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  "Oh, my life is changing everyday In every possible way And oh, my dreams It's never quite as it seems Never quite as it seems” Dreams – The Cranberries I say this because I didn’t quite expect to be grubbing around in 40 degrees heat, in the Nashabandhi office, when I decided to move back to India to work on the Olympics bid. Let me start at the beginning, or at least the middle. Gujarat decided for various reasons, to be a dry state. Now, prohibition has never proved effective, but the Government, striding atop its high Gandhian horse, is undeterred. Thankfully, as a Foreign Passport Holder, I am not expected to give up my sinful ways. However, I am still answerable to the Government in the amount of alcohol I consume. As a non-desi, devoid of the burdens of cultural heritage, I am allotted the highest quota, i.e. 4 units of alcohol a month. Mind you, this amounts to 50+ bottles of beer or 4 bottles of hard liquor, so it is quite enough for even most high function
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Jamun Shots & Green Dots

Of course, I knew there would be moments of reverse culture shocks. I tried to imagine what they would be, and prepare myself for them. I reminded myself of the loudness of Indian cities, with unabating construction noise, neighbours quarrelling or partying and traffic sounds. I laughed along when my German-y friends pointed out how poorly I would deal with the summer, seeing as I complained the loudest in the stifling German heat. I prepared myself for the lack of work life balance. But as I sit here writing this, with the Cricket World Cup Finals from the society’s public viewing blaring through the windows, I have to honestly admit that nothing could have prepared me for the actual shocks when they came. The first one was a few weeks after moving into my new apartment. I decided to check out the nearby gym, and cramped as it was, it would have to do. As I lay sweating and stretching on a yoga mat post workout, I became suddenly aware, from the corner of my eye, of a gang of 5-6

Rainy days and razor blades...

When I was a little kid, I used to drop a coin to the bottom of the swimming pool, then dive down 10ft to retrieve it. It was exhilarating, it was so quiet, and it was just me against the water. It scared my mum though, and she made it promise not to do it anymore. And I never have, until earlier this year   when I decided to make the plunge and uproot my entire life, again, and move back to India. It was a move I’d been contemplating for a while, but it’s a scary one. India has changed in 9 years; my friends have moved away and everything runs on Paytm. Moving is always stressful, and this one just checked all the boxes. Administrative delays? Check. Uncertainty and insecurities? Done. Nasty landlord to deal with? We gotcha. I did have a few great friends who made everything better. I spent the last months before moving back home just recovering from what I can now see was extreme burnout. Turns out, trying to work part time to pay bills while starting 2 businesses in the middle of

The Dam - Part II

The easiest way to describe what’s underneath the calm watery surface of this dam is to list all the little rivulets of emotions flowing in from various directions. At the very top of the emotional pyramid, is complete peace and contentment. I have everything I need to be comfortable right now, the most important being time and energy. Many of my days consist primarily of working out, napping, cooking, seeing friends and reading. I can feel my burn out healing, I will soon be ready to tackle this next chapter, which is sure to be challenging. While there is a small part of me that is impatient, nay, eager to start, I am enjoying every moment of this hiatus. Below the surface though, saying goodbyes is heart-wrenching and every new memory created comes with a tinge of longing and nostalgia. Whether it is seeing off my closest friend at the train station, or playing with my friends’ babies, each simple act now comes with so many emotions. It’s the river of “the lasts”. Over the pas

The Dam – Part I

  In March 2023 I had the privilege to make a decision to change my life. After job hunting for months, I landed 2 vastly different roles in 2 different countries. I coincidentally, seemingly fatefully, received the job offers on the same day. It was a decision I wasn’t about to take lightly, and even though I knew in my gut what I wanted, it took some negotiating, researching and convincing to make it. In 2014, when I boarded a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt, I had more faith in humanity and optimism bordering on naivete. I was younger and more foolish than I am now. I was hungry to learn and grow professionally. In 2023, I turn back a little wiser, a little more beaten by life, still hungry to learn and grow. Someone asked me why I decided to leave after having fought so hard to be here. “Because I don’t want to fight so hard anymore”, I answered instantly, the words coming from somewhere deep in my soul before my mind had a chance to think about it. Being a foreigner and woman of c

The last one

  This is the last one, and then I’ll stop. I’m not really addicted, its just good for me right now. Its what I need right now. I can stop whenever I want. One more event, that’s what we tell ourselves. Always the last event, before settling down into a respectable, predictable life. At my very first job at the CWG Delhi 2010, I envied my Greek boss. He was in Delhi for 3-4 years, to make sure that the contingency relations and services department was running according to industry standard. I thought of his wife and 2 kids, and imagined it must be exciting to live in a new city like Delhi, and move to a new place every 4 years, to have a truly international upbringing. To be honest, I still do. I envy the travelling circus. But as a 33-year-old woman, I hesitate to jump headlong into a life of semi-permanency. I ask myself whether I really have what it takes. I question whether my relationships will withstand the periodic disappearances that coincide with every operations mode.

In Therapy

  It’s been about 2 months since I tried this again. My first tryst went down quite poorly, with a therapist and therapy method (very classical Freud) that made me feel suffocated and annoyed. I quit after a few sessions and didn’t try again for another year. The second time I went in with more preparation. I looked into the kind of methods available and decided to try out two therapists before settling on 1. So far its been… interesting. One of the reservations I had about this process was that there is danger of creating a dependence, which is something I want to avoid. But the healthcare system here makes that a bit easier to avoid. A therapist has lots of clients in waiting, and will be paid for sessions by the health insurance. So the motivation to manipulate you to make you a lifelong client for a good therapist is lower. The second issue is a continuation of the first. Life is full of struggle and we do have to learn to deal with it, and equip ourselves with the tools for it