Monday, September 26, 2011

Running out of steam

As we walked into the airport today, I was filled with urge to just fly away somewhere. Of course, we didn’t have any passports on us so we couldn’t go out of the country, but I so badly want a change of place. Sure, we went to Hyderabad and that was, okay, because I hardly spent any time outside (and I really miss the place and hated the hot Chennai sun when we got back), but I really, really, really, really, want to go somewhere – somewhere that SCREAMS different from Chennai.

Somebody’s pictures from their Scotland trip have not helped X(. In fact, they might be the catalyst behind this sudden urge. I don’t even mind going to Coonoor once again, I JUST WANT SOME CHANGE. I just wished we could forget our trip back to Chennai and instead be really impulsive, buy some tickets and scoot off. In VERY recent history, such impulsiveness has not paid off, but I just love being impulsive anyway.

So here I am, back in the office. Apparently, I look terrible. Not surprising considering I barely slept last night and slept fitfully thanks to ‘IT’ by Stephen King. I must really stop reading things just because they happen to be on the Kindle. Finally decided to put an end to this really meandering, brain-damage-inducing hulk of a book by reading the plot summary on Wikipedia. I am SO glad I did that.

I have been ‘training’ people – two different sessions on the same topic – the banking and financial services domain. The one-eyed king teaches the blind. This is the fourth training that I’m doing and I’ve discovered with considerable surprise that I *can* manage public speaking. Of course, this still constitutes training people who for the most part are completely clueless and I think I might die of fright if I were speaking in front of people like my manager or M’s manager. In the first one, I did put two-three people to sleep, the ones that were the farthest away from me -- but having been in their shoes more times than I can count, I only empathized with how I must’ve made my professors feel. On Thursday, which was the first of four sessions, a fellow MBA and new colleague also joined the session and I was jittery as this would be the first time I’d be judged by someone at my level or close. I don’t feel comfortable doing these sessions because I’ve never really traded and I often feel that I’m talking about things that I only know in theory. But then, what did you call a ‘consultant’ anyway?

However, in spite of putting a few people to sleep, I was told that I did a decent job save for going a little fast. And the new colleague told me that I was in the wrong profession and that I should be a teacher AND something about how intelligent I sounded (which reminds me again of school with Zai saying that I look like the girl who sits in the first bench but doesn’t understand anything K ) ! That really made my day. On Friday, I spoke to a batch that was right out of college and managed to engage a few people without putting anyone to sleep.

I pulled a Peemmi on Friday too, but Alhamdulillah, thanks to an honest auto-wallah everything turned out okay. Left for the airport, spent some time with Neesha and her hoozband who were also at the airport. Everything considered, the weekend barely managed to reach the ‘okay’ level, and I still feel really sad that I didn’t get any quality time at home. Poor Ammaarah was sick, though she still looked adorable in her Dora-like haircut, and spent most of the time moping. I miss her so much… and my mommy and my daddy and my sooster… sniff :’( Met many cozins and aunts and uncles at Ammaarah’s bismillah but didn’t get to spend much time with them.

I’ve lost the constructive streak I’d picked up in Ramadhan and the disappointment is pulling me down further. There is so much I want to get done, but my motivation is sliding. Sigh.

Last week was overwhelming so I hope this week will be better.

Goodbye of you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Times are changing

I just got off a call that was between two people in Chennai, one in Dublin who's originally Tanzanian and another in Hong Kong. Half an hour before that, I was talking to another BA in Dublin and a presumably Pakistani BA (going by his name) in London. Between all the Tamil hubbub around me, I had to sort out the Irish, British, American-Hong Kong and the Irish-Tanzanian accents. Not to mention that I sent the meeting invite for the wrong time because I got confused between GMT, IST, Ireland Standard Time (which is essentially the same as GMT--that I only learned yesterday) and HKT.

At my previous job, I used to get confused with the ESTs/CSTs/PSTs and the American accent was sometimes difficult to catch. Now all of that seems so simple!

Yesterday, I was quite happy to have got my own conference code (yeah, roll your eyes) but now I'm wondering how many more invites I'll mess up. And this is not even considering Daylight Savings Time. I used to think GMT was a world standard until I realized even GMT has summer daylight savings time! Thanks to my favourite BA from Chicago, I did go to the World Clock but still got the time wrong. Let's hope things get better with time!

Still (if it isn't obvious), I'm quite enjoying all the accents, especially the British accent (as always). Maybe I should go join a call-center.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Her neighbour drops her off a block away. She's exhausted; her neighbour is talking, "I hope I pass my mock visa interview". She wants to reassure her neighbour, but the words are floating away in the grasp of her fatigue. She makes an attempt: "I'm sure..." she says, rubbing her eyes, "that you'll mop... you'll mop... ugh, I'm sure you'll pass your mock visa interview..." She rolls her eyes at herself and signals that she'll leave for her apartment now. She staggers to the apartment, struggles for the key and walks into the empty apartment. 

Her phone's lying on the table where she'd forgotten it in the morning. Three missed calls from her parents. She picks up the phone and finds herself answering that inescapable question, "I'll make dal chawal" she says. Two days of forgettable food and she decides she should cook for the next three days. She washes the palak somehow having mustered the energy to sing while she drains the water (thrice). She's already soaked the dal. She rinses the pressure cooker, adds the dal, the condiments and the palak wishing that her husband was there to eat the  palak-dal. She fixes the cooker's lid and sets the stove knob to high. 

There's only rice enough for two in the jar. She pours it into the bowl and rinses the rice while she's singing. There's an odd high pitched sound in the kitchen. She freezes, the singing stops. She realizes it's the pressure building up in the cooker. She goes back to singing, lost in her own thoughts. She realizes with a start that there's no flame under the pressure cooker. She's forgotten how many times she's washed the rice. It's no use trying all the other burners. She comes to terms with it: they've run out of gas.

She leaves the kitchen and settles into the chair that she barely got out of half an hour ago. Pizza Corner is bringing her pizza. So much for wanting to do the right thing.

PS: the title is ayyayyo in Tamil
PS2: Play Station 2
PS3: Sorry. I'm just braindead. I have to give a presentation on Thursday and I haven't even begun preparing. 
PS4: yes, this is the end of this post. Please don't curse me.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Thanks to a terrible headache, I barely slept last night. There were many interruptions in the morning. Neesha came over in the afternoon, we met after a long time in spite of being in the same city. It was good to talk to her, even better to get a ride in her new Honda Jazz! Such a beautiful car! And she drives it with such cool confidence. I drove for an hour or so on Saturday and wondered why I was torturing myself! Blind, dumb and deaf pedestrians, bad roads and the fear of damaging an already injured car don't make for a good driving experience. Neesha however insists I must persist; I hope it gets better, because otherwise I think I'd rather enjoy the view from the passenger seat. 

Arabic 2 began this morning. There are at least two classmates from Arabic 1 attending this slot and both I've been racing with to answer the teacher's questions. It's great to be enthusiastic about something again. I felt even more excited when she said that we'd be learning the 10 main verb forms in a few weeks and a new world in Arabic would open up to us. Can't wait! She also said it would be a good idea to go ahead and order the Hans-Wehr Modern Arabic dictionary that costs nearly 2K+. It's unique in that the dictionary doesn't go by the usual alphabetic order but is ordered according to the root-words, and all derived words are listed below each root word. I thought I'd get the pdf version but when she reminded me that this was something I'd be using my whole life, I'm now considering buying it. Flipkart has it but I think it'll take some time until I get my hands on it. When I asked the mother about this decision, she said, 'Why don't you cook at home instead of eating three Rs. 600 pizzas? Then you needn't worry about the cost of the dictionary' :| 

Okay, I've just remembered something terribly important. Good bye for now!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eid Mubarak

I have a splitting headache. I had a restful staycation for the last five days but I still came to office today with a lead head. Mother gave me an assignment which I didn’t do on time and then spent too much time on it late into the night.

*  *  *

Eid was special because we went to the Himayat-e-Anjuman mosque here for the Eid namaz. Seems like it’s mostly the posh Muslims of the city that visit this mosque; there were many flashy cars to be seen. Given that it’s in an upscale area of the city, it’s possible that only people with cars visit that mosque. We go there because we don’t know other mosques that have facilities for women and the khutbahs are in Urdu (as opposed to Tamil). I’ve come to appreciate the importance of praying in Arabic after M attended taraweeh where the dua was in Tamil. If you know Arabic, you can pray at any mosque anywhere in the world and still understand everything!

Eid was heartwarming because I saw so many Muslim women and I don’t know any here. It also made me sad because the experience would have been so much more special with Mummy and Blister and Immu and M-PAX and all the other girls around…

Eid was fun because we went to Blur which is a video game arcade (I don’t know what the right word is). We played tennis on the wii, M won a teddy bear from one of the machines and we decided to try out a game whose graphics looked good. It’s called Assassin’s Creed—Brotherhood and it turned out to be really stupid. Or at least I thought it was.

Eid was sad because I missed home, sheer khorma, hating-dressing-up-but-still-having-someone-to-see-or-comment, visiting black chacha and white chacha, visiting Kamalapuri, and the general feeling of celebration.

Eid was yummy because we made biryani. This time I modified Y mami’s recipe to add more onions a la ZaiqaMona. It still didn’t turn out perfect but was tasty enough to keep wanting more.

I want a more Eid-like Eid next year, insha’allah.

*  *  *

Arabic 2 starts this Saturday! Because I wanted to continue with the same teacher, I’m now scheduled for the 7:30 AM slot. HOW am I going to wake up that early on a Saturday?!

*  *  *

I finally took my new red (burgundy?) handbag to office today.

These are the reactions I got:

“Oh! New bag?” (twice)

“Is that leather?” (once)

And that’s it. Maybe people can’t reconcile red with my abayahed image, just like N who made fun of me when I told her we got a red car. Of course, when she saw the actual colour, she said, “Oh. This colour is okay”. I half want to hide the bag myself.

I shall console myself that it’s awesome and people just don’t know it!

*  *  *

I got my award on Monday. It was quite disappointing.

*  *  *

Yesterday while I was waiting for M outside the trial room at Big Bazaar, two little boys danced around their mom to jhing-bang Tamil music. It was quite amusing.

Then their dad stepped out of the trial room wearing the new shirt he had just tried on. The two boys rushed towards their dad like Tamil hero fans shouting “Suuupper” (the Tamilian version of Super has to be heard to be appreciated—it sounds like soup-pair!). I think I’m beginning to appreciate Tamizhness.

*  *  *

I really, really, really, really need to start working on my fitness again. I am SO out of shape.

*  *  *

Okay, bye.