It’s been. Way, way too long. But when major changes happen, routine goes for a toss. Not that I was very routine with the writing in the first place.

Anyway to cut a long rambling monologue short, I was away. And now I’m back.

Watch this space…

Advertisements

Aaaaaaaargh!

Take it from me, trying to configure the WordPress iPhone app on an iPod with a dodgy wi-fi connection at a cafe, is a feat not to be attempted in the best interests of one’s sanity.

I’ve always entertained a fondness for my local library. Two reasons, one: as a child and as an adult, I have always loved books. The idea of a space dedicated to books of all kinds is mind-blowing. The fact that the space is well-maintained, free, with the most comfortable armchairs known to mankind and with free wi-fi just makes it a little bit better.

Also, it’s cool to tap away at the ole’ Mac in there. So I decided I would try my hand at blogging from the Auckland City Central Library.

Having decided that, as per SOP (Standard Operating Procedure, for the ‘we don’t use acronyms’ lot amongst you) I procrastinated for about two years. Today though, even I couldn’t delay any longer. I was in the library with unlimited time and a rather limited wi-fi data allowance to spend. Only thing I didn’t have: my laptop.

‘But wait’, she says, ‘I have a cunning plan. I shall blog using the WordPress app on ye olde iPod.’

And so we come to the crux of this post. Downloading the app was fairly painless. Once it settled itself comfortably on the iPod, the next step was to enter the details for this blog into the app. As I was merrily going along entering details, I came to the password field, which of course I did not remember. When one has passwords for everything from Internet banking to online grocery shopping, one stops after a while and gives in to the inevitable ‘Remember Password’ option with much relief.

Anyway, being the tech savvy, internet geek that I am I knew exactly what to do. Technical thing this, not many people would do it: I pushed on the I-forgot-my-password button. And the site promptly said ‘I’ve sent you your new password to your email address.’ Right. So I go about launching the browser on the iPod. Gmail’s login screen struggles to squeeze itself onto the tiny screen but manages it somehow and as I type in my username, I realise that this password too – I have forgotten.

So I then tell Gmail I have forgotten my password at which point it proceeds to ask me questions in very tiny font. At first I think this getting me to read minuscule text is part of the procedure, like one of those ‘type in the verification text’ boxes.But no, it’s just the tiny screen again. The keyboard on the touch screen doesn’t help in such situations either. Especially if you have fat fingers or you haven’t cut your nails in the last two days. I speak from experience.

Anyway, I manage to answer all the security questions in spite of being disadvantaged by my fat fingers and uncut nails. Now I am allowed into my email. From there I pick up my new password for WordPress and race back to the app and set up my blog.

As I watch with pride my accomplishments of the last 45 minutes coming to fruition, I plan this post in my head. As I am mentally composing my magnum opus that will be published from the library, my sense of warm and fuzzy happiness is interrupted by an insistent beeping. I look around and finally discover source of said beeping is actually in my hand.

After all, when your iPod is dying because it’s run out of battery, all it can do is beep.

I ended up typing this post from my Mac at home.

But you can’t deny, I gave the old blog-from-the-library-on-the-iPod a damn good try.

All that lark about life being better in foreen countries than it is at home. Everyone says it, from the uncle who couldn’t point to a foreign country on a map to the child who is sure she is headed ‘there’ one day.

Where, you ask? I’m not sure yet, they say, but I’m going. Appa, who will stay here in this country, where the system is broken?

True, the system works better here. I’m not saying it is perfect, but it works, you understand. But the price we pay, one wonders.

And one finds, one misses the strangest things. The small things.

Things like buying flowers at just that right time between afternoon and evening, when they are freshest and haggling over the price of the fragrant blossoms. Hearing the latest film songs played at the corner tea kadai. Going to the local temple. Shopping out at T Nagar or Commercial Street and eating out on the way back because of a bit too much shopping.

———————-

One misses food too.

I miss tea made in that uniquely Indian way. The tea leaves boiled too long, the milk boiled to the consistency of condensed milk till it needs no sugar. I remember when I was in Bangalore, K took me to a typical ‘tea kadai’ said tea was tea only in roadside stalls. I also remember turning up my elite nose at that and refusing to have some because the shop looked none too clean and the customers even less so.

Here tea is a weak fluid colored brown, with a dash of milk old chap. No, we don’t really say old chap. But the dash of milk is true. And tea, Indian ishtyle tea, is available at Starbucks (of all places!) and is called chai latte (shudder!). Wonder who came up with that one? They serve it in clean cups and you drink it surrounded by smart young things, typing away on their iPhones. It just ain’t the same.

The chaat shop just off Commercial Street. Not for the claustrophobic, crowded and seriously underrated. I think I took T there once. Man! That was a place I was proud to take people to. Anand on Commercial Street and their kachoris sent from heaven to save us all. Lakeview Milk bar with its weird sounding name for the high-class sandwiches and burgers and things. And those lychee! Queen’s on Church Street for lunch with a book for company. Bheema’s for food so filling we couldn’t stand up at the end of it, T and I. Murugan Idly shop for those soft idlis that melted in your mouth. And their ‘sakkarai pongal’. That shop whose name I have forgotten in T Nagar. Just perfect after all that strenuous shopping. That chaat shop so close to home, where the pani puri is like no where else on earth.

It just isn’t fair. And oft-times one thinks, the price is too damned high.

———————-

After a day filled with the sounds of hammering, sawing and hard work, it is finally silent. The workmen have packed away their tools and gone home to their kai.

And me? I am left alone to savor the sounds of the park in my backyard, the odd train passing by and the sound of bangles clinking as I type this.

And I am left to yearn for the small things.

Right, a fresh start on a fresh blog.

Note to self: Must be regular on this one, at least.

Slightly more interesting posts to follow.

I’m getting old.

The thought has been lurking in the shadowy recesses of my mind, the places I usually pretend don’t exist. But after spending 20 minutes on the floor today composing a single text message, I realized pretend time was over.

Upon closer inspection, the signs are quite clear and rather abundant.

On the roads I now look for speed limits and road signs even if none are apparently visible. My driving instructor says I am too cautious on the road. People I would have said are old now think I drive too slowly.

When texting, I now capitalize and punctuate quite assiduously. Darn kids and their funny shorthand!

Spending an entire afternoon baking is now acceptable and even fun.

One feels eating out is a waste of time and money. Plus it’s not healthy. A long way from eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at questionable eat outs, yes?

When eating a cookie, or a chocolate or pretty much anything, I stop mid bite to wonder if it’s good for me. If I go back to India and eat at a redi again, I will in all probability require medical attention quite soon after. Whatever happened to living on fries, pizza, samosas and chaat?

Nowadays I prefer to stay home and watch Harry Potter on TV. Yes not only am I getting old, I am also apparently regressing back to the mental state of a 12 year old, if that.

Oh well. I suppose it was inevitable. Besides, I think there might be a re-run of HP on the telly…

* Well hells bells! This being the US of A and all, here was lil’ ole me thinking I would have a kick ass internet connection and I could do, you know, stuff. But the service providers have cut me off from the manna that is broadband and I am now stuck using a USB modem, at prehistoric speeds. And worst of all, I can’t stream episodes of Lost!

* Being on vacation is an acquired taste. The first few days hurt going down. The sense of being afloat with no particular direction to go in, the feeling of having nothing to do and no one to report to: it all feels very demoralizing. But as the days go by it gets easier. One learns to appreciate the silences. No, I’m not just saying that.

* Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you will get it. Just because you have wanted it longer, prayed for it harder doesn’t mean someone behind you in the queue won’t get it first. In the line of life, apparently people can jump the queue and darling, there ain’t a damn thing you can do about it!

* Even when you have no regrets in life, you still miss things. Singing safe inside my helmet where no one could hear me, the feel of the sun on my arms as I drove, the feeling that I could do anything, be anyone, the carefree days and the dreamless nights, no weight on my shoulders. Ah! To be young and care free again.

Funny how you can feel happy and sad at the same time. Funny thing, life…..

As any self respecting TamBram knows, the promised land is America. If you grew up with lots of maamis coming around to your house at festival times, you have heard the phrase “Theriyumo, ava pillai/ponnu/mapillai Chicaco/Caulifornia/some other city or state la irukka (Do you know, their son/daughter/son-in-law is in the States).”

Short of beating it in to you, it was made known that if you had an iota of self respect you would go to the States. If, heaven forbid, you went to some other country the Hindu reading mama next door would discreetly ask your parents “Yen states la onnum kedaikalaya? (Was nothing available in the States?)”

Having grown up with such intense indoctrination, when I arrived here it felt very much like arriving in the promised land where the streets were paved with gold and champagne (or in my non-drinking case, milk) rained from the heavens.

Surprisingly, it has been easy so far. I had been having visions of being tackled to the ground by beefy immigration officials with guns for having the wrong kind of visa. Or of my luggage ending up in Cuba and me having to go to the supermarket to buy everything from a toothbrush upwards. None of these came true and my toothbrush and I have slipped into the country without any ripples.

The apartment is nice (it’s HUGE!), the rental car is nice (it’s HUGE!) and the supermarkets are pretty much what I am used to in New Zealand (the potatoes are HUGE!). As subtly expressed above, I’m still coming to terms with the size of things. There doesn’t seem to be such a thing as small. Even the bloody onions in the store are so huge, I can use one of them for four meals.

So that’s the story so far of yet another Tam Bram in Caulifornia. I haven’t done much exploring so far (the official excuse is jet lag, unofficially it’s sloth), but I plan on taking some pictures. So those will come up at an as yet unknown date.

Till then, I’ll be seein’ ya’ll around.

Have you ever noticed, there are some people at work that you see only in the loo?

Wander the office and you will never see them. But duck into the loo, and hey presto! There they are.

How come you see them there and only there? There must be some vibrations around the loo that permit the manifestation of these beings.

The weekend is coming up and I am excited. What so great about this weekend, you ask? Nothing much, only that I’m headed to WELLINGTON!

Ok, to be perfectly honest, this is my first time there so it’s not like Welly and I have a deep soulful connection or anything. It’s just that I have this picture in my head of what I think Welly is like and it kinda looks and feels like Bangalore.

In my head, of course.

And for this reason, I’ve decided I will like Wellington.

A friend of V’s is hosting us for the weekend. We get to crash at his pad and do the rounds of the town. That’s a very nice gesture on his part, no?

Funny to think a year ago, I didn’t even know Wellington was the capital of New Zealand. I thought it was Auckland.

I’ve got things lined up I’d like to do. The Weta Workshop, the Beehive, the giant squid at Te Papa, LOTR stuff, surviving the freezing weather. Just your usual list of tourist stuff.

I wonder, am I going to find my Kiwi Bangalore?

Or programme, if you prefer English English as opposed to American English.

So, right, the program.

When I joined my gym (I’ll have you know I pay 75 dollars a month for the privilege of saying that), they designed a program for me, supposedly customised to my body and tailored to help me meet my goals.

What they actually did was have me and V doing exactly the same set of things, except he gets to do them at heavier weights. And because I’m a girl, I’m let off easy.

In my pre gym days (that’s up until last week), I used to run almost 20 minutes a day for mostly three days a week.

Now that I’m in the program, it’s a whole different story. I’m working out with the pros now, playing ball in the big league.

I’m expected to be at the gym 4 days a week. V and I tried going in the evenings after work, but it got too crowded. Watching a slightly senior man trying his hardest to pump iron, while waiting for the machine to get freed up is not my idea of a fun evening. After resisting as much as I could, I finally had to give in. So now its four days a week from 7 to 8.

That’s earlier than official sunrise time in Auckland.

The session starts with some gentle cardio – an average of 15 minutes on the treadmill. This is to work up a good sweat and get the ole’ ticker racing.

This is followed by the forty minutes from hell. The weights portion of the program. Or programme. Muscle groups whose existence was so far a secret get broken down and built up again. Or in my case, just get broken down.

After this little romp, it’s another 15 minutes on the treadmill. Or the exer-cycle. Or the cross trainer. Take your pick.

Next up – ab crunches. Hurts like hell. Do not plan on attending any comedy shows or catching a cold. Never knew you needed abdominal muscles to laugh and cough, did you now?

Last but not least – gentle stretching. Just to keep flexibility in the equation.

I used leave the gym suffused with the contented glow of someone who had pushed their body, pushed it hard and knew they are the better for it. For 20 minutes of running.

I’m in a whole different class now. I’m qualified to strut my way out of the gym.

Well, I try to anyway. When I’m not limping.

In the old days, when blogging was a new tool, the word of the blogger was equivalent to the word of your next door neighbour. They expressed their opinion on a matter of international/national/local/domestic significance and you either agreed with them or not and put forth arguments to that effect.

Blogging was supposed to be an enabler of neighbourly conversations, even if said neighbour was oceans away.

About two years ago, the media started paying attention. They gave real weight to the words of the neighbour. And now it’s gotten to the point where it might be dangerous to say something, because someone might sue you.
Or something.

That said, I’ve given up commenting on current issues. Nothing to do with being afraid of getting sued, of course.

Which brings me to the perpetually perplexing question of what to write about. I believe I have gotten away with many a post simply expostulating about writer’s block.
In all conscience, not a very good ploy on my part.
And besides, one needs to restate one’s mission, vision and all that rot once in a while so as to steer true. So I’ve decided I’ll try and make an effort and share my hopefully daily, sometime comic, sometime dark and at all times real, observations of life on the blue marble.
Having done that course check and found that I'm still keeping to the original course for this blog of arrant nonsense and gereal ravings, I pause to say, "I will return" and exit, stage left.

Old Sets