Sunday, December 30, 2012

Facebook Wedding Invites

This has been the season of weddings in India. Don't blame the people, blame the auspicious nature of dates. After the drought over the long monsoon season wherein there wasn't a single day when a wedding wouldn't be blasphemous arrived the winter season in which any couple getting married on  almost any day would be assured of 100 years of prosperity :P.

There have been days on which I had 3 different wedding invites to choose from (of course, I mostly ended up attending none of them, but that's tangential to the post :P), and in total I must have had maybe 15 invites over a period of one month! No, I am not bragging about my popularity or my wide social circle. Just the fortuity of being in the marriageable age, and hence having most of my friends in the same marriageable age. So while I was dodging wedding invites, they were all getting happily, clumsily married and inviting me to partake of the free food.

Another contributor to the windfall of wedding invites is the fortuity of being in the Facebook age. First we had house visits and snail mail wedding invitations. Then came the age of emails with colourful text and links to cheesy wedding websites. And now is the age of Facebook event invitations sent out to all the friends of the bride and groom. But the last type brings with it newer challenges. Can anything be more impersonal than an invitation to a Facebook event sent out to a thousand people? I was curious to find out :D. [For further ease of reading and typing, and keeping in with the times, Facebook is being hereby referred to with its abbreviated form: Fb :P ]

Even within the Fb invites there are two types. One sent by those with whom you have been in touch. So the person [the busy bride or groom] may have previously informed you about the imminent wedding via chat or talk. May have urged you to attend the wedding, and then sent out to the Fb event with all the details for your ease. Attending such weddings would be the same had you been invited via email or with a posted card. The other type is more interesting. Perhaps the person and you have been out of touch for decades. Or perhaps you both have met just once and became Fb friends with the false hope of meeting often later on. So essentially, you are among those who lurk at the depths of the person's friends list. And given that an average user only gets to see 12% of his/her friends' posts on his newsfeed, it is likely that the person has never come across your posts and has completely forgotten about your existence. Yet you receive the wedding invite because it has been sent to everyone in his/her friends list with the obvious assumption that those who aren't actually friends in real, current life will not bother to attend anyway. But what if you do? :P

That's what I wanted to find out. So I, along with an equally risk-friendly 'mutual friend', decided to attend the wedding reception of one such 'friend'. Haven't met or spoken to this 'friend' aka groom for more than 12 years. So the idea was that we both would just turn up and wish him 100 years of happy married life. What the worst that could happen? Well before we imagine that, first lets examine the best-case scenario: We would enter the arena. The groom spots us afar from his pedestal on stage and immediately jumps down. Runs through the parting crowd and hugs us both as long-lost brothers. He would then personally escort us to the best seats and declare that we were now the unofficial chief guests for the evening [Unofficial because protocol prohibits the wedding receptions from having official chief guests :P]. We partake the delicious multi-cuisine dinner, bless the couple and leave.

Now, for the more likely, worst-case scenario: We enter the arena and are followed by suspicious eyes of the parents of the bride and the groom. Both assume we must belong to the other party. After a lot of waiting, standing in some remote corner, we finally scramble onto the stage to surprise the groom and, of course, bless the couple. However, the groom looks at us perplexed and enquires with his bride whether we are related to her. We then awkwardly clarify to the groom by stating our names, and plead with him to remember and recognise his long lost mates. He awkwardly nods his head, shakes our hands and looks immediately for the next, more familiar group to receive wishes from. We leave the stage to more suspicious eyes and awkwardly make our way to the exit, skipping the bland-looking dinner.

Okay, am about to leave now, let's see which scenario plays out :P.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Six Degrees of Ignorance

1. Initially you are not really aware that you are ignorant.

2. Next you feel that you are ignorant but that everyone else knows everything.

3. Then you think you know everything and that everyone else knows everything too.

4. Later you realise that you know almost nothing.

5. Following that, you discover that everyone else knows nothing much either.

6. Finally it dawns upon you that all this knowing and unknowing doesn't really matter. It is all just blah.

:P

For another dose of such pointless wisdom, you may visit this old post ;).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Writing

I used to believe that the proper way of writing a story is to have it all formed in your mind, scene by scene, and then to narrate it beautifully.

But I could never do it that way. Spontaneous creation, with only a faint inkling of the plot, seemed to be the only way I was capable of writing. I considered myself all the more amateur because of that.

Only now I feel that my belief was a false imposition. Writing for me is not a process of narration, but a process of discovery! :)

Friday, November 02, 2012

Half-year's thoughts, some pontifications ;)

What?! Another post within the span of a month! Yes, seems like my mind finally has thoughts again. Not an exaggeration. It was pretty much blank for the previous many months. Okay, there did occur dreams occasionally, mostly about eating good variety of food (especially those that I had cut out of my diet :P) and maybe about going out of the house and roaming about in the city. But nothing much apart from those.

So I guess the mind being active again is an extremely good sign. I think we tend to underestimate the amount of energy used by our brains. We think it is all the muscles and stuff that eat up the food, but really, the brain needs much more. I could feel the stress involved in concentrating on anything beyond a cursory level. For example, reading anything for any amount of time was doable, but writing even small reply-mails seemed quite taxing.

Anyway, I thought I will make a small list of a few things I noticed over my stay back at home in Hyderabad, back in India, for the last 6 months.

@ Contrary to popular belief, a 'long-term' patient is not fond of entertaining questions about his/her health. Yes, it is true that the enquirers are only showing their concern and wishing them a speedy recovery, but the patient grows quite tired of repeating the same responses again and again to different people :P. Worsening matters, classifying recovery is such a subjective thing that often the patient has no clue about it either and hence is hesitant to reveal his/her ignorance :P.

# The body and mind are quite adaptive. They adjust to a routine even if the routine is outright outrageous. After a length of time, anything can feel normal. Only when the changes roll back, does one recognise the adaptation that had occurred . 

& Moving beyond self, let me now rant about others. Actually, in a way, it is still about me ;). I know that we Indians are not supposed to arrive on time. That it is a requirement to come at least 30 mins later than what you say, and fashionable to arrive at least a couple of hours late. I know all this pretty well. But still am unable to readjust! Despite my best efforts, I still end up getting ready on time and end up waiting to be picked up. That wait is never delicious. Or in the other cases, despite arriving at the venue quite late, or rather what I think is quite late, I still find myself the first one there. The other 6-8 people arrive even later! 

% English seems to much more in vogue during public intercourse than before. Or perhaps it is the same and I just didn't notice it earlier? Especially when people are talking to some staff person (like a sales person, waiter et al.), they tend to use English. Yeah, I know in Hyderabad, there is always the uncertainty over whether the other person is a Telugu or a Hindi/Urdu speaker. But that doesn't seem to be the reason behind this English explosion. People are just becoming 'posher' :P. However, strangely, I find myself addressing any staff-member in Hindi or Telugu rather than English. But does that result in me getting a lower quality of service, given that I use the vernacular? That's a question up for debate ;). 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Some Numbers


117 days since the last post -- a hiatus resulting partly from being miffed, and partly from finding it pointless to say anything.

11 months since that fateful day when it all came to the fore. Again. Would never have guessed the consequences.

5 months 9 days since I moved back home.

3 times I have managed to go out of the house to meet friends in this time.

7 books have been read. The last one too big to be read completely, being a collection of all the author's works.

5 different types of medical systems I have tried. One of which is of course conventional Allopathy :P.

4 weeks before I travel again :).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Atrophy

One day
Will be gone
You may look
You may wonder
Or may be not notice
But one day
I would have withered away.

Every day
An inch I disappear
Imperceptibly.
You may still rescue
And I may still remain
But would you?
Save me again?

PS - I guess this might end up being the blog birthday post! 8 years done .... how many more?

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Last Week


Dusting off the bags
Sorting through the shelves
Things you need
Things you want
And those to discard
But can't

A forlorn list of "to-do"
Many strikes and items few
Tasks, some still stubborn
Others mere wishes
And those you wanna do
But can't

Gatherings and rendezvous
Scheduled and still in plans
With some, just a last one
Others, maybe a couple more
And those to meet perpetually
But can't.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A 'Last Day'

Okay. So here we are finally. Am in office on my last official working day. Given that I actually haven't been to office since the day I resigned 4 weeks ago, and that I really had stopped working a long time before that, today is largely symbolical :P. Also I had to come in to return my card, laptop etc, say bye to people and perhaps collect a farewell gift ;).

Colleagues are surprised when they learn that I am not moving onto a new job but rather moving back to home country and doing nothing, at least for a few months. It still seems to fun to tell people of my plans, or rather the lack of them, and watch their expressions :D.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quit.

So I resigned from my job. The notice period of 4 weeks starts now, which basically means I will be paid for 4 more weeks for barely doing any work ;)

Let me explain before the bombardment of questions like: "found new job?", "what next?", "why?" et al.

I haven't found any new job and I do not know 'what next' in terms of my career. In fact, am not even that bothered about it right now. All I know is that in a month's time I shall be returning to Hyderabad and staying at home for a few months. How many? Again, I don't know :P

Several justifications do exist for this apparently radical decision --

£. Money? It is a myth that one needs to be continually employed. Why can't one work for just a while, save up some money, stop working and live on the savings until they are exhausted, then go back to work and repeat the cycle? Of course, it is not possible for everyone, but I have no responsibilities or commitments and I can afford to do this ;). Also having the safety net called family provides the required confidence for the step.

$. Health. There is the belief that going home will improve the health. This approach hasn't been verified and it may not work. However, staying at home will certainly relieve the stress of managing everything oneself. Being completely independent is actually quite fun but it is not that much fun any more when you are barely able to hold everything together. In the fairly ill periods, the idea of being back home seems very inviting, the familiarity and support reassuring. However, in the fairly okay periods, the happy self takes over and questions the logic of leaving behind my happening life here - all the friends, the gatherings, some of the comforts, the weather ;), the ground-breaking sky-shattering research work, etc - for some drab unexciting existence back home. In the end, I suppose the former sense prevailed.

Wow, my medical conditions can actually have a major influence on my career. I never looked at it that way, until now.

€. Job? It is not as if I was looking to continue in this job all my life. Plans to move onto something were always in the making. Just that nothing came up that was worth moving onto. Well, I seem to have decided to move on, nevertheless :P. Doesn't imply that I will end up finding awesome work next, but maybe it's better to move than being stuck in the doldrums - even if the doldrums are around a relaxing tropical paradise.

On that unusual extension to the clich├ęd metaphor, we shall end our 'dear diary' chat for today :P.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Move .. more or less ..

It is supposed to be scary. It does seem to scare others, at least, momentarily. It is supposed to be a big overhaul, and it certainly is. Perhaps more than most realise. Even I am yet to comprehend. Not even close.

Am I stepping out of a spiral or obliviously diving into one?

How often do such moments appear? Everything is running smoothly, at least superficially, and then all of a sudden.... No, there is no snap, no trigger. At most, there might have been a few hints of them, here and there. But somewhere in the back of the mind, things have been decided and so they will stand.

Unexpectedly, informing others only seems to strengthen the resolve rather than darkening the shadows of doubts.

Everything has to go, everything has to change, but for what? And why? These questions are unanswered and will remain so.

This is a step not to find answers but to confront self with a new set of questions. A rehaul of the array of challenges.

Will I regret it? Don't think I'll let that happen :)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Blank

To just listen
Blankly.

To stop wondering
What's here, what's happening
Fallen off desire
Nostalgic without memories
An amnesiac of dreams
To make the thoughts retire

Unanswered questions
Some painful assumptions
Lost, never owned
Possibilities seared, discarded
Yearning jeered, mocked
Perhaps, better alone...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

2 .. 3 .. 5 .. 8

You are supposed to believe that 28 is just another number. But is it? It takes you one year closer to 30 than 25. How does that matter? Well, isn't 25 like the ideal age? The age where you are permitted to do everything and anything but have no responsibilities whatsoever [and in my  case, no money either :P ]. In other news, can't believe that it is approaching 2 1/2 years since I got my PhD officially becoming a doctor.

The years do go faster as the number of years increase. Clearly that is because there are fewer fascinatingly new  experiences and also because, the brain stores lesser snapshots of life as the years pass on. However, such medical wisdom serves no purpose when one is in the whirlpool of nostalgia, getting sucked in by one memory at a time...

Obviously, it is best to just enjoy the present than to wonder about its preservation.

Of course, stuff of various colours and varying concentrations consumed in orderless fashion does make you want to write spontaneous blog posts .....

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

"Poetry"


Many a verse, many an allegory
Has flowed through this tapping
Many a muse, many a fantasy
Had been so captured literally

Strange hence that you and me
Have in our own unique way
Went beyond the usual nicety
Stranger still, this missing poetry

Stranger though, than all the above
With pity, I have now realised
Nothing good ever happens after the dark twelve
Of course, except you, and me, and love ;)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Prague .. and this isn't a travelogue!

subtitle: Praha - the place where you go 'wah wah'

I went there some months ago, but ADD has prevented me from archiving it anywhere except for some pictures uploaded to Facebook. Really, with these smart phones with cameras, that is not much of a task. On the other hand, the fact that I actually did take some photos is quite laudable :P. Anyway, coming to Prague, here are some bullet points -

^ Everyone (irrespective of whether they actually have been there or not :P) claims that Prague is breathtakingly beautiful. Well, I can assure you that those claims are well founded. Those who have been there as tourists also claim that the centre is just a huge mela of tourists. That I can assure you, is also well founded. Having visited in the off-season, I actually shudder to think how it is during the holiday season. The only people you find in the centre of Prague are either tourists, guides, or people selling something to the tourists. And the streets are lined with (apart from 'places of interest') only restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, and other places for tourists.

_ The visual highlights like the castle with its palaces, the statues lined ancient bridge, clock tower, central square, cathedral etc are all expectedly dazzling. However, every building in the centre appears unique and attractive in its own right. A trigger happy photographer would never be able to stop shooting if not for the constraints of time, disk space and patience of his/her companions. There are also a plethora of museums, dedicated to the various personalities and art forms there, any of which I haven't visited :P.

$ There were also many ultra-modern buildings, some dancing away in the lights, albeit outside the city centre. The metro + tram network is quite efficient and takes you everywhere, including to the top of the castle-hill. And in that area, is also the Czech version of the Eiffel Tower. Having seen the japanese version and also the original, this one didn't have much going for it except for the fact that it is actually possible to climb or descend all the stairs :P. Nearby, however, was this unexpected attack of metallic zombies in an otherwise unremarkable area.

£ If you eat like a local, the food is quite cheap and very very filling. The local aka non-tourist-focused pubs and eateries are quite charming. However, one thing I didn't manage to figure out is whether, after entering a place, you wait to be seated or you just pick an empty table. Oh, and the Czechs do love to announce everywhere that it is around here that the real beer was created ;).

€ And I spotted 'Cafe Coffee Day' outlets and I couldn't convince myself it was the real one. It was quite astounding that I had come across one in Vienna which I later checked online to find that it was their only outlet outside India (apart from Karachi). But Prague too?! Yeah, they apparently recently opened in Prague as well! They need to make me their international ambassador as I seem divinely capable of spotting their outlet hidden in any corner of Europe :P.

# The most fascinating aspect of Prague for me were the small, almost unnoticeable quirks abound everywhere. Like the railings of a very small bridge covered with padlocks with no apparent explanation, or the statue of Churchill in a desolate corner next to the British Consulate, or an Absinth speciality shop playing Pink Floyd very loudly on an otherwise serene and posh looking street.

Oh and if you are harbouring plans of being an unscrupulous ruler or official in Prague, be prepared against defenestration ;).

Monday, January 02, 2012

old year post

2011 was supposed to either a dull year or an year of upheaval ... but as with most such rather extreme predictions, it was neither, but lay somewhere in between. There had to be several cute changes obviously :P. From automatically learning how to eat with chopsticks (as that was the only means of survival there) to starting to cook pasta regularly (no idea why I never tried it before!), to learning to drive and managing to get a driving licence, there have been several step ups. And some step downs as well I suppose which I conveniently don't bother to recollect now :P. In any case, the major highlights maybe listed:

- Finally started writing .... and then stopped ... with the hope of resuming/restarting soon.
- Prepared sincerely and then had to stop ... and was left at a point where all directions seemingly lead nowhere in particular :P.
- Got involved and then somehow stopped .... short-lived fun better than exasperatingly long?
- Got seriously sick again and trying to stop... it's a war to end all wars! ;)

Enough about mythalez, what about the world you ask? Well, 2011 was a year of discontent. In both the political and economic aristocracies. So what about 2012 then, you ask? Don't ask me, ask the Mayans :P