All those crying hoarse from virtual rooftops about this being unrealistic and that being far from the truth. Don’t be stupid. Really. Get help. In the form of intelligent friends with whom you can have a conversation, which extends beyond the borders of “Who did you bang that night?” “What’s your current favorite alcohol?” “Traffic sucks.” “My Mom hates me.” “My job is killing me.”

There is no truth. Just your version of it.
Things happen yes. Those are facts. And very few know those facts. All you know, especially if you were not present there, is a “version”.

So A got slapped by B. The word “slapped” itself means different things to different people. Without your knowing who A and B are, if you call the “incident” fair / just / unjust, you are stupid. What if A is the father and B the son who drinks too much alcohol? Now reverse, B being the alcoholic father and A the sober son. Grow up. There is no excuse for being narrow minded.

Apart from the notion that you know the truth, you also color it when telling it forward. Mostly to your advantage. Admit it. Accept it. Being aware of it will allow you to sleep better and night and you can even call me up to tell me how wrong I am. As long as you are aware of what you’re doing. Maybe, then, we can even sit together and have a drink. Who knows. These things happen. Movies borrow from real life. The reverse is true rarely.

If you don’t understand what I am talking about above, you probably have very little appreciation for art.

No matter what I do or what I say, I no longer have your attention.
I can sense that you have spread yourself too thin.
That there are too many things and people pandering to you.
That you are lost.

Attributes like quality, patience, trustworthiness, conversation, integrity and beauty are no longer easy to recognize in this whirl of everythingness.

I stare at a flat surface the entire day.
The flat surface that is my window into your world.
The entire world is now your world.
I stare and yet I find nothing of substance.
It is the same for you.
What do you hold close to your heart still?
How can I snare your attention?

When I send you an email, your reply is distracted.
When I send you a text on your phone, your reply is distracted.
When I speak with you on the phone, your tone is distracted.
When I meet with you, you are distracted.
I am among multitudes who want to snare your attention.
But you, are distracted.

Do I need to touch you in so many ways, at so many different times a day, with so many different attention-seeking tactics?
Do you need my distractions to add to the already-existing multitudes?
Do you need me still?

[ This is related to social media and advertising and life in general and the ever increasing gaps in required attention spans and existing attention spans. ]

One can love more than one person at a time. Romantic-type love, not just friendly love / maternal / paternal / sibling. Of course, degrees vary and perceptions definitely do. [ I think I might have written about this earlier but it keeps coming back and haunting me because I find it difficult to articulate my “explanation”. ]

And to be the someone who is loved by many, is a special place to be. Special because it’s a whirlwind of emotions and a concoction of good and bad. Overwhelming, yet with a flavor of addiction. One needs to be a special kind of human being to handle being in such a vortex and not let it spin out of control. And the cycle never stops. You’re nice, so you’re loved more and so you’re nicer still, etc.

To be able to feel the rush of chemicals in my head and body when the people indulging in love are not me or mine. To be able to watch and swoon and smile.

Sometimes, it’s both the weather and it’s him, even when I’m wading in the desert and he’s making love to someone else.

She’s 16 years old – on paper. Doesn’t look more than 14. She reeks of sweat and whatnot. Always ready with gossip. Was elated that her girlfriend’s boyfriend lost a hand in a work-incident; was giggling the entire time she was relating the tale. [ Some friend. ] She didn’t know how to cook so I taught her some and now she can cook a decent enough stew or two. Her mother is in the same trade. Cooking, cleaning, washing.

She is my maid. Her name is Bharti. And she is representative of Bharat’s rural women. In my eyes atleast. Uneducated. Overworked. Underpaid.
This one’s a little different though – she works at only two homes in the entire colony – a deviation from the others who work at atleast six homes.

She has some quirks but overall she’s no different from the other maids I’ve had over the years. I prefer doing my own housework but other demands always take over and I am unable to handle the stress. So I hire someone to help me out.

She languidly stares at walls while pretending to broom the floors. Same with when she has the mop in her hand. She stares out the window while washing the utensils. She sighs and rubs at her eyes while chopping vegetables. Once in a while she will ask me for a glass of cold refrigerated water. She refuses to touch the shitpot – “No, we don’t clean those.” I asked her why that was so. “Only jamadars do that, it’s a dirty job, we will become unclean.” I said, “So since I clean my own shitpots, that makes me unclean and a jamadar as well? And you take money from the hands of a jamadar! So you’re already unclean.” Of course, she didn’t get it. Expecting even an iota of intelligence was my fault.

While she does the housework, I am on the phone answering calls, working on the desktop and generally not paying her much attention – if I spent time literally standing on her head, why hire her in the first place? I’d much rather hope for the best and pretend that she does a passable job. Which she does. A passable job.

On any average day, she takes 30 minutes in total to sweep and mop the house, do the dusting, clean the two bathrooms and wash the utensils. The day I stand with her and get things done, it takes her 90 minutes to do the same. I told her to take 1/3rd the pay on those average days and the full pay on the one day I stand with her. Panic. “But that’s not how it works!” So I try my tack of logic again. And fail. She just stares at me dumbly. But if I don’t give her the shock treatment every once in a while, the 30 minutes will turn into 20.

I have to match wits with a witless 14 year old maid who would rather be having a roll in the sack with her best friend’s boyfriend.
I live in exciting times.

Love, is love. A four letter word that encompasses a whole lot. Defining it only restricts the giving and receiving.

If I say “I love you”, it does NOT mean “I want to have sex with you”. It means exactly what I said, that I love you.
Can’t recall the number of people I have lost touch with because they have definitions.

When I was a child, with my very first crush on this boy, I used to believe I could love more than one person – there were so many cute boys in my class! My peers ridiculed me for that thought and in college I had quite the reputation. For expressing my *thoughts. [ I cannot comment about other societies but ] Indian society assumes love can be shared only with someone you’re sleeping with or your mother.

I love my friends as fiercely as I love my husband. I have priorities yes, but you can’t confuse those as less-love and more-love classifications.


it’s not enough to hug you
I want to linger
just a little bit longer.

it’s not enough to be with you in the same room
I want to look in your eyes
just for a moment longer.

it’s not enough to shake hands with you when I meet you and take your leave
I want to twirl
holding your finger above my head.

it’s not enough to discuss business with you
I want to hear what you have to say
when you talk to no one else but you.

it’s not enough to share a drink with you
I want to get drunk on your voice
even when you don’t have much to say.

it’s not enough to tell you I have a crush on you
I want to do something about it
something = no idea what I’m talking about.

I do, however, have a crush on you.
And you’re not my husband.
Him, I love.
And I suffer the daily dreariness in his company.

How do I convince my client that the quality of work (product / service ) that I deliver is far superior than the others in the market? That I am far more professional that anyone else in the entire fucking country? That he is wasting his money by hiring that other service provider / buying that other product? How do I convince my Mom that I am not an alcoholic slut? How do I convince my child that throwing tantrums is not the best way for him / her to get what he / she wants?

The answer : you can’t.

People are stupid.
You cannot teach them the value of things YOU think are good. The reason you believe those things to be good are the very reasons why the others don’t value them. You can’t talk to an addict and rid him / her of the addiction. The only thing that could work is some kind of demonstrable action – which might work in your personal life but in your professional life, demonstrable = “giving it away for free”. Hence not-workable.

If you think that telling the truth to the client is professionalism, it is because you were raised that way. You are “conditioned”. This is what you believe. If the client thinks that people – who they think are telling the truth, have an agenda – they think so because they have been conditioned to think that way. Try what you might, that neural pathway in their brain is not going to change. You might think, “Let me do this one for cheap / free – just this once – because then the client’s viewpoint will magically change.” Don’t be a dumb fuck. Not only are you then conditioning the client to believe that fantastic work can be had for free, you are also conditioning yourself to working for free and generating low self-confidence.

You cannot devote your life to changing the neural pathways of one client and changing their conditioning. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it / try it – I’m saying you cannot. Find people who think like you and work with them. The emotional and satisfaction-level payout will far outweigh the monetary one even if you get paid what you asked for.

There is no way to avoid meeting / interacting with such people – there are more of them than us. But treat it like a jungle safari – you see something in the distance that looks like shit, but you’re not sure. You walk up closer, to sniffing distance, it stinks. It is shit. Walk around it and beyond.

Don’t try to teach shit that it’s patchouli.

I’ve become a better “fake smiler” in the last year. A really good one.

It is a lot like the real thing – the cheek/jaw muscles hurt if you do it a lot, no one can make out you’re faking it, people around you become happy and smile back, if you do it enough yourself, you’re happy too.

But I know it’s fake because a lot of people I meet are such complete dolts that it is impossible to not feel pity for their level of intelligence or common sense. And it is damn near impossible to produce a genuine smile when your brain is distressed hearing these people talk. People are stupid.

And because I don’t want to be rude to them – these are human beings after all, my own species and I’m a sucker for giving someone the benefit of doubt – I fake my smile. To me it feels like I’m not being untruthful to myself and am not being mean to “people” either. A safe fence-sitter because my need to belong triumphs all else. And instead of telling myself that I have to endure this inane talk from stupid people and be stoic and take it in my stride, I just deliver the fake smile.

Practice it on your family and closest friends first. If they can’t detect it, no one else ever will.

And don’t forget what your real smile feels like. Forgetting THAT would be a tragedy.

Someone asked me what professionalism meant to me.

I didn’t have an answer right away because to me, professionalism is more a matter of words like integrity, passion, etc., which aren’t really definitive words for most people. These words are more like ideals that are unattainable in “real” life, as I’ve been told countless times. So I wanted to think of a much simpler way to define what I think constitutes professionalism.

For me, professionalism means not lying or telling the truth. A combination of courage and kindness.

What this means, as an example, from a recent experience, is that if you are not going to hire me, you tell me as much. You get brownie points of sharing your reasons and even more chocolatey gooey brownie points if you can deliver the news in a humane fashion. Courage plus kindness.

Professionalism isn’t about capability – whether, as a photographer or designer I can deliver what a client asks for. But it is about whether I am being utterly truthful with the client – if I can deliver their requirements and what I charge and how much and what they will have to compromise on if they bargain purely on a price point. Or if I am unable to deliver and can refer them to someone else without being a bitch.

Truth + Courage + Kindness = Professionalism.

What’s the big deal with holidays anyway? It’s a rhetorical question.

Man made the calendar and decided to give names to days, months and whatnot. Religion quietly found a niche – even though the majority of the world doesn’t work, certain someones make money – a lot of money. So we have Diwali because someone decided to come back home, Christmas because two people from the opposite sex did what two people from the opposite sex do, New Years because… well because it was best to make a calendar with 365 days and some leap year trash thrown in every four years and because it makes good business sense to throw in an excuse for people to buy more alcohol and food and material things that are probably used once a year.

If you think this holiday season is the perfect excuse to show how much you love your family and friends, great – as long as you find such excuses often regardless of it being a holiday. Actually, even if it is just once a year you show your gratitude / love / suck upto your family and friends, it’s a good thing. At least you’re doing it.

But if you think the holiday season means anything else except an excuse to cosy up to people you love or yourself, you’re retarded.

There is no god, no Santa and while there might be magic and serendipity and destiny and chance, none of those are related to monetary and economic power. So quit trying to buy something to fulfill your emotionally depraved state and go hug someone.