Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My life in Bombay

A few years ago, after finishing my studies, I started my career in my hometown, Calcutta. However, the situation was not in my favor, and I was not getting any good opportunity. My sister, who is very dynamic and aggressive, left our hometown, and went to Bombay to build her career. After struggling for few years she established herself there. Although, my father wanted me to follow her path, I didn’t have a little bit of desire to leave my hometown and go to Bombay. As I couldn't give any shape to my career, and my father’s constant persuasion, I half-heartedly decided to go to Bombay. At last, in 2004 I left for Bombay, when I got a job offer from a Bombay based company. Though my sister was there, still I couldn’t make myself feel familiar there. First one month was a nightmare to me. Every day I used to feel like to escape from there. However, eventually I started getting accustomed there. When I left my first job in Bombay and took the second one I found a new life there. I found so many friends, majority among them were from outside the city. Gradually I fell in love with Bombay. If anyone asks me why I liked Bombay so much, I can’t give any concrete answer.
There are so many things in Bombay which can make the city unattractive. Asia’s third largest slum is in Bombay. The city is over- crowded. Due to space crunch the apartments’ price is sky-high even though they are tiny. People are struggling day and night to survive there.  Any person from any western countries can’t even imagine how too many people of a family can live in a small apartment. Living in Bombay city, it is unimaginable for middle class people, so they are compelled to buy apartments far from the heart of the city. People travel for more than three hours to reach their work places. The city is full of dirt. The pollution rate is alarming. Although the railway system is the heart of Bombay’s transport system, but, always the over-crowded trains and the hubbub can make any outsider to perspire.
 Yet some charms are there, that’s why people get attracted. The astonishing fact is that people are always happy. They always smile. With too many problems in life, how people can smile, nobody can understand. It is an excellent example of synchronization between people, who come from different regions with diverse background. It makes everybody feels familiar. The city never sleeps. In the middle of the night, if I want to travel I can get any public conveyance. Any person can get some work to survive there. The technologically and industrially advanced city gives opportunities to people, like me, who want to build their career.
The city gave me chance to enjoy the life. It taught me how to survive from unfavorable situation, how to accustom myself with every kind of condition, how to lead a fast life. Keeping pace with the city is really challenging. Still, I never felt unhappy. Struggling became a part of my life. However, there were so many things to enjoy, so many things to feel happy. Travelling is major part of the city life. Sometimes I felt that travelling in a train like a sandwich was somewhat fun. I used to travel for 2 hours every day to reach my office and I needed same amount of time for returning home. It was really adventurous to avail the trains; everybody needs to jostles with each other’s to do that. The trains use to stop for 45 seconds in each station, and within this little time thousands of people get on an off. The city gave me life, gave me new hope to search for a better tomorrow. I witnessed many major incidents during my stay. I witnessed the disastrous cloudburst in 2005, when thousands of people lost their lives, which made the city standstill for a day. It was also amazing that, within 15 days life became normal. I was there when five bomb blasted in trains which left thousands of dead again, but the city became normal on the next day.
I didn't know from when I started to love the city. I wanted to live there throughout my life. That’s why when I left Bombay, I felt unhappy than when left my hometown for better tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lonavla Trip

Several years ago, in the month of July, I got a chance to visit my dream place Lonavla, which was famous in India. At that time I was living with my sister. One day, when both of us came back home after a long day at the office, she told that she was planning to go to Lonavla. Some of her office colleagues and she made the plan to go there on coming Saturday. She invited me to join them. Although, I had some works on that Saturday at the office, I managed to skip my work, and I joined them on the trip, because I didn’t want to miss that opportunity. All of us first gathered at the office where she worked, from there, we left for our destination in a rental vehicle. In India business of renting vehicle is different than in the USA. In India we usually get the vehicle along with the driver, who drives us to our destinations. Anyway, it was a fun-filled journey; we were chatting, shouting and cracking jokes along the way. Here I like to mention that; people prefer to visit Lonavla in the rainy season, when the place becomes stunning with vibrant lush greenery. We hiked to the Karla Caves, when we reached there, it was cloudy, but not raining. The caves were made by Buddhist monks in the 3rd to 2nd B.C., there were sculptures of males and females, as well as animals, including lions and elephants. It was really amazing that, those ancient people created flawless architecture by cutting huge rocks, without any sophisticated high-end instruments. Anyway, after spending some time there, we stopped at Bushi Dam, before going to Tiger Point. Even though, the dam was overflowing, over a series of steps at that time, it was easily accessible. People loved to drench themselves in the water, so it was very popular in rainy season.
We stopped at Tiger Point which was on a plain with deep gorges on three sides. We could see the lush greenery everywhere. I experienced a magnificent view of the nature there. From there, we saw that the clouds were below in the gorge. Later the clouds started moving up, and in the course of time we found ourselves amid the clouds. The clouds were so thick, that we couldn’t even see each other well. I cannot describe feeling, when I found myself in a beautiful state. After having lunch, we started our journey back, and at that time it started raining heavily. We were completely unaware that, the driver our vehicle was very unskilled and was completely unaware of the hilly road of Lonavla. We were terrified at that time. Fortunately, the driver had one assistant with him who guided him down the entire hill. After leaving Lonavla we felt relaxed.

N.B. Unfortunately, I currently don't have any picture of the trip. So, I can not share the photos.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A trip to Karnala

Long Ago, when I had completed my college, I went to stay with my sister for a few months. She was living in another city, far from our hometown. At that time, she was staying in a working girls’ hostel. One day some of her hostel-mates and she planned to go trekking in Karnala Hills on a Saturday. She invited me to go along. I was completely unaware about the place where we were going to trek. Anyway, I was very much excited, because it was the first trek in my life. We left the hostel early in the morning because Karnala hills were far away. After a hectic journey in a series of trains and buses, we reached the nearest place from where we could walk to the foot of the hills. After reaching there, we realized that the trek was not going to be easy. The hill was not very high, but the route was very difficult. The narrow, extremely uneven, and full of pebble route was actually formed by wood-cutters footsteps and tiny waterfalls. The waterfalls usually dried up after the rainy season. We started trekking, towards the top with a palpating heart, along the narrow path with gorges on both sides, to reach a dilapidated fort there. One of the features of the fort was the high and steep steps at the entrance. The fort was created in such a way that, there were no other options but to use only the steps to go inside. We had our lunch there, and after getting a rest for an hour we started climbing down. Just after we started down, I wanted to tell something to my sister, so, I turned back without watching the steps in front of me. As a result of that, I slipped and fell down on a step. I had relieved that I escaped any big mishap, because there was possibility of falling from a great height. However, when I tried to stand up, I couldn’t move my right ankle, and I felt a sharp pain there. I realized that, something serious happened to my leg. Communication with anybody, except our group members was out of the question on that deserted hill. I was trembling like a dried leaf. All of us panicked under that unexpected situation. Nobody had thought what could be done in that situation. I knew I had to walk to reach the foot of the hill. Even today I don’t know how I walked more than one hour on an unfriendly hilly path with a broken leg. Not only did I walk down the hill, I travelled all the way from there in buses and trains to reach the hostel. The next day my sister took me to a hospital and a doctor told me that I suffered from a torn ligament.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ephemera: Memories to cherish

Few days ago, I read an article on scrapbooking, and I came to know a new word ‘ephemera’. I searched for the meaning of it. I found that the meaning is something of no lasting significance. In that article, the author showed the reader one of her scrapbooks which she created long ago. She wrote that, when she went through the scrapbook one year later, she remembered the minutiae of the life. After reading the article, I wondered how to keep the memories of my ephemera beautiful.
Actually, I have been keeping the ephemera, like tickets, hotel bills, restaurants checks etc., of our every vacation for last four years. Before, I usually kept those articles in a bag. Then, I thought, how could I keep them in a nice way? I tried to put them in the scrapbook along with photos and journals, but it was a difficult task to put all of them in one place. Then I decided to keep them in a separate book along with related journals. Because, I always like make something from throw away stuff, I decided to make the scrapbooking pages from Trader Joe’s grocery bags which are made of paper. By folding the bags and gluing them together in certain way I created the book. Then I put all ephemera, which I had collected so far, in the book chronologically, and I embellished it.

The Book cover

Coke museum , Atlanta

My son's 1st B'day

 Sometimes, I think that these small things, which we usually forget in no time after use, can have a great significance. When I open the book, I can remember each and every trivial happening on those trips, even where we took a break during the journey, at which restaurants we had our breakfast, from which Starbucks we bought coffee, and so on. It is really wonderful to cherish those things in leisure.

Napa Valley

Monday, August 1, 2011

Making Pizza - Weekend fun

One Sunday I had no food in my refrigerator for dinner. I was not in the mood to prepare our routine dishes. Instead of that, I wanted to make pizza. I put my desire in front of my husband, who is an avid fan of pizza. He promptly agreed with me. My little one also likes pizza very much. So, in the evening, I started preparing the same. While I was kneading the dough my husband suggested that I make the pizza bread by flipping the dough in the air. It sounded like fun, so I agreed to do it. However, I was not confident to do that. My husband encouraged me. He told me that he would catch the dough if I missed it. At first I flattened the dough a little then I started flipping it. It was great fun. 

My son enjoyed the whole process immensely. He started jumping, thinking that his mother was playing a new game with him. I was very much successful in flipping the dough. After baking the pizza, the three of us sat in the living room to eat it. We watched the movie ‘Baby’s day out’, while we were eating the pizza. Everything was fine, but for some unknown reason my son didn’t eat any pizza. I was little disappointed, as he loves pizza a lot. However, the bottom line is that we enjoyed our dinner.
The Pizza