Tag Archives: Wisdom

Evolution Isn’t A Race

Things I Learnt In 2007 (That Are Still True)

Things that are just never ‘right’

  • Office chairs
  • Filing systems
  • Tea made in most canteens, restaurants, dispensers
  • Bras

Things that shouldn’t but do enough work well enough

  • Men (the desi type not the ultra-smooth yurrrgh type) who sell women’s lingerie but don’t know how to pronounce the names
  • Hard mattresses or the bare ground when your back is killing you
  • An 80s hit disco number in the late afternoon and the ‘slow sappy’ playlist at 11:00 a.m.
  • Walking around for 4 minutes (no more, no less) in weather you’d normally consider unpleasant – hot & sweaty, drizzly-muggy or pouring rain.
  • Drinking hot water when you’ve bitten into a chilli and your tongue is on fire.

Things that are sure-fire bad ideas because…trust me, I’ve tried them!

  • Laughing too much before singing. It clogs your throat.
  • Listening to too much Jagjit Singh/ Micheal Bolton
  • Reading books by the same author back to back.
  • Too much time with a new boyfriend: Please note that this is defined as any of the following: Meeting/ phonetime for more than two hours, email/blog comments/SMS/chat messages that cumulatively take up more than an hour, thinking about/discussing with friends/blogging about more than once a day.
  • Publishing a post and then attempting to delete it (people who subscribe to your feed still see it!!!)

Ballsy

Ballsiness is a minute-to-minute discipline.

1% is taking a stand.
4% is risking being wrong.
95% is being willing to face disapproval.

Extremist

The only way to be generous when you care,

is to be ruthless when you don’t.

* From the idea-archives

Ideamarked Jan2011: Astrology, Fiction, Photography, Music, Technology, Poetry, Social Rules & Life Lessons

The first month of 2011 has whooshed by slipperier than the icy roads we Mumbaikers nearly came to expect with a rare winter! I’ve been poking around into a lot of corners and old places, nostalgia washing over me with this old blog URL and template. After the daily post pressure of Reverb10 and a demanding December calender let up, January has been packed in a different way. I’ve been enjoying it and hope that it’s an indication of things to come in the rest of the year. Here’s a mixed bag of goodies to cheer you along at end of the first month:

  • Ugly Christmas sweaters by sun sign! (via Astrology.com)
  • Extra short stories for 2011 (via Sakshi)
  • A secret can be a burden. And someone who shares your burden has to be a real guardian angel. Like the one this postcard is about. (via PostSecret)
  • 1000 Life Lessons or How to stay alive forever (1000 secrets)
  • Doocing may loom high even on our sheltered desi selves as we all get connected. Here’s five ways to tread with caution on Twitter and Facebook (via EconomicTimes, tipped off by Gautam Ghosh, who is quoted in the story)
  • Mumbai through the eyes of my favorite Bangalore photo-blogger. No mains and crosses in Claustraphobicity, I’m afraid! (Mumbai Paused)
  • In marketers’ hell! Swoosh Eyebrows (via FoundShit)
  • An old favorite of mine and mamma to twin boys, this time she gets a sharp lesson in watching her words in front of the kids! (via Mamma of Twins)
  • A History of Nudism – short story at Daily Fiction‘s new blog.
  • So bad, it’s good. Move over French maid fantasy, Mmmbai is here! Aye Hiphopper by Ishq Bector (via Youtube)
  • Memorable moments and traditions from wedding ceremonies across countries, religions and social systems. (via Matador Network)
  • How technology/ mobile connectivity is helping Indian education (via EducationTimes, tipped off by Moksh Juneja, who is quoted in the story)
  • Social Rules To Not Making Empty Promises and To Mean What You Say – I can think of a helluva lot of people who need to know this and not one of them is shy! (link courtesy Arcopol Chaudhuri)
  • Echoes fade and memories die, Autumn frosts have slain July“….gives me goosebumps. (Lewis Carrol at OldPoetry)

Reverb 10.10: Waiting For Wisdom

Another somewhat uninspiring Reverb 10 prompt but that may just be because I write so much about this already in my blog. So here goes:

December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom

What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

(Author: Susannah Conway)

This has been a year (and a little more) of reflections and insights. I had a windfall of wisdom due to me, after the decade I spent chasing all manner of unwise things. I don’t know if I’ve collected all but I’m still making sense of much of them. Wisdom seems to me like the juice of ripe fruits. The orchard spans acres and acres and I haven’t even finished on the first tree. The feasting has begun but there’s much wisdom juice to still be sucked out. Let me just instead, list some of the wisdom-rich experiences of the past year.

I’m not counting the experience of turning thirty and quitting my job and starting my book. Yes, all of that is slightly stereotyped early mid-life crisis like, isn’t it? Those experiences are already being chronicled in The Thirty Diaries.

Last year, I participated in an online study that examined the trend of people quitting their regular jobs to pursue other lines for various reasons. My participation required me to write an essay type answer each day, to various soul-searching, thought-provoking questions that the group posed to me. The questions explored my notions of success and motivation as also my life lessons and my future plans. What I discovered for myself, was that I had spent a decade and more aspiring to (and with reasonable success, living up to) a common perception of success, as it was held by my family and friends. The big change in my life at thirty was less about quitting one track and more about deciding to figure out success for myself – what it is, how to measure it and how to get going on it.

The novel was begun last year but that was more of a task. It really became a soul exercise only this year when it hit me that fiction or otherwise, this was something I was creating from myself. The emotions, the ideologies, the characters and their stories, these were all things I shaped from the raw material of my own life experiences. While my novel is not autobiographical and none of my characters are based on me, their world and them is built from the clay and bricks of my own dreams and feelings and relationships. Writing about them is quite literally like building. For that, I have to go into the storehouse of my own emotion every single time. And what I find there, is not always to my expectation, let alone liking. There are wells over wells of forgotten feelings and repressed emotions that emerge with every soul-digging enterprise. When I write about a fifteen-year-old’s struggle to fit, it irrevocably takes me back to my own awkward adolescence and forces me to face what I thought and felt and believed, back then. The mind is storehouse of every single thing you’ve said and done and felt and in so many ways, you are better off not going there. Writing is signing away the safety valve of forgetfulness that life gives us. My madness is let loose. And yet, I wouldn’t stop it, if I could. Maybe there will be some wisdom in this unabashed tidal wave.

And finally there is the relationship. I’ve been writing about dating and the opposite sex and relationships for a long time now. But actually living it is a whole new experience. What’s more, the last time I was in a real relationship, I was a different person. The very act of being with someone is stepping over into a different world and being a different person. You are never quite the same again, even after the relationship ends. Building something with another person, just adjusting to another person’s world is causing the foundations of my own careful, precise, cleanly-ordered world to crack and crumble. It’s not comfortable, in the least. But this time, I can feel me growing, quite literally. Wisdom, I await you with humble arms, wide open.

Maturity Is An Age Thing

On one hand, it seems like adulthood is getting younger. Six-year-olds are taking computer lessons, twelve-year-olds own mobilephones and seventeen-year-olds are entrepreneurs. On the other hand, it feels like maturity is an endangered species. Oh sure, there’s the whole ‘maturity has nothing to do with age’ argument. I’ve used it myself. But I’m coming to change my mind.

Specifically, in the area of the internet, since this is where the age limits are vanishing the fastest, this is visible. Programming, web design and social media are all populated by younger and younger people who match or even surpass older peo ple in skillset. However, the deeper ramifications of each action appear to be lost on them. Indeed, several such things are shrugged off as ‘old-fashioned behaviour’.

What’s worrisome is that the controls of things with far-reaching consequences are in the hands of several people who may not even consider the ramifications of their actions. The MMS scandals are one alarming fallout of powerful technology in the hands of those who are not yet ready to take responsibility for their actions. And yet, look at the damaging consequences of a mistake.

Three times in the recent past, my privacy has been invaded. Recently, I’ve had another two encounters. In the first case, I went out with a bunch of people, friends and their friends. One of them later went out and said something about my ‘hot date’, referring to a friend who had travelled with me. By the time this news got back to me, it had become my ‘happening love life’. Haven’t kids today heard of the saying, ‘Loose lips sink ships‘?

The second relates to an interview for a media piece. A friend gave out my personal details to someone who in turn, circulated it to someone else. The first I heard of it, was when I received an email from a total stranger who said he knew ‘a friend of a friend’, had my phone number but had been asked to ‘appease’ me before calling.

When I protest in such situations, the responses are predictable. Occasionally someone is apologetic and the common refrain is,

I didn’t realise you would mind!

Really? Is that not obvious? A phone number is personal. So is an email address unless it is freely available on the person’s online profile (blog, Facebook, Twitter etc). If it’s personal, it’s for a reason. If you have it, don’t share it without asking. What happened to the smartness of kids?

And this is the good news, that a few people are at least contrite. The larger majority takes offense (!) and tosses it back with a,

You’re the one who’s making a big deal out of it, loser.

Of course that’s just arrogance. And arrogance and thoughtlessness both indicate a lack of maturity.

I know I’ve showed both of these traits (and perhaps I still do). I’ve learnt from lessons by older people and
by making mistakes and being pulled up. My motivations and references have changed over time. I’ve figured out the battles I want to fight and also where it’s okay to lay down my arms. I react differently to things, I think before doing certain things. My attitude and hence I, have evolved. This is my maturing (still in progress) and it happens over time. It cannot be rushed or shrunk back.

You can put a kid on the fast track but you can’t make him an adult before his time. Unfortunately, considering that the world is getting younger, we’re now in the unenviable position of passengers in a powerful vehicle being driven by an underage driver. We’re hurtling into the future along with them. It’s anyone’s guess where we’ll all end up.

The Whole Tooth & Nothing But The Tooth

I had a wisdom tooth extraction earlier this week. Don’t haha (or heehaw) at me, you merciless thugs! Everyone I’ve been talking about this, before the appointment, has insisted on regaling me with their own horror stories.

My cheeks swelled up like a chipmunk’s and then someone came and pinched my cheeks affectionately! – @shaaqT (Facebook friends, there’s even a photo illustrating this moment at twestival; check out her demonstration and my horrified expression!)

I couldn’t feel one side of my face for a month! – nameless person at twestival

My tooth was embedded in a bone so the dentist has to drill it out! – @melodylaila (which comment lost me my appetite and I had to look away from the delicious tray I had amassed at Candies)

Mine cracked and left behind half inside the gum that had to be root-canaled out! – Don’t even remember who (the ghastly ghost!)

Can you tell that I have really gleefully horrible friends?! But as Baz Luhrman (playing in the background) says, advice is a form of nostalgia. I will dispense with my own now.

The extraction itself was relatively simple in my case. That’s not compared to the horrendous accounts of my friends, that is harking back to my childhood of frequent earaches (my ENT specialist really should have given us a ‘Preferred Patient’ embossed card) and other pains in the vicinity of the crunchers. I’ve had cavities, numerous extraction and the cherry on the cake – braces!

Sometime remind me to tell you about the horrors of being an orthodontist’s patient. Orthodontists are like dentists, only worse, a hundred, twenty-thousand times worse!! Mine had a sense of humour as well, which is really the worst thing for a person to have, especially when he has both his hands inside your mouth and is leering over your scared face because you can’t laugh at his jokes. What’s more, you’re afraid he’ll be offended if you don’t laugh and he might give you an inadvertent nip with his evil-looking pliers…on the wrong tooth!

And then there is the orthodontist’s office, strewn as it is with foul-looking casts of other people’s teeth structures, sculpted in green plaster of paris. It boggles the mind, how he manages to identify which one is yours and fish it out from amidst that dental array. Never mind the horrors of mouth-roof-plates (to ensure that the teeth did not go back to being Bugs Bunny-like on removal of braces) and the *shudder shudder* torture of rubber bands (hooked on to lower-back teeth braces, brought forward to string onto top-front teeth). Imagine the agony of one of those rubber bands snapping right inside your damn mouth!!

Suffice to say I have gruesome stories of my own regarding tooth-doctors and their ilk. Which is why I say I survived this extraction reasonably well. Except I started burning up with a fever almost the instant I stopped taking painkillers and antibiotics. Hmph, I never thought I’d have to sing “You give me fever” to a piece of calcium my own body created!!!

Anyway, I’m going to be brave soldier with stiff upper lip and all (not that I have much of a choice, all local-anaesthetic things considered…). It tickles me to think of having a wisdom tooth extraction coincide with my hitting 30 and all the resolutions that have followed. I was a mature adult at 16, an ambitious go-getter by 21, I never did the silly-young-thing thing. I feel like my body is also accepting and giving me the full g0-ahead. Now that I’ve lost my wisdom, I can get down to the business of being all silly and giddy-headed with gusto!!

Oh and by the way I have another appointment next week to extract the other tooth. I’m still vaguely confused over whether we have two or four wisdom teeth. I read an article online that said that excessive calcium could create even more wisdom teeth, the highest record being someone with 12 wisdom teeth!!! Gaaaaah, all the more reason to be silly, giddy-headed and errm…..avoid milk like the plague!

A happy couple

This was written a long time back. I’m recycling it since I don’t think any of the people who read my blog now knew me then. And because I like this piece. 😀

29 October 2004

8 a.m. on a weekday morning. Mumbai’s crankiest best. Sweepers shuffling dust into the air with a vengeance, cars spelling out “Eat my dust” in their fumes, people shuffling to work. I stood at the bus-stop frowning into thin air, waiting for a bus that was always late on days of important appointments.

A little boy and his grandmother walked past me. The boy in a pair of faded trousers and shirt hanging out in a state of shabbiness only little boys can perfect. The grandmother was little, white-haired, bespectabled and slightly bent in that endearing ‘grandmommy’ way. Both were holding hands tightly. For a moment I wondered, who was escorting who?

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