Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year End Snippets

Internet access on this trip has been scanty at best. Which hopefully is a good enough explanation/excuse for my appalling lack of blog updates over the last little bit. The only times I can get online to check mail or check FB or dash off a quick post is when I can erm, "borrow" a signal from some hapless neighbour who has forgotten to secure his wireless connection. Like now!

Post surgery, we ALL felt better, not just Papa. There is the little issue of the biopsy results, but for now, we are making like ostriches and have our collective heads firmly buried in the sand and are only focusing on the here and now and the present. The rest, we will deal with as it comes.

Keeping that in mind, I have been doing my very best to catch up on meetings with friends over the past week or so which would explain my being out every single night ever since the 24th. Days are for family, nights are for friends!

One of the highlights of these nights out was the St. Anne's Choir reunion that my friend Maestro organised. Background: A bunch of us used to sing for the 6pm Sunday evening mass at our parish church. We'd been doing this for around 6 years when I left, and they continued to sing as a group for another 3 years after that until Maestro left to do an MBA in the US of A. 8.5 years later, we were back for a One Night Only "performance". We were older, fatter, taller, wiser(?) and in many cases with little versions running around; but our voices still blended just as well as before and we totally rocked the house church! Said my little cousin as we made our way to church that evening: You haven't MET each other in 8 years, let alone SANG together and the mass is at 7pm and its already 6:27 right now which gives you less than half an hour to practice!!! Can you pull this off??? The same cousin to her mum later that night; They hadn't even MET in 8 years and they didn't even have half an hour of practice and they were AWESOME!

And so have passed these last few days, with celebratory pre dinner drinks and dinners and post dinner coffees and the likes. Took a quick jaunt downtown with Maestro and another visiting friend (M&M) from "the abroad" who is also an ex Xaverite, like myself. Which was good enough reason to pay a visit to our Alma Mater. We even made a quick stop at the Psychology classrooms and labs high up in the rafters of the college where both M&M and I worked and slaved during our final years. OK, so perhaps M&M did just a *leetle* more slaving than I did, but hey, that's besides the point. We did meet a bunch of wannabe psych grads who were in the current process of slavery over journals - pointless copying of notes, observations and inferences into big fat log books that no one really bothered to read - and de-lighted their bogged down little minds with narrations of our past exploits in the very same classrooms eons before. I do believe that they were considerably bolstered by actual evidence that other persons had gone through the same boring mind numbing experience and somehow lived to tell the tale!

Which brings us to today. The last day of 2009. A chance to say goodbye to the year that has been and greet with open arms the year that is to come.

But first, I must go to the airport to pick up Jo who arrived in from Goa today to spend New Year's eve and the next few days with me before heading back home to Japan. Need to greet her before the new year!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sigh of Relief

The ordeal over Papa's surgery began about the time when my grandmother passed away. The visiting family (including my mum and dad) began to notice that Papa was having trouble swallowing during meals. He was already on a mashed diet, so the docs were called in. A growth was detected in his esophagus and windpipe. The docs advised us to wait it out. He might just be able to keep going in spite of it, they said. The weeks passed, and it got worse. His breathing was laboured and every meal started to become torturous for both him, and those around him. By the time I arrived into Bombay, we knew that there was no alternative other than surgery to ease his pain. Although it would be a simple enough operation, the risks were much higher given his advanced age. Still, it was either that or literally watch him choke to death.

And so, surgery was scheduled for the 26th. It was the first time the poor man was leaving the house in almost 8 years. That in itself was a trauma for all concerned as we had to call in a cardiac ambulance and he had be to carried out on a stretcher. He looked so pale and so worried that we all wondered if that was the right choice. Would we see him again?

My aunt, two uncles and a cousin and the day nurse went off to the hospital. The rest of us stayed home and fidgeted and jumped like cats on hot bricks each time the phone rang. Seeing as it was just the day after Christmas, it rang a lot!

The surgery was postponed twice; first the doctor was delayed, then an emergency took precedence. Finally, we got a call that he was out and in the post opp. It had been a tough operation, the docs said. Touch and go at one point. They were only able to remove about 70% of the mass. Still, he rallied through and they were confident he'd be fine. But they kept him in the ICCU for that night, just to be safe.

We took turns to troop to the hospital the next day. And how we all marvelled! The wheezing had disappeared, his voice was stronger and more confident, his cheeks had a bit of colour (after ages) and his meals were going down a treat! And impatient. He didn't like being cooped up in a hospital room. He wanted to get down and move around. The docs looked impressed when they came around. Get him home, they said. We don't want him catching anything here. Filthy places, hospitals! And besides, he's giving the 70 year olds a complex!

When they were bringing him home, the cardiac specialist who assisted with the surgery swung by to say goodbye. Papa, take care of yourself, he said shaking hands with his oldest patient. Oh, and don't forget to have your glass of "Holy Water" tonight! Splendid stuff! Keeps everything in good working order!

And so, he's home now. Safe and sound and back to drinking whisky! Let's hope that he stays that way for a long long while!

Friday, December 25, 2009

O Holy Night

Today, I celebrated Christmas with my family. It wasn't anything fancy, but yet it was a grand celebration. There was a lot of noise as everyone talked all at once not bothering to consider if anyone was actually listening. Family trait. The food that graced the table was wholesome and plentiful, old family favourites made by loving hands.

The wee Christmas tree had been dragged out from storage, dusted down and installed a few days ago amidst a controversy of whether or not it was "proper" to put it up this year given my grandmother's recent passing. Common sense prevailed and we all thought about her as we decorated it with love. On Christmas day, it turned out to be a very handy place holder for the numerous money envelops from those of us who had been too ill prepared (read: lazy) to actually go out and buy prezzies! Whoever said money doesn't grow on trees?
Post lunch, the cousins all changed into their "costumes" for the home-made production of the Nativity play. Yes, this would have been humiliating under normal circumstances, but since it was for the benefit of my 95 year old grandpa, we all swallowed our pride and put on a good show.

Of course, there was the usual back stage shenanigans; Mary was sent off to change as her original costume was too flashy, the angel was behaving anything BUT and had to be given a stern talking to, two of the three kings were in a squabble over which one had the bigger crown, Joseph insisted that his teddy bear be given a role and so we had the shepherd carry him in as a sheep and to crown it all, the baby doll that was to play the Christ child went missing and was found mere minutes before the show. As show producer (and official photo take-outer) I handeled it all with my usual grace and composure.


When all the food had been eaten, the presents unwrapped, the costumes put away and the general hustle and bustle of the day had died down, the youngins took a walk down to the promenade by the sea and brought a most wonderful Christmas day to close gazing out into the sparking light of the moon over the sea.

Tomorrow, Papa will be going in for surgery to remove the growth that was obstructing his windpipe and oesophagus. We did not want to think about what the morrow may bring. For now, this was our Silent Night. All was still calm, still bright.




Monday, December 21, 2009

The Shortest Holiday Ever Taken

I took the 5:45am train from Bombay to Goa on the 19th and arrived into Mapusa at around 2:15 that afternoon. The next day, I left Goa at 2:20pm making it a grand total of 25 hours "on vacation".

In between, there was a large amount of running around and general chaos thanks to my little cousin having fallen ill with the stomach flu. Add in the complications of a door that would not lock thus forcing us to find alternate accommodation, a very anxious and easily alarmed pair of rellies and a cousin who persisted in treating me like a child causing me to have a meltdown of my own ... well, let's just say that those 25 hours were highly stress inducing.

Not the kind of vacation I would recommend!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Homecoming

The journey from the UK wasn't as long I'd expected. A very comfortable seat on a very comfortable airline helped with the jet lag - almost none this time.

Familiar faces met me at the airport, took my bags, gave me hugs, filled me in on all the local khabbar* on the ride home.

Its been 3 years. Outwardly, the city has expanded. Buildings are taller and leaner and now full of shiny reflective surfaces that shine and shimmer in the noon day sun. There are more billboards and everyone seems to be sporting a cell phone; vegetable vendors and building watchmen included. The Bandra-Worli link is (finally) complete and rises majestically out of the Arabian sea - if you can even spot it through the city's thick smog that is!

Underneath though, much has remained the same.

The traffic is still crazy and chaotic, with everyone following their own version of road (non)sense.
The shops are still multiplying, and the people are still shopping with a vengeance. (what recession?)
The dogs still roam the streets, barking madly at anything and anyone that dares intrude into their territory.
The noise of the cawing crows still wakes you up at unearthly morning hours.
The clack-clack of the milkman's pails still makes a nice tune as his cycles down the street on his rounds. Now, not as many since most prefer the packaged product.
Hill Road in Bandra is still more of a Hell Road even though this is the first time it hasn't been dug up in almost 3 years!

And yet, after the hellos and the hugs and the kisses and the all important hug(s) to Papa; after the thrill of being back had died down, after I sat down in the living room and look across to where Nana would have usually sat, I knew that no matter how joyous my homecoming, it was not complete without her smile and laugh and her hand on my head.


*Hindi word for news

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Night of Stars and Dreams and Celebrations!

Last night, I went along to the annual Christmas party hosted by Cancer Support Scotland. Staff, executive committee members, staff, volunteers and patrons all gathered to look back on the year that was and celebrate a number of amazing successes.

I knew there was going to be an award ceremony; the program had mentioned an award for Volunteer of the Year and Fundraiser of the Year. What I did NOT expect was to be the recipient of a special award myself! I was sitting at my table, clapping away with the rest when Bill, the Chief Exec started to talk about the next award recipient. And before I knew it, it was MY name being called and everyone turning around to take a look. Too bad I was in the middle of sipping from my wine glass and had to swallow in a hurry and gingerly put down the glass!

The past 2 months had been crazy busy as I was putting in umpteen hours working on the event and trying to juggle filling out all sorts of job apps. But every single minute of it was totally worth the effort when we found out that we'd totally blown past last year's fundraising target. The sense of accomplishment on that alone had been enough to make me feel spectacularly great about my participation.

Being presented with this award was totally unexpected and quite over-whelming really. I'll have to admit that I do like the look of the framed certificate now proudly displayed on my living room shelf.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I'll be Home for Christmas, if Only in my Dreams

Every year around the first week of December, my mum goes in to Christmas overdrive. Boxes of decorations are pulled out from the cupboard-under-the-stairs; each one of them carefully labelled so that we know exactly what ornaments are inside. (I get my love of lists from her). The holly wreaths are draped around the banisters and along the front porch. Nativity scenes are set up. Yes, that was in the plural. We literally have one for every room in the house. The larger rooms sometimes have two or three. Only the washrooms are safe; but only until someone has the bright idea to manufacture Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus mini soaps.

And then of course, we have the centre piece of all Christmas activity: THE TREE.

When we lived in Bombay, VBF would come over and help me and my mom decorate the tree. As long as we were in Bombay for Christmas, this was our ritual for about 15 years. When we were packing for our move to Canada, we had to trim back on what we were taking with us. That included the decorations and tree ornaments. It was gut wrenching deciding which ones would go and which would get left behind. Our first Christmas in Canada, we didn't have a tree. We'd only just moved into our own apartment at the beginning of December and there were a lot of expenses. A tree was too much of a luxury that year. My mum and I were in total agreement about that. We decorated the rest of the apartment and settled down to a tree-less Christmas.

Only, we just couldn't do it! A few days before Christmas saw me and my mum dragging the dead branch off the sidewalk all the way back to the apartment and decorating it with all the tinsel and candy canes and ornaments we could find.

And we've never had to compromise on a tree ever again.

This year, my apartment is as un-Christmassy as it gets. Not a bauble or holly leaf or tinsel string in sight; I truly cannot afford to spend on anything that isn't directly related to food or shelter. But, since I'll be in Bombay in just a few days, I don't mind as much as I know that there will be all the Christmas I want waiting for me.

Back at the ranch, my mum began with the decorating last weekend. The little cousins were over to help her out. Together, they put up the tree and then sent along this picture so that I could give it my seal of approval. I think the kids did well, don't you?

Monday, December 07, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

Thanks to the amazing post-shower bouncy hair (all natural, no products) coupled with snazzy and carefully selected knock-em-dead party outfit and topped with great ass-in-jeans syndrome I am happy to report that on Saturday night, I was the very picture of calm and cool at Beans' party.

Of course, this was AFTER I hyperventilated the entire way over to his place and then had to ride the elevator 3 times before I had the nerve to get off on his floor and knock on the door! But hey, no one saw that. Unless the building security folk happen to review the security tapes that is.

Thanks to my master plan of arriving fashionably late, the party was in full swing by the time I got there and I was able to slip in unnoticed. Beans however seemed to think that this was the perfect opportunity to drag me around the room and introduce me to everyone, so unfortunately the second part of my master plan that involved sitting curled up in the corner of the sofa was foiled. Still, I found it in me to make polite conversation and exchange witty banter with the other guests and even be extra charming when introduced to La Mama and Le Petit Frere (first meeting) and Le Grand Frere (second meeting).

For the rest of the evening, I made sure to have at least, but no more than 3 separate conversations with family units - any more and I'd seem needy for approval, any less I might be perceived as stand-offish. There was light chit chat with the pals from work who, thankfully all avoided asking me how things were going and stuck firmly to neutral subjects like the weather. Yes, there was a LOT of discussion about the Glaswegian weather that night.

All except for one girlie who seemed to have missed the memo. I tried to side step her questions about why I moved here and why I picked Glasgow (of all places in the UK) but she wasn't having any of my non committal answers. Finally, as she asked me if I had enjoyed my time here so far, I snapped and answered that other than the fact that I was unemployed in a city where I knew less than 10 people and had a failed relationship to add to that, life was fine. Then, I offered to refill her glass and gracefully exited scene left.

But that was the exception, and largely it was an enjoyable evening. OK, so the large quantities of red wine that Gingersnap kept supplying me with helped a lot! But who amongst us hasn't turned to a glass (or bottle) of liquid courage every now and then? Bottom line, I would like to proclaim Saturday, December 5th as Day of Kick-Ass henceforth to be commemorated with wine and songs.

Can I get an Amen from the congregation?


Saturday, December 05, 2009

How to Put on a Brave Face amidst Inner Turmoil

Readers, I am a royal mess right now. Beans' 30th birthday party celebrations are tonight, and I'm all in a dither. To go or not to go; the very worrisome question.

Not going just doesn't seem like an option even. It would be too much like admitting a level of defeat. But if I DO go, then I simply HAVE to shine tonight. Anything less, and it would be another kind of defeat.

To that effect, every single item of clothing I own is strewn around my bedroom in my attempt to put together an outfit for tonight that I'm hoping with be-dazzle the guests and keep them from seeing just how frightening and anxious and nervous I actually am!

The plan is to make a fashionable late entrance, 9:30 -10ish, do the rounds, make polite conversation with all of his friends and co workers (all of whom know EXACTLY who I am), have at least one conversation with his mother and brothers and then make a graceful exit around 1am.

Must run dahlings! A long bubble bath awaits to calm my frazzled nerves.


Update:
Finally have an outfit packed out. Hair under control and looking FAB-u-lous. Ass-in-jeans also fab. (but, of course!)

Grabbing a bite to eat before I head out and flip on the TV. Buffy's on. And its the episode where Anya first makes an appearance. Coincidence? I think NOT!

I am so going to ROCK this party tonight!!!


Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Competition

Dropped in to the career centre yesterday to make some copies of my CV and send off some faxes to prospective employers. The fax machine was playing up and so as I stood around waiting for it to come back online, I shamelessly indulged in my favourite public pass time - eavesdropping!

Over at the one table, an employment counsellor was talking to a young man about his options during these trying economic times. They went over all sorts of ideas from gardening to wood-crafting and I believe I even heard jam making being briefly discussed. The gentleman (and I'm using the term VERY loosely) didn't seem interested in anything that she had to offer. Finally, he got up to leave and asked the counsellor if he could come back after the recession is over!Another stellar example of the Glaswegian youth decided to join me at the line up for the fax machine and soon struck up a conversation. He was most interested in my accent and even after I told him (twice) that I am Canadian, NOT American, he persisted in telling me in great detail everything he just luuuuuurves about America. I quickly tuned out, but snapped back to the present as he explained just why he was so obsessed with that race. I figured I should know everything about America since I'm going to marry an American someday. Well, its good to plan ahead isn't it?

The fax machine was finally back online and I sent off my applications. As I turned to leave, I caught a scrap of conversation between a 30-something woman and another counsellor. And why do you want to become a relationship counsellor?, he was asking her. Well, lots of reasons, but mostly so that I can warn other women about the louse I was dating for the past 5 years. I see it as my DUTY and more of a calling than a job really.I left the career centre a little bemused. If THAT was an example of my competition, how is it that I'm not employed???

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Twelve Days to Holiday Bliss

Do you hear what I hear? The sound of a fast approaching vacation! In just 12 days, I will be landing on the shores of my original hometown. I haven't lived there for ages, but every time I go back I seem to be able to slip right into the rhythm of things. And every time I have gone back, the city - and its people - have welcomed me back with open arms.

So much to see. People to visit. Old stomping gounds to discover all over again. In 12 days, my true love city I will see. And in that city, there will be:

Twelve bottles of home-made rice wine a-drinking

Eleven different kinds of Christmas sweeties
Ten ex-pat friends a-visiting

Nine ladies dancing (and some gentlemen too)
Eight (Christmas) choirs singing
Seven friend's babies a-wailing
Six pints at Toto's (gonna need that after those tots)

Five days laying on a beach! (in Goa)
Four calling birds
Three precious words
Two celebrations of love
And a Grandpa who I just can't wait to see!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

A couple of weeks ago I put out a wish list. One of my wishes was a sign (any sign) that things were going to get better for me. Christmas is 4 weeks away, but it seems that already my wishes are coming true!

Looking back on Friday night's success I now know THAT was my sign. I just didn't recognise it at first. I was so busy looking for something like a job offer or a declaration of devotion, I didn't realise that the "sign" that I was so desperately looking for was right in front of me the entire time. (Typical eh?).

The fact that I was able to stop thinking about my own misery for a change and instead focus on something new instead, was the sign.
That I made a tangible and positive contribution towards planning an event that was going to help not so much me, but a lot of very deserving folk, that was the sign.

Yes, I still don't have a job and things are getting to be rather dire in the money corner; yes, I'm still hurt over the mess that is my personal life and my little heart is far from healed. But perhaps that is a sign as well. Perhaps it means that it is time to pack up and leave. All this time I've been fighting against this. I kept telling myself that if I stayed and got a job, my life would be turned around and I'd have new (and happier) memories of my time in G Town.

In a way, that's just what happened when I took on responsibilities connected to organizing the Ball. For the past 2 months, I've been too busy to mope around and grieve for things lacking in my life. I seem to have taken all of that pent up spirit and poured it into making this event a success. And now, with early estimates of profits showing at around £35,000 I can truly say that I have not just a great, but a TERRIFIC memory of my time here.

One wish down. Will the rest come true?


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Belle of the Ball

Two months of hectic preparations all came to a head last night at the Crowne Plaza hotel here in G Town. 360 guests gathered in the Argyll Suite for a champagne reception that was followed by a scrumptious 3 course meal. There were lavish auctions prizes, a car to be won as part of the main raffle event, an amazing line up the silent auction tables and a host of fun prezzies.


I had worked on this event since September, C even before that. It had meant long hours, sleepless nights and piles of anxious meetings over whether we would meet our targets for the night.

Even with a few hiccups, the evening was a raging success and early estimates show that we made about £27,000 that night. Adding that to the £20,000 already in the bank, it would seem that 3 well deserving charities in Glasgow are going to have a great start to the festive season!

No wonder then, that although we were almost shattered with exhaustion by the end of the night, C and I just had to pose for the cameras and share one gigantic hug as we rejoiced in our shared success.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

All I Want for Christmas

Anyone who knows me, even a wee bit, will attest to the fact that I am a truly Christmas person. I love the sparkly look everywhere as shop windows and streets are lit up with fairy lights. I love planning my mum and her sisters and sis-in-law all do to make sure that the family is (very) well fed at Christmas dinner. I love the thrill of finding *just* that right present for that certain someone you've been agonising over!

But even for a Christmasaholic like myself, I cannot get over how every year the season seems to begin earlier and earlier. There have been days when I've seen stores and malls all decked out for Halloween on October 31st and then *boom* on November 1st that has magically changed into a Winter Wonderland ready to usher in the Season of Shopping!

This year too, it was no different. The "official" lights of the city of Glasgow were lit last Sunday. Christmas music is blaring over the store loudspeakers and tinsel is just everywhere.

Every year, I bitch and moan about the bastardisation of my favourite time of year. About how its increased commercialisation has ruined most of what I hold dear about the season. About how presentings and spendings are the values that are worshiped in lieu of love and truth and kindness. I usually get so caught up in trying to sidetrack the gory parts, that I almost miss out on the rest. The actual good stuff, that I love.

This year, I'm trying something different. If I cannot beat the commercialisation, then I'm going to join in. And love it. Dammit, I'm not letting those cash-grabbing-soul-killing-Christmas-stealing grinches get the better of me this time.

And so, dear readers. I present.... my wish list!

  • One pair of fuzzy, warm bedroom slippers
  • One bathrobe. Preferably also of warm(ish) material
  • One bandaid for a sad and broken heart
  • One (just one) sign that things will get better for me
  • One last chance to see my Papa again and give him the biggest hug
Santa, St. Nick, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny. Yoda. Whoever you are out there granting these wishes. I can assure you that I've been a good girl this year. At least, I've tired my very best to be. I ask that you please grant me my Christmas wishes.






Monday, November 16, 2009

Two Steps Back. I Think.

Saturday passed in a comfortable haze. The rain pelted down incessantly outside my window causing folks with weekend plans all sorts of minor headaches. Since I had none - plans that is - I was just fine curled up on the couch tapping away on my keyboard filling out application forms.

Gingersnap dropped in on her way out to a party with a whole bunch of DVDs on loan from Colossus. I knew Beans was going to the same party since he'd mentioned it during our phone call on Friday night. So also Ms. McSlutty from last week. My curiosity got the better of me, and I asked Gingersnap about her. The answer was not what I was expecting.

Turns out, she's one of their mutual friends. But she's a McSlutty alright,
Gingersnap snorted. She'll flirt with anything that's wearing pants. Anytime. Anywhere. If that's the girl you mentioned Beans was "with" last weekend, then I'd say it was a 99% chance that she initiated what you saw. Probably did her best to keep it going too.

Not quite sure what to make of this revelation, I bid goodbye to Gingersnap who promised to text me from the party should she see a repeat of last weekend. Later, I got a message saying that Beans hadn't shown up and said that he wasn't feeling well. McSlutty on the other hand had found a new couch partner for that night.

Still thinking about G's parting words, I began to question what I had "seen" last weekend. Had I just imagined everything? Taken a simple gesture of an arm around someone and heads bent together in conversation to mean much more than it actually had been? Had I completely misread the situation and had made a mountain of a molehill? I tried to recall the scene. Play it back, take in the details. But it was all fuzzy and I started to give myself a headache with questioning everything.

I turned off my phone and went back to my marathon movie night.

Sunday was almost half over before I surfaced. Thankfully the rain had ceased and the forecast promised overcast skies, but clear. Against my better judgement, I texted Beans and asked if he was doing ok. Not sick. Just tired from the painting. Want to go see a movie? was the reply. We decided on a 3:15 show that afternoon. Almost at once, he called back. Ireland was playing Australia in Rugby and he'd forgotten about that. But if I wanted, I was welcome to come over and watch the game at his place. It actually worked out perfectly, since a) I'd spend way less watching the rugby match than I would at the movies and b) I needed to head into the city centre anyway as I was meeting Gingersnap later.

That afternoon was the best times I've spent with Beans in... well.... forever. He had all these diagrams ready for me to explain the rules and the plays, and painstakingly answered all of my questions - and we all know just how much guys hate talking when watching sports! It was fun. Real fun. Easy, no bull shit, relaxed fun. Something we hadn't had together in a long long time. And it helped that Ireland put on a good show to spectacularly tie the game just 2 seconds before the clock ran down.

He made me dinner, we laughed and chatted some more. As I gathered my things to leave, he asked if he could tag along. Gingersnap and I were meeting at George Square to watch the Christmas lights turned on. It was hardly a private meeting, so I said yes. We met G and Colossus, listened to the music, watched the fireworks, clapped when the lights went on and then ducked past the 100s of families with kiddies towards the Counting House and a pint.

Beans walked me to the bus stand after. The rain that had held off all evening finally started to pitter patter. Neither of us had an umbrella and we drew into the shelter of the store awning. Danielle Steele couldn't have written a better scenario. The bus was ages coming and we were getting increasingly wet. So instead, we walked back to his place and watched the new season of Top Gear. Curled up together on the couch, our wet clothes drying on the radiator.

That night, leaving was not an option. I wish I could say it were, but in honestly, I didn't even once think about it. Staying with him and making love to him was the only thing that felt right.

Had he planned the whole thing? Maybe.
Had he wooed me that evening? Definitely.
Had I just destroyed whatever progress I had made on Friday night? Perhaps.

I don't know what is the right thing and the wrong thing here. I'm flying blind. The only thing I do know, is that Sunday was a great day for me. A relaxing day. A FUN day. I hadn't tried too hard and he hadn't been a jerk. Far from it.

I do know that I could do with more days like that. Rain and all.




Friday, November 13, 2009

Little White Lies

There had been no word from Beans since the party last weekend. Ironically, after everything that transpired that night, I ended up sharing a cab home with him and Jellycake and Sabs at the end of the night. Fortunately, mine was the first stop and I think I was out of the door even before the cabbie had pulled over.

Dead silence all this week. Not a call, email or even text message.

Then today. A phone call from Beans asking what I was up tonight and if I wanted to pop round to his for pizza and a DVD. The time? 6:23 pm, when most people would already have firmed up plans for the evening. I can only imagine that his fell through, and I was the convenient backup.

And so, it gave me the greatest pleasure to be able to say, No thanks, but I can't. I have plans.

It may not be an adequate payback for last weekend, but I'm sure it counts for something!



Sunday, November 08, 2009

What Lies Beneath

Last night I was invited out to a friend's post Hallowe'en party. The theme was Steam Punk fashions, something that I had no clue about. Not wanting to spend anything on an elaborate costume, I dug deep into my very limited wardrobe and came up with:
  • One pair of army fatigues
  • One pink corset
  • Matching jewellery
Jellycake was nice enough to help me with doing my makeup and hair for the night; I'm totally miserable at that kind of thing. I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have stabbed myself in the eye while trying to put on eyeliner or mascara. Nothing about a red, watery, twitchy eye is remotely appealing! Under Jellycake's masterful expertise however, the results were much much better and sans any eye piercing drama.

Little did I know just how grateful I would be for a face full of makeup later on when I saw Beans snuggled up on the couch with one of the girls at the party. I wish I could report that I got my own back in the same manner, but I just wasn't up to playing vixen that night. Instead, I took my bottle of vino and crept away to the stairwell where I spent most of the night listening to the sounds of the party knowing that somewhere in there, the love of my life was making small talking with Bambie MacSlutty.

Its a good thing that I listened to Jellycake and had worn the waterproof mascara. I can attest to the fact that it really works.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Peace of Mind - Sort Of

Lying curled up in my bed this morning, I was willing my pleasant dreams to continue so that I didn't have to wake up to the harsh reality of the pouring rain outside my window and the fact that it was the weekend, and I had nary a plan in sight.

A heavy knocking on my door got me jumping out of my revelry and out of my warm bed.

At least, it was worth it. At the door was a delivery guy with a most precious possession - my passport!

Two trips to Edinburgh, 3 couriers between Canada and the UK, umpteen phone calls and emails (that never got returned) and an obscene amount of money and 32 days after I'd first put in the application, the Indian government saw fit to give me a visa at last.

For the record, I am still waiting on the "surrender certificate" that they are to issue me after I handed over my old Indian passport. For the £90 that I had to pay for it, it had better be a worthwhile document.

But right now, I will sigh with relief and start to look forward to a long awaited vacation and the thought of being able to see my darling Papa again.



Friday, November 06, 2009

Big Bang Theory

As the popular saying goes, When in Rome, do as the Romans do. For new inductees to a city and culture such as moi, this really helps in the trying-to-figure-the-locals out category. When VBF texted me about "going to the fireworks" I had not the foggiest what she meant, but I sent back an affirmitave response. I just figured she was getting a head start on planning for New Year's!

Turns out, she meant Guy Fawkes Night and the annual fireworks display at Glasgow Green.

And so, we headed over last night - along with about 40,000 other firework enthusiasts who were all thanking their personal lucky stars for the unexpected lull in the rain that had otherwise poured down constantly over the past few days.

I did ponder the absurdity of cememorating a failed attempt to blow up something by now blowing up and setting fire to a large number of objects!

Ah well, there's the British sense of humour for you!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Dressed for Success

As I left my flat this morning heading out to the interview, I felt good. Really good.

I had gone over all the information on both the job as well as the organisation. Notes had been made and revised and reviewed.
There had been practice runs of mock interviews. Twice.
I had gone over all the expected questions, and some unexpected ones as well.

Then, there had been the unexpected find of a kick-ass suit jacket at Dorothy Perkins yesterday for the unbelievably low price of £6.80!!! (yeah!)

But all that aside, the fact that I was wearing my best pair of CFM undies and my hot hot pink lace uber sexy bra made me feel that no matter what happened at the interview, I was already a winner!

And THAT my friends, is dressing for success!




Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tricking and Treating!


A chance conversation with VBF and Gingersnap made me realise that many of my friends here in G Town had never carved up pumpkins for Hallowe'en! Given that I am only a recent carver myself, I just had to share the experience and so, everyone was invited over to my place yesterday.

A few false starts and slips later, here are the results. Happy Hallowe'en Everyone!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How to Feel Better About Yourself - In 5 Easy Steps!

1. Answer a frantic call from a colleague from the charity where you volunteer.

2. Agree (against your better judgement) to show up and help out at an event that evening where they are desperate for help.

3. Wheedle a friend to go with you with promises of pints and other such treats.

4. Take your spot on the podium as requested by the shoot director.

5. Drop your bathrobe, strike a pose, face the camera and turn on your very best smile.


And voila! A super surge of adrenalin guaranteed to make you forget about horrid life events such as getting dumped, not having a job, your grandmother's death, missing your friends and family and all other such lows. Also guaranteed to keep a smile plastered on your face for the next few days as you revel in pulling off a downright ballsy move!

The calendar comes out in a few weeks time. All proceeds go towards care and support for cancer patients and their families, here in Scotland. Copies are £5 each. Let me know if you'd like one, and keep an eye out for November 2010!




Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cooking Curry and Making Friends

Last week, one of Rain Man's friends called to asked if she could "borrow" me to help her figure out the mysteries of the Indian spice rack. She had a couple of recipes that she was dying to try out but wanted some "expert" help with picking the ingredients. Accordingly, Blondie and I met up at the Indian store where she proceeded to pick up almost everything in sight and that wasn't nailed down. Really, I'm not sure when she's ever going to make samosas (from scratch) or appams or idils or half the other dishes for which she liberally gathered raw materials. But that's not the point. Besides, we had a mission - Lamb Curry was on the menu and we were ready to cook. As I assumed the role of culinary supervisor and spice grinder, Blondie chopped, grated, sliced and diced with a vigor that only a novice cook can muster. I recognised it in my own cooking style!

 


After combining everything, we left it to simmer on a low heat and went off for a pint to the pub. On our return an hour (and a few pints) later, we found a smooth and tasty curry waiting for us.

It was half way through dinner that I actually remembered that it was Diwali, the Hindu new year and the festival of lights. When I shared that with Blondie and described how back in India all the houses would be decorated with little oil lamps from top to bottom, she got up and ran around lighting all sorts of little candles. Just like India, she beamed triumphantly.

Looking around, I had to admit that although we certainly wouldn't have had a bunch of vanilla and cranberry Ikea candles in India, essentially it was just like home. I was celebrating and sitting around a table sharing good food and toasting to a new friendship.

That, is certainly a good reason for a celebration!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Things That Make Your Bum Go Shake-Shake

The latest Cadbury Ad that is just so AWESOME! Everytime its on TV my hips start to shake and my bum makes dancy-dancy motions. Of course, this is not so good if I happen to hear it when I'm outside in public. But anyway.... I just had to share with those of you who may not be watching TV recently!

Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lifestyles of the Rich and (In)Famous

About 3 weeks ago I began volunteering with a local charity that helps cancer patients, survivors and their families. They had advertised for a Volunteer Coordinator online and it seemed just a good opportunity to meet new people and get networking. Their offices were a mere 20 minute walk away and after the first meeting with the Executive Director and their Events Organiser, I just knew that they would be a good fit for me.

The first event they had me working on was a tie in with Ralph Lauren's Pink Pony Foundation. The store in the city centre was hosting an evening of cocktails and shopping for some of their top clients and 15% of the proceeds were to benefit a local charity; in this case, us.

Yesterday, the morning of the event, C the Events Manager and myself went down to the store to meet with the staff and get an idea of what they wanted from us and so on. After nailing down the details, the store manager mentioned that it would be a great idea if some of the charity staff were to wear RL merchandise. C jumped at the idea and in no time they had her wearing a pair of boot-cut jeans (£725), RL signature blazer (£698) and shirt (£85) finished off with a belt (£59). This of course was an easy enough process since C is tall and willowy with the figure that every designer has in mind when creating the clothes.

On the other hand, when it was my turn, things were not so smooth.

The store lady started by handing me a pair of jeans. Dark blue. Nice cut. Totally blinged out all the way down the front. Just one teensy problem. They were about 3 sizes too small. I knew that just by holding them up and asked if I could have a larger size. She waved my protests off saying that the material was a blend of Spandex and that it would stretch. Well, it didn't and after 10 excruciating minutes of jumping around in the dressing rooms trying to get the pants past my knees, I finally got them to admit that perhaps the material wasn't AS stretchy as they'd thought.

They then handed me a T-shirt. Classic RL polo shirt. Blinged out of course. As I ducked back into the dressing room, I began praying fervently to every known saint in the calendar and beseeched my recently deceased Nana to intercede on my behalf and please please make this fit. There was NO WAY I was going back out there with yet another outfit that I couldn't squeeze myself into.

Nans came through for me, and I had an outfit. Course, when I found out that it was valued at a shocking £150, I nearly had a coronary. Still, compared to C's outfit it was rags to her riches!

The evening was a success. People came, they asked about the charity, they drank the pink champagne and ate the tiny tiny portions of hors d'oeuvres that were being passed around, they posed for pictures. But most importantly, they SHOPPED and with each *cha-ching* of the cash register we smiled at the certain donation towards helping yet another person affected by cancer.

I'll take any amount of humiliation over my hips to make that happen.





Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We Do Awkward Here

The entire family was delighted when young Sally tied the knot. Perhaps now, they would finally be able to get those boxes off the top shelves!


FYI, this is an actual family photograph of my mum's godmother's wedding. That my mum's older sister as the bridesmaid and my mum's godfather as the bestman.




Monday, October 12, 2009

Dial D for Drama

It has been 8 years since I've lived in India. Breathed the air. Walked the streets. Fought the traffic. Dealt with the bureaucracy. Especially the bureaucracy.

No one does red tape quite like the Indians. They looked, listened and learned from the British and then took it to a whole new level. The Indian government's favourite dance? Making everyone do the Run Around!

Last week, I applied for a tourist visa for my upcoming December trip. Filled out the paperwork, took the pictures, paid the fees online, even downloaded the online checklist to make sure that hadn't missed anything. Went off to the agents here in Glasgow to submit the documents. The fact that the agency was located on the top floor of a local Punjabi centre wasn't the strange part. That you actually had to walk through the main dining/cafeteria area to get to the stairs was what I found a bit odd. Anyway, it was early in the morning and except for one sleepy looking lady who was dreamily making sandwiches, the place was deserted.

Got upstairs and submitted all the documents to the agent. He goes through my application and then asks to see my Indian passport. Eh? That wasn't on the list! I explain that since I've only moved here temporarily, I don't have old (and outdated) documents. It's all back in Toronto. He says that I'll need to submit a copy of the pages that show the passport has been cancelled.

That involved a lot of rushing back home, making a call to Canada, waking up my brother, getting him to scan and email the pages to me and then back to the agency before it closed at 2:30pm. This time, the reception
area was filled with old Punjabi men and women sitting around watching Zee TV and drinking masala chai. All conversation ceased as I made my way through the chairs and around the sofas to get to the door feeling like a contestant on a freak show!

Mr. Agent Man thanked me for the additional documents and told me that it would be about 2 weeks for the visa. In turn, I gently (but firmly) asked that he make sure the website was updated with such information.

That would have been a great end to the story.

Instead, today I get a call from the Consulate in Edinburgh telling me that the photocopies are not adequate and that will need to submit the original cancelled passports.

More frantic calls to Canada. More running around by my brother. More expense as he has to pay extra to have it expressed mailed since the postal guys in Scotland are planning a strike next week.

Indian f*cking red tape bullshit. Just when I think I'm out.... they drag me back in.




Friday, October 09, 2009

Comfort and Joy

How do you start to make sense of your life when it seems like all sense has vanished? When everything that you thought was real and true and right no longer is so. When you thought that things could not possibly get worse; and then they did.

Last week, I was wallowing in a deep pool of self pity over a failed relationship and a floundering attempt at self reliance.

This week, I struggle to understand what the tears are about. I don't know what I am crying about any more. Which lost love. A love that I expected to last a lifetime, or one that did.

VBF came over to my apartment last Thursday. I called her after I'd heard the news, and she came over right away. She stayed with me through the afternoon while I tried to call various people in my family to get a clearer sense of what had happened. She got online to find flights to India and find out about getting emergency visas from the consulate in Edinburgh - just in case I'd want to go for the funeral. She made me lunch and made sure I ate at least part of it. She wanted to stay, but I told her I wanted to be alone.

But when she left, the walls felt like they were closing in. My flat mate texted me to say that he would be out late celebrating a colleague who had just successfully defended his thesis. The apartment was empty and cold. Literally cold. I tried to get the heating on, but I couldn't figure it out. I pulled the covers off my bed and sat in the living room, in the growing dark.

And then, I called Beans. I told him what had happened. He told me to come over right away. It wasn't until I got to his place and he opened up his arms to embrace me that I felt something snap inside of me and the tears that I had been holding back all afternoon came flowing.

I cried for what seemed like an eternity; pouring out my inner being. Telling him how I wanted to call my grandparents that morning, but had put it off because I needed to finish filling out a job application. It wasn't even a job that I was particularly interested in, and yet, I had wasted time and perhaps the one last chance to have a conversation with her.

He listened. Made me coffee. Brought out a fresh box of tissues. Made me more coffee. Threw away the coffee and brought me a glass of whisky instead. Listened some more as I poured out story after story about my Nana. Handed me tissues as the tears kept streaming down my cheeks as if a dam in me had exploded and the river of sorrow would never stop.

He drew me close and held me tight. Hugged me. Kissed me. And I kissed him back. Slowly at first, but then more deeply and passionately. And then, before I knew it we were naked and making love with a wild intensity. Which is when I began crying all over again, ashamed for what I was doing and for forgetting even for a mili second.

He held me close and I clung to him and the cycle began all over. We made love that night over and over again. I don't remember falling asleep, but when I woke up he was still holding me. Something he'd never done before.

But nothing really has changed. He was there for me at a bad time, and that was it. He has called a few times to check on me, to make sure I'm ok. He came by yesterday to try and fix my TV. It was all very cheerful and friendly. Which is after all a good thing. I cannot afford to loose even one friendly face in this city. It is already too bleak.

I wish I could feel badly about what happened that night. But I cannot. It just seemed so right at the time, and perhaps it was exactly what I had been craving the entire day. The reason to feel again and not that deep hurt that had been pressing down on me. Crushing me.

The hurt is still there. For both loves. And I suspect the crying will continue as well. Again, for both. Mourning, is unfortunately a long and tedious process.






Friday, October 02, 2009

When My Own Words Are Inadequate

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.


Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling on the sky the message She Is Dead,

Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.


She was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.


The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.

For nothing now can ever come to any good.
- W. H Auden



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Climbing the Social Ladder


On Friday night, as I settled down to watch a marathon of crappy Friday night TV, I got a very unexpected but very welcome message from a girl I knew back in the T Dot. Turns out that she was now in Edinburgh doing her Masters and heard that I was in G Town. Her message mentioned that the city was having their annual "Doors Open" festival over the weekend and if I didn't have anything else planned, that I should drop by.

All thoughts of hair washing were pushed out the window and so I set off the next morning for a day of sightseeing and happy wanderings through churches, graveyards, libraries, castles and random old buildings. (More about that on the travel blog later). Later that evening, I met up with E and we settled down to dinner and pints at lots and lots of chitty chat.

The next day, when I woke up tired and a bit hungover from the night before, Rain Man bounced into the kitchen reminding me that I had promised to cook biryani over the weekend. He'd scooted off to the stores early on and bought all of the ingredients and so there was no backing out. (Crafty Devil!)

And so, we made biryani. Rain Man nominated himself Official Lamb Chopper-Upper Person and went at with a gusto that was just a tad worrying and had me considering if I needed to get myself a lock and bolt for my bedroom door!

I took all the meat (and it was a lot!) that we got off the leg and after adding a little bit of this, that, the other and some more of the first stuff it became:

We had a bit of a challenge with the rice as the recipe called for 1 kg of rice but we didn't have a utensil large enough to cook that. So we had 3 little pots going all at once and desperately tried to monitor all of 'em so that we wouldn't screw up the main part of the biryani. We didn't do too badly (only one dish burnt), but kids, don't try this at home.

About half way though the lamb cooking, we realised that we were desperately late for the basketball game (a bunch of RM's friends were all going) so Rain Man went off and I stayed back to finish off the curry, layer the rice and the meat. All that was left was to let it cook in the oven for about 20 minutes and we were done.

Post game, we headed out for pints... which was followed by more pints and then then someone suggested pub quiz... and since we were all very susceptible to suggestion at that point that's just where we headed.

And best of all, after we were done at the pub quiz got home we popped the biryani into the oven and 20 minutes later we were chowing down on yummy yummy rice and lamb goodness.

This really isn't the best picture of our 3 hours of hard labour, but we didn't actually think about taking pics until we were more than half way done. Judging by how much Rain Man ate, it was finger lickin good.

And so went the weekend. Turns out, I have a semblance of a social life after all!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flashback

It hasn't been easy updating the travel blog. Writing about the vacation is forcing me to think about the time that I spent with Beans, to look at all of the happy carefree pictures we took together. They seem so fake somehow, even though I know that is a real smile that I smiled back then.

Every time I upload a batch of pics onto Flickr through some cruel and ironic twist the very first one on the home page would always be the one of the two of us, arms entwined beaming into the camera. On the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, at the Sea of Galilee, at Shutterbug's wedding, on the beach in Haifa.....

On a whim I counted the number of photographs I had of Beans and I. 59. And those were just the ones I found on Flickr, never mind the hosts of others on my PC.

Last weekend, we went to visit Stirling Castle. We spent almost the whole day together, but it was like being with a ghost. I almost wish I had gone alone. Physically he was there; mentally, emotionally he was leagues away.

I went over today to collect some mail that had come to his house and he told me that he was making a trip back to Ireland. A trip that we had talked about back in July; a trip that was to be my introduction to Ireland - and his family.

Guess that's certainly not happening now. Ah well, I have weekend plans anyway. My hair needs washing or the washroom needs cleaning. Either way, I'm sure I'll be occupied.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Introductions

I've been so busy with updating the travel blog and getting out job applications that I forgot to show off pics of the my purty new flat. 







There's still a lot of work to be done to get it looking the way I want. But this is a start and I'm so very happy with the place.



And speaking of, now would be a good time to introduce my flatmate, Rain Man. So called because of his inability to watch a movie without shouting out the next line in the dialogue. Or mumbling it after I have given him the So-That-One-More-Time-And-You-Die-A-Long-And-Painful-Death stare. It all started when he got very upset when he tried to do this with Independence Day and lost miserably to me. He then proceeded to sulk for the next 3 days until he beat me in Rain Man. I then made fun of him for knowing all the lines in a Tom Cruise movie. Whatever! You're short! was his witty comeback in reference to the fact that I had to buy a little step to reach the middle and top shelves in the kitchen and (properly) look into the washroom mirror.



And thus was the start of what I hope will be a beautiful friendship.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Awkward just got Awkwarder

If you've been paying any attention to my sidebars, you'll have noticed that I added a fun little website some time ago that showcases the worst of the What Were They Thinking? pictures for the general amusement of the interwebular world.

Only, I just looked at the recent entries and turns out I KNOW the subjects of today's hilarity.

Do I still giggle? Do I tell them? What if they find out later and then realise that I didn't say anything?

Oh dear. Awkward!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Explore City Chronicles - Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Making the most of the gorgeous Fall weather I took a mosey down to the Botanic Gardens. The only thing I do miss here in my new living quarters is the wee lack of green space around me. Back in Toronto, I had two parks within a 5 minute walk from the house and not to mention a big and beautiful backyard where I could get my nature fix. Here, the green is just a wee bit lacking in the immediate neighbourhood. Still, its nice to know that just down the road, over the hill and around the bend the beautiful expanse and tranquility of the Botanic Gardens await.

Glasgow had been basking in an unexpected warm and dry spell for a while. Very uncharacteristic, but it made for good exploring weather. Apparently, a lot of other Glaswegians had the same thought and every sunny patch of grass had been claimed by a pale Scots.
Mac on the other hand found another comfortable spot, even if it were a bit unusual! I was left wondering what the fine folks at the gardens were feeding their greenery. Hopefully, it wasn't the tourists!
As we rambled (isn't ramble such a lovely word? Reminds me of Enid Blyton books and the likes) along the meandering pathways though the gardens taking in the sights and sounds and delights of a beautiful afternoon.





With all the green around and the warm sun beating down, it was easy enough to be lulled into a false sense of summer. But then we rounded the corner and saw the unmistakable sign of the changing of seasons. And for me, a reminder of home.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Pyjama Party

On a whim, I called up VBF and asked her if she wanted to come over on Saturday night and veg out on DVDs, junk food and a bottle of wine. T'will be just like our school days I told her. Well, minus the vino.

So she did, and we had a night of movies (Bollywood of course) and I made dinner. Yes, there was more flexing of culinary muscles - Grilled salmon cooked with sauteed onions and tomatoes with a side of veggies and mashed taters.
And judging by the broad grin, (and the later clean plate) it wasn't half bad either. Course, we followed that rather healthy dinner with a dessert of loads of ice cream and other things that will generally rot your teeth.


We were up till 3 am or thereabouts. We talked, we remembered. We laughed and cried. Ok, so it was mostly me doing the crying but you know what I mean. And then I felt even worse when I realised that she kinda blamed herself for some of this mess with Beans. She figured that if it hadn't been for her wedding we'd never have met and then I wouldn't be in my current sad state.


And although kinda true in a way, it doesn't mean anything. I could have met someone else just as nice and warm and fuzzy which could have later turned from sunshine and bunnies to heartache and tears. There are points where I do fervently wish that I could go back a year and change things. But that would also mean that I wouldn't have a year of fun, of good times, of being loved and in love. After all, isn't it better to have loved and lost....?
It felt nice to just talk. I hadn't realised just how much I missed my T Dot pals and being able to lean on them when things are crappy. The skype phone calls, although nice just don't have the same effect of going down to one of our fav pubs and hashing things over a couppla pints.

Hanging with VBF that night made me remember that even though she was now married and lived over an hours bus ride away, she was still the friend that I grew up with, the friend who had been there for me through all SORTS of crap over the past and who will be sticking around to see me though this new crap as well.
And to prove it, she made me pancakes the next morning. Which ironically is just what Trippy would have made for me if I was back in the T Dot.
So, here's to my friends here and there and everywhere. The very bestest ones a girl could ever ask for and the perfect ones with whom to share a good ol pancake breakfast.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Move Over Martha

In an attempt to refocus my energies into something other than my rapidly deteriorating and rather sad unemployed existence, I felt that it was time to draw upon my inner Martha. I'd already ransacked the surrounding charity and second hand shops for odds and ends for the apartment like spice racks and towel holders and door mats. Then, I managed to locate an Indian store and over a few trips back and forth I stocked up on anything and everything I would possibly need to cook any sort of Indian meal; Garam masalas, ginger garlic pastes, dahnia and jeera powders and of course good 'ol Kashmiri chillies. For some absurd reason there were no moderate sized bags and I was compelled to buy the ginormo industry sized packet. Ah well, guess I was going to be using them chillies in a lot of my cooking whether or not the recipe called for 'em!

Once stocked up, I began with the experiments. Never been one to enjoy the whole cooking and culinary process in general, I figured I had nothing to loose and everything to gain. I'd already done pretty well with the chicken curry and potato tikkis over the weekend, so the next time Beans was over, I tried out Sai Bhaji (spinach in gram dal) paired with Kori Sukka (spicy dried chicken) and served with rice and rotis.

Indian food wasn't the only thing I was trying out. Flexing my culinary skills a little further I attmpted Italian sauces and all sorts of combinations of pastas with beef or chicken. Some of it like the penne with chicken and spinach in cream sauce turned out yum. Others such as the tuna with yellow and red peppers in spicy thai sauce - not so good. Never again!
My Martha-esque persona wasn't limited to the kitchen. I was also trying to shape my habitate to my own specifications. The room as I had inherited it came with some nice and simple furniture, but little character so to speak. There was much to be done to get it away from looking like last year's Ikea catelogue and more like something with a little more me in it. A few weeks and some basic alterations later, it was a we bit better. Not quite there yet, but I'm in no rush.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Defining Commitments

As Beans walked me home from the post game pub on Friday night, we chatted about this that and the other. The evening had been surprising on many fronts; I realised that in time I might actually turn into a real rugby fan. And that perhaps Beans and I had a shot at working out after all.

He came over on Saturday to help me put the apartment in order; putting up the mirror and my photo frames and hooks and the likes. I cooked dinner while he hammered and drilled and did things that handy men do.

The dinner was a success (chicken curry, potato tikkis with mint chutney and rice) and was followed by a movie. Then we had no more excuses. We had to talk.

It wasn't an easy talk. Primarily because Beans just didn't seem keen on the idea. But I had somethings that needed to be said and I needed him to hear some hard truths. Like the fact that he had been a first class jerk over the past few weeks. And the fact that in being a first class jerk had taken me to one of the lowest and most vulnerable points of my life.

I don't know what I wanted. An apology perhaps. Or even an acknowledgement. I got neither. Was this going to be the start of a new chapter of our relationship, or simply the beginning of the end?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Friday Night Lights

When I moved to Scotland, I knew that I had to leave a lot of my old life behind. There were going to be many changes. The coins didn't have a polar bear on them, the streets would not be lined with Maple trees and there was no baseball team to cheer for. Instead, there was football - the soccer kind. And rugby. And when dating Beans. A LOT of rugby. Accordingly, we set off to My First Rugby Game on Friday night along with friends Skippy, Sab and JellyCake to watch Munster take on the Glasgow Warriors. Mac and I were instructed to cheer for the Irish team while Sabs and Skippy were firmly rooting for the local lads. JellyCake had been bribed into cheering for the Paddys with the loan of the infamous Paddywack Hat. Sabs was not impressed with that! It wasn't a very big crowd, but those that were there were cheering with all that they had. Munster was the far superior team on the pitch (is that a rugby term?) but not that night. Shoddy plays and downright stupid moves made the Warriors into kings.

From a virgin viewer's point of view, I saw a bunch of guys (in very
short and tight shorts) run around on a field lovingly embracing the ball and very frequently, each other. Mac made no bones about which side he was supporting. Then again, there wasn't any access to Warrior merchandise! Sabs growled about having to get him some "proper" gear soon. But I'm not sure if rugby jerseys come in a Moose size.

Beans gave me a watery smile for the camera, but we all could tell that he was dying inside at Munster's abysmal performance. Sabs on the other hand had plenty to smile about as his team bull dozered their way to a 29-09 victory.

As I watched the boys play, I wondered why the line out seemed so familiar to me. I had a nagging feeling that I had seen this somewhere before. But where? This was my first rugby game, and I hadn't even watched any on TV. It wasn't until the end of the game that it struck me. Ballet! The line out looked just like a pas de deux in a ballet recital. Don't you think??

Still, that was one observation I kept to myself. I did enjoy my first rugby experience and didn't want to be banned from the sport on my very first time!



Thursday, September 03, 2009

Down Discovery Lane

Even after 3 days of being in my new place, the reality still seems a little fuzzy. I can hardly believe that was able to get the apartment that I wanted and relatively easily too! It was finally something good after weeks of drowning in the crap the universe was throwing at me.

And so, I have revelled in my good fortune for these past few days. Taken long walks to get to know the neighbourhood and some of the neighbours as well like the kindly gentleman from the Realtor office downstairs who was nice enough to help with sorting out a leasing agreement. And the guy from the grocery store around the corner who turns out to have an aunt who lives quite near to where I grew up in Bombay and who kindly offered me a cup of tea as we chatted about a city far far away. There's all sorts of interesting little stores along the main street. Butchers, bakers and if I hunt hard enough I'm sure to discover a candlestick maker somewhere nearby as well! Two large grocery stores just down the road and a hop, skip and jump away from the subway, the train station and all sorts of handy dandy bus routes. My local library is a mere 7 minute walk away. 5 if I hurry. Best of all, the neighbourhood seems to have a lovely sense of being a community and not just a random collection of houses and shops all jammed together in one location. Wandering further down the main street, I stumbled upon more good news. Rows and rows of thrift stores run by every single charity foundation imaginable. Which meant loads of opportunities to pick up some very good deals! On just my first round I found table coasters (brand new), a spice rack (only needs a lick of paint), laundry basket and an indoors drying rack. And I haven't even begun to investigate all of the wonderful second hand books I saw in all the stores. Who knows what else is just waiting in there to be discovered.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Meaning of Love

As I contemplate the state of my relationship (if I still have one) and think about all the mistakes I have made where dating and love are concerned, it pleases me to think that in this big world of often false hopes and promises there's one promise that has endured a long long time.

64 years ago a young man told his bride that he would love, honour and respect her for as long as they both shall live. I'll imagine that there were some not so good times in there, some royal tiffs and probably a What have I gotten myself into? at least once over the past years. But more often than that, there was evidence of love. Not a fairy tale romantic sort, rather a quite love that comes from being part of another life for almost as long as each of them has been alive. A love that is demonstrated through backing each other in good times and bad and in recent years, through a lot of sickness. Of night vigils at hospital bedsides and a quite
comfort in each others company in their home.

And so, I'd ask that you dear reader raise your glass in a salute to this love. Happy Anniversary Nana and Papa.



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