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Category: Socialising

Thanks a lot and sorry!

“People get annoyed when you thank them or apologise, at informal occasions.” I was surprised by that information! Its like, “She’s showing off too much!”, “She is so ritualistic. Doesn’t value relationships at all.”, “What does she think? That I did this for her for her thank you!” “No thank you and sorry between friends yaar!” Oh my God! Really! So much responses for one thank you or a sorry. Its like you can just never be sincerely thankful or apologising, whatever may happen, all gets questioned. But I still always thank and apologise. From the bus conductor in the morning thru the friend who drops me to the next bust stop in the evening,(its actually like I take her pillion and ‘drop’ myself!!), I thank almost everyone who does anything close to a favor to me! And I apologise, when the trouble was really not intended.

With all these, I had almost had ample confidence to be a part of an organisation or to work associating with a larger crew! After all, I had self proclaimed myself as a very ‘down to earth’ person! But there’s this thing about communication you know! Fundamentally, you are to decipher only so much from someone’s words, just as much they said. But everybody digs for deeper implications and often misunderstand the situations. At least with me, it has always been like, it’s what’s that’s said as what that’s actually! Nothing more to dig for! But a stronger theory holds. It is never about how good you’re at heart. It’s about what you communicate with them. Never what you think/feel, but about what you express! Now with the activities of the Union and so many other organisations that I am now a part of, I am to communicate more with a larger group of people, more frequently and more intensely. And there I understand, what my other friend said is so right! I should really start behaving more like my name. More ‘soumya’. Humble and polite. I need to work on it. Really so, that I don’t rupture my rapport with the population around me!

And thanks to that unknown senior! He perhaps really changed something about me. “You talk good, clear and confident.But may be you should take more care about what you communicate. You shouldn’t have said *that* in the last meeting”! Yeah I agree. When hundred people around me point a finger at me, chances are higher that they are right and I am wrong. So, its time I thought about it. And I guess I am implementing the ‘name put to action’ agenda already! Thanks to so many of you who all, in a way, answered my question from yesterday’s post. And thanks, for pointing them out so brilliantly to me. Gratitude. And apologies.

Nanbenda!

That’s the kinda friendship that I always sought after! Too few but too close. The kind I have always had. There was always accusations I am so unfriendly and hoarse to people. And the things were that way for the great majority of time in life. The twist in the story comes at this phase of life, where I am in college and face extreme loneliness. And at this point, when the attitude gets questioned, it’s almost like I just yield to all the accusations. Blame my attitude! I haven’t ever been too friendly, too nice or too cool. But nor too sour nor too bad. Something might have still been wrong with me or the rest of the world then. I’d rather choose its me! Easier to explain one person’s abnormality than with the entire world. Other than the random comments about my ‘not-like-the-name’ attitude, I have never had such a clear description about me!

There was this guy in train with me yesterday. A childhood friend. We used to go to the same after school creche, attend the same music class and so many other kids’events. I saw him first there. But he was with friends and I didn’t want to bother him, with an ages old companionship story. But in a while, he spotted me and wondered why I never took an initiative all the while. I openly said the reason. And then, we traveled together for the rest of the journey. Half way thru, he wonders why am I so much in a ‘pucham’ mode all the time! Surprised as I am to be, I wondered what could possibly trigger such a question. He clarified, that there’s never any faint expression of excitement or joy in my face. That all the 3 – 4 times that we ever met after childhood, I appeared all grim and dull to him. While actually, I was all excited about having a company for the journey!

Now arises the question! Am I more misunderstood by people around me or by myself? One of us is definitely wrong. Despite the fact that I look out for ‘nanbenda’ kinda friends, why do I look like such a moron and be the despicable one!! I am not worried about it. Just a sharing a line of thought about things that run in my mind. Hoping answer(s) to the question in comments below!

The first vote!

As I mentioned earlier, the college election just happened. The first ever election in the history of the college. My first ever political association, however faint may it be. My first ever casting of a vote, even in a mock election scenario. There were too many things that made this a really special event. But however, the most special moment was when the results were out and I won! It was one heck of a moment for me! Giving myself enough time to relish the joy, I postponed this post on purpose.

It was a tough call. An extremely difficult game to win, considering how less popular I am and how more popular was my opponent. Turns out, the ‘party’ is the most popular. So I stood with this most popular party and reaped success! Not to forget mentioning how much public support I received, friends turned to active campaigning and active campaign-ers turned friends. That was a good turn of events to experince. Day in and day out, election is all we talked about. Even went upto the point of taking a full day off at one of our places, and sat around to discuss the expected vote approximates. Made infinite number of phone calls, to so many people, all in two days time. Learnt the power of peer pressure. It can even make you let go off your ego and pride, and call people who you’d never want to even look at. All in the name of the ‘party’! Amen!

It was not easy getting consent from home to contest in the election. It was politics after all. Mom was like almost certain I’d drop B.Tech and literature for the sake of it and enter into main stream politics, where I could die in a Police charge in! πŸ˜› Or rather, get distracted screw up my studies. It took me a lot of begging and pleading before I finally get the permission to go for it. And yay!! It was totally worth the pain invoved. The status, the authority, the extra privileges etc., are all added benefits. The key point, however, is the extent of the contacts I possess and the people in my life! People I’d have in no other way talked, seniors, juniors, year-mates, classmates! So many of them. And suddenly I feel like I am in a more sound environment with FRIENDS than what I expected for myself.Totally worth all the pain and loss of pride!
So happy and I tweet, ”Ningal enne communist aaki!” as if I never wanted to be one! πŸ˜›

Payanangal mudivathillai!

Every time, I go travelling with my parents, the one thing that stays is the decision that *that* would be the last trip. But every next time, I am still travelling with them, with the same thought over and over. Payanangal mudivathillai. The journey never ends. But somehow this time, I am looking forward to more of these trips. I almost realise that I have always loved them anyway. Or may be, over the years, they just got better and better.

The one reason I probably love it may be is that, we always travel to Tamil Nadu. North or south or central. It will always be some part of the state. And I so much love this land, the people, the culture, the language, the temples, the all-night awake streets. I so much love being here. And every trip gives me strange experiences. The old lady who invites me to the seat next to hers, worrying if I hadn’t notice the vacant seat. The intimate addressing from total strangers, building innocent associations, genuine despite their transience. The down to earth aura that comes so innate with locale. The senthamizh that flows so fluently. The mallikai vaasam, from the jasmine clad women. The busy street and the crowd like nomads, stranded and lost, or often mesmerised and stunned by the glow of consumerism. The shopkeepers call out, coaxing you into buying stuff and endorsing even undergarments! The street vendors yield to bargain to any unimaginable level, and offer ‘special’ interest and discount to ‘all’ their ‘special’ customers, if you care enough to talk and build a rapport, of some identifiable measure. Nobody keeps trade secrets here! I was surprised how that old man explained the exact mix of his beyond perfect filter coffee! Was he so sure I’d never replicate it or did he just not care! There’s more to a coffee than just buying and sipping thru. There’s relishing a coffee and personally appreciating the taste to the old man who made it for you. “Coffee pramadham!”.

And today’s pivotal joint in our itinerary was Nellaiyappar Temple, Tirunelveli. The temple, in one word, is a maze. I am so surprised by the sheer awesomeness in the architecture. Not just for the sculptures, or the Saptaswara pillars,(where you here the seven swaras of Carnatic music, by the clang of each stone pillar, that vibrates like they were strings of a veena). Its a maze that they have built up there. The numerous doors at every passage, that leads to another set of numerous doors to numerous deities and sculptures. You don’t get lost there coz the most inviting paths are the most trodden direct paths, circling the temple in the shortest route. But if you choose to enter every next door you see, you’re probably to end up in some dark enclosed space with vermillion spread forms of Gods, with unknown names. I should probably upload a pic or two of the temple, to elaborate the greatness of the expanse. Looking forward to a similar mind blowing episode tomorrow, at Tiruchendur Murugan sannidhi!

Stranger!

So I’m back being myself, bits and parts atleast. The closed chapter of strange acquaintances are back once again and that’s the sign I am claiming for my comeback. I saw this guy getting down at my stop, from the same bus, confirming the road to the railway station. I should have just kept quite all the time. But as I saw him taking the wrong road, I couldn’t stop my instinctive response. So now we walked together to the station. I reminded myself to keep my words short and crisp. The typical Malayali woman’s insecurity, you may call it and I wouldn’t fully disagree! He didn’t throw much random chattering either. Or, so I guess. At the ticket counter, when his queue moved faster, I knew the impending danger. The tickets, since the destination was same, came in a single slip. There was no escape for the next five hours and it was made official by that chit of paper. I somehow didn’t feel the necessity to resist it though. I was lonely enough to have anybody’s company at all. Come on! I could always plug in the headset or pick up a book or atleast hop on to the upper berth if it becomes so bad. Off to the platform anyway!

And now he calls me by name. Rather, shouts my name across the platform. Okay, names were exchanged and everyone has it to be addressed only. However, from a stranger’s mouth, my name seemed the most awkward thing ever to be heard. Paying off my share of the ticket in the first few minutes itself, I was trying to build the safer indifferent aura around me. Either it didn’t bother him or may be that went unnoticed. Until the train’s arrival, things were pretty normal, both of us gripped to our own books. Once within the train, it was a mess and chaos to find an inch to settle down. Finally, walked across the pantry car (first time!!) and many more coaches to finally find a comfortable seat. And btw, the Indian Railway pantry is NOT so bad, pretty hygienic actually. And then, as we settled down, the chatterbox opened. Pucca non-stop irritating blabber mouth. He began with his freinds, business, the numerous contacts he has, the people he meets everyday, the all rounder he is, blah blah. Pretty much gloating. But there was a charm in it, that you would just yield to all the boastings and quietly listen. Which is exactly what I did. I had no room to talk. He even bought a water bottle and a snack packet, to engage my mouth. I was pinned to his incessant talking, with occasional concerns if the conversation was boring, though all we had was his unusually interesting monologues.

Somewhere in the middle of the talk, his mom calls and he offers the phone to me to talk to her. And now that was something way beyond my weirdest thoughts. Talking to a stranger was a good enough thing about socialising. But befriending their family felt very awkward. Somehow after that call, the conversation took a turn and we almost began picking up fights and debated over theism and spirituality and science and countless other things. I felt friendly (strangely instantly), with a stranger. As always, I got more serious than requiredabout the argument and surprisingly, he didn’t back off either. There was a strange genuinity in each point he made, making me want the argument to never end. But finally as we neared station, an attempt of reconcilation was initiated and made successful. We parted greeting eachother, wondering when might we see again. Concluding that there’s no next time, we made.our own way out of the crowd. He had offered to drop. But didn’t bother to ask for my number or any contact info. It doesn’t particularly make him genuine or fake. But that was the beauty of it. With no chance of seeing ever again, we still made it to give the best to eachother. No pretensions, no expectations, just a few happy hours. Or, so I choose to believe about the brief experience I so much enjoyed.

Day 3 – Cat fights and giant hugs!

Oh my god is what I’d say now, at the end of the day. Today was one heck of a day! Not extremely entertaining or depressing. But eventful and exhausting. Making friends, making groups, staying around, splitting apart, regrouping oneself. It all seemed so easy and so quick. For a snail head like me, it was too silly and more tiring always. But today seemed different and things came more easy to me too.

Walking around Ramoji film city, we fell into infinitely nested groups and finally came down to be group-less. Often huddled up as a bunch of chattering chipmunks, we seldom reduced (or elevated? πŸ˜› ) ourselves to silent monks. There wasn’t much to feel wonderful about the place. But experiences are always place and time independent. The times we had there were quite memorable. We (I’d rather choose to be in first person hereafter) made friends with more intimacy now, and I tried had to stick around as way my habit. But then it came so natural to me now that being friends needn’t be always about sticking around. (It still appeals to me though!) I learnt that having fun was definitely more important than sticking to a group ever so boring they become. Dont assume now the day was all just fun, fun and fun! We had fights. And I had my own fights. Cat fights! Over the mobile charger. Over the berth. Over guys’ ego. Over girls’ carelessness. I was pretty much annoyed and infuriated by people’s attitude on these. But I guess, so should they be feeling about it. So, never mind we’re still macha-macha friends! (I assume I’ve fallen perfectly into that group of twelve or thirteen! Not very sure about what they think. Thank god not all of them read this.)

Learning more about long journeys with totally annoying and discomforting company. Learning how a bottle of water, or a free charging point or even a freaking awesome gadget can woo them into be your ‘friends’. Oh yeah, something worse than fair weather friends! πŸ˜€ With all the cat fights and giant hugs, I’m content!

Day 1 – Bliss!

The day one of our Industrial Visit from college. In other words, my first perfect day of ten days away from everyone and everything. Cant call it too perfect a day. But it definitely was a perfect start for a series of hopefully perfect days! πŸ˜› Started early morning at seven by train and I’m still in train as I type this. Has been really long after spending more than twenty four hours in train. And I totally love this feeling of a wobbly train, gently rolling about the perfect sized berth. Writing is the perfect thing to do now. But as I mentioned, it is wobbly. Typing is the next near perfect thing I can think of!

Doesn’t seem like I can give a point to point review of the day. But there are definitely things I wouldn’t want to miss sharing. Played cards as ever. But never played like today. And the trump was awesome. (Forgiveness expected from the relevant self! πŸ™‚ )After all the frequent and consistent training I got all these years, its only today that I ‘really’ played the game. One heck of a game! My first cheating in the game. My first losing the game, which multiplied by so many times that I adorned my ears with the cards! (Didn’t have the actual thing (vellakka) that you hang on the ears to symbolise the defeat! ) My first conversations with a lot of my classmates. Yeah! I should be ashamed of it, after two long years of coexistence. So should be they. Never mind. Coz made upto all of it today and will do more in the days to come. My first ‘political’ discussion, abusing an ideology on the face of an activist. It was as out of my scope as it was intriguing. My (not first) awesome experience at the door of the coach. My classmates almost thought I’m on a suicide mission. They wanted me to stay alive till we come back, so that it doesn’t screw up their trip. πŸ˜› I wasn’t planning to die anyway. My first awesome experience with filter coffee. Though I drooled over coffee, I kept my safe distance from the filter one. Getting down on the platform just to get that awesome coffee was worth it!

At the end of the day, the only face that prominently stays is of that old lady from who I bought a dozen of safety pins. Her smile was the most warm, so much reminding my ammammai’s (grandma’s). I didn’t want safety pins. Perhaps, she wanted someone to buy it. I’m glad today. Bliss!

Shopping spree!

And finally, I too was set for it. With my kaalan kuda (I really dont know what that’s called in English. Help welcome!), walking ahead like the head of the family, that was my n-th trip for buying a bag for my impending looong journey. Walked all around tvm for a petty bag and still couldn’t make it upto buying one! It was a pleasure everytime. To go wander, on and on, with no particular goal in my mind. I was just walking and seeing new things, meeting new people. It was all good and comfy. I never minded not ‘buying’, though that’s what I primarily went around for. Today, however, ended up different.

So I was walking as the head of the family, leading my mom and sister. Of course with my kaalan kuda. (That’s the part I loved the most!) We walked in and out of shops. A bag. That’s all what we wanted. Obviously though, we had an eye on all the textiles on display too. The first shop we got into was a textile shop. Thought we could make a quick peep on the displays and walk out soon. But so much for my annoyance, there was nothing on display. A lady was all set to take out the ‘exact’ kinda dress we wanted, with colour and pattern specifications, out of the shelves and put them on display for us. I had an instant attitude problem with that lady. So much so that I flipped the plate and told my mom how I never wanted dress. I just wanted to get out of the place and get away from that lady before our eyes meet again. And we walked out. We, rather I, dropped the idea of textiles. Another couple of metres, and we reached where it seemed like we could dive in for what we needed (a bag!) in any direction and still resurface with it! First in row, we saw nothing like what ‘I’ wanted. But it was still difficult to get my family out of the place. I dragged them into the immediate next door and still found nothing. But I saw my mom bidding the fellow at the shop, with enquiries about if sundays would be working for them. And that she would like to come with her husband (my dad, yeah.) and confirm on what to choose. I liked his attitude when he said how wonderful it’d be that we better check out the bags on sundays then rather than waste theirs and our time! That was so direct that…! πŸ˜€ And the next shop was the best! Oh my god! I’d really recommend that guy for some marketing ‘awesomeness’ award. He was so flawless. But his bags weren’t. I’d have surely bought from him otherwise. He gave me a five min lecture on how trolley wheels are bad for air bags and how the inclination and the ease for pulling it around would never sync. I almost thought I was in my most dreaded Physics class learning the ‘FLE’ again. I patted him on his shoulder (in my mind) and congratulated him on his performance, if he could really see the grin that I hid in my occasional smiles. We walked out very politely, thanking him and letting him know that I STILL wanted a trolley coz I didn’t understand his Physics anyway! For the final lap, we decided on textiles coz we (read I) dropped plans about the bag. Giving it a start, I walked into the next immediate shop and got out in a jiffy. I ushered my mom to walk along and advocated her on financial management and value for money! And then she said it! ‘Unnoda appavoda kooda kadakku poka ivvalavu paadillai. Onnum vangavum cheyyama ippadi lo lo ennu alayalam.’ (Its not this difficult to shop with your dad. Dont buy a thing and walk around like a maniac.)

I beamed. Instantly. And my face glowed. With a misplaced yet unmatched pride.

P.S. I consciously left a lot of my sister’s comments. That’d sound more like boasting beyond anybody’s threshold. πŸ˜› But one thing for sure is that, I’d not have been this happy had I got the thing I went shopping for. I’d have never beamed, with a bag in hand. Shopping is not all about buying.

Defeat!

Ever since I got down to this city, I’ve been travelling. On and on. On a two wheeler (many actually), by car, by bus, by walk. Long long distances. Hours turned minutes. Confusions turned solutions. Emptiness filled. Silence echoed. Walking around like a crazy woman was so relaxing. Well, it still is. But for some unknown reason, I feel like closing myself up in this room and just stay exactly like this. Like I totally hate going out.

But that aint true. Not true at all. Coz I love going out. Just anywhere out of enclosed spaces. I just feel so defeated today. So lost that I’d rather keep myself to myself. Had this stupid encounter in a bus. Was on my way back home from somewhere and I got into this crowded bus. With too many ladies standing in the front, and relatively too few men. And then I see this guy sitting in the seat reserved for ladies. He’s not a handicap. He’s not old. Pretty much in late twenties. And I wanted him to offer the seat to somebody there, who’s old and was practically saying out she’s tired, if not to me. And when I ask him, he wants the conductor’s recommendation to look into my plea. And now when I requested the conductor, he offered me the pleasure of kicking him out all by myself. I stopped looking at him. I got the next immediate seat I got and tried to push away his victorious grimace. But I was so defeated. So lost deep down. Not to that smart ass. Not that irresponsible conductor. But to myself. I was lost if I should ask for the seat or not. Demanding my rights was never a tough thing. So it was not about asking him to get up. All that it might have taken is a bit of yelling. But it was actually about my want. Did I really want that seat? Everybody wanted to sit but nobody cared to support me. And for a moment, it all felt so futile and lost. And I stopped. Defeated. It’s just that one moment that you need to pass. The judgment. The decision making. Whether or whether not. A life long of such crucial points is nothing less than excruciating. I couldn’t stand just one such moment. So defeated indeed!

The NRI evil!

Without mention, it’s beyond just obvious that this has gotta do nothing at all with the movie, “Resdient evil”. I know the first sentence is totally irrelevant and out of place. But it was placed with the post inside my head! So, bear with me. πŸ™‚ So the non resident evil, the typical NRI thing is what’s bothering me so much. As any other usual middle class, our family too has a couple of NRI relatives. And with most of them, I am in a fairly decent contact. All thanks to facebook and gmail! They definitely keep relations away from rotting and dying, if not fresh and lively. And one of those NRI cousins of mine is definitely getting to read this. So just be known. Its not me pointing a finger at you people, but a very genuine grievance, that most of us, your resident relatives always wanted to share. Rather write it down here and act like nothing ever happened than say it in person, and spoil the fewest times we see eachother!

Did I build up so much that now it feels like some unforgivable offence against humanity? Well, judging it so ain’t so wrong. Coz I definitely am offended by it. All these foreign returned people, you know, are so much deserving our heartfelt sympathy and understanding. They carry with them with a heavy load of expectations of their own as they fly back to their homeland. And upon that already heavy load, a bigger weight of obligation to meet their relatives’, friends’, neighbours’, friends’ of friends and oddly random people’s demands! Coupled with errands to unknown people with huge gift packets. Its such a huge commitment. And almost impossible to keep everyone happy and stay happy yourself. We just want to you people to know that we totally get that helplessness in you and hence really don’t care about the hapless greeting that we get. We fully get the situation and offer you all our understanding. Most genuinely. The one thing that we just can’t stand is your feeling of obligation to us! You know what folks? Its absolutely okay you don’t gift us anything. We are really cool with the idea that you don’t shower us with the best-est goodies from abroad! Come on people! Who doesn’t know that now Mars and Bounty are now chocolates kids demand down here too, along with all the Cadburies we get them! An iPhone or the latest tech release isn’t not much far from us, as long as eBay and Flipkart offers service! May be we don’t get to ‘feel’ the product with our bare hands. But never mind. We don’t trust your technical knowledge anyway! πŸ˜›

Did I sound too offensive? I’m slightly worried on that, coz that’s not my intention at all. I lovethe chocolates you people bring from there. May be its available here, but I like them anyway coz they are delicious. I love those tiny petite perfume bottles and their awesome fragrance. I even love this awesome thing that someone got me from abroad, which let’s me blog on the move. Its never about the worth of the things that you bring us, nor the availability. Its just that, gifts are NOT the reason why we come to see you. You can leave us empty handed and we still won’t grit our teeth behind you!

May be you NRIs would have never thought of things this way. The global exposure may have changed your wordl view and understanding of lives. But everytime you come down here, we are all back at the constraint thoughts of ‘engathu panku vere, ungathu panku vere’. (our home’s share and your home’s share ARE separate). Its not just about what you think of us and what you feel giving things away. Do look at your home-mates and what they feel. And then tell me if I hold a point or not! πŸ™‚ You know what’s the worst thing that can happen to a person, in this context? Its getting caught up at a home where a NRI landing is expected! If you end up staying there, you’ll have to witness ‘unbelievable’ and unbearable levels of self digust! πŸ˜€ At the end of my post, I am sad about one thing. That not all my NRI cousins are getting to read this. I really wanted them to see things through our view point! Sincerely, we.

P.S. All through out, I has been replaced with ‘we’ coz its a collective grievance shared by too many of us. I still remember how somebody told me that the person was so happy about somebody else’s homecoming until the moment, a leftover gift was forcefully given, to make the person not feel bad. Ironic. πŸ™‚