Homosexuality- A state of being.

Gay jokes aren’t funny.

You don’t have to be gay or straight to know that , you need to be  compassionate, you need to have courage to challenge the “norm”. And when someone says- What are you -gay? in an insulting tone because that’s the best “comeback” they can conjure up…

Remember then, that it doesn’t matter whether you are or you are not , you don’t react like a cat on hot bricks. You question the
relevance of the remark, you question how would it matter if you were gay… Cause its not an insult, its a state of being.

I recommend this short, well made movie specially for those who have a difficult time in accepting the “Queers”. You may want to
see this challenging movie.It might give you a glimpse of what it feels like to be misunderstood and help in discovering your
compassion….

It may just help you understand, that homosexuality may or may not make sense to you,you may or may not accept it, but it is a fact & you can decide how you react to that fact- With compassion or with misplaced judgement.

My call ? – Life is too short to be an asinine, adult bully with ill formed opinions.

holding_hands_by_irv_artshark

The photo above could be 2 women, or 2 men or a man and a woman holding hands & it would still remain the same – a representation of a close bond shared , & that is pretty sacred stuff whatever your belief.

Homosexuality- A state of being. Period.

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Hair my woes on the FRENEMY!

FRENEMIES that’s the 1 word description for my relationship with my hair.

I hate it most of the time but we have our moments (too few & too far apart).
Its always been like that .. I am sure while i was entangled in the complications of my hair …i missed the plight of other people going through the same..
My heart reaches out to you, I wonder if they have support groups for this kind of stuff….AAnnnnd now my hair yanks me back to reality while i was busy trying to reach out & make a connection.

No seriously

On a good day It smells good , it feels good & (After long minutes of wielding a straightener which I know plans to one day evilly burn my hair like plastic..That shit is real- check it out on Youtube!)  I look like a decent person… After the time spent , you would think something glamorous would evolve.

Nope, not happening!

I can try all angles to get that hair straight or get it volume .. All i get is a minor workout & it firmly stays at oomph level-‘DECENT’. Its not even worth the effort. Makes me wanna work on my personality. Change who i fundamentally am. That should be easier.

On an average day it look like something the cat dragged in,
On a bad day it look like something the cat started to drag in,changed its mind & left on the sidewalk for everyone to get creeped out on!

Nah i kid, i kid!  I am exaggerating a teensy bit for dramatic flair.Its my half hearted ,compensating technique against the frenemy.. Its ironical though, that my hair decides to go with me on this one & makes me resemble Kishore Kumar (Late Bollywood hero with side cow licks. See below for reference) Bless his soul ! Am not sure he likes his look resting on my noggin either.I hear you buddy . Me & you both in this .

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Frenemy under discussion has also been responsible for me being misjudged as a crazy person! You see-I talk to it.I figured-Works for them plants. why not for ye ol ‘crown of glory’? The cajoling, the histrionics, the threats, the plans; its quite the emotional rollercoaster!

Once when i was in Engineering college, I was staring at myself in the Hostel ladies room . It was kinda late & i assumed it was empty (Stupidity 1 Hostel Loos are so never empty. There is always some random shit going on!)

Oh but the stupidity does not stop -Stupidity 2. I looked at my open long hair, had got glasses on,was wearing white & thought it would be fun to arbitrarily talk at myself.

Note- You know how some people rap, some people sing, some people say motivating things to themselves when they are by themselves in front of a mirror -Here is what the talent less of the earth do-

& whilst making peace with the mane; God chose to give me (into each life some rain must fall & what not) i declared to myself “Hey you look like John Lenon!” For some obscure reason that made me happy!! In hindsight, I am thinking, “That’s probably not something one should be congratulating oneself about”  & also  “Hell no!! I looked more like Ozzy Osbourne”.  Anyway, I proceeded to remove my glasses & then declared “Hey If you stay calm, you look like f******* Jesus man!!”

Bang! Door opens, out comes a senior very visibly stares at me & we both know she is thinking (Thank Heavens! I aint got no crap goin on like that on & (in)my head! & walks away, bouncing her loverly hair with my little pride following her closely) BLEH!

Oh yeah another day after watching “THE RING”, i scared the bejeebers out of myself when i washed my head! I was like eek! long black hair like from the creepy movie!! Do you folks know how difficult it is to rinse the shampoo off when you are scared witless & convinced its the scary girl’s hair you are rinsing off? Geez!

Anyway this rant of mine goes through my head atleast once in a day!You see now why i was gushing over Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye? So I decided I am gonna pen it down & kill it with the harsh light of reality ! There its no longer the ramblings of my mind. Its out there & now it has to be dealt with. I speak for only myself though, My hair no doubt has its own opinion.

I am all grown up now (yes some of us take that long). Engineering was a long time back & I decided to take control of my hair so I figured – Lets cut it short & see where it grows from there.Apart from grave misgivings of my parents,who think they will lose their daughter & magically get “another” son when the hair stylist chops off my hair,my friends have their doubts too. It might be fun when everyone else says don’t do it ! Wotsay should we call in the stylist yet?

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Ye Pivot Table!

So i wrote this poem on the fly after this horrible evaluation i had on a Business Intelligence class some months back  & thought Ill share it. Wondering if anyone out there has faced the same!

Oh ye Pivot table!!
naively i believed in the excel fable.
created you are, to bring sanity to data of all kind
when introduced to you, with happiness i was blind!
With the enthusiasm of a child
& a joy that was so much more than mild
Proclaimed I, “records will now look oh so pretty!”
The power to control my tables’ fields – exalting the worthy, sidelining the petty!
Such exploits were within my reach
Such promises, be forewarned are made by those, who do Excel teach!
But woe on you pivot! Betrayed me in my 1st evaluation you did!!
in a manner most sordid!
like your name , pivot u did but only my mind.

The Tune & the Dance- We owe ourselves

 

We dance like this in our heads when we are walking alone, with our mp3 player set to that tune , that tune with no lyrics, that tune on repeat… that tune that lets us form our own tales, the tune that converts us into something extraordinary for a brief while, that tune with the transient magic….
because it lets you be..
because it lets you imagine..

Yeah you’ve got that tune too don’t you?
I love some of the non dance video shots  few seconds around 0:44 in this one, cause it brings out the act of celebrating with dance with a vivid contrast…

The magical against a background of the everyday banal…

Perfect!

Dance always like no one is watching 🙂

Loving & Living right now!

colors_by_kleanthis-d340f63

Which color do i like RIGHT NOW!!

I read so much on the internet.. umpteen blogs,articles – Science, philosophy,wise people, letters from fathers, letters from moms, words of the wise , words of the foolish…

Everyday we are flooded with opinions, observations, facts & rules on life…How delightful is the internet!! It’s the great equalizer.. in the sense that I love the way a meme created in another far away part of the world is just so darn silly , so wonderfully funny , so resonates with me! . Everytime I read something I love , I thank the world to be full of all these delightful people..

Its like having this great coffee table conversation that never really stops & is a little unnerving cause it makes me question –  Do I have something to say that is truly unique? Truly original!! & will there be someone out there who feels quite this way.. Reading a lot will answer that –  HELL YES!! There’s all kinds of crazy entertaining out there & we all seem to love this very public, intimate over a coffee conversation!

I struggled with the question of novelty when I was is in school, still struggle with it , but  I realised (which too is not that novel I might add)is that the best stuff I ever read/enjoyed/celebrated/shared is the stuff that someone else felt too & expressed in this certain way that is just bang on REAL!

It’s not about originality, it’s about having your say, your own viewpoint (adulterated with borrowed wisdom or not!).  It’s making a documentary of your life, or your perspective your ever changing take on life… Our 26 year old is as engaging as our 13 year old, cause both our selves are vastly different! We all have something to say! It must be expressed! It absolutely must!

I want to know what moved a 13 year old, what inspired a 20 year old & what continues to make a 40 year old value travel!

So I have loved to embrace the noise in my head..I think this song from Switchfoot says it so well – “I am at peace when I am confused!”

I guess it means this confusion is proof of being alive to the beauty of each moment….

So there is this roommate of mine. We all are pursuing MBA.. At the end of our course, just before an exam on finance, we decide to chat on our balcony & she introduces me to – The 4 forces of the standard model,   The Higgs boson  & why The Large Hadron collidor is a big deal ! I am like yeah I have heard about that… so talked about , so what ? Then she reveals to me stuff I didn’t know about it in this compelling fashion of the few real lovers. Like did you know that there are 12 particles (Quarks & leptons) there are 4 basic forces – Electromagnetic, strong & weak nuclear & gravity ! & these lads are trying to study how they interact to give mass to matter….

You see she wanted to be a Scientist, she still follows Quantum Physics… She is going to be a great Manager, that’s her thing now… But she pays an ode to her love of physics for no true greater motive than just continuing to learn more about the subject she loves. ..

I loved it!! I googled articles on it, she spoke so passionately about the idea! She infected me with it!!I loved the idea cause she made me believe it was an idea worth  being in love with

& that’s what it is all about right?!! That enduring passion for an idea , an experience . An interest that’s yours & may not bring in the big bucks.. If you love it enough & share it with others , you’ll remind a jaded soul what it is to love again !

You see not long ago I loved electrostatics, Magnetism , inorganic chemistry (hated organic chem :P) & all that jazz too.. She just reminded me of an infatuation..It’s not my love , I’m still finding mine or maybe I just jump from one infatuation to the next… Who knows , I’m not going to bother about trying to figure out why I like what I do… I just know I am going to be fully aware of what I like at every moment !

We all are – INVISIBLE

We all are – INVISIBLE

                                                                            

Note: The blogger humbly requests readers to first start playing this song & then proceed to read. Pardon the eccentricity but I really believe the song opens the mind to understand the source of; if not accept; the views expressed under.

We are all alone.

We want our existence acknowledged.

This deep-rooted desire is expressed in many creative forms- from many Japanese Anime, to songs like Skylar Grey’s Invisible (The one you are listening to right now), to many dance & theater performances.

It doesn’t matter sad, sorry or angry, whatever the vented form, the real source is the despairing need to be remembered, to be understood, to be acknowledged.

I wonder though, whether this need be despairing, could it not be channeled for a positive?

We are afraid to be alone & yet we will always be. It is an inescapable truth.

We will always have moments of solitude no matter how many friends we have, no matter how well loved we are by our family. Solitude will find us. It’s like a person. We can choose to dislike it or embrace it. And like any other person, we can’t like it always; however hard we may try.  Hence these lamentations are inescapable.

It may help to remember that everyone else feels the same way every now & then & those who seem to be happily surrounded by many people most likely feel lonely more acutely. Need validation for that idea? Think about celebs like Marilyn, Michael, Heath Ledger, Amy , Whitney . Think about rulers like Julius Ceaser, Mark Antony.

We always do feel the pressure to present the perfect versions of ourselves to the world frightened out of our wits that we would be rejected if our true selves are revealed accentuating the feeling of not being really understood & hence being eventually alone.

A way out??  You know those old folks really did know what they were talking about when they said-

“Judge not so that you may not be judged”

Don’t dismiss another’s way, ideas or purpose in life, for if you do so, you feed your own fear that the same will be done to you. This way we might just understand some part of each other.

Try this sometime: Next time you feel “invisible” take a walk, keep walking till you come across another soul who has the same haunted look in their eyes. You will know it the moment you see it. Acknowledge that person; if possible strike that conversation you wouldn’t normally have. You’ll welcome solitude into this comfortable private circle you create to join in ,cause then solitude acts as a guard who protects this unnatural conversation, this connection till you find a friend in the stranger with the same look reflected in their eyes.

Sometimes our best works are created because we took the time to get acquainted with ourselves. Paul Gauguin a painter actually left his family & friends to be alone in search of truth through the medium of art.

You see our solitude can be a very dear friend. Choose to try and embrace it. You will undoubtedly fail sometimes but there will be those other times, however few, which just might help define yourself to you.

Like every dear friend, taken for granted, we need to take the time to replenish the relationship we have with it- Our Solitude.

taken from - http://blackcloudconnected.deviantart.com/art/Alone-29284646?q=boost%3Apopular%20ALONE&qo=1

One of these days!!

Image“One of these days I will do something…….I gotta do something!!”

While I tire my mind & others unfortunate enough to be close enough to hear me, with my passionate proclamations of wanting to “do something!!”, 3 friends of mine within the span of 3 days have quietly, dignifiedly  shown me the way with their actions with unnoticed success stories of their own .

 1 cleared a really tough exam

2 won prestigious competitions

They remain anonymous, because that’s how they are. They didn’t do it to prove anything, they didn’t do it because they would rise in someone else’s esteem. Their happiness was privately celebrated with those who would understand the value of their work, their endurance & fortitude, not their prize.

 They did it because it simply had to be done, they motivated themselves, made few excuses, “slept a little less” (- I quote one of them here) . In brief just put their shoulders to it because it made sense to accomplish this task they set out for themselves.

I marvel at their fortitude, and being something of a writer I felt the strong urge to express how I feel about it. I am sure that respecting their anonymity will keep me secure from their protests

My hope for all of us is that we continue to learn from the very many ordinary friends of ours we meet daily  with their quiet success stories who in this age of blatant self aggrandizement show us that sometimes, ”Goddamit ! It’s not just about the Promotion it’s about the PRODUCT as well 🙂 ”  (Please bear the marketing references; I am bombarded with them in class all day 🙂 )

I learnt enough to not put off writing this out;   Baby steps people baby steps.  I hope the lesson will be revised many times by their continuing success.

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It’s not just an Ad , It’s a MOVEMENT !!!

Reality of changing ad messages & how they are connecting to more customers

               Marketing with a conscience, seems suspiciously like a paradox but it doesn’t necessarily be so. One of the cases (AVIVA Great wall of education) discussed in a marketing class at my college recently; underlined this fact for me.

               Brands are now trying to create “movements” Its not about selling their product directly, it’s about being part of an idea whose time has come. Decommoditize the product by linking it to a cause bigger than itself. It’s a thought that has found firm root in my mind & I feel if executed properly appeals strongly to the emotional side of consumers, which bodes well for marketers attempting to tap Indian Markets.

Let me give you a couple of examples of the use of this phenomenon by various ad campaigns:

1)        AVIVA Great wall of Education (Discussed at length here)

2)        Tata Tea – Jaago Re campaign   (Video 2 Official Jaago Re website )

3)        Airtel- Silent National Anthem  (An indirect appeal to the patriotic strain of customers & also sensitizing them     towards the differently abled)

               Citizens of India are youthful, they are craving change & the advertising agencies recognizing this are being part of the social story unfolding by engaging customers innovatively through social causes that matter. This is helping generate buzz, increasing awareness & reputation for companies through conversations with customers about social causes while the brand is in the background, but subconsciously getting imprinted in the minds of potential customers.

               To demonstrate the efficacy of “Not an ad, it’s a movement” idea , lets study what AVIVA Great wall of education campaign has achieved:

1)        The Aviva Great Wall of Education collected over a million books for underprivileged children in its third year, and has become the biggest Bookwall ever.

2)        The donation drive  in 2010 collected close to 9,50,000 books which impacting more than 500,000 underprivileged children. 

3)        Through Vodafone, AVIVA  got over 11000 sms’s and another 50,000 has been committed by Vodafone as their contribution to the cause

4)        Publishing houses like Crossword and Harper Collins also donated significantly to the Wall.

5)        NGO partners – Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Save the Children, and SOS Children’s villages of India

6)        AVIVA’s  recycling partner Handpaper  converted irrelevant books for children into fresh notebooks. 

7)        1400 books worth approximately Rs 40,000 were donated on the Pratham books website

 

              It’s a story of successful wide scale collaboration. Some of the partners in this campaign have a very good & respected brand image which has been lent to AVIVA via this campaign, while they themselves also earn repute . From a branding & marketing perspective listed below are some of the key returns for AVIVA by this campaign:

Success for the Brand “AVIVA” 

  • TVC  campaign, featuring Aviva India’s  brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar,  became hugely popular 
  • Popular Bollywood celebritieslent their support to the cause .
  • On Facebook  fan base increased from 61, 501 to 165,670 adding over 1 lac followers during the campaign
  • A website was created for the campaign – http://www.educationisinsurance.com, . Had 7,577 visits on their micro site, 344 people took a pledge, 294 played the game and 1379 used the drop-box locator 
  • The average number of people talking about AVIVA’s Facebook page during the campaign was 30,000 with its peak number of 63,709.
  • Before the campaign the average number of people talking about the page was 4500.  
  • The total number of impressions for facebook ads was more than 70 mn.

                  More & more brands want to be part of the “we want change” phenomena. It’s highly engaging, it adds to brand repute & its driven majorly by the youth (an important & expanding market segment). So be prepared to join a movement endorsed by your favourite company.

Note: Also find interesting insights in the following blog  on the Jaago Re campaign.

My world got smaller today

I write not for just myself today, I write because my world got a little smaller. I write today because I wept for an unknown girl who could have been me. I wept today because I learnt of a woman molested & beaten & of men emasculated by their fear by a handful of crazed maniacs. I wept today because humanity died a little.

A girl was molested on July 10 in Guwahati [the incident], in full public view by a group of men who were affronted by her “boldness” to drink at a bar, by her desire to be equal & by her courage to stand up to them when they passed obscene remarks at her.

This is not a “chalta hai” incident, this is an incident which will one day/night (for those of us who will have the temerity or need to step out of our homes) happen to us or to the women we love & care for. It will happen when we least expect, when we decide we need a break because we worked as hard as the men.

I beseech you men & women, Make up your minds, steel your resolves to fight against these incidents, these crimes. Don’t let the “bystander effect” weaken you ever. For evil to win it is enough that good men don’t do anything. This is a truism to take to heart. I don’t use words of probability like “might” & “if” because you fool yourselves that you will do everything right & this won’t happen to “good girls” like me or the ones I know. You Fool yourselves .

This day I wear no jewellery, no finery, I do not wear “modern clothes”, I don’t go out to revel not because those emboldened faceless beasts have scared me but because today I mourn the loss of humanity, because I scorn those emasculated men in the public, because most of all I feel solidarity with that unknown sister in Guwahati who could have been me.

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