And it’s been a year!

I completed a full year in Pune last month! It’s quite unbelievable to me. I remember feeling really proud of myself when I survived the first month, and now it’s been 12 times that time but it still feels like yesterday… I still miss home. Some of my friends at the workplace are pretty tired of hearing me go, “I wanna go home!”, every time this city throws a new challenge at me.

Pune sure has tested me. But I have lamented more than enough. Before the year ends, I want to write about everything I am grateful for. The city has given me a job, a new house, couple of new friends, a taste of the night life, and most importantly, it has taken off a whole load of workplace related stress from A’s and my life. Which was the whole point of moving really. I realise today that no matter how comfortable and happy life at home was, there was no way we could have continued there for longer than we did. And Pune does sound like a safe option after having lived in Baroda. Moving anywhere else would have been even more difficult I guess. No?

What Pune has also given me is a chance to think. To ponder. To reflect on a day’s activities. To plan ahead. To let go at times. I have had the highest point of my life here in this city. But not the lowest 🙂

I am grateful for the mountains that face my balcony, and the fresh air that they bring each morning. I am grateful for the view, the sunrise and sunset in the backdrop of the temple on the hills. I am grateful for my neighbour, who is part of my support system here. I am grateful for the freedom this city brings. I am grateful for its safety. I am grateful for R’s friendship, so so so grateful for it. I remember praying for a nice, friendly person to arrive as my colleague on the day he was expected to join office (yes, I was that desperate) – God surely gave me much more than I asked for. Most of all, I am glad that A is happy here.

Do I feel like I belong here? No. Not yet at least.  But then, the sense of belonging is something I don’t feel back home either now. So I understand it better what people mean when they say they have unanchored lives. It is exciting, it opens up the world for you along with all its opportunities. It is also scary, because you don’t know where and what to call home.

While I was writing this, I went back to the folder where I’ve saved a copy of all my posts, and there was one there that I never found the courage to publish. I read it over and over again to remind myself of the long way I had come since last November, and to once again be grateful for some people I have in my life. Here it is:

I completed a whole month at Pune today. 30 days since I last met mum dad, 31 days since I left Baroda and 1.5 months since I went to work. I feel quite proud of myself for achieving this. Even the most rational, practical part of my mind tells me that I have done a good job so far 🙂

It has been a journey of baby steps. First dinner at the restaurant across the road after staying hidden at home for 3-4 days. First evening walk by myself down the road in search of a salon where I got my first Pune haircut. First drink in the new home, and first visit to the pub. Purchasing the scooter, wardrobe, ordering tons of food, watching a lot of TV. Crying. Whatsapping and spending time talking on the phone. Unpacking slowly, very slowly. (Still not fully done!). More crying. Blowing puffs in the balcony, watching the traffic go by very fast. Thinking and overthinking everything. Writing poems :). Being fooled about the karaoke evening. Waiting. More waiting. And some more waiting – for a text from a friend, for a call, for the shows I watch, for Akshat to return home from work. More crying.

And then the job applications. No acceptances so far. 1 possible rejection. From quality team lead roping in a pretty decent salary to considering a typing  job that is likely to pay 400 bucks.

Akshat, mummy, Aalok, Alok sir – and exactly in that order… the support and love I have received from these guys when I needed it the most is out of this world. I wanted to write this down so I remember, remember clearly what I went through and how I came out of it.

In the end, it is your true connections, your true hobbies and God, that help you sail past the difficult period. Writing a small kiddish poem was an accomplishment for me. I suddenly started feeling useful, and intelligent 🙂

I have the biggest milestone of my life awaiting me in the New Year. All I want is for me to live up to it.

The movie/web series/music blog part 2

There’s really no excuse for writing after 4 months. None really. It is shameful. But there’s a lot going on at the moment on the personal and professional fronts, and most of the time, I am in the “happy busy” state that I like to be in, which is a rare blessing.

I’ve been wanting to write about the movie ‘Flipped’ for quite a while now. I fell in love with the movie and some of its dialogues the first time I saw it, about 2 years ago. But I have been thinking more and more about it since I moved to Pune. There’s a beautiful tree blossoming with sunset coloured flowers right outside my balcony here. And every time I look at it, I remember the sycamore tree from the movie which Juli falls in love with. I also think about her father’s line in the film – “A painting is much more than the sum of its parts. ” I commute daily to work; its a way of life that I always dreaded and never thought would follow. Its a sheer waste of time, and it drains all energy out of me. But when I am at my lowest, cursing the traffic, cursing the pollution, questioning myself over and over again as to why I’m here and what exactly am I doing, thinking of the pretty lane lined up with trees that leads to my parents’ house with a tear in my eye, that’s when my ‘its gonna get better’ spirit reminds me of this beautiful tree outside my home. It is my sycamore tree. The fresh air around it, the hills in its backdrop, the green bushes lining up to it, and the tree itself; that is what I need to focus on. The good stuff, the beautiful stuff in my life 🙂

Do watch the movie if you haven’t. You might just see yourself in Juli Baker, or relate to the friendship that Bryce and Juli share.

Moving to my favourite series – Permanent Roommates. The best thing about this show, apart from the humour and brilliant cast, is the progressive storyline. I might as well call it a show that’s well ahead of its time, because I believe most people (including many who watch it) might not be able to fully appreciate the relationship Mikesh shares with Tanya’s dad, or the camaraderie between Tanya and her in-laws, the friendship between the two father in laws, the parents’ acceptance of the live-in relationship, and later of the child, how the cabbie/house agent is treated like a part of the family, how the pressure from relatives to have a grand wedding is resisted, and so much more – we’re just not there yet. Our regressive population is far, very far from it.

Lastly, I’ve been listening to Counting Stars from One Republic on a loop since a few days. Can’t believe I had not heard this one before. You know how they show in Bollywood movies, the hero falling backwards in a pool when he’s in love… I always thought I needed to find a song that makes me wanna do that 😛 Well I’ve found it. This is the one. For now at least 🙂

Cheers! and more from me soon…

flipped

 

 

 

 

To new friendships!

I am often asked these days if I have made any friends after moving to the new city. New friends, that is. I already have my buddy from college and some good friends from my previous job who are here too. The life in a bigger city is obviously quite different though, and I don’t get to meet them as often I’d like to. Anyway, I usually smile and wave off the question, act non committal about it. The truth however is that the question always pinched me. The fact that I haven’t met anyone whom I could befriend in a city known for its friendly crowd and happening places. Of course there is my building’s cultural secretary who talks to me once in a while, invites me to music programs, appreciates my performance of the karaoke night:), I’m not sure she thinks of me as a friend though. Far from it:)

There might be so many like me, who work from home, and whose trips outside the house (apart from weekends with hubby) are restricted to grocery and vegetable shopping, ATM, bank and other household stuff. But I’m sure they all have friends, a few at least. And here I am, 5 months in the new city, indulging in self pity over my lack of friends-making abilities. It’s not all bad though. I’m writing about this because I realised I do have a friend, two actually. My neighbour, who is a grand mom, and her grandson Vihaan. They’re most definitely my new friends. What makes it even more exciting is how different they are from all my other friends.

Firstly, there is the age difference. But, somehow, it never matters when I’m talking to this lovely lady. She told me all about the best pubs around. She loves to discuss the latest movies I’ve seen. (I might even catch one with her one of these days.) She’s caring and very cool, just like my own mum. She calls me up even when she’s not in town when I mention on the building’s whatsapp group that I’m looking for a good physician. Just to check on me. She literally drags me over to her place when the electricity goes off so I don’t stay alone in the dark, in one of my pre-inverter days. After spending a long time chatting at my neighbour’s, I return home with her emergency light which she refuses to take back until I show her that I have one of my own. We used to go for our yoga class together, before the teacher quit. She likes to discuss the work I do. Most importantly, we laugh and smile a lot together. I don’t know she does it, but she completely aligns herself with stuff that I’d like to talk about or do, and she makes it seem completely effortless. After having a neighbour like Mona aunty in Baroda, I never thought anyone could come close to what she meant to me. But looks like my luck hasn’t run out yet.

Then there’s the kiddo I’m in love with. The one with a halo of curly unruly hair on his head, the sweetest voice and smile, who loves to run in to my place and jump on the bed. Who beckons me to his place or comes over to my own so uninhibitedly, it tugs at my heart every time. The way kids accept us into their lives is out of this world. They have their own brand of friendship, they really do.

Perhaps someday I will change my mind and opt for a full time job. Go back to the days of drudgery. And I will make new friends there. Till then, I’m not unhappy with what I have in terms of companionship. There are days when I’m low, but they pass. Cheers to new friendships!