Sunday, November 30, 2008

the fine print

Well, I was trying to get my life back to normal, so I visited Swagat- the watering hole that I have spoken highly of before- on the weekend. Normally, Swagat is a rabble rousing place, but the patrons were quite subdued, following the terrorost attacks. So subdued, that my friends and I were the ones who were overheard :)

Well, What I like about Swagat is that strangers can talk without really feeling awkward about anything. A gentleman on the next table, who was overhearing our conversation, said that he wanted to share something with us. He'd written something on a paper napkin. It said:

Life is Beautiful
* conditions apply

Isnt that a really cool one? That's what life is: beautiful, but dont forget the fine print. It can be unfair at times.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


May the battle that's going on be the last one in this war.
May all those who kill really understand what they are going to do before they do it.
May all those who suffered get strength from unaffected but concerned others.
May this madness cease.

I wonder if the terrorist has ever experienced the small joy of looking into a child's eyes?
I wish any person who is contemplating going down this path experiences this joy once. I dare him to be a terrorist then.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pune in Winter

Thank god it is beginning to get chilly in Pune. With the Andhra cyclone, was wondering if we are going to miss the entire season!

What a place Pune is in winter. Beautiful migratory birds sun themselves on telephone wires. It never is hot and humid. Shekotis (thats a marathi word for a bonfire) is still a nice sight, though rare nowadays. The sky is a different, brilliant blue. The grass is yellow and yet the trees remain green. Its never very cold, except at night.

I love a tapri (street side)chai and a pattice from Santosh bakery when its this weather. Mmmm!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Perfect Riposte

Have you seen the Meg Ryan movie- "You've got Mail?" - she talks about how she never is able to hold her own and give the " perfect riposte" to the smart-alecs all around her. In the movie, if someone said something rude, hurtful, or calculated to make her fearful, she couldn't really hold her own in that moment- she was too taken aback and tongue tied.

Maybe you know what she went through. There are some people- they may be relatives, family friends or work colleagues- who have a very uneasy, edgy aura around them. It may be their ultra competitive personalities, or just something they ate. Whichever way, they make you nervous, and their biting comments typically catch you off guard and make you wish that you wish you'd said something really clever back to them- but usually its after they have gone far far away.

But on those rare occasions when you can catch these sort of blights off their guard, well- there in lies a small joy. Needless to say, I had one of these rare ones this morning, with someone who typically makes me uneasy- and man that feeling was good!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just a Minute

It takes just a minute to:

appreciate a beautiful thing

smell some nice food maybe

take a few deep breaths and relax yourself

look around you with the eyes of a child

and access many more small joys when you are between things..

The trick is to be ever present, to catch such butterflies. (thats what small joys are, arent they?) We seldom do it, since we think we dont have the time for such frivolity. But it takes just a minute!

Grace at Work

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting someone who I was mentoring/coaching in the past towards becoming a better professional in his chosen field. Why pleasure? It was because he had remembered me in his time of triumph, of personal success and had come over to invite me to be a part of it.

I found that very touching. This guy (no names please!) has come from very humble beginnings. He has fought his way up in both his personal and professional life. Only people in the know would understand how he has prevailed over adversity.

Mostly, mentors or coaches are remembered when you need them- when times are bad. Its a small and rare joy to come across someone who remembers a coach in good times. Cheers to such people.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Dog's life

I've got the biggest respect for Labradors. I should know, I have one at home. At a time when the world seems to be in tremendous recession- cost cutting, job layoffs, companies sinking, a dog's life seems so uncomplicated.

Candy (my Labrador) is never foul tempered. Very good with kids. Holds her own when Diwali crackers upset her. Takes the odd injection well. Looks huge enough to scare a few "irritatos" (that's human mosquitos who annoy you- a coined word) And boy, is she someone who can change your crabby mood for the better! Just rubbing her tummy and she growling friendly- like makes me feel relaxed.

I wish all of you who have a pet just take a second look once. We take so much for granted. A small joy just waiting...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Amulet of SamarKand

.... is a seriously entertaining novel. I've been reading it for the past two weeks. Yes, it is as good as the Harry Potter series, and yes, the writer (Jonathan) has a really vivid imagination.

Have you been to one of those movies or read those books that you dont want to ever end?
Its a weird small joy, since you want the story to move ahead, of course, but yet want to enjoy the book so much that it never stops entertaining you.

This is one of those books to savor. Learn all about Djinns and Magic, about Amulets and Talismans(do you know the difference? Read to find out... )What I also love is those footnotes(yes, footnotes to a novel, great idea, doesnt distract from the story, but adds to the flavor)

And no, you can't borrow my copy- I haven't finished reading it yet :)

Answer in the Dream

I woke up to a small joy today. I was trying to remember where I had kept a really important document all of yesterday. It had really bothered me, and after searching high and low, still couldn't place it.

Needless to say, I slept a fitful sleep. And then I had a really weird dream. I'd heard of something like this happening to someone else but never me before. In the dream, I was talking to a small boy who kept asking me to look under my bed.

I woke up, looked under the damn bed, and wasn't disappointed. There it was. It was the perfect small joy to begin the day. Have you had any surreal experience like this? I'd sure like to find out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Perfect Script

Yesterday's day for Indian cricket ran on a perfect script. And yes, winning 2-0 against the aussies isnt a small joy, its an exceptionally big one. (btw- read my earlier blog Told ya! for amateur predictions coming true, gloat gloat).

In this beautiful end to Ganguly and Kumble's careers, there were two moments of small joy. I'm sure every cricket lover spotted them. Both showed Dhoni's heart shown to anyone who wasn't convinced that he was a special one, indeed.

Dhoni relinquished his captaincy for Gangs, for 5 odd overs, and gave him the thrill that he'd always wanted: captaining India again and beating Australia once more. He called Anil Kumble to the podium and shared the trophy presentation with him: something that the old soldier had always coveted.

Head full of dreams, but feet on the ground. That's our new captain.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Game of Patience

Have you tried playing this age old card game? You know, the one where you have to try and get rid of all your cards by getting two of them to add upto ten?(sorry, if you dont, I dont think I'll be good enough to tell you how to play it)

But if you know, try one today. And if you dont know, try finding out about it(am sure wikipedia has it). I sure enjoyed playing the game for the past few days.. it takes the edge of you.. and makes you realise what a weird life it is in any case. (Not kidding. Once you try to get a perfect game in and dont succeed, you will get philosophical!)

When life is dull make daal. I'm no haiku poet though!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Common Wealth

Hey, the Youth Games in Pune are done and dusted for some time now. And while everyone's a Punekar- Critic of all the things that have gone wrong :), I thought that Pune's roads have become somewhat better (especially the ones that lead to the stadium) and some "Common Wealth" has found its way to where it is needed.

So I think there's some good coming outta all that- just makes me wonder why we need a Youth Games festival to spruce up our roads in extra quick time.

The lord must be working in strange and wonderful ways.

Funny thing I've noticed

Its been more than two months. Two months of identifying small joys whenever they happen and sharing the fun I have with you. I've noticed that when I started to look out for small joys, I've received more of 'em. Or is it just that I've being cognizant of what I used to earlier take for granted?

Sure, my themes so far are around cricket, food, nature,personalities, films and whatever else my life revolves around currently. Of course, there are some small joys yet to find expression, but here is where I can use a little help from you. What small joys do you think I'm missing out on? What do you think is a small joy waiting to be written about?

Let me know!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Starring Kumble as Amitabh Bacchan

Didn't Anil Kumble remind you of an Angry Young Bacchan , hands on hips, steely glare at some unfortunate fielder and making batsmen quake in the process? Well, that show just got over and a I shed a little tear that those 619 small joys(the wickets he took) isnt going to increase anymore.

Hmm. Another one bites the dust. The way I'd like to remember Anil Kumble is the way he told us disarmingly, when he was quitting the game that he's still trying to bowl legspin properly. But Kumble's wickets were always a small joy. No big turn, no theatrics, but... a quick lbw or caught and bowled.

All those small joys, however, added up to him being India's biggest matchwinner. Not bad for a spinner who couldn't spin it at all!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Go(a) when its Diwali

This year, we thought we'll do something different. True, the joy of Diwali at home is something else, but for a change, even if its for a year, I recommend going to Goa.

Not because it has a tradition to celebrate Diwali, I guess that would be Christmas. But its a very good time since everyone else stays at home! (less tourists!)
You dont put on those extra pounds eating all those Kaju katlis and chaklis.(You put them on drinking beer and eating fish, but who's complaining?!)

And here's the clincher- no pollution, just the clean ocean and green surroundings. Very relaxed and peaceful. Its when you start getting poetic about the sea and compare it with the brew in your hand is when it becomes totally worth it..