Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two things

I won an award, I won an award! Joy of Me, My Mind and Wilderness, has awarded me the "Brilliante Weblog" award! Yippeee! Though I don't think I deserve the award (*cough* modesty *cough*) I am much honored and am super thrilled. Thanks a lot, Joy!

As I have said before, I find a lot to admire in the writings of so many fellow-bloggers. Some of them are linked on the side-bar, most are not. Regardless, I am so glad I have got the chance to read them.

One blog which was particularly a super awesome find is Floridora's Last Quarter-Game of Life. I came across his blog a bunch of years ago when I randomly hit on the "next blog" link which appears on the Blogger header. I read his most recent post then and was hooked. Since then, I love reading his posts whether they are about day-to-day happenings or about his past experiences starting from the time of World War-II. His zest for life and sense of humor shines through in all his posts. Thanks for the wonderful blog, Floridora and here's to you blogging for many more years to come. You truly are a Brilliante Weblogger.

After three days of getting increasingly threatening threats to do his tag pronto, I am getting down to it. Pratap has tagged me to:

1. Make a word out of my name, picking a part-of-speech
2. I don't have to save the world but just spectacularly make an awesome sentence (with my name as defined above). p.s. this rather convoluted tag-rule has its origins in the tagging post.

Now, if you read Pratap's original post, you can see for yourself that I have already chosen a totally cool (and apt :-P) meaning for my name. I had defined archana as an adjective meaning "something wonderful in a special way" or simply put, "something awesome". So, you could use it in sentences like 'This is an archana dress", "Oh, she is my archana friend", "Look at that flower - so beautiful! It has a very archana color". Yeah people, you can stop laughing now. No, really.

Anyhoo, unfortunately, according to the "rules" (made up on the fly, I bet) as described by Pratap, I cannot reuse my original meaning and have to think of a new meaning. So here it is:

archana is a verb meaning "making and drinking chai".

Usage examples:
1. After a long day at work, he got home and archanaed.
2. Can we archana now?
3. Why have those folks not arrived yet? Are they archaning at their place?

Tada :-D!

This is a fun tag to do and does not take long - it will be great if at least a few of you take it up! Vishesh? SK? Archana? Saumya? Joy? Sayesha? J? Deepthi? All the people linked on the left sidebar? All my readers? Okay, that is beginning to sound desperate. Still, pretty please? You could use the comment space itself if you are so inclined!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Conversation at lunch

"Hey Archana, did you buy a new car?"

"Huh!?! No - why are you asking?"

"Oh, I saw you getting out this morning from a nice shiny black car."

(Realization dawning.)

"Oh." *sheepish grin* "I took my car for a wash yesterday."

(Laughter all around.)

Sheesh! I really ought to wash my car more often.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tales out of school - 1

Reason for this post: I have been in reminiscing mode.

Of all the seats in all the theaters in the world...

Once, when we were in undergrad, four of us decided to go for a movie on a sudden impulse. We had heard that the movie Love ke liye kuch bhi karega was decent time pass. So on it was to the movie theater.

At the theater ticket counter, we learnt that the movie had started some 15 minutes ago. Ah, a masala Hindi movie - most probably nothing worth not missing would have happened in the first fifteen minutes. So, undeterred, we bought tickets anyway.

After being in the blazing hot Chennai afternoon sun, we were practically blind when we walked into the darkened theatre. Groping our way from the aisle, we walked down a row. M was leading the way and I was following her close behind. A and V followed. We filed past the occupied seats.

M finally reached an empty seat and was about to lower herself into it. Which was when my slowly returning eyesight saw to my horror that the seat was already occupied. M was getting ready to sit and the guy already on the seat was gaping in soundless open-mouthed disbelief at the prospect of his lap suddenly having an uninvited guest on it.

At the last moment I grabbed M's hand and hissed that the seat was already taken and that we should move on. Finally, we four safely found ourselves unoccupied seats. Of course, we giggled quite a bit after that at the remembrance of the averted disaster.

When the lights came on during the interval, we dissolved into uncontrollable laughter again. You see, the only rows of seats in the entire theater which had occupants in it were the rows we were seated in and the row behind it. Among those hundreds of empty seats, M had chosen a rare occupied seat to sit on. No wonder that poor guy couldn't believe his misfortune!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Reverse Dracula

Note the day, mark it, mark it! Ladies and gentlemen, today I finally did something I have wanted to do for a long, long time and have never done.

I donated blood :-D! And it happened in such a commonplace way - no red carpet, no majestic music, nothing. A couple of colleagues and I were doing our afternoon walk when I spotted a blood donation van. And I said, "Oh I have always wanted to donate blood. I should go see if I can.". Though colleagues in question did not want to/could not donate blood, they said that I should go.

So all three of us went in together. The other two were providing "moral support" for me and happily settled themselves in too. Which was when the blood collectors (!?!) told us that the process would take about 45 minutes. Uh-oh. So my moral supporters left after making sure I was okay with being alone with the Big Bad blood collectors.

The process was nothing extraordinary and went much along expected lines. It was kinda strange though to see my blood flowing into a bag aided by me squeezing a small rubber ball. After some time of squeezing, a beeper went off indicating I had donated enough blood.

A big bandage was wrapped around my arm around the needle-prick. I was then made to sit down for 15 minutes sipping from a bottle of water (I said "No!!!" to apple juice).

That's it, I was free to go! I was feeling all euphoric at having finally donated blood (though a friend smartly pointed out that it not euphoria but lightheadedness due to blood donation) and walked back to work.

I still feel slightly woozy though I am willing to bet a fair amount that it is just my imagination. But yaay, I donated blood!

And oh, I would like to give special thanks to my company which has made this event possible. Most of management here is out for the next couple of days leaving me plenty of time for useful activities like 1.5-hour long lunches, half-hour long walks, 1-hour long blood donations, catching-up-on-gchatting, middle-of-the-day blogging etc. Mucho obliged!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Evolution of friendship

I was in final year of undergrad when the movie Snehithiye came out. My friends and I thought it was a decent movie and good entertainment. The movie was soon forgotten but one of the messages from the movie was oft quoted by us even much later.

Tabu, who plays an inspector in the movie, comes to an all-girls college as chief guest for some function and tells the students that it is very easy for women especially to lose touch with their buddies from childhood and youth. Saddened by this prediction, then and there, the two female leads make a promise to be a part of each other's lives forever.

When I watched that movie, my first reaction was: "Hey, that is true. While my dad is in touch with his close friends from the old days, most of my mom's close friends are the wives of my dad's friends." It turned out that this statement was echoed by almost all of my other female friends. Then and there, we friends too made a pact to always be a part of each other's lives.

Immediately out of college, this was an easy thing to do. We had nothing better than to do than to keep in touch anyways! Thus every happening, big and small, in each person's life was shared in depth. Emails, instant messaging, phone calls - there was no dearth of communication. So much so, I took it for granted that my friends would tell me *every* single happening in their life in real time. I still remember getting extremely upset because a very close friend did not tell me about an important event in her life as soon as it happened.

Anyways, the first year out of college, I think my friends and I hogged most of the available bandwidth on the internet, on telephone lines and everywhere. In spite of being spread across two continents and thousands of miles, the bond was still there. I thought back to the Snehithiye dialog and thought, "Um, this is so much fun. Why did anyone make a big deal out of keeping in touch."

Towards the end of the second year, slight cracks began to appear. Everyone had more "responsibilities" (however you define it), and though news was still shared, it was no longer with the same limitless abandon as before. The network of people I was very regularly in touch with became smaller. But the ones I *was* in touch with - oh we were on call 24/7 for each other. Life was still good.

Then, somewhere towards end of year three, some of my close friends no longer seemed to be "0n call" for me all the time. Though I knew I could still count on them, I felt hurt by this sudden demotion. For the first time in my life, I started thinking twice about calling some close friends for fear of "intruding". And o boy, was I unhappy about this development. What had happened to us? I nevertheless still tried to keep in touch as much as possible - email, phone calls, everything - I saw wanted us to go back to the good old days. I missed it so much.

Then some more years rolled by. Initially I could say with a clear conscience that in case any communication stopped with any friend, it was due to lack of response on the other side. I would *never* be the person who did not reply to an email or who did not call back.

Time went by. One fine day, I guiltily realized that sometimes I was the one who did not respond. I wanted to, but somehow did not. Oh, I met up with most of my close friends a couple of times a year and we caught up with news often enough. But the constant communication was a thing of the past. I felt guilty but then...

Now I think I have finally reached the stage I have dreaded for so long. I have come to accept that frequent and daily communication with close friends is not something which is going to start happening magically by itself. Though it seemed so at some point, just because we are "friends", it does not automatically guarantee constant involvement. Everyone is busy with their own lives. Maybe this is another symptom of growing up - I don't know. The saddest part is, I no longer feel sad or angered by this realization. Because I myself am "busy" you see.

Don't get me wrong here. As I have said many times before, my friends will always be one of the foundations of my life and that is something which will never change. Friendship should grow and evolve as the persons in it grow and evolve - that after all, is a sign of a long-lasting relationship.

That knowledge still does not stop me from sometimes thinking back to the days of unbridled, joyous, no-holds barred friendship. Those times, I wish I could turn back time. It was not so long ago after all.