Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Something to learn

What do you do when you have an hour to wile away, waiting for something? And don't have anything else to do, not even a book handy to read? I observe people. I love to do it while I am waiting knowing it is going to be a long wait. Whether it be in a bus-stop where you know the bus isn't going to show up for another hour at least, or waiting for a boarding announcement to a flight when it is really late. Or at the doctors waiting for your turn.

Usually I see people. I like to observe them. What they do. How they go about their business in life. How they talk with people who accompany them. Sometimes it is the excited we-don't-care-who-hears-us chatter from teenagers (yeah, we used to do that too;) ), sometimes it is the silent conversation between an 80-year-odd couple. It could be anything, everything.

But I am trailing away. The point is that, I feel there is something you can learn from every person you meet and interact with. Either in the family or out or in your friends circle or a complete stranger. It could be a person you like or a person you loathe. It could be just anyone. But there is always something to learn. From people you admire, you learn how to do things, from people you don't admire so much, you learn how not to do things. And I continue to try and learn and grow, because, as they say, when you stop learning, you stop living. (Or maybe I am the one who said it;) )

Path to Happiness

One of those routine days when I was chatting with my cousin and discussing general cousins' network news, I was telling him, how I felt some people set up a lot of hurdles on their way to happiness.

I have noticed that in some cases, the path to happiness is really complex. If this happens and then, this happens, under such and such conditions, then I will be really happy. Though we don't realize it, each one of us has some pre-set conditions to happiness. I know happiness is a state of mind and to an extent the heart, and varies for different people, but it can be generalized to some extent for all men/women (we better keep men' and women' definitions of happiness separate there;) )

I, for one, can become really happy at small things. But in an aspect or two, my path to happiness is pretty complex. Occasionally, I need all things involved to fall in place in a certain style for me to feel that a job went well and to derive happiness out of it. I try to break it down and keep it from growing any more bushes in the way, but it is a challenge to feel happy when only some things go the way I imagine. Still practicing consciously. Hoping I would not have any complex paths to happiness eventually in my life....

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Missed Calls

Talking of the enterprising nature of fellow Bharateeyas, one cannot miss mentioning the concept of "Giving a missed call".

One of my friends' Dad always used to wonder, what "Giving a missed call" means. Literally it doesn't make sense;) You either give a call or you miss a call, but "give a missed call"? ;)

In a time when India was just beginning to see mobile evolution, incoming calls were charged. So were outgoing needless to say. So what would you do if you were enterprising enough? In case you made a plan with someone, involving needing to call that person at some point in the plan, you would "give a missed call", that way no one loses, neither the caller nor the called. (For those of you unaware of the concept of giving a missed call, it involves calling, letting the other phone ring a couple times and disconnecting. If both persons involved understand the concept, the callee doesn't answer when he/she sees the incoming call, clever;) )

It is used very commonly even today. "I will give you a missed call once I reach there" my aunt says to my mom and I grin:) Enterprising to the core!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mission Accomplished!!!

After a year-long travail, Subhash's parents were here last week.

And I felt the complete satisfaction of a job well done:)

I remember applying for their visa, for the first time, a little past midnight on my birthday last year. The visa, the papers, the scramble. Their initial attempt at getting a visa was rejected, and that was a big blow for us. For them it was too, much more, they didn't feel up to re-applying immediately. Their next attempt was in December and this time it went through just fine!

We wanted them to come in summer, but they had an engagement in India which they had to attend. So it got pushed out to June first and then July. I didn't want them to travel alone, and so did Subhash, so we decided that I would go and bring them, even while we were getting visa dates. Since that was fixed and I got myself a flight end of June. As July drew near, my apprehension grew. It was my first visit after the wedding and the deal with splitting time between them and my own parents, how everyone would react, how new it would be etc weighed really heavy on my mind. I didn't know it, but by the time I had to actually travel, I was quite the bundle of nerves;)

My trip came and went. All I can say about it, SMOOTH. I never expected it to go off without any hiccups. It exceeded all my own best estimates :D I realized that we had an excellent chemistry, his parents and me, which was totally mind-blowing :) So I didn't mind the fact that it was very busy and very hectic. Shopping for myself, shopping for Subhash (this was the more elaborate part;) ), shopping for items in general, helping his parents wrap up, going around with them for all odd jobs, copying, printing, meeting people, this that and more. So if all I say when you ask "How was the India trip" is "Hectic" don't be surprised. Then came the packing. It challenged even my expertise at stuffing;) Stuff overflowed so much, that on the day we were leaving, I had to open yet another bag and stuff every excess in. When I brought my parents here, it was another mad rush altogether (I beat all my previous records and went just for a week back then;) ), so the packing rush was not significant compared to everything else, but this time it was!

Then the flight. I was apprehensive of how his parents would be able to manage the long leg between HK and SFO. They had never been on a long flight before. We left Hyderabad, got off in Singapore. I let them sleep for a couple hours before we headed to Subhash's friend, Ashish's place. It was heavenly to have a shower and then we got out to explore Singapore. Took a duck tour and watched all the major spots in Singapore. It was a little rushed getting back to the airport, but we were all checked in through to SFO so it was ok. Had a hurried Indian meal and got onto the flight in Singapore for HK.

Got off at HK, break was really short. More around 50 minutes. I had some HK dollars left from my trip to Teju so I wanted to spend them. We left the luggage with his Dad and his mom and I went shopping ;) Only when we were coming back we realized it was time for boarding and that his Dad might be getting worried:P We somehow explained our transgression to him and got on;) This plane was challenging because we had gotten different seats. I had to convince another passenger to take my seat so I could sit with them. Singapore to HK was short so I didn't mind, but I wanted to stay together for the long haul.

Flight was ok. They slept well, and I was happy (I had some snoring moments myself;) ) Watched Guru for the nth time and finally managed to make it through. SFO came immigration, customs, luggage everything went smooth too. Subhash was waiting for us and we drove back home.

When my parents came back with me, things were different. I was not answerable to anyone at that time except to them, and they were traveling with me. I knew the responsibility of it, but it was not overpowering. I was used to it. I was used to them. They were used to me. I knew them so well, that I knew what to do and what not to do. This time it was different. It was a big deal and that is saying something. I had to learn and apply the learning at the same time. Ensure comfort but first learn what that comfort was. Had it not been his parents with all their support and adjusting nature (I will write a blog about them later;) ), I would not have been able to make it through, I am sure of it :)

When I think of it, it overwhelms me. Even now. And I am thankful to God that it was this smooth. Can't express that thankfulness enough. Truly a mission well accomplished, even though I say it myself :)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Taj and the wonder

We visited St. Ann's this year, before it was going to be partly demolished. One thing that striked us pretty big was a notice on the black board in one of the class-rooms saying SMS "TAJ" to some number or login to some website and vote for TAJ. The mission: Ensure that the "Taj Mahal" was voted as one of the world's seven wonders. (Rahman asked us to do that too, when we attended his concert a while ago)

We were surprised. Truly. So much more awareness in kids. And so much more access to things that can actually make a difference. SMS and website names on black-boards. Wow!

With a billion in population, and an increasing number of this population gaining awareness by the minute, what better chance does any other monument have (except of course the "Great Wall of China"), of becoming a world wonder. The greatest match-fixing of all times;)

Wah Taj!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Back home and full steam!!

Landed in Mera Bharat (Mahan) on Saturday, June 30, as planned. Journey went off super smooth, even the Hong Kong part (I will write another post about my Hong Kong sight-seeing travails, Teju to please have patience!;) ).

Its a good season to be here, not too hot, but yeah very humid. I have so many things to do this trip and so many people to meet, I actually make a time table every morning and what is more, I have actually managed to stick to it!!! Whoa!!!

I still have a bunch of shopping to do and the Harry Potter movie to catch, but going by my superb organizing skills so far, I think I will do it. Got to meet a couple more friends as well!!

Right now sitting in a cramped cubicle at an Internet centre. Came here because my laptop at home went completely bonkers and refused to start. One may ask, why do I need to write a blog post of all the things if I don't have any time to do the things in my schedule. Very valid. But the reason is obvious. I am overwhelmed when I come here. I need to say all I feel about this place. Right now I am overwhelmed by our enterprising Janta who have an internet cafe in every galli.

Been driving our new Alto like crazy all over the city. People said I would hate it, they also said I ain't seen nothing, also to add, that its changed a lot, not like old times. I thought, I pitch my tent here ever so often (sometimes its been once in 6 months too), it cannot be all that bad. True, traffic is horrible, pollution has taken grip, but it isn't that worse than when I left India last. Still managing to drive around 9-9;)(AM to PM I mean)

So long...more when I get back to the land of opportunities!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Ann's and the great tragedy..

I spent a good chunk of my life in Ann's. 12 years, from 1983 to 1995. St. Ann's Girls High School on SD Road in Secunderabad. That was the place to be:)

Last year MCH (Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad) said that the school buildings on SD Road were causing a lot of traffic problems (Yeah right! Like this was the only thing that was causing that:( ) and that they were going to demolish the buildings and give us some land outside the city (Yuck!). And the only buildings they were going to ditch were SSC ones:(( Waaaaaaaaaa!! (Ann's has both state and ICSE syllabus instructions in the same campus) We spent all our major time from V std to X std in this part of school:(

So anyway, Vandana and I decided to catch up on school before they fell it completely and gather whatever was left of memories. Thanks to Orkut, I was wired to Kavitha too and so our plan was made. For the evening of 3 July. We met up in school camera in hand. My sis accompanied me, she was three years my junior in Ann's and so did my cousin, who just joined Ann's the year that I graduated, in 1995. (Its been two years since she left school too, time just flies! tch..tch..tch..)

We met at 5 pm, so there were just a couple students waiting for someone to pick them up (I guessed) and Miss Mable. She is still there and still the same. She said something about digging up the field (we used to call our playground, the "field".) Vandana and Kavitha had not yet arrived so me and my sisters walked towards the field. Only to see this:(

Where is that magnificent sports field? :((

So now the SSC and ICSE buildings will sit bang next to each other. Wonder where they will hold the assembly now.