Friday, December 27, 2013

Revival (attempt)

Since I’m writing after so long, I’ll just start off from where I am. Some changes have happened in the last year, but I will attempt to reflect those in the writings that will follow in the next few days. I hope that makes my story contiguous and understandable.

Its nearly the end of the year. Peeps and I returned from a week long road trip in the Southwest. On our return journey, we got talking about what the US has and doesn’t have to offer. Amongst what it doesn’t have, are clearly, learnings from a long historical past or an intriguing culture. But we quickly moved to what it does have, something that most folks disagree with.

To start with, the geographic beauty in the US, from what little we have explored in the last few months, is nothing short of mind blowing. Specifically, our experiences in the Redwood forests, the lonely expanse of the Death Valley, never ending rocks at Zion or the vast grasslands at Tehachapi, all uncovered a magnificent visual, incomparable to anything I’ve seen before. We did enjoy the coast at the Big Sur, but acknowledged that it doesn’t come close to the ocean in South East Asia or East Africa, or the highway diversity, which can’t compare to India’s. But geological formations such as the one I just mentioned, were an eyeful for us.

Another thing which the West, and specifically the United States, offers is an insight in to the history of the last 200 years. The contrast across the last two centuries is strikingly visible here, probably due to the absence of anything meaningful before. But credit where credit is due. We travelled through the Borax works in the Death Valley and realized just how recently these vast distances were covered in much less sophisticated manner. India and most of my beloved third world, unfortunately doesn’t offer such contrasts as the extreme modernization still evades us there.

Moving beyond the travel, a third aspect of the US, which I absolutely and passionately love, is the choice of food it allows. I’m a relatively simple eater and don’t enjoy restaurants as much as many others do. In fact, holidays are often my reason to detoxify with simpler food, owing to the lives we ordinarily lead. This country allows me to do so much with food. I get what I want, where I want. It’s a joy to cook at home, and it’s not difficult to find clean and well-made food outside either. I can cook all kinds of healthy food, without it having to be boring. My experiments so far include burgers (medium rare), hung curd wraps, roasted sweet potatoes, lots of green juices, a variety of salads, and many more. For someone who has very little time but a big desire for well made, clean food, this country has a ton to offer.

I’m happy to be able to breathe some life in to this space, but know better than to commit to it yet. It’s that time when I make new plans and set new goals. This year I’ve asked Peepu to humor me with an experiment. We will make 3 resolutions (big or small), of which two will be those that we set for ourselves, but the third will be set for us, by each other. We need to be kind and practical, but at the same time, suggest something that we believe will overall make life better. Peepu has agreed to participate, so I’m keen to see how this works out. And as I type this, I realize how this is one of those grown up things, at which I would roll my eyes, a few years back. I guess the world will have to cope with me growing up.

There’s no music as I OD-ed on my playlist on our 530 mile drive back. But the song that’s still playing faint in my mind, is ‘This is the life’ by Amy MacDonald

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Age of a Woman

Cold Sunday morning and John Lennon singing Stand by me.

2013 has started. We're a;ready 20 days in. I've said good bye to 2012 and I'm looking forward to a more active, alive and balanced 2013.

Peepu is in the Maldives this weekend for a work event. I chose not to go to avoid the travel. I'm surely missing out but I've had an incredibly productive weekend. And its only half over.

We're heading to Frankfurt and Tromso this month. If the reader prays, please pray we are able to meet the Aurora Borealis. I need to pack for these 12 days. How I always end up ion Europe in the winter! We're going to give our parents company this time :) And there's little else that brings more joy than being with family.

Nidhi, Puchu and I had a great evening, and one with only the ladies, after very long. Our conversations went from marriage, singlehood, travel, common friends, outfits, jobs and books. What balanced individuals one might think. Its one such conversation that led me to open this page and write. Growing up.

We are as a generation slow in growing up. At least the privileged city kids. When we were in school and college, we tried real hard to grow up fast. Wearing make-up early, drinking at 17, making relationships more intense than necessary, having sex early. And now, this same generation, is just refusing to take on life as 30 year olds. Too young to have children, conversations which can match any 24 year old's, occasional childish behavior, shock when someone actually chooses to stay home on 31st Dec, TV shows, the Wii. I was four when my mother was as old as I am today. I don't feel strongly at all about 'marriagable age' but I'm not arguing with nature. I will be a less fit, less healthy mother. When I get to it.

This isn't intended at self-criticism. Its an observation on the generation.  I see people over the age of 30 announcing that they wore a dress today after months. As a generation, while we work hard and crave (and announce) the good life, we've also, more recently, made a big deal about not needing to working too hard. When we see someone working 16 hours a day, we're quick to make a judgment on how they are corporate slaves. We value ourselves just so much. I hear people telling me 'its just a job'. How I hate that mentality?! One spends at least 1/3rd of their week at work (me 2/3rd). I don't understand how one can be transactional and not passionate about it. And if you're mildly passionate, its not 'just a job'. Its a critical part of life, for which tradeoffs need to be made, just like for your family and friends.

Clearly, we are the generation in transition. My friends from the West seem to be more in sync with the order of nature than my desi mates. We aren't taking on new roles as readily.

May be we should re-read The Seven Ages of Man.  Except that stage four doesn't make any sense to me. And isn't that where I'm supposed to be now?