Monthly Archives: February 2013

It’s Amazin’ Dot Com

Okay. I’ve made up my mind. Online window shopping is much more exciting than actually window shopping. And it has all the characteristics of a dependency-causing substance; one that is ripe for being abused given the slightest encouragement. It’s fun, thrilling, addictive, and gives a high like nothing else!

As a rule, and because I’m a traditionalist, and technologically handicapped, I don’t shop online. And so the wonders of online stores were as yet unknown to me. But yesterday I was looking for a retractable lip brush online for fun, and unwittingly stepped into the quagmire of e-stores. And I knew what it was to be in Charlie’s shoes, in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! Everything was colourful and wonderful and shiny and tempting. There was so much to see and I wanted all of it! The lip brush was forgotten in the lure of eyeshadow and shoes and audiobooks and pet toys and craft supplies and gift baskets and android phones. I even checked out the gardening section, although I couldn’t tell you the difference between a weed and a herb.

Some might argue that a department store is as tempting and diverse as an e-store. I suppose it was, the first few times I shopped there. Maybe it still is, for little children. But mostly, going to a shopping store is more of a chore than an adventure. Time consuming, backache-inducing. The store inside my laptop, on the other hand, is convenient. And I can shop–or window shop–comfortably, sipping my coffee, and reclining on my couch.

So much enthusiasm–and I was only window shopping! I wonder what happens to people who actually buy stuff online. It must require oodles of self-control to buy only what was on the shopping list, and nothing else. As for me, I found out a lot about things that I don’t need at all, and til yesterday, didn’t know I wanted so desperately!



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One of the very first computer games that I fell in love with was minesweeper. Of course, there were the more interesting games like Chip’s Challenge and Mario and Street Racer; but hey, they required minimal IQ–even my brother could easily finish levels in those! Minesweeper, on the other hand, seemed like an adults’ game. Mostly because my father would play it for what seemed like hours on end. And I would be drawn to it; as though I had something to prove to myself, to the computer with its ‘high score’ lists, and to the world in general.

Stepping on a mine–and I would step on mines all the time–was fascinating! They would all go off one by one, so prettily, like fireworks. I say it was fascinating, but that state of mind never lasted for more than three games or five minutes, whichever came first. Fascination would lead to frustration and frustration to feelings of fratricide, as my brother would invariably be hanging over my shoulder laughing at my failures.

And then came the day when I made high score in the beginner’s category. It only made me yearn for more. Sure enough, soon I made high score in the intermediate level too. However, as yet, the expert category was a far-reaching dream. Leave alone high score, I couldn’t even finish an expert game when I was in school. But all the years of fits and starts of persistence paid off when right before starting college, I finally finished an expert game! I was so surprised I sat motionless for a minute. Of course, I had taken a very long time to complete it, but as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

My love for minesweeper has always come on like intermittent fever; there’s a period of feverish excitement, followed by an apyrexial indifference, and then a period of relapse. In times of glorious decadence, I can play up to a hundred games a day. And then, when I no longer get a high from the game, it starts disgusting me, and I give it up. But minesweeper pulls at me somehow; a few months later, once more, I can be seen furiously clicking on the mouse trying to outrun the minesweeper clock.

There are two ways to play the game: either you play for speed, or you play for accuracy. Doing both together successfully comes only after a lot of practice. Even now, with speed as my main aim, whenever I try hard to be correct, I invariably lose time. Only rarely can I sort of intuitively (not guesswork, mind you, it’s intuition) be accurate as well as fast. Now that I’ve set high scores in my laptop, as well as half my cousins’, my goal is to try to beat the world high scores for minesweeper. As of now it is still a pipe dream, but my will is strong, my minesweeper hand is dexterous, and I have a minesweeper app on my phone!


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Invincibility vs. Healthy Living

What is it about childhood and adolescence that makes us feel invincible? Nothing could go wrong when we were young. We were adventurers, and everything in our world was immortal. Illnesses were just another excuse for bunking classes, and tragedies happened to other people.

There was a time I believed that brushing teeth twice a day was for weenies; I didn’t have to worry about cavities. When I couldn’t understand why my mother insisted I shouldn’t read lying down on the couch. When I would secretly throw away my green vegetables. And later, in college, when I ate unhealthy, take-out junk food three meals a day.

But a few years, two root canals, a mild case of cervical spondylosis and the development of a moderately active health-and-nutrition consciousness later, I like to think I’m smarter. Mature. Now I’m the one telling others to make healthy lifestyle adjustments; I tell my cousins off for their bad posture, try to wheedle young nephews and nieces into drinking milk, and frown at my father when he puts extra salt on his food.

Do we take care of our bodies because life is a gift? Or is this just the price we pay for being human; for having a destructible body that we wish to protect? That we should live in fear of sickness, of death? Or maybe it’s just an evolutionary thing–we need to be fit in order to survive.

Whatever the reason, I do try to have a salubrious lifestyle. But I still yearn for those days when I could eat a whole bar of chocolate without feeling guilty, and when I didn’t feel compelled to go to the gym every time I had a huge bowl of noodles for dinner. I wish I didn’t have to grow up!



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A limerick

A young guy was bullied by his sister fair
But behold! he didn’t turn a single hair.
’til he grew taller,
so at her he could holler–
Sis! Howz the weather down there?

[Based on a true story 😉 Also, my very first attempt at a limerick. I’ll try to improve!]


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Everything is a metaphor.

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“Shout”, you tell me, “have it out”.
Why won’t you learn
that’s not my way?
You fight,
make a scene,
then sleep better for it. But
I’m not you. I
fight dirty, and
close doors where I’d rather
have them open.
So I don’t fight anymore,
not like you do.
You think I’m a floor-mat
Because I forgive.
And forget.

You tell me
I have no opinions of my own
because I
don’t take part
in your inane conversations
about juvenile things.
And you laugh
at things that matter to me.

You believe me fickle
because I try
to look at things
from others’ perspectives.
Because unlike you I
am open to new ideas.
And when I make a stand
for something I believe in,
You say I’m a fool.

Why will you have me change
when you don’t even know
who I am anymore?
Why won’t you see
I can never be you

I don’t even want to be.

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Bridges of Madison County Revisited

‘The Bridges of Madison County’, written by Robert James Waller, has always been one of my favourite books. Some time back, I started reading it again (actually, re-reading it again). But this time as I turned the pages, just one thought kept running in my head–this is not extraordinary! I wondered what had made me feel this book was so special. Probably I had become a cynic. Probably, as Robert Kincaid says, analysis had destroyed the magic.

Then came the day–in the story–when Robert Kincaid parted ways with Francesca Johnson, but in a geographical sense only. That was when my tears started to flow, and did not stop till the last letter of the last word of the last chapter. And I realized that the romantic in me is still alive.

It’s not really the story that holds us, not even the characters by themselves. It’s the words. The book is almost a poem in prose. The descriptions, the dialogues are beautifully poignant. In the end, they are what stayed with me and will compel me to read the book again, and I will once again forget about the disappointing beginning and the mediocre portions.

My favorite phrases from this book:

“I am the highway and a peregrine and all the sails that ever went to sea.”

“I live with dust on my heart”

“The old dreams were good dreams; they didn’t work out, but I’m glad I had them”

“Analysis destroys wholes. Some things, magic things, are meant to stay whole.”

“The reality is not exactly what the song started out to be, but it’s not a bad song.”

“I don’t like feeling sorry for myself”

“I love you, profoundly and completely. And I always will.”

‘There are songs that come free from the blue-eyed grass, from the dust of a thousand country roads’

“To ancient evenings and distant music”

“In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once, and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live.”

“Complex things are easy to do. Simplicity is the real challenge.”

“.. and I play that tune for a man named Robert Kincaid and a woman he called Francesca.”

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