I notice how every post of mine on this blog begins with a lukewarm apology for my procrastination. Before I quit my busy job in November 2013, I’d follow a number of blogs and wish I had the free time to sit down and write something because I knew I had a lot to say. My wish came true – I have a ton of free time and still a lot to say but I find the act of sitting down and actually getting to write to be a very difficult process.
Recently, I came across this insightful post where Gretchen Rubin divides people into 4 character types with respect to how they respond to expectations, both inner and outer. Reading it, I quickly identified myself as an ‘Obliger’ – one who has no problem upholding outer expectations and deadlines but has trouble keeping up her own. Safe to say, it did not make me very happy but it did drive home a point that I need to treat some things that are important to me to be just as sacred as another person’s expectation of me. This blog allows me a shot at creative expression and I often forsake it for the urgent and mostly mundane “must do” items that cross my daily task list. Starting this week I am going to start a consistent weekly blogging practice.
There, I’ve said it. Now onto my May 2014 experience.
The infinite joys of paperwork
I hate paperwork to a degree that I cannot emphasize with words alone. When I realized, sometime in late 2013 that my passport was due to expire, I dreaded what was coming my way. Since I had an upcoming trip planned to go back home and I am renewing an Indian passport, I figured that it was probably easier to get the deed done in India. Right?
I had heard from a number of friends how easy it was to get their passports in India and assumed that it would be easy for me, an Indian, to get my passport renewed. I forgot that I am a Non-Resident Indian and for all practical purposes, a pariah. Almost every officer I spoke to refused to process my case because I no longer live in India. For other complicated reasons, I could not return to the US without a new passport that made the situation exceedingly complicated. After a lot of reasoning, pleading and finally, groveling I got my rightfully deserved passport. When I sum the experience up into a short paragraph I realize it doesn’t come across like a big deal but at the time I wondered if I’d be back in Chicago in the summer as I had planned. The incessant rains in Bangalore did little to uplift my mood.
I did, however, get to spend many quiet evenings with mom and dad where I perfected my chapatti-making skills. I guess, all’s well that ends well.
A short getaway
After a good couple of weeks obsessing about my passport, time with old friends was exactly what the doctor ordered. I spent a couple of days in the HOT south Indian city of Chennai for my US visa appointment. A good friend of mine, R graciously invited me to stay with his family and I had a wonderful time. His mom ensured that I was always well fed and treated me to the yummiest snacks and meals. I also got to spend some quality time with the newest member of his family – his pet Rottweiler, Rock.
R used to live in Chicago and left the US to go back to India to be with his family. Spending time with him and his wife D took me back to old times. I am grateful that despite the long distance separating us, we are just as close. Some relationships only get stronger with distance.
Getting back in touch
Another highlight of May 2014 was getting back in touch with my cousins from all over the world on Whatsapp. Since I am not on Facebook, I’ve been out of touch with most of them and it was exciting to be able to endlessly chatter on about the good ol’ times. Of course, we eventually grew tired of exchanging sepia toned pictures, rehashing goofy memories and endlessly bantering so the group is somewhat silent now but every now and then someone will share a nice memory or some good news and get us all talking. With help from everyone, I was also able to execute my best gift idea yet, a photo album (I used this beauty from Paper Source) for my grandma with the latest pictures of all her thirteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. I have always given my grandma the most clichéd gifts every time I visit and it was very satisfying to give her a meaningful gift for a change.
The month ended with a major milestone – My parents’ 48th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with lunch at a nearby restaurant and an exciting purchase – their first smartphone. I continue to get some bizarre phone-related questions every now and then but for the most part my folks have always surprised me with their tech savviness.
So that’s how my May 2014 went down. See you next week?