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Day 7 | Derby Day Dress up

Today was the famous Melbourne Cup race day!

I was very unaware about this hullaballoo around Melbourne Cup during my first year in Australia. It seemed like a regular Tuesday of November as I headed to the train station to catch my train for work. A bunch of old ladies all decked up in beautiful dresses with fancy accessories adorning their head crossed my path. I started at them in amusement and moved on. I saw many men and women all dressed in special clothes and embellishments and it seemed like a festive celebration all around.

In the afternoon around 2:45 pm, all staff gathered in the kitchen area where huge TV screens were on and lots of food and drinks were served. I was still clueless what was going on and I was too shy to ask someone what the occasion was due to the fear of coming across as dumb. At 3 PM, the huge crowd fell silent and watched the TV screens with bated breath, biting their nails and checking some chits they had in hand. Horse race flashed on the big screen and it ended in a wink. Then there were winners announced who won money as prices. There were also prizes for best dressed male and female.

When I came back to my desk, the first thing I did was to google what the event was all about. After that every year, I have been wearing my fascinator and betting a dollar or two on horses, just for the fun of it. I have never won a penny in any raffle or lottery or bets. Last year, the horse I had bet on had come last. But the hostess came up to me and handed an envelope with prize money. I clarified to her that my horse hadn’t come even close to winning. She reassured me that there was a prize for the horse that was first from the last too😃

This year my company had announced best dressed competition. Although I didn’t win any money, I was chosen as the runner up in the Best Dressed category. We had so much fun all day dressing up, clicking loads of pictures, betting, nibbling on finger food and drinking! We event went to Opera House to click pictures and guess what?! People came up to us to get clicked alongside us, we felt like celebrities!

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Posted by on November 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Day 6 | Paper Boat Ride

When I think about my parents and siblings, whether they will ever accept us, I listen to this song. It seems to have been written just for me! The music, the lyrics, the videography – is simply amazing! I play this song on infinite loop ever so often and it brings solace to my aching heart. Please do watch the video Kagadada Doniyalli

I’m trying to translate the beautiful lyrics in English, although I don’t think I can do justice to the way it is penned in Kannada!

Is the time ripe for me to sail in a paperboat?

Did the invisible tear drop, misting my eye turn into a pearl yet?

Will the heaviness in my heart ever lighten?

Will I ever reach the cool shore?

Will I find the future pathway?

Beyond all my imaginations

Just show me another miracle

A tiny bag filled with memories I collected on the way is on my back

A silent bridge of thousands of unspoken words is in front of my eyes

Dear monsoon, all my foot prints in the journey are getting erased by you

I want to be the bare footed child in your lap

Will my heart ever be exhilarated?

Will I ever reach my home?

Will I find the future pathway?

Beyond all my imaginations

Just show me another miracle

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Day 3 | Being a Barista

Happiness is …

 

… when your manager rewards your team with a company-sponsored Barista course

… when you become a certified Barista and have a backup career lined up for you

… when your office has a professional coffee machine at your disposal

… when you have two lovely colleagues who are happy to be your guinea pigs every morning

… when every person coming to the kitchen pauses to watch the coffee art in wonder and showers you with compliments

CertifiedIMG_1414IMG_1495IMG_1496IMG_1583IMG_1627IMG_1641IMG_1690IMG_1779IMG_9739IMG_9740

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Testing the waters

I always wished to learn swimming some day in my life. But I realized that it was more of a need than want when we booked a Snorkeling tour a few years ago during our Goa trip but could not get into the water as the coordinators warned us not to try if we have don’t possess this basic life skill. Imagine going on a boat to snorkel, where rest of the folks enthusiastically dived into water and we were sitting inside the boat like stupid dumb spectators killing time by watching others do it. That day I decided that I will learn swimming some day. Like a lot of other things on my checklist, this one was forgotten soon. Well, there weren’t many opportunities to learn when we were in India. We moved to Sydney, got our kids admitted to swimming classes and inquired for Adult classes. Unfortunately there were advanced classes for adults but no basic ones. Last year our local Aquatic centre launched Beginner lessons for adults. We kept procrastinating as there were other priority tasks (as is always the case). One fine day when Abbas went to renew Mantam’s swimming lessons, he called me and said “We’ve been pushing this to the backlog for ages. I’m getting both of us enrolled. Let’s do it.” I was shocked, “Whattt? We can’t afford it now, we have too many things going.” Abbas “Arey, we will always have too many things going. Let’s do it.” Me replies “Errrr, if you say so, fine! Let’s do it then!!”

 

Each group has 4 students and one instructor and they conduct 30 minutes class every week. Abbas and I were in the same group and two other men. I missed the first class! Abbas came home and told me that other two guys are also not complete amateurs. I was a nervous wreck before my first class. Abbas could float and also move ahead in water, although he didn’t know the techniques. In my case, I could hardly even stay under water for more than a few seconds. The D day arrived and when I spoke to the instructor, she asked me where should she begin from. I told her that from the most basic level as I have never ever done anything in water! She tried to hold my hand and drag me forward, and told me to lift my feet from the ground. I was worse than the kids who learn swimming. My feet refused to budge. She gave me a pool noodle but nay, my feet were as adamant as before. She then procured a kind of waist band that helps people float from somewhere. With too many gears to lean on to, in my first class I learnt just lifting my legs from the ground but they were still diagonally immersed in water. Phew!

 

We started going on Saturdays to practice. We bought a pool noodle for me to practice. The fun part about going over the weekend was that a lot of other parents came with their children to teach them. In our case, the roles were reversed. Mantam were my teachers, strict ones at that. I was the tantrum throwing child saying I just couldn’t do it. They would comfort me, encourage to do better, applaud when I did better. I thoroughly enjoyed being a kid to my doting daughters. These practice sessions helped me so much. I let go of the waist band in my third class. With due progress, I learnt to float without any clutches. I was on cloud nine the day I floated by myself, without any help. I missed one more class due to flu. Altogether I took about 7 classes, at the end of the term, I was able to float and swim the distance of a metre on my own. We have decided not to go for any further classes. We need to practice more and more with our patient, in-house, loving instructors.

 

Any of you who has been thinking of learning some new skill, but never got to do it due to fear or other commitments taking priority, I insist that you do it on a whim right away. Trust me, tomorrow never comes. Live in the moment and make the most of it.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Driving diary – Part 3

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2:

Practising with Abbas pretty much came to an end after that incident. Then came the month of March and I picked up the phone to call the driving instructor my friend had recommended. It was a landline number and nobody answered my call, I left a voicemail with my number and requested to call me back. A few days passed but there was no response. I called back in the second week of March and Mr.H picked up. he said tht I was too fast in saying my phone number that he couldn’t comprehend my phone number, gah! Unfortunately I was too late and he was going to be out of the city the following weekend. And I could only take classes over the weekend. So I booked classes in the 3rd weekend of the month.

In the first class, I drove quite decently. I asked H if I should postpone the driving test as we hardly had any time to prepare as there was hardly any time to practice.It was too early for him to say anything but Abbas told me that there is no rush and it was better for me to reschedule the test. We moved the test date to 11th April. With some breathing space, I took 6 classes in all over three weekends, 1 hour class every Saturday and Sunday. H’s way of teaching was so plain and simple that I could easily grasp. I grew more and more confident with handling the four wheeled demon.

On most Saturdays I would drive like a dream. H used to say “You are really smart. Well done” And the veyr next moment I would make one mistake after the other. It was funny sometimes all the silly errors I would commit. Once H told me to take the right most lane and I had the right indicator on even after changing lane. I was under the impression that he wants me to take right turn. H said “Why don’t you turn the indicator off?” I retorted with “Because I want to turn right”, And guess what, he pointed towards a couple of big bright signs right in front of my eyes that read ‘No Right Turn’. I was always good at 3 point turn and kerb side parking but sucked at Reverse parallel parking. H taught me an easy way to reverse parallel park and I started doing it perfectly. And guess what! That day he made do a kerbside park and I did a totally crappy job.

H was a funny man, he would sometimes get stressed when I made mistakes but immediately try to lighten the moment. If I ever sped up and exceeded teh speed limit, he would say “If you like pushing a lot, don’t push the accelerator, push me out of the car”. If I rotated the steering wheel more than necessary, he would say “The steering wheel is not your husband. Control your emotions”. There is this one place where the speed has to be less than 40. As soon as the 40 zone ends, H would say “After this sign, you can increase the speed. But that doesn’t mean you can push accelerator to 100. Keep it below 50”. It might not sound funny when I write it here but when H spoke with his Iranian accent and his dramatic expressions, it was hilarious. When I would crack up, he would say “Are you laughting (read laugh-ting) to me?” H would keep telling me that I either stop my car too close to the stop line or too far. I started working on it and was getting better. Once at a traffic signal, I stopped at what I thought was the right distance from the stop line and at the very same instant a car came to my left and stopped way ahead a of me. I asked H “Have I stopped at right distance?” He nodded in agreement. I asked him “What about the car to our left?” He instantly replies “He already has the DL. Once you get yours, you can also do that!”

In between the classes, I drove a couple of times with Abbas and even he could feel the difference in my driving. But his passenger vision had not gotten any better and he still thought I drove too much into the left side of my lane. And the very next class I started intentionally placing the car towards the right and H freaked out and asked “What happened to you?” When I told him why I was driving the wat I was, he said “Don’t drive with your husband any more” Hahaha. As days passed, Abbas started saying things like “You might get your DL in second attempt”. Nobody, known to us, had ever passed the driving test in our suburb in the first attempt as it is known to have difficult routes. Abbas had passed at his 4th attempt. The day before the test, Abbas said “In the remote likelihood that you get the DL tomorrow, I would be doomed for life”

So folks, the D-day finally dawned and I had taken the day off. The test was to begin at 10 AM. I hadn’t had a good sleep the previous night. H came at 8:45 to practice for an hour before the test. I drove well by consciously remembering all the mistakes I had done in the previous classes and not repeating them. Though I committed a few new trifle ones instead. When we reached the RTA at 9:45 and got out of the car, I had a stomach-churning feeling. I was very nervous. But I observed that H was even more stressed than I was. When my name was called out, he accompanied me. The officer my signature on a form and said go to your car, I’m coming. H wished me good luck but he was visibly worries for me.

I got into the car, put my seat belts on, started the car, officer did the customary indicator checks and got in. He just said that we will drive around the local area today. Whenever I ask you to turn left or right, do so. If I don’t say anything, keep driving straight. He did exactly that like a robot. I kept telling myself that I will not forget anything, and give my best shot. I drove at the right speed as per the road marking, used indicators diligently, didn’t miss a single shoulder and mirror checks. I might have stopped a bit close to the stop line once. And one mistake I did was during the 3 point turn (which apparently was my strong point) after going forward, coming backwards and then I was supposed to go forward. I used the indicator, did my head checks and observations but guess what I forgot to change gear. As I slowly let go of the brake, I felt that the car was slightly moving backwards. Immediately I changed gear and moved forward.

After we came back, I parked the car. The officer and I went back inside RTA. H came almost running to know how the test went. I told him that I was alright. The officer called out my name and I had butterflies in my stomach. He said, with the same robotic expressionless voice, “Congratulations, you passed”. Believe me, it sounded too good to be true. I just couldn’t wait to tell Abbas and make him fall off his chair. H was finally relieved and was very proud. That, my friends, is how I succeeded in achieveing what I thought was not my cup of tea.

PS: For those curious, Abbas is still not able to believe that I got the licence.

PPS: I have kept my precious I-got-my-DL-in-the-first-attempt trump card to use in occasions if and when he tries to show me upper hand while driving

Special thanks to all you lovely people (you know who you are) for the encouragement. Wouldn’t have done it without you.

Love,

Seema

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Driving diary – Part 2

Continued from Part 1 here:

After my initial goal of getting my driving license flew out of the window, it left us alone till I turned 31. That one year went by with endless running around over the weekends for house hunt, selection appointments and tonnes of other commitments. As the next birthday dawned I realized how I had one item on my checklist before I turned 30 but a whole year passed by without me sitting behind the wheels. I wondered if I would ever get that box ticked ever in my life (Yeah, I can get a bit dramatic from time to time). Whenever I would look at women driving on the road so confidently, I would tell myself how I had failed at learning this life skill and had to always be dependent on Abbas. I had given up the slightest hope of driving. Let alone aiming at getting a license.

And then the universe conspired to slam me with so many of my friends and acquaintances getting their driving licenses. Although I was happy for all of them from the bottom of my heart, it drove me nuts and made me feel like a total loser. I slowly started asking Abbas to let me drive and practice when we went out together. But husbands, I tell ya! Abbas would pant, yell, sigh, scream, hallucinate in the passenger seat and make me go bananas. He once shouted at me thinking I was driving too much towards the left that he thought I was going to bang all the parked cars to my left like some Rohit Shetty movie. We would then return to our designated seats to regain normalcy.

One of my friends informed me that she had got the DL on her 5th attempt. She told me how the officer almost yelled at her saying “You will kill me”. She insisted that if she could do it, anyone could. The only key is to not give up. It stuck with me. Also there were posts by RM and DM about how they got their DLs and the thought of getting DL started haunting me. One of my friends M got her driving license in February and told me how her instructor was amazing and gave me his contact number. I declared to Abbas that I was going to book my driving test first. I would keep procrastinating otherwise. If I had a date fixed, I would certainly work towards it. So we booked 31st March for the driving test.

There were almost 2 months at my disposal to get ready to face the demon (In this case the Driving Test Officer). We had too many things going in February, so I decided to start taking lessons from the instructor in March. I thought I would practice with Abbas in February. Abbas would let me drive only in quiet eerie streets as he would lose his mind as soon as he sat in the passenger seat. One evening when I was in high spirits about driving, I said that I would drive to our favourite restaurant. All was well till I did some silly mistake and Abbas yelled at me. I totally went blank and my mind wandered elsewhere. I jumped two signals, Abbas snapped! He lost his temper and I was too stunned to react. I don’t know how we reached the place. We parked the car and had our meal without any conversation with each other. We were only talking to Mantam and in our own heads. I kept asking myself how I could jump signals and that I had been a hazard on the road. One voice in my told me that I must never drive ever again in my life, the other backed Abbas and supported his reaction, and the last one calmed me down and asked me to get the keys and drive back home again or this incident would prove a major setback again in my driving journey. I had to overcome it by driving again at the earliest.

When we walked towards the car park, two voices in my head were battling with each other – to drive or not! As we reached the car, Abbas, who was silent till then, brought his right hand towards me and handed me the car keys and smiled. I grabbed it, I just had to! I drove decently back home although he had to park the car as I was still confused about the direction in which the car moves in reverse gear! Sigh….

To be continued….

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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What’s up?

It’s been a while since my last post? This year after the Blogathon, I had vowed to be regular throughout the year. Almost everyday, I have had a blogpost drafted in my mind but somehow other mundane chores take priority on most days. On remaining days, it’s my slumber!

I just want to write down what’s been happening in our lives in my favourite bullet points:

  • First things first, We got the  much awaited council approval of plans for our home on 20th of Feb (Co-incidentally the same day 3 years ago we had got our Australian visa grant letter). Subsequently, we also received the letter of authority to commence construction by the end of February. We were thrilled and couldn’t wait for the construction to kick start. But as the old adage goes, “Man proposes and God disposes”, March dawned with heavy and continuous rains. There has been no breather since and it’s going to rain cats and dogs till the end of this month. In summary, we are just waiting while paying our monthly installment for a piece of land. Sigh!!
  • I have been practicing driving with Abbas (only to increase his blood pressure everytime he sits in the passenger seat). I have booked my test on 31st of March. I booked driving lessons too, just to be thorough with rules. Although I have no hope of passing in the first attempt (No human that I know of has passed in my suburb in their maiden test), I am determined this time to keep at it. Thanks to RM, Maya, TP, Roopa and some of my other friends here who were as scared as me but went ahead and gave the tests till they achieved that lucrative Licence. I am hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.
  • This year when we went to enroll Mantam to the swimming classes, Abbas told me that the adult beginner class has slots too and we grabbed the opportunity with both hands and got enrolled. I must write a separate post on our journey.
  • Mantam’s school music band conducts try-outs for kids when they enter Year 3. Mannu was sleected for flute and Tammu for Clarinet. Mannu had already completed her basic course in Drums and was so passionate about it, so we requested if there was an option for her to do drums instead of flute. Initially they denied but later told us that there is a spot available for drums. Tammu had also done keyboard last year but we saw that her interest in keyboard had hit rock bottom by the end of the year, so we let her go with Clarinet. They have lessons every Monday after school and rehearsals every Monday morning before school.
  • I had joined a bootcamp near office and went atleast twice a week but ever since the Monsoon season started, workouts have taken a back seat.
  • While we are talking about learning new skills, I have learnt to make the heart pattern on coffee that the baristas make. We have a professional coffee machine at workplace where we start from the scratch by grinding the coffee beans. After several failed disastrous attempts, I am now able to make the heart pattern and planning to slowly graduate to the leaf pattern.
  • Mantam are continuing with the gymnastics classes this year too. But they don’t have the same enthusiasm as last year. Abbas and I are wondering if we should let them continue or quit. We did ask them a couple of times but got very neutral answers.
  • Mannu got selected in her school’s dance group this year while Tammu got selected in the T-Ball team.
  • Too many things going on our lives and we are loving it. 2017 has been a great year so far and we hope it continues to be so

How have you all been? How’s this year treating you so far?

 

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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