, I don't aim low at all.
And maybe that's where my talent lies. In recognizing the music around me without being able to play or sing a single note. In appreciating art without being able to tell the colors apart. In appreciating a photograph without  being able to tell the correct position of the lens.
And in loving life, without being able to understand any part of it. And that is my very own miracle.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cocktail of Sour Grapes & Sweet Dreams

I remember I was in school when I first realized how much the world of advertising fascinated me. The advertisements always interested me more than the daily soaps they were interspersed with (and not the other way around).
I was born and brought up in Chandigarh and while my parents gave me full liberty to choose an academic course after school, my town offered only 4 choices – Medicine, Engineering, Commerce and Arts. I opted for Engineering because it was the “in” thing for students who were considered half-intelligent.
I opted for Electrical Engineering and failed miserably in the third year, after which I started all over again with Computer Science Engineering. I was too stupid to understand that the problem was not with the branch of engineering I had chosen. The problem was engineering itself. But by then, I had taken the failure to heart and in a silly do-or-die mode that surfaces all too often, I decided I would become an engineer even if it took me the rest of my life. Of course, it did take me three plus four, which makes a total of seven years to get a graduation degree.
After a little bit of soul-searching and several days of Google-searching, I realized what I wanted to do was get into Advertising somehow or the other.
To make a long story short, I was disillusioned by a long list of irrelevant trash posted on Google which implied that to make it big in the Advertising industry, one must understand the marketing practices and so I invested a few years to be called an MBA.
When I finally found myself in the midst of Advertising Professionals, I realized I was just an over-qualified idiot in the organization who could have easily started her career 5 years ago.
Six months, countless conversations and three meaningful meetings later, I realized that I was a bigger idiot than I was giving myself credit for - because I was right where I always wanted to be but on the wrong side of the bridge.
Do you know what it feels like when your mind is painting rainbows and your hands are working on statistics that nobody really needs (or reads)?
Well, that is exactly what I felt when I took up a job in Client Servicing. And maybe it is time that I stop being so harsh on myself. Because the advertising industry may be fascinating, glorious and the most under-rated of all, but it is also horribly structured.
It’s like a nest that has been weaved over the years by some very hard working birds, who managed to decorate it with brilliant layouts and commendable content, but who forgot how to pass the art over to their next generation. Now don’t get me wrong. The next generation had ambitious plans and a hitherto unmatched creative spark and it worked harder and better than the birds who laid the foundation of the nest. But they worked so hard, they turned the cozy little nest into a cocoon with a narrow entry.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people like me who would gladly chuck their MBA and Engineering degrees into a dustbin to work for peanuts as a copywriter enter the market. Every year, we fight to get a chance to get our foot into the door. We take whatever is offered to us. We don’t argue over the remuneration or the job profile. Why? Because it’s hard to get a job in a good ad agency. You have to be recommended. You have to do a course that the students and mentors alike say is pretty useless.  And if you’ve made one wrong turn in your life, you are an overqualified idiot who does not deserve to be in advertising. So what if writing is your passion? So what if you can point out typographical errors to the senior copy writer? So what if you have half a million better ideas than the people who are paid to think of ideas? You are in account management. Your job is to be the mediator between the agency and the client. And if you have any creative urges, you can shove it up or leave.
And so I left.
And then it dawned on me. Maybe I was never going to be taken back in the industry. I cannot prove my creative urges in an interview when the interviewer is more interested in the neckline of my shirt than my words.
It’s been a month since I’ve been unemployed. And some would say that I am over-reacting.
But if you have ever had a burning ambition that turns into water and falls from your eyes, you would understand. And you would agree. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I don't need a crown to rule
I don't need a gun to duel
It may get tougher to earn my daily bread
But my words will be around long after I'm dead.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Advertising Professionals or Adrenaline Junkies?

Have you ever wondered what drives people to take part in reality shows such as Fear Factor (and its 101 Indianised versions, except of course Roadies on MTV, which really should have been named Wannabes instead)?
Do you honestly believe its only the money? The fame? The beautiful opportunity to eat worms and feel snakes slithering on their bodies?
We all know there is a little something over and above these reasons that sends men and women knocking on the doors of auditions for these shows every year. It's the inexplicable thrill of doing something they've never done before. Of facing a fear that's so deep rooted, it spreads its tentacles like a persistent octopus.
There is a need to face those challenges that actualises itself into a want and takes form of an act that's bone-chilling and often disgusting and gruesome to some viewers.
Sure, people who audition for these shows are required to be physically fit, mentally strong, often abusive to their challengers and a treat to the eyes.
But what of those who don't make the mark and still feel the need to put themselves into death-defying, character abrasive and uncomfortable situations? What becomes of those who can create such situations and get out of them too, all with the conviction of one who requires no provocation to do so.
These people make a career decision that puts them into difficult situations on a daily basis.
They decide to join the Advertising Industry in India.
It starts just the same way that the show works.
We first go for auditions, which the HR people insist on calling interviews to give a more professional feel to the process. Have you noticed that the anchors and judges who sit in on auditions are usually past winners of a similar show? Well, that's the way it works with us too. Our interviewer is usually a more experienced entity of the organization who at one point of time in his or her life was a mere struggler too and was auditioned (or interviewed) by someone senior to him/her. In all probability, he/she has lost sight of how tough it is to get your foot inside the door. And (s)he makes the audition uncomfortable, sneers at your experience/portfolio and yet, makes you an offer (which is probably a fraction of your worth) because (s)he knows just how important it is to the incumbent to get into the Industry. At any level. At any salary. Exactly the same way you see contestants in reality shows who really aspire to be actors/actresses/models and have taken up a B-grade show just to show the producers that they are capable of much more. You'd be surprised at how similar the practise of hiring is. You'd be shocked at how shallow both the Media and Advertising industries are. You'd be disgusted at how couch casting is moulded to fit into a pattern that suits both the industries. You'd be amazed at how joyous an occasion it is when a talented candidate meets an interviewer with a credible reputation and the result is fruitful for both.

Next, comes the moment of truth. The performance pressures are high with people trying to outshine each other and whether you are working in servicing, creative, planning or studio, you feel the ardor, the frustration, the zeal and the frenzy in everyone's disposition.
There is an overpowering urge to rid the system of mediocrity and protocol. And again, that is similar to the shows in which the not-so-competitive candidates, who rely on their contestants' poor performance to sustain themselves, are shunted out first.
Winning a pitch is not very dissimilar to climbing a mountain in record time. While the latter has deadlines of a few seconds in a reality show, the former requires similar team effort to make the correct strategy and creatives and has not very different time frames if you think about it.

We are all walking the tightrope here. And all of us fear the fall. While the channels air such reality shows for higher TRPs, the clients hire the advertsing agencies for better communication which leads to higher revenues.

So the next time you catch someone gushing about the daredevil stunts performed on these shows, tell them you know someone who does it for a living. And if their first guess is that I work in a circus, well, an ad agency is not very different from that either.
Where I belong, we are all going at a breakneck speed towards a bottleneck foyer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Impulsively Devilish

Have you ever noticed how confusing people can get when they quote something that's been handed down from one generation to the next?
"Think before you speak." I doubt if its humanly possible to do otherwise. Even the most drunk, impetuous, insensitive and careless soul would have to unknowingly perform via the thinking function of the brain before blurting out random words.
Why the presence of a deliberate thought process is required before speaking remains a mystery for me.
In a world that has been poisoned by bitter lies and deceit, would it not make sense if everyone would speak on an impulse?
Sure, it may cause hearts to break and feuds to start much before their time, but wouldn't the realization of truth be a liberating experience?

The Mars-Venus equation would be much simpler to understand. Men keep complaining about how they don't understand women, every chance they get. No woman would ever tell a man every little thought that crosses her mind. I don't think she can and I don't think men would be able to seperate the chaff.
In the span of 2 minutes, women can think of 20 things, I kid you not. And they don't require any provocation to think. But they won't talk about it. If they did, the men would know exactly what not to say to a woman. A man who says just what we want to hear is not welcome either. Who would want to talk to a brain-dead I-live-to-please-you mass of pulchritude? The element of chase that makes an interaction exciting is lost on people like that.
Now, I'm not advocating baring all your cards for everyone to see.
But I am talking about afflicting every passerby with the good old chronic Foot-in-the-Mouth syndrome I've never been able to shake off.
Let's start an epidemic!
Live one day of your life when all that you say is impetuous without caring for the consequences.
The devil must be an impulsive man. And that is probably why he is so misunderstood.
It's the most innocent feeling ever.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mend the Way?

I travel from point A to point B everyday taking the same route. The road never changes. It never complains. Sometimes, the number of people taking the bottleneck left turn are too many, causing a traffic nightmare. At other times, the turn is sprinkled with speed-o-monsters who make you want to mutter a silent prayer for their safety or a slew of abuses (depending on your mood and the time).
The road bends, breaks, gets flooded, gets dirty, trampled on and spat on. Yet, it never complains. But you and I do. We complain about everything from the potholes to the trash accumulating at the corners. We blame everyone from the government to the illiterate man we see clearing his nose on the road.
Just as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, the road will be there to take us back home. And that's when we begin taking it for granted.
I haven't lived enough to philosophize yet. But I can't help thinking how similar the road is to our journey of life.
I have had to come home due to ill health. And all I've been doing since then is complain about how the town I work in is responsible for my sickness. The truth is, anyone who tries to survive on toast for 2 straight weeks is bound to get ill.
I complain about how abusive people are at work. The truth is, someone must have done something to provoke the abuse. And even if the provocation was not there, maybe thats how people are. And I cannot be judgemental about them.

There is a possibility that I may not go back to work if I don't get physically fit soon enough.
But I cannot imagine myself working in any other industry. And my town has no scope for advertising.
It may not pay my bills. But it is a lot like a cup of hot coffee on a cold December morning. Because it makes me happy.

So you see, I complain about things that are trivial and those that are not.
But what I forget is that I am responsible for everything that goes wrong or right in my life.
I can eat a proper diet and get stronger. No-one would stop me.
I can go back to work, grow a thicker skin, hurl a few abusive words and get going. No-one would object.
I can take the same road as always from point A to point B, help reduce the debris from the roadside, honk the car horn a little less, stop scowling at the people over-taking me from the wrong direction and reach work in a good mood and on time.
But I will not do any of the above. Just like you won't.

I'll give myself excuses such as "I can't change my life. Or the way people drive."
Or maybe, " Life is unfair. Why does everything happen to me?" (which by the way, is the most common complaint which leads you to conclude that everything happens to everybody).
It's easier being a slob. Isn't it?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Advertising My Mind

I'm definitely way too young to consider mid-life crisis as an option to help untangle the muddled labyrinth of my mind.
But I have to admit that it's got me feeling sad. Sad because I feel lost. I'm trying my best to understand people around me but I've never ever given myself a good reason to trust my instincts.
I like people and I trust them. And that is indubitably my curse.

The world of advertising is full of people who are exciting, new, passionate, intelligent, creative, abusive, predatory, misleading, critical, helpful, admirable and calculative. It's hard to balance the beam and they are suddenly vicious and instantly affectionate within the same conversation. But they are easy to relate to because they are so close to reality that at the end of the day, I end up giving excuses for the nasty man who was rude to me at work while rationalizing the help from a complete stranger.

It has people who feed on humiliating me to get back at me for making a comment that established them as brainless and gutless pieces of office furniture.
It also has people who are celebrities and are yet humble enough to grant me 2 hour long meetings just to get to know what a newcomer in the industry goes through.

I like this world. There are no "Sir"s and "Ma'am"s, save a few who still require their egos to be stoked every now and then. The client servicing people abuse each other and a few minutes later share a plate of Maggi noodles. The planners argue over the best strategy over endless cups of coffee and then trash it after a meeting with the client. The copywriters and art directors fight over layouts and then play chess and step out for a smoke only to come back and resume the fight from scratch again. The studio professionals make faces and roll their eyes when they see the client servicing guys approaching but then sit with them through the night to get artworks released on time.
Like I said, I like this world.
And I know I belong here. I just don't know where I fit in.
My interviewers said they saw great "potential" in me and a spark that was burning bright and they took me on the Client Servicing team.
A gentleman of great repute on the Creative side saw through me and said I'm not cut out for servicing and should consider copywriting instead.
Planners with years of experience to their name said I have a keen analytical mind and should shape my career in a way that would land me in the Planning division.

What I WANT to do is write. But I don't believe I'm good enough. There are a lot more talented people out there.
What I DON'T want to do is stay stuck doing meaningless errands like fetching printouts and scans and making a repository of historical advertisements and stand over people's shoulders chasing deadlines. That's not who I am.
I can sense my brain rotting away. I can feel that "spark" in me fizzling out. I'm fighting to keep it burning. But I'm burning my hands in the process.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dreaming with Rationale

I’d be lying if I said I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. Things I have been trying to work my way around.

I am no more in that phase of life when incidents, thoughts, people or songs confuse me. I am strangely sorted. I know exactly what I want and I am comfortably numb with the alternative.

Just because I have allowed the co-existence of possibilities, I am willing to succumb to the consequences of each. Probably because there is no possibility I have consciously not thought my way through.

But it makes me wonder. At what point did I switch from being the Delirious Dreamer to the Rational Rebel?

Being the Dreamer was fun, adventurous, irresponsible and it broke my heart and my hopes more times than I could count. But it made me foolishly valiant and strong. I felt unspoilt like the wilderness after a monsoon shower and willed myself to drench my dreams in turbulent waters.

Being the Dreamer, I could do whatever I wanted to and attribute my actions to my eccentricities. Believe you me, the world is more willing to accept a self professed loony than a highly recommended genius.

Now don’t get me wrong. Being Rational has its ups too. So there’s still hope for you logical thinkers.

Logic comes with a safety brace of twisted analysis. You can take a perfectly simple situation and bifurcate it endlessly to arrive at conclusions that best suit your demeanor.

Some would say my sudden change of teams from the Dreamers to the Rationals could be very well explained by my finally acknowledging that I’ve grown up.

I would strongly disagree. With the reason, not with my growing up 

I’d say the move has been selfish. Born out of need and not want. The lovechild of compromise and comfort is bloody well whatever you want to call it, as long as it promises you peace of mind.

I haven’t forgotten my dreams. But I have put new dreams on the hold for now.

I know where I want to be. It’s in two places at the same time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


At the crossroads between new beginnings and farewells, it may be wise to take a step back from reality and consider what you need and not what you want.
The mirror that's been your worst nemesis and best friend at all times needs to be sent on vacation.
Maybe there are things that are better ignored. Like your own opinion of yourself.

I've never let myself be bothered for too long about the warped opinions of others. And I'm willing to admit that my own opinion can be completely twisted, prejudiced and influenced on occasion.

Sure, there will be times when screaming out loud may seem like a vent, but the chains of protocol and decorum may deny you that temporary relief.
I have never felt comfortable sharing my problems with anybody. Ever.
And the times when I might have gone that route, I have regretted it from the bottom of my heart each time.

Finding yourself at crossroads in life is never easy.
But having no direction is much better than having no path.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Modest Start

Life did a complete somersault .
It decided to don a deep sea diver's costume and delve into an ocean full of new and old faces, opportunities and risks to search for the possibility of buried treasure and joy.
In a month's time, the lethargic piece of inactivity my life was thriving on metamorphosed into one where work hours extended till sometimes 16 hours out of 24 and weekends were just another working day of the week.
I am now a part of a bustling beehive where the Queen Bee is inaccessible and I am just a lowly Management Trainee in her reign.

The next phase of my life has officially commenced with my being included in the working class.
A career start at the age of 28 is definitely not what I had thought would happen to me. I had somehow convinced myself that by this age, I'd be well above the professional upheaval everyone faces.

I'm one month old in the Advertising Industry. Each day of the past month, somebody or the other from office has asked me one of the two questions:
  1. Why "advertising?"
  2. This is a thankless job that pays less than peanuts. Why are you here?
I don't have an answer. I don't know why I chose to be in Advertising. I just knew that my engineering degree meant nothing more than a proof of graduation for me.
I was placed with Deutsche AMC after I finished with MBA, but working in a financial institution selling products(read Mutual Funds) I know zilch about is not my cup of tea.

The state of confusion has never left me long enough to enjoy the feeling of stability and maybe there is a reason for that.
I have serious doubts in my ability to enjoy a life which is not riding on a turbulent wave spanning many crests and troughs.
One thing I'm not confused about though- I made the right choice!
It may be too early to say if I "belong" in this industry or not, but yes, so far, I have enjoyed each day of my working life.
I love the work environment, the deadlines looming large, the frequent exasperated conversations with the Studio people, the itching urge to tell the Creative people to speed up their intelectual stimulation process, and the near impossibility of getting free from office by 6 p.m.

One thing I can say I have become adept at in this time is washing utensils. No, that's not what I do in office. That's what I do when I get back home.
I stay with two flatmates and we cook our own food, wash utensils, clean the house, go grocery shopping...Yes, we do it all.
It feels great to know that I am capable of working hard.
That surge of satisfaction when you hit the sack after a hard day's work is not something I'd easily barter.

Happiness may very well be found in your own backyard. But there is greater joy in working for a backyard you can actually call your own.
Score one for good old fashioned hard work!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's MY book!!

I'm not inherently rude. But when people who were meant to be footnotes in my book of life begin behaving like chapters, I have to tear them right off!

Familiar Strangers

stran·ger   /ˈstreɪndʒər/

.a person with whom one has had no personal acquaintance: He is a perfect stranger to me.

I am a fairly amiable and pleasant person to hang around. I think.
I don't stink, burp aloud, fart, belch or curse randomly in public. What I do in the privacy of my room should be of no concern to anybody.
I dress neatly and do not attract unwarranted attention.
When I walk down a busy market place, men and women do not give me more than the cursory glance. Well, sometimes they do (and I'd attribute that to their having nothing better to do with their time).

I am the stranger you wouldn't miss seeing on the road.
Does that sound weird? You wouldn't miss seeing any stranger, would you now? Unless, of course it is a stranger of the opposite sex who's been making you push your daily schedule so you could catch a glimpse of them.
My relationship with strangers has been kind of confusing from the start.
I have come to acknowledge the fact that all my best friends, infatuations and more have been strangers who I once noticed in the crowd for some reason or the other.
It could be for their voice, their looks, their charm, their being unusually quiet, unusually loud or just plain unusual.
I realize that makes me sound extremely shallow, but I've never been in denial of that.
I have been able to cultivate long-lasting relationships with perfect strangers.
Let me elaborate.
When I was in school, we had a new admission in the 9th standard in almost the middle of the session. She was the spoilt child of an important man in the Punjab Police, who was used to the importance people showered her with. We were in an all-girls convent school so there were no young boys around to complicate matters. I hated her guts but some time later, I realized it was all a cover for her insecurities. She became a close friend and after years of staying perfectly out of touch, I am still the only old classmate she is in touch with. And she'll always have a very special place in my heart and my life, despite all our differences.

When I was in grad college, a perfect stranger had my heart go bumpity-bump every time I'd see him cross the hallway. And I certainly wasn't the only girl who felt that way. After all, college is a time when you discover your hormones are actively engaged in making you say all the wrong things at the wrong time to the right people. But a year later, that good-looking stranger was telling me of secrets he'd never shared with anyone else, only to become my special secret for the next 3 years and my best friend for life!

When I joined the business school that was brave enough to give me admission, for one whole semester I was surrounded by young eager-to-please students who just couldn't manage to involve me in a conversation for more than 5 minutes. In the second sem, when the sections got shuffled, I was placed in one with a guy I had noticed in the first sem only because he'd never look at me. Then, I heard his voice. And it made my spine tingle and my legs melt. Now, he is the one friend I'd trust with my life and who could convince me into commiting the seven sins if he wanted to!

I know that we all start of as strangers. I know some people attract their way into our lives and we choose who we let into our lives.
But it isn't always that easy. Some strangers are a tad more difficult than others.
For me, the difficult strangers are the ones who think like me, talk like me and are just a reflection of an alternate me.
These strangers infuriate me. Because rightfully, they should be predictable and easy to read. But they are not.
I can understand the whole world. Or pretend that I do. I can pass judgements or give up on the ones that I feel are not worth the time and effort.
But every once in a while, a stranger I know nothing about but who is just so much like me comes along and I don't know how to react.
And then I thank all the beautiful strangers who came and knew how to deal with me.
They deserve all the credit for being who they are in my life.
Because I would've been clueless all along.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Matter of Numbers

I turned 28 earlier this year in the month of January.
Being 16 was easier, being 10 even more so.
But 28? That's one hell of a bad number for someone who is unattached by choice and unemployed by chance.
Sure, it might seem like a cakewalk and just another milestone 5 years down the line but that's a horrible way of undermining the current series of upheavals (and thus excitement) in life at this time.
Now that my academic education is (finally) over, the next step naturally is to actively search for suitable employment opportunities. The keyword here is "suitable", please.
Two professional degrees (B.Tech and MBA) later, you tend to be unreasonably confident of your capabilities. Which is perhaps my biggest fault (ok not biggest, but big enough)!
Been travelling to Delhi/NCR back and forth looking for a  job that would appeal to both my wallet and my knowledge. Met some nice people and some oversmart ones in the process.
I remember writing in my previous post that I don't believe the world is either "big" or "bad". Well. life decided to give me a reality check.
And guess what? I stand by what I said earlier.
It's a beautiful, welcoming world out just need to open your eyes and not tread on forbidden land. Hey, that's only fair now, right?
Sure, the job that you want may not fall into your lap right away, but would you appreciate something you didn't work hard for?
I know it sounds like bullshit, but it really isn't. I don't have a job to speak of, so I don't exactly fall into the category of  its-easy-for-them-to-say people.
All I'm saying is you gotta keep the faith. Things will fall into place soon enough, sooner if not later.
I remember my sister once told me that in India, two things that will happen to you regardless of what you are like are 1) a job and 2) a wedding.
May be a bit of an exaggeration but not entirely untrue.
Now the first part made me feel happy. The second part only reminded me that my family expects me to settle down soon enough.
I'm the worst victim of commitment phobia you'll see around.
See, life's great. I wouldn't want to change something I feel I wouldn't be comfortable with.
Sure, love has happened to me. And I have considered possibilities. In all seriousness.
But getting married is not something I can imagine myself doing in the near future.
And that is not entirely a selfish decision you know. My getting married would be almost blasphemous for my would-be-husband (whoever that dear darling man is)!
Maybe that is an excuse I give myself, but my argument remains the same- why must I try and convince myself that I consciously WANT to settle down, when I know that I really don't?
Ah...28! You're a tough one...but I'd hate to see you end. 29 just sounds so much older and closer to (shudder) 30!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Saunter Along

I don't know where I want to go. I don't know how to get there.
All I know is that I get lost when people start giving me directions.
I've been alone. Been loved. Been ignored. Been pampered.
And I am ready now to go face the "big bad world". Because I don't believe it's either big or bad.
At any point of time in life, there will always be a handful of people who will care.
There will always be only a few I'll be in touch with.
I've often been called anti-social, aloof, insensitive and detached.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
If I appear anti-social, it's because I can think of no place worth going to. Crowded places make me feel uncomfortable. Loud music doesn't allow me to hear myself think.
If I seem aloof, it's because you haven't made the effort to come closer.
My insensitivity is only towards the pretense I cannot fathom. I am the irritating girl who's eyes well up whenever the dog in the movie dies.
My detachment is a cover-up for what I consciously will never reveal.

I don't know what I want and where to get it from.
I only know I have to keep trying to find out.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Unauthorized Chaos in Progress

If you must know....
I was a fat child with pigtails and braces on my teeth.
The mirror was never one of my best friends.
I shied away from having my photographs taken.
I was one of the tallest girls in class. When you're in an all-girls school and want to blend in the crowd, that really does not go to your advantage.
I was always made to stand at the end of the line during assembly time in school. The teachers and nuns had some crazy hang-up about making the entire class stand according to their heights, with the shortest ones standing way out in the front.
I was always at the far end. And the girl standing right in front of me would always had this consistent cold or stomach ache. Yes, these are my earliest memories of the school I came to love.
I was too quiet to be popular by a long shot. And I longed for classes to begin so that I would not have to wait for someone to come and talk to me. I found solace in my school books.
You guessed it. I was boring with a capital B.
I don't really have any recollection of naughty pranks I played on classmates or teachers. Because I was not included in any of them.

Things were a little different at home though. But not much.
Being blessed with a quick-witted older sibling who could talk incessantly didn't help matters much.
My parents doted on me, like they still do. I was the little innocent lamb anyone could take for a ride.
Trusting strangers came easily to me. I had a ready smile for anyone on the street who'd care to smile back, the kids and the old alike. Though I have a hunch my metal-enhanced smile really didn't melt hearts.

I was a happy child. Nothing bothered me except the occasional arguements with my sister I now so fondly recollect.
Making friends was never really my forte. Still isn't.

The child I was grew up to be a confident young lady. I think the first lasting friend I really made was after I turned 16.
I grew up to be a careful rebel. I learned how to work my way around things I didn't find favour with.
The first time I openly disagreed with people I always looked up yo is probably the first time I decided to come out of my self-woven shell.

By the time I was 20, I learned to be confident about my looks, my opinions and my idiosyncracies.
And that is when people started to pay attention to me.
Young love greeted me and I welcomed it in.
I never could be in agreement with the idea of "forever".
I realized there was more to the world than what I understood of it.
I started to read more, my hunger to know more led me to music.
There came a time when I wanted to scream out to the world what I thought of it. And so began my tryst with writing.

Of late, I have felt the childhood insecurities come crawling back.
And I don't want to let them in.
I remember how it felt to be inside that shell. It's not a sanctuary, it's a cage you build for yourself.
It's easy to find open windows when someone closes the door.
There are no windows in my shell. Just walls I can't make myself see through and go beyond.

I want to be the happy child again.
I need to go further on the journey of life. With no baggage.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sense the senses

Here I lie, waiting for the accusations to begin.

I don't really know myself. That's weird, right?
I have a hard time convincing people that they don't understand me. Especially the kind who think they can size you up and pass a judgment on the kind of person you are in a day's time.
How can they know me if I don't even know myself?
Some people say I'm too talkative and are then amazed when suddenly in the middle of a conversation I decide to shut up and answer them in mono-syllables.
Others think I'm too quiet and are confused when they happen to meet me in one of those moods when I can carry on an hour long conversation with the neighbourhood stray cat.
Oh and then there are the oh-so-wise ones who'll say matter-of-factly, "You're an ambivert" which sounds more like a word for species that can stay in water or on the land.

Here I lie, waiting for the blame game to start.

It'll kick off soon enough. How I never share what I feel and how they never express what they should. How I should be more tolerant to how they should be more understanding. The list goes on..
It's the same each time.

I'm tired. There's so much more that needs to be resolved. Petty issues are more burdensome than the ones that matter.
I sense the rift I'm creating in my mind.
It feels right.

Illogically Yours

As the battles resume inside my head, I wonder if the fight is worth the reward.
Torn between right and wrong, once again.
But who decides what is right and what is wrong?
If something brings me happiness, is that not right? But if it hurts someone else in the process, isn't that what you'd call wrong?
How do I make that choice? And why must I?
They say, "You can never have all that you want."
But why must that implicate that I stop trying??
Satisfaction, they say, comes at a price.
The catch here is that the price is my peace of mind. But can I be satisfied if I don't have any peace of mind?

Love, they say, conquers all.
But what if that love is elusive, incomprehensible and transient?
Would you still call it Love?
I would. For whatever little time it came into my life, it was well worth it.
But it's time now to move on.
It's time to seperate the illusions from the hopes.

They say I cannot decide alone when it is time to move from one saviour angel to the next. I need to find the one that'll stay be me, they say.
But I decide what I want, when I want.
Selfish, yes.

I have always been logically challenged.
You won't see me winning too many arguements. But I still manage to get my way.
It's time for unwarranted decisions again.
It's time to face the music!