Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Home is where the mess is

Special thanks to my dear friend Reynah for coming up with the golden words which shortened my whole post into one sentence.

Home.. Now where is that exactly? Where your parents live? Where you spent all your childhood? The place you live in right now? For most people the answer is simple and even the question might seem a little silly. But for someone like me its a valid question with mixed answers.

I've been at my new married life for 9 months now. A couple of weeks back I returned to India for the first time after getting here. Before leaving both me and my husband were looking forward to meeting family and friends and all the great food. We thought we were going 'home'.

The two weeks in India went by quickly. It was great for both of us to be with our family, get all the VIP attention. Not to forget the great food and the amazing Deepavali celebrations! It felt brilliant to sleep in my old room and eat at my mom's dining table and all that. When it was time to go back we both were dreading the journey back. The thought of the mess we left before we left made me want to cry. The thought of going back to work practically made me want to throw up. But leave we had to..

We came back and opened the door to the colossal mess that was our house. We went ahead just let everything be and dropped onto the couch. I felt a strange familiarity, the feeling of everything you need being exactly where its supposed to be ( strewn on the floor is a valid place). I thought I was crazy, but then I saw my husband smiling too. "We're home" I said.

The last two weeks felt like a well deserved vacation, and the place we once called home was more like a luxury resort now. Things had changed even for my husband, who always considered "home" to be the place in India where the parents live. Sure we were blue and depressed but it was like the end of any holiday, it wasn't "home"sickness anymore. Somewhere along the line, the little matchbox house with 2 messy people living in it had changed from being the "house we live in" to "home". Family was now me and him.

I don't know if home is where the heart is, but its definitely where the beloved mess is :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Letters to my younger self

Wouldn't you love it if you could send a message back in time and warn your younger self about the things to come. Think about it like this, we're all worried about the uncertain future, wouldn't you love it if you could take a peek just to know if everything turns out ok?

If I could pass messages back to my younger self it would go something like this:

Note to my 10 yr old self:
Don't quit classical music as much as you hate it. It's gonna come in handy when you discover your country music singing abilities. Don't worry about your buck teeth and skinny frame. Your orthodontist is gonna do a great job and loads of women will envy you for eating what you want and still not getting fat. I know your younger brother seems like a baby right now, be patient he'll grow up soon and become your best friend one day.

Note to my 15 year old self:
Don't worry about those bullies, they might tell you now that you're a loser. Wait a few years you'll end up doing way better than any of them in life. Make a little more time to appreciate your parents and your mom's food especially. You're gonna miss the dishes you hate right now. By the way your still really skinny 10 years from now so don't loose sleep, you'll get used to it soon. Stop trying to grow up too soon and enjoy the last remaining moments of childhood.

Note to my 21 year old self:
Life is about to get a lot more real, brace yourself. If you think you have problems now think again. But the good news is you're gonna sail through all the really tough times and come out just right. I know it seems like everyone around you is in love except you, and you're really worried you'll never find someone. Well, just take it easy and enjoy the single life with your friends, a sweet handsome dude is headed your way, who'll be worth every moment of crap you have ever put up with. Oh and right now, you might think getting into the IT industry and becoming a software developer is your true calling in life. There will be a quarter life crisis when you realize that though you're pretty good at it, its not really your "thing". Stop worrying about losing touch with friends after college, those who matter will stay connected even from the other end of the planet.

I'm pretty sure my future self will have tons to say, but just as I have no hope of transmitting these notes to the past, there's no way of knowing whats up ahead. So much for wishful thinking. The only thing I do know is that things will fall into place no matter how screwed up they seem right now.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Friends of friends

When friendship day swung around this year, I took a while to think of all my friends, old and new. I tried to remember how I became friends with each person I could think of...

The past year has been one hell of a friend making year for me. I feel very lucky to be in a position in life where I meet new people almost everyday. And Ive just realized that almost all the people Ive gotten pretty close to, either for years now or just weeks, they almost all came into my life as a friend of a friend.

Friendship and love are the only two relationships in the world which we are in by choice. We don't get to choose our family but we do get to choose whom we are friends with. While we do have the option of being extremely picky about whom we befriend, Ive come to see that the best friendships are born out of going out of your way to be nice to someone.

Thinking back, I can think of a lot of instances which went like this. I'm stuck with a friend of a friend, someone I barely know. I have the option of really trying to get to know the person or just being civil for the short time we are stuck together. Ive always chosen the first option and today I'm sooo glad I did, because these people are among of my closest friends.

I see a lot of people who don't mingle with people they think is below their "league". People who go to a party only for the food and booze and not the company, and I feel sorry for them.

Its easy to just stay in your comfort zone, stereotype people you barely know and decide that you've got enough friends and you dont really need another one. Its harder to make genuine conversation with a friend of a friend, harder to care about what they are saying, but who knows if this person is someone you'l still be talking to 50 years from now? Heck I wouldn't have met my husband if I had decided that I have enough friends and don't need another person to talk to.

Happy friendship day, to all my dear friends who've touched my life and made me smile, and friends of friends who are going to make smile a little more.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Yes I am back after a hiatus. After a period of writer's block, new job stresses, and the lack of time to breathe, I am back.

My own struggle with my new job and the general situation of a lot of people I know just got me thinking? Why do almost all of us make a living out of something we cant stand doing?

I loved my new job in the beginning. I actually spent a while where there was absolutely no such thing as Monday blues. But when the stress notched up a lot and the whole reality of the corporate politics sunk in, Mondays make me physically nauseated.

And as it goes, we all start off thinking we are doing something we are going to love. But what happens when you realize its not exactly what you wanted? Well what almost everyone I know does is just swallow the frustration and get on with it. Because at the end of the day its what gets the food on the dinner table.

Its very idealistic to say just quit and find something you are passionate about. Its true though not practical. What I found is a middle path. Do what you are hating ONLY if you can justify the suffering for something worthwhile. And often we don't have to look too far. For most people its found at home (well wherever the heart is).

I saw a guy on TV who cleans public toilets and he said, the days he gets completely disgusted he thinks about his precious little daughter and how he might afford to actually send her to college one day, and that gets him going again.

My inspiration is sitting on the couch as I type. The thought of building a life together (as opposed to him doing all the crap and me just sitting on my backside) just instantly makes me feel like its all worth it. Maybe one day when opportunity knocks and I can actually get a big break (or make a break for myself) I'll definitely do something I truly love.

To all the folks who never have Monday blues, I salute thee. For the rest of us - keep the IM of life open, opportunity pings very rarely but it just might!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Melting Pot

One month ago, I landed in a place which is a melting pot in the true sense. I arrived at Singapore, a place of confluence of many cultures, races and variety of people.

I love observing people. In this month of wandering the streets and exploring the place I’ve had a chance to observe and interact with people who on the outside seemed really different from me, with very different backgrounds.
When you put so many different people together in one little place, you’ll find one common trait: The ability to adapt. It starts with language and goes onto a lot of different things like body language and mannerisms.

One good example is a little Indian boy I sat next to on a bus one day. He was probably around 7 or 8 years old. He was on the phone with a parent. Judging by the accent of his Tamil, I would say he was not a native Indian but the child of Indian expats who’s been here for most of his life. He was enthusiastically telling his parent which bus route is ideal for the parent. I was amazed at his independence and knowledge of the geography of the place, which is very uncommon back home. He spoke English occasionally with a proper Indian accent. He abruptly hung up on his parent saying he was getting another call. The other call was probably a friend his own age. I was taken aback when he switched to rapid Mandarin with this caller. And also he spoke intermittently in English but this time with a pronounced Chinese accent!

This is just one of the many people I’ve observed. Another thing that struck me is that no matter how different we seem on the outside, we are pretty much the same on the inside.

We all have the same problems with work politics, the same evil boss scenario, bad bonuses etc. You will find the same thoughtful wife who thinks ahead and carries an extra sweater for her husband. You will find the same guy who cooks for his partner when she’s stressed out. You will find the same parent handling difficult kids. And most common of them all, you will always find people looking for love.

But the most important people-lesson I’ve learnt is this: No matter where in the world you are, no matter how mixed the group is ethnically or otherwise, guys who never knew each other will instantly bond over alcohol, girls who meet for the 1st time will become close friends over a shopping spree.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Life on the other side of the web cam

One fateful day last month my life changed forever. Now nothing will ever be the same again. Yipppppeeeee :D

As the wise people say, the only permanent thing is life is change. For most people change comes in one at a time. But the path I chose involved every single thing in my life changing at the exact same time. So with a brave heart, exactly a month ago, I took the plunge called marriage. Its been the best month of my life so far. Life's suddenly one big adventure.

Soon after the event the world moves in a haze of relatives and gifts. Then came the honeymoon in heaven, all through which I kept asking my new husband if it was all real or just a fast paced dream.

After a hurried goodbye to my parents, friends and everything I had called home, I headed off to be part of a new family. It was a wonderful week of meeting my new family and spending quality time with them. More hurried goodbyes and numerous attempts at stuffing my whole life into 2 suitcases later, we arrived at the country that was going to be my new home.

I fell in love with our house the minute I set foot in it. A few hours and lots of shopping and hard work later that house became our home. My new little nest I share with my best friend who was now also my husband.

We spent another wonderful week shopping, sight seeing and meeting a lot of friends. And then it was time for my man to go back to work, and finally some semblance of a routine sunk in. I'm making the best of my time off by going out and exploring this new country with my new friends.

New husband, new family, new no-job situation, new country, new faces, new friends, new home all at once might seem really overwhelming to the outside observer. But for me its just been a wonderful experience. And there's just one reason for it. I owe it to my husband, and all his friends and family who've so far been amazing people. Every single person has really charming and made me feel very welcome wherever I went. Its the people you meet that make or break this sort of a situation and I'm lucky to have these folks around.

Now I see my family and friends from back home from the other side of the webcam. Thank heavens for modern technology. I now have the best of both worlds, and life's going to keep changing. I know I'll do just great, because I have the best people both old and new whom I can call family and friends.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The rollercoaster I call 2010

It's been one heck of a long year for sure. But one hell of a ride too. I've learnt some significant life lessons though, which I've been meaning to jot down here. But its really hard to focus when your whole mind is forever captivated by just one delightful being. But inspiration strikes and here it goes.

Its true what they say about happiness being just around the corner. Yes I was indeed running around in circles, until one day the universe decided to cut me some slack an throw me a corner.

The world is filled with strange crazy people. But there's something to learn from everyone. However, just think twice before inviting the crazy ones to your wedding cause you cant un-invite them.

If something didn't work out (job, deal, relationship, whatever) its only because you deserve something much better.

You can learn a lot even from other people's mistakes. For example I learnt that drinking and 'facebooking' is as dangerous as drinking and driving.

Luck definitely favors only those who are prepared, and are ready to work their backsides off for what they want. Wallowing in self pity does not get you anywhere.

Farmville and Lexulous addictions are very serious addictions and im proud to declare that Im now over 8 months sober!

Having a positive attitude is not one of the ways to be truly happy. Its the ONLY way. I made no mistakes in 2010. I only discovered a zillion ways how things can go wrong.