The Hiatus Explained

Ah! The number of posts that have begun with “I’ve been meaning to write, but…” I just ran out of excuses, so I’ve caved in and begun to type away.

How long has it been? A couple of months, at least. It’s already been nine weeks since I got back from my three week visit with the family back home (the one where I really come from. Bangalore), yet it seems like ages ago! Not too many things have happened since, but I’ve been a busybody, so there’s naturally a lot to talk/write about.

Let’s start with December ’11.

I was way too excited about going home after two and a half years that most of what happened during my preparations escape me. My family from Atlanta had driven over for Thanksgiving, and despite the typical Chicago chill, we had a great time. Seven of us packed in quite cozily into my little apartment, walking around the city, me boasting every step of the way, them smiling and nodding indulgently… I even took them to my office, where my brother had a ball of a time, once he was fed and watered. We had our Thanksgiving feast, and they left. I had no time for brooding because now I had to pack! And I did! I had a ton of shopping to do. Packed, unpacked and repacked everything before I was satisfied I was set.

I made sure I was armed with some GBP, because my layover of 4 hours was at Heathrow (have I mentioned I love Terminal 5??) and I intended to make the best of it. I was already rather taken over having flown over southern Ireland and a lot of England – seeing the rolling meadows, craggy cliffs, crashing waves, quaint little towns, and the gorgeous country side of the United Kingdom I knew why poets and authors were so inspired. I knew why I loved them.

My homecoming was as expected. Joyous, exciting, emotionally taxing. There was the expected talk of ‘marriage’ and I thank the sanity bestowed upon my Mum and Dad in this case, while I doubt that of everyone else. I’ve been left to my devices, to focus on my career and general self, which is such a relief at this point because I don’t think I’m ready for it!! Anyway…. a gazillion visits to the dentist, a sojourn with the parents, some quality family time, catching up with long lost friends, some expected some unexpected… it was all fun and joy, but I was rather glad to leave. Really!

As a Christmas gift to myself, I bought a Kindle Fire! No, I’m not cheating on my beloved bound books, I’m just keeping with the times. This does not mean or imply that I’m giving up physical books. I’m just going to be using both. Physical, bound books will forever remain my first true love, the one that lasts forever, while the eReader is just a mistress that may (or may not) lose it’s charm.

January ’12

I travelled half the globe ringing the New Year in on three different continents and over a dozen countries, the longest prolonged first day of the New Year for me. Felt good, somehow.

The month wasn’t uneventful, I must say. Chilling temperatures, raging winds, grateful for and then lamenting the lack of snow, wading through new restaurants, and Chicago’s winter offerings, actually succeeding in preparing some dishes that I thought only my mother could do, reading and more reading.

I think I did a bit of soul searching at this point. Nothing very serious, but I did find it necessary to rethink my priorities and realize why I am the way I am and why only few people understand that. Seriously, especially after the harsh slap of reality a few months ago that prompted my writing a poem, I fully believe in karma, more so now than ever before.

Owing to my renewed intentions of getting fit, inspired by the results of my previous self-imposed fitness regime last year (and the fact that I now pay a monthly fee for my gym :P), I took to swimming. It felt sooo good to be back in the water! I didn’t realize how much I missed it till I stepped into the pool and did 40 laps in my first session! Naturally my muscles protested and scolded but I stuck with it. It’s been almost a decade since I partook in such intense swimming. It will take me a couple months to regain my previous form, but for now, I’m happy to be back in the water!

February ’12

A leap month, which bears no more significance to me than any other person who cares about the number of days in a year. I discovered Downton Abbey sometime in January, thanks to my having a Netflix account, and stuck with that obsession as I waded through a whooping 17 books in the first two months of the year! I didn’t expect to have such a good start, and now that I do, I hope I don’t lose it! I’ve been alternating between the serious books, which to me are the classics, and the quick reads, which include present day thrillers/mysteries and historical romances.

Significant changes in the lines of friendship… in the year of the dragon, no less. I can’t say I’m surprised by the outcome, but it does hurt when someone you’ve given your whole support to accuses you of being too ‘uppity’ to hang out with! Silliness, I say, because I know that the relationships worth keeping have sustained a lot worse and are still strong and rolling. I appreciate them more now.

I discovered some older authors that I’ve never read before, I’m rethinking my career path, planning out my list of ‘things I want to do before I die’ – I refuse to call it a ‘bucket list’ because I think it sounds lame – and falling in love with this wondrous city again.

———–

I know I’ve left out a lot of things, but this post was meant to just get me back into the writing mode. I admit that I’ve been paying more attention to my review blog (Words – Others & Mine) and it has worked wonders in my keeping abreast with my reading challenge(s) for the year. I expect to keep this blog up to date in the coming weeks, given that I do have a lot lined up this month, Riverdance for one. Yes! Riverdance! Not Michael Flatley‘s company, however, but another, and they’re coming to Chicago in two weeks. Can’t wait to finally see a live performance after all these years (beginning when I was maybe 10) of dreaming of it. And I’ll finally be in the city for St. Patrick’s Day! Also, now that I have a decent digital camera, I think I might take to re-exploring the city whenever I have the time.

Here’s to March being a fun and productive month!!

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24

This is not a post about the TV show (Kiefer Sutherland’s cute but I’ve watched only the first episode of the first season and forgot about it. Somehow Jack Bauer didn’t strike it with me 😛 ). This post concerns a lot of things, summer/semester break transitioning to fall (and a new semester/final year of classes), my turning twenty four years included.

As has been frequently update on the little Twitter feed on the left bar of this blog, I flew to Atlanta the instant I sat my final exam for my summer class. Five and a half weeks at home, family and all, I overdosed on. Really overdosed on. Because for the first time ever I felt homesick when I returned. More about that later, so first the fun stuff.

Summer was hot and becoming down south, but did I mind? I who so fervently declared that I do not really like the sun (because of the tan and freckles it has been giving me in the past fifteen years)? Nope. Four hour drives to Valdosta, a little southern town, with southern food, only gave me a headache when I stepped out under the 104F waves of heat but otherwise I had the time of my life. Our family trip along the south eastern coast (sort of), along the lines of history, has got to be the highlight. See an upcoming post for the descriptive journal entry (for each day of the trip). We spent a good part of the six days either in a car or walking, though the latter is what I remember more having slept through most of the ‘driving’ part of our journey.

It revived my historical interests. And also my political fascination – as far as building a nation goes. Standing in the very seat of power of the world’s most powerful nation does that to you. Just entering Washington D.C. did it to me. I could feel the power, the root and branches of what this country runs on… Every building, every street bespoke of history, the struggles and the triumph from which a nation was born. (I remember feeling that way when I visited some historical sites and the nation’s capital back home – the rise and fall of kingdoms that eventually gave birth to the largest democracy. It struck a chord within me then and it struck me now). It’s not just the fact of knowing that you stand now where some of the greatest figures in history once sat and contemplated freedom and mapped out their visions of a free country of their own. It’s knowing that they succeeded and the world as we know it today is because of everything they fought for. *I just got all caught up in the moment there, didn’t I?* Anyhow. It was fascinating. Every tiny detail of it. My sister helped me brush up on my history before we set out (because for some reason we couldn’t recall the name of the famous French general that stepped forward to help the Americans… Lafayette, though we recalled all the events – and even his face, off of a documentary film – and things he had been involved in during the American and French revolutions).

That week was a clear blur *mad oxymorno* because I remember absolutely everything! Including my brother’s now famous line – “I will attack you again and again. And who shall prevail? You! Because YOU are the villain!”. And then there was my birthday, just the week before we left on this trip.

My 24th year of life and living. My first in a different country – it does have a significance as far as the grand scheme of my life is concerned. Greek fruit cake, and a Mexican dinner topped off my celebrations this year, along with family and good company. 🙂 I feel so special :P. It just brings to perspective how far I’ve come (in terms of revolutions around the sun), what I’ve been doing all these years and what else lies ahead. It was that point, again, where I took into bearing everything, took a deep breath and smiled. And then soon, too soon, it was time for me to come back to school.

I actually cried when the plane took off. I felt home sick. More so now than when I left from India. In retrospect, a year ago I was excited about school, the new city and people. This time around, I had settled in, I knew what was in store for me, and I missed home and family so much more. And then I had to fall sick on the first day of school! The headache, tiredness, running nose, watery eyes… It put me off!! It was all wrapped up into one neat little bundle and handed to me on the very first day of work and classes. I ran on Tylenol and Theraflu for five days while I unpacked and settled into my new room (all the time wondering how I ended up with so many things – 4 large suitcases, 1 carry-on size suitcase in addition to several other bags of varying sizes and weight when I’d only arrived with half the amount). My spirits lifted when, within four days of my arrival back at Chicago, I had booked tickets back to Atlanta for fall break \m/ (which is exactly a month away now)!! So now it’s all cool.

Then there was this shopping spree that I went on. Spent close to a grand one several important things that I wanted but may not have needed. And I got these really really sexy knee high fall boots, evening slippers with a 5-inch heel, a black dress, bomber-type jacket, a nice ‘newsboy’ hat with a little bow on the side and some more little things (that cost a good lot of money 😉 ). Oh, and frequent stops at Starbucks for their Chai Tea Latte (cold) or a delicious Frappuccino – double chocolate, strawberry soy, or vanilla bean… Yeah. I splurged. It was one of those phases where I couldn’t walk out of a store without making a purchase!! It happens!! 😛

Well. So I’m here and it’s all strange without the multi-national gang that crowds the Commons for every meal. Most of them have either moved off-campus, or just left 😦 which is sad. We, literally, lived together for an entire year! And we did get close, we had our share of disagreements and arguments, but we still became a close-knit group, multi-cultural, multi-lingual… I’m going to miss all of them. Till we meet again, of course.

It’s onwards with the semester. Homework and reading already assigned. Constant vigilance, so to speak. I shall sign off this post, for now. But definitely more to come regarding the trip, books and music! 🙂 Cheers!

Celebrate the Day!!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY !!! 😉 LOL !!

It’s been exactly a year since I attended my first job interview and subsequently a year since I was offered a job at Wipro and thus HAPPY ANNIVERSARY !!

Wow!! Already a year!! And in a matter of months I’m going to actually start working. Actually!! Can’t imagine that now. Well, didn’t imagine that I would be offered a job while I was still in my 6th semester (with another year of undergraduate still to finish) either, but that did happen didn’t it?? However dream like and improbable it seemed at that moment, it happened. That feeling of jubilation that I experienced as the new sunk…Damn!! That evening of 9th April, 2007 when my name was announced it didn’t feel any different. It really, honestly didn’t feel great. Just that sense of having done something good. Then a few days later the truth of it dawned upon me. I was still studying and I had a job in my hand. But only a few months back when I received the offer letter did I realize how marvelous it truly was. 😉 The knowledge of the joy it had given everyone in my family – my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. It really struck me close when last year my mum asked my dad what he was getting her for her birthday, which falls on April 14th, and my dad replied, “Your daughter’s given you this, what more can a mother want?” It wasn’t the job. It was the accomplishment he was talking about. The silent endurance to do it my way without caring for what others had said (inclusive of the ‘advice’ not to do B.E. – this from most of our close relations). Yeah, I was proud. Still am. Of course there is much more to do, but that was the stepping stone and to have done it in the first trial was more than just simply satisfying.

And it’s been a brilliant year since then 😉 Such happy things happening all through it, I really believe it has been 12 months I will never forget!! Possibly the most tiresome, action filled 12 months I’ve so far ever faced!! And I miss it already!!

Ah….Reminiscing about what has come to pass has become, now, a pastime for me. I sit in some corner of my room, preferably by the window above my bed, and just wonder. Sometimes with my journal out on my lap and my pen scribbling matters of the heart and mind so fast I can barely comprehend what I’m writing, but it always makes sense in the end. And as always, in moments of joy or sadness, a song comes to mind. This one I’ve been obsessed since the 2006 FIFA World Cup. ‘Celebrate the Day’ by Herbert Gronemeyer. Just listen to the chorus…doesn’t it elevate you from the inside??

It’s Perfect !!

Know the feeling when you want something so badly and you get it and then you don’t realize the truth of it? That’s the exact way I’m feeling right now…now that I’m a Wiproite !!!! Oh yeah baby !! I’m in !! All the way !!
It still hasn’t sunk in that I’ve a job and a salary to look forward to as soon as I finish my under-graduation, considering I’m still a senior, not really at the threshold of completing my studies, but still there !!

Anyway, it was a tiring day and a very well spent one. Waking up at 6 in the morning is no joke for me, and as soon as I got to college, I was surprised to find that I had no feelings of fear or any sort of apprehension. It felt good. Like I was destined for somethings, and one of those things happened today.

The joy that it has brought everybody !! My H.O.D., the placement officer, the principal, and the whole of my family… Now that is the most important thing !! I made some ten phone calls the moment I came out !! First home, then Mama, then Mum and Dad, then Grandpa…WOW !!!! I’m still revelling in the shock of hearing my name announced. Seeing my name on the notice board, accepting the form for the H.R. round, and then finally my name being called out !! I knew it’d be there, but then, I’m only human. And if I hadn’t a single trace of doubt, it’s not worth it.

I portrayed myself very well and was very surprised to find that technically I am really good. Especially in understanding the logic. My analytical skills, the interviewer told me, are brilliant and there was more to myself in the technical side that I cared to think about. Never has someone said this to me. I loved hearing it !!!!

So, now I have a job, a good salary for a fresher, and I have a magazine to complete and another exam to concentrate upon.

Thank you for all your support !! Dearest God, you have given me this moment to shine. Thank you !!

God bless one and all !!

Crying In The Rain

I love to walk in the rain because no one can see me cry – Charlie ChaplinFrom the moment I heard these words, I have been haunted by them.
Maybe if someone else had said it wouldn’t have affected me as much. But coming from the one of the world’s greatest comedians, a person I used to laugh my head off at…it kind of shattered me.

Going along the same lines of coming to terms with my Mum and Dad not being here with me, I fell alone. I can no longer complain so freely to anybody. I can’t laugh about what the dumb things the boys do during class hours and the stupidity that they seem to be made of. And I can no longer confide in anyone as I used to confide in Mum. Yeah, so I talk to her everyday. But it ain’t the same.

Right, so coming back to the matter at hand.
Crying is one of the best things that a person can do. You can cry when you’re happy, sad, in bliss, or feeling utterly wasteful.
Having said that, I must once again delve in to the mystery that I have created my lead character to be (here I digress to my novel…my aspiring novel). I identify with the confusion she faces in her life, which, I might add, has been created as a parallel to my own. She has now become a reflections of my thoughts and wishes. And even my inner-most desires.
The helplessness she faces, the pain that tortures her…Crying is what it ends at.

Funny, is it not? How life will pull you in two directions. And then just when you think it’s over, Life comes back to pluck at you from a few other angles.
And you just want to break down and cry.

No other better remedy, if you ask me. For anything. Just cry it out.
It might make you feel weak and sometimes damn vulnerable. But in the end…it’s worth every tear drop.