Tuesday, 25 December 2007


There are some lessons which you learn only by a blow to your head - so hard that it'll probably knock you out cold.

Since its almost the end of 2007, its a right time for introspection.End of the year retrospections are suitably light,frothy and usually nostalgic however not mine.

I came across the following quote by Richard Feynman.
I quote,"You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."

I didn't learn early the difference between knowing the name of the bird and knowing about the bird !

Infact, i learned quite late when i was 23 and at my first job how shallow my thinking and learning has been. i usually knew all the correct names,styles and knew little of everything. But it was useless ! I didn't have the know how to convert anything I knew into tangible results.Unfortunately for me, I'm still searching for a mentor who can groom me!

However,now,I've learn't to think realistically,cause and effect and sow and reap rules which I just didn't know because of my myopic,rosy and beautiful point of views.

The other thing which I've managed to learn effectively is forgiveness. It took me four years to learn to forgive because of the way I'm. Forgiveness is a virtue most people aspire to however its not easy ! Just sit back and think- in this whirlwind of the world,with cut throat competition and shallow relationships there must be atleast one incident everyday in everyone's life where forgiveness and mercy is a must to move on !
Yet, how many of us can truly say, that we've put an end to festering wounds !
To forgive does not mean that you have to repair relationships though you may,it doesn't mean you are the weaker person,and it definitely does not mean you lower the standards for another person !
Forgiveness and compassion is a habit like any other that you have to teach yourself and practice ,practice,practice.And yet, when the blows come,you may falter and not be able to forgive !
From my personal experience I can vouch for the usefulness of forgiving others and yourself and showing mercy because as James Ray put it - I quote "Being unwilling to forgive is like drinking poison expecting the other person to die."

Happy New year !:-)

Sunday, 16 December 2007


Caste based reservations has always remained at the back of my mind since the time i graduated from school. Mandal commission decision,the debates and fiery and deadly demonstrations were still fresh at that time.However ,i was too rosy eyed to be bothered.

The uselessness of caste based reservations hit me a few years ago when I personally witnessed an OBC status colleague carrying a high end mobile and living a carefree and moneyed lifestyle when it was made to believe otherwise

The recent violent demand by Gujjar community to be included in OBC quota took me by surprise.
After all, the main reason cited by quota politicians and people who enjoyed quota reservations was upliftment and inclusion in mainstream society. It took me very little time to understand that I now belong to 'underprivileged' group !

Caste based reservation has created more offence especially the OBC quota where all and sundry have been included and have benefitted through many generations.
The moot question the sociologists can probably help with - Has the 50 yrs + of reservation helped in inclusion of lower castes into mainstream society ? Have the caste based prejudices disappeared or have they turned into more subvert and schizophrenic mindsets ? Have they made racists and uppercastes fiends more humane ?

Affirmative action which is touted as possible route is applicable virtually to any underprivilege section of society- womem,Muslim women,disabled,poor muslim/christian/parsi/hindu man and SC/ST/NT muslims,christians and hindus etc .
Why is that so difficult to understand !

Sachar committe report which came and went away,brought a few facts to forefront. The fact is Muslims are considered last when it comes to selection via the usual reservation route.It is simply because of the 'Us vs. Them' mentality which crosses even the caste based bias.That's the reason there are very few Muslims in Government jobs which are still sought after because of the perks they ensure.
As usual, political groups which consider Muslims to be 'outsiders' will do nothing for Indian Muslims. Indian Muslims will always remain a bone of contention because of it being the largest minority in India.

What are we waiting for to scrap the untenable caste based reservations? More violent and demanding inclusion in quota system so that the next generation of that caste get easy jobs,education opportunities etc ? If the fight is about better jobs,education and more money then are we waiting for the 'open category' to reduce to poverty,not have access to education because there is 'competition'and reserved seats which are later 'sold', to improve and adopt a different route towards a truly egalitarian society !

Monday, 10 December 2007

Mix for a Thought!

New year in on its way- just like previous 'new years'. The most famous way is to party , get drunk and usher in the New Year.

I'm pretty boring and am not partying kind. My family usually has get togethers with friends.Unofficially i gained the reputation of 'cocktail mixer'.
I don't drink but being a microbiology student i've always been interested in 'fermentation'. Idli batter,bean curd, wines,whiskey- you name it.I've undying curiosity to know as much about the various techniques and how it majorly affects the 'taste'.

Serendipity called in and few New years ago,I mixed my first martini.

Here is the recipe,

Kiwi crush
Vodka (about 20 ml)
Salt a pinch
Whole berries[any berry of the sweet kind you can find- i used strawberry)

In a huge glass dump 4-5 berries .crush them well,add vodka, about a tbsp of kiwi crush ,lots of ice,salt.Cover it with another tall glass .Give it a good shake for 5 mins [since you and me are not professional bartenders- we do need to shake it for 5 mins. You can add lemon juice if you like.

Strain and Serve it in a martini glass and test it on your favorite scapegoat !

Now, yours truly experimented with 3 recipes on that New year to serve eager uncles,aunties- their sons and daughters.I've since recommended mixes for my colleagues at couple of office parties.Most of the time i got pleased look on their faces. I'm still not sure whether it was the alcohol or they truly admired my recipes ! :-))

I keep trying various cocktails and mocktails with regular fruits ,squashes and crushes with water and soda.As usual, like anything else, some are hits while others are plain grotesque !

Perhaps, now that Supreme Court has allowed 'women' bartenders ,I can think about applying for the job ! :-D

If You Forget Me

Ok,now, this is still my favourite poem,besides 'If' by Rudyard Kipling and 'How do I love thee ?' by Elizabeth Barett Browning..Funnily ,once upon a time, I knew both of the latter poems by heart. Now, i barely remember 2 lines yet they are favourites.
This poem by Pablo Nerudo may not be one of his greatest or most famous work but this poem speaks of my ideology so that's why its still a favourite.

I want you to know
one thing.
You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.
Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you. If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Tickled pink !

Oh gosh ! This is easily one of my favourite things ! Right from the time I was a shy teenager, I've always known there were some things more than the others which gave colour to my cheeks,brought on my wide blinding smile [yep,that's what i think of my smile] and brought a warm rush of feelings and made me cosy and feel that all's right with the world.

I'm going to share a few here which have stood the test of General Time.

  1. Ooh, Chocolate.chocolate cake,chocolates,dark and bitter.chocolates in any form,shape,flavours.
  2. Hmm, the second is 'Gone With The Wind'. I've seen the movie only once and have the read the book too. However, its the character of Scarlett O'hara which makes me feel strong and harbour a faith that one day i can be a good bitch and be someone who can fight through anything and survive.....Ah well ! Its also the wonderful character of Rhett Butler. I've yet to see a full grown man actually behave like a Man ! I've been mooning over the character of Rhett Butler like a star crossed teenager ever since i can remember.
  3. Well cooked prawns ! Hmm,..if prawns are overcooked they become rubber like .So,like all good things ,they have to be cooked just right.
  4. Kindness. Its a real turn on for me.Especially spontaneous kindness to people when they least expect it.
  5. People who can laugh at themselves ,knowing they have goofed up real bad and have probably incurred a loss because of it.
  6. Another thing which makes me feel like a warm blooded animal- when someone succeeds after many failures,goof ups and hard times.
  7. When my mom cooks something and says ,'zahra, I made this for you '
  8. It gives me hope when a toddler asserts and says no to his mother,We need more independence in Indian children,instead of checking how they fared compared to Hari, Ram and Lily.
  9. When a baby giggles. I like people who giggle .I know most adults don't giggle because bosses,colleagues,husbands,wives find it most suspicious.
  10. I feel especially good when i visit green mountainous regions,the more rough the better and beaches. I can do major timepass alone by just sitting/walking at the beach.
Actually, this is an incomplete list.There must be more instances than i've mentioned .However, i don't recall all of them .I think it maybe a kind of hormonal rush- probably oxytocin.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Changing people

Oh well ! Like You [the reader] I've heard oft enough how you cannot change people. Not through words,not by sticks and stones and definitely not by shaming or inducing guilt in them.

However, I truly internalized this only now.
Being a partial control freak, i usually had a list of people. If only X didn't do this ,if only Y was kinder and more understanding...,blah and blah.And i actually told them do this,don't do that.

Oh well ! I failed changing them .

So i'm going to do the next best thing - Change myself ,my attitude and decidedly have strong boundaries so that i can keep mean,selfish,narcissitic people out of my life.
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