Homeward bound…..

…..how I wish!!!! No, I am not going back to India but I am fighting this intense urge to pack my bags and leave UK after living here for 10 years. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH of this gloomy weather, not knowing my neighbours, not seeing people on the streets, having to switch on lights the whole day due to the lack of sunlight and most of all living alone. I was talking to my dad today and asked him why he did not advise me against going to UK for my education when they had lived abroad for more than 10 years, surely they must have know how it was going to be. His answer was simple, I wanted you to experience it. Sure, I did. I learnt to work whilst studying, to live independently, to keep up my self-respect and dignity which might not have happened if I studied in India. But after 10 years, after all the things I’ve learnt, I want to go back.

I read some blogs about people contemplating to go back after living in UK/US for many many years and everyone’s concerned of how it might. Some are nervous about job prospects, some about the traffic, some corruption…everyone’s got their reasons….but let me tell you this….GO BACK IF YOUR HEART IS IN INDIA. Some of us will get to a stage in our lives when we’ll start missing the pollution of India, the cows on the roads, the traffic, the intense heat…and this is when I think is the right take to make ‘that’ decision 😉 Sure, we all miss our families back home…but it is when you miss the ‘not so nice things’ about India…that you are ready to pack your bags.

Last year, I was in India for 6 months. By the end of my holiday, it felt like I was living there and I was visiting UK. I didn’t want to leave at all. I won’t say that my holiday was all hunky dory….there were pros and cons….but the good thing about the holiday was…it gave me an insight into how life in India has changed since 2001 (when I first left). Prices have gone up….even a simple OLAY moisturising cream will cost you more than 500 bucks….parking tickets no less than 100, food prices…..don’t even get me started on this…..snide remarks from men on the streets 😉 and the disrespectful manner in which superiors treat the people who work under them. These are just some of the things I find difficult to digest….but you’ll get used to it eventually. It took me six months to soak myself back again into ‘Indian Culture’ which isn’t that long really. When the time came for me to leave….it was difficult. I was part of the system by then. When it was time to leave, It felt like 2001, the first time I left India and everyone I knew and moved to a new country….the only difference being….I was excited then….in 2009….I was sad. Nothing about returning to UK excited me….S was here and that was the only reason I wanted to to be back.

Most of my friends in UK have always told me that they’ll go back some day but no one has managed to. I always wondered why. There must be a strong reason which is keeping them here? Will I make the same mistake? If the day came when I’ve had enough and wanted to leave….I should be able to pack my bags and LEAVE….simple.

So what is it that has made me think so hard about going back? Let me tell you. I am a social animal. I need people around me all the time. I absolutely hate living alone. Unlucky me, the job market in the UK is crap….so it’s been quite difficult to find a job. I do not know if I’d want to go back if I had a 9-5 job. So anyway, for now it is S and I….we know a few neighbours and most of our friends are scattered all over UK. I barely see anyone on the streets…it’s quite odd. As a student, this was not the case. I lived in halls so you always saw someone. It is this feeling of being alone that annoys me everyday. In India, you at least have a maid who comes home everyday, the ‘phoolwala’, the vegetable vendor, the ‘sweetwala’ etc etc. It is this constant flow of people I miss. Oh….how enjoyable it was…watching my mom bargain with the ‘sweetwala’.

Your priorities change when you have kids. I don’t have any but since most of my friends do….I always end up asking them…..why do you guys still live the UK??? I see most women just stay at home once they have children. All the child gets to see is the mother and the father…and some friends who occasionally visit them but is that enough??? Since the husband goes to work….it is the wife who has to take care of everything….her world revolves around her child and all the child does is climb up the stairs and roll down ….since he/she cannot go out and play because of the disgusting weather. How boring must it be? But somehow they manage. Recently, I offered to help a friend’s son study in the evening. I asked him to bring home some of his books. Apparently, they do not have any. Whatever they need is online…..or something like that. His mom had to buy some books in a store to help him study….it was her initiative. Most of us complain about the burden Indian students are put through in schools…I agree….it is a lot….we can get some sanity into the number of books a child has to carry to school….but no books at all?????

Most of all, when I see my friends kids growing up here….without their grandparents, aunts and uncles….I wonder if they will ever have the ‘family structure’ that most of us had growing up. Family is the most important influence on young people. Meeting your grandparents, visiting them on holidays, going out with your cousins, celebrating birthdays, visiting your uncles and aunts….this is all important….isn’t it??? Because at the end of the day….you might have shit loads of money….a career to die for…but if you do not have family…..it’s not worth a single penny. I would want my children to grow up in front of their grand parents. I will not be happy with 6 month visits (which is in the hands of VFS Chennai) or a phone call when my baby starts walking….or his/her first day of school. If it’s a sports day….I want it to be a family affair….I want my children to have the opportunity of playing cricket or football or what ever they wish OUTSIDE….not just stay indoors and play stupid video games. That is how I grew up. I want them to have a ‘proper family’….not just a mother and a father.

I have so many wishes and so much optimism for the future. Not all plans work out the way we want them to…..and not all dreams come true….but I DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP ON THIS ONE!

A Wishlist

I made my first wishlist some 4 years ago and lost it and did not bother to write one until few days ago. My first wishlist had long-term goals/aspirations etc etc….nothing that could be achieved in the foreseeable future so this time I made it a point to add some short-term goals. For example, one of the items’ on my wishlist is to watch an Indian ODI match and hopefully, it will happen this August. We’ve already bought our tickets and now hoping that it doesn’t rain in Manchester that day 😀 If everything goes well, I’ll be able to strike that off my list and I will start working towards the next one.

Another item on my wishlist is to experience eagle-flying. For me, an eagle is one of the most majestic creatures’ ….regal and warrior-like. I am presuming it won’t be long before I fulfil this wish of mine. During Summer, many Zoos in UK will give its visitors an opportunity to experience this first hand. So now, it’s a matter of change in the seasons 🙂

Some of the other things on my wishlist, both long-term and short-term…

A Rolex for S

Diamonds and Rubies…my favourite gem stones. A necklace will do just fine 😀

My one and only ‘love machine’

A World Tour for the family

and last but by no means the least……

…..128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond Ring…which the husband can buy for me 😀

Hopefully, I’ll be able to strike out a few items before I am 50???

Do you guys and girls have wishlist that you’d like to share?

Sreesanth, Karan Johar and Telangana

Poor poor Sreesanth…always getting a dress down from his team-mates, from the crowds and the umpires. Are we being unfair here? Why do we love to hate him sometimes? After all, he only sledges and ocassionally crosses the line but who doesn’t? The Aussies do it, Proteas do it, some English players and Pakistanis too. So why is it that we do not support our own? Aren’t we tired of being the nice boys of cricket? We’ve always been the quiet ones. We take everything with a smile on our faces. Nothing wrong with showing some agression on the pitch. Sure, Sreesanth does annoy me sometimes. He comes across as being arrogant and childish. He is ready to give but not ready to take. For eg; when he said something to Bhajji and Bhajji retaliated with a tight slap, he cried and how!!! I mean, if you are ready to abuse people you should be ready to take it aswell. The most interesting part of this whole incident was Dhoni giving Sreesanth a piece of his mind in the dressing room later. Apparently, he did not appreciate Sreesanth abusing Smith’s mother and told him to control his errr tongue 😀 Poor li’l chap! I guess, silent aggression is the most productive…like Zaheer’s gaze, or a cheeky smile or a gesture but mouthing a few abusive words…I am not sure.

Karan, Karan Karan…where do I start??? I was watching SRK’s interview on Koffee with Karan this morning. Karan was curious to know how SRK manages to be happily married inspite of being in a film industry filled with gorgeous women. Apparently, Mr Johar does not believe in the institution of marriage since married people around him just do not seem to be happy. They are either divorced or are persistently faced with marital problems. Why doesn’t he just come out of the closet and accept the fact that he is Gay?? I know Indian society doesn’t provide enough support system for its gay population to come out and get married but that doesn’t mean you sit on your comfortable couch and pass judgements against the institution of marriage. I am not saying marriage is easy but if you really love someone, you over-come any number of obstacles. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true. Mr Johar works in an industry where there is lot of money, lot of choice and less of trust. Most actors have to stay away from home due to their shooting schedules. There is a lot of scope for marital problems to arise but what matters is how you sort them out. These days, when women are more independent and make their own decisions and are not scared to walk out of an unhappy relationship, it does take a lot of effort from both the sides to have a healthy marriage but just because marriages around you (aka the posh localities of Mumbai) are crumbling, doesn’t mean the majority of the Indian public is suffering the same fate?

There were just two things I was sure of in my life and one of them was getting married to S. We have our good days and bad, ours lows and highs, but what I cherish most is the companionship we share. He is my strength when I am down and out, my sunshine on a gloomy day. I am most happiest when I am in his arms. No amount of money or jewellery can give me the same happiness. I could not have imagined my life any other way. Life is just more beautiful with him by my side.

Karan Johar reminds me of some of my friends, who in spite of having girlfriends for years and years together are simply scared to commit and instead of addressing their fears, they say marriage is a waste of time. I laugh at such poor souls.

So the Telangana verdict is out and surprise surprise…TRS is not happy because they wanted the report to agree with the ‘Telangana Vaadulu’. So what is their plan of action? More burning of public properties, more student killings (I will not call them suicides), and more masala for the NEWS channels. When will we learn to live together in peace? The Sri Krishna Committee report is out and there’s no going back. So just shut up and get on with your lives and let us get on with ours!

Peace!

I need….

Today is one of those days when I am totally totally out of it for no apparent reason. Some days it is just so gloomy. You feel like things will never brighten up. Nothing good will ever happen to you etc etc. No motivation….no inspiration. Missing home just adds to it. I need sun…I need holiday…I need people around me…and their chitter chatter. I need the tele a really high volume…I need people the noise of utensils in the kitchen and I need kids crying. I NEED HOME.

Religion and its Aftermath

Picture Courtesy: http://www.crystalxp.net/galerie/en.id.3470-religion-wallpaper-gruzz-wallpapers.htm

When I was at school, probably in the 7th standard, applying for public examination hall tickets was a big deal! Applicants’ information had to be precise….’cuz if we screwed it up…the repercussions were endless visits to the board of secondary school offices. Most of my teachers always made sure that I got my name right, every year a new teacher… weird isn’t it? Now, why would I get my name wrong? But my teachers were a little skeptical basically because I had a Hindu first name and a Muslim surname…since my mother is a Hindu and my father a Muslim. Most teachers did not even know if such a name existed…what it meant.  But, never before in my life did I feel like I was different to others…like I was not normal…probably a little ashamed as well…especially when it came to filling the section which asked which religion I belonged to…do I tick Hinduism or Islam? I used to hate that part and still do. My friends never had any such problems and I did not want to ask my teachers for advise or suggestions since it meant telling them my life story which in turn gave me unduly attention.

My parents never brought me up a ‘certain way’. They are not religious people and I grew up speaking Telugu (my mother tongue), applied bindi and went to Temples occasionally with friends. My mother remained a Hindu; she wore her Mangalsutra and bindis too. So my brother and I basically were ‘non-religious’. My father rarely goes to the mosque and most people get a shock of their lives when they come to know he is a Muslim. He is a Hyderabadi but speaks fluent Telugu and that confuses people a lot.

If once I was a little embarrassed that I did not have a sense of belonging towards any religion, I have grown up to be a person proud of my heritage. My aversion with religion started with the demolition of Babri Masjid and the riots that followed. We were living in Hyderabad then and I cannot forget the sense of fear in me. Scared to go out and buy food, wondering if anyone would come home and hurt my family…wondering if my mom could be hurt if Muslims came home or if my dad could get hurt if Hindus came home. There was curfew in the city and the tension was high. A local cable TV network continuously broadcasted images of the demolition of the masjid along with Shri Ram’s Devotional songs. The tension was high. My father rushed to the cable TV network’s office and asked him not to show scenes that could easily instigate people. But the operator was adamant and continued to show the pictures. My father did not have any other option but to confiscate his equipment and bring it home. That night remains one of my scariest nights’ till date. I was sure that some religious fanatics would come home and definitely hurt my dad….but it went without any incident. My father’s relatives who live in the ‘Old City’ of Hyderabad had some horrific tales of violence to share with us…which only scared me even more.

The riots ended gradually and life came back to normal. Since then, I never found it important to associate myself with any religion.  But for some it is very important and I never really understood why. Why would someone want to associate themselves to something that is so violent, something that is only used to kill and increase distance between people.

I believe that my parents symbolize what India is all about. We are ‘supposed’ to be a secular country so when there are inter-religious marriages, it is an institution to look up to and not to be sneered at.

Some tell me that religion is a way of life, a discipline….but these words do not have any value for me now. I have only seen people fighting, killing in the name of religion. Religion has only been used to hurt others and not unite people in love and peace. Probably, once upon a time, religion meant discipline, obedience but now it’s been diluted and used when and where possible to satisfy humans selfish needs. It is used only to divide and destroy people’s lives. I believe in God, but I am not ready to believe that different religions have different Gods and that if I pray to one God, the other God(s) will get angry. My God is Universal and I pray for peace everyday.

Channel 4 and its Love Affair with the Slums of Mumbai

OK…at first when I saw a bunch of  Indians (and cows) getting out of a truck in their various outfits, holding variety of props…I had my doubts of how this Indian winter would turn out on Channel 4 and wallahh….it’s lived up to my expectations. It’s totally crap!!! What’s with channel 4 and its love affair with slums. Gimme a break but India is not all slums and stray dogs. I am not saying channel 4 should not show the slums at all, but I guess one program should’ve been enough. But no, the season started off with Slumdog Millionaire the movie, and then Kevin McCloud Slumming It, and Slumdog Secret Millionaire with Seema Sharma and The Slumdog Children of Mumbai. There’s just one show that appealed to me in this season and that is Gordon Ramsay’s The Great Escape. Watched the first episode yesterday and I really liked it. His trip to Lucknow and his meeting with the really old muslim chef (whose name I cannot remember now) was fantastic…and the biriyani…wow!

But enough with the slums already! India is not all slums and open drains and cows roaming about on the roads. There is so much more. Discovering Indian food is a step in the right direction. It is so diverse. Every state has its own cuisine. Classical dance of India, like its food, is unique to the states. The history of India is immense. The architecture of India does not end with the Taj Mahal…there is so much more…like Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, Sun Temple in Orissa, the Meenakshi Temple in Tamil Nadu, Golconda Fort in Hyderabad just to name a few.

We really don’t need Kevin McCloud and Seema Sharma slumming it out for us to understand the problems of the slum dwellers. Though I really appreciate what they are doing…I think most of us already know that dreadful conditions these people live in. It is good if we can help but please please do not portray India as a country of slums. If you cannot resist, then at lease show some positives along with the negatives. I think Slumdog Millionaire did its jobs well when it comes to slums and Mumbai. We do not need anymore!!

Arrgh! Boredd!!

Ok…I don’t have anything to do..and I am terribly bored…don’t ask me why I did not update my blog when I did not have anything else to do..I was just sooo lazzyyy!! Is it the weather?? The dull dulll weather…always grey….sometimes so gray that I have to switch on the lights by 10AM in the morning…or is it the rain…that starts just when I want to go out? It’s everything! Just annoying me soo muchh!!! I look out of my window for some inspiration…motivation and all is see is this brown and grey building and lots of rain X( C’mon already weather Gods…show us some respite…we’ve had enough of this disgusting weather!!! Infact, I was so loww this whole month that I was seriously considering going back to India…just because it’s sunny there…or even to LA 😛 ahh I don’t know…just messed up in the upper compartment.

But the good news is that I am trying to fix it…hence this effort to kick start my blog again….I want to update my photoblog aswell but I currently have no proper photo editing software since the new laptop came and it’s totally annoying…I don’t know..everything annoys me these days…the only thing I look forward to in the day is when hubby dear returns home…but then..time flies as usual and it’s already next day…Grrr!!!

Hybby dear and I travelled to Italy for a week and it was totally awesome! Wish I was on a holiday the whole year…hehee but then I would definitely get bored of holidaying. My mind is wandering too much these days…just cannot concentrate on one single thing…one minute i feel like reading about project management and the next minute I want to do a course in animation 😀 One minute I am writing and the next minute I stop everything I am check my e-mail even though I checked it 30 secs ago… :-/ There…I just did it.. X(

Anyways, today is a new day…and started it well ‘cuz I put in the effort to update my blog…just have to continue it now..

Ciao peeps