Friday, April 18, 2008

Hey Howaayyyah!!!

The duties first!
1. Apologies and more of those to whom I dint say Bye! before I left Chennai!
2. Apologies for those unfinished/unattended stuff you may have because I left!
Now to the actual post. It gives me great pleasure (sorry for the toastmaster like speech) to write a post after a long time and this relocation is good, in that it made me come back to blogs!
Relocation is a very intense thing -- Physically, emotionally and urnially! Especially if you are on a 36 hours journey to your new location. Its tough. Come on, very tough I say. Especially when you sit through it. The back aches. The knee swells. The bladder balloons! And the tummy pinches. Beyond physical, emotional and urinal pain, its also a pinch on the tummy and a bite into my sleep.
The misery starts much before, actually! We start buying "Idhayam nallennai" sachets instead of 1 liter bottles, thinking that you are going to relocate anyway. The sachet falls over the night on the floor without fail. Relocation is irritating at least as much as cleaning that spilt oil. I curse it and go ahead with the reduced and limited offer life. The life that is between the start and end of a relocation cycle.
I stopped shouting at the servant maid for not cleaning the toilets. We are relocating anyway. We started worrying about the washed clothes. Will it come back after ironing before the day we leave. We have to pack them!
How many bags? Hard or soft suitcases? Should I take the Bangkok buddha we bought during our honeymoon trip? Should I pour the aftershave all over my face one last time, so that I will not have to face the dilemma of whether or not to carry a bottle with 1.5 teaspoons of aftershave?
Relocation is predominantly one big decision accompanied by so many meaningless and pointless decisions that have to be taken. My mom will want to know if I need the socks with one hole in each leg or will I buy a new one in the new location paying 15 times the Indian currency value for it. Its a decision to make. I made. I made such 1000 decisions that took 1 minute each.Thats almost 15 hours of time wasted on nothing, while I dint get to spend those 15 minutes, holding my mom's hands or hugging a friend or talking to the soul of the city which inherited me!
Like I said, relocation is a big decision. One that is like opening a flood gate and standing on the watershed side of it. Things maroon you till you get a log that "may" take you to some shore, if not sound and safe!
Moving from base is moving away from your nearest DVD parlor that lets you hold the DVDs for more than 5 days. Its leaving your father and mother childless for years. Its depriving the hotel waiter from good conversations he had with you.You no longer read ananda vikatan, nor do you have an opinion about Karnataka-Tamilnadu water dispute. You dont get the same haricut. You dont get a simple milk pouch. You are out. Out of your ecosystem.Your family. Your world that you care for, like and that cares for you! You are non-existant anymore.
Relocation is like rewinding the life of a toddler, robbing all the fun and gay and taking it to the womb and aborting it. Its abrupt, shocking and sudden.
But its not without fun, like its the case in any journey.
Brussels, it is. Airport Lounge.
'Neenga enga porel'
'New Jersey. Payyan anga irkan. Maatu ponnum velai pakra anga'
'Neenga madrasa?'
'Ilai naa madurai. I am a doctor there. My wife is also a doctor'
'Ena practice panrel'
'Skin and STD'
'STDnna?'
"Sexually transmitted disease nu soluvalonno,...adhan'
'oh..AIDS KEIDS laam unnda?'
'Aama, elam jothi le kalandurum'
Brussels doesnt understand this conversation nor does it care. But for me, this conversation between two sixty year old mama and mami reminded me of home.The home where people are of same color as I am. The home where an airport service desk employee cannot discriminate me by my color and accent and not respond to my question. Brussels did that to me.
Johnny Gaddar was a good movie. It was a pain killer in an otherwise cramped airline. It made me forget knee pain and bladder for sometime. The Indian food served made me feel like I was hijacked and in the custody of some mullas who cannot afford to make some good naan with butter. Terrible. As terrible as Aishwarya Rai's acting.
I landed in the port of entry. Big airport. Terminals connected by train. Just that no one told us that we need to take that train to reach a domestic terminal. Not even the fellow Indian travellers. We roamed around, with an aim to reach the domestic. It looked aimless though, for the onlookers as we went around in longish circles in the same elevators and escalators every 5 minutes.
Pakistanis like us. Some of them even think India and Pakistan should unite. They like Rekha. Parvez Khan, the immigrant without work permit was there with us for half an hour with his family and was worried about my wife's health. He felt she was not feeling good about something. He spoke a lot. Called my wife "Beta". I remember all of these just becuase that was the time I missed sleep the most and like his army, the Pakistani uncle was disturbing an Indian's peace.
New world order. Respect the queue. Fake your respect for people. Show courtesy when you dont mean it. Smile when you want to frown. Thats new country. Seven hours in its domestic terminal made me feel that the movie "Terminal" was infact a real story. We dint know what to eat, how to eat, when to eat. We could not use the phone becuase we were not aware. We dint know if we have to be in queue. We were not sure if our boarding pass was the right one and if the flight will take us.
Jet lag started hitting. We slept for a minute. Woke up the next. Fear. Fear of losing things, the flight. Losing our faculties. We dragged ourselves to the plane. It was bigger than my bike and less roomier than my car. I slept.
35th hour. Unholy hour. No one in the terminal when the flight landed. 1 AM. Negotiation with the trolley boy to pick up the luggage. The car took us down to the hotel. 30 minutes drive on the same road. I saw the road when it begun and thought, the hotel is on the road and hence its not a long drive. Those 30 minutes of absolute distrust on the arab driver, who reminded me of osama. We did reach the hotel safe, in that rainy night. But the mind was looking for something to go wrong and hence I looked around myself with cues...like arab driver, the road where the hotel is, the long drive that seemed unnecessary, the trolley boy, the deserted airport, rain!
Relocation disturbs mentally and subconciously!
The next day, the janitor female says "Hey Howwayyah". I was not in a mood to respond. but this part of the world demands courtesy and artifical ones at that!
It took a while for me to say "I am fine. how are you?"
It will take a while for me to mean "I am fine. How are you?"
Until then, I will keep you posted!

4 of my fans were here!:

Jan said...

You need a mask to live in this country. Color discrimination is deeply embedded in their culture. If you think you will get some sympathy from the other end of the spectrum, you are wrong....you dont belong there...you are "brown" ... you are robbing the jobs of this country's men and women(though almost all of them are immigrants of some sort expect the orginal "brown" american indians). If you ever get a chance watch "Lou Dobbs Tonight" on CNN from 7-8pm EST and you will know why u are treated so.

Anonymous said...

So sollama oodivandhuta.. Great to hear that you have relocated to US.

Where? How long stay? Permanent? How is the place so far? :) :) :)

Me too here - May be we can meet sometime..

- Bhargavi

Madhu said...

i knew i was looking for something like this.. :)

thankgod.. this relocation thing has not tampered your writing skills..

good one...

Revathi on 6:27 AM said...

Lovely lovely post!! made a wonderful read.

loved these lines.
//Thats almost 15 hours of time wasted on nothing, while I dint get to spend those 15 minutes, holding my mom's hands or hugging a friend or talking to the soul of the city which inherited me!

profound post without losing ur trademark sense of humor. :)
oh BTW apology accepted for not saying good bye. this post more than made up for it!! :)

 

The Ashwin Ramasamy Show Copyright © 2009 Cookiez is Designed by Ipietoon for Free Blogger Template