Monday, August 22, 2011

Traffic Woes (of Mumbai)


1.       Time = Distance x Potholes. No matter how fast you go, which short cut you take, and how much Power fuel you put in your car, you are always going to be stuck in a jam. It’s really not your fault. The 10,000 potholes on every road will make sure that you will take the same amount of time every day. Everyone in Mumbai has a game plan. They figure, if they leave at sharp 8, they will make it by sharp 9 to their destination. Or, if they beat the traffic by leaving from wherever they are at sharp 5, they will get home by sharp 6:15. It does not matter if it is AM or PM. And the best word they use is “max.” As in “Max, it will take an hour and a half.” Alternatively, “Max, I’ll be 15 minutes late.” However, be warned this is not the case. No matter what time you leave, no matter how much you pray, you will always take the same amount of time to reach from point A to point B as you did the day before, and you will tomorrow! You see that tempo to your right? It was there behind you two signals back.

2.       The Man With The Hand – No matter what speed you are going at, no matter if there is a signal or not, no matter if there are a million cars at different speeds on a highway, there will be a man who will cross the road right in front of you and show you “the hand”. Then several people will cross all together. As soon as you start moving, a few more random jaywalkers will cross the road all showing us the symbol for “Stop,” the hand. By the time, you reach home, you would have seen close to 4.6 million hands that day.

3.       Band Bajaa Protest – We all live in small houses but our hearts want to celebrate with many, many people of Mumbai. So the logical thing is to celebrate on the streets. From religious functions to weddings, Mumbaikars love to dance on the streets. So what if it causes a jam, how are they concerned if people are stuck in the car for 5 hours! Alternatively, if they are outraged and offended at something, they will again come on the road and stop traffic. It is the only way they can show their indignation. Traffic means the other person can feel for them as well. After all, the people in the car are not going anywhere anyway.

4.       Where Have You Reached – Only in Mumbai will you find people who will say “Not bad!” to someone reaching his destination in two hours. In fact, they’ll gloat about how “lucky” that man is to be actually reaching his destination at all! Mumbaikars have a completely different language when it comes to traffic that no other city does. When they are describing where they have reached they will probably say, “The KBC sign on the highway” and immediately the spouse back home will understand that it will take another 45 minutes before their entrance! Mumbaikars can also give directions in the same manner, “take a left at the red fruit wala, go straight till you hit KFC, then take another left, after 17 speed bumps, the house that is flooded on the left is mine.”

5.       Honking, Sulking, Steaming – It is a known fact that the urgency of a meeting or getting home is inversely proportional to the traffic. Still people will honk as if their life depended on it. It doesn’t make a difference. We all know that. It is only a way of showing aggression, frustration, and helplessness. When a person has completely given up hope, he will stop honking and sulk. Have you ever noticed the people’s faces in the jam next to you? I am sure these are the people who have taken the poll on the world’s happiest countries where India has emerged not so happy! When you’ve finally taken your mind off the road and reconciled to the fact that Final Destination wasn’t a movie but a reality, your bladder will want a leak. And right then the tempo, truck and donkey pulling the cart on a main road will break down right in front of you. Because it is such a natural thing that at peak hour, the slowest of all vehicles should be moving cross-country, right in front of you. It is known. It is given. This is Mumbai. We welcome all.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

How To Keep The Mystery Alive in a Relationship

All women want to know everything about a man but the minute they reveal everything, the women find him boring. It is also vice versa. That is mainly the reason why so many marriages break up. Soon enough both partners crave the excitement of something new. The trick in every relationship is to keep the mystery going. Once the spouse has revealed everything, there is no mystery. The fascination dies. There is no point in flitting from one relationship to another to find mystery. The success of long and happy relationships is to find mystery in your relationship over and over again!

How To Keep the Mystery & Romance Alive:
1. Secret Rendezvous - You want to find another partner to date because you are bored of the current one. But why not just ignite the spark again? If you live in a joint family, pretend as if you are meeting a new person and you are very excited about it. Only you wife and you will know that you’re meeting each other. Let the rest of the family keep guessing. Even if you are a nuclear family, set yourself up for regular dates. Meet your partner in a beautiful, fancy place that has dim lighting and excellent wines. Wear clean attire and look crisp and fresh rather than just rushing there post a meeting and being harrowed through traffic. Arrive early and wait for your partner with some flowers. When you partner arrives, compliment him/her on how they’re looking. The conversation through the entire date should be casual and breezy. Do not talk about the repairs in the house or what your boss did that day. Staying away from conversation you can have at home gives you an opportunity to discuss new topics and explore a different side of your partner. Recollect when you first met and what was said. Ask questions as if it is your first date, no matter how cheesy they may sound. Bringing the romance back in your relationship every month will go a long way in securing the relationship with your partner.
2. Mystery Destinations – A long vacation oversees or to an exotic destination can definitely spark the romance. However, with time and money being a main problem nowadays mini breaks are also a good way to reconnect with each other. Make reservations before hand and whisk the missus away on a Saturday morning without her knowing where you are going. Drive somewhere close by and stay in your room the entire time talking, eating, and enjoying each other’s company. Do not put on the TV and couch out as if it is your second home. The idea is to get away from what you generally do. She will definitely be surprised and enjoy the break from the daily domesticity.
3. Sudden Brunch - Ask the secretary when the spouse shall be freer from important commitments and make them pencil you in for two hours. Make sure there are no important deadlines for him/her to meet. A nice leisurely lunch on a Friday can help bring in a far more cheerful weekend than one ridden with chores and spats. Both of you can even go to your favourite restaurant where you’ve made a prior booking or to the place where you had your first date. Statistics have proven that a good meal with the one you love will definitely increase the love between the couple.
4. Unexpected Gifts – Gifts are not something that should be reserved for birthdays and anniversaries. Gifts can be given at any time of the year. It is proven that parcels in the mail increase your heartbeat and release endorphins, the happy hormones. The best way is to pick up something small and nice and have the store courier it to your house instead of you taking it home to your spouse. Leave a small card with the gift and make sure it’s packaged in bright colours. When the spouse opens it, they will be most pleased to get a present in the middle of the week!
5. Surprising Spice – Learning about new things on the internet (not porn sites) or reading a little about how to please your partner, buying new toys, new lingerie, etc can spice up the activities in a bedroom. It keeps the spark alive and keeps the mystery going. You never know what your partner will do next and you look forward to sharing more time with them. Of course, conversation, much cuddling, and a lot of respect prior go towards a happy and healthy relationship in and out of the bedroom!


Do Successful Women Turn Off Men?

Grazia August issue quotes me and Ira Trivedi on our conflicting views.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mediocrity Rules

Every day you try to do something great with your life. You try because you think you will become great if you could just do that one thing that gets you noticed. It might be a ppt that you made in office. Or that idea you thought was brilliant. Or whatever it was. And then you look around. And no one is applauding. Wtf. Wasn’t this supposed to be your moment? So you either shrug your shoulders and try better tomorrow or you convince people that it was a good thing in the first place. You go around thinking you ARE brilliant. Then you start doing the same thing again and again. Until people realize that wow – that is some cool shit. And the people who are opposed to you even though they might think differently will say, what the hell, let’s just say it is cool shit! And soon you’re known for it. Soon, people start recognizing you for it. Soon people start believing in it. And it is awesome. Because soon enough other people start doing the same thing. And it spreads. The same thing goes on and on until a new generation breaks it with something different. Not great, but new. And then an entire era is remembered for that one thing. Even if that thing was simply MEDIOCRE.

Stop.

Don't let mediocrity rule. Do better or give credit to someone who does. You don't always have to be the centre of attention. Your work might not always be the Best, even if you're the Boss.

Excel.

Or at least try to... in every single sphere of you life. Mendacity seeps through our bones. Don't let it rule your life.

Be better today. Otherwise we'll just be a generation of average, ordinary and unremarkable people patting each other on the back.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Money = Power in Relationships

Relationships are not always about Love. Most times, they are about money. Whoever has the Money has the Power. It is the reason why mothers raised their sons to think that they need to earn to “provide” for their family while with their daughters they were more lenient as they assumed the daughters would be like them, homemakers. Subconsciously it is also the reason why mothers wanted their sons to have the power in a relationship rather than someone else who might take it away from them.
Money and power are also the reason why women work. Yes, it gives them satisfaction. Yes, it makes them more than a housewife or a mother or a daughter and whatever other labels that society chooses to force on them. But most importantly, when they work they feel powerful. Money gives them independence. Independence gives them an opportunity to be in or out of a relationship, if at all.
Times of India front page on July 27th stated that divorce in Mumbai has risen to 86% in the last 10 years with a spike of over 13% in the last one year.
The lower rate of divorce in Indian societies ten years back as compared to Western societies was not because the Indian woman loved the man any more than the western woman loved her husband; it was only because they had no option to leave. When they had no money, they had no choice. Where would they go? How would they support themselves? Therefore, they stayed in marriages because their husbands looked them after monetarily.
However, today things have changed. Most women have a job. They can earn their own income and with it comes the power to choose. They can now choose whom to love.
Men need to be on board with this. It works for them at two levels.
One, if the woman if treated as an equal to work, earn and even go higher than him in her respective career; she will eventually give back to the man. He needs to respect her and communicate with her about her dreams and her life while simultaneously managing his career. Once she learns that she does not need to fight the system of proving herself and trying to be an equal in the relationship, her “nurture self” comes out to find a balance.
Two, it makes a relationship uniform since the burden of providing for a family need not only lie with a man. Having eased off the pressure of a “bread winner” the man is free to pursue other activities and devote more time to the home and hearth. If the woman is working and playing homemaker, it is only reasonable to assume the man does so as well. Subconsciously, it benefits the man tremendously to be able to do so.
Relationships are precarious but understanding them is easy. It is easy to say, “We have nothing in common anymore.” Or “He doesn’t understand me.” It is far more difficult to find the balance to stay in a marriage or a relationship. The play between love and money needs to be like the steering of a ship. It takes very slight movements to go in a particular direction otherwise the wrong equilibrium could sink it.
This does not mean that the man should not pressurize the woman to work. It only means he needs to respect the decision she chooses for her profession even if it is a stay at home mom, which is a full time job.
Money, power, love, and respect are the harmonious elements of a successful relationship. You need to give some, to get any.

Letter from a Hogwarts Teacher to Hermione

My daughter Ariaana is a big Harry Potter fan. For her summer holidays she's gone to spend time with her grandparents. So I thought I...