Category Archives: the world around me

An unsuitable boy – An autobiography?

I raised this question of whether An Unsuitable Boy by Karan Johar is an autobiography at all in an earlier post. Here I  am giving my view on that.

I read the book with the purpose of gaining insight into what it means to be a gay man in a country where being gay is still illegal. Even if he was from a society where they are most accepted. While I did know that he did not come out publically as gay in the book because of the legal reasons (not everyone is an activist and I respect the fact that he doesn’t even pretend to be one just because of his position in society) but I expected him to talk about the difficulties or I should rather say challenges.

I was disappointed. It was not that he did not touch the subject at all. Karan was rather forthcoming and called himself effeminate many times but there were no real challenges he refers to. He did say that he went through some voice therapy to make his voice more masculine and little things like that. It is either that he did not have to face too many challenges or it is that he did not want the book to be about his being a gay man.

This, however, does not completely answer why I refrain from calling the book an autobiography. The way he has written the book is more like a narrative. In a style that I am writing right now. It is like he is chatting with us.  He goes back to his childhood and his school. He talks about his struggles and mentions his feelings at the time without going into too many details at any point in time. Also, he does not follow a timeline. He follows subjects. This makes the book seem like a casual conversation; which I will say is rather candid in nature.

Something I will like to mention about the book is – it is an honest book coming from the heart. While reading you will feel it that Karan’s mind is what the book tells us it is. It is crude where he rants about Kajol and her unimportance in his current life. It is warm when he speaks of Adi Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan. It is sad when he talks about how friendship took a backseat in the business partnership he has with Apoorva Mehta. You will feel the honesty he has put in the book. I will still call it as an account of parts of his life and not something that chronicles it.

Hope you enjoy reading the book because I certainly did enjoy the candor.

Happy Reading!

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The importance of storytelling

While I dwelled into my love of stories and books in my last post. I want to focus this one on the importance of storytelling and in consequence the importance of reading or listening to stories.

Stories inspire us. They may be in the form of an incident that occurred to us or to someone else but they inspire us. I remember when I read Rafa – My Story. I have never been as inspired in my life as I was then. I know of people who have anecdotes of what changed their lives and they use it to inspire others. If you are ever looking for inspiration – read and read more until you find your inspiration.

Stories are life as we feel it at that point in time. Every story, ever written by anyone in this world is a reflection of what they felt at that point in time. It can be happy or sad. It is the authors feeling that comes out on paper. When you read, you are looking at life from someone else’s perspective. You are feeling what the author wants you to feel. Reading is empathizing.

Stories help us judge the right from the wrong. Stories help us learn that there is a gray. Stories are the gray. Stories are the medium through which a child learns easiest.

History is also a story, story that one intends to learn from. A story that is intended to be repeated but with a different end.

Stories are a retreat into a parallel space where you can forget your worldly worries. Stories let you can run your imagination into the extraterrestrial or closer to home just a different life. Stories let you be who you want to be. It is a safe haven for the reader/listener. Away…far far away.

I like to be teleported into space with the tales of the long gone. What do you like?

Happy reading!

Storytellers

The past month I have been obsessed with stories. Mid-March I got free from a project at work that had taken a mental toll on my faculties and I wanted to replenish it. And I did so by reading another book on the holocaust. Then I read the life sty of Karan Johar through his book – an unsuitable boy (I am refraining from calling it an auto-biography – more in a later post). Then I went on to watch the ten episode genius of Roshan Abbas called Storytellers in the living room and yesterday I finished listening to Nilesh Mishra’s podcast called Qisson ka Kona. All the while I was doing this I was also watching the period drama based in the early 20th century called Downton Abbey which was telling another story all together. Now that today I am at a lack of what to pick up next to feed my mind with more stories I thought I’ll blog about my fascination with stories. After all it has been a while (way too long a while) that I wrote something in the pages of suhaaandiaries.

Well my fascination with stories began way too early with Archie’s comics. It was a new world that I knew nothing about. My parents never told me stories while I was a little kid. The stories I knew was the Sunday Mahabharata and Ramayana on TV which my entire family used to watch religiously (pun intended). And one day, out of the blue when I must have been in the 1st or 2nd standard my Nani (maternal granny) cleared my Masi’s (my mother’s sister) book collection and decided to give away a pile of books to me. This included everything from Archie’s comics to abridged versions of classics like David Copperfield. I naturally started with the Archie’s comics with the bright yellow covers and the fancy illustrations of Veronica and Betty. I was obsessed. Even though at that age I did not completely understand it all but it was fun and I used to feel cool reading these fancy books. That was the beginning of it all. I then went ahead and binged on all the storybooks (Tinkle(s) and Champak(s)) available in the market. My first real book was Around the world in 80 days (the abridged version of course from my Masi’s collection). By the time I was in 4th standard I had read every book in that heap and my favorite was David Copperfield. It still remains so. I still cry when I read the chapter where David walks to find her aunt with only the village name as address and no clue how he will get there. My heart cries out to him when he sleeps under the sky. I have read it thrice since and I still went ahead and bought the 1000 page unabridged version. There is just something about that story that makes my heart cry. I have read many books since and it has always given me pleasure. There have only been a couple which I left unread. I have tried to finish everything I started, even the crappiest ones like One night at the call center and another one by Ravinder Singh (I forget the name but it was a love story where the girl dies) – I have had the resolve and finished them. The ones I couldn’t finish were The Trial by Franz Kafka and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The former I didn’t quite relate to or understand much. The concept of house arrest without a reason and then the trial in a dodgy place – what was that? It was weird and I just did not have the patience to complete it. The latter I tried to read twice but somehow could never relate to. I felt neither was Tom really or fictionally naughty. Tom’s character is not my definition of anything at all. I found him and his friend dumb and irritating at best, so decided to leave it there.
Well now I come back to the present and realize that I dwelled into my love for books and stories for a long read so I decide to write about the importance of storytelling in my next post. For now I will leave you here dwelling into your childhood and the stories you read then.

Happy reading!

Uncertainty

Uncertainty of life

Uncertainty of happy times

Uncertainty of careers

Uncertainty of health

Uncertainty of wealth

Uncertainty of soul

Everything we know is uncertain and we want to make everything certain.

But are we certain about that everything?

Do we all want to live a happy life with a booming career with the best of health, wealth and soul?

Yes, we all do

Then, why are we certain only about career and wealth?

Why are we uncertain about life, happiness, health and soul?

Yes, career and wealth lead to it all

But is life, happiness, health and soul non existent without career and wealth?

It’s uncertain, I believe

We don’t know because we haven’t tried

There’s no reason to try, it’s going as per plan

If the plan fails, if uncertainty shows it’s face

There’s no harm in trying

It would be difficult, it’s different than usual

It would take a toll, to find another way

We will fail, we will learn ways it doesn’t happen

Until we make it happen

When we make it happen

It will still be uncertain

We will still live

Live to do it all over again

For all the haters out there

Here’s asking you guys to become lovers…It’s a much happier place to be in.

 

So I know I am writing after forever but I think this has been long coming. The trigger were the recent trolls on India celebrating a meagre 2  medals in their Olympic performance.

While hey all you haters (soon to be lovers) out there…I agree to all that you have to sell. I know it isn’t the best of the performances if you compare it with  US or UK or even Cuba or North Korea. What the heck it wasn’t one of our own best performances.

But what the heck, instead of sulking at how all our medal hopes were destroyed by Abhinav Bindra, Gaga Narang and Sania Nehwal; we chose to celebrate our presence in sports we haven’t traditionally done very well.

We have been participating in every Olympics Games since 1920 and have only managed a total of 28 medals (9 Golds, 7 Silvers and 12 Bronze). Of which 5 are pre-independence and 6 came in 2012 at London. So we have always been in a sorry state with overall Olympic performances

What we celebrated this time around was this;

  • It was India’s second medal in Badminton this time. It was a better performance than the last (Silver to the Bronze Sania won in London).
  • This year we saw the first Indian woman to win something in Wrestling.
  • Dipa became the first female gymnast from India to qualify in Olympics – on top of which she ranked 4th
  • Dipa also became only the 5th woman in the WORLD to have successfully completed the Produnova

So you see, we had a lot to celebrate. Also, yes we realise our sports facilities are not that great which lead to poor performances but we chose to be inspired to change the situation by performances such as that of Dipa, Pusarla (PV Sindhu) and Sakshi.

We just refuse to bow down and say we lost because we can’t lose until our spirit is alive and let me have you in on a secret – the word is our spirit is not just alive it’s burning strong and high.

Until next time!

¡Hasta la proxima!

Hero – My Hero

“Now that serve that he just hit is called an ace. He, Roger is a master of aces. It is basically the kind of serve in which the ball hits the court in a way that makes it impossible for the opponent to return. The more you watch, you will understand.” It was Federer vs Nadal, French Open 2007. I just happened to be there and ask my uncle a question that had been bothering me for an year now. How the hell is tennis played?

It had all started when one of my tuition teachers was disappointed due to a rain delay at a crucial time in a match and was cribbing to us how he would have liked to see it finish but for the class he had scheduled with us, he could not wait for the rain to end and the match to resume. That is the day when I had first asked this question. My teacher tried to explain it to me but I think since there wasn’t an example game playing in front of me, I did not understand. I especially did not understand the way the scoring was done. Since then, I had asked this question to quite a few people. However, due to the lack of interest of the people around me in any sport but Cricket I never got an answer.

This was the day, I got all my answers. I not just got all my answers but I also became a fan of Rafa Nadal. I have always felt a connection with him. Unlike Roger who plays smart, Rafa is a player who plays hard. It is clear, Roger is more talented than Rafa; but what makes Rafa special is his never say never attitude.  This is also the reason that Rafa stands a chance of being the greatest tennis player in history. Inshallah (if God wills it) Rafa will soon surpass the grand slam title count of 17 that Roger currently has.

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My copy of RAFA – My Story

I have grown as a fan of Rafa over the years. My dedication to him was so evident that in 2011 one of my closest friends gifted me the recently launched book ‘Rafa – My Story’ on my birthday. Due to my fear of biographies (I always feared that they will bore me and I will leave it in turn effecting my stature as a fan) I had not come to reading it until two weeks back.

Now that I have read it. I must congratulate Rafa’s parents on being such great parents. I hope and wish I become such a parent some day. It was only fitting for the upbringing they gave to Rafa that he become special. I would disagree with Toni Nadal (Rafa’s uncle and coach) when he says to Rafa ‘you are not special because of who you are, but because of what you do’. I would disagree because the Rafa’s upbringing and humility makes him special for who he. I, who have not achieved a thing in the world is not as grounded as Rafa is. Reading Rafa my story was a delight and it was as inspiring as it could be. Thank You Rafa for being my inspiration. I have never had a role model or inspiration to look up until I read about your life. You are a Hero. My Hero.

Rafa
My Hero – Rafael ‘Rafa’ Nadal

Who am I?

My name is Suhani, a fitting name I believe.

I know who my parents are, I live with them.

I know who my siblings are, I love them and they love me.

I know which roots I come from – faith and belief.

I know who my friends are, they have stood the test of time and effort.

I know that my parents hate my guts. They think I am fixated and stubborn. They think I am ruining my life. They want me to follow their footsteps; get married, settle down, have kids and finish my life.

I know my siblings love me without judgements. They might not agree with me and my decisions but they let go. They are there for me.

I know what my friends think of me. They think I am bold and can face challenges easily. They think I am clear headed and opinionated. They think I have too much ambition. They think I am logical, pragmatic and practical in my approach and decisions. So, they think I don’t understand what they are and the pain that they go through.

I believe I understand how strangers look at me and perceive me as someone who is independent with a ‘I give a damn’ attitude. They don’t like me but they are intrigued as to who am I? They like the confidence in my walk but it also freaks them out.

To sum it up, I know who am I in the traditional sense because I know what people think I am.

But do I know who am I? NO.

No, I do not know who am I because what my parents see me as is only because I want them to let me make my own decisions. I don’t defy them because that is who I am. I defy them because if I don’t I will have to live their life which is definitely not me.

No, I do not know who I am because what my friends think to be my strength is actually a wall. Yes, I use my brains more than my emotional side but that is because I am afraid to loose it all to emotion and be pathetic like so many others. In reality I am scared, very scared to be ‘anybody’. I don’t want to be an ‘anybody’.

No, I do not know who I am because the strangers who see my independence do not see how I long for someone to take care of me. When they see my confidence, they miss the flaw it is hiding.

Then who am I?

I am someone who wanted to be journalist, but that ship has long sailed.

I am someone who could have been a lawyer, but I did not have enough confidence in myself to pursue it. I still don’t.

I am someone who wants to be a writer. I used to write more often. I used to write better than I do now. I am struggling with my writing for a long time now. It is still a long journey and a distant dream which I may or may not realise.

I am someone with insecurity issues. I fear losing what I have and prefer death over it at times.

I am someone whom death doesn’t scare. I struggle with my issues and come back rising.

I am someone who needs to be somebody because being ‘anybody’ is a huge identity crisis.

I am someone who can not live with an identity crisis.

I am someone who is afraid to pour her heart out to anyone. Writing about it helps.

I am someone who is trying to open up with the help of writing.

I am someone whose life has been more or less an open book but who herself has been more of a closed book, sealed from cover to cover.

I am someone who is gathering courage with every passing day to force open that book page by page.

I am someone trying to become more than who I currently am.

Unexpected Guests

This post is in response to todays *Daily Prompt*

The unexpected guest. I should start this post by mentioning that I am an Indian who has lived in India all her life and unexpected guests are very common here. There have been innumerable occasions when I have walked into my house and have seen guests sitting there in the living room; expecting me to be the ideal host and leave everything aside to entertain them.  The *atithi devo bhava* [Guest is equivalent to God] saying is taken a little too seriously in our culture. You would not believe it but I have had unexpected guests over and they have been welcomed to stay the night by my parents right in the middle of exam season. To top this, since my family is a joint one [our Grandparents stay with us] we are short on a guest room and I have been kicked out of my room to study and sleep on the on the living room couch while the guests can stay comfortably in my room. Lord knows how I survived during those days.

However, since I am all grown up and sensible I detest unexpected guests and make it a point that I do not make undue sacrifices for them. Everyone needs to understand that the other person cannot and should not put his/her life on hold just because you decided to show up unexpected.

Grow up people…you are not kids anymore!