Categories
People

Love in the time of cholera….

So, one of my very good friends for a long time announced that he got married to his girlfriend of a year today morning. I was not ready for this, to be honest. What was otherwise meant to be a normal, fine day despite the hang over of last night, turned on its head in a matter of minutes. Yes they have been going out and everything for a year, but to be out of Facebook, friends for almost 6 months and come back on, announcing to the whole world of his wedding was indeed Jab We Met level dramatic.
I am not heartless enough, not to feel happy for the guy. I am happy for him ofcourse despite the fact that he hurried off to get it legal at 24, instead of living life a few more years and getting it done a bit later. This indeed portrayed the naivety with which people decide to get married out of the blue. Not all of these work, if you ask me. And then, in no time, you are trying to “make it work“. Well, I hope he doesn’t have to go through this now.
But it was not the whole marriage bit which had shook me. It was something else. I am not quite sure they had invited family over for the occasion. Maybe he had his own reasons not to be having them – I have no clue. But then, I was imagining the predicament of the parents who are not invited for the special occasion. They bring you up, buy you all the good things in life, set your life up in more ways than one and they are returned the favour of not being invited for their kids wedding. How befitting. They will indeed forgive him, if need be because that’s how nice people they are. My thoughts are with them, today.
Categories
Europe People Travel

Copenhagen Trails

Copenhagen was amazing. And it sure reiterates the difference that people speak about when Scandinavia comes into their minds. Despite the fact that it is one of the most expensive cities in the world, locking heads with Oslo (Norway), it is every bit worth the experience. The tall sloping roofs as seen above are a highlight to counter for the snow, the city is mad about cycling (55% copenhageners commute by cycles, and that’s about 800,000 people daily). More pictures and details in the subsequent posts.

Categories
Europe Opinion People WTF!

Inducing Happiness: The European Way

It is the process by which people tend to “induce” happiness into their lives at the cost of their fellow beings and then feel good about it rather than deriving happiness by “making” it happen by means of your sincere deeds – quite the European way as I have been observing since September.
Thing is simple. A few weeks ago, I received this mail from a friend based out of Lisbon which read like this:

Hello guys.. As you know I am leaving for the States next week. You guys have been really awesome and I have no words to express my gratitude for all the support and love. I sure am gonna miss you all when I am in Boston. I was thinking that it would be good if we can all meet up one last time for a dinner. I will be very happy and fortunate to have you amidst the company of me and my friends, during the last moments of my stay in Portugal.

I propose that we meet on Saturday at around 2000 at <Restaurant Name> <Address>. The choice of the cuisine is meditteranean as most of you would prefer, includes <general menu>. And the cost per person would be around 20 euros, not more than that inclusive of drinks. 

This man in the letter included  the “You guys have been awesome….my gratitude..support and love“, ” I would be very happy and fortunate….” and then delivered the sucker punch by announcing the “cost per person….” sentence – all in the span of 5-6 lines of the same letter. And letters/mails like these come, every other week.
Well if he was so happy and fortunate and sad that he would miss all of us, he should have hosted a dinner and paid up the expenses by himself. Atleast that is what is done if you are genuinely happy back where I hail from. You invite your friends and spend a wonderful evening with them, spreading laughter and cheer and then you make it even more wonderful by being the perfect host and appreciating their decision to spend quality time with you. I would pay to do this, but then my idea of not believing in celebrations makes life a lot more easier. Why do it when you want to “induce” rather than make it happen by itself?
So to sum up, I ended up going for the dinner because he has been a wonderful man and for the sake of his happiness, I ended up spending 20 euros (1350 INR). That is the price that I burn to see a smile on his face and make sure everything is right between us. Am I happy doing this? Well, you know by now….
Categories
Europe Life Travel

Demystifying Porto

Porto (Oporto in Portuguese) is the second largest city of Portugal. Highly recommended by the Portuguese to pay a visit, I finally had the opportunity to explore the town. Quite a stark contrast from the capital city Lisbon, which is more of an international city , Porto is home to the old school Portuguese heritage. On a first glance, it gave me an impression of an abandoned city with old buildings, mostly damaged and uninhabited. And that was a very disturbing fact to digest. It seemed like people had deserted the city and gone towards Lisbon or other areas of the Iberian Peninsula or Continental Europe.
Old fashioned in all respects, Porto gives the impression of a city which simply refuses to bow down to change. And the same is evident even on the people of Oporto, who are proud of what their forefathers have achieved. They thrive on the Portuguese legacy, its wineries, the heritage buildings and the related aspects, thus not bowing down to the change of the outside world. This aspect would certainly be of interest to an art history graduate, but not for someone like me. Nevertheless a mysterious old school beauty which had turned into a ghost town for reasons quite obvious to us. I was disappointed, so to say. Here are a few snaps taken:
The tram – only three lines are functioning right now
Rua Alvares Cabral – we stayed here, amongst the abandoned buildings
An abandoned church building right in the heart of the town
Ponta Luiz – the bridge, on the UNESCO World Heritage site of Oporto
Rio Duoro , the river and the city of Porto on the background.

I will be adding the whole list of photographs periodically onto the “Photography” section of this blog.

Categories
Life Opinion

On Birthdays, their relevance and the common sentiment associated with them

I recently came across this message on one of my women friend’s wall on Facebook
It read something like this:

Never thought that I would have so many surprises lined up for my birthday which I thought would be otherwise low-key. Thanks everyone for everything. I am glad you are with me, my precious!!! :)) :D.

And it somehow got me thinking on the relevance of birthdays among the two sexes and the common sentiment associated with it. Girls, as far as I know never have celebrated a “low-key birthday“. Yet, the reference for a low key birthday is obvious even when they themselves know it has never ever happened to them. Guys, on the other hand stand a very good prospect of celebrating a low-key birthday. Many instances would come to my mind in substantiating my stand on this.
When you are single (either by choice or chance) or stood up in life, there is a good enough possibility of it going low key coz nobody really cares apart from yourself. On the other hand, even if you are in a “thing” (as is the trend nowadays), you might still have a girlfriend who wouldn’t remember the dates (I myself had a couple of those) and would blame you (the guy) for the mishap that was called your birthday. But then, they are women so we men don’t make it such a big issue and tend to forgive. Imagine if you had swapped roles and forgot your girlfriend’s birthday, you can be rest assure the marching orders would be ready soon enough. :)There comes the aspect of relevance. I cant think of many men who would think of their birthdays being the most important days of their life. But on the other hand, its quite natural for women to feel so.
Coming to the common sentiment associated part, I found something amazing in this part of the world. The common sentiment associated with your birthday here is in loose terms, “something of a pure joy of growing old and having accomplished a milestone in life“. This is actually the most common sentiment  on a global scale, and you end up spending a fortune to let the world know that you are growing old. This is quite a contradiction to someone like me (I am always in the minority) who thinks that birthdays are just one more way of god telling you that you have one year less to the grave. Thus I never understood the whole concept of celebrating it ever since I was 18, I think. I still am unsure which of the versions is the right one, but continue to go about mine for the sake of convenience and comfort.
How do you, the reader view your birthday?