Power of communities

The era of WhatsApp communities. Young and old are immersed in the chats morning and night forwarding all hyped messages and memes and videos. Took me back to the era when we used to forward emails with images. It was the time when computers were new and internet was expensive. The screeching sound of dialup could be unbearable for the gen Z generation now.

Humans being social animals have been thriving in communities. It could be the neighbourhood, or the school/college friend group, religion based community group as in temple/church groups, sports club etc. When the internet came, it was a boon for people like me who wanted friends but shy away because of starting trouble. The mask behind the computers helped us break away our shyness to interact with strangers and start conversations about deep or weird topics involving Web 2.0. It was the golden era in my life where I explored the world in the comfort of my home. There were offline meets too and I hope some of the friendships formed through those forums still exist.

Then as broadband became cheaper, people kept on exploring through Orkut and then Facebook and Twitter. Youngsters have moved on from these traditional platforms to apps like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Bumble. The millennials still rely on the groups formed from Facebook and Twitter to find their tribe. The conversations are then carried over to WhatsApp and Google Hangouts for video calls. In the Covid era these online communities was a saviour for both strangers and real life circles.

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In the silence

In the silence
Between concerned stares
In a house
WhatsApp videos blaring
YouTube gurus preaching
In the heat
Of Kerala apartments

Lots to say though
We speak nothing
Close yet far
Long invisible distance

Vacation is over
Xmas and holidays
Another year beckons

Counting the days
The sun, the moon
And the earth.

The distance prevails
Time let’s out
An evil laugh

And I stand
In the silence
With a heavy heart
In the horror
Of time lapse
Collecting memories…

Photograph

Lush green trees swayed in the breeze of the impending storm as the sun rose to the sky. The clouds were dark and moody. The lone bird looked pensive and sat rooted in its spot on its tree while it’s younger ones squeaked at their loudest huddled close in their nest guarded by their mother.

A painting of this view behind the window bars topped the painting competition years ago and belonged to Nancy, my daughter. I remember watching her proudly as she climbed the podium and received the award.

A photo of that award event, framed, stood on the wall shelf of the living room. It was taken from the box of memories by Nancy when she visited my home last year.

I see this photo from the opposite wall shelf where I have been living inside a photograph of mine, just like how I see both Nancy and her daughter on the sofa today. They are watching the documentary on elephants, as another storm brewed up in the sunset sky. I see my granddaughter checking out the window in fear as the green dark leaves swayed again…

Shame, Fear and Beliefs

There are some aspects of yours which you never reveal in a blog post. The guilty pleasures or the thirst traps you watch ( something I “learned” after watching Koffee with Karan which is one of my guilty pleasures indeed!) or weird habits etc. Or that you have been going to therapy or IVF or visited a doctor to cure that and this.

The major reason for not sharing any of these is the shame we experience around these matters. As if these actions are shameful and that they needed to done discreetly. This is the reason many kids start doing “many things” discreetly hiding from their parents, be it satisfying their curiosity regarding body parts and their workings (the M and P words!) or hiding about crushes or loving someone. We sense we will face embarrassment which we tried to avoid though it should not be an embarrassment. Like we know bra is a common innerwear but there used to be (or still is) so much hullabaloo about the bra straps(or rope?!!) peeking out. Similar hurdles for wearing sleeveless dresses or mini skirts. Why is it a matter of shame that we expose our legs and arms. When did they became “our private parts”?

I have been wanting to write about the shame feeling forever. I feel it’s there in everyone in some form or other. Anger seems to be one of the common blanket wrap for this feeling. Behind every action of anger it seems fear is the root cause. And fear could also be of “fear of being shamed”. Fear of being made fun of. Fear of taunts. Fear of failing in the comparison competition which we start ourselves. Some get stuck in a job which they don’t like because there is a shame in being jobless, some are stuck in relationships because divorce is a shame, and this extends to all the cliches like not marrying or not having kids after age etc.

The first thing we fear when we reveal about therapy is that others won’t understand. Then there is the fear of explaining your whole mental situation and then there is the fear of being judged and then fear of being brainwashed. It’s like a can of fears which gets opened up. Irregular periods? “Get married asap”. Feeling depressed? Go to bhajan gathering or tie a thread.

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Wardrobe Woes

Today, the rented flat we stay in got a huge wardrobe makeover.

Just like the owner and the tenants staying in it, the apartment too was a unique and weird one. Unlike other flats, it has good interior view towards the park and greenery, two extra balconies (which remains largely unused considering that they were one of the reasons which tempted me to get this one out of the million other reasons, the others being good lighting and decent interior furnishing and not the bright pink and weird designs), two huge single piece mirror as wardrobe sliding doors (which caused enough financial damage to the owner and some of the mental peace of the tenants) which is finally being replaced to accommodate modern style wardrobe boxes.

The bedroom is full of dust, which I would have to clean in the evening after they leave the room, considering that my allergies would have a feast in the night otherwise. The color is pristine white which gives me another set of anxiety issues considering how punctual and energetic I am in maintaining cleanliness but nevertheless I am in one piece having enormous mental peace as the task is put to action after coaxing the owner and the other half for months and maybe years.

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Silicon Valley hangover

It’s amazing how I missed the Silicon Valley web series considering how I am always on lookout for tech related things. Except for the cursing and crass jokes which gave out a angsty teen vibe, the series is good to peep into the actual going on of software companies. For an outsider who struggles with fomo, this series was like a window peak to the struggles faced in IT companies.

It reminded how I am completely noob at the actual geeky coding part. I don’t think I could ever stay all night doing the coding things nor I have the vision of “make the world a better place”, but I could relate to the social anxiety and other emotional patterns. I could understand the thrill of doing something exciting together. The livestream of a person in distress was more important than the actual distress situation because you only think of the surviving the tech part alone. The problem solving aspect of engineering is kinda addictive. I could understand how and why Gavin Belson wants to be at the top forever.

The series equally reminded me why the business side is boring and at the same time also dangerous enough to kill the whole thing. There is no camaraderie and whatever seems to be there among relationships is just for the time being or for the sake of work. We rarely think of creating friendships outside of work. “Money can easily pervert our minds”. That was a golden dialogue among many others.

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