Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Fish Out Of Water

… is how it feels to be away from home. I once read somewhere that home is not a place, it’s a feeling. I guess, I now know what it feels. While I perpetually live the internet fed frenzy of the latest and the greatest from around the world, there are times I want to keep up with nothing. For really, I just want some neighborhood gossip. Or an update on what happened to that grey stray cat I saw on stairs last night. Or news about the new building watchman. Just some people who see me and give a familiar nod, or a familiar disapproval. That’s okay too.

Familiarity is a huge problem. When you’re surrounded by people who know you, who are like you and who act like you, the feeling of home becomes suddenly attainable. Made easy with familiar hugs, familiar tastes, and familiar smells. The absence of this familiarity is how I define foreignness. Foreignness is a feeling where you feel you’re on a never-ending vacation. You might think its good. But in long-term, its toxic. Its what Dr. Suess called 'the waiting place'. For as long you are aware you're foreign, you're aware you're not home. I would like to feel home today. Is that possible Universe? Can I please be home today? 

Monday, August 4, 2014

I'm in Europe

Europe of clear twilight skies.
Europe of pretty trams humming along the city roads.
Europe of clean street food.
Europe of amazingly homogeneous groups of mixed race people from countries I had never heard of before.
Or could not spot on the map till yesterday.
Europe of Romanians.
Of Turks.
Of Polish, Greek, Ukrainians, Estonians and Albanians.
Europe of urban gardening.
Europe of punctuality.
Europe of frosted glass windows.
Europe of enormous food portions.
Europe of hourly weather forecasts.
Europe of foreign languages.
Europe of bloodied pasts.
Europe of humility.
Europe of responsibility.
Europe of historical guilt.

And Europe of unadulterated free mindedness.
Europe of progressiveness.
Europe of 10 PM sunsets.
Of long summer days.
And clock ticking on winter dread.
Europe of poetic town squares.
Of empty parking lots.
Of bicycles.
Or pillion bicyclists.
Of heated homes.
Of open windows.
Of yarn bombings and of organized graffiti.

Europe of street parties.
Or late late night street parties.
Of quiet strolls.
Of safety.
Of trust.
Of unhinged public display of affection.
Europe of my gay friends.
And their free-er lives.
Europe of choices.
Europe of personal freedom.
Europe of fearless women.
Fierce women.
Unapologetically expressive women.
Europe of labour dignity.
Europe of equality.

Europe of distinctly coloured hair and skin.
And eyes.
And tongues.
Europe of centuries old folklore.
And kings and queens.
And of country farms.
And of cheese.
And wine.
Of football.

Europe of full body hug greetings.
Or two pecks on the cheeks greeting.
Or one peck.
(I'm never entirely sure.)

Europe of tap water.
Of solar power and of jägermeisters.
Of red light districts.
Of legal red light districts.
Europe of acceptance.

Sometimes I miss India. Sometimes I don't.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Let me not write this.

Nowadays when I write something, I hate that the first thing that comes to my mind is - for whom? For who am I writing this? Maybe I can withhold this piece and submit it for work. Maybe I can make a twitter joke out of it. Maybe I'll store it away for that book I'm writing. Or was writing. I'm not entirely sure anymore. Or maybe I'll update my blog with it today. But write it for free? Who will pay me for it? What if it becomes my star blog and someone steals it and makes a best seller out of it? Or worse, maybe it actually does turn out good and then I wont be able to use it anywhere again, ever.

By now I've lost my idea. I don't even want to write anything.

This is a game I'm severely and drastically losing at. And then I'm devastated because suddenly I can't write. I miss the old days where I used to blog all the time and I didn't know who was reading it, or if its even being read. And I never got paid for anything. So I wrote everything with all my heart, just exactly like I felt it. This was my place to write. This was the only place to write. And it was beautiful. I loved it. Maybe only ten people ever followed my blog but for some reason that was so much more satisfying than a thousand people on twitter reading every word I write.

Its hard, this struggle.

Sometimes I think I would have been a better writer if I weren't a writer. Or say, if I was in insurance sales. Or cupcakes. Anything. Maybe I would've treated the written word a little more non-committal-y than I do today.

It's also insecurity, I realize.

What if I never have an idea this good ever again. Let me think about this a little more. Let me not give it a fleeting existence on twitter. Let me not give it a chance to breathe. Let me strangle it, juice it, suffocate it with mindless, incessant over analysis and condense it into a vague, bulleted, left aligned iphone note. In stuttered, nonsensical, short sentences until I forget about it, don't understand what I was trying to say with it, and one day, delete it.

I guess I can publish this post. Nobody will pay for this crap. Except, maybe, in a magazine meant for writers. Oh, that's an idea! Shhhhhhhh.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Blog Well Waited

Week 2 in Deutschland. Sitting in the international library and wildly ecstatic for overhearing English being spoken by two elderly British gentlemen discussing politics. English, ja, since most of the time my ears have been feasting on the mighty German.

Yes, I finally made the move. To Germany. Why? Because the opportunity came and it didn't sound half bad and frankly I've been in a anywhere-but-here kinda mode since a few months.

So last month, while everyone soaked in the Christmas cheer, Him and I packed up our tiny Mumbai apartment, bid farewells to the family and moved to Deutschland.

Nothing prepares for Germany. Not even learning German on Duolingo. Nope. The small expat community online looks lively enough, sure, but no, you ain't seen Germany yet till you're stranded on a U-Bahn stop with three fat old ladies who make absurd hand gestures at you saying "Nien Englischhhhxyz xytjefjfhhfj". What? Who's being racist? I'm being accurate yo, phonetically of course.

Leaving is hard they say. But this is the super power I discovered about myself last month. I left quite happily. And not just the people, I was completely okay leaving behind things, home, infinite boxes full of stuff that at one time I absolutely had to have for my life to go on. Fantastic. But it's the arriving, the landing that I'm struggling with. Usual expat blues, I'm being told. English speakers are less, and English speaking jobs lesser still. So, the bad news is - I'm unemployed. Also, the good news is - I'm unemployed. If I told my past self that I'm right in the middle of Europe with no presentations due today, tomorrow or the next few months. I'd be shooting rainbows out of my ass. So, I'm conditioning myself to being free so much and then to utilize this free time effectively.

Conflict 2: Cold. I've got to conquer this devil. I'm a summer child, yeah.Winters make me melancholic, winters make me sad, uncomfortable, oh and immobile. I had this discussion with myself and Him when we took this decision. And it struck me then, if I keep chasing the summer suns forever, I'm cordoning off half the planet for myself already. Just like that. And that made me terribly sad. So, I packed my ear muffs and jumped right in. Also a sack full inners, leg warmers, woolen sockies, hats and gloves. In other news, they're forecasting a snow storm next week. Yes, FML. My ears ring, my toes and fingers feel like icicles and with my five foot frame, I look like a stuffed baby bear walking the streets. A cute and cuddly bear but a bear alright.

I made a huge to-do list sometime in 2008, that I stumbled upon today and I thought, hell, there will never be a better time than this. I don't have a job, I know a total of zero people (except Him) and a big to-do will be such a blessing.

So, that's all the updates from my part of the world, check back later and thank you listening to my chatter.