Sunday, December 30, 2007

Road Rage

I hate driving. No, I don't mean I dislike driving. I mean I really, really HATE driving. I may just well be the world's worst driver. To me, driving is all about getting from point A to point B and all those traffic lights, stop signs, speed bumps, pedestrians, other cars etc etc are just annoying little nuisances that get in my way as I'm going from point A to point B. I don't understand people who roll down their windows, turn up the music, one hand on the steering wheel, whistle and enjoy a "good" drive. Nah. Me, I'd rather be the person sitting next to that person. You know, the person who's stretched out lazily, enjoying the cool breeze blowing through her hair, listening to the music, watching the road go by, and letting my thoughts ramble wild as I simply ride along.

I've always known I hated driving, but I've never quite realized just how many things really annoy me about driving. Apparently, the rage runs deep.

Parallel parking. Honestly, it's the invention of the devil himself. Half the world humbly acknowledges it's impossible to do, but then the other half of the world just goes ahead and insists on parallel parking anyway, making the rest of us look stupid. Which idiot came up with this one anyway? Why cant we all just get along and park however we feel like? So some of us are good at parking with our tails sticking out and some of us can parallel park. Big deal. Just park the darn car and get out of it. What does it matter if you're on the yellow line or within it? Isn't the much more important fact that that you've made it to your destination? But no, we've got to fuss over being inside a line and over a line. Sheeeeeesh.

A slow truck clambering slowly down the inner lane as I'm about to enter the freeway. Should I slow down as I enter? Wait. The truck's going real slow. If I slow down, I might as well stop. But there's another car behind me. And this is the goddamn freeway. Maybe I should just speed up and go cut infront of it and then speed up reeeal good and I'll be fine. Wait. Too late for that thought. Okay, here's the truck going by now. Right. Oh well. So much for all that thinking. I'm on the freeway now. Maybe indecisiveness is my REAL problem.

An overspeeding me behind an overspeeding truck. An overspeeding me trying to overtake the overspeeding truck. Why? Because all trucks by virtue of their being a truck scream "overtake me". But not this one. Because this truck doesnt even really believe it's a truck. It actually thinks it's a cruiser. When it's not. It's just a truck. A truck which is overspeeding and speeds even faster when it sees me trying to overtake it. Damn trucks! They should all just have a special underground tunnel built just for them.

People sitting next to me while I'm driving instructing me on where to go.

"It's a left here." *left blinker* blink* *blink*
"oh wait, nope a right...yeah, yeah, definitely a right." *right blinker* *blink* *blink*
"Oooh. This looks unfamiliar. I think it was a left after all." *left blinker again* *blink* *blink*.


"On this exit" as I see the exit fly by.


"Turn here" Screeeeech. "No, not here as in right here. Here as in here, the next one"


And for the record, I dont handle criticism very well. It's one thing for me to know that I'm a bad driver. But I'm not exactly thrilled when someone else points that out to me. "You just blew off a red light!" "Er. No I didn't. It was orange when I zoomed past" "It turned red when you whizzed through" "Yeah, whatever. Next time, YOU drive"

Maybe someday all my dreams will come true and I wont have to drive. Maybe gigantic conveyor belts will replace the freeways of the world and all we'll have to do is sit on one as it delivers us to our workplace or to the mall or wherever. Or maybe some really smart, frustrated driver somewhere will come up with an intelligent car that drives itself. Or maybe I'll just relocate to a place with better public transport. Until I must.


~vagabond~ © 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

I know, I know…the timing of this blog makes no sense whatsoever. We’re four months too late for August 15th (India’s Independence Day), and a month too early for January 26th (Republic Day). But then it is what it is. One moment I’m feeling all jolly, merry and Christmas-y and then bam! just a simple phone call later, and I’m all nostalgic, patriotic and desi. It’s all part of the NRI package. Just one of those clauses in tiny italicized print that nobody tells you you’ll be signing up for when you choose the life of an Indian living abroad.

I was only five years old when I left India with my parents to spend a lifetime abroad. You’d think that being that young, I’d have no memories of what life in India was like. But I do remember. I remember it all. I remember being a brat in kindergarten and having my Parsi teacher yell at me…the stories my grandpa would read me from the Amar Chitra Katha…the swinging on banyan trees in my grandma’s village… playing marbles in the dirt with my cousins…the trips to Juhu beach with my mum and dad. Or at least I think I remember. Because it’s hard to tell where my own memories end and where those of my parents begin. I grew up in a family that never let me forget what it was like. A family that cherished every memory of their life in India and lived every day in nostalgia, reminding their kids of the life before now, what things were like back then. A family that made sure that no matter where I grew up or where I would live years later, I’d always remember where it was that I came from.

It’s been several years since I moved out of my parents’ home. And of all the things I miss when the familiar pangs of homesickness hit, I think I miss the stories the most…the sitting around our living room in Africa during a blackout, in the dim glow of a lantern, talking about life back in India.

I called home today. No, not my home in Africa. My home in India. Where a large part of my extended family lives and where my parents are visiting right now. The phone lines were extremely horrible but even despite the choppy lines, I could hear the laughter of a clan reunited in the background as the phone passed its way from one hand to another. There’s a certain bitter-sweetness to blessings given over a telephone wire, tears over a shared memory, an unexplained closeness toward strangers who feel like family, an eerie distant closeness to places and people that exist only in your memories. For me, that bitter-sweetness is what I know of being Hindustani.

I came across this clip today, and it reminded me of all the times I’ve been frustrated over India…times when I’ve been unable to contact my parents in India and angrily snarled at the phone “This is just so typically India!” or expressed my disapproval over how events were conducted in India and mumbled, “This never would have happened in America”. This clip makes me feel intensely proud of my country, and my heritage, and reminds me of where I come from…and between the clip and the phone call and the wave of nostalgia that’s flooding through my heart right now, despite growing up abroad, I can truly say “phir bhi dil hai hindustani”.

~vagabond~ © 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Writer’s Blog

I have a bad case of writer’s blog…err…block.
I’ve thunk and thunk and this is all I can come up with.
*blank look*
*chirp* *chirp*
*nervous cough*
Umm... Err...Ahem...Writer’s block.

Alright, so any moment now it’s gonna happen. Those hopelessly tangled knots of thoughts within my head are going to come loose and splatter themselves all across my computer screen.


Nope. Nothing yet.

I haven’t written a blog in over three months. You know how every semester you have that one teacher who is completely irrational, totally unreasonable, unbelievably arrogant and drives you absolutely nuts? Yup. In a humiliating conspiracy by fate, I had four of those the past semester. And between studying for stressful exams, writing technical papers and giving technical presentations, any creative juices that I may have had flowing within my being have been sapped dry. Not that there was too much to begin with. Creative juice, I mean. But just enough to fuel occasional rants over the state of the universe or sad monologues over things that made me nostalgic or just records of events that made me happy, angry or sad (just in case God forbid someday I forget the things that made me mad). But right now, it’s all dry. Not even a drip of creative juice flowing in those blogger veins.

Zilch. All dry.

So in the sad pursuit of elusive inspiration, I surfed through the internet. Again and again. From cover to cover. I may just have scrolled on to the end of the internet too. And sorry no, for those of you who were searching, there is no pot of gold at the other end of the internet. Just endless rants and monologues by one happy blogger after another over the sad state of the universe.

Nope. Nothing there to break my dry spell.

Coffee. That ought to do it. I need a good old coffee shop inside a good old bookstore. Barnes and Nobles with a Starbucks inside. A well brewed cup of coffee at a window seat of a bookstore surrounded by endless aisles of words is what I need. And it’s snowing outside. Even better. Sweeet. This is going to be great. Best way to jumpstart my brain into cranking out a blog.

*Mind numbing silence*

Nope. Did not work. On the bright side, I am now highly caffeinated.

So I finally figure maybe the best way to make this sad state of affairs end is to just write…to ignore my inability to write and to write anyway…to blog away. Even when I’ve got nothing to say. To blog despite my blogger’s blo(g)ck. To just keep going against all odds. To…holy crap…wait a minute….did I just write up a blog?!

I’ve written up a blog!

~vagabond~ © 2007