A dive to 25

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There are like 5 people in this world who really care about whether I am writing or not and if I am not then when would I next write. In reply, I tell them, there is only one combination of things that makes me write, sadness plus free time and in the last many months I have not had either. There are two reasons for that:

  1. I found Mr. C. He keeps me happy and far away from sadness.
  2. I joined a lab as a PhD student and all hell broke loose. Never did I realize it could be this hard, crazy, challenging, demanding to be a graduate student (I had several warnings I agree, but as it’s said you never believe until you see for yourself).

Therefore, what did my life turn into? Waking up going to lab, going to classes, working, studying, tests and quizzes every Monday, writing papers, writing abstracts, more and more and more data analysis, data presentations and to close the deal altogether with crying. Everybody told me it’s hard being a graduate student and guess what, I think it’s harder!

In between everything, I turned 25!

That’s a big deal! Traditionally it’s a quarter of a life and dreadfully I am just 5 years away from the big 3 OH!

Guess what I did to celebrate my oncoming quarter life crisis, I jumped off a perfectly good plane from 18000 feet.

I always told everyone that I wanted to sky dive, that I wanted to see how earth looked from up above and feel like what flying feels like but right at the moment where I was crouching in front of an open airplane door with a stranger strapped to my back, looking down to nothing but white fluffy clouds, I realized this might be the best or the worst mistake in my life. And then, I jumped.

What followed felt like dying, going to heaven and coming back to life. Initially just a whirlwind fall where I passed out for 3 seconds and came back to senses , opened my eyes, saw that I was still falling, going through clouds and rushing towards small brown squares of lands with small green spots, then opened my arms and felt like I was riding air and finally the parachute opened. That jerk over there brought me back to senses and switched my conscious brain back on. Finally I was aware of what was happening, and that I did it, I dived from a plane into nothing and my parachute worked, so I was going to live. That was when I opened my mouth to speak and told a complete stranger that I loved my parents, sister, grandma and Mr. C. and if the same Mr. C. had not jumped out of the same plane before me, I would never have been able to experience those last 2 and a half most surreal minutes of my life. In my defense, I was high then. It was the adrenaline rush going down.

Sky diving is the best mistake I have ever made and may be turning 25 would be the second best. And, now I know, I don’t always need sadness plus free time to write, I need to experience life to write about it!

Until next time,

Tiy.

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Another first post

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I am not apologetic anymore of not writing something in my blog. As usual, I was not short of ideas but I was short of inspiration and motivation, giving too much crap about how so many other and/or new people were affecting my life and now again I am back in my phase of not giving a shit about all of it and just care about my work (which is also sometime soon going to change to giving a bulls crap to all of it). I have realized that anything and everything in my life oscillates like a sinusoidal curve. Up and down. starting from money, body weight, excitement, enjoyment, sadness, irritation and happiness. Its been twelve days into another new year and just like a little kid I still feel happy about getting a chance to have a fresh start, fresh perspective on life every 365 days. More than anything the thing about not knowing what is going to happen in the next 365 days gives me goosebumps. Maybe I am maturing with each passing year because for the first time more than making resolutions for the new year I wanted to list down things I learnt from the last year. Its not a recapitulation of all the bad or good things that happened but of the new ways I learnt to live life in a better way. lets start, shall we?

1. I can most definitely live alone. Make food for myself, clothe myself, pamper myself and in the middle of the night make my way across a huge empty dark house to get a glass of water and not just keep lying thirsty in bed.

2. I can adjust and live with completely new people , harmoniously (by which i mean no fist fights) in one house and actually be happy about it.

3. I am strong in ways I didnt know I was. I can turn my face away from the two people I love the most in this world to walk alone into an airport to board an airplane that would take me halfway across the world away from them. I have the strength to disconnect video calls and not go into fits of depression every time.

4. I can make new friends who don’t necessarily hate me. I can actually have fun with them. They even turn up at midnight to wish you birthday!

5. I learnt to deal with death of someone so fucking close to my heart.

6. I started believing even more strongly in miracles. its a miracle alright when you meet someone you could love among-st a thousand strange faces. Someone who gets you and doesn’t judge you one bit.

7. Most importantly I finally understood that its enough if you have two or three people close to your heart, who don’t tear you apart every now and then, you don’t need more. Its really not size that matters, its quality!

I dont know how this year is going to be for me. I am going to make plans again, I am going to give my all again. I am going to try to make the people around me happy again and only hope that this year is even better than the last one with newer places and faces and old ones right here, close to my heart!

love and hugs,
Tiy

Positive thoughts or just coincidence ?

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When I was 5 years old my sister had taught me to wish on a fallen eye lash. Take the fallen eye lash off of your cheek put on your fist, close your eyes, make a wish and blow it away. If you cant see it when you open your eyes your wish will come true. I am 23 years old now and unless I have been too sweaty where I knew the lash is going to stick to my fist and not fly away , I have wished on a fallen eye lash. Believe it or not every wish I have made has come true. In “the-invisible-beings-who-make-your-wish-come-true” ‘s defense , I have never made wishes that cannot come true. Most of then revolved around some exam or some stuck situation in my or some body else’s life and I wished for it to get better. In the last couple of years I have started putting in deadlines for those wishes just to see if its that accurate, turns out it is.

I read this book called Secret by Rhonda Byrne (okay, I did not finish it but I read most of it) , which said if you think about what you want hard enough and strong enough, if you want it bad enough, you will have it, the world will give it to you. The world is shaped by how we think and your thoughts control everything. I did not like the book, seemed so vaguely stupid to me at that time. However I probably was part of a revolutionary group my past life, I have this unfathomable need to prove things wrong when I think they are wrong, I revolt , strong. So I decided to test it out and to my shock that book was not lying. I cannot list out the things (more appropriately situations) here that changed because I wanted it and thought about it strong enough and hard enough ( even wishing on a fallen eye lash on it) but if you have believed what I have written until now, you will believe this one too. I have not studied that kind of science which can define theories like this but being a person, a normal person whose very basic inclination is to not believe a cockamamie theory ends up thinking may be it was all nothing but coincidence. However is it not too coincidental for it to be coincidental so many times!

Think about it!

Tiy

Monologue from an apparently-not-so-shy girl

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” I am not an introvert. I am not an extrovert. I am shy. I can talk to people. I can make them comfortable and sometimes get uncomfortable in the process. I am at ease when the guy or girl in front of me makes the first “small talk”. I am shivering a little less inside then. I like coming out of my shell even if it is completely intimidating sometimes, my shell is not too far away and if it gets too overwhelming I do find my way way back into it. It makes me look completely hormonal probably, switching demeanor like I am on pills. I break into a loud distinct laughter in the middle of a conversation among an impressionable number of people and then get totally embarrassed and keep shut. I do give the first smile, I do say the first “hey”, I can definitely make the first move, I can break the ice, make a foolish statement and just have everybody laughing. However, in the process, I am still trying to overcome my fear, trying to win a fight with myself and proving myself that I am not an introvert, trying to just be courageous and not show that I am trying. And, You know what, it probably works! ”

– Anonymous

When a candle burns all night

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Yesterday night I had a candle burning in my room all night and when I woke up my whole room was lit up from the glow of one tiny candle and smelled of wild flowers. After about two months I slept so well in this new place and woke up feeling something, that I could change my life at any time , at any point of time I want. I can stop talking to people who hurt me, and to the ones who play hot and cold with me ( I had never liked that game even as a child ) , I can just care less and enjoy this tiny little insignificant amount of time I have to spend living in this world. I actually have that power in my hands, to give it a serious try to shape how I want my life to be. It is after all up to me. Sounds like I am high right? May be I am, not on booze or drugs though, just on the candle which burnt all night.

Yesterday night I went to bed thinking today I am going to write about the eternal game of sexes that begins every time a boy tries to woo a girl or vice versa. The first level being “lets see who texts first ” the next one being ” lets see who calls first ” and then the most torturous level of the hot and cold game which slowly unravels if the other person is really into the person whose trying to woo or not. The levels keep getting harder and more painful yet every person goes through it so willingly.

However today I don’t want to write about it anymore. I am going to the everglades later and that’s all I know about my day. I am not going to try to figure out anything more. I might think a little bit more about my candle. It gave me a fresh perspective on life. It did make me think that if I could change the way I sleep with just a candle burning in my room all night I could definitely change my life for the better with that same flame burning inside me longer than a night and stronger than before.

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! 

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!