The meaning of nothing in particular

Being a girl in a rather conservative South Indian household, I’m what you might call a rebel. Always done what I wanted to, made some very wise decisions and some extremely stupid ones. But just as proud as the stupid ones as well cos they’re my decisions. Atleast I didn’t let someone else make the mistakes for me.

Now, I suddenly find myself being Mama’s little girl. I’m doing a lot of things just to make my parents happy. And these are not as simple as going to the temple every friday or coming back home at 9’o clock when I’m staying with them. I’ve been surprising myself last coupla months. Is this my loneliness deciding for me? Or is it the extremely delayed feeling of guilt? I’m not able to decipher.

I’m not even sure I’m ready. I still live a very disorganised life. I live on the adrenaline rush of last minute submissions and reaching the airport half an hour before the flight takes off. I love my freedom and space and fiercely guard them. I still want to see a lot more places and do so many more crazy things. I want to travel and if possible alone. I still yearn to come back to my living space after 2 days of being at home. I want to spend money insanely on books and movies. I want my own library (nobody ever gets to borrow books though!). I want to study something just for the love of the subject. Am I ready to settle down?

Or am I not being truthful to myself? Am I doing this cos I really want to settle down?

As always, I’m confused. Once again, I’ll do what I feel is right. Only, this time around, I can’t afford to make mistakes.

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Random retrospective thoughts..

When I was in my final semester at college, my mom had the what-are-you-going-to-do-with-your-life conversation with me. I know that kinda conversation is generally a dad thing. But my dad I rarely talk about things more serious than cars/movies/politics/over-population/weather (you get the drift). So, when my mom asked me that question, I told her I wanted to work and live away from home for a while. She looked at me with a very surprised, I-didn’t-know-this-was-cooking-in-your-mind kinda look. I had no plan of action and I had no idea how I was going to support myself in another city. I didn’t even which city I wanted to move to.

As destiny would have it, I landed in Hyderabad. It’s been almost 2 years since I moved out of my parents’ house. I have shifted 4 houses in less than 2 years (I’m thinking of starting a packers and movers firm. That’s my secret ambition). I’ve accumulated an awful load of stuff that I had no clue about till I had to pack all of it to shift into my new place. I’ve had horrible experiences with some of my roommates. I’ve also found 2 darling roommates for whom I’m extremely thankful. Bad landlords, nosey watchmen, inquisitive caretakers, rude neighbors, noisy kids who’ll never let you sleep on a sunday morning, I’ve seen them all.

I’m at home in this city now. I will even go as far to say that I like Hyderabad. I loved living away from home when I first got here. I went for my first night show movie after I came here. The freedom to do whatever I wanted was heady. But that magic fizzled out in less than 2 months. The grim truth after that is that there were times when I had to go back to an empty/dark house, with no one to share the day’s gossip with (when I was living alone, not now), no more of throwing dirty dishes into the sink or used towels where I liked. While I wasn’t quite spoilt at home, these were things I’d never especially worry about. At times, I still think none of this is worth it, the money, the independence, the work, nothing. There are days when I just want to chuck everything and take the first train back home.

Living alone has not taught me to keep my room tidy or pay my bills on time or “plan” stuff out. What it helped me realize is that I love home more than any place else. It’s actually taught me to appreciate a lot of things my parents have done for me. Like the dinner that’s on the table every night on time. Now I know it’s not a joke to work the entire day and cook for a bunch of people who don’t appreciate it. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop complaining 🙂 I’ll probably think twice before complaining. I’ve realised that I’m a total tam brahm at heart who can’t eat pizzas for lunch for more than a day and will be the happiest when I can get vathakozhambu and vazhakai curry!

I’ve also realised that I can never love any city as much as I love Madras. Neither can I get to know any other city as well. The moment I land at the station/airport and start fighting with the autokarans, I feel at home. It’s a weird thing to say, but to me these are the things that define my hometown. The place I’ve grown to love with all it’s flaws and shortcomings. For me Madras is home and that’s where my heart is.

Last Tuesday, when my roommate came and told me that the cab was waiting, all I could manage was a “I’m not well, I can’t even open my eyes. I’ll give you a call later.” When I woke up again a few hours later, I was feeling much better. Tired of lying down on the bed, I dragged myself to the living room and plonked myself on the sofa. Usually, when I’m home on a weekday, the choicest of bad movies play on TV.

Cursing my luck, I was channel surfing and came across a movie called “Music of the Heart.” It seemed interesting enough even though half the movie was over. I decided to watch a coupla more minutes of the movie before declaring my verdict. Half an hour later, when the movie got over, I was sitting on my couch and there were tears flowing from my eyes. Tears were pouring like the dam had broken. There was no one else at home and I was not bothered about anything. I gave up trying to wipe my face.

Music of the Heart is the true story of a violin teacher (Meryl Streep) trying to save a violin program in a small school that was cancelled due to lack of funds. After 10 years of teaching these children, she refuses to accept defeat and decides to reinstate the program by raising funds for it themselves. She children end up performing in the Carnegie Hall and the violin program continues. The reason this movie moved me to tears is because of my school.

It my first day in a new school. I was a little scared because I knew no one around me. But excitement overtook the fear. I had already heard a lot about the school’s choir. I wanted to be a part of it. Luckily for me, they were taking in some new voices that year. I went for the auditions and got selected! I was overjoyed. But I had not the slightest idea about how “Anjali” (the name of our choir) was going to change my life. When I was in X std, we qualifies for a national level competition that was to take place at Indore. We were a team of 20 girls in classes VII-XI. It was a very prestigious competition and we wanted to crack it one way or the other. Unfortunately we had almost no support from our school.

This meant no practise during school hours. We could not miss classes. The teachers would fly off the handle if we did so much as to mention ‘choir practice.’ We ended up staying back in school everday atleast till 5.30. I would rush back home and sit down to do the pile of homework and the if possible do some cramming. We had to also think about costumes as visual medium always made a big impact on stage. The school was not paying for our tickets, we were. So we didn’t want to ask our parents for more money. Though most of the parents were willing to pay for the costumes, we didnt’ think it was right. There had to be another way out. Then we thought of collecting sponsorship from corporates. But who would give us any money when we could not put up their banners or stalls anywhere! In the end, we did collect the moeny that was necessary for our costumes. Since I was in the X std, I was missing a whole week of cycle test because of the travel to Indore. My principle was willing to let me go only on one condition. I was to come back and write 2 cycle tests everyday when the rest of my class was writing only one. I thought I was going to die. But I had no choice but to agree to her conditions. Am I complaining?

Absolutely not. Those are amongst the most memorable days of my life. It was so cold in Indore that we all huddled together every evening and drank tea at the road side tea shop. We used walk along the streets singing loud tamil songs. But most importantly, we went, we sang, we conquered. Even if we had lost, I would’ve felt the same way about the whole journey. The joy of music and the pleasure of singing can not be described. The adrenaline rush when you get on stage and hear the guitar strumming, knowing that it is your que to start, is the biggest high. When you finish, the audience appreciation and when you walk down from the stage, people walking up to you to tell you how well you sang makes you feel like nothing in life is unattainable. Music taught me the will to go after anything with grit and determination. The person who taught me this music taught me the meaning of dedication, hard work and love for music. At times, when we thought we had reached a dead end and that there was no path, this man’s undeterred focus and faith in us gave us the strength and the enthusiasm to go on. He stood by us when we needed him the most.

When we all came back to Madras, we were better singer, better students and most of all, better individuals.

PS: Happy birthday sir!

Yethanai kodi inbam vaithai, iraiva!

I live very far from my office; about 23 km. but I don’t mind the distance. In fact, I quite like the sitting in the cab for 2/2.5 hours everyday. The morning ride is shorter than the evening one. I hate having the AC on in the morning just for the reason that it’s glorious at that time of the day. Even during summers, it’s not hot as yet and the sky looks fresh. When I see children waiting for their school bus, I’m reminded of my school days when my grandfather used to drop us the bus stop. We used to eat Samosa at this small, dingy, dirty shop on our way to school from the bus stop. The Samosa used to cost us Rs. 2 and that was the biggest delicacy I knew. My mouth still waters when I think about that Samosa.

I’m not a very morning person and don’t like making small talk early in the morning. So, the best way, I figured to not have to talk to anyone, is my iPod. I put my iPod on and stare outside the window. Or I keep a book open and stare at it. Even when someone addresses me, I sit there as if I don’t exist. When they wave their hand in front of my face and try really really hard to get my attention, then I look up and smile and get back to iPod.

There are days when I wake up the morning thinking of one song and my mind can not process anything else till I listen to that song. I listen to random songs in the morning and every one of them transport me to another place and time. I think of people I haven’t met or spoken to or even kept in touch with in a long time. I suddenly get reminded of vague dreams that I dreamt, something I forgot to do 3 days back, a certain line in a complicated poem that I didn’t understand when I read it the previous night, I forget if I left my balcony door open, I smile to myself to when I think of some stupid joke someone told, sometimes I don’t even know what I’m thinking about. My thoughts go too far before I can trace them. When the cab speeds, the strong wind blows on my face. My hair is disheveled and I’m scared my contact lenses are going to be blown away. But I’m happy! Truly, completely happy. Even on my worst days, a nice cab ride in the morning can cheer me up, more than anything.

In the evenings, the traffic is crazy, everyone’s rushing back home, there’s chaos every where. When I look around, I try to imagine what those people’s lives around me are like. What could be their names? Did they have a bad day at work? Maybe they’re scrutinizing me the same way I’m scrutinizing them. Maybe they’re anxiously honking cos their children are waiting all alone at home. Maybe the couple in the car have a bad marriage. They’re all alone in the car and they have nothing to say to each other. Both of them have a bored expression on their face. Are they planning the dinner menu? Maybe they want to get totally drunk tonight. Are they going back home to their loved ones? Or is an empty house with a music system waiting for them just like me? I wonder…

Yethanai kodi inbam vaithai, engal iraiva!

How many crores of object of happiness have you created around us, oh God! (lose translation, and trust me, it sounds much better in Tamil)

Today is one of those days when I really wanted to talk. Just talk about all those thoughts pent up within me, thoughts that are killing me. The only reason I don’t want to talk about them is because they don’t make any sense (just like this post if you’re actually still reading this).

Have you ever tried to trace your thoughts back? If you’re actually as jobless as I am, try it one day. The place where you actually end up will have nothing what so ever to do with where you started out from. This always amazes me. Memories are mind’s way of remembering and caring. Maybe I care too much.

The first thing I did this morning when I woke up was to look out of my window. The one thing I love the most about my room is my window. Just standing there and looking out makes me feel great. It doesn’t have the world’s greatest view. But I love standing there and watching people on go with their mundane daily chores. The bachelor who lives in the opposite building, working out and desperately trying to pump up, the little girl who lives in the same building running all over the place to get ready to school, the two little girls who are holding hands, waiting for their school bus, the housewife next door hurrying to the gym after packing off her daughter to school, my building secretary who still gives me a dirty look every time he sees me, the guy next door washing his car, all the housewives haggling with the vegetable vendor on the street, the construction workers getting ready for a hard day’s work. Something was happening with every one around.

It got me thinking about myself, my life. All the things that are going wrong and all the things that are going right, all the things I’m missing, all the things I’m desperately yearning for, all things I’m turning a blind eye to and all the things I’m running after.

Nostalgia, home-sickness and loneliness are not exactly the world’s greatest combination.

For the good old times…

For people who are familiar with this space and my ramblings, depressingly melancholic stuff about my life is not new. Today, I’m in a different mood. Life is beautiful. Happiness, for me, is those small little things that make me smile every time I think of them. It’s those things that make life worth living.

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself “what a wonderful world”

Last one year, life has been a long roller coaster ride. It has been one year (almost) since I moved to Hyderabad. The nostalgic mood that I’m in has made me want to list all those small little things that still make me smile when I think about them.

So here I go

–All my friends coming over to my place the day before I left Chennai. The entire jing-bang came to the airport the next morning. (Even though it was to look at the air hostesses there)

–Reaching Hyderabad and being treated like royalty for a whole month at the guest house!!! (I’m stilling trying to lose the weight I put on then!!!!)

–When I entered Google on the 2nd of May, I felt like Alice in Wonderland. One of the most exciting days I’ve had. (I couldn’t stop smiling… how kiddish..)

–Walking all around Hyderabad in the scorching sun, looking for a house! The heat got to us so much that we started singing “Pardesi Pardesi jaana nahi…” and other such equally stupid songs. (No wonder people gave us dirty looks ;))

–The joy of finding a house and actually moving in there. (Yippee)

–Walking around Hyderabad, trying to find a vegetarian restaurant for my mom. (Chutneys and naivedhyam rock!!)

–The amazing ride along the ISB road. (and not to forget the great company!!! 🙂 are u reading this?)

–Living all alone for a month. It was a li’l depressing at times but there were times when I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

–Discovered this amazing restaurant called ‘Carrots.’ This is one restaurant I’m totally in love with. And the best part is, I really don’t know why.

–Got a li’l pat on my back at the office. Certainly a proud moment.

–Rhythm came in to my life (yesssss… that’s my music system. Totally blew my first month’s salary on it. I totally love it)

–Bringing Rhythm back home and feeling on top of the world! (I was hoping my landlord won’t throw me out for blaring music..)

–Cooked my first meal. Realized the greatness of ghar ka khana! (Mama…)

–My first ever birthday away from home. Diya, Vipin and Vinayak standing outside my house with a cake at 10.30 in the night. (We finally had wake Diya up at 12 when we were cutting the cake)

–That one weekend when Vipin, Diya, Vinayak and me went sightseeing in Hyderabad. What an awesome weekend. Loved every minute of it.

–That one dinner at Carrots that will remain etched in my memory forever.

–A note that was given to me as a token of getting 10/10 on this person’s likeability ratings. (I still have the note)

–Moving into the PG and discovering the joy of walking at night with an ice cream from Melting Moments. (Another reason for my gaining weight)

–Coming back home every once in a while and getting pampered royally! (I really love it)

–Movie binging with my friends and screaming and whistling in the theatre! (My friends are probably too scared to tell me that they’re embarrassed…)

–Sujith and Anu’s wedding. Something I wouldn’t have missed come hell or high water.

–Making up with my friend and finally getting to tell him that I didn’t enjoy us fighting. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we fought again. (Some people never change… yep I know)

–My mom proudly wearing the saree I bought her!

–Alankrita, a place that I really like and have a lot of memories about.

–My sister coming to Hyderabad… I took her to a discotheque and she was thrilled… (I know… I’m an amazing older sister :))

–The happening trip to Bangalore. Thoroughly enjoyed the girly bonding with my cousins.

–Some hard times and the people who helped me tide over it.

–My new look that was a total success (yeah yeah I understand. Will put up my picture very soon)

–Getting smashed at Touch!

–My convocation in January and the day spent with my friends. Love you guys… (Not in a “chick flick” kinda way… really mean it and you guys know that)

–The look on Sneha’s face when she saw me on her b’day. Truly a Kodak moment!

–When she could finally speak, the way she said “oh shit, you’re actually here!!!”

–Watching the rain at 4 in the morning, cuddled up in a blanket… one of the most romantic things EVER

–My friend and me sitting on a couch in a pub and just talking.

–New hopes about old times and now glad that they were shattered.

–Admiration from someone I expected the least!

Oh god, and the list keeps growing. And what can I say

It truly is a wonderful world!

Like everyone else I think a lot.. But my thoughts are seldom coherent or for that matter make any sense.. Last few days the frequency of such thoughts and time spent thinking has increased..

As the song goes,

Well, I’m lookin’ at you,
And I’m wond’rin’ what you’re gonna do.
Looks like you got no friends,
No one to stick with you till the end.
Take yourself a friend.
Keep ’em till the end.
Whether woman or man,
It makes you feel so good…
So good!Yes, you think you’re all right,
But now you’re lonely ev’ry night.
Well, you need a friend,
Someone on whom you can always depend.
Yes, you need some advice,
Well, let me put it to you nice.
I said you need a friend,
Someone who’ll stick with you to the end.
Friends play a very important role in every individual’s life. It is the intensity of influence and the extent to which they touch a person’s life, that varies. This guest speaker(on the occassion of Union Day) in my college was telling us as to how important it is for women to keep in touch with her friends.. I couldn’t agree more with what she said..
Like every relationship, friends need to work at keeping their frienship going. This effort to make it work, is comparitively, not as much as it takes to make other relationships work. And that, is the beauty of friendship..
Another very dominant emotion in a person’s life is love. The line of demarcartion between frienship and love is very thin. Its like this thin line drawn on the surface of ice. When you are skating on ice, there is so much focus on the act of skating and the fun, that the presence of the line doesnot attract so much importance. At times, it becomes so unnoticable, that you don’t realise that you crossed the line.
Almost every person goes through a phase.. A phase of uncertainity.. A phase that generally leads to crossing the line. This phase is only natural. When the other person knows you better than you know yourself, is always there for you irrespective of whether you are happy or sad or down or wild or hyper, it is inevitable. For some people its momentary, for someothers it isn’t..
But the stakes involved are high in this case. When things don’t exactly work out, the friendship is at jeopardy. Things probably won’t remain sour for very long but the chances of it getting back to what it was, is slim to none. This happens moreso because of very high levels of expectation..
I personally think it is not worth putting your frienship at stake.. It is very scary..
To me, friend occupy a very high place of importance in my life. If i make a list of all the people who are important to me in my life ( i say important because I think nothing or no one is inevitable) , most of them would be friends..
Thank you people.. For staying by my side when i needed you.. For being there to hold my hands when i was goiong through the worst and the best..