Author Archives: Soumya

Engalish

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When you move to a different country, you will realize that the only friend you have is Engalish. British so kindly left behind their Language in our country and that’s all we could rely on when we are in their country. It doesn’t matter how many English movies you have watched, how many sitcom characters lives in your head, the language they left behind is never going to give you any confidence in their country.
I have never felt hesitant to talk or write in Engalish when I lived in India, because I learned Engalish, people speak Engalish back home and I am good in Engalish not English!

To realize this I had to live in English land, eat Croissants for breakfast and say the word ‘please, thank you, sorry’ a million times. Apparently, in English its impolite not to say thank you, if someone holds the door open for you. In Engalish, we don’t care. If you don’t hold the door open, I will open it myself, what’s the big deal! If you are lucky and if I have time, I will nod and smile if you hold the door for me.

People who speak Engalish doesn’t say ‘Howudoing’ when they walk past someone. They say ‘How are you?’ that too only if you smile at them. Else they will act like they don’t care, which is because none of us do really care. There is a compelling set of behavioral rules which comes with the language English. Like, saying excuse me after you sneeze or asking the god to bless you since you have cold.

The behavioral rules are mandatory and not optional. It is like learning not to smile if someone looks at you, in India we smile! Next time remember how Prof. Mcgonall keeps her lip in Harry Potter movie. That’s English. If you smile you are Engalish.
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After a long day in office, I call my niece, who is half asleep in India. She will pick the phone and say ‘Who is this?’. In perfect English not Engalish because she watches Peppa. I’m sure she is going to lose the accent once she starts school because they will teach her Engalish and not English.

In short, I am sick of trying to speak English.

Underground

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Want to see real London, travel in underground trains during peak hours!

First few months, when I was hunting for work, attending interviews, I found tube journeys very adventurous. I tried to stand on the correct side of the escalator. I tried to match my pace to fast commuters, I tried not to rush, I tried not to stand on the way. Then, I simply stopped trying. People rush, people run, people push  and some doesn’t even say sorry after stamping you. Well, its all part of the city culture. You need to experience it and get over it.

Tube journeys are part of the Londoners life, you will see people running on their high heels, people dressed up in real suite (rare for someone who is from India), people with pink hair, people with dogs on their lap. You will see all sort.  All of these people look absolutely serious in their torn jeans, jackets. I felt that the people here are so stiff that they will break if you crack a joke. But, then I started working in a place where people attend meetings eating popcorn. They discuss finance wearing torn jeans and ripped tshirt. They scribble on the walls as part of work. They are so cool that they literally conduct meetings on couches and not conference rooms. Drifting away to a different story here.. London surprises you, wherever you go.

Tube journeys became part of my life once I started working, I understood that its okay to stand on the way once in a while. People read a lot in this city and I found myself charging the kindle . Oyster out- swipe- oyster in- kindle out- read- read-read-kindle in- oyster out- swipe. A month of this and now I can say aloud that I ‘live’ in London. Oops! I don’t have any pictures.

Fast forward to London

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From the Karamana river side to Thames rive side, the journey was very pleasant. Wedding day  memories has blurred leaving behind thousands of high resolution photographs.

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London, one of the oldest yet the brightest city of the world. The land which has been part of every history lesson I have learned back in school. Even a bad history student like me could recognise few of the many marvellous monuments while walking down the wet English streets.

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady……

Couldn’t stop singing the above, during the first weeks here. My 3 year old niece wanted me to confirm if there was water under the bridge. Kids are sensible these days, don’t want to believe everything they see or hear.  😉 So we went to check it out on her behalf.

Until, I reached the Tower bridge, I was under the impression that the London bridge is the iconic Tower bridge. Well, London bridge looks like any other bridge while, the tower bridge stands as the icon out there for the world to see. So what I actually wanted to see was the tower bridge. I wanted to see it go up, letting a boat to pass by. I also wanted to go on top of the bridge.

We didn’t hesitate to buy the tickets to go up and to be on the glass floor. Yes, they have glass floor up on top to see the transport pass by below. Its 8gbp for entry and I would say its worth going up once.

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We on the glass floor!

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They have displayed some pictures of famous bridges, on the walls you will see pictures with description about different bridges. We walked in hope of finding atleast one bridge from India. But no, there is none from India.

As per the brochure : When tower bridge was built, it was the largest and most sophisticated bascule bridge ever completed. The bridge was completed in 1886 and about 40 thousand people cross it every day!

Well, you can google for the facts. All in all, it is a must visit in London.

Soon to be bride

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Which girl would have not dreamt of ‘the day’ of her life? The day when she will get to dress up like the princess, the last scene which will say ‘And they lived happily ever after’.

Below is the list of things I wish I knew before becoming the ‘soon to be bride’. I honestly didn’t enjoy most of my wedding. All I can remember is chaos, my close set of friends and family were standing beside to support throughout the rituals and ceremonies. It was a 3 day wedding, I didn’t expect it to be any easier.

  1. Writing check-list and following one.

I have never wrote a real check-list before. In the past few months all I have been doing is ticking the check-list

  1. Difference between smoothening/relaxation/ straightening/ironing of hair
  2. Wearing good hair accessories

You don’t want to use that old hair band or that hair pin which will break your hair. If your hair is good, you look good. Take some time, cover it up when you cross that dusty road, avoid that bike ride, let the hair shine.

  1. Growing nails big enough to do nail art (oh yea! My nail breaks fast and grows slow)
  2. Knowing the color which doesn’t suit you (I had to discover that on the day of shopping! Yellow doesn’t suit me.)
  3. Managing work, walk and talk.

So this is going to be critical, you are going to be working less for few weeks as you are thinking about how you should be wearing kajal on the wedding eve. It’s okay, don’t feel bad, learn to enjoy the distraction.

Walk more as you will be eating out every weekend. You can’t book ola or uber for a distance half km. After going to that shop which is half km away, you will realize that you should have walked in the opposite direction. Breath, drink some water and walk back.

Talk, talk, talk. Endless discussions, pointless conversations. Juggle around, disconnect that office bridge call to say ‘whatsup’ to your sweet heart!  Well, that’s the only good part of the wedding ‘the groom’.

  1. Learn to sleep on time, when you finally like the dream you are dreaming with your eyes open
  2. Go easy on that steps as you don’t want a broken toe (I didn’t have a nail for my engagement)
  3. Build a team, who will be the backbone for the wedding

Weddings are big affairs, weddings with 1000 people on guest lists are huge. You are going to stand and smile on 1000 people, you are going to be a bridezilla. Call your favorite cousins and friends, let them know that you are stressed out and you are going to be worse for the wedding. 😉

  1. Learn to pack and tag everything you need.

It helps, when you have to change 8 sarees in 3 days with half the cousins of groom watching. Oh yea! Its tradition too.

It will all be worth at the end, you will have some funny moments and funnier ones when you get to see the wedding pictures and videos.

 

 

 

Arranged marriage – chapter 1

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How does an Indian arranged marriage happen?

Once the girl/guy agrees for the wedding, the horoscope is sent to the astrologer. Astrologer confirms if the time is good for the girl/guy to get married based on the time she/he was born. If the stars are at the right place, the horoscope gets into the marriage market along with the bio-data of the candidates. A usual bio-data includes height, weight, hobby, blood group.

Initially, the profiles are kept away from matrimonial sites. Aunties and uncles do the networking and push the profiles forward.” My cousin’s daughter who is working in Bangalore is looking for a groom” they will tell in poojas and family occasions.Phone numbers of the parents are exchanged. Once an eligible candidate from the similar background is  traced, horoscopes are exchanged. This continues for few days for some, for years for others. My horoscope stayed in marriage market only for a week or two.

That’s how P (my husband, what a heavy word!) came into my life. What a boring start!? Well, it was not too bad to be honest. P and me grew up few streets away from each other and yet we managed not to meet for more than two decades. My dad knew his dad, my mom knew his mom, my bro in law knew him and his bro, well in short they all knew each other.  I wanted to know him for an year before getting married (also due to multiple other constraints ), i knew him for 365 days before vowing to become his other half .

We were given the privilege of 3 months time to decide on whether we are good enough for each other. That is comparatively a non-orthodox way of arranged marriage. Some people are given few minutes to decide, some people are given an year to decide, time frame differs with community and the mind set of the elder generation. Irrespective of the time frame, the process remains the same. Once the girl and guy agrees, things get out of their hand. Parents, uncles and aunties communicate on when, where and how the wedding blast should happen.

In my story, multiple visa (family settled across the world) issues decided the date. Date and convenience decided the venue and we had a traditional Iyer wedding since we were from the same community.

The idea of quitting first job

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The idea of quitting your first job without a real back-up

Okay, the title says it all. I’m thinking of quitting my ‘not-so-bad’ job, which pays enough too!

On any topic the thinking part happens from two perspectives, the positive mind and the negative one, the optimist and the pessimist. Let’s call the optimist Oprah and pessimist Pisa 😉

Oprah: you never really enjoyed the work, may be this will lead you to what is actually meant for you.

Pisa: But, what if this leads nowhere,. What if the next pay-cheque is the last one?

Oprah: Chill, don’t exaggerate; I’m in a better state than where I was. I am progressing, that’s all that matters.

Pisa: Confidence is good but, the above thought is definitely over-confidence. Why quit the hard earned job for personal life, career matters and you know that too.

Oprah: Career matters, it will start again afresh. I can find the same job anytime but, what if there is a better one out there for me, which will comprehend the personal life.

To add oil on fire, Pisa will remind you of the dark days after college when you had to attend interviews every other week. Oprah will say, “With no experience you joined one of the finest firms in India.”

On and on, this goes. Swinging back and forth. Sometimes the optimist wins and sometimes the pessimist, it’s tiring to think so much. And people say ‘do what you want to do’. Well wish I knew what I wanted. 😛

I never knew and I never will know and I’m okay not knowing.

Goes on and on…

So I decided to stop listening to either of them and start going to gym.

Then bam, I fell and sprained by feet. Doctor said “Don’t strain your foot until it is completely healed”.

Now I am planning to read, let me see how oprah/pisa is going to stop me from doing that. Yea!

Signs of growing up..

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  1. “Change” is the only permanent thing. I left the place which I called home, 2 years back. From that moment to this, there has been many life changing moments which I simply accepted as random events.
    I know that the girl in me wouldn’t have took it that lightly. The girl, would have acknowledged it as a life changing moment, took some snapshots in mind to remember it in future. Probably would have wrote a journal or blogpost too.
  2. Friends ~ there are many kinds
    ->     There are very old friends who has been there since school pinafore days. We get busy, we catch up when time permits, we share life events, we put comments in each other’s facebook status. Well, that’s pretty much it, the ‘well wisher’ friends.
    ->     Another kind is ‘call at 2am’ friends. They wouldn’t know if I have a bad day. But, they would know if I feel bad. I can wake them up at 2 am in the morning and say “are you sleeping?”
    ->     And yes the famous ‘hi-bye’ friends. We hangout, we party, we go for movies together, we talk nonsense and the stories about the ex,crush. Once the party ends, its pretty much like we didn’t even meet them.
    All 3 kinds are equally important I must say. Just that, the girl in me used to think that only the ‘call at 2am’ friends are important. On a bad day, ‘hi-bye’ could be the saviour.
  3. There is always a choice. The girl, used to think grown ups doesn’t have choice. Grown ups has to work from 9 to 9, miss some very important events, lose touch with some very important people they don’t have a choice is how it sounds. But, now I know there is always a choice. You can choose not to grow up or not to own responsibilities. You can literally pick-up the list and tick on the names of people from the past whom you want to be there in future.
  4. Another generation will ask you to change channel when you listen to ‘A R Rahman’ songs from 2000’s. They will claim that the songs are too old for them and you will realise they are right!
  5. You can’t plan anything in life. The kind of education we had gives an impression that,  in five years you go to upper primary,then high school, then college so on. In reality, there is no order or plan. In five years, you may be living in an alien city, doing a job you didn’t even know which existed.