2013

I know this is a month too early. But this is as good a time I would get in the next six weeks (Yes, my big trip home back is finally here and you don’t expect me to blog during my vacation, do you?) and I cannot say good bye to 2013 without this post.

This is a post reflecting on the year that went by in such a rush. I feel like paying homage to a beautiful year that is (was) 2013.

Some much needed pondering on the hits and the misses (not too many thankfully). Things that went well and things that didn’t quite turn out as desired.

This post is a summary of sorts that I can attach to 2013 much for my own keeping than for anything else. Something to read on, years from now, when fading memories would need a refresh.

So here goes.

2013 started with a bang for me, as I gingerly entered marriage-hood.  Far from being the demure, shy, nervous, unsure bride, I was more like a confident, relaxed bride who was a tad bit bored of answering the question about post-wedding jitters and difficulties settling-in in a new family. Which should go a long way in saying about what kind of people TCG and my new family really are! Even if I counted my blessings each day (which I do), it wouldn’t be enough. They welcomed me in to their home and their hearts and strangely I never felt out of place.

February had me bidding farewell to my family, my city, my country and all that I had cherished all these years of my life. I thought it will be very difficult, I thought I will break down at the airport and it will turn out to be quite a teary good bye. But much to my utter, utter surprise, I was able to hold up quite well and so was my family. They didn’t cry, at least not in front of me; and I hope they didn’t later. I guess it was the initial excitement of the new life that awaited me. But as time went by, their absence has been a constant hole in my heart. Not being able to see my family has been the hardest part of 2013. Thanks to Skype, I am surviving. I am guessing farewell this time around is going to be a lot more difficult.

I spent about a month in Singapore with TCG’s family much like an Alice in Wonderland without the husband around. It would have been ideal if he was there too. But there is nothing to complain, it was time well spent, and there wouldn’t have been a better time than this to be inducted (very formal but a befitting word) into the family. I had a great time discovering Singapore and my new family.

I flew down to be with TCG in March and oh boy has it been a roller coaster or what! My world changed. From a crowded, lively, vibrant, hot, humid, vast, fast and cosmopolitan place that Mumbai is, I was suddenly in a windy, cold, sparsely populated (anything is compared to Mumbai!), small, compact, laid back, slow and relaxed place that Wellington is. Both cities worlds apart from one another in character and strength. From living in an apartment to living in a house by the sea. From aircons to heaters. From summery, cotton clothes to multiple layers of winter clothes. From rains and floods to EARTHQUAKES(?!). From being a friendly, lively, and social Mumbaikar to an awkward immigrant in Wellington who was trying hard to get her head around the place, its people, the accents, the overwhelming newness. From chaat, vada pav and samosa to cheese, crackers and wine. From having a flying career in Marketing to starting from scratch all over again. Has it been easy? Hell no. Has it been interesting and educative? OH YES!

With 2013 I have truly grown a year wiser.  The time I spent with TCG getting to know him, is the kind of time you want to save in a special place in your memory. The time I spent with myself, is the kind I have never spent in all these years that went by; may be out of lack of options, but best time nonetheless.  It’s amazing how much you grow and learn when you are away from your nest.  Qualities you never knew you possessed, show up. Things you never knew you were afraid of, are discovered. Strength you never thought you could muster, pumps in your veins. In the past nine months that I have been in the New (Zea)land (haha, did you see that? I crack my self up sometimes), I have learnt so much. The whole new world opened up for me. I was like a frog in the well, and now I am a frog in a new well.  I feel I have grown as an individual, (re)discovered my passions, spent a lot of time blogging and cooking, travelling and exploring this wonderland that is New Zealand.

About New Zealand – Oh it is so beautiful! You have got to see it to believe it! Cities here have the best of both worlds – comforts and luxuries of a modern city and unmatched scenic beauty of a country side. Tall, glossy, glass buildings on one side, and trees, plants with hundreds of colourful flowers on the other. It’s like viewing a bustling city and vast patches of greenery in the same frame. A place is known by the kind of people it has. People make places. And after spending almost a year in this beautiful country, I can safely say that Kiwis are a lovely bunch of people. Warm, friendly, smiling, greeting, cheering and easy to work with.

Flying back home in a couple of days feels like coming a full circle, like fully completing a whole cycle of transition. 2013 feels like a dream. Could it be that I am actually dreaming and when I wake up I would be the old-me once again? Do I want to be that old me? Not sure. But what better way to end 2013 than celebrating with family and friends?

Thank you 2013. Thank you for being so awesome.

Mumbai

Mumbai

Wellington
Wellington
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Time, where are you racing to?

It seems like 2014 is in a big rush to make its grand entry and is determinedly forcing 2013 out of its way. Poor 2013 seems to be making a hurried exit. Can you believe it? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we finally got a hang of writing 2013 in the dates instead of 2012 and now soon we have to start writing 2014. Phew!

Oh time, please slow down!

Though personally, I am hardly complaining, the sooner the time passes, the quicker I would be in India and sooner I will be seeing my loved ones. But keeping that one selfish wish aside, can I just ask you to slow down just a bit? What is the big rush?  If you continue at this hurried pace, my month long visit to India will turn into one hell of a whirlwind trip. It will be over, no sooner than it starts. I can already feel the post-holiday depression, even before the holiday begins. It will be over too soon. There is so much to pack in so little time. It is too depressing to think about how it will end. No, I am not letting my mind stray in that direction, at least for now.

You will get where you want to get sooner or later. So please, will you stop sprinting? And you are especially nippy on the weekends. No sooner than you arrive, you prepare to leave. Soon in February, you will tell me I am 27. What?!!

For the last few weeks I have been observing how quickly you are moving through the work week too, not just weekends. Monday through Friday in a wink of an eye. This is my third week at my new job and I have hardly had any time to think, pause and reflect. And after work, there is house and husband to look after. Fresh meals to be prepared every single day, not because I have to, but because I want to. I have hardly had time to breathe, forget checking personal mails or reading my favourite blogs.

Truth be told, I am actually a fan of these fast-type days. I love it when time does that. Consumes you so wholly, that you forget to keep time of time. I love being busy, I love being occupied. It is the slow, uninspired days that I dread the most.

Living in New Zealand has given me enough time to pursue a dual life. A life after work. Life that begins after office hours. And I don’t mean a life of wild partying (never had a life of wild partying anyway). I mean that window of a couple of hours  in the evening that gives you time to pursue your passions, your hobbies, your dreams, things that you want to do more and more.

Cooking it is in my case. No two days pass by without whipping up something new. Not a single phone/Skype call is complete without endless discussions on food. This is one passion that runs through the family and we are the family that discusses lunch at breakfast and dinner at lunch. And not to forget the snacks in between. And we never get tired of this. Guess what am I thinking about in the 5-7 minutes of free time that I might get at work? Food. I think of what is in the fridge and what is in the pantry and what can go with what and result in to a good dish. Suddenly out of no where, a new recipe would start taking shape in my mind. And once it is in the mind, it has to be on the PLATE.

Away from home, there is absolutely nothing that can fill the void of family and friends, but when life gives you lemons, you try to make lemonade out of it. So I can hardly complain about my less-than-active (almost defunct) social life in New Zealand. I have heaps of time, and I make most of it by doing what I do the best. Who knows, few years from now, when I look back, this is the life I would look upon, this is the time I would miss.

P.S. Thoughts about having a food blog are making more and more frequent appearances in my head than I would like to admit.