Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Conversations with a has-been beauty queen

I've known her for almost 8-9 years now. Back then I was this college-going, freelance writer. She was a senior in college and a beauty pageant title winner. We've been in touch over the years...

It's interesting to note what she had to say about the media / glamour industry here in India. And a fresh perspective on life, love, work, career and happiness (all my pet peeves) is always welcome. Below are extracts from the messages we've exchanged. . . don't dwell on them too much. Like her, I've decided not to dwell on the past. Here goes...

“Secondly, I sometimes do miss some aspects of those days. But I don't wish to trade places. I will be honest. I wonder what I would have been like if I were there today. Looking at S's pic on your site made me think about it yesterday. She was my best friend in the MI contest. but I couldn't even talk to her a few years after that... I have seen this industry turn people around like crazy. Before it could turn me into someone I didn't recognize anymore, I just up and left.

See... I am glad that you still stayed level-headed through all that. You can understand what I am talking about. You will be totally shocked to see where I work... it's a small, private company. We write all kinds of financial stories and I work with all kinds of journos... from nerds to geeks to recent graduates! But it's such a cool place to be. Although I do wish I could make more money ;) But that will also come. At least the newsletter industry pays better here than the print and TV industry, that is if you are not getting laid off! Touch wood, I never got into the newspaper or TV biz. I thought about TV in India but when I was there, all I saw was Bollywood-obsessed news. I really want to move back to India but wonder if I can take that kind of sports and film star worshipping!

Sometimes it just takes time to find your path. Like right now, I am happy with my job but I am working on something else on the side, which gives me a creative outlet. I am writing down my stories of my two years in grad school... how I moved away from glamor and tried to escape it in a foreign place but I could never really get rid of the glamor associated with me for a very long time. At this point I am just penning it all down but at some point I will start looking for an agent or a publisher. I have wanted to write this for the longest time but I always feared that who the hell would care about a has-been beauty queen...

Happiness is such a relative term and no, I don't think anyone in today's world can say they are truly happy because the nature of the world has changed so much over the past century. Wants and needs are the main culprits and I have yet to meet someone who doesn't want or need anything from this world. But we can learn how to find contentment in certain things, which can help lead us to be happy.

I am reading this very interesting book right now called Eat, Pray, Love. pick it up if you can, although its about a 35-yr old recently-divorced writer who takes a year off to find some peace after a messy divorce. She travels for 4 months each in Italy, India and Indonesia, trying to find herself... maybe it strikes a chord???

Take care and don't stress... one day you will bump into yourself... we all do :)"

Yes, I know I will.

Image courtesy: kidschildren.com 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I bought a copy of Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns months ago, when the book first released here in India. Having read, and being completely bowled over, by his previous book The Kite Runner, I was sure his new book would have the same effect. Surprisingly, when I took to reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, I couldn't go past more than the first two chapters. The story seemed to drag, the characters seemed ordinary and I just didn't have the inclination to read yet another book on the human tragedies in Afghanistan.

Over the past two weeks, I took to the book again. And this time, I finished chapter after chapter at a stretch. The lives of Mariam and Laila jo captivated me and literally took me to their world. Their sorrow, their suffering, their pain, their love - it was all so real! Last night I finally finished reading the book.

I'm not going to dive into a review or anything of the sort. All I took from this book is the never-say-die attitude of the human spirit, and it's desire to love and be loved.

Love is such a strong emotion. It can be your strength and your weakness. Both at the same time. It's over these past few months, I've come to realise that love is my weakness, too. I'm often told, I'm not the kinds who show much emotion, and I agree. But now, it's changed. My love for that special someone has made that outer toughie crumble, and how! It's made me realise that I'm human too, after all. And it makes me keep wanting for more. . . in more ways than one.

But this love was not meant to be. . . at least not in this lifetime. I hope our love still remains though. . . not as lovers really, but as friends and soul mates, forever. For I know I don't need a thousand splendind suns in my life, just one 'sun' will do just fine. And the best part, while I hope it remains, deep down I realise that I know it will remain. . . always and forever.