You always have an option, you just don’t know it yet.

This one is for all those people who are trying to figure out what they should do with their lives (and there is a fresh batch of these people every year) – No one tells you that you can grow up to be a famous porn star.

I see this great hullabaloo about the deadly cut-offs at the Delhi University this year. What course are you trying to get into? Commerce? Science? English? Pol Science? Why are you doing it? Because it’s the done thing to do? Because your parents think it will lead you to a secure future? Because your friends are doing it?

I bet most of you kids had some form of a career counselling in school. I had a sham version of it too when I was in the 12th. I call it sham because I remember thinking back about it recently when I discovered that there is this famous porn star – Jenna Jameson – who is apparently the Shah Rukh Khan of the porn industry. Heck she even has a wikipedia page to her name. How many of us will have the privilege of boasting about that during our lifetime eh? And I was thinking, no one ever counselled you that you could be a porn star when you grow up. Doesn’t that make you feel cheated? What else have they been hiding from you? They don’t even tell you that you can be Shah Rukh Khan. Hell they don’t even offer the encouragement that you can be absolutely brilliant at whatever you choose to do, provided you chose it and have fun doing it.

I remember this interesting anecdote from my career counselling session when one of the people in the counselling panel was rambling about the great future in one of the professions like being a doctor or an engineer (I don’t remember exactly which right now). This kid in the audience, one of us, stood up and said “Sir, you can choose to be whatever you want in life and be good at it. There are paan walas who sell a paan for rs 5 at the roadside kiosk and then there is this guy in a big shop in CP called Panchayat who manages to sell the same paan for rs 150. Both of them manage to sell paan all day long”. Now this guy understood life!

What I’m trying to tell you is that these famous and acceptable careers come and go as a fad each year. First it was law, then came this wave of everyone wanting to be a doctor, then engineering, then MBA. Actually now it’s MBA + engineering. I think the next wave may be journalism. There is enough masala to report on a daily basis. Or maybe becoming a baba and going on a fast religiously for any cause just or not will catch on as an acceptable profession too. Think about it. There’s good money in that and no one ever told you you could become one!

I was one of you too once. My parents wanted me to become a doctor. I guess my heart must not have been in it. Because now I am a person who studied Botany during graduation and through some miraculous twist of fate ended up learning how to design in an IT company. And trust me, it’s a lot more fun than Botany. At least for me. (although I have to say studying Genetics was a lot of fun too).

Over the number of years I have seen my friends take up a number of interesting professions. Someone went on to become a journalist. Someone chose to work in human resources. I know a guy who gets to play video games as a profession and he is good at it. My cousin gave up her job as a designer at a magazine to become a fashion designer. That radio jockey you love listening to every morning, guess what he chose to do with his life :-). Hey guess what JK Rowling decided to do with her life! My point is, keep your options open because there are a lot of fun things out there to do. You just have to figure out what is fun for you. The greatest learning in life will come from Experience so take in as much of it as possible. Stay away from home if possible. I never got to do that, but I have a feeling nothing teaches you better about life or gives you confidence like being responsible for yourself does. If you get through to DU, you have 3 years of college life. Bunking is a lot of fun. Do it! Cheat at least once during your exams! Trust me you will never forget for life what you cheated and it’s a great story to tell later. *Just be smart enough not to get caught*. Take part in extra-curriculars. Learn a new language! Learn how to program. Basically just soak in as much as you can while you have the time to. If nothing else, at least later on in life you won’t regret having missed out on the opportunity while you had the chance.

As for you parents – your kid not becoming a doctor or an engineer or not getting through to SRCC is not the end of the world. And yes it is perfectly acceptable for guys to take up humanities / arts in their 10+2! Trust me that is some regressive thinking if you don’t think it is and please, for their sake, snap out of it!

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And that’s what I learnt from Cricket

If you are a regular Tweeter and one hailing from India and you are crazy enough to follow Indians on Twitter who are mad-frickin-nuts about the game of Cricket, you have like me most probably not been able to escape the mad frenzy of Cricket that’s been gripping the country for the last month or so. (Yes that would’ve be a perfect time to invade us because we couldn’t care less. We have already won the World Cup and that’s all we needed this year from Santa.) This post pretty much sums up all that I have learned from/about the game of cricket – a sport that I love to hate. Here goes and it is in no particular order-

1. Never confess in public that you hate cricket unless you want to get beaten up or looked down at like you be a miserable cockroach of sorts. At least not in India. *Whoops!*

2. As far as India goes, Cricket is a religion. No not one of the many religious religions that divide this county but one that unites everybody. Now that is one thing one has to grudgingly like about the sport.

3. Yuvraj and Dhoni are two different people and there is no such person as Yuvraj Singh Dhoni. *Who knew?!*

4. Your friends can and will refuse to defend you in a stadium full of people when you root for Delhi while Sachin is playing for Mumbai.

4A) Delhiites will root for Mumbai against Delhi just because Sachin plays for Mumbai. *Go Figure*

5. Who is Sachin you ask? Exactly! *teehehe ok ok, kidding*. Remember point 2? Apparently, if Cricket is a religion, Sachin is God (Sachin IMHO cannot be God, since God is a woman, but continuing … ). He is the guy the whole country worships blindly. I cannot write anything further without feeling insecure about my own safety, so I will move on from this point.

6. Nothing, Nothing and absolutely Nothing unites this country like the game of Cricket. The World Cup victory had even cynics like me cheering and I bet they heard us cheering all the way till Alaska.

7. World Cup is the best time to go shopping. No seriously, all the shops are empty, there is no mad line in front of the trial rooms at Zara because everyone is simply home, glued to their TV sets. (Pro tip: you can even try your hand at bargaining by telling the shopkeeper that India will win the world cup if he gives you a discount.)

8. Guys will slyly discuss Cricket in management meetings by attempting to derive effective management tactics from the sport. Apparently the same thing applies to Football. Basically whichever sport in more popular at that point in time.

9. Cricket World Cup semi finals = no traffic on the roads. Cricket World Cup finals = A day off from work. I could truly fall for this game. Have World Cups more often I say. Let’s just not make it a long drawn affair and jump straight to the semis and finals.

10. Little itty bitty, teeny weeny kids know the names of every cricketer and every possible cricket stat. There is real potential in this game to be exploited in the field of education. Have more cities and countries participating for kids to learn geography (who cares where it’s on the map as long as we know how many matches it won), have complex trigonometric calculations to deduce the score, name cricketers after historical figures etc, are some ideas off the top of my head.

11. You can buy Cricketers just like you buy vegetables but Cricketers are still more expensive than Onions or Petrol. Infact, you may never be able to afford one in your lifetime, not that you might want one.

12. The same people who play in the same team during the world cup, will play against each other in different teams during the IPL (It’s a league of some sorts that has something to do with movie stars. Don’t ask me, I don’t know. I just know that cool songs get produced as a result of this activity).

13. Unlike Football, no one pulls off their shirt to celebrate victory at the end of a game. Not even Poonam Pandey.

And that pretty much sums up what I’ve learned from Cricket. I still don’t quite like it, but I’m learning to put up with it. (Pro tip: log off Twitter and change the channel.)

And before I go, I’d like to leave you with the song ‘Loser’ by Ayreon. Not that it has anything to do with this post other than that I was listening to it while writing this, but I really like this song and it saves me the trouble of writing another post to tell you this.

After publishing this post, I have come to know from the great people on Twitter that a cricketer named Ganguly did infact take off his shirt after a match. And still no one bought him for IPL? Ok I may know a thing or two abt Cricket now but I will never understand it.

Here’s to a wonderful new year 2011

Somewhere out there, there’s a new mistake waiting to be made.
Somewhere out there, there’s a new wish waiting to be hoped.
Somewhere out there, there’s a new effort waiting to be made.
Somewhere out there, there’s a banana peel waiting to be slipped on 🙂
Somewhere out there, there’s a new joke waiting to send you into fits of laughter.
And a new moment waiting to take your breath away.

So here’s hoping for a kick-ass new year. One in which we go the extra mile. In which we take more chances without the fear of falling down holding us back. Here’s hoping we make new friends, better mistakes, wonderful experiences, heartwarming moments. Here’s hoping you make someone smile and here’s hoping 2011 fills your heart with a lot of smiles 🙂

Sunshine

She crossed the road to chase the light so bright,
she was off chasing the sunshine.
Cannot tell one from the next;
Plunge ahead believing it’ll work out for the best.
There is no wrong here and no right
she was off chasing the sunshine.
she felt bad, she put up a fight,
ploughed, plundered, tired but still holding on tight.
she went off chasing the sunshine.

How power-fool are we?

We relish the animations on Ice Age even though we are the Global Warming generation. We have a voice and we believe that we can make a difference. We are the ones who tread into the future and leave behind a giant carbon footprint which we just cannot retrace. We have moved too far ahead to undo or erase. Not that that stops us from trying.

So we hold Green Day concerts. The intent is pure. For sure. We have to save the earth is the message. Be frugal today so there is enough left for tomorrow. And so we fly over artists from all over the world. We print posters, we make brochures. We make websites, we write blogs too. We sit in our airconditioned rooms and log onto the internet and cry our digital lungs hoarse. The voice should be heard by one and all, and in the process we have already borrowed more than we could possibly save at all.

We make airconditioners and inverters that save power. There are those offices designed green and batteries healthy for the earth’s spleen. So we set up more factories more chimneys that smoke. We need to advertise to sell so we fly around those stud blokes. Competition is tough so we will deliver till home, the hole left by your carbon footprint this time is just an inverted dome.

And then we host talk shows to discuss how hopeless the situation is. And like many others I too write a blog post using electricity, a laptop and internet connection and we talk and we talk and we talk … If there ever was a vicious circle this is one.

We all know the problem. And of course just like the spectators of a cricket match, we all know we could’ve scored better if we’d been playing. But the fact is that we ARE playing. … Playing with our own lives.

For some reason we believe it’s the bigger actions that matter. Everything should be done at a large scale. No single believes that his lone effort will matter. And it won’t. Not when it’s done by that one person and that one time. One power-saving air conditioner bought will not equate the millions spent in manufacturing, advertising or delivering it. One Earth-hour will barely save power equal to that spent in all the malls across a city in a month (I assume). One Green-day concert will make a big noise, enjoyed by a lot and still be forgotten. One more blog post will be written and add to the digital pollution (as if we needed another kind). So, no … our solitary efforts will not help.

But can you just imagine the power of a hundred solitary actions? And then those hundred solitary actions multiplied by a thousand. And that thousand multiplied by another thousand … and … well… you get the picture.

The sad truth is that we all know this. What I’m writing here is no apple dropping on anyone’s head. But then there was an apple that helped discover gravity and there was the apple that got us all locked out of Eden. And then this here is an apple that we all want to savour and all it requires is a little iEffort ;-).

So yes, that car pooling will help. Switching off the power while leaving the room – do it over the year and you’ve already done better than switching off just during the Earth Hour. Yes, do close the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. Use a bucket instead of shower to have a bath – may even make you relish the rain better :). Do please go ahead and buy that power-saving airconditioner – and use it as little as possible. Walk more than drive, Let’s help the Earth survive 😀

And as long as we are wasting digital power, let’s discuss more ideas, small efforts that we all can make to make things better. And after we are done talking about it, let’s do as Nike says and Just Do It!