Sunday, March 23, 2014

A small post about Twitter (more than 140 characters though)

There are some things on Twitter I just don't understand, and today I feel I must list them somewhere systematically.

1. Why do some people respond to every single tweet? Some questions are rhetorical. Some statements are just what they are. Everything doesn't require a  response.

2. Why some people respond to everything as if they were your oldest friends; they are not. Twitter itself is much younger than most of us. Brevity does not make familiarity acceptable.

Related to 1 and 2, please note that unsolicited advice is as annoying and obnoxious on Twitter as it is in the real world. Let people just tweet in peace!

3. Why do people favourite the tweets they do? If I say it's very hot, WHY on earth would someone favourite that?

4. Same question about retweets: Why would people retweet a prosaic greeting or response made to someone else?

5. Related retweet question: What is the point of retweeting a retweeted tweet that one wrote? (Can you even understand that question?)

And no people, I actually don't want answers to these questions. What I would like to know is how many of you have the same questions.

And all advice proffered in response would, in fact, fall under the category: "Unsolicited."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

50, and grateful

I want to celebrate today by saying thank you to all the people who have made this moment—me, being here, right now—possible. I do this with the enthusiasm of the primary school student anticipating jail-break and home at the end of the day, chanting, almost singing,
“Thank you, god, for the world so sweet.
Thank you, god, for the food we eat.
Thank you, god, for the birds that sing.
Thank you, god, for EVERYTHING!”

Thank you, Amma and Appa, for the gift of life!
Thank you both, and my great-grandparents, grand-parents, great-aunts and grand-uncles, aunts and uncles—real and adopted—for show me how to live.
I thank my family for the gift of love—with which came confidence, acceptance and courage—and the gift of friendship, of which I first learnt from my cousins.
I thank you for the legacy of conviction, caring and commitment and I thank you for faith—which you each hold dear but live in unique ways.

I thank my guru—you know who you are better than I do.
Thank you to all my teachers—Bala Vihar, school, college, graduate school, music, art, language, yoga, meditation, every class I ever went to.
Thank you to all workshop and training leaders, resource people, facilitators and participants of every workshop I ever attended.
Thank you to every work supervisor and colleague, every editor who has ever engaged with my text and every professional I have ever consulted.
Thank you to all who have entered my life as students, assistants, interns or in search of mentoring—you have taught me much and helped me grow.
Thank you to everyone who has ever interacted with me; I have learnt from you all.
Thank you, life, for being my most patient and persistent teacher.

My cousins first taught me what friendship meant—being together, not being the same; doing some of the same things but being happy others got to do what they wanted; communicating but not talking all the time; sharing, and also holding back what does not need to be shared; feeling each other’s pain and sharing each other’s joys. My cousins have always made other friends a bonus and other people redundant in my universe. Because of them, I have never felt pressure to conform or desperation to belong. Thank you!
My sister and brother-in-law generously ignore my seniority in years and shelter and anchor me as I drift. Thank you!

I thank all my friends for being there.
One of life’s gifts to me has been the ability to connect easily with people (usually), and the stories of many friendships are stories of serendipity or instant connection or being in each other’s lives at critical moments or through critical processes. However I know you, and in whatever ways, thank you for shaping my life.
I always knew that friendship added flavour to life; I know now for sure that without friends, life lacks any real interest. Thank you for being there!
My friends from childhood, from school and college—thank you for still being around and reminding me of other, sometimes lost, selves.
My friends from the US—from my time in Syracuse, Urbana-Champaign, East Lansing and New Haven--thank you, thank you, thank you!
My penfriends and their families that have become mine—thank you for being my evidence that the pen does make a difference.
My friends from extra-curricular activities, French class, workshops, conferences, train-rides and every other nook and cranny of my life—thank you because thinking about all of oyu is making me smile as I write this.
I started my life with three extraordinary, made-to-order friends—three special cousins—and a whole army of other cousins to learn from, share with and count on as siblings and friends.
Friendship has been abundant in my life and for whatever I did to earn that blessing, I am grateful.
Thank you, my friends, for being in my life, and for teaching me so much of what I know.

Thank you to each person who has ever come aboard to help me realise my dreams.
My parents, who raised me in a way that suggested that big dreams were the whole point, and then have gone out of their way to help each of those come true, also gave me the qualities that have helped me help myself—imagination, words, determination, courage, discipline, patience, attention to detail and pretty good people skills!
Teachers, colleagues, funders, volunteers, assistants, vendors, technicians, service providers—it takes an entire ecosystem to make one dream come true. And I have dreamt and realised so many! Thank you to every person and every atom in each of those ecosystems!
I thank the Universe for the dreams, the courage, the means, the options, the challenges and the solutions. I pray that the Universe never allows me to be limited by my understanding of the practical and the possible.

Thank you, life—
for every experience of love, of every kind;
for every experience of joy, of every hue;
for every moment of pleasure, for any reason;
for all the good things and good times.
Thank you very much
for pain, for failure for resentment, for bitterness,
for disappointment, for frustration, for anxiety,
for hurt, for grief, for sadness,
for struggle, for suffering, for challenges without easy solutions,
for ethical dilemmas and conflicting pulls,
for loneliness, for alienation and for isolation—
thank you, beyond words, for these—
what they have taught me, I am proudest to have learned
--compassion, empathy, courage, patience, discipline and tenacity.

Thank you, to all my children—
nieces, nephews—you are all my own.
Thank you for reminding me that life is simple.
Thank you for the laughter and stories and songs.
Thank you for showing me the “present moment” time and again.
Thank you for the joy.
Thank you for being my most effective teachers.

Thank you to everyone who ever forgave me anything
--a deed, a word, a mood, a gesture,
a mistake, an oversight, a slight, a wound,
anything I did, anything I did not do,
someone I was to you, someone I could not be—
thank you for the precious gift of your forgiveness.
Forgive me, too, if I have forgotten to thank you for something.

I thank this body of mine for carrying me in this life, largely without complaint, heedless of my abuse and neglect, never expecting anything from me in return.

Adapted on March 14, 2014
from the version written on March 9, 2014

for March 9, 2014.