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Top 10 2015

The only blogging community I follow is CBC on Facebook and this morning I read a post from an admin that inactive members will be removed. I qualify. I didn’t even remember my wordpress password, thank god for auto save options in the browser.

My blog had been predominantly personal when I started writing. Over a period, I got confused about what I should share and what I shouldn’t. A lot of my online reading revolved around content on world news, comics, business, politics – topics too boring for this blog. I took to Quora and scribbled on some topics. But it’s been a lukewarm writing year.

Ok, so here are my top 10 events of 2015. Some public events that got me to think, some events that took me by surprise, some that meant personal progress to me. Also a word of caution that some of these personal takeaways can be preachy, not the intent at all.

  1. Roberta DiVinci winning the US Open Semi-finals: I know just about enough Tennis to know that Serena Williams is the most dominant athlete in the world of Women Tennis. I hadn’t even heard of Roberta till that game. It made me realize that setbacks happen to the invincible. And even if the chances are 300-1, it’s worth it to give it a shot.  Borrowed this below picture from J.K Rowling’s response to a sexist tweet. SWill
  2. The Vidyas respond to a post that went viral for the wrong reason: The girls duo posted something on Facebook which went viral overnight because their hashtag can be misconstrued to a cuss word in Tamil. I ignored the whatsapp message like most others I came across, but their response was so powerful that it moved me. It made me realize how hurtful our society can be without intending to be and how to rise above this. The post can be found here. This event made me pause for a second before mindlessly sharing this on the internet. Speaking of internet and sharing, it continued to bother me through the year on how most of us jump the gun without taking a minute to read up about the issue in detail. Free internet, Modi’s travel, Aamir Khan wanting to flee India, that girl in the traffic signal who took to Facebook, juvenile justice. Vid
  3. AR. Rahman concert in Chicago:  A dream of 10 years come true for me. This was part of the intimate concert where ARR did a 20-odd day tour across the USA. An evening of goosebumps. That twinge in stomach when he was introduced the first time on stage. The exhilaration of “chinna chinna aasai”. Here’s to another year of ARR lifting my spirits. Agar tum saath ho is my pick from this year. ARR
  4. Danish Officer playing with the Syrian Girl: This picture was the speck of my hope amidst all the tragic reports and articles regarding refugees from the Syrian civil war. It is gut-wrenching to read about 4 million people and countless children fleeing a country, not being able to withstand the violence and brutality.  Amidst moments of absolute despair, this picture defined humanity to me. To borrow words from J.R.R.Tolkien ““The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
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  5. Poetry and Maya Angelou: In the second half of the year, I made effort to read poetry. It all started when a friend introduced me to a quote from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. Before I knew it, I got sucked into the world of poems. The poets pour their life into 4 stanzas and it felt magical. I stumbled upon the “Caged bird” one such afternoon. Unstructured poem by Maya Angelou. I didn’t know who Maya was. The poem was deeply stirring, the words were so profound that I couldn’t help wondering what she must have gone through to write like that. I read about her and got to read some of her other work. She has been my biggest source of inspiration this year. If you want to read some of her poems, you could click hereMaya A
  6. Kakka Muttai:  It feels good to see movies different from the conventional commercial genre doing well at the box office. Thani oruvan, the masterpiece from an underdog director caught most of us by surprise. But kakka muttai’s charm moved me. It’s the simple story of 2 boys aspiring to eat a pizza and it touches the subjects of poverty and differentiation based on class. The innocence, the cheeky grin and the humor of the lead boy actors neatly camouflages the sadness cringe that would’ve otherwise engulfed the viewers.  I still can’t get over the scene where the paatti makes dosa-pizza and the one where the boys trying to sell their dog. Do give it a watch if you haven’t already 🙂
    kakka muttai
  7. Chennai Floods and the rise of a city: 3 days when I felt completely helpless for not being home. When I saw everyone around desperately doing every bit that they can to help fellow residents. When technology proved how wonderful it is to live in today’s world. When I witnessed the city rise above the disaster. When random strangers in the States asked me if I knew the area and if my family was safe. This was the time to read inspiring articles about everyday heroes- the milk lady, the auto guy, that friend on FB timeline. The spirit of Chennai is what makes the city what it is 🙂chennai.jpg
  8. Yellowstone National Park and Travel: The best 4 days of the year. Beautiful meadows. Hot water springs. Bears crossing the road. Spotting wolves. Moderate treks. The not-so-comfortable camping. Surreal trip. I can see the rainbow on the waterfall at artistic point if I close my eyes now. Very travel-heavy year non-work-wise too. The buildings of Chicago, coffee at Seattle, breathtaking Acadia, Hollywood walk of fame, the rides at Stratosphere in Vegas, the random night-out in NYC, pacific coast highway drive with the best friend in San Fransisco, madness at New Orleans.
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  9. Firsts: So many first-time things and experiences – Laser tag, Foosball, trying to jump off a boat in a lake, dobash cake, platinum status on an airline, Que sara sara, Jenis ice cream, a really stupid James Bond movie, taking interviews at Wharton, seeing dolphins, solo movie(s), play-duh, wasting hours on kitchen scramble, reverse parking, teaching my niece to ride a bike, Disney on ice, six flags.
    Firsts.PNG
  10. Reserving this spot for all non-bloggable events that happened. Some that made me feel on top of the world, some that I wished didn’t happen, those introspective drives and sunsets, the road-trip to San Diego.
    Here’s to a brilliant year ahead. Happy new year everyone 🙂

 

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Vogue and the drama around

I feel deeply hurt by all the people who voice against the Vogue video featuring Deepika Padukone. I was appalled when someone wrote that she was endorsing criminal activities. I couldn’t care less if it were Deepika or anybody else. A “choice” means an option, one that you choose at your own free will. And all the things said in the video are choices that you and I have. Choices applicable to both a man and a woman alike. Some of the choices are immoral, unethical and the like, but they are choices after all.

We all face choices in life. Some are right, some wrong, some seem right, some seem wrong. But it is an everyday thing. Copying in an exam, falling sick at work, speeding, gossiping – all these things are immoral, or at the very least not right and a lot of us have indulged in these. The whole crux of the video is that on a number of cases when a woman makes a poor choice, the consequences are more severe than if the choice were made by a man. You can’t deny that. If you belong to that few who vehemently oppose this claim, and say you have always been fair, we need you in this world. But please use this instance to take note that however unfortunate, millions of people unlike you exist today in this world.

No kids? Blame the woman. Kids aren’t well behaved? Blame the woman. Raped? Oh, it must be her fault. Been ogled at a public place? Oh, what did you wear. Standing in a group in the road? Behave like a girl. And these are not exaggerated. These are small things. Things that have happened at my home, and in the lives of my friends. To have sex before marriage, out of marriage or whatever she said on those lines – I fail to understand what is so gross in that statement. It is again a choice, a choice that you and I are presented with. It is up to us to choose wisely.

The only thing that irked me a little was this monologue seemed to be directed at the male fraternity. Though there is no explicit mention of the same. To me, this is directed at everyone, man or woman, who make lives difficult to live for the women of today or tomorrow.

I consider the video an effort to create awareness about gender equality. I am glad that the people who decided to make the video decided to spend the time and effort for a noble cause. They could have made a better job of conveying the whole point better – that there is just right and wrong, and that it shouldn’t depend on whether or not you have a vagina. That, my friends, is the whole point.

p.s: I know I had a choice to shut up and live with it. But I was bored, hungry and angry.

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Disclaimer: Any reference to a living person, a dog, people whose name start with “S” are purely deliberately co-incidental.

1. They are married already: Take a step back, and think why you want to get married. The need for someone to cheer you up when you feel down, to keep you company, to feel content, to experience unconditional love, to distract you from everything else in life etc. Football does it for them. All of this. Read that again and check. Except orgasms may be, or maybe not.

2. You are going to honeymoon in Europe: Wait, wait, Europe is beautiful and all of that. But the real reason is Camp Nou, Bernabeu and all of that. If you understood what these mean, take this as an early warning. I am hoping to see the Big Ben, if you know what I mean.

3. You have to wake up to foul words in the middle of the night: These games are at ungodly hours every time. And no football fan watches the game in silence, even if they are watching alone. There’s oohs and aahs, and the expletives and SO MUCH DRAMA. They don’t even realize that it is the “aww” equivalent of irritation.

4. On those days when you try to be nice: Well, there are times when you feel “What the heck, let me give him some company”, and watch the game. But no, they have a zillion whatsapp and facebook groups to attend to. Even if you put up with that and think he would focus on you after the game, you are in for a big disappointment. There are pages he would have subscribed to for after-game analysis, comments etc. Switch off the internet connection, I tell you.

5. These female football followers/viewers are hot: Enough said!

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Before YOU

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Pining for what I knew not
Making merry but for the lone moments I felt lost
Searching for a definition, a meaning to my life
Passing days with the never ending strife.

Pendulum, sine and seesaw
Was all that the paper saw me draw
Tired of thinking what was wrong
Immersed in a melancholy song.

– Along came the bundle of my blessings

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Of scented memories

I have not thought of how many memories I associate to the sense of smell until I came across the “Smelly to smiley” event in the Indiblogger page. Reminiscing has only made me a feel an inch closer to home and has made me feel refreshed on an otherwise dull Monday morning.

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– “Sambar le perungaayam thuli kammiyaa irukkare madhiri irukke” (The Aesophetida in Sambar seems to be a little less) Appa used to scream from the bathroom right after his shower. I have always been mesmerized at how he sniffs even the slight ingredient mess ups and my heart goes to Amma on how she would have managed it all through. Even after eating, I would just not know the difference until recently

– There was this one time that the milk overflew from the container when I was careless and with the fear of getting caught by Amma, I changed the utensil and cleaned the entire place and was well prepared to be at my high-spirited self when I heard the sound of her anklet outside the door. She found out the minute she stepped in

– And oh, how can I forget this. Once my darling little brother cut his fingers with an Axa blade, when he was clearly instructed to not touch it. Despite the oozing blood, he cleaned the stains and hid himself in the terrace for the fear of being caught. It was just a matter of minutes until my family just smelt it

– In a lab examination that you had to do it with a partner and when I was at my lazy best because I had the smartest kid in the class assigned in my team, a whiff of alcohol indicating a bad hangover was all that it required to let me know how my day was going to turn out to be

– I always smell my birthday candles first before making a wish. Involuntary, I say

– The number of days that I slept alongside Thatha (Grand pa) during the end of his days, and it would almost feel as if the smell of being sick were another person in the room. It would follow him everywhere like the shadow. Morning walks, terrace talks, barber shop, everywhere

– The smell of new books and old books. The first thing that I do when I take a new book is to smell. I do not like sharing my new books to even the best of friends because I almost feel possessive about the smell of the new book. Books that I have at home and that I have not touched for a while get reopened during those times when I feel like smelling the old books. Both the feelings are beyond words, and I am not going to explain further. Hi-five if you belong to the same awesome species as I am

– I love the way S smells. It’s almost as if everybody smells like X + Y at all times. X is your original smell and Y is whatever that gets added on to it. Y could be bath, deodorant, perfume, scents that get clung to clothes, anything. Love could be blind, but certainly has a nose

– Crackers to me are as much about smell as they are about sound. I love the way the place smells during Diwali. I can figure out from smelling the street if it had been a 500 or a 1000 walas, if you know what I mean

– Petrol, Corriander, rains, beaches, shoe polish, lemons, coffee, sticking gum, smell of the desk on the first day of school, fresh paint, summer, mangoes, homams, vatha kuzhambu and puliyodhre, Agarbathis – grinning at the very thought of these

– With amma working in a bank, I would always get freshly printed notes for pocket money. And boy, I love the smell. I have once given Rs. 20 extra to my brother in exchange for a fresh note. I had been a naïve kid

– My dad used to buy Agarbathis from a physically challenged young man near his office every week. They did not smell half as good as the ones that you get in the market. Amma would light them nevertheless and in those times, I learnt what a good deed smells like. I had always been touched that my parents struggled so much to bring A and I up, and even in tough times always did whatever they could to help kids like us. I have always been proud of them

– I studied in a school that had no fans and lights for my classes 11 and 12. Imagine 60 of us sitting in the class in Indian summer without fans, and of course add to it PT classes. The class always had a peculiar smell that I distinctly recollect. Those were such wonderful times and the smell makes me relive those moments in school – chemistry classes, canteens, diary milk, last bench

– Cows and NIT Trichy – Being surrounded by cows that eat our assignments, my college and especially Opal, the girls’ hostel had inherited a scent that is unparalleled. Four years, the cows and the scent of juicy (as our juice shop was fondly called) went on to define my life. The aroma of the PBM from dhabas right outside our campus, the freshness of the CLC lawn have ingrained in me memories that would last a lifetime

– The smell of pizzas in the last year that made me count the number of days left to go back home, the smell of dharu and sutta in parties, the garam masala in anything and everything we prepare, free perfume samples from websites, the amazing food the two of my best friends prepare after a hungry day, the smell of the cricket bat and ball, the smell of alcohol and the dramas that follow, the smell of the enterprise car and the numerous last-minute outings, the smell of Starbucks coffee in classrooms, the Florida beaches, Maggi and pop-corn was my last year

– Last but not the least, scents remind of me people. The smell of gel pens remind me of Niv, post-its remind me of my roommate, the scent of warm blankets remind me of Lux, lollipops remind me of mad, chocolates of pup, erasers of pav and I could just go on and on

P.s: Had no idea until today that there were a zillion things in the world that I relate to because of smell and I feel more humbled when I learn that there are things that I have taken for granted when I shouldn’t have.

P.p.s: https://www.facebook.com/ambipur

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I was seeing Raanjhanaa today, and I felt disgusted every time Dhanush cuts his hand because of so-called depression points. I only feel repelled when movies portray such acts. People get influenced that one could go to any extent to convince someone of the opposite sex, and that cutting oneself with a blade is a solution.

It is a lose argument, I know. You could argue the same for item numbers and other such stuff that gets portrayed in Indian movies. *close your ears* – To me those are, erm, progressive. They push people towards being indifferent and move them an inch towards being open-minded. You can PM/Whatsapp to fight about this.

But these blade cutting scenes take the audience to twenty years back.

Seriously, duh.

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I was going through the blog of someone who I had been close to earlier (the entries that kind of reflect those fights that you had, the sad moments you shared, things that you didn’t have the guts to look up to the person and say, you get the picture right?).

I was surprised that I hardly remember anything. :-/ I mean, the only thing I know now was that at each of those instances I thought it was the end of the world, and here, today, nothing really matters.

Even when S and I fight, he recollects much of it at a later stage. I would know nothing. I think am blessed with this weird “forget-the-crap-in-your-head” charm. But it’s so cool right?

No hard feelings, truly 😀

p.s: At times, it is spooky, but who really cares?

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