Sunday, September 27, 2009

A small world, indeed!

Sometime back, I read an article in TOI in their science section. The article was a little snippet on something called "monkey malaria," some new strain of malaria that, as the name suggests, was present in a particular species of monkeys and which has now been discovered to infect humans. Reading the article got me thinking about a couple of things.

Firstly, what's with the sudden spate of "animal-illnesses"? From bird flu to swine flu to now monkey malaria?!? Maybe, the world is no longer big enough for all of us. Maybe, co-habitation is utopian. Or, maybe people have just lost their minds. At any rate, this spate is rather amusing (as long as it isn't declared an epidemic)!

Secondly, for as long as I can remember, I've been socialised to believe that the field of medicine has advanced and this development is a good thing. Mortality rates are lower, diseases that were feared earlier (because they had no cure) are now curable and on the whole life expectancy has increased. But when I was reading this article, I wondered... Does development ever really happen? On the one hand, we've found ways to ward off illnesses and on the other we're faced with newer and newer ones. Maybe, our current developed society is not very different from that of our ancestors. Maybe, diseases also come in "ages". So like there was the Stone Age, Ice Age, Bronze Age etc., there is also a Small-Pox Age, Leprosy Age, Malaria Age and now, an "Animal-Illness" age!

Friday, September 18, 2009

In passing...

Yesteday, I spent my first all-nighter at work. It was also the first time in 6 months (since the time I passed out of college) or maybe more that I have been up the whole night (and day) and required to work. So it was momentous in a small way, but that’s not the point of this post. Among other things, my team-mates (which basically consisted of 2 other people) & I would lapse into conversations on various topics (not completely related to work) everytime we’d feel the need to take a break to stay awake and mentally alert. During one such conversation, one of my team-mates was talking about what Delhi meant to non-residents like him & I. And this was what was interesting. Since then, I have replayed that conversation in my head (once I had taken a nap and was in a better state to process things, of course) and realized how the same city can mean such different things for people with almost similar circumstances.

For him, Delhi was associated with freedom, booze and live-in relationships (among other things that I can’t quite remember at this moment). And he claimed this to be a generalization. Maybe it was in the social circles he was in. But what I found interesting is how none of the people in my acquaintance have come close to associating this city with similar things. In fact, for me personally, Delhi per se does not give me a sense of freedom. Of course, I have the freedom that comes with being away from home and being answerable only at a very macro level, but that would be in any place that was not my “home-city” or “home-cities” in my case. I am yet to get used to the fact that in this city my “freedom” is curbed by my self. For the first time, I have begun to consciously think and be aware of where I am going and at what time of the day and then consider how to get back. For instance, if I go for an evening show of a movie over the weekend with Tanvi & PK we always end up reminding ourselves of when the show is likely to end? Will we find autos at that time? Will the autos go to the places each of us have to go to? Is it safe to take an auto at that time of the day to that part of the city? And so on.

This, I find contrary to my concept of absolute “freedom”. Maybe it’s a trivial consideration and one can argue that the same is with any city, but atleast with all other cities you’re not psyched out and made to be wary long before you even reach the city. Having said that, I haven’t had an out and out unpleasant experience so far…touchwood. But still I just found it interesting to note how people could think so differently about the same place.

For me, Delhi is about comfort and taking a back seat and being lackadaisical. Unlike Bombay, I don’t get a sense of being rushed here. In Bombay, everyone seemed to be racing against time everywhere and at any point of time in the day. It was also a place where I kept feeling this innate need to constantly prove yourself. For me, it was a city that signified chaos and flux. Delhi, on the other hand, feels sedentary.
I am yet to understand why the association with booze & live-in relationships though. I was told that’s very prevalent in Noida. Unfortunately, the conversation was interrupted in between by some work that came up so never got around to figuring that one out. I guess it was one of those times when you mix with people different from your usual circle of friends and hear or discover something new.

Little things along the way...

Am writing something after a really, really long time. My return attempt can be attributed partly to my being ashamed at my irregularity. Partly, because I started reading other people’s blogs and felt tempted to write something of my own (as is usually the case), Partly, because of a friend’s chidings until I finally got a message in the morning reminding me to stop being such a lazy brat and write instead of just saying that I intended to. And finally, it is in part due to the fact that I have finally started feeling traces of my old self again, where I used to write to vent… something I didn’t quite feel like doing in the past couple of years. I’m not quite sure if the last reason is a good sign or bad, but what I do know is that it feels nice to have some semblance of a “talent” again. And I have something to say when my Dad asks me if I’ve written anything in recent times. So hopefully, this phase will continue.

Anyway, the idea behind this post being to put down random, little things that have occurred to me in the past few months… Apparently, I’ve had enough time to think about everything under the sun in the past few months… some bad, some good and some important. Getting back to the point, I just had these little realizations along the way that I felt like writing down.

I don’t think I will ever be career-minded at all. This might seem incongruous to the supposed perception of me. But I’ve realized that I really don’t want to make it big. I don’t want to run companies and I’m not ambitious. I don’t want to be part of the rat race and win awards and accolades. I don’t even want to become a specialist in my field or anything. What I do still (“still” being the operative word here, given my fickle-mindedness) want is to do something on my own. But more importantly, I want to do something that makes me happy and do it for as long as it makes me happy. Even if it means being home-bound. How would I know if it makes me happy? Well, I suppose it shouldn’t make me feel restless and question myself as to why the hell I am doing what I am. I guess that would be a good place to start. It may also be over simplistic.

I don’t want to become what all self-help gurus advocate. I don’t feel so bad that I don’t have clear-cut goals and a life plan charted out. I don’t even mind the fact that I might end up meandering about and changing my profession rather often knowing fully well that that might end up in a situation where I am a jack of all trades but a master of none. And I don’t want to be made to feel bad or be asked to explain and justify all my actions in the past either. So why I chose to do a certain course with no previous background or do a completely different course for my masters and then eventually use neither at work is not something that I want to consider very relevant or important. Maybe I’m just one of those non-ambitious people who like trying things out and never know what they really want to do till much later and I don’t feel apologetic about that.

I have serious issues with the terms “hurt” & ‘love”. For reasons that I can not explain, it is a mammoth effort for me to even consider using those terms in a sentence despite intending to mean them. It’s rather amusing and painfully obvious when I talk to my sister and hear her say “Love you” or “Miss you” but never say it back. Similarly, I almost never say I was hurt by something someone did/said. Either I say nothing about it at all or trivialize it by saying I felt bad about something which doesn’t quite match up in degree to using the term hurt. I know it’s weird, but then I guess we all have our oddities and this is one of mine.

I have great instincts for figuring out stories behind people. Maybe, I just am at the right place at the wrong time (or right time, depending on how one sees it) and almost always figure out important things that happen to people before I’m told about them. I guess part of the credit for this realization goes to my friend Siddhant who pointed out how I kept noticing things he never did even when we were in the same place at the same time with the same people, during our internship.

I’d noticed someone’s FB update say “Don’t act brand new to people who’ve been there for you.” The reason this stuck in my head was because I went through a phase where I needed to use people as sounding boards to be able to figure out what was going on in my head. And then (as on other occasions), I realized old friends are like warm comforters. I may have not been the best at keeping in touch (can’t say they were any better either :P) in the recent past, but still the time apart didn’t matter or seem to change my comfort level with any of them. I could just start right where I left from and I’m not sure whether that will happen with my friends from MICA too, but I can hope for the best. Also, it’s brilliant how well they know me to be able to say the most apt things to make me feel nicer… A couple of the things some of them told me, were not exactly what I’d expected to hear but they did the trick.

I am not embarrassed by the fact that I like chick-flicks or read the horoscope… typically “girly” things instead of doing more intellectual and less sappy things. I guess as long as I don’t take them to heart, I’m good to go.

A lot of times things don’t work out the way I’d like them to but they do work out conveniently and solve the issue at hand just as well. So either they help me finish what I have to do or get over things I’m likely to feel bad about. Of course, I still do hope for “happy endings”, if not now, then some other time, under some other circumstances. In the meanwhile, I’m glad for the “convenient endings”.

I like playing the Ostrich and not facing up to problems. One of several such being figuring out whether I like what I’m doing or not? If not, then what do I want to do? I’m happier distracting myself and shelving the issue in my head until I feel less emotionally involved with it or until the problem resolves itself out, whichever comes earlier. This is why I’m happy to have a lot of work and a long day at work. It’s a pity that doesn’t always happen when I want it to but instead happens when I’d rather it not (read: when I already have made plans with friends that need to be scrapped).

When things really get to me, I crave to go home and cuddle up with my dogs. It’s the only thing that makes me feel nice then. And it’s also why I miss being home home (different from missing being with my family).

It’s much easier to work with guys but it’s easier to be friends with women.

I always give long-winded explanations and too many details and usually to people who have no patience for them.

I don’t find monsoons and rainy weather as wistful or romantic as it is made out to be. Especially, during the in-between period when it neither rains nor is the sun out. I just find it gloomy and I get restless because then I’m not sure whether to venture out or not. Instead, I like storms better. Especially when I’m home (and not otherwise).