Saturday, February 23, 2008

...and fly

I feel like my eyes are the lens of a camera most of the time here in Bombay. Snippets of little precious moments that I wish I was recording.. but I need them in full sensurround 3D-imax smellovison to really let you know what I'm on about. Just snippets of beauty.

The ride to work on the bike in the mornings with Kaustubh. Along Carter Rd in Bandra by the sea - the median strip is raised with some vegetation and a group of loose and unclaimed donkeys chew away at the grass ignored by the cars and bikes going by.. ignored by everyone except me. 'Donkeys!'

Further along.... past the preschool and catholic girl's school... cars and auto rickshaws stream in to bring all the kids in their tidy uniforms to school. Parents dropping them off on scooters.. and autos with up to 8 tiny kids bundled into the back (where we would squeeze in 3 adults)... everyone with uniforms pressed and hair tied into pigtails or braids. Even though I never want to be a parent... I like all the smiling faces and the sweet way a father gently grabs the hand of a tiny kid to cross the street amidst the chaos. If we are a few minutes late to work... the road past the school is abandoned... the chaos is gone as if it never happened... and you know the kids are settling in to another boring day at school.

At night we wind through tiny streets in Bandra that I just love. Houses and store fronts open straight on to the street... the tiniest shops you've ever seen... some basically the size of a human, just enough for someone to stand or sit in, and sell a few little things. At dusk everything lights up... and people are walking and talking in amongst the cars and motorbikes and ricks driving on a road only as wide as one car.... everything squeeeeezes through. It's mad fun and I love it.

There is one place where an outdoor shaving stand is set up... there is no light. Just the light of passing cars in the darkness. A mirror hangs on the fence. A tall stool where the victim sits and faces the mirror he can't really see.. his face is liberally lathered up... and the straight razor comes out... lickety split :) Awesome... all in the dark!

We pass a wall that has a plaque on it... small, tiled... and every time I see it I smile so much. It says "Myrtle D'Souza and Fly". Now years ago I worked on Babe:Pig in the City... and my favourite shots to work on were with the lovely border collie Fly :) So... I saw this and .. well.. who is Fly? ..could it be a dog? I just really liked the images it put in my head :) That this woman loved her dog so much she put his name on the wall with hers ;) ok .. ok... so, the bubble was burst when it was pointed out to me that 'fly' means 'family'... but I'll carry on with my little fantasy thankyouverymuch.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

two types of blue flame

I always chuckle on the motorbike ride to work each morning. We pass a block pf apartments called Blue Flame. I wonder if that is what the inhabitants spend their late nights doing - sort've Jack Black style .... does the place stink but light up all evening? If you don't know what I'm talking about... check this link. It just makes me smile.

I just made myself some soft boiled eggs. We have a sweet little kitchen - a typical old-styled Italian kitchen as Pascal put it... a narrow room with cupboards reaching high to the ceiling, not a lot of counter space but enough for our simple needs. At the end under the window is the two-burner gas stove. This device is a bit of a challenge for me. I'm not too adept at lighting it and that makes Gagan chuckle as I turn it on and off and on and off so as not to gas myself into a high. I'm getting better :) Two clicks of the mechanical lighter thingamejig and I was blue-flaming away today!

Friday, February 1, 2008

paradise by the laptop lights

It's quiet. All I hear are birds... peaceful. Crows, parrots, pigeons, kites... all flying by the ocean. Sometimes you can even hear donkeys. The occasional dog barking. But it's quiet - here in our little paradise by the sea.

Boy do I have a lot to fill in :)

I'm not just a business travelor anymore. Once upon a time I was sent by a company to India. It was an adventure. I made friends, had an incredible time at work and found myself feeling more at home than I felt in the country I'd been living for years. But the company didn't like me getting so comfy comfy with the employees - I think firangs are supposed to keep their distance and not develop the kind of friendships that I could not help but make. It was a growing process for all of us, me, my friends, and the company. Inevitably we all lost something... but I gained so much and I never looked back. I fell in love with India, and with an Indian, and I had to stay. So.. the company and I, after 10 long years, parted ways and I moved from one side of the planet to the other. My home :)

I'm sad I didnt get to cover all the amazing times I had in the blog. Some of the company's management on both sides of the world didnt like it and I stopped as I felt so winded by that judgement of my personal space. I actually wrote a whole piece about it at the time... but I didnt post it as I knew it would make things harder for me at work. There were lots of idealistic hopes it might start up conversations about freedom of speech in blogger circles etc... but when the fight gets personal like that it isnt as easy as it seems.

But now it's all past and I have moved on. Life is wonderful. I am with the man I love, my cats are here from the US... we have a great apartment, and life is settling into a pattern of simple pleasures and wide eyed wonder. It was all different coming back after shutting up shop in LA. I had to relearn India again. Relearn to love it in a way. I'm in a new part of the city I didnt know. I felt disoriented. Even though it was paradise - our apartment looks out over the Arabian Sea.. one block up - I was in unfamiliar territory and further from friends. And some friends have moved to Hyderabad too, so there was such a sense of change... nothing was as before. I had so much to get used to. Plus adjusting to leaving a job I was used to - software I loved etc. Even if the position just wasnt right anymore it is hard to leave something that had once been good and a pipeline that worked so well.

The first days and weeks I look back on like I was emerging from an egg... like Mork and his spaceship! Building up our apartment from scratch was a challenge. I hadnt done that for years... and I felt a little helpless as I was recovering from all the sickness I had in LA (the joys of fibromyalgia!) and Gagan had to do so much. But now we have furniture and my stuff has arrived from LA (all 60 boxes... mostly books!) and it feels like a lovely home. Right now the sun is setting.. it leaves a warm red glow in the living room and our bedroom. The cats sit on the back of the couch basking in the heat... their eyes closing contentedly. They have all their favourite toys and baskets here - life is good for an Adamson furry!