How do you use your social media? Do you regret using it too much? Do you feel like you aren’t using it enough? I am not sure if these are thoughts everyone would relate to. People don’t deeply think about their social media usage patterns. Duh, that’s such a pointless exercise! But then, there could be a select few like me who just can’t stop overthinking. Lately, I’ve been analysing how I use this medium. Well, I’m not particularly bothered by the extent of usage because I’m on very select platforms only. What got me thinking was the abundance of content around me. I’m fairly active on Twitter, but there is no mention about any political affiliation, any social issue or any other ‘trending’ discussions in my profile. It is a quite space for myself, where I share my musings, my tiny random thoughts and follow things that are of importance to me. Not ‘tweeting’ about something doesn’t mean I’m in support of it, or I’m against it, or worst yet, that I’m ignorant about it. By ‘I’, I mean a tiny set of people who don’t comment about every single thing around us, but still live a full social life. There’s this one particular Twitter handle I’ve been following for some years. It was a contact through a Tech conference and I see regular updates from that person on tech alone. And once in a while about personal life, but never about the ‘alarming’ social issues. That has been my happiest part of the Twitter feed ever since. It feels good to have fresh thoughts to relish, breaking the monotony. I am not very vocal about my political opinions generally. It is not because I don’t have a stand, but because enough and more being discussed already. The deluge of opinions and comments about everything under the Sun (of course, above it too) – it is causing a rampage in the cyber space. Each one of us have our rights to express, I agree. But do we have to execute it as a duty shoved onto us? Too many are speaking, yet too less is heard. Listening is so underrated after all.
I am not a feminist, never was, never will be. Because, I don’t believe in discrimination on any basis – gender, age, race, economic status, language, knowledge, power – positively or negatively. Feminism to me is just discrimination on gender to ‘benefit’ out of it. If there’s any ‘-ism’ ever, it must be individualism and I hold that philosophy very closely. But lately, I feel suppressed – emotionally and intellectually. I am a working professional, socially active and emotionally open to new arenas of a social life. And I feel overwhelmed by what I experience each day – at work, on the road, in a discussion forum, a public place and the nuances of simple conversations! I wouldn’t call it out as misogynistic since it’s not always purely on gender, but it greatly does seem so. The biases have been based on age, power and even knowledge. It’s frustrating when you are cornered for being in a ‘discriminated class’. The co-worker who pulls the strings of ‘power’, the reckless driver who questions your ‘female’ driving, the male friend who ‘stares’, the relative who dismisses your ‘inexperienced’ knowledge – no I am not pulling a #metoo moment here. I am asking if this is a #youtoo moment. Have you dismissed a younger person’s wisdom because they aren’t ‘old enough’? Have you played the ‘victim card’ for your own recklessness on the road? Have you made someone uncomfortable by ‘ogling’ at them? Have you been rude to a subordinate because of your ‘entitlement’? Please say no. Please don’t be that person. You are scarring an individual by all those unfortunate moments of truth. Age, gender, power – they don’t make up a person. They are merely some states of a person. Don’t limit an individual’s experience with your inadequacy. Grow. And let grow.
So why does all these matter suddenly? Perhaps because of my fortunate half of life where I have been blessed with unbiased individuals. People who don’t judge you. People who see you for who you are without their baggy lenses. I have had humble bosses who respected their colleagues, dignified men who look up to women for their worth and a great deal of amazing people who make life worth exploring. It’s because of them that I sit down and contemplate on the rest of the world. Why not make a difference with a simple gesture, if it has the potential to make one more person relevant in this system. Why not!
For an average TVM-ite, second hand books point to just one place! And there again, if you are a student, you are sure to have atleast one ‘memorable’ bargaining episode with the street vendors at Palayam! Nothing equals the ‘fun’ of hanging out with friends at Palayam, walking in and out of every stall there, bargaining and befriending and at (some rare) times, yelling at the book ‘chettan’, and finally returning home (mostly) empty handed coz only that particular book that you were looking for went out of stock!
But, looks like its been time to redefine ‘fun’ book experience at Palayam! The one stop destination for the ‘bookies’ of Trivandrum…here it has come at Palayam. Placed inside Saphalyam Complex, ‘Theory’ doesn’t seem to compete with our street book ‘chettanmar’! Here,the concept is not just buy/sell second hand books. More than that, the ambience is what gets highlighted when you visit the place. The black and white setting and the ever smiling care-taker lady will just make you stay a bit longer than what you planned. Lingering around books, like you have nowhere else to go! (Okay, now that might suit only total crazy people like me!) ‘Theory’ lifts the perspective to another level of social commitment with free medical camps for financially backward people (free monthly check up for members too!) and liberal approach to book references! (If you don’t have enough money to buy the book, never mind, sit down at their luxurious chair and note down all that you need!) There’s more to say about ‘Theory’! It’s like putting down all the ‘theories’ about an ideal book store/library/recreation into practice! So much to experience than to describe!
If none of these takes you there for a visit, then mind you. Don’t go there for their free WiFi connection or for the free coffee refill!
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Now that most conversations and relationships are maintained online, and there’s more ‘CAPSLOCK’ than actual yelling, more ttyl, more brb, more dnd, more cya, more whatever. Frankly, I don’t care. I don’t care if the soul in people’s communication is absent, I don’t care if emotions are dead, or if intimacy is lost or if distance builds between people! People are talking (rather blabbering) whatsoever! That’s more than glad! If you want warmth in your relationships, closeness with people of your life, and enliven the spirits, probably one should just go for it. Put your heart to it and do it. Online or offline. It’s not the means, it’s always the place where you make upto! Just wanted to say, to all those intellectual freaks, who lecture about how technology seeped into human relationships and fucked it up. How whiny is that! You don’t even know to guard your own mind and soul, and blame it all on the mind-less soul-less technology! It’s not gonna blame you back afterall!
But certainly, there’s one thing I greatly despise or find upsetting about the turn of events as such. These emoticons! Truly annoying! I’d rather say, misunderstood, misused and that’s such a mishap! Nobody ever fully gets what the other person tries to convey with a combination of colon, semi-colon, paranthesis and p’s and d’s and o’s! It’s been of such extensive use that it no longer means anytging. Well, use them anyway. I do too. They are the ice-breakers and once in a while, funny too. But I am sad how my smiles don’t pass by this. I put a : followed by a ) coz I actually really genuinely love to smile. And when I say keep smiling, I totally mean that. In the havoc of millions of colourful and disgusting smileys, I wish 🙂 could win the throne back and be the master of all smileys! Bring the pioneer back, I say! Back then, with the smiling face, was the only time we could actually communicate ’emoticons’ without confusion! A sad face, once in a while, was fine too!
Now thinking of it, ‘Keep smiling!’ was the motto of my school. The school that laid that basic blocks of my morale and principles. Wonder why it took me so long to assimilate the thought! Everytime, I saw that writing on the black board, I was wondering what’s up with the grown ups! Why would they even teach us to be escapists, run away from life, and ignore problems and just keep smiling? But now, at 21 years of age, I feel like Buddha! Like, the meaning just revealed to me. Like, all that I ever wanted was just buried so deep in my mind, next to a school girl’s confused thoughts! The answer reveals itself and it’s all in the smile. Putting it short, the whole deal here is that, when I tell you (you being my online conversation partner) ‘Keep smiling’, I most genuinely mean it. More than words.
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Athenna appidi? (Why’s that so?) That’s the most repeated response I have ever made in my life. To everything. To everybody. I have always demanded reasons and explanations. For I believed, and still believe that everything out there, happens for a reason and each by itself is a cause for something else. So what’s it there? Spirituality or rationalism? Whatever you see, I, for once, believe its a mix of both. A splendid proportion of two paths, leading to the ultimate. I am often avoided for my ‘crude’ attitude, often ’embraced’ for my ‘cool’ logic, and often pulled into a never ending debate on the duality of my thoughts!
A child asks you ‘why?’ and you answer. As long as its not about ‘taboo’ topics like …the list depends on your attitide. For every other question a child throws at you, it’s always a pleasure, playing around, mimicking accents, building stiries, and all the more, clarifying doubts and explaining the ‘why?s’.
Mammam saapidu. (Eat your food.)
Athenna? ( Why’s that?)
Illatta sakthi kedakkathu. ( You won’t be strong otherwise.)
Perisaava maattay. (You won’t grow up.)
What do you answer beyond this? What I can possibly think of is, hug the kid and laugh your mind out. Coz there ain’t a further explanation you can offer. Nothing would ever satisfy the child’s mind, for its so filled with curiosity, or as we call it, innocence. But as the child grows up, we’d want it to shed the cover of innocence, but not the edge of curiosity. It’s obvious of us to expect things to change. But at the same point, isn’t it slightly ridiculous too? Why is a kid’s questions welcome here but not a grown ups? The response I got in my usual pre-blog discussion, was that there’s no innocence in a grown up’s curiosity and that, its rather inquisitiveness!
I can’t draw my lines together here, and conclude. I guess I am more of a kid when it comes to curiosity and ‘athenna?’ attitude. But I also assume that I am enough grown up, to distinguish between being ‘inquisitive’ and being ‘curious’. So what’s the whole deal here? Should you rather shove up your questions and reasoning somewhere deep within, in the process of building up a social rapport? Or rather not.
The past week at home, my dad was continuously pinning me down with the same ‘athenna?’ questions. And for a long time, I was wondering what went wrong. And slowly, I forgot about it. But later, I caught him explaining it to my sister.It seems he was just throwing it back at me; the way I used to get on his nerves by my rationalism! That gave me a good laugh indeed. Coz, surprisingly his attitude pleased me all the more, than the annoyance he assumed!
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The most recent and dominant obsession that stayed in my life has been…what? I never had an answer to that question ever, as infinte things popped up in my mind, right from sleep, to books, to food. It never seemed too sensible to just pick one as ‘the’ obsession. Looks like I just resolved that confusion of mine. I have never been so obsessed about anything else, as I am about trains now. I am just so much in love with these train journeys that I am finding reasons to travel, which fundamentally doesn’t even exist! In the past week of 5 weekdays, I was travelling up and down for 4 days! Amidst which, I had too lab exams (which obviously is irrelevant!). My point is, for no real reason, I am lingering around the railway station. And today being the last day of the wonderful week, I even wished the train delays. And yay! My journey got extended by 30 precious minutes!
Meeting newer people on every trip, wondering at some people’s sheer piss-dom (the one that pisses off people in general!), running errands, leaning across the blowing wind, arguing for the right quantity of tea, prying at the near-by passenger, making sure he’s not a rapist, and the deluge of railway sirens and track cracklings! Each train journey is a unique experience, that could always make a post of its own in the blog, everyday! Not to forget the awesomeness of infinite picture-peferct photos! A couple of those photos may weave a story of their own, all by themselves! I miss the overnight train journeys, with the wobbly berth and the gentle lullaby of the train that puts me to a peaceful sleep!
Coming soon : Have a few photos and even a video, from my numerous train days. The ones with divine solitude and unbounded-ness! They will fill the voids I left in the post.
Nah, it’s nowhere close. My birthday is way over. But looking back from this precise moment, that was one of the only best thing that happened to me recently, making me want to find goodness in every other thing! It’s like this one good day, promising you to give more, making you want more. I had cake! Yay! (Doesn’t matter I shared it with the cousin, whose birthday falls the same day! That WAS the fun after all!) I had midnight birthday wishes! Again Yay! I had wake up calls. Again Yay! I even had a total surprise birthday ‘mug’ with my photo in it. Gifted my cousin-childhood_friend-buddy-my-lechu! And yay is just not enough there! And the surprise birthday card, which technically was the only one this year! And not to forget, I had two full big yummy ‘chocolat’y ‘silk’y heaven, all for myself! Besides all, I had a surprisingly relieving conversation with an old pal! She didn’t talk much. But whatever little we spoke, the spirit of it stays alive to the moment and gives me a all-new drive to life! And there I said ‘Same to you’ to devi akka when she wished me! We missed it all these years perhaps! As if it wasn’t enough, I have aniecenow, born with me, 21 years delayed!
Birthdays have been more good to me in the past. Much better than this years’, where I was away from family and loved ones. But this one seems more special. May be coz it’s the 21th! May be coz it’s the one surviving 2012! May be it could be so many other things. But most of all, I think it was special, coz it was the only good thing, in a long time now. The most beautiful flower is the one that blooms in the face of a catastrophe! Symbolising survival! I survived. Yay!
P. S. Oh wait a min! Did I forget to mention the new Olympus 620! All thanks Vidya! Amma and appa just flipped me out this time! 🙂
Yet another train journey. Yet another set of co-passengers. Yet another episode of effortless conversation. This time with a kid, much younger than my little sis! Meaning, I have no experience talking to such small kids. So as anyone could dare, I started off the conversation with a casual smile which she returned, and we held on it. She was an easy person to talk to, despite her age. Forgot her name already, rather, I quite didn’t understand the name when she told me. A less heard unique name. But her life, in the quite two hours of acquaintance, seemed usual to me. Typical parents, asking her to do that, not do this, take this, not take that, look here, not there, sit straight, not clumsy, oh my, the list goes on! The kid was being instructed about how to place the water bottle on the holder, as upto how to adjust her legs for the co-passenger (which was me!)!! I grew embarrassed looking at the child. At her untold apprehension. And inexpressive mannerisms. She was asked to wash, she did. Eat, she did. Wash again, she did. Take hands of the window sill, she did. Fold her legs to keep it neat, she did. Holy crap! Did they just stop by giving birth to the kid or did they go upto even teaching her to breath, giving lectures on pranayama!?!
I don’t share a similar childhood. I have had a much free and liberal days of growing up, when I got to mould myself into what I genuinely cherished and totally desired! My life is my decisions. And that’s the best thing that anyone can look at onself and say, at all odds and evens! And may be, this realisation is why I so much pitied the child. The parents seemed too unaware about how protection of their has outgrown the requisites and grown into unfathomable levels of obssession and over protection! All I could was to smile at her, making her feel done-it-all-seen-it-all aura, that I earnestly cooked up!
“Oh yeah you’re overdoing it. Yes ofcourse that much of it was not necessary. Show off! It was so uncalled for. You really needn’t be that sincere to it. Ah come on, don’t be so nice lest they use next time too.”
A bunch of euphemistic ways of putting it right on your face, that you are showing it off a bit too much and its high time you shut it! Sometimes, people don’t understand when should they be stopping to try and stop the fruitless efforts. And also, at times, people just don’t understand when to stop the pointless comments on others’ sincere efforts. All of us, take our own turns, at both sides of the desk. You go perform, just too much, that judgement itself turns indefinite. Or you always sit back, never performing, never realising the worth of performing, discouraging every source of usefulness!
However at this particular moment of my life, I’d rather choose to believe I belong to the second class now. Iget criticised, often penalised, and overly commented upon, for things that I do out of my willful sense of virtue and morality. “Ninte karyam aalochikkumbo chiri varunnu. Nee enthina ithra involved aavunne?”!! [Its funny thinking about you. Why are you even getting so involved?] That was a senior’s comment on my over – anxiety about certain stuff from college. More and more of it is what I keep getting, from teachers, classmates, friends, loved ones! Why am I being so overly commented upon, if all that I do is over-react and over-do things!
I think here’s my point. The subtlity of mind is what we often lack, when thinking on a broader perspective of things! But the expression of the mind and its inifinite complexity demands to walk over every other hurdle.
P.S. Anyone inspired may stop the accusation episodes of ‘Enthoru showedei!’ [Show off!’]