The price is 35 Euros

Its almost 11 in the night as I leave Tecnico, for home. After a hard day – fighting deadlines, seeing UNITED lose and bow out of the Champions League, braving the cold (which is rather unusual for me, since I am from Chennai) I walk back, mind flooded with thoughts of the work pending. And of the life that I am living here.
As I descend the flight of steps, I see her standing near the parking lot on the opposite side. I slow down my pace to observe her. She is tall, well dressed and extremely beautiful for a Portuguese woman. A few cars slow down seeing her on the side of the road – some of them slow down, have a conversation with her and go away while a few others look at her and just speed up. Probably they did not like the “package”. Less than 5 minutes and there were already half a dozen cars stopping by her and they go through this routine.
And just when I give up on it and start walking, comes another car. I could see two men inside, mid 30’s. They have a little conversation with her. And yes, the deal is signed. She gets into the car which speeds away, out of my horizon. And I walk back home, the lady in the back of mind, and of the people who seek warmth in her in the chill of Lisbon.

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?

There are indeed guys with the same thought process | A reply to the young Indian woman

A couple of days back, I read this post on the Indian Homemaker’s blog where a girl had written to IHM with her queries about life, something which I thought was indeed very genuine. It goes like this:
An email from a young Indian woman who has seen her parents respect each other as equal partners.
I wanted to share an incidence with you and also what it means in the future, for young Indian women (and men). However, at the outset I would like to clear out something since it features my late maternal grandmother prominently. I loved her immensely and she did too. I know I was destined to spend time with her just a month before her demise, because she genuinely wanted to meet me.
My father since childhood always stressed that girls and boys are equal, each are unique and there are no grounds for differentiation between them. That’s why I have grown up questioning the status quo.
My mother ( C ), including her are 3 sisters ( A, B, C ) and two brothers( D, E ), in order of their ages. Now my B mashi got married before my mother, and within a year she had a daughter. A year later my mother had me. And my nani cried when she heard it, because “Ek aur beti” (’0ne more girl child’)I learnt about this fact as a kid, and it hit me hard because honestly my nani loved me. When I went over to her place………..
Read the full letter here.
It was a very genuine thought that had crossed the mind of the young Indian woman in the letter. Born into a family which treated her as equals (the best thing is that she fought for it, whenever she felt she had got a bad deal [*respect*] ) with a person of the opposite sex (which by the way is not very common in my part of the world), she was afraid whether she would find a guy who would treat her in the very same way, meaning sharing the same thought process as her. This reply to her, is in many ways the sentiment echoed by the average Indian man who would be very much willing to treat his woman in the same equal terms as himself, thus sharing the same thought process (I know there aren’t many, but still ).

Dear woman in the letter,

First up, thanks for bringing up this dilemma of yours into the forefront. You have echoed the sentiments of a very many number of women in this country, who have probably thought of this aspect at some point in life. As someone from the opposite sex who is a believer in equality and equal opportunities, I would like to tell you that there is indeed hope for people like us.

Though I must confess that I do represent only a minority of men who would want his woman to be treated equally well as he is. But then the fact remains that if you are patient enough and have the mind to stick by what you think is right for you, there is a good possibility that you will end up finding Mr.Right. It might mean having to deal with the pesky neighbors, nosey aunts among others, who might end up branding you as being “demanding and choosy”, but don’t you think life is worth the wait for the right man?

Having given you the bright side, I got to tell you one more aspect of it, namely the alternate view. The predicament that we are in, you might also be well advised not to keep your hopes very high on this. And I have my own reasons for saying this. I represent the opposite sex which has been accused of not living upto the expectations of the womenfolk in all universe (the converse is also a very well debated topic, but for many different reasons mostly). I do not have any explanations in my defence as to why many of my women friends who have recently been married, ended up coming out of it because they felt that the guy they got married to, was so much different from the guy who was in love with them a couple of years before they ended up in wedlock. Reasons, which I am not really proud of.

On the being single debate and its viability, ending up being single for the rest of your life is better than being married to the wrong person. If you thought that the fear of getting married to the wrong person was just a woman thing, you might be surprised to know that you are wrong. Again it comes to being a minority but then, there are men in this country who have the same fears as you have echoed here. And some of them have succumbed to the pressures and ended up with the wrong person, only either to struggle through the ordeal without any positives or to come out of the relationship, bruised and battered, with what was a horrible past.

Lastly, I just want to say one thing. I, for one, believe that I will never end up being with someone who is not even remotely compatible with me. I am seeing someone even now (someone I know for like 8 years, been in an in and out thing for like the last 2 and the like) as I write this letter, but it remains to be seen if she will end up being a part of my life. And that’s the thing about being of the same thought process (not gender equality as in your case but then, that should be a story for another day) and the fact that I will only listen to what my mind says about this and none else. So as you can see, it ain’t any piece of cake, but it is definitely worth the try. Because we have only one life and its always a comforting feeling to realize when you are old, that you have lived life thus far in your own terms rather than succumbing to the pressures of the people around you. I don’t know if I made things easier for you with this letter, but then you are not alone if that makes you feel any better.

Yours Sincerely,

Sole to Soul – A Spectacle of Kathak

I was fortunate to be one among the rasikas (spectators/audience) of Sole to Soul, a spectacle of the Indian classical dance form Kathak performed by Lajja Sambhavnath and her disciples at the Museu de Oreiente yesterday evening. Kathak, as you all might know is a Northern Indian classical dance form which conveys a lot of stories through the form of dance. It is derived from the Sanskrit word Katha meaning story.
The rasikas for yesterdays show were largely a group of partisan Europeans who seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the performances on stage. Paulo Sousa was on the sitar while Raimund Engelhart was on the tabla.
If you are on Facebook,this is the link to the video. Enjoy.

Now Playing:

Outcast Vocals 2 and Neha Nair (performing in the video clips below) work like magic for me. Just when I know things are not going the right way, I play this clip and by the end of the 8 minutes of the song, I know I am back to being my usual self. Her forte is in improvising the old malayalam and tamil classics to suit the listeners of the modern day. Its light and breezy with minimal orchestra.And when you have an electrifying voice backing up the song, the power of her music becomes indeed amazing. So much so that after my recommendation, my marathi friend got head over heels for her music and is a proud devotee! 😛 Now that I have effectively managed to sell you her brand of music, enjoy the clips. 🙂