Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Closed for stocktaking. Come back tomorrow.

We had a talk last evening. In the kitchen. My father and I. I was back from not watching a play. 'Banabhatta ki Atmakatha'. Stupid listings had the show timings wrong. The parking lot at Kamani was dead. The weather wasn't. All lovely, breezy, non-rainy-but-could-be-rainy so we just 'hung' - went to Wengers after 4 to eat mushroom patties fresh out of the oven, and before taking the metro back home, I climbed a park fence to take my yearly photos of Amaltas - that if you notice, are getting better. 

Anyway. We, my father and I, had just split a profusion of tomatoes on a brown base i.e a home made pizza created by my mother. Are you going to eat the WHOLE thing? No, no, here, take half. After which I was in the fridge looking for a square of non-fattening dessert -- the dark chocolate, 85% cocoa (Lindt has a deal on at Le Marche -- all dark about-to-expire chocolates are two for one). I offered him a piece and he said no, that's too much and I said just eat it, it's low sugar.

So it's like this. I'm in my kaftan. Chilled water in a green ex-wine glass bottle in one hand, tip of the chocolate square in my mouth, whole chocolate in other hand, nudging fridge door shut with my foot, when he says, what's plan C ?

Note: context = employment. Plan A and B = newspaper and magazine respectively that I should hear from shortly. Whether or not they hire me remains to be seen.

Plan C.. plan C.. hmm... I don't know... cliff?

Now, my father is supremely indulgent of my nonsense. Neither is humour wasted on him. I believe I get from him my ability to stay unruffled if we're going to miss a train or are already missing a wallet. That and my powers of self deprecation. Who else do you know who cracks jokes about how only a total sucker would read his book?

Things like that.

So while generous daddy DID smile at my inane reply, I sensed he wanted me to stop and think. So down we sat, chocolate and all. Opening lines were spoken. He said sensible things. Somewhere he added, I'm talking to you like a friend. That was a new one. There were others, too.

You might want to think of a plan, child.. cliff no good...

... look outside, why limit yourself to the industry you've been exposed to?

... I know you'd like to stick to writing.. why don't you work on a short story? More freelance?

... may not be a bad idea to study... don't worry about the money.. I'm not saying do an MBA... finish your masters... no? Alright alright! Start from scratch.. chose a subject you're more comfortable with..

... just as a matter of conversation, where do you see yourself in five years? in both your professional and personal life... sometimes it helps to think aloud...

I didn't think anything aloud, but what Sonia Gandhi called her inner voice, was mumbling something about FIVE YEARS?! I have no bloody clue! Next month is looking desperately wan at the moment, ne'mind unimaginable time frames right now!

I did though say, yes, OK, I'll think about it, g'night, pa and then put on Desperate Housewives. But obviously something stayed.

Five years.. five years.. I should have a better camera in 5 years. Especially when, really, what's the point? Amaltas will still be Amaltas. Pretty is pretty. So maybe only a marginally better camera. How can this be all the depth I am capable of?

Five years, job wise? - something writerly enough, impressive enough, stress free enough, free time enough. I'm not worried about getting a job. It's what I told my father. I'll get a job. Income will resume. As will mediocrity, says the joker in doubt's clothing. Skies will be pink again. My worry is more, what I do in the free time, post job, when the bell rings and freedom is mine to embrace. Refer 'writerly enough'. But first things first.

My personal life, as my father calls it, is, let's be honest, in a flux. Marriage? Toss a coin. Babies? Toss them. It's difficult to remain certain for too long. Doubts abound. Then they disappear. Then they return. I play hide and seek with my doubts. We're friends, really. Table for two. Still or sparkling? Regular, please. Thanks. Why order fancy when what you want is to drown your companion?
I have no bloody idea what I want for myself in five years.

It's like being sucked back in time. I'm wearing a brown uniform and am in the ninth standard again. N and I are sitting outside class on dusty cement thereby dirtying our skirts in the most passive way conceivable. We have a free period because the history teacher, Mrs Wilson, has finally, for once, hallelujah!, taken the day off.

As always, we're carrying our ink pens and school diaries. For emergency scribbles. We're discussing a supposedly more mature version of what do you want to be when you grow up. N says she wants to go study at LSE. I have no bloody idea what LSE is. In her slam book under ambition, I have written journalist/ wildlife photographer. (Not bad self actualisation, we agree now). Where do you see yourself in twenty years, N asks me. I don't know, I say. I want to have really nice plates and be able to cook in olive oil everyday. This is my answer. I'm 13.

Fast forward to school, college, work, brown uniforms, history teachers. I'm 26. I don't know if I think all that differently -- olive oil? ceramic plates? Still pretty high up on my list. I don't know if late bloomer means developing something that resembles ambition in your early thirties. Does it? Maybe. Who knows. Conversely, in five years, plan C might still be a cliff. Maybe. Who knows.


Sanchari said...

The story of my life. Sometimes, I wonder if dads have a point. Sometimes, I am not so sure. However, sometimes, I feel that things usually run its own course, plan or no plan. The trick is to know when to hold off and when to do something about it.

P.S. Cliff is not an option. What would happen to people like us who drown our problems in your delightful abstract musings?

Anonymous said...

Can I just say, maybe too much self analysis is not a good thing.

Self depreciating yes, but you are very AWARE of it, and that it completely allowed on your own blog, but some things you should just let slide.

If home, with plates and olive oil, is important, it just is. Embrace it.

Nitika said...

5 years is a long long time.. 5 yrs back I thought i'd be working in a company, making business visits, advising individuals and corporates on legal matters.

Where I am --> Got married --> Seperated --> Currently trying to get divorced, fighting a case --> hot topic of gossip in the extended family :p --> working in a company, paid peanuts --> Battered ego.

So, just go with the flow. And 5 yrs... dont think.

Go study further. Travel. Join that photography course. Enjoy your life :)

Anonymous said...

While i was going through this post, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgT9zGkiLig, was playing on internet radio. eerie.

With Plan A & Plan B I dont think you require a Plan C. Over planning can be unproductive e.g. - Cliff?? seriously?

Ps. Link colours aint that bad actually :D

The.Mystic said...

Time is just a measuring device and nothing else, do what you want too. A 45 year old Irani photographer one day decided to give acting a chance and he is now one of India's bst known actor (Boman Irani). I recently heard that somewhere in Rajasthan a 60 year old lady had a baby.

So does it really matter if you do or do not have a Plan A,B or C. All that matters is that you do what your heart wants you to do. Take up photography like you always wanted too, or write, you write like RB and I know one day I'll be standing in line waiting for you too sign my copy of your book and I'll shout at an embarrassingly high pitch "Nimpipi". :)

dipikasingh said...

yes. i noticed the yearly pic of the amaltas. and aarrgh, do not remind me of wengers. I miss them too much.
from experience? 5 yrs later you may wish that you had done far more with your life in the previous 5 yrs. don't let that happen.
and no. we are not mumbai diva anymore. we are simply dipika singh. come visit.

Anonymous said...

Oh I so hate the five-year question... so hate it!
Once, during one of those long-winded admission processes, I just lost it, quoted Pretty Woman and told the interviewer, 'No. I'm not a planner. I would say I'm fly by the seat of my pants gal, you know moment to moment.'

No wonder i didn't get through...but the shocking expressed by the interviewer was priceless.

Nimpipi said...

Sanchari: Sit still and hold off. I like the sound of this. Most do-able.

@P.S: aww!: )

Anon: You're right. But who aims for just plates and O.O?! :(

Nit: Extended family be damned! Spit in their faces, I say. It's like my grandmum says, "if you don't get on, get out". Rosier times ahead, okay. *hug*

Photography case = phhrbht. I'm not spending 10k on some novice telling me about aperture and focus. 10k = 3 pairs of shoes and 4 months of yoga ki fees.

Anon 2: Haha! That only na! Drive is MIA. Always has been. I'm holding back tears as I type :) Link colours are back to normal, ok!

P.S: I had to retrieve your comment from spam, is it going to kill you to put a name to it? Huh?!

Mystic: hello, pep talker:) yeh RB kaun hai?

D.Singh: Congratulations, I say! Shedding first the mane last year, now the pseudonym/ username. I like, I like. I don't dare, but I like:)

If you want, I can send you a picture of the gulmohurs, too. Wengers now has macrons. Nothing great. You've got Theos in Mumbai, Kya tension.

SP: I don't believe you! You said that? Really? Ha haa! Pretty Woman indeed! Aren't you the brazen one! :D

Incognito said...

I've reasons for being anonymous on this blog (long story that does not concern you).

This hopefully should fix your spam problem. Technology and its ironies.

Ellie said...

I absolutely love your 13 year old ambition: olive oil ... every day! I wish I had been so sophisticated.

There is a balance between defining your life and letting your life happen, and everyone has a different opinion (esp. parents) as to what that balance should be. As long as you are happy in the meantime, Ole! x

Nimpipi said...

Incog: Please ya, tell ya! You've awakened the curious kitty in me.

Thank you for the effort in choosing to be Incognito. (Note cleverness;))

Ellie: It is an odd aspiration for a 13-year-old, isn't it? Wish I could remember who or what I was so influenced by for olive oil to have made such an impression.

Life balance is a teensy bit intimidating to mull over. Still, no small consolation that for breakfast I fried eggs in olive oil. :)

Love the ole! Can't say one hears that a lot in these parts.:)In my head you got to wear flowy skirts, shake hips and have a certain finger-snap flair to pull of saying ole! in a manner that is respectful enough to Salma Hayek. Again, I don't know where this comes from. Too much Asterisk in my system, maybe.

Alexia said...

You have such a lovely, lively way of writing! I would love to sit on a porch with you chatting over a bottle of wine!

Anonymous said...

mentioning that photography course was a bad idea. Everyone's going to hound you about it as THE alternative.

- pm.

Nimpipi said...

Lexi: How sweet you are, poetess of the night! But ok, done! I bring the porch. You bring the wine. We laugh the evening away!

Pm: Hello, love. No way, love. THE alternative will remain THE hobby.

How many me-too bandwagons to jump on, ya?:(

manu said...

here's to tossing babies.. cheers!

..you got into my skin/brain after all.

Anonymous said...

Before you read ahead, trust me, I have ZERO intentions to scare you.
I've been reading your blog for more than a year now. And I'm a Virgo such as yourself. I enjoy reading it so much that I got extremely curious about your real identity. It took me like a month, but now I know who you are.
I know, MAJOR stalker behavior. I apologize for that. Just so you know I'm telling the truth, Your initials are NB and your BF's initials are ASG. :)
Keep writing :D

Sucheta said...

Ah this planning in advance thing never turns out exactly how you want it to. Though the ride is what is important in the end..maybe the illusion of a destination too, sometimes.
Just have fun :)

Love the titles of your posts!

The.Mystic said...

Bond...Ruskin Bond :B

No pep talk, just stating the facts like there's sale at Charles&Keith! (for real & hurry)! :D

Nimpipi said...

I didn't believe you/ my eyes! I know it said Manu but I'm like, hain? VOT?! That jack ass don't write no more! But THEN, upon further clicking, what do I see? I see big grin under my big nose is what I see! Woo hoo, Glorious effer is back! Adding you to ze reader again, cowboy blogger. Please don't go away now da, I need some homies here. In your absence, I've erm become a celebrity -- stalkers and shit:D, which reminds me,


Anon: Hiya! Listen ya, a month?! You could've just mailed me, you know; I might've humoured you. Benign as you sound, I am obviously intrigued. What gave me away? Spill. I'd give you my email address but then I might be underestimating what else you know about me. P.S: Is it not only fair that you don't use Anon anymore? I mean, how will I know it's you? Can't you at least go with, I dunno, Terrier no 1 or On Your Case or Sherlock my shoe.. something! Like Incognito up there. You know? Love, NB : )

Such: Illusion of a destination, huh? No more Aerosmith for you, I say! The have fun bit, yes Ma'am, I shall try = ). Haha@Hi5!:D

Myst call: Aaaah.. that Bond! Yea, him and I go back a long way. I wish him well. I love him so. Smart of you to remember! But Charles and Keith, are you serious?! Yes, I know about the sale. But I have a bone to pick with those guys. They think every woman is some delicate Thumbelina who fits into glass slippers. NOT TRUE. Some of us are giants who don't need heels because, like I said, we're giants. I, for instance, tower over the Singapore Chinese and I don't need no Charles and Keith to further make me out to be some freak elevated eucalyptus skyscraper! Less hysterically, what I mean is: I'm tall. I've sworn off heels. I like my flats. Charles and Keith don't cater to my needs. And this makes me angry. (Although this season I have seen some flats - ugly, but they're there. I might've just proved my rant invalid but who's judging.)

The.Mystic said...

I can't fit in them either and yes being tall is a crime in that store. I get my shoes from ebay GEB now. I like flats, but I am still a heels gal. I feel none of these she companies ever design for Indian women, some shoes are plain ugly. I did like this Indian co. Bruno Mannetti, its quite cheap and has really nice range in shoes. They are in quite a few malls of g'gaon.

Anonymous said...

more like closed for STALKtaking ahaha