So you know how I have been unbelievably positive and highly unlike my ranting self about this whole moving home episode? But slowly yet surely, my cultural blinkers drowned in cook-made mutton curry and wrapped in cook-maid perfect rotis are coming off. And I am ready for a more realistic update. Here’s a laundry list of all that’s getting my goat. There is a caveat but I will hold on to it until after I have finished the rant.
People. I don’t even know where to start here. So I wrote a few weeks ago that in general, people have unbelievable knack and will to just GET SHIT DONE. Hell yes, they do. But what they also have is an inane inability to say no. Of course I am totally discounting the agency folks here, because I feel like we’ve sort of mastered the art of saying unnecessary no’s when a yes is an easy and less time consuming option but that’s a rant for another day. I am talking about house helps, plumbers, and other kinds of support systems you find around. I rarely get an honest response to “Can you…” here. Small example. We booked a car that was heavily in demand but obviously our sales guy committed we’d get it in a few weeks. We are driving around in another car now, and that first car we’d booked never did see the light of day. You ask a cook if she can cook north indian. Hell yes, she can. She’ll figure it out while feeding you on god awesome rasams and very mediocre mish mash of sabzis that don’t and shouldn’t belong to any part of the country. But figure out, she will. I don’t really know if this is a good thing or not but I can tell you that dealing with this needs patience. And the innate ability to take all timelines and commitments with a pinch of salt. Nobody is lying, you see. It’s just the way it is.
Then of course is the undying love for all things “chik chik”. It’s taken me MANY years to get to this place of peace and quiet and solid unwillingness to start a fight unless absolutely necessary. And even when necessary, a little sarcasm and little shoulder shrugging “meh” has gone a long, long way. But we like to fight man, here. So many thing are made so unnecessarily over complicated that it leaves you spellbound just watching how it all unfolds. And by the time it’s done, you’re drowning in your own foolishness because you were so captivated just watching how much importance is put on the most unnecessary nonsense that you may have missed all your cues.. Just watching, enamoured, at how we’re constantly on the look out for insignificant wins at the cost of looking very, very stupid. I could go on but I’ll choose not to. I have said enough.
I also remember being enamoured by ad campaigns in India, to the extent of bawling my eyes out over mummy papa ads. I had been lucky, I had somehow always managed to work with some very sorted people in my last stint at home. But it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that the ad campaigns come from a place of intense angst, unnecessary politicking and just “trying too hard” for things and wins you don’t even need. Not out of creativity, inspiration, and happy feels, as they should.
Then there is the complete lack of respect for personal time. You can draw all the lines you want, but people will find a way to haunt you. The idea here, is to know the opportunity cost of drawing boundaries. I have, do, and I am ok with it.
Then of course there is infrastructure. An all night drizzle and the city melts down, man. I have seen this before, back in my Bombay days. But that was a low-lying city with torrential rains. Bangalore does not have that excuse. Saying that the infrastructure is bad is an understatement. It feels like a tsunami hits the city every time a little timely, feel good rain happens. What a bloody dampener.
So yeah, things are CRAY CRAY. And just watching all of it unfold is insanely hilarious when you are not bordering on a melt down of your own. Trust me, I have ended up finding humour in these situations far too often than I would have a few years ago. And I keep wondering if I am losing my mind or have changed so drastically over the years that I can’t get a grip on who I really am. But in any case, I like this person far too much.
Despite all the everyday heartburn that I could possibly suffer at the hands of all the angst and chaos that have surrounded my these last few weeks, I am walking around with a spring in my step and all. I have only one way to explain this. Borrowing a line from the now confusing and often infuriating ad and marketing industry – tedha hai par mera hai ye. I have found myself saying this a lot of late. And what I have also been reminding myself is that the angst and unnecessary, insignificant wins is a trap. It’s the freedom I came back for, and I am protecting my piece of it, at all costs. I could either fall into the trap and be the person I used to be before I grew up a little. Or I could resolve not to let the learnings of the last four years away from home go to waste and I could CALM THE F DOWN, even in the face of all that’s happening. Anybody’s guess which one I am opting for. Let’s just say that the last 7 years of living with a Buddha reincarnate and 4 of living in a country where “letting go” was part of the social fabric, have had an irreversible effect on me. And I am not about to let it all go that easily.
Watch this space.