Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dukhi Aatma - Me.

I am sad. Well, not really sad, but uneasy ... about a lot of things. Most of which I can't put my finger on. It's just a bad feeling. Actually, I can list most of them out ... just so much seems to be making me unhappy - not unhappy, just ... bothered ... in a weird way; not bothered as in "he is bothering me", but bothered as in "too many things to think about and I can't seem to streamline my thoughts" kinds - and while it usually helps to verbalize my thoughts at such times, none of the people whom I find as interesting as myself are available at the moment, so this seems to be the next best option.

The only thing that's constant is change, said some person who clearly had enough time to come up with such random one liners. A number of things have changed in the last few days, and yet so much more needs to. I've been thrown out of my comfort zone, which is being rather distressing, and I still want to get out of my comfort zone, which is not happening as fast as I would like it to. Ufff ... even my thoughts are going all over the place. I could list out all the things that are good in my life, and yes ... I know that almost everything is ... I really am leading a rather blessed life - touch wood - but this post is not meant to list that stuff out. I think it might help to write down the things that are making me write this in the first place ...

I only truly care for about a handful of people. And when two of them are going through a rough patch in their lives, and I can't do anything for them but talk to them every now and then, it depresses the hell out of me. It's at times like these that I feel there really isn't any point to anything. But all I can do is be there if they need me, and pray for them. At least I can meet one of them if needed - it doesn't really solve anything, but I guess one does what one can. A lot of times, when I would be having fun with some people, I'd think about one of them and get depressed ... well, not depressed, but sad ... at the thought of people I like so much having to face such tough situations. Most of what I am thinking about pales in comparison to what my friends, and so many other people, are going through.

I just moved to a new place. It isn't as nice as where I was living, neither in terms of the house nor in terms of the area. I'm not saying the apartment is not nice ... it's just not the same as the previous one. Of course, I am saving some money on the rent, but right now, I absolutely hate sitting in my apartment. It's just been two days since I moved, luckily with the same flat mate, and I've only just managed to unpack everything (by the way, I have too much worthless crap that should be thrown out), but the house is extremely depressing. I know the main reason is that it isn't well lit ... and we haven’t had the time to get more lights ... but the whole moving thing seems to have messed with my comfort zone a great deal. I had been living in my previous apartment for over a year and half, and I guess had gotten quite used to the place. Right now, I hate even stepping into the kitchen ... it's significantly smaller than the earlier one, but it has all these brand new appliances ... but somehow, I just can't get myself to stay in there for more than two minutes. The new place is nice ... the room is all set up the way I want it ... but something about the place makes me want to run away. I guess I'll just have to wait and get used to it.

I've also been thinking about where life is going. On a number of fronts. I have been quite busy at work, not only with work work, but also with a number of extra curricular activities ... or at least I was ... till about two weeks ago. It is possible that I've become restless because I don't have anything besides work keeping me busy nowadays. I tend to get that way if my days are not completely jam packed. Well, work itself is going superbly ... the boss is happy, work is interesting, lots of new projects have come my way ... so no problems there. But when I think of the future ... my professional future ... it all seems to become quite hazy. And that wasn't the case. I was quite certain of what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it. For some reason, it's all become quite fuzzy now. Guess it's because there are lots of options ... and I haven't done the necessary groundwork to sort it all out. For some reason, I simply can't find the motivation to get started. Perhaps writing stuff here will help.

Then there is the personal front. As vain as this feels even as I type it out, I am quite unhappy with my appearance. First, the fuckin haircut ... I seriously don’t know what came over me. Its taking absolutely forever to grow back ... and to make things worse, my idiotic face seems to have decided to break out into random rashes every other day. I've never had to really "care" for my skin, and I am so not ready to start doing any thing special now. Wash my face more often, perhaps ? Another thing that’s been bugging me is the lack of motivation to diet and exercise. Thankfully, I still haven’t turned into a blimp, but I really could do with losing about 10 pounds ... coz I know it would make me happy. Plus my back, which is starting to hurt once again, would feel a lot better. I know that there are no shortcuts and that I need to put in the work ... and yet, just like doing the research on the professional side, I just can’t seem to get started.

No wonder then, that I'm single. Though thankfully, this is the one area which does not bother me in the least. Ok ... that’s not entirely true. I guess I'm still happy being single, but I recently found out that someone I used to like a lot at one point of time kinda likes me now ... but there are too many things which will make it not work out now. Plus I have a crush on someone else, which is not going anywhere in any case. Ugh ... such horrible timing all around.

I know that except for the first one, none of these things are really significant. I didn’t say they were, but they’re things that have been going on in my messed up head for some time now. Did putting it down here help ? I don't really know ... but it's at least better than trying to streamline them in my head. God knows there is enough junk up there as it is.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The truth shall be told

The last two strands of hair on a bald man's head got married, but were promptly arrested. Kyu ?
Kyu ki baal-vivaah jurm hai !!

So there I was, enjoying the amazing San Diego breeze on a great Saturday morning, all enthu about going to the beach party later in the day, when I happened to glance at myself in the side view mirror, decided I did not like my hair any more, and went and got a proper mundu-type buzz cut, which, of course, I absolutely love-d, which is kinda obvious seeing that this was not the first time I had got it done on an impulse, the previous two times also having happened as I saw my reflection in a mirror, but I seemed to have forgotten, yet again, the fact that while the cut looks really nice (or so I feel) when it's just done, it looks absolutely horrible two weeks down the line, by which time it is too bloody late to do anything about it, except wear a cap or a bandana, both of which I do not do, or wait the three to four months it takes for my hair to grow back to its normal length.

Before I move on, I award myself a pat on the back for writing the longest sentence I have ever written.

So long sentence short, I got a horrible hair cut and now look like a chutiya.

Naturally, my "friends" have spared no expense in letting me know what they think, with me being called everything from a sex offender to Dilip Kumar in Padosan to a mundu to a bhikari to some of them just making rather disgusted faces while looking at me.

And here is a list of excuses answers I have given to the quintessential question - Why ?

* I think I look nice ... (Even I have stopped believing this)
* I decided to be celibate for the next few months and didn't know how else to do it
* I didn't tip the hairdresser enough last time
* Why not ?
* I got drafted
* The look's making a comeback ... and as always, I am way ahead of everyone else regarding trends
* Huh ?? What happened ?
* It's another tactic I'm using to get attention
* San Diego had a heat wave coming and I wanted to be prepared
* I was making sure my hairline was all right

All said and done, the real reason really was that I looked into the mirror and decided I didn't want my hair any longer. I know ... I'm working on it ... appointments two times a week. He's expensive, but came highly recommended. Plus the couch is really comformtable.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Matter of Perspective

Her diary

My faith in humankind has been restored. A few hours ago, I was running horribly late for the party I was planning for my boyfriend ... he returned from the Netherlands after 3 months, and it was almost 7 pm and I hadn't gotten any thing going. There I was, flustered out of my wits at the grocery store, urging the stupid cashier woman to move faster, and once I was out the door (after what seemed like ages!!), my bags split open and everything spilled all over the place. Not one person stopped to help, even though I was on the verge of tears, and then, as I was frantically trying to pick everything up, this man started to help me. John. His name was John. He ran into the store, got me some new bags, helped put everything in them, and then walked me to my car - since it was quite dark outside, and the parking lot was quite deserted. Such a gentleman! But as luck would have it, my car had a flat tire. I swear, dear diary, I would have absolutely lost it had he not offered to fix it. I tried to pay him, but he simply refused - saying that a good gesture would then be tainted. I really wanted to thank him, so I invited him over for the party. He refused on account of feeling out of place, especially since he was new in town. I told him that this would be the perfect opportunity for him to meet my boyfriend and our friends, and get to know more people. He seemed very shy, so I gave him my number, and asked him to call in case he felt like coming. He did call, an hour or so later, and informed me that his mother had taken ill, so he'd need to stay home and take care of her. My word ... I didn't think they made guys like him any more! Well, we decided to meet up another time ... and I really am looking forward to it.

His diary

I should have moved faster. Jessica, 24, white female, blonde hair, blue eyes - just how I like them. I never realized that man she hangs out with would return so soon. This could get harder now ... though it will be more fun as well. After five months of following her, I felt today would have been the perfect opportunity. Slashing her car tire seemed like a good enough move, but then her bags broke as she was getting out of the store, and I couldn't risk someone else coming near the car. Luckily, people here are too selfish, and no one bothered to help. Perfect. Just perfect. I walked her to her car, but too many people had seen us together outside the store, so I changed her tire and let her go. Spoilt little bitch ... can't even change a goddamn tire. She invited me for her party, but I got out of it using the standard mother excuse. I'm sure that must have just melted her innocent little heart. Haa! She gave me her phone number. Doesn't she realize I could probably give her more of her personal history than her own mother. Well, we decided to meet up another time ... and I really am looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

King of the Castle

He awoke with a start. That sound, he thought, does not belong to my house. Staying in the mansion for so many years had made him familiar with the creak of every floorboard, the squeak of every hinge. What an inopportune time for the butler to have gone to his village, he said to himself. Wait ... there it was again ... someone was moving about on the ground floor. But, but ... there was no one else in the house but him ... or at least, there wasn't supposed to be. He recalled locking all the doors and windows. Suddenly, he felt a chill run down his spine ... the previous owner had said that the house was haunted ... a murder had been committed at one point of time. Could it be?, he muttered under his breath, and immediately checked himself. This was no time to be foolish. This was his house - and he - J.J.McGinley, would protect it at all costs.

He crept out of bed, and tip toed to the bedroom door, pulling it open just enough to be able to peek out. He heard foot steps, quite distinct - he was certainly not imagining things. He took a deep breath, opened the door further, and tried to listen more closely. Silence. He waited ... could it have been a dream ? No, no ... there it was again ... someone had just opened the main door. He walked to the banister, and peered down, just in time to catch a glimpse of a slim figure walking out. A woman ? His heart filled with courage (or stupidity, perhaps?), and he decided to follow at a safe distance. He raced down the stairs, making sure not to step too heavily; and peered out the main door. Yes, there she was ... definitely a feminine figure ... hurrying off towards the west side of the mansion. The west side ? Wait a minute ... isn't that where the cemetery was ? He felt sweat trickling down his cheek once more. Come now, he told himself, enough with this rubbish about ghosts ... let's see what this woman was doing in my house. And he followed, maintaining a safe distance.

After about twenty minutes, he saw her sitting on her knees, her head bowed to the ground, her body shaking gently. Deciding to confront her, he moved towards the woman. Excuse me, but what the hell were you doing in my house at this time of the night, he bellowed; standing right behind her. She didn't respond. He was about to reach out and shake her, when his eyes saw the tombstone she was in front of ...

To my daddy, J.J.McGinley, taken away far before his time by the bullet of a madman. I'll always miss you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The mandatory ID post

I logged on to Orkut this morning. Seven messages, all saying "Happy Independence Day".

I choked back a tear, as I marveled at how my friends remembered to wish me on this monumental occasion, even though I was so far away from my motherland. They knew that I would be missing the feeling of nostalgia that comes from being an Indian, specially on August 15th. They made it a point to include me in their feeling of oneness, I could see. Now here are people who are truly patriotic, I thought.

Ok ... now the truth.

Ugh ... jobless fools, I said to myself, and deleted them (the messages, not the people ... this isn't Minority Report, you know).

But then, as I was in the middle of my shower (which is where most of my pondering-type thoughts come to me), a thought came to me, and I pondered ...

Why was this just another day to me ? Why hadn't I gotten up all excited, as I do on Holi, or any day when I'm going to head to Le Peep for breakfast ? Why hadn't I felt a sense of pride that this was the day, sixty years ago, when we were finally able to call ourselves a free nation ? Is it because, for me, the meaning of Independence Day has changed as I've grown up ? My eyes glazed over, I heard one of those tnn nnn nnn tunes which signify a flashback in Hindi movies, and ...

I was all of 5, or 6, and was bugging mom to make me a flag ... well, not turn me into a flag ... but to make a flag for me, which I would take to school the next day, and wave it around with all my friends, while the principal talked about how we had gained independence and all that. Such fun!

I then turned older, in the 9th or so, and ID reduced to being a holiday to look forward to ... a day off from school, a day to do nothing but laze around, and perhaps watch ten minutes or so of the Prime Minister's speech to the nation, before switching the channel to watch cartoons. Errr, yes, cartoons ... I still watch them. The day would hold even more meaning if it fell on a Friday, or a Monday. The only time I was not happy about having an I-day was when I had to mug up a Sanskrit essay (one out of the six I did) about it for the board exams. I eventually wrote on Gandhi.

And suddenly I was in college, sleeping in the hostel, while "aa baithi muniya halwaiyaa dukaniya" or some such number blared out of someone's boombox. The alarm rang ... 7 am ... I turned it off, and went back to bed, while the enthu cutlets (and the first years - no choice for them, you see) got ready to go to the admin building and sing Jana Gana Mana, and get a peda. I heard someone scuffling about in the room, and opened an eye ... there was Pops, all set to go - clearly for the sweets and not the anthem. Oye pops, I said to him, mere liye bhi ek do le aaiyo yaar. Bhaag Bho****, I heard him say, as I dozed off once more.

The door banging shut as the flatmate left for work brought me back to the present. The present - just another Wednesday - middle of the week, two more days to go. I got dressed, watched 10 minutes of the morning news as I ate my cereal, and drove to work - to deal with more SRAM issues. Saw the expected five or six mails on the Indian mailing list, with links to inspirational articles about our struggle for freedom - flagged them (green) for reading at a later date.

I then decided to ask myself some questions ...

- Have I stopped identifying myself as an Indian ?
What rubbish. Not in the least.

- Then why is the 4th of July more important than the 15th of August ?
Because I'm in America now, and get a holiday on that day.

- Hmm ... so should I do something "Indian" ?
Well, no more today than any other day. I do enough Indian stuff as it is. Plus why should today be the day ? It's the same as my being against not eating meat on one day of the week - how does a chicken become more holy on just one day ??

- Wait, have I become jaded, or just stopped caring ?
A little of the former, perhaps. But then, would I really have done something "special" had I been in India ? No, most likely not.

- So what did the people who probably sent a happy ID message to everyone on their mailing list want to achieve ?
Nothing, perhaps - it was a wish they were passing on. Stop thinking it has to have a deeper meaning, and get back to work ! That layout review is due in a few hours, you know.

Satisfied with my explanations, and having put my fears of turning into a firang at rest (though technically, I am a foreigner right at this moment !!), I realized that I really don't have to wave a flag or wear tri-colored clothes today to show that I'm proud of where I come from ... I wear that fact every single day :-)