Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sibling revelry

Warning: Chech-Both of us are not very ‘vocal’ about our feelings, piss offs and craziest thoughts, but this time I guess it’s the weekend hangover that has led to this verbal diarrhoea.

As the youngest at home, life was fun as my folks didn’t experiment their parenting skills on me coz they were all tried and tested on big sister- Chech or Chechu as I call her. I was entitled to the bigger serving of ice-cream and the last piece of chocolate, not subjected to corporal punishment and always talked back to my folks. On the flipside, my middle name was entailed to rhyme with hers (malayalee parents fear being in breach of Section 3(2)(ii) of Kerala (Nonsensical Names) Act, 1951), received all hand-me-downs, wore similar clothes (I am sure that was mum’s way of saving money) and was constantly compared to the ‘well mannered, hardworking, less talkative’ sister.

From Rivalry…..

For some inexplicable reason, I was born with no hair on my head and 4 year old Chechu (who had jus received a ‘live’ doll) used to call me ‘motta vava’ (bald baby). She even composed a funny but irritating jingle on the bald ‘beauty’ (ahem). As a child, I always thought that I was adopted because Chech’s baptism, ‘1st birthday’, holy communion et al were ‘social’ events which relatives attended and mine were just a formality. And the child prodigy that Chech was, reaffirmed this fear. She convincingly told me that a scary looking man, appearing in an old album back home, had plans to finish off Dad, but then spared him subject to me being given to him when I complete 10 years of age [Dad agreed to give me off coz I was the adopted one]. And the stupid kid that I was, would count on my fingers how many years were left. (and I couldn’t beyond 3!!!)

Not that I was an angel in disguise. Whenever I sensed that Dad was unhappy with Chech’s studies, I would run and get the biggest ‘eerkkili’ (broomstick) for her punishment. We fought tooth and nail for frivolous things like remote control (cartoon network versus MTV), stationery, chocolates till Mum intervened saying – “ooh eeh kochungale kondu thotu!” (I have given up on these kids). She had the neat handwriting, systematic approach to study (waking up at 4.30 to prepare for her Chartered Accountancy exams), a voracious reader blah blah & blah and I was constantly told to ‘learn from her’. In a nut shell, she had made my life a living hell and I would tell people how lucky they were coz they didn’t a have sister like Chech. I wanted nothing to do with her.

….to Revelry

Times have changed now. We both look nearly alike (bad news for me coz she is 4 yrs elder!!!!). She lives with her ‘charming’ husband- (Chettan) just an hour away by flight and that is what keeps me sane here. The loser that I am, moved out of home just 2 months back. From being the carefree butterfly (though I doubt if my weight will permit me to defy gravity), I am forced to do my cooking, cleaning, washing and studying- apart from worrying about work prospects next year. Theories on mergers and acquisitions, pending laundry, bank account, what to prepare for dinner all in one go!!

Chech has, to an extent, now taken Mum’s place (as mum doesn’t talk much on the fone, and I need to ‘talk’ abt life’s happenings and not-so-happenings, not ‘write’ abt them in emails) especially when she says ‘get up get up its 5.15’. Her cooking has improved by leaps and bounds (if I describe her kitchen skills 5 years back she will sue me for defamation). I have special interest in her professional and financial success as it is directly proportional to the gifts I am showered with. (get the hint Chech, I am coming with more food requests next time). She always keeps a check on me & the gossip at my end- her’s and Chettan’s latest worry being my lack of lady like elegance and premature ageing.

Back from a much awaited weekend trip to Amsterdam. My clumsy nature made the process of getting the visa, hopping on the flight and the events thereafter surprising-embarrassing-and-fun in that order (details of which shall be elaborated later). But what I enjoyed the most was being carefree once again.

Now I tell people how lucky I am to have a sister like her. Further due to her, I now have a big brother(in-law) who provides all the fun element and sensible advice. (How much hv I flattered u today) Years back we were the good Roman Catholic girls who went to church and Sunday class every week. Thanx to Chettan’s sangria, last Sunday night we were two lightly drunk women (our first time ever) standing at a tram stop remembering those crazy childhood days, singing the ‘motta vava’ jingle and giggling. Chech just imagine what if Dad had seen us there??!??!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

London-y Snickets- A Series of Embarrassing Events

Absence from the blogsphere for a long time (like anyone cared!) is blamed on my inability to manage time efficiently. A lot has happened ever since I saw “The Namesake” (no I did not paint my full name as a graffiti on the walls of Mumbai- the innumerable C-grade movie posters didn’t spare any brick of the wall). I left my traineeship and got an Annie McBeal certificate. Since the boss was left speechless seeing my performance, he asked my goodself to prepare the certificate. I shopped for 20 days and packed everything into 3 bags and left the country to fufill my teenage dream- to meet Prince William! (he is balding and re-engaged but he still is in the second in line to the throne). On a serious note, I thought a li’l bit of London education may save my future employers.

The Journey

All my bags are packed, I ready to go
I am standing here outside the check-in counter
I hate to unpack all the excess baggage
Coz I am leaving on a jet (airways) plane

1) 20 days of shopping for an entire academic year. Linen, towels, cutlery, stationery, spices, pots, pans and finally some clothes..all packed into 3 bags.
Permitted weight = 28 + 23.
Packed weight = 35 + 33.
Finally checked-in weight = 30+ 25
Value of left behind Excess baggage= Priceless
Stares from the nearby people straight into my suitcase = Embarrassing
Lesson learnt- always weigh your luggage before a trip

2) When Mumbai was hot and happening at 35 C, my goodself was the only person in the airport with a sweater and a padded jacket (which made goodself look like an eskimo) and drawing unwanted stares from the NRIs. (you wore the same out-of-season clothes the first time u left the country!!!!)
Lesson learnt- ignore them.

3) Seated comfortably in the flight, goodself thot- lets watch some in-flight entertainment. So all buttons on the remote is pressed, touch screen is touched again and again till fingerprints ruined the screen, passengers seated nearby look and think ‘another FOB student’ and laughs and goodself thinks-‘Oh another IT onsite FOB’. In 15 minutes all misconceptions cleared- IT onsite dude is not an FOB, but a frequent flier (overheard conversation with third passenger) and the touch screen works once the inflight announcements take place and hence he laughed.
Lesson learnt- don’t turn on the entertainment as soon as u take ur seat. Be patient and wait for the flight to take off.

4) Dinner is served and it is some chicken achari roll (sounds good tasted ridiculous). The roll came in a cover double its size and goodself tries to put her hand all the way through, but the role doesn’t come out. IT-frequent flier-dude again laughs and then jus rolls down the cover half way till the actual achari roll is reached.
Lesson learnt- when u know not what to do, jus watch what others are doing (mebbe u too could get a chance to laugh). Your greed can wait!

5) The flight lands after circling London city 6-7 times as its too foggy for the ATC to give clearance and then thud! The flight touched the ground...(yay! I am in Lundun). All the passengers rush to the door and goodself thinks ‘dude this is Mumbai local train behaviour’ and casually wears the jacket, straps the laptop and pulls of the ‘overweight’ inflight bag (managing to look like an FOB all the more). People rushing all the way, running down the escalators. Soon the suspense ends at the immigration counter (or ‘UK BORDER’ as it is written in bold letters). At 6 am the rush at the counter resembled the crowd outside ‘Jalsa’ for Bacchan Jr’s wedding and it will take an hour to ‘cross’ the UK border.
Lesson learnt- the ‘Mumbai local train’ rule is universally applied at every international airport.

6) Lucky I was to meet a student (SM) also heading to my college and she suggests that we take the tube to our hall. Goodself had planned on taking the ‘sexy taxi’ (the famous black cab). Once across the trolley limit, the real adventure begins- getting our heavy luggage (each person pushing-tugging [I refrain from using the word ‘carrying’ which we were incapable of doing due to the weight] upto 70 kgs) to the tube. Goodself gets frustrated and comes up with the bright idea- THROW THE LUGGAGE down the escalator. So SM pushes the bag from the top, the bag tumbles and reaches goodself upside down, in the process also providing some comic relief to the passers-by.
Lesson learnt- Always travel light. (u get over the rupee-pound conversion soon)

7) So goodself reaches Holborn, again tugs at her luggage and manages to look helpless. An Indian student visiting London takes pity and helps. Together we pull down the luggage on the stairs and the wheels go manage to irritate everyone present.
Lesson learnt- Never do this when ur folks who funded the new luggage is around u..i was picturising the look on my folks face- the thot scared me.

8) Goodself stands on Kingsway hoping a ‘sexy taxi’ comes by…waits..waits..waits..(thinks-I SHUD have taken the cab at the airport)..waits..waits…(WTF!!!)…waits…waits..soon a cab finally comes..tells the cab driver ‘please take me to Drroorry lane’..he says ‘what’..goodself repeats.. ‘drrooorrry lane its jus the parallel street’..he says.. ‘oh druhry lane..i didn’t understand’!!
Lesson learnt- Even if English is the only language u can speak, don’t think the world will understand u. I thought my English was good, (I pronounce ‘r’ like the Americans do, not ‘arr’) but guess I was wrong.

9) Seats herself inside..nice ..wow I am in the sexy taxi..looks straight ahead to find the meter and sees the fare running at pace faster than the second needle in a clock. Reaches her destination and pays 6 pounds for a 3 minute ride. (Heathrow to Holborn- 45 minute ride-4 pounds!!)
Lesson learnt- the taxi is not that sexy afterall.

10) Goodself is now at her ‘home’ for the next 9 months and she didn’t know how to pronounce the name of the building. But this time smart enough, she did not take the name of the building, but quietly showed the offer letter and carefully overheard the receptionist talking over the fone and learnt pronunciation.

Conclusion- it might seem that I learnt all my lessons in 12 hours. But this is not the end of the story. More events happened but if I sit to write all of that I will not be prepared for tomorrow’s class. (what I actually meant to say is that it wud jus bore u to the core)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Birthday resolution

....a lot happened since i snatched the 'annie mcbeal' certificate from my( no ex-boss)....i realised that an idle mind is definitely a devils workshop...today I turned a year older and decided to get back to things i like..now I AM BACK!!!!!...and this time hopefully to stay!!!....

PS i purposely took this resolution on my birthday and not on new yrs as the latter resolutions r meant to be broken....