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In Despair

I am not somebody who believes in the schpeel of destiny and fate and luck. And I’m not somebody who can be easily defeated- emotionally. But today as I sit here and write this, I feel drained completely- physically, mentally, emotionally. Nothing, just nothing seems to be going right.

As I sit in office right now and put my thoughts on paper, my father is being diagnosed for a block in his heart- I know what that means, though I don’t want to. My paternal family has a history of heart problem and Iv lost close relatives because of severe heart attacks and dad has just come out of a huge cerebral attack. M and me are going through enough crises of our own, trying to sort out some old nagging issues and start life on a fresh foot- thank god, we are okay together- because if we were not okay with each other, I don’t think we would have survived anything!!! He is truly my soul-mate and it is in these darkest hours of our lives that I realize what being married TRULY means!!! M’s mother has also been diagnosed with some kind of kidney problem and she is also on her way to getting cured and my brother is laid up with a very bad back, miles away from the country.

I rarely speak to GOD though I pray everyday. I sincerely believe there is a great difference between praying and speaking to God. I used to speak to him/her at one point of time when I believed in the notion. But over the years Iv seen too many things going wrong and it has completely shaken my belief in the existence of GOD. Of course there is something supernatural in this world- something or someone who tells you what to do, something or someone who is your conscience, but I do not necessarily believe in any physical manifestation of it. When I pray, I pray only for the health of my loved ones and for peace in the world- yes it might sound utterly philosophical but I feel that if those around me are healthy and there is peace and love in the world, everything else will automatically fall into place- maybe its just my perception but yes, that’s my belief.

So today, when I sit here despairing, not knowing whom to turn to, not knowing where to go to find some peace of mind, tears well up in my eyes. Because its probably me who’s cut off all relations with GOD upstairs that I cant find even a route to reach him/her again. Im sure all troubles pass- Iv heard others saying so. But I haven’t seen it myself. Im hoping it will because if it doesn’t, maybe that’s what destiny had in store for me.

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Is it Worth It?

The other day I spoke to a cousin of mine after 4 years. We had a major fight 4 years back and ever since then we’ve spoken once.  While I would never claim that I am a saint, deep down in my heart I know that she did things that I could not forgive and forget.  Families got involved and things got ugly…but thats another story altogether. But I just called her yesterday- just like that- out of the blue. 

Few nights ago I dreamt of her… nothing specific- I just kept seeing her fading in and out of my dreams- and when I got up, I knew I had to call her- not because I had forgotten everything that happened but because I felt it was God’s way of showing me a sign, of telling me to mend my relations and build my bridges before it is too late. 

I try my best to be a good human being because I sincerely believe that it is in this lifetime itself that we get paid back in our own coin and manifold- so if I dont like people being nasty to me, Im assuming other people feel the same way too. But its only in times when people really near and dear do horrible things just to malign somebody else that  I strongly feel and almost scarily start to believe that maybe its not worth it after all.

Another thing that happened recently also shook me up completely. Me and M had recently organised a lunch at home with a large number of our friends- all varied and completely mixed up. Lots of people, lots of food and lots of alcohol- actually too much of it. While everybody was happy and merry, I had got too merry- much more than I could handle and as a result , completely passed out while people were still at home.  Seeing me, M also decided to get in a power nap to revive his spirits and naturally crashed out with all the after effects of alcohol. So basically the hosts were down and out while the rest of the gang partied, ate, drank and made merry. Of course, some of  our friends are our saviours and just took over the party, serving people food and generally looking after them and after us.

What happened next was the most unbelievable part. When we woke up long after the party was over and came back to our senses the next day, it dawned on us that we were robbed of some amount of cash from the house. Completely shaken up and aghast at what could have happened, we tried putting together pieces of the puzzle, constantly trying to decipher what went wrong and how it could have happened. Some of our friends suggested that it could possible be the maid but I knew that my maid would die a hundred deaths before she even touched or flicked money from the house. She has the keys to my house. And if she wanted she could have flicked things in the last two years that she has been here- but there have been times when she has taken out washed and dried currency notes out of our trousers and returned it to us before even thinking of keeping it for herself.

And she was the one who saw one of our friends taking money out of our purses. She tried barging her way into the room when it was happening, but apparently she wasnt let in. And she didnt know how to tell us because she thought that if she tried to tell us that a friend was robbing, we would never believe her and instead doubt her integrity. Which of course didnt happen and I knew she was saying the truth because a lot of things that heppened in the few days post the lunch just added up to the person who could have taken it. And the worst part is now i know who has taken it but I have no proof that she/he has taken the money out. While my head says its true, my heart doesnt agree. 

I have decided to forget the situation, all the time consoling myself that maybe the person needed the money at that point of time and it was a moment of weakness. We all have our moments of weakness and maybe this was his/hers. But what disturbs me tremendously is that its someone I know, someone Im familiar with and someone I could trust before this incident happened. The person concerned also knows deep down somewhere in his/her heart that I know and what i feel about it- was it really worth it? was it worth breaking a vow of friendship knowing that I will never be able to trust him/her again? was it worth giving into vice for that one moment to sour a lifetime of friendship. 

This time too I forgive, not because I have forgotten the pain it has caused me but because I give them the benefit of the doubt- maybe it wasnt meant to be like this- maybe he/she really needed the money at that point of time for something urgent… but is it worth it?

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I watched Slumdog Millionaire over the weekend. Brilliant!!! The only word that can perhaps describe the movie. I generally don’t go ga-ga over movies and their brilliance (that I have been drooling over Farhan Akhtar ever since “Rock On” happened to my life is a different matter). No, seriously, Slumdog is another genre completely. It is just right…in music, in style, in its length and in its depiction of Mumbai. Nothing that will make you go….”okay…now they are stretching it.” It’s almost like they finish every sequence when they know the audience has understood the message without harping on it endlessly…and that I guess is what is so refreshing about the movie.

 

And the cast was awesome. While Dev Patel was quite good in his depiction as Jamal, I thought Ayush, the youngest Jamal was a treat to watch. Basing an entire movie on a single contest and yet making it so touching in every scene. While one can call the depiction of poverty-stricken India clichéd and stereo-typical, I think it takes a lot for a foreigner to really touch the pulse of India in a way that no Indian director has ever been able to do.

 

Why I really write this post is not because I wanted to do a review of the film but because what I saw on television last night irked me to no end. While the entire country was rejoicing the movie’s terrific win at the Golden Globes, one particular news channel kept harping on the fact whether we should be so ecstatic considering the movie was not made by an Indian director. “How Indian is Slumdog Millionaire” was the question they kept asking for viewers to respond. While I am very proud of the fact that A.R. Rahman has won a Golden Globe for the movie, it really doesn’t take a Golden Globe to know that this guy is amazing. A.R. Rahman has sold more albums than Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. I am happy he’s done it and put us on the global scenario but that doesn’t mean one should doubt whether the movie can be called Indian or not. It is about India but it is not made by an Indian. Does this mean that we can’t appreciate it? Just by having Indian actors and an Indian Co-Director doesn’t make the film Indian. And just by being Non- Indian doesn’t take away from the brilliance of the film or make us less proud of it. For once, lets be proud of something that is brilliant and well made without debating whether it is Indian, foreign, Islamic. For once, lets just cut out the jingoism and appreciate something that is so worth appreciation.

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Long Long Ago

I spoke to this really old friend today. We were best friends in school. Completely different people, completely different backgrounds, completely different upbringing. She was a punjabi who lived in a palatial house in Alipore and I was this middle class bengali girl who hailed from Santoshpur. Except for the two ” purs” that were the same, there was nothing that was similar. But somehow somewhere we really bonded. And when i say we bonded, I mean that Iv never had a friend like her. We were very fond of each other and we shared the deepest secrets that we wouldnt tell anybody else. T was a very popular girl in school and everybody was quite fond of her. Its not that we spent all our time together in school. We had the same group of friends and we never hung out solely with each other but when it came to talking about something, we didnt know anybody else.
T moved out after Class X and joined another school which was more up her league. And surprisingly we lost touch. We did meet once in a while because her sister also studied in my school and she often came to pick up her sister. We smiled and hugged but something somewhere went wrong and there was a coldness between us. After that, we went separate ways and she went abroad to study. Though we never kept in touch, I always knew her whereabouts from other friends who had heard from her. She didnt keep in touch with anybody in particular but we knew where she was and what she was doing.
It wasnt until last year December that I suddenly got this urge to get in touch. I had this wierd dream where she was calling out to me and I couldnt reach out. I spent a whole day in office just calling up random people trying to get in touch with T and looking for her number. And then I suddenly got it. I called her with a lot of mixed feelings. Would she remember me? Would she even care that I called? would she bother to even speak to me?And I found myself just dialling her number and hearing her voice at the other end of the line. I said hello in a very shaky voice, almost not knowing what to say and she just caught on to my words . She said that she saw a picture of a girl the other day who reminded her of me. and it all eased out. We spoke for an hour, catching up on the 11 years we had spent apart, not knowing whether the other was alive.
Its been almost a year since then. We still dont talk regularly but we manage to catch up once a month. And it feels like we are back again to those amazing days where we shared news and secrets over an orange ice cream, talking of things that really touched our lives. Thanks for being such a great friend!!!!!!!!!It really does mean a lot

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Of Tales Untold

Iv been under a lot of stress for some time now. Im generally not the type to get bogged down by stress and create unnecessary tension for myself- although my husband completely disagrees- but I think Iv managed quite well. Until now. I know that lately I have been thinking of a lot of things and there is a lot on my mind- professional, personal, support system, in laws, parents but I thought everything was under control when just the other day a friend who knows me quite well turned around and told me I was nowhere close to the person she knew. I have always been very lively and jovial, trying to make a joke of everything in my life and laughing all my problems away. But it is only now that I hear myself so distinctly only cribbing and moping about everything in life, all the goddamn time- I spoke to a few people about this and surprisingly some of them told me to visit a counsellor. Well, I always believed that i could never pay someone to listen to me talk, but even my husband ( who refers to counsellors as shrinks and all doctors as quacks) turned to me and asked me to see someone for my stress. He said that a third person’s perspective might be useful and help me see things as they were and not blow them out of proportion. I think he did it for his own good because I know that Iv been driving him completely mad for the last few days. This set me thinking and took me on this huge roller coaster ride of all the emotional baggage I was carrying.
Iv always been quite good academically. Iv done quite well right through school and also decently enough through high school also. The okay and mediocre result in 12th was not because I had not studied but because the board was screwed. It was at this point in my life that I met M, my husband. And my life was on its biggest roller coaster ride ever. I got admission into one of the most prestigious Eng departments in India and just missed my first class in my Bachelors by a slight margin. And my parents went on this complete tangent. They never liked M from the very first day they met him. And for no reason. They just hated him because they thought he was intellectually not upto the par and would be a complete mistake for my life. And the person that I was – I stuck to him like a leech because I wanted to and at the same time revelled in doing exactly the opposite of what my parents wanted. They blamed him for my low grades in college and when I achieved a first class Masters degree, they blamed him again for not letting me study or otherwise I would have come First Class First. They hated the sight of him and made it very evident that he would have nothing to do with my life. To the extent that M did not walk into my house for the 9 years that we knew each other before getting married and my father once got onto a parallel line and abused his whole family when I was speaking to him. And till this day I completely credit M for not abusing my dad in return or showing them an iota of disrespect to this day. If I was in his place, not only would I have abused the parents, I would have stopped seeing the person for whom I was taking this bull crap.
It was soon that my parents realised that I was extremely serious about marrying M and I would do so even if it meant walking out of the house for good. My mom relented and agreed on a marriage date. However, M and me wanted to get married on the day we had started seeing each other and this day does not fall under the auspicious part of the year according to hindus. We still went ahead and got married ON THAT DAY AND IN MY HOUSE. My dad, of course, the actor that he is, walked out of the wedding in full view of the guests. We just had a very small gathering of 25-30 people over lunch and the ceremony was over. Everybody who wanted to be in my mom’s good books walked around the house looking like they had come to attend a funeral, instead of a marriage. It was thanks to a few close cousins and some sane friends and my happy in laws that I managed to go through the registry without abusing or killing anybody. Of course, my dad was on the phone with my mom because he wanted to come back home but wouldnt till I left. And even after we left for M’s house in the evening, some of my closest aunts caught my best friend and interrogated her about M and his family and whether he would beat me to death soon.
My inlaws were always fond of me and continue to be so till today. My Mom- in Law is not my emotional anchor, no doubt, but I know I can go crying to her about something her son has said and done and she wont waste a minute screaming at her son if he is indeed in the wrong. Today my dad loves M. Mom holds no conversation with him but makes it a point to cook him all the bengali dishes that he likes- it is so wierd. And this hypocrisy takes a toll on me. I am in some ways like my mom- she is extremely jovial and can be the life of the party. Some of my cousins got married recently and my mom was there laughing, singing, dancing and having a ball. My own marriage has not only made me bitter towards wedding ceremonies but I just stood there looking at my mom in amazement, wndering why she could not be as happy for me. It hurt real bad and just pushed me away even further from their world.
Today, when I sit back and think of all that Iv gone through, its probably not been even 1 per cent as bad as someone else’s life but its bad enough for me. Its made me a very bitter person and extremely cynical of things. And Im so scared that I wll become my mom. And to top it off, as I grow older, Im looking more and more like her. I never doubt the fact that they love me. I know they do but Im not ther ideal daughter. Because I didnt finish the Phd they always wanted to do- because i didnt get married to a doctor/engineer they could flaunt and because they cant tell me people what a lovely daughter they have. It does not make me sad- it makes me angry and hurt and te tears dont roll down from my eyes but sting them like they were needles poking through tight and taut shells. Everytime I dont succeed in life, whether its a quarrel with my doemstic help, or M, or whether I hate my job, or whether something I cook turns out a wee bit salty or slightly over cooked, I go down a few more notches in my own self esteem and hate myself for doing so…………… wish I could live again.

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I cant work

I really fail to understand where the problem lies…………..I cant work- and when i say this, pl understand this is not a frivolous statement made on a hectic day of getting bogged down under tremendous pressure. But instead, it is a well calcualted thought out part of my personality that Im trying to come to terms with- WHAT THE HELL IS THE PROBLEM? Why cant I get myself to do something nice and work hard and enjoy my work? This is not to say that I dont enjoy work- I love working but I cant work for too long- I get tired very easily, not physically but emotionally. And god help if I take a dislike to the organisation or any person at any stage- that just spells disaster for me- I will cry all the way to work and all the while there, literally. And the only time the faintest hint of smile that will appear at the end of my lips will be when Im packing up to leave for the day. And this can continue for days……………..and it usually ends in me quitting the job and looking for another one. Like a very close friend told me the other day- that my resume shall soon look like a 31st night party hopper. But Im smarter than that- I usually have the knack to be friendly and always manage to leave all orgs ( ok, most of them) on a very good note, as a result of which Im pals with a lot of my ex-bosses. So I called up thsi ex-boss in my hometown and told him that I was going to show my work ex for a longer period of time with his org than it was in reality- and did u know what he said? yes………..go ahead- and he solved one issue for me at that time.
But the problem lies somewhere else- I hate working for someone else- why should I waste my energy and time and put in so much of effort for something that I can use to my advantage. I work in a very niche sector and its something that does not affect the financila ups and downs of an organisation. So if I can use it to my advantage , why not? I think Ill just do that………but I need some reassuarnce to give up a full time job and just freelance and maybe put in some part time hours also….For those of you who know me, please tell me what you feel considering the fact that you knw me so well and for those of u who dont, pl tell me anyway, is it me or does verybody feel this way?

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FRIENDS and MORE

It’s very sad when you lose a friend in life. A friend who’s been there with you through thick and thin. A friend who’s understood what you want to say before you’ve even uttered a word. A friend who’s solved your worries by counting the creases on your face. And then one fine day it’s all over………….just like that. Some small argument and then the whole thing blows up in your face.
I lost a friend, a very dear friend. We have been friends almost from the time we were born. My first memories of us together are framed by the black and white photographs of us playing together, where the corners have curled up to leave a crease across the face. Maybe it’s just a co-incidence that the crease runs between the space that we both share in the photograph or maybe it’s just a sign that the relationship would never hold true or maybe it was a warning that we needed to iron out the creases just in time.
It all started a few years back when he started seeing women. He always had an opinion on everything in my life and I never minded that. Today, in retrospect I feel maybe that was the cause to our end. Maybe familiarity actually bred contempt. Like him, even I felt I had the right to comment on what he did with his life. And somehow I never liked the women he dated, except for one. And I told him so in very comprehensible terms. Maybe they were too old for him, or too shrewd, or too weird………and the list continued.

We moved on in life, pretending that the strains didn’t show. And like all other people we also moved onto other friends, explored other options. I always tried making him a part of my friend circle and he surprisingly got along like a house on fire with my boyfriend then, now my husband. But somehow, he could never adjust to my friend circle. He befriended them for some time, pretending all was gung ho but fell out soon because of some conflict he had with them. Theirs was a relationship which was independent of my existence and I thought it was best that I don’t interfere and mess up things further. Because all the people concerned were adults and had minds of their own. And I had no right to interfere in something that didn’t concern me. I. however, tried to talk to him when I felt things were going out of control but he never listened. He instead turned around and blamed me and my friends for bad mouthing him and his family, to the extent that his mother and sister got involved in it too and blamed me for the whole episode.
And things moved from bad to worse to the extent that he didn’t even come for my wedding because some others were there. He came, dropped his mom and left. I felt upset, very upset but realized that day that if he could not forget things and be happy for me on my day, maybe even I should let go and just move on. Maybe it was time to forge new relationships and keep the old one as pleasant memories in a safe corner of my soul to dig out and fondly remember in times of solitude. His friendship is an experience I love to keep for myself because till the time we were friends, we were also soul mates. There was no romantic connection but something somewhere told us that we understood and loved each other for what we were. I have lost him for good but I don’t think I will ever be able to let go of his friendship. SO what, if its just a memory?

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