Story of a lost journalist

January 21, 2017

What a wonderful world

Filed under: life,People — Cris @ 20:12

All the badness in the world has done this – it lets you appreciate the rare bits of niceness. I saw it in plenty last two days. My two-wheeler had a puncture yesterday and I had to leave it in the road. A mobile puncture man came and tried to help twice. But after everything he said nothing works, I should try someone else. He wouldn’t let me pay him. I had to push 50 bucks into his pocket.

Today I think of somehow getting it fixed, after other mobile puncture men couldn’t help. A rickshaw man nearby told me about the nearest workshop. So I got in and asked him to take me there. We tried three places before one fellow agreed to even look at the puncture. The rick man waited everywhere patiently, explaining to all of them with me, and giving me tips on how to present my case. “Don’t tell them the other guys said no, then he won’t come either. Hush!”

Then there’s the final guy who did agree. He came, realised this is not the regular tyre and then began rolling my two-wheeler to the workshop. He sat on it for an hour, trying everything he could before finally giving up. “The tyre’s gone. And I don’t know any shop that could replace such a tyre. You will have to call the company,” he said regretfully. For all that work he would take only 100 bucks. When I took his number, he joked: “Don’t ever bring this bike here.” While there I also saw the simple friendships of the shops next door, everyone trying their own bits to help this man.

When everyone does everything for money and even a few seconds of one kind of work could cost you thousands, I am amazed there is this other side in the world, where service comes first and money second, where concern for a total stranger comes easily. I am sad for my bike, but I am glad it brought me in touch with so many kind people that I could start assuming again that everyone I see is nice until proven otherwise. And if someone seems otherwise, you got to give them a chance, maybe they just had a bad day, or many bad days in a row.

October 11, 2015

My speech: It’s so easy to be happy

Filed under: life,My Musing Moments — Cris @ 18:38

Some day if I get ‘high’ enough to be an orator, I am going to speak about how easy it is to be happy and how we like to choose to be not. Like Dupree has his ‘ness’ speech in You, Me and Dupree.

Here’s the idea.

(Gee, I have imagined this so clearly, that I actually feel the initial reluctance you’d have if – and that is a big if – you are up on a stage, about to talk).

The idea, people, is as simple as it says it is – it is easy to be happy. Now, I am talking about everyday happiness, not the big hurdles that come to your life with truckloads of agony.

I will take an instance. Say, a friend of mine says we will have lunch together today. Later, she calls to cancel. Now when I hear it, I don’t feel bad, I say alrighty and cut the call. So my natural reaction is to go on being happy – or rather, status quo. But here’s where the second part of my speech comes – how we like to choose to be not happy. So I will sit and think. I will think why is she cancelling on me like this, this is not very nice. I will think will she do it with someone else. I will think she is doing this because I don’t mean much to her, I am not important. By then, I would have lost my train of thought, and all my focus would be on being irritated/ upset. It’s almost addictive. You get addicted to becoming unhappy whatever way possible.

This is a vague instance I quote. But I am sure everyone would have something to relate this with. Something microscopic in the large picture, something that probably never bothered us in the first place, but we focus so much on getting angry or unhappy, we forget it.

And this tendency to choose the unhappy route is something that develops in you as you grow older. I mean, you don’t see kids walking angrily, thinking thought after thought about something someone said and later seemed like a good reason to be mad about.

No one would agree easily, but really this is what we do day in and day out. So much that it’s become a habit with us. We could ask ourselves honestly – and this would be hard, the honesty part – did that something I got so upset about today really bother me in the first place? This would be difficult – getting ourselves to admit that it didn’t. Like I said, we really like our unhappinesses. For some strange reason.

The secret lies in figuring this out. Cause however much we like it, unhappiness is a pain in the neck. Kicking out is a lot easier than we think. The minute we sense our mind trying to get upset, just ask if it really matters to us, if we are just making an issue out of nothing. And very importantly, be honest to yourself. Really works wonders, I tell you. Though the adult inclination is towards unhappiness, once you choose the happy path, it is really so beautiful, like a new landscape you discovered, that you’d want to keep going back to it.

May 30, 2014

Meeting Dan, Growing Up

Filed under: life,Personal — Cris @ 20:02

It’s dark outside Kedaram, a shopping complex I may have gone to twice or thrice in all my years in Trivandrum. But it’s the middle spot we chose to meet, Dan and I. I look at my watch, 19-O- 1. I remember the blog lines in Ruminations – I hate people who do not respect others time. Whew, I feel good I made it. Dan’s name is on my phone now. “I am just parking,” she says. She is new here, in my land. It’s taken me three months just to drag Kweeki (my scooter) and come to see Dan. Why do we always push these things, when they are so easy? I step outside to direct Dan. 10 little steps, after five long years. Was it five or longer? I can’t be sure. There were so many of us back then. Writing and reading, commenting, sharing, making friends and favorites without knowing it. I shared Dan’s blog in mine and called it: Dhanya, good girl n good blog. I don’t know which post of her made Dan a good girl to me, or which words, a friend. But standing outside Kedaram, and waving to a smiling face across the road, I could sense no first meeting anxieties, no first lines to say forming in my head. I wait, happily, for a girl I knew for years.


dan n meDan and me

“Park cheyaan paadupetto?” (Was it difficult to park?) I ask, like an everyday line to an everyday mate. She smiles, she speaks her Thrissur Malayalam. Surprised I know littler of a Trivandrum than her. “This is a part I rarely come to” I get defensive. We take our Kedaram juices. I want more. I want to get her a packet of Trivandrum Bolis she has heard about so much. The Sri Ananthapuri veg restaurant I drag her to has none. But we smell hot dosas and sit for two. She asks: “Weren’t you the one afraid to meet new people?”
“Yes, that’s me. I am,” I smile. “Weren’t you afraid to meet me?” she asks. “No, I never was.”

I am not sure why. I tell her I might have been a little nervous with Ush, another blog friend dear to us both. “But you, I always knew are a paavam”. “I see” she says. Is there in her face, a bit of that proper reservation one has for first time meetings. Am I speaking too much and too casually? I wonder but I go on about a trip I want to make. About how she should make more visits to the city, and that she will like it then.

I wonder now if I let her speak at all. Is that my way of dealing with first time visits? Speak too much and present myself unintelligent and then feel safe. Safe that the cover is gone. They know me now. I remember the first line I told Deepak, after four years of phone and chat conversations. “Nee aano Deepak” Are you Deepak? But that awkwardness went away with our first meeting. I would now see Deepak at a café next to my office with his wife and brother, and say: “Wow chocolate brownie, give me some!” With Dan, the first meeting awkwardness was not there. For me. I don’t know if I created it for her. For some reason, I am finding it easier to be me, the unreserved saying-what-comes-to-mind me, as years pass by. “Behave when you are outside,” my colleague would always murmur when I spin my skirt around and sing absently at the chayakada down our office. I forget to be conscious, I forget to be ashamed. I think I am growing up. Here at last is old age, with my second childhood.

December 25, 2012

Online Offline

Filed under: life,Personal — Cris @ 23:22

Not quite time for a yearender but just realized I met four of my online friends in person this year. Just came back after meeting Binu Ninan, blog friend for five or six years, and birthday sharer. Last month met Madhavankutty Pillai, online friend for more than a year. A little before that, met Preethi Krishnan, friend from a google group and a rare g-chat. And before that met Roshni Raghavan, email friend for six years!

Problem with meeting online friends is you have become so comfortable having a computer in front of you to talk to them, you feel nervous about actually presenting a real human form for the other. With a real voice and a real face. It’s almost like going on stage. People are expecting something from you, can you give that? It’s not like they expect a star. But years of knowing each other would naturally build an image of what someone is like. What if it shatters with one look at you, one little conversation? When you stutter and stammer and blush for absolutely no reason, wouldn’t they feel terribly disappointed?

I don’t know about the others, but for me, each meeting has been really rewarding. I felt closer to all of them. Felt a better connection. And none of them appeared unsure, they chatted like long-time buddies. Only thing is I haven’t met any of them for a second time, yet. Gulp. Hope the connection was not entirely one-sided :D.

Rosh and Preethi are both really smart women with really strong views about life. I am a lot scared about meeting people I tag as intellectuals but both these girls had made it so easy for me. Good thing about smart people is they know to tone down their smartness to meet the level of those they meet. So Preethi and I chatted three long hours about everything unintellectual in the world. Was no different from talking to an old school friend. Rosh I somehow imagined to have a really tough voice and a tall frame. She turned out to be tiny and squeaky and adorable. But I missed her funny quips, possibly because I didn’t give her time to chat. I was talking non-stop.

With Kutty Pillai, I turned out to be the absolute shy and non-speaking mess I was afraid I’d be. Thankfully I had given him the exact image before. So no surprises there. He was nicer than I expected, I somehow had a grrgrry image of him always looking angry for no reason. Binu Ninan was easily the friends material I could be myself with. Mainly because he laughed at everything I said. I made a major discovery, laughter is the best medicine for shyness. So next time I feel shy I am just going to laugh non-stop. I might need to remember the sound of Manu’s funny car-horn or one of those just-for-laugh gags or else Maverick’s balloon blowing.

And on that note I stop with a ho ho ho and a merry Christmas to y’all 🙂

February 10, 2011

Time and its weird tricks

Filed under: life — Cris @ 02:22

Time can play weird tricks on you. Sometimes it runs so fast it blinds you and you have no idea where it has taken you to. Sometimes it plays the reverse game and you are left at a spot far far away from the rest of the world – one they have all been done with years and years ago. Time has played the reverse game on me today. Well it does every so often I better get used to it.

You know how it is with certain names close to you. They have become a part of you somewhere in your childhood you can never see them as part of the grown-up world. One such name is Sreeku – my cousin. We grew up playing together every darned game on earth we could think of. Well all cousins do I suppose. Problem is she stuck as my playmate cousin, the kid I ran to for holidays to create a world of our own where we were the parents, we were the rulers, we were the kings and queens.

Sreeku is getting married in two months. Every time Amma tells about her marriage, it takes me a moment to grab the subject. Sreeku, the little one and marriage? But it is no pretend-marriage game from our childhood. This is the real one with a real groom to play the role.

That’s the kind of weird trick time plays on you. It puts you into these zones you can’t get out of. People call it past and ridicule those that keep going there. I do get out yes. I know today is what matters and all that blah. It’s just sometimes it is harder to make the connection, harder to realise it’s a bygone era. Growing up should be the worst stage in life! What’s worse it never stops happening as long as you are alive. I realise today is going to be another one of those zones, one my future self will look back at and drop a tear for.

It’s not about the happy days of childhood. It is about losing a world close to your heart. It is about knowing you will never be part of that world again, you will always be an outsider looking at it and yearning. Not to be that self, no. But yearning for a reason I do not know to express in words.

Today, as I look at my grown-up cousin, I know she is ready. And she is happy. What else should matter?

May 16, 2010

Ignorance is bliss

Filed under: life,My Musing Moments,Personal — Cris @ 02:35

I finally found one use for my ignorance. Whenever I read or hear about something new, no filters start working on my head. I read it as it is written, I hear it as it is told. The enlightened, however, I have learnt, tend to pass it all through a filter of prejudices and opinions and all they have read in the past, before letting any of that in. They doubt everything, they have an opinion against anything. So I can see the goodness in something faster than them. I may be naïve here, but if it takes so much to trust anyone or anything and you have to walk forever with a suspicious and alert mind, well – would you ever be completely happy?

When I hear people interpret simple, straightforward words to come up with inner and double meanings, I stay dumbfounded. How do they manage to dig so much into those simple words, I never understand. Wouldn’t it be real tough for people to say every line after injecting a lot of hidden meaning into it? Life is not a drama with heavy dialogues. It is just life – you live, you don’t act. You react, you don’t direct. You talk, you don’t script. You are you, not someone else!

But people do it – a lot of people do. They just don’t tell you. It gives me the nerves. I could be standing there telling how beautiful a violet flower is, and for all you know, someone may conclude that my first date had to do with a lot of violet flowers, someone else may think I am trying to look at a man somewhere near the violet flowers – cause of course a woman doesn’t simply stand and enjoy the beauty of flowers. This is not the right example to convey the horror these interpreters give you.

Here is another one. You may say you plan to go out next day and your listener may think any one of the following
“It is to avoid me, from calling her”
“It is to show me she is busy”
“It is to make me jealous that I am doing nothing”
Etc etc
Very few take it as it was said: “She plans to go out next day”

I hate being misunderstood. And that happens a lot. I tend to be extra cautious when I am with such people and make it all the more worse. For it never works for me when I try to be something. You have to be nice, not try to be nice. Cause then you are trying to prove, to please, to convince. It doesn’t work. You have to do it cause you are it, not otherwise.

I don’t think these interpretations are exclusive talents of the enlightened. Others do it too. So to not be that way – guess it takes some amount of ignorance, some naivety, some permanent damage in some part of the cerebrum to be a Cris.

May 5, 2010

When my English Teacher passed away

Filed under: life,Personal — Cris @ 20:55

Hearing about the death of someone you knew long ago, but not having touch with for years, is strange. I came to know my English teacher Miss Irene Mary, passed away yesterday. When Jen called to tell me this, I said “iooooo”. But after that, when I called to pass the message to others, I was impatient to know more, not ready to understand that it would be a shock for them as it was for me.

From the moment of hearing the news, I have been searching desperately for some memories with her, trying to create in mind, some images from the past. The first line that comes to mind is “1999 March.”
She used to say these words every so often ever since she became our class teacher in class 9, enjoying the gasps she got in response. She was talking about the time we will write our board exam.

One time she called me to give me my paper and said “My dear, you write absolute rubbish. Take care of what you write.” The way she said it, I didn’t feel bad at all. Besides the important thing was I passed.

Once, I wanted to go home in the noon cause I was not well. My mom came to pick me and Irene teacher came down to talk to her. Mom was wearing a black salwar and I was worried if Irene teacher would consider it proper that a 14 year old’s Mom was wearing salwars. The next term, for our exam, I wrote an essay about ‘Clothes’. With some weird idea of justifying my fears, I wrote that clothes had to be chosen according to age and it would be very funny for a very old woman to wear short skirts or frocks. I got very poor marks for the essay. Guess she was purer in her thoughts than I was.

A couple of more scenes with my classmate Radha and teacher, and then some visuals of her sitting in her chair and reading Midsummer Nights Dreams, about sums up my memories of her. In less than 10 years, I have lost so much from my school memories.

Today as I sat in church listening to her funeral mass, I was going through my school days, somehow making petty confessions to myself, for some of the things I have thought or done at school (like the clothes essay). I thought of totally irrelevant insignificant things like this: once I was swinging with my feet on the school gates. There were these two girls from another division (A division girls we used to call them, we were C). One of our teachers – Shiny teacher – passed wearing a skirt – outside the school (school didn’t allow skirts for teachers). Suddenly, one of the A division girls said “Do you know how old she is?” I said “24-25 I guess” (thinking it was a really grown-up age). “Hah 24 my foot. She is much older, girl!” I was surprised and amused, thinking that this might have been the first and only conversation I had with this girl.

I saw many of my teachers there – Sofi teacher, Suma teacher (remembered Suma teacher and Irene teacher – Malayalam and English teachers – covering their heads in Suma teacher’s sari tail one hot day in the sun and laughing together. Ros, my best friend, pointed this to me and said “ayodaaa so cuteeee”), Anita teacher, Shiny teacher, Geetha teacher (Economics teacher… my friend DU once told me: She teaches about population explosion and has three kids!)… Couldnt talk to any of them… but their faces from 10 years ago were fast filling my mind.

I saw Sandra, who I barely talked to, but who used to be a popular figure back in school – she was one year my senior. She used to be so slim and now she has put on a lot that it is hard to recognise her. I remembered her second last window seat in bus… and her cracking voice and her braces and her uniform skirt (looked real cute on her that it made her a favorite among juniors), and her dancing to “Saturday night I feel the air is getting hot…”. I used to be a last seater in bus, but I was so quiet I dont think she’d know me.

Random memories kept scrolling through my mind, throughout the mass. I stood up when they prayed and sat down later, with the rest of them, not aware of what was happening. I wouldn’t have minded staying when they took her coffin out to the cemetery and would have waited till end of day – how could anyone be bored when old memories in blue and white check skirts and navy blue ribbons, just kept flashing scene after scene in front of me… better than any movie you could think of.

And then I thought… all those faces that came then. Ros or Radha or Irene Teacher – where was Ros? Where was radha? Where was Irene teacher now? Where was all that I thought was important in my life, back then? Why did I never think of all those important things all these years – did I not even know that I didn’t have them anymore? Or that they were not important anymore?

And then of course dramatic visions. I imagine her coming to see all of us grieve. Invisible of course. She stands there in front of me, looking – scrutinising – through those tiny eyes – each and every one of us – with a soft little smile on her lips, and her forefinger on her chin. She then walked out through one of the doors, and just flew away. It was such a lovely picture – my tiny little teacher in the sky. I hope no one thought it weird that I was smiling at a funeral.

It was time to see her. I saw her relatives cry as they kissed her for one final time. I thought, she has so many people to mourn her death even when she was unmarried. So maybe, I wouldn’t be too lonely in my death bed.
I saw her hands covered in white gloves clutching a cross tightly. I saw just a little of her face through the white veil. And I swallowed a lump. I don’t know if it was of sadness and loss of the teacher, or of the times I will never get back…

March 12, 2010

On the move

Filed under: life,My Musing Moments,People — Cris @ 12:29

Moving is a funny thing. You think there is nothing more dull and mechanical than packing and moving a pile of your stuff. But if you do the packing yourself, and you are one of those sentimental types who keeps memories from yesteryears locked in shelves, then you are in for it – one of those really long memory rides that each letter or memoir or photo brings… who says there is no time machine. Your mind is the best time machine ever. It takes you to places, faces and times you completely forgot about. “Wow did I really do that… oh yes it was on that day…”

You literally relive those moments and you experience the emotion you did all those years ago. Whether it be happiness or gloom or hurt or excitement – you feel it like it just happened. And then you are left feeling really miserable. That’s when your time machine brings you back. You are sad the moment is long gone by. You are sad you are not that age anymore. You are not in that place and not with those people and not doing or feeling what you used to. You miss it. Funny thing is you had not thought about it all this while. And that’s when you realize with a pang – you grew up.

I have always thought that I was more or less the same for at least 10 years. But now I know I have changed – can’t say if it’s for the better or for the worse. When I see the letters I wrote, the diaries I penned, the way I thought… oh boy whatever happened to me in all these years. Even my handwriting was so different back in school. Sheesh what a horrible handwriting – my poor teachers. Now I write like a KG student in big round letters. Maturity shows in strange ways sometimes.

I somehow felt a yearning to go back to being the old me. But I want to keep some part of what I am now. Well the easier practical way would be to change now. And that’s where the problem is. I can’t.

Do people keep changing all their life? Or is there some saturation point? I have a feeling I have reached my SP. I mean what more can change? Looks of course will. I am expecting a good number of gray hairs by age 30 and a few wrinkles by 40. Hope to remain more or less slim throughout. But looks apart, can the character graph deviate any further? Can attitude? Can opinions? One hears of old people not ready to put away their prejudices cause their thoughts and faiths go too deep. Your thoughts grow deeper with you. When you are young, you keep taking it up and polishing it. But later you just let it rust or fix it so tight that you cant as much as touch it.

People are not what they used to be to you. You are not what you used to be to them…

And the thought processes. The most number of advices I have given is to my friend Gov. He knows them all so well he would finish my lines. “I tell you Gov, when a girl is 18….,” I say and he interrupts – “I know, she is mature and knows everything but a guy takes longer.”

Another favorite dialogue was on love. “Ah what boys feel at this age is nothing but infatuation. When you grow older you feel different. You won’t understand that now.”
I honestly believed that. Most of the thoughts I used to preach were more or less the same I do now. But back then I used logic after hearing stories. Now I use experience.

I still can’t decide when a person actually becomes the person he/she is for the major part of life. I mean when does a person become complete? I don’t mean elements like job, and marriage. I just mean literally – when?

Whoever said dwelling too much in your past is a bad thing? It makes you think, it makes you smile, it makes you emotional, it makes you wonder, it makes you philosophical and more than anything else, it makes you a human.

January 17, 2010

Being yourself

Filed under: life,My Musing Moments — Cris @ 00:19

A couple of lines that makes me ponder.
Line 1 (from a movie): “I behave the same way at home as I am outside. I speak out all that comes to my mind. I don’t know how to act.”
And I wish I was like that.
Line 2 (from a friend): “You are different in real life than you seem to be in your blog”

And I wonder. Well everybody obviously speaks out what they really think in their blog. That’s the whole purpose of a blog or you don’t have to write at all. So then line 2 establishes that I do not follow line 1. And I think that maybe true. It is for certain when the ‘outside’ means fresh faces and acquaintances. But in a company of intimates and a comfortable zone, I never feel the stress that one feels when one has to follow norms of how to behave or talk. The stress comes with artificiality or the unconscious attempt of trying to appear what is expected of you.

Woah head spins from pondering. But lets see. I hate going to marriages, for social gatherings, most another-house (meaning any house except mine) visits. And my family has long ago written me off as an anti-social, err an introvert. I don’t know how but some people seem to have a gift to behave absolutely wonderfully like they really enjoy it all – whether they really do or not would be hard to guess.

It could be a little hard when your face betrays you and exposes you to the whole world. Traitor face. Always chooses the wrong time to droop just in time for all to spot! But most of the time I stay away from places or people I know “I will have to put an act” with. I just avoid it completely cause the whole prospect of artificiality is a huge pain in the neck. I don’t know why people ever bother to be anything they are not. And if I have got to be in there, I go helplessly tongue-tied and I let myself be so cause that’s the most natural thing to do! And I am at my best when I am natural. Try anything else and it’s a huge huge flop!

That said, even if I behave the same I feel, I don’t like to speak my thoughts all the time. I am sort of possessive about them and the only time I like to take it out lavishly is when I am alone with them or when I write. So now comes the third question (not sure of the number, I haven’t counted). Does not-speaking-all mean you are not being yourself cause you may not in fact want to speak all you think. Some thoughts are not for the world to hear, it is just for you to think of.

So being yourself means talking what you want as opposed to talking all you feel?

Ah I have done it again. I have confused myself. I preach always that you should be yourself 24 * 7. Now I have to start a research on what being yourself means.

January 11, 2010

Interpretations of love

Filed under: life,love,Theory — Cris @ 13:56

The Cris School of Relationships has now brought forth before you, dear readers, the different interpretations of that misused word ‘love’.

1. The duty-doers: They understand love as a duty they are to perform towards the people they are expected to. They mostly do it life-long, just as a machine that works as long as it has its batteries charged.

2. The companions: They need someone to take lunch with, go to the mall with and they think they love the people who could accompany them. When it is time to leave the place and find new people for lunching and malling, they fall in love all over again.

3. The crushies: Temporary. Everything is temporary for these fellows. When love strikes, it strikes strong and they think and dream and do all for the loved one every minute of every hour. But ouch, the clock doesn’t stay still and so doesn’t the love.

4. The floaters: They cry for you, they smile for you, but their love only goes this deep. They honestly believe it is strong, but the best they could do is sit and cry as they watch you drown.

5. The buyers: These people think that a certain crow won’t fly above money so that should mean money is love. To them, love means buying gifts and spending money on loved ones. Spending time with them? Nonsense.

6. The mothers: And of course, the creator, they say, could not be everywhere so landed our mothers on earth. People who are mother-like, when they love, they love. Call it a feeling that never goes away, that is always felt wherever you are and whatever you do. It has no definition, it is just there.

Ouch, we reach the magic number, which means it is time to end another lovely chapter in the Cris School.

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