Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dreamz Unlimited

Just over a week ago, I passed another milestone in my life. And that got me thinking about my childhood dreams. The kind that we all as children once had. The kind that changed from week to week or day to day, depending on how imaginative or fickle you were.

The first ambition that I remember having was to be a lawyer. Most kids want to astronauts or filmstars or cricketers. I wanted to be a lawyer. Primarily because my maternal grandfather was one. And my mother did begin her law studies, though she never completed them. I was considered to be studious and I had absolutely no trouble envisioning myself as the defender of the poor, an evangelist who would fight for justice, a lawful vigilante.

Then the vision of lawyer transformed into that of an IAS officer. Because my dad wanted me to be one (he gave up on it only a couple of years ago). So, I wanted to be one. I even started reading Competition Success Reviews in all earnestness. Till I realized that IAS officers have to report to politicians. They can be transferred as and when they win or lose favour with those in power. So, there went my second ambition. I was in Class II at that point in time.

For a short while I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to find the cure for cancer. AIDS had not been heard of at that time. That is why I did not dream of finding its cure. I was inspired by Madame Curie and very often, could see myself being the youngest Nobel prize winner and the first Indian woman.

I had much older cousins who were studying to be doctors. I used to idolize them and would pester them with questions about medical studies. I was told that studying medicine involved lab work, a very significant part of which was dissection and study of all sorts of dead animals and insects, including cockroaches. That put a hitch in my stride. You see, I am mortally afraid of cockroaches. Plus, the very idea of cutting open dead animals (I later learned that they are chloroformed and are not really dead) was enough to make bile rise in my throat.

I put on a brave front and acted unfazed and determined. But it did not last. I gave up on finding cure for physical maladies. I decided to be a psychiatrist. Surely that did not involve scalpels and near dead living organisms. Alas, I was soon disillusioned and I finally gave up.

Since then I have had several more ambitions – some unrealistic, some more likely. Between then and now, I have changed my ambition and choice of profession so many times that my parents were really frustrated. But they stood by me. That counts.

Today, my dreams are no longer as grandiose as finding the cure for cancer. Or being a Robinhood in black robes.

But I still have them. My dreams. Sometimes, they involve a small, cozy bookshop that I own and run in some picturesque town. Sometimes, they take me to a book signing where people queue up to get their books signed by me. There are occasions where I see myself spending the rest of my life in idyllic bliss, far from the madding crowd, in a small cottage with a white picket fence, next to a blue, blue, lake. And sometimes, I see myself as the dynamic business executive, the young achiever, who is considered to be the future of some big company.

I do not know whether they would ever come true. Maybe all of them would. Maybe none of them would. But I am glad I still have them. That means I am alive and living.

Sweet dreams.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Meanderings of an Occasional Insomniac

It is midnight. Witching hour, some say. Is it true? I wonder. It would definitely enliven this rather staid night. But then, I need help in sleeping and not staying up.

I cannot sleep because of the day’s hangover. And I am worrying about tomorrow. Yet another strike has been called – taxi strike this time, making reaching office tomorrow a really daunting task. I would not have minded bunking office, if I did not have work lined up. But more than that, I do not really want to waste my Casual Leaves because of a strike. I’d rather save them for more important occasions like festivals and family functions.

Coming back to my sleepless night. It is not that I have not tried to sleep. I switched off the light. I counted five hundred proverbial sheep. I tried to play really mind numbing games on my cell phone. Sleep still eludes.

So, I decided to write this rather boring blog entry in the dark confines of my room.

I do not have any particularly profound thoughts right now to put here. Just two and half thoughts that are ricocheting from one end to another of my brain and scaring sleep away. How come when you need to keep thoughts at bay that they come to plague you the most, depriving you of much needed shut-eye?

May be I should focus on the fluorescent stars of varying dimensions that adorn the transparent partition of my room. They glow in the dark, giving the impression that I am sleeping behind a curtain of stars. If I imagine hard enough, I can almost hear them sing and whisper. Their language is difficult to understand but that is of little consequence.

Or, I could day dream. Build little, improbable fantasies. Colour them in bold, bright colours of adventures and soft hues of fairytales. Create worlds of glens and meadows, cottages and castles, dragon sentries and unspeakable treasures. Visit all the places that are on my bucket list.

I could even make all my wishes. Who knows, the residual magic from the witching hour might bring them to life?


Friday, July 9, 2010

Melting Pot

Lot of motley ideas in my head this week. Some coherent and clear. Others not quite. Some humorous, others more serious.

I never thought that I would hear so much about an octopus. But I guess I should not be surprised since in this media age, everything is news. So, a psychic eight legged sea beast is definitely newsworthy. Paul, the octopus, is all rage these days. The resident of Germany, he has managed to predict correctly, the outcome of all German games in the ongoing Fifa World Cup. Strike rate not so hot when it comes to games not involving his own country. The Germans loved him till he correctly predicted their downfall in the semis. Now, there’s talk about him being dead meat, literally, with Germans suddenly hungry for exotic octopus curry. Spain – the winners against Germany in the semi final – have offered the beleaguered octopus political asylum. Paul is still considering even as he picks Espana as the world cup winners.

Argentina and Brazil both failed to make it to the last four and the football loving Bengali populace was crushed. My brother wondered when would the Indian team play in the football world cup, as he watched Bengali news channels devoting hours analyzing what went wrong with the Latin American big shots. In my opinion, an Indian team in FIFA world cup would be great but I do not think that we in Bengal need it so much – after all, we have two teams to call our own (if you don’t believe me. check out the number of Brazilian and Argentine flags adorning Kolkata’s lanes and bylanes).

India’s most eligible bachelor, arguably, MS Dhoni got married – chat mangni, pat byaah in the truest sense. The media could not decide whether it should be miffed since it was denied the chance to create a drawn out spectacle (remember, the Abhi-Ash wedding and Sania-Sohaib-Ayaesha triangle?). Or, should it feel grateful for the “breaking news” on a rather quiet weekend.

Elsewhere, the human tragedies continued.

(Dis)honour killings took place (or maybe I should say, reported) daily in remote and not so remote parts of a 21st century, modern, progressive India. And the kin of killers in the national capital feel tremendously proud.

The politicians called another nationwide bandh earlier this week, ostensibly to demonstrate public ire at the recent fuel hike. Consequently, the same public (especially those working in private firms, like yours truly) will now have to work on Saturday to make up for the loss of a workday. I have heard of cases, where people have been asked to work on Sundays to make up for the bandh. May be we should call another bandh to protest against the side-effects of bandhs.

On a more personal front, I found two books I had been hunting for. Did a silent jig for that. Watched I Hate Luv Storys and found it an “okay-time-pass” watch.

Discussed the merits of White Collar vs. Castle with a friend. A quick recap. Neal  Caffrey is great eye candy – a pair of blue eyes , a Fedora hat and a crooked smile make a killer combination. But the show is slow. Does not have the thrill of homicide investigations and the witty (laced with innuendos) banter between Castle and Beckett. I am waiting desperately for Season 3. Meanwhile, when I get too bored, I watch White Collar. Neal Caffrey is compensation enough.

Work has been both slow and fast. A lot has been happening but not enough progress. Talk about running in the same spot.

Family invitations have been plenty, this being a wedding season. Have neatly side stepped attending any of them so far. Hope the good luck continues (no, I am not a recluse. I just do not like crowds, especially when I am supposed to be respectful and polite to all the virtual strangers being introduced to me). There was an invitation from a friend which I wanted to attend but it was a Sunday and I just felt plain lazy (there is a difference between being lazy and being a recluse).

All in all, it’s been a week that has gone by too quickly and too slowly at the same time. I wonder if I would remember this week for itself. Maybe, I will. Most likely, I will not. But here’s hoping that coming week brings with it seven forget-me-nots. Amen.