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 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 18: The one that stuck to the plan

Once up on a time, there were two little girls who met in school. They sat next to each other on the front bench in class. Both of them did not know what prompted it, but neither thought twice about starting a friendship.

One was studious, the other didn’t care. One was sober and soft-spoken, the other was a rebel. One was a total girl, the other wasn’t. Yet, none of these ever came in the way of their friendship. Because there was a common love that ruled over everything else. The love for books, and the shared joy from reading the same ones. Together, they devoured the books in the school’s tiny library. Most weeks, once the library hour was over, the librarian had to shoo them out to make way for the next batch! So, they went to public libraries and devoured more books. They discussed their reading list and constantly exchanged books and experiences.

As the months went by, in one of the conversations, they both decided they would grow up to be a writer and and a published author! This, then, remained a constant through the rest of their days together. “When I become an author…” was a frequent way to start one of their never-ending discussions.

A whole year went by. And then one moved away to a new city, when her father was transferred there. The friendship continued, strong as ever…for both were aspiring writers, and write they did! Long letters, written neatly and laboriously over many pages, kept them both updated on what the other was up to. In time, however, other friends walked into their lives. Priorities and situations changed, and the letters became far and few between.

Till one day, three years later, a letter arrived from the one who moved away: she was moving back into town, and joining back at the same school! Much joy and anticipation, till school began after the long summer break! Only, there were now other friends in the picture, and they were no longer even in the same class, forget sitting next to each other. The bond had evolved over time, into one that would remain, but not as close as it once was. The only thing that did not change: love for books, and the promise to be an author one day.

Both completed school and went their separate ways again, entering the job market. One was thrilled with the designation at her first job, and jumped it joy when she got her first visiting card that said she was a “Writer.” She remembered her friend and wondered what she’d say to this. The other went on to become an Engineer.

Many year passed.

The one that began her career as a writer, did not stay writer for too long, except dabble on her blog, even today. The one that became an engineer, although also dabbled with blogging, stuck to the plan. And is a published author today! 🙂

ramya

So proud of you, girl! 🙂

In her own words…

There is no feeling quite like seeing your name in print for the first time- It is a queer mixture of pride, disbelief and elation! Writing has been a long journey of learning and self-discovery, and as I finally take the leap from being a writer to being a published author, I have only my lovely family, friends and awesome readers to thank!

Day 17: WIFE!

The Queen of Subtlety and I were talking today on Skype. We were catching up on good old days and having the usual banter, when she said…

do you know i read about all you other friends on your blog and get so jealous
ppffftt…
best friend, this friend, college friend…that friend…uuugh
i want to write a big board and say WIIIFFEEEE!!

I told her she is the only friend of the above mentioned categories to have an entire post on her and multiple mentions across several other posts. And then I thanked her for giving me a topic for today. I said I’d put up a pic of her and put a board saying WIFE! Since I don’t wish to die for the mere reason of having publicised a photo she then would kill me for, because she doesn’t look good in it, I stuck to just putting up a board title – WIFE!

Let me clarify the “Wife”, before any of you have wild imaginations. So, I’m this tomboy I’ve told you about several times. I’m constantly in jeans, T-shirts (or chequered shirts, mostly in blues!) and a pair of running shoes. She takes the word “Queen” and “Princess” quite literally at times and goes to the other extreme of being a completely pretty and mostly hot girl! She hates my boyish attire, and I don’t really care about her’s (pretty or otherwise) 😛 I’m constantly pulling her leg and responding with “No, I won’t/can’t /don’t” to just about everything she says. She tries to shower her love on me (sometimes quite literally in the form of tea, biscuits, curds, and whatnots 🙄 ), with hugs and I wriggle out of it with my classic “Ugh, get off me!” expressions 😀  She says “I love yaaaa” and I go “Yeah OK whatever 🙄 ” She tries to (in jest) be the damsel in distress and I tell her to cut the crap. She is absolutely bonkers about the colour pink and I make it a point to tell her every time just how much I hate pink (aaand that she should cut the crap). She calls me Jack (short for jackass, nothing fancy) and I return the love in titanic proportions by calling her Rose! Despite all these, I love her and will always be there for her, and I do think she loves me too 😉

After a few months of this behavioural exchanges, an ex-colleague (well, all three of us are ex-colleagues now!) said that while we’re supposedly best friends, we totally behave like Husband and Wife, where she is the nagging wife and I’m the no-nonsense husband 😛 😛 😛  And that stuck. To the point that my brother has her number saved in his contacts list as “Mrs Priya” 😛

Hence, the title. And the jealousy 😛 Long distance relationships are tough! I miss the wifey!

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 8: Back Where I BeLOnG!

When I set out to take on the NaBloPoMo Challenge, I had not blogged in 2.5 years. Not weeks or months, but years! And I was taking on a commitment to blogging every single day for the next 30 days!

Knowing myself fully well, I was near sure I’d give up right before I was due to begin, especially given the highly unfavourable conditions I was under 😛

A week into the challenge, I’ve not failed.

  • Have I been blogging the way I used to long ago? No.
  • Have I been taking my time to write a good draft, then review it and make sure it reads well to my liking? No.
  • Have I been linking to other blogs and following some of those basic blogging etiquette? No.
  • Have I been posting any pictures at all, which I once used to religiously do along with (almost) every post? No.
  • Have I been reading other bloggers’ posts and commenting? No. (Except, today I did, quite a lot — and made me realise what a lot of amazing content I’m missing out on by not doing it more consistently!)
  • Have I been writing from the sheer joy of writing, rather than to fulfil a commitment? No.

But.

  • Have I been enjoying the past one week I spent in this much-loved space? YES!
  • Have I been grateful to Swaram for pulling me in? YES!
  • Have I been glad to get out my hibernation? YES!
  • Have I been happy to get Back Where I BeLOnG? YES, YES, YES!

It’s not easy, getting back to something you’ve been so out of touch with. Takes grit, will and an enormous amount of convincing self to go ahead with it. The first time I attempted it, it brought back a loving heart into my life. The next time I did something like this, I LOVED it. And now, this.

I think I ought to revisit my life and see if there is anything I decided not to walk headlong into just because I’d thought it would be tough 😛 I’m sure as hell to love it and be glad for taking the plunge. I guess when the negativity flows out of your life and leaves all that space free, good things automatically begin journeying towards you to fill up that void. Truly, “Acche Din” are here 😉

And that’s especially true today, for other obvious (but rarely) patriotic reasons! I’m still dazed (it happened) and amazed (yay, it happened) at the end of the 500-1000 saga! It’s against my personal blog policies to dwell on serious political/economic issues in this space, so I shall not. But I really cant help being overjoyed, and yet still amazed it actually is happening! Such a radical move. Bravo!

Day 7: The Sound Of Music

…is just the best thing ever! And to be in the middle of it, in it, with it, for a full 120 minutes: fabulous!

I still have a badly blocked nose and throat, but that did not stop me from attending Day 1 of the practice sessions for the December Christmas Choir. It was a bit of a shock when I walked in and realised I was the only Indian in the group — a bunch of about 30, most of them seasoned. And, in the next 3 minutes, the music began and I was totally home!

My life! It was a great evening. I’ve never been in a choir before, and except for Silent Night, Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Reindeer, I don’t think I know of any Christmas carols, especially not the proper British ones. Yet, I had an amazing evening.

In plan are these:

O Come, All Ye Faithful

The 12 Days Of Christmas

Away In A Manger

O Little Town Of Bethlehem

Frosty The Snowman

Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow

Jingle Bell Rock

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)

White Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Once In Royal David’s City

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Silent Night

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

Next practice is on the following Monday. I can’t wait. Already! And hopefully, my voice gets back to normal and I can stop hacking and coughing each time my vocal chords are called up on! If I get along well, I will not only get to perform my first ever choir but also be part of Kuwait’s only Contemporary Choir, singing away to glory at the British Embassy in December 2016!

Thank you, my fabulous boss, for introducing me to Staged In Kuwait! 🙂 Yay!

Day 5: To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die…

…said, Thomas Campbell, in Hallowed Ground (1825). This is so true of people who leave an indelible, forever mark in your lives!

That’s what Jayadev did. In mine, and in a lot of others’ as well.

Here’s an excerpt of what was written about him in an invite to his memorial. So true, every single word.

hj

It is said that the cosmos often conspires to reclaim the truly special, much ahead of their time. Nothing else can explain the sudden passing away of Jayadev on the 17th of October 2016.

Jayadev did not have acquaintances—he only had friends and family who loved him deeply. He never just “knew” people—he knew them well. He didn’t just “spend time” with anyone who was fortunate enough to interact with him—he was deeply invested in their well being. He made every one feel special and always seemed perplexed when the recipients said that of him.

Jayadev was my first boss. The first “Managing Director” I went to meet, knees shaking as a novice “job seeker” in 2007. It was the best interview ever. I stopped being scared of MDs 😀 After I joined for work, it was never an office I went to. It was always extended family. Both Jayadev and Chicku played the role of father and mother to all of us, whether we liked it or not. And trust me, we all loved it.

He was eccentric about a LOT of things in the sweetest way possible. He could blow his top one minute, blast the joy out of our lives and then call us back to apologise and make sure we were happy to continue working there 😛 He gave us subsidised meals. “Why would I give you free food? I’m not running a charity here!” he would say, and then  charge us Rs 32/- every month for a sumptuous full-day meal (tea, the most balanced lunch, tea again, and dinner most days). He would spend his own money and organise trips for us (inclusive of bus, stay, lunch and a pre-trip “class” on the place we were being sent off to see)! He would make us re-do and re-align copy and design a dozen times just to get it “right” — and those would be things we’d never notice if it weren’t for him. He would get annoyed when I do not carry out some of his copy edits because Chicku would tell me to leave them, get annoyed at me and say “Call Chicku here!”, wait with a pissed off expression, only to smile that sweet smile and say “Hi Chicku :)” when she walked in. Oh, he was so in love with her 🙂 And how cute that always was! That’s what I want 🙂

He genuinely cared about each of us and our career growth. It was important for him to stay connected and continue to see how much we all still loved Resource. Which is why he organised Nostalgia Nights like these, all expenses borne by self. All he wanted in return was to see the joy in us, have us back all in one place and have our laughter and memories and “Ooooh do you remember…” conversations fill those rooms! And boy, did we do that!

I can go on and on and on and on and on about him, her and the life at Resource. I have already written quite a lot when I was just 4 days away from my last working day there…and about the void in my life after I left. There is a WhatsApp group called Resource, with 5 of us girls who worked together. The group was pretty silent till we heard of Jayadev’s passing…and it brought us back together like how. Some of us hadn’t spoken for over 7-8 months and the way we reconnected was exaaaaactly like how siblings would after a long gap. No awkwardness, no uncomfortable silences. We just went on and and on for days, discussing how this man enriched our lives and made us what each of us has become today. One of them said, “This may sound silly, but it feels like we’re siblings and we just got back together. Feels so much like family”, to which I said “We were the only people we hung out with 6 days a week, nearly 14 hours each day. We’ve GOT to be family!” and everyone agreed.

Jayadev: he was an extraordinary man. And as long as we continue to think back on what he taught us and follow all of his instructions subconsciously, I will avoid the past tense and say Jayadev is an extraordinary man!

Thank you, Jayadev. You’re the reason I am where I am today. And, I am in a pretty great place. I can really never thank you enough. I am glad I met you before I went away to Kuwait. As always, you were petty perplexed that I willingly cut short a vacation to come meet you to accommodate dates! You’ve no idea how grateful I always am for taking me under your wing. You changed my life, you really did. Thank you!

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…as I will remember him.

Day 4: How dreams work…

…is really bizarre. Just when you either forget your dream, or you think it’s never going to happen, pop it comes to life!

Back in 2014, a few months after I joined Accenture, I was catching up with a friend from college. He had been a long-time Accenture employee, and after I got the offer letter from Accenture, I was planning on hunting him down on Lync (now Skype for Business) and saying “Huha!”

Only, I joined, and promptly forgot all about him. A good two months later, he pinged me on WhatsApp asking “You work at Accenture?! And you never told me!” Took me a good while to convince him that I had been just too busy. He kept going, “Busy? So soon after joining? Aaaand you expect me to believe that!?” Let me be honest, I did try to find out what team he was part of, that did not have to work like mine did.  He gave me the name of the team, and I promptly forgot that as well.

So anyway, we got to talking about life at Accenture…and he asked me how I’m liking it. I told him I could not be happier. That’s when he said he is not just happy for me, but also rather proud of me for having achieved my dream. “Eh, what dream?” I went. He chuckled and told me about how, while in college, I was totally gung-ho about Accenture and totally confident that “I will work in Accenture someday”. I was stunned when I heard that.

And it all came rushing back. Those days of the Tiger Woods advertisements — which signed off with “High performance. Delivered”, convincing me every time that this is where I should be working some day. Those days of “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” and I always had the same answer: Accenture. Those days of going “Accenturrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre” every now and then. I could not believe I forgot about all that, or that he remembered! In fact, he went on to tell me that when he got his offer letter four years before I did, he was apparently reminded of me!

Those were the closing days of college life. Also a reality-hits-you-whack-on-the-face period when you realize that dreams aren’t always enough — and that Accenture isn’t quite at the next corner, waiting to frisk you off. Somewhere between end of college and a wrong placement and “God, why me!?” moments, the “accent” on my dream seemed to have lost way.

I do not quite remember when exactly the thought of becoming a copywriter in an advertising agency popped into my head. And once an idea pops, there is no turning away.  There was a period of job-hunt, where agency after agency turned me down for having “no relevant work experience”. I still remember how I got so exasperated at a big-shot advertising agency (I shall spare the name) during the interview, looked furiously at the Creative Director and said “Unless one of you give me the damn job, how will I get this damn experience you’re looking for!?” Needless to say, that interview wrapped up very quickly and I did not get the job!

Well-meaning friends and relatives asked me to take a shot at BPO firms. “What! How can you even suggest that to me!” Why there was an aversion, I do not know. No one in my family ever worked in a BPO firm. None of my close friends did. There was really no first-hand information about how life would be in a BPO firm. For some strange reason, I had this terrible picture in mind of being a BPO employee. Never; a BPO firm is one place where you will never find me, I swore to no one in particular.

Well, persistence paid off…and I finally got into advertising and became a copywriter. I enjoyed it so much, I think I subconsciously washed away all “IT companies” off my must-work-at wishlist, wanting only to be in a highly creative, buzzing advertising agency. I worked at that boutique agency for over two years. On most days, I saw stars, constellations and many galaxies, all at the same time. It was grueling, like how (but there is nothing I’m more grateful to in life today than my “orientation” and tenure there)!

Anyway, I moved on from there into the digital/online marketing space. And then I changed track from pure “copywriting” to “marketing writing”, and then to “business writing”…which lead me into the world of technology companies. After a point, I’d written so much about complex technologies and servers and storage and hardware and software, I just could not call myself “technologically challenged” any longer!  Fact remained that I still did not remember the “Accenture” dream!

Somewhere, I always hoped I could get back into the world of fun and frolic and endless work that’s the standard recipe in an advertising agency. I wanted to once again be part of a highly creative, buzzing place: where work could drive you crazy and the lack of it could drive you crazier!

Let me tell you dear people…the last place I expected to find a place like that, was in an “IT company”, in its BPO vertical! In Accenture, my once-up-on-a-time dream company. Aaaaand, in a highly creative, buzzing advertising agency snugly cocooned in a corporate setup! If that’s not the coolest, what is!?

Dreams — one that was forgotten and one that was fervently wished for — both came true together! Woohooo! This is where I say: life’s been good!

I suppose when the sleep’s been had well, even the best of dreams comes to an end. Only to make way for the next night’s sleep, and a new dream. 

So it happened. Another dream I’d tucked away into the “never going to happen” box sprang to life. The one of moving out of India. I had been nurturing a long-time dream of moving to the Europe. Or Australia. Or Canada. I guess if you’re not clear about specifics, the dream decides where it wants to take you.

So, while the route map didn’t work as well as I thought it would, I still realized half of that dream. It landed me in Kuwait. No worries. I’ll just ask Google to re-route me. I’ll be on my way soon. As for how I’m liking it in Kuwait, that’s a whole (number of) other post(s)!

Now, there is just one more in the list. If that one comes true, life in its entirety will be a dream! Hope, hope, soooooo hope!

How dreams work…really is bizarre. Ever had any of yours come true so without warning like these?

Day 2: It’s my birthdayyyyyyyyy :)

Yaaaaaaay! It’s (one of) my most favourite day(s) of the year. Well, I could have had it a little better, but what the hell…birthdays come once a year, so I shall still go yaaaaay!

I’m 32 years old. And frankly, I still have no frikking clue what all the fuss about “going into your 30s” is about. I said this two years ago when I turned 30, and I will still say it. Hobbes told me yesterday “You’re going to be 32 years old!” and I went “Yaaay!” 😀 And he said, “You’ll never grow up, will you!?” and told me not to even as I was shaking my head NO 😀

I’ve had the most out-of-ordinary birthday ever. I think since the one i had in 1984 and 85, this must be the ONLY time I spent (almost) all day in bed. I was served breakfast in bed (well, never wishing for that one again, ever). I was given a massive surprise by the Queen of Subtlety and I could barely make my shock known, much less talk to her or go yay! I was under the care of the loving heart all day and now feel miserable for ruining all the plans.

But here’s the best of it all. My biggest birthday-wish of all times came true. I got this! So what if I’m 32!? For some things in life, there is no age limit. Yay (back to doing some mental somersaults)!

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Ok…crawling back under the cover now, with a mug of steaming chukku kappi and some lehyam. And some coffeecream birthday cake. Calvin and Hobbes is the best. For always. ❤