Archive for the ‘Nostalgic India’ Category

The Pro’s & Cons of living away from my homeland

April 5, 2013

The decision to look out & move abroad was one that was taken in desperation. My husband had lost his job & difficult times caused us to consider options we normally would never have. Our family is one that thrives on the city air. We grew up in ‘gullies’ & played our best childhood games in familiar alleys, stole pieces of mango left to dry in the hot sun by neighbors & looked forward to the post dinner dessert session at the local ice cream shop.
After the initial shock & recovery from the news of the loss we laid straight on the table what our options were. And to be honest what we saw did disappoint us. Almost every Indian survives & lives a regular life with various amenities depending on EMI’s & loans taken for household items & other comforts that help you pay towards them in installments. We were in a similar situation. Due to our credit scene, the employment whatever it would be had to be in par with my partner’s previous work & earnings.

This realization brought us to the hard decision we were about to take, a decision that changed our lives forever. The decision to relocate to another country for better prospects & to save our self from the financial calamity that was approaching us.
Finally having relocated to the United States has an impact that has altered our everyday living. While there are obvious perks like that of a better standard of living, exposure to a global culture & a future that beckons us to strive to excellence. What we leave behind never the less is something so precious it can never be replaced. So in my pondering moments I boiled down a list of the pro’s & cons of living a life outside your homeland.
The cons of the international life:
1) Being away from the family:
A feature very special to Indians is their proximity & tendency to flock with family & people they love. My heart aches every time someone needs us emotionally or physically, be it my in-laws family or my own family, it’s just a feeling of helplessness that overcomes me. I miss those family gatherings both the ones that are planned & those that are unplanned.

2) Miscellaneous Help:
The privileges of having the access to domestic maids who can do the household chores. Sometimes days are so challenging that I’m home after a tired work day & find myself daunted further more with the umpteen number of chores that need to be attended to. Here I am left with no choice hiring a help is too expensive.

3) Food:
When the cravings strike…I just feel like having spicy chat or that coconut burfi from Kanti Sweets . Here we drive all the way to a comparatively more Indian locality or neighborhood and eat something that is not even close to the taste that you are looking for and pay by the bucket!

4) The Festivities:
Most major festivals are celebrated here but, the feeling of the festivities in India is something so unique. It really impresses me to see Ganesha’s , Banana leaves and festive decorations, Firecrackers during Diwali , the Yummy Biryani during Id from our neighbors. My mind swells up with beautiful memories.

The pro’s of living abroad:

1) The Savings:
As the Rupee dips and Dollar value increases the amount of savings you can have in an international location is surely better. Because you are paid in a currency that appreciates well savings especially when investing them back home has a huge impact than what we have managed so far.

2) The Infrastructure :
Compared to what we have back home the roads, the lack of traffic jams, the organized public transport, cleanliness , convenience – It’s simply amazing how it all works.

3) Child Care Facilities:
I wonder if I would have found a child care with the same standards as here back home . The 7.00 am to 7.00 pm timings with a kindergarten combined child care offers me the liberty of convenience to pursue my interests keeping me assured that my child is in caring hands!

4) The Convenience :
An Indian grocery & many other multi specialty stores are just a hop, skip and jump away. This allows me the convenience to get ‘Dosa’ batter at 9.00 PM or a pack of Indian branded ‘Soan Papdi’ when our sweet tooth calls for it.

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Indian Cinema, Bollywood & the NRI

March 13, 2013

Indian movies have come a long, long way. Today, Bollywood is producing not only the numbers, but also the quality of cinema that is on par with the rest of the world. Until the 90’s, Indian films were aplenty, but they didn’t necessarily look and feel international. While now, they look simply superb. Having said that, what about the content? What about the stories?

As an NRI, I can tell you that both my wife Kiran and I love watching hindi cinema. At a very basic level, we feel it keeps us connected with life and things back home in India. We eagerly await the release of every Bollywood movie and make sure we watch it within the first week of release. Of course, it helps that we’re in London, since Bollywood is quite big here! And thanks to people like Karan Johar and his brand of global-Indian cinema, Bollywood has really opened up a lucrative center in foreign markets too.

However, in the early 2000s, Kiran and I began to feel that Bollywood, perhaps in a bid to please NRIs like us, was becoming a bit disconnected from India, and a tad too wannabe and westernized. The problem was, it seemed too contrived. Too made up. It was like watching an American high school drama – except the characters spoke in ‘hing-lish’. But I am pleased to say that while this still continues, the past decade has seen a metamorphosis in Bollywood. Its almost as if with India’s growing stature in the world, its art & culture, indeed its very people (which includes film-makers), have suddenly found a purpose, a confidence, a voice and a belief in their own native stories and characters.

Now, Kiran & I enjoy Bollywood like never before. And my point being, that by seeing films like ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, ‘Delhi Belly’, ‘Dhobi Ghaat’ – we, even as NRIs, rather especially as NRIs, are even more proud of being Indian, and enjoy these beautifully made but intrinsically Indian stories, more that the contrived aping-west movies that were coming out of Bollywood. It is, now, once again, the Golden period of Bollywood. And we are all simply loving it!

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