Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Random Musings from a Flight!

I was pretty jobless in the airport and flight - I was traveling alone, I did not have a book to read. Listening to music via a headphone gives me a headache and I was too lazy to take out my laptop and browse. So, I switched to the next best thing which is observing people. Its very interesting to see when you are thrown among close to 500 people who are totally unknown to you. I am sorry if I sound too judgmental - these are just a random bunch of observations.

Mr. Conductor of the bus to airport - you are the nicest bus conductor that I have ever met. You helped everyone to haul their luggage and made sure that everyone was settled and comfortable - even though that meant that you had to stand throughout the 40-45 kms stretch.

Mr. Ray-Ban Aviators, whoever gave you the compliment that you look good with sun glass did not definitely mean that you should be sporting it 24*7. You can take them off once inside the airport and the flight, there is hardly any sun/bright light.

Mr. Cool Dude with the humongous head phones and greenish-yellow shoes. Please don't try too hard - your attempts are making you look like a wannabe.

Silk saree clad auntie with oodles of gold - Are you rushing for a wedding straight from the airport? Do you plan to give the bride a complex by wearing a heavier saree and more gold?

Mr. Blackberry - The Blackberry is a cool phone, but its no longer limited to a corporate business world. Have you not seen the new blackberry 'We are the Blackberry boys' ad? So, stop smirking at my poor N72.

Ms. Lovey-Dovey - I can guess that you are totally in love. You have a bunch of roses in your hand and you have been coochie-cooing on the phone for the past 1 hour. I understand - been there and done that. The air hostess has asked you to switch the phone now. Please switch of the phone and not send sms sneakily. I am very paranoid about airline safety.

Mr and Mrs Newly married - This is a very short flight - hardly one hour. The waiting time in the airport would be another hour. Can't you guys keep off each other for like 2 hours. There are kids staring at you. The elders are giving you glares. Can't you get the message?

Mr. Bappi Lahiri look alike businessman - Now that we all know that you do multi-crore deals everyday (thanks for the loud conversation on the phone), can you please switch off the phone. I told you that I am paranoid about airline safety.

Ms. Nosy Parker aunty - We said hi and hello. We both are on the same flight. The flight goes to Hyderabad. Therefore, please think for a moment before you ask me - "Where are you going?". Also, please don't give glares to the lady whose baby is crying. Stop for a moment and think about the lady who is struggling to pacify the little one.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hyderabad Chronicles - Part 1

Six long years. The city that I entered as a nervous 21 year old. The city that has changed me from a nervous young student to a confident working woman. The city that has seen me in all my shades - sometimes haggling with a earring store keeper to reduce the price of a Rs 10/- earing to Rs 8/-, to sometimes splurging hundred times of that amount on a single set of earrings, - sometimes being so miserly to share the soup to 1/4th portion each and waiting for a month to indulge in the biriyani and sometimes eating at the best of the restaurants while spending out more that I could ever imagine for a single meal. Hyderabad has seen it all. 

So, it was a tough call when we decided to move out of Hyderabad. Yes, we did have strong reasons and we hope that the new move is a good one. I have very few days left in Hyderabad, the feeling is of immense gratitude - for taking care of me for 6 long years, for giving me my first job, for being the silent witness when I met S, for making me independent and for what not!

Yes, the summer is terrible, especially when you make the mistake that we did - taking the apartment on the top floor. There were power cuts - terrible ones, often 4 hours in a day. It was and still is to step out during the summer unless you are prepared for the sunstroke. Apart from these summer months, the rest of the year is pretty nice. 

Unknowingly, you fall in love with the Hyderabadi Hindi or the 'Dakhani' dialect. First, I thought it was indeed very cute and I would laugh when I hear someone saying 'Kya hona' for 'What do you want' or 'hallu chalo' for 'walk slowly'. Later, I found myself speaking in bits and pieces of this dialect especially with the autowalahs, the maid and the watchman. Of course, there is a particular indescribable charm in Hyderabadi hindi.

This is one city where I have seen equal enthusiasm in celebrating Eid as well as Ganesh Utsav. People, regardless of the religions throng the haleem outlets which spread across the city to savor the Ramzan delicacy and also dance to the tunes of the dhol during the Ganesh immersion. Yes, there have been riots, and communal clashes in the past, but after living there for so long, I could not escape but notice the underlying religious harmony. 

This is a city of extremes, on one hand you have very strong student movements like the movement in Osmania university for Telengana, on the other hand, you have a totally oblivious student category for which nothing else matters other than IIT or an MS admission in the US. On one hand, there is the flurry of activity in the streets of Charminar where the bling of the choodi baazar stand out, where as on the other, there are outlets like M&S, UCB and Promod which cater to a different segment of the population. I could just go on and on. 

Its tough to say bye when you fall in love with a city! Here is a snapshot of one of my favorite places in Hyderabad - Shilparamam (where I first discovered what bargaining is).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Queen of Clumsiness!

Yours truly loves elegance and admires grace, for these are things that don't come naturally to her. Well.. I mean, they don't come unnaturally too, in spite of best attempts. I see those swanky pretty ladies who sashay in 5 inch heels without flinching, while the poor attempts of mine even with 2 inches have resulted in either a twisted ankle or a fumble so prominent that people around have given the smirk which says 'why-do-you-want-to-wear-it-when-you-so-clearly-cannot-carry-it well'.

On most instances, there would be either a blob of food either on the table or on my dress. The number of instances I have dropped tea on my desk are uncountable. The knife and fork refuse to co-operate and cut the chicken into neat pieces. No, I am not saying that I lack etiquette, its just that I have to really concentrate and make an attempt at not ruining anything around me.

The great display of clumsiness is the picture when I come out of the cab - with a handbag, a laptop bag which is almost as heavy as me, a stole or a jacket. Invariably, I end up dropping either the jacket or the stole or the handbag before I drag myself out of the cab. While, the pretty young thing who happens to share the cab with me makes it look so effortless, even in the 5-7 inch heels.

I love wearing a saree, for it innately brings along an element of prettiness. That being said, it is one of hell of a tough task for me to drape the 5 meters around me - even with the help of around 10 safety pins. Therefore, I am left gawking when someone not only drapes it elegantly but also manages to do a 'desi-girl' act!

Therefore, the few compliments that I have received have been limited to cute or sweet, and not something like Graceful or beautiful. Heck, I don't care much about not being called graceful or pretty - I was just observing a pattern.

All those elegant ones, I again say that I admire you and I admire the elan that you bring along so effortless. For the rest of us, (I hope there is at least a small number who relate to me), we are not too bad either. Clumsiness is after all not a sin! Though, I may continue to battle it.

Vanity, thy name is so not me! Until later, Queen of Clumsiness it is!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

To Everyone Who Has Made Me What I am Today!

Sunday Evening and I am back from a lovely baking class. I stumble upon A's blog. It's Teachers Day today and  she has a lovely post. She is right, today is the perfect day to thank those people who have taught you something either consciously or just by the way.

To all the people right from Ammamma (my grandmom) for defining unconditional and unlimited love, to Madhavi amma our maid servant for teaching me how to hold the broom, from my parents for always standing by me (right from the choice of my subject to the choice of my life partner) to my little brother for teaching me how to fight and how to later make up. From the  friends who have stood by me through the years and through the thicks and thins to the nameless stranger on the road who fought with an eve-teaser along with me. From S for just being there to again S for the most fierce arguments, most romantic dinners, discussing the most trivial things to serious political opinions and what not!

Thank you for being in my life and for making me what I am! Happy Teacher's day folks!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

On Why We Should Still Have Faith!

We do fight with them, we think they fleece money, we think that they drive in full speed to take our lives but we cannot do without them. I am talking about Auto drivers. Yes, we do have a long saga of fleecing auto drivers and there is a sweeping generalization that all of them are just waiting to get a chance to extract money.

Mornining was hectic as usual. On top of that, some confusion with the office cab pick up. So, I decided to take the auto to office. Shared auto's are the lifeline of Hyderabad in the Hi-tech city area. A fixed rate and anyone can get in. I got into one - why do I need to take a metered auto for just a 10 min journey. After about 10 mins, I fumbled around for my phone. Nops, it was not in my hand. It was not in the small pouch either. Panic strikes - I assume I left it back at home and try not to think of the possibility of losing it. Now, I have a long history of losing stuff - from watches, wallet, driving license, election ID card to credit cards - I have lost them all. I desperately did not want my Nokia N72 to be a part of that list.

I ask the auto driver to stop, pay him and gallop (with my dupatta, a stole, a handbag and a laptop bag) across the road to get another auto to take me back home. Meanwhile, I see a co-passenger of the shared auto waving somewhere frantically, passing him off as a possible eve-teaser, I chose to ignore him. Soon, I see the auto driver running across the road. Within a flash of a second, he comes to me and hands me over the mobile. I hold my mobile and almost do a mad happy dance on the road. I am overwhelmed and manage only an embarrassed 'Thank You' to the auto driver, who smiles and says a polite 'Welcome Madam' and runs back to his auto.

I am about to thank him and tell him that he is a nice person and there are only a few people like him. Before that, he is back in his auto and speeds off. For him, its just another day!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Happy Tag!

After a couple of rather irate posts which were about me catching the cold and my hard disk crashing, I stumbled upon something really sweet and happy. Scarlett's blog post was delightful to read and I just could not resist the temptation to pick it up. Yes, I could do with some sunshine - its been either raining or cloudy for the past of 2 weeks.

I so agree with Scarlett when she says that these little things cheer up when someone is stuck in a rut. I feel nice just thinking about them - I am sure I ll feel better once I finish writing/blogging about them too.

1. The smell of the earth after the first rains - it does bring in a new high, doesn't it.
2. Cozying up with S and watching TV together.
3. The gummy toothless smile of a toddler and the pride of the parents when they see the smile.
4. An occasional ping/chat with a long lost friend.
5. Arrowroot biscuits dipped in Tea.
6. Getting down from the train/plane and looking around for that familiar face and finally spotting it.
7. Extended Lunch table conversations.
8. Countdowns - I am such a sucker for countdowns - even for something trivial like a TV program or for a much awaited trip.
9. Friday evenings - even though I am not doing anything great.
10. Compliments - Its always a feel good factor.
11. Cracking Crosswords - I am not very good at it, but I do attempt it and solving just one clue gives me a kick.
12. Jigsaw Puzzles (1000 pieces) - Ah What fun!
13. Bright sunshine after the rains.
14. Fruit cakes - Baking them, eating them or simply reading about them in cooking blogs.
15. Collecting key chains from different places
16. Catching the re-runs of the all time movies by chance while browsing through the channels.
17. The strange excitement that engulfs you the evening before you travel.
18. The happiness after I see that a photo of mine has come out well.

Thanks again Scarlett for this dash of cheerfulness and happiness.

Dealing with Data Loss!

After almost recovering from a cold, getting it back and again almost recovering, I was in for another shocker at work. The hard drive of my official laptop crashed and they informed me that there is no way to recover the data. I had oodles of stuff on my laptop - including photographs, write-up, bookmarks of the blogs that I read, music, movies and so on. I just feel like losing an old album or losing your hand bag!

I suddenly feel robbed of a lot of precious stuff. Lesson well learnt - I will be a little more careful with my data from now on. S has been warning me from a lot of time about backing up my data. Strangely, the thing that I am most worried about recovering is the picture that S drew of Calvin and which I have had as my wallpaper. I hope that we have a backup somewhere - in some email or on some phone.

Hmmph! Good realization on how much we are dependent virtually! For now, its back to notebooks and pens for me.