Wednesday, December 21, 2005

From Koyambedu to Costco

I have been wanting to post for an inordinately long time.. and why haven’t I? The main reason being the anonymity of this blog has lessened with more people knowing my real identity. I kept quiet wondering as to their opinions of me reading my posts, because I’ve always loathed personal dynamics with others intersecting with opinions of my mind. But I guess even my blog is undergoing a period of evolution, I have two choices ,start another blog anonymously again or continue with the same one hoping that irrespective of the anonymity the written message remains as strong. And I am going with the latter.So here goes

For those unfamiliar with the two terms in the title- Koyambedu is the veggie market in Chennai where I used to do my shopping and Costco is an US national retailer for all “bulk” goods from jewelry to gardening tools. This was my first trip north of the Narmada let alone out of the country. When I stepped off the plane at San Francisco air port frankly I felt a sense of coldness- I am not talking about the weather, wherever you set your foot outside an airport or railway station in India , the heat for one and the hustle and bustle of people strikes you, I truly miss that. As I looked around at the cars zooming past, I was basically hunting for any person who smiled/yelled/pushed at you or even an old lady who would stare at you curiously, which you would find in any corner in India when you are waiting for you ride, without that for me a journey would not be complete :)
Its also hard to blog, when you are figuring out how to turn on the taps, the switches which work vice versa and most particularly trying to drive. I kept closing my eyes every time K took a turn.. because I was sure we were driving on the wrong side and this huge SUV will squeeze our car into a tiny bit. Shopping too is hard as there is such a range to choose from even for the simplest things, for example even buying milk. I mean at home if I said I wanted milk… the shopkeeper would hand me an Avin milk packet and that’s that. Here it’s a choice between “Milk 1% low fat,low fat with vitamins,2% reduced fat, fat free,lactose free”!!! and the list is endless. I miss the bargaining too during vegetable shopping, in Koyambedu, my dad used to be ecstatic when he managed to save 1Rs. Off a Kg of ladies finger. It used to form many a dinner table conversations – the skill of bargaining was acquired and the experience passed on through generations :). With the fixed costs here, I am afraid, I will become the black sheep of the family, unable to bargain ,stuttering and accepting the price that the vendor commands!!!
Saying all that.. what I love about this place ( other than shopping at Macy’s) is the warmth and support that friends extend .The network of Indians here is amazing and that network forms the backbone of living here.When I walk into any one of K’s friends places, the homesickness rescinds, and closing my eyes , I feel as if I am back in Chennai. The topics revolve around the same politics, sports and movies. The laughter and sense of togetherness is the same, just the place has changed. I do enjoy the beauty of the clean roads, the hugeness of the malls :)) and falling of the red leaves around every backyard.
I am getting used to the US of A, but as a tribute to my place in Chennai I thought that I would list down the 5 things I miss the most about home
1.My Maid and the Ironing guy- Yes I Know that there are launderettes here… but the entire process of washing ,drying and most of all Ironing is totally time consuming. To think I used to crib about the 25p increase the iron guy asked for…. I would pay him another buck if he could press my 3 piece salwar suits.

2.Autowallahs- I know I’ve cribbed about the huge amounts these guys commanded but imagine living without a shop nearby and having to catch a bus to buy tomatoes… driving license are a passport to freedom here.

3.Time zone – I miss India time-IST actually ..before you all start rolling your eyes., when I need to talk to most of my pals who btw are in India and to wait 12hrs to tell somebody you actually saw the Golden gate bridge takes a lesson in patience

4. Traffic rules in India: Before I hear the “no ways”… the traffic here is disciplined, orderly and absolutely conscientious.. but that’s my problem.I cant walk across the street irrespective of the fact there is not a single vehicle in sight.Here everything depends on signals. I miss the pot bellied traffic inspector and my freedom to zoom through traffic signals (this was one of the reasons my dad never loaned me his car!!)

5.INDO- Chinese/Italian/Mexican restaurants :- I miss the Paneer Tikka pizza ,the Gobi Manchurians, Nachos with a tangy dip, which tasted like tamarind n chilly. Here frankly I’ve given up finding vegetarian food like home. Chinese is bland and eggplant seems the staple for most Italian vegetarian food. I wish the cross cultural exchange will hit America vice versa… I can see a craze for Paneer Marinara with Pasta and dumplings with paneer, potato and chilly :)

but above them all “My parents and my pals back home”-momma miss ur cooking like crazy and i'll spend another 1000$ just to taste it again :))

As for the joke goes..

"The Headache"
The doctor said, "Joe, the good news is I can cure your headaches. The bad news is that it will require castration. You have a very rarecondition,which causes your testicles to press on your spine and thepressure creates one hell of a headache. The only way to relieve the pressure is to remove the testicles." Joe was shocked and depressed. Hewondered if he had anything to live for. He had no choice but to go underthe knife.
When he left the hospital, he was without a headache for the first time in 20 years, but he felt like he was missing an important part of himself. As he walked down the street, he realized that he felt like a different person.He could make a new beginning and live a new life.
He saw a men's clothing store and thought, "That's what I need... a newsuit."
He entered the shop and told the salesman, "I'd like a new suit."
The elderly tailor eyed him briefly and said, "Let's see... size 44 long."
Joe laughed, "That's right, how did you know?"
"Been in the business 60 years!" the tailor said.
Joe tried on the suit. It fit perfectly. As Joe admired himself in themirror, the salesman asked, "How about a new shirt?"
Joe thought for a moment and then said, "Sure."
The salesman eyed Joe and said, "Let's see, 34 sleeves and 16-1/2 neck."
Joe was surprised, That's right, how did you know?"
"Been in the business 60 years".
Joe tried on the shirt and it fit perfectly. Joe walked comfortably aroundthe shop and the salesman asked "How about some new underwear?"
Joe thought for a moment and said, "Sure."
The salesman said, "Let's see... size 36."
Joe laughed, "Ah ha! I got you, I've worn a size 34 since I was 18 yearsold.
The salesman shook his head, "You can't wear a size 34. A size 34 would press your testicles up against the base of your spine and give you one hellof a headache."
New suit - $400

New shirt - $36
New underwear - $6
Second Opinion - *PRICELESS*

Keep Smiling ppl :)


Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

Good to see that you are settling down at the new place.

Its always interesting to read the notes of a person who moves into the country for the first time. Well written.. keep blogging!

1:06 AM  
Blogger Sundar Narayanan said...

go to passage to india in mountain view on tuesdays..indo chinese buffett. wont disappoint..


6:55 PM  
Blogger JaganLee said...

Congrats on ur marraige. Didnt visit ur blog for quite sometime. SFO is like a mini-india. wondering what u would have felt, if u had been put in places like NorthDakota, Oregon ..haha.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Ambuj Saxena said... your blog is no longer completely anonymous. Anyway, it doesn't matter to me who you are and I come here for what you write, so keep writing.

I wanted to ask you a thing. How did you manage to get an audience for an anonymous blog. I mean as its not possible to advertise it yourself, how do you manage to get such a big audience. Even I have a few anonymous blogs but they suffer from the zero page hit syndrome. As you mentioned that you are even considering making a new blog, I understand that you have a formula for that.

Care for a reply?

11:56 PM  
Blogger Anu said...


Sundar...well u know the places well i takeur word for it

JAgan..hi.. and welcome back

Ambuj..thks..and I have no clue :))..i just think its the way we connect to ppl we dont know.. because they reflect a part of what we think..


8:15 AM  
Blogger Debprotim said...

It's always very difficult to adjust to a new place, more so if it is a totally alien land. However,it's nice to see tht u r well settled in USA.
U used to work back in India. So wht r u upto nowadays.....planning to take up a job out thr? It must be terribly boring to sit at home throuhout the day when u were a working woman back in India.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog about getting to the US and figuring your way out is full of tripe, pedestrian and even phony. Its one thing to pour out feelings but quite another to fill up pages. There's my $0.02.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Anu said...


Next time it will be "original" to use your name to comment...thts my 2 cents


8:36 AM  

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