Monday, December 26, 2011

Acceptance.

No beating around the bush tonight and saying how long it has been since my last blogpost, etc. Straight talk, no nonsense.

Let's face it. Acceptance is a tough nut to crack.

In the course of these 18 years of my life, and especially the last few months and years, I have come to realize this. Strangely, it's a fact that everyone of us knows about. Just that, very few of us can accept it. Acceptance of the acceptance? Sounds a bit weird, isn't it? Let me get clearer in saying what I'm trying to, here.

When we're children, we are used to having things our way. Our wishes, our endless rants, our innocent tears, seemed to get us whatever we want, from our parents and practically whoever was concerned! As time went by, our methods change, but, we still are keen enough to just have things our way, and no other way. We learn to hear, but not to listen and comply. The toughest thing to do, is to let go of what we 'want' and how we picture things to be, to accept something for the way it is.

Sounds like eating an ice-cream, right? But it's much more difficult. True thing.

When was the last time you fought or argued with someone? Anyone? I believe, not so long ago? The reason? The difference of opinion, their actions which hurt your feelings, their words which punched through your heart. Really?

Whom are we kidding? The fact that hurts us is not that their opinion is different, but, that they can't accept and comply by our opinions instead. The fact that hurts us is not their actions, but our desire that they wouldn't and shouldn't do that. The fact that hurts us is not that their words were hurtful, but that they were different from what you wanted and expected from them.

Long ago, I wrote a post titled 'Need, Want or Expect', this one begins from just there, where I left that one. We may understand what we need, want or expect, but, do we understand, and over that, do we respect what someone else needs, wants or expects? In this daily tryst of life, don't we stop at being who we are to accomplish all that we need, want and expect?

Face the facts. You do that. I do that. All of us, surely, at some point, every bloody day, do that.

But, we fail in 'accepting' the same. We justify ourselves to someone who gets hurt from our opinions, actions or words. But, we don't want to be justified to! We do believe that someone is wrong, but not accept that we can go wrong. We do believe that we were fair in doing what we did, but, they were wrong in doing what they did.

We have all our excuses, loaded with reasons and unending explanations, but not a ear to listen to someone else's story.

And more than it all, how far do we and would we go to accept that someone didn't do something as we expected them to, and yet, be happy and completely fine about it without adding any bitterness to the relationship we share with that person?

I know I don't. I'm a very rigid person myself. I have my own set of rules and values, which I can't and don't give up on. And I do expect those close to me, to abide by them and respect them, regardless. You answer for yourself, I won't judge.

Are we taking away from someone their individuality by forcing our feelings and beliefs on them? Are we trying to make them someone that suits us, over someone they are? Are we actually making someone a replica of our own selves?

I don't mean to say that compromises and adjustments we make, for being happy in our relationships and ultimately, life, are wrong. They are necessary, no second thought. But, what about the ideology of an individual and his/her own set of values? Should we change them too?

I do understand that after one point of a relationship, the best thing would be to have a common ground on the most fluctuating issues, but, only with complete acceptance of the fact that it's for the best of the people involved. I do know that it's necessary to know and feel the way the person you are sharing the relationship with, does.

Still, maintaining our individual traits. Still, knowing who we are. But still, accepting that even though we are giving up what we wanted, it's great. Still, being happy and content. Still, not just being fine, but being 'happy' about doing things the way someone who matters to us, wants. Still, knowing that what the person wants us to do, is for our best interest.

I have understood that this acceptance breaks the back. I have been trying to accept a variety of things, since when I learnt the very meaning of this word, and yet, I can't bring myself to accept them. There are somethings that I just can't help but get angry or upset about! But, there's where the acceptance has to stem from. That's where the acceptance begins from, US.

The acceptance that things won't always be the way we want them to, and they can still be perfect. The acceptance that our lives, though ours, won't be just ours and is about a lot many other people, too. The acceptance that our actions might hurt someone, but, at times that hurt is something you can't avoid. The acceptance that just the way your heart is pricked, someone else's is tormented, too. The acceptance that living is about not being selfish. The acceptance... Yes, the acceptance of life.

I do believe, that, acceptance is noble. To accept, is to respect...

Happy New Year 2012, my dear readers! May 2012 teach us how to accept!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Vodafone is NOT 'Happy to Help'.

Been a while since my last post, hasn't it? And well, I have felt it too. It has been really long since my last post, and this post, was well overdue. So much so that I had crossed a whole lot of tweets posted, that led to even me losing a record of what all I had tweeted to Vodafone and vice versa. So, let's get on with it..

When the big decision of me moving to Pune for my further studies came by, around mid-August, I had to choose from a range of internet providers which would be good enough for me to run on my laptop. With my admissions and accomodation having finalized around 10th August, and the rest of shopping, packing stuff beginning, I was looking around. Then, I did a lot of research! It was a Tata Photon v/s Reliance NetConnect v/s AirTel USB v/s Vodafone mobile broadband! I compared all the plans and rentals for all of them, and decided to go ahead with Vodafone.

People who know me, have spent some time with me, know how much I talk against Vodafone because I'm an AirTel mobile user (What?! Everyone believes what they use is the best, right?). And thus, the common question from all of them was, "why" Vodafone? Now, I seem to know why. Though, their reasons, though, were different. It was widely because Tata and Reliance have been the pioneers and leaders in this world, and AirTel has heavily marketted itself. Vodafone, has been in the dark, and is even now.

But then why did I choose it? As I said, it offered me a cheaper solution (not considerably cheaper, though) than its competitors, and I went by the image it holds of being an MNC, which made me drop the ball in its court.

Fine till now, right?

I thought so, too.

I needed more information about it, and so, I resorted to my favourite medium to get information instantly, Twitter, with my first tweet about them, ever, on 11th August,
Vodafone Connect 3G USB Stick? Anyone knows anything :S? Help!

And that also, was my first disappointment in them.
Their reply came to me on 12th August,
Please refer to
http://www.vodafone.in/internet/pages/3gusbstick_mum.aspx?cid=mum  or DM us ur no. for further assistance.
My replies to them for that tweet, the same day,
I wanted info about the Vodafone Connect 3G USB Stick. Where can I get it online? I checked the website but I have some doubts.
And...
I had already checked this. Just DMed you my number. In case you're calling, after 12 please!

For those who aren't well-versed with Twitter, DM (direct message) is a way to share things with someone in a way that no one else would know. There were quiet a few DMs after that, and the following image is self-explanatory, I assume. The date of every message is at the bottom of each. (Click on it to view a enlarge it.)
DMs between @VodafoneIN and me (@setu4993)

Even after that, I didn't receive any call from them. And that's when I got pissed with them, but, held my calm because I still had some hope and trust in them. My bad.

I just went to a Vodafone Store on 17th August, and got myself a Vodafone USB stick, as a measure to end my shopping before I left for Pune on 21st. Checked it at home and it seemed to work fine for the 2-3 minutes that I checked. Packed it in my bagpack, and off to Pune on 21st.

The first evening in Pune, 21st August. A Sunday. The first thing that I wanted to do, when mom left after helping me unpack and settle down, was to go online and check my mails and tweet (things I did everytime I reached home, and all the time I was at home, too, nothing new). To my disappointment, I couldn't connect. There was some error and I tried disconnecting and reconnecting a few times. Reboot. Still nothing. Called customer care on 121. They talked to me for some 10-12 minutes and then told me they couldn't help me (!) because my registration was of Mumbai and by dialling 121, the Pune service center had been contacted. They asked me to note down the number 9820098200 (or something similar) and told me I would be charged Re.1/minute for talking to them.

Now comes the big deal. I was on a prepaid Vodafone connection. So, I couldn't make any calls from that number, even to the customer care! Good thing, isn't it heavy pun?!

I kept switching my SIM between Vodafone and AirTel.

The Mumbai guy didn't help me much either. He said that I would have to visit a Vodafone gallery, the closest one, so that I could get some help. I asked him what would be the closest one to me, according to a few places around my room, that I knew about. He said he can't help me with the closest, but, told me he would keep listing the places and then I should select which would be closest to me. Well, if it was Mumbai, it would be simpler. But, imagine the state of a customer who goes to a city for some reason, and on the first day, within 7 hours of reaching a new city, he is given a whole list of places where there are their 'Galleries'. Duh! That's customer service? That's serving the customer some trouble, instead!

After that, I asked him the timings of 2-3 Galleries (whose locations I recognized, from the some research I had done in Mumbai, with Google Maps, about the localities). He said he couldn't help me with that, either. And that left me stunned, like never before. Forget the location, not even the timings?!

It was almost 5:45 when I left my room and took local bus transport, in an unknown city, to reach the Vodafone Gallery. I got down at a bus stop, asked at a mobile shop, and was told that it would be closed today, it being a Sunday.

Fine.

Next day, just after my college orientation, I left again. In search of the Gallery that would get me my internet activated. I went to a Gallery, only to be told that I would have to go to the Vodafone HQ of Pune to get it working or to even get any information about it. I had to take a rickshaw, spend Rs.80 to take me to the Gallery, in the outskirts of the city, for something that should've been done there itself, and face the frustration. More than everything, why did the call center executive then specifically tell me that it'd be done at any Gallery?

Leave my case. Suppose instead of me, there was a business executive travelling to a city for 2 days of business, and he faced the case of internet not working. He would be told to travel the same just to be able to check an important e-mail he was going to receive? REALLY? Sick!

Even there, there were just 2 executives dealing with around 10 people, sequentially. (The Mumbai Gallery I bought it from, had 5 people at a given moment!) I waited there for 45 minutes and was finally told that my SIM card hadn't been activated itself. Wow. For knowing that I had to wait more than 24 hours, call them multiple times, travel to random places in a completely new city... For that?

Even after that, things didn't change. It was already a week and nothing changed. Tried connecting it, many a times, nothing. Dad went to the Gallery I had bought it from, they said they couldn't do anything till I came back to Mumbai.

Luckily, I happened to come back to Mumbai that weekend. And it was majorly to get this Vodafone USB working.

I went to the Gallery from where I had bought it. Talked to 3 levels of Vodafone 'Care' guys there. And then came back being promised that it'd work fine now. I spent around 90 minutes there. They took 20 minutes to get me a new SIM card. Why? Because the guy who was sitting at the counter was lazy and stood up, after I explained him the issue and went ahead with just roaming around the Gallery. The next guy, told me that I'd be charged for those lost 10 days of internet too, which was the result of a fault in the SIM card they had given me! I requested to be able to talk to the manager of the gallery. I waited for 15 minutes. When he still didn't come down (they have a first floor in the Malad, Mumbai Gallery which is I don't know what), I freaked out and asked the guy how much more time would it take. He came down within the next 5 minutes, luckily. Even then, there was this executive named Premal (name changed), who was busy flirting with another colleague, in front of the branch manager, who was just watching them both and smiling and giggling, which delayed me by other 10 minutes. Even after that, I was told that there was no way I could get a 10-day extension for a fault on their side. Though, they said they'll 'try' to add 10 days to my next month. All-in-all, great service!

I came back to Pune, and then tried to connect. I got connected in 1 in 100 attempts, disconnected again within seconds, and no page loaded correctly until I refreshed it like a zillion times! I was pissed at their services, terribly. And whenever I was online, I used to tweet about their poor service, even if that meant a dozen of retries before a tweet got posted (in laymen terms, equivalent to an email got sent).

I received a few replies from them too, asking me to tell them their problems and give them my contact details. I had given them the contact details the first time I tweet to them on 12th August! And my problems, well, they were very well-evident from my tweets.

There's this tweet sequence, in particular that I want you all to have a look at:
1st tweet of the sequence, their reply, 7th September.
2nd tweet of the sequence, my reply, 7th September.
3rd tweet of the sequence, their reply, 10th September.

What should I say more? Even after telling them not to call me at any random time, even after sharing the specific time and requesting them to confirm before calling, they have the same complain? That's customer service?

I called them up again after a day or two. Got transferred to the 'Technical Department' with whom I was on phone for 95 minutes (getting charged at Re.1/minute) and even that did no good.

This was when I had decided that I would be switching from Vodafone to Reliance for my internet requirements. And that's the very reason I can write this blog right now!

I got calls from them, multiple times (even after telling them not to call me), after I made this public announcement on Twitter. I lashed out at everyone of them for poor service and bad customer satisfaction.

Yes, I was set back by Rs. 1699, the cost of the USB stick and one month's rental as Rs. 700, unamounted stress, trouble and disappointment, bad customer service, and what not! But, I learnt a whole lot of things too...

And this is not just Vodafone. I have gone through similar with Idea Cellular Ltd. I know friends who have gone through similar troubles with AirTel, Loop Mobile, Tata Docomo, and Reliance too.
Someone always told me,
When you open a company, make it so big that there has to be a call center and people who call you for service, end up talking to them, only.
I always took it as a joke, but, realized that it's real in this scenario.That does mean that the customer, a consumer is taken for granted and is made to go around a 'ringa rose garden' more number of times than a kindergarten student would, just to get his work done. That does mean that the private sector companies are no better than the public sector companies. I think, they're worse.

You hope that they'd be better and they land you at the same level. Whereas, you know the public sector, Government owned will be such and thus you don't have high expectations which would shatter!

If customer service really meant that much, we wouldn't be running behind services companies to help us sort our problems and port out of their services. If it really meant that much, I would be compensated for my USB device which I'm ready to return even now, and with some better plan and offer, free of cost. If it really did, the Blackberry users who were affected by the Asian outage of RIM services, for 3 days, would be compensated by a 3-day extension at no additional charge. If it really did, no company would start unwanted services for users and then ask them to cough up the amount. If it really did, no service provider would charge an old user the same amount for every call and text that he/she was 3 years ago, and would inform them of better, similar, cheaper plans. But, it's all 'IF' it really did...

And it's evident through just all these last few examples that it doesn't. Not one bit.

I know what I don't want to do to 'my' customers, when later in life I own a company... Till then, here's a lesson learnt...

I know I didn't have to add all the screenshots that I did. I know that those who read me reguarly, trust me blindly about what I would post. But, this is for all those who are not regular readers, and to prove the authenticity. I'm an 18-year-old student, not a forger involved in spoiling the reputation of an MNC bribed to do so by its competitor. I'm a citizen, a customer who expects good service, who thinks getting a decent service is something he deserves. I'm someone.

Until the next post, remember, it's true, Vodafone, is NOT 'Happy to Help'.

P. S.: Here's an Excel file of the 41 tweets I had sent to them and only the 11-odd replies I received, for reference or cross checking, in different Excel sheets.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Attachments...

It's been over a month in Pune as I begin to write this post. Didn't expect it to be so long till I would write any post since my last, but well, life's like that... You can't predict what happens with you, what will happen and things keep happening... They do, always.

So, coming to the point, 'attachments'... I don't know if it's just me or everyone, but, this very word reminds me of a simple thing, e-mail attachments. Just as the purpose of sending an e-mail which is supposed to have an attachment, is not justified if it is not attached, is it the same with life if we are not around those people, things and places that we are attached to? It's a complicated thought. Also, not something you can talk about just like that without actually knowing what it all stands for. Relationships are attachments. Addictions are attachments. People are attachments. Hangout places are attachments. Homes are attachments. In short, we are surrounded by our attachments. Everything around us is something we are attached to, for some reason or purpose, or in the end, convenience or comfort. That's life. A string of attachments.

While some say that getting rid of these attachments is impossible, I choose to defer.

Let's face it. Staying in Pune alone for the last one month, no friend, no family, no one known, a completely new place, nothing familiar and all else, makes me say this. No kidding. It is not amusing to me how I've adjusted to this new way of life, because I know that there are many others like me in different parts of the country, and also the world, of my same age who have and are doing the same. Reason? Studies, goals and aims of life. Nothing seems to go past them.

Life's a beautiful journey, they say. I agree. And when it decides to keep you away from everything that you're attached to, it is, for your own good. Why wouldn't it be? Staying out of the comfort zone of our house, getting into the wild, leading yourself into a completely new environment, knowing that you've got to survive there no matter, makes you oblivious of how things were back then, when we were attached.

Everytime I'm reminded of Mumbai, I think about the attachments, all of them. But, then I'm glad I'm here in Pune. It's giving me an opportunity to get past my attachments, feel the world even more closely, the way I want to, without restrictions and boundaries, without having to do things for someone or the other, without having to run errands for friends or turn up as helping hands... Not that I regret any of those, not at all. But, when I see my life this way, it's just as good. It's a whole new way to learn and find myself beyond those attachments.

Then again, there are those whom I know who are afraid to get past their attachments, even when they're away from them. Those who assume that things can just not be the same if they change, and that some attachments are absolutely necessary, at the same intensity and degree. Probably they're right in their way... It'd be a shame then that I couldn't see it that way. But for now, I just feel that every attachment, no matter with which person of our lives it is, how much ever important he/she is, with which thing or addiction it is, with which place it is, is healthy if maintained to the point and differentiated with the circumstance. That's the way I see it.

By that, if anyone feels that I'm implying a complete distance to the attachments, you've surely got me wrong there. All I mean to say is, that with change in the circumstances, we need to change. We do miss the old things, but, letting that hamper our present by letting our emotions about our emotions bog us down, is surely, not a healthy approach to life and the situations facing us.

Fear. The very reason we are so unsure of letting any and every attachment go by... Fear of who we'd be without them, it's scary, sure. But, if you don't jump in the pool, you won't learn how to swim! You may drown once, but someone will save your life then. You'll be more prepared to jump in with precautions the next time. Or if you're a coward, you won't try again. Either ways, it's about you and your life...

Who will we even be without someone or something we care about and need? May be incomplete for a while, but eventually, we learn to live without it. We learn, we grow. That's the beauty of life.

How fair are we to this world if we don't let ourselves meet new people and get attached to them just because we want to stay attached to the ones that were? There are almost 7 billion people in this world, and if I begin counting things, I would have to count straight for days and nights. What I mean to say is, let's give ourselves a chance to get past the attachments that are, tread into the unknown, find ourselves and then the person, things, places, we will be attached to forever...!

The gist of the post? Attachments are many. Life is not an e-mail. Let them be in the fray of living a healthy life without many dependencies, I would say, rarely any dependencies.

Till my next post... Align your 'Attachments...'!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Wannabe's Social Network!

Staying away from Facebook for 2 months had its own positive effects on me. It was when I actually got to observe and finally conclude what it meant for people to be on Facebook, the best, ultimate and the easiest accessible hub of gossiping and being virtual peeping toms into someone's life.

Also, the other Social Network, that seemed to appear a completely wannabe-dominated one, was the one created by Research In Motion's BlackBerry Messenger, popularly known as, BBM, closely followed by the recent spur of Android phones and the use of WhatsApp.

It's funny how everyone just wants to be a part of the popular circles on Facebook, more so, those who haven't been of the popular ones in their schools and colleges, and are desperately seeking attention. I sometimes wonder what the need for it is. But then, it is justified.

Within the first week of dumping Facebook (due to personal reasons), I had at least 40 friends enquiring me about why I wasn't on there and when I would be returning. Not just that, by the end of a month, at least a 150 of them had asked me in some or the other way possible about it. The point I'm making here, is how interested people are in other's lives over their own. It amuses me how much our lives are supposedly attached to Facebook that for every small information we may require about someone, we would prefer to go to their profile and find it out rather than asking them by themselves (the time when I gave up on it, was just a few days before the MHT-CET result followeb by the whole admissions period)!

And that, when Facebook wasn't ever my primary social network. That, had always been and will be Twitter. But, there were barely any questions from anyone about Twitter mainly because, it's not as used as Facebook is. The portion of the population that uses Twitter is people with a completely different virtue.

All said and done, the first time I felt Facebook was the wannabe hub of the internet, was when I saw people using only their mobile phones for managing their whole online presence, precisely, Facebook. People posting status updates as popular and re-forwarded text messages and even popular tweets. People starting Facebook as the first site when they get on the computers at their friend's places and don't get off it till they are completely done with it. People who use the internet on someone else's phone, who has it free, just to check their Facebook.

I have friends who are still not on Facebook (yes, you read that right!), and they often tell me about how everyone keeps annoying them, as to why they are not, and keeps pushing them to come onto it. I then say to myself, "People have stopped being themselves, finally."

Let's face it. When your social status is associated with how many likes or comments your new photograph got; with how many people appreciated your status which was quiet really a cut-copy-paste; with who you chat with online, but behave as strangers when you actually meet; with how many video links you post when you're online; with how many people post on your 'wall', with your display picture depicting what you're ... Well, Facebook, I'm pretty sure, helps such people to boast about their own bubbles.

It's funny how at every hangout, everyone wants to just click pictures so that they can upload it the next time they are online and tell everyone else about how awesome their time was, when all they did was gossip about people based on their Facebook profiles, and make fun of those who weren't still on it.

Then comes the second part. BBM. With the whole big BlackBerry controversy making news mid-2010, and it being the headlines of news almost everywhere, BlackBerry found its much needed publicity, and thus, by the word of mouth, BBM, the service which has been of the USP of BlackBerry since the beginning, was marketed to the lower levels of the society too. Now, I don't know whether BlackBerry had planned to release the low-cost handsets earlier or took an advantage of the prevailing situation to make the benifit, but, either ways, it worked to their benefit and now, there's a sudden upsurge in the sale of BlackBerry Curve models and the BlackBerry Messenger users, in the last 3 financial quarters.

Let's roll back. How did it all begin? I suppose, a person A got a BlackBerry. Began using it and found out that he didn't have anyone much he could talk to on BBM. A friend B asked him which phone he should get, in general. A began bragging about his BlackBerry and how amazing it would be if they could talk and chat for free (after paying heavy for the BlackBerry plan)! Amused, and wanting to be following the footsteps of A, B gets one. Slowly, leading to a point where getting a BlackBerry was all about getting to talk to all your friens and because most of them had one. So much so that a person having BlackBerry in his/her hand, might hate QWERTY phones, but still uses one just because he/she gets to talk to everyone for supposedly 'free'.

There was a time when owning a BlackBerry was synonymous with that person being some big biz guy/girl having to deal a lot with internet, chat and e-mails on-the-go. The time when I dreamt of owning a BlackBerry myself when I would be 25 and probably in my first job.

But, that dream is now somewhere down the drain. Reason? More than 70% of the BlackBerry users today, don't use their BBs for anything except BBM and posting updates to their social networks while they are away from their desktop. Some, also being those who have their whole online presence managed from their BlackBerrys. The real purpose of a BlackBerry, e-mails and push functions, have found its way in the dungeons for all these.

Also, the Android phones that came by recently led people to get themselves internet on their phones to activate and use their WhatsApp which was supposedly a BBM-killer, only till they knew that WhatsApp worked on BB too!!

I had always said and maintained, the day social networking websites and their notifications turn more important than e-mails, for a person, the person is an addict to that network. Here, we witness that for almost everything that I have mentioned.

Leaving aside all the fuss about the internet, getting a bit more close to reality. By how much has the use of 'ma' instead of 'my' increased around you? How many people who can barely speak fluent english talk in accents that make them sound sophisticated? How many people try to be a part of the group by talking about things that they don't even know about? And for right now, I really want to know and wonder, how many people support the Jan Lokpal Bill and Anna Hazare without even having a clue of the Legislature, Constitution, Parliament, Law making processes of the country, (leave alone the two drafts, that'd be even more rare!)?

For me, and in my opinion ALL of these, are wannabes. Now, I don't want to get into the psychology of this and what it means because that's something we all know. Being a part of the crowd, to follow a herd, blindly.

Wow. Such an evolved world we live in. You choose who you really are now. You can deny by reading this, that even if you do all this, you are not a wannabe, but, I hope sometime later in your life, you do understand that who you are is much more than who the world wants you to be. Being who we are, is the greatest and the best thing that can happen to us. That's how we can be unique.

Till then... Spread the word about this blog on, 'The Wannabe's Social Network!' (I don't mind both!) *winks*

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bruises And Scars...

Every now and then, I face a situation myself, or am told one by some of my friend, about the words, sentences, events, happenings which hurt us as people, in general. Rude behaviour, anger, misunderstandings, obstinence, being few of the reasons why it happens. Well, all I say to myself in the end is, 'This is life...'

Truly. Beautifully.

You'd ask what's so beautiful about being hurt, I assume. I say, that's just as the half-full half-empty glass theory. Simply said, perception changes a thing from positive to negative and vice versa.

We learn from everything, and sometimes we fail to realize that. Everytime we pass through some such moment when we felt hurt, it, for every reason, gets registered in our sub-concious that we shouldn't do that again or be the one to hurt someone else in the same way, again, depending on what shoes we wear in that situation.

As humans, it is natural to be hurt, bruised, scarred, and then, healed. It's healing that's necessary. It's healing that is long and takes patience. It's the healing process that's full of emotions... Anger, despair, pain, hurt, sadness, glum, to begin with...

Let's face it. We can't forgive 'anyone' easily for when they hurt us. What they did to us shadows who they are, what they mean to us, how they feel for us and everything else in question, at least for an accounted period of time. Tears flow, the heart aches, eyes swell... Tired eyes and a pained heart remains... Waiting to be healed... Waiting to have another go at life... Waiting to give someone another chance... And, to try again...

Really? How many times? Every time this happens, I know how it gets to. The saturation point of being the acceptor, the limits of patience, the tiredness of the bleeding heart (metaphorical)... Frankly, the reality is that we just want to stop trying. And most of the times, we even do.

We stop trusting people over what some other has done to us... We stop believing in people's words over loss of integrity of someone close to us... We close our eyes to the reality and begin living in an oblivious world... We look at the world from behind a translucent curtain and get judgemental... We shut the doors to our heart... Yes, we do all of this.

Yes, we are hurt so bad that the pain won't stop... Yes, we have been stabbed so brutally that the body aches... Yes, we are bruised so deeply that even medicine spilled over it seems to just deepen the wound... But, then is when it begins to heal... The hurt begins to turn to acceptance... We collect the broken pieces of our hearts and begin to stitch them together... The deep bruises heal to scars on the skin...

Yes, we heal.

Sometimes soon enough to give the person a second chance. Most others, too late.

It's this strange beauty of life and nature that amuses me... Just as a leaf springs out soon after we break one from the branch of a tree, and fruits and flowers reappear according to their lifecycles, human beings too, learn, grow, heal and conquer the pain...

The only part of it that scares me, bewilders me is about the tree being brought down from the bottom of its stem. It being uprooted. Leaving no hope of it growing back again...

Co-incicentally, this is also that part of the situation that we consider for ourselves everytime someone cuts down one of our fruits or at the greatest, breaks a branch. We get tired. Tired of trying. Tired of facing the situation. Tired of living with that pain and supressing more agony. We do get tired...

And that's what we gotta change... That's what I have been trying to change within myself and those who would let me in their lives. That belief, that nothing will change from the way it was, that it was best the way it was and can never get better... Well, never say never.

Been there, done that. Going through that, and still do give up sometimes.

I don't say I am perfect or that I'm the most hopeful, most optimistic person. I don't because I know I am not. But, at the same time, I know that I have the courage to stand up. I have the courage to set foot from every disparity, again. I know that no situation can be so binding on me that it would take away my happiness completely. I know that no hurt can be so deep that it would make me want to kiss goodbye to this earth. I know that no pain can be so excruciating that it would be beyond my ability to soak it in.

And I know that it is the same for everyone... Everyone...

May be I'll stand up soon enough. Or may be I won't. But, I know that sometime it is ought to happen. It will happen.

And till it doesn't, the bruises and scars, will keep reminding me that I still got work to do...

Cheerio!

P.S.: Began a co-blog earlier this month for I (and my fellow bloggers) couldn't sit back and complain anymore. The realization that things had to change, dawned upon us and that we need to be the change we want to see, seemed more plausible than anything else. For this much-desired change and to get more and more people to join in with us, those who share the same ideology, 'Not Just The Talks.' has been started. If you haven't already, do read my inaugural post on it 'It's Time To Not Just Keep Talking.'

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's Time To Not Just Keep Talking.

Been a while since the idea of this blog and desire hit me and my friends. Time lapses kept pushing this idea far and beyond. But, something made me feel that it was worthless to just keep pushing it beyond without any reason. That something is the movie V For Vendetta.

Made me question myself. Why am I here? Why did I ever even begin this blog if I wasn't going to do something of it just because of some silly, stupid reasons? I don't care enough to be even bothered about them! Those reasons don't make me wanna opt out of the desire to make a difference to the society and world I live in. Those reasons don't make me wanna be 'just' a part of the crowd. I know I'm different. I know I'm not one of the herd. And if you think I am, I'm here to tell you and prove to you that I'm NOT.

I'm done staying silent. I'm done being suffocated. I'm done feeling sorry for the dead and terrorized. I'm done showing solidarity for those in pain. I'm done feeling frustrated with the reality that exists. I'm done feeling tired of the way things are. I'm done accepting this bullshit. Now, I'm here to change. To be a part of it. To initiate it. And to at least try, if not succeed.
If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it. ~Mary Engelbreit
I read this a few days back on a profile named Quotegarden I actively follow on Twitter. Made me smile the first thing I read it. Went on to send it to a few of my friends who acknowledged how true it is... And right then, I knew, that change, has to begin. It has to, sometime. Then, why not that 'sometime' be right now?

So, then and there it was... Through the last 2-3 months, the idea that has found a place in my head, has finally materialised in the form of what you now see as Not Just The Talks.
To keep it real, I have no clue of how long and how much this will sustain. I hope it will be long enough to achieve something substantial. But, hope is not just enough. Just as, talking isn't enough.

I don't promise anything more than opinions here. I seriously, don't. But, again, this is the internet! What else can you do? Make a few causes on Facebook which people perceive as spam? Tweet about it? Digg about it? Create it an internet  sensation? Whoa! I'm stunned! Not a bit.

Yes, I will act. I promise to. Whenever needed, I will. I won't just give my opinions here. I will be there whenever there is an event, an opportunity, a desire, a need to change expressed. Somewhere, anywhere. That's the grit, that's the desperation, that's the lust with which I want change to happen. I may have my head well in the sky when I say I dream of a world devoid of most of its present problems, but let me tell you, what my eyes see from up here, is rather beautiful and I choose to make this the real world, over going back to the filthy (compared to the view from up here) way of life. Period.

Cynicism with hope rules me. Completely. Utterly. And that's what this is about... Hitting the issues at hand, real hard. And then getting into the system to find the solution which may possibly get us through... Let's try! Let's give it a shot!

I repeat. I don't promise results. I don't promise change. I am not God. I am a simple 18-year-old from Mumbai dreaming to live in a better Mumbai, a better India and finally, a better world. A world where sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment can be reduced by humans, for oneself and for another.

Truly speaking, it hurts to see when elders around me, even those in powerful positions, act as if nothing can be changed and give up hope so easily, on this world that is our very own. I'm sorry to say this, may be it's even disrespectful, but, I can't sit hand-in-hand with my friends 20 years down the line, sipping tea on the porch, and talk about how the situation has just gotten worse from right now. I would rather talk to him/her about how we tried and how much worse it could have been had we not tried...

I have crossed and already shouted out loud "Enough is enough." If you have too, jump in. If you think you will soon, jump in. If you think you can still be patient and take this for a lot more time, or you think this effort will fail like most others have till today, don't jump in.

Finally, being or not being a part of NJTT (acronym for 'Not Just The Talks.') depends on you. Your discretion, completely. I'm here. I'm trying. I will keep trying.

Will you join us?

If you do decide to join us, surely do inform us in either of the following ways:
  1. By commenting below here.
  2. By emailing us at not.just.the.talks@gmail.com.
  3. By posting it on our Facebook page.
  4. By mentioning us on Twitter (@NotJustTheTalks).
  5. Or by texting or calling me.
Until next post then... Adios :-)!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shaitan - The Devil Within...

It's been around 28 and a half hours, as I begin writing this, since I left the movie theatre after watching Shaitan. A last-minute plan which I, in the end, turned out to be really happy about. It was one hell of a movie, in a good way! And those who follow my blog must be knowing that I don't linger on to write a post from when I am in the moment of action (a usual blogpost would set me back by 40-60 minutes, within 24 hours of the event or thought in my mind that I want to write about). This time, is an exception.

Shaitan, like many other Bollywood movies that have come by recently and made a mark, is another off-beat movie which doesn't stick to the formula to make a movie 'hit' that many actors, production houses and directors follow, to earn and make business. Pretty much also the reason I wasn't interested to watch in in the beginning (more about my Bollywood and movie interests in some other blog, later). Caught my interest later during the first week and then even more as the week ended. Turned out, I caught it the first movie in this week.

The gist of the movie is pretty simple. It's the story of 5 friends in the backdrop of Mumbai and their life which revolved around money, booze, smoke, drugs and their definition of fun. On one such nights, they commit an accident and the story kicks off thereafter. Their trials to save themselves from the punishment of the mistake, things they plan, things they do and things that eventually happen... That's what it's all about. I know many of those who read this wouldn't have watched it yet, and thus, I am not revealing more of the story, because boy, if you haven't watched it yet, you need to watch it soon!! And for those who have seen it, need I say more, anyway?

As I left the cinema hall, I was faced with a wide range of emotions and thoughts. Took a ride to a restaurant at quiet a distance thereafter and was pretty lost in my thoughts all that time. Reason? There were just so many possibilities and incidences that plainly were justified by this movie, subtly.

I still remember watching cartoons on Cartoon Network and other kids' channels when I was younger... It was a funny thing to watch the argument between the evil and angel side of a particular character as he fumbled over what he should be doing... Frankly, it had never crossed my mind since I last watched these that there possibly could be two sides to every person. The good and the bad. Seems awkward to believe. More so because we tend to generalize people's behaviour over certain events and disapprove of otherwise. Somehow, it's kinda true too.

Always wondered what's it that makes some people act differently, in a more negative way, than the rest. Figured that it's somehow related to what your thoughts that shape you, make you. The incidents that you face with as a child, the people who surround you while the thoughts in your mind begin forming and gaining a stance. A child of a terrorist would end up being a Jihadi more often than not, and the kid born to a clergy, would for obvious reasons be religious and/or spiritual. Pretty much, undisputably.

But, when I saw this movie, all of these seemed to go on the a back-foot. Though, these were the secondary reasons and will always be, how you think in the brink of the situation is what determines your action. It's more about who from within the angel and the evil inside your head wins that will talk about what action you took. Basically, what I'm saying, and what I believe in is, it's more a knee-jerk reaction than a thought process. May be the thought process induces that reaction, but, sometimes it may be otherwise, too! Surely possible. May be the evil would harm himself or the world. Or may be the angel would be a saviour to itself or the many others or some stranger... Possibilities thus, are endless.

This whole thing kept pondering in my mind for around hours after the movie got over and then I kept trying to relate it to everyday life and the examples that I have known, seen and have been a part of. Just to justify the way in which I was thinking... I came down to 2 incidents which simply proved a point to the above stated theories I had concluded at. You may call me a negative person because of what these examples are, but well, I'm rather lazy. When I saw that these 2 were just the examples I needed, I didn't look out for more. Just didn't!

1) There's this guy I know. He made a very stupid mistake, got carried away once and hurt people whom he cared for, a lot. Without any indication, without any hint to anyone, out of guilt he punished himself over something that was forgiven very soon from the time of confession. This guy is someone very calm and thoughtful. Never has he done any other stupid thing. Pretty mature, too. And it was just that victory of the in-his-mind Shaitan that has left him in the pitiable condition he is in right now. (Don't try to guess who.)

2) The second example is about another guy whose blog I read regularly. Anonymity has to be respected and thus I'm pasting the blog's excerpt containing the incident, here. A very sincere, silent, jovial person by nature, hurt his mom over something very silly. May be it was his age that kept him immature then that he did something so distressing that he still regrets it 12-13 years after it happening...
Here's his story in his own words (the excerpt from his blog):
"There was a boy in his -teens. Like every teenager he wished to enjoy his life like all his friends did. Like going for dinner, watching movies, getting stylish stationary and loads of other things. One particular day, a few guests had arrived at his house and he was getting bored of them. So he asked his mother if he could go out with his friends to watch the movie. Mother denied it because it was quite late to go for a movie. But the boy never really took her words seriously. He just had anger buring from within that his parents never gave him freedom. So as his mother went to sit on a chair, he pulled it. His mother did not react anything till the guests were gone and the boy too left the house. He cried and kept on complaining about his parents. But God had great ways of punishing his children. As the boy walked, a piece of glass stuck into his foot. He bleeded profusely. He went back home and cried harder only to find out that his mother was crying. The boy mistook that she was crying for him. So the boy never paid heed to the care of his mother. Irrespective of the boy's cold attitude, his mother took good care of his foot. Next day, mother had gone to the doctor and took out the x-ray of her back. The reports were quite bad. She had broken her tail-bone. The doctor asked how did it happen and she replied that she slipped while climbing stairs. The boy's father too asked her the same question and her reply was the same. The boy realised his mistake and cried harder and harder. It was because of his crime that she had to suffer so much."

Pretty much justifies and wraps up what I meant to say...

It's the moment, just that moment which usually makes all the difference. Not the one before that, not the one after it. The prior usually filled with confusion, the latter usually of guilt and regret or happiness and glee. It's, as I always say, the result of the choice that we make. It's just not about how you think, because you react from how you feel rather...

I guess it's time we got into controlling our emotions better. I guess it's time we got to seeing what we do as a spur or unconscious reaction too. It's time to get a hold of ourselves.

But, regardless, you must accept, there's always a Shaitan, a devil within us waiting for the first chance he gets to escape from the cages in your head... And then, then it would be difficult stopping him, just as depicted in Indian mythology...

You choose your driver... The evil or the angel...

Adios!

P.S.: Don't try to guess who are the examples I gave. And don't ask me either. I hope this request of mine will be catered to.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Drive Against Corruption... Not Anymore!

Two months of headlines, and 5 days later. Here India is. In what began as a drive against corruption, not much of it remains anymore. Reasons? Varied. Most of them, known to everyone. Some of them, hidden.

It all began with Anna Hazare's fast unto death or till his demands were met, on 5th April, 2011 which took India by a stir! The thought that problem of corruption, is not here to remain as many (including me) say, that there could be a possible end to this corrupt phase! Wow. So exciting does it sound! And that got so many millions of Indians to support it. Yes, every one of us, every Indian (minus the politicians, bureaucrats and others who live on their black earnings) was on with him, against it.


Now, today, this fight seems all-the-more unimportant. Yes, you read that right. Unimportant. It seems to have lost its reason while everyone in the powerful circles tries to gain some clout from it. Religious and spiritual leaders, political parties, news channels, lawyers, websites, and what not!! "India's changing people! Be a part of it! It's now or never!" I would simply call it, BULLSHIT!

Let me begin with the one I have been seeing most recently and in the eye of the people and news channels. Baba Ramdev and his antics! I wonder how I should worship him! No, seriously. He's such an amazing fellow that he didn't feel ashamed to give this amazing movement the political and spiritual turn by poking his nose in it! He must be revered for the same, I demand. He actually thought that all those who gathered in Ramlila Maidan for his fast, were supposedly there supporting his hunger strike (I could use a tongue-smiley, :P, here)! News channels and newspapers broke stories reading what I said, that the people were there instead to show him their respects because his Yoga remedies seemed to have work for them. His demands were completely irrational, stupid and nonsensical. His methodology to achieve it, unethical. When Kapil Sibal made public a tape of their phone call, he went on to say he won't talk to Kapil Sibal! Someone remind this so-called Guru, that he agreed he would end the fast within hours of beginning it because of the pact he made with the Government. Get yourself some integrity, Mr. Ramdev! He sure deserved some real punitive action, which he aptly got.

Next up, the Bharatiya Janata Party. Supposedly, 'The Party with a Difference' (as read on their website). Oh, yeah? Getting political mileage by taking a dig at the Congress for acting against Baba Ramdev (who I'm pretty sure acted as a bate on their request) and their inability against corruption doesn't seem like anything different from what anyone else would have done. To me, at least! Making statements, getting prime-time news coverage, etc. is a good but, sad thing. The elections are still 3 years away, BJPians (or whatever they call themselves, I don't really care).

You know what would matter to me, an (almost) adult-Indian? Or how you could actually gain a heads-up for the next elections and earn yourselves some respect? Get into the legislature, make a Lokpal Bill, just as the people want it, house it in the Parliament, get it passed with the help of the Left and other parties, and there you are, the real star! You surely will be the next governing party! Trust me on that, you will be.

But you know what, readers? They wouldn't do that either. Even though they know that it assures them of power. Reasoning it as "It would be remembered as a victory of the Congress as it would be passed while they were in power! BJP can't let that happen, right?" among other immature excuses. The real reason? They can't see the good of the people, either. If you really cared about the people, the name of which political party got it passed, wouldn't really matter. If you really cared about the people, you would have stepped up before Anna Hazare hit it himself. And over it all, you can't afford corruption driven out of India, either. The same reasons and answers go to all the other political establishments who have at least one member in the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. Because, according to the Honourable Constitution of India, any Member of Parliament has the right to present a bill in either of the houses. Enough said.

Anna Hazare, Part 2. He went on a day long fast again day before yesterday (on 8th of June, 2011) just because the Government representatives of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee and the people's representatives didn't come to a consensus on a certain clause (inclusion of PM and Judiciary of India, to be specific). You mean, really? Is this the law-making process we are looking for? Not me!! I'm looking for a discussion, a debate. Someone who can convince the prior, not compel. This demand of yours, I'm sorry, Mr. Hazare, is just too unrealistic for me to be supportive of. And seriously, right now, I feel like saying, 'The Anna Way? No Way!!' like I said 'The Gandhi Way? No Way!!' 7 weeks ago. If the support you got the first time makes you want to compulsate the Bill making issues like this, instead of talking it out at the discussion table, I am up against your action.

Last up, every Indian who thinks Lokpal Bill will be a reality and that corruption will be driven out of India. Let me just burst your bubble, brutally.

I read a crazy SMS saying, "Government of India has put a condition stating that the support of 25 crore people is needed to implement the 'Lokpal Bill'. For this we just have to give a missed call to the number +912261550789. After giving a missed call to this number you'll receive a 'Thanks' message. Forward this to as many to make India corruption free. Please call."

To begin with, what's the Lokpal Bill? Darn you, irresponsible people! The clauses of the Lokpal Bill have still to be finalized and debated upon by the Parliamentary Committee drafting it! We don't even know where and how it'll shape up in the end! Neither do we have a clue if it will be the Jan Lokpal Bill for which the protest 2 months back was held or will it be minor modifications to the Lokpal Bill which has been doing the Law Ministry rounds since 1979! And you want to petition for that already? Wow.

Hypothetically, let's consider it's an exact replica of the Jan Lokpal Bill and that's what we want to see in action. How many of us really, like 'really' know how the Bill making process works? How laws are made? What is the process of it? I am sure most of us have read it somewhere, and those of the age like mine, you have read it in your Civics textbooks, sometime. Now, where does it say that "if 25 crore people give missed calls" the Bill will be passed? If it was so easy, the law-making process was so people friendly, why would we ever have elections and elect Members of Parliament to be a part of our Legislature, and represent us? Wouldn't we be a part of it ourselves by giving missed calls or sending out SMSes for every Bill? Ask yourself. What part of the above quoted SMS make sense now?

I was sent this message by my parents too. And yes, I did lash out on them explaining why this wasn't legit even though an SMS was sent to you when you give a missed call.

Either it's that you don't know the law-making process (I mentioned above that it needs to pass the Parliament), or that you're just being too ignorant of it. Let's face it. The Government promised Anna Hazare during his previous fast of 'drafting' a Bill, not making sure it gets 'passed'. If you think that the elected MPs of India, those elected by you, those whose lives thrive upon black money, will let this Indian dream come true, you're mistaken. I may be seen as some cynic or a complete pessimist, but it doesn't bother me because I have my feet stuck the ground while I see everyone else hoping something so simply, impossible! If you think those who promote corruption the most, will pass a Bill that would put them under the scanner for every monetary transaction of their life, boy, you're highly mistaken! Time to wake up, dear fellas.

Also, if you think that Anna Hazare's promise that he would go on a fast again if the Bill doesn't get passed will do anything to change the failure of the Bill in the Parliament, again, I don't think the merciless people in those chairs will mind him dying, either. Even those of you, who think you won't vote for the same candidate in the next elections if he doesn't give an 'Aye' to the Lokpal Bill, you're mistaken, again. The voting process in the parliaments is anonymous. Dismay spreads?

I'm not someone who opposes this 'Let's-kick-corruption-out-of-India' movement. But, at the same time, when I see such wrong-doings (wrong in my eyes) happening, sorry, I can't support them either. Trust me when I say, I would be of the happiest people if I am proven wrong and corruption actually loses its stance in India. Hands down.

That's much about it about what I want to say... Let the comments and opinions in...

Until the next post...

P.S.: I haven't been paid by the Government of India or any of its dominant, behind the curtains powerful members (read: the Gandhi family) to write this. This is how I feel. This is how I perceive the truth to be. I know it's a lot more bold text, sarcasm and believe-it-or-not in this post, but I deemed it was necessary. Every word signifies how I actually feel about it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Magic Called Mumbai Monsoons!

I know that's too many 'M's in the title, but, all of them stand out very beautifully and separately from the others.

Each, a marvel in its own way. And what amuses me is how the 3 of these combine together to create a wonderful aura!

Mumbai. The financial capital of India, among others, and the city I have been born and brought up in. The city that I love so much and the city which never fails to amuse me. It's one of the world's biggest metropolitans. And reasons it's famous are many. Though, from all of these, one of which stands apart from the rest is its Monsoon and rains... Mumbai's monsoon!

Often suggested, the best time to be in Mumbai is during its monsoon. The whole demographic and life of Mumbai is in a different place then... Leaves most speechless. Even me.

The first monsoon showers for Mumbai happened the evening before last. And I had the chance to witness the marvel in itself. The first rains of Mumbai!! Here's to that amazing one hour...

I was standing at the window, watching across it to the opposite building and the cloudy sky above it. I knew it was gonna rain. I could feel it. Began working on my laptop. Read tweets from celebs in the southern part of Mumbai talking about the advent of rains there. Almost 15 minutes later, I could hear the thunders to the far west... It had begun to drizzle! I could see children running to the terraces of their respective buildings, housemakers scrambling to get the clothes drying on the window clothline inside, and could feel the smile on my face... It was time. Mumbai monsoon was back.

And within no time, it began raining... Heavily... I texted a few close friends with whom I was interacting then that I would talk to them later... And ran straight to the terrace... The feeling when the first drops of rain trickled down my face, played maze through my hair, and wet my clothes, was... Amazing. It was ecstatic, euphoric, happy, joyous and what not! Still, these words can't completely describe that feeling. You have to feel it, to know it.

Couldn't stop gazing at the orange sky... Wondering how it rained from within the sunny sky! Mist surrounded the far-ends of the city... The railway headlight was visible dizzying away... Almost every door and window of the trains were shut. I couldn't help but laugh at those people who didn't want to enjoy the first rain...

Through the water, memories, moments, people, situations and events seemed to have a flash back in my mind... The gushing winds hitting the face... The striking of the raindrops with force against the eye-lids... Blissful. Sometimes, the pain you get when the raindrops hit your face with amazing force seems like a punishment that you don't want to get through. At others, it's sheer pleasure.

Suddenly, the sun set and I could see the colours of the sky change swiftly from orange to silver to dark gray... And that's when I returned back home...

Had hot dosas and sandwiches with friends... Followed by onion bhajias (in Mumbai's lingo, better known as kanda bhajji) back at home to relish the beautiful combination of hot, spicy food in the cozy, rainy weather...


And sometime in between all this, a few tears did escape my eye too. While I was enjoying the pouring rain... I still don't know why I did. I had numerous smiles, but when and why these few tears came by, I don't know.

Nothing special about it, it may seem. Just an experience as anyone would enjoy the rain, right? Well, it wasn't. It wasn't just about the rains. It was about the millions of memories associated with it. It was about the people with whom you've talked about monsoon. It was about the dreams I had to spend time in the monsoon. It was about the minutes and hours spent waiting for it since the last time it came by... It was about everything else, too. It always is. It's about happiness. It's about love. It's about washing away the sadness. It's about a celebration.

It's something much more than just a rain... It's a way of life...

You may even think that just because it was the first rain, it was so. False. Every time it rains, it's the same for me. The same feeling of gaiety. The same moments that I want to relive. The same places I want to be. The same people... Yes, I do curse the rain at times, too. But, that's just a one moment thing. It's more about the magic monsoon leaves me with.

It never ends with the rain... It's a feeling that you take with yourself, for the rest of your life... It's the magic of it which surrounds your life...


It's magical how this season can spell-bound anyone. That too, beyond limits. Beyond many limits...

It's the realms and dreams of a beautiful day, the way hope refills in us, the way we feel happy that's so magical about it... Yes, most of us love the monsoon. Beyond the wet clothes, wrong timed rains, wet footwear, puddles of water, cold, cough and fever that usually follows, we all love it...

Happy monsoon, everyone! Hope you enjoy it in the ways that may make it a perfect and memorable season for you!!

P.S.: Those who network from Twitter, don't forget to tag your Mumbai Monsoon tweets with #MumbaiMonsoon!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tough Transition...

It was the last year in school. My grade 10. And I remember my class teacher telling me once how different life after school was going to be like... How different it will be when you have to face the outside world, all by yourself... When you will be on your own, with no one to hold you... Then, it just seemed like something that won't happen with me. That was the same thought with every of my classmates' mind too, I am sure. And even everyone who has been in that situation, that time in their lives...

It's difficult to think 'how' life would be different when you are in the complete cove of school life. Protected, nurtured, chiselled to your be who you are. But, two years after getting out of school, here I am. Standing at another crossroads, wondering where I'll be in 3 months from now. Which city of India, which college, what institution, what degree? Yes. It has been a tough transit.

It's a different thing for everyone. For some, it's crazy to imagine that they're not in school anymore and college is not as serious as school. Or at times, is even more serious. For some, it's difficult to bear the distance from friends and to get out of contact from them just because they don't study the same subjects and the lives they've chosen for themselves are different... For some, getting in tune with the fact that they face not just themselves and their fellow classmates, but, the whole city, state or nation, in the next important exam, is scary... For some, it's not being a part of the 'happening' and 'popular' group, brings them down... Pretty much sums up on the dilemma of everyone. And believe it or not, everyone has experienced it. There's no way you can get through to living a life without being in a state of transition, sometime in life...

Some go through it easily... Placidly... Like a river flowing down the plains... For others, it's the rocky terrain that they're forced to fight...

I have seen it all happening right in front of my eyes. I have seen friends being insecure about their friendship, high-scoring students under-estimating their abilities because of their fears, pain of separated relationships, those ready to lose themselves to become wannabes without realizing it and what not! And I can tell you, that while most of us can't get through these easily, it takes courage to go up to someone you trust and ask them to help you through it. More of an emotional challenge, than anything else.

And that's when I realize, it's no easy job to bring someone back, to accept someone has changed, to accept the fears and to face them...

But, again, that's a part of the story. A few years down the line, there's gonna be transition again. When we graduate from our colleges with a Bachelors or Masters degree and step into the competitive world of jobs and opportunities. And there'll be change again... Our mates from school and college will be lost again and we'd rather spend time with colleagues and business associates.

How difficult will that be? Easier for the one who can acknowledge the change now. Even harder for the one who cannot.

And finally, most of the times, it comes down to keeping in tune our ego, choosing to disbelieve that we have changed, that we are still the same, even when deep inside we do know that we aren't...

Why is it so difficult to accept the change within ourselves? Why is it so tough to accept that we have changed? May be that's because we have been of the opinion that no matter what we won't change... May be because we thought we won't give up our values... Our opinions won't be influenced... Our habits, will pertain...

Similarly, why is it so difficult to accept that some of our friends have gone far away from us? May be our paths were meant to be separated... May be our paths crossed once and then they were gonna be all separated, again... May be their priorities now on, didn't match ours...

Why is it so difficult to accept that we're not the star-kid of our school anymore and that we're just another normal college-goer? May be because the attention it brought is not so easy to forgo...

Why is it so tough not to be a part of the 'it' crowd? May be because you want to be talked about... You want to be seen, talked about, and felt jealous of...

The time to realization, comes by just then for some. Either you live it from then. Or sit back, cry foul and sit in there repenting and troubling your own self, believing things will never go back to how they were again...

Yes, they surely won't ever. That's what life is all about. That's the rule of time. You can't be in the same moment twice. The moment once gone, is gone forever. After that, it's just memories. After that, it's just being happy about it happening. After that, it's just about the lessons learnt... And also, the lust for having the same moments again, which won't ever be realized...

Pretty much the same, for everyone. And I can't imagine what it'll be like when life takes me to the next crossroads, the job and post-education, making-my-own-living life... I don't know what situations will face me and my fellowmates. I don't know how we'll come to terms with them, then... I can be so sure about these situations I talked about, given that I have seen, faced and helped many get over... And I'm sure, when it comes by again, everyone will be through the same phase, in a different way, all over again...

Till then, all I can say is, the transition is tough. Accepting the change is tough. And being fine with it is even more. But, in the end I can conclude pretty easily...

It boils down to a simple point. Change, the process of transition, like none other, is an ever-going process... No one of us is the same person that we were a day ago. Either we have learnt something, cultivated a good habit, or let go of a bad one, or forgone our values and felt miserable. In either of all the ways, we are not the same person. We are someone else.

Change is permanent. Sure it is. But, no ascertained changed is permanent. Only the process of change is permanent. Nothing else, ever is.

Adios!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Bit Too Grown-Up... A Bit Too Early?

Note from the blogger: Please, please, please try not being judgemental about me and anything about me from what you read here. It's purely a result of my numerous thoughts.

It's always been something I have wondered about... When's the time when you can finally call someone a grown up? When you can finally say that someone is mature enough to take care of himself and how his life is lead? When's that independence, that freedom conferred to him? When can he realize for himself that he can? That he will?

Sometimes... The whole concept of English education too, bewilders me. More so because, it uproots the so-called hard-core Indian culture, its tradition and values from the minds of students like me who give themselves the freedom to have contrary views or be cynics to it. May be that's how we are or the way the double-standard of education has left us with... Either ways, it's the way it is...

I know most of our parents haven't studied in English medium schools, but, they wanted all of us to. Why? Some kinda competition, was it? Or the desire to give us the high level of education? The latter, they would suggest. The prior, that seems apparent to me. And, thus, I don't think I'm to be blamed if I consider a formal handshake and respect in my behaviour is more expressive of the respect I have for someone than me bowing down and touching their feet. The concept of education of the Westerners, has brought their way of life to us. Something that's probably not easy to accept for our parents and that causes the rift between us. The pub culture, the late night parties, the inter-caste marriages, the "in a relationship" tag, the reaction when you see a boy and a girl alone together, the food we eat, the way we hang out, the way we make friends, the kind of friends, the late night phone calls, these seem completely wrong in their opinion. Pretty much, most of them. Is it them to blame, I wonder...

We feel it is the close-mindedness of theirs, or just stuff that they don't understand... They think it's too much independence and freedom that we assume for ourselves... Reality? I think it's the whole concept of education that has changed, which is to blame.

Predominantly, and basically, English is a language of England. The country where getting divorced has never been a bane, where a guy kissing a girl in public is no offense, where children move out of their parents' soon after they are in their later teens to set themselves up on their own, where who you are matters more than whose son or daughter you are and the connections you have, where whom you idolize isn't of as much importance as what you do... Is any of this a part of the so-called close-minded and narrow ideology of our country? Yes, I use those two words on purpose. I, in the process of being educated, have been inculcated with more western values. Not because my parents didn't want me to learn about India. But, because they, like most others wanted me to get 'good' education in an English mediumed school. And then if you expect my views to be different, that means you expect me to be someone I am not. That's just the way I see it.

Basic difference. Contrary to the points I talked about above, in India, you are in big trouble if you even think about a divorce, and you're in for a jail term ranging from 1-3 years if you're seen kissing someone in public, for crying out loud!! It matters more about who your parents are and where you come from than who you are and can and will be... If you want to move out at a decent age, all everyone is concerned about is how will you live over them trusting you with your abilities... All this in a country which is many more times than safe than those which we idolize! USA, UK among other western countries fall high above India in criminal and crime related cases. And even then, their teenagers can lead their life on their terms so much sooner. Here, if you move out of your 'family home' even after you marry, you're bound to have raised eyebrows... If you end up an atheist or agnostic and deny going the religuous establishments and talking against their wrong-doings, you're not faithful.

It's confusing and compelling what is asked of me... Is it what I have learnt in the formative years of my life, from the kind of education I have got, or the tradition that holds me shackled? Pretty big a thing to ask for, eh? Doesn't seem so to me. It's simple. You want me to be what you wanted me to learn or you want me to be what you want me to be, because both are contradictory. Both are just saying against each other. That they, you wish, wouldn't or didn't think it would.

I turn 18 in a few months from now. And like every teenager (I hope!) I do have discords with my parents regarding stuff. Many things, in fact. Many of my friends share with me their experiences with their parents, too. And all such times lead me to thinking and assessing myself and the situations... I ended up writing a previous post, 'G For Generation, G For Gap.' in such a thought, and here I am back to it...

While being a teen, expecting some freedom over what I do, to make my choices of where I hang out, with whom I hang out, the friends I make (even if they are not of the same score or in the same study group as mine) doesn't bother me, it seems to be a concern for most parents. Mostly dominated by the feeling that friendships, cell phones, relationships, friends who are not pursuing same or similar courses, all deter their children. Some of which may also be a result of the education system that promotes competition. Sometimes I feel it gets too compulsive. Some others, it seems just too much of a concern. Either they think we're unable to form decisions for ourselves, or it is that they think we're immature and they need to control our lives.

Let's face it. I don't think I'm wrong when I want to have friends who are not from my educational field. I don't think I'm wrong when I talk to someone late in the night when I want to talk and both of us are awake, and we don't have to wake up early the next morning. I don't think I'm wrong to be in a relationship and spend time with alone my girlfriend/boyfriend, even if it's in a public place. I don't think it's wrong to want to want to talk to someone I like for endless hours. I don't think it's wrong when I want to go over to a friend's place when we have a fight, to sort it out, even if she's a girl or vice versa. I don't think it's wrong to spend a lot of time on the internet doing mindless stuff that may not make any sense to my parents. I don't think it's wrong for someone to do something they want to, from their heart, even if that won't fetch them a very high income. I don't think it's wrong if a person finds his soulmate in someone who is of a different caste or religion or follows a certain different food habit, if they want to marry each other and spend the rest of their lives together, even if they're of the same gender. I don't think it's wrong to date. I don't think it's wrong to want freedom to be out of home late in the night. I don't think it's wrong to skip or delay a meal just because you are in a bad mood because of a fight or a misunderstanding you've had with someone who matters. I don't think it's wrong when I spend more time with my friends who understand me, than my family which would raise questions about every act of mine. I don't think it's wrong to... And I can go on and on and on...

There's a hell of a list! Because, it's the choices I make for myself that count, in the end.

In the end, it's about me. My life. And how responsible I can be, for myself. I can have emotional breakdowns, relationship break-ups, fights, misunderstandings. But, I want to sort them, move on and learn from them myself. I don't want to be told to do something or be advised. That, just stops me from growing as a person, as an individual. That doesn't teach me from my mistakes, that makes me dependent on you every time I am in trouble. That's not what I want to be. And I'm sure, that's not what you meant to be, either... You want to help, but, you don't realize you're restricting my growth, you're not letting me think of the possibilities I can put forth for myself... I'm not saying you don't advise me or 'suggest' me. I'm just saying I hope it doesn't get compelling on me of the fact that it's my 'parents' who have suggested me a way out. And the fact of the matter, the whole, Parents-have-more-experience-and-have-seen-more-life discussion doesn't apply here. For reasons I mentioned above. The ideology, the chaning environment and the education which has shaped us is much different than what was for them.

As a teen, right now, I just want to be able to do what I think is right... Contrary to what anyone else thinks... And, yes. I am sure this is the voice of every teen out there. Everyone who has crossed 16 and is nearing adulthood at 18. I know many who won't speak up even though they think what they're doing for someone else, probably their parents, is wrong. Fear, anxiety and the anger of their parents that holds them back from doing what they wish to do... But, I just want to tell them now, why not stand up for how you feel and regret later in life about having kept quiet? Though, I won't say anything else. I don't want to be blamed for provoking anti-parents actions!!

So, it may seem pretty weird as to how the whole post flows... From educational drawbacks to the restrictions to what I want as a teen growing up in a changing India... Give it a thought and I guess the dots will connect...

Still the same question hovering in my mind... Have we grown-up a bit too much... A bit too soon?

Feel free to comment or e-mail me or tell me, in any form what you feel...

Until the next post...

Adios!

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