Change of Scene

We’ve been shifted to the top most floor of our office building. Now, this isn’t such a big deal – considering we have been moved thrice over the past one year. However, this view is doing good things to my imagination!

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What’s that in the distance? A palace you say?

 

Wisdom in a Traffic Jam

I often get caught in instalments of traffic jams. I pass through relatively free areas but there are pockets in between work and home that I’m stuck in for ages. I don’t often mind, I have my music to keep going. And when I’ve had enough of that, there are funny bumper stickers to read. Sometimes there are art installations that just magically appear around random street corners.

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Roman Soldier with missing bust carrying a blackboard saying “No Fuck” on the Outer Ring Road

Last evening, while in one of these Bangalore traffic stops, I heard an auto-guy saying “What do we need money for?” in perfect English. Taking it as a sign that I was meant to listen, I turned off my music and peered into what turned out to be very eloquently spoken wisdom. I got a glimpse into my very own TED Talks on the street.

A very well spoken auto guy was giving life advice to his passenger -

“We go through all our lives hoarding and hoarding and hoarding. What for? You see that dog across the street? He has 6 children. To take care of them, he needs Rs. 3000 per child and this is just for the first litter. That’s a total of Rs. 18000 a month. He doesn’t earn that much and yet he is able to nurture them, take care of them, feed them and keep them safe. So why are we, as a species, such greedy creatures? Isn’t spending time with your family more important than cooking up ways to evade income tax? Isn’t doing something you feel passionately about more important than your market value? Happiness is more important than hoarding cash we don’t even use. Buying the latest phone is more important than creating memories with the people we love. When life throws problems at us, we sell out. We are afraid to take any leaps. Forget adventure, use your common sense they say. If common sense meant I should follow societies idea of what success means, then I wouldn’t be sitting here, driving an auto, travelling through Bangalore with a smile on my face. Sometimes I wonder how we screwed up our priorities so bad and how we continue to be blind and just go on living life following the same routines that we followed last year”

It amazes me how you can learn more in the 2 minutes you’re stuck in a jam than you could do in your 3 year degree course!

Highway to Hell and Back

I always seem to have convenient excuses for not writing. So before I get on to it, let me list the great things that have happened to me over the past month.

1. I got a new phone – the elusive MI3.

An Indian company, Flipkart, bought up limited stock and then created around it some of sort of virtual Black Friday sort of scheme where the phones would only be on sale on Tuesdays, at 2pm and if you didn’t register and didn’t click ‘buy’ at the opportune moment, all the phones would be sold out in 2.5 seconds. A colleague of mine was one of the lucky guys who bought the phone. When we were all out for a team dinner, I jokingly said that the next time the sale was on, he should buy me one. Next thing I know, I’m the proud owner of the fanciest phone that has graced my inner circle. What do I do first? I get on Instagram (something I vowed I would never do!). But now I have a WordPress app as well so I can do small posts when they come to me. Too ambitious?

2.  I got a huge pay hike!

Explains why I could afford that phone in the first place! This also means I have to grow up and deal with the dreaded income tax department.

3. The boy is moving HERE!

He said I should allow him to experience my culture and my city the way I immersed myself in his. Don’t tell him I said this but something about that was so romantic, I couldn’t say no. Every other decision we make after this, we will do together and that is what truly excites me. Apart from the obvious societal annoyances of – “how can you live together pre marriage” and “oh he’s a white boy, let me charge him a billion rupees for something that costs 10″, of course!

Now on to the big news of how I got hit by a drunk driver on my way back from work. I ride a moped and this jackass took a U-turn on a huge road without any indication that he was about to turn. I saw him coming from the corner of my eye and so I swerved to avoid him therefore surviving and un-survivable accident. But my bike was completely totalled.

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I think what annoyed me most about it was that I had to pick myself up. Then the guy walks up to me, steals my keys and threatens to hit me. He didn’t expect that I knew the language and would lash out back at him. He threatened to take me to the cops (pointing in the opposite direction of where the station was). I told him my station was in the other direction and that we should go immediately. He changed the topic and said I was on the phone while riding. He smelt like cheap liquor.

There were a tonne of auto drivers on the road who snatched the keys back from him and told me to drive away as fast as I could. I didn’t want to leave but in that state, I did. The minute I got home, I told my parents and brother (who were at home for once). We wrote down our complaint, drove to the station, filed an FIR. It was the eve of our Independence Day and despite it being busy, the cops were really helpful.

Anyway, long story short they caught the car (the driver is absconding) and they have paid in part to fix my bike. I will spare you photos of my injury but everything is okay now and my bike runs smoothly and looks better than it has ever looked before.

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In other news, the Ganesha (Elephant God) festival has been going on in full swing. Loads of statues lighting up the whole place, happy people dancing – festival season in India is always such a treat. I went to a friends house and while standing on his 5th floor balcony, saw a Ganesha Statue rising in the dark as if to bless his devotees. It was a surreal experience.

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And if you haven’t made plans to visit Bangalore yet, here’s a good reason – it looks SO pretty in the rain!

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Hope you have all been well!

Reality Vs Writing Goals

I promise my absence isn’t due to my procrastination. Here is a list of excuses reasons why my writing has been benched.

1. My baby sister is pregnant (due in October). She came to visit us for a month in India during her 6th-7th month which, of course, was the harbinger of a tsunami of nightmares and worries. I wouldn’t even let her climb up to our first floor room because NO. Just, no!

2. I visited my boyfriend in England and also attended the wedding of his little brother. Weddings make me nervous. Especially big weddings with fancy cars and a bride and groom that look like they could be on the cover of a top fashion magazine. Fortunately, I survived without making too big a fool of myself and the alcohol stocks weren’t overly diminished. There was a side effect though – words ran away from me.

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Proof of the Magazine Cover Claim. Source? Stolen off their Facebook!

3. I had the most perfect holiday in the world. My phone didn’t work and I visited some of the most gorgeous places in the coast. For our anniversary, he rented a little cabin that was just so romantic, I started crying and he thought he had broken me. Aah good times!

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I learnt I don’t deal very well with romance!

4. Despite the fact that he lives with this view – I will take a moment to show you this view so you can feel my pain -

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Damn you perfection! Damn to hell!

- the world has a rule that if you live in the 3rd world, it’s going to be near impossible to be with your boyfriend. I just don’t have the right passport. I imagined I would do a 2nd Masters degree in England but their asking rate £20,000 (not a typo).  That’s  £13, 000 for the course and  £7000 you have to show in your bank account so the government knows you can manage on your own. I applied for about a billion scholarships which all went to more worthwhile students of theatre or well, engineering!  So what is the actual price of living in England, you may ask? One year in England = 20 grand + a student loan at 15% interest per annum + a debt you have to pay for the rest of your working life. Bravo!

5. Gutted but not yet close enough to giving up (These silly youth people and their nonsense resilience!), we decided that we would try somewhere neutral. Maybe teach English in Asia somewhere. Thailand, China, Vietnam. The possibilities were endless. So we started making plans only to find that my passport can’t find me a teaching job because “Asians don’t want other Asians teaching their kids!”. Even if I did have the right qualifications and years of English teaching experience in India and Tanzania, a high school drop out who says should of instead of should’ve gets the job. It isn’t fair but that’s how the world works right now.

Not to fret dear folk, I’m not one to give up that easily (Pssst, anyone hiring a writer in Bangkok? I’m good. I promise!).  I noticed a trend in my writing – apparently all my life’s troubles happen around the time of monsoon – July – September and then I suddenly find my words again! I feel it starting to come back again. I have this amazing story about a haunted bar and time travel and sword play. I’m hoping the words will sniff out the nectar in that story and stick.

Until next time, big hugs!