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Musings

Being Positive

Life hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses for me. Especially over the past month. The going just got tough all of the sudden. Before I knew it, crisis loomed large and engulfed me in a veritable storm of sorts — a storm that’s quite likely to stay on for a long long time.

Be positive

This isn’t the first time things have gone bad for me. I’ve lived through worse situations. Can’t say that I came out unscathed all the time. Each bad phase has left an indelible scar. Some scars still hurt, pain bringing back memories from the past. Each bout of pain has one startling similarity with its predecessor — the element of surprise. But that’s the beauty of life, it hits you on your belly right when you’re gaily indulging yourself.

One thing I’ve realized while swimming through a vast ocean of problems is the potency of optimism.

Optimism is a powerful sword that can cut through life’s many adversities with ease. It’s a rejuvenating principle that charges you up, and equips you for the worst while expecting the best. Optimism is all about seeing opportunities in every problem. Yes, every crisis is an opportunity in disguise. Even the most seemingly-dismal of adversities could turn favourable in the long run. But how often do we realize this? We fret more about our problems, doing little to solve them. We beat about the bush in careless mourning, wasting valuable time instead of taking control of the situation to make our ends meet.

Being positive when the going gets tough helps us focus more on our problems. Just believing that greener pastures aren’t far away is all you need to do. Trust me, happier days aren’t far away. All your problems are temporary, it’s only a matter of time until they ward themselves off. Days, weeks, months or years later, you’ll look back at your problems and smile at how silly they were. Nobody can make a lock without a key; likewise, every problem has its solution. To smith the key to your lock, you’ll have to mould it with patience. And patience has a direct relation with a positive attitude.

As someone rightly said, the happiness of your mind depends on the quality of your thought. Negative thoughts pull you down, deep down into the ditches. Positive thoughts lift you up, high up, onto the pedestal of happiness and inner peace.

So, be positive.

Like me. 🙂

Categories
Musings Narration

My Vote

I’ve been in a dilemma ever since I was ‘enfranchised’  – The dilemma of choosing the right candidate.

Image Courtesy: lakelandlocal

I’m a sucker for elections. They bring out the news-junkie in me. Normally, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about politics, but the ‘citizen’ in me gets a wake up call the day they announce elections. I used to closely follow elections be it local, state or even national right from childhood. I’d keep myself glued to TV and keep myself updated about election proceedings. The democratization of internet made things easier for me.

When I collected the Voter’s ID card (which had my name misspelled and my address wrong), my hands trembled in excitement. I didn’t mind having a wrong address or a wrong name printed on a prestigious identification document — I was too ecstatic to notice.

But the ecstacy didn’t last long; I now had a major responsibility on my head — I had to choose my leader. And my vote did make a difference. Now, that unnerved me. I was never a man of quick choices. I had to analyse things down to the last detail before I take any decision. ‘Voting’, essentially a ‘decision making process’, wasn’t really my cup of tea, I realized.

Before I knew it, I was part of the process – The 2009 General Elections had arrived. But thankfully, my constituency was endowed with an intelligent and charismatic candidate and I heaved a sigh of relief. The elections were over, the candidate I voted for won and went on to be a Union Minister. I was happy.

Only until the dates of the Local Body Elections were announced.

Now, I was in a fix.

Especially considering the fact that I do not owe allegiance to any political party as such.

Technically, choosing the ideal candidate for a local election is way easier than the same for a state or parliament election, since the representatives would be friends or at least acquaintances. I knew one of the candidates, the incumbent – she knew me from childhood and used to strike an occasional conversation with me when I was a kid. Apart from her, I hadn’t seen or heard about none of the candidates before. Hence, I thought I’d make an informed decision.

Thus, I commenced the process of background-search.

The brief stint with journalism helped. In classic Tehelka style, I conversed with as many people as possible, in my quest to find the right candidate. I had narrowed down on three candidates, avoiding many of the independants. Independant candidates were either people with deep pockets trying to evade tax, or jobless passers-by trying their hand at a political career.

Mine being a ‘women’s ward’, all candidates in my ward are females – and three of my ‘choices’ were poles apart. From a ‘practicing lawyer’ (read: jobless housewife with LLB) to a ‘people’s mascot’ (read: yet to pass tenth grade), the spectrum was quite wide, indeed. Despite the differences, I couldn’t reach a conclusion regarding whom to vote for.  Conflicting opinions, conflicting evaluations… If one candidate had a good point, she would have a vicious negative too. If another candidate had good track record, glaring allegations of corruption propped up.

The end result? I was as clueless as a third grade kid as I woke up on the election day.

All the research and the thought-process went astray. I wasn’t this confused when I started. I’d have made a better decision, had I not gone for the lengthy evaluation. Lesson Learned: Too much information spoils the vote.

As we stepped foot into local government school, I slyly asked mom:

“Who’re you voting for, Amma?”

“You know who, mone,” Mom smiled. Mom was going to vote for her friend – the incumbent candidate. I decided to follow suit. After all, this person was educated, young and had enough experience ‘representing’ our ward before. We waited outside the voting room.

After Dad and mom cast their votes, it was my turn. Excitement and patriotism filled every cell of my body — it was my ‘responsible citizen’ moment. I airily walked in, flashed my ID Card (even though they didn’t ask for it), got my finger ‘marked’, signed. The lady at the desk pressed a switch. A beep button emanated from the Electronic Voting Machine. It was all set to receive my vote!

Picturing myself as Ranbir Kapoor from ‘Rajneeti’, I walked to the EVM in slow motion. I could hear the Mortal Kombat Theme playing in background. ‘Choose your destiny’, I almost heard that weird voice giving me the options, as my eyes focussed on the gleaming-white panel of the EVM. It was time.

I pressed the button.

The beep sound was music to my ears. My vote was registered — I was a certified ‘responsible citizen’. Treating myself with a smile, I gave another look at the EVM just to see the red light blinking near my candidate’s name.

The light didn’t blink.

Is the machine faulty? Has it been tampered with? I’d only seen reports of widespread rigging on tv, as I was stepping out. I was enraged. Why do responsible citizens like me have to suffer all the time? I’m going to file a complaint with… OMG.

A light did blink. Another light.

It was the second light from top – the light beside that candidate whom I’d eliminated from my list.

I wasted my vote.

If it weren’t unconstitutional, I’d have ransacked the whole room that very moment. My face turned red — I could actually feel the heat in my cheeks. I was a  criminal. I wasted my vote. I WASTED MY VOTE!

I looked helplessly at the presiding officer. She glared back at me. I asked myself, could this be a mistake with the voting machine? But I knew the answer myself. It wasn’t. I pressed the wrong button, in all the excitement.

Dejected, I trudged out of the room. Another person walked in, as I stepped out of the door. I felt envious – that guy’s going to make the right choice. I was not.

Dad and Mom quizzed me about my vote?

I remained silent. I had the right to do so. Secret ballot.

P.S.

The results came today. The candidate I vote for won – by a miniscule margin.

Yours truly is King Queenmaker. 🙂

Categories
Musings Song

Tribute to M.G. Radhakrishnan

It’s been a week since the demise of Malayalam music director M.G. Radhakrishnan.

Image Courtesy: mathrubhumi.com

Brother to singer M.G. Sreekumar, Radhakrishnan was a stalwart in the Malayalam Music scene. His tracks had the simplest of tunes. Yet, they would capture every bit of your aural presence and take you to another level. The down-to-earth music director started-off composing music for the All India Radio. After the success of many songs he pioneered for the radio (including a popular radio show teaching music for listeners), he was invited to do the music for the Malayalam movie ‘thampu’. Soon, offers came pouring in, and Radhakrishnan churned out mellifluous tunes for many movies including ‘Manichitrathazhu‘, ‘Agnidevan’, ‘Devasuram‘, ‘Advaitham’, ‘Ananthabhadram‘, et al. He’s bagged the state award twice for ‘Achaneyanenikkishtam’ and ‘Ananthabhadram‘.

I’ve forever been a fan of the musical maestro. I find immense solace in some of his tracks, in times of despair. My favourite MG track is ‘Sooryakireedom‘ from Devasuram – a haunting song that talks about the transcience of death and the uncertainity of life. The news of M.G’s death came a day late to me. M.G. is one of my favorite Music Directors, right after Raveendran. I actually had plans to interview M.G. for the papers, and a friend had even given me his contacts. In that context, the news of his demise pinned me down with despair and shock.

I could not help but offer my tributes to the maestro who has continue to amaze me with his tracks. Here’s my cover a favourite M.G. Track.

Song Name: Vande Mukunda Hare.

Movie: Devasuram (1992)

Singer: M.G. Radhakrishnan

Vande Mukunda Hare | Music Codes

The video of this song has Oduvil Unnikrishnan‘s character (Peringodan Shankara Marar) bids his adieu to buddy Mangalasseri Neelakantan (Mohanlal) – A feudal landlord,who stands wounded and decapitated after an ambush. Marar can’t bear the sight of watching his once-healthy mate now in tatters. The lyrics of the song make references to mythology: Kuchela is bidding goodbye to Lord Krishna, who meets death by a stray arrow after the destruction of Dwarka.

Rest in peace, Radhakrishnan Sir. I know I haven’t done justice to your original rendering, but I’ve tried my best here. We’ll miss you! 🙁

Categories
Musings

The algebra of good food and conversations

Couple of weeks back, I was playing poker with my buddies. Poker is a newfound fascination, and I must thank  Sumesh for introducing me to this hugely-engrossing game. For, once you start off with poker, there’s actually no turning back. And you’re damned if you’re playing for money; you’d end up being hopelessly-addicted to gambling! 😐 So that day, Sumesh, Ashish and I  were indulging ourselves to a game of poker at a Cafe Coffee Day. Half the crowd (if you can term the three-odd distracted couples assembled at perhaps the worlds most-impoverished CCD as a ‘crowd’), was staring at  our blatant act of using CCD for our infamous (and partly-illegal) card-game. We’d ordered coffees and chocolate brownies, but the food was just namesake; our minds had nothing but Poker!

Until the food was served, we were mostly quiet – except for Sumesh’s occasional hyperactive winning-exclamations. After we had stuffed our tummies, our lip-strings loosened, before we could even notice! A normally-quiet-and-pensive Ashish set the ball rolling and soon the two of us joined in the conversation. Within no time, the three of us were so engrossed in tête-à-tête, that we’d almost forgotten the addictive game of poker! The game was still on, but the conversation-bit had a clear edge over the the former. As we conversed, we dug our fingernails (and our teeth) deep into the munchy food, relishing the natter along with the food. Evidently, we needed chocolate brownies and Cafe Mocha, to take our conversations to the next level.

It can rightly be said that Food is the best lubricant for conversation – like alcohol. Many proclaim that alcohol is the ultimate bonding-pill – and it’s actually right. Alcohol loosens your mind’s inhibitions and sets you talking, sometimes to the extent of you revealing your deepest darkest secrets. There’s this college-buddy of mine who blurted out his year-long secret affair with my classmate during a booze party atop a houseboat! Another friend is still being ridiculed; he was caught bawling about how he lost his first place in English Recitation in his third grade! Some try getting stoned to talk, but then the ‘high tide’ would wash over the dialogues.

Now, I can’t pass first-hand comments on smoking up or even boozing, simply cause I’m yet to try either of these. But I can assure you something; food doesn’t land you up in such uncomfortable situations. Food nourishes you – makes you healthy, and adds on to your grey matter (and some flab, if you don’t mind). The taste and the eventual satiation of a full tummy have resulted in many ‘done-deals’ – some corporates even employ secret recipes to get their counterparts/clients to sign that odd-document! Now, that’s not a conspiracy theory; work two years in an MNC, and you’d learn on your own!

The nuances of this strange ‘algebra’ aren’t baffling. The inherent logic is quite simple – words flow out of your mouth, proportional to the stuff in your tummy! The nourishment and the relishing experience soothe the human mind, to produce great conversations – a simple play of hormones! From family-dinners to corporate-brunches, food is the best networking interface. ‘Food-Book’ might be slower than Facebook – but good-food works long-term. unlike the latter! A date at a great restaurant, or an enriching buffet with co-workers is all it takes to ensure lifelong relationships!

That said, food is a double-edged sword; every coin has its flip side, and food is no different! It all starts from bad cuisine. This friend of mine admitted that her biggest turn-off is appalling food! A habitually-calm-person, she would throw the biggest tantrums after an appalling meal! Even culinary habits could turn people off – not everyone is blessed by good eating skills! A few odd souls (myself included) show surprising levels childishness when it comes to ‘eating’. From spilling eatables in a meter-radius to giving whole new definitions for the term ‘ripping it apart’, bad eating habits could be disgusting, even disastrous! 😐 To make things worse for foodies who might pass these attributes, there’s always the ‘dieter’ who refuses the tiniest morsel, to cut down kilos! In such unfavourable situations, food simply does not work!

But come to think of it, there’s nothing called a ‘free lunch’, pun intended! 😛 Such situations demand the presence of light-refreshments like a cup of coffee (works best with caffeine addicts) or even a glass of wine (best for ‘romantic’ nights); just carry yourself with grace and you’d end up having the time of your life!

Now you know, why they give out  ‘food for thought’! 🙂