Happy Friendhsip day!

Hey!

How are you?
I miss you.
Even though I do not say,
I hope you know that I love you.
Sorry, I might not have called,
Doesn’t mean I have forgotten you.
When I have a good time,
I reminiscence our good times,
At times of happiness,
I wish I could share my joy with you,
At times of sorrow,
I wish you could share your shoulder with me,
At times when I don’t come to you,
It doesn’t mean I don’t need you,
It just means that I am being my lazy self,
Forgive me, and call me, will you?

Before I forget,
Happy Friendship day!
A very belated one.

Rafa

That’s it. I am through with these Rafa haters. Rafa loses a tournament? You are all up, armed, and ready to fire. Rafa wins a tournament? You still don’t stop, do you?

Firstly, I will state a few facts, and push them out of my way.

1. Djokovic is World #1. Yes, at the moment he’s the world’s best tennis player. He has got a far more balanced game play when it comes to verstality over the different surfaces than Rafa. And clearly he has bested Rafa more often than not in the recent times.

2. Federer is and always will be that guy who took tennis to another level. As far as I am concerned even Pete Sampras can’t claim that. Right now, he might not be on the top of his game. But there is no denying that he is like a Phoenix, and it not be too long before he rises out of the ashes.

3. I have tried to be correct with the facts I have written. Unfortunately I am no tennis expert, and therefore pardon me if I have gone wrong.

Now, coming back to the point in discussion. Rafa. Since the day he ousted Fedex on his maiden run @ the French Open, he has been my favourite. Incidentally, his maiden French Open which happens to be his Maiden French Open title as well. How many people can beat that, huh? That’s right. Nobody.

“No man since Bjorn Borg has won the French Open, crossed the English Channel and conquered the All Englad Club as well”, for four years I heard the guys in the commentary box lament. At the end of three slams, I was crying. At the end of the fourth, I was jubilant. After 3 unsuccessful attempts Rafa had finally conquered the All England Club, and tasted victory (literally). Rafa had done, what no man in recent times had. He achieved what experts called a “Channel Slam”. It should have put an end to the argument of Rafa being one dimensional. Sadly, it didn’t.

Rafa tastes victory, literally! ๐Ÿ™‚

Rafa has always reigned supreme at the French Open, apart from the unfortunate loss to Robin Soderling three years back. Many predicted that Rafa will be dethroned this Summer by Djokovic. And that just did not happen. He is, and will always be the undisputed King of Clay.

Over the years, he won the Australian Open, the US Open, and a number of Masters as well. If not anything else, that proves how good a player Rafa was, and still is. And he won the Olympic Gold. How much more better can he get, huh?

What was once a weak serve has improved formidably, and isn’t a liability any more. True, his serve is still no where near to the best serves in the circuit. But I am sure, even Djokovic’s serve does’t measure up to the huge serving Isner. So does that mean Djokovic is no good? The answer is simple. No it doesn’t. So I find it utterly ridiculous to undermine the talent of a player as good as Rafa, citing a few areas as general weakness. Why don’t you just talk about his precise returns?

Rafa is special. What is so special, you ask? Many a time, we find people to idolize as soon as we set sights on them. We secretly wish and pray that they would rise to the occasion, and live up to most of all your expectation. And 99 out of a hundred times, they fail. I have a long list of crushed hopes starting from Felipe Massa to Suresh Raina.

For many days, I dreamt of Rafa becoming World #1, winning Slams other than just the French Open. But sadly, I believed Rafa will never become World #1, and never win a slam other than the French Open. But he did not let that happen. As a matter of fact, Rafa saved my dream. He learnt well, and quickly he reached the top. I could not have been more happier. Today, I dream of Rafa holding all the four slams at the same time. Not only that, I also believe he will make my dream come true.

I see in Rafa what many people fail to see. This is why the Rafa fans adore him. The absolute modesty. The eagerness to learn. The will to improve.ย The eyes for precision. The strength to persevere. The power to excel.ย  But most of all the heart to accept. I have never seen a player more gracious at defeat, and I love him for that. He gives credit where credit is due, and at times even where it isn’t.

I don’t just love Rafa as a tennis player, I love him as a person.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

No, this is not about the film featuring Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, and Cameron Diaz. Neither is it about a triangular love story. It truly is about my best friend’s wedding.

A couple of months back, she said, “Me, and *******. We are getting married”. I could not have been more happier. A fairy tale finish, for a story with so many twists and turns. With just over a month to go, she had an awful lot to do, and me being jobless over the weekends was just what she needed.

We discussed the guest list, and after much thought decided to keep it limited. As a part of the bride-pampering-process, she signed up for a facial and pedicure session. I kept her company through her facial, and then she stepped up for her pedicure. Being a sucker for pedicures I too signed up for it. We had a fun time throughout, talking all sorts of nonsense, and laughing like we were mad. To end what was a perfect grooming session, we both painted our nails in odd colours. She chose Violet, and I chose Lavender. Call me weird, but this is what I call a perfect day. Me and my bestie getting pedicures ๐Ÿ™‚

We then made a trip to our favourite place in Chennai – T. Nagar. Not knowing the route, I simply chose to follow the MTC bus towards our destination. After parking my vehicle, we roamed around for almost the entire evening, and she was just done with her first round of shopping.

Her big day was fast approaching, and I was getting ready for it as well. I got my sarees ironed out, and my accessories put together. I planned to stay over for the wedding. After all, how many times is my best friend going to get married? The day before her wedding reception, she called me up and asked me to get her a couple more accessories. “Are you kidding me? Tomorrow’s your wedding, and you still haven’t bought all stuff?” I dragged myself to T.nagar and got her the stuff she asked.

I reached her home at 2 pm on the day of her reception, and was kinda shocked to see her in her jammies. It was after my prompting did she hurry to get her makeup done, and we reached the wedding hall just on time. Her reception was hectic, to put it mildly. I was her “touch-up girl” all through her photo session, and boy was she in her groove. She kept giving stunning poses, while her beau was finding it hard to be casual. I was drained by the end of the day, and was ready to hit the sack at 1 AM. Those who know me personally, would know how much of a stretch that is. We got to bed at 1 AM in the morning, when my adorable bestie decided to open the gifts. I was all but ready to kill her, when she herself realized she was stretching too much, and turned off the lights.

Her wedding was delightful, and finally I had some time to just sit back and enjoy it. From a distance I could how nervous and yet happy she was. The groom tied the knot, and she smiled in delight. And that was when I realized how much I adored her, loved her, and how much I was gonna miss her.

As much as I was happy for her, a small part of me was sulking,”So… I can’t meet my best friend as easily as I used to anymore. She’d be so far away in Delhi. Who would I do my roaming around with? Whose legs am I supposed to pull? Who can I share my everything with? With whom can I discern all my inhibitions?” Honestly, I felt a bit burdened. She was my daily dose of strength. Someone who accepts me with all my flaws. Someone who always had my back.

It was time for me to leave. I gave her a hug, and waved her goodbye. What kept me happy, was the thought that she was just a phone call away.

Parisien Times

We often read in our newspapers, how the European nations are struggling to find their foot in the current global economic crisis. France is one such nation. People are trying to manage their funds in the right manner; worrying about savings, and most of all what the future holds.

With all those imported clothing costing so much, I thought the French were probably lavish. That was so racist of me. And I am ashamed to have thought it that way. My French visit, for the most part was more enlightening than fun. In a way, it made me appreciate India in all its goodness.

You would be surprised, to see how conscious people are while spending money. They would not waste a single cent, on useless stuff. A lesson that Indians of our generation have to learn. On the other end of the spectrum, you can clearly see that they wouldn’t cheat their government of a single cent. We’re not saints on that front either.

We Indians, especially those of our generation, roam around the streets wearing gaudy t-shirts with barely intelligible words scribbled in a scrawny font that reads, “Ruck Fules”. Yes, we are that cool! Not.

In comparison, The French have rules for everything. Even for filling water in the coffee machine. And every single one of them follow it. Amazing!
What was even more amazing was their sense of traffic.

See a red light? Stop
See a yellow light? Stop
See a green light? Is there a pedestrian waiting to cross the road? Stop, and wave signaling the pedestrian to cross.

Yes, it was that damn amazing!

I was a bit paranoid when I first landed there. I was worried about how the people would react to me, and my being there. I was worried I would feel homesick. I was worried I would have no friends. To summarize, I was worried A LOT.

It took me just one day at work, and a day at the domestic supplies store to lose all my initial prejudices.

From gesturing me to join him in the queue when I was standing alone, lending a jacket for the weekend because it was going to get colder, to showing empathy towards the minor earthquake in India, Xavier(our application manager) epitomized the gallantry the French men in general personified.

Well, the only other race I’ve known being our Indian men, I can surely say that I have never seen a more gallant race in my life.

[Some of our men, stomp you on your foot; don’t ask sorry; whine when reprimanded; and finally mock you on Facebook saying, “You want equality? This is what it is. So deal with it!” In their twisted mind, this somehow is something clever to say!]

At work, people held doors open. Waited for me to enter the elevator.
At the hotel and work, I always had the men working there wishing me good morning, and good day.
Even though I wasn’t any good at French, I was appreciated for the effort that I made at work, and at the hotel.
Every time I lost my way, someone helped me out. After some time, Xavier even taught me how to use color schemes to get to the place I wanted to reach.
I had a total stranger carry around my supplies, because he thought it was too heavy for me.
And when I had no clue as to what to buy in the wine section, I had another stranger help me out.
On board the flight from Paris to Dubai, a fellow passenger helped my get my stuff into and out of the overhead cabin.
At the airport, another fellow passenger carried my hand luggage (that was so heavy) to a table nearby, since I had my hands full.

I felt happy throughout my stay there. Most of all, I never felt alone. I always had someone to help me through. Sometimes, I asked for it. But most of the times, I was helped out without me asking for it.

I am guessing the French men are polite not just to women, but towards men too. It is just the way they are. But this being new to me, it felt amazing.

All these were simple acts of kindness. But they amount to the larger part of my trip to France being pleasant and memorable.

As an added bonus, most of them are smart, funny and handsome ๐Ÿ˜›

Sleepy Sunday

I slept through almost the entire Sunday, after all the non-stop drama the previous day.ย  What could have been an interesting day @ the Louvre Museum turned out to be a day lounging on the bed watching repeat episodes from the The Big Bang Theory. Sigh.

So, the only things that I did worth mentioning were

1. Talking to my mom, who was crying on the phone that last time I spoke to her, which was on the way from the airport to the hotel. I didn’t realize that I’d miss home that much, and that a few weeks away would mean so much. Talking to my family definitely made my day, and perhaps that is why I did not bother to get out of my room.

2. If you consider making instant noodles and an omelette as cooking, you can add that to my list too ๐Ÿ˜›

Night fell, and I was ready to sleep. Never in my lifetime have I slept without a family or friends nearby. But now I was all alone. And all of a sudden, I started feeling lonely like never before.

I forced myself into trying to sleep. But sleep was not the only thing on my mind…

Airport Drama: Part 2

“Hi”, I said to Esakki as I was waiting for my luggage to come down the conveyor belt. “Where are the others?” I asked, searching for Kanagaraj and Saravanan amidst the foreign crowd. “I don’t know. They should be somewhere around”, he said and started looking forย  his luggage. “Oh”, I paused and then continued, “But you did see them, right?”, I asked, feeling a bit wary. “Yes, yes”, he assured me.

For some odd reason I felt happy, and started looking for my luggage again. After a good few minutes, I caught a glimpse of the blue ribbon I had tied onto the handle of my luggage. Esakki helped me get my luggage off the conveyor belt and onto the luggage stroller. I was happy, all set and ready to go home. Well, home at least for a while.

We waited some more time for Esakki’s luggage to make its way down. But, nope it just wasn’t coming. I started to wonder if something wrong had happened. It was just then that I saw the other two guys. They were a bit frantic. I assumed it was due to the lost luggage at Dubai. Since it majorly concerned my being late, I felt very guilty to have felt happy just a few minutes back.

I went up to them and asked Kanagaraj, “What happened? Registered a complaint against the lost luggage?” I could sense that he was tensed too. I did not know why, until he said,”Well, we did not get our checked-in luggage”. “What?”, that was all I could offer. I was exhausted. He continued, “Yeah, we had already lodged a complaint. It was possibly because of the weight of our baggage. It was too heavy. So, they are probably bringing that on the next flight”. He seemed quite sure of it. But, I did not think so. It was my damn luck, plain and simple.

Meanwhile, Saravanan had found an Emirates staff, and was explaining the situation about the lost hand luggage. As soon as I noticed that, a sense of almost criminal guilt overcame me. Saravanan was trying desperately to make the guy understand what had happened, while I was looking on helplessly. I said a silent prayer, “Please God! Help him get his luggage back”. Obviously God had other plans, because the guy wasn’t being helpful. All I could see was… He was big. He was intimidating. And obviously did not speak much English.

I did stop feeling “that” guilty in a while though. Saravanan could have simply put it this way. “She was late, and I lost my luggage in the commotion” or even “I lost my luggage because she was late.” But this is what went down. He kept referring to me as “this girl” so many damn times that it kinda made feel less guilty. I am thankful that he helped me all along, but to be honest I did feel mildly annoyed at his pointing-fingers-school-girl-attitude. I might be a little wrong here to have felt annoyed (After all, he had helped me). But I am just being matter-of-factly honest.

I was doomed, and was on the verge of a melt-down. “Why is this happening to me!” I wanted to whine, but somehow I held it together. And then it happened. A lady clad in the standard Emirates attire came up to us. She was lovely. She was polite. And thank God she spoke English. So, Saravanan repeated the pointing-fingers-school-girl-attitude style complaint again. I rolled my eyes this time, and hopefully he did not look. She let him jot down the list of his stuff, and offered us much hope. He thanked her. I thanked her, and I was all but ready to leave.

As if there wasn’t enough drama for the day, Saravanan lost his camera. He went berserk. He did not know where he left it. Kanagaraj offered that they search the places they were roaming around. “It is a DSLR”, Saravanan exclaimed. So, they both ran in search of the lost camera. And I stood still; in awe at how many more things could go wrong. The lady at Emirates was baffled. “How many more things is he going to lose?” she asked. It was both rhetoric, and mildly funny. Funny because, at least she thought that Saravanan had lost his had luggage not because of “this girl” but because of his carelessness.

So, after a few minutes, they came back with the Cam. I think Kanagaraj had found it at the Immigration Check Booth. I don’t remember exactly. By this time, Esakki had returned from the Emirates complaint booth. And when I looked near the exit Gandhi stood. He had promised to come pick me up, when he realized how scared I was to travel alone by cab. No words could tell how relieved I was to see him. I ran up to him, pushing my stroller ahead of me.

I explained the whole lot of stuff to him in a record two minutes. He just smiled. God, he could be so calm. I introduced him to the others. Since Esakki was staying at the same Hotel as mine, Gandhi asked him to join us. He advised Kanagaraj and Saravanan to offer nothing more than 45 Euros for a cab ride. So, then we said our good-byes and made our way to the parking lot.

I noticed Esakki carrying his documents in a plastic folder. Suprised I asked him, “Why are you carrying important documents in a folder? What if they fell down?” It was as if an alarm went off in his head. He froze,”I missed my passport”

“Oh, Good Lord!” I thought.