India Restropective: Part 4 – Wildlife

One reason why I like spending time in nature is the wildlife. Where we were in India was pretty much rural India. It didn’t feel like there were a billion people in the country and in the 2 months I was there I was pretty much shielded from the horrors that plague most people when there are there for holidays. I was in a bubble where people were sweet and the environment was clean. Honestly, it just felt I stepped back in time. The slight disorder in the village I was in reminded me of Singapore in the 1970s … albeit, my own memories of those times are faint and most are from what my parents tell me. Children run freely along the streets, no one seems to lock their doors but at the same time electricity isn’t reliable :p Nothing in this world is perfect but I reckon nature is pretty close. That’s why flora and fauna of any place is what draws me to it.

So in Nawan Nagar, I was pretty surprise to find birds that laugh … seriously they reminded me of the kookaburra from Australia, they’re grey and really simple looking but they cackle like the witches from Macbeth. It was funny and infectious that my husband and I enjoyed just listening to them everyday.

My favourite though has to be the chipmunks πŸ™‚ like little hamster they love dried chapattis. Indians do not eat overnight chapattis so we break them into little pieces and feed the birds and chipmunks. Here’s my buddy Clarence. I saw him everyday … actually I saw a few of them everyday but he’s the only one that didn’t dart away when I came close for a picture. Such a cutie, right?

Ok, I do not like birds. My husband reckons I was a worm in a past life that was gobbled up by a bird but whatever it is I’m not too found of them. In India though, they have wild parrots and peacocks and they are beautiful. Their vibrant colours among the simple surroundings just make them stand out and look quite regal. And the hawks, when spring came, they were out nearly everyday. I couldn’t take a picture that would remotely do them justice but there’s certainly something about hawks soaring through the sky, that’s rather captivating.

The funny thing about cats in India is that they get chased by the birds!! So maybe I was a cat in India in my past life πŸ™‚ The cats are beautiful but I was warned not to touch them. While they look like pet cats, they are not. They are smart though, they know where to go to beg for milk and chapattis but they never come close enough so you can pat them.

What surprised me were camels!! I’ve never thought about camels and India in the same sentence. Most of them aren’t quite wild though, they was used as a form of transport. It was quite a sight to be this up close to one.

Of course, there were cows everywhere. The cows are like giant stray cats and dogs in other countries. They roam freely and everyone gives way to them πŸ™‚Β  Also, when the weather started to warm up, the bugs started to appear and my husband actually saw a lizard eat a bug.Β  It was a Nat Geo moment, just that he didn’t have a camera :p

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Winter’s Tale

Last Thursday, Daph and I went to catch Ethan Hawke in the flesh. Yes, we paid $160 for circle 2 seating to watch one of Shakespeare’s less famous plays. Would I have paid that much if Ethan wasn’t in it? Probably not and it would have been my loss and here’s why.

Rebecca Hall was really likable as the wrongly accused Hermione. The rest of this very strong ensemble cast brought to live one of my preferred Shakespeare plays. Mr Hawke, while was entertaining, wasn’t original. I felt like he watched one too many Johnny Depp movies to play the rouge, Autolycus.

For me, this is the play that inspired the Bollywood genre. It has everything, drama, romance, comedy, music, action and Mr Mendes did a very decent job bringing it all together. Well, decent only because I couldn’t have done it better :p Jokes aside though, I love the choices he made on set design, lighting … if I had one thing I wasn’t 100% sure about, it was the different accents … I understand it’s to show the difference between Sicilia and Bohemia but other than the British accent spouting Shakespeare, every other accents is too disconcerting for me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it and am really glad we went … made me realise I miss watching plays πŸ™‚ So anyone up for The Importance of Being Ernest? Who doesn’t like Oscar Wilde πŸ™‚

India Retrospective: Part 3 – Arrival

As soon as I got on the plane, I was so tired from packing and clearing up at work, I fell right asleep. When we arrived in Delhi, I was all ready to take on India and all her inefficiencies but I was pleasantly surprised. In the line to clear immigration, my husband and I met a lovely young couple from Vancouver, Canada where my husband’s from so I think it was more novel for him than me. We were all in line for about 20minutes, which if you ask me, wasn’t bad. The immigration officer was really nice too. I mean I’ve stood in immigration lines in the US for a much longer time and dealt with much ruder immigration officers … tough to tell which is the developed country, huh?

Anyway, our bags were already taken off the carousel and waiting for us to pick them up. I thought that only happens at the Changi International Airport. I was still in denial and waiting for something to go wrong. It was no hassle finding the free transfer to the domestic terminal and waited maybe about 8minutes for the bus. It was still dark as we boarded the bus, since I could see squat, I promptly fell asleep for what felt like a long time. My husband told me it was only about 15minutes.

It was when we got off the bus that it felt like I’ve arrived in India but even then, it was not unlike Little India here on a Sunday. So I navigated through the crowd and cars like a pro … I think even my husband was slightly impressed with me. Again no hassle we cleared security and check-in in about 2ominutes.

Then when we had to go through security at the gates, I realised I was truly in India. My husband I were in line waiting and when it was my turn, the guard pointed to another counter and said, “Woman.” I was slightly confused and saw a couple of women waiting to go into a little room.Β  In India, women are frisked in privacy πŸ˜›

After that, we had about 2hours to waste as we waited for our next flight to Chandigarh.Β  Delhi’s domestic airport is like a step back into time.Β  Not unlike a terminal in Penang or Brunei actually.Β  I was even surprise to find a mobile phone charging station, which worked out well for me as my phone was slowly but surely dying.Β  Even the toilet was completely decent.Β  I was starting to think everyone who advised me didn’t go to the same India as I did.Β  As soon as I finished the thought, I heard the announcement that our flight to Chandigarh will be delayed for 30minutes.Β  Ah!Β  India has decided to show me her true colours but the plane arrived in earlier and was only 15minutes late.Β  Not so bad for my first visit to India, huh?

Ok, here’s the tragic update about my photos.Β  As you can tell there are no pictures in this post.Β  As I was downloading the pictures onto my computer, my computer hangs, I was totally calm and restarted the computer only to find all my photos disappeared!!!Β  They weren’t on my computer and they weren’t on my memory stick 😦  So much for modern technology … …

India Retrospective: Part 2 – Gaining Weight

When I told people I was going to India, everyone told me to take care and that I was going to loose weight. Somehow I had a feeling it wasn’t going to happen. Well, you see I’m a big fan of Indian cuisine and when people around me fall ill from food poisoning, I’m usually the last one standing. So although I was hoping everyone else was right, it turns out my instinct knew me better :p I now know I CAN eat chapatti everyday and yes, I did put on weight. Now I’m just hoping to lose it in time for the Js wedding in June July :p

To be honest though, I didn’t eat Indian Indian, where I was staying turned out to be a little international house. My husband and I shared the last 2 months with the sweetest bunch of people from around the world. There’s someone from Austria, the US, Ecuador, Australia, Canada and of course, India. So even though there was chapatti at every meal, there were salads, noodles and bake goodies πŸ™‚ Probably the best vegan baked goodies I’ve had ever!! My new little friend Laura, from Sacramento, California should seriously consider opening a vegan bakery πŸ˜‰ She’s like a baking angel.

So yes, unlike most other people, I came home from India chubbier than usual. Also, I had to don the traditional Salwa Kameez (that’s what we call a Punjabi suit in Singapore) when I was there. It’s loose fitting and completely covers everything so that just meant I couldn’t tell how much weight I was putting on :p

That’s me in Chandigarh. Now everyone can understand why I can’t tell how much weight I was slowly but surely putting on :p

So when I came home, it was reality check time!! I now have on a pair of shorts that was distinctly loose before I left and it’s now distinctly fitting. Since I’m not the dieting sort … I get grumpy when I’m hungry :p I have to get back to my running routine, which reminds me, where are my new running sneakers?

India Retrospective: Part 1 – Departure

I have to say I’m really quite blessed. I’ve learnt quite a bit from this experience and the most important one was before I even left the country. When it comes to family and friends, I have to say I’ve been blessed with the very best πŸ™‚

The month before I left, I was rushing to clear work and pack up my entire house, which I had called home for the last 6 years. So needless to say, I was a tad worried when my husband and I arrived at T2 of Changi International Airport with about 42% done. We came really close to postponing the trip. Thanks to my sister who jumped in and offered to help move the rest … and a bigger thanks to my parents who actually did it all for me :p My Mummy even unpacked for me and my husband.Β  So we managed to get on our plane and enjoy our mission without a worry.

And my friends who on their own made me realise why I’m friends with them to begin with πŸ™‚ Thanks for all your see-you-in-2-months lunches, dinners, suppers, coffees and even the sweet sweet send off at the airport!! It’s time for catch up now πŸ™‚

Everyone’s been asking me what have I gain from being in India and serving for 2 months.Β  As cliche as this sounds, I gained a whole lot more than I gave.Β  I wish I could put it in words but when I try, it seems not to do the whole experience justice.Β  I just know at some subtle intangible subconscious level I’ve been moved, and in a very good way πŸ™‚Β  So like I said I’ve got the best for family and friends, now I’m back and much more appreciative of them πŸ™‚Β  Life sure has it’s up and downs … right now, I’m definitely enjoying an up πŸ™‚

This Last Week

When I returned to the office on Monday, it felt like I was starting a new job. I came back to the restructuring of the office so now I’m in a new department with a new boss. I’m just glad my partners-in-crime, Daph and Daryl are in the same move πŸ™‚ There’s things to learn and changes have to be made but I have a good feeling about it all. Like they say, “God never closes a door without opening another.” That’s my eternal optimist side talking πŸ™‚

It’s been a busy busy week of settling back in and catching up on both the office and home front. I still feel a little lost but it’s like riding a bike, this time next week, I bet it’ll be like I never went away. That’s why I haven’t had any time to update so here’s me catching up.

My favourite moment in the office this week was when we realise boys like girls, have their own version of the LBD. After about being in the same team for a month or so, here’s what Mr Tan and Mr Yap wore to work one day:-

Similar stripy shirt = SSS is the guy’s little black dress :p

Indian updates coming up soon too, still organising my photos, which has a tragic story to it :p

Home Sweet Home

I’m back home in Singapore.Β  Hello everyone!!Β  India was truly quite a treat πŸ™‚Β  I can’t believe how glad I am to have had the opportunity to do it.Β  Got to keep this short though, I’m unpacking from India and trying to settle back in before Monday :pΒ  Yes, I do go back to work on Monday.Β  I’ll update in the days to come.

For now, I’ll leave you with an Indian sunset.Β  Here’s the view from my room in Nawan Nagar at about 6:40pm (IST).

Although I’m missing India right now, it is good, so very good to be home πŸ™‚