Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Journey, not destination: From train to plane to boats and cars

Being an army kid, travelling is a part and parcel of my life and during these times I have often come across people who really make me question the country I live in! Sometimes I really really ask myself why they even exist and sometimes I develop a wishful thinking of wanting to know someone even more. Love them or you hate them, whether you are a social butterfly or a reclusive caterpillar, you must have encountered these travelling travellers.My recount of some of the most memorable ones as I journeyed through India.

1. The Overfriendly Traveller: I was sitting in New Delhi airport, all set for my flight to Siligudi where I would meet my dad who was posted in Kalimpong. I lived with my grandparents at that time and they have this weird sense of timing, so instead of reaching the airport, a respectable two hours before boarding, i was plonked at the steps of the airport four hours before time. needless, to say, I was one really angry lady and in order to make it very clear, I wore the hood of my sweatshirt, adopted a gangsta persona and went and sat at the bench. All was good in my angry gangsta world when this female interrupted me, she asked if I was going to Bangalore, I said now and leaned back in. Then, much to my annoyance, she started talking about herself, she was going to Bangalore(duh!) and was I studying in some college?(yes), she too! Which college, how was it?Where am I going, she could have gone on.So I took my cellphone out, dialled my dad';s number for he was the reason I had to subject myself to the brutality of the over friendly traveller and as I shot at him on the phone, i got up, took my suitcase and decided to spend the rest of the waiting time in a stall in the ladies room.Much more peaceful.

2.The family: This is one highly annoying brand of travellers you will even encounter and as my luck with traveling goes, I have met a quite a few. A general family has to have one annoying baby who can never be quiet, few ruffians of teens who have to jump and scream, some oldies and parents, those annoying people who have to be extremely loud. As I flew to Gangtok once, I met such a family, they had around 5 seats on the plane, ha no freaking idea where to sit or where their tickets were and had smartly decided to sit according to the names on the tickets. Unfortunately for us, we were prodded and pushed and jostled as they adjusted themselves. Then in the four hour flight, they had to eat a lot, I mean why cant they not eat and sit in peace, then they decided to play some loud talking game and be a general nuisance to everyone around. Now some people join such families in commenting how cute their kids are so the over proud parents decide to display how talents their baby is. And the poor baby is subjected to rounds of dances and songs as onlookers admired the decidedly white and pink blob of flesh. Families in trains get more annoying as you have to spend days with them and the best antidote is a pair of extremely string earphone.

3.The life experience: These kind of people you meet on different modes of travel. They wont be found on regular ones, more likely frequenting the unconventional modes. Like this one person I met on a speedboat in Goa who loved to talk about his prowess as a boatsman ad another on a boat in Alibag who pretended he was some amazing sea man as he regaled sea stories. It was informative and interesting for the first few hours after which it got a bit repetitive. But seriously, one can still talk to such people and not feel like slapping them. If only, try para jumping or bungee jumping or any kind of exotic sport and you will find extremely slaps-worthy characters. next time, I plan to get some pics.

4. The Photographers: We have encountered them all, haven't we? They have expensive cameras and love to click everything and anything. One such shutterbug happy traveller stood on the steps to Elephanta Caves in Mumbai, he stopped at everyplace and clicked everything, fair enough except there were his wife and mother screaming at him to hurry up and not waste time, he seemed immune to them. After all, if you love something, you have to pursue it, despite what everyone else thinks. So does that mean i can be a bikini model? Hell yes!

5.The family photographs: If I can eradicate one species, these would be it. They are the annoying twerps who carry their family photographs every-freaking-where! and if you don't pay attention, they will go on to pester you till you have to be polite and look at what they have been pointing at your face for the last half an hour. In a cab once, I met this man who wanted to show photos of his office and daughter and the swan and the pole in front of the office and the puddle near the office and the sink of the bathroom. I pressed my earphone tightly when this man simply removed them and entertained me for the remained for the journey with pictures in his mobile. Oh the joy!

And the travel bug has bitten: Check this out and pray for amazing travel partners(my wish, a hot Italian guy ;) )

Friday, February 17, 2012

Small fat girl trekking

Growing up on a near continuous feed of books and literary characters, nature walks are nothing more than an occasional disruption in my perfect life tucked away in a corner of my house, reading a book. While reading, I fantasies about sitting in front of a fire, apple in hand and lost in the world of Darcys and courtesies. This would have been my ideal life if it wasn’t for my army man of a father, who it seemed, had taken upon himself to get my butt off the couch! And the days of grueling physical labor began.
Dads was posted in Pune at the College of Military Engineering and curse all army people, they decided to hold frequent treks in the nearby hills. Rain and sun be gone, all the damn army men thought it would be an ideal recreation and the whole of CME joined in, much to my utter disappointment. Routes were fixed, buses were arranged, tents set up and a large picnic area pulled in and then there was the trek. How much I dreaded it.
The first time, dad woke me up at an ungodly hour at 5 in the morning to gear up for the trek that started at 6.All I remember from that time is me, grumbling as I pushed myself into my sweatpants and equipped myself with munchies and water for what was going to be a long and hard day. It was the monsoon season and rains were merciless, but to the military men, it seemed all the more welcoming as we were pushed out of the bus on to the starting line of some hill, don’t ask me the name, I don’t really care to remember. Some orderlies were making Maggie at the foot of the hill and I wanted to eat but no, my dad wanted to torture me more and off we started walking. Dad is tall and I am short and stout, so I had to take two steps for his one, huffing and panting and it was only the beginning. The terrain got wet and muddy, more leaves and wilderness started sprouting around us as my new  hiking shoes became brown(yes, I had to get new ones because you don’t need shoes while reading!!!).We came to a paddy field and after much discussion with the farmer; we were allowed to trample across a small path in the icky muddy field. Mostly, I had my head down, counting my breath and watching out for the those dreaded creatures of monsoon, those icky slimy reptiles and insects, I didn’t want to encounter any and till date I don’t remember if I saw any, most probably I blocked the revolting things out. The green was too green and the rains lashed harder, my hair, my skin, my clothes were ruined and as I spotted the tents in the distance, I could only yelp for joy if I had the energy. After what seemed like hours and after my father pushed me a lot, we reached the tents and I would have reveled in joy at the task I had undertaken if it weren’t for my disgusting friends, those tall mean boys who had reached before me and were happily eating a chicken and mocking me. I mean, seriously, can’t a short fat girl sit and read in peace?
The next trek, I was prepared. It wasn’t raining; my dad was in full gear once again, I was fatter than before and smarter as well. So, after about twenty minutes if walking around some other god forsaken hill around Pune, I started complaining of headache and nausea. Now thing with fathers is that when they have a daughter, they really get paranoid if something happens when the mother is not around and that came to my rescue as Dad rushed me through the shortcut to the tents (I always knew there were shortcuts, army people are smart.) and this time, it was me, sitting in the tents, eating a chicken as I mocked my friends.
So much for my nature treks and for all it beauty and green-ness, I would still sit in front of a fire and read.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Heathcliff: What went wrong with him?

Heathcliff features in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and throughout the literature history has been famous for being a passionate lover, a man hell bent on revenge, despicable yet pitiable. His story is no less stirring, born to an n unknown, he was adopted by Mr. Earnshaw and brought to live in the house, treated like a son for years only to be brought down to the level of a servant once Earnshaw died. He fell in love with Catherine, his adoptive sister and together two of them spent many years in lover’s bliss, ignorant of the circumstances and situations of the household until Cathy was unwittingly married off to the rich Edgar Linton and Heathcliff felt the last straw of justice disappear.
Life had not been fair to Heathcliff and now theories abound on why he acted the way he did. Through the discourses of the servants and later descriptions in the book, it has been supposed that Heathcliff was an illegitimate son of Mr. Earnshaw and guilt in the father prompts him to be exceedingly kind to his lost son, so much so that his legal heir, Hindley feels neglected. This is the seed of the first hurt in Heathcliff’s life. He hated tremendously hated by Hindley who doesn’t lose an opportunity to belittle the dark gypsy boy. Things take a turn for the worse when Mr. Earnshaw dies and Hindley takes charge only to banish Heathcliff into the life of a servant. This creates ground for the second hurt.
Heathcliff had not been born into riches but as a impressionable young boy had Mr. Earnshaw provide for him, he was loved and lived luxuriously till he was turned a mere servant. This might have affected his already weak psyche and he suffered from humiliation over his lost identity. To make matters worse, people started being overtly kind to him, the cook, the maid and the housekeeper. And it has been made obvious that Heathcliff does not take kindness as mere kindness but more as a sign of pity and he resented that. His origins are shrouded in doubt but whatever life he had, that of a gypsy boy, it had been tough that it matured the little boy and he came to trust no one.Mr. Earnshaw was a father figure and slowly he took a liking for Cathy, the boisterous younger daughter of Earnshaw.
Cathy had a wild streak about her and being with Heathcliff ignited that further, the two would indulge in games and wild chases across the moor and when Mr. Earnshaw died, this companionship was taken away from Heathcliff when Cathy was forced to change into a lady. Not accustomed to change, Heathcliff didn’t take it too well and instead grew distant and colder. Cathy loved him fiercely and the only way she could devise to relieve him of his life or servitude was by marrying her rich suitor, Edgar and propelling Heathcliff with her money. Obviously, Heathcliff rejected this and it turned into the greatest hurt of his life, spurned by the only girl he had ever loved, the only surviving person who he cared for. Heathcliff ran away with revenge in his heart, blaming everyone else for his tragedy.
He was already mistrustful of people and with the situation in hand never looked at solutions to problems and instead chose to dwell in his past, inkling for revenge and formulating a plan for that. He did have his revenge, he destroyed Hindley, who he blamed for his misery and destroyed Cathy emotionally who was still in love with him and in doing this, he destroyed himself all over again. He never wanted to better his own situation and instead focused on breaking the bonds that held him to sanity, his closest relations, he destroyed them all.
It is easy to dismiss Heathcliff as a negative person, hell bent on revenge but to dig deeper into his mind, we come across the hurts he had been through and how they shaped him. He was already held to sanity by fine chains in infancy when he had no proper life(this is all guesswork but pretty obvious from the book) and he trusted Mr. Earnshaw only to lose him and loved Cathy only to have her leave him. It broke the man and he chose to recline into the safety of his mind and past. He chose to ignore everyone else who loved him or could save him and lived in the hell he created for himself, turning bitter day by day.
He has been portrayed as mad-mad but he was far from mad, he lived in a fantasy he created for himself where he and Cathy were together again. He knew very well he could not have his father back and the only practical choice was Cathy and he clung to her, not accepting that she might be gone forever. She, on her part never let him go as well and they created a parasitic relationship with each other that destroyed their families. When he came out of his fantasy to see the reality, it enraged him and he went on to destroy the thing that had destroyed his fantasy. Revenge does feel like the right thing to do if you feel you have been wronged and in case of Heathcliff, he blamed everyone else for his miseries.
In the end, he craved loved so much that he was willing to be with the corpse of Cathy only to feel her loving embrace once again, he cried out for the ghost of Cathy to haunt him only to have someone tell him they loved him and he died in agony over Cathy only to have her save him.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Toilet Manners: The perils of using a Public Toilet

I tackle this subject only because it annoys me the most, people have absolutely no toilet manners when it comes to using public toilets Yes, those yellowing abodes of mice and stick that can be the scene of many unhygienic nightmares. Some of the most annoying habits of people and one thing that I really wish for is, that they change it, please do because for a person with a weak bladder(read me), it becomes an extremely disgusting experience trying to do gymnastics while peeing all because someone forgot to wipe the piss of the seat!
1. Leave the toilet seat Dry: The yuckiest and the most common thing people do. I mean, how can you Not aim well especially if you are a girl and have your butts planted on the toilet seat. What exactly are you doing that makes that icky yellow liquid spill all over the seat? And then where do your manners go when you see a mug with water and a toilet paper, you can very well wipe it, it’s your piss.
2. Toilet paper is free: That’s what the multitude thinks really. You see it for free, you use it, oh hell, take the whole lot, no one will say anything. And you are left in toilet purgatory after such a person leaves the toilet.
3. To flush or not to flush:  Seems like people don’t have any flushes in their homes or don’t know how to use them or just plain don’t want to touch the public toilet flush. So we are left to deal with leftovers of their bowels that stink up the toilet and make you want to bash that person up, like really hard.
4. The whole floor is my toilet: This theory is followed by many still who refuse to use the industrious toilet seat and go and pee on the floor. I mean why? If that’s what we were supposed to do, they would just have holes on the floor and save on a lot of money and labour. And as a result, you are left in a yellow pool of their disgusting-ness.
5. The washbasins are meant to be dirtied: They comb their hair, leave used paper towels, cotton buds and remnants of makeup all over the washbasin simply because who the hell bothers about clearing it all up and throwing in the dustbin kept just few feet away? We don’t and neither should you.
6. If it is not stuck, it is to be broken or stolen: And they live by this rule, steal the soap, the soap handle, the paper towels, the small artificial flower or decoration and even the dustbin lid. Why leave even that? Get some screwdrivers and finish the job.
Basically people have lost their toilet manners and if for the safety of you butts and noses, it is better that you control your bladder and go to your home.
Have fun!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Guys are like Girls!! Even worse.

I have been prompted by many to write on this and finally I do. Not that I like writing about relationships and stuff because frankly, I am no expert seeing how my long distance relationship with Tom is not getting anywhere.Tom Cruise.He is married.To a girl, hotter than me.:|
My mom noticed a guy in a park, he was happily blabbering on the phone going on like some oestrogen filled woman, "I want talk to him because he said that or please darling I didn't mean it that way but the tone was like this blah blah blah." And I came to a conclusion, the new age guy is turning into a girl!
Its not just the way he talks but his behaviour, the thought process and everything else. Mostly, girls around me get confused by the way they act when it comes to courtship(I like this term and I will use it!).
Old age courtships were grand, you are introduced in a formal setting and the man then makes a grand gesture of sorts.He might ask you for a dance or a walk in the park and calls for frequent visits, taking you to operas and the theatre.Once everyone knows his intentions, he will pop the question, ask you to marry him and the waiting period can last from 6 months to 2 years but you are his, he will write you letters, sing songs, send gifts and make it very clear that you are his.
Cut back to today, you have guys who show interest in you, take you out maybe or text you, sms you, skype with you and whatever with you(There are so many freaking ways to communicate!) and then starts thinking! This is the catch here, the guy is not supposed to think, well he is but not like a girl!It gets frustrating. He will think and analyse every move you make, if you text him, he will think twice before texting you and this thing I discovered few months back, the whole point system. The one who texts first loses points or if you have a better reply you gain more, the more troubled the other one sounds and so on.It is one annoying game.
Then there are other games, the whole touch me or not touch me game, he will hold your hand and wait for you to make a move, he will come closer only to make you want more.The waiting game, he will call you up frequently for days and then disappear, this a classic he is pulling to gauge your interest.He will flirt with you and test your reaction, are you the type of girl he wants? if you appear confident, are you too confident?If you are homely, are you too homely?And at the end of this, all you want to do is slap the guy.
And then they blame us for thinking. We don't even think that much.All we want is, you are interested, freaking show that interest and stop testing or doing what you guys do.If you are interested, be there, don't leave weird comments and hanging remarks because frankly if the girl is not head over heels or extremely stupid, she might just get annoyed and leave you to your means.Keep it simple, keep it short and leave the thinking and games to girls!
It's just easier to talk, right? You want her to text more often, say it, you want to meet her, ask her.Simple.