Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On cleaning.....

It is not that I am seeing an array of cleaning agents for the first time in a supermarket, but this is definitely the first time I am giving this stack a good look.

I was just getting used to the idea of cleaning up and constant cleaning up required in any household. As I was walking past the numerous stacks with dozen different varieties of cleaning aids and liquids for a hundred different purposes, I was wondering if half of people's lifetime is actually spent in washing, scouring,cleaning and clearing up of dust, stains, and dirt.

In the next minute, my doubt was clarified. There was this little kid busy mopping the floor with the brand new mop he picked up from his mother's shopping crate. You should have seen the sincerity with which the mopping was happening on the already spic and span floor. My judgement says the child would definitely not be more than two years old. Trust me, I would not have held the mop so professionally. A lot of us adults stopped, looked and smiled, while the child's mother was completely lost in shopping for the best cleaning agent.Either she had seen the scene and knew her son too well, or was too busy to look. I hoped that she didn't miss this wonderful sight.

I am quite convinced that half of our lifetime is definitely spent in cleaning up and the dusting work and this art is learnt as early as 2 years of age!!!! in some houses. Okay, 'half' may be a bad statistic, so make it 'a lot of time...'

My thoughts were interrupted as the hypermarket indoor-cleaning vehicle drove past me, dusting and mopping the floor. The man smiled at the child's seemingly angry and confused look and the mop in the little hands.May be the child was wondering why this man was disturbing his

The next day onward, I am doing my cleaning work a little more sincerely than before, I think.

Monday, September 27, 2010


"This place is totally deserted..".I have read and heard this statement quite often but it never registered into my emotional depths until one fine morning here in Muscat when I chanced to look out the window.

I was almost done with the usual routines in my new home when my random thoughts were disturbed by a 'now-too-familiar' truck's slow murmur on the 'work-in-progress' roads.

I looked out the window and saw the vast expanse of desert till as far as I could see. I have always thought that deserts would have fine sand dunes all over the place, and imagined that apart from the burning heat, the scene would be very beautiful and romantic.A sharp contrast is the view of the desert I see from our living room.It is full of stone flakes and coarse sand.I learnt later during our short trip to the nearest beach, that this place is classified as a desert because of its flaky and rocky mountains spread as far as your eyes can see.

I still think desert is a wonderful work of art. The deserts give the best touch to the twilight, dawn, dusk and night sky.

This beautiful city has been built in such a desert. Or may be the desert backdrop adds beauty to the city. Its a picturesque sight to see the rocky mountains from a screen of permanent dust arising from the coarse sand.

More observations of a first timer in this city :

  • There are too few people on the roads.
  • The heat here can fry anything including you in a few minutes.
  • Out of the ten rare people you see in a place, almost eight speak a language you cannot comprehend.
  • There seem to be many cars than people on the roads.
  • There seem to be many lights on the roads than cars and people counted together.
  • All pavements are so clean that you want to stop by to check if they are real or are from a painting.
  • The sunset by the beach is a visual treat.
  • The beautiful morning sky brightens up as early as 5:15 A.M, although the sun rise is only at 6:00A.M. It is of course spectacular with a mountainous backdrop and dusty roads. I really wish I could paint the picture.
  • The universal language in this city is silence and its a little too deafening.I touched my throat and thanked God for the vocal chord I have been gifted with. Suddenly this thanks meant a lot. We never thank God for some of these gifts.. I have learnt to speak in low tones too.I know the ones who know me wont really believe me, but trust me, I can talk in the lowest of tones and still be audible.
  • Saravana Bhavan is one savior if you want to hear some noise. Indians speak loudly is a truth I learnt at Saravana Bhavan, a branch of the famous restaurant in T.Nagar, Chennai. I could not help thinking of the hustle and bustle in Chennai.Its so much fun to think of it now, although a lot of times people in Chennai crib a lot about the crowd.
  • There are no traffic cops on the roads here.
  • Vehicles synchronize themselves so well on the wide, narrow, winding and straight roads here. Wonder if the same Indian would take care to/can drive this methodically on the roads in India?? Unsure.
  • On any given day, the hypermarket here is the most populated place in the entire city.
  • The beaches are beautiful and the Arabian water is very clear.
  • The people here love their country and respect their culture, tradition and religion. It automatically brings a comfortable smile on your face.
  • Its amazing that such a well planned and inhabitable city/town ( still trying to judge) has been built on this rocky desert land.
  • The vastness of landscapes and hugeness of buildings and the wideness of roads amaze you... mostly because you are not sure if there are as many people in this city that can put the infrastructure to full use.
  • Everything is so Royal-looking and architectural here.
  • There are a lot of beautiful women here.

All said, outside the closed comfort of our beautiful home, I still feel that this place is so totally 'deserted'. Now I know what the line means much better than I had known in the past.

Smiley note: I fully realize that this is because it is my first time in a foreign land, first time away from Internet and mobile phone for a long time, and first time in a very sparsely populated zone. I am learning to cope and I am learning fast.

This post was written last week and I could not post it until now. I have started reading the place better now. The last post had a lot of comments from readers and brought a smile on my face. I am truly thankful that I hold this blog and never felt this way as much as I did today. Thanks folks.. You are one reason why I must continue to write.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Flight, Cloud, Feeling, and Change

Welcome to the Sultanate of Oman. That was the in-flight announcement that brought me back to senses from my non-stop wonder about the clouds inside and outside. I smiled.....

Ever since my first ever air travel experience, the one thing that I cant stop wondering about is the beauty of the clouds, no matter where I am headed. I usually try to classify the clouds I see,but this time I was occupied in my own world of thoughts.

Thinking back, the clouds I saw, as I landed, should have been Cirrus. How does it matter anyways? My thoughts were cloudy. It was a very funny feeling within, and I am still unable to classify it three days later as I write this post.

I had left Mumbai,India two hours earlier. It was a rainy day in Mumbai. Within me, multiple versions of myself started reacting all at once, resulting in a heavier down pour of emotions, a little too heavy for me to take.

Little did I realize when I woke up that the end of the day would see me in a different country altogether and it was not going to be easy to leave MY country. Yes, that was the mistake. I had been sub-consciously owning the land and the thoughts of it so close to my heart that it proved very difficult to take the flight take-off from Mumbai Airport.By the way, you don't think I am too patriotic, do you? Well, I don't know if the patriotic version of me was pouring out the non-stop tears.

As I did the last checks before I left home, I could not stop the daughter-in-law version of me shedding a quiet tear.

Many times since dawn, I found it very difficult to control tears whenever I said something to my parents. I was beginning to miss them already. Only when I finally locked my travel bags, did I realize that I was travelling a little far away from home and would not be meeting them for the next few months. The daughter version was causing the maximum tear fall..

Spoke to some relatives, friends and cousins.It was easy to speak, but very hard to hang up. For those who know me, I have always been a Nokia person and I had already started missing my phone calls to different people. There were no tear drops but tears did well up in my eyes. Not sure which version of me was acting up.

Just before I said bye to my parents, I dialled my sister. For the first time, I didn't know what to talk. She was saying something but I don't think I registered anything at all.We were talking nothing in particular for two minutes and then finally the tears rolled down uncontrollably.It takes a little more strength to say bye to your sister.

I was travelling on a very happy note, but it was still difficult to take in the idea of flying out of the country. I burst out crying as I bade bye to my parents. I hated the system at the airport where you are only allowed to look at your folks from behind a glass wall.I thought it was ridiculous. All along when I was waiting in the different queues, I could not stop crying.If you ask me which version of me was crying - patriot, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, friend, cousin - I really don't have an answer.

I turned away and started walking very fast to a distance before I turned to look at my parents. It was easier to let the tears roll down without them seeing me.There was a sudden sense of being all by myself, the sinking feeling I have known every time I moved out of home for long terms - academics and jobs.(It had not been easy for the first few days in each of these places, but once I found my own group of friends, life seemed to be treating me well).

I smiled...., as the aircraft descended at the Muscat International airport. There were no rain clouds. The clouds that were around seemed clear and happy to greet me. Afternoon heat ( believe me, it was not warm air, absolutely hot air, too hot for a 32 degree afternoon temperature ) hit my face as I stepped on to a foreign land for the very first time. I was unarmed (yes, no mobile phone.. if that means something to you...) yet secure because I knew my husband's mobile number!!!!! :-).When we called up home after I reached here, there were no tears.All of us had accepted the fact that I left India that day to join my husband.

I guess, change makes life, the seemingly tough nut to crack and emotions make life, the interesting bundle of puzzles to solve.All nuts can be cracked but all puzzles need not be solved. Sometimes, its just okay to accept an unsolved puzzle. Why do we cry in some instances has no single correct answer. Setting this aside as a puzzle with multiple answers, I am gearing up to crack the new nut in front of me.For sometime from now, the topics and write-ups I write might sound a little different from the ones you have read all these years.Keep reading. May be this is due to the change. Let's get used to it.


With new opportunities also comes to fear and self-doubt. How can we navigate these very strong forces in order to reach our fulfillment...