Day 11: The insides of a Ghost

…are amazing. It will make you feel like you’re floating, that you’re surrounded with awesomeness, that you’re “above” everyone else. It will make you feel like you’re being held and comforted by hands that do not really touch you, yet you feel the cozyness so well that it makes you want to hold on for ever. It will suck you up into an alter world and when it is time to leave, make you want to cling on and never get back to reality.

The insides of a Ghost are beyond awesome: a feeling I do not have enough words to express.

I grew up with boys. Till I was about 6-7, I was constantly in the company of my brother, and whenever we cousins got together, it was all boys. Then I moved with parents and brother to Guruvayur, which then turned out to be the BEST TWO formative years of my childhood. And there as well, all my friends were my brother’s friends.

We played cricket and 7 stones and all sorts of boyish (and sometimes quite violent :P) games. When we came back to Trivandrum, though I did make some girlfriends, most of my “everyday” company were my brother’s friends. When my favourite cousins came from Qatar once a year, the “games” were mostly re-enacting “the WWF”. And they took it rather seriously (that it was all staged on TV wasn’t something we figured too easily).

Therefore, I was always a tomboy. A big part of me still am and always will. A few dear friends of mine will vociferously vouch for this fact (and that’s a while other post!) I still remember the highpoint of tomboyness — going to UB City, Bangalore, once…and while the friends were going crazy window shopping at Louis Vuittons and the likes, I was in the basement parking, going gaga at all the awesome cars parked there 😛

Which probably is why, when we once went for a wedding reception at the Royal Orchid Hotel in Bangalore, in 2010, while Amma was ogling at the grandeur of the place and sparkle of the event (read dresses, saris, jewellery, shoes, etc.) that the other pretty women turned up in, I was ogling at a Rolls-Royce Phantom parked proudly outside. I had to then be physically shepherded inside by Amma (it was her best friend’s son’s wedding). I made a mental note to take a pic on the way back.

I’m not the kind with the patience for weddings and those elaborate parties, yet I deliberately delayed leaving the wedding hall, to make sure there will be as much space and calm around the Phantom when we leave. I had great hopes. I was already imagining sharing that photo with a few of my friends and the subsequent conversations after that. Needless to say, none of that worked out the way it should have!

On the way out, I gave the camera to Achan and asked him to click a few awesome shots. I made a bee line to the Phantom (did not even lean on it like it was mine – bah!) and turned around just in time to see one watchman shaking his head and spewing random Kannada syllables to Achan. Another one was walking straight toward me. He shooed me away. Literally. He said “Shooo…(blah blah blah in Kannada) go…no no no“. Ugh. I made another (highly improbable) mental note of someday going back and taking that pic!

Last month, Achan called me up and said a close friend of his from the good old “Lions Club” days of Trivandrum is in Kuwait. He gave me the phone number and told me to reconnect.

Wilson Uncle was someone I saw once a month till I was about 4 years old, I guess. I had a very vague memory of him being this bespectacled man who used to joke that I’m his girlfriend and that he was going to marry me 😛 I was always terrified of him and potently shy! He was 23 at that time. Every time I saw him, I would shriek and flee! And now, nearly 30 years later, I was meeting him again. And what a meeting that was. I had expected there to be awkward silences and nothing much to talk about, but I had a fabulous few hours!

And the highlight of the meeting: He is the one who introduced me to the insides of a Ghost!

Before picking me up, when he told me to watch for a “blue and white car”, I expected anything but a Rolls-Royce Ghost, of the most amazing blue! My jaw hit floor, and then once I got my bearings back, I hop, skipped and jumped across the road and got inside the most amazing car! 😀 Needless to say, I was too overjoyed to maintain any kind of social behaviour that will fall in the “appropriate” category. I became a complete “jolly villager” and went “Is this your car!? Oooh!” 😀 And when he nodded in the affirmative, went further ahead asking “Your own car, or company car?” He had the most amused expression before he said “own car alright”. 😀 When we stopped for lunch and he switched off the engine, the Spirit of Ecstasy retracted into the bonnet, and I even went “Oh where did that thing go!? 😮” Fine – I didn’t know it worked like that, ok! 🙄

When I got off the car after a rather amazing ride, I was reminded of the watchman who shooed me off from near the Phantom. And here I was, feeling giddy after having sat in another version of the  after-world beings. In your face, Mr Security. In. Your. Face! Ha!

With age comes maturity, and therefore I took no pics. Errr fine – I already told you I was on jolly villager mode. I have a crappy phone, which would do no justice to the photo (plus I am completely camera allergic and I am yet to find a camera that will like what it sees!)

Therefore, the only pics I took were with my eyes. And they’re uploaded on to a special folder in my brain. No share option there. Sad, I know. I’m secretly hoping he will offer to meet again, and come in the Ghost. I will make sure I have a pic of myself behind the wheel 😉

It was an amazing feeling, and I thanked my Achan profusely (but only after duly pulling his leg about where is an Alto and where is a Rolls-Royce) for making a dream like that come true. This is totally why he is the awesomestestest! 😉

insidesofaghost

The insides of a Ghost…as spectacular as its outsides!

Day 10: My greatest support system

What we come to call as “support system” usually are parents, siblings, relatives and the friends you categorise as “best friends”. They’re the ones you can fall back on, without having to feel bad about doing so, knowing full well you’ll be taken care of, even though it is not an entitlement. Only, you sometimes end up taking that for granted. If not the people, then at least the fact that there WILL be a support system.

Until you move out of all your familiarities and face a whole new world.

There is this girl who was my classmate during post-graduation. We were a pretty close-knit class of just 15 students. She was one of the sweetest in the class. She had none of the recklessness I had in me; she had none of the popularity, the stupefying clownness, the annoying self-righteousness, the frustrating over-confidence or the plain damsel-in-distressness that the rest of her classmates had. She was a simple, Mamma’s girl. She did not bunk classes, she did not do anything she feared her parents wouldn’t be proud of, she did not even hate the person who made her everyday life a living hell 😛 I hated that person on her behalf 😛 She was just a very sweet, happy person. I would always remember her as someone who vowed not to get married, but would adopt a girl child because she was fabulous with kids.

But I wouldn’t say she was in my best friend category at that time. Her constant company made it rather difficult for me to figure out how much I could like her 😛 After college life came to an end and we all went our separate lives, though, she and I became much closer. She got married, had a baby girl — and every once in a while, we used to have video chats, where I gurgled to the baby in her own unspoken language. We were pretty pretty close.

And then, I went into hibernation. For about 3-4 years. Our conversations became thrice in a year; once for her birthday, once for mine, and once for Christmas / New Year 😛

When I moved to Kuwait in March 2016, a lot of people assumed I have half my family here (you know all those jokes about half of every Malayali lives in the “Gelf”). I therefore drew a lot of surprise when I said I don’t have anyone in Kuwait. No relatives? Not even friends? Are you sure you’ll be OK there?

Well, I did have friends. I had, 2-3 months prior to relocating, figured out that this girl was in Kuwait (and all the while, I’d been thinking she was in Bahrain, don’t ask me why!) with her husband and daughter. I knew I didn’t want to be a burden for her, especially not after having been in hibernation for so long. And, I’d lost touch in those 4 years.

Or so I thought. I was wrong. She turned out to be my biggest support system ever. 

I cannot imagine the past 7 months in this country, if she hadn’t been here. She took me into her life and home (literally) and we re-connected like there had been never a day that went by without us talking.

I crashed on her couch for almost 15 days, shamelessly making her cook for me (in return I washed the dishes, something I’d never do given a choice :P) in the morning and night. I would put all my clothes into her washing machine and go off to work. In the evening, I walked back to see them all out drying on the clothes stand. She and her husband voluntarily took it up on themselves to help me find a place of my own, took me shopping, told me exactly what and what not to buy from where. We sat up till 12 most nights, reminiscing college and friends and our separate lives and laughing our eyes out. How her husband tolerated the incessant laughter without arranging to have me deported, still beats me 😛

Even now, after all this time, I know I can walk in anytime and not feel like a guest. I still take my laundry to her place and get it done (each time praying her husband won’t kick me out :P) When I get a pizza craving and don’t want to eat alone, I know she’ll tell her husband “She is craving pizzas. Let’s go get some!” 😀 When I need company to buy plants, I know she is ready before I can say “pla”. And when I am depressed and want to bitch about the marabhootham, she is always available 😀 When I am extremely unwell, I know I have someone I won’t be a burden to. When I’m thoroughly bored, I know if I ping her to say that, she will say “Oh come over already” without missing a beat. And man, her humour timing and sense is always reason for a complete riot!

And the best of all — she bakes the most awesome cakes. And if that wasn’t enough, she recently attended a bread making class and now makes beautiful croissants and focasias and what nots. OK – I haven’t tasted them yet, but well, got to be awesome.

Well, cake or no cake, I’m super glad to have her for a friend. The kind of friend you know isn’t “just a friend”.

What would I do without you, Deepti!? Thank you for everything you do, for being you! 🙂