Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Vancouver Diaries - III

It is one of the facts of Indian life that you get sudden “importance" and "value" if you are going "abroad". This is true especially with family. People who never used to listen to you even if you were making a very valid point start paying attention. Suddenly, you have relatives fawning over you and showing off.

"Oh yeah, she is my niece! You know, she's going to Canada."
"You know, Vasan is going to Canada!"
"Appadiya? (Is that so?). Viji is also going?"
"Lucky Viji!"
"Maybe we should call them."

You go to dinner at a relative's place and you find that you are being given extra servings, extra attention. They even go to the trouble of finding out your favourite dishes! :)

"Innum konjam saappidu. " [Eat some more].
"I made your favourite rasam today just for you."

I even have a jealous relative who fell at elders' feet asking them to bless her saying, "May you go abroad!". Not everyone is like that, of course! But the ones that are the most supercilious are the ones that are blog-worthy..:)

Though most of them are amusing, they can give you some small moments of anxiety also.

"Vasan, are you taking Subha with you?"
"Perhaps you shouldn't. She is just 15 and you know, that's a very impressionable age. The culture there is so different. We will be happy to take care of her for you."
I remember staring at my dad terror-struck, wondering if he was going to leave me back.
"No", my dad responded calmly, "She's coming with me, no matter what."
Whew.I was relieved.
My first love...

We went shopping to get winter jackets. I saw a beautiful light pink, suede leather jacket on display. It was light but warm.
Me: "I want that one."
Mom: "It is very light colored. Are you sure?"
Me: "YES." (Typical teenage behavior)
Mom: "Uhh..ok. But I don't think you will have it for long."
I still have it but my mom was right. It was tough maintenance and two years down the line, a drycleaner who didn't know much about cleaning suede ruined it..:(
Woe is Me!

I had been down with jaundice for a month or so. One day, as I returned from my usual boring class at Computer Point, I was racked with severe stomach pain. My mom had gone out somewhere. She found me doubled up in one corner of the bedroom. We found it was jaundice. I lay in bed for the next week or so completely drained, tired and racked with pain from time to time. I drank the bitter "keezhanalli" juice religiously every morning. It was more like forced down my throat..:) I was on a strict liquid diet - only orange juice and water. No salt. No spice. No sugar. No curd. No rice. Basically, zilch!
I got bored and annoyed with the food I was getting. But my tantrums didn't get me anywhere. So I was resigned.

The Flight

We were flying Malaysian Airlines to Vancouver via Kuala Lampur and Tokyo. My brother and I were majorly excited about our first flight. I don't remember the immigration formalities because dad took care of everything (How I wish it was like that now! sigh). I was wearing an ice-blue jeans and a yellow T-shirt. We had a mini-fight over who got the window seat. I wanted to sit next to my dad and have the window seat. But in the end, my mom and I sat next to each other.

I didn't like the whole flight. First off, Malaysian Airlines looked like an oversized bus. There was a flight delay at Kuala Lampur and lots of stranded passengers were sleeping on the floors in the lounges. To me, it looked like a more refined version of Chennai Central. To top it all off, my dad didn't let me eat anything except orange juice. I thought that I could by-pass my dad and tell the airhostess to get me something. My brother was busy gorging on all sorts of dishes and taunting me. The chocolate mousse especially was tempting me very much. I tried whining to dad a bit but it didn't work. I tried the airhostess route when I thought my dad was asleep. But he woke up at just the right time, shot me a dirty look and said firmly,
"She is just recovering from jaundice. Don't get her anything."
I couldn't sleep because my tummy kept rumbling. So, all in all, it was lousy. I was beginning to think it wasn't a good idea to leave all my friends behind and go to this Vancouver place. We had a rough landing at Tokyo Narita and my brother had airsickness. I was devilishly pleased..:)

Vancouver, at last!

After sitting through 10 hours of the unending Pacific, I was ready to jump off the flight. I was sore, tired and sick. As the pilot circled for landing, I tried leaning out the window. I saw nothing but grey, cumulonimbus clouds muffling the terra firma underneath. I was hoping for a glorious landing where I could see the beautiful skyline and tall skyscrapers. Then I'd walk out the airport into gleaming sunshine and pleasant weather. Instead, what greeted me was grey skies, rain and an unfamiliar city....

[The Diary will continue to write itself...]


IBH said...

am really enjoying this write up subha! let the diary unfold more :)

thennavan said...

"To me, it looked like a more refined version of Chennai Central."

You mean "ChennaiCentral" is not refined? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Subha..i shall tell all u r relatives abt u r diary.i do know some of them.u know who I am..delete this comment after reading it..LOL..

Srinivasan said...

Vancouver diaries is unfolding beautifully! Excellent narration, easy style, snooty anectodes.Can not wait to see the next instalment!Post soon!

dinesh said...

Very good narration ! Right about the relatives ! Waiting for your next post on this...

Had a severe bout of jaundice once too. Oru 2 months kku saapidave thonale. Appetite na enna nu marandhu poidumo nu bayam vandhuduthu !

kuttichuvaru said...

nice write-up!! Let the Diary continue writing itself!! waitin for nxt one!!

Prabu Karthik said...

>>I saw nothing but grey, cumulonimbus clouds muffling the terra firma underneath

thaye enakku koncham english class edu...idellam aniyaayam...

nee dhaan indha GRE exams ku vocabs list ellam kudukaradha?

been enjoying yr vancouver diaries.great writeup!!

BC, vancouver for some reason tops the list as a place to visit (british columbia rombo sceneic nu engeyo padichadhiley irundhu oru kaadhal andha place mela!!

Shuba said...

Hey i like the way u narrate....Jus continue soon...Don make us wait too long to read the second part.....

Kirthi said...

Been here many times, leaving a comment only the second time. Why? Coz i have been living in Vancouver, Canada for past 4 years. Want to hear more about my beautiful british columbia.

Cant wait for more :)

AG said...

Great write up. Waiting to read more ....

Subha said...


"ChennaiCentral" is refined.."Chennai Central" is not..hehe..:))

blackmail? :)

Thanks. Will post soon..:)

Thanks.I realized how big a part eating plays in our life when I had jaundice..:)

Subha said...


You're right. Vancouver is an absolutely beautiful city, a must-see on a world traveler's list! :)

Thanks! Will post this week..:)

Welcome back again. It is indeed beautiful BC!:)


Zeppelin said...

subha - dhideernu thonithu... you should have a title/theme song for this series of posts...

"yen soga kadahaya kelu thaai kulame..." :) :P

Anonymous said...

diary pick up aagitu.. sooper interestinga pogudhu..


Prabhu said...

Srinivasan said "snooty anectodes"
PK ippo puriyuthaa -"cumulonimbus clouds" maadhiri words ellam thaana varuthu nnu.

btw - diary interesting aa iruku.

Arjuna_Speaks said...

Shuba - I have put another tamil short story - waiting for ur views :)..forgot - my blog:

swamy786 said...

Writings of Balakaumaran- Trash

A noted writer in Tamil Mr.Balakumaran is an intellectual giant and he is trying his best to reestablish Manu Darma, which is noted for its inhuman caste system. In his writings he is especially mentioning the castes of the characters and describing their habbits, tastes and all. By this he is trying to establish that only the Brahmins are only interested in knowledge and others are for quarrels, food, sex etc.

He is also establishing in his writings that the Brahmins must not have physical strain and they have to live on and by Vedas and mantras. In a first glance no one may smell his hidden agenda. But is plan fully writing stories and essays only with an aim to reestablish Manu Dharma.

He is a man of spiritual nothingness. But he is now establishing him self as a noble person. But in real he is hen pecked, selfish, and coward. He him self notes that only Sujatha had trained him in story writing but he him self quarreled with him with out any thankfulness.

He is trying his best just to be friendly to the rulers. When Jayalalitha was CM in Tamil Nadu he had wrote a novel in it he had established kalaingar as villain. When Kalaingar was CM he had wrote novel * Irandavathu sooriyan. In it he had established MGR as villain and Kalaingar as the Hero. In this was he is functioning as an all time joker.

Above all he is injecting selfish goals that only the wife and children must be given prominence and one must not give priority to the social life or else. By this he is polluting the fresh minds to become henpecked just like him.

Now in the recent years he had wrote many novels with mystics and injecting illogical faiths in the minds of readers. But even the non-Brahmins also reading his writings, as they are not able to smell his hidden agenda