representing different times and moods

Monday, January 27, 2014

Australia- Oh the sun.

 one who looks at the night sky and is not filled with wonder, has not lived.

16th of January 2014.
I had a  dream last night, in which of course I was the heroin of the whole plot.

I was back home. I had been adrift out at sea, on an island, all alone, and somehow , I found my way home. daddy loved me, my mom fussed and worried , and my brother who was sleeping when I came back, got a gentle kiss before I had to depart for school. ah - how real the hugs were! I still close my eyes on this fine morning, awash with pure sunlight after the new year's first rain last night, and feel the reassuring embrace of my father, the feel of belonging, how I laid my head on my mother's lap, I was little again, it was bliss. the feather light touch on my brother's cheeks, was he merely a babe in it? more accessible in size for me to carry around with me?

 the land that I had returned to, was home. it was home but it wasn't India as I had left it, it was now a much gentler place, operating at a much steadier ,smoother pace. it was no longer hostile, as it is wont to be at times, it was a mirage, a perfect reflection of a flawed world. a wishful fancy - but oh so beautiful and inspiring! that is where things start ,isn't it? in our dreams?

it was a perfect mixture of East and West. it was more tolerant and understand, people less judging. there was real freedom for woman, sparkling with good grace and tasteful modesty.  the men, had changed too, for that is how any place changes. it has all the colour,vitality and thrum of my homeland - but with it was also some elements of the safe west - making it the heaven on Earth that it is supposed to be.

 I have been feeling rather chastised by the universe lately, and rather too grown up too (the good news firstly - is that the feeling has been replaced with the eternal strain of music and magic that flows through our minds constantly - it had been somewhat muted for a tiny while , but it is back to remain) - one never should have to feel too grown up you know! a few guys have been taking me out for lunches and things, and the girlishness seems to fascinate them to no end, not that I am interested- that is the thing, my inside girl had rebelled towards this kind of growing up and well, to be honest , it is going to take someone really different for her to not rebel towards :)

and my question seems to amuse them all,  "should I pay my share?" it is only ladylike and decent to offer. because all the while I am feeling a bit bad inside because I couldn't crush the nice guy at work by refusing, he is amusing and friendly enough, and don't feel good about using his money. then- the idea struck - why, I am giving them a company they seem to enjoy enough, so there. my conscience is clear.

a Culmination of all write ups during the time since I have been here in this new land.
I just haven't been able to write since I came here, I can not explain why so won't even try. (Drum-roll - cause Now I will try) - well, I  can say I have been a bit numb to it all, maybe my creative juices just dried up for a little while, because I was too busy being a sponge socking up all the new feelings,flavours and experiences. it was too much and it exhausted me, and I - for the first time in my life, knew what going numb creatively feels like - as I have indeed gone numb in many other ways but not quite like this.

it took a big thing for inspiration to strike again to get the words flowing, or we can say it has been building up,slowly but surely. I have come all the way to Australia,to a brand new country,have travelled overseas for the first time, and went through all the cultural shocks and incredulous moments of ,well ,incredulity. I have met so many new people and have started studying in a whole new way, have tried new foods, bought my new camera, my OWN camera, been on a very first date - and before I forget, I celebrated my very first birthday abroad, which didn't feel much like my usual birthdays though I did have two separate cakes, people have been kind but it is not the same and have seen birds and animals and trees that I have never seen before ,even went and saw my second Van Gogh and first Dali,Kahlo and Picasso ! but that didn't make me write - none of those things inspired me to open up my blogger and actually write something that was not full of self pity and yearnings for home and family. (duh I never thought I was such a bad traveller)


"All this beauty is not wasted, for I am here to taste it."

there is a particular bush with amazing scarlet flowers that make me write the lines below.

"reds so poignant, bright and clean,
points of needles through the heart."

no, not much of a poet, but I don't actually mind :)

I have also found, that some faces are designed to look good only in grief,
and that the night is not very dark after 3 am here, usually, there is a pearly after or fore glow after that time which makes it really interesting.

So I said to my brother, " In the end my dear boy, the gentleman always has the advantage."

this comment was made while noting his reaction to this
 not that he was watching it for the first time.

though, of course, being a gentleman entails a lot more than just being sharp dressed and having the right bearing. (i.e. I can no abide anyone who,unless they are elderly, stoops/ walks without a measure of conviction in their own power of personality) feeling awesome in your own skin is a part of actually being awesome. hell, I carry my head high even in my pyjamas and would give you an ice cold look to boot if you've annoyed me.

I've learnt that Australia does have it's share of good looking men. I believe my partiality to eyes that are not brown might have something to do with it too, but than, Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler and Richard Armitage are all brown eyed beauties so that really doesn't count as much. it is all in the bearing babe! the bearing of a gentleman, it is all in the speech too.

oh and does the speech here grate on my nerves! while I have to admit that here men are by far more considerate and polite when compared to their Indian counterparts , but do they swear! while they do consider women as being their equals and treat them as any person should be treated, they also swear in front of ladies. here I know, I differ, for ladies swear the worms out of my ears as well. it is probably an extension of equality  really, that they swear in ladies hearing.

phhffftttt.... I am so out of a historical novel.
Finished another epic novel, and Now I am more convinced than ever before, that the world needs more such amazing works of art. more worlds must be created within this world so that souls can find their own resting places. Another reason, if there were ever more needed, to write.
 In Perth - It smells different. That was my first observation to Victor as I got out of the Perth Airport, my condition a little girl scared witless and putting on an admirable brave face, which fooled everyone.

I had boarded my first international flight , traversed all the official formalities of immigration and security, changed planes in Singapore ,going from one terminal from another, which were miles apart - that included catching a train. I was seeing terribly big buildings and facilities. thank the stars for all those times when I have travelled with my family and took on the unknown. also put in there was the mule headed stubbornness born of having studied architecture - that makes you do things you never thought you would do, and a healthy dose of the archetypical Pride of the Leo s, this stuff would stiffen up one's spine in no time!

Victor was a student from Brazil, one of the 8 -10 students from that country, and they had all brought their surf boards; like, isn't that typical? though no one but the university driver was perturbed by it, he too only because he had to show it all in in the back of his bus.

it was cold, it was wet, it was windy, and it felt like the Himalayas to me. Himalayas in their summer showers. cold,wet ,unpredictable.

we were driven around, dropping one here, the other there, from suburb to suburb. in all this ferrying around, I totally missed the grandest building in all of Perth, the University of Western Australia, my playground to be. we were right there - but I was looking out of the window on the other side. it was as  you can imagine , all extremely different, so different that it makes me want to use, "very very" rather than extreme, it just has more punch to it! I was shivering , I was grim, picked neatly out of everything I knew in this world and dropped, just as neatly, in to a new world yet to explore. now, I was an explorer - something that I had long wanted to be. it is funny how when one day dreams, one does not accommodate the things that one would lose - even for a little while  - to fulfil those dreams. aren't dreams just fascinating?

(I felt some blood return to my brain when all the guys said all at once, "good bye beautiful lady" when my destination arrived.funny how that should help! :D)

one thing that I have learnt about dreams is this, that they do come true. if you are genuinely after them, they just will come true. maybe not in the exact way you envisioned and maybe not at the exact time you deemed right for them, but unquestionably, they will come true only when the time is exactly right for them, in the absolutely appropriate way.

keep faith. never doubt. absolutely never ever ever ridicule your own aspirations.

thus, I relate wet cold days with misery, because on one such moisture laden windy day, I landed in Perth ,with it's salt wind. a wind that smelled like the ocean and the green of the Himalayas. I shall always find that mixture unsettling now, it is just one of those associations that get hold of you. I have felt the same pull and strum on my heartstrings in summer days too when the weather has changed to mimic that day.those are bitter sweet days.

too much has happened since, but I shall only recount the most "highly emotive" - disturbing- scene, again of the first day /night here.

I was lodging for a week with a kind lady until I found a better suited place,I found myself  facing a little Asian lady when I stepped out of the bus, the driver helping me with my bags and asking me if I had it all. I didn't ever actually consider that she might be other than Australian before I saw her. our preconceived notions! She was sweet (and still is a friend) and helpful, I entered and was offered carpet slippers, I have always connected those somehow with sick people, I believe it must be because of their close relationship with the bed. the floor was carpeted in cream - another strong blow to someone who has rarely seen a fully carpeted floor, much less such an impossible colour! for shouldn't carpets be all lush and scarlet and maroon and green and gold? the house was immaculate, no single item out of place. it seemed as if I has stepped in to a movie set. she gave me green tea, I do tend to call things like that as flavoured water, I held the mug and my dazed mind refused to focus on anything but the idea of talking with my parents, so I did after getting her pass code. I cried, I hiccuped and told them I was miserable but all was good, of course everything was good. it was cold, and I was cold, and I was angry at my stupidity and wanted to be with them, but all was dandy and it was fun.  needless to say that this sort of thing went on for about 2 weeks, and in those days I was quite put off of food (so much that I would cook and couldn't eat more that 2 -3 spoonfuls) I tended to sleep a lot, which is always my coping mechanism.  I slowly overcame the 2 and a half hour time difference and stopped waking up at 9. Jenny was very good the whole time I was with her, gave me morning and night hugs, took me for walks which did me good, and showed me my first black swans.
I remember being introduced to good t v programs which felt like BBC with her, which I haven't seen since. I do know the value of a sensible household.

after talking with my parents (sorry ! for going off at a tangent), she suggested we go grocery shopping. she took me to what I now know is Coles supermarket, and told me to buy fruits and vegetables and then she will take me to the other sections, now that suggestion me than, was something equivalent of heresy. I felt cold to the heart, and all hope dwindled from my eyes, I literary started shaking. I had never ever before had a case of the nerves, but I should admit that this might have been that one time when I had. Jenny said all colour drained from my face and I looked like a little ghost. she is a perceptive lady. she came to me and held my hand, "that's ok, maybe we can get the vegetables later, come let me show you the breads". I needed that, and I clung to her hand for a while. Breads from a Supermarket I could accept more easily. it didn't have that doomed finality of the vegetables, the internal revolt at the image of me buying vegetables from a supermarket in plastic bags was the culmination of all fears and that was the point where it had finally hit me that I was thousands of miles away, not knowing when I shall again behold my family, alienated from everything that consisted as life for me. away, alone and afraid. that moment will be brightly remembered forever. I did get some semblance of calm back after a while and the shopping was done with Jenny's friendly advice and urging. I stubbornly refused to actually convert the prices to Rupees, a mistake many make. I still don't do it and it helps keep things clear. who needed the added panic of finding everything costing a hundred or thousand times more than it's original price back home?

I have done a lot of new things since I have come here. I have seen, eaten and understood. I have been on my first date. I have been on my first blind date, I have been kissed on my hand with a gallant gesture by a gentleman who bought my ticket for the second part of the hobbit without my even realising it,as a duty of a gentleman to an unescorted lady , I have been given flowers walking down the street, and am lodging with a man! I have indeed entered a world where I am constantly in masculine company. I am rejoicing being a woman. not that I didn't before, I did, but I couldn't let the world in on my pleasure, for the world was hostile - while here ,I can revel in the pleasure of my womanhood without feeling threatened.(well - for the most part) it is fun to wear what you want and where you want. While it is important to retain and indeed ascertain one's sense of classy dressing, it is also pleasurable to notice that when men do notice this - they admire you and the good ones will go out of their way to hold doors open for you if they see you going towards a door.

I mean, I am enjoying being a lady here. that is all. Australia does, of course, have it's fair share of silly,vulgar and mean men,(those do tend to meet me at a certain bus stop in Northbridge, I do not know why!) , it is a great improvement comparatively nonetheless. 

I see so many people with ear phones plugged in their ears, I mean, what's the point of having ears if you are going to mistreat them. that sounds funny. well, I say, if you can not hear a serpent slithering up your bed - you can practically be deaf. there are so many instances when I see people, not notice. the tiny minutes sounds that I notice and can react to. people are so Oblivious and the sense so muted. this distracts from the whole life experience. or am I being judgemental?

My affections and kisses are mainly directed at nature since coming here, bella the cat is licking herself besides me on the garden seat and I kiss the roses every morning, also any other flowers I come across. I hug cats and dogs, as long as they don't scratch , and I hug trees, for they always love me and caress my cheeks.

to recount other things, I have seen mermaids in the fringe festival , I have worked as a professional photographer (something I always wanted to do!) have worked in a film for my university, have worked in a commercial music video,I have learn to work in the kitchen with my vegetables with meats and fishes besides me, I have now officially lived with a dog and a cat, and am growing potatoes in this sand here. I have tried so many new dishes,I have met and made friends with so many people from different cultures ,backgrounds and nationalities, I have sold on the streets, and have experienced the true artist's life, colourful ,emotional and poor. someone did say something about artists being dangerous people as they know people from all classes of society. I have worked with the Mayor and politicians of western Australia, I have worked with the hippies and travellers.I have travelled here a little bit,I went to bells rapids and to a little town outside of Perth, I have explored Perth and it's wast suburbs and have figured out the public transport with a familiarity of an old friend. I have had my first full on Christmas, worked with Santas,elves and little children of all ages, and Had my own little gift place under a Christmas tree that I opened on Christmas day!I am rather happy I am having this time!
UWA lipdub film crew,the great gatsby.

oh and I saw my first dolphin yesterday! on Australia day, on India's 65th republic day , on my father's birthday.

I saw the spectacular fireworks and the air show that instantly makes you want to fall in love with the pilots. I was just on the edge of the river walk, with the salt waters of the swan lapping  at me and my tripod, with a Chilean photographer on one side and a grandfather with his two grand daughters on the other , I made friends with them all. and behind me were two ladies and one's husband from Iran. one of the ladies clung to my shoulders as one amazing display after another kept us gasping at the sky. that was welcome, that was companionship. that was like India, where women do not find it bothersome or weird when another woman  touches them just for a little bit of companionship and a display of sisterhood. maybe - just maybe I say for I am a little unsure-  western women are not too big on that sort of actions. maybe because there no need to be only friendly towards safety here, but I did feel this basic understanding was shared by the Iraqi woman, a profound and age old fear and dictates that we women from those parts understand and when we see it shared in each others eyes, we hold each other with respect, for we have known more adversity than women here ever will. it does give a certain depth of character, and a kind of gratefulness for the freedom here.

a friend asked me today ,if it has become easier for me to be here?

I said, and I paste ," while I do miss them everyday and each time I do something new, I am not tearing up at every given opportunity and quite enjoying my freedom , as it is only myself I have to consult in making plans and decisions - though I do ask things everyday and ask their advice after making up my mind, for compounded wisdom makes it whole. talking everyday makes it easier to be part of each other's days and events. you are not missing out on each other's lives.I miss the company the most like yesterday during the air show, it didn't excite me so much as when I showed the video of it to my brother and Felt the actual thrill of it with him.I was rather detached until he joined me and I was enjoying the video more than the actual show. I mean ,that's just silly. but there it is.
 travelling alone, is a good thing and a bad thing. you don't have worry about anyone else, but you don't have anyone to hold hands with when you see something that takes your breath away."

Kackoo, our parrot, has departed the world in December. he is a happy parrot somewhere else now. I knew when I left that I won't be seeing him, my little lover, when I comeback. So , no more greeting me when I open the garden door, and no more saying," I am a sweet parrot" first thing in the morning, but maybe, just maybe, I will hear him, when I open the gate again when I go back, just once, ever so faintly, he will come and whisper for me. would you my kackoo?

I am content and the world is beautiful. there are many adventures that I have failed to record, and there are many many more to come, life has so many secrets to unfold yet. the wind is just as enchanting a thing as it was back home when it passes through the leaves, and the sunsets are spectacular. I am aware that this experience will change me, is changing me , but I am essentially the same little girl from the green town of Gujarat. of dry golden grass and tall trees, harsh sun and dust kicked up by fighting dogs and the constantly chattering squirrels. that little busy town with it's temple bells. I am just that girl who always had big dreams in her shining eyes.

so in life, where ever I end up, in which ever corner of the world, in every age and time and place, I will be that woman, who stands on the grassy hill, wearing a long witchy skirt that flutters and floats around me,my hair floating behind.looking out over the horizon with eternal wonder on my face and a heart full of gratitude.

me and a dear friend after a good day's outing in the countryside.
 the next post will hopefully be more sooner. good night from Down under!

(oh! it seems I had written the entry before this one the day we watched the first hobbit, and I thought out loud that I will probably be watching the second one myself, alone)

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