“Hi! Do you have a name?”

It’s quite likely that you read the title and your brain surreptitiously added an arrogant, condescending tone to that sentence.

So now, try imagining a child asking you that, in the most innocent way possible. It’s amusing, very much so, but more than that, it’s surprisingly refreshing because of the lack of awkwardness or formality.

I’ve recently started shopping alone (or just roaming around window-shopping), which I find relaxing (when done infrequently). And it was during one such solitary outing that I came across this adorable little girl who decided she would be my friend.

What happened was that, I was tired of walking (malls can be so huge), and so I decided to catch a cold coffee in this shop. This being a weekend, it was quite crowded, and I was actually quite lucky to get a table once an old couple vacated it. It was a table for two, so obviously one seat was empty.

My first table partner was a girl maybe a little older than me, harassed by life, clutching shopping bags and catching a quick bite to eat. She asked me if she could sit on the free seat, to which I agreed. Then we spent the next ten minutes in silence and without looking to each other and in this time she finished eating her sandwich. Once she was done, she thanked me with a smile and went away.

My next table partner(s) was the little girl and her elder sister. I’d hazard a guess at the girl being around 3-4 years old and her sister would be 6-7 years old. Their mother, who was carrying the younger one in her arms, asked me if they could sit there and I obviously agreed.

The first thing the little girl did once she’d been plonked onto the seat, was to give me a large smile, wave at me and ask me, “Hi! Do you have a name?”. I said, “Yes. I do.”

“What is it?”

“Sanchari. Do you have a name?”

“Yes. It’s Choundalya”

When I looked a little lost at deciphering her adorably lisped version of her name, her mother pitched in and clarified that her name was Soundarya.Then her mother told her, to keep her busy, that she should tell me about her school. So I picked up the hint and asked her about which class she was in, and what her favourite thing to do in school was. Her eyes lit up as she started telling me about her drawing classes.

At this point, her elder sister, who had looked at me apprehensively and not spoken a single word yet, even when I tried to strike up a conversation, tried to catch her sister’s attention and showed her something on the cafe menu which was displayed on the wall. It worked, Soundarya began scrutinizing the menu and its many colours and pictures, and our conversation ended. I realized that it must feel lonely if your sister decides to chat with strangers while you have to wait for her to finish. So I just smiled and lapsed into silence again. But the small conversation I had with that child was enough to get me thinking.

When do we lose our innocent, straightforward manner of connecting with another human being? I had experiences with people of three different ages that day, and they all reacted differently to sharing a table with me. The only adult who sat at the table with me, was absolutely silent, with no eye contact either, and with a clear definition of personal boundaries which adults so love. I am very similar, and usually don’t know how to make small talk, so I was in fact glad that the girl didn’t try to strike up a conversation. I had been moulded by society in a similar way in which the girl had been; we were independent individuals, with clearly defined personal boundaries and we were happy to remain inside that space.

With the children, the younger one, who had just entered regimented society formally as a student in Kindergarten, was the stark opposite. She was happy to see a new face and engage in a conversation with this exciting new person whom she knew nothing about. Her elder sister however, though older by just a couple of years, was different. While she still hadn’t gotten over her natural inquisitiveness, which made her stare at me openly as she tried to gauge my reactions and what I said, she didn’t talk to me at all. She had learned that oft quoted maxim “Don’t talk to strangers” well enough I guess.

It was an intriguing incident. It might have been a more fulfilling world if we could hold on to that childlike inquisitiveness and pure happiness all our lives. But life has other plans; when we’re children, we want to grow up, and when we’re adults, we sometimes wish we were children again.

Could you be anymore confusing Life?

 

Think about it. Think about it. Think about it.

There’s something new I realize about myself every few months, or sometimes, these revelations may come within a shorter period of time.

These are epiphanies; I have always had these traits, but something just happened…some incident or some insightful comment someone makes, which makes that light go on in my head, and I sit back and think, how did I not realize that sooner?

The post’s title may be slightly confusing, but it’s basically one of my traits.

Overthinking.

It isn’t always a bad thing…it brings out new ideas and new ways of doing things. But it just doesn’t help when you’re really confused about something, and need to take a decision. This is what Wikipedia tells me is called Analysis Paralysis; too much analyzing, leading to very less activity.Because I think so much about everything, I generally don’t say anything that I regret later; I’m just too busy thinking about what I should say sometimes. Yes, the thinking is less when I’m relaxed and with people I’m comfortable with.Overthinking was one of the reasons I haven’t been posting regularly.I mean, imagine the possibilities when you’re (over) thinking! Anything from the colours I want to use while making a poster, to wondering about why British accents are so sexy, to thinking if J.K. Rowling will/should ever write another HP book, and moving on to cringing about how I hurt my leg and how ungraceful I must have looked.You get the gist. Anything and everything.There’s usually a train of thought which forms, and sometimes I actually have to stop thinking in the middle of an utterly and weirdly random thought, to trace back the chain of thoughts to figure out how I ended up at platypuses when I started from flax seeds.Oh well. It’s entertaining at least. Sometimes.

 

The one where I talk about the Dramatic Autorickshaw Ride

It was a lovely early summer morning when I walked out of my house and stepped quickly (but not too quickly because healing ligaments need gentle handling) towards the main road to get an autorickshaw which would transport me to university.

Not my auto exactly. But they all look alike…so. (Taken from the net)

The fact that I got an auto right outside my colony gates was the first Surprising Incident of the morning.

The fact that the auto driver agreed to go to the university rather than flatly refusing or trying to act bossy, was Surprising Incident number Two.

But, I’m an inherently calm person, and a believer of luck and miracles. So I just gratefully got into the auto and thanked my lucky stars. I didn’t really think I was getting into an auto ride which I would reminisce about to my grandchildren…or at least my children (okay, maybe I got over it after I was done dramatically recounting it to my friends).

Nothing very dramatic or extraordinary happened for most of the journey. I did get stuck in a traffic jam, and began worrying about missing my class. Once we got out of the jam, I stopped worrying and day dreaming again.

It was at the last traffic signal before my university when the dramatic events started unfolding. The auto was going quite fast, and skidded to a halt just inches behind the car in front. I looked questioningly at the driver, wondering whether he was getting sleepy or something. In fact, he was very much awake and, to my consternation, looked just as stumped as to what had just happened. He mumbled something, “Brake kaam nahi kar raha?” (The brakes aren’t working?).

Oh dear me.

(Cue Mild Concern)

I was in an auto whose brakes were not functioning effectively. I wondered whether I should sympathize with the driver and tell him to get to an autorickshaw workshop as soon as he could, because failing brakes are dangerous, right?

The signal turned green and the driver slowly revved up and took up speed. A car suddenly came out of nowhere, and the driver rammed down on the brakes.

It didn’t work. At least not completely. The car was really fast, so it passed by before the auto hit it, but…

Oh. My. God.

(Cue Hyperventilation)

I was in an auto whose brakes were failing. Damn it…this isn’t a movie! I remembered all the movies I’d seen about cars with failed brakes (as a method of revenge or sabotage) and somehow remembered that the cars basically kept going on and on till they reached a cliff or the end of an unfinished road overlooking a river or something, and how, somehow, heroically, someone saves the passengers of the rogue car just before it plummets into nothingness, or crashes spectacularly into a mountain or something.

Thanks, but no, thanks. I have a class to get to. I don’t have time for crashes and dives!!

Before I could say anything, the driver said, “Miss, the brakes aren’t working. I’m going to have to drop you here. Because look…” he rammed down on the brakes again, and the auto just began slowing down “…it just isn’t working”.

I however, wanted to kiss him. This meant the auto COULD stop! I wondered why my brain decided that reminding me about the most extreme situations I knew of would be a better way of coping in this case rather than letting me rationally think of actual possibilities. Oh the mysteries of the mind!

I cleared my throat and promptly told the driver to drop me off right here. He began the process of slowing down. The auto kept going stoically, even though the driver had his foot firmly on the brake, and kept going and going. My fears returned a little. But then, just before a turn in the road, it stuttered to a halt.

This was when I let out a ginormous sigh of relief.

I shakily got out, paid the fare, and began walking towards the university. I had just experienced one of the most scary situations in my life. It had been only 2 minutes (maximum), but it was scary, okay?

Too much drama for a day.

And when I reached my class fifteen minutes late, what else could happen? Oh yeah…my professor could be on leave and cancel class without letting us know. Ugh. Too much for a single day I tell you. Too. Much.

The Luxury of Self Pity & Seduction of Inadequacy

As I’m laid up in bed because a ligament in my knee, I figured no better time than this to notch up a few blog posts!

I watched the wonderful speech by Lupita Nyong’o (which slowly seems to be going viral on Facebook) in which she eloquently presents her thoughts on beauty and confidence. What struck me was her use of the phrase ‘seduction of inadequacy’.

I, with a simple ligament injury, have been trying hard to hold on and not give in to this seduction. And I’ve been very strict with myself as far as indulging in self-pity is concerned (read : Not Allowed).

For the first week, it was quite alright. It was a pain in the ass (literally) to have to stay in bed all day except when I had to use the washroom. I could have roamed around the house, but the knee immobilizer that I’m wearing, other than making me look like a war veteran, keeps slipping down if I bend at all. So I decided to just stay in bed and try and deal with all my pending univ work.

Needless to say, very little work was done and it was more of aimless net surfing and Whatsapping with a friend who had an operation recently; we bonded over what he called the ‘patient factor’. Then, the first weekend, my friends from  univ came over to my place (more like stormed the house) and it was a wonderful evening with a lot of laughter and reminiscing about Kerala. Their visit was over soon (too soon), and then it first hit me though I tried hard to stop it…self pity. Why me? This was so unfair! (And subsequent related thoughts).

Slowly, over the week, consolatory messages and concerned calls reduced in number. People moved on with their lives, as I knew they would, and my situation was no longer one of the Things To Talk About. And this is when I really comprehended what Lupita meant when she talked about the Seduction of Inadequacy. It pretty much goes hand in hand with self pity; it just feels dramatic and miserably good to know that you’re a damsel in distress. And you never realize how you’re weakening yourself by thinking so.

I guess it all comes down to what all sociologists would agree to – man is a social animal (not a very gender-neutral way of saying it though). We all love being with people, surrounded by others. I am one of those people who loves their solitude. But I realize now how much I actually need the hustle around me to be able to truly appreciate the solitude.

I want to go to college, I want to go to the library, I want to go for fieldwork, I want to do all the things which I usually find taxing just so that I can get out of the house, out of bed and be surrounded by people.

In the end, I think it’s just a human instinct to feel wanted and missed. Nobody wants to be out of mind even if they’re out of sight.

If I talk about my right to indulge in self pity or feeling inadequate, mine is a weak case…just a ligament injured in a freak accident. No one to blame, and in no way too serious. But for me, my life seems to be in shambles! As Anne Shirley would put it, I’m in the “depths of despair”. Not all the time, but whenever I realize I’m missing out on something exciting. Like today I was supposed to be chuckling and chatting with my friends at an univ function. But I can’t.

I guess I should pull myself together. I’ve bored you with my travails long enough.

Good bye. I shall go jump into the pool of self pity and fall prey to the seductions of inadequacy now.

Of Long-due and Sudden Trips, a Pocketful of Sand and Ligaments

Such a lot has happened since I last posted the list of my favourite feel-good songs. And when I say ‘a lot’ I mean it in the absolute sense; no exaggerations.

In the first week of February, I visited Kolkata after a gap of 7 years, even though it’s my parents’ first love as far as cities are concerned by virtue of being the city they spent their childhood in. It was a wonderful trip as I had my cousin sister’s wedding to attend and then, after a long time, six of us cousins got together at the same place. It was a lot of laughing, new friends, joking, teasing, reminiscing, tears and emotions running high. I had been looking forward to this trip since a long time, and it lived up to the expectations that I had from it (might need a separate blog post for it).

Kolkata

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

While in Kolkata, my friends from university called me to tell me that they had given my name for a university fest to be held in Kerala. While the message was delivered to me over a abysmal cellphone network, which meant I heard only two words out of seven in a sentence, I got to know all the details only once I got back to Uni.

So, merely a week after getting back from a week-long holiday in Kolkata, I was off again to Kasaragod, North Kerala for the First Convention of Departments of Social Work of Central Universities of India.

It was a glorious trip, as only one with friends can be. Lots of uncontrollable laughter, hilarious antics, jokes and madness. Once again, I met a lot of new people and made some wonderful new friends. Also, being in God’s Own Country, how can I forget the beautiful surroundings? Coconut trees, rivulets, the mighty Arabian Sea! A feast for the senses! I think a photo post will be needed for it.

Bekal Beach, Kerala

Bekal Beach, Kerala

My last day in Kerala wasn’t idyllic however.

I got a ligament injury in my knee.

So now, I’m back home, sitting with my leg in a knee immobilizer (which is pretty much like a cast and lives up to its name), wondering how I failed to notice the wondrous ways in which a knee works.

Now take a moment to thank God for knees and the wonderfully versatile ways in which they function.

More than anything, it’s one of those times when you feel like indulging in self-pity and asking that futile question – “Why me?”. But I don’t have the time to do that. I’m more busy worrying about how on earth am I supposed to make up the classes and fieldwork I will miss, not to mention the irksome attendance issue that my department has.

Pray for me, will you?

My Favourite ‘Feel-Good’ Songs

I’m sure everyone has a few inspirational songs that they love (though they would rather not own up to it). So I decided why not put together a list of my favourite ‘feel-good’ songs? There are a few I have heard on loop numerous times and I still don’t tire of them!

Sit back, and feel awesome.

1)   What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

2)   Only Hope – Mandy Moore

3)   Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

4)  The Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler

5)  Beautiful – Christina Aguilera

6)  The Voice Within – Christina Aguilera

7)  You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban

8)  Lift Me Up – Kate Voegele

9)  Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson

10)  Pack Up Your Troubles – Minnutes

11)  I Lived – One Republic

12) Perfect – Pink

13)  Firework – Katy Perry

14) Send It On – Disney Friends For Change

15) Let It Go – Idina Menzel (‘Frozen’ OST)

16)  Defying Gravity – Glee (originally by Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth)

17)  I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz

18)  Halo – Beyonce

19)  Make You Feel My Love – Adele

Another year about to end

It’s Christmas Eve and the new year is just 6 days away. 2013 went by way too quickly; I sometimes still write 2012 by mistake in the date! I guess this year was just so busy for me that I didn’t have the time to really savour the passing moments. They just went past as I hurried towards the next job to be done.

Christmas, however, is always fun. I love the decorating part…

IMG_20131224_005521

At my home, Christmas is in the air!

Christmas gets over so fast!

And then New Year’s.

I don’t know whether I’ll be able to post before New Year’s, so I’m going to wish everyone a wonderful new year right now. All the best to you and yours!

(from the net)

I hope the New Year brings a lot of love, joy, peace and contentment. Spread the love and joy :)