Friday, November 02, 2012

My romantic tryst with Sydney

Sydney... Where do I start? And how do I end? I am not sure. I am here in the plane, flying back to India after saying goodbye to Sydney. And all I know is, I have left a piece of my heart back in a place where I feel I still belong. I am sitting here reminiscing about things and people that changed my life in the last few months. It’s strange. I didn't know it’s possible for me to get this emotional. I should be happy because it was my decision to leave and I have so many things to look forward to, so many changes to look forward to. I am happy. Oh I am usually happy whatever happens. But still why do I feel so hollow? Kaash.. If things were a little different, I wouldn't have left Sydney.

I remember the day I landed in Sydney. I came out of the airport and I felt like I have come 
home. No one was there to receive me nor did I know anyone well enough to feel at home. But I knew that this place and I shared some strange connection, a spiritual and a soulful connection. I always trust my instincts. My instincts may not be always logical, but they are always right. My instincts and feelings were strong - Sydney felt like home from the very first beginning. I believe in destiny and my stay in Sydney was a perfect destiny’s play and everything happened like it was beautifully written by God’s own hands.
I grew up in a family that is predominantly male dominated. I have no sisters and all my cousins are mostly boys.  I am able to appreciate sports now because of them. But I have always wished that I had a sister to share and fight over girly things. I have girlfriends with whom I share gossips, fight over silly things, drool over some romantic movies. But there is nothing like living under the same roof and doing the same things. And I experienced all that in these last few months. I had the best room-mates and I had so many “girls just wanna have fun” moments. We cooked together, explored places together, got lost together, got mad at each other and still stuck together.  

Just like seasons change, so do people. I was in Sydney for winter and spring. And both the seasons were so different. As the seasons changed, I experienced the changes in the city, people and myself.
Winter in Sydney is not extremely cold, weather is milder compared to other places like Melbourne. Usually it isn’t easy for anyone who moves to a city for the first time and so I fell sick. Thankfully for me, I had wonderful colleagues and I also moved to Unit 3 what I called home till the end which made me settle down quite well. I met the best people, shared the best memories and I had the best time. I joined a badminton club where I played every weekend, shopped a lot, watched a movie every Saturday night with friends and we promptly watched the latest Bollywood movie releases too. My Hindi vocabulary interestingly got better and I learnt to cook different dishes and my life was filled with a fusion of multicultural diversities. Personally, winter in Sydney made me change. I started becoming more “me”, the city and the people helped me realize who I really am. I felt a soulful freedom and independence in the true sense. I explored Sydney with friends in ways best known to us and that’s when I fell in love with Darling Harbour.  I felt a strange connection with Darling Harbour the same way I felt when I landed in Sydney the first day. There is something about that place that made me feel so good every time I went there. The harbourside, the Saturday fireworks, the restaurants and bars, the people – Darling Harbour always got me heady. I love that place and I know that there is a magical connection that I share with Darling Harbour that I can’t explain. I did not travel beyond Sydney except for a short visit to Canberra & Snowy Mountains. I was curious to know Sydney better and experimenting with it was absolutely joyous.

Spring came by and things changed drastically. People moved out of my life. New flat-mates, new colleagues, new fun came in. But somewhere in the midst of all this, I decided that it’s time to leave. And Sydney rained. That was another thing I shared with Sydney. Whenever things were sweet, Sydney rained. And when my heart cried, Sydney cried too. I really didn't want to leave Sydney but I would like to think that I took the decision that was best for me. I wasn't sure if I would ever come back to Australia so I went to Melbourne to meet an old friend and made a trip to Goldcoast with friends. I made it a point to make the best use of whatever time was left.  I truly enjoyed the Australian wildlife; one can’t find such exotic species anywhere else in the world. I hugged a cute cute koala, fed kangaroos and colourful birds. My heart melted when a kangaroo held on to me like a baby as I fed it. I didn’t mind when one big green parrot took a particular liking to me, ate off the grains from my hand and unknowingly scratched me with its big claws. I walked in the Australian rain, went bush walking on the blue mountains, experienced the tree top adventures – loved the tarzan jump and sliding on the rope, went on all the deadly rides in Dreamworld theme park – the giant drop was the best adrenaline rush, gambled and won in the Crown Casino, partied hard, visited beaches and collected sea shells for my mom, Skywalked 260m above ground level and jumped on the glass ceiling and waved a big hello to people down below. And that was spring - fun with vengeance, lived life like there was no tomorrow and there was no stopping me.
There are so many more things that I wanted to do- eat mangoes in summer, go sky diving and scuba diving, visit Great Barrier Reef, go for an Opera show, get autograph from Master Chef people,  visit Taronga Zoo, meet Juan Mann for a free hug  and many more such things. But it all ended abruptly. My stay in Australia was cut out like a jigsaw puzzle. I don’t think it could have ended any other way because everything was cut out like it had to end this way.  But how can this jigsaw be complete with so many missing parts? Maybe.. Maybe I will visit Sydney again in the future someday to fill them all up. Until then, life will go on. 6 years ago, I wrote a blog post - Life goes on and ever since I wrote that post, life has moved on for me. Now, I know that there will be moments when things or names will remind me of Sydney and those precious moments will warm my heart and bring a tear to my eyes and a smile to my face. I know memories will remain. And I also know that no matter what, life will go on.
Now as my flight is descending, I am thinking that just as this journey has changed my clock to go backwards, I wish I could really turn back time to one windy evening in Sydney that I will never forget - when after a great day at work I went shopping, I stopped at one of the bars at Darling Harbour, listened to a live rock band and I felt the same strange unexplainable feeling that told me that this is not going to end. That evening, Sydney rained.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Unspoken

In the mad mad crowd,
In the cold evening suddenly,
When my knees become weak,
When my heart skips a beat,
When my cheeks become warm,
And when I forget to breathe,
When all I think of is you,
Darling, I don't have to search for you,
I know you are here coz what I feel is you!

Baby, won't you tell me?
Why do you do this to me?

I promise myself I won't look at you,
All promises crumble suddenly,
When you stand in front of me,
When you look with intense eyes,
When you give a gentle smile,
And when all I do is cry deep inside,
When you leave me with words denied,
Darling don't walk away, tell me how you feel,
Coz I know what we share is real!

Baby, won't you tell me?
Why do you do this to me?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Please drive responsibly!



On Mar 2, 2012 I met with a road accident. A day I would never forget. Well no one forgets accidents. Even if I would like to forget the day, I can't. Because I have a fractured clavicle that will remind me of the day for the rest of my life. It was a classic case of drunken driving. An undivided two way lane, a drunken guy from the opposite side drove his vehicle to the other side of the road, hit the guy in a scooter who was driving in front of me. The worst part was, I knew this was happening and I applied the brakes. But fate has its way. The drunken guy in his inebriated state hadn't had his share. He accelerated instead of applying brakes, hit my vehicle and took the vehicle behind me down as well. Three victims because of one guy's intoxication. I don't remember anything much after that. Except that, I really wished my husband hadn't had to travel again and that one sweet girl with a presence of mind helped me at the right time (we became friends later). I ended up with a clavicle bone fracture while the other two victims too got away with bruises and fractures.

But this post is not only about my accident. I just read a tweet by my friend. His friend passed away in a road accident. He died young. It pains me. It saddens me. It angers me. I wish people drive more responsibly. We are dealing with lives here. Do they understand the pain of loss of loved ones? I almost lost my dad in an accident. Do they know what kind of emotional and physical trauma the victim undergoes if they survive? Do they know what the family goes through? Do they know that its horrible to die young with all dreams crushed? Have they even thought about it? Did they think about it when they had that drink and chose to drive in that intoxicated state?

It's just not about irresponsible driving. People in India think its a joke to wear seat belts. Some I know laugh at the idea. They proclaim, "No one in India needs to wear seat belt". To them, the concept of wearing seat belt is "westernized" because only in western countries, people wear seat belts. Western countries have strict rules and you are penalized if you don't wear seat belts and that's why they wear seatbelts. That doesn't make the concept of wearing seatbelt "westernized". I know Indian government has brought law to wear seatbelt and helmet as compulsory . But oh with all the corruption, one can easily bribe the police and get away. But, what are you bribing? You are bribing someone's life or your own? I remember I had a chat with a lady in the gym in India. She said, "I don't want to wear a helmet. My hair gets sticky. the law for compulsory wearing of helmets should be only for men. Not for women". I tried to talk some sense to her and she never spoke to me after that. Not my problem. Some lawyers supported women like her and protested against the law and wanted women to be excluded from this rule. Women's rights, hate to say it, can be violated for all the wrong reasons. I don't understand why women should be excluded. Don't we have the right to live?

The problem is also because it's easy to get a driving licence. One can pay money to the right people (read wrong people), skip the tests and get a licence. They say that they are strict about issuing licences now. But then the shady business still survives. The moment I enter the RTO, I can see it stinking of corruption. The count of illegal licences increases and irresponsible drivers having no clue about road rules increase too. Not surprisingly, they would be the ones behind most accidents. Everywhere you go, you will see haphazard driving. Who really cares about rules? Who cares to indicate while switching lanes? Who cares to stop for signals? Honk. Honk and force the vehicle in front to move just an inch forward so that you can squeeze your way through and jump signals. Traffic everywhere? In a hurry? Get the vehicle on to the footpath. Who cares about pedestrians? Why care when everyone is just like you?
I wish I can shut my eyes and ears from all this and move on. But I can't! I have seen what this does to people I love. I have seen what this does to me. I have seen what this does to people I know! How can I be immune to this?

Please people, drive responsibly! You don't need rules to be responsible. You just need a heart!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Another day in paradise

I was walking down the streets of Sydney to take a taxi when I saw an old lady walking slowly with couple of bags. She was finding it difficult to walk up, or so I thought. I wanted to help her. I wanted to do something for her. But I wasn't sure if she will be offended if I offered to help. I was looking at her while I was walking down and then it was too late to ask because before I could make up my mind, I walked past her.

And then my instincts took the better of me, I looked back. To my surprise, she had stopped and she was looking at me and was saying something to me. I ran up to her and before I could say anything, she said, "You are a very good girl. You are looking nice. You are good". I asked if I could help her carry her bags. She shook her head and all she said was "You don't have to. You are good" and she walked away. Silly me, I cried while I walked away and took my taxi.

Later when I thought about it, I really don't know why she said all that to me and I don't know why I cried. But there is one song that I was reminded of - Phil Collin's "Another day in paradise". And I promised myself that next time, wherever I am, I won't think twice to help anyone in need. I definitely don't want to miss another day in paradise.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Life and giant wheels

Life is a roller coaster ride eh? I say, Life is a giant wheel ride.
It takes hell a lot of time to climb up,  hoping and building the excitement.
Then it stops. It gives you time to digest the fact that you have reached the pinnacle.
And then whoosh, you come down in a jiffy.
But wait, the ride down is the most exciting part.
And you know you will be going up again anyway. :-D