Posted in Extras

Trespassers don’t now acquit yourselves of your crime of invading others privacy.

This is my last and final piece on online privacy. I won’t be doing it again.

What is this nonsense you see online advising others to take social media with a pinch of salt. And undercutting the (kneejerk) reaction or importance allegedly imparted by some of us to social media observances.

Let me make it clear who I consider eligible to save cookies or to study others’ browsing habits. These exemptions are the necessary ones in this digital age.

  • Mainstream media in social media platform
  • Apps such as You tube and those that have our explicit consent
  • Social media news and pages of recreational interests such as holiday homes, restaurants, theatres, public places, historical and architectural wonders, tourist spots, adventure tour companies etc., and other pursuers of hobbies like knitting, bathik for instance.
  • Anyone who sells their wares online
  • Commercial houses like banks, insurance etc.
  • Small and medium size business such as handicrafts, cookery, crockery, textiles and garments etc.
  • Large business houses such a clothing line or label, shoes, furniturewala etc.
  • Performing artistes including actors, singers, dancers, instrumentalists etc who may use social media for furthering their career
  • Visual artists who promote their art via social media such as painters etc.
  • Online games pages such as scrabble, etc.,
  • Authors of books, magazines, journals, consistent bloggers
  • Professionals selling their service via social media such as consultant physicians, astrologists, beauticians, chefs etc.
  • Sports persons and fitness enthusiasts with fan following
  • Institutions such as universities and schools
  • Those in active public life including in politics, social service
  • Genuine causes such as for wildlife, etc., and surveys and polls
  • The retired from all these categories.

In short, anyone making a living or benefiting economically furthering their career or profession or business or trade using social media platform earns the moral and legal right to seek internet traffic stats. NONE OTHER.

Anyone out of this list who is trying to justify prying on others’ privacy in the garb of ‘ethical hacking’ is committing not just a crime, but a horrendous sin. I only hope Karma will take care of you! Who knows in your next janam you will be born a pole dancer in a strip club who sleazy men may vie with each other to finger!!

I shall leave things here.

I am trying not to take social media seriously, who says I am. Its not my fragile sensibility. It is your violation of friends’ privacy. It is shocking realization discovering what social media has reduced some of us to.

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I will cite an instance how this so called ethical hacking can hurt friendship and ruin relationships.

I am vociferous when it comes to expressing my critical views on the Abrahmics here in my BLOG ONLY AND NOWHERE ELSE. I don’t have charitable views on them. My friends groups in India are totally anti-christian and anti-islamic who keep sharing attacking posts in private. Yeah, all this we do behind closed doors only. As much as possible I refrain from posting anti-views even in whatsapp. However I am a defender of Hindu dharma and I am opposed to conversion mafia and terrorism openly and mince no words when it comes to condemning these. All of us friends including me retain respect for non-hindus and we are friendly with them in the real world. We recognize the need for peaceful co-existence and we are aware of our own pitfalls. We never fail to appreciate the good work of non Hindus either and we consider them our friends. This is how I am, we are in the public, in reality. The personality I present to the outside world only must count whereas, any intruder who may chance upon our exchange of views on religion perhaps may end up disliking us. Our friendship can never be the same again. We girls may get judged for what we share in privacy where we bare our hearts. What we stand for in public ceases to exist.

Honestly it reminds me of Vivek’s joke in a Tamil flick where he can hear the ‘mind voice!’

Posted in Extras

The many interpretations for ‘Privacy.’

Last few hours have been major hours for discovery of the many interpretations for a stark simple word ‘privacy’ for me.

Privacy seems to be to too very important to all of us that we think we cannot do without it. Our privacy is also very much vulnerable these days and is threatened. More so is the case of art and artists, if I am to go by the words of a(a) (vocal) artist (as I would like to put it simply). By privacy in this context I understand, what the artist means is the space the creative community from the art world deserves where there can be no jurisdiction or judgment or censorship. Absolutely no infringement in this very little private space of artists which is deemed essential for enabling the creative process.

In broader perspective, to use the artist’s own words, isn’t privacy an experience like none other for all of us? Privacy is also intimacy, discovery, security, happiness and lack of fear and total freedom for me and others. Privacy translates as liberty, dignity and choice for us women who are much exposed here online. We are judged for just being ourselves (behind closed doors) not because we throw the doors open, but because some men forcefully pry our doors open. I wonder how many men out there will be sensitive to how I feel about this very personal matter called my privacy.

Sometimes it angers me, it confuses me, bothers me and finally saddens me, but I come to terms with it all eventually. Like the author-singer avers, privacy has not got anything to with secrecy at all. It is not any place or something physical. Privacy is something soooo sacred, that when you learn it is compromised you feel slighted, stained. How much ever I think of dismissing such thoughts that is how I feel: of being sullied. You feel as if someone has physically touched you. Sometimes it even makes me cry.

Am I extraordinarily sensitive and over re-active or is this normal, the way I feel.

I am glad, I ironically found my voice in the writer-turned-vocalist who precisely put into words what I have been thinking about privacy but could not exactly lay down it all in proper form.

For all my concerns of privacy, I found another verbal attack in social media this morning that justified encroachment of online privacy of others. The new age author (as they all are) termed it his freedom and sense of liberty and he was not answerable to very fragile sensibilities of certain individuals who complained about it (in a different context). After all, these moaners were ‘advertising’ themselves (on online platform) when they could have been quiet not drawing attention. Our guy says he just could not deny himself his dose of adrenaline rush online to which he was entitled to! In short I understand, to maintain our privacy we have to stay offline. What a careless approach to a very sensitive issue.

I am at such a loss of words on learning the various interpretations of something very precious called ‘privacy’ but I thought I would share one more post on it to let know of my stance in the matter. I am not eloquent like these guys: just sharing a piece of my mind here. Finally it is upto the men to do what they please. But they have to remember, India and America are not one and the same. What is readily acceptable in western society cannot pass in sensitive Indian society. Many of us ladies would not even want our families to discover our wild side and we let our hair down only when we are in each other’s company within closed doors wherefrom men are one hundred percent kept away. It is realizing that someone may have access to the key of such an ‘insulated’ iron door that tears us apart.

I am questioning myself of late, so should I cut down my exploits with my buddies because now so many pairs of eyes are watching. Should we ladies stop being ourselves in our whatsapp groups. Should we cease sharing adult content or whatever. Or in other words should we stop being adventurous. Should we snuff out the spark in us, the warmth and glow of which we share with a limited understanding sharing, caring circle. How do we ladies share our stuff with each other. How do we exchange notes. Should we pretend to be who we are not to our own family and friends to maintain our ‘image’ that is so carefully cultivated. After all we were only using Whatsapp and such apps in closed circles. We are very tight and intimate bunch. We are not splashing our pictures and news to all and sundry in social media like Facebook. Limited info we do share in public space, but rest of whatever we do is for our own sweet private viewing pleasure only. I am in fix.

It makes me very anxious at times to just think that the privacy of many of us ladies gets compromised so easily online. Intimate family moments are now under public glare. Girls cannot giggle without the world hearing our guffaws. I may expect the offenders to feel a bit apologetic at least. It won’t serve any purpose but it can make us women feel less guilty about exhibiting ourselves. Whereas one seems to define how privacy is so very important to him and his artiste community, the other is keen on justifying encroachment of online privacy. There seems to be not an iota of regret for invasion of others’ private territory.

Navigating the online space with the knowledge that we are forever open to the scrutiny of men is foreboding. I don’t mind the ladies looking. Some do I know but that doesn’t disconcert me. It is the men who are a big bother. Earlier it used to give me sleepless nights, but nowadays I think ‘what the hell.’

Recently I penned a few brief lines comparing women to volcano and not the usual femme flowers. A girl in the group remarked that she could not imagine the timid me coming out so expressive and fierce. So that is how most who have not discovered me online view me. To them I am that shy, soft flower still. So vulnerable and quiet. Nobody knows of the burning passion within me or the vocal me except for a handful of friends. It takes ages sculpting an image for ourselves that we present to the outer world. Isn’t it a work-in-progress for a lifetime. And it is only matter of minutes for someone insensitive to break it all to smithereens…

Virtual reality is here to stay I know. I have resigned myself to the brutal practicality. I would like to close the post with assertion that MY PRIVACY IS MY PRIVILEGE. None has the legal authority or licence to trespass into my much cherished and protected, intimate and personal and private turf with his so-called ‘right to nonsense.’

Posted in Extras

Hacking Into Others Online Privacy Is Online Pornography As Well

NOOO! Friends hacking friends is NOT Ethical Hacking. Period.

This is an old post of mine penned when I was upset that a friend was browsing through all my online stuff. Hacking. My heart plunged because my online avatar is not the same as what I present as myself to outer world. Something reminded me of this today.

Once you come to know that a friend in very known close circle is keeping tab on you, it hurts you deeply. Because we have this thing called respectability and distance always between even closest friends. I don’t want to add any more word. Once you discover who may be following you, you lose the interest or respect you reserved for the friend.

It suffices to say that I don’t even share my blog with closest people.

Rest is my old post with a couple of sentences edited.

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Nothing is private or personal or sacred in online Dunia. I have not done it, but hacking seems to be sickening pastime for some people. I can understand businesses doing it, but I am totally at loss when it comes to understanding the logic of friends hacking friends.

No ethics, no morals, so how can hacking into someone’s online privacy not be any different from online pornography. It takes on a whole new dimension when people known to you may be reading your private Whatsapp messages, scrolling through your Facebook homepage, scouring your Mail, listening to your Internet calls and in general keep tracking you with cookies or whatever. Remember, these are the very same people we may shake hands with and party with. We go out with them, shop with them, laugh with them, or just hang out with them, or simply have a good time together, and they know all our secrets. That’s the saddest part of all. They think we don’t know, but I just know who is doing it.

STOP is all I can say. I view my conversations with friends and family as most sacred. I hate third parties, even my own blood sibling or closest pal reading my family posts. Most of us prefer Whatsapp over Facebook when it comes to sharing family posts, because we think we can have the privacy and therefore share our most personal and intimate memories with our trusted circle in Whatsapp. But what a cruel joke that the Whatsapp is the first and no.1 casualty when we are hacked. I share dirty jokes with my girl friends and I take this liberty because I think we are insulated within four walls of our privacy. Imagine your friends for whom it is not intended browsing your stuff.

It is mostly those breaching into others’ privacy transcending ethical codes who preach the world about the rights and wrongs. How ironic. I insist, religion is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Whoever uses communal lines for any wrongful justification will mostly have sordid issues like these. I have my strong views when it comes to my race or religion, but i have never ‘preached’ or ‘judged’ people or situations on these grounds.

As a woman I cannot shop for my undies and most personal and basic things online because I doubt whether some prying eyes are watching, intruding into my most private space. Every time I log on to my Bank account and Insurances I feel uneasy that I have online company and I am not alone. Every time I listen to Music, I swipe my Cards, pay my Bills, I know I am spied upon.

The worst thing about hacking especially your friends is that, you may not be aware,  but you become JUDGMENTAL. Something very precious about the friendship is damaged for ever. Casualty of hacking.

I don’t ever want to snoop into others private online life, and most of all into my friends’ affairs. Serious violation of basic ethics. Those who have no qualms about violating online privacy of others especially friends have no locus standi to give opinion on any matter social or political or even philosophical.

I have done many posts on breaching of online privacy by Social Media, Media and Business Houses. Now through this post, I am making  my position clear on what I think about those resorting to eavesdropping on friends’ online privacy. No this is not Ethical Hacking. I and I alone reserve the right to share in public what I want others to know. The post NOT meant for you is NEVER MEANT FOR YOU.

Posted in Extras

यह मेरी प्रेम पत्र पढ़कर…

प्रिय नरेंद्र मोदी जीl धन्यवादl
आपकी मन की बात सुनी थीl बहुत सच्ची बात हैl

आप तमिल लोगों पर कितने प्यार करते हैंl और इस उम्र में तमिल भाषा भी सीकते हैंl तमिल परंपरा पर आप को कितना मर्यादा हैl आपने कहे आपका प्यार कभी दिमिनीश नहीं होगा तमिलों परl हम भी इधर केहने चाहते हैं कि हमको भी आप बहुत पसंद है और हमको आप पर जितना प्यार है की वह प्यार भी कभी दिमिनीश हो नहीं सकताl

मेरी आँखों में आसूं बहती है आपको देखके l आपकी सेंस ऑफ कमिटमेंट मुझे बहुत मूव करता हैl रोज आप बीस घंटे काम करते हैं हमारे लिएl और आप सोते भी नहीं हैंl छुट्टी नहीं लेतेl पार्टी कभी कहीं नहीं बनते हैंl सिर्फ काम, काम, काम पूरा दिन, हर एक रोज, हर एक महीना, हर एक सालl आप अपने के लिए अब तक क्या कमायेl स्वादिष्ट खाना काये? नया घर बनाये थे? स्विस बैंकअकाउंट है आपकाl आप के पास क्या जीl आप के पास हमारे जैसे आम आदमी है जी बसl

आप सौ साल जिए इस देश के लिएl आप हमारे मन में हमेशा हैं और आप के लिए यह पूरा देश प्रार्थना कर रही हैl आप अब तक क्या किया हम जानते हैं और आप बहुत कर चुके हैंl लेकिन अब समय तो अच्छा नहीं हैं किसी के लिए इसलिए किसी का मन नहीं लगता हैl कोविद कारण है और आप भी जानते हैl इस विनाश काल में हम कुछ स्ट्रांग होना चाहिएl आप तो स्ट्रॉन्ग ही हैंl आप पर हम सबको पूरा विश्वास हैl

आप की माँ क्या त्याग किये इस देश के लिएl हमारी नमस्कारम हैं उनकी चरण मेंl आप अपने ख़याल रकनाl आपकी तबियत की चिंता हैl आप की हाल कैसा हैl आप की सफ़ेद दाढ़ी EVR का जैसा हैl आप अच्छे लगते हैं इस रूप मेंl आप की आवाज़ सुनकर में यह पत्र लिख रहीं हूँl पब्लिकेशन के लिए नहींl सिर्फ आप को पता होना है कि आप हर एक दिन मेरी प्रार्थना में हैंl

आप से मिलना हैंl जब आप दोहा आये थे, मुझे शौक थी आपसे मिलने किl लेकिन भीड़ बहुत था. आपको डिस्टर्ब करना मै ने नहीं चाहती थीl दूसरा भार चेन्नई में देखूंl God willing. टेक केर जी और धन्यवाद आप की तमिल बात के लिएl

यह पत्र मै ने आप के लिए हिंदी में लिखी थीl किसी के मदद के बिनाl (सिर्फ गूगल ट्रांसलेट प्रयोगकी l मेरी ग़लत भाषा को क्षमा कीजियेl ) नमस्कार जीl

Posted in Extras

May your rich life spill over into your writing pages…

I do not know about others, but I make sure I don’t read other bloggers so that my ideas stay fresh and original and do not get influenced even inadvertently by their thinking ways. In other words, I do not want to mimic anyone or borrow words.

I started blogging amateurish during my Malaysian days. I didn’t know what it was and I could perhaps be one of India’s earliest bloggers who knows! India Times had a blogging portal in 1999 and it was then that my blogging journey began. My first reader was a young Pakistani. We met in an online chat room and I gave him the link to read me up. For me this was a life changing experience. I was interacting with someone who was from an enemy terrain, who was opposite sex (even if he was younger) and i was letting someone read my thoughts! First it was overwhelming but I trusted my first reader because I found him extremely decent. In fact I adopted him as my younger bro!

I blogged mostly what came to my mind then, consisting a series of new posts and my brief comments on them, nothing more. Blogging space used to limited in those days. Hardly a page was allowed for each post. Plus, my writing was still like a school composition.

Through this Paki friend of mine (with whom I quarreled over Kashmir (!)) I got interest in their media. It is here that I discovered my blogging Guru (!) so to speak of. My interest in blogging grew in leap and bounds because, I found someone writing from his heart. I also found that the blogger who stroked my interest in writing was arrogant to the core, rogue, rascal of first order and rowdy but highly intelligent and versatile. Beneath the veneer, I suspected a kind soul, a big heart. I thought I liked his style. He is the only blogger or columnist I read up regular until today. He has such a profound influence on my thought process. I guess I inherited even my rambling style from him!!! For years I read his blog posts based on his personal experiences and life that gave his words a legitimate touch. A rebel in everyway, first I was intimidated but gradually I came to appreciate his way of life and ideals. Coming from a terrorist country under military command, I was aware, he had to stick to boundaries. Nevertheless, I found his sarcastic and satirical pieces a very intelligent representation of his deepest thoughts and dismays. In last few years, the columnist has evolved into a researcher and author, but if you ask me, I like his past avatar the best over this his present sobered down self. That was what inspired me even if he was a lot repetitive in those days. I picked up my books based on his recommendations. There was a hitch: how do you tell anyone your mind guru was a Pakistani!! My husband noticed me reading him and said, I must log out! I tried telling my friends about him and they said, he must be a spy! Simply nobody liked the fact that I read a Pakistani journalist-author! Most were scared and the rest thought very lowly of the country. This is the first time I am writing about him openly in my blog. What a fine taste in everything, what a sense of humour, what a well camouflaged aching for the way things turned out, that was masked in satire and sarcasm. You can be an author/columnist/blogger, in short a journalist, easily in India. But to be one like him in his country needs utmost courage. I drew my own courage to write on sensitive subjects from my Maanaseega Guru. I have read his first book as well. Rambling as usual nevertheless, I loved it. I am touched by his life experiences that have molded him into the kind of guy he is today. I like his brand of music. Sense of dressing everything. Deepest respects and admiration here for my Guru, from a middle-age housewife from India whose thought process he has influenced. Charming. Of course, now he is watered down version of how he used to be. Currently my guru writes a lot on international media and on international news having well read the foreign publications and journals and research works, but in my memory are his cricket stories, jail protests, college days, campus politics etc. His India stories piqued my interest as well and mostly my comments to him were kind of like, ‘bast**d’ or ‘rascal’!

(My guru may have no idea he is my inspiration. May not even be aware of my existence in the first place).

After dwelling on my ideal blogger/columnist’s pieces for over ten years, I decided that I had to be honest like him in my writing and it is okay to draw from my life experiences. After all I have no secret to hide and I am nobody important. It is fine if I disclose certain personal things because they lend my blog an element of authenticity. Also in very different ways from his, my life is also conditioned by unique experiences. I thought these can be told without harm to a limited audience. I decided that I would never invite audience to my blog. Whoever comes here is an accidental visitor. Most return!

Today I find some of my friends blogging. They are excellent nostalgic bloggers/writers and I hope and wish they drink from the fountain of life too before they set out on their intended course.

Ahead lies this journey, a very interesting one full of vivid scenes and encounters that can be felt only by the mind. I am following such a road and I am enjoying this walk with my co-travelers. My life I feel is rich because of their intelligent and interesting company.

Most of us here are keyboard warriors quite like some armchair intellectuals out there. But the rewards we reap by way of hearty contentment is immense. You feel a sense of purpose. You feel a fulfillment.

At least this is my personal experience. Grateful to all who make this adventure of mine worthwhile.

No, absolutely no idea of going professional or public. Happy as I am. Amateurish. Appreciative of the handful select audience.

Posted in Extras

Social Media Etiquette …

Social media manners and ethics we need to adhere to, To my feeble knowledge :

  • First of all whether it is Instagram or Facebook, please DO NOT photobomb!!! One or two pictures will do. Once a while a batch of pictures when you go on tour will be fine. Even a series of tour albums must be fine if and when you hop from place to place. But no recollection and reposting of memories please unless they’re very special!
  • Do not talk too much about your kids’ success. Some over there aren’t even parents and may not become parents. And many of those parents out there may not have brightest kids like yours! One of the most sensitive issues is the kids stories parents post in social media. You can share the graduation picture, an instrumental recital or a competition prize or sports award for instance. Anything more than that like detailed academic achievements, contest/match wins etc., are irrelevant. I am surprised at kids who allow their parents to post their scuba diving and mountain trek pictures.
  • We all love our spouses, kids, who says no. Too many family pictures not welcome. How many broken families we have in our midst. Once a while cute family pics will look great!
  • Party pics once a while fine. Shopping pictures rarely. Outing with friends is something most can identify with. Must be okay in moderation.
  • Restaurant/eating out pics in moderation (preferably with friends)
  • Black & white or old family albums fine. Childhood/old wedding pics/school day pics win hearts.
  • Family weddings/birthday celebrations/anniversaries are fine without having to splash/photobomb. Moderation is the word.
  • Fitness routines must be double okay! We all love to hear the extra push you give.
  • Foodies most welcome to share mouthwatering recipes and pics!
  • Cute animal/babies stuff super duper okay!
  • Flowers/wildlife/anything beautiful and creative are like a breather.
  • Music and dance are appealing.
  • Let others tell their stories too. We can always host a private blog where we can detail our personal experiences. Let not social media become vehicles for our personal victory display. Or we can load everything to Google photos or similar platform and share link.
  • Politics can be minimal without inciting hatred. The purpose for being in social media is to connect with people, not disconnect. Again, all of us post sensitive political matters but let us make sure we do not infringe on anyone’s self-respect or dignity when we post anything online. This unwritten rule applies to me as well. One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. World goes around on this principle.
  • Religion is fine but inciting hatred with religious stuff is not tolerable. Once a while even I enjoy reading verses from the Bible or the Koran so I hope even our Bhagwad Gita and other quotes and temple views will be tolerated in the same vein. Social media that way can be a great place to soak up on others’ culture. While we have every right to wear the badge of our faith on our social media sleeve, we do not have a right to express opinion on others. We have to stick to our guns, that’s all. We have no business with others. As simple as that.
  • Do not share cruelty pictures/rape stories/death and destruction/bloodbath videos or anything that has to do with violence or despair in social media. I find this extremely disturbing. I may write a thousand stories on this in my personal blog but even hearing a word such as rape from a male even in social media can be very upsetting to me. I do think my friends have a similar mindset. I don’t understand this psychology either.
  • Stay off super sensitive issues concerning safety and security of people or nations.
  • Stay off taboo subjects. Not all have appetite for this kind of info.
  • Do not provoke any individual/community via social media and contribute to escalating tension in a peaceful society. Harmony in an inter-dependent society more important than your stupid nonsense and arrogance.
  • Do not discuss controversial issues social/political/economic. A light sarcastic post must do. In-depth analysis is for mass media, not social media
  • Social media educated are the dumbest asses. Let us keep that in mind.
  • Do not post personal details for your own security.
  • Do not discuss your health in social media.
  • Do not vent in social media your anger, frustration, jealousy etc. This is not where we seek justice.
  • Do not share your sob stories with your social media friends. First of all they may have no clue. Secondly this is not a burden that they must share. Thirdly they do not know the other side. Finally who cares. So stop making a fool of yourself.
  • Do not preach too much by way of messages/quotes. One or two wisecracks are fine.
  • Small celebrations like a promotion in professional life can be shared in social media safely without inviting envy.
  • Little perks such a new automobile or an Apple phone can call for a social media celeb, no problem.
  • Daily civic issues of your corporation, village road, metro rail, water supply, power cable issue – all these can be dealt at Whatsapp group level. No need to discuss these trivial non-issue matters in social media as most of your buddies will have be having nothing to do with your local problems. There is no need to forcefully educate them on what is happening in your front.
  • Most importantly, when you read a book, please do not publish the story in Facebook the next day when you finish! When you watch a picture in TV/Netflix/Prime/Cinemas, please do not write a review in the Facebook. Reserve that to your blogpost where not every social media buddy of yours makes it a point to stop. This one single ethic that we may have/practice can go on to tell a lot on our character.
  • Unless yours is a business account, try not to sell Amway or LIC policies!
  • Sharing social causes is fine.
  • Share inspiring stories.
  • Share fun stories and games and puzzles.
  • Share positive stories and avoid negative vibes.
  • Do not tag someone without their permission.
  • Do not include pictures of others’ family or home without their permission.
  • It takes nothing not to hurt someone in social media, not to dent others’ pride. Let proud people stay proud.
  • Do not get into arguments with friends in social media. It is not worth it. I have done that mistake but I am wary of repeating it in future.
  • Most of us use social media for diversion mainly. We come here to relax, not to get worked up. Please let us all remember that.
  • Complement others generously. Be a giver not always a taker. It costs nothing to put a smile on someone’s face.

I am not sure if I adhere to these unwritten social media rules myself but I try to follow as much as I can.

Posted in Extras

Art never stops from evolving

From the limited art I am exposed to, I guess art never stops evolving.

In Dan Brown’s ‘Origin’ precisely we come across museums of such an unimaginable plane.

After viewing art in 3D, 4D etc., here in Doha at international art exhibitions, I think I can come to accept that art keeps evolving the way we may like it or not. Most Indians I have met do have an issue with this idea. Art to them has to be at a standstill. Necessarily two dimensional. They aren’t even willing to explore further possibilities, anything out of the canvas. This is their comfort zone. (Like they have fixed ideas about everything including our caste system. Just cannot grow out of it. So that’s why we stagnate).

I owe my little and negligible interest in art to my hubby who is an amateur artist. He mostly only sketches, or does water colours (his best) or acrylic. Through him I got exposed to mixed media art and art of different forms. Finger art, Calligraphy, Collage, Charcoal just to name a few. I never knew calligraphy could be so beautiful! Although I cannot understand the arabic in this form of art (we get to see only arabic calligraphy here), I seem to somehow transcend the distance and peek into the artist’s mind. Mostly from war torn nations of the world, the works would appear a silent scream to me. Especially calligraphy. Without deciphering a single word I could hear the plea or desperation. Such is the power of art. I think the alphabets of the arabic language are also well suited and naturally inclined/adaptable for this form of art. From questioning the purpose of the art I started appreciating art with time.

The MF Hussein one was a good one. Contrary to what was alleged by Indian media, in spite of the Hindu God depiction or representation in whatever way, I could only appreciate the genius unquestioningly, never doubting the artist’s intentions. Apparently this man adored Hindu Goddesses, no other way I could see it. His reverence is what led to the art. We saw whatever remained after destruction of the rest in India. I think this is a priceless lifetime experience of mine which cannot ever be had in India.

In one art exhibition, only the sound of a fountain was the art. You have to have a very keen ear. You have to pick up the rhythm. How the fountain is designed to generate a specific kind of musical (not really musical although it did seem to have a beat of sort) pitter patter is what is perceived to be art. In the journey to the fountain, the water races through some exposed plumbing works which all define the final output. Please do not compare this with the Dubai Mall fountain even if I have to agree, even that synchronization is sort of art with its mechanical effects.

Coming to terms with this kind of totally different dimension of art with sound etc., first was baffling to my simple mind. Breaking the jinx about the 2D art that we normally suppose art to be was not easy. Once we are free of these trappings, I guess we can enjoy any art better.

My hubby was also as a scrap artist and kolam artist (!) in his univ days so I have heard about this kind of art a 1000 times. The best scrap art exhibit is here executed by an Indian artist Prabodh Gupta.

Photography exhibition: This is good as well but I savour conventional art over photo expos.

Everything practically counts as art. Music, or for that matter any sound as I just said, anything arranged with an idea is art.

I am truly missing art from my life now. Otherwise here in Doha almost every week we go to art exhibitions and galleries that are open for free to the public. First i was not that much into art. But now i very much look forward to it. I view art as kind of meditation!

We spent hours in Paris, Florence and Rome looking at art. Staggering old world art. Exploring museums after museums. Fascinating insight into the medieval world. Unbelievable. Almost as if you are on time-machine transported to another world! I wished I learnt my world history proper!

I do like the contemporary one as well for the difference it makes to traditional art as we may come to view in museums. Cherish the Picasso moments here in Doha. The master is believed to be behind the modern art scene and he had his share of critics. At least thrice we were there to have our fill of artistic satisfaction. God’s gift so far as I see it. We won’t be getting another chance like this because, to view this batch of work, you will have to shell out hefty fee in any other part of the world.

I do like the contemporary artists as well. Encouraging them is important Have met dozens of nationalities that way who exhibit outstanding works. Some were already fetching great prices. The younger artists have a completely different perception of ideas and objects. They are not like the old masters. Refreshingly new thought process.

One art exhibition that we visited was that of paint spray work on corrugated sheets in steel (abstract art). Some were folded, some straight, some arranged in patterns like pleats… This meant welding and heat treatment to the artist’s perceptions. Mere transporting the bulky frames in pick-ups was a big headache for the artist who probably invented this kind of art! He was a regular professional who slowly came to discover this art form on his own, trying out his hand over a range of media. He perfected this one even if it was way too expensive and cumbersome and space consuming. Setting up the gallery can be a daunting task. Each piece weighed like a ton and was of huge dimensions! But what a work the artist created. What a mindset. What a creativity. That kind of illusions have to be seen to be believed. I understood, the spray had to be done at controlled temperature etc. Nothing was effortless. The artist was doing great because his art neatly fit into boutique hotels, office lounges etc. We were talking to the artist and he said, he struggled for two decades to convince anyone that this was art indeed. The same galleries that shunned him were now inviting him and clients were buying him out for whatever he quoted.

So why be shy of inventing your own art. What you make is art. Or whatever you make constitutes art.

Because of viewing art in different formats, I am now able to accept music in different genres as well. Music in English language has been an aversion for years now. In teens perhaps enjoyed a little. India is a place full of music. There is a lot to listen to. My first choice is always devotional for morning hours. Then classical Carnatic. After watching ‘The Disciple’ I feel guilty expecting the carnatic vocalists to do the bhakthi ghaana! Never thought about it in this angle. Of course there is always the filmy stuff for light music to ease stress.

More music is emerging. Initially I was not sure about the Carnatic renditions of Ashoka’s edicts or Tamil Kritis of contemporary times. I tell myself now, when I can come to accept art multi-dimensional, why cannot I view music in the same light. Art has not been reduced by the different dimensions it is growing by. Change is inevitable. Fresh blood has to be infused at some point or the regular fare will start sounding stale will time. The classical component will not lose it sheen with the introduction of some new aspects. I think the carnatic can absorb everything and grow from here. This mindset is possible for me because of my exposure to evolving art. I don’t think my fellow Indian citizens can ever think like me. I am not an expert by any means either in art or music. Just a thought…

If Thyagaraja and Dikshikthar were first generation, then Papanasam Sivan and Bharathi come in the next. Who is going to represent the present age in Carnatic world. I’ve thought about it. There is definitely a void. Anything or anyone from after 1970s. We in India always talk about our pazham perumai. Indhiyaavin pazham perumai. Like our ancient temples. Brahadeshwar is over 1000 years old, Kailasa from millennia before, dear Hindus, what do you have to show for this age. What landmark. What fresh creation. (Talking too muchaaah? 😀 Innum konjam vishayam therinja enna pudikkave mudiyadhu!)

Who is a rebel. Anyone with ideas going against the grain of fundamental framework may be labelled one, is it not. What happened to Galileo when he said earth revolved around the sun. Sometimes the time lapse for realization can be pretty long but will eventually serve its purpose. The audience have to mature psychologically, emotionally. Must have an open mind to accept fresh ideas and be sportive to receive and process conflicting theories. In any case, if an art form or music is to be viewed critically, it means a runaway success in my dictionary atleast 😀

As for art, nothing must go free either. Once my hubby was approached by a Brit to do a manual of sketches. He happily agreed because it was like his first (and probably only) professional assignment. He never expected a check but he was paid well for his work. When he refused, his client said that art must never go free and that even if amateur, my husband should charge something so that others would come to know that even that little art they cannot produce on their own. That it needed to be bought over for a price for consumption. After this encounter, we both are pretty convinced that charging for art is reasonable and justified. For professionals this is livelihood.

Art also gives you a great insight into the artist’s mind as I have seen. In middle-east, the visual art form is the only art encouraged. As performing art is not viewed favourably, the total focus is on visual art. This may be the reason I always find art from this region to be the best over our Indian. Some frames I have seen have been from wall to wall. Floor to floor. Staggering array of emotions packed into art. Whatever is repressed finds an expression into art… like way of screams, challenges, bold stances, supplication, surrender etc. Could such an art also serve to be a page from the book of world history? I hope so. Perhaps unwritten, undocumented sadly.

I have viewed some Indian works but mostly find them trivial as far as content is concerned (!) Necessity is the mother of invention, and perhaps this is the reason our local artists may not be that very explorative. When freedom of expression is restricted, then it finds a way in some in solid art forms. However my hubby refutes my statement and says, I haven’t seen much of Indian art and I am talking about something that I have no knowledge about, which is also true.

Inventiveness is the formula to succeed. We fail to invent, we stop with our growth. That much I know! No need to look for acceptance anywhere which will come with time. Audience keep changing. Art is constant. Oh, Art is evolving all the time! What may not be palatable to one gen can turn out to be a feast to the next.

The society or art that cannot unlearn and relearn stops growing. All said, I am a mere connoisseur of art and music! Grateful as a layman, for even this little exposure into this beautiful world that brings so much of peace and happiness to humanity. With even a little more art or music knowledge, I would be having a better perspective of both. Would like to underscore the importance of imparting art and music lessons to kids at an younger age so that they can live life to fullest.

Science for Art’s sake always, not vice versa.

Let’s enjoy anything and everything. Nothing is taboo. No holds barred.

Posted in Extras

A Very Happy, Healthy & Prosperous 2021!

Sounds cliched? But this is the most sincere heartfelt wish of all of us as we leave the wretched 2020 behind, is it not. Personally for me 2020 is a mixed bag. Life is giving me double promotion in 2020-21 that I hardly dreamt of. Mother Goddess knows the perfect timing. Who am I to decide on anything. And what a universal truth this is. 2020 was a time for reckoning for us humanity. To pause, take stock and rework our ways, hurting less nature & ecology – wildlife and forests and mountains and oceans and skies. A time to realize, we need not have to be materialistic always and lose sight of all that is truly intrinsically beautiful and omnipresent around us. Our parents and grandparents were no fools to put family first. I am seeing a lot of people tamed, humbled by 2020 that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Life overwhelms me as well. Priorities get rejigged, outlook changes and age mellows one and all. Those of us who have witnessed 2020 in our lifetimes will sense a definite impact throughout our lives and one day we will be narrating this story to our grand children and great grandchildren. Like the tsunami, pandemics are prone only once a century as we now learn. Hopefully and mercifully!

Looking forward to a fun-filled 2021 when we can recompense for the loss of 2020, with family and friends with much more merrymaking and living life to the fullest!

Posted in Extras

Please someone send me hot hot samosas, bhajis, filter coffee & masala chai NOW!

(at this moment greatest relief is that, idli batter is fully stocked in fridge, and all podis such as paruppu podi, karuveppilai podi and all thokkus such as tomato thokku are ready with vathal/appalam in tins. Rice & atta in good reserve, all dals there. Coffee, tea there. Channa etc., there. Broken coconuts half a dozen in freezer. Dry red chili, tamarind there. Even if lockdown is announced right now, can survive without milk for a month hahaha!)

After many years, Chennai is blessed bountifully with both the South West Monsoons (July-Sep) and North East Monsoons (Oct-Dec), because we are having this continuous wet spell right from August first week. There has not been a day when it has not rained since, that it reminds me of typical ‘kaar kaalam’ we used to have in our childhood when Monsoons did not necessarily mean cyclonic storms. Months of monsoons is happening now only once in a couple of years of more, never every year as it used to once upon a time…

Monsoons meant hot spicy bajjis and bondas and rounds and rounds of filter coffee and masala chai. From granny’s kitchen, that came steaming right from the stove nonstop. However, now to realize that you are expected to supply all this to your family in the rains is tooooooo muchhhhhhhh….! Never be born a woman!

I am tired, bored! Please just courier me hot plates of samosas with pudina chutney, onion bhajjis with sambhar and coconut chutney, strong hot & steaming filter coffee and also masala chai that i will finish my evening tiffin with!

Even Swiggy & Dunzo not working !!!

Braving your MIL and telling her in face that only Paruppu Podi saadham on menu today is not easy! Managed that! Still had to fry the papads and roast Seppam kizhangu! Also make dosa and coconut chutney! Absolutely didn’t feel like getting up from my bed this morning when it was pouring cats and dogs … but thinking of the souls waiting hungrily for your food got me reluctantly out of my comfy bed… puja is there then… Just finished the lunch assignment!

Before being summoned for next round in kitchen, let me take a break! Already working out in mind, what to do for dinner and for tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch!!! Thankfully, oily bhajji ruled out by family otherwise I must be now deepfrying Vaazhaikkai bhajji in this rain!!! Tv also taken over by MIL and the kids!

Btw, love the monsoons! 60 hours of nonstop rains is in very distant memory now. Last had it may be in 2015 when I was in Doha, so I completely missed it.

For Varada cyclone, i was returning via Dubai. In Dubai my flight got suspended and I had to spend over 12 hours at DxB but the airport is very good there. I was offered hotel accommodation but I wanted to reach Chennai fastest. Opted to stay in the airport. Slept sitting in waiting lounge. Restrooms were fine and unlimited supply of snacks provided, so I was saved. I comfortably chose a spot near the charging point.

Reached Chennai around midnight then. Neither me nor my hubby could reach anyone via phone in Chennai. Four days earlier, I called my regular cab fellow and told him about my arrival that was to have been the previous day. I walked out of the airport and couldn’t spot a taxi. Landlines alone were functioning but a long queue. My house was locked and I didn’t know where to go in the midnight. Unsure, I trolleyed my baggage to outside airport. Lo and behold, my regular cabbie waved to me, looking tired and spent! He told me, he was checking every flight they allowed after Varada after I called. I was not taking a straight flight. I flew in via DxB but I was alert enough to put in a word to him. His phone was down, he could not talk to my folks, he could not talk to my hubby or me, but he parked near Nanganallur and returned to airport for every flight landing in Meenambakkam. That is how he spotted me. His thorough professionalism and also humanity really amazes me even now.

Four days earlier I had also alerted my MIL, after which I could not reach my people via phone. She had taken cue and had arrived a day early in the storm keeping the gate open for me. She was there to open my door when I rang the bed in unearthly hours. There was no way I could call her in advance. Quite an adventure!

All the way I could spot the havoc wrecked by Varada just the previous day. Every standing tree in Chennai was down. Many roads blocked. My cabbie cleverly maneuvered his car avoiding flooded streets and those blocked with fallen trees.

I missed the 2015 flooding of Chennai but I did get to see the immediate after-effects of cyclone Varada in 2017. That was also to be the last time I flew in and out via Dubai. Soon UAE closed their doors to Qatar residents. Earlier I used to routinely switch flights in Dubai or Sharjah or Bahrain because their airlines were cheap and best. Now switching flights only in Colombo or opting for straight flight, whatever the ticket price. Hopefully with Biden, the situation in Middle East also gets resolved. Unnecessary travel hassles to third party NRIs. I miss switching flights in DxB. Facilitywise it is best. In very few airports you can last 12 to 18 hours nibbling on burgers and chips. I had my laptop, phone charger, cell phone, and the knowledge that their restrooms are clean gave me peace. We women have to factor in a lot of things. Doha airport is one level up now. We have the best, best in the league. I miss being there. How I wish my country can ensure this level of comfort to all air passengers.

Btw, i could have postponed my air travel, but the concerned airlines that I do not want to name, gave me false assurance that flights operated normally in Chennai then. They were eager to dump passengers and avoid cancellations, as I realized later. I wanted to rebook but they said onward flights were on. They weren’t bothered that I would be stranded in DxB for more than 12 hours in midnight. My fellow passengers shared a similar fate.

Flying in this weather… omg… Imagine being stranded in Colombo or Meenambakkam or even any of our local airports!!! Finished!

What I hate about men: Even in Doha or wherever, whenever we return from somewhere including shopping or walking or a tour, always trust your hubby to fix him his chai or coffee first!!! Just hate men for their insensitivity! And there they curl up to go back to sleep whereas you load the washing machine and start the next round of cooking because, after all you’ve been eating restaurant food for days when you were on holiday! And being a woman, you just can’t go to sleep without a care in the world as men do! I can’t! Unless I guess some semblance is restored in the house and the suitcases are unpacked I can’t sleep in peace just like that!

Posted in Extras

Men And This Green Eyed Monster!

I wrote this piece originally on June 16, 2014. Reproducing without much edits. Lots could have changed since then. All said, male jealousy is cute! Luving it!

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Men and this Green-eyed Monster Ugh!

June 16, 2014

On a lighter vein, I want to blog about the typical Indian husband who feels utterly jealous about every man who enters his wife’s sphere of imagination in some way or other.  The object of our fancy could be anything ranging from movie stars to sports person. Good looking guys who seem fit in middle-age with no pot-bellies or receding hairline are No.1 sworn enemies. Our men just can’t stand the most successful crop of their generation even if it could be the very Barrack Obama!  Male envy is horrible tangential truth!

My husband calls me in day time everyday if we are in 2 different parts of the world.  I was seriously watching ‘Chennai Express’ in tv the day before I left for Doha, enjoying the song ‘Kashmir tu, main Kanyakumari!’  Annoyed that I was disturbed midway through, I asked him to call back after 2 hours when the picture would be over because I was savouring every single minute of SRK in dhoti in Tamil turf – a veritable feast to my eyes.

Irritated my hubby shot back, ‘you will never reform. so why don’t you elope with SRK!’ and I replied ‘wish I could!  if only Gauri permits!’  21 years now into marriage and here we are back at square one .

 TOM & JERRY! (Never mind I have grown out of the SRK phase by now, hubby is still stuck in the 90s).

Arvind Swamy, the ever-green anti-hero: Reminds me when in the year 2002 or so, we stopped at an ATM to withdraw.  Hubby was at the wheel and i went into the kiosk alone.  In the next machine stood the macho Arvind Swamy, the local hero, and hero of films like ‘Roja’ and ‘Bombay’ – also dubbed into Hindi.  It was sure nothing to Mr. Swamy but it was all butterflies in the stomach for me.  I stammered for speech, had nothing to get his autograph in, in fact i did not even smile.  But the actor gave me a big smile and waved ‘hi’ – and i responded belatedly nodding my head.  We stood for a minute staring at each other, myself still not coming to senses having seen my dream hero of early 1990s in such a close -up.  He was starting to age, in his early 30s just like me, (same age as me or perhaps a year or 2 older I think).  He had gained weight slightly, looked more mature, his cheeks were flushed and he looked even more handsome in person than in celluloid screen.

In 2002 I guess all of us were a lot younger, and me still naive somewhat!  There was still this school-girlish side of mine that emerged out every now and then!  And more over I never ever met with a celebrity in real life – and Arvind Swamy is actually the one and only star or Page 3 guy I have seen anywhere from close quarters (up until now this is true).  Naturally I remember the ATM thing to this day – whereas for Swamy – i think he will be shocked into coma if he comes to know that a 40+ woman who is his fan since her college days is still besotted with him LOL this way!

Getting back to the car all through the drive I kept rambling about the handsome movie star with whom I shared under 1 minute private space in an ATM kiosk.  Hubby and son got irritated.  Hubby said a guy who sang songs and danced around the trees with women could never be man enough.  I ridiculed that and argued Swamy was an industrialist in the city, doing extremely well, and acting was his passion. I was awed totally that day and called my friends and relatives to share the exciting news with them!  All the while my hubby kept reminding me, my hero would have forgotten my plain jane face the moment he stepped out of the ATM, I was one drop in a billion who never mattered to him, how his list of girl friends could be a very long and impressive one, and all that blah blah- while here I was fawning all about Arvind as if I was a teenager.  My H did ask me before we married which actor I liked most and I remember telling him ‘Arvind Swamy’ who was at the peak of his acting career then. Ever since Swamy became like his arch rival.

Not that I am celebrity-crazy either.  I guess this was a one-off incident for me, because one of my fondest memories is that of going to ‘Roja’ (original Tamil version) in the cinemas with my school girls – right on Jan 18, 1993, a few months before my marriage.  It was like a girl-equivalent of bachelor’s party – on a friend’s wedding day.  I did not even know that my hubby existed then just a few km away from my home – who I met in March and married by June (arranged match).  We girls – some 20 of us, brought down the roof of the cinemas every time Arvind came on the screen with our whistles and hoots hahaha! That was also ARR’s first muscial score in Tamil cinema – the picture was dubbed into Hindi as well by director Mani Rathnam.  So Arvind was like our dream hero.

During our brief engagement period, my would be-hubby wanted to take me to pictures.  ‘Which one?’ he asked and I opted for a Tamil remake of ‘Arth’ in which again the hero was Arvind Swamy. ‘But it is a divorce theme!’ You seriously like this fellow Arvind Swamy?!’ asked my fiance’ in an incredulous tone.  Until now he keeps rambling to my son how stupid and arrogant I was that I took him to a divorce-subject picture, our very first one together, only because I was smitten with this Swamy guy!

Sometime back hubby mailed me a picture of my one-time heart throb – the same Arvind Swamy in his latest avatar:  bald, obese and looking visibly tired and aged. ‘Your handsome hero looks like slob’ was the comment. ‘You know he is also divorced?! single and lonely, want to try?’

So I am resigned to this fate now: never will my H forgive or forget Arvind and I have to live with that the rest of my life.

Son does not lag behind his father in this matter.  I made the mistake of telling my son how I was crazy crazy about George Michael when I was in class 11 & 12 (1984-86). For his share, son supplied the news from internet how George Michael is totally a failure case presently, arrested for possession of drugs and is a complete junk.  He made sure I saw the picture of my teenage poster boy in present times – and shared the info with his father online.  Father & son cheered how one by one, all the men I adored in life were fast falling from the high pedestals where I held them.”She likes this kinda men’ was hubby’s comment  (in fact this has become something like his rhetoric in last few years).

Hubby can’t stand SRK either because I also made another terrible mistake of telling him when we were newly married that I was crazy about Shahrukh Khan right from my school days when the hindi serial ‘Fauji’ was first telecast.  After we married, the serial ‘Circus’ was on tv and there was SRK again – and I showed him to my husband ‘see this is the guy who i was always searching for!  he was missing in action for years, but he is back now in tv screen, soon he will be a big hero, something tells me!’

Just like I predicted, SRK went on to become No.1 star in bollywood in the following years.  My hubby never forgives him for that hahaha! ‘Still he is a is a bisexual!’ he maintains, telling me how actors paint their faces and wear lipstick and rouge!!! Anything to put me off and wean me away from SRK!

So hubby had to really reel under double-pronged attack of SRK and Arvind Swamy from 1993-96.  In this period the picture ‘Bombay’ was released both in Hindi & Tamil, another of Mani Rathnam’s social movies.  ‘Tu hi re’ is my No.1 favourite song until now although I always love the original Tamil version the best.  Until this day, this one has the effect of stopping me in my tracks:

To make matters worst, AR Rahman scored the music for the picture. Finished. The 3 guys are No.1, 2 and 3 adversaries of my man respectively- for the only reason I love them. All of them are born between 1964-1968, same age as us both (me & H).

Our fight gets too much with A R Rahman, the music composer who is also a local guy.  Rahman’s meteoric rise to fame is well known.  An ardent Ilaya Raja fan, my hubby still maintains he hates Rahman – only because i insist i simply love him! Secretly I am sure, he admires Rahman’s music although would never admit it to me. Other chief reason to hate Rahman: that he attended PSBB! (Son calls him PSBB snob and swears ARR is over-rated – boys from SBOA etc specially have this thing going against PSBB alumni).

Next is my love for cricket players – I used to adore Ravi Shastri in my school days. ‘Not all Ravis are good’ insists hubby adding how Ravi Shastri was a playboy in his heydays.  “Imran Khan and Wasim Akram?”  ‘Imran is too old for you and Akram is type-1 diabetic.  Any woman who cohabits with him and bears his kids will be giving birth to type-1 diabetic kids remember that.  The kids will have to live with insulin injections life long and even the man injects himself day and night’  comes the instant reply – as if I am rooting to marry Akram someday.

My other heroes like Viv Richards, Maradona could be AIDs carriers, who knows! “You don’t know about West Indies, South American guys!’ quips my H. Maradona’s fall from grace is world popular. Really got to give my man an award for villainising my heroes like none else can!

We were talking of Barrack Obama once and I said, ‘see the US president is just a few years older than you!’ and the reply was ‘Obama won with black votes; wait he is already unpopular, won’t get through to second term!’  But Obama did go on to win the second round much to my man’s dismay!

I wonder really what is wrong with Indian men, rather Indian husbands!

I only have to say I like this particular sports person or film star – my hubby gives me enough reasons to believe the hero i adore is mere crap!

I suppose it is okay for our husbands to like filmy heroines and other popular woman personalities.  We wives have to be generous and broadminded when it comes to them drooling over Maria Sharapova or Bipasha Basu’s anatomy. ‘Don’t be that lousy jealous wife!’ we get admonished.

My friend says when she was watching Rafael Nadal in tv, her husband told her that Nadal was unattainable hahaha!

Don’t even ask about Richard Gere and Brad Pitt, my other heroes!  Our guys are rating themselves to Hollywood range now!

Hubby even goes to the extent of claiming John Abraham waxes his chest!

Vishwanathan Anand, the 5 time World Chess Champion and a local hero is another natural anti-hero.  Went to the same Loyola college as Arvind Swamy.  ‘Pampered kids!’ is the comment. Especially the Don Bosco school – Loyola College combi guys are hated fiercest!  Both Anand and Arvind fall in the same category. Back in our college days this was a potent combination in guys.  Hubby and bros are all professionals, academic to the core having attended medical and engineering colleges, so they missed out the city fun in 80s in arts and science colleges like ours. Still they know what it used to mean for girls like us in those days. Funny, I attended college the same time as Anand and Arvind, but never remember them from any Inter-collegiate culturals (most of which that I silently attended (entering essay/dumb charades categories with some similar-minded friends) (i believe the engineering colleges used to take the culturals to an all new level where lit-fests were not the highlight but some tech themes were, like assembling a model for instance). I think V.Anand was already starting to make waves as a Chess Grandmaster. As for Arvind, I recall his ‘Nestle’ Sunrise’ coffee ad until today where he first made his appearance in public during his/our college days.

So the school-college combi is very much a flashpoint in our men’s psyche I guess.  Never mind our son is exactly one such product of modern times – the SBOA-SVCE combination which is in engineering circles today as much pedigree as the DB-Loyola pedigree of our times.  I never thought much about it until a friend’s daughter exclaimed, ‘your son is SBOA-SCVE guy?!’

So guys before you hate the ivy-league men, think of your own sons first.  You want it for your sons, but you cannot digest it when it comes to your wives’ crushes who could be ivy-league guys !!! What a typical male Indian hypocrisy.

Btw, latest about Arvind Swamy:  He is a single parent who’s been raising his kid alone, winning the custody battle. As for Anand, he is a disciplinarian to the core, never in gossip coloums, decent family man.

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We girls keep laughing and laughing at the childishness and sense of  insecurity in our men who are nearing 50s now.  (Some friends’ hubbies are already into 50s). What should we do to let them know, how much we have come to love their pot-bellies and salt-and-pepper hair and/or baldness and even the annoying snoring LOL !!! So much so that I keep shocking my MIL by throwing my legs over her in deep sleep when she sometimes sleeps next to me in our bedroom hahaha! So our men are like our well-worn comfy clothes I guess!  Shabby (!) may be hahaha but that we can’t do without either!  The huggable teddy bears!

One of my son’s friend’s mom comes home – a widow, same age as me.  She keeps telling me how much she misses her man, not only emotionally but also physically.  Our men are like our life-habits – like our toothbrush, like our mobiles, like our laptops hahaha. Seriously speaking, SMOKING KILLED 3 OF MY SON’S FRIENDS’ FATHERS IN LAST 1-2 YEARS. The age bracket 45-55 is most vulnerable. 3 of my so-called friends who I happened to regularly meet in school Open Days etc are widows suddenly. The husbands were aged 48, 50 and 52 and died of sudden massive heart attack.  On Fathers’ Day, this is what I want all fathers to think about.  Change your lifestyle, get serious please! Go for Masters check-up every 6 months – which is the best gift you can give your family.

Guys we are not married to John Abrahams or Ambanis – we are married to you, the real, normal men.  We accept you the way you are – and love the way you age – with your eye bags, long sight, police paunch everything:-)  The last thing I would want a middle-aged man to do is to get hair-weaving or a facial done in men’s parlour.  Stay the way you are.  Love the way you are.  And take care of your health. Male Menopause, now is that true?

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Back to the topic:

The latest addition to my hubby’s blacklist is Arvind Kejriwal.  “Anyone your mother favours will lose deposit.  See the Kejriwal joker!’ said hubby to my son on Kejriwal rout in recent elections.  My husband’s fierce hatred for Kejriwal is attributed to one main reason: that he went to IIT !!!  (that is my assumption but he denies it strongly!)

Arnab Goswami is another regular villain in our homes. ‘He must be a decade younger to you’ is the daily dosage of enlightenment I get.  ‘He is getting facial done’ is the next standard comment.  “All housewives love him and can’t go to sleep if they don’t see him on tv by 9’0 clock’ is the third punch line.

Last heard father to son: ‘Your mother you see, never likes the straight ones! They all are crooked! She was right only one time – with me!’

Yes guys, Arvind Swamy is divorced, SRK is bisexual, Wasim Akram married a firangi too soon after losing his first wife …. so ? They will still always be our sweethearts, why don’t you grow up!!

Last week when hubby came home from office, I was watching Pak tv every single day – looking at Karachi airport attack news.  I knew what would be coming forth next.

As expected father and son exchanged glances.  ‘Whole world wouldn’t bother but your mother likes them.  Wonder who is her fancy now!’ said the father. ‘She likes losers’ supplied the son helpfully. Both are now trying to figure out which guy I like in Pakistan tv hahaha. I am keeping them guessing.  No soon than father started, ‘so is she now….’ that son finished with eager relish, ‘an ISI agent?!’

Ever since I am laughing nonstop in the privacy of my bedroom 🙂