Saturday, August 29, 2009

Radio Ga Ga, Radio Goo Goo

Queen got it right when they said ‘All we hear is Radio ga ga, Radio goo goo, Radio blah blah’. And that becomes mostly evident in the commercial breaks on the radio these days. The poor excuses for advertisements that are being aired make me nauseous sometimes…they are unbearable and worst of all, aired 10 times every half hour. Its unnecessary torture when you have actually tuned in for some entertainment.

The basic premise of advertisement rests on the concept of grabbing attention. Making it stick comes into the picture of you have got the brain to respond in the first place. And last comes the concept of reinforcement. If you have missed the first step, you’ve lost it.

In that light, radio ads that go the following way repel me –

Mother: Hi Beta! It’s so good to see you! It’s been almost six months! How’s college?

Daughter: Blah Blah Blah

I am not listening anymore because the lady is supposedly talking to her OWN daughter…not the next door neighbour’s! How’s College…I mean really? She doesn’t have a cell-phone and you don’t call her every evening to ask what she ate for lunch?? And I don’t care how long it has been (it’s been six months…God!)…get to the point! They’ve lost me right there…

The problem with that ad is that in the first 3 seconds when they do have the audience’s attention they do neither of these – generate enough curiosity or give away the focus of the ad. And at least one of them is necessary to keep the audience listening till the end. And in a radio ad where there is no visual medium to reinforce the message, the attention-grab becomes all the more fundamental.

There’s the new one for Emirates:

Air Hostess: Would you like some chocolates Sir?

Guy 1: My mamma always said life is like a box of chocolates.

Air Hostess: How would you like your drink Sir?

Guy 2: Shaken, not stirred

So on and so forth.

The ad talks about the in-flight entertainment features of Emirates. Now, it’s a mass medium ad but it has been written with the assumption that majority of the audience relates to Western movies to the point of knowing immortalized dialogues and which characters uttered them (I am still thinking if it is being aired only on Radio Indigo and hence the International Music-Western Movies connection made sense to the ad-creators). Anyway, if the guy listening to the ad does not get it, he has to wait till the very last line (a whole 30-40 seconds almost) to know what is being talked about. Needless to say his attention has wandered off long ago. The ad is nice in concept but it may not click at all times. For me, although I get the context, what kills this ad for me is the accents (mimicry)…except for Forrest Gump to a marginal extent they haven’t got it right…and that disgusts me.

Any kind of fake accent disgusts me. Throw that into an advert and you have essentially killed it for me. Play it 4 times in 15 minutes then you are actually repelling me…I will probably never go close to that product unless it is like Paracetamol with me running a 103.

In the Fake Accent list, the award goes to Signature Style accessories quiz (the other ads for the same client with some Sameer guy and his partner celebrating his return to India were in fact decent but completely out of context other than the mention of Paris and French). Now this quiz is hosted by some Woman With Fake French Accent who starts off with a terribly delivered Bon Jour (fit to in fact do the opposite of what the wish intends), throws in some more French before switching to English with a heavy dash of French accent that keeps slipping off despite her effort to hold it up. When she says ‘Heeare gooes’ and ‘signaturestyle dot eeean’ (for signaturestyle.in) I feel like strangulating her. Get the accents right or else shut up. Stop disgusting people with a cheap substitute.

Amidst all that trash there certainly have been some good ads too in the recent times. One that I really liked was for the Pinky Diva Nights at the Blue Bar, Taj Westend.

The ad opens with a very clichéd ‘Honey I’m home!’ And while for those 2 seconds they have you thinking that it is just another run-of-the-mill commercial they surprise you with no answer to that call…any wandering attention comes back in anticipation of an answer when the man calls again – ‘Honey?’ Then there is a guy calling out to his sister and knocking on the door hard…there is a phone ringing going unanswered…and there is never any answer. Towards the very end an answering machine introduces a female voice saying ‘Not home right now, leave a message’ before they kick in with the announcement for Pinky Diva nights.

There is something about unanswered shout-outs, calls and knocks that generates curiosity, panic, anticipation and related emotions very fast. That fact has been utilized very well in the afore-mentioned ad.

My recent favourite is the Britannia Nutrichoice radio campaign created by Lintas. I just loved it…the concept of ‘Samosa Singh’ and ‘Babloo Burger’ and the way they pitch their campaign, the authentic Indian accents and the local flavour that was heavily cashed in on…the entertainment value…they got most things right and even had me looking forward to hearing them over again. They both get the attention and give away the context (food) in the first 5 seconds and yet one wants to hear where they take it from there. They get the accents right. They make you laugh and hence remember the ad. If you care enough, sample them below…hilarious…

Samosa Singh

Babloo Burger

This one was just brilliant and more of such work will be welcome on the soundwaves. Creating an out-and-out sound ad and yet have it make an impact is a difficult thing to achieve given the lack of the visual connect and also the fact that the audience is usually engaged in doing something else while the radio blares in the background – driving, cooking, cleaning…one has to pull them out of that and make them listen to what one has to say. But some of the players in the field prove time and again that it is very much possible. They understand the medium and work with what they have. They are good and that’s why they probably are at the top of their field.

They are the ones who get the goo goo and ga ga out of the Radio…much to my relief.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Armchair Business Management: Why Resources Are Not Valued Enough

I have only one tea-strainer at home.

That fact is noteworthy because I love having tea and if I am at home on a holiday, a good 4 to 5 cups is a given before midnight falls (and after midnight is a new day :-D ). So I use the tea-strainer a LOT.

But by policy I keep only one tea-strainer at home.

Because I have only one tea-strainer, I have to wash it immediately after use so that it is ready to be used the next time I make tea and also because if I leave it with the strained tea in it, it will start to blacken at the edge in a few days and I will hate it. Having only one tea-strainer ensures that it is properly cared for at all times and available for use whenever there is need. And the whole thing just takes 10 extra seconds of my time.

It is another story that I used to follow the same routine even when I had two tea-strainers for a brief period; my mother, despite getting an explanation from me as to why there is only one tea-strainer at home, assumed that she knew better and bought me another one. And then started a saga of unwashed strainers and dry boiled tea stuck in the straining net…a saga I became a mute witness to…I hated it. Thankfully, the older strainer broke soon and bliss returned.



I had just finished making myself a cup of tea this morning and was washing the tea-strainer when this thought struck me: When you have a replacement for a resource…any resource…it is more likely than not that you will start treating the resources callously. The strainer will not be washed immediately because hot tea waits (even a 10 second delay is sacrilege??) and there is another strainer for the next time. The strainer will lie around with boiled tea in it for hours together until the next wash. It will blacken and soon enough is disgusting to look at. And its average life will be grossly reduced.

If you port the same theory to any resource in an industry in general and to employees in particular, the answer as to why so many companies end up having dissatisfied employees who don’t feel like they matter should be one step closer. Just because a resource is replaceable it will make a difference to how it is seen by the ones employing that resource to achieve a certain purpose. That is why the fewer of your kind there are in a field (instruments, machines, spare parts, people) the more valued you will be (I know that is not a newsflash…I am just relating it to my tea-strainer). And if someone is dissatisfied with his position in his field, it is because he knows things that a whole host of others know. If my tea-strainer rots it is because I have two of them…and my Mom knows that.

So much for my armchair business management.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Soulmate

I saw Soulmate perform. And am I glad I did or am I just glad! Hugs to Eveline for this recommendation. A thumbs-up from our band’s Joe Satriani also helped a lot : )

For the first time ever I went to Opus alone (or any party place for that matter). And that was pathetic to an extent that is not describable. But Soulmate was performing at Opus In The Creek (Brookefields) yesterday evening as part of the Kingfisher Pub Rock Fest. And their performance more than made up for how terrible it felt to be attending the event alone. Anyway, I just HAD to watch them and I did.



The woman Tipriti Kharbyngar is not even real. Trust me. She is out of this world. She is a performer and a spectacle…one has got to see them at least once, not just hear them. Her voice is strong and versatile and I haven’t seen that kind of singing in some time. It has a hold on the audience. Plus when she sings, she gets lost in the song…her expressions, her gestures, everything. She sings like a woman possessed and while you are recovering from the thrill of hearing a song in her voice she returns to her sweet self and says “Thank you very much” in a toned down melodious voice. I mean Whoa! I have no clue where she has come from but one has got to keep a tab on this band.

I loved the way Tipriti pasted three butterflies onto the microphone stand before she began singing. Really cool. And then the band went ahead and wowed everybody.

A band called The Circus performed before Soulmate took the stage and they were really good too. I liked their sound and their variety. You might want to catch them too sometime.



On Opus In The Creek, the place is nice but it is big and hence spread out. There is no floor seating and the tables are laid out far apart. So the energy and buzz that Opus at Palace Cross Roads generates gets dissipated over the space at Opus In The Creek. Nice place nevertheless, do catch sight of the lights hanging from the roof…they are magical.

There was a slight upside to me being alone. I was well attended too – am I comfortable, am I getting bored, is the food okay…things the owners should have asked seeing someone sit alone at their party house in a crowd of barely 100 (half of which is the close circle that meets practically the whole time…how many does that leave out?) but did not. Anyway, customer service notes and business management lessons for later. For now, check out where Soulmate is performing next and head out there for a dose of good music.

Have a good weekend : )

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The French Connection

Dawn this past Saturday drew the curtains of darkness to reveal a sight that couldn’t have been prettier – a road leading to a beautiful arch, a wide tree-lined stretch of tarmac, a patch of colonial charm, cobbled streets and then the sea…Serenity. And it was just six in the morning.


That was my introduction to Pondicherry, one that I will always remember for more reasons than one. This is what three years of anticipation does to you. Of course, it also makes you feel foolish and leaves you wondering why you couldn’t cover 300 Km in 3 years…but then some things are just meant to happen in a certain way. I, for one, am not complaining one bit about that Universal arrangement.

So yes, a plan that lasted all the way to being put in action and good, willing company took us to an India that we hadn’t seen before. It was an India I had always wanted to see, one where for a change people are not ashamed of having been ruled or have gone on a renaming spree because something sounded too non-Indian, one where the roots are strongly held in place and everything just grows around them, one which is so accepting of itself that it naturally becomes charming. And we saw it all.

Walking through the French part of the town early in the morning, one couldn’t help but notice how the streets still have French names and how the houses still have French windows. The streets don’t have tar on them and are so well laid out that it is difficult to be lost. Of course it helps that all roads ultimately lead to Goubert Avenue and the sea, but still.


Goubert Avenue at that hour was a peaceful welcome despite the fact that it was full of morning walkers; no one spoke too loudly or spoke at all, everyone just meditated on the sea and we joined them in doing so. It was beautiful, breathing the moist sea air and looking out to sea, trying to figure out where the sky ended and the sea begun, watching the fishermen lay their nets and colourful boats dot the blue canvas. There is something about being around the sea that is immensely soothing. Saturday morning was reiteration of the fact.

The Universe decided to be even kinder than it usually is by ushering in a mildly warm and cloudy day into Pondicherry. I hardly felt the pinch of heat and it was a pleasant surprise given that I was expecting a sunny and humid 37 degrees. Life’s mercies : )

The town was just about waking up and we started scourging the streets for some grub. The Saravana hotel chain disappointed us and we headed to Murugan’s Café for some of the softest Idlis and crispest Vadas I have had in some time now. Stepping into that place was like entering a traditional Tamil Brahmin household – Kolam outside the door, low ceiling, pictures of Hindu deities with small white calendar pages and big black numbers for dates beneath them, banana leafs spread on foldable metal tables and the sounds of Venkatesha’s name filling the room through a blaring speaker – it was the most authentic setting to have some traditional Idli-Vada-Filter Coffee. Bliss!

Two of us travellers had a friend in Pondicherry (imagine living in that place!) and soon we were catching up with him in that warm little place called Daily Bread over some tea and with the aroma of freshly baked bread filling our lungs. We didn’t yet have a place to stay in but everybody, especially our friend from Pondicherry, was too laid back to get to the task immediately since all we needed was a place to crash for the night. For the day, we had decided to paint the town red and accommodation wasn’t top priority. Just some rest and rejuvenating laughter at our friend’s place sufficed.

We got back to Goubert Avenue for another stroll, now with the noise level a few decibels higher. We were also trying to find a place to stay (on the sea facing Goubert Avenue on Independence Day Saturday…now that’s what you call high hopes) so we walked into this place that was charming beyond words. The place was bathed in stark white with quaint looking windows and a first floor sit-out looking out to sea. That place is marked up for sure for one of the future visits…reading a book in that sit-out with some nice hot coffee laid out on the table and looking out at the expansive blue…it just has to be done once in life.

Anyway, the breakfast all digested we headed to the most talked about place as far as all my friends who have been to Pondicherry are concerned (now I will become part of that fan club) – Rendezvous. The ambience was splendid with the thatched roof and furniture to go with that look, plants laid out throughout. The food was delectable. We had the best time ever…I laughed so much there were tears rolling down my eyes. The experience was memorable. Enough said. Do visit Rendezvous to know what I am talking about.

A quick peek at the sea from the Pondicherry Harbour, evening tea at Daily Bread, a stroll though the buzzing and colourful evening market and some DVD’s picked up at one of the many DVD stores (Tic Tac being the most famous) and it was nightfall already. Some of the friends were really sweet and found us two nice clean rooms in town meanwhile. Their kindness was overwhelming in a way. That ensured that the little bit of worry that was there was gone too, thanks to them.


By this time, we hadn’t slept in almost 36 hours but it was as if we were trying to extract as much as possible from what was remaining of the day. We were too tired to party but chilling out in a comfortable room watching Football and having some good Czech wine wasn’t too bad for an alternative. A modest meal at the hotel’s restaurant and we were set to literally crash and prepare ourselves for Sunday.

Sunday Sunrise on the beach didn’t quite happen but that’s for the next time. We lazily stepped out for breakfast at Daily Bread a while later (that place is too charming to be done with in one or two visits). A satiating Sunday breakfast and we were set for the day, the only thing on the agenda being the beach. Some rain and a thick bunch of clouds made it perfect weather to be on the shore watching the waves come and go, to feel the sand under one’s feet, to watch your friends become kids again embodying the word fun, to breathe deeply and to feel happy. It was real joy. The kind that makes you sing and be happy to be alive, to be who you are, to be where you are (in life too), to be with around the people you are around and to be able to appreciate and smile about it all.


Of course the city sent a not so gentle reminder of when we should be heading back from the beach by shining the sun down hard upon us around lunchtime. We complied reluctantly but not before helping ourselves to some more of Daily Bread’s delicious fare for lunch. It was the best…a fitting culinary finale’ to our time in the not so Indian part of India.

Just to balance all the kindness off we were sent a whole lot of rain immediately upon exiting Pondicherry and all the way back. But the water didn’t quite succeed in dampening the spirits too much and the cheer more or less got carried over from Pondicherry and continues so far in the week.

It’s like being back at Daily Bread, the freshly baked and sweet smelling memories with a hint of butter here, a dash of chocolate there and you cannot help but smile and look forward to the next helping.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

On The Highway, Over And Over

Once every long lost while comes along a song that transports you to another place and makes you dreamy-eyed. It’s as if visions from another life, a past birth, encounters from a parallel universe start flashing in front of your eyes. It is so vivid that for a moment you have trouble believing it wasn’t real. Neela Drifts was one such song…I can still see myself walking that path and stepping into that door every time I hear that song…Made Of Tears by Yanni was another (just noticed that both are instrumental).

More recently Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Beauty On The Fire’ was the ticket. I don’t remember how many days it has been since that single song has been on my playlist…the listening interspersed with the John Butler Trio in the past few days. It’s the song for the ride. It’s the song for my sleep when I want it to be easier to slip into a world of dreams. It’s the song I want to live in terms of what I see when I play it.

The song starts with a steady beat building up, the focus on the voice…as if drawing you into the song…leading you slowly. The chorus kicks in after a few seconds of dreamy silence and the line ‘Tonight, Could I be lost forever’ makes me want to fly (incidentally one of the lines in the song too). The song has a groovy but dreamy feel that I haven’t heard in a while and I am completely addicted to it because of the place it takes me to…

I love highways. At any point in the day…a long empty stretch to cruise on. I love the endless landscape rolling by. I love noticing the itsy-bitsy curious shops along the road…the people. I just love being on the road, whether it is on a set of two wheels or four.

But I especially love the highways in the night. I am yet to figure out why but I have always been in love with the sight of a peaceful stretch of road (even a city street) in the night time. I love the sodium vapour hue pouring onto the tar. I love that static picture…I love being the moving object in that static picture. It is like entering a painting…a Narnia…another world that was abuzz with life but was transformed somewhere on the way. And I also love that haunting sound that trucks make when they speed down the highways at night…that distant hum.

This song takes me right there…onto the highway at night. Even as the first beat kicks in I can see myself rolling past the symmetrically arranged streetlights and the endless separator…black, white, black, white…a hue of orange covering everything. I can see the road stretch in front of me for kilometres together…darkness mostly everywhere else. At some points in the song I can see the sky as we zip by another town and enter the middle of nowhere…that black canvas spray painted by spots of white…glistening white. And I feel peaceful.

When the musical solo kicks in after she sings ‘Do I assume I could fly’ I can see various segments of the highway in succession…like a well-edited film…now passing a row of closed shops in a small town…now zipping through the endless darkness…now passing under a huge green board marking distances to a multitude of places, a multitude of possibilities for the journey.

And then when the music rolls and builds up, I can see dawn. I can see the first light faint at the horizon. And then a hue of pink coming on…as if the sky were blushing. It’s a mixed feeling…much like my head right now…the stars and the light together.

And I see sunrise…on the beach…when the musical solo culminates. I can see myself smiling at it…and I smile. And then I walk on the sand barefoot…soaking in the tingle in my feet…feeling the morning sea breeze on my face.

I stay in that moment forever…I don’t want it to end…I want to experience that drive and look at the roads again…to keep going on that road over and over…keep watching the lights, the stars, the signs, the sun over and over…I look forward to that drive…and I look forward for it to be in front of my eyes and not my mind’s eye…for now and until the wheels get rolling, I choose the Loop option on the Walkman…

Beauty on the Fire by Natalie Imbruglia on Grooveshark

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Inviting Stories: Chicken Soup for the Indian Romantic Soul

Anybody who has had a sip of this Chicken Soup knows how good it is for health…it makes you smile, reminisce and even shed some tears…it warms the heart, which cannot but be good for the soul.

And many of us know that the India specific Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul series was launched last year…titles out or set to be out so far are Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul, Chicken Soup for the Indian Teenage Soul and Chicken Soup for the Indian Armed Forces Soul. And the series promises another round of beautiful and touching soul curry.

The next in line in the series is Chicken Soup for the Indian Romantic Soul. And stories are invited for this compilation which is sure to be a delight. Do take this opportunity and tell the world your story…let’s talk about love.

Here is the brief of the author Raksha Bharadia who is working on the Chicken Soup compilation –

This is Raksha Bharadia. I am the author of:


  1. 'Me' – A Handbook for Life (Rupa & Co)
  2. 'Roots and Wings' - A Handbook for Parents (Rupa & Co).
  3. Chicken soup for the Indian Soul (Westland).

The current assignment undertaken by me is compilation of individual experiences for the 'Chicken Soup for the Indian Romantic Soul' for Westland publishing house.

The write-ups will carry the contributors' name. Westland pays Rs 1000 per story and two copies of the book. We carry a 3-4 line profile on all contributing authors. We accept blogged and published work too. The copyright of the stories stay with the author.

Please send your stories to: rakshabharadia@gmail.com before 30th September 2009

Recipe for A Winning Chicken Soup for the Soul Story

A Chicken Soup for the Soul story is an inspirational, true story about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It is a story that opens the heart and rekindles the spirit. They are personal and often filled with emotion and drama. In some stories, the readers feel that they are actually in the scene with the people.

Chicken Soup for the Soul stories have a beginning, middle and an ending that often closes with a punch, creating emotion rather than simply talking about it.

The most powerful stories are about people extending themselves, or performing an act of love, service or courage for another person.

Guidelines for a Chicken Soup for the Soul Story

1. Tell an exciting, sad or funny story about something that has happened to you or someone you know. Make sure that you introduce the character(s).

2. Tell your story in a way that will make the reader cry, laugh or get goose bumps (the good kind!) Don’t leave anything out — how did you feel?

3. The story should start with action; it should include a problem, issue or situation. It should include dialogue and the character should express their feelings though the conflict or situation. It should end in a result, such as a lesson learned, a positive change or pay-off.

What a Chicken Soup for the Soul story IS NOT:

1. A sermon, an essay or eulogy.

2. A term paper, thesis, letter or journal entry.

3. About politics or controversial issues.

4. A biography or testimonial.

Story Specifications:

1. Stories and poems should be non-fiction, ranging in length between 300-1200 words.

Feel free to submit more than one story or poem.

The Sections:

Finding True Love

Love and Romance

Romantic moments

Romance and Marriage

Memories of Love

Lessons in Love

For Better or for Worse

The Flame still Burns

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hamlet - The Clown Prince

“And Sunshine Follows The Rain”, “Love Letters”, “The Odd Couple”, “Always Look At The Bright Side Of Life”, “Flowers” “Doubles, Triples And Quadruples”, “Blackbird”, “Sonata” and many more…Three years, all those plays and not one Shakespearean classic in the list…wouldn’t you say it is a pity?

Rangashankara’s schedule for August remedied exactly this malady by bringing Rajat Kapur’s “Hamlet – The Clown Prince” to town. It would have been sacrilege to let it pass by.

I associate the name Rajat Kapur with substance when it comes to performance. To add to it, his play “The Blue Mug” was sold out at least four days before the shows began. Given both the facts together, it was safe to say that deciding to watch Hamlet was not entirely a gamble. It is another story altogether that Rajat Kapur was not even in Hamlet; he was only the Director. Nevertheless, my expectations from the play were on the higher side.

Top that with the fact that I hadn’t even read Hamlet. That made me quite anxious about how I would receive the play, whether I would associate with it, understand it…would it ruin my first brush with a Shakespearean masterpiece? It helped that my company for the play had Hamlet by heart almost and we had nice discussions about it in the run-up week; so I had a fair bit of background. That wasn’t enough to quell the apprehensions though. So I entered Rangashankara with equal amounts of eagerness and doubt…

And came out Awed. Exhilarated. Entertained. Pleasantly Surprised. And all the adjectives I can’t think of to describe this theatrical masterpiece. I was so dazed after stepping out of the auditorium! I couldn’t get over how good the play really was for almost the whole weekend…I am still thrilled about it actually.

The play was presented by a company of Clowns. And they gave a succinct introduction to this fact through the statement “Clown Company presents…….TRAGEDY!!”, inviting enough laughter for the irony. It is the clown’s adaptation of Hamlet and they add their own interpretation to it and present their perspective. It is to be noted that they do not meddle with the script and plot of the play itself. The opening scene is all gibberish and closes quite dramatically before the audience is led into the play.

The clowns endear themselves to the audience by making local references and talking to some of the audience members before getting into the next scene where the audience is invisible to them. The play is a complete roller coaster from the start to the end and the audience is taken through emotions high and low so fast that it can be slightly taxing, the only relief being the uproarious laughter that the play constantly draws. Sandwiched between the laughter are poignant scenes like the one where Ophelia drowns (my favourite for the effect it had on me and for Ophelia’s heart-rending performance as she walks into the river).

I could truly go on and on about this play because it was such a complete delight that it left me giddy and glad that we decided to watch it. But I will leave it at saying that this is one play you do not want to miss the next time it is playing in your town. It is a sample of theatrical excellence and entertaining to the core. I don’t remember the last time a play or a movie made me laugh so hard that it hurt in the sides…and we are talking about Hamlet for God’s sake!! Simply marvellous…

And if I was already ecstatic as I stepped out of Rangashankara, the feeling was only heightened by the conversation that followed…anatomy of the character of Hamlet (I just loved the interpretation that Hamlet could very well have been Libran the way he could never decide on something and act…very amusing yet perceptive)…a direct imprint of the analogy on our lives where we spend too much time thinking and never get around to doing what we really want to do…and then a whole lot of talk about life in general…the evening just could not have been better…

With such a splendid and symbolic start to the weekend (I attended a theatre workshop where we recited Hamlet on the second day :-) …more on that later), it is not surprising that the whole weekend was one thrill mounting upon another and culminated in another long and lovely conversation…if there is anything called as ‘life’s big mercies’, this is it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Serendipity

I was walking on the shore. I left footprints in the sand. I knew the next wave would wash them away. I left footprints anyway, hoping someone would see them before they merged with that unending landscape of sand on the shore.

I saw those grains of sand all around. Plain, boring, brown and ubiquitous. Millions of them. All the same. Yes, if you looked closely you saw that each was different from the other in some small way.


And yet they were all just grains of sand.

Coarse. Crude. Lying there to be swept by the wave and go with the flow. They would prick if one got into your eye by mistake. They would hurt because of the way they were.

Plain, boring, brown, ubiquitous, coarse and crude.

I could have been walking the shore of another land and the sand could have been white. It would still be the same. They would all still be grains of sand.

Plain, boring, white, ubiquitous, coarse and crude.


And then I saw a grain of sand that was different. Because it was a Pearl. It had grown to be distinguished from the rest. It was not crude, it was Polished. It was Beautiful. It was Radiant. It gave off all the colours that I ever wanted to see in a Pearl…or a grain of sand for that matter…much more than the brown…the whole rainbow. I could see any colour I wanted to. It was the Pearl I had dreamed of possessing…of decorating in a box of velvet and treasuring forever. And it was just lying there on the shore I had walked along so many times…among all those grains of sand.

Had I not noticed it earlier? Had it appeared anew? Was it mine for the taking at all? Or was it for the Pearl to roll to the rightful lady of grace until she came along on the shore with her own box of velvet?

Had I come upon it incidentally?
Had the Pearl rolled to me?
I’ve been wondering.
Was it Serendipity?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Juice

It’s a bittersweet symphony in my head right now. For the first time in many many days the cheer is gone. I am not exactly low but I am not bubbly, chirpy or hyper either. I could say it’s the stiff neck and move ahead but I know it’s not that. I’d be fooling myself.

And so, to get over this feeling, to feel happy again (because it is only if I feel happy and feel good that life works out well for me), to get back on track I have decided to write about happiness and why I am addicted to it this way. I am hoping it works and life continues to work for me the way it has been.

It is very easy to make me happy. Play my favourite song (or even just a really nice song), show me a fresh flower, colour the sky a bright sunny blue, or send a butterfly my way on a grey day…it will assuredly bring a smile to my face. And I will linger in that moment, to that thought, for hours together and keep smiling. It’s as if only being sad warrants a strong reason else most times I am happy…perpetually and naturally.

Add a lovely conversation to that list, maybe a nice visit to the bookstore, some art, good time spent with friends, some serendipity and you would have quite a handful of my giddy cheer to handle. And I think you would also be giving me a high dose of a few days or even weeks of happiness. I wouldn’t be able to get over that kind of combination soon. So don’t be surprised if you see me walk by grinning on any regular day…I am probably thinking of and processing that wonderful weekend conversation way back then.

It’s like I can’t let go of happy moments. It’s like I cling to them as if my life depends on it (come to think of it…it does!). It’s like I can’t get over being happy and the reasons for that happiness.

It’s like if I get hold of sugarcane, I will extract the last bit of sweet juice from it and relish the flavour for a long time to come…preserve the molasses…maybe even make alcohol out of it and get high on happiness…till the very last bit.

Why? It helps me get by in life. Easily. As simple as that.

I have had my fair share of loss, sorrow, hurt and pain in life and it’s not like I can’t deal with any of that. My prozac is happiness itself and it helps deal with the madness called life. The ups and downs. The lost-and-founds. Reasoning helps too. It keeps the hope alive.

So as I try to get over how I am feeling (crappy in short) and try and smile, I am going to drink some of the juice…reminisce about all the good things the past few weeks have brought my way. I’ll hold on I think. I hope it helps.

The song which has to necessarily be playing right now is the one I have been addicted to ever since I discovered it about ten days ago...it's been playing on repeat since then (needless to mention)...the tune is catchy but nothing new...it's the words...It makes a million things run through my head and butterflies flutter in my stomach...Love this one…'Fallin' For You' by Colbie Caillat.

Fallin' for You by Colbie Caillat on Grooveshark