Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A simple solution

Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.
--Anonymous

Wow, this really hits the nail on the head. Get this right and half the battle will be won.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Our new laptop

My first post from our new laptop. What bliss to use it freely without worrying that the screen might just fall apart......well, the hinges were pretty much gone on one end and the hanging, that had reached epic proportions. Looking forward to getting to know this one...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Flowery welcomes

Well, the hibiscus on the guest bedroom window finally got the timing right with our third guest of the winter season. With our first guest it flowered a day late (probably because you ditched us at the last minute, v), with our second guests a day early (really wanted to have it on display for you, c & c), but this time it was right on target. It’s the perfect way to wake up and see a bright red hibiscus flower gently bobbing in the breeze on the windowsill. My bougainvilleas never fail me though, pinky pink, orangy-red turning to pink and orange turning to yellow, all keep up the constant supply of colour and bring chirpy sparrows to my windows. Its just great to have window gardens.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The City of Falling Angels-John Berendt

I finished reading a fabulous book about Venice, City of Falling Angels written by John Berendt, bestselling author of Midnght in the Garden of Good and Evil. All the characters in the book are real people, who lived in Venice, shaped and were shaped by this enigmatic city. Its a great way to get to know the city, its history, philosophy and culture. The people of Venice are who have made the city into a cultural center from master glassblower Archimede Seguso, nicknamed 'Mago del Fuoco' or Wizard of Fire, poet Ezra Pound, Peggy Guggenheim, Isabella Steward Gardner, the eccentric Boston art collector and many others. A definate must read for anyone interested in the history of Venice, with lot of extras about glassblowing, architecture, The Fenice opera building and art thrown in.

Love

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
-Mignon McLaughlin

I feel to really, deeply love someone is to love their eccentricities, the odd things about them that really define who they are, what separates them from words like 'nice' and 'smart'. Love is not about being nice, its about gelling at an unfathomable level with another person. Its about a wierd antenna connection.....in our case, at least.....of just knowing what the other person is going to say or feel or react, before they know it themselves. Its about letting go of all pretenses, of all preconceived notions and of all expectations. Its absolutely beautiful. Ich liben dich, sjb.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

FDI impact

One of the major worries of permitting FDI in the retail sector in India is that it will cause the majority of the small businesses to shutdown. This article should prove that allowing FDI would not bankrupt all small local businesses. Survival of the fittest will always prune some of the unhealthy ones out.

Here is an excerpt:
According to AT Kearney, since 1992, foreign retailers have pumped USD 3 billion into China, have set up more than 2,200 branch stores, yet sales of foreign retailers make up less than 3.5% of all retail sales in China, indicating that the domestic retail industry is thriving.

Read the full article here.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Malad-BPO & Mall heaven

Malad, a northwest suburb of Mumbai, is becoming the next hotspot for BPO’s and Malls after Gurgaon. The phenomenon of clumping BPO offices and Malls together is working really well; BPO workers are always short on time, get higher salaries than the average Indian and are extremely brand conscious, a winning combination from the Malls perspective.

Mindspace, a 170-acre complex in Malad being developed by K. Rahaja Corp. to cater to residential, commercial and retail requirements. The first completed area of Mindspace is Inorbit Mall, located on New Link Road, which has become one of the most successful malls in India. It is also one of the best malls in terms of variety and visibility of brands, store placements (clustering similar stores together), public space and entertainment value.

Over 40% of the residents in the primary and secondary catchment areas (within 30 minutes drive from the mall) have traveled abroad, 50% own vehicles and almost the same amount have microwave ovens, all factors that indicate a propensity to spend. The footfalls Inorbit Mall receives are phenomenal, 20,000 per day during the week and 45,000 on the weekends. During festival season, these go up to almost 50,000 during the week and 65,000 on the weekends.

Friday, December 02, 2005

FDI in rural sector

FDI in retail has been one of the most hotly debated subjects for the past year. Now it seems, most likely to be permitted for the rural sector to boost the rural economy and provide employment for millions of workers who come to cities to look for work. I think its a great way to counter the fears most have of letting international companies enter India.

Pantaloons, Shoppers Stop, RPG Group, Trent and some of the other big players who have been opposing FDI in retail on the grounds that they need more time to reach international standard to compete with the big guns, will not have to face competion directly and will be able to pick up and improve on international companies ways of retailing.

Read the full article here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Sunday Reading Sunday

Sunday! Nothing like a lazy sunday to spur you on to an energetic work week, or does it work the other way? We had a nice, lazeeee weekend, read the sunday papers.....its one of my favorite things to do lately, read the papers cover to cover, in fact I plan to subscribe to Hindustan Times too on sundays to extend this reading time. Indian Express is by far the best so far. The sunday editorials are superb and its articles cover the entire country, as opposed to Times of India covering bollywood and page 3 parties in Bombay. I also got to read a huge chunk of pages of the book I am reading, The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt, since I decided to be a bit ambition in the kitchen and make kheer. So I sat on the counter like a halwaiin and read and stirred, read and stirred. Venice and kheer was obviously a delicious combination and the kheer came out superb.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Live in Truth not Lies and Fear

A great article in today's Times of India by Sant Rajinder Singh called Fear Not, for Challenges are a part of life is definately worth a read.

How does forget these simple things that we were taught as children? I found quite inspired after reading it, more ready to face the world with a smile on my face as well as my heart than before. Its such a relief to let go of one's fears, by living a life of truth.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Breakaway

If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.
-John D. Rockefeller

No one could have done it better than John D., a hero of both my hushand and me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On moving to India

My husband and me moved back to India in 2004 (I had moved back to India earlier too, in 1996) and we often get asked why we moved to India? Was it worth it? What has been the hardest part of living in India?

Well, the thing is that one you get used to living abroad; you form a sort of a perfect idea about the home country and think of it more with sentimentality than reality. Life is great in India in some ways and in others it is absolutely pathetic, and it’s pretty much the same thing no matter where you live. Most people living abroad somehow get a feeling that if they move back to India they will be able to hold onto the good things of the current country as well as the things they miss most about home. Well, it just never works out that way in practice.

Moving to India is a really tough thing to do. And here I am talking about the daily practicalities not the sentimental values. Life is definitely simpler abroad. For example, I have 2 part time maids for the house, a driver and a car washer, but still have less free time and end up doing more work myself than I did in the States where I had no 'help' and did everything myself, including shoveling snow. How is it possible? It’s an unexplainable mystery of the universe, perhaps.

The division of labor is very seriously marked out and observed. The driver only drives the car; he does not wash or dust it. The car washer tosses a bucket of water in the general direction of the car and usually only once a week cleans the floor mats and the rest of the inside of the car. My part time cook does not cook or clean dishes that have anything to do with mutton, and the housemaid cleans only the floors of the house and not the bathrooms, unless you count it as a separate job and pay separately. All day you have the comings and goings of servants and an endless retinue of people coming to your door. The milk and newspaper in the morning, then the maids, car washer and driver, then the trash collection ladies and vegetable sellers, the couriers usually come one after another in the afternoon and the dhobi and eggs and bread boy at night. It’s one non-stop one bell ringing exercise after another.

Abroad you have gadgets to help you through the day and here you have personal contacts with neighbors, friends and relations. Pick the one that’s important to you, before deciding to move home to India. If you feel you can have it both ways, I promise you; it’ll be short-lived.

More on best citites to live in India later on...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Fruit-full musings

Ok, we finally have a somewhat decent grocery store in the neighborhood. Godrej's Nature's Basket opened yesterday in the Samarth Vaibhav building in Oshiwara/Lokhandwala. Now, we can at least have some salad leaves, sprouts and lots of what they call exotic fruits and vegetables, like avocado, broccoli and asparagus.

The chap that I buy my fruits from has a stall nearby, in-between our house and this new store, so each time I walk to the store, he looks very dejected. I was quite relieved to find that the fruit selection at Nature's Basket was pathetic and my fruitwallah is thrilled that he will still get my rupees instead of "the big bad rich grocery store".

I bought a 150gm bag of sprouts today and they charged me the rate for 1kg. So I had to go back and get a refund. My fruitwallah was so happy that the 'new store' had messed up, 'they are evil and corrupt you know', he told his neighbor fruitwallah.

And so it is, even though the new store should uncomplicate my life and shopping, I somehow feel a certain responsibility to keep buying my fruit from him instead of the shiny, new store.

love this one

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

-Anonymous

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Not really the Maximum City

Maximum City
Bombay lost and found
-Suketu Mehta

I had been looking forward to reading this book for absolutely ages. It was the book that was meant to make me to understand the city, to appreciate it and even love it. Unfortunately, it has not happened that way. I thought the book to be quite ordinary. The city that the book describes is full of weirdo’s and characters living on the fringes of society and acceptability, and if that really is the reality of Bombay then it’s a rather sad city.

In my opinion, the author wasn’t able to really capture the essence of Bombay, its spirit and its life. I believe there is more to Bombay than the hype of its unquestioned acceptance of all, its slums and the Hindi film industry.

The most surprising part of the book was that there was not a single character in the book to whom I could relate to, not a single normal person at all. Only gangsters, bar girls, slum dwellers and the highly talented and often eccentric Vidhu Vinod Chopra resided on the pages of this book.

I had been planning to continue with the Bombay theme and read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts next, which is the story of his life in the Bombay slums after escaping prison in Australia. Maximum City turned out to be what I thought would be the general setting of Shantaram. So, I am escaping a bit and switching cities to read a book about Venice called The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Gurpurab

Today is Gurpurab, Guru Nanak's 536th birth anniversary. The Japji Sahib prayer is the essence of Sikh philosophy and conveys the teachings of Guru Nanak.

The Japji Sahib is as follows:

Ek Onkar
Satt Naam
Karta Purakh
Nirbhau
Nirvair
Akal Murat
Ajuni
Saibhang
Gur Prasad

And here is the english translation:

There is but one God
Truth is his name
He is the Master-Creator
He is unafraid
He disdains none
His is the Image-Eternal
He is beyond incarnation
He is self-existent
He is realised through the grace of the True Guru.

Source:
The Japuji
Sikh Morning Prayer
Compiled and transcreated by Kartar Singh Duggal

Monday, November 14, 2005

Travel Memories

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.

-Lyn Yutang

So true! Memories of travels always take on a larger than life impression. The heat, the rain, the cold and tiredness are all transient. I remember a day spent at Harvard Square in December 2002, wandering around the bookstores, eating at a new age organic food cafe and drinking the life restoringly awesome hot chocolate at Au Bon Pain. It was a mind numbing cold day with knee high snow, but the memory has taken on a more sentimental and 'ah, those were the days' value. Now, I remember this day more for the memory of it than actual enjoyment, as I was too miserably cold to enjoy it when I was there myself.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Indian history-reality or fantasy?

Do Indians have a sense of history?

Read this interesting article on India Local News.

Here are some excerpts:
"My point is that Indians certainly need to re-write their history from the point of view of how our present failings as a distinctive nation,as a peace-loving people,is a bit self-deluding.We are in fact yet to come to terms with the everyday reality of the world and how the world events shape and how India as an independent nation fit into the emerging world realities."

"One important lesson for Indians is to realize that history is not a remote academic study.Nor,it has no lessons for the present living.History is ,in this all important sense,a living reailty!It is time we give our prevailing notions of great men shaping history.Great men often commit great blunders.For their blunders,people pay a heavy price.Not once.But generation after generation! Great events really dont have great causes.They just occur as everyday events."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

adding tags as yet

Working on putting the ICBM and Geo-tags, so until then, my location is not correct and blog neighbours are going to show as zero.

Purpose of life

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
American Poet, Lecturer and Essayist, 1803-1882

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Alexandra, The Last Tsarina

Some time back I read a book on the life of Alexandra, wife of the Tsar Nicholas Romanov, called The Last Tsarina by Carolly Erickson. Alexandra was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, daughter of the Grand Duke of Hesse and wife of the Tsar of Russia, but not a happy person. She was beautiful and talented but was somehow always melancholy, almost as if she were waiting for tragedy to strike. And eventually it did, after a series of problems relating to her marriage, in-laws, children and religion, Alexandra was assassinated along with her family.

It just goes to show you that your life is a reflection of your hopes and dreams, along with your capacity to work towards your goals. If you are determined to be sad in life, then your life will be sad and vice versa. One of the most successful biographers of historical figures, Carolly Erickson provides the reader with depth and insight into the heart and mind of the Tsarina Alexandra, the woman widely blamed for the downfall of the Russian Empire and the end of the Romanovs.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Stumble Upon

I first ‘stumbled upon’ this site last summer in Bangalore. It is a search engine that you can alter to suit your specific needs. All you need to do is to download the toolbar, create your profile and select the types of sites you want to search and voila, you’ll be able to travel to new and unheard of sites. Stumble Upon is a great way to find new and interesting sites that one normally would not come across. What makes it even better is that you can adjust the setting to ‘stumble upon’ only certain types of sites at a time, gardening, jazz guitarists, architecture, or whatever you want it to be. As you visit and rate sites, SU will remember your choices, so you can stumble upon sites that you are more likely to like.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Maggi!!

Maggi noodles are the best. It all started in boarding school at Sanawar when we hated eating the dreaded school food. Since we weren’t allowed any electric heaters in the dorms, we used to pour a little water (sometimes hot, but mostly cold) straight from the tap into the packet, mix it up a bit and eat it with great relish. I swear, it tasted better than the food at the Central Dining Hall.

I find I am addicted to Maggi noodles, again. It started during the days of the flood in July, when we were running out of fresh food and now I find myself forgoing fresh food in favor of the little yellow packet of Maggi noodles. And yes, the new green, healthy wheat version is not as much fun.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Fame

What is the defination of fame? Is it when your name appears in the front page of newspapers or on the third? Is it when you are known in your area or all around the world? My ultimate definition of fame is when your name appears as a clue on a crossword puzzle.

I had called the Kasauli Club some time back and was absolutely awed when the office staff knew who I was, and recognized me immediately as so-and-so's daughter, who lives in Bombay and before that in Bangalore. It was unexpectedly thrilling to be recognized even though it is my father he recognized and me only throught him.

I order most of my groceries over the phone from a store barely 50 meters down the road. Initially, the chap there knew where to deliver the stuff once I said the magic words "Kellogg's Wheat Flakes" (It seems we are the only ones buying them). Immediately he would butt in and say my address. Now, its come to the stage that no matter what I order, he knows where to send it.

We've usually not stayed in a place long enough to form these routines with vendors, but in a city like Bombay its the most important thing to do.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Progress and Paitence

All our progress is an unfolding, like the vegetable bud. You first have an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge, as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason. It is vain to hurry it. By trusting it to the end, it shall ripen into truth, and you shall know why you believe.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Lokhandwala

Yay, the monsoon is finally over. No more flooded roads. Instead we have dug up roads. BMC has decided to concretize every second road in Lokhandwala. The problem is that they are digging up the good roads, the ones that were perfectly good to start with while the bad ones are still waiting to get you and your car.

The traffic has been absolutely crazy in Lokhandwala with the Durga Puja pandals and melas. A stretch of road that takes us 10 minutes to walk, took 45 minutes in the car last night. We drove to Naturals for some ice cream last night, reaching there after the closing time due to the traffic, but miraculously it was still open. As we stepped out of the car, a couple with a young boy approached my husband asking for some money, as they had not eaten all day and had no money to even go back home to Nagpur. They both had an earnest look to them, almost embarrassed to be asking strangers, so we gave them our ice cream money and returned home. We weren't sure if we actually helped by giving them money or gave them the wrong impression about people in a big city, that it pays to ask strangers for money. We hope its the former.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Happiness

"One cannot divine nor forecast the conditions that will make happiness; one only stumbles upon them by chance, in a lucky hour; at the world's end somewhere, and holds fast to the days, as to fortune or fame."

— Willa Cather

Time

"To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth…is potentially to have everything…"

— Joan Didion

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


How priorities change!

My parents are in Vancouver these days and asked if I wanted anything from there. I did, and my list went like this:

  1. 9" round cake pan
  2. 2cup plastic measuring cup
  3. tension rods
  4. Ghirardelli hot chocolate mix
  5. cheesecake mix
  6. nutrigrain bars
  7. cinnamon powder

Two years ago, my list would have been drastically different, but now this is what I need. Most of these items must be available here, but I’d rather not conduct a treasure hunt on a national level to find them. So now, I want things from abroad that make living in India a bit simpler and more similar to our life there. We miss the way we lived in Providence, RI, all the little components that went into making our lives there, and love it when we are able to incorporate them in our lives here in Bombay.

It’s an odd world. When we were in the States, we wanted to take some of what we missed from India and now that we are back, we want to bring back some of our life from there. Balancing the two will be perfection.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Bombay update

Ok, so there's hope for Bombay as yet. For us to start liking the city, that is. We're reaching the point, where we need to decide once and for all to love or hate the city forever. In October, it'll be 8 months since we've been here....high time to figure it out, we think.

Two things happened this past week to somewhat improve our impression of the city. The first one, was a sign I saw on an empty plot of land just down the road from us, announcing the area belonged to the Postal Department. It may not mean much to a lot of people, but to me, having a post office nearby, raises the quality of area immensely. Just the possibility of having a post office in the neighborhood, makes me see Bombay in an entirely new light. I have to admit though, that they might just be building flats for postal workers but I have to hope it will be a post office.

The second was that I finally bought Suketu Mehta's book 'Maximum City'. The book is meant to make you fall in love with the city, understand its complexities and never ever want to leave it again, especially not for Delhi. I had resisted buying this book just as I resisted having to actually like Bombay.

I didn't realize I was thinking this way, until I started reading Swati Kaushal's book 'Piece of Cake' and found myself disappointed that it was set in Delhi and not Bombay as I somehow assumed. I think the time has now come for us to give the city a chance and at least allow it to grow on us like it does on everyone else.

Friday, September 23, 2005

IntentBlog

IntentBlog is an interesting site that's been around only a few months. Lots of interesting opinions from a wide variety of Indians across the globe. The blog was started by Shekhar Kapur and Deepak Chopra as a way to connect, inspire and stimulate views and ideas of Asians and Indians across the world.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wah China!

Been totally absorbed doing a research project on 5 provinces in China and have come away too impressed for words. By separating the government and the economy, they have opened the door for progress and are miles ahead of us. It seems unlikely that we will share the glory with them; this is China's century. Hopefully, we can get our act together for the next one.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sienfeld, finally!

Today is the day. The day that Sienfeld starts in India. It's been one of my favorites and I have been addicted to it from the word go. The show about nothing at all, always had lots to say about the people, places and going-ons of New York City. Its a more grown-up and witty version of Friends.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Writing like a man?

I found an interesting site recently called Gender Genie, which is part of the BookBlog site. Based on an algorithm developed by Moshe Koppel, of Bar-Ilan University in Israel and Shlomo Afgamon, of Illinois Institute of Technology, this program is able to predict the gender of an author. The algorithm uses a selection of words that differentiate between the sexes and is said to be 80% accurate. I tested it and found that it was wrong 4 out of 5 times for me, guessing my writing to be by a male author. Quite a surprise to discover that I supposedly write like a man. Try it out.

Monday, September 12, 2005

26/7 after effects

What a relief to get our car back from the workshop. The 26/7 flood really did a number on our car. It was a bit of a delayed reaction though. Initially, we thought we had managed to avoid the endless lines at the service shops even though the car was driven in almost 2 feet of water. The starter finally gave in to rust 2 weeks later and so we ended up at the back of that long line of cars waiting to be serviced.

We handed our car over on 6th September and got it back today. Thankfully we are not at the mercy of a moody starter or auto and taxi wallahs anymore. The guards of our apartment complex and office must be more thrilled than us that the starter is fixed; they were the ones always recruited into pushing the car to get it going!

The entire experience made me think of something that has troubled me for a long time. What works best, anger or politeness in getting someone to do the work? In this case, when we were at our wits end, we scolded, berated and shouted at the poor quality of parts in our brand new car or at the delay in service and at other times we were polite, smiling and courteous when we saw some progress being made. I wonder which worked more to our favor. Did we manage to get our car fixed for free because we threatened them by knowing the top bosses or because we were courteous and polite. I think its the latter, while my husband thinks its the balance of both that works best.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Wise words

One can't really build a relationship on a rotting foundation....not unless one wants to smell the stink everyday!

-Wise words from a wise sister.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Silent rain

I love the rain. I love pretty much everything about it, the before, during and the after. Since coming to Bombay, a city famed for its monsoon, I have been a bit disappointed with the rains. Or specifically the type of rain that rains on Bombay.

Growing up in the lower Himalayas and then going to college in Kansas in the US mid-west, famed for its tornadoes, I had developed a taste for a certain type of rain. The type that comes in grand style with thunder and rumblings in the clouds, the sky darkening to night in the middle of the day, the breeze picking up and bringing with it the smell of rain. And this was all before the rain started itself. I relished the prelude to the rain, the anticipation, the exhilaration and the energy it brought.

Here in Bombay, one hardly knows when it starts to rain and when it stops. It arrives without fuss, rains quietly and leaves without any drama.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Seraglio

Eighteenth century Turkey is wonderfully recreated in this engaging novel of sultans and harems as seen through the eyes of Aimée du Buc, a thirteen year old girl who is kidnapped by pirates as she travels from her school in France to her home in Martinique. Renamed Nakshidil (“embroidered on the heart”), she becomes part of the sultan’s seraglio in Topkapi Palace, where she learns new sets of rules for etiquette, for survival and for happiness.

It is the first novel for Janet Wallach, who has earlier written a number of biographies. A very enjoyable and fast read, I finished it in one day. Read it if you like history, the mysteriousness and politicking inside harems and most especially romance.

A Year in Provence

I finally managed to read a book that I had been wanting to for ages—A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. It was even better than I imagined it would be. I got started on travelogues when I first read Frances Mayes Under the Tuscan Sun, which I absolutely adored. Under the Tuscan Sun is not as polished as A Year in Provence, quite rustic actually, but is charming nevertheless.

Mayle recounts their first year in Provence month by month. The experiences range from the never ending house repairs and alterations, intricacies of buying meat and bread in the local markets, picking grapes, dealing with an endless queue of uninvited guests and so on.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Happiness

"Our happiness or our unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves."

— Wilhelm von Humboldt

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The smells of Bombay

Ok, so the humidity has finally reduced and the breeze has a hint of cool in it. Along with that hint of cool, the breeze has brought back that old familiar seaside stench and competing with it, is the stench from the nallahs.

So which is worse--sticky humidity or rotten egg smells. No contest, I’d take the humidity any day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Himalayan Dhaba

After absolutely ages, I read a bad book. An incredibly horrendously written story that takes you nowhere, teaches you nothing and leaves you wondering why you didn't give up halfway.

I am most disappointed with this book because of its setting. It is set in a little charas infected village above Manali. I love books about the mountains of Himachal, I collect them quite seriously, and this one is such a waste of a name.

Himalayan Dhaba is written by a doctor named Craig Joseph Danner who worked at a primitive hospital nearby in the early 1990's. It showcases all the negative issues of the region, the hippies, the haphazard construction of ‘hotels’ due to the tourist boom, the freely available drugs and of course dreadlocked sadhus. What book on India written by a foreigner would be complete without them?

Best to stay away.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

one word

I have to confess, I have a new addiction! Its this site called one word, where you get one word on which you have 60 seconds to write whatever pops into your head. Its a great way to disengage and write without being too conscious or correct. Everyday a new word is posted, so it does no good to go back the same day.

My last craze was sudoku's but I have to admit, I think I just did too many of them, and am quite sudoku'd out now.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

My art of the deal!

What is it about getting a good deal that gives one extraordinary joy? I find I am addicted to finding a good bargain. The joy of the bargain can sometimes even surpass the product acquired. Simple pleasures are what life is about and this is definitely one of mine.

I find that, besides buying an interesting item, it should have an interesting past to it, enhancing its flavor. Like the desk I found at an estate sale in Bristol priced at $120 and then managed to get it free, if only I could transport it home myself, and beat any other interested parties in the meantime. I did manage to bring it home, after having removed the front door to squeeze it inside and have loved it even more for all the effort involved.

My latest bargains are a set of three handmade ceramic platters and a vase that cost me a total of only Rs 315--an incredibly small amount. I made the purchase 2 days ago but still give myself a pat on the back each time I see them displayed on the dining table…. I just can’t get myself to put them away so soon!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

So true, and sometimes so easily evasive.

"Happiness is…equilibrium. Shift your weight."
— Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

A little history on Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin:

Quite possibly the most famous french epicure and gastromone of all, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (April 1, 1755-1826) was born to a family of lawyers in whom eloquence flowed. He studied law, chemistry and medicine and thereafter practiced law in his hometown. His second surname was adopted by him upon the death of an aunt named Savarin who left him her entire fortune conditioned upon his adoption of her name.

During the French Revolution, there was a bounty on his head and he sought political asylum through exile, at first in Switzerland. He later moved to Holland, and then to the newly-born United States, where he stayed for three years in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Hartford, living on the proceeds of giving French and violin lessons.

He returned to France under the Directorate in 1797 and acquired the magistrate post he would then hold for the rest of his life, as a judge of the court of cassation. He published several works on law and political economy. He remained a bachelor, but not a stranger to love, which he counted the sixth sense.

His famous work, Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste), was published in December 1825, two months before his death. The full title is Physiologie du Goût, ou Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante; ouvrage théorique, historique et à l'ordre du jour, dédié aux Gastronomes parisiens, par un Professeur, membre de plusieurs sociétés littéraires et savantes ( "The physiology of taste, or, transcendental gastronomy; a theoretical, historical and topical work, dedicated to the gastronomes of Paris by a professor, member of several literary and scholarly societies").

Brillat-Savarin cheese is named in his honor.

Source: http://www.answers.com/topic/anthelme-brillat-savarin

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Power of Good Food!

"The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star."
— Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
From Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Wishful thinking

As we begun our descent into Bombay, I saw a familiar sight of bright blue rectangles on the ground amidst the houses. They immediately reminded me of the numerous swimming pools that people have in the States. Private swimming pools are very common there; one sees them over almost all cities, especially in the suburbs. I was always amazed at just how many people have pools in their back yards.

Here in India it is a rare sight. What I was seeing were not swimming pools but plastic sheets covering rooftops. There are acres and acres of shanty-like houses with plastic sheeting as protection from the rain as one approaches the airport. It is a sad view one sees of Bombay, the financial capital of India and supposedly the most progressive and developed city in the country.

I wonder when, if ever, this view will change.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Delhi driving

Ah, to drive on the roads in Delhi...........its like gliding, like floating on air! Each time I visit the city, there seems to be some impovement and addition to the roads, the restaurants, lifestyle stores and garden centres. Its great to see a city revitalize itself and get moving to improving things. The contrast to the apathy in Bombay increases with every visit.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

My Flat World moment

Just finished reading Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. Its an absolutely incredible book that demystefies all the confusion about the flat world and all its nitty-gritty forms that affect us in our daily lives.

By now, probably each of us has had a time when it affected us personally. For me it was when we lived in Bristol, RI and had AOL as our internet service provider. The billing and technical departments of AOL were in Hyderabad and each time I called, I got to speak to an Indian voice with an American name. Hesitatingly, the voice used to ask if I was Indian and tell me that they were based in India and how good things were for them to work for a US company but still be based at home.

Being in the US, one usually got to hear only the negative side of outsourcing but Friedman's book talks about the benefits that this business has created in the US economy. Yes, outsourcing has benefited the US economy but its so much more sensational to write about lost jobs and factory closings than new positions. Besides, closings happened in large numbers at a go while openings were taking place at a slower but steady rate.

Fear has been an important factor that the US government has used since 9/11. As Friedman says, rather than erecting walls to keep others out, we need to build on America's strengths and renew and revitalize the American dream. New ideas and new technologies will always provide jobs just as long as you are able to constantly upgrade your skills. Just by being born in America does not guarantee a job anymore. Its back to Darwin and the survival of the fittest.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Time

"If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves."
- Maria Edgeworth

"Regret for wasted time is more wasted time."
- Mason Cooley

Friday, August 05, 2005

Tales of Courage

Tales of Courage, Resilience, Generosity and Kindness abound. The city is teeming with War Stories of all kinds, of battling with water, of surviving without electricity and fresh water for over 72 hours, of endlessly long walks home in the dark struggling through the water, but the most heart warming story of all, is the reconnection of a city with itself. Communities are coming together to aid others and in the process, strengthening bonds, that exist but have been so far ignored, within themselves.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.
---Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Rained Out Mumbai

The romance of the rains has given way to despair. Prosperity traditionally brought by the rains has turned to devastation. Hope, joy and optimism that the rains bring have become frustration and disbelief.

The questions on everyone’s mind are: How much longer will this chaos last? How much damage to life and property will be caused? How will we recover from this? And the most important of all, how will we learn from this, so it is not repeated?

The news channels and newspapers are full stories of the indomitable spirit of the Mumbai-kar. There are a slew of incredible stories; of auto wallah’s escorting their passengers home even after deserting their vehicles and wading in waist deep waters, of people taking in scores of stranded travelers into their homes for a meal and a quick respite, of strangers lending mobile phones to anybody and everybody, of youngsters feeding stranded motorists.

These stories are selfless and inspiring but now we need to go beyond them. We need to know if the city is going to be ready next time this happens. We need to be proactive rather than reactive.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Bombay-ite to Bamboo-ite

Bombay in the monsoons becomes even more of a shantytown than before. As the rains head towards the city, restaurants, cafés and cinema houses begin to construct bamboo awnings that will protect their entrances and alfresco dining areas from the rain. Well, bamboo awnings seem too posh a way to describe these contraptions, as they are more of the humble shamiana variety using plastic sheets instead of cloth. Fame Adlabs whose ticket counter is usually open to the sky has erected one of these as have a host of restaurants like Little Italy, Myst and Kailash Parbat in Lokhandwala. Inorbit Mall in Malad has even gone as far as covering half of its parking lot and making a walkway to the mall entrance for the convenience of their shoppers. Fury of the monsoons be dammed, shopping and eating must go on uninterrupted.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Life

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, July 22, 2005

Summer Reading

Some of the books I have read lately.

Five Point Someone---Chetan Bhagat
Five Point Someone is an engaging book depicting the intense competition, struggle and adventures of three students at IIT Delhi. The tone is quite unlike what one would expect of an IIT-ian and therefore unexpectedly enjoyable. The title is a take on the rigid rating system that immediately labels all students on the basis of their grade point average.

The Broker---John Grisham
A thoroughly enjoyable light read. This one has the barest minimum about lawyers in the deep south of America. Instead, it is about a lawyer on the run with the world’s smartest bad guys after him. The setting is Europe and so there is quite a bit history, folklore and language thrown in the background.

The Inheritors---Aruna Chakravarti
A family saga written in great depth about the Vaidic Kulin Brahmins of Bengal, their traditions, marriages, education system and children. The narrative starts in 1996 in Germany and through an assortment of letters, memoirs and characters.

The Conquest---Yxtra Maya Murray
It is a story within a story. A rare book restorer delves into the lives of the characters of a book she is working on, evoking memories of her past and of turbulent times in Mexico after the conquest of Mexico by Cortes.

The Koh-I-noor Diamond---Iradj Amini
The story of the Koh-I-noor Diamond and its momentous passage through history.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Notice board memories

It’s great to be back in the rhythm of things, sitting at my desk with laptop, surrounded by my familiar, well-loved things. The board behind my desk currently displays an artwork I made in college. It is a collage of sorts, some portions enlarged, some reduced, pasted together to make an interesting form of jagged lines, peaks and valleys, all in black and white of course. Therefore, I consider it an artwork rather than a painting.

My notice board also has a collection of photographs, of my grandparents with my sister when she was a baby, of me and my husband, and a lovely, peaceful picture of the Golden Temple taken in the 1950’s. I also have a wonderful shot of my family taken on a roller coaster ride with a Viking theme at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, the type they develop and hand you as you exit the ride.

There are two postcards of Subhodh Kerkar’s etchings depicting fishing boats, along with a portrait by Pablo Picasso. Other items on the board are business cards of our apartment complex’s Honorary Secretary a.k.a. the Resident God and the AC repair man. Two poems, Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ and an unnamed one by Claude T. Bissell are also tacked on my board.

These are the things that ground me, the things that make each house we move into a home almost as soon as I unpack these items and place them on the desk. The notice board keeps changing and that’s what makes it fun and interesting. I take a photograph of my notice board every time I change as a keepsake as it will remind me of all the things that were going on in our lives at the moment. In fact, the photo of my college room notice board is one of my favorite photos from those years.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Connected, finally!

Ah, to finally have internet at home. Bliss, absolute bliss, I tell you. Five and a half months in Bombay and now we manage to get connected at home. How did it happen this way, that in a city like Bombay, it should take anything more than 48 hours to get connected. Its the amazing reality of Bombay. This is why international companies are wary of entering India. Rightly so!
I recently wrote an article on my song and dance with the ISP's here in Bombay and submitted it to a content development site based in Bangalore. They declined to put my article on their site as they wanted only good things written about India, ie. to show that India is indeed "shining". Oh well!
The reality of life in India is so different from what the magazines and statistics state. The simplest example is the way banks and credit card companies function. Their employees, yes, the ones who handle all our personal information, have very little technical training and absolutely no civic training at all about how to safeguard the information that passes through their hands every day.
Since coming to Bombay we have had 2 experiences of this negligence, with salesman coming to our home/office and taking our personal information for phone/internet and then just vanishing (one even had a cheque of ours which he took with him, luckily we got it cancelled in time!).
Anyhow, one battle at a time. This one took us quite a while but we did overcome it.

Incredibly simple, right?

How many of us go through our days parched and empty, thirsting after happiness, when we're really standing knee-deep in the river of abundance?"
— Sarah Ban Breathnach
From Hold That Thought by Sarah Ban Breathnach (Warner Books)

Friday, July 15, 2005

My sudoku vacation

Can a person have too much of relaxation, reading and sudoku's? I don't think so! I've had the luxury of doing just this for the past 2 weeks in Juneo where there is no internet as yet so its relatively guilt-free. I read 5 books and solved countless sudoku's (plus a few unsolved too!!) and so am refreshed and rejuvinated enough to face Bombay again.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Juneo

Ah, to be in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh again! Absolute Bliss! To smell the fresh pine air, wake up to the chirping of birds, see butterflies fluttering amongst the flowers. It's great to be back in Juneo, to one of my favorite places in the world. Its a place where one can unwind, rewind and just chill. No TV, 2 radio stations, an on and mostly off landline and only from last month cellphone signals! But lots of books, crosswords (and sudoku's!), board games, music with words you can understand and a variety of nooks to sit-back and read, day dream or just watch the sky. Its great to be back.

Monday, June 20, 2005

A hopeless city

Its quite crazy living in Bombay. To actually like the city is something else. We've been here for 4 and a half months now and its still not growing on us. We think its because our standards are higher than what this city can offer; that we have seen and been to more interesting places before coming here; that the bollywood angle is not why we are here. To someone who is coming here from a village, its an absolutely superb city but for us its offerings are sub-standard. Two months ago, I was eager to learn about the city and love it, but I have been absolutely disapointed with the way things are here. Looking forward to our next move.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Hai Mera Dil*

We saw a very amusing play at Prithvi Theatre this past Sunday evening. It is inspired from Norman Barrasch and Carrol Moore’s “Send me no flowers” and is the longest running comedy in the history of Hindi theatre. It stars Dinesh Thakur in the lead and he is absolutely superb. The story revolves around a hypochondriac who thinks he is dying and starts making plans for his funeral and his wife’s future, specifically finding her a new husband. His wife has no idea what is going on until he pushes her into too many dates with and old college friend and arouses her suspicion. She assumes that he has something to hide. Something to hide usually means an affair to hide, and so the chaos begins. The one-liners were delicious and their timing perfect. It took a wonderfully open look at the eccentricities and intricacies of marriage. Seeing the play in Prithvi Theatre, where the audience is almost part of the stage makes the experience even more interesting.
*Oh My Heart!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Wise words

When the game is over, both king and pawn go into the same box.
Italian proverb

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A nice surprise!

Something happened last night that made me realize just how hectic my life has been since moving to Bombay. I had called a carpenter to put a new lock on the front door and for some odd jobs around the house. One of these odd jobs was fixing a bolt that had fallen off the mirror in the bathroom. The carpenter was quite surprised that I asked him to fix this. Well, it turned out that there was a cupboard behind the mirror that I had no idea about! The bolt was actually a knob to open the cupboard. Wow! We’ve been in this apartment 4 months and I had no idea there was undiscovered cupboard right under my nose! It was a nice surprise; the carpenter got a nice tip and I got reason to go splurge on beauty products to fill the cupboard!!!

Monday, May 30, 2005

The five people you meet in Heaven

Some excerpts from Mitch Albom’s book, The five people you meet in Heaven.

“There are no random acts. We are all connected. You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.”

“Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know.”

On Sacrifice:
“Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to. Little sacrifices, Big sacrifices.”

On Forgiveness:
“No one is born with anger.” (We accumulate it in our lifetimes.) “And when we die, the soul is freed of it.”

On Anger:
“Holding anger is poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.”

On Love:
“Love, like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy. But sometimes, under the angry heat of life, love dries on the surface and must nourish from below, tending to its roots, keeping itself alive. “

This is an incredible book. The storyline, the language, the examples used are so straightforward making it easy to understand, relate to and apply to ones lives.

Childhood Memories

Ask most Americans about their early memories and they will usually say something about their first kiss or some such thing. Contrast that to Indians, where its bound to be a family related memory. Most of my earliest memories involve my beloved grandparents. I remember being scared of a mighty thunderstorm and nanaji (my maternal grandfather) laughed it off and said it’s only the rain, it is good for us and since then I have loved the rain. I have numerous memories of naniji (my maternal grandmother) but one of my fondest memories is of her teaching me how to knit when I was about 3 years old. She would put the stitches on the needle and show me how to do it right and within 10 minutes when I had made a mess of it, she would calmly undo the entire thing and show me again. It carried on for quite a while like that!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Feedback Generation

Getting comments on ones blogs really makes it all worthwhile. Since Blogger's turned off their stats collection, I was wondering if anyone was even reading my blogs, but its nice to know that people are interested in what I am writing. Thank you anon from Bangalore for your sweet and heartfelt comment on A place to call home.

Feedback is the one thing that defines the generation of today. Everyone feels they have a right to write/comment/approve/disapprove on anything and everything. Internet has simplified so many things. It so easy to find the email address of any company you are not happy with and shoot off an email to them. Its not only made things happen faster but made a lot of people accountable for their jobs. I had a nasty experience at a Subway and when I went home I immediately looked up their site and complained. The matter is under investigation now!

When I was in college in the US, there were a number of ways to do research work for our papers. There was microfiche, microfilm, old fashioned index cards and a local network on the computers. Internet was known to only the few forward thinking architecture, engineering and IT students.

For me, the greatest boon of the internet besides communication, is finding information. I can't remember the last time I actually used an encyclopedia, thesaurus or a dictionary. Its easier and faster to do a search on the web and use the Word SpellCheck. I find it ironic that even someone like me who is so fond of the physical aspects of books would rather use a computer rather than the real thing. And I am a person who loves everything about books, the smell, the feel, the crispness of the paper, the weight and of course the knowledge gained. I guess, the web has overtaken all other forms and become the real thing!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sudoku!

Check out Sudoku, the new and addictive puzzle from Japan. Keep some time free before starting, else you will not be able to get away.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Thoughts

"Deliberately seeking solitude—quality time spent away from family and friends—may seem selfish. It is not. Solitude is as necessary for our creative spirits to develop and flourish as are sleep and food for our bodies."
— Sarah Ban Breathnach
From Hold That Thought by Sarah Ban Breathnach (Warner Books)


"To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition."
— Samuel Johnson
From Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach (Warner Books)

Friday, May 13, 2005

My beloved A2

Initially, one of the worst things about living and working in Bombay was the terrible commute. So much time wasted each day going and coming, that could be used more productively. I used to dread the commute so much that it overtook my life and my job as well. I just could not deal with the crowds, the smells, the heat and the endless traffic.

The AC bus has been my savior. Now, I look forward to this part of my day, as it has become my reading time. Since I started traveling on the A2, I have been able to finish a book every 2 weeks. Its incredible how this turnaround happened. I love my 40 minutes of private reading time that I get each way to and from work. It is what makes me realize that after all the initial struggle, I too am beginning to balance and juggle home and work in this chaotic city.

Reading is my passion and not being able to read on a daily basis makes me cranky and irritable. My other passion, Crosswords, have not fared as well, as the roads are too bumpy and traffic too chaotic to do them.

I just finished reading a very interesting book called Ragtime in Simla by Barbara Cleverly. Its in the vein of MM Kaye's Murder in Kenya. Set in the 1920's, the events slowly unfold to tell the story of a murder that takes place on the road to Simla at Devil's Elbow, just after Tara Devi, where one gets the first sight of Simla. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the landmarks and buildings of Simla as I am familiar with them and it brought back lots of memories. The people of Simla, the culture, the levels of society, the importance of gossip to this town have come through well. Overall, a recommended read.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Rule of Four

Last night I finished reading The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. After the phenomenal success of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, there have been a number of books of the same genre of which The Rule of Four was one of the first to catch the wave. It is an interesting book but pales in comparison to The Da Vinci Code. In fact if you don't compare the two books, only then can you say it was good.

The narrative was long and winding often leading nowhere in particular. The time moved from present to past to future to past and back and forth until you're left counting months and looking for references to the weather to decipher what (st)age the story has reached. The actual story about the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (pronounced Hip-ner-AH-toe-mak-ee-a Poh-LI-fi-ly) was very good but I think it got lost in the stories of the four characters at Princeton. All the characters names were quite commonplace and character-less, namely: Paul, Tom, Charlie, Richard, Vincent, Katie, Bill and Gil. They all sounded so mundane that it was hard to distinguish between their personalities.

Overall, I felt that this book was more about Princeton, the campus, the buildings, the history and traditions and only the background was about the Hypnerotomachia and the mystery surrounding its author and contents.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Words to live by

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world."
— Mahatma Gandhi


"All appears to change when we change."
— Henri Amiel, 19th-century Swiss writer

Friday, April 22, 2005

A place to call home

Of the many cites, towns and even, villages I have lived in, what was the best one? What makes a place most desirable?

Is it the weather......Bangalore, Dagshai and Juneo would be tops;
or the life that a city offers in its:
restaurants.....Bangalore and Bristol;
theatre.....Bangalore and Providence;
art galleries........Providence;
libraries and book stores.......Bristol and Bangalore;
parks and green spaces.......Providence, Bristol, Dagshai and Juneo;
public transportation.......Boston, Providence and Bombay
daily conveniences and ease of traffic.......Kansas City and Chandigarh win here;
scenic beauty.......Bristol, Boston, Juneo, Providence and Dagshai;
shopping.....Bombay and the Maine shopping outlets
history.........Delhi, Providence and Bristol
quaint life........Bristol, Manhattan, KS and Juneo

Details:
Bangalore, Karnataka, India: IT city, cosmopolitan, relaxed and very welcoming.
Bombay, Maharashtra, India: So far more hype than reality.......time will tell. I think the style quotient got muddied with the name change to Mumbai.
Juneo, Himachal Pradesh, India: A village in Sirmour district where the peach growing area starts.
Dagshai, Himachal Pradesh, India: A British Cantonment in the Simla Hills of Himachal.
Chandigarh, UT, India: India's first planned city designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jenneret in the 1950's. Surprisingly, no other city has been able to replicate its success.
Delhi, India: Slowly being transformed into a great city.
Providence, Rhode Island, USA: America's gangster town turned into America's food capital by the last Mayor Buddy Cianci.
Bristol, Rhode Island, USA: America's first independence day parade took place here. The original route is maintained and promoted with a great sense of pride.
Boston, Massachusetts, USA: History everywhere you look here. A wonderful city to explore by foot.
Merriam/Kansas City, Kansas USA: Known as a City of Fountains, it is a beautiful city with a sense of joy and positiveness everywhere.
Manhattan, Kansas, USA: A university town and my first taste of American life. No matter how hard college life actually was, I will always have a soft spot for this town.

So what is the right mix of the perfect place to live in? We seem to exploring new places with great speed and regularity, so it looks like a few more place to explore before deciding.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Fine Print

"In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but how many can get through to you."
Mortimer Adler; American philosopher and educator

The Amazing Race

I was very dissapointed with last week's episode of The Amazing Race. It has been my favourite show for a number of years and I have noticed that each time they feature India as part of their travels, they choose the very worst parts of the country and last week's episode was no exception. They went to Lucknow and the clues were in the oddest of places, a gas agency in the slums, a nondescript tea shop etc. Only one clue, at the Bara Immambara actually had some historical significance.
Why, why, why do they want to always show India worse than it actually is? They even show countries like Peru and Botswana in a better light than us. In the last season they visited a brick making factory outside of Calcutta.......Oh my, what a place it was! In the season before that, they visited the famous rat temple which had some religious and historical significance at least. I wish they would show some of the incrediblly beautiful parts of India too.
This season the contestants spent an unsually long time in South America giving the teams that spoke Spanish quite an advantage.
What makes the race really intersting this time around is that the one couple that everyone expected to be eliminated is still in the running. Meredith and Gretchen are what make the race so amazing. I hope they beat the odds and win.
Looking forward to tonight's episode.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Moving to Bombay

Its been absolutely ages since I logged on. My life seems to be going faster than I can keep up....always seem to be lagging behind just a little bit. Oh well!!
We moved to Bombay in February and had barely settled in when I got a job and started working. It really feels odd to be working again.......my last one was over 2 years ago and as time went I actually really, really loved being a housewife or homemaker to be politically correct. Having a job makes me have to ignore a lot of basic stuff at home and more than anything else I hate coming home to a messy, dusty place.
Working full time and looking after the home full time is the hardest thing I have ever done. Its amazing how men just disregard all the work we do. Its so easy to come home and just sit in front of the TV in such a daze that they can't figure out that we are doing work at home after working all day at the office.
The worst part is that they think its not something extra we are doing, of course we are meant to be doing all this.......what's the big deal about that?
Bombay is a tough city to live in. And even tougher to like. After all the warnings about the city we still cannot adapt to it. The traffic is absolutely chaotic, the weather just too pathetic for words, there is filth at every corner, the roads are non-existent, the stenches get you the moment you step out the car/house. We were not prepared for this city as its actually much much worse. I find that people pride themselves on having such a tough skin that they get used to all the problems of life and it disgusts me that they are willing to always live like this rather than improve the situation. They say that the best of jobs are available here but most people commute over 3 hours or so each day....is that how they qualify the best of jobs? Is the money really worth that much. Its not like Bombay is the only city that provides jobs?
So far the only somewhat good thing about this city has been the safety the public transportation provides women. In no other city in India can a woman travel by train/bus/auto/taxi with no worry about her safety.
We've been here over 2 months now. Lets see what the next 2 brings us.
Ciao.