sitaraa land

* words: they are not always spoken.. some thought some felt.. expression: an instinct to survive

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A day in the life of a social geek

5 AM and the alarm goes off.
I cast about for the phone and command it to snooze, and it replies in an even tone, "Your first snooze this morning has commenced. I will attempt to wake you up again in 9 minutes". Mercy, I think, and go back to sleep.
Ever wondered why sleep comes within seconds in the morning, while in the night it takes forever? I can never 'fall off' to sleep at bedtime, but in the morning I can be falling off any number of times - just like that, close my eyes, and out! I even manage to dream a fully comprehensive dream in nine minutes. This must be another freak law of nature.

5:09 AM and the alarm is ringing again.
I hear, I sense, I do a quick scan of my mental, emotional and physical state, and decide I am not there yet. Snooze once more. "Your second snooze this morning has commenced. I will attempt to wake you up again in 9 minutes. You have lost 10 points in the Morning Alacrity Race", recites my phone. Ouch! That hurts. But not so much because I am asleep again.
Meanwhile my traitor phone has logged my snooze score to the Morning Alacrity Race apps. This score is then compared with the scores of other MAR users on the planet, and the points I lose are determined on the basis of the which percentile of snoozers I happen to fall into that morning. It's an unfair system - the Japanese almost always go scot free.

5:18 AM and it's the wretched alarm!
I resign myself to my fate, and I switch off the alarm. My phone responds, "Good morning and have a nice day!".
At this point, every day I hate MAR and I hate my phone for its super-efficient-but-loaded-with-sarcasm attitude. But a few hours later when I walk into work at 8:00 AM sharp, I will be feeling on top of the world for being on time and fully equipped to start my day. Then, I will say a little prayer to thank the human race for this innovation that gets me out of bed without snoozing away for hours. Believe me and I do not exaggerate, I have snoozed up to 11 times when left to my own devices (literally)!

Okay, it's 5:30 AM and I am on the wii yoga mat. My virtual yoga group, Yoga Wire, has decided that today we will all do 108 Surya Namaskars. Insane, if you ask me, (actually you did ask me, and back then I thought it was a splendid idea!) but if I don't go along then I lose 250 YW points. I have gained 350 so far after a lot of yoga, and I have been trying to save up to buy the new CD available on the website. It costs 500 points :(

Besides, me and my yoga group want to do this. There's something about being part of a big social community, it wires me up to do more and to share more. Like FB. I have been doing yoga for a decade, but after joining YW, I feel like I am sprinting ahead in evolution.

Apart from the personal (or maybe it's social) aspiration, there is another motive. Yoga Wire has been gaining momentum, and it's on the verge of establishing itself as the most motivational yoga group in the world. To date, thousands of people have joined Yoga Wire, and enrolled in the program which is the most appropriate for them. Statistics reveal that within 12 weeks, 58% move on to next level. 19% stay in the same level. The drop out rate is only 23%, which is the lowest among all other online yoga communities. The health benefits are measured as well, and the figures are just as impressive. Ya di da di da.. I could go on about the benefits of yoga, but then that's not what this post is about.

What I am writing about here is a world where human potential is enabled as never before.

If I had to single out one breakthrough that social media technology will achieve, it will be this. It can bring about a global movement of higher achievement. Humans aiming higher and achieving more as they aspire towards common goals; goals they set for themselves, but achieve by drawing on the power of a community.

A day in the life of a social geek is not utopian and it's not out there somewhere on planet Pandora in the year 2154 - it is now and here, within reach.

P.S. - I may or may not relate how the rest of the day goes. It will depend entirely on how hard I need to try before I manage to drive the point home.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan

I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend. Having been best friends forever, we mostly developed our sense of good and bad together, and we have similar tastes in clothes, people, etc. Our tastes in books, however, are as different as can be. I am tempted to relate a rather long story here to drill the point home, but will resist. The gist is that I have read Arundhati's The God of Small Things twice over, and she didn't go past page 10.

So, I settled to read this book that M talked so highly of, sceptical from the word go, about what lay within the admittedly artistic (with a somewhat sophisticated edge) cover.

The book starts off with a conversation between two chicks (yes, it's a chick-lit) in a lingo that is a delectable mash of Hindi-English, much like Amitav Ghosh in Sea of Poppies, but more modern, more with-it. If you don't comprehend Hindi, this book may be a complete waste of time unless you doggedly managed to enjoy the movie Three Idiots. If you do comprehend Hindi, this book is a complete waste of time, but unbelievably fulfilling if you love wasting time.

I read a few pages and thought to myself, it's funny alright, but not classy; far from it. Chubby Zoya destined to fall in love with the most handsome captain of the Indian cricket team, of all times. I thought the Bridget Jones love story was passé. It has trended out even by the time the sequel was released. I tch-tched through the first few chapters, very mindful of how trashy and Shoba De-ish the style was (having never read a Shobha De, don't ask me how I manage to be so opinionated).

Half way through the novel, something strange began to happen. I felt that this novel was threatening to draw me into the plot, despite my staunch views about elite fiction, et al. The plot? A convoluted mass of jiggery-pokery – Zoya, quite by accident, is turned into the durga goddess of cricket, holding supreme power over a game she barely understands - but I don't mind that, you see, I worship Salman Rushdie.

I was beginning to laugh, not just snigger. Even so, I was still deliberately resisting warming up to the novel. By now I had proclaimed to my mum, during our weekly catch-up, that how ridiculous it was of me to be reading a book like the Zoya-factor, right after finishing off with my series of Man Booker Prize Nominees (no, I don’t have a book club. I have no excuse. Period). Zoya makes up and falls out with Nikhil as often as there are songs in bollywood movies, portrayed with the literary equivalent of dancing around trees in figure eights - enough to make one dizzy. Like “Mills and Boons” – I am not saying this, I am merely quoting the author here.

But on the other hand, Armaan singing a song back to the IBCC Chief totally cracked me up. Absolutely ingenious.

Finally, I gave up all resistance, all dignity, and openly started to devour every syllable, once Zoya’s brother breaks his leg. He alone is faithful to his creator, which, at this point I turned the book around to note is called Anuja Chauhan. It is through Zaravar’s merciless and increasingly frequent repartees to Zoya that Anuja brandishes her true wit. The fiasco during the agarbatti shoot (and shoot-out!) is the scene that gets closest to non-fiction in the entire novel – what, no? Ever watched NDTV? It is brilliantly written, and could have been the perfect denouement, except that twists of the ZN love story needed to continue. Sigh!

Towards the end, I was completely immersed in the Zoya factor. I was won over. There is definitely something unique in how Anuja expresses herself. Despite having, seemingly, poached bits and pieces of all medium and all genres of art, Anuja has presented a concoction which has a flavour of its own, something new and refreshing, and irresistible. (Sadly, when I write something in earnest appreciation of the author, I sound like I am being paid for the endorsement.)

Anuja Chauhan does manage to hold the attention of her readers for longer than sixty seconds. In fact, she makes them sit up, take notice, and grudgingly but surely, hand it to her.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

loony is the tune i make no excuse

clouds swish past
nothing lasts
my eyes wide open
awed yet stricken

oh! what a rush
silent and hush
i watch it unfold
a secret untold

life's obscurity
is a bit of a pity
if i knew how
i'd get you now

there i go again
down the same lane
oh for goodness' sake
what does it take?!

lost not found
unwanted but bound
the guitar plays on
never mind what's torn

loony is the tune
i make no excuse
black and blue
it's always you

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