Tag: musings

About being a harried 24-year-old tax payer

Life has suddenly gotten too overwhelming, hasn’t it? People my age will probably understand. I’m 24 right now. Will soon turn 25. As each day passes, I expect things in my head to get sorted out, but it turns out there are just more and more complications!

This evening, I found myself debating taxes and insurances with my parents. I’ve to shell out Rs.40,000 a year from now on for insurances, just to be exempted from paying taxes, but unfortunately that amount happens to be more than I’ll ever pay for my taxes! What’s the point? My parents say they’ll pay the amount; but apparently, I have to pay my own insurance money to not pay taxes. And if I mention anything further to my parents, they lose temper within minutes and I’d just rather say OK and get on with it. Aaaa it’s irritating to even think about it.

Tweens

Why can’t we just earn, keep the money in our house, spend it and be happy? Who the hell invented banking and insurances and taxes and shit. I truly hate that person. (I might not be saying that many years later when I get my money back, I’m guessing. I’ll be richer than ever! I had better be.)

Well, money is perhaps 10 per cent of what’s eating me up. All over Facebook, people are getting married and having babies. People my age!! Some girls I went to school with and sat next to, on the same bench, wearing pinafores and drawing margin lines in notebooks, have two babies already!! And here I am, thinking about whether I like pizza or pasta better. Sigh.

I’m not saying I want to have two babies. I’m not going to have any. I’m going to keep puppies instead. But the point is, I don’t know how they’re all confident enough to have babies!

But then again, babies aren’t even the problem right now. I suppose marriage is. There’s so much pressure from all sides to get married. It’s not just me. Even people around me are being pressurised everyday. It’s so ridiculous. My parents don’t bother me much, but my grandparents won’t let me hear the end of it. If I relent and say “Fine, I’ll get married,” they start attaching dates to it.

“How about next April? Like your sister?”

“No, tatha. I don’t want to get married in summer. I prefer winter. Maybe December.”

“Really? This December? Wow that’s great! Now we’ll just have to figure out whom you can marry.”

The concept of prioritising just went flying out the window.

Fine, let’s say I’m alright with getting married, which I kind of am, I guess, since I’ve found someone and everything, but the next ten questions pop out at me like boxing gloves. Kapow! Where, how much to spend, what kind of wedding, on what scale should it be, whom to invite, should I do it how I want to or should I relent and let others organise a traditional wedding. My god! Really, it’s mental!

I told my grandpa last week that I will have a simple wedding with 50 people, if I do. He lost it. He said, “Look, the wedding is not about you or how you want it. (Wait, what?) It’s about us being happy about the occasion and sharing the happiness with others.” At most of our family weddings, everyone gets to invite everyone they want. So there’s usually about 2,000 people.

I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t exactly want to have my grandpa’s walking friends or some tenants who lived twenty years ago in some house we built. It’s so pointless. I just want to have people who mean a lot to me and no one else. Why can’t I have things my way! Why can’t life be easier, god?

Even on the work front, there’s so much going on! Working at a start-up really is a rollercoaster ride. I’m literally playing some ten roles at work and I wish I could add two more hours to my everyday.

Home (my room, specifically) is the only place where I’m at peace, in my mosquito net, with a book in my hand. And it kills me to know that I’m gonna have to give my room up and go away if I ever get married. Which is so ridiculous. Why does the girl have to move into the boy’s house and why not the opposite? Life is just so worrying man.

Turning old sucks. Wish I could go back to college and deal with mindless assignments and chemistry practicals again. That was so much simpler.

Now, I have to deal with too many complications and I’m not ready for it.

How am I gonna tell my grandpa that his walking friends aren’t invited?

Sigh.

PS: I just needed a place to rant. :P

Advertisements

About being alone, but not lonely

You know, there was a time in my life when I was really depressed. Well, not clinically depressed. Just mentally. I was 16 or 17, living my teens – awkward looking (a bad hair cut, undone eyebrows, baggy clothes), not-so-confident and from a state syllabus school when the rest of my mates were from CBSE or ICSE. I had very low self-esteem. I would come back home from college everyday and crib to my diary about how everyone in my life had boyfriends/girlfriends and other best friends.

I would list down names of my favourite people and next to their names, write down the names of their favourite people and it burned me to know I wasn’t on anyone’s list. Not on my best friends’, not on my sister’s – they all had boyfriends (and wonderfully, they’re all still with the same people). I would indulge in self-pity, listen to music with depressing lyrics, mostly Evanescence and Avril Lavigne’s pissed off songs and once in a while, just cry it all out.

That feeling of having no one sucks, doesn’t it?

All of a sudden, I feel this looks like an ad for Whisper. Thu!

My parents have been out of town for 45 days, leaving me home alone. Now “home-alone” would prick many ears and make them imagine parties, alcohol all over the place, boxes of pizza lying around and loud music playing. At least that’s what I think of when most people my age tell me they’re home alone. But I had zero parties. My friends came to stay over maybe five times and that’s it. I was with myself most of the other days, cooking cleaning, washing, mopping, sweeping, the usual household chores.

I even fell sick, went to the doc, got medicines, nursed myself back to health, and took care of myself. Usually, I have my mom fussing over me when I’m sick, making kashaya, getting me Homeopathy medicine from Hattangadi, giving me hot rasam rice. But I made my own rasam, drank milk with turmeric, gargled and drank hot water for four days. Perhaps only when I was sick, I indulged in a bit of self-pity, but nothing more than the permissible amount. Permissible as set by me, I mean.

I’ve realised it’s difficult to live alone if you’re the self-pity kinds. I, for one, am not that kind, not any more. Perhaps I was, when I was 16, 17 but after that, I grew to look quite decent, speak well, learnt a bit about everything in life (you know, sports, politics, people, behaviour, etc) and promised myself to never feel bad for myself. I learnt to respect myself for who I am, and enjoy my own company. I talk to myself, sing to myself, dance to myself, cook for myself and life alone over the past 45 days has been breezy! I didn’t expect that, really.

I realise I’m ready to run a house on my own, including paying all the bills, cleaning up the kitchen and doing the dishes, removing dead cockroaches and sometimes pigeons from the terrace and balcony, COOKING good food, serving tea/coffee to guests and hosting other people at home.

It’s such a wonderful feeling to work hard and go to sleep feeling real good about yourself, thinking about how many things you did in the day.

I’m writing this mostly because, over the past 45 days, I have realised I don’t need anybody else in my life. Haha! I just realised how that might have come across to my readers. :P I don’t mean to offend any of you, all you people in my life. (Except you, Nuvena. I don’t want maamis around me. :P)

What I’m saying is, if, at some point in life, I have to lead my life alone, I’ll be able to manage it. It’s like a life-skill that I can use, if need be. But I must add that given a choice between living with people and living alone, I’d any day pick living with people.

I think living alone for some time in life is something everyone must do. You realise what others mean to you and how much others do for you! You learn to be independent and self-efficient, something I notice that a lot of people my age aren’t. Even I wasn’t until 45 days ago. I did not know I could cook for myself for 45 days, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and survive it. I did not know that the electricity man just cuts off the electricity if you forget to pay the bill (and I learnt the hack to get electricity back without yet paying the bill. In your face electricity man!). I did not know that I could change a tube light, as simple as it may sound; I’ve never had to do it in my life! I did not know that I could keep 30 fish alive and nurse my dog back to good health when she had a stiff neck.

I did not know what perfect parenting was like until I saw myself imitating my parents everyday when they weren’t here, trying to repeat their daily actions – be it squeezing a tomato to put it in the rasam exactly like my mum does or fixing a light bulb and half-immersing it in the water like my dad does.

As much as I missed my parents, I’m glad they left me to fend for myself. I learnt of my own capabilities, which is why my self-esteem has shot through the roof. Hehe.

So, if you’re living alone, make the best of it. Don’t feel bad for yourself that you’re alone. In fact, you’re lucky that you’re alone and can be your own person. If you’re not living alone, throw the other person out of the house for a while and make sure you live alone. :P

Tips to live alone:

1. Learn to cook. It will take up most of your time.

IMG-20150626-WA0008
Cold pasta salad

2. Invite some crazy people over. Even if they are donkeys.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

3. You go over to meet people

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

4. Listen to music. Morning, afternoon, evening, night, 3 am. Doesn’t matter. Listen when you want to.

IMG_20150630_160749

5. Have a sleepover in a tent on the terrace.

IMG_20150802_085040

6. Pay attention to nature. It’s the fastest way to put a smile on your face.

7. Find a hobby. Something like making bookmarks. I made them for charity.

8. Visit your grandparents. Nobody loves you like they do.tatha

9. Go on a mani-pedi date with your best friend and party with her.

10. Go for a wedding. In this case, your best friend’s wedding. :)

11. Read as much as you can!

IMG_20150426_155811
I’ve read a bit toooo much over the past month and a half.

12. Build an  army of doggies to protect you

IMG_20150521_174851
Kuntea and Puppy. Piccolo was somewhere around the corner

13. Finally, keep in touch with your parents and do something nice to welcome them back.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That’s all now! Good day! :)

PS: I logged onto WordPress today and it said, “Happy anniversary!” It’s my second year anniversary with WordPress! Thanks for reading! :)

To new beginnings!

I’ve been putting off this post for a while, maybe simply because I don’t want to have to deal with the thought yet. But WordPress persuaded me today, saying, “Write a post about something that should’ve been left untouched, but wasn’t. Why was the original better?”

Well, my entire life is about to change this month. For the past year, I’ve had a daily schedule; I’ve been able to tick things off a list that I made at the beginning of the year. It’s been mostly filled with work at Deccan Chronicle. The year actually flew by, but it has perhaps been the most fruitful year in my life, in terms of work and personal life. Su and Anand lived one kilometre away from my house. My Friday nights were almost always spent with them. I interviewed a few awesome people and grew close as ever to Nuvena, Sneha and Zoya. And I have to now bid goodbye to all of these people.

If you don’t already know, I have quit my job at Deccan Chronicle and have 11 days left there. So that means I won’t be seeing these silly girls, Nuvena, Sneha and Zoya, everyday. Sunayana is going to be in Orissa for a year, starting tomorrow, and Anand is going to Chicago for maybe two years. The thing is, I’m used to living away from my sister. For six years, she was away, studying, and for a year, she was in Amsterdam. But now, I’ve grown surprisingly close to Anand and having them both away, might be an extra pain to deal with and I don’t want to come to terms with it. They are my gang! No matter what my problem is, I go to them. “Should I quit?” “Should I buy these pants?” “Should I change the poster in my room?” “Should I put pickle in my curd rice?” You get the gist.

I don’t think the change of circumstances ever makes a difference in one’s life. It’s the people. It’s always the people. And I had gotten too comfortable with these people.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I suppose getting too comfortable with a phase in one’s life callsfor a change. We are all excited about change. By ‘we,’ I mean Su, Anand and I. Su is in Orissa to help in rural development. Anand is off to USA from work, which means alone time in a new country, which is always a good thing. And I’m looking to write and travel as much as I can before I settle into another job. Maybe that’s what has gotten me all jittery. I’ve always been like Jenny from Marley & Me. The organised-kind with life plans and a bucket list to follow. Right now, I have absolutely nothing to organise because I don’t know where my life is headed! I’m so confused. On the one hand, I have people asking me “What next?” every time they see me. And on the other, I have my own mind asking me to take things easy, and take up whatever comes at me. I’ve always been told to listen to my mind, by my mind.

This looks like a silly diary entry, with nothing for my reader to take away. I know. But I have to set these thoughts free, and make some space in my mind, you know. Because every little thing is changing.

The left side shift key on this keyboard isn’t working. It has always worked and now it isn’t.

I hope that’s the only bad change out of everything I have mentioned in this post.

All in all, I’m looking forward to 2015. Supriya is coming back in January (hopefully). Sunayana is going to visit in January. I may go to Orissa to visit her. I may go to Shillong to visit Priyam. I may travel to Chennai, Pondi, Kerala and who knows where else!

But I’m going to miss the perfect past year. The nights at 1522, the gossip lunch time in the pantry at office, making tea with Nuvena, riding back with Sneha, drinking chai at the adda, staying over at Su’s where we always fell asleep trying to do something constructive, making plans to go for runs regularly and failing, going for movies, watching the matches together, watching Su and Anand argue about BJP (and watching Su shed a tear when he insulted Modi), attending parties where pretentious people came and waved their hands about at each other… Wait, I really don’t think I’m going to miss that last bit.

Su and Anand, just for the record, I love the team that the three of us are. (If I say anything more cheesy, I think Anand might remove me from the MVM Rowdies Whatsapp group.)

 

Anyway, cheers to new beginnings!

*Deep breath*

 

 

 

What does rain make man do?

Imagine the first ever human being experiencing the first ever rain on Earth.

  • Would he be shocked?water 3
  • Would he run, fearing the rain?
  • Would he seek shelter?
  • Would he stare into the sky, looking for the source? 
  • Would he consider it magical? A Godsend, perhaps? 
  • Would he stick his tongue out to taste it? “Is it water? What is it?”
  • Would he consider it sorcery? An act of pure evil, felling trees and destroying shelter?
  • Would he send an animal outside of his shelter first, to test the strange downpour?
  • Would he dance with joy and jump around in the puddles? 
  • Would he cry tears of joy mixed with rain drops, thanking the sky for relieving him of summer heat? “A blessing this is! Whatever it is!” 
  • Or would he freeze to death? 

What does man do now, at the sight of rain, anyway? 

  • He pauses with shock. “Omg! Rain!” water2
  • He runs, fearing the rain. 
  • He seeks shelter.
  • He stares into the sky. Think about it. It’s your instinctive reaction. 
  • He thinks its a Godsend. 
  • He sticks his tongue out to taste it. “Ah! Fresh, cool water!” 
  • He curses the rain, for felling trees, making him wet and for putting his evening out of control.
  • He sends a stray, shelter-seeking animal out of his house, because “ew!” 
  • He dances with joy and jumps in puddles. 
  • He cries with joy, thanking the Gods of rain, for relieving him of summer heat.
  • Or he freezes to death. 

 

Has man evolved at all? 

Just a rant because we live in a material world

I’m typing simply because I’m using a Mac, just for the experience. It’s quite fancy, but I don’t think this keyboard has ever been used to type a document of any sort. Or someone spilt something on it.

There’s so much talk of technology happening around me. I’m buying a new phone, a Google Nexus 5 I think. These phones are so expensive. Sometimes I think it’s pointless to spend so much on non living things. (Silly statement because you can’t really spend on living things, unless you buy things for those living things. Ok this is a complicated topic.)

I remember meeting a lady for an interview – the founder of Daily Dump, and her position in office was ‘Compostwali.’ She is the most environment friendly person I’ve ever met, save perhaps for my vegan cousins. She had the oldest Nokia phone, one with a monochrome screen. She simply shrugged and said, “It serves the purpose.” I wish I could be like her, an immaterial person.

A few days ago, I read this, an article about a great big elephant in Kenya poached for its tusks. It was one of the most depressing articles. I’ve read about crocodiles being killed for bags and deer being hunted for their antlers. I’ve also read about elephants being poached for their tusks, but this article was especially sad, because it was a rare species of elephant. Here’s an excerpt from there.

Satao (the elephant) lived in Tsavo East National park in southeast Kenya and was celebrated as one of the last surviving great tuskers, bearers of genes that produce bull elephants with huge tusks reaching down to the ground. It’s hard to imagine what was going through the minds of the poachers on the day that they approached this mountain of an elephant and shot at him with crude bows and poisoned arrows. It must have been terrifying and yet the sight of his massive gleaming tusks probably left them salivating with greed.

I don’t understand why materialism creeps into EVERY aspect of human life. Well, I know this doesn’t quite fit the “materialism” bill if you go by the definition of it – a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values. But I’m using the word in a broad sense. Don’t go all editor on me. I wish whoever decides what is precious and what is not, just makes a worldwide statement that ivory, leather and silk and other animal-killing materials have absolutely no value anymore. How can any man have the heart to kill all these animals that ask for nothing, except to be left alone? It’s ridiculous.

Courtesy: The Funk Hunter (Some page on FB)
Courtesy: The Funk Hunter (Some page on FB)

I’m not bragging, but I don’t feel the need to own anything that’ll make me feel rich. I don’t like jewellery, I live in a modest, cosy house that doesn’t boast of anything luxurious, I don’t understand why people go gaga over expensive branded shoes, clothes, Swarovski stuff, and bags. Heck! Someone in my office owns one of these!

Coach bag

Who pays Rs.20,ooo for BAGS? My frolleague argued that Coach bags are an investment, and once they’re vintage bags, you can sell them and makes tonnes of money. Pfft! Whatever.

Buy me that, buy me this... Gahh...
Buy me that, buy me this… Gahh…

Bags are meant to store things. How does it matter what word is written on them in a fancy font? Similarly, I wear clothes to cover myself up. No matter how inexpensive the clothes are, they can still serve the purpose. My theory (I cooked this one up last night) is that people need brands to compromise for their image, or the lack of it. I believe I can pull off even a roadside tshirt that I paid Rs.50 for and don’t need a brand name to make me look good. I’m not saying I don’t indulge in Adidas and Nike sometimes; it’s just that life is not all about that. As I write, I can imagine shopoholics thinking, Hey, we’re not asking you to join us. What the hell is your problem? Well, I rant about it because it bothers me. What annoys me the most is when these same shopoholics hesitate to spend some 200 rupees for a better cause, like donating it to the poor or for their own meal, or for a gift or something. You get what I’m saying, right? They spend enormous amounts on diamonds, shoes and dresses, but think twice before spending it for a good cause. Ok, maybe shopping is what I have a problem with. Who knows!

You know what has made me more and more furious these days is the outrageous amount of money people spend on weddings. What is the point? You want to show off how much money you have? Isn’t marriage supposed to be the coming together of two souls? I’ll bet 50% of the people invited to weddings in India are meeting the couple for the first time on that day.

I’m not even sure what I want to say. I’m just sad that the basic purpose behind all aspects of life are lost in this pitiful material, money-loving, greedy and pretentious world.

 

 

Lifestyle journalism – A war inside my head

I’m currently high. Don’t get the wrong idea. I got high from working too much.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Oh a Page 3 journalist. What work can she have?” Well, it isn’t that much work, but it is a lot packed into six frighteningly short hours everyday. I wrote an article about people from India going for FIFA World Cup 2014 to Brazil, so I spoke to six people for that. Speaking to so many strangers can get quite tiring. Plus I be’d a bad girl on Monday and didn’t finish that day’s story, so I wrote that today. AND I designed a page.

Lifestyle journalism
I googled ‘Lifestyle Journalism’ and this is what the search results threw at me.

I’m tired, it’s true. But my fingers are flying. I feel a sense of responsibility toward my blog. I feel like if I don’t write in it from time to time, it will cry and die. Sounds morbid, no? Anyway…

I read this on someone’s Twitter profile.

When you write something someone doesn’t want published, it’s journalism. Everything else is Pubic Relations.

I realised that NOTHING I write is against someone’s will. Perhaps that’s why a lot of people think my job in lifestyle journalism and features writing is a joke. But it’s not. I write about people who are doing inspirational things. I write about young entrepreneurs, dancers, artists, musicians, actors, and they’re all doing some wonderful things, and it doesn’t matter on how large a scale they’re doing it.

The only downside when it comes to the actual “gossip” bit, is that while hardcore journalism may point out your own miseries to you, Page 3 journalism as it is infamously called, points out others’ (read: celebrities) miseries to you, and that’s at a very basic level. No one wants to get too nosy and write about indecent, false stuff. At least, in our office we don’t. Of course, I do sometimes feel vain about everything I write. I begin to think Oh what am I doing with my life. There are twenty million people starving out there and I’m here dining with millionaires and writing about luxury bathrooms.

It’s all about chilling

But what can I do? Even if I do investigate and “cover deprivation,” I’m only a journalist after all and not an activist. I’ll write it in the paper and then what? It’ll be forgotten the next day when the same slot in the page is filled up with another article. So on and so forth.

I might sound like I’m defending my profession. Maybe that’s what I’m doing. I’m not sure. I just feel like typing.

The best part of my job is that we write about positive stuff. I write about young girls taking dance classes and giving away the proceeds to orphanages, about amazingly talented artistes, about dance recitals, about initiatives taken by people to save the Earth, it’s all very positive. If I was at the main desk, I’d have to edit copies about dirty politics, murders, robbery, rape, and maybe a few happy stories thrown into a sea of sad stories.

You see, we need positivity in this world, and I’m here to explore the city and bring that positivity to you. If you’d like to read a few of my articles, google Swathi Chatrapathy. It will automatically prompt ‘Swathi Chatrapathy Deccan Chronicle’ or ‘Swathi Chatrapathy WordPress’ suggestion. Or click HERE and choose from the thumbnails whatever you want to read about.

Here are a few articles. Click on them.

Also, a lot of my friends get to be in the paper, if their quotes are interesting. My brother-in-law calls it “nepotism,” but that’s too strong a word I believe. I prefer thinking of it as a mutual favour.

Since I’m saying nice things about my job, let me end it with the icing on the cake or whatever that cherry on top is called.
Yesterday, I was speaking to a friend, and I told him I’m going to Macau. He said, “Oh wow! Holiday or work?” All I could do was laugh at that question. I’m going on a holiday from work. I’ll let you gape at that until I type my next blog.

Yes, I know I’m being an ass! I think I’ve got some mephobia going on.

FYI

Mephobia
Si

 

Tata!