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Jul. 2nd, 2009

The end of a time.

I've decided to stop using this LJ account.
It's been a while that I posted on this, and somehow...I don't think I could post a proper 'entry' (a public one, I mean - I would still continue writing my personal thoughts here) for a very long time. In any case, I'm not really aware of anyone other than those on my friends list who read it regularly.

Goodbye....this place has been my sanctuary, my journal, my space to express my creativity, my thoughts, opinions and feelings. I might start a new journal, but will just let this one stay the way it is - because it contains some of my best memories ever.


- moopflower
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Dec. 10th, 2008

You only love something after you've taken the exam ^_^

SO true. I mean take first year. I absolutely LOATHED Philosophy. I was a kid fresh from school where all we learnt was the lame, poorly ilustrated, poorly worded chapters of each subject in our NCERT textbooks. Cut to college, and WOW. Here teachers actually had minds of their own, did NOT say "It's not in your course kthx" if asked a question beyond the purview of what we studied in class. Not only that, in this particular subject, we had a teacher who engaged with us, sought our opinions, respected them.
But the book was still too convoluted for us. SO we sat and made 'points'. So that we could 'remember' stuff better. Sigh. Habits die hard. We all equally loathed Bernard Williams and his never ending bull on subjectivism, objectivism, the amoralist, yada yada.
But as the year went on, I grew to actually like the subject. It was interesting. It made me think, made me think as an adult, and helped me form an informed opinion of things. We had essays on subjects ranging from Media Ethics to the politics of pornography, and we were exposed to multiple points of view which made us realise how easy it is to simply moralise things rather than to actually think on them and THEN arrive at an intelligent point of view.
And so I took the university exam at the end of the year, and did fairly well. The same went for second year. And now I find myself actually being glad I had the privilege to have that subject. In fact, later when I get time, I wouldn't mind reading up more on this.
And now I LOATHE Wordsworth, Coleridge and Shelley. But I'm not so sure if I'll like them, post-exam. Maybe they'll just 'grow' on me, like fungus. Bleaarrrgh. >_<

Nov. 30th, 2008

What now?

The recent attack on Mumbai was the final nail in the coffin of that completely misguided, illusory perception, or rather, lie, that we as Indians have been fed on for the past few years. The lie about India being 'prepared' to 'take on the world'. Clearly, we aren't even prepared to prevent attacks on our own people.
I watch helplessly, on the news, as hundreds of people get gunned down or blown up, seemingly paying for the carelessness and sheer indifference of our country's 'leaders'. A sense of numbness, horror, and disbelief at how, for the past year, the fabric of our country is being ripped into shreds, settles in.
I sit down and think. Not about the particular incident, but I reflect on everything that happens in our country, year after year.
And I marvel at the kind of country I live in. A country where petty political rivalries and hasty pre-election decisions take precedence over ensuring citizens the basic right to peace and security. Where the Prime Minister, attack after attack, blast after blast, spouts the same old rhetoric again - "We will not let their nefarious designs succeed". Intelligence always manages to come up with 'accurate leads' - AFTER the damage has been done. And debates on TV channels continue. 'Does India need to be strong on terror?' 'Do we need a new policy on terror'? Meanwhile, terrorists get bolder and bolder as they get the feeling that they can get away with just about anything.
How else can one explain what happened in Mumbai? The terrorists used the sea route to get there first. One would expect our sea borders to be carefully guarded. Apparently, that wasn't the case. One of them allegedly had a job in the Taj for over ten months - their fake ids and passports certainly helped. They knew the place like the back of their hands, while our NSG struggled to flush them out. It was like a swarm of locusts - those horrible terrorists were everywhere. Getting into a police van. Senselessly spraying every innocent passersby with AK-47 bullets. What can one do?
Our basic sense of security has been badly shaken. No longer can we assume that the place we go to is harmless or safe. The person sitting at the bus stop next to you, reading a newspaper, could be a terrorist. You could get blown to smithereens simply by walking into your usual haunt.
No place is safe anymore. The fear is palpable - everywhere, not just Mumbai. Maybe a day will come when we get a new statistic - '2 out of every 5 Indians has witnessed or been affected in a terrorist attack'.
Politicians, meanwhile, love to play the same beaten-to-death slogan of 'resilience'. 'People will not let this affect them'. 'They will bounce back'. And they announce compensation packages and set every city on 'Red Alert' again. Metal detectors are put everywhere till all the ruckus dies down a week or two later. And a few months later, we have a classic REPEAT.
Resilience?!! Do we really have a choice? All that happens is we, as citizens, realise more and more what a gamble our lives are and how little it matters to our 'leaders' with their polished rhetoric and Z level security. And we go on with our lives, with a 'stiff upper lip'. As a CEO put it, "I really hope we DON'T bounce back. Enough is enough.'
All I know is this cynicism, this unaffected manner we all behave in after incidents like this, is scary. It frightens me. I know we have to do something. Something to let our anger and pain out, to send a clear message to the government that we will NOT tolerate this.
What? Well, that's one thing we have to figure out collectively. We cannot let our politicians enjoy all the sops that their positions give them, extract taxes from us and fiddle while Mumbai, or any other city, burns.


Mar. 25th, 2008

The number of unread items on my BoingBoing feed

....is 666 xD
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Feb. 25th, 2008

Flight

Blue meets blue
A blur, yet discernible;
The horizon
Doesn't seem far.

Merging in my mind,
Closer as I go further,
Sea and sky
In close embrace.

Surf pounds the rocky edge
Breeze lifting my spirits
Heavenly silence
Even in sound.

A sudden flash divides the sky
The lone seagull begins its flight;

My dreams finally take wing;
And I soar.

[Written inspired by this quote from a poem "You have created angels out of seagulls. It is the idea of wings you hold on to."]
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Jan. 30th, 2008

Coffee and the cold

Numbing chill. The biting cold makes me drowsy and I long for comfort. Music echoing in my ears, phone player on minimum volume...bittersweet memories cluster in my mind. Of better days, of pure, unadulterated fun, learning life lessons from a parent, laughing for no reason at all, the touch of lips that claimed to love me, the joy of solitude...a kaleidoscope of memories from different times - some so fresh, some from times gone by.
The sun's on a sabbatical, and I shiver instinctively, digging my hands deeper into the pockets of my warm black coat. "We are rational animals'. says the Philosophy teacher. I wonder at that. If that were true, the world would be a lot more different.
Me? Who am I? Just a girl asking no one in particular to help me comprehend this.
People all around me. Laughing, teasing, complaining...wrapped up in coats, mufflers and sipping piping hot coffee, catching up, giving me the occasional smile. All around me. Surrounded. Yet so alone.
My mind, like the weather outside, is cold and foggy. Thoughts swirl around in the mist.
A smile...a call...a sign...I have exhausted my expectations.
The coffee shop is cosy as usual, and a little full. I place my order and the guy at the counter is slightly shy but friendly. I smile at him and return to my table. The coffee soon arrives, warm, rich...I savour its distinct aroma and look at the frothy surface, the cream artfully forming a tiny heart.
I raise the cup to my lips, taking a sip, and foam and drink combine to go down my throat, leaving a warm, cosy feeling within. The heart has long since blurred.
Listening to what seems like the soundtrack of my life, I look around me. A couple sharing an earphone each of the same iPod. Two stunning north-east girls with poker-straight hair, dressed in typically chic Benetton winter coats and boots. A middle-aged executive, taking a coffee break. I feel like a spectator. Looking on, observing, appreciating when there is something to be appreciated, not participating in the activity around me, but still linked in essence.
The spell breaks....I see the winter sun making the glass shine unexpectedly. Putting my chair back at the table, I get up and walk out, back to my own world.
For now and most of the time, I am alone.
And I revel in my solitude.

Jan. 8th, 2008

I am in LOVE.

With my new phone!!!
HA. Who needs guys??? (I am quite obviously kidding here >.>)

.....

Well, yes, I (finally!!!) got one worth having, though I'll be fair to my old one - it did serve me faithfully for over a year, and survived multiple falls...
My new one is just almost everything I wanted - and it's ALL due to rexzilla ^_______^
It's a Nokia 3500 Classic, with a 256 MB MicroSD card (not much for a music freak like me, but hey, it's something) and a 2 mega pixel camera, that's so far so good, but works best when there's optimal lighting. It won't replace my digicam, but it's good for candid/random shots with pals. Plus it comes with the greyscale, sepia, etc etc effects and options for what kind of resolution you want.
Bluetooth, MMS and infrared are obviously included, as is mp3 support. Music quality is excellent, and it has EGPRS. It also has Yahoo Go! and an Opera browser, none of which work unfortunately as yet (@#%^*^$# Vodafone >_<). Best of all, it's slim, sleek, sexy, BLACK (:D I am OBSESSED with that colour) and classy - esp the blue backlighting - just the way I like it - all within 7500 bucks.
Only grouses I have are, it could have had a better battery life, and the camera quality needs a lot of tweaking to get the best pictures.
But as far as my verdict goes, it gets an 8.5//10. I LOVE it!!!! Eeeee!!! It's kid in a candy store syndrome atm - downloading truetones like there's no tomorrow, and guarding it like my life. Sigh. *anime eyes (the ones where hearts replace the eyeballs)* ....
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Dec. 24th, 2007

Another half-hearted attempt....

I can somehow never write a good poem in a competition. It's like I'm under pressure to come up with something. Rarely is it that something good actually does come, like the time at Oasis.
This is a poem that I wrote at the competition at St. Stephen's - based on this painting.

Oh, and I forgot to title it.

The road winds ahead
The trees smile knowingly
Showering blossoms
On a lonesome hiker.

Pine needles scent the air
Wild flowers peeping out
Of rugged rocks, only to gaze
At the hiker as he trudges on.

Eyes ringed with fatigue
Lips crying out for water
Weary limbs craving respite
He carries on.

Sometimes steep, sometimes easy
The path leads him on.
Blue sky surrounding his thoughts
Not looking back, he goes on.

Company? He has none
But the sheltering trees
The occasional squirrel
Or the fleeting butterfly.

The journey comes
To a standstill
He falters, slips
And crashes to the ground.

Disappointment, frustration
He knows not why.
Looking down
His gaze travels
To his feet.

Boots worn on countless treks
The leather's in patches
The laces now mere threads
The soles, seasoned walk veterans.

His only faithful companions
Support on every journey
Every step of the way
Wherever he wanted to go.

He laces them up
For the last time.
The path beckons
He moves ahead
Whistling a tune
Towards his destination -
Wherever
It may be.

....

Oh, and I edited some of it.
The song that comes to my mind when I read this is 'jaded'. >_>
And that's the expression that comes on my face.
Blah.
I'm losing my touch....
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Dec. 11th, 2007

[LJ2ME (http://www.xfyre.com/sw/lj2me.html)] Winning is fun...

Especially when the prize is two grand :D
Went to Ramjas again for day two...Calyptra and i attended a talk by writers Siddhartha Deb and Anita Roy. Hearing an authentic Brit accent was refreshing and I loved the way they talked about their work, what it means to be a writer, and so on. The best part was that the audience also comprised people with a minimum level of intelligence, so the questions asked were genuinely good.
The spellathon finals were to be held in the audi, and Calyptra and I, having both made it, trooped off to the audi with some regret as we had to leave the talk halfway. Mr. Accent and Co. patiently awaited us and the other participants. The gloomy stage was lit up and there was a row of plastic chairs awaiting us...a podium with a mike and a table with a piece of paper to scribble on were all we had...Anyhow, Calyptra and I braced ourselves for the event-where-we-make-complete-fools-of-ourselves...sigh..
A guy was sitting next to me, and was, as one of the 'judges' pointed out, smirking, the only one in the competition.
Mr. Accent called out each word with his prim and propah Brit diction, while we strained our brains trying to figure out wtf the word was ^.^;
I got talking with the guy, meanwhile...nice chap, surprisingly from Mr. Ex's college as well as course, only exception being he was a senior.
 We found ourselves stumped on the simplest words, and I was fidgeting like a kitten refusing to get into the car to go to the vet. Time was ticking on, and I had to get home soon, or I'd have to go alone and spend a fortune on autos. People, including Calyptra and the guy, got booted out and soon it was me against a friendly north-east girl.
There was a guy named after the roman god of spirits (the drinkable kind xD) who seemed so familiar I still cant place where I've met him before and nor can he. As Mr. Accent gave us hideously complicated word after word, we struggled and tied for first place. The word 'jalapeno' was pronounced so differently that both of us forgot what it was.
The clincher for me was the word 'schmultz'. Wild guess, but it won me two grand nevertheless! I have yet to collect it, though, and hopefully I wont be duped like in last year's IIT Rendezvous - our team came second in the puzzles comp and we got neither certis nor prize money. Cheapskates. Pffft.
Anyway, the guy, let's call him NA, sat through the whole thing till I won. I was a bit surprised, but then I shook hands with everyone and then NA and I ended up leaving together.
As we made small conversation, he asked me how I'd be going home. When I told him, he very helpfully offered to drop me off at the metro station as he would be taking his car that way. Now I've never taken a ride in a guy's car before, but I thought it was nice of him to offer. So I thanked him and got in.
As he turned on the engine, the music system started playing an instrumental hindustani classical song. This seemed to embarrass him but it surprised me. He seemed apologetic but I told him I enjoyed every kind of music but rap/hip-hop.
We started talking again and he revealed that he played the tabla and loved classical music. We continued talking in this vein for sometime, and before we knew it, we were at the station. I felt like he was quite a nice chap, and then he offered to drop me to Siri Fort. Now I wouldn't really have minded, but for some reason I refused. It was funny- a dozen thoughts jumped to my mind in the span of a few seconds. It would be a long journey by the time we would reach Siri Fort, by which time we would have gotten to know each other considerably well. We'd probably become friends and then exchange numbers. No big deal.
But my main question was THEN WHAT? He's a third year and is in North Campus. He'll probly pass out by next year, which is not far. How wil we be friends/remain in touch? Plus he had just told me he had lost his phone. Thinking much farther, I've already experienced a "long-distance relationship" (note the sarcastic quotes) and I had already sized him up as not my type at all (despite the sweetness/friendliness/blah blah). So what was the point?
So said thanks but told him that my college is further down and not near there. Awkward silence. Then he said even more awkwardly - "Well, I guess you can get off here" or something like that. I thanked him, and he smiled and drove off. That was that. No contact.
Was it  being presumptuous? Was I over-cautious? Had I let go of an opportunity to make a friend?
I'll never know.

Dated: 23rd November, and NOT as the date given says.

Nov. 16th, 2007

INDIA, TODAY - IT ALL 'ADS' UP

INDIA, TODAY - IT ALL ‘ADS’ UP


A dark haveli in the heart of Rajasthan miraculously lights up – and that too, without the flick of a switch. The light source is hundreds of Rajasthani acrobats, hanging from the walls, trees, and the chandelier – chewing on Haopydent White chewing gum and grinning till their pearly whites dazzle you, traditional music playing loudly in the background…
Indian advertisements, especially the kind seen on television, have surely come a long way. Innovation, creativity, and a clear understanding of the modern Indian consumer as well as Indian society, have completely transformed Indian advertising.
Ads essentially aim at attracting the consumer, as well as generating an interest about the brand, and this is usually done by catering directly to the consumer’s mindset, his perceptions about society and societal institutions, and by understanding the overall psyche of the consumer, so as to generate a desire in him to buy the product. Therefore, ads often reflect culture, prevailing mindsets about different social aspects and so on.
The target, of course, has always been the Indian middle-class. From the late seventies and eighties to the modern day, ads have always been conceptualised keeping them in mind. It is, therefore, interesting to see how, as India progresses economically and socially, the Indian consumer is also undergoing a makeover of sorts.
One of the most successful ad campaigns (by O&M) ‘Hamara Bajaj’ captured the true essence of India and its slow but steady emergence into the modern world, keeping values and tradition close to its heart always. Indian society was and still is family-centric, and this was captured deftly in the ad that showed the Bajaj scooter as binding the family and representing middle-class values. Also, Amul, with its Taste of India campaign, struck many a chord, uniting different Indian cuisines with the innovative use of its products.
Cut to the present day, when scooters are passé – in fact Bajaj stopped manufacturing the Chetak scooter, making a foray into the motorcycle market. Ads for motorcycles are slick, stylish and cater to the modern Indian male. Even Amul, with its ‘Kool’ brand of milk shakes, features the modern Indian youth, hanging out at the beach and catching up with friends. The focus has clearly shifted, from the family to the individual, and ads are more in accordance with the needs of a young population.

Hence, if one looks at old ads (available on YouTube now) like Gold Spot, the now nearly extinct fizzy drink brand (As crazy as crazy we’re about, Gold Spot, the Zing Thing!) and compares them with ones today, a lot has changed, yet the essentials remain the same. Two dating teenagers are shown enjoying a drink of Gold Spot together, all the while speaking in impeccable English. This was of course, during the days when it was cool to know how to speak English well, and when western culture fascinated the average Indian youth.
Today, we have ads like Maggi Mania noodles, featuring a thirteen-year old with gelled hair, jiving to a catchy Bhojpuri jingle for Maggie Rice Noodle Mania (saare ghar ko mania hui gava!!). There’s the Minto Fresh ad that shows two village men trying to ‘impress’ the typical matka-carrying lass, combining Hindi with English to create the curious hybrid ‘Hinglish’ that has spread fast among today’s urban Indians. The rustic, traditional element is commonly incorporated in todays advertisements – whether in the form of the background score, the setting, or the overall feel of the ad. Modernity is blended with quintessentially Indian ideals to project the image of a more culturally aware, yet globally attuned Indian.
The modern Indian woman, too, is projected as fun, fearless, beautiful, successful and a balance of perfect housewife, cool mom, lovely wife and competitive colleague. She is no longer the coy, submissive housewife – she’s shown to be more of a companion and friend to her husband. In the same way, children are portrayed not only as cute and loveable, but informed and smart young citizens who are much more aware and want to achieve.
Thus, being Indian has never been better. Today’s Indians are no longer apologetic about their culture. Bollywood, too, is ‘cool’, speaking in Hinglish is in, and we are slowly emerging as a more liberal society.
Looking at advertisements from this sort of an angle, therefore, is an interesting way of judging how much we have progressed as middle class Indians. And the way I see it, things can only get better.

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