Thursday, October 30, 2008

First Tag

Generally not a person for tags, but since two friends Vidya and Priya decided to tag me , so I finally gave it a shot after a month.

1. If your lover betrayed you what would your reaction be?

I will want to kill him for sure!

2. If you have a dream come true, what would it be?

I would like to own an island resort.

3. If you could, whose butt would you like to kick?

All dishonest politicians.(but that would mean too many butts to kick!)

4. What would you do with a billion dollars?

Save half in secure deposits.Buy a gorgeous home,go for an extended holiday to the Mediterranean,go shopping and throw lots of interesting parties.

5. Will you fall in love with your best friend?

I guess not unless I change preferences! I have close friends who r guys but my best friends have always been gals.

6. Which is more blessed: loving someone or being loved by someone?

Damned if I know!

7. How long do you intend to wait for someone you love?

I would be willing to wait for some time although not forever, it`s too long.

8. If the person you secretly like is attached, what will you do?

Drown my sorrows in tons of alcohol(a la female Devdas) with supportive friends.

9. If you could root for one social cause, what would it be?

Making our villages self sufficient.

10. Do you lie?

Only sometimes in an uncomfortable social situation.

11. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Busy in the daily routine.

12. What’s your fear?

The third World War.

13. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?

Well, two women have tagged me and both are smart,intelligent,witty and have a tendency to be lost in thought.

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?

Boy! That`s a tough choice.Can`t I choose one from both?

15. If you fall in love with two people simultaneously who will you pick?

The one who makes me happier.

16. Would you give all in a relationship?

Yes.That is the only way to experience love.

17. Would you forgive and forget someone no matter how horrible a thing he has done?

I would like to ,for my own peace.

18. Do you prefer being single or in a relationship?

I love being in a relationship.At least when I am not fighting with Samrat.

19. Your all time favourite song? ONLY ONE

None.It keeps changing.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My kids

I have 32 kids and I love them.Well,before anybody passes out wondering how I managed to achieve that feat in just four months, hear this- These are the kids I am teaching through my job as a volunteer in a school.They are the reason I smile more nowadays.It started off when my neighbour told me that they are looking for volunteers in her son`s school.After a lot of delay,I finally got a call from my neighbour saying she was visiting the school and would I like to go and visit it with her.I was more than ready.We went and met the Principal and were given a warm welcome.I started working 3 days later.I loved it so much that i kept on asking for more and more kids to teach.The present count is 32 and there is place for more.These kids are from all over the world and each is a gem.They do and say such amazing stuff that I just had to write about it.
One pretty little tot,who was immaculately dressed,came to me for class one day.To aid comprehension,I ask them questions about what they read.So I asked her about dressing up.She told me she picked her own clothes.I was more than a little surprised,as she was wearing beautiful stuff ,coordinated to the last piece.So I said-Ah ,your mom must be keeping the clothes in pairs.She said -No.I do it.So I said-how did you know you had to wear these together and she looked at me like I was a retard and stated-because they match!
One kid was having difficulty with reading, so I gave her the usual-how are you going to help yourself? line.She looked at me in an exasperated way and said-Its my moms fault.She didn`t do this with me.
Another kid who also has a tough time reading kept on stuffing tissue up his nose between sneezes and whined-I cant do this cuz of all the sneezing.It just don`t allow me to read.
A darling got a treat from me, for reading well.So she hid it in her backpack saying-its not fair to the other kids.they will feel bad if I eat it in front of them and they dont have any.
One of my kids is from another country and is learning English from scratch.So patient and hardworking.I am inspired.To,spice things up,I learn her language after our calss.i have learnt 5 Albanian words till now.
One of my other kids ,who is also new to this country, was in tears on the first day.Ialmost wept with him as I could understand his sense of isolation.
The school authorities are thankful for the time I spend helping the kids.I am thankful for the chance to do so.They brighten my day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Making new friends

When I moved here, I was looking at the prospect of making new friends with some mixed feelings. On one hand I knew it would take it`s own time but on the other hand I also knew it would require effort and adaptation on my part. I also had numerous doubts and questions in my mind regarding the same (when,how, and what not). Well, I am glad to share that am moving along fine on that path. I made a few friends among my neighbours at the apartment and also some of Samrat`s friends we just met (Hey! forgot to mention my aunt and her hubby. super people). The world is full of nice people. It is sad to leave old friends, but the good thing is you make new ones and therefore have more friends in all. Each friend changes you in some way. You also appreciate the many different personalities that exist in this world and to test your resilience at understanding and loving so many different people. Any friendship teaches you things. In fact those that do not go well teach you the most. It just takes a long time to figure it out sometimes. It did for me.

Graduation Day

My cousin graduated from high school in June and we were fortunate to witness another important social milestone of American culture. It is a huge deal here, graduating from High school.It was held at a Jewish community Hall. As the seating was on a first come first serve basis, a lot of people were there right from 4.00 pm , although the function was at 7.00 pm. Samrat and I reached late because he had to get back from work.
I was feeling a little unwell that day. After a bit of a detour, we reached the hall and that was the time my system decided to revolt. (What is with these systems and social occasions)I mean my digestive system. As we were about to enter the premises, I asked Samrat to stop the car and I rushed out to relieve my nausea(I was suffering from sunstroke), and there I was in a new dress and high heels, with make-up on, retching away to glory, on all fours, in the lawn, bloody embarrassing.
Samrat didn`t know whether he should leave the car in the middle of the road or to park and come to help me. Meanwhile, a security lady officer who looked rather intimidating, drove up in a van and asked Samrat if i needed help. As soon as she drove off , two other officers proceeded to do the same.Only after ascertaining that I was not in any suspicious state did they drive off.
We reached the hall and the programme was in progress.Various people spoke (as it happens at such occasions) The people sitting on the stage were all formally dressed in gowns and hats.The chief guest Rick Wagoner (CEO of GM) gave an entertaining and humorous speech. The office bearers of this batch handed over their school colours to those of the next batch.
Meanwhile Samrat and I decided to nip out and have a sandwich to tide us over these long proceedings (also because the cookies and lemonade kept there were being guarded by the teachers as the public had started raiding them out of hunger and desperation). We returned to find that each student was being called on stage to receive the degree.All the students were sitting in a kind of a well ,just in front of the stage. They actually mentioned each students achievements and a few interests too.The audience was requested to not shout when a member of their family came on the stage, but some people ignored that advice. There were many Indian kids who were passing out too.
It ended with a student giving a concluding speech(my cousin) about wishing everyone luck in whatever they do. this was followed by the school anthem and then the kids in true Hollywood ishtyle, threw their caps into the air ,before they marched out. There was a lot of hugging and taking of photographs after that. The kids were wearing really nice clothes and changed into nightwear or gym wear for an all night party at an amusement park. They returned home next morning. The parents proceeded to their own party venues with friends etc. and that concluded graduation day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First Picnic

Then came memorial day holiday. It is a long weekend when nobody works. We went to my aunt`s lakeside condo. It was so pretty with ducks and geese and a small lake.. we walked on a beautiful trail later. We went to pick up some subway sandwiches for lunch. After a typical Indian tussle between my aunt and me (I will pay. No I will) I reached the counter to order my sub. I ask for capsicum and tomato along with other stuff. The sales guy goes`WH...AAA..t????' I instantly rewind n say `uhh .. Peppers and tuh-may-to' and he gets it right. People here find it very difficult to understand Indian English or maybe any English which is not American.
We attended a Dinner that evening. .It was a family get together . There was lot of chatting and A LOT OF food. surprisingly I had really nice chaat.It was in a Posh colony in a HUGE house. Seems to me , in US everything has got to be big.These people had a flat screen in their basement which was 56 or 60''(remember what i wrote about everyone liking big stuff). It felt good to be amidst so much noise and chatter as all through this day there was an undercurrent of stress. The guy who was supposed to handle Samrat`s transfer had left the company just a day before we landed. There was so much we did not know. It was a struggle to find out.sometimes stuff just took long to happen and sometimes got delayed without a reason.

The day Cops came home...
It was what seemed to be a wretched Saturday when this happened,but actually sounded really hilarious by the evening. What happened is.. We were supposed to rent out a car and there was some miscommunication and the rental guys didn`t know about it and were unwilling to give insurance. Over here you are courting disaster if you drive without insurance, so Samrat and I argued politely(in front of the salesman) and had to cancel our appointment to see an apartment because of this mess.
We came home and entered as usual(using an electronic code) and as soon as we entered the back door....A LOUD WEEE>>WAW greeted us and we freaked out.Both of us ran helter skelter to call my aunt as she was not home.I called her on the cell and said`Thisis an emergency,pls call back ' (and thinking my aunt would have a heart attack explained..)the burglar alarm has gone off. call soon. Don`t worry.(Boy i am weird. too many Hollywood movies I think.)) We decide to call up my uncle and as what often happens in such cases we couldn't find the paper with the numbers.And all this time the alarm is hollering away.
That sound can drive you insane. Then Samrat tells me in a very detached manner`u know the cops could come" and i answer from whatever the alarm has left of my sanity~i know"And Yes the cops do come. Two beefy ones ,complete in uniform,just as they showed in the movies,with the blinking flashlights in the police car.(I would have requested them for a photo on a better day)I am shaking by now and stammer "we are guests here. we don't know how to shut this.
He smiles and asks us for identification. I am meghna karnik(drivers licence) and Samrat is Samrat Sengupta in his. He asks if we have the same last name as the owner(how is that possible as according to this identification we don`t share a last name ourselves) and how we are related(My grandfather's brother's daughter or my father's first cousin on his mom's side) I just said niece.Then we actually asked him to shut off the alarm. He said he didn't know how to and all this while ,the alarm still blares on...
I try to call my aunt again but she doesn't pick up.He takes down our names etc and as we appear more and more flustered he actually smiles and says No problem Don't worry about it(I was beginning to have visions of me n sam hand cuffed n "u have a right to remain silent etc..)They go away but we are still going mad because of the alarm.Then it miraculously shuts off and we actually resume breathing normally but just like a cruel joke it starts all over again.
My aunt calls and gives us the combo of the alarm.We punch the buttons thinking now we will shut the damned thing off and.... Nothing happens! We try again and same results.And we just sit there like trapped animals, thinking" Phir ajayegi police"(police will come again) and all this time the bloody alarm just won't stop. My aunt rushes home and wonders why the alarm is still ringing.Poor thing! She got so worried when we called she gave us the wrong combination.
Finally she shuts the offending noise maker off and there is peace once again. and you know what we all do to calm down after this harrowing experience.. we have huge mugs of coffee(Nothing that a shot of caffeine won't do) Nutty or what!!!! The reason this whole thing happened was my cousin switched the burglar alarm on as we were supposed to go and see an apartment(refer to earlier lines:)) and not return home.

Monday, June 16, 2008

US Trip

My first day...
The flight was long but uneventful. At the immigration desk in NY we saw this young brash officer question a senior Indian lady in a shockingly rude and arrogant manner. He even asked her if she was lying and made her pinch her nose to check if it was real!! And all this while the passengers were being herded in the queue and some,like us were late for the connecting flight(We were lucky to get a good polite officer).My tagging of the luggage paid off and we made it to the next check in with our bags in tow. We were made to remove our jackets , shoes etc(no body search, Thank God!)There was also this young hep chick who was escorted to the flight by the officers.They actually lifted her bags for her. Lesson:: Dress well for your next flight. We had a stopover at Atlanta.
The Atlanta airport was HUGE.We had to take a mini train to travel to the other lounge.During lunch I stared at an Indian lady and she stared right back at me. After playing this game for some time ,I walked up to her and chatted. Turned out she is from Green acres colony Pune (very near to where I used to live before marriage). She remembered seeing me taking walks etc. Hmm . I also had my first US McD burger and coke.
We arrived at Detroit late in the evening , after our flight from Atlanta.It was so windy and chilly and grey. My aunt came to pick us up and drove us to this beautiful suburban neighbourhood called Livonia. She has a sweet house.In fact most people here have really beautiful houses and work damn hard to keep them that way.The next day was a working day for everyone. They all left for work and i got soooo lonely and wondered how I am going to manage the next eight months.