It's been a long time since I last wrote. The sad irony is that I have had plenty to write about, it's been one of my busiest months ever, well busiest half month's at least(I am now doing practically nothing, as I have only two exams to study for, unlike most of the poor sods, who have four or five) and a very interesting one to boot. My first term at college is at an end, and...I leave back for home with a few mixed feelings. Obviously, I could have done more here, obviously I missed out on a good few good times, and should have learnt some things a lot sooner than I did. Well, I take it all with a pinch of salt, and look forward to next term. Lest I speak too soon, I have two exams to wrap up, ensure they go well, and keep my GPA sort of on the higher side.
That said and done, I miss home, and am really looking forward to going back. I want paranthas. Lots of them. I want to watch TV without chinese advertisements extolling the beauty of perfectly clear skin. I want to see how in god's name they have advertised, successfully, a product named Fair And Handsome back in India. Above all else, I want to sleep before midnight again, I miss that. I'm not a late night person.
My impressions of this place are constantly evolving. In many ways it is a lot like my home city, Delhi. It has the same struggle for identity happening, the same clash of values and clash of cultures. The same stigmata associated with migrants to the city (although over here they do live in first world standards and not slums), and I have discovered a very similiar divide between the english educated and the non-english educated population. However, I do feel they're a good few steps up the ladder as compared to Delhi inasmuch as creating an identity for themselves, through the many racial and cultural divides that exist here. It makes living and studying here a very interesting experience.
There are things I would love to take back. Malls here have their head straight, they come with GIGANTIC bookstores, such as Kiyonoyuki(I've spelled it wrong, I know, sue me) and Borders. These cover the better part of an entire mall's floor, and stock pretty much everything you'd ever think you might find in a bookstore. They're the size of larger public libraries. You can get lost in them. Why can't Delhi have something like this? Om Book Shop touts itself as large, it's a piddly little ant in comparision. Instead, we get decadent malls with apparel outlets, and possibly one or two tech shops.
There's a sense of order and cleanliness that again, I wish I could import back home. Here, Delhi is changing but has a long way to go. But if you notice Delhi, the areas that are clean stay clean, because at the end of the day no one feels like creating a mess where there isn't one, but everyone is fine with adding to an existing one. Bit by bit, there more areas we deem "Clean", the fewer people will have to pee on, and chuck their garbage around. Again, this isn't going to happen fast.
Oh, and I love the Mass Transit here. It's the best ever, the buses are comfortable, compartive in price to Autorickshaws, airconditioned, and faster than rick's anyday. DTC of course does have it's wonderfully rustic charm (two hoots to anyone who doesn't agree), but really you have to admire the services here. They're privatised, obviously.
It's going to be an interesting few years is all I can say. There's plenty yet on this Island I haven't seen, and plenty I haven't discovered. You get the oddest things here, though, so I imagine there's a lot more out there for the continuing adventures of me.
But for now, I look forward to home: two weeks and 2300 miles away.
The concept of Jugaad is not a new one. Jugaad is managing with what you've got, and creating solutions out of that. Jugaad is the Washing Machine that's retrofitted to make lassi, Jugaad is the hairclip keeping your electrical system together.
Jugaad is also what you do on Diwali, away from home. Because Diwali is meant to be spent at home, with family and close friends in an atmosphere conducive to nothing more than joy. Jugaad is the tips and tricks of getting Diwali into a foreign country, where there isn't what you would regularly qualify as a good ol' jing bang celebration.
Jugaad is going to the supermarket to hunt around for something, anything that can be converted into Diwali decorations. Jugaad is hanging college identity cards as counterbalances to the back of diwali decorations in an attempt to hang them to a wall, and actually succeeding.
Jugaad looks like what you see in the photo right there, everything just works out in the end, and wonderfully so. This was our diwali night, at hostel, when we had no plans, no decorations, no crackers, no diyas, no pleasant looking lights and none of that other fancy stuff. We had a whole bunch of semi-depressed hostellers missing home terribly, and generally losing hope of having a good time. Two hours later, the lot of us were buzzing, eating copious(well, as much as we had and could manage) quantities of Mithai (Kaju ki Barfi, mostly) and having a general good time. It's diwali time, and I've had some great presents from one and all.
There were presents from Dhoni the day before the blessed event, there were presents from my family, especially my Bua on D-Day and it seems an organisation much hated in college, known as the CCTE has given a wonderful present to a good few people the day after the blessed events.
Happy Diwali, once again, and Eid Mubarak for tomorrow. It's a great new year, with a great new start.
Happy Diwali to all....especially to all kindred souls stuck in a place far far away from home and loved ones. May big fat hairy monsters die lonely deaths for not calling up more often. May everyones year(by the Hindu calender) go off as hale and hearty as Captain Haddock on a drinking spree...peace on earth, goodwill to men.