31 May 2011

The Essence of Kerala

My friend, Mynag Suresh's entry to Nikon's Photo Competiton

Vote for this on Facebook here!!

30 May 2011

15 Day Challenge: Day 2

A sentimental possession and the story behind it

I was a complete freak about preserving memories with related random material things. Movie stubs, eatery bills, cotton candy sticks, chocolate wrappers, huggiehearts, fur bits of my first teddybear (incidentally named Cookie), even a dried mango seed – you name it, I have it. (Imagine the amount of stuff I threw out when I broke up with my ex *rolls eyes*)

But the one that now holds immeasurable value is the wooden box that Appu (my grandpa) gave me.

It’s a nondescript box, about the width and length of a laptop, made of polished wood with a latch, a lock and a key, all of which Appu made from scratch by himself. It was my 14th birthday gift from him and he’d filled it up with an odd combination of knick-knacks - a bottle of scented talc, a small perfume, some pretty hankys, a classy looking pen and a few other things I don’t remember now. Almost like he didn’t know what to get me or what I would like.

Appu preferred to think of me as his little girl, his kochammini. But this gift was, in some way, an acknowledgement that he had come to terms with the fact that I was an adolescent. He understood that his eldest and most favourite grandchild was past the stage of watching Discovery channel dangling from his mundu and smothering her tears on his shoulder when the cheetah killed the deer (the first ever male shoulder I’ve cried on and the most comforting as yet). 

This was his awkward contribution to the process of my becoming a woman.

Somewhere along the way I realised that memories can’t be preserved in material things and the happiness of a wonderful time can’t be captured in an inanimate object; that it’s foolish to preserve meaningless objects just to revive the joy of that memory. That was the end of my ‘sentimental’ collection.

But this one possession, I never found meaningless or foolish. Now, I hold on to it tight knowing it is the only exclusive possession me and Appu share; it’s my only connection to him. He might have passed on his heritage, knowledge, temper and a hundred other things to me but nothing this poignant, priceless.

I might not be able to see him or hold his pinky or argue with him about politics anymore but this box never fails to evoke a flurry of wonderful, precious memories. 

Two down, 13 more to go!

29 May 2011

15 Day Challenge: Day 1

5 things that I can’t live without

Ah, reminds me of the time I filled up my Orkut bio.

Goes without saying that family tops the list along with that Nanda guy. But I have hashed and rehashed about it time and again, so I’ll refrain from doing it once more.

I have made a very loose interpretation of 'things'.

Anyway, here goes and in no particular order.

1) Anybody who knows me remotely will know that I’m obsessed with chocolate. My life revolves around chocolate and I (almost literally) worship it. I can’t do without it even for a single day, unhealthy as it sounds.

In my defense, it has been proved that chocolate is good for the heart, so there *sticking tongue out*

Very mature, I know :D

2) My trusty ole Nokia Xpress Music: it’s like an extension of my hand and I know for a fact that the moment I lose it will be the moment my world falls apart. It’s not so much my contact point with the rest of the world as much an integral aid in my living life, putting one feet in front of the other and moving forward.

My dependency, it scares me.

There should be mobile de-addiction centres, I tell you.

3) The third one arises from my inherently being the poster-girl for Aries. My obsessively compulsive need to win, to be first, to be the best in whatever I put myself to- assignments, activities, sports, writing...

I can get very neurotic about everything being jussst the right way, how I do and redo and re-redo things long after they are done just to satisfy this need and the thirst for recognition and appreciation for it. But I don’t push it, mind you. I want it ONLY if I think I deserve it. And it’s not fame, either, that I want.

Only two people in the world know how much it means to me because I’m VERY good at hiding it. Nonchalance, thy name is Priyanka.

It’s something I and the people who love me enough have put up with for a long time. And I know that I can’t live without that drive because otherwise I am not who I am.

This is also why I hate working in groups.
I was born to be solo.
Like I said, Arian poster-girl.

4) Dreams.
I am a dreamer (I’d say ‘who’s firmly rooted in reality’ but too politically correct and irritatingly so). 

I dream of the big things: a world with no sadness or pain, education abroad, the perfect job, the unending shopping sprees, the house-full of pets, the long vacations to everywhere. 
And the small things: the perfect porch garden, the kurta that beckons me so prettily, winning a lifetime’s supply of Twix bars, the squirrels stealing nuts from my palm, the yummy panipuri and the even yummier Mr. Cooper.

A lot of these might be pipe dreams but all the same they help me wake up and look forward to each day.

When the day is bleak and there seems to be no hope for the future,
When I see people with almost perfect lives complaining about inconsequential things, not knowing the value of what they have.
When the past haunts and I dwell on those untaken decisions that might have made a huge difference.
When helplessness claws its dangerous way in.
When the sheer unfairness of life threatens to overwhelm.

I sit down, close my eyes and start dreaming of that perfect life to come.
Dreams help me survive.

Which is why Inception made perfect sense and remains one of my favourite movies of all time.

5) Books.

The reason why I dream so much. They help me escape into a world I conjure up. For a day, 368 pages of a book help me eat, live and breathe. They open up new vistas of life, new paths I never thought existed, even alternate worlds. While they make me yearn for more than MY life can give, they also give me the ultimate happiness and fulfilment that even chocolate hasn’t been able to equal in so long (and that is saying something: refer point 1).

Philosophy never charmed me though. Maybe my taste is too shallow but The Alchemist never made sense to me (I finished it only because I detest leaving books half read). Nor did I have the patience to even start The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But give me a good sci-fi, mafia war or a whodunit and I am occupied and out of everybody’s hair for the rest of the day. To each his own, I suppose.

However much the world evolves and the technology develops, I’ll always depend on a book to ‘snap me out of it’.

And there are those five things which I, for Hell or high water, can't live without.

That's today's challenge completed. 14 more to go, folks!

One’s that almost made the list: 
  • My need to always take the road not taken, 
  • F.R.I.E.N.D.S – Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe have gotten me through some tough times, 
  • Innate necessity to tease the ‘bejesus’ out of my brother,
  • Animals – dogs, cats, rabbits, guniea pigs…. Everything, anything,
  • My dear little Dell, I don’t know what I’d do without it. 

15 Day Challenge!

Ah, I have been introduced into the world of blog challenges, though (much to my chagrin) late. What I hope to achieve is that I’ll dust off my lazy butt, rise to the occasion without hiding behind the convenient excuse of writers’ block and prevent abusing my pore 
ole’ blog anymore. The challenge’s from Tumblr, tweaked it a little though.

And I take this opportunity to thank my faithful followers who have put up with my Pathetically Irregular posting and still remained with me. Erm, too Oscar-ish?? (Reminds me of a sugary update I read recently on academic success which had me choking with laughter at the drama).

Well, I wouldn’t put it any other way, I AM grateful.

As Barney Stintson would say,
*drum roll*
Challenge accepted!

Wish me luck!
Here goes…

28 May 2011

Two things...

1) Whatever happened to originality??

The whole point of writing (even stuff like writing assignments, bios, about you's and resumes) is about the person you are, the thoughts you have and the creativity you are/aren't blessed with. But when you straight out copy someone else's stuff, then you might as well hang a big 'L' around your neck. Normally, I would be proud considering that they thought my stuff was good enough to be copied and I would smirk. But when it happens time and again, it pisses off. And pissed-off-priyanka is not a pretty sight/sound (or any other positive sensory stimulation, for that matter) as eye-witnesses would vouch for.

One simple thing is all I ask for - Acknowledge. 
The least you can do. The decent thing. 

This IS intended at a few losers who copied/ have been copying from stuff I wrote.

2) Bradley Cooper <3

I have nothing more to say on this topic except that it should be made illegal to look that hot. He's like the female version on Jessica Alba or Megan Fox. And he's definitely on my wishlist for Diwali XD


And like my good friend, Gayathri, said - there are SO many of them that we can't have.

And of course I didn't let the chance of gawking at pictures of him go by:

P.S: This not an aftereffect of Hangover:2, much as it may seem.

P.P.S: There is absolutely no connection between the two but things that HAD to be said.

21 May 2011

The Travails of 'Leao'

What is it about love that makes it so confusing and people so frantic??
It’s a whole process, actually, according to what I’ve seen and learnt.

THE FaiRY TALE (sarcastic much?)
Stage 1: The Worm Bait

I realize that I like him a little more that I like all my guy pals for reasons ranging from

  1. His Adonis looks

  2. His loaded wallet

  3. His place in the social ladder

  4. His influence on MY place in the social ladder

  5. His ‘coolness factor’

  6. Because you are desperate

  7. Him

(Oh, let’s call a spade a spade. Half, correction, 90 friggin’ percent of the relationships I see around are based on the first 6 reasons. Call me disillusioned/sardonic but that’s the way it is; which is why my respect for those based on reason 7 multiply manifold)

I start noticing little things about him. His hair, the way he talks, pronounces certain words, the way he attacks his chicken leg with all the gusto of a full-blooded Viking to name a few.

I convince myself that he’s ‘The One’.

Then, I turn on the charm. What with The Slinky LBD that is sexy yet subtle, the heavy duty L’Oreal artillery wielded to perfection, the complete personality change (once you find out what kinda girl is his dream girl: sporty, feminine, independent… whatever), the hair-twirl-and-throw-back-head-n-laugh flirting routine – the poor guy doesn’t stand a chance.

(Trust me, this is not just the stuff of self-help books or highly-imaginative M&B paperbacks, not even Tim Gunn’s ‘pearls of wisdom’. This is exactly how it happens in REAL life- I have seen it, you have too… more often than not, we have done it ourselves as well. We just don’t realize it.)

Once the guy is ‘caught in the net of my leao’ (cliché alert), I start reeling my prize bass in. This is the period when I try to get him to realize I’m the goddess of his dreams. The longer he takes the more frustrated I get. I agonize with my ‘bff’s’ on what the best course of action is, what accidently-on-purpose incidents should happen, what clever things I can say to impress him: the whole he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not routine.

(All this happens depending on how long the guy takes to say ‘I love you’/ ‘I really really like you’)

Stage 2: Reeling the Fish In  

He does The Deed. He ‘proposes’.

(I have issues with the word ‘propose’. Guys we go out with don’t propose, they just express their love – for lack of a better expression. Propose is when he goes down on one knee, says you’re perfect and asks you to spend the rest of your life with him. I go along only because I don’t have a good enough replacement for the word)

I say I have to think about it (because if I say ‘yes’ immediately I’m branded an ‘easy catch’)

So I come back home and jump on my bed, sing a few songs (Bollywood ishtyle), call my bffs up and go over the details nanosecond by nanosecond. Leave him hanging there for a while and he’ll get what a catch I am.
Note: *grimace*

A few hours, days or weeks later (depending on how heartless I am or how hard-to-get I want to play), I call him/ meet up and amidst much *emotion*, I admit that I like him too.

We decide that we’ll give it a try, we might not work out so need not let EVERYBODY know (because we’ll look like fools when it’s over: not IF but WHEN), we have to be careful, we have to keep ‘open minds’ etc etc.

Stage 3: Quality Time Getting To Know The Fish

The ‘relationship’ is in progress.

Sleepless nights (not because he ‘sapnon main aake, mere neend ko churata hai’) making business for Telecom companies. The meeting up all over the place. Lavish birthdays and Valentine’s Day presents which are expressions of our love (provided the occasions come during our ‘together’ period). The small fights which we so desperately make up after many tears and ‘I can’t live without you’s’. The gazillion photos we take of us together (by ‘us’ I mean faces, clothes, feet, shoes, socks, hands etc for the benefit of friends and Facebook: there are also a set of ‘secret’ photos that we think nobody knows about). The bills of CCD when we’re bonding over coffee.  

(I always wondered why its 99 bucks and not 100, like who are they trying to kid?)

Stage 4: Realization that the Fish is Rotten

This is the part I realize that he, most certainly, is NOT The One.
(Read: I lose interest.)

Happy Realization.

“One you start disliking somebody, everything they do begins to annoy you” –Facebook like. True fact.

The fights that used to be so earnest and the cute making up that happens in Stage 3 turn dirty. My impression of him being perfect fades. I pick on him every chance I get, become jealous and possessive or distantly mocking just to drive him into frustrated rage (because they are sure-fire ways of getting rid of him). I become cold and unreceptive to his confused efforts to make up.

All the things I changed in myself to please him revert back. I hide under the post-modern phrases of ‘maintaining who I am and not changing for anybody’ and ‘my individuality’.
I complain to the aforementioned bff’s that he’s changed and that he wasn’t honest in the beginning about everything. Or that he’s too possessive and doesn’t give you freedom. Or that he’s just using you. Or his friends are less-than-perfect. Or whatever.

(There is a Long List of Reasons to choose from)

Stage 5: Throwing the Fish Right Back In the Water

It’s either a clean break where I stop taking his calls, refuse to meet him and reject his friends’ efforts to patch things up between us (this is when I don’t have the balls to actually break up with him to his face).

There is also the ‘We have to talk’ route where I proceed to explain to him why we are not ‘working’ anymore. Reasons:
  • I don’t feel the same about you anymore (the most honest approach)

  • It’s not you, it’s me (the slimy approach)

  • We are not right for each other (the diplomatic approach)

  •  I need more that you can give me (the bitchy approach)

And so on (you get the point).

The third way is the one in which I get HIM to dump ME (by being the exact opposite of what he wants me to be; I know him pretty well by now so I know exactly what annoys him). This way my rep is undamaged and I get to play the poor, sad, broken dumpee to his evil, heartless dumper.
(Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the sneakiest pig of them all.)

The Not So Happily Ever After

Chances are, we part ways hating each other’s guts and doing as much damage possible, never to talk again. Sometimes, we remain at-arms-length friends. Very few times, we both accept that it was nobody’s fault; it was a passing phase and not the REAL thing and realize that we are much better off as close friends.

If the guy is lucky, he gets off with minimum damage to his senses. If not, he’s disillusioned with life itself. If he’d invested only as much in the relationship as me, he gets off with experience and a couple of unforgettable memories.

(The whole process takes from three days to a few months – six at the most depending on the people involved.)

And the whole thing starts all over again after an appropriate 'mourning' period where I swear off guys and be 'single and proud of it'. 
If economic depression and inflation is a vicious cycle then this is what?=D

And then there are just random stories…

We meet, we fall in love, we go soft in the head against our natures.
I’m pliant, I bend (over backwards, sometimes). And I never regret it.

We fight, we make up, we fight again.
I call him names, I give as good as I get. I throw things. I swear I made the biggest mistake getting together with him.

I spend hours looking nice for him. But know that even if I turn up in a burlap sack and sea-weed, he’ll still say “You’re beautiful”.
I rail at him for things he doesn’t do for me. But secretly count my blessings that he chose me. 

I trust him enough to tell him my worst fears, my biggest goof-up’s, my unattainable dreams, my weird obsessions - only to have him laugh at me. And then tell me I over-think things. That I’m perfect the way I’m.

I get excited more about a ten-buck pani-puri from the road-side he buys me than the 2000 buck wallet he gifts me. I value it for longer than the wallet.
I listen to his dreams and never judge him. I listen to the stupid stunts he pulls off and still don’t judge him. I see him making a fool of himself and STILL don’t judge him. Because he’s perfect and judging him doesn’t even cross my mind.

I realize he has a lot of faults. He realizes I’m outright cuckoo-crazy. And we both fight bitterly over it. But we just can’t go to sleep without saying good night, however hard we try.
I don’t listen to a word he says. But he’s always there when it falls apart and I find myself out on my ass. He says ‘I told you so’. But he’s also there with my crackle and tons of sympathy while I bitch and rave. Best part? He raves with me=).

I never tell him I appreciate him and the small but hugely significant things that he does for me. I expect him to know.

He sits awkwardly outside the parlor while I’m getting my eyebrows done and doesn’t complain. I put up with all the guy-jokes and the game-talk and try to like and understand it.
I scream insults out knowing how to hurt him but secretly hurting much worse inside.
I feel bad about not being able to do as much for him, the right to much, much more – I know he deserves it.

I tell him I flirt with other guys, secretly happy that he cares enough to get wildly, blindly jealous.
I value him and everything about him.

I assert my independence and say he shouldn’t make me change ANYTHING and should put up with EVERYTHING, if he truly loves me. And secretly pray really, really hard that he thinks I’m worth the effort.

And after all this wringing, he still loves me. He sometimes understands and sometimes doesn’t but he still loves me with all his heart, unconditionally.

And though we question it a hundred times every day, we both know we are forever because we just ‘clicked’. And we’d do anything to make it work.

P.S: Indutty and DJ, this one’s for you.
P.S.S: Guys don’t have to grin and sit back and say ‘I knew girls are like that’. It’s EXACTLY the same for guys in both scenarios, minus the drama.
P.P.S: The stages and the reactions vary with different people. This is just a general overview.