Many a time when a non-inked person looks at my tattoo-ed Koi on the back of my neck I know the questions that I would be asked and one of it is always: ‘ was it not painful?’ The truth is that it wasn’t. I was alright all through out. The tattoo artist, a Brazilian was very passionate from the start of drawing the sketch on a small piece of paper to the final stage of colouring the little koi on my skin. The question of pain has come up so many times that it has made me stop and reconstruct the day it happened six years ago and figure out my emotions. It has led to my coming up with varied answers: ‘yeah, a little bit!’, ‘it was just as if I was being scratched’. I even go onto justify some times why was it a little or no pain with the reason being: perhaps it was on my back which is a hard portion and it has less flesh etc etc. I am not claiming that there was no pain at all but it was like an any day when you get a cut, bite or a small wound. I would not go on making a deal about it. I see my men friends with a cut on their cheeks after a shave and it has never been an issue. Perhaps getting a tattoo or body piercing attracts more attention toward the pain as this is a conscious decision to get wounded. A decision considered foolish by many who are however okay with ears and nose piercing.
I am not waxing lyrical on tattoos here. It is about pain. The physical pain. One thing which we have in common with everyone in the world. The other abstracts like happiness, sorrow, jealousy can be hidden or denied but not pain. You see somebody or the other complaining about a type of pain invariably. How does one manage a pain without using the painkillers? Simple: 1) By working on the pain! 2) By getting used to the pain.
In a recent freak accident a friend of mine had his right shoulder dislocated (which he was able to put it back in the socket right away), and he spent the next four to five days in a zombie state. He took to sleeping pills besides other pain killers. His sleeping pattern and routine got awry. The doctor had to finally tell him to stop using the pills and learn to manage the pain. He was recommended a physiotherapist to work on his loose shoulder. He has got much better since.
I was impervious to the tattoo pain as compared to my recent strange pains (lets not get into the giddiness I felt after I got down from the ‘twirl-a-whirl’ ride which I accompanied my daughter last week!). My new pair of specs for one gave me a hard time for more than a month. I hadn’t thought that switching from plastic to metal would give me severe headaches. The sticks that go behind the ears crushed my temples. I felt worse as I had spent good money on my designer (yeah, I mean fragile and the high maintenance) glasses! Being prescription glasses (and even if it wasn’t!) there was no way I was going to get a replacement. The thought that it was so expensive and I couldn’t exchange them, stressed me more. I remember how the first time when I wore them on a short-haul flight it gave me a severe headache. However, as days rolled by and with more usage (I usually wear a pair of lenses when I go out and choose to have a hazy vision at home!) I felt finally ‘at home’ wearing them. The sticks fit behind my ears very smooth.
And how can I forget the dental pain! Everyone who visits a dentist knows what the pain is like especially if an extraction is involved. I must say I was very bold when a few tooth extractions took place a decade ago. However what surprised me recently was when a ‘crown’ was being placed on one of my open tooth that had gone through a severe process of root canal. I felt as if my dentist was fixing a stone. I conveyed my feelings to him who then asked me to hold that little crown in my hand. It was so light. I did feel heavy in my mouth for a few days and was cursing myself for not having taken care of my teeth but all was back to normal after some time.
I had conquered the physical pain. Got used to it or managed it or both.
A small pain (a recent cat bite), and a slightly bigger than a small pain (when I fell down as I jogged : Interpreter of Falls with a thud) tell me many different things: to not to play with that silly stray cat; to not to dream as I jog but never to hate the pain. I have learnt to embrace it.
It is just the mental fears that I think I will have to live with. I don’t think I can thinking of bungee jumping.
- my little koi inked in 2006
- my new pair of glasses with my daughter at the back photo bombing – Feb 2016
- tooth image courtesy: https://drbase.s3.amazonaws.com/attachment/887ef998cc-99863/tooth%20extraction.jpg
- cat bite – May 2016
- Ginger, the cat who bit me – May 2016
My mum while recalling her kindergarten years yesterday, in particular an episode on how the little tots like her were peculiarly punished, she happened to mention the nursery teacher’s name which was a bit strange. However, what was even stranger was the name of the nursery teacher’s sister – Draupadi.
In the nearly four decades of my life with a good proportion of it being spent in three all girls’ school across the Indian states, I have not heard any girl with the name Draupadi. For those not familiar with Indian epic and mythology and hence with the name Draupadi, it is of a queen from Mahabharta who went on to marry not one, but five brothers. She didn’t marry them out of choice but out of a situation on which she had no control on. She was pre-destined to marry the five valiant princes who later on went on to fight their 100 evil step brothers and reclaim their lost kingdom. So what is wrong with her name? There was nothing evil about her. She was a good daughter, sister, wife and queen. So what shrugs people, including me, from hearing someone named Draupadi? It is the story attached to her. When you think of her, you think of a woman with five husbands which of course means, sleeping with five men (sowhat if it was lawful) and of course we relate her with another disastrous episode from the epic: ‘cheer haran’ – i.e. being disrobed and that too in the royal court after her up-righteous husbands (though human and filled with faults and we happily name our boys after them) lose her in gambling to their step brothers! So for no fault of hers and despite having a ‘good’ character she is looked down upon with shame. How typical and in modern lines of getting raped and then having to feel ashamed about it. This is how it was centuries ago and sadly, continues to remain so even now! And then we talk about advancements. Advancements that have occurred only in science and technology. Ever heard of moral advancements?
Mythologies around the world are filled with characters with a dubious biography. But sadly Draupadi got chastened for no fault of hers! Luckily for Sita, she was a mere suspect and she passed the purity test! So we have millions of Sita around us. Suspects score better than victims.
I will be lying if I say that I will not be getting ideas if I come across someone named Draupadi. Deep-rooted myths and culture. Whatever I understand of it. Sad but true.
(pic courtesy: https://rrgwrites.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/women-of-india.jpeg)
I had always thought that it was just my pre-teen daughter who needed to be told every time,usually when I drove the car and she sat at the back, to not to use ‘this’ and ‘that’ while starting a conversation. A pronoun is, after all, a noun replacer and one needs to know the noun in the first instance. It is yum. It is tangy. It is soft. Yes, but what is “it’? It is a case of sheer laziness more than a weak vocabulary in her case. But what about so many online news headlines these days?
As you scroll down the news feed I invariably come across a headline or two and sometimes even more that reads something like: ‘this is how the mother of 3 fought the tiger’, ‘this powerful herb cures depression’, ‘this is why the actor walked off the stage’ etc. What in the correct, traditional way should really have been written as a) Brave mother of 3 fights a tiger, b) XYZ cures depression and 3) Actor in anger walks off stage. Simple. This is how it is usually. Why would you add ‘this’ and ‘that’ and their plurals. Is it not obvious that the body of the article will explain the headlines and in a good journalistic fashion report the whys, whats, wheres, ifs and hows. And if the subject is of reader’s interest he/she would anyway click on the headlines to read further on.
I figured out the reason and maybe I am the last one to do so! It all comes down to making the readers curious and encouraging them to click on the headlines so that it takes them to their website. Clicking on the link gets them the numbers after all and in the end it is all about numbers. So if it was something like : Green Tea Cures Depression you might move on to the next news and not bother to click the headline to read the details- who said it, why, where etc. However, if it was “this” cures you of depression, this this (yes 2 ‘this’) will make you click on the headline to at least grab the name of “this”. Clever. Though many times this ‘this’ makes you feel cheated. You have after all taken the bait! How predictable of you?! And if ‘this’ turns out to be nothing as spectacular as it was made to sound in the headlines (which happens most of the time) it is very annoying.
I choose not to read such articles at all now. It is more like a revolt. Revolt against being fooled. Revolt against being sold something by playing on a human weakness called curiosity. I might be missing out on some useful information but a gimmick like this is better suited for selling new products. Selling news? No way.
(image courtesy: http://www.monkimia.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Moebeltattoo_this_and_that.jpg)
So when you begin to get congratulatory messages for something you are unaware of, you have to find out why! I figured out a few days ago that I had completed 3 years as a freelancer. Time flies! 3 years since I had broken myself free from the corporate grind or had I?
It was time to retrospect:
- I became too flexible. Is that what I wanted? I travelled wherever I wanted to. Despite bagging myself a decent and an on-going client at the very onset of my freelancing days who adjusted happily to my travel times, he finally gave up on me! The weekly breaks became longer sometimes and there came a point that I even relocated to another country since I could “carry” my job with me. After all, what I wanted was just myself, my laptop and my sound equipment. The relocation brought many side effects along.
- I was never the networking woman. And you can’t freelance/ do a business if you can’t build a network. I continue to have twisted logic and possibly ego hurdles when it comes to network building. Obviously, no networking meant no expansion! I have seen a boutique owner in a mall running behind the mall-visitors talking to them about her boutique and giving her business card to them. Could I ever do this? No. She has done quite well for herself looking at her boutique.
- I could not promote myself. Imagine being in the online world and looking for work and not having any samples on my profile page to show-off ? Or even having a website (when it is so easy and free to create one). Most of the work that I have ever got is through auditions or sending a hurried cut-paste sample of my recent work.
- I didn’t work on the job’s limitations. As a voice-over artist having a professional sound equipment but not a sound booth meant that I could only work when there was silence and that is night time and that too very late (and being at the mercy of airplane sounds, security guards whistles, dog barks and what not!). I could give my clients a studio-like quality and I lost a few more projects like this. ‘Studio-like’ after all is not ‘from a studio’. I never took the thought of getting a studio built seriously. I didn’t think big. I was happy with the ‘jugaad'(hack).
Ashwin Sanghi’s book 13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck was an eye opener. He referred to a thoughtful theory by Seth Godin from his book, The Dip. It tells you to distinguish in which situation you are in :
1.cliff – things that are fine at present but will eventually collapse
2.cul-de-sac – things that look appealing but go no where; you have hit a dead-end
3. dip – temporary setback
So I might have reached a cul-de-sac and applying the reverse gear is not what I am good at (literally!)
(image courtesy: http://freelancefolder.com/wp-content/uploads/freelancing-dreams.jpg)