Woaahh!! Last night in HK...can't believe 6 weeks have passed...and I write this with a heavy heart...
Definitely not a heavy heart..I don't think I am gonna miss being here at all. I am too excited to go back to India. But guess when I look back at the last 6 weeks, I would have to admit, it wasn't that bad. I read my earlier post in an attempt to assess whether my concerns were justified, and I again end up with a mixed feeling.
To start on a lighter note, well, Chinese people do have eyes..but still there is something different about their looks (Now don't say 'Really, we didn't know that...Da ah!!'), which I cannot seem to figure out..and as a result of this I was caught staring at a lot of them :P One opinion I have formed about them is that they are very innocuous, kind of innocent people, who are comfortably living in their own world..they get excited at things which are stupid for most of us (they click a picture of everything..even ATM machines!!), and they do not like to interact with foreigners, unless of course, they are the shop owners of a shop targeted at foreigners..in the process, trying to rob them (I speak from personal experience..damn frustrated at being thugged by a shopkeeper..so much for Atithi Devo Bhav...hum hi kyun follow karen yar pure world me??)
Food was not at all an issue, and I think I had a better lunch here than my rocking office canteen..several Indian restuarants, with limited, yet manageable number of vegetarian options..and of course, the yummy jumbo pizza slices. However, one thing that was the most disgusting was the pungent smell of sea food at many of the places which would cause even my non-vegetarian Indian friends to cringe!!
Language was a BIG BIG issue. Except my office people and a few others, no one even understands English...cab drivers don't understand where you want to go, people on streets would not give you directions..and I have don't remember how many times I have gone round and round in certain areas. But thank God the city is very well organized and there are some maps at crossroads..which made my life a little easier. Coming back to the language, well it was actually fun sometimes not knowing their language, coz my dumb charades skill are now all sharpened up..bring it on, guys!
I think I did make K proud after all..I exhausted most of the places there were to visit in HK..special thanks to the awesome company of the few people I knew there..had they not been there, it would have been a pain, m telin u. Be it the shopping with my college friend, the dinners with my boss/friend/mentor, the drinks with my colleagues, or the World Cup with some co-workers from India, the sum of it all made it memorable. However, if you are planning a trip to HK, I would recommend only a 3-5 day one, coz I found most of the tourist attractions very run of the mill and somehow overhyped, coming from a land of rich cultural heritage myself. Watching the world cup here was fun! Am sure India would have been super, but even this was special. 50 or so Indians gathering in bars to watch matches on big screens with beer in our hands, screaming our lungs out on every single taken (or saved in Aus/Pak's case)..it was amazing...and especially what followed after the win..when proud Indians took HK by storm!!
Coming to the spicy stuff...the trip to Macau was an amazing one..the water show, the gambling, and everything else..lot of things added to my 'been there, done that' list..and yes, had a couple of crazy nights in HK as well...thanks to my local HK colleagues who showed me what the nightlife here is like..man, these people know how to party!
All that said and done, the crucial question still remaining unanswered is that in what light do I see this trip in retrospect? The answer that is going to come should surprise you as much as it does me! I can say I am glad this trip happened. Why? Let me tell you. I think there could not have been a worse time for this trip to happen ..I was in a disturbed state, and I was expected to stay away from my family and friends (virtual family), out of my comfort zone, struggling to cope up with things, and at the same time perform in an excellent fashion at my new office...However, now I think there could not have been a better time as well for this one to happen. This trip has helped me grow, helped me discover, and helped me become more confident.
I am more confident now that if I have survived this period of my life being alone, anything that life brings on now is only going to be better. I am not only going to survive, I am going to kill it, baby.
I got to see a totally different environment, a mix of cultures, and I have grown into a more tolerant person.
But most importantly, I have discovered what I want from life. Professional life, and personal life. The trip turned out to be a semblance of an opportunity, and I took some bold decisions which I never thought I would be in a position to take. It restored my faith in my abilities which was facing whirlwinds a while back, and it brought my priorities, which were buried deep inside, to the fore. It feels great to have that sense of clarity once again, and knowing that my life is somewhat, somewhat, a result of my choices as well. Actually, this time I surprised life. I made a choice it would never have expected me to make.
On the personal front, well, I think I am prepared to start things afresh. I feel much more closer to my friends I have made over the years. I got in touch with the old ones from here by being online for chats again, I made some new ones, and I realized how time can run away in their company..and there is no emotional drainage involved. Does this happen with everyone? Don't know. But glad its turning out that way for me. The world seems perfect like this! Why spoil it?
So tomorrow I fly back to India..eat a Cheese Burst and Garlic Bread for starters, send out a 'Chocolates at my desk' email to my office acquaintances, pass out all the toys I have bought to my lil bhajis and witness their million dollar smile, get a haircut finally (or maybe not if people don't make fun of me), and then go for a well deserved break to Mahabaleshwar on the upcoming weekend with my gang..once I come back, a new team at work, and a new world awaits me..my world..its time I take up everything I have been delaying for so long..things I wasn't able to give time to..like my long cherished desire to learn guitar...maybe buy an Xbox and become a gamer..and some more random stuff! Of course, watch my quota of at least one movie a week. Strengthen some faded ties and lay the foundation for new ones. Everything else now waits, this year is mine! Even getting into new commitments. Nice old song playing on the online radio.."Kisi ke ishq me khud ko mita lunnn...ho nahi sakta, ho nahi sakta!"