Chronicles of Arki in the US of A - a quiet evening (Part 2)


hmmmmmmm.....I feel weird right now!

Disclaimer: Nandu, this is no attempt at piracy...I just couldn't write so I had to draw... you are still the best! :) !

Don't even ask!

It's weird how you know certain things, but won't realize that you don't understand them till someone says it out loud to you!
And when they do, you feel stupid to not have realized them :| !
And by then, you've already done the damage.
:: Sighhhh!!!! ::

Chronicles Of Arki's adventures in the US of A - Part I

I can’t believe I’m writing this to give company to a lazy blogger!

And I was even told what topic to write on….so the readers will have to excuse me if this one sounds like an essay :P !

So I landed in the US exactly 20 days before today, and since then I have been answering questions about how I like the place and what is unique or not-so-unique about it. To be honest, I’m tired of these questions ‘cause there’s nothing special here! As I climbed down the aircraft, I had to tell myself to get a little excited about finally setting foot in another land, for the first time in my life. But the excitement never came.

The only :O moment was when I saw the awesome cars running on the roads here. But I got used to that in a week flat…and then that slight high was also gone.

No doubt the lifestyle is more ‘tech-savvy’ than India’s, but then I’m not used to it, and therefore I don’t enjoy it much. I’m not homesick or depressed, no! But it’s as good as shifting to Mumbai/Pune/Bangalore/Hyderabad. In fact, I would’ve been able to go home more frequently had I been in one of those cities.

Sighhhh!

And then I’ve had my share of feeling foreign in a foreign land. When I hum Hindi songs while waiting for the bus, I can see people giving me quick glances and nodding to each other. “Pssstttt….she’s an Indian” which always feels like “She’s not an American”. And then you are reminded of that fact that you are 8000 miles away from home and your people.

But then all this is a part of the package, and I was under the impression that I’m prepared for it. Haha, not really….but it isn’t that bad too. I like the cleanliness and shopping in Target or Marsh :P !

The real low comes when you have had a long tiring day in the campus, and when you start towards your dwelling, it sinks in that there’s nothing to look forward to. Go, cook, eat, sleep. Mechanical life.

I really wish I had a few more good things to say…

Maybe next time, when I'm more used to this quiet, cricket-inhabited place!

Yanni, pure awesomeness!

I love this guy's compositions!

Two of my very favourites for you to savour :) -


Rainmaker:




Nightingale:

Ye Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan

I am in love with this city.

And I love it for the same reasons people dislike it for. The traffic, narrow roads, humidity, rains...everything that defines Mumbai.

Hey! We just crossed Lata Mangeshkar’s house. Gosh my Dad is going to be so happy about this one! But I couldn’t visit a lot of places, courtesy the hectic schedule we had here in the past 4 days.

Ok, coming back to why I love this city. For firsts, I stayed in South Mumbai, apparently the posh-est area of the Mumbai City and kept shuttling between two five star hotels :P. That’s a different story. But if you ask me, I would have loved this city from any other locality as much as I do from Marine Drive.

And while we’re talking of Marine Drive, it’s awesome. Despite the too-in-your-face public display of affection that we encountered the first day (there will be a few people giggling at this), the place is cool! If we had anything like this here in the NCR, I’m sure all of our picture archive would have had it in the background.

The only sad part is the beaches. Although I visited only Chowpati, but the sight of it would have taken anyone off beaches forever. Landfill site it was! Right next to the beach, the Marine Drive is so well maintained in terms of cleanliness. Please, someone tell the Mumbai Administration that giving some time and attention to the beaches would be worth every penny!

In spite of getting disappointed at the beach, I still wish I could stay in this city for some more time, maybe even work here! That would have been great!

As the aircraft leaves the city boundary and advances over the ocean, I try to catch a last glimpse of the Nariman Point, The Queen’s Necklace, Hotel Trident, Air India Headquarters and the last of the city, abruptly disappearing into the Arabian Sea.
Sigh....I’ll come back soon Mumbai...hopefully!

This effort called writing

Long absenteeism, yeah!

I didn't expect myself to get so ultra busy when others around me are enjoying their last few days at home. Add to one of the many disadvantages of not staying away from home ever - you just don't realize what's it going to be like. The other side of the next month is obscure, hidden and guarded by an opaque wall. Nothing seems to be working as I expected, not even me. I knew I was fickle-minded, but to such an extent, its kinda scary.

I am an epitome of confusion right now, and believe me, this state of mixed feelings is not good, not funny and nowhere near enjoyable! I have been cribbing about office since a year now. Been more than vocal about how much I yearned to get away from the place. And the day I put in my papers, it friggin' annoys me! This 'Countdown Begins' game gives you the rush just for a couple of hours. And almost instantaneously you stop enjoying it. I wish they had the policy of keeping the last working date a mystery till it came. I don't know which one would have been better.

I have never felt the need of a support so much. It's like this big leap across a valley that I'm going to take, thinking there are people encouraging me, ready to catch me if anything goes wrong. And when I look at them hopefully, they look back at me questioningly, as if they're saying, "We didn't know we were expected to do this for you...sorry!". And I feel like a fool assuming I had them. It's weird, very very weird!

baa ah! It's an irritating realization that every time I sit down to write something these days, I get super-emotional and sentimental. Half a dozen posts were scraped off when I read what I'd written.

I have no idea what all I have scribbled. For the first time probably I'm going to post something without so much as looking at the number of paragraphs I managed.

Never go shopping with me!



In office

Prerna: Aastha, are you free for the first half?
Aastha: Yeah sure…tell me?
Prerna: Awesome! Let’s go shopping! It’s urgent!
Aastha: Shopping! Prerna…umm…let’s do it on Thursday na!
Prerna: I have no good clothes sob!!
Aastha:
(looks at her shirt) ummm…it’s nice!
Prerna: :( !!
Aastha: ok ok !! Let’s go..

In the store

Prerna: (walking around in the store...looking)

Aastha: (walking behind Prerna...looking at her)

Prerna:
How’s this?
Aastha: No
Prerna:
Ok…how’s this then?
Aastha: No
Prerna:
(grrr) Ok…you look for something for yourself.
Prerna:
Ok…I’ll try these…
Aastha: Sure…all are good….take Small…Medium is too big for you!
Prerna: :|

Prerna tries the first shirt.

Aastha: hmmm…maybe an M would have been better…wait I’ll get it.

Prerna tries M and then…ummm L.

Aastha: yeah…fits perfect!
Prerna: :|

Prerna tries the second shirt.

Aastha: Awesome…I love this color! Taken!
Prerna: But…shouldn’t I try another one?
Aastha: No no…this is a must-take!
Prerna: hmmm ok..

Both walk out of the trial area.

Aastha:
Prerna! This is soooo good!
Prerna: yeah…I love the color! (picks an M)
Aastha: Prerna…accept it…L fits you!
Prerna: grrr!

Prerna tries the blue shirt.

Aastha: Nice…bought!
Prerna: My Mom is going to forbid me from shopping with you!

Both of them go to another store.

Prerna: I want a white Kurta.
Aastha:
(picks one) Here, this is nice!
Prerna: (picks another)
But I like this!
Aastha: Try both.

Prerna tries both and likes both. Problem!

Prerna: This one is good…but this one is also good!
Aastha: Buy both.
Prerna: MUMMAAAAA!!!!

They get the things billed and walk out of the store.

Prerna: Never agree to go for shopping with anyone in your life again!

So it's not my fault entirely!
I forgot to warn her!

Dont die Mandira..!

There has hardly been an SRK movie that I’ve watched/liked/disliked because of SRK. If I loved DDLJ, it was because of the gorgeous couple he makes with Kajol, their chemistry, the innocent/mushy love story. If I liked Swades, it was because of the simplicity with which the movie has been made, the underlying message, which I agree wasn’t very clear :) ! If I hated Om Shanti Om, it was because the whole package was pathetic, and SRK was just a prominent part of the pathetic-ness, ‘pathetic’ used here to trivialize the feeling.

I guess by now I have conveyed accurately, my take on the King of Bollywood, which is very close to unresponsive.
It was pretty obvious that MNIK would not have been any different. I went to watch the movie for the above-stated gorgeousness and….ummm…no, just that.

I didn’t have many expectations with the much talked about performance by him as a patient of Autism. I mean how different could it have been…every movie has that same stuttering and that famous raising his hands in the air, that patented action of his…same dialogue delivery…what never-seen-before-freshness would he have brought in?

But I was wrong!

The man has surpassed himself…and a lot of other people in his business.

For firsts…he is damn damn cute in the movie!! I mean that cheek-pulling cute! He is so convincing in that child-like role, one can love him in a second. And whatever anyone says…that repeating of words isn’t irritating at all…it’s a part of the character people!

Coming down to the story line, a lot of people found it too good to be true, too perfect for our audience who has been stuffed with real life stuff so much so that they are scared to appreciate anything that might take them to an ideal world.
To all those who found this absurd, I say go watch the movie again for this very thing. Go watch it for believing in a world full of peace. Go watch it for appreciating a man who loves others. Go watch it to get inspired!

What good does it do when you watch a movie like Hurt Locker, which is so close to reality that it sends shivers down your spine! I don’t want to be a part of a world like that….noone does!
Then why do we hesitate in lauding the efforts of a filmmaker who tries to spread some hope out there!

So go…watch it again…love that man who loves everyone…and maybe…just maybe….you’ll also be able to picture a better world.

And yeah…the only funny part was the Barrack Obama look-alike of a President, who looked just too out of place. But then I feel that’s not fair to Bollywood. Hollywood movies themselves have so many examples of using their President look-alikes. It’s unfair to laugh at it just because it’s our home production.

Way to go SRK!

In that crazy moment...

In a crazy moment of wanting, I tried to get everything I ever dreamt of.

In a crazy moment of penitence, I regretted everything I ever did.

In a crazy moment of happiness, I thanked God for blessing me with so much.

In a crazy moment of defeat, I fought with him for never giving me enough.

In a crazy moment of hilarity, I laughed so hard my eyes turned moist.

In a crazy moment of hesitation, I stopped myself from doing what I wanted to do the most.


In a crazy moment of compassion, I became so selfless people thought I’m obsessed.


In a crazy moment of selfishness, I did something which took me to that crazy moment of penitence.

In a crazy moment of consideration, I didn’t fight when I should have.

In a crazy moment of blabbering, I blurted out all my silly secrets to a stranger.

In a crazy moment of secrecy, I didn’t speak when it was crucial.

In a crazy moment of introspection, I concluded I am not that good.


That crazy moment…that tiny moment, could or could not change my life, but it always changed who I am.

...

In the event that people came and asked me what I really love about my life, I am most likely to be clueless. A little introspection and deliberation might help me list out a lot of things I like, but eventually I am sure I wont be able to present anything concrete or satisfying for an answer.

Family? Who doesn’t love their family?
We are not looking for clich├ęs here. All of us have a bunch of people we can claim to love.

This is more about the loving our decisions, looking back and smiling a content smile.

How many of us are really able to do that?

Why is there always an iota of doubt left?

The trip...and some gibberish

Gujaratis are sweet people! Make them eat as much as you want to. That’s the reason you won’t find any eating joint in Ahemdabad that’s not flooded with people. :D


My trip to the Modi-land also, was very sweet!


Incidentally, the day I set foot in the city, it was celebrating this festival called Uttarayan, which is some kite flying festival. And man, do they take it seriously! All you could see there were kites….and you didn’t even have to look up in the sky for that! I think I’d be able to illustrate it better with this pic:




I know…amazing!


What I liked about the city was the weather. Delhi was freezing at that time…and it was so good to be able to see the Sun! :D


What did disappoint me was this hyped Science City which apparently has been proposed by Mr. Modi himself. I say that’s a lot of precious land wasted. We don’t need a Science City wherein the scientific models do not even carry a label telling what they are :|!!


But I loved the lakes of the city…and of course shopping! :)

What started with an almost-hijack and an awesome day that followed ended up as one of my most special trips.


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The FM channels are in for a makeover! And I guess it’s for the good…they seem to have realized that listeners had had too much of nothing on air. Repeating two songs ten times in a day is not cool...good now they know that. These days, you can hear all sorts of old and new songs on FM, which I must say is very refreshing!


So, all those who stopped pressing that button on their car stereos, go tune in!


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Ladies,


I’m sure you hate it as much as I do when any one from the male community says “Women can’t drive”.

I know it hurts, but how about trying not to give them a reason to!


I tell you some women think their car is the most important thing on the planet!


The other day, this noble lady pulls her car out of the parking lot, not waiting for another one coming from the opposite direction, and blocked the whole lane and just sat there. Like “I wont move…it’s so obvious that you have to reverse ‘your’ car…I’m a lady!”


Believe me it was embarrassing!


So please ladies, unless you know the rules and can handle your car… DO NOT touch that steering!

Can't stop smiling :)

Been a crazy month!

Finally relaxing…and going on a vacation too!!! Yay!!

Can’t believe haan?

I know….even I couldn’t when I got the leave! :D

And the moment I got the approval…I didn’t leave a single second in booking my tickets…which I booked, then re-booked, then cancelled, then re-booked :P

But that was because of change in schedule…no one can be unsure about a holiday for God Sake!!

So here I am…all set for spending a full week with masi in Ahmadabad and meeting people I have been dying to meet!

For those who are going to be working while I’m away holidaying, better luck next time :P

And if I sound like a sadist…pardon me…’cause I’m too happy to care right now! :D

Our office team visited an NGO in Nithari village in NOIDA (yeah the same one where the Pandher controversy happened) for some fund donation to a school for drinking water supply. I couldn’t go because of a sign off that was lined up in the same week. The team went to that school, distributed chocolates and food to the children there and clicked pictures with them.

Now, all this is usual…as in, nothing special.

But what was special for me in there was this:

While browsing through those pics, I came across one pic wherein a few of our team members were sitting in a classroom with these children, and right in the front row was a little girl smiling a very cute smile.

This girl is Durga, daughter of one of our previous maids.

She used to come to our place with her mother and sit outside on the stairs. She didn’t go to school then, but she did like studying. Mom gave her a few coloring books and she would sit there on the floor and color them while her mother finished her work. At that time, I had offered our maid to teach Durga, but she was reluctant because she wanted Durga to learn the household work and start helping her with a few houses and bring in some more money.

When I saw her in that picture, sitting with other children in a uniform of her own and books in front of her, I felt an unconscious wave of relief and joy spread inside me.

I cannot explain the feeling. I am just extremely happy that Durga goes to school and is finally doing what she likes.

One more girl child saved!