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.

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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

 

 

 

 

The movie blog – part 1

I’ve watched a couple of movies lately and have been itching to write about some of them. I went for Kapoor & Sons most recently. It was a great evening because the movie was really good and we followed it up with dinner at Mezza 9. We went for Jai Gangaajal during my trip to Delhi, and though I am not a fan of either Sonam Kapoor or Priyanka Chopra; I think we should have probably opted for Neerja. Between hubby and me, he is the real movie buff and downloads all the latest stuff, most of which I don’t end up watching. But he downloaded some of the Oscar nominee movies recently and I finally watched The Danish Girl (showing my tongue to Sow & Hg who never accompanied me for this one, when it was in the theatres at Baroda, despite promising to) and Spotlight. I also watched Spectre and Steve Jobs a few days back, erm… not sure why I did so, didn’t particularly enjoy any of the two.

My hubby wanted me to write about Jai Gangaajal especially after I went on and on about why I didn’t enjoy the movie, he probably thought my blog was a better outlet for me ;). So I’ll start with this one and here goes:

Jai Gangaajal

This should never have been promoted as a woman centric movie or one targeted at women empowerment, because it was clearly not. I would have lesser issues with the film had it just been promoted as another one from the Ganga Jal franchise. The movie was all about Prakash Jha, it was not about Priyanka Chopra at all. He had the better dialogues and all the impactful scenes, and he was quite brilliant at them no doubt. He is the hero of the movie, the one who manages to put things right after his sudden drastic transformation from corrupt to ethical. Priyanka Chopra, who has given powerful performances in the past (Barfi and Mary Kom), delivered a lacklustre one in this film. She is the good one in the movie, the one with the principles and the ethical stand. But she somehow looks helpless and lost in a number of scenes. She also looks quite subdued, and pardon me, like she’s suffering from a sore throat and slight fever. I kept wondering throughout the movie if she might have been unwell during the majority of the shoot, because she can really do so much better. The one scene I liked in the movie, where she was in her element – getting off the jeep, taking the ‘dandaa’, and giving it to the goons harassing the girl. The scene I disliked – the one just before the climax where Prakash Jha asks one of the other police offers to help ‘madam’ who is fighting the villain and leave him (who has been shot). Because ‘madam’ can’t take care of herself and he can, even in this injured condition? Quite frankly, I hated that dialogue and the way it was shot;  like she was incapable of handling things by herself and always needed her subordinates to take care of the situation. A movie in which a man thinks a woman is not capable on her own cannot have anything to do with women empowerment. I am not a subject matter expert, nor am I a feminist, but I think everyone who does well at their work should be given their due credit. It really has nothing to do with the person’s gender. Something my mum in law said that got me thinking – it is difficult to imagine a lady police officer as corrupt, we tend to think they are not. If that is true, more and more women should be a part of the police force and things would be very different. Food for thought.

Spotlight

This is an absolute must watch. It is a brilliant movie based on a true story that has been narrated to perfection. Watch it for its performances. Watch it for its razor sharp edit. Watch it because there is not a single moment in the movie that should not be there. I loved this one; I loved every line, every scene, and every character. I was amazed that something like this actually took place in reality. I have studied journalism, but never practiced it after college. Yet the media eccentricities and perversions that take place in India trouble me to the point of feeling a slight guilt. As if by being a part of the world of journalism at one point in my life, no matter how remote and tiny, makes me responsible for everything that is reported to feed the voyeuristic tendencies of the masses. I guess as long as there are the kinds of media practitioners shown in the film, and if what is shown is even somewhat close to what actually took place, there is still hope. The foundation of the fourth pillar of democracy might be shaky but it’s still holding up for the time being. Watch Spotlight to understand how a team of reporters brought to light a hidden issue that was causing havoc in the lives of hundreds of children and adolescents, how they took on one of the most powerful entities – the Church – and encouraged people to stand up for what was right. Watch the movie for the mesmerising restraint shown by Liev Schreiber, the simplicity of Rachel McAdam’s character, the depth of Michael Keaton’s performance. But most of all, watch Spotlight for Mark Ruffalo and the scene which shows his outburst; his anguish over the on-goings uncovered, it is sure to touch a chord within you.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

My fountain of joy

It was love at first sight;

And I realised this expression was true;

That fountain of joy; when it danced

Like the sky had suddenly enhanced

And everything around was new.

I was innocently being questioned

How could there have been anything to rue?

The magic it created

As the sounds and lights romanced;

The water splashed audaciously;

I felt my heart

Beating to the rhythm cautiously;

Before my soul abandoned itself

Brazenly.

The dazzling fountain

Cascading in its bold beauty;

Tore off the last trace of inhibition

My spirit rose higher, and higher

Reveling in the joy of this creation.

5 years ago, I stood in front of the fountains at the Dubai mall with my mouth open and eyes filled with wonder. This post has been long, long overdue. Someday, I will go there again. 

Can you forgive?

A post on my Facebook feed this morning said – I never knew how strong I was, until I had to forgive someone who wasn’t sorry, and accept an apology I never received.

I stared at this for a long time. It just struck me to be so true, so relevant and not so commonplace. The post was specifically for working women, but I thought it could make sense for everyone – working or not working, and regardless of gender.

All self help books, spiritual blogs, motivational stories talk about forgiving, moving on, forgetting, letting go of the negativity. Few talk of the courage it requires to do so, especially when the forgiveness is not preceded by any form of apology or the slightest show of regret from the opposite entity. Surely it takes someone very brave to decide that the only reaction they would possibly oblige a negative person with is forgiveness. It would be so much easier to retort or ignore with a cold silence. But to actually reach within yourself, heal the wound with some kind of reasoning, then reach out to the other person without a trace of the hurt, and with the intention of always wishing well for them – it takes a big, generous, gutsy heart. Most people who are able to do this don’t think of themselves as saints. The ones who go on about how benevolent they’ve been to the cruelty of others, and how charitably they have forgiven, with a martyr like air about them, are probably still seething inside and haven’t yet got an opportunity to plot their revenge 😉

I have some people in my life who have been this brave and gallant. I might never be able to do the same, but I am lucky to have them.

Update your fairy tale, baby!

There is a scene in the movie ‘Friends with benefits’ where Patricia Clarkson, who plays mum to Mila Kunis, gives her a grand advice – to update her fairy tale. “Your prince charming(PC) isn’t coming to rescue you in a horse and carriage, that’s not who you are. You’re looking for a man to be your partner.” Very inspiring and forthcoming. Makes me wanna do a ‘I can take on the whole world and beat it’ kind of punch in the air. Then I think, oh wait a minute… Occasionally, I can still ask my PC a few things when I’m in doubt right? I mean I do want to know what he thinks before I take an important decision. And sometimes, erm…I want to leave the decision making to him entirely. Yes, I could be quite guilty of that 🙂

But I’ve been happily married 4 years now. So what was the update then, in my fairy tale, I ask myself. The answer comes to me very simply. I was looking for a pal, and that is what my PC is. If I’ve got to be rescued, he will rescue me, cause best friends bail each other out all the time. “I’ve got your back”, is basically what my guy says in my fairy tale.

The update therefore, might also be the fact that we all have our own fairy tales, or at least our own versions of it. The update is most definitely that every girl is entitled to have her own fairy tale. There is no point in anyone else forcing their versions on her. The PC fairy tale is likely to vary too, numerous times in some cases. Never in some. Again, please live with it. Like they say, girls have cleaner minds than men cause they change them so often!

Oh by the way, just occasionally, I might also like PC to open the door and pull the chair for me (are you reading Mr. A? :P). Cause well, I like my man to be chivalrous. And surely being chivalrous, no matter how old fashioned, is way different from treating a woman like she’s puny. I am just looking for some good manners, really. If my man is charming and looks like a prince, that’s just bonus. The horse, that I am pretty sure I don’t need. I have a weak spine, anyway 😛

Happy New Year…

What happened in 2015

JAN – The girl had recently got a new phone and clicked pictures all through the home party on the last night of 2014, happily Instagram-ed the pics with funky hashtags and shared them on the first morning of 2015. The girl also found herself falling for Salman as host of Big Boss 8.

MAR – The girl felt happy as a kitten on her niece’s first birthday, and had a wonderful time at the kids’ party.

APR – A lovely trip home to Delhi for Mum’s birthday. The most gorgeous strawberry cheesecake was gulped down and everything was warm, cozy and happy.

MAY – The girl and boy both celebrated their birthdays with family. Pampered themselves to a short stay at the Marriott.

JUN – JUL – Rains were never my thing. Grouchy throughout. Boy decided to quit job.

AUG – The girl and boy went on a dream trip with friends to the beach on the night of the boy’s last working day.

SEP – Boy moved to another city. The girl moved in with her parents and prayed for her notice period to get over quickly so she could join him. Meanwhile, she had a blast at home 😉 – mum took care of everything, and all the girl had to do was party – one farewell party after another.

OCT – Panic set in, as the girl’s last day at work got closer. The job had become part of her identity and the colleagues had become like family. Leaving home was scary.

NOV – The girl moved to the new city too, where the boy was. She left her hometown for the first time in her life. Life changed. More panic.

DEC – The girl started gaining some foothold in the new house and city. Shops, roads, restaurants, neighbours, got a bit more familiar. Family visited, so did a few friends. Made her feel more confident. Work trickled in, although very slowly. But at least she was doing what she loved the most – writing :). Girl fell in love with Salman all over again as host of Big Boss 9 😉

For me, 2015 will always be the year of change. It will be the year when the boy and girl were really brave – they took bold decisions, they stuck to what they truly believed in, and they moved on. It will be the year when the boy found peace, and the girl was able to find peace in the fact that the boy had found peace.

For all the changes braved in 2015, for all the unsettling, settling and resettling, and starting from scratch, for all the health issues in the family, for all the time spent away from dearest friends, 2016 better compensate and behave itself!

Cheers to a rocking new year!

 

 

What I liked about Tamasha – very late, I know :P

I probably wouldn’t have watched this one in the movie hall had the big brother not been in town. But he happened to be, and we were all set for the movie after a long day of shopping. So here goes –

The name – I’d mostly heard this word being used with a negative connotation, but it was a pleasant surprise to see it used as the title of the movie. In the context of the movie, it was bold and lively, and I am all for sheer abandon; it is something few Chotu ranbir in tamashaof us are able to achieve.

Chotu Ranbir – this little guy Yash Sehgal stole my heart with his smile and curled lips.

Music… ermmm… only a select few songs – Heer to badi sad hai and Wat Wat Wat. Loved ’em both. But I actually thought that the movie had more songs than it really needed.

Deepika’s Chinese act – In the scene just prior to the climax, I loved the Chinese torture dialogue from Deepika. I think she delivered it brilliantly.

Kyun? – I didn’t find the ‘main tumhe mona kahun ya darling’ thing funny, and thought that overall the movie had average dialogues (I know that people have appreciated the dialogues a lot but this is what  I think). But the rat race story that Ranbir tells his family in Shimla was the highlight for me. If only we could ask ourselves a simple ‘why’, would our lives be different?

Climax – As far as I’ve observed, and to the best of my knowledge, few of our storylines in Bollywood revolve around our male actors being grateful or giving credit to our female stars in the movies for their successful careers or even just for being around. I can’t think of any, but I am sure there must be a few. I loved the emotional sashtang dandawat by Ranbir in the final scene and Deepika’s reaction to it. I read a couple of reviews on Tamasha and found a lot of people admiring Ranbir’s performance, but I only liked it in bits and pieces and this bit was definitely the major one. I didn’t quite find the serious office-goer act from him convincing at all.

And finally, what I have always loved about some of Imtiaz Ali’s movies – the fact that despite the ups and downs in a person’s relationships, life moves on. It has to. If Deepika is shaken, depressed, heartbroken, post her break up in the film, she still manages to pursue her career. In fact she is shown attending an overseas conference, even though she might not have her heart and soul into it. Even in Love Aaj Kal, both Saif and Deepika were shown working hard and trying their best to carry on with their lives while they were struggling on their personal front. Jab We Met had Kareena working as a teacher to support herself and find peace, while she recovered from a broken heart. So unless it is an intense movie like Rockstar, we no longer have people dying etc. and life doesn’t come to a standstill if things don’t work out the way we wanted them to. Even in Rockstar, Ranbir is shown continuing with his performance in the end, albeit shattered. My all time most favourite darlingest line from the book I have read over 10 times – There’s no such thing as ruining your life. Life’s a pretty resilient thing, it turns out.

Over and out.

Happy birthday daddy!

When people say I am like you

I give them a funny look.

What an obvious thing to say to me

What a long, long time it took.

Of course I am your shadow dear daddy

Isn’t the river always followed by the brook?

You and me together always

Hand in hand, sitting by our nook

That is the feeling I will always guard

To you I will always be hooked.

Happy birthday to you!