Saturday, February 27, 2016

Virtual Personality

6:30 AM - Alarm rings !
Navya switches off the alarm after a minute. Her eyes are still sleepy and her mind still foggy with yesterdays' late night party. She tries to curse the alarm but her eyes take her to the glass window which is shining with the gentle sun rays. "Ah, the meeting.... an important client ...... lunch ..... dress .... breakfast ........ mobile charger ..... her whatsapp status...", her thoughts now start to get more focused on the situation and things that need to be done. Quickly she takes a selfie with the sun rays behind her. Image posted and status updated to 'woke up to a beautiful morning ! Good morning !'. She has quickly gone through the 25 messages that she received after she disconnected at 2:00 AM. The jokes though funny don't amuse her, the long forwarded messages irritate her. Eventually, the sun rays camouflage the work pressure and irritation within.

8:00 AM - Navya reaches out to the door before checking that she has all things needed like mobile, charger, wallet, meeting papers etc. Her hungry stomach craves for some food but she needs to catch her 8:15 AM local train. Anyway, her flat stomach accentuates her formal attire and hence a quick photo for her friends to see. Whatsapp status updated to 'Purchased dress from LimeRoad'. The impressive dress hides her hunger pangs.

8:25 AM - Navya is seated comfortably in the local and quickly browses her 4G mobile for messages and mails. So many mails on health and exercise explaining the benefits of home cooked simple food along with a 25 minutes exercise routine. Thankfully, a vada  pav vendor comes along and Navya is quick to buy one or else she fears fainting. Such medical emergencies are costly for a girl staying alone in a big city. The messages have made the commute short and at the same time devoid her of observing or communicating with her co-passengers.

9:30 AM - Navya is comfortably seated at her office desk. Her job as a receptionist of a multinational company, is demanding and hectic. The spicy vada pav has only added to a craving for hot cup of tea. Her mobile beeps as soon as new messages pour in. Soon other employees start coming with sounds of pleasantries like 'hello', 'good morning', 'how are you', 'hi u look beautiful', 'new dress', 'looking great', 'missed the bus', 'hi local was cancelled' and 'oh dear ! isn't it good morning'; bringing life into the low ceiling, air conditioner cooled and formal atmosphere. Her friend working in the same branch comes and pinches her arm and asks for a selfie together with her. Whatsapp status is now updated to 'received compliments' and the DP changed to the latest selfie. Her life is like an open book with much to read in between the lines.

1:30 PM - At the lunch table, Navya opens her tiffin that she orders from the local mess. Hot food at last ! Navya relishes every morsel though it is no match for the food cooked by her mother. She herself is a good cook but has no time after the office, shopping, parties, beauty parlors and movies. And to mention her friendship with the man working in another company but the same premises. Her whatsapp status is immediately updated to 'Enjoyed a sumptuous lunch'. The comparison of mess food and home food and her family brings a thoughtful expression but she soon dismisses it for she has to plan the meeting venue and get it ready in time.

5:00 PM - Navya is already packing her things for she is in hurry to catch the local and get ready for a movie with her friend. The messages received during working hours are few but every time the mobile beeps, she is distracted from her work. The latest message from her friend is about the dinner after movie. She quickly posts her message and her compulsive need to update her status gets the better of her. In a hurry she can think of nothing else so her whatsapp status is updated to 'Bye, office ! In a hurry ...'

8:00 PM - Navya is in the multiplex watching the latest star war franchise but she is already thinking about the message from her parents informing her about her proposed meeting with a rich MBA boy that the pandit has approved. She tries to concentrate on the movie but the message keeps on popping in her head. At the end, she and her friend decide upon the restaurant and move out. The bright lights at the multiplex and the joyful crowd deserve a photograph with the people concerned showing the fun and excitement they had. Whatsapp status is quickly updated to 'Enjoyed Star Wars - a must watch'; by the time the waiter brings in their order. Their excited chatter dulls away Navya's turmoil.

1:00 AM - Navya prepares for bed. The watchman is heard shouting 'jagte raho ....' in the distance. A few cars zoom past her building. All is quiet. Navya is fast asleep after a tiring day. The other Navya is still awake for the mobile is yet not disconnected from the network.  Its virtual world out there.

Makes her wonder - is world virtual or am I ?

Your intelligence is my common sense

Manasi Kolhatkar Painting

Neha's hand at painting was drawing appreciation from friends and neighbors. Even her classmates would exclaim in amazement at her abilities. Her parents were also proud of her work and encouraged her in pursuing her hobby. Neha, on her part, would look forward to her drawing classes and work on her piece with concentration and gusto. Her teacher had seen a spark in Neha for painting water color or landscapes and he would give her challenging tasks.

'All this attention and praise should rather not go to Neha's head', her parents would think. So Neha's father would enquire about others' work too. He chanced upon the fact that acrylic paintings looked attractive. So one day, he asked Neha about taking up acrylic painting so as to learn new things. Neha was perplexed at this question for she felt that she had a lot to learn in water colors. So gathering her wits and confidence, she told her father that water color requires more effort and perfection. The color shades need to be perfect and once done, cannot be repainted. The acrylic colors on the other hand require more patience and concentration. The paint has to be dry for other color to be painted on top of it.

Neha gave quite some information to her parents that day who were ignorant of these facts. But on realizing the details, Neha's father exclaimed that indeed he has gained a lot of information and become more intelligent.

"Obviously, Baba, Your intelligence is my common sense ", quipped Neha.

All of us burst out laughing and Neha got the permission to paint her room as well. The required paints have been bought by her father without losing any time. 

Did you bring the purse ?

I recall this incident that happened a few years back when my daughter was about 4 year old. Our house was located near a garden which would be full of children and their mothers in the evening. You could witness excitement and chaos with the garden full of children running, shouting and playing around. Such a situation is an opportunity for the balloon sellers as well. No wonder that there would be a few around the garden.

One evening, after playing for over 2 hours on the swing and slide and fighting with friends, my daughter finally called it a day! Deep within, I was relieved to finally get back to home, have dinner and sleep peacefully after a job and cooking and the garden part. So the two of us started to walk home. Stepping outside, my daughter saw the balloons and wanted me to buy one for her. Quickly I gave her the red balloon that she so much wanted. The joy and excitement on her face and a doubt on mine, were two contrasting expressions. I was worried that everyday this would get repeated and the talk of good parenting would fly into the air.

The next day, as expected the same thing happened. My daughter insisted on buying another balloon. But obviously, I was prepared and told her that I had forgotten to bring my purse with me. No purse meant no money and no money meant no balloon. Disappointed, my daughter looked at the bunch of balloons and we walked away. I was surprised at her understanding nature and I also gave a pat on my back for instilling a sense of money value in my daughter.

On the third day, I made some cooking arrangements and both of us dressed for going to the garden. Locking the door, I was preoccupied with thoughts on cooking that would follow on reaching home, when suddenly, out of the blue, my daughter asked me, "Did you bring the purse ?". "Yes, Of course ! Dear, why do you ask ?"

"So that we may buy the balloon !", said an excited little girl's voice.

Before I could stand my ground, I knew I had been bowled over. It never struck me that my daughter would catch me in a situation like this.