13

Of Christmas, Carols and Santa…

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 12:15 PM in ,


First things first, and this is for the regulars, I have been keeping a little busy people… hence the dearth of posts in the past few weeks. The next 2-3 weeks are going to be no different with my exams coming and all, but I’ll try to stay as regular as possible.

Now for the actual post:

25th December 2006:
* Scene 1- My cozy bedroom *
12:00am: I’m enjoying a still night when suddenly…* buzz * --- my phone buzzes to break the silence. It’s a message from a friend wishing me merry Christmas. In the festive spirit, I reply back with a cherry message and good wishes. Things are calm again and now I’m trying to concentrate on work, when I’m shook up by another * buzz * --- one more friend wishing me Christmas. I reply back to this one as well. Concentrate… concentrate… but * buzzes ** rings * --- I’m startled many times over… more good wishes and season greetings are exchanged… and this goes on for one whole hour.

* Scene shift – Connaught Place market, Central Delhi *
3:00pm: The winter vacations have just started and I’m out catching up with a dear one in cp. An awesome music show and a brief session of sifting through Oxford Bookstore later, we are out on the streets looking for a present for my younger brother. He suggests a swiss army knife and we find ourselves looking for a shop that would sell one. One quick glance and you realize that the market scene is quite interesting here: shop windows painted by/covered in oodles of red and white, christmas sale everywhere, fake santas out on the streets giving away sweets to kids, crowds supposedly ‘enjoying the festival’, christmas decorations coupled with small vendors selling red and white balloons. “Marketing gimmick”, is what he calls it all. I’m having second thoughts. I bump into classmates and upon asking what they were doing there… I get a “celebrating christmas!” out of them. I smirk and walk on.

*Scene shift – Today *
So what makes me blog about the whole thing?? Nothing major… this post is just a result of serious distaste, grave revulsion and grim disgust. Whoa! Why all these things?? Well for one, and I want to make it very clear that I have nothing against christmas whatsoever, when did the majority of our population turn catholic?? Second, if the statistics do support my argument, why are we celebrating the festival with such gaudy pomp?? Why the midnight wishes and christmas sale on the streets? In hope of reaching a satisfying answer, I make a few observations. Maybe the western culture/influence is fast catching up with us and is here to stay. Or maybe we are just a bunch of jovial, enthusiastic people looking for a reason to celebrate. Maybe a drop of the hat is a big enough reason for us to get together and commemorate.

PS. I had to go out the same day cause I was leaving town the next morning.
PPS. No, my intention is NOT to hurt the sentiments of any section/strata of the society. These are just my independent views and may be supported or neglected by some.
PPPS. I’m prissy and I know it.
PPPPS. My astonishment notwithstanding, I had a great day… all thanks to a highly ‘receptive’ company :)


14

"Dilli Bandh"... life comes to a standstill

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 3:02 PM in , ,

VIGNETTE: Description of an awfully tragic morning: Being late for college and taking an auto in an attempt to make it on time. Riding in what proves out to be a ‘death-auto’ for 13 long minutes. Frantically running all the way to the class only to enter a half-empty space and finding out that all the classes have been called off. Thinking of still utilizing the time by getting some pending work done at the other end of Delhi. Going to the metro station in hope of speeding things up and finding out that the damned metro services from the university station have been curtailed for the day due to some dharnas. Realizing that there is no other way to get to ‘the other end’. Returning home dejected. Thinking of digging your teeth into your favorite cookie, awesome stress-buster, but finding your neighborhood grocer's shop closed.

* Curtains drawn *

Yeah, that was a brief prelude to the kind of morning I had today. Though I woke up at 6 a.m., I still managed to get late for college (a feat only I can achieve!) and decided to squander a few bucks on an auto (which spells ‘luxury’ in student’s circles here) in a desperate attempt to reach the class on time. I had an economics class and the teacher was pretty strict when it came to giving out attendance to ‘late-comers’. So I asked the auto-wallah to speed up… and big surprise: he turned out to be a maverick brave-heart! Maybe he saw this as an opportunity to display ALL his stocked up driving skills (and stunts!) and rode REAL fast…so fast that I had to hold on to my seat to stay in place! Thankfully a few narrow escapes and missed accidents later… I finally reached the college in time (with white knuckles, ofcourse!). I rushed to the class only to find out that all the classes had been called off (yes, including the eco class) cause most of the teachers hadn’t been able to make it to college due to traffic-jams that had become commonplace today. Frustrated and dejected, I decided to utilize the day anyway and thought of getting some work done at ICSI, prasad nagar. So I strolled to the university metro station, patting myself on the back, but what I saw there was no less than adding insult to injury. I saw reporters from NDTV, and other blah blah blah channels, interviewing people; asking them how the ‘closed’ metro line had “affected/hit their schedule”. Taken aback, I eventually gathered that the Delhi University-Kashmere Gate, 4 kms underground metro stretch, had been closed as a precautionary measure (because the traders had decided to gherao the delhi assembly which fell midway on the route) till further notice. For a brief moment I actually contemplated going and whacking the NDTV reporter on the head (I don’t know why though, it wasn’t her fault!) who was interviewing a univ mate as to how he felt about the whole ‘metro line abruptly closing down’ thing. Instead, I walked away from the scene and cribbed in quite murmurs to myself and cursed lady luck for having abandoned me on the very first day of the week-Monday (which is quite unpopular anyway… cause of its ‘inherent quality/ability/trait’ of yanking people out of weekends and throwing them into the tiring hustle-bustle of daily life).

So seeing all my hopes of making some good of the day falling flat on their face, I started back home. Saw truckloads of people being ferried to the assembly… they shouted slogans against the MCD sealing drive… resolute anger and determination marked their faces. All this; while me, dejected beyond measure, tried thinking about the good things in life… but all that plagued my mind were sad thoughts and gloomy tales.

Blink! Hang on… it can’t be all that bad! I just needed to think like an optimist and try to find out the silver lining to this cloud. Hmmm… now what good can this bring? Oh, ofcourse! This was an awesome opportunity for me to snuggle up in my sheets at home, with a nice book in my hand (bought ‘memoirs of a geisha’ yesterday) and dig my teeth into my favorite cookie! Wow! Why hadn’t I thought of this before?!? So with a newfound spring in my steps, I hop along the way to my neighborhood grocer to get a packet of the heavenly cookies, with gleamy stars in my eyes leading the way. Could hardly wait to execute my brilliant plan for the afternoon! But then it happened… lady ‘bad luck’ couldn’t have been crueler… I see (and suddenly remember it was a ‘traders’ strike… and the grocer was no exception) that the shop’s shutter was down with two heavy locks securely holding it in place. And then one more realization, which can safely be called the ‘cherry on the cake’, dawned on me- the strike was going to go on for three days… till the 1st of November…

* Curtains fall *

EPILOGUE: Ok, now I officially put an end to all the cribbing and tell you what I finally did:
I went back home, switched on my computer, and typed the whole ordeal down as a blog entry ;)

P.S. 1: Blogosphere is an awesome place to vent out your anger.
P.S. 2: The above pics was taken first hand while returning back home.
P.S. 3: NO, I haven’t exaggerated anywhere in the post.
P.S. 4: Desperately hope that the coming two days of the bandh prove better.
P.S. 5: Delhi seems paralysed!

10

Dusshera Innovation...

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 2:29 AM in ,


The pink city, Jaipur, is famous for many things- food, people, splendor, valour… but the one thing that is often overlooked is the innovative bent of mind that the people here are blessed with. One recent ‘innovation’ that caught my eye was the ‘finish-it-yourself mini dusshera ravanas’. Allow me to elucidate--- I returned from Delhi to Jaipur a day before the much celebrated dusshera festival and was greeted by hoards of mini ravans sitting pretty on every major (and every not-so-major) goods shelf of store-keepers. Ravans ranging from 3-6 feet, costing anywhere from Rs.300-Rs 1000, gleamed at me from every nook and corner of the city. All one was expected to do was to finish them by adding the ‘cracker’ zing… and bang! Your very own mini ravana was ready to be later burnt up in smoke- in celebration of India’s rich historic culture, tradition, values… that still live on in the hearts and minds of united Indians. Philosophy aside… I bought a 3-feet ravana myself (cost me somewhere around Rs.350), finished it with crackers and watched it go up in flames on dusshera night. Cost notwithstanding, the fun it afforded was priceless. Truly an idea which, it seems, could be emulated by retailers of other cities soon. The beginning of a new trend in festival-specific, money-making ideas?? Only time will tell…

17

I've been tagged!

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 4:55 AM in , ,
Ah people, I’ve been tagged by Priyanka (I’m working on the basic assumption that people in blogging circles know what ‘tagging’ means). Its an open tag so all those who wish to do it can go right ahead! There's an X before all the things I've done… and the other brackets are empty… so all you have to do is copy and paste the thing and edit the X's ...

So hold on tight, the roller-coaster ride begins now!

( ) smoked a cigarette (Detest tobacco)
( ) crashed a friend's car (Crashed?? A car?? No no no! I rock behind the wheel!)
( ) stolen a car (Who dareth say that?)
(X) been in love (Many times over ;))
( ) been dumped (You kidding?)
( ) shoplifted (Never!)
( ) been fired (You first need a job in order to get fired :( )
( ) been in a fist fight (Ahem!)
( ) snuck out of your parent's house (Never felt the need, actually.)
(X) had feelings for someone who didn't have them back (Sigh!)
( ) gone on a blind date (Ahem again!)
(X) lied to a friend (Sorry!)
(X) skipped school (Only when I was down with fever.)
( ) seen someone die (Never! The ‘D’ word gives me the jitters. Brrr!)
(X) had a crush on one of your Internet friends (Tee hee hee… keep guessing!)
( ) been to Canada (Nay. But US… yeah.)
( ) been to Mexico (Nay nay.)
(X) been on a plane (Now how can one go the the US if not on a plane?)
(X) eaten sushi (Yum. Compulsive foodie!)
( ) been skiing-snow or water (No :( )
(X) met someone from the Internet (Er… kinda. But had met before, so big deal.)
(X) been at a concert (But whoever said I enjoyed it?)
(X) taken painkillers (Who hasn’t?)
( ) love someone or miss someone right now (Duh.)
(X) laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by (Once. Lovely!)
( ) made a snow angel (Are you kidding? I hail from Rajasthan!)
( ) had a tea party (Don’t remember, actually.)
(X) flown a kite (Make that 'kites'. Grew up with two brothers!)
( ) built a sand castle (And it hurts the most to leave this one blank. T, when are we going to goa ya??)
(X) gone puddle jumping (Fun!)
( ) played dress up (Yeah, I know it sounds weird, but NO.)
( ) jumped into a pile of leaves (No again.)
( ) gone sledding (Rajasthan people. Stop mocking… and smirking!)
(X) cheated while playing a game (Er… this is rare… but yeah! Uno!)
(X) been lonely (Sigh again.)
( ) fallen asleep at work/school (Never. Strange, no!)
( ) used a fake ID (But used a fake licence, ya!)
(X) watched the sun set (Therapeutic.)
(X) felt an earthquake (Uncommon phenomena at my side of the world, but yeah.)
( ) slept beneath the stars (I wish.)
(X) been tickled (And begged to be let free… hahaha!)
( ) been robbed (No! And thank god for that!)
(X) been misunderstood (At times! Blame the dunderheads, not me!)
( ) pet a reindeer/goat/kangaroo (Yuck yuck.)
(X) won a contest (What sorta contest? Does BQC count??)
(X) run a red light/stop sign (Occasionally! But usually when a traffic policeman is not around. Common-sense!)
( ) been suspended from school (Never never never.)
( ) been in a car crash (Noooo!)
(X) had braces (Priyanka, run for your life! How dare you tag me and ask questions as absurd as this one?!?)
(X) felt like an outcast/third person (If it isnt about me, it ought to be BORING!)
( ) eaten a whole pint of ice cream in one night (And mounted on 300 gazillion calories? No thank you.)
(X) had déjà vu (Spooky, but yeah. Many a times.)
( ) danced in the moonlight (The moment’s yet to come. Atleast have ‘something’ to look forward to!)
(X) liked the way you looked (Most of the time. And why not?)
( ) witnessed a crime (Does ‘witnessing’ others bunk/sneak out of classes count?)
(X) questioned your heart (Introspection. Yeah.)
(X) been obsessed with post-it notes (Sounds very familiar.)
( ) squished mud through your bare feet (Ewww! Sheesh! You are saying people actually do that??)
(X) been lost (When I was 2. Got lost in Karol Bagh! But mom found me soon enough. Phew!)
(X) been on the opposite side of the country (Travelomaniac! Travelfanatic!)
( ) swam in the ocean (But swam in a pool, alright.)
( ) felt like dying (Nah. But yeah, felt like disappearing!)
(X) cried yourself to sleep (Have mercy.)
(X) played cops and robbers (My nutty bros made sure I did that.)
( ) recently colored with crayons (I’m OLD!)
( ) sang karaoke (Don’t you love your glasses?? Spare them the trouble... and the damage! Hmph!)
(X) paid for a meal with only coins (School friends and coins… old association!)
(X) done something you told yourself you wouldn't (Talk of daredevilry!)
(X) made prank phone calls (But only as a kid.)
( ) laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose (Gawk! NO! How unsophisticated! Yeah… I’m too uptight!)
( ) caught a snowflake on your tongue (Boo hoo hoo! Enough with the Rajathan jokes!)
( ) danced in the rain (Er… no. Yeah yeah… I know it’s weird. You don’t need to tell me that over and over again!)
(X) a letter to Santa Claus (nailed to the wall in a white, sparkling stocking!)
( ) been kissed under the mistletoe (No misteltoes :x)
( ) watched the sun rise with someone you care about (Are some people ACTUALLY that fortunate?? Im green with envy!)
(X) blown bubbles (Responsible for half the bubbles blown in this planet.)
( ) made a bonfire on the beach (Hmmm… maybe on our planned trip to Goa this year.)
( ) crashed a party (Nay.)
(X) gone roller skating (Tried, fell… bloop!)
(X) had a wish come true (More often than not! Touch wood.)
( ) jumped off a bridge (Do I look crazy? Or suicidal?)
( ) ate dog/cat food (Again, do I look crazy?? Or suicidal? LOLZ!)
( ) told a complete stranger you loved them (Why would I do that?)
(X) kissed a mirror (Ok now forget I just said that!)
(X) sang in the shower (Hardly ever, but yes. Wont even qualify as a bathroom-singer!)
( ) had a dream that you married someone (Never.)
( ) glued your hand to something (You think we cant just yank it off? Or to glues come with "You cant get rid of me" warnings these days? Lol! I crack myself up!)
( ) kissed a fish (Er… just eating would suffice for now.)
( ) climbed a water tower (Im no tarzan… incarnated or otherwise.)
(X) screamed at the top of your lungs (But only when fighting with dad… to drive my point home, obviously!)
( ) done a one-handed cartwheel (Nah.)
( ) talked on the phone for more than 5 hours (Nonstop? What do you talk about for so long???)
(X) stayed up all night (Insomniac by profession. It IS night right now!)
( ) picked and ate an apple right off the tree (No apple trees here. Pooh!)
( ) climbed a tree (Tried… fell hard on my arse.)
( ) had a tree house (What is this?? The US of A??)
( ) been too scared to watch a scary movie alone (Braveheart!)
(X) believe in ghosts (As a kid, ofcourse.)
( ) have more than 30 pairs of shoes (But close estimate nevertheless!)
( ) worn a really ugly outfit to school (Why would I do that?)
( ) gone streaking (Na.)
(X) gone doorbell ditching (If it means what I think it does, then yeah!)
( ) been pushed into a pool/hot tub with all your clothes on (People who know me wont dare!)
(X) told you're hot by a complete stranger (But in less express terms ofcourse.)
( ) broken a bone (Nah. Im no case of fragile bones.)
(X) been easily amused (The habit persists!)
( ) caught a fish then ate it (Never even gone ‘phishing’!)
( ) caught a butterfly (Tried though!)
(X) laughed so hard you cried (Yeah! Actually... I usually laugh that hard!)
( ) cried so hard you laughed (So that’s not just confined to maniacal soap stars?? Revelation!)
(X) cheated on a test (Sorry teachers!)
(X) forgotten someone's name (And found yourself feeling awkward and embarassed! Hey, cant blame me! I know a lotta people! You don’t expect me to remember EVERYONES name!)
( ) French braided someone's hair (Nay. People don’t trust me with their hair!)( ) gone skinny dipping in a pool/hot tub/river (And where would I do that? In my ‘indoor heated pool’? Bah! Bill Gates daddy, I want a new pool.)
( ) been threatened to be kicked out of your house or been kicked out of your house (Never once!)
(X) loved someone so much you would gladly die for THEM (But see… that’s a thing of the past! Next!)
( ) cheated on someone (Even loathe the idea.)
(X) talk to yourself when no-ones around (Brief self-rationalizing talks and all. Nothing major!)
(X) hate someone you once loved (A fairy-tale gone sour.)
(X) love someone you once hated (Yeah, that has also happened.)

----------------------------------------

Priyanka, that was a long long tag (fun, nonetheless)! Hope the ‘thirst’ is adequately quenched ;)

P.S. Thanks all for bearing with my smart-ass jokes and comments.

13

Fabulous Ads- Part 1

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 11:51 AM in , ,
Every now and then, while flipping through channels on that idiot box, we stumble upon ads that simply stand out of the bunch. They incarcerate all our attention, hands down. So this is a tribute to some recent ads that have successfully managed to etch themselves onto our memories for the years to come…
Coca Cola: Thande ka tadka!

Brand: Coca Cola
Agency: McCann Erickson
Tag Line: Thande ka tadka
Description: Aamir Khan enters a restaurant with a red and swollen face, eyes hardly open, donning ‘touristish’ apparels, with a camera around his neck. The owner thinks he’s a foreigner and decided to fleece him. He adds two extra ‘0’s beside the price of everything on the menu. Aamir writes his order on a paper and is forced to get it himself after nobody understands him. As he begins gorging on his ‘thanda samosa’ and ‘thanda pakora’, i.e. coke with samosa and pakora, he starts talking in hindi, much to the surprise and disappointment of the waiters and the opportunistic restaurant owner (who are now surrounding and gawking at him like fools). He leaves them zapped by telling them that he is not a foreigner, but a photographer mauled by honeybees while shooting.


My Take: The humour quotient was high and the power idea gave the brand a new positioning. It definitely struck a chord with the masses and had me rolling with laughter for a considerable amount of time… I almost missed the pepsi commercial, courtesy: the tears of laughter that blurred my vision, which aired a few minutes after I saw this ad for the very first time. Aamir reinforced his prowess at dexterity yet again, assuming the garb of a supposed-Japanese tourist. The average viewer would never have discerned the twist in the yarn unless told! Coca Cola, as always, showcased great marketing wizardry so far as winning the ‘localization’ war is concerned. The bond between Coca Cola and its ubiquitous trump card ‘Thanda’ remains intact. Cola’s trademark: maintaining flavor with élan.

Surf Excel: Daag achche hain!



Brand: Surf Excel
Agency: Lowe
Tag Line: Daag achche hain!
Description: Brother and sister are returning home from school. Backdrop: rain-soaked grounds with a cloudy ambience. Sister accidentally steps into water puddle and soils herself. The adorable face cringes with disgust and we see her at the verge of tears. Protective/loving brother throws bag aside and starts ‘punching’ water puddle (semi-consciously splashing more dirt on his sister’s uniform and soiling his own clothes in the process!), repeatedly asking ‘it’ to apologize to his sister for the ‘misconduct’… All this, while the sister chants “Aur maro, aur maro…” from his side. Both of them finally convinced that the puddle has been trashed enough and had apologized, go home happily The million dollar smile is back on the sister’s face. The screen is filled with colorful splashes, and a ‘daag achche hain’ slogan playing in the backdrop.


My Take: Surf Excel had done something unthinkable again. While all other detergent powders were basking in the glory of how good their product was at removing stains…Surf hit dirt with the glorification of dirt! Haven’t we heard of out-of-the-box thinking and other such jargons at B-schools? Well, this was just an instance where it was put into use! The ad took my breath away and I was mesmerized by the innocence that those two kids afforded the ad! It was clutter-free unlike other detergent powder ads, which kept comparing the superiority of their product by their less-effective (???) counterparts. A thematic ad that successfully launched the brand philosophy, surf excel had proved to be the last word in detergent advertisement again: both in terms of product offering and communiqué. The ad commands a high recall value with consummate ease. The responses speak volumes… the commercial took the product image to greater heights. Sheer tenacity. One word sum-up: Innovative.

Ford Fusion: The no-nonsense car!

Brand: Ford Fusion
Agency: JWT
Tag line: The No Nonsense Car
Description: Version 1: Two marketing dudes are trying hard to impress their boss by suggesting to shoot the new Ford Fusion ad in Australia. Unimpressed, the haughty boss explains to them that the customers would buy the car not because of the location but for its features and goes on to talk about the car’s attributes and concludes by giving them a stern order “Give me an ad without any nonsense”. The ad ends with: “The no-nonsense car” tagline, as the crestfallen duo cancels their trip.
Description: Version 2: The same two dudes have another brilliant idea: A long rough road, a chopper, Fusion, a pretty girl criss-crossing her way through the traffic… Stop! The boss is unimpressed again. He halts them mid-way and goes on to tell them about the Fusion’s unmatched features. He again concludes by an arrogant statement: “Drop the girl and the chopper. Keep the car… ummm (thinks) and the road.” The screen is again filled with the Fusion, the tagline scribbled alongside it on the screen. The duo crest-fallen yet again!


My Take: Seems the creative guys couldn’t actually come up with a no-nonsense idea for the commercial and were forced into making an ad out of reality! Jokes apart, the first sentence I blurted out after seeing both these ads was: “Wow! Some ideas!” No brand-ambassadors to inflate the market price, no false claims, no un-necessary jazz and no desperation involved! JWT churned out a clear-cut, blunt commercial. The message in the bottle is clear: the car will get the cash registers ringing with only its distinguished features, barring all other nonsense (a rude reminder for other complacent car makers who, till now, swore by enviable locales!). The beginning of a new era in modern-age car ads? Time will tell all…

I guess that is all I have time for now… Hope you have a wonderful week.






151

Dedicated to mom and dad… blood is surely thicker than water.

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 5:28 PM in , ,
“God couldn’t be there with every child, so he created parents…”

Sitting alone in my room this late into the night leaves in reminiscing about the days gone by. Ma and dad, I can’t even begin to describe how much you mean to me.

My dad lost his mom, my grandma, when he was just 2 years old. So a childhood without a mom’s protective cocoon taught him what takes others no less than an entire lifetime to learn. Though his dad, grandpa, loved him more than any father could ever love his son… the lack of motherly affection (that only and only a mom can afford to give) left a never satiable longing for ‘mother’s love’. To worsen things, we lived in a joint family and dad spent his early days looking onto mothers who woke up their kids from slumber only to make them drink yet another glass of milk, while dad spent days without even tasting a single drop of the white liquid (grandpa was too busy with business… was the sole caretaker.). Now, an obvious aftermath of a tough childhood was that pa vowed to make the life of his children ultra-comfortable and full of love. Now as his offspring, I can proudly confer the title of the ‘World’s Best Dad’ on him (yeah, yeah. you must be thinking that every kid says that and it’s a quotidian notion, but really, my paterfamilias is different.). A few things that I miss about him after having shifted to Delhi are-

  • Driving me all the way to the school before an exam, while I tried mugging a few more facts on the seat alongside his in the car.
  • Comforting me after each of our quarrels, even when I was usually the one at fault.
  • Our post-midnight discussions on anything ranging from my school problems, to debating, to business issues, to politics, to tuitions, to family, to friends… he was my best pal!
  • His high b.p. when I used to drive his car while he sat nervously on the passenger seat, tightly clutching the dashboard with white knuckles!
  • Our importunate phone-addiction… calling him at work for trifle matters. It might have irked it at times, but he never showed.
  • His short-temper! Thanks to that, the world seems like a calm place, and people easy to handle! Cause handling him was the toughest! Also, he has unmistakably passed on his short fuse to me, in my genes ;)
  • The sudden softening of his expressions during an argument when he saw the slightest hint of hurt in my eyes.
  • His foregoing personal comforts to make sure we siblings had a comfortable childhood.
  • His priceless advice on anything under the sun!
  • His wisdom and grace and eloquence and erudition… do more men like him exist???
  • The glint of tears in his eyes when I was leaving for the US of A / packing for my 3 year stay in Delhi.
  • The pride in his eyes when I used to tell in that I topped in so and so subject / class.
  • His constant encouragement and those pep talks…
  • His fair and unbiased ways.
  • Our lovely Sunday family evenings.
  • His pats on my back.
  • His half-hour long prayers at amer-fort, while I just stood there waiting for him to get over.
  • His political acumen! From questions like ‘Dad, what’s the whole deal with Narendra Modi and the Gujarat riots?’ at lunch to ‘Which party do you think is better for India and why: BJP or Congress?’ over dinner… I miss those times!
  • Our shared laughs over ‘The great Indian laughter challenge’!
  • And most of all, I miss how ‘I’ felt around him… protected and special…
Truly a man blessed with a heart of gold. And interestingly, I’ve learnt one more fact about him in the past one year that I spent away from him- He can give VERY explicit instructions! Sample this-

Dad: Bitiya, independence day is inching closer. You try and stay indoors as much as possible.
Me: I know dad, I know. I’m not a small baby you see, I’m 19 now.
Dad: Beta no matter how old you get, you’ll always be my small daughter to me and I’ll keep guiding you, whether you like it or not.
Me: I know dad. But I can take care of myself now.
Dad: Listen, and this is an order, I want you to stay indoors till the 15th. No outings, no movies, no friends. If the need be, at the most you can go to your college. And then later straight back home. Avoid all public places like theatres, multiplexes, the metro station, etc……...yadda yadda yadda…

…………… you get the idea!
-----------
So this is my dad… Now a little something about mom.

As a child I always thought that my mom was the prettiest lady on the face of this planet! With her white (nearly!) skin, perfectly arched eyebrows, hourglass figure, long lustrous hair and all. But soon I realized that she was much much much more than just being pulchritudinous (did I add sufficient number of ‘much’s??). The early memories of my life are sprinkled memories of her nursing me, cooking all sorts of cuisines for us so we never had to eat out, smiling warmly at my achievements, scolding me for my misdeeds (at times! not that I gave her much reason to complain!), waking me up in the morning for school (everyday for 12 long years!), teaching me social science and the dreaded math, etc etc etc.

Now a few things I miss about her:

  • Her waking me up in the morning! No matter how hard the alarms try, they never manage to wake me up! (courtesy: the snooze button! I keep pressing it without even realizing!)
  • Her delicious food! All other food in this world sucks! Well, not all… but a great part of it!
  • Her soothing words which never failed to ease my frayed nerves.
  • Her calls for truces while dad and I fought away in the living room, screaming at the top of our lungs!
  • Her constant efforts to make room for my umpteen books… space always fell short! Now my books are all piled up in a mould in my room here in Delhi!
  • Our fun ‘Miss Universe / World Contest on t.v.’ evenings!
  • Our melodramatic fights (if any! we rarely fought.).
  • Her insights into anything and everything!
  • Her incessant insistence that I consumed all 3 meals in a day, and that too with atleast two glasses of milk! Gluttony!
  • Her hot coffee on exam days to keep me awake through the night.
  • Her famous dal makhani, rajma and pasta! (I know I have talked about food earlier, but it’s just that these three items deserved a special mention!).
  • Her helping me with my packing (and the unpacking bit too!)! Now a task that took me 15 minutes earlier, with her around, eats up 2 whole hours!
  • Her advice on what would look good on me while buying clothes.
  • Our girlie talks and the saloon trips!
  • ‘Bad-people’ bashing! (confused? i intended so!)
  • Her tantrums on seeing me on the phone for too long! (but now I see it was for my own good!)
  • How she made sure that my brothers didn’t pester me with the loud idiot-box noises during my exams! (Bhais’! Nothing against you! I was childish and immature! Infact another post in the pipeline especially dedicated to you two!)
  • Our twaddles in the kitchen, while she cooked & I sat and talked.
  • Her supportive attitude.
  • Her optimism!
  • Her smiley demeanor and light moods.
  • Her reassuring smile.
  • Our evening walks to loose weight! (mom, please don’t kill me for putting this up here!)
  • Her habit of spending all the money at hand buying things for us three, while she came home without even a single addition to her wardrobe or assets. Selflessness at its primary best!
  • Her check-ins into my room on seeing my lights on late at night, to take the book from my hand and put it on the side table and cover me with a blanket.
  • Her persistent ‘learn to cook!’ nagging.
  • Her unconditional love.
  • Her oiling my mane and braiding my pigtail till until a few years back.
  • Our chole-dal-poori breakfasts.
  • Her occasional fits of anger that instantly drove her point home.
  • Dressing ‘up’ for family occasions.
  • Her de-motivation tactics to keep me away from junk food, and then later showing up with two large take-away bags of McDonalds that exude delectable aromas!
And many other things that are implied for any mom! Just wanna say… mom you are special and beyond compare!

----------
Ahh…folks, I miss our times together! But hey, as always there is a brighter side to things, my missing you two made me write this post! Would have never said these things on your face! Also, I’m finally getting to face the world on my own… which makes me appreciate the fact even more that you guys have actually done A LOT for me. Now folks, sit back, relax and let your penumbra (read: daughter) prove herself to you!

P.S. My adorable brothers, I reiterate the fact that you two will also see a post dedicated to you soon.


5

Solitude vs Loneliness

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 6:28 PM in ,
Solitude, by far, is a more ‘positive’ term than loneliness. Having gone through both these spells, I think I can do a pretty accurate analysis of the expressions for the good of others.A sententious overview:

‘Solitude’ refers to the state of being alone and the capacity to still enjoy the (intentional) lack of company.

‘Loneliness’ refers to a sad state which is a byproduct of dearth of friends or company.

Solitude is locking yourself in your room just to get away from the world and spend some quality time with yourself; to contemplate; to think; to realize what needs to be realized; to reconsider; to rejuvenate; to heal oneself. It’s almost always a result of personal whims. When does one feel the need for some solitude? After a break-up; a failure; before making an important decision; after a traumatic experience; a loners world… the reasons are umpteen and the list is endless.

Loneliness, on the contrary, is something that’s forced down our throats. An importunate condition, a gall issue. We never decide to be lonely ourselves… circumstances make that decision for us. Loneliness, in its worst form, leads to drastic changes in a person’s life, attitude and outlook. But in milder forms, it can have temporary repercussions that are usually forgotten overtime. What leads to loneliness? A bad temperament, failure, bile, a calamity, or basically any other thing that repels people away from us. Temporary repercussions? Lower levels of self worth and self-esteem, excessive drinking and smoking. Simple remedies: A good jog, a new hobby, blind idiot box worship, shopping spree, internet surfing, sex, binge eating and a positive attitude. All this and presto! We’re back to normalcy in no time!

P.S. Smell fresh wounds? Dont get any ideas... this is just another addition in my already long list of spontaneous posts!

7

Creativity marred!

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 10:18 AM in ,
Hi all! Now this post comes almost a month after my previous post… so I presume you all must be wondering where I have been. So this ‘comeback’ post should be an answer to all your queries…

The past month was hectic… actually on second thoughts, ‘hectic’ would be an understatement (and I read somewhere that second thoughts usually make more sense than the first breeze of thoughts that cross our minds. But that’s a different story altogether and I’ll elaborate on that in my forthcoming posts!). Let me give you a sneak-peak into what I have been up to this past month: a rude reminder that holiday season is not eternal (sigh!), frantic packing, addition of crazy nomadic overtones to my persona, loads of traveling, I-miss-my-folks blues, crazy timings, sudden lifestyle changes, the inclusion of a morning walk into this lazy bum’s schedule and BAM, I open my eyes to a different life. How I miss those lazy mornings and worthless days (read: holidays)!

Now for the title of my post: creativity marred. This is a strange phenomena and I’m going to explain it with a series of questions (that would later suffice as the answer): Has a task ever intrigued you so immensely that you find yourself thinking about it quite often, infact so often that it would successfully give your lover a complex?!!? Have you ever experienced the sheer joy that’s derived every time you do this task? Have you ever felt that you’ve finally found something you love to do and would continue doing in the near future? And then have you are being suddenly pulled out of your normal course of life and forced to attune yourself to the changing times? And lastly, have you ever found yourself feeling like an amateur again when you finally sit down to do the task you were so proficient at doing earlier?

This is precisely what happened with me. I had fallen in love with blogging and was always brimming with ideas that would go on to make my next post… was always raring to pen down my views about everything under the sun and post it for the world to see. Then suddenly holiday season came to a halt and I had to take a detour to my crazy life. The metamorphosis took its toll on my zeal to write and I lost all interest in blogging. So yesterday when I sat down to write, my mind went blank and the incessant tick-tick-tick of my clock was the sole thought that clouded my brain. Kept mulling over what to write and finally after an hour, gave up on the idea. Then today I decided to give it another shot but again couldn’t think of anything concrete, so just decided to share what I have been going through. Now as I write this, I realize that I’ve finally managed to incorporate the changes well (that a life in the fast lane forces down your throat!) and am once again my organized self (an excellent time-manager FYI! Sorry if the immodesty irks!). Normalcy seems to be the perfect antidote to the damage done to my creativity! New ideas are already pouring into my mind, like a gush of water from a broken dam.

Take 1:
It’s a beautiful day,
The sun is on its way,
I feel the wind in my hair!
“Oh what a brilliant time to live life!”
Take 2:
It’s a beautiful day to soak up the sun!
Let’s get out there and have some fun!
These lines were inspired by t.v. commercials (let’s see if you can guess which ones!) and yeah, I know they doesn’t make much poetic sense, but I love them! So the dam is down, which means plenty of posts coming your way people… hold thy breath!

8

The most unusual award recipient DU has ever seen... ME! Nostalgia!

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 2:14 AM in , ,

So this is another brief flash of motivation that has got me writing (despite my incessant instructions to myself to complete the more important jobs at hand…like finishing up the book that I’m currently reading!). Another habit that seems to have set in is that now I usually write when the world is sweetly tugged away in their blankets…deep in slumber…i.e. at night…usually after midnight. Night offers what I crave for the most…solitude! Stillness instills peace.

Anyway, coming back to what I’ve thought of writing about today… Allow me to take you back in time (actually a trip down memory lane for me!)… the day is the 1st of March 2006, 9:30 in the morning. Delhi was regaining normalcy after an unusually long cold-spell…and people were once again out on the streets (not that they had ever mastered the art of staying indoors or anything!), enjoying the bright sun that now finally allowed them the luxury of shedding off their woolens! I was comfortably tugged in my sheets… sitting in front of the T.V…. with a cup of coffee and the morning’s newspaper… in my most casual attire… assuming that college was off today on account of some valedictory function… waiting patiently for the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to come and announce the annual budget for FY2006. Now the newspaper told me that the ‘Government Of India’ had released the ‘Economic Survey Report 2005-2006’ and impatient as I can be, I got up to go to my colony’s ‘paperwallah’ to get myself a copy of the same. Now it just so happened that as I was getting up, my phone buzzed (only to startle me out of my wits!). It was a class-mate of mine informing me that today was the ‘NSS Valedictory Function’ and I was receiving a certificate for my services to the ‘National Service Scheme’… and also that I was already very late! Whoa… my dreams of a quite, peaceful morning came crashing down (much to my dismay) as I jumped out of bed, picked up my cell-phone + wallet and rushed to the college (without giving much thought to what I was wearing or how I looked… alas!). I also made it a point to stop by the ‘paperwallah’ to buy the copy of the survey. On my entire way to the college, I kept fretting about whether I’ll make it on time or not, but thankfully I stay only about 15 minutes away from the university…and did manage to reach there by 10 a.m.

I quietly entered the seminar hall and silently took a seat by my class-mate who had called earlier. Now it was only after she pointed out that I noticed how I looked…. I was wearing a scruffy black T-shirt (that didn’t really scream out ‘elegant get-up’) teemed up with my oh-so-casual grey pajamas… a copy of ‘The Economic Survey’ in my hand… with nothing but bathroom-slippers to cover my feet… and to make matters worse, I donned a shiny, oiled mane (don’t blame me… I’d intended washing my hair after the budget speech by the FM… which I anyway missed later!). My class-mate was a little taken aback on seeing me dressed so inappropriately for an award function and was about to ask me the reason for the same (cause it isn’t commonplace to find the sophisticated me in such a horrendous get-up, and that too on such an occasion!) but bit her tongue when I told her I wasn’t quite aware of this ‘suddenly-popped-out-of-nowhere’ function. Now they started announcing the names of the recipients of the certificates… Rohini Mittal… Akanksha Bannerjee… blah blah blah… and then finally the dreaded YASHIKA TOTLANI. Now I stood up, vowed not to make a fool of myself on stage, and confidently walked down the aisle with my head 60 degrees from the ground (till date I wonder how I managed to do that!). Our vice-principal Dr. Indu was handing out the awards and after a head-to-toe analysis of me, she finally managed to force a smile on her face (for the photograph ofcourse!) and handed me the certificate…CLICK… a click by the photographer… a ‘very’ bright flash, while I shamelessly flaunted my teeth… followed by a round of applause… and I’m off the stage! When I finally reached my seat… I looked up only to see our NSS convener Ms. Usha Singh (a lovely lady, by the way) staring at me in disbelief with her mouth slightly open and a quizzical ‘what-were-you-thinking?’ look in her eyes. I avoided her gaze and was one of the first ones to leave the seminar hall after the function got over (a run-away success, if you must know!).

Now this weird sequence of events didn’t stop me from enjoying a round of tea and samosas that followed the function (with the economic survey still tugged tightly under my arm) and I left the college with a smile on my face and a glint of naughtiness in my eyes! I’d actually pulled this off! A feat that about an hour ago seemed almost impossible to achieve! So to cut a long story short, I would conclude by pointing out that today I would surely qualify to be called ‘The most unusual award recipient DU has ever seen’ in it’s over a century long history!

Moral of the story: The student fraternity at DU can pull off almost anything coupled with a little self-confidence and grace. To substantiate my point… I would like to bring your to your attention the fact that not even a single student bothered raising an eyebrow on seeing my casual attire… Maybe they simple dismissed me as another case of a student not trying to disguise her true self under pretentious garments. Kudos to you guys… you rock!

Epilogue: Today I hold that historic photograph in my hand (my hair shine even brighter here… damn that bright flash! And the look on my face is worth a million bucks… futile attempt to suppress that naughty grin!) and feel my eyes moisten up with the memories of this and many other such incidents that, I believe, make one’s college experience all the more enriching and fulfilling. Masti ki paathshala…

Note to self: I notice my posts are getting longer with each passing day… have to be careful about not going ‘over-board’.


4

The Beautiful Game... An overdose of excitement!

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 2:09 AM in ,
I just witnessed (on T.V. ofcourse!) the match that can safely be called ‘the king of all clashes’: Germany vs Argentina, battling it out to make it to the semi-finals of The FIFA World Cup 2006 currently unfolding in Germany. Now honestly I’m not a football-buff and ‘m not too familiar with the ‘terminology’ used there. But I still understand the game to the extent that I can thoroughly enjoy a match when I sit down to see one (courtesy: dad and bro)… And as I have just seen one such electrifying match, I have decided to pen down the excitement in the air while I’m still in the moment and can easily articulate my thoughts…

Note of caution: If you aren’t interested in football matches, this post might not interest you.

Now I knew that people (read:CNN) were calling this match ‘the final before the finals’ and also knew that this match would surely compel the most ardent of fans to leave aside even the most important of works and glue themselves to their televisions. And what a match it was…did live up to everyone’s expectations and proved to be a great watch!

The match started at 8:30pm IST and I couldn’t catch the first one hour (yeah, I know I missed quite a lot) cause I was busy ‘orkutting’ on the internet and had lost track of time (but considering that it went on for almost 3 hours…I can say I didn’t miss too much!). When I heard my brothers suddenly applauding in the adjoining room…I figured that someone had scored. Now this was before my youngest brother came running into my room to tell me that Argentina had scored (he was cheering for that team!) and pulled me to watch the game with him. Reluctantly, I closed down my computer and obliged. And what followed was pure, unadulterated fun………

As I was supporting Germany (merely because they were the hosts and three time world champs), I wasn’t too happy about the fact that the opponents had scored. Soon thereafter, Klose(11) scored for Germany in what could be called his best goal yet in the world cup…something that bought the teams on level playing ground once again. A lot of close calls and good football later (‘energetic football’ maybe…but on second thoughts…nah…football has become synonymous with ‘energetic’) … the grueling, excruciating, agonizing 90 minutes came to an end (add 4 minutes of extra time to that), much to the relief of the players who were now sweating as if they’d just paid a visit to a furnace! That had brought the match to a draw 1-1 and what followed was another 30 minutes of great football (tie-breaker) where both the teams didn’t allow each other to score yet again (talk about good teams playing out as even better opponents!).

Now came the penalty shoot-out and the tension in the air was nearly tangible… This would decide which team would proceed on to the semi-finals and which one would have to see days of hard-work go down the drain… The free-kicking started and, slowly but surely, the tension overshadowed the faces of the players… Now I wont test your patience by furnishing more finer details and simply tell you who won: The Mighty Germany won ‘the battle of all battles’ with a splendid score of 4-2 in the shoot-out (they have a great goal-keeper and I found myself gaping in amazement at his brilliance!) (much to the dismay of my brother!) while the German fans went ecstatic! Argentina’s players, now in the ‘denial-mode’, slowly recovered and reluctantly accepted defeat.

Now this didn’t come as a big surprise to me (the match was exciting though!) cause I’d already predicted sometime back the names of the two teams that would qualify for the mega-finals: Brazil and Germany. Till date, it seems like my prediction is gonna come true in the near future… But all the guessing and analysis apart, for now, I just wanna sit back, relax and devour ‘the beautiful game’ in full swing…

So this was it: three time world cup champions Germany had beat two times world cup champions Argentina in the penalty shoot-out round. One more glance at the idiot-box and I see the faces of some Argentinean players drenched in tears as reality slowly dawns down on them… german fans proudly waving their flags in the crowds… shouting slogans that I couldn’t comprehend… agony and ecstasy at the same time… a dramatic end to this season’s most anticipated match (well…next only to the grand finale)………………………………….…………………………………………….…... all followed by a furor of celebration in my living room ……………..(with the exception of my youngest brother who’s still sitting with a swollen, disappointed face!) !!!

P.S. If you don’t enjoy football, but still decided to read the story and got bugged reading this, don’t worry, I don’t think I’ll be writing about football matches again. It’s just this one time that I truly felt like replicating the magic!

3

A Figment Of My Imagination...

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 12:17 AM in , ,

BLOGMANIA GRIPS NORTH INDIA
Phenomenal increase in the number of bloggers

28th June 2006: The past one-week witnessed a phenomenal increase in the number of bloggers in north India. While Delhi recorded a figure of 3 million new bloggers in the past 7 days, the other states weren’t far behind with approximately 2.5 million new bloggers respectively in their kitty. This growing trend has all the hallmarks of a revolution and cyber-experts and analysts believe that this might prove to be very profitable for website owners and cyber-entities.

A considerable portion of the blogger’s pie comprises of the student community, who seem to be the most actively involved in this pursuit. Sites that offer free blogging services, like blogspot.com and myblog.com, are on a roll with students hogging these sites in their quest for ‘free islands’ on ‘cyberland’. Yashika, a student at Delhi University, says “I’m glad to have finally found a platform to put forth my views about anything ranging from personal experiences to global issues. And the fact that whatever I post will be eternally preserved in the ‘reservoir of blogs’ gives me a sense of contentment and a feel of the 21st century! In addition, this is like an impetus that fuels my creative side and results in a wide-spectrum of blogs.” She seems to be voicing the opinions of millions of bloggers out there who now have a new object of affection.

Now the flip side to the issue is the growing number of addicts who try to lose themselves in the maze of the confusing corridors of blogs and seclude themselves from the rest of the world. Psychoanalysts believe that such steps are prompted by feelings of insecurity and poor self-esteem. But apart from that, there are no apparent disadvantages of this creative activity.

So keeping in mind the skyrocketing figures, it can safely be concluded that blogging is here to stay!


Disclaimer: The above article is just a figment of my imagination and is not aimed at anyone in particular whatsoever. The facts and figures are all fictitious and nowhere related to the ground realities.

(And a warm welcome to Priyanka and Neha on the blogging bandwagon! I dedicate this article to you guys!)


2

The Day of Umpteen Reflections

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 3:48 AM in
It’s 3:30 at night and I cannot put myself to sleep. Insomniac you will say? Not quite. This seems like an obvious after-effect of a very eventful day. Eventful? Yeah. Let me elaborate…

The day started with a phone call to a very dear friend who had been out of touch for quite a while now (yeah Neha, I’m talking about you hon!). And soon after I hung up, I found myself reflecting over an often-ignored (deliberately?) fact of life: in this fast paced life of ours, we often overlook the unmatched pleasures that the small joys of life can afford us. This seemed like one such joy! A hearty conversation with an old friend the first thing in the morning…..heaven! Better than starting your day with a cup of hot, steaming coffee and a newspaper in your hand (and headlines that read as: “Indian companies dominate the Forbes 500!” Hahaha…gotta get a grip on this wild imagination of mine…no holds barred…hahaha! My fascination with the corporate sector manages to creep into my text as well these days!)

The day proceeded in it’s normal fashion…giving no clues of what lay ahead of me. The lull before a storm? Surely! (Wait…‘storm’…an overstatement maybe!) Now the news that made this day stand out of the bunch came in the evening. I got to know that I’d made it to the admission list of the exam I’d appeared for about a week back, en route my quest for admission to a premier institute. Now this made my day because I’d assumed the odds to be against me…it was a classic case of 913 candidates fighting it out for just 17 seats. And the fact that I’d made the cut gave me a sense of elation!

Now what followed was a series of phone-calls to my near and dear ones. Under normal circumstances you’d assume this was a measure to spread the joy. But my case was different. I was calling them up to seek advice…. advice regarding whether to join the course or not! Crazy you’d say…but whoever said I was predictable and sane 24x7???

Now this exercise of seeking advice threw new light on the character traits of these beloved people, precisely the reason that etched this day onto my memory. Some came out as surprisingly brilliant career councellors, while others as pyramids of laughing goo! Some proved their worth as a confidant, and others shared their inside views with commendable frankness. (The people referred to here are very much aware of whom I’m talking about! So no more explanation on this front!) Now after hours of catching up on the phone, I hung up with a grin on my face. At around half past midnight, I found myself in a very reflective mood again, amidst the solitude of my room. I was reflecting about the days gone by, the days that can now safely be called the foundations of these strong bonds I cherish so fondly today. I was reflecting about the times spent with these precious individuals, each of whom is special in their very own way. From the days of carefree ignorance…to the days where I felt a need for some serious self-actualization; these people have stuck by me through thick and thin. Today I express my gratitude towards all of them for standing by my side when I most needed them! I wanna thank them for their unrivalled contributions towards making me what I am today.

Wow…this has been more random than I thought it would be! Gotta wind up now cause if I don’t sleep right away, I’ll shortly witness the first rays of the sun filtering through my window coupled with the chirping of birds! If you’ve read this far, I assume you don’t possess the attention span of a three year old and are willing to read what I have to say! Read on and who knows, you might just end up learning a thing or two from my blogs!

2

Well this seems like fun...

Posted by Yashika Totlani Khanna on 12:36 AM in ,
A big hey to you all! This is my first stint at blogging and I'm pretty unsure about the degree to which I wanna allow this wide world to get a glimpse of the life of this 18 year old! A dear friend of mine knocked this idea into my head and I must admit that the prospect of an uninterrupted flow of thought on cyber-space for all to view did sound interesting. So here I am, typing away spontaneously without giving much thought to where this is going! Now without further ado, I'll set the ball rolling by starting with a brief intro about myself (an endlessly alluring task): A commerce student at Delhi University whose eyes shine bright with the dreams of a glorious future...a person who was born into a conservative family, something that didnt stop me from breaking the glass-ceiling and venturing into previously untouched territory...a rebel by nature with an inexplicable fascination with defying the conventional and with an insatiable hunger to redefine the way things work. That's just a brief overview to the kind of person I am...completely unpredictable and just when you think you've got me figured, the season is already changing! Go figure! Well...seems like I'm off to a good start. The rest will follow soon. Till then, adieu!

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