Friday, March 30, 2012

Berserk in Britannia

The multiple stab wounds I felt on my back thanks to Enid Blyton are healed. When I came to the UK with my heart set on the highlands, little did I realise that it'd take me over six months to see them. Dreams of chasing Dragons and diving head first into Shakespearean literature still remain distant dreams and the only company through literature I have is of J. Stiglitz, Fischer and the likes. Don't get me wrong, they are great company, but not the ones you'd want to call over for drinks or read with in the tub, they ain't no Shakespeare.

First off, 12 Chinese flatmates aren't exactly what you had in mind. Mind you, they are nice people, but not the greatest of conversationalist. The perks of staying with them are of course the food and the occasional herbal tea. But otherwise, the place is so quiet that I think I think too loud sometimes. Secondly, the course keeps your nose pinned to the papers, see how I haven't blogged in the last eight months? Thats right. Thirdly, Warwick beats any hobbies that you had out of your system. And makes sure you don't have the time to whine about it. You also end up with an eclectic group of yahoos who are nothing like you and still end up having a blast. So much so that when they leave on holidays and for some god forsaken reason you're still on campus, you know you're bound to go stark staring mad. These are some of the reasons why I love Warwick too. I do. And my alter ego wholeheartedly concurs at this point.

The pain of leaving everything thats familiar and dear to you, and hopping on a plane took a lot of effort and courage on my mothers part, since I got cold feet and threw a melodramatic fit all over the Airport. Yes, mom gave me one look that said "This is how life is, so suck it up and deal with it", so much for motherly love. Mum and my twin left as soon as I got into the airport, since it was already 1AM and the only comfort remained in the face of a best friend, who stood his ground until he saw my tear streaked face go past security check and out of his sight. And since I know better, until my flight took off.

Yeah I know, all that drama only so that could I turned up at home right in time for Christmas. Which of course, I did. But with two terms behind me now, I'm glad I went back home for as long as I did, for sanity's sake. I'm glad.

I being the only Non-Chinese (Indian to be specific) oddity in my flat, spend all my time outdoors. I'm glad I do that, because when snow came, snowman, snow angel, snow ball fight and nasty chunks of snow up the nasal cavity (all thanks to a virulent friend), I got it all. Running amok on campus in the wee hours of the morning with a neurotic friend who had just gotten back from a road trip made things even better.

Whats next? Scotland and Lake District. Same old neurotic friend, same old me but a different location to run amok in. Here is hoping to meet Nessie and an inevitable brawl at a Scottish pub. Black eye and missing tooth, here I come.

P.S. And If you ever visit Buckingham Palace, London, do not forget to squint, glower and then grimace at the royal guards. It is epic fun.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Retrograde evolution.

I might have previously stated that mallu freak accidents have no relation to coconuts or coconut trees. I take that back. Having experienced one such freak accident, I'm forced to retract my statement. I'm notorious in my family for being the kind of person who is always, ALWAYS present where something explodes, someone falls off a bridge, dog chases someone, someone runs into a giant field full of stinging nettles! And as always, I'm that someone (no surprises there!). The stinging nettle incident could send my relatives into peels of laughter, they've very tragically caught it on tape. That story could be the source for an entire novel.

Unfortunately, the coconut tree incident happened very recently, too recent an incident for my liking. A visit to my paternal home required me to drop in at an aunt's place. It is set in one of the most picturesque places in Kerala. It overlooks the backwaters and has gently sloping coconut trees, hugging its fringes. Damn those gently sloping coconut trees! A chimp of a cousin ran up one, and challenged me to do the same. In retrospect, the sheer stupidity that gripped me then, makes me want to kick myself in the rear repeatedly. I ran up some feet with ease, the next few, I tiptoed, the "en pointe" I did next would make a ballet dancer jealous (I was several feet up in the air already). The next thing I knew, my cousin had swung on to the tree I was on, and it began to wobble dangerously. I slipped and was holding on to the "tree" with all my life. It looked as though I was some sort of game about to be roasted over slow fire. An enterprising uncle had already clicked a picture of that, not intentionally of course.

Everyone knows how abrasive a tree's bark is against the skin, I slipped off so fast that my hands looked as though I had sandpaper scrubbed all over me. I heard shrieks of laughter and from the corner of my eye saw my cousins guffawing madly. The hilarity of the incident, I still don't fully comprehend. I let go, that being the only option left with me (I know what you're thinking, I'm not spiderman.). The thud with which I landed still resonates all too loudly. The pain that ensued was nothing compared to the deluge of laughter and jokes that followed.

You'd think that me, being the product of a Jillion years of evolution would know better than to climb a tree at this age like some arboreal ancestors, or in this case, cousin. Perhaps evolution skipped this family. Perhaps retrograde evolution is the new black.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rain country monsoons

Somebody very wisely once stated that, God went on a riot with the colour green in my country. And by "country" she meant Kerala. After a gap of several years, I went to my ancestral home in Parur, Kerala, this time to attend the funeral of my Ammuma. This was probably the place where I first met her, consciously. With very little to do, besides engaging in the senseless rituals, small talk and listening to ancient relatives tut, I took to staring ceaselessly at the seemingly endless expanse of lush greenery around me. The memories of a woman clad in the softest of white saris seemed to smother me, and I couldn't even cry. She probably never realised, that she left behind a vacuum in my heart the size of the universe. For as long as I can remember, she had had the softest hands and a smile that could light up the darkest of days. The sari with the blue patterns at the border, the one that I constantly tugged at, will never again be a source of comfort to me. Never again will a small voice sing songs, that brought to my mind vivid images of a beautiful time I never saw.

Somehow all the words ever coined, in any language seems insufficient to describe the world's most loving person, my grandmother. All I could do was pray hard for the monsoons, torrential rain and thunder, that would mirror a fraction of what was going on inside me.

At the end of it all, I let the tears flow as I painfully realised that there will never again come someone in my life, who will love me as unconditionally as she did.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Its on the house

After months of coercion my mother finally succeeded (for reasons unknown to the world) in converting me to a vegetarian.My f(r)iends often wondered in astonishment the Himalayan effort that must have required in convincing a carnivore such as yours truly into a rabbit. They failed to realise the huge effort on my part that stopped me from screaming out the truth, it was because of their appetites that dinosaurs no longer walked this planet. Probably one of the worst decisions of my life, walked around campus like a bear with a bad bad tooth ache. To heal my wounded appetite, I grabbed my cousin aka deranged roommate and trooped off to Matteo, my fantasy world's central perk, my red and purple couloured, coffee smelling, Shangri-la.

I love a table that has food on every surface, and as always there was the omnipresent (VEG) caesar's salad. We ate, we drank, we made ourselves look like stuffed turkeys. As we were finishing our caesar's salad, I, Chief-hawkeye, spotted a tiny, miniscule piece of chicken, it should have sent me into a "great white" like frenzy, but I very calmly pointed out this anomaly to the waiter, he blinked, twice, stared at the plate for several seconds and on my behest took it away. I was "scandalised". After a million apologies from the management, I said no to the waiter who wanted to know if I'd want anything else with a very pained expression. The fact was that I was stuffed beyond belief.

We continued to sit there for another hour oblivious to all that's happening around us. At long last we decided to leave the place and head home and called for the bill, the manager came over and in a grave I'm-about-to-deliver-a-eulogy tone declared that the entire meal was on the house! We exchanged incredulous looks, and in a very orderly manner made a quick exit. We marched out, and kept walking until we were well away from the place before bursting into shrieks of laughter. Obnoxious though we were at the restaurant, we really didn't have a problem with the ridiculously small piece of meat. Extremely glad that the restaurant authorities failed to grasp it though. And to think that I'd convinced myself that karma would bite me in the ass for all the uneaten pieces of meat.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shall we dance?

If anyone tells you that doing the Naagin dance in language class is a good idea, then don't believe them. Its a lie concocted to get you into trouble. I'm telling you, nuns - not "people". Highly temperamental women cramped up in a tiny campus can have disastrous effects. Language class is where it all happens. I've been in college two years and my Sanskrit teacher never addresses me by my name. Even if I make any noise, its the person sitting next to me who gets yelled at (smirks). It was one of those days, when the sun is hotter, the nuns crazier and watchmen shrewder. I'm sitting in class waiting for the teacher to come, in walks KJ ( my mentally unstable friend) going "oooo wooow oo". Statutory warning: Too much of KJ is highly injurious to mental health. Enter the "warrior". We settle down in the back row. Class begins, as usual- dull, drab and deathly. KJ leans towards me "Lets do the Naagin dance, Nins." I was never much of a dancer. Apparently according to a faithful birdie -carefully re-phrasing- "You dance like a monkey with emotional problems" (you here refers to yours truly). Nonetheless, never the person to lose heart, I join in. "Go cheetah have a banana, hey monkey, get funky"! I totally nailed it. We could soon hear (as did people within 10mile radius) the "warrior" screech "What on earth is going on in the back row?". Thats enough to set her off with her mind numbingly boring rants on girls behaving like guys, lack of discipline among the youth, her going to America to do her Ph.D (I don't know how thats relevant, the show off) and the effect of "too much" freedom on girls. Sigh. The old bat never stops. I stare at her as if in a drunken stupor. The ever optimistic KJ reverts back to her nutty self. She crouches low and continues with her dance and we happily take videos of her without her knowledge. It was all over facebook by night.

I finally read the Hobbit. Its a wonderful book, but not in the same league as Lord of the Rings (the daddy of all fantasy novels). It amazes me, the amount of trash people read. The craze for the Twilight series is simply beyond my comprehension. But I refuse to over analyse the already cliched topic.

Cul-Ah came (theme being Jungle Fever), fun and fun is all I can say. The fashion show left me feeling like an overweight and hideously sun burnt heifer. Who cares about internals? No one. So lets not talk about it. Plod on further my brave friends. I may write something interesting yet.

The days went by in a blaze with me alternating between great excitement and confusion (psychology students, does it ring a bell?). I realise to my utter dismay that I've lost my phone. My mum shrieks something about terrorists, stalker, identity thefts, and you know something is really going wrong when your mum starts making sense. I ran helter-skelter, called a million people and is currently headed off to the Police station to file an FIR. For all I know sometime in the near future, the authorities might issue an arrest warrant to dock me in for kidnapping three fat Palestinian men in Gaza. Pray for me people. Jihadists and non- jihadists alike.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Jingle all the way

Christmas this year came early for me. Two weeks before Christmas I was moping around the house acting like a regular Scrooge. Even when my Christmas loving and very well meaning cousin swore to breaks my legs, if I uttered one more word against Christmas, so I continued to put my life on the line by griping about Christmas.I would have made Scrooge seem like a loving joyful Grandpa had he been for real. Everything was going Topsy-turvy, I discovered that I didn't have half the notes for my pre Christmas exams, I didn't get tickets to go home for holidays, teachers mistook my wide eyed innocence for phased out staring, Autowallas drove me up the wall rather than driving me to the right destination, in short, life made hell look lucrative.

Angels come in many forms ( pretty, mild or downright scary looking) mine came in the form of, my bro who got me a brand new camera for Christmas (never mind the fact that I'm a techno retard) Anil who pulled strings to get me a ticket back home, Shruti my ever optimistic little elf, Nima my tweety bird and a whole lot of other people who saved me from jumping over a cliff.

Christmas Eve was better than Christmas itself. My cousins and friends came together to light up my Christmas with a Christmas tree and fine food. We made merry, we made the house a huge mess, and I wowed everyone with my hitherto unsuspected culinary skills. Christmas morning dawned late and groggy. I smiled, I sang off key Christmas carols at the top of my voice, ate cake and packed my belongings to head home. A Christmas eve well spent is a Christmas day well celebrated (and a lot less grouchier Nina).

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Confrontations with the otherkind

Exams may come and exams may go but I go on forever, one wise friend modified the lines of Lord Tennyson. Thus passed by my exams. A blaze of worry, repeated accusations of being a nerd, missing notes, so on and so forth. All of us waited impatiently for the advent of our much awaited holidays, with most of us heading off in different directions. Since my cousin was to come with me to Kerala, 10 days of fun was guaranteed. I frantically made calls to my friends to make sure that they would be free to go out with me. Tough luck, all of them would be tied up with exams.

Exams or no exams I left three of my best friends with no choice. They'll have to meet me whether they like it or not. We (my cousin and I) had our hands read by palmist at around 7 in the night at the Marine Drive. That was so creepily accurate. I was very sceptical at first, (yeah yeah, smirk all you want) but not any more. I refuse to write the content of my palmist's predictions, intending to leave the reader curious at this point. Next day I reluctantly headed off towards the most visited part of my city, Fort Kochi. My reluctance to visit this place were quite well based since this place was where some of my most humiliating incidents took place ( bet you expected me to publish that, psych!!). We went into a place where Ian Wright previously visited, went shopping, crossed the cobble stoned Jew town to the synagogue and hopped on to a ferry taking me back home. Looking back to that beautiful day brings back a smile....when my cousin declared that we'd see the world together, haggled for the best bargain, oggled at the Chinese Fishing nets, walked down the aisle to my fictitious groom in India's oldest European Church. I fell in love with the place where I spent almost all of my life all over again.

I wanted my all knowing cousin to meet my two best friends, BIG BIG mistake. All of them made fun of my "awesome" and "happening" life. Bah humbug! Their lives are about as happening as dead flies and bits of fluff. But nevertheless, I'm glad they bonded, even if it were because they were laughing collectively at me and my bungling errors ( I am the Queen klutz, I open my mouth and I stick my feet into it.) My friend drove me around the city at dusk the next day. We went into the most interior part of the city. Parts which still retain and reflect the original character of Kochi. We drove towards the light house and then began the long drive back. Somehow in this city of mad hatters without anyone around me realising, they'd inadvertently set off the clockworks, the slow, very slow process of "re- maddening" began within me.