Monday, April 25, 2011

Joka Diary - 4

I graduated from college in 2003, almost 8 yrs back. Coming back to college after such a long break is not easy, and especially for a rigorous course like this. I am having trouble sitting in the classroom for long hours, attending lectures from morning to evening and focussing on the discussions. No matter how hard I try, my mind tends to wander after half an hour of lecture, and by the time it returns, the discussion has already gone too far and I am unable to follow. I am not new to this, it happened all the time in school, college, even office meetings but I was able to join back whenever I chose to concentrate. However, the classes here are really fast-paced. Its like watching your first English movie, after years of watching Indian television serials. You have no previous experience to help you comprehend, you struggle with the thick foreign accent and by the time you get a hang of the thing, the movie gets over. I still can't watch English movies without subtitles, while for most Hindi movies, I think I wouldn't miss anything even if the volume is turned off.

Back to studies, apart from listening skills, it seems I need to re-develop my writing skills as well. I have simply not written anything except for my name on some bank papers in the last so many years. Writing in ruled notebooks is a major challenge, I am not able to stick to the bottom line and my letters just fly all over the page. Also, my handwriting is not what it used to be, and I keep making mistakes while taking notes. I think we can ask the instructor to be allowed to take notes on the laptop, but then it might not give me the feel of actually studying, which I so like. For now, I am giving it a decent try, but the examiner is going to have a tough time when he/she marks my answersheet. On a slightly different note, it has made me realise how difficult it is for Pari to write in a 4 line notebook when she has started writing just a couple of months back. I feel really guilty about all the times I have scolded her for not writing neatly.

Coming to Pari, I am really missing her now. There are a number of students, all of them obviously men who have come to the campus with their families. Strangely, most of them have daughters, and the children are always running around the hostel when we return from the classes. When I mentioned Pari to one of my classmates, he said what I am doing is commendable. I heard it as condemnable. Probably because thats what I think of leaving my daughter behind.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Joka Diary - 3

The title is getting boring, isn't it? And to think that I am about to spend the next entire year here-- 350 days, there is scope for around 50 more entries to the diary. Should I continue with the name, or should I be more creative? On second thoughts, I would rather spend time writing the journal than thinking about new titles. So the name sticks, at least for the time being.

It has been a pretty much uneventful weekend so far.. not that any excitement is expected during whatever is left of it, unless a frog jumps in my room. This has already happened once and I couldn't sleep the entire night, scared that the creature might just jump on my bed or worse still, on my head. My sister often caught frogs from our garden as a toddler, and brought them inside to show us -- 'Didi, dekho!'. I would dash out of the room very abruptly, leaving the child bewildered. I wonder if she is still that comfortable with frogs. Digression over, we visited the local market, aptly named 'Behaala' yesterday. The place was indeed 'behaal'.. buzzing with activity, and very crowded. We sighted a lot of ladies dressed in lovely, crisp cotton sarees, usually in white and off-white with pastel designs. It surprised me to see them dressed so immaculately for casual shopping. Whatever it is, I am so buying sarees before I leave Cal!

Today, the day was spent holed up in my flat except for the mandatory visits to the mess. I felt like catching up with the other girls but they were all in their respective flats, and I wasn't sure how welcome would I be. I think it is the same with the other girls, they probably wish to interact as well, but have their own apprehensions. Hopefully, we will be more comfortable knocking at each other's doors once we get to know the group better.

P.S. Just returned from dinner to find a frog jumping around the house. Wish I had mentioned Tom Cruise instead of the darn froggie, you never know...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Joka Diary - 2

Before I begin my routine ramble, a word of caution. I am not over the top about studying or living in Joka. Nothing can be farther from truth, I still have nagging doubts at the back of my mind on whether the juice is worth the squeeze. I write about it because I have nothing else to write about, unless I start writing about accounting principles or organisational behaviour. And in the first place, I write because writing makes me feel connected to the life I have been used to. This blog looks familiar unlike the scary books, and posting here is something I can do without banging my head against any of the reference books, most unlike my assignments.

Now that we are clear on that, let me tell you about my newly developed self-awareness. Not in the human behaviour fashion though. I never knew I could be so thrilled about cleanliness. Having been a messy person all my life, I had all plans in place for continuing to be the same. However, I have outdone myself. My place is as spic and span as could be. I skip prescribed pre-reading to tidy up my place before I leave for the classes. And when I return from college, I again reorganise my stuff before thinking of anything else. I think it is primarily because I am scared to open the books or attempt assignments and hence seek solace in cleaning which also gives me a reason to defer studies. But I also feel that it is so much more manageable here. 15 minutes a day is sufficient to keep my stuff in order. In Bangalore, it took me more time than that to just pick Pari's toys which were always, always strewn around the house. Also, there were an array of other pressing issues, like preparing dinner or feeding the child. Here I have just myself to attend, and even my food is provided for. That I have to walk for almost 15 min for every meal is a different matter. All in all, I am really enjoying this organised, house-proud phase of my life.

On a slightly different note, the feminist in me was mighty pleased yesterday. The entire day saw a set of very competent women profs taking classes, for a batch of 44 out of which 5 are women(not bad, eh?), and 2 women co-ordinating the course.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Joka Diary - 1

Today was the first day of regular studies, and I am already buried under a truckload of pending tasks. I guess that makes it just a regular day in Joka, nothing really worth writing home about. What made it special for me was the splitting headache I had post-lunch. Given the frequency of my head-aches and the important part they play in my life, the first one here is definitely worth a mention. I am rather used to them, and have my Dispirins and Saridons all in the right place. What really hurt today was not having a 4 yr old to fuss over me with her doctor set, asking to be snubbed. And an extremely caring, loving and somewhat old man trying his best to make me comfortable, simultaneously attempting to root cause my headache and getting on my frayed nerves in the process. I can be cruel, especially during migraine attacks. And I guess this loneliness serves me right.. I have totally earned it. Now that the head has taken a drinks break from throbbing, let me try getting some sleep before it makes a hasty retreat. Good night!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Logging in from Joka..

Yes, I have moved to Calcutta for an year to pursue an MBA course. Today was the first day of the session, and I managed to miss the first lecture. The Dean knows me really well now, as does the rest of the class because of the this unique achievement. Talk about making an impression! I sincerely hope things will not be this exciting for the rest of the year. However, the year ahead does appear challenging and I would like it to be just that. We have the next class in less than an hour, and my lovely classmate has pointed out the 200 page reading that is required before we enter the class. I am not doing it. You see, the husband has just left to catch his train to Delhi, and I would rather sulk over it. The man has been really helpful since we landed in Joka, and I am not regretting marrying him.. not for the next couple of days at least. By then, he would definitely put me off by not calling me or even answering my calls, as is the usual thing with him. On the other hand, my women classmates look nice and helpful, and I hope I will be able to get along well with them. My experience with girls has almost always been wonderful, and even the declared-by-public nasty ones have been nice with me. Husband says it is because I have never stayed in a hostel. I don't think hostel life is going to change that but I believe you must never say never, unless you want your foot to be growing from the same mouth that uttered 'never'. So lets just wait and watch.

I think this post is as incoherent as it can get, an indication of the times to come. We need your best wishes -- me, husband and most of all my little Pari to get through the year unscathed. Please keep us in your thoughts. I hope to post updates from Joka whenever time permits and visit your lovely blogs once in a while. Both of these might not be as frequent, so take care and stay good!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Good bye Bangalore!

Its been around 2 days since I left Bangalore, and I am already missing it like hell. The thought that I might not go back there ever is killing me, and I am probably as miserable as I was when I left Allahabad for good. Bangalore was the only other home known to me. For all I know, I would have missed it even if I were shifting to Allahabad, the stuff that my dreams are spun of. As of now, I am going to a strange city among strange people to do something I have absolutely no clue about.. big consolation indeed! And for this noble cause, I have given up my home of 5 yrs, my husband of 5 yrs & best-friend of another 2 yrs, my daughter and lifeline of 4 yrs, all friends made over the last 8 yrs and my workplace of over 3 yrs. Most of it has obvious impact, except for the workplace which is why I need to elaborate on it. I loved my workplace, and it loved me right back. I did not make great career strides here, probably the most relaxed phase of my career till now, but it did allow me to balance my personal life and work without guilt. My daughter grew for an infant to a confident little girl during this time, and I cannot be any less grateful for that. Also, I met some amazing people here and forged bonds for life. To top it all, I was due for a considerable hike and a promotion. Tell me, which woman in her right mind would give up such a job? I did.

Time for thoughts on Bangalore. I love the city, the people and the culture. Unlike most people from north, who find everything wrong with the southern part, and like-minded southerners who look down on north, I really like Bangalore. And I know the city better than Allahabad, what with changing 5 houses and 5 companies. Also, I was a homing pigeon in Alld, content sitting at home by my window, reading and dreaming, secure in the warmth of my loving family. Bangalore was where I grew up from a naive young girl to an independent woman. It is here that I fell in love, got married, had a child and graduated from being a daughter to a mother. It is here that I learnt self-reliance away from my protective parents, and learnt to take care of myself, well almost. Taking care of myself meant marrying the man who took care of me, and then leaving it all to him.

Leaving a city that means so much to you is never easy, much less for a person who tends to get attached to stuff like me. I feel uprooted, and bruised. I feel disorientated and lonely. I want to cry my heart out, bawl my head off. It might be another week before I get to do that. For now, I just hope we win the world cup today. It might serve as a temporary distraction and save me at least some disappointment.