Monday, October 29, 2012

Starbucks and all the Queues!

There is a crow on my balcony railing today. Wet and hair all spiked up. Its been raining all night and the morning is the sort when schools call a rainy day off. Sandy has hit NY and Chennai is apparently going to do a mini replication of it. A cyclone has been predicted. Last a cyclone came to town, I was the idiot standing on Besant Nagar beach trying to welcome it. Adults and common sense - it is a little rare I tell you!

Ma and baba's whirlwind trip started and came to an end in the blink of an eye. Sad, really. And you know how I keep saying that my work is the epitome of work-life balance. Well, for those few days I had so much to do, that it could almost add up to a year's work! So, there we were in Pondicherry like one big happy family. And I was working from the hotel. And then, there we were in Auroville getting our inner peace on. While I was losing my sanity because there was no network and I was trying to work from Auroville! I don't think another parents visit to this town is going to happen in the near future.

The pics I was talking about
Oh I managed to go to the new Starbucks in Mumbai last week. Imagine my dedication. I hadn't slept for two days straight; was working like clockwork. My work got over on Saturday morning and then I badgered some dear friends (only the dear kind would have obliged :P) to take me there. Judge me if you will, but am not the star struck kid for all US brands. Just that, the white chocolate mocha at Starbucks really makes me go all warm and gooey inside. So, we reached there at 1 in the afternoon, and there was this long queue outside. Once we got past that queue, we went inside to join the ordering queue. Just my luck that they did not have what I wanted. So, I settled for a vanilla latte. Then, the turn for the billing queue. Phew! By that time, I gave up and went table hunting(there is also a pick up your drink queue!). It is a pretty huge space, with three sitting areas. Beautifully done, more in a Taj hotel fashion. Woodwork, coffee beans and the best part was these photographs - of people in regular places holding on to a Starbucks cup. Pretty novel idea, I thought. We did manage a seat and the coffee was good. Not awe inspiring good, but just good. Our verdict was it would be a nice place to sit and read, if only the crowd frenzy goes down. Standing in four different queues is just too much effort!

I am thinking Hampi for the Diwali weekend. Only road journeys are affordable that weekend. Flights are so expensive; its almost ridiculous. Days like these, I feel like thrashing whoever came up with that Mastercard ad. Overpriced flight tickets - 20000, pointless shopping induced by pointless ads - 10000 etc etc and moments with the family - Priceless! Yes, the moments are priceless, but I'd rather have a few thousands in my darned account! On a different note, some of the ads nowadays are quite heartwarming. Cadbury, Tanishq, Coke and even ICICI Lombard! That song in the Lombard ad makes me smile every time. :) Brands like Samsung and their uncle aunty ads should really take a lesson or two.

Well, that's all I had to say. Atleast for today. My two cents for the day. Its a very empty house without the people you love. Just bricks and walls. And the moment of realisation always comes after the goodbyes. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

But it rained..

You know, when it stops raining in the entire country, suddenly the skies turn grey in Chennai and it pours like there's no tomorrow. It is called the retreating monsoons. And no matter how many years you have been in this city, that first torrential downpour leaves you pleasantly surprised. Makes you fall in love with the city. I call these months the magic months. The months when all prejudices about the city wash away. When instead of hot humid weather, there is a cool wind and a spring in your step. When every weekend is a vacation, where evenings are spent walking on the beach and eating fish at those small sea side stalls.

It is a Sunday rainy morning today. Am sitting in the balcony and figuring out how much of work is involved in getting my place spic and span. Ma and baba are reaching tonight, which gives me all of 10 hours to do my bit. Holding on to my steaming cup of coffee, inertia is almost overwhelming. Because on a day like today, all you'd want to do is read your book in your favourite corner of the house while some magic elf keeps serving cups after cups of coffee along with some extremely unhealthy drool-worthy side dish!

Yesterday was spent in Saravana stores. If you don't know yet, this is an absolutely huge supermarket that could give Walmart a run for its money. They say the only thing you can't buy here are your relatives! :P Now, shopping here requires a fair amount of resilience and survival instincts. The crowd is maddening and while you nicely pick something you like, there might be two other people pulling at it. Our shopping list included mops, umbrella, study table, oven, floor mats,saris etc etc. By the end of the day, we had bought so much that one more packet, and one of us would have had to take a rickshaw back! So you get it right? We have bought all of these homely things in anticipation of the parents' visit and now we need to put it all in place. Sigh!

Really looking forward to the next few days. There is Durga pujo and a lot of eating involved. That too with few of my favourite people in the whole wide world. Throw in a bit of Pondicherry too. And ma's birthday! And then, there is this rain. Incessant, grey but happiness inducing. My place might not become cleaner by tonight. What I do know is it will be more home-like and warmer. Like I keep saying, a place's worth is always measured by the people who are in it! :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bedtime Stories

Listening to this really old song from the movie Ghar - Aapki aankhon mein. Beautiful song. One of my favorites. Takes me back to the times when ma used to put me to sleep by singing. Hazy pleasant memories. A bedtime story and a song I would always insist on. There was this huge pink book of bedtime stories (which I read and re-read till I was 15 I think!) that I could never get enough of. So, tiny little me would lie on ma's stomach, stay wide awake till the end of the story and then drift off to ma's singing. My favorite and probably ma's too, was 'Do naina aur ek kahani'. It was so easy back then to be content and happy. Baba's scooter's horn had me squealing with joy and running to the gate with maniacal speed. Then there was beating dada at mindgames ( well, I couldn't beat him up so I had to be more devious). And the Golden icecream wala's call on a blazing June afternoon. The tears were easy too but they didn't mean a thing. A flash memory that forgets all that is bad and lights up with a smile a moment later.

Some days, in this grown up's world, all I wish for is that one night with ma where all you could think of is whether today's story would have a giant who owns a magnificent palace in a dark dark forest. All I wish for is that one chime of a doorberll and when you open the door, baba's right there smiling, in his safari suit with his customary briefcase. Or the times when dada and I would wait for everyone to sleep in the house. Then, like two burglars who are up to no good, we would enter the TV room, where dada would put on a football or a cricket match and I would keep a watch. And he would painstakingly explain a penalty shootout and I would listen on with awe. It was simple being happy. They say you lose simplicity when you grow up. Ironical, really. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Writing Again

You know Murphy, right? That wise guy who said when you are having a bad day, it will keep getting worse. That what can go wrong, will go wrong. On that very day. Today, it looks like Murphy is having a field day. Woke up with a fever and a cold that makes me sneeze 5 times at one go. Had to go to an office 20 kms away. And how! Took an auto. Then a bus. Then snoozed in the bus. Got off at the wrong stop. Took a bus back to where I wanted to go. Yes, I am all about public transport. :) I feel like a lost lamb at work today. Most things don't make sense and don't know when the day will end.

I haven't written much this year. Well, I like to be a private person at times. In a world of incessant status updates, privacy has fast become a luxury. Its been a year of a lot of travel, good times, mistakes and some tough decisions. Someone very dear said that follow your heart. It might not seem like the easiest thing to do, but that is still the only way to live right. Anyway, that's as philosophical I can get on a Monday at 7 pm while I am sitting in office.

That's what I wrote last week. Sitting at the Mumbai airport now. 6am and I am as fresh as a bread straight out of the oven! :) I think I know food similes for everything. Easier to relate to them you know. My supposed work trip turned out to be an all expenses paid trip to do nothing. Work got pushed to next week and there I was, in my favorite city with an entire evening to myself. Needless to say, the evening was well spent. My point being that Murphy can go screw himself. Sometimes Lady Luck beats him fair and square. As a true blue feminist, I am always on the lady's side! :)

I watch Crime Patrol nowadays. There don't you go 'unfriend' me on Facebook. So this one is a set of real life stories of crime in India and how the police resolved it. Immediate repercussion of watching this series is useless paranoia. Like yesterday, I was alone in a guesthouse with only the housekeeper for company. And the door was one of those, with no manual latch. So, one can easily get in with a key. I swear I kept thinking that the housekeeper is going to break in anytime! Note to myself - stop watching stuff which makes my Bengali self more scared. Any which way, we beat the rest of the world when it comes to being afraid!

Parents are a funny lot. Couple of weeks back, I was having a tough conversation with my set. And I had prepped myself for days before this conversation. Braced myself for the anger and wrath. And then, when I did talk to them, they didn't get mad. They just understood. Stood by me. And you know what's funny and terrible at the same time - that you feel worse because they understood. Anger one can stand. Its always love that is tougher to deal with.

Oh this year work got better. Again, sheer luck. Realized how big an inertia we have against change! There was this opportunity staring at me. Literally, in my face. And I was dilly-dallying with it. For no good reason. What I was doing was literally sucking the happiness out of my life! Yet, I was mulling over this new thing. Sometimes, we are just daft, right! But, I did make that change. And I like my work now. Quite a few shades better than what it was.

Time to board.  The whiteboard says BLOG. And blog I shall.