Sunday, January 05, 2014

Knotted after a Sojourn home

Just back from a fleeting but much awaited trip to India (home)! Right from when the flight announces its intent to land on home ground,  anxiety takes over. An unwarranted but constant battle begins - that between-  Expectations and reality! Past and present! Change and Constants! 

The first few hours were spent reconciling between all my worlds. Estranged connections started to wire up and the contours of the city I visited a year ago began to take shape. It seemed like a lot had happened in the time I was away. The city had a strange arrogance this time around. Perhaps I noticed it just as an Audi whooshed past. The city was embellished with consumerism that came to life as I drove past crowded stores of Louis Vuitton, Zara, Clarks- wondering if the hoarding of a 'Khadi Bhandar' would show up behind the rummages of the past! Just as I was looking out-  the bumpy roads, traffic jams, packed auto rickshaws  and the lady wearing jasmine on her hair, took me back to familiar ground in a jiffy. 

The IT industry had found its roots in Bangalore a few years ago. However, it seemed like it is only now that one can visualize the impact of that change, in the form of an established and definitive new culture. The denizens were foreign and yet seemed to define the very essence of the cities character. The language, the phrases, the grammar had all changed and money seemed to be dominating conversations. Even the one rupee coins had changed weight and shape. However there was a fresh energy,confidence, even sense of fashion that I saw in all segments of the city. Every job had got a new 'avatar', every service was re-packaged, every person had a new wardrobe and was technically advanced. The euphoria could be felt all around and was evident in the prosperity and choices people were making. 

The election campaign, and victory of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi proclaimed that change was again landing itself. This time not confining itself to a specific industry or city, but it was going to guzzle the entire nation. The victory moved me; Strangely I could feel an excruciating  yet pleasant pain within when I heard they had won. It brought back hope which had ceased to exist in this country with a dis-functional democracy. 

I realized that 'time is now' and transactional presence cannot be matched with any number of fleeting visits. I complained and struggled to find my roots in this new city like a clingy child. I failed to find a good reason to reconcile with some shallow aspects of the culture. But if you did see through all that clutter, my soul was alive again. I enjoyed spending time with family - (that is unmatched to anything in life) , meeting friends, having conversations, thinking and mostly feeling! There is just an abundance of everything out there. Maybe it is that which is overwhelming and makes me want to wander off to new cities often times. 

I am back now in London after what seemed like the longest flight ever. I walked the streets today- looking for something familiar, a face a routine, or passion. I realized that all my life I have worked hard in filling life with a constant 'longing'. Maybe thats what makes me seek and makes me empty at the same time. One needs to be 'empty' to 'fill up' and one should 'long' to 'find'. On that note, I was reminded of something thats been bothering me all day. 

“We all have an old knot in the heart we wish to untie.” 

Here is to a new year in London. Hoping some knots get tied, some untied and the year is fulfilling in its own way. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nostalgia and new memories

Nostalgia is almost like a compulsive stalker! It takes you back in time to the strangest of moments. Often I have found myself in a new moment, struggling to comprehend its purpose and entirety. I then experience it and end up cherishing it only in retrospect when its too late or gone!

'Life'! my dear friends can be rather short.  All I can say is that hold on to all that you live and experience in the 'now' and be glad if nostalgia stalks you, when you are bored, idle or lost. As it may just make you smile or experience what you missed out back then! If not it will end up eating into a perfectly new beautiful moment and play spoilsport.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Who am I? Where did I come from?

Clearly, there was an India when I grew up. An India that influenced me heavily in becoming who I am today.  There was a city, Bangalore that I called home, there were things that constituted my world. The world around me was complex, it was that of a middle class household, modest life style, an awareness of the poor and the touch-points with the elite and the rich which kind of made the journey rather complete in its own way. However, despite how complex India was, life was truly simple!

I realized if I ever had to define myself, my core would come from that world. It was influenced by realizing and experiencing the value of money. It was about having a steadfast respect for education and a relentless faith in hard-work.

Using public transport kept me grounded to all people that constituted society. Conversing with strangers over long rides in the Indian Railway coaches,  made be bond with diversity of religion/region/food and class. Going every summer to the small towns in Madhya Pradesh and spending my vacation in villages, made me appreciate the small bits of comfort I had in our humble abode in Bangalore. Spending my time in the South taught me why music/fine arts and intellect can be wrapped in simplicity of a house with just basics and only essentials. Whilst spending summers in the North of India made me realize that there is sometimes joy in just taking risks and being fearless about experimenting and coming home and enjoying some indulgence. My world was a microcosm of so many contradictions that at a very early age I had to think and make choices and choose things that became my identity overtime. I had the time and space to think while cycling peacefully home after a long day or when there was an electricity outage and all of us friends would just be out on the streets chatting. Life was busy, physically exhausting, but I just felt like I had time and space and there was not too much to clutter my mind.

Far away from those years, I just look around and I am in London, on a couch, typing on a computer which of course brings the entire world right next to me, one click or search away. I have all the time to experience virtually. I can read the story of the making of the Indian railways, I can even get the map and explore the stations I passed every summer on my way from Bangalore to Delhi. I can probably get back to India from London in lesser time than what I spent travelling to Delhi. I can read about classical music, I can even find my little village on google map. But what I see is clutter, data and information. These days I cannot seem to find the space and time to assimilate what I experience and actually absorb from it. I cannot find time to reflect and make choices. I just feel overwhelmed with it all. In all this comfort, I want to slide back on a uncomfortable sleeper coach or sit by the street light of Rajajinagar chatting away with my friends waiting for the electricity to come back. I don't know the right or wrong of it all, all of the above are just opinions and not judgement of any sorts. I guess I am for now energized to cage my thoughts and times and start to tell you stories of when I was a child!

Hopefully I do get down to doing it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Emotion - one of the biggest highs and lows of life. I am so turned on by emotion, it is unbelievable. I get so disturbed by the lack of it, that it is scary. I translate it into so many varied expressions, I wonder if it does come out the way I want it to.

Either ways what the heck - the mind drives the heart or the heart drives the mind, who knows. I feel and hence I am alive!

Watching another fabulous movie Trikal - Past Present and Future by Shyam Benegal! I wonder if I can just feel or really tell a story!