Rejection

Rejection, that isolated feeling you get, like the last person in the room just left turning the lights off, either forgetting that you’re there or as an unsaid reminder of not wanting you there. It hurts the way a gush of cold air does when a fast car goes by too close to you in winters. It’s not like hatred which I assume must feel like the hot burn of a fresh scratch. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never been hated, only rejected.

Sometimes rejection comes in the form of a half-hearted acceptance, like the polite nod in a boring conversation. You slowly realise it and slink away to protect your own ego. And you can’t even grudge the person rejecting you, you’ve done the same to others too. You had the right to do so, so does the person rejecting you. Mind you, I don’t think it is karma, it’s just a part of living. It still hurts though as it brings up memories of past rejections.

If I had to find a silver lining to it I’d say it makes you all the more cherish the relationships where you do get acceptance. But there is a cloud attached to that too, you may compromise what you think is right in lieu of continued acceptance.

I guess sometimes having a heart just hurts.

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Observing him…

Grey-green eyes, milky skin and wavy brown hair. Individually these features would be considered beautiful on any face lucky enough to have them, but somehow combined on his they didn’t seem to make for a handsome visage. Not even by chocolate boy standards. And as she observed him, his near-complete subservience to the woman he was with made him all the more unlikeable to her. In her quiet way, she was both laughing and pitying him as she observed the woman walking an unnoticeable step ahead and almost barking instructions to poor Mr puppy-dog eyes. But while she was observing, she was being observed too… and she didn’t know that.

Romancing the night

Those headlights afar…

Look like eyes of a monster

gaining up on me

Scurry like a rat out of its way girl

did you really think this is your city?

You’re not Cinderella to be out till 12

let not the darkness set its eyes on you as well

The moon in this city

makes wolves of all

Any walk is loiter

when it’s after nightfall.

Why put in danger too

your knight in shining armour

The biggest crime in this city

is your public ardour

The provocations of your presence

removes masks off men

Why don’t you stay

in that coach in the front-end?

Not for you is the street’s nightly breeze

From walled compounds romance the night all you please

(A small poem on how it feels to be out after dark in this city)

Ye kya jagah hai doston…

Musty smell,

Saraswati photo high up on wall

But book stacks thrown up the almirah next

Plaster threatening to peel off walls in some places

Following up on the threat in others

Just like the missing panes of the false ceiling

Pan stain on the wall behind the chair

Dust coloured carpet torn around legs of the glass topped table

A seat of learning?

Ye kya jagah hai doston…

Splash!

Note: Most of what you are about to read was composed when my head was underwater so do remember that if you find something amiss.

I have started taking swimming lessons at a nearby pool recently. Now I know words like ‘pool’ and ‘swimming’ bring about images of itsy-bitsy swimming costumes and gorgeous women slowly rising emerging out of water with drops of water glistening on their bodies. Well in real life, its nothing like that.

On my first day I was wondering if I would stand out as I considered my swimming costume quite conservative. I used to call it a burqa as far as swimming costumes were concerned. I mean it reaches till my knees and it has sleeves for crying out loud! And also I am a little fat so I thought will I be sticking out like a sore thumb? Turns out I had nothing to worry about. The hour that I chose for my classes is one designated for children under 10 and ladies (the brochure’s language, not mine. There is nothing ladylike about flailing around in a pool that is just 3 feet deep), so most of the ‘ladies’ in the pool are middle aged mothers of these kids. All of them much, much fatter than me and in even more conservative swimming costumes than mine. I even noticed this one woman in a two piece that consisted of a shirt and a pyjama! And this was in swimming costume material. I am guessing some smart businessman has discovered a niche market for conservative swimming costumes for middle aged women (now won’t that make a good USP!)

Anyway, so I started taking swimming classes, for the first few days I just practiced floating and things like that. There is nothing that hurts your ego more than watching little 7 year olds splash past you while you are holding on to the bars at the side. I reminded myself that this is just my first week and at least they are with me on the shallow end of the pool so they haven’t progressed that far. Today I saw them on the deep end of the pool; little rugrats can probably read minds now too, its too bad you can’t kick them under water! There is one little girl that I like though, she has invented this little game where she throws her swimming goggles into the pool and swims to wherever they land. (I am thinking definitely an introvert)

As this is a public pool there is just one instructor and a number of swimmers so many of us keep coming in each other’s way sometimes avoiding a collision, which is bound to happen since this is Delhi and when people don’t give each other space on roads, expecting that underwater is too much to ask.

Remember how I said about the mothers in the swimming costume, they were all much fatter than me so I thought I had nothing to worry about. That was until THOSE THREE came along. These three are new girls who had arrived in the pool they must be in their late teens probably. Not only were they slimmer their swimming costumes are more…  ehm, revealing, than the rest. I can just imagine what must be going on in the minds of the other women “kids these days, no sense of shame, is this the way to dress. I mean, I know this is a pool but still…”  I know this line of thinking because I have a number of similar women in my family too. They can serve as good material for a satire some day.

When I caught myself staring at these girls I wondered at how perception matters. Compared to the rest of us at this particular pool, their costumes were revealing. But when you look at the costumes that are usually part of mass media, in Bond movies, or in pool parties in those model-y shows, these girls’ costumes would considered quite conservative and they would be looked down upon for that. Makes me wonder if there is any absolute or if all perceptions and value judgements are relative to the immediate surroundings?

10 Myths About Introverts

I found these very good and precise descriptions of introvert myths. I have copied them below, but if you want you can read the original here.

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

Delhi ki garmi

Summer has arrived in Delhi. Now let me get something out of the way first. Summer in Delhi is not pretty. Its like that senile relative of yours that you have to bear in your home once in a while so you resign yourself to his or her presence. In fact, this year that summer has arrived late I have heard people wishing it never came.

But it is here, the sun bakes down the whole place, it seems the moisture from your very pores is being taken away. Delhi and its adjoining areas were earlier protected from the life-sucking winds of the desert of Rajasthan from the Aravalli range. But now that the battered and heavily mined Aravalli range doesn’t stand up that much its like the desert wind is coming straight at us.

Soon there will be stories of taps running dry, power cuts and fights over water in some poorer parts of Delhi while in the richer areas people will waste what water they have (yes, people are sick like that).

Now the lucky ones can disappear in their air-conditioned offices for most part of the day but its the ones who are not so lucky and have to roam the streets who have my pity. Sattu-drink stalls will soon pop up with those beach umbrella kind things on them, and so will roadside lemonade stalls with dubious water that the middle-class won’t even touch but I suspect they are the only relief to the poor who have no choice but to fight the baking sun.

However, this piece isn’t about class wars, its about Delhi’s summer so coming back to it, it has some unique shenanigans of its own. Schools are supposed to have summer vacations that they try to delay by at least mid-May but soon kids start fainting in the outdoor assemblies held every morning and the Delhi govt declares schools shut. I suspect a lot of the teachers too secretly laud that decision even though outwardly they crib about less teaching days to finish their syllabus.

Many people have ACs turned on by now, but you know what I prefer – indigenous ‘coolers’ as they are called. Its a rectangular device with walls padded with some kind of grass like thing and a pump and fan. It has to be filled with water and it cools down a room pretty well, what I like the most about it (apart from the cooling) is the earthy water-on-mud smell that comes with it. Needless to say it is a fail in humid areas, but a boon in the furnace like conditions Delhi will achieve in the coming months.

Now that it has been installed in my home too I can sit back and not lament it so much that summer has arrived in Delhi…

The girl who…

A crime thriller with a bisexual heroine which also speaks a great deal about feminism. One would never have imagined such a book to ever make it to a bestseller’s list, let alone being popular enough to be made into a film, or rather two films – one in the native Swedish language and another in Hollywood, but that is exactly what Stieg Larsson’s trilogy of books have managed. But this is not about the book sales; this is about the books and the world of Lisbeth Salander.

The book jackets themselves have quotes praising Lisbeth Salander as the most original heroine in fiction etc and they are right! The character of Lisbeth Salander is an incredible one. She is not the kind of heroine you would find often, she is not the kind of girl men would want but she certainly is one of a kind.

The characters and situations in the Millenium trilogy say much about society’s attitude to women, even in a country like Sweden. Not just through Lisbeth but also through the other characters. The main characters would be judged as morally ‘loose’ through the prism of sexual morals; they certainly don’t conform to what we would call the ‘normal’ sexual mores. Lisbeth Salander is herself a bisexual who in her own words looks for ‘just sex’. In fact her mildly autistic nature makes it difficult for her to connect with anyone, but we know when she does, and when she gets hurt.

The other main character Mikael Blomkvist – who would be called the hero but is rather a supporting character to Lisbeth – is a man who in the two year time sequence of the three books has slept with five women, but not once do we see him look at these women as ‘conquests’. He too is not looking for a committed relationship but he does care about these women, which is what makes him stand up for Lisbeth when she seems forsaken. These books home in the point that what matters is a person’s integrity, be it personal or professional.

In the situations that Lisbeth has faced in her life she is literally the damsel in distress but never once does she see herself as a victim. She is a flat chested, tattooed and pierced girl with an underdeveloped body. She’s also an excellent hacker with a photographic memory who lives outside the norms of society. She simply disregards laws and authority and she has good reason to.

The book traverses through rapists, wife beaters, paedophiles and stalkers who prey on vulnerable women but we also meet secret agents, soviet defectors and spies on the way. The story is about violence and double standards against women but it is after all in the crime thriller genre. Even for readers who have no sympathies for feminism, it is a page turner that will keep one hooked.

In the end, I hope there are more characters like Lisbeth Salander!

Meetings

Meetings – specially the official ones are a pet peeve for many introverts and I am no different. Seriously, what is the point? Everybody else in my team looks forward to one for some reason, but according to me they eat into the time I could have used to work. My boss could just have sent a mail copied to all and we would all have got the message. Perhaps the bosses were serious when they asked if anyone had any questions. I had none because like every introvert I need time to chew over what I had just been told.

What bugs me most in a meeting is that while working I am ‘in the zone’ and all of a sudden I have to drop it all and go to the conference room. Really, that’s counter-productive! And it takes me some time to get back ‘ in the zone’ and sometimes I don’t get back at all. I suppose to an extrovert it is the perfect democracy where everyone sits together and shares ideas, but to me it is just me not working…

Where’s the party tonight

Introverts are often accused of being misanthropic, that is, they do not like people. And they like parties even less. I had an experience yesterday that is a living example of this being untrue. I went to (and enjoyed) a party. It would be an innocuous enough statement if not coming from an introvert. This was an ideal situation for an introvert though. I will explain how –
1. I was told a few days in advance so I had the time to prepare myself mentally. I kept other social activities to a minimum before and after this one and so was up to a little socializing.
2. There was no loud music or too much of a crowd or shiny disco lights in the middle of a darkened room… you get the picture, it was a gathering, not exactly a loud, raucous party.
3. I didn’t have to socialize with strangers. The people were mostly friends or acquaintances, and yes!!! I was even able to make small talk with the acquaintances I didn’t know very well. #win
I think the kind of people present play a very important role. The people here weren’t just party hopping, looking for a good time kind of people. These were people who I could have good conversations with – even if it was just small talk.
4. There was no overcrowding. Even though this was a cozy, little gathering there was space to move, to breathe and not crash into someone showing off their dancing skills.
I never thought I’d say this, but this was one party I wish I didn’t have to leave…