Tag Archives: Rant

Ennui

Today is the day, I want to

  • Not feel hot and sweaty.
  • Not be responsible for other people’s nourishment. I ordered breakfast today, but I don’t want to be the one to order food.  And put the empty packets away. And plan the next meal.  And the one after.
  • Not feel guilty about the work backlog. I love my job, but even a much adored job needs a break lest it becomes a chore.
  • Not feel like a failed parent because I am not chauffeuring the kid to gazillion classes like other moms out there.  That she would be a failure because I am an irresponsible mother?
  • Not feel like a failed human being for not achieving anything.  Make that “for not feeling bad about not achieving anything”.  Should I be doing something else?  Changing the course of history perhaps?  Instead of blogging?
  • Not hear anyone talk. To anyone.  I don’t want music.  I don’t want birds chirping. I don’t want rustle of leaves.  I don’t want automobile honks.  I don’t want the whirr of the fan.  I want silence. Complete and total silence.
  • Not feel guilty about wanting to be alone.  I am constantly told that I am fortunate to have a charming family and that I am evil for wanting a break.  I love my family, but I want a break – even a day’s break would do – I don’t want to be surrounded by family – immediate, near, distant – for just one day.  If that makes me a lousy human being, so be it.
  • Not beat myself up about the messy kitchen. And the unfolded clothes.  And the toilet that needs cleaning.
  • Not feel responsible for old people and their real and imaginary grouses.
  • Not blame everything on hormones.  Today is not about hormones.  Today is about my human frustration.

Perhaps it is the relentless heat and humidity of my beach city. Perhaps it is the hot flashes that strike promptly every morning at 4 am, leaving me drenched and restless for an hour. Perhaps it is my stupid scruples of saving the world by not switching on the A/C.  Perhaps it is the chronic dull pain in my gym-trained body.  Perhaps it is my plants that won’t grow no matter how much I care for them. I woke up for the second time at 6 AM after a fitful post-hot-flash restless sleep, wanting to scream.

And this too shall pass.

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

Uncalled

My philosophy in life is “if you have nothing nice to say to a person on their face, shut up”.I never can understand the need for people to pass comments on other people, even if in jest.

Today was the first day of the three day first-death anniversary ceremonies for my grandmother and I wore a saree for the event. For the record, I do wear saree often and not just for occasions, and I have worn saree since I was 18.  However, I don’t wear it as a “Dress” up dress, I am usually casual, partly because I like being casual, but mostly because I lack the skill to “dress up”.

I wore (am wearing) a blue cotton saree, in my usual casual style – no pleats at the pallu (I never pleat the pallu), and no safety pins anywhere.  Additionally, since I had to do a lot of work around the house, I tucked the free end of the pallu into my waist, as is normally done when you don’t want the pallu to get in your way.  Again, this is perfectly normal, if you are used to wearing a saree on a daily basis.

The ceremonies were delayed, and by the time they were over, it was time to go to school to get the kid.  I waited at the gate, as usual, for the bell to ring and the customary group of moms was chatting.  This one mom, makes a beeline to me and says “what a wonderful saree, but why are you wearing it so badly – you have spoiled the beauty of the saree”.

Spoiled the beauty of the saree?  Am I the only one who thinks this was rude?  Or, am I, being hypersensitive to my own inadequacies (on the looks and dressing front), over-reacting to a normal sentence made perhaps in jest.

In the Hindu epic Ramayana, one of the defining traits of (Lord) Rama was supposedly “Mrudubhashana” – “of gentle words”.  Mrudubhashana is my principle in life, and I hope I am able to hold on to it.

Questions

Many of these questions are from the weekend meeting with old classmates.  Some generally like that from life itself…

  1. Why must anyone who learns that we have not owned a television in fifteen years, unfailingly respond with “oh, we have TV but we only watch the Discovery channel”?
  2. Why must stay-at-home-women friends who learn that I work from home, unfailingly respond with “Oh, I used to work, but I quit because I wanted to be there for my child”?
  3. Why must work-from-outside women friends who learn that I work from home, unfailingly respond with “Oh, work from home is useless….there is nothing like going to an office to build work ethics”?
  4. Why do people, meeting me after years, find it compulsive to advice me on how to regrow hair on my scantily covered head – apply onion juice, eat sprouts, don’t use shampoo…
  5. Why must people who are seeking to re-start their paused career, ask me to outsource some of my excess work to them , because you know, I only work from home, so it must be something that anyone can do?  No matter that it has taken me 17 years of struggle and learning to get to where I am.  This one, I am judging nine ways to Sunday.
  6. Why is religion never a private thing?  Why must my Christian long-lost friends immediately talk to me about how forgiving Jesus is? Why must my Iyengar friends be aghast because I, a hard core Iyengar, refused to get branded by samashrayanam?  Why is the fact that my family is made of one atheist, one theist, and one who is still deciding, scandalous to public sensibilities?
  7. Why do social science/management articles refer to women as “female”?  What’s wrong in saying “The sample consisted of men and women”, why must it be “male and female”?  Is it just I who associates the term “male” and “female” to genetalia?  And rats?
  8. Why is ageing a bad thing?  Why must we all convince each other that we look just the same as we looked back in college?  Why must I hide my grey with henna?

Some days are just…

You know when you don’t have five minutes to sit down and do something you don’t HAVE to do, that you are hyper inefficient in life.  Hyper inefficiency, is thy name Gobblefunkist.

I can see the hormonal see-saw beginning its up-down motion and I have been walking on egg shells all day lest I let loose the frustration that has been brewing in me.  I seem to always have a long backlog of chores to do – get done with one, start the other – all it can mean is that I am  terrible at time and work management.

I am not a nostalgic person, as I have mentioned more than a lot of times here, and I don’t consider my past great enough for me to return to, as a rule. But today, I would like to go back to say,  43 years ago, so that I could just lie in my crib and all my needs would be taken care of – even if I am pickled in my own urine. If we are talking of travel to past,  I’d be happy going back to 45 years back, when I wasn’t even a gleam in my father’s eye.  At least I would not have this constant list of chores to do.  But the irony is that if I decide to let the chores go to heck, I would still be miserable because I would be guilty that I let the chores go to heck.  Some people have no salvation.

It doesn’t help my mood today that a client sends me a document to edit “urgently” on Friday evening, followed by multiple emails reminding me that her deadline is today and that she is completely dependent on me now, and such like so that in the middle of all the home-management crisis that threatens to break me, I work on her document first thing on a Saturday morning, even before my first coffee, empathizing with the panic in her emails, send it back to her by 7 AM, to not even get an acknowledgement that she received it.  It is 4 PM now.   A person who can send 6 emails urging me to work on her document as high priority cannot send a measly “received it thanks” mail.  Pretty irritating.

Good I went anon in this blog – I can rant about work in peace.

This monsoon  (or whatever crap this is) is killing me.   If it rained enough to get rid of the 84% water deficit we are facing, I would be more than ready to face the inconveniences of the rain.  However, the monsoon is not only being miserly, but is a festival of the associated nuisances – high humidity  that keeps the clothes from drying and makes them smell like a dead skunk, the cement floors that seep the moisture, making it wet and cold to walk, the day being dark, making indoors darker, necessitating electric lights in the morning, mosquitoes that stingeth like the adder, the weird pains in all the joints that come with the high humidity – name it, you got it.  Add to it wet slippers.  The neighbourhood alley cats knocked down the shoe rack, and my only pair of outdoor slipper fell into slush.  Do you know that soggy slippers can be irritating to the feet and the mind?

Seeing my fridge next to empty, I go to the vegetable shop (wearing said soggy slippers!) that the entire populace of India has chosen to shop at, with spoilt  kids running around the already messy shop, throwing vegetables around and screaming their heads off.  These are the rare times I am  glad my kid is old enough to be left alone at home as I run these errands lest she gets on some other poor overworked woman’s nerves. Some parents seemed hassled by the brats, but a few others seem to revel in the hullabaloo created by their darling wards.  On another day, I may have ignored it with “people are people and it is my my sense of entitlement that makes me want to complain” type ethical crap, but today it took all my self control to not pull up one particular boy whose voice range could have shattered glass and give him a juicy one across his butt.

I need a break.  The funny part is that I don’t know what sort of a break. Or maybe a shout into the pillow. Or a chocolate that won’t settle in my hips.

Or perhaps all I need is a tight slap.