Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Internet Shopping

Anita wanted me to buy some India suits for her on my trip here. She gave me some detailed specs but I was quite unsure of what she needed. Ever tried to complete this type of job successfully. It is a difficult task so I walked into some prospective shops and started clicking the attractive manequins on display. The pics ( 8) with prices were emailed to Anita whom I asked to select. The ones she selected are displayed above. When you see her wearing them -- you will know the effort involved which went into buying them.

My Parents at Lucknow

I met my parents at Lucknow after about 1.5yrs. They looked well but age was sure catching on. It was so nice to see their routine. get up early -- go for morning walks -- tea on the front verandah-- breakfast.. & so on through the day. As expected they queried me on everything and I gave them an update on all that they already knew. I then merged into their routine and even attended two weddings, right on the first evening in Lucknow. The food was delicious and I missed Anita who loves to be around on weddings and all the good Indian food that she craves for in Canada. The kachori's at one wedding were delicious.

Vinod Bhai

One evening Sonia drove us down to Vinod Bhai's place. As is customary with Vinod Bhai , he took a lot of pains in laying out a great spread and preparing a four/ five course meal with the help of his man friday Miraj Xees ( he is not from Greece but from Orissa).
The whole house was spick and span and tastefully done up. Unfortunately uncle ( Vinod's father) had passed away some months earlier and the loss was palpable... Outwardly ,Vinod Bhai seem to bear the loss well but I am sure these were difficult times for him
Anyway , he ensured he stuffed us well and then drove me to the railway station for my trip to Lucknow.

Junnu Bawa

It was great catcing up with Junnu Bawa at AVI in Noida over a bottle of beer. ( Incidently I had been looking fwd to having a full 750ml of Kingfisher beer as against the small ones we have in the west)
Jhunu has'nt changed & thankfully never will. He was full of stories on how life has treated him and filled me up on common friends as well. Tina was off to Chandigarh for a wedding and i was able to speak with her on a cell phone even as her Shatabdi pulled into Chandigarh. They are to move back to their Noida home shortly. I also learned that there is a possibility of his showing up in Canada very soon --( I must learn how to make Bloody Marys)
A pleasant 2 hrs later I saw him being whisked away in an Ikon by a cell phone toting chauffer

Beyond Exclaimation: !!!

While in Noida I met with the group Beyond Exclamations which is an event mgmt company & have as their motto "youth in Action" .They are lead by Priyanka ( Piu) Khanna who happens to be my niece and her two friends who are still in college. They have successfully held two major events and are currently working on their third major assignment scheduled for Dec 01. Piu gave up a vacation to Khazakastan to work on their Dec 01 event. How is that for dedication? It was a pleasure meeting them and seeing their enthusiasm .

Evening of Nov 23: Ash / Shokin & Daph

If there is one man who can get things done in Delhi, it is Ash ( left Pic). I met Ash in his book strewn office opposite some 'biggy' politician's office ( I forget who) -- for me Ash is as big as they get. He quickly brought me up to speed with all that had been happening "behind my back" and after I refused to drink the water he offered , we drove ( I followed Ash's Black Baleno through the chaotic streets of Delhi) to the Army Golf Club to meet with Shokin & Daphne ( right pic) for diner. Shokin had just returned after doing a superb job as a DA in Nepal and handling a nation in crisis. For that (and for twirling snakes on a stick in Orissa ) they have decided to make him a Brig. I am sure he will do a better job as a Gen. Not too sure about Daph though-- she sounded as carefree as she was almost 20 years back-- what will all those COW's ( CO's wives ) think ? & for some reason this trio did not let me have soup for dinner!!!!

Nov 23, 2007: VK , Rakesh & TIL/ TCS folks

I took the opportunity to call on a few good friends at Tata Infotech ( Now merged with TCS). Tata Infotech closed their offices at 5 Sikandra Road and moved to the TCS office at Parliment street sometime in 2005. I called VK & Rakesh ( in pic ) and both sounded very happy to meet with me later that day. Sonia & Piu ( my neices) loaned me their Scorpio ( very brave of them ) for the trip down to Delhi and I ventured onto the left hand lawless streets of Delhi. Driving was not that bad as I had imagined & having driven in India for 20 years earlier. I also met with a bunch of others ex TIL/now TCS folks and shared their grief on parting with Sikandra Rd. Meeting them felt very nice and it was great to catch up on old friends. No matter where I go , I will always have that soft corner for Tata Infotech.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

First Impressions on arrival after almost 4 years

I was curious to see if there had been any changes ....Things were as I had imagined them to be. Nothing seemed to have changed and within minutes I was happy to be back. It felt that I had never been away. There was however a tinge of sadness that why could not there be the same setup here as that we have in the west, but very soon these thoughts were lost and I was actively trying to help the cabbie from "doing a fender bender" and in some cases even more serious collisions. The cabbie was blissfully unaware of my offered support and only scoffed __ " Lagta hai bahut dino ke bad aaye ho". The Atta chowk was a collage of honking cars/ over head wires/ pedestrians/ cars/two wheelers/cattle and their excreta, it was business as usual for all. Standing amidst all this was a lonely cop whose body language conveyed that he had everything under control. I survived the trip and quickly we dove into the refuge of a colony.

My Trip to India- Nov 21- Dec 08

Flight A-188 Toronto- Birmingham- Amritsaaaar...-----New Delhi ( Whew!!!)

As the day arrived to leave Toronto I was brimming with eagerness-- I had been away for 3.5 yrs from India & suddenly I was actually returining to my roots. We ( my mother-in-law & me)boarded the flight and soon realized we were in for an uncomfy time as the seats were really cramped. Some back and forth with the Air India staff saw Mummy slightly more comfortable in the staff seating area. I later realized that had I even attempted to use my rudimentry Punjabi, the task would have been easier. Besides being subject to intolerable 3hrs delays in Birmingham and Amritsar and body cramping in the economy class , we were served dinner at 2am and Breakfast at 12 noon (Toronto time), our bodies took a thorough "bashing" which normally results in what is called as " Jet Lag". When we landed at IGI ( 5 hrs late) I was all set to kiss the tarmac ( like the Pope) not only because of the happiness of seeing India but the sheer joy of deplaning.