Monday, February 22, 2016

Regrets

There are times when we fall into the trap of "regret". We start traveling along the course of "what if".

What if I had done this instead of that?
What if I had never left that job?
What if I'd refused to do such-and-such thing 20 years ago?
What if I'd never got involved with that person?

The list of "what if-s" can be endless.

Off late, I was going through a similar list. And it had become like a sort of endless loop. Until I finally realized something...



When I looked back at WHY I did whatever I was having second thoughts about now, I realized I did them all out of love. Every single one of those things. And if I were to re-live my past, I would do them all over again. Yes. I would do them all over again.

That's when I realized there really was no reason for me to have regrets.

When you make choices that are based on love, you will never regret making them. But when you act out of fear or under pressure, when you allow yourself to be manipulated by someone else's will, those are the only decisions that you will eventually come to regret. And quite reasonably so.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Tyranny of Facebook PDA [Guest Post by Parv]

Today’s post is a Valentine’s special, brought to you by a member of one of the coolest blogging groups in the history of Indian blogging—the ‘Sanki Six’! You remember the ‘Sanki Six’, don’t you? Those crazy bloggers who planned an equally crazy bloggers’ meet in Delhi, through that yahoo messenger chat box on my blog ages ago! (Read the post linked above if you don't.)

Yes, well, today’s Valentine special post comes from one of those very same ‘Sanki Six’ – Parv Kaushik.

Parv has raised himself as a rebel, and has been training himself as a revolutionary since his birth in May 1987. He has a deep interest in politics, religion, literature, writing, spirituality, poetry, world affairs, practicing voodoo to bring Genghis Khan back to life, and also in conspiracy theories, UFOs and aliens. He dreams of planning mutinies to topple world regimes and promote mayhem mischief and mass confusion to bring down the social fabric of society. Besides the Calvin-and-Hobbes-like day-dreaming, he writes poetry to celebrate love and feminism, and shares positive energy through his observations of the world around him.

And today, he writes about the tyranny of Facebook PDA (Public Display of Affection). Over to Parv now.





“Facebook PDA” ruins your happiness in just so many ways. A vicious circle from where you can never emerge. Following are the 5 stages of Facebook PDA that we see in a PDA life cycle:

STAGE 1: IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH

It starts when you are in School/College. You see a whole bunch of your Facebook friends/acquaintances/rivals start rubbing salt to your singlehood wounds with a simple innocuous relationship status update “in a relationship with…”. The literal writing on the “wall”, in bright neon lights, stands for “I have a boyfriend/girlfriend, you lowly creatures”. Then there are some higher beings—“cool” by all parameters. They have seen life and grown wise with their ups and downs. Their status would always remain “it’s complicated”—a synonym of “I am a player”.

STAGE 2: PRE-MARRIAGE “PROFILE SHUDDHI

After a few years, when college life ends and people start reaching the Indian marriageable age, a new phenomenon of “profile shuddhi” starts emerging. As college romances fail to leave the college campus and prospects of new relationships or arranged marriages start emerging, “profile shuddhi” is initiated. Relationship status is expunged. Couple pics and status updates, professing true eternal love, quietly disappear into bits and bytes of data, eternally stored in the servers of Facebook in US.

STAGE 3: FACEBOOK MARRIAGE TSUNAMI

Now is the part when a massive onslaught of Facebook marriages start. Every single time you log in, you find a friend married. Your Facebook wall starts resembling a long wedding album, with just faces and names changing, but, the theme remains the same—“red”. Girls looking like RadheMaa, guys looking lost. Before your own moist eyes, your old flames/friends/exes/crushes/girls-on-hit-list getting hooked and you staring your mobile/computer screen making tough decisions:

(a) Should I go through the entire wedding album of 84 pics?
(b) Should I press the “like” button? She has already got 178 likes and probably will get another 100. So does my “like” matter?
(c) What did she see in him? Damn. I should check the guy’s profile.


All this doesn’t break you down. What breaks you down is the fact that your own best friends leave such comments on your ex’s wedding album:

“My Favorite couple”
“Rab ne bana di Jodi”
“You look perfect together”


Where’s that angry emoticon? I send it in bulk to my friends on whatsapp.

STAGE 4: WE WON’T LET YOU MISS OUR HONEYMOON

Your friends don’t want you to miss anything private in their lives. They, unfortunately, couldn’t take their Facebook friends along on their honeymoon, but, this doesn’t mean they won’t let you know what happened in your absence, because keeping friends not informed about your honeymoon is just so rude. Some go as far as to updating their friends on a daily basis, creating day-wise albums (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3…), just in case you couldn’t make out which selfie was clicked which day! Honeymoon albums are usually uploaded when you are tucked in bed and checking your FB timeline for the fifth “last time” before going to sleep. It makes me wonder: What exactly do these couples do on their honeymoon before sleeping?

(a) Click pictures all day
(b) Sort pictures to be uploaded
(c) Edit pictures prior to uploading
(d) Write picture descriptions
(e) Upload album
(f) Reply to comments

When do they do what they are supposed to do during their honeymoon? Hmmm...

STAGE 5: ANNIVERSARY ATTYACHAR

A time comes when you get immune to the “shaadi” and “honeymoon” updates on your timeline. This is when the big balloon of “eternal love” bursts on your timeline and anniversaries start exploding like a violent volcano on eruption. The things that I have so far inferred from the happy anniversary (1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 year, 3 year…) updates of couples on my timeline:

(a) Time has “flown by” since your spouse has come in your life (I wonder if, after marriage, you get a time machine to fast-forward life.)
(b) You have had the most awesome months/years of your life. (Before marriage, you were living the life of a Syrian refugee.)
(c) Apparently, all of you have found your soul mates and claim to have the best husband/wife in the world (Marriages are indeed made in heaven! I’m so relieved to hear that. So where the hell is my special one?)
(d) You don’t talk to each other at home and only communicate through FB status updates. (Why can’t they say these things over a candle-light romantic dinner with red roses and some bubbly?)
(e) “Lucky” ~ this is how every married couple on my timeline describes themselves. (Nobody wins a lottery though. Ever.)




Thank you, Parv!

And thus, the tyranny of Facebook PDA continues, bombarding you incessantly with visual or wordy snapshots of the seemingly “blissful” world of “love” and “relationships”, of which, you, obviously, are not a part of, because you are still single (“you miserable scum of the Earth”), and sinking you into the deepest and darkest abyss of depression, from where you will never see the surface again, as long as you're on Facebook.

Happy Valentine’s Day, people! If you are "with someone", then be a willing contributor to the corporate industry that waits all year to get rich today. And if you are still single (like me), then also be a willing contributor to that same corporate industry. Gift yourself that giant teddy bear or that big box of Ferrero Rocher or a bunch of red roses for your bedroom, (or, better yet, all three of them!) and convince yourself that you are too "independent" to need a spouse/gf/bf to celebrate Valentine's Day.



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Anniversary - Commemoration of a Ceremonial Bond

Weddings are one of the most important and significant occasions in everyone’s life. A wedding symbolizes the beginning of a partnership for two individuals – a partnership that will last for a life time. It marks a transition from a single carefree individual to a responsible couple. From the wedding day onwards, two persons commit themselves for a life with each other, sharing both joys and sorrow together. The wedding marks the first step of the couple in the long journey of life. And an anniversary marks yet another year of married life for couples.

Image Source: Ferns N Petals

Wedding anniversaries are landmark occasions for every couple and they are celebrated with lots of pomp and joy all over the world. The style of celebrations may vary from one culture to another but wedding anniversaries are universally marked by celebrations, parties, family get-togethers and lots of presents and gifts.

A wedding anniversary is always a joyful affair filled with sweet nostalgia. It is an ideal time for couples to look back into their lives and reminisce about the early days. An anniversary always brings back fond memories of those wonderful moments where they first met or fell in love. It gives couples an opportunity to spend quality time with each other.

Marriages, like any other relationships, are akin to slow burning fires that need to be rekindled every now and again to keep the sparks flying. And wedding anniversaries are such wonderful opportunities to keep the romance alive in a married life. Taking time together to celebrate helps bring the couple closer and strengthens their marital bonds.

Image Source: Ferns N Petals

If it is your first anniversary and you are on the lookout for some perfect first Anniversary gifts online, then delight her with a lovely bouquet of fresh flowers. There is no better way than flowers to express love and affection, and thus they are ideal gifts for this memorable occasion.

It is not hard to find flowers for the occasion, as a number of florists and flower shops provide flowers for many occasions. You can find exclusive arrangements from specific occasions, or you can order a custom arrangement done according to your specifications or preferences. You can choose from an array of fresh flowers, ranging from roses, lilies and tulips, to daisies, carnations and gerberas. Pair the flowers along with a personalized note and present them to your partner and make her feel special and well-loved with this truly heartfelt gift.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Mystery of The Shop Shutter

So I opted for Science in my senior school, but that was only because it was the only option offered at my school, and I wanted to remain at that school because I wanted to continue studying Computers from this particular teacher there! Weird reason, I know! Despite that, I managed to score well in Science, though I never really took a liking for any of the Science subjects. Organic chemistry was always a pain in the you-know-where. And surely, a girl who wouldn't use the microwave without her dad standing nearby couldn't be expected to care a zilch about how things worked! Right?

Right.

And therefore, what happened during my pre shop-setup and early shop-setup days shouldn't come as a surprise to you.

So what really happened during my pre shop-setup and early shop-setup days?



You see the image above? That's the top half of the front of my shop. You can see the shutter pulled up just below the name of my shop. There's that handle below "ITA" of "KITAB".

Ok so when I initially rented this place and had just started setting things up, this shutter was a source of great mystery for me. I couldn't figure out where it "went" when it was "pulled up".

For weeks, I believed that there was some hidden opening in the ceiling, through which the shutter slid up, right through to the floor above. Like how sliding doors work, you know. And I kept straining my neck to find that "opening". In vain.

Then, once the furniture and fixture was set in my shop, we went for stock purchasing. Even at the wholesale market, I found myself spending more time looking at the shutters of shops than at the goods displayed in shops. Hoping to catch a glimpse of that mysterious hidden slot where the shutter disappeared.

And then I noticed something odd. A "double-decker" shop. There was an entire wall of glass display-case directly above the shop entrance. That invalidated my entire theory of there being a hidden cavity in the wall above the "sliding shutter", because if the shutter "slid up" to the floor above, the glass display would not have been visible!

I returned with the stock, scratching my head, more confused than ever before. And then my shop opened business, and I was still no closer to solving this great mystery of the shop shutter.

Guess who came to my rescue then? My favorite birds! Yupp... these little house sparrows! These tiny, fluffy, cute little birdies who keep chirping incessantly!



These small birds are regular inhabitants of the market where I have my shop. They come and go as they please. On any given day, you'll find at least three nests of these birds above my shop shutter. If you look carefully at the first image, you'll see a tiny gap (couple of inches) between the ceiling and that "box" on which my shop's name is painted. That's where all those nests are usually located. Some of these birds are more adventurous though, and they will make their nests *inside* that box.

The first time they did that, I couldn't understand why their nest fell down every time Dad pulled the shutter. They collected twigs all through the day and built their nest, and at night, the whole thing came down with the shutter. Then they got back to work through the night, but in the morning, the whole bunch of twigs and dried leaves came tumbling down once again when Dad pulled the shutter up. This happened every morning and every night without fail.

I used to stand directly below that "box" and watch those birds flurry past me with little twigs and grass and leaves, and disappear inside that box. And I used to crane my neck to see where exactly did they assemble those twigs, so that it all came down with the shutter.

And then one day, I saw!

That "box" wasn't just a space designed to paint your shop's name on and hang Diwali lights from. It was actually a cunningly devised "cover"! A cover for the shutter, which, when pulled up, rolled-up like a carpet, fitting smugly inside that "box"! And those silly little birds spent the entire day building their nest on that shutter-roll! Then they spent the entire night rebuilding it on the base of that empty shutter-case! They might as well have built their castles in the air!

Oh but you can't imagine my ecstasy that day! It took me more than 3 months, but I FINALLY KNEW where the shutter went when it was pulled up! And boy, wasn't it absolutely brilliantly perfect? I mean can you make out from that first picture that there's a whole heavy-duty iron shutter neatly rolled-up inside that humble-looking "box"? And the shutter doesn't even get stuck or "tangled" in any way when being pulled up or down--the mechanism has been designed to work so well!

I tell you, I was on seventh heaven that day. I was so happy that the mystery was finally solved. And I was so amazed at the sheer elegance of the system. Moments like these make you wish you had taken mechanical engineering instead of commerce in college!