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Showing posts from February, 2010

Call Girl

I became a call girl on Monday. I mean, I joined a call centre along with a bunch of novices. That made me feel a bit good because I was not the only babe lost in the world of inbounds and outbounds. In the call trade, inbound is receiving calls and outbound is making calls. Some say inbound is a safe haven and outbound a harsh world because you are intruding into someone's privacy and asking for a precious five minutes of his/her time. In that five minutes, you would have either made your presence felt or met some of the best rebuttals.
In a country where tough job rules - you have to have permanent residency status to get into one's choice of work - the call industry comes calling readily for people like me who are temporary permanent residents. The way I look at it is,  it also gives me something to do and meet people.
My colleagues come from different backgrounds. There is Jack, a graduate of polictics and business from Ireland and on a one-year working holiday visa down und…

Mad About Australia

Sitting with a few friends and compatriots one weekend in Caroline Springs, a new suburb in Melbourne, we got into a heated discussion about the attacks on Indians here.
Much as the attacks were condemned, we ended up more livid on how the media in India was going on an overdrive. A Kashmiri pandit friend says, "we have been displaced from our own state". As someone from the north east I could empathise with his “alienated” sensibility. “We face racial abuses everyday in Delhi.” But the media has never been so rabid as they have in the case of Indian students being attacked in Australia.
A journalist friend who caught me online quipped, “Times Now has waged a war with Australia.” Well, they have succeeded in making their presence felt down under such that the media here refer to Times Now as India's leading televison channel. And it is unfortunate that they would benchmark Arnab Goswami's and his team as the best in a media that has already, and sadly, been dubbed med…

Traveller's guide

Pain and pleasure of public commute
Morning/afternoon/evening scene Delhi bus stop/metro: "Abbe hatho hatho hatho....(move, move, move)" Someone comes screaming from the back, pushes you aside and hops on to the bus. No queues, no making way for the elderly or mothers with babies. Inside, you find a seat if you are lucky. If you are a woman, too many would love to lean on you along with the song and magic bus swerve. You survive a bus ride, you have learnt the first art of survival here.
Melbourne bus stop/tram/train: The bell rings, train's arrival announced, people line up and give way for those alighting. Train moves. Complete silence. Everyone is busy with their ipods and other gadgets or their eyes are in perpetual read mode.
Vehicular breakdown
Delhi: Bus comes to a halt, nobody knows what has happened. Suddenly driver is surrounded with a volley of abuses for delay. Driver tries to stop other buses to transfer passengers. There is utter commotion. Some want their money…

Accent FAKE'cent

Frankly I need a tutor to teach me to pronounce words the Aussie way. I go to a shop and buy a pair of shades and I ask for a case (as they normally do come with a case in India) and the ever-smiling, customer-friendly cashier replies, "A page?" I say, "No, a case", she replies, "Oh no, no case." Page and case. I walk out of the shop wondering do they really rhyme?
Every third day, I walk down to the bakery to buy bread. Lolo says I must get "high fibre, low GI, sandwich bread." I repeat it 10 times as I walk along the quiet road to make the words flow and twirl and make myself understood at the counter. Low IQ? No, low GI.
I tell the recruitment agency on phone, I am looking for the right opportunity and she goes "ah w-h-a-t?" Common I said opportunity and not forsshunitty. Damn! I think my English is not heavily influenced by my mother tongue. I take pride in the way I speak but alas very few understand me here. No matter how I put it,…

Sh...Sh..Shhh

FEBRUARY 1, 2010 The night I landed in Melbourne, I was greeted by my friends, my sister and Lolo. We screamed and hugged and created some noise at the airport. My arrival was much awaited . I was happy I'd brought some noise with me. After a cup of coffee at Nats, Lolo and I drove to Rosanna, the suburb I would adopt as home, away from home.
Getting up in the morning, I felt a bit strange. Strange because I found myself in a sea of silence, so quiet that I could hear the birds chirp, the soft breze blowing... I had to feel at home so I yelled, "ka-ba-ree, ka-ba-ree wallah, ees-steel wallah.." into Lolo's ears. Now, these are the sounds I have been waking up to for the past 15 odd years of my life. They are in Lolo's words, the "harry wallahs", the junk and cloth collectors in exchange for some paltry sum of money and steel untensils. We, in India, love collecting steel untensils. We graduate from collecting aluminium to steel. It's a progression char…