Friday, December 25, 2009

Vielen Dank der Wiehnachtsmann!

And he came visiting, riding on his sleigh...
Yes, santa... der Weihnachtsmann.
so last evening was the first ever christmas eve that I spent traditionally.
In a small german town (village as they call it), I had a quiet evening meal of potato salad and ´wurst´with the Friedel family. In another one of my posts, I wrote about the comfort of melting into a surrounding where conversations happen in a foreign language. This time it happened again... I do follow some German. The dialect is different and the speed in tremendous. But you feel that you are being spoken to... and so there is happiness.
Much beer was being passed around when the door bell rang and Santa in his red suit with beard and broom in place walked in. Santa spoke a lot of German but his English was not bad either. He had me sing ´´ich bin Aunsländer´´ for him... so communication was obvisouly effective enough. ´´if you sing, i give you a present. if you don´t sing, i will use my broom´´... so Santa can be strict as well. Now you know.
The Christmas tree which was decorated with much care stood bright and well lit in the dull glow of the living room. The Germans do not enjoy a lot of colour. So the Christmas tree had red and golden decorations and some handcrafted dolls. They also have a liking for old things... the older a thing is, the more beautiful it seems to their eyes. So we put up decorations that were almost 30 years old or even more. Really.... it is some family work... eveyone has a part. The men put in the labour of hauling the Christmas tree around and putting it in place and the women decorate it meticulously.
What I really enjoyed was the fact that everyone gets to feel special. There are conversations 'about' and 'with' everyone. There is a definitely 'one' present for everyone, but it is ensured that everyone opens 'more than one' present. Everyone is expected to help in preparations and packing-up and everyone must eat well on the 'day of' and on the 'day after' christmas.
Lots of beer, lots of meat, lots of laughter and simplicity....that is how it goes the German way.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And then there was magic...

They are as magical as they are spoken of.
Even if you are shivering, the sheer bliss of having snowflakes being showered on you is unbeatable.
There are big and small snowflakes.
They are cold when they settle on your fingers.
They actually remain there for a few seconds and its almost as if they melt away as you watch them more.
And then they disappear when you realise that they were 'real' ; so that they become a hint of your imagination again.
Snowflakes.... they remind me of fairytales, of Santa riding Rudolf, of happiness....
Merry 'White' Christmas!

England : here and there

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

from a Mac, the keys are smooth. I like

hmm... so i feel that my feet are off the ground
but i have still managed to take some decent photographs.
people say I need to be chilled out.

two friends
old friends
long time
a world so different
i stepped into something different
warm, sweet... sour
i feel apart. i feel lonely.
loud music in the background.
i can't hear.
but i can think.
unknown names. but comfort is happening.
home... friends.... old loves....
drunkeness... an excuse to be flexible... to be free


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thank you Greg Mortenson

I have never felt more motivated. Even as I ran those seven rounds of Russells Square Park, I didn't realise the transition from one round to the next. It all seemed like one big round. But what I have begun to realise is that I want to do something... I have realised for the first time that I have the potential to do something on my own. I have the ability to make a plan and execute it.

Since I have begun the book THREE CUPS OF TEA, I realise that there is someone out there who is living my dream. He went through all those moments of anxiety and anguish that I fear are not normal to tread upon; but today I know they are. Nature throws into your path all the obstacles she can find; you just have to go over them, because there obviously isn't a way around them.

I must go back to the hills. I must take on a responsibility. And I must make this happen... for myself. I have been a restless soul all these years, unable to find that one thing which is to make me happy. I have dabbled with many jobs and now an additional degree. This has given a chance to read, a chance to know what is happening in other places around the world. But I still feel the urge to return, to return to the people in the hills, the cool wind and the fragrance of the pine that blows with it. With every new learning experience, I am always thinking about how it would be useful if I return to the hills. I have not gone back so far because of a fear - a fear of what will follow... I will be happy, but what about the rest? I have a fear that not all my dreams will coincide with each other. There will be no harmony and I would have to give up one for the other. So I let the dream in the hills - just be... but it hasn't "just been". It has lived with each new day and it has grown in proportion and value. Today I know it can be achieved... it is not impossible. I had once wondered whether with life moving one from one avenue to another, this dream would let go off me. But it hasn't, it has stuck on... bringing me back to the hills every year to discover yet another aspect of itself.

Today I am sure I will go back to make this happen. Good luck to me!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

To a year...

it has been one year ...

it has been a peaceful one year, should i say?

since the 'day'. the days...

the days for which i lit a candle.

a candle that withstood the sea breeze at nariman point, as it blew clear the leftovers of an attack.

a candle at the doors of justice, the doors that never closed on any of the days of the attack.

a candle for the city at gateway, the city that never sleeps...

Mumbai teaches you to to live, live through and live with bare realities that may hit you in the face, but then mumbai is right there to put you back on your feet and get you moving.

thank you, bombay!

Friday, November 20, 2009

midnight musings...

Things that you should do, may not be thing that you want to do;
Things that you want to do may not be tings that you should do;
But do things that you want to do,
It will make you happier.

Because things that you want to do,
You will do from your heart;
And when you do things from your heart,
You are always confident from the start.

Because things that you want to do,
Will make you smile.
And when you smile upon life itself,
Reaching goals doesn’t seem a long while.

Because things that you want to do
Always reflects yourself.
And when you live life in a familiar way,
Trust me;
It seems ‘full’ and ‘worthwhile’, irrespective of the day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The me... PART II

i just discovered classical music.
it isn't loud and at the same time does not interfere.
i can read with it playing in the background (or may be the foreground).
i can listen to it 24-hours long (it has been 48 hours now).
it is amusing... how being by yourself allows you to know more about yourself. i am learning to discover myself and indeed it is a rather enlightening and impressive experience.
there are so many things that i did not have time for (those i thought i should have time for) or may be just overlooked in those busy days, but now this is more about what 'the me' likes. the books, the music, the clothes, the food... just the way "the me' wants it.
Tip toe on the maple leaf
It crackles beneath those toes
Bring home the sunshine from far above
'The me' within drives away 'the I's' woes.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Of an evening walk

When the ears are warm the body is warm. That is my latest theory.
I bought me a red and black hat. it is lovely. On the cold windy day, it kept my ears warm. I think, when you feel the wind in your ears, your head feels heavy and then your body stiffens.
After goat cheese, I recommend cider. Last evening C and me walked around Angel. I just liked the name of the place and C said it's colourful and so we walked there. For window shoppers, this place is paradise, because nobody shuts the lights in their display panes. So we could see, all that we want and not get it. That is still a nice feeling: of seeing what you want (FULL STOP) We ate persian food. Sometimes just doing things impulsively really helps in enlarging the experience. There awas aubergine in every recipe on the menu (and that absolutely deters me from experimenting). But that left little choice and so we went with aubergine and ground walnut and sesame oil. It was rather nice. A large naan and a creamy yogurt dip. We discovered that buttermilk is called "DOUGH" in persian and as ginger ale, they only serve you a (miniature) bottle of "CANADA DRY".
I drank cider at two pubs. There was cuban music at Cuba Libre... cuban music is very very nice. C says it is the same beat over and over again. ButIi moved to it and so I enjoyed it. There were paintings on the wall and spanish cider to be served.

We spoke about approaching random people in the pub to have a conversations. It is said to be the simplest way of making friends here. Odd! But I have decided that the next time, I will do so. One of our conversations led me to realise that I have become more confident about speaking to strange (those of whom I have not known before) men since the first time I have gone out with a guy. I mean, maybe once you know that you are "likeable" and "a prospective" for some-one, it really adds to your confidence of approaching other some-ones who you consider prospectives. It is much against the principle of thoughts - 'one must be self confident' and 'you live for yourself, not for your partner', etc. - but successful relationships do put that bounce into your footstep and spirit. Hmmm...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

two fingers, they can do much:
cross for a wish, hold a pen, twist a ear, pick up dirty things, create a symbol for peace...

Cold winds...

When the cold wind blows,
It feels like a sting.
Hugged though I am
In woolen strings.

There is a gap in my window pane
It lets the cold wind through
I try to stuff it with newspaper and
Some rags of old cloth too.

But the cold wind is watching
This time she comes in from below the door
She looks me in the eye
As she engulfs my bare feet on the floor

Woolen socks and a comforter
I have switched off the lights
The heater is on a full blast
The cold wind, to the hot has a lost a war of might

But then I must get out for a reason
It's late and I am half asleep
Slippers on I step out, almost bare
And there - outside - the cold wind is waiting; she picks me up in a sweep.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Thoughts flow at random

I am thinking of the Mumbaiblasts. It will be nearly one year since those series of night-marous three days. But everyone has moved on, Mumbai has grown older with one more hard experience and the Mumbaikars (some new, some old) get along with their lives, the city supporting them.


London is a lot like Mumbai. More organised. People stand in Q's; use their "sorry-s","excuse-me-s" and "thank-you-s"; wait for their turn. But then again, it is the same hustle-bustle. People are just as wound up getting somewhere. The hurried pace in their walk and the vacant streets on a Sunday afternoon, all remind me of Bombay; maybe a larger version of South Bombay.

Homecity, however, was nicer. Warmer. Weather-wise and emotion-wise. People exchanged a smile in the train, shared their oily goodies, cribbed about the weather. I felt re-assured, even if the lady opposite me in the local didn't talk. Here, I am more aloof. Everyone is more aloof. And in the instance anyone speaks, you just turn away assuming s/he is mad, drunk, of suspicious nature or unacquainted with the code-of-conduct(and therefore not to be mixed with). The other day, I was travelling back by "national rail" into London and it was hardly an hour past dusk. I sat by myself looking at my own shadow in the dark window pane. I eaves-dropped on an occasional line passed between so-passengers, before they hushed it down again. A group of men opposite me spoke an unknown language. I looked and them. And one of them said "you alright?" I turned away, the way Londoners do. I didn't know his intention, his ways were out-of-the-way: OF SUSPICIOUS NATURE.


There are many disjointed thoughts at this moment. I must tell you about goat cheese. Try it, if you haven't. It has a putrid smell, which will fill your nostrils and a dry, flaky exterior making you wonder, how you should spread "this" on your toast. But then its creamy and pure. It is heavy and fatty and pure... And when I say pure, it is the taste that remains with you for much after you have eaten it. Just like baked cheesecake. These are flavours that you feel should remain with you. For these flavours, you end your meal with them and do not feel the urge for another one. They fill you... your mind, your body and your memories.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

a new city..more writing

it is funny, how in a short span of time, many told me to start writing again. I don't know; just didn't feel like it all these days. I wouldn't call it a writer's block. There are a lot of things I can think of that I want to write; it is just that I don't feel like it.

Well, today is a new day. A new experience has begun. A different land, new faces and organised business. London!

People here are so wound up in their own lives. They are always heading somewhere and that too at an enormous speed. Eating while they walk. Talking while they walk. Even reading while they walk. Thank god, for pedestrians having a first right of way, in this country.



The squirrels here are BIG and FRIENDLY. Yes! this definitely might sound like an enticing sight. I see a lot of these squirrels in the park near my home. To begin with I was quite taken aback by their size. The only memories I have a squirrels - "kharutai" - are chasing them around the lawn in Delhi when I was a few years old. My mother would take me to watch birds and squirrels in this park. Allow us to be within a distance of few metres and the squirrels would scamper up the nearest tree trunk. They were small and you could tell there is squirrel on the tree when you trace its shape along the trunk in the dull glow of the setting sun.

But here, in Russels Square, the squirrels wait for you. They pose for your cameras and you must return the favour by giving them a treat. Recently a friedly narrated to me, what she termed as, "the MOST BIZARRE EXPERIENCE". She was in San Diego/Francisco, when in the midst of "being lost" in the "sudden thick fog" that settles in that city, very often (apparently) she came across some squirrels worth being photographed. But the interaction didn't end with the photo and it was taken forth for a few miles thereafter by the squirrels who decided to chase her for the distance. She actually had to run, while these 'large squirrels' leapt in the air, covering several footsteps at a time, after her. AND now, she says "Squirrels scare me". Tell an Indian kid that and they will laugh at you. Who cold imagine those cute cuddly creature turning into rascals.

But somebody else gave me a very pleasing theory about this. Like the squirrels the pigeons in London are also quite big and unmoved by human presence in close vicinity. They hardly perch and in case you decide to walk through a flock of their group, they just move aside, without the slightest flutter, giving you way. Now my friend says that this is a good example of how the feathered and four- legged ones in this country are not fearful of humans. They trust humans and this trust has obviously been established over years of humans not having caused harm to them. An interesting theory, I would say. But more like an equilibrium, before it is the turn of the four- legged to take us over.