Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How the wireless helps me live my passions

I belong to the generation which had spent its childhood getting scolded for being a couch potato and talking for hours on phones with long wires. Having a bulky thing called computer was a luxury and was confined only for making documents and playing Aladdin, Dave and NFS. The storm of the global network called internet which would make our lives not only easy and less cumbersome but also more ‘rich’ was unimaginable. But that happened and so did the replacement of telephones with cell phones. Today, they are inevitable. Infact, now I try to remember how I would manage to meet my friends without calling them constantly and asking them about their whereabouts. Internet and mobile have been considered the greatest inventions of our times.

And now we have the combination of two of these greatest inventions – mobile with internet. And it couldn’t have been better than this. This excellent pair has a lot to offer to everyone. It ends the hassle of carrying the heavy laptops and buying the expensive netconnects. It allows downloading smart applications, fun applications like Talking tom, Games, access to social networking sites i.e. to social bonding, access to our mails and ofcourse, access to information from every corner of the world.

On a personal account, I am very passionate about writing. There are often situations when your mind is buzzing with thoughts but there is no paper around to relieve yourself. Mobile blogging is the way out. I blog about my thought before it vanishes off. Also, though i write in all settings and temperaments but i think the writings when i am in a bad temperament(which i am very prone to) turn out to be the best. If i am angry, i want to express myself, not necessarily on what i am angry about but on some other issue. And what pisses me off even more is the fact that i don't get anything to write upon. In such situations, mobile blogging is the messiah. Writers are also a little fanatic about learning new words and synonyms. Dictionary App is another blessing. 

I am also very passionate about music. Late in the evening, when you are all relaxed and listening to radio, suddenly there comes a song and you fell in love with it immediately but the cruel RJ doesn't give you any details about the song. So it's all on you now and the lovely mobile with net. I love listening to old hindi songs but there are so many songs which i have not downloaded because i tend to forget(another big issue with me). But now i immediately download the classic from iTunes. 

Passionate about history and archaeology, i love travelling to new places and getting lost in the historical sites. Landmark Finder allows me to fulfill my passion. I use it not only in my historically rich city, Delhi but also beyond it. 

I have downloaded must-haves like dictionary, timesofindia, Landmark finder and must-haves for me like talking tom(which really helps this angry bird), youtube and games of my 'golden' childhood - Aladdin, Mario, Tom and Jerry and NFS. 

I am also trying my hand at cooking these days. Having your laptop share the slab with vegetables and bottle of oil is not a very fine idea, especially for someone who is a lot clumsy. A small mobile which easily goes into the pocket is like a magical ladder. I try to cook while i read the recipes on the cooking websites on my mobile.  

It is my companion when i am alone and bored. It is my friend when i am all tensed about an assignment which i have to submit online(i am cursed with a net connection which should find its way to a museum). It helps me learn new things, channelize my anger in a more constructive way and helps me do what i enjoy. 

Mobile with internet allows me to discover myself, discover my likes and dislikes and helps me fulfill my passion. I wouldn't say i cant imagine a life without it. I can but it has made things simpler, easier for me and has helped me add more colours to my life.

*All photos clicked by Sunam Thapa
written for:

Beyond the Borders

Every day, at sharp 4, in a village called Wagah, there is a mad rush as people try to form a straight line which will extend to a kilometer or two. It involves pushing around, shouting and hurling abuses. It also involves being shouted at by people in uniform. They don’t mind it. They are eager to be in the front of the line, even though there is enough space for everyone. They are eagerly waiting for an event which has to start after 5:30. They are so eager that don’t even mind leaving behind their cell phones, an indispensible mode of communication. And these people are not just tourists. There is a sizeable section of locals, for whom it is like a daily ritual.

Then after rounds of checking and being under constant surveillance by people with big, scary guns, they are allowed to enter and settle down. Here again, there is a rush as people find for that ‘ideal’ place to sit. That ‘ideal’ place is not one which would protect them from sun or would give them a perfect view of what will happen in front of them. They will choose a place which gives them a better look of what is on their side. The moment they will find the ‘right’ place, they will forget everything. They will try to lose themselves in history and will try to re-imagine the past. They will continue staring while an imaginary reel would be rolling in front of their eyes. And then, they will see people settling. They will now be on the edge of their seats to see them clearly. And what! They are amazed to find that they look exactly the same. Some of them would even wave to the people sitting on the “other” side. Others would just stare at them and would be lost again. Then when they would see the birds, they would envy them. They would wish that they could sit on them and fly down to the “other” side, to see these people more closely, to see the other side more properly, without any restriction.  They would look up and envy the boundless sky who is also smirking at them. These people pretend to be angry with the sky who looks more beautiful and has a certain pride. They are also jealous of the wind. They try to smell it and think if it will smell the same on the “other” side. 
During the whole ceremony, which will be taking place in front of them, they will stare at the “other” side. And when the ceremony is over and they are ordered to leave, they would keep on looking back, trying to capture as much as they can. They would try to capture and take it back with them.

This is the bond between India and Pakistan. It is often unsaid and is poorly expressed in treaties and diplomatic visits, but it is there. An average Indian and a Pakistani have the same secret desire to cross the border, atleast once. They want to see what people eat, how they talk, how they look and how they think on the “other” side. And if it is to be believed what those lucky people who have visited says, they will be highly ‘disappointed’ because it is just the same there. We share a common history, a common language, a common culture and even a common desire. This desire is found in the talks of average Indians and Pakistanis.
So it is a common thing among Indians to reveal how their grandparents had migrated from Pakistan. It is also common for the listeners to then pester them with more details and then be disappointed as the fact of migration is the only thing that they can recall.
A friendly conversation between an Indian and a Pakistani is very predictable. It will always start with a fascination about each other’s politics, culture and mainstream cinema and will then migrate to the fact about common history and will end with a moan about the idea of separation.
It all seems very predictable but it shows the common desire which is to forge strong ties of friendship and brotherhood. India and Pakistan has even the same challenges to fight with. So why to keep the falsely constructed distance?

Let these barriers only be political ones because socially and culturally there are no barriers. These barriers have been constructed and have to be demolished. The barriers of suspicion and hatred are also constructed and have to be demolished too. And these barriers cannot be removed by people with bodyguards or with guns. They can be removed by the faceless in crowds and voiceless in a chorus. They can be removed only by the so-called “common people” or the aam insaan. The hope lies in the civil society. We need to realize that we are not different. Our thinking is same. Our language is same. Our ideals are same. We need to realize that the common person on the other side of the border also has the same suffering as we do. He is also oppressed by the politicians, is dying with hunger, struggling for employment and being tossed around by religious fanatics.
We need to realize this and in this realization, lays not just peace but the fulfillment of our own desire. It is not possible to turn back the wheel of time. We cannot go and delete a chapter in history but we can definitely add a new one. We can add a chapter which says, “and they lived happily ever after…” 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Summer to rediscover myself

I live in Delhi, the city of extremes. It is not just about the so-called temperament of the people which I consider passionate(in anger and love), rather than extreme; or in the functioning of the city, either very clean roads or roads in dustbins but even the weather of my city is very extreme, either scorching hot or chilling cold. The impact of global warming has made things even worse. It is so terribly hot that laziness is also acceptable.

Going out in such weather conditions and in the city which is supposed to be “on its heels” regularly kindles desires to escape to a fantasy world. We all often desire of hibernating to a relaxed place where we can just be ourselves or try and search for “ourselves”.

photo by Sunam Thapa
As a common delhite, I am no different. But this desire to escape grips me more. After every 2 weeks, I develop this urge to pack my bags and head to dharamshala or any other place in Himachal Pradesh for the weekend. But thanks to the web of assignments and papers, it remains to be a fantasy. But now, with the post-exams vacations, the urge is back and it is much stronger. 

I want to escape to my ‘fantasy’ world where I can do everything that I always what I really am. And now I have with me Elena who shares the same passion that I do – music and travelling. I love listening to music, especially Hindi classics. Music not only relaxes me, it liberates me in many ways. It helps me forget my problems and ascends me to a new and better world.
I also love travelling. Travelling to any new place really fascinates me. I love to interact with people, hearing popular stories and understanding their point of view and also their culture. As a graduate in History, I have a special inclination for historical places. I love to lose myself in the remnants of the past…trying to re-trace history…trying to turn back time. In this summer, I would love to go to a historical place.

I also love places with scenic beauty but I reserve a special inclination for places with lakes, rivers and oceans. I find water to be very tempting. I find it serene to the extent that it gives me the assurance that nothing will happen to me if I decide to explore the depth. I am very fascinated with water and so the trip to port blair is one of the best memories that I have.

This summer, I want to travel with Elena to relax and forget the busy, tiring and disillusioning daily-life. I want to escape to a place where I don’t have to compete or try to be the perfect or have a fear of trying different things.  I plan to fulfill my promise to myself that I will spend some time with myself, exploring my interests, passions and even my fears, inhibitions and trying to struggle with them. I want to travel and explore new things, try out new activities like adventure sports. I would travel and would also be skin safe. Thanks to Elena’s suggestion to use Lakme Sun Expert which is best for Indian Skin. I would travel without any worry, will enjoy the Forts in the scorching Rajasthan and also laze around on the beaches. All thanks to Lakme Sun Expert.

In the summers, I also plan to try new things, searching for new “hobbies” like cooking. I also want to fight with my fear and complete my driving lessons. This summer… I want to be a different and more ‘realistic’ me.

I would want to be like my Elena. Elena surprises me. I imagine her as this stylish diva who is relaxing or say, rejuvenating herself on the beach, after her share of struggle for the day. She seems to cherish every moment before she goes back to the life full of work. She seems to enjoy herself, her freedom, without a care in the world.

It is also the sun set time. The view is beautiful. This summer, I would try to learn from my friend who will accompany me in my journey to explore/re-explore the ‘real’ me. 

written for: