Another day in Paradise,
Another part of the world
By: Rajiv Tarafdar
The morning is early, the evenings are deceiving, I just don't understand how
people survive in this city,,, or how will I gel in. 8pm and its still bright
Mornings have been the worst things of my life from the day I could
differentiate between Chocolates and Karelas. Man, you bet how much I crave to
dig deeper into my quilt in the earlier hours of the day, especially if it is
a winter morning. But the sheer feeling of walking or cycling next to the
Ocean pulls me out. I put on the next best thing to my bed and head of to the
O Boy, what a view. I have never seen the Ocean the same on any 2 mornings in
the past 12 months. Everyday it has a new face unlike the usual faces that I
see on the walk. My Dad used to tell me, "Beta walking in the morning is
good for your health and your eyes." Well Dad, I never thought you were
right until I landed here in Sydney. What view/s on and off the beach. I just
love those fresh morning clothes that people wear and come flocking around in
the morning pretending to look in their best health. All Richard Gere’s and
Jennifer Lopez’s, Huh. What a @!$%!! Start.
Breakfast, Jeez what's that…. When you are working your either running or
driving, the traffic or people crazy... When I was in India, I heard these
fellas in Sydney elegantly illustrate how Beautiful and Quite life is in
Sydney and what a ball of time they were having. Well I don’t blame them;
they were in college then. Thank God they are no more. The bottom line, Thank
God Sydney’s not bad as Mumbai or Pune (where I was last in my mother land)
but not better than JamPot (Jamshedpur) where I was born, shattered the
glasses with my Kapil shots, frustrated Mrs. Sharma with my Loud Jackson
“BAD”, went running wild with guys and bikes on weekdays and weekends.
Phew… good old days in School. The next I’ll see them is in my kids. They
will never come back for me again.
On second thought if I were a kid in Sydney, this place would have been
heavens for me. What a View... what a view. HONK HONK bloody the guy in the
left lane ne cut mara bine signal diye. “Hey, I am in the traffic again”.
Suddenly I realise that I was dreaming again, my favourite pass time when I
driving, with “Stereo Nation” singing “O Carol” at full blast.
What!! You’re not a true Indian if you don’t know who “Stereo Nation”
is. You need to go back to India and get some juice man. Shhee go back buddy.
Well no use cursing others when you are not used to the stuff. This Lane, that
Lane, Right Lane, wrong lane .. O shit not the turn / bus lane. Mama / Camera
ne dekha to nahi.. (I hope the Police or the camera didn’t see it) hope I
don’t get a ticket. Yaar, too many rules spoils the mood. Driving is so cool
back in India. Pachas Horn aur hazaro gali ke bina traffic to hilta hi nahi.
And here, if somebody honks, a chill runs up and down the spine like a jolt
“Now where did I go wrong”.
But Buddy, this is much better than the best traffics in Metropolitan India.
At least I am not double bathing in my sweat and don’t have to get out 3
hours before to get to work at 9am.
“101.7 WS FM, Sydney’s best Traffic Update from the Chopper” THE
MOST IMPORTANT NEWS, WHILE IN THE CAR. ALL ALAERT
“Lovely Morning with the traffic building on the Great Western Highway
with 3 cars and a truck collided. No one seems to have been fatally injured.
The traffic on the King Geroges’ street seems to have piled up as far as the
Hume Highway as a result of the sedan, I believe a Ford as it looks from here,
stuck in the middle. The driver seems to be clearing the traffic instead of
his car.”……The rest is
Who Care, I know I will be late now
I dip the indicator and swing left in a swift (Bachan style) into Mac D (Well
that’s what we called them in India, I don’t know about you guys).
“May Aye help ya Sir, How aa ya” Counter Sales.
How the hell do you expect a guy to be after driving for 35 minutes on King
George St on a sunny morning?
(Big smile) “Fine Thank you, 1 Big Mac Please”.
“Wud ya like somethin else, like a drink or fries Sir. We’ve got special
Nutritional salads for you today”
“No Thanks”. I keep wondering which part of the world calls them fries and
which chips. I always call it the wrong name at the right place. Yaar, Bahjiya
is a much better term. At least anyone in any part of the country understands.
“That will be 3 Dolla and 45 Cents Sir”
Fumbling around to find my purse, I recall I left it in the car.
“I forgot my purse, I won’t be a minute”
“Thats Ok, Sir”.
When I return the guy standing behind me is still cursing me for the counter
sales hasn’t asked him “May Aye help ya Sir, How aa ya”.
If this would have been Om Sweets or Joshi Wade wale, 10 satisfied customers
behind me would have already left the outlet by the time I returned. Any way,
this is what they call value of life and personal attention. I kinda like the
royal treatment that I get. To be frank I’m used to it now after being in
the States and now Ozi. If the burger is not worth the money, at least the
service is. My sweet wife just loves the treatment and kind & sweet words.
I always wonder, do these guys ever mean a single word they say. Well who
cares, at least you have a sweet little person asking you so politely rather
then a Mucha walla commanding “Bolo Kya mangta”, as if you’re the next
prisoner on the block.
Well rules are rules, No eating, No Phones, probably soon they will say no
talking or chit chatting while driving. My sweetie pie (wife) is going to
march to Canbera if someone passed that bill, armed with all our kitchen ware.
I land at my work 20 minutes later with the car smelling MAC D, MAC D, MAC
D.., as if it kept saying, EAT ME, EAT ME, EAT ME… India hota to kaab ka
safa chaat gaya hota tere ko. (If this would have been India I would have
devoured you long back).
Enter the Dungeon
Work, is like a classroom of self study. Pin drop silence. All eyes clued to
the screen. No one talks much or even smiles loudly. It’s considered bad
manners. As if someone just died. I miss my buddies Sunil and Shri in India.
Kya dhamaal tha (What fun we used to do). They are in the States now saying
Well, open computer, “You’ve got Mail”. Yaar these mails have screwed my
head like anything. Some from the team and friends, some from the monkeys
above, and loads of them from sites I never knew. I wonder which Intelligence
agency gives out my Email id to these goons.
Select, Select, Select… – DELETE. Haa haa. That’s good now. I love to
keep my inbox and desktop clean. Soon the phone rings.
“You had a meeting at 9:15 Raj, your 7 minutes late. We are waiting for
“Uhh, Uh , I’ll be right there xyz(my boss), actually I was caught up in
“Would you please come down ASAP” he cuts in.
UUUUUhh. He’s just mad at me. When I walk in, everybody claps and Hoos.
Why, “I am late”. That how they make you feel. As if it makes a difference
to me. Buddy, I am the strong IST (Indian Stretchable Time) guy. All time is
my time, and my time is 60 mins behind your time so buzz off.
The day is busy with all work and no play. Anthony manages to fling a ball at
me twice in 8 hours, ensuring that xyz is not watching. 12:30pm professionals
leave, 1:00pm they return. I bet my school had more flexible timings. At
around 3 pm as I am scratching my head and trying desperately to get this
Stored Procedure(Computer Gizmo) to work when John comes up to me.
“Hey Raj, Did you watch Matrix Revolution, AWESOME MAN, AWESOME.”
Who the hell cares about the Revolution in matrix when my code is revolting?
But cannot ignore, don’t know this guy much and need to be polite.
“Sorry John, I didn’t get the time”
“Yo man you should go, Its AWESOME Man. What graphics and on the Big screen
its AWESOME Man”
“Ya, I bet it looks great”
“Hey tell me, do you guys in India have movie theatres?”
Uh Uh, wrong question. Yaar where do these people think we come from. Sawana
Regions of Zambia. Questions like,
Do you guys learn English in school?
Do you have Big cars?
Do you get DVD Players?
I bet you don’t know much about Rugby, you don’t play?
These things really turn me off and I go bang. I politely ask John to take a
seat and then the History of India “as recited by Pandit J Nehru” is
repeated again. That kills 24 minutes of my development time that is billed
and I am answerable to for answering a stupid question. I sometimes wonder why
can’t I say, “Yes we do” and get back to work. I believe I don’t want
this jerk (I call him so) to ask the same question to another educated Indian.
By the end of the Story, John is mouth wide and eyes out as I showed him some
snaps of Banglore, Nariman Point and Conaught Place. Buzz off, I tell him
politely and dig back into my code. At least now he knows now where we guys
come from and that India is the largest English Speaking population in the
world. Yes that’s true, check it out. By this time I have forgotten the
problem that I was running after.
5:30pm I miss the polite byes and See Yaw as I am deep in my codes. 6pm, I on
a deserted hall with all machines jittering and beeping.
Hello, this is still sunlight. Am I supposed to go half day today? Going home
by 6 pm was considered half day in the IT industry, you know if any of
you’ve worked back home.
Day 1, Drive 2 loops back and I am dreaming again driving back home, thinking
desperately what to do first in the evening today, wash dishes or iron my suit
for tomorrow’s presentation or watch the rugby test. Yaar kya mushkil hai
(Man what a pain). It reminds me of my days in the Military School in Purulia.
Ya Ya the same place where AK 47’s were dropped on Dec 17th, 1995.
Well I believe washing is easier and Benefit “makes my sweetie happy”.
With a big hug and a whole heart my love greets me at the door, like a child
for her mother. Offers me evening Chai (Tea) and Pakore (Indian Fries).
Onlooking the lovely bay I munch greedily at the Pakoras and sip the tea with
a loud noise next to my sweetie without remembering to ask her what she had
the whole day.
Stocks down at home, we visit Cooles. Trying to figure the best price for the
best quality products. After I saw Ray Martin say that the cheapest brands are
the best in Sydney markets on the show “60 Minutes”, we are desperately
trying to convince ourselves. Some things will just not turn on.
The evening is quite. After the wash (of the Dishes) We walk alone hand in
hand on the deserted Grand Parade of Brighton. In the day I feel I am in a
Disciplinary school and at night on a deserted Constructional Village. All
buildings and houses and no beings to be seen. Not even a mere dog or poor
cat. I wonder when do the guys eat and sleep in these houses or is there any
one in these houses. 8pm? We talk about our day’s endeavour. My sweetie pie
is eager to know about happening of the day. I wonder what to say?
She is the home minister the whole day trying to keep herself busy with daily
chores, with no one around to speak to or share her feelings. She keeps the TV
or radio running without any interest, so that she can feel the noise and
console herself for the presence of something. It’s just me that she has
here and she that I have in this lonely Massive place they call Sydney which
has population of 6 million, no where to be seen. I am working my a… the
whole day to make a better living and settlement for my family (expected to
grow), managing to spend only couple of hours with my loved on in a day and
some more on the week ends. Is this what I want? Well this is better than 2
hours in Mumbai that I used to spend.
Where do the people go in Sydney as the night creeps in? Do they ever
socialize, meet, and go to people’s places, hang around in places they call
colonies back in India. I’ll probably find out in the years to come in this
city that I have decided to live and forced my wife to be with and as other
people like me from India have done in the past and still doing… for a