Thursday, July 29, 2010

Questions of a confused soul

There is so much that I want to write, so much I want to pour out, so much I want to change, so much I want from life, so much I don’t want to be doing. And I am only 24 and I can’t even decide what to have for dinner tonight and my relatives want me to get married already. Give me a bloody break!

Alright, I agree that it was me that wanted to get married until two months back. And it was me that took the efforts to get talks underway and it was me that convinced and threatened and did-what-not to make this possible. Now that it is all becoming reality, it is scary. It is so damn scary and now none of them would understand why I am talking this way. None of them want to take a U-turn apart from me. None of them understand what I am going through. Sounds like development of cold-feet, doesn’t it? I thought so too. But this is much more than that. I cannot put a finger to what exactly is the reason behind my backing out of the “plan” (which, incidentally, was made by ME)! How are the others supposed to understand it? The point is: I am scared. I am scared as hell to get committed. I am scared that I would have to give up my freedom. I am scared that I will have to do what the others ask me to do. I am scared I cannot be what I am. I really don’t understand the whole point behind getting married. I want to run away from everything to a place far off where nobody can find me. Talk about cold-feet. I probably have the “coldest-feet” in the country.

The point is, by running away from all this, I might come across as the most selfish person that ever walked on the face of the planet. Also, that would make me a coward. There is a problem and if I choose to run away from it instead of hanging on and fighting for myself, it would make me a loser. I am NOT a loser. But the problem doesn’t end there. If I choose to continue fighting, I would for sure at some point of time hurt someone I love. I don’t want to hurt the soul that has been living for me ever since I was born. I love her too much to do that to her. But, I WANT TO LIVE MY LIFE.

I feel as if I am striving so hard to live up to others’ expectations that I have ultimately forgotten what I really want and now I want it so bad. I want to life MY life and not worry about what the others have to say or think. Either I stay back, doing what the others want me to do, sacrificing my wishes and letting the choice-not-made haunt me for the rest of my life. Or I go after what I want, live my life the way I want, let the world know what LIVING is; but in doing so I would be hurting my beloved ones, feeling guilty for failing to live up to their expectations. It is a very difficult choice to make, especially when you are from India, more so if you are a girl. A girl that is going to married within the next 8 months at that!

What is it that makes me think so much (with that non-existent brain of mine)? Fear. The fear of losing all the freedom I have, the fear of having to be bound to the rules of a society I have grown to hate, the fear of having to give up my choices, the fear of having to give up a lot of things I love, the fear of being forced to love things (and sometimes people) that I despise, the fear of having to compromise a lot, the fear of my intelligence being dismissed just because of the fact that I am a girl, the fear of losing ME and MY SPIRIT! I am nobody if you take that spirit from me. I am nobody if you take my thought-process and my decisions from me. I don’t want to live in (or as) somebody else’s shadow. I am too proud to do that.

Now whoever told me a marriage will take away whatever I have and leave me to be just a body with no soul? Nobody. It is just my intuition. I could be wrong. I am not marrying somebody I don’t know at all. In fact, I have known this wonderful person for five years and it was MY decision to get married so soon. But why am I backtracking now? I have no idea. Why am I so afraid of the entire process now? I don’t know. Why do I think I will lose my individuality now? I have no clue. All I want now is to flee off from everything. Selfish? Individualistic? Call me whatever. I want to be my own master.

If any of this crap made any sense to you and if you choose to voice your opinions please do leave a comment. I would like to know what you think.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What I wanna do

If only anyone would pay me for sitting in the last row, by the window, sleeping half the time, sending text messages to those innumerable friends (whose faces we still book sometimes) the other half without the knowledge of the lecturer, making rockets with paper, life would have been so much cooler. But no sir, nobody shows you the cake AND lets you have it. To be frank, I have never really understood the whole concept behind being in a job. Apparently, you can’t live with your parents’ money forever. And no, it is NOT funny to say, “I can live with their credit cards.” It is not appreciated (experience teaches you an awful lot).

There are many other things that are not appreciated. So I could not be a bicycle rider because I was in India; not in the Netherlands. I could not join the Army because all my friends laughed it off when I said I wanted to do it. I could not become a spiritual Guru thanks to the likes of Swami Premananda/Nithyananda types. I could not be a teacher because according to my mom, I was made to become something better. I could not be a journalist because my cousins were all pursuing their engineering courses. I could not be a news reader because my cousins were all planning to do their M.Tech/PhDs. Oh my God, why did you come up with the whole concept of cousins? They were all my dream jobs at one of time or the other. And they were all brushed aside because I was too young and too naïve to make my own career plans. But nevertheless, they were a very important part of my growing up process.

Currently, if given a choice, I would like to be a writer. It is something that gives me satisfaction, makes me feel as if I have achieved something great. But on the down-side, there is something that we all like to call ‘Writers’ block” that affects me every now and then. I sit in front of my computer, I have some thoughts in my mind, but they just refuse to come out as words. But there are days when the words just pour out like Champagne. Finding a balance between the two AND making a career out of it is no easy task.

Another career I am fascinated about is that of a behavioral skills trainer. I like to teach and from whatever experience I have gained from being a silly IT professional over the last three years, the average Indian IT professional lacks basic manners – from emailing to eating – it shows in everything they do. Since customer facing roles are on the rise, most companies would need their engineers to put on their best behavior while talking or emailing or chatting with their clients, which is where I would come in. I have a flair for making good communication (now, don’t you start rolling your eyes, if there is anything I do well, that is TALK. Don’t take that away from me!) And I like teaching. So what better than to combine the two things I like and make a successful corporate career out of it?

I am also good at organizing events and shows. So event management is an area I could dwell into. But I am not really sure about the roles and responsibilities there and so I cannot comment further on that.

Another career that I find very interesting is in the Advertising field. I like advertising and have always taken part in such events at school and college level, but I am sure that is not how the field works in real life. I would, for sure, love to be a part of an advertising campaign. Also there is some very good money involved in it!

But if there is one job that would supersede all the above and be “the one” dream job, it has to be the one where I am allowed to sit in the last row, by the window, sleep half the time, send text messages to those innumerable friends for the other half without the knowledge of the lecturer, making rockets with paper…

This post is an entry for a contest in Blogadda called MY DREAM JOB. This contest was an initiative by BLOGADDA and Pringoo .

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dream on...

Never give up on your dreams, no matter how far-fetched or silly or impossible they are to become reality. Who knows; it might work out some time – by working hard towards it, by luck or by sheer power of thought. I was having this discussion with a colleague of mine about what we wanted from life. Our thoughts were quite similar – we both wanted to go outside of our respective countries (he is from Holland and I am from India), both of us want to work in Spain, but are too scared about what we have to leave behind or lose if we did what we wanted to. But we keep talking about the idea – what can be done to make it happen, giving up because there was no realistic way we could do it, then dreaming about starting our own company there, our roles in the company, whether Rafael Nadal can be employed there – all silly thoughts, that would just remain thoughts and nothing more.

But then the insane mind starts working, it starts thinking that moving to Spain (throwing whatever I have got here down the drain), with nothing but our own stupid minds and thoughts, no plausible idea that would help us earn our bread whatsoever – and I start liking the thought more than ever before. The very fact that something is impossible to attain makes it more exotic. The unpredictability factor is the most intriguing of them all. I am still thinking about it because I want to do it someday or the other, against all odds, sacrificing quite a few things and then say to the world, “See, it was not impossible”. No, it is more of proving to myself that it was not impossible than to the world.

It is so hard to let go of what we have and go after our dreams for fear of failure, fear of whether we would get something better, fear of having to lose what we have and fall flat on our faces – but that is a choice we have to make. We have got to leave something to gain something. Only in this case, you might end up losing what you have and not gain anything at all. Too risky, but too tempting. But every time I think about it the urge to do it is so overwhelming.

I mean, we will never know if we made the right choice or not without actually making it. Life is not something that could be simulated in a Test environment before being moved to Production. (Ahh, I should probably take a break from work). May be I should take a break from work and go to Spain. And do what there? I don’t have a clue. You get the drift. This is how my mind works. Whatever I think of, will eventually lead to Spain. And then stop there because it hits a dead-end – I don’t know any further.

It sounds crazy. But I believe completely in the power of thought and I have an intuition that I will someday be led towards that by destiny (ok, now I am just talking crap about destiny and all), but now I won’t be afraid to take the plunge when opportunity arrives. It may lead me to failure but I should still be fine because I was the one that wanted it. It was MY idea, MY interest, what MY mind told ME to do. No reasoning required.

Yet, it is true that you have to think about how your decision impacts others’ lives. But if you keep thinking about it, you are going nowhere – just staying in the same stagnant water as millions of others. You should have the courage to do what you want to do and be proud to do it because then, you would be one in a million and trust me, no matter how bad the consequences are, you would be proud enough to shout it out from the rooftop just because you had the will to do what others can only dream of.

Too preachy? Well, this is what I am telling to myself – like a self-realization thing. Sigh… I hope I have the courage to follow what my heart wants. Ok, now it just sounds like a stupid candy-floss Bollywood movie. Pardon me for that!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Eindhoven Times

Ok, so where do I start? With how crazy the place became when Netherlands won the semi-final match against Uruguay? Or how there are separate cycling lanes in all the cities? Or how punctual the buses/trains are? Or how I saw a few guys cry when Netherlands lost the final to Spain? Dressed in all Orange, blowing the vuvuzela thing, drinking beer by the barrel, the people are, needless to say, crazy about soccer – it is almost the same in India with cricket. I can totally relate to the madness.

I have been darn lucky to be in a country during a gorgeous summer, when the country’s national team is in the finals (after 32 long years) of the most celebrated tournament around the world, working under a really cool manager! And to think I was going to come here in January (that was the original plan) when it would have been freezing cold and no world cup was going on. I just love the people here (yes, it also includes hot guys who don’t care to wear a shirt ;) because it is too hot here – come on, anything beyond 35 degrees is impossible for them – which is one of the reasons summers are soooo good.)

While at Holland, I also go to do what I like to call “exploring the wilder side of me” (like I wasn’t already wild enough) – I spent a few sleepless nights exploring Eindhoven, having a barbeque dinner at my manager’s home, playing in the beach with friends, tasting some fine wine, watching the FIFA world cup semi-finals and finals at the city centrum, having a crazy dancing night with a total stranger, partying until the wee hours of the morning, listening to a live band perform, taking a lot of photos – I did all of that! I know a lot of you are really jealous of me now (as I could gather from the FaceBook messages I got). I admire the style in which they enjoy their lives – they work for nothing more than 8 hours a day, go promptly on their vacations, concentrate completely on their work when they are at office, enjoy totally once they are outside office!

I think I had the best manager one could ask for (no, I am NOT saying this to be on his good books, but because that is the truth). He took us to downtown Eindhoven for the semi-finals match and along with his friends took us to a party later that night. Then he invited us to his home for a barbeque dinner, introduced his family – his wife and his really beautiful 15-month old daughter, served us some really good food – I needed vegetarian food and they had made some corn and mushrooms and potato salad (it felt absolutely great that we were being taken care of so well). Then again he took us out for the finals match and not once did he talk/ask about anything related to work when we were outside the office.

It was a great learning experience too – well, I am not referring to the KT sessions here; I want to leave work out of the entire post. I learnt that people like it when you are honest and are not faking your actions, I learnt that there is one person who is crazier than me in posing for photos (Believe me!!!), I learnt to be patient, I learnt that you can hit it off with a total stranger and end up having one of the best night outs ever, I learnt that I am going to make a great wife (well, how and why is beyond the scope of this blog), I learnt that I have more energy than I thought I did (although I lived on one meal per day)… All is well that ends well. It ended quite well J

And here I am, on my way back home to appreciate paani poori more than ever. And I will not complain about Bangalore food anymore. Talking about food, I am already hungry now. My flight is 7th in the line for take-off from Istanbul airport and I will post this in about 7 hours when I have reached Mumbai and had a couple of samosas/vada paav (I can imagine the faces of my friends in Holland turning red with jealousy). But come on, I deserve so much!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Smile costs nothing

If there is one thing that people all over the world have in common, understand and reciprocate, irrespective of where they are from, what color their skin is, which God they worship, which language they speak – SMILE. This simple gesture is so versatile that it could convey anything from a polite ‘hello’ to a naughty ‘How you doin’?’ to a shy ‘Excuse me’. It amazes me as to how so many of us have forgotten to smile or greet another person when we meet. If you ask, “Why in the hell in should I smile at a person I have never met earlier?” it means you have forgotten the very fact that you are a human being and you are the only species to have been blessed with the power and capacity to smile at others. Put it to good use.

I am on a trip to the Netherlands now and I had a transit at Istanbul for a few hours before I could catch my flight to Amsterdam. I do not speak Dutch or Turkish. But language will never be your concern if only you knew how to smile at people. Being friendly has got nothing to do with knowing the language. Sitting across me is a middle-aged lady with eyes the color of the Sea. She is very pretty for her age. I don’t have to go and tell her she is looking very good. A smile would do. Next time you are asking for change in a shop, do it with a smile on your face. Don’t worry if the smile is not reciprocated. It just means that the person you thought was human was not that human, after all.

If you forget to smile for some reason, trust me, you would end up looking like a severely constipated gorilla; like the guy sitting opposite to me just did. May be you are not happy about something, may be you fought with your girlfriend/boyfriend, may be your boss shouted at you (which boss doesn’t is another story), may be you ARE constipated – but you cannot expect the others to understand your problems. You are expected to be friendly by default. An angry face and a dull response is enough to turn away people from you.

It is perfectly ok to think I have gone crazy. It is perfectly ok because there is absolutely nothing interesting about this post (as if my other posts were interesting, duh…). This one got a little too preachy. But I had to write it because I am seeing in front of me a person who looks like smiling is taking too much of his time and energy. It irritates and frustrates me; but maybe I shouldn’t expect him to smile. Whatever… But sitting in an international airport and exclaiming, “Everyone is sooooo white here!” is a little too much by anyone’s standards, don’t you think?

Ok, there you go! I cribbed, yet again. But when two people who are worlds apart in thought and taste are forced to travel together such things tend to happen. I only hope the objective of travel (which is learning, basically) is achieved. Meanwhile I will continue my ‘smile’ campaign when I meet new people (I am going to meet a lot of them) over the next two weeks and silently continue to thank Appa for giving me the interest and the encouragement to read about other cultures and making me a friendly person.

Ok, now I am going to have to stop being such a preachy pain in the you-know-what. And keep smiling, people! Even if you are called ‘Illicha vaai’ by your friends, it’s ok. ‘Illicha vaai’-ngaradhu ellam oru thittoda setha? Pona vaaram un machan unna eppidi thittinaannu yosichu paaru ;) Oh, I miss talking in Tamizh already.

I am also writing a travelogue (in a diary, because I enjoy writing with pen and paper) – I am not really sure how interesting it will be. So I am not posting it. Or may be I should?