Monthly Archives: March, 2013

Straight talking

How often do you get straightforward answers from people? In my case, it’s a rarity. I love straightforward talkers, or those ‘rare species’ of humans, which are seldom found these days. Whatever I ask to whomever around, I constantly get elongated and wrongly coiled answers that are hard to decipher, which keeps me wondering why a major share of the world is intensely obsessed about giving ambiguous and foggy replies that would require hours of hard work and patience to get decoded. Instead why don’t they say things straightforward and polite, thus clearing the aura of uncertainty and confusion?

Be it a trivial or a critical question, giving a clear-cut Yes or No answer is never a mammoth task, but a matter of straightforwardness which is yet unknown to many people around. When every question in the world can get dissolved before an uncomplicated reply, wasting time crafting complicated answers is like vehemently making a mess out of those umpteen ‘easy to handle’ situations that one has to come across in life, only to lament later about the ‘unknown’ reason why a manageable situation becomes a whirlwind of complicated and unsolvable problems.

One of the main reasons behind the complicated way of answering is the dangerous overdose of doubtful feelings and unnecessary concerns that veil the clarity one’s thinking, thus hiding the road to frankness. I am not advocating for hasty and blunt replies, but just honest answers that one can give politely, and not carry the guilt of hurting or insulting someone. Words can be razor-sharp at times, but when used wisely, they will hit the right spot, help give frank and clear-cut responses, at the same time leaving the receiver unharmed. Still, ‘beat around the bush answers’ are much preferred than self explanatory replies, the main reason why people often end up in trickier situations that need complex and time-consuming explanations. Straight talking is the need of the hour. When a clear answer can help avoid creating unnecessary misapprehensions, why should one go for a complicated responses that leave nothing but profound ambiguity in the mind of the hearer, only to trigger anger and dejection.

There is not even one question in this world that’s not perfectly tailored for the Yes or No answers, yet many people end up giving illogically elongated replies or the ‘ready-made’ and very commonly used ‘will let you know’ which are nothing but irritating to the core.

Among both, I hate the ‘will let you know’ especially since I’ve been hearing it a lot these days, during the various telephonic interviews that I am attending in the hope of getting ‘stable’ and ‘well paid’ job. Those ‘will let you knows’ never happen in most of the cases and a cold and shattering silence remains, thus augmenting my frustration to a more irritating level. Now I am almost used to getting the ‘will let you know’, and mind has automatically started taking them as ‘No’. Yet I wonder why people are keen on veiling the truth behind the ‘let you know’ response, thus giving me a hope that would shatter in a day or two when the non responsive HR makes me realize that I was told a NO in a discreet way.
One can definitely talk straight and soft with short and clear replies. All that it takes is a few minutes of sensible thinking. Be it an official or a personal reply, be straight and rational, but in a poised way, and I am sure that would definitely turn out good and beneficial in the long run.

I love cartoons

It’s high time to dispel the misconception that cartoons are solely for kids. But I think some people are too serious to understand the amount of happiness that an episode of cartoon or comedy drama can provide. For them, watching ‘something that’s meant for the younger folks’ may look nonchalant and childish. But for the easy goers like me cartoons are the best way to unleash and unwind, especially after a hard day’s work. Whenever I need a break from the mundane office works, animated cartoons, Charlie Chaplin movies, classic comedy-dramas, and comic books help me unwind and relax, with non-stop humor and entertainment that nothing else in the world can provide me. Among them, cartoons come first in the priority list. As you all know, there is a common delusion that people who watch cartoons are childish, but I don’t give a damn. I am thirty plus and ‘still’ enjoy cartoons with the clear-cut realization that there are many people around to scoff at me for watching something that’s meant for folks less than half my age. I have no reply for them and am not at all bothered about their mockery. If someone is really offended seeing me watching cartoons, that’s their problem and not me. To put it shortly, I am well aware that whenever I watch cartoons, I always turn out to be the laughing stock of the world, but fortunately have the thick skin to handle all the rude comments, because I know very well about the depth of happiness and joy that cartoons can provide me. Last Sunday I didn’t have much work to do, and spend almost half of the day watching some hilarious episodes of Tom and Jerry, laughing like crazy. They may not make sense at times, but they do bring in a lot of enjoyment to lighten my mind, and what more do I need?

Be it Tom and Jerry or Scooby-Doo, most of the animated cartoons are eternal and always set an approachable and non-threatening aura, which alleviates my tensions and stress to a great extent. They are short, sweet and to the point, unlike some movies with terrible scripts and ‘beat around the bush’ dialogues that bore me to tears. Unlike those two hour movies with almost half an hour of filler scenes, cartoons last roughly ten or twenty minutes and never fail to give me tremendous amount of humor. They are always different from one another, and are so plain, direct, and simple that I hardly need to rack my brains to decipher their meaning. May be hilariously naive and hysterically exaggerated, but I can keep watching them for hours together and yet not get bored.

On the flip-side I am totally against violent cartoons, and prefer only those simple and cute ones that can get a chuckle out of me.

Live in various hostels Part 3

Being new to the city, I had no other option but to take help from my dad’s friend to find out a good place to live-in. After his a few days of constant search, he found me a place close to my office, which was more of a house than a hostel, where the ground floor was occupied by the house owner, and the first and second floors by us. By ‘us’ I mean ten or fifteen working women from various parts of the state. I moved-in soon, but was surprised to see the ‘kennel-like’ room that I was allotted, with no door lock. When I asked the reason behind this special ‘construction’ of the door, I was told that the bathroom attached to my room was actually meant for five, which includes me and my roommate, along with three other girls from the dormitory, and the door lock was removed for the sake of everyone’s‘convenience’ to use the bathroom whenever required. Although the dormitory and our room had a common door which could be locked safely, I never wanted to take chances, and hence used to lock our room too, by tying the door to a nearby iron window, using a very tight rope. To assure my safety, I also used to keep a sharp knife under my bed.

We were two in the room, and my roommate was someone whom I would call the queen of flirts, as she had almost three to four boyfriends at a time, and spend the whole night chatting with them, taking turns every two hours or so. Initially this didn’t hurt my sleep, but there came a point where I started getting troubled, and had to tell her on the face that she was getting on my nerves. That didn’t stop her from the daily ‘night shifts’, but she stopped disturbing me with her gibber jabber.

After a few days, a girl of the dormitory, with whom I had little interaction, told me something about our house owner, sending shivers up my spine. The fifty plus man used to show pretty high interest in women. He invariably joined the inmates gang in evenings uninvited, flirting outrageously with everyone. Though I kept a safe distance, I never took him to be a womanizer. Later I started noticing his manners closely, and was taken to surprise when I saw him getting ‘pallier’ with a few inmates. A self proclaimed Reiki specialist, Reiki was just an alleged reason for him to touch the hands and shoulders of the inmates.

We had a hard faced and uncouth maid who used to decide the daily based on her likings and the likings of the house owner’s family, or in short, we were the ones who were paying money, yet were denied even the right to have the kind of food that we wished for. Kitchen, a pigsty, was maintained as that, the reason why I was once badly infected with food poisoning and was bedridden for almost a week. I was in my room tired and exhausted of constant vomiting, with no one to take me to the nearby hospital. My mother had to travel long two hours to reach the city to take me to the hospital, and till then the house owner and his ‘dutiful’ wife were keenly watching the one international cricket, and the maid enjoying some classic songs.

House owner  a ‘wrinkled Romeo’, a ‘kennel’ for room which lacks every means of safety, an in-hygienic kitchen managed by a rude maid, with a few cantankerous inmates; failing to take in all these anymore, I vacated after three months.

Thus I moved to the third hostel, which is my present abode.

Live in various hostels Part 2

I am back with the continuation of my hostel saga! Here goes the second part of the story! As I said before there was a danger lurking near the window of my hostel room. Want to know what it is?

Exhibitionism is an incurable psychological disorder, and there was a victim close-by our hostel, who used to jump the hostel wall and roam around freely in the premises, especially in the evenings. This made it difficult for us to freely open the windows and enjoy fresh air from outside, as we feared the ‘porno’ effect of watching a half naked man standing in front with his shameless glee, and at times throwing stones at our windows whenever he had the ‘uncontrollable’ urge to make someone enjoy the ‘beauty’ of his weak and wrinkled ‘manliness’. Our constant complaints about this were never heard and police help not sought on time as our warden wanted to ‘safeguard’ the reputation of the hostel and not us. Situations went so bad someday later, and one among the girls called police men from her mobile and cried for help. Although they couldn’t arrest the ‘porn star’, he reduced his visits to our hostel. Yet, we lived in fear and never bothered to open the windows, fearing he would come back again.Life in that room was nothing less than hell, but we were fifteen to share our joys and sorrows. Extreme heat, limited power supply, scary surroundings, and no proper food; I stopped revolting against the endless number of struggles, and instead, started adjusting myself to tackling them all to the best of my effort. Injustices were common to all and there was no one to hear our voices, which made me go subtly submissive.There’s yet another shocking fact, and that’s the unreasonable doubt that arouse in our warden’s mind whenever she saw two women walking hand in hand or sitting close by. I think she had this very bad misconception that no two women can be intimate friends unless they are lesbians. I can say this as I have heard saying this about a few girls who were pretty good friends.

I never raised my voice, but started thinking about going back home, and opting for a daily travel, which I knew was not going to be easy. But I felt travelling back and forth in jam-packed buses for about three hours every day would be much easier than living in the hostel.

I went home for a one week vacation, mainly to get my dad’s permission to shift from the hostel. I came back the next Monday and found that our warden had given my place to another ‘favourite’ of hers and kept my bed & other stuffs in a damp place, which made it a cosy home for fungus and mould to live in. When I asked her the reason why she almost destroyed my bed, she said she wanted to give me a ‘better’ room, but didn’t have a place to keep my stuffs until I reach. I couldn’t take-in anymore and vacated on the same day.

Life in various hostels: Part 1

After living in various hostels for almost 6 years, I can definitely say that hostel life is something that everyone has to experience, at least once in their lifetime. Hostels will give you a good share of sweet, sour, bitter, hurting, and insulting experiences to help shape up your mind to face every possible circumstance that you may come across in life, bet it good, bad, or even the worst. You will become unassumingly patient and polite, and at times shockingly unemotional, thus making yourself wonder how can one be as calm and composed as a sage and keep bearing all the ‘agonies’ with a pleasing smile!

Let me start telling you my story, which I will be continuing in a couple of posts to come!

After living in a palatial home for about 20 years, I first moved in to hostel room for two, half as big as my bedroom. The hostel was close to the school in which I taught, and hence I had no other option left but to move-in.

One fan and a small bedroom lamp was the ‘luxury’ that I had in my room, apart from a half broken coat on which I had to sleep on. Luckily I had a good bed that dad brought from home! It was a hub of mosquitoes but my fragile roommate couldn’t bear the smell of mosquito coils. In short, I sat and killed mosquitoes every night,  instead of enjoying a sound sleep after tiring works.

We didn’t have an attached bathroom, but had to take turns and use one of the three common bathrooms and two toilets meant for almost seventy five inmates in the hostel. Making matters worse, our warden always made it a point to lock the inside toilets during day time, asking us to use the outside ones, which were extremely dirty, saying it would help us save water. But we actually had a well inside the hostel premise, and there was absolutely no scarcity of water. I think it was too cruel on her part to for making us use those dirtiest of bathrooms, even after knowing about the possible health consequences. Yet, she didn’t bother to give her decision and second thought. Her water saving theories went too further and once I saw her locking the water supply to the inside bathrooms, saying we used more water than what was allotted, and this happened when a few of the inmates were taking bath! Above all, the bathrooms were hardly cleaned once in a week, and we had to make sure to constantly complain every week and get them cleaned.

Want to hear yet another bizarre rule? We were allowed to take bath only once a day, and were not allowed to take bath in evenings, however sweaty and smelly we were! If someone was seen violating this, our warden always made it a point to embarrass her before everyone thus making sure that she never does it again. But I knew how to manage and get myself a good bath, and used to carry only my mug and soap to the bathroom, in the pretext of going towards the wash basin to wash my face.

Being a staunch vegetarian, food was what scared me to death! For lunch and dinner we had rice non-vegetarian dishes often, along with just one veggie dish, and the kitchen staffs were not really kind-hearted to get me vegetarian dishes in place of the non-vegetarian dishes served. So I had to make myself happy with whatever I was given, as I knew that complaining would not help. We were never allowed to bring plates from our homes, and instead food was served in the plates that they provided, which were often dirty and stinking.

There was just one plug point in the room to charge our mobile, and we had to do it without the warden’s knowledge as mobiles were not allowed inside the hostel, even for working women like me, as she feared the possible line of ‘boyfriends’ that we would have if we had mobiles.  But she was hardly aware that everyone had mobiles with them, and had the required knowledge in ‘electronics’ to charge their mobiles without her knowledge.

After living in the room for about one month, I was asked to move to another room, as there one of the ‘ favorites’ of our warden was about to arrive, and they wanted the room for her.  I shifted to another room, and was shocked to see that it had fourteen other girls in it, or in short the room was jam-packed with fifteen people. Adding to my worry, the room was just above the cooking place, and I felt like I entered in to a hot furnace, as the room was filled with all the heat and fumes from the kitchen.  Problems didn’t end here, and I soon came to know that except for the room where I stayed initially, others were only provided with limited power supply. The switches of fans and lights were connected to a power plug in the warden’s room, and she often switched it on after nine in the night and used to switch it off at five thirty in the morning, and yet give us huge lectures on mounting electricity bills.  After having a tiresome day  I couldn’t even enjoy the liberty of having some time enjoying cool breeze, and had to go the ‘nature’s way’ opening all the windows of my room. But there was another trouble awaiting me!

…………………………………………….. (Will be continued)