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!

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Happy New Year!!!

What a fantastic start to the New Year. I hope this continues. S and I were in London. I’ve always loved fire work displays and I cannot think of one better than the New Year’s eve fireworks from the London Eye. We were there some years ago but were not placed strategically so the view wasn’t too good. But this time round, we made it a point to get to one of the viewing areas by 7 and were rewarded by securing a place just in front of the Eye on Victoria Embankment. The wait was loooonggg and tiring but once the DJ started playing his tunes, the last two hours passed off quickly. We had slept little the previous night and the 5 hours wait did not help…but once the fireworks display began…it was like a dream. We were so close that I felt the lights and the fireworks were just for us. So bright, so colourful, so full of life!!! It was just amazing!!! One of the best experiences of my life. The display itself was for 10 minutes but DJ Nihal had some awesome tunes if one wanted to shake their booty a li’l 😉 What was more tiring than the 5 hour standing was going back home. All the tube stations around Westminster were closed so we had to walk to Victoria tube station which is about 1.5 miles and took us about 40 mins. There were thousands and thousands of people trying to get home and the queue at Victoria was atleast 1/4th of a mile. S and I were lucky enough to get a bus to Vauxhall station and once we got there, the journey back to the hotel was pretty smooth. It was 3.30 AM by the time we got back and after a quick chat with folks back home and went to bed.

So if any of you plan to be at the London Eye for next year’s new year celebrations, here are some pointers which could be helpful:

  1. Victoria Embankment is the best place to view the fireworks.
  2. Get there by atleast 8 but if you want the best viewing area for you and your family, get there by 6.30 or 7. You might think this is a bit too early but let me tell you this, S and I were there by 7 and it was already filling up. We were lucky to be standing where we did.
  3. Carry a couple of hand held fold-able chairs. There will be lot of standing and even if you want to sit on the footpath, it’s not really comfortable. Your bum starts to ache after a while 😀
  4. Get lots of water and food.
  5. While going back to your destinations, try and catch a bus and get off at any tube station outside the borough of Westminster….Green Park, Vuaxhall, Pimplico are some of the tube stations that were open. Do not go to Victoria unless you are fine with queuing for at least an hour or more.
  6. Last but not the least, charge up your cameras ‘cuz what you will see will be the most amazing thing and you wound’t want to miss a single shot!!!

Weekend Reflections

What a weekend it was! So much happened…so many decisions made which could change our lives forever….but for the good 🙂 I am really happy to share some good news with my readers. S’s got a wonderful job offer so we will be relocating soon!! Yayy!! <:o)

Nyways, like one of my friend pointed out to me yesterday…May was a very eventful month for us. It first started off with S’s birthday…and then follwed with all our Visa extensions…without which getting this job would have been pretty difficult but the icing on the cake was finding a place to set up our new home in Staines.

The chain of events started off on thursday…receiving the offer letter, then our visa documents, submitting his resignation letter and finding a new place….and all this happened in a span of 72 hrs. We were astonished to find a new place in just 3 hours. Now the only aspect I am nervous about is the packing and moving. I am sad when I think of leaving MK. I have made some very good friends here…I am used to the place….it is a beautiful city to live in but ocassionaly one does feel lonely.

Milton Keynes is a new city. It was designated as a new town only in 1967. It is one of the most planned city’s in UK. The best thing I like about this city is the foot paths 😀 where we go for our regular walks. You don’t have the problem of heavy traffic. It’s green, it’s beautiful. MK also has some of the best restaurants…one of our favourites being Nando’s….which I just found out is also in Staines. Double Yayyy <:o) !!!!

Staines is a very good city too. The best thing I like about the place is it’s close proximity to some of the most important cities and tourist spots in UK. Heathrow airport is just 4 miles away, Southall…famous for it’s Indian restaurants and Indian Stores is just 12 miles away…and to top it all…Windsor castle and Eton College are just 8-9 miles away. The Grand Union Canal which branches off from the River Thames flows through the city…which gives it beautiful landscape and recreational facilities with some of the best boating places and picnic spots. Laleham village, which was adjudged an ‘Outstainding Neighbourhood’ during Britain in Bloom, 2007 is just a mile away from where we live. The residents and volunteers also hold various outdoor activites…like Fairs, Carnivals, K9 walks and Village Fairs. I just hope these events are open for all and not just for Laleham village residents.

Anyhoo, I think I can confidently say that Staines is a place to be…..even before moving. Just hope I won’t be disappointed once I get there. With riverside restaurants, good shopping areas and it’s close proximity to London…S and I can have a ball 😀 We love the outdoors. Milton Keynes does have beautful lakes and parks…but we need to get our car out for almost everything. It shouldn’t be the same in Staines. I love walking, going out for drinks and with the High Street just 20 minutes on foot, I am sure to love it!!!! Hope I’ll make new friends 🙂 like I did in MK.

Housewives and Blogging

I blamed myself unnecessarily for not updating my blog regularly. Don’t think it’s my fault really. I was chopping vegetables today when I had one of those ‘Bodhi Tree’ moments. I realised that the reason for not being able to blog regularly was due to the amount of work at home. Not that I cook alot or do household chores daily…but the minimal work I do keeps me very much occupied…and now that spring is here…time seems to pass very quickly indeed.

I  go on walks with friends…so that keeps me occupied for the second half of the afternoon. I was telling my uni mate the other day that I founded this walking club called the Two Mile Ash South Indian Married Women’s Walking Club and I registered it with the Council and she believed me! ROFL!! 😀

This post is dedicated to all those married women…esp Asian…who do not think that the meaning of being married is just cooking, cleaning and bearing kids but also about spending time on the things we like…be it anything…blogging, photography, dancing, painting, driving etc (incidently, I happen to love the first three 😀

Some Sad NEWS: A Telugu girl was murdered last night by burglars at her University Accomodation. She was a student of Physiotherapy at Uni of Wolverhapton. If sources are to be believed, it was an attempted burglary gone wrong. She hails from Vijayawada. My heart goes out to the family. Jyothirmayi (the victim) came to the UK to study…just like I did some 7 yrs ago. Two other students who were with her at that time were seriously injured.

Okhay…gotta go! Walk time 😀

Recently Captured :)

Our long weekend will be ending in about 5 hours from now and what a wonderful weekend it was. S, I and couple of our friends went to Blemheim Palace near Oxford City. Except for the cloudy weather and the elaborate history on the life of Sir Winston Churchill at the Palace, it was excellent. The gardens were beautiful. Apparently, the current resident of the Palace is John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough (No…I didn’t by heart the whole thing…I cut and paste it :D) and how lucky is he to be living in such a beautiful place.

The pictures below were taken in one of the palace gardens’ called the ‘Secret Garden’…sounds mystical doesn’t it? And it is equally beautiful. Two of the pics below…

PS: I thought the pictures looked good in Black & White. If anyone wants to take a look at the coloured ones….let me know 🙂 Hope you guys like ’em.

I will also be posting some pics of Jousting.…sport of the rich and noble 😀 If you don’t know what I mean…watch A Knight’s Tale starring the late Heath Ledger. So Stay Tuned….! 

When Earth Shook!

I woke up with a start! My eyes were heavy..I looked out…there was no light. It was pitch dark. I checked S…bless him…he was fast asleep 😀 I wondered if I was dreaming. I could see the roof shaking…there were sounds too…like a tube was travelling underneath our place…I looked at S again…he was still not awake. This happened for atleast 8 seconds. My eyes were still heavy, full of sleep. It calmed down and I later went back to bed thinking I just had a bad dream.

Woke up the next morning and asked S if he felt any tremors. He was not sure what I was mumbling. Switched on BBC news and realised we experienced an Earthquake measuring 5.2 on the richter scale. It’s origin was about 120 miles from where we live.

It was an amazing experience. I experienced an earthquake once before…whn I was in India but not as severe. It lasted only a coupla seconds.

Hopefully, there won’t be a next time…but if there is…I just want S to wake up from him deep slumber 😀