Friday, June 1, 2012

Saturday


Coincidentally, i'm listening to the song "I Wonder", as i write this on a Saturday. In my context, i wonder if the sky would be as blue as it used to be on Saturdays? It used to be my favourite day of the week. The apparent change in pace that a Saturday morning brings, with the promise of 2 days of relaxation was amazing. Saturday was the day i met Mahroof, Bhuvana and Lola for chai, at the canteen. It was the day, i dint need to pretend that i was worth the money my company was paying me. It was the day, i would give mindless gym sessions of the week a break. The day i could wear jeans and a anokhi/fab india top. The day i rarely prayed. The day i spent time either with Mangaldas, or with Swati. The day that made me sane.

I would trade a million days and things of my life for the guarantee of getting back those Saturdays.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sunshine Yellow

I generally write when i'm sad or when i think something is funny. So i write now, when i feel a certain calm. And this calm comes knocking on a friday afternoon at 2:58pm. And this is despite a lot of things that remain yet to be marked off  from my 'to do' list for the day. There is a lot of sunshine at this moment, and everything looks warm and nice. What makes the entire scene nicer is the loud noises of kids screaming, shouting and laughing. I'm sure they are managing to irk a lot of people who like their afternoon naps, but not me. While i was about to write this post, i saw this guy with irritation written all over his face, come out to his balcony and look down at the kids.

Since i'm a person whose default setting is 'past tense mode', i got back to my school days phase. I distinctly  remember the afternoons when it was either a holiday or the school would have shut early day and kids in the building would get together. The setting was also good...not a garden or a marked out play area - but the entire society/colony, the roads outside, the staircases, terraces, and that odd rusted pink or white ambassador car with defalted tyres and grass growing underneath. But this play ground minus a swing, a 'slide' was great fun.

For a significant part of my early school days, we lived in the Housing Board society- where houses looked all the same, buildings were not more than 3 storeys high and had Block A/B/C markings, where fencing meant a barbed wire, and cows, dogs n kids co existed. One rain, and slush mixed with cow dung everywhere. hahaha.There wasnt  a clear parking area..it wasnt a big deal, when all you had to park was bajaj scooter, or a lml vespa, or a moped :), and then there was always enough space for the family who had a premier padmini or an ambassador. No plot was allocated, but everyone knew where to park and where not to. It was so common to see moms discussing stuff at high decibel levels across balconies, a husband teaching his 'mrs' to ride the scooter, a scooter being used as the wicket stump by cricket fans, etc etc.

Now we live in fancier settings. We have security gaurds, 5 storeyed parking facilities, green trees, swimming pool, and houses with tiles which are not grey and chipped. And m thinking of back then. Its probably always greener on the other side. I'm happy i recollected some of those  forgotten everyday scenes.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

blues.

i think i'm searching for something. i am not sure what. does it therefore make my search futile?Is sitting in a corner and reminiscing also called searching or is it referred to as -doing nothing? Am i looking for strength or for a bolt of lightening? Or has the lightening struck already, left me shaken up? or am i just imagining?
I sometimes think of myself as  the black and white grainy image that flashes on television screen when interrupted, with a lot of incoherent background noise that sounds like kkssssshhh. Will the kkssssshhh go on or be replaced by a static rainbow, followed up by 'so we were here, before we got interrupted' and now lets move on.

Will doing the same pattern of things to beat monotony break the monotony or will it eventually become monotonous? I should try and then figure out right?

Are there things that my mind tells me and i keep ignoring because i want to believe otherwise?Or is my mind  playing-mind games?

is this me? Where did this me come from? Should i look outside or inside for  the answer? And once i find the answer, what will i do with it? Will i learn from it or will i submit to it?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

nocturnal raatein

so what should i do during yet another of my spree of nocturnal raatein?
1.Read a book- yah maybe...but if i do that now, what will i do when the sun shines bright?
2.Watch tv- there are re runs of Glee, strange movies, and some random game shows. how come tv was most exciting when there were board exams to prepare for?
3.Surf the net- there is only so much of gmail gtalk facebook news channels that you can do in a day or night.
4. Hear the various background noises. hmm interesting. right now i distinctly hear a woooosh sound, generated by speeding vehicles, this is interrupted by sound of a falling object-a kitchen spoon. thats it..i hear nothing else.
5. fight the idea of getting nostalgic. i've fleeting images of friends, and more appearing of and on. i try to keep them at bay.
6. keep checking gtalk list to see if any of ur close ones are green
7. wonder what needs to be made of tomorrow.
8. porn and that category is not an option. it never was. maybe if m born as a guy smetime later!
9. music- depsite spanning over a 1000 songs, the collection can be safely called limited. and been listening to it for atlst 4 years now. not more 2nite.
10. another idea for blogging maybe.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

things needed asap

1. continous dose of pep talk. more in a medicine like format..that can be injected right up the arse, when the first signs of needing appear.
2. increased retention. realised that i read books and paper and garbage so that ive better gk and perspective. neither has happened. its almost as if, all that i read directly makes its way to my brain's recycle bin.
3. outwardly focus.
4. virtues of patience, acceptance, non judgemental attitude and temper management.


Friday, April 1, 2011

a few good times

Friendly banter has been far and between in this new land and so when it comes around unexpected, i totally cherish it. Chai cups ( a recurring phenomenon in my previous posts), have  been dizzily replaced by cocktails and the likes, yet the banter is flowing, and i am happy. I met simple people after a long time. I heard my favourite term 'macha' after aeons.The last 2 world cup matches did the trick.
First it was the india-aussie match, where i met a whole lot of people, some known faces and unknown names, and others altogether unknown. But a few bets,  some spirited sips down, and a match that could swing either ways, it felt like good times. Glance sideways, survey the rtables at the back, and yayy..all indian faces. Afterall, its quite a different feeling when you are otherwise a minority, but for few brief passing moments, you define the majority. All the hooting, applause, coordinated sighs, set the pace for the next match, the probable BIG one-India Pak.

Match 2 was even better, since besides the general nervousness and excitement, many of us also turned up in blue jersies.So what if i follow cricket matches at the rate of once every four years, that too only if India plays a game that matters  Pseud and artificial as it may sound, but singing the National Anthem in a foreign land, gave me my more than usual share of goosebumps.  . So there we were, screaming and shouting and by now i was a familiar face. In this land, with zero identity, a few knew my name. wow. The match was turning exciting, but for me that didnt really matter so much. I was among simple happy faces, and it felt like my good old times.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Istanbullus

Not once in my not-so-wild dreams did i imagine waking up on the banks of the Bosphorous, looking out at the distant skyline dotted with mosques and taking in some European air. Istanbul, the city with an exotic sounding name, emmitted a certain vibe,  that resulted in my not- so- well -read brain to conjure up images of belly dancers sashaying to some arabian nights kind of music.So there i was in the month of Decemeber with air tickets, hotel accomodation, copy of lonely planet, and a new found husband, enroute to Istanbul.
A drive from the airport towards the main city, and you realise, this is no Arabian nights instead its more of European days! (ok i realise thats a horrid sentence formation). One passes through a very chic city,  with naturally grown pine trees lining most of the landscape, good roads, fancy cars, the Boshphorous one side and as you approach the city,  innumerable mosques. You also cant fail to notice the well turned out men and women, in sharp clothing, in this case-winter wear.
The city is a delight to trained and untrained eyes and platter. Eyes- for you can see a beautiful city, gorgeous looking human beings( at no extra cost), and to the platter for its very wide spread of delectable array of food. Also, how often does one come across cities which give you adequate options of sight seeing (historical ones at that), places to shop (no not at the sterile malls), eating options, road side cafes, and night life if you please. The terrain is undulating, so you have paved roads going up and down, zig and zag through interesting facade and that itself can make you happy.

Before i go into a diatribe on how the city charmed me, i should say how it fares on public transport. well i'd give it a thumbs up. Its a city well connected by bus and tram services. Strangely the tram services charge a fixed price irrespective of the distance travelled. No complains though. Metered taxis are available just in case you want to pamper yourself.

Now comes the charming part. Truck loads of historic places to see- is an understatement. On every nook and corner one finds a piece of history- be it mosques, or a memorial, square etc. Several of the 'high profile' mosques such as Haga Sofia, the Blue Mosque etc are located in the Sultanahmet area. . These are the places where you enter and you can guarantee yourself that for the next hour or so your neck would be craned heavenwards. well such is the beauty of the domes and ceilings. Curiously, for mosques the insides of these are replete with images from the bible. Figures, these were initially churches, which the sultans converted into mosques, and today are preserved as museums. Most have been restored over the years, and are worth a drool. We didnt choose to go through all the must see mosques, since after a little while, one gets a drift of whats to expect. A not to miss in this series, is the Basilica Cistern- a basement water storage system. soft yellow lights strategically placed, lends this place a very surreal feel. unfortunately for me, my battery gave away at this time, and i couldnt manage more than a single click. Sob sob.
The one thing you would notice here is the innumerable road side cafes. I have always been a big fan of the concept of road side chai drinking. Be it chai kitlis as in Ahmedabad or nicely laid out cafes as in Istanbul. i love the idea of sitting by yourself in one of these cafes, slowly sipping tea and watching life around you. ofcourse, for me 'life' in istanbul meant- hot hot hot turkish men :D i wish we had more such cafes back home in India. (yes, such irressitble men too)

 


The other thing Istanbul is popular for is the Bazaars- Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Book Bazar. All of these are covered bazars, and non confirming layout with several nooks and corners only adds to the beauty of the place. Sometimes, going through the bazar was like being in a maze. Very often in search of a specific shop, we ended up going in circles without much luck.
The Grand Bazar is 400 years old, and you can please yourself with interesting beads n jewellery, ceramics, leather goods, beautiful carpets n rugs etc. You can bargain here, but dont expect heavy discounts. what you can instead expect is shopkeepers calling out to you and checking if you are an Inidan/Pakistani and in some instances Londonite (can u imagine. i was more than flattered!)
There are also several cafes inside just when you need a break. Guided by the lonely planet, we visited this one restuarant famous for its 'dolmas'. Dolmas are stuffed aubergines. The owner was pretty happy to see us following the recommendation of the lonely planet and gave us some free packets as take aways. :) nice eh? Next was the turn of the Spice Bazaar. No suprises here. Enter the bazaar, and the heady aroma of a whole lot of spices hit you. With the reds, greens, and yellows, placed under the yellow light, this place is quite colourful and instantly lively. You find bizaare spices too- love spice (in the pic below), viagra spice (yes!).
When you visit the spice bazaar, do not forget to look for the Babbi-hayat restauarnt, tucked away in a corner. That was the place, i had the best turkish food, with the most amazing ambience.

Near the entrance of the spice bazar is the Galata bridge. the basement of the bridge hosts the best seafood in the city. And from atop the bridge one can see 100s of people standing in a line and fishing. pity i couldnt click this sight.

Night life in Istanbul is not complete unless you visit the Istiklaal Caddessi. This is Istanbul's  high street area. A long stretch of road,  closed to traffice expect for a tram, lined with bristos, cafes, pubs, idyllic musicians, branded stores, art exhibits, delectable eatries, underground churches, and the young, old, bold, not so bold- but all restless souls. There is not one inch of space that has been wasted here. Someone would have laid out a table and a set of chairs, replete with a menu card. Every turn off from the main stretch would take you to either a quiet or loud restuarant. Buzzing with Istanbullus and tourists like us, this place is where we ended up on 3 of the 5 nights we were in the city.

One place that marks as the hotspot of Istanbul night life is one of the most famous pub in the world-Raina. Expensive and the place where whos who of the world come to party. Since i dont fall in that category and because places filled with high and mighty make me feel small, weak and ugly, i steered clear. :)

The other things we did while there was to see a short sufi dance performance, try out the local cuisine, visit Chora church, etc. Drive to the Chora Church was interesting thanks to the over talkative self praising cab guy. Figures, this chap drove anthony bourdain around for his no-reservations show in the city. I would have made small talk with him, but sometimes over inquisitive strangers put me off.

Two more things and wind up this note/essay. One is food. Turkish food is delectable. This is where i have tasted best of kebabs. Unlike the version we get back home, these kebabs are gravy based, served with yoghurt. Try Iskendar Kebab. (drool worthy)..and from the menu card i understand there are several options for veg only people too. If you order main course you get a complimentary starter- which is a huge oval shaped bread (read roti) with a small serving of cheese and some spicy chutney like thing.Their pizzas called as Pides are must tries, for these are thin crust, wheat based non cheezy or greasy. An awesome one in this category is the Lamacun. (non-veg). while there, try the turkish sweet- Baklawa. While i found it ok ok, i got some for people back home. it was cleaned and licked off in a few hrs time.




Second- people. While they are beautiful- (i havent seen such beauty before), i also found them mostly of the stiff upper lip nature.

That was about 5 days in Istanbul. A city you can explore by merely walking around, and ensuring you have a full supply of charged camera batteries. Im glad husband took me there. Loved the sighs and smells of the city. By the way- people of istanbul are called istanbullus. :)