Thursday, August 23, 2007

what if she

could lie easily.

could die happy.

could love him once, truly.

could dream again.

could live a little.

what if he...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

satyameva jayate?

Niladri’s post opened up an ideological debate. I haven't seen the movie therefore I have nothing to comment on it yet.

However, I agree with him largely on the ill gotten and completely corny PR machine of the ‘mahatma’. Agreed he was human and he is allowed a mistake like all of us, but when that comes at the cost of life and livelihood of millions, I cannot absolve him of murder most foul.

My family belongs to the Noakhali’s Korpara Ray Choudhurys. An educated landed gentry who were members of the Indian National Congress and most importantly followers of Gandhiji’s beliefs. A family that foolishly hung on to their ‘bhitey’ in East Pakistan believing whatever that Gandhi said. A family whose men folk numbering sixteen including male children were beheaded in front of their women in their own country mansion, (where they had gathered to celebrate the durga pujo) which the ‘attackers’ had laid siege for over 72 hours before they burned the house and gained entry. The women were brutally raped and children thrown in the blazing fire. A few unmarried girls were abducted, of whose where about we do not know till date. Someone from the family met a lady a decade back who looked like one of those abducted girls but who now wears a burkha and refused to reveal her connection to this family out of guilt and shame of her fate.

My grandmother, who was a young girl at that time, and the rest of the remaining women and children escaped with the help of some of the muslim villagers who gave them food, burkhas to cover themselves and protection till they reached the border on foot and boat. According to the villagers the house burnt for three days after the mayhem.

The irony?

According to my grandmother, the ‘attackers’ were all West Pakistanis. They were Pathans on horses and spoke no Bangla. The local muslim farmers had warned about their infiltrations and the threat of attack and same was informed to the then Congress leaders who in Gandhi’s behest asked the Ray Choudhurys and others to stay put and set an example for the scared fleeing mass.

The result?

A generation of widowed women and children who migrated to Kolkata with just the clothes on their backs and no money. Whatever little jewelry the women carried with them were used to house the children at various distant relatives and well wish wishers custody. A few suffered from dementia and most died tragically young.

Freedom is relative. But at what cost?

random resemblance or is this a pattern?

both my previous and current business cards have the colours red black and white.

both my previous and current organizations were funded by the same venture fund.

both my ex and current bosses are women and their names start with 'S'!

Yes, I am truly useless!

Disjointed deliberation and a dim-wit

Useless thought of the week:
Was thinking how similar triggers evoke different images at different times of association. Like, the colours red and yellow together had the strongest association with East Bengal (a football club with fanatical following) back in my Kolkata days. As a kid, I even had a football jersey set completed with the red and yellow shirt, black shorts and a pair of red with yellow strips knee-length socks (sucker for soccer eh?) Now, it conjures up images of namma karnataka, since they are the colours of the Karnataka state flag. (Before this, we never knew that ‘state flags’ existed!)
MOS: How can one be this jobless?
Useless stunt of the week:
Saturday’s team meeting got me so excited that, disregarding my age (groan!) I refused the elevator and raced down the stairs, ending up with a twisted ankle in front of the supercilious crowd of my new office building. To add insult to the injury was forced to hobble to the parked car with an ill hidden grimace on the face.
MOS: Accept at the earliest that self is both physically and mentally challenged.
Useless observation of the week:
Ms. Cloned-Hilton from marketing was missing on Friday, which allowed the men the much needed pause to notice lesser mortals like yours truly. Disbelievingly, some of the men can actually talk about things beyond the earlier mentioned Ms. Hilton’s preference for decaf! On normal days, their conversations provide me with sinister private amusement of a decadent kind, which by the way is my specialty. Minus Ms. Cloned-Hilton, everyone seems to be capable of having moderately intelligent conversations.
MOS: Can’t think of any!
Useless achievement of the week:
Despite my week-long presence here, it was only today that I earned enough of the boss-bashers’ trust for them to do their stuff in my presence. I must look real insipid and therefore harmless.
MOS: Lord help us cause we know not what we do!
Useless Assumption of the week:
If that wasn’t enough, this Friday I turned up in jeans only to find out that casual wear is reserved for Saturday.
MOS: Always Ask Never Assume!

Monday, August 20, 2007

surprised?

Monday, August 13, 2007

what's brewing?

A hot cuppa anyone?!

Oh well. Never mind me. My first day at work was a breeze.

High points:

Coffee is amazing! (what was I thinking?)

Today’s induction session was fun and these guys have got their act together. No waiting. No technical glitches.

No failures of any kind.

Had a productive long conversation with bosswoman.

Enthusiastic team!

Got invited for a surprise dinner at boss’s place since it’s her birthday.

Not so high points:

Met so many people that I guess I would need a month to match the faces with names.

The women are all SKINNY!! :(

Saturday, August 11, 2007

arrivederci il mio amico!

“It’s not goodbye…just a change in your email ID” said the note, decorated with a million ‘smileys’, on her desk. She smiled at the well-thought humor. She knew exactly how the day would pan out. She was infact, prepared for it. In the last four years she has experienced this a dozen times. Except, here she was the one leaving people she has shared ten plus hours a day with for the last four years. People she has worked closely with, people she has learnt and grown with, people who have praised, people who have mentored, people who have shared their wisdom, people who have inspired, people whom she respected, people whom she has never met, people she at times castigated, even people who have labeled her ‘aggressive’ in public and ‘bitch’ in private, have all been dealt with in the last three days. She has even managed to keep her irritation on being hugged and kissed by people she miserably disliked, well hidden.

She has always been uncomfortable with attention. It makes her nervous. She tries to look calm and stoic when showered with attention in public but inside she hopes to blend into the woodwork and get on with the work. This truth often surprises people who have known her for a while. Given the outward effervescence it’s a tad difficult to discern the truth at first.

To get on with the tale, she has been ‘taken’ out for lunch and dinner for the last couple of days by various people from different parts of the organization. She has enjoyed them but had managed to be part detached at all times. But today it was the time to lunch with her own team of twelve. A lunch that kept her peculiar preferences in mind. Italian spread that ended with an authentic ‘meetha paan’. (An amazing feat to get that served inside snooty Fiorano!) Despite her protests, she was heaped with a pile of gifts including her favourite yellow chrysanthemums! It was obvious that they had put a lot of effort in planning this. It was also obvious that they knew her well. The card said, “We are proud of you. You shine no matter where you go”. This touches her like nothing before. Overwhelmed, she managed to say just thank you. By the time lunch was done, she had given into the emotional foolishness of tears.

Yes, today was her last day at work. But as a close office pal said, every end is a new beginning.

the gift of a daughter

Last evening I watched 'Kanyadaan' (the gift of a daughter) an award winning play by Vijay Tendulkar, directed by Lillete Dubey. The original Marathi play written around early 1980s, has been staged in various languages over the years but this was the first time it was staged in English.

The promotional literature and the earlier reviews did not prepare me for the myriad emotions I experienced through the 105 minutes and long after. The auditorium was packed and the crowd most discerning. Though the screen opened half an hour late, the riveting performance made the delay inconsequential.

Much has been written in its praise but for me this was a personal experience of the most intimate nature. More than the social, moral, cultural and political questions that the play raised, it was the human emotions that moved me. The play examines the complex father–daughter relationship and how the various circumstantial compulsions and decisions transforms that relationship based on respect and inspiration into hatred and self-loathing. A coming of age story of the violent kind. The violence both overt and covert is aimed at our ideology, personal beliefs, value-systems and cultural mores and therefore loathsome. It is also a story with a simple narration but complex interpretation. The emotions are multi-layered yet transparent. It talks about a woman’s struggle with her inspired belief and how that fails to prepare her for reality and finally her acceptence of the same. There are no real heroes in the story as each character carries multiple shades of grey just like in the real world. Finally, the play makes us reexamine our long established belief systems and there in lies its greatness.

I suspect some of the nuances would have been lost in translation but to the director's credit much of the emotional spew was allowed in its origianl Marathi which enriched the impression and leaves me longing for experiencing the play in its original language.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

good girls go to heaven?

I started writing a comment on Sheyasi’s post but in no time it became a post!

First, I will leave the men out of this discussion and yes the last line of her post hit the nail on the head. From what I have experienced first hand, women 'suffer' more in the hands of same-gender individuals than anyone else. Dowry, bride burning, female foeticide…perpetrators are unfortunately almost always women. Who isn’t familiar with, supremely biased mothers who treat their sons better than the daughters, demonic mother-in-laws, jealous co-sisters, and the list can be endless. Yes, one can say it’s a question of empowerment, it’s a question of awareness, it’s a question of education, it’s a question of conditioning but it’s no wonder women all over the world are treated as second-class citizens (except pockets of tribal societies). Their participation in such heinous crimes against humanity/silent and implied support/non-resistance towards there continuity, have all pushed them to this abject condition.

Look around and you would meet women without exception, who are petty manipulators (including yours truly). I say petty cause though they manipulate with √©lan at micro (family) level, they mostly fail at the macro level because of their inability to look at the big picture (society) with women politicians as exceptions. They forget that what goes around comes around eventually. Why or what are we blaming the men for? We were born equal weren’t we? With our unique abilities that compliment? It’s a different matter that we never did anything about it and allowed ourselves to be branded ‘weak’ and therefore denied rights, which are natural to any human being.

Many applaud the idea of paradise to be an all women thingy. But I say, thank god for the men. Or else, our race would have been wiped out by paltry jealousies, misdirected and latent frustrations and selfish manipulations.

Ohhh! Didn’t I say I’ll leave the men out of it?

moontalk

silent moon lures

like a secret lover’s glance

come to me in love

Monday, August 06, 2007

darkness

where the darkness lies?

maybe it's within the soul

maybe it's without..

haiku

From my window 2.35AM 5th August 2007

outside the window

beacons and darkness

in a soul trapped

Friday, August 03, 2007

a Day like Today!

Yeah! This is MY day. Overcast with a sharp chill in the air that's so typically Bangalore and with hints of raindrops that bring a smile on my face. (Naah! can't think of living anywhere else!) Office has been a breeze. Easy conversations, an unhurried lunch and creative energy frothing. Made me notice that a song like 'It's a heartache' indeed has a perky beat (Apologies Bonnie...you din't make me cry this time!) My boss actually looked like he would miss me for a long time after I am gone. And a certain someone says I am needed tonight! Yippieee!

Baby....today is like slipping in a comfortable pair of dirty sneakers. Fits right, keeps you warm and lets you splash in a puddle without a care...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

the Gnome

Have you even wondered why we are always expected to go somewhere? Keep moving. Why? Why can’t we stop? Without a reason or even an answer.

How is it going, they ask. Well. I don’t want to go anywhere. I have only just arrived. I just want to ‘be’ and I don’t want to ’become’.

what do You want from me

This story is about him, her and You. She loved him desperately. He loved her in his fashion. And You just let them be. One noisy evening he told her about his love. For someone else. She listened because she was happy for him. He told her because there wasn’t anyone else he could. He felt lighter and in love. She went home and wept. You smile knowingly.

Later, she found someone. To love. She told him since he was the only one she could. He listened because he was happy for her. But this time, You smirk.

Eventually, she was abandoned. And she could tell only him about her hurt since he was again the only one for her. Finally, he was abandoned too and she was once again the only one he could share his heartbreak with.

She hopes he would love her someday. He hopes he would win back the love that he lost, someday.

The End?

Naah! How can it end when You love playing Your favourite puppets?