Monday, January 26, 2009

Dedicated to my cup of coffee

On one of those "adamant teenage evenings", when I was pestering aai to give in to one of my expensive demands, she put me up for a really funny challenge. She asked me to write down a hundred reasons why it would complete my otherwise whiny,cranky and incomplete life. (I should thank her for her patience with my growing up moods).
I went into my room. She must have thought I was too lazy and that such a big thinking task would make me give up my demand. I came back an hour later with a bit of paper with my "hundred reasons". She was amused. She folded the paper and said,"This is not dissatisfaction, this is creativity applied in the wrong direction". She smiled and true to her word (as always) let me have what I wanted.
So many times, we find ourselves defending our bad habits. Overweight people are always overworked. Smokers are always stressed. Alcoholics are always depressed. Extremists always oppressed!
Moving along, I have a list of reasons why I defend my cup of flat white every morning. I have this internal dialogue every day as I am about to get off the bus or the train.

Me: Come on! Do it today. Just have the courage to walk past that coffee shop without faltering or halting to smell the beans.
Devil Me: You woke up at 5:30 today. It is going to be a long day, with the gym and so much reading!
Me: But you should not depend on coffee! You should be strong enough to face your day without it. You are young and you get enough exercise. You should be up and about without this stupid habit!
Devil Me: You make sense. Let me meditate about all that you said over a cup of coffee.
Me: You are a weak person. Just accept it. You need caffeine reinforcements to stay happy and enthusiastic. If they pull out this coffee-brown mask off your face you would just be a complaining pain in the neck.
Devil Me : Whoa! You are the good mind aren't you? You should inspire me by saying good things. Don't use this sinister blackmailing on me!
Me: Okay. Think about all the money you'd save! 3.50 per cup multiplied by 5 - a week! Then multiply that by 4!! You could save so much!!
Devil Me: I really need a coffee to get all those multiplications done. We will do it over a cup of coffee today and if I am convinced I will quit from tomorrow onwards.
Me: I assure you, once you walk past that coffee shop without buying one you will be free. It is your coffee-moksha. This is how we get trapped in worldly things that drag us down from the true path of liberation! There is sheer happiness within you. Just be strong and wake up to it! It is high time. All the coffee shop owners around the Uni know you by your first name!!!
Devil Me: It is NOT the coffee. It is my eyes.
Me: Okay now is the moment. You are just hundred meters away from the kiosk. Take a deep breath. Think about how much you would gain by not giving into this temptation. "Yes we can"!! We can do it. Just have faith.
Devil Me: Had you not been nagging me so much all this while, I would have been able to give it a pass. Now I am stressed. All these romantic ideas of a coffee-free future that seem to clash with my hectic reality have usurped my energy. I need a kick now. So I am switching you off until I finish this piping hot cup of mocha.
Me: Wait!! You can't do that!! This is cowardice...*mmfffffmmm*..let me go! *mmfff* *sigh*

I guess I should listen to the sane one more often. This could be one of those little holes in my character that could turn into something that cannot ever be patched! :)
Gee! I am stressed. Time for a coffee!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

To Facebook or not to Facebook?

A few days back, one of my friends here who hasn't been using any kind of social networking website asked me if he should join Facebook. I was surprised to realize that I had no encouraging words for him. A few years back I used to be logged on to Orkut for almost all the time that I spent awake. Although all my friends lived within a radius of a healthy twenty minute walk around my place, we still talked to each other on Orkut more than in person. Now that I am five thousand miles away, strangely enough I have developed a strong aversion to all these groups. 
If any of the seasoned Facebookies happens to see my profile they will immediately conclude that I have no life. :)
When you are a serious Facebookie, you update everyone else about everything going on in your life. People who are "single" on Facebook update everyone about their new partners as soon as they get them and you can also see a tag that leads you to their new girlfriend/boyfriend when you click on it! Then there is a deluge of new pictures on their profile and the spectators of this blossoming relationship applaud by posting encouraging comments. Needless to say that all of this gives the fellow Facebookies a lot to talk about. 
I used to get emails from Facebook asking me whether I knew any gossip about my Facebook buddies that I would like to share! I was happy and sad at the same time for such an open and innocent legalization of gossip in the virtual world. 
Sometimes though these status updates really crack me up. Just the way you get updates about people getting together, you also get an update when they end their relationships! It is a funny picture imagining someone returning home from their break-up fight (or break-up discussion for "mature" users) and logging in to Facebook to declare it! 

The same goes with pictures. You have to have a lot of pictures on your profile to make people believe that you "have a life". So everywhere they go, serious Facebookies are looking for material for their online albums. The brand new world of digital cameras just makes it a lot easier. I have seen so many retakes for the "perfect Facebook picture" that I am sure their cheeks hurt from smiling the perfect fake smile. 
My friends nag me all the time about pictures. I am the kind of person who absolutely hates being a tourist with a camera hanging around her neck! I had a long stop over in Singapore on my way back from India. I was thinking of getting a room for myself and sleeping it off on the airport. However, severe parental and peer pressure made me go for this bus ride around the city. When I was in two minds about it I was reminded of how fortunate I am that I get to see so many places at such a young age. It was also laced with a little anger at God for giving such a destiny to someone who is so wrong for it! So just to pacify them I took this three hour trip around Singapore. 
The moment I got on the bus, I dozed off. I woke up an hour later when our guide had finished explaining almost all the important things on the bus. We went for a walk around a river that looked exactly like the one in Brisbane and everything in the city was as colonial as London,  south Mumbai or Melbourne. So when I was talking to one of my friends later, he was really upset when I said," Oh! Come on. It is all the same. I really enjoyed my nap in the bus though". I don't know why but the holidays and places that I have really enjoyed have always been unplanned and sometimes, in the haste and hurry of making a picture, we forget to make the mental images that last all life long!

Another thing that really annoys me about Facebook is the "photo-tagging". For non-Facebookers (or losers)  it is a way of posting the picture on every profile in its content. So if you happen to go for a party where you are photographed ,without your knowledge, enjoying a solitary moment of nose-picking, the moment your host has finished doing dishes it will be up on Facebook and everybody can see it!
Or when you lie to someone that you cannot go to their party because you are planning to finish your paper (only someone who is not doing a PhD can believe that) and are seen turning into a vodka-rocket the next day at someone else's party ..right on Facebook! 
Some girls also have the "Miss Photogenic" disorder. They would take a lot of pictures with you and only tag you in the ones that you look your ugliest (and they look their prettiest). I have heard that these days girls prefer making best friends with other girls who are uglier than them so that they can have a "relative beauty contest" on Facebook. 
These are just the highlights that really annoy me. Amongst other things are the "gift" applications. Where you send each other trees that grow with time..virtually. Also sometimes you get roped into these automatic "evaluate your friends" applications that make you compare everyone on your list with each other! 
It is a vicious circle. Now that I am on Facebook, I use it to minimum. Only to stay in touch with my best friends who are now scattered all over the world. 
But if someone comes to me asking if he/she should join Facebook, I would ask them to turn around and kick them out of the door and say, "Go play outside!!"

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Every Monday comes with a silent sadness. Pushing a spoonful of soggy cereal into your mouth at 6:30 AM. Wishing that your existence were a dream hitting against the shore of your Saturday morning eyes. You find yourself fighting with the same sorrows that you battled with last Monday morning and yet they seem so fresh! Like somebody's beautiful, everlasting wife. You know it is going to get better. That something called "time" makes everything better. That even if you waffle and float through the Tuesday and Thursday and turn yourself into a door-knob (or a door-mat for a dash of extra pity) Friday will arrive and lead you to your well-deserved (who cares if they really are!) beers. Most women tie their hair into a tight bun on Monday mornings and let them down on Friday nights. Most men are seen wearing silver cuff-links on Monday mornings and rolling up their sleeves on Friday nights. It is all a perfect circle. We all wait at the gates of the Monday-Moksha on Sunday nights and almost all of us are born again on Monday mornings. Little babies walking in stockings and stilettos. Wearing mascara on the train.

Yet there are those few annoying ones. Who never seem to look like they hate their Mondays! You would find them tapping their leather-clad feet to the tune in their ears. Or drinking lemon juice on a Yoga mat on a bright Monday morning. They would never feel depressed on Sunday nights or even excessively ecstatic on Friday afternoons. You like them first and try to get inspired but then it is too hard. Then you wonder how they do it. Analyze and conclude that it is impossible to be so happy on a Monday morning. Then you label them abnormal and think that it is just right to be absolutely miserable on a Monday morning. Mostly because most of your friends on the train agree with you. It is just impossible to avoid the weekly circle that brings you to a Monday reincarnation.

Maybe those really happy ones would get tired one day and join the club. And you would get to say,"See! We were tellin ya! It aint so easy buddy"!

But it would never happen. =) Because once you attain your Monday-Moksha, you are free! Free from weekly rebirths. Just because you break the perfect circle.