Sunday, 15 August 2010

Missing home and myself...

The Indian Independence Day dawn is just a few hours away. And I am in a country that is not mine.

I have come here before, as a tourist. To see as many malls as I could, to eat as many previously-not-eaten-delicacies as I could, to visit as many relatives as I could – the objectives, the bent of mind, everything was typical. It felt great while it lasted.

This time, I have come to give my dad some company. He has lived in this country for three years now - alone. It means I am here for a longer period of time with boring things like looking for a job in an industry which almost does not exist in the country, thrown in. In flat one fortnight, I have begun to appreciate my country, my own country, infinitely more.

My country is not so sophisticated. The roads are not so smooth; the buildings are not so tall. But I can step out of my home and walk. To wherever I want to and even if I don’t know where to.

My country doesn’t pay as much money. With soaring house rents and real estate prices, city life is almost a battle for most middle class people. With ever-increasing food prices, sustenance is difficult for others across cities and villages. But there is always this house or that house to go to when you are hungry and not in the mood to cook.

My country is not one of plenty. There are people who don’t have it to eat one day’s meal. But when you do have it, you can have it where you please, even on the road, even during the holy month of Ramzan, without the worry of offending anyone, because acceptance comes naturally to us.

My country does not believe in autocracy or monopoly. We have more than ten telecom companies giving the consumers the best rates in the world for the sake of their existence. I can call anyone I want anytime I want without burning a hole in my pocket.

My country, with all its imperfectness, makes me feel at home.

To a country that made me what I am, thank you for the freedom you have endowed on me. Not just from the British, from all the other things that you as a country could have been and did not turn out to be. Love you India.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Back in my nest...

All over - the exams, the course, the madness. And I am home.

During the entire month of April, when my classmates were frantically going about applying for jobs, I told myself: you deserve a break, go ahead and take that, please don't enter the rat race.

And now, here I am, totally enjoying this 'doing nothing' phase, but finding it difficult to answer people's questions. Every second person I meet invariably asks: So what next? Got any job? Getting married?

I have gotten over the last part and have learnt to efficiently defer the question (or give a *proper* answer to it), but the former part is tough. I have realised over the last month that, to survive in India, you have to be 'doing' something. Read enrolled with a university, working with a company, doing a business or at least playing a wife! Otherwise, people make your life hell.

As each day passes by, I am sure my folks must be finding it difficult to answer this question as well. And for them, deferring the last part is not as easy as it might be for me. They are the ones who are responsible to get me hitched, after all! But I am sure they care more about my peace of mind than others. That part is comforting!

But otherwise, tell me why I should feel guilty about taking time off to catch up with Malayalam movies, reading a few good books and doing some freelance writing assignments? About planning to spend time with dad at a place where loneliness could make you crazy, and to do other random trips that I have always wanted to? Isn't my life, my life after all?

I know, these questions make no sense in a society like ours where everyone is more bothered about others lives than their own. But someone ought to fight it, and I like to believe that I am among the chosen ones!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The end of an era!

It's been an awfully long time. I don't want to make any excuses this time. I can recollect at least ten different occasions when I thought, "I should write about this for MAMM," but I never sat down to do that. Sheer laziness. Nothing else.

It does not mean I have not been writing though. Take a look at this, in case it helps!

When I settled down with my laptop in front of the department today, I had absolutely no intention to write this one. But I bumped into this while browsing randomly and realised that I have come a long way. Of course, I had to share the intense nostalgia with you, right?

As clich├ęd as it may sound, it really feels like yesterday. I can still remember thinking in my head "Oh God, at which moment did I decide to choose this place?" while I rode closer to hostel every afternoon after class. What I cannot remember is when that feeling melted away. When I took a liking to this place. When this place became home.

There are a million things about the university that I will miss. F Hostel bajjis, fortnightly cycle shop visits, 5l Bisleri cans from Uncle's Shop, irani chai from Shop Com - too many to list.

On the course front, my choice of stream, I understand, was one of the best decisions in my life. Being the disillusioned bunch we were, of ten students with absolutely no particular liking for each other whatsoever, we have still managed to pull off a massive amount of work together. In the process, we have all become quite close too.

The teachers! :) I am one of those who cannot comfortably sit if a teacher passes by or enters a class. Even now, yes. When some of my classmates nudge me asking me to remain seated because they don't want to get up, I cannot agree. Some things are not meant to change whether you are in STD I or MA fourth semester.

Coming to the point, whatever disagreements I may have had with some of my faculty members, I completely cherish each one of them. If there has to be one person who I should start with, it is Prof. Pavarala. There is no logic to my particular liking for him other than the fact that he is an amazing teacher. He just knows his job too well. And when he talks, it makes complete sense to me. And if it doesn't, he decodes it from my expression and re-explains. It is a very simple equation.

Sanjay Sir always reminded me of Achan, a little less temperamental of course. In all frankness, I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that he is Deepti's dad. He is just very fatherly even when he teaches.

Ramu Sir is as much a friend as a teacher. He does not intimidate you and oozes the fact of the matter that he means well for you.

Someone who came late into my life is Usha Ma'am. I have had only one course with her, that too in the last semester. I love her for the person that she is. She completed my campus family equation by easily fitting in as the mother figure. And such less time she took!

Now, the last bit. Friends. I think I am quite jinxed in this department. Being an extrovert, I make friends wherever I go. I did so here as well. But you know, the 'best friend' types? That never happened to me. Probably it is my other preoccupations that never led me into such a bond. Probably it is my egoistic nature as someone close pointed out. Whatever it is, I graduate from this university, without finding a bosom buddy who I can treasure for life. There is Deepti who comes very close. But still, I feel a void which was caused by certain misunderstandings and heartbreaks. And coming to think that this was most probably my last lap of education and hence my last chance to make that kind of a friend, it is distressing.

Tomorrow, my fourth semester exams start. Another ten days, and my course gets over. All the pluses and minuses put together, I think I will come out victorious. I guess that's how my life was meant to be.