Swimming in an ocean of thoughts.....

Ask me no questions and i shall tell you no lies :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Assumptions and Conclusions..!! ~ From a Nomad's diary

X: Hey, do you know why the new girl N has not come to office?
Y: Well, I am not sure, but I think she has been having some problems back home.
X: Is it? What kind of problems? 
Y: Well, the other day I heard N conversing with her fiancee on phone and she looked really upset! Looked like she was fighting.
X: Is it? but then, I am not kind of surprised. She appears to be arrogant. She does not even mingle with us, likes to be very private!
Y: Eccentric character, I know....The other day when I asked her what she thought of the new team leader, she snapped back saying, 'why would you want to know?'
X: Maybe, her fiancee is not able to handle her volatile temperament.

The real story: 

M: hey sweetie....what happened? 
N: I am upset! The taps in my bathroom are leaking and the plumber has not turned up for the fourth day in a row! Am going mad.....I don't know what to do.
M: Hey, chill....try finding another plumber.....
N: Have tried..some of them are on leave due to the festival season...It is crazy living in a home with weeping walls and seeping bathrooms!

(The above is a fictional reference to assert the post below)

We live in an age of sensational news and sensitive discussions, spicy gossips and misinterpreted facts, more chaos and less coherence, less reasoning and more play of emotions and finally, incorrect assumptions and flawed conclusions! We voice our opinions recklessly as if it were an act of ‘coolness’ (the word cool has a different connotation these days). And when we do, we care little about the fact that even opinions could differ and worse, may not be absolutely right or wrong. And, when they do, cliques are formed, following which we feel inclined to agree with people on a convenience basis or perhaps, with the intention to ‘fit in the crowd’. And somewhere, in the process, we tend to lose that individuality that may not be necessarily compatible with a mob mindset. We get highly judgmental about people around, the situations we face, and our very own problems. We deal with them with little reasoning and more emotion, not realizing for a fact that closed minds have no scope for growth. In discussion forums, we conveniently pick up only what suits us or perhaps, antagonizes us. In short, what catches the ears many a time, fail to catch the eye, due to which, we fail to perceive the elusive truth that tries wriggling free from the shackles of undying assumptions!

Assumptions! They can be far too many. Sometimes, they help and most of the times, they don’t. They somehow convince you even before you are tempted to confirm them. Our physical mind can be incredibly over-powering that it takes no time in drawing a wrong picture of what could possibly be right. One false assumption leads to another, leaving one confused and gaping wide at a heap of preconceived notions and bitter opinions. So, here are a few questions one must ask oneself every time the conflict between the physical mind and the sub conscience arises: 

How gullible are you to rumors and hearsay?

How many times do you count others’ experiences as your own and sing about them to the others 'as your own'?

How many times do you analyze what is being said to you, forgetting for a moment that the person talking to you may be your soul mate, best friend, a senior or even a close relative?

And that is where, reasoning comes into picture. We all fall prey to assumptions sans reasoning and conclusions that are drawn from those assumptions, at some time or the other. And talk about a problem in hand, even before understanding it, we assume it to be the size of a Megalodon shark. We  imagine it first in the head, fret over it, analyze it assuming the problem to be multi-dimensional and then, instead of grabbing the problem by neck, we speculate on how the problem can go from bad to worse thereby, missing on how it all started. Therefore, we get stuck in the ‘chakravyuh’ of our unruly thoughts gone wild. Precisely, the problem appears ten times bigger in the head, than it actually may be. Assumptions that are based on fewer facts and more tittle-tattle never lead to the right solution in real life unless one is solving some differential equations in Math where constant coefficients are assumed. It is here, I would like to quote some impressionable lines that caught my eye on a social networking site,

Assume less. Gather facts. Reason with your mind. Draw your conclusions. Think about it.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

"I dream of Jeannie!!', so dreams the home maker ~ From a nomad's diary

And, I dream of Jeannie every single day. Back in school, I wished for this Jeannie (from the famous sitcom - I dream of Jeannie) to get me ready for school in a jiffy instead of me being dragged away groggy eyed, from the cozy warm bed (some times, rudely awakened by a splash of cold water on the face, exactly half an hour before the arrival of my school bus). Later, when I was in hostel, I wished for this beauty to be by my side, to get over with digital circuit and microprocessor practical. (Somehow, those subjects always failed me, not that I failed in them, but never could cross from a Bravo to an Alpha!!). And then during my working years (yes I am a humble home maker for the time being), I wished that she take care of my laundry, shopping and house-keeping, while I used to stare at the various software platforms to work on, not knowing what I could do to make them understand that they needed to be ‘user-friendly’ ;). Post marriage and pregnancy, I dreamt of this beautiful Jeannie every single moment. Somehow, hubby manages to convince me at the end of each day that I am as good as Jeannie and I don’t need her at all. (He sometimes feels he is Maj Anthony Nelson, the astronaut from this famous sitcom!)

However, each day starts with the same old wish. With a crazy morning start and with hubby and son getting ready for their respective office and school and with me running around the home like a headless chicken searching for the items that get conveniently displaced by the other two, I dream of a Jeannie who would be kind enough to get the home in shape every day. With my son unable to control his effervescent energy levels and with a hubby who loves to see an impeccable home even as he is my son’s partner in crime by helping him in his cluttering, jumping and screaming activities, I really wish I had a Jeannie that took care of stuff I regularly have to do with little respite and least to say, no interest! Meanwhile, did I tell you I was engaged in a vivid monologue since morning about the list of to-do-tasks that were haunting and daunting at the same time?  

My dramatic soliloquy!! 
  • “All sofa covers to be in place. Cushions to be undisturbed after being set. Lamp shade to be dusted and cleaned. 
  • All newspapers to be stacked inside the small cupboard in the hall. Center Table cloth to be adjusted to perfection. Paper weight/Ash tray to be placed on it and not to moved. (somehow, my son always skips the 'not' part.) 
  • Dining table and place mats to be cleaned after every meal. (de-clutter the contents of the dining table immediately after use) 
  • Fold the washed clothes and neatly set them in the cupboard. The unwashed ones are to be dumped in the laundry bag. The laundry bag should be placed in a visible area (very important)
  • Cleaning the kitchen. Vegetables to be chopped for the day and the day after. Glasses to be placed in the glass holder. Regular cups to be hung from the hook case and the unused ones to be placed in the shelf. To know, which jar contains what! Keeping a stock of ration. And, making sure there are enough snacks, sugar for tea, Nescafe for coffee, milk, some syrups etc.. that come to an immediate rescue when friends/guests drop in unexpectedly at tea time.
  • Cleaning the bathrooms every single day and making them smell like a scented spa. 
  • Bed covers and comforters to be kept clean and neat. Curtains to be dry washed thrice a year. Dusting the window shields and other chic glass and bronze items.
  • Least but not the last (I really mean it that way!!), I also want a magic wand so that I can swish it and say –  Alohomora to make the two and a half men in my family (hubby, FIL and son) do their small little things that snowball into a big clutter.”
(My soliloquies are a regular entertainment for the men in my family, sigh!) And, so my mind and body teamed up today (unlikely as it may sound) and I took my home to task with the words – “I am the master. You will listen to me, no matter what!” And, I loved the surprised look of admiration in the faces of my family as they obliged submissively to my methods of housekeeping.

My work as a home maker is never ending. And it is here, I am reminded of a sound advice my father never fails to repeat to me every now and then, “We all do the 90% of our jobs (professional and domestic) with a lot of passion and verve and leave the 10%, out of procrastination. And that 10% appends to another 10% and so on, to become a 90% leaving you with a 10% work achieved and 90% work to be done!” I figure the essence of his advice now even as this advice rang persistently around my ears during my teens, when I was the perfect example of laziness and procrastination. And now, after being awfully busy with my teachers’ training assignments, social engagements and a severely upset tummy of my son (he is good now), I looked at my home in the morning and it resembled the insides of a bird’s nest. I remembered that, last week I had kept the folded clothes on the bed and had somehow forgotten midst my chaotic schedule, to place them inside the cupboard. No, I don't think I forgot! I assumed I would do it, once am back from a party we had! And, so continued the vicious cycle of dilly dallying and I ended up gaping at a mountain of laundry with a mixture of washed and unwashed clothes (a classic trait of the people I love). Also, my assignments had piled up and I did no know where to start. And, worse I did not know, what to start with, first! And it was this morning, I prayed to God to not get me a Jeannie but make me one, for a day! And then, after all the laundry-check, kitchen-check, study room-check, dining table-check, filling the bottles of drinking water-check, the above 10 tasks-check and the counted miscellaneous-check (only for counted ones), I am typing away to glory, happy with the fact that somewhere; my hubby did see a Jeannie in me! Jokes apart, I have decided to take my father’s advice very seriously. I need to focus on crossing from 90% to 100%, so that the 10% does not torment me with pending and impending tasks.

So long, if you have enjoyed my rants, be assured I have a lot to sing about, yet!! Maybe, in the posts to follow, there will be a lot of this chirpy home maker's quirky experiences :) So, stay tuned!!


Friday, September 19, 2014

Soldier and Spice, the tale of an army wife - A must read book!

Just finished reading the book – Soldier and Spice. A perfect entertainer that this book was for a dull evening yesterday, I could not put the book down or my hands down until I drank every word from the book. Soldier and Spice is written by an army wife - Aditi Mathur Kumar, for the army wives, elaborating on the interesting life of a petite humorous protagonist, the coy bride Pia, who enters the much dreaded, much anticipated, much talked about ‘unit life’ in her first station Pathankoat, with husband Capt Arjun Mehra (Now, I was more pulled towards the book because my son sports the same name J). Pia happens to have quit her job with a news channel and now joins the biggest fraternity of our democracy – Indian Army as Mrs. Mehra.

 Now, if I were to review this book, Soldier and Spice would just be any other mediocre book brimming with steamy romance between the newly weds and their funny escapades, sensational rumors and spicy gossips, fashionistas and their fashion disasters, broken friendships and spiteful ladies, ladies meets and welfare activities  and a lot more. But then, I do not want to review this book because there is a lot more an army wife can learn from it rather than commenting on what the eyes want to catch. The book has beautiful messages hidden in between those zesty gossips and fashion parades. And here is what I have deduced from the book:

(Ladies with no time to read the book, can read the below ten points which is what the book is all about)
  1. The world is small, they say. The Indian Army is even smaller that way. So, you might just bump into a known face more often than not. So make sure, you are no bearer of rumors and bad examples and not a subject either!
  2. Learn to be happy alone in your own company, when husband has to go for an exercise or some unavoidable duties. Engage your mind so that you do not feel lonely.
  3. Do not gossip much, and at the same time, avoid hearing gossip or being a part of it. This is the most difficult task for an army wife for two reasons: First, she goes through hard times enduring temporary separations from husband, owing to latter’s duties. Second, she is a woman! To gossip is an innate nature to most of us. However, the lesser you gossip, the lighter you feel and the safer you are! Fact to the core! 
  4. The book portrays the matriarchal hierarchy when it comes to senior ladies. Some can be incredibly bossy and annoyingly nosy at the same time. The truth is, most of them sport that attitude for two reasons: One, they love to patronize or at least, show that they love to. Two, some of them seem to demand the respect that only the ranks of their husbands deserve. However, not all of them are like that. So, being tactful is an essential etiquette for an army wife. She must know to guard her preferences and priorities without antagonizing the senior ladies! Difficult task!
  5. There will be ample number of ‘why-did-I-even-meet-them-in-the-first-place’ people. That only means one thing for you. You know how not to be!
  6. Follow the decorum of the organization and half of your problems are solved!
  7. And, the system of sahayaks is not for the officer’s family. The sahayak or bhaiya (as fondly addressed), is only answerable or duty bound to the officer and NOT his family. So make sure, your personal life and the sacred space of home is well guarded.
  8. And never say never to a senior lady, the first time at least. Later, No can be said with some tact and of course, timing!
  9. Connect with everyone, but keep your distance. Not everyone has to know everything about your life and nor you need to know the same about everyone.
  10. Last but not the least, amidst all the cat fights and unsavory relations between the ladies, what binds all together is the sisterhood that comes alive when, even one of the ladies suffers from an issue, whatever it might be. The bottom line is, no one is bad. And, no one has to be good all the time either. All one needs to do is, think before speaking and go slow with words and slower in judging people around. Assume nothing and hold your head high sans doubts and fears.
I loved this book for two reasons: The protagonist Pia learns the art of tactfulness slowly yet steadily and gathers her nerves to control her emotions when her husband meets with an accident (spoiler alert!). The way she takes the daggers from certain malevolent wives around, without reacting impulsively is something commendable. And, time teachers her and us a thing or two about life – Good times are not permanent. But then, neither are the bad times! Second, I love the way she EARNS her respect amongst the ladies (senior and junior alike) and also manages to get back diplomatically at the ladies who had sworn to make her life miserable.

This book does not cover all the aspects of every army wife. Because, every lady will have her own unique tales to share. But then, there are many tales in the book, most of us will relate to, which is why I recommend this book as a must read!

Please note: This post will be more understood and realized by army wives.

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mardaani ~ Movie review

Watched Mardaani yesterday. So a late review.

Was it a movie worth recommending to others to view? Was it a movie that would leave an impression on people? Do such movies create the awareness that is needed today? The answers shall vary. Was the movie good? Well, that is the only question I can answer perhaps. 

Mardaani, is a comeback film for Rani Mukherjee, the firebrand actress who proved her acting prowess in films like Black and No one killed Jessica. The movie primarily focuses on human trafficking that has its roots going so deep into the system, that there is no way, it is a one man business. The search never ends. The master mind is seldom known. Sometimes, there is no mastermind, as there are just too many to shield the multi billion dollar business of trafficking. So, when a teenager, Pyaari is kidnapped and sold into a harem run by a pimp only known as Vakil with his young partner, Walt, Senior Inspector, Shivani Shivaji Roy (Rani Mukherjee) braces herself with her team, to search her daughter like Pyaari from the hell hole, the latter was pushed into. The story portrays the lady officer to be calm, composed and alert, even as her indulgent heart cries aloud for the kidnapped girl. How she plans to rescue the abused girls forms the crux of the story.

The movie overall, is a one time watch. Rani, has definitely given a power packed performance with her toned and muscular body language and her patent rustic tone. However, for me, it was Tahir Raj Bhashin (Walt), who stole the limelight. His portrayal as the young cold manipulative and cruel pimp matched the protagonist’s attitude in the movie.

Rating: 3/5

P.S:  (wanted to give 2.5 but the extra .5 is for absence of songs in the movie)
Would like to watch Lakshmi, a movie on similar lines with a braver story line. A story about how a 14 year old girl escapes from the clutches of prostitution and seeks justice against her tormentors.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Accidental Prime Minister ~ Book Review

Before proceeding to the book review, there is some cautionary advice for people, who may want to read this book: 
  1. Do NOT draw conclusions on what has been written, as it is just a memoir.
  2. Do NOT judge a politician by what has been written. The tenacity of our politicians and their conduct is merely a reflection of what we think about our country. (so, to get a good leader, you need to be a good citizen)
  3. Only Fiction lovers, back off!! This stuff is not for you, before you end up reading it and branding it as boring.
“There cannot be two centers of power. I have to accept that the party president is the center of power. The government is answerable to the party.” –  an excerpt, quote unquote from the book – The Accidental Prime Minister by Sanjaya Baru (the then media advisor to erstwhile Prime Minister – Dr. Manmohan Singh)

Book review: 

Sometimes, what we see or what we hear may not be the truth or, the only truth.  Like, Sharada Prasad’s (speech writer for late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi), excerpt from the book asserts the above, “Not only do I not know all sides of the truth, I do not even know how many sides the truth has.” In the largest diversified democracy that we live in, this book urges the reader to look at the larger picture when judging Dr Manmohan Singh’s worth as a Prime Minister and the ways he juggled a hostile opposition, an even more hostile coalition that never ceased to throw impeding curveballs and worse, and a supposedly parallel government that chose to have the last word in every important decision he took.This book is an empathetic view of Dr. Manmohan Singh as a prime minister, from the author’s perspective, who was the former’s media advisor and the chief spokesperson in UPA -1 (2004-2008). It also throws light on the many instances of the dynamic politics of India where nothing is 'the news' until the 'the fat lady sings'!

My views:

Having been ridiculed by media, the people and worse, his own party for being an indecisive Prime Minister with no authority or hold over the government he lead to victory for the second time, Dr. Singh definitely has made a lasting impression on the people of India and the media. Only, the impression is not the way he envisioned. However, my respect for him has taken an upbeat. A learned man that he is, it was his submissive approach to coexist peacefully within an uncouth coalition, that was sadly mistaken for a complacent attitude. However, now that he is out of the fray, we can just hope that his dynamic and firebrand successor NaMo delivers in his role as the Prime Minister our country deserves. 

It is very easy for most of us, to sit at our homes, offices, lounges et al and say “politics! Eww! I don’t like it! I just cannot discuss it!”. We shamelessly comment on the conduct of our country's democracy, without comprehending its responsibilities and challenges. We have a tendency to discuss 'global' issues on social networking sites instead of wondering, "What have I done to improve the social, political and economical aspects of my country?" The underlying question is NOT, how many of us enjoy reading about politics and discussing  it and then terming the discussions as a waste of time, BUT how many of us actually understand it? That is the question we need to ask ourselves. This book prods you to ask yourself that question!