Thursday, June 26, 2014

So long, so long…

Tonight is our last night in the apartment I have called home for the last 4 years. Not a big thing, you would say.
Only for me, it is.

While Sid’s Dad was in the Air force and hence the entire family shifted based every couple of years, my father is a doctor and once we moved into our house 20 years back, we stayed put. A change in house is a bigger deal for me than it is for the rest., particularly Sid who has done this every 2 years for the first 20 years of his life.
You see, this is only the 3rd house I have ever lived in.

I came her fresh off the boat ;). A 25 year old newly married girl (really, did I marry that young??), unsure and possibly a little intimidated by everything around. Everything was new. Sometimes I now wondered how I did it all! I had left my job, family and friends- heck- my entire life behind me to start a new.

Exciting? Yes.

A tad scary? YES!

The house saw me get to know Sid. It saw us fight, it saw us make up. It saw me not comprehending why anyone would want to put mirchi powder in food, it saw me begin to put atleast some every once in while…

It saw me change. It saw Sid change. It saw us both adapt to each other’s ways in ways neither had expected.

It saw me wonder if I could possibly even consider considering a book. It saw me sign the contract of the second one.

It saw me confused because of health issues. It saw me finally able to go to the doctors on my own.

It saw me take some tough decisions…it saw me grow.

It was the home I came back to from work.

We are moving to our own place. Our first house together. More on that later because tonight it is all about the house that has been my home for the last 4 years.

So long, Flat 31, you shall be missed….

Flat 1, here we come J

Monday, June 23, 2014

Men, Indian and errr...not so Indian :)

So there are workers in our new house. We have a 2 week overlap between leaving this place and moving to the new place and in that we intend to get all the work done (read transform it from the 1840s , no kidding, flat that it is into a trendy, modern house). Any way, last week, I was there and the workers were..err...working. Two of them. Both South Asian.
After the usual pleasantries, they began to open up to me. One of the called me 'didi' and the other called me 'Baji'. Something oddly heartwarming, by the way, about being called didi/baji by people in a foreign land.
As it turned out, one of them was from India and the other was from Pakistan. And they are best friends.
'You know, baji' said the man painting the ceiling of my living room ' when I heard bhai jaan speak I was sure he is from Karachi'
In all fairness, Sid has begun to use 'aap' and 'hum' quite a lot since he married me.
I laughed.
'Did you?'
'I am from Rawalpindi...and I had no doubt bhai jaan is from Karachi. I told Patel bhai also' he said pointing to the other worker 'that this couple is from Pakistan'
I smiled.
'Then' chipped in Patel Bhai 'when we were painting the cupboard, I saw Lakshmi ganpati and I knew you are from India'

We are so similar that even we are not sure which side of the border the other one comes from.
And as Ma remarked, sometimes religion, which intends to unite, ends up dividing.


I was in the IKEA store, tired after a very long day at work, waiting for Sid to join me. I decided to head to their cafeteria and have something to eat.
After looking at the food , I decided the safest option was chips. You can never really go wrong with that.
'Can I have some chips, please' I said without looking up.
'You sure can' came a bright voice. I was too tired to look.
'Thanks' I said when the chips appeared.
'Not a problem. Have a nice evening, Madam'
'You too' I said politely and was about to head off.
'You first' he said.
I looked up startled. A handsome young man stood infront of me smiling a warm smile.
Exhausted, tired and cranky yet I laughed.
'See' he said pointing a finger at me ' I made you smile'

Even now, a few days later, I still smile each time I think of the little incident.


I was in the lift. My Nokia Lumia in one hand and iphone in the other. The lift stopped and an elderly man enetered it. I cast one look at him and went back to my phones.
Just as I was about to leave the lift, he spoke up./
'If you hand another hand, you would have another phone, would not you?'
I paused and reflected.
'Most probably, yes' I said grinning.
He shook his head and gave me a 'you-younger-lot' look.


I do not want to generalise, but Indian men...*sigh* are...*sigh*
So these two young men,  late twenties I would imagine, investment banker types, Indian, were in the train with me. And you know how it is in the tube, everyone looks at everyone but pretends they are not. I soon busied myself in my book and regained consciousness (;) ) only when the train had reached my stop and it was time to change trains.
The men left the train with me. It is a busy station and in the crowds that thronged around us, I found myself just a few feet away from the indian men. And I realised with a start that they were talking about me! In Hindi and loud enough for me to hear every word.
They concluded that I looked intelligent. One man rated me higher in the looks department than a white girl who had been standing next to me in the train but the other man disagreed.The checked my hand for a ring and found none. One of them commented on how seedhi saadhi I looked. They wondered if I have just finished studying and am probably an intern in a bank or something (smug look- meri twacha se meri umra ka pata hi nahi chalta). Then the first man, the one who had rated me higher than the other girl, decided he wanted to ask me out. His friend egged him on and told him to seize the moment and the girl (Which had me very worried for a moment!). They concluded that i was probably Italian but he could convince his mother that I was indian because I did look a little bit indian. (Really?) By that time we had walked to a part of the underground where I had to take a left and the men, I could guess from their body language, had to take a right.
The men hesitated waiting to see if I took the same lane as them.
With a swift turn, I faced the men. Cleared my throat and spoke in clear hindi to a stunned audience of two indian men.
'Sudhar jao, mere dost. Aese koh ladaki nahi milne wali'
The men stared open mouthed. I tossed my hair, and walked off into the sunset, my high heels clanking against the floor. In my imagination fireworks filled the sky and I found it difficult to wipe the smirk off my face the whole day that day.