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Posts Tagged ‘people’

It was my first time being out of India. An IT professional I had met in Bangalore, on a direct flight to Paris assured me- France is a great place to visit for the first time out of the country.

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But I was totally unprepared for any kind of travel, let alone to a developed country with no ‘coolies’ and cabs I couldn’t afford. After a super cool (yet to see it matched anywhere) smooth connection from the airport to the small local railway station in Lozere, I landed on a bridge, with a long flight of stairs in front of me.

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lozere, paris

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No escalator in sight.

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Flowing skirt and high heeled shoes designed just to make things more difficult, I couldn’t even pick up my heavy suitcase. So I dragged it down the stairs, stopping it with my knee after every step. And before I could claim to have been tired, a handsome African man came to my rescue, picked up my suitcase and placed it at the end of the staircase. .

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When someone does that in India, they are usually planning to steal your stuff. So I hurried and followed him. And there it was, my suitcase, safe and sound. The man had left before I could even reach it. Lost in the crowd.

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I was almost taken aback by this kindness. It was new to me. I revived my mind for the French word for expressing gratitude, for the next time someone did something nice to me.

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I ended up using it a whole lot. Out of courtesy as well as genuineness.

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Have you ever lost an opportunity to thank someone? Have you ever wondered if they were aware of your gratitude?
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I don’t know about you, but I just can’t keep up with the pace of social media. I slept through the shelf life of MySpace and resisted Facebook for a long time.

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I shrieked when YouTube asked me to ‘log in’. I simply can’t afford to let people know that I secretly like Justin Bieber. Doesn’t everybody?

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Today a friend asked me for a small favor. Would I please like this group (or bird flock or something) on Twitter? It would really improve the group’s visibility, she said. Unfortunately, I do not have a Twitter account.

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the real thing

the real thing

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I think we live in tricky times. Individual opinion is as important as common knowledge. But does the later restrict the dimensions in which the former can evolve?

The structure of social media seems to only widen the drift. It encourages the idea of forming a consensus and simplifying opinion. A like and a share is all it takes. Having an opinion couldn’t have been simpler.

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I think I am going to go ahead and create a Twitter account. I might just get a username I like owing to my rather uncommon name. I can also then manage to follow my friend’s group.

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Recently M announced that he is disgusted by Facebook. I meekly replied that it is rather alright. Certainly not worth so much thought and disgust. But really, this is what instigated my thoughts.

Don’t worry, my Facebook account is intact. Last week, I successfully overcame the Facebook Nanny. I disabled the extension within four hours.

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Meanwhile, I will continue to blog, trying to write more than emoticons and hash tags to explain myself, giving a reason behind a ‘like’. I blog for this reason.

P.S. I find nothing wrong with more means of expression. The more the merrier.

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a day in burondi

Burondi is a bigger village on the coast of Maharashtra. At first I was cranky about how I didn’t prefer going to the beach after a year of living minutes away from it and many more in store. But the Arabian Sea has its own charm and I wasn’t disappointed. Its calmer and a lighter blue.

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The day also restored my faith in my sunset pictures.

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There are just about the right amount of B&B’s on the beach in Burondi. Kids help parents manage hotels run by local families. The food is mostly fish and rice and is a nice change from the usual Mexican fare.

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There is a temple nearby and vendors outside sell sweets. I swear to god she was smiling after I took the picture. I still can’t get people to be candid on camera. Having a family that starts making faces the moment I take out mine does not help either.

burondi

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photo post

We took a lot of pictures. Some of just the surroundings, some with us along with the surroundings, and some with many more people in it too, since tourist destinations tend to be so crowded..

A few are close to my heart. Not because the Eiffel looked especially golden in them, or the Lake Geneve particularly blue, but because they captured emotions so well. All credits go to Vijay :)

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“Aauto ma”.
No response.
“Auto?”
“No, we don’t…”
Again, “Auto? You want auto?”

This time coming in my way! Right in front of me, blocking the road ahead. I say, no, we don’t need an auto. He still persists. Maybe he doesn’t quite understand what I say. Girl next to me shouts “Free me chhod rahe ho kya?“. Unbelievably enough, he understands what this means and goes ahead giving a wry smile and pooh poohing his rick.

You wouldn’t really be able to recollect their faces if you had to. But then, when you think of the word, and a Chennai rick-wallah at that, a definitive character stands up in front of you. Some guy who has no ethics whatsoever, and yet counts on scaring us for not being kind enough to give him what he is asking for (I am talking about the fare), assuming that all of us believe in the there-is-a-god-up-there-who-is-watching-if-you-r-helping-the-less-fortunate story. And when you refuse to give more than what was decided before, ruling out the U-turn which he had to take reach the main gate as an valid reason for asking for more money, he says “I don’t want anything then”. Fine with me! I got a ride for free. And for the record, I have done this before. Twice.

I have dreams of those rickshaw-wallahs following me and running over me as an act of vengeance 8O

Another thing. Don’t believe them when they say they don’t have any change. They will take it out when they run out of time and patience to squeeze more cash out of you. Just wait and act like you can’t help it as much as them :P

And, I could go on and on and on. Now really, is there anyone out there who is interetsed in my rickshaw-wallah stories?! :-|

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Iliane

It was the beginning of my second year in IITM. I had been allotted #110. But to my dismay, when i reached the door, with my five huge bags, filled mostly with clothes which i never wear, just carry them back and forth, between Mumbai and Insti for the just-in-case scenario wherein I might feel like wearing one of them out of the blue, i saw the door locked. With five heavy bags on your shoulder, and half of your stuff still waiting for you in your old room, the situation was the kinds that demand use of the f word to describe them. I went to the office, ran my fingers across the first page of the room list to find

#110 | Iliane Purdue | Foreign Exchange Student

Indignant at the office staff for having given my room to some one else, I waited for her to return. And then she came, with her sunshine smile, bright orange colored shirt, loose pajamas, kolhapuris and a dozen bangles dancing on her wrists. I explained to her that she had accidentally occupied my room. Since she had already laid out her stuff in her room, we decided that I occupy the next room which happened to be empty.

I was uncertain as to what would be the appropriate question to ask her. And i blurted out “Which country are you from?”

Then from all the formal inquiries to trying to cheer her up when she felt out of place to sharing study material and common interests, barging into each other’s room without knocking to discussing crushes and secret admirers, One year later and cultures half the world apart we came a long way!

I would marvel at her enthusiasm for going places. My usual reply would be: You are seeing more places in India in this one year than I have in twenty.

One the last day of my stay for the semester, I was cleaning up when Iliane knocked on the door and asked me for my email id. She was leaving in the evening, for Bangladesh, Nepal and then finally her home in France. As we stood there, her bright smile forcing me to smile back, knowing that this was probably (no, mostly) the last time we would be seeing each other, I tried not to notice the lump in my throat.

Some friendships are special. They may not be the ‘hughs and kisses. we share all our secrets’ kinds. But then they don’t carry the burden of expectaions and obligations with them. You are free to leave because you are not bound in the first place. The time that i spent with Iliane will always be one of the nicer things i will look back to in years to come.

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