We Have Moved…

Henceforth, find us at https://ashishandradhika.wordpress.com/

Cheers,

Ashish

Comments from the past:

fullhyd.com
9 Mar 2008, 4:24pm

Hey Ashish,

fullhyd.com is coming out in a new avatar in about 10 days, with a much slicker blogging section. Why not continue here? Please send your email address to webmaster at fullhyd.com, and we’ll give you a link to the beta of what your blog looks like there, and the control panels to see all you can do. Cheers.

P. S. I tried to post this on your other blog, but it doesn’t seem to be allowing commets – I was getting a HTTP 500 Internal Server Error.

Khattam Shud

“Because everything ends,” Rashid explains, ” because dreams end, stories end, life ends, at the finish of everything we use his name, its finished, it’s over, Khattam Shud: The End.”

Salman Rushdie (Haroun and the Sea of Stories)

Its necessary for things to be taken to a logical conclusion… rather than leaving them in an uncertain limbo…waiting to exhale…

I have come to the end of my random ramblings for the moment…though I will not stop strolling for sure.

Hope to meet you again… have made few friends here. Keep in touch mates ๐Ÿ™‚

Ashish

Comments from the past:

Ashish
25 Jan 2008, 9:40am

Yeah… have a mail id too ๐Ÿ™‚

ashishkec@yahoo.com

Bye Bye Bangalore

A City steeped in the rains, green roads crawling around Caf้ ƒoffee Day outlets, colonial churches competing for space with the trendiest malls, a crowd buoyed by optimism ? and money, a town of astounding ambition and an infrastructure trying hard to match pace with the aspirations of its inhabitants? Bangalore was all this and much much more.

I recently spent nearly a month at Bangalore, it was the best season to visit the city they said.. not that I had a choice, my company has a habit of sending you to places at a days notice which you might have otherwise never ventured to on your own.

Work was hectic, but the weekends were mine? They say that the best way to know a city is to see it through the eyes of a person who belongs there? and I was lucky enough to have two friends with me who were just that? a beautiful couple who belonged to Bangalore as much as they belonged to each other.

It was a strange feeling, to be escorted around the city as if you were still a kid, to be a silent partner to discussions on which would be the best place to eat out at night, to be allowed not to make a single decision over the entire weekend and yet be comforted that you were in good hands?

Whether it was basting your own barbecue on a rain kissed Saturday evening at a roof top restaurant at Indira Nagar, or spending a lazy Sunday morning gorging on omelets at a century old caf้ ฏn MG road? or a fantastic dinner at the 13th floor of a building, the twinkling lights of Bangalore spread out on to the horizon, or just ambling idly through the alleys of Bangalore with no specific purpose in mind, it really turned out to be one of my most enjoyable weekends ever.

We spent the night talking about the times that had gone by, about the friends we made and lost, about the times we shared and our plans for the future. Strangely, I felt extremely at home in a flat with two persons with whom I had never really spent much time with before.

Come to think of it, we always knew that we enjoy spending time together, yet it took a forced trip from my company which helped me go see my friends in person. Just about how many friends have I lost over the years, because I never found the time to meet them. Is it really true that we did not have the time to attend that particular friends wedding, or just do away with a phone call when someone lost a loved one. Or rather, was it really necessary to use up my vacation to attend the engagement of a cousin I had not cared to remain in touch, and would not care to remain in touch in future. Just made me wonder, how many times have I given priority to half hearted family connections over friends I have shared my life with.

Guess this is what friends are for, they let you in their lives with no questions asked, and make you feel at home in any corner of the world. You know they will share your joy and will leave you alone when you want to be quiet and not take offence. And finally, when its time to say Good Bye, they make you feel that you really mean something to them, something that is not forced like a hand-me-down relationship, but something that is needed and hard to find at times, a friend.

Comments from the past:

coretta
20 Jul 2007, 3:05pm

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ and a big hug!

Vipul
10 Aug 2007, 10:02pm

I think its time for you to write a book…you have the potential dude!!!

chandan
16 Oct 2007, 10:31pm

Damn neat man…you spoketh thy heart’s words.

Ravi
9 Nov 2007, 9:43pm

Hi ashish…..jus read a few of ur blogs….u write stuff that really reaches the heart! i liked it a lot…looks like u’ve been blogging for ages…never knew that! do keep posting!

That Summer, That Year

It all used to start off the day we went to school for collecting my final report card. Then along with a yellow sheet full of ticks and marks, the teacher would attach a list of books for the next class. Did I care about the list then? What do you think J? For me the list would be forgotten during the all too short eight weeks of summer holidays. The scorching hot afternoons scented damp by desert coolers, the balmy evenings spent watering the plants in our backyard, watching clods of soil soak up water and decompose in effervescent bliss? taking my dogs out for walks all over the school campus where we stayed? and endless games of monopoly and Ludo? the holidays could not have seemed shorter and more inadequate !

Then one fine day? around the first week of July every year, standing tall in the front of the scooter, I would lead my parents to the local bookshop. I guess we bought stuff from the same bookshop every year, for me as well as my brother.

And as I would peep over the counter, the uncle at the shop would haul over a readymade set of books,? Class 4 Na, Colvin College???. And suddenly, I could not wait to get back home.

Its not that I was in love with all my books, I mean who wants to look at yet another book on arithmetic, or science, or grammar !! It was the literature books which I could not wait to read from cover to cover. I still feel that some of the finest stories I have read were found in my text books, Hindi and English. The Radiant Readers, Gulmohars and Hindi Sahitya Shrinkhalas? But I guess, the opinion could be just mine?

And finally, one afternoon, my mother would dump a large pile of books and notebooks on the carpet, and the entire family would be busy for the next couple of hours, covering the books with brown paper and sticky labels. Guess it was a scene repeated in every home with kids at school? the entire family sitting in a circle, the hum of a cooler and snips of scissors punctuating requests for passing the tube of glue, or a label, or a fresh roll of brown paper. There was always a dispute between my and my brother, about which labels were meant for whom.

Eventually, on a (usually) wet July morning, I would find myself standing in front of the school gate, suitably attired in the school blue, smelling of shoe polish and boroline, hair neat parted and a shining new water bottle in hand, weighed down by my school bag but excited on seeing so many of my friends at once.

The first day of school after vacations?.the welcome address in the morning assembly, the choir singing ?Vande Mataram?, the sequential reciting of names in the class, a new class teacher, a new time table, a new class room and the same mad rush for the gates when the final bell rang?

When the focal point of the day would be a plastic toy one got free with Binaca toothpaste, and a relaxed evening would involve playing hopscotch with the local gang till the time our mothers threatened violence?.

When a trip to the market meant excitement and a toffee was something you saved money to buy? I guess all of us are some distance away from it all.

Sigh?

Let me get back to my work now ?..

Comments from the past:

Sanjay
29 Mar 2007, 3:37pm

Hey really gud one and it?s very true. This happens in every summer vacation in every house:)

Samved
29 Mar 2007, 4:34pm

Yo..Nostelgia!!!
It can’t be any different for me also:)

coretta
29 Mar 2007, 5:30pm

Its the story of my life too :)…Seems like u wrote about me..lol. But what amazes me is how you could bring it all out from the back of your mind and like an artist with his brush,bring back all those memories, as if it happened yesterday—Refreshingly fresh!!! lol (please don’t kill me for my garmmar,Literature Champ) ๐Ÿ˜‰

vani
29 Mar 2007, 7:26pm

Ah! Got too nostalgic ….At once made me remind my summer vacations…Wondered how could it be the exactly same everywhere(aftr reading the fellow-comments). Reading all the literature books, non-details(donno wat u call it) and enjoying the class when u know all the suspense at the end ๐Ÿ™‚ Lol

s?
30 Mar 2007, 10:31am

same feelings here ๐Ÿ™‚

Pallavi
31 Mar 2007, 3:40pm

Am nostalgic!! i loved those days & we are really far away from those days now…
Its really written well!!

My Mother

I still remember the way she used to call out my name. Her voice ringing with exasperation at my repeated refusal to have breakfast in the morning. I just had to have something sweet in the morning, or for all other meals at that? but the ritual drinking of milk in the morning was something on which me and my mother never agreed upon.

Thus used to start my day, and hers, with a pitched battle being fought over the dining table. With threats emanating from the kitchen till I downed that disgusting tumbler of milk. I was not a kid then, I was Sixteen, old enough to carry my own ego around on a pedestal.

And there were times when I made her cry, well almost. I knew I had crossed a boundary beyond which a son hurts a mother?s sensibilities, when her threats fell silent, and things became unbearably silent at meal times. All I can do is to smile wryly when I think of those days now. What an ass I had been.

Sixteen, the age when you are a man enough to take a girl out, but not a man enough to hold her hand in front of her father. I was just getting to know my mother, as a person. How I used to envy my elder brother who used to have long conversations with her, sitting next to her, while I was still treated the like kid in the family, which I was.

At sixteen, I think my mother started treating me like an adult for the first time in my life. She spoke with me of things which only a mother can say and get away without making you realize that she actually knows what you have been up to while she wasn’t around.

She used to teach me Hindi and Sanskrit, in preparation for my class 10th board exams. She had been a University topper in Sanskrit, and she left it all to go and marry the man she loved, against the wishes of most of her family. I won a medal for the highest score in Sanskrit at my school? I lost that medal, don?t know where it lies amongst the debris I have strewn across my various dwellings in India, but I do remember the special meal she cooked to celebrate the medal.

She was a beautiful woman, and the first thing you notice in all her pictures is her smile. At times, I think back and try and capture what would have been the lasting image of my mother for me, but I have always failed. There is now way I could confine her to a single lasting impression.

She died when I was sixteen, suddenly and without explanations, and 12 years hence, I am still unable to comprehend what life could have been like had she still been around.

Her death rocked our family to the core, and things took more than a decade to stabilize. But I still find myself thinking of her when I do something good, or when someone says something nice to me.

She died convinced that her youngest son will become a doctor, while I went on to do something entirely different. It?s a strange feeling to be cheated out of a chance to love someone back , to be able to hold someone in your arms and tell them exactly how much they mean to you? and to know that when dad took her to the hospital that night, her tired face was to be my last glimpse of her. I felt very very alone then, standing alone in the lawn of our house, with our family dog running circles around me. Next day, she died in the morning, a day before Valentine?s Day, and I was deprived of even a last chance to say goodbye to her.

Guess, its never too late to write down something I should have sometime ago.

Comments from the past:
s
9 Mar 2007, 4:18pm

Very sorry about your loss. How awful it must have been, and still must be. Some situations make one feel so helpless, there is nothing except acceptance that can follow.

coretta
13 Mar 2007, 9:14pm

A sigh, a smile and a hug from my side..:) Needless to say, u have done her proud.Look at what u have established for yourself dear. God Bless U

pari
14 Mar 2007, 8:05pm

This is the first time I visited your blog…..Very touching. I liked the way you wrote and the way you expressed your thoughts….. Iam really moved!

ariza
15 Mar 2007, 8:09am

Hey. Keep writing.

Amar
19 Jul 2007, 1:24pm

Very touching.. Men dont cry.. but u made one shed a tear right now!
Hugs!

Arul
26 Jan 2008, 2:13am

Sorry about your loss. Very touching blog entry.

God bless you and your family

The Sound of Silence

I am supposed to be working on a deadline. Honestly, yes. This is what I am expected to be doing right now. I have used the deadline as an excuse to postpone all my meetings for the day, and now that I have the entire afternoon to myself, I find myself typing away to glory on MS Outlook, writing what I hope will become the next post on my much neglected blog !

She has been silent of late. Silent, that is, she has not been talking much. Not talking at all is more like it. Last week, she attended office with a sore throat and managed to aggravate the itch in the throat to a full blown case of Laryngitis?. And now she is quiet, silent on the doctor?s orders.

So for most of the weekend, I was carrying out a one way conversation with myself, with her limiting her responses to a forced mime or hitting out at me occasionally. Dinner was peaceful, so were lunch and the breakfast earlier.

She went to office today, and I am not supposed to call her, as that will make her talk, which is not what the doctor ordered. Here is one for the dipping cellphone bills?

Should I be happy? I mean how lucky a man can get before he dashes off a bridge crying hallelujah !

You close your eyes and you are free, if you chose not to listen with your eyes then there is little around that can shatter the solitude around you? except maybe for a well aimed object ( pillow, clocks, teddy bears, knives?) or a kick if you are close enough.

You can have the next drink after seeking her permission, and claim later that you though that her shaking of the head in all directions meant yes. Ask her to keep quiet in front of everyone and get away unscathed in one piece. Throw clothes wherever you want around the house and know that they will be picked up off the floor minus the nagging that accompanies it?

They say Laryngitis lasts a week?

A week?

Just a week?.

Sigh?.

Comments from the past:

s
27 Feb 2007, 10:57am

Hey, How is it going? We had a look at an appt in your society. Got a few questions, if u don’t mind. Could I email you at ashishkec@yahoo.com?

coretta
27 Feb 2007, 10:29pm

I for once want to throw a bucket of cold water on u!!!!
u do not have laryngitis, so wats wrong with ur phone?why can’t i reach u?

Ashish
3 Mar 2007, 8:32am

Coretta, glad I am not close by…

S, feel free to mail me. I had been away, hence the delayed response

The Rest of My Life…

Do you know how it feels?. When things kind of rearrange themselves and fall into place with a satisfying click?. Leaving with you a sense of relieved disbelief? wondering if the world itself is not in playing a nasty joke on you?.

Well for me today.. was one of those days? There was a transition to a particular group in my company which I had been working towards for the past one year? and today things moved at a speed which defied my own expectations… making me a very very happy man in the end?

I guess these moments do happen, in everyone?s? lives? for me the first such moment took some time to come?.

I was scared of speaking in public. Scared, I mean really really scared. The kind of scared which means getting goosebumps, and knocking knees all at the same time. When I was still younger.. I guess 8th standard? I had a pretty sad debut on the podium? forgetting the lines of Nehru?s ?Tryst with Destiny? in front of 25 other schools at Lucknow. ?.The sad part is that I still remember that speech by heart !

I was convinced that facing a crowd was something I would never be able to do? be it speaking? or singing

It was in standard 12? the senior ?most class in my school, that I was told that I am supposed to give a speech on Republic Day. Just one of those speeches that we saw every year in school? the kid who spoke after the National Flag was unfurled? and the mandatory patriotic songs sung? and the Principal praised the chief guest to the skies.. and the chief guest would explain the real meaning of patriotism and our duties with finger wagging sagacity? and finally we would line up for our bag of sweets, waving paper flags all along?

Yes that year.. that kid was supposed to be me? and for me it was as good as committing hara-kiri. I guess spent almost a week writing my speech, to tell the truth, still remember some of the stuff I wrote in there? and then I practiced it and recorded it on the old BPL cassette recorder we had at home?.I was scared, and determined not to make a fool of myself all over again? like the way I did the last time I uttered anything on a microphone?

The D-Day arrived? and I spoke my heart out. Oblivious of the not so proper things you say when you are 17 years old.. filled with the passion of a teenage mind? and my dad was there in the crowd listening to me. I did not falter, and I did not forget my lines.. I paused at the right moments and I smiled at the right places. In short, I loved it. At the end, every one clapped? glad it was over?. And later my father told me that I was good. THAT made my day.

At my engineering college.. during ragging, I discovered that those who could sing, escaped the more humiliating things that you could be made to do?. So I sang. And for the next 4 years, saw my name appearing on the list of all college song competitions on its own. During my MBA, I guess I was on a roll the day I won 5 events for my team at a B School fest?

I am bragging, yes, and for this one aspect of my life, I am not pretty apologetic about it either, because just between us, I am pretty proud of it as well.

Today, training and talking and communicating are my biggest strengths. And to think that till class 11th I was convinced that Medicine would have been a great career choice for an introvert like me.

You never really know, what might change tomorrow. Something that gives you sleepless nights today might be your source of strength tomorrow.

A year back.. I was floundering in a career which did not seem to be heading in any direction which I would have enjoyed. It has taken me a year to mould it back towards activities and roles that I find more fulfilling personally.

You know, its days like these? which make you look forward to the rest of your life?.

The first post for this season.. Wish You All a Happy New Year

Comments from the past:

s
27 Jan 2007, 3:14pm

sigh…

Ashish
27 Jan 2007, 7:54pm

???

s
27 Jan 2007, 9:57pm

ah, just waiting for some of that luck to come by

Ashish
28 Jan 2007, 1:54am

Oh… well am sure its on its way …

coretta
2 Feb 2007, 12:24am

Blessed :)–U are

On a drowsy afternoon…

I am a sucker for music really. Nothing changes my mood as music does. A few moments back I was harboring violent thoughts of smashing the screen of my laptop ( that would be good). Now.. as I have ?Summer of 69? playing in my earphones.. maybe I will defer the demolition for another day.

I am 27 years old?hardly an age to feel old. But sometimes I feel as if a generation has passed me by. They do not play my music anywhere anymore.

That brings me to me a more basic question, what is really my kind of music?

The first songs of my childhood were scratchy long playing records of ?The Sound of Music? and ?My Fair Lady?, shining black discs with a huge crimson dot in the center, and a thoughtful Dog peering into a gramophone?. Or Bright Green circles with Colombia written in Silver blocks?. It took me a fair amount of growing up before I was allowed to put the needle head onto a spinning record?.

How many summer afternoons were spent listening to songs of places and people I had never seen and hardly expected to see ever, twiddling with knobs on our two decade old Bush Radiogram. Sometimes, on a rare occasion, when someone would procure a functioning Video Cassette of an old classic in a hole in the Wall library in old Lucknow? we would gather in front of flickering VCR screens, trying hard to make out if we could see the face of Maria , trying to locate that one picture that adorned the cover of our records in the shelves?

Its almost an anticlimax now? to see neat stacks of ?The Sound of Music? CDs in Crossword, where people just have a look and pass them by. Hardly as exciting as the Sound of Music of my childhood. At times feel sad for the kids now? with everything just there for the picking?.

Is it not, that at times a memory that is a bit rough around the edges, exclusive and a bit hard to define.. becomes so much more to you than it would otherwise have.

Anyway, I digress?. My Music.

There was Cliff Richard?. Our boy from Lucknow. Trust any Lucknowite to name at least this one English singer as one his favorites? and this has more to do that Cliff Richard spent a couple of years at a local Convent school before his father packed his bags and left India in 1947.

But honestly, ? The Spanish Harlem? and ?The Evergreen Tree? are songs that I still hear at times? played anonymously on the piano, as background fillers at five stars?

I never really had the conviction for rock music? like so many of my friends in school and college? I guess I always was a bit ?Out? of it.

Asha Bhonsle was the most beautiful voice I heard growing up, and it still is?.

And then there was this band called The Corrs in the 90s? their debut album was a beauty? as much as their second one was bummer. Almost like our own home grown Silk Route?.

Recently heard a guy called Josh Turner? sings Country music and makes you go back to all the good things people sang about in the songs of old?.

She plays John Denver on the stereo when she is in the mood for cleaning up the house. So every time I hear strains of ?Leaving on a Jet Plane? wafting through the house, I know its time to get out of the way and curl up with a book somewhere? My father sings Talat Mehmood when he misses my mother, I listen to ?Summer of 69? when I have a lousy day at office. Ha !

Diwali vacations are a day away, yet my inbox is flooded with ?Happy Diwali? messages? kind of takes your mind somewhere else altogether.

Wish You All a Very Happy Diwali !

Comments from the past:

s
21 Oct 2006, 8:11am

and Happy Diwali to you too

s
25 Jan 2007, 1:32pm

one very long drowsy afternoon? no more posts?

Ashish
25 Jan 2007, 4:13pm

Call it a coincidence? Just posted one today !

Just a story…

Just an attempt at telling a story, tell me what you think:

Have you noticed how different a string of electric lights on a misty cold evening can be? If you are with a crowd its ?its probably a party, if its just the two of you, the lights form a pool of sleepy stars, slow, languorous and undulating

And if ,like me, you found yourself sitting alone on a balcony in an empty house, with the railing edged with electric wire and yellow lights, it can also bring memories that sting your eyes.

The table in front of me is filmed with dust, the glass makes a scraping sound as put it back on the table , the moisture down its sides trickles to form a circle round the base.

There is now a wet pattern of circles on the table, some intersecting, and some alone, and some so close to each other that its hard to tell them apart, their boundaries smudged with intimacy.

A few hours ago they carried the last of the Ganpati?s away. I watched them all pass by, one by one. Standing in my balcony, I saw them all being led away, tamely to their watery end, surrounded by dancing teenage boys high on religious fervor, or maybe something else as well.

She used to love watching the processions go by. Every year, through the night, she would sit at this very balcony and wait for her favorites to pass. ? Why should I visit all the Ganesh Panadals? The Ganpati come to my doorstep !?.

I would normally sit inside, annoyed with the noise that invaded my street annually, trying to convince her to close the door to the balcony and come inside. After all, all this revelry really did not fit in with my scheme of things. So much of money wasted, burnt and squandered. Every Pandal set to outdo each other, the devotees bent on redeeming their sins with a shower of bank notes. No, such a gaudy festival was definitely not mine.

While she would sit in this very balcony, eagerly awaiting the next procession to go by, the interludes interspersed with steaming pakoras shared enthusiastically with the neighbors who would gather in our second story flat to watch the processions, crowding me out as I sat in the hall, unhappy with the ruckus, and angry with her for putting me through this year after year.

She would call me, again and again, ? Come Now, it?s the Shankarshet Ganapati !? ? At least see the Tulshibag Ganapti, its made of real Sandalwood?

I would pretend not to listen, and glare at her silently, ensuring that everyone around was aware of my disapproval and her scant disregard for my wishes.

Each year, as I lay next to her at night, hours after the last of the procession had long gone, and the last of the pakora eating guests wished away to their houses? she would sullenly complain, ? You could have come at least once, I called you so many times. Mr Sharma even took his kids to the roadside, you should have seen how Krishna was laughing with him?

And I would listen to her, searching for my cold victory in her sadness. My pride somewhat mollified for having taken away at least some of her enthusiasm? I had proved that I was stronger willed than her.

And last winter, she died. Suddenly and without warning. They placed her in the hall on slabs of ice. Trails of water streamed across the hall as the ice melted, and found their way into the balcony where they collected in a puddle. Her forehead was red, smeared with Sindoor, and she seemed more beautiful than I ever remembered her to be.

I sat next to her, for an entire night, trying to fathom her face for a million answers. In the morning, they covered her face with a lotus bloom and we carried her off down the road to the riverside.

They handed me a staff to break her skull as she burnt at the pyre. That was when I cried.

Its been six months, and I have become used to having an empty house to return to from office. Every evening as I unlock the door, the silence greets me with an unsettling familiarity.

I still find long strands of hair when the maid moves the furniture for cleaning, or swabs of cotton with her perfume in the almirah?.bits of cloth in a bag sorted away to make a quilt for the next winter, or an unfinished embroidery.

This year, I sat in the balcony, alone. Not too many people visit me these days.

They have decorated the society with strings of yellow lights, which blink with sudden brightness in an unforgiving pulse.

I watched the Ganpati?s go by, all seventeen of them. I gazed at the lights and breathed in the incensed air. Tried hard to detect some familiar sensation, or a smithereen of memory being carried away down the road.

The crowds have dispersed now. The street seems unusually wide in its emptiness. I rose to go back into the house.

They should switch off these lights now?

Comments from the past:

coretta
5 Sep 2006, 5:10pm

it came ‘from the depth of ur being’, am sure:-).The feel is tragic but the profound message is ‘the clebration of life’….the indulgence for the
‘ritualistic-need’ rather than on the object of worship.

s
6 Sep 2006, 11:17am

you describe a sullen spoilsport of a man nicely. they should be dunked along with Ganesha.

well written! but what’s with the gloom n doom? very touchy tho ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

They must be sleeping back home…

27th March 2006

Grey, imposing, silent, quiet, efficient, impersonal, assured, different, large, cold?..

First impressions of the United States of America? probably since I have landed in Minneapolise when they are yet to shrug of their winters?.trees with barren branches line the horizon, broken by banks of snow, the white enhancing the grey around?

So here I am, in the space of one blog post, transported across continents typing away in an impossibly empty airport terminal deep in America. I face a wall of glass, opening into a view of the Airport runway. I have never seen so many aircrafts taking off in an hour in my entire life !

Its been an eventful journey, to be honest, I started off pretty glum, making such a long trip alone, and that too on an assignment where I am not too sure of what I am supposed to be doing !

So the flight from Mumbai to Amsterdam was late by ages, so I missed my connecting flight to Detroit?. But that sweet lady at the KLM counter booked me to Minneapolis in the only available flight at the moment, and that too in business class?.

Maaan, that is the way to travel. Having spent half my journey in a company sponsored cramped economy class, I guess the effect of the Business class travel was evident all the more. The chairs provided you three options for a lumber massage, they serve you real champagne when you board the craft, and there is actually a Menu card from where you can order food a-la-carte

I just reread the above passage, and man do I sound like a pakka country bumpkin !

Honestly though, I had often thought to myself what would be the effect of being in the USA, what will be my first thoughts, whether it would be so different to actually make it enjoyable?

And, again, I still do not have an answer. I feel somewhat indifferent; it seems a bit of an anticlimax. Guess you already know what to expect when you go abroad , so there could be a classic case of an expectation mismatch.

Possibly what is the most remarkable thing for me is the silence. An airport terminal reasonably full of people is more silent than my college classes used to be?hmmmm

It?s a strange feeling? to be in a country you cannot call your own, to know that you do not even share the same continent with the ones you love?and frankly it is yet to sink in.

I am here on a three month long assignment, working at a place called Danbury Connecticut..

Was pulled out of India at a fairly short notice, and I hope I will manage to get back there equally quickly.

So right now I have Rahat Fateh Ali Khan humming Jiya Dhadak on my laptop ( Thank God for MP3 !) a small pic of her sipping coffee from an Oversized mug, and a Starbucks for company?. Comforting images and flavors in an otherwise unsettling setting.

I really wanted to come to the USA, to try an figure out what is it about this place that makes millions leave everything they call their own, to be become aliens standing in a New Immigrant queue trying to answer the official why they wanted to go to America?

I think, to some extent, I have gained an answer? My flight attendants till now have been a mix of men and women from every racial background possible, from the Blond haired Nordix pursers to the Black lady at the checkout counter with a toothy smile?.I got my traveler cheques encashed at a counter manned by a south American woman, and now I am sitting across a Japanese guy typing away something in his hand held?

In the space of the last 24 hours i have been confronted by a range of facial featurer, heard new accents, tasted flavors all different, all linked by a smiling courtesy.

Even in the space of my first few hours here, it seems evident to me that there is a lot more dignity possible for an individual here than it is back home.

Too many things floating around me at the moment, and I am yet to form an opinion, once I do that, I will let you know ๐Ÿ˜‰

April 1, 2006

So the above passage never got posted?. In the meantime my first official week at the client site got over. Till now USA for me has been a series of pretty roads ( wish we had such roads back home). This Saturday morning was spent unpacking? I think I have got way too much luggage. Am sharing a condo with a guy from Kerala who apart from being a very friendly chap, is a grand cook? thank god for Sulekha.com

So for the first time after having arrived in the USA, I have some time to spend on myself. Have some Bollywood music playing on my walkman ( ok guys go ahead and cringe? but right now I am loving it !)? and my plans include going out to explore my first Barnes and Nobles bookstore.

After a very hectic first three days which literally gave me sleepless nights.. things evened out yesterday?

My flat is a mile away from my workplace?. So in the morning I take a long walk through a Danbury waking up from slumber. It?s a beautiful place. Settled in the bowl of surrounding hills, air crisp with freshness, and a civility that somehow belies the image of America that we have back home.

They say in the books? that traveling opens up your mind? how true?

I took a cab from Hartford to reach Danbury? and the opening greeting of my cab driver was, ? Aur Bhai Kya Haal Hain?? Mr Malik from Karachi Pakistan?

He spent the next 1 hour ride quizzing me on Lucknow ?my hometown? Invited me to visit his home? and waited with me at Danbury till someone came to pick me up?

What is it about being away from home that makes people bond so much in foreign lands? is it the shared memories of India? of faces left behind and memories carried along? or the tears in your eyes when you miss the smiles shared back home?

When the beats of India echoe in the music you hear and accents of people around you. When you see immaculately manicured lawns and streets and imagine to yourself.. hey where are all the people ! When you travel on a freeway and think about that auto in the middle of a traffic jam with smoke from the MSRTC billowing in from the side…when you do not see a single two wheeler on the roads for 3 days straight?

When you realize in the middle of the day? they must be sleeping back home..

and when you open American newspapers and discover that your own country does not find a single mention in all its 36 pages?.

And for some of us?. Its home now?

India?.. can?t wait to get back?..

Comments from the past:

June
2 Apr 2006, 12:41pm

What is it about being away from home that makes people bond so much in foreign lands? is it the shared memories of India? of faces left behind and memories carried along? or the tears in your eyes when you miss the smiles shared back home?

๐Ÿ™‚

jus thinkin of old day… dont ask me why, but yer post put a smile on my face. ๐Ÿ™‚

s?
3 Apr 2006, 12:58pm

yep, even the busiest of the malls are quiet…

but hey, no place like home ๐Ÿ™‚

Ashish
8 Apr 2006, 1:12am

Hey S, nice to see you on my blog again… and June, am glad that I made you smile…and I am not asking why.

Thanks for reading this

Mama
16 Jun 2006, 9:59am

you seem to be a lost soul in an inhospitable terrain- ababe in the wood. Dearest Chhotu, grow up- manzilen aur bhi hain wasl ki rahat ke siva; mujh se pahli si mohabbat mere mahboob na mang. Go ahead and enjoy life as it comes, and dont be homesick. love Mama.