My stay in India a.k.a the bay area

I am back! After a humungous hiatus. Predominantly because so many things happened in the last few months that I was so exhausted to even type..especially after coding for some 10 hours straight everyday. I am in California for the last couple of months and intend to stay here a little while longer. I had the fortune of experiencing work-life for a little while with the reassurance that I’d get back to my good ol’ grad school routine. Though I must add, this has been a great experience too!
For the first time ever, I experienced how much joy great room-mates can be. Really. After having been through the most nightmarish experiences anyone could possibly face, one must applaud the bravery associated with the decision to live with multiple people again. I must tell you, it was totally worth the one-last-time try. Also, real-estate prices and the fact that a million dollars buy you only a few hundred square feet of living space here, play a vital role in deciding on the room-mate agreement. I got lucky. But again, I atleast got the chance to live this way. The second biggest factor was that I met the college junta. Thanks to being such a compact campus, I knew folks in every department and the skewed engineering college sex ratio ensured everyone had heard of me. Multiple meetups, fun trips, birthday parties and dinners followed. Such bliss. I was transported back to Goa multiple times and many times mistook the restaurant tables for that cement bench outside Nescafe.
Now, let me me tell you why I felt I live in India. Because it is India. There must be a million Indian restaurants catering to every possible variation and combination of Indian food that can ever exist; because every mile has atleast 3-4 Indian grocery shops where you get podis, masalas and mixes which you don’t in India; because every second person is Indian; because you can enter a restaurant and understand every conversation; because Indian is not foreign here; because the most popular restaurant is Madras Cafe; because every house down the road from my apartment is owned by an Indian; because you see salwar kameez and saris on the road; because you can go to Komala Vilas for breakfast, Saravana Bhavan for lunch and snack at Aachi Appakadai; because you can pick what you want to eat and go to that specific restaurant rather than do it the other way around;because you can listen to hindi and tamil radio in your car; because this is India. Really. It is not my first visit to this area. But the one 6 years ago was my first trip abroad and I was too busy gawking at the clean roads and organized traffic and vast spaces and jumbo sized everything to pay attention to these aspects of life here. I must say it is falsely comforting.
I say falsely because in my mind this kind/routine of life is only in India and that is associated with the comforts of home, parents, whisky, my room and everything else back home. To speak in hindi everyday, meet almost only Indians everyday, buy packets of moru-molaga from Indian store or bargain for vegetables hits a very deep comfort spot and it is disconcerting to replicate that life elsewhere. I find it strange that I live like at home so far away from home. I still cannot wrap my head around that. Home was home, life at work or grad-school was vastly different and that was the entire excitement of going back home. I don’t know if I love it or not, if I’d actually like to replicate my lifestyle, but my disposition being so temporary, I’m soaking in everything right now.
This place is truly the tech-hub of the world.I have not seen such a gathering of tech enthusiasts from all over the world. (That is for political correctedness, it is mainly from south-Asia). It is amusing to see an apple ring-tone go off and the entire elevator pull out their iphones to check. This is the place where dress-code is absent, coming to work at noon is totally acceptable and white earbuds handing from your neck is a part of daily attire. Oh yea and wi-fi or internet connection comes before water in the list of amenities. This is the land where travelling 10 miles on a highway can take upto an hour and the folks who carpool consider themselves as superior beings from the hundreds of folks stuck in mile-long traffic lines.
That said, the californian weather is fantabulous. Did I mention I am totally bowled over by SF? That will be another post in itself, but the city is enchanting. I love big cities. Suburbia is nice and clean and very posh at times, but the absence of the holloi polloi of the city makes even 10pm seem like 3am. It is not a valid complaint I know since everything is better in the suburbs but there is something intangible that is amiss.
It was a great experience overall and the best part is, it is still not over. The hype about this place is plausible, because every paati back home is as familiar with names like Sunnyvale or San Jose as Adayar and Mylapore. I must say that my vocabulary has become almost binary with all that coding and logic writing everyday. I am trying to resurrect it and the next post hopefully, will be much better.