Category Archives: Rant

The official rant

I would recommend that you skip this post for both our good – you’ll not start your day (or end it) judging me, and I won’t be judged !  If you continue after this, you are on your own, consider yourself warned.

I have a friend – friend is such a forgiving word, what do you call a person you talk to at a social level almost every day, and even like, but is, going by the Wikipedia definition of “friendship”, not party to “mutual affection”? Acquaintance seems to me the kind of person you greet with a chin thrust and a ‘sup.  But I digress.  I have this friend, who is a lovely person.  She is very energetic, chirpy, efficient and passionate, but I suspect, not appreciated enough by her family. The result?  She tends to seek appreciation from me (and probably others, but I don’t know that).  She usually sends me messages about what she considers her achievement, and I, being the polite person that I am, respond with appreciation, almost always deserved – I believe we don’t compliment people enough.

Last week, she sent me a message that said something like “Between 6 and 8.30 AM, I deep cleaned my house, made breakfast of dosa and sambar, made lunch of rice, mor kuzambu, agathi keerai, and nellikkai pachadi, cooked oats for my in-laws, made payasam (sweet offering) for the poojai (prayer service), did the poojai and sent my children to school”.  This was the day that I had awoken late, given my kid bread and peanut butter for breakfast and packed curd rice for lunch.  So, while I responded with “Wow, you are a superwoman” to her, which elicited multiple smileys from her, it got me into a funk that I am still mired in.

I am an inefficient person – and I am not being modest here, this is the truth.  This morning,  for example, I ran around clueless, it seemed, trying to get the kid out to school, just doing the routine I have been doing for 12 years now –  what do you call a person who cannot standardize a simple morning routine after 12 years?  Yes, that word again – inefficient.  But I am not the only inefficient person I know.  I have another friend, who is as, if not more, if that were possible, inefficient than me – she is always running late for everything , always behind on work, etc. But there is one difference between us.  This friend is cool with herself – she does not give a damn, and is a personification of self confidence. I, on the other hand, walk around myself with a whip in my hand, and the septic welts on my self-esteem are unbelievable.

I wish I could tell myself what my daughter told me a few days back – “Amma, you are adequate”.

In a few sentences

…I am running around like a head-cut chicken, just living life, and not really accomplishing anything much.

…I am inefficient (hence earlier point).  And this is going to be a recurrent rant in the foreseeable future.

…I want to read all the posts on my WP reader because hell, I haven’t done justice to it in nearly a week and they are building up and giving me Kafka dreams.  All because of the earlier two points.

Cover it up

This is a rant.

I live in the campus of the institute in which I did my first graduate course.  So, sometimes I get requests from friends about stuff to be done around here.  I don’t like to do them,not because I don’t like to help people, but because more often than not, I feel like I am taken for granted.  Like this one.

My classmate from grad school is applying for a job in a different country (not the first world countries, just to be clear).  He lives in that country now.  The agency to consider him for the job, wants his transcripts and certificates certified as authentic by the institute that issued them. This in turn involves  getting a banker’s cheque in the name of the institute, and submitting it along with an application requesting verification and other documents to the institute. Since I live in campus, he asked me if I could do it for him.

I was very hesitant at first because nothing is as simple as that in a country like India where the red tape and formalities are unbelievable.  Still, considering that this chap has been struggling to find a job, I agreed to do my bit.

As a first step, I go to the bank to get the banker’s cheque (DD as it is called here).  It is a sweltering day here, the AC in the bank was kaput, and everyone and his cousin took it upon himself to visit the bank today.  Drawing out a single DD took one and a half hours.  I came out of the bank with a migraine.  But that’s ok.

I call this chap to tell him that the DD is ready, now what should I do.

He has no clue.  He asks me to find out.

Where do I find it out from?

Somewhere in the XYZ building, he says.

The XYZ building is a six storied building with hundreds of departments. Hundreds. And no customer service counters or a reception. U-huh.

Which is fine again. Tomorrow may not be as sweltering. And XYZ building is not air conditioned, anyway, for it to fail.

He then emails to me, his transcript and certificates that I must print out and submit along with the DD somewhere in the jungle of the XYZ building.

I look at the email attachments, and find no cover letter.

I tell him “you need to send me the cover letter”.

His response?  “Why?”

I am a little stumped because I believe it is a universally known and accepted practice that any formal application needs a cover letter saying what it is that is being applied for. Especially in India where formality is everything. The Brit may have left us alone in 1947, we don’t intend to let go of their pomposity anytime soon.

I tell him that. Not the Britt pomposity thing, but the fact that any application needs a cover letter.

“Oh, but I have sent the transcripts”

“Yeah, but you need to tell people what to do with the transcripts”
(in my mind is the uncharitable thought that with so many “E”s, you really have to tell them what to do with the transcripts – I am mean, but by this point I have a full blown migraine and this guy is being deliberately stupid.)

He sighs and says “oh well, if you say so. I will send you a cover letter”.  The tone was “oh bother, why do I have to deal with people like Gobblefunkist”.

I am still wondering who was doing whom a favour.

I am also getting a vague idea of why he has such trouble getting a job.

Rant fest

I am not a very happy camper today for a lot of reasons.   I know I am harping, but I wish my better half had never gifted me the MAC and gotten me used to the beautiful laptop.  This HP is driving me nuts.  The keyboard makes my hand hurt, and the trackpad is making me scream with its jerky movements. Also, the scroll lock is on, and I don’t know how to unlock it.  None of the google suggestions work. Darn.  I was perfectly happy with my crappy windows machine before the MAC came along, now I am spoilt and cant seem to go back.

Oh, the agony of the previledged lot.

It has been a hellish day outside as well. HOT. And it is only midmorning yet.  The family bit the dust and refixed the A/C unit.  But the A/C does not agree with me either.  Being in A/C gives me a migraine, being outside gives me a splitting headache, so either way I am attached to another object by an inclined plane, wrapped helically around an axis, as Sheldon would say.

Today is a state-wide strike, called by the farmer federation of the state, protesting against the non-availability of water for agriculture.  My neighbour’s father has acres of agricutural land in the Delta corridor, but has not been able to do any agriculture because the water from the dams, meant for agriculture, are being siphoned to Pepsi and Coke.   I fully support the agitation.  However, the skeptic in me believes that nothing will come of it, and being a social media soldier is the most useless thing to do.

The week had better improve from hereon.

PS:  The scroll lock got released by itself !  Mental.

 

 

Stories in my head

This is a contemplative (read: depressing) post, so feel free to skip if you don’t want to witness shameless navel gazing.

After a long time, I lost my temper this morning.  The trigger was a reminder to a life-altering event that happened in my life two years ago.  I had believed that I was completely over it, but it seems I am not.  I did not even realise that I was disturbed by the trigger until a very minor domestic infraction, something that I would have ignored otherwise or perhaps even laughed about, broke me down completely.  And as is usual during the rare times that I lose my temper, the waterworks started (in front of others, gasp !) and wouldn’t stop for many minutes.

The aftereffect is that I feel like I stepped on crap.  First because I don’t like losing my temper – I can’t make sense of it, second because I thought I was making some progress with my meditation, but I could not control my temper when it mattered.  Third because, why the heck do I cry when I get angry?  People scream, sulk, get rude, make gestures, get violent when they are angry.  Who cries?  Well, I do, but that was a rhetoric.  The net result is that I feel like I am standing in the middle of a congregation of humanity, butt naked.  And knee deep in crap.

Anger and fear are, IMHO, the worst emotions we are blessed with.  Not the instinctive anger/fear, because of which, we are not yet extinct, but the kind of anger and fear that are created by the stories of the mind.  I am pretty sure the chemical principles behind the two kinds of anger (instinctive versus mind-stories) are different – I suspect the first involves adrenalin and the second, cortisol.  But I am being pedantic.  I have been trying to breathe my day through, but it has been hard, and the stories keep building in my head.  And the dam is not fully secure as well; the waterworks could restart anytime again, at the stories my brain is trying to kill me with.

The minor straw that broke me is yet to be fixed. But in the big picture, I need to figure out how to let the two-year-old-life-changing-event go.

Everyone else seem to lead such easy lives within their heads.  Why is mine so complicated?

 

 

 

 

 

Gender bending

I ain’t a bra burner by a long shot..I am not even borderline feminist.  I am even ok with gender roles in my life.  But where I bristle is when an apparently gender-equality-lauding-effort is patronising to the extreme.  Two cases come to mind:

  1. An article that announces a documentary about three women scientists who were in the Mars mission program of India talks about the number of children these scientists had – one of them had a daughter in the 12th when Mangalyaan was being planned, and another has a seven-year old.  Would these statistics be mentioned if these scientists had been men?   Also, “Minal Rohit calls Seetha Somasundaram a “very strict lady”, while discussing the nature of her work and how demanding a boss Seetha could be!”. Would this be said of a male boss ever?  Yes, I know it was said by another woman.  I don’t even know what to say.
  2. Dangal:  This is a movie that has recently been oohed-and-aahed about by my friends; it is apparently a true story of a guy from a backward state of the country, training his daughters to become boxers, something he couldn’t achieve in his life.  While people talk about the empowerment of girls in this movie, my first thought was this – were the girls given a choice?  Was the man realising dreams for himself through his daughters?  If so, what became of the daughters’ dreams?  Did they have any?

I can hear you say “women are getting raped, murdered, acid-attacked, harassed  in your country and you are nitpicking about trivialities like this?”.

I can’t even talk about the women getting raped, murdered, acid-attacked, and harassed in my country without my entire system shutting down in abject panic and humiliation. Trivialities, I can kick a fuss about – after all, being a word-warrier is so easy, isn’t it?