Monthly Archives: June 2020

50 shades of cool

We have all grown up with this concept of cool things. Cool was something which fascinated us, something which we desired, and something which we thought on possessing would make us more ‘likeable’ or ‘complete’.

As a child, for me the idea of cool started with tazos coming out of lays packets which quickly went on to GI Joes and hot wheels -quite expensive , but with high cool quotient. Then it changed to other things – Nintendo, cricket kit, kick cycles and play stations.

As teenage hit, there came a whole new set of cool things. Brylcream gels for the spiky hair, axe deodrants for the alpha male, mp3 players for the latest english tracks and the ultimate brand fever – Nike shoes , Puma bags , Adidas t-shirts and jockey underwears.

With early adulthood, the game changed to an all new level with coolness also starting to take the form of experiences. Modified scooters and bikes for the ride to college, touchscreen cell phones for chatting and facebook, the idea of smoking , drinking and escape to an alternate reality, picking up random fights, and being a rebel without a cause.

From simple joys as a child to immoderate indulgences as an adult, the urge to appear cool was ever compelling. Growing substantially over the years with a more connected world of Whatsapp and Instagram. As many cool seasons went by, so did many seasons of cool.

Sitting at home during this lockdown has made me reminiscence on my very own cool factors over the years. I now realise that cool for me was almost always materialistic. It was mostly about things and not people. It was mostly about experiences which made me look like someone I saw on TV or the internet rather than about who I really was.

As I revisit and redefine coolness this time round , I am adding some more to the list – the coolness of a true friend, the coolness of a kind heart, the coolness of our parents for making us look cool all this while, the coolness of a world with infinite possibilities, the coolness of good health and relationships, the coolness of a peaceful mind and a good nights sleep and the ultimate coolness of the gift of life!

Luck by chance

We all have grown up hearing, talking and experiencing the concept of an invisible luck factor. Be it the odd black cat crossing our path deemed as bad luck. Getting green lights in all signals straight on our way back home, or escaping from the phone not falling directly onto our face while lying on our back and texting.

Some people have luck personify in bigger ways – Bodies not gaining weight irrespective of what or how much they eat. Promotions and dream jobs landed in no time. Having the time and money to travel the world and put cringe worthy pictures on Instagram. For them, their luck seems to have no limits.

But often times, life plays a googly and we run out of this so called luck by chance. Some run out quite early in life while some seem to have it all along. For people running out of the luck factor, should we be worried ? Or should we be thankful that we realised it was all just luck till now and now its time to make our own luck ? Was luck in some way making us lazy ? Wouldn’t we have learnt a better lesson or lived a better life if we had run out of luck even earlier ?

Some call it luck, some call it grace, some call it destiny – but isn’t all of it better earned and experienced than gifted and burnt ? So what is it that is shaping your life – is it just a streak of some invisible luck or do you have control over making your own luck ? If you have been lucky all along, would you notice it if it ever runs out ? Will you drown in past glory or rise above it holy moly !

The fun they had..

The 1st of June here at Kerala is the day schools reopen after the long summer vacations. The kids are almost always welcomed by a spell of rain as they get ready for their return back to their new classes – excited with their new uniform, shoes and popy umbrellas. But, this June 1st of 2020 was kind of different.

Instead of reaching out for their umbrellas , they were reaching out for their WiFis, instead of a classroom, they had a microsoft team and instead of their teacher welcoming them to their subjects, they had received a calendar invite for their online classes. As class begins, they are greeted with novel visuals. Their growing classmates ( 2 months of home quarantine has its effect on kids as well )can’t seem to be fitting inside the screen box. They have a whiteboard instead of a blackboard and their teachers are shouting students please mute, please mute instead of students silence please. Even their attendance is being taken by Bill gates uncle and knowingly or unknowingly all their movements are tracked.

My mother, with only a few more months before her retirement is finding all this a bit overwhelming. As she preps the students of class 9 on MS teams for their first online English class , I tune in. The lesson is ” The fun they had” by Issac Asimov who talks about the conversation between two kids in the year 2157 who discover a “real” book with yellow pages which crumble and letters which do not change even if the page is turned. They go on to discuss about the concept of a classroom , with a real human teacher and a common place called school where students used to go to learn and do a lot more. They are amused and amazed to know of such a reality , very different from the computers, e-books and robot teachers they are accustomed with.

But here, the 9th class of 2020 was back in the future, with the lesson laid out in the year 2157 seem more relatable to them than the protagonists of the story. Lot has changed for them as well as the teachers , especially in India where a physical school – the temple of learning is quite irreplaceable with its personal connections – benchmates, classmates & teachers, morning assemblies, scribbled desks, lunch breaks and endless fun.

As my mum comes out of her second session for the day, she looks puzzled. On asking, she tells me that the kids were muting her all through the call. I heave a sigh of relief – kids will be kids – online or offline.