Read THIS First ..

Read THIS First..
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A tiny post on a teen pop star of my time.

This is going to be a very open post, so I'd suggest you be really open-minded before reading it. 

I spent this evening listening to songs by Hannah Montana. Wait, before you get all 'such a kid' or 'immature choice' or whatever else, hear me out. I was supposed to find some fun songs for kids, but while that didn't happen, I ended up listening to, and watching, stage performances by Hannah Montana, the teen pop star of our age (by our age, I mean the 2000s when I was a teen). Why am I choosing to write such a detail?

Because going back to something that was important to me once upon a time (yes, it was), I was reminded of my old self. The one who had so many dreams in her eyes, the one who believed anything in the world is possible if she wished it, the one who felt greatly inspired by this teenage girl who seemed to be living her dreams, singing songs that actually made sense. By looking at an old version of a star-gone-wrong, I was reminded of how some things are eternal, like songs. Even when the person isn't the same anymore, or even when I'm not the same, it is possible to feel inspired, and feel good all the same. Even after all this time. Even after you seemed to have forgotten how it used to be.

It might not make a lot of sense to a lot of people. There are after all, many great artists in the world, and being in my twenties, I should rather be a fan of One Republic, Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons or someone else considered 'cool'; if I were to seem a little childlike, perhaps Taylor Swift or One Direction. However, I have never been too much into songs, even though I've heard, and love, songs by all the above-mentioned artists. The main point is that it actually means something to you. If you liked dancing to Vengaboys and Aqua as a kid, you'd like those songs even when you're older, because they remind you of something that's inherently a part of you. Hannah Montana reminds me of those evenings when a new episode would air on TV, of that first time I discovered downloading pictures from the internet and saving them as desktop backgrounds, because the artist I chose to put on display was Hannah Montana. She reminds me of my own insecurities, hopes and fears as a teen, to which she bore either the answers or dreams or dressing-up ideas. She reminds me how I decided that I'd publicly sing her songs, This is the Life and Just Like You when I realize my own dreams. 

She might not be as talented or popular as others, but she managed to inspire many others after her. She was a good entertainer, and with those fun-yet-sensible lyrics in songs, she ensured that I still am able to sing-along to most of her songs as Hannah Montana. That was also the time when she gradually turned over to becoming just Miley Cyrus, of whom I wasn't as much of a fan. Perhaps I preferred the idea of having a fun facade over your real self, where you can do whatever you wish to under a separate name, a different identity, and not have to live with the real-world consequences to your real life (not that living as HM was easy, but still). I could have started hating her when she turned weird some time ago, but all I did was ignore the new version, and stuck to the old. Being a fan, I should have perhaps followed her to wherever she went, but like I said, I'm not too much into songs and similar entertainment (singers, movies, TV shows, etc), so it didn't matter as much. What matters is how someone makes you feel. So if, even after years, some version of her still manages to inspire me, why should I be embarrassed to admit that I like that artist? After all, she perhaps predicted it in her song, and ever since I heard it, I knew it to be true:

Nobody's perfect
I gotta work it
Again and again
'Til I get it right

Nobody's perfect
You live and you learn it
And if I mess it up sometimes

Nobody's perfect

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Whoever you are, there's only one you!

Since I'm not any scientific researcher, I can't say things for anyone but myself. Plus, I'm too lazy overworked to actually search for similar findings, so I'll simply stick to my own observation. Surrounded by media at all times, usually not having enough understanding, or even motivation, to look at oneself in seclusion, we are very much susceptible to getting into the mindset of what constitutes 'normal'. It's not defined by ourselves, but by what we see around us. Mostly we say we agree with it, so that's also our own perception of how things are. But haven't you ever thought just about yourself? Seeing yourself in isolation and getting scared at how you 'actually' look at things? Because it is scary, the idea that what you really feel is so different and strange and unreal, yet that's the thing that makes you feel best.

However, like always, that is not what this post is about! There were just a few instances and moments when I thought that perhaps, what happens with me is something that can happen only with me. Those things aren't what you would have anyone else say, 'That happened with me too!' Maybe they did, but to me, at that moment, it felt like I'm just one in all the people in the world. Someone who has something that no one else can have. And that's the thing, isn't it? The beauty, the excitement, everything lies in small details. :')

#1: That's what is on my wrist
Ignoring the small (but awesome) readership of this blog, I'd ask, is there anyone else in the country who would have a silver and black clasp-oval-bangle, exactly like the one I have? Like the one I wear on special days, because it is cute and specially bought for me by dad when he was in a random local market in Dushanbe (Tajikistan). Let's make it easier: at any given time, how many girls in India would be wearing such a thing, brought by their dad from that particular market, just for them? There were no duplicates, according to what I was told, so the possibility of anyone else with the same situation and treasure is close to zero, right? Isn't that something to make anyone feel special and unique?

#2: That's what I'm reading
The probability of a girl reading a book called The Girl With All The Gifts in a metro train in the morning would also be very low. That one time when I realized it, I am sure I was the only one who experienced that moment, the only one to be reading that book in that metro. Or perhaps the only one among all the metro trains that day. 

#3: That's what I know
I'm most certain about this one! I'm the only one who knows stories from my grandmom's childhood: certain details from her life as a kid in Rawalpindi (in present day Pakistan), her life as a refugee in Delhi right after the partition, her relation with her siblings. Discussing it with her children, I realized no one else knows it in as much detail as I do, which leaves me to be the only living person who's aware of those stories. Is that brilliant or what? *_*

#4: That's what I call branding!
Did you know the origin of the word 'brand'? Ages ago when there were slaves, and perhaps even now with farm animals, permanent tattoos got stamped onto the skin to 'brand' them as belonging to a particular person/owner. In the present world, we swear by different brands. A couple of days ago, I was ironing one of my jackets. Realizing that I need to check the temperature, I put my hand on the jacket to see how warm it already was, so I could accordingly adjust the level in the iron. It seemed overly hot, if the way the jacket's logo on the lapel got imprinted on my palm was any indication. I'm not kidding. It's been three days, and you can still see the tiny dots going around in two curves. On my palm! Now who in the world would have that happened to them? o.O 

These are just some recent examples to prove how you don't really need to get your brains eaten up, wondering how to seem different. Stop trying. You're already the only piece of you in this world, unless you've resorted to cloning or getting illegal echoes made. Probably whatever you're doing right now (except reading this blog. It's not only you who reads this -_-) has something in it that no one else in the world would have. Feel special already, dude! ^_^

Update: I'm so exhausted that it's just the idea of having written a blog post today that's keeping me motivated. It's a Sunday, and I spent the entire day doing some or the other work, the most important of which I haven't even begun! Where do I even start explaining? Probably for the first time in my life, I'm being SO busy (the initial work-time when you get over-excited and take on more work than possible for anyone), that it's just so weird. I don't know how the days pass and I have no idea when I would be able to just chilllllll with a book on a weekend! Speaking of which, I'm not even getting an opportunity to read whatever I want to! Can you believe that? It's because I presently have three things to take care of. All of which require me to read and write and think and be as creative as possible. Plus, all of them have strict deadlines. If that's not mentally exhausting, I don't know what is! I like all of it too, but all I ask is for one day. :| 

I guess I should behave and not fret over it. In fact, the only thing I should be doing right now is to quickly post this and start working, considering the deadline is tomorrow! More than that, I should totally stop thinking about how I just want to sleep. Focus, focus, FOCUS! 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Unrandom Updates!

Heylo beautiful peepul! Have I been missing from this lovely space for ages or what? And it's not a very good thing, considering how I've been learning and experiencing and thinking so much that it should be put down. I mean, when I'm 60 and bored and reading my old posts, it would suck if I wouldn't even remember how I changed, right? Plus, one of you lovely readers mentioned how I haven't updated the blog since forever, while wishing me a happy happy birthday, which was so sweet, so this is for you! (For those who don't know, this *very* talented blogger's birthday has just passed. I'm still accepting wishes. *wink wink*)

Back to the point. This is not a very random post, as you intelligent people might have inferred from the title already (duh), even though it's not entirely planned either. I just realized there have been incidents and stuff that should be recorded for future reference, hence, the post. My life's been... what do we call something that seems boring on the surface but isn't? I've been enjoying my work life so far, and I don't mean we party in office all the time (except for the occasional ordering-out food nearly twice or thrice a week, which has very conveniently made me unfit for almost all my clothes!). What I mean is that it's the work I'm enjoying so far. It's kind of cool. Heck, it's very cool! And I say it seems boring because well, normal people won't understand it. It looks boring on the surface, but I love it. So yay! Besides, have I been feeling all mature or what? I so have a separate post ready to talk about the gyaan stuff I have realized. I can't wait to put it down! 

Back again, to this post. (I think I have ODD - Obsessive Distraction Disorder)

# 1: Scoot-ery adventures!
I just recalled after coining this term, that my grandmom used to call Scoot, scootery. :') I know. I inherited my cuteness from her. 
You'd know by now how Scoot forms an imperative part of my life. She is the reason I even reach office (and previously, colleges and tuitions and grocery stores and what-not), and it's obvious that I'd have a range of stories relating to her, some of which I've mentioned before. So for the.... fourth? Fifth time, without any inkling as to what was going to happen, I set out for office. It was 9 am in the morning. (OK, I was late. So maybe ten minutes after that) Just as I reached 1/5th of the distance to reach the metro station, Scoot stopped and refused to restart. Dragging it aside, I tired a few times, not bothering to try the kick-start because it was cold, and who wants to get their feet hurt in such a weather? So after some fruitless tries, it finally dawned on me. Uh oh. I had, as always, ignored mom's warnings and dad's rules, and not checked the quantity of petrol (the petrol indicator is moody, so it's become kind of non-trustworthy). 

Putting the helmet aside (still haven't got a purple one), I opened the rubber seal and peeped inside. *Gulp* The petrol tank was dry. I had no idea how that was even possible. I'd got a lot of petrol for Scoot just some days ago! Or was it weeks? Time passes by so quickly that we don't even realize it. How was I to realize it in the case of petrol, of all things? I called dad, who, after laughing at me first (I heard that, dad -_-), asked me what I'd do now. Since the petrol pump was a little distance away, I figured I'd just drag Scoot there and get it filled up. Dad wished me luck and hung up. See? That's called confidence. ;)

So yeah, donning my bond-avatar in a matter of seconds, I set to work. Got Scoot to cross the road and started walking with it to the petrol pump, which was actually fun. To begin with, I got started on the much-needed exercise in the fresh morning air. Then I'm assuming that the glances I received from random people were appreciative, and not piteous. Since I was anyway late, I decided not to worry and just chill in the winter chill. :P Finally when it was my turn at the petrol pump and the guy opened the tank to fill some in, he looked at me wide eyed. 

'But this is entirely empty!' he said, nearly hysterical. 
Now, why do people worry about strangers so much? I almost wanted to pat him on the shoulder and say, 'It's all right dude. I'm fine.'
'Yeah I know,' I replied. 'I dragged it all the way.' *hides a smile*

I'm sure he must have kept my story to narrate to his friends and family, just like I did. 

# 2: Happy Birthday!
Birthday was cool this year. I think birthdays help us realize the level of closeness we have in all sorts of relationships! Think about it. You get to see your current status of harmony with different people, which of course, keeps fluctuating throughout, but it becomes oh-so-clear on birthdays. That's a different point, though. Beginning this year, I started sharing my birthday with someone else in the family. He's a cute little nephew, who I obviously love more just by virtue of being born on the same day. :P Since it was his first birthday, the family had a grand celebration, and in all of it, I ended up meeting my extended family, all of whom warmly wished me too. To add to that, they had a separate cake and all for me as well, so that was a beautiful surprise. We ended up having a gala time - food, fun, dance, pictures, jokes, chocolates and lots of love!

That's not all. That was also the day when I formally began a year-long mission I've set with dad. We have this idea about exploring Delhi, together, throughout the year and document it all. There is this old gurudwara behind Humanyun's Tomb where I had once been as a kid, and just the memory of it made me love it so much. We went there in the morning and that's the first place we visited as part of that plan. Isn't that awesome? :') If any of you have ideas about how this can be made to work out better, do write to me!

Gurudwara Damdama Sahib, Delhi
# 3: The Candy Kid
There's a house being constructed near my place, on a road that I use every evening. One of such evenings, I spotted a candy-floss bhaiya outside our gate and just for the sake of childhood, got one and started walking to the gurudwara nearby. It took just one small bite to realize that I could never finish it, what with being mentally allergic to sweets and all. That's when I spotted this tiny kid doing something comical in front of this construction house, while a woman in a red sari, presumably his mother, looked on, smiling at him. His eyes found the pink wad of cotton candy in my hands and he stood still, while his mother transferred the smile on to me.

'Will he have this?'
The woman nodded.
The kid nearly snatched it away and with a shout of joy and a tumble of words on top of his voice, went running inside to show it to his siblings. 

The next time I found the candy bhaiya, I got one for the kid. But the kid was not at home, so I handed it to the delighted mother. On my way back, I saw three grown-ups - the red sari woman and another couple, sharing bits of candy and having it. Who says candy's only for little children? :')

# 4: Photographic Happiness
It was a weekend, and I was home. Recalling my pre-MBA days, I picked up a book and my camera and went to the park. It was afternoon, and that time of the year when flowers actually bloom and birds, real birds actually happen to be on those flowers! While I was busy clicking tiny spiderhunters, a group of kids came running from nowhere and scrambled towards the swings, shouting and rejoicing in merriment. After a while, a young girl called out to me.

'Didi! Hamari bhi photo le lo!'
She seemed to be the leader of the group, barely ten years old. I set out to click some candid, and some not-so-candid pictures as the group slowly warmed up to me, and to the idea of getting their pictures clicked. They told me their parents worked 'somewhere just outside the block', and that they're here to play and usually stay till evening. They seemed delighted when they saw their pictures on the camera's screen, so I told them that I'd get some of them printed and get those for them. 
'Didi, isko de dena meri photo. Mai school jaati hu,' said the group leader, pushing forward a tiny girl who matched her features. Her sister, probably.

Two weeks later as I made my way into the park with a brown envelope in hand, it was amazing to see how, when the lead-girl recognized me, shouted out for everyone to come over and they all came running up to me. Their excitement was contagious, and you had to look at the restraint and control they had! While I carefully laid down the photos for them to choose, there was hardly any pushing around, and the little ones waited while the eldest handed them the photos in which they featured. The next second, the group leader put her thin arms around me in a hug and asked me to click some more. 

What did I get out of it? Happiness. Was it charity? No. It was just something I felt like doing, at that moment, never realizing how much it can mean to a bunch of kids whose parents are everyday labourers in a city like Delhi. I also saw how these kids, deprived of most things those middle-class and above take for granted, are much more capable of patience and discipline. Can you imagine handing a thin sheet of a picture to a five year old in your family, fully trusting them to take care of it? With the way I've seen so many brutes, I can't do that. But these children did, holding those pieces of paper like they were delicate treasures, which I suppose for them, they were.

# 5: The Work Life
Life as a professional worker is so different from college life, although I realized that it is up to a person to make it different. For me, it's something that suits me more than college, because here, I can really, actually do what I think is right without worrying that much about the mundane things. Probably because I was exhausted by the end of it, I prefer this life way more than college. It's more empowering, it's more satisfying (dealing with sensible people rather than being forced into a classroom with weird people) and it's a lot more about learning. Again, it depends on how you perceive it and how seriously you take it. 

For those of you just out of college, or going to be out of college, I'd suggest you to put in your best, plan everything and do the kind of work you want to, in the way you want to. It might not be possible initially, but if you know where your goal is, that journey would feel great. You'll meet nice people, you'll learn amazing stuff, and trust me, you won't miss the masti in college as much as you think. You might just feel too grown up for all that stuff, like I do these days. I know, I sound like a 35 year old, right? But that's just the truth. And that mostly applies to work. It is now that I feel truly at peace with myself, it is now that I have begun to understand myself, and this is something everyone must experience in order to live happier lives. 

Psst: I have a new blog for my adventures at the work place, but it won't disclose my identity. I got it up more than a month ago, but there are no posts yet. If you'd like to read it too, send me an email and I'll let you know what that is! Provided though, you fill in a secrecy form where you pledge not to disclose my identity, failing which the curse with which the form is bound, would befall on you. (Told ya I'm a witch. If you still don't know how, read my previous post already!) So that's really up to you, and for those really interested.   

# 6: Culinary Crafts
I want to start this point with a LOL, but since that'd be self derogatory, I won't. I'm someone who is so not interested in cooking. I respect it a lot, because that's how I get to eat food in the first place, and some dishes just look like a work of art, but I don't particularly feel inclined towards cooking anything myself. Except recently, sometimes, I do. Don't ask why, because I don't know it myself. So whatever, I liked this page on Facebook where recipes by Masterchef Pankaj Bhadouria are shared, and today, I made this dish called Paneer Hariyali Tikka, except that I added baby corn and mushroom to the mix (umm. Not a very good idea). But it was still yum, so you can check it out too!

The point here was how I managed to make it. For someone who's the nightmare of chefs, it can be difficult. I decided to check for ingredients in the afternoon, so I could get what was missing in the meantime. As soon as I opened the fridge, I realized dad had been to the mandi today, so it was loaded with vegetables. I needed mint and coriander. There were about five different bundle of leaves in front of me. How is someone supposed to differentiate? I knew how mint should smell, so the first bundle that felt like mint was taken aside. I knew how spinach looked like, so that was out. By way of this shortlisting, I was left with one bundle, but that was not coriander. Because coriander leaves have a design, and these were plain. (Stop laughing already, you -_-)

Me: *calls G* What are you doing?
G: Having lunch. 
Me: How are we supposed to differentiate between dhaniya and pudina?
G: *pause* What did you say?
G: *munches his own lunch*
Me: Dude, I need to cook something for dad and I can't find dhaniya. I'll whatsapp you pictures, tell me which one is that, okay?
G: *bursts out laughing* You're crazy.
Me: -_- Whatever. Sending them soon.

I'm not explaining anymore, since you're probably guffawing by now, or already left the blog thinking what a crackpot I am. In either case, here, take this stare --> -_- and know that I don't care. Huh. 

In the end, this was the result. And it tasted good. ;)

Are you still reading? Are you awesome or what? :') If you reached here, leave a comment so I'll know who all deserve a bone-crushing hug. Until next time, see you! *_*  

PS- Does anyone remember I started a meme called Theandric Thursday? The most ardent follower of it recently posted a TT post. Check it out here.


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