May 26, 2016

Ma’salama

Whenever I was asked the casual “So, where are you from?” question, I found myself debating the answer in my head. Should I say Calcutta, where I was born? Or is it Oman, where I spent over two decades? Eventually, I always launch into a lengthy explanation which probably made the person asking the question immediately regret it! Ha. The beautiful, yet relatively undiscovered Sultanate I grew up in is where my mind goes to, when I think of a happy place. There aren’t any nosy relatives here, no politics, no negativity. Just my family, pristine beaches, clear blue skies and really amazing shawarma. What’s not to love! But it…

September 17, 2015

Counting blessings.

It just dawned me on a few days ago that this September marked three years of my move from India to Oman. It was a dizzying thought, to picture how the time had flown past. When most people ask me what it is like, here – I usually complain. I find myself harping over the 10 months of summer, the lack of public transportation, the general aura of apathy that the country wears, my friendless-ness and the list could really go on. Sitting at my recently redecorated cubicle on a particularly optimism-filled day, I thought to myself of how much good had come out of these past few years. There…

August 20, 2015

South African Sojourn

For years I have been intrigued by the largest and oldest inhabited continent on the planet, the melting pot of culture and civilization from time immemorial, the home to the wildest and the gentlest – Africa. The only time I have stepped in it was as a teenager, when my parents took me to Egypt, and I distinctly remember being stunned by all what it had to offer, even at that young age. So, when my cousin mentioned he wanted to go someplace interesting for the Eid holidays this year, the idea of southern Africa sprung to mind immediately. Given my recent travels and affinity towards spending hours on message…

December 19, 2014

Polska!

When I first told people around me that I was going to Poland for the Eid holidays, there was more than one raised eyebrow. To start with, it made me a little sceptical, but my mind was made up, to visit. The country wears its charms lightly – so much that it doesn’t draw the attention of the average Euro-tripper. But step in, venture into its heart and you’ll find medieval cities, fairy-tale castles and untouched wilderness, served with an invigorating shot of vodka. We drove over the Polish border from Prague, headed to Kraków, the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. We had hired a…

November 6, 2014

A Bohemian Rhapsody

Since I moved to Muscat two years ago and found a lot more time (i.e. earned leave) and funds to my disposal, it was a part of the agenda to ensure that I take an annual trip with the folk to places we have always talked about. Jet. Set. Go! We got our Schengen visas a day before we were to travel – so yeah, a couple of very tense weeks.. In 2013, we covered a lot of Western Europe in a rather rushed manner and this time around, I wanted to do it differently. Also because the agenda here was different; the trip was woven around my father’s wish…

September 3, 2014

The Nikaah.

Sisters are a blessing.  I imagine if I had one of my own, I’d never feel the need of a best friend.  As far as memory takes me, the word always made me think of Pooja. She’s my first cousin and I met her once a year while on summer holidays. Those memories will last me a lifetime.  Spending afternoons listening to the radio and giggling.  Devouring watermelon and pomegranate sitting on the verandah grill, with our feet dangling. Hour long community baths.  Sharing scandalous secrets. Staying up nights and talking for hours.  Baking home made pizza. Jointly complaining about that one evil MamiJi. Shopping for trinkets.  Colour coordinating for…

February 9, 2014

Calcutta, always.

The last time I saw my grandmother was a year and a half ago. I’ve been feeling the guilt for a while now. My baby nieces are growing by the day.  Mamata Banerjee has changed almost all the names of the metro stations to utter ridiculousness.  Winters are also the season for rasgullas made of jaggery.  The closest cousin is going through awful times and I feel terrible for not being able to be there for her.  So when I heard that a college mate was getting married in the home city, there was no way I was going to let it pass.  It was just over a week, and…

December 9, 2013

DXB

So where does all of Oman go whenever we have an extended weekend?  Step out during the Eid holidays to see the Muscat streets sparsely populated and you just know it. Everyone is in Dubai!  While growing up, that’s what we did too. Drove down to the United Arab Emirates, stayed with friends or family and had picnics near the Creek. Even in the 90’s Dubai and Abu Dhabi was spotted with skyscrapers and didn’t really stir up any awe-enhancing feelings in me.  This December, on the eve of the Omani National Day holidays, I went back to the city after nine whole years. And boy, has it changed. It…

November 8, 2013

Grown Ups

I’ve been thinking about growing up.  It was so much simpler in our time… Small joys and smaller expectations. Pagers and facsimile instead of cell phones and email.  Smaller rooms.  More affection.  Last night I was asked to go to one of those get-togethers that are organised by the cultural enthusiasts here. I’ve successfully avoided them for over a year and a half, but this time I was sent an invite and reminder on Facebook { 😮 }, hence I thought it would be only impolite to try and skip it.  I went there prepared for a couple of hours of mind numbing boredom and despicable casual conversation in the…

September 3, 2013

Already?

One year ago, today I stepped into the minaret shaped door of my current firm, having returned to the city I grew up in. I thought it would be tougher. More trying. I’ve been surprised. But despite the odds, the last year has been a good one, I have to say. I’ve not been the most satisfied on the career front. That remains the only sore point. I spent quality time with family. The positive outcome shows on all three of us. I saved a lot of money. Travelled to my heart’s content. I made a couple of friends at work. Not the kind that I left behind in India….