Friday, April 25, 2014

T for Teeth

The first thing you would ever notice about me is my teeth - whether you meet me in person or see a photograph of mine.
And this comes as a challenge to any photographer who would dare to participate: try clicking a photo of mine with my teeth in. You cannot.

One of my colleagues once told me, "You are always smiling. That's what I like about you." I shared the secret with him - "Perhaps I've a couple extra" . Its not true, of course.

A smile is a curve that can set many things straight, isnt it? So, even in critical situations, irrespective of what I may be feeling deep in, I'd always put up a bright exterior and try to keep the show going.

Lot of bright teeth for you in the snapshot on the right.
Discover Things that make me who I am :  ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQR, S

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

S - Secret Keeper

If you want your secret kept safe, just tell me. I am a good listener, and would never utter a word to anyone. And the best part is, I would not give you any unwanted advice.

Since Childhood through today
However innocent our faces were, my group of friends were the most notorious lot. And pranks had to be planned. I had that capability - to be part of it all, but not a hint of it would show on my face. I was usually assigned the task at the climax, for I could keep a straight face.

Later, as we grew up, most of us developed crushes on someone or the other, and there's a charm of keeping it secret from the person in question. But when cupid strikes and with a fluttering heart, you just cannot do without sharing it with someone. Needless to say, the trusted confidante would be me.

In the very first year of college, I had guarded a similar fact about a girl, even from my closest friends. When the affair surfaced, everyone secretly developed a respect for me - "This is a non-porous repository."

Till today, I am the confession box for many. I carry with myself lots of secrets dumped with me - some shared to relieve stress, some to test impacts of wild ideas, and more.

Sorry, it doesn't apply to myself
However silly it may sound, I am a complete flop show when it comes to guard my own secrets. When troubled, it shows so much on my face that people around me start worrying. I wont say anything if I choose not to, but you'd know something is wrong. Lend me your shoulder, and soon, I'll be up and going.

Can you keep secrets well?
Discover Things that make me who I am : ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQ, R

Monday, April 21, 2014

R for Rowing

 Now, this is something very few people know about me - I was a rower! 

I was part of the Swimming team of my school, and when the Rowing team was being formed, I was sort of automatically inducted. It was something that was God had planned, for Rowing clicked for me instantly. For once, my broad structure helped me, and I excelled. 

I joined the Rowing Club after the Interschool championship, much against the wishes of my parents. Every morning I'd get  up and go for practice. I had completed school and joined Architecture, a course that requires one to prepare detailed drawings. I was an organized student - I'd start work way ahead of my classmates, row in the morning, go to college, work in the evening, sleep late, get up early and back. So much so, my work would be ready before others and I often helped others after that.

I was a good team member and sportsperson. My fellow rowers would forbid their teams to talk to others for fear of letting their strategies slip, but I'd do no such thing. I just asked my team to give in their best, and that's what worked. 

I gave up Rowing in the 3rd year of my college (had to make a choice between studies and sports). I had won many races, here are some of the medals and cups I had won, of which two are from State Olympics. 

History repeats:
When in Bhopal for work, we had taken a recreational break for boating in the vast Upper Lake. I was claiming that I could do it all, when the navigator let the oars down suddenly and asked me to demonstrate my skills. I had to! You can read about the trip here. Till then, here's a photo for you!

Discover Things that make me who I am : ABCDEFGHIJKLMNO, P, Q

Q is for Questioning Minds

On a foggy winter morning, I was travelling by a bus to work. There was a school boy in the seat ahead of me, accompanied by his mother. He turned back when I slid in, and I noticed the handsome child was, unfortunately, blind.

All along the journey, the boy kept asking questions- things which we see everyday, but do not notice. Since the fog was thick, perhaps we were almost in the same position as him - we could not see the beautiful world around us, although we inhabited it. The child's incessant questions compelled me to re-look at life.

This post is not about free advice.

I've observed many a child after that - they ask so many questions, sometimes over and over. I admit its difficult to sustain constant bombardment, but I cannot agree when the parents snub their children. Comeon, its their formative years and if they do not question the world, who will?

We should all have inquisitive minds.
Do not accept things just the way they are. Ask why. Atleast think why. Then if it appears acceptable, let it be. If not, question it. There is nothing that is right or wrong -it is just what has been taught to us over generations. Lot of things have evolved over time, and there is still a long way to go.
Discover Things that make me who I am : ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP

Friday, April 18, 2014

P for Photographs

I love photographs - they can defy time. Our priceless moments are captured in them, and they stay with us as long as one can keep them.

Over time, everything changes : the way we look, people around us, locations, etc. But once captured, maybe photographs hold those moments that remind us of our past, experiences, family and friends.

The art of photography has evolved a long way, and now photo sharing and backup is much easier. I am of course, not the correct person to discuss this evolution.

Since my theme for the A-Z challenge is about things that define me, here are two priceless photographs which date back about 30 years!

Can you recognize me?
Discover Things that make me who I am : ABCDEFGHIJKLMN, O

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O for Optimism

Life throws many a challenge at us, some of which are very difficult to face. But if you give up, you'll never emerge successful, isnt it? On the other hand, if you give it an honest shot, you may just achieve the elusive goal. Chances are equally strong that you may go down, but at least you'll know that you had tried - That's my philosophy, and I try to inspire people to think positively.

There is a brighter side to everything, and its important to realize the beauty in small things. This has been there long, and I was amused to find one of my previous blogs convey a similar thought. Read it, you'd feel better!

Just keep the positivity going:
I am known to be a super-optimistic person among my friends. Even in situations where there is no hope, I'll hang in there, or inspire you to cling on, and say that perhaps things may just change for the better. There are lots of factors that one cannot control, yet we tend to fret about them. You'd agree there's no point.  Take a simple situation when a group of my friends are watching a cricket game on television and after the first innings, our favourite team lets our enthusiasm down with a paltry score to defend. While everyone would say it is a waste of time watching rest of the game, I'll say, "It takes just 10 deliveries to get the opposition out ..."
"Never say die", I say to those I need to inspire, and bring the best out of.

What is your approach to life?
Discover Things that make me who I am : ABCDEFGHIJKLM, N

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is about Nicknames

Born 30 years before Indian Independence, my Granny was given an English petname: Jewel. More than 30 years after Independence, my Dad named me "Angel". So my nickname stands out among the whole family.

In college, I was christened "Maya" by our seniors during the very first round of ragging. The name stuck, and so hard it hung on me, that I almost forgot what my original name was. Even the faculty would call me Maya. I have graduated more than 10 years now, and still my juniors refer to me by this name.

There was a Bengali guy with a name that is not exactly complex : Dwaipayan Chakraborty, but his classmates used to call him DC. His profile on social media still says "DC" !!

There are people who prefer being called by their shortened versions or pet names: Debleena was called Luna, Shubhabrata was called Logo, Nitin was referred to as TinTin and Tarun was christened "Train".

Samarjit, whose skin colour can put ebony wood to shame, very sportingly allows us to call him "The Dark Lord" !

Share your nicknamein comments!
Discover Things that make me who I am : ABCDEFGHIJKL, M

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is Motivate

"Your topic is the best one in not only your batch, but the whole university!", I told a young student, encouraging him to work hard. He had taken up a World Trade Centre as his thesis topic, which was appearing too daunting for him. Something in my words changed the way he felt about his project, and his final submissions went off very well.

I have a rare achievement of scoring a perfect 100 in Mathematics in my board examinations, and irrespective of the fact that it was 18 years ago, I still get requests from parents to guide their children in the subject they tend to dread. "If you solve a problem correctly in Maths, you'll get full marks. Isn't that exciting?", I tell the children.

There was a member in my project team who could not deliver, in spite of all his intelligence. Wondering whether he was going through personal problems, I chose to have a one-to-one discussion with him. It turned out that constant criticism was pushing him to a shell. I gave him some pep talk, offered to reduce his load, gave him critical responsibilities, and finally, could bring out the best in him.

Everyone could do with a bit of motivation, isnt it? 

There is another story pertaining to M I must share:

Law number 49 of the Indian Penal code relates to mad people. And the point to note is my house number is 49. So now you know where my madness stems from?
Discover Things that make me who I am : ABCDEFGHIJK, L

Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Liar

Well, this is a difficult one. But people who know me since childhood would certify this.

Perhaps I was over-imaginative. Lying to me seemed like story telling. And I was real good at it - if I told you something as absurd as that I have travelled to Mars, you would be bound to believe that.

The problem is, the general impression about me was that I was a fibber and most definitely, the naughtiest child around. So, even if I were not lying, people would not believe a word I said.

An absolute contrast to this was my younger brother - his impression was that of an apostle of truth : a child who just could not lie. And in critical situations, he'd coolly let me down. "She did it", he would say, framing me for a round of scolding, and walking away.

After many incidents, I realized lying is taking me nowhere, and one needs to remember versions of the truth to keep the story going. Finally, around the age of 15, I gave up on this habit after I got my group of friends on the verge of serious trouble.

Mischief still dances in my eyes, but I am far mature and trustworthy. It's been a long journey, though!

What is your take on lying?
Discover Things that make me who I am : ABCDEFGHIJ, K

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The K of Anupama K.

I always had a fascination for middle names since my childhood. Once, a new girl joined our class - her name had a male name after a female one. When I pointed this out, she told me her middle name was her Dad's, and it was a custom in her native place to include one's father's name. "In South India, people include names of villages, grandfathers and whatever they can think of !", she joked.

Later in my life, when I interacted with more and more people, I found this was quite a common practice. To do something different, I chose to include my mother's initial, instead of my Dad's. Her name is Kakoli, hence the K. Not legally, but wherever I could, I write my name as Anupama K. Mazumder.

My mother was moved when she heard this, but she didn't say anything.

Many friends have asked me about this, some of wondered quietly, here's your answer!

Call me a female chauvinist if you may, but I like this version of my name.
Discover Things that make me who I am : A, BCDEFGHI, J

Friday, April 11, 2014

Juggling between Roles

"Anupama, this project is now your baby", my boss said, handing me a thick file.

Before I could react, there was a beep on my cellphone - "You cooked the cauliflower really well" - that's my brother in law, an ardent fan of my culinary skills.

I was smiling, when the gadget on my hand started ringing, flashing the name of one of my students. "Madam, please guide me what to do next", he requested.

I was too shocked to respond, so  I promised to call him back and walked back to my chair when the landline on my desk rang. "There is no bus on my route for 30 minutes. Please do something", a complete stranger had called me. I work in a public transport company, and my phone number is almost public property. I get such weird calls, in spite of the fact that I possess no power to satisfy such demands.

My mother in law called to check on my health, for I was sneezing over the phone last evening. I assured her of my being better and enquired about her left knee, which is her weak point.

I gulp down some water, reflecting on the various roles I've played in the last few minutes. And this is just a small sample. I am more - a daughter, a sister, friend, guide, what not.

I am no exception - all of us out there juggle between various roles. We are bloggers, artists in our own right, professionals, family, parents, siblings, friends and much of which we do not even realize.

Just give it a thought, and it will surely bring a smile to your lips.

Here's to you great people out there!
Discover Things that make me who I am : A, BCDEFGH, I

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I - "Its my Life"

Its my life.

I needed Bon Jovi (a singer you cannot help liking) to teach me this small, yet effective phrase. I learned the hard way, but I did learn it. This lesson is one of the magic solutions when things around me do not exactly favour me. Its my life, and I need to take charge of it

When you live in a society, you have to abide by some rules. Some would appear perfectly ridiculous, but yet, to let peace prevail, you give in. But you can still be happy. Adjustment is not giving up one's happiness. And what gives you happiness is actually known only to you. So its only you who can rule the roost, isnt it?

Preach what I may, I am perhaps the most vulnerable and jittery being in the universe when faced with adversity. Somewhere my soul would turn around and say, "Take charge of your life" and soon, I'd be composed, trying to decide on the best course of action given the present situation.

Take it from me - do what you like to do, even if you have to do many more things you would rather not do.

Keep smiling!

Elections are in the air in India at present, and if we are all to take charge of our lives, we must vote! 
Discover Things that make me who I am : A, BCDEFG, H

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Handwriting woes

It started in 5th Standard. My classmate was asked to read out an essay I had written - she stumbled so many times in deciphering my scribble that I had to finally do the reading.

The problem got worse when this incident percolated to home. My elder brother, father and people around me had lovely handwritings, and I was chided for my messy work. 

I am someone who had to work on her handwriting afresh. I copied styles from people whose handwritings I liked, and evolved one of my own. So if you are someone who tries to decipher personality traits from lettering styles, I am perhaps not the correct choice to try your skills on.

Another milestone in the history of my handwriting is when a firecracker burst in my right hand, injuring my thumb, index and middle fingers. The hitch was that I had examinations from the following week, and I had to spend time trying to write with my left hand, instead of studying. However, three days after serious effort, I realized writing with bandaged fingers was perhaps a better option. [By the way, I can write well with my left hand too].

My training as an Architect affected my letter formations and soon, people would appreciate my casual handwriting even at a cursory glance.

In today's age of typing, its rare that I have to write anything beyond few lines. Needless to say, my handwriting, something I was so proud of at a time, has suffered. However, what remains is in the image below: a hastily written application. Do you like it?
In fact, the easiest way to impress me is by having a good writing. At the same time, it must be noted that all the men I have had a crush on or fallen for or ever noticed have simply pathetic handwritings.
Discover Things that make me who I am : A, BCDEF, G

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

G reminds me of Gambles

Everyone has to take gambles at some stage in his life, but  on hindsight, all my decisions have
been so!  Oops!

First choice I got to make in life was that of 3rd language in 7th standard.  I chose Sanskrit mostly because I knew nothing about it. I ended up with a completely new group of class fellows, gelling with them seemed like a Herculean task. Today I remember nothing significant of the subject, but I still have a loving set of friends.

In my urge to do things differently, I took up Mechanics in 10th. Years later, allow me to admit that it was again a big risk for I had no idea what it was all about.

My decision to train as an Architect was a surprise for me as well,  for I possessed very limited sketching skills.  Today I teach the subject to youngsters,  so it must be a gamble that has paid off well.

Transforming into a transport planner was a risky action too,  but I am still surviving in my job. :-P.

Taking up blogging was perhaps not a gamble, it is my way of telling you who I am,  what holds the key to my soul and more.

Here's hoping all your future ventures pay off ! May the same hold true for mine as well!
Discover Things that make me who I am : A, BCDEF

Monday, April 07, 2014

F is Feedback

We had launched an online survey for bus commuters in Delhi, and the very next day I received a mail that almost caught me by the collar: "How many bus commuters are internet savvy do you think?", it accused. I replied saying that we had already spoken to 1 lakh commuters personally and this was a medium we did not wish to leave unexplored.

The key thing is that feedback on your work is what helps you improve, be as good as possible, and perhaps exceed your potential.

I work in a field which is a hot bed: you recommend something and it is implemented almost immediately, and if I am not  careful, the end user would be knocking at my door, demanding explanations. And if it benefits him, a big smile would acknowledge me.

I've been blogging some time now, and genuine comments, however few, have given me the impetus to hang in there. I value feedback, even if it is absolutely critical. For example, a close friend actually told me that even if I was posting daily for the A-Z challenge, I should write my posts with care. I did not take that too well, but soon realized that negative feedback is for me to improve upon. So, thanks buddy.

I take this opportunity to thank all of you who have been there for me, and helped me become the person I am.

And if you have read this till here, please tell me what you think.
Discover Things that make me who I am : A, BC, D, E

Saturday, April 05, 2014

E is Experimental

Not afraid to try anything new, I have a secret trait in me. I am willing to see what leads to what. And I have a dangerous tendency of applying a tip gained for something on a completely different thing. So you never know when I am using you as a guineapig! 

Of late, I am the one cooking at home. Not liking the idea of knowing how a regular dish tastes even before you taste it, I try to add few  of my secret ingredients in it. Often, you are left guessing what has gone in and I like it. My experiments with cooking misfire at times, but that hardly deters me.

Next is my willingness to add spunk to my appearance. I come across as a simple and conventional girl,  until you notice two "Polo" (mint with a hole) rings hanging from my ears. I got my nose punctured impulsively, much to the horror of my family.  My stole is often on my head and my old shirts couple off as exquisite shrugs.

At work, I am not keen to do work in age old methods. I am always looking for effective time management solutions, so that I can wrench out time for other things.

That brings me to the way I move around. I love exploring  alone,  only I prefer daylight,  and would get into unknown lanes to find out where it leads.

More about me coming up soon!  Stay tuned!
Discover Things that make me who I am : A, BC, D

Friday, April 04, 2014

D has to be Delhi

If C is Calcutta, D is definitely Delhi.

Now, this is a city I've grown in. I was here in 2001, came back in 2003 and never really went back. So, a good 11 years of my life have been spent here.

Things that were so taboo in my school days in Calcutta were so cool in Delhi. A city of millions, and I hardly knew anyone. I had friends around me, but somewhere, I was alone. The city befriended me, urged me to explore deeper and deeper.

I made mistakes, I learnt, I spoke to people, picked up local language and talking styles. I have visited areas where people discourage you to venture alone. Oops.

Delhi has grown with me: the metro has come, suburbs have developed, my roots have gone deeper and I've sort of become used to its extreme characteristics: be it the weather, traffic or political influences (or whatever).

The City of Djinns - you'll love it. 
Discover Things that make me who I am : A, B, C
Image: Hauz Khas Village, 2011

Thursday, April 03, 2014

C is Calcutta

C is always Calcutta for me. Not Kolkata - I detest that spelling. Calcutta is the city I was born in, and hope to die in. Calcutta, the City of Joy.

No, Calcutta is not about Victoria Memorial (monument in the picture). In fact, I've never been inside in my senses.

My schooling, my graduation, my family and friends, my identity is all synonymous to the city. Whenever I land up, my soul connects with the city's. She jeers, "So you are back again? How long this time?"
The city knows I hate leaving it. There's rain everytime on my departure day, as if the downpour is trying to hold me back. Maybe the flight/ train may get delayed?

The city of trams. The city of India's first metro rail. The former capital of British. last but not the least, its "My City".

There's much I do not know about the city. But whatever I know seems to be a part of me. Many a person may criticize it, but I love it all the same.
Discover Things that make me who I am : A, B

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

B for Books!

Yes, its B for Books. The theme I've chosen for this A to Z challenge is what each letter means to me the most.

Its less to call me a Bookworm. I am someone for whom anything in print suffices. And you dare comment on my choice of books - those in the photo above are only a part of the ones I own. When we shifted homes, my husband underestimated the speed of my evergrowing collection and made two stylish shelves. Now he says, "I should have dedicated a full wall for your books!"

Books mean a lot for me. They keep me awake in public transport, help me wait anytime anywhere, and more. Its also the easiest way to strike of a conversation with me - Ask me what book I am reading - for I am sure to be devouring one.

To satisfy your curiosity, I am currently reading "Byculla to Bangkok" by S. Hussain Zaidi.
Read my previous posts in this series : A

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A - our names!

Having enrolled for the A-Z challenge at the last moment, I was left wondering what I should start the series with. "A" means lot of things for me, but the most important thing is what we are known by - our names. Most of us in our family, my closest friends, people who affect my life and more have names starting with A. So here goes:

Anupama (that's me), Aprotim, Ananya, Anindita, Anirban, Abhishek, Amit, Arun, Anindya, Anuradha, Atul, Alok, Anand, Ayush, Ayushi, Ayesha, Anjan, Aditya, Ashtrutaa, Ashish, Atanu, Anuj, Anit, Avijit, Abonty, Angon and many more...

Love all of you!