Whistle While you Work

My name is Mythily and I am a self confessed cribber. I love cribbing about work, unreasonable deadlines, annoying clients, having a boring routine, the heat, about Nemo being cranky in the mornings, about Memoll being too loving in the mornings, about my sister being away, about the geyser not working, about not having much to do in Bangalore, about how my parents aren’t around, how my friends stay in different places, that my new green dress is missing and I am sure the dhobhi stole it and so many other things. It feels good to crib and get sulky. There is some joy in making yourself miserable and feeling sorry for yourself. But then this morning I stumbled across the whistler.

I woke up early this morning and broke all norms of normalcy. Nemo and Memoll were shocked into silence that their mom woke up at 6 am. I could see the questions like “Are we dreaming?”, “Is she sick?”, and “Is the world coming to an end?” flit across their faces. So I tried telling them not to fear, it was only because I expected a client call that I was up so early. So I set up my laptop and waited for the call to come.

I walked over the balcony as I waited and looked down from my balcony. The sun light was flickering through the tree leaves and the morning buzz was different from the late morning buzz I normally hear. There was no blaring horns and vendors screaming out about their goods, and kids crying at being dragged to school and the neighbor telling her husband off for all the million mistakes he seems capable of making everyday. It wasn’t quiet, but at the same time it was too. And then I saw him; the whistler.

There is an unfortunate spot at the end of my street where the garbage is dumped and the lorry picks it up everyday. But it isn’t a well organized spot. It usually buzzed with flies and the stench of the garbage always wafted through the air. It looked grimy and smelt ripe of all the disgusting things people seem to be capable of producing to throw away. And on top of this pile of vile sat a little boy, about 8 or 9, whistling away as he picked out all the plastic; our very own desi recycler doing the work we could have made easier for him if we all took the effort to separate our garbage. No complaints about how people make work harder, or that they disregarded him, or that they found him as disgusting as the garbage, or that he had to smell of it everyday, or all the other worries I am sure he has in life. All he did was do his work, and do it with sheer joy and whistle while at it.

And I thought about my life; and everything fit and looked good. The heat I complained about was more warmth than heat, the clients and work was responsible for paying all my bills, Nemo and Memoll were free enough to show me emotions and let me show mine, my sister was getting a great education being away, the geyser not working made me appreciate the coolness of water on a hot day, Bangalore has given me friends and an easy life, I am closer to my friends coz now we make an effort to keep in touch since we are away from each other, that my parents are healthy and happy together, that if the green dress is missing I am lucky enough to afford another one , and that things were suddenly looking up for me and that I had a feeling that the road ahead was going to be a lot of fun. So here I am, whistling while I write. Pucker up people and whistle away too.

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Right Now…

I am tired and really want to sleep and not work, want to keep writing, want to not write, worried about my grand dad, happy I have great grandparents, pissed with Nemo for messing the house, thinking of Nemo and Memoll and wishing I was home with them, tired of all the work and pressure, happy with all the responsibility handed to me at work, wondering why I have a migraine when I have to travel, excited about the Goa trip, cringing about the 12 hours of travel, thinking of what all I plan to do there, sad about leaving Nemo and Memoll behind, wondering if the dhobhi stole some clothes from the last batch he washed, wishing my sister was here and coming along, hoping the trip will be a stress buster, waiting to see the sea, waiting for the courier with my clothes to reach from home, musing over the fact that I didn’t eat all of yesterday, thinking I have to clean up the house before I leave, waiting to move into the new apartment next month, happy Teena is coming along, waiting to see Mrinal and Afshaan, happy Afshaan is going to be a bride, hoping there will be good dancing at the wedding, thinking of my new shoes and clothes, wondering if I have forgotten to pack anything for the trip, wishing Malik can also make it, thinking of Vikram’s new agenda and smiling, laughing at how Kaustabh was trying to get me to eat, thinking of my mom and dad and missing them, sad that my little cousins are so far away, missing hugging my cute nephew and hearing him talk, craving for chocolate, wishing it wasn’t summer and so hot, waiting to sink my feet into the sand and breathe in sea air, smiling at the thought of Hobbes’s dance later in the evening, happy that Vikram is such a go-to person for me, glad glad that Teena is around, deciding to see Teena at her clinic for my teeth after I am back, sad Hobbes lost all his contacts and had a rough week, planning Holi for next Sunday, missing my bed and blanket with Nemo snuggled beside me, wondering what Gitu, Anagha, Shruthi, Vinaya, Gibson and Dhivya are up to, sad that I have never gotten the opportunity to see Dhivya’s baby, happy that I got to wax and have a great pedicure, thinking I need a haircut soon, planning to buy a new toe ring, cursing that I forgot to take out the garbage again, thinking I should drink more water, missing Pune days and everyone, smiling at the thought of Sudeep’s sweet face, trying to relax my neck muscles, wishing the fan would spin faster, speechless that I was chatting with with Gautam after 24 years, wondering when I can start studying, happy that I am doing well, scared that I won’t, wishing things will be always good; isn’t it amazing that in the span of a few minutes so many thoughts can run through your head????

A Phone Call Away…

I got a call last evening from a good friend of mine with news that felt like a blow. Manyata has been unwell the past couple of months and the results turned out to be leukemia with metasis. Things were not looking too good. But in spite of that she called me and she sounded so brave about the whole thing as she took me through the possible complications, gently probing me to quickly accept the situation and not develop a defense against it and refuse to accept it.

I wanted to scream, get mad, cry, hurl abuses at life and its unfairness, crawl up somewhere and shut out the world; but I did none of these. I figured if anyone needed comfort at this point, it had to be Manyata. After all she was the one going through it. So I spoke to her, didn’t do the annoying falsetto sounding ‘Oh you will be better in no time’. We spoke of all the possibilities, what she should do now, I let her voice her fears, something I think we stop people from talking about when things go wrong when that is probably the thing one wants to discuss the most for personal relief. And then we put the phone down and it all came crashing down on me. One of my closest of friends has cancer and there is a possibility that I might lose her.

When you are faced with tough hurdles to get over, what you look for the most is comfort. Someone to take you into their arms and hold you tight and rub your head and tell you that everything will be OK. And that even if things go wrong an assurance of being there by me, someone to distract me and talk about other stuff and generally share my silence with. That someone who is just a phone call away.

I did my pondering of who to call and things just didn’t go well for the rest of the day either. I really wanted someone around to talk normal things to, but found myself with 2 babies meowing at me, wishing I understood the cat language better. I then got to thinking of my ‘Phone call away’ group. We all have that. The people we know we can call at anytime, from anywhere and know that they will do all that is in their power to turn up. Family obviously. I knew Sharika and my folks will always be there. But there were certain friends too I could count on with my eyes closed. Gitu, Dhivya, Anagha, Vinaya, Shruthi, Malik, Sudeep and Gibson. No schedule, no work, no personal stuff would ever keep them away if they felt I really needed them around and this I can bank on for ever. You guys, thank you so much. I am so sad that you are all so far away because I could have definitely used having one of you around yesterday. It felt awful to go to sleep with all that I was feeling and not have one of you around. But thank you for being my ‘Phone call away’ people. It means a lot to me and I love and treasure each one of you. And call me all of you and make me feel better. And the rest of you, tell me what your ‘phone call away’ list is like. And Manya, I love you, and hope that I’m on your ‘Phone call away list’ when you need it.

I judge thou not….

It is very easy to be judgmental about something or someone. Having opinions about people is something that comes very naturally to human beings. We all analyze and pass judgments on people without every really trying to understand them or step into their shoes and see things from their perspective.

Right and wrong, ethical and non-ethical, virtuous and full of sin; these are very abstract words. It is easy to pin them down as being black and white, but are they really? I have always thought that the grey shade in between is definitely more prominent than the stark colors. And this grey world is vast and complicated. How do we judge people really? We think some things done by them are wrong and some things are right, just as we get judged. We judge others on what we think is ok and not. But everyone has a different tangent about these things. Something that might not be ok for one person can always be ok with someone else. So is the judgment right or wrong then? Is it ok to play god and deem someone into a category just because you think so. How many times have we ever stopped to think that the one judged also is a person, has feelings, makes mistakes, could be compassionate, and could have troubles, high points, and low points? We find ourselves stretching our boundary of allowance for people we love. But come to people we know little about, it gets rigid and harsh and in some way cruel. So at this point, when we are being unfair ourselves, is it right to point fingers at others?

I have always felt that kindness and real love comes easier from animals than human beings. I could do anything to my cats; be kind, be unfair, be cranky, love them too much, do stuff that is ‘judged’ wrong by others, but at the end of the day they will still love me and pass no judgments. But when I sit with them and analyze my day, this is when the things that I feel are ‘right and wrong’ for me become very evident, because I am in a space where I feel it is safe to be me. But have someone judging and categorizing me, I get defensive and then shut out all the voices in my head and from those around me.

So next time you are tempted to pass a judgment, step back for a bit, think of all the times people have passed judgments on you and held you in an unfair light and step into the other person’s shoes for a few minutes. And maybe this time you will be kinder before you pass your motion. Live and let live. There are legal bodies paid to pass judgments after all! And for all those of you feeling wronged and judged, get a pet. Have a great, non-judgmental day everybody.

A Lazy Sunday

In life we crave for things to happen; to be on the go, to be successful, to have excitement, to have something happen that will completely rock your world (in a good way though). But we forget that it is the moments in between when we stop to catch our breath and look around us at the others who are besides us in the race, that we create memories. So this post is about one of those slow-down days that I am going to look back and smile upon.

A crazy Friday night (Hobbes, full tight is sure right!!!), a narrow escape for Hobbes and Vikram, a busy Saturday morning, a tired from work Saturday night. Quite an eventful weekend and I was wondering what the one above (and the ones below) had in store for me on Sunday. Malik was down from Chennai but with a fever and headache and the morning sped away in between running around for medicines and worrying about temperature. Then the afternoon crept in with a million wake up calls to Hobbes(who played the part of being the stuffed toy instead of a tiger and refused to get up!). Plans to meet up for a late lunch with Teena, Hobbes and Vikram and I was on my way to Orange Peel leaving Malik behind to sleep for a while and then catch up with us.

Here I have to take a moment and talk about Vikram’s beautiful restaurant. I think getting together for meals is almost a festive occasion. Food taste good with good company and ambience and good food makes the ambience and company better (see the delicate connect between all the good things in life?). A tastefully done up place that is bright and sunny in the morning and glowing with a feeling of warmth and the relaxation we all crave for in the evening. Right from the glasses, to the white chairs throwing the lights of the candle around the place, this is one place you can come and sink into your comfort zone. And now I come to the food; good food is a boon. And to have the ability of whipping up creation definitely sees god’s hand at play. Vikram being the owner of Orange Peel and the chef had our sense buds reeling with one great dish after another accompanied by incredible cocktails and mocktails. The freshest of vegetables doused in the most aromatic mouthwatering sauces really set the mood for all of us. So for all of you out there looking for a place to go to in Bangalore, let Orange Peel be your pit stop.

Now that I have raved all about the place, let me get back to my thoughts on the slow moments. We did nothing exciting the whole day; saved no lives, didn’t dance till we dropped, didn’t climb any mountains. We sat around for 7 hours having the most inane conversation in the world. It was a table of 5 with no one talking the same topic, everyone jumping from one topic to another, all dazed and lost in their own world, but all really comfortable and relaxed with each other. These are the best times. To have people you are comfortable being quiet with, not minding being picked on, laughing at the silliest of things which no one else will find funny, sharing stuff in between that you generally don’t talk about, having a lazy day to remember when you are low or a bit out of sorts. So Vikram, thank you for sharing your beautiful place with us and keeping the conversation going , Hobbes – thank you for making my weekends fun and being such good company, Teena –  Thanks for being there to share all my good and bad times with and Malik – Thank you for coming all the way and for being you. Love you guys so much. And here’s to more lazy days ahead.