Selfish as a nature

I am. Not at all proud of it. Add privileged, small-hearted, insincere to it.

Yesterday, at a friends place for brunch, we indulged in the ‘ intelligent’ debate about the recent suicide of a Dalit student. Some people flat out denied that him being a Dalit had anything to do with his suicide. Most of them had an opinion that being Dalit is not a modern handicap anymore in modern India. These same people had, a couple of months ago, debated furiously with me, husband and a friend about reservations in India. As we three again went on- and an hour later- everyone including us three agreed that this noon shouldn’t be spent getting in fights- but enjoying the food- and went on to discuss a recent celebrity divorce, it struck me for the first time how vehemently self centred my life has become. And then it struck me that not that it ‘has become’, but that it was always that way, leading slowly to the ultimate privileged and small hearted insincerity.

What actually disturbed me was that this sharp realisation, which I had voiced several times before, chiefly to self , husband and brother- didn’t hurt me anymore. A few years ago, I still felt guilty about many things. I reasoned that since I am not in the league of people who refuse the necessity of reservations- this moral conviction must be proof of some small goodness in me. I thought, quite honestly, that I was a liberal, progressive person who cared about social injustice.

But yesterday, I embraced the fact that my life has been and most likely will be small and mediocre even in intent. That the goodness in me was limited to an extremely small circle of my life- most of which has seen little to no challenges to this goodness.

It might sound delusional to a more committed and sincere person- she might point out that I should have realised this long time ago. After all , haven’t I made these choices which have shaped my life?

And she is right. This liberal delusion is nothing, but my own squashed pride at thinking of myself better than others, thinking of myself as more evolved simply because I thought on the right track without ever choosing anything that doesn’t immediately benefit my small world.

What I am unable to figure out, and again this is extremely self-centred and passive- is what am I going to do with this realisation?

I very much doubt that I am going to change. So what is this realisation worth? Yet another pat on the back for self?

I don’t know.

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New year resolution and my toenails

My friend rattled a long list of new year resolutions and in the flow of conversation I was dumbfounded about the only resolution which came to my mind.

Not mutilating my toenails.

I have picked up this really bad and occasionally painful habit couple years ago.

When I am reading or watching something, always lying down with a bolster, I put one leg on my knee, and systematically pick at cuticle, dead skin, not-so- dead skin, and nails themselves on my toes. My nails look like they are part of the skin now. Even a nano-milli-meter of growth doesn’t escape my obsessive attention. The skin around looks raw and as if some tiny creature with not so sharp teeth has bitten the toes.

Few months ago, I got myself a five-star pedicure- hoping that at least the fact that I have spent so much money on what I always thought as a useless and ultimately fruitless ( because feet get dirty and polish chips no matter what!!) expenditure will deter me.

After a week I was back to my mutilating activity. This time added advantage of slowly chipping at the polish like Michelangelo sculpting his masterpieces with precision.

My feet are quite cute. Husband, while not exactly a foot fetishist, hates this obsessive activity and my now tortured looking toes. My mother literally slapped my hand off my feet when I was doing this compulsively for 2 hours of movie. Once a corner of the nail started bleeding when I couldn’t get a stray particle of cuticle out for hours and husband held my hands while we watched the movie.

So much for a world-class problem like toe nails mutilation of mine. Somewhere in the world, millions of people are forced to leave their country. And here I am going on and on about my toenails.

But I am embarrassed to admit that this is the only improvement I can think of in 2016. It says more about my brain than the toes themselves, I am aware. But I will be mighty proud of myself if I achieve this in 2016!

Karmanye Vaadhikaraste.. maa faleshu kadachanam..

Every year, every hour, even every nano second brings change. Some changes are profound. Some are incidental. Some shake you out violently while some slowly drip in your future and you realize quite later the change that happened oh so slowly that you didn’t realize while you were going through it.

I THINK ( read : HOPE) I have finally, truly accepted that things , well, they tend to change . And unlike earlier times when I spouted Zen-ness everywhere but in my own life, 2015 has been actually Zenified. And this has happened gradually and without me actually planning it. So much for the will and self motivation and all that.

Life is full of accidents. Good and bad. Small and big.

But to accept it without grudge, truly in your heart/head and for it to be a continuous organic process- is something which doesn’t come out of ‘knowing’ alone.

IT happens. Like shit happens, IT also happens.

It has been more than 12 months that I have, more or less been largely accepting . Of the fact that things will change. That most of them are outside of my control.

Even when there were some pretty unique experiences which changed my perspective. Even when after there have been significant changes in my work profile. Even when husband went through a rough professional patch of his own.

So far – It is more or less calm acceptance.

For example. Recently when there were regular redundancies at work and half of the people I knew were laid off, the very fact that I wasn’t bothered for my security just brought home the point as to how seriously accepting I have become.

This job had literally fallen out of nowhere exactly a year ago. Just when I had prepared myself to branch into something else- out of my long frustration with corporate life- a honcho who knew me ten years ago called and made this fabulous work-from-home happen with the same role and money that I would have made had I stuck around in the asshole ridden place I worked for. Even when there were a couple of weeks of uncertainty about whether I will get this job or not- husband got a bit edgy- but- pat on the back- I was epitome of cool. I really didn’t worry whether I would get this or not.

When I did, I worked my ass off. But I could have easily been redundant- especially with the new structure across our corporate behemoth. I know it is my work, which without false modesty has been best of the lot. But it would be stupid to assume that it was other people’s work which made them lose their jobs.

It does take experience to bring home the humbleness that it is chance, quite often blind and almost always out of your control which changes your life.

And maybe it is time, it is experiences, it is slow knowledge that life beats you into- but I have stopped bothering about changes, especially the ones which are not in your control.

And an organic apathy is developed to what the changes mean for me.

Of course it means further changes just might be around the corner. It could be me sending the ‘It has been great working with you bleh bleh’ email a few months down the line, who knows.

But can I do something? In this case, nope. So I am content to work hard- something which I have accepted is in my blood. Accept that I do have a year more at least, or it could be a few more months of this wonderful earn a lot while you spend your working day in shorts thingie. It is quite possible that some high level strategic plan might upset this utopia. Who knows. Who cares. Not me.

What it means is that for the new few months at least I can work in conditions which I love. And that is more than enough.

Karmanye Vadhikaraste and all that.

The year bygone..

When you are young – there are things you don’t believe you would do even when you are at a gravestone age of late thirties. Like I could have never imagined wearing wrap dresses regularly.

Reviewing the bygone year with satisfaction as a couple if one of these utterly uncool middle aged things.

But embracing my inner non-cool ness is one of the learnings ( sour grapes of middle age) from somewhat traumatic last year, which actually is very liberating in an odd, regular-like-daily-newspaper thingie.

Anyway, so we were sitting down with a beer this XMAS and ended up reviewing this year somewhat sentimentally. Husband as usual is mix of quite an extreme of materialistic tomcat and zen monk- although in essentials we agree to the bullet points, how we describe these is poles apart. That required a post in its own. Anyway, this is MY blog, so here are things this year from my point of view.

Overall, the year was really busy, lots of drama, lots of changes for us. So sounds clichéd, but I really can’t believe that the year is gone!! And the ageing process has made me happier for a year gone well rather than the usual hyper anxiety about things to come. It has also made me count the blessings ( aaargggghhhh… but true, embarrassingly excruciatingly true), not worry about the future too much.

After the dip in the second half of last year- this year my health was tops. And that really really was the best thing of all. My only wish for next year in all sincerity is to keep up with good health for me and the family.

I joined a new job and voila, didn’t have to compromise on money either. Worked like a Siberian Husky dog and that reminded me that given the right conditions ( read: absence of assholes to deal with on regular basis and at least one inspiring person) – I can be a inhumanly excellent , brilliant,workaholic who takes some really mind-blowing decisions- in nutshell I am truly total return on investment for the company. Pat on the back. ( Middle age middle age) Work from home for the first time for me and I loooooved it.. me in shorts, dog curled at my feet and I am on a call negotiating deals worth millions of dollars . How superb is that!!! In fact since I work UK timings pretty regularly- I wouldn’t have been so diligent had I had to sit in an office. My pearls of wisdom and experience of working from home in the next post!

I published my first book. And it became a bestseller, ahem, am I not the cat’s whiskers? The whole experience of publishers is material for another book though, or at least a post.

Next to none movies/ series as well. I mean I am yet to see Homeland season 5, so you can imagine how totally malnourished I am on my basics. The only movie which I loved this year was Bahubali.

This year I didn’t read many new books, was especially low on crime fiction, what with the job and all. But I got obsessed with several topics, highest amongst them was the terrorist organisation which literally seemed to spring from nowhere. So I watched the videos, read their own magazines, read books, articles, chat sessions and overall. I get glimpses of understanding of this somewhat bizarre youth culture phenomenon turned into medieval religious crackpottery- but I am still not satisfied with my own understanding of young people from relatively secular backgrounds embracing death for a totally outdated ideology of mass murder and self- denial.

I joined the gym for the first time in my life and kept up. Especially impressed with self that I kept up with strength training, which I associated with Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt ONLY. I actually like it and I plan to keep up for next year at least.

My brother’s nasty marriage finally broke for good and took away a load of collective tension, least of all, from his befuddled mind.

I had another what I can only call, unique experience, which is a matter of another series of posts in fact.. it needs to be put on paper with some thought.

So, there.

Goa it is

So after months of disappearing from blogosphere- and receiving thousands of emails urging me to be back.. ok, a few dozen mails to be honest- ahem, I am back.

To self promote.

I will be speaking in Goa Arts and Literature Festival this Saturday , Dec.12th. Super proud of self I am !! I suspect I will be the sole writer of genre fiction there- so I am quite looking forward to my minority low-brow representation there.

It has been some seriously busy time all these months. It has been the first time I have worked from home and oh boy how I imagined those afternoon naps and relaxed atmosphere- which couldn’t be far from truth. I actually ended up working almost 50% more than I would have had I been working from office. Considering the fact that I do have to work for both UK and India markets- it is a boon though. Working in office at 11 pm is something that sounded cool when I was 25 and it was loooong time ago..

Screwed up my already non existing social life but ah well. I am not complaining about the fact that I can wear shorts while engaging on a high level commercial call and cuddle with the dog after lunch on the sofa.

I would be lying if I said I missed blogging all the time, but for a few weeks I do feel the need to vomit the highly important thoughts on the internets… so… those few dozen people… sweethearts that you are… rest assured I will be back more regularly to be one of the gazillion bloggers spouting world-class thoughts..

The three boys in my life…

The dog who thinks he is a lion. The dog whose eyes and touch melt me. The dog who treats me like a manager whose whole existence is to take care of him. The dog whose compassion and wisdom and eerie perception sometimes startles, sometimes soothes and sometimes worries me. The dog whose presence alone can bring me sense of being on the ground, firmly and happily.

Husband of the sexy eyes and good body and dry sense of humour and nagging disposition and infinite love that is of a classic Jane Austen variety and not the postmodern one. I always thought I will wrestle in sack with John Lennon alike when I was a teen. Now I am so glad that didn’t happen ( hehe) and I am spending my life with this guy who has domesticated me enough to ask him in irritation why he didn’t pour laundry freshener on the latest load?

Baby Brother who always had a relatively tough life and someone with whom things tend to be, well, not easy. tough. His bus always breaks down for e.g. And there are far serious things too. But he is the only one person who reminds me of VAN GOGH in Lust for Life. Not that he is that talented or anything, but in general the mood and the destiny part of it I think. I am as fond of him as I was when I would carry him in my cycle bucket, plump arms waving at passerby and me proud to have this fat cute baby ALL MY PROPERTY!!

Here and there…

So things happened in last one month to make us all go gaga.

Rape of nun in West Bengal. And no it had nothing to do with religion but because she was provoking her rapists by her titiliating attire.

Deepika Padukone Vogue Video. Was so creepy and unbelievably pretentious that all my good feelings about Deepika ( she- sister in depression) flew away. And the fact that it was made by Vogue- phew. ‘It is my choice to be size zero.’ Right.

How Anushka Sharma lost us a world cup and other bamboozled strings of ideas spouting from mouths of sub-human creatures.

The Mumbai Urban Planning Commission came up with yet another plan with zero regard for women citizens. Yup. Public toilets, open parks, lumination was not given importance at all. It was all statues and water fountains and ‘get these fucking homeless people out’ chest-thumping all over. I was reading a report on it and was surprised to find that women walk more than men in metro cities. I don’t know why I was surprised, but I was.

AAP tamasha and it has made me so sad. I am firmly on the side of Kejriwal, but the overall dream has had a few ( expected) shades of grey. Sigh.

I have been reading a lot but mostly re-reads. Stephen King mostly. And while the man can use a editor to cut maybe 60% of his page-count, the fat juicy dripping with sweet old fashioned horror is just right for me right now.

My job is extremely hectic and if I was not working from home – I would be growling by now. But all’s well on that front for now.

Hmm. Not that anybody is interested in the above. But what the fuck.