Friday, March 16, 2007

Of enid blytons and posing for photographs...

Ok after ranting and raving in the previous is a breather.

Ok before I begin, I have deleted two comments fr my previous post entirely by mistake…so wud the people who commented plz resend it? Really sorry..but I was kinda groggy at 3 in the nite….thnks tho!!!Ok back to business..

There are 2 kinds of people in the world, I am secretly jealous of…..the first are those who can marry Abhishek Bachhan( I have a narcissistic streak in me..) and the second class of people are those who manage to resemble themselves in their snaps.

I have gone through life trying to keep my passports, ID cards and all those cruel docs which demand a photo id hidden from public view. Because I know the person with the vacuous smile and dopey eyes who stares back from each photograph, is just not me!!! There is a conspiracy here!!! However much I try, my snaps unfailingly fall into one of 3 categories. I have classified my snaps as the Demented, the Depressed and the Doped.

The Demented: The problem lies in posing for the camera. I still haven’t figured out where exactly to look. If I look straight at the camera, I get really self conscious and trying to smile at those moments is a Herculean task. The most I can manage is a semblance of a happy sneer (is that an oxymoron?).This involves pursing the lips and stretching them horizontally as far as possible (I avoid baring the dentures, for reasons to be disclosed later), which kinda accentuates my wholesome cheeks and makes me resemble a smiling hippo.

The photographer has often gone into fits of helpless laughter and instructed that I try not to look at the camera, if that makes me feel less like a goldfish in an aquarium.

I don’t know if I am unconsciously muttering a prayer to the heavens but in these endeavors, my eyes seem to be focusing on some giraffe standing right in front of me…(dilated pupils are wht one is trying to express here).My face is a homogeneous blend of a forced smile and a furrowed brow which leaves me mystified. I do go through an emotional turmoil!!!

The Depressed: I decided that smiling for photographs was not my forte since when I tried that “natural” laugh and smiling eyes look… the harbinger of sunshine and warmth, I bared too many of my teeth, and displayed a more werewolf resemblance than any non member of the species would be comfortable with. Plus no one I know associates a were wolf with sunshine and warmth.

The Doped: So for me it was the philosophical pose, lips clasped firmly together, do not giggle, do not look at the camera. Most of my snaps show me as about to burst into tears and have drawn many concerned queries about my suppressed sorrows. I guess I can live with that,..coz when I tried a few other variants, crinkling my eyes, squinting at the camera, lips half parted..the quintessential seductress….they could have used my poster as a mascot for the Stoned and Happy cult..

But this was a painful subject. The other day someone reminded me of Enid Blytons(thank u btw!!!).

When I was young reading an Enid Blyton was pretty much like opening a treasure trove.

I would open every book dying with anticipation and wait to be mesmerized by the Faraway trees ,Wishing Chairs, Silky, Moonface and amused by the Malory Towers and St Clare kids, not to forget the famous Fives, the five find outers…the list goes on.

They transported me to an alternate reality and it was difficult to break free, I would always stop a book halfway and spend the rest of the day in a dreamlike haze, trying desperately to postpone the inevitable end. I am sure most of u wud be mentally classifying me in the weirdoes section but bluhh!!

The three of us (me and my 2 younger sisters) were very taken by this entire English environment. We would tirelessly work at producing our very own pantomimes, plays and operas. Our “captive” audience, usually our polite parents would be subjected to these soporific renditions. After sitting through too many of these and tired of our incessant demands for meringues, seed cakes, macaroons, our parents decided that their demented daughters needed to get a grip. Especially after they found us combing the garden for a dark patch of grass (the entrance to the wising chair for the uninitiated).(I am really not making this up!!!)

So my dad decided that it was high time I read a few serious books. Maybe the shock was too much for him or he wanted a radical cure, the first book he gave me was the Autobiography of a Yogi. This was followed by Conversation with God and the Celestine Prophecy. Recipe for instant nirvana!! I was twelve then. And totally at sea. I tried reading the books, gave up pretty quick and then demanded of Dad as to why he thought being a nun was a lucrative career option, reminded him of the fact that I was closer to 15 than 50, and that both of us need not necessarily read the same books. He realized that he had gone overboard, but that was just a natural reaction, when we demanded chocolate blanc-mange instead of the gajar ka halwa, and vacations in Cornwall.

But the point being , he realized that to understand the deeper meaning of life, his daughter needed to live at least a shallow one for starters and he gave me my very first Agatha Christie. So I was again embroiled in a web of intrigue, romance and mystery.All was right with the world again, and I was no longer a prospective intern for a sisterhood.

I did finally read a few serious books and all the ones I mentioned. And I did stop dreaming of trifle puddings. But I still hope that I would find that darker blade of grass, that fairy ring. And if the faraway tree is anywhere near, I would be the first to believe it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

To all ye who pass judgement...others can skip..

What gives people the right to judge others? To callously, and at times patronizingly dismiss their worth and achievements? To malign someone u envy, with that casual remark and that arching of ur eyebrow? You have sized up the world. You have found a way to belittle her achievements. You have airily dismissed her worth. So are u satisfied now? Or are u still envious, burning with jealousy, cloaking it in these nonchalant speeches?

An achiever, u would dismiss as just being very "studious", uttered disparagingly, as if that explains everything. That explains why u could never be like him which exalts ur lack of determination into something u consider worth bragging about and underscores all his achievements .Is that what u think? Or r u still wishing very hard, to be like him?

Because people who pass judgments obviously do care. They care enough to contrive a thousand excuses, look for ways to justify their not being that way. Oh they care a lot!!!

When someone is popular, u call them promiscuous, when someone is envied, they are just very proud, when u really are in awe of someone, but would hate to admit it, well they just have an attitude problem, when ur dying to talk to someone, but they may not, well they are just too flirtatious for their own good. U don’t want to have anything to do with those kinds, with a righteous toss of the head!!!

You turn up ur nose and roll ur eyes when u talk about "geeks". You are obviously more socially accepted and artistically inclined than them. And u may be perfectly right. But why would u hate them so much for it? Why would u care that they r not?

I was once told by a misguided fem, that the "finer" things of life meant nothing to people like "me". People like "me"? What gives people the comfortable assurance that they can typecast everyone in their myopically defined molds?

What we don’t realize is, that when we judge someone we r just trying to calm our own insecurities. We voice our opinions, find a few others to ratify it and hey presto!!! We are lulled into a false sense of security. Who are we kidding?

So the next time you raise ur eyebrow and declare sentence, think about how it would affect the other person. He would obviously not care. But u would show that u really do. Which is exactly what u wanted to avoid isn’t it?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Of colors and people

The last few days have been a whirlwind with my getting into ISB, and hence coming in contact with a wonderful bunch of people. Its interesting how people can find a connection..
You would have a colleague or a batch mate you hardly interacted with, and you meet him in the next college you go to, and u meet him with elation, with uninhibited warmth. Its familiar and the familiar is always comforting. But there is also the bond which forms when u spend 4 years in the same environment without ever talking to each other.
It is the same bond which forms, when you meet people who have read the same books which u did and liked the same characters. You feel you can relate to these people better.Its amazing how happy we get when we find someone from our city in another country..u immediately have expectations..u feel familiar , you feel u hv a bond, so u naturally expect.The same person in ur own city.... u may never speak to him..he was just not your type..
All of us are basically more alike than we ever imagined. We can find familiar ground with almost everyone.

And the rest is just colors.
I cant imagine a life which is black and white...a life which is devoid of colour.For colours are emotions.....
Green...the golf courses in the hill stations you walked on…. invigorated, intoxicated, absently admiring the dark green of the thicket in the distance, …u feel alive ..ur thoughts are vibrant ,refreshing, fertile , ur thoughts are green....
Blue ...the sky on the morning of the anticipated day..when you wake up early..and look out of the window devoid of thoughts and you havent done in a long time…
The denim of ur favourite pair of jeans..tossed carelessly after returning from an exciting evening..whn ur excited to get on the phone..
The mottled colour of the sea..striking against the cliff, which u dream about....
The frothy milky blue which hits the beach on ur vacation..
The royal blue of the ink which smudges over, after u sign ur name with a flourish..
Red..the original colour of the flames before it lashes against the yellow and the blue ..the warmth of ur face when u sit too close...the colour of ur skin when u switch off the lights..and put ur hand close to that flame.
The orange glow which bathes everything on tht candle lit evening, the slate gray of the sky on the morning that it rains..of the pullover that u wear to work..hassled and depressed..the colour of the day that stretches before you…lifeless and dull….
The colour of the world when u get into an airplane and of ur thoughts when u close ur eyes during take off..and imagine urself on a giant roundabout, which pushes u higher and higher and at the same time backward, the more u tilt u head...
The sky is grey and ur that tiny black speck, on that roller coaster. U open ur eyes and the lights are dimmed, the early morning world is grey and white. Yellow... the shaft of the sunlight which comes in when u open the shutter, the delicious warmth which spreads over and ur thoughts..yellow and mellow, warm lazy and honey coloured….
Black..of the purses, and wallets, of the cellphones and diaries, of ur thoughts concise and business like.
Of when u shut yourself from the rest … and imagine the darkness swallowing u..
Of rose tinted perfume bottles, and pretty pink slippers, of roses and lilies, and of ur viewing the world though tinted glasses…pink and careless, bubbly and happy.
Dark brown of the chocolate and coffee…indulging, stimulating….and of ur senses…excited, energetic, earthy and brown
Of purple capes and hats in the fantasy stories….of jewels set in gold and silver of the shiny new cars...making u feel royal and powerful..

The maker sits with a blank canvas. He dips his brush into the Red paint, and scrawls across the page with a vehemence. Anger, passion ,pain and sorrow spew forth.
Orange from the easel, milder and wiser, signifying the wisdom of centuries, abstinence and determination. The Yellow of the sun, the giver of light and warmth, and the Green of the trees, spawning fertility.The Blues and the Indigos, almost indistinct, spurring aspiration and harmony. The magic and aura, of that smattering of the mysterious Violet.

The maker doesn’t have the perfect creation. But he does have a rainbow. And the rainbow is hope.