Monday, December 31, 2012

A day in the life of "T"......

The television. The newspapers. Twitter. Facebook. News about Nirbhaya and the protests. Reactions. The strange unexplainable governmental silences. Early Saturday morning brought the news.  

It was too late for the Saturday newspapers, and  then Sunday newspapers were full of it.

My morning household help "T", (who now shares some of "S"'s work , as  the latter is getting on in years"), comes very early, even on Sundays, and saw me immersed in the extra papers we get only on Sundays. She was finishing up, and   I got up to make an extra cup of tea for me and her.

"Did you hear about the girl ? "   Me

"Which girl ?"  "T" , looking puzzled.

"The one in Delhi, who was battling for her life in a Delhi Hospital, and who they sent to Singapore suddenly overnight ?  She died ..."    Me.

"Which girl ? What happened ?  No, I hadn't heard anything about any girl...."   "T" now confused, and asked me what it was all about.

I wondered to myself  how all this did not reach her.  

I told her. 

"T" lives in a slum area in the hills a bit away from us. Works 5 houses a day. Goes home in the afternoon, to cook and clean in her own house, and sometimes  rushes to fill water at the communal tap, if the water has played truant at dawn.  Her two teenage kids , one of them a stepson, come home late after work and evening college, and she stays awake with dinner till they return and study almost till midnight. Dawn heralds the arrival of low pressure water in the communal taps, where she rushes at 4 am. She has an old TV , and still doesn't get time to watch , because with the miles she walks daily to work and back, through questionable neighborhoods,  besides saving transportation costs, tires her a lot, and she rests occasionally when at home.

She had not heard a thing about this.  She gets no newspapers. She, a widow,  keeps to herself in her home, to avoid tangling with inquisitive types with questionable intentions, and is very wary about the goonda element in her locality and the effect they may have on her sons. She once told me she was glad her daughter was older, married and living away in a different better locality, as this was no place for a girl .   

She set down her broom, and listened to the whole thing as I told her that the murderers had been all caught and in prison.  She nodded in support when I told her about the protests in Delhi, and the attacks on protesters. Shocked and stunned.

And I wondered.  How we take so many things like "leisure" for granted. There was a massive churning amidst the populace in reaction to this heinous crime, and we had all the time to immerse ourselves, read, discuss, react and shout about it. 

And "T" lived in an area, where this probably frequently happened and no one was caught and blamed.  Where parents and single parents like her, burned their energies, time and money ensuring their children kept away from the bad influences. They never believed the  custodians of the law, and the leaders , who "T" said came only to "buy" their vote.  And who did nothing when such crimes happened. 

"T" thinks Delhi is something great. It's the capital. So it has to be something great. All the speeches and parades , and awards happen there in glittering splendour.  She sees fleeting glimpses when the sons put the TV on, or when she notices a photo in a newspaper that was used to wrap up something from a shop. She doesn't care to know the names of any of the big folks in Delhi. Or what they do.  

I told her they were now thinking of making the laws much stricter, and the work places and transport safer for women. 

And she said " I hope this trickles down to us in my lifetime.  Every alternate house in my locality, has drunkard husbands, and sons who boss around, demand things, and even slap their own when their demands are not met. For women with daughters it is even worse. Who do we complain to ?"

And I thought,  there must be millions of women like T , completely uninformed about what had happened to shake up a lackadaisical nation, the fight of a brave girl. 

They probably understand what happened much better because they see it everywhere around them. They prioritize their own family's needs and work around those, constructing their own diversions across dangerous paths.  

They don't argue about life imprisonments and  death penalties and pardons.  They have nothing to say about 1 man commissions.  But they understand anger. And its management.  It is a skill developed without formal education. Passed on to the children, carefully and strictly.

T tells me she wont be able to come the next day, as she needs to go to the kid's college to pay fees. She doesn't send the teenage kid  with large sums of money, as there are elements in the neighborhood who are known to threaten the kids and steal it.  (And these "large" sums are those we spend on something, saying how cheap the thing was on sale.....)

One more day over. One more step in life successfully  completed. 

I wonder how many more like T .  I wonder how their lives will change. Or will they ?


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Straightened Lives ....

Genetics is never enough.

I mean I can show you proof, that a wavy haired mother and a father with more visible scalp and less hair, can beget a son with straight silky hair, which does not stay in place easily.

I can also allow you to meet a member of the same family, whose hair, for years together,  grew radially outward in curls. Somewhere at the fag end of teenage , and the onset of twenties, there was this big urge to straighten things out.

Thoughts, Attitudes, and most of all, hair.

The first two, are an ongoing process.  The last one, has introduced me to several technologies.

"I beat Venus Williams technology" :    You buy a packet of say, a hundred tiny rubber bands. Nobody really counts them, but then you don't count your hair either. You establish yourself on a sofa with a comb, in front of the television, with Fear Factor on, and for the next three hours  make millions of little braids that end with a tight rubberband. Between the braids drooping under their own engineering, and the visual hair paths created due to tight pulling of hair, you are a vision. You sleep on this, and next morning, you spend a similar time unravelling all this. Yes, the hair looks a bit straightened, like a chastened child, but you still don't play tennis like Venus.

"Steam Iron Special"  :  Gives a new meaning to to Hair Spray. Except now it is plain water that you spray through the spray iron. Use a large toothed comb, and comb out the wet hair , and then actually iron it . Someone once tried this with the head down on the ironing board, and said it felt like a guillotine. Moving irons across hair holding it straight as you stand up, has been tried , with marginal success.

Ganna Juice technology :  Uses the Ganna Juice press in off hours.  The Ganna Juice platform is cleared of all patelas, glasses, strainers et all, and you lie back on it with your hair inserted into the press, instead of sugarcanes. You may use this manually and electrically, though the latter involves quick use of on and off buttons, and you need to extract yourself out during the Off status.  Of course, folks like ants, have noticed a certain sweet flavor and texture to the resulting hair, not to mention certain fibre streaks, so much the fashion now.

Rapunzel technology : Specially for super long hair. Our tropical country allows us to stand in balconies and dry our wet hair. This has been a custom since balconies became popular.  That this could be used by the construction folks to allow folks to climb , has occurred to certain greedy minds. The ensuing pull would be sufficient to straighten the hair. But as expected, the construction industry is dicey, and someone is insisting on helmets. So we wait for this civil technology to take root.

Multipurpose door railing technology: This is again for more than shoulder length hair, and folks who need to become tall. The age old technique of hanging from horizontal door railing, and pulling your self up. The hair is tied to the railing, and it gets nicely stretched on your way down from the railing. Muscles relax as the hair pulls, and vice versa.  Recommended 50 pull ups/pulldowns a day.

Shampoos and stuff :  These things are a bit less drastic than all the above. I hear Sunsilk types have something where you shampoo your hair, wash it and then slather on some stuff , leaving it in for a while. You then wash it again, and voila, when you comb and dry out , you get a new look with straight hair.

Of course, there are levels of straight. There is solid straight as in rod, where if you twirl around, someone gets injured; there is straight as in broom, where if you twirl around, someone gets clean. And then there is straight, with just a hint of the earlier curl.  You can adjust this depending on how long you leave thing on in your hair.

However. In keeping with the e-fication of everything today, there is a new technology that involves the Government. No, you do not need an Adhar card, or PAN card, and there is no last date to apply for this.  And most of all, this technology is self sustaining, and green.

Aam Barber technology :  Raw material permanently available, and while all other technologies will drive Aam Barbers out of business, all you need here is a brave barber......

Let me tell a story, I just heard,  to illustrate it.

"While cutting hair, the official Barber asked the Minister,
‘’What’s this Swiss Bank issue?”

The Minister shouted, “You! Are you cutting hair or conducting an inquiry?”
Barber:  "Sorry Sir, I just asked."

Next day, while cutting the hair, he asked President ,
“Sir, what’s this Black money issue?’’
The President shouted, ‘’Why did you ask me this question?’’
Barber: ‘’Sorry Sir, just asked you’’
Next day, CBI interrogated the Barber, ‘’Are you an agent of  Aba Namdev?’’

Barber: No Sir.

CBI: "Are you the agent of  Nana Azare?"

Barber: No Sir.

CBI: "Are you the agent of  Sarvind  Bajriwal?"

Barber: No Sir.

CBI: Then while cutting the hair, why do you ask  Ministers about Swiss Bank and Black money issues?

Barber: "Sir, I do not know why, when I ask about Swiss Bank or Black money,  Ministers’ hairs stand up straight; and that helps me to cut the hair easily; that’s why I keep asking."
This really is the cutting edge  :-)  hair straightening technology. 
 Creates an intelligent, curious, informed citizenry,  straight hair, and does not spoil the environment.  No discriminating between genders.  
 I have seen a TV ad where a girl has such straight hair, you can tie knots with it to a truck's fenders; and then pull the truck!
You know, straight hair isn't meant for that. We have tow trucks. It is better to be a smart, silky haired, honest, socially responsible straight haired  cop, and write a ticket for that truck.
For everyone else, there is the Sun, there is the Silk. And then there is the aforementioned technology.
You choose !

This post is a part of The Sunsilk Hair Experiment on IndiBlogger.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Corprate "Narowa Kunjarowa".....

One of the signs of being powerful, is when you become an expert in giving unclear ambiguous answers, all the while behaving as if these are definitive answers.

Unable to decide if you want a gulab jamoon or cake is OK; it doesn't hurt anyone except you  (Whatever you chose ,it is bad for you).

Unable to say yes or no when asked if you like the gift you have just received ?  Its a toss up between lying and hurting someone. And lying is so much easier.

It even happened in the scriptures. Kaurava Senapati Guru Dronacharya , with his special powers was invincible. Lord Krishna, advised folks to kill an  elephant called Ashwatthama and then go around spreading the news that Ashwatthama was dead.  Unfortunately, Guru Drona's son bore the same name. Assailed by doubts he decided to ask Yudhistir.  So when eldest Pandava Yudhishtir, known for always telling the truth,  was asked about it, he gave an ambiguous answer with the voice volume selectively modulated. All said amidst celebratory planned conch shell blowing, shouting  et al to drown the clarity.

He said "Narowa Kunjarowa".  (Which isn't Japanese. Please. )  It is Sanskrit for saying,  in this case that " it could be elephant or man ".  Who was dead.  Guru Drona,did not hear the elephant part, and  unable to handle this news which he presumed was about his son, laid down his arms and along with it a big strength of the Kauravas in the battle.  Yudhistira, whose chariot always rode so many feet above the ground in celebration of his erstwhile single minded truthfulness, suddenly noticed his chariot touch the earth, hopefully with a thud.   

Politicians do this all the time. The Narowa Kunjarowa stuff.  A step towards "power".

 Conversely, someone who is really good and habituated to this, will always make a good politician, and possibly has an excellent future in the realm of power.

We Indians even have a "head bobble"  which comes to us naturally, but to others feels as if we are being ambiguous about yes and no.   

The trouble is , all these things are feasible when you have a fancy title,  give oral instructions, blow conch shells to drown answers, and employ a lot of PR.

You don't have to write down things.  And send them to people.

But then sometimes, one even has long transcripts of emails, all in black white and even color, documenting one thing

Telling you one thing. "No permissions were taken"

Then you get another email from another bigger party, saying exactly the opposite regarding whoever sent the earlier emails. "Permissions were taken.."

Happened in the case of two parties concerned with the appearance of my copyrighted post  in one of the leading newspapers.  See my earlier post.

Turns out (as of Monday Dec 24, 2012, just received email), that the book where  my article was published  in print, was sent to TOI for review a long time ago, and permission was given then. (And everyone forgot. ) The paper then gets to print excerpts of the book, without special permission, and the publisher is grateful for the free publicity.  This happened so long ago, possibly 2011, that the junior staff at the publisher who handled it forgot all about it. 

Stupid Me. And I thought that when they review and publish, at the end of what they have to say, they always give details about the book, such as its full title, pagination, ISBN, year of publication, publisher, and sometimes, price.  

What appeared in the Times didn't look like a review to me. If they reviewed the book earlier in 2012, I  have not seen it. This Dec 9, 2012  thing was a plain and simple printing of my article, that too, with their own title on top. 

No clarity in all this. All ambiguous.  In posh terms it is called Human Error.    

I guess the Pandavas won the battle, but not the war.  Yudhishtir's exalted status for honesty came down several notches,  post-Mahabharata  the descendants of the Pandavas messed things up with their misrule, and the Yadavas fought each other. 

Every thing   came to a head with a massive flood, rising of the seas, and the drowning of that civilization under the ocean.

Yes, I know world will not end, the Mayans may have made a mistake. It's OK.

One set of rulers will go, another set will come.   

Somehow, I do not know who to believe. About the emails. Or whether i should even bother.

I feel like the elephant Ashwatthama.  Who quietly died. Unambiguously.

While all around folks were ambiguously misrepresenting things

So that they might simply  get on with their business of power ....

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jo mera hai woh tera NAHI hai.......or the Times of Indignation

I have now been blogging for 6 years. And counting. The sheer expanse of years, thanks to being on the wrong side of 60, and the rich experiences and amazing people I have met , make for wonderful subjects when I think of doing a post.

Think of millions  of folks like me, writing up stuff , and posting it.

We now have a publicly available mighty source of  articles anyone can read. Some read, enjoy, comment and discuss.

And some, use the blogosphere as an infinite sink from which to blatantly pick up articles to fill up their columns in print. 

In 2011, one such post of mine, "A touch of a thousand words" was selected by the publishers/editors  of the Chicken Soup series of books, for inclusion in the Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul-A Book of miracles. I signed a contract, and was delighted to get my 2 free copies and a payment .

Imagine my consternation when a friend from Delhi, saw my entire Chicken Soup article, published under a title called Soul Soup , in Dec 9, 2012, in the New Delhi edition of the Sunday "The Speaking Tree" weekly edition on page 4. It mentioned my name, the book series, and the publisher.  She told me about it, and was aghast when she learned that I had no clue about its appearance, since I was not contacted. She even sent me the hard copy of the paper.

Strangely enough, when I tried looking at the e-version of this , the other articles by folks like Ashwin Sanghi, also  on Page 4 that day , showed up , but my article did not show up.  The said article by Ashwin Sanghi appeared next to my article column in the actual paper, and should have shown up in the e version. 

Something in my contract with the publishers mentioned that people needed to take permission of the publisher before reproducing the article.  I checked with the editor and publisher, and was told that no permissions were asked . I have emails saying that.

I hold the copyright to that printed article.  The blog post of mine that I submitted that later got selected, appears on my blog with a creative Commons license declarations on screen.

I would like to ask why big media houses like Times of India, with all their resources, libraries, eminent contributors, staff, hardware software and humanware, feel it necessary to blatantly pick up articles written by others in violation of copyright.  What stops them from sending a quick email and asking for permission ?   

(To be fair, Femina once featured my blog link  and some small information about me on one of their pages.  They emailed, communicated and took permission before proceeding. And informed me when it appeared in the magazine. No problems.  )

I had an earlier experience with another leading Mumbai newspaper, that published another blog post without my explicit permission.  I was told I gave permission. I sent them copies of emails exchanged, that clearly asked them to check with me and ask before using my material. And that they never asked  for it, regarding that post.

They then said they would not compensate monetarily , as the online page where it appeared was "demonetized" ie it did not earn them revenue !. Despite Google ads showing up with liver transplant,singing classes, housing and Air India ads to name a few. Then I was told Google ads happen by themselves.  I had to remind them that surprise, surprise , I knew one needs to sign up for Google AdSense, and one earns from that.  I just wondered what someone who didn't know about Google ads would have done . Maybe they thought they could intimidate with jargon like demonetise and lies about Google ads. I have the entire email history record of when this was discussed.    After a detailed skirmish, they sent me a cheque and apologized. 

Is this a sign of the times ? Is lawlessness, powerhungryness, and blatant lifting, the new  mantra amongst the media types ? Are scruples old-fashioned ?  Does ambition blind ?  Is taking some one's permission a sign of weakness ?  And does everything operate on the basis of quid-pro-quid ?

Would their attitude change if I was an advertiser of the paper ?

We see this trespassing attitude everywhere. Chalega. Usme kya hai ? Dekh Lenge. Rules are for others. 

See how those in power behave across the country. Personally or commercially.

They say money speaks. Having a lot, and being  a big set-up media outfit is a potent combination that sometimes misleads folks.

 And makes them forget what the elders/founders  taught them when they were little. 

To say Please, and May I, and Thank you

 (I am in communication with the folks of TOI.   So, I am told,  are the publishers.   Waiting for a response.  Me, that is.  None as yet, 24 hours after email was sent.  Will update when I hear from them.  )



Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Search.....

Long ,long time ago, folks got their children married, without them(the couple)  ever meeting before marriage. Those who watch the wonderful Marathi serial "Unch Maaza, Jhoka" will know what I am saying.

In the early and middle part of the last century, you met each other from a distance.

Somewhere in the latter half, families met over kande-pohe, tea etc, and introduced their children, and the couple got several chances to meet over coffee et al later , and decide. (I can only talk about urban middle class Maharashtra).

The last quarter of the century saw a pattern change.  The children were actually asked about their preferences , and parents kept on the lookout for likely candidates, along with their children. Sometimes it was formal introductions, sometimes informal hellos. Sometimes all this led you somewhere, sometimes it didn't and you changed track.

Today , we are in the era of marriage portals, that advertise on television, have web pages, Internet searches, and  specify all kinds of things on their individual pages, , about, say grooms, that you would have found out earlier only a month after you got married.

Like,  he is a limited conversationalist or a non stop talker. Religious/Non religious.   Owns a two wheeler/four wheeler. Desktop. laptop. Sometimes even owns a flat.  Hangs out of Facebook, Linkedin.  For some reason, ownership of a split AC is considered a big plus. He enjoys mainly vegetarian food, of the non spicy type, fast food or non vegetarian  for some change. Most fellows enjoy some sports, some mention proficiencies, and hobbies like music,photography, social service, and so on.  There are instances of someone mentioning " I like to roam"  as a hobby .....

Some portals have a "verified" category of grooms. Some agency telephones  the house to verify what information is given, for an extra charge. When folks at the other end of the phone answer in affirmative to the things asked , the groom is declared "verified" . 

Amazingly, when it comes to expectations of how the girl should be, most fellows specify ability to live in joint families, and that the girl must have the ability to look after his family .  They  specify, not just their choice in terms of height, build, community,  existence of glasses/contact lenses, complexion, job, possible salary,  acceptable cities (where she might hail from) , diet preferences, but a set of acceptable degrees !

Grooms resident abroad with parents ask for GRE-TOEFL exam scores of prospective brides. It is not unusual for fellows to specify highly qualified, and educated brides, with say one or more of CA, LL.B, CS, CWA, BTECH, BE, MBA, B.Arch, MBBS, M.D., Interior Decorator, BBA, B.Com . And before I forget, B. Physiotherapy.  Of course, M.Sc, Ph.D  are also tolerated.  Some even specify  the MBA specialization; HR, Finance et al.  (All the above choices were actually specified by a single groom candidate).

Some parents are known to send regrets saying "we are looking for a BE ot IT  girl"....  despite everything about the girl being nice , except her wrong degree.
Is this a collaboration , merger or both ?

Then there are what one may call personal details of his own that the groom supplies.  Like a traditional, or  modern, family background, food preferences,  religious views. One guy even said "   Self-proclamation is difficult thing for me. Honesty, modesty and passion describe me."  Another actually described himself as "charming. ".  Some magnanimously say, they couldn't care about the girl's having or not having a job, but almost always specify a salary

And then there is what I call euphemistic terminology. "Sales professional"  for salesman in a shop, health care professional  for front office worker in a doctor's office or pharmacist's assistant, and the best is the use of the word "HR professional". I mean you are human and a resource, what more classification do you want ?  Covers everything from an officer to administrative assistant, secretary, Man Friday etc . Another one is "Banking Services".

Sometimes one wonders if the system actually groans under so much specification.     
 Of course, a horoscope is ALWAYS asked, although, some do mention that they will be taking only a "cursory" look at it and not look for "exact" matches. I guess that allows exit loopholes.   Whatever that means.

I wonder what else will happen in the future.  Will they conduct "recruitments "?  Will a bunch of girls attend a group discussion ?  Will they have levels of selection and shortlists ?   Why not contracts with terms and conditions ?

The irony lies in the meaning of "ON LINE".

In the older days, with much less information about each other, people got married, had kids, lived with elders, moved on their own, fought,laughed , cried and in general,  life was lived in an on-line mode, facing up to new discoveries about each other, and learning to handle them in real time, sometimes, with a few mental injuries and hurts, but lessons learned.

Today, with such a flood of information , and this weird insistence of educational degrees having to do something with it all,  time and again, people find, that they are ill equipped to deal with situations post marriage, because of faulty system specifications, and outlandish expectations.

There exists no algorithm for spousal selection. Definitely not in a discretized world, where 1 + 1 is always 2 and many are not able to handle any other result. 

Early on, 1 + 1 could always be 2, 0r 3 or even 4., and whatever the result , it was valid and manageable.

Between Kande-Pohe systems and  relational database query systems, there has to be a middle path.  

Some find it at work, some in college, some amidst their hobbies they share.  But it is important that it is found for society at large , regardless of the strata to which one belongs.



Friday, December 07, 2012

L' Oreal, Paris ! An idea from Ugich, Mumbai!

Today's youth has really evolved.  Naturally, the base is defined by when I was in my youth about 40 years ago.

And this isn't all about the advent of computers, the e-fication of lives, and how little babies are now seen playing with I-pads in their strollers, like we played with plastic rattles, and cloth dolls at that age.

It is about adornment of the individual and the endless public discussions.

Beauty parlours were looked at in my time, as places someone else went to.  That too, possibly for a haircut, or when you were the type that attended New Years Balls.  You did not comment on your mother's greying hair, or how it was thinning. Her facial skin was not yours to comment on. And moisturising of the homely type always happened, for everyone,  via things like Kokum oil etc, when winter set in.

Many decades later, folks my age got conversant with eyebrow threading, blow drying of hair, facials , manicures, and pedicures, without getting habituated.  Though today, people make it a regular thing, in an effort to look , say, permanently 20, with , as they say,  20 years of experience....

While one normally goes now for haircuts , and eyebrows  when things tend to resemble unruly jungles, I still get mortified at the thought of sitting with the feet in a tub of water, with assorted folks rubbing,brushing,cleaning, and bathing your feet in a pedicure, and so have never gone for one.

But thanks to LDI (Local Direct Investment) and FDI in beauty, today, the daughter keeps seeing huge grey strands in my hair where I do not, and keeps talking about open pores, closed pores, moisturizing, creams and stuff. Split-ends cause mental agony,  hair needs to be shining and straight, and she breathes a silent sigh when I finally decide to go visit a parlour for a haircut.

Today, hair can have different colors and even a mixture of colors, just like lips and nails.  There are folks my age , who do regular parlour visits every month, and are greatly admired  They get their hair re-colored at the slightest change in shade to grey. They stare at themselves in mirrors, and fearlessly notice sags and droops, and rush in for monthly facials.  Strangely, the ages of people who do this keep getting younger and younger .

I applaud them, for their attention to detail. 

Because, I always end up looking at the forest and miss out on the trees.

 But some experiences on the rare times that you visit a parlour have given me a wonderful idea for a commercial ad. 

I wonder whether Aishwarya (Rai, that is)  will do it ....

I had recently gone for a haircut and eyebrows to my neighborhood place, which had renovated and got some newer young employees.The owner is a friend and always does the haircut herself. Then I moved to another station and another person, for the eyebrows.

Leaning back on the head rest, she raises my eyebrow and says, "hold here".  Closes my eyelid, pulls it downward, and places my other hand there , saying, "Hold it tight here" ......

Nothing happens. Then she shifts my hands a bit, so the skin stretches. Once upwards. Another hand, stretches it downward.  I feel the thread doing its thing. Then she stops,

A moment later, another young girl, appears. My eyebrows and eyes, are now stretched by my own fingers as well as hers . The thread begins doing its stuff. At one point, while repositioning the thread and brushing the eyebrows clean, the younger girl, mentions to the other one, "Aiyyo! Kitna Loose Skin .... kitna odhnaa padta hai ! (~ what loose really need to stretch it so much!)".......!

By and by ,  after much stretching , they complete the job, things look a bit organized, but it has given me an idea for a commercial, about anti aging.

 It is sure to beat all those commercials about 7 signs of aging, mothers looking like daughter's sisters, and Saif Ali Khan acting disbelieving when someone doesn't look like a mother, but is !

Scene 1 , screen window one shows someone like me (or even me) , getting my eyebrows threaded.

Then in a adjoining window, Screen 2,  you show some one like Kajol,Aishwarya Rai, or Katrina, sitting in a chair, being asked to hold their eyebrows with the fingers.

Beauties with wonderfully firm skin (using XYZ cream, that they are), they simply raise their eyebrows themselves, without hands, with their facial muscles, in a very filmy questioning style,  the eyebrows stay up, and get nicely threaded.

Hurrah !

 I wonder if L'Oreal, Ponds, and Lakme will be interested.

Will be a great change from those fairness creme ads, don't you think ?  

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Life is....

.....actually a game !

Sometimes, it is cards.  You are dealt some cards, and you must do your best, depending on what rules are specified to you. Sometimes it is all about being rich, sometimes, about pretending to be so despite having a poor hand.  So often, we get fooled into connecting it with money, based on the 1/52 probability of something unique happening.  And if poker is all that you know,  you must put something in, to get something out.

Sometimes, it is langdi.  You are out on a single limb, trying to change the situation.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes, you keep on hopping, falling, getting up, stretching, only to find yourself inches away from your goal, and unable to reach it.

Sometimes it is a game of Hide and Seek .  You permanently seek things. Like knowledge, money, power, a house, a spouse, food and so on. Some of these elude you and go into hiding, and some appear momentarily to give you false hopes.  The problem is, you are always, the Den.

Sometimes, it is like tennis. Depends on whether you are a ball or a racquet.  So many are mostly balls. Whacked  relentlessly by forehands and backhands, as they fly around doing someone else's bidding in life. Sometimes they are even smashed. At times, they are fooled into thinking the racquets have a soft touch , when suddenly faced with close mesh barriers. But they are wrong. Sometimes these racquets fly off the handle, when the hitters  celebrate their actions. And so many hangers-on simply blindly applaud.

If you are the delicate brilliant  type, your life is like a game of badminton. You may be delicate, fair and light as a feather, but life is all about sharp and quick smashes, caressing tosses, sometimes, as you shuttle across, it's a drop across a wired precipice, as the watchers just senselessly applaud. Of course, you often get thrown aside in favour of someone else more beautifully fit and fair, but then that's life.

Of course, sometimes, you end up being the racquet, in both tennis and badminton. And you are never allowed to forget , that you are still under some one's two-fisted control, in crunch situations.  What you think is a celebration, may actually have you thrown out into the world, and replaced. Either way, a tennis/badminton  life is so misleading. It makes you think you can fly, when actually , you are hurtling .

And so what if you are a game of basketball ? As you quietly mind your own business , they crowd around, and pump you up, walk around holding you by their side, and just when you start feeling good, you find out that it is all about improving their own score in life by making you run and fall through rings. A lot of surreptitious pushing, pulling, and others getting in their way. Sometimes even shameful whistles by some kind of boss types.

In some countries, life is actually a game of cricket. 22 folks in your environment, and you could be a ball or bat.  Being a bat is slightly better,  because you get well taken care of.  You have excellent covered homes, they worry about your complexion and provide excellent  moisturizations and linseed facials. Many times you carry the name of who you belong to, though at times, like Draupadi, you may carry names of more than one.  This happens when money obsessed Kaurav types, hold auctions.   It's not so bad being a bat.

But being a ball is bad.  First of all ,unlike bats which have a relatively monogamous life, you are badly handled by many.  Some spit on you, some ensure the extra oil in their hair is slathered on you, and some fearlessly rub you wrong. Some think they are being clever and clean and shine only half your face. And to hell with your looks.  You are whipped, cut, swept, flicked and the whole world and its friend explodes when you fall into some one's grubby hands. Some of these grubby hands even cause you planned injuries by scratching, and periodically, after they have messed you up enough, they shamelessly replace you with some one else.  The worst part is, all your travails are broadcast to the world.  Your life's ambition is supposed to be reaching some 3 pointy sticks and knocking their heads off, and  then too, once is never enough.

Of course if your life is a football life, you only have your previous karma to blame.  It is never nice being constantly kicked and head butted. But you have to look on the good side. Thankfully in our country, life is not about heavily packaged helmeted fellows crushing you as they fall on top of each other , as they do in the US.

Some people have, what might be called an elite genteel golfy life. It is all about travelling across hills, gardens, lake sides, and parks, at a civilized pace. Great attention is paid to you, and although the thwack on the back really hurts, sometimes you get to fly across water bodies, roll down hills, and the whole world watches, as you do your indecisive dance near a hole in the ground.  But you get to stand your ground, till someone walks up to you and helps you go in. It is more or less a monastic life, as you travel in special bags amidst the rich and famous and mostly those coming up in the world.

The most interesting time is  when your life is like a game of chess.  You could be just about anything; a king, queen, camel(bishop), horse (knight), elephant (rook), or the ordinary pawn, Depending on that , life will take you on various paths. Some straight, some crooked.  Your alter ego always shows up in an opposite color in front of you.

Unlike plays and movies, where they show alter egos discussing moves with your real self , the alter ego here simply plots to kill and defeat you.   And so, unlike  many other physically overpowering games, this one is about outwitting someone troubling you, not by bashing them up personally, but by cleverly using the capabilities of your subjects. The queen, king, elephants(rooks), horses(knights),  camels(bishops), even the lowly pawns,  all work at it, supporting each other, and some do get sacrificed.  Some survive and some don't, and it is not for the want of trying.  Sometimes people call this democracy, and sometimes people call this parliament.

And yes, this seems to be the only game where the woman, the Queen , is the real power.


That is life !