Confessions and Other Stories

Confessions and Other Stories

felix juggling miceI’ve been right in the middle of so many things lately – its funny how I am even managing to keep all things in the air, juggling like that. But I don’t feel hassled at all. I am taking things at my pace, going at the speed I want. So, strangely, I don’t feel rushed or pressured at all.

I am right in the middle of getting my first round of feedback for one section of my Tarot book. These are mostly from my students who will (I hope) try out the system I’ve come up with in the book, and give me their honest feedback.

Once I have that, I can move on to the editing stage, and get my book draft ready for the second round. I don’t want to reveal what that will be as of yet, but yes, there are many things that I’ve got on my mind with this baby of mine.

watch_korean_drama____by_flayravenz-d2mzcayWhile all this is going on, I turn to my guilty pleasure for comfort – the combo of Netflix and DramaFever has my heart and soul. And yes, so do many other Sci-Fi shows on TV. But nothing gets romance like the Korean Dramas that I’m hooked on to. No seriously. I am in love with them.

There are many reasons why I like Korean Dramas actually. But the only reasons that make any sense on any level is the fact that these serials actually have a sensible story for the most part, and the fact that they do romance like no other. Despite their awkward, deer-in-the-headlights kissing scenes, the whole thing is just too good for words.

At this point, I suppose I must confess, (I mean, that is one of the reasons why I’m writing this blog post), that I am, and I always was, and I shall always remain a romantic at heart. I’ve devoured romance in many forms – books, movies, and now K-Dramas.

But you know the sad part – I’ve never experienced any of it in my own real life. Now, don’t go pitying me. It’s not a sad thing. It’s rather unfortunate, actually. The world is that much sadder because an insanely romantic person like me went unappreciated by the pathetic men in her life.

artemis_by_janiceduke-d5j0i0gIn my entire life, I’ve chased after men that were too weak-willed to pursue me and win. I’ve been Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt, and I’ve gone after the men I’ve wanted and I’ve had them – bagged and tagged – simply because I could. But once I had them, honestly, I’ve lost interest in them. The thrill of the chase was over. And they weren’t all that fun in the sack either.

The only reason I remained in those relationships was because of some random emotional attachments. Really. I should’ve known better.

I tried to be all nice, and loving, and compassionate, and well, humane. When all I needed to be was shallow.

I freely admit that I am a very bad judge of character. Even if I know their patterns down pat, I am just very hopeless when it comes to being shallow to these people.

If I had to put many of these scenes in a K-Drama perspective, I would describe my relationships like this: the second girlfriend who loses out to the affection that the guy has for the first girlfriend.

For some reason, those idiotic men could be romantic with her, but never with me. This always saddened me. I could’ve appreciated their romance so much better than her anyway. Besides I’m definitely the better kisser. That, is a fact. But men have been known far and wide for their inherent stupidity when it comes to loving women. That too, is a fact.

Recently though, I found myself in a different sort of a cliché. A far cry from being the second girlfriend, I became the first girlfriend who returns as soon as the guy finds the second girlfriend. Of course, I was bound to lose this one too! What was I thinking! LOL

person-598312_640When it comes to relationships I’ve always been the loser. I’ve always given more. I’ve always understood them. I’ve always been kinder, nicer. But you know what? That was just me trying to please. That was me trying to put aside the thought that I was somehow shortchanged.

I should have stayed shallower. I should never have let my hopes for romance blind me to the reality that was staring at me in the face. I always chose blinded by pity. I’ve never really met a man who fit in with or was close enough to be my ideal. I always settled for less because I wanted to be kind.

At some point in your life, your daddy tells you to stop expecting too much, and to settle for something less because that’s what you’re worth. And you end up buying that concept so well that the rest of your life is colored by it.

But I’ve started to walk away from such thoughts. Nowadays I have started to allow myself to be a little more shallow. If I don’t feel the emotion, I don’t pretend to have it. Even if that means I look a little less compassionate, or a little less nice, I don’t mind.

Nowadays, whenever I see my face in the mirror, I’ve even noticed a strange sort of glow in my eyes. Something has started to feel that much right inside of me. I have even started to like myself a little bit more. I’ve started to smile at myself and laugh at the inside jokes. I’ve acknowledged the voice inside my head, and I respect it. I listen to the opinions, and take the advice that comes through.

Isn’t it strange? I’m simply just being myself.

Not being nice when I dont want to be nice is actually working out for me.

Seeing my situations as stories has helped me see a different sort of a resolution for myself. And no, I am not going to reveal the end of this story just yet. So don’t even bother asking.

no_smoking_by_sirwendigo-d3fhqzmAnd you know the best part – I’ve finally managed to quit smoking. No nicotine gum. No nicotine patch. None of that. Its been a month or more I think – I’ve lost count actually. I haven’t smoked.

It’s not like I haven’t had the urge to smoke. I have that off and on. In fact, there are times when I really miss it.

Right about this time of the year is when the weather outside is the best. It’s not too boiling hot yet, and it’s not cold either. This is the best time to plonk down on one of the chairs in the porch with my iPad and a glass of cold, iced tea and read a book or two while smoking my cigarette and listening to music on my iPod.

But then here I am. Doing all of that except for the smoking part. Isn’t that weird? It feels weird for me. Even being able to smell the scent of my shampoo in my hair two days after washing them feels weird for me.

You know what though… I hate telling people that I’ve quit. If they notice then that’s fine. But I hate telling them that I quit.


Because they get all sanctimonious and start praising me for the wise decision I took. They start talking about the health benefits from quitting and I instantly want to do two things: slap them silly, and walk away.


Because I didn’t quit for health reasons. Also I didn’t quit so that they could praise me. I most certainly didn’t quit smoking for the sake of other people. I quit it for my sake. Me. That was the only reason. And no, it had nothing to do with my health.

And, I still love smoking. I miss it terribly. I miss how it made me feel. I miss every single thing about it.

Back then, when I was smoking all the time, I had two reasons for keeping up with it. One was that I loved it to bits. Seriously. And the second was that I didn’t quite care if it took a few years off of my life. I mean, I’ve spent all this time wondering what the big deal was about living anyway. Truly. Apart from the brief time when I was genuinely suicidal, I’ve always wondered what the big deal was about any way. One day, all of us are going to die. Some sooner. Some later. I only wondered what the point of prolonging this inevitable scenario would be anyway.

But now, something inside of me has changed.

E_Phillips_Fox_-_A_Love_Story,_1903I’ve started to see things in a different context. Like a story or something. I’ve started to focus on myself. I’ve grown ok with being seen as shallow sometimes. I’ve grown to like being perceived as self-centered as well. I’ve started to say the things I mean, rather than saying the things that I ought to say – even if the things I end up saying are mean and sometimes hurtful, I say them.

I’ve stopped wanting to please people. I’ve stopped expecting romance to happen in my relationships / dates. I’ve stopped trying to push myself into portraying or feeling emotions that I am supposed to feel. Rather, I just express what I am feeling right now, and if people don’t like it, well… Not my problem.

I’ve found a reason why I ought to live – even if it is a little bit more time than what I am supposed to have in this lifetime. I’ve found a reason to want to be around for a bit more time. And no, I’m not sharing the reason. It took me 38 years to finally figure it out.

Everyone has their own reason and own path. As long as I found mine, its good for me. And its nobody else’s business.

The more I let go of trying to be a certain way, and the more I remain true to the voice in my head, I smile more. I laugh much easily. I genuinely see humor in the ridiculous people around me. I get frustrated with stupid and walk away more often. I don’t bother with being nice. I don’t even bother with trying to explain to people how stupid they are.

I was tested with an IQ of over 140 when I was in school. All of my life, I’ve tried to live as if my IQ was 100 or thereabouts – simply because I didn’t want other people to feel uncomfortable around me. I didn’t want people to feel stupid around me. Of course, that didn’t stop them from actually being stupid – which is even more pathetic.

In any case, now I don’t give a rats ass.

This is me. I am smart. I am also quite shallow. I am also a romantic. I’ve quit smoking, but I love cigarettes. I love walking in Nature, but I absolutely don’t do Nature Hikes and all that crapping in the jungle business. On the topic of crapping – I like to keep the door of the loo open when I take a dump because I’m a bit claustrophobic. The first thing in the morning, I read my emails on my iPad as I take said dump. I’m slowly developing a strange appreciation for coffee. I don’t like to grow my nails because I can’t type as fast as my thoughts go with nails that are even 2 mm longer than my finger. I actually understand money much more than most thanks to my Masters Degree in Economics. But I am not motivated by money at all. As long as something is fun, I don’t mind spending days doing it. But when it stops being fun, I don’t even turn around to look at it any more. I don’t lie. And I dislike liars. In my view liars only end up lying to themselves in the end, and I can’t stand to be around self-deceiving people like that. I am commitment phobic. But strangely, the only commitment that I’ve managed to keep is the one to myself. I still, occasionally, listen to Yanni on my iPod. I think I am going to take the American Citizenship in a few years even though I am eligible even today – cutting off my connection with my country is actually something deep for me. I was quite surprised by my patriotic feelings. I hate politics. I hate politicians. I think democracy is dead, and the only reason it is still around today is because there isn’t anything else that can replace it, and because no other system does such a fantastic job of fooling the citizens into thinking that they have the actual power. I genuinely think that if women were to take over the world, wars wouldn’t really end – they would actually get more vicious than what they are now. I also think that because women are capable of bringing life into this world, they can also be the most hard-hearted, vicious killers. I also think that just because you have a uterus doesn’t mean you have to use it – everyone has a brain, but they don’t use it either, so people should stop making women feel useless if they choose not to have kids.

Luxor_ChampagneI know, I know – TMI. But deal with it. This post isn’t titled “Confessions” for fun, you know.

The point is, I am discovering my real self as I let go of wanting to adhere to some random rules that were probably thrust upon me somewhere along the way. I have started disallowing stupid in and around my vicinity. And I’m owning to things that truly matter to me.

I’m basically just being me. And if you don’t like it, well, bye. And if you do like it – stick around. And if you want to ask me out, well, I like roses and champagne and walking hand-in-hand on the deserted main street after a late night movie and snack. Y’know. Just sayin’.

Re-Discovering Colourblind

3441112 As I was taking a shower today morning, I happened to remember this really cool band – I was introduced to this one by my neighbor Siddharth Tipnis (incidentally, one of the band member’s name is also Siddharth – but it is not the same one!! LOL)….

I listened to the music at Siddharth’s place, and then I had to make haste to get the cassette for myself (we didn’t have CDs everywhere back then!)… Their first and only album titled ‘Colourblind’ was flying off the shelves – people were scrambling for copies and none were available… can you believe that?

The music really rocked! I mean I listened to the songs over and over again back then – besides which, back then I really listened to a lot of the local bands and smoked a lot of pot! LOL

So in case any of you are freaking out and wanting their REALLY AWESOME MUSIC, you can visit their site to download their mp3s which are now available for free. And yes, given below is the website which led me to their site.

[Colourblind – Discover music, videos, concerts, & lyrics at]

Can you believe that to get to their page, I had to Google for the terms: colourblind, ram, siddharth, so as to actually get to some information and their links?

For a bit more info on the band, here is another link to the Split Magazine page on Colourblind.

So which are my fav tracks from this album? Why, all of them, of course!! Enjoy! And yes, you are very, very welcome!

Everything Official About It!!

First off, apologies for the break in blog posts…to be honest, I haven’t been that busy, but am certainly guilty of being lazy!!

Well… it has been over 2 months now that I have come to the USA. And it has been over a few weeks now that I am a proud (??) owner of the renowned Green Card, and eventually the recipient of the Social Security Number.

So that is it – it is official now – I am officially a part of the United States of America. And for all intents and purposes I will be so for many years to come.

In the past few weeks, I have been going through the initial phases of the transformation – it takes a while to get used to the weather here (especially if your first visit to USA is during a snowfall) – and all said and done, the process has not been easy because I am pretty adamant and so uneasy with adapting to change.

However, over a period of time, I have tried hard to overcome my mental blocks about America and try to assimilate what I do see about the country. So far, I have seen some aspects of the country which I do like, and some which are not so different from India and some which are so typically American….

I have also been able to overcome my being overwhelmed by it all – and have been able to become somewhat independent here…although, it is not that 100% since I don’t drive or have a driver’s license or own a car… but hopefully that will change in a month or so….Meanwhile, I have been able to figure out the public transport  system here (so far, buses and subways) and get by with it. Amazingly, the public transit system does follow the timetable to a large extent and Google Maps can show how one can get from one place to the other via bus – it is quite interesting.

You guys cannot even imagine how much I have walked ever since I have come here …. for a person who chose to take a rickshaw to go from her flat to Prems (which is like 2 blocks) – I have walked distances which are more than twice that much and more in NYC.

So, now I can catch the bus and take the subway to go to different parts of ‘the city’ (that means the New York City) and for some reason, I don’t find the city to be that intimidating at all… I mean, I know of Americans who do find NYC scary and what not – but somehow, not me… Plus, there is so much to explore in the city – and once you get the hang of its layout, it is a breeze….see, NYC is like a grid – there are streets (which are numbered or named) and these are cut across by avenues (which are also numbered or named)…and then any address is simple to find…yes well… again, it isn’t as simple as it sounds but that is the basic thing of it anyways!!

And I have finally gotten back to smoking – Oh Yessiree!! Camel Regulars are wayyy better than Marlboro regulars!! And needless to say, I find it quite funny that one generally finds cigarette packs in the pharmacy here!! Since my mum has asthma, I usually end up going out to the porch and sitting on the stairs to smoke…and funnily enough, the number of ciggys I smoke has come down to 3 – 5 per day instead of the earlier 35 – 40 per day!! Probably because I did not smoke a single cigarette in the past month and a half!

And I will not apologize for the reason I took up smoking again – for some reason, my brain just refused to function without the smokes!! And I had an assignment which I had to complete – for which I simply couldn’t find inspiration…can you believe it? Without a cigarette, I cannot find the first line – the very important first line – because when I get the first line, the next few pages (and the next hour or so) just passes by like a breeze! More about that phenomenon would be appropriate on my writing blog, methinks!

I have also discovered interesting food here – toaster waffles, heat and eat pasta dishes, quesadillas, spaghetti pumpkins, burritos, and of course, an interesting Indian restaurant called ‘Sarvana Bhavan’ on 26th and Lexington (in NYC) which serves good South Indian food… actually most of 26rh is covered with Indian restaurants and gets pretty crowded over the weekends with all the Desis in and around NYC.

The weather here also doesn’t leave much to the imagination – however, the wise people look at the weather channel on TV or weather website and ‘Know Before You Go’! Well…I landed here when the snow was falling and the entire thing looked nice for like 10 minutes, and then all I could do was look at the bleak landscape of the snow covered lawns and barren trees and NOT get depressed!! And then it was the advent of Spring – which so far has been characterized by cloudy and windy weather with slight showers and rains… And then once in a while, the sun comes out – to shine and glow – reminding me of winters in Pune…. Well they say that Spring hasn’t funny sprung yet and Summer will be better….Am truly hoping for the best!

I may even decide to get into a short course or something in a nearby college / university – to (a) get an idea of how the teaching-learning process happens over here, and (b) make some friends  and (c) give me a reason to get out and about….believe me, over here, I am not finding it so easy to be sitting at home all day – I need to go out and stretch my legs everyday and so I have taken to going for a short walk ever so often in the park near my home….

In short, I have decided to give this country a shot – after all, it doesn’t hurt to do so…I have decided that I will decide after some years (between 3 and 5) if I want to remain here or go back to India – how about that !!???!!

Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?

Wandering into America

My flight was on the 28th of January 2009. I had packed my stuff into 3 bags, each almost weighing 40-odd kilos. I had booked a taxi and had planned to go to Mumbai at least 2 days before the actual plane trip. Of course, on the 26th of January, which was a national holiday, it was very difficult to find a taxi. So I ended up going the next day. PK was with me the whole time.

Reached Mumbai and tried to relax. Then I got a telephone call from a friend of mine. Her cousin works with Air India and she gave me the most valuable piece of advice ever – life saving, is what I would call it. Apparently, even if you are willing to pay for the extra luggage you are carrying, then too, each bag you carry must not weigh more than 25 kilos. So, I sent PK off to get 2 more bags. And then the night before the flight, we both ended up re-packing everything. Since I was staying at the residence of a family friend, I had a room to myself, where I could do all these activities.

After all these exercises, when we finally ended up going to the airport, there was expectancy mingled with fear and cigarette smoke in the air. I was a bit scared. And I was also smoking my last cigarette for the duration.

So I got onto the airport and found some porters to help me with the trolleys. I checked in my extra baggage, and paid for it ( ended up paying a whole lot less than I would have paid if I would have sent it by courier or cargo ) and then, I bought some dollars, and finished up with all the security formalities and so on and then went into the lounge to wait.

And wait. And wait.

The flight was going from Mumbai to Newark via Heathrow. It was supposed to be a direct flight. What I didn’t know before, was that this plane was coming into Mumbai from Ahmedabad. So you can imagine the crowd that got onto the Air India plane when they did. I have never seen so many Gujjus in one place, at one time, for such a long time. LOL

In any case, the seats were cramped and I despaired for not having the werewithal to be able to afford seats in First class or something nicer.

The flight was long and boring. Of course, we took off 4 hours after we were supposed to. And then too, in another airplane.

Besides all that, the views from the plane were excellent. Watching parts of Tehran from over 30,000 miles above, seeing clouds form a cover for the Earth, speaking with the Gujju couple next to me about how I immigrated, trying to figure out when the Air Hostess was going to feed us and how the in-flight entertainment thingy works – all these were part of the entertainment on flight.

Landing in Heathrow was no pleasure cruise either. We were told that the flight was a direct flight – which in layman’s terms means that we don’t get out of the plane anywhere till we reach our destination. Wrong.

We had to deplane at Heathrow, where we went through some security processes, and were made to wait in a smallish lounge. Smallish because there were several people on the plane ( about 150 odd ) who were on their way to Newark, but the lounge probably could seat only 100 of them. In any case, this was the first place where I witnessed how America changes people – and not for good, I assure you.

The wheelchair bound passengers are usually tackled first or last depending on what process is being followed. When we landed in Heathrow, these people were tackled after the other passengers were. So, when they came through, the lounge was already full. And these old people had no place to sit down. The air hostess then began to request people to get up and give up their seats to them. And several young people did.  And then one woman simply refused. And then did another. Both of them were young enough and could have easily stood up for some time, but one lady said that she was too tired to stand up ( we were sitting in the plane for so long, and were going to continue to sit in the plane for another long period of time! ) and the other lady simply refused to get up because she held the airline responsible for not providing the customers with a lounge big enough!

And both these women were Indian – Gujju women. Just like the old people. Amazing! Would they have had the guts to say something like this in India? Probably not. And besides which, does this show anything positive about these people anyway? What is wrong with getting up and giving your seat to an elderly person? Hmmm?

Anyway, the moment passed, and we were soon on the plane and back on the road, so to speak.

As we landed in Newark, it was raining and cold. I could see that it had snowed before. I landed, and began to feel my way through the formalities. I had some documents I was supposed to submit upon landing in the USA. So, off I went, looking for the Immigration people. I didn’t know if it was the right or the wrong department, but I went and asked some people and got through.

Having done what I had to do, I then went on to the baggage counter – the revolving mass / mess of bags that comes through. I enlisted the services of a black man with a huge trolley to help me lift them on to the trolley. He was nice, and patiently waited with me for my 5 bags to come through. He then accompanied me through customs and then to my Mom, my Sis and my Bro-in-Law who were waiting for me outside.

We loaded the stuff into their cars, and sped off. My first sight of the roads – the roads in USA also have potholes!! According to my Mom, this happens only in winter – but hey!! this happens here too!! LOL

So, we reached home. There, I showered, changed and went off to sleep in the strangest land I have ever encountered.

Day by day, I am getting familiar with the place. I have overcome the dizziness – the feeling that I am still on the plane. And now, I am able to do many other things.

One of the main things we did was order for a new power cord. That came through yesterday. So, I was able to fire up my lappy and get to work! Mom has Wi-Fi and so getting on to the Internet is not so difficult.

Here I am, sitting in the basement of my Mom’s house, with a faux fireplace by the left and putting my feet up on a table – posting to my blog via Wi-Fi!

Madhavi has indeed wandered into America….what wonders will be unveiled to her once the snow-sheen wears off? Tune in soon, for the next update on the adventures of an Indian Writer in the land of the heated houses!!

Emotional and Sentimental

This hit me yesterday – I am going to have only 10 more days before I leave India for ever and ever. I really have no idea when I am going to come back – if I am going to come back at all…Who knows what lies ahead in the future.

Although I am excited to go to the USA and spend time with my mother etc etc, I know in my heart that my life is going to change for ever. Nothing is going to remain the same in my life.

I mean, in all probability, I am going to remain the same (or maybe I will ‘evolve’ [can I say the word??]) – but no matter what, the external environment around me is surely going to change.

Nothing ever remains the same. All things change. And change is the only constant in life.

Strange. After a bit of struggle etc my life here was actually taking off and I was doing quite well for myself. Finally, I had begun to feel as if I was growing little shoots (the mini version of roots) and … and then out of the blue all these things just began to move and things happened.

I had known about these things for at least 6-8 months now, but I had decided against writing / speaking about it to anyone. I don’t know. Maybe I got a bit superstitious. The last time I had advertised about my visa to all and sundry, and then when I hadn’t received the visa, I had felt so nuts…everyone used to ask me about it and I didn’t want to even talk about it. In fact, ever since my mom had applied for my visa, the whole story had grown and grown to actual mythical proportions.

Immigration visas to USA under certain categories take as long as 8 years to come through. Mine happened in 6 years.

Several times during the past 6 years, I have even seen a slight sneer in peoples’ tones and voices when they used to talk about the whole ‘Oh! You are eventually going to the USA’ business.

I mean, hey, I understand. This is the way things work in the world. And there is nothing I can do to change things.

And so this time, I didn’t breathe a word to anyone. Only 3-4 close friends knew of this – one was the husband-wife duo with whom I was staying whenever I had to go to Mumbai. One was my student-friend who was giving me Reiki. And no one else would’ve guessed.

So when I came back on the evening of the 31st of December and SMSed everyone, most people were shocked. No one was expecting this news.

Ah. Well.

I know a new life awaits me – there will be some certain challenges as well – I can foresee some, and some I will come to know when I go there.

I spent as much time as I could meeting up with all the good friends of mine – those who bothered to come down and meet me anyways…

At this moment, I am feeling so emotional and sentimental, it’s not funny.

And in the midst of all this hullabaloo, I discovered that I had misplaced my graduation mark sheets. I got PK to call up D and I called up her friend to see if they had the documents by any chance. Of course, the friend denied having it – perhaps she didn’t. D refused to help out. So I did what I had to do – I prayed to Meher Baba – asked him to make sure that if someone had those documents, then they would return them to me, and then, in the meantime, I went to the University and applied for a duplicate set of mark sheets.

Then I went on with my life.

On the Saturday just gone, D calls up PK and tells him that she has the mark sheets, and she wants him to come pick them up from her. She had come down to Pune for some work and she dropped them off for him. He got them, and brought them over to my place.

So the next day, I messaged D and thanked her for caring enough to return the documents to me.

I guess deep down inside, neither of us wants to really go out of the way to hurt each other. But then D and I never really worked that way. Some of her books and stuff were with me, and when I discovered that, I had simply returned them to her. So I guess, when she discovered that she had my documents, she returned them to me. It happens.

So now, all my accounts are closed – Karmic and otherwise…am going to leave the country of my birth and go live in a strange land where it snows all the time – I don’t know when I can ever stand in the sunlight the way I do right now – and am going into a totally different culture: In short am going into the UNKNOWN.

But you know what, I am not getting anxious or worried – because that has never solved my problem.

What I am getting is emotional and sentimental.

Here is a list of things that I will actually miss: This place – this house, the people, the circle of friends, the whole ‘hanging out at Prems’, my group of Tarot students, some good clients who have become friends over a period of time, spending time watching silly Hindi movies at the mall, getting stuck in a traffic jam and hurling abuses in Hindi, Marathi and English at the other person, singing along (loudly) to Hindi songs anywhere and everywhere with friends, SMOKING, just picking up the phone and calling my friends over for chai – or going over to their place for chai – or meeting up without any damn reason and having chai, gossiping about this and that, the seasons and the festivals and the fun that they brought along with them, INDIA – my Motherland, the smell of the earth just before it rains, the smell of the raatrani flowers in my lane when we used to walk down in the night, NALU – My maid and my home-management-support-system…..the list will just go on and on and will probably not end so soon….

32 years in a country, and poof, it is all set to change.

I guess, this is the way of it. A chapter ends. A new chapter begins.

B.C. Sutta Na Mila

About a year or so ago, I heard this song at this new place I had joined as a Copywriter and could relate to it so much, that I laughed and cried and sang the song with all the others like me!

This song totally symbolizes the criticism that smokers are subjected to on all levels of society. And for what, I ask? I strongly believe that each and every one of us is free to make their own personal choices in life. I love smoking. It is something else – you have to do it to know it. Women are especially criticised for smoking – and all kinds of health reasons are cited for this. This is total hypocracy, and the world knows it. Smoking, Alcohol, Drugs, Tea, Coffee – what is the difference anyways, huh? All are addictive. So I want to know who decides what is legal and what is illegal – and on what basis really?

Here is the link to a band who has come up with a wonderful song dedicated to smokers all over the world – I have had this song for nearly a year now…Found their blog today. So here it is: You can even download the song, freely, from the link on the blog. *Long Live the ‘Net*

Recently a song has come up with some gal who says “Don’t Smoke Sutta” – I don’t like it – The least the babe could do was come up with an original tune like this guy did…the utter audacity of this woman to copy the same tune and tell something like this – She should be sued!

Anyhows, Enjoy the song…Have a Smoke!

The Power to Choose

The most important power in the world is the power to choose. I have come to believe this after a long, hard journey of discovery.

An individual has enough motivation and logic for self preservation, from the moment he/she is born. That is why babies cry when they are hungry, thirsty or have wet themselves. They have learnt via observation, that when they cry, this wonderful and warm person rushes in to take care of him/her.

But then, as we grow up, there are rules to follow. Don’t go there. Don’t touch this. Don’t do that. Understandably, most of these rules are in place for a very good reason. Perhaps, that is why ‘Society’ as a macro concept, is still existing today.

When I was growing up, my father told me several times, that I had to listen to whatever he said. When I questioned him about the reason why, he told me that this was because I was living under his roof and eating the food he provided me and wearing the clothes he bought for me and so on. In short, I was dependant upon him financially, and had no choice but to listen to him.

It wasn’t his advice that bothered me. What he told me to do was not anything wrong. It was the way that he expected me to just listen, was what bothered me. It was conveyed to me, in no uncertain terms, that I had no choice.

That bothered me. Because it had begun to matter to me, that I could have the power to choose what I wanted to do. He never told me to lie, cheat or steal, but he told me to kill my inner self that wanted answers. And I couldn’t take that lying down.

It was not the fact that he said the right thing or the wrong thing, it was the fact that he left me with no choice but to listen to what he dictated. As an individual, I was never allowed to make any choice for myself. And that made me feel useless, and incapable. I knew that I was neither of these.

As is the case with hot bloodied teenagers like me, I rebelled. I chose the wrong things on purpose, just to get a rise out of my father. And of course, there were consequences of my actions. I faced those consequences without remorse.

However, I learnt the painful truth that such was the way of real life, and I took it as far as I could. But that person within me refuses to die, even today.

As I stepped out of the movie theater today, I encountered a group of people passing out pamphlets for an Art of Living seminar happening nearby. I had done the course a long time ago, around the year 2000, I think. I just wanted to get more information. I asked the lady for a pamphlet. She began persuading me to come. I said that I would have to check with my schedules, since they are quite erratic. Then she told me to get my friends as well. So I said that I would ask them, and try to get them to come.

“No, No,” she said, “You must get them along!”

“You must!”

I wanted to ask her then and there, why I must bring anyone along. Wasn’t it enough that I felt that I wanted to come?

Why does any religious/spiritual organization have to force anyone at all! People ought to be drawn to it, pulled to it, because it feels right. And then, all of a sudden I didn’t want to go. The same old rebellion stirred within me. I know the consequences of that kind of a rebellion. So I just took the pamphlet and walked off.

My mind raced back to the first time I had attended the seminar. I was doing night shifts, and the sessions used to be in the morning at 9. So, I used to come home from office by 7 am, and then leave within an hour to attend the seminar. I would come back home by 12 in the afternoon, and sleep. Wake up again at 6 pm and leave for office. This lasted the entire week, and was extremely exhausting for me.

I also recall that the trainer for that seminar did nothing to stir anything within me of the spiritual kind. All he spouted was a bunch of stuff that I had read in countless books. Which in turn had done nothing for me.

Aah! But the meditation process – now that was awesome! And it was absolutely worth all the effort and exhaustion. Even today, the only reason I wanted to go back was because I wanted to re-learn the meditation process. Sudarshan Kriya, it is called. A very interesting exercise of Pranayama – a total breath and breathing based meditation.

But a ‘must’ followed with the invite. Grrrrrr! I have chosen to come back to meditate. Not that I am someone special or great. So why should anything else be thrust upon me? Isn’t it enough that I have chosen? Why should I force someone else to choose what I have chosen?

Every individual chooses what he/she thinks is the best and right thing for him/her in any given situation. It is a very primal instinct called self-preservation. The distinctions between good and bad become blurred when this instinct is stirred. And each individual makes a choice that he has to live with for the rest of his/her life. The consequences fall upon him/her. So, it is up to that individual to choose wisely.

Given the circumstances where every individual will have such a freedom, rationality will rule. Am I hoping too much here? Perhaps I am too much of an Idealist. Perhaps not. I follow this principle in my life. It has not been an easy journey till here, and I know that it is not going to be easy in the future either. But then, idealists never do choose the easy path, do they?

I still haven’t decided whether I will go for the seminar or not. I will let my anger cool down, and make a rational choice. Huh!