opinion

A speaker or two

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“We need this!” I said, my eyes dreamily glazing over the shiny black rectangular contours of the Home Theatre system that was on display. “I don’t think so. Plus we should look online for better deals.” exclaimed my wife, tugging at my hand, trying to steer me away from the electronic wonderland that I had stumbled upon. I tried to resist, but followers of my blog will know that my wife knows Karate and can be rather persuasive with her ‘holds’.

“You know what?” I said, desperately racking my brains for an apt sentence that would swing the game in my favour, “Remember how you’ve always complained that we don’t have good speakers at home. And that the one that we have, has wires running all over the place?"

She stopped in her tracks, and I took this as a signal to go on. “Well, if we buy this, we can stream music directly from our iPod to OUR (yes, I used the word OUR) home-theatre system, without the need for messy wires. And it has seven wireless speakers too. Just imagine!”. I smiled as I delivered the sentence that I knew would convince her.

We both stood there for a few minutes - me trying to visualise this state-of-the-art home theatre system at home and watching my favourite movies in complete surround sound and digital sound, my wife thinking about all the music she could play loudly on the new system.

Half-an-hour later, we walked out of the store, with a receipt for a hefty amount and our hearts filled with the excitement of having ticked off something from my technology bucket list and the joy of times to come.

A few days later,

My wife and I stared lovingly at the set of speakers that we had wall-mounted. As a self-proclaimed technical expert, I had opted to do all the installation myself and apart from a few minor blisters and bruises, I had managed to get everything done. Bursting with excitement, I called out to my wife and sat her down right in the middle of the sofa, in the spot where I had decided would be acoustically perfect.

And then I switched on the system and attempted to connect my iPod ‘wirelessly’ to the home theatre. Now, I am a geek and a proud one at that. As the seconds soon transformed into minutes and then longer minutes, I heard my wife clear her throat. I looked over my shoulder at her. With a smile on her face, she held out the ‘How-To’ guide that had been included in the box.

“No!” I exclaimed, turning back and fervently trying to make the connection work. Behind me, I could hear my wife typing something on her phone. Trying to ignore her, I restarted both the system and my iPod. After another 30 minutes had passed with no visible results, my wife tapped me on my shoulder. “I think you should call the experts.” she stated, as I turned around.

“Oh! And before I forget, here is something.” she said, handing me her phone. She had opened up a search site in her browser and had entered the search string - Speakers under Rs. 1000. “We should have just done this, you know. You and your fancy gadgets!” she exclaimed with a smirk on her face, as she walked away.

I merely nodded, as I always did.


 

This is a sponsored post, but the opinions and views are mine.

Photo by Freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles

Reflections

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"Being reflective” is not a mode that I go into often. I try not to reflect too much on the past, because somewhere in there exists a list. A list that shows me the tasks that I never completed despite numerous promises that I’ve made. And they mock me. For being a procrastinator and pushing these tasks away into the darkest domains of my universe, where they lie gathering dust. But it’s not always doom and gloom. For within the blackness of the cavern, some achievements, tiny as they may seem, push me on guiding me like a shining beacon of light. Over the past year, my life as I know it has changed. Quite drastically might I add. We moved back to India after a long stint in London. The point was to be closer to our roots, family and the rest of the usual logic that most of us “foreign-returns” claim the reason to be. The truth of course is a lot deeper and not one that I can unravel in a single post. So I shall not.

Deep down (no, not that deep down), I knew I needed a change in career. I was good at what I did and success wasn’t too far behind. But I’ve never known the feeling that people who “love” their jobs claim to have. That feeling where you can’t wait to wake up in the morning to start your routine. That feeling that makes “your job” feel like it’s the most natural thing in the world to you. I’ve searched high and low for something that gives me that feeling. But despite my academic journey taking me through the “shadowy realms of engineering” and the “roller coaster of a Master’s degree from a reputed foreign university”, I had still never been closer to discovering what I actually wanted. And that nagging feeling continued till September last year, when I finally hit the number that a lot of people in my age bracket seemed to dread.  No, I did not wake up on my 30th birthday, and say “Eureka! I know what I want!”. Rather, for the first time in my life, I did a bit of introspection. And as a result, I started iWroteThose - which is probably what I’m most known for now.

My blog has certainly evolved over time. I've dabbled in almost every category of posts - from reviews and stories to parenting and rants disguised as opinions. And finally, NINETY-NINE posts, TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND views and ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN THOUSAND words later, I'm here - Post#100.  All this in a rather short span of SEVEN months. I suppose I can confidently say that “ writing “ is definitely my calling.

For those of you who have been reading me regularly, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude. In a world filled with “back-scratching” politics and often senseless comments, you have been the sole source of inspiration for me to "keep calm and carry on writing", as they say in good ol’ England. So thank you!

Before I wind up, for those of you who may be reading this (seriously,  if you still are, you are nothing short of  a legend), I'd like to narrate something that happened a couple of days ago.

I am a work-from-home dad and proud of it. Over the past fourteen months, there is only one question that I’ve been repeatedly asked - So, what do you do? (Click to read that post). As I’ve mentioned in the post, I’ve come to realise that my honest answer is capable of evoking the famous Indian “judgemental eye-roll and disappointed nodding of head”. But I suppose over time, I’ve developed the hide of a beast and rather than feel overwhelmed, it merely flows off my toughened exterior, sort of like water of a duck’s back.

The other day, I got stuck in an elevator with an elderly gentleman who was dressed in a white “veshti" (or dhoti) and a crisp khadi shirt. Now, along with being a wee bit claustrophobic, I am not a big fan of getting stuck in an elevator with people who are fond of asking questions. So when BESCOM (our electricity provider) decided to pull the plug, this very anti-social me was stuck in the lift with this rather affable octogenarian. I’ve come to realise that most traditional and elderly “uncles” in our community love to ask that dreaded question. And this one was no different. No sooner than had we flashed each other a polite smile, he asked (might I add, in impeccable accent-free English) - So, what do you do? I suppose the question probably arose from the fact that I had a bag full of grocery shopping and it was about 11am in the morning on a weekday. I mean, he was probably trying to gauge why I wasn’t at work, as every normal Indian man of non retire-able age should be. According to society that is.

Usually when I’m faced with this question, I often retort with the answer, “I work from home as a content writer”. Which to be honest is true. I do a reasonable amount of writing work for a fee. However this time around, I confidently answered “I’m a writer.” I then stared at his face waiting for that polite smile to change into an uncomfortable one, which would then be quickly followed by the eye roll and nodding head. Strangely, the polite smile turned into a beaming one. I’m almost certain that I even saw his eyes twinkle slightly behind the thick-set spectacles that adorned his face. For a moment, I wondered if he’d heard something else. Surely, this wasn’t the reaction that I was supposed to get. The backup power came on and the lift slowly started to chug its way up to the eighth floor where I would disembark. The man was still smiling and it looked like my answer had invoked some nostalgia in him. I hoped that the memories were pleasant.  Suddenly he stopped smiling and asked, “What’s your name, young man?” “It’s Sid.” I answered, still wondering when the smile would disappear.

For the rest of the upward journey, the man remained silent. As the lift doors opened my portal to the eighth floor, I quickly flashed a cordial smile at him and started to exit. “Sid,” he called out. I stopped and turned around. “For over 40 years, I have interviewed several generations of youngsters for various roles. They were Engineers, IT professionals, IIM and IIT graduates, MBAs - you name the type, I've seen them." he said, the smile slowly reappearing. He continued, "But none of them have ever answered my question with so much conviction as you have today. I don’t know anything about you or your background, but the confidence and passion that you have in what you do shines through in those words that you spoke. I wish you all the luck.”

As the doors to the lift closed, I stood there shell-shocked by the conversation that had just transpired. It took me a few moments to regain my composure and as I walked into my house, for the first time in ages, I felt I had made the right choice in life. Ironically, the last time I’d felt so, was when I had incessantly pursued my wife, Janaki, to say yes to my proposal.  And we know how that turned out. :)

 

Tag, you're it!

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A word of caution before you go ahead 

This is a "lovey-dovey" kind of post. Lots, and I mean, lots of love ahead. Maybe even a bit of mushiness. And yes, I'm vain enough to accept the appreciation that they have thrown at me. But I promise you, none of the feedback was "sponsored" in anyway. 

I stare helplessly at the empty white space behind her, which resembles a vast bottomless abyss taunting me to make my move. My lips feel parched and I am suddenly very conscious about the gigantic  beads of sweat that are now starting to form on my forehead.

I try to take a deep breath, but it seems impossible. I feel like I’m being strangled. And as my eyes start to get misty, I see her. Disappearing and then reappearing, as if playing peek-a-boo with me, trying to tempt me to do something. Anything. But my hands don’t move. They just lie limp by my side, and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to use them again. And then she starts to blink, almost in a pattern, which makes me feel she’s laughing at me. At my wordless-ness. "Damn you …..stupid blinking cursor” 

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This is me, when I have the dreaded "writer's block". Or when I have to fill in one of those “About Me” sections which masquerades around as a harmless little text box. I always feel overwhelmed trying to describe myself as a person. So overwhelmed, that I sometimes almost breakdown. The problem, you see, is to writing something nice and appealing about myself. It's almost an impossible ask for me. Of course, I can use the self-depreciating humour technique that has become ever so popular. But then as I've discovered, it can become boring and outdated quite quickly.

We started Project 365 in order to ensure that we came up with something creative and "out-of-the-box" for every post that we did. And keeping true to that value, every now and then we pick some rather strange prompts. And today's is one such one. My "Goliath" today is the prompt,  "If humans had tag lines, what would yours be?".

For those of you who may be “marketing-ly challenged”, a tag line is that short, yet ridiculously important catchphrase or slogan that usually accompanies a product or service. Sometimes they are absolutely brilliant and makes you wonder if you could have come up with something as catchy. Other times they make no sense at all, what so ever, but just sounds so sassy. And some other times, they just make you regret the fact that the people who came up with those slogans are some form of writers too. Just like you and me. (Yes, I’ll let that sink in for a minute! ).

Now let's imagine what happens if people did have tag lines that were honest and gave others a little bit of insight into the real you. It could be like one of those little "thought bubbles" that we see in cartoons and animations. Maybe, it will be a reality one day. Anyway I digress. So the question is, "What would your tag line be?". Since I'm absolutely ridiculous at coming up tag lines, I cheated a little bit. I picked SIX awesome writers that I've  known through their blogs, chats and talks (and a bit of Facebook “information retrieval”). And then flashed the smiliest of smiley emoticons at them and asked them for a favour. In other ways, you could say I invoked the “blog-ship clause” (Kind of like the friendship clause but for bloggers).

And this is what they had to say: (Be warned : They obviously think I’m some sort of author in the making and an awesome person. They could be wrong. or right. or just high on the “drug” that I spiked in their virtual drink).

 

Hema

RekhaJairamAlkaSeetaDagny

Appreciation is a wonderful thing. Especially when it comes from people whose writing prowess I admire. So how do you express your gratitude to these lovely writers? You just write a tag line for them. So here’s my “tribute” to this lovely unrelated sextet who are only joined by the love of writing.

HemsReksJai AlkaSeeta

Dagny_1

And before I wind up this rather lovey-dovey post, I think it’s only fair that I sum up what I think my tagline should be. For I don’t think I’m all that amazing as these brilliant people have made me out to be. I’m impatient with a short fuse and don’t know to say the word “No”, amongst others. But most of all, I procrastinate with things I don’t want to do. Instead of getting “less-interesting” things over and done with,  I just keep putting them away till I am forced to do it. So I suppose an apt tagline for me would be, a mini-variation on the famous Nike tagline.

Sid_Justdoit

 

[This post is written for the Project 365 program at We Post Daily aimed at posting at least once a day, based on the prompts provided. The prompt for today was "Often, our blogs have taglines. But what if humans did, too? What would your tagline be? ”  Once again, this post is about how awesome I am. Deal with it :P P.S I asked a few other writers too. Sadly they were a bit pressed for time. Else you would have seen how much more awesome I could have been. Okay, I just feel like Reggie from Archie comics now ;)]