Money Money Money

AQ3A1089.JPG

I was chatting with a friend of mine about money. About how much is enough and how our entire lives are about earning to get rich or to get richer, whether the hours we work are justified and what kind of savings we have.

Anyone telling you that they work 20 hours a day at a corporate ONLY because they love the job and not for the money need a drum of hot coffee poured on them to wake them up from their delusions.

The only way to tell if you really love your job – is to be working merrily at a place where you don’t get paid or get paid peanuts.

I don’t get most people’s idea of wealth anyway.

To me – There is only one type of true wealth – and you can tell by one question.

If I absolutely want anything now – could I potentially buy it?

Literally anything. A helicopter. A Private island. A trip to the moon.

Anything less than that is not wealth.

It’s just money.

500 and 2000 rupee notes. That is all it is. 

Your so called wealth could be demonetized in a day if Modi gets a second wind.

So 10 lacs or a 100 lacs doesn’t matter.

That’s just mildly well off.

Anything short of a billion is ho hum.

And even a billion – if it means that you have to go in to work every day  – is still just money. 

So simply by this theory of mine – we are released of all obligations to try to attain wealthy status. Because we can never do that unless you turn out to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. At least not wealth in the conventional sense of the term.

So there may be another kind of wealth that we can aspire to.

The abstract kind.

It is made up of dew moistened grass and smiles.

Of chaotic colors and first rains

Of ripe mangoes and mildewed memories

Of tone-deaf singers and kulfi hawkers

Of unattainable mountains and insane mountaineers

Of dried flowers in diaries and giggles

Of unforgettable words and haunting movies

Of horizontal tangos and midnight snacks

Love.

Longing.

Dances and Foolishness.

Yes.

That’s the kind of wealth rat race I can get on board with.

Praha..ha..ha..ha

20150315_122032

It is March, but the wind stings my face like millions of tiny needles recreating an embroidery masterpiece. I raise it to absorb the splendor of the statue overlooking one of the most impressive and historically important squares in the world. In the middle of magnificent Wenceslas Square, mounted on a pedestal is a huge statue of Saint Wenceslas riding a Horse.

After absorbing the glory of the statue, we dart into a by lane to escape the chill and enter Lucerna Palace…

As we look around for a place to sit down and grab a cuppa, my astonished eyes land on another incredible sculpture hanging from the ceiling. St Wenceslas again. This time mounted on an unmistakably dead horse strung upside down. A mocking replica mere yards from the original.

And that in my opinion is the summary of Prague.

Paradoxical.

Cheeky as Hell.

Incongruously Modern.

A city that oozes culture and tradition and balances all that with modernism of a wacky genre.

The insolence of David Cerny is not just tolerated. It is celebrated.

As is with every city that imprints itself onto your consciousness – prague has a character.

Prague is that 47 year old dude having the customary mid life crisis. But instead of just getting a punk haircut and a tight T-shirt that would sit snugly around his paunch, Prague went out and bought a Motorcycle. And then spray painted it Pink. And now drives around heritage buildings with a sexy leather clad chick riding pillion at break neck speed sticking out his middle finger at hapless tourists.

He is a cheeky one. This fellow. He lines the streets with spurious absinthe selling shops and sniggers at gullible tourists who drink the stuff. For himself he reserves the best Beer. And drinks it by the barrel.

The woman at the local chocolaterie is his accomplice. She will turn up her nose when you ask her about her wares…. but you will forgive her every look of scorn when you put those pralines in your mouth and they burst into liquid sin.

He has a wicked sense of humor. He invites tourists and then ensures that all the signage is in Czech. And then enjoys his own private joke as the idiots look from one pillar to the other and then to their maps and then back up again, till they give up with frustration and enter the nearest pub and order a beer to calm their frayed nerves. Then they head out again and stumble from one incredible sight to another – all by serendipity – never by plan.

20150316_140548

He sniggers as they go looking for the Jewish quarter and reach Old town square and as they go walking to St Wenceslas and find the Franz Kafka sculpture. Somewhere in the middle of looking for Narodini Divaldo they find a humongous naked woman ( IT IS a sculpture .. tsk tsk … dirty minds) sticking her glistening breasts out in the middle of the street.

Prague takes ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’ to a whole new level. He thrusts his scorn and his desire and his lust and his love in your face. Hell.. he even thrusts out his bronze penis out at you as he pisses in front of the Franz Kafka museum.

If it is too much for you – well – clearly that is your problem alone. He isn’t going to tone it down. Deal with it.

Love Shove

795636

Everyone is in love on Facebook. Everyone. No kidding.

In fact – if you are in a bad, boring relationship – Mark Zuckerberg sends you a copy of ‘Relationship for Dummies’ with a note – ” Pull up your socks. Study and reappear for eligibility test. “

After you have surfed through the book and obtain a temporary membership of the ‘I am in LOve forever and ever and ever after ‘ Club – your actual initiation begins.

You will suddenly feel compelled to post pictures of red balloons and bouquets of roses and say things like “To the love of my life…Happy 26th minute anniversary” (Just for the sake of clarity – Not talking about the good kind of 26 minutes)

Thank you for being with me in all the good times and bad.. I look back to 19 days ago when we first held hands and since then our love has only grown stronger conquering all odds. ” Here is where we all tear up.

I love you XYZ… Miss you soooooo much sweetie pie… (Even though you are sleeping right beside me even as I type this on Facebook) I hope we continue to be this much in love forever ( Pause to dig sweetie pie in the ribs – Stop snoring stupid. I can barely hear myself think as I write this note of undying love to you) #loveisforever#jglfkdajglj#iloveyou#l;skflsk;f#dljfkldgkl#becausehashtagsarecool #becauseeveryonedoesit #becauseifinallylocateditonmykeyboard

I am telling you – relationship counsellors be warned. Facebook is putting you out of business. It takes bad couples and ordinary couples and good couples and perfect couples and stupid couples and abusive couples and irritating couples and any and every kind couple – and puts them in a big room painted with hearts,feeds them ruby red strawberries, makes them read chetan bhagatesque romance novels and paints them with Facebook Viagra for Love.

Then everyone exits the room and heads straight for the computer and logs in on Facebook and declares eternal undying love. Sometimes twice in the same day.

And God forbid that despite the constant tutoring by Facebook – you turn out to be a bad student and realize that your relationship is less than perfect and that 1-2 minutes of togetherness is nothing to shout out about from rooftops then you have condemned yourself to a lifetime of watching other people’s photographs and status updates complete with ‘feeling loved emoticons’ and pursing your lips with envy.

Of course plan B would be to spend all your time telling people every detail of every day. That’s always so entertaining. And also it shows that even though you are not in a perfect perfect Brangelina relationship – you have a rocking life.  Eating Anda Poha at the station… yehhhhhh #F$£k#jbkfdhjglkadjkhg

Hopefully you never have to resort to Plan B.

So straight after the morning cup of tea you log in and then look at your husband with irritation and say – See Mr and Mrs Cant-keep-their-hands-off-each-other – why can’t you be more like him? They are so in love even after 365 days.

And he will say nothing and just to annoy the hell out of you will go click ‘like’ on that picture.

Sigh.

Damn him. Forget it.

Let me go bake a heart shaped gooey chocolate cake so that I can click a Selfie with it and post it with the caption “On Valentine’s for my Shona…”(Because your cholesterol is only 10000 and his blood glucose level is only a million and a chocolate cake is definitely the best way to ensure I love you forever – because forever ain’t going to last long at this rate)

P.S.  Don’t get me wrong. This post is not intended to hurt the sentiments of anyone. And – I am all for love. In all its forms. This is just in jest. Please go ahead and ooze sappiness. It intrigues me no end.

A Dream

I knew Zoe for exactly 75 days.

And loved her every single one of those.

It does not matter if she was a person or an animal.

At some point in our lives we have all loved without reason and without logic and without limits.

Because some beings bring more joy into our lives in the briefest of moments than others do in entire lifetimes.

I think I conjured you up in a dream

For what else could be construed of so brief an encounter.

Like fireworks in the starless night sky

You shone brightest.

Incandescent.

And disappeared without warning.

Like you tired of my neediness.

And constant scrutiny.

And pallid ordinariness.

When I awoke the only evidence of your having been at all

Were my hands

Charred where I wouldn’t let go of you.

It must have been a dream.

Luminous and Beautiful.

But Cruel.

Much too cruel.

The Loss of The Great Love Story

Love story

If I had to pin point one of the greatest tragedies of the modern era it would be the ‘Loss of the Great Love story.’

The only love stories left are mediocre ones told inanely through Facebook pictures of heart shaped birthday cakes and declarations of love on 1st, 4th, 7th and 9th anniversaries which are written about like they are golden jubilees ( With the high divorce rates – maybe they are the new golden jubilees)

The Romeo Juliets and Devdas Paros and the Layla Majnus are languishing as footnotes in history or worse still – exploited by hollywood and bollywood directors like exhausted whores well past their prime. When in doubt and lacking a new script – rehash the greats. The Keira Knightley/ Matthew Macfayden cringeworthy ‘Pride and Prejudice’ being a case in point.

The era of the undying love through the decades has had its time in the sun and now lies shriveled up in a corner biding its time to be swept into the trash can.

The love so palpable in the writings of the great poets creates a mild unrest in the minds of the artistically inclined but other than that it touches no one profoundly. In fact it almost strikes a discordant chord with the general public who would laugh at a person suffering in the throes of a love so great that it would be impossible to think of much else. A loser. Yes thats the term flung about nonchalantly.

Ever so once in a while we have a man withdraw himself from the world or a woman drowning herself over a failed love affair. And the general opinion is – ahhh what a waste.

In a world where everything can be bought and sold and exchanged and corrected and achieved and altered-

Unrequited love is a rarity.

And unrequited love that holds steadfast for a generation is an aberration of epic proportions.

We shouldn’t blame Chetan Bhagat for writing designer toilet roll literature – He has no subjects – to base his love stories on.

How do you write an immortal line like “If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger” when all the world is poking each other for candy crush lives?