Sunday, April 01, 2007

Lion Dance

My husband and I were in Malaysia, at a resort called Strawberry Park at Cameron Highlands, during Chinese New Year this year (around mid-February). We were quite fascinated by the Lion Dance that was conducted on the ocassion. Two people wore a lion costume and danced to the music of energetic drum beats with the jerky, fast and fearsome movements of a lion. The "lion" danced at the entrance, the reception, restaurant, and all important areas of the restaurant. I believe this is supposed to ward off bad luck and welcome prosperity and all things good in the New Year.

After returning to Singapore, I noticed that Lion Dance troupes went around the city for a whole week after the new year, stopping and dancing at shops, restaurants, offices and other establishments where they were welcomed.

(You can read more about the Chinese New Year and the Lion Dance at Wikipedia.)

Check out some photos of the Lion Dance shot by Vikram...

Never Say Never

I'm a very fanatic Indian... if you know what I mean :-) Ever since I could think independently, I got it into my pysche that I would never go outside India except as a tourist, and my idea of the ideal time span for a tourist sojourn is less than three months. Well, then I got married and my husband got posted in a project in Singapore--well, you know all about it, if you've read the earlier posts titled "Jottings from Singapura". Oops! Twenty four years in a very closely-knit joint family, and then a sudden move outside the country is tough, even if it's only Singapore, and I got rather homesick. (Well, I think I'd have made my husband's life miserable too with my homesickness... now that's a lesson to newly weds... don't thrust your homesickness on your hubby!)

After India, living in Singapore did seem like living in a video game. But one good thing is that Singapore has a sizeable Indian population, lotsa temples, and a healthy blend of Indian and Western culture. There is one thing about me... I get used to lands and people very very soon... within two days of being in Singapore, I could independently find my way to any place there, I made friends, and all that. So, what's the problem, I can hear you thinking. The problem is that I find it rather tough to forget that our close ones are far away, physically. But I also consoled myself saying India was only 3 hrs 45 mins away from India, and thanks to Air India express, round-trips at 14K were affordable. So, even if it did take more than a month, I ultimately started getting used to Singa, and even liking it a wee bit.

Then, one fine day, we heard that Vikram's next project would not be in India as anticipated, but in Sydney, Australia, instead as an emergency project had come up. And this was within two months of my going to Singapore... I'd just finished unpacking and begun to settle down there! So, we were to leave in 10 days we heard. I complained no end (hey, I'm a woman--complaining is a birthright :-)) Aussie sounded like the other end of the world--and that's what the atlas shows too! And to leave Singa in 10 days... oh, that wouldn't even leave me enough time to say proper goodbyes.

So, I made a list of places (some were left out... like, er, Sentosa Island, for example--which we had put off for later, because we were planning to visit it together with my parents who were to visit us very soon) to visit before leaving Singapore, people to say goodbye to, etc. Okay, so it seemed a manageable move. Till......... I got a call one sunny afternoon saying we were to leave for India early the next morning (as the company preferred us to apply for the visa from there) and then off the Sydney from there. So, that left me, well, half a day to vacate the house! WOW!

We came back to India, applied for the visa, and spent the one week biting our nails, as I believe people usually do when they apply for a visa. We've got it now, and next week might see me on the shores of Sydney, where we are likely to be for the next six months.

True... I did complain no end about this... and it was a rather whirlwindish experience returning the library books, saying goodbyes, packing and leaving so fast... but I've NOT posted this on my blog on a complaining note today. Because once I got to think over the experience a little radically, it seemed like a good lesson--one worth learning in life.

We think too far ahead in life, often forgetting that sometimes things are beyond our control. I never wanted to leave India. I had to. I thought vacating our apartment in Singa within 10 days and leaving for Aussie was too fast and stressful, but ended up doing the whole in half a day instead! (A friend summed it up rather well when she said: Never say never in life, because that'll come bounding back to you :-))

And what's more--I spent more than a fortnight being homesick and upset, and ultimately left Singapore without seeing Sentosa! If you look deeper, these are lessons--don't think beyond tomorrow, and ENJOY the moment--because it WILL NOT come back, however much you repent later! I've learnt that lesson rather well now! And although a portion of my heart will remain yearning to come back to India very very soon--closer to the land I love and my family (and friends) and Vikram's--now I've resolved to set my homesickness aside and enjoy the six months I'm there in Sydney! So, look out for more jottings once I'm there.

(I've written about my experiences here, hoping that others will be able to relate to it or learn the valuable lessons I've learnt, or even better, avoid the mistakes I made :-))