Ripples of my Reflections

I think, therefore I write

Category: I OPINE (page 2 of 13)

A case for Kindle

As much as I hate giving up buying hard bound or paperback books from the shop, getting lost in the new book smell and the pages of a whole new world, I recently realize Kindle has more perks to it than I care to admit. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t ever want to be that person who only buys intangible ebooks and I will not be. Now and then, I buy paperbacks to indulge and also to rest the guilt in me for moving away from them, even for a tiny bit.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize Kindle has more perks than I care to admit:

  • I love book shopping in book stores but currently I am on bed rest for a medical condition and I cannot go book shopping even if I wanted to. And since I have more time on hand, I can read more books at a faster rate and I find myself restless to wait until Amazon/Flipkart delivers the books I order. But with Kindle, one click and voila, I have a book to read in a matter of minutes.
  • Again, for a reason, I can only read books that are light, books that don’t turn my imagination to gore and violence. I was reading ‘The song of Fire and Ice’ and I had to stop midway. So this cuts down the type of books that I can read. So I get more restless once I find a book that I can read. I need to have it immediately. Kindle to the rescue!
  • I can carry my entire collection in one notebook sized device. No need to worry that I left a book at my parent’s place but have a craving to read it again. Of course, I shouldn’t be as mindless as to leave my Kindle behind! 😀
  • The biggest perk of all – With Kindle, lending books gets complicated. I cannot lend one book and read another – a good reason to not lend books. I am not selfish, I am just possessive about my books and book borrowers have only proved me right. At least, those who borrowed from me. I have a borrower who borrowed a book an year ago and never returned it. I doubt if she even remembers she borrowed it from me or if she has the book safely now. I have another one who borrowed 4 volumes of a classic and returned only 3 to me. I had to do everything short of begging to get the 3 volumes back. And she keeps saying she returned all 4. Sigh! I hate incomplete book sets. The saddest part is she didn’t even read the books. The least she could have done is keep it safe and return it, if she is not able to read it. These book borrowers being close relatives doesn’t help matters because you can only ask so many times. And if they say I already returned it and you know they are lying, well, what can you do? Spoil the relationship by speaking out or be quiet and mourn the loss of yet another book.

This is one reason I have a closed bookshelf at my place. I go gaga over open, artistic bookshelves but I have seen people who don’t even turn a page on a regular day ask if they can borrow a book when they see such beautifully arranged books. Can’t blame them, it is the magic of books. But I never get the books back and that’s the part I hate. Even worse, I get the books back in a dilapidated state. It just breaks my heart. Anyway, I digress!

So with Kindle, my heart rejoices that I need not go through the pain of lending and waiting anxiously for the safe return of my book babies. And when I am off my bed rest, I will buy as many paperbacks as I want and keep them in my closed bookshelf 😀

Until later 🙂

P.S: Don’t take me to be heartless because of my rant against book borrowers. I know a good book borrower when I see one. One who loves books as much as I do and one who understands the magic of reading. Such people rarely borrow books. They only do so, with great hesitation, when they can’t help it, like they really cannot get the book they want or if they want to check out the book first.

Why I don’t need a women’s day

I am a feminist and intend to remain one as long as the need for feminism exists. My woman pride is pretty high and I wouldn’t let anyone dent it even a bit. But of late, one particular thought pattern bothers me. I am confused, to be honest. I am starting to feel that these extra celebrations and campaigns to establish what women do, what they sacrifice, what they go through etc is a bit over-hyped. I cannot say with certainty, that I feel the necessity for such recognition.  I think this is all becoming too much of just brand and marketing strategy for many different products and concepts and too less of what it actually stands for.

When I ask people – both men and women, what makes them celebrate a day for women, I get varied answers none of which answers my questions. These are some of the reasons:

  • To understand women
  • To thank women
  • To recognize the power of women
  • To increase awareness on gender equality
  • To eradicate crimes against women
  • To show how much women mean to the world

and the list goes on… What hits me with each of these answers is why do we need to single out one day to do this? The same goes for any similar case too. Like a mother’s day, a father’s day.. Why single out one day for understanding and thanking someone, anyone for that matter, for what they do? And why do we need a day to create awareness on gender equality? Why do we need a day to think about how to prevent crimes against women? Aren’t these normal human traits that must be present already? The fact that we need a single day to make it an agenda and then execute means there is something fundamentally wrong with how we are today.

To look at the other side, I riddled myself this – What’s wrong in celebrating a day dedicated to some cause? That’s how celebrating birthdays and other festivals came into existence, right? That’s when I realized that it is not the WHAT that bothers me but the HOW. Like the hype around some and the lack of it around others. I honestly didn’t know there is an international men’s day to honor men. I am sure many others don’t know of the same. So why is women’s day so popular and men’s day hiding in a corner? There lies the answer. It is the campaigning, the product brands using such concepts to further their causes, it is what prevails more than the others in the race. Just like everything else on this planet. Survival of the fittest. The women’s day cause is probably more championed by brands and enterprises to reach out to that emotional quotient we are all helplessly plugged with and fueled by the rage that we experience with the so many crimes against women. Again, there are crimes happening against men, albeit lesser in number, but you gotta agree that they are also less known of or even worse, less discussed about.

I agree that this argument can go on either side, it’s a cat on the wall. It all boils down to one factor – conditioning. How we are sub-consciously conditioned in our genes over centuries, how we are conditioned to blame everything to genes instead of taking up responsibility, how we are taught what is right and wrong based on skewed opinions that might no longer be applicable. Right and Wrong are very subjective and are always prone to change. But we ignore the change factor and feed what is our right and what is our wrong to the next generation and that, so easily, becomes their baseline to judge right vs. wrong.

We hardly stop and think why we do a certain thing? If someone honestly ask me why I celebrate women’s day, I cannot give an answer. Because I don’t know why? Because the whole world does? Because I want to fit in? I don’t know. And this same behavior translates to lot many things in life. Going with the flow and doing things just because that’s how things have been done. I never stop and ask if I don’t feel good doing this charade, then why should I do it?

So from now on, I am going to celebrate my causes rather than the world’s causes. If I feel like appreciating the women in my life, I am gonna walk up to them and tell them that they are brilliant. If I feel that I am a wonderful wife, I am gonna take pride in being one. If I feel like I am good at managing work and home together, I am going to do it as long as it pleases me, no matter what anyone thinks of it. If I feel like I am not appreciated for what I do, I am going to voice it out. If that does not work, then I am going to take my work where it is appreciated. Because THIS is what we should do, every single day. Man or Woman, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t want others championing my cause. Neither do I want to champion someone else’s cause without connecting to it. I am me and I fight my own causes.

Until later 🙂

Love vs Ego

One particular episode of the debate show “Neeya Naana” in Star Vijay TV is the reason behind this post. The debate was between a section of parents and daughters who disagreed over love marriage. The reasons of the disagreement were many, but there were some shocking revelations to me.

There was one parent who was of the opinion that honor killing is the right punishment for those who marry into another caste. I never thought a parent can honestly believe that his/her daughter would be better dead than marry into another caste. There was another parent whose arguments were torn apart by her daughter, but still wouldn’t agree that marrying for love could be a right thing. The daughter asked her mom – “If I commit suicide because I couldn’t marry the guy I love, is that fine with you?” And her mom’s reply was – “I would rather have you dead or remain a spinster and stay with me, than accept someone you choose.” Much ego? Shocking!

The debate had all the usual arguments from both sides and it was pretty much predictable that the parents’ ego and how the society will treat them if they accept love marriages, especially cross-caste ones, was the main problem. But the most shocking revelation for me was from the daughters who were arguing for their right to love and marry the guy they loved. At the end of the show, Gopinath, the host, asked them this – “All this said, will your parents be able to change your mind to abandon the one you love and marry you off to someone they choose?”

I expected the girls to say a big NO. However, except one, everyone answered YES, albeit hesitantly. So that’s how strong you are in your belief of love and love marriages? I agree there is an emotional blackmail quotient, there is respect for your parents, you don’t want to hurt your family etc. But what about that decision you took to be with someone for the rest of your life? If your decision is this weak, there is no mistake on your parents’ part to suspect that this is a passing cloud and think that love doesn’t last. You have no right to blame your parents for not trusting you and your choice when you cannot defend your choice even for an hour.

To be clear, I am not asking anyone to elope. I am not asking anyone to resort to absurd decisions like suicide. Can’t we stand our ground and fight for something we believe is our life, soul and breath? I agree there are some cases where eloping is the only option or else you will get killed. I agree there are some situations when you are forced to move out and marry on your own. Exceptions are always there but giving up before even trying? That was something that disturbed me after watching that show.

Having known love and faced all the usual drama that comes with a love marriage, I tell this from my personal experience – There is no excuse for abandoning a true love just because you were too cowardly to defend it. Also, there is no excuse to abandon your parents when there exists even a remote chance that you can stand there and fight for your choice of life, that someday they might understand. Do not give up of either of them so easily. They both are priceless and precious. We might not know the value now, but when you look back at your life, you better have the right regrets than the wrong ones that make you feel like you cannot live with yourself.

And parents, caste? ego? Please, we have argued enough on this. Let’s rise above these petty things, that’s all I can request for. If there is a reason for you opposing your child’s choice of love and spouse, it better be something real to do with the welfare of your child.

Until later 🙂

Name it what you will

I started this blog quite a few years back and blogging back then was about writing what you feel. That’s it. There were no expectations of you-scratch-my-back-and-I-will-scratch-yours. There was reciprocity, of course. But it never got in the way of us writing realistic posts and reading other posts and responding honestly. This world has evolved so much with the years and I am all for a positive change. But the culture that I see in this space now doesn’t look like my cup of cold coffee. Yeah, maybe it is not just the world of blogging changed, maybe I changed too. Maybe my perceptions changed too.

However, what bothers me more is the very same people who wrote brilliant posts are churning out the commercial rubbish, campaigning for brands that they had to google out to find what they stood for. I confess that I tried a couple of such posts and that is the worst thing I have ever done with respect to writing and I will never do it again. Not for a million dollars. If I want to make money out of writing, I’d publish a book or open a fully dedicated and commercial blog. I wouldn’t do this laying in commercial posts amidst personal stuff, thereby luring in your trusting readers to read the campaigns. And the height of all this is we don’t see that this is all just marketing strategy and the typical greed of making that extra few bucks is working out very well for the brand companies.

Also, have you noticed the topics that they choose for you to write? It is all hot topics which would make people go gaga over them. Like feminism. How many unrelated brands have beaten this same snake to death and we keep biting the bait. Or maybe we don’t care about it as long as we get traffic to our blog. Also, there are people who keep writing about how happy they are with their life, home, marraige, kids etc. every single month. I mean, why would you need to give a status update about your life on the internet. And to my dismay I found out that they are doing this charade to get back at their “enemies” and show themselves up in front of everyone. Sharing something about yourself is okay, but this? Get a life, please. That is one of the reasons why I stopped following and participating in the Action Replay theme where you talk about how your month was.

Anyway, where am I going with all this? Due to many factors, including me changing, I don’t recognize the friendship that I once formed anymore. I am still game for reading blogs that are worth it. I may or may not read, I may or may not comment, but you wouldn’t bother about it if you are writing for the right reason. Words, when put right, never fade away.

I have thought a lot about this even before but never got around to doing it because of the love I have for writing. But now I realize, I have been doing a great injustice in chugging on just to fit in, just to keep going as I used to. So I took a break for a few months from blogging, cleared my head, drew inspiration from like-minded bloggers and took a snap decision. I unpublished my blog page of Facebook and disabled comments on the site. That way, the only thing that will motivate me to write here as and when I want to, is the urge to write about something.

Until later 🙂

P.S: Thanks to Adit for getting me back on my feet and my inspiration. I know I am not quite there yet, but I will get there eventually.

Buying a flat – Demystifying the experience

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Image Source:indianpropertylawyers.com

Who doesn’t have the desire to own a home? Everyone desires a place that they can call it their own, be it lavish or utilitarian, splashed with aesthetics or a low-key utilitarian. I am no different. I have always wanted a place of my own. I very well knew that I would end up taking a hefty loan and the place wouldn’t really be “mine” till I pay off the loan. But this is an illusional world we live in. We are provided with EMIs which make us indebted on the stake of money which we are yet to earn. Anyway, I digress. I followed the world and clinched my desire by booking a flat. I had very little prior experience with respect to all this real estate, flat construction but there has to be a first time for everything. I started my learning process with this positive thought.

As much as I love our new place, decorating it up, settling in, relishing that I have reached my dream, there are certain ugly truths that I need to face and that’s what nudged me to write this post. In this process of getting it constructed and moving in, we have shed tears, blood, sweat and what not. There are certain dirty clauses that lay hidden in that construction, sale agreements that you sign with nothing more than a skim-read. Behind all those flattering words and smiles, there are certain cunning layers to that marketing guy trying hard to make you book a flat with his firm. There is a certain table left to be turned once you cross that threshold from being a prospective buyer to a trapped customer.

Here are some samples for you to ponder on:

1. Ever wondered how the director of the constructions firm is coming down to meet you just because you wanted to clear some doubts before you hand over that cheque? You might have even wondered whether you commanded that kind of a respect. I request you to stop right there and throw away that narcisstic thought. It is the cheque you might hand over afterwards that commands the respect, not you. Never you. Yes, there’s only a 50% chance that you might book the flat even after you get your discussions done, but that 50% chance is one that’s worth taking for them. If you don’t believe me, wait till you pay up almost 80-90% of the cost as the building progress and see how they behave when you want the interiors finished soon for the rest 10% of the cost. You will see quite a personality change!

2. Possession in xx months – the xx will vary depending on what state of construction the building is in. The maximum quote for a normal apartment at the initial stages of construction would be 14 months + 3 months of grace period. When they say this, stop them right there and read the sale-construction agreement again. There will be a clause that will save their asses from fire when they go beyond the grace period. All possible reasons will be cited such as materials unavailability or labour unavailability. This clause will be used as an excuse again and again till your ears bleed.
If you are smart enough to get a rental penalty clause inserted,(Many builders safely do not insert this clause, assuming we are that dumb. Not to blame them, some of us are.) then miraculously all their labour and material problems will be solved in a minute and your flat will be hurriedly made into a ready condition – one that is just enought to move in, leaving you to wonder about the quality of the work when done in such a hurry. Needless to mention, there will be an aftermath of such hurry where you have to deal with new problem every day. A new day and a new problem, Yay!

3. Quality – Shortly said, when you book the flat, you will promised out of the world quality, but you will get quality which will really make you want to go out of this world. Only way to get this right is to follow up like an obsessed maniac and look at the materials used, read up on internet and so on. You will become a civil engineer short of the educational degree.

4. “We will be completing this task in another ten days” – The most infamous phrase used by the builders. Never trust this excuse. The ten days will span across weeks, months and even over an year. If I had given my rental notice to vacate on the date promised to me, I would have been living on the roads. Do your planning and keep a buffer of minimum 1-2 months.

5. Amenities – This is a huge looting booth for the constructors. The amenities promised and the ones delivered hardly match up. For example, you will be promised a world-class roof-top swimming pool and you will be provided with a bath tub sized one which is too small that it can’t even be called a baby pool. Also,the amenities will not be constructed in the promised time frame but will be in progress even a year after you move in, however, we will expected to cough up the cost of the flat, inclusive of amenities, the moment you move in.

The list goes on…They say that there are good constructors who don’t loot us. I am yet to come across one. I agree that I only talk of the experience of closely witnessing a couple of flats getting constructed in the family and then getting my flat constructed. But believe me when I say, getting one flat constructed will give you enough picture about this. So what should we do about this?

For one, don’t believe a word they tell you when you are a prospective customer. Do your research. In spite of your diligence, there will be mess-ups and that’s life. But the more you do your research, the less ignorant you will be of the scams pulled on you. Before you book a flat, make sure you have the time and energy to closely follow up with the project. Be prepared to make that project your life for that span of time. You will have to think about it literally every waking moment and sometimes in your dreams too. I had many a reminders about things to be done for my place in my dreams. I also spent many sleepless nights pondering over lists to go through, check boxes to be ticked, things to buy and so many other things.

In spite of all this, don’t get shooed away from the dream of owning a place, if that’s what you want. Don’t get pushed into it by the societal pressure that you must own a place once you are at a certain age or stage in your life. If you want to own a place, venture into it well-prepared, armed with some prior research, some know-hows and a lot of energy. You will have a life experience that will teach you many things that you wouldn’t have dreamed of.

Until later 🙂

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