Thursday, May 25, 2006


Every day at work is fraught with problems, challenges, decisions. Every day tests us in new ways, makes us reveal and realise our strengths, weaknesses and capabilities. We struggle with the challenges as well as we can, trying to live up to expectations – our own as well as those of others.

So recognition at the work place seems like an affirmation of success. Even a word of appreciation from a colleague serves to bolster our sense of self-worth. It makes work bearable, even rewarding. It makes it seem worthwhile. It inspires us to new heights.

What else, after all, is success? It is doing well at what we do. It is being what we are, and what we are meant to be. And rewards, while not synonymous to success, seem to make success tangible.

Success is an occasion for celebration, for congratulation. A vindication of our belief in ourselves.

May you have many such successes.

Yeah, I know, I've posted this earlier. But nothing seemed more apt, after the events that have taken place since my last post. The Guy got promoted last week!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Come Home with Me

Come home with me…
We will breathe the fresh air of the hills
Turn our eyes up to where they meet the sky.

We will stand by the lake and hold hands
The breeze will sweep my hair away from my face
And I will look at you and smile.
We will walk down the road
Feeling beauty awaken the love inside us.
We will stop at every flower
And let its colour cast a reflection on our lives.
We will stand under a tree
And let the sunlight and shadows play on our faces.
We will sit on the grass
Feel the dew beneath our feet
And the gentle sun caressing our faces.
And we will talk of things that were
And our life that stretches endlessly before us.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I had promised to write about the weekend celebrations. Nothing exciting, actually. My mom got the flowers on Sunday noon. She was very happy about it - so, so was I. Lovely start to the day (I was hardly out of bed then). I tried to rev up my lazy weekend by washing clothes, and ended up with a bad backache that still hasn't left me. I had a sudden whim of watching a movie, and the Guy and I went to Poseidon on Saturday afternoon. The movie was not at all engaging though: within 20 minutes I wanted to leave. So we went out and sat around for a while before going home. Watched the last of the Back to the Future trilogy at home and ate junk - if you ask me, best way to spend the weekend.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Today is my mom's birthday. She is one of the two most important people in the universe to me. In fact, I'm more emotional about her than I am about the Guy. I am yet to send her her gift, and I had to postpone the delivery of flowers I'd ordered for her because she's not at home today. But Sunday is Mother's Day, so I thought that would do as well.

Today is also six months since the Guy and I met again after a long interval. After being good friends, then not talking to each other for months, and then rediscovering our friendship and opening our hearts to each other on the phone - he finally came all the way over to my town to meet me six months ago. I remember how shy I was, and how hard he tried to cover his embarrassment and put me at my ease! That was just the beginning of a magical weekend. In a way, it was the beginning of a new life...

So, how are we going to celebrate? Wait till the next update!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Reservations for Education

Last evening, I saw a rally taken out by students protesting against the central government's proposed increase in reservations. Every thinking person I know is opposed to this - which is why I had not written about this earlier - it seemed unnecessary. But yesterday, I got thinking. For a year and a half, I went to school in a small town called Diphu in a hill district of Assam. That area is now torn apart by strife and bloodshed between tribes. Then, though there were rare incidents of violence (where is there not?), it was a sleepy town, beautiful, serene. I went to the best school in town - even so, most of my classmates were first-generation literates. I easily topped the class in every exam - a fact due more to my superior early education, given the fact that I spent most of my time exploring my new surroundings and making mischief. Though many of my classmates had started off with very few advantages in life, and though the convent-school education they were receiving was aimed at giving them a better chance - very few of them seemed disposed to make much of it. The reason was palpable - due to the quota system, almost anyone who graduated from school was guaranteed a place in the town's only college (a government college of which my dad was then the principal - which explains why I was there in the first place). Anyone who passed out of college (no matter in how many years) and came from the right race (i.e., belonged to a hill tribe) could have a government job for the asking - again due to reservations and the fact that so few had the qualifications to avail of them. The result being, none of my friends or acquaintances actually felt the need to work hard in order to make a good life for themselves. This attitude was contagious, infecting the non-hill tribe students as well - I barely escaped from it. My escape was facilitated by the fact that I graduated from school well enough to go back to Guwahati to attend college - where I was pitted against the best in the state and had to run as fast as I could just to stay in the race.

I now realize what an injustice it was to the children of those tribes - the feeling of entitlement that they had, the opportunities and laudation heaped on them for small achievements that diffused the urge to aim for more, the feeling that this was their lot in life and they could not make it any better or different. And yet, they were not devoid of talent or intelligence - they just never felt the need to stretch themselves. Compare them with me, brought up in much more priveleged surroundings, but always aware of the fact that I would have to fend for myself when I grew up, and my life would be only what I made of it.

Even if we grant it the best intentions (which are in grave doubt), the government needs to stop acting like an over-indulgent parent and allow these children to grow up and claim their place in the world, instead of coccooning themselves in the ensnaring silk the state willingly provides.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Have a Wicked Weekend!

Friday is a transition - a workday that leads to fun, a weekday in which strict officewear rules (for those of us who have them!) are relaxed, a day in which imagination and excitement overtake staidness and care. It promises tantalizing possibilities. This weekend, break the rules. Do something different, something exciting. Something that will bring a private smile to your face throughout the coming long work week.

Have a fabulous Friday and a wicked weekend!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Last night

Last evening, the Guy suddenly remembered that it was a monthly-versary (what do you call it?) of the day he'd gone down on his knees and proposed to me. It was five months. Unfortunately, he couldn't leave office early for a good dinner, so we decided to just go down to MacDonald's for a quick one before I went home. Coincidentally, I was wearing jewelry he'd gifted me (a lovely gold pendant and earrings). So we went to McD and filled up on junk, then I caught the cab home. I'd forgotten my phone at home too, so the Guy gave me his. After some time, when I hadn't heard from him, I decided to call up his desk phone and tell him I'd reached home safe (and maybe give him a flea in hte ear for not bothering to find out). I couldn't reach the phone, so I called up a friend in his team, who told me there was a power cut so they'd all left work. Which was why it wasn't a surprise (or shock) when I heard the key turn in the front door and heard the rustle of cellphane that told me he'd got flowers for me.

We ended the evening by watching Ice Age (the first one) on his ancient PC. This morning, the mail sitting in my inbox told me that the power was back on by 9.05 PM, just minutes after the Guy left office. What luck!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

In Bad Company

On the whole, I favour globalisation and liberalisation of the Indian economy, something which has literally transformed our lives within the last decade or so. I am even, to an extent, on the side of multinationals, given the jobs, professionalism, and work ethic they bring with them. I mean, where would most of us be without them? Stuck in our hometowns, trying to wheedle some mandarin into giving out a low-paying but cushy government job, spending leisure time reading, cooking, watching TV, visiting relatives and waiting to get married... You get the picture.

But lately, I have found myself surprised, more than once, at how
dumb modern companies can be. Pizza Hut, for instance. After experiencing a surprisingly gender-discriminating treatment at the hands of one of their employees which I had written about for my friends on Women's Day (and which I am reproducing below for the sake of readers here), the Guy and I had another unpleasant meal at the place some time ago. For one thing, it was so crowded we had to sit at this small table for two (which actually wasn't big enough for more than one.) This time, the waiter seemed biased in the opposite direction, placing a knife and a fork in front of me while ignoring the Guy completely, until I pointedly asked him to give the poor Guy something to eat with as well. (Completely unnecessary, as both of us used our hands - but I had to make my point!) The pizza finally arrived after an inordinately long period during which we entertained ourselves by making wild guesses as to what was taking them so long. Failing to find a bottle of mustard on the table (they used to have them earlier - must have removed them out of fear of unscrupulous customers who might carry some mustard home in their pockets.) I asked the waiter - a different one - for mustard. (For me, pizza is incomplete without mustard: it's like toast without butter.) He seemed quite surprised at my wanting something so unreasonable, but was kind enough to go off immediately to find some. He came back in a while, with a tiny paper receptacle (no, it was not a cup: those of you who have used them at MacDonald's to get ketchup out of the dispenser will know what I mean) filled nearly to the brim with mustard kassundi (a kind of Indian chutney made mostly with mustard, which is however not what I would want to have with pizza). Accustomed to splashing huge quantities of mustard over my pizza, I said to the man, "Can I have some more?" (Note: the use of 'can' instead of 'may' here is deliberate.) He raised a very sarcastic eyebrow, said, "Sure, ma'am", and got two more toy-paper-plates of the stuff.

On the whole, a very unpleasant dinner, and the Guy and I vowed not to repeat it. Our next experience at Pizza Hut was quite as bad, however. We were at a friend's, and there being no provisions in the kitchen, decided to order pizza. Two phone calls and an hour and a quarter later, it finally arrived. They promised to give us a 50% discount on our next purchase, but we haven't mustered (no pun intended) up the courage to do that yet.

Last weekend, we had tickets for Ice Age 2 on Sunday. On Saturday, having spent most of the day lazing at home, we decided to see if we could get them exchanged for that evening's show. The young man at the counter told me that they had tickets for the show, but I could not exchange mine: I could buy new ones and come the next day to sell mine. That was a bit too much for me to grasp, so I turned to the Guy for help. He found out that Inox (the multiplex company) has a policy of not exchanging tickets, but if we came the next day
in time for the show, they would help us sell them to customers. The Guy was so annoyed by this that he asked to speak to the manager, who very kindly repeated the statement - without being able to inform us why we could not watch the show tomorrow if we were capable of coming to 'sell' the tickets. (Which idea, by the way, brings to my mind unpleasant childhood memories of horrible men and women brazenly selling movie tickets in black - before the arrival of the multiplex.)

Worked up by this encounter, we dropped in at the nearby Barista to calm down over a cup of coffee. The Guy doesn't like coffee much, and I was hot and thirsty, so I asked for a cold mocha (or something). The young man at the counter promptly asked, "With chocolate or vanila ice-cream?" The Guy politely turned to me. I said, "I don't want ice-cream." The Guy was a bit harried - he wanted to please me, but he wasn't sure if this (my demand, not his wish) was possible. The man at the counter obligingly said that it was. On being pushed, he admitted that ice-cream would cost an extra 20 bucks - something that he had neglected to mention and was not on the menu hung up behind him. Already annoyed from the previous 'brand encounter', the Guy got enraged and gave the Barista man a piece of his mind. (A small piece, mind you - the Guy is normally mild and soft-spoken.) I, for my part, had been fooled in similar ways earlier, so this piece of jugglery did not much astonish me. But seeing the Guy all worked up and righteous was a sight much more delicious than the overpriced concoction they served me.


My Women's Day Mail:

A few days ago I had gone to Pizza Hut with a guy friend. Every time the waitress came to our table, she would talk only to (the Guy). Ask him for the order, ask if he wanted anything more, and give him the bill. Trifling incident. But for me, it was rather annoying. I do not know why she did that. It might be some unwritten code at Pizza Hut, but I doubt it. It might be because of some old-fashioned chivalry, or because the man is expected to have the money power. (In our case, definitely not true.) in either case, I resented it, for if nothing else, it was rude.

I engaged my friend in a debate. He felt I was getting too vehement. The issue was trifling, definitely. But it is because we allow such issues to pass that we end up being treated the way we are. It is because we ignore the lewd comment of a colleague (we do not want to cause trouble or seem ill-natured) that such remarks become commonplace. It is because we do not speak out enough that we, and others probably more vulnerable and weaker than us, are subject to such harassment.

I just wanted to remind you today, to speak out. To stand up for what’s right. It may be for yourself or for someone else, but do not let it pass. You are harming yourself. We deserve to be treated with respect.

There will be no instant results. Attitudes do not change in a moment, and are not subject to reason. It will be a long and hard fight. But if we fight hard enough, maybe our daughters will not have to go through what we have.

Happy Women’s Day.