Thursday, June 12, 2008

Service at Your Doorstep

One of the huge advantages of living in an independent house in Indian Cities - a variety of fruits, vegetables, etc, at your door step! This vendor here has a combination of fruits & flowers - possibly what the lady of the house would need for her daily prayers. And don't miss the solitary corn in the middle (possible placed for good luck!).

Many such colourful sights delight me through the day. Not just the quality of what these vendors get but also their sense of timing. Like tender coconut water as early as 7 in the morning followed by fresh green and fruits & vegetables until 10. This is then followed by another round of fresh fruits & vegetables through the evening. The day ends with the petite flower-lady delivering garlands of fresh buds for the next morning's puja as late as 8 in the night. And along with the long garlands made for the puja, there's a small string kept handy for my little daughter who always insists on helping the flower-lady put the basket back on her head!

Customer service at its best.....let's see Reliance Fresh beat this!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

After a really long time, i travelled by air. Some work came up in Delhi - a good 1000 miles away from home. There was a time, when i first started working, that flying by air for me was the best perk my job offered! And the whole magic was being at the same level as the clouds and also getting a closer aerial view of the two cities - point of origin and destination. It used to be the most exciting exploration to guess the places - from apartment complexes to historic monuments as land drew closer.

Ah! one of those warm memories from childhood - my siblings and me all under 10, eagerly awaiting dad's return from the US - maybe it was his first trip abroad and so the excitement. and more that the goodies that would be in store for us - i remember the three of us discussing how our building would appear from the skies and if dad would spot it. We even waved out at every airplane that flew past our little 3-storeyed structure that day - you know, just in case! Those days most apartment complexes around our neighbourhood were not higher that 4 floors, except for this one building which had maybe around 15 floors. And we were sure that dad would spot that apartment complex from his window and then like a modern day Charles Lindbergh, locate where his children were! So FINALLY, when he walked thru the door, we all bombarded him with questions about how our building looked from the skies and when he said there was no way he could have seen it -we go 'yeah, but you surely must have seen that tall one there'. and when dad replied in the negative, we all rather smugly concluded that he might have dozed off and is unwillingly to admit it! I mean how can ANYONE not see a 15-storeyed building from the sky!

That was a long time ago and now i know. But i still try to trace desperately where my home is, where friends live based on significant landmarks when I fly. But that is where the magic of flying ends for me. Now, I am unable to handle the quickness of the transition from one place to another - be it while leaving home or even while leaving the other place. Its like you are this tree on land, making your own personal connections with a place, the people there, the sights, the sounds - and then poof! you are abruptly uprooted from there and then have to strike your roots in another place. In between safety procedures and rather efficiently packed snack trays, i feel i hardly get any time to delink myself from source A and also re-enter the life in Source B. i experience jetlags even in 1 hour domestic flights - more for the effort it takes to readjust to a very different world than the body clock bit of it!

Train travel is what i would rate the best among options i have. The gentle rocking, the soft sounds, the closeness to earth and the beautiful landscapes she has to offer. The transition is a lot gentler – I slowly say my goodbye to the source city and as slowly get to say hello to my destination. Fast but not too fast; long but not too long. The transition is supported by not just the changing landscapes, but also the gradually changing yummy eats that station vendors have to offer. and i never get to chill in life as much as i get to while on a train journey! hmmm!

In our discussions with friends, we often talk about how gadgets that we saw in sci-fi movies and our all time-favourite Star Trek, have now become part of life. Like the cellphone for instance. And then the thought that soon travel would get revolutionised as much - pretty soon we would get to the "Beam me up, Scotie!" days. Now how will i ever survive that?!