Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Devlin

Well, it's the Holy weekend as it were, as my dear friend KaraokeBoy explained, it's not happy Easter till Sunday; today is only Holy Saturday. Yesterday was Good Friday, only to me, who spent the day with Katie Melua and Stephanie Plum, and more importantly, Ranger, it was more like Awesome Friday.

I woke up at eleven today, which anyone will tell you is insanely uncharacteristic for me, especially since I went to bed at twelve and woke up once to let the maid in. But, for some reason, I did not want to get out of bed today. I finally did. I squeezed my eyes till they felt less heavy, and I drank some chai and listlessly checked email. Maybe it's delayed jetlag I thought. I scrolled through reader, and talked to a friend about seeing a movie. She declined, so I went and saw it myself. I had lunch in the food court and read Eleven on Top, and giggled to myself hysterically for an hour, before I went in to see the movie and nearly pissed myself laughing.

Then I had a few hours of what the fuck are we doing with our lives with my friend before I headed out to a beeeg gay dance partai. Only, the Poo and Dragon between them, the lazy bums, didn't want to wait till ten thirty when the partai started, so here we are, at eleven thirty, sitting in my living room. And I'm listening to more Katie Melua and writing posts, while Dragon is in her room, chatting with someone, and the Poo is on the divan, reading her book.

Somehow, tonight was a night I could have used a very drunken party, or some serious affirmation. Or both. But ther'es no fun in a reluctant party! So this post is for my friends back home, for KaraokeBoy, and Diepe, and Krum, and DancerBoy, and SingerBoy; for those friends of mine who are always ready to party. I really needed you guys tonight.

Friday, April 22, 2011


A pome wandered into my head today.

It toyed fleetingly with my words and then ran away giggling wildly.
"I've got the wrong address," it said.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Empire State of Mind

Here I am, back in dear Dilli after a nice whirlwind trip to the US. Much joyous worshipping of the niece (also known as the queen of everything or her Ladyship Wogglesworth Kafka) was exulted in, and a whole new wardrobe was bought. I also managed one night in the city (what do you mean what city? There is only one the city!!!) with a large and rambunctious group of friends. Well maybe it was only me and one other person who were rambunctious, but there were many friends and it was lovely to see them all. Especially the couple who were the other half of BBot’s and my couple couple. Because I never imagined I’d actually get to spend a night out in the city with those dear friends from Hyderabad. Seeing as how I’ve always wanted to transplant everyone I love to the city.

Goodness me I’m rambly today. Blame it on the insane amount of alcohol I have ingested in the past three days.

Anyway, when I was on the plane home, after that wonderful quintessentially New York night (yes, that city), I resolved that I clearly could not get over that city and must therefore try and channel my life towards living there again, perhaps more permanently. I even began to consider the MBA! I have never felt belonging like I do when I’m there. And it's hard to feel like you have no place in your own country.

However, today, as I chatted and ambled my way through my day—full of books and conversation about books, and ranting about translators and commas and the strange new girl—and sat at my desk and peacefully worked my way through 200 pages of proofs, a sense of contentment stole over me. I didn’t even realize it had arrived until, during an oft-repeated discussion with Karaoke Boy where he yells at me for moving and demands that I return since anyway it’s not like I’m making money, I said to him, why would I come back, I’m happy here!

It turns out that I am quite happy in my peaceful ambling job, with restful literary types scattered everywhere, who have long and articulate conversations about anything at all, and expect me to take breaks to read any book I like, and give me the space to execute my clearly defined work at whatever speed and in whatever way I choose, as long as it is executed to their requirements.

It turns out that I have a home here, one that is familiar and welcome; that I missed my armchair, and even though we need to find a maid AGAIN it's delightful to be running my own house again; that I sleep with a smile on my face in my own bed.

Now that is a welcome home present, especially after recent drama.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The P word

Heavy evangelism alert!

In terms of activism, it's not always possible to do something to help a cause. Take poverty. Not everyone can join an NGO, right? As the Bride said to me, we can support from the outside. But it's drops in the ocean.

Well I think we can do more. We can, for example, all not waste food. Give leftovers to our maids. Pay the auto driver the extra 10 bucks. Not bargain with the subziwala. Once a month, not eat out and give 1000 bucks to an orphanage to feed kids. Or to someone we know will use it well. Because if we sit down and we look at the sheer enormity of this problem, we will have to collapse in terror. No, we cannot eradicate poverty. It is not a disease. It is not finite, just like wealth is not finite.

On the one hand if you think of the entire endemic problem its a terrifying and impossible task; but if you look at one kid getting a meal tonight or a sweater to survive the winter and live another day, it's not so difficult.

Do some charity, and think of all the lives thst are better for it. If you are overwhelmed by the horror of poverty, think about how much worse it would be if it were not for everyone doing their tiny bit. 100,000 drops is a lot. even 1000 drops is almost a glass of water.

It is not possible to eradicate poverty. The way the world functions, the way life is, there will be rich, there will be poor, there will be people saying that the poor deserve to be poor because they always want to fight and drink. There will be studies telling you that children raised in alcoholic households till the age of five can never become functional members of society. I do not think that we have any hope of change unless we return to barter, lose electronics and grow a few more planets. But we can alleviate poverty. We can make some lives better. Step by step. If we all try, then there will be so many less undernourished children in India. Think of the difference it could make.

Who are we to say that without policy change improving the life of one kid is not worth it?

Social Scam

I get it. Social networking is an amazing thing. It really gives you this feeling of being all plugged into the world and other people, and you find all sorts of interesting things to read about, talk about, think about.

It also brings home the utter imbecility of people sometimes. Tell me, how many lives have you changed or dollars have you raised for a cause by posting a random word that talks about the colour of your bra or your relationship status? Putting a badge on your profile picture might show support for the Indian cricket team (yay we won!) but it won't matter a whit to corrupt politicians. Go ahead and use facebook to sign petitions supporting Anna Hazare's fast unto death.* Let's just see how much difference it actually makes.

This is what drives me nuts. I will guarantee that fifty percent of the people who are signing petitions on facebook and making their status messages reflect this thing aren't even registered to vote, regularly pay off cops for traffic fines, rarely every stand in line and deal with the government to get stuff done, or even know the laws of the country enough to know when they should or should not stand up to a shady customs officer.

Bottom line: It is against the law to bribe a cop instead of pay your fine. So if you can break the law, why cant A S Raja?

Seriously people, sitting around and complaining will do nothing. We can't just expect someone to wave a magic wand and change everything from the top. We are all people who say we know other things and better systems. But we are unwilling to take the responsibility to do anything about it. No, we want to get the jobs and make the money and then bitch at the government. If all of you care so much about corruption, go to law school, join the IAS, do something for the reform of the judiciary and the administration.

I am not saying that it is a good thing. I am not saying it is ok that the system is so fucked up. But we cannot lie here under the blankie and say that it's not our problem to fix it. Not while we're whining about how it is a problem in the first place! How is it going to work for someone to fast to have a law passed that cannot be enforced?

Sit down and do the math. (I know I should, but I'm too lazy. Volunteers?) We are talking about 1.2 billion people. Divide that by resources and amenities, and see what people get. Find out how many people pay  and how much it comes out to. See how much money there eventually is per capita. I will bet you it's less than any of those wonderful place where all these 'work.'

If you really want to fight corruption in India, take some simple steps. Find out what the law is. Find out what the fines are. Ask for receipts, copies, acknowledgments, names. Make a noise. You'll be surprised what a difference it makes.

Edit: lovely article by Nitin Pai.
Edit: And another one by someone else.

*Another post, another post...

Reveal ten impossible things after dinner

And, if you're in India, believe em before breakfast!

I've started dabbling in okc again, which is great, cos i'd forgotten how much fun it is. Somewhere along the way I began to play my usual, come on then tell me ten random things about you. In the process, here are twelve random things about me.

  1. I cook by nose! I can test salt by my nose! 
  2. Nature is wonderful. This is why I like wildlife holidays, theres something so serene and wonderful about lying in the middle of the forest at 2pm, listening to the wind the grass and the leaves, and knowing you absolutely have to do nothing at all. Ah kanha how I love you
  3. I love all sorts of music, I only object to it if its too loud or jars too much so yeah that means no hard rock concerts.
  4. I am a grammar nazi. I have an outer stickler bad spelling and grammar make me physically twitch. Though I do make typos a lot heh.
  5. I love writing in theory, somehow I never get around to it. You guys know this! I'm not sure I'm very good but people tell me I am so I can't be bad =) I hope. 
  6. I think life was lovely when I was a child but I also think it was quite terrifying in ways that I have forgotten as I grew to adulthood. I think I even wrote a post about it at some point! 
  7. I am turning thirty in a year and a half and I'm psyched about it! My twenties have not and lets not even start with my teens. I'm quite happy to get on with life and FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! 
  8. I am always in a hurry to find out what happens next, so I'm sometimes amazed I manage to finish books at all heh. my grandma cheats and reads the end first. I have been tempted. 
  9. There is some innate obsession I have with order and chronology in me that won't let me jump to the end of the book. Funnily enough, I LOVE achronological stories!
  10. I'm okay with myself...I love the person I am...but my self image would be better if I were thinner. Though I suppose I could move to latin america where they appreciate my ass.
  11. I love letters. writing and receiving them, though in this day and age I settle for lonnng emails.
  12. I love india but I'm not sure I'd want to live here always. Which is the exact opposite of many people I know. Heck, most people I know.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Life is a Rollercoaster

Yes yes cliche. Forgive me.

I had a long chat with Scoo today, about life and purpose and so on. In the past few months I've written dozens of posts in my head around the theme but never had the balls to put em out in writing because fuck that's so scary I can't even begin to deal with it unless I don't look at it.

Anyway, here I am, nearly thirty and quite happy about it. But here I am, nearly thirty and extremely directionless. And I'm terrified. I really am. I know its supposed to be exhilarating and exciting to not know where you are going. The books and the movies and the married and settled people never cease to tell us so. But it terrifies me.

It terrifies me that for the past three years I have been trying so very hard to acquire focus, a goal, SOMETHING to make me feel like my life is more than an endless string of weekends and summer jobs strung together pretending to be a grown-up life.

Is it merely a question of being too lazy to go for what I really want? I don't know, but I do know that I don't know what I really want to do with my life, beyond things like open a cafe and raise a family.

And now, I'm having that panic attack I've been trying to avoid.