Sunday, September 4, 2011

Boston Musings (2)

It has been little more than three weeks here in the United states of America.. and surprisingly I am not keeping a track of the days that seem to just gush by .I find myself riding high on emotions and wonderment. This is the farthest I have been from home, the first time outside my country… slightly overwhelmed, nervous, hopeful and truly excited. It is a whole load of mixed emotions and to add to that all this rain.
In Mumbai one is so used to scowling while walking through crowded streets that it took me a while to upturn the laugh lines … I am pretty sure I surprised a few well meaning Bostonians who greeted me with warm smiles and received a look of incredulity . But now all I do is smile and nod and hold doors. I still haven’t been able to order a good cup of coffee at Starbucks and seriously plan to just sit next to the counter and take notes. I cannot seem to stop hogging on the Dunkin Donuts egg and cheese sandwich (so cheap!!)  even though my denims feel slightly tighter than usual.I did not like the Donuts though, too sweet. The muffins are always soft, no matter where you buy them from but oh my god, what is with all the Sugar in the food ....  Had my first ever fresh blueberries few days ago, have already bought box number three and the Strawberries taste way sweeter than any that I have eaten before. Too much bread in my diet and so much meat... gotta cut down ... sigh. Tried this Mexican dish called Gumbo, which is pretty much Rajma chawal with cheese. 
I find myself putting on a fake accent once in a while, it happens so unconsciously that I realize only after a while that I am doing it, need to be more aware and careful about that. But I really want to learn to at least roll my Rs and speak slowly . I walk a million miles, and not a drop of sweat. Yep yep , I walk a million miles, the city is indeed so lovely. I love the fact that most Americans insist it is still summer and wear the loveliest summer dresses, even though I feel oh so chilly and wrap myself up. But then when one is from Bombay, the only two seasons one is acquainted with are the summer and the rains. I really have no concept of winters and I already feel so cold. The traffic seems so disciplined, nobody honks , have I mentioned the warm smiles around. And so many Indians everywhere. 
Yes, of course the central heating et all is impressive, but it is slightly unsettling when you realize the amount of energy consumed by each household here. 

Everything I buy makes me sweat, for no matter how hard I try, my mind automatically calculates the rupees spent, only time I seem to sweat in the lovely Boston weather. 

Classes begins in two days, can’t wait to swirl in the BACK TO SCHOOL feeling. The days are packed. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Boston Musings

(Hopefully it is a start of a series...) 

"You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young."
"Why, what did she tell you?"
"I don't know, I didn't listen." -- Hitchhikers guide to Galaxy... 

So only few days remain, then I fly… and I am feeling funny, really funny.

 I am hounded by questions from family, friends and foes… The most annoying being – So all set to go? No I haven’t set anything; I have just packed my bags, that doesn’t really set anything, does it? Then of course there is advice and point of views gushing from all corners, drowning me in exasperation --   ‘Do not limit yourself to just Indians, you’re going to a new country, explore’ , ‘Make sure you make few good Indian friends, coz they are the ones who will always come through for you’ , ‘You are toh half American anyways (just because I love sitcoms and Italian food)’,  ‘ Eat up, you’ll miss Indian food’ , ‘ Carry a Saree and few kurtis’ ,’Carry spices , don’t carry spices, carry this, that , and what not ’ , ‘Learn to make dal sabji will you and don’t drink too much’, the last one is of course my mother’s pearls of wisdom.    And so it goes, some ridiculous, some funny, some downright silly and yet I find myself pondering over all of them, very seriously.
Suddenly the word ‘Indian’ has a whole new perspective. It is but natural; when you’re leaving your country, one has to deal with the issue of nationality, and especially if it is something that one has taken for granted all her life. It is slightly disconcerting, when simplest things make you question and worry about your way of life that has been. Makes me wonder whether being an Indian is a measurable quantity.

It has to be said though I am going to miss my parlour waali and I am excited about all the hummus I can easily buy from stores there.

The packing part has been trying. In all these years I have never touched a jar of pickle, and now I sit contemplating whether I should carry a couple. I have never cooked Dal in my life, I can barely distinguish between spices and here I am toying with the idea of carrying some. I don’t know what it is, is it the want of sticking to being an Indian cliché or simply that I am feeling nostalgic. The fact that I am wondering whether certain things which I barely use here will be available there is getting me all hassled.
It is amazing how you learn certain interesting things about self when you sit packing for another country.
What will I miss most, what I cannot do with? What do I take?  Is it really required? These questions haunt my being day in and day out and I am truly perturbed. I never knew I was so attached to my hair oils.

I am as excited as nervous, I go to a country I am so familiar with and have absolutely no idea what is in store for me. A mixed bag of emotions, reservations, expectations and dreams.

I know it will all sort itself, and these are just pre leaving jitters. The nostalgia has already taken over, I smile to self, there are going to be some major changes. The best I can do is ‘just be’ and let the tide wash over… 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And now I wait....

Right now I am going through a phase in my life, where waiting forms a part of my daily routine. Waiting has invariably become the highlight of my hours and most days in general. I say most days for some days I do manage to keep the panda in the room gagged and caged and carry on with life,work , interspersed with some conversation and some jokes . But then, these are trying times, for the act of waiting holds more meaning than most things I should do. The results, the decision, what I wait for will determine the next few years of my life and that makes everything oh so inconsequentially relative, the present per se.

And of course while I do waste few hours of the day in wondering and waiting, my mind tends to ruminate a bit more than usual. Nostalgia is beginning to brew, for I hope to leave soon.
Change is always so dreaded, yet hoped for and oft welcomed. It keeps the reel moving and its anticipation can sometimes make the present so still, almost worthless.  

The above is my take and then I remembered this wonderful piece  …
This is my delight, thus to wait and watch at the wayside where the shadow chases light and the rain comes in the wake of the summer.
Messengers with tidings from unknown skies, greet me and speed along the road. My heart is glad within and the breadth of the passing breeze so sweet.
From dawn till dusk I sit here before my door and I know the happy moment will arrive of a sudden when I will surely see.
In the meanwhile I smile and I sing all alone.
In the meanwhile the air all around is filling up with the perfume of promise.

Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Birthday Elsa

Today she would have been 14 years old. 

I just miss her so much. Even after three years, not a single day goes by when I don’t think about her. Anything and everything lovely reminds me of her. 

These pictures were taken in Jodhpur, when I was visiting my folks. I never saw her after these holidays. We still keep this bed of hers , a wrought iron settee , just as before.

We got this fancy wrought iron settee made for our hall. Elsa loved sitting on it, so much so that she would not let anyone else sit on it. This one time, we had a party at our home; two of the guests were sitting on it, sipping their drinks. Elsa came up to them and growled. Of course the ladies had to get up while Elsa parked herself on the settee. Everyone at the party was stunned. People knew we spoil Elsa, but even we were taken aback when she rudely asked the ladies to vacate. She would not even let us sit on the it. This one time she fought with me, when I wanted to relax on the settee and read a book. She just would not let me. So we fought and fought. I chucked her out of the room with an evil laugh and locked the hall door. She went and ransacked my bed and hid my socks. 

My father decided that since Elsa’ loves it so much, she must have one for herself. Our dad liked to spoil his girls. That's when we got 'Maddum' (that's what I sometimes called her) the smaller version made. It took her time to warm up to the new settee. She actually went from the bedroom to the hall several times the first few days, to what only looked like her comparing the beds. She would come to the hall, stare at the settee and then go back to the bedroom. God that was hilarious. Sometimes I would sit on her new bed, and she would give me this 'Stop taking up my space’ look. 

I miss her so much. 

Happy birthday Elsa!