Tag Archives: journey

The summer of my Mphil dissertation

Its been a little more than a couple of months that I have started writing my Mphil dissertation and there are a few things I would like to share about this experience. Since I am going to go through this beautiful distress of an Mphil only once in my lifetime, might as well keep some record of how this feels.

Mostly, It feels like shit. This life of discipline, where one needs to be working on the dissertation relentlessly, is not one I prefer. At the moment, I wake up every weekday at 6.30am to go for Yoga. Once I return and finish my daily chores, I head to the library to spend the entire day there till about 11pm. While some days are great, others suck. Sometimes I manage to write about 2000 words of this damned thing that no one will read. On other days, I write about 200 and read too much to make anything of it. Then there is the superfast wi-fi in the JNU library which entices people like yours truly to watch endless videos of stand up comics that make me existentially question my purpose on earth and music videos which I silent dance to in my seat in the library. Ofcourse, however the daygoes, its my own doing. Still, the routine of writing everyday about one topic, rather ranting for some 50000 words about something hat doesn’t really matter, makes me wonder what the point of this whole exercise is. Well, but like all things,  it has been begun and so it must be wrapped up well, packed and put away.

This makes one feel like tossed cabbage. – Chopped up , high strung, damp, emotional. Actually I have no idea why I said it feels like cabbage-just felt like the right image.

I have exactly 1 month to finish everything. July 15th. 30 days to go.

PS. While I am at this, I also am continuing with Gati work. unbelievable really, the stuff I get myself into.
Oh and did I mention this is the summer  of my mphil dissertation, which I am writing from Delhi, where its 45 degrees Celsius on a good day and 36 degrees at night.

 

 

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Who is T-chen

I am really good at keeping secrets. Sometimes, I keep secrets from myself, never accepting some or acknowledging some fleeting truths, and conveniently forgetting secrets about myself that I have chanced upon.

T-chen is a secret I have kept for about 2 and a half years now. However, he occupies a few recesses and perhaps even the hypothalamus of my brain. We have been together since sometime in August 2012 . He is a nice guy. a kind sensitive soul. a curious bear. with a loud uninhibited laughter. infectious happiness. He says that the guiding force of his life is love. and this makes him a very special person. He has supported me through several bad phases. even now, prodding me to shine, while still allowing me to enjoy a lull. T-chen shares my sorrows, holds me when I am sad, listens to me earnestly when I have no words, and lets me enjoy his undivided attention when it is not occupied by books. He tries constantly and succeeds well in understanding what it is like to be female on this planet at this time. He is politically environmentally socially conscious. And the universe is a better place because he is here.

His eyes are dark blue with a tinge of grey, which twinkle and become smaller when he smiles. His hair is dark brown but gets lighter in summer. He has this habit of brushing back his hair with his hand that keeps falling to his forehead like he is one of the Beatles. He does not like this at all. He is very tall and I have to go on my toes to kiss him when we are both standing up. He smells and feels like home.

I love my T-chen.

Who is T-chen? I keep finding out each day, even now, when he has gone away for a while. I realize what his presence did to me when he is absent, and this way, I note something about him that I hadn’t before. I also learn things about myself, in this life with him. I would like to continue finding out who T-chen is.

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My first long-distance relationship

There are a few things I remember about him. But with each passing year, my memories of him dwindle and I forget that they were ever there. My first long-distance-relationship. My father.
I am told that, as a little girl, I once proclaimed that I wanted to marry a person who would be just like him. A very special person, full of kindness, joy and warmth, he was always my hero when I was growing up.
He was a fairly strict, disciplined in many ways but totally lacked it in other ways. He would make uswake up early even during our summer holidays and go out for a jog or to the park. On most days he would accompany us. But he would come back from that exercise and take a long siesta in the afternoon, this made my mother very angry. She said that there was no point to his morning walk if he slept right after a heavy lunch!
My father made me learn the multiplication table upto 15 x 15, front to back, back to front, just when I was 6 years old. He was of the opinion that intelligent children ought to be strong in mathematics. He was a chartered accountant himself. Unfortunately he din’t do his own personal money maths too well, so he was in a lot of debt. This part about him being bad about his own money is my mother’s opinion. I think that he cared about us so much and loved us so much, that he wanted to leav no stone unturned in giving us a good education. Even if it was difficult for him to pay the school fee each month, or send us to hobby classes such as dancing and tennis, he made sure we never gave it up. He had a passion for life and his motto, of live and let live was something he followed to the T. He lived large and was always kind to everyone. His zest for life is evident in all the things that inspired him and tat he shared with me. In class six, he sent me letter on a yellow page. and attached the letter was the poem that still remains among my most cherished ones. It was called Don’t Quit.
When he came back home from work, I could hear the jingle of his keys one the second floor, even as he entered the building on the ground floor. To me it was the most joyous sound, of my father returning home. My favourite person in the world returning home to spend the rest of the evening with me!

It was quite a shock to me when I stopped hearing it. At that time I think I dealt with it pretty well. Looking back, I think I looked upon it almost as a fancy event. That my father had gone to another land to save us all from hunger and despair was a superhero fantasy. I believed we would go and join him again and be like the family we were, once again.

I just realized that I have even been writing of him in the past tense!

I am not sure when I realized that it was going to happen that way. Some time after my father left, it was my mother, my brother and I.
We learnt to make all decisions independently without having to consult my father, or even eachother sometimes. If my mother din’t feel like cooking, she would independently decide that we were eating out. It was just the 3 of us for so long and for the greater part of my memory. (It has almost entirely been just the 3 of us in my brother’s memory. I wonder how he feels about this all.) This is why a lot of things I know instinctively are for 3 people. I know the measurements of rice, dal, vegetables that need to be cooked for 3 people. I know the cost of living for 3 people. I know water quantities used and number of luggage bags and life lived by 3 people.

I have forgotten what it is like to have appa around, often forgetting him altogether. I think of him a bit later than one would think of their father, when I want to share a good or bad news. I have few things to say to him and now, as I have grown up, all the fights that come from generation gaps have manifested themselves. This has made communication even more strained and difficult, for two people who already spoke less. Two people who are so intensely bound together by blood and truth and love, but have forgotten to love.

But perhaps its only me who has forgotten to love. I wonder how he feels about this. I know that he thought about us all the time in the beginning. But I am wondering about now. I wonder if he is moved by love or if he thinks of us forlornly in an alien manner.

I suppose he wants only the best for us and wants us to be happy. as I do wish for him.

But this is only in the times that I think of him. I am sorry and I sad about this, but it its true that these times are few.

My father was my first long-distance relationship.
and it has taught me things about myself, it has determined how I interact with people, my desire for intense privacy, my desire to trust few, my desire to seek for people and then run away on finding a hand to clasp. Perhaps it will change one day, but for now, I know that it certainly has moulded how I feel about relationships, and deal with people who I am distanced from.
Out of sight, out of mind. Not necessarily “out of mind”, but certainly cast aside. With friends and relatives, I pick up from where we left off and am absolutely fine with it.
But perhaps there are relations that are not meant to be cast aside. This is where it begins to hurt and I fear to let another person close to me, believing he would leave to go far away.
Leave a gaping hole.
An empty seat in a table meant for four.

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Filed under Don't want to talk about it, Journeys and travels, La vie, Me, My favourite people

the loneliest lonely person in the world

Sometimes I feel like the loneliest lonely person in the world.
On a day like that, such as today too is,
I just wish someone from my old past,
the older young me who was full of hope,
would call me and ask me simply

how I am?

and tell me that they
care about me and miss me.

And yet on a day like this
I begin to loathe all forms of affection
wish to reject friendships, run away
from this place, from clusters of people
who all merge into one
and loose meaning.

***
All the space in the world
whirling around alone
in deep dark space

what for?

 

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Bombay of mine, thank you for you.

So! On the 17th day of January, I decided to kick off with the Number 1 thing on my Bucket list for the year. I booked a ticket for the very next day, on the train to Bombay!
The 1.5 days I spent there were a crazy fest of amazing food, friends, family,barely any sleep, warmth and memories!

Its difficult to talk or write about Bombay simply because I am so aware of my bias to the city I call home, where I know I will always belong but probably would not want to go back to live in. Walking down familiar paths with old friends and breathing in the sea-breeze, it felt like the easiest and most natural thing to be there with those very people. It was so wonderful to be able to talk about things to a friend who knows you since you were 3 and someone who has seen you through all the masks and facades you put up until there were no more left, and knows you for real. and accepts, and embraces and loves. you. There was no need to give a context or explain a story, it all just came from the knowledge of growing up together, in the same little town where most people knew eachother, and lived as a community, with its small failings, and small victories.

I met exactly the people I would meet if I had a limited time in my hometown and the one person I would love to meet but hadn’t made a plan with, I bumped into her on the street although she doesn’t live there anymore either! I ate exactly all that I would have eaten and have been missing.

I had several realizations in the hours I spent there, some whilst sober and other not, which I would like to put down here.
1. Every person from Bombay is an AMAZING dancer of the street ghaati/Ganpati visarjan style. (Look at the little boy in purple going for it here to know what I mean!) I keep forgetting that in Delhi where I have no company for it!

2. Into the Wild should be the next book I add to my reading list. Heard Eddie Vader belting out Society in a room full of happy people and realized that I am someone who likes to live on teh edge or outside of society and thats the kind of people I end up making friends with. hmmm

3. I live intensely in the moment. In the night I spent in Lonavla, for most of the night, I din’t remember or think about a single thing outside of the exact minute I was in, There was no past, no future.

4. A thought about my current partner or the fact that I have one, passed my mind for the first time in the night at 1.30am. I wonder if thinking about someone you think/claim you love  after a gap of four and a half hours is normal. How are people supposed to be in love if they are supposed to be any one way at all?!

5. I love Pav Bhaji, and it will always be my number one favourite dish.

I am glad this is how 2014 has started. I am feeling at peace and yet all the atoms that make me are going crazy bouncing off eachother. Thats what Bombay does to me. Its my medicine and my bane. I love it there.

Also just realized that I haven’t been doing much from the rest if my bucket list, oops! Signing off, here’s a song dedicated to Bombay and its warm showers.  Bombay Rain, I think of you often.

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Lets not fart in 2014

The title has not much to do with this entry. Its just that I am writing this in a quiet library but am really holding my bum together since its hinting to me of a growing presence of its need to fart. So really, lets not fart in 2014. But thats among other things to be done and not done in the year.
Here it goes again. Another list of Resolutions is going to be made. I am going to call it Bucket list this time, for no particular reason but just because it sounds more of a thong that a movie would be made on.

So here it is.

BUCKET LIST FOR 2014

1. Leave Delhi once every month (I wonder if it can be adjusted to 12 times in the year. better if not, but we’ll see.)
2. Get a Car Driver’s License (International, yes bro thats how I roll)
3. Get my Diver’s license (As opposed to car diver, which would be not a good idea , at all.) in Open water diving from the Andamans.
4. Do something for someone else atleast one hour every week (This happened for a while last year until I abandoned as usual. 😐 )
Better be specific. I would like to read for visually challenged student/s in my University.
5. Give Deutsch A1 exam (and pass, I guess)
6. Be regular for Deutsch A2 kurs (if all the logistical factors of this remain as they are- this needs a separate blog entry yougaiz, I am so good at keeping secrets, partly because I don’t write here at all. )
7. Blog regularly. Lets be specific. Twice a week. 
8. Constantly Consistently work on the Mphil. Read everyday. Have a system.
9. Make a personal jour fixe for every week, balancing work, academics and fun. Stick.
10. Write letters and postcards to friends, family and lovers.Send two every week.
11. Be on top of finances. Invest wisely. Think before spending.
12. Skype with family every week. Call Thatha Pati,Pati and other parivaar every once in a while.
13. Every month, two non academic books.
14. Yoga. at Uni. Chaque jour. Pas weekends. 🙂 
15. Dance. as always. as forever.
16. Explore Madhya Pradesh thoroughly.
17. Flute? Flute. Hmmm. Lets keep it here.

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what I am doing nowadays

I have been on vacation since the second week of May and ofcourse I have been on vacation from this blog forever now. Anyway, the holidays have been great and eventful enough to have gotten me thinking about a lot of things about myself and the world.

Right after I handed in my last term paper in JNU, I had my sweet little brother come to Delhi and together we went on a great Himalayan trek. I met some brilliant people, saw some of the most beautiful sights I have laid my eyes on and had experiences that I hope my memory can bring back to me in its exactitude till the very end. I shall write about that sometime, hopefully.

So after the trek we came to Bombay together and spent a week here with mom.Little Bro had to report back to college by the last day of May so he left and mom and I went to Kuwait.

So here I am, in an air-conditioned room in the middle of a desert country with a lot of time on my hands and still not really doing much with it. Its really hot out (obviously desert terrain in summer) during the day and it gets just about bearable at night, so its not like you can chill outdoors over here. Through the newspaper classifieds I applied for the position of assistant editor of a magazine here so I was employed in a week after I came here. oh and boy, let me tell you that the currency here is awesome so I am going to feel quite rich when I convert this to Indian rupees, especially now that the rupee is falling. 😉 

kacchingg!

Unfortunately or fortunately, the people who write for this magazine are not so great at English and write like they never heard of grammar. Its only a monthly magazine so I am marginally busy for a week or ten days at the most after which I get to chill for 20 days. What an say, suits me real well, eh!

I have been getting back to running in the evenings to make sure that all the mayonnaise I eat here doesn’t stay put inside me. But I am sure some of it will decide to reside within, always does.

Anyway, since I don’t run with music or with any company, my mind wanders about a LOT. Many developments have taken place around me, at home and in the world, so I end up thinking about my future, imagine alternate universes where I am Greek, about being a superstar marathoner, and a ballerina , living in Europe and being existential, being a blip, then being a galaxy-like important person and what-not.

I have been trying to watch one movie a day for the past one week and have come to the conclusion that Woody Allen and Edward Norton, both, make me go bonkers. I feel all woolly and rain-like and imagine cobble-stone streets in the rain, downed in yellow light, with gentle string music floating up to the fairy lights in the trees, and a thorough realization in every breath that this is now and that is all we know. 

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Rozgaar(employed)! :D

So guess what?!

I just got my first appointment letter!

This time it ain’t any internship or shiz, its the real deal! its a job!I am going to be working in a Travel Magazine/Website!! Waov! Isn’t that such a dream job?!

As you can see I have been exclaiming! in the last four sentences so I am obviously very excited. 🙂

The magazine is called Globe Trekker and the same company si launching three travel websites. The CEO who took my interview and to whom I had to submit my written test sort of thing seemed very impressed with my writing for God Knows What reason. He said something like my writing was very mature (haha!) and that I could grab the attention of a large audience. He also said that its very very rare that he likes anyone’s writing so I must definitely be doing something right. This guy is called Rajarshi Roy has worked in top creative positions in all media fields like national newspapers, TV news channels, radio, cartoons et al. This company also has a production house along side and I think its the official Shatrugan Sinha Shotgun Productions office because they have his wacko posters all around the place.

Anyway, so Raj(as he is fondly called) said that I will be in the core writing team for these websites which might be associated with. He is really impressed with my writing (this is just hilarious!) so he said he won’t put me on any probation and will keep me as permanent directly!Initially we will be forming the structure et al and later I would have to travel, come back and write. HOW EPIC IS THAT?!!

My salary? Rs 8000! Look I am not an engineer or MBA holder. This is really good amount for a fresh English Lit graduate especially for a job that I will enjoy.

A slight downside to this is that the office is located at Andheri East in Chakala. Something like the farthest point from where I live. Its actually the farthest point from ANYWHERE and always has traffic. I really don’t understand why all offices have to be located there.  😐

But anyway, I got a job! Yay! So I start from July 1st or so. I already told him about my dance classes and performance(s?) , and told him that I have to be getting back to Navi Mumbai in time for practice. He seemed really encouraging about it and said that sometimes I can work from home or wind up early and leave sooner or catch up the next day. He said its flexible and that as long as I sincerely finish my work, they are cool. He even said he would like it if I went ahead in my dance in a big way, so I am really happy. He is hippie at heart just like me!

So lets hope this journey takes me far, that learn many lessons and most importantly that  I have fun!

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Shangri-la

Shangri-la is an  imaginary remote paradise on earth.A remote and secluded hideaway of great beauty and peacefulness. Correction : Its not imaginary.

I was just there.

A bunch of my friends and I went for a trek to the Himalayas along with a trekking group.We scaled Sar Pass at 13800 feet which over looks the Parvati Valley. The Himalayas in its quiet snow-clad peaks makes one listen to their own inner voice.Each of us had new experiences, secured new bonds and friendships, new ideas,new insights.The beauty all around , the snow,the greenery,the waterfalls,streams,the countless stars, the oh-so-impossibly photoshop blue sky and the fresh air keeps everyone in good spirits.It can make you appreciate nature and make us realize what we are loosing.It can give us answers that we have always had within us.It can make difficult decisions easy to take and accept.

Its not just the atmosphere that does this to you.Its the people around. Our fellow trekkers came from different fields and belonged to different age groups and different parts of the country.They all had wonderful qualities and love for nature.We would trek together for hours , discuss philosophies and issues that are important to us,learn from each other, support and cheer each other. We encountered some heroes too. These were the lady porters who carried the rucksacks for some trekkers.The would trek up all the way from their village way below and be at our campsite before we leave each morning.After we reached our next higher campsite, they would go back all the way again to their village and walk back once more in the morning.All this with such a cheerful demeanor.

This trek taught a lot of things. Every place has something to give and teach us.And so do it’s people.

It was definitely a welcome change from the fast never-ending circuit life that we lead in the cities.For a change , there was no 8.03 train to catch. It just never mattered what the time was. There was no cell phone,no facebook or internet, no news to occupy your mind and time.

Most importantly, there was time for oneself. To think. and the surroundings were such that gave you clarity.There was love for the world.And love for one-self found.

I made peace with myself. I believe again.

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ITHAKA

The english department of my college recently released its annual magazine, Ithaka.

The name of the magazine is taken from a wonderful poem by C.P. Cavafy called Ithaka. The poem is truly inspirational and reveals what the real stuff of life is. Just thought everyone should benifit so here it is. 🙂

ITHAKA

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

—by Constantine P Cavafy

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