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

Archive for the ‘Discovering’ Category

Auto Diaries (Part II)-Don’t judge a book by its cover.


This one’s not about travelling in the auto. Not even about the auto itself. But just about the universal fact, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ reinforced.

My friend V and I were travelling in my car to The American Centre near CP. As, we both are condemned to be forever ‘directionally-challenged’ we had no clue where to go when we were half way through, floating around the road to Janpath (Geography may not have been one of our best for the both of us in school). A lost and confused bunch that we were (Me, V and the driver), we were asking for directions helter-skelter. None of which, really helped as such.

It finally took us ten minutes to find a helpful auto-driver by the road, who looked like he could make sense of our whereabouts to us. At once I made the driver stop, and rolled down my window. I made a gesture as if I were calling out to him, and said, “Bhaia, American centre kaise jaana hai?” (How do we get to American Centre?). The auto driver stepped out of the auto, and came up to our car.

After he reached the co-driver seat window, he said, “Would you like to go in my Rickshaw, or do you need directions?” (mind you, he said all this in pure, grammatically correct English with perfect diction!!). This was one of those times me and V felt our  jaw drop spontaneously. There was a pause for a few seconds before I mentally shook myself after what I had just heard. And finally when I did get out of the miniature trance, I meekly said, “Can we please have just the directions?”

At once he promptly replied, “Now see, you have to go straight till you spot the first signal, and then from there…” when I interrupted (still in the lingering state of miniature trance), and pointing towards my driver, I said, “Umm.. Can you please explain it to him in Hindi?”.

It took me some time to carry out that interruption as well. Me and V were still giving each other the dumbfounded looks, with the embarrassed smile.

He finished explaining to my driver and I finally, truly and wholeheartedly, said thank you and smiled till it reached my ear. To which, I received a spontaneous, “My pleasure!” from him.

As we drove passed, V and I couldn’t avoid thinking about it. We still couldn’t believe what had just hit us. It’s amazing how we’re so quick to judge and place people in these little brackets known as ‘stereotypes’. Thinking about it further, if it weren’t for that little monster known as stereotype, the auto driver talking in English would have just been, though uncommon, but such a normal thing, and instead of getting temporary mental paralysis, we would’ve acted like civilized human beings and been normal. Because of the mental picture we had in mind about them, we could never imagine it even being an actuality.

This day today taught me, (and very well at that) that under absolutely no circumstances, should we ever judge a book by its covers. And we, as petty human beings have no right whatsoever to put others into brackets that ‘society’ apparently laid out for them.

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Coffee and the Solitary Onlooker


Sometimes just drinking a cup of coffee in solitude gives you so much time to just sit and think, and moreover makes you notice so much. My day at Cafe Coffee Day today made me notice so many things and so many different kinds of people.

Cafe Coffee Day, Delhi

The moment I entered ‘Cafe Coffee Day’, I was enticed by the intoxicating aroma of coffee beans which immediately captured my senses and worked like a magnet and drew me into the divine world of the flavour of coffee.

The catchy burst of the vibrant colours of purple and red and the brilliant lighting brightens up one’s mood, contrary to the gloomy textures and dim lighting of the other ‘fine-dining’ restaurants.

The wooden panels and warm coloured floor added to the warm and welcoming ambience of the Cafe.

As I walked in to find a seat, I was greeted by the background music of U2’s ‘With or Without you’ playing like a nearly symbolic description of my presence in the place.

Coffee in its truest sense has many more connotations than merely being a refreshing drink. Coffee to many, is a form of refreshment, to others, it’s an excuse to socialise. It’s just the beauty of the word which can be used as many a parts of speech, a noun, a verb and an adjective.

As I sat on my seat in CCD (as we usually address it), I saw various people of the most diverse kind.

A waiter flocked around my table waiting for me to order. And to get my peace of mind and a clear view of the entire place and moreover to refresh my senses, I ordered a cup of my favourite Cafe Mocha.

There is never really an isolated reason for having coffee or so the people here believe.

I caught hold of the most centrally located table, being the only one vacant.

The first thing that caught my eye was the table right in front of me, occupied by a bunch of teenagers celebrating the freedom they just acquired after a month full of torturous exams. The noisiest of them all was ironically, a girl who was trying to hush anyone who was discussing the paper.

But there was genuine happiness on their faces. Even though they did not toast with bottle of champagne, they drank to life and to happiness with a cup of coffee.

Right in the corner was a couple, who looked much in love and did not care about the world around them. They had strategically placed themselves at the corner table sipping a blend of chilled coffee and chocolate from a common tall glass. Looking into each others’ eyes, they drank to love.

The song changed to Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’. Oh! The mysterious symbolism of music. The waiter brought my coffee and with it, the refreshing aroma of coffee with a hint of hazelnut.

At the other side, was a table occupied by two girls in their youth, engaged in therapeutic bitching and lightening their burden of frustration. They were getting happier by the minute as they ate a plateful of sin, the ‘chocolate fantasy’, and shared their bad experiences, almost competing with each other as to whose boyfriend was a bigger chauvinist or whose boss was a bigger bully.

The place was also flocked by the solo type. All around me, I could see tables occupied by a single person and that too of various kinds.

Like the workaholic type, who even brought his work to an innocent coffee shop. The type who came to drown their sorrows in coffee, probably because of a bad day or an ongoing bad phase, crying internally and trying hard to not let the waiter know what was wrong. The self-obsessed type, a woman who was sitting right next to a table beside the mirror. And finally, the type who just needed some time to them self, a middle-aged woman drinking a steaming cup of black coffee, and reading a book.

The song now changed to ‘Uff Teri Ada’ bearing no such blatant symbolic meaning as did the previous ones and my coffee was nearly half finished.

Right in front of me was a carefree, dating couple, quite evidently, well into the second anniversary of their relationship, not caring about what the other thought about the enormous amounts the other was consuming. Truly a ‘healthy’ relationship, must say.

Somewhere in the other side was a table with the most noisy and hence noticeable people, a bunch of girls celebrating their shopping bags. And admiring each others’ attire and nail-art.

My coffee was now over and so was my time. The song changed to the Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris’. And as I walked towards the counter to pay the bill, the song made an imaginary me, sway in my head, adding to the miniature high coffee tends to give you, and the taste of the coffee lingered in my mouth.

As I walked out after paying the bill the only thoughts in my head were the ones about the various people who came to Cafe Coffee Day. They drank to happiness, to joy, to sorrow and to love. But most of all they drank to life.

The tagline of CCD is true to its word, saying, “a lot can happen over coffee”.

So, Why does one need an ‘N’ Series?


Dedicated to Dad, K, A, and T who needed a break from their ‘N’ series phone.

It’s been a long way since messenger horsemen and pigeon carriers to the greatest advancements in telecommunications. And in 2005, when Nokia launched its breakthrough ‘multimedia phones’, the ‘N’ series, everyone saw them with lustful eyes and envied every hand that held one of those. Every teenager longed for an ‘N’ series phone (and no, I wasn’t one of them, maybe I saw it coming). And ‘sadly’, some even got it.

Oh! Those poor souls, I can only imagine how the next few weeks (or if they were lucky, months) were ruined, repeating the remove-battery-and-switch-on cycle more than five times a day, and trying to get the screen to, at the least, ‘move’.

In today’s fast-paced world, the ‘N’ series processor is so slow that I could well imagine myself trying to open an application, going on a world tour and getting back well in time to see the application open before my eyes. Let alone using it.

Talk about irony, it’s a ‘multi-media’ phone, and the moment one tries to open another ‘media’ application without properly shutting down the previous one, the processor gives up and goes into sudden death, i.e. the infamous ‘N’ series ‘hang’. The hanged screen is so common that developers should probably christen it into an all new ‘hang-mode’. After all, that is the only feature which is there in every single N series phone. After a while, it gets so frustrating, that one would probably imagine oneself on a noose instead of the symbolism of the technological term.

If ever, one of the Duracell bunnies were to come across its battery, it would probably moan for days, crying over its Nokia counterpart, with a chronic heart disease. Yes. If the Nokia battery were a person, hospitals would thrive on just treatments given to it. Imagine a battery which takes about three hours to get fully charged and a manual of the same which recommends charging only when the battery is almost empty (which is just about six hours later) for a ‘long battery life’!

Basically, why should one pay an obscene five-digit figure to receive 250gms of plastic trash?

In hindsight, the N series was Nokia’s attempt to dare to be different and come up with something much ahead of its time. The N series was Nokia’s attempt to make a mini-computer in a phone, which failed miserably (not in marketing though, for its mere brand value), the end result of which, was a miniature laptop with very limited applications and a permanent virus attack.

Today, almost five years after its launch, Nokia has tried to undo the damage done earlier by launching the N8, the N900 and the likes. But only in time will we know of its reparation to the lost credibility of the Nokia ‘N’ Series.

To Love who you are and be ‘Glee’-ful…


Today was the season finale of ‘Glee’, my favourite show, ever since the second season of ‘Castle’ ended (all this by Indian time).
For those of you who don’t know, Glee is about a group of school kids who belong to a school show choir and their optimistic teacher’s attempts to make them find themselves.
I’ve always loved Glee for the splendid performances and the brilliant song covers and the fact that even though I am not particularly fond of musicals, this show has something special about it that makes me love it so much.
But more than anything else it has a message. It tells you that, no matter who you are, what others think of you, or where you come from, you are an individual and are special in your own way.
Their coach, Will Schuster, did do a good job of transforming nobodies into somebodies and those who thought they were somebodies (and apparently weren’t) into someone who they really were.
It didn’t have a movie-like ending of the underdogs winning the final competition. In fact the team in question, ‘New Directions’ didn’t stand anywhere in the competition. But no matter what direction the competition took, I truly believe (and so would most of us) that it was a happy ending.
Because, at the end of the day they learnt, that no matter who wins, all that counts is the fact that they put their heart and soul into what they did and loved doing and enjoyed it. It is the journey that matters and not the destination and if the journey was great, no one needs to care about the destination.
In the end they all found the true meaning of happiness because they found friends, found love, found their strengths and weaknesses, and most of all, they found themselves, who they truly are.
The initial part of the show reminded me of my days at middle school, when I hated who I was and wished like hell that I could be special. And it took me three years thereafter to change my outlook and love who I was, because no matter who others thought me to be I knew I was special in my own unique way.
And this very idea was reinforced into me by this very show.
So all those who’ve been watching ‘Glee’ (and even those who have not), if you’ve ever felt that you wanted to be someone else, or weren’t good enough, think again.
Never be afraid to be who you are, your true self.
Because only then would you truly find ‘glee’ 🙂
The final performance by the Glee club group New Directions- Journey Medley. 🙂

Why I Love Being a Woman


Today I was thinking about what it would’ve been like to have been from a different gender. But I guess I belong to the upcoming breed of the ‘gender-narcissist’, which is, that I am happy and thankful to God for creating me into this gender.
And here are some of the reasons why I love being a woman:
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1.Our shopping choices and looks for the season aren’t limited to stripes and solids.
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2.We can order colourful, fruity and delicious drinks, with the prettiest garnishing at a bar without being judged.
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3.We’re less likely to go bald.
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4.We can cry when we’re stressed without being charged with metrosexuality.
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5.We can burn down buildings and get away with murder with just one excuse-PMS.
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6.We can co-ordinate an event on SMS, update an entire bunch of friends on bluetooth and flash smiles at a cousin’s wedding, all at the same time.
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7.We don’t have to love sports and know at least one to be respected by our gender.
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8.We can read maps and we have no hang-ups about stopping to ask for directions.
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9.We can have a baby.
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10.We always get place to sit when using public transport. It’s the law.
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11.We can get into the poshest clubs wearing open footwear and jeans.
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12.We don’t have to shave everyday, and no one needs to know.
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13.We know exactly when to let out and when to control emotions.
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14.We can love pink or any other colour we genuinely like.
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15.We can see through people, and nine out of ten times, our intuitions are accurate.
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Indeed, I love being a woman. 🙂

The Market Place-Sarojini Nagar


The Gullies of Sarojini

 

As I walked through the gullies (the best part about which is the face that they are exclusively pedestrian zones) of Sarojini Nagar (SN) market, the only thing which was in my mind was the fact that I wanted to write a blog post about a place I discovered in Delhi. And then it suddenly struck me, that SN market would be the ideal place for this post.

Even though I must’ve come to this place umpteen times, there is always something here, which one is yet to discover. So that’s how it came to my mind. Partly, because I had discovered a place, which is yet to be discovered entirely.

My journey into SN market started with a fight with the auto-wala who was all set to fleece me by charging an extra five rupees, merely because we were four of us, my school friends and I. But of course, Delhi-girls know survival skills like no other. We fought our hearts out and came from Chanakyapuri to SN market in a meagre twenty rupees.

The heat was scorching, but on this day nothing could come between us and our conquest over great apparel. We came with the motive of ‘shop till we drop’ and ‘shop till we drop’ we did.

We started our shopping binge from the interior gullies, popularly known as the fashion street. And true to its name, it did have some of the most fashionable clothes at the most reasonable prices.

The first shop we entered was so crowded, that we were unwittingly coming in contact with six other people, and a trillion types of microscopic bacteria, present in six different types of sweat.

We came out of that shop, with the fear of dying in a stampede. After all we don’t want to die so young.

The next shop we went to was comparatively less crowded, and we actually see beyond the topmost shelves. And there it was. The purple off-shoulder top I fell in love with, when I saw a similar version on a Versace advertisement.

I went close to it and touched the fabric. As I ran my hands along the fabric, it felt as though I was touching a feather. The colour suited me perfectly and the material was light enough for the summer heat. In a flash I blurted out the golden word to the sales man, “Kitna?” After haggling for a good seven and a half minutes the poor, harassed sales man was ready to give me a two hundred rupees worth top for a hundred and fifty. At once I stripped my wallet off a hundred and fifty rupees, feeling a sense of accomplishment for getting what I wanted in half the price.

We then walked further encountering a hoard of men trying to sell us, a bunch of four 18 year old girls, men’s’ leather belts, plastic table cloths, an old fashioned men’s sports shades, big aunty-ji vegetable bags and so on.

Aah… but finally there was one street seller, who actually caught our eye. Tray full of trinkets was what he had. Oh! How we jumped at the thought of getting the swanky shiny bauble in a mere twenty rupees.

We walked about the gullies looking at the array of colours all around and the amalgam of diversities blended together! The different colours were due to a broader view of the umpteen clothes, bags, belts, shoes, slippers, jewellery, toys, vegetables, stationary, books, paintings, and electronics. You name it, and it’s available at SN market. The present at SN market come from the most diverse backgrounds and belong to completely different walks of life.

At a particular shop, for instance, we saw a societal blend of all kinds of people. At just one point of time it had us (students trying to chase the latest trend), middle-age women trying their best to bargain, middle-aged women trying to prevent their daughters from buying a skimpy top, men trying really hard to be involved in their wife’s or girlfriend’s shopping, and so on.

The Outer market

 

As we walked ahead in the gully we heard the sales men yelling at ear-piercing pitches in sounds that made us wonder which part of the body they came from. The sound was a combination of, “sau ka do… sau ka do… sau ka do”; about a month old bollywood film song; “phipty… phipty… phipty…”; “madam aiye ladies’ suit, kurti, tops…”; and so on. Imagine what a chaos all this together would create!

Our tedious walk left us parched and starving. As we walked we encountered our life saver, ‘the banta-wala’, banta unbeatably being the best refresher during a hot summer afternoon. The banta felt like a cold water swimming pool in the middle of a desert. Every drop of the sweet lemon nectar trickled down our throat as though it were tickling the insides.

After that little refreshment, we regained our senses and as we walked down the gully, and our olfactory nerves were tantalised by the peculiar smell of SN market. Our assumption for the smell was that it was a blend of wet mud; newly woven cotton fabric; somewhere around the corner, it also smelled like a seldom cleaned public washroom; burning incense; wood polish and acrylic paint, near the furniture shops; leather polish near the bag shops; and so many more smells which we failed to decipher.

After we were done with a satisfactory amount of shopping, producing a bucket-full of sweat, we finally decided to go back.

While we were on our way out of the gullies we saw shopkeeper’s gathering their commodities and running around. Apparently, this phase is a weekly routine at the market and lasts for a maximum half hour. It happens when what is popularly known as the ‘committee’ comes to confiscate goods of those who are selling on encroached spaces. Some of life’s best lessons are learnt in daily situations like these. After the ‘committee’ goes the market immediately stabilises, teaching us that we must overlook hurdles in order to succeed.

We marvelled at how quickly everything came back to normal before we even found an auto. We gathered our shopping and approached an auto wala. We asked him to take us to Chanakyapuri and to our pleasant surprise he said, “bees rupaiya madam.”

As we sat in the auto, I thought to myself, what an experience it was, to buy clothes just by looking at the size, without trying them on; to get anything and everything in place; to harass a shopkeeper to reduce those five rupees; to feel a sense of accomplishment when we got what we wanted in half the price; and so on and so forth.

Initially, one might just condemn SN market for the unclean roads and the vendors and shopkeepers screaming out loud, adding to the increasing noise pollution levels in the city. But this market grows on you. There’s something about this place that absorbs you into it and which makes you part of the crowd but still sets you apart from it.

Crockeries on a Sarojini Street