This above all, to thine own self be true


, , ,

Disclaimer: If you expect this post to make sense, please stop reading right now. This is meant only as a random series of thoughts and nothing else.

So said the bard many years ago, and the words continue to hold true even today. However, the reason why these words popped up in my mind today is entirely different. I was talking to a friend of mine, and after some time, the conversation veered towards towards my (non-existent) love life. She asked me if I was seeing someone. I replied that I wasn’t, but I held hope that somewhere down the line, I will have someone in my life. While I did expect her to say something positive, what she said next did come as a surprise. “You have lit up many lives. God will definitely brighten up your path soon.” were her words. I am no stranger to compliments (call that boasting if you want) but that did set me thinking.

In all my life and interactions with people, I have evoked a variety of reactions among people. I have been called an angel at times, an asshole at others. There have been people who have started off with calling me an awesome guy, and ended up calling me an awful person to know. There have also been people who have gone the other way round (thankfully). Amid all this, what has remained constant is my amusement at how the same person can elicit such diametrically different reactions in the very same people over time. I do understand that I have changed over time – sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Circumstances too have their say in how I behave, and consequently, what people think of me. But the change has been quite dramatic in some cases. There have been individuals with whom I hit off so well, that it seemed to be the beginning of a long friendshipΒ but some of these ended in them walking out of my life, supposedly pissed off at/by me, yet not bothering to tell me why. And there have been chance encounters which have blossomed into some of the most precious friendships I have ever experienced.

While the positive experiences warm my heart, and the not-so-good ones leave me dejected, I have slowly learnt not to take either of these too much to heart. There will always be people who will be fond of me, and there will be those who can’t stand the sight of me. But yet, at the centre of it all, I am very much the same person. And I am the only person whom I have around at all times – bright or blue. I may not be right always, but neither am I always at fault. All I really need to do is to be honest to myself and those around me, and I am sure life will work out the rest quite well. That is the only thing I aim for. So, whether you think of me as a great guy or as someone who grates on your nerves, understand that I am just being myself. If you have an issue with that, be honest about it, I promise that I will give it a thought. What I don’t promise is to change myself because you think I need to. That will happen only when I think I need to, because as uncle William said – “This above all, to thine own self be true”. πŸ™‚


The change I want to see


, ,

“Be the change you want to see in the world”, said the man born on this very day 144 years ago. And though his has been a quite controversial life, with an equal number of devotees and detractors, what he said really hits the nail on the head. If we want something to change around us, we have to go ahead and make it happen. Nobody is going to do that for us while we indulge ourselves with armchair activism. However, before changing anything (in the world or ourselves), we ought to know first what is it that we want to change. This is exactly what I seek to do here today. And though there are many things that I would want to see changed, I am going to focus on the top three that matter most to me. Obviously, everyone will have their own top 3, and that is very welcome.

At the top of the list comes what I call “discrimination”. Now the reason I put that word in quotes is this – the dictionary defines it as unjust treatment offered to people on the basis of race/age/gender. I look at it as unfairly treating someone based on anything that does not/should not matter in the given context. It could be any of the above factors or it could be something else like that person not belonging to the same social/economic class as yours. Hence, my view of it covers reverse discrimination as well. I am equally unhappy whether the man in the car shoves away the man on the street or whether the man on the street aims a stone at the car, both operating on the simple premise that anyone who is not “one of us” is meant to be hated. I see so much of it around that I can’t describe it and not feel sad about it. To take a very simple example, in our country itself, we have this whole “classification system” based on factors like religion, caste, (and finer sub-divisions). This system is pretty elaborate, and takes so many things into account, like where you were born and brought up, what flavour of religion adorns your birth certificate, and so on. If you notice, all these criteria have something in common – these are something over which a person has little or no control at all. And yet, not only we merrily continue judging people on this basis, many of us also leave no stone unturned in propagating this system to the future generations. This discrimination is what I want to see going away. I want to see a world where we (well, at least most of us) will be wise and willing enough to value people for what they are and not judge them on the basis of where they hail from.

Up next is respect. No, I don’t want to change its meaning, or ascribe any additional meaning to it. All I want happening is to see more of it. Respect for ourselves (instead of the pride that we more frequently carry), respect for others and their being, will definitely make this world a lot easier to live in. When someone is sitting in a vehicle and a kid taps on their window, begging for alms, all I want for that person is to politely decline instead of going ballistic on them or even shooing them away like they don’t even exist. No, I don’t want you offering cash or food (unless they look famished) to them (the reasons behind these will make for a separate post), I just want you to treat them with the respect that anyone (or anything) around you deserves. Just because you are privileged enough to have a safe roof on your heads and a vehicle under your bottom, it doesn’t give you the right to treat someone less privileged like dirt. The same principle applies when we deal with people around us. Many a times, we feel that we are the only ones facing (or overcoming) difficulties in life, and by that token, are entitled to a feeling of superiority. Well, let me break it to you – you are not. Every single person on the face of this earth was given a unique set of issues that they have to deal with, struggles that they have to undergo, and challenges that they have to overcome. To make that possible, they were also given their own unique set of abilities, strengths and circumstances. Just because their abilities and achievements are somehow “inferior” to yours by some yardstick, it doesn’t give you the right to look down at them. You don’t necessarily have to be kind, just be respectful.

Last, but not least, comes love. Certainly not of the “ishq waala love” kind that we have all but commercialized around us today. The love that I speak of, and seek, is love for the life that we have been blessed with. The love that helps us to see this world and the people in it in a kinder light, not constrained by what we have been conditioned to see. This is the love that makes the above-mentioned two changes possible, and without which we have no hope of carrying out those changes. This is something much more fundamental to our existence, and doesn’t need cards to express itself, or relationships to prosper. It is quite simple really – Β we have had enough of hatred and prejudice, and it has not done us any good. Now is the time to give love a chance.

I just realised that I am sounding much like Mr. Gandhi here, and I hope you haven’t dropped off to sleep. If you are awake yet, perhaps the first thing that you are going to say is that all this sounds very good in theory, but is not so easy to practice. Well, from personal experience, I can say that I have been practising this for some years now. I haven’t been perfect, and have faltered at times, but I have kept myself on the path. That will call for another post though. For now, all I will say is – if you want something around you to change, don’t wait for someone else to do it. Just do it yourself.

P.S: The last sentence above was not sponsored by Nike. πŸ™‚

3 reasons for happiness

“3 reasons why you cannot be sad” was the topic I was originally given for this post. Then I thought to myself, why not put a positive spin on it? And thus, I arrived at the headline above. So, instead of telling you about 3 reasons why I cannot be/stay sad, I will be telling you about 3 reasons why I find happiness even in seemingly non-happy situations. πŸ™‚ And yes, I am going to try and keep it short (as if I can really do that).

First and foremost, I love to be happy. I know you will say – who doesn’t? Well, I have seen enough people around who take pride in possessing the ability to carry a morose expression on their faces round the clock. Such individuals are “chalta phirta” black holes, which suck up all your energy and good spirits. I know how it sucks to be around such people. I also know that I trouble people enough, and don’t want to add to it. πŸ˜‰ Black holes apart, I love to sport a smile, and not just on my lips. When I am happy, it shows in my eyes. And just like a tuning fork takes to another and resonates, a smile in the eyes also finds its companion soon. At the end of the day, it ends up making everyone’s day a better experience. Please feel free to try this out for a couple of days in case you have any doubts.

Secondly, I stay happy because it is necessary to be happy. Yes, you read that right. It is necessary to stay happy. Happiness is a conscious choice at most of the times. Though I have plenty of happy moments throughout my day, I will be the first one to agree that it is not a natural state of mind for most of us (including me). We humans are naturally programmed to be restless. Happiness requires calm, which we don’t possess out-of-the-box. It is more of an acquired skill than an inborn talent. The necessity for happiness is quite simple. A happy, unstressed mind is going to take you much farther in life than a grumbling, cribbing one will. While some amount of stormy weather is good for creativity, execution needs a strong anchor in the deep sea.

Last (and definitely not the least) comes the biggest reason of them all – I am simply not programmed to stay sad/blue for long. Call it a genetic defect if you want to – but if I stay sad beyond a certain time, I actually and up feeling sick of myself and tend to return to at least a neutral state, if not a happy one. The amount and duration of sadness will depend on the situation that caused the grief, but I will definitely return to my natural peaceful state, no matter what. Throw anything at me – it will bog me down, make me cry, go crazy for some time, but give me some time and there I will be – back to being myself again, smiling, ready to take the next bouquet/brickbat. People who have known me for long will know what I am talking about. Agreed that it does make me look nonchalant or even careless most of the time, but I have observed that it works better for me than making a long face and making a Devdas out of myself. And if the grief is really overwhelming, you can always “fake it till you make it”. πŸ™‚

So, I guess I did manage to keep it pretty short. Not bad at all. πŸ˜€ Till next time, all I will say is – Β stay happy!! πŸ™‚

Kuch khaas hai, hum sabhi mein…


, ,

So, after days of no updates, here is the second update in a single day. Thank (or blame) Ganpati Bappa for that. It is the visarjan half-day (coupled with work-from-home) that helps me do this. πŸ™‚ Just like one of my earlier posts, the idea for this one too comes from Meenu.

The concept she came up with was quite simple – think of yourself as a model and decide which product/brand would you endorse and why. Now, while the concept might be simple, deciding the product/brand was not so easy, simply because I am not a brand fanatic as such. For me, the utility of any product is what matters more than the name it bears. Of course, some names are a more reliable guarantor of quality than others, but then, that’s about it. Having said that, it didn’t take me much time to arrive at what I would endorse if I had the chance to. If, like me, you have been a teenager in the 90s, you will surely have a look at the title of this post and instantly know what I am talking about. Yes, its something that we all grew up with – our beloved Cadbury. πŸ™‚

Unlike kids today who have a plethora of options when it comes to stuffing their mouths with various cocoa byproducts (we HAVE TO thank MMS and PVN Rao for opening up imports), kids (and kids at heart) in the 90s grew up on a staple diet of Cadburys. While we all had our personal favourites, I can safely bet that Eclairs, 5-Star, Dairy Milk and Gems were always around, not to forget the daily morning cup of Bournvita (yes, I drink Bournvita even today, no matter what you think of me). In their own way, I would say each of these was special to every one of us. As for me, I wasn’t too much into 5-Star or Eclairs (sticky ones are a no-no for me), but I was absolutely crazy for Gems and the Dairy Milk bars. Sweet memories of these go a long way back into time. Yes, you can call me an oldie if you want. I would be too lost in the rich, creamy taste to even notice. πŸ˜€

But then, are memories made up of only taste? Definitely not, when you have grown up with such wonderful chocolates around, factors other than taste are bound to mark their presence. The Friday evenings, when mom would get me a Dairy Milk, is something I used to look forward to as eagerly as the declaration of final exam results, which would mean a large packet full of chocolates getting delivered to yours truly. The BIG smile that would light up my ex’s face when I took a Bournville out of my bag is something to be seen to be believed. Similarly, the 100W bulb waala expression on someone’s (you know who you are :D) face when I mention “blue waali Gems” is unparalleled. This is the stuff that cherished memories are made of, and Cadbury has been a Β big part of these.

I could go on and on about the Cadbury magic, but I will have to stop it here. There is a Bournville in the fridge calling me, and I think I have definitely earned it. πŸ˜€

Abey shaadi kab kar raha hai??



Whenever someone wishes me on my birthday, the first question to pop up is “So, how old are you?”. When I answer that one, it is usually with a figure that isΒ on the (supposedly) wrong side of 30. As if on cue, what gets thrown at me next is the what is the title of this post. πŸ˜€ The verbiage may differ, but the essence remains the same.Β 

Now, there are two things fundamentally wrong with this entire situation. First being that people actually need to ask me my age, even if it is only to assure themselves that I don’t behave according to my age. Isn’t it a known fact already that my behaviour rarely matches my age? πŸ˜› Secondly, and more importantly, the automatic assumption that the date on the birth certificate should somehow put a dependency on the date on the marriage certificate is a particularly hilarious one. Yes, you read that right. It is hilarious, neither irritating nor infuriating. After years of enduring it, it comes across as plainly comic. If you think this is going to be another anti-arranged-marriage rant, let me assure you that it is not. πŸ™‚

You see, despite my unmarried status, I have nothing against the concept of marriage. What I find quizzical is the almost fanatical insistence on getting married by a certain age, and the accompanying justifications for that. These cover the entire gamut from the emotional (mummy ka kuch to khayaal karo) to the mathematical (30 ke aaspaas shaadi karega to 56-57 tak bachha kamaane lag jaayega..,phir tu aaram se retire ho sakta hai) and everything in between. While they have their share of sense, they all miss out on the most crucial aspect – marriage is not an end in itself (regardless of married people telling you “yaar, shaadi ke baad toh sab khatm!!“), it is simply a means to something more valuable, more cherished than fulfilling your “obligations”. What is that? Well, that is a subject for another post. Today, I am stuck on marriage-compulsion-bashing, so let me be. πŸ˜€

Admittedly, years of facing the same question over and over again has enabled me to freely exercise my creativity in coming up with responses. One of them is that I am pained by the uncontrolled population growth in India and am determined to not add to it. Never mind that being a serial killer is an easier way to do that. If I am feeling really honest, I can always say that not getting married is my way of ensuring that at least one woman (the one whom I would’ve got married to) ends up being happy rather than getting hitched and making sure that at least one woman (the one whom I would get married to) has to face a lifetime of headache. A lifetime of headache for her also has some implications for me, but since this post is meant for a family audience, I will skip over that part. πŸ˜› I can say one thing for sure, though. You ask me the same question 5 times in a row, I can come up with 5 different, complete explanations of why I am still ticking the “Single” box on the form after having inhabited Planet Earth for nearly 12,500 days now. Sixth time onward is when the hilarity starts. I then simply let loose my imagination. One of my uncles always asks me when I am getting married. In another 2 years, I keep telling him. One day he said to me, you have been saying the same thing to me for the past 8 years. Of course, I replied – have you ever seen a better example of a man sticking to his word? πŸ˜€

Now that still leaves us with the basic question – Sam,Β shaadi kab karega? To that, I have a very simple answer – ice cream khaani hai to bolo, icecream ki khaatir meri shaadi mat karwaao. πŸ˜€

Sa Re Ga Ma…

No, I am not going to talk about the TV show here. Neither am I going to wax eloquent about how music is food for the soul (which it indeed is) or the catch-all solution to forget all of our problems at least temporarily (which again it indeed is). Instead, I am going to talk about what I feel when I listen to music or sing a song. I am NOT going to write about what others think when they listen to me singing, because I want this blog to be as free of violent thoughts/actions as possible. πŸ˜›

Those who know me well, know that I generally tend to listen to mostly Hindi songs from 1940s to 1970s. I do get called an oldie goldie for that, but that is how it is. These are songs I grew up listening to, absorbing not just the tunes, or even the voices, but also the meaning of their words. These songs have really spoiled me, in the sense that even today when I happen to catch a song playing somewhere, the first thing that I notice are the lyrics, then the voices, and at the end, the tunes/instrumentals. Call me old-fashioned or even finicky, but that is how my mind reacts to a song. πŸ™‚

As far the lyrics go, they deserve an entire post of their own and I wouldn’t like to shoe-horn it into this one. Hence, I am going to focus more on the vocals part here. For some of us, these can be what make or break a song. However, for me, even though are very important, it is not about how good a job the singer has done. It is about how much of “soul” s/he has put into it. Recorded sound quality is something which can be drastically altered/improved these days with autotune, but the passion, the subtle nuances/feelings the singer imparts to the song can never be provided by a piece of code. Sometimes, even the most accomplished singer or someone more fluent with the language can come up with a less than exciting performance while someone with a relatively less melodious voice can come up with a 24 carat rendition of the same song. At the risk of courting a controversy, I will point you to the Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupen Hazarika versions of “Dil hoom hoom kare” from Rudaali. Again, this is strictly my personal opinion, and you need not agree.

Now that you know what I think of the vocals in a song, it shouldn’t really come to you as a surprise if I say that the emotions put in by a singer are what I like more in a song than the technical aspects of voice modulation, ability to hit the high notes etc. Of course, these are important when you are a professional singer, but if you are not, I will be perfectly happy if I can sense what goes on in your mind when I hear you sing. πŸ™‚ As an added advantage, this also liberates me from judging myself up to a certain standard when I sing a song. I know I am not a singer by any stretch of imagination, and will never be. But as long as I am singing it with all my honesty and the one for whom I am singing it appreciates the same, I will be a happy fellow.

This post has meandered quite a bit, just like my attempts at singing, and I will gladly take the blame for that. Like I have said many times before (and will probably say many more times), it is never about the melody in the song, it is always about the song behind the melody. πŸ™‚

P.S: This does mean that those unfortunate enough to be at the receiving end of my vocal acrobatics will continue to remain so. No escape for you guys!! πŸ˜€

Turning the pages


, , , ,

This is the first time EVER that I am writing a post on a topic suggested by someone else. The simple reason being that I wanted to see how well I did when I water a seed that someone else planted in my mind. This idea is courtesy Meenu who asked me to write a post about the book that I have liked/loved most and I said…why not? Let us see what we can come up with. So, in a way, this post is dedicated to her.

So, which book am I going to talk about today? I will be honest – it wasn’t an easy choice at all. Though I have never claimed to be a “voracious reader” and I work in an industry where paper is treated as an untouchable commodity, I am responsible for a fair amount of trees being cut down. Out of all the books I have read so far, each one (with a few exceptions) has been an enjoyable journey. Intriguing at times, engrossing at others. So, picking out one was easier said than done. That being said, I decided to go by gut feel. I just laid back, closed my eyes, and the very first image that flashed in my mind was the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy in search of his dream.

As many of you might have guessed by now, I am talking about The Alchemist, one of Paulo Coelho’s all-time classics. I will not go into the details of the plot of the book. You can always refer to WikipediaΒ for that. Neither am I going to come up with a review of the book, as I believe that a book is something to be felt, to be experienced, and not to be evaluated or reviewed. I am simply going to tell you about the impression that this tale made on me, and how it has helped me in my life. Yes, you read that right. This is one book whose theme I have been able to apply practically in my day-to-day life. πŸ™‚

Thanks to SRK and Om Shanti Om, almost everyone is aware of the key theme of the book. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” is what the alchemist tells Santiago. To a large extent, this is something we all would like to believe in, and why not? Who wouldn’t want to desire something and have things fall in place auto-magically? Seems too good to be true, and it indeed is. This is something which I have found that many of us miss out on. In the ecstasy of imagining our dreams come true just like that, we forget about one more thing that Santiago was told. And I will admit – I didn’t catch it the first time either. It was only when I actually tried applying the principle in real life that I encountered it. Curious? Read on.

“Those who don’t understand their Personal Legends will fail to comprehend its teachings” is what the alchemist says to Santiago, adding that when we are young, we all know what our “Personal Legend” is. Admittedly, this sounds like high-brow management speak, until you realise it is nothing else but the basic purpose of your life – the role that you are supposed to play on this big stage. As I understand it, it is all about really focusing on what you want to achieve in life, what you want to be remembered as after you have made your exit, and then fearlessly working your way towards it. It is only after you have set foot on this journey that things start falling in place for you. If you expect to sit on your ass and expect things to fall on your lap, remember that even a beggar sitting outside the temple doesn’t enjoy that luxury. He has to reach out to people and tug at their heart strings to make them loosen their purse strings.

Coming back to myself, this book has always been a great source of inspiration to me. Whenever I feel down and out (yes people, I do feel like that at times) I simply pick it up, flip to a random page and start reading. Invariably, I find that calm is restored within some time. Two of the most important lessons that this book has taught me are – “follow your dreams” and “life listens to what you say/do and rewards you accordingly”. The first one is pretty obvious to understand and equally difficult to follow to the fullest. Fortunately, I have always been blessed with opportunities (and people) around me who have been supportive of my efforts to make my life the way I want it to be. Of course, there have been detractors too, a fair share of them. But for me, they have proved to be more of a motivator. If there is something I really love doing, it is having people tell me that I cannot do something and then proving them wrong. πŸ˜‰

The second one is a bit tricky. At first, I had thought that it was all about life paying you back for your good/bad deeds, or what is popularly known as karma. Then, I realised that it was not just karma, it was also about how we accept what life bestows on us. Whatever life puts in our hands, we have to accept it with equanimity. If it gives you something which makes you happy, smile, be grateful to it and thank it. If it gives you something that makes you sad, smile, say “no worries, I hope I get a better deal next time round” and move ahead towards your dream. Trust me, life WILL pay you back what it owes you. πŸ™‚ In my experience so far, I have found it to be the most balanced credit-debit sheet EVER. One thing that I have learnt (sometimes the hard way) is not to deny anything that life offers to you. If it offers you something that you feel you are not worthy of, you are WRONG. Life knows better. If you are getting something, it is because you deserve it, as simple as that. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure, cherish it. πŸ™‚

This has been a long post so far, but a very satisfying one to write. Thanks Meenu, get your brain cells buzzing – if these are the kind of ideas you are going to come up with, I need more of them. πŸ™‚

Same thing, same time…


, , , ,

“Hey, I was JUST about to say that”
“Same thing at the same time…great minds think alike, at the same time, too…” πŸ˜€
“Yaar, mere munh ki baat chheen li tumne…”

If any of these sound familiar to you, you already know what I am going to talk about today. Yes, its about what is generally known as telepathy, or that awesome (or weird if you claim to possess that intangible quality called sanity) phenomenon where your mental frequency (wavelength if you choose so) matches with someone so well, that completing each others’ sentences, reading their mind, and yes, saying the same thing at the same time (even if it is not directly related to what you are discussing at that point of time) becomes an everyday affair. It happens many a times with me, not with many people though. And like most of my other posts, this too is about my own experiences, and definitely NOT about whether telepathy exists or not. If I experience it with you, it very much exists. If I don’t, it doesn’t. As simple as that. πŸ™‚

I have always believed that if you have people in your life with whom you can speak less and say more, and be assured that they will get you right, you are a very fortunate person. This person need not always be your lover/spouse or even your soulmate. Yes, one’s lover/spouse may NOT be one’s soulmate, but I digress. It can be a friend, or even someone whom you have known for a short while. What really matters is that with these people, communication is nothing short of near-magic, where you don’t speak much not because you don’t have much to speak about, but because you don’t need to. And when you speak, the understanding is so good, it almost seems too good to be true. Now, this does not mean that you agree on anything and everything, it simply means that even if you don’t agree on something, you don’t have to do much to make the other person understand it.

After reading the above paragraph, you might think that I have digressed from where I started. What does understanding each other well have to do with telepathy? Right? Well, let me ask you this – where does the damn telepathy come from? Unless you understand each other well, it is well-nigh impossible to be so much in sync that your thoughts (and words) complement each other even when they run in opposite directions. You might be a butter chicken fanatic and they may run away even at the mere glimpse of an egg, but if the very mention of “food” gets both of you saying “Chal yaar…kuch khaate hai…bhookh lagi hai”, THAT, my dear friends, is telepathy. And before you think that all I can think of is food (someone definitely considers me a “foodie”), let me tell you that I took food as an example because its the easiest to understand. πŸ˜€ I could have equally well taken up a topic like emotions or love, but then knowing me, that would have been so predictable. πŸ˜‰

Now where does this “telepathy” really stem from? I believe that we all have our own unique blend of craziness (this theory does explain my round-the-clock ability to yap quite well) and when we come across someone with a similar blend, the resulting magic is inevitable. There is really no scientific explanation for this, and I am not even seeking any. I am just happy that such a thing exists, and there are people in my life (however few) with whom I can experience it. πŸ™‚ In fact, when I come across a new person in any sphere of my life, one of the first things I look out for is the ease with which we can communicate. And if I happen to strike gold, the happiness is second to none.

Having said all that, I must say that this is not something I have experienced it with too many people in my life. In fact, I can count such people on the fingers of one hand (and I am not even Hrithik Roshan to have an extra finger). So, if I have told you that I have experienced this with you, you belong to a very select club. Thanks for matching my blend of craziness…you are awesome! πŸ™‚

The inner child, the outer adult

“You are actually a kid at heart”, said my friend to me some days back. What prompted her to say so was my penchant for going out and getting wet in the rains when it is pouring. Add to it my reluctance to use an umbrella unless I have my laptop with me, and you get a classic picture of a kid who has grown old but refuses to grow up. πŸ˜€ That remark set me thinking. I was about to write a post on it when work happened to ransack my schedule, and the post got placed on the back burner.Β Then a couple of days back, an office colleague remarked, “You always seem so calm, its almost like you are unaffected by anything around you.”. Now, these are two rather contradictory observations. After all, you expect a kid to be anything but calm. However, both are quite correct in their own right, and this is what today’s post is all about.

Firstly, I will say that it is not as much of a contradiction as it seems – to be a kid and to stay calm at the same time. I can only speak from my own experience and observation, so it is quite likely that your take on this will differ from mine. What I have seen that typically people confuse “being child-like” with “being childish”. What they don’t understand that maturity is not necessarily achieved at the cost of innocence/optimism. When it is, it amounts to cynicism, not maturity. For me, being a kid at heart is not as easy as it seems to a casual observer. It has taken (and continues to take) lots of effort to keep that kid alive and kicking. When the rains come calling, and I stretch my head/hands/legs out of the window to get wet or go jumping in the puddles (yup, I do that – now you know why I get called a kid), it is not just because I enjoy the rains, it is also because I choose to remember the happy moments and memories that the rains bring, and leave behind the not so happy ones. πŸ™‚

Being a kid is not child’s play – this is what I have always believed. It involves facing up to all that life has to offer, and yet not let that inner child lose his innocence and zest for life. This is where the outer adult comes into play (pun intended). While the inner child keeps the innocence alive, the outer adult shields him from the vagaries of day-to-day life and lets him play happily. How does he do it? Simple – by not allowing the kid to get disheartened if things don’t go his way. “Somebody was mean to you? Hey, you know what you are..right? That fellow doesn’t know you.” The kid looks up to the adult for an assurance – if things get messed up, he will still have a safe haven to go. If there are tears in his eyes, someone will be around to wipe them off and bring the smile back. If he misbehaves, he can be sure his ass will be spanked and he will be told to shut up. πŸ˜‰

So, does this mean that the adult plays the more important role of the two? NO. Where do you think this outer adult derives his strength, his “calm” from? Who do you think prevents him from being cynical when the world tries to screw him over?Yup, you got that right. Much as the child is dependent on the adult for protection, the adult owes his sanity to that little kid. For it is the kid who manages to make him smile when he is faced with disappointment. It is his optimism that cheers the adult when his shoulders sag with the world weighing on them. And it is the kiddo who tells him…”hey, you sad about something? Oh you don’t need to be…come on cheer up.” when he needs someone who will believe in him.

Rather than getting into an endless (and fruitless) analysis of who is more important, and what role should one be playing, I will keep it simple – both these guys have been vital in making me what I am, keeping me sane while not letting go of my craziness. So next time you watch me jumping into a puddle or being not bothered by what is happening around me, remember this – you are only seeing one part of me, you are yet to see the other one. πŸ™‚

Salty icecream, sweet sunshine

Walking hand-in-hand, he felt a slight tug of her hand on his. Turning back, he looked into her eyes – only to see what he had been dreading since that morning. A look of resignation, tinged with fear and laced with uncertainty. “What happened?”, he asked, not really expecting an answer. She continued to look at him, almost urging him to not say anything.

“Lets sit down here for a minute. Is that okay?”, he said – pointing to a bench nearby. “Do you really think everything is okay, Bugs?” was her hesitant reply. “I know its not, but I don’t want you to get affected by it.”. She said nothing and just sat on the bench as if someone had laden a million burdens on her shoulders. He settled down next to her and just held her hands, silently, reassuringly.

For a few minutes, the only sound one could hear was of the traffic passing them by, while both just looked at each other – speaking nothing, saying a lot. When the silence got unbearable, she blurted out – “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to do this anymore!!”. The suddenness of what she said took no time to hit him, yet it was a few seconds before the impact of it truly hit him. And when it did, tears welled up in his eyes. However, this is not the time for them to show up, he thought to himself as he pushed them back with sheer effort.

“I know why you said that first sentence, but I don’t believe you when you say that second one. I know very well that you do want to do this.”

“This is what scares me really. Why do you know me so well that I can’t even bloody lie to you? At least then you would be hurt less than now

“There is nothing like more or less when it comes to pain, Bunny. And who says that you are hurting me? The situation that we are in is screwing us..fine..agreed…but we will overcome this, I am damn sure.”

“How the hell can you be so confident that it will work out? I don’t see it happening.”

“Even I don’t see it happening – we will have to make it happen. And no matter how optimistic I am, I cannot do this without you. We cannot do this without each other.”

He reached out to her and held her face in his palms, tenderly kissing her forehead. “Don’t do that. You are making it more difficult for me.”, she said.

“Really, if that is the case, why are you still holding on to my arm? Why are you not letting me go?”.

“Coz I don’t want to…I don’t want to.”

“So now you know how I am feeling…right? And you felt you could walk away just like that out of my life?”

“I was hoping I could, but I know I am wrong. I am so selfish. I can’t assure you of anything, yet I want to hold on to you.”

“You’re not selfish re…its just that life is really testing us. Do you remember about how we talked that day about having a house on the beach in our old age?”


“We may or may not end up in that house, but does that mean we don’t even try?”

“We must try re, but I am not sure whether we will succeed”

“Neither am I…but then that is the beauty of it. If we succeed, we enjoy the destination. If we don’t, we have at least enjoyed the journey.”

“How can you be so calm? I just don’t understand that.”

“Well…firstly you don’t understand many things. Secondly, who is calm? Idhar mera band baj raha hai. Baahar se nahi dikhta to kya hua?”, he said, tapping her head lightly.

As she broke into a slight smile, he pulled her cheeks and said..”Do you like salty icecream?”

“Salty icecream??? Kuchh bhi!!!”

“Haan of course!! Itna rona dhona kar diya…icecream khaaogi to wo bhi salty ho jaayegi dekhna..”

“Nahi hogi…meethi hi hogi…tum hi dekhna. Aur haan…I am gonna eat up your coffee walnut icecream too.”

“Arey then what I am supposed to do?”

“You? You are supposed to pay for the icecream, watch me while I eat it and yes, then you are supposed to drop me home. Chalo..kaam pe lago..bahut kaam hai tumhaare liye!!”

As a bright smile returned to her lips and her eyes sparkled with a new-found happiness, they walked towards the ice-cream counter. The future was still uncertain, but love had Β lived on, to witness one more day of sunshine.