Should you tell?

So I was watching (in bits and pieces) this movie – Sex and the City 2. So the girls manage to get an all expense paid trip to Abu Dhabi as some Sheik’s guests. And while she is exploring the markets of Abu Dhabi, Carrie bumps into her ex – Aidan, who offers to host her for dinner at his hotel. Initially, she does not want to meet up with him and ignores the request, does not call back. But then she is triggered into thinking about where her marriage is heading, and impulsively, not only calls up Aidan to accept the dinner invitation, but also makes extra effort to dress up (maybe subconsciously wanting to see if she is still attractive to him).

So the evening goes on quite well, both catch up on the years spent apart. They then decide to take a walk around and end up kissing. Carrie wakes up to the moment instantly and rushes back to her hotel. She is then torn apart with the most important decision – should she or should she not tell her hubby. The girls advice her not to, saying since it didn’t mean anything, she should not rock the boat. But her conscience tells her the opposite and she calls him up and confesses. He does not react immediately and hangs up. Some other developments with the girls cause them to leave Abu Dhabi early next morning and Carrie has no idea what John is thinking and whether he wants to accept her. She reaches home and he is not in. She waits on tenterhooks. Finally, he does come home with a lovely diamond ring, they have a quick discussion and thats the end of this chapter.

This particular story, made me wonder, whether one really should be 100% honest with your partner? The girls brought up a good point saying if something did not mean anything, if it was momentary and if you realised in time and got out of it, there is no point in rocking the boat. Why risk an existing, solid relationship? Carrie advocated the fact that no matter what the outcome, one has got to be super honest with the spouse. She risked her marriage, but her honesty did pay off. 

I think, no matter what the circumstance, you’ve got to be honest to yourself and to your partner. Thats the only way to build trust. We are humans, and we do get carried away by our moods. Not matter what lines we end crossing in haste or in the “heat of the moment”, the partner deserves to know. Everything can hide for sometime, but never forever. And when someone finds out about your sins through a source that is not you, it hurts irreparably. When you own up to your mistakes, it is easier to see your point, forgive and move on. However, when it is found out through someone else, there seems to be no explanation to hide, no feelings to understand and is very difficult to move on.

So yes, you should tell. Then it is for your partner to decide – don’t decide for him/her because at the end of the day, you are separate people with different judgements.

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Be a man !

Nothing irritates me more than people using this oft and mis used phrase to get things done. And what irritates me even more is people falling for it and doing something they’d ideally not do …

A very common example – Mr A generally, does not drink. Ok well, he is a social drinker, but does not want to drink on a particular evening. Someone insignificant walks upto him and says “Buddy, lets share a drink”. “No man! Not in a mood to .. u go ahead, i’ll sip some orange juice instead.” “That’s not done! Come on, be a man .. lets share a drink”. Mr A, quietly accepts a glass and nurses that drink all evening, he does not want to drink .. he can barely sip it .. but he will finish it, coz someone insignificant said to do so would be “being a man”.

Now I know, a lot of you reading this are probably thinking, “Is she hinting at me?” .. well yes, I am .. to each one of you who does this .. and you and I both know it. So .. read on carefully and if it makes sense, please stop giving into the “be a man” trap.

“To be a man” is not to give into something which hardly matters to you. “To be a man” is to be able to say “I stand for this, and I will do so”. Standing up for your own beliefs, moods, and principles; unless convinced otherwise very logically, is being a man – for me. I respect those who say they do not drink or do not want to drink, and who actually do not. I respect those men, who stand up for their morals and thoughts and wants, even if they are the only ones standing on that side of the line. And why do I respect them? For two reasons – they are being in real life what they claim to be verbally and they are standing up for something. You know, that adage – if you don’t stand up for something, you fall for anything – does hold true. Hence for me, as a girl, it is important that a guy is standing on the same side of the issue as he is claiming to. Of course, a man can be convinced to do something otherwise, and that is normal in the interactive society that we humans live in – so he has all the right to change his stand, but when he does this as soon as he hears the 3 magic words – be a man – dude, you lose me and a significant amount of my respect for you.

True Programmer???

A quick checklist:-

  1. You wear jeans, t-shirt and sneakers or floaters with socks to work, everyday.
  2. Socializing == chatting on some messenger, or FB
  3. You look at a beautiful scenic view and think “great resolution, God!”
  4. You start counting from 0
  5. When you are sleepy and forced to converse with someone, you start talking system commands.
  6. You make your decisions using “if <do this> else <do this instead>”
  7. You_use_underscore_instead_of_spaces
  8. youDontUseSpacesAtAll
  9. 256, 512, 1024 are round numbers
  10. When you read a book, you want to Ctrl-F or Ctrl-D
  11. When you type, you end your sentences with semi-colons;
  12. You google for everything .. absolutely everything
  13. You’re confused with punctuation marks when reading English text
  14. You make lists for everything, and those lists are numbered or bulleted with indented sublists
  15. You don’t read manuals for any gadget, or basically, anything. If you can’t work it out, you google up the solution
  16. You want to press Ctrl Z when you make a mistake in real life.
  17. You use == instead of =
  18. The laptop is an extension of your body
  19. You need to check your mails even when you get up in the middle of the night to go to the loo.
  20. You sleep late, and most probably wake up late.
  21. You’re nodding your head as you read this list.

Programmers reading this, feel free to add to the list ….

(Man == Woman) ? True : False;

Equality between the genders has been a long debated topic, an issue which arouses strong sentiments and opinions. People are quickly labelled “chauvinists” or “feminists” and there is hardly anyone who is “sitting on the fence” for this one topic.

So, well, something triggered off this thought. Now I am not going to say what did, but it did, and made me really think where I stand in this debate and what could be logical solution to this. And while I was thinking of all of this, I remembered this wonderful article I read in French about equality of the genders. That article summarizes perfectly, my opinion. So I am not going to translate it, but I’ll put in my stand+the article’s stand in here …

Equality for women means, the right to live. It means, the right to education. It means, the right to choose when to marry and who to marry and if at all, to marry. It means, the right to choose if and when to start a family. It means, the right to choose to work. It means, the right to financial independence – that is, to be able to spend money they have without having to account for each and every penny spent. It means, the right to say “no”. It means, the right to live alone in a big city and not have to worry about “what the society thinks”. It means, the right to be safe and secure against eve-teasing, molestation and rape. It means, the right to hang out with guy friends and not be labelled “a loose character”. It means, the right to travel alone without inviting stares and “half-whispered” comments. It means, the right to be in a foul mood and the right to give a mouthful to the guy who dared to brush past, or push, or pinch. Equality is a lot about having the rights. It is not about the choice you make, its about having the right to make the choices.

Men and women are programmed differently. They cannot be compared to one another. Right since the Stone Age, the man was in-charge of hunting animals and bringing home food while the woman was in charge of ensuring that the children and aged were taken care off, the cave maintained. With the discovery of fire, it was the woman who ensured that the food her man hunted was well cooked and tender. The man was endowed by nature, to be strong and able to earn the daily meal, and the woman, to be kind, gentle and homely. The man was never made to be at home, sweep, mop, cook, raise and look after the kids, tend to the elders. Just that way, the woman was never meant to be the bread-winner of the family.

The fact that a man can choose to be a house-husband (rare, but I have heard of a few such men) and that a woman can choose to be career oriented is equality. But the key word in the last sentence is “choose”. When you force either to do something, its not equality and its not freedom. Its bullying, plain and simple.

Darjeeling : 21-28th August 2010

Written at the Delhi Airport while waiting for Spicejet’s delayed flight to take me to Ahmedabad.

What started with a phone call from my brother – “Have you booked your tickets?” is soon going to end, probably by the time I finish writing this post.

The journey from Ahmedabad to Darjeeling was long and tiring. Started from home at 4 am, Delhi at 9am, Guwahati at 2:00pm and finally Bagdogra at 3:15pm.  But I wasn’t home yet. Met a whole ton of relatives in Siliguri before proceeding for Darjeeling at 6:30pm. I was dog tired by now, and all I wanted to do was SLEEP. But, that was not to be, as the roads were in a miserable condition.

Finally home at 9:30pm, there was no electricity. I later came to learn that there is at least 2 hours power cut each day, at any moment. The time I reached home was that moment! So, over a few tube lights running on an Invertor, I re-connected with my family for the first time in nearly 12 years. What I saw, was amazing; people had aged, kids had grown-up. A brief catching up session with dinner, with some unpacking saw the end of the day.

The next morning, I was up, all buoyed up to see Mt. Kanchenjunga. But, the clouds played spoil sport.  Infact, for the next 7 mornings, I was to curse the clouds as soon as I woke up; but what I saw as a consolidation prize, is huge masses of clouds moving around the mountains, encapsulating one town after the other. Nothing to compare with the sight of mist coming through each leaf on the trees, racing to meet you on the face before covering you with thin, damp and cold fingers.

But Sunday morning saw the call for a strike – indefinite strike in all the towns on the hills. People ran helter-skelter to stock up for the coming days. I obviously had a lot of catching up to do on the scene of the local politics, so I tried to get everyone to tell me about what was really happening. Miserable stories I heard, to be retold sometime else.

Monday was a quiet day with everyone at home. Yes, it was quiet. Spent some time with the kids, went out for walks as that was the only thing civilians were allowed to do. Rains played spoil sport. Tuesday was Rakshabandhan – a typical day with Rakhi tying and lots of goodies to eat. Again rains played spoil sport as we reached everywhere all drenched. Monday and Tuesday mornings saw me up and ready really early and walking all the way to Mahakal mandir. It’s at some height and the way to it requires walking on steep slopes. It almost seemed as if God wanted us to toil a bit before condescending to meet us! All said and done, it was worth getting up that early, bathing in the cold and walking all those steep slopes.

Fortunately, Wednesday onwards, the strike was called off. Now I got to see some of the real Darjeeling. So, we started with getting stuff from the family shop, going to the HMI and zoo. A relatively quiet afternoon at home, and soon a cousin came up to take me shopping. There is such a variety in Darjeeling, that I just sort of retreated in my shell and could not decide what to buy and what not to buy!! The shopping spree ended with a cup of wonderful wonderful coffee at Keventers. Nobody makes it like them, never did and I doubt, if ever will.

Thursday was for botanical gardens where I had a small fall thanks to all the moss and lichen growing on every exposed surface. The botanical garden in Darjeeling is really peaceful and serene. The mist all around made it even better. The only grouse I have against it is that it was not very well maintained. The orchid house was just a collection of host plants in pots and nothing more.  Only a handful of host plants had orchids growing. The walkways were slippery and the gardens quite dirty. The fallen leaves could have been picked up and the pond cleaned a bit. And oh, maybe they could publicize the garden a bit – hardly anybody knows that such a beautiful garden exists in Darjeeling.

Friday morning was spent with my sisters-in-law. We walked around to another garden – popularly called “Shrubbery”. We had coffee at Keventers and then walked to the garden – this one too was quite in a mess – apparently they had just opened after a week of strike and rains. The walk to the Shrubbery was great with awesome views.  Lunch at cousins’ followed by some rounds of Housie. Dinner time saw me struggling – with spaghetti and macaroni to serve 10 and then, post dinner, saw me struggling with all my belonging – it was a mammoth task to stuff it all in 2 suitcases.

Saturday morning, drive down to Siliguri was great. Lush green mountain sides, gurgling small “stream-falls” and mist all around. And then the waits at airports….

Don’t Take Life Very Seriously

Recently, Chetan Bhagat (this dude needs no introduction – he’s always in the news, irrespective of the good or bad, he’s there), gave a very touching speech. Here’s a small extract from it …

Don’t just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life.

I use the word balanced before successful, Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order.

There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your break-up.
There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts.
Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.
“Life is one of those races in nursery school where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth.
If the marble falls, there is no point coming first.. Same is with life where health and relationships are the marble.

Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will start to die.

One thing about nurturing the spark – don’t take life seriously.
Life is not meant to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here.
We are like a prepaid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up?

It’s ok, bunk a few classes, scoring low in couple of papers, goof up a few interviews, take leave from work, fall in love, little fights with your spouse. We are people, not programmed devices.

“Don’t be serious, be sincere.”

God gave me nothing i wanted, But he gives me everything I need.

Be Happy . ENJOY THIS BLESSING CALLED LIFE…

…..

How many of us actually follow what he said? How many of us are willing to compromise on the career front to be able to enjoy a better family life? And finally, how many of us agree, that though this sounds good in principle, it is very difficult to follow such a path and prioritize “balanced” over “successful”? ???

I personally liked the part where he compares life to a prepaid validity card. Life is really that short.. Infact most electronic gadgets we own today, are designed and manufactured to last longer than us!! And the calculation that we have just another 2500 odd weekends left, really scared me. Gosh! Thats too little… I already have a list of “to do”s and “must do”s and “want to do”s which would take up a lot more than the 2500 odd weekends …

Well, so after reading extract of the speech, I resolve to take life a little easy… Maybe spend some more time with my family and friends … Maybe call people a little more often (friends reading this must already be nodding their heads and saying  “another resolution.. lets see when she gets around to actually calling”)… Maybe spend some more time curled up in bed, reading a book (now I see my mom nodding her head and saying “I’d rather you did x, y, z work for me”) …  Maybe spend a few more moments of fun and frolic with my colleagues (and now I can see my colleagues saying “she’s anyway always laughing .. and now some more !” and my boss saying “I’d rather you work a bit more ….”)…

Well jokes apart, I will definitely enjoy life a lot more from now onwards .. This little extract also reminded me of a one-liner witty comment “Dont take life so seriously, you don’t come out of it alive, anyway”…. And yes, I have started living upto my resolutions by actually posting on the blog after a good 6 weeks (during which, I did take life a bit too seriously!!)…

The teaching experience

A semester draws to an end and I breathe a sigh of relief, and it is not because as a student, I am one step closer to freedom. For a change, I was the teacher. My class comprised of 47 students in the age group of 17-20 yrs. The students are pursuing a bachelors degree in Liberal Studies and they are fresh out of school, straight into college!

The experience of teaching was great! It got me very nostalgic as its been just over two years since I graduated from college myself. I realised, that as a teacher, no matter how big the class and how many the students, it is possible to notice what each one of them is doing. And so, my first reaction, as soon as I stepped into the class was “Oh my God! All those teachers must have noticed me sitting on the last bench and reading a novel under the table!!”.

Soon, I was the one giving assignments. Initially, I felt a sadistic pleasure – “Aha! I dont have to write it and I dont have to submit it on time! I am the one who bosses poor students around!!! “. The sense of power is immensely exhilarating. But,  the fun was short-lived, when each of the 47 of them turned in exactly as much as nonsense as I used to subject my teachers too. Now, the tables were turned. I was the poor mite who had to go through 47 files of crap (and grade them as well). Suddenly, I wished I was a student.

Then started the mass bunking. One fine morning, I reach class, and there is nobody. And after waiting for about 15 minutes, I realise, there is going to be nobody as well! Using 47 colorful words, I reach the office and throw a “tantrum”. They are obviously very embarrassed and try to reach the students on the phone, but even I knew, none of them will receive the call. By now, I am amused! After all I would have done the same thing ;). So I decide to roam around the campus on my own. Since I was a visiting faculty and came just to take the classes, I had never really explored the campus. But, while I was gadding about, I bump into my own professor, who immediately wants to know what am I doing outside class! And my response to him was a very cheeky “You cant ask me that now!”.

Apart from these incidents, I had a lovely time teaching them. As students, they were very passionate about a few things, and awfully careless about others. When they promised to study well, they made sure they out did themselves, and at quite a few occasions, even surprised me with their good work! And when they made up their mind to create havoc in class, there was nothing to stop them! Just like my very own class of 60 in engineering!  I remembered how as a class, even we wanted certain lectures “off” just to do nothing. And woe-begone that teacher who wouldnt let us have our way! So, once in a while, even my class got a lecture “off” to just sit and catch up on their assignments or just make a little bit of noise if they wanted to! (Guys, if you are reading this, I know by now, even you are getting nostalgic). And yes, my students were allowed to copy assignments, provided they told me who they copied from! (this rule was in place, so that I wouldnt have to check all the files, I would just check one copy of the assignment and ask the others to refer to corrections from there!!)

Unfortunately, in the last lecture of the semester, something happened, which has left a very nasty taste in my mouth. A few students actually wrote assignments for other students! So suddenly, a file had assignments written in 2-3 different handwritings! And the audacity of the students to think, as a teacher, I wouldnt notice the difference in handwritings! A few of them admitted to the crime, and apologized and were duly let off. A few of them claim “we dont know who wrote it for us!”. I have a good mind not to correct such exam papers, but then I hope it doesnt come to that and before the semester end exams, these kids own up to their negligence and we resolve this matter peacefully!