Posted in Journal

Post 39 : Hobbies

Long long time ago, I promised to stop being lazy and do something fruitful out of my life. Well, Laziness has always defeated me except for sometimes when I did the bottle art or when I converted beer bottles to beautiful show pieces using fancy craft materials(no pictures yet). Until recently, I revisited my color boxes and brushes and made them felt needed. Here is the output below. As for the caption, a dear friend called it “The Reflection”

IMG_20170606_174117.jpg

Posted in Journal, Travel

Post 37 : Visiting Philadelphia

I have been living in the Netherlands for over a year and a half now and I have had the opportunity to travel to some fine countries ever since. Last October, I visited Eastern European country Ukraine, a place that honestly wouldn’t have crossed my mind for a visit unless for a business trip. However, it has been a very pleasant experience and I wish to visit again for tourism someday.

Last week, I got the opportunity to visit the United States for the very first time. I was visiting Philadelphia and I quickly got used to calling the city by its famous nickname “Philly”. Philly has its historic roots in the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence and the formation of Constitution. Wiki says “In the 19th century, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and railroad hub that grew from an influx of European immigrants. It became a prime destination for African-Americans in the Great Migration and surpassed two million occupants by 1950.” The apparent presence of African Americans in this popular city even today totally draws attention to its history.

While it was snowing in the Netherlands, Philly was experiencing light drizzle with quite a pleasant weather. It was my first impression until I experienced what blown away really meant! (it was super windy). However, it was bright and sunny all week during my stay. My business associate based in Philly asked me about my first impression of the United States to which I answered that I expected to see burger shops and fried food around every corner, which was not really the case in this city. Yes, Philly is known for some great food options especially Steak Houses. Since my hotel was in the heart of the city center it gave me ample opportunities to explore the city by foot in the very limited time available after day long tiring business meetings. I like to walk alone in new places I visit to enjoy and admire the city at a relaxed pace. Since I am not really a museum person, I decided to walk the streets and check out the two most eminent historic edifices, a must when in Philly – the Liberty Bell and the Independence Hall. The City Hall was very close to my hotel and I viewed it almost every day. I also visited the Reading Terminal Market on one of the days with a colleague and what an amazing encounter it can be for a foodie. Hustling and bustling with people shopping, eating, selling, relaxing with the aroma of food all around makes you sniff all the way to the tempting dishes like the ones they show in cartoons.

The thing about Philly is how its historic buildings stand out dramatically amongst the modern day skyscrapers striking a most amazing blend.

16807705_10154695497249130_4868661353513961782_n

The most amazing thing about America is its people and their hospitality. Most people are friendly and always happy to involve in small-talk. I think almost every store I visited learned about me being a visitor (lol – also with the amount of shopping I did). I really did shop until I dropped. With amazing deals on their local brands, the famous brands we know as imported, there was nothing to stop me.

Promising to be back soon again, I bid a final goodbye beholding the breathtaking skyline of Philly forever in my memories.

Posted in Journal

Post 36 : Grey is the color of the season

I have grown up enjoying winter as a wonderful season and the best one in India. The chills of the morning, the warm sun of the afternoon, enjoying oranges after lunch sitting under the sun wrapped with traditional quilts followed by a post-lunch nap(siesta).

Winters were the seasons full of fairs, picnics, weddings that would mean lots of food and eat out. White and blue were the colors of winter back there.

Here in Holland, grey is the color of the winter, not even white. In my first winter here, it felt so dull and depressing and I suffered from homesickness. Gradually, I got used to the color and kind of convinced myself that Grey is not dull, it just means slow down, sit back and relax. Well, isn’t that so true, we are mostly indoors, keeping warm sipping soups sitting against the fireplace(No I am not 80 years old!!).

This winter we were in Italy for vacation and the amazing weather with white and blue sky and the brimming sun hit my make-shift arrangement of the mindset hard about the color grey 😦  ! Prints versus the negatives! Envious, I keep going back to the pictures and refresh the hustling bustling places around, sunny, bright and blue.

But soon I am shaken by reality – grey it is for now!

Posted in Journal

Post 35 : A Brand New Year

When I was younger, I made it a point on or before the last day of the year to take some time and look back on the things I did during the whole year. This is a habit I picked up from my late English Teacher, who was also a guide. He played a very big role in shaping the person I am today.  But ever since I came to Holland, life has gotten busier each minute (Read : I have become lazier!). I still try to pen down a few words and sentences and keep up with this ‘tradition‘ that I have followed for years. The objective of this activity as I understand from Sir,  is to understand the way I have evolved as a person, good or bad, over the past year . As I grew up, I concentrated on becoming a better human being, a better me and enhance my personality and amend the grey sides of my character.

Over the last two years, we have been vacationing during the last week of the year from Christmas until New Year. Therefore. it leaves me with no me-time during the best month of the year.

So, here’s looking back at 2016, cherishing the good memories and remembering any bad times as a lesson.

.. Lots of travelling all throughout the year. Black Forest, Paris, Croatia, Normandy, Ukraine, Italy.

.. Lots of new friends around, many get together s with them, fun filled gatherings and event.

.. Moved to New House.. a very big step and a lot of responsibility. Happy and proud that we did it together and pulling through great.

.. New Job for the better, new learning and new responsibilities.

.. I became fatter 😦

.. And  now most importantly, a great balanced family and personal life.

It’s been a great year, Wish all a very Happy New Year 2017 to everyone !!

Posted in Journal

Post 34 : Amidst the busy schedule

Life has kept me extremely busy, which is kind of good. But the little free time I manage by cutting the corners of my agenda, only adds to laziness. I hate myself for being lazy! There was a time when I had a generous abundance of free time but then I had tough emotional times , therefore I spent them cheap – being lazy. Story of my life!

On the days, I am working from home, I stare at the half sprayed golden hue of the neatly cleaned beer bottles which would have earned us at least 3-4 Euros if returned back but I fought for my hobby over materialized money(really!). Its been more than a month, they are still waiting for my time and attention. Alas! The evident rust on my writing skills, my pens and pencils, almost losing my brushes and colors earns me almost an award. Could I be anymore lazier? How I miss my diaries from childhood, my bundles of writing, stories and junks. Had I not disposed them of out of sheer Adolescent Idiosyncrasy, they would have been alive with me today.

Nevertheless, the point of today’s post is neither about my laziness nor about my youthful accomplishments but about Imagination. Imagination plays a very important role in the growing years of our childhood. Imagination protects the innocence in a child and makes all his stories enjoyable. I became part of a similar amusing story yesterday  when I met a friend in the train on my way back home from work. Amongst several other household chatters, she was telling me about her daughter whom I have known as a lively, enthusiastic and creative kid. Yesterday I learnt another thing about the girl, she has immense imaginative potential and not only can she imagine an amazing fantasy world but can also describe it down beautifully. It’s a gift. Not everyone can express feelings marvelously.

Enjoy the read and words of appreciation for the little rising star will help encouragement.

So here’s her story .

©Copyrights by Tiyasa Talukdar on behalf of Nandini Banerjee

whatsapp-image-2016-11-30-at-12-09-05

 

Posted in Journal

Post 33 : The Quintessential Bong Festival

For anyone who is reading this journal and has no idea of the word “Bong“, then I will take pride in explaining that Bong is an abbreviated form for Bengalis – people from Bengal(the state of West Bengal) in India. We are rich in heritage and culture, we love our foods and we love our adda’s (spending quality time with friends and family). It is usually very easy to identify us – by our appearances(we are usually well-fed , so essentially round at our bellies or our faces), we are also great at communicating with people and friendly(especially if we see another Bong, we are overwhelmed) and no matter from how far words come flying, if its about food, you have our attention!

Keeping aside our qualities, I would like to highlight, we take our festivals very seriously, we have a whole bunch of them and that makes the saying “Baro mash-e tero parbon”(13 festivals in 12 months- oh no not literally , that is an understatement.I guess its some multiple of 13).

We have traveled to the different corners of the world and made our presence everywhere thereby globalizing ourselves truly but when it comes to Durga Pujo, the true blue Bong soul transpires above all.

When we were kids, dressing up in new attire and the pandal hopping experience with numerous street foods -egg rolls, Fuchka , Mughlai Porota, Ghoogni were the only things in our schedule all four days.For some little details , Ashtami’s Anjali, Sondhipujor Arati, Nabami-r NonVeg food were other highlights.

With generation changes and over time, litle has changed over these traditions. We still dress up  in our sarees and jewelry now, we still enjoy those special Pujo meals and we still go out and participate in pandals.

This year, for some of us Non Residential Bongs as well as Indians, we grouped up and traveled to a Durga Puja organized in Koln, Germany. Well, the pandal hopping had to be done once per year. Last year we were in Netherland Durga Pujo. Two days of uninterrupted fun surrounded by nothing except Bengalis(mostly, and also non Bengalis , even Germans), good food (not that good, but that’s a different topic) and great programs.

I’ll cut short my talking and let some pictures do the talking for the nostalgia we went through not being able to be home at this time of the year.

Bolo Durga Maa-i Ki !!! Joi!! 

img_20161007_223456img_20161008_201649img-20161009-wa0015img-20161009-wa0032img-20161009-wa0045img-20161009-wa0056img-20161009-wa0033

Posted in Journal

Post 32 : It is Time yet again…

… to move. Yes we are moving from our one bedroom cosy apartment to our newly purchased house in the Netherlands .Although, we did not have almost any big furniture in the apartment, but we still settled for 6 big boxes, 6 big bags and suitcases and many smaller packs here and there.

Shifting is a common word for me, which comes with a lot of hard work, concentration, stress and multiple bags and boxes.

I am recalling one of my older posts and refreshing my memories from the past- when I moved all my things to my husband’s apartment before leaving Pune, when I came back to Pune from Hyderabad,  when I moved houses in Hyderabad in a gap of 2 months , when I left Pune to go to Hyderabad  or when I first shifted to Pune with 2 baggage. Shifting never gave me a  headache, in fact to be honest , I quite like packing and unpacking stuff(A good friend of mine can tell how much!) and by now I am pretty experienced in this activity (Yes, I take pride in saying so !) .From the year 2013 until now , I have shifted full setup of houses 5 times to be exact and this is the sixth time(6 times in 3 years!!!)

I have found adventure and fun in my not-so-adventurous life in its small way. Filling up boxes, making sure each inch of space is utilized and sealing them up in the best possible way. Heaps of polythene bags knotted to secure multiple little utilities or non-utilities or may be the tiniest things closest to my heart. And finally in goes the clothes  to the suitcases along with other valuables locked and ready for the move.

And at the final hour, when you have handed over all the luggage to the movers and packers, you need to spend few hours or a night in an empty house, may be also sleep on the floor over a carpet with not many options. Is it fun? yes, it’s still fun.

But , nevertheless, each time I move it has been for the good and with the hope of better. It is definitely a very tedious job which I can bet most people hate, but not me.

Posted in Journal

Post 31 : Recreation

I have been collecting sketching pads, pencils, Pastel Colors, Canvas, acrylic for quite some time now; and excusing myself saying and thinking I have no time to make use of them. I really had to stop making up excuses and shed off the laziness. And I am glad I made the start now.

I reused the wine bottles , painted them to use them as flower vases. 🙂
img_20160908_144551

Posted in Journal

Post 30 : Finding Inner Peace

Over the last few weeks, I have been really down. Lost my sleep, lost focus, lost happiness, lost interests, lost my smile and most importantly lost my inner peace. I tried various things to get over the depression, smoked a rookie, gulped bottles of alcohol, tried different pills from sleeping to headache but nothing retained my own self.

I was doing almost everything in my daily routine but like a dead.I spoke with my bestie trying to vent it all out and everything told was known to me, made complete sense to me but I was still not fixed.

I knew I needed to keep myself as busy as possible to stay away from the troubling thoughts. Unlike 95% of the time when this trick has helped me recover , this time it did not. I realized I was too inflicted to let these tricks fix me. Why not?  They were temporary! And not all temporary things last forever.

If anyone is reading this journal and wondering what went so wrong to have caused such a big impact upon me; to answer that I will not get into details but stick to the terms “Relationship Expectations”.  I have been a free person and not the best to cope up with expectations. Not that I expect from others myself but cannot fulfill them when it comes from others, its just that enforcing things do not work best for me. Everything can just fall into place smoothly with time. I am simply not a person who can be controlled with human emotions! Unfortunately people around me don’t understand that and hence I have become a ‘baddie’. Well, do I care ? Yes , when it reaches that level of tolerance , I do.

So, this late morning while travelling to work, I was still thinking and casually googled in “Finding Peace”. The first hit was this website. First things first “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”–Albert Einstein. Did Einstein really say that? I wonder if he had time for such emotions!

Nevertheless, I went through the points and out of all absurd point #4 and #8 caught my attention. Yes , I cannot change others , neither should I try to please everyone. I should just let Karma deal with it. (Oh Yeah! Is that me thinking right?). #8 is probably the best  logical thing I wanted to hear today. Change is Constant and Life doesn’t stop for anyone. Life is too short for such stupid emotions. Lets spend it on beautiful things. 🙂

So , looking for moral of the story? Waiting to read if I achieved my Inner Peace or not? I don’t know yet. But I now definitely value Inner Peace better.

Inner Peace , where are you?

Posted in Journal

Post 29 : A year in Holland!

It was afternoon Amsterdam time when I landed at Schipol Airport, headed towards the Immigration window and the guy said ‘Okay, you are good.’ I had successfully stepped into a new country and a new life after a lot of struggle. Finally, it felt like all paid off.

My husband had rented a car to pick me up, so this time, all I could see on the way home is the Highway, some rain ,some sun and some cars. We reached in an hour and quarter and entered our small one bedroom apartment on the 2nd floor. It was very different from the houses in India but for me, I embraced change with agility. I loved everything around, probably I have some extra power to adapt real quick. The next few days passed away fast with the legal  and bank formalities. I must mention that this time of the year in Holland was really hot in Holland and I faced no acclimatization problem except for the hot afternoons. The small fan at home was a saviour. I spent the next two weeks arranging the house and tidying it up. Then was the moment of happiness. I joined work. I was lucky to have got a job even before I landed in Holland. I am not really the sit-at-home-relax type. Ever  since the year passed by in smiles , happiness, fun, enjoyment, super colleagues and work never felt like a load.

In the last  one year, I have seen so many good things around , learnt some Dutch, met some wonderful people, regrouped with some Indians , had fun together and travelled to  some great places.

I travelled to work using the public transport, although it took time and involved quite some stress, I have picked up quite a lot of the culture from it. I learnt about people. Most people were helpful, smiling and it was a usual thing to greet the driver while on and off. That in the starting days looked weird to greet Dooi , was a part of my nature now. I also made some friends in the bus to the office. I met them sometimes at the station and caught up with some chit-chat when the bus route stopped a while later.

Then the walk from the nearest bus stop to the office was tough initially and later it became fun with a colleague. At the office, it was nothing but fun even when we had a whole lot of escalations , the tense situation would be relaxed by the silly jokes we cracked. Most importantly, I learnt to be soft, polite, helpful yet strong and opinionated.

We also got a lot of time for ourselves and I was happy to have been not overloaded with nothing else but work. It was a different thing that the household chores always kept me busy. I still managed to find some time and write little blog posts , do some cooking and blog them as well , meet and invite friends.

This year , I also saw the Carnival in my city Eindhoven and I realised that it is okay to be crazy once a year :).I also saw the amazing Glow festival.

Back in India , vacation was an idea we experienced as children when our parents mostly working in the Government sector could manage long leaves of 3-4 weeks. As adults, I have hardly seen people allowed leaves more than 10 days at one go. Even for the marriages, 15 days was a maximum that our managers would approve .The whole concept of vacation had reinstated for me,here. We had a decent Summer Vacation and made complete use of the sun.

What this new country gave me is a whole set of opportunities to not just establish my career but to be a better person, have a better life , learn more about the culture (it’s good and logical), integrate ,take care of health and broaden my vision towards life.

I have loved every day of the last year and I hope it gets only better.

10044949