For the many thoughts that come and go unannounced and the ones which refuse to budge out of my head…


Here I am, nearly at the fag end of the year, looking at the same old things happening in the same old way. Same old mess in my room, and same old dog taking up three quarters of my bed, leaving no space for me to even stretch a little (that is saying a lot, considering I’m incredibly tiny). Some things simply become a part of your life without you even letting you know. Every year, something or the other keeps getting added and subtracted to this very list.

Like every other year, at this time, I have plans to sit back and scrounge around for a celebration, snigger at anyone who plans to drastically ‘turn over a new leaf’ (secretly wishing to do so myself- a massive hypocrisy, yes), and have my moments of deep contemplation and thoughts in the shower, about how my life turned out in this past year. A part of the very same is this post.

I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs this year- a pleasant mix of both really. And a large fragment of the ups are the contribution of some of the most amazing people I have known (or known better, somehow) in college, this year. This is to them, ’cause if it weren’t for them I’d be at psychotherapy right now instead of typing my thoughts away.

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What does a manic, sleep-deprived (borderline insomniac) almost workaholic woman with an inappropriate (sometimes downright offensive) sense of humour need to maintain sanity in life? My best bet? A manic, sleep-deprived (borderline insomniac) almost workaholic man with an inappropriate (sometimes downright offensive) sense of humour, and that’s AS for you.

He may as well be the devil’s advocate, the child who is usually the bearer of the ‘bad influence’ every traditional Indian parent warns their soon-to-be-rebellious teenage kid against. But somewhere deep down, we are so freakishly similar, that it is like meeting the same person in another gender. Of course, a lot bigger and with a less shrill voice.

He’s been my punching bag, my 4am friend (well, literally so), my shopping buddy, and so much more. If its a food craving I have to satiate (and absolutely need to for survival) or submit a set of collated paraphrased internet articles in the name of research under a stipulated time, he has it all covered.

So, AS, if you’re reading this, I’m just so thankful for having you in my life. And though I wouldn’t possibly ever say it in a non-platonic way but, I absolutely love you. Thanks for being there, beside me like a rock, whenever I needed you. Yes, the huge frame has been enough to withstand a lot of troubles from coming my way.
And well you made me sing again, you get so many brownie points for just that. 🙂
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A thing about me now, I have never ever, and I’m not sure if I ever will ever cry in a movie (that’s so many evers and nevers). It’s true. I’m stone-hearted. Almost to the point of depressing myself. But again, not enough to make me cry. Which brings me to SB- my depressing movie straight face motivator- the reason why I can sit through sad movies without making a single inappropriate comment because observing her little ‘vulnerable’ moments and thereafter making jokes about it is just so much more fun. 🙂

So, jokes apart now. I absolutely adore her, and I wish there was a better way to express how much AS and SB mean to me.
There is a fire within her and I see it time and again. When we needed a voice of reason when we work or even when she did a silly TV sketch for me, I saw it at work. I know I have full faith in her, and no matter how nonchalant she tries to be, I know that she cares.

She is steady as a rock, and even if she may be going through an internal turmoil, I know that she is the go-to person for a good-old-funny-as-hell gossip session or a random funny comment on the most unprepared of people (trust me, they all really do need it).

I deeply admire you, SB, and I want you to know that, even though you may get teary at the slightest of things (really soppy Bollywood melodrama included), but there is a strength in you, that I would someday hope to have. And if you get even the slightest bit teary eyed (or even lumpy) reading this, I’m going to punch you in the face. 🙂
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There is always this one thing in life that is a constant reminder of how far you’ve come and how you’ve grown through the biggest years of your life. This for me has been M. My sole remnant of how I lived through a difficult and yet, life changing time in my life. In this year, I have known her even more closely than I did before. And now, I firmly believe that there is always a purpose for someone to become a part of your life.

M has been a mirror on my life. I know that no matter how much we laugh about or make fun of each other, some of my most memorable unplanned enjoyable times have been with her. Be it a random lingerie shopping date, a survival escape from a fatally boring class or even a random 2-person sleepover, she makes it all even better.

M, I’m glad I got to know you so much more this year. You’ve taught me, that sometimes in life, it’s better to strengthen the old bonds, than trade them for new ones. And even if someday, for some reason, one has to start paying for air in their car tyre, you will still be as special to me as you have always been. 🙂
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Now there is someone, who was one of the primary reasons for this post. My year in discovering people, would have DN at the top of the list. Of course everyone knows her as someone without whom our class’s metaphorical building blocks would metaphorically collapse. But then there is so much more than this responsible, caring, mother-figure-like adult (probably the closest to the definition of adult), than what everyone knows.

She knows how to get the party started when at a wedding or anywhere when inebriated. And when inebriated at a wedding, there’s no stopping her. She is two extremes put together, and is probably the closest combination to human perfection that I know of in my generation.

There is so much more I still have to learn from her. Like no matter how much one may be burdened or internally stressed, one has the option to either throw it around and wear it with resentment or, embrace the weight and make a stepping stone out of it. DN is the second kind.

DN, you’ve been a revelation to me this year. And well, you’re simply such a beautiful soul. And no matter where you are and what you do, I want to be a part of the day you finally take a plunge and break your hostel rules and rub it in your warden’s face. 🙂
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My year was eventful and full of so many people that came and stayed to make it worthwhile. AB, for instance, is now my best dance partner and we have so much chemistry, that with enough practice we can totally be small-time reality TV stars. AB, you’re just so much packed in one, I can gladly place my money on you when I say that you will be one of the most successful ones to come out of this whirlwind of a college life that we have. You’re also the prettiest cross-dresser, and as much as you enjoyed doing my show, I still cannot re-iterate enough how grateful I am for you doing it for me. 🙂

One of the nicest and most helpful people I know, DDR. I have come to discover him as someone who would gladly do all in his might if you need him. You’re simply amazing and well, I cannot stress enough on how much I admire the shady badass you can be when you twist your fingers to get stuff done. 🙂

PS and MC, you guys have a very special little place in my heart. This year, you guys have showed me, that it isn’t the physical closeness that makes friendship special and it is the little things that count (well almost literally, because we are after all little people 😛 ).

AP and RS, my troll buddies and my closest bros. My year would be so very uneventful and dull without you.
AAD, NA, and KM, you guys made our first few work project so much more fun. Thanks for keeping me sane and well, stripping me off of all sanity at other times. 😛
ARS and MT, straight off, you guys made me model. The one thing I could possibly never imagine myself doing. Ever. 😛
NS, you’re like my ally, and one of the most fun people I have ever had a work-night–cum–bitching session with. 😛
US, that insanity ridden Jaipur trip would’ve definitely been incomplete without you (that stuffed dog toy too? 😛 ). 🙂
RA, AV and SK… I can probably not complete a sentence without mentioning the three of you together in one breath and I loved that I discovered more about you guys this year.

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So this is to all of you and everyone who made my year in college worthwhile. I probably won’t be welcoming the new year with either of you, but you are special enough for me to be a part of my year-end introspection. My year was a metaphoric roller-coaster ride and I know that if it weren’t for all of you, I would’ve metaphorically thrown up and would’ve been left dizzy at the end.

Thank you all for being a part of my year and my life, and I wish you the best for years to come. 🙂

Love,
AK 🙂

Thank you, T.J.


Dear TJ,

Nature works in mysterious ways, and I have reason to believe it does. I write to you every year, hoping I get a response from you. It’s been three years since you’ve been gone, but I know you’ve always been right here beside me. It may sound a wee bit insane, but deep down, I just know it’s you, standing by me through all my laughter, tears, sickness and health. I always crave for a response, and somehow, in one magical way or another I seem to get it from you.

Words seem to fail me when it comes to describing how much I miss you. I hope you know how hard it’s been for me without you. Without that first morning hug and bright smile and sometimes the tough love and lectures about how I need to get my act together. I hope you know that the void you left behind was not an easy one to fill.

A part of my life went with you the day you left us. And for sometime, I was left stunned and in disbelief, bitter and craving for that part of my life to come back to me. But life has a pace and life is the name of that unforgiving thing that gives you the time to heal, but doesn’t give you the space to show it. It is unexpected and sometimes takes turns when you’re least prepared. But it does lend you a hand when others aren’t looking, trying to make up for the pain it caused.

These three years, I have been healing, but I still have been seeking, what you seemed to have taken with you. There is a part of me that wants to let go, a part of me that wants to believe that everything happens for a reason, but no reason seems good enough when it comes to you.

But then again, there come these times in life when you believe life is working some bits of magic to give you a sliver of hope. I know you have your mysterious ways TJ, and I somehow manage to find you in even the littlest of things. You have changed my life in so many ways, and it’s amazing how you still seem to do so.

From our college pet, a little puppy whom we figuratively raised and named; a cat I brought home, hoping to raise alongside my dog; the different and sometimes crazy combinations of colours I wear; the pages in my notebook filled with random doodles; the insanity and ecstasy I feel whenever it rains; all the times I’ve been fearless to speak my mind; spicy chaat and chai-samosa sessions, and so many more of those little things in life are places I find you in. Things you imbibed in me. In every good thing I do, or positive thing I say, I feel like you are present. A part of you that lives in me and is guiding me to do those things. Do good, do the best, do right.

I know you’re out there somewhere, and I need you to know that you mean the world to me. Even if you aren’t reading this, I know that somehow, my thoughts are reaching you. TJ, you are the most special person in my life and I hope you know what you mean to me. I am the person that I am today all because of you. You have given me the strength, courage and passion to go through life with the simplicity, ease and innocence which were synonymous to you.

I would’ve loved for us to grow old together and do all those things we planned to, from being together in school and college all the way to being business partners and flatmates. I know life would have been different had you still been here, but I know deep down that you’re always right here by my side, making me go through life effortlessly and with the same passion, insanity and innocence that you did.

Tejaswee Rao, thank you for being in my life and making me what I am today. All the hurdles I crossed, the tears I fought, the fights I avoided and the hope I refused to give up, I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for being there for me and for still continuing to do so. You’ve been my mentor, sister and pillar of strength. One may think it’s cosmic coincidence, but I know it’s all you.

I hope someday I get to see you again. I wouldn’t want to wait another lifetime just to be with you, but I know you would make it worth the wait.

Love you now, forever and for always,

yours,

‘Roo


“Uttarakhand: Rain, floods and landslides hit rescue operations, thousands still stranded”, read the headline in a popular go-to-for-everything website, I have trusted all along my academic life.

Little did I know that the devastation of the floods and the heart breaking visuals of falling buildings and faces of the miserable trapped and desperate faces would soon give way to something I wasn’t really expecting. Another one of those viral-yet-comical, brave-yet-insensitive amusing little guilty pleasures we all crave for came in a time like this.

This morning, Youtube, the boiling pot for all the good, the bad, and the funny on the Internet gave me just what I needed- a dismissal of almost everything that I learnt in undergrad level Journalism. If not everything, well at least this was a clear dismissal of lessons in Journalistic Ethics-101.

Click to watch video

Click to watch video

Recent Internet sensation, Narayan Pargaien, is a man of high stature. Well, at least that’s what he apparently likes to portray. The video of his report on the Uttarakhand flood is now viral on the Internet, not because he did a remarkable job of it, rather because he did what most politicians and self-righteous moral police would kill to achieve- deviating from the main issue.

Not only was his report a wee bit of an exaggeration, it was also a wee bit distracting, and a wee bit annoying, and a wee bit comical, okay fine, it was certainly more than just a wee bit comical. What do you expect out of a flood report video, which is high on ‘video’ but has little or no ‘flood’. And ‘reporting’? Now that’s just asking for too much. If you haven’t seen it yet, the video is of reporter Narayan Pargaien, doing his job (which as much as I’d like to disagree, is ‘reporting’), atop the shoulder of a man, presumably a flood victim in Uttarakhand. The flood and victims, government support and rescue operations are just the few things he said that most people who’ve seen the video just once have conveniently overlooked. Because well, you cannot blame the man on the shoulder to not get through to you, he tried his best on his part… It is all your fault you person with a short attention span!

Okay now I sense too much bashing happening here. Let’s cut him some slack and give the poor man the benefit of doubt (I was talking about the man who’s carrying him, who did you think? I said poor).

Anyway, so why do you think the man resorted to what the Internet has termed as ‘inhuman journalism’? Who knows? Maybe Mr. Pargaien was ahead of our time or a literary genius for all you know, metaphorically depicting the ‘burden on the shoulder’ of the man via journo… ahem… floods, yes floods, that took away everything from him. Poetic isn’t he? Or maybe it was just humour he (unintentionally I suppose?) wanted us all to see in a situation where that is the last thing one can offer. Well, whatever floats your boat Mr. Pargaien, or rather, whatever ensures you float.

Now, time to cut Mr. Pargaien some slack, after all everyone does not have the luxury of a Yellow Submarine, like the Beatles. The man did do whatever he could to save himself from the still unpredictable flood. Of course, it would’ve been an ounce better if our shoulder man could’ve also saved Mr. Pargaien from the flood of Internet commenters. But you can’t have everything you know.

All said and done, we are still in a deep, dark, dingy place where the country’s media is concerned. There is still an enormous amount of growing up that the media needs to do. And when it comes to a tiny droplet of a mishap like this one, the Internet will make sure the ghost of your mistakes shadow you forever.

I just hope that journalism one day becomes what it’s supposed to (wishful thinking, I know). Fair, and free, and ethical and all that jazz.

Blog Resurrection…


Long time no write. I guess I’m not too surprised about the ill-presence on a blog considering the amount of things that went on in this span of time. Life for one has changed in many ways. In a span of a year, I’ve gone from becoming a graduate, mindless, jobless wreck to a spiritual yoga-loving freak, to a supposed intellectual media student, to an alcohol loving reckless, free-spirited woman and so on and more, later a (sort of) mature, ‘been-there-done-that’ overgrown (hardly) child…ahem..woman(?). 🙂

I missed blogging. I missed that longing urge to sit back and recount the happenings of the day/week/month and pen it (key it) down and watch it virtually immortalise on the web. And after being pestered and poked by my loved ones and more so that little voice in my head (that hates me more with every passing minute considering the royal ignorance it receives), here I am back to my long lost friend and mirror of my life- My blog.

Before I go on about the thoughts that I promise to share earlier on when I started the blog, I might as well keep this post about my life and the updates about it. As mentioned earlier, in a year I went from being this to that and that to anything and everything I could in an age where I’m not supposed to be doing anything significant so to say (no this isn’t the renaissance come on, that generation was different).

I was sort of enjoying anonymity for a while and well, didn’t really have the time for popularity really. Grad school isn’t really a cakewalk, and there are more compromises than surprises. Among the good stuff, I’m almost a pro at driving, (and yeah, wriggling my way out of chalans with a puppy face as well); mastered the art of pulling all-nighters, without a wink of sleep (yes, coffee is still my best friend); put on 8 kilos in a month (trust me that’s a huge achievement); discovered an inherent work OCD or workaholism, more so; and so on. More about which would follow on the blog. 🙂

So here I am, now a masters student (yes, I got there 😀 ), with metaphoric bruised knees from all the ‘growing up’ that has been shoved down my throat, trying to revive, rather resurrect my blog in coma for nearly a year. I am going to try my best at keeping up with the times and not let my blog die out now on, and well I can only hope it goes back to what it was when I first started and it gets all the love that it got all over again.

On that note, see you soon..
Cheers.. 🙂

The ‘Wild’ Side…


Animal spotting in a jungle safari at Jim Corbett, Uttarakhand. 🙂
Now if only I could spot a tiger or two in the ‘tiger reserve’, none-the-less, nature has just so much to offer, and this would just be a minuscule fraction of it…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures by: Me.. 🙂


I am doing a thesis on toy ads and how toys are marketed reinforce gender stereotyping. Once it is done I’d make a post on all my findings but for now I would love some help from as many people as can be.
This is one aspect of the dissertation where a similar product uses different marketing styles for each of its target audience.
I would love if I could get your feedback on this aspect of my research.
Here are two ads of a product known as ‘Moon Sand’ which is a form of mold-able play sand (or clay) for kids to play with. Essentially the same product, both ads have been styled differently according to the target audience. Take a look:
1) Moon Sand Ocean Princess Commercial (click image to watch video on YouTube):
Synopsis:
Moon Sand™ is the amazing moldable, holdable, decoratable sand the never dries out!
Now you can create and explore your very own undersea world complete with amazing sea life creations and beautiful mermaid princess!
Use the glitter sand to mold Moon Sand™ sea horses, dolphins, and undersea friends for your Mermaid Princess to go on undersea adventures with!
2) Moon Sand Construction Commercial (click image to watch video on YouTube):
Synopsis:
Moon Sand™ is the amazing moldable, squish-able, build-able, demolish-able sand the never dries out!
The new Moon Sand™ Construction Sets each come with a rough and tumble construction worker, who’s built tough and ready for work!
Load your construction worker into the backhoe- then dig and demolish EVERYWHERE!
1) What did you think about these videos?
2) Did you see any difference in the way the product is marketed to its respective target audience (boys and girls), and if yes do you think it is necessary?
3) To what extent do you think this can be a factor that leads to gender stereotyping in children?
4) Do you think such a gendered preference in marketing style (and eventually children’s toy selection) is natural or does the media (and other factors) create it?
5) Any comments at all on the ads, you are free to mention.

To Tejaswee, with Love…


Hello there beautiful…

No I haven’t forgotten your birthday, never have.

I know you can read this from wherever you are, and I hope you remember me, your best friend whom you left here stranded. Oh, okay stop giving that look already, of course you do.

So things are going fine here. Life is going on. I guess time is a healer, but is also brutal in its ways. It doesn’t really wait for one to think or react, and when it’s had enough with you it changes drastically and coaxes you to blend in with it. I’ve just been learning from it. I guess I am learning to let go, but I can never stop missing your presence in my life. And on your birthday, TJ, I just want to thank you for being a part of my once very ordinary life that you made so extraordinary.

You have changed me in so many ways, for which I’ll be eternally grateful to you. You’ve made me grow.

I can’t really say it’s been easy here without you. That vacuum you’ve left is not easy to fill. But I’ve learnt a lot from you, and even your haunting absence has made me realize that nothing in this world is permanent.

You have been more than a friend to me. Like you said, we were like ‘fraternal twins’. But in its truest sense I wish I could be even half of the person that you were.

You may have left earlier than anyone would’ve liked, but you have been immortalized by the happiness you’ve spread. You’ve left behind a legacy of immortal words and smiling faces that feel blessed that you were once a part of their lives.

Every moment I’ve spent with you is more than a memory for me, because it’s very difficult for a person like you to be reduced to a mere memory. You are someone whose warmth and goodness just resonates beyond the dimensions of life and it is this very warmth that I can still feel crop up from time to time, reminding me how to live every moment to its fullest and cherish life in its every form. TJ, you may have left me, but ‘Tejaswee’, the radiant light, will be with me forever.

Dearest TJ, thank you for making me the person that I am today, I have derived a lot of strength from you and still continue to do so. You have made me a better person.

I would’ve loved for us to have grown older together and fulfilled our dreams by each other’s side (like the media house we were supposed to start together), but I guess life always has sinister plans lined up, and questioning fate just leaves you more bitter and angry.

In the short time you were here you have been the best friend anyone could’ve asked for. I’m just lucky to have had you in my life. Thank you for being there for me whenever I needed you, my sister, mentor and pillar of strength.

I was told that only a miracle could bring you back, and I am still waiting for that miracle to happen. I miss you like crazy, but I’m still hoping I’ll soon see my silver lining.

Thanks for looking out for me, TJ. I guess guardian angels do exist after all.

I will always love you, and I know you will too.

Happy Birthday, sweety.

Loads of love and hugs,

AK