Friday, February 26, 2010

another old one

You get lonely here and there is barely the time to feel the loneliness and you have to bury it till it makes you do the most unexpected things. I want to go home now, back to india; I was lonely there too but not like this, where I can stand on a street corner and feel like dorothy from the wizard of oz, wondering which wind blew me here.
Brown faces I miss, familiar languages on the street, casual slang on the radio, the smells and sounds of every road. The dhool, the amaltas ke ped, the heat, the sticky sweat down my back. I miss calling friends and seeing them on a whim, dropping in to peoples houses without warning them. Eating out of their fridges. Gossip and slander but friendly. Humor you don't try to decipher. Where there is only one way to spell humor. When you look out the window and see the qutab minar. And below your house stands a chaat wala who knows just how you like it. And you ask him how his sister is doing, and does he think of her now that's she's married and gone away. The fat aunties who make extra and feed you dhokla cos they know you like it. Fat bhindis and litchis. Shehtoot on the trees, plucked; turning your lips maroon; dusky yellow evenings. The rain.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Disjointed thoughts from my first day out

(this was written in september '08)

this city is HOT. i would happily give up my sneakers and wear halters and shorts like everyone here. i will, too :) today though i was stupid enough to wear black and with the amount of walking you do here...
everyone wears flats. no hotties in high heels. yaay! :)
the new york subway is dirty and in parts, smelly. the people are friendly enough, although definitely preoccupied; it took me a while to look around for someone who wasn't striding purposefully towards the turnstiles. but theyre friendly; once you ask a question they wait till you've understood and followed through :) an adorable old black man got me to 125th street station, where i was headed to sign my lease agreement.
new york - or atleast, manhattan (which is all you need to know of new york for a long time) - is neatly gridded and divided east/west and uptown/downtown, by avenues and streets. columbia stretches from 110th - 124th streets; 110th is the upper boundary of the upper west side and 125th is in much maligned harlem; and you can tell there is a distinct difference in neighborhoods.
where i am staying is way down in 34th street; home of the empire state and time square, haven of much of commoditised america. going from 34th to morningside (the columbia neighborhood) is like moving to another city altogether... downtown is all bustling streets and shopping malls; morningside is .. green, and quiet, and almost as pretty as london (but not quite :) )...
the average american is so jhalla. i used to be intimidated by the average woman on london's streets; here everyone is in shorts and tshirts and chappals. sarojini maal :) clothes are cheap here, too. the latinas are the only well dressed ones :) theyre pretty sexy. the train i took - the 1 train - goes all the way up to 205th street. way into harlem and spanish territory.

the new york subway, like everyone else in new york, isnt tolerant of mistakes. when i took the uptown train (ending up going further north) instead of the downtown on my way back, i had to get out of the station completely, cross the road and take a train backwards, paying another 2bucks in the process. the london tube on the other hand - you pay a flat fee going into the station and you can take as many transfers, as many changes backward and forward. the money is deducted only once you swipe your card getting out of the station finally.
i wonder what that says about the nyc vs continental mentalities.
but it really was worth it, the extra two bucks, cos after 125th street the subway is overground!! :)

i feel so lucky to be able to compare two of the most awesome cities in the world! :)

getting out on 125th street i go towards 119th where the office is; a short 10 minute walk that is surprisingly - uphill! who wdve thought new york is hilly?? the buildings are beautiful and ivy clad as i move towards the campus. hot dog stands everywhere; people on morningside park having lunch. fountains.
people are nosy and not as stand-offish as you may have thought - as i did! yorkers are nice! i was going around clicking pics and this black guy smiles and says hope youre getting a good collection today :) ...people are busy but they smile and say sorry if they bump into you. havent seen any of that aggression.. not yet anyway :)

Friday, September 05, 2008

i dont know what the point of this post is - the two or three people who read this already know its dead, and my emails try to compensate somewhat :)
perhaps its just the need for resolution i feel sometimes; a need to tie up all the loose ends.

the point is... i've moved, and moved on :) shifted countries, lives.. i am doing something i didn't realise i would enjoy as much as i am! i am having the time of my life... being pushed, challenged every minute but god i love it :) so much happier than i used to be, with my life back on track. and its time the cat that fished put down her rod :)

i have been writing still, on and off.. i am thinking of another blog. will let those of who who still read this, know when its up and ready. i have promised myself i wont put up the posts till i have 5 ready - otherwise it will end up as dead as this one!

but lets see. tomorrow is another day :)

Friday, May 09, 2008

i get so much out of my conversations with people. i talked today to this guy and i realised something, something that i have been puzzling over for so many days.

I used to be a very warm person. I used to be friendly, and enthusiastic. And now I have time on my hands to think about things.. and I realize that I’m jaded. And quite a cynic. And not a little .. detached. I’m still sensitive and empathetic; I realize when people are hurting, and I do my best to help. But at the end of the day, im still detached.
It comes from being lonely, I think. You’re lonely, and then you get used to being alone, and then you’re self-sufficient alone. You don’t need anyone else. I don’t need anyone.. else.
I used to need people! I remember two years ago when I first started feeling lonely, I used to deliberately go out of the house the whole weekend just to be out, be around people. And now.. I actually shun contact! I’m happy shopping alone, eating alone, watching movies alone, I say no to people when they want to hang out. I’m actually happy alone! I always was a bit of a loner, but this is a lot, even for me.
There are these people I know, who think I am one of their closest friends. And funny thing is – I am! I go through all the motions, I listen to them, I talk, I participate, I even tell my stories. But I don’t feel. And I wonder what is wrong with me.. cos there was a time when I felt too much. Whats wrong with me? When did I become so detached, so aloof, so.. unaffected? There would have been a time when I would have welcomed friend, with the amount of shit I had. But now.. I’m used to dealing with it alone. I’m even happier alone.
There are very few people who really know me now. There are such few people I care about. Such incredibly few people. I feel lucky that there are people who I still care about; worrying for someone else makes me think I have some vestiges of the old me inside somewhere. sometimes i feel proud.. so inordinately proud! and that makes me feel like I still care, a little bit :)

And perhaps this was, is a survival technique. It is one, probably and one that I will need more in the days to come; a protective cover of self-sufficiency and a lack of emotional dependence. But its also very sad..
You get some and you lose some, this guy said to me today as we talked. It’s an advantage and a liability. But I didn’t even get to know when I made the exchange. And never got the chance to see whether I wanted to be this person I have now become.
I am still a decent human being. Still around for people when they need me. But I’m so detached! (I realize im using that word too often, but I cant seem to find a better one.)
And I can’t help thinking I’ve lost something precious, something incredibly important. Something that once made me who I was. And I’m scared that the world I’m going to see, the world I’m going to be in.. for the next few years, is going to demand that I become more detached, more aloof, more self contained. And I’m scared of becoming someone I don’t want to be.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Tag!

As requested by nimpipi, the web version of slambooks :D

Last movie seen in a theatre?
Khuda ke Liye. Overrated.

What book are you reading?
Catching up on my reading. Brick lane, and the impressionist.

Favourite board game?
Monopoly :)

Favorite Magazine:
Don’t really have one favourite. Read them all online. The economist, I suppose. Lately new york magazine :) lots of newspapers, though. Lots!

Favorite Smells:
Freshly mowed grass. The rain. Boiling milk. Food smells – gajar ka halwa, arhar ki daal. Tadka. Apple pie, chocolate cake baking. My mom’s kitchen. My grandmother’s Elizabeth arden – red door; The LSR café (yes, café.) vanilla, cinnamon. Fresh sheets. Fresh bread. The sea. Musty books. Toast. Frying sausages. Popcorn. Raat ki raani. The Wellington air from my window.. old woolens. agarbatti.

Favorite Sound:
Thunderstorms, the rain, all the different sounds then. Boyfriend’s voice down the crackling wires. The very first “Congratulations”. Diwali crackers. Bagpipes and marching bands. The sea waves. The plane taking off (when you're in it.)

Worst Feeling In The World:

What Is The First Thing You Think Of When You Wake?
Morning already?!

Favorite Fast Food Place:
Nirula’s, and does yo sushi count :D

Future Child’s Name:
I used to have a whole list. Don’t care about this anymore. :) Will get to it when I have to.

Finish This Statement. “If I Had A Lot Of Money I’d…”
Travel. Pay my loan :) buy a house.

Do You Drive Fast?
Don’t drive at all – get driven haha.

Do You Sleep With A Stuffed Animal?
Nope. Never did. Have a little pig next to my pillow lately though :)

Storms-Cool Or Scary?
Very very cool.

Do You Eat The Stems On Broccoli?
I like broccoli! So yes.

If You Could Dye Your Hair Any Color, What Would Be Your Choice?
The deepest black. I don’t like the black it is right now :(

Name All The Different Cities/Towns You Have Lived In.
Pune, Delhi, Allahabad, Binnaguri, Wellington, Ferozepur, Bhopal, Pathankot.

Favorite Sports To Watch:
Office politics. Counts, doesn’t it?

One Nice Thing About The Person Who Sent This To You:
She’s usually comfortable in her own skin.

What’s Under Your Bed?
Old durries.

Would You Like To Be Born As Yourself Again?
No. why repeat? I want to be completely different next time.

Morning Person Or Night Owl?
Night owl.

Over Easy Or Sunny Side Up?
Over easy. And omlettes.

Favorite Place To Relax
The loo :D
Anyplace with a good friend.

Favorite Pie:

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Bailey’s, chocolate mint, pineapple; the fresh fruit gelatos.

You pass this tag to – TV of Unbridled reverie, wanderer and anyone else who wants it. (does anyone ever still read this thing?? Its moribund.)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

work, old friends and the last year

i dont know if anyone has really understood what has been going on with me over the last year or so. im struggling to understand it myself - and thats very unusual for me; i usually ask myself many awkward questions and however i may feel, im usually quite honest with myself even if im not so with everybody else. oh and it sounds terribly dramatic to say "oh there is something wrong here, i think i need help". i've always been one for dramatising! but this time.. things felt very different. very personal, very .. interlinked with who i had come to become. so it didnt feel right to talk about it.
i did though expect a few people to understand it themselves; admittedly unfair on them, but when im under pressure it usually comes out on the people i love and the people i know i can take for granted (and the two catagories dont always include the same people).

a very close friend of mine came to delhi last weekend. she and i have a slightly unusual relationship, in terms of how i am with my other friends. we dont talk very often, maybe once a month or once in two. but we've always connected on a very basic level.. and whenever we meet i just love her a little bit more :)
i remember in my last year of hostel spending many many nights with her talking philosophy and literature - oh it sounds terribly pseud now :) she is one of the very few people who actually exemplifies the lsr brand - one of the few who actually is what all the brochures say about lsr women!
anyway. she did her masters and wanted to take her civil services exams. she tried last year and didnt make it. now she's trying again. she's at that awkward stage i was at at exactly this time last year - when you've hoped and tried and it hasnt worked out, and you're trying to gather the strength to give it another shot.
felt funny that i could give her advice: she's a year older than me and that coupled with her mothering instinct has always made me the one going to her for help.
but then again, it wasn't advice, more like a very genuine conversation, the only conversation i've had with a friend in weeks that i felt i could genuinely connect to. cos you see, through all this.. i've found myself drifting further and further from everyone i used to be friendly with. my true-blue four loves stayed where they were, but everyone else it seems receded into the background; i just had nothing to say to them anymore. (well there was an exeption but i dont think that's turned out very well.)
so when this girl and i started to talk... it was like meeting someone i'd been waiting for, for many many months.
she and i, we talked about ourselves and who we'd become, who we wanted to be, what other people expected us to be. and the whys of everything. and how its so easy to be someone you're not.

do you know what its like when everything you've always assumed yourself to be gets turned on its head?
i do.
i thought i was lazy. but i've worked this year like i've never done before, and with genuine passion.
i knew i was stubborn, but i didnt realise exactly how stubborn, and how much i was willing to take up for what i believed in.
i didnt realise i could survive so long on so little, or that i was (am?) so strong.
oh, im proud of myself. but its been a long time coming.

it so easy to give up on something you thought you wanted, when its put to the test, and especially if you dont know if you want it for the right reasons. but there's something to be said for sticking it out, and not listening to anyone at all; sometimes not even to yourself.
i'm only beginning to understand what i'd given up, without even realising it, for what i have right now. but what i did, its made me who i am, and i've never loved myself more or respected myself more. i know i can look at the mirror and like what i see, that i can say i've lived my life, made mistakes but i've been true to who i am. and i've lived my life and not, not done something just because i was too scared.

oh i know this post has been quite.. badly written and messy, and most of you have know idea what on earth im talking about :) but thats what blogs are for, isnt it? so that i can get away with that :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

old email

and old, old email from way back when a friend had asked for my memories of rain.

there will be some grammar issues and typos - wrote it in a hurry - but its long enough to satisfy u so u'll forgive me i think :D and remind me - there are more of these... but not now :)

hmm.. i remember once i was coming back from school in wellington - i used to walk.. and my house was in the valley, the school on top of the hill.. and once i remember trying to out-run the rain.. i couldn't :P but thats a sight i wont be able to forget if i tried - the sky utterly blue in parts, the rain parting through the clouds that were low enough to be touched.. and then the fierce rain on my face, pounding at the earth, turning the mud under my feet into squelchy pats of joy, me in my gum-boots wading through the puddles, the umbrella still tucked inside my bag... and mom at the door with garam masala chai and pakoras ... slice of heaven :)

then the countless times i have been drenched in the rain, the rain that comes after the sweltering meerut summer, the months of no electricity and sweat and mosquitoes washed away in that one ecstatic moment under the slate-grey sky, the clouds bursting like they were pouring all the water in the world onto that one little patch of struggling-to-stay-alive land that was my nani's garden..

then the time i played football barefoot in the rain with my hooligan neighbours, two little husky boys who didnt seem so little back then.. how they made me take off my sneakers and roll my jeans up and play in the kichad - i came back home that day with an ear-splitting grin, nicked knees and jeans torn beyind repair!

then the time i was coming back from college in the always-crowded-to-the-seams DTC 724 - the summer was at that peak when all you can do is look at teh clouless sky and pray - i had thankfully got a window seat which afforded me the luxury of not banging into the sweaty crowd full of leery men - and then suddenly the rain... pouring in through the broken window, i gave up trying to protect my clothes, my bag.. and oh god the rain!!! turning the world into gold and green, the tarred road into a sheet of black and silver, the rivulets of water sliding down my cheeks, my hair.. and then walking home when teh sudden shower had passed, the fierce sun out again, the leaves glistening, the roads steaming and my hair and clothes dripping, drying... bliss :)

then another time when my flatmate and i, never friends at the best of times, 'bonded' so unexpectedly when we both woke up to the thunder in the middle of the night one day.. my mattress drenched, i woke up cold and clammy, but so excited to see the sky tearing itself into shreds with the most glorious purple-silver-golden lightening! and both of us, hyper as only girls can be! - running downstairs in our shorts and tshirts, getting soaked to the skin and yelling, screaming till the guards came out - and then pin drop silence, laughter and a lot of covering up :D

then one time when i was 6 - there was a storm in the middle of the night... i was never afraid of lightening, my dad came into my room to check if i was asleep to find me staring, fascinated, at the sky.. he took me for a long walk in the middle of the night, just to look at the lightening.. and at the end of the road there was this tree with white-pink flowers that stood ghost-like with the lightening and thunder all around it... somehow i can never get the tree out of the picture...