Thursday, December 16, 2010

Most embarrassing moment yet (tried to express in the most dignified way possible)

The time - September 2010
The place - Hanover, Germany

 (from the movie Chicago)
"Look, honey,
you want some advice?
Here it is.
Direct from me to you ."
  • Do not mix drinks. Ever.  
  • Note : Things like wine, 'peppermint liqueur' shots and Sekt (German sparkling white wine which tastes very mmm...like the Italian Prosecco ) - though they sound harmless, aren't. They will inebriate you. Oh, and just because it's fancily called 'liqueur' does not mean that it still isn't 'liquor'.

Bad picture, but this is the brand of Sekt I had in Germany. It means Red Riding Hood :)
  • Do not run on a drunk stomach (even at 3:30 in the morning, even if it means missing the last train to your guest's home. Just don't).
  • Do not think you can 'close your mouth shut tight and hold it in till you find a loo' if you have to upchuck.
  • After you've learnt your lesson, do run to the dry cleaner's as quickly as you can.
  • Don't think about it every night for the next 3 months and feel very very horrified, because as desperately as you want to, you cannot take it back. You must stew in the mortification of it for as long as you live. Or until you do something even more embarrassing (of which, unfortunately, the chances seem high) - either way, it will be one of the images that will flash before your embarrassed eyes in those dying moments. 
Needless to say, I am going to be neurotically cautious the next time there is a bottle of peppermint liqueur anywhere near me. Oh, the shame.


***

And since misery loves company
Why don't you accompany
The Cyniqueen in her quest
to find the very best
embarrassing moment of all?
Do you have the gall

to put fingers to keyboard?
Let it act like a sword
Slay the cringe-inducing memory away
Write a post on the same theme, I say.

Would you?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just some randomness


At a supermarket in Rotterdam. Look at the colours :)


Things I bought today:
  • One birthday card (not for myself because the birthday is over. And because I'm not that person. Yet).
  • One coconut
  • Cosmopolitan and Better Photography (still don't have that DSLR, in case you're wondering. When I have one, believe me, you'll know. Mars and Pluto and Jupiter will know too).
  • A flower garland
Things I heard:
  • Very boring 90's hindi music (the absolutely unheard of kind that plays in buses on long journeys).
  • Horse hooves - rhythmic, pure, trotting, clipped  (through the window of my living room. Love that sound. Such sensory delight).
  • A drunk singing loudly passing by the house (also heard through the window of my living room. I do need to start looking for a new place).

Today wasn't special. Nothing fluttered (least of all hope), nothing changed. 

I should be getting ready for bed right now. I should be worrying about universities right now. I should be rejoicing that internet's back after a day. Oh, and I should be clearing up the table.

But I want to be in bed with a book. I want to be in Berlin, with the cold, and the snow and I want to miss Goa from there. I want a magic wand to clean up my life. I want that magic wand to be ME.

How's that for vague?

Goodnight folks

The Cyniqueen

Monday, December 6, 2010

Birthdays and awesomeness

Hi and Hallöchen!

Ist er nicht unglaublich süß? / Is he not unbelievably cute?

This, my lovelies, is what my friend Kivi gifted me on my birthday. I want to hug him all the time. Now I'm not really the stuffed-toy kind of girl, but look how cute! I've never owned such a big one. Oh wait, how rude of me. Readers, this is Clouseau. You see, I thought his name should end with an /əʊ/ (or 'oh') sound, and my friend suggested Clouseau, which is a mouthful, but I think it should stay. And may be another nickname for when I'm feeling especially affectionate.
And those of you who spotted that bottle of perfume in his lap - that is Hugo XX - and it makes me want to lie in a meadow with flower petals falling on me and dappled sunlight all around. It was a gift from my lovely sister.

And because I am the mother of telling things in a nutshell (Heh, quite the contrary actually, but anyway) here is what I did on my birthday. And also because I am the mother hen of all things listed, here it is in bullet form:
  • Biryani at Blue Nile with my sister and Kivi. Which was so deliciously yum. And this Ice vanilla shake thing. Which I never have for fear of how dazzlingly indulgent it looks. And it was. Mmmm.
  • A very soothing nap at my grandmother's house. Which some people might think was a waste of time, but there's something about sleeping in that house which makes you feel all refreshed and happy.
  • Sabudana vada, which no one can make better than my grandmother. And no, I cannot possibly explain to you what that is, but may be this recipe can and this picture.
  • Oh, I forgot to say - lots of shopping at Fabindia - I love my new Kurtas and Kurtis
  • Dinner at home with Unmesh and Anand and my sister, playing Taboo and talking. Unmesh had to leave early (Grrr) but we had fun anyway. And oh, he totally missed dessert, which by the way, Unmesh? Was awesome.
All in all, I had expected nothing and so everything nice was a bonus in itself. If you dread birthdays like I do, believe me, this is the way to go.


And if you were having a bad day, this will cheer you up. So the landlord's thirty-something son calls out to me and says, "Hey, the ballcock is broken, the ballcock is broken."

*moment of respectful silence for me because I didn't burst out laughing in his face like an effing Hyena*

I go like "Umm........*trying hard to block a million eye-blazing visions away*...what?"
 

Him: Yeah, so the ballcock? Doesn't work...blahblahblah

So a ballcock, which looks something like this *moment of raucous, shameless, indulgent laughter*, has something to do with water tanks. But that's not important part, is it? No, it is not. I'm still giggling a little.

Cause of extreme happiness and a lot of smiling when I switch on the laptop every morning - more blogging activity. Thanks to Kim K, a whole new world of (German) blogging has opened itself up to me.

I have to get going now. But I heart you all very much :)

The Cyniqueen

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wouldn't it be Loverly?

Inspired from Kanika's lovely blog, from this post right here, I'm formulating an 'I Want' list too. (Partly also because I'm convalescing from a two day illness and feel the need to contribute to the world. You know, creatively).
  1. I want the locality I live in (in Pune) to be a little less noisy. No, a LOT less noisy.
  2. I want to be in Germany. Despite the biting cold, because I looooove (Germany, not the cold).
  3. I want to be fitter. Okay, leaner. Umm...healthy. Oh f*&^ it. I want to be toned and  thin (the right kind. You know what I mean) and flexible like Samara Currimbhoy from NDTV Good Times. Have you seen the woman stretch?
  4. I want to understand a little sliver of fashion (trying to be realistic here).
  5. Before I live anywhere out of India I want to be able to (a)Pleat a sari (b)make a 'typical' Indian meal (c)do some yoga
  6.  I want Goa. Forever. Almost.
  7. I want a faster internet connection
  8. I want an ektara.
  9. I want to speak perfect German. And eventually learn Portuguese, French, Dutch, Italian, Bengali, Gujarati (Hmm...not being realistic at all but while I'm making the world listen to me, I might as well, eh?)
  10.  I want a clear face. Pretty please.
  11. DSLR. DSLRDSLRDSLRDSLRDSLRDSLRDSLRDSLR. World, I cannot emphasize this enough. And just in case you forgot, DSLR. Okay?
Oh, and you must see this (from 00:50 if you want to jump right to the main bit. But you shouldn't). I abso-bloomin'-lutely adore the way it's sung:

 

It's rather dull in town, I think I'll take me to Paree.
Mmmmmm.
The mistress wants to open up
The castle in Capri.
Me doctor recommends a quiet summer by the sea!
Mmmm, Mmmm, wouldn't it be loverly?
  
All I want is a room somewhere,
Far away from the cold night air.
With one enormous chair,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?
 
Lots of choc'lates for me to eat,
Lots of coal makin' lots of 'eat.
Warm face, warm 'ands, warm feet,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?
 
Aow, so loverly sittin' abso-bloomin'-lutely still.
I would never budge 'till spring
Crept over me windowsill.
 
Someone's 'ead restin' on my knee,
Warm an' tender as 'e can be. 'ho takes good care of me,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?
Loverly, loverly, loverly, loverly 

Yours yearningly,
The  Cyniqueen

Friday, November 26, 2010

What a feeling

  1. Having the flu - feeling the strength slink slowly out of you.
  2. Getting that thick, coagulated bit of cream in your mouth at the end of a hot cup of milk with haldi  (to get better faster).
  3. Catastrophic soreness and dryness in your throat, which makes you feel like a gazillion horses (high on dope) tap danced on it. And then the beach tipped all its gravelly sand down it.
  4. Brilliantly elegant sounds of "hack-hack-haaaaaack-sputter-groan-hackhhhhh' issuing forth from said dry throat when it doesn't let you sleep at night.
  5. Having nothing to do and using that nothingness to sleep through some of the illness yesterday. What bliss. :D
  6. When the sun comes out at the end of a cloudy day.
  7. Smell of really old books. And new glossy magazines. And textbooks.
  8. My star-shaped pillow, which I hug in my sleep.
  9. Craving fish. Like craaaaaaving (I know that isn't the most creative way to express just how much I'm dying to eat some nice fresh fish. But that's actually just how much I want it. I waaaaaaaaaaant, y'know what I mean?)
  10. Chewing ice cubes.
  11. Underestimating the squelchiness of a jogging track after last night's heavy downpour. Trying to run. Giving up. Walking briskly instead.
  12. Saying the word 'Squelch' out loud and loving the onomatopoeic element (Go on. Say it. You know you want to). Squelch is one of those words that can have no other meaning than the one it already does. I always imagine gumboots and soil thick and slushy with water and the shoe-prints left behind. And that sound. Never disappoints. Yes. Sensory pleasure.
  13. Food getting spoilt and having to throw it away :(
  14. Images of Berlin slapping you in the face from nowhere. Missing Hackescher Markt (remember? about which I told you that one time?).
  15. Googling very silly things. And people in your life.
  16. Remembering old video/PC games like Wolf and Sonic the Hedgehog and Prince of Persia. I loved this game called Jazz Jackrabbit, which was so funny and brilliant, with the most entertaining cheat codes I have ever come across. I miss Jazz.
  17. Considering peeling your face-skin off to see whether it would look worse than having a new crop of acne. A week before your birthday.
  18. Waking up very late. 
  19. Waking up very early.
  20. Stopping writing this post because you remember something about not watching too much TV/ staring at the computer screen when you have a fever.
Love,
The Cyniqueen

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ruminating...

I hate being all sombre and morose and vague in this blog, I do. But every day I just keep realizing that there are people in the world doing so much more, and tapping into whatever potential they have. Like him and her and her and Brad (who prefers to be called Adam, apparently, so that's what I shall call him henceforth) and CC, with his Love Sex Dance Magazine, (an online fashion magazine which you really should check out, especially the current issue)...I realize I spoke about people who are not in India, which is just a coincidence. The point is (as I see it), either they're doing what they love or working towards it; and logically speaking, that's how it should be for all of us. It shouldn't have to be an extraordinary thing, but it is. I admire people like this so much. And the weird thing is - nothing's stopping me but the shadows of my own mind.

I am happy for some things in my life though. Like for instance I took the more sensible (and harder) decision of staying on in Pune (instead of Goa, which hello, is fabulous) whether I get through the German course for this session or not. I'm happy that I'm doing something more to stay healthy. And today, I joined Guitar class, which I have wanted to do for so very long. You see, technically I've been playing the guitar since late 2006. But I mostly learned it on my own, off the internet and with very little personal help. So while I can play some things, there's so much more that I need to learn and (eeep!) lots and lots of wrong playing techniques I need to change. I hope this goes excellently. This still counts for something as far as the whole tapping your potential thing goes, does it not? I hope so.

I have a total love-hate relationship with my birthday, which approaches swiftly. In my mind, it waits there ahead of me (now at a distance where I can see it) and rubs its hands together slyly, not divulging what it has in store for me. Birthdays are frigging unpredictable, am I right? Even if I remain occupied the whole day, there's always this little voice in my head that whispers alluringly, sinfully - it's your birthday, you're supposed to be having a superamazingcrazilyexcitinglymindblowinglyecstatic day. And even though until then I've been pleased with the day, it suddenly begins to seem not-good-enough. And yay! becomes eh. Also, having a normal, routine day on your birthday is somehow anticlimactic and depressing. 
I think it has everything to do with the fact that most birthdays when you were a kid actually did seem  superamazingcrazilyexcitinglymindblowinglyecstatic because of the presents and the attention. Sigh. I wish stuff meant just as much now. Although I must admit, if I could have bought a DSLR on my birthday, I would have been disturbingly elated. So anyway, I was talking to G about it who says it wouldn't bother him at all if his birthday were like any other day or even if he were alone. It's going to be hard, but this year I'm going to try not putting any pressure on the day and let it take its own course. 

And now, an attempt to brighten up and sweeten this post:


This was a sprite flavoured cake (baked using sprite instead of egg. How cool is that?) I baked during my CMYK (photography) course for the whole class and Saloni clicked this picture. The gems (which got displaced on the way from Margao to Mapusa) are supposed to spell click! and there's a smile there in the middle which drowned in the icing. But look - colour can spruce up anything :)

What do you do on your birthday?

The Cyniqueen.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hyderabad Hues

Shot (a little shakily) from a car window. I fell in love with the old architecture.

Oh yes, I did! Family holiday to Hyderabad happened, and it was so much fun, mainly because we (my parents, my sister and me) were all together. And because I don't have the patience (and admittedly, the time) to relate everything in loving detail, I give you, impressions in bullet points:
 
  • Biryani at Cafe Bahar and Qubani ka Meetha (this apricot and date syrupy sweet dish, served cold. It sounds funny, but trust me, it grows on you. Mmmm...) and Dil Pasand (how cute, no?) and a lot of very comforting cups of Irani tea, which I was completely infatuated with. It's a wonder my clothes still fit.
  • Hyderabad has loads of Bakeries at every corner, beautiful flower decorations outside of some shops (because it was Diwali), Telugu and hyderabadi-hindi (which, without a doubt, rocks), some very nice places to go to like a drive through the IT area of the city and Charminar, the Salar Jung Museum, although after a while you do start to get a little tired of looking at antiques. Although may be you wouldn't, Carolina Primavera, fan of antiques :)
  • It also has some not-so-great places to go to like Snow World, which if you've ever seen real snow, I plead you to stay away from. I don't know if they've changed the way they are supposed to do things, but we did not enjoy being shoved into a line, given jackets and gloves, made to hand in our footwear and given gumboots (wet from the inside) to wear and what I very strongly suspect were used-socks (ewwwwwwwwww. eww,eww.), and then jostled into another room with ice (which seemed to be mixed with sand or something like that). Eh, I don't want to get into details about the crazed people who were throwing ice at every surface (including our camera). There were things to do of course, like some sliding thing, but it was so annoyingly crowded. Then they announced that there would be snowfall in two minutes. We left pronto, not wanting to get that weird sand-snow in our hair. It was okay, though. We did get a lot of laughs out of the whole thing.
  • I love Pune a little more now, because Hyderabad has more honking and noise and traffic than Pune. Which I had not thought was possible. So yes, Pune-1.
  • The Hyderabad airport is magnificent (although they do charge you this UDF Fee which is Rs.100 for domestic outbound passengers and Rs.800-something for international outbound. Not so nice). But yes, it is a vision of loveliness (as much as airports can be) and quite comfortable. 
***********


Impending birthday looming in the horizon of my mind (and calendar), and I have no plans. As I was telling my friend Unmesh, I have a very specific grudge against birthdays (I mean, my own) and he agreed (and bitched in his blog, here). But that's for later. 
And now I find my righteous fingers staring at me reproachfully (drumming themselves on the table. Heh), and I must devote typing-activity to other, more fist-eatingly boring work.

What did you do over the weekend?
 
Yours, 
The Cyniqueen

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    If my life were a pillow...

    New source of merriment and distraction

    If my life were a big white pillow, someone would be fluffing it right now. I can feel my life changing, ever so slightly, in the smallest little ways possible, but I like it. I'm growing (not horizontally any more, thank God for that), I'm evolving and it feels nice.

    What else has evolved? Stupid Diwali cracker bombs, that's what. They've gotten louder, noisier, and show 60% increased chances of me turning into a serial killer (note: aforementioned figure may not be completely accurate). Yes, crackers can be fun (even though they cause pollution and all). Joyful even. But I seriously fail to comprehend how a eardrum-cracking sound can bring happiness into someone's life. How? I get the ones that look cool and colourful and fiery. But think about it, really, Mr.Pipsqueak who lives in my neighbourhood and finds some hidden pleasure in this bomb thing - your idea of fun is a loud noise? Really? Sad.

    And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a list of random things I bought in the last few days:
    • A table fan. Which has these beautiful blue blades (Uh, huh. I alliterated the hell outta that) that look like a beautiful blue blur (aaaand, I just did it again) when the fan is switched on. The thing is that it took long to actually get to my house from the time I wanted it and it is something I have picked out entirely on my own, after sifting through catalogues and discussions with my mom about prices and features. Needless to say, I was constantly distracted on the first two days, and I kept toying with the regulator and the device that makes it rotate. Needless, also, to say, I must find better ways of occupying myself.
    • A tea strainer to strain ant-infested honey. Yum yum :-/
    • Two eyeliners - The company that used to make my favourite, favourite water-proof kajal has done that awful thing - stopped production. It is as if a rug has been pulled off from under my feet. My plan is not to panic and find a new, cheap and waterproof brand of kajal before my last stick of the old favourite runs out. Pity. Why does this always happen, just when you get comfortable with a product and begin to take its availability for granted, it sniggers sardonically and slinks quietly out of your life forever. Almost like some relationships. Sigh.
    • 2 huge steel dabbas (with a bag of sugar inside each one) to give to the maids for Diwali, instead of a part of their Diwali bonus money. Which they vehemently rejected. Huh.
    Anywho. Happy Diwali :)


    The Cyniqueen.
    P.S - Family holiday is going to happen, so yay!

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Withdrawal symptoms...

    Berlin, I miss you. I miss listening to German all around and feeling good about understanding a language I just learnt. I miss the plump pigeons. I miss wearing a coat and buttoning and unbuttoning it as you have to get inside. I miss the annoyance that it caused. I miss feeling excited about what new place I'd be seeing each day. I miss how scared I was to travel within the city on my own for the first time ever. I miss taking the U-Bahn. I miss walking into the Supermarkts and just looking, awe-eyed, at the sheer variety of everything. The sandwiches are missed, and the brötchen (a type of German bread which smells so fresh and tastes so good, you wouldn't want to ever have Indian sliced bread again). I miss googling about the weather forecast before stepping out. I miss missing India, ab und zu (translation: now and then). I miss seeing potential photos everywhere I looked. And I miss the people who made Europe, Europe for me. So G, it goes without saying, that doing mundane things together like walking around the city with you is missed. Sorely.

    The tangible remains of Berlin- a few tickets (and a monthly pass that enables you to use all the public transport of the city. Isn't that super?), some spare change, books, Sandtiere (which I described to you that one time); and my much loved (and adorably little) Milano cup.


    I guess it doesn't look that small in this picture I clicked, but I swear, it's daintily petite. And look - next to it, my spare Euros and cents :)

    With uncrossed fingers, I must somewhat dolefully tell you that I didn't get admission for the next level of German I wanted to do, because well, just too many people want to learn German, apparently. So yeah, that hasn't worked out like I'd planned. But in the spirit of positivity that is suddenly bursting inside me and has nothing to do with anything, I think things will turn out okay. Within the next year. One always has hope, right?

    The Cyniqueen.

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Music to my ears.


    Does that happen to you when you make a lot of plans with a lot of people and none of them materialize? It's happening to me this week and adds heavily to my staying-at-home-lethargy and makes me wish I could go *click* (because let's face it, this is the virtual world) and have this completely together and very, very clear life.

    You know those people who are all standing tall and know exactly what they want in life? I want to be them right now. Ooh, and because I often have songs/music playing in my head according to the situation like background music in a movie, I can't wait for the moment till the following songs play as the background music in my life (Hmm... Must find better, more meaningful things to mull over in head):
    • A Moment Like This by Kelly Clarkson
    • I Can See Clearly Now by Johny Nash
    • Perfect Day by Hoku - OST Legally Blonde (but admittedly, it does play in my life now and then)
    • Several other songs, which I might add in later, but too lazy to think of right now. Do you have any?
    ...and, who am I kidding, most songs that play at the end of movies. I guess everyone just wants happy-ending moments in life. I know people say that happiness comes from within and that whether to be happy or not is a decision, but how does one just 'become' happy? I usually have a very Bridget Jones frame of mind going on, and I feel...clueless, to say the least. And please, this is so not about finding (or the problems with, as the case may be) love, or fulfilling a certain goal. I read this lovely post by Disguise a while ago and thought I want that. But whether that will ever happen, and whether, assuming it does happen, I would, at the end of the day not feel totally lost, remains to be seen.



    This is a picture I clicked at Como (Italy) in a great big hurry (as I clicked most of my pictures) because G and CC kept walking on quickly. I don't blame them, of course. I guess the best way to get pictures the way you want them (angle, light, and so on) is to
    (a)be alone, which *yawn* is not really fun...besides the obvious fact that it's not feasible when you're new to a place with limited time to spend. 
    (b)go for a photo-walk, with other like-minded, trigger-crazy people. But who gets to choose the place? And also, it can look kind of strange to an outsider- a herd of camera-brandishing people all moving together and clicking things that seem to have no relevance whatsoever - also not a great option for when you're new to a place. AND, how to get people for a photo-walk when you're new to a place?
     Heh, waddya  know, I'm back to square one. But I should mention here that the CMYK phtowalks in Goa (from the photography class I did way back in May, about which you can read here) used to be so much of fun. Back to photography - I want a nice DSLR - I wantIwantIwantIwant. I'd even stamp my feet and grovel on the floor - but we must be responsible mature adults. Huh. The problem, as I have explained before, is simple - it all comes down to money. But do you think, may be, just may be, it will appear as though out of nowhere, on my approaching, impending birthday and we will have a happily ever after with lots of shutter-speeding, tele-lensing, manual-focusing fun? If only. On the other hand, if I was given a DSLR that was my very own, I would almost certainly die an early death from clicking too many photos. Hell, I even do that with digital cameras and mobile cameras. This one time, in one particular bout of what I believed at the time was a moment of photographic epiphany, I clicked several pictures of my hand. And I wasn't drunk or on medication. So you see. May be it's a good thing I don't have a DSLR.

    Did I mention I was reading 'P.S - I Love You'? Oh, and did I mention I was reading it in German? Yeah baby. I'm very cool like that (is what I thought when I started off. Then I realized there are several words I don't understand and that brought me back to reality. But I do get the gist of most things and have almost reached the end now. So, yay!)

    I have all intentions of an early start to my day for tomorrow, so I must away. Don't stay up too late y'all. And yes, drink lots of water. And why yes, I have reached my writing saturation-point, how did you know?

    Yours slightly-deliriously,
    The Cyniqueen

    Friday, October 15, 2010

    Snap back to reality (end of lovely and very stereotypical Italian accordian music that had been playing in my head everytime saw my last post about Italy. Sigh and sigh).

    Some more random things about Berlin (the fag end)
    • Beggars there are better dressed than in India. But the weird thing is that they always, but always, have a dog with them. A really cute one. On a leash that too. It's the most bizarre thing, but I swear I never saw a Berliner Beggar who didn't have a dog (Hmm...that sounds like a song from a musical)
    • The market at Hackescher Markt every Thursday. I could go on and on about my very favourite place in all of Berlin, and I get dreamy eyed just thinking about it - Okay, truth be told, it's just a regular market with different stalls - but I dunno, something about it just stuck, and I kept going back during my time there - for different varieties of olives from the Italian stall (or was it Greek?), for second hand but almost mint condition German books at as low as 25 Cents a book, for bittery, soothingly steaming, sweet, floats-right-up-to-your-head type hot chocolate, for Sandtiere (cloth animals stuffed with sand - I bought a green snake and a lizard for 9 Euros -the cute kind, with buttons for eyes) which I bought at a stall that sold, among other things, Indian agarbattis and cloth posters of Indian Gods and Goddesses. If there was one single place I'd pick to go back to, Hakescher Markt would be it for sure.
    • And ganz in der nähe von (translation: very close to) Hakescher Markt, is this place called Oranienburger Straße, which houses the Tacheles Gallery, which is this awe-inspiring, intimidating, outlandish and honestly, a slightly smelly building where artists live and they have pubs and exhibitions and paintings for sale. Another thing Oranienburger Straße is known for besides Tacheles and its lively night life is ahem, the street prostitutes (street prostitution is legal in Berlin, by the way). One question - How were they not cold in their short-shorts?
    After Friedberg, Berlin, Holland, Italy and Hanover, for the first time ever, landing in Goa was a bit of a letdown. The loyal Goan in me was appalled at the lack of tingling excitement that usually begins to tick inside me as I near Goa, but this new part of me, the person who went to Europe and fell right in love with it, wanted to keep on looking back to take it all in - all the way to the airport - kept wanting to delay the moment the plane tucked in its wheels inside and took off into the air, leaving German soil. In a nutshell - I miss it terribly. I returned to India and brought with me a desire to go back.


    I was in Goa for about two weeks after I came back, which was a lot of family time spent visiting various cousins, playing with two very cute new members of the family - my niece and nephew - and it was all very fun. I was always scared of holding babies and mostly prefer to stay away from the giggling crowd of women who usually take to surrounding babies, cooing and cheek-pinching and kissing. I mean, of course babies are really cute, but I never understood the mad dash people have to like, cuddle and play with them. But after these two tots, babies suddenly seem less scary and less mysterious - Babies in general that is, not my own. Heh. That thought is still petrifying. Naturally.


    I reached Pune two days ago, with a mixture of resignation and numbness - I've never loved the city (though I've been here for about three years) because let's face it, Pune is no Goa. And while I appreciate how much living here has taught me, I was still thrilled in May when I went back to Goa for an indefinite period of time, taking a break from the German courses. Somehow, in my mind, Pune life is real life, where I have to do all the work (buying groceries, taking care of bills, repairs, etc) as opposed to Goa, where there are other people who get the work done.
    Anyway, the plan is that I do another level of German now (if I get admission - there's always a waiting list at the institute) so as to better my chances of going to Germany.

    *Fingers crossed*


     
    Yours hopefully,
    The Cyniqueen

    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Bellissimo! (Peaceful easy feeling)

    G and me
    Went to Italy
    Ate a pizza or two
    And tiramisu.

    Danced late into the night
    Saw the late evening light
    At Lake Como.
    And the Duomo?

    Was pure brilliance.

    I'm out of rhymes
    But the next time
    With some patience and wit
    I'll try not to look like a giant git!

    That, dear reader, is only a little sliver of the craziness that goes on in my head. But not crazy as in I was hallucinating, because we did in fact, totally go to Italy and have a fantastic time.



    CC, host and dost (I know, I know. It's dumb. But I don't have the time or the patience to edit that. And that is how it shall remain. So anyway,) was so gracious and he showed us around. In the 3-4 days there, I
    • saw how crazy people are about fashion. And how huge fashion in Milan is (as it should be). After this realization, it struck me how lame most of what I had carried along was in comparison to the swaying, swooshing, kisses-in-the-air smartly dressed (and voluptuously thin) girls there. I will definitely be thinking (and doing) a hell lot more the next time I'm preparing for a trip to Milan.
    • didn't shop the way I might have/should have/could have. My stupid (and excruciatingly painful) white heels were found snapped as I unpacked, which I had barely worn twice. And all over town were these giantesses in beautiful heels, looking so elegant - which made me reconsider wearing heels on a regular basis again (something I've almost completely stopped doing).
    • partied at Just Cavalli, where Hugh Grant was attending too. Apparently.
    • ate genuine Italian pizza at Solo Pizza (twice) and was so tantalisingly delicious, I don't think I can eat pizza anywhere else again. 
    Navigli, Milan

    • also ate lots of gelato. And Tiramisu one time (And it was sinful. So sinful.)
    • tried Sushi for the first time ever at a place CC goes to often (and no, I can't explain what CC stands for. Not without blushing, anyway), where he very patiently taught G and me how to eat with chopsticks, which is not easy. Sushi and Goan fish? Very very differently prepared. I think I need to try it a few more times to really start loving it. The seafood soup with sea weed (I bet it had a different name though) was yummy.
    • went to Lake Como which you must visit if you're ever in Italy. And the town of Como too - really picturesque with little alleyways - which were also there in Milan. Along with charming cobbled streets. I felt like I was in a movie.
    • found that the people are warm. And loud. And Italian sounds musical and makes me smile.
    • loved the architecture. And the weather. 
    Como

    All in all, I am a very content Cyniqueen right now, but as the time to say goodbye to Europe draws to a close, a strange fluttering, squeezing, pounding, rolling feeling sits in my stomach. A hunger stirs, a craving to return growls fiercely. I know now, more than ever before, that I'll be back. Feels good :)

    Yours pensively,
    The Cyniqueen 

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Here we go

    Berlin, it seems, sort of likes me. I feel its warmth in the gentle swaying of the evening breeze and in the smiles exchanged on the street with people I've never seen. The little, smartly dressed dogs everywhere (not traipsing alone but accompanied by their owners, obviously) and people carrying cycles in the trains (which is allowed here.). I feel a longing to come back here even when I'm exasperated - like when I got bored of bread last week, which is all you get here. I wanted, more than anything, a piping hot Medu Vada for breakfast and settled for bread and cheese instead. I'm coming round to it though. Discovering croissants for breakfast was a wonderful moment.


    Oh lord, I'm doing that vague thing again, aren't I? I don't know what that mood is, that simply takes over my fingers and flows out on to the screen, one abstract word after another, but I just have to let it run its convoluted course. Which I think it has. Now.


    So anyway, getting back to normal writing, I was in the Netherlands last week! Two days in Rotterdam, followed by a day and a half in Amsterdam, and it was the most fun ever. I met some great people, saw some lovely sights and finally, finally visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.


    Anne Frank's writing and the Holocaust aspect of the second world war is something I have been interested in since I was a child. I have read a lot about it and I did my B.A. project on the diary of Anne Frank. So it was nothing short of a dream come true to visit the Anne Frank House at 263, Prinsengracht on a sunny Monday morning (where the queue behind us seemed to stretch on for more than a block at 11 am).
    The fact that the memory of this remarkable girl and all those who perished during this tragic time has not been commercialized is something I deeply respect. The Anne Frank House is not simply about the house in which  eight Jews went into hiding, but a symbol of the atrocities meted out to a group of people simply because they were Jews. Visiting this monument reminds one that discrimination lives on even today and there is much to be learnt from the past. I hope to go back there as soon as possible.


    Rotterdam was made fun by our friend Ruma, who showed us around the town and with whom we traveled to Amsterdam. Ooh, you get these delicious things in Netherlands called Swirl's  - an ice cream with self-chosen toppings, which was great to eat in the chilly weather . And speaking of weather, it was cold and rainy for the most time when we were in Netherlands and the strong winds made it worse - especially since I get cold quicker than a snow flake in winter (does that sound right?) but it was a lot of fun-ness and frolick-ness anyway.


    What else did I like? The trams, the canals (so romantic), the ducks, and the cycles (hundreds of which I saw parked, but honestly, not half as many out on the road actually being ridden), and the language, which is a comprehensible mix of German and English. And definitely on my list of languages I want to someday learn. Someday.


    And now, dear reader, I must go. Packing awaits, but I'm not complaining. Off to Italy for a long weekend. And it seems the weather will be nice and sunny. Hurrah!


    The Cyniqueen.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Yes! The Germany diaries - First Impressions...

    • It is so, so spotlessly clean here. 
    • It is daylight till 9:30 pm. So bizarre, so lovely.
    • Everything is bigger than in India - people, dogs, the average beer bottle, bikes, pigeons.
    • You need to check the weather forecast everyday. At first I never got what the fuss was all about, but when they say it's going to be overcast or rainy? That also means you're going to bruise your skin from the cold if you don't dress accordingly. Maybe I exaggerate - but I get cold even in Indian winter. I have surreally sensitive skin.
    • Ooh, the sparrows too. FAT. 
    • Eggs shells are brown! Not terribly startling, but had previously seen said egg variety only on television.
    • And German television - It is so nice to have about 30 channels to watch in German, and not the one lone German channel as we get in India. Here, I feel like a ruler - changing channels at will to find German everywhere, not like in India, where you switch to Deutsche Welle and tuck the remote away meekly in a corner. It's like switching from Doordarshan to cable TV. Yes.
    • You can lay down on the grass and simply take in nature, or just read or do your own thing at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. And you don't have to worry about dog poo in the grass, or about perverts staring at you. Is a free world where everyone does their own thing (except dog owners, who must clean up after their canines. Haha).
    • I know I spoke about cleanliness already, but a special mention must be made of the toilets everywhere. People actually care about keeping things clean, they actually know the importance of clean surroundings. It's so sad to see total ignorance about this in India.
    • Ah. Oddly, as of now, I don't miss home at all. I am perfectly content without, for instance, domestic help (and God knows how frustrating that can be at times), and Goa comes to mind only with gentle triggers, like the sand at a work site reminded me of the beach, and the smell of Paprika powder is exactly how the main market at Margao smells like. I will miss Ganesh Chaturthi this year, for the first time ever, but I'm not going to think about that now. I'm simply going to take in whatever Germany has to offer. 
    • Oh, wait - just because you've done some levels of German does not mean that you'll be spewing it out with Germans you meet. For one - They. Speak. Fast. Their accents are so perfect and clipped and lovely-sounding, and it's just a little intimidating. On my way from Hannover to Berlin, I got the wrong compartment and lost my seat because apparently you're supposed to occupy your reserved seat within 15 minutes of the train starting (I know!). I was stuck between two compartments, which was still all posh as is not third world country. There were a couple of other Germans with accents so thick and they were speaking so fast, could only snatch some nouns, with no way of knowing exactly what they were saying. Used to be nodding and smiling stupidly at whatever they were saying to realize that I was being asked a question. But was fine, really. And, they can barely speak any English, so ha.
    • The thing that Germans are cold people? Total crap! All the Germans I have met until now have been so helpful (except a hefty lady with dark brown facial hair at the cash counter of a shop at the Frankfurt airport train station, who was a little rude when I asked her about my train. But then she helped me anyway - poor thing though, probably gets harassed by innocuous, broken German-speaking tourists all the time. Heh.)
    • And met this guy Thomas at the station in Hannover, who really helped my nerves, and with whom I spoke a decent amount of German, and who was one of the only people whose German I actually understood clearly. And we're in touch now. Love that a contact was made in this random manner.
    • They say that even if you speak a little German, the Germans will be friendly. And it makes total sense. You would be unable to communicate with someone who couldn't speak the same language, so obviously, how can you just be friendly without really even speaking to someone?
    • Clearly, I'm in an all-forgiving, nurturing, happy place right now, away from chaos and absorbing in a new culture, new weather, new hope.... And no matter what I'm doing here, no matter how mundane, it is marvellous just to know that I'm doing it here, in Germany, a place I've wanted to come to for a while. The magic of new possibilities in the air is intoxicating. Come join me, won't you?


    Bis bald,
    The Cyniqueen.


    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Zen

    Good things in my life right now?
    I finally drove the car after almost a year. Last year around this time, I sort of sprained my right wrist while lifting a very large bucket of water (of all things) because there was going to be some kind of a water shortage, which at the end of it didn't really end up affecting me at all. Which strengthens my belief in fate and shows that I was destined to sprain that wrist. I mean, I never go about lifting very large buckets of water, y'know? So anyway, basically every time I was down in Goa and tried to drive the shiny pink Zen Estillo, my wrist would start to ache. And then I lost the confidence that I'd be able to drive. But on Sunday, mom and dad and I went to the beach and I drove and it was like I had never had the break. And we had tea/coffee and bought shorts and tee shirts and things, and it was all very nice. I mean, it was Colva (which unfortunately has retained very little of its pristine beauty of many years ago, thanks to shameless commercial exploitation), but it was still fun.
    So basically, yay! Because I can finally drive myself to my salon and stop looking like Cousin It from the Adams Family (okay, its not that bad. It's never that bad). 


    More good things - The Germany trip in August is mostly happening. I'm sorting out ticket fares right now (which have suddenly shot up. My luck.) but hopefully it should all get finalized soon. The internship/job scene, on the other hand, not so hot. I'm still trying, but I don't know when something substantial will develop. Sigh and sigh.


    Apart from that, I don't have much to blog about. The strange floating, blank, semi-existing feeling continues. I don't know if it's depression or emptiness or just a phase. Whatever it is, I fervently hope it passes away soon.


    And now, if you could all excuse me (and I use the term 'all' very loosely here), I have to go do exciting CV and job application stuff. Oh, the thrill of it all.


    Until later,
    The Cyniqueen.