Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I'm a feminist... But who's asking?

Yes, it depends on who's asking.

So I am your average feminist. One who champions for the cause of equality for all genders without forgetting that men and women are inherently different. Which doesn't mean that both genders can't do the same things, it just means we do the same thing in different ways. Sometimes, it's not just about genders. It depends on a person's temperament.

So I am not your average feminist. One who champions for the cause of equality for all genders without forgetting that men and women are inherently different. Which doesn't mean that both genders can't do the same things, it just means we do the same thing in different ways. Sometimes, it's not just about genders. It depends on a person's temperament.

So it all comes down to the so called 'gender roles.' One is expected to behave in certain ways because it's expected of their genders. We are conditioned. 'It's not lady like'
'Don't cry, sissy.'
Women are never denied expressing emotions since their childhood because they are expected to.
Men are supposed to be tough! (They will never know how good a solid session of crying feels. Just relieves the stress and tension)
Now we all know where this attitude has come from and hopefully, how we can change it.
But do we?
Nah, we just talk.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Inheritance (Or How I started listening to Pearl Jam.)

This was 1998. We were in Delhi. The internet had not yet exploded and we were still learning basic and C (Imagine that!) I could count on my fingers the number of people I knew who owned computers. So our music tastes were greatly dictated by MTv and Channel V. But the Indian Mtv  mostly played pop songs and some mainstream rock (Which were great, btw. I was into it) and fewer alternate stuff.

But I realised a little later that 90s Alt rock is my real comfort food. started exploring different genres of music in 2001 and by 2005, my music palette had expanded greatly.

My father was a big fan of Pink Floyd, the Police, 70s and 80s disco, Kraftwerk and Paul Anka Among others. My mother was fond of Abba, Boney M and the likes. I had my own preferences in music and our cassette collection had a unique blend of all types of music including hindi film music, Hindi non filmy and Indi-pop. Not to forget a giant collection of mixtapes (Mostly mine)
Somewhere among them were albums my father bought going by the current trends. Apache Indian was one of those and even though I was nine years old that time, I still love songs from his 1993 album - No Reservations.   
Coming back to Mid 1998. We were in Delhi. My father wanted to buy a Pink Floyd album for some reason. I'm assuming he lost or broke his old tape of the same. So one Saturday evening the two of us went to a family owned shop around the corner where their youngest son had set up a small music section. My father asked him for one particular Pink Floyd album. He started a conversation with him about music while I was browsing at the latest pop album collections. That fellow was telling him about this new band my father would like since he was into Pink Floyd. He convinced my him into giving it a listen and he must have listened to it once and placed the cassette back in our ever increasing collection somewhere next to Apache Indian.
Four years later, I started college and started playing the guitar which exposed me to more genres of music. That same year I realised that the kind of music Nirvana played was called Grunge and that there existed another great grunge band called Pearl Jam.

Pearl Jam.
This unlocked a memory in my mind. I knew I had heard of them. I had even heard their music before. It was the same band whose album my father had bought along with a Pink Floyd album back in 1998! I went home and looked through our cassette collection, and there it was: Pearl Jam's Yield.
Suddenly, I appreciated their music. More importantly, I understood their music. I listened to all their other albums- Ten, Vs., Vitology, No code and Binaural including the recently released Riot act. I've listened to all their music released subsequently. To Eddie Vedder's solo music, their live albums and side projects. I was hooked.
Pearl Jam is to me what Pink Floyd is to my father and Abba to my mother. Even thought I listen to Foo fighters more often, Pearl Jam are still one of my favourite band!
And to this day, Yield - that 1998 album that my father bought eighteen years ago is still my favourite Pearl Jam album of all times.

On a related note: two years ago, I was listening to Apache Indian in the office one afternoon when our then intern Rajalakshmi suddenly asked me who the singer was. I asked her if she had never heard of Apache Indian before and she said she hadn't!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I miss him

Found an old photo of my father.
I miss him. Terribly.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

From 2006

It was my friend Laura's birthday yesterday so I texted her. While chatting, she shared this photo of us from ten years ago. 

I was working at the Auroville Earth Institute as a trainee architect and it was mandatory for me to attend the two week CSEB course as a part of my internship. Laura was volunteering for a Pondicherry based NGO to design a school for Tsunami hit areas and decided to do this course while she was there. That's how we met.
The photo features other people who attended the workshop, the director of the Earth Institute and a few other trainees... INCLUDING the guy in the red cap. Whom I had a crush on: The Srilankan
:D :D :D

Monday, April 4, 2016

Time on my hands

A long time ago, I stopped wearing a wrist watch because of a boy. Then realising I need not change for anyone, I started wearing one again. That was my father's old timex I wore ever since he passed away in 2006. A year after that, the strap broke and I stopped wearing any watch because I was in a phase where I refused to accessorise. Didn't help that the fellow I was dating then constantly pushed me into buying an expensive watch to impress clients(?!)
Then a few years after that, I dated a guy much younger than me and he showed me a fake (?!) Victorinox swiss army watch he bought from Indonesia. I loved the design and he said I should keep it. So I did and started wearing it regularly and realised just how much I missed wearing a watch.
That relationship didn't last too long (obviously). But I continued to wear that watch because I loved it's simple and clean design. I realised that it was the kind of wrist watch I really wanted. Not a digital sports watch or a feminine designer one. Or a colourful casual one. I wanted a simple unisex analog watch that was waterproof with clean lines and a simple form which can go well for any occasion.
So I ordered a black dial Victorinox Swiss Army watch with a metal body and a black leather strap. I love it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Internship applications

I received this gem of an internship application email recently
 Way to get my attention! Even I don't know what a lot of those words mean...

Sounded like a normal person on the phone. I really would have liked to hire him as an intern but unfortunately, due to my current circumstance I prefer hiring an intern who is in their 9th/10th sem. Or is an architect already. 
Too bad for me, because his work is quite good! 

And then two days later I get this: 
An absolutely amazing application full of (assumably accidental) alliteration.

I am loving this!

Monday, March 14, 2016


Ethos India organises a quiz for students of architecture every year and a few years ago they started one for professionals as well. My former teacher and boss Abhijit De and I decided to team up and participate this year so I started to prepare for it.  Reading about art nouveau and modernism reminded me of a hilarious story; though hilarious only in retrospect!

It starts in 2003 when I was in my second year of architecture college and was preparing to be a part of my college delegation to the annual National Association of Students of Architecture (NASA) meet. That year, a college in Hyderabad was hosting the competition and the theme for it was 'DESSAU'
I told my father that and he asked me (with seriousness and the slightest bit of suspicion) - 'why would anyone want to name it Dessau?'
Now, just to give you a background, Dessau is a place in Germany which holds the utmost relevance for us Architects as it was the site for the relocated prestigious 'Bauhaus school' which was one of the pioneering places for modernism in architecture, art and craft to grow and proliferate. So understandably, I was super thrilled, while my father seemed to have some serious reservations about it. We were at odds... I explained to him as to why I thought Dessau was a very good idea for a theme for a gathering of said nature and he told me why he thought it wasn't... 
A career military man that he was (also a huge military nerd) my father told to me that Dessau was an important base for the Nazis during WW-II and also the site of a large concentration camp. And something about an important battle towards the end of the war which I can remember nothing of. 
What I can remember is that none of us spoke for a few minutes... Till I asked for money for my train ticket to Hyderabad and back, which he handed to me promptly.
And this was just one of our typical military dad - architect daughter conversations. 

If you're wondering about the quiz, we finished at a respectable third position with a prize money of twenty thousand rupees in our kitty!
My father would have said 'Good. Just wish you'd have dressed better for the event'
No complaints there...!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Intangable conversations

Wanted to write an absolutely formless post on something random but I found this in my drafts on https://writer.bighugelabs.com/
This was a text conversation I had with my writer friend whom I shall call SC.

12/30/2015, 15:17

SC: How is Pune? Cold this time of the year?

MK: Yes. It's been cold all of this and last week!

SC: Yes, same here in Warangal. It's funny because we hardly get cold of this sort here.
But it's quite chilly.

MK: I suppose El Nino really affects weather patterns all over
Interestingly, a few years ago I was having a discussion about effects of global warming with someone. And some people claim with very scientific data that we are actually in for a wet period rather than it being dry.

SC: Yes.

MK: More floods and rising water levels

SC: I'm actually one of those people. I'm a climate change skeptic.

MK: Ah... Why is that?

SC: Anthropomorphic climate change skeptic, rather.
I don't deny that climate changes, but I don't think human activity has anything to do with it.
Because there is no evidence of human effects on temperature.

MK: I look at it this way. Climate change was going to happen whether we were there or not. But we have accelerated it
And I do believe that human activity and industrialisation has affected this change substantially.

SC: Okay.
Simple question, actually: how much CO2 in the atmosphere causes how big a rise in temperature?
If CO2 levels are causing a rise in temperature, the basic question is that: do we have a graph which plots CO2 against temperature rise?

MK: It's not just about co2
In fact, it's the wrong way of looking at climate change
I feel climate change is the wrong word altogether
Because if it was only about co2, then there is no evidence of humans causing increase in global warming
But if you look at it holistically. At the larger picture, we are pretty much doomed. And it has little to do with just our temperature.

SC: Well :-)
Climate change is the new word for what used to be global warming. And global warming is all about CO2.

MK: Therein lies the problem :P

SC: In any case, are humans causing temperature fluctuations on Earth? I see no evidence for that claim, hence I don't believe it.

MK: You know once I went to Corbett national park

SC: Doesn't mean we're not, of course. Just means that the evidence so far is sketchy.
As for being doomed, we're doomed either way :-)
All of us individually, and collectively too as a species. We will all die. So will the species.

MK: I meant doomed quicker than was intended and doomed because of us

SC: It's just a matter of when.

MK: Not nature

SC: Well, what's the difference?
Death by old age or death by accident or death by disease - they're all deaths.

MK: Well I was telling you about my Corbett experience

SC: Haan yes.
Tell me.

MK: 10 of us were really interested in the whole Corbett experience. So many species of birds and different kinds of animals and trees
And we enjoyed every bit of every day we were there
But 200 others were there to see only tigers.
They saw a tiger on the first day itself and for them that was proof enough that it was a wild forest
But a forest in its true sense isn't a forest just because a tiger is there

SC: Yes.
Of course.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
That's your point, right?

MK: It's there because the entire habitat is conducive to a tiger's growth and continuance
But we don't see it

SC: Right.

MK: We don't know it
So can't blame anyone

SC: Right.
How does that relate to the climate change issue?

MK: The problem is large. Global warming is the tiger of the problem

SC: Right.
You're saying that I'm missing all the other animals because I'm looking for the tiger.

MK: Yes. Possibly because you don't know about the forest

SC: Possibly. Yes.

MK: No one ever tells us
The media doesn't. Our education doesn't

SC: Right.

MK: Our government doesn't

SC: Yes.
I take a more stoic view of the matter. We will either solve the problems we've given rise to, or we will die.

MK: Hence the 'save the tiger' campaign

SC: Either way I'm not really concerned.

MK: Concern is, we can live, but to figure it out, we need to know the forest
Or we die.
I mean, we die now versus we die later.
We have to die at some point anyway.

SC: Right now, I don't think we have enough information to tell either way - whether we are or we're not harming the Earth/ecosystem to such drastic a degree.

MK: Yes but now vs 4 billion years later when the sun dies

SC: Haha, I think many things will happen before 4 billion years.

MK: We are changing the nature of it.
Which need not be a bad thing, but it is bad for our survival
As a race

SC: Who knows if we're changing it for the better or for worse?
Ever since we began making tools, we began to change the nature of our habitat/ecosystem.

MK: Worst for us... Maybe better for some other species

SC: We don't have any data to support that the stuff we're doing today is bad for our future.

MK: It is. We have data

SC: But in any case, even if we take your argument at face value, that it is worst for us...Is it that bad?

MK: Yes

SC: Worst case scenario, we will go extinct.
Maybe a few thousand years before we would otherwise.
Doesn't concern me all that much.
Of course... Like you said: we are going be extinct some day

MK: It could be tomorrow

SC: Exactly.

MK: Or 500 yrs from now

SC: Since we don't have the counterfactual, it's hard to tell.
Data so far is unfortunately not conclusive.
Not even remotely conclusive.

MK: Its like saying 'I'm going to die some day. Could be tomorrow or 50 yrs later, let me eat what i want, drink what I want, love who I want, hate whoever I want... Because I might die tomorrow anyway.'
But we can still strive to make it better for everyone...
For whatever time we are here
Whatever we do is at the expense of other human beings. This is the main thing that we never realise

SC: Again, what is better/worse?
Once we know what is better, of course we will all do it. When the first agriculturists tilled the first land, I'm sure there were people who said they're eating the land etc.

MK: We protected the tiger, but had to drive away the tribals who coexisted with it. We changed their way of life to one like ours
Maybe their way of life was better

SC: Exactly.

MK: But we never thought of their pov

SC: Who decides whose life is better/worse?

MK: Exactly
Because only those who are in power have a voice that can be heard. And those who aren't, just suffer. What I am is against the suffering. So climate change is so much more than just co2 and rising temperatures :) And honestly, there is no one correct solution
Or a correct answer

SC: Yes.
I think the majority decides what is right/wrong/better/worse.

MK: But that doesn't mean we stop trying what is best.

SC: Yes, of course.
We all have a right to work for what we believe to be right.

MK: Yes

SC: I remember having a similar conversation with you sometime back. Good to see you're equally passionate :-) If anything, I've become more stoic than I used to be.

MK: See how easily, a discussion about climate change can turn into something formless

SC: Well, everything in life in intangible, actually.

MK: :)

SC: And very people are able to talk about intangibles. The vast majority of people want tangibles.

MK: Dialectic Materialism

SC: So you and I are in the tiny minority.
I am increasingly finding that a discussion on almost anything becomes intangible with me very soon.
So I've stopped discussing any big issue except with very specific people :-)

MK: Hahaha
Happens to me as well
But I love discussing these intangibles

SC: Yes, of course. It's fun :-)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Soulmates- maybe. Maybe not...

Never expected his call, but it tickled my soul. I wanted to meet him, and I'm guessing he felt the same. So as menacingly as possible, challenged me to a mini cycle race. I wanted to beat him. But I didn't know how fast he was. So I accepted on the condition that we wouldn't race. The ride was supposed to be to the airport and Vohuman cafe for breakfast. We rode, we talked and clearly I was way faster than him. So I asked him to get his bike seat raised so the posture would help him ride better. I offered to let him ride my bike for a bit. He took it.

At Vohuman, we ate and talked and drank tea. I loved our conversation. Just a matter of a few months and we were together. And both wanted to buy new bikes. 
So we decided to go to the bike shop one fine march evening. I arrived to find him already there making conversation effortlessly with someone. We hung out there with one of the owners who showed us bikes and his new tattoo. We test rode our cycles. I knew which one I wanted. He was undecided. 
It was getting dark and the streetlights were on and the conversation was flowing when the shop owner just said 'It's great that you both want to get bikes together...'

'...Like brother sister bikes...' 

And we both looked at each other and then him. He realised he made a faux pas, and tried some damage control
'Oh... Friend bikes then...?'
'Yes...' We were both fine with that.

Two weeks later I bought my bike. 
A year and a half later we broke up.
He never bought his bike.

It's been more than four years since we were called siblings. And although I don't care for him as I used to, I think of him sometimes. And the brother and sister bikes that we never had. 

It usually makes me smile.

And usually makes me listen to melancholic songs. Like this one:

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Matrix vs Everlong!

I've seen the music video of Foo Fighters 'Everlong' by Michel Gondry many times till date. I've analysed the visual, aesthetic, low key, metaphorical and not to forget the mischievous and high concept yet slight absurdity of it all. But it wasn't until today that suddenly out of the blue, I realised that the video is like the most brilliant version of the 'The Matrix' by the Wachowski siblings!
Let me demonstrate by the clever use of certain strategically taken video screenshots:

Trinity and Taylor... Both fighting the bad guys...but need Neo and Dave's help...

Neo and Dave both mess up before realising they aren't who they think they really are...

Neo and Dave in the club!


Neo and Dave both wake up from Nightmares and take *the* call...

A brick wall instead of an exit... well well well....

The baddies transform...!

Okay... there's a bit of a mix-up here...

That moment when Neo and Dave finally believe!

Neo and Dave get aggressive and ready to fight anything or anyone!

Neo and Dave fight the baddies... swift and easy!
And once Neo and Dave know what they're capable, they get good with their guns!

Additional observations:

'M' is for Matrix! (Also, looks more like a hand painted Motorola logo...)
Watch the 'Everlong' video here: