Monday, January 5, 2015

A Gif For Monday

So, I was watching Thiruvalaiyadal yesterday (let's just call it research) and for those of you who haven't watched the film, I recommend it heartily purely based on the entertainment quotient that lies in Sivaji's epic Thaandavam.

While the entire Thaandavam needed to be condensed into a reaction gif to express un-expressable levels of anger, there was one particular moment for me which I just HAD to gif and share, stat.






Hope you're having a good Monday, and if you want an entire collection of Sivaji Ganesan gifs, leave a comment! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

Another year is upon us! As it is with every new year that sneaks upon us every December, I hate it already. I was very sure that 2014 would be crappy, but looking back, it wasn't as crappy as I had initially expected it to be. Here is a personal roundup -

1. I used a planner for the whole year - I've been buying a planner every year the last five years but 2014 was the first year where I actually used it to plan my day as opposed to my usual ritual of writing one sentence and then using it for bookshelf beautification. I think the key to like, really making the most of your planner is by using it purely on a day to day basis. Don't waste time on filling out birthdays in the "Months" section because it's 2014, and we've all got facebook for that.

2. I learned to be more ambitious...and more open to failure - Failure and me, we're like those two people who aren't really friends, but have like 3571 mutual friends and keep commenting and annoying each other on our common friend's wall posts. We don't know each other, but we know each other, you know what I mean - the dude is always lurking. This year, I finally sent out that friend request. I started a lot of projects this year, some were great, some were O-K and some, I don't even know what I was thinking. But all of them, I started with the knowledge that it was TOTALLY OK if it bombed. That really gave me the freedom to go all out and enjoy myself doing those projects and yes, I didn't do as well as I would've liked, but I had fun, I learned a little more about myself and it's all so much better when failure is a friend. I do not, however, recommend this "friending failure" approach where academics and exams are concerned.

3. I made an effort - So 2014 wasn't really the greatest year where my friendships were concerned. I had always been lazy in that department, but this year a few things happened where I really was affected to the point where I had to totally rethink the way I created my friendships, and how I maintained them. I started from scratch again, did some spring cleaning for the old, neglected ones, and went out and actively built new ones. I honestly am happier now for the effort that I made. Looking back, I'd like to think of the stuff that went down the drain as the hair that you lose when you shower - it wasn't strong enough to begin with, and I know that you're attached to your hair and all, but it'll be gross if you go try pick it up and put it back, and it's just hair anyway, it'll grow back newer, and maybe even better. Analogy mairaatam irundhaalum feeling-a please purinjukonga*.

4. Marriage can be awesome if you're lucky - I think this is the year where I really felt like damn, so this is what it feels like to be married. Marriage is awesome though. I mean, we are polar opposites, my husband and I, and yet we are having plenty of fun. What annoys me though, is when people expect me to wax eloquent of Arranged Marriage. Every time I/we maintain that I/we got lucky (which I/we did), people get really disappointed, like those old Chinese Men with the long mustaches in the Martial Arts movies because I/we failed to defend Arranged Marriage's honour. "But you two had an arranged marriage" they say, "and you two are happy!" We are. We really are. But we also know that Marriage (arranged or otherwise) is kind of like jumping into the sea from the Titanic. Sometimes you get the lifeboat manned by an experienced boatman, sometimes, you're left in the freezing water with someone who's on a wooden plank that's big enough for the both of you and yet won't let you on it while holding on to your hand and claiming to love you all the same.

I'm full of analogies today.


5. I READ MORE BOOKS - I read 20 books this year out of the 24 I had aimed, and that, for me, was the least crappy thing about 2014.


So that was my year. How was yours? Awesome? Crappy? Non-crappy? Just Ok? Here's hoping 2015 is better :)


* - Sorry, but I can't translate this. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Farmer Falgu Goes To The Market - A Review

Some time ago, the very wonderful Chitra Sounder posed a question on twitter - would anyone be interested in reviewing a Children's Book, she asked. I volunteered to review, because I like books, and more importantly, I much prefer children's writing to their grown-up counterparts or any other genre for that matter. There are two reasons why - the first being that the writing, I've found, is consistently better, and the second, is that I'm still denial about my own age. Adulthood really doesn't appeal to me.

ANYWAY, Farmer Falgu Goes To The Market is a lovely little book for the little one you know, or have. I would peg the appropriate age group for this book to be the 5-8 category (although I've actually no idea with respect to which age group the publishers have targeted), because I personally felt that each age group would get something different out of the book. The book's about Farmer Falgu who is heading to the local market with all his lovely fresh fruits, vegetables and eggs, but encounters a difficulties on the way (including an adorable duck family and some hungry goats), that ultimately destroy his bounty. Instead of worrying about how everything's been ruined, Falgu proceeds to borrow a few pans and starts selling omelettes instead!

The book is very appealing, visually, and the crayon style illustrations are unique and make the whole story pop, which is quite an achievement considering how the emphasis throughout the book is on sounds (the eggs cracked, the pan sizzled, the oink oinks and the maa-maas), so all credit to Kanika Nair!



I believe that it's important that kids read, for lack of a better word, indigenous writing when they're in that 5-8 age group because it plays an important role in helping them understand what's really around them, like Farmer Falgu and his bullock cart, as opposed to quaint English concepts like Golliwogs and Treacle Pudding (also known as the two great disappointments of my childhood because I was never able to find either of them where I lived despite searching in many places and harassing even more people).

I think it must also be said that Indian Children's Writing, today, is of such better quality when pitted against Indian Fiction Writing in general. When I was younger, and when my parents realized that I liked books, they bought me what they found in the stores then - my mom wasn't really a reader, but she ensured that I got the best. I grew up on the Little Golden Books before I graduated to Enid Blyton and Carolyn Keene before eventually falling into that black hole called Young Adult (I lost many years to the Princess Diaries). My sister, though, went the Dr.Seuss - Roald Dahl route. Although she followed me into the YA Black Hole of No Return, Varsha read a lot more Indian Children's Books than I ever did. Karadi Tales, and Tulika were just getting mainstream. True to form, Karadi Tales have been doing an excellent job all these years, and this book is no exception.

Over all, I really enjoyed this book, and I'm twenty five (I'll be twenty six next year), so if you know any little ones who you want to introduce to good books, do pick up Farmer Falgu Goes To The Market!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

10 Times You Needed a Captain Gif But Didn't Know Where To Go

Yes I'm still on the Gif trip. Also noticed that Gifs get way more attention than painstakingly thought of & crafted blog posts, so what's a girl to do? Here are ten times when your life needed a Captain reaction and you didn't even know it.

1. When You Upset Your Friend's Dogs (By Just Being Yourself) 



2. Pay Day

OH YEAH
 3. When Your Friend's All "Sorry Man, But I Don't Have Any Alcohol In My Fridge"



4. Watching Your Favourite Character on Game Of Thrones Die



5. When The New (Cute) Girl Smiles At You



6. When You Just Want To Be Left Alone

GO AWAY MAN
 7. When You're Having Some Particularly Dirty Thoughts At Work



8. When You're 3 Drinks Down & Want To Do Shots And Suddenly Your Friend's All, Dude, I Think You've Had Enough (Bonus: Lip Reading!)



9. Your I'm-Seriously-Working Face When You're Actually Watching A Movie (On Media Player) 

10. When You Don't Get What The Joke Is About [Thanks @Dagalti!]


Saturday, October 25, 2014

10 TR Gifs that the internet needs but doesn't deserve

Here's the result of all the hard work that went into watching about 30 youtube videos & 6 TR movies - I have culled the most magnificent TR moments that you never knew your life needed until now -

1. When you come out of the theatre after spending Rs.800 to watch Anjaan on the first day

2. When you see your sibling taking your stuff without telling you

3. When your friends tell you "Don't turn now, but there's a pretty girl right behind you"
Alternatively: When your mother tells you that the wedding you bunked had Pattappa Saapad
4. When you're out clubbing but don't know how to dance


5. When you're out clubbing, don't know how to dance and you're a few drinks down
My PT master taught me this step

6. When you're stalking your ex on facebook and realize s/he's become infinitely hotter


7. When the colleague you don't like tells your boss that you're the perfect candidate for the project that's in the middle of nowhere land. 


8. Showing off your newest crush's facebook photos to your friend

9. When you're having a tough time in the toilet

10. When you have a sick new ride and you're driving it down the road like the coolest dude ever

GOATMOBILE BITCHEZZ



Monday, October 6, 2014

13 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 13

There appears to be a tag on the rounds - thirteen pieces of wisdom that you wish your 13 year old self knew. No one has asked me to do the tag, which is probably why I'm so eager to type it out this wonderfully busy Monday afternoon. Before I begin though, two major observations - One, I was 13 twelve years ago. Two, I was 13 TWELVE YEARS AGO. I'm pretty sure there's Scotch my age that is being sold with a "vintage" label.

Sad face.

Anyway, here goes:

1. Eat healthy. I know that eating junk food the way you did was nothing short of an art, but I have to tell you that 19 year old you had a really, really, really, really, really, really, REALLY hard time losing the weight you accumulated with your specific diet of top ramen noodles, cheese on everything and potato chips. A thumb rule: 3 Pringles are ok. 3 tubes of Pringles in one go while watching the Johnny Bravo marathon aren't.

2. Don't judge people. This is something you've recently begun to do, miss. Just because someone is 'X' never implies that they are also 'Y'. Everyone has a story, and everyone knows something you don't. The quicker you stop doing this, the less annoying you will be when you grow up.

3. Make strong friendships. This is the age when real friendships are forged. It's good to have "lots of friends" but it is so much more important to forge close friendships - especially of the female kind - invite your friends home, go to their places, don't bunk birthday parties because you were feeling lazy, and spend half an hour after school talking about nothing. When you grow up, they will become the people to whom you can send TR Speaking English videos without the fear of being physically abused.

4. Read. Read everything. You have a great reading habit. Don't get lost in the literary quicksand that is fluffy young adult. Read the classics. Read Shakespeare. Read Russian writing. Read poetry. It all seems overwhelming now, but I promise you'll get it. Put The Princess Diaries down. Please.

5. Get Good Marks. Sorry to sound like Amma, but really - if you can get 80 by not studying and watching Cartoon Network all day, imagine HOW MUCH MORE you'll get if you actually studied. You can be a topper! You're smart enough! Why are you not listening to me? Fine, don't listen to me. They're your marks. YOUR LIFE. Do whatever. I am not paying for your college. *slams door*

6. Play A Sport: Even if you suck at it (which I know you do). Nothing comes automatically, but sport gives you an hour to take the day off, and indulge in something for fun. It gives you team mates, new friends, a different social circle, and makes you an interesting person. Note: Competitive Eating is NOT a sport.

7. Work on Your Writing: So I found something you wrote recently, and while the writing itself was beyond awful, I will tell you that it had a lot of potential. You can be really good if you work on what you have. You will lose a lot of writing competitions in school despite being the English teacher suck-up simply because you were too lazy. Read more. Write even more. Work, work, work. (If you had worked hard, I wouldn't be writing crap in this blog now. I'd have been writing crap in newspaper columns. Sigh)

8. Get back to Paatu Class/ Dance Class: But don't get back to both. One is enough. Get back to dance class. Or Paatu class. But get back.

9. STOP BUYING TURTLENECK T-SHIRTS OHMYGOD. Seriously.

10. Don't Be Embarrassed By Yourself:  Ya. You're chubby. People make fun of you. But guess what, people will make fun of you even after you've dropped the 25 extra kg and got yourself a nice haircut because people, they suck. Don't listen to them. You're pretty cool. Except when you're being whiny and annoying because then you're totally not cool.

11. Geography isn't as difficult as you thought it was: You'd know too, if you actually read it instead of sleeping in class and trying to mug the lesson at 5 AM on the day of your exam.

12. Be More Careful With Your Stuff: I still don't get how you managed to lose your pens on an everyday basis.

13. Boys Your Age Are Stupid: If you must absolutely have a crush on someone, pick an older boy - in fact there is a really cute boy with the most incredible brown eyes and half a pair of dimples about 4 batches senior to you in Vidya Mandir. Keep an eye on him but for heaven's sake don't creep him out the way you creep other guys out THIS IS IMPORTANT OKAY.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

On Contests

Hello! Just wanted to let you guys know that I'm currently participating in a contest for...Greeting Card Designs. I'm no artist, but I do like to think of myself as a professional doodler of sorts, and over the years I have been drawing many random things, but the last year or so especially, I've been shifting my focus on animals. When I saw this contest pop up, I knew I had to participate - not to win ofcourse, that would be too awesome to actually happen.

ANYWAY, so I came up with a set of 3 cards to fit the contest brief of "modern and quirky" - I'm putting the link below, and if you like them, and I really hope you do, do vote for them by using the "like" and/or "tweet" button on the same page. You can see them here: http://ohhdeer.com/competition/occasionally-fun/view-artist/8456/Lavanya


Thanks very much everyone!

POSTSCRIPT:

You know, at first when I started typing this post I thought it was all smarmy and not nice to like ask for votes in a blog that I haven't really been updating but then I saw the number of posts this year and good god have I been regular or what - ok so maybe not 2008 regular but I'm still writing! Did you guys know that it's been like what, 9 years since I even started blogging? My first blog was The Evil Autorickshaw which I started in 2005 when I was about 16 years old. I then deleted it because I'm generally an idiot like that, and started this blog in 2007. It's 2014 now, and it boggles the mind to think that I've actually grown up with this space - Board exams, my spectacularly embarrassing teens, internships, my spectacularly embarrassing adult years,failing and passing CA exams, becoming an actual Chartered Accountant, MARRIAGE, wow! It's been a good run, and if you're reading my blog, or used to read my blog, if you like my blog, or if you used to like my blog but now think it's crappy and disgusting wtf how did it even last this long - it doesn't matter - you were part of my growing up years, and if I'm here, I owe you a part of the credit so let's just go out now and get some doughnuts to celebrate.






Friday, September 5, 2014

Those Two Marks

Much hullabaloo was raised yesterday on the many methods of gentle persuasion that schools are employing to ensure that their students are watching the Prime Minister's Teacher's Day address that will be aired on DD today from 3 pm to 4.45 pm. Here is one example:

The more you read it, the funnier it gets. Photo Credit @masalabai


This is where this post stops being about our Prime Minister and his speech.

I studied in PSBB, where we took our "annual day" very seriously. We were so serious about it, that we didn't even call it "Annual Day" like the other schools did. It was the school Anniversary. The Anniversary, like most weddings these days, was essentially the same programme that was performed over a span of three days at one of the biggest auditoriums in the city. Day 1 was for students, Day 2, parents of Nungambakkam and T.Nagar branch, and Day 3, parents of KK Nagar branch. Each year, the programme would have a different theme based on which the teachers had to conceptualize dance/music/theatre performances.

The anniversary usually began on a Wednesday, and after the three days of performing, the weekend was off for the participants to recuperate and begin school refreshed. This was something I got to know only after I saw my sister participate - she has participated in the programme every year she was in school, apart from giving the School Pupil Leader address during her last year. I was a non participant all my years in school - I quite enjoyed being one too - my holiday began two weeks before the anniversary - amidst the wonderful chaos that would ensue in the auditorium with multiple practice sessions and cross-batch bonhomie, I would get about 7 free periods during the day to catch up on sleep that I didn't need. I did do a voice recording for a Tamil play as Avvaiyaar in Standard XII because the girl who was supposed to do the part got a sore throat, but I've never been on stage because I couldn't dance, I couldn't sing, and while I could emote, I "wasn't stage friendly", which was basically polite for "we can't have hippo sized students on stage".

ANYWAY, once the programme was all done and we got back to routine and extra classes to make up for those we missed, there would be an Anniversary Quiz. The quiz, based on the theme and the performances in the anniversary, would be for twenty marks, which would later be shrunk to two, and added to the marks that you'd already scored in your Half Yearly exams. Most of the questions were from the synopsis of the programme that was attached with the invitation, and the questions that weren't from the synopsis were always vague and open to interpretation, like, "What are the benefits of honesty?"

Everyone cared about the Anniversary Quiz, whether they were hoping to turn their 38 into 40 ("The Anniversary Miracle") or their 98 into 100 ("The Anniversary Centum"). I was a recipient myself of The Anniversary Miracle when I got 38 in Economics (40 was pass) in Std XII and it was this completely, completely, pointless quiz with academic consequences that prevented the school from calling my parents up.

The reason I took the trouble to write all this down, is not because I wanted to write a lofty sounding post about how sometimes you need to know more than just the subject (such as the benefits of honesty) to get through school, or because I have problems with anything that the Government is trying to do (if you do want to read my opinions on the Government read my columns where I write under the pen name "Siddharth Varadarajan"), but because, for the first time, it feels like my school has prepared me for the future.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Red Eye

Two days ago, I took the last flight out of Ahmedabad back home. It's scheduled to depart at around nine in the evening, reach Chennai half hour before midnight, and is sometimes delayed but always rickety. Taking the last flight is never the most convenient thing to do, but I am the kind of weirdo homebody who has this permanent urge to get back, even if bone tired, to my room and my bed with too many pillows (mine).

This time on the flight, there was a group of particularly loud men sitting in the two rows in front of me. Gathering from the snippets of their conversation that I (and every other passenger) was forced to hear, it seemed like for a majority of the group, it was their first flight and naturally, they were all visibly excited. The excitement though, after some time, got out a little out of hand - in the midst of the hooting and laughter, they stood up and started posing for pictures during the security brief, making comments about "including the background".

While I am not one to be bothered by loudness or hooting or any behaviour that is not visibly offensive/involves physical contact, this was the first time that I'd seen picture taking that involved including the background and I got uncomfortable since I was, along with a few other women, part of the background. Thankfully, the steward noticed what was going on and came swiftly to handle the situation. She made the man take his phone out, enter his security code, said a lot of things in shuddh hindi about flight policy, and deleted the pictures off his phone. My discomfort soon became aggravation as I noticed that these men had the widest grin on their faces while they were being chided, and that when she left, they broke into laughter again, like it was all a big joke.

I felt terrible for the flight attendant, and what she had to go through, but she looked unfazed - she proceeded to busy herself about things, ever the picture of calm and even came back to ask them, with a warm smile, if they were interested in purchasing a sandwich or maybe juice, as if these engaging in these skirmishes was routine, as if they already knew something like this was going to happen when they set out to work this morning, as if an incident like this had already happened during the course of the day and it was now getting boring to deal with guys like this, as if it was part of their job.

I don't think I'd ever been happier, or more grateful to be an accountant.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thoughts on a Saturday

A few weeks ago, I attended a dinner party organized by a group of my father's friends. It was standard as far as dinner parties went - nobody could completely recognize everybody, the kids were bored out of their minds and everybody laughed uproariously at jokes that weren't at all funny.

While all of this was happening, one of the guests came up to me, and asked me what I was doing at work. When I did tell him what I was doing he smiled sympathetically and told me, very gently, that it wasn't good for anything, and that I should be considering alternatives if I wanted to make money, and if I really wanted to succeed. Look at me, he said, and went on to list all his dazzling achievements which he dazzlingly achieved during his dazzling days in the practice and even after he left practice, before he asked me if I had an exit plan in mind, and whether it was as dazzling as his own.

I started to make a bad joke about raising cows only to get cut off with a serious response about the potential of organic farming, and how his own organic farm (that will do dazzlingly in the future, I'm sure) is shaping up instead. Thankfully, my exit plan appeared a few minutes later in the form of his kid who wanted ice-cream and I slipped out of sight to another corner in the room with the hope that I wouldn't have to see him again.

I get really unnerved when people who are senior to me discuss their career accomplishments with me, and more so when it is accompanied by advice (which is usually unsolicited). I think it probably is because of the fact that my personal definition of what constitutes an achievement has always been very fuzzy. I don't know if that is because of the way I was brought up. My parents were never the 'punishing' type - failures, and awful marks would be met with disappointed faces and the statement - "It's your future. We can only do so much.". Good performances, and academic success was met with happiness, but they were never really surprised or even labelled such performances as "achievements", or whatever it is that gives you the ego that comes along with having accomplished something.

My sister and I have never let good performances really get into our heads, but I remember the time when I'd just passed CA - I was extraordinarily smug and possessed the arrogance of someone who had touched the moon by building a ladder made entirely of toothpicks. My mother went on to prick my ego balloon by telling me that passing CA was the least I could've done, given my background - My father is a Chartered Accountant, and even if that wasn't a factor, I attended the best classes one could attend/money could buy, had access to every book I'd ever need and the best environment required to study - The only odds I had to overcome were my own tendencies to sleep on my textbooks and not pay attention to my teachers and the fact that I failed despite everything that was provided to me was more of an achievement than my passing. You milked a cow and got milk, my mother had told me. Tell me about the day you milked a cow and got orange juice, and I'll let you have an ego then.

Today, I'm still looking to really achieve, do things in ways that only I could've done, but it seems stupid to say oh, I want to achieve without even knowing what I want to achieve. I know quite a few people who seem to have it figured out, who seem to know exactly where they will be, ten, fifteen years from now. I don't. What I do know, though, is that I don't want to be in my forties giving unsolicited advice to young people about how they should be living their lives.

And that, I suppose, is as good a start as any.

Please note: The views expressed in this blog are the author's own. However, she is not responsible for the comments that have been left on the page and the same need not necessarily reflect her viewpoint on the same and are entirely the commenters' own. Ok, now read the rest of the blog already.