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I am positive. Covid positive.

This has been a busy year. Despite or because of Covid not really sure. We were home for the most part but somehow this year, a lot has changed. Between work from home, increased responsibilities at work, and the ohh so disastrous GMAT exam, life has been really packed for the most part. There were times when I would let my mind wander and think of how Covid would actually be a respite because for nearly two weeks I would have to just rest. No meetings, no planning the next day's agenda, no gym, no squash class, no living life for two days a week.  Voila, I have tested positive for Covid-19, in the most unlikeliest of circumstances, but I would say the most probable one. I came to Goa for the wedding of two college friends, which was more of an excuse to come to Goa with my homies to spend time with them and chill (something we have been doing every year since we left behind the hallowed halls of BITS Pilani K K Birla Goa Campus).  So here is the timeline. We are supposed to leave

#14 Post your favorite movies that you never get tired of watching

I have a few movies that I watch time and again. They have a special meaning to me. Like songs, but longer. Here is my list of the movies that I like to whip out on certain occassions.  Dil Dhadakne Do : I have seen this movie quite a lot. I like how real it gets at time. I like the relationship between the characters of Ranveer and Priyanka. They remind me of my brother and myself. Its a realistic modern-day family drama, with a happy ending.  Jaane Tu ya Jaane Na : There is a story behind this one. It was I think the first year of college. It was late at night and I could not sleep. I decided to see if my friend who lived a few rooms away was up and if so we could hang out. Our rooms weren't that far, so I got up and started walking towards her room at about 3 am in the night, and to my surprise, I saw her walking towards mine at the exact same time. It was a moment for us. One that tells you, you are going to be friends for a long time. And we were. The best of friends for a lon

#13 What are you excited about?

 Ohh this one is very simple. This is a pandemic. We have been living at home for 6 months now, five of which I have spent in Ambala with my parents. A city I don't know. I haven't spoken to a fourth human being face to face for a very long time, let alone someone my age. It has been frustrating.  Next weekend, I am going back to Gurgaon for a little while. My flatmates are going to be back. It will be good to hang out with people my age after so so long. Waking up in my own bed day after day for a while. Being able to listen to music that more than one person in the room enjoys. Aah! such fun I tell you. This is what I am excited about. Meeting my friends after so long. Sitting with them on the floor of my room, listening to coke studio, drinking and eating pav bhaji. I will miss the two crazy ice-cream bois though. These two idiots from Hyderabad who would in the middle of everything go really quite sit in a corner staring at their phone and you'd think some shit just wen

#12 Write about five blessing in your life

This feels like a task that a therapist would give someone who is utterly pessimistic and needs to change his or her outlook on life. Nonetheless, it is never a bad idea to count your blessing, is it? I am blessed to have the most understanding parents ever. Parents who let me be. Parents, you let me take my own decisions and act as supporting pillars as opposed to pushing their decisions on me. Parents who give me the space to talk about anything I would like from politics and Modi Ji to my ex-boyfriends and sex. It is a wide spectrum. They are a major reason for the confidence I have. Knowing that they are always there if I fall or take a bad decision, is such a morale booster. Parents who would do anything for their kids. I indeed am blessed to have them. I am blessed to have an extremely close extended fam. Most people I know have a very formal relationship with their cousins, aunts and uncles if any at all. When it comes to my family, the Ojhas and Pandeys, we are one big family.

#10 Something you always think "What if" about

 Hmm, interesting topic. There are a lot of choices we make on a regular basis that define everything in our lives. When I think about one of my "What if" moments, I can remember one decision I made back in 2013, that I felt myself going back to once in a while for a long time. I used to think about that decision with decreasing frequency over time. I don't do that anymore. Maybe because it has been a long time. The statute of limitations has run out.  Apart from that one thing seven years ago, I can't remember myself going back to any other crossroad I have been in my life, questioning my judgment or wondering what would have happened, let alone daydreaming about it. I mean I have made some very tough choices. Life-changing decisions so to speak, but somehow, I think that was the best thing for me to have done at that point in time. In fact, I will not say it best, but the only thing I could have lived with. I know it sounds too serious, but I am someone who needs to

#9 Post some words of wisdom that speak to you

There are a lot of things that speak to me. Different things at different points of time in my life.  The most recent one being something my brother said to me when I had spent almost full days in bed in complete darkness not talking to anyone, just sulking. I have written about this in one of my previous blogs as well. But since this one has been a roadblock for me for a while, might as well write it and move forward.  He said "Aru, we do good work not for recognition or appreciation, not that that's not helpful, neither do we do it for the company or the manager or colleague we might like. We do good work for ourselves. We do so so that we can learn and grow. We do so because not doing so would be ethically wrong. If we are ready to give up the minute we don't see a reward, then our motivation, to begin with, is wrong and corrupt and needs to change. So stick around for as long as you like, but while you are here do keep giving your best for yourself " And that made

Hey Amazon, will you be my best friend?

Why do we say being materialistic is wrong? I think in the current times, our relationship with material things is more satisfying than the ones we have with people. Things always have time for you, they are never too busy or they never get tired of your shit! I mean does Amazon get tired of your orders? Does it say Shiro no more? Or does it ever ignore your order? Or has your book ever told you, it was tired? Or have your cigarettes refused to walk with you when you've had a bad day? No! Things are always there. So what is wrong if I choose to order a stupid post-it online if it makes me happy, or smoke an occasional cigarette to relieve some of that pressure inside my brain or play a game of Tetris to take my mind off thing. Okay, think of this. You are stressed. You reach out to a human to talk or for support, the human says no. Now you are stressed and rejected. Wouldn't you rather just be stressed? I think it is better to be attached to material possessions than human bein

#8 Share something you struggle with

One word. Confidence. This is something I have struggled with all my life and still do. Though to a significantly less extent, but I do. As a matter of fact, I have been struggling to write this post for a while now.  To put it in professional terms, I struggle with "visibility". I sort of always have, even outside the realm of consulting. I was never a quiet kid though. But that changed back in 2005 when we moved from Lucknow to Noida. I wasn't really able to adjust well with my new classmates I guess or maybe that was when puberty was just hitting and that is not a good phase for anyone. But since then, I became quiet, sort of reserved. I became friends with books. Went to the chocolate factory with Charlie, solved crimes with the famous five, hung out with the Wakefield Twins from Sweet Valley High and even went to the top of Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hilary. Ohh and waited and hoped for my letter from Hogwarts.  I became this quiet little girl, who was good at mat

#7 List 10 songs you are loving right now

One thing you should know about me, I love music. I like my music like I like my oxygen, in abundance. I listen to almost everything. I am not very picky when it comes to different genres. Despite this love of music that I have, most of the music I listen to is recommended to me by people or I found it on my brother's playlist. So here are the top 10 songs I am loving right now Kasoor - Prateek Kuhad: This is one song I found myself after seeing it trend on twitter though Wish you were gay - Billie Eilish  Yesterday - The Beatles  Mere liye tum kaafi ho Pause - Prateek Kuhad  If the world was ending - JP Saxe & Julia Michael Bewajah - Nabeel Shaukat Ali Main har ek pal ka shair hoon  - Mukesh One Day - Kodaline Whatever will be, will be - Doris Day These are my top 10 right now. 

#6 Five ways to win your heart

I am a pretty easy person to impress. It honestly doesn't take a lot. I don't look for material things, so you don't really have to plan extravagant dates for me to have a good time. Good conversation is all I need.  Remembering the little things? This is a good way of winning me over. When someone remembers the small details about things I might have told them randomly and they end up remembering those things, it makes my heart smile. It goes on to say that not only was that person actually listening to you but they cared enough to remember those things. Or it might not even be something I told them, something that they just observed themselves. Empathy goes a long way. When someone uses the pronoun we as in "we will figure this out", this instils a sense of belonging in me. A feeling of not being alone. A feeling that my problems are not mine alone, they are in it with me. And that they want me to help them solve their problems in life, they want me to be a part

#5 List five places you want to visit

Ohh, this is going to be so easy I tell you! Making this list is all I have been doing sitting at home in the lockdown. Goa: When do I never want to go there? Goa is home. Goa is like the former lover I go to meet every year to remind myself of the simpler times, have some fun, and take a break from life. I have been going to Goa every year since my graduation to visit the campus, go to our regular hangout places, and get my feet wet. I am off on a weekend trip to Goa the first chance I get.  Tirthan: This a beautiful place, up in the mountains where I have been wanting to for a year now. As much as I love beaches, I maybe love the mountains just as much. Beaches were the old Shiro, mountains are the new Shiro. I've seen this place in pictures and it is absolutely mesmerizing. I want to go to Tirthan to be away from the city, away from my problems and be just with nature. I want to sit by the river, eat some Maggi, and read a good book. The kid who brings chaos to life has promised

#4 Write about someone who inspired you

I had been racking my brains trying to find someone who inspires me. Maybe Michelle Obama? A strong confident, independent, and empathetic woman who wasn't just the wife of the president of the United States but created an image for herself that went beyond her duties as the first lady. Nope.  Umm, maybe Jubin Mehta a writer tracking technology and the start-up landscape and teaching kids at a school in the Himalayas, where he lives. There are lots of people I look up to and admire but they don't really inspire me. You know who my inspiration is and has been for most of my existence? My brother. That's right. His ideals, principles, taste in music, views, and motivations are something that inspires me. I want to create a life for myself like the one he has created for himself.  Just a few days ago when I was bummed about being treated blatantly unfairly at work and in a fit of rage deciding to not do any work and just quit, you know what he said to me?  He said "Aru, w

#3 What are your three things that annoy you

This is a fairly easy thing to write about.  The very first thing that annoys me the most is tardiness. I hate it when people are late. I am the kind that reaches everywhere at least ten minutes in advance. I respect people's times and expect that people respect mine in return. But punctuality is a dying virtue. I don't see a lot of people actually adhering to a pre-decided time. It is not that as a race we are incapable of planning things properly, just that we take other people's time for granted. In a world where being last has become fashionable, I am still that person who sets her clock 10 minutes ahead just to make sure I am always on time.  Another thing that just gets on my nerves is double standards or people having no integrity. Saying one thing, meaning another and doing the third. This is something I just don't get at all. I am a pretty straightforward person. I call a peach as I see it. I have my own opinions and they aren't subject to the people I am a

#2 Write something that someone told you about yourself that you never forget

It took me a lot of time to think of something. This was one of the first things I did in the morning. Looked at today's topic. Aah, a few things instances did come to mind, but nothing was as clear to me. A rewatching of a Bollywood movie and an hour-long bike ride later, this is what I came up with.   So I think I am 7 years old. I am playing with my bade papa who is my father's elder brother in his house in Lucknow. I don't remember what we were doing at the time, but I am assuming we were playing some silly game. That same day, I heard him remark to my parents, that "Aru bahut intelligent ladki hai" And this was something that got reinforced time and again while I was in school. It was maybe another relative, or a family friend or maybe a teacher.  But somehow this stuck. And this is how I saw myself, and I think to a certain extent still do. I am not the pretty girl, I am not the girl next door, I am not a hot and sexy girl, I am the smart girl.  The intellig

#1 List 10 things that make you really happy

#1 List 10 things that make you really happy 30 days of Quarantine Ooh. This one is a toughie. The way life has been going right now, I think it would be easier for me to list 10 things that make me sad or anxious.  I am currently living with my parents, but occasionally we go to Gurgaon (where I live) to spend a few days there. And being back in that house, my room, and my balcony with all my plants is something that makes me really happy. It is one of the few things that makes me happy in corona times. I could've been an amphibian. I love swimming. It helps me clear my head and think. It also calms me down. But thanks to the coronavirus, swimming for this year has been cancelled. So, I got myself a bicycle about four days ago. I have been going on bike rides regularly for the past three days, and I have to say it isn't as much fun as swimming, but it has its advantages. Cycling around the Cantt area in Ambala with the lush greenery, plenty of doggos, and just the right music

30 days of the Quarantine

I have been in a writing slump. There are a lot of things I want to talk about but somehow when I sit down to write my mind is completely blank. This along with the fact that we are in a pandemic and I have a lot of time, I have decided to do another 30-day writing challenge. I am hoping this would help me get back into the rhythm and get the creativity flowing. So here is this year's 30-day writing challenge. Starting today I am going to put up a post every day for the next thirty days. Here is the challenge. 

The uncomfortable truth: How can things not change?

Whenever a big change occurs in our lives or the lives of our close ones, we feel uncomfortable. We anticipate a change in the as-is state of things and the uncertainty of how things will work out contributes to this feeling, which is honestly quite normal. I mean no one likes changes, okay let me change that, most people don't like change. Change threatens comfort.  When an event, that has the potential or the element of change, occurs people get busy trying to brace themselves and then the people around them who might be in the area of effect zone. At some point or the other, the conversation turns to a point where one person ends up saying, this will not change things between us, rather proclaiming that things should not change.  While I appreciate the sentiment, this seems a bit impractical. Whenever a change is occurring in our lives, be it personal, social, or professional, things will change, things have to change and things should change. We need to accommodate the change a

Bengaluru days

Week four of lockdown is about to end and I have spent an extremely lazy Saturday. I am leaving for Ambala tomorrow for an indefinite amount of time or as the kid who brings chaos would say, it's only till June 17th. We're sitting here, a little high, listening to songs from all eras, and then a friend plays a song that reminds me of Bangalore, a place I have spent a lot of time trying to forget.  The exact scene I have in mind is the road in front of the Forum Mall staring down the road to my first flat. And it's late at night, so it's mostly deserted and it is kinda dark. This is it. That is the picture in my head now.  Forum Mall was this mall in front of our office and we spent a lot of time there. I had watched countless movies there with my then-work wife. Every time a new movie came, we were there, almost the first in line. It didn't matter how bad the movie was or how late we'd worked in the office. We watched every movie. A trend we continued in Gur

Quarantine diaries

We have been rushing and running, all our lives, in a literal and a metaphorical sense. We are running every day to finish our daily activities on time literally and running to achieve our goals metaphorically. From getting up in the morning to work to the gym (where you are actually involved in the act of running) and back home for some other hobby or activity you have planned to achieve some bigger goals in life. We have always been running. That is how we have known life to be. But about 5 weeks ago for me here in India and at varying degrees for the rest of the world, everything came to a stop. No more running. You couldn't even if you wanted to. We are plagued by the deadly coronavirus which started in China because someone ate a bat. I mean c'mon China, you're so good at oppressing women, should've tried the same with the Virus! And with globalisation and the likes of Trumps in power, we looked the other way when we should've been taking precautionary measu

A poem in the times of quarantine

We got bored of psych and houseparty is dead Our morale is down and We're hanging by a thread All the shows I have seen Every book I have read will you please go away if we collectively pled? I am bored and tired of laying in my bed where is the door to Narnia? It's about time I fled! Or would Hogwarts be better With George and Fred lmma find platform 3/4 After all, I am a Potterhead I showed this to Shanky he pointed out a mistake I had med how could I forget that even George Weasley is dead! I am bored with cooking can't even look at bread Maggi is the best with or without the led I am not going to work leaving my mails at unread This ain't ending soon guys we were misled We got bored of psych and houseparty is dead Our morals are down and We're hanging by a thread

Quarantine Times

Endless video calls and psych Is how I spend my day And here’s to hoping that This doesn’t go beyond may This quarantine is annoying There has to be another way When is this going to end when can I go out and play? Virtual assistants have become friends Siri is the only one saying hey I ask her for the corona update Beyond which we have nothing to say You've done enough damage Corona can you please go away? And here’s to hoping that This doesn’t go beyond may I will never cancel plans even to a classical ballet I have learned my lesson Corona can you please go away?

Who has the time?

We could be sitting at John's right now with our whiskeys just right, and some cabo on the way, cheese garlic naan on the table and the chinese bhel right there. It wouldn't be the best goan weather, but we're by the sea, and that makes everything better. You can taste the salt in the air and its home. John would come and greet us because even though we graduated some four years ago, we still come back, we always come back. How can we not? I mean isn't Johns the place where we had our first birthday treats, consequent breakup parties where someone gets really drunk, that spur of the moment date where we had to hitch a ride back with strangers, the lunch that turned into dinner when your favourite senior was leaving campus, the place where the entire batch would get drunk come graduation night and the first place we all felt like family? We could be laughing about my idiosyncrasies, listening to the same old songs on karaoke, sitting on that porch, making up the dr

The Fight that Never Ends

Men need to understand that women aren't theirs to be ordered around or have them even define the rules of their existence. Wait, let me rephrase that, every individual needs to understand that they have no right whatsoever over any human being. If you are a part of someone's life either by legal bounds, for the lack of a better word, or even by their own choice, it is their choice. You could be a father, a husband, a son, a boyfriend, or even a friend, and pardon me for pointing out the males here but I am just in that state of mind, it is there, and I cannot stress this enough, their choice. They let you be a part of their life, they are doing you a favor.  You simply cannot think you have any stake, much less claim over any individual. All you can do is offer suggestions and helpful tips. You under no circumstances can dictate the boundaries of their life, I don't care how you are related to them.  And to be honest, I am tired of having to explain to men that when

Ground Zero

I left Bangalore abruptly about 18 months ago, and since then have never thought about going back, maybe just once, and that too just to face my fear of the city. Since I moved, the sheer name of Bangalore was enough to get me anxious. But recently, I had to go to the traffic city for a short two-day trip due to some office work. Unavoidable. On one hand, I was sort of happy that I would get to face my fear of the city but on the other, my insides were tumbling around. I clearly remember sitting at the airport waiting for my flight and trying very hard to remain calm. I landed late at night. I exit the airport and the classic Bangalore air, enough to make anyone fall in love with the city, hit me. And for a second I did. Moving on, I was trying to recognize the airport, trying to find memories hidden behind pillars and outside coffee shops, but none came to me. It felt very unfamiliar. Also, the entire layout of the airport has changed. I mean I leave a city for some 18 odd months,

The rise of the extroverts?

Assertiveness has become a survival skill. If you aren’t assertive, you are not going anywhere. More than your skills and capabilities what matters in the world is how well you portray what little capability you possess. You might be the genius who came up with the concept of the hype cycle (#gartner), but if you can’t market yourself, it is no use. In a world where everyone is trying to make an impact and make themselves more memorable, the ones who speak constantly are bound to be remembered. This is the era of the extroverts. The ones who can speak their way through life. People who surf the world on confidence and aggression. In today’s world, “ Jo dikhta hai, wo bikta hai ” and this system has an innate bias towards the outspoken, no matter how daft. Okay, that is a little extreme, but if you are not completely dumb and chatty and can speak your way through a bunch of conference rooms, congratulations, you are it! If you are humble, people are going to walk all over you. N

The Blockchain of Trust

I have been working in the technology space for over a year now. And it has significantly shaped my thought process and decision-making. I find myself seeking logic in every aspect of my life, to the point that I have started annoying people around me! One fine day when I was driving back home, it hit me. Trust is the foundation of how we operate. Certain people are closer to us than others because we trust them more. We believe in them. This trust is an underlying component of every friendship and relationship. Actually, let me rephrase that, it is a quintessential ingredient, without which your recipe is going to be incomplete and your friendship bland.  We all have our network of trusted friends, the individuals closest to us in this world. We would want these relationships to continue for as long as possible, and if something happens to even one of them it would be devastating. So there I am in my car, listening to Coldplay, pondering if there was a foolproof way to optimize this

Happy 2020!

It is 6:19 PM on a somewhat warm day which is about to turn into a windy and cold night and I sit here randomly scrolling through my twitter trying to while away time. I decided to indulge in the year-end tradition of reflecting on the past year. So this time, I will actually be amongst the first people in the world to welcome the new year. When the clock strikes 12, I will be standing in an extremely overcrowded park, looking at the sky, which will be lit up with fireworks over the Sydney harbour bridge. Sounds exciting? Nah it's just okay. In fact, I am not even sure we will get space to stand and look at the fireworks, but nonetheless, let's try. But this year has been about reading a lot of books, tackling new situations, pushing my boundaries, getting out of my comfort zone, learning to be better at being an adult and being proud of who I am. Here is a list of a few things I have been proud of myself for doing this year I started working out and for the first t