Friday, September 29, 2006

Now that I'm back...

I thought I'd write a post through the jet lag induced haze. Coming back this time around was harder than it has ever been. I sit wistfully in my living room half expecting Nikhil to come rushing in and insist I get ready now so we can go out or play cricket or play badminton. The silence that an American existence affords is grating on my nerves now. I'll have to do laundry soon, buy groceries, do the dishes, cook!!

As Nietzsche said, "There is no fact, only interpretation." My perspective at this moment is skewed and it will take some time before I get accustomed to my life here again. It might help if I have some family here, in close proximity. Regardless, I've learnt that this is a passing phase and all will be well soon. Here's to happier times then, from the past and into the future...

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Bombay Reality - Final Post

September 25 2006

I just witnessed the sun set on a beautiful Autumn day in Bombay. On this terrace I stand content, the unencumbered evening breeze in my face. Like this day, this sojourn in my home city is coming to an end. As night falls on this last day, I choose not to reflect on the two weeks gone by. That would only make me despondent; the unadulterated fun, childish exploits and idle reveries have rendered me devoid of stress and despondency. If only I could capture this trip, no wait, just this moment in a still frame.

The orange hues in the sky are beginning to dissipate as the cawing of the crows is supplanted by the honking of cars. I strain my eyes to catch a final glimpse of the sun beyond the horizon. I take a deep breath, and then another so I can feel the salt from the sea in my nostrils. If there was another moment of sheer bliss, it's not one I can recall. Time to snap back to reality and walk the steps down to my flat. Some final items need to be packed but as I leave I take pause. A white crescent has just emerged from behind the dark clouds and demands my attention...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Bombay Reality - Post 3

A Pleasant Tuesday Afternoon

I can hear the birds chirping outside my window as I write this. The sound of cars whizzing on the main road I choose to drown out now - it's a constant that reminds me how bustling this city is. A BEST bus just took off from its stop right outside my apartment building carrying tired workers back home. There was a time when Bombay was blanketed by smog. The smog, with that time has passed and has given way to blue skies and cleaner air.

The birds continue making music as a soft, balmy breeze laps at me through the open windows. Today is the first day that I don't need a ceiling fan to keep me cool, an upshot of my acclimatization to the warmer locale. This blissful deadline-free existence is addicting, a narcotic that has rid me of stress and freed me from the trappings of the corporate rat race. It has to be a ringing phone that breaks my idle reverie.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Bombay Reality - Post 2

September 17, 2006

Today is the 3rd day in a row that it has rained in Bombay and the mercury has dipped by a good 7 or 8 degrees. This is a welcome relief for people like me (America returns) who can't tolerate the heat even though they spend most of their time at home doing *nothing*. I am sure the unabated rainfall has wreaked havoc on the denizens of this city who are on the move all the time. One man's food, another man's poison...

I caught up with a good friend from college this evening over a cup of coffee. Life, family, children and the burgeoning Indian economy were mostly what we spoke about and I felt a little more convinced that I should return back home. I did tell him that the abject disregard for rules was what annoyed me most about my people when they are in India. Surprisingly, the very Indians that don't give a damn for where they throw their litter in India become the most law-abiding citizens abroad. Damn hypocrites.

I saw a new Hindi flick last evening with one of my longest standing friends - Lage Raho Munnabhai. The movie extolled the values and ideals first made popular by the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, via an entertaining script punctuated with some classic one-liners. I'd recommend that you watch it even if it means you have to read the sub-titles. I'll come along in case you want some company and live translations. The pleasure of my company is the complimentary prize...

An entire week has elapsed since I got here and I am finally settling into a great rhythm. Nikhil and I workout every alternate day; our workouts consist of various combinations of cricket, a 30 minute run, lifting weights and badminton (I didn't know I had the skill for this sport). I don't have jet lag no more, I don't have to move a muscle to get stuff done and the food is as exotic as it is delicious. The thought of leaving Bombay now and returning to Seattle is just depressing.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Zune Anyone?

This player is the shit and I want to get one for myself. No more iPods for me, unless something really compelling comes out of the Apple "creative" tank!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Bombay Reality - Post 1

September 11, 2006

This is my first post from Bombay but it might not be. There is no wireless access in this coffee shop as I was promised and my laptop’s power cord doesn’t fit into the wall outlet. Time to put this machine to sleep and resume this post when it has some more juice…

Aah, many rounds of musical chairs and I have finally found the one seat that lets me charge my laptop as I work on this post. There is loud, Hindi music playing in this café; its interplay with the sounds of people (middle-aged women for the most part) cackling and the bellowing espresso machine provide an eclectic and offbeat soundtrack to this effort. Time for my daily tip to the foreign traveler visiting India – order the Cappuccino over the Latte if you are a Latte drinker, The Indian incarnation of the Cappuccino is the rest of the world’s Double Shot Latte, especially at Café Coffee Day. While I am enlightening you on Indian coffee, this is one of the finest cups of coffee I have sipped since coffee became my drink of choice. I consider myself to be a coffee connoisseur, with a refined palette that can distinguish good coffee from bad. This coffee is good! Indian coffee beans are now being procured by Illy (the world renowned specialty coffee maker) for roasting and distribution around the world. If Indian coffee is good for Illy, it’s definitely good for me!

For those who didn’t know this, my visit to India was meant to be a total surprise. No one in India (1.2 billion of them) had a clue that I was to arrive on the night that I did. For the ride from the airport, I sold my brother on a story that involved him picking up a “white” girl (ahem, me!) from the airport. I was intentionally vague with the details and in hindsight, that’s why my best “laid” plans fell apart. We crisscrossed each other multiple times at the airport and I finally called my mom up to tell him to meet said “girl” at terminal 2A. Like all mix-up stories, I was waiting for him for more than 2 hours at terminal 2A while he (and Joel) were waiting at Terminal 2C. Who’d have thought that Bombay had 2 terminals for arriving international flights?

You might ask, why didn’t we recognize each other even though we passed by each other multiple times? I didn’t because his baby-face has given way to a square-jawed, manly countenance. He didn’t recognize me because even though I might not admit it, I have bulked up a tad. Add the fact that he was expecting a “white” girl to the change in my appearance and it all becomes clear - I am neither cute nor white, so something had to give!

When we finally saw each other, Nikhil was stunned beyond belief. We got home and my mom thought she was dreaming, as did Vikas and dad was happy beyond explanation. To be reunited with family after more than 18 months makes the wait worthwhile and worthless at the same time - worthwhile for the sheer happiness, worthless on account of the elongated separation.

Bombay is uncharacteristically hot and humid this September. The effects of global warming are most felt and endured in this city – the pollution, humidity and heat make life uncomfortable if you aren’t in an air-conditioned environ. I perspire a few moments after my shower and even the slightest physical exertion results in beads of sweat trickling down my face, neck and back. As Junior would say, Ewww Gross!!!

Do I miss Seattle? More than the place, I miss my friends. Yes, I am the one who notches up 5500 minutes of talk time on my cell phone in a month; that’s time I spend talking to my peeps. I have grown attached to a small set of individuals over the past few months and the sudden severing of all communication is taking a while to abide. Before I know it, my 14-day stay will come to an end. I’ll be back in Seattle and life will return to “normal”. Is Seattle home? I say this with a heavy heart but with the passage of time, this is leaving the realm of doubt and becoming a certainty. I can prolong the inevitable but it won’t be long before “Is Seattle home?” will be supplanted by “Seattle is home.” - a subtle difference with dramatic implications…

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In Bombay

... and experiencing the heat, the rain and the exhilaration of being with family in Bombay. Back to life in Seattle on the 25th; till then, adios!

Monday, September 04, 2006

This Month's Tunes - Update!

I need some input from you guys on the songs to put into this month's CD. I can think of a few but I need around 20 songs for the final cut so please provide your suggestions as comments. Here are the songs I am considering:

1. Sexy Back - Justin Timberlake
2. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
3. London Bridge - Fergie
4. Me & U - Cassie
5. I Feel You - Schiller
6. Put Ur Hands Up - Fatman Scoop
7. Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics
8. Shoulder Lean - Young Dro
9. Pon De Replay - Rihanna
10. What You Know - T.I.
11. Gimme That - Chris Brown
12. Go To Church - Ice Cube

Once again, if you have a suggestion, leave me a comment. *Update* - If your song suggestion makes it to the final CUT, I'll make you a copy.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A-Rod A-Rod A-Rod

The much booed, reviled and criticised player in the MLB has bounced back with 5 homers in 4 games. Interesting that there is no press praising his game winning exploits. I hate when the press chooses to publish only the sensationalist stories.

Regardless of the press, Go A-Rod Go!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Reviews, Reviews, ...


Massive Headache.
Sleep Depravation.
No Miami :((

There is a light at the end of tunnel. When I get close to it, I hope it isn't the headlight of an oncoming train. :)