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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Let us go then, you and I

The past few hours, I have been filled with a strange restless sort of energy, neither letting me work, nor letting me read in peace. I have opened and closed tabs, only half-focusing on the content I consume, I switch back to my twitterfeed, eyes only partially taking in the steady rhythm of  tidbits of news, randomly clicking on links, and parsing bits of some poetry I've started to read and back to my inbox calling out to me with its neat list of unfinished tasks and diligent reminders, and I alt tab ahain.

I'm doing all things badly, listlessly even, these few weeks, and my mind is approaching the kind of overwhelmed, blank state I find myself in more often than not.

There's an increasingly large list of unfinished promises I've been trying to keep and I;m doing them all badly. So, in honesty to myself, and after a lot of introspection about life, and how I should live it, I've decided to cut out on vague deadlines, impractical goals, a gazillion scribbles to do things better, grand visions of all of the things I am going to change. This next birthday year, I am going to hunker down and work smart and live smart and be as zenspaax as I can be, and do it well.

One of the things I am thus ending is bloggy. Its not a big deal, you know, been there, done that, and since Singapore, this bloggy has been barely there, but it too like everything else I'm putting away, is from a time ago and deserves love, respect and a kindly goodbye.

Goodbye world, goodbye bloggy. The shoes will remain, but I will go.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Delhi 1.0

(FYI: I wrote this quite a while before recent events sharpened my hatred of Delhi; await more nuanced perspectives.)


***
This blog has taken a while to come into being, as have I, in my Delhi (new) avatar. Moving cities (countries!) and moving jobs is exciting, but having to, alongside the move, shift well-established life-function templates is not only exhausting, its also demoralising.
For example, I miss pavements and comfortable, safe access to public transport. I miss microwaevable 1-minute rice and I deeply and truly miss Microsoft Outlook and its excellent anality-optimising filing functions. I miss grabbing a cappucino on my way to work, egalitarianism dripping off my satisfying goods-services exchange and at a deeper level, I miss swiping in my access card early so I can grab my free copy of the FT.  I miss the honest sanctity of RSVPs, the easy availability of tampons, the creamy smoothness of avocados, the happy zings of bellini-nights and the affordability of Lush products. I miss being enveloped in a cocoon of safe.
Truly, I miss my shallow materialistic self, and I miss my frivolous biglaw life, and I feel a sharp strong hatred for Delhi - my currentus situs.
 However, I do this in moments of pique and not armed with the benefit of forethought. Peruse (if only you could) bloggy avatar 1.3 (2005-2012) and you will realise that for every anguished "Why can I not find a FLUFFY bathrobe in Delhi?" question I could ask now, you will read about a deeply pained "Where can I get jalebis at 2140 while I wait for my evil client to tell me to send out the document?" post or a "Why aren't there enough vegetarian options in the champagne brunch buffet?!" post.
 
Life in cities across the world comes with inconveniences, I know. In some, you can't pay people enough to get them to fix you up an internet connection in two days, while in others, there isn't a true democracy, and in some others, people fight vigorously over parking spots. Families live in some cities, while others are rent-unattractive, or temperature-unattractive, or simply unattractive. Some have only great sushi, some have mediocre vegetarian sushi, and some have no sushi at all. Some have jalebis many metro stops away, but no monuments that are give or take 800 years old. Some only have public transport, some force you to rely on private, and others offer a colourful but expensive mix. Some are clean and scarily ultra-efficient, but they effectively take away all bacterial immunity that growing up in India has lovingly bestowed upon you. In some, you are the ugly, the unsexual, the un-dateable, the other. In others, the others are the un-dateables, and you are still the other. In a few, you are not the other, but you don't like the one. In most, your cleaner will not tell you how strong your 'curry' smells, leaving you with a curious undeterminable sense of shame; in one, your maid will take exceptional pride in her flavourful spicy cooking. In some, you will be saved from having to speak freely to a bewilderingly large number of people everyday about deeply personal matters, but in others, you needs must justify your english-speaking skills and your knowledge of european culture. Threading is cheaper in some and unheard of in others, but they use hair-nets to streak your hair in the a few.  In some, men will stand in queues for you, and insist on dropping you home, in others, they will open doors. In some you will have a spot of tea, in some, tea is chai and you will be encouraged to dip most things into it, and in others, its a choice between a soy chai latte or green tea with red beans. Some days only filter coffee will do and then what will you do? In some, everyone will be your brother or sister unhesitatingly; in others, you must jump through many hoops before you become a friend. In some, you are a size ten, and your hips and arches are compatible with the forms of desirable female bodies laid out numerically on racks. In some, you are large and your chest is too big and they have nothing pretty for you to wear, while in others, your tailor will ask matter-of-factly, if you want "padding". Your freedom in each is determined by different entities, in some, it is a travel pass and a work permit, in others, it is a car.

Cities reflect values, and identities borrow from the same values that a city allows itself to be shaped by, so there is, in some sense, a limitation on whom you can be, and how far you can take that whom until it ends in ugly consequences. Most cities have some common values and I gladly bask in their safe anonymity, collecting labels to define my space; new-to-delhi, madrasi, girl, heterosexual, modern, vakil, english-speaking, wine-drinker - and for the most part, they work, but I am greedy and I am pushy and I have a maid, and a whole lot of time on my hands and I want MORE. Sometimes, I sit on my ratty broken sofa and think about the fact that nothing occupies the hole in my life that laundry and work used to fill. Jalebis, besan bondas, shiny jewellery and culturally similar companions can only take you that far ahead. Blogging is a sketchy replacement, but its the best I can come up with, and so, here I am.
I'm trying to have a good time in Delhi, but cultural baggage weighs me down. Expectation slaughters my timid explorations into the unknown and I worry that I am all delhi-ed out, that the city is not, to me, a shehron ka sheher, a riot of colour and humour or a capital city that is joyously contrary but merely a crumbling, dusty edifice that is bursting its seams, crime-ridden and is polluted and gender-biased. Regardless, I am here for a while yet, and we shall have to see how this story ends. :)
Like always, welcome, gentle reader.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Goodbye good life

Goodbye Singapore, London, Biglaw, expense accounts, credit cards, shorts, bellinis, grey skirts, stress pimples, impulse buys and timesheets.

I'm leaving on a jet plane.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Many things have happened

Many things have happened:
For one, there isn’t a general one size fits all truth out there. So to those of whom I said, I’ll see you in the real world (because you know, the truth, you know is, like, out there, you know, like) – uhm, I didn’t find it, and I didn’t meet you in the real world.  Talk about spectacular let-downs.
Weirdly enough,  though I didn’t go looking for a specific truth, but a more well-defined, all rounded,  all encompassing- why am I on this planet-how do I save my soul and do I believe in rock and roll- type truth, I only learned a few important specific life truths. I did not learn any general truths.  I tend to reiterate a lot these days.
Truths from a half-year of travelling, city-hopping and non-blogging:
1) There will always be creepy crawly stuff in the water.  Swim/snorkel anyway.  If possible, do not read Matterhorn, it will make you forever incapable of training yourself to face leech ridden environments.
2) Smile at immigration officials.
3)  Ask and you will receive. 

***
Many things have happened:

Mostly good, very few not good. It has generally been an excellent of times.  Given such general all-round pleased-with-life-ness, I have made yet ANOTHER big decision.

And it is this: I guess I wanted something more fun.

This, this now and here, it doesn’t feel right. There’s always this sense of deprivation, no?
I want to roam streets if I feel like it at 3 pm. I want to be non-corporate. I don’t want to do timesheets. I want to read with the luxury of a lot of time. I want to make and drink a lot of tea. I want to wear orange clothes to work, shut down my computer at 6:00 pm and go out and learn a language or swim or bake or read a judgment or write!  If it rains, I want to go out and splash. I want to be wrapped up completely in my thoughts. 
I want to think.
I want to not sit at a computer all day. I want to be a veryusefulperson. I want to create and contribute.  I’d really like to set a goal and achieve it on my own. A big huge difficult goal. Not atention to detail – that is NOT my goal. NO NO NO NO NO.
I want to wake up and feel like there is a very definite reason why I am doing what I do. If I don’ t have that reason, I want to stop doing it – just like that – poof.  
***
Many things have happened:

Making the decision to quit is surprisingly easy. Making a decision to walk away from some parts of your life, a windy city, a few impossibly good and close friends, a darling flatmate, cupcakes, artisanal coffee, possibilities of grey winter coats with a just-right neck flap, boots, very short clothes and yellow fluffy cardigans, the freedom that comes with a tube pass, a life of unexpected discovery and minor adultifying inconveniences; walking away from all of this is not easy, but it is not impossible either.  So I have decided to walk away.
Walking away from someone else is also not impossible but nearly not as pleasant and bittersweet or fluffy. So I have not. I have walked back in.
The next few months, I will upheave myself all over again. (Again, dammit, again). I will move cities and phone numbers and archive parts of my wardrobe and fill it with transient fabrics once again. Before that, I will have to travel some more, shop in abandon, jump continents, embrace jet-lag, say good-byes, plan and attend a wedding, say hello to agents and landlords, and start all over. I don’t wear a watch anymore. I wear hats and dance with myself in my apartment. I have a new laptop (Macky). I’ve decided I love swimming. I’m in doubtful love. My life is organised to within an inch and I have perfected the smile of mild condescension. I want to scream with happiness. I listen to Caro Emerald and Mogwai and Groove Armada. Othertimes, I’m probably SNSD’s biggest Indian fan.

Some afternoons, I begin to write cover letters and update a resume and this song comes on and I purr.