My son is 2½ years old, and I am already under the pressure to ensure that he grows up to be ‘successful’. Life is one big competition and for this kid, it’s already started. Of course, he doesn’t know it yet, but his parents are acutely made aware about it through almost every waking moment.
Around a year back, when he was around 18 months old, he wasn’t talking as yet. In fact, he wasn’t talking even on his 2nd birthday; he started around a month after that. But every time we met someone, we were asked if he’d started expressing himself verbally. The inevitable comparisons came up as well. Someone else’s 2-year-old was already speaking full sentences, and we were given such examples from all and sundry. However, the only thing we could do was be patient. And much to our delight, he began talking out of nowhere. Today, he knows words in three different languages – Gujarati, Hindi and English.
Now that that’s out of the way, I know other comparisons like this will crop up all through his growing years. And they’ll continue through the rest of his life. We are already hearing about how he isn’t able to run properly as yet, or how he can’t cycle as yet, and etc. Of course, no one commends the things that he does do very well, like recognizing all kinds of shapes and colours and alphabets and numbers. But then, to boast about these tiny achievements is the job of the parents. Obviously!
The point here is that he’ll be gauged in comparison to others, on yardsticks made up by someone else’s achievements. This is the unfortunate way by which we measure success. While each one of us strives to be successful, dreams of our children being successful, we forget that the meaning of success isn’t the same for everyone.
Success is a personal thing, something that gets defined by a person’s aspirations, desires, goals and choices. While success could mean a senior-level corporate job for someone, it could mean a business of organic farming for someone else. But just because the corporate executive drives a BMW and the organic farmer rides a cycle, you can’t say that the former is more successful than the latter. One shouldn’t even compare the two. Maybe the farmer has chosen to ride a cycle because he’s concerned about preserving the environment and his own health, while the executive is in love with swanky cars. If they’ve both fulfilled a goal, they’re both equally successful.
However, most of us don’t look at it that way. We are groomed and nurtured to believe that more money = more success. We study and work to earn money. But we never have enough, because there’s always someone who has more than us. And then we do the one thing we shouldn’t do – we compare. Success becomes something that someone else has.
Well, I am going to try and teach my son otherwise. I want him to be successful, but I want him to figure out what success means to him. I’ll teach him to not live on other people’s yardsticks. I’ll teach him to understand his personal aspirations and desires, and try to become successful by achieving them. I’ll teach him to not fall into the trap of the ‘ideas of successes’ created by the world around him.
I’ve begun to understand this, and I’ve discovered that when you know what success means to you, it becomes easier to achieve.
“FUCKING HELL! MOTHERFUCKING SHIT! FUCK…FUCK… FFFFFUUUUUCCCCKKKKK!”
Ranvir slammed his hands on the car’s bonnet as he screamed out in frustration. He kicked the car’s tyre, hit the bonnet again, not caring about leaving behind dents. It wasn’t his car, after all. It was a friend’s car; he’d just been using it to make out with a girl.
The girl? Niharika had left. She had stormed out of the car just a couple of minutes back, pulling her halter top up, which, when she got out of the car, was bunched around her waist. As she walked briskly back to the pub, adjusting the straps of her top back in place, Niharika heard the guy she’d just been with scream out. She didn’t care, he deserved it. He deserved being left alone with a boner; he deserved the whack she’d given him on his face before she left. Her right hand was clutched into an angry fist, her animal-print bra dangled from her left hand.
“Fuck, man! How can I be so dumb? Shit, man! Shit, shit, shit!” Ranvir was talking to no one else but himself. His boner wasn’t there anymore; it’d gone with her slap. His fly was still open, though. She had unzipped it herself, with her pretty little fingers, nails painted pink; while he kissed her pretty pink lips, painted red that night.
Her lipstick wasn’t there anymore; it’d been eaten away by the boy who’d been all over her face and neck a few minutes back. Niharika looked at herself in the washroom mirror. Her hair was messed up, but thankfully, her eye-shadow wasn’t. She didn’t wear much else in the form of make-up; her flawless skin didn’t require her to. Niharika pulled out a tissue from the dispenser, wiped off what little of her lipstick Ranvir had not eaten away and hand-brushed her hair back into place.
While Ranvir yanked a pack of smokes out of his denims to calm himself down, Niharika had made her way into one of the stalls in the washroom. While Ranvir pulled his Zippo out and lit a cigarette, Niharika pushed her top down and looked at her breasts, cupping them with her hands. “Fucking asshole,” she muttered, still seething. “Why do I always end up with the biggest jerks?” She wondered aloud, putting her bra on.
“Why do I always mess things up with hot babes?” Ranvir wondered aloud, shaking his head, at himself. He stubbed the cigarette out under his shoe, and walked back inside the pub. As he walked in, showing the bouncer at the door the stamp on his right wrist, Ranvir nearly bumped into Niharika. She was coming out of the ladies’ loo; she saw him stop in his tracks and gave him a look that was so icy it could have done more damage to the Titanic than that infamous iceberg had done.
“Niharika, listen,” Ranvir called out. “Listen, I’m sorry I…”
“Just shut up, okay?” Niharika cut him off. “I don’t want to hear anything you have to say.”
She walked away. He cussed himself under his breath, and walked into the pub behind her.
“Hey, babe, we didn’t expect to see you back?” Niharika’s friend, Payal said.
Niharika didn’t say anything to her. She asked her other friend, Shruti to please get her a drink.
Meanwhile, Ranvir’s pals were surprised to see him back so soon. They were eager to know what had happened, and how much had happened. But Ranvir wasn’t in the mood to talk.
Niharika wasn’t either. “Did you guys do it?” Payal asked, even so. “No,” Niharika replied.
Again, Ranvir’s pals were surprised when he told them he hadn’t done it with the girl. “What did you do then?” they asked. “We kissed,” Ranvir told them, to which they asked, “That’s it?”
Things had started out well, Niharika told Payal and Shruti. They had got into the car’s backseat, started kissing. He was a good kisser; she was lost for a bit. He had started to feel her up, but she didn’t mind. His hand running up her arm, lightly massaging her thigh, it felt good. Real good, she told her friends.
Her lips were soft and supple; Ranvir elaborated for his pals, her skin was smooth. When she didn’t resist his hands on her arm and thigh, he moved to the front of her top and placed his palm on her breast. He squeezed her breast softly, she moaned into his mouth.
Niharika told her friends that he wasn’t harsh, he was gentle. She broke the kiss and leaned back when his hands found her breast. His lips moved to her neck, his hand kept kneading her breast softly. It felt awesome, she told them.
Ranvir wasn’t sure how to describe the feeling of kissing her neck, he told his pals he loved the smell, feel, and taste of her. He was getting hard by then; he wanted to take things further. He took one of her hands in his, and placed it over the fly of his denims.
He seemed big, Niharika said. He got bigger as she rubbed her palm over the front of his denims. Unzipping his fly wasn’t easy, but she managed after a couple of tugs. As her hand went in, his hand went to the strap of her top. She cupped his manhood over his boxers; he pulled her top down to expose her bra.
It was a sexy, animal-print bra, Ranvir explained, something like a tiger’s skin. Her hand was massaging his fully-erect member; things were getting uncomfortable for him. He kissed her on the neck again, and unclasped her bra with surprising ease.
“He removed your bra?” Shruti cooed. “Wow, you reached that far!” Payal wanted to know something else, “Did you pull his thing out of his boxers?” Niharika shook her head; she didn’t, she said.
Ranvir’s pals were waiting for him to tell them more. When he didn’t, they prodded him, only to be told, “That’s it.” They were aghast. “Why? What went wrong?’ they demanded. Ranvir wondered if he should tell them she’d slapped him.
“You slapped him? Why?” Payal and Shruti asked, together. “He laughed,” Niharika told them. He had chuckled at the sight of her breasts. “They’re so small, he said,” Niharika told her friends.
That comment had come out of Ranvir’s mouth unintended, much like the slight chuckle, but it had prompted Niharika into slapping him. And then she’d pushed the door open, and jumped out, leaving him behind, flabbergasted.
Whatever Works (2009) will probably not make it to anyone’s list of the finest Woody Allen movies, but it gives out a subtle, yet very relevant message. The gist of this message is the title of the movie, ‘whatever works’. Elaborated, it would be – ‘the purpose of life is to be happy, and you should do whatever you can do to be happy’.
It might be something small like stealing away a couple of hours from work or study, or something big like going on a week-long vacation, do it if it makes you happy. A holiday in the hills might work for you; a holiday on the beach might work for someone else. Partying in a noisy, smoke-filled pub might work for you; reading a book under the covers might work for someone else. As long as it makes you happy, it’s alright. Whatever works.
Life is unpredictable. It always will be, no matter how much we try to control it. People die unnatural deaths every day, people get hospitalised after road accidents even when they were driving carefully, people get diagnosed with illnesses and diseases that crop up out of nowhere, none of us what the next moment is going to bring. Heck, my laptop could get infected by a deadly virus before I finish writing this blog post, something I have been meaning to publish for over a week. I’ll be happy even if one person finds this post helpful, but it might never get published and read. The point is, don’t procrastinate with something that makes you happy. Do it when you have the chance. The best time to be happy is now.
Like Boris, the protagonist of the movie, tells us, “Whatever love you can get and give, whatever happiness you can filch or provide, every temporary measure of grace, whatever works. A bigger part of your existence is luck, whether you like to admit or not. Whatever makes you happy, whatever works.”
Finally got the chance to watch Bombay Talkies last night. It was a good movie, but like other recent Bollywood movies, it left me with a sour taste in my mouth.
This was because of the anti-smoking ads that are played before the movie begins and then, again during the interval. I know why these ads are being played, to spread awareness about the bad things that can happen to smokers, but it’s not what I want to see when I go to have a good time in a cinema hall.
And for what? We were subjected to those ads twice, just because the entire movie had only one scene where one character is smoking a cigarette. My whole movie-going experience would have been much better if Sadashiv Amrapurkar was just drinking his cutting chai without a ciggy in his hand, which wasn’t even adding to his character in any way whatsoever.
So, Bollywood, seeing as the films you make these days are rarely any good, I think you should not spoil the good ones by having your characters smoke cigarettes, especially if they don’t really really really make a meaningful character trait.
Spent, you roll yourself from on top of her to beside her. You lay together on the bed, both of you breathing heavily. A minute later, once you’re sure your heart won’t explode, you turn and look at her. She’s looking at you as well; her lips that were locked with yours a bit earlier are curved in a smile. A few strands of hair fall loosely across the side of her face, she brushes them away with her hand as she props herself up on one arm.
Her body turns towards you, you admire it once again. You’ve traveled the length and breadth of her numerous times, you’ve been up close and personal with her smoothness and softness on more occasions than you can remember, but her beauty still holds you in awe. She’s not perfect, but then, you don’t want her to be. You like her just the way she is: Real. Her breasts, though, are so perfect, they’re almost unreal. But you know they’re as real as they’re proudly firm and perfectly round. No sag at all, you tell yourself as she moves herself closer to you.
“That was great, wasn’t it?” She asks.
“It always is,” you reply.
“Hahaha! You’ve always been good with words…always saying the right things.”
“And I always mean what I say, especially with you,” you smile.
You touch her face as she leans down to kiss you. Your lips don’t meet as passionately and urgently as they had some time back, but this time, the kiss is more about love than lust.
“Guess I’ll get dressed now, the dinner’s not going to cook itself,” she says, sitting up on the bed.
“Wait,” you reach out for her hand to stop her, “I’ve an idea, let’s try something different.”
“Now? Can’t we do it later…maybe after dinner? I’m hungry.”
“No…what I have in mind is something we can do only now.”
“What’re you talking about?”
“Let’s dress each other up.”
“Huh?” She asks, raising her brows.
“You know how we undress each other before sex? Let’s do the opposite of that and dress each other up now, after we have had sex,” you explain.
She looks at you with questioning eyes. She seems confused, but she’s smiling a bit. “Okay,” she shrugs.
You take her hand and guide her off the bed with yourself. The two of you look at the articles of clothing strewn all over the floor and laugh. You’re unsure about where to begin, and then you notice her yellow knickers. If that came out last, it has to get on first, you decide. You take her panties and kneel down before her. With her most private part right before your eyes, you momentarily forget about what you were doing. You can see her wetness, you inhale in her arousal. You feel the need to touch her, get closer and lick her, but your reverie is broken when she places her hands on your shoulders and raises a leg. You open out her knickers, she guides both of her legs through it and you raise it over her hips.
She smiles and goes down on her knees before you. You look down at her, in a position that she’s been in before, albeit for a different reason. You wonder if she’ll notice you’re semi-hard. Putting on her panties had got you excited, and you feel your manhood twitch in arousal as you look down at her. You notice that she isn’t looking up at you anymore; she seems to be looking at what’s in front of her. You feel your manhood rising under her gaze. You can see your underpants in her hands, but you don’t want her to put them on for you. And she doesn’t. You let out a sigh as her hand circles around your throbbing member.
Sometime later, you lie down on the bed once again and pick up your phone to order in some food.