Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Halfway Mark.

It’s been exactly a year. A year since I entered into the portals of blissful existence called “LIBA”. The learnings have been immense, and what better way to preserve the memories than writing them? More than a year back, I was this directionless lass – wondering what I wanted to do with life. I’d figured out I was in the wrong place, doing a monotonous job which I didn’t like and something for which I wasn’t even recognized despite the good work. Let’s admit. Everyone suffers a burnout. But probably mine was greater than that. I applied, worked towards it (Definitely not CAT, but everything else which followed) and before I knew it – I had to pick from 4 colleges to where I wanted to head. Ratings gurus said one institution was the best. Fee structure told me another place was better. My friends offered their gyaan and insights. So did, and the likes. But my mind was set to one place – LIBA. Don’t ask me why, don’t ask me how. It just felt right. Here was the dream beyond dreams, a fantasy which I didn’t expect to come true. Oh c’mon, when you don’t have hopes with what you’ve done with CAT, what more do you expect yourself to see happening?! Especially, after a pathetic quant section score there. (Numbers hate me!)

I was confused and uncertain. Was I doing the right thing, throwing away the job which paid me well? (It definitely did pay me well when I was leaving, not before that. :P ) Studying, that too after three years of gap? Was it going to work out? What am I doing? The feeling of anxiety about parting ways with your usual circle of friends, family and work. Did I think it was fine? Absolutely not! So as I stepped in, feet wobbling and feeling like a jelly, I let destiny take control. If I had to goof up, so be it. What has followed after that, is an experience of a lifetime. Well, half of the wonderful life is done. And I want to pen them down before the memoirs become faint and distant.

This is a place which taught me to appreciate and enjoy the differences between people. Working with classmates with different mindsets, different temperament, piggy-backers, jokers, enthusiasts and fun lovers – this is what I’ve been doing. Those who can ease any atmosphere with crackling sense of humour, and the weird ones who exist and do things in a, well, weird manner! :-D I could’ve been one among all these categories myself. It all depends on what I’m doing. :-p LIBA showed me to find where my strengths were. So I can write and talk, maybe a wee bit. And that’s how I went into 360 Degrees, LIBA Branding and Editorial. My identity is set here, and I couldn’t be gladder about it. I learned that I cannot satisfy anyone and everyone. I didn’t even have to try. I didn’t have to walk back with a sullen face for being unable to satisfy all. What purpose did it serve? I understood that attempting to do something was more important that winning in it. I’ve become more open-minded and my horizon has broadened after my wings took off in a flight at LIBA. ACJ may still not be far off for me, eh? ;)

It took time, but I’ve learned to be independent. From those pangs arising from being unable to visit home over weekends, I’ve gone on to staying for long stretches off home. I’ve been able to adjust and do things myself – something I’ve never had to do before. Something I’m not even expected to do now, but I can’t fathom being like that anymore. I slowly understood what it meant to take responsibility, prove my mettle and celebrate – life and everything about life. Walking around the beautiful campus by the sunset, the endless assignments and tasks which forever need attention, continuous presentations and hearing the usual dialogue of “So which of these are my slides?” before the start of presentations are some of the highlight moments of life here. Not to forget – those occasions of celebrations. From Freshers’ Day to Holi, we have always had continuous festivities to keep the campus colorful. This is a place giving you plentiful reasons to celebrate life and friendship.

Oh yes, I’ve been to Tutorials too. :-p Something like “Vendhan All-Pass tutorials”. I’ve been taught and coached by different gurus. It’s quite like being to tuition centre. Hehe! To all those friends who have done this for me – A BIG THANK YOU! :) I don’t think I would’ve survived this place if not for you guys. :D I have discovered that I’m not bookish. Grades don’t matter to me as much as it might for someone else. To be very honest, no subject has awed me lest for LEB. I don’t care too much about what marks I score, and I won’t go behind them. But I am stirred, if my ego gets bruised along the way. I still remember sitting alone in my room and crying, when I flunked in one of the tests in BFA. By and large –I’ll try to score, but I’m not the one to be disappointed if I don’t manage the O. Like how nobody remembers your work presentations during your death, nobody cares if you were a topper during college too. I have the coolest friend ever who doesn’t stress too much on studies. Touchwood! :')

I’ve perfected the art of sleeping, texting, eating, reading for exams, doodling, passing messages, joking and laughing during classes – all the skills I thought I’d forgotten. They’re within me, even after the hiatus. LIBA taught me how important it is to have friends who love you as you are, and friends that support you in times of need. I’ve been in LWH, where midnight birthday parties are thrown with flower garlands and head-crowns on the birthday babies. A place where you watch movies with your friends over the night, eating half-cold Sandwich take-aways.Where you’re just a couple of feet apart, but still Whatsapping everyone in your vicinity. Not to forget – those occasions when food comes out in the classroom. The tremendous sight of people pouncing on boxes and covers of food like a pack of hungry wolves.A special mention about birthday cakes. The atmosphere turns ELECTRIC then. :D Here’s a class filled with cake scams, photo enthusiasts, girls with the sweet, honeyish voice and love for chips, guys who would kill to wear short pink skirts, do hat-trick performances to Sheila Ki Jawani , guys who can walk out of the exam hall before you can finish off even one answer and not to forget – PLAYERS. :-p You know what the best part is? I belong here. My identity lies etched within the confines of such a buzzing (Bees do!) classroom. :)

It’s here where I started to say no. Where I said no to certain people, tasks and ideas. In short, whatever I wasn’t comfortable doing. What used to be difficult back then at work, is much easier now. I’ve probably made some friends and foes along the way with what I’ve done – So? I can’t please everyone. Those who can empathize would understand my decisions too. It’s LIBA where I allowed my palate to travel further beyond the corridors of ECR and OMR. I’ve visited some really good places, and discovered some amazing dine-outs which I never knew existed before. :) Probably would’ve done the same thing in TCS – but when you’re broke, it’s a different feeling altogether to find a place befitting your budget. I’m sure the people who worked and had their wallets jingling before – only to find that they’re penniless now can relate. :-p From Gayathri mess to ITC Grand Chola, we have been there, ate that. :-p A place where budgeted eating could mean Sea Mount or Gayathri – depending on what’s left in your wallet. We’ve walked the deserted streets of nameless villages in Chengalpet, and crossed web-walls and danced a crazy number disco in Pegasus. We’ve sung till our voices turned hoarse during bus rides. (Mine was literally gone while coming back from the village visit :D ..) . We’ve cried, worried and panicked about exams, and even gone on to the extent of forgetting about results after certain period of waiting. #IfYouKnowWhatIMean B) We’ve danced, sung, got surprised, shocked and disappointed. But our spirit keeps going!

This write-up would certainly be incomplete if I forget to mention about the lovely F12 batch. They’ve been with us all along through this amazing journey, right from Day One. The fantastic dancers, entertainers, friends, show-stoppers, counsellors and buddies from F12. Words probably can’t thank enough for all that they’ve been to us. It’s time to part ways and step into their shoes, although we might not fit into them well straight off. Good luck, F12. We have certainly been inspired by your thoughts and actions. And we promise to carry the mantle forward in style. 

We are the F13. We have our own differences, but we don’t hesitate to go beyond them. We probably have our sweet circle of friends, but we know we can cross that line and embrace others despite such psychological barricades. We are divided by states and backgrounds, but we come together under the all-encompassing umbrella of LIBA. We’ve crossed halfway down this journey of a lifetime. What’s left is going to be even more awesome. Batch Trips, batch tees, a visit down the lanes of Sowcarpet and a day at Murray’s & Co – we’re going to do it all. Here’s to an awesome first year and an even more memorable second year. :) Oh yeah, Happy interning y’all! Cheers!

#BrandedLIBAForLife #FirstYearOver #Memories

Saturday, March 8, 2014

An Ode to the Arrival of Quarter Life Crisis!

Visiting my own blog after a hiatus nearly a year and a half brings a lot of nostalgia with it. Its here where I vented out my thoughts and frustration, starting from the times of Element K. About 4 1/2 years of blogging, and this is a sweet hobby I'd never want to give up on!

Okay, so when life was catching up with me in the past two years, I left TCS, joined LIBA and did a thousand things (More or less!) that made me feel happy, wise and at times.. foolish! I've been in-charge of whatever happens in my life, and nothing makes me feel more glad than that. So what brings me to write here? The arrival of my silver jubilee age of course. YES! I'm 25 now. Now add that with adjectives like independent, penniless, non-earning udhavakarai member of the family and an avid dreamer. This is what I'll be talking about in the space to come. To those of you who want to read the rants, Ah well.. Welcome aboard! And to those who don't want to.. Err, you could always tune in to catch up with some Rom-com or your favorite movie. Toodles!

When you're a girl, the meaning of achievement in your life (According to your parents) is.. Giving you good education? Not quite. Seeing you in a successful career? Err, no no. Wanting to see you work onsite as a part of your career? Tch, nope. This is what happens when you turn 21-22 in a typical TamBrahm family - They take out the jathagam, do horoscope matching and one or two years later..BAM! Get you married to a USA Mappla, who is busy slogging his life out at some MNC with his *OWN* car, apartment, villa and what not. That's success in the life of a desi girl! To get married, settle down in life, have kids, and somehow manage to juggle your career amidst all this. I still think marriage is an important part of life and its going to happen to all of us some day, some time. But yeah, this is the singular issue that's caused me to introspect the past happenings of my life. So here I am, twenty-five. My mother is NOT on the look-out for a prospective bridegroom for me. I'm NOT thinking about marriage terms now. Not yet. But I will soon. We all eventually cave in to the awesomeness (?!) of marriage some day.

Of late, I've been receiving a lot of attention along those lines. From curious/ inquisitive friends, family, strangers, acquaintances.. Focusing on the central theme of when I'm getting married, what my mom is doing, and whether its on the cards soon. Honestly, the reply is "I don't know" . All I do know is this moment, and this instance of my life. Here I am, happily chatting away with Amma, and writing this blog. To all those people who can't wait to know what I'm doing about life-after-LIBA, you know? I'm waiting for the magical moment too. That absolute moment when you know that he's the one, to walk together hand-in-hand in the beach, to laugh and joke over mundane things, to silently lay on your back and gaze at the stars without the need to exchange words while doing so.. And a million other small-but-significant things! If it hasn't happened to me, it only shows I have the patience to wait for it to happen. I'm in no rush to get things done. My life is not a check-list of items that need to be ticked at a certain age across each event.

I am on the look out for that TamBrahm boy who can amuse me with his wit, and tour with me to Egypt to visit the great pyramid of Giza. The one who will not be intimidated by my height - even if I wear heels some day, and probably discuss with me about the wonderful after-effects of finishing The Kite Runner, or The Chanakya's Chant or even some random book by some even more random author. Someone who can listen to Karthik and feel the flow of life and energy emanating from that voice. The one who can see the depth of my heart or the crookedness of my thoughts in in my eyes. Does it have to be a TamBrahm? , you may ask. Well, if I do happen to fall for an undomesticated caveman, I will let the world know. As of now, take a YES to that question.

If you have Mid-life Crisis when you're 40-45, I'm in the phase called "Quarter-Life Crisis". No Job, No Asset, No Income, and also unmarried at 25. That time in your life when all your mamas and mamis try to fix you up with suitors at family gatherings/ wedding houses. When your Facebook Newsfeed shows that all your school/ college friends and colleagues are getting engaged, married, honeymooning and having babies while you are way behind in the league. While I DO know that this has ample time to happen, and since it hasn't yet occurred, I plan to continue living my life as I deem appropriate. The ones who are in need of the answers about my personal life, don't ask the questions. High standards equate to high expectations. Therefore, don't ask me what I'm doing with my life. If I'll have babies when I'm 27 or if I'll remain a lonely bachelorette even then. Who knows? The future is bleak. What is truth is the present, and only the present. I will miss this beautiful journey called life if I constantly worry about my destination. For the journey is much more beautiful than the destination in itself.

To all my beautiful lady friends still single and searching for the *one* as I am, God is busy scripting your tale of love. Give time for time to work. Happy Womens Day! Sayonara. :)