Sun, Sand, Stars and Dreams

The chronicles of a misfit Indian teen


January 2015

Interview Adventures: Job-hunting mishaps at AIESEC

I was on a lookout for a job or internship where I could use my time fruitfully and take back something from it. If money was involved, it would be an added advantage because then, I wouldn’t need to be dependent on my parents’ money.
But, I didn’t mind volunteer work too, because at least then, I would have done a small part at the least to make the world a better place.
So, at around 12:30 pm today, I turned up for the local AIESEC recruitment interview.
For those who don’t know what AIESEC is, it is a student-run organisation, which supposedly has this big plans and volunteers and ya da. I was told that it was a really good thing and will give me a good exposure and so on.
I had to get an application form for ₹300 ($5) and submit it with a résumé. Then, they told me that they’ll call me for a group discussion ‘soon’.

After almost 3 hours, they called me in for a group discussion. I felt that the group discussion went really good. I was not aggressive (unlike a certain member in the group, who’s sole aim was to tear at other’s throats.) nor was I way too passive. I listened to others, put out my opinions and supported like-minded people.
Once the group discussion was over, they told us that all of us were selected and that they would call us all for a personal interview soon.
I waited there in the blazing Sun (no shade or chairs or even water bottles were provided!) till about 4:15pm and they still told me to wait and they’ll let me know my time slot for the personal interview ‘soon’.
Someone told me that I could go for the interview at 5:30. Another person told me at around 5. Then they told me that they’ve to give priority to SRM and VIT people ’cause they have a hostel curfew and they’ve to travel far because their colleges were far. So, they told me that I’ll be called by 6:30 or 7. So, I went home. Home was only about a kilometre away. So, I walked back home.
Then, I turned up again at 6:30.
Then those incompetent imbeciles out there told me that they’re sorry, but I was selected only as an associate member and that I wouldn’t need to give anymore interviews. An associate member is pretty much a member on probation. They’ll make you do small jobs for about 3 months. Something small, in the grassroots level. And then, if the higher ups in the organisation, who are also college students, think you are good enough, they might, huge emphasis on the might, upgrade you to a full member.
Or else, you’ll be stuck as an associate member throughout your AIESEC days.
I don’t mean to brag, but out of the entire group in the group discussion, I was the only one who spoke good English without an accent, or perhaps a slight British-Arabic accent, not the grating thick Indian accent. Also, no one apart from me, in the group won any international level writing contests or worked as an editor for their department journal right in their first year. Yet, everyone else was called for an interview and I wasn’t.
But then again, I was the only outsider in the group. The weird NRI (Non-resident Indian) kid, who just turned up in India and should evidently have no idea what India is all about.

But, what annoyed me the most is this. If those arrogant pricks out there thought that they are too good for me and and didn’t want me there, they should have told me at first itself and not make me wait for so long. That they didn’t. They made me feel worse than a worm squashed under their high and mighty boots. They made me wait at their footsteps like I was so jobless and didn’t have anything better to do. Even staying at home and reading a book is much better than having to walk nearly 1km to and fro, twice and wait in the hot Sun, where didn’t even have the courtesy to provide chairs.
This is beyond frustrating.
I don’t really understand why everything in India should be so frustrating and so complicated.
I miss the simplicity and the peacefulness of my expat days in Arabia.

Have you had any interesting and/or frustrating interview experiences? How did your first ever interview go? Do share your stories in the comments box below! I’d love to hear about it.



Music and memories.

I don’t really consider myself to be a talented singer. In fact, I am tone-deaf and cannot distinguish good music from bad.
But, if there is something I love, it is singing. I love singing out of tune, at the top of my voice. It gives me a kind of freedom, a kind of happiness and puts me at peace.
There are certain songs that fill me with some kind of deep emotion and trigger memories of a distant happier past.
I was brought up in a South Indian household, where though technically both my parents’ mother tongue is Malayalam, my father is the only one who spent his early childhood years in Kerala and knows Malayalam well.
My mother is more familiar with Tamil.

(Malayalam is a language spoken in the South of India predominantly in a state called Kerala, whereas Tamil is also a South Indian language, but spoken mainly in a state called Tamil Nadu.)

There is this song which goes like, “Paattu paadi urakaam njan” in Malayalam, which roughly translates to “I’ll sing a song to put you to sleep” It is a lullaby for all practical purposes. If my father had a theme song, it would be that.
It brings back memories of my Dad trying to put a 2-year-old me to sleep, carrying me around the house and the patio and waiting in front of the AC still carrying me in his arms to cool me down on blisteringly hot summer nights in the desert, tenderly stroking my hair and softly singing this song.

My mother’s theme song would be “Kannai kalai maanai” a Tamil song, which roughly translates to,”My dear, my spotted deer”. A rather old one and melodious too. I remember her singing it to me in hot afternoons while I refused to nap. I’ve vivid memories of her pulling dark curtains across the window in her room, where they let a 3-year-old me be for afternoon naps, darkening the room even in the hot summer Sun, and then snuggling next to me, pulling me close and singing this song in her sweet melodious voice, the only one of us in our family who’s not tone-deaf.

Yesterday night, while I was randomly looking through my father’s collection of old audio cassettes, I found one labelled rather simply as “Lullabies”.
Curious, I kept it aside and continued perusing.
At night, before going to sleep, I inserted the lullaby cassette into an old tape recorder that I found, hoping to go to sleep peacefully, because for once, I was not overdue on any project and I had a 5-day mini-vacation too. (Which unfortunately ends today. College tomorrow. Again. No. -_-)
Instead, the exact opposite happened. The first song that played was what I considered as my father’s theme. By the end of it, I was a sobbing, weeping mess.
Then, it played my mother’s song. I turned it off ’cause I couldn’t bear to hear it any longer.
I cried into my pillow deep into the night. Why? I don’t really know. It is probably because of the memories attached to it. Memories of happier days. When all was fine in the world and when my parents used to love me and each other and actually sing me to sleep.
Songs, they have the power to invoke things, strong emotions hidden deep inside our wrinkled hearts. It was a kind of yearning, of longing, to go back. Back to Happiness. Away from these dark days.
Music in itself is powerful, but when it is coupled with memories, it becomes stronger, swinging either ways.
I don’t really know why I was affected so deeply by it, but it is probably because I miss it. I miss it all. The familiarity, the happiness, the completeness.
We were once such a happy family. Then suddenly, I have no idea what happened. It has been ages since I heard my mother sing, in that beautiful angelic voice of her’s. And my father too. It has been ages since I saw him happy. It has been far too long. Far too hard.
A whole new place, a whole new life. Uncharted territory for me.
It has been frightening to say the least.
And when something stirs into it and reminds me of the had-been, it ends up in a breakdown. It has been far too long. I have tried to be strong, to put on a happy face and pretend to be brave. But, now, I don’t know. It is frightening.

What songs stir up strong memories in you? Do share your stories in the comments box below! I’d love to hear about it.


Curly Hair Conundrums

I have curly hair. So, there! I said it!
I have black, shoulder-length, curly hair, which is frizzy. And by frizzy, I mean that it is a mass of hair that puffs up way above my head, adding a few inches to my extremely short self.
It looks like a bird’s nest, only if the bird made its nest out of black stuff, instead of brown twigs. At its current length (about shoulder-length) the edges frizz out and makes my head look like a triangle, or as Princess Mia (from the Princess Diaries) would say, like a triangle road warning sign.
Each single hair is not curly, in itself. It has more of a half-curled, half-wavy texture, which makes me wonder whether I should call my hair wavy or curly. But, when it groups up, it is a mound of curls.
It tangles in seconds and I can barely brush my hair without the brush getting caught in them. Also, bangs are an absolute no-no!

Since it tangles more when it is left open, my hair’s forever pulled back in a ponytail.

Many people, from the time I was back in the Middle East, used to exclaim things like, “Omg! How do you have such hair!” Or “Look how thick your hair is!” Point to be noted, it is NOT thick, the tangly, frizzy mess gives an illusion of thickness.

But, what bothered me was this. I was the only one I knew with hair like this. Apart from my mother, that is.
Every other person at school used to have this sleek, glowing straight/wavy hair and I was the only one with the tangled mess.
So, one fine day, in Year 11, during a routine haircut, I had a bright idea. I asked the salon guy to straighten it. Permanently. I thought it was going to be brilliant.
My mane would be less of a mane, and more of beautiful hair.

But, that was only till I got home. My mum was furious, because I had gone and ‘ruined’ my ‘beautiful’ hair. My poor dad, nearly had a heart attack, on seeing the sleeky straight haired stranger.
In fact, when I woke up the next day and had a good look at the mirror, I was shocked. I looked different, maybe even pretty.
My parents got over it, but my friends didn’t. They kept saying things like, now your hair looks limp! In fact, the bushy hair suited you.
Then, I was confused. I slowly started getting bored of the stick-straight hair. Especially when it grew longer and the roots turned curly and my bangs grew out curly.
I started missing my frizzy mass of hair.
On another impulse, I went and got it closely cropped. That felt like the best thing in the world.
Now, it has grown out again, to about shoulder-length.

In my college, filled with pretty airheads, I’m again the only one with curly hair.
I’ve endured comments about how much better I’d look if I just get it straightened or at least smoothen it, so that only sleek curls remain.
But, it doesn’t bother me anymore.
I know it is a pain. I know that I can’t get my hair to behave. It is not possible for me to try out all those pretty hairstyles not have bangs. Not those long bangs anyway.

But, I’ve learned to live with it.
No! That’s not right. I missed it when it wasn’t there.
I learned to love my hair.
I love its massiveness, where I believe that I could actually hide a book if I want to!
I love how it behaves like it has a mind of its own.
I love how it doesn’t care about what others think of it.
I love how strong it is.
I love my hair for what it is.

Have you had any hair-related experiences? Or have curly hair? I’d love to hear about it! Do share your stories in the comments box below!


2015. A new journal to be filled.

Happy New Year, my lovelies! 🙂

It is 2015, already.
My New Year’s Eve celebration did not involve anything other than lighting up a cinnamon candle, and reading The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri (pretty good, so far) and going to sleep by 11. Although, I did wake up at 12, when the fireworks went off.
Yep. I’m a early sleeper. (Is there even a word like that?) And a late riser too. I know, kind of lazy.

Anyway, a year has gone by, faster than lightning. It wasn’t a very pleasant year for me. It was full of depressing moments and bad memories. Although, few and far between, there were some good memories too.
As it does not do to dwell on the past, I’m planning to focus on the year ahead.

I am not a fan of New Year Resolutions, mainly because I always end up breaking them.
But, I have decided to make a bucket list (guidelines) for 2015, which can also be accomplished in 2016, if I don’t do it this year 😉
So, here goes.

1. Be Happier – What has to happen will happen, and always for a reason. Be contented with what you have. And if you can’t change the problem, change your outlook on it. (Yes, the end result of constant drilling in Indian philosophy.)

2. DO. NOT. PROCRASTINATE – Okay. At least try not to. (But, that doesn’t seem to work, seeing that I am procrastinating already. I am supposed to be working on a project for college, not blog)

Borrowed from Sabrina of Books And Bark, who by the way, is pretty awesome and you'll need to check her blog out asap.
Borrowed from Sabrina of Books And Bark, who by the way, is pretty awesome and you’ll need to check her blog out asap.

3. Read more books than I did in 2014 – Goodreads informs me that I read 45 books in 2014. In this year, I would like to read more. Not just light-reads, but strong classics too.

4. Stay focused.

5. Lastly, blog more. – Blogging gives me this amazing feeling, and all of you there are awesome! But, unfortunately, I did not blog as much as I wanted to in 2014, due to some major life-changing events that happened. (As I had mentioned in my earlier posts.) This year, I hope to write more regularly than I did last year.

So, no more pointless blabber for now, folks!

See you all soon!

How did you all celebrate New Year’s Eve/Day in your place? Did you make any resolutions/bucket lists? I would love to hear about them, please share in the comments box below. 🙂

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