A struggle?

“Sab kuch commercial ho gaya hai yaar”, she says and waves her hand nonchalantly.

Her friend, sitting across from the table, nods solemnly, sipping expensive wine in an expensive glass, a trademark of being in an expensive hotel. The conversation was about art. Or was it about fabric? Did it matter? They were just whiling away their time, splurging the cash that would last them up until the next ‘job’.

Both of them were high profile escorts. Important men would routinely ask especially for their company. Rita, the one who thought that the world is rapidly becoming commercial, was a favourite of one of the important ministers these days, thus the expensive meals so often. The only problem though, was that he was becoming too attached. He was paying the agency money so that they would not ‘employ’ her anywhere else.

But she could not devote herself entirely to him, despite that. This is why she had called her friend to lunch – to tell her about this development. She had met someone. She had gone to accompany a friend who was a struggling actor to one of the auditions. Often these girls make do in between acting jobs by becoming escorts.

When her turn came, she was to give single auditions and group auditions and many other formalities. She said she would take long. Rita had spotted a guy from one of the ‘parties’ and was uncomfortable. She decided to go to a nearby mall and wait for her friend to get done. Rita crossed all the clothes’ shops with only a quick glance. She needed to dress well for her work, but right now, she needed to indulge her mind.

She went into a book shop. Rita had a fantastical idea that knowledge would save her. She would read anything and everything. From trashy romance novels to those discussing the economy or philosophy or religion, she would read anything she could access. She would become a transparent being in this world of words, symbols of her freedom. She would absorb what others had to say, and form an idea only after she was done reading that book or piece. This helped her to acquire a non-judgemental, and to some, an opinionless taste in books.

But she did have her favourites of course. She did not side with a particular opinion, but rather, some ways of expressing opinion opinion appealed to her more than others. How could we describe it? She did not like it when the writer tried to hoard readers by mindlessly introducing sex or some other desirable trait in the book, neither did she like extremely technical writers who would be very dry regarding what they had to say.

She read them all nonetheless, but she loved those the most who could charm the readers simply, without jargon or glamour, or mindless rubbish. It didn’t matter what these writers were saying, were they anti-religion or pro-religion, whether they were feminists or patriarchs. What was important, was this – they way they spoke their mind. Isn’t that how we function in life, too, Rita would think. There are many things that are not good for us, but we do them because they come across as appealing.

One such writer had just released a book, and there was a huge crowd in the bookshop. Rita just remembered this, and cursed herself for not coming sooner. She ran into the bookshop and asked for a copy of his book. Why was this writer special? He never put up his picture, and most people assumed that the current name was not his real name either. His books were about nothing in particular, and everything. It was a commentary on various aspects – on the social world, the political system, romantic love, the efficiency or inefficiency of Greenwich Mean time.. about everything under the sun. Why people liked him was often a mystery to critics. But it was true that his opinions were informed ones, and he was well-read, and if possible, had worked in multiple fields to know so many things so well. But he told them like you would discuss the weather over chai.

As a result, the readers did not feel overwhelmed and reduced to nincompoops. They felt like they were talking to a friend. A wise friend. And because he often jumped topics, yet linked them well, in so obscure way, they never got bored. When his first book came out, the publishing house that supported this venture was ridiculed by the who’s who of Literati. But later they realized that this small little publisher was growing, thanks to the sales by this writer. They were solidly guarded of his identity however. No matter how much the newsfolks tried to dig, by hook or by crook, they would not let go.

As a result, this writer had become a new-age guru of some kind. The critics slowly started to accept that he was influential. Often, they would fight over the genre he wrote. He used fiction too sometimes, at other times it was narration of his own life, or his observations, or hard facts broken down for understanding. Such was the enigma who’s book Rita wanted to buy. However, she saw that there was only one copy on the shelf. She ran to grab it.

However, she saw that the other end of the book was grabbed by someone else. A moderately hairy arm, it was a man. Youngish – late 20s, glasses and a creased shirt, with cotton pants. He looked like a voracious reader. He was about to say something when Rita interrupted him.

“Can you please let me buy this book? I may not be able to go out for several days after today, and this is the largest bookstore and they are running out of copies. Please? I’ll pay you double the amount of the book so that you can buy two copies for yourself, tomorrow? Let me take this one?”

Many things went through the young man’s mind. For instance, what was the logic behind buying two copies? He shrugged it off. Maybe the girl was just flustered. He said he would let her have the book, if she had coffee with him. Rita was taken aback. Nerds had social skills? Lack of opinions meant that Rita still hadn’t challenged the stereotypes in her head. She agreed. It was a small price for letter her have the book.

They discussed about many things, hit it off, and one thing led to another, and they ended up exchanging numbers, fixing a date to meet again. He said he was a product designer. She nodded vehemently, not sure whether this was the right time to ask what products he designed.

“Is that what you told him?” Rita’s friend asked, almost near the end of her wine, gesturing the waiter for a refill. “You told him you’re a struggling actor?”

“Well, am I not? I sleep with important men, just like struggling actors have to do. I put on a face with every new man. And if outside of my knowledge, if one of those creeps makes a video of us fucking, it’d complete the story, would it not? I hardly lied,” Rita said, smiling wryly.

Note – I would like feedback if I should continue this story, with a part 2 or end it here? I have several endings in mind that I could use in part 2, if I were to write it.

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Helping isn’t enough.

The other day, dad donated some money, and came home and boasted about it. My mother rebuked him with a ”If you are giving something in the name of God with one hand, you should be so discreet, that even the other hand should not come to know”. (Giving to the poor is equal to giving to God – no doubt a smart belief of major religions to encourage helping the economically backward)

That is all well, I thought to myself. But why do we insist on such pureness of spirit from someone who helps? It’s as if, in the back of our minds, we feel that either the person be a complete angel and be secretive about altruistic behaviour, or if he can’t shut up about it, then he is better of not helping people.

Some people told me that if this is not insisted upon, people will not help in order to help, but to gain fame and to tell everyone how nice they are. So, the spirit of helping is lost. People should only help when they really want to, or let it be.

Now, I had a chapter on Helping behaviour in Social Psy last year, and the reasons we help, according to the author of the book (based on lots of research and studies) are –

1. It feels good to help others.

So basically, its a selfish act. We do it, because we feel good. Like eating or watching porn. Only difference being, it involves other humans.

2. It reduces our negative feelings.

Helping others gives them joy, and gives us a relief from negative emotions.

3. Helping is an accomplishment.

I helped  someone, so i’m the cool dude.

4. Competitive altruism

Oh, you donated 10k? I will donate 15k. Who is the better helper now, huh?

5. Kin selection theory

I will help those who maybe related to me, or those, who will benefit the world if they are helped. E.g, save a young woman first in an emergency situation, because she may bear children which helps continuity of mankind.

Ok, so some of these motives are nice, some are not. My mother, for example, would not agree to helping if it were any of those above, except out of the pure goodness of ther person’s heart.

But I feel, that no matter why you help, you certainly are helping. You gave the beggar food, for whatever reason, but the fact remains that you helped him to have a meal. His stomach, as well he himself, will be thankful to you, regardless of what your motives are.

I think its about time we overcome this “either be a noble helper or no helper at all” psyche and accept people who help as well as boast about it. Why shouldn’t they? Isn’t helping an achievement in this world of cut-throat competition, when no one looks kindly at fellow humans?

If they took out the time, money to be kind, they have all right to be proud of this achievement, just like they would of winning a prestigious award.

Further, I also feel that if such people were accepted, many more people than currently do would act in helping, prosocial manner.

Lastly, the argument that, unless done purely, they might help only to show-off, and so it will be a one-time act and not a continuous act of helping. I feel that precisely the opposite is true.

When only you are to experience the joy of giving in privacy, you may experience it twice, maybe thrice. But since you can’t tell other people, your motivation will keep lowering and secret self-joy won’t be enough to push you.

So go out there, help, and spread the word! Image

Uncluttered.

You know, once in awhile this frenzy seizes me. I know I get seized by frenzies quite a lot, but this particular one, its about clearing things out. Making space. Throwing/recycling what you don’t need. And its not just my cupboard I’m talking about.

With the academic year coming to an end, with only the Final exams left, I realized I could do away with rough documents of a large quantity. I don’t know why this is – because I don’t clean often, or cleaning just makes you feel like that – once I was done, and everything was stacked back neatly, I felt like I had a load off my shoulders.

Whatever stuff I could use to make some craft – bits of colourful papers and all that, I’ve kept in a pouch, to be attacked soon. Yesterday, at a stall at Kalaghoda Arts festival, they had a stall that had the most beautiful recycled products, and that has inspired me to be at my eco-friendly best.

The thought which occurred to me after the cleaning, is that quite often, we do not let go of what’s no longer useful. Be it emotional baggage, or keeping in touch with people who either hurt us, or we just don’t feel connected to any more, we need to let go.

There was a joke-book I bought when I was in school, and over these years, I haven’t thrown it away. The jokes are too childish now, and there are many other things to act as mementos of the old school I was in. I finally decided that it had to go. I gave it to my maid, for her daughter, who will begin school soon.

Venice-Study-Portrait

As much as we don’t let go of what isn’t required any more, we also feel that things may and shall continue as they are. But here’s the thing – things change, people change, and so do you! Only, we don’t see the change in us, or if we do, we rationalize that it’s not a major change.

I was seeing an episode of Doctor Who, where he comes across one of his previous companions. They travelled together for some time, but eventually, she was left to leave his life on earth, but the Doctor had to go on. People may change emotionally, mentally even physically. So does that mean its all morose and pointless?

Rather, I think its quite the opposite. When you take things for granted, that’s when it is pointless. When you know that it may end, you enjoy every moment of it. In fact, if you accept this fact, many activities, goals become easier. Weight-loss, for example. If  you lose that weight, you need to keep it off. The pact to remain healthy is life-long, with an indulgence once in a while. If you start crazy eating just after you’ve lost your weight, you will gain it back.

Why then, do we not want to accept the constancy of change? Basically, because we’re lazy. Evolution made us so, or God did. We are forever in energy saving mode, so we aren’t spending any. To accept that things won’t remain the same, is a huge task, even cognitively.Just like I didn’t want to clean earlier, when cleaning would have taken less time, lead to a lesser mess. But once done, it makes a thing lot easier. It makes one’s vision clearer. Like that of a neatly stacked and cleaned cupboard.

keyboard with -win- button

Burying The Butterflies

Silver-spotted Skipper, Epargyreus clarus

Silver-spotted Skipper, Epargyreus clarus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The smoke that accompanies out celebration

Is not without just fire, but crackers,

Up in the sky for a few shimmering seconds,

We thicken the air around us for days.

 

We can shut our windows,

To the toxicity,

But where will the creatures

Of the open meadows go?

 

Helplessly attracted to the light,

They try to, and get inside,

Moths and butterflies,

In large numbers, with less number of choices.

 

Sitting on my swing,

Or books, or easel, or bed,

They are everywhere,

Like a second coat of paint.

 

But die they will,

And pretty soon,

And we drove them to it,

Shortened their life to half,

In the name of God.

 

In the morning when I get up,

My floor covered with these

Fallen angels,

With a great sigh and resolve,

I arrange for a mass funeral.

Image

As Moving Day approaches..

Chaos, and then order from chaos can’t get better than this. We are moving to a new place, with one more bedroom, FOR ME! I FINALLY GET A ROOM!

But, anyway, coming back to the point, we have lived in the current apartment for eight years now, and obviously, some connections have been made. The current apartment is a snug little place, in a residential area near a creek. This means that I’ve had the most enjoyable walks, with friends and without. Some days, rain was my companion, some others, music.

The Sky displayed various colours depending on the season, and equipped with a camera phone, I loved clicking away and later tried to capture the enchanting skies on canvas. The environment I am going to miss also includes people.

The folks here are relaxed and unbothered about who does what, and yet they are there for you if you need them. Perfect in away. I have made friends with this Bhukkad who will be my ex-neighbour soon, Dearly Doted Abhishek, jiske ghar roz ka ana jana hai. I shall miss him dearly.  :’)

Now, to the more practical matters at hand. Moving is a pain in the ass! The Mum has got me running errands everyday, to buy random things for all the rooms. Thanks to all the bags I carry back from the market, I’ve built some rather flashy muscles.

Lastly, there is a lot to be thought about my new room. I get the smallest room, and I have to fit my painting accessories, easel and all, book case, study table, speakers, cupboard, bed and pet tortoises in it. Oh and the cane jhula too! But I won’t say it is unfair, at least I got a room, and it is enough for my needs, if adjustments are made.

There’s the mum calling again, undoubtedly to order me to buy a dustbin or something. Until later! Hope the next post will be from the new house! 🙂

P.s – this is a picture I clicked on one of those walks. For me, they resemble praying hands stretched skywards.

My creation.

Hey all, instead of sharing my thoughts on this or that, this time, i thought i’d share a poem. This is my best so far, i think. Its untitled. Please tell me what you think of it. 🙂

 

ne of the greatest mysteries of life,

the mystery of Tomorrow.

A rain, or sunshine,

or a simply starlit night sky it would bring.

 

Hitherto unknown, to this little fellow,

calls himself man.

Man indeed,

in search of tomorrow

, a tomorrow that never comes.

 

To be secure, his aim,

to know the future his desire.

time is nothing,

but an illusion.

Illusion , one of the many.

 

The more you tread into it,

the more you are pulled in.

O little one.

See it from afar,

coz that is life,

 

The life of today. t

he life is today.

A beautiful twilight,

a splendid transition

.For one bird is dead,

many are awaken.

Crows are cawing,

this very morning,

A night there,

a morning here

 

Its just a moment

,repeating itself.

Over and over till you lose your self in it..

Let go, let go, O little one,

time is but a burden, time is but a solution.

 

Man, oh man indeed,

See the truth, t

he light of the day,

Of today,

Of yesterday,

Of tomorrow.

 

 

House of the Pretty (a.k.a The Ladies’ Room)

If  you have ever wondered how girls look so pretty and perfect most of the time, think of the time when they said,in almost a whisper, ” i’m going to the ladies room/washroom. Be back in a jiffy!” with a captivating smile.

 

Thats right. That is the room that i prefer to call the “House of the pretty” . Practically everything, from a touch up, to changing one’s hairdo, to wiping off the Smeared mascara after an emotional moment…or readjusting one’s lipstick after a passionate one [;)]  are taken care of , in that humble place.

Personally, i also enjoy going to the washroom in Inorbit Mall, Vashi, beacuse the music they play there is better than the stuff they play in the Food Court. Seriously!

And that is perhaps the reason why the ladies’ washrooms are all hip and swanky in malls…and guess what? Lately they include a “baby change section” too, where a mother can tend to her baby, change diapers..and so on.

So, in a way, it is the ultimate hotspot for women.

Once i asked a guy friend if their toilet trips were as eventful. He gave me the blankest look possible. In fact when a group of both male and female friends go out, the male counterparts keep wondering why girls have to “take a leak so often” so as to speak. That is before they understand, what really goes on.

But, underlying this phenomena, is a fact that applies to most things. For example,The green room, is the place where artists are themselves, without the masks. Similiarly, for once, women don’t HAVE to look  beautiful in a washroom, but can be themselves for a while, and after gaining their presentableness, back into the world of faces.

Also after a lot of shopping, women generally go to the washroom, why ? Well, if they bought a lot of clothes to make them look good, a pretty face is certainly necessary for the complete picture. Why not soothe the ego from now itself, a constant reassurance, that the face is worth the clothes (and the money spent on them) and vice versa.

These observations might not make sense to everyone, but the next time you go to the loo, think if it as the “house of the pretty” and they just might. Happy Relieving ! 😛