The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Credit: Photo by c.Everett Collection / Rex Features (872250a)  'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde', Frederic March  'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' Film - 1931

Credit: Photo by c.Everett Collection / Rex Features (872250a) ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, Frederic March
‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ Film – 1931

Disclaimer: This is not a commentary on any ongoing issue. It’s just something I wanted to write and I choose to, today.

It surprises me sometimes. How we still tend to believe in the inherent goodness of people and in positive outcomes. This feeling called Hope, and the other feeling called Belief – it keeps us all alive I guess. Else, we’d all probably kill ourselves or each other.

Life has a way of proving you wrong. Sometimes, you believe in the good and then you see the worst in someone. Sometimes you automatically assume everything is going to go your way, and providence mocks you in your face and jeers at your impudence.

Is naivety a word for this kind of hope?

Somehow we expect rapists to feel chastised once they are in prison. We expect that marriages, having happened in heaven, always bring you the person you’re meant to be with. We expect to win – in cricket games, in board rooms, in exams. We expect our bodies to work perfectly till we’re seconds away from death.

People have died in concentration camps. Women have been burnt at the stake, are raped, maimed, thrown acid at. Innocent adults and children are shot at, and killed. Lives snuffed out without any provocation – lives that were cherished and for whom, so many people had so much hope. Viruses evolve over time, fighting to survive and finding new ways to break our immunity. Calamities around the world take out 1000s of people in one instant.

I ask myself these days: Why do I believe in perfect outcomes? Why do I automatically assume things turn out the way I want them to? Why do I outrage or get depressed when people I believed were Jekylls, turned out to be Hydes?

Maybe it was the countless movies where the hero/heroine always won at the end, true love found itself, and good trumped the bad. And children’s books and cartoons – filled with magic and extolling virtues of humaneness.

Over the years of adulthood, I realize that I have stubbornly refused to calibrate the reality of experience.

It’s easy to do that when you are generally successful of course – which I am. I live a charmed life, most of the time :).

But I’m being a bit careful over the years. These days when there’s some event that’s important to me, I check myself against hoping for the best. I remind myself that outcomes maybe positive or negative, and to not be arrogant in expecting good or success automatically. I mentally compute a “minimum threshold of pleasantness”. Something in between good and bad. Something that is “just ok”. I then brave the future knowing fully well that whichever way it turns out, there’s just a small distance between what I expected and what it turned out to be.

Also, I intrinsically trust everyone, especially *me*. Trust them to be good and do the right thing. It’s a good ability and I’m happy to have it because most times, people (even me ;)) are deserving of this and it makes for a lot of hope. But I have also begun to question this. Because I realize it’s a gold-standard of sorts and doesn’t calibrate the reality of humanity: that we have flaws and can behave in unexpected, unpredictable ways. Our choices are influenced by the opportunities we have and our context. Straight paths and predictable behavior is no fun. Wanting this shows an unwillingness to allow life to unfold and present an array of opportunities and to let people – others and me – to choose.

After all, life’s not meant to be “perfect”. It’s expected to be good sometimes, and bad sometimes. People are good and people are bad. Some people are angels and others are demons. There is heaven and hell. All of it on Earth.

Does this – calibration of reality as I called it – make for an easier life? Perhaps. At least I think I’m more realistic now.

Of course, I still believe in humanity, values, virtues, happiness, magic, harmony, goodness, love and God. I just don’t believe that this is all there is.

December and a New Year

Christmas bench, Lost Lagoon, Vancouver (exposure)_resizeDecember is a funny month. You feel like somehow you owe it to yourself to look back at the year and pay a passing obeisance to it. Regretfully letting go of the time that slipped through your fingers, while searching inward for a glimmer of hope and exuberance about the new year.

I don’t quite remember what December 31 was or January 1 felt like in my school years, or even in college for that matter. At best, the only change it meant was that you wrote a new number at the top of your notebook sheets: “1/1/19##”. It always took me several months before the new year number came automatically to my pen.

(By the way, I’ve never been one for remembering dates or days or months or years actually. Inside my mind, I’m in a perpetual zone – one where time does not change.)

In the years of adulthood, it seems this pressure to remember the year going by and to commemorate it, is much larger. Not going to a New Year’s Eve party? Sitting at home? Not even having a celebratory drink?? Blasphemy!!

I’ve been to New Year’s Eve parties. Okay, “party”. I hated it. It’s the worst thing to find yourself spending New Year’s Eve with strangers you don’t care about. Even if you are with someone who’s important to you, just the whole drink-loud music-dance ambiance throws me off. I sulk. And regret each passing moment. I feel like someone just took away so many moments of my life that had *so much* potential.

Imagine: nestling on the couch at home with a loved one. Watching a romantic movie and getting teary-eyed. Drinking a cup of tea and burying your nose in a book you can’t keep away from you. Standing on a deck somewhere far away and listening to the waves crashing. Burying your toes in slippery sand as tide and froth engulf them, and struggling to hold on. Keeping vigil over a night sky and spotting stars creeping up on you. Sitting on a cold bench and exhaling to see your foggy breath making shapes in front of your face… and then reaching out for a warm silver foil wrapped package of food and taking a bite… flavors exploding in your dry cold mouth while your hungry tummy suddenly decides to be patient.

A few days ago, I did just that btw, the last one. I was in Munich, it was 8 PM and 4 degrees or so, dark and with just a few people milling around the Willy-Brandt-Platz, it seemed like time had slowed down. I remember feeling grateful for the warm food. And the warm clothes. But more so, for the freedom. To sit there on the cold bench, eat hot food and not care about anything else at that moment, not even my own safety – It’s incredibly liberating.

So… New Year’s Eve party? Deafening music? Drunk and obnoxious strangers? No thank you.

2014 was a good year for me. I would go so far as to say it kicked a lot of my previous years in the nuts. Freaking fantabulous.

Two years ago, I read this book called “The Happiness Project“.The author made 12 commandments for herself – a sort of mental compass for guiding her choices and living a more enriching year, and a better, happier life. I was so inspired by the book that I made a set of 10 for myself too, in Dec 2013. Here they are:

1) You’ve got you.

2) Be Light, Be Humorous.

3) Don’t live inside your head.

4) DO stuff.

5) Patience. Time will tell.

6) “Circle of Influence” – Don’t sweat what you have no control over anyways.

7) It’s not THAT important.

8) Be nice.

9) Deposit in relationships.

10) Don’t accumulate. Let go.

Gretchen, the author, often referred to her commandments whenever she needed to make a choice or decide how she felt or what she wanted to do. Oddly, this entire year, I didn’t think about any of these even once. Even though I took several days to put them together last year, deliberating on each and making sure they really resonated with me.

But it worked. I look back at 2014 and remember it as a year when I did a lot of this and more.

Now that calls for a party, yes? 😛

Happy New Year everybody!

P.S. I need to make commandments for 2015. Any suggestions?

P.P.S. I’ve been away at the blog for 19 months. In the past, I would have started this blog by explaining why, but now that I have told you I was having an awesome time, does it matter? 😉

Closure

 reel

Life never really warns you enough for what you have to face. At some point you find yourself stumbling over the most profound questions and you realize that you never knew the answers. You never even knew that you would have to find answers!

And then there are those answers that you seek because they would help you understand. It’s important to know, isn’t it?

But life stuns you by telling you that you can’t have them. No matter what.

So you’re left in the lurch. Puzzled. Confused. Stuck. In a rut. (sounds familiar?)

——

As conscious, rational human beings, we crave a sense of control and order. Life instances have to go in sequence. Incidents must have meaning. There has to be a reason behind action. Everything must “fit”. You know that feeling of having watched a movie where some scenes didn’t just connect or characters didn’t have meaning, and you didn’t like it?

Yep. Life according to many of us, like a good movie, must connect all its loose ends, have a reason behind every scene and every role, and must have a moral.

Not dangling pointers :|. Garbage collection – is a must. (#techiespeak, sorry)

Or as it is popularly known,  Closure.

By definition, closure indicates a need to have information that allows one to conclude an issue. I’d summarize it as that feeling that prevents you from moving on past something. Because you need to understand, you need to clean up, and you have to settle scores. Right?
 
So here’s how it goes: Find yourself in an unpleasant situation. Figure out what went wrong, explain why it was wrong for you, assess what triggered that wrong, examine in sequence from the trigger to the outcome, factor how that affects you, explain your stance, get heard out, listen to the other end(s), conclude on why it happened the way it did, and finally, shake hands. Or say, “we agree to disagree”. Once every piece fits in the jigsaw puzzle – that’s when you know you can move on. You’ve got closure.

The only problem is: life (and people) doesn’t quite give you the chance to close all open doors. Sometimes, doors are just meant to be left open. Not all scores can be settled. Maybe, just maybe… you don’t even know what the score is.

And maybe, you’re the only one wanting closure. The rest of the world has moved on :).

——

There is only one kind of closure: the one you seek from yourself. The one whose limits you define.

Ask yourself, what it is that hasn’t ended for you. Give yourself permission to acknowledge it, and observe it without judgement. See if there is more to your need beyond the need to be right, and to explain and justify. If there is more, see if you can do anything about it (see Minimal Effective Response)

Rewind, or forward through the movie and give yourself permission to watch it till you feel you can stop.
Moving on is not walking out on the movie. Moving on is stopping it, rolling the reel and putting it into the case, carrying it with you, and going to watch other movies.

Moving on is knowing that that particular movie is already part of your life. And knowing that while there is a story there, the moral you seek may not be in there.

Because actually, life does have meaning. Everything does connect. Just that you haven’t seen how it does. Maybe the movie that played out was a different kind of movie altogether and you never knew!

Stop interpreting. Just watch. The show will go on :).

Endurance

Image

Photo Credit: rebekah.campbell via Compfight cc

A colleague recently told me of how badly his last one year had gone. He summarized it saying “I did so much in the last 12 months, that I can’t even talk about what I did anymore”.

It wasn’t that he didn’t do anything worthwhile – rather, he’d tried his best to save a project that was going haywire, and had stuck on despite adversities of all kinds and amidst colleagues who were quitting because they couldn’t handle the stress. His problem was that whatever he’d done in the last year weren’t his real responsibilities. He’d done whatever came across his table because there were many people who relied on him and he believed he had to plug the leaks in a sinking boat.

As I heard him out, a word crossed my mind: Endurance. And for a few moments, I wondered if I had the mettle to go through what he had, and whether I’d have survived like he did.

So yes, the year had been stressful for him and he’d probably hated each minute of doing what he didn’t want to do but had to. He also probably couldn’t put any concrete learning on his resume because it was difficult to articulate the situation, and a lot of what he did eventually to save it, didn’t gel with the rest of his profile.

Besides, “key expertise in fire-fighting” doesn’t look quite good on an IT resume :|.

But (I think) he could probably discover the benefits of the experience much later, provided he acknowledged it – acknowledged and understood that he had, over the year of immense stress, built his capacity to endure.

Life throws us a lot of opportunities to build aspects of ourselves. I often relate this process to constructing a building. We’re busy constructing the building that is us and while we’re at it, it helps to consciously take time to build in favorable characteristics into our structure – characteristics such as reliability, sturdiness, capability to weather difficult climes and (obviously) a rock-solid foundation.

A while ago, I wrote about the Patience Muscle. Endurance is an organ.

You create it over time through adversities and it becomes part of your body. And once it is in you, you can acknowledge it’s presence and breathe through difficult times.

Because you know you’ve been through worse and you’ve come out through it and you have survived. Because your endurance organ stretches and scales. And because your first baby steps in enduring and developing endurance will eventually help you sprint up the steepest slopes.

We’re all familiar with physical endurance and that physical capacity building develops mental endurance.

However, I also think it is important to look at experiences in life as building your mental and emotional endurance, even if they are just thrown at you and you react badly and flail and see yourself as an utter failure. Infact, I would think it is also important to seek out experiences that build emotional endurance, accept that it’s a work in progress and therefore, never give up or believe that it’s all a waste of time and energy.

You see, the thing with emotional endurance is that it surprises you with its ability to pop out in circumstances that you were not expecting it to make an appearance. It hones your skill in getting back to your feet after suffering a beating – you’re not just lying pulverized on the ground. There’s a certain power that gets attached to your intent, and that forges through your attitude, appearance and words.

Endurance shows. Endurance makes people rely on you. And it makes you rely on yourself.

So build it. And while you are at it, have fun :).

A tale of two women

Update:
BlogJunta found this post worthy of an Editor’s Choice mention :). Here’s what they’ve graciously given me:

BlogJunta - An ode to the Blogosphere

Lakshmi, 34, is educated. The youngest of three children, she’s studied upto 10th (her family is poor, but her dad believed in educating all his children, and has managed to provide them with a basic education. As is the practice in their community, Lakshmi got married to her cousin when she was 15. Today, she has two kids, a girl aged 14 and a boy aged 9 – both are studying.

Lakshmi works for a living, as a cook, earning about Rs. 5000 per month. Her husband works at a factory, and earns the same. He gives her Rs. 1500 a month, for expenses at home (spending 2000 for himself, and giving his mother the rest) + her son’s education. He refuses to give her a rupee extra for the daughter because he never wanted the child in the first place – he says she’ll be nothing but a burden. When the daughter was 4 months old, he told Lakshmi he’d kill her. Lakshmi threatened to kill him if he did anything of the sort and he backed off. She’s managed to keep her daughter safe since then, but he refuses to look at or talk to the child – and objects to any of his money being used for bringing up the child.

He loves his son though and insisted that he be sent to an English medium school (even if the fees is prohibitive for a family with their kind of income). To cope with the home expenses (given that her husband’s contribution is meagre), Lakshmi is taking on as much work as possible. She gets up at 4 am, starts work at 5, and finishes at 9.30 pm, and sleeps at 11.00 (after finishing work at home).

This month hasn’t begun so well for her – as is with most months. Her employers pay her during the first few days of the month, and her husband’s been making life hell for her, for the past 10 days – since he’s been eyeing her salary. Today she has had yet another fight with him and has been crying, because he’s asking for more money, as dowry. For the past 19 years, he’s been accusing her and her family of cheating him out of what’s due to him and his family.

Lakshmi’s father isn’t alive, and her only brother doesn’t care enough to negotiate with her husband (or take action against him).

Her only solution? Put on a smile and continue to work every minute of the day – so that her children can go to school, and she is able to provide them with an education that can get them employment in the future. When asked about it, she says, “It’s ok. I and my children will survive. The only anger I have is with God.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Maya is turning 31 this year. She’s working in an MNC, and earning much more than guys of her age. Smart, confident and exceptional at what she does – she’s starting to become a subject of envy more than appreciation. She’s begun to see that there are unseen lines she’s not expected to cross, and though her rise to the current position has been meteoric, she’s beginning to think that the onward journey will need more than credentials, experience and capability. However, despite recent run-ins with bosses, she’s willing to try as hard as possible, and navigate around the prejudices – she’s worked hard on her career, and she can’t afford to give it up all now.

At home, Maya has an entirely different terrain to navigate. Her parents are beginning to fret about her marital status and she sees the worry writ large on her mother’s face, day after day. Maya had her chance at 25, to marry a guy she really liked, and who loved her for what she was. But her parents objected to him, and even threatened her with dire consequences. They argued that they could never face their relatives/friends, and would die of shame, if their Brahmin daughter married a non-Brahmin from a different state. Eventually, she decided to concentrate on her job, and let them look for someone “appropriate” once she was truly over him.

That was 3 years ago. After that, its been an endless ordeal: of horoscope-matching, being visited by prospective groom’s parents, sisters or relatives, getting dressed and being subjected to the same questions over and over again, talking to guys on the phone, to even meeting them more than once, so that they could “get to know her better”.

Some of the initial proposals didn’t go through because she thought she wanted to make sure she was marrying someone she could visualize spending the rest of her life with – and the guys she was meeting didn’t fit the bill. However, soon after, the issues weren’t from her side anymore. Her darker skin met with various frowns, and often, mothers or aunts would ask her mother openly whether she was “white” or “wheatish”. Then, they had a problem with her age. “Why exactly is she single even now?”. And then, it was her career. “Will she adjust to my son’s timings, and accompany him in case he travels to a different country? We don’t want a career-oriented girl for him”. The last straw was “At this age, will she conceive?”

Maya has been mulling on a decision for a month now. She’s had it with the emotional abuse and trauma of each visit from a prospective groom’s side (and the corny/wierd guys she gets to meet after surviving such onslaughts) – and she’s beginning to think her mother’s health is degrading because of the intense worry she carries.

She’s going to ask her parents to stop looking for a partner for her. She’s convinced that she’s destined to be single – after all, if you can’t find a companion to share your life, it’s better to be single and independent, right?

Right. She just wishes though, that this thought doesn’t make her feel like her insides were crumbling.

* * * * * * * * * *
P.S. “Women’s Day” is day after tomorrow. While newspapers and tv shows are all waxing eloquent on the topic, I was contemplating a blog – after all, there are things that need to be said, right?
But today, I came across these two stories (these are people I know – names have been changed though), and realized that this is all that needs to be written about.

Glimpses of a Delicious Life

The mobile phone camera is proving to be the best way to capture those fleeting moments of your life and store them away for posterity. This post is dedicated to bits from my life as seen through my iPhone’s eyes – and you probably need to just glance through them to realize how lip-smacking delicious a life I lead!! 🙂

My happy 30th! Celebrations courtesy my amazing sweetie-pie of a husband 😉

The photo calendar (done at Printo,Blore) I gifted my parents this year - memories from the best years of our lives. The cover features the two wonderful human beings that made me.

The tastiest things in the world are stuff our mother makes, right? This particular item is a mallu dish called 'sughiyan'.

Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cake, and Baklava @ Sunnys, Bangalore. Absolute nirvana.

IIMB in the afternoons; Something about this place makes me all sentimental.

The verdant glory that is Kerala. Captured on a train journey. Prakruthi ramaneeyam aaya Keralam.

Some of the prettiest ladies appear in my friends notebook, all of which she sketches within 10 min, while in class!! :O

Recognize this place? *Jahanpanah, tussi great ho, tohfa kabool karo* :D. Took it at 8 p.m. whilst running back home after a study session

The outcome of the study session mentioned above - My brilliant (*smug* ;)) theories of innovation sketched out. I love white boards.

Apple Crumble and Vanilla Icecream at Toscanos. Nothing short of sensory paradise. *Floats in mid-air*

The splendour of autumn. A loner that captured my eye and my heart.

Iced Tea. Dont you just love the colors on this one?

A wonderful cosy corner at The Only Place, Bangalore

Warm, fluffy pancakes from yours truly. Yeah, I know you are dying to have a bite 😉

The elixir of my life - tea. And this is the way I like it done - rich, hot and magnificently comforting

Haven’t you heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”? For me, the above are probably worth a thousand lives on this earth! And so, I raise a toast to unbridled life, beautiful people and finding happiness in the smallest of things :).

40 Questions!

I love doing tags, and so I voluntarily pick this one up from Preeti (and very “pretty” too :)) Shenoy’s blog. Voluntarily picking up a tag that has 40 questions in it, (esp. when I’ve done a 30 questions tag sometime ago) should tell you how much I like doing tags! Without further ado…here I go…

1. What is your current obsession?

Getting my blog back into what it was a couple of years ago. I’ve been quite pathetic over the last couple of years and am nursing immense guilt over not paying enough attention to my own need to write. So I’m back with a vengeance!

2. What are you wearing today?

A pink kurta from FabIndia, and a white chudi bottom. Hair tied up into a ponytail. (Hmmm, if I was wearing spectacles, I could have also said that I had the (pseudo) superior-intellectual look)

3. What’s for dinner?

We had a sizeable lunch at Dhaba today – so skipping dinner!

4. What’s the last thing you bought?

A Hidesign handbag for my mum … after enormous amount of coaxing and listening to her sigh, and say that her current handbag was serving its purpose well, and that she didn’t need one more, and that it may look too “hep” and therefore inappropriate on her … till I almost completely got mad. I finally gave her the option of dumping it on me in case she ever felt it was not good for her. And what happened? She left Bangalore with the handbag on her arm, and with a big grin on her face, even as I reminded her how much she’d driven me crazy. *Affectionate smile*…mums will be mums.

5. What are you listening to right now?

The mum again – she’s carping about some really *annoying* relatives, over the phone. Trust me, it’s HUGELY entertaining :D.

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?

As I said earlier, wasn’t tagged personally – I picked it up from PS. As for what I think of her – she’s one of those creative, exhuberant personalities who we need more of in this world. She’s an adorable pixie :).

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

Now, you’re talking! Ummm.. would that be Mauritius, or the Bahamas, or Califormia… or …

Oh! I know, Paris! I adore Paris. And I even know that I want a house with a view of the Seine. *Sigh*. It’s just the most romantic city I’ve ever seen.

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?

Shades. Some drink close to my reach. Loads and loads of tissue paper. Really airy flats for my feet – I have an amazingly comfy Timberland actually. Non-sticky sunscreen.

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

Must you ask me to mention Paris so many times? Okay, I’ll change that. I will want to spend it on an island in Maldives. Spent my honeymoon there, and that would be one of my other picks for a phenomenal place to visit.

10. Which language do you want to learn?

Ahem. I just spent the last TWO quarters in my MBA program learning languages. The first one, I learnt Japanese. The second, Spanish. Someone was asking me to pick Chinese for the next, but if I do that, IIMB will probably end up giving me a certification for “Diploma in International Languages” instead of the MBA itself. So for now, No, I’ll pass.

11. What’s your favourite quote?

All my favorite quotes are in Malayalam. Simply because most of them are sarcastic and extremely appropriate for many moments *wink*. One such would be “Patti-de vaalu panthiraandu kollam kozhalil ittalum valanje irikku”. Don’t ask me the meaning! Or who I’m using it on! (For the mallu ppl reading this blog….Shush!)

12. Who do you want to meet right now?

Even if it is farfetched, and probably not gonna happen ever? Deepak Chopra.

13. What is your favourite colour?

Peacock Blue. And Silver.

Okay, I know I am not supposed to pick two colors, but seriously, I love a lot of colors. So don’t ask me to pick just one. I can rattle off many shades like the ones Asian Paints have – Baked Biscuit, Mocha, Truffle Pink etc… I love really deep *feeling* kind of colors… something that you would use to express joy, and vivaciousness,… and passion.

(Oh, if only I had a carton of paints with me that I could throw onto a canvas. *Wishful thinking*)

14. Give us 3 styling tips that work for you.

=> Smokey eyes, for that touch of mystery.

=> Lip gloss for that well-turned out look.

=> Nicely brushed hair that bobs around , and strands of which caress your face in the wind. (Okay, that may not really be a styling tip – but yes, nice hair is important).

15. What is your dream job?

Getting paid to explore various channels of creativity (write, read, dance, sing, organize events, interact with people, paint…) –  while being able to work my mind and heart. Infact, that’s almost close to what I do now!!!

16. What’s your favorite magazine?

Nothing really. I don’t have too much of patience to read the kind of crap that most magazines churn out. If you have come across something worthwhile, please suggest.

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

Buying lots of fiction books. Not for me though. I and hubby are doing our bit in spreading education by volunteering to teach (economically-backward) kids on the weekend – as part of an initiative run by an NGO called Prerana.

There’s a lot to talk about the experience itself, but I’ll reserve that for a future post. Meanwhile, my latest resolve is to supplement our spoken-english-language support for the kids – by giving them something extra – books to read and enjoy! (Hopefully I’m able to recreate atleast partially for them, the magical experience that I had a youngster waltzing through the pages of many of treasured troves… and at the same time, break their language barrier, because I believe that unless you read enough, you’ll not get around to appreciating and understanding the language constructs). I’ve already started buying books for the kids to read and circulate, but there’s no such thing as more than enough, so any extra money of mine will go into adding to this :). $100 will come in handy ;-).

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?

A short western top and a stoal. Somehow it doesn’t go down well with me.

19. Who according to you is the most over-rated style icon?

I think almost every 2nd bollywood star is over-rated but I’ll not pick them because they get picked often enough. Therefore – Shobhaa De.

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer?

On me? Layered, and short – somewhere around my shoulders. I’ve been wanting to do something dramatically different too, but still haven’t found what it would be. Waiting for the perfect haircut therefore.

21. What are you going to do after this?

Work. Sleep. Dream :).

22. What are your favorite movies?

Many malayalam classics. Many hindi movies. Many english movies. I mean, asking a movie buff like me to name movies is not exactly easy. I think I’ve written a post about it already, so pass.

23. What inspires you?

A lot of things – humans, and their resilience, inner strength. Compassion when it was least expected. God’s Love.

24. What do your friends call you most commonly?

These days, my MBA classmates have christened me with a few new names – Shiks, Muppet. One of my close friends used to call me by my initials GP. Nothing more interesting though. Sadly, my persona probably lends itself well to Shikha. And besides, a 2 syllable name is easy to say, right?

25. Would you prefer coffee or tea?

Tea. Tea. Tea. Tea. Tea… x infinity. I could have as many glasses of tea as there existed on the planet and I still wouldn’t get tired of it. Try it. Ask me if I want a cup of tea sometime. Chances are you’ll get a beaming, resounding “YES” in response.

26. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?

Talk to God.

27. What makes you go wild?

If wild as in “really irritated” – Incompetent people trying to lord over others. It makes me want to clobber the hell out of them.

If wild as in “letting hair loose down” types – being at the beach.

28. Which other blogs do you love visiting?

Many. Pls. see my recommended readings section, and the friends section on the right.

29. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?

Cheesecake. (after a divine experience recently :)).

Raspberry and Yoghurt Gelato. Yum.

30. How many tabs are turned on in ur browser right now?

Seven.

31. Favorite Season?

Spring.

32. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?

Pancakes. Nice, warm, sweet, pancakes and slurpy jam to go with it.

33. What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?

Truthfully – I am not one to carry grudges around and judge a person just because something they did hurt me, and I do believe that people have reasons for whatever they do. So I wouldn’t purposefully avoid them if they cross my path. The only kind of people I actually avoid are those who try too much to be nice and yet your intuition tells you, that they are not as much. Better to stay away :).

34. What are you afraid of the most?

I have a lot of paranoias. Spiders. Worms. Fungus. Drowning. Things that move and go boo in the dark…. hehe, okay, the last one was just added for an effect.

35. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

“Gosh. Open your eyes completely, woman. You’re going to knock something down, walking around, half-awake, looking like a female version of frankenstein!”

36. What brings a smile on your face instantly?

Friends. Cute kids. My hubby when he’s in one of his cute moments :). My mother when she’s sleeping, curled up like a ball on the couch, because she’s too lazy to get up and go and sleep on the bed. My dad, when he wears a pair of absolutely non-matching pants with one of his good shirts and appears completely unaware of the ridiculousness of it 🙂

37. A word that you say a lot?

“Terrible”. I don’t know, I use that to describe even extra doses of nice things…although why I do that, I have no clue. Have been trying to rid myself of it for sometime now.

38. When was the last time you did something nice?

Today afternoon. Went to see a friend who I hadn’t visited in over a year. Being with her and her one and half yr old kid, was amazing :). *Soup for the heart*

39. What would you do if you were made President of India for one day?

Being the President of India for a day is no big shakes. You can’t do anything constructive, that someone else cannot undo. However, I think there is a Right To Education issue that’s currently in the pipeline. I’ll see if I can add some presidential weight to that, and recommend the bill.

40. Do you Know who Master SHIFU is?

Yeah.  *Hiiiiiyyyyeeeeeeaaaaah*.

————————————————–

Yes, I’ve finally done it.

*Solemn breath*. And I now tag…YOU (if you’re not mentioned after this) and @nikhilnarayanan, @shruti_007, Vinoshini, Lazy Pineapple, Emmanuel, Sonali 🙂 – hopefully none of you’ve done the tag yet, and because I would love to know what your answers are, yes!!

Update:

Follow up posts from the victims above 😉

Shruti’s version @ Lost In Translation

Lazy Pineapple

Emmanuel writes @ Reticent Expressions

Sonali’s take