Monday, May 28, 2012

Post X3

Being in the (now cliched for me) 'spotlight' I am expected to have an opinion about everything. Well everyone has an opinion about a lot of things. But I am expected to express it on demand. Even on things I don't really or need to have an opinion about. But now, thanks to the credibility which my mother and now I, have built through the past decade, journalists understand where I come from when I say perhaps that I don't feel like talking about it or that I don't have an opinion about it. 

Also now, thanks to Twitter, I am expected to wish people I know in the industry, on Twitter, which to me is absurd. I can pick up the phone and wish them. Or send them an SMS. Why profess all the Happy Birthdays on Twitter or Facebook? That can be for someone who has no connect with the star. And also initially I was expected to have an opinion on the films I watched. On the stars I like. Or don't like. Once I realized that, I stopped tweeting about films I have watched. If I don't talk about it no one will ask. However, if I do attend a preview and the photos come about as proof, I am asked nonetheless and I exercise my fundamental right to silence at these instances. I have also faced enough cyber bullying from groups of fans at varying points in time that I positively MUST say that I am fan of a certain star. Fact remains that I get to see, meet and work with most of the actors that others get to see on screen. I can tell them in person about ideas or opinions if any. And I still think so. And more than anything else there are a lot of exchange of ideas and discussions that I have been privy to at studios while recording and dubbing.

However there is another reason to this post. And the reason happens to be Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. All my short life I have only liked actors who are special for something else other than their achievement in a certain field. It could be acting. Or it could be Miss World. I needed to admire them for an additional quality. One of the actors I first loved was Revathi. Fact was she is my mom's favorite and the first 2 films I have watched she played the lead. Pudhiya Mugam and Anjali. The third was Bombay. 

Now, the entire world loved Aishwarya Rai Bachchan from the time I was in 5th standard. I guess that's when she became Miss World. And just because of that, eventhough I thought she is extremely beautiful I wouldn't follow the pack. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan would be majorly credited in inspiring thousands of girls wanting to take up modeling /walk the ramp. Most girls I knew wanted to be like her. 

Now especially after reading how amazingly opinionated a size zero-loving humungous group of nobodies are with regard to how she absolutely MUST become 'thin' like right away, and how mainstream media is also popularizing these opinions and giving article after article is well, blech.

I admire the way she says she is not going on a diet for anybody. I admire the way she refuses to bow down to national/international pressure on how she must look. And I admire the way she cares a rat's posterior for all the myriad opinions and lives her life according to her terms. If you feel that you are under pressure, please compare your life to ARB's and I am sure you'll feel better after that. Now I would sincerely tell a girl to have ARB's attitude. I give it to her for her spunk and confidence. And today, in my opinion, she is more Miss World than she was in 1996.

Friday, May 25, 2012

When the going gets tough, Study.

One of the lessons that my mother has taught me is this. When the going gets tough, plunge into studying. As I have mentioned at several instances in various media that of all the people that I have personally gotten to know and info on instances in whose lives I have been privy to, or as much as I have been given to know and understand, it seems to me that my mother will definitely be sharing the space of toughest lifetimes led.  But she has told me this much. Whenever things were terrible, she decided to study. And it left her with no time to brood about the goings on and when the tough times eased a bit, she found herself endowed with knowledge. It left her richer, in both experience and learning. 

Honestly, in comparison, she has given me an amazing life, sheltered, protected - though many may complain about it. But then hey, I am lucky to have a mom who is an intellectual, a visionary and knows how to channelize my energies. I have seen parents who are happy to be detached or those who have no option but to be detached. But then, to each his own. One has to walk a mile in someone else's moccasins to understand why they do the things they do.

To the outsider, I might be leading a charmed life. But there will always be things that the world will never know. Struggles that we face on a daily basis in the name of... - oh well, give it any name you will - the rampant injustice that I see and people who play along because it is convenient. It can leave one more disillusioned than ever. We all have our downtimes. Justified or not. And a lot would like to indulge in self pity and bemoan the situation. I am not ashamed to say I complain too. I am not a saint. At least not yet that I have mastered the art of detachment. And I have now decided that if I think God is being mean to me, I will study. And I realize now that studying is beautiful. Especially if you study in a goal oriented manner. It can be anything. A simple exam at any university. Or something that you have set for yourself. After all we know ourselves best. We know our deepest secrets. The day we begin to lie to ourselves is when we become the ultimate losers. 

There was a time when if I got angry with God, this God got a sound verbal thrashing from me. And I used to curse him saying that he'd pay for all this. Ah the gall, one would think, to curse God himself. But then that's me. I can curse him and get away with it, because I know I am in the right. I laugh now, thinking about all that I used to do, not so long ago, but I don't regret it. I might curse God even today. Especially when I know that I haven't swerved from the path of ethics and justice. 

So yes, inspite of all the nonsense that I see around me, all the nonsense and bullcrap that gets doled out, I channelize my thoughts on studying/reading/learning. Its far better than wasting energy brooding about people or circumstances or decisions arising thereof, on which we have no control and on people and circumstances that have anyway fallen so low that there is no redemption. One doesn't know if there will come a day when ultimately justice is served. But for now, its best to stick to the path of deeper learning and who knows, I might end up wiser. And maybe, just maybe, this too shall pass.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Of reading and writing

I have been reading and studying, voraciously at times, happy-go-luckily at others, but the past few months have contributed to a swell of books at the bedside. 
I was tweeting a little earlier about the books I picked up today. Some on Anthropology as this subject seems to have caught my fancy lately and am very disappointed by the lack of resources on Indian Anthropology though I am sure there must have been enough and more works that have been published and which are I shall hazard to guess, are out of print today. Once a person begins something, starts something somewhere - and I refer to studying or reading up on a subject with an initial casual intent but as the interest picks up the urge to know more might eventually consume the 'student' to go to the very beginning of it all. So here I was wanting to read up about Tribes and cultures. And then going back to anthropology. And then thinking of Linguistics and realizing once again Anthropology I would have to go back to. You know, things like that.

And today, as I decided to go to Higginbothams, in addition to being disappointed about the lack of literature that I was looking for, I happened to chance upon this particular book on Sarat and Subhas Chandra Bose titled 'Brothers against the Raj'. I have always been intrigued by Bose, just like I m sure, scores and scores of people before me. There is a perennial mystery about him. And I like the man. However I decided to know more about him than what the rudimentary books on Indian history spoke of. Once I got through the introduction, I realized rampantly available accounts of the freedom struggle that children grow up reading of doesn't speak much about Sarat Chandra Bose, as has been mentioned by the author. For that matter, after discussions and listening to some people, I have been given to understand that important contributions of countless others have not been properly documented and even if they were, have not been allowed to become 'popular'. I shall refrain from divulging more at this point because to even begin to speak of all that, I believe I need to do a lot more reading, form a solid opinion and then, perhaps, write about my opinion. 

The other book I picked up was Glimpses of Word History. Since this book is already very popular I think that's enough said. The only grouse that I might have with the book at the outset was I wish it had been a slightly easier-to-manage two-volume sort of a book. Its too huge to hold and read when its something to indulge in at leisure. It'd be impossible to carry it while traveling and I am sure it ll fall apart at some point before I am done with it. 

But this post is more of a sort of a thanksgiving. Why you might ask. Where is the thanks? Well, its coming up. Today I am thankful that I have had a sound education, for a sound background, for the inculcation of the beautiful habit of reading, for meeting people who believe in a healthy debate, for the food on my plate, for the roof over my head, for the car I drive and for being able to sing to make a living, for being able to invest in books with a part of my earnings, for being given the chance to expand my knowledge, expand the horizons of thinking and for a lot more. 

And also that I have a laptop, an internet connection oh, and power in Chennai, Tamilnadu to be able to type when the words sprung up in my mind's eye and hit publish as I have done in about 10.8 seconds after finishing this line. (Yup I don't give a once-over of any of the posts I have typed before hitting publish)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Title X2

When I was about 6 or 7, I was famous for being a voracious reader. I finished all the books I could lay my hands, which included all the Tinkles and reading and re-reading the 100 titles of Amar Chitra Katha I had. Some child encyclopaedia, atlases. All that. And Childcraft. I was besotted with it but I didn't own the collection. And I had the habit of glancing through the newspaper and reading Young world. I looked forward to Saturdays for YW. Then one day, I had a brainwave. I decided to go and check the Young world at my neighbour's house. Just to see if the paper at their house had different content than I did. In retrospect, I wonder where I got this bizarre idea that every house will have a newspaper with different content. So I went and asked this aunty next door for the paper. And eagerly checked the paper. Not surprisingly it was exactly like the one in my house. I was supremely disappointed and realized I had to wait for next Saturday after all.
Looking at myself as a child, from a third person's perspective, because, I was a different person then, I was this child with an unbelievably vivid capacities of imagination. I wonder how my mother was patient with me. But then I was a silent child. My world was private. And so were my dreams. 
Anyway I remembered this young world story quite out of the blue. And I also thought the same of Tinkle, because once I saw various different Tinkle issues at the newsstand I got everyone got different ones every month. When I was about 12 I came across a gentleman whose son collected every issue from Tinkle number 1. It was amazing. And I read them all happily and returned them intact.
Today I am captivated by anthropology. I might soon need to find a facility to store my books. Its becoming too much to manage. If only every title were available on Kindle. That would be the day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Post 'X'

I wrote a long post and realized this didn't get published. Ah well. The words are gone and so are the thoughts.