HOME, MUMBAI: This must be the first time since I started blogging that I haven’t mentioned my birthday and put a traditional I’m-xx-old-oooh-aren’t-I-growing-old post. Have managed to do it while working crazy hours or slogging on the Final Year Project, but one difficult exam on Oct 5 put me off it this time. Guess it’s a sign of old age. Yours truly is now 25 years old. It’s c-r-e-e-p-y as hell to associate this number with me, but I’ve realised I’ve talked about it so much that 25 only feels natural. It’s only because I’m back in school and there are all these 1990-born children in there. And the fact that kids born as late as 1996 – yes, ninety six – are in class ten now! I remember when I was in class ten! 

But 25 is nothing, I know. And I mean it, not just because I’m that old. I think 40 is the real killer. Even 39 is ok, you’re still in your 30s and as a woman, probably done with taking care of your toddler child(ren) and hopefully back at work. Forty is still far away, so it still feels old

MUMBAI: The rains. The snails in the bathroom. The incredible amounts of dust. The university’s absolutely ridiculous methods of functioning, which besides ripping apart in feedback forms, self-important I have decided to give some suggestions to (anticipate a post which states I’ve been kicked out of university!). Whittling down weekly beverage consumption (:P) sessions to once-a-month-if-lucky sessions (somehow I frequently run into dry days every time I’m downtown!). Fortnightly movie sessions to oh-is-that-the-name-of-a-new-movie-ness to friends still in Singapore. Unlearning the conveniences of things like air-conditioned ATMs, easy bill payments and finding anything online. Learning how to yell at someone in Hindi – be it the stupid pizza delivery people with no change for 500 for a 468 rupees bill, or the ATM guard who decided to be cheeky and asked if we couldn’t read the non-existent sign that the ATM wasn’t working. Marvelling at Maharashtrian cooking that has tomatoes and coconut in pretty much everything, and at the sweet samburr. Getting acquainted with different Hindi accents and identifying their origins. Sitting through a conversation I have no interest in with a polite and smiling face. Being called graceful (yikes! But turns out I am…) A dandiya session where my pathetic coordination skills provided amusement to the children I was dancing with. And perhaps a significant achievement which my parents might testify to: sleeping through a whole hour of power failure at night only momentarily waking up to realize the fan wasn’t working. 

You would realize I haven’t even gone into the studying part of it. It was just like jumping into an alien experiment I have no clue about. The first couple of months were spent in pretty much open-mouthed amazement at just how disorganized and bureaucratic things can be here (“Please write a letter to...” for anything and everything), and the next two months were spent adjusting to it. Exams have been written with half-baked, half-remembered knowledge, and I have nightmares about grades, till I convince myself I should look beyond grades and all that. 

Maybe it’s the whole end-of-exam and going-home warm feeling, but I’m pretty happy at how it’s turned out so far. It’s been a challenge, there have been many disappointments, but what’s life without anything like that?

HOME: I’m at home for Diwali after seven years, and I’m bored. It’s somehow not the same as celebrating it in Chennai. I miss – gosh, has it been that long, it feels ridiculous even saying this – school friends, visiting relatives, and the excitement about new clothes and sweets and spicy savouries. Sitting in a random city away from these people and with two wisdom teeth extractions, I haven’t even got the will to get off the couch, go to the road and light the ‘shaastratukku’ crackers that have been purchased (yes, and by the way, what’s with the bloody expensive crackers they sell these days?! Good lord!!) 

TV, with its 200+ channels holds even lesser attraction. Stuff cooked at home remind me of a literal experience of the saying ‘Kai ku ettinadhu vaai-ku ettaliye’ (what the hand can reach, the mouth can’t). 

The vacation is nearly over, there’s an event at home soon, the world’s population has officially hit 7 billion, and it’s raining all the time in Coimbatore, and I don’t have any inkling on what to do for my dissertation. That’s what vacation has become. YAWN!