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Monday, 5 March 2018

Are Ubers the new Tinder?

When uber and ola began their sharing rides, little did they know that they were creating a meeting ground for the single, the lonely, the business hungry, and the plain old extroverts. Little did they think that their supposed car pooling system would soon turn into a speed (literally) dating set up between strangers who may never even meet again, which in an ideal speed dating world is the perfect way to go about it.

So how did I think of this? I won't lie to you. I've never been in an uber pool or an ola share or any of the other sharing cabs that have joined the bandwagon.
And Disclaimer: Uber/Ola have not paid me to talk about them.

A friend of mine who is a frequent traveller by Ola came across this rad driver one day. Who played music similar to her taste and then went on to play her favourite songs. She, for one, was shocked at his taste in music and then overwhelmed that he could hum the same songs that she would otherwise have played on her earphones. She texted me that instant out of disbelief. The very next day, she spoke to a passenger in her Ola cab and their conversations led them to exchange numbers and soon had them chatting over WhatsApp.

It's an easy game for the extroverts. They're not shy, they're welcoming, they're happier in conversation than in quiet rides home. But let's take, for example, another friend of mine. Who takes an Uber share home 4 times a week. A drive of 20-30 minutes generally means that much time for her co-passenger to initiate conversation.

Now, an introvert is often thrust with anxiety, over conversations she does not want to engage in, and here comes mister 'I like this song, have you heard it before?' while an old Coldplay number hits the station on the Ubers system. Reluctantly, she shakes her head and looks out the window, not necessarily meaning to be mean but quite promptly indicating she does not want to converse. But that doesn't stop mister 'hello' from trying his best to take this conversation forward and soon my friend is texting me to try and seem busy so she does not have to engage in social interaction.

And this is exactly what got me thinking. This wasn't the first time someone in her cab tried to make a connection. And I use the term connection because she's been offered business cards from passengers too. And days that she can breathe easy are the ones where she knows there's an introvert sitting beside her.

Yet another friend narrated her experiences to me after I asked her if she had any conversations with co-passengers.

She too is one to plug in her earphones but is definitely more likely to engage in a conversation than the friend I metioned earlier. She said she made her first commute-buddy on an Uber pool ride. They happened to be alloted the same cab every day as their destinations and routes were the same. Soon, they both started booking private Ubers instead of pool just so that they always got the same cab home.

Another time a passenger began asking her where she worked and what was her job like. This conversation ended with an exchange of Snapchat IDs and warm smiles. Today they check each other's stories but never really engage in conversation. Sounds like a lot of tinder matches too.

Yet another ride had an old man engaging in a jolly conversation about his 'zamaana' and ended with some blessings for great success ahead.

My friend does think that it's unnecessary conversation. After a long day at work, all you wanna do it get home quick and listen to music on your way there. However, she's a little more patient with strangers and even happened to help a first-time Uber pool rider.

Oh but the number of times they've tried to find a common ground! I'm not paranoid. I'm the kind who would generally engage in this conversation. But I trust my friend when she says there have been remarks that have sometimes crossed the line of 'co-passenger' and that really got me questioning if Uber is the next tinder.

So you can see, there's a lot of mix matching out there and while you keep swiping right on tinder, some lucky person just booked the same cab as his soulmate.

Think about it, Uber/Ola are probably sitting on the next big dating app and they don't even realise it. 

Friday, 23 February 2018

My relationship with technology

I share a very deep relationship with technology. With my smartphone especially. From the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, it stays on me or with me at all times.

I'm not exaggerating, it may be a stone's throw away from me sometime during the day when it needs it's own time to recharge but it's always in my line of view and rarely ever out of my sight.
I sit at my laptop for 8/24 hours of my day and then at my desktop or maybe my kindle for another few hours.

Often my 8 very important hours of sleep are cut short by a TV series or a Netflix show that I have to binge watch that very day so I can chat about it with my friends and not be left behind.

I probably open Instagram 30 times a day, Facebook 15 times a day and other apps a couple of times in a span of 24 hours. I'm listening to my music on my commute to and fro work on my Walkman or my phone, whichever sounds better for the day.

Courtesy: Pinterest

My smartwatch counts my steps and tells me the time even though my phone can do the exact same thing.

I spend a lot of my time watching people's stories on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp and sometimes I put in a lot of effort to ensure my stories are as interactive, engaging and funny as theirs.

If I'm lucky, my story makes it to various location stories on Instagram too.

Sometimes my posts get featured, I win contests, my photography skills are appreciated, I get shout-outs , loads of likes and even comments. My friends tag me in memes and we laugh about them together in comments. You probably share the same kind of day too.

Now. Take a moment and imagine yourself without your apps, your phone, your Walkman, your Kindle, your laptop, your cameras, your earphones and mostly a WiFi connection.

If you had to spend a day without all of this... 
What do you think you'd be doing?
Would you be able to go a day? or even a couple of hours?
Would you start practising a hobby or maybe restart an old one?
Would you start learning music instead of just listening to it?
Would you get some rest since it's been a while since you had a good nap?
Would you walk into a theatre and choose a movie to watch on the spot?

This portion of my article was not to disregard the use of technology in your life. I am of the opinion that while technology has made our life easier, it has also taken half of our lives away.

We're watching our friends excel on their stories instead of working on excelling ourselves. All this at the cost of our own self-esteem.

Memes are suddenly the easiest way to say what you feel without really telling anyone you're feeling it and still get it out there. So basically we can share our insecurities and our pain without really talking about it, by just laughing about it and that's quite a pity.

Information is reaching us quicker, but how much of this information is really relevant?

Would you believe me if I told you the internet has more information about you than your own government and half of it is derived and not even taken from you by consent?  Do you realize that your buying behaviour is actually studied and then used to tempt you into more buying?

Do you realize that there is no such thing as personal space anymore considering that your phone is in it all the time? Which means that every single app developer, news anchor, journalist, advertiser, restaurant owner, brand owner, and the millions of those who work under them all sit in the palm of your hand when you hold your phone. And I won't even begin to tell you how much of money goes into the research industry and the ad industry to move in closer into your personal space to engage with you, to understand you to impress you, to sell to you.

Courtesy: Pinterest

Don't think me paranoid. This is a wake-up call, to undo a certain addiction. A certain something that cannot be stopped as technology only advances. Take stock of your day. How productive are you with the help of technology. Are you dumbing your self down because of how smart your phone is? Do you practice a skill or a hobby that does not require technology to assist you?

It doesn't make you any less of a person if you are independent of your phone to complete a certain task. Like calculations for instance or booking a cab or meeting someone in person.

The biggest tragedy of being able to connect with each other over chats and video calls is that we almost never meet in person anymore, we never laugh in person or even share a hug in person, we have emoji's to do all of that for us now.

Think about it, the world is changing, and so are you. How do you feel in comparison to what you felt about yourself a few years ago? Has something changed in the way you think in the way you perceive yourself in the way you aspire or dream or if you work towards these dreams at all?


Friday, 7 July 2017

Love on hold

This post is one of the most spontaneous ones I've ever written and it's inspired by death even though I would rather it was inspired by life. But that's the truth, death is the only thing that fashions life, that gives life its glamour or its relevance at all.

Most of us are living every day to the best we can because, who knows, tomorrow you may not even be around to do the things you always wanted to do. Or wait, are we really living all we can?

I recently gave it a lot of thought, every time someone in my life has passed away I realize that I did not tell them how much I loved them or even how much I appreciated them being in my life. It's a very general regret that most of us have when we lose people we love. And the best condolence you can receive is "She knew you loved her". But no, maybe she didn't because we didn't speak for the longest time.

When I was 15, I lost my grandfather and my dad to health. A very close school friend took her own life when I was 17, I lost my child hood best friend to a bike accident when I was 19 and I lost a very close college mate to health at the age of 21.

And while I should have learnt my lesson after losing people the first two times, I didn't and every single time after that there have been regrets. I regret that I did not tell them that they were loved and that they meant so much to me. I regret that some misunderstandings were never sorted and that they left this world with a grudge in their hearts towards me, if at all.

I regret that I waited to forgive and to be forgiven and didn't reach out to fix things in time. But that's the whole point of this blog post. Why do we wait or put these little things off for tomorrow?

What might sound to you as a very common topic to be found on a blog after someone loses someone they loved to death, is actually a very grave topic to me today because I am surrounded by people who still don't understand the fragility of life.

You may have heard this very exact lesson from so many people "Love today" "Tell people what they mean to you" "don't sleep over an argument" , but we hear these things, say our "I Love Yous" and then get on with our lives.

But I strongly felt the need to emphasize in this post how very important it is to make up, to stay in touch, to reach out, to sleep in peace, to be happy.

Our days here are numbered. We're all somewhere on the waiting list to go back home. And you can never say if the person on your mind right now will wake up tomorrow and say good morning to you like he does everyday. You can never be sure if today will be the last time you hug your best friend. You will never know if your mom knew you loved her when she passed away just because you argued with her every single day before it.

You will never know how much you could have accomplished on any particular day if you die before it. And you don't know when you're going to die so start prioritizing people and things that really matter. Stop planning and start doing, don't leave misunderstandings unattended, talk it out. Don't be okay with holding grudges especially when you know it has the potential to be fixed.

Don't keep love on hold.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Truth be told

I begin at your end.
My heart twisted and turned at every bend
For you and all that was yours
For us and for a greater cause.
My needs failed to matter,
Yours, however, came to the front.
You're not to blame, this is all me,
Why then am I longing to be set free?
Wasn't it all in my hands from the start?
Or was it all just a trick of the heart?
To make me feel so much through and through,
For someone as devious and unmindful as you
Or should I say unheartful, ungrateful, unthoughtful maybe
Or maybe forgive you and make it look that easy.
To move, move on, move out from it all
Pack my bags, get up or take another fall?
Why does it feel like all is doomed
For happiness, my heart finds no room
Destined to give, and receive but none
Love, shouldn't feel like a war to be won.
But that's what it's become , that's how I feel
The war rages in my soul, a blood stained battlefield.
But no matter who wins, the damage is done
One side will have lost and the other will have won.
The debris, the corpses, the dream's all lost
Now they lay lifeless, but at what cost?
The cost of never being fully content,
The fact that my voice never found a vent.
The fight and the pain has come to an end.
Though, I shall never love the same again.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Reservation for one

It's not a rarity to find more people choosing to go to the movies alone, with no company at all. It's not rare anymore to find people visiting cafes just by themselves. While some choose to call these people introverts, I highly disagree. Not everyone who chooses to be alone is an introvert.

Recently, I've found myself more comfortable being with myself than in the company of others. Whilst I do not mind company, I'm fairly okay with not having any either. And yet I have friends who would ask me, how can you go to a restaurant and eat alone, what do you do at the movies alone, don't you get lonely?

I guess most of us do not know how to be alone. We're always in touch, always communicating, always talking, always reaching out. When was the last time you reached in, got in touch with yourself?

Lost somewhere between #SquadGoals #Groupfie #WeekendGetaway I found myself longing for #Solitude #PersonalSpace #MeTime and I decided it's about time i gave these hashtags a little more attention.

I'd like you to take a moment to analyse when was the last time you went to the restaurant you wanted and not the one the rest of the group wanted to go to. When was the last time you ate your own plate of fries without having to split it. When was the last time you saw a movie and formed your own opinion about it instead of having everyone else influence yours.

Have you ever once been silenced by a good book or a good movie but your social life just wouldn't let you feel the things you wanted to feel after it because you're already making a #WhatNext plan. We're constantly on the move, in the flow, moving with the tide.

Don't get me wrong, friends are cool, having friends who understand you is cooler. But of what use are friends if you've lost yourself somewhere between them all. If you're suddenly finding yourself swept in with the tide, doing things you would otherwise not choose to do if it were your sole decision, it's time to stop and make sense out of it all.

I still hang out with my friends, go for lunches and dinners and parties, we go dancing and we sometimes just chill in someones compound. But now I make time for the things I want to do over everything that the rest of my group wants to do, even if it means doing it alone.

Don't feel guilty to do it too. It's one of the most uplifting things you could do for yourself.

Lastly, I'd like to address a very common comment I get when I tell people I eat alone at restaurants. "How can you be comfortable sitting alone with no one to talk to?"

It's simple, if you can't bear to be with yourself or you can't deal with your own idle mind, how can you expect someone else to want to share a meal with you?

Go ahead, reserve a table for one.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The heart of it all

The heart of it all had everything I never thought it could hold.
It held grudges, it held promises, it held memories
At the heart of it all, I found words, said and unsaid.
I found messages never forgotten,
I saw scratches on the walls, bruises.
I saw stories, some brought me to tears
I found fears, some that were in corners,
Some that came from the dark.
In the dark, I found another heart.

The heart of it all had a cage of anger
But it did not own the keys to let it out.
It had a lot of empty spaces...
Maybe no one cared to fill it,
It held onto lies told,
It had boxes of truths that went untold.
But the most daunting find
Were the restrictions of the mind,
All stacked up and labelled too.
"He's not for you"
"You can't do this"
"RIP Logic?"
It made me sick
At the heart of it all,
I didn't think I'd see
Everything that came between you and me.
Image courtesy: Vanora Vaz

Thursday, 2 February 2017


"I knew you'd come" she said, with a smirk. Her body eased at the feel of warmth beside her.
The skin on their hands barely brushed against each other. They kept their space.
He smiled too.

She thought about the excuses he might have had to make up at home to leave at this hour just to be with her.
The summer breeze gently blew sending dust around the place leaves and piece of them too.
This was where they met most nights. Sometimes she sat there alone, sometimes he did. 
It didn't matter, they weren't there for each other.
"Do you think that that star there has been up there very long?" She asked, pointing towards the sky.
He gazed, he didn't speak when he had no answer.
"I think she's been up there very long. Like she died when she was a child and her parents mourn her death everyday."
"Why do you think so, Aster?"
"It looks like it has a sad story"
He chose not to reply.

Again silence over took them. They lose themselves while gazing beyond the city lights, into the night. Sometimes, if the moon was too bright, it would be the topic of their conversation. But most nights they spoke of lives that have passed on to become stars. 

Her eyes sparkled with the reflection of the daintly lit up sky. He sometimes preferred to look at them instead of the stars.
Her lips were pale. Her face, tired
But her eyes shone, like she longed to take off. There was a fire in them, one that was slowly dimming day by day. And that, he had noticed.

Somewhere, mid thought, she turned to him and asked him "Why did you come? To look at me all the while?"

"You asked me to"

"Say you wanted me to"

"Ha! You're a sly one"

"Okay fine"

"Don't come here alone so often, it's not safe" he said, holding her hand.
She didn't like that he chose such a beautiful night to bring this up again.
She answered by squeezing his hand a little.
"How am I alone?"

He smiled, not knowing how to answer. But it had been two years now. They'd meet on the town's abandoned  water tank. Lay there, quietly, comfortable in each others presence, talking only if and when required, every time she wished for him.

And on days she didn't wish for him, she looked out for him in the sky.
Today, he was with her. Until the sun rose of course.
And when the first beams of light began to show, she drew out of a seamless slumber, only to find her hand empty.

She made her way back home, sure to reach before they all woke up, sure that he was looking down upon her, showering kisses every time she longed for him, wishing stars came out in daylight too.

Monday, 23 January 2017

The Story Keeper

She was made of them; stories.
She picked them up, one by one
Gathered them along the way she had travelled.
She collected them and held them in her heart
And they made her whole.
She kept them close and they kept her together.
She could lose herself in their midst and yet find herself within the chaos.
She had learned to make them her own.
She could tell them the way they were or change them to suit you,
She could twist and turn them the way her heart pleased,
Or in ways to bring you to your knees.
She heard them, she told them, she learned them.
She was building her own day by day, 
with bits and pieces picked up along the way.
But by now she was made up of so many others
What was one story's truth against another?
A look into her eyes would take you afar
To places unheard of and a life of scars,
To tears not shed and dreams in bed,
To words unspoken and hearts that were broken.
But where would her own story fit? she was out of space.
Her story was leaving her, slowly going, leaving no trace.
Now she's made up of everything and everyone
With so much to offer and yet, of her own, she had none.
She's holding on to her story by it's tail, waiting for a taker,
Someone to hold it dear, someone who will not fear,
Someone to make it their own. 
Someone, alas, to give it a home.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Lost Causes

What happens to lost causes?
Lost stories.
What happens to what once was and now isn't?
Other than it being pushed into the past;
What does it do in the past?
Does anything happen to it?
Does it materialize then?
What happens to lost souls and lost bodies?
Where do they go?
Where, also, do lost memories go?

While some return and some burn;
What happens to those that just leave,
That get up one day and say "I give up, I'm a lost cause'
Who finds them?
Do they ever get found?
Or do they reach the ground like the rest of us?
What happens to lost hopes and lost dreams?
Are they wandering somewhere in the universe like lost screams?

Lost causes...
Do we find them maybe in another life?
If that's true then maybe, someday, 
I'll  find you. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Shooting Stars

I wished upon a star.
The one that flew across the sky that night,
Among so many others.
And I remember turning to you and asking you to make a wish.
I made one too.
But that star dove down for you.

We held hands, closed our eyes and wished.
Like kids with dreams waiting to come true.
You wished for what you loved, I wished for you.
Little did I know that the star would fall for no one else but you.

We waited, in our own time, hoping that shooting stars would land,
You; for someone to come by and rightly kiss your hand.
And honestly, how I waited too!
But she let go of the sky just for you.

These stars, what they'd do for you!
Come crashing down so you have your way
Shoot across the night sky
Just to make your day.

And today I know that you've forgotten
To look up at the skies,
To close your eyes and make a wish.
For all the stars you've wished upon have fallen for you already. 

Why don't you, then, wish upon a star for me.