Wednesday, July 30, 2008

License to live

I need one. To understand the real consequances of the things I do, how everything I do and say will have consequences for people, how people won't bare with me like my family. Because they don't have to, if they see no point. And maybe I'm the one who's losing out because of that.

People shouldn't have to suffer for taking my word, they shouldn't suffer for counting on me.

I need to grow up.

Monday, July 28, 2008


sometimes it becomes so hard to live by the standards we set for ourselves. to live up to, to live by that moral code. to be that consistent all the time, to fit in that straitjacket we ourselves have created. trying to be perfect, looking for perfection in others. and staying lonely.

because they are not perfect. and we are not perfect. so we can't even stand our own company. we can't even stand behind ourselves.

don't try to fit me in your straitjacket. and I won't try to fit you in mine. and don't try to fit yourself in your straitjacket.

because it clearly doesn't fit.

we need larger space, where more is acceptable.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I was sitting in a tube station the other day, and looking around me, I got the feeling that everybody was putting off something. They were procrastinating, maybe knowing what they should be doing, but not doing it. Everything they were doing, was not to think about, to forget about what they should be doing.

London seemed like a huge entertainment park (not even that entertaining), but moving so fast, so that nobody has a chance to stop and think what it is they are really doing, and what they should be doing. Just trying to catch up with everything else happening around them. Barely catching up, keeping themselves occupied. An occupation in itself.
"Some people feel like they don't deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps in the past." Into the Wild, 2007

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Being an only child

After years of having all the love and pampering all to yourself, one day, quite suddenly, you wake up and realise that you have some responsibilities that all those years were supposed to prepare you for. Although nobody told you, you were fed and loved and looked after for this moment. It's like taking a huge loan without knowing it was a loan, and then having to pay it back.

You have to keep your act together. You have to be strong. You have to be happy, because you have no reason not to be. Which in itself, I'm telling you, is a big responsibility. Having to be happy, having to end up happy.

I know how spoilt I sound, I'm sorry. I'm just a little overwhelmed with noone to help.

In my quest to build my self-standing, sustainable life. And be happy.
Somebody else's problem

My boss, apparently, had a library at the back of the office. I caught a glimpse of the books before, it was all cute and respectable, but today I got to carry them. Books, many of them, and folders - folders fulfilling their duty to their utmost limit. (I think the work of his last eighteen years or so. So years have weight.) Since my boss is on vacation, the lady who is responsible for our office expansion designated me as his next-of-kin. And the books, apparently, had to be carried now as the space downstairs would better be used now as they were paying for it now. (Although the workstations that will take the place of my boss's library won't arrive until August.)

And as I made probably 20 trips up and down the staircase (which is literally in the middle of the office) with my arms full of books and folders, my colleagues (most of them men) just carried on with their work. They were wearing their "somebody else's problem" shield. The only people who were sympathetic were the movers.

This happens on the train. People don't move their shit from the empty seats unless and until you ask them.

Now, the stupid thing about me is that I will move my shit away when I see someone walking up and down the aisle. I will propose to help if I see a coworker carrying stuff. Maybe I wear my somebody else's problem shield sometimes, too, in which case I wouldn't even realise that I'm doing so, but most of the time I see the problem and take it upon myself. And I don't ask people to do stuff for me unless I really have to. I just don't.

Then I get angry.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Out of nowhere

I finally saw Sex and the City. It was fun, very shallow, with a few slightly "deeper" moments. At times I felt like I was watching a TV movie, a soap opera. Mr. Big's plastic face, his very childish freak-out when Miranda tells him he and Carrie are crazy to get married, Samantha's stalking of the man-next-door, prompting her to leave her first 'love,' Carrie deciding to make her wedding bigger when she decides to wear a bigger dress, the assistant girl going crazy when Carrie gives her a real Louis Vuitton... It's OK when it's on TV, it's not OK on the movie screen. All of it seemed like a lot of hot air, a colorful inflated balloon. The only character I could relate to was Charlotte, who was afraid of losing the blessings she had when her friends, who were all good people, were unhappy.

Then my friend pointed out something, which I think explained all this shallowness. None of these people in the movie had families. We saw no declining parents, no less glamourous siblings, cousins, aunts or uncles. Even in the TV series, the only parent we saw was Steve's mother. (Steve, by the way, is the only normal, real person in the whole show.) These people seem like they have nothing to worry about but their relationships! Nothing holds them back, makes them question their way of life, lose their balance. They have a light and two-dimensional existence. There is no past, only now, only future. Only going forward. Without thinking about, feeling for much else but themselves. This makes me a little motion-sick.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Irreconcilable differences..?

As I'm completely uninspired to do anything else, I might as well write a few words...

I'm reading Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, partly because of the Indian people I know... There's an air of humility and depth around (most) Indian people, even the most intelligent (maybe because they are so intelligent), something I find endearing and easy to relate to.

But the book itself is not our topic now, I'm sure I'll write about it later. An Indian friend of mine opened a random page the other day, and started picking out random names and explaining them: "Filmfare is the equivalent of People magazine, Polly Umrigar is a very attractive actress and so and so many people live in Kerala of which so and so many live under $2 a day..."

My other friend, who has read the book himself, said that we foreigners can make out things as we read along. I wasn't that optimistic, remembering the times I wondered how a foreigner could appreciate an Orhan Pamuk book fully.

At least we don't know what we are missing.

The next day, we went to a karaoke place with my Indian friend and his friends. Karaoke (an experience like no other - hearing your own horrible trembling singing voice, it's like seeing yourself naked from outside) deserves its own post, which will come soon. At one point they started talking about social networking events that are exclusive to South Asians. I asked whether they would date non-Indians. One of them said issues arise when they do. The other one questioned the rationale behind that, pointing out that Sikh men can be annoying, and everyone else can be quite nice.

There are some truths that are common to everyone. That's what makes a good book a good book - universally. That's what will make me like Midnight's Children, and an Indian like Orhan Pamuk. Because deep down, we are similar.

But we are also different, and the importance of this difference is hard to rationalise. That feeling of recognition when you hear music, when you see a gesture, when you go to a place, the landscape, when someone talks about something you both know, even a TV show, a celebrity, a politician. An inside joke. Those names. Specifics.

These differences enrich our lives, and we try to hang on to them. Smells, sounds, tastes, the sunlight and the colors, there is only one home. It's irrational. Like love. Belonging can only be justified by differences.

But then, I have lived in a few places, and I miss them, too. With time and knowledge one can make a new home...

Would we be missing anything?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The real deal on Turkish economy

At times like these, it seems redicilous to talk about economics. The latest detentions under the Ergenekon investigation are perceived as the government's response to the closure case brought against it in the Constitutional Court. The investigation has completely lost the credibility it once had in the eyes of the public, and the detainees are viewed as victims, not suspects. How can anyone feel safe and secure in a country when one cannot trust the police, the justice system? These detentions are just the tip of the iceberg. People who are anonymous to all but their loved ones are detained all the time, we just don't know about them. Our government has demonstrated that they are no different from all those who held power in the past. God help the powerless, the weak in this country.

The feeling of justice, safety and security is the fundamental condition of a thriving economy. People find ways to survive in any country, but they can go beyond survival only when they feel safe, only when they know that their lives and efforts are not left to the whims of those who hold power. Let alone attracting investment and technology from abroad, the best and the brightest people in our country will leave at the first chance they get, because they rightly feel that they are not getting what they work for, what they deserve.

Our economy has been performing well from 2002 to 2006 simply because macroeconomic conditions improved. Better fiscal discipline allowed inflation figures and interest rates to drop to more acceptable levels, banks were better regulated. Favourable global economic conditions helped us attract FDI and borrow cheaply, enabling us to finance the growing current account deficit. Now that the actual performance of the economy has caught up with its potential, growth rates have been slowing down. Now the question is how to increase the potential of the economy and achieve real growth, which is desperately needed to create jobs for millions of unemployed. And we have to achieve that in a more difficult global environment, when portfolio investments will be more easily reversed and foreign borrowing will be more expensive.

The real issue is the real economy. It is about how to increase savings and investment. People will save and invest only when they feel they are not striving in vain. They will build something only when they know that it has a potential to grow, that it stands on solid ground. Potential investors will consider the quality and credibility of institutions and laws, the quality of the workforce. If potential risks outweigh potential returns, undesirable decisions will be made all the time. Money will flow to high-return financial instruments and bank accounts instead of the real economy. Banks will lend to the government to get high interest instead of lending to entrepreneurs. As the current account deficit grows, macroeconomic policy will fall hostage to the whims of foreign investors and lenders instead of responding to the needs of the real economy.

Unfortunately, more sound macroeconomic management, supported by foreigners' strong appetite for our assets, was not enough to achieve sustainable growth. Economics is not enough to achieve a strong economy. Cheatsheets and equations will not give us the solution. What we need is decency and competence.