Why we Don’t need Everything Figured out.

It’s amazing the number of times i hear people around me talking about having everything sorted. My parents constantly talk about leading life in a planned way, i have seen people give up on relationships and beautiful moments for the ever so far “figured out plan”. While i would mull over these statements time and again i went for the movie Barfi this weekend and what i saw in the movie about ‘living in the moment without a plan’, made me re affirm my idea of having a life without having it all figured out. Here’s why we don’t need everything in life figured out:

Life is very very vulnerable. It can extinguish in a minute, a jiffy, it comes with no guarantee card and wipes itself out anywhere, anytime. Death as we really know of it can come knocking the moment you walk out of that snazzy office making big plans of the next move, or when you are brushing away somebody’s fairy land dreams for them being too way ward. Living in today and not stressing out for what is to come tomorrow is essential because do you even know if you have the next moment?

Not having it figured opens the opportunities to experiment. Experiment with that random thought of starting your own travel cafe, that inkling of an idea of that story you can convert into a book. It keeps that mind open and ever so close to smelling the next big chance you may have.

It makes a fighter out of you. Simply put you know that you need to fucking work out whatever cs knocking on your senses. Things can come your way both as a pleasant experience or stuff that punches you in the face. If it is situation two , you emerge a fighter that will work out a way. Richard Branson hadn’t had it all figured when he decided to start Student Advisory Committee as a helpline for teenagers. All he knew was that unable to get a safe abortion for his girlfriend was a torture and he decided there are probably hundreds of teenagers out there looking for safer place and hospitals for the same. He did not have it figured as to what shape or impact this would have, all he knew was he needed to help. In a year of starting this he was hit hard on the face by getting arrested for going against an anarchic law! Arrested, on trial, he came out a fighter with getting the law changed! All you need is that one hearing to what the heart says at that moment.

Not having it figured also teaches you to become less obsessed about stereotypes. Stereotypes about  life, about relationships, about others, about the work you do, the people you give chances to- you become more flexible about these things. Living in today means you got to give all of these things a shot in today which doesn’t leave much scope for the mind to over analyse and rot things.

You start to learn that many around you don’t have life figured themselves. That life is a continuous learning process and you do not need definitions for everything or anything at times. You learn that  folks around you are also seeking out to create their own ways with your help. You learn that a reassuring smile works for that nervous new comer around you and you have done your bit.

Not having it figures means you do not necessarily fit roles and change yourself to become a new entity. Living in just the today always ensures that you do not lose the real you because there is no figured scheme of things to be achieved, bringing down the chances of you wanting to say things because it makes sense or is the right gesture to make. You would rather keep it straight and be the original you because it is here and now that you got.



Because waiting is a beautiful thing too:)

My “Problem” with Glamorized Awareness.

I am somebody who can today safely say “i have seen the world of television go through a sea of change”. I grew up with Star Plus having its 7-8pm slot of Barkha Dutt, Vikram Chandra. I was inspired to become a journalist and therefore the right cause. I then grew into a heralded era of it becoming a mixy matchy world. Television grew into a new animal with soaps, “new gen serials”, news becoming the empowering tool. I remember i started getting irritated, very early on, when i noticed news channels becoming the self proclaimed judges of the evils of society. I had started getting bemused by how medias role was going through such metamorphosis.

Alongside i was growing up, making my choice of legal studies over journalism, human rights study over corporate law, exposing myself to the world of “causes” and training myself to become a change maker. I trained with NGO’s, kept my theoretical knowledge in place by studying the subjects and learnt that the world has never been as nice as i imagined it sitting inside my home.

“Change” through the power of masses has always been a part of my training’s. Advocacy/ awareness are words integral to a person working in the social sector. Therefore when Jessica Lall solidarity march took place and masses walked to the India gate it mattered to me that people are “aware”. The throng of emails stirred the emotions about “the wrongs of law” and the masses were affected. I was a part of the walk too as a young law student and remember asking people around me do you know what went wrong in the court and did not hear a single yes. That somehow mattered to me but i brushed it away as a law student ego rush. Lot of years after that i was thronged with emails about “its time corruption is weeded out” and while i was trying to read the proposed law and the older one i kept away from the march, the protests, the frenzy. Somehow this time it mattered more, that the masses had no clue of the proposition being made but were gung ho becoming “part of the aware population”. I was questioned and re questioned about my non participation and my social sector work status vi-a-vis my complete indifference to “the movement of the century”.

Just when Anna and team decided to take a breather, the television started becoming interesting on a channel that is not the news channel. The promo having Aamir singing “meri jaan, meri jaan sunday ke sunday” had a lot of people around me having exciting conversation about what was to come. The first episode made the skeptic in me stronger ,about where the stream about “awareness” was flowing. Female foeticide as the starting episode, the tears, the gasps, the bewildered looks were nothing compared to what i heard around me in the “educated, informed class”. I was again asked about “my problem with awareness” and i started to think about it.

Aware implies knowledge gained through one’s own perceptions or by means of information. When i hear the reactions around me i see the two aspects of the definition getting mixed up! Issues like what the serial is trying to address are what have existed in the society forever. If a country with a growing rate of “educated, intellectual youngsters” needs to form perceptions now that “gosh it happens in cities” through the “informed knowledge” being fed by the show, i see a huge problem there. What such awareness is not doing is what ‘awareness’ is used for in the social sector. It is used as a tool to bring about factual knowledge to bring a perception change that triggers questions relevant to the context of the issue. There is responsibility attached to this, since awareness has to make action oriented people a reality. Perceptions cannot be fed to masses that are already becoming lethargic to the social realities. Creating real crusaders is far more critical and requires more responsible citizens created and not just high drama dose of crying victims! Does this glamourised dose ask questions beyond the typically expected ones? Did the episode on female foeticide probe into why are girls killed in cities? What has the affect of upward social mobility of women been on this trend? Did anyone question  the credibility of the evidences that are produced?

The medical debacle episode had the doctor writing a public letter to Aamir Khan stating the facts of the case and how the protagonist in the story (the husband of the dead wife) had hidden some key facts. Every episode did what it had set out to do- titillating the senses of the “empowered class” in the country. The actor reached places where activists should have been- in the PM’s office, in articles about social impact, becoming the mascot of change. What i found missing was his responsibility to say that i will also lead the actual change. I was saddened when a friend, who is a crusader for children’s sexual rights, called me after the CSA episode and said “i have media calling me to ask if Aamir Khan led to the releasing of the law in the country”! I have a problem with glamorized awareness as it does not answer the real question “who will bring the change if everyone is happy with just high drama sitcoms?”

Two Films and a Satisfied me:)

Past two weeks i have gone and watched two films that rekindled my liking for the art of films. I was introduced to Kshay by a random liking by a friend on Facebook. Having read up on the subject that the film was dealing with i was very intrigued as to what form of obsession would they portray the character taking on. I kept a watch on the film traveling all over the globe,the awards it was bagging and the steady facebook marketing that was in place. It was great reading reviews and every once in a while i went back to the video depicting the lakshmi and chhai’s obsession with it!

I ended up watching Gangs of Wasseypur before i got to see Kshay. Call it fate or the timing in Bangalore not working out fine, but i ended up with raw, uncut, bloody, lustful film before Kshay happened. I am no film critic, nor a part of an appreciation club i like going to cinema halls and so i prefer my cinema which is  beyond the daily doses given out to me. I invariably interpret characters and what they convey to me by their dialogues, their actions, their movements. I like the film playing with my stated views on everything about my senses. Gangs of Wasseypur, after a long time, gave me my dose of raw human emotions. The story of revenge and generations going through it did not feel like it was not a story next to me. The music added on perfectly and the lyrics being no holds barred kept me totally engrossed. I was all for the lustful attraction between Sardar and the Bangalan and then later the love stories of his sons. The colloquial sense did keep my senses awake and wanting more of everything. I came out a satisfied girl and went home high on the dialogues “hum shaadi shuda hain, jaanto ho na” and “permission liye the kya”. 

The week after i went for Kshay. With just one show playing, it was a lot of planning and getting the timing right with friends who were as keen. I was happy that we didn’t miss anything from the beginning because i loved the opening scene and then the film just gets better with it. The slow depiction of black and white engaged my visual senses amazingly well. The sub-urban house and how their lives fit into that structure plays with me. How Chhai takes on the role of lakshmi in her life is a steady movement and the growth of her obsession is bang on. Rasika has a lovely smile that plays on very well when she sees any of the lakshmi pictures, locket etc. I go through her life with her small smiles, her obsession, her frustration seamlessly. The narrative is perfect for me and the black and white innovation does do the trick for me. The screen plays slowly even for the story surging ahead and the games of the psyche become so clear that it starts to play with my mind. Obsession in its purest form comes through so fluidly that Alekh’s last two scenes are perfectly synchronized for me. I cringed a bit, got saddened at times but mostly was captured by the moving scenes of her  manifestation of the goddess in her life. The corroding is so real that i can almost relate to the obsession to some part or other of me at different times! The music reminds me of requim of a dream, but unlike that film this one does not leave me disturbed but feel obsession. 

I left the hall discussing with another watcher why the scenes about Alekh hallucination in the end fits in and all i said was “you got to relate to obsession and ones love for the other to understand why that scenes fit in.”


In this one year.

I am coming back to writing on my blog page after more than a year! That’s not too much of good but then again   i gave a lot to this past one year. I learnt a lot more, i traveled new places, i reconnected with myself. I do intend to write more often now, get the thoughts down in words, write more about things i see and more importantly i feel.

I learnt about myself that i truly can take on completely unknown new stuff. Right from the time i pursued law, i have been on with stuff totally unrelated to legal studies. Joining work that i loved seemed like the most natural thing to do. One year into work taking on something that is not my “core domain knowledge” taught me that i do actually have the innate capability to learn amazingly fast and become a knowledge holder. It translates into something very strong about myself- the fact that i can do new stuff every time i want to.

I traveled a lot during this past year. I did some really fun trips while i was in Delhi packing my bags and just heading out and lot of work trips. I learnt that i trust almost impromptu and as much as this can hurt it’s been a wonderful experience all this while. I traveled with people i “hardly knew” and went over to people i “hardly knew”. All the time its been wonderful experiences and so much fun. Trusting people is a cool thing to do, i learnt.

I transformed new friendships into long lasting relationships. As my first work place and a city i wasn’t too sure of, i met amazing new people and made friends. They have now become relationships for life and i learnt i am not that bad a person after all.

I learnt what office culture is about, how feelings and emotions are still a part of the cultural blood at small and socially driven organisations. I saw colleagues leave and learnt that corporate culture is very different from the socially driven organisations. I learnt that questions like “how are you driving a larger social agenda” become critical in the space i am working in. That these questions matter to every person who is a part of this movement.

I tried change. I experimented with change at a personal level, i moved out of the comfort zone i had set for myself and it did not work out perfect. I learnt a city grows on you and at the same time  you can come back to a familiar place like a perfect stranger! I realized distances become exponential and i can get lonely.

I met some really wonderful people along the way. I had moments and days of unexpected bliss and it helped me with my personal pain.

I fell in love and it broke a lot of my personal myths. I was of course also stupid and stupidly fearful of losing him and did not tell him enough how much he had become to me and did mange to lose him at the end. I am now waiting to fall out of the love i felt for this man. I also learnt i ain’t cut out for rebounds and that sex is totally over rated for me.

I started visiting my folks more often and realized they are getting older and i want more time with them even if it means spending most of it just convincing them why marriage is not my ultimate settling down plan.

I feared for my little brother more as he got into accidents and every time i learnt life really is that sensitive.

I saw a lot of close friends get married- arranged and love both. I saw the movement from apprehensions to acceptance of the idea to the pen ultimate question- why the hell am i doing this? I was a part of merriment, beautiful colors, grandeur and celebrations. I saw the pheras ceremony closely and it moved me- the vows that the two people take. I learnt that i am not there yet, mentally, to get into the institution.

I read some really interesting books. Stories that took me into a realm of characters and what we make of them. A lot of these stories made me want a home in the mountains and a baby.

I reconnected with friends i thought i had lost for life. But they walked right back in and its beautiful having them back.

I got a new tattoo and realized my threshold for pain somehow is a test for my mind as to how much i can really endure. Surprisingly its not so strong when it comes to the matters of the heart.

I lied at a lot of personal levels and am always hoping it doesn’t hurt me too much in the longer run.

I got truly inspired by the entrepreneur stories around me and have my own dream shaping up.

I put a closure on a chapter in my life and it feels good personally. I also learnt i will give it all up for a man i really fall for. I can hold my ground in my profession, nobody can challenge me there,but i will bow down to a mans will in my personal life.

The last one year has been an amazing roller coaster ride and such a rush. And now i want to get back to writing more.

Love Always Around Me!

Its interesting what BlogAdda and “Life is what you make it” have brought about on ‘Stages of Love’. Whats nice is what they say ” Because love isn’t only celebrated by partners after all. We are celebrating love at your adda. Share your love journey between you and your parents, siblings, friends, partner, kids and even pets!”

Love in my life grew right from the time i guess i saw how we were treated at home. My folks had a very typical eloped marriage. My dad being a fauji met my mom on one of his tenures in Dilli back in the summer of ’83. He was there in the HQ to get his posting orders, instead getting his posting cancelled so that he could stay on and woo my mom! He did manage that and what followed was a very typical bollywood saga. She being a punjaban wasnt accepted as the bahu and he being a kumaoni was not the ‘match’ my grandparents would have preferred. They eloped, got married and started a family with I being the first baby. Post marriage they fell into the usual family life pattern, it didnt matter to them that what one liked in the other and what they liked for each other! The kids became the centre of the universe and for him since he was growing up in his service his work was all he needed.
Interestingly they never told us that they belong to different parts of the country or that they have had a ‘love marriage’. For i and my little brother mom was always a kumaoni, although i was always curious how she spoke punjabi with her cousins etc. It was only when i turned 18 that my cousin told me the complete story! You can imagine my shock, excitement, bewilderment on discovering this!
The love between evolved as we grew up. As a kid i dont remember seeing my father too much at home and my mom was always too busy making us grow up as perfect kids! There love that time centered around what their kids become, what part of their lives they give to us. Once i had left home the moment i turned 18 and my brother followed two years later, they had time for themselves, for each other. I had always heard that testing times try your love for each other and that stands totally true for my folks. They fought, almost got a divorce and were so difficult that it amazed me! But then i saw a change in what they were becoming. My folks started doing little things for each other. It mattered to my mom that it was his birthday and she should get him something. It became important to my dad that if he is travelling somewhere he get her a little something.
I notice that there is that little something that keeps them bound together. They still find a lot of stuff annoying about each other, my mom still tells me at times ‘of all the gadhas written in my luck i find this one’. And yet they can never walk away from each other. Especially now when they don’t have the kids as their mission and have each other to be with completely. For me this is still the love story that i would want to have (yeah ok its a spot tied with DDLJ).

Love also means how i can be to people around me. My mom has been working with disabled children for over 3 years now and every time i see her with the little children, teaching the same thing every day and going back the next day knowing they don’t remember a thing amazes me! She come back home every evening knowing that the kids remember her fondly and goes back every morning that she has them around her. It given me the ability to see what unconditional love is all about. Just being able to give the kids those 5-6 hrs of un-matched happiness makes her smile throughout the day. This kind of love is what i believe i can imbibe in my life at every stage and take it forward.

Define “able body” for me will you?

Its been a while since i wrote here and yeah its been all about getting caught in the “new work new life” maze! There have been some topics in conversations, at work, just around me that i have wanted to put to paper but well just haven’t been doing that. So here goes after quite a break.
This one has got to do with my conversation the other day with my mother who works very closely with little children who are disabled. Now i don’t use the term with any solid ascription to the social usage, but being a legal person that’s the term that i have always used. She spends almost 5 hours with little children with various forms of disability and i do join her at her school when i go back home for vacations. She was talking to me the other day on how these children were growing up and how their chances at a normal life were so bleak.
I instantly related it to my work space where under the “Accessibility Initiative” we try to get more and more companies become sensitive towards this population. What was interesting is what my mother said and what the world perceives of disability. She said that ,”these children are just brought up with a mindset that there is just as much they can do and it’s we “able body people” who decide it”. It instantly made me relate to the way recruiters look at hiring from this segment of population. These individuals can or cannot do a job according to what we decide!
So bring whatever law you want, whatever you impose as reservations etc we will still have barriers. When these children don’t grow up believing that they are as much humans and capable as we are, how are we ever going to create an environment where they are accepted? Isn’t it time we accept the fact that we don’t deal with the problem right from its bud, we just want a superficial closure. If parents aren’t made to believe that every individual is able and has the right to a dignified life, then how will they bring up their children as resources of a nation?
Making an all-inclusive society needs redefining the terms not after the individual has been let into the big cruel world on his own but right from the time he/she takes birth. It’s pertinent to invest in mainstreaming these children right from childhood and then making them face the world. To redefine ‘able” is what we need to do to ensure that they live with as much dignity as anyone else.

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