Monthly Archives: December 2010

>The Missing Link

>Another day, week, month, and soon I’ll be saying year, gone by. And it seems it’s been like this forever. But it hasn’t. I’ve been pretty ok all this year, better than ok actually. But the last few weeks have been… strange. I’ve not been more out of my element than now in a really long time. And I’m restless. I blamed it on PMS for some time, but that’s long gone. This is just discontent. And I have no idea where it stems from. It’s like I go to bed at night and I can’t sleep, because I don’t want to end another day that feels so incomplete. It’s like I’ve been waiting the whole day for something and at night I realise that it’s not happened. Except that I don’t know what that ‘something’ is.

I spend hours on the internet at night, doing stuff I’d long given up, like facebook. And even after I’ve switched off the comp, I fiddle with my BB, or play some inane game on the phone. I do not step out of my room after I return home from work, unless it’s to step out of the house. And I do not feel like making small talk with anyone. But I still do those things for the sake of appearances, or perhaps to fool myself. And I doubt anyone can even make out that there’s something amiss about my bearings. I laugh, I frown, I eat, I shop. But there’s no joy in it.

I don’t know what it is. It’s intangible. It’s not out there for me to get. It’s so many things, in so many parts of my life. It’s un- fulfillment, ennui.

I mean, there’s no apparent reason for me to feel like this. Life’s exactly like it was till recently, when I didn’t feel like this. But it’s not the same. Something’s snapped in my head and till I fix it, I can’t go any further. It’s been two weeks of consistently ignoring the nagging suspicion that this feeling won’t go away just one fine morning. And I’m still waiting for that fine morning.

This isn’t me. I’m irritable, snappy, bored, lethargic. At work, I’m half-hearted about most things, not driven like crazy like I was till a fortnight ago. But even as long as I’m constructively occupied, it’s okay. But as soon as I have a moment to think, the spirits sag, just like that.

I’m probably looking for something nice to happen to me. Perhaps I’m just fickle – need a change ever so often. Perhaps I need some TLC, some emotional pampering, some out-of-the-blue niceness, without having to spell it out. And that can’t be so difficult to come by. So why is it?

>What to expect…

> When you’re travelling to Thailand (Or keeping my promise of sharing pics from the trip).

SUN, SEA AND SAND
At Phuket
Ma Ya Bay

 

That red speck in the sky? That’s The Guy parasailing
The colourful sunbeds at Khai Island
Phi Phi Island

SOME WEIRD SIGNS

Need I say more? 🙂

His and Her (below) – Signs for the washrooms

  



“Best view in town”. Of?

Not in memory of Osama!

   ANIMAL INSTINCT

Gotta lick it!



You can swim with the fish at Khai Island

Those are sparrows!! Yes, those little house birds that are now extinct in India can still be found there. Can you imagine how excited that made me!

ART AND CULTURE

Multi-coloured flower motifs at Wat Pho, the temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok 



Lots of Buddhas, everywhere

SHOPPING, OF COURSE!

NOT MOI!



>Swadhika! *

>I’ve been working hard, even if it’s out-of-office. On being well-travelled. It’s not an easy job, you know, starting out this late in life to get to know the world a little better. And yes, there was our anniversary too, which we wanted to celebrate away from the madding crowds of the hometown. So, we went to Thailand for a short break last week.


To be honest, Thailand wasn’t my first holiday destination. I wanted to go to Europe. France and Italy, with a little bit of Greece here and Spain there. But we were way off the European vacation season. And though I’d vowed I won’t go to South East Asia again (been there twice before), till I’d seen some highbrow stuff (no really, that’s not why I want to go to Europe; I’m just interested in all things Roman and Italian). But you see, nothing goes as you’ve planned, nothing at all. And as luck would have it, we got upgraded to business class both ways -to and from Bangkok! Part of the learning experience, you see, just so that I could get to know how different travelling business class is from economy – the extra leg room and the broad, recline-till-you-want seats and all that jazz.

About Bangkok, let’s get this clear: I was there to shop. Mostly shop. I mean, that’s how I’d been sold that destination. And so that I would suit my part better, I bought ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ at the Delhi airport (I love T3! It’s awesome). That’s quite another matter that I started reading it only on the way back, after I was done with ‘The Accidental Billionaires’ (note to self: must do book reviews soon). My two-day stay at Bankgok was really all about shoes, and some more shoes, and still some more. Clothes are missable, always. Not shoes. So we went from one weekend market to another mall, and yet another mall and no surprise then that I had swollen, callused feet at the end of those two days. And please let me make a special mention here of The Guy’s patience in handling my shopping whims. Only after hours of waiting for me to choose from rows and rows and rows of shoes, would he groan in agony. And then, I would give in and get him a beer.

Please don’t tell me I should have gone here or there, or whatever place you think is worth going to in Bangkok. Because I had no time! I mean, you’re asking a girl to choose between shoes and anything else? Ha! You must be joking. I did, however, take out time to visit Wat Pho, the temple which houses the largest indoor statue of the reclining Buddha. I played the complete tourist there and clicked every nook, cranny and cornice of the beautiful structures. Unfortunately, there were too many visitors and too little time to enjoy the serenity of the place.


The Reclining Buddha


Indians must be the worst vacationers. They almost always come back feeling more tired from a holiday than relaxed. To avoid that eventuality, we’d reserved the latter part of the holiday for a more relaxed time at Phuket. And Phuket I loved! It’s just a Thai version of Goa, with Starbucks added for icing (I could spend my life inhaling the aroma of coffee at Starbucks). The water there is the most gorgeous blue-green, the sand a beautiful buff brown, and it rains in the middle of a hot sultry day. Plus, it has that aura of a place that calls to you to forget your worries and just go curl up on a beach bed in the shade of a colourful umbrella for 200 baht and nice oversized shades, with a book in hand.

Sunset at Phuket
And of course, there are the Go Go Bars. And here, I’d like to change the tenor of my post for a bit. Everyone knows that prostitution is one of the biggest contributors to Thai economy. And while a lot of women may have made the choice to be doing what they are doing, I don’t think it could be the first choice for many women, wherever they come from. You’ll find that women in Thailand run the show – they’re at shops, massage parlours, restaurants have almost no male stewards. According to a local we met in Bangkok, the sex ratio of girls to boys in Thailand is 70:30. Women are the chief bread-winners of the family. I know that a lot of ‘girls’ at these bars are cross-dressers, or transgendered. But they’re posing as women and  that’s the important thing here. There are women who invite you to these bars as if there was a sale on at a shop that you were missing. And I did go inside a couple of them, for a couple of minutes. For you need to be another person to be able to sit and watch a woman show her skin because she wants to make a living. It’s neither aesthetically appealing nor titillating to me. And I do not know what is the politically correct stand to take on prostitution, but I think it’s humiliating for me as a woman to see another woman sell her body like wares at a store. I understand primal instincts, physical needs and whatever other way you use to describe and elaborate on the beauty of sex, but I do not think that the prostitute could believe in any of those. Just my PoV. I’m not saying that prostitution should be banned, I’m just saying that women should be given an environment to opt out of it if they want to, or not be coerced into joining it to make ends meet.
What’s on the Go Go bar menu
But back to where I was – where was I? Yes, the Phuket experience. And if Go Go Bars aren’t your cup of tea, worry not; there’s plenty of beer to guzzle on all night long. Which, of course The Guy did to the best of his bladder’s capacity! And me, I went from mojitos to Breezers and then wine. Because when you’re eating as good food as we were, it doesn’t matter what you’re drinking! Oh yes, I loved the food and ate only because I didn’t want to miss anything. We were initiated into Thai food-Thailand style, by our friends in Bangkok who taught us to order the most Indian palate-friendly Thai dishes (sorry, no seafood and oyster sauce for us). And then we let the coconut curries and the sticky rice totally take over our gourmet pleasures. Not just that, the Mexican food at this place called Coyote was awesome. And the Irish pub, wow! I really wish I could do separate posts on all of them, but all I’ll say is that if you do go to Phuket, just stay at the Banthai Resort – it’s got the perfect location – right across the Patong beach – and is a great hotel and these great eating places? They’re right on the hotel property!

By the way, you have heard of the Patong Beach, haven’t you? It’s been rated by different agencies among the top 10 beaches around the world. And had it not been so sunny for us Indians out there, I would have rated it nearer 10 too. The goras were loving it – all the sun bathing, and I must say, some of them had such a beautiful tan! If only my skin would also tan under such strong sun and not sprout freckles! So I took refuge from the scorching heat in the masseur’s room. Thai massages live up to every single expectation you have from them. I went for one every single day, and came back asking for more each time.


Now, this post is getting really unwieldy and I haven’t yet said half the things I wanted to. Like our day trip to Ma Ya Bay, where Leonardo DiCaprio shot for Beach, and Khai Island and Phi Phi Island and the cruise that took us there. And all the newlywed Indian couples honeymooning in Thailand. Or the unfriendly steward at the cafe in Phi Phi, who really put me off. And my allergies…

I leave that for another day, another post. And I promise, more pics coming!

*Title reference: Swadhika is ‘hello’ in Thai

>Flights of fancy

>Overheard on a flight from Lucknow to Delhi that reached its destination before time:

Uncle 1: Flight is before time.
Uncle 2: Haan, hawa ka direction Dilli ki taraf ka hoga, plane isliye jaldi pahuch gaya! (The wind must be blowing int the direction of all Delhi, that’s why the flight’s reached early).

And then, no one laughs. OMG! he was serious.

Can I please continue to laugh? ROFL!!

Edited to add: Ok, the joke’s on me! There’s some method to the madness, as some of you point out. So let’s get together and laugh at my ROFLing. Cool?

And yes, I’ve deleted the duplicate posts and some comments may have gotten deleted with them. So sorry, but nothing personal about it, ok?

>Li’l things you do for me and nobody else…

>Are you enjoying the latest Vodafone commercials as much as I am? The one with the school girls?

It takes me back instantly to my school days – those years spent in powder blue skirts and blouses (and bloomers too, on days you followed the rules), plaited hair with matching ribbons to tie on the ends. Or hairbands and knee-length socks, shiny black shoes. Or white canvas keds for PT days, whitened using the school chalk generously. The years spent with girl friends.

Yes, I studied all my life in an all-girls school, and however uncool it may sound, they were so much fun. So there’s always this comparison about how all-girls or all-boys schools are so boring, so stereotyped. And that the kids studying there come out all wide-eyed about being in the company of the opposite sex. Not true, I say.

I spent 14 years in all-girls schools and three more in an all-girls college and I never missed the boys! It wasn’t a conscious decision, you know, to maintain a distance from the boys, but that’s how things panned out for me. And out of the school and college campuses, it wasn’t as if I didn’t not know how to handle male attention when it came my way. And I did not end up doing things to attract it. I have friends who’ve studied in co-educations schools, and I don’t think they’re any different than me. We’re only as different as two individuals can be. So I don’t understand this differentiation between co-ed and all-girls schools. I understand the differentiation between a good and bad school.

For the record, I am not againt co-education. I think it’s very healthy, etc. But I also don’t think that studying with girls decapacitated me in any way. On the contrary, I think being in a gender neutral environment helped, at least me, to look at myself for the person I was, and not the girl that a boy would see in me. And there are so many things I remember fondly about being in the environment that I was. There’s such comfort in not dying in embarrassment if you have a stain on your skirt in school, or you haven’t waxed your legs to roll down your socks, or having a cat fight without any gender stereotyping! And then there’s no shame in being a bright student, of being labelled a ‘padakhu’, of being a straight-As student. Those rather ‘uncool’ things are considered aspirational in an all-girls school.

No, I’m not oblivious to the joys of studying with boys. The Guy studied in a co-education school and I can rattle off all his school memories as well as him, because I’ve heard ’em discussed a zillion times between friends. And I know, they had a ball! They were fun and flirty years. And I’d be lying if I said I feel just a tad jealous. But in all fairness, my school years may not have been high on those same parameters, but they still had a sweetness. Like the sweetness of pine trees in the woods – subtle but unforgettable.

>And I have a plan…

>There’s good news for all of you – I’m not quitting this place, not just yet. I can’t! But I do think I need to revamp it for my own good. (I’ve already got a new template, as you can see). And I have a plan that I’m going to putting on the record here, so that if I lapse on it, you can pull me up. Suggestions are most welcome.

  • First things first, I’m going to de-clutter. Over the years – how many have there been? almost three – I’ve accumulated so many links to blogs and bloggers. And I think there’s this phase happening in blogosphere right now, where an entire generation of bloggers has given up blogging. The first blogger I blogrolled – the only one who’s on my FB friendlist – hasn’t blogged in ages. Then there are others who write stuff that no longer interests me. Probably they’ve moved on or probably it’s time for me to move on. So yes, there’s going to be some cleaning up. I may not drop them off the blogroll, except just mentally.
  • I need to read new blogs. There’s such interesting stuff out there that I haven’t tapped into. Time to explore some freshness. In fact, I’ve already added a couple of blogs. More than a couple actually, a lot of which are design blogs that I’m absolutely in love with. So yay to new blogger friends! 
  •  I need a new header for my blog. Something that’s me. Not just a random pic that I poorly photoshop and put up. I need something more than a pic. Are there any volunteers out there? Pretty please, help me!
  • And what if I get a new name for the blog, though I think this one’s become so part of my blogging identity that giving it up won’t be all that easy. Wotsay?

All this may take some time. It’s not going to happen overnight. I have lots on my hand right now. And I’m taking a short break next week – a break as in a vacation break – so yes, there won’t be a relaxed weekend to do all this on. So be patient, and I promise I’ll be good. In the meantime, you can ask where I’m going, ’cause I’m not telling just yet!