When I was born, the astrologer advised my parents to name me with a letter with the sound ‘Lo’, combining L and O. He even had a suggestion – ‘Lokeshwari’. My parents found it too dull and timid, though the name in Hindi means ”one who rules the world”. Perhaps, this name would have done wonders for my life because it at least reflects my ambition, if not the journey. Anyway, they privately called me ‘Lola’, though the name has a tragic meaning – sorrow’ – but I guess they watched the movie ‘Run Lola Run’ and were charmed. Alongside, I had a formal name which I always hated for being too common – ‘Pallavi’ meaning ‘fresh leaf’ in Hindi – and another pet name given to me by my grandmother – ‘Rimjhim’ meaning ‘drizzle’ in Hindi.
My move to Belfast is a significant move in my life and career. While I have moved countries before for education and work, this is significant in so many ways. I am more than just one person and I am fuller with my gifts and more clear in my purpose in life. I wanted a new name to signify everything new that’s happening to me, but I didn’t want to deviate farther from who I have been past three decades of my life. So, Lola, which very few people know is one of my names, seemed to be the ideal choice.
Often, especially on social media, it affords me the anonymity I need, and sometimes, it helps me create an intrigue for no reason. Whatever it is, I am finally owning up to my little known name like never before. It’s comforting to be Lola in a world where everyone is trying to fake happiness.
I wrote this for @moneycontrolcom and the inspiration came from my brother. More than a decade after he left high school, he invested in a bicycle. This reminded me of our favourite wheels as children — Atlas cycles.
COVID-19 and the restrictions it imposed had clearly tested the patience of thousands like him who had had enough of indoor workouts, and thought cycling outdoors was a better way to burn calories. Sadly, Atlas cycles shut shop last year. The company is out of the market at a time consumer demand has boomed and the humble bicycle has made a fierce comeback.
The pandemic has induced changes in customer behaviour and preferences and the surge for the demand in bicycles is a global trend. This reminded me of the British bicycle mania in history when Britain saw a rapid increase in the number of registered cycle manufacturers. Check out @wquinn05 ‘s excellent working paper for @QUCEHBelfast which offered me great insights for the piece: http://quceh.org.uk/uploads/1/0/5/5/10558478/wp16-06.pdf
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There is no notion in the world as misleading and doubly as promising as perfection. We love people in our lives, and we love people to help them permeate through our life like our favorite perfumes and we eventually settle with the thought that with all the ensuing peace and contentment, this situation could be nothing short of perfection.
Truth is, perfection is a feeling – a feeling that there is nothing wrong, no treatment ever shoddy, no care ever incomplete, no expectation ever unmet. The fact of the matter, or rather, matter-of-fact truth is that perfection is an impression we accept of people, situations, accomplishments. Perfection, therefore, is free of errors and mistakes because it overlooks them; it makes people judgment-proof, clean as sandalwood, revered as a temple floor.