Long Time, No See

I’ve been meaning to get back to blogging for ages now. A passing thought, a meaningful conversation, an interesting person or, as usual, a great book or a movie – there’s been so much to write about. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to actually sit down and write out what I had in mind. Why, you ask? Well, I wasn’t sure about it, in simple words. I had been writing in another ‘voice’ for so long (as part of my job) that I was worried I’d realise I had lost touch with mine. I was scared I’d just make a fool of myself. And, at other times, I was just plain lazy.

Thankfully, I have a bunch of friends who keep pestering me about asking me when I’m going to blog, so much that I decided to finally get down to it! Now that I’ve begun, the words seem to be coming a little more easily, this feels a tiny bit more familiar. Although, I have to admit, inspite of being over a 100 words into this post, I still don’t know what it is going to be about.

I left a place I called home for nearly three years (actually, it’s still home of sorts), to a city that has always been home but feels a little less so right now. While it has been nice running into all the familiar faces here, there’s also a strangeness that I keep sensing every now and then. More often than not, I find myself taking another look at these seemingly recognisable people, and I realise they aren’t who I thought them to be. Not anymore atleast. Or maybe, they never were.

It almost feels like I’m talking to them for the first time, getting to know them from scratch! Perhaps, it doesn’t sound all that bad. But I don’t think I enjoy the sense of detachment that comes with it. In fact, it’s also slightly scary. Kind of makes you look back at everyone you have ever known. And then, when you look at yourself, you see how much you have changed along the way, how little these ‘familiar faces’ know about you, how you are a whole new person yourself. So, maybe it’s alright for them to seem like strangers…and for you (me, that is) to rediscover anew a place you used to consider home for so long.

Long pause.

I’m sort of surprised at what I just wrote typed out, simply because it was nothing but a doubtful, half-formed notepad-926046_960_720thought until a few minutes ago! I don’t know if any of it makes sense, but this is precisely why I love blogging/writing (one of the reasons, atleast) – it has a way of unlocking something deep within that even I might not be aware of. Well, all I can say at this point is, it definitely feels good to be back here!

Ever had an epiphany brought about by your writing? Tell me more. 🙂  

5 Things I Love about Bengaluru

Having been in the city for over a year now, I’ve come to understand that the IT industry is not the only thing Bengaluru (still Bangalore for many) is popular for. For those who might not be aware of it, Bengaluru was once known as the Garden City. Probably because it used to be all beautiful, clean and everything else you’d expect a garden to be. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about that phase of the city. The Bengaluru I’ve seen since last year is one that’s infamous for being overcrowded and highly polluted with traffic jams congesting its pothole-ridden roads.

I constantly hear many of my friends complaining about these aspects. Even though I always lend a patient ear to them all, I am quite defensive about Bengaluru. Inspite of the fact that I’m an outsider here, I feel a sense of belonging. I fell in love with it right from the first day! Of course, I do get irritated with the seemingly endless traffic blocks, the teeming buses and the garbage-strewn corners. But at the end of the day, I love the city, just the same.

Just as you would love a best friend with all his/her quirks, I love Bengaluru with all its flaws. I think I’ve grown used to the crowd that I have to wade through in busy market areas…and the hours of travel it takes to go from one place to another, sometimes barely few kilometers apart! I have begun to refer to my PG (Paying Guest accommodation) as ‘home’, which itself reveals how attached I already am!

So, I thought I’d put together a list of five things I love about Bengaluru. I suppose this is one way of celebrating my first year here and showing my love for this awesome city! Well, here goes!

Disclaimer: The opinions below are based on my experience in Bengaluru and not a generalized view. 

1) The crowd – Yes, that’s right. I actually love the crowd here. It’s (mostly) young, multicultural and varied beyond words. You get to meet people from all walks of life, holding different perceptions, pursuing different interests. I’ve often felt this place is very much a melting pot of cultures, ideas and aspirations. While there maybe quite a few who are from Bengaluru or other parts of Karnataka, a major chunk of the crowd would be from other states/countries. Perhaps, this is why the city has a very special vibe. Or, maybe, it’s just me and my fascination with this place!

2) Welcoming newbies – I know this is purely based on my personal experience. I don’t know how it has been for others but I felt very warmly welcomed right from my first day here. The locals are quite accommodating; I never felt alienated. From my one-year-old perspective, I found them friendly and ready to help. Most people are able to communicate in Hindi or basic English, so, it’s not mandatory to know Kannada, the local language.

3)  The restaurants/cafes – I love (read: love love love) the myriad restaurants and cafes that dot the city! From quaint coffee shops to elaborate restaurants, there’s every kind and cuisine to choose from. Being someone who enjoys restaurant-hopping, I take pleasure in the fact that I could stay here for years and still not run out of options!

4) The climate – I know this is a commonly quoted positive aspect about Bengaluru. But then, this list really wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention about the pleasant and favourable climate the city enjoys throughout the year. Yes, it can get hot in the summer but not as much as in some of the neighbouring states. Guess what? This summer has been pretty much a mixture of rainy, cool days and bearable, hot days! I don’t always enjoy rain (unless I’m in..uhh..a mood for it). Cloudy, dull days and messy, dirty streets just aren’t my thing. On the contrary, I completely love the rain in Bengaluru. The sky clears up almost instantly after a downpour,  even the cloudy instances are kinda nice. Although the rain can be a nuisance sometimes, I can’t help feeling a sort of liking for it.

5) Kannada – This might sound slightly weird. But I’ve grown to love the language. And, trust me, that’s not usual. I’m actually very eager, not to mention determined, to learn Kannada. I love the way it sounds. I have noticed that the locals have a sense of pride when it comes to their language and customs. But then, it’s a not a pride that imposes itself on or looks down upon others. They love their land, language and traditions but are open enough to let others follow their own. Which is really mature and broad-minded, I feel.

So, that’s just a few things I love about Bengaluru. To be honest, I could really ramble on. But I’m sure I’ve said enough for one super-long post!

If you’re at Bengaluru, do let me know what you think! Or you could just tell me what you love about your current city. 🙂

Transcending Trivialities

I miss holidays!

While back to college has caused a spike in my frustration levels, I must say things haven’t been as hectic as it was during last semester. I suppose the real action is yet to start. I don’t think I’m looking forward to it, though.

Well…there is a thought that has been stuck in my mind for the past few months. I felt it’s time I let it out. And, with yesterday’s Charlie Hebdo terror attack serving as background, I think this would be a good time.

[ Before reading on, please note that I’m talking specifically with reference to the situation in India, as I know it ] 

Once, sometime in November, during class, one of our teachers somehow came upon the topic of Muslims. I don’t remember what exactly we were discussing. Initially, she said she wouldn’t say anything but, when some of the students (my classmates) ventured to comment (negatively), she added to it, expressing her dislike for Muslims. A few of my classmates agreed with her, reacting very vehemently, much to my shock. They almost ganged upon another classmate who questioned their bias. I kept quiet, listening to their argument. From the way they spoke, it seemed like they held Muslims responsible for every shit that happens in the world. I was dumbstruck.

For a bunch of individuals who are going to be media professionals sometime soon, this kind of strong prejudice could be lethal. The most shocking part, for me, was that the teacher supported their thoughts instead of pointing out how wrong it was. It might already be obvious that I have very high regard for teachers. Nevertheless, I don’t believe in giving respect to people who don’t deserve it. This particular lecturer’s comments had an instant effect on me – I began to dislike her from that very second! In another class, she gave some more absurd views about family planning. That was the final nail in the coffin!

But that’s not the topic of this post.

Just a cursory glance through the major events of last few months would show you how Muslims have been collectively victimized for most of them, if not all. Of course, there are terrorist organizations wreaking havoc in ways more than one. And they seem to be blinded by their religious fanaticism. But is that reason enough to hate Muslims as a whole? Because that’s what seems to be happening right now. I’m not justifying the ones who caused death and destruction; don’t go on and call me a traitor. I’m raising the question of why we seem to blame ALL Muslims for whatever is happening. If you were to commit a mistake, would your entire family, including distant relatives and friends, be persecuted for it?

What is the sense in alienating persons of a whole community/religion just because some fanatics acted in the name of that religion? Haven’t other faiths also had such people who killed and ravaged? Did we also treat every individual of those religions with equal hatred? I doubt it.

I don’t support terrorists or their activities. Neither do I support denigrating anyone based on their beliefs. Like a close friend once mentioned, however well-educated a person might be, every bit of sense goes out the window if the topic of religion comes up. For a race which is considered highly intelligent and superior, I find it really contemptible that we fight over religion and borders. Especially considering the fact that both were created by man!

As of now, all I can do is hope that people (my classmates and lecturer included) start thinking and acting more sensibly. Maybe, someday soon, we’ll see a world with men who look beyond details like one’s faith and nationality.

 

In the Wake of the Void…

People keep coming into your life. It’s all part of the ride. But then, meetings inevitably lead to partings. And, you know what’s the worst part (atleast, for me) when a person leaves, be it for the time being or for good? The void they leave behind…that inescapable hollow feeling when you sense the empty space in your life that they once occupied. As much as I love being with dear ones, I hate having to confront this void.

As mentioned in the previous post, my sister was here for a few days. She left on Saturday. And I was left face-to-face with a gaping hole that was the remnant of her presence here with me. Coming back to the room, knowing I was going to be by myself all over again…it was hell! Next day, I couldn’t bring myself to go out because I knew I would be reminded of all the times we had passed by those paths in the past few days. So, I stayed in.

Later, sometime at night, I had a talk with Kiran. I was surprised when she mentioned something along the same lines. She said that the worst part about people stepping out of your life was the memories they left behind. All you have to remember them by are those memories. My youngest sister, Ann, also said something similar – “The pain will be there as long as you are surrounded by stuff that reminds you of them.”

I might get over this situation in a couple of days. But it led me to think of all the friends I miss or have lost contact with…friends who have left a void and faded off, the intensity of it diminishing with each passing day yet refusing to disappear completely. And I felt a little lost. Disoriented would be a better word, I suppose. Take a moment and think of every single person who has moved out of your life, whom you miss in your own ways…and you might understandMemories what I’m talking about. Isn’t it disconcerting when you ponder over how much everything has changed, right from the person you are to the people in your life? That’s precisely what I felt when I had this train of thought yesterday.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I miss my sister. I miss some of the people who had been with me at different points in life. Nevertheless, I guess I’ve learnt to live with this emotion and all that it entails (writing helps immensely!).

Considering it’s the end of the year, I thought it would be the right time to put out this post. For everyone who has been/is part of my life, thank you for leaving me with a treasure trove of memories. I miss you in my own way. 🙂

 

[ P.S: For all the assholes who were in my life, the above message isn’t applicable to you. But yeah, thank you..for all the lessons I learnt, the hard way…for being the reason I could recognize your kind, later in life. You’re lucky I’m stopping at that. ]

And…We Meet Again!

Can you imagine what it would be like to meet one of your closest friends with whom you’ve been out of touch for ages? The happiness, excitement, rush of emotions, thoughts, things to say…and a sort of awkwardness because of all the time that has passed by, a silence because you don’t know where to begin or what to say. You realize that after all those years and the distance, you are a different person, and yet, you are still the same person. (Does that even make sense?)

Well,  that is how I feel right now. Like I’ve just come face to face with a dear friend who I had lost contact with. And, I’m kind of fumbling for words, typing out and deleting sentences, wondering if it sounds right…I don’t know what to say, or if what I say makes sense.

I don’t even want to think of how long it has been since I blogged. Of course, there were times (so many times) when I felt guilty, embarrassed, sad or plain disgusted at myself. But I suppose that wasn’t enough. Honestly, I don’t know what brought me here today. But, now that I am here, let’s just leave it at that.

So, to cut the long story short, I’m at a different point in life, a whole new phase…in a new place, around new people. I still feel surprised when I think of how fast time went by. One day, I was teaching and the next day, I find myself in a completely different place. Not a bad place, I should say, even though I miss home and teaching and the kids.

I’ve always loved new experiences, which is exactly what I know I’ll find in a new place. But there is something I constantly tend to overlook. When you start a new phase in life, initially, there is always a kind of emptiness…a void before it starts getting filled up with new experiences, people, thoughts. I think I’m somewhere in that void right now, and, perhaps, that is what brought me here. The need for something familiar and comforting to help me get through this initial vacuum.

I truly hope I don’t go disappearing again. But, for now, I’m back. And it seriously feels good!

 

 

 

A Not-So-Equal and Opposite Reaction

There’s so much that I want to write about. But, for some reason, I don’t get the words when I try to do it. I get it in my head, at times…while at work, while trying to sleep, at random instances. But rarely when I try to write it out. What disturbs me most about the situation is – it never used to be like this. I could get the words so easily and put my thoughts across in the exact way I wanted.

For a moment, I wondered if I’m losing touch. But no, I think I’ll know it if I lose touch with something so integral to my being. So, I guess it’s probably because whenever I’ve sat down to write, I have been too tired (mentally and physically) to take a substantial effort to write.

It feels so suffocating when you have so much in your mind but cannot bring it out completely. Which is the reason I decided to try writing in the morning, when I’m much more relaxed and alive than during the remaining part of the day.

So, I’m done with the boring job at Dubai. Finally! And now, I’m going to do something that’s been on my wishlist. 🙂

When I came back to RAK, one of the first suggestions I got (in terms of a job opportunity) was to join my school (my alma mater) as a teacher. I was told that I could, probably, teach English or something in one of the lower classes. I was very happy with the idea but kept that as an alternative and continued searching for other opportunities. Which eventually landed me in the boring job.

Since I have had enough of office jobs, I have decided to finally take up the job at school. So, long story short, I’m going to teach! I love teaching. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do although not as a long-term career. Well, I’m excited. Very much. Obviously!

While basking in this excitement, something happened last week. An incident (or rather, a comment) that infuriated me. And, you know, writing is the most effective (and paractical and satisfying) way of taking out anger, for me. Especially when the person on the receiving end is going to be my (recent ex-) boss.

The background situation: I was offered a permanent position at the place where I was working until Thursday. But I turned it down because I wanted to teach.

What happened: It was on Monday. I think. The Boss said, “I had told [the concerned person] that you could work here in the media section but he told me you’re going to teach.”

Me (beaming face): “Yes, sir.”

Boss: “People who don’t want to do anything, teach.”

Me (I don’t know what my expression was, but I think I tried to keep smiling): “Why do you say that, sir?”

Boss: repeats same line. Adds “It’s like that.” (Or something as weird as that)

“Oh, I didn’t want to do anything in life. So, well, I teach. What else would aimless people do?” :-/

And, from that moment, I’ve wanted to tell him a lot of things. When he said it, a lot of emotions crossed my mind – amusement (I wonder why he said that); curiosity (Why would he say something like that?); rage (Why the hell would he say that?); intense hatred (WHAT THE FUCK DID HE JUST SAY?).

I had a lot of respect, admiration and liking for this man. He is intelligent, very much capable, likeable, approachable…all that he should be in order to run a successful company in Dubai. But the comment sort of drained everything I had for him. I’m not judging him, I’m not saying he’s a bad person just because of this statement. He is still a good man. Just that I’ve lost my liking for him, whatever reason he might have to justify what he said. I tried to list out possible reasons, too.

a) He was trying to provoke me, I don’t know what for. Maybe to make me think my decision was stupid.

b) He just likes saying such stuff. You know, kill your happiness.

c) He was trying to discourage me (and ended up enraging me!)

d) That’s what he really thinks

Well, none of the reasons seemed good enough to serve as justification (to me, atleast). So, I have irretrievably lost whatever liking I had for him. And there’s a lot I’d like to tell him (yes, that does mean there’s going to be another post, very very soon).

How was your week? And if you have had similar situations, I’m all ears. Always am. (Even if you just want to go blah blah about something random!) 🙂 

Don’t you Miss my Blah Blah? (Please Say Yes!)

Please ignore the stupidity of the title. I can be really crazy, sometimes. And, dumb, at other times. 

I had a wonderful weekend at home, lazing around, watching movies, eating and talking to Ann. I did everything that I can’t do when I’m staying in a new place – sing out loud, play loud music, talk whatever I want for as long as I want, enjoy the familiarity that home always offers. It was almost painful to come back and get to work.

But, well, here I am, sitting in front of a system that gets super-slow every once in a while, bored of doing whatever I’m doing.

The downside of being here is that I’m alone. In a lot of ways, I appreciate the solitude, especially since it helps me learn to live by myself and take care of myself. But, when it comes to going out, having a meaningful conversation or wanting to see a familiar, comforting face, loneliness sucks! Like I wrote in a

I should use that line, sometime!

I should use that line, sometime!

mail to a friend, I have even lost my appetite because I HATE eating alone (does not mean I enjoy eating with strangers). Every day, I keep hoping time will do the trick, that things will change. Because I’m sure it will. Maybe today. Or tomorrow.

Anyway, another problem with new people is: you tend to hide (or atleast, try not to let them notice) the weird habits/behaviour or quirks you have. On my second day here, when I found out that one of my colleagues lives in the same building as me, I thought I’d have company to commute to work. I almost asked him something of that sort, then quickly dropped it. Why? Because he would come to know some of my quirks. [Awkward confession time…Man, this is difficult!] I’m strangely apprehensive about going down a staircase and look kinda weird while doing so. And thanks to my awesome lack of balance, escalators and electronic walkways are…umm…a tiny bit scary. Just a bit.

So, the thought of a new person noticing this was more than what I was comfortable with. Anyhow, today morning, both of us happened to be waiting for the metro, at the same time. Which, inevitably, means we came to work together. Thankfully, though, this guy happens to be a little too much into himself to notice my innocent quirks. Or maybe he didn’t find me interesting enough to notice (since I hide my awesomeness when I go to work; why invite all that jealousy to oneself?). Well, so, I guess everything’s fine; my secret is safe. 🙂

What makes blogging so much of a relief right now is the fact that I haven’t found a friend to dump my thoughts on have a proper, open conversation with. Until I do (and until I start talking some sense), I’m sure you wouldn’t mind listening.

Bottom line: quirks or no quirks, friend or no friend, life’s good. 🙂