Monday, February 18, 2008

Silly Ways Minds Work: ramblings about Oliver, Gypsies etc

A few years ago, I had met an interesting guy called Oliver on the internet. We met up one evening and had fantastic conversation. We never met up again, despite my attempts. Last night he told me that it was because that meeting convinced him that this would lead to more than just a simple friendship or simple fun, and he wasn't ready for a relationship.
How utterly stupid!

Oliver is a very intersting guy. He is an anthropologist and his research deals with the societies and history of the Aboriginal people of Australia. It was funny to hear an Austrian guy speaking English with an Australian accent. Although based in Vienna, he was often shuttling between Austria and Australia because of his work.
He is interesting for another reason. Part of his family is Roma/Gypsy. There has been a lot of racial discrimination against the Roma people in Europe since centuries. Of course the Roma people also are notorious for wanting to stay away from the mainstream and for often being not respectful about the law. Hitler wanted to eliminate them as well with his concentration camps. They still have a bad reputation. Tourists to Italy and Spain are warned against Gypsies (Gitanos), because many of these people selling stuff to tourists, or begging, or offering to tell your future, also make you unknowingly part with your wallet or other belongings. Tourists are told to avoid them and some tourists even scream in protest if they are surrounded by a group of Gypsies... that seems to work. There are huge Roma populations in Central and Eastern Europe-- Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. There is still a lot of prejudice and discrimination against them including by educated members of the main society. Some members of the Roma communities have become very rich, and the member of the mainstream societies resent the fact that rich Roma like to display their wealth and apparently have houses of garish colours (at least in Hungary). One even hears educated young people making prejucial racist comments about the Roma. The Roma societies have contributed to the music of Central and Eastern European countries in an enormous way. That is one area where everyone gratefully acknowledges this contribution too. Even in Andalucia in Spain, Flamenco was heavily influenced by the Gitanos.
Since I have already started this side story about the Roma people, let me relate another incident. I thought I was a bit late for my flight to India in Dec, and I took a taxi. The taxi driver started making conversation and asked me where I'm from. When I said India, he said well actually he's also from there. I was increculous and asked him "Kahan se?" (Hindi: where from?), but he didn't seem to understand. Then he told me that his ancestors were from India, and naively I asked when they had moved to Europe... he said many many centuries ago-- now it finally clicked. I said I wanted to hear some Roma music and that pleased him very much. He put on a few pieces. Some of them were very good indeed, and some not so much. It is interesting that even after so many centuries, they are very aware of their roots.
Back to Oliver. Well, so it was quite interesting that his family married into the Romas, because the latter is especially very clannish and frowns upon (sometimes violently) about inter-marriages. I don't remember what the story was, and it is possible that I never got a chance to ask him. He has a huge family of uncles, aunts, cousins et al., and they meet in Graz where most of his family is based and his maternal grandmother also used to live. His grandmother died recently (I don't remember whether she was the Roma relative), and he had been very close to her. The extended family all knew that he is gay, and (if I remember correctly) mainly because of his powerful grandmom's support, they were all ok with it. He love to go to these family gatherings. I don't know whether it was his whole family or just the Roma part of the family that had Romanian/Hungarian connections.
Oliver and I were already having long conversations on the internet about all kinds of things before we met. It was a great evening. I think I was to travel to Spain soon after that. And he went to Australia for a few months. We didn't manage to meet for a while, and then whenever I suggested meeting up, it never happened. We still had long conversations on the internet, and he seemed to be enjoying them, but he was always vague when I suggested meeting up.
Yesterday I saw him online, and said hello. He had visited Kolkata recently for a conference and said that despite the smog etc, he had really liked the city. We were chatting about other things when I mentioned in passing that it was really sad that although I enjoyed meeting him, we never met up again. This is when he surprised me:

...i dont know what was wrong with me then. really. it had'nt anything to do with you. really. i was a bit confused, not ready for something serious. well, its complicated in a word. but you were nice. ... i know when something might result in something serious and when something/somebody is just 4 fun. do u know what i mean? and i was pretty sure i would have ended up in something more than fun or pure friendship. and that was the wrong time. or at least i then thought it was the wrong time. anybody makes mistakes, or makes the wrong decisions. i am the master in that, I suppose...

This is so stupid! I don't think too much when I meet someone-- I either like the person and would like to meet him again, or am not so keen about him... things then develop gradually whatever way they can. I'm flattered and at the same time sad to know that he avoided meeting me ever again was because he felt it would have too much of potential and wouldn't be a simple friendship or fun. Oliver is a nice guy, not gorgeous, but rather ok to look at, and as I have mentioned several times, really intersting to talk to. Meeting him only once, I had never though so far ahead to think of relationships. It would have been nice to know him at least as a friend. But too much thinking on his part spoiled the whole thing. What a shame.
And now I'm moving to India and he to Australia.
We decided to meet up this week or next week and I'm looking forward to another evening of intense and interesting conversation.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Viennese Waltz: Regenbogen Ball

The Viennese winter is very happening: it is the ball season. Last year I had been to the BOKU Ball organized at the Hofburg palace by the Agriculture University of Vienna; and this year Fabien and I checked out the Regenbogen Ball ("Rainbow Ball") a queer ball at a hotel near the Schönbrunn Palace. Last's year's trip was from the lab-- a kind of leaving party of my colleague, Dieter, who was moving to Paris. And since I'm leaving Vienna soon, I was determined not to miss probably the last chance of going to a gay traditional ball.
Starting with the New Year's Kaiserball (Imperial Ball), the official ball season runs until Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday), the first day of lent, sometime in Feb or early March. However, if Ash Wednesday falls early, like this year (6th Feb), there are so many annual balls in a season, that these always run well into March. [One of the famous off-season balls is the AIDS charity ball, the Life Ball, in early summer-- the largest such event that attracts a lot of famous personalities (Elton John is a regular for example) . But the Lifeball is costume ball, and they encourage you to come in garish creative costumes. There is an associated fashion show as well, and a famous designer (e.g. Donatella Versace) is associated with it each year. But I'm not blogging about these non-traditional balls.]

The traditional balls are very suave and elegant. One has to be in a suit and tie (or long dress/evening gown for women) at the minimum. For men, evening dress with a dinner jacket /tuxedo, without or with tails, with bowtie, cummerbund etc are preferred and occasionally essential. Many places (I guess, most places) allow traditional/national costume as well... and for the Austrians, it is the tracht (with lederhosen) for men and drindl for women.

These balls are held in grand settings, at the imperial Hofburg Palace, the Rathhaus etc. And of course, being a ball, one is supposed to dance. Nowadays floors or salsa/latin dance floors are also included in these events, but by far the most important and most popular is ballroom dancing, and the most popular dance being the Wiener Walzer or the Viennese Waltz.

Dancing and Me?
I have never been much of a dancer. When I was in college in Kolkata, a school friend of mine, Samarjit, was learning German at the Goethe Institut, but the main reason he had joined the course was to socialize... and the dance parties. I was of course a shy kid at that time and big-time inhibited in general. Plus I wasn't (and still am not) into Western popular music. And dance parties didn't appeal to me all that much. After I moved to Pune, our department had quite a few dance parties, and I used to go there, and watch my friends dancing and having a good time. I was tempted to join them, but I was still too inhibited and found it kinda embarassing because I didn't know what to do, how to dance. Occasionally I was dragged onto the floor (and given instructions as to what to do), but it didn't last for long and I managed to wriggle out. Same in IISc and Tübingen. In Heidelberg I went to my first gay parties, and after the initial hesitation, I tried it out. Now that was fun... there were so many gorgeous guys around and dancing with and around them was great. I still wasn't (and even now am not) too keen about the music, but then I could feel the rhythm and move my legs, body and hands, and that's after all, all that is required. I wouldn't say I am a party animal in Vienna, but I do occasionally go clubbing to gay places with friends and do dance-- and enjoy it.
When I got to know Fabien two and a half years ago, I was his only gay friend (in fact I still am among his few close gay friends) and often a mentor in the gay world. He suggested we go to the annual gay ball, the Regenbogen Ball. That was 2006. I said no way-- I don't know even the basics of ballroom dancing.

BOKU Ball and Dancing Lessons
My colleague, Dieter, was to move to Paris in spring last year and Karen was to leave in another half a year. Karen and Dieter suggested we go to a traditional Viennese Ball as a lab outing-- it could be a kind of leaving party for Dieter. I said why not, though it had to be at a grand place-- I prefer the Hofburg Palace. We decided on the BOKU Ball, as being organized by a university, it would be less formal, with more young people and cheaper for the students (i.e. Karen, Dieter and Martin). I wasn't too worried, as I had no intention of dancing... hanging around in the gorgeous Hofburg Palace rooms with elegantly dressed people would be sufficient for me. My Argentinian friend, Leo, was also going with his friends, so apart from the lab people, I'd have company too.
Yet, it would be nice to be able to dance too. So on an impulse, I checked out dance courses, zeroed in on one nearby offering classes soon-- the same week-- and at convenient times, and called Fabien to ask if he would be interested to join in the course as well. He'd have to be spontaneous enough to decide at such a short notice and spontaneity certainly isn't Fabien's strong point, althought he has improved a lot in my company. He surprisingly agreed and we signed up to a course for singles. Unfortunately there were only three classes before my scheduled ball, and we didn't get to learn much before that.
The ball was fun, but I only danced at the disco. Anton suggested I try to waltz with his wife, but I stupidly enough didn't go for it. The Hofburg was really marvellous, and the ball and particularly the waltzes seemed like great fun.

The beginner's course taught us the basics of some 12 dances including the Slow Waltz, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Cha-Cha-Cha, Rumba, Boogie and very elementary Tango and Samba. I have a problem with counting (or following) the rhythm sometimes, and certainly find it difficult to figure out what dance goes with what music. But I enjoyed the classes. We were made to change partners very often. Some were good fun, some bad, some boring, some indifferent, some unfriendly. I realized once again that dancing is very sexual for me-- I enjoy dancing with men, rather than dancing itself... and this was of course dancing with opposite-sex partners only. Fabien was also frustrated "dancing with fat women"-- it came to a height exactly a year ago, on Valentine's Day... we had the dance class and hated that fact that even on this day we had to dance with "fat women". So we went to the Villa to have a quick dinner before-- to add at least some gay touch to the day. Fabien didn't even complete the course.
I enjoyed some of the dances, but my favourite was the Viennese Waltz. Not only do I like the music very much, but unlike the slow waltz, it is much much faster.
We could have gone to the regular balls of the dance school, but we never did. I was going to Paris that summer, so I couldn't take the next level of course, and Fabien was NOT interested in "dancing with fat girls" any more... he even didn't turn up for the classes in last couple of weeks. And there was no practice until I decided to go to the Regenbogen Ball.

Planning and Preparation
It was a shame that I enjoyed the Wiener Walzer (Viennese waltz), but never had any formal occasion to dance it. After I move India in spring, I doubt I'll be attending balls, so I reckoned I had to do it before I left Europe. So not much time left. As I have said, dancing with women isn't as much fun for me, so a gay ball would be better. The best option, hence, was the Regenbogen Ball. It was on a Saturday too. And this was probably the last chance of going there. Even if I visit Europe/Vienna afterwards, I doubt, it'll be in the cold winter. I had to do it now! So after I got back from India, I started calling people to see whether they'd be interested-- if enough of my gay friends joined in, it could be a leaving party for me. Unfortunately, most of my friends were either away or not well or too busy that weekend, and it was only Fabien and I who decided to go for the ball. Leo had bought tickets too, but he got a cold. Another friend of mine, Gernot, was going to be there. He is in a semi-professional dance group as a serious hobby, and their group would be performing the opening dances at the ball. In fact it was while talking to him that I got the idea of going to the ball.
The problem was that both Fabien and I were rusty with our dancing skills that were shaky to begin with. We decided to have a few practice sessions before the ball. I had a cd of the waltzes composed by the Strausses. We practised a few times at Fabien's place. The first practice was a disaster. We called Leo, but learnt that he was ill and wouldn't even be able to make it for the ball. The second practice was better. We were supposed to meet before the ball for the last practice. That morning I was talking to Christof and trying to urge him to come along, when he suggested that although he wasn't in the mood for the ball, he'd love to give me a crash course. I went to his place, and we tried it and I was confident of the Wiener Walzer once again. And after that the practice with Fabien was much smoother too.

The Regenbogen Ball and Wiener Walzer
The ball was on the 26th of Jan, a Saturday, in the evening. People were mostly in suits or in evening dress. Many people were in tails. Some in drag, and a few in costume. Christof had warned us that we should reach sufficiently ahead of time to get good positions to see the Eröffnung (the Opening of the ball) that was to be at 9pm. We nevertheless got late, and had to negotiate the crowds and crane our neck to see the opening dances. There was a group from the organizers and also the Gernot's group that performed the opening dances. And then the floor was thrown open to the public. The stupid Fabien had bought new dress shoes the same day, and obviously his feet were killing him. We danced several the Wiener Walzers... although I had practised a the steps of a few more dances with Christof, we didn't venture into any of those dances. But the Wiener Walzer was good fun. We met Gernot later (it was difficult to recognize him because of his "Japanese" costume... a part of his performance), and he made a date with me-- we were to meet at the main ballroom at 2am and dance. He'd have to get out of his costume into tails first.
Fabien and I danced, checked out the other stuff (like the Jazz), the other floors, and of course the guys. I met a few people I knew. At midnight there was the Quadrille, where everybody gathers together on the floor in paired rows facing each other. A director directs what to do and a dance is created. The pairs dance with each other and also with the neighbours. It's supposed to be good fun. Unfortunately we and our neighbours messed up and created chaos at our end. But it was fun. We also spent some time at the disco downstairs. Fabien left at 2am. He said he was tired, and also his feet were extremely painful. I waited for Gernot.
Gernot and I started dancing at 2:30am. Gernot is of course an expert dancer. Although I was leading when dancing with Fabien-- it seems more natural for me (and Fabien prefers to be led), Gernot's an expert dancer and it would make much more sense for him to lead. It was a fabulous experience. Waltz, as you might know, is based on a rhythm of three beats. The Wiener Walzer is faster and the very Viennese supposedly make the last two beats slightly quicker than the first one. You make a half turn (180°) with each complete rhythm (in the slow waltz you make a 1/4th or 1/3rd turn). So one goes round and round and at the same time moving around the floor. On a crowded floor the one who leads has to take care to avoid bumping into others (very difficult as I realized when I was leading Fabien) as you navigate around the floor. One could turn right or left, but the right turn is easier, so most people do that... we were never taught the left turn, in fact. At the end of a dance, one's head is spinning because of the turns. Gernot being an excellent dancer made navigation seem like cake walk, we did left turns as well, and what I enjoyed most were the high-speed spins. I hadn't known about these, but instead of following the regular steps, the dancing pair can just spin extremely fast with the music. I would never be able to do that and keep track of the room, but it the Gernot is an expert. It was just fun to let go. We danced 4-5 dances and then went for a drink and a chat. Then Gernot went to his other friends. There were some music programs as well. The stuff was to end at 5am. I spent some time at the disco and came up again at 4pm. I didn't know people so I was just sitting watching other people dance. At 4.30am, I noticed Harald, Christof's ex-boyfriend, standing alone, so I went to him and asked whether he wanted to dance. We danced the last waltzes as well as other simpler stuff towards the end. The last dance was great fun too... called a marching dance, where people jump around the room in one direction and then suddenly someone changes direction and everybody follows too. This ends by couples going through a "tunnel" formed by other couples joining hands above... the couple in the tunnel joins the tunnel when he gets out of it. It was good fun.

Gernot saw me dancing and came to me after the marching dance ended. Since he lives quite close to my place, we took the underground together. I got back home at 5:45am or so after a most delightful night.

I wish this weren't my first and last Regenbogen Ball. I wish I had taken dancing classes earlier and had been to a few of these balls. But I am happy that I decided to do this before leaving Vienna. It would have been nicer if more of my friends had joined in, but it was fun nevertheless.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nomadism, Changes, the Future and Related Ramblings

No, my dear blog readers, I still haven't abandoned you. It's been ages since I've posted. My inseparable companion Mme Procrastination is to blame. There's a lot that's been happening and so I should have had a lot to blog about. But then that's where the overwhelming influence of Mme P. brings about postponements.
Anyways, I'll try to at least complete this post and hopefully this make me resume postings again.
If you've read my "About Me" section, you know that I'm a nomad and have moved all my life. The next move is around the corner-- I move to the City of Boiled Beans at the end of March.

The Basics
My father had a transferable job, and so we moved ever 3-4 years, especially during my early childhood. I was born in Kolkata (as was my brother), and we moved to Bhubaneswar when I was 4-4.5years old. We lived there for 3.5 years and then moved back to Kolkata. The next move was to Delhi-- 5 years and 2 months-- to date that remains my longest continuous stay at one place. When we moved back to Kolkata in 1990, I was 16. I finished my school there, and my BSc as well. I was determined to leave the city, and I moved to Pune in 1994 when I got through a coveted combined entrance exam. Thence to Bangalore for my PhD in summer 1996. My supervisor moved to Delhi, and I quit and moved to Tübingen to restart my PhD in Nov 1998. Our lab moved to Heidelberg in Oct 2001, and this time I moved with the lab and completed my thesis there. I moved to Vienna in March 2003.

Changes-- Pune & Panch-Premikayen
As a kid, it was both distressing and exciting to move. Distressing to leave old friends and contacts, familiar surroundings, but exciting to embark on new adventures. I used to be a shy kid, and so making friends wasn't that easy... so I guess there was a large bit of apprehension. However, there certainly was the excitement and hope of starting out all over again, of doing better, being a better person, getting a clean slate. I did try to change myself every time I moved, and these changes became more pronounced from Pune onwards. Pune was the first time I was staying away from my parents-- in fact far away. I was independent, and had to take care of my affairs in toto.... except of course the living expenses that my father would send every month. But I was also 20. Pune changed me. Most of my classmates were a bunch of fun-loving people, and they dragged me into it. My roommate and classmate, BJ, probably had the biggest hand in bringing about this change. He was the complete opposite of me-- extroverted, friendly, popular, and very goodlooking. Then there were my female friends-- my so-called panch premikayen (five lovers)-- Fish, Chicken, Mutton, Prawn (HRJ) and Kalakand. It started with Fish. There was and exam and she was mugging up stuff (moving here lips soundlessly) and someone commented that she was like a fish in an aquarium... the name stuck. I used to get along quite well with her and was consequently was teased about her. Now the best way to get rid of teasing is to join them-- I gave them more fuel- "See it's simple: Bongs love fish". Latha was a loud girl-- hyper-extroverted. Her best friend was Uma and I got along very well with both of them. Latha protested that I only loved Fish. I said "Well, as Bong, I do love fish, but I like chicken and mutton better". She selected the former for herself and the latter for Uma. HRJ, had to be given a name too. She'd once brought prawn-achar for a few of us, and so that was a good name for her. Then Kanchan, a good friend of HRJ and mine, but from a different course, also wanted to be in my "harem" but she being a vegetarian and sweet-lover, called herself Kalakand. Anyways, for a guy who was shy and was uncomfortable talking to girls (despite being gay), this was progress. By the time we finished and left Pune, I was quite a popular guy within the group, and I am very much in touch with quite a few of these people.
IISc did change me as well, though not all that much. I developed good friendships, became more confident, and of course, as I have blogged before, accepted that I'm gay.

Massive Changes-- the European Influence
Life in India was quite protected, despite all those pretences of my independence. There were hostels where one lived, there were messes where one ate, medical facilities within the institute if one fell ill, dhobis and "press"-wallas in the campus, plus there were friends, professors, relatives, friends of parents, whom one could consult at the drop of a hat. Finances and tastes were meagre, and so most of the time was spent in the campus at work or with friends. There might have been an occasional trip to the restaurant, to a movie, or to a happening area.

Europe was this whole new thing. And it completely changed me. I had a close friend from my Pune days, Jagan, in Tübingen, at the same institute... in fact it was in consultation with him that I had moved there, and I stayed with him for the first few months. He had his own tensions, problems etc, and staying with someone in a small room in a shared accomodation is never easy. Our relations became kinda hot & cold. Even with all the help Jagan extended, I was still on my own. In the UK or in the US (or perhaps even in Australia), the Indian community is so huge, that a newly arrived desi has no trouble entering the ghetto and remaining there. This was certainly not so here. There was of course Sunanda, but we didn't get along with her initially (she is one of my closest friends now-- she's in Berkeley, but we have telephone conversations for hours several times a month). Later Rajeeb, Tressa, and others arrived in Tübingen, but then they themselves had to find their feet on the ground. And of course there was the gay thing, that I had to explore.

I had a lovely studio apartment with a huge balcony. Before leaving India, my mother had given me a very hurried crash course in cooking, but honestly, the only thing I could really cook was an egg (boiled, fried, scrambled, omelette). While I was at Jagan's, he showed me how to make fried rice, and I also tried cooking (quite successfully) a chicken dish. One doesn't really need to cook, as one can survive on bread, eggs, hams/salamis, fruits, frozen pizzas and various other frozen stuff, or the delicious Turkish Döner Kebaps. But I'm a scientist-- experimenting is my job-- and I love food and I'd been missing Indian food (there was a decent Indian resaturant in Tübingen), so the most logical thing was to try and experiment. Ralf was a new postdoc who joined soon after I moved to my apartment. His girlfriend was in France and since he didn't know people either, we hung out together. He had a car and he used to give me a ride to the supermarket on weekends, and I used to invite him for dinner to try out my experiments. He wasn't experienced in Indian food, so had no idea what things were supposed to taste like-- a perfect candidate! With and phone calls to my mother, and repeated experiments I did manage to become a decent cook over the years.

Travel was another thing that I got hooked to, and I've travelled quite a bit. Germany, Austria, the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Greece, Hungary... much more than most Indians I know here. Most of these trips have been on my own, and I prefer it that way.

Getting comfortable with being gay and enough to coming out to friends and parents is something I've already blogged about. Here in Vienna, I am a regular at the gay parade. Many of my friends are gay, and we often go out to gay cafes/bars.

I also think I have become more accepting, more open-minded, less conservative, and have broader horizons. That is of course, in part because of becoming more mature, but also because of my stay in Europe and interacting with completely different cultures, values, outlooks, and meeting really diverse kinds of people.

My personality has changed in other ways as well. I am more confident, more self-assured, independent, know more or less what I want, what I like. I am not afraid of people (well most of the times anyway).
I certainly have better dress-sense than when I first arrived in Europe.

The Itch to Move
Although I like Vienna, know the place quite well, have a lot of friends, lots of favourite places to go to, and enjoy life here, I feel a strong urge to move. In a few weeks, it'll be five years that I've lived here, and five years is a big psychological barrier. I need a change, a new adventure, a new slate. I am a bit bored with the routine. I want to move on.

My current contract is coming to an end as well, and it cannot be renewed in its current form. Leonie, in the neighbouring institute, likes me very much and was extremely keen to have me join her group. But that would've been my last option, though it might have made a bit of sense professionally. I really wanted to move on, I want change.

The City of Boiled Beans
I had applied for a position in Bangalore in November, they interviewed me telephonically three days later, and offered me the position after two weeks. They suggested I join from Jan 1, which was impossible. In any case I needed to visit them and check them out first-- I did that in Jan. I'll be leaving Vienna on the 28th of March and after a day in Dubai, visiting BJ (whom I've mentioned above) and his family there, I proceed to Bengaluru on the 30th.

I am apprehensive how I'll re-adjust, but it'll be an adventure. Bangalore has changed tremendously since I used to live there (1996-1998)-- and in any case, we used live a rather sheltered life in the IISc campus with occasional excursions to the city. I've hated the traffic when I visited recently and that will indeed be a nightmare. But I am looking forward to the city, with its extremely cosmopolitan environment, great weather, the ghats nearby, tons of historical and architectural marvels nearby. Plus lots of promising activities going on (provided one can find the time and means to get there in time)-- my internet searches have yielded a hiking group that sounds fantastic, a theatre with regular performances (albeit several in Kannada), an expats organization, an interesting annual music festivals other than Vasantahabba like this one and so on.
I also have a few friends there, and my cousin and her husband whom I get along very well with. I am also excited about work.

The gay thing is a bit worrying. The problem with many (most?) Indian gay guys is their paranoia. Gay people are understandably complicated, but the juggling between terrified secrecy and being gay in India, doesn't result in a good combination. However, there are groups like Good As You (the website is outdated, because apparently the current people don't know what the password is!!!), and I think there are a higher proportion of well-adjusted (or at least better-adjusted) gay people in the city than most other Indian cities... or so I hope. I went to a Good As You meeting when I visited B'lore in Jan, and met some friendly people and enjoyed the discussions. I've heard that there is at least one gay bar and there are gay parties organized with a reasonable frequency. I'd hate to get back into the closet, but then I'm not completely out even in Vienna, and so I think I'll maintain a similar system of keeping my personal life private at work, being ambiguous to acquaintences and out to good friends... lets see.

I'm also hoping to revive my adoption dreams after I move to the city...

Everybody is suggesting that I live near to work-- that'd mean quite far away towards the eastern end of the city. Vienna has spoiled me. I live walking distance from the centre, and obstinately, I'd like to live not too far away from the happening places in Bangalore too. I'd have zeroed in on the trendy Indira Nagar, but flats there might be too expensive for my budget. The other option is Domlur-- which is apparently very ordinary and non-trendy-- very strange considering that it is between Indira Nagar and even trendier (but too southern for me) Koramangala.

I guess I'd have to go to work very early to avoid the traffic jams, I'm hoping for decent public transport, as I'd prefer to read while travelling two hours instead of being at the wheel. I've been told there are decent buses plying to where I'll be working from almost everywhere in the city, plus the city has introduced luxury buses that are airconditioned and expensive and hence are not so crowded. But I guess I'll have to get a car as well-- and a driver's license as well-- finally.

The City of Boiled Beans, I'm looking forward to spending a few years with you.