Since our time here in the US, people back home often ask us about our experience here. How we’ve adapted to a new city, a new country and a new culture. We are no strangers to the States, but calling it as “home” has been somewhat unfamiliar for us. Initially, at the least. These days it’s easier to answer when people ask us where we are from. I just explain, in not too many words mind you, on how we migrated across two continents. And why we chose to do it. And how exhausting it has been. Yadayadayada. My husband would rather I just let him take the lead on answering the question. Have you met Mamta? The master story-teller. She often doesn’t know when to stop. *sheepish smiley*
Considering that I can talk non-stop until the cows come home, you would think social conversation is a piece of cake for me. Urm, no. And if there is one such custom that I have observed in this new city of mine, it’s this – small talk. It is everywhere. In the beginning, I too engaged in friendly banter with anyone who initiated it. The fish monger at our local Whole Foods, the barista at the corner Starbucks and the server at the pizza place. I assumed it was the way of the western world, you know. The polite thing to do. People commented on the weather & I told them what I really thought of the Texas summer! This lasted for probably a month before it got old. I am a reasonably social person. Some may even go to the extent of saying that I am a friendly gal. I am not saying I cannot engage in small talk, I just don’t see the need for it. We don’t need to talk about the weather, we can look it up online…for days ahead ! We don’t need to swap recipes, there’s Pinterest for that. No I did not watch the game last night, I clearly know nothing about american football (Which I personally believe is the most frustrating game to watch. Next to Test Cricket.) Silence is sometimes golden. Especially when getting a pedicure.
Back home, the only small talk I indulged in was with my maid. This was perfectly fine by me. I had vested interests. As is common amongst other Indian women, I respected my relation with my maid. I daresay it was something….sacred. I was ready to do anything to ensure the continuity of her employment in my home. In India these days it’s not the gais (cows) that are worshipped but the bais (maid). The three little words that hold importance in your life isn’t “I Love You”. It’s “Memsaab kal chutti” (Madam tomorrow holiday). Women develop a sixth sense when it comes to these situations – one can anticipate it coming their way. The maid who would zip her way through the house and finish chores that would usually take her a mere half-hour, now takes a full hour. An extra effort is invested while mopping the floors to make it look shiny. Dishes are unusually sparkly. There are some unexpected smiles thrown your way. You look back and wonder if it is meant for someone else. Then it hits you. This was just a scheme to get you. You’re it. You mentally prepare yourself to manage the house all on your own and reach out for the take-out menus for the corner Chinese restaurant. It’s going to be all right. She will be back. Soon.
Here in the States, we have no maids. Neither do we have the convenience of an istriwala (one who irons your clothes). I have missed them all dearly. DIY (Do-It-Yourself) takes a whole new meaning here. I am pretty sure the term was coined here. Why else would this place be crawling with so many Home Depots, Office Depots, Hobby Lobby & Lowes. The king of them all is IKEA. It cannot be a Swedish company. Unless Sweden also does not have maids.
You may ask me how I am handling small talk these days? Exceptionally well I might say. I avoid all possible eye contact. No lookie, no talkie. 😀
Well, hello there! I am glad to see you are here and now that I am back too, maybe we can continue where we left off? No explanations needed? Sounds wonderful.
Only if it were that way. I know you have questions, I know I would ! “Why does she disappear ever so often? Every six months, or in this case a whole year! Do you think she is a werewolf in hiding? Or maybe a covert agent who just blogs in between her missions while she waits for the next assignment to come by?” *snickers* I hope my overactive imagination amuses you. It does keep me occupied at times 😉 I didn’t intend to wipe off my entire existence from this blog, although it sure does seem that way, but somehow that’s what happened. Life caught on and I found myself strapped for time to blog. Which is so ironic, because the one reason I created this blog was to document my thoughts on life! Ha! Didn’t see that coming….but nevertheless here I am back for
good …. let’s just not say anything definite for the moment, I don’t want to risk proving myself wrong all the time!
So what has been happening you ask? Well, the last time I blogged I was in Bangalore and this post is coming to you from Austin! We’ve moved ! And what a year it has been so far. I’ve taken my time settling into life here, exploring this wonderfully weird city and places nearby; catching up with old friends & making new ones; rediscovering life a day at a time. It’s been exciting & a little nerve wracking too. Our day-to-day lives look a lot different now, some changes for the better & some could be better 😉 Change is good. Except when it comes in pennies. (Sorry. I couldn’t stop myself.)
So my loyal reader
s, who is probably just my sister (*waves at her*), you will be seeing more of me henceforth. Unless you don’t want to…..Meh, I’ll still be here! Ta!