Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I so wanna remain a spinster, my friends are too awesome and other things.

I know.

I know I haven't updated my blog since a really long time and I also entertain the possibility of all my imaginary readers giving up on me as a lost case scenario but hey, I have been busy.

At least, I would like to imagine myself as being busy. Super busy. Impossibly busy.

Terribly jobless in reality. Sigh.

Some quick updates: I am in my third year of engineering, 6th semester and still hopelessly lost about what I want to do in future which is without any exaggeration, 'looming ahead'. I still have no interest in what I am studying and I don't even try to change that. It is true. Don't judge me by my marks. Rather, don't judge me at all.

Sometimes, I wonder which one is worse- strangers judging you or people you actually know and like doing that.

Anyway, back to the updating thingy. I am currently sitting at home bunking classes because
A. It is my Dadi's death anniversary tomorrow
B. I have never had any inclination to attend college and any reason to bunk it is embraced by me with open arms.

Spring Fest 2015 at Kgp just got over which was
A. Super disappointing
B. Pretty much the same really.
(We are too above being excited by fest thingys anyway. What say Arpita? My fellow let-us-roam-on-the-streets-of-kgp-during-SF-in-pyjamas-when-everyone-else-is-looking-super-hot!?)

I just realized how very contradicting the two sub parts of the above point are. Weird.

I had Red Bull which
A. Was a super disgusting version of Grilinctus cough syrup
B. Pretty much failed in its purpose of boosting my energy levels because I dozed off within minutes of drinking it.

I did a mini-project (super mini-project if you ask me since it ended in just 3 days. Yeah, I know.) at IOCL which was
A. Super awesome
B. Super awesome

I mean, that was one of the rare times when people treated me and a bunch of other 3rd year undergraduates with supreme importance as if they REALLY meant when they said that we were the 'future' of Chemical Engineering.

Me, future of Chemical Engineering. Ha. Me, who can't even write a page of abstract about the project I would like to do. Me, who doesn't even CARE about not being able to write an abstract about the project I would like to do. Me, who... You get the drift right?

I also spent my winter vacation at Vizag (as usual) and reached some horrifying conclusions about the community I belong to.
Don't get me wrong, I am one hundred percent proud my culture, my upbringing and the ways most of the things work in my family and other similar families around me. I mean, my parents are decent, hard working, affectionate and sincere people (like all parents) and I believe that we (my brother and I) would grow up to be decent people as well but there are some things that you just cannot refrain reaction to. Even if it is in silence. On your blog.

Okay, so the thing is, South Indians are OBSESSED with marriage. As in totally, hugely, literally obsessed. They see any girl with a B.Tech degree and any guy with a year of job experience as prospective bride and groom and it is just.so.frustrating. 

I am so glad that my parents are not like that. But wait. I do not know about it. My father hardly ever expresses anything over such topics and my mother, is well, my mother. And on top of them is my aunt. I mean, some lady just has to drop in and gush over how beautiful and accomplished I am (which I am not) and she will probably marry me off to her son in a jiffy. 

That... that sounds pretty pathetic. And I know I am just exaggerating it but I just can't help it. It is as if I am being educated just so I become more eligible a commodity in the bazaar of marriage. I am not talking about dowry. Our families, despite all shortcomings in the area of marriages are mercifully exempt from dowry and shit. But that's only one plus. Believe me. 

I know I am exaggerating it all again and that there is every possibility that I would have the independence to work after my parents marry me off but why do I even need to worry my tiny little brain about stuff like marriage? I am not even 20 for God's sake! 

So yeah, there is your South-Indian families in a nut-shell. Graduation/Post-graduation is the prefect time to marry your girls off. (Even guys I swear). Ta-da!

Lovely? NOT. 

And this fear is something that I can't even share with most of my friends who are all bongs and who have a ridiculously forward attitude about the matter. I mean, so do my cousins and all other people of my generation but it is not my cousins who would be in charge of all this right? It would be my family.

And family doesn't just mean my parents who would be totally okay with me marrying after my PhD (as if I would do it) but my obnoxious relatives as well who (refer to the above mentioned points) are marriage crazy.

And this is not because I am a girl or anything. My poor cousin who is just like 25 or something goes through the same. It is just that in our families marriage is seen as the only way of 'settling down' and they have a really RIDICULOUS age set for it. 

So if I do not get a job or an M.Tech seat after my graduation, there is every possibility that you would see my marriage invitation on my blog after a few years. 

Oh what won't I give to drop a bomb on all of them and remain a spinster for all my life. 

Now that would be worthy of a plot twist. Aha! 

Though that would mean all my fantasies about a love story which I have been spinning since class 10 vanishing in a puff of smoke but when did those have any possibility of becoming true. So yeah, it is a total win-win situation. 

It is probably here that I should mention that I am ranting about a completely different topic than what is bugging me at the moment but I don't want to sound bitter and bitchy on my blog. Which I would if I start writing about the actual bug-zone region. So bear with my overly exaggerated rants about South Indian families and their marriages. You have something different to feed on than the stereotypical Idli and Dosa. 

On a completely different note, I would like to mention a few things that kept me going in my current bugged state. 

1. Neil Gaiman- This man can WRITE. And imagine. And write about those things he imagines in a way that would seem so so SO REAL. Thank you Antz for this one. Oh, the number of things I owe you for. If you like dark fantasy, you should totally read him. He.Is.Awesome. Period. 

My favourite so far is The Ocean at the End of the Lane. But then I loved The Graveyard Book, Coraline, Stardust and Neverwhere as well. I mean, you just cannot NOT love what he writes. And he is such a comfort when you are down. 

Mr.Gaiman, you simply rock my world. 

2. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries- If you love Pride and Prejudice, you will simply adore this. There and Pride and Prejudice adaptations and then there is THIS. Totally awesome. But then, what else do you expect from Hank Green huh?

Apart from these, I am also reading a lot of classics these days and the current one is The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy. So far, it is pretty good. 

And then there are your friends. Believe me, if you have friends like mine, you have the mental strength to get out of any crisis (though mine wasn't any CRISIS. Just me blowing things out of proportions with my imagination).

Be it Rimli with her I-told-you-this-would-happen (I swear she is psychic), or Huttu with Why-are-you-crying-over-what-you-know-is-true (insert mocking tone and humorous abuses) or Antara with the prefect words of comfort and empathy you can ever expect from anyone or Sushmita with You-are-the-best-and-anyone-else-who-disagrees-is-going-to-get-a-bashing-from-me or Arpita with the perfect balance of sarcasm and sense, my friends rock it and I just would be lost without them. Guys (I don't know if you are reading this), I owe you. 

Well, that's all for now. I leave with the assurance that I am NOT morbid because though I worry a lot, I still manage to get out of my moods and smile and talk around and get back into one of my morbid moods again :D It is a cycle. But hey, this is me and you are still reading my blog despite all of it (insert- conversation with imaginary readers). 

Reading my way out of my gloom, 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pujo, the big circle of red plastic chairs and other stuff.


The time of unlimited excitement and cheer for all the residents in the state I call my home. The Pujo talks in my hostel always start after midnight and always during the tests we have to give before we could claim happiness over a ten-day long holiday. It is always about which side of Kolkata has the best Pandals and Pratima, which outings have the best food (because food is an inevitable topic in all our conversations :P) and all the plans to be made and dresses to be worn during the festive time. 

I am a listener in this conversation because not being a resident of Kolkata has me feeling left out in many conversations of a friend circle who belong to the City Of Joy. I enjoy these conversations as much as the ones I take part in though, it is fun just to listen sometimes. 

Pujo in Kharagpur is completely different (Or that is what I have concluded from my listening sessions over three years of pre-pujo talks at hostel). Rather, I should say that Pujo in IIT Campus Kharagpur is done in a different style. Technology Staff Club which organizes the Puja, has a huge ground with a concrete pandal built on it which is basically for the Durga Puja but is also used for multitasking like a bicycle exhibition to rob the freshers (:P), Khadi merchandise exhibitions, Marriage buffets etc etc etc. 

Try going to any Puja Pandal in Bengal. I swear that even if it is a moderately famous place, you would have to stand in a huge line, be herded like sheep inside, and shooed away mere minutes after you extract your leg from the crowd and pause to take a breath. I say this because it happened to me just a few hours ago. My poor already sprained ankle :'( 

But at Staff Club (The hub of Pujo festivities inside the campus as mentioned above), things are very very different. You don't visit staff club to see the replica of some famous place made in absolute beauty or to gawk over an ingenious pandal. Because the pandal isn't makeshift. It is (as I said above) PERMANENT. And it is merely covered with cloth over bamboos in a simple way that would (if I am not mistaken) escape your notice. 

So exquisite pandal- Nope.
Out of the world decoration/lighting- Na na na.
Unique Murti of the Goddess maybe- *shakes head* They do it the traditional way every time. 

So what is it that attracts such crowds to this place?

The moment you enter the gate of the ground, you would see a crowd, yes, because come on, it is PUJO, why would there NOT be a crowd at a pandal? But there is no rush you see everywhere else. There are no lines. There is no squabbling to get inside the pandal and take a picture. The moment you enter the gate of the ground, you would see clusters of people everywhere. Clusters of aunties in beautiful tant sarees, clusters of school kids, clusters of college guys united with school mates, clusters of uncles discussing about NaMo NaMo, clusters of people standing and chatting outside, clusters of people sitting on red plastic chairs in circles of varying diameters, clusters of people around the cement barricade around the Pratima chatting about how Pujo robbed them out of a day of celebration this year and clusters of people chatting about one thing or the other in general. 

So Pujo at my home place has got everything to do with ADDA. 

People sit and talk for hours put together. You just need to enter the Staff Club once and you would see faces you haven't seen in the last two eternities before you. I went to give the Ashtami's pujshpanjali this morning and I saw what seemed to be like the entire staff of my school and I had to run from one teacher's feet to the other in rapid succession. I saw people I know who do not live in the campus because that is how famous the Pujo of Staff Club is, it is the magnet to people living in the whole of Kharagpur. 

It is wonderful to see faces being lit into smiles on seeing a buddy you haven't seen after school and the delighted exclamations over one's saree or one's general appearance after a year. It is a wonderful place to be. I only wish I wasn't expected to go along with someone to this place. 

There are many things I have come to know about myself after I joined college. And one of them is that I don't operate in crowds. I just don't. 
I find the idea of being reunited with all my school friends and sitting in a big circle like they do at the Staff Club and laugh and have pictures taken and pose and laugh some more very exciting but I have never been able to do the thing. 

Believe me, I have tried. 

And that turned out to be my worst Pujo ever, back in my first year of college. It is only today that I read in the comment section on a HONY photo- "Loneliness is horrendous but the worst is being surrounded with people who make you feel lonely" and the memory of that day washed over me and I felt a mixture of sadness and incredulity over how silly I was and how naive. 

I lied to myself that I was as close a friend of the people who came to my house for reasons other than just taking me along, I lied to myself thinking that people I had never even talked to at my school would open me with welcoming arms and pretend to know all my interests and swap college stories with me, I lied to myself in even thinking that the reserved girl from school who had zero guy friends from class would suddenly be greeted by all the guys in question as if we were buddies. 

Wishful thinking anyone?

So, with my doing, I was sitting in a big circle like I had always imagined I would in school days, I was staring into the faces of people I had known for 8 years of my school life, I was trying my best to smile and laugh at the jokes that made absolutely no sense to me and yet there was something breaking inside me with each attempt; the laughter around me was so loud, yet I could hear someone sobbing inside.

But I refused to admit it to myself. 

I was miserable and I did not even know it! Award for the stupidest girl alive anyone? 

I came back home that day and was entirely normal and then, out of the blue, deep into the night, I started crying uncontrollably :P 

I felt friendless, unwanted, unloved and there is no saying how much, how much hurt I felt that day. Kirti, the girl who always laughed in big groups at school, the girl who shared tiffin with no less than 10 people at school was excluded out of all conversation. 

The next day, my tears continued flowing and Arpita whom I freaked out with my emo messages on FB called me some time later to ask me if I would go out with her in the evening. Her parents took us both out for Pandal Hopping that day. They gave us a treat at CCD and then left us to walk back home. I will never forget that day. Did I say that year was my worst Pujo? It was also the best for this one reason.

I felt extraordinarily small that day. Arpita is a girl who is awkward socially or at least believes to be. I was always the person who (according to her) has a huge group of friends and could socialize easily.When that myth of mine got broken so harshly that day, I marveled at the simplicity with which she accepted the fact that she did not have many friends at school. And here was I, lying and lying to myself, forcing to believe something that was not true! How many friends did I have from school despite all the facade? 

It makes me laugh now, the stupidity with which I hung on to what wasn't the truth.  

I stopped pretending after that. My closest friends from my batch Antara and Sattu, never came to Kgp during Pujo. Arpita always packs off to Cuttack. Sushmita was the only one who stayed and I went out with her, just like I used to do during school days. I kick myself even now for even trying to be different after I joined college. 

Tanamika is the only one who cared enough about me not making an appearance at the Pandal to come over to my house and ask what was wrong.  

Suranjana is another friend I love to hang out with during this time. We catch up only during Pujo and getting nostalgic over school days and bitching about the people we didn't like with someone you used to sit beside for two years of High School is so refreshing. And no one makes better jokes than her :D 

With Suranjana this year, even the sting of being called in and then excluded from the big circle of school-buddies-rejoined was forgiven. The shock over a specific someone being extra sweet to us was forgotten. Friends give this gift to you and we should be so thankful for people in our lives who don't make us feel lonely.

I had fun this year. I had fun in my own quiet circle of few friends and friendships that run deep. I had fun this Monday when I went out of town with my best friends and saw a crappy movie but took the best from it anyway. I had fun showing the cards Sushmita made for me over the years to Sushmita herself and laughing over how silly we were back in 7th grade and how creative she was from the very start. I had fun laughing over Mania Ki Duniya with Tanamika yesterday and hogging that delicious Samosa Chat with her. I had fun waking up early for the Pushpanjali today and sitting with Surajana and Sushmita at the Pandal and pulling each others' legs. 

I will keep these laughs with me. The aren't very loud, but they are strong enough to drown the sobs I might heave some day I am sad. 
The plastic chairs around me aren't too many. The don't even make a circle, a triangle maybe on my best days but then, it is not done for everyone to have everything. And the big circle of red plastic chairs just isn't for me. 

Happy Pujo :) 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Catching up with times

Things have been weird lately. 

Well, nothing can get more weird than me not writing the usual crap I write on my blog and for that I will have to apologize to my imaginary readers because I don't believe I have any left anymore :P

So, I am actually getting the feeling that I am talking to myself which shouldn't be very surprising because I tend to do that sometimes. Most of the times. 

I am not mental. 

There was a time when I used to read about a dozen books a week. Reading in a KV with the most amazing library ever has to do everything with that. And now, when my bookshelf is just overflowing with books that I have always wanted to read and always wanted to buy, I find that I don't have that much time to actually finish what seems to be like a overlarge, pending To-Read list. Those really were the good times.

I don't know what this post is about. A product of having too many incomprehensible thoughts in your mind maybe. Right now, there might not be an answer on my lips if you ask me if anything is troubling me and yet I would sit by the window of my room brooding the whole night. 

There are some times when you wish there was someone who would find the answers for you. But there never is. Not really. You have to find them on your own. Or give up trying and be influenced by the people who have been influencing your decisions (read-taking your decisions) from the beginning of time. 

I am not whining. I swear I am not. 

Things are pretty normal with me though a change of hostel and two whole new roommates can be unsettling in the beginning. But apart from that, it is the usual five-days-of-college-then-rush-back-home routine for me. And apart from getting progressively lazier, there has been no stark changes about me either. 

As for my college life, it seems like a monotone but is at least better than what it was in the first year. It is just the feeling of indecision gnawing me day and night. What after this? What choices do I have? What do I really want? 

One thing has been very clear from the very beginning though- what I am doing is definitely not what I want. 2 years of engineering and I still don't have a subject that I love reading, that I would love teaching because teaching is all that I had ever wanted to do.

But the funny part is, I had always imagined myself teaching a class full of awed students a Tennyson poem and not Fluid Mechanics to a room of sleepy teenagers who are waiting for the class to end. Because that is what I do- wait for the class to end. 

The truth is, the above statement is not funny at all. It is actually as sad as sad can get.  

I think I just swore I won't whine a few lines ago. You must forgive me :D

Maybe this is just a midnight rant. Maybe in the morning everything will be normal again and this would seem old. But would any morning change this truth and some certain realizations I have made about my life?
Realizations that I am too ashamed to share, too fearful to express? 

I would hope it would, but then that would be just wishful thinking.

-A Kirti who fears for the dreamer in her.