I found blood and I saw stars

“You need another boarding pass.”

“Wait, but I have this one…look.”

“Haha, silly girl, no you need another for your next flight. And here, grab those bags and put them over here. ” … “Foreigners!”

I joined the meandering queue for a boarding pass. Damn it,  Mumbai airport, why couldn’t you just print em all for me ? Because, well, you’re Mumbai airport.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport, some ungodly hour on August 11th, 2008. I had almost arrived at my new life. The 16 hour plane ride from Mumbai to New York’s JFK had been my first ever flight..in life. It was also my first ever close, and seemingly never ending encounter with loud Indian children with semi-american accents and overflowing airplane toilets. (Note to all potential international travelers – try to not use the bathroom for the last few hours. Regulate your intake. It’s possible.)

Boarding pass in hand, I exclaimed and swore hard because I was a mere 15 minutes from take off in a major international airport I’d never seen before. I have a Dad that explains everything diagrammatically and Google maps everything before visiting. Unfortunately for me, he gave birth to a girl who listens selectively. So now, sink, or swim.

5 years later today, I know this airport like the back of my hand. I know you can take the plane train to cross concourses and not try and make a mad dash using your almost atrophied from 20 plus hours of travel and dehydration, muscles.

Sure, I missed my flight.

Was I going to sleep over at the airport ? – hell no.

“Excuse me, could you help me ? I missed my final leg. Is there another flight I could get on?”.

“No ma’am we are full, you can have a $6 food coupon”

<<And stuff it where ?>>

“Please, I’m a student. I’ve never been to a foreign country before. I’m scared and alone” <<And I also have crocodile tears to prove it.>>

Sink, or swim ?

“Ok, calm down, let me see what I can do.”

Sink, or swim ?

“Looks like we have an opening for the 9:00 pm one.”

SWIM.

At 10:30 that night, I arrived in Tallahassee. A city I had no idea I would fall in such pure, unadulterated love with. A city that would give me so much to be thankful for, and so many people to love and live for.

Today’s daily prompt asks this:

Tell us about a time when you were left on your own, to fend for yourself in an overwhelming situation — on the job, at home, at school. What was the outcome?

While I do not consider this being left to fend off for myself, It was overwhelming at first – to come  to a nation unknown, one which does everything exactly opposite, drinks their coffee differently, drives on the other side of the road and the car, expects different mannerisms yet embraces people as different as me; to build a life that I call my own, and mine alone. But the fear of the unknown, the learning process, and the experience of learning to accept people and things around you, and make them yours to love, has been wholesome. I could never have learned to swim like this,  if I hadn’t just picked up and moved, 10,000 miles away from a life that used to be mine.

 

Door.

It was a deep shade of blue. Much like the ink we used in school. On the top in gold were the numbers 4208. The handle was a rusted shade of the same gold. It was ajar. She had to go in.

She walked into a modestly done living room. An old couch, but soft, stood against the wall, and faced the TV. Amongst a few DVDs on the bookshelf near the TV was the Hunger Games Trilogy, The Secret, and Mindy Kaling’s “Is everyone hanging out without me?”. Good read, she thought. The living room smelled of Vanilla. A delicious smell that goes well with the crisp Fall air, she would realize later.

Gingerly, she took a few more steps into the next room. She was greeted by a familiar set of dark brown eyes. They were smiling. They belonged to a familiar expression – one that was expecting her. They hugged, but it felt like nothing.

“Listen, I need to tell you something.” said she, with concern in those eyes, folding that bright yellow blanket that she refused to go to bed without, years ago. She wondered if it still smelled the same.

“What? ”

“You will feel so homesick that you will want to die.”

She was puzzled.

“But I want you to know, that slowly, you will meet people with no connection to your past, and you will realize- This is my life now.”

“You’re not making any sense.”

“Homesickness is much like every other sickness – it bothers you for a while, depletes  you, and moves on to the next person.”

Her dark brown eyes filled with tears.

“Would you like something to drink?”

No answer.

“Ma’am? We have coke products, and beer and wine for purchase. This is a cashless flight.”

Slowly regaining consciousness she came to terms with her surroundings and ordered a coke. “Damn it, I must have been knocked out. There is still hours to go until JFK. I had the weirdest dream.”

“Really, what was it?” He asked.

“Nothing, I guess. Do you realize what a huge change this move is going to be?”

“Oh, you’ll be fine! And you’ll visit. And I’ll visit.”

“Yes Dad, but nothing will ever be the same again.”

 

Yesterday’s daily prompt was “Door“. This post is one that uses that to quote lines from a film I watched on the way back from the west coast that had me in tears more than once –Brooklyn. It has scenes, feelings, emotions that I bet every immigrant understands- experiences that change an individual, make them see things differently, understand, comprehend and be changed human beings. Even though set in the 1950s, all of it applies even today.

 

My torrid affair with Blogger’s Block.

I’ve had no real thoughts lately. And the Daily Prompt is on a hiatus. Which means there has been no single, sudden, out of context, unexpected non dog post for my usual dog readers. You know, like this one, or this one or.. wait now you know I’m just trying to cheat and make you read my old posts.

I was reading this great post yesterday about how regular feature posts establish a strong audience. There is good advice to do something with or without alliterations each week like “Snarky Sunday” or “<<cannot think outside of alliterations title>>” . I thought to myself how true this is and how badly I am failing. So while my affair with the Blogger’s Block is not as torrid as I make it seem, I wanted to find a way to end it (for now).

I hit upon Five Posts to Write Right Now and can you imagine my horror when I couldn’t find anything that spoke to me ? Fortunately, sitting quietly in the first paragraph of Five Posts was Nothing to Write. And it explained how to make a list of ideas you think would not make good posts, to get the ideas out of your head, pick one idea that you connect with the most, and run with it. And I loved it! Because now I present to you a well thought of list, of absolutely random things. No picking one idea and running, just a list, of complete randomness.

1. What brought upon the recent Supreme Court Ruling in India to recognize eunuchs as a third gender ? [I am all for it and I also realize I could paste this very same thing into Google and get my answers. I just have not.]

2. Cinnamon Toast Crunch is ambrosia.

3. Stacey is incredibly incredibly selfish in recruiting Owen as her sperm donor seeing as how he is her best friend’s ex-fiance. What when down between Jane and Owen and whether or not, Jane is in love with Grayson is absolutely not the point. Friendship comes first. Sperm donors later. Oh.. you have NO idea what I’m talking about ? Watch Drop Dead Diva. I do realize how one of my sentences is a pun here.

4. I can see how I am very Black and White and how the world doesn’t always work this way.

5. Stealing this one from Nothing to Write: I wish clothing manufacturers would put pockets in women’s pants. Also, a scene from The Office comes to mind where Michael is wearing a women’s suit.

6. I might want to elaborate on the whole Stacey and Jane situation in a post called Friendships but it might end up being too controversial and only reinforce the fact that I only really love my Dog.

7. Every TV show has a cheese that goes well with it.

8. If you’re now thinking that I have a best friend who stole my ex fiance for sperm, you’re wrong.

They’re both dead.

And that was it! Hopefully this will lift the curse of silence that the Blogging Gods have bestowed upon me.

Angel on my shoulder

This one is for my best friend, my constant, my support system and my everything. He taught me to be less judgmental, to not assume, to not stereotype, to try and open my mind to new places, people, things and experiences.

He removed me from my tiny comfort zone back in my home town where life had become something of a task done from muscle memory. He removed me from my narrow mind.

Even today he pushes me to try things outside my comfort zone and not pass judgement without trying. I don’t think he knows this or does this intentionally but it’s just him – inspiration to experience and to broaden my outlook. I want to think that I accept with less resistance than I did 9 years ago when our paths crossed.

Today’s Daily Prompt asks this :

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from the person you’re the closest to?

I am lucky to have someone in my life who makes me a better person by just being himself, and loving me like he does.

Cemetery

Today’s daily prompt asks this :

What was the last thing you searched for online? Why were you looking for it?

Cemetery.

You’re thinking I’m either gruesome or retarded or gruesomely retarded. Well, you’re mostly right wrong. I just can’t spell, that’s all.

My friend and I were playing Draw Something and his work of art constituted a bunch of tombstones saying ‘RIP’ much like a home-horror-movie gone wrong (haha we aren’t the best artists!). So I thought, yeah I know this, its Ceme.. Cem.. wait what ? Why aren’t the little boxes matching up in number to C-E-M-E-T-R-Y! Because, idiot, you can’t spell.

<<Goes to google.com>>

<<Types C-E-M>>

Yes, autofill. I love you.

C-E-M-E-T-E-R-Y.

Drawsome!

And, I learnt something today. Something that I should have learned in third grade.

Time and Tide..

Today’s daily prompt asks this:

For a moment today, time stands still — but you can tweak one thing while it’s stopped. What do you do?

Here is the thing. To achieve what I want to achieve in this one moment, I need more than just one moment. So I am going to use this one moment to make time stand still for another moment and be all recursive about this so that I can do what I’ve been ignoring for a while now.

Laundry.

This is a serious problem. I’ve always had it. A normal sight at my home is piles of clothes lying around only to be picked up and shoved behind the closet’s ever-bursting doors when someone threatens to come over.

Don’t get me wrong, I am indeed always wearing clean clothes. It’s just that I have way too many. (Something about having a cluttered environment meaning that you have a cluttered brain comes to mind.. ) And I wash only one load at a time, picking the most urgent garments. So there are always unwashed ones lying around. I live in this interesting universe where clean and dirty clothes peacefully coexist at all times.

Occasionally a sock or two will disappear. My dogs have only that much resistance to temptation. I think doing laundry is the worst kind of manual labor. It is the most vile way in which a human being can spend their time. I think there should be some magic machine in which you put your clothes and let them spin for a while and they come out clean. Oh wait..

Well..There should be some magic elves that come around and put your clothes in this magic machine where if you put your clothes and let them spin for a while and they come out clean.

The title is a cheap play of words on Time because of the context of  the daily post, and Tide because it is a detergent. They say the worst kind of joke is one that you need to explain. Nailed it!

Joyful Noise: Sense and Sensibility

Today’s daily prompt asks this:

If you were forced to give up one sense, but gain super-sensitivity in another, which senses would you choose?

I say, my sense of smell. I’d give it up. I think in my case, it’s kind of pointless anyway. I can’t think of a time in the last year or so where it’s been useful (and I can’t think beyond a year back anyway!). My nose stud takes up a decent amount of nostril real estate too. Seriously, when I wear it, there is just one barely functional nostril doing all the dirty work.

In a hot humid environment, good olfactory system is not necessarily your best friend anyway! Or when you live with two dogs who believe truly in the saying “Better out than in”. Or when you pass by an Abercrombie store. (No offense to Abercrombie & Fitch.. nah well maybe a little offense ..just for payback’s sake.)

The only times i’d miss it maybe is when my place is on fire which, I hope that never happens and if it does, the smoke alarm better let me know in advance! I admit I’ll also miss smelling the designer fragrances at Macy’s ..  but bigger picture now.. the sense that i’d liked heightened in return for this, is my sixth one – my woman’s intuition – the one that helps me identify serial killers. It’s already pretty good i’d say – I get it from my Mom. I’m glad it didn’t skip a generation. But it’s so useful, I want more. To differentiate the good from the evil. Let’s call it the super woman’s intuition to make things simpler.

I would also like my super woman’s intuition to have a healthy portion of dog sense blended in. Like yesterday, – my Kahlua sat perfectly peacefully under a park bench while millions of people passed by. However, he came out once. And he barked. And it was not pretty. I won’t go into details except I turned into human shield mother and stood between him and the intruding party(he was being provoked, intentionally), and then we left the scene. Midnight went crazy too. But for her, I think it was the voices in her head 🙂

Oh by the way, the title of my post doesn’t really  have anything to do with anything. Nor does it mean anything otherwise. And apart from being just a title, it isn’t anything really.

Midnight is still up for adoption. Comment on here if you are interested in my little foster munchkin!

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The Deep Red Henna Tattoo

It was my first day back at work after my wedding. I’d taken a decent time off what with the crazy preparations, long overdrawn rituals and well deserved honeymoon in Italy. It had been a month almost. I had no idea what state I’d left my projects in. Usually I’d write down stuff for the sad sad day that I return from vacation, but hey, this was my first wedding (and hopefully the only one) and hence my longest ever vacation.

I didn’t want to ride my bike to work because we all know how riddled with potholes our roads are in June. So, careful not to pick anything white, I got dressed and made some tea. He got dressed too and hugged me before we sat down to tea and breakfast. Soon it was time to go. I walked him to the bus stop, smiled goodbye and hailed a rickshaw. Damn it, I forgot my scarf again. I thought about him and how much I did not know him. And how much he did not know me. And how yet, we’d decided to spend our lives together. I wasn’t in love with him yet, but I would be. Right ? My heart still belonged to my college love. But he wasn’t what fate had in store for me. He went overseas to study. I stayed back. And soon there was a wedding.

The rickshaw lurched and stalled. Yep, pothole. But this is India. People love people. So there were five men helping to push the rickshaw out to freedom and soon we were on our way. The driver looked in the rear view mirror and gave me a helpless smile. We stopped at a red light. A barely dressed woman with an unconscious child came up to me and begged for change. She was persistent. I gave her some. And then they all came. There was a stray dog amongst them too. The light turned green. We moved. This must be a good driver to wait at a red light.

Half a rollercoaster ride later we jolted to a stop. I looked at the meter, did a quick conversion in my head and paid the driver. “No change madam”.

I looked up at the tall twin skyscrapers. My first workplace since college. And probably my one and only. I was a campus recruit. Speaking of those, four very happy people came waltzing toward me. We hugged. Laughed. My friends from college. Also still here. Just like me. They were happy  to see me, and me them. I found solace in familiarity.

I spent the day struggling to put together the pieces of code I’d left in the haste of my wedding, catching up with colleagues and sharing wedding sweets with them. I showed them pictures of our trip. Tomorrow I would tell them of how I got sick eating strange foreign food.

I reached home before him and started dinner. I picked out a movie we’d watch. I heard him enter the house and brought him a glass of water. We hugged and shared stories of the day. We’d be good friends soon I thought. Right ?

Who knows? This did not happen. Today’s daily prompt asks this:

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.

This was a day in the life of the parallel universe that exists in the dimension of the alternate choice.

I did not stay back 🙂

You make me wanna throw up, lol jk.

Today’s Daily Prompt asks this:

If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?

I say, “Lol”. And no, not jk. This new addition to our daily oxford makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I hate it. I thought this hatered used to be inexplicable, but it’s not! And here is why – A lot of lol users use it to get away with writing something mean. Here is an example – Someone posts a picture and say they’re donning a little holiday weight. Lol user comes along and posts their comment – “Stopped hitting  the gym I see Lol”.. Hmm… lol is not a buzzword to make a passive aggressive remark, all happy again.

Of course this is not always the case. There are the more benign uses of lol. Many of my friends use it, and I love them anyway, because their lols are harmless. They are probably actually Laughing Out Loud at something that should be laughed out loud at! Plus the holiday weight situation will be dealt with in a straight up manner. Like it should be. Maybe with a glass of wine, lol! (Sometimes, I disgust myself)

And do not get me started on the extended cousins of lol – Lmao, rotflol, lol jk (absolute worst I can hear the milk curdling use of lol).

Just a smiley face will do. Press the shift and the ‘;’ (semicolon) key simultaneously. Then press the Shift and the 0 (zero) key simultaneously and voila! No more lol needed.

 

Daily Prompt: Red Pill, Blue Pill, Mild, Medium, Hot and Very Hot

Today’s daily prompt asks this :

If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

My answer – Hell No! If you think I eat for Nutrition, you don’t know me 🙂

Ok, I usually try and be good about nutrition too and I don’t only eat stuff that will clog my major arteries, and my dog walks me a decent amount so yes, I’m not killing myself by only eating happy.

But come on, I need my cheesecakes, my chocolates, my chocolate cheesecakes, my red wine and my zinfandel along with my broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, grilled meats and fruits.

We have taste buds for a reason! Each person has between 5,000 and 10,000 and I like to think i’m in that 10,000 area (or I’m just greedy for good food, and proud of it). One of my closest friends says, America’s greatest gifts to her are Southern Ice-d Tea and Chicken Wings. I think that’s why we are friends. Do you really think that Red or Blue pills could come close to comparing with Hot, Mild, Very Hot, Caribbean Jerk, Asian Zing, Garlic Parmesan, Teriyaki or Honey BBQ ? I don’t.

And what about cheese ? Let’s not go there because I’m hungry already.

The bottom line is, I will take a pill when my head hurts, or I’m burning up with fever, not to rob myself of the pleasures of good food. I was made to enjoy good food, and my body is made to break down food and process it in a certain way and provide nutrients to my blood.

I don’t think we humans should be so narcissistic as to think we can sum up all the complex bodily processes associated with eating, digesting and absorbing nutrients, in a Red or Blue pill.