Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

I am working very hard to move to Wordpress. While Weekend Wandering is completely exported there, this one's taking too long. I feel like writing, but I want to write on my new blog. I am weird like that. I will see you soon!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I am sick, disgusted, PMS-sy, down, and out. I have two job offers in hand, and with that, the paperwork limbo starts all over again. If I were in India right now, I'd be celebrating, dunking bottles of scotch, maybe even thandai, all set for holi and the new job. You know when someone asks you your solution to a communication challenge in a real life workplace scenario, and your answer makes them go "Oooo we could actually try that!", it is time to celebrate. Not fucking come home, and read websites after websites to figure out where you stand in the whole work permit scene. This fucking limbo alone is enough for me to return home sooner than later. I am a control freak, I like my life in order. And I need to know that at any point in time, any disorder is of my making and my unmaking. I cannot stand standing in the wings, waiting for things to unfold. I can choose to be happy even right now, because I truly, strongly believe that happiness is a matter of decision. But if only I wasn't so fucking PMS-sy. An expat's life entails a lot of waiting. And often, giving up control of circumstances. I am not sure right now, if I am ready for that kind of mature, happy way of dealing with change and things happening and still not quite.

I haven't blogged in a while, because I honestly don't know what to write about. Right now I don't fucking care about UP elections and broadband monopoly. I don't have access to Arnab Goswami, and just how much can I possibly write about stuff that I have already seen and spoken about a hundred times over? I am all about freedom to be. I am all about being a middle class Indian in India. And one day, I will go back. I will not say I miss the noise and panipuri and butter chicken, because that is the kind of NRI stff that always made me sick when I was back home. I have not celebrated holi the way it is supposed to be celebrated, in years. So I cannot get away with saying I miss home and northie holi. Hell I don't. What I do miss is, home delivery, the freedom of choice, the freedom to get up in the morning, look for a job, find one, and get going. I do NOT miss autos and the help who made my life so much easier. In fact I am glad that the helps here are expensive and hence way, way more efficient. I am glad I have to clean on a few days in the week because I still don't have a help who comes in everyday. I am glad there is more dignity of labour here and changing their schedule every other day is something the helps here don't quite appreciate.(And in cleaning up, I still have a semblance of control in my life. I know this doesn't making any sense.) But I miss having that choice.

I don't know what I am talking about. All I know is I want to be at home, feel at home. And nothing is doing that to me right now.

I came here for catharsis, and now I am crying. Maybe that's what I really need.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


You know those times when you think that you will soon have a lot of time on your hands and you will spend your days in the blissful pursuit of blogging and blog hopping? Well, let's just say life doesn't always work like that. I am still liking the unemployment except those sudden bursts of energy when I turn the house upside down to clean, or wash every single dish in the sink every morning, even on those when the help is supposed to come to do the things that I do every other day. I have all the time in the world to plan vacations (the kind where both of us will be on one), make lists (of grocery, PR agencies, houses we can move to when the lease for the current one expires, restaurants around town, blogs that write about restaurants around town, recipes ingredients, sitcoms), and watch every sitcom on the face of the earth - again, go galivanting around town.. Wait for it.. Alone :D. So there is really nothing to complain about. The cherry on top of the awesome pineapple cake that is my life right now (does that sound convincing? Because to me, it doesn't.), I also have a lot of time to figure stuff about myself and people around me (and those not quite) - stuff that is usually hidden under layers and layers of mundane emails and lists of things to do. And considering how brilliant I am at making lists these days, I am going to list some of this stuff down -

1. I NEED to work. It has nothing to do with needing the money (because, well, who doesn't?) or any larger purpose than to channelize my energy towards things that are more meaningful that stacking coasters exactly on top of each other or doing the dishes. Of course this stuff needs to get done, and done well. But not with the urgency and paranoia that I approach them. Those emotions just go better with looming deadlines and someone actually caring about whether or not I make that deadline. Right now the only person I am getting the kudos from, for the stuff I accomplish each day is myself. And R. But the fact that he lives with the crazy bitch that I can be when I am idle, I wouldn't read much into his appreciation. I need to work because when I don't, I still need to have other things to get obsessed about. So one morning, I wake up and after I am done straightening the house and doing the dishes, I decide I am going to make chhole for dinner or go grocery shopping the next day. And that's it. I obsess over it the ENTIRE FREAKING DAY. Look up recipes, match the ingredients with what I have in the drawer, make a list, decide to step out, read another recipe, and the cycle starts all over again. I have also never been a perfectionist in my entire life, at least not when I am not working on a document or writing an email. But now, since I don't have that other stuff to worry about, stacked coasters, folded clothes, and the whole "a place for everything and everything in its place" is taking up a scary amount of space in my head. And trust me, it is not pretty. So I need to work to be able to be able to spread my focus across different things, to widen my horizon of things worth getting obsessed with/ worried about, to be and feel normal. And also to eat less and sloth around a lot less. I finished a 400 g of Toblerone that I picked up from the duty free shop the other day, and 2 seasons of HIMYM in 3 days flat. With R getting much, much less than his fair share. This is just not going to work.

2. Right now, it is not so much about not finding a job as it is about starting to look for one. I still need some last bit of paperwork done before I start sending out my resume, and the fact that I am not in India where I am free to job hunt, or quit, at free will, is not really helping my cause. See, I like to think of myself as a free spirit. That is what I had in mind when I decided to pack my life in a couple of suitcases and move, but it is ironic that right now, and it is going to stay this way for a few more days, free is the last thing I am. I want to be able to pick up the damn phone, dial a number, and ask about an opening in a firm, without being asked about the status of my paperwork in response. That just doesn't cut it. But hey, I am blogging about it only because it is troubling me only that much. It is still not enough to make me want to pack my bags and return this very second. I guess that is not so bad. And trust me when I say this, when I do start looking out, and I am unable to find something good enough or something at all, I will happily stay at home. (Or maybe I really am all talk.) But this paperwork limbo is more annoying than knowing that nothing is in store. Am I making any sense here?

3. Till about a month ago, a party for me meant music, alcohol, friends, comfortable, everyday clothes, a guitar, and some home delivery. But mostly the alcohol and the music. Now I am suddenly being pushed into adulthood by getting invited to adult parties. Where people dress up, indulge in polite small talk, bring kids, and don't pass out on the host's couch or even get sloshed enough to talk utter and complete rubbish. I still haven't been to this party yet, so it is not quite right to assume that it will not be "young". For all I know, I may have changed in this sense too, only I don't know it yet. But I seem to have done a lot of growing up in the last few weeks, and the idea of going to this party that reminds me of those merchant navy parties that my parents had to literally drag me to, is making me feel older than I am ready to admit. I am not my parents' generation yet, or so I would like to think. Or as HIMYM and Turning 30, this book I just finished reading, have emphasized over and over, this need to cling on to the past may have to do with the fact that I am scarily close to actually turning 30 and much as I thought I will do it gracefully, with some silk and pearl and wine, a hot shot job, a sexy, successful husband, and a child to boot, (I was supposed to finish my entire list of things to do before 30 by 28, I would have been ready for that kind of adulthood of course), I don't think I am ready for it yet. Not the child, not the pearl, definitely not the wine. The silk I don't mind. The hotshot job - well, we will see about that. The sexy, successful husband - woohooo! I did manage that :D And well! But look at it this way, if I did have all those things that I wanted by 30, what would the 30s look like? Boring? So let's say in being a bit of a failure in achieving the things I was supposed to, I am actually extending my youth. I still have things to live for, wait for. That Europe sojourn, that road trip through India, the learning to swim well enough to swim in an ocean - there is still a lot to live for. And I am glad. See that is why I love blogging. When I think of this stuff in my head, I don't really go past the fact that I haven't done everything on the list yet.

3. Valentine's Day is by far the cheesiest thing in the world. I had a phase when I thought I don't like it probably because I don't have anybody to do that romantic dinner, pink mushy hearts, and FB status updates with. But well, now I do. And I still can't get myself to go out for a romantic dinner on 14th February. Or even make something remotely more romantic than survival food on 14th Feb. Definitely NOT on 14th Feb. But here is what has changed this year. Like Sheldon needs to stop telling people he is smarter than them, till last year I needed to stop myself from telling people that I am less cheesy than them. This year, however, I actually liked pictures with red roses and heart shaped cupcakes, based solely on the fact that the people in the pictures looked good. Or they are people I like on other days of the year. People love in different ways. Growing up.. See? :D

4. Rich NRI uncle is the biggest sham in the world. I came here for the experience. I did not want to decide that I wanted to spend the rest of my life in India without knowing what the other side felt like - I have said this before. But now that I am here, and quite liking it too, I can objectively say that my lifestyle hasn't and is not going to be much different from what it was back home. I really didn't want to say this, but I have to, to give my point some perspective. As a DINK couple in India, I really did have the best that the country had to offer. A car, a house, house help, savings, weekend getaways, holidays, and the ability to consume most of what was on sale. Of course they have Zara and Mango here, but India does too, now. (Only it is not helping my cause much because I still buy fabrics and shop in FabIndia and Cotton World.) Most of the stuff that is available in super stores here, was available in India too. The internet connection was fast, I could afford to buy smartphones and tablets back home. So this move is NOT about money or lifestyle - that doesn't change much these days. Of course when you earn in some foreign currencies, you end up earning more than what you did in India in absolute terms. But then you are spending it the local currency. It is simple mathematics - ratio and proportion, some multiplicaton, and knowing that the world is flat. Come. On. What does strike me though is that how quickly most people, even those living in India, forget that India is not the shithole that the movies in the West try to portray it as. It is not all Himalayas, Haridwar, Goa, bearded, saffron clad men, or Dharavi. It is a NORMAL country. You say India has corruption and lazy babus. Well, tell me one country that doesn't! There are too many people, true. But when I think about the beach getaway that I had in Devbagh last year, and the one I more recently had in Krabi, and if I had to make a choice - Devbagh will be it. Simply because India is not a sell out yet. Of course it will get there sooner than later. But for now, vacations in India, at the least the ones I went on, have a semblance of earthiness and honesty that I see missing from touristy places like Thailand. Of course Krabi can't be my frame of reference because I did not plan this holiday and I was stuck in the middle of extreme commercialization and too many people. But you do get my point, don't you?

5. Having said that, Krabi was brilliant :D Street bars, street music, roadside bistros, and sea - what's not to like! I did go on a frenzied clicking spree and I have some fairly decent pictures to prove that I am not half bad at this stuff, so what if it is mostly point and shoot. I don't think I am ever going to learn how to use a DSLR - I have the concentration span of a goldfish. If I do something right once, God knows I can never repeat it! But then, I can't be perfect! That is exactly what I told myself when I went all the way to the edge of the speed boat to dive into the sea and snorkel, freaked out (in a life jacket!!), and came right back to the camera which also I don't know how to operate too well. And I still love myself. Hell, I love myself not just in spite of all this but because of all this. Do you know anybody else who is as talent-less as me and so proud of it? :D Yeah baby!

On to the pictures...

Newfound love - Air Asia!

Sunset at Ao Nang Beach


Street bar

Road side rockstars

When fellow traveler baywatched

And when I did

Koh Phi Phi Leh

The wonders of commercialization

A road side artist who obliged with a smile and a pose

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The name

If I ever have a child, and if it's a boy, I am going to call him Abeer. So that as soon as he says his name, waiters across the world will scurry around to get him just that - a beer. What do you think? :D

When all I really have to say can be summed up in the first paragraph

Almost 30, wondering why I have accomplished only 3 (or 4 - can't say!) out of the 10 things I wanted to before turning 30, unemployed, car-less, house help-less, striving to be self sufficient (and not sure how I am faring), don't quite get the language, the roads, and the food of the place that is supposed to be home, unsettled and in moving limbo that just doesn't get over, and surprisingly upbeat about/ in spite of all this. I am not sure if I should be glad or worried about my happiness!

Oh and by the way, I am going to Thailand next weekend :D If that is the reason for my unreasonable happiness, then it is actually quite reasonable, don't you think? Two countries (cities, rather) in two months is mean feat! And one of them is all about sea and beer - yay! Life has weird, warped ways of giving you time out when you need it. And I can't not be thankful. I was supposed to Goa the same weekend. But I guess Krabi will do for now. 

I have been getting around a bit now. And no, I still haven't gone to KLCC. R's explanation actually makes sense to me - the view of the towers from KLCC will not be as good as it is from home. We don't even have to crane our necks to see the building. I did go to Chinatown though. And no, I am not impressed. Cheap knock offs are just that. Cheap knock offs. Not quite my idea of budget shopping. But well, the sights and sounds, the old buildings around, and Central Market are enough to make the trip worth it. I went on a clicking frenzy, although I will not upload all the pics here. A trip to Central Market again is due, this time with the better camera. As for Petaling Street, let's just say that one walk through the street was enough to satisfy my touristy enthusiasm. I don't think I am up for it again.

A street full of cheap knock offs. Toted as a bargain hunter's paradise. I think not.

But I still went ahead and got myself that Bob Marley tee I have been lusting after for so many years.

Some random building between Petaling Street and Central Market

Wonder why have run out of Facebook and Twitter chappals. I should have moved before Angry Birds became the next big thing.

Our ride of choice these days - the LRT. It brings back memories of Bombay locals. Just  the happy ones.
I am still around, but apart from this whole moving and getting around bit, I don't seem to have a lot to say. I am getting repetitive, because this is obviously not just one of my trips. This is quite big, so bear with me!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Listening to driving songs when drunk is never a good idea. Suddenly, I miss home. I miss Bombay. And Patna and Ranchi. And most of all, Bangalore. I miss those trips back home. The long and winding roads that spelled earthiness. The Fabindia kurtas, and most of all, the easily available chicken butter masala. And the orange walls. And all that earthiness. Oh who am I kidding. There are these moments when I miss home, much as I try to be cool about it. I miss India. Sometimes, but I do.