Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When Axl met Bryan

Ok, so that didn't really happen.

It did happen in an alternate universe, yes. But here, this boring universe that we live in, no it didn’t. That’s why I wanna relocate. But let’s leave that for another post.

So anyway, I’ll get to Axl and Bryan details in just a bit. But to start off, the month began with a lot of adrenaline and excitement over the crazy line up of artists. Creamfields, you say? Well, yeah, that too. But you see, for someone like me, Creamfields is equivalent to

Ravi Shankar

Image source

or Kanye West

Image source

or even Justin Bieber.

That is to say that whist they might be fantastic musicians, and even the best in their genre, I don’t quite relate to their music.

I have nothing except the highest regard for these people for having achieved tremendous success in their careers doing what they’ve done. And they must’ve done something right to be where they are.

But yeah, no, doesn’t work for me.

This is just like when people turn around to me and say, “I’m not a big chocolate fan. In fact, I don’t even like it that much”. I know, right. Yeah, such people do exist. *rolling eyes*

Moving right along, then.

So yeah, to cut a long story short, Creamfields isn’t what got my knickers in a knot (I know it doesn’t fit, but I wanna use it! humph); it was two artists / bands playing on two consecutive days: Guns n’ Roses and Bryan Adams.

It all started when I accidentally spotted a tweet on Gn’R performing in Abu Dhabi. And the rest, well, wasn’t quite history. I was willing to do anything to get to Abu Dhabi on that fateful Thursday evening, but there was too much to consider. Organizing tickets, getting people together for the drive, the drive…oh man, the drive! And that’s when @dollz87 came to our rescue and agreed to not just organize the tickets for a few of us for the concert, but she agreed to drive us to and back from the concert. Bless her!

Now, some last minute SOS calls were being made by friends and some of their friends for tickets. Were there any left? “Could we get some?” “Just one?” “Is there place in your car to take us with?” “Yeah, just one” “Promise we’ll be there on time” “No no no, you won’t have to wait for us!”

And so on. =)

Finally, those who tried hard enough managed to get their tickets and on the fateful day of the concert, @pAaTsHaLa and I (@silv3rglee) met up with Ekta (@dollz87), Radhicka (@RadhickaKC) and Mel (he isn’t on twitter – gasp!!!).

Radhicka ditched us for her other girlfriends (*humph*) but no worries, we had a great drive into Abu Dhabi – with drinks and snacks in store. *wink* We were the lucky few that got parking on time. =)

We had a weeeee bit of an issue with our ticket cuz the morons who gave us the tickets had cut off the darn bar-code, but hey, we sorted that out and pushed our way right through. =)

Oh yeah!


Mel can't get that smile off his face!

From shy and sober I went on to...well, to what no words can describe!

The next batch of rockers showed up shortly, namely Surekha [@iyerina], Mithun, Minie and Vicky [@Vickyeda].

Deer and headlight moment for Mithun!

Woodstock, baaaaabie!

There's two of my most favourite people - Minie and Rohit!

Once the “OMG, I haven’t seen you in for-EVA” ‘s were exchanged, we got to venting our excitement! Well, our excitement was legit. The opening band had just finished and they’d announced our big boys were up next! So we stood there, screaming out and ‘oh-maaaaaan’-ing a ginormous list of songs we wished they’d play! Some of us felt they could’ve charged us extra to cover up the bribe amount to pay Slash for showing up.

Image source

Ok, so that was just me saying it over and over again. pfffft They could’ve at least tried.

Anyhow, as I was saying, we kept talking about how much we were gonna miss Slash, but hey, they’d still do November Rain, wouldn’t they? Sweet child? DUH! Live and Let Die? Not popular enough.

And so we went on and on and on.

But ya know what the darn icing on the cake was? They played EVERY SINGLE song on our list!!!

Axl doing what he does best - making me go week in the knees!

We managed to spot @Khaledtron , @mzaher , @metallicsmile at some point during the evening. =) How I wish we'd had the sense to take some pictures.

On second thought...naaah...it was better this way cuz booooooy did we scream and shout!

And we head-banged and air-guitared. We hugged each other and screamed out the lyrics. We drunk-dialed our friends who weren’t there and we sang to them. We jumped and spilled our drinks. We laughed, but we didn’t cry tonight. =)

C'est moi

Trust Rohit to do something like this when I'm completely unaware!

As the end of the night inched closer, I turned towards Mithun and said these simple yet utterly honest words to him: Paradise City dude. That’s all I need to die happy. I promise you I will die happy.

And when Gn’R closed the night with Paradise City, I could’ve sworn I had one thought in my head: kill me, kill me now so I can die with this smile on my face. =)

Surreal? Oh yeah. =)

Whoever said Gn’R isn’t the same without Slash is, well, probably correct. But if that’s the reason you didn’t show up for their gig then ---> *points and laughs*

For me the night ended as soon as I got back into Ekta’s car. I passed out almost instantly. I slept through the drive from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and then from Dubai to Sharjah.

Big hugs going out to Ekta for driving us to and from Abu Dhabi…and another one going to Rohit for driving me home.

And another one going out to Mel for stealing that Gn'R flag for me. Man, I coulda never mustered up enough balls to do that.

Not this particular one, but a flag mounted on one such pole was what Mel grabbed for me!

You're my rock start! *muuuah*

Love you guys! =)

The night behind me, home and safely in bed, all that I remember next is waking up at noon the following day thinking I’d missed the Bryan Adams concert! *yikes*

But wait, I hadn’t.

*snicker snicker*

As I staggered out of bed, I had a smile plastered on my face. From last night. And for the night that was to come.

Bryan Adams, Bangalore. The first concert of my life. Ever. In the best city in the world. With the best set of friends. =)

Bryan Adams at Bangalore = no pictures.

Yeah it was long before we could afford cameras at college! Hell, when he played there, the world was still on a Nokia 3315 craze! =)

Oh…the nostalgia! =) Just the thought of going for his concert brought back oh-so-many memories. Memories of a time when there wasn’t anything sweeter than skipping college and sitting in Styx on MG Road, sipping on screw drivers, listening to music in it’s greatest element. At noon. =)

Yeah…those were the days. =)

As I left home with Rohit, I started coordinating with @PolarBent on how and where we were going to meet up. Inside the arena, it was decided! =)

Personally, I'd've preferred to be in the 'regular' area and not the VIP area. But hey, there's only so much you can do when you win VIP tickets on air! *giggle*

And as a very mature Rohit portrays here, there's nothing better than the feeling you get when you cut the queue to get to your seats cuz, well, you're a winner with VIP tickets. *wink*

We won VIP tickets - nanee nanee poo poo!


As we gloated, the crowd outside was getting thicker by the minute. Tweets were flying around from @NikitaTJM @AkankshaGoel @presch stating that they were going to be there. While we tried to figure out where each of us was, I suppose we ended up cozy and comfy wherever we found the space.

Crowd starting to trickle in

Rohit and I managed to get Elham to leave her nice little cozy spot in the 4th of 5th row to join us back-benchers.

Aaaaand we go shutterbug crazy!

Bryan, you've got some seriously crazy women-fans in the audience! *tsk tsk*

And I couldn’t stop clicking pictures of her hair!

Elham's gorgeous hair!

We did run into some annoying bit of “oh you can’t be here because I said so and because I’m Security because that’s what it says on my shirt and because I can’t understand what you’re saying because that’s just the way life is” kinda nonsense. But nothing we couldn’t handle. Rather, nothing Elham couldn’t handle. *wink*

And then, just like that, Bryan came on and started playing…and boy did he play! There we were, back-benched during the concert, screaming, shouting and singing! And boy, were we singing! Every song…every stanza…we just couldn’t get those smiles off our face!

And when he played Summer of ’69 – yeah, clich├ęd, but boy did the entire arena go crazy or did they go crazy! =)

Where were you during the Summer of '69?

I got my phone out and made that much expected long distance call to Anamika. This song, like Sweet Child, had to be screamed on the phone. It was a given. Well, I’d’ve rather sung Heaven to her, but it didn’t kinda go with my mood of wanting to yell over the phone! =)

Cameras (and a few old-school Zippo's) in the air for 'Heaven'

Cameras (and a few old-school Zippo's) in the air for 'Heaven'

He sang his heart out and in the bargain, we ended up losing our voices!

Since I last saw him (perform) in Bangalore, he's gotten older. Much, much older. But I'd be damned if he didn't kill the stage that night!

You still turn the fire on, Bryan

And when he finally came around to singing 'Baby When You're Gone', I jumped and screamed and shouted my lungs out in the lamest ever attempt to get him to pick me to get on stage for that duet.

Like that was gonna happen! *sigh*

Plant or not, I must admit, that Jill girl from Goa did a fantabulous job at the song! Well done, you! =)

As Bryan finally walked off the stage and the lights came on, you could see people tucking their lighters back into their pockets, hugging their other half and walking out with satisfied looks on their faces.

The night ended with Nikita bringing a mile wide smile to my face when she tweeted:

“Shoutouts to @AkankshaGoel @silv3rglee @presch ! Although we couldn't meet, felt good to know you were somewhere in the crowd!”

And that, strangely enough, summed up those crazy couple of days.

The weekend wasn’t over yet! Another night, another day to go. And yet, nothing in store could compare to the last couple of days. Nothing.

And these are going in my collection - with Iron Maiden (Bangalore) and Aerosmith (Bangalore).

The year couldn’t have been ending on a better note. =)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Writer’s Nightmare

They call this thing ‘writer’s block’

When words come out as a shock.

There is no rhyme scheme anywhere

And all I see is facial hair.

The thoughts are stuck, trapped and tied

And the beauty seems to have dried.

Not actually, for it’s just colder,

And I no more am the beholder.

The pen moves without any grace,

And of decent writing, there is not trace.

Spellings seem to go hay-wire

And I seem to quickly tire.

Eyes locked onto the pen and pad,

I feel immense gloom and sad.

When, oh, when will I write again

With that same feel and lots of pain?

This question today I cannot answer,

For as of now, I’d much rather be a dancer.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Twits and their #AwesomeHandles – Third Edition

It’s been a while since I posted the last #AwesomeHandles edition. I'm through with two editions and this is the third of the lot!

Now, the thing is, if you haven’t read the other two editions – well firstly, why haven’t you?!? The links are right there! *pffft*

Anywhoooooo, in case you haven’t read the last edition specifically, you won’t quite know why this edition has only 40 entries. To catch up on the reasoning, read up here. =)

Also, the next editions will feature 50 handles each, making it a perfectly even number. And a multiple of 5. And 2.

Oh, just read the previous damn post already!

Now, as tradition holds, it’s time for shout outs to those who dropped in their suggestions and recommendations! My man @PremPiyush and my babe @md610 never fail to contribute, and not just contribute, but spread the word so other can contribute and then they drop in their suggestions, so technically, if there were any royalty attached to the recos, then these guys would be getting it! You get the drift. =)

So guys - big shout out to you both! *huuuuugs*

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand…here goes “Twits and their #AwesomeHandles – Third Edition”:

1 @2morrowknight
2 @abeychup
3 @badinsomniac
4 @BeAGirl_Today
5 @behenchod
6 @blackrosegal
7 @blahssome
8 @BunnyMandala
9 @chootiya
10 @Cleverjackal
11 @complicateur
12 @ConfinedWisdom
13 @Decloned_Taz
14 @flamelily3
15 @indigocat
16 @indigypsy
17 @jugni_on_acid
18 @NameFieldEmpty
19 @OhTeri_BhenDi
20 @overrated_me
21 @p_a_r_a_d_o_x
22 @PariahWisdom
23 @peachbiscuit
24 @punkster101
25 @RaapChick
26 @Ramblinggeek
27 @rockstah
28 @saffrontrail
29 @sixtematik
30 @SoundofDementia
31 @TheSolutionBaba
32 @vSAMosa
33 @Your_Boss
34 @thejunebug
35 @raagwasgood
36 @MaidyCook
37 @Athingofjoy
38 @OldFunnyJoker
39 @itssotweet
40 @Shortpitched

If you’re featured here then, well, bravo! =)

And if you aren't and want to be or know of others with #AwesomeHandles that aren’t featured in the first edition, second edition or this one, then drop in your / their handles in the comment box below, or lemme know on twitter (@silv3rglee).


Monday, October 18, 2010

Twits and their #AwesomeHandles – Second Edition

After the stupendous success (hey, it’s my blog!) of the first edition of #AwesomeHandles, I now present to you ‘Twits and their #AwesomeHandles – Second Edition’!

I’m quite ashamed to say that I missed mentioning a number of AwesomeHandles in the first edition. And that sort of brought around the second edition. And if I’m honest with you, I’ve already started compiling the third edition! Yes, yes…me = geek. Proudly so. *humph*

Anywho, so just to give you guys a heads up on why the number differences in the different editions: I’d been waiting for a while to blog the first edition of #AwesomeHandles and the list sort of just, well, kept growing! I ended up blogging 156 in the first edition. Corny as it may sound to you, the second edition will have 104 handles to even out the number to a grand total of 260 #AwesomeHandles. The third edition (which, by the way, is halfway through) will have a list of 40 #AwesomeHandles to make the total then at 300. The editions that will follow will have 50 #AwesomeHandles each!

Why, you ask? Because I said so. And also because, like I said earlier, I’m a bit of a geek. I can’t work without whole, even numbers. Eats me alive! *shudder*

Before moving on, a special mention going out to two people who changed their old handles just so they could be featured here! You guys are the sweetest! Big shout out going to @RamyStrips and @FultoFaltu – *muuuuuuuuuuuuuuah*

And a big bear hug going out to @md610 for her constant recommendations for #AwesomeHandles! You’re awesome, sugah!

Soooooo…without further ado, I present to you the second edition of ‘Twits and their #AwesomeHandles’:

  1. @2w8er
  2. @ABHIandNOW
  3. @ahem_rudra_asmi
  4. @AhsWeepay
  5. @appadappajappa
  6. @apunbindaas
  7. @AshikOnFire
  8. @AuraofDreams
  9. @awayandout
  10. @b0nkers
  11. @Baby_priesT
  12. @badnaam
  14. @blogadda
  15. @blustorm
  16. @bubblegumburst
  17. @Bumbhai
  18. @busy_idling
  19. @candinam
  20. @cerebral_PULP
  21. @Chirpy_Kulfi
  22. @ChodafoneIN
  23. @DamnItsTrue
  24. @DesiMurga
  25. @dhakkanz
  26. @DrYumYumSingh
  27. @dunkdaft
  28. @fartfree
  29. @fartingpen
  30. @FearlessinDubai
  31. @fitehal
  32. @friedeye
  33. @FuckMeBiebs
  34. @FultoFaltu
  35. @goDODOgo
  36. @GucciFemme
  37. @hankypanty
  38. @hellomehippo
  39. @highandwild
  40. @i_r_squared
  41. @IAmNotBot
  42. @impsyche
  43. @InaFryingPan
  44. @iRapedhim
  45. @JaggedArrowHead
  46. @JalMeinKahin
  47. @jhakaaas
  48. @kaalicharan
  49. @KabaadiWalah
  50. @kanwarsation
  51. @khatmal
  52. @khuljasimsim
  53. @KickByStick
  54. @laapata
  55. @legendofrajni
  56. @lifeisbetter
  57. @livestradamus
  58. @Lord_Ram
  59. @lostshouts
  60. @madinsomniac
  61. @manuscrypts
  62. @maximustoxicus
  63. @mental_floss
  64. @Merafarz
  65. @moderncrusader
  66. @mojorojo
  67. @monkeyblazer
  68. @mPhreak
  69. @MTVbakra
  70. @naamakool
  71. @ouchmytoe
  72. @pappupager
  73. @pehchan_kaun
  74. @pinkmoonpeeps
  75. @prempanicker
  76. @probabilism
  77. @PsychoMaan
  78. @pumpkinking06
  79. @raggedtag
  80. @ram_dulari
  81. @RamyStrips
  83. @satanbhagat
  84. @shikaari_shambu
  85. @silentcroonings
  86. @silentmedia
  87. @silv3rglee (on popular demand - from my previous post - I've gone ahead and added my own handle to the list! *halo over head* )
  88. @SLotH13
  89. @SparklinGuy
  90. @Spoilt_Bratt
  91. @tantanoo
  92. @tarzanhoon
  93. @textualoffender
  94. @theAngrezJailer
  96. @themovingcloud
  97. @theregos
  98. @umennet
  99. @unknownuser666
  100. @verbalKungFu
  101. @ViceCapt_Planet
  102. @want_beer
  103. @wildchildsk
  104. @Zooberry

If I’ve missed your AwesomeHandle, then gimme a shout and I’ll add it to the next edition! :)

Don’t forget to drop in your recommendations for #AwesomeHandles in the comment section below, or gimme a shout on twitter (@silv3rglee) with your recommendations!

PS: if the link to your twitter page in the list above doesn’t work, lemme know – I had issues with a few of them!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Twits and their #AwesomeHandles

It was just another day at work. But as history holds witness, the best ideas in the world come in the most mundane, regular environments.

A regular Sunday it was. Wait, maybe it was Monday. No, it couldn’t have been a Monday, I have too many meeting lined up on Mondays. Tuesday. That’s it – it was the Middle Eastern ‘hump day’. The hardest day of the week to get by, they say. Although...hmmm…personally, I always think Wednesdays are the hardest. One day before the last day of the week and you’re not quite sure how to feel. Yeah, you’re kinda getting excited about the weekend, but then, you don’t really wanna over-do it and kill the Thursday-buzz, but then you don’t wanna sulk cuz you’re almost done with the week. Yeah, Wednesday. It had to be a Wednesday. Or…was is a slow Thursday…?


Moving on (finally!) – on a particular day of the working week a couple of months ago, I parked at 7.30, sat at my desk at 7.45, switched on my laptop and waited for it to load. Ten minute later I had Lotus Notes, Facebook, Gmail and Gtalk open on my laptop. Not to mention my lifeline – Tweetdeck.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m one of those social-media-enthusiast-thingamajig-people.

As the day progressed with GM’s and #earlyriser tweets, traffic updates, news, random tweets and retweets, I couldn’t help but notice that a few RT’s stood out. Not so much for the tweets themselves but for the handles that were tweeting the tweets. Walkin’ the walk. Talkin’ the talk. LIvin’ the life. Runnin’ the lap.

Sorry, I get carried away sometimes. :S

Anywho…as I was saying, there were a few handles that stood out and made me take notice. Not to say that I hadn’t noticed some insanely creative handles before, but sometimes things just hit you like a bold of lightening. This was one of those moments.

I forget if it was
@bitchwanti, @ChamatkariBaba, @BollywoodGandu or @gabbbarsingh that triggered this ‘concept’ for a blog post. It could’ve been any one of them, or any one of the other 150 handles. Can’t really be sure. Point is, I got thinking about these crazy handles that I was coming across on a daily basis.

How many more of these are out there? What levels of creativity have people gone to?

And that’s when the hashtag was created – #AwesomeHandles. I’m not saying it got too popular, but I’m not saying it didn’t. Some extremely awesome and fantabulous tweeps fed me with numerous suggestions for #AwesomeHandles and that’s how the list went from 15 to 150 in a matter of a few days!

Big shout out going out to
@ParulBh, @md610 and @prempiyush for their crazy help and constant suggestions for #AwesomeHandles!

Parul, for having sent over 50 of them in one day alone, and Prem and MD for constantly feeding me with their recommendations (even when I was on vacation!). Prem offered to be my 'assistant' at one point of time to help me get this blog out there. It's finally done, mate! :o)

And a special shout out to @musingsman who actually changed his old handle to this one just so he could be featured on the list. You made it, man! :o)

I’m hoping this blog post will be followed up with another one (or multiple blog posts) as and when my list grows. And I have a strong feeling that it will. :o)

Now, initially I’d written down meanings against as many of these handles as I could, but then I realized that most of them are far beyond explanations. You have to enjoy these for the sheer brilliance and creativity behind them.

And just FYI, I’m
@silv3rglee - :o)

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present to you the first set of #AwesomeHandles:

  1. @_OutofOrder_
  2. @0__1
  3. @AamAdmy
  4. @abhi_nahi
  5. @absurd
  6. @Accha_Baccha
  7. @agyaani
  8. @albelinaar
  9. @AliceInDumyland
  10. @amreekandesi
  11. @Anusual
  12. @arabicaah
  13. @arbitthoughts
  14. @aslipatrakaar
  15. @baavri
  16. @bagoffortune
  17. @BakwasBandKar
  18. @bejafry
  19. @Bell_Bajao
  20. @Bew_D
  21. @bhalomanush
  22. @Bheja_Fried
  23. @bitchwanti
  24. @BlinkySprite
  25. @BollywoodGandu
  26. @boozychef
  27. @boy_inthe_box
  28. @brainstuck
  29. @ButterHotShoes
  30. @bythebai
  31. @caramelcheeks
  32. @ChamatkariBaba
  33. @cho_chweet
  34. @chorbazari
  35. @cookiemonster82
  36. @cow_herd
  37. @cracked
  38. @CruciFire
  39. @DaddyBird
  40. @DedhShaani
  41. @deementiaa
  42. @delhidreams
  43. @desihitler
  44. @DevilOnBunk
  45. @dhartiparbojh
  46. @dhinkchak
  47. @DingDongMong
  48. @dram_e_baaz
  49. @ekthappadmaaru
  50. @EnigmaticDosa
  51. @fangpyre
  52. @feedkoko
  53. @fibonaccifreak
  54. @flyfiddlesticks
  55. @flyyoufools
  56. @fossiloflife
  57. @gabbbarsingh
  58. @Gambl3R
  59. @GeekyInaneTwit
  60. @geekykarma
  61. @GiggleFlower
  62. @GoIdDustWoman
  63. @Gulabo_Massi
  64. @haramkhorBaccha
  65. @Idefinecrazy
  66. @iemofreak
  67. @InstantMusings
  68. @itsCreation
  69. @ivfwaladoctor
  70. @jarofjuice
  71. @jibberjabbajude
  72. @justMouse
  73. @Kaala_Bander
  74. @KarmicThoughts
  75. @laaajo
  76. @lafannga
  77. @Letzliveagain
  78. @likethatonly
  79. @LimeIce
  80. @LiveHeartDie
  81. @lokarlotweet
  82. @lost_soul_
  83. @madFrogg
  84. @madversity
  85. @malgudiman
  86. @ManIndigo
  87. @MarkWalaTeja
  88. @mentalexotica
  89. @MeraAfsana
  90. @metallicsmile
  91. @metalsaint
  92. @morfinrider
  93. @mostlyharmless
  94. @musingsman
  95. @mycrotchetyluv
  96. @MystiqueWanderr
  97. @nautanki
  98. @NomadWanderer
  99. @nonstopthinker
  100. @normaltusker
  101. @numbminded
  102. @oneblackcoffee
  103. @OyeBehenDeTakke
  104. @Pagal_Ladki
  105. @panchhi_bawara
  106. @perniciously
  107. @Pissed0ffPari
  108. @pitusultan
  109. @plasmadog
  110. @pleasefindthis
  111. @poeticgooner
  112. @poojars
  113. @PurpleNaNo
  114. @qwiky
  115. @RangeenPanda
  116. @Roflindian
  117. @SaaliKhushi
  118. @Sacredinsanity
  119. @Sala_jamesbond
  120. @satanictweets
  121. @schmmuck
  122. @semi_conscious
  123. @SickPuppyDawg
  124. @softykid
  125. @spymaami
  126. @stupidusmaximus
  127. @suddentwilight
  128. @taklooman
  129. @Tau_ke_bole
  130. @terimaaki__
  131. @The_HappyNoodle
  132. @the0ddball
  133. @TheBusyBrain
  134. @thecoffeenazi
  135. @TheHumerus
  136. @TheOmRudra
  137. @Thewastebin
  138. @trailblazr
  139. @twilightfairy
  140. @twitballiye
  141. @twittafart
  142. @twittardaputtar
  143. @UpjauDimaag
  144. @virtualgoddess
  145. @VisH2So4
  146. @vodkaholic
  147. @whatdbeep
  148. @whitecrayon
  149. @whizkidd
  150. @whygrow_up
  151. @WickedNoize
  152. @wittophile
  153. @wraith_ness
  154. @yearning4d_sky
  155. @yummit
  156. @zararock

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Where am I from?

[This blog entry has been submitted for BlogAdda's 'Mera Bharat Mahaan' contest, sponsored by Pringoo.]

As I sit at my desk to give you a humble account of the last 26.99 years of my life, I am amazed to note that I cannot.

Cannot give you a 'humble' account, that is. I am oh-so-extraordinary that there is nothing humble about how I have lived or what I have done in my life thus far!

Did I mention humility is one of my most privileged assets?

I was born in Mumbai (thankfully!) and brought up around the world. My father, now a retired diplomat (from the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi) has been on several postings across the globe, and I as a privileged child have gone along with my family everywhere.

I’ve studied in countries like Germany, Kuwait and Thailand and have worked in various fields in Hungary and UAE. Oh, what a life! What a life I’ve had!

Global nomads. That’s what we call us ‘young members of diplomatic families’. That and DiploBrats. But hey, who’s judging? I’m often asked – “How does it feel to have moved around the world so much, to have never lived in one place for longer than 3 years of your life? Must be odd?”

My answer to these people is always in the form of another question: “How does it feel to have lived in one place all your life? Never moved around in your life? Having had the same set of friends, having grown up in the same environment for 18 / 20 / 25 / 50 years of your life?” When I get a confused look as an answer, I answer for them: You don’t know, do you? When you’ve lived life a certain way, you know of no other way to live. I cannot tell you how I feel about having moved around all my life as opposed to lived in one place since I’ve never done the latter. I do not have a basis for comparison. I do, however, have immense gratitude for the life I have been exposed to. Immense joy and gratitude.

Gratitude towards whom? Towards my family? Of course! If it weren’t for my father’s job and my mother’s dedication, my brother and I wouldn’t have been brought up the way we were. But more than that, I hold my head high and salute my country. For if it wasn’t for them, we would’ve never got the kind of education we did, we would’ve never travelled to these exotic locations and we would’ve never known of life the way we do now. The best schools in the world, the best education one can have, the highest form of respect (being young members of the diplomatic community) and immense amount of pride. That is how I have grown up. That is what my country has done for me.

What have I done for the country? Nothing. I’ve done so little for my country, that I have done nothing. My head hangs in shame when I think of what I can do and what I am doing. I see a path in front of me – a path that I will soon take. A path that I have been working towards, a change that I have dreamt of ever since I was a child. I dream to serve my country.

My dream was to do so as a combat soldier in the Indian National Army, but this dream was shattered the day I found out that as a woman, I cannot be a combat soldier for my nation. I took that with a pinch of salt, but pledged that day forward to do my bit every single day towards the change that I want to see.

I have been given many nicknames over the years because of this passion of mine – desh-premi, paagal and patriot are mere examples. The list goes on and on. But there are two nicknames that are extremely close to my heart: kooradaan (dustbin) and don (goon).

Of course there’s a catch behind me liking these names. And you’re shaking your head, smiling and saying to yourself: I’m going to have to read the stories behind these two nicknames – might as well light that cigarette. Go right ahead. This might take a little while.

Kooradaan. Trashcan. Dustbin. Yep, one of my favorite nicknames for me. There have been a number of occasions where my friends have dug into my bag to find a certain something and come up with a million items that, had it been them, would’ve found their way on the streets. Toffee wrappers, chocolate boxes, scrap paper, used tissues, broken pens and many other things have always found home in my bag / purse because I refuse to trash the streets. Now, if there were dustbins / trashcans on the roads in India, I wouldn’t need to do so. But that’s an entirely different discussion. Moving on with kooradaan: I have pledged not to litter the streets of my nation and I stand by that pledge. If that means that my handbag / purse is overflowing with garbage, so be it!

“Swati, you are in Bangalore, not Boston” followed by uncontrollable laughter – one of the reactions I have received when I’ve outright refused to let those around me litter and volunteered to stuff my bag with their trash too. My response is always the same: If you want Bangalore to turn into Boston, then start behaving as you would in Boston. Else, stop criticizing the government for everything.

Of course, this is followed by further fits of laughter. At this stage when I join in the laughter these people don’t seem to get that I am not laughing with them, but at them.

Alas! Such as the ways of the wise. Them thinking they’re wise, that is. I am no more than a fool. A privileged one, but a fool, by their standards. Such is life, and shall always be.

I want to say “that leads us to my second favorite nickname”, but unfortunately I can’t find a decent way to link the two together. So let’s pretend that I’ve made some ridiculously intelligent connection between the two nicknames. Here goes…

And that, my friend, leads us to my second favorite nickname: Don. Yes, this five and a half foot tall, 47 kg heavy girl has had this name associated with her for a while now. (Daymn, how’d I get into this third person mode?)

Known for picking fights with anyone and everyone, I have always stood for what I believe in. Be it the fact that chocolates should become tax free, or that corruption needs to be eradicated at the grass root level, I practice my beliefs and hold tight to the stand(s) I take in life.

As a fresher in college I have stood by my juniors, refusing to allow any kind of ragging; as a citizen I have refused to pay 10 rupees to the peon who wanted to get my papers signed by the Principal – I’m quite capable of standing in line for 2 hours, thank you very much.

I have also flagged – or tried to – those individuals who have approached me with leaked papers. Needless to say, I got nothing but apathy from the authorities. I did not stop talking about it, nor did I stop openly declaring who these people were. From frail threats to open arguments to potential fist fights – I’ve been a part of it all. And proudly so.

When I walk the streets of my country, I walk with my head held high, for I know that I am making a difference. Out of a hundred people who have seen me fight for a cause or who have seen me smile while putting away a wrapper in my bag, at least one will think before handing that money to a peon ‘under the table’ or before chucking that scrap piece of paper on the road.

That’s what I am doing for my country. That’s how I am trying to make a difference. Is that enough, you ask? It may not be enough, but is one thing: a beginning.

I was recently asked to send my details for a city-wide contest that was happening in India. Whilst I do not reside back home, home will always be home. The self-nomination resulted in this lengthy monologue and I ended up extracting bits and pieces from it for this blog entry. However, I never did get to hear back from the guys about the nomination. I suppose this last bit of my write up / letter is the reason – they probably never figured out where to place me:

I will not be able to tell you which city I am from. Originally a Punjabi from Amritsar with ancestors hailing from Lahore (now Pakistan) and Sialkot; born in Bombay (now Mumbai); lived briefly in New Delhi in between postings; moved to NOIDA and lived there between postings; and finally lived in Bangalore (the only city I can call home) for 5 years, while currently living in the UAE.

Where am I from, you ask?