Sunday, March 18, 2018

Welcoming Christmas... In a T-shirt: Part 2

Dear Reader,

This is the second post in the "Welcoming Christmas... In a T-shirt" series. To help you with the continuity, you could refer to Post 1


That first week was merciless. With work making us travel the length of the city, and brokers making up for the breadth, my head was a cacophonous haven for all the taunts and warnings I’d ever been subjected to: “Jab naukri karne lagoge, tab aate dal ka bhaav maloom hoga.” “Ghar pe rehti hai toh ek ungli bhi nahi hilati. Akele rahegi tab pata lagega.” “Jab khud paise kamaoge, tab uski asli keemat pata lagegi.” I’m sure some of you are smirking as you read this. And why not? Every Indian parent has this book titled “Cutting Remarks That Will Stick: How to Deliver for Maximum Impact”. Maybe I missed out on the book meant for the kids.

Day by day, house by house, building by building, my hopes of ever finding a home in this maze they call Mumbai diminished. What increased was a heart-felt dislike for its roads, buildings, cars, people, noise, air, being. Yet, to be fair, between sessions of cursing the company for not providing us with accommodation and cursing the Gods (who wouldn’t listen) for putting me in this situation, I did see sparks of kindness and genuine concern. They might come in the form of a broker’s contact shared by a colleague, or a half-day leave sanctioned for house-hunting. In those days when brokerage and rent agreements were all that I would dream of, even such random acts held great significance.

What really confounded me however, were the “systems” or “policies” or “guidelines.” The systems forbade the Company from providing us with accommodation, the policies (unwritten/unpublished then) deemed any practical solution to our housing problem as unethical, and the guidelines, I suspect, were guiding the interest of a select few. Even in that chaos, I couldn’t help but wonder how systems completely take logical and humane thought out of the equation. In the system, I am reduced to a number… employee number, candidate number, case number, patient number, registration number, marks you got on a subject. You, dear reader, might be smarter and might have realized this earlier, but it hit me real hard how I’ve always been only a number. It started right from the time the youngest edition of me was just released in the world’s markets: Baby Number.

Moment you open your eyes and let out that blood-curdling wail as newborns do, you’re tagged with a number. The number deems insignificant everything that defines you as an individual. And when that individuality is lost, what motivates the person processing these numbers to give his best? To try and see context? To try and see how each number is unique in its own right? You guessed it right… precisely Nothing. And hence, public apathy is born.

**Personally though, I would want to see how China’s Social Credit System pans out. That, after all, is the ultimate system ruled by numbers and rankings**

Enough ranting about systems though. What’s important is that despite the world’s evil plans to make us sleep on the pavement, we managed to find a place we could call home. It stood proud and tall at the top of a not-so-tall building in the middle of a just-a-little swanky neighborhood. All things said, it was a place we instantly fell in love with. And this is where, with drum-rolls, I introduce my flat mates. Two ladies, each so different from the other, yet beautifully similar. One that loves make-up, the other that believes in natural beauty. One that dances with only very special people, the other that usually leads on the dance floor. One that isn’t interested in gossip, the other that has the scoop on everyone’s lives.

Mind you, this was also my first time living in such close confinement with specimens of my own gender. Things were bound to get interesting!

**The girl, who had been busy typing on the laptop, looks up from it and directly into the camera. She can’t help but wink to the world. Well ok, it might not be as good as Priya Prakash Varrier, but it is good enough to convey the message. Screen turns black, focusing on her and the wink, Bugs Bunny style**

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dear Prince

Fairytales… we’ve all grown up listening to them.

But close your eyes and think for a moment. Don’t most of them involve a damsel in distress and a heroic prince, who saves her from all miseries? Don’t most of them have a Happily Ever After?

Now close your eyes again. Is that how real life works? Is there ever a perfect ending? Do you love your prince charming equally each day of the week?

This little poem is just to get an alternate narrative out there. Under the shroud of every Happily Ever After, there lie countless struggles, disagreements, arguments, tough questions and tears:

Dear Prince
When I first met you
You were a different man
Or maybe I was stupid
Dumbstruck by the cupid
To not see what everyone can

Dear Prince
When I first met you
You had words and thoughts of your own
I took you to be tender
My fire’s perfect fender
You knew family and home

But Dear Prince
When I meet you today?
I feel it’s some other
It definitely is not you
He has your voice, its true
But his thoughts mirror the queen mother

Dear Prince
When I meet you today
I am so uncertain, unsure
Of whether you will ever
Stand up for your forever
For something we thought so pure

Dear Prince
You’re probably raging by now
I’ll clip this short, and wait some time
For when you see reason
This won’t be treason
You only need remember the rhyme