Birthday no.21

What makes this birthday special?
1. I'm still at office.
2. I'm not allowed to drink, necessarily or legally, but they make a big deal of it anyway.
3. Mum and Dad are both here, as in the same city. Long time.
4. I'm happy, and NOTHING has gone wrong today.
5. I'm with new friends and I'll be meeting the old ones.
6. I'm actually following Manasi's instructions. As opposed to doing something in the 180.
7. Oh well who cares!

So yes, Thank you- as far as today goes, to Maa and Dadda, for staying up. To Coll and Shri- for turning up (surprise surprise), Rahul (the REAL surprise) for the event co-ordination, Manasi- for the day-long SMSes. To Babboo- for that one little mail.
Everyone who called. Rishanka for the loooong birthday call :) shared with the dog.
Everyone who posted. 247 posts as of right now. I have LOADSA friends!
Radhi, Ankit, Renu.
And the office gang. Party (ALisha- rollypollyrollypollyrightleftright) abhi baaki hai!
And now, the rest of ze party! Yaaaayyyy!!!
Hum bade ho gaye!

I no more stand in the background

Just this morning, I spoke about not knowing what is happening around, and thanks to the replies and comments I got, I can say that yes, I'm a tad bit wiser and a lot more affected by this movement that I expected to be.

You would be too.

As I write this, my colleagues are uploading a video of the march taking place against corruption that happens in the country.

Shouts of 'Vande Mataram'- not only agitated, but from the heart gave the on-lookers goosebumps. You cannot compare the edge in the voices that reverberate through the Juhu air as thousands- and no one would object to that number, because it is not an exaggeration, take to the streets- to recent events such as the World Cup victory. It seems so insignificant now, that I am almost embarrassed for having taken to the streets that day.

The atmosphere is still trembling as batches of scattered residents from we can't even begin to estimate march past. When earlier this morning, we discussed the march and the impending rally, none of us expected that we would be part of it later. Yes, the initial guilt of not being an active sloganeer or having covered an even admissible distance did quieten us, but as we stepped into the streets ourselves, Himanshu (who shot a video himself, please look it up at his video, me and me again) and I hesitatingly took out our phone cameras and shot what we saw- our documentation of a struggle that fights brown skin, being brown-skinned yourself. The energy isn't at all the romanticized versions of passion and patriotism as you'd expect to see, but a raw, raw need to find lost justice.
The crowds were, if there is anything on a scale like this, representative of the country. People of every age, and this includes parents carrying young children on their shoulders, were shouting slogans which confirmed support towards Anna, and the movement's primary motive of a corruption free India.

Two things come into mind now-
First, that the march wasn't for or against the release or fasting Anna Hazare is part of. It was purely against the corruption. The people on the street are not supporting a person necessarily- this is an ideology. This may or may not be one of those hyped media issues that tones down, and finally is stamped out due to disinterest. But for the moment- seeing that the public is unanimously fighting for a currently prevalent, solvable problem (unlike the rally post the Mumbai terrorist attacks- which, consider this, were pointless- the damage was done) that may have a solution, or at least will be at the forefront in the minds of people who face this.
Second, if in any way this has to be compared to any freedom struggle, this is, as philosophical as it seems, a fight against the devil inside. Except for one group condemning the Congress, all groups were focusing on a streak of freedom against the ways that we ourselves have promoted. Pay the fine, undertake the procedure, and stick your ground.

If this is even a billionth of what the Independence struggle felt like, then I can say that I have been honored.
If a thousand people can unite for a cause like this, I can say that we as a nation may not be shining, but we do have a glow.

Old girl in the old city

As Manasi packs her bags, I'm almost as apprehensive as she is. The entire jazz about her not being around in the city is camouflaged by my fatigue of landing home 12 hours after I actually leave. While most would be concerned about the logistics of the move (place to stay, washing, food, money etc) I'm worried about her need of having any known face around. It could even be Mahadev, our eternal and never-to-be-fired dhobi.

She's so used to Mumbai, along with its sweaty, sweet, somewhat stale scents that when she doesn't enter a train on a regular basis, I think she's gonna have withdrawal symptoms. I hope she doesn't start spitting around the roads to make herself feel more at home.

Bangalore's not just dry- it's cold. And by cold I mean the kind in which you can't walk around barefoot in your house. In Mumbai you shouldn't, because dust settles here more often than winds blow and certainly more often than it's cleaned off the floor- but in Bangalore it's a physical impossibility to walk on marbled flooring in the evenings.

Her next big hurdle is getting people to like her. In denial about it, she's pretty convinced that while her first impression on most is terrible (and I can't differ there)- she makes up for it given a certain amount of time. Variable, but certain amount of time. Going there, one of the things I figured is that people don't really bother. Not about your first impression or your last. That's how South Indians are. Indifferent. Which doesn't mean she needs to go out of her way to ruin the impression bit, but darling don't bug yourself into anything. We've probably learnt this the hardest way- be yourself. Which means be your average take-shit-give-shit person.

About work. It's not like people haven't had first days ever- but Manasi's firsts are twice as dramatic as they should be allowed to be. So while she comes back from her first day of sincere application of her asocial skills and some work, I'll probably be in a state to collapse. Yes, I'll call to find out- but no, don't give me "arre kya, it was so ordinary" answer. Darling, you're gonna have to work, out of choice or chance- so make the best of it by the icing we all thank Shriya for coining as Nain Sukh Praapti. Look around. Kannadigas aren't THAT disappointing.

Please, get two mirrors for facing walls wherever you put up. On days you don't have much to do, you can sit for hours and do and redo and undo your hair or what's left of it.

Life will be different, very different. I suppose only time will tell whether or not it'll be the good different or the bad. Yes, I'm gonna miss you the minute you leave the building. It's this dread I have. All the time. Our gang of 8 had 5 left, and now with 3- it'll be somehow way too sparse for me to believe. There's a huge, empty void in the (seemingly endless) pit of my stomach. Sometimes I think about it and feel like someone cut my thumb off. I wish I could tell you about it.

But it isn't about me. I have Coll and Shri. It's you I'm worried about.

So yeah, unsolicited advice from the eternal inexperienced Yoda.

Don't be afraid of pinning your hopes on anyone or anything.

Believe in things, and let them shatter you sometimes. It's the masochist fun of picking ourselves back up and grinning into the mirror after we're done that leaves us stronger.

Go wrong sometimes, in the decisions that affect you. How'll you know what's good otherwise?

Be irrational. See how far you can go into being me. Then, if things begin to get out of control- which they never fully will- call up and we'll see how much I can be you.

Every new place gives us a new face. You may not recognise the person you've become there. But it's still you- embrace it. Never forget- home is where you are, not where you are longest.