The Sky's Gone Crazy... Again

Itihaas gawa hai! Everytime I take a dig at British weather, it plays another trick on me. 
Now my blog is not so popular, but definitely Brit weather is following it, privately. "Look, that b***ch has b***ed about us again, so let's belt her up."

So here they came with this prank. Another 'upside down rainbow', or whatever you call it, spotted over Sussex last Sunday (merely two days after I wrote a not-so-nice blog on Brit weather). Last time it was seen in the sky over Cambridge. Read more about it here

The Sky is smiling. I am frowning. What next?

Read the original news here.   


“Remembrance of Things Past”

The Soulmate is bewildered at my new anglophile status. No, I am not mentioning about my last post, but he is annoyed with my constant cribbing over my recent move to a new country, my crying over my recent pseudo-friendless status following the move, and my unwillingness to adapt to a new environment. 

His theory: people from all over the world want to come to US, and to prove my sanity I should share the same feelings. He points out that it is a shortcoming of my character to crib and cry over my 'discontent with life' (his words not mine) and reminded me of similar situations when I made a big fuss of living in England. In retrospect, I dwell on nostalgia and tried to find out how I arrived to this situation. 

Within a week of my arrival in England, I realized why Englishmen (and women) start a conversation by talking about the weather. Well, when it rains 300 days a year (at least in Manchester, where I lived when I first moved to England), a comment on weather is the only effective way to ‘break the ice’. You go to work, and talk about weather with your colleagues before you start the day. There is a cute guys standing at the bar and you want to start a conversation, go and ask, “B’ful day. Huh?” Don’t worry even if it is 2 degree outside. If he is interested, he will sure come out with, “Could not ask for a better day”. 

You get so obsessed with weather that you bookmark the BBC weather website as your favourite, click the website for a rain check before you start your day, keep checking every hour of the day, check again before you go grocery shopping, before you plan a holiday weekend or a night out in the town with friends, and before you go to bed. It is beyond my understanding why the Met office waste so much money on weather forecasts when it is anyway going to rain. 

The second thing that hit me hard was the British fashion. There I was standing in Waterloo station like a sore-thumb in a canary yellow sweater, tangerine windcheater and my favourite purple scarf amid a sea of black coats, brown cardigans, black skirts, brown hats, black scarves and brown boots. I felt British fashion is hell bent on complimenting the British weather, always dark and grey. I was baffled initially with the tunics and dresses with no waistline, accessorized with oversized-bags, but over the next two years I slowly started appreciating those mini skirts and thin legs in opaque tights and big Ugg boots. I quickly tossed away those happy colours in my wardrobe and dressed myself in monochrome layers. This switch- over to darker colours did not make me an overnight fashion icon in Britain though. Passers by still sneered at me as I reached out for that extra layer of shawl even when I took a walk on the beach silently applauding the bravery of those who clanked their sky- high heels against the pavers and walked to the pub in near zero temperature in just a cocktail dress. 

With a new wardrobe, I also got myself a new lingo. You can read more about this here

Coming from India, my idea of going out with friends means gossips, movie, shopping, more gossip and stuff your stomach with junk foods. While the first four were readily available in England, unfortunately, the fifth was not. Other than Burger King and McDonald, hotdog was the only other roadside food available outside the shopping mall. Soon fish and chips, and potatoes in all states of existence (mashed, hashed, crashed and smashed) became my staple food, and kebab and chicken tikka masala was a regular for weekends (Little risky to ask for kebabs on a weekend evening, as u might be mistaken for another binge drinker). I always detested English breakfast. To me, a plate full of toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, black pudding, baked beans, hash browns, bacon, mushroom and tomato does not resemble a breakfast plate. Well, for ‘breakfast’ I need just breakfast, and not lunch or dinner. 

                                    Image Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_breakfast

After living on bland insipid food for seven months, I received my first food-fix in Slovenia. I was totally knocked down by the flavour of the food in Slovenia, reminding me that food can still be called food even if it does not contain potato. A year later, to reliven my ailing taste buds, I took it on a month long gastronomic expeditions trip around India. On a positive note, though, I will always miss those proper English cheddar, PG Tips tea (ummm) and baked beans. 

Image Source: www.moreintelligentlife.com

One thing that I totally got hooked to during my short (six months) working life in London is the underground services. Simply getting up in the morning and taking the tube to work had been a huge stress-buster. I loved my morning ritual of shooting out of south-west trains in the waterloo station cursing the new barrier gates, and queuing on the wrong side of the escalator (they drive on the left side, right? Then why que on the right side?), throwing few pennies onto the busker’s pitch and running to catch the tube while the busker’s tune still playing in my mind. I miss the community feeling of sharing the journey with that UCL undergrad in torn jeans, the corporate executive in a smart suit, and rest of the fairer species (including me) perfecting their make-up and ignoring jealous stares from men (just because you cannot shave on the tube does not mean that I should not put on my mascara). Leafing through freebies like Metro and London light, while getting my daily dose of celebrity gossips and scandals on the way back home made it a perfect day.

 Image courtesy: Sriram Boothalingam

Any day I will prefer driving on UK roads than in US, if only they take away the roundabouts. My asinine grey matter believes that those were made to mislead one certain Mr. Bonaparte and refrain him from following the British army back to UK. But, hey, I am not French, and your roundabouts have detoured me enough and spoiled the few driving excursions I braved to take. That reminds me, I should stop cribbing about LA downtown traffic and appreciate that they did not introduce roundabouts to ease traffic flow. 

Now coming to this point, I guess I am getting a little confused about whether I loved or loathed England. But one thing that tops of things I miss about England is- friends (did not get much chance to miss family having had a visit from him already). I miss having them at the beck of a call or at most a mail, just being able to walk down to the nearest pub with them, celebrating Desi Parties at all latitudes and longitudes of UK. I also miss the Brits a lot. Not always apprehending their dry sense of humour, I always appreciated the politeness though. 

I guess I am equally being missed. I should be missed by: 

1.   My friends- Guys, please support my point by putting nice and flattering comments.

2.   Manchester Rain- Nobody ever talked about them or gave importance as much as I did. During my time there, Manchester rain almost acquired the celebrity status just by getting mentioned frequently in mails, phone calls, personal conversations, and my blog.

3.   Virgin Trains- They surely fattened their profit bags and missing a customer like me who boarded them every weekend.

4.   Mr. Smith- The Pub Landlord’s Rottweiler, Mr Smith must be waiting every Friday for the hand that secretly passed him Walker crisps under the table.

5.   The sale racks on Oxford Street.

Remembrance of Things Past- This title is taken from a sonnet by Shakespeare



The Light Dose of a Heavy Lingo

Warning: Post may contain strong or potentially offensive language 

I decided to recalibrate my lingo again when 1) Tracy shot me a quizzical expression as I said ‘cheers’ when she passed me the drink during lunch time; 2) I got into the office elevator full of people and greeted ‘Allright?’ and every body stared back at me; and 3) I asked, ‘pardon?’ and my Malaysian born American brought up sis-in-law roared with laughter. 

The first time I had to tune up (or down?) my language was when I moved to England. I was walking down the corridor and a colleague casually asked ‘You allright?’ (in an accented ‘awwreet?’ way) and I went on to clue him up on how great the day was. I was later informed that this is just a greeting and you just ignore when somebody asks that as no answer is expected to this question, or just reply back with ‘Allright’. 

A few days after the corridor episode, I was working on my computer at 8 in the morning, and the printer decided not to cooperate. When it did not budge in even after several tries, I declared (probably a little loudly, unbeknownst to me) that I was pissed with it. That prompted my colleague to crane his neck out of his computer and retort, “But u r not drunk”. Why should I be? Anyway, I was again informed that, in England I can only get pissed when I’m drunk, and not when I’m angry. 

After few other similar incidents, I slowly grabbed the realization that my English needed some tweaks here and there. Anyway, I wasted no time in replacing my ‘Hellos’ with ‘you allright?’ (in that same  accented ‘awwreet?’ way), and got 'pissed' at appropriate times. 

I soon was fascinated by English people’s obsession with qualitative adjectives. The number of times they can describe something as awesome needs appreciation. Also note what all things on earth can be described as awesome. I too kept embellishing my conversation with “ohhh- that’s- a- fabulous- job, what- a- stupendous- act, incredibly- excellent- this, wonderfully- splendid- that, and awesome- blah- blah- blah”. Now please don’t blame me for following the British. I mean, how do you dare to avoid using excessive adjectives in your language when you are living in a country whose name starts with an adjective? The British make no attempt at hiding their fascination for this grammatical component and flaunt it by adding an adjective “The Great” in front of their country name “Britain”. This reminds me of two things:  

1)What would have happened if Alexander was born in 'The Great Britain' and not in Greece? He would have been called ‘The Great Alexander’ and not ‘Alexander The Great’.   

2) The British might say that the person who coined the term ‘Mera Bharat Mahaan’ probably made a small grammatical error. It should have been ‘Mahaan Mera Bharat’. 

With time my lingo fine-tuning continued. I learnt to pay three quids (£3) for my kebab, a fiver (£5) for pizza, and felt happy to see ‘everything under a tenner (£10)' written on a board hanging outside a restaurant window. The other day I 'skived off' (bunked) school to go to the 'Old Bill' (police) with my mate to report when his bike got 'nicked' (stolen). In London, I requested for 'bangers and mash' (sausages and mashed potatoes), went for a 'Ruby Mary' (curry) night with friends, and consoled a friend when her pet was declared 'brown bread' (dead). The later two are examples of rhyming slang of cockney speech and is mostly spoken in London. This cryptolect sometimes made me so nervous that I would jump up even somebody said something as innocent as 'raspberry tart' or 'jam roll'

                                     Image Source: http://www.effingpot.com/slang.shtm 

Any post on a language would be incomplete without the mention of it's slangs, more so if it is British slang. I marveled at the versatility of the word ‘Bollocks’. No matter what your emotion is- disbelief, regret or happiness; that one word- Bollocks- expresses all. Ohh, so you have some more emotions left? Koyee baat nahi, the word ‘bloody’ hai na. The most useful swear word ever discovered. I do not remember spending one whole day in England without at least hearing it once. And I’m abso-bloody-lutely serious.  Another multifaceted word is ‘do’, and can be used instead of any verb. So, you can use it as, ‘if you drive on the wrong lane, the police will do (prosecute) you’ to ‘Do u do (sell) sandwiches?’. 

I am refraining myself from listing out in how many different ways you can call a loser ‘a loser’ in the fear of getting my blog removed due to explicit use of obscene languages. But I can mention how you can praise someone. Just call him ‘Ace’, and he is a nice person. If he is called a ‘F***ing Ace’, he is a very nice person. Please be informed, in England, wherever you go out in the town, avoid 'Mickey' (drug laced drinks) and 'Billie' (cocaine), no matter how ace they are. 

The genning up on the Brit lingo has zonked me out a little. 

So TTFN (TaTa For Now). 


A New Cognizance

Image Source: www.cianellistudios.com

Once in a while my colleague from the next room walks into my office during lunch time and makes himself comfortable at the chair by the desk. The other day he walked into my room, his attention turned to the three small picture frames on my desk. There sits an old picture frame of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Saraswati traveling with me since the day I moved to my hostel room in Calcutta. Guilty of not following the ritualistic Hindu religious prayers, my spirituality ended in to bowing in front of the frames whenever I felt I needed some extra boost. I must confess that few of those prayers, mostly the ones which used to occur at inappropriate hours of the day, were tainted by selfish begging for wisdom, knowledge and to avert obstacles.

Recently there had been a new addition to the team of gods, another small frame bearing a picture of Goddess Lakshmi. I am afraid that in one of the future selfish prayers, wealth and prosperity might as well get added to the list. There is no end to greed, you know.

Now this time, my friend who comes from a mono-theistic religious background, stared at the pictures and started to study them intently. Having nothing else to divert his attention, I found myself fumbling to answer his queries. I was trying my best to give a comprehensible idea of Hindu denominations and our love of idolatry. Being no expert, and being brought up in a religiously liberal household, my efforts faltered soon.

I tried to explain why one of the Gods has a head of an elephant, how the four hands indicate God’s divine omnipresence, how each arm depicts a special aspect, with the lower right arm always in a blessing positions. My friend stopped me at this point. “Well, this goddess in white clothes, she is not blessing you. She is not even bothered. She seems more interested in playing her instrument”, he lamented. I looked back at the picture frame, the same pictures I have been seeing everyday for the past one decade of my life. And here it is. Obviously, the right arm of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi is in a blessing position, while Goddess Saraswati is just using that arm to play her Veena. I gave up, and thankfully lunch time got over.

Later that evening I came home and checked out the deities again sitting in my cupboard.

After a stressful time of reasoning and re reasoning, I thought I got an answer to my friend’s question. I could not remember if I had read it somewhere, or heard somebody telling it to me in childhood. But these were the words, while all the Gods and Goddesses always bless their devotees; Goddess Saraswati wants you to work hard to earn her blessings.

Hmm, so this clarifies why after each math paper, my desperate prayers for good marks were answered with some numerical digits which bestowed me with the honour to just able to pass the paper, bringing the average percentage down. All the time, She was sitting there on my desk, with her right arm retrieved from the blessing position, daintily playing the Veena, hinting me to work hard on my math lessons. It is me who could not decipher the meaning. Only it is too late to realize this now.


MCM's Diary

© Universal Press Syndicate

Ooops! MCM has done a blunder. MCM forgot to wish The Blog on it’s Birthday (1st B’day) and did not bother to post a blog either on that day. MCM says sorry to Frog Tales.

Yet, MCM feels better now. MCM is proud of actually being able to write two back-to back blogs within a week’s span. The first blog was to announce MCM’s return to blogsville. (Oh! MCM has fallen in love with the word ‘blogsville’). The second was an image of a newspaper cut out. It was about a Holy Cow.

MCM is also happy about this week’s Jhalak Dikhhala Jaa finale result. MCM’s favourite Baichung Cute Bhutia won the reality dance show JDJ (a la Dancing with the Stars). MCM could not vote for him, though.

MCM also met her friend Raj and his wife Pindi this week at LA after 13 years and chatted about good old days till morning.

MCM is worried about her other friends in Australia and prays that situation comes to control soon. MCM abhors the racist attacks on Indian students in Australia.

MCM is upset over the fight between multiplex owners and movie-makers. MCM urges them to sort out their problems and release a movie soon. MCM wants to see a bollywood masala movie.

MCM is excited to start to read Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth but is saving the book for upcoming Brazil trip. Lahiri’s book will be a delicious read on the flight to Rio.

And, last but not least, if, any of you, by any chance, want to know who is MCM, it is your’s truly. This morning I decided to (unofficially) adopt my Roommate’s surname (Mishra). So from MC, I have turned to MCM today.

Mr. Roommate is slightly intimidated at my sudden rush of love for his surname.

OK, that’s it. MCM is done.


Holy Cow!!!

I received a forwarded mail from a friend this morning. He sent this (looks like a cut-out from an old Hindi paper). Can't stop laughing since then. 

It reminded me of a childhood joke we cousins used to share- the infamous "Goru-r rachona" (essay on cow). Goru-r rachana looked stale compared to this.

A Fresh Start, Yet Again..

Image source: www.poetry-innerspace.com/

After a long lapse, I am starting over, yet again. It seems writing a blog is really not my cup of tea. In last few months I tried several times to put some words to my addled ideas. Each trial found my fingers flutter on the keyboard for a moment and then my fingers slowly move to the mouse to click my favorite blogspot links and I gaily flew around in Aparna’s variegated sky, listened to what Munmun speaks or had a peek at Sameera's haven. Aah, what a joy. So what if there were no bollywood releases for last one month. No complaints here.

Also with my recent move to a new country, I am keeping my record straight. That is, move to a new place every two- three years. I have moved bases five times in last seven years. I guess now I am getting the hang of “living out of suitcases”. Urban nomadism. Meanwhile amid the hustle and bustle of my struggle to settle down in a new city, my personal life appears to reach a cosmic standstill. I am wallowing in a confused state of being.

Not that I know what it is, But I know I do not like this.

Searching for a way out and I know I will sure find it…. soon.

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