Saturday, October 28, 2006

I found a family

So, its been 2 months. A careful observer would point out that there is nothing preceding the 'so' in the previous sentence. But that is how it is here! (they're weird sometimes... they sont even know that the 't' in often is meant to be silent).

But anyway, as one interesting chap has corectly said, "When in Santa Barbara, be a Santa Barbarian" :-)

Life is good. Pleasant. Peaceful. Slow. Healthy. Simple. Thought-provoking. Naughty :-)

I am a proud owner of a MacBook, a huge closet, a lovely bike (and a more expensive bike-lock), a half-bathroom.
I have a key to the house! After 2 months, it still feels strange to come in the middle of the day and open the ouse with the key insted of ringing the doorbell (we don even have a doorbell).

But the house is tending towards being a home now. We girls have 'settled in', so to say. We have begun to accept each others idiosyncracies. The everforgetful Juan has caused the fire-alarm to go twice on the same day because she forgot the 'tea' she's put on the gas. Erica is an established cleaner. After the kitchen has been 'cleaned', no one finds anything at all. People go crazy for days searching for things and end up putting salt in coffee. Moreover, everyone coniders themselves proficient enough in the art of singing and the house gets a littl too musical with an interesting symphony of Chinese and Opera and Rehman and Reshammiya.

Then there are the 2 TVs. One of them is sulking so much for our lack of love for it that we've given it a higher place in the shelf. But it still sulks and faces the wall. The other is tired of over-use by Golu and her guest. So there is theatre almost every night!

Then there is our interesting dustbin that keeps me company during late nights. And I have got so emotionally attached to it that I cant get myself to call it a bin. Henceforth it shall be referred to as 'khulla' and the reason shall get clear in the ensuing statements. It is rather well desingned artifact and I wonder if it is artificial intelligence at its best and most efficient. It has a spring that closes it. But the beauty is that it snaps open when there is slight movement around it. (My roommates call it a defective peiece and are conviced that it does not have good intentions, but I differ). It has scared many of our guests. Just as they walk past it, lo behold! Khulla opens out of revolt, making a noise, and the guests are given an aromatic surprise. And then all the initiated people try to work out their physics and calm down Khulla by 'adjusting' its spring et al. But my khulla is not so easily tameable. It stays true to its spirit and name and continues to entertain me.

Then there is my bedroom. oh! How much i love it. I love the fact that its small. I have NOT yet lost even my safety pin in it (I agree that this is an xageration... not becasue I avent lost a safety pic, but because I dont own a sfety pin :-) ) And I can dump my clothes ANYWHERE in my section without anyone telling me to clean it. It has inspired a new principle that I came up with: "The probabilty of finding an item in the universe is proportional to the randomness of items in the universe".

Then there is our fridge. Its the physical implementation of Pandora's box! Really!
It has the following properties:-
1. For every item that you can think of, there exists a sample of it in the frdge.
2. It is not true that there exists an item x that you want to fit in the fridge, and it wont fit in.

By virtue of the above 2 properties, the fridge is not just a Pandora's box, but also an inverse Pandora's box! :-)

Then there is the bathroom. But I shall not belabor on the merits and demerits of four ambitious girls sharing the same bathroom, for I think it to be quite a controversial topic.

That's my new home! I love it. I love the dining table, the sofa that is more cofortable than the bed, my comforter that makes me so warm, the thermostat (on which all 4 girls have conflicting views and every night, secretly, each one comes out and adjusts the temperature to her liking), the sink, the balcony (which is shared with the guys) (no, NO-ONE that good ;-)) the vessels and the plastic dishes that have compartments in it, the juice cans that make me thirsty by simply looking at them, Prerna's supremely delicious bhajis and dal, Prerna's inspiring talks,
the attitude of my room-mates.

I have found a family.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

lessons learnt by an 'Indian Desi'

A long awaited post... Awaited mostly by me... was dying to put experiences into concrete words... wanted time to myself.. to reflect, to ponder, to assimilate, to make sense of it all, to make it into a flow and avoid a series of "goto" statements :-)

Phew!! The learning curve in the last month surely has been steep. (slope almost infinite!).

So, how do I start? Well, I could go about writing of how I had a 'glamorous' and tearful departure. But well, I don want to write 'senti stuff'... definitely not start with it.

I shall directly skip to the lessons I learnt:-

1. If you keep thinking that 5 Euros is equal to 4 movie tickets in R-Mall, you will always stay hungry in Paris.

2. Long earrings are in fashion EVERYWHERE, except in airplanes. If you attempt the fashion in airplnes, you are going to get stared at.

3. Its better to go to the loo when you are on the airport rather than lazily procrastinating the task and then inconveniencing your neighbours (and looking foolish) to go to the loo just when the plane is about to take off. (lesson 3.1 : There are no seatbelts in the loos of aircrafts!)

4. Your bags are always heavier than what you think.

5. If you are Indian (especially GujjuBen) then you SHOULD carry thepla. If you dont, the airport official will not believe you (and will wonder what's happening to the world), and will insist on opening your bag.

6. From the above it follows that if you are not carrying food, your bag will be rechecked becuse they are suspicious. And so you should not pack in your bag things that you would get embarrassed upon being unpacked. (Cricket guards with awkward shapes are a big no-no, no matter how much you care for someone. Likewise, stuffing undergarments in your kitchen bowl for efficient packing is surely going to make your cheeks go red!)

7. Sweet-talk can help you get your way through anyone - even the immigration officer. (he may even give you his phone number and ask you where you live, if you are wearing Davidoff's Cool Water).

8. Old men know they are old. But they dont like being told that.

9. If you want to know which way to go and in what direction you are already heading, a map is the last thing you consult. The first thing you do is look absolutely flustered and give a confused touristy look, especially if there are benevolent lookin people around. And then, if you are doing your job well, and if the person is benevolent, he will come to you and tell you all that you need to know and more. And if he does not approach you, you are anyway going to get lost. And next time you meet a kindred soul from good ol' India, you can tell them how unhelpful the goras are, with ample evidence and mirch masaala.

10. The map is drawn with a reduced scale. That means, roads drawn on maps are smaller than their actual lengths.

11. New York City may be the capital of the world. But just as a guy from Jamblapur in Assam cant really appreciate the 'coolness' of Cuffe Parade, one may not be able to appreciate "downtown Manhatten".
Caution: There is no Jamblapur in Assam. Probably, there is no Jamblapur ANYWHERE.

12.If you dont know what dish you are ordering in the 'really happening' restaurant you went to (all by yourself), its best to ask the ingredients (and check the price) (BEFOREHAND).

13. Order Salad only if you know how it tastes.

14. If someone askes you whether you have seen "American Desi", say yes only if you have. Its ok to say no. Its better to say no anyway, coz most likely the person who asked you has acted in it!!!

15. if you are not missing India, its normal. Dont try hard to miss it. In the process you miss whats happening around you.

I have learnt many more lessons. These are the lessons that I learnt only in the first 2 weeks of my US adventure. And I have been here for 5 weeks.

WOW! I am lovin this...