Rambling… over a Beer

Do you think it’s strange? Wait. I don’t know what’s stranger. Me sitting in the bar, sipping my beer by myself, or me starting a post with a question. Anyways, here I am. In Berghoff Bar, a landmark historic bar, having a light Berghoff beer on tap. It’s actually really good, this beer. The kind that I like. Quiet light, effervescent and still gets you high, pretty fast. Cheers, I said, to myself.
Am I celebrating something? There are a lot of birthdays this week, but not of people I am particularly concerned about. So, what am I doing here? Probably trying to make the best of my last few days in this beautiful city, that am going to miss. Or just spending some good time with myself, getting high on a Friday afternoon. It is not even happy hours here, but it must be in a time zone two hours ahead of me. It is happy hour somewhere in the World, who cares.
Is my English okay, any typos here?? I guess there must be many errors but I have never been ashamed of making them, so why worry. The bartender is standing right here. Should I start a conversation with him or just continue writing. Ah forget it. I wouldn’t know what to say. I never actually do.
I actually don’t like petty conversations. Such a waste of time. I only prefer those which are intellectual, thought provoking, political, architecture related, critical etc. If not this, then better shut up. I can’t do normal talk. I don’t want to do normal talk.
I have always wondered, am I a people’s person or am I just faking it ???

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My Parents’s Library.

I remember looking at my parents’s library when I was a child, maybe 7-8 years old. I did not understand a single name or title in there, obviously. After a few years, I came back to those again and read the books by a few popular authors (Jeffrey Archer, John Grisham etc), the others still eluded me. Every few years I would come back and keep discovering new authors and titles that I had heard about somewhere else. Their collection of books was a kind of fantasy land for me and maybe for them too as they don’t really remember which all books they have in there. Sometimes I bought new books and would then find the same book in their Library. We never recorded or arranged their books. I found immense joy in stumbling upon different kinds of books in there. Today, whenever I buy a new book I always wonder whether they have it or not, whether I should first check with them or not. I see no point in doubling books in the same house. But at the same time I never go through their collection looking for something specific. I prefer to go through it with an empty mind, ready to pick up something I had never read before, some old book nobody ever referred to me, some sad tale even Ma doesn’t want me to read, some Indian author I am not aware of, some great first novel by a famous author whose all other new books I have read. It is my own Pandora’s Box, more proud of it then my own library.

P.S. It’s already papa’s 50th Birthday in India right now. Happy Birthday, papa.

The fisherman and the businessman

This is a tale my father has narrated and renarrated to me several times over the past few years, after he realized I was old enough to understand it.
I found it on Paulo Coelho’s blog and I hope it inspires you too.

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”

Classic Brazilian story, probably also present in other cultures. Someone found the English version, but I could not identify the translator

Untied laces, among other things

I spent 7 hours on a fine, yet busy Sunday walking all over the city. And I am not exaggerating. All that time I had purposefully left the laces of my polka dot Converses untied. I never do the laces, unless I am told to. I like them loose and I never trip.
For seven long hours today, I noticed people staring at my shoes. Three out of thousands even complimented on my favorite shoes. But not a single person warned me that I could hurt myself with those undone laces. Is that strange, I wonder. Or is that just the normal distance that people maintain? We always warn our friends, classmates and accomplices if they made such a mistake.
But we don’t treat a passerby with the same care. I normally don’t, do you? I am not questioning our aloofness towards strangers. I am also not saying we should be warning every peraon that we see around us. But simple things like untied laces, foam on the moustache, open fly, broken bag zip etc are quiet non personal things you could warn a person about and save them the embarrassment or pain.
As I was wondering this, on the bus stop 10 min from home, a young, punk guy walked up to me and said, “Hey! Your laces are undone!” and he walked away. That’s all there was to it. It was so easy, yet only a single person said out loud, what others had only thought about. It made me smile thinking that there are people who care, just enough for this World to be a little better place to survive and hopefully they always will.

A life to and fro

Urban life is so tricky. A large part of it constitutes largely of self transportation within or to and from the city. Most of the people, who can afford it, own a car and drive 2-3 hrs daily, morning and night. But most of the population uses public transport, either because they are poor or environment conscious or just for the fun of it. Yes. Public transport is fun. Read your book, play some games, listen to music, chat with strangers or just watch people around you. It’s a live performance, a spectacle in the true sense.

Outside the window, is a beautiful World, waiting for you to notice (Chicago). In subways, the entire system is introvert, making people aware of their fellow passengers, which in turn gives birth to conversations ranging from weather to movies to family to politics (New York). Some stations are beautiful examples of architecture and an expression of the old monarchy (Moscow).  Some trains are yellow and green and canvases for public art (Berlin). Some places do not have station names in English everywhere, which leads to disoriented people like me getting lost but bumping into wonderful helpful people (Seoul).

But everywhere people are just people.Some people have grim expressions, some dancing to the tunes of their music, some humming, girls laughing, females bitching, muscisians performing, lost travellers, people in a hurry pushing through, couples kissing, kids smiling at everyone around and on and on.

Every day has a different moment, an experience you take back home. A valuable lesson learnt from people, whom you might never meet again. So many advantages while being a conscious citizen. An insight into the minds and manners of people of different societies. Whether fat, thin, tall, short, gay, straight, white, black or brown, there is room for all in that tiny vehicle and make some in your heart too.

Look behind… Bad karma might be following

Some days are just bad. Period. There is no denying that some days the rain is falling too hard, the car breaks down and your cell phone battery is dead, all at the same time.
Today was such a day. We woke up to a sad morning of saying goodbye to a dear friend. Then I sat down with my book and cup of coffee. Within seconds, with one swift movement, I managed to drop the entire cup on the carpet. Ruined a nice cream carpet. Scrubbed it for an hour, cried empty tears over it but nothing helped. Later, Khyato did the laundry at high temp and I did the dryer at high temp. Ruined comforters and t-shirts and bed sheets. So upset. So very very upset. We decided to beat the bad karma by going for a movie. Reached in time to find the tickets were all sold old. Went to a fancy Italian restaurant for dinner, to find its over booked for the next hour. Now here we are, reading newspapers in Starbucks, feeling tired and hopeless.

We tried to find various reasons as to why it all happened to us in one day. Was it because Rids left, did Mozzie curse us for changing his place last night, or was it Nijs presence itself. We have no clue why bad luck befell upon us this lovely Saturday. But one thing I find very assuring, is that a day ends and a new one doesn’t carry bad karma into it. Tomorrow is another day, Tomorrow it will all go away, Tomorrow the Sun shall shine bright on us, Tomorrow it will all be good once again.

Just another day…

How does a day pass when we got all the time in the World. The day begins, with applying for some jobs, which are not being offered. A light lunch. Coffee and again coffee. Some grapes too to pass time. Finally, she comes along, wanting to watch something desi today. Anything that looks talks walks Indian is categorized desi. Netflix to the rescue. While Black Friday loads, a flirty chat with Mozzie is ensued. Boiled milk in Pumpkin spice coffee , poured and stirred. We settle into our soft butterfly chairs, black and teal respectively, with our Cornell coffee mugs, white and red respectively. Hot american pumpkin coffee and crisp desi sunfeast biscuit. A chill passed through. Pulled a double mattress over us, feeling snuggly. A lovely afternoon. Laughing over silly jokes, hilariously repeating some old ones. Staring at each other each time Netflix loads. Pee breaks. Ahh. Life’s calm. Life’s good.

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