Monday, September 20, 2010

A decision made and some other life lessons

Decisions are always so much easier to make when they don’t affect you directly. I had to make a difficult choice recently and after a lot of careful thought I went with what my heart said – something I think I knew from the beginning. Different people gave different advice – some vehemently, some gently. But if there’s one thing I have learnt in life, it is this – always listen to others but eventually do what you feel is right.

Nobody and I mean nobody, not your closest friend or your family, can take your place in life. What this means is that they can never completely feel your happiness, your pain, your confusion, your angst as much as you do. They cannot live for you. They will always be one step removed from the real thing – you. The sooner one realizes this, the easier it becomes to stop relying on others. However much you take opinions about how to run the race, eventually you will be the one running it. That is not to say that the advice doesn’t help or guidance or sympathy or some kind of empathy doesn’t help. Of course it helps. It goes some way in fine-tuning the ideas that are already present in your head. It gives you solace. It shows you a different way of looking at things sometimes.

But the thing to remember is – your life is yours only. You will have to fight your own battles. You should be solely responsible for whatever decisions you make. And there is comfort to be drawn from that. And courage in owning up to it.

Another thing I realized is how you have to figure out what works for you. In other words, one man’s meat may be another man’s poison. What sounds like a great opportunity to one person need not seem that way to another. It is all a question of priorities. And it is important to be sure of one’s priorities in life. There are so many things we compromise upon in life. Too often, it is too easy to get drawn into something that goes against what you once believed in. It is essential to be aware of the non-negotiables. To realize that no matter what, this is something you are not going to give up on. It is important to take a stance and stick to it because otherwise you will fall for anything and everything the world throws at you.

It is important to realize that you don’t need to, and more importantly, can’t, please everybody all the time. It is impossible. This is one of those realizations that are guaranteed to bring about a lot of satisfaction in the long run. It is hard to avoid the temptation to be a crowd-pleaser. And it is also not necessary that you have to rebel against everything. Just learn to live with the fact that everyone may not like you. And that’s cool because you don’t like everyone either.

So… a lot of the heavy stuff today but that’s another side to me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

She - II

She breathed a sigh of relief. The meeting had gone off well. She began to feel herself relax, letting some of the stress out. She wanted to just sit still but began collecting up her papers instead. She could celebrate after she was out of the client's office. As she said her goodbyes, the marketing director walked up to her, lauded the presentation once again and pretty much made her day. She left the boardroom with a smile she couldn't quite conceal.

As they waited for the elevator, she listened with half a ear to the excited babble of the junior managers. The deal had been an important one and she had clinched it. Her boss hadn't been around to see it of course. Such was life. But even he couldn't ignore her contribution this time.

As the elevator doors opened, she saw there was already a man standing inside. As the elevator continued its downward journey, her kohl-lined eyes lazily lingered on him. Clean cut good looks, short hair, blue shirt, sharp tie, sleeves rolled up showing a chunky wristwatch on a strong forearm, nice shoes. Everything classic and understated. 'My kind of man' - the sudden thought flashed through her head taking her by surprise and making her look away hurriedly. The blinking lights told her they were still some distance away from the ground floor.

She looked again when she felt his eyes on her. She saw the nicest eyes she had ever seen - a colour that should be named 'Twinkling Brown' she thought. She felt her heart lurch, but maybe that was just the motion of the elevator. Before she could gather her wits and look away, a lazy smile slowly lit up his face and teased out an answering smile from her as well. The moment seemed to stretch and expand in her mind till everything seemed sharper and hazier at the same time. The elevator bumped to a stop and brought her back to her surroundings.

She stepped out and walked briskly away without a backward glance. She was feeling a little shocked at her behaviour. Had she just smiled at a guy, a stranger, in the elevator? A guy who had been checking her out, no less. Well, in all fairness, a guy she had been checking out too.

She smiled to herself. It was a sunny day.

* This story can be read on its own or in conjunction with two other pieces I've written - "She" and "He".

Nothing in particular

Okay, this is going to be a rambling post about nothing in particular.

I am currently reading "Rage" by Jonathan Kellerman. Interesting in parts. Just happy to find some time to read again. Also reading short stories by Stephen King written under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. And about to begin on the third book of the Millenium trilogy by Steig Larsson. In the middle of Sherlock Holmes' "A Study in Scarlet" too.

When I was younger, I had this rule of reading one book at a time so as not to dilute its essence. Now I find that I rarely get much time to read and when I do, I'd rather go with the type of story that fits my mood at that point in time. I mean, if I'm reading at 11.30 in the night after a gruelling day at work, I cannot bear to read anything too heavy. I'll probably miss the nuances or the beautiful use of language and fall asleep after the first paragraph. What I read then is a fast paced bit of fiction - just a story nothing more, nothing less. Over a lazy Sunday afternoon (or a day like today, when a bandh disrupts any chance of going out), I read books that require more attention. Just having all these books to read makes me happy. Never mind that I read them in bits and pieces and infrequently.

The last movie I watched in the theatre was "Lafangey Parindey" Read my review here. I have been wanting to watch "Byomkesh Bakshi" - a Bengali movie based on the detective novels of Saradindu Bandhyopadhyay. While I enjoyed the Doordarshan serial starring Rajit Kapoor, my main motivation for wanting to watch this is because it stars a friend.
I also want to watch "Dabangg" - promises to be a seeti-bajao type laughathon. A movie to be watched with a group of close friends ready to laugh at the stupidest gags and corniest lines of Inspector Chulbul Pandey (yes, that's Salman Khan for you). And with a song like 'Main Zandu balm hui, darrling tere liye!' can anybody even doubt its eccentric humour! also directed by Anurag Kashyap's brother, so there's a recommendation right there.

A close friend is in town and we will be catching up soon for lunch. I have been missing a Peter Cat sizzler for some time now. *Dreamy grin* Gorged on pizza again over the weekend. Sometimes I think my life can be divided into Before-Domino's and After-Domino's phases. More festivities lined up in the coming days means more good food. Donno when I am going to diet! Eid is this weekend - brings to mind all the delicacies that our Muslim neighbours would share during Ramazan when we lived in Park Circus. Fresh fruits, spicy Chana, keema puffs, potato and onion pakoras, sewai...yumm!

On a different note, read in the papers today that some politician justified today's bandh saying that "people face problems for 364 days in a year, so what's 1 more day? That too when its for a good cause!" There are so many things wrong with that statement that I'll get too agitated before I can articulate anything properly. By the way, the "cause" is price rise, Centre's policy of divestment, petrol price hike and more...