C&H

Calvin: You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
Hobbes: What mood is that?
Calvin: Last-minute panic.

Haven’t we all experienced this at some point of time in our lives!

I was not so much of a comic strip reader till some time back and hence I cannot claim that I have read them all. But Calvin and Hobbes have been quite special

My first brush with the character was during a college event where I had to sketch a few animated Calvins’ for a cartoon fanatic senior. The association with Calvin was quite short lived. Sometime later, I stumbled onto some of the quotes and boy! The truth in them surpassed even the Monks and the Alchemists!

To the uninitiated, Bill Watterson came up the idea of a precocious six year old Calvin and his stuffed tiger Hobbes in around 1985. The comic strip was published from 1985 through 1995. In Calvin’s world Hobbes is a real life tiger, where as to the rest of the characters he is just a stuffed toy. Calvin’s sophisticated vocabulary brings out his highly philosophical thinking and Hobbes is his pragmatic side-kick. Together, they embark on journeys that take them into the past, future, outer space and various other fantasies.

What I love most about Calvin is the fact that he can express his thoughts better than most grown-ups, and he does this in the wittiest and humorous manner.

One of the initial quotes that really caught my attention was “Life’s disappointments are harder to take when you don’t know any swear words”. Through my rough patches I felt Calvin could better decode my thoughts. This one really got me hooked on to more. So every time I needed to express myself and I was not able to, I would turn to Calvin who would bail me out immediately. It has been a few years since I read the first quote, and it has been rare that Calvin has not been able to provide a medium to vent out my frustration.

Just to illustrate; a majority of us lead a routine life at work with just the weekend to look forward to. However on that occasional weekend when your boss expects you to turn up to office, would you not mumble to yourself “In my opinion, we don’t devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks”

We always live our life in reverse, wanting to grow up when we are young and then once we are all grown up, getting nostalgic about our childhood. Calvin lets you go on that fantasy trip where stuffed toys are your imaginary friends; your wardrobe is a make-shift space shuttle on which you can escape to any planet on wacky adventures. He lets you relive an upgraded version of your childhood.

Would you not wish that you were just as witty to come with such stuff each time you are faced with a situation? “I gotta get my life some writers.” But until then, well, “Reality continues to ruin my life”

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LIFE OF PAI – Chapters are in no specific order..

I am Pai. Currently 25 years of age. I can confidently say that I am a book lover. I love reading books. It started quite early with a fascination for “Tinkle” and I have now come a long way. What I love about a good author is how he/she can recreate an experience as if we are living it now. It is the clarity of thought is what I have always admired.

I once read that a book lovers’ ultimate dream would be to see his/her name in print. I did some soul searching and realised, that’s not what I want. What I really want is to put my thoughts/feelings/experiences into clear words; to preserve my experiences for, none other than, the future me. How many times has it happened that we forget how we felt on a particular day but only remember that we had experienced a strong emotion? Maybe not even that. If you maintain a diary you will agree with me that sometimes when you look back at some entries you will not remember that you had felt that way. Does that not make you wonder how many such moments have slipped your attention and have been archived in the folds of your brain never to be recollected again? Scary, I would say! 

I want to live up to a ripe and healthy old age where I can narrate stories of my exciting long life to my eager grand children. There are two important things that are of utmost importance for this to come true. One is that I should lead an exciting life now and two that I remember all of it. (Then of course I also have to get married, have children and they should get married and have children; but I guess that is not too difficult!)

So I have decided that I should make a memoir of my experiences. Not for the world to be awed by my experiences, but only for me to relive some of it again.

I recently visited Chikmagalur with my family and we went on this adventurous trek to Hebbe falls. It turned out to be a tad bit too adventurous for the amateur trekker. After a good 3 km walk and a couple of humpty dumpty’s later we reached the falls. The weather was beautiful and so were the falls. It was worth all the efforts that it took to reach there. The arduous walk had kept the frivolous ‘picnic-ky’ crowd away and it was just nature in all its glory. The sky was overcast, warning us of impending showers. It was silent all around, with only the sound of water gushing down. I was sitting on a rock and watching this spectacle. There was a steady slight drizzle as the water fell upon the rocks in front of me. And right there, was one of the moments which, if I could, I would freeze forever. It was a moment of silent contemplation. It felt like all the noise in the world had been muted by a massive remote control and all my senses were only concentrating on the view ahead. Oh how I wished to be Ruskin Bond and describe the scenery! Or I wish there was a device, much like the camera, but only which could record how I felt at the time those tiny droplets of water were kissing my face. But sadly, I am neither Ruskin Bond nor is there such a device. Hence I can only rely on the strength of my words to remind me of that feeling for the whole of my life.

So this was it. My attempt to immortalize a moment in time. There were many more events on the way back – the sound of roaring thunder, trees dangerously swaying to the strong winds, the onset of rain and the thick canopy of trees that protected us from it. All of these together created a memory that I would hope to remember forever.Image

PERFECTIONISM AND I

Wikipedia  defines Perfectionism as a psychological personality trait characterised by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high standards.

For a few years now, I have been thinking that this was a very enviable quality in a person. This is what I wanted to be. I was under the impression that a Perfectionist is always “Perfect”. As it turns out, I was wrong!

A Perfectionist may or may not strive hard, but the perceived output in his head is so perfect that it is near impossible to achieve without years of concentration and perseverance. Double that with lack of patience and voila! We have a disaster!

Its like this – You really (read with maximum level of emphasis) want to achieve something, say draw a picture. You scurry around your house like a little rat and find the stationery – the pencil, eraser, white paper etc. Then you sit down to think what you would like to draw. So you google around a few images for inspiration and say you find one that suits your mood. Now you get down to drawing it. You will soon realise that sketching is an art that needs constant practice. Once you lose touch, the lines never bend the way you want them to. So, your picture turns out to be so-so, definitely not a replica of the original. Now maybe its turned out to be better than what an average guy with average drawing skills would have turned out. But the competition here is with your brain, which does not understand ‘average’. Its not what you sought out to do. Next step – the drawing goes into the bin and the stationery all scattered across the house until you have your next hiccup of creativity.

You started off wanting a picture, and very few times do you actually end up with it. Most times you end up with pent up frustration. This frustration has nowhere to go.  It keeps gnawing you up from inside literally killing you. Its the feeling that you want to do something but you cant. Its absolute  helplessness! Plus you have no one to be pissed off with! Unless one half of you could magically split apart and have a sword fight with the other.

Phew! Its a lot to deal with; Your own – “Warring self”. It makes me sit down and contemplate sometimes, if there is a cure for this. Instant ones would really help, but I’m sure it will take a lot longer to get rid of this, than it took me to acquire it.

Until then, stay tuned to this space, for the output of my latest burst of creativity is going to be posted here soon!

ROOM ON THE ROOF

Before I begin this piece, I disclaim that the title wholly and solely belongs to Mr. Ruskin Bond. No copyright infringement intended. 

What inspired me to write this post is that, once I was done reading the book, I was daydreaming about having my own room on the roof when I suddenly realized that I did live in one such place! They were the “Rooms” on the Roof…

The area was at the heart of Jayanagar. Prime locality. One should imagine that an area like this would be filled with imposing structures, huge bungalows, each vying for the attention of the passer-by.(The first locality that I set my eyes on in Bangalore was Koramangala and some of the houses in Koramangala are truly architectural wonders)

Anyways, this place was a quiet, sleepy area enclosed by the hustling and bustling jayanagar. Close as it was to the main Jayanagar area, it, not once seemed affected by its hurried manner. The people here went on with their usual chores at their own sweet pace. It was as if you were stuck in a time warp in those by lanes. You could find women gossiping at the gates of their houses or haggling with the vendors, men fighting over parking spaces, the old folk out on a walk in the park with an occasional pet maybe and kids playing on the streets completely ignorant to the passing vehicles.

The cross road on which my house was located, had a small, one room government school on it with around 30-40 kids. They would have their prayer assembly on the road each morning. It was such a sight. You would love the kids playing, only until one of the lil rascals starts messing around with your vehicle and that’s when all their innocence would fade off.

Now, more about the actual “Room on the roof”. There were 3 rooms adjacent to each other, in a straight line. The bedroom was in between a small living room and kitchen. It had a rickety door, the types that could be yanked off its hinges by a person of slightly above average physique.  It was a comfortable set up for one, maybe two at the most.

Before I moved in, there were stories about the house being jinxed and some jealous neighbors having performed some black magic/ voo doo on the house, so that it does not attract tenants. Outside the house, right next to it was another room. According to the owners, it was let out to some person who had stored some of his things in there. Not once had I seen any person coming to that room. All this added up to a perfect setting for a bunch of kids looking for a mystery to solve over summer!

The first time I met the owners, they were sweetness personified, but by the time I vacated the place we were quite glad to get rid of each other. Maybe the jealous neighbors’ black magic on the house did work. The family basically comprised of an old grandfather and grandmother; their son, who turned out to be quite nasty at the end of it all; the daughter in law, who did not have much say in the entire mess but seemed quite shrewd nonetheless; and their little boy, whose name I don’t seem to remember too well, but was very adorable. They were quite un-interfering as long as the rent was paid on time. This one time when I delayed by a day, the old man took the trouble of climbing up 2 flights of stairs just to remind me that it was time for rent yet again. Such kindness I say! The old woman would not be left behind in this race of sweetness, with her generous dose of “Aiyyo paapa” for the poor girl living alone on the roof every time she caught sight of me.

But everything aside, this house has taught me to be ME. This was the first time I was living alone. When I come back after a bad day, there was no one who would open the doors for me, no one to serve me dinner, no one to wake me up each morning and make me tea. These are all the little things that we take for granted when we have them but miss most when it’s lost.

However, I have learnt a great deal about life here. This house has seen me through the first (and one of the many that I was going to have) worse phase of my work life. I have learnt to fight my battles alone and now in hindsight I can say that I have emerged a stronger person.  It marked the beginning of my life as an independent person.

This place is ‘MY’ First house and it makes me proud! 😀

A new beginning !

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I have been doodling for a while now. Nothing original yet!

But it’s got to start somewhere!

I was once told that a stand-alone finance career is pretty boring. You will have to pursue some serious alternate hobby to keep your creative side busy. Now, in less than one year in a finance job, I can feel the truth in those words. Well, it probably not restricted to just finance.

It’s not about loving or hating your job. It’s just about keeping the ‘Creative You’ happy and satisfied so that it lets your ‘Logical and Materialistic You’ work in peace during the week. Because, most of us would have felt the ‘Creative’ side badgering the ‘Logical’ side that conventional work sucks!

Well, I stress on it being a serious hobby and not a career option. Because once it becomes a career option, ‘Logical You’ takes over. This side of you is mainly driven by materialistic needs and then money becomes a driving force, sidelining creativity on its way. And then again the whole internal conflict begins.

So here I am… with a confused Calvin… still trying to figure out life and developing my own theories and philosophies on how to deal with it.

May be one day I could write a book on it 😛