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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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.

Why are we behaving like Americans?

I need three bottles of karela (bitter gourd) juice to balance the harmful effects of reading all the super sugary FB status updates on Mother’s Day.  I grew up without having any knowledge of celebrating Mother’s Day. I don’t really remember wishing ever my mother on this second Sunday of May. Now, the Americans have taken over urban India.

A week before this Mother’s Day, my e-mail inbox was bombarded with messages from Amazon, flipkart, myntra with messages that read like  “Deepika, buy this/that for your mom and make her happy.” Skype went a step further and sent a message, “Put a smile on your mom’s face and skype with her.” Well, I never knew that skype can make me connect with my mom who’s hopefully having a good time up there since October, 2013. Aah technology, wish you were that advanced in your astral presence.

This Mother’s Day started on a beautiful reflective note for me as I started the day by writing a long letter (e-mail) to my spiritual companion. Writing to him is cathartic. And then I had a nice conversation with my close friend whom I later met in the evening. Even as I was busy cooking and cleaning my kitchen pantry during the day, there was virtual outpouring of emotions happening on Facebook.

When I logged on to my FB account in the evening, there were too many notifications from my friends. There was a common thread running among these posts. Suddenly I found that almost everybody worth their sugar had changed their profile pics. Some did the hard work of digging out some 50 year old picture of their mother and then scanning it before putting it. Too much of hard work, I would say on a Sunday. And that too for few likes.

By the end of the day, there were too many pictures (all mixed up) dancing in my head. Was she R’s mother? Or was she M’s mother? My mind was all confused like the Indian economy.

And all the status updates read the same — Mom, thank you for making me what I am today (hello, yes.. the piece of shit you are as a human being). Love you, mom…. for being there for me always (Yes, she got to be there. There was no shopping mall/ no multiplexes/ no coffee shops either.  Or for that matter no Facebook to while away time).

This whole business of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are nothing but gimmicks of a market-driven society. Some years ago, I read a beautiful narrative of an American woman living in an old-age home in which she mentioned that all her three children come to see her only on Mother’s Day. I hope, there lies a lesson for all of us.

In stead of putting up sugar-coated FB status updates on Mother’s Day and in turn waiting to count how many likes we have got, let us look after our mothers. Let us not dismiss them just because they can’t operate a smart-phone or they can’t walk fast anymore. Let us look after them the way they looked after us. And remember they looked after us beautifully without putting a single post about the joy of parenting on Facebook.

It’s ‘cool’ to be tender with your parents in your day to day living.

DIARY OF MRS RICH(A) KAPOOR

This piece is a pure work of fiction. Any resemblance to any living/dead character, any place or incident is purely coincidental. Feminists across the world, please forgive me if you think that this piece is anti-women (which is not at all my intention.) I have nothing against the Punjabi community. In fact, I love them for their ‘bindaas’ attitude. They give me much fodder for my sociological analysis (even though I neither get invited to any conferences nor I get paid for all this). Some might find this writing politically wrong but right now I really want to break free. 

DIARY OF MRS RICH(A) KAPOOR

I am Mrs Rich(a) Kapoor married to Mr Raj Kapoor who is the President (now corporates have Presidents, Vice-presidents which was previously reserved for nations. Anyways, this is the age of multi-nationals) of Bigggsupport (which is into retailing). We live in India’s dream capital called Mumbai. I grew up in Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi and mind you my parents are quite well-off. I went to Janki Devi Women’s College in Delhi to study political science. Please don’t think that I was aspiring to be another Plato or Socrates. Or I was going to change the way the world thinks or lives. Only losers think that way.
Was I good in studies? Don’t even ask me. I only knew how I sailed through my graduation. I managed to clear my examination thanks to Seema who was staying in a hostel and always craving for home-made food. So there I found my savior in the form of Seema and her notes (see we Punjabis are very good at this art of determining ‘profit-loss’. For nothing we rule Delhi even though half of us came with nothing during partition). Thanks to my mom’s endless plates of chhole bhature, aloo paratha, gobi paratha, mooli paratha, matar paneer and butter chicken, Seema was forever willing to come to our house and help me in studies. Every time Seema came to my house, my mother just vanished into the kitchen. Within fifteen minutes, (like the spiritual guru who produced apples, oranges and gold necklaces out of thin air), my mother produced gobi parathas anda aloo parathas in endless numbers. Seema just couldn’t understand this quick magic, But never mind, we Punjabis are like that. We roll parathas the way One Mr Tendulkar scores on a good day (only difference is that we are more consistent than Tendulkar).
As in our family, studies are linked to bidding time for marriage, nobody really took mine seriously. My father offered motichoor ladoos to everybody in our entire neighbourhood the day my results were announced. I was not a university topper, never mind we Punjabis always look for a reason to celebrate. We open a bottle of whiskey even when a hen lays eggs. So, it’s perfectly fine. Not like those South-Indians who serve rice-sambar even in a wedding feast. We live life king-size. We gave ‘Patiala peg’ to the world. Have you ever heard of a ‘Kolkata peg’ or a Kerala Peg? I tell you, nobody can match us.
I knew that I would be married off after my graduation and I was happily waiting for Mr Right. Do I need to explain what men want in this country? It has been always three Bs ‘Boob, Butt and Belly’ (Didn’t somebody say, take care of a man’s stomach along with his libido, he will be like a mouse in front of you). Men from my community have a fascination for another B: Bhangra or Balle Balle. They just need an excuse to break into a balle balle. My mother was a wise woman. Just before my marriage, she told me, “Never keep him hungry— neither in the day nor in the night. Give him what he wants. He might wander once in a while but that’s ok.” That was my mantra.
Being well-endowed (In many ways I can give competition to Pamela Anderson or JLo) has its advantages of keeping the man under control. My marriage happened with lots of shor shar. I was looking like a million bucks bride. Those pseudo intellectual friends of mine who were pursuing their Masters in JNU raved about my ravishing looks on my D day even though they also gave me lectures on how I should have pursued a Master’s degree and then a career. Hello, am I crazy to work on double shifts —- both at home and office? All this independence or women empowerment talk is western concept. You just have to know how to play the ‘power’ game.  Don’t you all read how all these Bollywood star wives in Pali Hill, Bandra, Juhu behave? Well, in today’s world if you have money, you can be anything from being an interior designer, fashion designer to a jewellery designer. And then you can come with that killer line : “I was always passionate about it”. Move over Coldplay (I hope, you know it’s a music band. My teenage son is crazy about Coldplay), it’s wordplay now.
Did you utter that word boredom? How foolish can you be? Didn’t Hrithik Roshan’s character said in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, “Agar mere paas 100 crore hoga toh boredom ka baat bhul hi jaao (I will never be bored if I have Rs 100 crore).  I am smarter than him. I have my husband’s money to blow up. Money is sweeter when you don’t have to sweat to have it. What financial independence these career women are talking about when all the while they are working like honeybee. See me, I am living life like a Queen Bee. You just have to make right moves in life. And look after a man’s need. In the end, a man’s needs are so simple. In case of a man from my community, it’s more simple : kukkad (chicken) and kudi (gal). That’s it. It got to be legs in the end. As simple as it can be. No high funda stupid Marxism theory that Mrs high-voltage Banerjee taught us in college. Remember Neha Dhupia’s famous statement, “Only Sex and SRK sell.” In the end, it’s all about sex. Only foolish women (I mean those so-called thinking women) keep on talking about love, intelligence, humor, compatibility and all that rubbish. They need to read Richa’s philosophy to live life like a queen. If a man wants humor, he can very well make Raju Srivastava his friend. Or watch those innumerable comedy (read horror) shows on television.
And mind you, I lead a very busy life even though I have Ramu and his wife Savitri at my home to cook, clean, wash and do any random work that I fancy. As we are ‘loaded’ people, so we have three cars with three driverjis to ferry us all around. The kids are grown up now by both American/Indian standards. Even now, we judge everything by American standards. Never mind even if that land has lost its glory and struggling hard to beat economic recession. Thank God, for giving Papaji some sense to say ‘No’ to that Mr Chopra (for my marriage) who lived in New Jersey. No matter how much dollar you make in America, you can never afford Ramu or Savitri. And just forget about driverji. See my cousin sister Dolly who’s forever washing dishes (of course in the dishwasher), cooking, taking her children to music classes, karate classes, kumon classes (the list is endless) and in the end even mowing the lawn. India is better any day, recession or no recession. These days you get everything in India from Louis Vuitton to Jimmy Choos. Moreover, once in a year we definitely go to either Europe or USA for family holiday (Singapore, Bangkok is for low-class people. You see we are high-class Punjabis). As a family, we all love Bollywood especially one Mr Johar. He’s soooooo our kind. Believing in family dramas unfolding in Swiss Alps or London.
I am busy all through the day. These days the kids are busy, the husbands are busy, the wives are busy. Everybody is busy. The Great Indian Family is very busy. The kids are forever busy  watching Big Bang Theory/ Two and half men on TV, downloading songs or talking over the phone. Anyway, they want their share of ‘space’ (did some philosopher talk about ‘personal space’ in 21st century, really can’t remember…. you see it has been almost 20 years since I graduated from college). My husband is busy in the boardroom. God knows what happens in those meetings? In India, people are only good at meeting and eating. And when are not doing that, they are busy ‘mating’ (even though nobody talks about it openly).
I am busy looking after my self. I love spending time in a salon doing my manicure, pedicure and all kinds of cure. I love to pamper myself by going for that sea-salt therapy at this ‘O’ spa. The modern times is all about looks and packaging. No wonder, V magazine recently did a story on how 40 is the new 20, 60 is the new 40 and 30 is the new 10. I am now thinking to go for that ‘blood group’ diet my friend was talking about and  then look absolutely chic (as my cool son says). My mother always told me, “Keep him hooked to you.” I am extra smart than my mom. I always ask hubby dear to buy that diamond necklace or that Prada bag when he’s enjoying on the top. See, I know how to keep a man under control even when I am lying below. In life, it’s all about giving and taking. I am generous while ‘giving’ and I take it through those credit cards of my husband. Mumbai is full of malls. Phoenix mall, Oberoi mall, In Orbit mall… the list is growing every day. With shopping, time just flies. There’s so much to see, try and buy. Only if days were lots more than 24 hours.
I am not like those ordinary housewives (oops now they are called home-makers) who only attend kitty parties or organise havans at home. I am cool, I am tech-savvy. I am on Facebook and I simply love it. Being on Facebook is the best way to beat mid-life crisis. I don’t know why all these sociologists are targeting the teenagers for being FB addicts. Women of my age really need Facebook to boost our egos. Every morning I thank God (Read Mark– sorry I can’t remember his difficult surname. See if he were a Chopra/ Khurana/ Kapoor it would have been so easy to remember) for this wonderful thing called Facebook. Now I don’t have to host a party to flaunt my Shiraz or Merlot or talk about my last trip to Prague. I just have to upload my pictures and there will be 10 likes immediately. When I am utterly bored then I just put my camera on ‘Auto’ mode and there I go. Standing prettily in my cocktail dress  or holding that ceramic tea cup which I recently bought from Good Earth. From my Blackberry (Now I want  an iphone… may be tonight is the night to ask for it), I log on to Facebook once I say my ‘love yous, bye byes’ to hubby dear and kids. From our Honda Accord to my little adorable pug named ‘Muffin’ — everything is there on my Facebook. Once in a while, I cling to my husband or throw my arms around him and show the world that our romance rocks.  And of course thanks to one Ms Kapoor who takes care of my evening needs. I love her for making my evenings so entertaining with all saas-bahu kahani. If I would have my way then I would have given her a ‘Bharat Ratna’. Believe me, my life is so  much more fun than that of those intellectual (read pseudo) friends of mine who are still discussing Plato’s Republic in some goddamn seminar.
But you see, I am not the one to call it quits. To show that I have also brains (in addition to boobs and butt), I once in a while put a line from Rumi, Gulzar etc etc as my status message on FB (Google is mankind’s best invention). You don’t have to read any book. All that you have to do is copy and paste. There are always 24X7  ‘free souls’ to ‘like’ these lines. I am the smart one to like my own status. If I don’t like myself then who will? Didn’t wise men say, “Self-help is the best help.” Most Indian men know the value of ‘self-help.’
No matter what people say, I am a truly liberated woman. I know how to keep power in my hand. I know how to keep the ball in my court and serve it perfectly. Last week, when I met one of my friends from Delhi at this upmarket SoBo restaurant called Moksha, she (who was flaunting her Mangalgiri cotton sari as if she were wearing a Sabyasachi, I tell you these JNU intellectuals) asked me ( trust the pseudo theory-expert bitch she’s), “Why am not I doing something meaningful? Am I not bored?” I looked at her as I twirled my wine glass and said “Honey, it’s so tough to be a mother of two kids. I am so busy, where’s the time?’”
Well, it’s a different thing that my kids’ doors are always closed once they are home. After all, they all want their space and they have a life of their own. But then my mother had told me long back, “When you are a woman, keep the truth in the pit of your stomach. You will never go wrong.” Like my mother, I never go wrong.

‘F’ FACTOR

Love it, hate it… but it’s difficult to ignore it. The ‘F’ (Read Facebook) word is now a part of our urban contemporary world. Facebook is a lethal combo of two nice ‘four-letter’ words (dirty minds, please go and watch Delhi Belly). I am talking about ‘face’ and ‘book’. Facebook  gives you a peek into people’s personality. I love Facebook cause it gives me much food for thought.I wish I could go back to my university days and write a term-paper on this exciting networking site and understanding of human behaviour. It seems difficult right now to go back and hence comes this blog.

Show offs: They are the ones who are always working hard 24X7 to show off. So, even if they are having mooli paratha for breakfast, the status update will show that “French marmalade on buttered toast, sausages, scrambled eggs and freshly brewed coffee for breakfast…. Sheer bliss.” And there are ‘smart’ ones who pretend to be understated when they put a status message — “Just back from Goa. Already missing it.” But somewhere in the comments, they will mention that “ohh, Leela/Taj Exotica (on most occasions it’s a free trip, thanks to some corporate workshop/junket and the like) was so nice. The property is sooo good.” (But then aren’t high-end hotels supposed to be nice? What’s so new about this mind-blowing discovery?) Moreover, now that we see every Ravinder, Parvinder, Jignesh bhai and Mukesh Bhai  travelling and enjoying holidays in Sao Paulo, Paris and Cairo, showing to the world that what a ‘five-star’ holiday you had in Goa is so very pedestrian. Get a life, darling!

Wannabes: I have had my fair share of ‘meeting wannabes’, thanks to my long years in the media world. Now, I see them all over Facebook with status updates like “Off to airport.” “Just arrived in Mumbai… waiting for my checked-in baggage.” Will somebody please tell him/her that in times of low-cost airlines, airports are the new State Transport bus stations.  And then there are ones who say that “Remembering my trip to Singapore in 2008.” There will be some picture of him/her standing next to a parrot or a monkey in a park. And not to talk about  wannabe writers/painters/photographers who put blogs/sketch/photograph just to grab some attention. So that they can have an orgasm even without having a partner. And God forbid, if some of their work is published, then there’s no running away from them for days together. You are condemned to suffer for being their FB friend.

Compulsive compliment seekers: They are the ones who will put a status update like “Do I need a haircut?” I never thought that one needs to seek advice/suggestions on whether to go for a hair-cut or not. But they are the ones who are in search of comments like (read complements), “You are so beautiful…I love your long hair… don’t cut it.” And there are souls who put some shitty third-rate five line ramblings (mostly in Hindi) and try hard to pass it as poem. Of course there are jerks who write comments like “Oh, my pretty poetess.. I so very love this.” Hello, if you don’t know what’s great poetry, start reading Pablo Neruda, Rumi and Amrita Pritam.  And  ‘pretty poetess’, if you can just scribble your random thoughts on your toilet paper and flush it down in your loo, you will do a great service to your virtual friends.

Limited vocabulary: There are some whose vocabulary is like a third-world economy with little scope for improvement for next fifty years. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I can’t help but mention those gem-like words: Amazing, Awesome, Great, Gorgeous and of course Lol with !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everything is ‘awesome’ for them… those idiots who think that they are always on a higher plane, they prefer expressions like ‘epitome of awesomeness!!!!!!’. I really can’t understand why they are in a perpetual ‘exclamation’ state of mind. Will somebody please organise a meditation workshop with an in-built session on ‘improve your word power’ for these hapless souls?

Likes and superlikes: God save those souls who thought of adding ‘like’ button to Facebook. Little did they realise they have let loose a raging bull on Facebook. All in the name of ‘like’. Everybody ‘likes’ everything and anything. So, never mind even if a status update says ‘M F Husain dead/Bomb blast in Mumbai’, there are ignorant souls who will like the  status message. Or just sample this : One gal put a status message saying, “Mom’s in hospital.’ And there were 38 people who ‘liked’ it. This definitely shows neither people ‘like’ her nor they ‘like’ her mother. But they certainly ‘like’ her status. Take a wise step,  if nobody likes your comment within five minutes (that’s like 50 years in virtual world), please go ahead and like your own status. Self-help is best help. Remember, Gandhiji also believed in that.

Snobby souls: They think that they are from some exotic planet. So, every single slide of their life no matter how ancient it’s deserves an Oscar award. So, they will painstakingly go through their yellowing almost torn albums, take out pictures clicked while they were still in their nappies, scan those pictures and put it on FB. The buck doesn’t stop there. There will be a vivid description about how their Ma/Papa clicked these pictures with some high-sounding  Nikon/Canon camera and the nappies were bought by their loving dad during his trip to England in the 1950s (when very few even went to visit Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu/ Shiridi). And there will be enough jobless souls forever ready to put comments like, “Chhhhhho sweettt… you have not changed!!!!!!!!’ Hello, it’s time for you to go to Shankar Netralaya and check your eye-sight. What do you mean, “you haven’t changed… (is she still in her nappies even though she’s in her early 50s).

We are so happy: Studies are showing that now in India, all is not well on the marital front. Extra-marital affairs are on the rise. So also divorces and some are blaming FB for it too (how silly they can be).  We are developing as a nation and that makes me happy. After all, monogamy is so damn boring. But thanks to insecure minds, PDA is definitely on the rise in Facebook. Never mind, even if you and your spouse can’t manage to be in one room for 10 minutes without a Tsunami of abuses but you must put up pictures of clinging to each other like Siamese Twins on a holiday. Never knew that ‘Missing him so much’ (when did you last see such a message from a man saying ‘Missing her so much…)  was such a public affair (even though he has gone to Jaipur (from Delhi) on an official trip in the morning and will be back late in the evening.)  Gal, what do you expect him to do (quit his job and stay at home)?  But then who will buy you that designer handbag? Stop blabbering.

Shameless braggers:  The less said about them, the better it’s. The bragger will put a status message like, ‘Met a man in Delhi metro… he said “you are on my FB and your status updates make my day”.’ Little Johny, please take a hike or just chill. Another bragger once put a status message like, ‘Who will be the next one?’ I seriously thought he’s talking about Indian cricket team’s next coach or something like that. Nope, he was talking about ‘who will be his No 1000’ friend?’ Then there are some who will shamelessly talk about their newly acquired swanky homes, cars and put pictures. Hello, there’s something called ‘class’ and there’s also something called ‘crass’. Find out the difference.

Then there are some ‘holier than thou’ souls who proudly proclaim to the world at the drop of a hat that they are hardly active on Facebook. They just have an account for their friends’ sake. (Mother Teresa could have picked up a lesson in generosity from them.) But they are the ones who upload their pictures clicked with balding stars, starlets, saas-bahu TV stars and item gals with great enthusiasm. Whom are you trying to fool??? Unfortunately, some of them are from my fraternity called ‘journos.’