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Life at IIMK – an honest account

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God’s own Campus they call it

A long time back I had read an article on life at IIMs. The article had gathered much likes, its content was along the obvious lines – how mba is a total waste of money, how the culture is one that of debauchery, how every graduate is a standardized product, how all people are fake, how there is no real value addition or creation and how the entire management system is a shameful scam (these are not my words). I was quite amused when I read this article, and I had thought that in the coming year I shall write one about the real IIM experience.

Well, here goes.

I have done my graduation from IIT Delhi, and Mathematics and Computing was no piece of cake. Those were mostly tough days, with a few good ones in-between. It is the same with IIMK. There are days when you are on the verge of a nervous breakdown, because there are so many things to do and you must do everything, not doing is not an option, and then there are days when you have all the time in the world and you do not know what to do with it, such times are few but whenever they come they are more than welcome. One of the things I really like about the colleges that I have/am studying is the space and time they provide you with to develop yourself.

IIT was a great experience both study-wise and other-wise.
The IIM experience is better.

You can be who you want to be. You want to study, you study, you want to chill, you chill, you want to learn something new, you can easily learn it, all kinds of facilities are at your disposal, plus there are no random rules to make your life tough – libraries have 24 hours access, hostels do not have an in and out time, professors are more than accommodating to shift classes or (sometimes) delay deadlines and peers help you out when you are in need. Also, there are innumerable opportunities to do so so so many things – you cannot obviously do them all, but you can choose what you want to do, you can choose how you want to grow.

When I began my undergrad, I was telling a very wise man that I am not liking college very much, I am finding it difficult to connect with people, he told me – Preeti, it is not about who you are right now, it is about how you will be 5 years down the line. IIM experience is just about the same, just as most experiences are – it is not about who we entered college as, it is about who we will be once we graduate the next year.

IIMK is a fantastic place. As an institution, it provides for your wholesome growth. Every single day you learn something new, every single day you change. It is not just about academics, or friends, or multitasking, it is about all of those things and a little more. The intensity of everyday life at IIM prepares you for anything, maybe perhaps even disillusions you a bit about expecting a grand adventure, but still.

That is what I love about my college.
This the beginning of the best of times to come.

 

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Honest Movie Reviews – Qarib Qarib Singlle

After landing back in India, one of the first things I read in the Indian Express was that Irrfan Khan’s new movie, Qarib Qarib Singlle was out. It had a 3.5 rating. The newspaper reviewer** had spoken highly about the movie. Between Irrfan’s reputation and the review, I was easily influenced. Little did I know that I had raised my expectations just about enough to question the market dynamics of talent and Bollywood, yet again.

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Watch out for Yogi’s taxi ride

There we were in the theater, my friend and I, under the impression that we were in for a delightful treat for the next 2 hours*. Doing what we do while watching movies – take the liberty to pass judgments on works of art with our limited exposures, experience and knowledge, we began talking about the state of affairs in the industry. We discussed how Piku was a delightful watch, we spoke about how hilarious Hindi Medium was, we talked about how Deepika was starring in a similar role for the third time now, we concurred that Irrfan Khan had a strong screen presence, it is hard to ignore his big eyes.

In this semi-intellectual semi-critic mode of ours, we got ready to “watch” the movie. The movie began on a familiar note, I think Ki and Ka had a similar marriage setting, much like the ending marriage scene of Harry met Sejal. We were then introduced to the lead actress, who I had initially described to my friend as “she is real” when he had asked “is she pretty?

< The tense of this post will change now >

Jaya, our heroine, looks a lot like Sonakshi Sinha. That is neither a good thing nor a bad one. It is just a tad bit confusing – is Sonakshi Sinha in this movie? Has she lost weight again?  The story moves at an ok pace, but there are clear signs that you are in for some bad direction and editing when Jaya does her first close-up talk with the audience. What just happened there, my friend and I wonder, with that first interaction scene. He jokes, terese pooch rahi vo.

I get it, the director was going for that interactive shot with the crowd, remember Kevin Spacey at the Oscars or in House of Cards? Something like that. But neither the dialogues, nor the direction, or the Sonakshi Sinha doppelganger could bring that idea to screen. My friend commented – The vision of this movie is clear. It is a movie about closures. But they really could not implement that beautiful vision.

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India is such a beautiful country

After the interval, we ditched our last row seats and sat in the front so that once the movie was over we could leave the almost empty theatre quickly. I was so exasperated by the unwanted scenes, and shots and comments and dialogues, that weird “high scene”, the failed epiphany moments that I had to google who was this person who made this amateur film and convinced Irrfan to act it. What was Irrfan thinking?

I think the good parts of the movie were the comments my friend and I made. He said – if my future wife leaves me for someone like Yogi(Irrfan), I would be happy for her.

That’s as far as the good parts take us.

Irrfan saved whatever could be salvaged in this decently-thought-but-badly-implemented project. I liked the spirit of his character. I am not pro-recklessness and Yogi was quite reckless but then what the hell no one is perfect. There are some good lessons to be taken back home from Yogi. Like that swag cap he wears.

**After the show was over, walking down the many flights of stairs of PVR Phoenix, my first comment was – this theater is so disabled people friendly. The second comment was – they paid that Indian Express reviewer a lot of money. My friend said – they should have used that money to buy the heroine some clothes, aisa lag raha tha ki apne khud ke kapde leke aa gayi.

*The movie is of 2 hours and 5 minutes. It felt like forever. After tht dreadful “high” scene we realized that – oh shit, still on girlfriend number 2!

P.S. – If you are a Marvel fan, chances are slim that you have yet not watched Thor Ragnarok, but just in case you haven’t do watch it. It is best seen without seeing the trailer.

 

Those things – my wants

I didn’t get the time to tell you, or to hold you, or get there to holding you without any awkwardness. It breaks my heart, not a little but a lot, to see how things have turned out and once upon a time i would try to set them right, but now i know there is no point, in trying or in hoping, because it is how it is, and not much can be done, or should be done, but i still wanted to tell you, maybe one of these days I will, maybe I won’t but I wanted to tell you that I wanted those things with you.

Meeting you for coffee on a rainy day, in a cafe somewhere between our homes. Spending the evening sitting by the sea, looking at the waves, listening to the noise and chaos of the city around us. Talking a walk with you in that park where we met the second time. Watching a movie with you. Having you over, coming over to yours. Going out to bars, birthday celebrations. Fighting sometimes, crazy loving the next. I wanted these things, and a few more. Oh god, i really wanted them with you.

 

Which home do I feel homesick about ?

So how are you liking Sweden? 

I have been asked this question several times the past month. It’s quite fine, I like it, I often respond. It’s true I do. 

But then you know, it doesn’t take me long to like a place. I adapt quickly. Just like I did growing up in those 12 cities. 

Do you miss home, they ask next.

Ah, sigh. I don’t know which home to miss. I miss the winters of Delhi – calmness engulfing quiet grey roads, I miss the sea of Bombay – silent waves under a rainy sky, I miss the noise of Nagpur – carefree laughter without a clue about the future, I miss my room in college – the green view from my window and my bed, I miss the streets of Dubai – oh yes, it gets very hot in Dubai, I miss the struggle of Pune – those long nights of endless studying. 

Very soon perhaps, I will miss the trees of Jonkoping – the sunlit maple ones. 

Scan the bans – #scanthebans

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Hi!

If you are on this page, smart move there – going google on the hashtag – #scanthebans. Like most of you know, this hashtag has spread like wildfire. To know what this is about, stick around. We will let you know soon.

Till then, #scanthebans

The mathematics of life

Don’t try to make life a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal. When you’re good, bad things can still happen. And if you’re bad, you can still be lucky. -The Poisonwood Bible

Completely Brand New

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In those early days of curiosity, when not everything is known, while he sat across her having coffee, he asked,“so, what was he like?”

She looked at him, took off her spectacles and rubbed her eyes. “You know darling, I read a quote a while ago. It said – I know that’s what people say – you’ll get over it. I’d say that too. But I know it’s not true. Oh, you’ll be happy again, never fear. But you won’t forget. Every time you fall in love it will be because something in the man reminds you of him.”

She leaned forward and held his hand.

“I know I have been mean to you, I know I have been distant and sometimes I have been just very cold. And you have been so patient with me, you have been around and I like that you have been around, it is nice and warm and soft and I love that which we have right now, I love that which we are trying to build together.

And I know you care for me, maybe not so much as you will in the future, but right now in your own manner and measure you do. And it is because of this caring that I am asking you to never ask me that question again.

Firstly, because I don’t remember, secondly because I do not want to remember.

I want this what we have between us to be fresh, I want it to be free from any past prints, I want it to be completely brand new. I want to fall in love with you from the beginning, from the start, from the first page.”

What they say and what they don’t

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They say a lot of things you know. They want to make us believe that we are living, that we are existing in the worst of times. That we are all disconnected, masked from reality by the veil of technology. What we read, what we see, what we hear, what we feel is not first hand, it is derivative. They say it is a bad time to be alive in. They say mankind was better before. They say this is how the world is going to end, each one of us so deluded by our own narcissism that we will choose nihilism over meaning.

Like I said, they say a lot of things.

I don’t like what they say, and I refuse to believe that life is a hopeless pursuit of consequence. No. It is not so. The simplicity of the entire affair cannot be missed, be looked over. Everywhere around us, every single time, in every thought, in every action, in every interaction there bubbles that indomitable spirit of significance. You feel it as you go through your daily day shaping your own essence, deriving your purpose, finding your way.

At night, after 24 hours well spent or not, you collapse in your bed aware of the worth of your creation. Or maybe not. Maybe you are too happy just being. That is a good way to go to bed too. Or maybe you are too sad. It didn’t turn out all that well. That’s all right, you know. That’s just probability. It happens some days. It’s fine really.

They don’t tell you all this. They don’t speak about the moments that fill your spirit with beauty, a force so strong that you know anything is possible. They don’t speak about that unadulterated smile, they don’t speak about that true touch, they don’t speak about that candid opinion, they don’t speak about that sincere approach.

They suck.

Don’t listen to them.

Plucked Demons

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Lets catch up in an hour“, he texted one winter afternoon. Maya read the text, smoking in her hangout place, not bathed, not groomed, fresh as a girl can be without any make-up and air-brushing.  “Not now“, she typed back. “Why not?“, he asked. “I am not dressed properly, I don’t look nice“, she said. “I just got a haircut and a shave, I look like a plucked chicken“, came the reply. Maya laughed that winter afternoon and let him summer in her life. Soon he left though taking away her spring with him.

Years later, the other he came. And he made everything seem so easy. He made everything feel so nice. She wouldn’t go far as saying that he had plucked her demons, because she had never really believed in demons, that was just crass dramatization, a cry for attention, but yes Maya would say that he brought with him warmth and softness and light and chocolate bars and rain and he put a smile on her face and she loved this feeling of being in love.

She loved how he made it so easy, how he made everything feel so nice.


In response to today’s DailyPost Prompt

A careful sail

Lovers

It was the start of something new, it was the end of something old.

Two broken-had-been-lovers trying to belong again.

It was beautiful and it was sad.

There were echoes of past stories in their new conversations. Both were happy but neither knew how to feel about this new happiness – to hold it with care or to just glide with it. It was the start of something new. It was the end of something old. 


In response to today’s DailyPost Prompt

The fearless lightness of being

I have a friend with a beautiful name. Maya, she is called. I really like Maya because unlike most people Maya does not understand the concept of fear. Therefore in the most orthodox of the settings in my country she can be herself – calm and composed. Also unlike most other people Maya does not let gender creep into her daily train of thoughts. She thinks without keeping the fact in my mind that she is a woman.

Why should one keep their gender in mind while thinking about things you ask?

That is how it is in my country – if you are a girl you are constantly reminded of it every single time you breathe. That is how it is.

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Maya called me last month. She said – you know something strange happened. I asked her – how was your trip, she was travelling you see, Maya loves to travel. She said – the trip was soul soothing, I was living in the present after such a long time, not once did I look at my phone, I forgot time. We just were. It was a time of extravagant delight. 

I love when she talks like that. It is like heaven on earth, she can make you feel that. I asked – what was the strange thing that happened? 

She said – On the way back, I had to catch a train from one of those really small railway stations, you know the ones from the movies of the ’70s – desolated platforms, poorly built. It was raining, and it wasn’t that big a station, there were just four train tracks and two platforms. Platform number one was well built with seating spaces, platform two was under construction. A white over-bridge connected the two platforms. It was raining lightly, the sky was gray, the station looked washed, I was walking on the bridge dragging my one bag, dressed in a long flowing dress and I thought to myself what a perfect place to smoke. But it was raining, and I couldn’t open my umbrella with all the luggage, so I decided I would get to platform two, find a secluded corner and light one. 

Now then I descend on platform two, there are a few people around, some are staring at me, but I really don’t care, all I want to do is take in this beautiful scene in my head with a smoke, so I walk to the farther end of the station, I walk in the rain to where a father and daughter are sitting. I ask them if it would be a problem if I smoked, the father is just staring at me, the girl, not believing what she just heard, says – yeah, no it will not be a problem. 

So I light my smoke, and I am looking into the distance and I am thinking it can’t get more perfect when these bunch of kids join the father and daughter. There are two boys and two girls and they look at me and start to talk about smoking and I almost roll my eyes. The weather and the setting is too good and I rarely get annoyed, this line of their conversation is not even amusing, it is just cliched, the world is a little like that isn’t it – repetitive in it’s conclusions? 

While she is telling me her story, I can imagine her in a long flowing blue dress on a freshly washed station smoking a cigarette like they are meant to be smoked, just being herself – tall, beautiful, a work of art.

The kids then start discussing about which trips are the best to have – an only boys trip, an only girls trip or a mixed group trip. The girls said all girls trips are fun. This one boy said – all girls trips cannot be fun, too many restrictions come into picture, you cannot visit certain places, you have to get back in early, there is that safety issue. Listening to him, the girls gave a weird look. Listening to him I laughed in my head. I do not know who I felt more bad for – the women who were being brainwashed or this young man who thought in this fearful practical way about the world around us. 

I understand where Maya is going with this. Still, I wait for her to say it –

Darling, she says, people live in so much fear. And they are not even aware of it. Before they can act they are conscious of their sex, of their place in society, of the rules which tell them how to behave, of the constructs which shape their reality. How does one breathe in so much senseless noise? How does one live by decree? 

I cannot live like this, she continues.

You do not live like this, I tell her.

250 Serendipity Repost

250 – Serendipity 

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I always thought no matter what happened I’d always have you. This belief was like an anchor that kept me grounded through every storm. Friends could let me down, boys would come and go, but you’d always be my person.

I don’t know what to think anymore.

I have never felt so loved yet so alone. Life has never been better but I don’t know how to be happy. Everything feels meaningless now. I don’t know what is the point of it all. I don’t know how to love the way I used to. You said it was stupid, the way I allowed myself to be vulnerable. I have tried your version of love, careful calculated passion, turns out I am no good at it. I’ve always been bad at math.

Do you ever wonder how many steps back you’d have to take for life to be the way it should? What if you never went to that party? What if you never kissed that stranger? What if he never crawled into your bed? What if? What if? What if I can’t fix anything? What if I’ve fucked it all up and it’s broken forever? What if? What if?

What if I miss you so much it feels like I’m dying?

I wish we could skip to the ending so I could stop reliving the past, replaying the events of that night over and over in my head, trying to work out where I went wrong. I wish you had called and said happy birthday, and we could pretend for one day that everything was normal again. Then maybe we’d keep pretending. But it’s too late, it’s all worthless now, and I wish I was dead.

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Like the people who put a smile on your face every time you think about them. Like the doers, the creators, the hustlers, the artists, the rule-breakers, the rule-makers. Like the people who have fire in their eyes and who work through their dreams. Seek them and they shall find you. I like being around people who make me like myself a little better, a sense of camaraderie established from the way we see the world, from the way we want to change the world. A good man once told me it is the quality of time spent that matters, quantity is irrelevant. A brilliant woman said the same, showed me the same last night. Last night was perfect in every way you would expect a night to go with an old friend. You are great, brilliant woman.

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Image link – here

Bob Marley – Only once in your life

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Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you.

When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are.

The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you.

You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.

― Bob Marley


Image Link – here

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Many years from today I will meet you in some crowded street, only I hope I do not see you amongst people, I hope it is an empty café and I am sitting in corner having a coffee, smoking a cigarette and reading a book when suddenly I look up and see you on the other side, just as you have seen me suddenly and in a flash, recognition will hit and a flood of memories will fill the space between us and my eyes will light up and seeing their shine you will smile and you will get up and walk towards a happy perfect past and I will be sitting in my chair looking at you beaming as you close the distance between us.

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1571 miles away or still at home, when your heart breaks, the hurt shows in your eyes and you end up at some god forsaken cheap bar at the other side of town, drunk on sorrow and pain, lock yourself up in the washroom and scream so loudly that no one can hear you. You cry the whole way back in the cab, just sitting there looking at the city pass by , not thinking, just feeling the hollow in your chest and letting the tears run across your face. People don’t matter then, you don’t care how it looks, you are done being brave. Heart breaks are tricky affairs. Never again.

It is easier to remain friends when one is younger

As we grow, we become occupied in becoming the centers of our own universes, I often say this. Every passing day of adult life, I find more evidence to reaffirm this notion. It was simpler you know, when we were younger, when we could share and talk and take a genuine interest in the lives of others. Growing up just complicates things. It becomes difficult to tell your friends about your life. Then you think perhaps you should move to a different circle of friends. Then you move, but oh look now you have drifted through too many circles – who are your friends, where are your friends?

Lifestyle

What I am going to remember of this time, right now in my life, is how much I liked it, how much I enjoy it, how much I wish the day had 36 hours and that all my days, well most of my days in the future could be the same – just lazying around, thinking, doing the thing I like the most, walking, writing … just simply being.

I am over a 1000 miles from where my home is right now and I am also over a 1000 miles away from my old thoughts and my old ways of thinking. They don’t really matter that much now. Yes, it took me over 1000 miles to see myself better, and for that heart ache to stop.

We are a little funny sometimes, us, people, me – so sure of ourselves while doing what we do, while doing what we can. I know I am not sure about a lot of things, and I am sure of that. You will say this is just a case of that odd semantic, I would say this is a laughing matter.

Walking to work, ordering lunch, walking to buy evening groceries, running in over 35 degrees, reading before sleeping, cooking in the morning, and then getting ready, all this while talking to those few who only care, who truly care, yes that is how life is right now, and I, and I, and I, I breathe easy.


In response to today’s WordPress Prompt

On understanding and connections

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Sometimes I think my writings have been written just for that one reader, who is me. There have been those times when the words of the people passed and people alive have not been able to comfort me, in such times I have gone back to my creations and they have offered me a warm hug of solace and understanding. Sometimes I think everything that I have written has been for my future self to read and to feel, and to know that there is hope, that there is beauty in life, that all is not lost and that in those alone moments where no one can understand you, you have words from your best love, you have words from yourself.

Thoughts are powerful, they literally shape your life. This is not a new secret. It has been around for ages. Your life is also shaped by where you live and who you surround yourself with. But most importantly your life is shaped by your will to live. Life altering thoughts have to be willed. In order to have that one day which will decide the rest of the course of your limited existence, you have to have the will to kick yourself out of bed and you have to choose, you have to decide. I find this power of choice both liberating and overwhelming. Being aware of the choice does not necessarily guarantee a change, choice followed by action does. Every thought which has not been acted upon is wasted.

This brings me to another aspect which has been haunting my moods in the empty time to myself between the chores of daily life. I realize how different I am from everyone else, and how similar too. But the differences are glaring and the similarities much wanted. No one understands me. No one can. Very few come from the same kind of place and their processing is limited to their experiences. And perhaps I am beginning to think that happiness or that general feel good thing about life is about understanding and being understood.

Thank you dear writers, dead and alive

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Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Words of those far away, both in space and time, more often than not give you the much needed sense in this vile comatose age. How comforting it is to be in bed and to read the thoughts of those who lived in another time and with great foresight left us seeds of hope to plant in our dried up souls.

Thank you dear writers, dead and alive, for you bring to me what is amiss in humanity around me.

Translate

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“Because it is occasionally possible, just for brief moments, to find the words that will unlock the doors of all those many mansions inside the head and express something – perhaps not much, just something – of the crush of information that presses in on us from the way a crow flies over and the way a man walks and the look of a street and from what we did one day a dozen years ago. Words that will express something of the deep complexity that makes us precisely the way we are, from the momentary effect of the barometer to the force that created men distinct from trees. Something of the inaudible music that moves us along in our bodies from moment to moment like water in a river. Something of the spirit of the snowflake in the water of the river. Something of the duplicity and the relativity and the merely fleeting quality of all this. Something of the almighty importance of it and something of the utter meaninglessness. And when words can manage something of this, and manage it in a moment, of time, and in that same moment, make out of it all the vital signature of a human being – not of an atom, or of a geometrical diagram, or of a heap of lenses – but a human being, we call it poetry.”
― Ted Hughes


In response to today’s Daily WordPress Prompt

A very short horror story – Blank Stare

Once,  when she was a young child, Katherine stared too long in the mirror. Looking deep into her own eyes, she climbed into her soul and could never really make it out. After that day, whenever Katherine stands in front of mirror, she sees a blank space. She sees no reflection, neither of herself nor of her soul.

When she is tired

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Sometimes when she is tired, really tired, tired of the world and its pretenses, tired of the humanity and the rat-race, tired of having a good time and living a good life, tired of doing the right thing over and over and over again, every single day, every single hour, tired of  all the struggle, tired of all the pain she has said good bye too, tired of being strong, those times, Miriam Chako wishes he was around, she wishes that he would keep his shoulder around her and hold her, her hair would be on his chest and they would not speak, he would just hold her, and everything, every single thing would be alright.


Supplement this with the reading Miriam Chako and the mistake

 

Alone-ness

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“Perhaps only people who are capable of real togetherness have that look of being alone in the universe. The others have a certain stickiness, they stick to the mass.”
– D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover


The painting is called Trouble. It is by Ron Hicks.

Just a quick question –

Hey guys,

I am working on a piece on anxiety. And it would be super great if you could spare some time and just leave a comment below telling me how do you deal with it. Looking forward to your responses.

hugs, kisses and all nice things
Pecs