Bangalore to London

You only get scared of the giant wheel till you are on it, after that it’s a fun ride you will never forget

Well, well…this is evidently a long pending post that is almost four months late. But I should say it’s in time to greet the Chinese Year of the Dragon. Anyway, after much procrastination and some tough decisions (like deciding not to make my blog a travel diary) I have moved my lazy ass to sit down and write a post for ‘2012’.

First things first, I am not writing from Bangalore, the city which was my home for the last three years and which drove me so damn nuts that I created a blog diary The Color Purple (which thou art reading at the moment) to share my inner most depressed thoughts with the unsuspecting public. :p I am also not writing from my family home in the little beach town Udupi on the west coast of Karnataka where I spent the first 21 years of my life and took refuge from the madness of the world now and then. I am writing from Kingston upon Thames, a borough of London in the far away island of United Kingdom.

I am no longer a workaholic Public Relations professional or a financially independent ‘Fire-brand’. I am a student dependent on parents for pocket money. I no longer live in a cramped rented 1BHK house in Bangalore with a half crazy roommate, filling my lungs with nicotine while pounding out blogs and stories to de-stress. I am writing sitting in my own cubby hole of a study-bedroom with no way of filling my lungs with nico while I write for fear of setting off the fire alarm. I no longer write to de-stress, instead I write full time as apart of my Creative Writing course.  How life changes doesn’t it?

Flashback to January 2011. Overworked. Stressed out. Neurotic. Grumpy. Depressed. You get the drift. That’s when this great idea finally crossed my mind. I thought, “why not go back to University and complete my education? How about doing my Post-grad? I could do with a break right? I had to get that all-day-smile my friends oh so missed back on my face”. It sounded like a great plan and the research began over Kingfisher-Strong powered late night online sessions. A plan emerged, only to be cut short by the family astrologer (to whom my well meaning mother relays every event in our lives) who said I should drop any such plans. After much motherly emotional drama- which every Indian mother worth her salt would approve of- I decided to drop the plan. Well family comes first right?

February and March zipped by and I continued with the banal existence. Then the heavens opened up and sent me a divine message. It was April and I was in the middle of a lead-up meeting to the annual review session at work, sitting across my Boss and was fielding some googlies meant to see how ready I was to take on more responsibility when I was asked this oh-so-irritating question, “Where do you see yourself 10 years from now”? And guess what happened? First time in the three years in that company I was tongue-tied. I did not know what the heck I should answer. No I did not want more responsibility, not even a promotion or a raise. I wanted to be as far away from the profession as possible, I wanted to do something I had lately realised I was born to do. I wanted to write. God It was such a revelation! And that is when I changed my mind. Astrologer or no astrologer, I was going to write full time and I was going to fine tune my writing with a Post-Grad writing degree. The rest was not so easy but eventually it did fall in place. TG!

Strange are the ways of the world. The two people who propped me up through the next few months of mad applying to Universities, arranging finances, battling chicken pox and emotional meltdowns were my mum and my Dad. My Amma’s motherly love overtook beliefs in astrology and she decided to trust in God and help me through the last-minute-applying madness. So here I am, a Science group student who did an Undergrad degree in Journalism (thinking it was her true calling till she actually got into a newsroom and hated it), who stumbled upon Public Relations by chance and put in three years of her life trying to like it and finally was enlightened belatedly that all the while what she thought was a hobby was indeed her passion. WRITING, the ever-so-slippery eel of a calling that dawns on so many people so late in life. (I have a few 50+ year olds in my class and many in their post 30’s.)

So now that I know what I want to do in life am I happy? Well…let me put it this way: – I can’t complain. LOL 😀 I don’t work long hours (though I am hunting for a part-time job), I get to write whatever I want to, whenever I want to, I am writing a novel which is much loved in class, I get to meet some great people and explore a whole new culture that is Britain, I intend to travel through Europe and am getting to learn and do things that I never thought I would. (Aww my…my…that’s an awfully long sentence.) So you see I can’t complain. 😀

All said and done there is something to following your passion. (Amir Khan might have tried hard to convey this message in 3 Idiots but I don’t see any change in the ‘IT world aspiring robots’ of our country.) Following your passion can put a smile back on your face,  bring lightness to your steps, gives you a sunshine attitude that rubs off on people around you and a purpose in life. And money, you ask? Well I don’t know, but if we are happy with what we are doing we will figure out the money part somehow isn’t it? At least, that’s what I think and I want to give my belief a chance. Right or wrong, time alone can tell. After all like a wise guy once said “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”


If I had 2 extra hours a day…

Nov 3, 2011

Gasp..! Puff…! Breathe! Gasp…! Two extra hours in a day?  OMG…OMG! Dear Diary, I am welling over with emotion. Sniffle! This is such an emotional moment. I can’t believe this is happening. Before you think I am some kind of retard, let me tell you about my moment of extra-terrestrial communication today morning. No, by extra-terrestrial I do not mean communication with aliens. (Grow up dude.) I spoke with God dammit! Ya.. ya…you won’t believe it and extra-terrestrial is not the right word, but listen..this is what happened.

I was in my room today morning doing my 3 surya namaskars. Don’t laugh. Try doing 3 surya namaskars and you will know how tiring that is. My poor feet…! So..where was I? Ya… it was 9.30 a.m. Look I am tired of your giggling. Yes I do surya namaskars at 9.30 a.m. There I said it. Now shut your mouth and listen. So in the middle of the 2nd surya namaskar I heard somebody calling my name. I looked around from under my belly, the world looking weird upside down, but couldn’t see anybody at the door. I continued with the namaskars when I heard it again. I am still hungover from yesterday night’s drinking, I thought and continued to the Kapalbhati. (Ramdev effect you see.)

I had shut my eyes and was trying hard to ignore the growling of my empty tummy as I squeezed my abdomen muscles in and out, in and out, when I saw a blinding light, right in the middle of my forehead. What the F..?! I almost fell back on the floor. This is crazy I thought and went to the bathroom to splash my face with some water. I should get a health check-up soon I muttered as I walked back to my yoga mat to continue with the Kapalbhatis.

I started slowly this time, my tummy providing background score with its growling. Then the light flashed.. again, blindingly this time and I heard the voice calling my name clearly. I couldn’t open my eyes. It was as if my eyelids were stuck together with feviquick. “Pallavi daughter…” the voice said. My jaw dropped open. All I could see was the blinding light. The voice seemed to come from somewhere deep inside my head. Now I realised that I couldn’t move…not even a limb! “Don’t be afraid, I am your supreme father,” the voice said. Haan..? My father is back at home and he speaks to me over the mobile phone not from inside my head, I thought. The voice seemed to know what I was thinking. “No, I am not your biological father. I am the father of your father, of everyone you know,” it said. Grandpa, I thought. “No stupid child. Don’t you get it? I am God, the supreme father of all creations,” the voice said. God…? God…! GOD…? Ha ha ha ha I went. PATAAAAK! One tight slap landed on my right cheek. Owwww I sobbed, tears welled in my eyes but wouldn’t fall, I couldn’t move but my cheek burned. Now I was listening. “Look child, I do not have much time to spare, but this is what I came to do. I heard your prayer yesterday while you were submitting your assignment and was moved by your tears. You wished there had been at least an extra hour in the day so that you could complete the assignment and looked up to me and asked why I don’t listen to your prayers. Hmmmm…I am going beyond protocol and giving you not one, but two extra hours today. Study, write, do your assignments, whatever you want in those two extra hours, but do not tell anyone. If you do, I will be angry…very angry. If I feel you deserve it, I might even give you extra two hours every day for the rest of your life. Now get to work and don’t ever say I do not listen to your prayers.” The blinding light dimmed and then vanished altogether. My ears were buzzing and sensation returned to my limbs. I could move and I jumped up shrieking. I must have fallen asleep, I thought and pinched myself hard. But it wasn’t necessary..My right cheek was still burning and I could see in the mirror that it had turned a bright red.  Did I just speak to god? Did I just speak to GOD I asked myself and almost ran to the door to tell my flatmates what I had seen and heard. I stopped in my tracks.. He had said he will be angry. Brrrrrr…. No, I won’t tell anyone I thought and shivered.

Then the realisation set in. I have two extra hours today? How can it be possible I scoffed! But…but..he said…and he is the creator. A shiver ran down my spine. Ok…cool..relax..I told myself. I then had the following soliloquy. “Breathe. So I am supposed to have an extra two hours today. It didn’t look like he was kidding, proof my right cheek. So I only have to wait and see whether it’s true. So if I am supposed to have 26 hours today, then it would end tomorrow morning. Wow! But how can I count if I will be sleeping by then. I do not wake up till 9! No, no I can’t let that happen. Idea! Let me eat and sleep now, and then wait from night to morning to see if the clock stops for me.” It made sense. I clapped my hands in delight and ran to the kitchen to get some breakfast.  I met my flatmate there and almost broke the news. Then my right cheek stung and I clasped both hands over my mouth and ran out of the kitchen. It was tougher than I expected. I went to the kitchen again when I was sure no one was around and gobbled some food. I came back to my room and hit the bed. I had a mission to accomplish. But I couldn’t sleep, try as I might I couldn’t. I day dreamed for a while, tossed around for some more, listened to music and finally decided to write this diary entry.. I must have drifted off around 1 ‘o’ clock.

Nov 4, 2011

I woke up to hear someone banging on my door. Oh crap!  My mouth tasted odd, the room was dark and I felt lethargic. I started to get up but plopped back on the bed again. Then I remembered my right cheek. Oh shit! God…! Time…! I have to wait I told myself and switched on the lights. It was 10 p.m. oh great, at least I woke up; I thought and opened the door of my room. It was my flatmate, come to check if I was all right. “I am ok..just a headache, so I slept,” I lied to her and came back to the room. I was hungry and I didn’t have food in the fridge. Damn I had to cook! I cooked some sambhar and rice and joined my flatmates in watching the cricket match on TV. When I finally escaped to my room it was cindrella time. 12! Perfect, now I could wait. But what would I do all the while waiting. Oh! He told me to study, I should complete the assignment maybe, I thought and opened my books. I do not know how the next few hours passed but when I came back to my senses I was sleeping with my head on my textbook, drool all over the pages. F#@! I jumped up and looked at the time. It was 3.30 a.m. Ouch! There is no stronger lullaby then a textbook, I thought and went to the bathroom to freshen up. Maybe I should have a shower, I considered; that would fully wake me up.

I emerged from the shower to see the first rays of the sun piercing the night sky. Wow! I have never seen a real sunrise before, I gasped and opened the curtains to savour the scene. I watched mesmerised as the sun rays shone, meekly at first, changing colours from gold to red to finally brilliant yellow.  Wow! It’s good to be alive, I exclaimed and with the smile still on my face gazed at the clock. It was 6.10 a.m. Woah! Just a few hours more, I told myself and sat at my study table. I did not feel like opening my books again. Maybe I will listen to some music, I decided and booted the laptop. The next few hours flew by with Facebook, twitter, Youtube and WordPress. I left enigmatic messages on ‘love of God’ on each one of the sites. When I checked the time again, it was 9! I couldn’t contain my excitement. Lesser than an hour to go; I began my vigilance of the clock.

True to his word, the clock stopped at 9.40 a.m. and stayed that way. I couldn’t get enough of looking at the clock in amazement and I stared and stared. After a long, long time the hands of the clock moved again. I jumped up laughing, bobbing up and down in delight. It happened, it happened I shouted. I was still hopping about when the blinding light struck my eyes. I shrieked and I heard the voice thunder. “Fool! Stupid child. What have you done? What did you do with the extra hours I granted you? What did you do with an entire day? You whiled it away. You whiled it away!”

“Sorry Father..” I was sobbing now. I was afraid.

“You didn’t deserve it. This is why I do not grant wishes to you human beings,” he thundered and the light vanished.

I was crying now and was deluged in my tears. I understood what he meant. I was ungrateful and undeserving. I wasted an entire day and an extra two hours. “I will not let it happen again. Sorry Father,” I whispered. I had to make amends. I dragged myself back to my study table, opened my books and slogged over them for the better part of the day. That night I slept peacefully. I dreamt that someone stroked my cheek, but otherwise the night and the following day were uneventful.

Nov 6, 2011

I have just submitted my assignment at the Faculty office, in time and complete. As I was waiting for the University bus to the flat I decided that I would tell people of my experience. It would make him angry but not angrier than he was when he found out I had wasted his gift. It would make him glad to see people realise his presence, his love and use their precious time in the right way. So here it is…I have told you what I did in the extra two hours God granted me and how that taught me to use my time constructively. Cheers!