Welcome 2008!!!

Happy New Year to all. May 2008 give you at least 2007+1 reasons to cheer about.

So, as promised, I'm here blogging at midnight. I thought I'll start blogging right away, but that doesn't seem to be happening right now. My sister is sleeping next to me and I am going as soft on the keyboards as I can.

I had imagined that I will blog on things I want to do this coming year..(not a compulsion). I think I'll delay those for my up-coming blogs. The first thing, very unexpected, that I did as I logged on was send across a message on Orkut and Facebook.

I hate typing so slow... No fun in writing this way either... :(

So I guess I will catch up on this tomo morning..till then..take good care and keep smiling.



Everyone is talking about the NEW YEAR RESOLUTION or NEW YEAR PLANS these days. Gosh!! We need an excuse for everything. Well, as for me, I used to have New Year resolutions until a couple of years ago. I ALWAYS broke them, so I figured out that no point in keeping those. They aren't meant for me.

However, THIS YEAR.. I have a WISH. Finally. Everyone asked me what I wish for in the New Year. Never really wish for anything. This year, I have wished... and I WILL MAKE THE WISH COME TRUE...to go to the first ever Singapore Grand Prix in September. Knowing my love for Formula One, my parents have already consented and starting this New Year, I will start saving for the event. So, remember. Don't expect me to throw parties. And I hope you'll understand why I am acting like a Cheapskate in 2008. YOU KNOW WHY!! :)

And there was this one more thing I heard a lot, associated with New Year. Some sort of superstition that whatever you are doing at the stroke of midnight in a New Year, that's what you'll be doing throughout the year. Even though I am not superstitious, just for fun, I'll be blogging at that time. And I hope that's what I continue to do throughout the year.

One request. Will someone please read my blogs on New Year midnight?? So that I have the guarantee of ONE NEW VISITOR/READER of my blog everyday for the coming year. :)

I'm pretty exhausted with my blogging now. Catch you all later tonight. Have fun!!

Much Ado about New Year!!!

Well, I never quite understood why all the fuss is created around New Year's eve. Not since I was like, 12. Those were some really fun times, at that age. Somehow, that excitement is amiss as we progressed through the teens and then onto the threshold of adulthood.

New Year celebrations for me used to be spending quality time with cousins. We used to live in this huge independent house, the kind that are quite rare these days. We are, in all, about ten cousin brothers and sisters ranging from 5-16 years of age. And this is how we celebrated New Year....

We begged our parents to give Rs.25-50 per head. Considering only the kids celebrated (even though the parents were invited), the parents gave money for the kids. But never quite hesistated to crash the party, unannounced. They were quite miserly in that regard and we blew our lids off when the food was insufficient (rare phenomenon).

Our Idea of Venue: The Terrace. I lived on the third floor with my parents and the terrace was just above our domain. Papa usually scared the kids off with his temper, but when he was sweet, the kids adored him. They were too scared to ask him if we could party there. I'd take a few cousins, who had the persuasive powers, to talk to papa. And after a few hesitations, we'd finally crack him into letting us party.

Our fabulous idea of a New Year feast: Top Ramen Noodles---Chicken flavour most of the time, although I don't quite enjoy it any more. One packet noodle per head sufficed most of us. And we had some good old potato chips to go with. Oh!! And Yeah. The boys cooked the noodles most of the time. Very satisfying meal indeed!!

Our Idea of the New Year Drink : Rasna--Everyone voted for the orange flavour, although my favourite was Cola. Short on resources, we didn't want to spend that much on Coke or Pepsi. Besides, we got more glasses of Rasna for a lesser price, and DAMN it was tasty. I usually took the responsibilty to prepare that cos that was the only thing I ever learnt to make at that age.

Our Idea of Fun: A stereo system, which often I volunteered to provide, without asking my parent's permission first. Although others had stereos too, none was ready to carry it up till 3 floors. I would heroically be ready to act as a saviour, then cower till the last minute to ask my mum if I could take the stereo. She obliged most of the time, not before telling me a zillion times to be careful. Papa, of course, didn't want me taking his prized possession, but mum convinced him. ALWAYS!!

Our Idea of Celebration: CAKE!!! Yes. That was something we insisted on, and that was the thing for which most of the money was allocated. The Cake had to be perfect and it was the boys who usually assumed the responsibility to getting it. Also, they were the eldest among our lot. They ensured we had cakes from the best possible place and the finest quality.

And So, we partied. The feast was ready, the drink was ready, the chips were half eaten while the feast was prepared, the stereo was ready to belt out songs, the terrace had been cleaned and everything was in order. The boys were always fashionably late, and the girls often arrived early and discussed the music that was to be played. The neighbours always seemed to copy us, and arrived on their own terrace (theirs was lower...I guess 2nd floor...and we got to sample what they feasted on. I must say, we liked our menu much better and were satisfied with our party preparations).

We would urge the boys to hurry up, so that we can start partying before the neighbours started their celebrations. And so, it was a common norm that things never got underway before 8.30 pm. We put on the music as loud as we could. Sometimes, the neighbours got bugged and got another deck to drown the sounds of our stereo. Our stereo speakers weren't the best, I admit. So what did we do???????

We shouted and sang and danced on our songs. I bet if there was a sudden, complete silence, we'd sound like a mix of goats and donkeys. What an amazing ruckus we created. Sometimes when that didn't work, we'd calmly shut our stereo, and dance to the tunes that the neighbours were playing. We'd thank them in the end for helping us save electricity and letting us have the pleasure of some wholesome entertainment. They had some really good songs.

Often the plan was to dance all night, eat at 12...dance a little after that, say till 1 or 2 o clock, and return to our respective parts of the house. Naturally, that was NEVER the way it happened. The 5-7 year olds were always hungry by 9. We'd watch them eat and then couldn't control our hunger. We finally ate by 11. The cake was always Cut at midnight and we retired to our slumber by 12.30.

Those were some days. That is how I still remember New Year. Coz, New Year always symbolised spending some fun and quality time with the ones I loved. That is how I always wanted New Year to be. A promise that may the coming year be filled with a lot of laughter and joy in the company of a loved on...carefree..without worry.

New Year since the turn of the millenium has been a lonely affair for most of us. The house that we were born in no longer stands in the lane of Chirag Ali Lane. The house that once drew envy of many around, turned out to be a sour dream for its own residents. I've learnt since that life isn't as rosy, and you don't always get what you wish for. I've learned to make peace with that and be content with what I have.

And What I have, among others, is the ever-lasting memory of the Many New Years spent in ways that seemed more perfect than any other thing I've done in my life. The images are still as vivid, like they are happening as I write. They were real moments and they are ones I'll take away with me.

The Greener Pastures

I had never been interested in the social networking sites until two years ago. My only use of the internet would be for the purpose of checking mails, sending e-cards and for searching information. Then Orkut happened to me.

In the first year, I was totally glued to Orkut, adding just about anyone who'd care. It was an addiction. Spending hours and hours on the site, competing with other friends to scrap (inciting others to scrap you so that your scrap count stays ahead of your friends). Little did I realise that I was slowly losing touch with the real world. The Cyber world DOES seem so rozy after all, isnt it??? You do not have to worry about how you look, how you have to behave. Its all casual talk and you can just charm with the power of words. That's it. Done. You think You've made great friends for life (I was stupid enough to think so, about a year and a half back).

Well sure, among the huge list adding up as your friends in a social networking site, you DO find some really nice people who genuinely want to be friends with you. Mayank Mohta and Asankhaya Sharma are two people I met through Orkut and I thoroughly enjoy talking to them.
But then again, as I was saying, my list kept on increasing everyday with a new friend request. Then finally when it touched 300 I decided to do a reality check.

On a very boring afternoon, with nothing productive to do, I was on a "Cleanse-my-orkut" mission. I sat down and viewed each and every one of the profile. I "deleted" those accounts, with whom I had lost contact over the last six months. I remembered quite a few of them, small details. I dropped in a random "HI" before deleting the account. The reason for that??? I got my "HIs" back...with a few "Do I know you??","How do you do, what do you do??". Clearly these people had forgotten me. And I just didn't want to start again by reciting my life story, yet again. By the time I finished the process, the count of people I ACTUALLY knew or other friends from School, college or family members were what remained. I kept a few of those whom I'd met randomly through orkut, cos I knew that with them, I could just pick up from where I left.

Today was one more such boring session. I just went through my friendlist again, not with the intention of deleting anyone (coz I've been very shrewd in adding unknown people lately). Something caught my attention. Something I hadn't been able to realise, caught in the myriad of my not-so-busy-yet-busy life. The number of changes in current location.

Nearly half (I'd like to admit that I didn't count but I think that figure must be near exact) of the people on my list have changed location. Hyderabad has been replaced by Houston, Trichy has been replaced by Texas, Mumbai with Michigan. While most have gone to the US for the pursuit of higher education, notable locations also include the UK, Greece, Australia, Taiwan etc.

I am amazed. I mean sure I knew who was going where. But caught up in my own life, as people went in search of greener pastures one by one, I didn't realise that half of my social networking site friendlist was out of India in less than 6 months. What is it about foreign education??? Is it a fad?? Why does everyone wants to go abroad after their graduation?? I never understood that because I admit that I never really wanted to understand that. If you go abroad you have more value, they say. C'mon. Every one is going abroad these days. What makes you different???

Yes there are some who tell me that the kind of education we get here (in the Graduate courses) isn't enough to make you industry ready. That is true at least in the Commerce and Humanity stream as far as I've seen. But what is it about others?? The Engineers and Doctors?? Why do they want to rush off to other places as soon as they finish their graduation. Most from Commerce and Humanity go abroad for their MBAs. Why??? Okay. If you don't like the standard of education, are you willing to come back after you finish your studies?? Are you ready to give a written testimony on that???

I am not being accusatory. I am just a little caught up in my own views and expressing my own opinion. I don't say I'm right always. I just say I have the right to express myself. And I'm doing just that.

It hurts sometimes to see your friends away from you. Knowing that you will see them once in a few years. Sure they have a life of their own. They want to make a career of their own. But still, at the risk of sounding patriotic, how are you planning to help your motherland???

Follow up or part two to this will be written shortly. Right now, I have to listen to the call of the RUMBLING STOMACH!! :)
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