Monday, December 31, 2012

Weverb12 - The final part!! :)

22 December 2012
Recharge [CREATE]: What did you do to recharge your batteries in 2012?
I am waiting to recharge my batteries in 2013. My batteries are on hibernation mode for this last week of this wretched year.

23 December 2012
Communicate [LISTEN]: Describe a conversation that you had this year. Why was it memorable?
Oh boy!! Where do I start? Which conversation do I take? Lots of them. With lots of people. Rethinking priorities. Reshuffling wants and needs. There are lots of conversations that are very very memorable to m and just from this last year. I will choose one at random here.
The one from August 2012 where I caught up with one of my oldest buddies Vaishnavi. :) We have been the best of buddies since 1996-’97 and there have been phases where we have drifted apart and not been in touch for months together. But all it takes is one phone call to get us back in sync.
You know it’s a friendship for life when you can just start off from where you left it, as easy as pie, with no formalities and awkwardness of the months and days you have not been in touch. I really really enjoyed that 4 hour conversation. Myriad of topics, Gossip, Catching up – Priceless! :)

24 December 2012:
Delight [HOPE]: How can you bring more joy into your life in 2013?
By living life on my terms. And this time only on my TERMS.

25 December 2012:
Give [CREATE]: What was the best gift you gave someone this year?

26 December 2012
Chronicle [LIVE]: Did you have a perfect day this year? Describe it. Would you have changed anything about it?
Nope. No perfect days. Hopefully 2013 will be filled with a few perfect days! :)

27 December 2012
Sacrifice [GROW]: What did you, as an individual, let go of to further the greater good this year?
I learnt to keep my mouth shut at a few points. It may or may not have been necessary then, but in the larger picture it sure didn’t matter, or rather it turned out to be the right decision keeping my mouth shut. And that is something I am still proud of!

28 December 2012
Empower [HOPE]: What made you feel powerful in 2012?
Honestly, My Parents and Brother. With them by my side, I felt / feel I can take on anything and still come out of it a winner!

29 December 2012
Connect [LIVE]: With whom did you make the most worthwhile connections in 2012?
Some friends for life!! You know who you are, if you are reading this blog!! :)

30 December 2012
Capture [LISTEN]: Post a picture taken of you or by you this year when you were happy.
Here you go!! This is a very recent pic, taken by Prema at Marina Bay Sands, in Singapore. I love this pic! It brings out a playful nature which is not all that evident most of the time! :)

31 December 2012
Aspire [GROW]: What is your biggest aspiration for 2013?
To live life QUEEN SIZE …. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Boundary Issues!! - A Guest Post from Glad2bawoman!!

Do you think I am talking about cricket? No I am not.

“My girlfriend has boundary issues man – I don’t think this is going to work.” The voice came over the telephone – cell phone, if you will. It was a winter morning, and I was curled up in a blanket, a cat on my toes and a great book in hand. However, duty bound by the tenuous bonds of friendship, I was being forced to listen to the travails of one of my friends. What was the problem? Boundary issues- as I said.

What exactly, were these boundaries that she was crossing, I ventured to ask.

Now this couple live with each other – a recent decision, they had moved into a small flat, much to the consternation of their parents – but that is a different story all together. “She takes my towel man!” (Why does he call me man?)

“She insists on wearing my tee-shirts, eats the eggs I have bought without replacing them and uses my towel. She insists on using my tawa. She shares my cigarettes. Not only that she insists on coming with me when I go out and wants to be updated about everything in my life!”

All this was said with an indignant howl. I sighed, my book was beckoning to me and my cat shifted on my toes. “But you guys live together, it’s obvious that the stuff that’s around will be used by both of you,” I said – trying to get him off my back.

“Don’t you understand – she doesn’t know where to draw lines, she must understand that a man has to have his own life. I don’t like my things being used.”

Upon hearing a disinterested “hmm” from my end he felt peeved and hung up. I gladly went back to my book and a second cat nudged its way onto my knees. But before being thoroughly immersed in the pages of another person’s life, I couldn’t help but think – boundary issues seemed to be, at least in my friend’s case – a way to hide the fact that he was in fact, a mean person who had not learnt to share.

Is your girlfriend taking your cigarette out of your mouth? Is she demanding you take your shirt off and give it to her? Does she bump off whatever is on your tawa and start cooking her own food? Isn’t she cooking for both of you on that tawa? Why should she sit at home while you go gallivanting? I wanted to ask my friend these questions, it was a different reason that I wanted to avoid another hour of vacuous talk. This would eventually end with the guy’s ego getting the better of him, leaving me frustrated about why I even try to explain something logically.

We, as a society don’t like sharing – we fear it encroaches into our private spaces. Letting someone share is a way of bonding with that person and bonds are extremely fragile nowadays, especially those to do with relationships. Whatever happened to agreeing that sharing is caring? What will happen to us in a world where a boyfriend dislikes his girlfriend sharing a cigarette? It’s all too bleak I tell you – let me go back to my book.

Guest post from Glad2bawoman is an online media company with over 73,000 members. For women and about women, the articles published on the site encompass a variety of topics such as Health, Relationships, Fashion and Empowerment.

Weverb12 - Part III (10 days in a row!)

12 December 2012
Toss [GROW]: 2012 was the last time for ________________
For a lot of things. For feeling sorry about myself. For feeling like a failure. For feeling guilty that I did not listen to my gut for a long time. For feeling pissed off at things that I cannot control. For being morose, moody and dispassionate about things that I used to feel passionate about.

13 December 2012
Associate [LISTEN]: What blog/book/article spoke to you the most in 2012?
This might seem very trivial when you read it.
I came across IHM’sblog sometime early this year. I don’t follow a lot of articles on her blog simply for lack of interest. However I found a link to this blog on hers. I liked the style of writing. I enjoyed reading that because it was very similar to how I would think. I found out that the blog belonged to her daughter – Tejaswee. And I came across a very very sweet pic of hers. One where the photographer had caught the sun glinting off her eyes and she had this crinkly smile with a twinkle in her eyes. And then I found out she was no more. She had succumbed to dengue sometime back. I don’t know why that shook me. It was hard to believe that the girl in the picture was no more. That she was now only alive in memories.
No clichés here but I know that we would have / could have been good friends. I knew we would have gotten along well. It was numbing to think that she was no more. And I did not even know this girl. I mean I came across her blog randomly blog hopping one bored day in office.
It taught me two things.
One - Not to trivialize life. From what I read, she was this livewire who loved to live. And to the fullest. Anything else was a compromise.
Two – Everything is temporary. Even this life that we live. Especially this. Don’t take it too seriously. But make the most of the experiences it hands you.

14 December 2012
Walk [LIVE]: Describe the path to a favorite place of yours to walk in 2012. What’s meaningful about the place or the journey?
I love temples. It’s a known fact. I love the old structures, the legends associated with it, the tiny stories that only people who have grown along with the temple would know. It’s also a known fact that I am a big fan of Lord Shiva. Anything that is associated with Shiva and you have my interest right there! There’s something about this God that fascinates me to no end!!
One of the temples that we visited is the Panchanadeeswara temple in Thiruvaiyaru. That visit is something that will always stay with me.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva and Ambal, it’s a massive structure filled with Shiva Lingas.
We had the privilege of this one young man, who helped us around the temple and explained each and every small legend / significance of particular things. There are tiny spots / holes in the walls that produce echos when we shout into it. there’s also this tiny crevice which when you shout into is supposed to relieve you of all the fears and diseases (sarva roga nivarini).
I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed that visit. It was one of my most memorable experiences.

15 December 2012
Quote [GROW]: What inspirational quote would you associate with this past year for you?
I discovered Murakami just recently.
Here’s one quote of his that speaks volumes to me!! Especially for the year 2012.
          “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” - Haruki Murakami

16 December 2012 
Replicate [CREATE]: What were you inspired to create/make this year based on something else? (i.e. a pin from pinterest, recipe from a friend, etc.)
This one’s a blank. Nothing at all. Nothing that I was inspired to do. 

17 December 2012
Thank [HOPE]: Write that thank you note that you’ve been meaning to send this year… or would like to send next year…
This year, all my thanks go to my folks – Dad, Mom & Achu. For their unwavering support and unflinching understanding of the situations that I have thrown them in. All through this, they only had to say – “Its your life. You decide what you think is best for you.” And for continuing to be the pillars of strength in my life.
Without them, this year would have sucked even more than it did.
For all the love, affection, support & understanding they have shown me – Thank You Amma, Appa and Achu.
I would be nothing without you guys.
Love you!

18 December 2012
Soak [LISTEN]: What have you soaked in this year? (Baths, sun, ideas?) How did it affect your mentality?
Lots of quotes. Lots of wordings. Lots of snatches of short-lived fun! But most of all, something I am truly thankful for and something that I have treasured this year…
F.R.I.E.N.D.S.H.I.P. – Something that I am truly grateful for this year. For keeping me sane. For keeping me grounded. And for telling me what it is like. Old friends & New friends – you all know if I am talking about you. I have never really appreciated the friendship that we share. I have taken it for granted a zillion times and yet you guys have come through and still stood by me. And I love you all to death for it. I have been one of the lousiest, grumpiest friends you can ever meet this year and I am sorry for all the trouble that I have given you. The random tears, the midnight calls and the long conferences. They have all helped me and you don’t know how much. I have treasured each and every moment and soaked in this wonderful friendship that I share with you all. Love you all loads.

19 December 2012
Exercise [LIVE]: How did you live actively in 2012? What will you change in 2013?
Did absolutely nothing active in 2012 except if you count in a little bit of badminton … not even regularly that too and not very good either. I am hoping to make 2013 a slightly better year in terms of exercise in terms of dancing, badminton and swimming! Fingers crossed! :)

20 December 2012
Reminisce [GROW]: What distant memory/time did you find yourself longing for in 2012?
Heading back home to the comforts of mom and dad.
Longing to be a child again and wondering why we ever had to grow up.

21 December 2012
Read [LIVE]: Did you read a book this year that left you craving more when it was over?
I read a couple of good books over this year. One was Devdutt Patnaik’s – Jaya, A retelling of The Mahabharata. Another was Steig Larsson’s – The Millennium Trilogy. Both books I thoroughly enjoyed. Hard to put them down. Oh! And also, Amish’s Shiva Trilogy. This was one series that left me craving for the last part for the better half of this year. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I am a GIRL.. and I am tired of fighting!!!

There’s a guy walking towards me.
Do I look straight and walk? Do I look down and walk? Is my dress too tight? Is my dress too loose? Am I revealing too much? Am I covered enough? If I look up at him and walk, will he take that to be an advance? Is my facial expression impassive enough? How does he see me as? What does he see me as?

There’s a guy in the train who is standing next to me.
Do I look at him? Do I look elsewhere and conspicuously not look at him? Am I standing properly? Am I sitting properly? Is there enough distance between us as demanded by “society”?

There’s a guy I just got introduced to.  
If I am friendly, will he think I am interested in him? If I am aloof will he think I am spurning him? Is he okay with my opinion on the topic that we are discussing? Is that a sore point if I don’t agree with him? If I do agree with him, will he think I am easy? If I am liberal with my opinions does that make him look at me as open-minded about everything? If I am too reserved with my opinions does that make me a pushover? If I hang out with a lot of guys, does that make me a slut? If I hang out with a lot of girls, does that make me homely? If I use a lot of swear words, is that too much against his “image-of-a-well-bred-woman”? Will these anger him? Will he react adversely?

There’s a crowded place.
Things to keep in mind – Keep hands folded across my front. Cover all possible skin that shows. Hold firmly to the male family member accompanying me. Don’t look up at anyone. Keep the gaze lowered. Don’t smile. Keep expression deadpan. 

I am 28 years old. I have been this way ever since I turned 13.

Outwardly I may be confident, uber-smart and even fearless.

Inside I am sceptical, confused and scared thinking any one of my actions may go against me anytime for no fault of mine except for the biggest one.

I am a GIRL.

And you say we ask for equality?!!?!?!

I pooh-pooh my mom every time she asks me to be careful and inform her where I am every single time I am out, with whom I am with and how many of us are there. This, when I am living in a country where it is deemed safe for anyone to be out at any time of the day or night!!

To be fair, I see where her fear stems from.  After all she is still living in a country where if even if you are fully covered all the time, you are still at threat of being abused. In fact anything you say or do or wear can be used against you, anytime, anywhere, for it may well be a signal for someone to advance. Irrespective of anything.

Because I am a GIRL.

And I am tired of fighting.

I am tired of fighting against groping hands, hot breath down my neck, slimy fingers, brushing of the elbow, pushing against the crowd, random pinches, dashes against my breasts, provocative stares, lewd comments and rough force.

And no this is not just about me. This is about every single one of my sex.

Treat us with a little respect. Treat us with a little dignity. Treat us as humans.

That’s all we ask!

“Woman was taken out of man; not out of his head to top him, nor out of his feet to be trampled underfoot; but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved” – Author Unknown!!

And with all due sarcasm, a great job is being done of it!!! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Weverb12 - Part II

Continuing on the weverb prompts… 

Here’s the next 5.

06 December 2012
Cook [LIVE]: What was your best recipe/dish of the year? Share it!
If I had to choose a dish that I could never go wrong with, it’s got to be Arabbiatta Penne pasta.
Boil a packet of Penne pasta in water with a bit of salt and some oil so that the pasta does not stick together. Drain it well and keep it aside. Chop some onions, mince some garlic, sauté them in oil for a bit until it roses the raw flavor, pour in the tomato puree, add some chili powder and some salt and mix it all up well. Add the pasta when it starts boiling and mix it up well without breaking the pasta. Top it up with some mozzarella cheese and serve it hot. YUM!!!

07 December 2012
ENLIVEN [GROW]: Was there a book or article that inspired you to make a change in your life this year? What was the source and what did you change?
Honestly, I know it is going to sound like a cliché, but I am not the type of person to be influenced by what I read or hear. I’d rather see it or experience it first hand for me to change! And that’s saying a lot! I am a voracious reader and I devour trivia and information. And I love quotes. There are a few that have affected me in a very personal way and I share some of them here with you.
Ø  You can’t live your life for other people. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if it hurts some people you love. — Nicholas Sparks; The Notebook
Ø  Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way. — Charles Bukowski
Ø  I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass!! - Maya Angelou
Ø  I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. — Maya Angelou

08 December 2012
Respond [LISTEN]: Do you actively listen to your inner voice/conscience? Describe a time this year you heard and responded to it.
Oh boy! :-) You know that saying… always listen to your gut feeling. It can never go wrong. Well, I finally made it a point to listen to it and took a hard decision. Hard I say because it affects everyone around me as well. But then, I know in my heart that this is right decision that I have taken and therefore even if I was pushed initially into taking this, I have realized that its actually for the good and therefore I am going to stick on to it and see it through.
Yes I know that it sucks that I am talking in riddles. But I can’t be more explicit. Maybe someday somewhere!

09 December 2012
Triumph [CREATE]: How were you challenged by a project or goal this year? What did you learn from it?
You know, I have a multitude of reasons to hate this year like I have made it clear about a 1000 times.
But there are also a few moments in this year that I love.
Like my first ever project going live. I am not a project manager. I do not know the basics of project management. Project management has nothing to do with what I have studied so far in my life. Yet, I don’t know what made me take on a full-fledged project early last year. One that saw me grow as a project manager all through escalations and complaints and sweat and tears. But one that also saw me learn the intricacies of handling people, deadlines and temperaments. One that made me believe that I can do this job and if I try a little hard, do it well. And it was well worth it. Much more than the award and accolades, it was the fact that I had to prove to myself that I could and I did.

10 December 2012
Lose [HOPE]: Did you have to say goodbye to a person, or even a cherished object, this year? Take a moment to celebrate the memory.
Yup. I did have to say goodbye to something. And yes! I am again going to talk in clichés. But I can’t help it like I said earlier.
It’s been a tough year and every single time I look back, I don’t know how I have gotten this far. As for celebrating the memory – well that’s going to be BITTERSWEET! :)

11 December 2012
Spend/Save [LIVE]: Are you richer or poorer this year, compared to last year?
Definitely richer.
In all aspects.
And not just in material things.

Until the next few prompts... here's me signing off... :-) 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Weverb12 - Reflect & Renew!!!

It’s time for a new beginning…!! :-) :-)

Yes the fact that it’s December has me up in high spirits… nothing to do with the holiday season really... More to do with the year ending which I have been going on and on and on to all and sundry and most of them are as sick of the year as much as I keep drilling it into them!!! And I noticed that I have been ranting quite a bit about it, thankfully before someone else pointed it out… and so, here’s to the end of the rant and the beginning of the reflections.

There’s this new thing going around the blogosphere – Weverb12 – which is basically a prompt for each day of December making you reflect on the year that’s passed by… or so I think!! I don’t know... Either ways it’s a prompt and it makes people shake that bloggers block (especially me!) and then go and make sure their blog’s alive and kicking!! And in a good way! Not in a ranting and raving sort of way!!

I missed the first 4 days so I am putting it all up here. Also I don’t know whether I am going to be interpreting the prompts the way they want me to… In any case… here goes...

Warning: This is going to be a long long post!!!

01 December 2012
Compose [CREATE]: Write a haiku for 2012 (bonus: write one for 2013)
I have absolutely no idea on how to write a haiku … but this is what 2012 is to me…

The shadows under the eyes, the pain behind the façade, the smile on the lips that never quite reaches the eyes, the look on the face that’s clouded in despair…
To say or not, to be or not … this, that, push, pull, live, exist… hard hitting choices!!!

No! I am not going to write anything for 2013 right now and jinx it…  so… 2013 will have to wait!! :-)

02 December 2012
Watch [LIVE]: What movie did you see this year that you would recommend to a friend?
Lots of movies. Good number of good movies in English, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi. (Yup! Those are the languages that I speak!).

03 December 2012
Stay [LISTEN]: How did you stay in the moment this year?
That’s a wrong question. I did not want to stay in any moment in this year. I hate this year! If I have not made it clear already. But if I had to choose a moment, it would be with the folks, back at home in the middle of the year. I did not want to leave them for a lot of reasons. That kind of warmth can never ever ever be matched.

04 December 2012
Experiment [GROW]: What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before? Will you do it again?
Oh boy! I did a lot of things in 2012 that I hope never ever to repeat again in my life. There have been highs and lows. I want more of those HIGHS and none at all of those LOWS. And there have been these MOMENTS where you think “this is it”… I am never going to get through this but then ultimately you do. Sometimes I still wonder if this is all a dream and if I did do all this in this one year… but hey! Apparently I did! And I have survived it so far!! So what did I do??  Not for this forum that is! :-) Email me, I shall let you know! ;-)

05 December 2012
Fellowship [HOPE]: What community has engaged you most this year and what did it you get out of your participation?
I haven’t done much in terms of fellowship or community or much of any group thing this year. I have been a lousy friend and a grouchy person most of this year. But if I had to say what kept me going throughout this year, what gave me the HOPE to keep going, it has to be Family and a handful of Close Friends. I am thankful to them both just simply for the fact that they stood by me and believed in my decisions. They are my pillars. And I love them to bits.

So that’s done for the first 5 days. :-) 

PS: This is one of the posts that I really enjoyed writing!!!

2012 - Enough already!!!

“2012 !!! Seriously enough already !!! You have been pretty lousy so far and its only getting worse !! Kindly get the hell outta here !!!!”

This was my FB status a while back!!

And I mean it!!

I also noticed that it’s not just me who feels this way considering the response to the same :-P

2012 has been one of the lousiest years I have ever seen. If I ever wanted to make a list saying “top lousiest years in my life” 2012 would be top of that list … Seriously!

I am sick of this year. I am sick of counting the weeks, days, hours left to get this damn year out of my life!!! And it would precisely be the icing on the cake if this was the year the world was doomed to end!

Think of it!

2012 – Out with a bang! Poof! And the World ENDS!!!!

I wouldn’t put it past this year to do just that! Honestly!

Oh yeah! You might ask me…. have there only been bad moments and not one single good one that you can think of... Well… I say, when the bad and the frustrating moments outweigh the good ones by a large margin, the year is nothing but a WRETCHED YEAR!!!

Yes! There have been some great times, some good moments, some not-so-good ones, some downright nasty ones and some where I just wanted to run away and start afresh!!

I have gone through every single emotion that a person can lay his hands upon in this one year. Right from the euphoric highs to the despair-stricken lows!! I have seen it all!! And I am tired of it!! And the year is not even over dammit!!

But hope prevails!! We are getting there!!

Honestly… 2012… Just get going please!! Get out of my life!!!

I don’t want you anymore. I loathe you. Literally figuratively and however else you want to see it!!!

Just Get The Goddamn Hell Out!!!

Grahanam - A review!

It has been quite some time since I penned something on this blog, and even longer, since I wrote a movie review. But there is no good time ...