Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Soul Meets Body

On loud, this is a MUST hear for anyone who likes songs that mean something..

I want to live where soul meets body
And let the sun wrap its arms around me
And bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing
And feel, feel what its like to be new

Cause in my head theres a greyhound station
Where I send my thoughts to far off destinations
So they may have a chance of finding a place
where theyre far more suited than here

And I cannot guess what we'll discover
When we turn the dirt with our palms cupped like shovels
But I know our filthy hands can wash one anothers
And not one speck will remain

And I do believe its true
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
But if the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too
So brown eyes I hold you near
Cause youre the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

Where soul meets body
Where soul meets body
Where soul meets body

And I do believe its true
That there are roads left in both of our shoes
But if the silence takes you
Then I hope it takes me too
So brown eyes I hold you near
Cause youre the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere

This is Death Cab for Cutie

Monday, August 27, 2007

The New World

Imagine yourself:

~In a new country
~In a new city
~Very far from all family and friends
~You are lost for direction and know no one
~You are here to stay for a year at least
~The currency and food are beyond comprehension
~You did your research, but this is real-time
~You can not turn around and run
~You can not moan and complain

Yes, its September soon and Universities across the world open to new students. The world is a smaller place, but no less daunting. Its a mix of excitement and the apprehension of the unknown. Its the feel of the cold air, which smells different and the scope of meeting a whole lot of new people you might be friends with for a while. Its the reminiscence of home made food and the warmer climates. The longing for known roads and the familiar faces. But for many this is also the step, or rather a leap away from the known into the something that needed dreaming, planning, hard work and a lot of anxiety.

As airlines book in young people to fly across the skies in pursuit of further education, September shall be yet another month that sees Universities welcoming the new lot of students. Term has not started yet, but the planning is nearly over. I see new lost faces walking around town and I feel sorry for their lost looks, but also envious of the blank sheets of paper they are right now.

To those who are in this boat of being an International / Overseas student, best of luck. Those of you, who have been in that got over it!And shall hopefully never be in that boat of excited and scared, hopeful but wary, far away from home and clueless mode!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Had a choice last night between Chak De and Bourne Ultimatum.
Saw the latter. Matt Damon is Jason Bourne.
I dont like watching films and most films I see are a chore. I see my watch within 40 mins of any film starting. And this is true for every single film I watch (I watch many as most of my friends like films). So when I watch a film and forget about my watch...I deem it a good film. And there as VERY few of those.
Bourne Ultimatum - two words...WATCH IT!
It was Good!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Conversation in Class

Location: Prison for Young Offenders in England
Age: 18-21
Sex: Male
Offense: Theft, Murder, Rape, Arson, Threats to witness, Assault and the list goes on...and on and on...

The bunch of lads I had this morning were not the brightest lot. I am not saying they are stupid but the phrase 'lights are on, nobody is home' comes to mind often. As is often seen at this age and in this 'social' group of young men - women are most important. They like to swear on their mum's lives, they live by their 'gals' visit. They keep letters sent to them by the women in their lives close to their hearts and are often driven to self destructive thoughts when they get 'Dear John' letters from home.

This poor soul in my class has been looking surrealistically happy for the past few days. He is not very bright, bless him, but he has a good heart, which was obviously not beating when he stabbed an old woman on the street. He is doing his time in prison so its okay I guess.
This morning's conversation then, without further ado,

Me: What are you looking so happy about?
Him: Oh Miss I cant tell ya.
Me: Go on, tell me, you have been smiling for 3 days in a row now.
Him: I know, Oh Miss I cant wait to get out. I am just itching to get out now.
Me: How long do you have left?
Him: 10 months
Me: So tell me why are you so happy, its not like you are releasing anytime soon.
Him: My gal's pregnant.
Me: Oh Congrats, that is good news, no wonder you have been smiling. When is the baby due?
Him: Christmas this year..
Me: 3 months left to go then. The baby wont be too old when you get out.

(Realization strikes me - violent offense, he cant be on such a short sentence despite the British Legal System's ongoing love affair with prolific offenders)

Me(carefully): So how long have you done now in here?
Him(Kind of proudly): 18 months
Me(a little zapped): At a stretch? or were you out on tag (release) for a while?
Him (Very proudly, chest out, chin up): At a stretch miss, I've been ridin it out like a solja.

I smile back at him and think. God Bless Him, aint the sharpest pencil in the box but hey, someday the penny shall drop...I hope. Till then I shall leave him to his smiles.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Have been feeling pretty miserable lately thanks to being ill and on a liquid only diet for the past week or more. Sitting alone in the house, moping around, wishing I was somewhere else. Don't want to do anything, but I am also very bored. I don't have the energy to go out and I am not ill enough to sit still. It has been a pain. Random thoughts, phone calls, fever induced dreams, medicine induced sickness and worry induced headaches and I am now at the very end of my rather long rope.

I went out today to the market, needed to post something. Walked past shoes and clothes and perfumes, all of which tempt me when I am in a good mood. But I am not. In fact today I was just irritated by the in-your-face marketing these products get. Was I at I walked (read Stomped) into my favourite book store. Somehow the silence, the cool air, the neat displays and the quietly engaged looks of the people inside makes me feel calm. There is a sense of calm in looking through books, which not the same as looking through music. And is quite the opposite of looking through clothes. You look at titles, authors, categories of writing, new stuff, spines, back blurbs, imagery and you get absorbed.

I had been walking around wound up and rattled and tired. Then found solace at Waterstones, bought a bag full of books that caught my fancy. I shall hide in them, switch off the doorbell, the TV, the phones, the router, the laptop..and read. A good book is so special, and worth so much, I find it difficult to describe it in words.

I shall hide from the world, sometimes you need to switch off the rest of the world and hide in a cave. By yourself. Away from the noise, which perhaps you brought onto yourself. Away from people, with who there is constant contact and thus a need to keep conversations going. Go back inside your own head. And hear the silence broken only occasionally by a turning page. Bliss.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What did I mean?

I meant no matter what happens, I shall remain by your side.
However tough things get, you shall have me with you.
I know your imperfections, and despite them.
I know your limits, and in spite them.
When you fall ill and look bad,
when you mutter and mope,
When you are afraid and worried, I will be there.
I know your ability to be a pain,
I know your ability to be a balm.
Your thoughts, your actions may not always be right,
what you say may not always soothe,
And I will remain, right there, with you.
Despite every fight,
And no matter how long the argument.
I shall wait till the cows come home,
and still fight with you if i must.
But I wont go.
I will not walk when things look down.
I will not run and hide when things get tough.
I will not turn around and walk, and give up.
I will not change you,
I will not let you be.
I will not get tempted by temporary peaceful options,
and permanent emptiness.
I might scream, and cry and shout,
perhaps even throw things.
I might wish things were different,
but only temporarily.
I might want to shake you occasionally,
sometimes I might wave my hands and stamp my feet.
But you,
I will not let go of.
With you, I shall stand.
Always. Forever. Whatever.

This is what I meant..when I said I love you..

Friday, August 17, 2007

Alcohol and Culture

In England there is a sudden focus on problems caused by alcohol, from people not knowing who they are, to binge drinking among women, to violent crimes committed under the influence of alcohol, drink driving as well as anti-social behavior.
Some time ago the laws were changed to allow pubs to be open 24 hours, sometime ago they also scrutinized the low prices at which alcohol is sold, the benefits of buying large quantities for less and the reason why people drink so much.
Now they are thinking about raising the minimum drinking age to 21, they are also trying to pull in parents whose underage children have been drinking and penalizing them for bad parenting or neglect and lack of care.
I live very close to a busy city center and across the road from a pub. On weekends I hear people singing loudly and drunkenly on the way back. Saying the Brits enjoy a bit of a drink is an understatement. Most people go out knowing they want to get drunk and most succeed in their plans. As a student I attended 'house parties' where the fruit punch was toxic and alcohol was consumed like it was going out of fashion, the place was trashed in the morning with people being sick all over the house, including sadly the pet cat! It was a disgusting, once in a lifetime experiment.
Yes there is also peer pressure to be blamed. But what about the fact that media glowingly portrays people like Pete Doherty and Amie Winehouse as well as the English darling Kate Moss as 'icons' who all have serious drug and alcohol abuse problems. They are looked up to and when they get caught with illegal alcohol levels or drug possession, its news, but a bit of tutting and a slap on the wrist and they are off again to repeat perform. Ok, you would say what is Rock without the darkness behind it with a whiff of alcohol, tantrums and the occasional fairy dust. But who else is there for young people to look upto who is actually clean, David Cameron? I dont think so.
Alcohol is something people drink occasionally, it comes with responsibility. But its almost a must that you should drink. Out of all the people I know, and I know many in varied capacities, I know only 2 people who do not drink, as a matter of choice. They are young, married and happy and will not drink. Which is good, I suppose if they don't give into peer pressure and sneaky comments of 'goody-two-shoes'. Recently a person I know closely was picked on by others for not drinking because he was afraid of consequences if his wife found out. It was weird, but I am wandering off the point here.
The point being, there is a tradition of drinking in the country. You meet people for 'drinks', you invite them home for a 'drink'. When some one comes home you ask them what they would like to 'drink'. One chills with a 'drink', you watch TV with a 'drink', there is a bottle of wine in everyone's house, even my hair dresser asks me if I want a 'drink' while I wait for her to finish what she is doing. All parties have alcohol, you drink to cool down with a beer in the summer, you drink to warm up with a Vodka in the winter. You drink. Period. Its part of the culture. So if it goes out of hand, who should the blame go to, the retailers who sell for cheap, the parents who don't notice the occasional empty/missing bottle that their teenage child might pick up, the low legal age to drink? Who?
And why is this not a problem in the rest of Europe? I do wonder.
I would compare this to India...but how many young people (and I mean women) go out with their parents to someone else's house and ask for a Scotch on the rocks?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

~ Simon & Garfunkel

A song for all seasons, and its going around in my head now..

Bridge Over Troubled Water...

When you're weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I'm on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can't be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

When you're down and out,
When you're on the street,
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you.
I'll take your part.
When darkness comes
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

Sail on silvergirl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Floods in 'Developed Nations'

I have recently become the laughing stock of my family. I have contracted a stomach infection from drinking contaminated water. There was flooding in my area and drinking water was unsafe for a little while, but we were not told about it. Thus many people in my area landed up with problems of high fever and nausea at the local clinic. The doc was not surprised to hear my symptoms and put me on a liquid diet with paracetamol and strong anti-biotics, needless to say I am not feeling too good right now. Have nothing to eat, high fever and a reluctance to leave the side of the bed and simultaneously the toilet.

The laughing stock is due to the fact that I live in England. And when I am in India I am kept away from the best food around because I might have become delicate from staying in a relatively sterile environment for so long. Thus I am am unable to eat the roadside snacks which were my favorite during college days spent in Delhi. That not being the point here. I am considered to be 'safe' living here and can eat what I want, when I want, I dont need monitoring. Or de-worming or Bisleri.

When I fell sick my family thought maybe it was stress, it might be something I ate, but hang on..I live in UK and food is more than safe to eat, thanks to obsessive Health and Safety rules and regulations in this country. So what could it be? Being married and young enough to have children a few hopes were going up pretty fast. These were crushed by my visit to the doctor who nodded gravely and said, 'Stomach Flu' you are okay, join the queue of people who area suffering.

When I relayed the news back home they laughed..water borne infection due to minor flooding. Oh boy, I got an earful of laughs and was told about the 1000s who live with this disease and suffer from it annually in India and Bangladesh every monsoon. And then I remembered, its almost a routine, we know the monsoon will come, we know there shall be flooding and yet, every year the people who live in the Gangetic basin and near the Brahmaputra river suffer. Every year. Its amazing how they cope with it. We had 2 months of steady rain here and people have been claiming insurance left, right and center for damage to property, health, stress etc etc. It does make me think of two words..Opposite worlds!
And sometimes it does feel like I live on a different planet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Man or Wuss, what would you prefer?

Recent rumblings in women's magazines and newspapers have revealed an increasing tendency for women to go for real men. Real here meaning..Spartacus variety, strong, muscular, energetic men. Gone are the days when women wanted a man with feelings, with emotions, one who knew his way around the kitchen and knew what a toilet roll means.

Some time back we were keen to see the Metro sexual man, the one who was in touch with his feminine side, who could make a cup of tea in the morning for himself and also know what to say if you asked me the eternal trap question,'Do I look fat in this?'. We wanted some one soft, who could discuss things without anger, see your point, understand the need to cry once in a while, and also be able to read poetry and go shopping without dragging his feet. A man who could compliment your handbag, and notice a haircut instantly. This man was perfect, he was male but bordered on being like a gay friend. The one you could chat to constantly without feeling worried, but with the added advantage of chemistry, rather than the back of mind thought..wish he was not gay and then he would be perfect!! He was the man minus the pains of having pea for a brain, rock instead of body, smooth cheeks- rather than the stubbly, ironed shirts, moisturized skin, sexy cologne, nice voice and sensitivity!! Perfect!!

Now, it seems this has changed. We are keen to get back to the lantern jawed, bicep, tricep, quadricep developed, gym going, testosterone loaded man. The all new (well not really) Alpha male. The one who can pick up boxes, lug your suitcase, does not bother about his nails, plays a rough sport, drives a beat up car, has male friends and hates shopping. He is the one who hogs the sofa and the TV remote. The one who farts, burps and immensely enjoys all of these bodily functions. He is rough and when needed tough. He makes you feel small, feminine and cherished. The eve to his Adam!

Well this is what recent research has said. I am not sure if the well balanced but leaning towards being able to use your night-renewal-moisturizing-cream man is the right answer. Men are men, whether they are Billy Elliot or they are Spartacus. Finding the perfect mix might be tough and seem impossible, yes, grass is greener, no perfection does not exist, yes men are a pain, sometimes...okay okay..quite often. But hey we cant change them, letting them feel that they can be who they are is the first step, and then probably hypnotizing them at a later stage and giving them therapy might be the only way out.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mobile Phones and why?

I am sure you have one..dont we all. The little tiny thing that blinks and stares back at us, that we constantly check we are carrying when we leave for work. The tiny metal box that we whip out at the smallest sound or vibration. We take it out at parties, we show it off to friends, we keep in clean and safe, make sure its charged and insured, make sure its safe to use it when driving, use it to take pictures, listen to music, as a PDA, as a diary, a notebook and in my case as amusement when I am bored.
yes the mobile phone is a part of our lives..and we cant live without one..and i know..yawn yawn, its an old story.
But what I am keen to know is if we ARE slaves to this little ringing bleeping baby that we carry. I know of people who would never part with theirs, it follows them to the bathroom, it keeps them on the email network by being 'available on blackberry'. I also know of people who die to get a new phone, even if the one they own is perfectly fine, and then there is the whole thing about the features it has. I guess my mom is old..and her criteria for a phone is, should ring, and I should be able to see the screen clearly. Hmm! Guess she will be happy with Nokia, Nokia across the world develops products to needs specific to the place. In India, at one time Nokia was contemplating developing a dust proof, water proof variety, which they hoped a truck could drive over without damage.
A recent BBC program showed Sanjeev Bhasker traveling across India, he met a kabari waala (a person who collects old newspapers, bottles, scrap from the house and pays you for it), well this man had two mobile phones. Sanjeev needless to say felt quite upped. It was amazing.
Yes technology has moved, and yes I should not say much as I have a flashy blackberry, but no what I am talking is the ability of the mobile phone to work as a demanding baby, ringing and needing picking up and checking. Also the ability of the phone to act as an indicator of where you are, when, and talking to who, for how long. There is something to be said about a complete lack of privacy. In UK people don't give their mobile numbers, its personal and makes you available at all times to other people. I know of people who put their phones on silent to avoid being disturbed, but then I also know of someone who killed the punch line of a high drama, thriller time film, by naming the culprit of the who-dun-it loudly as he repeated what his friend told him on the phone.
Its bugging. A demanding phone, followed by a loud conversation in a confined space. I really don't want to hear about people's personal lives..and that is the irritating bit, lack of privacy as well as the lack of ability to sit in silence! Thank heavens for mobile phone free train compartments :)where you can cheerily boot out anyone who says 'HHHIIIIIYYYAAAA' on a phone.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Perfection personified

Would it be great if you could erase all the negative habits that your spouse or partner has? Is it possible? Would you love them anymore if they did not shake their legs as they watch TV, or leave shoes all over the house, leave the kitchen tap dripping. Would they approve of you more if you were not the nagging kind, if you got dressed well really quick, if you liked action films and found sports channels stimulating, if you liked last minute plans and change of minds?

Do we as humans strive for perfection? And is perfection in relationships directly linked to similarity? Would you like to be with a twin who understands or an opposite who challenges your thought processes?

Is perfection somewhere between the two? A mix of a similar spirit but a different mind. A person who knows what you are saying, and why, but does not necessarily agree with you every time? Would not constant agreement bring boredom? And would not constant arguing break peace and cause stress? What is the solution? Space to be different? But then space comes with all sorts of issues of its own about boundaries and timings, and individuality and often selfishness.

Middle paths are always a prescribed solution to all situations and problems. But they are pretty hard to find and follow. And sometimes 50-50 is not equivalent to 100 % happiness.

So where do we stand. Do we like being around people who are not like us, annoy us sometimes, make us smile sometimes, but also make us realize that we are not too perfect ourself. I guess no one is.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ambulance Ride.

Its weird being in one. The few times I have been inside an Ambulance have been when I was knocked out cold. Not my fault that I could not look around me and make note of what it looks like from inside.
48 hours ago I was sitting inside one with my friend who was not feeling too good. Up front, I sat, with the driver as the paramedics took over the back and my friend. My friend was conscious but in a lot of pain. I was asked to leave him to the green uniformed people, and sit up front. It was rather cool, in a police man's uniform kind of way. Flashing lights and many tones and tunes of sirens later, we had reached the hospital. The gadgets inside to talk to the base hospital, and to the people in the back were clear and looked sleek. The ability if the suspension to be completely maneuvered, the space for admitting whole breathing machines and the handcuff-ability of the passenger section was interesting. The ability of the driver to isolate sound around the driving area was good. The GPS they had was huge, and top of the range. I must say I was quite impressed with the Renault Ambulance. It looked like a big sci-fi room on very smooth wheels.
As I stepped out of it, my worry about my friend resurfaced, but while I was in there I felt about 5 yrs old..ears prickling at the sound of a siren, watching a bright coloured van with flashing lights go swiftly past. I don't know what it is about sirens that makes children and also adults, stop and take notice.

Monday, August 06, 2007

You Make Me Smile - Lyrics by Me.

I was singing this....I cant tell you the tune, but it can be sung, words in my head, composed as I walked in the sun today.

As I walked along,
A cloud over my brain and one above it.
Thinking dark thoughts,
I started to smile,
Because I remembered yours.

You make me smile when I think of you,
You make me laugh when I hear you in my head.
I wash a cup of tea,
The one you always pick,
and I smile.
I trip over wires,
that you left connected,
and I smile.

I wear your favorite color,
and I can almost see your expression,
and I smile.
I put on my make up,
and hear what you say in my head,
and I smile.

I look at the wedding pictures,
and see you grinning,
and I smile.
Your CD still plays,
I sing along like you do,
and I smile.

Your friends talk about you,
your family mentions you,
my friends ask about you,
and colleagues wonder about you,
and it makes me smile.

I smile, smile, smile.
Because you make me,

PhD anyone?

If you have got it..SALUTE!
If you have not but want it...DONT!
If you are in the middle of it...Good Luck!
If you are just about starting off...RUN!! Run away and never look back.

It is a tough thing to do possibly because it is the highest degree anyone can ever study for. But is aint easy and after the primary research is done, it aint fun either!! Slogging and re-writing, editing and then doing spin cycles of the same thing is tiring and taxing! Not fun! Not fun at all. Just for two measly letters 'Dr' you shall need to work your butt off. You are born with 2/3/4 letters in from of your name Mr/ Ms/Miss/Mrs..why work to change them?

Weekend blast

This is the one that blasted in my house..all weekend..its a GREAT song from Snow Patrol's Eyes Open album, called Chasing Cars..Find it and Listen to it now..,
"Chasing Cars"

We'll do it all
On our own

We don't need
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

Let's waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?