Tuesday, December 06, 2016

219

1. I heard somewhere yesterday that music listened to at 432 Hertz is good for meditation. I loved this piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AgDvrr47HM&t=5s. There is something to the statement, I feel. The heart opens up.

2. I'd gone running later than usual yesterday. It was so good except that the dogs that come out late at night seemed pretty bemused with imposters like me. Eh. It;s fun to run keeping on eye on the crescent moon.

3. There was very tasty dinner prepared last night - a spicy bessan curry, daal, and gobhi-aloo.

4. I downloaded an app called 'Bliss'. Lives up to its name. Very pretty. Like it.

5. I never used to work to music earlier but soft piano instrumentals are really nice.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Could not wait until tonight

In 2017, I intend to have a different life. Very different life. There will certainly be new people and new projects. And there will be some furious writing. I will interact with very very few people and I will focus on the quality of my interactions.

I have a set of text books that I will read and summarize. One of them is a book on Trade and History that I bought from Chicago. Another is a text book on Research methodology that was prescribed reading in my graduation. That is good.

Also, I definitely intend to establish some form of a very strong creative collaboration. This I am very particular about.

220

I see this life and raise it to wolf.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

221

At around 12 today, I got SO SO bored with Facebook. It was sickening. So I closed that down and opened this instead and am typing. Now I'm stuck. I don't know what to type on about. Maybe I will write about the work I am procrastinating about (what is the correct preposition to go on here?) By the way, I just took a break and finished off that work.

Yesterday, I read an article on M.K. Gandhi's last day. It was written by his grandson, Tushar Gandhi. While reading it, it struck me that it is quite the ultimate privilege - to have the details of your last day recorded. Tushar writes about the meal that Gandhi ate before his death - two limes, three amlas, some curd, some juice, a little daal. He was recovering from a fast at the time/ He had spoken with Nehru. There were agitations outside the Birla house. They were chanting, "Let Gandhi die."  Nehru, who was visiting Gandhi at the time, lunged towards the mob in anger. The mob dispersed. 


Tushar writes about the things Gandhi spoke about to his aides. Some banal, some significant. Around that time, the country itself was going through a churn. India owed Pakistan money from the undivided exchequer that India was not willing to release because of the fightings in Kashmir. He joked with the two women who were always with him.


He was late for his prayers by 5 minutes. On the way, a man stopped to touch his feet. With folded hands, he bowed and shot Gandhi 3 times.


This entire piece was maybe 4 pages with photos. 


How many things end and not everything gets recorded. But isn't it interesting to wonder about what would be going on when you pass away?



Saturday, December 03, 2016

222

I watched Kahaani today and I loved it. Vidya Balan is very good, of course, and the story is a tough one to tell. But it's navigated skilfully. Also, I loved the way the film is shot. It's...so atmospheric. You imagine the cold air of Kalimpong or the musty air of Kolkata stuck to Vidya Balan's sarees as she moves through the story. There's a scene where she's sitting huddled in her little room in Kalimpong, lights switched off, eyes wide open in fear, face streaked with tears - when her lover knocks on the door outside. He's come to say goodbye. She doesn't open the door.

That moment, to me, felt really powerful. It's amazing how much darkness can be around you when you make that choice that will take you to the sun. You don't know when and how. You just go with your gut that there may be light somewhere.


Thursday, December 01, 2016

224

1. Filled one invoice yesterday.

2. Had a skirmish regarding a timeline.

3. Surprised myself by being a little calm about a discussion.

4. Noticed a couple of serendipities.

5. Nursed a bad headache and a bad back.

6. Tried to do planks. Did 120 seconds with breaks. That perhaps caused the back to be bad.

7. Not that I had anything to do with it but November ended.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

225

Things I learned since morning:

1. That .KEY files cannot open in PowerPoint presentation. (They are created in Mac. I've never worked on a Mac so I didn't know that.) Got them converted through www.zamzar.com. Also, I think there is an app that you can download and use on your Windows to convert but doing it through Zamzar was easier. Super stuff.

2. Today I went running without my headphone so I ran without music. It's been a long time since I did that so it felt a little surreal. I found myself running a little faster.

3. I think the coming weekend, I will take myself out to coffee and set some work goals. There is a lot of work coming in and now I want to just be sure that it is all headed some place - some place where I want to go. I have a good feeling about the coming days and about the future.

4. I think I'm just going to dress nice from now on even if I am not going out. I don't want to keep opening my cupboard and look at pretty clothes look sad.

5. Mum subscribes to Reader's Digest. They sent a really slick, thin black notebook with the words 'Write it right!' It's think enough to pop into the purse and take it around with me. I may inaugurate it at my coffee outing.

6. Read an article on Imposter Syndrome. Check if you have it? (http://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2016/11/27/9-things-people-with-impostor-syndrome-do/#78baa9fb2928)


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

226

I'm getting really short with people now. Just so irritated. Today, I didn't go out anywhere. Just worked and fought a fever brought on by not sleeping too well. Then I snapped at the cook for making the dalia too salty. I ate two tacos and had a glass of apple juice. Finished a LOT of work. Took one tiny step at filled in one row of an invoice. Really must get down to doing it.

I think I will faff for some time. Then I will make coffee. Then I will get to work.

Monday, November 28, 2016

227

1. Watched Dear Zindagi. Really liked it. Alia's clothes are also really pretty! Particularly liked a white satiny top she's wearing in one of the songs where she's being serenaded by Ali Zafar.

2. Had home-made iced tea today. Don't know why it felt so luxurious but it did.

3. Really have to buckle down to getting my invoices done.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

228

Years ago, on this day - that is the 26th of November, I was driving back from Powai really late. I had the radio on. Was a little sad because my flatmates were moving back to Delhi. My living situation was changing again. I was in flux at work. 

Some songs on the radio were good. As I drove past Powai lake with the ghostly silhouette of the Renaissance hotel on the other side, the songs on the radio stopped. Some DJ with a sober voice that was choking back panic, talked about a shooting at Colaba. I rolled my eyes at the heavy drama DJs resort to. "Enough of the build up!", I thought. "Start the music." I thought. But over the next ten minutes or so, I got the sense that the shooting the DJ was referring to (and the one I had assumed) was not a film shoot. Some people had started shooting in the Taj and killed people. Wait. They had been to Leopold earlier. Oh wait. Had they also shot people at CST? 

It was scary and it was late and I was still far from home. Suddenly the routine, risk police personnel you generally see on the roads late at night seemed more ominous. I drove in, dashed inside my house, and just stood there. A little frozen. My parents came out from the bedroom. Mom was crying. Dad said very seriously that this time "they'd gone too far."

At that time, I did not know of Kasab or who those guys were and why they'd come. I didn't know anything except that I loved my city so so so much and it was dying and breaking and bleeding. I didn't know that I had lost a friend to the shootings at Leopold. I didn't know that I would leave Bombay soon after. 

Many years have passed. Thinking about the time in between - the collective gulping of remorse, regret, helplessness, anger, unease, hope that the city engaged in - is futile. I remember vaguely what happened to my life after that. I remember vaguely of what I saw, the speeches politicians made, the jokes on Facebook on 'the spirit of Bombay', etc. I remember vaguely but I am a little more determined to hang on to amnesia.

Anyway, today, I went for a run in the park behind my house. There's a dark stretch in the park that I run through. I love it because it is sparsely populated. I sometimes look up at the moon when I run. I like the city lights in the lake beside the running track. Today, the moon was a plump crescent. As I jogged through the patch, I saw a man in teh shadows. He was skipping. He skipped fluidly and rhythmically. He moved liked a song. He used one of those plastic ropes that are smooth and slick with some kind of a latex-like coating. The moonlight glistened on his rope and he looked like he was steadily jumping over little dribbles of a lunar stream. The DJ on the radio that I was listening to at the time was talking about a movie. Incidentally, the movie's called, "Dear Zindagi."

What can you make of it? 

I don't know. I don't know how I can want to be away from a city and yet know in my bones that there is no other place I'd rather die. I don't know why that man skipping on a shiny piece of rope and a title called 'Dear Zindagi' made me stop in my tracks and throw pebbles in a pond. I don't know why I went off home, hugged my mom and took her out for coffee to Bandra, my favorite nook in the world.  I don't know why I'm relieved for this night when I take, yet again for granted, the option to run alone in the dark unarmed. And the guy skips away without being chased or hurt. I don't know why I am grateful for our capacity to remember and our willingness to forget.

I don't know.  And when I don't know stuff, I usually turn to poetry. (Or something poetic at the very least.) This is what I found. 

WARRIOR

Watch me.
I will go to my own Sun.
And if I am burned by its fire,
I will fly on scorched wings.

-          -  Segovia Amil

Saturday, November 26, 2016

229

4:25 a.m.

Things that happened yesterday, real quick:

1 Went for a shaadi. Was dressed in all white. My mom's 40 year old sari in white chiffon with very pretty paisley print in glitter. Wore her white brocade blouse from years ago and a pairr of long silver danglers I bought from the street a few days ago. It was fun dressing up and heading out.

2. Really like chocos nowadays.

3. Ate a bowl of Maggi with kadhi-pakoda. It was spicy and really hot so I liked it. But overall, I wouldn't recommend it.

4. Watching Friends all over again. It is so comforting. Especially Monica and Chandler. It is interesting that who I had started loving from the group (Rachel and Phoebe), those characters didn't stay with me. Bu Monica and Chandler - somehow those two have a sweeter, kinder disposition that comes from having seen hard times. I'll write about my favorite episodes some other day.

5. Am listening to this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsocZrEcp0Y&list=RDqsocZrEcp0Y.

Really liking it.


Friday, November 25, 2016

230

I think what is required to succeed is to have very strong emotional discipline. One must very fastidiously avoid thinking about the outcome. I think that is fundamental. If I have to break down what emotional discipline means (to me, at least), it means displaying the following behavioral traits:

1. Not thinking about the outcome of a project with any degree of attachment. I mean one has to think about the outcome to plan for time and budget. But no attachment.

2. I think allow for some dedicated time in a day to feel disappointed or weary and get it out of the way. Otherwise, I notice that it is hard to concentrate on the other tasks.

3. To have some kind of a routine that one must follow stubbornly. No matter what. For me, it is writing this blog. Now I have decided that no matter how much other writing work I get done or not or what else I work on, I will write a little bit here every day. It does not make me happy. But it makes me feel a little strong and purposeful. I feel like I could tend to my turf in the face of some quiet and incessant storm wreaked by time and heart. Both savage and beautiful.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

231

Went to JuHu beach last night. The tawa pulav tasted like freedom. The shoreline was so pretty. There's a segment on the beach that's decked with a line of sky-blue bulbs.

Today have been losing my temper with everyone at home.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

232

My father told me this story yesterday.

In the book 'Discovery of India', Nehru writes about the Bengal famines. Nehru tells the story of a man who sat opposite a sweet shop. He kept looking longingly at the sweets behind the glass pane and whilst watching that, he died of starvation. Nehru wrote that the tragedy was not so much that the man died but that he did not pick up a stone to shatter the case.

I cannot get that story out of my gut.


Monday, November 21, 2016

233

1. It is good to work towards losing attachment to one's own struggles. I think if one is not careful, your struggles become part of how are defined and identified. It's good to explore the possibility of what it might be like to not have that toughie.

2. This working late night sure comes with its own yawning need for sugar. Last night I had chocos drenched in Coke.

3. I was working on something and I mistakenly typed 'character cunt' instead of 'character count'. The spell-check didn't catch it. Must be very very careful whilst working late.

4. I read this on Pinterest and I loved it so much. It's from something called 'Being Cabalbro: Never let the white knight die.' (I am not sure whether it's a book or a movie.) Anyway, here's the piece:

Nobody is born a warrior.
You choose to be one when you refuse to stay seated.
You choose to be one when you refuse to back down.
You choose to be one when you stand up after getting knocked down.
You choose to be one because if not you, who?

5. Having chai now and finishing off one more document that might involve a dangerous error. :-)

234



Feeling really overwhelmed today.

Must be my period.

I have come to appreciate menstruation a lot more now. I think if you have lived alone for a long time - as long as I have - you tend to take on more masculine energy, I suppose. You get tough and focused and very goal-oriented and stuff like that. You push yourself, soldier through pain, be very driven and task-based, etc. But then you get your period and automatically, you want to slow down. I may not actually slow down. But I definitely want to. Periods at least soften me. I feel like nurturing some thing - treating everything gently. Breathing deeper. Using a more gentle gaze. It feels good to sip something hot when your stomach hurts or your back aches but actually what you want to cry about is that knot of all the little follies and heartbreaks and shards of anger you have accumulated over the days. You miss, you wish, you long, you snap - it is actually quite nice to just let the mood have its way. And then, because you brave through so much emotional intensity at a time, you crave something sweet - a warm muffin, a little sugar, a pour of honey.

Periods are definitely rewarding. I'd recommend it to everyone. :-)