There are at least two angles to everything. This blog is for everyone who'd like to see the other angle of everything. The Other Angle is generally radical, explicit, hurtful and raw; and you need not agree with it. But more than anything else, to me, it's Beautiful.
This was my second trip to Udaipur in the same year. When I went there in February, I had a little time at bay, me and a friend; we had decided to skip looking at the City Museum and, instead went to the old city.
And this time when I am back, I am even more intrigued with the same question I had left with, the previous time. What makes Udaipur so creative with its wall art, sign boards and those little things they do to stand out. Is it a part of the creative and colourful culture of Rajasthan? It has lakes, forts, and all the Royal palaces, for sure. But this is something I just could not ignore.
The immense machoism or coolness attached to staying up till late night or being night owls has always amused me. It may have started with a necessity: some college project, hostel habits, exams, an important office presentation; but when it ends up becoming a habit, it could drive you towards hell. Thousands of research studies with lakhs of samples prove that lack of proper sleep (7 to 8 hours) is unproductive and unhealthy, leading to risks of depression, accidents, and even deaths.
A study shows that moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments equivalent to those of alcohol intoxication. After 17 to 19 hours without sleep, performance was equivalent or worse than that of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. (via Huffington Post) Basically, the traffic guy should also ask you, ‘Have you had enough sleep?’ just like he asks, ‘Are you drunk?’
I was going to turn 24 last May. Just like I turned 25 this May. “23” was one hell of a year. It’s perhaps like that for a lot of people. There’s so much to do, so many expectations and somehow you always fall shot. It can get depressing, and everyone around you seems to be doing much better than you. Then “24” sets some imaginary benchmarks. Especially the society around you, who wishes you should have been married and pregnant with your first child until then. But luckily not my folks, they were instead worried that if I do not pursue post-graduation now, when will I do it? (about which I still haven’t decided anything) But somehow I heard it made me think that the clock was ticking, for all the important things that I’ve always wanted to do.
Like most of us, I had dreams of travelling (although I never put travelling as a hobby in my CV, for that matter, I never had a CV) and I thought I too will travel one day, when there’s stability and I have the time and the money. And then I thought what if I die before that time or money comes into my life? There are/were some really inspiring friends (on Facebook) who were travelling for their job, some travel as a part of their job and some just travel. I respect them so much. I did not have that luxury. I had my company, which is almost like having a baby. It is your first love and your responsibility. So I decided to find a midway out. Most of the times we wait for new year to set a resolution but I made one on my birthday, that 24 is going to be the year when I travel once a month, mostly weekends but at least once a month. I made the resolution first and then figured out the ‘how’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and with ‘whom’.
It’s been a full circle, one full year today and I’ve fulfilled my resolution. It’s not been easy.
There’s a thing about us Indians, our parents are literally called Gods and then secretly we start treating them as perfect human beings, people who can’t mistakes, ever. Especially, moms. For me Mum had to be someone perfect, always and I guess that’s why I always found more flaws in her. And so the more she pointed out things I could do better, the more I’d point out things that she should change. I kept thinking that she didn’t make an attempt of understanding me when I did the exact same thing to her.
1. Early embarrassments and more:
I remember myself usually dancing while walking on the streets, holding her hand and I guess, embarrassing her to death. I don’t know what the real matter with me was but dance was my thing and it was too much of a public embarrassment. On the top of that, I would keep humming or singing all the time. I don’t remember people watching me and laughing, they probably would have, who cared! But Mom would be embarrassed. Then I remember her being furious on me, a few times when I’d do really silly mistakes in Math or when I just wouldn’t get up from in front of the TV, just one day before exams. But that’s when it’s the most fun, right?
Then in my teens, I categorically remember embarrassing her once again. There were guests at home and there was this ‘Whisper’ ad on TV and I had asked out loud out of sheer curiosity, “What is a pad, Mumma? I remember her words, trying to cover up, “It’s not relevant for you right now.”
“But what is it!!!” I demanded an answer “Aartuuuuuuuuu” she tried to hush me. It is this tone of hers that has stayed like as if the final warning bell has rung; like a law has been broken or something. And then ‘Good girls don’t argue’, ‘wear some jewellery’, things I have always disappointed her at.
There’s always a dilemma, whether to beat him up or file an FIR. It will be really pessimistic not to have hopes with the police because they are the ones who are officially there to protect us. But then when we hear of stories of humiliation, harassments and even molestation by the police, it becomes difficult to decide what to do. I had made a personal choice last year of choosing to go to the police station to file an FIR.
One fine morning, I was standing at my balcony and this man from the neighboring society was on his terrace. His terrace is diagonally parallel to my balcony. 18 years that I’ve lived in the same surrounding, I’ve found him to be the weirdest of all. His is the most noisiest household and he is the one screaming all the time. As a principle, I’ve always stayed away.
So this morning when I was on call and I saw him come to the terrace, a sudden reflex was to go inside. I did. After a few minutes, doing ‘walk and talk’, I went back to the balcony. He was still standing there.
He was at his usual weird best, his tall yet elephant like body and he was only wearing a pair of shorts to adorn it. He stared at me, pretty much shamelessly, checked me out and made weird gestures. I won’t call it ‘unexpected’. Already agitated as I was, I decided not to leave the ground. After all, why should I leave? I was still on call.
There is nothing in the world that he ‘must not do’. There is no work that is low level and nothing hurts his ego. The male ego is an essential part of the quintessential Indian society. But to him, it’s an alien concept. Nothing bothers him. He is the only child of his widow mother and has seen the toughest possible times that a person his age ideally should have. His friends were busy buying toys and other things while he was helping his mom with home chores. When his friends were getting two wheelers, he would walk long roads for saving some tens or twenties. They’ve seen it all.
And so when you see him today, nothing like a monster called male ego, stops him from doing something. He would willingly sweep the floors when the maid isn’t around because his mother has a spine problem. He helps her learn different tricks of stock market and helps her file her IT returns. She also makes pickles and other delicious foods and boy, she has many buyers. She is otherwise a home-maker. He recently motivated her to learn how to operate computer, something that she wanted to do for years. He found a nearby computer center aimed for empowering women and got her registered there. She has joined it and looks like she will soon manage her own accounts. He has seen his mom struggle and bravely come out of difficult times. And that’s his idea about women in general. He knows anyone can do anything and no one is made to do a certain kind of thing.
Just yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a postcard from a dear friend wishing me Happy Birthday. The smell of the ink was still fresh, beautiful words written and he had posted it from the highest post-office of the world (Hikkim, Himachal Pradesh). Even though it came much after he came back from his vacation, it was overwhelming. It was a beautiful gesture and so special that it also brought back those memories of my childhood; the time I used to write letters. The smell of the ink, the feeling of holding a paper and penning down whatever there was within at that point of time. It’s just amazing to have received letters. It means someone has missed you just too much.
I remember I had started writing letters first (even before we were programmed to write those boring letters in school, which officially went on till college) when my beloved cousin sister and her family had shifted to Dubai. It is difficult to imagine what was my exact topic of elaboration would be at that point, considering there was nothing concrete happening in my life. I was just 12, I guess. Continue reading “Dear ……………: Inked Memories from the Past”→