A digital flirt. Not a nice feeling

I feel like a digital flirt. I don’t enjoy the feeling anymore. I joined instagram few days back. Having the app on my smartphone gives me the freedom to post a photo and note from anywhere and anytime. I see the world through words. Even photographs speak to me through words.

I have an aversion of putting my own photographs. Most of my family members are intensely private people. So I don’t want to be the intruder. Selfies don’t excite me. To be honest, I don’t have the body of  Kim Kardashian.

But I have been flirting here and there in the digital world. And the destinations vary from Facebook, Twitter to Instagram.

As much as all of them allow me to express myself, there’s no greater joy than sitting in front of my computer and expressing my thoughts filling up the screen. The sound of the keyboard makes me feel alive. connected and joyful.

As I write this, I feel this space of mine gives me the feeling of home (Aah.. the Gypsy talking of having a home. But life is all about having possibilities or imagining possibilities).

I have had enough of being a digital flirt. Let me enjoy this solid feeling of being in a meaningful relationship.

And a little note of ‘Thank you’ to all those wonderful souls who have stopped by this space and encouraged me with their generosity of appreciation and heart-warming comments.

The Gypsy hopes to meet more generous souls on the road ahead.

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Of love Notes, samosas and jalebis

It’s a sudden realization. For the last three weeks, I have been only talking or listening about money. I am also reading quite a lot about money.

I am tired. Don’t get me wrong. I love money. For all the temporary possibilities money offers.

Late last night, I listened to Ravish Kumar’s wonderful talk titled ‘Love in the time of Note Bandi’ in Timeslitfest, New Delhi. The house was deep in slumber. I was the only one sitting in front of a flickering laptop, enjoying the words of Ravish Kumar.

Delhi suddenly felt near, intimate. Geography seemed irrelevant. Airports felt meaningless. Memory and desire felt warm in the heart and veins too. So also the huge, dark gulab jamuns of Aggarwal Sweets in Munrika. The piping hot jalebis of Moonlight. The jalebis felt complete with samosas, they made a happy couple with their sweet-salty combination. Life’s XL pleasures. Managed with little money.

Why do I still remember the taste of those jalebis, gulab jamuns and samosas? Why is it so difficult to let go of young, delicious memories?

jalebi             samosa.jpg

I am thinking of love. Young love. Adult love. Aching love, smiling love, happy love, teary love.

Some loves are so intense and organic that they actually don’t need much money to survive, to flourish. These love stories are wrapped in richness. They don’t need pumping of money to look or feel rich.

These love stories don’t need diamonds, birthday celebrations in swanky five star hotels, Louis Phillipe shirts or LV handbags. They are just rich by their very nature.

On November 9, 2016 morning, some love felt like Rs 100.  And some felt like Rs 1000.

Who knows what lies ahead?

Bur I feel like sitting down one Sunday and counting the chillar (coins) in my little piggy bank. I have a feeling we can still buy a nice meal for both of us with that money.

Let them talk about cashless India, debit cards, credit cards, netbanking, paytm, this and that.

My India is still safe in my little piggy bank.

I want my fingers to be messy with the syrup of jalebis. I love my fingers, I love his fingers. I love it more when our fingers are intertwined. There’s certain mellowness about lovers and their fingers.

I want to run my fingers through his hair. Like I used to do when I was 22.

Neither of us need to be rich to do that.

America. Too far

Even in 2016 that comes with near perfect internet connection, viber, skype, whatsapp, Gchat, I find America too far. I find it difficult to embrace two different time zones.

“America is far. When will you be back?” I asked him. “Distance is not an issue these days. By your logic, even Ahmedabad is far from Delhi,” he told. “No, America is very far,” I answered back. He told, “But your sister lives there.” I replied, “How will anyone understand the pangs of separation?”

My younger sister has been living in America since last 20 years. During the initial years, I hoped that she would come back to India. To Bangalore, Pune or may be Hyderabad. We often talked of her coming back to India.  Possibilities of walking into each other’s homes  without ever having to go through the visa, immigration procedures.

Times have changed. Years have brought in different realities.  We don’t indulge in such talks now. Our wrinkles on the face are becoming more visible.We know the reality. Her coming back to India looks as remote as Virendra Sehwag once again playing international cricket.

I have always hated the hours between my sister boarding a flight from Newark and arriving at Mumbai. These hours always make me  cranky, anxious. I  somehow make a listless attempt to sail through the day. I keep myself occupied by  cleaning wardrobes that look organized. I perk up when she arrives in Mumbai. Suddenly the anxiety just melts away.

It’s not even 20 hours since he left for America. I have started feeling the pangs of anxiety. I am writing this piece to sooth me, to calm me. I know, it’s not about him. He has gone there on a short visit. He travels frequently. So, it’s no big deal.

So, what exactly is it? It’s about my primary emotions. It’s about my sister living in America. It’s about my sister and me not being able to mourn together the loss of our parents. We could never hug each other when our wounds were raw and bleeding. We were too desolate in two distant lands. Yet we could find a meeting ground.

Life is strange, actually. Sometimes we don’t know whom we are missing. But we feel the ache deep within our heart. We feel the pain in our veins. Same is true of ‘being far’ too. Even in the midst all the internet trapping, I feel America is really far. The silicon valley guys will laugh at me. For talking about distance in 2016.

 

 

Mobile India err Smart India

A group of youngsters in cool cafes and swanky restaurants sitting with their frothy cups of cappuccino and nachos. But their eyes are lowered and their fingers are in a ‘fast and furious mode.’ You might think that they are the future Einsteins and Newtons all set to unravel the mysteries of the universe. They are all together but not a single word is exchanged. Their silence is intriguing. But their silence has a reason. They are all hooked to their smartphones. You wonder why did they all come out in a group? They could have actually stayed at home and done the same (alone). Welcome to the new age Mobile India. Phubbing is the buzzword of urban India vocabulary.

 

mobile

India has been seized by a mobile revolution. Believe it or not, the mobile phone users in India are pegged at one billion. We might not have access to safe drinking water and toilets but there will be more than one mobile phones per family.
In the beginning, when mobile phones came to India in the late 90s (actually those days the mobile phones looked like those boxes you need for your geometry classes, some even looked like tiffin boxes), it was like caviar. Very few had it and the majority only mastered the art of ogling at the caviar from a distance. Today, mobile phones are as common as idli, vada pav or even paani puri.
Before you think that I am ‘immobile’ or anti-mobile, I must say that I love the way mobile phones have changed the way we communicate. In times of a crisis or emergency, mobile phones come as a great blessing. I love the way mobile phones act as a great democratic agent of change. I love it when the young girl who helps me at home comes, plug in her mobile phone and attaches it to the speakers and put on Rihana’s ‘Monster’ or Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’  and then goes on the cleaning spree. Well, I find it cool when she uses the bluetooth for ‘transferring’ songs from my playlist. She loves it when I play my age-old favourite ‘Katra Katra’ song from Izzazat. Today she told me, “My sister doesn’t like this song. But I think, she doesn’t have emotions.” She says with a smile, “Didi, accha lagta hai yeh gaana sun ke. (It feels nice to hear this song).” When she decides to take it easy, she sends me a message on whatsapp, “Didi, not coming.” Quick communication at its best. On my birthday, she changed her DP to a photo taken with me. Her ‘smart’ way of celebrating my birthday.
But there’s another side to this ‘mobile’ story. India is hooked to the world of touch. Everybody is in a rush to upload their holiday photographs, nuggets about their love life. From your break-up to make-up, everything you can upload in the virtual world by just the touch of your mobile. The art of conversation in India today is on life support system. India which was famous for its oral traditions may soon have to mourn its death.
WhatsApp has become the cool word. Everybody is on a ‘mobile’ high. You are smart only if you have a smartphone. The buck stops there.
India is hooked to its mobile phones but the users have very little or no knowledge of mobile manners or etiquette. So, in the darkness of movie theaters when you are lost in the magical world of celluloid fantasy, you will be ruthlessly pulled back to this not so pleasant real world with a loud voice telling, “haan bolo (Yes, tell me).” I have actually heard people yelling at their top voices and telling, “Woh share bech do (Sell that share), dusra kharid lo (Buy the other one).” You see, I live Ahmedabad, the city of bulls and bears.  Sensex is orgasmic in this part of the country. Where does the celluloid magic figure, actually?
Even as the sound of people munching their caramel popcorns from their paper buckets   slows down and you breathe in a sense of relief, you suddenly hear a woman telling, “Haan, dinner mein roti aur aloo gobi bana dena. (Make dinner for us).” You don’t curse your destiny, you curse that little smartphone and the hands holding that sans any etiquette.
Mobile phones have become a status symbol. You got to flaunt it. Your cool quotient is directly linked to that little one. The ones owning these little ones are on a rampage. They have seized urban India (including real and virtual world). Thanks to mobile phones, in India every Tom, Dick, Harry (or to be fair, say Sunny, Bunty, Pintoo, Chintoo or Jayesh, Jignesh) is a reincarnation of Henri Cartier Bresson. And not to talk about selfies, welfies and the never ending vocabulary of all ‘fies’ coming together. All the while, you are seeing somebody or the other pouting like Kim Kardashian and clicking a picture of their own or a group. It has become a menace, if you can allow me to say that.
Every other guy aspires to be a Salman Rushdie or should I say Chetan Bhagat (he mints a hell lot of money). And you actually thought, writing or photography is an art? You gotta be joking.

Just grab your smartphone and take a walk. Welcome to Mobile India..

INDIA, A COUNTRY OF EXPERTS

India is a country of experts. Everybody is an expert on anything and everything. Everybody has an opinion on everything.

So, people who can’t even spell badminton properly now have an opinion on why P V Sindhu missed getting the gold medal. People who have never played a game in their butter-laced life dismiss our Rio Olympics participants as lazy, completely devoid of any grit and determination. In their cocooned existence, they can’t understand what it means to be a sportsperson in India. Unless, you are playing cricket..What all our non-cricket sports persons  have to go through to arrive where they have arrived. On the international level. How many parents from privileged background encourage their children to take up a sports?

People can talk about wrestling, boxing, badminton and hockey like they have spent years and years sweating over the games. I am curious to know which sportsperson plays to lose in a game? Who doesn’t love to win an Olympic medal?

And then Mark Zuckerberg has gifted Indians a lethal weapon called Facebook. So, the expert comments need to be shared, liked and gloated over.

Now, these experts can do a great service to mankind only if they keep quiet and take a chill pill.

(In the midst of all this, there are some who also searched about P V Sindhu’s caste on the internet. Only God can save us)

 

Digital India

Friend: deepikaaaaaaaaaa. you wont believe this. i saw a familiar face on facebook, common friend with someone. i asked aap chankayawala panditji ho na? He replied nahi ITO walla. aap kaise ho.. turns out it is my paanwala from ITO (Delhi).. We are facebook friends now..this is epic na
(Friend now lives in Melbourne and she used to live and work as a journalist in New Delhi. And needless to say, she loved her share of pan and pan masala. Hence this unique bonding with paanwalla(s))
Me: HA HA HA HA,,,,
Friend: His name is Birbal Chaurasia
Me:  Tu kab sudhergi
                  Welcome to Digital India.