Saturday, April 30, 2011

Much Ado about Nothing

It’s been exactly four weeks since we moved to Hyderabad and my social life has gone from busy to incredibly hectic. In the last four weeks I have:
  •  Met up with friends from my college gang thrice
  •  Hung out with S, my best friend from college, about half a dozen times
  •  Hung out with Gundu, my best friend from school, about half a dozen times, and     even met his friends here
  •  Met KK for lunch
  •  Hung out with Mahi, my cousin, quite a bit
  •  Spent three Sundays at Pinni’s place, one of which was spent helping organise a suprise birthday party for Babai’s 50th. Also spent time with cousins and Samee, who came down to Hyderabad for the party.
  •  Saw five movies at the cinema – Ala Modalaindi, Rio, Teen Maar, Dum Maaro Dum and Shor in the City
  •  Shopped lost – spent one day buying formal wear, another buying a desk and a bookshelf and finally a HTC Desire HD for Nike.
  •  Helped the in-laws host a dinner at their place (by help I really mean I made conversation with the guests!). Also attended dinner at Nike’s Maami’s place once.
  •  Went out for dinner alone with Nike twice.

Yes, all this in just four weeks. I also managed to see a couple of movies at home and read two books. Far from being tired, I thrive in the midst of so much social activity. On a day when I come home after meeting friends for coffee, I’m hyperactive. On a day when I come home directly from work, I’m all tired and need to take a short nap before I can bring myself to sit down for dinner and make conversation.

Now I have an equal number of friends, if not more, in Bangalore. But my life wasn’t a whirlwind of so much activity there, and generally, Nike and I spent a lot more time just by ourselves than we did with friends. The key difference here is that almost all my friends in Bangalore are married; in contrast I have only one married friend in Hyderabad. And in terms of ‘hanging out’ unmarried friends are much better than married friends, atleast in my experience (Like I keep telling my married friends, I’m just going to make friends only with younger, unmarried people from now on. The first question I will ask people is “Are you under 25 and unmarried”. If yes to both, only then will I consider the possibility of becoming friends with them. Of course, I’m aware that if everyone decided to use these criteria, I‘d be no one’s friend). 

I'm now ending this completely pointless post (because the rest of my posts were educative, informative and inspiring. Duh) here without even editing it because I want to put it up on the blog before midnight so that it shows that I've written TWO blog posts in April. Score!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the New

So the BIG NEWS is that I have joined an NGO! I am working in the India office of a US based public charity which does work in the area of public health. I am handling a very interesting project, and I am extremely excited about the role and the work involved.

So we got back in the first week of February from our South East Asia trip, and it was time for me to get back to a full time job. I was very keen on joining an NGO; even in my previous job, I was working in the development sector, but now I wanted to work on the field. But I’m as materialistic as they come, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take the pay cut involved (since I was earning millions in my previous job, NOT!). After much agonising, I decided to take the plunge and by mid-Feb I had started applying for NGO jobs.

Fortunately, things moved very quickly, and within two weeks I had a job offer. And it was a role I was very keen to work on. And so I said yes. The cherry on the cake was that the salary was much better that what I had been preparing myself for. Once that was final, we went off to Rajasthan for a holiday, came back to Bangalore, and after two lovely weeks in Bangalore, moved to Hyderabad in time for Ugadi and my joining date.

And that brings us to the bad news. The office is in Hyderabad. A week ago, we packed bag and baggage, and moved to Hyderabad. The bad news isn’t that I’m moving to Hyderabad, the bad news is that I have to leave Bangalore. I’ve lived for four years in Hyderabad and it’s a city I’m very familiar with and very comfortable in. A city I have very fond memories of. It means Nike and I are both closer to our families. It means I can now spend more time with some of my closest friends. In many ways, moving to Hyderabad is a good thing – and yet, I pine for Bangalore!

Without realising it, Bangalore has become home for me now. Vizag is, and always will, be home for me first and foremost. But Bangalore was home too. And I’m going to miss the lovely weather, the billions of wonderful weekend getaways, the quirky things to do in the city, the sense of laidbackness, my friends, my familiar haunts, that indefinable spirit of the city. I will, however, NOT miss the auto-wallahs. I;m also disappointed that I have had to move out before the Metro finally started - all that traffic and headache I withstood staunchly, thinking of a future in which I zip around in the Metro - and now I don't get the fruits of my labour. Gah!

Maybe if I was moving to a city I had never lived in before, like Delhi or Bombay, the excitement of living in a new city might have overshadowed the sorrow of leaving Bangalore. But there is no excitement at moving back to a familiar old place like Hyderabad, and so there is much sorrow at leaving Bangalore. Some of my happiest years have been in Bangalore – almost all my memories and associations of the city are incredibly happy ones – and it makes it so much harder to let go of a place that has given me so much love and joy.

People talk about how Bangalore has no ‘character’ when compared to older cities like Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Madras or Hyderabad. And I have to reluctantly agree with them. Yet, there is something in that city that slowly, slowly, sneaks upon you and makes you think ‘this is home’. It’s a very comfortable city, a city that graciously lets you be, a city that lets you become a part of it without you having to make any effort whatsoever to fit in. I’m convinced that once one gets used to living in Bangalore, it is going to be very difficult to move to any other major Indian city – life will get that much tougher.

Okay, now I’ve gone and made myself all sad and misty-eyed and nostalgic about Bangalore! I’m going to end this post here before I talk myself into buying tickets to head off to Bangalore this weekend. Ciao!