Swimming in a new pool

We buy fishes for our home and put them in the tanks we buy for them and they start swimming. As long as you provide the essentials, they live for as long as 10 years. In essence, they keep swimming in the new pool without any hesitation. At least that’s what I think.

What about humans?

What does one do in a new environment?

Whether it’s a new workplace, a new house, a new hostel, a new college, a new place, or a new job. We set a routine and slowly personalize the space we use. We bring in things that are comforting. We put up photos, our stuff, cups, trinkets and even books and papers. Basically, we just spread our stuff around so that wherever we may look, we find something of ours. It marks that space as ours. Just ours. When we finish, put our hands on our hips and look around, there will be this satisfaction. This feeling happens only after we get transplanted and build our own nest wherever we are. It’s the feeling you get that this is the place you’ll be at for the next few years.

When it happened to me, I put all my books on the table. Novels, texts, notebooks…

What would you place in your sight?

I would never think of placing funny figurines, like my friend does or to put all the food stuff out. There are also people who put all their makeup in trays, or cups and plates close by. But it made me realize that this is what makes people so uniquely different. That this is how people remember their home.

It’s very difficult to admit, but when you’re at home, you dream of flying and when you are free and independent, you miss home like anything. No matter how successful, independent or busy you are, home is home. And you’ll miss it.

It’s a rule. We always think that we would never look back and wish we had more time to enjoy whatever it was back then. It’s true when more experienced people say that whatever phase you’re going through, it will be silly once you reach their age.

All the proverbs, cliches you can think of childhood sound true now that you’re no longer a child, but it doesn’t mean you have to regret. You don’t have to regret anything, because whatever  happened made you who you are. So, just look back…laugh out loud at how silly you were and smile. Memories are precious. You’re lucky to have made them.

Basically, just smile.

Who knows, what if you just made someone’s day by just smiling???

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Trains and trips

When you go on trips, there always some things that you’ll never forget. Whether it be the snoring guy across the aisle or the kid who thinks of you as a drum, and my personal favourite is the dedicated employee, whose paperwork and next day work everybody knows since he kindly shouts it through the phone.
Well, life is funny but once you get on the train, it gets even more funnier. Why? Here are the reasons.
1) You get to play musical chairs
The seats 9 and 10 were ours, but the two were window seats of two different rows. There were people sitting in 8 and 9 and a middle aged lady in 10. The young ladies of 8 and 9 requested us to cooperate to give them those seats as theirs were 6 and 8. When they looked at us and saw that ours were also apart, they were very desperate. Then, the elderly gentleman of seat 5 willingly rose to sit in front on seat 10, which was already occupied as mentioned earlier. When he saw that it was a lady who’d occupied it, he sat back down saying that he hadn’t seen that the seat had been occupied. Then, the girls in 8 and 9 were asked to sit in 5 and 6 while the man in 5 sat in 9. Then one of us sat in 8. I was about to ask the lady to give me my seat, which was 10, but I sat in her seat which was 11. So we sat in perfect harmony as we didn’t bother each other. Then comes the man of seat number 12 and the mother and child sitting in seat 14 asks him if they can sit in 12. So 13 and 14 are all men now, and 10, 11, 12 are all women. Then everyone enjoyed the AC journey in calm bliss.
2) You get unofficial work experience
You hear the man speaking loudly on the phone and the way he talks could indicate that some sort of financial crisis is happening in some office. His serious yet loud tone carries to atleast 2 rows in front and behind. You hear him imparting valuable advice on how to find the file kept in his shelf and how to read the name of the company on the file. Then you will hear him speak of dizzying numbers on how long he worked to get that particular project done and the finances spent. After that comes the most important lesson of how to advance in your career, let others know how important your job is and how important you are to the company you work in by repeating that YOU did it first.
Thank you dear man, for letting the entire coach know the filing system you follow which is clearly more efficient than anyone else’s and the way you effectively complete your work after the due date and still come out a star. Note: You may require this in your future job.
3) You will discover fun, new mobile apps
How is that possible, you might ask. It’s simple. The person sitting in front of you will be playing every single game or party app which has the most horrible music you ever would have heard. Each click and swipe is heard so clearly that you know what his score is without even seeing. Now you know when to cheer for him and when not to. Do not talk to him when he is sitting silently after all of his lives are over, he is now a fuming volcano.

There are these kind of people who annoy, irritate and infuriate you but on the other hand, there are some people who change you without being conscious of it.
4) You can find a variety of people

The mother who is traveling to her son’s college because he falls sick, is concerned and trying not to panic and talks to her neighbor in an attempt to distract herself during the short yet long ride. In her rant, she reveals how hard she has been working to send her son the fee while he goes on spending it for his “friends”.

5) You learn to be agile

Not to be sarcastic, but really you never feel like disturbing the kid who has been jumping all this time and suddenly falls asleep. No matter how much his energy has tired you out simply by watching him, when he blocks the aisle and you have to answer nature’s call, you just maneuver yourself and try not to brush him, not because you don’t want to wake him up but because you’re envious of the way he sleeps. Deep inside, a part of wishes you could go back to that age and sleep just as innocently. So you probably strain your entire torso away from the child and inch away slowly, like you’re about to brush against an infrared beam in a high security museum.

6) You learn patience

After reasons 1 to 5, it would be amazing if you didn’t learn what patience is.

***

So…go and find a reason to enjoy a train ride which would always bring you unexpected memories. Trains are fun, whether they are long or short. You see a whole new world. You find funny things happening around you. You get to see people, know them, understand them.

And it’s just awesome.

So, what all experiences have you had while on trips?

Rewind and remember with fondness…

😀

Everyday Happiness

Sometimes you really feel the need to get away. What if you got an opportunity to just take two weeks off and pack and go somewhere where you have to do nothing.  It would be a godsend, especially when you have that pressing feeling in your gut to just unload. For someone who dreams of living in a small house on the side of a cliff, it’s like a dream come true to have a trip.

A journey no matter how small it is, is still a journey. The thoughts of packing, of seeing something new, of experiencing things…it all shows how much you are alive.

What do you do when you can’t go anywhere?  You may just have a weekend, or even a few hours to relax. What then?

It’s not always possible to find the time or resources to just whisk yourself away to another country. It takes time and effort and…to be honest a good amount of money.

For someone who is aware of the constraints and responsibilities placed upon them, it is easy to get bogged down with thoughts. You find yourself increasingly irritable or maybe moody. Your mind drift and you find yourself immersed in thought, sometimes dreams. If it is cold, you imagine a warm place, maybe a beach or a fireplace or a cup of hot chocolate. When it’s hot, you imagine about a place where there are cool winds and distant mountains. You would get up in the morning and stand in the balcony and gaze upon the scenery. When the rain clouds come, you’d take a chair and place it there and watch as the lightning comes closer and closer.

And suddenly you’re yanked back into reality and you think, “Yeah, right. As if that’s going to happen!”

But there should be ways to unwind.

Whether you have days or hours to spend on yourself, there are always ways.

You could just sleep with the speakers on loud. Close the door for a while and let no one in. No phones, no work, no nothing. If you find yourself thinking of all the things to do, just sing the song you’re listening to. Or at least focus on the lyrics.

I have found that thinking about the story or imagining the plot of the story behind the lyrics relaxes me. It sounds crazy, I know. But I find myself imagining the people involved, the emotion behind the words and it’s like I’m watching a movie in my mind.

I found my own way to peace.

What could be yours?

My friends and I are separated by miles and continents. What we do to unwind is send messages of music lyrics. We just send these lines which could be about anything and we just hang out. It sounds weird, but it helps a lot. We get the feeling that we’re together, singing along instead of being apart.

This is our way of finding solace.

Every day brings a new question of “What would today be like?”

It’s a matter of finding happiness, in the most basic way.

It’s like getting a cool drink when you’re parched, a warm blanket when watching midnight movies, a song that suddenly describes you, a joke that tickles you, the smell of home.

You need to ask yourself…you need to think before you sleep.

“What’s my ‘everyday happiness’?”

 

In Nairobi

I knew that Nairobi was green unlike other cities and was quite contrary to the idea of an “African Country”.

No, it’s not all dry and deserted. It’s green. It’s very green.

I keep saying green because I have no other explanation.

Hilly ranges, dark grey clouds overhead, you’re in a car waiting for the incredible traffic jam to clear, and you see blooming trees, cacti, people going here and there in a hurry, a stiff breeze going through the leaves, and then you’re off in a smoky haze. That was my first sight of the world outside the airport.

What amazed me was the climate. The two weeks I stayed there, the temperature varied between 16 to 22 degrees Celsius. Though I cannot bear cold weather, my chilled hands and cold nose gave me joy. I know that it sounds weird, but to me a pleasant climate is 26 to 30 degrees.

The city of Nairobi had big roads, lots of foliage and walkways. By walkways I mean, paths by the side of the road which had plenty of shade and is meant for jogging or running or walking! (obviously).

I was surprised since almost all the residences were done with stone walls and tiled roofs. Classy and English, I thought. The city had certain safe zones where residences can be built without worry of any threat. These zones were meant for diplomats, businessmen or affluent people.

Only those who had the financial setup could afford to even think of living in such an area, let alone afford the security. But recently, all residential complexes offer a guard as one of the amenities. Like we have water and electricity. Since, Nairobi is the capital city, it boasts 3G coverage and lots of shopping malls. And by comparison to the malls we have back at home, these are huge. We’ve been to the Yaya Mall, The Village Market, Junction and Diamond Plaza. Just going around the malls and seeing the variety of shops there, I could actually understand which items people were looking for. At Diamond, we could shop for vegetables and spices and curries and pickles…all things required for an Indian kitchen. So, there at Diamond we can find a lot of Indian families, shopping and having a tea or snack at the restaurant after shopping. At the Yaya Mall, it was more of a branded showroom mall. It had all international brands and is an ordinary mall, by mall standards. On the other hand, The Village Market had a lot of boutiques and souvenir shops. It also had a dining area in the middle where various food chains had a booth. For shopping for something exclusively Kenyan this would be the place. Especially if you’re looking for jewellery, wooden artifacts, or woven cloth.

Of course, the malls are the more expensive option and to get the same Kenyan memorabilia at cheaper and good prices, head to the Maasai Market.

I know that a lot has been said about it on the web and there are even instructions on how to bargain with them, but none of it could explain the delight I had when I saw all these wooden statues, hand baskets, key chains and a whole lot of other stuff. There was something in every size. From tiny dogs made of soapstone to man-sized paintings and sculptures, you can get anything from there. There were key chains made of leather fashioned as drums, wooden masks, small headrests for beds, bead bracelets, jewellery boxes made of a stone they call Njami-Njami, trinkets, Maasai blankets, pipes, coasters, murals etc.

I wanted to buy the entire market but I guess I would have to buy 3 houses to put all of the things in. I had a great time there and I would willingly spend all my money there. And the greatest thing was, I was with someone who knew the prices and had to do very little bargaining to buy us the thing at a very good rate.

So, if you ever go to Nairobi, even if you don’t see anything else, go to the Maasai Market. There’s something for everyone and you’ll automatically be fascinated by all the display items.

But a word of caution, take someone who knows the language and you can trust, never go alone, because if you do, they locals will rob you literally and figuratively. The prices of the things you want to buy would be cutthroat and you’ll probably find your wallet missing in all the action. The locals are polite and friendly, but in market areas they can snitch your purse while smiling at you all the time!

Nothing personal. It happened once to a friend.

So, that’s it for today.

The travails will continue…