4 July 2010

An unsuitable comparison

Its Sunday afternoon and the weather is compelling me to be contemplative. I actually reached back to my time in Seattle and thought about how I spent my time on weekends there vs here. When I moved to Seattle it was the first time that I was living by myself in a new city, much like right now. So, there is one element of similarity between the two periods : Alone-ness. I thought about that word because I wasn't and am not lonely; I wasn't and am not single. I was just by myself. I read somewhere that the ability to be by yourself is a strength, not a weakness. Certainly in Seattle if I wanted company I had to seek; not so much here in India because someone's always ringing the bell. Without more ramble let me recount a Saturday here vs what I did in Seattle.

Seattle: July 2006

6:00 AM catch bus to Green Lake. Run around with the Miles for Smiles gang - the Asha Seattle Marathon training unit.

9:00 AM Back home. Tea and a large eggy breakfast.

10:00 AM scrub Bathroom, kitchen. Write checks to cover utility and other bills. New Jersey Family catch up on Phone.

12:00 AM Walk down to neighbourhood cafe for a cappucino. Hurrah! I have had 10 stamps and this is the 11th so its free. Make list of things I need from grocery store.

1:00 AM make plans to watch Football with friends.

1:30 AM Very frustrated, as have no car and getting to Friend's place involves two buses. Wish had bike at least. Meanwhile, match is ticking away...

2:15 PM Reach Eastlake. Watch some of the match; eat lunch.

4:00PM Post match and hang out. While here best to finish grocery shopping; step into store but do not like shopping in grocery store where I don't know layout: this means taking more to get the things I want due to lack of orientation.

5:00 PM done with shopping. Bags heavy but must go to a hippie spice shop that makes best garam masala in town.

7:00 PM finally home. Hamstrings sore from running. Organize dinner from left overs; heat things up and open a book I got from the Library.

8:00 PM Dessert, fruits and a cup of tea. Talk to mom, dad and sister as it is suitable time in India for chat.

10:00 PM Bed

Hyderabad: July 2010

7:00 AM Milkman. He had forgotten that I had asked him not to give me milk for 2 days as I have been unable to get through the week's supply and my fridge was resembling a storage unit at a dairy plant.

Back to bed.

9:00 AM Remove dosa batter from fridge. Organize Coffee.

10:00 AM Bell rings. Its A, my maid. We gossip over Dosa and Coffee. She chides me for not eating well - she knows from the type and number of dishes in the sink whether my meal from last night was appropriate. Talk to Mom

10:10 AM Am out of gas. Frantic phone call to gas agency. I will get a delivery today. Hurrah! Continue phone talk with mom.

12:30 PM after countless chase phonecalls, many in my poor Telugu, the gas man arrives. Talk to sister.

1:00 PM Put water out to heat because the water supply to my water heater runs out after 10 AM and if I want hot water for a bath I have to do it the old-fashioned way: Boil water on the stove!

1:30 PM Exit Buckingham Block. Negotiate Auto ride. Off to Crossword to pick up Steig Larsson's Millennium II.

2:00 PM Arrive at Ruchi and Doni, upscale grocery store and Bistro with book in hand. Settle down to a read and supplied self with delicious pasta, banana crepe and Arabian Tea.

4:00 PM Head home. Continue reading. Nap a bit. Drool all over couch pillow.

6:30 PM walk to the market: veggies, fruits and other sundry items. Berate fruit chap about poor quality of mangoes I purchased last time. Quizzed him about Mango situation in country. He gave me the stink eye for refusing to put mangoes in plastic bag and instead ,in my cloth bag. We settled on compromise. I will place mangoes on top and not dump any more things in to the bag. Luckily I had two bags. Up the road is Veggie chap; chides me for dumping all veggies into one bag. I retort that everything goes into the same stomach.

7:30 PM settle to watch FIFA football Match. Eat Khichdi. Talk to Dad. Talk to sister.

10:00 PM fighting to keep eyes open; have to finish book. Did not; instead sleep on top of book.


Life is good. It was good even back then. The differences in lifestyle are obvious and so are the similar threads of routine. However, did you notice how in India I talk a lot more? I used to find this community business quite overrated but after having experienced the western concept of space and the Indian concept of distance, I personally prefer the latter. There is a lot of energy we exchange when engage in conversation and I see myself benefiting from that enormously. May not work for all, but does wonders for me.

Hope you are having a good weekend.


  1. so glad we got to catch up! <3

  2. Hi Megha, I liked your weekend lifestyle comparison. Yes, Seattleites definitely need their space, and I can actually go weeks at a time with only talking to emily, olivia, kajal, tony, and loren. You probably talk to more people on your way to work.

  3. I totally agree on the talking part. hough, i cant speak the language in Bangalore. Even random chit-chat, in broken hindi/english etc. goes a long way in making you feel connected.

    The milleniums are just so good.