Category Archives: Arbit

My favouritest!

Of European Elections and Holiday Halloween-ing


As you’ve all no doubt heard by now, France is done with its first round of voting in its national election. They’re getting a new President soon, and they want to make sure that they give the top 2 candidates a fair shot at the title, so they have a 2 stage process – phase 1, which just ended, featured all of the candidates wooing the voters (including this one who took technology to transcend the physical limitations of the human body); phase 2, which is later in May, features just the top 2 candidates from phase 1. It’s a fairly simple process compared to the complex electoral process followed most recently in a nation that elected a fairly complex president, but only slightly less complex than in my own country, where there is a somewhat layered approach to electing a Prime Minister.  Anyway, for the first time in a very long time, none of the mainstream politicians are eligible for the 2nd round voting in France – both Macron and Le Pen have unseated the long-favoured socialists and republicans and have set up a unique race in France; not a surprise, considering the exit polls, but certainly an indication of changing winds. And for the second time in a very short span of time, we may have yet another not-so-orange-faced-but-certainly-orange-minded President to contend with. With Brexit on course to derail the EU and one candidate’s clear indicates towards a Frexit or a Fra-tata, the world is following this election. Me – I’m not. I’m binge watching Fargo (Martin Freeman is such a classy actor that you’ll want to watch the series again, just for him.)

Meanwhile, my neighbourhood decided to honour Halloween in mid-April. We had Halloween decorations, candy, people in costumes… everything to believe I had indeed crossed the Atlantic. Why they decided to harbour the belief that we need Halloween, I don’t know. Why they felt we needed it in the middle of April, I get though… its super duper hot and I can only believe that ghosts and witches and the paranormal are responsible  for it(climate change – pfft!).

Conjuring witches and pumpkins in Mumbai y’all!
The laziness of pulling down decorations transcends borders

And on a side note – Adnan Sami still performs. He performed at this Halloween extravaganza the other day and he was pretty good. His band almost broke the window panes of my house with their bass settings and amplification, but he was pretty good. I had a headache from the extremely loud music which didn’t reduce despite me blocking every single crack through which sound waves could creep into my house, but he was pretty good. Apparently, local residents complained that it was a bit too loud for their liking, but the cops may have told them,

He was pretty good…!

Until I find more relevant news and/or annoying local tidbits. Ciao!

Finding inspiration


It’s difficult to understand how people find inspiration. I used to find what I thought was inspiration in small things some days – watching people in the local train, listening to street hawkers at the stalls below the office, or even chatting with my Uber driver – but I’ve found very little of this of late. (The inspiration I mean… I have way too many Uber driver stories to be labelled inspiring any more…)

At first I thought it was because of the routine (read: monotony) in my life, so I tried switching it up. I quit the gym (cuz duh, 6am starts are no good right), changed my diet (cuz, proteins!), started drinking more water (cuz the internet says its good, and if the internet says so, it must be true) and increased my activity levels (cuz, Fitbit; take that S). I thought a generally “healthier” lifestyle would make me feel fresher and give me more inspiration. (It didn’t). All it did was give me a huge shopping bill (losing weight is a pain in the (insert every muscle name here) and a drag on the wallet) and make more people more jealous of me (please to relate to the folks who’ve been on green tea FOREVER and had nothing in their life go their way). I’m now the person who eats salad wherever I go and look at a croissant with X-ray vision that reports high carbs, high calories and zero proteins – basically, I’m the embodiment of everything them skinny b***es are. In short, I’m now the most uninspired person I know.

But I see the inspired people I know so… relaxed. They’re Zen about everything – work, life, travel, even their wives (I KNOW, RIGHT!). They just know… to be.

So I’m taking a more radical approach to finding inspiration and making more time for myself. None of this take-stress-in-life thing no more. My theory is this – if the inspired folks are chill, maybe chilling leads to the inspiration (there’s a statistician I know who’s jumping off a cliff going “CAUSE AND EFFECT DON’T WORK THAT WAY” but I’m like “meh”). I’m just going to chill out, breathe in, breathe out and type (or write). I will type whatever my brain instructs my not-so-chubby-anymore fingers to type (and whatever my phone or computer doesn’t autocorrect). Maybe I’ll click a snap or two for my pleasure and share it with you. Maybe I’ll link out to some swag track on youtube. Maybe I’ll comment on some mundane piece of news you didn’t need to know about (but that I told you about anyway – you’re welcome).

Or maybe I’ll just type out a line that says “Mic Drop”. or “Mission Accomplished”. or “Mischief Managed”. or “Katappa”.

Welcome to the wild west of blogging my dear friends.

If homemade clocks could make you famous…


I would have made like 10 a year!!

For the uninitiated, this is in reference to the arrest of a 14-year old in (of course) the US of A for taking along a homemade clock to school… Apparently the clock was mistaken for an explosive device.

I carried a tube of toothpaste with me on a flight once. It was the approved travel pack of less than 10 ml (or whatever unit it is that you folks want to convert it to… ml is the official SI unit. Across the pond readers may need to look it up on Google to understand that the rest of the World is on ONE standard.) So I was obviously surprised when I was stopped at security and my bag was manually frisked. To my surprise it wasn’t the tube if toothpaste that caught the security officer’s attention.
It was a battery. Apparently a spent one at that (which I discovered 2 hours later when I tried to get the alarm clock functional. But then… A homemade clock would have got me in more trouble yes…?).

A spent battery. How much damage did they think I could cause with it? It’s not as if the airplane’s system ran on AA cells and I would swap it out and the flight would get grounded…
Right?

Encouraging Thunder


It was super cool of Colette to nominate me (yes me!!) for the ‘Encouraging Thunder’ award. You can read her post here.

The rules are very simple:

  • The nominee posts the Award on their blog and adds the logo. (check)
  • Pass it on by nominating others.
  • Thank the person that nominated you; also add their URL to your post for ping back. (check and check. And thank you again Colette!!)
  • Mention your purpose for blogging.

I write because I can. I can’t doodle or dance or jiggy (or twerk). But I can write. So I do.

Simply put, it’s one of the many things in my life I’m proud of and I’m a mighty show off. So I write. If you don’t think I write too well, you’re probably right; but you know what, I’ll shake it off (cuz haters gonna hate hate hate right…?). I will still write about stuff I’m passionate about or crazy stuff I encounter everyday. (Some) Fairly sane(ish) people follow my blog, so I’m quite convinced I’m not all bonkers (maybe a little, but not all). So I will write. Till I learn to doodle or dance or jiggy (I ain’t never learning to twerk y’all!!).

As for my nominations, I didn’t see any rules about the “profile” of the blogs we are allowed to nominate (i.e. we can nominate blogs with any number of followers) – so I’ve nominated a few folks that I think will have fun with this particular post.

  • Anand will likely narrate a story involving his mom and/or mom-in-law and/or wife to make his point. I look forward to it more than I’m letting on 😉
  • Fellow nutella lover will probably draw up a thought-provoking list to let us know why she writes. You will definitely connect with at least one of them.
  • The unsuspecting word inventor will probably define another word that isn’t so we understand their purpose for writing
  • Charlotte will secretly (or not) curse me for dragging her into this mess and post it under “E”. Or “T”. Or not. I hope she gets a good doodle in though…

That’s it on my end. I can’t wait to see how these unsuspecting folks tackle (?) the award and I hope you’ll all spare a minute to check out their blogs.

Coming soon… A post on a few things to avoid whilst traipsing around Mumbai (or most cities in India)

On that song: Poker Face


This post I will take on a mammoth challenge to blog entirely about a single song and its various “covers”. I haven’t done it before (probably because no one other than blogging101 and this blogger asked me to) and I’m super excited to take a shot at it.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a decade, you know who Lady Gaga is and what Poker Face is; if you were under a rock for a decade, I reckon you won’t really bother yourself with her and would rather reacquaint yourself with Subway (or McDonalds or Starbucks).

When Gaga’s song first came out in late 2008, it was a craze – the weird (at first) lyrics, the overwhelming video and her outrageous outfits! Then she performed the song live on her tour (she performed only once in India and I was unfortunate to miss out on it, but that was years later) and when we saw them many months later, we were blown away. I remember watching the stripped-down piano version of the song on loop for days and battling with myself about which version was better (the original one. duh.), because both versions were so different from one another and still so Gaga. My friends will also remember that the hook was in my head for days and they were constantly subjected to my (in tune!) hummed rendition of the hook for hours on end; my neighbours, however, may only remember my (rather pitiful) attempts to recreate the sounds on my Casio.

And then I discovered Daughtry’s take on the number to realise that the song can be re-interpreted yet again. To be fair, it’s very similar (musically) to the piano version, in that it’s purely acoustic, but the song fits so well into his wheelhouse that you think its another track altogether; I’m super surprised he didn’t tidy it up a bit and release a version, but then I think “he’s a musician and he must know his business quite well so let’s not get into matters we don’t understand”. I was a lot more successful with the guitar on this version (partially I think because it was simple chords and just a strumming pattern to muster, but hey! I got it right!!), but it was still a rather noisy learning curve, so me thinks my neighbours would remember this one as well.

And the last version of the song I heard, which was to be fair a cover of the piano version, was on Glee. I’ve written about how I completely loved Glee in the past (I mean before it got completely out of control and became just a show with singing kids; when it was ending it unbearable enough that I only looked up the weekly songs), so you know that I completely enjoy their interpretation of songs. When Idina Menzela and Lea Michele did a cover of this song, it reminded me of the reason why I signed up to watch Glee in the first place – because it had access to people who could actually sing the crap out of songs. Their version was a soft, demure interpretation of the track – one that I think Gaga’s piano version got damn near close to; but I think her overwhelming personality never allowed the song to be perceived as “soft”. (On a side note, Gaga has since paired up with Tony Bennett for a delightful jazz album, where she sounded as soft and wonderful as any other jazz singer – to a point where you would wonder if she’s the same person who sang Poker Face and Bad Romance.)

Years later as I look (listen?) over all the versions of the song (there was a fairly hilarious Southpark version as well!!), I want to commend Lady Gaga (not that she needs it from a ‘lowling’ like me) on creating a tune that has been (almost equally) loved by people with varied musical tastes and survived the onslaught of many many party tracks to make it to Spotify’s Epic Party Playlist (THAT is not my only benchmark of an achievement for any track – but it’s still pretty awesome right?!). I can still hear the hook each time and be pulled back in time to when it first played on my computer and how my head bobbed in perfect rhythm. Any song that can have that impact on you deserves a mention on your blog.

Tell me about what song(s) you would highlight on your blog. Maybe I like ’em too… 

P. S. Thanks to Sameen for reminding me that the links were missing. I was lazy. But now the hyperlinks are functional so you can all enjoy the song(s) I blogged so much about!!

Why most people REALLY hate exercising


I’ve recently been trying to devote more time to the blog. And also to myself – staying fit, eating smarter, yada yada all those things the hippie kids do nowadays. So I’m blessed (more often that not) to overhear some ridiculous conversations at fitness areas – gyms, swimming pools, jogging tracks.

*overheard at the gym*
Guy 1: I have to leave early today, re. Independence Day par beti ka parade karaayenge aur tale hue samose khilaayenge. Aaj exercise ka kya faayda? (translation: They will will parade my daughter around (quite literally) on Independence Day (which ruined a statutory holiday by inconveniently presenting itself on a Saturday) and serve us fried samosas (that’s like potato dumplings. Or something. Google it.) So what’s the point in exercising today?)
Guy 2: Haan yaar. Waise yeh Monday aata toh kitna accha hota na…? (translation: Totally! Wouldn’t it be like even more awesome if this happened to Monday?)

I managed another 20 minutes before realising I was a. pi**ed at Guy 1’s non-patriotic approach and b. pi**ed at how right Guy 2 was and how darn depressed I was because of it. Shame. On. Them.

*overheard at the swimming pool*
Lady 1 (on the sidelines, lounging): Did you hear about Gupta Ji’s daughter Anita? She nearly drowned at this pool last weekend. Hum toh apni beti ko yahaan nahi laayenge… (translation: I will not bring my daughter here. (Actually her intonation and hand-waving was so authentically Punjabi I cannot use words to describe them. I’ll let you use your imagination))
Lady 2 (also on the sidelines, lounging): Kaise hua? Yahan coaches nahin hote kya? (translation: How did that happen? Don’t they have coaches here? (having someone confuses lifeguards with swimming trainers is totally believable. Innit?))
Lady 1 (now slightly agitated and pointing at the pool): Arre woh safety wire mein atak gaye na uska pair…  kahan tairti bechaari… (translation: Her feet got caught in the safety wire; where was she supposed to swim after that (it wasn’t a wire; the guys running the pool aren’t that dumb. It was the safety rope)

I obviously guffawed immediately and coughed up a lungful of chlorinated water.

*overheard at the jogging track*
Guy 1: So I read on the internet that it’s recommended to change your running shoes every 6 months or so (FYI it could be much shorter if you’re a heavy runner and a little longer if you just dabble in running like I do)
Guy 2: Really? That would make running really expensive. These Nikes don’t come cheap you know (in India it is not uncommon to regularly reference brand names in meaningless conversations. Some people think its stylish. FYI Guy 2’s shoes read “Nikke” and Guy 1’s read Action. Mine were Reebok (see how I snuck that in…?). Not one of them a Nike. I’m just saying.)
Guy 3: Toh isme kya hai. Buy 2 shoes. 6 mahine ek joota use karo and phir use 6 mahine andar rakhwaado – doosra joota hai na. (translation: So what’s there in this (I can’t find an exactly English transliteration of this phrase. Google – you need to step up yo…). Buy 2 shoes – use one for 6 months and then keep it inside – you have the other shoe right. 

Thank god I wasn’t on a treadmill when this conversation took place. Because I emergency stopped myself at that comment. Because he was (technically) correct. And I wondered why that genius idea did not strike me.

And so I summarise reason why people hate exercising:

  1. Because it’s a holiday. Or a national holiday. Or a state holiday. And because all holidays mean unhealthy fried food. Fried food equals annihilation of exercise plan.
  2. Because safety devices are darn unsafe. Helmets can cause excessive sweating, which could cause blurred vision while riding a bike; a concussion may not be as vision un-enhancing. Elbow and knee pads will require that your hands and legs stick out at unhealthy angles when cycling causing you to look an oaf; having a vehicle ram into you may be a lot more stylish. Removing headphones while running on the road will cause to “miss the pimping beat” and potentially damage your Nikkes; having a car ram into you will probably save your shoes. (I can go on – but I think you get the point yes?)
  3. Because exercising is expensive. Running (or walking) on roads worth a few hundred crores built by governments that require you to invest a few thousand bucks on new shoes every couple of months is very expensive; the few thousand bucks you spent on noise-cancelling headphones is not. Signing up for a neighbourhood pool apparently costs more than the stylish sunglasses and waterproof watch you own. Smart takes the elevator up 3 floors – stupid burns precious energy and time on the stairs.

I didn’t intend to make this post sound so preachy, but it’s turned out that way and I’m going to live with it. So this Independence Day, I can only hope that we all devote a few minutes everyday to keep ourselves in better shape. Because spending (whatever little you may need to) to keep yourself in shape makes more sense that 1000 buck sunglasses that were on sale on Flipkart – because you aren’t spending, you are investing in your future.

Happy Independence Day!

P.S. I was so focussed on staying fit this Independence weekend that I drafted this post and forgot all about it till Monday. So happy belated Independence Day!!

The Big Fat Indian Wedding – Part 2


For those of you who’ve landed on this page and have no clue of its origins please take a few minutes to review Part 1 of The Big Fat Indian Wedding. Go on… I’ll wait.

Now that you know the happy couple have been “officially” engaged, its time to skip to D-Day and see how the wedding went.

Day N Festivity 1: “I declare thee… dunked…”
Bleary-eyed members of the bride’s party wake up early in the morning to prepare for the first ceremony of the day.
(We were bleary eyed from the extra curriculars of the previous night – from the Gadda vs Rajai debate to the puppet elephants to the paintings to the Giggling Gang. The bunch of us completely WASTED a perfectly nice evening over inconsequential matters. The quote of the night came late in the evening, when we were all severely sleep deprived.
“Neend is like Chicken – sometimes pak jaati hai, sometimes aa jaati hai, sometimes ud jaati hai”.

Those 10 hours would make for a very hilarious post in itself, but seeing how I’ve been unable to post often, I’m gonna let it be.)

After a quick shower and a family breakfast, we get thrown out into the streets. Don’t get me wrong – the family still wants us at the wedding (we haven’t even done nething yet!); its just that we need to go fetch something.
The day’s first ceremony is bringing the temple to the bride as a sign of good luck. How do we move an immovable property you ask? We move its movable parts – we take some holy water to dunk the bride in 🙂
So there we were, accompanied by a dhol (another instrument I totally hav to get my hands on – sharp beats, easy to fix and noisy as hell!), dancing our feet off in broad daylight, on our way to the neighbourhood temple to get a jug of water. Seriously tempted by the ice cream outlet right outside the temple, ( we refrained ourselves from it; some kid in the dancing party dint – and many of us gazed longingly at that cup of ice cream) we head back home to make sure the bride is all cleaned up. We dint dunk the bride in the water after all… We handed it to her in a civil manner for her to make use of later in the day.
Magic Moments: The dhol wala’s expressions and head-shaking as he grooved to the beat. (U just had to be thr to see this – it was like an Indian classical dancer… With less grace and more… Feel. Y’know wat I mean…)

Day N Festivity 2 – “Paint the town yellow”
We then engaged the bride in a bonafide game of paintball. Relatives and friends take the opportunity to apply a coat of turmeric paste (laced, I think, with moisturiser and cream to take the ‘edge’ off) to the bride, believed to be a method to get her complexion to improve. (As if they think they can beat wat the guys at the beauty parlour missed. Duh. ).
We’re joined once again by the friendly neighbourhood dhol wala (Somehow he knew how to turn up at all the ryt moments…) and the bride joined us on the makeshift dance floor, before rushing off to make use of the holy water we got her to clean up after the mess we made of her..
Magic Moments: The bride dancing to the beats of the dhol, joined by her extended family. It was… a moment that Visa doesn’t pay for.

Day N Festivity 3: “And…You’re next!”
The next ceremony is the tying of the Chooda (a big bunch of color coordinated bangles) and the “hanging umbrellas”. The bangles are ritually cleansed and tied on to the bride’s hands while she’s blindfolded, and onli removed before the actual wedding.
Then, in a ceremony that hints at the bride-in-waiting (kinda like the throwing of the bouquet), the bride has a trinket tied in both of her wrists (also supposed to be a good luck charm) and all she has to do is hold it above the heads of the single ladies and see who’s head it cracks on. Given the age of plastic and glue, its kinda hard for the trinket to break – so many of us made use of the time to get a pic with the bride in the process.
Magic Moments: When the trinket almost caught in someone’s hair, but still dint crack. And the look on one of her younger cousin’s face when he was asked to pose for a snap.

After this there was a long break, when the bride took a trip to the parlour and we had not much to do. A few ppl took a trip to the groom’s place, where they were getting him ready for the wedding as well, but I took the time to slip off into dreamland.

Day N: “I declare you man and wife… Finally”
So after awakening from slumber (or in some ppls case, after returning from the parlour and their walk-in wardrobe), we make our way to the venue in batches. I noted that at this point in the evening, its quite chilly being mid-Feb – but almost EVERYone at the wedding was dressed like it was the peak of summer!! In order to not stick out nemore like a sore thumb than I already did, I followed suit and carried only a light jacket.(of course I wud regret this much later in the evening… But if I did write like I thought very far ahead, I wudnt really be able to type out a proper “story” post wud I…?). A bunch of us get ready, clicks pics for FB and head out in the general direction of our cars. I joined a family en route to the wedding (everyone seemed to know everyone at the wedding, so I was treated as just another kid in need of a ride and not as an invading “outsider”. I’ll give you some background on whr that statement comes from. At most Tam-Brahm weddings I’ve been at, every conversation attempts to map out your entire family tree and place you in one of 2 sets of ppl – the insiders (related or not they ALL know each other) and the outsiders (whom not many know and even fewer pay attention to); and here I was at a wedding where ppl onli guessed who I was… And were still kind enough to offer me a ride 🙂 ). I was joined, to my surprise, by the outstanding “Dhunki” performer from the last evening along with a few friends and some of the little kids’ family. We spent the short ride to the venue discussing the previous evening’s happenings and general chit-chat (where do u work, whr r u frm etc etc).

Here comes the Groom
As we arrived at the venue, the groom was on his horse (or was it a mule…?) waiting for his baraatis to finish dancing (the dhol walle were really at it this time too) and the bride’s family to get ready to welcome him. After a while, he got off his pedestal and joined them for some “not-so-well-mannered frivolity” (I borrow inspiration for this phrase from Prof. McGonagall. Remember the “Goblet of Fire” movie…). Soon after, the bride’s younger sister and other family members got ready to welcome him – and demanded a stupendous bribe to let him through. Needless to say, he had to pay up – after all, he had to get married, and he couldn’t be left stranded at the gate just because his ideals (or his wallet) didn’t allow for a bribe. (Me thinks he only paid a fraction of how much was demanded, but seeing as it was a customary tradition and not a means of income, I think everyone was happy). The groom and his minions then walked up onto the dais, and promptly occupied all of it (in the hope that they could bribe the bride in exchange for her seat.)

Here comes the Bride
And she was accompanied by Mendelsson’s signature-sque tune used in ALL weddings in Northern India (I got confirmation of this from a friend of mine who recently got married, and also from the venue next door where the same tune played minutes after it played at our venue). She glided onto the stage, followed by her minions i.e. us. After hearing the ridiculous request for a bribe, the bride took the much-expected “emotional atyachar” route. While the groom’s minions couldn’t care less, the groom knew his future was in jeopardy because his friends were greedy – and (I suspect this, since I missed the live telecast of this part) quietly asked them to leave the stage. And just like that, the bride’s side were one-up 🙂 (remember – we got the groom at the gate)

After a customary session of photo shoots and a quick Varmaala ceremony (where both the bride and the groom exchange garlands) ppl slowly move on the main event of the evening – socialising with one another. The poor bride and groom lay forgotten on the stage (the hawk-eyed photographer kept a mindful eye on them) while the guests chatted up one another amidst chaat and mocktails. By now almost everyone had found the ppl they knew at the wedding and got chatty with one another. As the evening got chillier, small coal fires were let around the venue, and groups of ppl subconsciously “occupied” a fire each (in my case, the flimsy jacket and the onset of the common cold necessitated that I stay very close to a warm place) . As the evening wore on, chaat gave way to dinner and the bride and the groom resumed their photo sessions with family and friends. And the guests took the time to get their memoirs of the wedding too.

A few hours and many coal fires later, we settled down for the “real” wedding. A small bunch of ppl partake in another ritual – the “joota chori” – and hide the grooms shoes. (The logic is that you can’t sit in any holy ritual with your shoes on – and an opportunity to make a quick buck is born. Needless to say, the groom has no option but to give in and pay the bribe this time around – after all he’s gotta be going home ryt…?).
This part of the wedding entails sitting around another fire while the bride and the groom recite verses and stoke the fire. And then go round the fire to take their vows and complete their pheras (For the unaware, google the pheras – millions of youtube videos from movies and soap operas shud give u a sense of how it happens). And the groom binds his bride with the Mangalsutra (a holy thread signifying they’re married). And somewhere in the middle of all this the Chooda is opened (remember the umbrella-shaped charms from the morning…?). And a few other minor rituals are completed, while ppl are silently waiting for the wedding to get done. This part of the wedding is the least “fun” since it’s almost entirely a ritual (and also cuz its taking place at an unearthly hour in the morning; I recollect a few yawn-filled pictures doing the rounds…). Soon after, the bride is whisked away and the few of us left awake make our way back to reality – away from a setting where dance and laughter is all your day’s about – and head home.

And thus endeth the chronicles of this awesome wedding. And the “Just Married” live “Happily Ever After”.

And thus endeth my chronicle of this wedding. I know its probably wayy too late… But I know the bride and the groom will enjoy reading this – if only to relive a few moments of that awesome day.

Coming soon: another guest post. Stay tuned!

Guest Post – Making it Worthwhile


I’ve been meaning to get other people to write on my blog for a while now – it would give a little variety to the otherwise satirical style of writing I so easily defect to, and it would also give some of my friends to read stuff some of my other friends write about (assuming they dint know each other anyway that is… 

In what I hope is the first in a series of guest posts, I introduce Sam, a friend from high school, who blogs very regularly (follow her at http://amarllyis.com/) and with an amazingly high level of quality and consistency. Her writing, I feel, is more “impactful” than mine is – personal, almost graphic and quite surreal at times; and always very beautiful. This is my cue to exit – stage right.

***

You don’t “take” a vacation. A vacation “takes” you where you need to be. So says me and my recent excursion to Delhi.

In the travel-map of my mind, my vacations are not labelled by what I did and where I went. They are defined by how they made me feel. My trip to Coorg last year, has “Peaceful” written in red, bold font on the travel-map of my mind. And now, my trip to Delhi has “Charmed” stamped all over it. That’s how I came back from the capital—charmed.

Customary as it is, on a trip to Delhi, I made my way to all the notable monuments. I wasn’t expecting to be bowled over by the architecture. In fact, I wasn’t expecting anything from them. I wasn’t hoping history to awash me with its long-standing story-telling. I wasn’t hoping to be floored by the intricate work on them. I wasn’t expecting to be greeted by gigantic bookmarks in the big red book of time. But I was. I was washed away by the life-size story each monument recounts when you stand in front of it. I was floored by the attention to detail given that they didn’t even have the “tools” we do now. (However, I am guessing, they were way ahead of their times than we are now.) I was shadowed by the bookmarks that the monuments have now become; not withering, not stooping, but standing tall and proud. Honestly, I was simply and as easily charmed by a glib lover courting an innocent damsel. It was that easy. And I find it hard not to be possessed by mastery of a kind that stands so beautiful over the years and still doesn’t fail to attract oneself to its grandeur. Each monument made me feel insignificant; among other things. I felt tiny; like I hadn’t put my life to good enough use. But at the same time, they instilled in me a feeling I haven’t been able to shake off till today—that if life is worth living at all, it is worth living well. That life is in the details; it is in dedication and hard work. That life is nothing more than a vision—our vision. And it would be worth our time to visualize well, dream big and then, do it. After all, like Tyler Durden said in Fight Club, “This is your life and it is ending one minute at a time.” I’d add to it and say, “Why not make it worthwhile?”

***

I’m not the kind of person who would read a book twice. Or so I thought. Until I read To Kill A Mockingbird. And until, I re-read it. Harper Lee wrote just one book in her lifetime and it won the Pulitzer. There is no wonder why (if you’ve read the book, of course). I think To Kill A Mockingbird is a lesson—to humanity; on how humanity should conduct itself. What’s more is that the book isn’t preachy. It never once tells you what you should or shouldn’t do. It just narrates a story; in the words of a little girl (Scout) and makes you wonder in silent shame why we’ve gotten this way. However, this remorse doesn’t last long as with every little incident, Lee, through the eyes of Scout tells us how there is still hope and there is still love. In just children, maybe. For me, To Kill A Mockingbird is like shade under a tree; calming and full of relief. It provides us with a place to rest before we can get up and run the race again. What I love, love, love about the book is that it wasn’t intended to be a sermon. Also, what I love about Lee is that she wrote just this one book and it has been done with such finesse you might as well think she published a volume of other kid stories before she got here. Only that she didn’t. That makes me respect her. A lot. It makes me respect her work and her will to be who she is today—she is To Kill A Mockingbird. I’m guessing that was her vision—and boy, did she arrive in style!

***

I’d like to wrap this post up with a verse I once read, long ago. It seems only fitting.

Work while you work
Play while you play
One thing a time
That is the way.
All that you do
Do with your might
Things done by halves
Are not done right.

***

Here’s to ourselves and the grand life we live or are about to live. Here’s to the human spirit and to hope. Here’s to making this life worth the while!

– Sameen
http://amarllyis.com/

Coming soon: The Winter Wedding Part 2. I finally retrieved a draft of the post I was supposed to have uploaded before my BB died out on me, and I am willing myself to complete it before I either forget it, or attend another wedding and muddle up all the details. The “coming soon” ticker should keep me motivated to post soon…