This Valentine's Day, here's a not-so-average take on love
Love is friendship that has caught fire. - Ann Landers
Love is friendship that has caught fire. - Ann Landers
"That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - William Shakespeare.
My mother tells me with a straight face that granddad is now in hospital
The wind wraps you in its icy embrace
2021 marks a decade since my foray into social media brand communication as a full time career. Social media has influenced a huge part of our lifestyle and culture. Rarely did anyone whip out their phone to snap that delicious spread they were about to sink their teeth into before Instagram. Or did anyone think of creating a hashtag for their wedding day. Tourism was focused on showing people places and things, but now, locations are labeled 'aesthetic' and Instagrammable. Brands communicate in shareable memes and engage in random banter on Twitter. If anyone told me this would be the case back then, I'd have laughed.
This city is littered with broken dreams
I've always had a fondness for Pujo, growing up in pre-millennium city Gurgaon among a lot of Bengali families. Pujo was the annual event I'd look forward to, at our local Samiti's pandal. I'd win the painting competition ever since I was a precocious 4 year old kid, year after year. I remember my brother and I playing hide and seek with the other kids behind the Pandal tent, and me dressing up as a cat for a fancy dress competition while an older girl I knew wore an MJ costume while doing a moonwalk on stage. All this in the backdrop of the Pujo, and songs and delicious prasad. It was a family outing for us at a time where options were limited.
Loss is something that each one of us experiences. In some form or the other, at some point of time or the other. As a child, my first brush with loss was when my grandfather passed away. I was 5. A short and frenzied landline call. Panic among the adults. Pouring rain as the windshield viper swept it away. My dad, driving our trusty old Fiat, tears streaming down his face, and little me next to him looking puzzled and wondering where Thatha could have gone that he couldn't return.
Like the heady scent of Raat ki Raani blossoms in the still night.
In 2020, I began to wear a mask.My expressions shrouded;the eyes the only window to the soul.Like the rest of the world,Shielding ourselves in battleAgainst an invisible enemy.
Move over, Instagram - there's a new app for you to copy competing for everyone's goldfish-like attention spans now: Clubhouse. I never imagined people would move from visual content to audio content. It's like live radio except everyone can chime in, without having to call the RJ. (this it it. the moment when I realise what an old millennial I am :P). You can check out their origin story here, always loved myself a good startup story. But first, a shameless self-plug :P
Written on June 2, 2021.
When I wrote about looking forward to 2021, little did I know how rapidly things would change. The graph climbed and soared in April, and we found ourselves facing what we dreaded all of last year, come true. I can't believe it's only been a little over a month. We're going through a humanitarian crisis, one that's affected nearly every single person we know, directly or indirectly. I feel tremendous guilt and gratitude at the same time, for being able to sit here and type this with no (major) health issues.
I can no longer count the number of people I've met who take a rather puzzling pride in never reading books. It always throws me off, especially when followed by statements like "how do you read books, they're so boring". And so apart from my college batchmates (who I'm immensely thankful for), since I studied English Literature, I rarely meet anyone in my social engagements who actually reads. Consumer behaviour often reflects how this works. As far back as the late 90s, Harry Potter was praised for getting people to love reading. Meaning that it's been on the decline for over twenty years now.
The days spill into nights;A man boasting of his 56-inch chest,Of the crowds that cheer him on;Proud to lead thousands into the GangesNaked in their blind faith in a GodWe have conquered the beast, he proclaimsThe nation celebrates a returnTo the hustle and bustle of the everydayWeddings, events, homecomings;Feels almost like a dream.
As we come full circle now in April, here's a selection of pictures from April 2020, during the peak of the covid-19 pandemic in India, in Delhi-NCR.
Her eyes fell upon an old, dusty diary bound in soft leather, as she dove into the depths of her old bookshelf, in search of forgotten treasures from her childhood. The year read '1978'. The year both Garfield and Grease became known to the world. Indira Gandhi got re-elected.A Solidarity March for the Stonewall Riots.Keith Moon died at just age 32.And her mother, all of 20, gave birth for the first time.That's all she really knew about that year.Her fingers fumbled to open this time capsule and see what it held.
Birds chirp softly in the morningThe peacock outside my windowSquawks in search of his lady love;The street vendor's voice rings throughthe neighbourhood,A Calm voice tells me about mindfulnessAs I take slow, long, deep breaths;The ding of the microwave reminds mefor the fourth time, of my forgotten coffee;My phone buzzes with alertsNews, social media, reminders,Friends and family and work chaos;Faceless, disembodied voices on a Zoom call,Delivering tasks and demanding updates;The doorbell buzzes, startling out of my reverieas it connects me with the world outside;Everyday essentials delivered by masked menSilently dropping them at my doorstep;
Bura na maano.Don't feel bad.A seemingly innocuous phrase, but one often used as a justification, an excuse for something. Don't feel bad. It's just a joke.It's just 'locker room talk'.It's just harmless banter.It's just...
We walked into 2020 expecting The Roaring Twenties 2.0, expecting a version of this -