365 days in Kuwait

It was on 18 March, 2016, that I got on a Kuwait Airways flight, bidding goodbye to the few things I held dear to me in Bangalore. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t miss Bangalore much.

And I was right. All I missed of Bangalore (and how!) were my two tail-wagging angels, one whose angel I was, the dear brother and the lush-lush greens and lovely colours of my lovely (rented) house garden. Trust me, nothing more. I’ll get to that later.

Though I say these were all I missed, these were the very essence of my life, and leaving them behind was not easy. Uprooting yourselves from a place you’ve called ‘home’ for  over 8 years–and a country you’ve lived your entire life until then–to move to a new place for a new job and a new way of life can’t ever be easy.

It was not. Especially not in a place like Kuwait.

What can I say about Kuwait? Well, perhaps the same thing I keep telling people who ask me how I like it. That it’s not a bad place at all. That in fact, it is quite nice (contrary to the many stories I was ‘warned’ with, prior to my accepting the offer and moving over).

Just that it isn’t a place you want to be alone in. So, what’s there to like?

  1. Well to start with, there is a beach around almost every corner. How many times have I gone to one in the past 365 days? Once.
  2. This is a foodie’s paradise. Name any cuisine and you have authentic and spurious versions of both, across all price ranges. How many have I tried? Well, very few (those too, only as part of my job).
  3. This is a fashion lover’s heaven. Brands I’ve only read of in books/seen in movies, I see all over the place here. Clothes, shoes, bags, accessories… How many have I walked into? Very few, and for obvious reasons.
  4. There are quite a few “places to see”, which can keep you busy for at least a month, if you were to do one every day. How many have I done? Perhaps five.

These obvious stuff apart, if you have the will and the time, there is A LOT that Kuwait offers to keep you occupied and interested.

There’s theatre, there’s music, there’s art, there’s all kinds of community clubs and events, there’s a variety of sports, there are many museums, there are frequent concerts, there are shows and cultural/food festivals…there’s  just a lot one can do. And for the travel lover, great connectivity (and affordable travel) to a plethora of places, especially to several that are on top of my list!

Yet, so far, I’ve only done the music. Because while time is all I’ve had aplenty, I have not yet had the will. Don’t ask me why.

I spent a good part of the past year deliberating on whether or not I’m here to stay. Well, when I decided to move here, I’d come with a three-year plan. But within a few weeks of being here, I was very tempted to covert the 3-year to a 3-month plan 😀 But now, all that’s about to change. And for the good, I hope. The three-year plan is back…and is probably now a 5-year one.

And that will mark the end of my “life” in Bangalore, leaving me with absolutely nothing to miss about Bangalore anymore. Not the traffic; not the pollution; not the roads; not the fiery lakes; not (some of) the most horrible people I’ve come across in life. It was a place I first saw around the turn of the Y2K (anyone even remember that whole end-of-the-world is here phase? :P) It was a place I then went back to in 2005 and realised I was still in love with. It was a place I permanently moved to in 2007 and then hated for the next few years…and then when all else seemed lost, started liking again in 2012. It’s a place that I began looking at sadly as a classic example of “how to destroy an awesome city.”

It will always be a familiar place…a place where some of the best and worst things of my life happened. I hope, with Kuwait, that order reverses. I started off here in the wake of the worst year of my life 😛 About time it all became the best, and with no turning back.

About time I saw Kuwait with a whole new pair of eyes and a whole new heart! Oh, and two very happy tails!

Can’t wait! ❤

 

Day 27: Never in my life…

…have I ever taken on a diet plan. I have always eaten what I wanted to, never caring if it “showed” on me. I have my dad’s genes to thank for it, I guess. I have gained weight in the past, but that was when I sat at home, freelancing for nearly a year. And the maximum I gained was 5 kilos. I shed it as soon as I began going for work.

It was when I joined Accenture that I began hogging on Biriyani. It has always been my favourite food (and Pasta), and the only decent thing in the cafeteria was Biriyani. I worked an 11-8.30 shift, so I always had lunch in office (Biriyani every single day) and several days, I’ve known I’d be reaching home way too tired and brain dead, and have to continue work from there. Which meant, I’d either have a 7.45pm dinner (way too early for me, but Biriyani again), or get myself a parcel and go home. If I didn’t do either, I’d call the nearest place and order a Biriyani 😀

I did this for almost 2.5 years. Yes, I’m not kidding. It was Biriyani always, five days a week for lunch, and several times dinner as well — and if I was too lazy in the weekend to cook, Biriyani again!

By about a year into my Biriyani binging, my colleagues actually began believing in the possibility of there being a Diet Biriyani, because I was losing weight instead of gaining any! 😛

Several people (who were unaware of my Biriyani binging) would ask me how I managed to stay so fit, how much I worked out each day, which gym I went to, what foods I ate…and my colleagues would roar with laughter and say “This one!? She does nothing, except eat Biriyani everyday!” The Biriyani Diet became a thing!

I kid you not, people actually tried it. And bloated. And yelled at me for that! 🙄 Well, I was always very open about my fitness secret: Accenture + 2 dogs + Biriyani everyday: try it to believe it. They all failed because they only had Accenture + the Biriyani. The 2 dogs, only I had 😀 😀 But it was true. I did nothing else.

All was well in life. Till I reached Kuwait.

I was actually looking forward to all the Biriyani I’d eat here. My friends sent me off blessing me and asking me to popularise the famous Biriyani Diet of mine.

Only, the Biriyani here is not to my liking. It smells good, has a lot of “flavour”. Yet, scores a grand zero on taste as far as I am concerned. And, therefore, I haven’t eaten too many of it (maybe about 10 times in the past 8 months). And I have gained 4 kilos. Bah!

Never in my life have I ever taken on a diet plan. Never in my life have I even considered one. Till today. I’ve got to shed what I don’t like, want or need.

My lunch everyday is a plate of salad and a bowl of soup. And so, today afternoon as I polished off the salad, I decided I’m going to stick to salad/fruits only for dinner from today. And from the moment I took that decision, all I’ve been able to think of is dinner: having a Biriyani, or some fried rice, or just homely red rice with some aviyal and curds, or curd rice, or even god old kanji. Anything, as long as it is rice.

So, before I lost complete control, I went ahead and brought fruits. Apples, oranges, pears, guavas, pomegranates, bananas. And I bought enough to last me a week.

Now, I hate myself. Without finishing all these fruits, I won’t even be able to get back to my rice dinner. Bah, why do I do this to myself? I hate being on a diet 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦

And while we’re at it, this is all Kuwait’s fault – I hate Kuwait too! 🙄

Day 23: Good things = Amazing people

So, in my previous post, I spoke about how I had to do a wardrobe rehaul, very unhappily.

Let me explain.

I’m the kind of shopper that walks into a clothes store knowing exactly what it is that I need. I go straight to that department, get what I want and leave. Yes, that’s me. And that’s all the patience I have for shopping. I don’t window shop, I don’t ‘just’ browse inside a shop, and I never stay on longer than I absolutely need to.

My “shopping” normally lasts 15-30 minutes (including a trial), and that’s depending on how long the line at the cashier is. Any more than 45 minutes, and I normally leave whatever I picked up and get the hell out, planning to come back later in the middle of a weekday! In my 31 years of existence, I’ve never had a shopping spree, till the time I had to go shopping for western formals, a category I knew NOTHING about, with none other than the Queen of Subtlety and (self-declared, but totally justified) Fashionista! And not once, but twice! 🙄

Since she had never seen me in western formals ever, she offered to help me shop on ONE condition: I should try out everything she would pick for me. 😐 And boy, did she have fun! I think she took it as her opportunity to torture me by getting out of my jeans and chequered shirt and sneakers…making me get in an out of  everything I used to roll my eyes at earlier.

The first time, we shopped for over two hours. 😮 TWO bloody hours! I tried on at least 11 pieces of formal clothing! And I had to come out each time, let her pass judgement and then go back and come out in the next. Trust me, after just 2-3 times of that, I was exhausted and wanting to leave, but no! I didn’t buy all 11 of those, of course. Which meant my wardrobe was still a million miles from being even quarter-full. At the end of it though, I wanted to cry like a baby and say “I want to go hoooooooome!” I didn’t do that, but the sweetheart that she is, she took me to a nice little place and bought me pancakes and omelette. Such joy after all that torture. 😛

Before I left for home, she said “You do know this isn’t over, right? We need to get you more stuff.” And I mumbled and said I would let her know when I’m ready. She will kill me for this, but I vaguely recall throwing a tantrum at home saying “I hate shopping, I don’t want to go!” and sulking about an hour before I was supposed to meet her for Round 2. And, I may have even considered cooking up a story to postpone the shopping meet. 😐 But yeah – I could not be a baby. I was off to a foreign country, having to wear totally “foreign” clothes. I had to get the best help.

The next time, we shopped for over 4 hours (!!) and she made me try on at least (I kid you not) 25 pieces of formal clothing (or was it 40?!). 😮 At the end of it…well, honestly, I now don’t remember how that day ended! It was some serious brain damage for me. Phew! I can safely say that she had more fun (I say this because she was fully excited explaining the shopping stories to a few other friends while I barely wanted to talk about it!), and totally at my expense–pun intended, considering how much money I spent in one day. They all had 4-digit price tags!!! Jesus — how does the average person afford all this?  I would not even remotely be exaggerating if I say in just a day I spent more than I spent my entire lifetime buying clothes. 😐 Good Lord! Not to mention how she took every chance to thupp at my sneakers and jeans and say “Bwahahaha” 🙄 Oh, she also made me buy the girly, snug-fit, narrow-legged jeans I used to thupp at once up on a time (because I used to only wear straight-fit, ‘boy’ jeans)!

And then I did something REALLY stupid. I told a colleague of mine that the WIFE was doing this. And I said this to this darling girl who is a total shopaholic. She went ballistic that I did not include her in that experience. And demanded I share pictures of everything I bought. Sigh. Which I did. And she went “Here I am, hoping she would have bought you all kinds of clothes to make you look like a doll. Instead, you bought trousers and shirts!?” 😦

She took it up on herself to buy me western dresses that would make me look like a doll. Actually, she told me I should have bought skirts and summer dresses and all that 🙄 And I may have mentioned I don’t know what to buy and that if she wanted to help, she was free to do so. Well, though I said “help”, I meant “do it for me, I’m not interested” 😀 And she still took it seriously! 🙂

It was absolute madness and quite funny. She proceeded to spend hours and hours on Myntra site, looking at dresses, shortlisting, all that and I would take no more than two minutes to to look at them all (about 20 at a time :P) and say “Too short” “Too costly” “No sleeves” “Too colorful”. She would tell me to sit with her and look through the site…and I would just say “I have work!”

God. So much money that darling girl spent on her Internet charges 😛 Finally, she told me to just shut up and wear the ones she would order for me! And she ordered and ordered and ordered. In fact, we had a team member who was an ex-Myntra employee and had a huge discount card she could use anytime. We made her do the actual “order placing” on the site, using coupons and everything. It finally became a big project needing a lot of coordination and feedback and “tweaks”, that we had to start a WhatsApp group only for this! By the end of this, I’m pretty sure the darling girl even knew the SKU numbers by heart. And the ex-Myntra girl–such a darling–sat up late into the nights, ordering, raising return requests and ordering again! 🙂

Since we both had to go to office, and there was no one at my home to collect when delivered, we gave her home address. Her mother went completely bonkers, opening the door every 2-3 times, every single day for the next 2 weeks, to collect packages from a Myntra delivery guy each time! Normally Myntra delivery guys call in advance to ask address, route, etc. After 2 days of multiple deliveries, just about everyone at Myntra knew her house 😛 And they even stopped demanding that someone open the door to collect. If her mom was late to reach the door, she would often find a package dropped in through the window! 😀

She would then bring the dresses to office next day, make me try them on. After a point, I lost track of the number of dresses I tried–of which, few I kept and returned most 😛 The good thing was that they were all in 3 digits. She then demanded I take a day off and go to her house with my entire purchase (including what the WIFE helped buy) to do a trial + mix-and-match session.

Though they all had fun shopping for me, I did not enjoy it at alllllll. I was confident I would never pull those off. And hated how happy the WIFE and the darling girl were while I was in utter despair!

Till the time I reached here, got into a pair of trousers, a formal shirt, a blazer and a pair of formal shoes and felt just fine. Till I wore one of the dresses with a pair of pretty shoes and felt just fine. Till I saw myself in a skinny jeans, a proper ‘girl’ top and a pair of flat shoes and felt just fine.

So totally fine that even today, after 7 months, I’m just as grateful to these two as I was on Day 1 at my new job 🙂 ❤

(But, I still wait eagerly for my Thursdays to be in jeans and T-shirts, and once in a while I do go back to my ‘boy jeans’ and sneakers and chequered shirts! Such contentment those days, I tell you! Only, since no one knows my tomboyishness here, which doesn’t even seem possible in all my very lady-like attire, I siffer rfom a major identity crisis! I fit in so well with the larger (and always well-dressed British crowd, but I miss the me I would happy being. Sigh. And before you thupp at me for saying this, dear WIFE, think of how you’d feel having to go to work in a salwar-kameez every day. Ha! 😐)

As for where I got all that money to “splurge” with absolute abandon on a wardrobe I wasn’t even sure I would like? I will just say I have AMAAAAAAAAZING people in my life who let me redeem all those accumulated credit card points as Marks&Spencer and Shoppers Stop vouchers. Basically, my wardrobe came to me fully filled, fully free 🙂 I’ll never stop being grateful to you for that! ❤picture1

Day 22: ‘For the apparel oft proclaims the man’

This phrase isn’t mine, of course. It was coined by the great Shakespeare. For his famous play, Hamlet, where Lord Polonius enlightens Laertes on a few rules of life; the phrase in question addressing the point of “being presentable.” Most of us commonly know this phrase as “Clothes/Dress maketh a man.

Over 3 years ago, a week before joining Accenture, I received a call from my soon-to-be manager, for confirmation that I will be joining his team (well, a good two months had passed since the interview, so confirmation was justified, I suppose). That’s when I was “by the way” informed that there is a dress code that’s to be strictly adhered to in office. “Business formals — western or Indian,” he said. How I managed not to blurt out “What! Are you serious!?” beats me. Or ummm, maybe I did blurt that out. Subtlety is not (always) my closest companion.

Dismay. Anxiety. Panic. In that order. And a good amount of self angst! Why do I always say “Mmm…not right now, nothing.” at every job interview when they ask me if I have any questions? Why do I not ask these severely important, life-altering questions? Why! W.H.Y!?

For 23 years of my life, someone other than myself decided what I would wear. At kindergarten. At school. At college. And again, at college. Then one fine day, the great powers of the universe conspired in my favor. I got a job in an advertising agency. That was the beginning of a new era. Well, I wish I could say I was like a caged animal let free, and all that. Sadly, no. I suppose the conditioning over 23 years was pretty binding.

But.

I did discover the joys of “casual” dressing. Of wearing a comfortable pair of jeans every day (yes, different clean ones). And the comforts of shirts that don’t fit in the formal category (and at times, T-shirts). And every company I worked at allowed me to wear those. And not all of them were advertising agencies, let me tell you; there were other Fortune 50 giants in the list too. And in all those years, not only did I forget that “dress code” was still in practice, I also reached a stage where my wardrobe scored a grand zero in the formal wear department, Indian or otherwise!

To quote a very observant ex-colleague of mine, I’m apparently “more boyish than many boys” she knows. Must give her credit for this one because it is true. In my defense, I grew up in a house full of boys — what else can one expect? So yes, the comforts of a good pair of sports sneakers is something I have fallen addict to…and the only kind of outfits that goes with them are western casuals (not my fault!) 😀 Yes, my love for sportsy footwear is actually the only biggest reason for my choice of preferred attire!

Or maybe not. As a person too, I’m not too “formal.” While I am courteous and polite, I’m in that category that generally goes “Yaaaaaaaayy!” where others might opt to just say “Oh, that’s great news!”

So where were we? Ah – dismay, anxiety and panic. Dismay that I only had the weekend to go shopping (I left the previous company on a Friday and joined Accenture the following Monday). Anxiety of not knowing which shops to walk into, what kind to buy and if I’d ever feel comfortable in those. Panic of realizing that anything and everything I picked from the Indian business formals (read as Kurtis and other such) department were either too big or too small (leaving me feeling like Goldilocks who got into a house that had no baby bear living there)! But wardrobe rehaul was done, not too happily.

It was a struggle, those initial days: of not having a pocket to stuff my phone and wallet into…of having to go rickety-ricket on a pair of sandals (which I still do, without failing to go “twainnng!” and nearly toppling over at least once a day — God, I miss my sneakers!)…of not being able to pull on that favorite shirt and feel secure and warm in its apparent familiarity…and other such. (Frankly, after a full two and half years, I still never came to terms with it; oh, how I wait for the blessed Fridays.)

And just about when the rumour mills began buzzing with news of a soon-to-come casual-everyday dress code in Accenture, I got myself offered a job in Kuwait, which I grabbed. And, like lightning on a snake-bite victim, the HR said they have a “western formals only” dress code, since the company is mostly British. Bloody Nora! 🙄

For some strange reason, though I was always most at home in a pair of jeans, I’ve never worn formal trousers in my life, except try it on once inside a trial room before quickly discarding it (along with the thought of ever having to be in one). So, this was NOT good news for me.

Again.

Dismay. Anxiety. Panic. In that order. Dismay that I was finally having to suffer for the WIFE‘s constant curses of my boyish attire and my worst nightmare was coming true (OK, that’s taking this a bit too much – my worst nightmare is ever having to go to jail). Anxiety of not knowing which shops to walk into, what kind to buy and that I will never be able to carry off the “formal” look. Panic at the price tags that were mostly in the 4-digits category and me simply not being rich enough. But wardrobe rehaul was done, not at allllll happily.

Because  I had to go shopping for western formals, a category I knew NOTHING about, with none other than the Queen of Subtlety and (self-declared, but totally justified) Fashionista! Not once, but twice! 🙄 That’s a whole new post, my shopping experience with two people who were hell bent on making me a girl (finally! as they would add).

Now, going back to how “the apparel oft proclaims the man.” What’s really the idea behind being dressed a certain way four days of the week and differently on the fifth? I can discern no difference in how things  on Fridays (or Thursdays, in the Middle East) are, compared to the rest of the week: not in the responsibilities we shoulder, the tasks we handle, or the people we work with. In fact, at Accenture, Fridays never cut us any slack! There have been several instances of people pinging me on Skype (internal office chat) a little before 8.30 p.m. (we worked 11 a.m.- 8.30 p.m.), lamenting the fact that we were “still working at this hour on a Friday evening.” And, it’s the same story here on Thursday. We work straight from 8 through 5 on every single Thursday! 😛

I read somewhere that “people make assumptions about work ethic, intelligence and professionalism based on how others are dressed while at the office.” So then, do none of these (work ethic, intelligence and professionalism) matter on a Friday? 😀 So yeah, what makes the Friday more casual than the rest of the days, that we are allowed a bit more freedom in matters concerning our “apparel”? If there is a logic, it beats me. It will be muchly appreciated if any of you can give me some insights into this. Also, let me clarify right away that I am not proposing being allowed to wear torn jeans and ripped shirts and so on I’m only talking about permissible limits to being “casual” in a professional environment. I honestly believe we’re all at our best on every given day, including on Fridays/Thursdays – so, does it really hurt to allow through the week, what we currently are allowed to wear on a “dress-down day”? *tilts head in hope, waiting for the Al-mighty to say “Al-right…go ahead!”*

Sigh. I miss my jeans and sneakers! I do, I do, I still muchhhhhhhhhhhly do!

Day 21: The weather today…

is so good, all I want to do is be home, amidst all my (imaginary) plants, looking out on to the (imaginary) greenery from my bedroom.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is be home, enjoying the silence, before I plug in this song (which has been playing on loop since the morning) and go on a long, long stroll along the paved walkway, bordered on both sides by (imaginary) tall green trees!

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is be home, lie on my (imaginary) lawn, resting my head on (imaginary) Pumbaa, reading Go Set A Watchman again.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is be home, sit in my (imaginary) balcony and watch the lovely (imaginary) birds and beautiful (imaginary) butterflies playing dancing in the cool breeze.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is be home, sit on the (imaginary) steps at my door, held in a warm hug by the (imaginary) love of my life.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is play some of my forever favourite songs on the (imaginary) sound system, singing along and feeling content.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is cook those things I love cooking in my big, airy (imaginary) kitchen.

The weather today is so good, all I want to do is chatter non-stop with my (imaginary) Amma, as I sip on hot tea and munch on the amazing (imaginary) pazhamporis she keeps serving hot.

The weather today is so good, all I want is to be really home, in a place that is truly home.

The weather today is so good…and all I’ve got is Kuwait! 🙄 Everything else is just truly imaginary and in two faraway places: one a haven in Bangalore, the other a heaven in Trivandrum! 🙂 Sigh.

Day 13: Phone like a baby…

If I have a principle in life I’ve stuck to for the past 32 years (OK fine…past 9 years, since the time they entered my life), it is to not spend over Rs 10,000/- for a phone.

My first phone was a Sony and I’ve been loyal ever since. Give how utterly butterly are my fingers, owing to which I drop everything way too often, one can easily put together the logic behind that life principle 😛 If I drop a phone and smash it to death, I don’t want to be weeping too much over it. And I do that a lot. The dropping, not the weeping.

In any case, the mobile phone and I aren’t the best of friends.

So yes, my first one was a Sony Walkman series the brother brought from Singapore. I fell in love with it. It was about Rs 10,000 in 2007, I think. It served me well. It was a tiny phone, sat snugly in my tiny palm. I used it for 4.5 years. It went through a lot of abuse — falling off stairs, being run over by a car, chewed on by Pumbaa Nayar and so on and so forth.

I bought the next one myself when the existing one begged me to kill it and give it a decent burial as well. That cost me Rs 10,000 or so. I used it for a few months. I lost it on a bus, when I went to Goa to do some serious thinking-by-the-beach about life’s complexities and human existence 😛 So, as soon as I got back to Bangalore, I bought the exact same phone for another Rs 10,000. Sigh. It served me well. It was a tiny phone, sat snugly in my tiny palm. I used it for almost 1.5 years. This one went through not as much abuse as the first one, but had its fair share of falls, scratches and dents (and a chip off as well, if I remember right).

Till it got kidnapped. Literally.

Someone who knew very well my deep-seated HATE for Samsung phones and surprises alike, gave me a terrible surprise by exchanging my much-loved Sony phone for a Samsung S4! Ugh! And, as if that wasn’t enough, gave it to me as an advance birthday gift (insult to injury) aaaaaand made me pay for it as well (vile abuses to insult to injury)! That one cost me Rs 45,000/-, of which Rs 6,000 was paid for with my dear Sony’s life. But since I was not the one that bought it, I continued to hate and never care about it. The damn thing fell once and died! I had to revive it since it was too new and I was still paying the damn EMI 😛 Then the damn thing fell again, and again, and again so many times. Till it died on its own in good time and I rejoiced! It was too big for my tiny palm, and would never sit snugly. Ugh. I hated it and I hated it so much! But I used it for 1.5 years and abused it so much so it would die soon and I wouldn’t feel so bad about throwing it in a dumpster. (Though I meant to exchange it and get some money out of the damn thing, it miraculously disappeared from my life – thank the Lord!) I don;t want to go into depth about the kinds of abuse this one went through, and I was always overjoyed 😛

I then again bought a Sony phone, this time for just Rs 8,000/- and was very pleased with myself. It was a tiny phone, sat snugly in my tiny palm. I meant to take good care of it, but on Day 2, it fell onto tarred road and got scratched all over. Sigh. And once there appears one scratch, the rest keep coming. I used it for over a year. (Hmmm…interesting trend of usage duration.)

And now, I have bought another Sony phone, which, for the first time, does NOT sit snugly in my tiny palm. It is longish, and looks lovely, with matt-finish edges and back and a shiny screen. And, it cost me Rs 16,000/-. Not at alll in line with my phone-related life principle! For someone sooooooooo not used to taking care of a phone, I have this urge in me to take good care of it and to keep it looking as good as new.  Two years later, I want to be able to “puthan aaittu iruppundu” (looks as good as new!) to someone who says that a lot 😉

I am extra careful about not getting any scratches on it. I keep it on soft surfaces always. At work, I lay it on a folded tissue paper, lest the backside gets soft scratches 😛 At home, it’s always on the bed (never ever on a hard surface).

And I am, therefore, in perpetual paranoia that I will drop it!  Utterly butterly still are my fingers, and since this doesn’t even sit snugly anymore, I’m super scared. Since when have I become so careful of a phone, I do not know, but I am. I searched all over here for a cover, but looks like they no longer have covers for Sony phones 😛 I think my only option is to get one of those very girly phone pouches. I’d rather die 😛 I checked on Amazon, but they don’t deliver to Kuwait. I’ll have to wait till end of December now. Sigh.

I live in paranoia the rest of the year. Unless it falls before that and gets that first scratch on it. Damn, I cannot claim the puthan aaittu irippundu dialogue if that happens!

I know very well that if this phone cost me only nearabouts Rs 10,000, I wouldn’t be so careful.

Secretly, I like the fact that I’m being as careful as I am now (am I growing up?).

And that’s because, ever since I came to Kuwait, my phone has become quite a close ally, one I’d be lost without 😛 😛 😛

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!