Sunday, September 5, 2010

Lessons (Un?)learnt...

Long long time ago, when I was a little girl...

No I am not narrating a story to my grand kids. I am just trying to recall my school days to come up with a post for today. And just in case you don't remember, Teacher's Day .

Never having really known the significance of Teacher's Day (Don't blame me! Back in those days we didn't have Google to quench our thirst for knowledge!); the day was spent dressing up i.e. if you're lucky enough to 'play' a teacher. Hoping that you get assigned to a junior class and not your own and definitely not your seniors. Your classmates and seniors end up 'taking your class' rather than vice-versa, so they are best avoided! Deciding which teacher you should give the rose or card to. I hear roses/cards are passé now, and have been replaced by more elaborate gifts.

Sadly, I don't have a heartwarming and feel-good story to tell. If I think hard enough, the stories come back to me. Stories of school kids being mean, undisciplined, downright nasty and tormenting the teachers. Stories of certain teachers who had no right to be around young kids and should have been locked up. Stories of young turks vying for the attention of a certain madam; of starry-eyed girls giggling in the presence of their favorite sir. Stories of teachers who loved the cane more than the chalk. Stories of teachers who made learning feel like cramming. Stories of teachers who made you laugh and the lessons fun. But you know what I am talking about. Since you're able to read this post, I am assuming you went to school once :-).

It must be a tough job to face a classful of impressionable minds; some of them sullen and determined to be difficult, some eager and willing to learn. To be responsible for grooming future engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists, bankers, artists etc etc in the making. Whose words and actions could either make you confident or instill self-doubt which would take years to shrug off. I remember a few kind words and some scolding as well. I still carry around a one rupee note from one of my school teachers which says "To Sheba for a good answer". After all the time that has passed, I might not remember the question or the answer that I gave. I might not take out the note everyday to look at it and bask in the glory of those words. But I still cannot get myself to throw away that note, which is surprising since I have discarded greeting cards from best friends, teddies and other cute little toys, notes declaring undying love, silly letters that made me laugh once, birthday gifts, farewell gifts etc etc...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Are You A Closet Racist?

My Own Private India

Is this article supposed to be funny? Am sure the immigrant Indians that Joel Stein is targeting are not laughing. On second thoughts, such articles will always seem funny to one demographic group. The group that's poking fun at the expense of others. Is it less funny if the one cracking the jokes belongs to our circle? I have seen some videos of Russel Peters on Youtube. His comments/jokes are far worse, yet they don't seem so.

Some days back I was standing at the PATH station watching a NYer making snide comments at two women from Philly like how they like to talk and not listen. The women were new to the city and ignoring the group of people who was offering them advice on how to move about. I was watching them and thinking that if one is determined to be prejudiced, there are so many options available: language, accent, state, religion, color, appearance. Take your pick and enjoy poking fun!!

Back home, we like to take it to another level by having violent outbursts against outsiders. By North poking fun at the South, South looking down on North, West gaping at East and nudging/laughing. And then we moan when we are cornered in a foreign country. We want to keep our prejudices and expect others to give theirs up. 

Coming back to the article, is it worth getting all riled up? I have never really read the Time magazine. But I thought it would have better articles than this lame-ass attempt at humor. The "apology" just makes it worse. There are better ways of expressing shock at the changes that immigration has brought about rather than resorting to digs about multi-armed Gods. The reactions to the article are equally bad. With some people attacking the Americans and their culture, raking up Stein's Jewish background, etc etc.

Truth is everyone's a closet racist, the problem is when they come out of the closet!! Am not sure which would be better, if more people came out the closet so that at least you know who you should watch out for. Or unknowingly staying friends with someone who would make snide/nasty comments the moment your back is turned. Maybe if our circle of friends and acquaintances was bigger, it would change things. If you had a friend who belonged to the group you disliked, would you not think twice before saying such things?...

Linking to Lekhni's post on the same article

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let Him Who Is Without Sin...

So all the hoopla around Sania/Shoaib marriage is abating. How can I tell? Far away from India, my daily dose of news comes from good old Rediff and TOI. Logon to any of these sites, and you'll find multiple links for this kind of news. Back home, all the controversy unfolding on the news channels must have been pretty entertaining to watch. Oh how I miss that! The excited high-pitched analysis, the silly re-enactments/ visualizations, the annoying voice-overs! Yellow journalism at its best!!

Except that why do we care so much about what goes on in the lives of celebrities? Marriage is such a private thing; why do we expect anyone to consult the whole nation before deciding on their choice of future mate. Questions about patriotism being raised, politicians spouting venom, fatwas being declared left-right and centre, effigies being burnt, I hate Sania messages floating around in cyberspace. That's what breaking news is made of these days! Ever wonder why Tiger Woods has to apologize to his fans for cheating on his wife?  Sure the guy cheated on his wife with who-knows-how-many women. Do we really expect celebrities to be perfect? Or are we happy when we can see the holes in the illusion of their perfect life?

We are living in the age of voyeurism. How else would you explain all the tabloids, reality shows, sting ops, gossip mags/shows? You say - "I don't watch/read any such thing". Oh, but the next time you click on someone's profile page on Facebook/Orkut, going through their profile page/wall/photos; be aware that the voyeur in you might be taking over. The line between being genuinely interested in someone's life and obsessive stalking is pretty blurry! You never know when you might cross over to the other side.

Is this a holier than thou post? Hell no, I need my dose of gossip. It doesn't matter if the gossip comes from celebrities or from people I know. But as long as my life doesn't revolve around just that, I see no harm in indulging myself once in a while. So, excuse me, I am heading over to rediff to do just that...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Age Is Just A Number...

The problem is deciding which number others want you to be and the number you want to choose!!!

Just when I was getting used to being 26, that time of the year had come again. I have never felt the urge to grow up faster or the desire to go back in time. I am too busy living in the present to think about the future or to reminisce about the past. Too excited about the silly stuff linked to birthdays to worry about anything serious. And except for that one moment of depression that I suffer from; the rest of day I am pretty much happy. All because I have this silly superstition that the kind of things I do on my birthday will determine how the next year is gonna be. So, I try my best to be on my best behaviour; trying not to lie, not to pick fights with anyone, not get angry, be impatient, etc etc. Whew, it's exhausting being so goodie-goodie!!! Well, I survived the day with very little damage and a lot of fun!

Grey hair and wrinkles, I can handle with ease. Coz whenever they do appear, I will be frantically shopping for hair-dyes and a good cosmetologist. The difficult part is to handle the responsibilities. And this when I haven't even started shouldering any major responsibilities. Am still going with the flow, wanting all the fun and no worries. Delaying major decisions because it's such a pain in the you-know-where!

Have noticed though that the list of things that I could get away with a tilt of the head and an ever-ready excuse "Oh, but I don't know how to do it!" seems to be dwindling. Not that I miss being dependent on others, but the tilt and the excuse have come in handy when I wanted to shirk work. And I am not planning to let go of them anytime soon. Ahh but the harsh truth is, the things that a teen can get away with don’t really suit a woman of 27. (Note to self : Maybe I should just save the tilt for special occasions from now on.)

Do I feel older, wiser, mature, calmer? Well, on some days yes, and on some days no. And age has got nothing to do with it. That's why they say that Age is just a number. And I choose to be 27 today, maybe tomorrow I will feel like being 30, or 20 the day after that...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

On A Break...

So here I am, on my weekly jaunt. As I sit back daydreaming in an absentminded haze, I realize that this is one of those few times that I am not trying to catch up with Time. The past few weeks have been just crazy and i have very little recollection of what I have been doing. Except that I know that I am happy. Tired, a little sleep-deprived, cranky (especially when I am hungry), homesick, missing my family, a little irritated/confused by a certain someone; but still happy.

Has there ever been a time, when everyone around you was egging you to do a particular thing? Something that even you know you had to do, but just weren't ready for it. That's what I had been doing until last year, making excuses to everyone. Then I read ten pages of The Secret and that set me thinking.

All my life I have always (well most of the time) got what I wanted. In hindsight I can safely say that the things that I lost out on were because in my heart I didn't want them. What was I talking about? Oh yes, The Secret. Well, I can't tell you what the secret is because i still haven't got around to finishing the book. But what the gist of the whole book is that if you want something truly enough, then the whole universe endeavours to get it for you (I think this sounds like SRK's dialogue from OSO, eeks I am quoting SRK!!! On second thoughts it also sounds like something from Alchemist). Isn't that the other way around, when you want something truly in your heart, you don't wait for the universe to give it you. You make sure you leave no leaf unturned in order to get that thing. If this Law of Attraction really does exist, the tricky part is to align your desires with that of everyone else.

To cut a long story short, here I am in Uncle Sam's land trying to sort out one part of my life and not worrying about what to do next. I know I will get to the worrying part soon, because there are still a lot of questions from friends, family and myself that I have to answer.

PS. Are you still reading this? Shoo dear reader, go away. This post was not meant for you. It's one of those Dear diary kind of posts which doesn't really mean anything. Just something that I wanted to get out of my head....

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