Sunday, September 24, 2006

Neutralization of Fear

What was Man’s first big discovery? No, not the wheel, that came much later. Fire? No, that wasn’t a discovery, fire existed by itself, Man didn’t have to discover it. But, you are close, it has something to do with fire. It was when Man discovered that he could control fire and use it for his own needs and he was no longer afraid of it. That’s called neutralization of fear.

It’s when you choose to do something irrespective of the outcome. The outcome may mean loss, pain and heartbreak but you still go ahead and do it because you are happy doing it and you couldn’t care less about the result.

What is trust? Is it from within or without? When you trust someone, who is more important in that decision? You, or that someone? Would you trust a robber, a murderer, a rapist, or your ex-wife?

Have you neutralized your fear yet?

I am reminded of a scene from one of the serials on TV some time back when a lawyer who’s representing a rape victim tells her,

“I don’t know whether going on the stand is a good or bad idea, whether we’ll win or lose, but I know for certain that you won’t regret it.”

They lose the case but she doesn’t regret it. (“I am glad I spoke out”)

I am glad I spoke out.

P.S. One should give the devil his due. Parts of this post are extracts from a talk given by a guy called Shiva on Sat during an outbound training program.

P.P.S. I still haven’t gotten around to hosting my audio files as yet. Luckily, I still have a Silk Route song to share this week here. C’mon, forgive the video quality and neutralize your fear!

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I like my own space. Always have. Since as far back as I can remember, I have been kind of a private person. Nobody in their right mind would describe me as outgoing, talkative, gregarious etc. I would count myself lucky if they think I am social. Six years of hostel life and three years in a sales role meant that I can initiate, hold and even impress when necessary in a conversation but at heart, like I said before, I like my own space.

Most of the stuff which I do, outside of work, be it running, blogging, playing my guitar, online chess, reading is obviously, done in isolation. I even go to the movies alone. Many people find that weird. Some give me ‘what a loser’ looks but I love going to a good movie on my own terms, my day, my time and not having to make polite conversation at intermittent periods. And don’t get me started on the popcorn. So, you would have guessed by now that I haven’t been able to hold down a relationship for any significant period of time.

If you are scratching your head about where this entire thing came from, two things have kind of precipitated this outpouring of self-analysis. One is, of course, discussions of matrimony at home, which till now I have been able to present a straight bat to. Simply put, arranged marriage terrifies me. I even remember distinctly a dream on this subject awhile back, which can only be described as a nightmare. It’s not that I feel I would be unhappy in a marriage. But it would so easy for me to be indifferent. I would just find my own space in that relationship and keep it out of bounds like I do so often with many. And that would be so unfair to the partner. I know you are probably thinking that it’s no big deal and anyway one doesn’t need share everything in a marriage and a private space circle is perfectly fine. The problem is, in my case, that circle could be a pretty big one.

You are probably still shaking your head, more so if you are already in a steady relationship and going all ‘Been there, done that’. To you I present my second reason, which is the REAL reason for writing this post. I don’t know if I mentioned before, but sis has recently moved jobs and joined us at Hyderabad. Which is not a problem at all (most of the time) since am used to having her around, having grown up together and all that, and she is unmindful of my little eccentricities. So while my room has been left untouched, she does have to use the computer, which is there in my room, and she has placed a small ‘Shrek Donkey’ soft toy on top of the monitor.
Which is quite irritating and believe me, and that’s an understatement. I punched it away the first time but it found its way back and I had to hear an earful of how I was being ‘extremely silly’. Even right now, the stupid thing is looking down at me, baring its eight (yes, I counted) huge disproportionate teeth in a grin, if one could call it that, its tilted head nodding continuously due to the fan in my room. I tried a profile position but that’s actually quite scary. And the ‘ass’ position (pun unintended) makes me a bit queasy.

All in all, it’s highly distracting, the Shrek Donkey is. Writing blog posts and surfing the net at home are taking longer than usual as I keep glancing at it and returning its glare every five seconds. I could keep it aside and keep it back up when am finished with my work on the computer but even I think that that’s quite abnormal. I have now starting thinking of it as a test. If I can live with that stupid Donkey staring down at me maybe I will emerge from this experience a better man. Everything happens for a reason doesn’t it.

You see the problem now, don’t you?

P.S. This time, here’s a dazed and confused attempt at a Beatles number. The video is screwed up more than usual due to the fact that I used unregistered software to convert to a Div file. I promise links to a pure audio file from the next post. And, of course, as usual, view or listen at your own risk.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pregnant and Sick

The Bai who works at our home is pregnant. There is nothing remarkable about her. I see her if at all, only on weekends. She comes in, does the dishes, cleans the floor and leaves without making her presence felt. I don’t think I have heard her speak.

A few days back, we had gone out to dinner at Muppidi’s to celebrate a small occasion. After we had eaten more than we should have and less than we had ordered, the topic suddenly changed to Bai’s. I remarked how the one’s in Bombay now carry mobile phones and are on the speed dials of my friends. My sister remarked about how she was used to be woken up and given bed tea by her counterpoint in Chennai. And Mum remarked how she had seen our current Bai scrape out rice from the bottom of the vessel kept for cleaning and carry it home. At that moment the waiter interrupted and I signed the overpriced cheque.

We decided to pack the generous leftovers from that dinner. Not that it made me feel any better.

Oh, and I won the Chess tournament I played in last weekend and promptly fell sick the next day. The good thing about falling sick is that one finally gets around to doing sub optimal stuff that one wouldn’t normally do but should. So I read a few chapters of Sen’s ‘The Argumentative Indian’ and was surprised that it was quite readable and not as academically obtuse as I feared it would be. I also wrote a crappy, Sick Poem when I was feeling particularly, er, crappy.

Sick Poem

I am sick today
Feeling under the weather
But not so bad
As I was yesterday
Or the day before.

Tomorrow I will be all right
And go to office as usual.
Check my email
Attend meetings
And conference calls.

I am sick today
And stayed at home.
No, no, it’s not what you think
It’s a public holiday;
Ganesh Chaturthi is today.

I lay in bed
And read all day.
My mp3 player’s conked off
While my internet connection
Needs renewal.

I am sick today
But I will be
Better tomorrow.

P.S. And continuing on our Guitar Torture series here’s a D&C attempt at that evergreen song from QSQT.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Wishes and Curses

I have never been big on religion. Though in the same breath I must admit I have never been NOT big on religion as well. I prefer not to have an opinion on the issue. I don’t think much about it. If rarely I am pushed into a corner, in true D&C tradition, I weasel my way out through a vague and diplomatic answer or one, which would help me to change the subject pretty quickly. Thankfully my parents never made a big deal out of it. They took me to the usual tour of temples when I was a kid, introduced me to Ramayana, Mahabharata and Amar Chitra Kathas and left me to my own devices to figure it out for myself.

I am looking to move into a new rented apartment. Preferably one which is a little bigger than the current one, has an address which doesn’t need further explanation and also which wouldn’t leak through its windows in the rainy season, thank you very much. Went and looked at one in Banjara Hills, loved it but found that it was at least three grand over my budget.

Festivals nowadays come and go and I hardly notice them. If it weren’t for the pandals put up and the heavier than usual traffic snarls on the way back from office I swear I would have had no idea it was Ganesh Chaturthi season. Mum made the traditional sweets a few mornings ago and called me in to the kitchen where she has her own personal little God space where the Ganesha held prime of place that day.

“Pray”, she commanded.

Like I mentioned earlier, in such situations, the practical side of D&C comes to the fore and recognizes that obeisance is the fastest way out.

“Say your Ganesha prayers.”

A few things like the National Anthem, Vande Mataram (flavor of the month, when will they remix it?) and Ganesha prayers, one doesn’t tend to forget when they are drilled into your impressionable little brain. I chanted them quite expertly.

“You should say them more often.”

I mentioned that I say them all the time when no one is listening.

Anyway, time for payback.

“Oh God, give me more money!”, I said aloud as I did my final bow lying flat on the ground, the modular kitchen in that Banjara Hills apartment still fresh in my mind.

Mum clucked disapprovingly. She decided to overrule my wish.

“No God, give him strength of mind.”

“NO, NO, NO!”, I bawled, “I want money! Money, Money, Money!” Fists beating on the floor now. “I don’t want any strength of mind, give me money!”

“Shush! Don’t say such things. It might come true” (she was referring selectively to my not wanting the strength of mind thing).

And you know what, I’ve become really forgetful this week. I forgot my mobile at office, which led to me leaving my company ID card at a PCO booth. Forgot to pay my credit card bills within the due date and today returned home without my gym clothes. All these things normally happen once a year, like those festivals, actually. It’s quite a coincidence then that they all happened in the same week.

Oh Elephant God! Take your curse back!

P.S. And continuing on our guitar education here’s a D&C attempt on a song from the movie, ‘Gangster’. View at your own risk.