Sunday, May 31, 2009

Do You Have Just One Soulmate?

It's hard enough finding one person to fall in love with, but I was wondering if it's possible to find more than one. (No, I'm not being greedy - the Guy is quite enough for me, thank you. I'm just wondering theoretically.)

Is there just one person in the whole world with whom you can share everything, who gets you? I had believed so, but now I doubt it. It seems probable that you might have more than one soulmate, only finding one takes so much effort - it would be difficult to find another! (Just like there is likely to be life on other planets - it seems unlikely that the earth is the only inhabited planet in the entire universe, doesn't it?)

The idea that there is just one person in the world who is meant to share your life is very romantic, but also very sad. What happens if something goes wrong, if one of the two dies? Is the survivor to spend the rest of her/his life missing her/his partner? The Guy and I aren't happy being apart for more than a day or two - and a lifetime of such misery seems overwhelming. I would like to think, if something happens to me or if we break up, the Guy would find love and happiness again. 

But if you admit that you might fall in love more than once, is it possible to be in love with more than one person at the same time? It would be unlikely because once you find one soulmate you are likely to be more impervious to others' charms. But isn't it possible that you have two amazing best friends whom you find attractive?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why I Disliked John Grisham's "The Associate"

As I said in my last post, kind friends have been lending me books. I got "The Associate" last week, and happily sat down to read it, as Grisham is a favourite for light reading. But my feminist doubts were aroused early on and refused to go away.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Apologies for Slow Blogging

To all of those who expected frequent posts, apologies for my recent tardiness. Here's what I have been doing (and loving every moment of it)
  1. Reading my favourite bloggers online, an activity that I had had to cut down on in the last few months
  2. Sleeping as long and whenever I like
  3. Having some relaxed times with the Guy 
  4. Watching TV and movies at home (we completed re-viewing the Lord of the Rings series this weekend, yay!)
  5. Partying! (Thanks to the Guy's terrific work team, us wallflower-and-dull-as-ditchwater types have been partying just about every week (If any of you are reading, you guys rock!))
  6. Spending a little more time with Friends of Children (to be honest, I haven't done a lot of this yet, but I mean to)
  7. Reading - thanks to kind friends and my last forage in Landmark (which is probably my most favourite place in all the world, except my own home), I still have a few unread books lying on top of my bookcase, and which I mean to savor slowly over the next few days.
What have you been doing?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Seven-Year-Old Child - and How We Let Her Down

When I first read this bit of news, it immediately triggered my suspicions. (Maybe because I remember being sexually abused in a car as a child.) Turns out I was - probably - right.

The saddest part is the refusal of the police to admit there might be foul play involved. 

There is so much wrong in our society and state, and this is one very shocking reminder.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm Loving Being at Home!

I was beginning to wonder if I was making a mistake staying home in summer... It was too hot to do anything and I was afraid I was going to fall ill again from the heat. Or I could stay in the air-conditioned bedroom all day, like an invalid. 

But in the last couple of days, the weather's changed dramatically. Its cloudy, sultry, with a strong breeze. It hasn't rained much yet, but it's not hot any more, just warm enough that the breeze feels welcome. To top it all, there have been no power cuts lately. I am sitting with the windows open, the fans on and the music on my laptop on loud. I've been reading, chatting, doing laundry... just enjoying having all the time in the world and lovely weather. Delicious.

(With my luck, it will be back to 42 degrees and five hours of load shedding tomorrow.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Airtel Ads

The one ad that I have probably loved more than any other is the TV commercial Airtel aired in late 2005 that went dil ki baat bata kar to dekho. (The entire script is here.) The idea of expressing yourself was simple. They shot it beautifully without showing phones at all. The ad just put up the idea of people reaching out and speaking up. No overt pushing of the product, but an attempt to forge an emotional bond with the audience - this was advertising at its best.

But there's one more reason why I loved the ad: it came at the right time for me. You see, this ad came around the time the Guy and I decided to be together. But we were living in different cities at the time. We used to talk on the phone for at least a couple of hours every day, and around half a dozen hours on holidays. Yes, we both used Airtel. 

So it seemed like it was our story that was implied through that commercial. The Guy and I had been friends earlier, but while we had enjoyed each other's company tremendously we had always kept a certain emotional distance. It was then, when we were in different cities and could talk unself-consicously on the phone that we discovered more and more about each other and realised just how compatible we were. Neither of us earned a lot then, and the phone bills we rang up amounted than to more than the house rent we paid (both of us combined). We even had a sharing arrangement in which the Guy would always call me, as his STD charges were lower, and I would pay him half the amount charged on his bill as calls to me. We recognised that learning more about each other was an investment in our future, even as talking to the other gave each of us more pleasure than anything else. So cash-strapped as we were, we made little effort to cut down on our calling time.

But Airtel has since failed to live up to the quality of that ad, or in fact anything near it. When I first saw the Madhavan-Vidya Balan ads, I thought, Finally! They're telling our story! But it turned out nothing like it. The first two were quite nice. (The first one on long-distance calls is ironic though, considering that the Guy has had STD calls at Rs 1 on his phone for over four years now.) But they got progressively worse. They were also surprisingly sexist. The husband doesn't care about preparing dinner (salad!) or tidying up before guests get home - he's watching a match! The wife has to nag him to please do some housework. (After all, that's her job, not his?) In the latest, the husband brings in the newspaper, and the wife is only interested in the horroscope. (Surprising, really, because in an earlier one she seems to be reading the Economic Times.) 

In all of these ads, it's the husband who activates or knows more about the service. The wife also uses Airtel, but of course cannot be expected to figure out its many features without male assistance. 

This one was just baffling. The Guy suggested Airtel is saying, "Give up on our network, use toy phones and pretend to talk."

And then came the ad for Airtel Broadband. With the mantra, "Impatience is the new life", it extolls the "impatience" of young people - growing up without many of the restrictions the older generation had seen, these young people - us! - want a better, faster life. The ad says it much better than I do - and here's a detailed description. 

We have used Airtel Broadband - not this super-speed one, but even the connection we had was great. Hardly any problems, and excellent customer service. It sucks that we had to move to BSNL because Airtel doesn't service this area.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Two Amazing Books I Read Recently

... are Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. 

You might have heard of them, as they're both pretty well-known. Persepolis was turned into a movie too (last year?) and created quite a lot of buzz.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Friends, Wine and Fun

Yesterday, a bunch of us went to the annual Friends of Children camp. There were 8 of us, we drove down in the late morning to get there just as lunchtime was getting over. (Close shave, that!)

We spent two hours with the students, talking to them and trying to give them a little advice (though as one of us put it later - we feel inferior talking to them as they seem so much smarter than we were at that age). Our only regret was that we had so little time, for the hours just flew past. 

We were all eager to visit a well-known vineyard not far from our way, so we made for it after we left the camp. Entry to the vineyard had closed by then, so we sat in the little restaurant, drank wine and ate and made conversation, while the setting sun scattered its golden rays around us. For summer the weather was wonderful - a cool breeze drove away the warmth. 

We sat there till afternoon lengthened into evening, and then made our way home. We had a lively discusssion on politics on the way back. It was a long day, and I should have been tired by the time we got home, but it was the wine or the fun I had that day that kept me excited and happy till late at night. 

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Am Free!

Or unemployed, whichever way you like to put it...

That's right. I left my job. This might seem a bit strange, considering this post, but I had been toying with the idea of taking a break for a while. Add to that my recent multiple bouts of illness, and the Guy and I decided we should take the plunge. 

So the Guy is going to be the sole breadwinner of the family for some time now, and I am going to be sitting home twiddling my thumbs. (Though I would have been twiddling more happily if it wasn't so bloody hot right now. Maybe I can cross my fingers and hope for rain, instead.)

I got admitted to b-school before my final year BA exams, and I got a job in campus there. I had to join within a few days of my last day at b-school. And both my two subsequent jobs, I joined within a few days of leaving the last one. So the longest break I've had in the last nearly-five years since I joined b-school has been two weeks, twice. 

It feels extremely liberating right now to have nothing to do, no plans in place. I am not sure what I'm going to do next. I do have some kind of plan in mind for the next couple of months (trust me not to not have any kind of plan!) but I don't want to think about that either right now... I'm going to sit back and lead a decadent life for the next few days. 

After that, you can expect more frequent blogging. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Day Picture

A woman and her husband working hard at crushing sugarcane for thirsty passers-by, while their little son stands looking on.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Loveliest Drive I've Ever Had

...was last Sunday.

The Guy and I were up till early morning, as we often are on weekends, talking and watching TV. We went to bed around 4, and before we could drop off to sleep, he suggested getting up and going for a drive. 

We never get to see the sun rise, he pointed out. 

Me - I'm always ready for a drive!

I was surprised, given how lazy the Guy generally is, and especially surprised when he urged me to change out of my mango-stained shorts into something more respectable. (Since it was not yet five and very dark, and the Guy usually can't care less if I look shabby.)

It's the height of summer and very hot during the day (and regular readers know how much I hate the heat). But the heat had subsided and there was a cool breeze. 

Unfortunately, the sun was behind us, so we didn't actually see it rise. But hey, it was lovely weather, the roads were nearly empty, and we were happy. 

We went on and on - all the way to Lonavala. The Guy confessed he had intended to go that far, but hadn't wanted to raise my hopes in case he got tired and wanted to come back earlier. 

We were hungry by the time we got there, and nothing was open, so we cruised around till we found a place by the highway where we could have breakfast. Then we drove back again.