30 January 2009

The tenth month in the Roman calendar

I know I have a lot of missing months to blog about, but after much deliberation (and an emergency board meeting) I have decided that I will rewind, for now, to December. Any blanks that come up, I will fill as I go along. The only thing I have to tell you is I have moved into a house (I share it with a couple) and it's in West Singapore (but that's not crucial to the story).

Singapore was geared up for X'mas by October end - light festooned streets, giant X'mas trees in shopping malls, extended hours of shopping, Christmassy knick-knacks all over, piped-in carols, caskets of red wine, white wine in green bottles, basically all the what-have-yous. Swirling in Boy George's 'red, gold and green' December came twirling.

A pictorial example of Christmassy knick- knack is given here. Rather cute I thought! (The snap is technically early November).

The first three weeks of December whizzed past. And the other 2 weeks even faster. The first three because there was lots and lots of work. And thanks to the slow economy my company gave us 2 weeks shut down instead of 1, so stop work from Dec 20! Can you imagine the tension?! But of course it had its good side - I was deliriously happy to have a full proper winter vacation like in school! Yippee!!

Weekends in the first three weeks were the only party time and were spent mainly:

  • hanging out with Laksh (in photo) in Orchard
  • reading, of course (found a lending library somewhat close by, not really happy with it but it's better than nothing)
  • eating Pepper Chicken in Anandam, (Upper Dickson Road, Singapore)
  • chicken tikka in Samy's Curry, Dempsi
  • dimsumming in Din Tai Fung
  • cooking (we cooked dinner one full week!), shopping (Vivo City) and Clark Quaying with flatmate
  • buying dresses from Qoosh, Vivo City and This Fashion, Dhoby Ghaut
  • attending Monu's birthday party @ New Asia Bar (very hip!)
  • and thanks to Monu, my first time ever in a dance bar! (Yes, this was in Singapore. And my HP friends, I know exactly what you are reminded of, so was I and it didn't help).
Dec 18 mid-night was a red-letter day. I was the bearer of bad news. The fact that I live to tell the tale shows how thoroughly civilized my colleagues are by not shooting the messenger (it also helps that I used SMS to convey the message heh).

So here's how the story unfolded.

18 Dec, Thursday night, 11.58+ P.M. Singapore time.
It is one day before shutdown. I was working - fast and furious - late into the night, fixing as many defects as I could before the time ran out (darn it, am an adrenalin junkie?). I am at home, the only sounds I can hear is the clicking of the keyboard and mouse, all else is dead quite. Ping! a new email. I go to open it and I get this horrible tingling sensation at the back of my neck. I take a deep breath and open the email - I forget to breathe out. Retrenchment announcement in email from the CEO!

Aaaaaaaaaaa! Waaaaaaaaan!!! Aaaargh!!! I fished out my mobile and SMS-ed all my colleagues to check their email (I was too chicken to tell them myself). Slowly everyone came awake, and then started the frantic calling, messaging, chatting. We consoled each other, had multi-way conference calls and popping chat windows, reassured each other and make up reasons why they could not be fired, all with a churning stomach. The whole team was up all night oscillating between calm acceptance and nerve racking tension. One hour later, another email - meeting request for the whole team, U.S. and Singapore, at 2 A.M. Singapore time. This time we could not keep the dread at bay. At 2 A.M. we all gave attendance. The first thing our manager said, "We are all safe" and then she burst into tears.

It was a close call. She asked us all to take the next day off to restore our nerves. Which, naturally,  we all did. By the weekend I was back to normal.

By Monday, I was back to being tickled silly in happiness of my first long winter vacation since 1999!

A new mall West Coast Plaza has (apparently re-) opened opposite to my humble abode and I boosted the economy in my own small way by spending my hard earned there. Bought a Van Gogh in the passing among other inconsequential junk.

Got a few decent eateries opened up there, including Coffee Bean and Subway. The weather was unusually chilly for Singapore and the next 3 days whizzed past in acquainting myself with the new mall, reading books from the library, and chilling @ home.

Then bright and early on X'mas morning D arrived on! And that, my dears, needs a post all on it own! Watch this space and I promise the next post will next Friday.

16 January 2009

A new year

When last year was new as a freshly minted coin, I was driving down to Chennai. My life looked like I was seeing it through rose tinted glasses. It felt like finally everything was coming together and the last pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. The world was my oyster again, and I was triumphant. I was going to a new life, to fulfill a long cherished dream, it felt as if I was going to my destiny. Well… I proved fast enough that I was a lousy judge of my destiny.

In a lot of ways I was right, in others I was so way off the mark even F1 drives seemed to be getting someplace compared to me. Life, essentially, was not rose tinted or rose water scented. In fact some things stank real high. Chief among them were two very important things:

  1. my relationship
  2. my job

The two things I'd moved to Chennai for.

But I have an irritating habit of looking for fun even when there is none. So despite minor issues like my moving town to find a dead relationship and an even worse job atmosphere, the other areas of my life rocked – I had the best time ever with my cousins starting with Suba (who I stayed with), my aunts & uncles, and friends. The weather was also awfully nice to me, I had my car, my work place was minutes away from Suba's place, enroute was a fabulous beauty parlour, and the cutest botique-cum-tea shop, and I even found a charming little house to rent. So life was not all without happiness.

The lief motif being अइसा नहीं के हमको कोई भी ख़ुशी नहीं, लेकिन यह ज़िन्दगी तो कोई ज़िन्दगी नहीं।

I was plodding along, being happy enough when WHAM! out of the blue a miracle happened! (Lucky for me my fate felt worse for me that I did.) I got a chance I was looking for a long long time – a job in Singapore! I'd have dug my heels in (like the bull I am) and tried to make the best of my situation but I suddenly had something that was so much better and more than I expected. I packed my बोरिया बिस्तर, bid a heartfelt tearful farewell to everyone who had made my stay in Chennai so wonderful (I still consider it one of the best times ever) and headed to Singapore.

Once in Singapore life was one big party. As you know from my previous posts I've been having a really nice time here. First my stay with Such and Cee, and all the fun I had with them. My Orchard Road office and all the shopping and eating with my colleagues. Then the new friends I made here, and some old friends I met up with, and all the fun I had getting to know Singapore.

Now as I begin another new year amid an economic crisis I am reminded of a quote I read, "The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year." So I can say that I have been successful, 'cause although the year brings a lot of tough problems, at least they are not the same ones I had last year. So here's wishing you all safe time treading through this new year and may it be a happy one.

P.S. - Yes, am back to blogging.