03 July 2008

Drawing conclusions

This blog has been silent for quite some time, and I think the hiatus marked the unofficial end of "First Canada, and then the World!" I'm now in Seattle, I'm busy and happy and transitioning and missing India all in one breath. But I have no doubt that I will return to the Tamil Nadu heat before too long, if only to indulge in fresh grape juice, Classic Milds and the company of dear, dear friends. In the meanwhile, I'll be starting a new series of written ramblings here: chezmaddie.wordpress.com

À Bientôt!

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last long aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

Robert Frost, "Reluctance" (thanks to Nina McConigley for reminding me of this poem)

29 April 2008

Brighton. Doug. Li. Transitioning.

Abel's Index

Number of months in India: 8
Number of states visited in India: 4
Number of states in India: 28
Average temperatures in Chennai in December: High 27C, Low 21C
Average temperatures in Chennai in May: High 36C, Low27C
Average amount (in Indian Rupees) spent on cell phone per week: 121
Number of times cell phone stolen while in India: 2
Cost of a Masala Dosa in Chennai: Rs28 / $0.70 / £0.35
Cost of a Masala Dosa in New York City: Rs270 /$6.75 /
Cost of a Masala Dosa in London, UK: Rs875 / $21.86 /
Number of days taken off from work: 19
Number of times I beat Kovitz at ping-pong while in Thailand: 4
Number of times Kovitz beat me at ping-pong in Thailand: Dozens

Number of train rides while in India: 6
Number of plane rides while in India: 6
Number of bus rides while in India: too many to count
Number of road accidents personally experienced while in India: 2
Number of journals completed while in India: 2
Number of trade book fairs attended as Tara's representative: 2
Number of trade book fairs attended in life: 2
Number of months until seeing Gita and Sirish at Frankfurt Book Fair: 6
Number of times appeared on Indian national television: 2
Number of books read while in India: 12
Number of times Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino read while in India: 3
Number of boxes of books mailed from India home to Seattle: 5
Average number of Hindi classes per week while in Chennai: 2.5
Average number of cups of coffee per day while in India: 4
Total weight in kilograms of luggage when leaving India: 27.3

07 April 2008

Tamil Nadu, tu vas me manquer beaucoup!

Tonight - well, technically tomorrow morning at 4am - I board a flight to London's Gatwick airport. My time here as a Tara intern has come to an end. It breaks my heart to leave these people and this microcosm of happiness, even if I am leaving for all the right reasons.

Actually, it feels as if I have been punched in the gut. What to do?

31 March 2008

Last weeks in Chennai

A Photo Essay

Intern and the "Bosses:" (l to r) Sirish, V. Geetha, myself and Gita

Extended Family (Arun and Nina added to the mix, with Helmut as photographer)

The Fancy-Pants Collective.

I'm obsessed with my Indian nighty. Sirish loves his cheetah prints. This photo was inevitable.

Nina and Nancy on Nancy's 21st birthday.

One of my favourite photos: Gita and Sirish take a break from writing.

The mad scramble to make repping kits (dummy copies of our forthcoming releases that go to all of our North American sales reps). Could not have done this without Nancy, Ranjith, Senthil and Mr. A.

I guess technically this is Bangalore, but I still think it's a classic.

Dinner at Mr. A's, with the requisite dancing. Naya showed us how it was done.

I'm surrounded by strong women in India. It's the best part of my day-to-day.

Nina and I on our Farewell Lunch at Amethyst. Our stomachs hurt from the thought of leaving, but you can't tell.


Fresh Zone, our juice shop, and Jayalakshmi Medicals (where, as Nina noted, you can get medication without a prescription).

Rainy streets near the beach

27 March 2008


Have reverted to a diet consisting of 1.5 meals per day, 27 cups of coffee and far too many cigarettes.

This can only mean one thing: separation anxiety.

And, in case you're curious, here's what an Abel-bodied life looks like over the next two months:

April 8: Fly to London-Gatwick
April 8-11: Stay with Great Aunt Daphne (paternal side of things) and attend to Tara business/art exhibitions.
April 11-17: Visit with Doug and Li Elsey in Brighton (it's about damn time).
April 17-21: Abel family reunion on the isle of Manhattan
April 21: Drive with the Dons to Muskoka. 10 hour parental road trip - watch out!
April 25: Dawn, ever the trooper, goes in for surgery #4.
May 10-ish: Move to Seattle, WA!

20 March 2008

At times like these, I make lists.

The Top 5 Reasons Why I'm Excited to Go Back to North America:
1) Don, Dawn and David
2) (tie) My Pacific NW Gents: Kovitz, Daniel, Adam
2) (tie) My Pacific NW Gals: Mirmo, V, Hols
4) Bike rides & dog walks & camping in the mountains
5) Not being harassed by drunken auto-wallahs and crowds of teenage boys

The Top 5 Reasons Why I Can't Bear the Thought of Leaving India:
1) (tie) My Madras gals: Gita, V. Geetha, Nina, Nancy, Rajeswari, Suseela, Natalia
1) (tie) My Madras gents: Mr. A, Sirish, Ranjith, Helmut
3) Fresh foods and spices (especially fruits and juices)
4) Evening walks along Elliot's Beach & evening bike rides to Kotturpuram
5) Waving to and laughing with my autowallah friends, juice stand crew and neighbourhood aunties

(I've never felt so emotionally schizophrenic in my life)