If you’ve been in a job for a while, there would have been times when you’ve felt it would be far better to set up your own little enterprise and work for yourself. You’d do the work you like, the work hours would be flexible, there would be no office politics or ridiculous hierarchy to deal with and you would build something from scratch. It would be your idea and enterprise and you could take it anywhere. The idea sounds absolutely thrilling…….. If only I had earth-shaking ideas and the guts to leave the security and familiarity of a regular job. I dont. So for now, its back to the office desk.
Where must you go to get a dose of quiet? Gethia.
Tired of the grueling work schedule and the 30 km X 2 everyday travel, we wanted needed a quiet place to recharge our batteries, to talk, connect and basically vegetate. The Holi holidays found us on the road with packed bags heading north towards Gethia.
Gethia is a small and sleepy village in Nainital District. The type where everyone knows everyone, you can count the vehicles on your knuckles and there is only one main road that cuts through the village. Just the perfect place to absorb nature, relax and do nothing.
The road from Delhi to Gethia is smooth, except for one rather bumpy and rough patch. With 3 breaks, it took us 7 hours to get to our destination. It was an uneventful drive with the person at the wheel and the other navigating. Always one to ask the locals for directions, this trip made me acknowledge the true value of Google Maps. I am now officially a fan.
We stayed at Two Chimneys. I think that’s the only place you can stay at in Gethia. I didn’t see any other places, though I didn’t move around much and Google search doesn’t throw up any options either.
Two Chimneys came recommended by a friend who had previously enjoyed a lovely holiday there. Trusting his word, we chose to explore Gethia and Two Chimneys.
Two Chimneys is an old cottage from the British era converted into a tourist accommodation. It’s a fairly spread-out property and the developers have done a good job in utilizing the space they had at hand. There is a pool, a library, a common room with a music system and television, a big front lawn and a space for indoor sports. Basically enough to keep you occupied while you are there. Two Chimneys has only seven rooms to offer. But don’t be misled by that number. Most rooms are huge and have lofts or narrow passages that lead to hidden annexes. They can comfortable accommodate 4-6 people. I thought the architecture style was pretty exciting. The staff (mostly local) was friendly, helpful and inquisitive in just the right dose about all visitors. The kitchen at Two Chimneys provides home-cooked meals. Besides the regular roti-sabzi-dal, they also create barbeques and Italian dishes. Quite a delight in a place so small.
Once you have checked in at Two Chimneys, there isn’t much reason to move out. The rooms are comfortable, the food is good and you are surrounded by beautiful nature. It’s just the right environment to relax, read, contemplate and review life. It’s a good place to be in.
While at Gethia, we picked up a new hobby- bird watching. The cameras we own are obviously not good enough to capture flighty creatures that prefer to perch on the highest branches, but still it was an absolute delight to spot birds, make desperate attempts to get a shot and then study the pictures and identify the names.
A real fire place in the common room at Two Chimneys
Mushrooms in tiers
A serene Buddha overlooks the pool and the outdoor dining area
When there is so much happening in life, it’s hard to decide what one should write about. I thought I will write about my travels, all three trips of the past five month. Then I thought I’d write about the new family and give them an introduction here. I felt myself settling for the pros and cons of married life. And finally when I decided on the topic, I chose my parents. You dint see that coming did you? 🙂
You see, this whole marriage thing has made me look at my parents differently. Now I don’t just look at them as ma and pa. I look at them as two vastly different individuals, with hugely different backgrounds, tastes, aspirations, who came together and did a fabulous job of the marriage business. It’s a whole new dimension to them.
Marriage is a complex thing. Once you enter it you realise it’s nothing but work. Its work mixed with a good measure of sacrifice, adjustment and an endless list of household chores. Don’t forget to add a bundle of new and unexpected emotions to that. Of course people tell you this, but that’s gyan. Your experience is your very own.
I appreciate things my parents did together as a unit now. It could be that one of them put more effort into one aspect or at one time and on other occasions the other took the lion’s share. But point to focus on is that they functioned beautifully as a unit. One thing I’ve realised is that marriage isn’t office. You can’t say this is beyond your KRA. You do what it takes (or more) and it may or may not be what you thought you’d be doing when you signed up for marriage. You do it irrespective. That’s because it’s a long term thing. No one will appraise you after one financial year. Your rewards will come later, much later, but they will be well worth the effort and wait.
Some of the things I think the parents did well together.
- Dividing up and managing the household duties. The house ran perfectly. It wasn’t the prettiest or the biggest one on the block, but it functioned well, it was organised and it was always clean.
- Managing the budget on salaries lower than what we are used to now-a-days. Everything that was necessary got done. Nothing essential was ever sacrifices or missed. Of course that meant they didn’t do a lot of things they wanted, but it never got mentioned around the house.
- Fulfilling family duties. Many of them were boring, uninteresting, took too much from them, I now understand that now, but they got done in spite of all that.
- Parenting and doing the gazillion things it demands. Never a “I am too tired” or a “ I am too busy” .
- Keeping the disagreements and arguments limited.
- Facing the challenges together. It’s a long life and each of us gets our own share of tests and trails. The parents have addressed each of them together, acting as a united front. On a public forum like this, it’s not possible to share further details, but it should be sufficient to say some of their challenges were so difficult that even today when I am older than they were then and have more resources at my disposal, I don’t think I’d be able to deal with them.
- Keeping the faith under all life situations.
- Balancing the personal and professional lives and doing an honest job of both. Linked to that is earning honestly and spending wisely.
- Living together yet pursuing their individual passions. Building balsam wood aeroplanes & reading Reader’s Digest while reclining for my father and exploring spirituality & nature & traveling for my mother.
With each day, I understand you better, dear parents. And with the understanding comes appreciation. While you give me a well-chartered path to walk on, you also give me a lofty example to live up to.
A lot has happened in the last 6 months, leaving me with little time and even lesser mind space to blog.
Some time towards the end of the November that just zipped past recently, I got married. And I did everything I said I never would. I married a Delhi boy (oh my god!), had a full-scale wedding (oh my god!!!!!) and will now be staying on a more permanent basis in Delhi (oh dear Lord).
Since November I have moved 3 homes in a span of 4 months. From my solitary existence in my tiny, stone’s –throw-away- from- office accommodation, to a full family and a house in the NCR, to finally settling down in an apartment with the spouse close to office, its been months of packing and unpacking.
I have acquired a brand new set of relatives. The names of many are still muddled up. I have also acquired a new set of friends. Work doesn’t allow much time for socializing but the circle has certainly expanded to include many more people than before.
There has also been a good amount of travelling. A trip to the hills with the mother before the wedding, a trip to south after the wedding and another trip to the hills in the Holi break. Five months and three trips.
Finding a half-way decent accommodation that fit our budget and our need for sunlight and ventilation and was close to office was a task. Setting it up as been both fun and exhausting. Its not entirely done up yet and unfortunately we keep meeting some unexpected problems with the place, but we are ready for visitors. Despite the problems the house and the landlord keep throwing up, the place makes me feel settled. To be honest, it’s the most settled I’ve felt since November. So while I know a lot can be done with the place (some of it needs to be done), I am happy with it.
Hopefully with the mind at peace and some smart jugglery to save time, I will be back to regular blogging.
Half a year gone by and not a single entry on this blog.
The blog title says “ Churningthewordmill is in transit…. and has been forever..!” That should explain the reason for the absence. We’ll come to the details of the transit in a while; but right now it’s at attempt to revive this blog with a comedy show.
Did you know that Delhi has a Comedy Club? The New Delhi Comedy Club exists and one of the things it does is to organise comedy shows in the city. (They don’t have a website so its hard to know what else they do) I attended a stand –up comedy show by the Club at Akshara Theatre with a bunch of friends. It was a new experience for me. So far comedy has been limited to whatever the tv or radio dish out. A live show had never been watched.
The format of the show was pretty straight forward. Three comedians with a 15-20 minute slot each performed their act and did their best to get the audience in splits. The comedians on the show were Adam Learner (a foreign national who spoke with an American accent and held a full time job in New Delhi), Denny George (an under 30 who looked promising) and Rajneesh Kapoor (the main attraction of the evening). Maheep Singh, another comedian, was the emcee for the evening.
The show lasted an hour. Each comedian came prepared (one came with cues written on the back of his hand!) with his act. All managed to catch the attention of the audience. Some lines got smiles, others lead to outburst of unrestrained laughter.
The emcee, a comedian himself, contributed his share of jokes for the evening. Some free merchandise (badges and posters) were given away to at the end of the show. I am not sure if they were truly free. The emcee mentioned “ There is merchandise we can’t sell so we are giving it out for free. But you can pay for it also.” Unsure of whether that was to be taken seriously or not, I stayed away from the merchandise.
The overall execution of the show was good. There were no technical goof ups. The comedians didn’t forget their lines. The sound quality was good. The audience was well behaved and decent. They kept to the time limit. Well, almost. 10 minutes here and there is alright. That is, in fact, the norm in Delhi..
India doesn’t seem to have a culture for live comedy shows. Or at least I haven’t been exposed to them. So from that point of view this was an interesting experience for me. It was funny too (in parts. Not all the jokes were my type). Definitely a good break from the string of silly Bollywood movies I have been watching.
Would I go for another comedy show? Probably yes, if I got good company to go with. As a one-time experience I recommend it to all.
The mornings become cool and breezy. The day draws to a close earlier, making the evenings shorter. The garden isn’t full of blooming flowers. The AC is no longer in use and the refrigerator setting has been moderated. Winter should be here soon.
As monsoon turns into winter, I look back at my photography of the rainy season. One day particularly stands out. It was a day when it poured like never before. It was also a day when I went out for photography without a memory chip in my camera. :l It’s a good thing that the SD cards are not camera model specific. J A fellow photographer was kind to share his SD card. It did turn out to be a pain to frequently turn off the camera and transfer the card, but we got a few decent shots and it was all worth it. More than the photography, it was driving through the city and attempting to get a few frames in the downpour that made the day unique. A few pictures follow.
The North Block. The policeman was too hesitant to leave cover to ask us to move our car. High security means you cant stop and take your time clicking photos. Innovatively, he sent a message through another citizen driving down the road.
The water drops from the fountain merge with the raindrops.
A very wet India Gate.
The traffic blurred with the pelting rain.
The good old faithful umbrella is brought into action.
Drenched and alone.
The sunset after the rains.
It really does.
It’s been 3 years since I moved to Delhi. THREE.
It was sometime in August 2010, when I landed a job and made the move. The parents came along to settle me in a rented place. Everything I brought along with me fit in 2 metal trucks and 1 suitcase. I had traveled the Mumbai-Delhi circuit tens of times on the Rajdhani. But the journey of August 2010 was different. Unlike all the other journeys, this one was heavy with a mix of high emotion, a bit of anxiety and a lot of hope.
It wasn’t an easy decision to move. Mumbai was home. It was familiar. The family lived there. I understood how the city functioned and how its people were. I loved its sultry and hot weather, the 4 months of incessant rains. Its overcrowded roads, the locals and the ubiquitous vada pav and bombil were integral to my life. I was used to its pace and energy. Anything slower was boring. This was the city where I studied and subsequently entered the professional world. I learnt the basics of my profession; made my errors, fumbled and learned at the workplace. All the relatives felt Delhi wasn’t the right choice. This wasn’t a city for single working women and it wasn’t the “right” age to move away from home. It was too much trouble “for a little more money”. Inspite of all this, I moved.
Delhi, though once familiar, was a faded part of my history. It had undergone such a degree of transformation in the years that I had been away, that I didn’t recognize it. Everything was sharply different from what I remembered it to be. Everything felt new. And like a new shoe, it dint fit. Anxious and unsettled, I set about making this city home, knowing at the back of my mind that it would never really be home.
Naturally, there were challenges. An unbelievably difficult landlord. Impossible maids. Harrowing experiences with the public transportation system. Culture shock at the workplace. Unexpected tests and trails on the professional front. Severe bouts of homesickness. Unresolved personal issues that caused mental stress. Health issues that showed up every once in a while.
Despite these obstacles, I stayed on. And to my surprise and delight, Delhi rewarded me. I’ve found acceptance and recognition at the workplace. Personal finances look better than before. Old friendships have been revived and some new ones established. I learnt to handle difficult people (landlords/office staff/neighbourhood grocer/bus conductor). Finally I’ve learnt, at least to an extent, to mentally separate office life from personal life. Delhi helped me develop a new hobby-photography. It charmed me with its gardens, broad roads and open spaces historical monuments and friendly people.
Through the 3 years of ups and downs, the parents were always only a phone call away. And on some occasions, just a flight away. Eternally grateful, ma and pa. The serene and calm environs of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Dakshin Delhi Kali Bari also deserve a special thank you. Both places were visited frequently. Both never failed to calm, encourage and reassure.
About 6 months back, I reassessed my life. I had achieved more than I had hoped to. And just when I thought my work here was done and it was time pack the bags and head back to Mumbai, I found a reason to stay on. The ways things have developed, it seems like Delhi will be home for some time now. I thought this journey was over. May be its only just begun.