Tales of the road

My dad bought me my first two-wheeler when I was in Class 9. Motorized. While this might classify me as a spoilt brat in most opinions, truth is I needed it mainly to propel my geek-dom further, because the whole point behind the bike was this way I could attend after-school maths classes in 10th and get amazing marks. Which was difficult if I missed my school bus back home, the only alternate mode of transport being a ‘tempo’ also known as shared auto, and a 2 km walk each way. This would also eat into, yes, you’re right, study time and I couldn’t have that, so I got my two-wheeler. And also, amazing marks in Maths.

Anyway, when my Dad offered to buy me the vehicle, I by default chose a Luna Super. Yes, the trusty old moped which would not cross 40 kmph if you set fire to it. My Dad offered to buy me a ‘Kinetic Pride’ at that time, relatively more expensive, and definitely better looking but I turned it down because another friend in school had a Luna (Class 8 onwards, I know I am not helping my bratty case here). I however did not accept this reasoning in my head until yet another friend, who bought a Kinetic Pride very pointedly (and rather rudely) said that I just followed whatever friend number one did. I was pretty pissed at the allegation and did not retort because I knew she was right.

So Class 10 came and I started taking the moped to school which was a good 8 kms away. I even started taking my little sister, then in Class 7 along. It was well and good until one eventful morning in April, just about 15 odd days into all this awesomeness, I rode full on into this stationary ‘tempo’ while humming ‘ Gaate the pehle akele’ from the film Khamoshi. I do not hum that song while on a bike since then.

I fell, and so did my sister, and our bags and stuff and a group of people gathered around us and for a few minutes I was too dazed and then I saw this huge gash on my knee and panicked. Before I  proceed I need to tell you that panic is my favorite form of reaction and my first choice for any situation. And most often for reasons other than what technically would be priority for others.

This case was no different and while my primary reason for stressing should have been ‘Oh My God, is my sister ok? Have I broken any bones, followed by ‘Oh My God look at that gash, it’s going to need stitches!’, it actually was ‘Oh My God my dad is not going to let me ride this to school anymore!’ So when one of the people in crowd asked me my phone number, I gave it pretty reluctantly, adding vehemently that he was NOT supposed to call my parents. No, I did not pause to think what else he would use my number for. And no, I did not think if the by-standers were worried if I had hurt my head.

So I tied a handkerchief (or the cleaning cloth for the tempo, I swear I couldn’t care), and wait for this, rode to school. I had fallen mid-way between school and home. And I chose to ride to school where from I thought, I would call home and calmly inform them of a slight fall that had happened and I don’t know, wish for them to never notice that 2 inch deep wound on my knee where I swear I could see my bone.

I reached school and called them back, only to have my grandmom pick the call and tell me that they were on their way to school. I cursed the well-wisher dude and sat back and waited. They came over, calmly inspected the situation (not the wound thankfully), and took me to a doctor The doctor had a look at it and pronounced that I needed stitches. And thanks to anesthesia (whose concept I seem to have been alien to apparently, cos I kept asking him if it would hurt, to which he kept saying ofcourse it would, moron) I never knew when it got done.

Long story short, (ok, not so short I guess) I live to tell the tale with the scar still apparent on knee. Three stitches which could have changed the course of my life. Ok, that’s way too much exaggeration, but it could definitely have changed my mode of transportation, which sucked cos hello, I wasn’t taking a tempo everyday! But somewhere during the summer vacations (which started soon), I re-convinced my Dad to let me go to school on the moped and he agreed much to the annoyance of my mom.

Between then and now I have changed 3 two-wheelers. The Luna, followed by a Scooty in college to an Aviator I ride to work today. I have fallen multiple times, maintaining an average of a fall per year, minor scratches that hurt for an hour, to scars that still show. Lived through skids that happened just because they hadn’t in a while, to falls that happened because a stupid dog ran behind the vehicle barking his guts out, only to give a look and walk away when I finally fell while taking a turn without reducing speed (no, I don’t wish he had fulfilled his karma and bitten me, but I hate purposeless noise). Ridden on narrow lanes in Meerut and big roads in Hyderabad and broken ones in Pune. So the road is no alien to me thanks to my mighty scooter.

But looks it was the mighty scooter doing all the work all this while because last week I finally joined car driving classes and it is not the same. Not even close. Firstly, there aren’t 400 things to manage like in this case. Just because we have two hands and two feet and two eyes doesn’t mean you have a job defined for all of them simultaneously. Also, 7:30 AM for some people really means 7:30 AM for some people, and 20 minutes does not mean 5 minutes and these seem to be difficult to digest concepts for my driving instructors. In any case I am trying, and it has just been 6 days so I am hoping things improve soon. So if you see an out-of-control red i10 around Magarpatta City in Pune anytime, and a frowning (albeit very cool if you ignore her disheveled look) 31 year old at the wheel who seems to be trying hard to not whack the guy sitting next to her, come say hi.

Or don’t. I might just knock you over.

 

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The sister of the bride

Guess who played hooky from the blogosphere for more than two weeks?

*Hangs head in shame*

Ok, ok. Enough of the drama. After a long and well deserved hiatus from blogging, we have now decided to make good the couple of weeks we ignored the poor place, by writing a come back post. Right now. From home. At 10:40 in the night. When I have work tomorrow. And that, everyone knows, is BIG.

So where were we? Or rather, where was I? Ah, see now comes the part when I tell you how totally understandable this break from the blog world was. It was the Lil sis’s wedding. *Brief pause for the congratulatory wishes* Yes people, we are officially grown up now. But of course, when you have a younger sister, who is like 3 and a half years younger to you, a total kid some would say (including me), and she gets married, it means you are really grown up now. The fact that she is all of 23 and 11 months and 3 weeks (sheesh, that’s almost like child marriage! In my times, it was acceptable, but now, seriously?!) doesn’t change anything.

Anyway. So one would think, that your only sister’s wedding would be the wedding next in line after your own, when it comes to the level of involvement, right? Wrong. You do not know what being involved in a wedding is, until you’ve done one of these. Your own wedding is like cake walk. Almost. Come on, all you need to do is look good, smile at people while they are being introduced, with a dazed look, hoping they wouldn’t realise you can’t hear a thing, accepting the compliments, and collecting the gifts (ah, the gifts!) and looking forward to the next week when you would be travelling to Egypt. That is awesomeness. That is not involvement.

Involvement is running around in high heeled shoes , struggling with the super-pretty Saree you picked months ago, and trying to get things in order. It is smiling at everyone and asking them if they had dinner, met the bride and groom, and ensuring that they did. It is collecting the gifts that your sister is going to take away anyway (ah, the gifts!) and ensuring they don’t get lost. It is running from the reception area to the guesthouse because mom forgot the gifts they are supposed to exchange at the main wedding ceremony. And then ensuring that Lil sis doesn’t get too lost in the smiles and almost pulling her off the limelight so that she has enough time to change into the muhurtham saree. It is not being able to change into that very pretty Saree you picked specially for the muhurtham because you were so busy running around. Now that by the way, is involvement. And that by the way is being a total grown up. Now you know, huh?

But it was amazing. It was overwhelming even. Like I said, it takes more than a little effort to come to terms with the fact that your kid sister is actually married. And while watching her change from one Saree to another, and go through the entire set of rituals, all the time with that smile (Ok fine, your own wedding isn’t that easy either) I was almost like proud of her or something. I mean, you can picture me, looking at her with this dazed smile and thinking ‘oh, look at the little one, all mature and all’. Tell me, can I get more grown up than that? Nope.

Undoubtedly, I had my amazing bouts of impatience and outbursts too. Hello, chaos, crowd, running around, and me. Not a good combination really. And also, I said I was grown up, not a different person. But all that while, it was The Dude who would bring some sort of order to the chaos. That guy is amazing at that, by the way. Making me move from the angry to the almost apologetic mode in less than 2 minutes that is. It is not at all good for the self esteem, I have to say, but it does help protect the world from disaster.  Aww, I am getting all mushy about him now.

That being said, life is back to routine now. And that sucks, but then that’s the way life is. I know, full philosophy and all, it’s the grown-up in me speaking, I tell you. I am almost proud of myself now. Anyway, being a grown-up also means I need my 7 hours of sleep. And it is 11:30 PM right now. So I will go and sleep. After I pull The Dude from in front of the TV (What is with him and The Dark Knight? I am really worried now). You guys will be seeing more of me here now, so till then, Goodnight!

So what happened was

The last week was spent back home with the parents. With The Dude far away in the US, this seemed to perfect thing to do. One, it would knock off some bit of the sulking and complaining that has commenced since he left. And two, who wouldn’t want a week with no work, customised food menu, childhood memories, old books, photographs, long chit-chat sessions with the parents over free-flowing chai, and uninhibited hours of sleep. What we wouldn’t want, and would rather not get into, are the associated aspects of post-vacation depression, change in the weighing scale results (dislclosed to a very closed group – namely my Gtalk list), and a cold, thanks to the change in weather, by which I mean, Meerut was deliciously cold, and Hyderabad is roasting me alive, and the combination chose not to suit moi.

 
Yep. So the parents decided to choose the very week I was visiting (after 6 long months!) to get the house redone. Redone being rennovating the kitchen, and building a long due store room at the back of the house. Now this store room I have been dreaming of since school, because of the basic reason that it would mean so much stuff could be dumped in it, making way way for so much new stuff. Which could be dumped in it when it got old, making way for yet another set of new stuff. Ok, it’s not like the store would be a black hole to swallow all the stuff, but it would be helpful nonetheless. But no one listened to me back then. And now, 9 years after I first left home, they do this. When I am not even there to scatter my stuff around. Anyway, I am happy because this will mean my mom won’t call me for a while to ask me when I was taking my Enid Blyton collection from there. As if.
 
Yeah, so there was a lot of ‘Thak-Thak, Thok-Thok’ most of the time. And ya, the kitchen was in the other bedroom. And there was cement everywhere, And I was not allowed to wander around in my shorts (sheesh!). And If Mom reads this, she will blame me for making her feel all guilty. So I’ll stop.
 
So, now that I am gone, Mom is busy shifting the stuff around. And guess what she finds. An old diary of Yours truly. Now this isn’t the kind of secret diary one would hope to find, and expect to excavate deep dark secrets of the owner. This was the Diary dating back to 1993, and belonging to a 10 year old, who believed in, well, quite a few things.
 
Like, she wrote poetry. Poetry with rhyming words. Sequence of the words be damned, the last word of each sentence had to rhyme with that of the next. And it did. Ofcourse, some exceptions were made. Like, hmmm, think mermaid (gasp!!). And marmalade (ok, I am gagging now). And think raindrops falling with cuckoos calling (?!).See, she didn’t have a phone then, so calling was more like any noise I guess. But cuckoos? Really? But you have to give it to her for the creativity. At 10. And hello, the grammar was perfect. Even then. There are a  few more embarassments from much earlier (read a book of rhymes for ‘kids’ written by a 7 year old). So. And she wrote letters. Condemning cruelty to animals. The Kind soul. Only, she wrote it to, guess who. Ahem, to the animals themselves And also elaborated her stance that till they stood up for themselves, things wouldn’t change for them. Nice girl, this. So very kind.
 
And then I asked Mom to stop reading any further. Reading to me and to herself as well. See these things need to be treasured, and read at leisure, not rushed through over phone. Also, she was laughing way too much. And I am not sure that was a humorous poem she was reading.
 
Otherwise I have been busy off late. Lots of work, lots of meetings. Don’t think that’s big? Then beat this. I reach work by 8:55! Wow! Now that’s something eh? I don’t even wake up by that time in general, and now , I travel for an hour and reach work by that time. Ooh, the world looks quite pretty at 6 I must say. Been a while since I saw it at that time. And then I work till 7! Ah, Niravana! Professional Nirvana this is! Anyway, for all the hard work we’re putting in, we are off to a team dinner now. To a nice place, and thank goodness for the new office’s location, we’re not off to Krishna Bar and Restaurant this time. So yay.
 
I’m off then. Tired sorta. And nothing more to write about either. So I am off. For my dinner. Ta.

Here we go round the mulberry bush!

If you ask me what my favorite season is, I would always say winter. When I was a kid, my friends would not agree with me saying summers were much better. One, because you have the 2 month long vacations, and two, you get to eat ice-creams. But I always loved winters better. And I still do.

Having spent all of my childhood in northern India, I have seen the coldest of winters. Meerut is situated around 75 Kms to the north of Delhi and gets to see temperatures slightly lower than Delhi, in fact as low as 1 degree Celsius. For us, winters would officially set in the day one of us would want the fans switched off or school announced the changed timings, which would be pushed from the regular 7 am to 8 am, whichever came first. The woolens would be excavated from the interiors of the cupboards. The colourful quilts will be brought down from the trunks in the attic. A tarpaulin sheet would be spread over the open grilled bit in the roof over the aangan or central courtyard. And we would be all set to welcome the season.

In school, I always loved wearing my blazer, more so if my mother would not force me to wear a sweater inside it. I somehow found the overall look of the grey and white uniform, with the navy blue tie with red stripes and the navy blue blazer on top extremely smart. Lil sis, I and two of our friends would walk to the bus stop each morning, immensely enjoying the spooky manner in which people would appear out of no where from the dense fog. The whole place would look like the sets of a bollywood movie where in the hero is either remembering something from his past life, or is getting glimpses from the future. All hazy, foggy and very spooky! And by the time we would reach, there would be a layer of white mist on our shoulders and head.

Winters also meant Christmas vacations. There would be a mandatory trip to the wool shop to pick the color of the sweaters ma would be knitting this time. Once dad would leave for work, all three of us (ma, sis and I) would pack ourselves in woolens, scarves, socks and at times even gloves and proceed on to the terrace. There would be a big packet of peanuts, along with knitting needles and wool for ma, and books for us. We would spend hours sitting in the sun, chit-chatting as ma would knit, or immersed in the Malory towers and Famous Fives.

And there would be oranges, my favorite fruit, and they somehow always tasted better in the cold weather. The sweet and sour juicy taste of it. And the strong fragrance that appears when you peel one, and which lingers on the fingers, numb from the cold, for quite some time after you are done devouring it. And home-made tomato soup. And once we were allowed to have it, the endless rounds of hot chai.

For New Years Eve, the only day we were allowed to stay up till mid-night, we would make all the arrangements before hand. The mattresses and the quilts would be carried to the living room, where we could sit cozily, munching on snacks and sweets and watching whatever they showed on DD. Daddy would somehow get bored the fastest and would go to bed at around 10:30. We would wait till it was 12, wish each other, wake up dad, wish him, and then get back to watching whatever was remaining before proceeding to bed.

All said and done, winters were always good fun. Even though it also meant frozen fingers and toes, endless sniffles, squabbles with mom who would always ask you to wear a scarf, chapped lips and dry skin. And now that I am at a place where you have none of it, I miss it even more. And I really doubt if I would actually be able to bear the cold anymore, after being away from it for 8 years now. But the memories remain, and every little thing triggers a bout of nostalgia. Whether it is frozen toes because of the air conditioning. Or the rare days when there is a cool breeze and  the sun feels warm on the skin rather than scorching it. And sometimes, even the fragrance of oranges. 

Another long visit home, has left me somewhat depressed about getting back here. But, all good things must come to an end, and so did the holiday. So, I am back in my cubicle, trying to somehow, respond to, or atleast read, or actually at least click each mail, so that a read message is sent across to the sender.

 

Delhi was cold. And so Meerut was colder. Not really the Foggy, misty, you-cant-get-out-of-the-blanket cold, but colder than Hyderbad is at this time, or even will be by December, and definitely colder than K ever was. I have so totally lost touch with winter in general (and please, Hyderabad/Calicut winters don’t count. At all.)

 

So, about the cold. It was obvious. Right from when I landed in Delhi. And I was so not prepared for it, that I started my sneeze bout right away L. It over now, but the effects remain. So now I am sitting with a blocked nose, and horribly sore throat, and no voice. The croak that one hears everytime I try to speak cannot be termed as my voice. No No. *nodding vehemently*. It is too big an insult.

 

Having washed my hands off cooking everyday (we now have a cook, who hasn’t been cooking for the past few days, cos we haven’t refilled the groceries stock.), it’s back to my Maggi for brunch Maggi for dinner routine. Which is not that bad, as all my taste buds have stopped functioning, and maggi is probably the best thing for a cold. And Soup maggi’s even better.

 

So, all I wish for now is that I am better by the time we leave for Goa. (I am sure I have mentioned that before!!). And I am so glad, that I finally get to go there! J(and keeping in mind that it is an office-sponsored trip, the arrangements are A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!). Couldn’t have asked for more. And then there is this trip planned for the campus hires… (Hey! We do work here! Yeah, me too!)

 

Anyways, that seems to be enough updates for today. Rest, when I don’t need to go cough-type-cough-cough-type. Till then, Ciao!

The month that was ( or break ke baad)

I had to post today. A month seems too long a break, and it is a month since I last posted.  So here goes!

 

Had an awesome Dusshehra break, what with my entire family together for the festival. Spent 9 days at home, hogging on good food, watching TV, sleeping, and catching up on all that had been happening back home and around.

 

Had an official trip to Vizag planned with the team for the coming weekend, which got cancelled, thanks to the rains, the floods, and a submerged airport. Positive side, it got replaced by a trip in mid November to Goa instead J

 

Preparation for the Intra company sports meet is on with full force. Though me not participating in any sport am handling the Throwball practice, thanks to the IIMK- IIMB meet.

 

At work, my team size has been increased by 50%, which means stretching more, and so, the day now officially ends at 9:30 PM, and unofficially, stretches for even longer! (Which for some reason isn’t that big a deal, as all I do after going home is watch TV, watch TV and watch more TV )

 

My company’s name has been officially changed, which means, well, for me it means, a purple official website, purple ID cards to replace the original yellow ones, and a purple T-shirt.

 

And realized from  

  ‘s recent post, that me too will be completing 6 months in the corporate world on the 15th of next month. Seriously, Phew!!

 

 

That’s it for now. Like I said, this was a forced post, as I couldn’t let my break from blogging exceed a month! So that’s definitely it for now.

 

 

 

Yet another weekend. Its surprising how fast time seems to pass here. Starting with Mondays, that’s the only day I feel that I am overburdened with work and the entire week stretching ahead seems scary. On Tuesdays, I console myself thinking if I could survive the Monday, Tuesday can in no way be worse. Wednesday, the mood is much better, as it marks the middle of the week, so I have left behind as many days as I still need to go through before weekend arrives. Thursday is one of the very better days, as it feels awesome to know that in just one day, the wait would be over. Fridays are too lazy. Half the day is spent dreaming about how exactly the weekend should be spent. Saturdays are pure heaven. Its like I know the weekends here, but also that there’s still another day left. Sundays are ok. But by mid-day, Sundays seem gloomy. And the fact that the next day is a Monday makes it almost unbearable. The only thing that makes me live through it is the fact that, this (week) too shall pass…

Me missing home a lot these days. I am realizing for the first time, that home cooked food, all ready when you came home from school, or even mess food at K for that matter, which was always taken for granted, was actually a luxury, and sadly the luxury no longer exists. And this realization sinks in more and more when every night, after reaching home at 9 or later, after having put in 10 hours at work, I need to cook from the scratch. Its not that there are no hotels or restaurants, but the very idea of eating out daily makes me feel sick. So, I end up cooking, and it takes me real long, considering I never even tried wandering into the kitchen till now, when I am forced to.

Waise, in other news, it’s still raining in Hyderabad. And…. Yeah. There is a possibility that me might be going on a holiday with the other Ops managers to some beach resort (Yipeeee!!! I love beaches!), Location and mode of travel however would depend on the amount the customer is ready to part with, this being an Ops off-site sponsored by our clients abroad. So, something good to look forward to.

4 hours to go *sigh*, and that is if boss doesn’t schedule a meeting tonight * double sigh *, but anyways, its Friday, and nothing makes cribbing acceptable on this day. So, here’s to more such weekends!