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

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Day 19: Reflections…

…when ugly, are never the mirror’s fault. It is the fault of the “object” and the “light” that reflects off it at a bad angle. But you do need the mirror to show that to you. Unless you choose to never look in the mirror. Is that wise, though?

Looking back at the past and drawing lines to the present…is that a good thing to do? Does reflecting on the past and regretting not acting on a certain intuition then…make it sensible to consider that decision now?

Are intuitions any good, or is it just a fancy term for a comparison at different levels? Are they just bad feelings to brush off with Hope and Faith, or are they things needing serious thought?

How much, what kind and when is it OK to forgive? If you cannot forget, what’s the point in forgiving, when memory serves to rekindle the same feelings many times over? How genuine, then, is that forgiveness…and how fruitful?

How can you weigh the unknown repercussions of your decisions against your future happiness? What if your intuition fails you and you don’t take what could have been the best decision of your life?

How trustworthy can promises be, when tomorrow is a whole new day?

Does anyone know how the scalded cat, that feared even cold water, finally got over its fear? Is fear a good reason to not believe?

In an attempt to stay positive, is it wise to brush the unknown, unexpected and unhappy under the carpet?

How late is too late?

Day 15: What was it that I wanted to blog about?

If you’ve been following my random nonsense for a while now, you know I’m a very prospective candidate for the Alzheimer’s Association.

On Day 13, while at office, I thought of something and said to myself “Ooooh I must blog about this today”. I came home, and by the time I sat to blog, had completely forgotten what it was. 🙄

Day 14, same thing happened. I remembered the topic and I went “Yes! That was what I wanted to blog about. Today is the day.” And I forgot. In any case, yesterday I was too tired to rack my brain too much. 🙄  🙄

Today, at work, approximately around 2.15 p.m., I thought of this again. And I told myself to jot it down so I won’t forget by night (and then I promptly forgot to jot it down) 🙄 🙄 🙄 And now, I’ve racked my already wrecked brain for such a long time;  I even went back to my office mail, checked what I was doing at that time, checked my WhatsApp chats, everything. Zilch. I just can’t figure it out!

What was it? Bah! No peace of mind till I remember it.

Now I have this feeling, when I finally remember it and do begin to write about it, I’ll realise it’s no biggie. Sigh. You’ve guessed by now I’ve been through before, haven’t you?

Off topic: Damn, now I’ve forgotten what that was, also!

Such a senseless post. Chatting on WhatAapp with two senseless friends about highly senseless (though wishful) things 😛 With kind of discussions we have about the improbability of impossibility, I think my brain’s overused, which is the reason for all the forgetfulness 😀 One of them is worse than me. The other one – we got to initiate her into the club.

Ooooh – remembered the off topic. Is there nothing as NaBloPoHaMo? Where Ha stands for “Half”!? Question asked for obvious reasons. And today is Day 15, anyway. Just saying!

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! 🙂

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!