May 22, 2011

Rewrite From Hell

The darling husband is sentimental about everything he sees or hears these days, which I think is a comical side effect of his brain finally being able to function without the noise and pollution of our erstwhile environs. Me? I just play loud music at home and walk past weed stores an awful lot to maintain my inner balance.

So anyway, here's an extract from a recent poetic post by the husband:

Imagine a cold, overcast day. Now imagine a quaint pub at the corner of a street by a canal. Entering it on a day like this is like entering a new world. You are sitting, chatting with colleagues with a glass of iced tea in your hand. Music plays in the background but faintly – for it doesn’t want to intrude on your conversation. In fact it is so faint that it sounds like a whisper from a world beyond ours. The music changes and your ears catch a vaguely familiar strain. But they can’t quite place it. Besides this is a pub – most of whatever little reached your ears is drowned in conversations around you. That nagging sense of familiarity persists – and the inability to clearly hear the music strengthens it. Then suddenly, by some stroke of good fortune, the conversations at your table and at the table beyond and at the bar stools pause for a fraction of a second – as if everyone was reading from the same page and encountered a full stop. And you hear with unmistakable clarity a voice that you know can only be Paul McCartney softly crooning:

Michelle, my belle.
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble,
Très bien ensemble.

I challenged him that I could better this, and here's my version:

Miserable cold day! Thank God for the cosy pub. English music drowned by chatter and tinkling glasses, as usual. Wait! Don’t I recognize that song? Maybe if I could HEAR it you know! Ah! Paul of the Mc Cartney variety of course! I love you, I love you, I LOVE YOU with increasing urgency, as if waiting in a long bathroom queue. But why is it so quiet all of a sudden? Oh nerve gas! Ouch! Bye! Logging out!

Look at the economy of words! The depth of feeling! The stream of consciousness! I'm wasting my talent I say! :)

And now look at Maamu McCartney putting the song to real good use!

May 11, 2011

Notes from the first month in Amsterdam

I slept during My Name is Khan, so I don’t know what the plot is
But thanks to that blasted movie I know all about the epiglottis
Grammar, even English, has been tantalizingly out of my reach
But in the Netherlands I know the epiglottis is THE part of speech

My facebook status message has a cute little heart
That says Inky is in a relationship with her OV Chipkaart
It’s the choice that’s so amazing, but it’s the choice that I loathe
Debating between tram and metro, I often miss them both

I have zout popcorn in one hand, zoet popcorn in the other
It’s all good roughage, I tell my concerned mother
And the only problem with Oude and Jong kaas
Is that they are bleddy going directly to my arse

May 09, 2011

Paradigm Shift

So I'm all shiny and clean at 4pm, dressed in slimming all-black (note to self, you need black MAGIC to look slim) and walking down the road along the canal humming a Bollywood song to myself. A bike slows down beside me, and the raggedy rider says "Excuse me? single? single? EXCUSE ME? SINGLE?"

My first Dilliwali impulse is to abuse him and shove my shoe into one or more places in his anatomy, but then I remember I am in Amsterdam. I smile and say:

"This is Prinsengracht. Go a bit further up and take a left. You'll be on Singel"

P.S. Dilli or Amsterdam, you will be rammed into by two-wheelers even when you're crossing the road correctly. Some paradigms never shift.

May 08, 2011

Moving and Stuff

On the night of April 8, we were standing at Indira Gandhi Airport with two-and-a-half bags, and over the preceding three weeks, we had ensured that those bags contained practically all our worldly possessions (56kg in all, to be precise).

Making a fresh start involved not just the mandatory letting go of a rented house, phone number etc. but a practical erasure of our Bangalore footprint! All our furniture. gadgetry and electronics were given/sold away, practically all the books we had collected over the past many years were sold to Blossom or given to friends, the husband's painstakingly collected music CDs, all 500 of them, found new homes, and when we handed the keys of the apartment back to the landlord, it was as empty as the day the husband had moved in.

We’d always taken pride in how little stuff we owned, and how we had been able to emotionally detach ourselves from our possessions. While turning the house inside out, we discovered that we were not quite as virtuous as we thought.

One month later, here we are: in a bigger house(!) with very little stuff and very limited storage space. Here’s hoping we’ll be able to live out our philosophy this time.

May 05, 2011

Amsterdamned Fools

The early thirties are a defining period in many couples’ lives in India. It’s time to start a family, to buy a home, to get onto the managerial track at work (for one or both partners), and suchlike. It’s too late for the rash decisions of youth, and too early for the follies of a midlife crisis. Although it is the time to enjoy the thrill of definitively coming into adulthood, it is also the time of the birth of fear. The need to hold down that job to pay that EMI, the need to hold on to your senses to be able to be there for your parents on the one hand, and the kids on the other.

And, very rarely, it is the time of sticking your middle finger at the slings, arrows, bouquets and brickbats of outrageous fortune, chucking your secure jobs, hugging your forever-to-be-grandchildless parents, selling/giving away/throwing out all your worldly posessions, packing your life into 23-kilo suitcases, and moving to a new country where only one of you has a job (with the same designation with which he started 11 years ago!)

In four days, we celebrate one month of moving to Amsterdam, for better or for worse (for good? there's no way to know.)

I’ve learnt some disturbing things about myself along the way, and the silence of the last few months has not been due to the absence of things to say, but because I’ve had too much to process.

The husband has been posting in his Zen way on his blog, so you can check out how we’ve been passing our days if you’d like. For the uncensored craziness, watch this space.