Thursday, July 29, 2010

settling down in a new town is difficult. when you go to live in a new town, in a new country, it gets that much more difficult. You carry your best wardrobe only to discover that whatever they wear in that part of the world is missing from your suitcase. Whatever you wear seems so out of context with the way everyone dresses up here. Whatever you are used to eating is not available- and you are trying to get used to the food habits here. Dinner is at 7 p and you feel hungry five hours later if you are awake!

I have gleaned some learnings in the process of having moved some 15 times in 25 years, each time being a total change- jumps from south to north to west to east within the country or without. Living in India for the major part of my life, I am anyway so exposed to dramatic differences in cultures and lifestyles that coming out to another country has been simpler- but the pangs of settling down have been pretty much the same.

This brings me to point number one: a cultural and linguistic orientation is required before the movement, not after or during the settling down. Reasons can be many- suffice to say that pre orientation prepares us better for the movement; we know what to carry, we understand what is expected of us..... and we move with all the requisite paraphernalia in our suitcases.

The other learning is that one should not be hasty in setting up the house- while it may seem as if the house lacks warmth and amiability when its bare with just essentials in place, but for the longhaul, it works out better when you take some time to survey the market since it adds style and class to your effort. And you end up spending the right kind of money than when doing impulse purchases. Emergency shopping should be confined to foodstuffs and basic toiletries and maybe a skeleton kitchen. We have lived out of one room and one kitchen for three months on one occasion when the house leased for us was burgled and we had to take time to locate another suitable flat for ourselves- believe me, it was not a problem at all, though the children were young and needed all the attention... had I set up a full fledged establishment, it would have cost me that much more effort as well as money to relocate to the new flat when we found it.And those days,money was dearer than it is today!

An assessment of the fashion trends is very important when relocating- imagine my chagrin when I was told in Kolkata that i could wear pure silk in the summer too? Hailing from Delhi, where fashions are season driven and increasingly fabric driven, the thought of wearing silk in summer was fashion harakiri!I had arrangd my wardrobe with cottons and organdies in the summer, but the humidity just would not allow me to wear them! And now, as I begin to inhabit Bangkok, I realize that the color black is just not favoured- so I now have to think about revamping my formals.... also the entire dress culture is contrary to the Indian belief of maximalistic(is there a word like that? I like it- its very expressive...) dressing with loud, or maybe elaborate accessories and adornments. Here, i see the need for minimalistic dressing habits due to the weather and the full-day-out lifestyle with people using public transport mostly. Unlike in India, here I find very few overweight people so the need to hide the spare tyres is also not apparent. Its so cool to just walk out in a cotton blouse with a simple short skirt and a smart pair of chic, really.

And I am seriously trying to lose weight now... so watch out!

i just cant figure them out!

.... and then I go through all these blogs - the popular ones more than others. I think I have gotten left behind- I am unable to figure them out- they are too involved, multi faceted and so rich in content- i am simply overawed and feel totally illiterate!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

25 years ago............

This is different. I am enjoying it. It is different in that when 25 years ago, we tried to shop, we just couldnt make ends meet- either what we were looking for was beyond reach; or what was available as not what we were looking for- there seemed no meeting point of our desires and our means. And to top it all, more than one opinion had to be respected- so we ended up buying blue when I liked yellow, and steel when I could have done better with teflon! Yes, that was the time we had gotten married and were setting up house with our early earnings and lots and lots of opinions and guidance. Did we have a mind of our own? Yes, we did, but we dared not use it any more than absolutely necessary!

Not so, this time. Though we are again setting up house, this is different. We have just walked into another country, actually drifted into another country with approx 700 kgs of belongings, which include clothes, exactly 12 covers for meals, three nonstick frying pans and two pressure cookers! And some decorative crystal and brassware tops the list. Yes, agreed, clothes make the bulk of the consignment, but then thats our passion!

So, as you have guessed, we are spending our weekends exploring the malls and supermarkets here - the pleasure of buying pots and pans and most of all, well designed boxes(be it the super quality tupperware, or the run of the mill polysets), defies description! There is the added advantage of enhanced money in hand as compared to 25 years ago- so decision making is largely dependent on what we like- not how much it will cost! And there is a wider choice available, as compared to 25 years ago- lots more to choose from..... my husband and I sit and think about the satisfaction of reviewing the first lap or segment of our life together- the phase during which we had the children, they grew up, went to school, went into professional college, and now are following their respective careers- during this entire two decades, all I asked for, was direction which would lead us all to our respective goals.

So this is the next lap - where we start with buying pots and pans and other better things for the house in which just the two of us will live- children will be frequent visitors and will now set up their own homes- and we will visit them sometimes. When we set up house 25 years ago, we set it up thinking about the time we will have the children.....

I love this "next lap" coz it takes us back 25 years and makes us feel all fresh and ready to start again! And makes us feel as if the first day of those 25 years was just yesterday!