September 24, 2010


I feel like the place is closing in on me. I feel like the air around me is thinning; I feel breathless, almost suffocated. My mind is in a frenzy, bordering on paranoia. I feel like I have to escape! Break free! But I look around. Everything is ‘normal’ outside. No one seems to notice, or even understand. It’s just a matter of the mind… all in my mind.
This is no sci-fi short story. It is my reality.

I am mildly claustrophobic. No… wait, make that claustrophobic (without the ‘mild’). It is kinda embarassing, but that’s the truth. I really don’t know when it began or when I realized it. But it’s something I have to admit (and live with).

It’s not a situation I find myself often in. But when I do, it’s difficult to control what I think. It has changed my life in small ways:

I do not travel in the rearmost seats of SUV type vehicles like the Xylo, Scorpio, etc. or 8-seaters like the Innova, Omni, etc. The fact that it it has no open windows and is ‘closed in’ from all four sides - windows that can’t be opened, the door and the seats in front - is enough reason for me to panick. (And when I do sit in the middle set of seats, I prefer sitting near the window.)

I do not enter very small lifts. Some shops or places have very small lifts where people need to cram together. I try and avoid those. And some kind of lifts (even though moderately spacious) may freak me out if I feel a sense of being ‘locked in’. Lifts, in general, can cause me to be anxious (because I imagine scenarios of me getting ‘stuck’ in there). Infy lifts, thankfully, are not that kind.

I avoid crowded buses or trains. There have been times when I was in a really crowded bus/train and have had small bouts of anxiety creeping up.

There was this one time we went to Palani (this summer). Usually we climb all the way up to the top (to those who have been there know what I’m talking about – the steep climb which is a workout in itself!). But this time we did not, owing to an injury my mom sustained on her leg. We decided to go by a ‘winch’ (that’s what it’s called there). It’s actually something that looks like little compartments/bogies in a train and is mechanically pulled up all the way upto the top (and down) of the Palani hill. I found the 10 + 10 mins travel in that the longest!

Aeroplanes are another issue. During my childhood travels from Dubai to India and back, I’d never faced this problem (thank God for that!). But recently I discovered that it isn’t so. I was boarding a flight to Hyderabad (for my training) and as soon as I stepped into the plane, it hit me. I even thought of stepping out! Since that was a really dumb option, I convinced myself (logically) to ignore any issues. I kept reading a magazine, and then slept a bit to distract myself.

Another anxiety, a variant of this (that I share with my mom), is a kind of suffocation that is felt when the power goes – when it becomes pitch dark, with no air circulation/movement.

There was this reality show on NDTV Imagine - Raaz Pichhle Janam Ka, whose print ads I used to see (haven’t seen the show yet though - want to catch Season 2 which is set to be aired beginning October first week). It's based on past life regression, the underlying concept being that our fears, phobias and even physical ailments in our present day lives have their roots in our previous life/lives. One ad even said that the phobias in our current life has something to do with the way we died in our previous life. On seeing that I was quite convinced that I was strangled to death in a reaaally dark and small dungeon! Now, only if I could participate in the show and confirm that!

September 18, 2010

Dangerously low...

... that's how people today prefer to wear their pants (boys/men and girls/women alike). Or should I make that "ridiculously low" ? I'm no fashion freak and don't really care about how people 'choose' to dress. But recently I happened to see a guy that had me going in splits (well, inside... I couldn't laugh out that loud in public transport - more specifically a bus).

Here I was travelling by bus, on my way to the railway station from office. This area where my office is, is no metro or nothing nearly 'yo'. A remote area, which maybe called more orthodox than modern. At a stop a few guys got onto the bus. College students, perhaps. And incidentally I happened to look at them. I almost grinned, and then caught myself. I looked around... Did no one see? Did no one notice? The lady next to me was as amused as I was. Ah, someone who shares my views. She had this smile she was trying hard to control and kept looking at a fellow a couple of times. Then she turned her attention back to the child on her lap. 

There was this guy among the lot who had his pants real low. And I mean real low. Every now and then he'd touch his rear end just to make sure that the pants were at the 'right' place. 'Right' being a point just below where his shirt ended and his butt-crack began (I presume).  I don't know why he was so worried - he also had a belt on, to hold his pant at that precarious position! He looked weird, to say the least. His pants were all crinkled at the bottom, near his shoes - like he was wearing a churidar; the part that is the crotch was hanging below, nothing there to 'fill' in the space. I don't know what the guy was trying to pull off. A "cool" look? Trying to show he was the "dude"? I wished he might've observed his pals. They were wearing it low alright, but knew how. 

Going onto another (kinda related) incident. We had this 'movie spoof' contest at our office. A team was performing brilliantly on the movie '3 Idiots' by fitting that story onto 'Life at Infy' and our DC (to be more particular).  Until the point a joke on 'bums' came around. The guy concerned was acting out a 'bum injury'. And yes, he had his pants low. The result? As he turned around and continued acting he (intentionally or unintentionally) flashed his blue chaddi (underwear), and a lil' more, at all of us, and continued to do so for a while. The audience gasped collectively and looked at each other, embarrassed. 

Now, call me old-fashioned, but I don't know why people have to wear their pants low to make some kind of supposed 'fashion statement'. I know that low-waist jeans have been in vogue for some time now. Maybe those with washboard or flat abs want to show it off. Their wish...totally. I just wished I didn't have to see what they have (or don't have!) underneath it. You know, there's a reason why Sunny Deol said 'Yeh andar ki baat hai' in those Lux undergarment ads. And I wished it just stayed there!

September 8, 2010

(A)Musing - # 3

I had just been to the 'restroom' (yeaaa, say 'toilet' or 'loo' and people frown upon you...Hey! That rhymes!) a few minutes back. And I saw the most ingenuous use of the hand-dryer. Yes, the thing that automatically begins to blow warm air onto your hands once you show 'em beneath it. 
Just that the girl I saw in there had her head beneath it! Yep, she turned the hand-dryer into a hair-dryer. And the restroom smells like the shampoo she used (whichever that was) instead of the apple-scented thing they normally spray in there everyday.

September 6, 2010


What a week it has been! It was hectic (to put it mildly), and interesting. I’d gone back home to attend a friend’s wedding. The whole trip lasted for about 36 hours, and I saw more of the train than my parents/friends/home! It was good fun though. And also parallely, there was quite a controversial love marriage in the family, the same day. Then I heard of another relative getting divorced (after maybe 10 years, or more, of marriage); and also about another relative, a girl who had married a Punjabi munda, who recently gave birth to a child and is living happily. As it is, I happen to be in or hear discussions on ‘getting married’ so often, what with a trio of us (my sis, cousin sis, and me – all of the same age) at the threshold of what is supposed to be the ‘marriageable age’ (or did we cross it already?)… This spate of family affairs lead to a whole lot more of discussions! All of it eventually ended in the same conclusion (as always) – “Vidhichathu nadakkum” (What is destined will happen). Relationships are becoming more difficult to manage me thinks...

There was the usual bit of photography sessions at our friend’s wedding. And when I checked out a few photos after they were clicked, I had this nagging feeling – “Did I…?”... I dismissed that thought. But my apprehensions were confirmed when I transferred the snaps to my PC, and my mom gave words to my thoughts – “You look so fat in these pics, especially your face.” !!!! I appeared to have gained so much weight, that a friend of mine actually called me because he saw these pics (when I uploaded them on Facebook) and was quite shocked! A couple of other friends too said the same. Not good…not good at all. For a change, my sister had a great time laughing at this role reversal! Hmmmpppphhh… :-S :-|

I hadn’t really ever tried controlling my food, as in a ‘diet’, or anything to manage my weight issues. That was until Hyderabad. There, I was somehow “inspired” after a diet consultation (during my Infy training) and decided to give it a go. For the one and half months or so that I tried it (combined with a lil’ bit of aerobics) I did shed a few kgs. My relatives back home did notice and acknowledge that I was looking ‘a little thinner’. And now this…! I guess I threw caution into the air and went back to being my older self. Sigh.

Anyway, yesterday we went to the Suratkal Beach and Lighthouse with my cousin sis' (who’s studying at NITK). It was such a relief and a good change. I don’t remember the last time I had been to a beach... maybe three years back. We first climbed our way to the Lighthouse, then went to a Siva temple nearby and then walked along the shore… It’s so nice to spend time at a beach – walking along with sand on your feet, feeling the wind and the waves, standing near the shore close to the waves so that you feel the sand slipping away from beneath your feet, looking about at others who’re also enjoying themselves, seeing small crabs run about in their typical fashion, seeing all sorts of things that get washed ashore - mostly empty ‘bottles’, plastic bottles, sandals/shoes (one of a pair), etc., people trying to fish, kids making sand castles (or rather heaps of sand!), writing your name on the sand, leaving footprints behind, collecting all kinds of beautiful shells, looking at the sun setting in the horizon, ships sailing… Ahhh… good times. Now I’m really jealous of my cousin sister – she can go so often to the beach! I was so excited I took about 110 snaps on my cellphone! I wish I could’ve uploaded them here, in this blog (of course not ALL of it!). But my situation doesn’t permit me to.

So I will when I go home this weekend (Orkut and FB, here I come!). Till then… keep waiting. ;-)