Monday, March 31, 2014

The Common Misconceptions About South Indians

By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, March 31, 2014 7 comments

I am a south Indian.

It has been over 22 years since I was born and still, I haven't been able to decipher why we are stereotyped so much. It sure is beyond my comprehension. We, South Indians, as a fraternity have always contributed a lot to the massive jokes and puns, the famous Rajnikanth jokes, our accent, our dressing style and the metaphors. I mean, seriously, what have we done? Let us take a closer look at the most common misconceptions. (Pun Intended)

When we say South India, it means the entire South India. South India does not just have Tamilnadu. It has Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamilnadu. And we do not just converse in Tamil, you see, we have other languages like Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam as well. Whoever said we have a huge mother tongue influence (aka MTI) on our accent really needs a reality check. Not everyone down here has an MTI, okay? We happen to speak perfectly normal English and some of us have embraced the big daddy stages of TED Talks, INK Talks, and have reached the pinnacles of oration and stuff. And even if we have an accent, what is the big deal? The basic point here is people are able to decipher our speech and that is all that matters, isn’t it? Hello people, is anyone listening?

Idli happens to be very famous here but no, we don’t eat it every day. We do have rotis, puris, poha, and the continental breakfast as well. And oh, please do spare us the trauma. We do eat normal food like the normal people, you know. Do you find it strange that we, South Indians try out all the cuisines and Hyderabad, Bangalore happens to be one of the very, very few metropolitans that have a wide range of restaurants with different cuisines and some unheard of? We have mojitos, cocktails, and mocktails as well. Being a South Indian does not mean we are just confined to coconut water only. I know, what a shame!

We have these really weird surnames, I get it. My surname happens to be very North Indian-ish but I am a South Indian, and what is it with that expression of shock on your face? Ever since I joined school, I had a tough time explaining my peers that I am a South Indian. Whenever people say, “Aila! You speak such fluent Telugu”, I lose it, and I put on a poker face and retort, “Yes, astonishing, right? We are in the age where people need to take a crash course for speaking fluently in their Mother Tongue.” Cut us some slack, people. We don't just have the Swamis, Jagarlamudis, Murthis, Menons and the like, we do have the occasional twisted surnames too (Like mine). Have you ever come across the phrase “What’s in a name?” If you have, please do stand by it. If you haven't, please learn it. Oh, thank you very much for doing us the favour! *Tears of joy*

South Indian women have better things to do than applying hair oil and putting on jasmine flowers. No, really. South Indian women are very ambitious, creative, and no, they do not watch soap operas all the time. In fact, we of the people, do not watch the K-serials at all (Are they even being aired anymore?). We happen to watch Suits, How I Met Your Mother, Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory, Community, House etc. And we do understand the difference between rock music and pop music. Also, we definitely know the difference between American Literature and English Literature. Yes, we do!

South Indian women are dark and ugly! Say what? I mean, really? Dark and ugly? You, stereotypes could have done a lot better here. South Indians are unconventionally beautiful. I mean, whatever happened to Vidya Balan, Deepika Padukone, Vijayanthimala, Sridevi, Hema Malini, and Rekha etc. Ironically, the world’s most beautiful woman (Once upon a time but still), Aishwarya Rai happens to be a South Indian. We really need to get over the fair-skinned-women-are-the-prettiest fad. It is high time.

South Indian movies are pointless! Exactly, and that is the very reason the scripts of our movies are bought for some billions and remade into brand new movies every single year. Movie directors like Maniratnam, Jandhyala, and Bapu have created a niche for themselves in Indian Cinema, and are worshipped internationally. South India surely has some of the best technicians, and no, no, our music does not happen to be the Carnatic music only. Our music just has a strong influence of classical music and it happens to be soothing. Do think twice before judging our music because we have A.R. Rahman, Ilayaraja and the latest fad, Anirudh Ravichandran.

Yes, we are conservative and narrow-minded, but stereotyping us makes others narrow minded as well. Oops, isn't it?

We are obsessed with Engineering! For once, you have hit the bull’s eye. We are obsessed with Engineering and it just does not end here, we are supposed to do our masters from an Ivy League university. In few cases, we do our Ph.D. from the Ivy Leagues. That is when our education is complete. (Am I rubbing it in? *Sadistic grin*)

On a serious note, it would be wonderful if we stop stereotyping each other and love our country instead of our regions. South India, North India, East India, West India, and phew, Central India come together to be known as India. No country is perfect, ours isn’t either. But we can leave out our petty differences behind. Isn’t it?

DISCLAIMER: This is just a funny dig at our system, and we, South Indians do not hold any grudge against anyone. Ah, we love the attention we get. Yes, we love the element of drama in our lives.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Do Men Cry?

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, March 22, 2014 6 comments

“Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I am in a dilemma. Do men cry?

You know since when? Ever since ever. I cannot recollect.

But I remember watching Sherlock. (I can imagine my friends rolling their eyes, and mumble, "Oh no, not again."

You know the scene where Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a wedding speech in Watson's wedding? How quite endearing! Now, do not ask me why I thought if men cried when I watched that episode but maybe, a woman would have definitely cried in that moment. Seriously!

I digress.

As we all know, we live in a wonderful society. Our society does not approve men crying. We have heard, "Do not cry like a girl." I mean what, just what is a man supposed to do if he wants to cry? Our society has reserved weeping for women and anger for men. It is a very convenient choice that our folks made ages ago. Sweet life!

If a woman is sad or depressed, she cries. She cries her heart out and eats some ice-cream. I really want to know what a man does when he goes through emotional trauma. Does he hang out with the boys for a few drinks?  Does he listen to Taylor Swift? (In that case, he'd rather turn into a rock and be complacent.) Does he sleep for 48 hours straight? Does he secretly cry in the washroom? Or does he turn into a sadist? How does he get over the sad stuff, and all that? 

Emotions aren't gender biased. Okay? 

If a woman is crying, a man too should, right? So, why can't I see a man crying anywhere around me? (My friend, Anirudh, would just roll his eyes and claim that men are slaves to their emotions too and weep all the time. This boy could root for men and call them gold.)  

Some surveys (God knows who does these surveys. I have never been asked anything for a survey. Never. Ever.) prove that men tend to show their anger when they are sad or depressed. It seems like a plausible argument. But a lot of things can make a man cross. How would you be SO sure that he is angry because he is sad?

We all get hurt. We all have different ways of handling pain and trauma.

We all cry at some point in our lives. When it comes to women, the tear glands are forever active. It is quite astonishing how a 'sold out' sign-board on a pair of shoes you lusted for makes you cry for a week. And when it comes to men, even the biggest problem does not much make them wince. 

I am curious. I want to know what men do when they are sad and depressed. Do they cry? 

P.S. I will believe that a man can be emotional and vulnerable only when I see at least a considerable amount of men cry. Like women do.

And no, a baby boy weeping his guts out does not count. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Is Love Losing Its Grandeur?

By Sunaina Patnaik at Friday, March 14, 2014 6 comments

I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things.”
-John Green 
After a long day of work, my friend and I found some free time at the end of the day when we had a brief conversation on how the essence of love, the most overrated yet underrated emotion, has been changing over the past few years. It is quite astonishing that the only emotion that makes anything possible is losing its immortality.

How? Let me tell you how.

Let us not talk about the fairy tales, the romantic comedies, or the fictional stories that promise you the happy endings. Let us not talk about fantasies or the fragments of imagination. Let us talk about the real stuff. The profound stuff, as an intellect might want to say. Let us talk about how love has shamefully transformed from whoa to ugh.

To be precise, let us talk about how people have transformed from being beautiful to being vile in the name of changing times. No, do not talk about being practical. No, don't just get me started. Shhh, just listen to me. 

Let us, for a moment, forget all the fables and talk about our parents. Our parents lived in the era-the early 90s, when everything was limited, luxuries were expensive, communication was finite. Of course, they lead a far splendid lives than ours and it makes me shudder to actually say that relationships were everlasting in their era. How many sorts of communication did they even have? They did not have Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. No social media at all. Nada!

I vividly remember all the days when my father would stay months away from home, and my mother would wait for one phone call that would come at 8 P.M. and the days when my mother would go to her native place, my father would look at the clock anticipating a similar phone call.

Do you remember the days people wrote letters to their lovers, stayed away from each other for months yet were together? Do you know of the times when every problem had a solution? The days when lack of communication hardly mattered; the days when people had to put up a tough fight to attain something they really needed.

These days, luxury is affordable, communication is forever happening, and lovers stay in touch all the time. Like, seriously! In spite of having everything together, why are people of our generation failing in loving people? Why are we falling flat in putting someone else's interests above our's? 

When you fall in love with a person, you will have to accept the fact that you will face severe adversities. Love is melancholic too. Would you let go of someone just because it is painful? How do you think our parents survived the distance without any mode of communication? Don't you think the people in the archaic times fell in love? If it wasn't worth it, trust me, nothing would have existed. Nothing!

In a world where it is possible to find the most distant star in the Universe, is it too much to ask for true love unabashedly?

And before you go back to whatever you were doing, I would like you to ask yourself one thing.

Is love losing its grandeur?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Ten Types Of People You Will See In Any Office

By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, March 11, 2014 7 comments

“I like to call in sick to work at places where I've never held a job. Then when the manager tells me I don’t work there, I tell them I’d like to. But not today, as I’m sick.” 
― Jarod Kintz

Alright, even before I start diving into this subject, I'd like to announce an epic love for my work place. Publicly. All across the globe, I see my friends plodding their way through tedious schedules, and weird corporate honchos, while I am having a great time. Not all the time. But, yes, most of the time. I end up reaching home long before all my friends even start compiling their day's work. Thanks to Amazon, I have a social life and have enough time to work on my hobbies. 

Oh boy, am I deriving some sadistic pleasure by actually saying this? Well, I am.

Anyway, I walk into the office and see several people trying to start their day. Some different, some great, some wonderful, some creepy. I notice. I observe and now, I want to talk about the ten types of people we find in every organization.

1. The Make-up-holics: You walk into the washroom and you practically see some girls putting on so much make-up all the time, and giving a touch up once in a microsecond that you wonder what they actually do at home. No, seriously! 

Obama runs a country and has enough time to take selfies and post them on a public forum. Tell me, what are you doing that you have no time to comb your hair, and all the other things at home? Tell me, I am curious.

2. The Gossip mongers: These guys know it all. Ask them about anyone, anything, they will tell you first rate news about it. They are like my ticker tape. 

3. Oh so stoned: You walk into the office on one of those languid days with droopy eyes. You don't know what you are even doing with your life and see a bunch of people acting retarded. They make your day, you smile and wonder why they are so cheerful all the time. Nevermind, they are just stoned.

Hence, the bliss!

4. The Loud heads: I wish I could be diplomatic and say that I have no problem with these people. But I do. In fact, every sensible person has.

This set of people has to be loud in everything they do. I get it, you guys are too cool for us and want to show off your awesomeness (err) to everyone. But may I say that we do not give two hoots for your drama?

Stop being so loud. You work in an office. Not a school. And umm, if it isn't much of a trouble, would you also care to grow up?

5. The Isolated Man: I am scared. One look at them, and I know I am scared. They practically put on a grumpy face all the time. Did I steal your candy as a kid, tell me? 

Mom, I feel hated. They want to be angry at me all the time.

6. The GeeksAren't these guys the most loved people in any organization? They mind their own work and the little time you spend with them is great. They know their business and it is great to be with people who know their work.

Also, this set is my personal favourite. Ask them anything about technology, work, and the like, they know it all. They are forever ready to help you out. 

They are awesome. You know it.

7. The Storytellers: We get it, we get it. You are leading a fantastic life, you are happening everywhere you go and our lives are pretty much drab. 

These people have to narrate everything in such a fashion that any conversation with them takes an eternity. They have this inane urge to know everything.

They are so annoying that I wish I could faint when they start a conversation.

8. The Nap-sters: You remember how much fun it was to sleep in college? I mean, the lecturer would start talking about Trigonometry and you find your friend yawning. Literally. (I love Trigonometry.) The very concept of drifting into the slumberland has evolved from classroom benches to cozy office chairs. 

Wouldn't we just love "Everyone should go to sleep" day at work? (Secretly hoping that my boss would never read this. Tee hee!)

9. The Couples: Such love. Much affection. So happy. Wow, just wow!

10. Did you say food?: Lunch. Lunch. Lunch.

Who doesn't love food? Everyone, and when I say everyone, I mean everyone wants to take their lunch break and talk about how they survived that long day.

Disclaimer: You know I am always condescending. If you belong to one of these categories, don't pick a fight with me at work tomorrow. 

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Share Your Life With Someone Who Is Worth Your Sundays!

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, March 08, 2014 13 comments

“Sitting with her on Sunday evening — a wet Sunday evening — the very time of all others when if a friend is at hand the heart must be opened, and every thing told…” 

― Jane AustenMansfield Park

What can be more beautiful than a Sunday morning? 

As the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafts through my house, I listen to my parents softly chatting about Indian politics and Literature, I know my Sunday has begun already, in the same old fashion, that has been prevalent for the past 22 years. I walk into the balcony, and enjoy the soothing music in the background. The unexpected rain makes your sunday even better. 

A Sunday is like a breath of fresh air.  You know it.

In the past 22 years, I recollect very few instances where I was rather forced to spend my Sundays without my family. To me, my sundays are strictly restricted to my family. This is a really funny unwritten law that my father passed on to me and my sister, and we love following it. Happily! I tend to spend my sundays reading, writing, watching Telugu classics, and sometimes, discussing about Indian mythology and Literature with my mother. We have been taught that a sunday is a pure indulgence. It is supposed to be spent doing things you love the most-talking to your family, dining with your family, and reading comics. I remember receiving a Tinkle or Tintin comic every sunday as a child.

Sometimes, all you need is a laid-back Sunday. You know it.

It is a rather established fact that every family spends sundays in a certain fashion. You know, some families spend their sundays watching movies, plays, and some spend with their extended family, some clean their house together, and of course, there are many more that are on the list. 

In this hectic lifestyle, a sunday is an only day where a family does all the things. Together. I mean it. Literally. It is one of the few days, where I see my sister and my parents doing a lot of things together. It is happiness and we all know it.

Now, most of us must be wondering why one should share their life with someone with whom they want to spend their sundays. Because sundays are a boon. They define you, they define the goofy things you do and a lot more. A sunday is like an ice-cream that is savoured every moment, and the person you share your life with should be the one who can be your partner in crime, on a lazy sunday. You, in every way, should be able to imagine yourself with your partner, sitting on a couch, reading a book, or watching a movie on a sunday, 5-10 years down the line. That is a sheer bliss, right?

And you know you should spend your life with that person because you are ready to sacrifice that one exotic day of your week on that person. It is so simple, right? Like the person fits in there, like an addition to your family, to your life, to your sunday. 

When you find that one person who makes your blissful sunday even better, just the way a cup of strong coffee makes a rainy day better, your life automatically turns beautiful in more than just one way.

You know it.

So, why don't you go make your sundays better?

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Hello Happiness: 10 Things You Learn From Your Break-Up!

By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, March 04, 2014 6 comments

“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.” 

― Chuck Palahniuk

Break-ups are always difficult. Most of us do not take it well, and some people go into a cocoon and build a wall around themselves, but at the end of the devastating phase, only one thing goes around in your head, "Good riddance."

And on that good note, I thought I should compile a list of ten things that your brutal break-up teaches you. 

10. It will teach you the difference between the good and the bad, and what is good for you. A break-up is an eye-opener, and you know, it is probably the most honest thing that has happened to you in the relationship.

9. It teaches you to love yourself. No, I don't mean that you did not love yourself before the break-up, but your perception about yourself changes SO much that you seem like a whole new person altogether. And you accept the change. 

8. You will learn to appreciate your solitude. 

If a person cannot appreciate your presence, walk away. You are doing yourself a favour. If you have even a shred of dignity left in yourself, just walk away.

It is okay if you have to be alone. Only loneliness will let you appreciate the presence of another person in your life.

7. Needless to say, you will find a lot of time to do your own things. This time, you won't have a hindrance.

You can wear whatever you want. You can go wherever you want.

Freedom! I mean, seriously, when people from all over the world are fighting for freedom, you get it without putting up any fight.

6. You will be exposed to several emotions at so many levels that if you are an artist, this is the best thing that can happen to you.

Remember what Kurt Cobain once said? Thank you for the tragedy, I need it for my art.

5. For a moment, pause everything you do. Look around, and count the people who have been with you in the darkest of your days.

This is what a break-up teaches you, it makes you appreciate the value of people who actually love you.

Ask yourself if you were blind all this time. When you have good friends, you will get through everything. Trust me.

4. One must stop expecting extra ordinary from the ordinary. 

It won't happen.

3. You can get everything you want. You can do anything.

All you need to do is, start.

2. The most wonderful people are the ones who go through humiliation, pain, and dejection. They have the tendency to make any situation humourous.

Wonderful people don't happen just like that. It is an everyday process to accept yourself.

1. You will fall in love again.

And this time, it will be better, and bigger. (If you know what I mean.)

It will be as glorious as Sanjay Leela Bhansali's cinema. And it will still be underrated.

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