Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Darjeeling Ltd

Saw this film - the Darjeeling Ltd by Wes Anderson the film was on a completely different plane...strange, interesting, weird...a must see for anyone who likes strange films..Three American brothers who have not spoken to each other in a year set off on a train voyage across India with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other -- to become brothers again like they used to be.

The one thing I liked about the film was this song by Peter Sarstedt

Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)

Its a haunting tune, nice lyrics..just listen to it..

You talk like Marlene Dietrich
And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire
Your clothes are all made by Balmain
And there's diamonds and pearls in your hair

You live in a fancy appartement
Of the Boulevard of St. Michel
Where you keep your Rolling Stones records
And a friend of Sacha Distel

But where do you go to my lovely
When you're alone in your bed
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head

I've seen all your qualifications
You got from the Sorbonne
And the painting you stole from Picasso
Your loveliness goes on and on, yes it does

When you go on your summer vacation
You go to Juan-les-Pines
With your carefully designed topless swimsuit
You get an even suntan, on your back and on your legs

When the snow falls you're found in St. Moritz
With the others of the jet-set
And you sip your Napoleon Brandy
But you never get your lips wet

But where do you go to my lovely
When you're alone in your bed
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head, yes I do

Your name is heard in high places
You know the Aga Khan
He sent you a racehorse for chistmas
And you keep it just for fun, for a laugh haha

They say that when you get married
It'll be to a millionaire
But they don't realize where you came from
And I wonder if they really care, they give a damn

But where do you go to my lovely
When you're alone in your bed
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head

I remember the back streets of Naples
Two children begging in rags
Both touched with a burning ambition
To shake off their lowly brown tags, yes they try

So look into my face Marie-Claire
And remember just who you are
Then go and forget me forever
'Cause I know you still bear
the scar, deep inside, yes you do

I know where you go to my lovely
When you're alone in your bed
I know the thoughts that surround you
'Cause I can look inside your head

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

House and Home

My Mother always said that the soul of the house is a combination of the characters that live in the house. The decoration, the photographs, the colours, the sounds, the smells of a house give it the warmth and character which makes visitors and guests feel warm and welcomed, and the people who live in it safe and happy. So no matter how shabby or posh the building, how pretty or boring the location, how big or small the house is, the people who live in it make it a home.

When I first moved into this house, a riverside apartment, it was an unfurnished bare house, it was long and plain and boring, my flatmate then said its long and boring enough to play cricket in. Over a period of time of collecting furniture, fabrics, curtains, blinds, cushions, flowers, mats and carpets flown in from Kashmir changed it into a home.

Everyone who came to the house loved the place and felt at home. It might have been small but it was cosy, having a river flowing outside with swans and ducks floating by and the occasional rower gave it a good view. Having the sun coming in through the large windows and thick walls that kept the silence and noise within made this house nice. An open kitchen where many cups of tea and many many meals were cooked while having a conversation with someone was one of the best parts.
Having a tiny bedroom filled with photographs of loved ones, cards, drawings made by students I taught a long time ago, incense sticks made it my little haven of peace. Clocks with GMT and also a small one with Indian Time, kept me connected to home in India. Paintings on the walls made by me, craft made objects collected from varied travels, books, hundreds of them from chick lit, to classics, fiction, non-fiction, travel guides, cook books filled the place with character. Music some english, some hindi, some jazz, some Indie, some dance, some Himesh, added the mood.
Yes this house was a home, warm and welcoming and open to anyone who wanted a chat, a meal, a bit of gossip, a warm hug, cups of steaming tea - English and Kashmiri, pasta and Indian curries of all sorts. It was a place friends could come and hide in, sulk in and also party in.

With most of it packed away in many many cartons, it looks like a house again. Bare walls, empty rooms and the home is back to being neutral. Empty.

I take with me many memories and a chance to turn yet another house into a home.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I am a genius. Not only am I managing to get rid of the stuff in my house without needing to move my backside. I am also managing to sell it without moving my backside. Halleluja for Gumtree!!

With Him gone to join work I am at home with the packing. And so last night when nothing interesting was on telly and I could not be asked to pack anymore, I sat with the next best thing..the laptop. Typed away to find places where I could post an ad locally for my stuff..Yes I know ebay exists but I think its too huge and my techo phobe mind shuts down when there is too much info on one page. And when there are type of things around. They hint that you might need the help. And that is just TOO much for me to handle. (Did I mention I am doing a PhD?)
So, I found gumtree and at something like 2am I put up ads for my stuff. And now less than 24 hours later its gone. Mighty impressed with powers of the internet. And then the evening news said, government is warning people about social networking sites and places of public exchange online for fear of identity theft. And since the radio was on all day as I packed, I heard the same news about twenty times!!! And was left wondering if selling online is really a good idea. But something tells me people like to be warned but not nagged into submissive paranoia. Nah! I am happy. As of now, I am..if things shall turn nasty despite my preventive thinking about online security, I shall sort them then, meanwhile I can stare happily at the empty rooms and the money in the bank :)

I also managed to run out of bubble wrap which is addictive in idle hands. There is something therapeutic about popping bubble wrap. So I needed newspaper to be shredded for padding cartons for crockery. Genius struck once again. Out came my shredder and in went newspapers, magazines, pamphlets...Perfect!! I am recycling AND not having to stop and get out for bubble wrap. Genius or what?

Where do I begin..

Anyone who has ever moved cities and has managed to move their own stuff (read furniture) get a stand up round of applause from me. Packing..is a nightmare..especially when one is female and tends to hoard stuff. Heavy stuff..like books, glossy manuals, tourist guides, museum prints. Not to mention music CDs and shoes and handbags.

I have been packing, and packing and packing and I am nowhere close to finishing. Relocating sounds exciting but the packing is a killer. I would not want packers to come in and help me...they cost an arm and a leg but I also do not want eyebrows raised over personal belongings.

So, I thought I would pack and dump packed cartons in my spare room. I had visions of a small neat pile of stuff, packed and labeled, and ready to go. Small being the operative word..say 3-5 large cartons. And thats it.
Ok so the bad news is I do have stuff...a house full of furniture and electronics and the normal girly paraphernalia of pretty looking things which are of no use but to beautify the house. Ok I have been in this city for more than 7 years..and yes I admit it..I do like Ikea :)

So coming back to my vision...I am less than half way through my packing..the books take up 5 cartons, the music in one, the paints in another, handbags in another, shoes in another, my paintings which I am attached to are carefully wrapped, there is a Large Carrom board thanks to Him, who is good at playing. There are also all manners of carpets, rugs, durries, cushions, curtains. A whole load of kitchen stuff and decorative bits, wires and electronic goods, PhD papers, shredder, wall hangings. Did I mention I am less than half way through? Well I have not counted clothes and jewelry and also not the furniture of a 2 bed house :)

The pathetic thing here is that He can actually pack all his material possessions in to one large suitcase and a large haversack. Well some books and CDs are his..but hey..I look like a magpie in comparison..collecting stuff. Its strange how one person who comes to a place with worldly goods packed in a suitcase can end up with a room full of possessions, and this is after I have donated about half my things!!!

I shall live in hope!! That I shall be able to pack and that sometime I shall be light and ready to travel and move to wherever catches my fancy!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Finicky Woman

The Man and I are planning to move house and city. Being the man he decides how much we want to spend and then I decide what all I want in a house. The place in question is only the biggest city in the world. So choosing a place to stay was like going to a rain forest in search of the perfect green leaf!

For him it was simple - close to work, fits budget. That is it!

For me the list started with:
~Time (how far from work)
~Effort (how long a commute)
~Money (how much is the cost of the commute)

Then moved onto specifics
~How many bedrooms? Bathrooms?
~Fully loaded kitchen?
~Double glazed? Gas Central heating?
~Furnished? Unfurnished?

And Further specifics
~House (old build or new and updated)
~Flat/ Apartment (which floor)
~South Facing (In light deprived UK this is MOST important)
~Respectable and safe area?
~How far are the nearest shops?
~What kind of night/evening life (pubs/clubs/restaurants/cafes)

Even further specifics were about
~How far are family and friends?
~Is it green? Are there any parks? Riverside walks? Calm areas of green?
~Gated access through screened entrances?
~Decor? Do I need to repaint? Refurbish?

So, every time we viewed a house this was the standard conversation:

HIM: "I think its nice, lets take it and finish with it!"
ME: "ummm....am not sure, lets think about it!"

Then we would view some more houses, and the conversation became:
HIM: "I liked it, what do you think?"
ME: "I am not sure, it does not have..and i would rattle off one or more of my eligibility criterion"

We reached a point of agreement where in he said he comes home only to sleep and I being the Master and Commander of the home front, I should decide and he will go along with me decision. And he shall say no more (which did not happen at all)

Many houses and apartments later, we zoned into a couple of homes we liked...i liked the space, the view, the kitchen, the location...and he, he shrugged and exhaled:)

At the end of the day...I am a choosy woman and I cant help it. What I would like to know is if I am the choosy one, or all women are like that. I know what I want and dont want..so its not a indecisive matter..its more like...I want everything!

The hunt continues...but this great difference in how we view homes was an eye opener..:D
I dont know what shall happen when we start packing. I guess he will pack his worldly possessions in One suitcase and will be done..while I have rugs, curtains, cushions, clothes, jewelry, shoes, hats, music, books..the list goes on and on...packing should be fun!! If we find the right house that is!