Of new beginnings

It has been many weeks since I last came here to rant. Every time I go weeks without writing, it only gets more and more difficult to come back.  Where do I start? There are so many things that I want to share, but have been stopping myself because I was afraid it was a bit too premature. It still is really. These past few weeks have not been a bed of roses. There have been many a challenges, and many a changes, it has been nothing short of a roller coaster. TCG and I have been holding our fingers crossed for many weeks now!

This is not me complaining. This was our choosing. This is just me realising that there is long bridge to cross before we finally see things that we have been dreaming about take shape in real. This is the gap between perception and reality. The gap between what we wish and what is. This is the gap between imagining and doing. This is the gap between planning and action.

Between the two of us, I am the one to have ants in my pants all the time.  I am the restless one. He is the patient one. I am the one who gets bored sooner rather than later. So it was not really surprising that I had started to feel bored and wasted in my current job as in my previous ones. I have always dreamed about running my own business, albeit small. And this time, I had all the reasons. I didn’t really have a job that I was 100% happy with…what with moving countries, and paying my dues, and starting all over again right at the bottom and all that shit. We got our residency. We are young. We don’t have any major responsibilities yet and this is as good a time as it will be to enter the dangerous waters, to leave the job for something of my own. Challenging but exciting. Difficult but rewarding. Dynamic but satisfying.

I started whimpering, sending out subtle messages to TCG. About how my job didn’t really add any value. About how I was just putting in long hours but not really getting anywhere close to where I want to be. About how money should not be the only motivation. How I should really focus my time and energy on something I will really enjoy doing. About how we should be ready to forsake our current state of comfort and work on bigger things to achieve higher goals.

I hoped if I talked about it enough, TCG would take me seriously and sit back and listen. I needed him to be a part of this. I may be a bit daredevil and passionate, but passion alone is not enough to run a business. I need an anchor like him to keep me grounded. Someone like him to talk sense back into my head if I am just woolgathering and building castles in the air.  I wanted him to approve and I wanted him to be convinced. I needed TCG to work along with me so that we could evaluate all aspects of starting a business before we take any risky steps. Without him and his nod, I could not start. He, with his analytical mind and spreadsheet skills, was what I needed to put the numbers together and to chalk out a plan. To decide if it was actually viable. I ranted and ranted till he would listen. And listen, he did. And how! Exactly the way I wanted.  And before long, we were neck deep in planning and action.

Juggling our full time jobs, TCG and I have been working evenings and weekends for the past few months to put all the pieces together. Doing our due diligence and market research. Networking and making contacts, getting cost estimates, getting our heads around the whole value chain. But the bubble was soon burst, when at the very first step we encountered a sea of hindrances. We have sorted out the steps that will follow, at least in our minds and on paper; but step 1 eludes us. It really is a waiting game. We really want it to work. We are waiting. Every time we think we have just about reached there, something doesn’t work out. We find ourselves in a tricky situation. We worry momentarily and start over. It is draining, makes us question our idea, makes us want to give up and go back to the comfort of a job. But we are not ready to give up.

When step 1 completes, it will be a big boost. I know this post has been evasive; but so are all other things around me at the moment. I will share more details when step 1 completes. Until then, I need all your good wishes and more.

And in middle of all this chaos, we suddenly find ourselves in a situation where we have to move houses. The landlord is coming back to live in the beautiful house we are living in at the moment. What timing! This should be a whole post in itself.



Making choices

The day you get your permanent residency is a very important day in an immigrant’s life. Today is that important day in TCG’s life and mine, thank you.

This means that we get to live in New Zealand for as long as we like, without having to worry about our visas anymore. It means that every time we go overseas and come back to New Zealand, we don’t have to stand in the long common queue for international visitors; we get to line up the ‘Kiwi’ queue, which is smaller and faster of the two queues. Cheap thrills, I know. I am silly that way.

It means that, God forbid, if we lose our jobs, we don’t have to pack our bags and go home.  It means we know which direction our life will be moving in, at least for now. It means that the uncertainty hanging over our heads is laid to rest, and we can focus on having small to medium term goals and achieving them one at a time; until it is time once again to do some serious long term thinking like where we eventually want to live; New Zealand, India or elsewhere, whether we want to buy our home here or in India, whether we want to raise our child (when that happens) in a foreign land or homeland…

But for now, we are happy. The dream we were after for so many months, has finally come true.  And it has put a lot of things in to perspective. We have some clarity now and we are no longer insecure about immediate future. It means I will have better job prospects, and I can perhaps hope to get a job of my choosing.

It also means having to decide whether we want to continue living in Wellington or move to Auckland. TCG and I have been toying with this idea for a while now; we haven’t been able to come to much of a conclusion.  You already know Wellington is a cute, little compact city with the best of both world. It has the glitzy city charm with its quaint cafes and popular clubs, as well as the laid back country side to it. It is big enough to find all modern-world pleasures and small enough to reach anywhere within measured time.

Auckland, on the other side, is the biggest city in New Zealand with the third of the country’s population living there. It is highly metropolitan and home to all the cultures of the world. It’s faster and glitzier and offers little more opportunities to do things on weekends. TCG has lived in Auckland for over two years, already has a thriving social circle (which sadly we don’t in Wellington) and knows the place too well. I have never lived there, and knowing my love for big cities, a part of me aches to give that city a shot. We would earn slightly better than we do in Wellington, but that would be set-off against higher rents and added costs of living. Living in Auckland will also mean accepting that traffic jams will be a part of our lives once again and we might not be lucky enough to stay close enough to work like we do in Wellington. Which in turn would mean spending an extra hour or two commuting at the cost of missing workouts. But if we manage to find good jobs, and a right place to live, it would mean a better way of life. And oh yes, it would mean saying bye-bye to cold, harsh and windy Wellington weather. Auckland is way warmer.

The reason we can’t decide is TCG has a hi-profile job here in Wellington; I, on the other hand started at the bottom and am making my way upwards slowly. My current employment contract ends in a couple of months. I have been working here for a year, and have hopefully gained ‘enough’ kiwi experience to get a slightly more interesting job.  There is a good chance that I find something of my interest in the very same organisation by the time my existing contract ends. Am I prepared to forgo a year’s efforts and start everything afresh yet again in Auckland? And would TCG find an equally satisfactory job? He quite enjoys his present job. We keep going in circles without making any headway. We are tempted but we don’t want to make any impulse decisions. I know it will boil down to prioritizing what is important to us, but it seems scary because lot is at stake.

Hopefully, we will figure out soon!




Soft Beds, Hard Battles

Probably one of the most difficult things about relocation (especially to a new country) is getting used to a new bed.

Considering we spend an average of 7-8 hours each day on our bed, it is not an easy adjustment to make by any means.

Getting used to a new bed is harder than getting used to a new city. Finding a bed that suits you and makes you feel comfortable is doubly difficult. Because when you go bed-shopping, how can you know instantly if that bed feels right or not? You can lie down for a few minutes to see if it agrees with you or not. But you can only tell after a few nights, whether it suits you or not. And if it doesn’t, you are not just poorer by a few thousand dollars but you are also stuck with a bed that makes you cringe in pain each morning after waking up.

Contrary to what many of us feel, soft beds are not very ideal. It has been almost a year since I moved to Wellington. Our mattress is thick, but very soft.  I detest soft beds, they give you a horrible body ache and they are not very good for your body too. It’s the kind of bed you’d sink in, as soon as you plop on to it. You would think one year is a reasonable time to get used to a new bed.  Apparently, it is not. I still wake up every morning feeling sore. I feel the tension thick in my neck, shoulder and my back. And if that’s not enough, the pillows are no good too. Even after changing our pillows thrice, we still haven’t found ‘the perfect ones.’ After waking up each morning, it takes a few minutes of some serious stretching to feel mobile once again.

I hate this bed. I miss the beds in India. The day we buy our own house in New Zealand, we will import our bed from India. TCG, are you listening? Because it seems like I have almost forgotten how it feels like to wake up feeling fresh and not cramp-y.

Now who would have thought that I would write about missing beds on my blog! Phew!

*Soft Beds, Hard Battles is a 1974 British comedy film directed by Roy Boulting.

Home and back again

I know this post is long due. I know you have been good and waited so patiently to hear about my big trip home. I hope that each one of you has had a relaxing break and that each one of you has a great year to look forward to.

Truth be told, I have not only been extremely busy on my return, I have also been a bit scared about doing this post and confronting my feelings. Because there is a truckload of thoughts to process.  My mind is a landmine at the moment, ready to explode, if only i’d rock it a bit. But I sure can attempt to share a few highlights from the trip. It was one hell of a whirlwind trip.

The moment I saw my family at the airport is the moment I realised how much I had actually missed them all long. I was seeing them after almost a year. That’s a loooooooooong time. We didn’t bother to hold back our tears. And a few hurried hugs and kisses at the airport pick up point certainly didn’t seem enough. Hasn’t Karan Johar told us that it is all about loving our family?

The chief reason for this big trip home, as you already know, was the upcoming wedding of my brother-in-law. An event we were all looking forward to for so many months that we were tired waiting for it and just wanted it to arrive soon. We were a bit jetlagged, no doubt, but the endorphins kept us going. The first few days of our arrival before the wedding obviously had us running from pillar to post: to the tailors and to the salons and to the market and the caterers, the decorators, the photographers, and what not. Running zillion errands, last minute shopping, fittings and trials, bringing the whole mad house under control made us completely lose track of time until the day of journey to the far, faraway destination was finally upon us.

And how did the wedding go? Oh, it was beautiful, the journey, the venue, especially the gorgeous bride, the arrangements, the food, the dance…it all surpassed our expectations and had our guests grinning from ear to ear. No major hiccups, no glitches whatsoever! And what a big task that is to achieve when you are travelling with the entire baraat for two days non-stop. A few sparks are bound to fly, someone bullies, someone gets bullied, but it was all in good humour.

Soon upon my arrival back in Mumbai, we had yet another major wedding to attend. That of my first cousin. It wouldn’t be wrong if I said that in the past decade or so we have literally grown up together. We lived in the same neighbourhood, which obviously meant catching up with each other on a daily basis and sharing all kinds of stories, secrets, clothes, moments and many, many jokes. It is the kind of bond that only sisters can share. It was hard to see her go. I was simply not ready for that. And the knowledge that she would be moving to a different continent altogether was no comforter either. Thanks to Skype and what’s-app once again, we will survive. Thank God for technology.

Then came my first wedding anniversary. Looking at our busy schedule, I didn’t really expect it to be a biggie. But I was wrong. TCG whisked me away to one of the most exotic and classic hotels in Mumbai for the night and pampered me silly. Between gifts and hugs and over a 3 glasses of bubbly, he said all the right things that I wanted to hear so badly and made my day. I know I should have given him more credit than I did. Looking at our busy time, I really didn’t think that TCG would go to such lengths to make that day so special for us. That will remain to be the most treasured memory of this trip.

Soon after this, we braced ourselves for the big trip to Kutch. By this point, yes we were a little tired, yes we were sleeping very less, yes we were constantly squeezing in time to meet all the people we wanted to really catch up with, yes it got painfully hectic, so much so that we had to literally stick to a timetable to be able to squeeze in all. But the endorphins kept us going. This was my only chance to purely ‘family time’ and I wouldn’t sacrifice that for anything. TCG’s family and mine were together on this trip and I, for one, had the best time of my life. We visited the breathtaking ‘Kala dungar’ (Black Mountain) and the enchanting ‘Safed rann’ (White desert) and marvelled at the beauty that nature is. If you haven’t been to these places, I would definitely encourage you to go there. Several hundred photographs, entertaining conversations around bonfires that we had going every night to keep away the chill, awesome food and treasured moments with my families are the moments from this little trip that I have locked away forever.

After this trip was my last week in India, which I planned to spend at home in Mumbai. But I have two homes now, the house I grew up in and my in-law’s. And I was torn between the two. This was my first trip home after the wedding and sub consciously whenever I thought about home I thought about the home I grew up in, and not my in-laws. And that I think is natural. Even when I was visiting my parent’s home, I had so many things to do, and there were so many guests who visited that I never found any time at all to sit down peacefully with my folks alone, undisturbed, forgetting the new responsibilities that come with being married and asking them how they really were doing without me. I couldn’t ask them if they missed me, I couldn’t ask them if they were doing fine, I couldn’t ask them about their health, I couldn’t ask them about the new developments in their life. There was no time to do any of that.  It pained me to think how marriage has changed the nucleus of life. I know that my parents had been looking forward the whole year to spend some quality time with me, but that could not happen.  There always were people around; there always were things to do. The part that hurts me the most is that I could not find one private hour to spend with my mom and to take stock of her health. And imagine my guilt when I found out, soon upon my return to New Zealand, that my mom was admitted to the hospital. I felt terrible.

I know in my heart that ever since marriage, I have prioritized my marital home over my parent’s. I tried my best to give neither side a reason to complain. And I know for a fact that if anybody at all; it is my own parents who would have received a step-motherly treatment from me because I was always prioritizing my new family. But I guess that happens. I guess that is the called being ‘grown up’. I guess that is part and parcel of marriage. I went out of my way to make things happen seamlessly and to supervise and coordinate all the wedding-related and other arrangements. But I may still have fallen short. Some things may have slipped my mind, given the fully-packed nature of this trip. I may have overlooked a thing or two and I may have hurt some feelings unknowingly. And often the things you miss are the things that people take notice of. Right?  What can I say? I did my best. But I really hope I have given my fair share of time to all who matter. I think, every married Indian woman living overseas and visiting home once a year would be facing this dilemma of dividing her time between two homes. It sucks, doesn’t it? Being all grown up and responsible…not fun!

One of the most irritating and painful lows of this trip was a bad case of my dental health. About ten visits to the dentist, two ceramic fillings and one root canal is definitely not something I had on my itinerary at all. It took up a lot of my time, my mindspace, money and patience. And even upon my return to New Zealand, I still have one rigidly sensitive tooth that has just stopped obliging and behaving. And that it will cost me a bomb to get it treated here, is not in the slightest way comforting. Buying a ticket back to India and getting my tooth treated would be cheaper. AND I AM NOT EXAGGERATING!

The hero of this trip was my brother, silently slogging, chauffeuring us through heavy traffic, taking us around, helping us shop, lifting our bags (not literally), bringing us things, and overall just helping us with everything possible and treating us like we were the most important people in his world. He never once lost his cool. Vishal, you are the most amazing person in my world, and I miss you the most.

And since I am in the mood of giving credits, special mention of TCG is a must. He single handedly overlooked all the travel, all the wedding arrangements, all the coordination, and in addition to that all the very boring documentation work related to our visas. He with is Zen-like qualities is the epitome of patience and calm. I wish I could have a part of that at least.

It felt like the month raced past us in a blink of an eye. Waking up in Wellington felt unreal.

It’s time I told you about it

Alright guys, sit back. We have some catching up to do. Warning this might be a longer post than usual. It’s been awfully long that I haven’t updated you about what I have been up to. I have been lurking around your blogs and finding out what each one of you is up to, reading things on the go. But I haven’t always been able to leave my comments. Being a full time worker, homemaker, writer, cook, and a cleaner is not an easy ride. When you are juggling one too many balls at once, one or two are bound to fall. To top it all, living in a new country, doing everything on your own, having no help, building your world (your home) from scratch one small thing at a time does take copious amounts of time.

To start with I have some good news and some bad news. Good news is that I have a new job now. My first six-month-contract job in NZ came to an end last week and my new job in a big company starts next week. Yay! Which also means I get two full weeks off to do my thing. Finally after months of worrying about which way my career was going, I finally got a new contract which might not exactly be what I want to do, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. So this is more like getting my foot-in-the-door kind of an opportunity. Knowing that I landed this job after competing against the locals felt so good. Felt like a small victory. It’s amazing how much living in a new country can teach you. Not wanting to sound very clichéd, but it is indeed like being born all over again. Starting afresh. Learning new ways of life. And most importantly, unlearning so many old ways. Stepping out of your comfort zone and stretching your mental and emotional boundaries. Fighting status quo and adapting to the new life. Inadvertently during this phase, you begin to question your beliefs, your convictions, and also your self-worth. In the end, you emerge much stronger and a little wiser. Your paradigm shifts and you are able to see the world around you with new lens.

Now the good news is related to the bad news. They are complementary. TCG and I had agreed that if I do not get a new job by 11th October (the last day of my first job), I would go to India a few weeks earlier than originally planned and spend a longer time off with my family and friends. Come back refreshed and rejuvenated in January and start looking for work again. Till the last day of my previous job, the new job was not confirmed and I was almost convinced that I am flying to India earlier than decided. In fact, I began looking forward to that, planning things I wanted to do in my head. But I wanted the new job more badly than I wanted to go home earlier. My logic was simple; I didn’t want to go home while worrying about not having a job or what would happen after I come back, how soon I will get a job and so on and so forth. Even if that meant a shorter holiday, I wanted to enjoy it to the fullest. That was only possible if I didn’t have the fear of work (or absence of it) dangling over my head at all times. And as luck would have it, I got my offer letter on the 11th of October. I love how God plan things out for us so seamlessly. Things I am grateful for: Reason #25.

So ya, while the good news is that I have a good job now (which is great considering how much immigrants struggle with these things in the beginning), the slightly off-putting news is that my holiday is trimmed short by three weeks. But that’s OK really.

Moving on.

When I was not worrying about job, or applying for jobs, or working on cover letters and CVs, I was trying out things in the kitchen. I remember I have randomly mentioned my love for cooking on this blog a few times here and there, but nothing in a way that will lead you to think just how much I really do enjoy cooking. Let me tell you that now, because now is as good a time as any. I come from a family where you’d initiate your girls into cooking in their teenage years. So I was introduced to cooking at the age of 13. And I am so glad that it happened. That means I have over 13 years of experience cooking now and I have had a long time to hone my skills. I have always loved food and until very recently I didn’t realize how I could turn my love in to passion. My real love affair with cooking didn’t really start till 3 years back when I started taking ‘this thing that I was good at’ seriously. By this time I had learnt all the basics and not so basic of Indian Cooking from my mum and thought it was now time to step out. And step out I did. I learnt a bit of Chinese, Mexican and Italian cuisine.  Every now and then I would make things and feel the satisfaction of creating or making that can only come with doing things you really, really like.

Then I moved to NZ this year. And that could well be best thing that could have happened to my cooking. With not much to do apart from applying for jobs and pleasing TCG, I started experimenting a little more actively. Trying out new recipes almost every single day and feeding them to my guinea pig that TCG is. It helps that TCG loves food too. And it so helps that he is so open to all kinds of foods and tests. It gave my experiments a new vigor. And just because he is such a sport, I love to do it more so from him. So the past 9 months here have been filled with cooking frenzy. Breads, soups, dips, pizzas, pastas, lasagna, noodles, cakes, cookies, pastries, snacks – sweet and savory, and the whole length and depth of Indian cooking…I find myself unable to stop. Every weekend I would try my hands at something new, fancy and elaborate and results have been supremely satisfying more than once. And thanks to the many thousand dishes there are to try, I can go without repeating a dish for months.

So why don’t I blog about food? Hmm … not a point that hasn’t crossed my mind a few hundred times. But something is stopping me. There are so many amazing food blogs out there (with not just amazing food recipes and techniques, but more than that… beautiful photos and videos too), I don’t want to be just another person to do that. May be I am not quite there. May be I don’t want to start until I feel a compelling need to start. May be I don’t want to start just because I have a network now which I can use. May be cooking for me is too personal. May be it is more about enjoying the process of cooking than about taking pictures so that I can blog. I can’t place my finger on what is holding me back. But something is. And by this point in life, I increasingly want to do only those things that I will be highly committed about. Someday perhaps…

So then what else? Apart from that we are slowly gearing up for the big visit to India in December. The countdown has literally begun.

That’s about it from me for now. What have you all been up to? Leave your comments and let me know how life is panning out for you all.

731 days

My day started with a pleasant realisation that took me spiralling down the memory lane. A notification from wordpress that said I completed two years of blogging today.

2 years. 731 days. Many hundred hours.  And just as many memories. Days of lows and highs, joys and sorrow, exhilaration and tears.

So many things happened and so much changed that I feel compelled to stop here briefly and take a stock of things.

Two years ago when I gingerly began this journey, I was at such a stage in life, that I had completely lost my mojo. Plagued with self-doubt and confusion, I had completely lost faith in my decision-making abilities. I wanted a space to rant and vent my thoughts, a place where I could momentarily lose myself and escape from the normal go-to-office-come-back-home routine. A goal, a purpose, a thing…a ‘something’ that I could call my own. A ‘something’ that I was doing for the pure joy of doing, and without expecting much in return.

I knew nothing about blogging. Truth be told, I wasn’t even that much of a reader of other people’s blogs. I had just heard about wordpress being one of the new blogging platforms. I joined wordpress, because everybody else was joining blogspot. I didn’t know how to set it up or how it should even look like. I didn’t know that I could have chosen a name, other than my own, for the url. (Now I am stuck with my own name). I figured everything on my own, one small step at a time. I didn’t know if I will survive for long. And I definitely didn’t know if I will find any readers at all. The day I got my first comment (other than that of a friend’s), a first follower, I swear I could have jumped with joy. Even today, almost 15000 hits and 600+ followers later, I still feel the same excitement with every new comment and every new follower.

I survived. 731 days later, here I am. Blogging about life in general. My life, my observations, little tid-bits from Here and There. And it is so humbling to know that there are people who like this space, people who diligently read, who take their precious time out to comment each time I post something, who wait patiently for me to come back and talk when I disappear for days, sometimes weeks at a time. People who are patient, forgiving, encouraging, and motivating. People who have written in to me saying that they love to read my simple blabbering. Many lovely readers who have sent me texts and emails saying that they relate to what I write; that the easy-breezy nature of my blogs occupies their time when they want to relax and unwind.

And wasn’t that my only aim in the first place? I never wanted my blog be a place of serious discussions, arguments or grave topics of national/international interests. In my mind, I always pictured my reader reading with that tiny little smile on his face. My reasoning, very simple as it is, was that there are enough complex things in this world for a person to dodge. Let this place not be one of those. And your repeated trust in me makes me believe that I may have somewhat succeeded in this…umm this endeavour?! I thank you all for being a part of my journey and for being such a wonderful, motivating audience.

Even now there are days when I feel why bother, why write, is it making any difference to anyone, would anyone care if I stopped writing? After all, I don’t have a subject-specific blog. This is just a place for random musings. May be I should stop. But eventually, I always come around from these thoughts and remind myself that it doesn’t matter how many readers I have. What matters the most is that I write for my own joy and my peace of mind. This one thing I started in times of adversity has seen me rise from the lowest pits of darkness to the happiest days of my life. This blog has been my true companion. And as long as my heart is in it, I shall continue my affair with allthingsworldly. If I do stop, it will only be for the right reasons.

So what really changed in these 731 days? A LOT.  My life did a 180 degree spin. And of course the biggest has to be my MARRIAGE. I met TCG and knew instantly that he is the answer to all my prayers, and didn’t waste any time in making my moves on him and hooking up with him. Took a sabbatical from work, enjoyed that little time off with my lovely family before the D-day. 2 months later flew to NZ and crooned to a smiling TCG at the airport Saat samundar paar main tere peeche, peeche aa gayi…main tere peeche, peeche aa gayi, much to his amusement. Slowly setteled in to the ‘Kiwi” way of life, spent copious amounts of time looking for a job and landed one. Travlled through NZ, marvelled at the beauty surrounding me, basked in the sun and the sand, braved the winter, the storms and the earthquakes. Missed, missed, missed my family, my friends and my hometown Mumbai.

But the most satisfying part of this journey has been self-discovery. I finally acknowledged to myself that I love being in the kitchen. I love cooking. And I love dreaming about what my future may hold for me. I have spent half my waking-hours in the kitchen in the past many months, whipping up desserts, baking, cooking and trying my hands at many cuisines. There are so many new tastes that I have picked up, and so many new additions I have made to our diet in the past few monthts that I hadn’t done in all these past years put together. And it really helps that both TCG and I are always open to  experimentation. TCG is always very appreciative of my experiments in kitchen and hence I am always looking forward to try new things…for him.

For me, cooking is therapeutic, it gives me a high. It truly makes me happy. I always loved cooking but discovered this passion only lately. And it has all happened in these most wonderful 731 days (Things I am grateful for Reason: #23).

Final Countdown

97 days to go. I know I should have done this post three days ago. 100 sounds more solid compared to 97 after all. What can I say? I just forgot. When there were 104 days to go, I told myself, I will do this post when there are 100 days to go. And on the 100th day, I forgot.

Ya, ya okay…I am coming to the point. So what am I counting down to?

97 days to go before I catch that plane home. To say that I am very eager and impatient for these days to get over soon would be an understatement. I am checking off dates from the calendar every passing day. Not quite that literally but you know what I mean, right? For once, I wish time would just pick up pace and this waiting business would get over.

This is the longest I have been away from home, the longest I have gone without seeing my family. I know tons of people live away from families and I am not special in anyway. But then, tons of people don’t have the family that I have. So I am not even comparing. I am special to them as they are to me and I miss them to bits. Period.

TCG and I are so excited about this trip. There are so many things to look forward to. It’s a big family reunion. TCG’s younger brother is getting married. The house will be in frenzy. The groom will fly down from Singapore. The bride will be waiting in Siliguri. We will fly down from NZ. The parents (TCG’s) live in our family home in Mumbai. The wedding is in Siliguri. Then following the wedding is a whirlwind trip to Gujarat. It’s going to be one roller coaster of a ride.

Our family is scattered. So these are the times, however small, we live for. These are the times that fuel our hearts with love and fond memories that keep us going throughout the year. I will see my folks after a year. I can’t imagine how I would have survived without Skype. Thank you creators of Skype! Thank you!

In between all this, I have to make enough time for my parents too. I am blessed with the most wonderful family (Things I am grateful for: Reason # 22).I need at least two weeks of exclusive time with them. TCG, are u listening? End of discussion.

Then one of my favourite cousins Payal is getting married too. My little sister Payal. I am so happy for her. We have already had long chats about who is wearing what. We are all going to be dressed to the nines and bring the place down with fun and frolic.

And in between all the wedding excitement, I have so many pending hugs to give my lovely friends, so many topics to catch up on. Thanks to What’s app and Skype, we are in touch every day. But it is still not the same.

Meanwhile, TCG and his younger ‘groom’ brother have gone crazy thinking of endless dishes that they want to eat. They have already decided which hotels and restaurants they want to visit. I wouldn’t be surprised if TCG has secretly stashed up an excel sheet ‘The eating timetable’ somewhere. He makes spreadsheets for everything. *Rolls eyes*. When they go to India every year, they go crazy on food. They binge. They eat to fuel their desires not just for that time being but for the whole year until next trip. But who am I to judge? Who know, I might end up doing the same thing. I have missed my mom’s cooking and I missed eating all the famous ‘Mumbai’ food.

I often think how hard parting will be this time. Once in India, we will dread counting down on how may more days of fun left. And with each passing day, we will feel our hearts growing a little heavier. I wish that time would slow down then.