Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bits of This and That

I was going through a lot of Facebook pictures the other day, and what struck me was that what almost everyone was uploading were pictures of their travels. One reason for this could be that we do take most pictures when we go to a new place, and not really when we are sitting around at home on a lazy weekend or just going about with our daily lives. But there is a deeper reason behind this – that one of the charms of travelling comes from sharing your experiences and stories with other people.

That is why there are so many blogs dedicated to people writing about their weekend trips and putting up random travel pictures. That is why there are so many online forums which provide people with the space to share their travel stories and experiences. That is why most pictures on social networking sites have people uploading their trip pictures.

A large part of the pleasure of travelling, I guess, comes from sharing what one learns and experiences during such travels. You go to a new place, you see and experience so many new and exciting things – and it makes enough of an impact on you to want to share it with other people, maybe family and friends or even complete strangers. It’s like when you make a discovery, small or big, you want to share it with others – not exactly an appropriate example, or even close, but you do get what I mean.

But sometimes, this can lead to a little trouble. When avid travellers exchange stories and experiences, the unsaid rule that travelling means sharing is understood. But when there is an avid traveller and a person who isn’t really interested in travel, then it becomes awkward. For example, we may be having a conversation about traffic jams and I come up with ‘When I was in Jakarta…..’ This is fine once in a while to make a point, but when one does it very often (as an avid traveller is wont to do, since it is second nature for him to want to share his stories and experiences), the other person, if not interested in travel, can feel like this person is a show off, always taking about this place and that.

One of my dreams, one of the things on my long list of things to do, is to become a travel writer. Today, I was telling my manager that someday I hope to become as effective a public speaker as the partner leading the project we are working on. The manager pointed out to me that I have to take the opportunity to start practising from NOW in order to be able to reach that level sometime in the future. That I just sit back and wait for the opportunity to come, instead of taking it up myself. He was so right – and not just about this but a lot of other things. Like how I want to be a travel writer but do nothing in that direction. I could start by writing travel stories or articles on blogs or online forums, and that would be a great way to start off! But then, I’ve always been big on ideas and low on implementation.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I love being on international flights. I really can’t pin down the reason for it. I like entering the airport and looking at the list of exciting destinations to which people are flying out today. I look at passengers and wonder where they are flying and why. Maybe they came down here on business and are going back home. They must be NRI’s returning abroad – I can make out they are NRI’s by their kids accents and the way they dress. Oh, some backpackers too. They must be from Israel.

I peer discreetly (or so I think) at passports, to figure out which country they belong to. The dark blue Indian one usually doesn’t interest me – I hold one too so it’s not really of much special interest. But I look at other passports and wonder what they are doing here in India, and where are they going next and why. I look at airlines from across the world, flying to places across the world, places I’ve dreamt of sometimes but never been too, and I feel a thrill run through me, just because I am here.

And then I enjoy checking out airport facilities, especially when I am in transit. And for this reason, I specially love the Singapore airport. Free internet portals, okay. Lots of coffee shops, books stores and unfamiliar eateries. Free massage chairs and even a free cinema theatre. Oh, and a swimming pool! I feel sometimes like a child let loose in a candy shop, I enjoy exploring airports so much. I walk by these exclusive designer stores where I can never afford anything, gasp at the prices and wonder who these people are and what they do to spend money like this on a name – I don’t think I would swear by the brands of the world, however rich I may become.

I am unreasonably curious about the uniform and seating colours if I am flying a new airline. My love of airline cuisine is legendary, and if it’s a well known airline, I start wondering about what they serve on board from the day I book my flight! (There have been occasions when I have paid a lot of extra money for an airline which served food on broad, whereas a low cost airline plus a full fledged meal would have worked out much cheaper – but then, I have an absurd love of airline food).

Well, my love for airline food actually deserves a post in itself so I’ll leave it at that. If I am flying an international flight and know that the flight has an international entertainment system, I plan ahead about how many movies I would watch, how many television shows and how much I would sleep. In the end, it all depends on what’s on offer once I’m on board but I do love the planning. I even open the airline website before I fly, just to see what they have to say for themselves.

Earlier, this intense charm that flying held for me was for all flights, international or domestic. However, over the past few years, as domestic flying became affordable and I came to a point where I was flying about once or twice a month, the charm of flying in general lost out. I still enjoy the meals and look forward to them, but that’s about it. However, I am hardly a frequent international travel – these trips happen once or twice a year at most so I still have a great fancy for international flights – my delight is almost childlike and I hope I can retain it over the years, because its good that such simple things give me so much pleasure.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Guess Where

I am?

Australia!!! More specifically, Sydney! Yay, I am so excited!

Will try to update regularly about my trip but looks like I am going to be fairly busy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I’ve had the most awful week ever.

13th July, Sunday: I accompanied my friends on a shopping trip, and came back feeling rather depressed because I had put on weight. The depression wasn’t so much because I had put on weight per se, but because I had put on weight after embarking on a healthier lifestyle. So much for that, gah! Since I was upset and out in the sun all day, I had a severe headache that Sunday. To top it, because I thought I’d put on weight, I overdid things and did 100 crunches at a go that night.

14th to 16th July, Monday to Wednesday: Thanks to my misplaced enthusiasm of Sunday night, I developed stomach cramps which lasted through Monday and Tuesday. I felt better on Wednesday and enrolled for aerobics classes.

17th July, Thursday: Thursday morning I woke up and discovered an eye problem which sent me into a major panic. Though the problem corrected itself in a few minutes, that evening, I visited the ophthalmologist. He told me that the problem had been caused because of stress, and that I should relax (otherwise the stress levels could build up and I would have to undergo surgery as I grew older and took on more stress and tension).

18th July, Friday: I decided to heed his advice and went to a party on Friday night. At the party, I tripped and fell down and hurt my knee. It bled; I washed it and moved on. After a while, at the party, I was leaning against a lamppost in the garden and talking on the phone, when the lamppost (and I, along with it) fell down. Most embarrassing it was.

19th July, Saturday: I woke up on Saturday afternoon, feeling rather tired from last night’s excesses. And then, for the rest of the day, I threw up everything I ate and had an uneasy feeling in my stomach. Sigh! Also found out the bruise was bigger than I had assumed it was.

20th July: I decided on Sunday that today was going to be a new beginning, and the awful week was past. So I accompanied my flat mate to campus on some work, and ate chocolate doughnuts at the CCD there, and came out feeling very nostalgic. I then met Nihar for a couple of minutes before going with Tibs for Kismet Konnection. Then Tibs and I bought some groceries and went home. My Mom had just come down to Bangalore on some work, and she was staying over with me that day.

Just when I thought things were getting better, my Mom checked the bruise on my knee and said that it was bleeding and in bad shape and packed me off to the hospital. There I was told that the bruise was infected! The bruise was cleaned and dressed, I was given a TT shot, and put on antibiotics.

21st July, Monday: My knee continued to hurt and I limped around with a bandage. Moreover, my left hand showed some rash and started to ache slightly – thanks to the shot.

22nd and 23rd July, Tuesday and Wednesday: My knee still hurts and I limp around. The rash still exists. And I have an upset stomach – possibly thanks to the antibiotics I am on. I also hear some bad news at office.

24th July, Thursday: My knee still hurts and I limp around. The rash still exists. And I have developed a slight mouth ulcer.
It’s been the worst weekend in a long time. The bruise isn’t healing yet – or its healing so slowly that it isn’t even noticeable. I’m trying everything – dressing the wound, leaving it open, cleaning it, not cleaning it, everything! The rash on my hand hasn’t disappeared either, though the ache has. To make things worse, thanks to the knee, I cannot drive and am completely dependent on autos. Moreover, I had paid a fortune to enroll in aerobics class last week, and haven’t been able to go to a single class this week because of the knee – and though I know I wont bloat up just because I’m not attending aerobics classes or going running for a week, I feel emotionally fat!

The only good news is that I am going to spend the weekend in Hyderabad. I shall catch up with family and friends, spend some time at home and eat more home cooked food, and visit my favourite spa and relax and rejuvenate! I’m keeping my fingers crossed in the hope that atleast the weekend goes as planned, without any fresh complications.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Unbearable Fatness of Being

So I’ve been a thin person all my life. In fact, I was a very skinny kid, and thin as a teenager. Every time I met relatives after a gap, they would exclaim about how thin I was, and insist that I needed to eat more and put on weight. I was a fussy eater, but the food I did eat and enjoy were all unhealthy and fattening – aerated drinks, butter, bread, white rice, ice creams, chocolates etc. I never exercised. Despite such an unhealthy lifestyle, I continued to be a thin person. So I just assumed I would be thin all my life, maybe it was in my genes, and that was it!

When I went to college, the girls in the gang I hung out with were thinner than I was. They were painfully skinny. It didn’t bother me much because I knew I was slim, and was happy with myself. I continued my unhealthy lifestyle through college. Even after I started working, there wasn’t much difference. Between 2001 and 2007, my weight fluctuated within a range of some 5kgs – and my BMI always indicated that I was underweight. My college clothes still fit me, people laughed when I said I wanted to start working out, and I was most certainly in the slim category.

So I was happy with myself, and life moved on. Then came 2008. And with the new year came the realisation that I led an unhealthy lifestyle. So I decided to turn over a new leaf – start exercising, eat healthy foods, cut down on unhealthy foods. But the lifestyle change was a painfully slow process – in fact, it took me almost 4 months to start it on a conscientious basis. So from April, I cut down on the colas, I cut down on the ice-creams, I cut down on the chocolates. Luckily at around this time, I seemed to have lost the appetite for pizzas, fries, chips etc.

I also started running on and off. I ran because I wanted to be fit and healthy and wanted to build my stamina. I enjoyed running, I enjoyed pushing myself, I enjoyed the tired feeling I got after my run. It was the only physical activity I did and it made me feel good about myself. However, I never ran regularly because I was either travelling, or it rained, or I had other plans for the evening. Yet, I enjoyed running occasionally, and it made me feel good, and made me hope that I would be building up my stamina.

So there I was - trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. Drinking lots of water, not skipping meals, trying to avoid unhealthy foods, exercising occasionally (and hopefully that would become regular soon). While this wasn’t doing much, I had never been more conscious of my health and fitness before, and it made me feel good. I felt good about myself, and I was proud of making an effort, however small, toward leading a healthier lifestyle.

And then the unthinkable happened – I PUT ON WEIGHT! And how! All the clothes which fit me well earlier have become tight for me. All the clothes which were loose for me earlier are fitting me now. My middle is expanding, my thighs are widening, my arms bulging. I moved from underweight on the BMI chart to ideal weight. I am now officially – dare I say it – the waist size I always dreaded being. And all this in just two months – the very two months since I embarked on my journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

(Okay…..I kind of fell asleep at this point and lost the thread of the post so the next paragraph is just a perfunctory ending).

What the fuck! I am so puzzled and dismayed and have been obsessing over it for the last few …days. Bloody hell! I am so MAD. I think this whole healthy lifestyle is bullshit. I think I should just go back to doing what I used to do before – which was basically nothing.

*Steam goes off! End of rant*

Monday, June 16, 2008

Taking Stock

I noticed a few days ago that it’s been more than five months since I last posted – and even for someone as irregular as I am, this is the longest I’ve ever gone without posting on this blog. I think it’s most shameful, especially considering one of my New Year resolutions was to blog more often – to write more often actually, and to improve upon my writing skills, and the medium was to be the blog. And unsurprisingly, the day I make the resolutions, poof!

I haven’t written largely because I’ve had a terrible writer’s block (we do flatter ourselves!). It’s just that when I have had the time to sit down and write a post, absolutely nothing comes to mind. And during those times when I’m furiously writing a post in my head, I don’t have a laptop to pen it down, and by the time I can lay my hands on one, it’s too late.

However, I’ve been busy for the last five months. I’ve been on trips to Gokarna, Kuppam and Yercaud. I’ve been to Vizag on three trips – the most frequent I’ve gone home in a while. Apart from short stopovers in Hyderabad on my way to Vizag, I also made a short trip to Hyderabad once. All these trips for personal reasons. And a short work trip to Delhi. So the last couple of months have seen quite a bit of traveling.

I also got to meet quite a few friends and family in these months. Sunil came down from the US in January and I got to meet him when I went home then. Ramya came down too, and I made a short trip to Hyderabad to spend time with her, and to see her baby. Lalith came down from Ireland, and though I didn’t get to spend much time with him in Vizag, he did come down to Bangalore for a couple of days, along with the rest of the Hyderabad gang.

Shils’ move to Bangalore has also been great for all of us. Shruti came to Bangalore twice in these past couple of months so that the four of us could meet up after ages. Shrav now comes over to Bangalore almost every weekend, and we even paid her a visit at Kuppam one weekend. So my weekends are usually spent with these girls, shopping, eating and generally hanging out together and having fun. It’s been good and I’m very glad that things have worked out this way.

During the week, I end up meeting BJ and FB almost every other day, though that’s not going to last long. And Abhishek has moved to Bangalore, so there’s one more person to meet during the week. I’ve also made friends in office who I’m now close enough with to go out with. I also met up with an old friend with whom I parted ways less than amicably a few years ago (completely my fault!) – we met twice and it was good because I felt we’d put most of the ill-feeling and awkwardness behind us.

Work had been interesting and satisfying till about a month ago. Thing haven’t been so great after that but I’m trying to sort it out. I’ve also moved into a lovely new house which feels almost like a home, and I share it with two rather nice flat mates, so things are really smooth on that front (Touchwood!).

So apart from work, friends and family, I’ve also done a lot of interesting stuff in the last couple of months. I attended Savvy’s wedding – a bunch of IIIMB junta turned up and it was good fun. I also went to a paintball tournament and it was SUCH FUN! Also went bowling and watched a play. And have been watching movies atleast once a week, religiously, apart from contributing to 50% of CCD’s income. I’ve also partied hard these last few months, and tried out lots of lovely new places to eat out at.

Phew! And that is why I have been too busy and tied up to post anything all these months. With half the year past, I’m thinking it’s time I had a less hectic social schedule – I have enough time for myself, my books and my movies – but I really think I need to start moderating my lifestyle. I’m telling myself that atleast twice a week I should come home directly from work. I also need to start running/dancing/some form of exercise. So assuming that my plans for a more moderate lifestyle are actually implemented, this blog should be seeing much more of me than before.

But hey, I’m not promising myself anything!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Year That Was

Happy New Year !

Another year is past. And like always, I marvel at how quickly 2007 has flown by me. It seems like it was January 2007 hardly anytime ago and here we are, in 2008 already! So how was 2007 for you? It was an average year for me – pretty bad in the first half and pretty awesome in the second half. Here’s a quick peek at Life in 2007:

The Bad
  • The year started off on a terrible note when our New Years trip to Goa turned out to be an unmitigated disaster, and easily the worst New Years Eve ever. The painful and tiring journey home did not help matters either.
  • Within a week of two of the New Year, the boss I worshipped announced his decision to quit. Sigh.
  • I brought in my 23rd with very lukewarm celebrations. And I didn’t get many gifts either. Hmph!
  • Domestic troubles plagued me during the first two months of the year. I am proud to say I displayed remarkable wisdom and patience – qualities I didn’t know I had, and still don’t think I do – and got over them. So there!
  • Some one very close to me went through a very difficult time in March – and while we did what we could to support her, she only wanted to be left alone.
  • I got into a project I came to hate in March. In fact, the four months from March to June were the pits, work wise. I was not enjoying my work at all, and had come to the stage where I had to force myself to go to work daily.
  • The first half of the year was the worst ever for me in terms of my health and well being. I had a constant cold, frequent fever, caught malaria, endured food poisoning, sprained my ankle and limped around with a bandage, and much more.
  • I spent a lot of money, actually every penny I earned – and most of it on food and flights.
  • I barely got to go home. The one time I was home for more than 3-4 days was when I was so ill that I couldn’t eat a thing or go out anywhere. :-(

The Good

  • Finally managed to pull off a long awaited family trip to the North East in July. It was a very beautiful place, and the trip met every expectation I had of it, and then some.
  • I moved to Bangalore in August. I do like Hyderabad very much but I was desperate for a change and it came at the right time. What’s more, my team is Bangalore is great and the project I am working on is kick-ass (and no, I don’t think anyone from work is reading this!)
  • I started learning French, and got pretty good at it too! I love learning French – my final exam is due in two weeks and after that I intend to join the next level.
  • I enrolled for dance classes for two months – the number of dance classes I actually attended in these two months is irrelevant.
  • Went to Jakarta, Indonesia on work for two weeks. And spent another week holidaying in Bali. I made some wonderful friends there. And splurged on the spas and clothes. One of my bestest holidays ever. Thanks you PwC. Thank you EAPIRF. Thank you JWSRB. Thank you Indonesia. And a special thank you Bali.
  • And now that I have started, I would also like to thank Subway, Baskin Robbins and CafĂ© Coffee Day. Muah. I love you guys. Life without you is unpalatable. Hehe.
  • Being in Bangalore also means I get to go to L^2 once in a while. And do quick weekend trips to beautiful places like Wayanad with friends.
  • Being in Hyderabad meant I could meet up with all my friends from school and college, and catch up with them, and re-establish my bond with them.

I’m beginning to think this post was a bad idea – I cant seem to be able to stop about all the things that have happened to me this year, some bad but many very nice. It was a year of ups and downs, but I’m really taken by surprise that the year ended so quickly. And 2008 is here already. Happy New Year everyone!