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!


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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...