New Girl in Miami

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I had asked for a window seat in my flight from Frankfurt to Miami because i was told the view from the window is amazing when you are entering Miami, blue water and white sandy coasts would be there to welcome me. Well guess what! I was welcomed with layers and layers and layers of clouds so thick that I thought I would literally throw up while landing! That was Miami giving me a sneak peak of the next 4 to five years and how they are going to be!(?) 

Its been just a day over 3 weeks now that I am here and all of it has been , well how do i put it , umm, intimidating! That’s the word! when I used to be that cool chick in Calcutta, I would find certain people or may be certain classes intimidating, not the whole freaking place and every little element in it! But, that’s what I chose for myself right? And, therefore it makes me sound petty when i complain. Okay, I am not complaining, this has been exciting, really exciting actually , along with being intimidating. a feeling (like any other feeling as i always say) that one cannot understand if she does not feel it herself! Unless you yourself have traveled half way across the world (9000 miles approximately) on your own to a place where you know nobody, to live there for at least a few years to come, you would not know how this feels. This time I am not exaggerating. Starting right from the prolonged jet lag to getting lost in the university to getting lost and not being able to find your own house to going for your first long drive at night to going for your first dinner out to going for your first movie and finding that first cute guy you like, it is absolutely an adventure! Whats funny and infuriating at the same time? any guesses? Oh yes, you realize, now YOU are the person with an accent. Gahh! Takes you five more minutes to place an order for a sandwich because you have to say mayonnaise three different ways before they get you, having to say most of the things slower than you would usually say them and if you don’t say “T” as “THHI”, you are done, every word you say with a t sounds like one with a d to everybody!

Honestly it has been amazing. I cant say much about Miami except that it does not feel like the U.S.A i saw in so many of those movies and tv series, it just seems like a city by the beach with a lot of palm trees and cool cars with crazy drivers . Its cool though as pedestrians still rule the road! Getting to know this place will take time, and falling in love with something so literally foreign will definitely take longer but I am hopeful! Actually, I am certain. It will be okay, it will all be okay! 

To think and not to over-think

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I recently found this online, and It is not funny!

Is it really true that women obsess to no end about things that really is not that big a deal? I really want to know, and I am extending out this question to anybody who reads this post, please tell me what you think! Especially when it comes to men, why is it so difficult to understand them? Or is it that it is very simple to understand them yet we are the ones who make it difficult on ourselves by over-thinking it, by tying multiple knots on a string that was already untangled and straight and making it even more complicated than it actually was? What is so different in our heads that forces us to make small things bigger and big things gigantic?  Is it true that men really don’t give that much of a thought to something which is probably a big deal in our head?  

I mean seriously, I have been told not once not twice but multiple numbers of times that I am making something too big a deal, blowing it out of proportions and only ending up torturing myself in the process. And, I am also sure, I am not alone. My friends are literally accused of the same too. If I were alone I would just think I have some mental condition and look for help with a shrink!

Did God intend for such a kind of gap to exist between men and women? Did Eve too blew things out of proportion in her head and Adam was happily chewing away an apple? Or did evolution have something to do with it? Or the way society has shaped us? Is it in our genes or is it environmental? May be men go to some school of their own and learn strategies to not think too much, not fret too much, just be spaced out and chilled all the time. Women should just hire spies and learn their trade. May be that is the solution!

I am a student of science, and maybe I should study more on the difference between that single small second X chromosome that we have and the Y chromosome that men have. Is that all it is? The difference in a chromosome and a couple of hormones in the body that is completely fucking our heads up!

To state one but simple example, I might think I had a fight and lose sleep over it, stay up all night to only think that a call back is going to be my only sign, the only sign which will tell me that I wasn’t wrong and then it will be all okay. However on the other side of that fight, there is a guy, sleeping peacefully without even knowing that they had one. How often do the girls have to hear that common line, “Oh, you made it all up in your head.”? What the hell is this? Haven’t we all noticed how girls study and study and look through the pages of the book until the last moment before an exam is about to start? Have you ever noticed the opposite sex? They are chillin away!

I am reading a book by a neuroscientist named V.S.Ramachandran called The Tell Tale Brain. The most fascinating thing that I have come across in this book till now is the presence of a particular type of neurons in the brain called mirror neurons. These mirror neurons are responsible for the plasticity in brain, or in simple words it helps our brain learn from our own experiences and from the other people’s experiences that we get to know in any way. To say in a simple example, when someone drinks water from a glass in front of you, your mirror neurons will trigger the same events in your head and draw mental picture of you drinking water from a glass. Haven’t you noticed, in a room when one person drinks water, simultaneously so many others in the room realizes they are thirsty and drink water too? Anyway, I won’t delve into further technicality of the neurons or the book but these particular neurons really struck my interest. These neurons help us form opinions and basically program us as we grow up hearing the things we hear and seeing the things we see. So does that mean if a boy grows up in a world where every person who he knows or whoever he interacts with thinking he is a girl, it’s going to change the whole dynamics of it? Will he now begin to think just like girls do? Will the vice-versa be true too?  Therefore it is not the X or Y chromosome and the hormones but the mirror neurons?

I know I sound very sexist right now, but sexism is practically existent in the society like some lecherous weed. You cannot get rid of it by just cutting it, you have to find the roots and take it out completely and that is what I am trying to do, trying to find the roots. I am sure I am not the first one talking about this but I am definitely one more person talking about it. Hopefully that counts!

Yes, this post was full of questions and no answer whatsoever coming out of retrospection and introspection of the whole subject matter. But, I am hoping I will be able to get some answers after this. And ladies, please don’t take it personally because I used a lot of generalizations here. I am aware that there are exceptions everywhere, girls who don’t over think and men who go crazy thinking and I love it and respect it.

So let’s chill out arright? Lets try to think about it like a man and come up with answers! (I was trying to sound like a man, did that come out right?)

 

 

The Cassette Player

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The Cassette Player

I went to Bamanpukur yesterday to help out with a medical camp. Even though the whole day, if summed up, turned out to be quite a tragic experience for me (with sudden rains coming down and making every inch of the ground wishy washy making me slip on it countless number of times, getting wet because of no rain coat or umbrella, my slippers getting stuck in the glue like mud everywhere, our car’s tires slipping and getting stuck making us horribly late and us practically covered in mud and rain and last but not the least extremely low number of people turning up for the camp itself) however I, being myself, managed to find little things that made my whole day worthwhile. This being one. Its a cassette player. A big part of my childhood and almost extinct nowadays except in these interior villages where they are still far behind on technology. Being someone who loves to dance to music since a very young age, my parents had gifted one of these but a smaller version to me and my sister when I was around 10 years old. My first precious cassette (the thing which has the music reel and is played in them) was from a particular movie, Kaho Na Pyaar Hai. It was precious because Hrithik Roshan’s debut movie was this and he was my first actor-love (yes, I am aware this is very embarrassing and it is taking me a huge amount of courage to move ahead with this post anyway) . I had watched the movie seven times. I used to play the songs over and over and would imitate his steps to his songs (even more embarrassing, I know!). And, when the cassette reel would get stuck and play the same words over and over again, I would take it out and carefully fix it with a pencil. Roll it in again! Oh my, I am quite sure at least 10 % of my time in childhood would be spent doing that, using a pencil to fix tangled reels and sometimes it would get so unmanageabley tangled that I would give up hope of ever fixing it and started crying over another lost cassette.
This cassette player, here in a village , far far away from my childhood reminded me of all these little things which I thought I had left somewhere back in my hometown. it cheered me up, in between all the rain and all the mud and the smell of medicine, I found my happy place.

Being a girl friend’s girl friend

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ImageMen all around the world after dating their girl for about a year or so show typical signs of boredom towards the relationship. Safe to say the honeymoon period is over and long gone, and multiple fights are most ungraciously welcomed. At this point of time a particular person starts playing a very important and noteworthy role in their lives. The girl friend’s girl friend!

She starts playing the role of a psychologist, analyst, psychiatrist, sibling, a pillow, a self help book, a personal diary, a late night radio station for the woeful and sometimes even a WALL. She listens and nods and provides possible solutions and scenarios and even revenge plans. If nothing seems to cheer her up she just says she has no idea how the whole fucking world can treat her girl friend this way and they are all a bunch of morons and hands her a tub of ice cream ( from a safe distance of course, you never know, a spoonful of it might just come hurling at you without any real intention of hitting you.

However you must be wondering how this particular breed of women managed to accept this job description and carry it out with such grace, without complaints, over centuries (may be I am exaggerating I don’t know!). The answer is, remuneration. That phone call and an elated voice on the other side after a huge fight is over ( with the boy friend of course!) is just enough inspiration needed to prepare her for the same routine all over again. Yes that’s how girls are, suckers for happiness. Suckers for a happy relationship, even if it is not her own but her best friend’s. It gives her just enough hope she needs to believe in her own present/future happy relationship that she has/wants. Lets face it, we all live because of constant hope.

So this is my message to all the boyfriends out there. In that one fine day when you see the most beautiful girl marrying you in front of your families and fiends without a hint of shame or fear in her eyes, make sure to send a thank you note to your wife’s girl friend. If not for her patience and multiple talents ( to be still and not make a single movement, pretending to be a wall is also a talent!) , you would not have been able to keep such a keeper! 

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

To the girls who travel: Don’t date a guy who doesn’t travel

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I could relate to some of it

The Gypsea Chronicles

Yes, you are the girl with the unkempt room and poor time management. You have many things in your head, most of which are notes-to-self on what your future self should do or go to. You are a dreamer, and that means that if the guy you date isn’t like you, it’s unlikely to work out.

Don’t date a guy who doesn’t travel. He is the guy with the medicine cabinet filled with shaving cream, hair gel and toothbrushes he doesn’t use anymore. His skin is fair and soft like a baby’s, which means he doesn’t go out much or at all. He is intolerant to the sun, when in fact you love every minute you are under it, soaking each ray of sunshine into your now bronze skin. He combs and styles his hair in memorized strokes every morning (as he has been doing this for months, maybe years…

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Ghost from the past!

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Her: He and you look at me, so I am beautiful

                       

Me: I dont think I look at you, He does, probably.

 

Her: okay..to me it’s one and the same some times..because of his conviction- he has all of u inside him, I think…

 

Me: no, he might feel so, I have all of me with me, it’s inside no one, no one. Unless of course someone believes in the theory of relativity, I don’t , I have to see anything to believe in it.

Her: okay.. I get u…:what about u? Do u have anybody inside u?

 

Me: parts. of not one. but more than one. I still don’t have one whole person inside me.

 

Her: I think I am going blank..I sometimes feel I have nobody inside me…

 

Me: then right at those moments u are truly independent. Free. You should be proud if u can have those moments.

 

A conversation I had with someone five years ago. I came across this and I stared in disbelief. Have I evolved or devolved? I don’t think this way anymore. I don’t talk this way anymore. Am I even the same person? The advancement of technology has given us the privilege to read text conversations from as long as five years ago but has it made us strong enough to brace with what we are to find out in those old saved pages? I am a hopeful person and I try to be optimistic, at least I like to think that I try to be so. Hence I hope that I have evolved and not the other way round. I do believe in theory of relativity now! Is that progress or regress?

 

Share a dessert?

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Why does getting a little piece of what we cannot have make us so happy?

Just ten minutes back I was a witness to my mother breaking a cream roll into three unequal pieces. The largest one for herself, then a one inch long piece for me and a small half an inch long piece for my dad and then we enjoyed our pieces with blissful happiness. Now now, it was me who got that sinfully delicious cream roll from a patisserie which is basically my mum’s favourite. So from time to time when I feel I have not treated her with one of those for a long time I go and get one of them for her. Why don’t i get three for all three of us? Because, my dad is diabetic and hence he is not allowed and as for me, I should better stay away from such sinful delights considering the increasing girth around the mid region of my body. Hence, if I don’t get any for both of us automatically we stay away from that.  However over many many centuries mothers are known for their kindness all around the world. She sees the way both of us try to deliberately look away when she is enjoying her treat, how he forcibly tries to concentrate on the newspaper or I may be in my laptop. So just out of kindness and mostly pity she started doing that, breaking little pieces out of her whole cream roll and giving it to us like a mother bird feeds her babies in the nest and all the babies are happy after! Since then it has become a ritual in our house whenever I grace my mum with a cream roll from that patisserie.

It actually got me thinking today that what is it about the things that we cannot have or are not allowed to have, that having even a tiny piece of it makes us happy if not satisfied. Smokers all over the world who are trying to quit will just be happy with a puff of one from a friend or foe for that matter! Diabetics all over the globe are just banking on their relatives or friends or anyone to just share some dessert with them. A small piece of a brownie or a spoon of some crème fresh cake is enough to make them happy. A shopaholic who is not allowed to buy any shoes will just be happy to go into a shop and just try on a beautiful pair and that itself is happiness. For someone who is trying to quit drinking, a sip of wine is enough for his whole evening.

May be it is because in one of those small moments when you are enjoying what you love most , just for those few seconds you forget that the world doesn’t approve of what you are doing. Just for those few seconds it’s you and your beloved, against the world and it gives the heart a rush that every person needs once in a while to feel alive, to feel the heart exactly where it is beating and pumping blood in your body. It does not need to be beautiful after, or before, but those few seconds are just pure perfection. To say in a word bliss! It is for this feeling that we go such lengths for a tiny piece of a chocolate or a cake or a puff of smoke or a sip of wine and how much can people really judge you for having such a small amount of what makes you happy. And don’t we all agree to the saying, “a little bit o’ somethin’ never hurt anybody!” Am I right or am I right?

 

SHITTY HUMOUR

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Whenever I go out of my house, may be for a cup of tea or to meet a friend or for some work to some place, I either walk or take the auto rickshaw or bus or the underground railways, I have a favourite pastime, to look at (hopefully not end up staring) and observe people. The fact that I do not have any personal means of transport and not enough money to afford a cab all the time makes sure that I am surrounded by people even when my commute is not too long. Now it is quite a cliché that my favourite out of all the people to observe are the little human beings. Yes, they are adorable, most of the times that is and if they are not, at least it’s fun to watch them irritate the crap out of whomever they are with. Now, my second favourite people to observe are the middle aged and old ones say from about 35 to 80 or above. It’s actually quite easy to distinguish the 35 from 25, lack of excitement in general is the first sign, lack of too much hand or body movement while talking is another. It is pretty intriguing how 10 years of being in the same bad world can change people’s perceptions. They learn to accept, they don’t fight for change in the auto rickshaw, they silently take an empty seat in the train without much ado and immediately almost close their eyes to avoid glares from older or more tired commuters and they are the ones waiting patiently in a queue even if it is as long as 50 metres long. Funny thing is how this attitude towards the world changes with another 25 years of living experience added to the file. How do you know someone is close to their 60’s? Well apart from the greying hair and wrinkles which people easily cover up these days ( the repertoire of hair colours, anti wrinkle creams, and oh I have heard yoga works too!) you would recognise them by their frowns! They frown almost at everyone and everything, refusal of the auto driver to give him change, or the young chap sitting on the senior citizen seat on the bus or the fact that he has to bear with a group of college girls screaming their lungs out when they see their crush in the train or the worst of it all, if they have to be a witness to young love.

Well it is not like I despise any of it, on the other hand I actually understand. It is okay to be grumpy I guess. The world is quite a shitty place to live in most of the days unless you are deliberate enough to not let anything affect you. To gracefully age is not something that everyone can master however I am pretty sure everyone tries. In a city like Calcutta where the traffic is absolutely bonkers and the population (oh let me not even get there) can drive you insane, especially if you are not really having a good day. May be once you reach home, see your children or grand children you smile and feel the load of the whole day getting lifted off your shoulders. Also how would you know you are being so closely observed by a neurotic woman! May be you would have behaved otherwise and hold the frowns!

The thing is I am not being judgemental, I am simply observing. I have also noticed that when age starts affecting body metabolism, people start developing quirky habits. People who are around their high 40’s or 50’s say they would not eat meat at night as they cannot digest it properly.  Your body cannot handle alcohol the same way anymore and you definitely have to go quite easy if you do not want to wake up with a hangover. My mom and dad have this weird thing, if they don’t wake up at 7 am and have a whole cup of hot milk tea they can’t take a dump and it follows by a grumpy day! Many people actually start reducing their milk intake with age because their bodies can’t digest it anymore. Reducing sugar intake is what I see in almost every middle aged person these days.

So, the reason why I started thinking about all of this and started writing this post is because I realised something about myself recently. By recently I mean in the last two months, I found out that I cannot take a dump the next day if I don’t have a cup of hot milk the previous night. I never realised my body would be so much dependant on it till the time I went travelling and hence out of schedule of my night ritual of drinking milk, and could not poop for 5 straight days! And trust me, if anyone has ever had the problem of not being able to shit would know what I mean when I say it was freaking painful. Finally in the fifth day I thought my tummy could not handle anything other than milk and hence got myself a glass full of hot milk and finally in that night I found my release! I have always had this drinking milk at night ritual, my whole family does it since forever, since the time I can remember. I have also gone travelling before with the ritual breaking and I spent my days looking at new places and people and eating new food without a worry about my body’s metabolism! So what changed now? Well the answer is simple and glaring at my face! I have aged. Age has affected my body’s metabolism and got me dependant on milk for me to be able to have a frown free day. It scares me really, this is just the beginning, I know. So many other things will happen to me and changes I would have to accept but at least I shall be warned. This was like my warning bell. I can’t believe that it started so early, but it is okay, if not anything else I will try to achieve mastery in the art of ageing gracefully. And, this blog post is my first effort to do so. Hope my choice of words were not too disgraceful.

Disclaimer: I do not intend to hurt anybody of any age by this post; I have people in my life who I love between the age of 5 to 85. Whatever is written should be taken lightly and only in the purpose of humour. Also, this post is based on observations with no fixed parameters or controls, hence I am just speaking my heart out and categorising or generalising in any way is not my intention.

Nostalgia

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pastelstime is ticking away!

 

The feeling of nostalgia gives me goosebumps, sometimes quite strong ones actually. Now lots of different stimulations trigger goosebumps in different people but more on that in a different post, my research on that is still on. However, this post is about nostalgia. To put it in four simple words, sentimentality about the past. It’s usually related to a happy memory, the feeling associated to the phrase “good ol’ days!” Two days back I went to an annual sports and cultural day as organised by Amader Arpan (it’s an organisation I am part of) for the children in Bamanpukur (a small village in west Bengal).  The first event in this two day affair was the sit and draw competition. Just when I reached the place I saw these tiny little kids sitting on huge spread out mats in a random scattered formation with rectangle pieces of drawing paper in front of them and concentrating in drawing their hearts out like we do in our serious college exams. The feeling of nostalgia literally gushed through me. To look at those triangle brown coloured mountains , blue curvy rivers, green cloud shaped trees and the orange circle sun with orange thin sticks coming out like spokes in a cycle wheel, all the sit and draw competitions I had participated as child flashed through my memory. So many different incidents came back to me all at once. At one competition I had cried my lungs out because I had torn my art sheet due to excess use of the eraser. At another one I had found my childhood best friend sitting next to me who I never thought I would meet again and it seemed almost like a miracle to me. At yet another one I remember I saw my mother smiling at me encouragingly across the field and I went back to give my all into the painting. That was one of the few where I managed to get into the top ten at least. I had participated in innumerable ones and never won. There were always better art pieces than mine but I loved participating anyway. I loved the strong smell of the pastel crayons that filled the air. The way we would steal glances at other drawings. The rush I would feel when the allotted time would be almost towards the end, ticking away and I would still may be have the whole sky left to colour. The thrill I would feel right before the results would be declared and the consoling yet happy smile from my mom, when I would not even be top ten.

I was so full of nostalgia right at that moment. The rest of the day that followed was like a trip down the memory lane for me. The poem recitation competition followed next and it reminded me of the innumerable times I have forgotten a poem after I started reciting it on the stage in front of a big audience. The quiz competition followed next and brought along with it the memory of how the audience once erupted in laughter when I had identified blocks of gouda cheese as drums (yeah right, the percussion instrument!).

However the difference between a 10 year old and a 24 year old is that, the 10 year old becomes sad or happy once the results of the art competition is out, she gets cold sweat on her forehead when she forgets the lines to her poem and wants to get up and run away from the stage when she gives the stupidest answer to a question in an auditorium full of children from 7 other schools from the state. While the 24 year old, she goes up to the children who did not make top ten and tells them she liked their drawings the best, she walks to the child who forgot the lines, hugs her and tells her that if she had not forgotten she would have won it as memory is not what defines recitation and she walks to the girl who could not recognise Vijay Mallya and tells her that in 10 years down the line she would be doing the same thing that the 24 year old was doing right then, and it would make her feel fulfilled and satisfied.

Strange thing time is, even stranger is the human brain. The brain has all these memories stored from the last fourteen years and just a trigger is enough to remind you of so many little pictures you would think you never even had them stored. It makes you feel two drastic things at the same microsecond. One part of your brain thinks it has been 14 years since all that happened, more than a decade has passed, and you are supposed to be all grown up now! On the other hand, another part of your brain thinks, it was just yesterday!  

 

 

Are you a door mat?

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In the first place, it has been quite long that I have written anything in this blog. Blah blah half written posts in microsoft word blah blah could not find inspiration blah blah. Only thing is I had been lazy, super lazy. Lazy to even think. So, after a long, absolutely unadventurous day in which I spent major part of it watching some american sitcom and waiting for a call, I realized I absolutely wasted a day. Now in the last few months I have wasted a lot of days ( I have utilized few too, don’t have to feel sad for me yet!) doing exactly the same thing I did today but some how or the other it turned out differently by the end of it. May be the call made the difference or I was just too blinded or deafened to notice! Well, I think I reached my breaking point today!

Many people reach breaking points in lots of situations or conditions, for example too tired of a relationship or a friendship or a job or even a hobby or someones attitude or someones disrespect. A breaking point leads to the end of tolerating that particular condition or situation, and to my imagination, I always thought,  it would be preceded by a massive, like in gigantic proportions, a drum roll. However mine had no drum roll in it, only a pathetic growl from meercat (yes, I substituted this for something else) to tell me what a waste my whole day was, waste of mental energy, waste of emotional energy. It brought back memories from all those times in the last so many years when I have invested mental and emotional energy in doing exactly the same thing over and over again. whose fault is this? the numerous people that I have expected to do something,and they didn’t?  The numerous people who treated me like a door mat and I let them? The numerous people who I definitely thought were close to me showed me over and over that they weren’t? (okay, again, I have lovely people in my life too and this doesn’t apply to them, so dont feel sorry for me yet!) Naaaaah! It was my fault. Only I am to be blamed. I let them. And, this might be because of a particular drawback of mine, I have no sense of perception. I can never understand how a person actually is, I take them for their face value, believe them for who they show them to be. Right after being a very jealous woman in the first postion, this comes second in the list of,  ” Things God got wrong about Tiyash”.

So coming back to my breaking point, it was strong enough to make me write this blog. Now I know making new year resolutions is one the dumbest things people can do. No one sticks to them and its just a way to console yourself. So this resolution that I am making is not a new years one, but a ‘new me’ one. I am so so far from awesome that every day it will be my motive to try to learn from the curve balls live throws at me and keep making small adjustments and fittings day by day so that one day I can say I have learnt from life and tried to get as close to that awesome human being that one can be! Hence my resolution, ” I am not going to be a door mat anymore” or at least try my hardest, I mean it.

And to the readers of this particular post ( which I am sure I will be able to baby count them on my fingers) stop being a door mat! I hope you reach your breaking point sooner than I did, trust me when I say it is not a joy ride! So what say , its time for them to stop taking candies out of my bag and start putting in some goodies into it just as returning
a favor to begin with! 😉 

door mat