Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tying it up

Its that time of year - the one when we reflect on the year gone by, ruminate the accomplishments and dissappointments, weigh them all in to see where the scales tip to decide the success of the year.
I'm doing the same. albeit sitting in another country. in an apartment in a city apart from the one I moved to, the third Im visiting this christmas. A change I could'nt forsee myself last new years even stretching my imagination. Last year this time I was contemplating a job change to be that 'stimulant' in my life. In retrospect, that would've been a mild ripple in the wave of change Im engulfed in.
So where are the scales tipped? This has been a good good year. I'm glad I had the courage to get out of the shell I was living in, protected by friends and family pigeonholed in the same routine. This was as out there as I could throw myself, and Im lucky to have had parents support me through my decision. I had aunts and uncles who wanted me to 'get engaged' before I left because 'it was the right thing to do' (long distance for two years with a stranger, no thanks)
In my five months here Ive travelled to 3 cities Ive always wanted to visit already - Seattle, SF and Im in Los Angeles for the new years! San Diego is a road trip that could happen 2 days from now (fingers crossed). Of course this is austerity at its best - tickets booked 2 months in advance at cheapest days and dates staying with distant friends and relatives and who not.
I've also relearnt to be a student - broke, hungry, sleepy, frustrated, stingy, - the whole enchillada. I've re-learnt to be in situations where I'm not familiar with the dicsussion and not feeling out of place - we get complacent with our knowledge and positions at our jobs, dont we?Being a student at 26 with 4 years of work ex and oodles of money to be spent on 'necessities' such as bags and shoes and other extravangazas and now adjusting to one bag and 3 pairs of regular footwear is just all kinds of wrong'
I've learnt to sit in one place with a book and pore over it for hours and not turn on facebook. (ok, this one took some time!) I learnt to cook - this was a big one. From a make only chai person I now make dals, rice, chicken biryani, peas potato, cabbage, ladyfinger u name it, I cook it! big big accomplishment for me! I documented each little one by sending during and after pictures of everything I cooked to my mom - overdoing it? yes! but thats the Indian way no? of excesses and exaggerations? :)
All in all, a year of a lot of learning, re-learning, letting go, holding on. 2011, here I am!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Its a desi thing. Coming to terms with being a whole new city with different morals and attitudes and adjusting can be difficult; I understand. Trying to adjust, finding a comfortable place with your differing accent, dressing maybe and overall value system, also unnerving I guess.

What I dont understand is being in the age bracket of 25-30 years, in business school carrying age old complexities of an inferiority/superiority complex, judgement issues, masks and an overall intricate web of overlapping masks and alternating behaviour. Shouldnt we all be in that age where we've all proven ourselves, academically and professionally in some ways or the other, to be well settled in our accomplishments and confident in our skin? I have reached a climax of feeling frustrated with the 'desi' junta in my batch. FOB's if you may (fresh off the boat). All of them seem saddled with overwhelming complexes in some form or the other manifesting in various forms such as judging others, a certain amount of concealing of facts, undermining or overstating oneself and most of all - jealousy.

I'm thankful for my upbringing when faced in a situation like this - I compete with myself. I'm well aware that I dont want an IB jor or corp finance like most of the others so competing with them is pointless innit? Talking about completion of homework or constant status of studying in a comparative scale is something I neither have the time nor the inclination to do. Im comfortable enough to have worn a churidar kurta to school on a few occasions when there was no special day (and gotten a lot of compliments!!), comfortable enough not to roll my r's since I dont anyway, admit that this was my first Halloween and ask questions about traditions and customs here in the US without pretending Ive lived here forever Cause I HAVENT!

Im finally at a crescendo of wanting to not associate with such narrow minded intensely competitive set of people, Im here to make friends, have fun, study, work and open my mind to new perspectives NOT to carry with me all the petty ridiculousness that I left behind when I was 20. No Offence to anyone, but Im just too busy making the most of every day of these two years of my life that I JUST.DONT.HAVE.TIME.FOR.BULLSHIT.

Being pretty good at ignoring people I dont like being one of the things I do well, I succeed decently in this effort, but then there are days, like today. Things so miniscule that my blog would be mad at me if I ranted about them. This mood certainly wasnt good at the botched attempt at Palak daal, and aaloo sabji. Luckily I have an Oreo cookie chocolate chip whipped cream frosted cupcake to cheer me up. AH. just the thing!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pimpin up the studyin

Of course, there HAS to be motivation involved, right?

The place where I sat!

Yes, I was there 7 hours. And yes, with motivation LIKE THAT, I did get 6.5 hours of work done. err, dont ask me which (or how many) of those I ate (and or packed).

Friday, October 22, 2010

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Meeny

Things that mean so much..
Today I went to the 'Indian store' for a few of my groceries which I wont get at the regular Walmart, HEB etc. Things which are an indispensable part of of my life and without which I am somehow, hopelessly incomplete. Society tea the good ol cutting chai variety as opposed to the dip dip sorry excuse for tea this coutry has. Basmati rice, Daal and Rajma! and yes, I have somehow begun cooking. The cycle of domestication is now complete. This can also go on my 'smart intelligent can cook girl' resume.
As I walked down the aisle surrounded by brands and colours and names I knew I felt oddly happy. Like I stole a few moments in a kirana shop back home. Parachute oil, Amul butter, Frooti, Rasna!! They looked like glistening little items of gold. I treated myself to buying vermicelli (sewiyan) which I know (think) I will make kheer out of. It was strange, an experience of strange longing in the midst of a decrepit little store that sold groceries, of all things. I walked past the biscuits aisle and found Britannia rusk break, a routine with Ma and I and chai each day of the three month vacation I had before leaving India.
I did not anticipate the glee I felt in picking up that packet of rusk biscuits and going back to a memory of having chai with my mom - one I wouldnt think twice about ordinarily cause it was such a mundane thing to do. As I tried explained my ecstatic initial reaction to my puzzled friend, my emotions changed from happiness to a slow realization of the fact that a) Im not buying it so I can go home and have chai with mom and b) its gonna be a full year and a half before I see her again ...and I teared up. It was a hollow feeling of really really wishing I could just do that one thing I did every single day, just once more.
It got funny after that - obviously a boy thinks the best way to get a girl to stop crying is to ask silly questions and distract her and hence post a few 'what is amchul powder made of' and other junk, Nikhil decides its time we head out. Only, when Im paying and stack the rusk on the counter it triggers off another 'Im not done feeling upset over this' reaction from me and a few tears make another appearance, to which poor frazzled Nikhil literally asks me if I want him to HIDE the packets! That obviously was more than enough to get me to crack up.
Its hard, living away. Im ordinarily so busy I dont have time to miss anyone much, heck I barely have time to sleep. But its when these little things remind you of where you came from and who you belong to that its time you take some time off and just dwell. I'm so absorbed in my new life all of a sudden, I dint have a weaning off period between home and now. Its perfectly ok to feel upset, and Im gonna spend some time just feeling what im feeling. Im sortof enjoying missing home and family and friends and Mumbai and reliving my favorite moments in this status.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I feel as though I dont write as much as I should. Thank MBA for giving me barely enough time to shower each day and thats probably all the time I get to myself each day! So where am I writing from now? A coffee shop at Seattle, doing the American thing - sitting with my laptop and a Java chocolate chip frappacino catching up with emails and blogging. Although I must do my readings for class. :-/

Ive been trying to get myself to leave this coffee shop since the past hour, but the music, just wont let me. Its a beautiful medley of the blues and some french music and its got me hooked. A window seat and perfectness. Its been 3 months since Ive been alone, literally. and thats cos im in a new city where I knew only the 30 people I came with most of whom have left now. MBA Means im perpetually with people, my study group my roomate or other people I need to be around;. This is the first time Im by myself in a place where I can just marinate in my own thoughts and 'do my thing'

The last three days have been a whirlwind of meeting 6 companies, none of which hire me cos im an International student but this experience was intense. It was worth my time and money just coming down here for so many reasons - I got to know some of my classmates better. I was sharing a room with 3 other girls - all americans and they were lovely. There's a reason id tell new students heading abroad not to just hang with Desis, cause thats the easy thing to do, but getting to know different people is just such a stimulating experience! Our hotel is downtown so It was phenomenal - walking out the street meant looking at seriously stylish people wearing their winter wardrobe and an occasional woman in something so tiny that it makes me wonder how shes doing it! (perspective - I have on 5 layers of clothes right now). Visiting companies gave me a good feel of the American work culture and a sense of what it would be like working here. I got the impression that it isnt as structured as it is back home - team of 3-4 working for a boss who has a boss who has a boss and hence your ass is always covered cause of the hierarchy - here its more like you are your own boss and u dont hve a team to necessarily get things done but you have to figure out a way to do them anyway. Im not sure if ill love it or hate it, but ill give it a try!

I am so loving this music in this coffee shop, Its been over an hour and a half and I dint even realize it. Im gonna walk over to the Space needle now, pictures later!

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm being positive!

BUT, as it turns out, Optimism can be futile in SOME cases!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Life keeps getting more and more surreal

First I think I almost lose my dad in the 26/11 attacks. Terrorists enter my city, through a place I can LITERALLY see from my balcony. and now, I move countries, to a whole new life - to a new happy fun place - and then this?
I woke up to emails from classmates saying one of them had seen a masked gunman on campus so we shouldnt leave home, whoever hasnt left for school already. At first I thought it was a joke - This cant be happening right? RIGHT?
That was followed by some classmates calling and sms'ing to check where I was and to ask me to stay indoors - thats when I realized it isnt. I ran into my roomates room to check where she was and she'd left for school already. In complete panic I called to ask where she was and she was RIGHT ON THE STREET where this Gunman was. She along with 2 other desis who didnt take this seriously and wanted to find out for themselves how a random gunman can wreck havoc I guess. I fail to understand what can be so important that one would put themselves in harms way - I'd have missed an interview appointment wiith the ONLY job available to me in this country if I had to. Im sorry, my life means wayy too much to me to put in the hands of a maniac on the loose. Armed that too. Funny thing is, the odds of me being in the exact SAME spot as this gunman at 9 am in the morning were HIGHER than me being home, asleep. I was stdying late last night and hence had randomly decided to sleep in. Thank god for strange coincidences.
The good news is - (yes, there is some) that the only person injured was the gunman himself - dead rather. The school was quick to respond with emails, sms's, directions cancelling classe etc, a quicker response time with information dissemination than back home in India during 26/11. This guy was a former UT student - being here two months I feel like I love my school so much. Its absorbed me in its culture, its spirit of comraderie and enthusiasm, its working as hard as I am to make my 2 years here the best two years of my life. Why then, would someone whose been here want to destroy the beauty of the campus with voilence on it? Why would one want to exhibit one's own shortcoming's and crazed demented state of mind to afflict on others? If he had to kill himself, why not in the confines of his own house? WHY at my school, at my library?
I feel violated. I watched my school - the place this man was, is literally 5 steps from my Building - and I see it crawling with menacing police officers with guns and yellow tape and it feels violated. I feel like there's no sanctitity to the places I call home and are a part of my life. Like its in anyones hands to trespass these places and spill blood and gore all over it and ruin its innocence. I do not like this state of being, and this state of vulnerability. And there's nothing. Not one thing I can do about it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Global Business OMFG!

In other words, a case study challenge I inflicted on myself (sincce who needs a free weekend anyway right?). Its a 4 team member all nighter case study challenge in which we will be given the cases to analyze at 9 p.m tonight , to submit a complete analyses and presentation by 8 a.m. tomorrow. It seemed like a great idea initially. Now I wish I had thursday night to dedicate to nothingness. Or the think and drink.

I'm excited about this though. It'll be fun to see how we're gonna handle each others moods post 3 am tonight. To combat team inertia and last minute panic, we have a communication coach scheduled to come over to wherever we will be by 2.45 a.m (a semi-median of the night). He offered to come back by 5 am and check on us so we might schedule another one. Thats one thing I love about this school. No matter how hard your working, there are people working harder, to make this experience count for us. There are people sending emails post midnight and available round the clock for ANY requirement that may arise. These communication coaches for e.g. - They opened their time slots from last evening till tomorrow morning 8a.m. thats more than 36 hours to make available for us to pick random times like 2.45 am.

Anyway, in preparation for tonight I skipped classes took a LO-ONG nap. We're also equippped with our buddies for the night - red bulls, starbucks double dose espressos, food fruits, vitamins etc. Now to time those babies right. Too soon a red bull and well be dozing off by 5a.m - too late and we'll be duracell bunnies during the presentation. I think Ima go research the statistical curve for the efficiency of a red bull and work out the logistics of taking one :-/ wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Waiitt for me!

The life of an MBA in a foreign country in a top ranked school is only any one of the following adjectives - sleep deprived, overworked, mad-ass fun, crazyfucking hectic and or stressful. As I eat me some cereal for dinner and granola bars for lunch at times, I realize what a crazy crazy ride Im on. And how im getting killed with the workload, deadline pressure and basic survival, and yet I'm hoping these two years take their time getting by.

I walk into my room, look at the furniture I bought and assembled (well a little help with that! whats the point of having boys as neighbours if they cant lend a hand right?), at how bare the house was when I moved in and how I cook and clean now as though im playing house. I remember how clueless I was when I first got here, barely two months ago (and still am in a lot of regards) but how this feels like home now. My classmates and study group are the most diverse lot of people Ive ever EVER had the pleasure of being around - the ONLY thing they all have in common is BEING RIDICULOUSLY smart. I need some dumber people to bring down the median of the grade distribution please! The people are awesomely nice, most wonder how I know such good English, and I find it hard to explain how I lived the life of a Mumbai girl which in hindsight I think is quite 'Americanised' to say. It's easier to blend in for me this way - I feel like I took to everything (except the studying) very well and in time.

I only complain about my time management skills right now. I have estimated, using intense mathematical and statistical tools that in order to complete everything on my plate on time, not miss a submission and or a planned event, my productivity has to be 'any 3 errands per minute'. This of course is in simplified terms for the blogverse. I missed the Indian Bhangra night on friday night as a result of my inability to assign time well, and boy what a miss it was. ONLY a million people went, all my friends came back home drunk out of their minds with a whole lot of gossip packed into that one night. Correlation between number of people drunk/quantity of drunkeness and hook ups that night? VERY HIGH. Being a bystander is fun. But now, after what Ive gone through just making it to today, I need to be very wasted sometime this week to get accounting out of my mind. In other words, this is get serendipity drunk week, and every one's invited. and expected to support :D Did i mention the official 'Think and drinks' we have each Thursday night (yes, I have a 3 day weekend) which are organised by SCHOOL? School is very supportive of our extra curricular activities, for sure. I always knew I selected it right :D

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two selves dwell within our beast

--- From Goethe's Faust.
I was studying Microeconomics since a while now. It is therefore possible that the forthcoming analogies could be a derivative of the words I've read and the correlation with events surrounding my life consequently.

Today was a day of scattered thoughts, of insistent surprises, of periodic reminders of how acting in one's best interests is actually the best way - the ONLY way to really live life. Living with parents and being surrounded by people who love you and will willingly adjust to your whims and fancies and be your comfortable fall back armchairs makes a person soft. I am soft. I am also an idiot. I trust easy and love easy and believe in the general goodwill of life. While I love spending time by myself (it is essential to reflect on oneself intrinsically as much as externally) the very idea of individualism gives me a sense of overwhelming claustrophobia. I love being surrounded by people, by open spaces, by atmospheres of symbiotic existence. I love being cared for and caring, being loved and loving, giving of myself and receiving of another - I just cannot imagine an existence contained within myself.

Thus when I live with someone who cannot see a life beyond herself, who doesn't feel the need to be considerate or even slightly caring to someone shes living with, I just do.not.associate. Friends kiddingly refer to my mother henly tendencies as funny sometimes but then again, I just disclaimered y'all right? I cannot imagine thinking of and for myself in everything I do.

On the other hand, I was shocked at the turn of events this morning when a friend I was counting on for something of monumental importance gave way at the very last minute. I was blindsided by his response that he dint do what he had promised me he would - this very nearly was a very expensive mistake for me, one that I could avert but only after time and energy spent that could have been easily avoided. He was aware of the importance of this extremely tiny favour he was doing for me - one that I was obligated to ask for since he had access to certain facilities I did not, at the time. Still, he ended up meeting me at the function wherein I needed these documents and informs me that he dint get mine! I was in a fix. It took all of my energy not to panic and lose control of the situation at that very instant and figure out what best to do.

It worked out in the end, but it was a learning experience for me. I forgot that I'm in an atmosphere of academic competition, survival of the fittest. Even if I was inherently aware of the underlying competition, I always thought that dirty games and being underhanded took away more of a persons energy than added to his advantage.ill never manage the stress of being petty and shrewd. smarter? yes, I have to get. a better judge of character? hellyeah. its now or never!

Moving countries has a lot more to teach me than I thought and obviously 26 years of being a grown up doesnt mean I know the ropes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The one where Serendipity is getting killed.

It seems like I got here a month ago and school started just 3 weeks ago and midterms! MIDTERMS! Those exam like things in which you're expected to study and know your shite. Of course, I had to take it easy. I had to party every weekend, hang out, waste time making a million friends dig myself into a hole, and then, panic.
It's difficult being in an envoirnment as challenging as this. Every aspect of your being is put to test - emotional tenacity, physical endurance to 12 hour days with assignments coursework networking events, while eating out each day. This is my first major exam away from home - come to think of it, this is my first ANYTHING away from home. I know realze the calming influence of having mom hovreing around somewhere in the house, the chai that would magically appear periodically on my desk every once in a while, the food that would be healthy and oil free and to my liking right before my exams. In short, it was your average Indian parents doting on child syndrome.
Its a true test of my character fortitude if I can make it through this semester, unscathed by which I mean none of the follwing should happen to me - 1) Put on 1500 kilos 2) Lose 1500 kilos (or in hindsight thats not such a bad idea) 3) get a failing grade in any of these exams 4) lose all my hair in stress. Real peach of a mood right now right? Im running away from finance right now. Which is to say Ill blog, surf, walk, make chai, bathe and text message everybody in all parts of the US i can text (for free) until I have no choice BUT to open this godforsaken book.
Of course I also have the normally distributed grade curve working against me - my class is full of CPA's and Finance guys with an average of 6 years of work experience and 29 years of age, skewing the mean of the grades towards obscene levels. My pittance of 4 years experience and 26 year old mindset is just wondering what exactly Im contributing to this envoirnment except sarcastic facebook updates about how sad my fiannce and accounts situation is right now. Im counting on people from the liberal arts background (are there any in this class?!) to be equally (or more) flummoxed by these subjects else im'a be the tailender of this class. oh well.
Im hoping I read this blog post in a while (prefereably wednesday after the exams) and find it funny. I hope that isnt expecting too much :-/

Monday, August 30, 2010

Serendipity Reloaded v2.1

Wow. Fighting blogggers block sure is tough. Especially when in the last two months of not blogging, said blogger moves countries, shifts life stages and starts getting her butt busted in an academic envoirnment she's trying to keep pace with.

How do i even qualify what the past two months have been. The run up to moving here - halfway across the world away from my comfort zone was as suspected an emotional roller coaster with apiness and excitement playing ball with sadness and anxiety about what lies beyond and what I left behind. I miss home - I miss my friends. I miss having people around me who know EXACTLY what I mean, and who'll auto complete my sentences. I miss Mom and her hugs and her bugging me to use sunscreen. I miss Mumbai and the sound of the sea - the beautiful hum drum of the waves. At the same time, I love the space here, the wonderful refreshing air not reeking of pollutants. I love the dignity of the place and people who will gracefully allow a pedestrian to pass with a smile, the cashiers who will tell you to have a great day with an infectious smile. How the switches go the other way around and the cars are on the opposite ends of the street. How I still look the wrong way and still get my dimes and cents wrong. How I hate having to wait a week to do laundry and even more when that draws into two. I love how I have another shot at being mysef again - the mellowed me just wasnt quite right. How I'm like a kid in a candy shop marvelling at these new things Im seeing and doing.

I hate how I have a new life and I love it too. A dichotomous reaction to the space and time I am now ensconed in. A crossroad where I can make it or break it.
I am excited about what lies ahead- This past month settling in is a good indication of what I can expect in the future. At the same time I left a lot behind - there's a part of my heart with someone I cant get back. And I think I have a part of his. Where we'll go and what we'll be, I dont know.
Life is funny. It'll throw a pile of emotions for you to deal with at the same time - who needs an MBA when you've got god pulling at the strings of your life?! This is time management, emtions management and priority setting at the very best application Ill ever find.

Today is one of those days - when Im suddenly feeling 50,000 miles away from home. Its a strange feeling, not being able to call HOME because of logistic issues!! Hello, I want my mommie please? yeah Iknow, im an improved version and all that but I dont profess to being able to do without my mom. :-/ Bittersweet. solitary. strange. Back for more. Im not all about the hard stuff :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Compartmentalization of Desire

A lot of recent events have forced me to think about why we, as humans are sometimes the greatest barrier to our happiness. How we, ourselves hold the key to our own happiness, how we are the architects of each day of our life and the driver of each path we take. In our right state of mind, we are all enabled, sensible and thought out individuals well endowed with the capacity of taking decisions that should be taken. Why, then, given this advantage are we often our own biggest criminals?

I look around myself and see people I care for doing themselves grave injustice in their own decisions, and other than the standard 'pep' talk I can do nothing. After all, you can take the horse to the water, you cant make him drink. I see friends making compromises and sacrifices to keep transient relationships and fleeting feelings intact. While I understand its hard to let go - after all relationships come with a lot of desirable qualities - security, comfort, love etc. What I do not understand is why anyone would hold on to something simply because they're afraid to let go. Its about the 'What will I do without..' question that is plague. I say, why cant you ask yourself 'What am I doing with'?

Desire can take on morbid forms sometimes - its important to know when the line is breached. I graduated from being a foolish naive young girl into a woman who believes that 'YOU' have to be the most important person in your life. If YOU dont respect yourself, NO ONE will! Putting one's foot down in light of maintaining self respect or sanity are not only acceptable, they are MUST. DO. IT. NOW.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The transience of infinity

Its only once we realize the finite nature of things around us, do we really value them. Name the top three things that come to your mind - time, love, life? Have we all not, at one point or another thought of something as strange as what we'd do if we had 24 hours to live? Heck, I had to write a 300 word essay for my school applications recently! What we'd say to a loved one if he had 24 hours to live? How we'd spend the last week at home before leaving the country? What we'd say if it were the last conversation we were having?

Infinity, is actually, a misnomer. Come to think of it, everything in life can be allocated ephemeral pockets of circumstantial time slots and vacant spaces in our hearts. Do you still love the person you said you'd love forever? Most likely, not. We love circumstantially and conditionally, contrary to what Bryan Adams might say. A sequence of events led us to feel what we did at that point for another person who at that time fulfilled some latent need--wanting to be loved, to feel secure, to be a couple, to count on, it varies. Which brings me to the point - infinity is actually transient. fleeting. brief. momentary.

We live in a world of paradoxes. Where change is imperative and imminent, yet faced with intense opposition. We'd stagnate without it, yet we battle any change with formidable strength.
Where love is not 'forever' but 'until you suit me'. A world moving at whirlwind speed with more efficiency than ever before, yet where's the time?

Today as I count down to a new life, in a new country, I feel a heightened perception of emotions of all kinds stewing through me. Home cooked food, Mom's hug, friends phone calls, family - suddenly I'm treating these things with enormous depth. The other day I was driving past Marine drive and I remembered all the millions of times Ive driven past hurriedly to get home, but that day, I took in each curve in the road, each contour of this beautiful coastline, absorbing the energy of lovers, joggers and urchins just infusing life into this place. I pulled down the windows and let the salty sea spray ruin my hair for once without a grumble. I ate plain rice and dal without a squeak of opposition as I know there's going to be a day, not too soon when I might be craving this - and a status on a social networking site is all Ill have to contend with.

It's not just the impending move to another country - its the repercussions thereafter too. This could possibly be the last time I live in my parents home as me. This new life and move could have its extensions in marriage, who's to say? The other day someone asked me what my plans are, and whether ill marry and settle there, or work? I simply smiled and gave my now templated answer - 'I don't have a plan, I'll deal with whatever comes my way'.

Cause hell knows, when has life gone according to plan anyway?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm closer to where I started..

It's finally over and done with. The last day at work, for the next two years. After the past 4 years 1 month and 15 days of working in 2 companies, I finally said goodbye to my office on thursday, 15th April. I henceforth rewind the clock backwards into 2 years of studenthood, in another city, on another continent and a whole new world.

It was bittersweet - the last day at work. We underestimate how much people you spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week begin to mean to us. On some heavy work months I spent more time with colleagues than even family! I left packing my desk and all its collectibles until the very last day - I couldnt imagine sitting there with a bald, empty desk even for a day. Its strange that the only things I had started off with were a frame of Ganpati and a picture frame of my Mom and I. Everything else on my desk accumulated over 3 years - farewell gifts, momentos, travel gifts, thank you gifts, secret santa gifts - you name it. Needless to say my desk was one more article away from being rented out by Hallmark.

It was those little things Ill remember most - packing away tiny gifts and remembering what they were for, getting that last signature on my full and final and submitting my swipe card - that loss of belonging, deleting all signs of my person on the computer - pictures, links, changing my screensaver. As I mailed myself all my bookmarked links - blogs of people I checked each day, I realized how attached I was to the well being and the updates of a few bloggers, strangers I'd bumped into, but who occupy a few minutes of my life each and every day. Now that was a realization.

I'm melancholic about having left - I had a great experience, with super bosses and a fantastic team, very fun peers and fantastic opportunities. I was a misfit of sorts, a person without a masters in a highly specialized niche, managing only through common sense and confidence. My last day turned out to be a fitting one as my friends made me a very thoughtful collage of all our pictures, painstakingly selected to include each person I had a bond with - although they left out the smiling gentle kakas - the watchmen who wish you first thing everyday, the one who bought me prasad from Siddhivinayak each tuesday.

I tend to be tipped on the scale of sentimentalism, if my blog already dint indicate that. So that day, I was determined not to cry. I knew i'd find it hard, cos its me, but i was on a mission. The put on a brave face cos your moving on to a new phase in life face. So I went about the day, doing what I love most - talking to every person who made a difference to my years there, and clicking snaps with all of them, thinking up captions for each picture. Thing is, when your around for a long enough time, specially todays attrition-riddled generation, a stint of 3 years+ means your probably among the oldest employees around. It also means you know everyone from cross functional departments - commercial, HR, etc. I was surprised, and touched by the genuine affection I was bestowed with, one that served as a detriment to my no crying agenda. Did I pull it off though? Yes. I did. well, almost. The breaking point came when I was accompanied to the taxi by all of 15 people, more a spectacle than anything else (Had i been not so emotionally overwhelmed, I wouldve made inappropriate jokes about how this was like a scene from Hindi movies when one person is moving from the village to the city and almost the entire village comes to see him off). At that time though, I interpreted it all as love.

Thats the thing though, life is just so much more myriad when you magnify each emotion, when you give and receive, love and be loved. Life really, is about the living, not the surviving.

Its tough moving on from a place of comfort, a zone of accomplishment, where everyone knows you for who you are and what your capable of. I, look at it as stagnating. Battling strangely intricate feelings, saddled with a healing heart and uncertainties was not easy. But again, who said anything that was worth something is?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What I did this summer!

Wednesday, 7th April - Mumbai - Chennai

Thursday, 8th April Chennai - Delhi

Friday, 9th April Delhi - Kolkata

Saturday, 1oth April - Kolkata - Mumbai

3 days, 3 cities. Was madnessly tiring but fun as a concept. Only wish I had done the 'Golden Quadrilateral' by road and not air. Had to since was travelling on work. The highlights of the trip...

  • The last flight back home was half an hour late, and this was the most on time I got anywhere, averaging between an hour to and hour and half late.
  • Kolkata was 41'c!
  • I ate 4 meals by myself and hence the eating alone at a place phobia has been overcome.
  • I broke a plate at the buffet :/
  • Creepy guy on the flight said he'd add me on facebook. I therefore proceeded to misspell my last name.
  • Lived with her at Kolkata! YAY! :)
  • It turned dark at 6.30 p.m. in the evening at Kolkata whereas Chennai and Delhi were bright as sunshine!
  • I saw a TRAM at Kolkata!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

All I do is miss you, and the way we used to be.

I'm beginning to understand why people get 'boring' as they get older. Why butterflies in the stomach 'used to be' that feeling you knew, why it gets harder as time flies by. It was a strange, startling discovery when a song played in the background yesterday - Romeo and Juliet by Dire straits. One of my favorites.. Ive been humming it ever since.

I'm a music person - I had a song for every mood - mellow, happy, sad, sad-sad, happy-sad, melancholy, in love, heartbreak, make up, break up, aloof, spaced out.... I had one playing in my mind everyday and that song defined my mood. I remember this week that "Bittersweet symphony" was the song in my mind and I went about the week feeling randomly disjoint and pieced apart. This other time Boulevard of broken dreams was playing on my mind and I had a nasty few days since it reminded me of a friend whose no more. And it was his favorite song. Hungry eyes was that song I danced to. You get my drift.

Today on my way to work in the cab, I realized how the music in my life has been replaced. Slowly, without realizing the transformation I was talking to myself each day - debating the outcome of my day, the presentation I am supposed to make, that conversation I had last night, the emails I need to reply to, where my relationship is going, what Im going to write in my application essays... its all getting thought without a background score in place.

It was after that I hooked up my laptop and played back some of my favorite music - Mark Knofler, Coldplay, maroon 5, floyd... its safe to say that the state Im in currently could be called "on a trip" or "spaced out" or some other such vaguely intense definition.

Each song hides moments, memories - nestled in the notes, the lyrics. Its like Mark Knofler said "All i do is kiss you - through the bars of a rhyme". I've hidden so many stolen moments, kisses, glances, rides, tears, fears in the folds of so many songs... and discovering them sometimes by accident is just a delicious tingle - a feeling so infinite, of being able to travel time and 'relive'.

Moments have a way of shrinking when put into words - but they magnify when romanced with music. making love, out of nothing at all.

Here's to a homecoming - to my favorite boys - Dave Matthews band , Dire Straits , maroon 5, coldplay, Neil Diamond, Randy travis, Richard Clayderman, and my girlies - Norah Jones, Alanis and Tracy.
The Song I'd dedicate right now? 1992 Serendipity - Forever and Ever, Amen. Randy Travis. (click link for song)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The dice was loaded from the start...

On Saturday night I went for my college reunion. Engineering revisited - 4 years of my life spent in the nooks and crannies of a (then) raggedy old building. Its now new and funky - the run down shed like laboratories replaced by a new age modernistic look. Floating amphitheaters, a dinosaur ribcage stairway and a canteen that looked more like the food court of an expensive mall. I sure was wowed.

I found myself missing those hallowed shoddy walls - that makeshift look, and those dull grey corridors. These clinical precisely painted ones felt like they replaced my memories - hushed the secrets and caved in my relationships. 4 years is a long time to spend, and I had the biggest metamorphosis of my life in these years. I grew from being a tomboy with sideburns and anti-fit beer t shirts to being a "woman" who finally acknowledged breasts as a privilege and not an irritant. I had the biggest heartbreak of my life - one that in many ways shaped the way I love now, forged and lost some of the greatest friends I could possibly ever have. I failed miserably academically, realized engineering is a tough nut to crack, got my act together and redeemed my slowly declining self esteem.

Still, going back to college that day was a surreal experience. I met 2 friends, each my best in someway or the other. One, an ex-love. I can hardly say 'ex' when the never left that part of my heart right? Emotional investment in ways I dint know possible. Knowing I was coming to face him, nearly 3 years since made me unsure of myself, scared, uneasy, excited, a stew of multifarious emotions playing havoc. Nothing could have prepared me for the evening that lay before me, not even my best dreams about our eventual face off.

The actual function at college was nothing to write home about. I felt 50 years old, since the other "Alumni" were batch of 2009 etc. (Should they even be called Alumni?). After the "reunion" the 3 of us went to Soul fry casa at Bandra and 3 large pegs down, for one night, 5 years after graduation and a million changes in our lives later, we took time off to be the people we used to be. The same 3 fools talking random incoherent disjoint conversations. Changes, if any were only subtle. I took a few drags from a smoke, so there's a revelation, given my anti smoking tirade thus far.

These 2 people, changed in their own ways in the past 3 years felt like home to me. There's a certain comfort in being around people who knew "that" me. The naive foolish romantic one before stoicism and a general all round cynicism took over. I had no defenses, no walls, nothing, and this very sense of vulnerability, which I had denied myself the pleasure of feeling was exhilarating in itself. It was wonderful, and surreal.

Thats the thing with an ex-love. an old friend. everything about them reeks familiarity - the perfume brand you know, the contours of their body, the feel of their fingers, the curve of their smile, the undertone in their voice, that look in their eye, that wrinkle on the sides of the lips which give away the identity of a smirk, smile or sarcasm. They are like that dusty old armchair you can snug into whose touch make you feel better already, which understands your long sighs and pregnant pauses, that warm fuzzy ray of sunshine which creates a halo of elevated feelings that eclipses all else.

We couldn't even lie about how much we've changed. Structural changes aside - new jobs, promotions, going to school etc aside, on the person front, there were just no discernible changes. We just knew we had missed each other. There wasn't even a point denying it. Sometimes hugs and handshakes say more than words do, and we were smart enough to realize the futility of pretense.

We sat at the helipad in my building, 37 floors high on the highest point in Mumbai till 4.30 a.m. - long silenced interspersed with nostalgia, randomness and sighs, alternating between being with each other and alone. A dichotomy of singularity and togetherness as we transcended space, time, distance and change to be who we were 5 years ago.

Maybe one last time, maybe one last us.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Pronounced - "Ontoheen" A Bengali film ** I watched yesterday.**p.s the link has spoilers

One I'd recommend you'll all to watch if you can lay your hands on it. National award 2009 winner, starring Rahul Bose, Aparna Sen, Sharmila Tagore, Antaheen starts off on a slow note, and cocoons you into a trance with the background score, the mesmerizing dialogues and the visual poetry. All my senses were heightened while watching this movie as I became one with the script and the unfolding of events.

No emotion is in abundance - the glory of this movie is in the subdued mellowness - one that engulfs us in our life more often than not. No time to love, grieve and really 'live'. A mellowness that you would relate to, of being in love and yet not, of being certain yet not for sure, of conversations in your mind coming alive with musical notes and moonshine and yet being unsaid. There are many love stories intertwined, and yet there arent. Ronjon da and Parro di love each other desperately yet contain it within the realms or their hearts and the depths of their eyes. Its easy to tell how much dependence and vulnerability links thee two characters, and still there's words unsaid, emotions unquantified and feelings undiscussed.

The movie absorbs you further and further till it reaches a melodious orgasmic finale. A sad one, but befitting of the string of reality that ties the movie together.

Modern day romances of song and dance and exaggerated feelings really make for a foolish watch. They're far from our daily lives and hard to relate to. In this scenario a film maker making a film with such superior emotions, such well rounded characters and screenplay that makes each scene look like a work of art, beautiful and lustrous in its depiction. This really is modern day Kolkata with Parro di a workaholic advertising professional having a smoke break and drinking a martini on her husbands birthday. The aerial views and the landscapes depicted are truly phenomenal, it almost makes one feel as though the director is just taking the liberty of showing off this city.

Sharmila Tagore's story is an unexpected one, which later one parallels with the more modern version of Rahul Bose's. how a modern setting can affect the same feelings, and the same emotions is truly worth a thought.

All in all, a must watch, and a wonderful experience to sit through. If you have it in you, try listening more to the Bengali - the dialogues are a treat, and in Bengali, even more sensous.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A why?

Love is painful. And in that, we are all masochists - perennially wanting to fall prey to, or entice someone to succumb.

I ask you why?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Growing up is hard on the knees

The top things I HATE about growing up (err, older)
  • Decisions - From which teacher I like most to which field should I specialize in, it just gets significantly harder. And your expected to take them ALL by yourself, AND do a good job of it. Heck what do I know? I no wanna get married, or decide which country to move and study in, parents outta do it. This half assed job of "now your grown up, you must decide yourself" is just them shirking their responsibility. yes.
  • Generation gaps - From the coolest thing you owned being a frisbee to now being uncool without an ipod. Getting 10 bucks a month and saving up from that to 1600 bucks a month and complaining (Yes, its a meager pocket money for a 16 year old apparently)
  • Changing landscapes - From "mommy whats this building", to "You know, during my childhood there was so and so here". I never got it when my father used to say Cuffe parade didnt exist then, it was all sea, and now i do when i point out a "used to be" to my 16 year old brother. A slow quiet renaissance in the landscape of the surroundings means it gets harder to identify with the new chique and clinical buildings. Old school Victorian architecture has a charm like no glassy, clean cut modern building can ever dream of having.
  • Obsoletion - (I know it isnt a real word) Brands, technology, favorite tv shows, actors, fads - all symbols of 'your time' - fade into oblivion. I take offense when my brother finds something i loved 'uncool'. drat 16 year olds
  • Complexity - work and professional life are getting more intertwined, childhood is fusing directly into adulthood, newer diseases are cropping up, and we struggle to stay afloat. come to think of it, even music succumbed - no longer are genres defined as 'rock' or 'pop' - theres 'fusion rock -pop' or 'punk techno blues' which basically means when i go to a club which apparently defines what music its playing that night, I have NO clue what to expect. Dj so-and-so playing the best of "house funk fusion rnb" and I pay 1500 rs for that?
  • Expectations - from one candybar for a good result in school to expecting a 100 thousand dollar salary from an MBA grade, we've come a long way baby.
  • Crossroads - I need to decide which country to move to. and Im hating it. Maybe why thats why this post.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Had a drink?

Then STAY AWAY FROM DRIVING. Drinking and driving, or for that matter even speaking on the cellphone and driving is criminal and irresponsible. Not only are you responsible to your fellow passenger and yourself, but hundreds of innocent people on the streets too. Want to drink and drive? Feel free to bang into a pole, wreck your own car and bones. You have NO right to alter someone else life, someone who had no fault but to be on the same street as the menace you were driving.

For rash language and the forthcoming judgmental post, I do not apologize.

The recent incident with Nooria Haveliwala, the 27 year old South Mumbaiite who mowed down 2 people and injured 5 after a night of partying has shaken me to no end. Not only is she someone who is a friends friend, she is also an example of accidents waiting to happen. She had over 450 mg of alcohol in her blood (Of course now she claims it benadryl/someone was following her) after a long night of fun, was driving home in her expensive car which made good its claims of life saving air bags since she doesn't have a scratch on her.

Others, unfortunately weren't as lucky. Two people - a constable on duty and a motorcyclist taking a breath analyser test (not drunk) were killed and 5 injured. Innocent bystanders to someones irresponsibility.

My Facebook status sayign I boycott drunk driving and drunk drivers created an uproar of sorts - some friends claiming they've gone 13 years drinking and driving and never having an accident. My keyword for all those using this line is : "YET". You've not had an accident YET. Are you waiting to have one to be proved wrong?

I was looking at pictures of this girl, from her now deleted facebook profile - regular partying and socializing pictures - the kind that even I have on my profile. She probably dint realize she'd be making front page one day did she? That's the thing with accidents - they don't forewarn you, and hence you have to try and behave within acceptable and responsible limits - whatever is within your control. Im tired of learning from expensive mistakes.

Mistakes when so many people lose their lives and then we sit up. Drunk driving, 26/11, religious violence. Do we really need such expensive incidents to be shaken out of our somnolence? If we as citizens are so lackadaisical in our attitude towards OUR OWN RESPONSIBILITIES, who are we to point fingers at politicians and the government? After all, India is a democracy, our leaders were once regular citizens like us.

I've said this before, and Ill say it again. Lets take our responsibility seriously first, and then point fingers. Lets spread the contagion of civic and moral responsibility - its not that hard. I'm sure as hell gonna try.

Margaret Meade once said "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has" and I truly believe her. Its time you did too.

Making chapattis, one shape at a time.

Yes, me.
My mom and maid are out of town and Im left at home with a 17 yr old brother and a dad. OH BOY. Bulls in a china shop is a better expression for how they are at managing their own chores. My dad does chip in his bit, by switching his (6.30 a.m) morning cup of tea with plain milk (phew) so I dont have to drag my half asleep self to make chai at unearthly times.

This does however enable my smartass-just-finding-his-sense-of-humour brother to come up with a few gems like "I wont do any of the girly stuff" (when I asked him to list how he will chip in with the work) by girly he of course meant cooking cleaning washing ironing. That effectively left me with the only logical manly thing I thought he'd do. eat. sleep. shit. (did this blog just turn PG13?)

There was also the "Fine. Ill do the kitchen stuff" When asked exactly WHAT he meant by that considering I am fully aware of his cooking prowess, he replied he'd make breakfast for us. It deserves an applause, certainly. UNLESS of course he serves us chocos and milk. Which he did. Which I had to un-serve and replace with chai, bread and egg. (Am I complaining already?).

To top it off, sunday evening I came home to find the two men in the kitchen, making chapattis (more like parathas). Obviously they were fat and burned and the kitchen window was closed which made the kitchen smoke up. The thought was all cute and captured on camera but 2 parathas down when I insisted on cooking myself and had to clean up their mess first, I realized they do me a favor by staying out of the kitchen. GAH.

I have new found respect for women who manage jobs, homes and men. I never realized how difficult it actually is. I am used to doing a lot of my own work, and am a bit of a monica in terms of ordering stuff, cleanliness and the like, but managing a house is a different ball game.

Here, my perfectly round, wonderful chapatis deserve a mention. Seasoned cooks like my mother took years to perfect the art of roti making - one which I have pursued relentlessly and now am perfect at. 3 points to me! Now if only the triangular parathas I was making wouldve turned out right. Ah well, one shape at a time.

And yes, this is a post after a really long time. Feel strange, having drifted away from your own blog. Although I have blog post conversations in my mind each day, they dont translate. But this is a step in the posting more often direction cause this is something I want to stubbornly hang onto. So hello again :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Picking up speed, cause Im over the hill!

If you dont know where your heading, but trying reallyy really hard to get there, will you still make it?

Screw Mid-life crisis. I have a quarter life crisis staring me in the face. A 24 year old in the guise of a 26 yr old who'll be 27 in 2010. Damn. I know Baz Luhrman said some of the coolest people he knows at 40 dont know what they want from their lives, but I sure as hell dont want to be one of them! Do I really want to trust someone whose greatest piece of advice was 'wear sunscreen' ? (I don't even do that. Im totally done for)

I have spent the last few months of my life focusing on direction. Changing lanes. Taking a leap. Yet today so many things are uncertain. Very unsettling. The next few months (years maybe) are an offshoot of the next 2 months. An algorithm which will determine which one of the two very conrasting lives Ill lead this year. And no Im not getting married. Which is another thing. 4 friends have fallen prey to the 'arranged marriage' bug last year ('09), most will be married this year ('10). one of whom, is my best and oldest friend. The one i know since 2nd grade and has been with me through thick and thin. It sure will be strange watching her sail off into the sunset, for the first time in a direction so far from me. She was one constant in my life since the past 15 years, one I'm used to being around in happy and sad sitatuions alike.

So, hello 2010. I have great expectations from you, personally and otherwise. I promise to work hard, strive for the things I want, and learn to relax a little more. Just give me a sign!