Sunday, April 23, 2006

2016 and magnificent

Anyone will tell you that getting a United States Visa in Bombay is the most stressful and painful procedure that you might ever have to go through, probably second only to donating your liver while you are still alive.
Once you pay an obscene amount to get a form and the “pink slip”, you are made to wait, if your lucky for about three months until the your interview date arrives.

I had my interview on the 17th of April at 8:15hrs. I was reminded of this date about one million times by my mother and father, because for some reason they thought I would either wake up late, or forget.

With all my papers in order, I arrived promptly at 8:00am only to find a long line outside the consulate office. People, families, with their pink slips and their interview time at 9:30 were already in queue. It was then that I realized that there are people more paranoid than my parents.

Clutching the pick slip in my hand, along with several papers and documents, I too joined the line. Ten minutes passed and a loud voice screams, “those who have food coupons, only 8:15 interview time please” Roughly translated to ‘eat your breakfast, cause you must get into the bus now.’

In my head, the voice of my mother rang clear, ‘your father paid money so you can have a snack before you go in. Do not forget the snack. If you go late you won’t get the snack. If you are late, ask for the snack later. You paid for the snack.’

I ran ahead of the line, I must have the snack, I thought, it is my right as a Visa applicant.
I felt brisk and independent as I passed people. Everyone else had a spouse or a child with them, which arrested their movement into the ‘Stars and Stripes Lounge’.

Yes, that’s what they call it. I had a spicy cheese sandwich and a coffee at the Stars and Stripes Lounge.
Another loud voice screams, people with the 8:15 time needed to run outside and get into a mini bus that will then take you to the main Visa office. Again, I briskly walked ahead of the crowd.

Once we reached the office, a man entered the bus and gave us instructions. No cosmetics, no cell phones, no CD’s, keep the pink slip handy, give the wooden token back, keep the passport ready, know how to give a finger print etc. The usual.

I entered and was immediately frisked by an unattractive female security guard. She looked through all my papers, messing the order in which I placed them. And as if that wasn’t enough, she opened my wallet so hard that it ripped beyond repair.

The office was so quite, I could hear my heard beat, loud and embarrassing. I got myself fingerprinted and took the pink slip and made my way to the seats.

In about ten minutes my number was called. Please come to counter number three.

I walked in and gave the man a big smile. He asked me how I was feeling, I almost said: I’m frikking scared, just give me my damn visa and stop this bloody torture why don’t you? Instead I just mumbled a shy, I’m fine.
He asked me some vague questions and told me he went to college in Georgia and always wanted to be a writer in an advertising agency and then without blinking he said that me and my magnificent smile are going to the United States.

At that moment it took everything I had in me to not jump at the glass counter and kiss it. I smiled, my magnificent smile and left.

A day later I got my passport all stamped and everything. This magnificent smile got me a 10-year visa to the States. I can visit my niece and sisters till the year 2016.

I only hope my smile lasts that long.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

kamikaze chicken

So I did not take the new job. Yes, I may have lost out on a great opportunity to work with a great individual. It may have been a horrible decision on my part. But who's to tell.

Decisions. Decisions. The things I dread. I hate making them, I hate having discussions about them. I hate dealing with the consequences of them. I can't stand the millions of opinions, the advice and the suggestions you get. Especially when you don't want to hear any of it.

I got a lot of advice and I took a lot of opinions and I was swayed more than once in several directions. I lost sleep, appetite and I'm sure hair, in the past few days. Things were offered to me, things were asked by me. Negotiations and discussions ultimately landed

And now the decision has been made and there is no going back. There is no changing this pendulum of a mind I have. There is no more oscillating left to do.

Decisions. I hate decisions. I hate the word. I almost hate the consequences. Because after the decision, inevitably comes the 'what if'. What if I had ordered that instead, I would have enjoyed my meal more. What if I bought that top, then I would have looked so hot today. Ok, so these are trivial. But trust me, if I go to the life altering decisions I have made, I will probably break down and cry with all the 'what if's' running through my head.

Will I have a better sleep tonight, knowing my decision is made? Hell no. Cause now the what if's are kicking in. Already.

I'd like people to make my decisions for me. Like a professional decision maker.

No, it's not cause I am a submissive little thing. Far from it. It's cause I would love to have someone to blame if it ever blows up in my face. How could you tell me to do that? It's all your fault. I wanted to do the other thing!
Damn you. I hate you. You have ruined my life. Fix it! Now!

Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Tantrums. Decision's evil twin.

So my previous post on living life and doing what you want and being passionate and living every second as if it is your last, is a cart full of crap apparently. Cause I did not take a risk and plunge into the unknown. I chose, Ahem, I made the decision to be safe. I cautiously backed away from a risk, never taking my eyes off it for fear it would consume me. I stayed in my little comfort, risk-free zone.

I chickened out.

But in my defense, I really did get the ear-piercing.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

stud guru

I feel awakened. I think I am close to reaching this personal nirvana. No, I am not going to publish an art of living book, self help, I'm ok, you're ok book. Trust me. Not yet anyway.

All I am saying is that I am beginning to actually appreciate my life to the fullest. I'm doing things I would have never normally done, or just shrugged off as a stupid idea. There are some thoughts that are beginning to consume my mind, thoughts like: life is too short for us to be sitting around on our arses waiting for our lives to get better. Or for some excitement to miraculously fall into our laps. It ain't gonna happen, folks.

I know, I'm beginning to sound like some sort of born-again, freak guru. Bear with me, I'm certain this is going somewhere. So almost a week ago, last Monday, I did something very unlike me. I was passing a jewellery shop and I stopped to see some thing in the window. I'm not sure what I asked the salesman, or where the conversation went, but in a flash I was getting a second ear piercing in my right ear.

Yea, so to most people this is not something completely outrageous, but for me, it is. I'm the kind of person who would be tempted, but then tell the salesman that I would "come back later for sure".

And the whole Goa trip, I would have thought about it and been so skeptical about going only to miss out on the best holiday I have had in a long time. And the fact that it was so impromptu made it so much sweeter.

More recently, I quit my job. I am joining another agency, despite people telling me I am virtually committing suicide. But I decided that it is better to get up everyday and want to go to work, than wake up dreading the thought of seeing your boss's face every morning. So I put in my papers (they haven’t been accepted yet, but I put them in none the less). I walked to my boss and told him that I am leaving. He did not seemed phased at all. He probably knew it was coming. Or he was too distracted by his shiny new trophy on his desk.

If there is one thing I have learnt, is that people really don't care about what you do. They will give you advice and pretend to care, but no matter what you do eventually - they don't give a tiny rat's hiney. And this is not some bitter, pissed-off statement. This is truth. And the sooner we realize that we are virtually alone in the world, the sooner we shall live for ourselves.

Do exactly what makes you happy at any given moment and I can bet that you will be a happier individual.

Which brings me to another point. Why diet? Why go through life eating all the right food, without any taste when all you end up with is just a smaller coffin? I say, if you feel like it, go and have a bag of Lays Salted chips in the morning, or go eat that New York style cheesecake, or have extra cheese on your pizza.

Ok. Again, this is turning into a self-help book. I feel like Baz Lurhman is going to walk in any moment talking about sunscreen. Unintentional. I promise.

I guess it's triggered by just the thought that all our lives are too short to waste a minute of it.

* This post is dedicated to Mahesh, the creative guru, who died of a heart attack, My friend Sammy, who is back in Bombay, recovering, and the boy that lived down St Paul's, who died in a freak accident on his way back from Pune a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

paradise found

Oh my gosh. I suck. I said I would never and I did it again.

I have been gone for too long again. I am not worthy of this blog. I should stop writing. Ha. Sure I will. Just as soon as I throw away all the pink things I own. Which is never. In case you missed the sarcasm.

Ok so the fun thing is I went to heaven and back for the weekend. Yes, I took a bus to Goa on Thursday. Now for those of you who have not heard of Goa, you should be ashamed of yourself. It is the closest you can come to a beachy Paradise. And if you go by the cheap and comfy bus, Paradise is just 12 hours away. We reached early on Friday morning at 6:30am and went straight to the inn we were staying at.

It was at a beach called Baga. This is in the north of Goa, where the locals have an English accent and the beaches are full of white men and women. The young women in bikinis, the men in bermudas and tanned skin, and ironically, and quite sadly, all the aged are naked or in g-strings.

But I say, don't let a little saggy skin get your eyes off the gorgeous beaches, the blue water, the white sand and the fabulous sunsets.

At Baga, we stayed in a little room with three single beds and a small toilet and a balcony that faced a quaint little house, where, during lunch time, the smell of home cooked food wafted out of the little kitchen window.

Goa is also an amazing place to eat. Gorge more like it. Consume large amounts of the world's best food. There is something called a Goan Sausage. It is a long string of pork sausages that are especially flavoured by Goan women. They are pre flavoured so cooking them is no biggie... But the result is divine.

Also, if you go there you have got to taste the goan fish and prawn curries. They have a taste that is unmatched. And what just makes it all so perfect is with every spoon full of Heaven you can dig your toes into the sands of Paradise. There is just something about good food, great weather, a sea view and a cold glass of King's beer. (only brewed in goa)

We rented bikes, well the two boys I was with rented bikes and I was a scrub, hanging out the back seat, letting the wind catch my hair and the sun tan my back.

The boys were on a mission to pick up some foreigner chicks. And I mean serious mission, there was a lot of riding slow while passing some hotties, and stopping to ask some women for directions, who could not speak English and did not know Vagatore Beach from Anjuna Beach, or the back of her hand for that matter.

Of course, after meeting a girl who was very itchy and coughed a lot and kept scratching herself (ewwww is right!!), they gave up...And at my advice, they left her to smoke herself silly. I on the other hand met with a man in a bar, while I was trying to leave, who thought I was Spanish. Now this is not Spanish for a very corny pick up line. I did not fall for it, probably because he wasn't that cute anyway. So that was my male encounter for the weekend.

Oh yea, that is besides sharing the room with two burping, snoring individuals.

We rode to about three different beaches and went to about 5 different shacks in two days. So we were in Goa from Friday morning to Sunday evening.And when my bus chugged out of the city borders my heart sank. I wanna go backand get a house and live like I am on holiday for the rest of my life. But then,doesn't everyone? Everyone I know at least.

What was the best part was that I did not shop. Purely because I was with two anti-shopping people. This is good cause instead of wasting my time on the main road shopping for things I can get in Bombay also, I was at the beach, eating food and sipping beer, that I wouldn't get here. So in short, I have realised-

If you are willing to forgive the burps...- 'tis better to go with boys. Really.

My weekend was fabulous.
To Goa and back - Arrgh, back! Back!
Back to reality.
Jobs. Big shiny toilets.
Crummy food. No sand.
Rickshaw rides.

Paradise Lost.