Live from Gujarat

Hey!

Long time huh? It has been for me. You see, I’ve gone through some monumental changes in life in the past few days. I’ve moved from home to Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad for work. It has been a bit of a change – one that I expected to be much more challenging than it has turned out to be so far. Initially, hidden in my proclamations of delight at living in North India, I was rather sceptical about staying away from home for the first time in my entire life. In fact, the first two days were a bit hard, especially yesterday. Not in a I-wanna-meet-my-amma way, but in a oh-my-god-what-the-hell-am-I-gonna-do-if-I-can’t-manage-to-stay-away-from-home-without-getting-depressed kinda panic. But somehow, magically, all was resolved after an evening walk around our neighbourhood. You see, now that is one of the many things I’ve come to love about this place. Since there are quite a few and I have a history of being a non-sequencer, I’ll just list out those to ya all. Ready?

  1. The best – and by that I mean BEST – thing about living in Gandhinagar is the fact that you can roam about at night (till 9.00 – haven’t been out beyond that though our curfew time is 10.00 pm) with minimal worries. There’ll be multitudes of people out on the road, men and women, at all times. There is also a Police Station about 10 metres from where we live, so that gives an extra sense of security.
  2. The second best thing is the weather. It is perfect at the moment – not too cold that I’ll have to use a sweater nor too hot. Esp at night, though I’ve been warned that it is about to change with the advent of summer.
  3. The people – truly one of the best things. There are people from Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal…my roommates hail from Orissa and Gujarat respectively. Am revelling in the diversity – in terms of language, customs, looks, accents…its beautiful!
  4. The chance to hone my Hindi. I always knew I could handle Hindi but it’s only after I came here that I realised that I was proficient enough to actually have conversations in Hindi with native Hindi speakers and get away with it!

That’s all I can think of at the moment. The only problem…well, I wouldn’t define it as a problem as such…so, let me rephrase that. The only slight hiccup is the food. South Indian food is not available as much as is needed and what little of it is available is way too expensive for day-to-day consumption. North Indian food that is available at the canteen is nothing like the authentic North Indian food, but hey, one can’t have everything, right?

All in all, enjoying the first week at Gandhinagar. For sure.

A Peek into the “Normal” Life

I sit here in darkness, bundled up in a cozy bedspread, typing away furiously on my laptop. I’ve refrained from blogging for a while now primarily because I’m particularly confused. Confusion is the default state of my mind – rarely do I have absolute clarity about something I plan to do. I think this is a result of the conflict between my mildly conservative upbringing and more liberal ideas that I sport nowadays. Anyway, here I am, sitting at the middle of the night in my sister’s apartment, feeling a certain sense of peace that has eluded me for long.

There is this common perception that I have a ‘thing’ against marriage. It is true. Partially, that is. I have a problem with arranged marriage, to be precise. Maybe it is a byproduct of having been witness to 30-ish years of union between 2 amazing individuals who weren’t just meant to be. Maybe it’s because it toys with this ‘liberal’ outlook that I’ve come to adopt. Either ways, my scorn and disbelief in arranged marriage is rather deep-rooted. As is my belief in freedom and individuality. Which is why I played silent witness to my sister getting into an arranged marriage. That was her choice. Well, my parents’ choice that she approved off. Yes. That is precisely how I should put it, and not the other way around.

So it has been around 2.5 months since their marriage and they’ve settled down comfortably in the city. And I recently landed up here to see how they are faring. Well that and to gossip the ears off my sister. It is suffice to say that they seem to be doing pretty well. Then again, it has just been 2.5 months so its too early to say anything. There goes the cynic in me – can’t she ever shut up! I look at the life they’ve built for themselves, away from the prying eyes of families and the comfortable routines they’ve slipped into (quite willingly, might I add) and I can’t help but wonder – is this enough? Would this be enough for me, if not today, then someday?

3rd Floor Cafe

3rd Floor Cafe @ www.thirdfloor.in (Picture Courtesy: Third Floor- Cafe (Facebook Page))

3rd Floor Cafe @ http://www.thirdfloor.in
(Picture Courtesy: Third Floor- Cafe (Facebook Page))

This is an experiment. One that I’ve never done before. You know how I talk on and on about traveling solo and living alone and all that blah? Well, it has been quite a while since I realised that I, who dreams of solitude, has been subjected to my company seldom, if at all. I don’t go shopping alone, I don’t spend time alone and I’ve never, ever been in a restaurant alone. Hell, I’m someone who gets agitated and embarrassed if I reach a shop before my friend and has to spend 10 min alone. What do I do with myself? Are people judging me? Are they laughing at me? Such zillion stupid questions cross my mind. And I dream of travelling alone. Ironic, right?

Which is why today I came up with something iconic. Anyway, I’m jobless (erm..unemployed, I mean). So it’s not like I have anything to do or anywhere to be. So rather than rushing home from some chores I had to attend to, I headed to a place I’ve been to just once or twice. 3rd Floor Café. I expected to have a good, silent few hours by myself so imagine my dismay when, on reaching the place, I found it infested by people – a lot of guys, to be precise- and a lot of red heart balloons. Ugh. At this juncture, may I clarify that while I have nothing against V-Day, I’d prefer not to be drawn into the hoopla that surround it. So where was I..? Yeah, the dread with which I walked into the café. (In case you wondered, I did briefly contemplate copping out and leaving, but by then I was already at the door, and leaving seemed a bit…awkward)

So I walked in (All eyes on me. Don’t panic and do something stupid, N. Please don’t, I tell myself) Slinks into a corner, away from human eyes, separated by a wooden block from open view. Ah…the relief. Silence. Ducks my head and opens the laptop. Okay. That’s better. A pleasant girl comes in and takes my order. Lemon tea and French fries. Okay. I’m alright. Nobody’s glaring at me for taking up a 6 seater table all for myself. At least, not yet.  Maybe this is not as bad as I feared it would be. I slowly take a quick glance around. Strange. Nobody’s looking at me – The-girl-who-just-walked-into-the-café-alone-and-opened-up-the-laptop. I screw up the courage and take another look around. People playing chess, people having conversation, a sprinkle of couples – lovely ambiance. There’s a guy with a guitar in one corner. Cool, na? Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden a few guys started singing ‘Nenjukkul Peididum Maamazhai’! So beautifully too. Ah…so live music – I didn’t expect that.

And that, my dear readers is how I ended up spending 2 splendid hours of my life, typing away furiously on my laptop and having multiple cups of tea, serenaded by beautiful live music (ah how lovely it sounds – just vocals and guitar) and enjoying every moment of it. Oh..and they gave me a complementary Oreo when I ordered my second cup of lemon tea! Little things that count. I feel as if I’m living a life I’ve read about in books and seen in Hollywood movies

Am I making too much of a small afternoon? Maybe I am. It’s just something that doesn’t happen often in Thrissur. At least, not to me or anyone I know. And I’m feeling happy, you know. That’s all that is important.

5 Things I Want in Life

It’s been a while since I’ve thought about this. My Bucket List, that is. You see, when I was a teenager, I had a diary. Yes. An actual journal. And I wrote in it frequently. Of the many things that I used to share with it, the recurrent themes where just a few. And these where my deepest cravings. Today, after a long LONG time, I happened to go through my bucket list. It is rather interesting to see what an 18-year-old version of myself craved for. Now, going through those pages, I realize that there are a lot of things that have changed. And there are a lot of things that haven’t. Also, with time, there are a few things that I can proudly tick off.

1. Travel.

love-map-travel-world-Favim.com-110965

That thirst for travel (Picture Courtesy: Google.com)

Through all the ups and downs and the revelations about myself that I’ve been subjected to in the past few years, the one thing that has remained constant is my yearning to get out of my comfort zone and go travel India and abroad. I even have specific places sorted out – Kashmir, North-Eastern states, Calcutta (Don’t ask me why, but it is one of my fav places!) and more.

2. Watching a football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Watching Barca vs RM. Ah..the sheer delight! (Picture Courtesy: http://www.scaryfootball.com)

Watching Barca vs RM. Ah..the sheer delight! (Picture Courtesy: http://www.scaryfootball.com)

 Being a rather peace-loving Spanish soccer supporter, one of the toughest questions that I face time and again is who do I support – FC Barcelona or FC Real Madrid. To this day, I don’t have a clear reply which is amusing considering that Barca and RM are the Batman and Joker of Spanish soccer. All that is left to decide is who is who. *Dodging eggs and stones from pissed off Barca/RM fans*

3. Own a sinfully humongous book collection.

Heaven. (Picture Courtesy: Google)

Heaven. (Picture Courtesy: Google)

You see that woman in that picture? Amidst all those books. Sigh. I wanna be that girl. I wanna own books. Like physically. Not that I have anything against e-books. Yet, I personally cannot fathom them replacing printed books. EVER. In my collection, Jane Austen’s, Dick Francis’s, Anne of Green Gables series, Harry Potter series, Lord of the Ring series and the Steig Larsson series would have places of honour. Among a.. oh..million or so other authors that I adore.

4. Live alone.

Having a space to call your own (Picture courtesy: www.pinterest.com)

Having a space to call your own (Picture courtesy: http://www.pinterest.com)

Yes. I know that the concept of living alone isn’t all smooth as it looks. There are bills to be paid (always the first concern) and safety issues to be tackled. Not to mention those bouts of homesickness that you are bound to be infested by. And yet, nothing seems as attractive as being your own master (ahem…mistress sounds a tad too dirty somehow). To have a a place to call my own – to be decorated as and how I want. I know it isn’t gonna be all Aisha-of-Wake-Up-Sid style, but hey, this is my dream!

5. Adopt a baby. Have a on-the-move family.

Family = Love+Respect (Picture Courtesy: Google)

Family = Love+Respect
(Picture Courtesy: Google)

Okay, I can see your mental snort when you saw that picture. When I say I want a family, I don’t quite mean a brood. Not that I wouldn’t love one, but let’s be practical here. My bank balance doesn’t quite resemble that of the Pitt-Jolie team and isn’t likely to in foreseeable future, unless of course, I hook up with Bill Gates’ son who is 8 years younger to me (Yes. I googled it. Shamelessly, might I add) Considering the improbability of THAT happening, I’d have no means of bringing up 6 kids in the way they should be brought up. So what I want is to adopt a baby girl (I’ve always been rather particular about this) – it started with Sushmita Sen adopting Renee in 2000, I think. I was all of 12 or something when this idea germinated in my head. Since then. it has taken root there, rather firmly. Whether it’ll be able to bloom or not, only time will tell.

So there. I’ve shared some of the things that I’d particularly love to do in my life. What about you? What is it that you crave from your life? What is it that you really wanna do? I’d love to know! 

New Horizons..?

Today was my last day at work. What I have in front of me are 20 days of freedom. Freedom to do absolutely anything and everything. Freedom from having to get up every morning, and drag my ass off to work where I partially enjoy what I do. Don’t get me wrong, it was good while it lasted, but now its time to move on.

The thing about freedom is that its a double edged sword. With freedom from having to work comes the problem called ‘money’. Trust me, it truly is a hell of a problem. Especially once you’ve gotten used to getting a reasonably fat paycheck in your pocket! You have no idea how unbelievably easier life becomes once you have a few extra bucks to spare. The other edge of the sword is this – uncertainty. What comes next?

I’m at this juncture in life wherein I have legitimate doubts of a dream that I was once, sure I’d pursue and (obviously) be good at. But once you’ve met people who set the benchmark at the height of K2, it’s rather difficult to shout out loud that you wanna climb that mountain too. Being out of breathe before you even begin your climb…? Excruciatingly painful. Plus, you identify new streams that give you joy. Maybe not exuberant, jump-off-the-couch-Tom-Cruise-style joy, but joy, nevertheless.And it does make sense to pursue that line of thought,

So what do you do? Which one do you concentrate on – the riskier life-long dream or the safer new-found passion?

Standing out in the crowd

But if you don't, then you are truly one hell of a person.

But if you don’t, then you are truly one hell of a person. (Image courtesy – http://www.quotehd.com)

The other day, while mulling over a cuppa coffee with a couple of friends of mine, one of my friends mentioned that the one thing she wanted to do in life is to tread a path that hasn’t been cut out yet. This comment of hers had the entire group (including myself) nodding their heads in agreement. Obviously, that is one sentiment shared by countless souls around the world – to “do something different(ly)”. The magic of firsts. Or seconds or thirds, for that matter.

It was only later while walking home braving hordes of horn-blowing demons that it struck me how ridiculous the idea of originality is. I mean, yes it is pretty cool to be a Christopher Nolan in a field that thrill you to the core, but there is an equal amount of awesomeness to being a Marlyin Monroe. Yes, she is as cliched an actress that could be imagined with her chiseled features and come-hither charm. But the fact that she has carved a niche for herself among so many other actresses/wannabes who possess roughly identical skills as she does – that does sound impressive! Does that make sense to you?

What I’m thinking is this. Its perfectly easy to be appreciated for doing something that has never been done before. I mean, there is no yardstick to measure the brilliance of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. That book (and movie) is so good, so brilliant that it needed a brand new scale made just to measure its awesomeness. That is beautiful. Unspeakably beautiful, I agree. But what I’m saying is there is a certain beauty to being the Sonakshi Sinha of Bollywood too.

If people recognize the artist in you even if the only thing you give them is running around trees in multicolour sarees and grandma jewellery (and still manage to make people drool) like a gazillion artists that have come before and after you, is that not a true achievement?