Reboot time?

People who have followed me around (they need to get their brains tested) know that I am a blog gypsy. I periodically obliterate my blog content (at least on the bright web – I understand that data is the only permanent thing in this otherwise transient world) and start afresh elsewhere. I know that the time has come when the blog becomes a rant fest, and the humour content falls. And I get sick of the handle.

Limp cabbage has outstayed its welcome.

It’s a gut wrenching process – any writer knows that killing one’s darlings is the most difficult part of the writing trade. But it is essential to, excuse me borrowing from he-who-must-not-be-named, drain the swamp*.

As ever, I will leave a breadcrumb trail here once I come up with a new name for my next blog.

See you on the other side.

*I am on a cliché roll, ain’t I?

God plays dice

A couple of awkward confessions before the main post.

  1. I seem to surface here only when I have to rant. Sorry about that. 
  2. On a month in which my Blog reader is full of gratitude posts, I am being the opposite of grateful. 

I met a couple of friends after decades, a couple of weeks ago.  These two are not the earliest best friends that I often write about, but two other girls I hung out with all the time in my first grad school years – we were famously referred to as the Three Devis (Goddess) by our classmates.  Aftergrad school, we were in touch now and then, but I dropped off their radar (they were in touch with each other better) because…life.  Ironically, one of them lives in the same city as me.  Anyway, all that’s by-the-by.

So, we met at friend A’s parents’ house.  I have always been fond of her parents, and they, of me.  I met them after twenty five years, and we just picked up from where we left.  However, mama (her dad) had been through trying health crises in the past years, that he was a shadow of his old self.  Nevertheless, his spirit was as cheery and positive as it had been all those years ago. It was good meeting them, and my friend invited me to her father’s 80th birthday celebrations, which are a big thing in my culture.

Two days ago, he had a heart attack and underwent a stent placement procedure.  He’s still in ICU, but stable and recovering well, thank God.  The celebrations are postponed, obviously.

Mama has always been a disciplined person, with no bad habits, a disciplined life with simple home-cooked vegetarian meals on all occasions, a no-stress job, a compatible wife, no-problem children, and a cheery disposition.  He never “exercised” deliberately, but was always a physically active person, walking to all places, or taking public transportation everywhere he went. This is to say that he had a healthy lifestyle.   And yet, he has had cancer scares, blood clot in the brain, and stroke in the past, and now heart attack. 

My daughter’s Kalari (an Indian martial arts form) teacher, also an immensely disciplined man, with extremely healthy eating habits, and active exercise, had a heart attack a year ago.  

My father-in-law, a happy-go-lucky man when he lived, with an organized lifestyle, simple needs, and cheery disposition, got Parkinson’s, and later cancer, and succumbed to it.

On the other hand,

I know utterly undisciplined people.  Who wake up to a packet of potato chips and ice cream.  Whose only exercise is working their mandibles either to eat, or to yak all the time. Who have worn their easy chairs to a thread with their behinds. Who are quick to judge others and live their lives finding faults and complaining. Or worrying all the time. These people seem to have no health issues whatsoever (not that I want them to, may everyone stay healthy and happy), and live to ripe old ages.   

I tell myself that my examples are anecdotal evidence, and do not point to any universal truth, else I’d die of resentment.  But sometimes something happens that makes me wonder if the universal truth is that there is no pattern to anything.

I am a safe driver.  Agreed, I am terrible with parking, and any scratch on the car has happened when I have tried to park.  When driving, I am always careful.  I yield to fast drivers, I never tail gate, I use indicators whenever needed (I must be the only Indian driver who uses the indicator to overtake another vehicle or change lanes), never jump signals, always allow pedestrians to cross, stay clear of two wheelers, etc.  Yet today, as I was driving back home from a chore, I took a U-turn at an intersection after due indication, and at the green signal, when a bike, trying to go straight from the right most lane dented my car’s rear. 

I have driven with someone who is the rashest driver I’ve known – never uses indicator, goes at breakneck speed in city roads, tailgates aggressively, never yields, gets into road rages….I could go on.  Every time I am in their car, my fists are clenched, my toes are curled, and I pray to every deity that we reach in one piece.  Yet, this person has never even had a little scratch to their car.   And they are proud of their driving skills.

As of now, nothing makes sense to me.

Melanie will be missed

Melanie, formerly EmBeeCee, and then at Sparks from a combustible mind, is no more.

I have been following Melanie from our Vox days many years ago. I was introduced to a completely different world through her posts. She was talented and funny, and most of all, brutally honest in her posts – what you read was what she was.

My condolences to her blog followers, she will be missed terribly.

Monsoon’s here

When I was young, donkey’s years back, dates-of-onset were announced only for the South West Monsoon- the monsoon that waters most of my country. The North East Monsoon that sustains us down south was never even considered existent (as with anything South – my pet peeve – what the world knows as “India” is North India and is nothing representative of the south – case in point, we celebrate “Deepavali” (row of lights) not “Diwali”, which as a word, has no meaning).

That the NE monsoon was not considered important was taken for granted because it was unpredictable. And also, we, South Indians considered being left out the norm

It’s different now. People from the south have stopped being the wallpaper of India and now go to conquer et al. e,g. Sathya Nadella (Telangana, erstwhile AP), Shantanu Narayan ( Telangana, erstwhile AP), Sundar Pichai (Tamil Nadu), Indira Nooyi (Tamil Nadu)…yada yada yada.

The point being, we now have weather scientists who are putting the NE monsoon on the table. I am sure the rest of the country doesn’t care, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we now have people talking of weather events in the peninsular. NE monsoon continues to be capricious, but there is a at least a 50% hit with the predictions.

The first spell of the northeast monsoon lashed the city today, as forecast, and looks like it is all set to continue till Friday, November 4.

So that’s that.

Age

I attended the wedding of my second cousin’s son today. Met a bunch of distant cousins* who I’ve not seen in 30 years. I couldn’t even recognise them. Some of them are even grandparents now.

It freaked me out that when I spoke to them, even the ones my age, I felt like I was taking to my aunts and uncles rather than cousins.

Then I realised he horror of it all. I must’ve seemed like that to them too.

  • Cousin means distantly related folks of my generation . Like mom’s cousin’s children etc.

Work rant and pride

One of my clients gave me feedback that I need to write simple, short sentences and closely follow the format of competitor articles, with no scope for any creativity or fun.

The writer in my head rebels. My strength is my writing style and my ability to blend seemingly unrelated matter into an unexpectedly coherent narrative (modesty is not my forte). Must I water it down for money?

My bank balance says “yes”.

I hate this conflict.

On the up-side, I wrote an editorial article for a client, who is usually terribly hard (even impossible) to please, and he wrote back saying “the article reads well”. I thought I was going to pass out. Modesty be damned again, the article reads more than well – it reads great (I’ll post the link once it’s published, you are required to ooh and aah about it), but I’ll take “well” from the horse’s mouth and run for life.

Cricket crazy

I am not a cricket person. I am not any kind of spectator sport person. I am not a sports person, period.

The husband, like any true blue Indian with the special cricket gene in his DNA tells me the following:

  • the T-20 world cup is going on.
  • currently it is the selection rounds
  • Friday starts the semifinal or quarter finals or some such thing (I zoned out when the husband was talking, which happens often when he is talking about cricket)
  • Friday is a match between the two giants – Australia and New Zealand. It is going to be held in Australia.
  • Today, two days before Friday, there are tickets available for the match.
  • Sunday is the match between the two other giants – India and Pakistan. The match will be held IN AUSTRALIA.
  • The match tickets were sold out two weeks ago.

It’s funny that a match between two countries that adopted cricket from their colonisers are sold out in an English-descendent country.

When I was younger, India-Pakistan matches would take on the aura of a real war – it didn’t help that the two countries have always been political enemies, looking for a reason to go to war. I have heard that the border security forces in both countries would be on alert on days of India-Pakistan cricket matches !

Thankfully, in recent times, there is more sporting competition than nationalistic rivalry in the field. At least I hope so.

I am so glad I am not a cricket person.

“Multiobjective Piecewise Regressive Elitism Spotted Hyena Optimized Mapping”

That’s the paper I am editing at the moment. I can no longer even pretend to understand the subject matter. I satisfy myself with language corrections, which itself is hard because…read the first line of this post.

The tiger by the tail

So much to write about, so little time. And energy.

And to add to my mental and physical chaos, Navarathri (nine nights of celebration) starts Sunday. I haven’t even planned anything yet.

I really need to roll back a little. On my job, on my non-job commitments, on everything. But But I am afraid to.