Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Homecoming

July 2010 at Bangalore was probably one of my saddest months. I was homesick and lacked friends. My parents made me book my Diwali tickets right back then. Thus began the countdown to homecoming on 4th November.

3rd November @ 11am: Kingfisher calls to inform my flight is cancelled and with it began the 13 most harrowing hours of my life. My flight on 3rd, 4th, 5th all stands cancelled. Other flights to Kolkata are all full. Other airlines are quoting themselves at 13000 minimum. Now what?

Kingfisher gives me 2 offers:
1. 3rd Nov: 8.45pm Bangalore - 11.30pm Delhi then 4th Nov: 6.25am Delhi - 8.30am Kolkata
2. 4th Nov: 10.30am Bangalore - 1.05pm Mumbai then 5.25pm Mumbai - 7.30pm Kolkata

Both offers required me to take an extra day of leave but the 2nd offer ensured that the extra day goes travelling. Hell man! Am I coming home from the US that I need to waste a day travelling by air? I jumped for offer one. My supervisor was cool enough to grant me the extra day of leave. Kingfisher said they'll confirm me at 3pm.

Next task was calming dad. He said "Delhi airport? Whole night? Alone? Have you gone mad? It's full of thieves. You will shut your eyes for a second and ope them to find your luggage gone." Ha Ha Ha! :P Daddy's little girl had a tough time convincing him.

3pm: Kingfisher says my flight to Delhi on 3rd and my flight to Kolkata on 5th is confirmed! What the crap! 5th??? What'll I do for one whole day in Delhi??? Idiot Kingfisher Customer Care people!! Now they say at 4pm they'll confirm. I rush back to my room and pack my bags.

4pm: After 25mins on hold, Kingfisher says it's still not confirmed. I whine and shout and scream. They now assure me that somehow or the other they'll make me reach Kolkata on 4th.

4.30pm: I call up Meru cabs and they say they are facing technical faults and thus can't send me a cab. Rush to auto stand. Make the autowala speed like Dhoom 3. Catch the 5pm airport bus at 4.57pm. LOL.

7pm: Bangalore airport. Some good news. Kolkata flight confirmed on 4th.

Flight to Delhi was smooth and I managed to sleep for 2hrs in the flight.

11.45pm: Delhi airport. The instant I switch on my mobile, daddy calls. "Yeah dad am ok. I am in Departure now. Loads of people here." (All Lies). I wasn't Okay. I was sore and sleepy. I wasn't allowed to enter departure as I had arrived more than 6hours before my flight. There were max 20 passengers hovering in the departure section.

After 15mins they let me in and I bump into an old american in the check in counter. The fellow is worried about his 10000 USD camera and Kingfisher says he'll need to give it in check in baggage. The airport officials are all sleepy. Security check hardly anyone is in the mood of checking. Finally I settle into a chair with my laptop.

Old fellow walks up to me and asks me to help him access WIFI from his Macbook. Am ecstatic. I get to touch a Macbook. Its so sexy. He turns out to be a photographer as I had guessed from the 10 grand camera. Also he turns out to be the director of r&d of Colgate-Pamolive 13 years back.

People of all countries love talking. He kept telling me his experience in Morocco, Mexico, India, Burma, Cambodia. A walking talking lonely planet. He shows me his work. It's lovely. Check it out at : http://paulgrandphoto.com/. I loved a line he said "Looking through the lens at a piece of beauty gives me orgasmic pleasure." It takes him an hour to take a shot and he takes hardly 6-7 shots per trip. The dedication and passion for his work is inspirational.

I wish I can live a life like that which'll take me places literally. I wish I too can take a backpack and start off visiting countries. He says "I wake up everyday and think - this'll be my best day. 90% times it doesn't come true but who cares! Mistakes are very important." Sounds like clich├ęd words. But at 2am in that lonely airport, I loved listening to him.

He says that India makes him sad. It's the only country where he sees extreme beauty and extreme grief at the same place and same time. He thinks every Indian demands to be photographed. It's like their birthright. You can't deny him that. He loves to see that. Finally he said "Ok now I'll shut up and you can carry on with your work." :P It was 4am by then.

At 4.30am, I hogged on KFC Chicken Popcorn and a Costa Coffee. 5.45am we headed for our boarding. He was going to Jaipur to take some architectural shots. His current emphasis is on architectural abstraction. I never knew that corridors, walls, staircases, windows, doors could look so pretty. Finally kissed him goodbye and boarded my flight and slept off. :)

I conclude: Good things happen when you meet strangers.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pujo Pujo Pujo


Its not that I have always been in Kolkata during Durga Pujo. At times courtesy my dad's inherent apathy towards pandal hopping, we have fled from Kolkata to the Himalayas or Ooty or Panchmarhi. Those are the only 3 years when I missed a part of the Pujo. But the point is it was always a part of the pujo- one idol or the other has always showed me her face. This time it feels like being banished. :(


By now Kolkata must be decked up in lights and loudspeakers would be blaring the latest songs. The cool breeze of the early mornings or late evenings brings to every mind the Pujo feeling. The footfall at the shopping malls that increases every year, the new styles in shoes and clothes, the huge lines in parlors, the fighting inside a Khadims store, the footpath bag sellers at New Market, the traffic jam everywhere. I love all of them now that am far away from them and I miss them all!

For the first time in life am working on Panchami and I would be doing so on Shasti, Saptami and Ashtami. Growing up would be bad I knew, but this bad? God please make me a kid again!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Finally Loving It!

My best week in Bangalore so far.......

Started off with Peepli Live. 11 out of the 12 NITDGP-ians here, were the ones to do this amazing act of running away from office 15minutes before 5pm. The 12th one did join us in the running away act but was too ill to go for the movie. I was constantly questioned about my understanding of the movie. Once and for all I can't speak Hindi doesn't mean I don't understand Hindi. Grrrrr....

Peepli lacks the Amir charm. It's awesome in some parts and loses itself in some other parts. A nice mockery of the Indian journalism. The comic depiction of a serious issue like farmer suicides is commendable! All in all a good movie and even better for me as it kick started my social life in Bangalore.

Rest of the week was great because we had very little workload courtesy the TRM training that's going on. But bugs don't let people be at peace and at times even the heavens conspire to eat up your leisure. So our mentor came up with a project plan: "Choose any topic- Define the specifications- Develop it within a day."

But even bugs failed to tamper my mood after the lovely news I got on Wednesday. Point one- Sanna and Tista were gonna come over for the weekend
and
Point two-they were going to give Bangalore as their location preference courtesy our TCS man getting his posing here! :D

Chocolate boy did try to ruin our plans to some extent by scaring Tista and Sanna about how scary Bangalore roads are at night, but me donning my Mummee hat overruled him! :D So come Friday and I made a 1hour ride to Majestic listening to tips about "automobile turn-ons". It turned out to be the farthest I had ventured in this city. I wish Tani and Riya had also walked out of that gate and jumped into my arms to give a teddy bear hug like Sanna did.

My Gift. The madams bought me this top with their salary! :)

Eating out of foil paper, chitchatting till 1am, catching up on updates of other friends and not-friends, basically pure girlish bitching, what bliss! Waking up late, screaming at Tista for being late as usual, pushing Sanna out of the bed- got transported back to hostel and Puri hotel. LOL.




We shopped in Garuda mall for 5 and a half hours. Well with Tista being around, nothing can be quick. :P Finally all 3 of us managed to watch Inception. What a movie!! Tani you should watch it! Nolan is great! Tista and I stayed in dream trance for sometime after we came out of the hall. To add some bad taste to the weekend, I caught a bad cold and ended up with a fever. All 3 of us were missing Tani and Riya so badly. Only way to make up for their absence were to give them long calls.

Sunday meant farewell and me getting into my depression mood! Tista ensured I ate enough chicken to keep me satisfied for a month. Madam ordered one bucket of chicken and a wrap at KFC and as expected couldn't finish either :P Gaurav accompanied me till my PG giving me no chance to get into my brooding mode in the return journey and then my roomie made plans for Lafangey Parindey in the evening. So I got no time to brood in the evening too.

Deepika is great in the movie and I loved Neil in it. He looks so so sexy in the movie! ;) Going out with Sudha is a test of my patience. I get amazed to realize the extent to which I can patiently sit and smile while people around me converse in a language I can't make head or tail of. Funny part was a guy from her group didn't know Hindi, so he couldn't make head or tail of the movie. I had my silent revengeful laugh! LOL. But they are real sweet people to let me join them whenever they go out.

Another discovery regarding Bangalore. After 10pm, if you go to some restaurant the waiters treat you like they are doing you a favor by serving you. We were literally scolded for ordering an extra plate 5minutes after we placed our order. The guys were again sweet enough to drop us till our PG and go back without buses in the rain at 11pm.

Now am counting days till 17th September. Eagerly waiting to meet Tani, Vish and Riya.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Indi Pindi Day

The post's name is Riya’s version of Independence Day! :P My first financially independent Independence Day and probably the loneliest one. The last 22 years of 15th August has always been fun. Well not exactly 22 of them, I don’t remember the first 4-5 ones. But after that, 15th August always meant Papa’s office. I invariably had a fight with ma in the morning. My argument, “It’s a holiday, let me sleep” and ma’s counter-argument, “Papa’s office will wait for you to wake up and then hoist the flag?” Wearing a new dress, decking up and then turning up at dad’s office to sing the national anthem followed by a generally bad breakfast (I hate samosas that’s why) and a lovely lunch. I remember the day I tripped and scratched my knees inside the factory. I had cried like I had broken every bone in my body and ended up being the center of attention. At Vesuvius, there used be fishing sessions and I never managed to catch a single one. L But at the end of the day, the security people always gave me 5-6 fishes to take home. J

Independence Day at Durgapur: It was first year and we were hardly 20 days in the college. The previous night, all the seniors had threatened us as to how our lives would be at stake if we didn’t turn up for the march past. My usual excuse was given “I am not allowed to do march past for medical reasons”. Tani, Abhi and Som had cursed me a lot, am sure! :P They had to wake up by 6 and get ready in white salwaar kameezes. To add to their woes, I was still sleeping when they came back all exhausted after the march past. So to avenge themselves they turn up with the stupidest tale on earth. “Deblee Deblee! You should have come! Rahul was in charge of distributing Oranges! You could have met him.” Ha Ha Ha!! God I miss you people!

Today’s a rain washed 15th August. At times the skies reflect my mood like a mirror. All I have done so far is wash clothes, iron clothes, wash the bathroom and sweep the room. Luckily the pg mess has prepared egg curry for lunch. Something to make me happy but most of the others are angry. They don’t have/like eggs. But eggs or no eggs, I always cry during meals. Now I am not that big melodramatic person- I know I hate it here so far and I hate the food. But the tears are not for that. Its courtesy the generosity with which the people add chili powder and chopped green chilies to their food here! At least am in a better off position than Vish. Poor boy has to go to office today! Have a Happy Independence Day everyone! Cheers!

Silent Noise

People here love superficial stuff like the “Silent Noise”. I went to a shopping mall last evening and the entire city was out there shopping vegetables and grocery. At the entrance there were headphones available which one could hire on hourly basis. A DJ was playing some music and everyone who hired those headphones could hear it. So you get shielded from all the noise of the shopping mall and all you hear is the DJ’s music. Isn’t that the most superficial way of relaxing oneself? You are pushing your cart through a crowded mall and you very well know that there is so much of noise all around you and yet you pretend as if everything is silent! As Shantaram says "Silence is the tortured mans revenge".

I bought European Cucumbers, bananas, biscuits, cheese croissant and sweets from the mall (I could hear all the noise and chatter). Specialty of it the European Cucumber is that you needn’t peel and eat it. Rishi said I was fooled. There is nothing like European Cucumber. It is normal Indian cucumber of a different variety which I bought at a higher price. Mom also said the same thing. L

Before I started working whenever people asked me “What will you do with your first salary?” or whenever slam books had that question, my fixed answer was “A huge teddy bear that would be of my size”. What amazes me, is how our approach towards life changes the moment we start working! The child within gets hidden somewhere. I see so many huge teddy bears but I never manage to buy one. It’s something like the “Silent Noise” within me. The child inside makes a lot of noise silently.

Yesterday I was telling my mom, that back in Mumbai when I got a meager amount for my 7 weeks of internship I had spent nearly 15k and now when I earn a decent amount per month, I haven’t spent a penny on myself. It’s always easier to spend papa’s money! J It’s so easy to point at an expensive thing and tell daddy “I want that!” The moment I look at the price tags of the mobiles/ cameras/ laptops I like, I quickly take my leave from the store. Growing up is bad. Being the pampered kid is way more fun!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Goodbye Hobber

Once in a while we come across such people in our lives who are there for us 24x7 and I mean it literally. I can call up Hobber at 2am, 6am, 11am, 5pm or 10pm to ask "Hey in which theaters is this movie running currently?" or "Hey please tell me Mainland China's number" or moan about "Bhoooooo bhooooo my Bholu is ill".

My constant encourager. My best guide. My doctor whose solution to all sickness is "Drink a lot of water and sleep". My comedian. My pathetic singer and dancer.

My 24x7 helpline number left last night. I am not yet ready to accept the fact I guess cause I have a strange sense of calm on my mind. I was more panicked the entire last week whenever I thought that he'll leave soon. Yesterday when he called before the flight, I was kind of stoned. I didn't feel sad. I didn't feel a sense of loss. I didn't even think when do I get to meet him next. I just said a simple goodbye and went to bed.

So to do justice to Hobber's round the clock services to me, here comes this post. Thanks for being a part of my life through the darkest nights and the brightest days. Thanks for pushing me to study enough to enter college and for helping me relax enough to bag a 2nd job. Thanks for the millions of minutes you have wasted listening to my Bholu woes. Thanks for forgiving me each time I behaved like a jerk. Thanks for not trying to sing to me anymore. LOL.

Have a lovely American life. Eat well, Drink well and please don't smoke well. Take the "phuch phuch". Am sure they'll have better ones! When you come to visit India please do not get me tanning creams. LOL. Indians do not use them! Till then Adieu!

Yours truly,
Complina :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Onam

Funny People, Funny Ideas.
We celebrated Onam some 18days before Onam. The ones who didn't know when Onam is thought that day itself was Onam. As Tani rightly said, I shouldn't be surprised if I find Diwali celebrations in September here! LOL....Reminded me of St. Agnes' though. We used to celebrate Christmas some 2 weeks before Christmas on the last working day before Winter holidays! Some Onam Pics:









Raindrops

A gust of wind, lots of little brown leaves, a broken twig and a lost soul. A bus full of people, the cacophony of an unknown city, the hustle bustle, the sweat patches under every arm and then the rain. Making patterns on the window, making puddles on the street, washing the sweat and the dust, making the tired souls active. Some swear, some get irritated, some are lucky to have an umbrella, some grumble, some just get animated to see the rain. More hustle bustle. More chatter. A din generated by multi language conversations. These souls are all refugees. People living in a foreign land in their own countries. They don't go back home to smiling faces. No hugs await them. No one waits at dinner table for them. A piece of bed and a box of food is all that greets you when you come back. Inanimate objects replace animated hands. They get down of the buses and the raindrops greet them today. They fall in a hurry. They fight and push each other on their way down to land on the tired soul's head. The soul smiles, shivers, thinks of someone, a tear rolls down, the raindrops keep fighting to land on the head. Blaring horns, bright head lights, mud splashes. A child jumps into the puddle, the father scolds. The child jumps again, the tired soul smiles. Raindrops keep rushing down. Raindrops keep falling on my head....

Deja Vu

My 4th Week in Bangalore begins tomrrow and my parents have already been here on 3 weekends. :) I guess I tend to get more homesick as I keep seeing them so often. It seems like college again when Ma used to come and fill up my larder with chips, biscuits, sweets and what not!

Never in life do I get rooms easily so this time as well I had to fight for an week to get my room. How can I forget the 341 and 342 scary days!

These days life keeps throwing things across my path that remind me of Tania. On our 2nd weekend here, my roomie went shopping and the first thing she bought was a clothes bag! Funny 4 years back Tani had done the same!

It seems Tani and I are missing each other so much that we have switched roles! Tani has become a cleanliness freak like me and keeps bossing people to take their bath...LOL. Felt like an out of the body experience for me when I heard her shout at someone "Oyi!! When will you go and take your bath? Its getting so late!" I on the other hand have become so laidback! I keep stacking up clothes till they start overflowing onto the floor. I don't feel like going up to the kitchen at night to have dinner. I throw things anywhere and everywhere. :P My roomie on the other hand wakes up and offers puja so nicely. She lights up incense sticks and my room smells like bliss. She gets fruits, washes them, cuts them and serves them to me! An angel of an roomie I have got! :)

As of now, eagerly looking forward to the Onam weekend...Hopefully Sanna and Tista will turn up here!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Place New People

It seems like I can only manage to find time to write blogs when am away from home. Mumbai Days saw me post 3 times and now its Bangalore times. Weirdly whenever I goto some new city "on work", I end up having "no work"! Now its back to those IIT Bombay days. I wake up, get ready, come to the lab (office lab in the current case) and I chat. Funny last year I was paid less for doing the same things!

Bangalore has an amazing weather! (I finally got acclimatised after 3 weeks) Well thats where the good ends as of now...

Starting with the woes...

1. Why O why am I called "Daabli"??

2. 8 people living in one 3BHK and the main door of the flat has one key. If you leave the key inside and pull the door, you can stay outside till the landlord manages to get hold of a stunt man who will jump from the terrace onto the balcony, then climb to the kitchen window, force it open, climb inside the kitchen and then open the main door from inside. :P

3. Only water is available without curry pata. Everything else is full of leaves! The ultimate green city!

4. From "Howrah the village" to "Durgapur the village" to "Kundanahalli the village"... Everything here closes down by 8.30pm...And I thought Bangalore has an amazing night life!

5. PG owners are the biggest liars on earth. Whatever they promise will never be given!

6. I keep getting up on the wrong bus! :(

7. The amazing weather ensures that whatever you wash, never dries up!

God knows why I always take so much of time in adjusting to a new place! Bless Me!