Category: Communication

Trusted Companion

The alarm began to ring. My friend searched for the button to put it off; politely apologised the group she had joined for lunch.

An alarm in the afternoon was something unusual. But, hers was a reminder set for a task she had to complete. She rejoined the group after making a call. “Life has become easy with the mobile.” She exclaimed.

Indeed, the smartphones have become the inseparable us.

I had replaced a phone long ago. With it had lost some important information too. My memory appeared to have had a seizure. The mundane duties assigned with passwords were unreachable. Of course, the endless contact list of family, friends, and acquaintances stored in the mobile phone was safe somewhere. I could not recollect the codes and numbers though.

Wandering in the wilderness of the dreams, the ability to identify the real may seem a task itself. At times the sleep takes us on the unknown paths and we also see the real world we live in. On one such “eureka moments” I happened to see the mobile phone dumped along with the used and ignored gadgets.

Within moments I was holding my phone. Old and worn out but still strong at heart. It was as if finding my soul mate! After giving it a complete care, I was back in action, searching, transferring files and documents.

The photos of family and friends smiled out of the phone. They were all clicked on my mobile phone at one or the other occasion. Apparently, every photo had one or the other pose with their mobile phone. How significant; better to describe the photos as a get-together of extended families of friends and mobile phones.

A few hours of happiness were captured in good memories. The information remained stored in the phone. But my mind needed to refresh its memory with the help of a phone! Ironically, changing a mobile phone for another smartphone had not worked wonders on my memorising skills. I was no different from my friend and her reminder set on the phone.

Meta? Aren’t We?

“Meta”!

The four letter word, a curious case that it seems, have a way with words. Appears to be a detached word, yet it defines existence.

My search for the word began with a few spam mails that had used ‘meta’, repeatedly. Surprisingly, online Merriam-Webster dictionary returned the definition “as river over 620 miles (995 kilometers) NE Colombia flowing into the Orinoco on Venezuela-Colombia boundary”.

While ‘meta’ prefixed words explain the situation as what goes “after” or “beyond” mostly, philosophy accepted the ‘meta’ reality as existence. Well, another dictionary explains it as a term “used to characterise something that is characteristically self-referential,” and is of relevance in art.

A friend, who has been in the field of content writing and marketing, explained it as a means to help you rank your pages in the search engine. “Basically it is the description about the page”. A well described page or content will reflect in every search.

Following the rules of content writing, careful repetition of keywords becomes a habit. A little help and some understanding of the technique, may lead to a page’s success on the search engine.

My passing thoughts seem to be getting jumbled in the process. Meta may be “about” and “beyond”. It may have references in being competitive as well as in human emotions. But isn’t it all about the struggle for existence? Aren’t we “meta” in our day to day living? I wonder.

Dearly Beloved Diary

diary old

I’ve lost some friends

I truly cherished,

For whom I’m greatly sorrowed

These friends aren’t humans who have perished.

They’re books that humans borrowed.

This little poetry, I could not recollect the name of the poet, was published in Reader’s Digest years ago. I had written it down from my habit of collecting quotes and poetry. With time, my habits changed and the sources of happiness were many in the offing. And the collection of quoted wisdom was lost in the familiar surroundings of my home.

Abandoned to the point of being burnt, recently, the oldest of the diaries was recovered from the amassed fortune of old and out-of-print publications. It has a cover print of Mughal miniature painting, the precise reason for making it a precious book.

The years rolled backwards. I glanced through the pages of quotes/poems. From Bhagavad Gita to Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s words and H.W. Longfellow to W.B Yeats, there were many known, anonymous and translations.

Some philosophical and some practicality, yet they all spoke the same language – Language of Life. I felt, as if, I was having a secret communication: the words that weaved a way of life to humble living and deep thinking. The book appeared to be life personified.

Old and yellowing pages, delicate to touch, made it difficult for me to leaf through the pages. My emotions reined my thoughts. Ironically, the page that turned without much fuss was to the poem “Dearly Beloved”.

The diary was my dearly beloved possession long time ago, not “borrowed” or shared. Yet, I lost her in transition for reasons I cannot recollect. However, the fading handwritten words promised a reunion, and held a lifetime teaching… (A Malayalam translation quoted on the facing page of “Dearly Beloved”)

“As the sand drifts away below our feet when we stand on the seashore, the days roll on, never to come back.”

Street Shopping, A Bargainer’s Delight!

A friend, who had come down to Mumbai on a short visit from the United States, was very keen on shopping. She had a day in hand. Her idea of owning ‘a party-wear salwaar kameez( Indian dress), fancy bangles, and mouth watering chaats (Indian snacks) ’, made me select a mall in the vicinity that had all ‘possible brands, cleanliness, and cool environment to beat the heat’.

Surprisingly, she made a humble request to go “street shopping” instead. Wow! Now, for someone who likes to wander, wonder and wriggle through the crowd of fellow wanderers by the roadside, the experience at street markets like Linking Road (Bandra West) and Fashion Street (South Mumbai, near Churchgate) is joie de vivre. Clothes, bags, accessories, sandals, including the latest fashion trends – you just have to name it.

What is even more enticing is the price quoted for the products. In ordinary words, the look-alike of any branded clothes come at half its price. “So cheap, you see!” She was overjoyed. Within minutes she was busy scouting for her goods. And with every shop she stopped by, she was gaining confidence in bargaining. At a point she mentioned “how much she enjoyed persuading and convincing.” It was a surprise indeed.

Of course, bargaining is a skill that comes with practice. In fact, I see it as a tool of communication. Here, the seller and the buyer both are aware of the rules of bargaining. Each has adorned their persuading and influencing skills to the finest. However, some of the buyers are so convincing with their reasoning that, the stall owner gives up ultimately.

Apparently, some of these stalls have a regular customer relationship. Yet, the shoppers/customers bargain and the shopkeeper/seller hands over the goods, saying “sirf aap ke liye” (only for you). But those shops/stalls that don’t encourage bargaining make their position clear with a ‘Fixed Rate’ board.

Well, there are interesting tips on bargaining pointed out by many like-minded bargainers on the World Wide Web. However, not many of us are good at bargaining. When it comes to the “real” thing, we oblige the sellers blindly. As for my friend, her happy hours in Mumbai were a dream come true, and with the “savings” she bought food and shared it with an elderly destitute.