Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Once upon a Time

It was Holi yesterday and it was worse than the Holi we had in Cardiff. In fact the one is Cardiff was very good; we at least played with water and we knew it was Holi. Yesterday only thing that made me realize it was holi was people with painted faces having fun on the road while I was trying to grab a quick cup of coffee (alone) at Coffee Day before going home. Few cousins and friends wished and rest skipped that too. While going back home I was cursing myself about how things have changed in my life. I think it’s more to do with growing up and getting busy. I got some random thoughts about the life I led not so long ago (may be until 5 years back).
You can call it Nostalgia, rants, cribs blah blah blah but since it is very difficult to find friends ready to listen to your rants these days I just wanted some place to put my thoughts. Happy reading!

Once upon a time
, holi meant colours whole day; in the water tank, on the faces, on the bed, stairs, walls, everywhere in the house. Drinking Thandai (without bhang of course) in the afternoon and sleeping the whole after noon. It used to take at least 3-4 days to get the colours off. My brother and I used to make sure we had lots of colours on us to show off at the school next day :-). As we grew up the focus shifted to eco friendly colours, gulaal and water. It was still fun but.
Now Holi is a regular working day. No colours and not even water. I just look at others and get happy. It’s just calling up home and wishing everyone and missing the good old days. Not a single useless soul like me to repeat the fun I used to have at holi. This goes for all the other festivals like Sankranti which is now just another holiday. No sight of kites. I don’t think I even remember how to fly a kite now.

Once upon a time
, Diwali meant fireworks till early morning, new clothes (not less than 4-5), sweets (including making them with Grand mom), decorating the home with flowers, lighting diyas (not less than 100).

Now, thankfully this is the only festival which still holds some importance (since I started celebrating it in Bangalore). I don’t make sweets but buy them, I do get new clothes but just 1 (spending dad's money was so effortless), I decorate the house but since it’s a 2BHK everything is proportional to the size of my house (including diyas and flowers):-) This year I got to burst some crackers too. And as always I wish Happy Diwali to a list of some 100 people.

Once upon a time
, summer holidays meant two months of fun with all the cousins. Getting up late, eating aamras daily (without worrying about the calories), lazing around, watching movies, sleeping on the terrace, and 1-2 outings may be. Christmas break at Cardiff was heaven.

Now there are no summer holidays. Only thing that is same is the scorching heat. I do try to eat aamras once or twice.

Once upon a time
, Rain meant running to the terrace and getting drenched till my aunt came scolding and then eating hot snacks after that.

Now it means negotiating with the auto guy to take some extra money and drop me home ASAP and worrying all the way if I left any window open and if water got into my home.

Once upon a time
, Sunday meant getting up late, eating idlis/dosas, watching TV and sleeping.

Now Sunday means getting up late(thankfully still), washing clothes, buying grocery, cleaning up the house etc etc etc. (“sometimes”, I do give everything a miss and laze around ;-))

(This one’s my favorite) Once upon a time, going home meant spending lots of time with my family and friends.

Now going home means, meeting my in laws’ friend’s daughter’s cousins, my uncle’s 2nd cousin’s brother, our old neighbor’s pet’s birthday, any random dinners(these are suddenly planned at the news of my arrival in Hyd), engagements, weddings of people I don’t know or don’t even wish to know. And finally, if there is sometime left I do say hi to my family and in-laws. Friends get to know about my trip after I come back to Bangalore.
Even after 5 years I am still searching for the source which broadcasts the news of my arrival in Hyd. Ok. Enough of digression now. Getting back to my once upon a time list.

Once upon a time,
the biggest tension in life was exams or waiting for results or getting permission to go out with friends.

Now it’s meeting the deadlines, managing home, paying bills on time, having money in account for EMIs, investing for savings, managing work life balance.

Once upon a time
, communicating with friends meant casually meeting up for no reason and chatting for hours about nothing.

Now some friends call only when they have work or if it’s an occasion. Rest of them are busy sulking like me somewhere.

Once upon a time
, I could eat all the junk food in the world (samosas, pizzas, icecreams, pavbhaji) for all the three meals of the day without putting on weight.

Now I put on weight with the smell and sight of junk food. I say no to every tasty food and try to eat sprouts, oats, and even Apples :-(

Once upon a time
, I used to think, when I earn lots of money I will celebrate all the festivals even better, meet my cousins more often, will do something good for my family and friends.

I neither celebrate the festivals nor do I meet my cousins and family or friends so often. I have realized that it’s not the money, it’s the good time I spent with my friends and family that I need to get back to.
I need to start growing up without growing old.

Once upon a time
, I used to write on some relevant topics.

Now I rant about my good and bad times.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Magic Baba

I did not know that my first blog in 2010 - a new decade, will be based on a superstition. But I found it really interesting and could not resist my temptation to write about this baba with magical powers. Let us call him magic baba from now on.

We Indians have Gods in proportion to our population. I don’t know the exact number but there are crores(33 i think) of Gods. But still we need more and depend on the mystical and magical babas who can heal anything and everything with just a touch. These babas can be found in every area and locality. If you want a demo of what all they can treat, try watching a local cable network for few minutes. There you will see a scroll of advertisements from these weirdly named babas who can treat anything from health, wealth, marriage issues to problems at work, visa problems, foreign tours, land disputes, everything under the sun and sometimes beyond it too.

I recently came across one such magic baba who can cure anything and everything. He specializes in curing everything you can think of - be it man or machine. What a specialized neuro surgeon could not achieve in years can be achieved by this baba in few days. This baba operates on the principal of energy transfer. He can transfer energy to machines and make them work (my husband wanted to get the DVD player repaired by him). You enter his healing center and you can sense a very strange environment. It’s a dark room with black paint on the walls. Room is filled with the so called holy smoke or the energy being emitted by the baba. He believes he has an aura around him which itself treats 50% of people’s problems. He is dressed in all black with long hair and a small skull hanging around his neck (skull gives an authentic look). He starts off by lighting small camphor balls and putting them in a plate of water and making them dance to his fingers’ tune. You are awestruck by now. Then he throws a dice to see if he can treat you. If you are lucky enough he will say yes and then proceed to give you the energy which will heal you in a matter of seconds. This is not a special case. You will find lots of such babas in India and more importantly you can see a queue outside their healing centers.

This made me believe that though the world does not know India as a land of elephants and snake charmers anymore but we Indians believe in magic still. We are in a new decade and India has scaled new height is scientific research and economic growth but still superstitions and science coexist in our society like in no other part of the world.

Do we have fewer Gods that we depend on such magic babas? There are educated people who follow these babas so blindly that they discontinue medication at the risk of seizures, high BP or even death to see the miracle of the treatment given by them. People do not go to doctors but prefer to get a quick fix at these babas. After all they are less expensive.

I have seen people getting so mad after these babas that they consult them even when they sneeze. How they cure or if they really cure is a mystery to me still. Surprisingly even educated people go to such babas to get their problems solved. It is good to have faith in a divine power but blind faith in such magic babas is beyond explanation. When we have so many Gods and Doctors who are not able to help us, how can these babas cure them?

Hope we use little common sense and learn to get rid of such superstitions. If these babas were really helpful no one in the world would be sick and we would be living in an ideal world. India would be the healthiest and wealthiest country in the world. All our problems would be solved by the energy these babas give. All the doctors, electricians, lawyers would merely be sitting idle as baba can take care of everything.

Belief in God is more important than believing in such magic babas. That will give you peace of mind and you will be able to solve your problems without the help of magic baba 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Divide and Rule? or United we Stand and Divided we Fall?

One freaking comment by some radical political journalist (that’s what he claims to be) made me write on issue which I love to hate. Separate Telangana state. Firstly, I ain’t no big political writer but I am a proud citizen of Andhra Pradesh so I can talk about it I guess :-).

Here is one small fact to being with. So far 5 times the state had Chief Ministers from Telangana region. What did they do for Telangana? Or rather why did they not do anything to uplift Telangana? Who stopped them from doing anything for their region? What special upliftment for Telangana will our beloved leader KCR bring about after getting a separate state of Telangana? He will shower all the wealth on Telangana? He will convert all the rocks in Telangana region to fertile land? I am not capable of deciding whether we should have a separate state or not.

All I want to tell is this is just a politicized issue. It is a secondary issue which can be dealt with after dealing with the primary issues India is facing.

Why no one agitates so much for basic needs of water, electricity and food for all. Why are all the farmer suicides not given as much importance as this issue? Any one and everyone is just reading up a bit and claiming that they have understanding of constitution and a separate state is required/not. Why can’t such people see the real problems and fight for them? They have the talent to read up and fight then please read up and fight for the real issues which once resolved will do good for India and its citizens.

Every big city is a cosmopolitan today with people from all over world living there. World is unifying and some people want to go back to history. Why open a Pandora’s Box (already opened) which will lead to unrest in the country. So many people have started agitations for separate states. Some people are even asking for a separate country status for Tamilnadu. Do we have fewer problems in India that we go to such issues? Why can’t we resolve the important issues first (for some people separate state is more important that food, electricity, water, education, poverty etc).

One more important thing is the way this issue is being dealt with. How has damaging public property done any good to any state? Can such people run a separate state? The state is losing hundreds of crores of money because of the frequent bandhs. Do they even realize that the daily wage workers or other poor people are the ones who lose the most in this? Why should the common man pay for the damages done for political interests? How can burning a bus, damaging petrol bunk, looting a shop get sympathy or even inclination from government to give them what they want? Tomorrow everyone will do that to get what they want. I can burn my cubicle to get a salary hike or promotion? The so called students (read political goons) don’t even deserve tiniest of sympathy for the damage they are doing.

Height is that they compare themselves to freedom fighters. How many buses did Gandhiji torch? How many shops did Subhash Chandra Bose or Sardar Patel vandalize to get freedom for India? How many famous Bandhs do you remember from Indian freedom struggle? None. How can they even compare themselves to great people who gave life for the freedom of country?

Each and every place has problems. There is no perfect state or country. The scale or magnitude could be different but this does not mean people should protest and destroy their own state. Is that what you call maturity? It is disgusting to see people committing suicide for issue like this. Why don’t people commit suicide when security of country is not taken care of? Why don’t they retaliate when a Kasab takes the country for a ride and changes his statements like dialogues from movies? China and Pakistan insult India when ever they feel like and people take it lying down but they are ever ready to fight among themselves. Why don’t people take to streets to hang Kasab who killed so many Indians? Don’t have the courage? Or will you wait for a separate state to fight for your country. Really, India doesn’t need any enemy. We ourselves are enough to fight each other and destroy the nation.

So called educated people are supporting such useless ways to fight secondary issues which will not affect the common man much. But yes, destroying public property and organizing bandhs of course will kill the state.

Can we grow up and fight food problems, climate change, terrorism and other major issues first and then think about dividing the nation or not.

I have only one message for all the people who are destroying my university (it really pains), city and state in the name of united Andhra or separate Telangana – you are all mentally sick. Get well soon mamu :-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Right To Information

Dedicated to all the pokey noses of the world

India is the so called one of ‘the’ oldest cultures in the world and it is also a developed nation now. We are the back office of the world and successfully earn good salaries and lead a comfortable lifestyle, eat pizza and continental food and substitute Gulab Jamun with Gelato. We eat out and party every weekend; we watch movies in multiplexes and holiday abroad. We have adapted many good things from the world but one thing that has not changed is our mindset. We poke our nose into anyone and everyone's life. And today this mindset got me so pissed of that I started typing this. How can you go to someone's home and get into their personal lives. Aarghhhh...Spare me Please. We don’t think twice before asking the most embarrassing or personal question. Why?

Gossip is our national time pass and we love to rip apart peoples’ lives in public whether the concerned person is around or not. That’s why it’s not a surprise that even for entertainment we get a heavy dose of gossip and drama through dozens of so called message oriented sitcoms.

Leave aside nagging relatives or neighbors even your co passengers in train or bus have this birth right to ask you personal questions. We all Indians are a one big family and some people take it literally and interfere in others' lives. People stop and lecture you about how to run your life. If there were a charge on speaking we Indians would be the highest payers.

People do not hesitate even once before asking questions. If you are young you are asked why you were talking to certain boy/girl, if you are earning this is the killer question they ask with 10 people around. What is your salary? How much is your take home? When are you getting married? If you are married you are not spared either, when are you giving good news (don’t get surprised if people ask you this question even at your reception), how much money you save every month? The list is endless. And don’t even imagine that you can get away by merely answering the question. The moment you answer the question you get free and unlimited advice on what you should be doing and how you should be doing it. People can have hours of conversation about some third person discussing their lives, decisions and family too.

But I have only one question or rather answer for such people who have RTI written all over their face. “Why the hell do you need to know?” Freedom of speech has a different meaning for such pokey noses. I am not dependent on them. I am not asking them for any financial or emotional assistance. I do not even expect them to sympathize with me then why should they know whatever I do with my life?

Why can’t we follow the live and let live principle? (I always thought this idea originated in India) What kind of happiness do you derive out of putting people in awkward situations? Can’t we have the basic etiquette in life? Which culture teaches people to declare that they are the best and what ever they do and think is right? Who has given people the right to ask others every wrong question in the world?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Once a Hyderabadi, Always a Hyderabadi

Note: You will enjoy the write up more if you are familiar with Hyderabad/hyderabadi Hindi.

My friend called me and said ‘ticket lene ko hona’ trying to make fun of the hyderabadi Hindi I talk in. It was then I realized the humor and personal touch in hyderabadi Hindi. Hyderabad is known for many things; Biryani, Pearls, bangles, IT etc but two things that stand out are the hyderabadi language and culture.

Talking about our culture, we are very laid back people. We love to do things with patience and we also love to boast about every small thing we do. We love our morning tea and the gossip that goes with it. Basically we love to talk. Anything and everything is talked about in detail. Every small thing calls for a party. Anyone who buys even a new set of clothes is asked ‘party kab hai’.

For every big or small thing we just say ‘light lo yaaro’ (take it easy) and we actually take things easy. Hyderabadis have this penchant to come up with killer, bollywood style dialogues even at the most mundane situations.

When we say ‘I will just come’, it can be 2 mins or 2 hours too :-). We have our own Hyderabad Standard Time which ranges from anywhere between 1-2 hours after the fixed time. For example, you call us for a wedding at 7 Pm we’ll be on time at 9 sharp :-). Never try to call us and ask where we have reached. The answer will always be ‘yahi paas me hoon abhi 5 min me aatu’ and we might have just started from home.

Another very common word we use is ‘Parso’. Actually this word means day before or day after but for us it can be day before, week before or even month before. Anyone who bought a new car 6 months back will say ‘parsoich liya car ye’ (I bought it day before).

Now comes our language. As we are laid back people we do not complete the sentences and give a personal touch to the language. Hyderabadi Hindi is a mixture of Urdu, Hindi, English, and Telugu. We do not complete the sentences in hyderabadi. It’s more personal and extremely informal. For example, if you want to ask someone where they are going you would say ‘kaha ja rahe ho’ in normal Hindi but in hyderabadi it would be ‘kaha jaare?’ It’s Simple. No extra words.

We say ‘hau’ for haan (yes), nakko for Na (No). We tend to change the pronunciation of words; especially English words. For example school is iskool, forms is faram. This applies to the names of the places too. Necklace road is naklis road, market is markit, and most common is ‘Amrica’ for America. Any one who comes from abroad has either come from Amrica or from foren.

Best is the way we mix English in our Hindi. We will not say tickets nahi hai; we’ll say ‘ticketa’ nahi hai. Just add ‘a’ to any English word and that’s English plurals in hyderabadi for you. Shirta (shirts), schoola (schools), phona (phones), busa (buses) roada (roads). Not only English, hyderabadi blends in all the languages.

There is lot of Telugu influence too on our language. You go to any primary school in Andhra Pradesh and you can see the kindergarten kids shouting loudly to Yell, Yem, Yen, Whoa. No it’s not the native language but they are practicing their ABC’s and the above example is pronunciation of the letters L, M, N, O. I still remember I had a manager (from a town in Andhra) who had a ‘Getz’ car and said I will sell this ‘getj’ and buy a ‘Benj’ (yes he meant Benz and Getz with a Z as in zoo but he always said ‘benj’ with j as in jug. He used to call himself a ‘no-lej-may-nay-jer’ (knowledge manager).

We hyderabadis love our Biryani, our language and our city. We love our spice and do not mind mixing pasta with mango pickle which ever part of world we are in. Do whatever; make fun of us, laugh at us, or just have a hearty laugh at our conversations; no one can change us. Once a Hyderabadi, always a Hyderabadi.

You have to live in Hyderabad and blend into its culture to understand the warmth of this place and its language. Once you have lived here you can identify a hyderabadi in any part of the world.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some Pursue Happiness. Others Create it :-)

I was going through the self help section at a book store recently. It had books on everything right from talking to strangers, feeling confident, making friends, and more than a dozen titles on being happy. Here’s my two cents on being happy.

Firstly, do we need a book to know how to be happy? Happiness is a feeling which comes from within. It cannot come by reading books. No one else in the world knows us better than ourselves. Only ‘We’ know what makes us the happiest. For some it is the latest gadget while for some it’s the best jewelery. Some people even get happy when they get the food they like while some others find happiness in success. Some of us get a thrill out of creative effort while some of us find happiness in our family or friends. It’s totally up to us to realize what makes us happy. Some people can earn Rs10 a day and sleep happily while others earning 10,000 a day might not be happy. It’s just our state of mind.

One thing common among all the people on earth is Pursuit of happiness. Someone rightly said “What we want from life is continuous and genuine happiness”. We all have only one motto in life - to be HAPPY. Some want to be successful to be happy, some want to be rich to be happy while some want to be famous to be happy.

Since childhood, we have known happiness as a conditional feeling. For example, as a kid, if you got a new toy you were happy. Slowly it graduated to good marks, good job, good pay, nice family….. We learnt to get happy on conditions. If I buy a new car I will be happy. If I can buy a new house I will be happy. Most of the times we relate happiness with things that have not happened.

We human beings have this common habit of forgetting the joys and remembering the bad times. We never ever think of being happy with what we have. I don’t say that we should not pursue success, money, fame or love. I just want us to remember the reason why we want success, money, fame or love. We always see happiness as something that will happen tomorrow. We forget to experience it today. The desperation, need or anxiety to achieve the means of happiness does not let us find happiness around us. There is no secret for happiness which we do not know or which a book can tell us. Everything is within us. We should learn to look inward for happiness. Care for people around you, try to make someone happy, and try to enjoy the life you have. Be grateful for what ever you have and you will be happy. Don’t relate happiness with future. It is in your present.

If you are already happy, your attitude towards your goals changes. You are more confident in your approach. Be happy that you have friends and family to share your sorrows. Be happy that you have not been struck by a calamity or tragedy. Be happy that you have a good home to live in and good food to eat.

Let us start being happy with ourselves first and other things will come on their own. Happiness does not need any investment. It just needs a mindset that we are happy. Being satisfied and happy gives you the feeling of joy and bliss which I guess is the ultimate aim of our every action. Let us not forget to be happy in this pursuit of happiness.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Impatience is the New Life

‘Impatience is the new life’ says a TV commercial. When you think about the life around, the phrase seems to be true. We the new generation are focused, practical, and more intelligent but we are more impatient and in tolerant. We want everything lightening fast. For us there is no tomorrow. We want everything right here right now.

To an extent, I would say it is good but we are losing the charm of enjoying life while running after everything in life. There is no time to enjoy the hard work we are putting into making our future secure and better. We look down upon people who were born few years before us as they struggle to catch up with the new world and new technologies. Our patience levels are so low that we get bored with things in days or in few hours too in some cases. We buy the latest music player or mobile phone today and get bored of it after a week. Change is the buzz word. We want everything bigger and better and we cannot wait for things to happen. We all are running after everything so much so that we do not want to stop and see if there is a better option available with a little patience and little thinking.

We do not want to wait at the traffic signals; we do not want to wait in the queues. We do not even wait for our salary (hail the credit cards, we can shop now and pay later) to buy what we want. Maps are a passé; we want GPS systems in our cars, phones, (may be in our minds too in sometime). We want everything at finger tips and at our call. We want bigger homes and better cars. We want the latest gadgets and the best holidays. This impatience has made us intolerable to a great extent. Our wants are growing at a faster pace than the availability of choices. Amidst this run for life, are we forgetting to be happy? Aren’t we becoming more frustrated with life?

We want to get happiness out of the virtual world. We have forgotten the beautiful planet we live on. We do not want to stop by and see the beauty around us, we do not look at the rainbows anymore (I wonder if the kids today even know what a rainbow is), we do not like to find faces in the clouds anymore, we have forgotten how fresh breeze feels as we work in AC offices and commute in AC transport. We meet our friends on Face book. We change our jobs like our clothes. We have stopped putting efforts to solve things or to get out of situations. Anything that stops our speed has to be chucked out of life. We have started walking in and out of marriages like we walk in and out of stores. We do not want to understand and adjust. We do not want to give second chance to anything. We have forgotten that we human beings have the privilege of expressing ourselves, being creative and enjoying life. Lot of options does not mean running after or accumulating everything available to make life better. We are trying to change our lives as we change the channels on the TV.

We are always in a hurry. I don’t know if it is good or bad to have things at your call but it sure is taking away the excitement of things we used to enjoy as kids. Life is becoming a struggle between keeping our weights down and spirits up. We talk more to people on face book than to people around us. Everything and everyone is just a click away but yet we are not content. We are not happy with anything in life. We first yearn for everything and then want to run away from it. The contentment we had as kids is missing in our fast paced, impatient lives.

Once upon a time when life was simpler we had the luxury of coming home from school and heading out to play for hours. We would wait for 6 days to watch Mickey Mouse on Sunday mornings, we used to call up our friends or meet them to talk to them. There were no social networking sites but we still bonded with friends. Once upon a time when life was good we would wait for festivals like Diwali to eat special food prepared by our moms, we used to wait for summer holidays to play out whole day. Once upon a time we actually used to live life and not exist.

Today the games we play are on computers, we can watch the programmes we want on the 50+ channels available 24x7. There is no need for us to wait for special occasions to eat special sweets or food. All that is just a phone call away. Our impatience and the need to have things when we demand has changed our lives completely and today we just exist running after everything we see. Whether we need that or not does not matter. We have everything but we are not happy with anything. Has the availability of money, technology come at a cost of our happiness? Is that the cause of our impatience?