Category Archives: Slice of life

The Last Laugh

After dropping donuts & shedding tears
And escaping the bitter rut
Where I was prisoner for years
I am back here to wonder aloud
Why something that felt wonderfully right
Should prove, again, to be woefully wrong

The joy of a new life knows no bounds —
For the heart that soars above
Mutters a thousand “thank-you!”s
And the eyes that smile afresh
Hold myriad secrets

But how can this poor joyous soul say
When a painful, painful thud could be on its way
To put out the ray of hope
That finally shined through the door?

The Crazy Drama comes to an end
It’s time to go back to the Epic rut
Where I was minding my own job
And let Karma have the last laugh

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IVANUKKU ENNA KORACHAL?

If you are a woman who’s single and about 25 years old in India and you haven’t yet managed to find yourself a boyfriend or an aaifriend (gives royalty to Vivek for aptly using the term in Anniyan) , then you are perhaps losing your mind right now over this never-ending maze of a process called arranged marriage.

From well-meaning Maamis at weddings to those nosy Gurukkals at local temples, suddenly everyone knows that you are officially in the “market”. As per the plan in your dreams, you were supposed to exchange phone numbers with your crush- but no. Reality has your folks exchanging Bharat Matrimonial Profile numbers with fellow Maamis/Maamaas.

Your horoscope is printed and distributed like Airtel Broadband Plan brochures. Once a week, you may also wake up to phone calls that go like “You remember X’s brother’s wife’s brother-in-law? He has a friend who has a brother and he is looking for…”

Congratulations. You have officially progressed from random goals of “Aayul aarogyam aishwaryam undaagattum” to the sole, specific mission called “Vivaaha praapthirasthu”.

The first thing you need to do when you have entered this arranged marriage process (whether it’s out of your own choice or otherwise)- is to shed any emotional baggage.

Simply put, have no regrets about the past or high expectations from the future. I am not emo-tweeting there. Really.

Many of us, especially in this generation, come with emotional baggage of sorts – some of us perhaps messed up in past relationships, some of us never had the chance to be in one despite trying our best, and there are some that never tried. Whatever the case, the end result is now you are a “girl” looking for a suitable “boy” or vice-versa. (In this Matrimony lingo, it doesn’t matter if you are over 20. You are still a “girl” that a 30-year-old “boy” may be looking for.)

So, needless to say, it’s better to be sorted in the head before you enter this process and go in with no regrets. At the same time, you are better off NOT having any expectations of falling in love any time soon – for you hardly find love when you “want to”.

All the dreams that random novels put in your head come to an abrupt halt- you don’t “accidentally fall in love with someone” – instead, you end up playing a never-ending, harsh game of selection and rejection- and mind you, it works both ways. All you can do is hope that you end up with someone you respect and get along with decently. And pray that love and all that jazz follows.

Because of all these reasons, it is important to take this whole thing with a pinch of salt (or preferably a truck-load of it) and a sense of humour.

On that note, let me give you a heads up about 5 frequently encountered atrocities in the process leading up to an “arranged marriage”.

  1. On these matrimonial sites, almost every man is looking for a woman with “traditional values but modern outlook”. I don’t even know what the hell that means. Whether it is Madisaar saying Hi to Microsoft Outlook?
  2. I could write a separate blog post on photographs uploaded on Matrimonial sites.
    I am not even talking about judging a book by its cover and all that. Not even getting that far. My problem is, I am not even able to see that cover clearly. All I can say is,

    – Kindly avoid ultra close-up selfies. It’s kind of scary. Once I could once see the micro-hairs inside someone’s nose.

    – No mug shots please. If you are turning your head to the right, your face cannot be seen.

    – If you are wearing a pair of huge shades on ALL your photos, your face cannot be seen.

    – If you are wearing a cap AND a pair of shades AND you have a beard and you are turning to the right… well, you get the idea.

    – And for Heaven’s sake, please don’t upload only group photos. I can’t single you out from a group of people, when I have never seen you in my life before.

    – When you upload photos in which there are mighty mountains, tall trees and you are just a small spec, I can appreciate the scenery and the travel enthusiast in you, but I can’t see you.

    Please go stand at a place where there’s good light, hand over your phone to a friend and ask him/her to click a picture of you. Upload that photo. It’s very easy.

    Disclaimer: I am a woman so I have written this from my POV. This is not intended to be a gender thing. Applicable for women wanting “modern outlook” and putting up unclear images also.

  3. Selection and rejection are part of this process, whatever the reasons may be. You may reject people because it doesn’t “feel right” and you may get rejected because you listen to Kannadasan and not Coldplay.

    To each his own. What sounds reasonable to someone else may sound silly to you and vice versa. One cannot be faulted for wanting someone with similar tastes and preferences. But what one CAN do is ensure clarity in communication.

    It’s hard to take a No, but to say No is harder. But that’s no reason to delay it. If it’s a No, don’t wait for the right time, just say it. May be politely and tactfully – but get it across to the other person. At least you are not wasting their time. Also, if you are unclear about something, ask. Be on the same page.

  4. “Ivanukku enna korachal?”
    A few months into the groom-hunt, when you have still not made much progress, people around you start losing it. Your folks would suggest someone and if you say No – their instant reaction is “Ivanukku enna korachal?”

    You don’t want to marry someone just because there’s nothing wrong with him. You want to marry someone because you have reasons to like him and respect him.

    I don’t buy the “Ivanukku enna korachal” argument one bit. Any decision that you make must be justified. Whether it is to decide to just talk to someone or go all in and end up marrying them – let it be because you have your reasons to do so – not just because “there’s nothing wrong with him”.

  5. How long is “too long”?
    At long last, after ages, you may find someone you may want to talk to (who also wants to talk to you. But the moment you get off the first phone call, you have people waiting for your verdict. Convicted or Acquitted? Yes or No?

    Till today, I don’t know how long I can take to make up my mind. A week? Three days? One phone call? How long is too long? What happens if I find things okay in the first 3 days but know better only later on? Won’t I be confronted with the nightmarish question – “Why couldn’t you have said No in the beginning?”

    The only solution to this again is probably to talk about this to the person concerned early on and arrive at some consensus. The time a couple needs to figure things out is subjective and cannot be generalized but the point is that this factor needs to be considered and sorted right at the beginning.

#VaazhnthaalumYesumThaazhndhaalumYesum
Getting into arranged marriage is perhaps a disappointment for a lot of us in today’s time and age. 50 years ago “love marriage” was taboo. Now if you admit you are a part of the arranged marriage process, people look at you as though you are not fit for life (Ivan ithukku seri pattu varamaataan moment).

It’s great if things have worked out for you the first time around but not everyone is that fortunate. Like I mentioned earlier, if you are convinced that you have done all that’s in your power but destiny has other plans, there’s nothing one can do other than accept things and move on.

It’s true that the arranged marriage process can be made fun of – it is true that it has its pros and cons – it can drain you and tire you emotionally. But I don’t mean to disrespect the system in its essence. These sites and your family referral network are just a means to find you someone. What happens after that is entirely up to the individuals and their maturity level regardless of whether it is “love marriage” or “arranged marriage”. You do see success stories around you and I guess all you can do is be optimistic and wait for your turn.

Lastly, remember that your folks want the best for you. I have been impatient with my Mom several times since all of this started but I realize it is very wrong to channel your life-disappointments-based anger towards people who wish the best for you. A non-existent love story is definitely not more important than your harmony with your own family. Get your act together.

My best wishes to everyone on the same boat. Let me plug my “arranged marriage” goal here before leaving. 😛 >>

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A few thoughts on “Marubadiyum”

I happened to watch this movie called “Marubadiyum” – a film directed by Balumahendra starring Revathi, Arvindswamy and Nizhalgal Ravi. Now this film came out in 1993 and I watched it just a few hours back- and I can’t get over how well the film portrays the reality of life and how it holds good till today.

*Spoiler alert* (if you really care, that is. This movie is 23 years old).

Rather than saying I loved the movie, I would say it was very relatable. This post is not a rant or an outlet for locked up emotions, nor is it a movie review- it’s rather a record of my realizations that have been made stronger by a movie directed more than 20 years ago.

What I refer to as relatable is certainly not the life of any of the characters – rather, what the lead character realizes towards the end of the film.

Here is a quick outline. After a very rough divorce, Thulasi (Revathi) is confused as to what is left for her in life anymore. She is depressed and devastated. After 5 years of marriage, her husband Murali (Nizhalgal Ravi) leaves her for another woman. You know how ugly that can get. It’s not just a relationship that it affects – it affects your self respect and self worth, apart from the devastation and sleepless nights and meaningless days it brings on. It makes you bitter. They separate, and she struggles but goes about her life, when she meets Gowrishankar (Arvind Swamy), the cute guitarist who falls in love with her – perhaps the kind of love born out of sympathy for her. This is all very cinema-like. While we’d expect her to get together with Arvind Swamy, that’s not reality. Things don’t happen for as per your convenience in real life- that is not life. Plus when she is really confused, taking a someone, especially a good person for granted is not correct.

While she is grateful that he entered her life, she says she would be incapable of doing this all over again after having had a devastating experience earlier. To quote her “Inime kanna mooditu kanavu kaana ennaala mudiyadhu”. She also says she’d become a coward if she agreed to his proposal because then she would depend on him emotionally all over again and that would make her weak again. It’s an attractive prospect to think that after a failed relationship, you will probably meet someone else and things will be alright again. In reality that is very very difficult and it is the truth with many people. It’s just not the same again.

The film ends with her adopting a child and making the child’s life her reason to live on. That may be seen as dramatic but the point is, we all look for happiness and security – in other people. We depend on someone’s love for our own happiness. If things go well, great. But the moment something goes wrong, it’s not easy to walk that path again. Things are not the same again, they are not rosy again. She stays alone, despite the fact that she deserves someone who treats her right. 

Beyond a point, you realize that completely depending on another person or your relationship with them for your own happiness is only going to constantly keep you insecure. It’s perhaps not a very pleasant realization, but it’s true. Your happiness or security should depend rather on yourself. It should come from within oneself. The sooner one accepts it, the better. Find things that make you happy- something to keep yourself motivated. That cannot be called selfish – as long as you are not hurting anyone else in the process, it’s okay. Not that I have completely lost hope in relationships- let’s say my perspective of the concept has changed. I have learnt that, and this film just made that realization stronger.

Just ending this post with the link to a very nice song from the film, Nalam Vaazha. Raja, kaekkave venaam. Very soulful.

Do listen>>https://youtu.be/JjRs0KjYzbo

 

Cursed

It’s one of those endless nights

When the world around you disappears

Leaving you all alone

In a cruel desert

With Misery, for company.

 

The Devil beckons to you

Waving The Past as a clever bait

And you,

Being the fool that you are

Cheered by good old Misery

Run to get The Past

To hold it, to save it,

To treasure it,

Not knowing that it’s nothing

But Poison, in disguise.

 

The kind of poison

That doesn’t kill instantly

But sucks the soul out of you

Slowly, but surely.

 

What was once sweet

Now tastes bitter

What once felt safe

Is now scary

What was once beautiful

Is just unrecognizable

 

You crave life,

Peace and sleep.

 

But Oh dear heart

Did you forget

That you live in a desert

Which can only be wet

By the tears you shed?

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A Fresh Start

I had always wanted to write.

Somewhere along the way God dropped a slate into my hands. I was not supposed to sketch. Yet I did. I scribbled. The ugly scribble affected the slate as well. What mistake did the slate do? The slate deserved a painting and not meaningless scribbles. I was guilty of starting to scribble but in life you cannot erase what you started out to scribble and so I tried to make a decent painting out of my scribbles. It only became uglier. I paused. Took a second chance at painting. It only became worse.

Reached a point where it became clear that the slate had to go. And it went. I cried for the slate. I couldn’t sketch anyway, so it shouldn’t make a difference that the slate went, right? But it did. I cried for a year over the lost slate. Still sometimes do.

Did I “discard” the slate? Or did the slate just slide away from me? I don’t know. But the slate is no longer with me anymore. I don’t sketch anymore.

Then I remembered, I had always wanted to write. When I first chanced upon the slate, I ignored the fact that I liked to write. Big mistake. “Let me write at least now”, I thought. So I went out to buy a pen and paper. Thought I’ll write a story about my slate. As Fate would have it, the shop I went to did not have pens and papers right then. They would take some time. A year or two, he said. He asked me to get them somewhere else. But I loved the stationary in the shop. Was always my favorite.

The shopkeeper did not seem to want to help me. He did not seem to understand that they stocked some of my favorite pens. Should I tell him I’ll wait till they restocked? Would he think I was crazy to wait a year for a few pens? Or should I just leave the shop?

Or should I JUST give up writing and sketching and maybe…sing instead? My family always wanted me to sing.

Something new? A fresh start?

But if I did that, I will have forever lost the slate. I will have forever lost the chance to write. But I may, just may, sing well. Should I cry forever over the lost slate? Should I wait for a pen and a paper?

Or should I start afresh with a song, maybe?

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Hope

She stood, alone and small, with the vast ocean at her feet. The gentle breeze teasing her hair was no match for the raging storm tearing at her heart.

A huge wave beckoned to her. She took a step toward it, arms open, as though to take back all the steps she wished she hadn’t taken.

She looked up at the stars sprinkled across the sky. A lone, familiar star seemed to smile down at her, as if in recognition. She smiled back. She would soon join the wise old star and gaze down at the ocean, too.

She inhaled sharply, hoping to trap, in one last breath, those beautiful words uttered by her beloved. She never found them again after they vanished in thin air.

She took that final step into the sea.

But stopped. For the waters that always took away her last grains of hope with the sand, now gave her something new instead.

She bent down. And picked up a beautiful white shell.

Tomorrow was another day.

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It

It

It wanders about

Like a feather in air

From here to there

Leading you nowhere

It plays lame tricks

Like the “rabbit and the hat”

Yet you fall for it

And watch, hardly batting an eyelid

It flips over and over

Like a coin tossed up in the air

Switching from Heads to Tails

Not settling on one, for God’s sake!

But wait! Sometimes it reassures you

Like a spell of rain after drought

You laugh at yourself, wondering

How on earth all this, you could have bought

Well. You have yours

And I have mine

It, my friend

Is the funny human mind

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Maybe Destiny is for Real

I’ll keep this short.

This evening, I had a vegetable puff and a milkshake at a bakery near my workplace. It cost 32 rupees; well as it happens sometimes, I did not have enough change, nor did the seller. I was short of a rupee and we both agreed that we’ll make adjustments the next time* I go there.

(*) – Euphemism for “Let’s forget about this change, shall we?” 

Well, I do actually frequent that place, so I thought I’d really make up for it the next time I go there. Thinking thus I went next to the MTS recharge place where I had to top-up my Data card for the month. It costs Rs. 399/- per month. I handed the sales person 400 bucks and boom! He said to me, what I had said 10 minutes earlier to the bakery guy: “I don’t have one rupee. Let’s make adjustments the next time you come”. I couldn’t argue.

Now this may not be anything out of the ordinary or perhaps it happens once too often to some. Now that I write about it, I recall another similar incident that happened a long time ago. If you think this post is a rant about money, you are missing the point.

What I want to convey is, I realised that these sort of incidents prove this saying right: “There is no free lunch”. There is a price tag attached to everything in life. I did not enjoy the veg puff and the milkshake at one rupee less; I paid for it by not receiving my one rupee at the MTS data recharge place. Like my brother once mentioned, if you have had a free meal today, someone paid for it somewhere; you just don’t know.  Also, this is not just in terms of money; this perhaps holds good for actions, which some perhaps call “karma”. I think that conveys enough, so I’ll stop here.

This also set me thinking about destiny. Everything happens for a reason.

Now this is one of those sayings that need to be rewritten:

“Everything, which happens beyond your control, happens for a reason”.

If you make something happen (or not happen) out of your own shortcomings or mistakes, then you cannot put the blame on destiny. Here you are at fault. I have experienced this, too; I have screwed up due to my own mistakes, but that is for later. Point is, when some things happen that are beyond your powers to control, perhaps destiny has a way to take care of them.

Like how my one rupee took care of itself.

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The Donut Wasn’t Mine

I am writing after long. It’s time again for “essential distractions” and I start with this poem. I haven’t written poems before, never knew I could, but well, you never know a lot of things. So here we go:

THE DONUT WASN’T MINE

I found a sweet little child,
Crying for a DONUT
I had one I couldn’t hide,
But the donut wasn’t mine

I gave him just a small piece
He appeared mighty pleased
The big smile on his face put one on mine
But not as big, for the donut wasn’t mine

He asked for another, then another and another,
I kept feeding him, for why bother!
When it made us both happier
But I couldn’t forget, that the donut wasn’t mine

So I snatched the rest from him
And walked away knowing
That when I look behind me
I will find him weeping

Oh how I wish that the donut WAS mine

What Batman made me realize

It’s been quite a while since I wrote something. You could say that I took a little vacation from blogging but right now I find myself getting back to the blog mainly as an attempt to escape boredom, overcome writers’ block and keep my sanity – after all, this is my “essential distraction”.

I spent some time wondering what to write about. I just had to write, I would have written about today’s lunch if nothing else, but as it turned out, I decided to write about Batman.

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