When I was a kid, the afternoons used to be long. Mom and dad would return only in the evening, and I would have the whole day stretched before me. Of course, I didn’t know the value of all that time then, but I did have a few things I loved doing.
One of my favourite pastimes used to be pedaling my little yellow scooter back and forth in our porch when the cars were not parked inside. I would do it for hours. Making my tiny feet push against those pedals and go taka-taka-taka across the length of the corridor. I would think of many things then. Or maybe I didn’t. Sometimes I just hummed one of the latest Bollywood numbers.
Another thing I loved doing was plucking the ripe, green leaves off the Gulmohar tree outside our house, adding water on it, squishing it under a stone, and making chutney! I would sit on my favourite blue plastic chair (I’d know it was mine because it had a shiny Betty and Veronica sticker on it, right in the center), and I’d just keep grinding the poor leaves under an unfortunate stone and make a dangerous amount of chutney that no one in their right mind would ever even attempt to eat.
But one of my absolute favourite hobbies was to listen to Westlife, Backstreet Boys, and all the other popular ‘90s bands on my cheap Aiwa Walkman, and note each and every word they sang in my ‘Songs Diary!’ Then sing it over and over again, in front of the mirror, copying Britney Spears’ expressions.
Now when I think about that time, I can’t believe I’ve come this far since then. When I think of that version of myself, I can’t believe that was me. And yet, it was.
I am a working class professional in one of the best cities in India. The IT hub. The ‘Silicon Valley’. The city which has the good weather, the good jobs, the good places, the good culture. I have begun my fourth week at work. I’m learning new things, trying to absorb everything like a sponge. I have begun to almost love some of my co-workers, who are rapidly turning into good friends. A couple of them, one absolutely crazy, and one not-so-crazy, have been especially encouraging and helpful throughout. I cannot imagine office without them. It’s a cozy environment, not much different from a classroom, where you love everyone for their specific qualities and idiosyncrasies. I love having lunch with them, where everybody is random and where we can take a break from work and exchange a few jokes.
I went to I-Bar with some of them this Saturday, and we went bonkers dancing to all the Hindi songs we love to love, and the ones we love to hate. We danced so much, and for so long, I woke up the next day with sore muscles.
I even found a good PG to stay in, with a roommate, who is sweet enough to accompany me outside when I don’t feel like eating PG food, and who offers me alphonso mangoes she got from Bombay :) And this is just the beginning. I can’t believe it has only been 20 days. I feel like I’ve gone through a time warp in this time. A new city, new home, new friends, colleagues. To think about how nervous I was on my first day at in Bangalore. (Will I find a good place to stay? Will the work people like me? Will I be able to do what they ask me to do?) It’s almost amazing how smooth this transition has been, and how comfortable I’ve started feeling in this new skin. It is incredible to think how things just start falling into place one by one. In the beginning, I used to just tell myself, “Take it easy. One step at a time.” And now it seems like I’ve crossed quite a distance without even realizing it.
|(View from my new balcony)|
Today has been one of the best days here so far. I got up way before time, took a leisurely hot water bath, had breakfast, plugged in my earphones and played Queen’s OST (Man, Amit Trivedi!), and walked to the bus stop. I always smile seeing all these people around me walking hurriedly to catch their buses. I read the work tags hanging around their necks. Accenture, TCS, iGate, SAP. All these young people, in their prime, including me, just starting off with our lives, with our dreams. I feel so united with them. Crossing the road, though always a tricky business, was relatively smooth today. I barely waited for the bus for 5 minutes and even got a seat! Oh, the joy. Otherwise, on some days, the buses are packed, with you barely managing to stand in the teeniest spot you can find, jostling with the other women, trying to reach into your purse and managing to find exactly fourteen rupees without falling hard on your ass, or on the road (since sometimes you have to stand precariously close to the door).
I reached office way before time. I knew exactly what I had to do during the day, and I think I was having a good hair day! What more could you ask for? But wait, it gets better. My boss, who is supportive and very approachable, told me I am performing really well at work. My insides were inflating like a balloon, but I think I managed to say ‘thank you, sir’ very gracefully. He told me he thinks I have been working for a quite some time. Now THAT, is the perfect ending to the day. But right now, I have a lot to learn. A LOT. So, without focusing on the feedback much, I would just like to take baby steps, and improve every day. Bit by bit.
I feel so good writing after so long. Even though I worked for ten hours today and I am dead tired. A blog post was long, long due. Please excuse the disjointed post. I tried to contain the scattered thoughts into cohesive sentences. I have a lot more to share. And I will be back soon.
P.S. I still sing in front of my mirror acting like a big-time pop singer. Some things never change, do they? :)