Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Variety - the spice of life

Check out this link - Parable of Polygons, before reading the blog post.
Try out their interactive screens, try various permutations and combinations, and you will realize the potent message that they are trying to send.
Brilliant stuff!

Demand diversity - do not give in to uniformity. Be around things that you do not know, people you do not understand, cultures that baffle you, food that intrigues you, customs that amuse you.
Let go of the comfort of your community and security of your language - try something new. Every single day.

Life does get boring being surrounded by familiar things and people, it is like settling into a coma and being quite ok with it. How can we give up trying to see as much of the world as we can, with limited number of years in our bag? How can we be surrounded by the same and similar and not be suffocated?
And in India we do not even have to travel far and wide to encounter different cultures -they all stay close by, a heady mix of different religions and communities, just make the effort and reach out.

I still get asked questions like - "You are from Aurnagabad - Brahmins are a minority there, right?"
And even after years of this, i still get pissed off. Brahmins maybe a minority, and there was no need to point that out to me, because genuinely i never noticed nor regretted it. In fact, i am quite thankful for it. Who wants to be the typical Brahmin girl, surrounded by Brahmin friends, follwing the same rituals and not being able to distinguish your home from your friends?
Thank heavens i grew up in Aurangabad - Diwali was celebrated at home, Eid with family friends gorging on Sheer Kurma and eating Naan Qalia and Lahori Kebabs, being able to savor Mushtaq's Biryani in Aurangabad, and helping a friend's mom decorate her Christmas tree and of course eating all the candies! Knowing that Pateti is not the new year, but celebrated on the eve, and wishing Happy Navroz is the custom! Tossing seeds into the fire with the Punjabi family down the lane for Lohri.

So yes, i do not want to live in a gated community of "Brahmins only", because who would we take home on Diwali, or Ganpati or Mahalaxmi if everyone had the same at their place? Where would the fun be in replicating the exact same thing across all households in the society, street and ward?
How would we make fun of kids who would mispronounce Marathi words, or how would my friends roll on the floor laughing listening to me trying to communicate in Hindi?
I know everything there is to know about Karva Chauth, or Teej thanks to my best friends!
I could attend Marwari or Punjabi weddings as a guest and stare in awe at the grand scale of it compared to a simple Brahmin wedding. But imagine having a backstage pass to these events - being involved in the planning, execution of these events - because it is after all your best friend's wedding and how can you not be involved? How can her mother not be dependent on you to coordinate things and ensure everything goes smoothly?

That is what makes my hometown so special to me - all the different people put together, living in this colorful, random, varied world, enriching each other's lives, teaching us values of tolerance and appreciation of variety, teaching us to always be on a lookout for new things and new people. And that is why, generally, people from Aurangabad do not have a problem with meeting new people or the concept of "getting bored" at any party, or "what do i talk about with a new person" syndrome. We thrive on it.
We can find good company even in the most eccentric of people, if they would only have something, or think something or know something that we do not know and would be willing to share.
Because our comfort zone moves with us, the only thing constant in our comfort zone is us and the fact that it has to keep changing.
Put us in a straight jacket - doing the same things, around similar people and you have as good as killed our will to live!

Stop being racist, casteist, or just people with a whole lot of biases. As the link shows, one small bias can translate into a huge societal bias. And the only way to rid the society of already existing biases is not to have no bias, but to actively be anti biased. To seek out the unfamiliar, the different, the unknown. Be an anti bias crusader!

Source of image: https://www.facebook.com/TheMindUnleashed

This post is dedicated to all my friends, family and relatives in Aurangabad who have made life there so interesting and colorful. I cannot imagine growing up anywhere else!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

My 30 days Happiness Project - the Final chapter

I know i have been a little (very) lazy with the postings.
There has been a lot happening....is what i wish i could say, but honestly, i have  not had the will to sit and write.
On the bright side, i have been making notes in my book, with my tiny ant like handwriting, of the "Happy Moments" in each day, so that when i do get down to writing a post, as i knew i would have to someday,  i would not be in the lurch hoping my memory would get me out of it!

This is the final chapter in My 30 Days Happiness Project, where i try to understand what makes me happy (it seems very easy, but when you sit down and ask yourself what truly makes you happy, you are bound to go a little blank).
I also try to understand the Paradox of Hedonism, and see if it actually holds true for me. The paradox says we do not or cannot actively pursue pleasure, it comes to us indirectly from the things we do. Happiness is not the aim, but a side effect.
I note down one happy moment every day, for a month, and try and understand what made me happy, what can i do more of, and was i actively persuing it, or did it come to me as a consequence or effect of something else.

You can read all about my previous days -
1. Day 1 and 2
2. Day 3, 4 and 5
3. Day 6, 7, 8 and 9
4. Day 10,11 and 12
5. Day 13,14 and 15
6. Day 16,17 and 18

Continuing with the last post, Days 19 - 23rd were spent at NH7, planning around NH7, getting ready for NH7 and basically just thinking about NH7.

Creature Village's experience at NH7 -

We have been to many exhibitions, from badly organized ones, to could have done better ones, this one stood out. Our co-coordinator - Kassia, was the ideal organizer. She was present 24X7 on the ground addressing all our problems and queries, coming up to us herself and asking if we needed anything. Trust me, no one ever does that.
The timings and schedules were conveyed beforehand via email and whats app. The stalls were kept ready before we arrived for set up. Electricians, cleaning staff were available at our beck and call. I cannot think of a single way in which Kassia could have been a better coordinator!

This time around, they had a separate ground for the stalls and food. Last year it was on the same ground, adjacent in fact interspersed with each other.
This time, it was obviously a disadvantage. There is a certainty of footfalls when you are with the food vendors. People are bound to come and eat, and browse while eating.
Though, we were situated in between two stages, so people had to come across our section to cross over stages.
It was a lesson learnt, next time we would always find out the layout of the place and understand its implications before jumping in.

Out stall was located between the "Dewarists" stage and the EDM arena. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND EDM. It is a computer producing noise. And we had to stand and listen to it play all 3 days - CONTINUOUSLY.

Source: memegenerator.net

i am sure there is something that i am missing here, something i don't understand and cannot appreciate. Given its popularity, EDM has to be an art form, but its art I don't care about. It is loud, heart thumping, noise. And no matter how much anyone else tries to convince me otherwise, it will always hold the bottom place in my music list, right next to death metal.

The Dewarists stage on the other hand, was more to my liking, we could hear Amit Trivedi, Monica Dogra, The Goldspots. It was a fun stage and if i did not have a stall to manage i would have probably made it my home for 3 days.

The crowd was young, very young this time - ages 16-23. Or maybe, i am getting older with every year! It is a different crowd of teens and early 20s than was at our time. We were really dumb - be it music, fashion or even the money that we had to spend.
We definitely could not afford music festivals where the entrance fee was 3500/-. We definitely would never be allowed to leave home wearing a skimpy little outfit, we would not have the money or the fashion sense or even the daring to go buy these skimpy outfits, let alone wear them, we would probably not be drunk on 500/- a peg vodka / rum.
It is a different generation - so sure of themselves, so confident, maybe coming across as fake to us, but just possibly could be as real as anyone can get.

We also learnt a lot about our brand - Creature Village. It was a real eye opener for us - the direction that we want to push our brand in and the steps we are going to take henceforth, will be dictated, in a large part by what NH7 taught us.
We are a niche brand - up cycling waste fabric to create beautiful creature and products - products that we are proud of. In the process, we deal with beautiful women, overcoming obstacles to make a life for themselves and till now we have never spoken about them. Maybe it is time to shift the focus on to them. It is after all their art.

The days were hectic, the sun was hard, the evenings cold, a lot of work, meeting random people - and now it all seems like a blur, like the whole thing may not have actually happened, like we closed our eyes and blinked and we were back to normal life!

The days after that were so normal and that also brings happiness. My happy moments in the days succeeding NH7, were the moments of normality - making a list and menu for the next week, grocery shopping, reading my book, meeting cousins, going to work, having my cup of tea, cooking.

This was also the time when our TV had gone for repairs and i did not know how i would survive without it! But i did, and quite nicely. In fact i do not remember missing it much. The time was spent in baking and i bought my first set of measuring cups and spoons from Amazon!

All the free time was spent in the kitchen, trying out new recipes and slowly, surely, filling my recipe book - this is the book that i am going to give as a wedding present to my baby sister - when she gets married next December!

I met one of my best friends (out of 4), for a mere 30 minutes one day, but it has to count as the happiest moment of that day, and maybe even the next one. With some friendships, time and distances truly don't matter, and don't we have Skype and whats app to thank!