Saturday, February 14

5 things I learnt from the Minions

For all those who don't know who Minions are, stop reading this post and start watching 'Despicable me'! In the movie, minions are shown as the loyal followers of Gru, a super-villain. They are tiny, yellow creatures who speak in the cutest way known to mankind.

Minions taught me to laugh at the smallest things.  They laugh at each other. They laugh at themselves. They laugh while carrying on mundane tasks like photocopying papers (Actually that's because they're copying butts). I can safely say that they laugh a lot more on themselves than Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor ever did at the AIB Roast. And that is saying something!

Minions taught me the importance of team work. There is hardly an activity they do without each other's support- even if it's farting their way to glory.

Minions taught me the joys of giving. Gru falls short of funds for his mission to steal the moon. It is wonderful to see minions come forth to contribute everything they own for the sake of the mission. At another time, they go out of their way to buy a 'Papoy' (Minion for 'Toy') to keep little Agnes from getting upset.

Minions taught me to be solution oriented. Once, in a fit of rage, Gru sets the phone on fire. It is amazing to see the minions jump to solve the crisis with their fire fighting equipment. It's another thing that they ultimately worsen the fire but it's the effort that counts.

Minions taught me to love with all my heart. You can see it in their love for "bananas" or "gelato". For them, love is NOT about letting go.

Monday, December 1

Best Friend Wedding Blues

I always imagined I would be ecstatic when my best friend decided to get married. Instead, I went through the following stages:

1)      Denial: “No way, are you out of your mind?”
I kept telling myself how she was so much better than the guy she married. In reality, I did not want to accept the fact that she was ready to start a new chapter of her life so soon!

2)      Anger: “Why can’t he move here instead?”
When she told me she was moving to another city, denial turned into anger. I made a mental list of the ways in which Chennai sucked as compared to Mumbai. I reminded her how difficult life would be without friends and family, in a new home with new people.

3)      Bargaining: “Don’t you think you are rushing into this?”
The Sindhi that I am, I started bargaining with her to postpone her wedding or maybe even find another guy! Sick, right?

4)      Depression: “Shit, Shit, Shit, bye L
Emotions ran high when I said goodbye to her one last time before she left for another city. I do not suppose we will be meeting often as I am off to study abroad next year.

5)      Acceptance: “Oh my God! Yeah, she does look gorgeous. And happy too.”
Seeing her as a beautiful, happy bride took me closer to acceptance. Looking back at the wedding photos, I realize it is her happiness which mattered the most! I only hope the turd who said “Distance only makes the heart grow fonder” knew what he was talking about.

Maybe I was a bad friend. Or maybe just human. All I want now is for her to not have kids by the time I finish my studies or we’ll have to start this Kubler-Ross cycle again!

Actually, I think I’ll get straight to the acceptance stage. Her kids are going to be cherubic and they ARE going to be spoiled rotten by their Aunt :D (Sayali, I hope reading this is not freaking you out!)

The fun wedding did ease off most of the pain. I got to learn more about the Tamilian culture. For me the highlights were, in no particular order:

  • Eating awesome food off a banana leaf
  • Practicing and performing for the Sangeet (a traditional song and dance ceremony). I wish I could share the bloopers here, but let’s just say we laughed our guts out. We made dance steps out of weird actions and people messed up like there was no tomorrow. We rocked the party with a pseudo flash mob on the song ‘Pistah’. To hell with perfection and grace!
  • The fact that my friend would be christened ‘Amrutvelli’ post marriage. Please pronounce it  from the epiglottis: Am-rud-ah-vell-eeeeee
  • The wedding rituals that were carried out to perfection. From the entertaining ‘Guy running off to Kashi’ ritual to the emotional ‘Girl sitting on Dad’s lap for Kanyadaan’, we enjoyed it all. We even earned a thousand bucks for lifting her up the highest when they exchanged garlands.
  • Ganpati dance in front of the groom’s chariot. I do not suppose South Indians have the concept of a Baraat, but we danced and danced till every person who was shy of dancing came forward to join the fun.
  • Back in the hotel room, seeing our guy friends shake their booty to supposedly female item songs. I never thought playing UNO could be so much fun. 
  • Draping a sari horribly and hoping I looked decent
  • The weather. I had to admit. It was better than Mumbai.
  • I could go on and on about the after party but I am not going to for obvious reasons.
  • The gift I gave my friend. I knew it meant a lot to her. I gave her a bracelet with the Madagascar characters. Now you may think what the deal was about a comic bracelet? When we were on a trip to Singapore, both of us had our eyes on a silly bracelet. It was too pricey to be purchased individually, so we split the cost and decided to rotate it between ourselves from time to time. I never gave it to her to wear on purpose. I had saved it for her big day. The look on her face on opening the gift box was priceless!
I simply hope she has many more such chances to be happy. And I hope I am better prepared to handle ‘change’ the next time on!

Saini and Jayanthy: This is not a go-ahead for you to get married.

Tuesday, May 6

A wonderful experience I call Singapore

In the past week I spent travelling in Singapore, I have had the chance to live my dreams, learn from my mistakes, discover a new place, meet new people and be motivated towards a better future at the same time. Forgive me for I have tried to summarize every memorable experience I had and still the post is quite long.

Day 1 

Changi Airport is incomparable to any Indian airport. I don't say this to put the new T2 airport at Mumbai down, but just because you don't expect a skytrain INSIDE every airport, do you? The best part was the convenience which the airport offered to every person travelling by it, be it the availability of maps, the transportation facilities, the cleanliness, the food choices and the superior toilets (yes, this is important for me too!).

Later that day, my friends and I decided to go to Jurong Bird Park. We did mess up the travel by forgetting to carry the passes to the park which meant that we had to travel all the way back to our house (a friend's house where we were put up). It took us effectively 2.5 hours to reach there and we all recall saying this in our head "The park better be worth it!".

I never thought a bird park would engage me for 5 hours. We lost ourselves while admiring the large hornbills, the scary ass owls, the cute cockatoos, the "sadhu"/ one-legged flamingos and all the other colourful-amazing-birds-I-don't-really-remember-now. There was even a bird show in the evening which brought out the little kids in all of us as we screamed and wowed all the antics of the birds. See a glimpse of it here:

Day 2:

My experience at Universal Studios is far too difficult to put in words. It's one of the reasons I wanted to visit Singapore. The six zones of awesomeness at USS were:  Madagascar, Far-Far away, the Lost World, Ancient egypt , Sci-fi city, New York City and Hollywood. Kudos to the creators of this amusement park because at no point else in my life have I felt like a dinosaurs was going to gobble me up or a transformer Autobot was indeed going to save me.

Here's a video of the Boogie Dance by much loved creatures from the movie 'Madagascar'- I'm proud to say this, but King Julien actually caressed my hair (true to his character :P :D)

The simulations at "Lights, Camera and Action" were so real that I felt a part of me just died in a Category 5 hurricane. The following is a video is of the Transformers ride.

Mind you, we felt the heat when a missile was shot or even the water sprays. We screamed every few seconds and clapped and cheered when the All Spark was restored.

Not to mention the brilliant merchandising at USS. They make you love the attraction so much that you are compelled to buy merchandise you never ever thought you wanted. A minion t-shirt? A transformer bottle? A dinosaur pencil? A Shrek hand glove? Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh.....

Day 3

Our trip to the SEA Aquarium was every bit exciting as the first two days were. Meeting Mr. Sting Ray and Miss Yellow Tang fist up close and personal was delightful. And you know what, jelly fish are amaaaaaazing creatures. I probably learnt more about sea life here than I ever did from my science text books. So for all you people with kids out there, do take a round!

Later that evening, we saw a laser and lights and sound and fire show called "Songs of the Sea". Some interesting technology I don't know about was used to project colorful images of people and creatures in the middle of the sky on a fountain of water! The story line itself was not so good, but still, the setting was exciting. It had to be, as we ran nearly 3-4 kms to make it to the show in time! We also learnt a thing or two about travelling in a new city:

1) Never make an assumption that you know "where" a place is.
2) Don't be shy to ask around.

Day 4: 

We were tired from having walked so much each day but by now we were experts at making our way through the city. You name a mode of transport and we had used it. We made a short trip to the supermarket and temple on this day. We also discovered how many open places Singapore has for all the heath freaks. Even if you are not a health freak, the city could make you want to jog (with pretty gardens), swim (with huge pools) and cycle (with clear tracks).

The Singapore Zoo was amazing because I realized how much the people at Singapore value life- both animal and human! You could live your life in dignity by being a zoo keeper and to tell you the truth, if I were an animal, I'd love to reside at Singapore zoo. I could have sensible visitors who don't throw stuff at me, I could roam about in a huge enclosures without being caged, I could be hale and hearty and taken care of by on-call vets all the time! Singapore is not rich in natural resources yet it bestowed with citizens who have a lot of civic sense and respect for everything around them.

I must recommend the Night Safari to every person who wants to visit Singapore. Seeing all those majestic animals in the open in the dark of the night and hearing interesting trivia about each of them made me as excited as a five year old could be when he goes to a toy store. I'm sure all the other adults on that tram ride would agree with me. The sounds of the wild animals sometimes send a chill down your spine and you truly understand how it would be to be stranded in a jungle. Very exciting, indeed.

I also saw a show called "Creatures of the Night".  It imbibed in me a love for nocturnal animals and also a love for all the trainers at the Night Safari. They are cool and brave people who know how to get their job done. Believe me, making an otter put waste in the designated bins to reflect an awareness message for recycling is NOT SO SIMPLE.

Do see a clip of the show here: (This is not exactly what we saw, but you get the drift)

Day 5

Reserved for shopping primarily. You don't need better company than a bunch of 3 other girls to accomplish "Mission Shopping". I was happy to pick gifts and souvenirs for the ones I love the most and I do hope they like them.

I had a chance to visit Gardens by the Bay on the last day. It is thrilling to see a variety of flowers and vegetation maintained perfectly in a dome in a hot tropical environment! You may have to see these pics to know what I am talking about.

Later that night, I went out for dinner with the friends I had made at Singapore. They were kind to show us around the place after probably a tiresome day at work. We had an interesting conversation about Singapore and India over a bunch of awesome vegetarian dishes. (It was a high for me as good vegetarian food was slightly difficult to find :) )

It's easy to say that I would love to visit the place again for its cleanliness and its hospitable people. There are stark differences between a developed country and a developing one, but then I guess, each place has its pros and cons.

Dedicated to my travel buddies: Saini, Sayali and Jayanthy. Looking forward to many more such trips with you guys no matter which part of the world we may be ;) 

Sunday, November 18

Moral "Policing"

I'll narrate an incident I was a part of while travelling back home last week.

The local trains were 1.5 hours late because of a technical snag. And you can't imagine the rush that gathered at CST station at the first sight of a train. There were a few unruly men who got into the ladies compartment. They found it extremely funny that most ladies were even protesting that they get out. Some women hurled their choicest of abuses. Me too actually. But to no avail. We then noticed a ladies police officer sitting by the window, watching the show calmly. When we pushed her to straighten these men out, she simply said: "I'm off duty..Bother someone else."

So I had a question, whether a public servant can ever be off duty? Or make it an excuse for not standing up for the right cause? It made me angry to think, that had something worse happened, Miss Useless-lazy-two-shoes would still be a dumb spectator.

If a doctor were to come across a gravely injured person, while he is on vacation, would he not be responsible to try and save his life? Or would he stand short of his duty because he is not to be bothered?

I know some professions are tougher than others in this matter. Some don't allow you to be off-duty ever! Every person does have the right to take a break from his routine work and react as any normal human being would, in a situation of urgency. But does that have to be at the cost of someone else's life? Or a woman's self respect?

Do read this:

Read Anjishnu Kumar's answer on Bishnu Shreshtha. 

That settles it. I don't need answers. I don't need excuses. 

Thursday, August 23

Locus of Control

Did you know five years ago what exactly you were going to do today? Well, I didn't. I've had this debate many times in my head. Whether I am a victim of my fate or the master of my destiny? Whether I am responsible for who I am today or could've been something else, had others let me have my way?

There are people who believe that the external environment has nothing to do with the way life turns out to be. Would you say that to a 2 year old girl who just lost her father? Would you say that to a family who just won a lottery? Would you say that to a person who failed an exam despite working really hard?

It is human tendency to credit oneself with success and blame others for failure. Is there really any truth in 'There is no such thing as luck.' I'm wondering if our elders voiced it so that we never got complacent or bogged down. 

Are you the kinds who stresses because you feel in-charge of your life all the time? If not, then you probably are cursing your boss for ruining your chances of a promotion or blaming your ugly English teacher for giving you a 'C'. How could that happen, you really ARE top notch in your vocabulary ! :O

Isn't letting go of all control really the best thing to do at times? Life taking you its way can't always be bad, right! Someone or something may probably change the course of your life even before you know it.

My entire world seems to be spinning out of control. I may be the only one to blame. Or is it just turning around its own axis of control, like it's always meant to be?

P.S: You might want to read up about Locus of Control on Wikipedia. Makes for delicious food for the mind.