Life’s lessons

We all know how life is one huge learning experience, at the end of which one graduates by dropping dead. And then, who knows, there’s more learning on the other side! (Yes, yes, I’ll add this to my book of profound saying, thanks for remembering)

I, for one, find things to learn every single day. The lessons I learn are not always useful though. Some are good, some are hopeless and most are very common-sensical. Sample some?

  1. I learnt that adding a wedge of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate into your mug of Nescafe coffee doesn’t make the coffee taste like the Mochas and Frappes they serve at Barista. The chocolate dissolves a little bit, but mostly sticks to the bottom of the mug and the rest of the particles rise up to float on the coffee. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I added the chocolate myself, I would never have known the coffee had chocolate!
  2. I learnt the secret behind weight-gain. See, it’s like this: first you eat something really spicy, so spicy that your throat is on fire. So now you feel like eating something sweet and you pop in a square of chocolate. But the darn chocolate is so cloyingly sweet, that you now feel like having something spicy. Remember the spicy thing you had first? Well, that spicy now feels like the right amount of spicy. So you eat it. Your throat is on fire again. You’re back to where you started from. Before you know it, you weigh 200 kgs and your doctor says there’s more cholestrol in your body than blood. Doomed.
  3. I learnt that when you leave voice mail to someone, you should address the person by name. So the person receiving the voice mail knows it’s for him/her. There is no ambiguity. Else, imagine if one fine day you get a voice mail from someone in Timbuktoo calling you to convey that your lost sheep was found wandering down Times Square. It was probably meant for some shepherd, but hey, it’s in your voicemail-box and the caller didn’t refer your name! So you have no clue if it was meant for you or not!
  4. I learnt that security in this country is a big farce. If one is alive today and not killed by a bomb blast, there are only two entities to thank: 1, God and 2, the terrorists. The week immediately succeeding a bomb blast sees a spurt in security checks and extra task forces being set up. A month down the line, we’re back to our complacent selves. Know what this means? The safest time to visit this country is immediately after a bomb blast. Rest of the days, keep out.
  5. I learnt that there are places in the UK where it’s bright and sunny for just 1 or 2 days a year! And people do live in such places! (Info courtesy: A contestant in BBC’s The Weakest Link)
  6. I learnt that after God, the only other omnipresent thing is dust.
  7. I learnt just now that WordPress doesn’t really allow me to have 1 line space between two bullet points – it’s either 2 lines or none at all. Sucks, yes.

This is just what I learnt in the last week.  And these are just things I learnt because I saw them happen around me. So imagine how much one can learn in a lifetime – given that one goes to school, then maybe a college and then a job, add a marriage/relationship and kids, a dozen trips to the hospital, a hundred vacations to new places and old,  20 million relatives/friends/strangers and the all-pervading internet. Miles to go before you sleep, people. Many more miles to go.

So what did you learn recently?

423

Quick question: What’s with this self-censorship for genuine opinions when it comes to blogging or posting comments on a blog? 

Is it just me imagining it or are some people just plain scared to call a spade a spade?

To hell with being ‘politically’ correct. You’re either correct or you’re not. 

Ok, why this sudden mini-rant? I’ve been browsing around some blogs and the posts/comment space is like the Holy Bible for cryin’ out loud! People being apologetic for having an opinion, people falling over backwards (leave alone bending!) trying hard to appear in agreement with the author even when they’re not! What is goin’ on?!!

See, all you have to be is polite. One can be in polite disagreement. Or did that change overnight?

All you folks who read TP, you’re always honest with your comments right? Can I please have that assurance? (Ok, now is not the time to say I’m a horrible person who deserves to rot in hell – that kind of statement should be censored, for the general safety of you and your belongings.)

 

P.S: Don’t think too much about the title. That’s the auto generated blog-post permalink number that WordPress generated when I began the post without a title. I wish it generated meaningful titles too so I don’t tax my pea-brain trying to come up with something smart.

P.P:S: Talking about tax, all you people with jobs and in India, did you file your IT return yet? Don’t you just hate doin’ it? First you have to pay through your nose even if there is not much of an income landing in your bank account. And then on top of that you have to go tell those IT people that you DID pay?! Isn’t that like rubbing salt on the wounds? What nonsense!

P.P.P.S: The blues seem to have hit a day late. Apparently, you can’t escape ’em even if you consciously forget the days of the week.

P.P.P.P.S: Apparently, I use the word ‘apparently’ too often.

End of the post. Go in peace.

Pet peeve

Wanna know my pet peeve?

I hate pets.

There ya go.

Ok, I know ‘pet peeve’ actually means ‘favorite annoyance’ (like there could be a ‘favorite’ among our umpteen annoyances!), but this is how I am – I try my best to be pathetic.

See, I have nothing against animals per se. It’s just about animals co-existing with me in my house, roaming around on their four legs, shedding hair all over the place and basically just being a bad stinky housemate. Now you may ask then why can’t I get a pet which doesn’t have 4 legs or hair or isn’t stinky. Like say a gecko or a fish.

No. I hate geckos. Disgusting is an understatement. If you want me out of a room, just tell me there’s a gecko in there (it doesn’t actually have to be in there – just the mere thought is enough for me,  I’m easy like that).

Fish. Well, I had one. Actually, two. I even called them Tom and Jerry. Jerry died. We think he over-ate. Tom, for some inexplicable reason, was found on the floor beneath the fish-bowl. Bugger should’ve represented India in the Olympics for high jump or better, pole vault. We mourned them for an entire week – everytime we saw the darn fish bowl! And I decided I’d had enough.

No pets. I don’t want more emotional baggage than what I already have. I’m barely responsible with my own life and I don’t want to be responsible for another. I know it’s tough, but one’s gotta do what one’s gotta do to not go to hell. The pitch fork, the pointed tail, no thank you.

Why am I suddenly talking completely unrelated things about pets and fish and geckos? Well, that’s ‘coz I saw this picture in an email forward and went ‘Awwwww’ in a very dangerously mushy and pet-lovey kind of way. Scared me, goshdarnit! I don’t want no pets in the house!

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

 

Image Source: I have no idea! If it’s yours, please let me know and I’ll either add a credit if you’re ok with it or I’ll take it out if you’re not.

The wait begins…

…for this one –

There are some things before it though –

–  Convince the spouse that I need it: This might be easy, ‘coz my current phone just slightly broke. (Noo!  I didn’t do it on purpose, I swear!!)

–  Before that, convince myself that I need it. (What?  It costs around 8-9k and I’m allergic to electronic gadgets)

–  iPhone proof my purse ( if I’m successful with the first two things above).

– Forget iPhone proofing my purse. Why should I put it in my purse? I can’t flaunt it then, can I? iPhone proof my hand perhaps – there’s a huge gap between the fingers and there have been earlier incidents of gadget-breaking due to my nimble fingers.

Wish me luck, mon ami.

 

Picture source: Google Image search

Open category? Tough luck, mate!

It’s admission time again. And looks like the Government is touching new levels of unfairness towards students with merit who just happen to be in ‘Open’ category.

This piece of news in The Hindu totally ruined my morning –

As per G.O. 550, the seat vacated by a particular reserved category candidate in the open category has to be necessarily allotted to the candidate from the same category irrespective of the rank. For example, if a BC candidate with a rank of 100 claims a seat in open category and then shifts to a better college in the seats reserved for BCs, the seat vacated in the open category will not go to the 101st ranker but to the next BC candidate irrespective of the rank.

It sounded so unbelievable to me that I actually read it thrice. And I’m still not sure if it really means what it appears to mean!

WTF!

I don’t get the logic of this – if a BC candidate opts out of the Open category seat, why should it go to the next BC candidate instead of going back into the Open category pool?! So if I’m a candidate in the Open category, my future is actually in the hands of the BC candidate who’s opting for an Open category seat with good chances of getting better seats in the BC category! All the hardwork I put in to write exams? Nah, they don’t care. They don’t care a rat’s backside what your marks are. Unless ofcourse you’re lucky enough to be in the BC/SC/ST category!

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing personal against the students in these categories. I understand these reservations were made because of the kind of education these students could access/afford, their economic conditions, etc. but I cannot fathom why that shouldn’t apply to students from the Open category. All BC candidates are not poor. And all OC candidates are not super-rich. These categories were created based on caste, not just economic conditions. These categories are stereotypes! I’ve heard of cases where even well-to-do parents take the pain of getting the caste changed for their children just to ensure a reserved seat. So who in bloody hell are these reservations actually for?!

In this age, I really don’t see the point of caste-based reservations. You ask for reservations based on financial background, fine – I see your point, here’s a reserved seat for ya! No harm done, right? But why based on caste?

I heard a stupider thing yesterday – some top executive in a software company was asked what can be done to prevent attrition in an organization like his. What do you think he said? He said attrition can be curbed if you hire people from BC and SC/ST.  This doesn’t even warrant a response now, does it? I say, send these morons to a shooting squad and be over with it.

Gaah! I could rant till I die, but who listens!

UPDATED: A small clarification on why I’m so pissed with this reservation thing. I understand reservations were first introduced in our country primarily as a means of moderating caste-based inequities and giving the economically-backward people a chance to compete and succeed on par with the rest of the population. But I refuse to believe that one downtrodden person can go up only at the expense of a well-to-do person going down – which is what is happening now when students with merit are deprived of what’s due to them for the work that they did and the marks that they got.

Can someone give me a convincing reason why an OC seat passed up by a non-OC candidate should go to the next non-OC candidate instead of the next OC candidate? I really want to understand, maybe that will make me less angry with this whole thing!

To reiterate, I have absolutely no issues with reservations as long as it doesn’t affect the future of the hundreds of other students who fall in the Open Cateory. Just like the economically-backward have the right to good education without discrimination, the hard-working too have the right to good education without discrimination.

You cannot solve one kind of discrimination by practising another.

Training trained

I don’t know what it is about training programs that gives me blog ideas! I was there in that training room for 2 hours and I had a million ideas zooming around in my head, waiting to be captured into writing. I think it’s just the environment you know – people all around, seated, not moving, visible targets for a full onslaught of judgemental eyes and the droning voice of the trainer? Oh, that’s just icing on the proverbial cake.

There are some things in life that never change. When you put women together into a room for a discussion or a meeting, the first thing that happens is checking out each others clothes. Seriously ladies, we are that vain. And if there’s atleast one other woman in there who’s as heavy or heavier than you (lucky lucky you), well, life suddenly seems extremely great. Doesn’t matter if your inches away from cardiac arrest due to the cholestrol in which your blood flows. Doesn’t matter if it’s been months since you could bend down and not see stars in your head.

Next come hair styles. You’re happy that most of them are the mundane pony tails or hair clips. The one that has the spunky new boy cut probably doesn’t have children and doesn’t take care of her family since she’s had so much time to get that hair cut. We don’t like her so much, no. And then there are the superwomen. Women who’ve had children and look like that Santoor soap model going ‘College? And me? Hahahaha’. You’d think a kid would come running into the room that very minute yelling ‘Mummy!!’. Seriously, all you match-stick ladies, how the heck do you do that?! Anorexia?

By the time you’ve made mental notes about every other lady in the room, the trainer has started giving an introduction. I think these trainers have an unsaid dress code. Especially the ladies. They all wear the same elbow length sleeved, high collared, ethnic prints. Every single one of them I’ve seen till now. What’s that all about, huh?

Come break time, it’s the usual chatter. Oh Hi. I’m so-and-so. Which group are you with? Smile smile. Nod nod. Stare blankly since you’ve already forgotten what her name was. Turn around in that awkward way only to be met by another stranger and it’s the same story again. If nothing else, there’s always traffic and the weather to yap about. And sometimes you might bump into someone you knew already and then it’s fun in a way – you end up running through the entire list of your ex-colleagues who’ve moved out or who had babies or who just..you know, you have no clue where they are! And before you know it, break time’s up, the coffee’s gone cold after just the one sip you took and the trainer is back where she belongs.

After 2 hours of incessant talking from the trainer’s side and some sleep-induced brain haemorrhage from our side, it ends.  You turn around and check if the person next to you is awake. You realize the other person also turned around intending to do the exact same thing. Smile smile. Sighs of relief. Push chairs back, get bag and run out before anyone changes their mind and calls for ‘one last question’.

So ends another training session. Like I said, some things in life never change.