It takes some free time and the right opportunity to try out something new. So, when Charles from the British Council presented an open invitation for anyone to join the Conversation Clubs that day, I thought, why not. I had already missed an important day at school, and instead of returning home and wallowing about it, I might as well stay back from my class at the Council, and attend this one. You know, check it out.
And to be very honest, I was expecting good conversation, classy people and a smooth system. That’s just what I associate with British Council, or in fact, anything British.
I should have been smarter. I was probably expecting a filtered group, those who could be expected to operate on the same wavelength. What i got… A hopelessly vivid version of the general Indian crowd. Fussy housewives, business men, boys that looked good only as long as they don’t speak and laid out the level of their confidence, despo gals, gamers… I am making it sound much worse than it was… But that’s just the after effects of a negative experience. Please only believe, that the crowd was NORMAL. The usual common man, and woman. With their normal lives, of faults and specialties, duties and responsibility, and the one goofy thing everyone has unique to them…
I’ll now try make it fair. I’m just let down. Maybe that has to do with the general feel of the whole day. So anyone affiliated with the British Council, I now hope, will be just as pleased/displeased with this article, as anybody else.
The club started on time, the facilitator was engaging and moved pretty swiftly between the many discussion groups, the topics and the prompts provided were pretty great.
My group was in fact much better than the usual scenario, as I was told. There was a woman from Ukraine who broke tradition of marrying from the locality, and is not settled in Africa, something she once dreamt about and left hopes for after seeing how far it was on, on a map. There was a boy who looked so confident I thought he was an easy talker. Turned out he could barely follow the convo, and was from a village. He has driven a tractor, and hopes to work at NASA, but after studying Physics for two or more years he thinks it isn’t his cup of tea, so now he wants to be a politician. Oh correction, he wants to be a CORRUPT politician. Cause that’s where the money is. Oh and he would never leave his family, a clause to all of his decisions.
There was a gamer boy. (Hey, please understand right away that I call anyone who isn’t cynical a boy, for as long as I can. Think that’s enough definition of who’s young and who’s not.) He has his loyalties with XBox and me being backed by some ardent Play Station fans in my family, I had to ask him Why Xbox? Just his choice. He also wants to go to Harvard Business School.
Two people in the club were from my class at the Council, we were trying out together. One is a lawyer, and one a reporter.
A girl was aiming for Oxford for English Literature, and in compelte generosity, should she ever ever ask anyone if that’s a good plan, the person should just say a clear decisive NO. The girl has all her basics wrong.. Nothing that can’t be corrected. But she also is high headed, thinks her rules of grammar are in fact the ones in line and she kept correcting everyone’s CORRECT English throughout. She’s just one of the people who hear of the big leagues and think cool, that’s my place. They don’t believe in earning it, they just see the big golden bell and wanna ring it. I have no sympathy for these kind of people, and sadly, am meeting more of these…
Another girl, was really who could keep the previous Oxford gal in line. God bless her soul. While I dealt with the girl by clearly showing my disinterest, she did by asking her questions and then engaging others, which was the right thing to do really. Her stories were all interesting, in fact, hers and the woman from Ukraine were all that made the talk any interesting.
She wanted to be a model, which I admitted instantly was what I was thinking of her. She had a battle with her parents about learning to drive. She wore goofy green specs. And she was willing to laugh, which I loved.
Looking at what I just typed, it does seem like the whole event was a pretty fun thing after all… But just because I was lucky doesn’t mean the chat was fun. We talked about Wishes.. how they had changed, would be fight for them, would we settle or would we keep trying to come true…
On a pretty topic like that even, the Indian effect seeped in. Pessimism. Indian society, in complete truth, is a very pessimistic place lately… people just don’t have hope, or the belief that good happens, and just as much as bad does…
There was bitching about the government and the ‘system’ in general. There was verdict passed that “nothing in life is possible if we don’t have money”. There was negativity, and cross talking, and though most of the times these were suppressed, they kept happening. As we started warming to each other, it declined a lot. But its doubtful if this wont just repeat if I try the ConClub again some time…
My first day at school was pretty bad too. But that perhaps is another tale. The Indian education system is a peculiar arrangement, that is difficult to blog about.. it’s something you have to accept, and blogging is about exploring, not accepting.
So my first day at two much looked forward to places has been pretty horrible, in plain terms… And though I necessarily have to go back to school, do I have enough patience to try the ConClub again? I hope so, otherwise, I am ending something on a pessimistic note myself. Bad idea.
Growing up with dreams like living on an Ivy League campus, and sipping good coffee every lazy morning when I woke up in my pjs amidst art and history books…
Growing up believing in magic… That there is a reason that no one can define, yet its strong, like the sun rising and the stars just appearing out of nowhere in the night sky…
Growing up, believing that one day I’ll have the money and the funky tan to travel the whole world and call it ALL home..
Yep, growing up like that… it’s just insane!
I remember one of my Where Would I Be in 10 Years visions… riding a bike through Oxford in spring, with a friend, and being fast as the wind… It hasn’t been too long since that vivid daydream, and I already laugh about it. Make me wonder if one day’s dream is another day’s joke.. If the cycle is always in motion, if I will always think up fantasies and later replace them with something more appealing… an maybe something more realistic.
How many of you have ever wanted to be famous? So famous that the whole world knew your face, recognized your voice, and followed your news like fan mail. I have heard just too often about that big aspiration.. to want to be Alexander… it’s what every teenager has thought about once.
Funnily enough, though I romanticise with the idea of having the keys to every door, I don’t want any more people to know me than those who must… I like being a stranger… It gives me the chance to become whatever kind of person I want to, when I want to.. And I can always make new starts that way. I can be a scholar geek to one person, lecturing them about how inappropriate it is to say ‘I’m good’ when grammatically it is ‘I’m well.’ I can be the reckless chick to another, who wouldn’t touch the tequila but acted as if she was high. I can be anything if I’m a stranger. But if I’m Alexander, well, I have to stick to a personality. Boooring.
Today, like many days recently, I’m cracking up over all the weirdly amazing things that happen, have happened, and are happening…
It’s really amazing what can be going on around one if we only just sit back some time and list it..
Someone is busy nursing a pregnant mare… Someone is trying to move to another country within the week… Someone is trying to survive the day and the demanding coaching institute they have joined… Someone is thinking of losing their virginity pretty soon… Someone is so bored they are willing to coach others about Play Station… And someone, is just plain going through every picture on Facebook of every person in their list, to maybe, just maybe find something to report.
Crazy, I know!
Maybe I’m one of the few lucky ones who can actually sit back and laugh at things happen around them, knowing that there’s stuff to do, and knowing that it can wait a while. I’ve always been a great enthusiast for the Audience View… Where you just lay back and watch the world make a fool of itself in front of you… I’ve probably blogged about it a billion times! I’m just glad that though writing these days is turning out funny, I actually am having fun with it… For instance, this poem that makes me split up every time I even think about it.. Penned it late last night for lack of better things to do, and see how it’s turned out. Promise me pleaaaasssseeee, that if you laugh on reading it, you will tell me!
Oh gosh… I’m getting embarrassed typing it even!
You’re buttered guavas with marmalade mash
My risotto on a gondola ride
You’re the dancing fish in the twilight sea
My sleepy turtle after the night
You’re a lone water drop gracing my window
My moon pasted high in the sky
I miss you sugar plum, I miss you so
So come back and make me dream all night
The Oh So Fun thing about writing is, even for the fun of it, it can come to you anytime. It can come without provocation too. It doesn’t always satisfy what you need it to do… write an essay… submit a fiscal report… But it always does achieve something… This one little poem, it is still making me grin and blush 😀 Writing helps me appreciate things.. It helps me to ramble about anything at all, and laugh over it.
Now… The question is… Do I have the courage to post this after all?
Dates invoke all kinds of reactions.
Some live by dates- “23rd I gotta go to the barber, 24th gotta meet Ike, 25t is it someone’s birthday?”
Some people hate dates- “live each day like there’s no tomorrow! So don’t leave something for a later date! Don’t put things away! Fall in love today and marry today! Okay, maybe don’t do that, but don’t put it on a calendar!”
Some people manage to stand straight in the middle of all that ideological gymnastics. Yes, I want to remember important dates and No, I don’t still LIVE by dates.
We have all sorts of dates that we call ‘important’. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and for me, countdown days, to many big goals.
Some of us remember these important days by circling the calendar all sorts of colors, some of us have hot phones that do the job, some of us, a rare lucky few, have awesome brains that remember EVERY thing they once heard. (Really, my friend… I told her ONCE, mentioned casually ticking off things in my To Do List, that a friend had his birthday later that week and now? She remembers his name, his birthday AND what I decided to surprise him with. Great! So I can’t remember all my friends’ birthday and she remembers hers AND mine!)
Dates. Dates all around. Dates in the past, dates in the future, definitely in the future until some wise guy puts a limit to the counting. Imagine, 25th December 927873o4803 (year). Do you think Christmas would be big deal then? I don’t. But then I can’t imagine green-skinned three-toed typical aliens giving a shit about Christmas.
Okay, back to this post. I am writing about dates today because 29th means a good deal to me. Never in my life have I come across a more useless thing as the number 29. No reason. Just never liked the number. And then last month, on the 29, a miracle happened, like a Superman-landing-on-Earth miracle, and since then 29 has been bringing all sorts of mixed feelings!
So this 29th, this awfully confusing date, 🙂 I wish you all a very happy time with all dates, forever. Cause that’s just a way of saying that you have a hell of a time everyday!
And as to dates, yeah sure, forget all the calendar days like Full Moon (not for werewolves) and Columbus Day (not for Columbus’ family) but surely, DON’T forget birthdays!
Oh and PS. Carpe Diem 🙂
Homo sapiens. They are like snowflakes.
Bound under a specie-name but no two specimens are alike.
Sometimes I think there shouldn’t be a word as People at all, because we are all just different Persons, and collectively we should be called Persons, not People… People is way too herd-like.
But for the sake of a beautiful language, and it’s a cute word too, I do okay with People. Though of late, I have been marveling on the range…
I know people who plan their entire life down to a datesheet. Complete school int two years. Pass the GRE at 18. Take admission in IIT next year. Graduate with grace in a few years. Marry and go to Paris. Funny how these are their dreams but when they come true, they only feel ‘completing’ something, not ‘achieving’ something.
Alternatively, I know people whose schedule every SINGLE day is to have a bath, pray and heat food for the family in the afternoon, and kill the rest of the day.
I know people who don’t find it even a bit odd to walk back home from a sleepover in their pajamas and a jacket, bagpack on their back and toothbrush in hand. Okay, that’s me but I am a person too so it counts.
I know people who do a chicken-dance on the road in a desperate attempt to match my footstep, and that’s my sister.
I know people who can be eighty years old but be your friend, and I know people who can be in your toddler sister’s class but preach more than both your moms put together.
I know people who can be halfway across the globe but feel near when in a crisis and I know people who can sit next to you in a hospital and their face reads ‘I’m so outta here!’
Lastly, I know people who’d never smile, under the impression that that makes them look ‘grown up’ and ‘a serious man’. Yet I know people who will smile at the previous as if to say ‘I love you nonetheless’.
A person’s only as good as the circumstances he’s in. A person’s only as bad as the point beyond which they can’t take it anymore. So what does make people so fundamentally different?
God knows. 🙂
But I’m glad for all the people I know. Because without them, the world would be one miracle less.
NOTE- This one’s a bit intense and maybe requires some thinking. And maybe philosophical some would say. So ignore it if you’re dim.
Feeling desolate and alone and absolutely helpless is easy. Specially when you care about things, when you believe in the right and would probably stand up against the wrong.
That also means you have all the more chance of being judged, being trodden upon, being killed, slayed and absolutely slaughtered to bits.
Does that take away your reason to live? To want to be yourself?
Does that mean that you should give up the thoughts that are bringing all this trouble? That would mean, be careful, that if you saw a girl in danger of rape, you would walk on, because now you have given up hope on Right.
Sometimes I think about this stuff, sometimes it makes me sad. But here are some defences I put up to say that good people must never feel the need to die. Today I decided to post it, because hell, if there’s anyone else, even one person, who has though about this, I hope they were half as optimistic, half as willing to put their trust in Hope.
Why a Thinker should never want to die
Thinkers are people who actually put their brains to work when they are told something. They don’t believe whatever they are told. They may at least once have wondered about God. They may believe in things that are not proved, but must have their reasons to, not simply because ‘that’s how everyone does it’.
If they managed that, that’s reason enough for them to live.
No? Not convinced?
Round up a group of people. Ask them one question; “If you had to chose between the world’s best chocolate custom made for you and a rich girl, what would you go for?”
That’s no judgement question. There’s no right and wrong answer.
It’s just any question.
But everyone reveals the kind of person they are with the way they answer.
And THAT is the judgement criteria.
Should they say, “the girl of course” laugh away at their joke but remember how they see a girl before they see a person. Or money. What kind of girl, we didn’t say. But did they ask? They chose her because she was a girl, or for the money. And that’s you cue right there.
Should they say “the chocolate!!!” laugh away again. But they didn’t ask abut the girl either. They didn’t really understand the situation, so how could they chose.
Now the real answer for this question was “Get the girl and get her to get the choc.” That’s the smart answer, but that’s also the mean answer.
But anybody who thinks, anybody who gives a shit about the world, or about things being right, will give you an answer that’s worth it.
Their answer may not be perfect. Might not make you laugh. Might not make them seem cool. But they’ll mean it.
And sure as hell, when people start meaning what they do, maybe there wouldn’t a bully in high school, maybe there wouldn’t be a rapist on a dark corner, maybe there wouldn’t be a sadist waiting to live on sorrow….
Maybe Thinkers will one day, make the world mean something.
And that is why they must live.
Please feel free to hate me. Please feel free to criticize me, label me (Idealist, wouldn’t it be?), make me seem like I’m different because that’s how I think. But sure as anything, you can not kill me.
I still have hope.
You haven’t broken me yet, and you never will. Unless I chose to.
That’s all your powers extend to. My CHOICE.
So, good day.