Sunday, September 27, 2009

Its time to let go.

I saw you and thought I could love you and get something back also perhaps. I could find love and warmth within you. I thought I would be secure and comfortable. In you I would find a haven of peace, away from the big bad world, confident of being secure and warm. I could call you mine and introduce you to all those I love and like. I could be myself. I could rest. Worn out and tired and cold..and I would come to you..looking for everything and much more. You were my identity.

Finding you, was such a relief. I could finally stop looking, checking, meeting, fixing, booking my diary, calling various numbers. When I found you I thought this would be end of my hunt. The looking, checking and saying 'pass' to get to the next one. The never ending lacking, the eligibility criterion set by me..were not met by all. But you, you were the one I would want. I could put money on it.

But you were cold. Empty. Dark. You gave little. You made me shiver and you made me sad. You made me worry and you brought me bad news and bad luck. I could not change you, no one could change you. You will always be cold. It did not work. And while I wish you no ill, I wish good luck to whoever, should anyone ever, wants you.
The song playing on repeat inside my head now says...This is the end, my friend, the only friend, the end. long..was nice being here, but its time to move on.
Indeed it is..time to move. To pack and move. To find another house to love and cherish.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You dont know who you are, till you are out of your pond.

I did not know how English I have become till I went to France.
Lovely architecture, great weather, very good wine (i dont like cheese so wont comment) and very stylish people. Yes the city of Paris had an atmosphere of a certain kind.
But..yes there is a but. was dirty, the pavements had junk, the streets had graffiti, the subways had water (I do hope it was water) leaking across platforms, the metro stations stank like public toilets!! Uff..and no, before you say London is the same and so are other European cities... this is not the outskirts I am talking about..this is near the Champs Elysees, near the Louvre, near the Notre Dame cathedral..oh boy. I was surprised.

It does not end here. The English it seems have made an art of queuing up. It only needs two people to stand one behind the other to start the formation of a queue here. People will join in an orderly fashion, wait and shuffle along (patiently in most cases) to reach the end of the queue. It is not unusual for people to bring along books/ newspapers to read if they know they shall be in the queue for a while. It is almost an institution to queue in the UK. So was I surprised to find people not queuing in Paris? Yes! They stand on the side, they push past you, they wriggle past you (shoulder shrugs used in vast quantities here) just to get ahead. At the Eiffel Tower this was most evident..and a city known for its museums (and therefore queues) it can put you off.

It does not end here either. The tube in London is used by thousands of people..well maybe not just thousands..but its mostly clean, its worn out and tired looking sometimes but it does not smell as much as the French RER & Metro. Oh boy..there was chewing gum, what I think was water, dust and grime!

Am I sounding like I am complaining? Well read on coz I am not done yet.

Well, having flown to many places, many times, I am well drilled in the check in process, check in, clear security, get rid of liquids under 100ml, sit in lounge, board and go.Right? Well it seems that at CDG, Paris..the boarding/ waiting lounges past security have no toilets. No siree! If you want to use a toilet, you need to leave the lounge, go and come back in only after clearing security all over again. Guess who was smart enough to drink enough water to need to toilet, and therefore spent all of 2 hours in a queue (the flight was delayed! thank heavens!).

Phew. Rant over!
I loved the city, the architecture, the food, Buddha Bar, Ferragamo store, Louvre Museum, the top of the Eiffel and La Defence. So though its incredible..its has sides of it which were unexpectedly and disappointingly poorly maintained and organized.

And the strange feeling of relief when I landed in UK was unusual for me. Yes this has been home for a while..and though I miss my friends etc when I am away from here, I never really see things for what they are when I am here. Sure I moan about the over crowded tube, sure I moan about needing to stand in queues and hate flying anywhere from heathrow. So this whole compare and contrast and therefore by default appreciate was most unexpected!! I dont tend to do this comparison in other countries ever..I dont know if the England Vs France hatred has permeated subconsciously? or its just the surprise of being in the 'beautiful city of Paris'..I dont know. Not sure. But leaving my pond to see another non familiar pond was a good critical thinking exercise!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Problem with Being French

Is that you speak English with a strange accent...
Is that your long features and aquiline noses make you look like a snob...
Is that you have the ability to speak through shoulder movements alone...
Shrugging can depict: yes, no, maybe, dont know, dont care, forget it...
A scrunched up nose can depict: funny, yes, no, maybe, dont know, dont care, forget it.
You do the 'bored' look effortlessly...
You might be known for the 'passion' but you dont look like you would enjoy the thought...
You look cool, but not as cool as the Italians...
You look hot, but not as hot at the Spanish...

- And that ladies and gentlemen is based on the French stereotype + observations of a few French friends and colleague over the past few years. But then...I met and saw some of this stereotyped category recently when I went to get a visa to get into France. And while I waited..I watched, not stared but watched and was amused by how much truth lay in the stereotype!

Must say, they were quick, despite the language barriers.
They were efficient despite the gallic shrugs and the nose scrunching.
They looked cool, despite the large amount of black in the room, sharp haircuts and statement making eye wear.

And now I am Paris. To see the one city which I have managed to miss in my 10 years of living in Europe. The one city which I want to see, but did not want to do it alone for some strange reason (talk about stereotype). And not in the summer (have visions of wind blown walks on a rain slicked Avenue des Champs-Élysées). The paintings, the sculpture, the architecture....have read a large amount about it, have heard painting described in loving detail by my grandpa. Have studied French History at a grad level and now. Now I get to see some parts of it! whey-hey!

Image Credit: Benh shall use it till I can get some of my own or from Marooned

Friday, September 04, 2009

Notting Hill

And despite a pact to never go again..I did go to the Notting Hill Carnival!

Yes, it is Europe's largest street party. Its loud, its open, its funny and it is full of people peddling drugs like any other party/ festival. There is alcohol to be consumed and jerk chicken to be savoured, celebrities to be spotted, all fun.

Part of the fun is also having people brush past you mumbling, 'get me, 5 rolls for a tenner, get me!' and then there will be yet another who shall walk past quickly mumbling, 'weed, grass, marijuana, e, speed - cheap'. Different strokes for different folks..whatever you speak, you would get what you want there. No problem.

Yet another element of fun were the glass pieces on the floor..with 1 million people pushing through London's narrow streets, its often hard to see where you are going. Mix glass shards with horse droppings (from the Met police on horses) and you get a unique mix of stuff that can screw your flip flop clad feet in more ways than one.

The fun also comes for many in the form of amazingly skimpily clad not in the parade..but watching the parade and shaking their...booties (for lack of an appropriate term) in time to the music coming from the steel bands going past. Some of these skimpily clad women and men were this time around coated in much of could smell it at a distance! Some of them were not clad at all..! I had much fun watching the starer and the stared.

What was not fun were the 222 arrests made in 1 day of people causing trouble..peddling not just drugs & alcohol, but also those carrying knives and guns, wearing bullet proof jackets..using the notorious for its high level of 'danger' to the common person. Riots are known to break out during the carnival as gang wars find a place to be executed. Therefore the police was out in large numbers too! Which was comforting at some level..but slightly disturbing as always.

This does sound like a report of the was not meant to be. I am sure most carnivals have drugs and alcohol as part of the atmosphere. So I am down to my pet peeve..guns! Held by an officer - intimidating, held by a criminal - upsetting/ scary. But guns in a carnival - pathetic, depressing, annoying..its meant to be a party of good music, dancing on the streets, dressed up people, good food and many smiles. Yet we have people with guns walking around..and not just the police.

Am I being naive/ pathetic myself by being upset? Are guns now a part of our so called 'society'? Or is this just so in UK/ US? and does not happen in Rio? or in Bombay for visarjan? Anyone been part of the Ganpati visarjan crowd for a whole day? I want to hear from you.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Addiction, rush and technology

The rush to buy snow leopard is on. All the Apple buffs have been waiting this release and I am sure there shall be a queue to be stood in at the Central London Apple store. Ahh..the complex life we lead.

Need a computer with 24x7 access to the internet, which - must be high speed only, with unlimited downloads ofcourse. Now not just any computer, we must have an Apple..and not just any apple..the top of the top category is a must. And then we must also have the iPhone to go with it..and not just any the iPhone 3G and not just 3G it has got to be 3G-S ofcourse. Now not just that..we need the new OS-X as here we go..chasing our technology demon..which always runs faster than us and can only be momentarily caught. I am not even getting into the accessories for Apple category yet..

Its strange really..the amount of time we spend on things that have battery or power connections is not even funny. The day you think you will not work, you do get on the computer, check your with some friends/ family..and then maybe even do some facebooking etc. And then you I shall not spend so much time on a computer and so you watch TV instead..and of course you play with your phone during the advertisement breaks..yes? Sounds like you?

Pointing fingers makes you jump and say NO! that is NOT me and NO i am not a technology addict! Sure? Sure! The only time you are not hooked to something when you are traveling maybe or visiting other humans..neither of which assures me, that you wont at some time whip out your smart phone and check email/ text or use a Sat Nav to talk to you. Or, when you are asleep! and when you wake reach for your phone? Yes? No?

Here is the challenge..spend one day of the weekend at home. When you have finished your chores.. Dont switch on your computer and pick up your phone only if it rings, dont play with it. Do not watch TV at all and yes, stay at home for 6-8 hours at least. Just pretend that nothing electronic will work today..nothing.. Can you? Can you? Now I, have my doubts.

and if you cant..think about getting to one of the internet rehab places which have recently opened. Check you symptoms here.

and you know what..let me know about how you get on!

Monday, August 17, 2009

15th August

What is the whole point of India celebrating independence day in today's time and age?
Quite a few of us dont know what it was like to not be free. That does not mean that we do not value our freedom or belittle in any way possible the efforts made by the freedom fighters to win back our freedom. It just means its somewhere far in our past, a memory of a rule which ended and we started again as a free, its been many years and its time to look forward and stop celebrating and looking back.

BACK here being the important word. We took back what we had/ we had a right to and was ours. Yes we were ruled by foreign nations and people for many years..and thus on 15 Aug 1947 we won back what we seem to have lost/ given up for many years. So is it still worth celebrating? Did we not just get back what was ours and will remain so indefinitely?

I think celebrating independence day and remembering our past by looking all the way back to 1947 is somewhat akin to celebrating a divorce, which can be seen as the demise of an unhappy relationship. The Brits and India did not have a good equation and parting of ways was finalized, with arguments, discussions and finally mutual why keep going back to celebrate it? There is something not quite right with celebrating the end of a painful era. Year after year, after year. 30 years since we divorced/gained independence, 40 years, 50 years...why is it a milestone? (and i am not even going far far back to comparing other milestones in our 1000s of years of history which might be more conducive or compatible with a 'celebratory mode').

The other thing also being the partition of India which has the same birthday. Yet another painful memory, yet another unhappy event. So why remember it with joy and pride which seem to be the mood ordered for 15th August. I can fully understand Pakistan celebrating 14th August as the day of its creation..fair enough. But do we as Indians need to do so? really?

We should place the day into a respectful category and move on and completely stop remembering with pride the day our rulers left us. Does it not have slavish undercurrents? remembering the hated ruler/ owner/ master we once had and not letting time diminish or end the memory of a negative past?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Janamashtami memories

Its Janamashtami of the two days in the year when I fast for a day. For the many years that I have been away from home, I have missed the special prasad that was made today by my grandma, ma and papa. I missed the prasad each year and even though ma kept some away in the freezer for me to eat when I came at Christmas it was never quite the same.

Living a life in transit in a foreign country meant I put it behind me and carried on like it mattered not. Well to be honest, it did not matter all that much. But as I get older I am keen to get the hang of all things traditional that I have seen as a child. I remember dad getting the ingredients for the prasad. All 3 of them sitting and gardually sifting, grating, chopping, dicing, splicing and preparing big massive thaalis of components. Watched them roast some, toast some and cool them, the aroma of coconut, khas, sugar syrup wafting through the house. Ma would also make some fruit chat and other dry roasted nuts and seeds to be eaten all day by all those who fasted. Ma would finish making them and then each year the test was to see if the pattis (sugar syrup based stuff) had set perfectly. Each year my grandma made perfect ones, dad and mom just about managed to pass the test. 8 different kind of pattis and so the test was a long tedious one. Ma would pass sometimes and scrape by sometimes with semi-solid concoctions. Each year the worry about passing was present in varying degrees! After grandma passed away the varieties decreased in number. With the onset of diabetes the sweets got cut back further. With 2 of 3 children leaving home this decreased further to only one kind of prasad being made...and today in India, my mother has made 2.

After so many years of being away I have finally decided to check out my memory and ability to make complex things. I have indeed managed to locate all ingredients in the British market and have brought them home with great delight. I have been slaving over the stove for the past 3 hours and spent about 2 hours preparing Miles away from home, the memory, the enjoyment, the tradition lives on in my own head. The deed is done..the family recipe is intact, how well or poorly made it is shall be seen tomorrow. As of now, I sleep with a smile, knowing I have retained some traditions which I enjoyed as a child, and now, value as an adult. Here's to my granny who insisted on tradition and to my mom and dad for being good bahu and beta and passing it on!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


So I have been away for a while..
I went back to India..went back to Kashmir.
Each time I go back there, my whole system goes into 'happy' mode. There is something uniquely welcoming and at the same time imposing about the Zabarwan mountain range. Its something to do with their size, their presence, their appearance. They sit there, a constant in your line of vision, present but unreachable. There but not involved, almost watching over Kashmir from behind the Dal Lake. There is something about Kashmir - the emerald green fields, edged with olive green trees, the brooks and streams, the mountains and boats..the people - beautiful.

As my visit progressed, I spent various late evenings sitting on some elevated spots - staring, memorizing. One evening on the parapet of Pari Mahal..watching the sun go down into the Dal. The other evening at Dal Gate, watching the lights come on inside the Houseboats. At Dachigam, at Nagin..I just kept looking..looking..looking..

What I see always brings out the same reaction in me. It leaves me overwhelmed, happy, peaceful, at home, and makes me want to emblazon it in my mind, drink in the feeling, soak in the atmosphere to take away with me. Back to UK, in my mind, in my heart, as images, smells and be relished from time to small quantities..till I go back again next year.

In Kashmir, I feel at peace. Yes it is an odd thing to say. I know. But something there makes me slow down, and feel good from the inside out. Perhaps its to do with my genes, perhaps it is to do with my work, perhaps its just the magic of the place.

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Exciting Life

I wake up to the first day of my summer break and I have:
~ an email asking me to send some documents to my boss by tomorrow morning. So I run. Type, print, pack, paste and run to the post office.
~ I discover my washing machine has flooded and my kitchen sink seems to not want to drain. So I call the plumber and ask him to come soon.
~ I run to the post office to send the documents. It is a HOT day, there is a long queue and I am worried about being late in getting home to meet the plumber.
~ I stop at the bus stop to wait for the bus to take me home and an old man next to me awaits the same bus.
~ Old man faints with the heat and collapses to the floor. I dial 999 and ask him the questions I need to ask him. How old..? born on 20.06.1926. Ok. Heart disease? No. He could talk..and I was told to rest his head on something higher than ground level. So I sit cross legged on the floor and rest his head on my lap. I ask a man to get some water so I can sprinkle it on his head to cool him down. Water on head reveals bright blue eyes in an old old face, he just turned 83 last week..
~ I check his pulse and the plumber rings me to tell me he is outside my house and I should open the door. I let him know we have a sick man and he is more important than the plumbing in the house and so he can just wait.
~ Ambulance arrives and asks me if I am related and I say no. They take Paul (old man) away.
~ I get home to a grumpy plumber who does not know his ass from his face. He manages to push air down a pipe with a gun and therefore drain the water in the sink and the washing machine on the kitchen floor. It smells like 15 people have thrown up.
~ Dont worry he says I know what I am doing. 1 hour later he still does not know what he is doing. So he asks me to help. I get on my knees to figure out where the water is leaking out from. Fitted kitchens look good...but can be a pain to repair.
~ Much leaking later, the man says he has figured it out and shall sort it.
~ I get a call from a friend who is not too happy with her man and so she calls to sob on the phone.
~ yet another one calls to check if we can meet tonight for dinner...
~ My mother calls to check I have not called her...
~ Husband calls to say we have guests for dinner ...
~ Pilates instructor calls to check if I am coming for the class..

Is it me? Or is everyone's life this weird?

Friday, June 19, 2009

A web of deceit.

An email arrives stating that your job application has been successful and you have been hired. Celebrations happen and then the nitty gritty gets read.

You need to apply for a work visa to UK and you shall have to pay upfront for this London based job. The money being asked for is a substantial sum but fades into the background when you see how much they shall be paying you once you reach London, more money than you have ever earned before and its London!! So you think why not.

You dont stop to think:
~ there is no employment contract or letter
~ the money being asked for by this posh London hotel is a little too much
~ they have asked you to transfer it within 48 hours to an ICICI bank account
~ the letter you got asked you to get a visa for NZ (not UK)
~ the advert you responded to appeared on a website
~ there was no interview at all
~ no one at the employing hotel ever spoke to you on the phone
~ you are willing to take a chance with all your savings in the hope of a better life
~ being from England the English in all the email based conversation is obviously incorrect grammatically and otherwise.
~ no contact phone or postal address has been provided to you
~ the cost of work permits/ visas is less than 1/10th of what you have been asked to pay.

You share the good news with a friend who has lived in UK for a long period of time, who shows surprise at the pay packet for a seemingly low skilled job. Friend shows doubt and offers to find out about it. Calls the relevant hotel and gets there are no jobs, no they are not recruiting from overseas, if they did, it was upto them to secure you a working visa, and there is no one here by the name of the email ID who has emailed you, HR does not have anyone by that name... and yes..this is a scam.

You stop, you think, dreams and aspirations of a comfortable life and financial security get crushed. Along with despair is some relief that you were saved from spending close to 5000£ on a scam.

The UK govt has warned people about the increasing incidence of fraudulent behaviour and the rising number of scams that are around in this recession hit country. However the Indian government seems to have not warned its vulnerable sections of society of such things.

I feel sorry for those who fall for it. However my jaded eyes also notice that yet again, the more vulnerable people often get entangled in such webs of deceit and stand to lose what they have worked hard to get.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Joy of Summer

And yes I have been meaning to post more regularly than before..but I have a problem. And its called Hay fever. I am allergic to tree pollen, it provides me with swollen sinuses, watery itchy eyes and internally fitted taps in my nose that spend the summer in my nose.
I sit surrounded by tissue paper and have flatter abs thanks to the constant sneezing. It also means I cant sleep at cooler air, pollen settles and makes life harder. I watch the Man sleep peacefully..and hate it!

Needless to say anti histamine category of medication is being eaten like its going out of fashion..

Despite suffering from it each summer for the past 9 mother always thinks it is hay FEVER and asks me how much is it! Every year we have this conversation, and this time I had to ask her if she remembers anything from last year. Ofcourse she did not.

This time the doctor cheerfully told me that the pollen in UK causes a lot more allergies than anywhere else in the Europe etc dont have this prolonged 3 month hay fever season..

So while people frolic in the sun in small dresses, strappy sandals, big sunglasses and ice lollies. I shrink in the shade (dont like direct sunlight), cover up (to prevent myself from burning) and carry wadges of tissue paper, and find it hard to breathe. I do eat the occasional ice lolly..but you see with little sleep, perpetual runny nose and itchy eyes..I am not overjoyed when the sun does come out. I kind of like the rain. I love the rain..
I really do..perhaps I live in the right country then..we get more than enough rain!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Simple Life

Have been sitting and wishing life was simple. That my list of to-do's, should-do's, must-do's and this-should-have-been-done-yesterday did not exist.

Memories of sitting in the shade, near the wire mesh windows, hearing the buzzing of insects of all sorts outside the window near the Leechee tree, eating mangoes come to mind. I used to sit staring out into the sun, watching the small shifting shadows created by the breeze. Living in a never ending summer vacation where cold coffee mornings were followed by endless play through self entertaining mind games. I could read my Enid Blytons (and not worry about political correctness), read Indrajaal and Chacha Chaudhary and a whole long list of Amar Chitra Kathas. I could sit and chat with the grandfather who would tell me long stories about his life from 1910 onwards..

I could sleep when I wanted and not worry about anything, nothing. School was a distant memory. I did not know of plans for visiting or traveling, just went where I was taken. I would ride my bicycle aimlessly, feeling the breeze on my face. The brother and I would line up his dinky cars in a long queue across the room. We would take buckets of water and play in the kitchen garden, making ladoos out of mud, checking the carrot leaves to guess it was ready to the pulled. Summer afternoons of hazy lazing, with the sound of the ceiling fan whirring away. The occasional sound of the kabadi waala's call, the koyal and the mynah birds.
There were few things that I wanted..and those were also temporary thoughts, that would slide in and out of my mind. My mind was not empty..just not worried about anything. It was a random quiet space, which brought contentment and smiles..

No worries..nothing.

No thinking about..
~ books to read, buy, catch up on
~ work pressure
~ income, budgets and planning
~ tickets for travel
~ weight loss
~ bank statements and incoming post that needs filing
~ membership renewals and tax payments
~ visitors and their dates and times
~ doctors appointments
~ clothes and shoe buying
~ car and house buying
~ grouting issues in the bathroom
~ bills for various services
~ cooking or shopping for food etc IS an endless list..but stop I dont wish to complain. My mind is full of reminiscences of simplicity of the past.

Of mangoes to be eaten, insects to seen, leaves and flowers to be looked at, birds to be observed, hours of sleep to be slept and pleasant nothingness..which left me smiling constantly. It was the simple life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Explaining being Kashmiri

Hmm..its a hard one this.
Once I have got over the you must be from the 'North' and therefore a Punjabi discussion.

No I am not, indeed I am Kashmiri - the northern most of Northern states.
Conversation moves swiftly on to - Hindu or Muslim?
I do sometimes wonder if I responded by saying BOTH, where the flowchart of questions would go.

Hindu - Go to Q 4 - do your parents still live there?
Tempting answer - do you not read the newspapers?

This moves to Q 6 - How come your roots lie in Lahore? Well..a lot many Indians moved from there in grandparents were one of those many. (Tempting question do you not read?Newspapers perhaps?)

Do you speak Kashmiri? No, but I can say things you would not want to hear. And yes I shall get what you say in Kashmiri next!

Do you have family in Kashmir? The answer being no, but yes I have friends over there.

So do you want to go back? Bearing in mind I did not live there going back is a strange question, right?

Yes I am Kashmiri by birth..but the roots to the place have been lost, replaced, revisited and they seem to be fading.

However what worries me is the fact that few of us, want to go back or even want to think about it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

We did this.

We humans have drawn lines which divide us as people, as races, as religions, as castes and as nations. We draw the lines, we respect our own and debate others.
We question the need for lines when we want to cross them.
We insist upon the need for lines when we want to stay safe and insular.
We have a huge planet and yet we divide it amongst ourselves. And then we draw lines and specify crossing it. We limit who we want in and dictate pages of rules to keep others out.

Yes indeed I am talking about borders, immigration, visas, travel cards, ID cards, work permits, H-1s, B-1s and the many thousands of varieties available. To travel we face forms, money, photographs, bank accounts, security, police clearances and whole host of other essentials we believe shall help regulate populations and help promote security. We create new jobs for immigration lawyers, travel agents, VFS agents and HR.
We create volumes of paper which never gets thrown, we create the need for new softwares and technologies to reduce human identity and individuality to a bunch of genes evidenced in a biometric scan. We issue limits on others and make a business out of doing so.

For anyone who has traveled out of their home country, this process of making applications, attending interviews, presenting documents, crossing fingers and waiting, getting visas, traveling and standing in long queues with often impolite people on the other end asking you personal questions - is all known and experienced.

I would be stupidly Lenon-ish in wishing for a world without borders. It would silly to assume that this would one day end and family and friends wishing to see each other would not need to go through an elaborate process to be able to sit in an aircraft.

I am silly but I know a person with 2 little children in school, a house, a car and a good job should not be asked to leave a country overnight due to a visa expiring.

I am silly but I know friends and family who acquired visas and bought tickets to board a flight were declined the right to travel because they could not transit for 45 mins through another country's airport.

I am silly but I am the one who has for the past few months been pushed around by this insanely bureaucratic system. A system which questions basic ethos of life, marriage, work, education.

Am I right in being slightly upset and more than slightly annoyed?

I wish we had not built these boundaries to remain safe. It does not work.
I wish we had respect for others boundaries. We go to war - it does not work.
I wish I could point and say the few nations who do this. They dont, we all do.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fine Print

You know how well most lawyers are paid.
Well I now know why...
..they spend all their time being pedantic and thinking up fine print for documents that need your signature. I experienced the immense frustration of it, again, after a long long time.

Yup, it is always to do with money and what you can get refunded, or paid for, or compensated. Negative perspective - it is always to do with your money, fools and parting with it...

Recent raised eyebrows at my expanding girth have been depressing me. So off to the gym I went to get membership. Our man, the young swashbucking sales guy/ CSE was sweetness, sunshine and honey! (think shiny black shoes, pin stripe black/grey trouser/ slick hair and oodles of charm and truckloads of perfume).
He got me a drink, asked me how my day was, what my goals were (read in KILOGRAMS) etc etc. And then zipped through the costs of joining, which came with long links to minimum contract period, cooling off time, one off payments, admin fee, pro rata joining fee, termination of contracts, membership renewal, injury and sickness cover, redundancy cover, BUPA discounts, freezing memberships when on vacation etc etc...

It was a bloody long list! and I read it all. AND...I still got taken for a walk. Was told about cost of a 3 month contract...and was made to sign a 12 month one..:( so within 2 hours of reading what I had signed..i went back to the swashbuckling sales man.

The man had possibly got a 666 tatooed on his ass in the meantime, for all the attitude and grief he gave me. He indicated the fine print that was and shook his head slowly and played with the golf ball in his hand. Sorry, he said..cant help you, you signed it...Yessss.... I know..I WAS thinking of hurting him...but..I did not..well behaved girl from good family and all that.
However I managed to throw a tantrum, saw the manager and tried to get it sorted.
They shall let me know by post what happens and are sorry for my experience at the club.

I also got to see the fine print for health insurance...the list of pre conditions they do not cover made my eyes water and would make Michael Moore reach for his camera and dictaphone! The fine print prevents me from using this health cover unless something ridiculously strange happens to me between now and Aug..and if it does..I still have a £100 excess to pay. It said so in the 56 pages (front and back) of fine print called the 'Membership Guide'! Alternatively if I do make the mistake and go see a doctor...I could land up paying something like 350£ for 20 mins of pre-consultation, and promise to see the man 3 times in order to complete treatment to the doctors satisfaction.....NICE!(I suddenly love the NHS more)

Is there no such thing as straight forwardness left in this world which is not written in font size 4 by over paid legal eagles?

Friday, May 15, 2009

The boy who knew too much

On my way back from work.
Boy - aged 5 or less, mother and older woman (suspect it to be granny)

Boy opened a large bag which contained a shoe box, he opened the shoes, shiny new black lace ones. Gave each shoe a beaming smile and put them back in.

As the train came to a stop, people got up as did this trio. And then he said something which is still making me smile. Says boy to his mother...

'Now dont you go forgetting those shoes on the seat my dear' (Said in a posh British accent)

A few people smiled and some (read me) burst out laughing.
The mother shook her head and rolled her eyes at the grandma!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Does India shine?

Ironical really, I come back to the world of blogging after a long silence broken only after reading what happened in Mangalore.

I did read about it in the news and while I was even starting to contemplate and begin to understand the what..whuh..huh...WTF...really?...seriously.? you have got to be really??.....
I was transitioning rapidly between these. Then I read what Chandni had to say..
I read about Sanjay Dutts comments..but I did not react..
I read about the Ram Sena but I dont react..
Shiv sena, Bajrang dal..Thackerays and their loony psycho followers..
I read about couples not being able to hold hands in public..
I read every Feb about Valentine's Day being squashed out of people's lives...

Is my country really shining? Did this idiotic bunch of men jump off the evolution cart and decide to walk backwards?
Do I want to share my Indian identity with these brainless twits?
I pray every day, and can decidedly say that I do not need representative of Lord Rama to tell me what to do with my life.
I, who know what I want from life will not be beaten by any twat who thinks he can tell me what to do and not to do because I dont own a penis.

I sometimes wish I could do unto others as others do to normal people. Why dont a bunch of us meet, identify these people and go beat the shit out of them...for any reason..breathing too loudly..farting in public, scratching their privates in choose. How would they like that.

Pardon my language...but I am just really mad about this...

I have a nasty sneaky feeling these are the same people who whistle at item numbers, who rub themselves against women on public transport, who rub past you in a shop... I also have a nasty feeling they are the same buggers who support Shri Sanjay Dutt and also maybe the rest of the Bajrang Dal. Perhaps they are the very same smart asses who sat on top of Babri Masjid and tried to break the dome (which has stood for many centuries) with a small hammer.

Assholes!!! Piss off and leave my country alone.