There are two keys on the keychain, facing opposite directions. They look the same because they are of the same brand and because they face opposite directions I can never say which one is on the left and which one is on the right, because it looks the same either ways. One key opens my room, one my parent’s. Every time I come home and Dad hands me the keys, it always takes two tries to unlock my door.
Everyday it happens and there’s no changing it. I thought it happened only with me because I prepared myself everyday to be defeated by the first key. But the other day when I got home and Dad handed me the keychain, instead of going back to his desk he stood behind me as I readied for the first try to fail.
“It’s always the second key”.
I turned to look at him in shock as he stared at the lock thoughtfully,
“It is a rule, only the second key will fit.”
I held my breath as I picked one key and fit in the lock. It didn’t turn. I quickly put the second key in and heard the satisfying click and smiled. I turned to look at Dad and he was mirroring my amused expression.
“Told you, it’s always the second key.”
I’m a very neutral person who doesn’t like to waver to either end of the spectrum for any argument. People don’t necessarily agree with my head over heart philosophy; my friends believe it’s important to have an opinion, but I feel like as soon as you develop an opinion, your ability to listen to an opposing one diminishes.
In that sense of neutrality I don’t think I could say I love a place, restaurant, experience in the usual order of business. The movies that I love, the cities that I enjoyed have impacted me greatly to make me come to the conclusion that I “love” them. But for the everyday experiences I find myself unable to identify if I love it or just like it.
Just the other day I had a girls’ spa day with old friends and tried out a new salon. The girl who did the service handed us review cards to rate the service and our experience. I didn’t think too much over it and marked 4 stars out of 5. Coming back home I noticed a little piece of hangnail the girl hadn’t removed and I wondered what was the 4 star for? Why hadn’t I thought it over harder. Did the service really deserve 4 stars? I figured that I might not come back to this place if ever I wanted to go for a manicure. Just as suddenly I also realized that my trips to the salon near my house, what I had labelled as convenience and practicality, was actually a liking for that place and the service. I would go there again and again. I was comfortable there. I was satisfied there. Perhaps that place actually WAS my favorite, without realizing so.
When I thought about it, I figured that I did not necessarily have to NOT have a favorite thing. I could love something just by the sheer want of it over other options. I love Anda Paratha because I can have it any day. I love Cosmopolitan because I love the food I’ve had and I could go there in a heartbeat. I love the movies Speed and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham despite the poor ratings because if they’re on I would watch the whole thing. Even if it is up every day.
This realization was so strange to think of that I’m nearing 30 and I still am trying to figure out the difference between my likes and loves, that it is okay to love or hate something. Try as I might I cannot always remain neutral because the heart will always find it’s way to the head.
Dad and I usually get rashes in winters, eczema you call it. While we were discussing my 3-month-old nephew’s rashes, Dad said it must be the clothes. The little one was getting all red wherever his furry blanket touched him. Dad pointed at the elastic cuffs of his sweatsuit and said “it’s not the allergy , it’s the electricity”.
Strange as it may sound, he explained how there was the rubber elastic material that was creating tiny sparks of electricity which were actually burning his skin on the wrists and ankles. The itching made it seem like an allergy, but now I know better.
So we were at a wedding where everyone was in a suit and the men were handed flowers to put in the buttonholes. The notch in my husband’s jacket was sewed closed and he got to wondering why the buttonhole existed in the first place.
Dad goes “have you ever wondered why the lapels are shaped the way they are on a suit jacket?”, the boys replied no. Dad flipped the collar up and overlapped the buttonhole on the other lapel.
Voila! It became a winter coat! The top part of the collar became what we call a sherwani collar, and the V-shaped notch in the lapel design ended up covering the other lapel and that is where a button used to go so the buttonhole could be fastened and closed.
Mind = blown.
Living in a third world country you don’t really expect anything to work the way it is supposed to. Of course developmental work is at a basic level, necessities are barely met, the population as a whole is still crawling about on the lowest level of Maslow’s Hierarchy, completely unaware that there is a life beyond scrambling for one’s basic needs. Meanwhile, a tiny fraction of the citizens have more money than they know how to spend, throwing lavish tea parties and soirees on a daily basis because how else could they spend their time since they don’t have to do anything.
Such disparity used to bother me when I initially found myself hovering on the fringes of the high society. I couldn’t fathom how some people could have so much and most could have nothing. The internal debate eventually led me to look at the country as a whole, dissecting the qualities and characteristics that create the huge divide. Doing a root cause analysis of why people are rich and why the riches can’t be shared, and why people are poor and can’t get any better, I finally felt a light bulb go off in my head. It is nothing but greed and envy at the most basic level that breeds corruption. Be it corruption at the level of giant conglomerates or governments, or your average general store that hands you a candy worth 1 rupee because they don’t have change to return your 5 rupees.
What is the end game? It all starts with a tiny seed of greed in their hearts. Either for wealth or power or both. It is envy of someone who is better off than you in status or money.
Such a simple thing that drives the world mad. A child sees another child with a better toy and wants it, his mother gets a cheap copy and tells him say it’s the real deal, the mother nags the husband for a nice dress, he maxes out his credit card, the husband requests for a raise, his boss fakes an appraisal with the subordinate writing a few reports for him. The boss wants a new car, he cuts a deal with his contact at the car dealership. The car manufacturer is making a loss, it lies about the safety tests conducted. To cover for the lies, the company gifts a few cars to the politician so he could lobby against other companies. The politician wants to move higher up in the food chain so he gets enforcers to get people to vote in his favor. We ask for deliverance from evil, but tell God we will get on the righteous path when evil is vanquished, otherwise our faith weakens.
Everything that is wrong with our world is because people cannot get over their greed, lust, envy and lies. If one stops wanting more, he will end up doing things the way he’s supposed to do.
Just think about it.
Most of your life is made up of insignificant days, when nothing remarkable happens that is out of the ordinary that you would remember even half a day later. The rest of the days are divided into those that had some amount of activity, and those that took you on an emotional roller coaster. We wake up each day hoping that it will turn out to be good, but more often than not we keep our expectations in check. This might not apply to the people who perhaps have their lives figured out well enough to know how their days are going to pass. But I, an average Jane, am nowhere near having figured out an iota of my life, even after the day has passed. I don’t believe there is any job that can be so exciting/happening that no day is same as the previous one. Even for movie stars a new set, a new movie, a new cast becomes a job once the camera starts rolling.
So what is it that keeps us going? It just hit me a few years ago during a moment of introspection that we are quite possibly all living by the phrase “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”. I know there aren’t many people who would actually agree with me, but my life seems much easier having accepted this fact and applying it pretty much on a daily basis, without even knowing that I was just following this simple rule to contentment as drilled into us back in elementary school.
To me this line signifies the best possible amalgamation of all the optimism, pessimism and realism that an individual could operate on in their life. The optimist in you would wake up each day “hoping” that it’ll turn out great, better than the best day in your career, that you’ll be praised and rewarded for all your hard work. The pessimist will become Murphy’s advocate in letting your mind devise each and every possibility for things to go wrong that day. And then there will be the realist bringing in a healthy balance of keeping the excitement and the misery in check.
This is the key to that calm my friends and family praise me for, the quality of remaining unflappable in the eye of the storm. I’m pretty damn proud of keeping this balance of the isms and I owe it to whoever coined the phrase that I live by now.
Polaroids are actually polarized crystals that are long and cylindrical, and through a chemical reaction are forced to align themselves in straight lines at a tilted angle.
Basically they are like venetian blinds and a thin film is coated onto surfaces, e.g. sunglasses, possibly diagonally and in a way that it allows for a clear viewing angle but no direct sunlight.
None of this is taken from the Internet and is just an explanation given by my well of knowledge aka Dad.
I’ve always been the sort of laid back person who could have been a hippie but would choose not to because it sounds like too much work. I wouldn’t want to live my life at a snail’s pace, but would love to be able to do things at my own pace. But of course that cannot and does not happen since one remains on the clock at all times. So I learned to take out pockets of time from each day to allow myself the luxury of enjoying small moments.
It is only recently that I realized how every day I learn something new, or figure out a tiny part of the universe, or wonder at something that is yet to unravel it’s mystery to me. Only a few days ago I decided that I will document the memory of these moments that suddenly stop me in my tracks and make me yank myself out of whatever thought bubble I am immersed in and fully experience that particular phenomenon as best as I could.
And so it begins…