Posts Tagged ‘USA’

Family Gatherings

November 26, 2012

On Thanksgiving, here in the US, we see people celebrating and spending time with their families and close friends. This is when I miss being with my family. Of course, in India there is no tradition of thanksgiving, but just looking at the sight of everyone so happy with their family makes me think of the times I spent time with mine.

Back home, we have a big family. I, however, lived with my parents, sister and grandmother. But once a month, the full family uncles and aunts from my Dad’s side and Mum’s side got together for a family lunch. This lunch, which lasted from morning to evening, was something of an unsaid tradition.

I remember the way the family would start coming together in the morning. The men sat in the living room, chatting away while drinking. The women would all hurdle in the kitchen helping with the cooking. While working they exchanged recipes and gossiped.

We children would just run around the house playing with each other. In other words, the house was a compete chaos. When it was time for the lunch, we would all sit together, say a little prayer before we started, and relished the delicious food. It was at this table that family talks would happen. About holidays and weddings and property… You name it and it was talked about.

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I was part of this tradition till I was a teenager and moved to the US to study further. My family still calls during every get together and try to make us feel part of it, but being so far from them, it is only the thought that lingers.

Sadly, we are away from home and the family. However, we were invited to a close friend’s house. They are like family to us here in the US. It was much like a family gathering, but nothing compares to the one we have back home.

Managing Expenses Abroad

June 25, 2012

When I left Punjab and came to the UK, it was not under ideal circumstances. My father had passed away suddenly. His business was taken over by his partners. My younger sister, my mother and I found ourselves, quite literally, on the road. The only way out, the little money we had saved, would be ‘invested’ in my education so that I could make something of myself and support the family.

And this is not my isolated story. It may not be under duress as it was the case with me; but an overwhelming majority of young Indians leave their beloved home towns and come away abroad, for one thing and one thing only – to improve their lot and that of their families back home. Very few people want to voluntarily just leave India. It’s with a clear focus, of earning well, and saving even more.

And that’s what I want to share with you today – my experiences post my education here in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world. It’s been two years now since I started working here in London. Fortunately, my very first job was good, at least in terms of salary. I could have comfortably rented a place of my own from the word go. But I never lost sight of my goal and of the larger picture and chose to stay in a cheap hostel. Slowly but regularly, I would save money each month. It was the kind of money management that no school or programmer could teach. Cook myself in the hostel pantry and deep freeze the daal rather than eating out or ordering for a take away – change three trains to get to work rather than taking one cab.

These, and many other frugal money management steps made me save a substantial sum of my salary each month. Even the money transfer service I chose was selected after a careful scrutiny of all the available options. Indus Fast Remit, from day one, is what I used to send money home each month. Slowly but surely, my mother with the help of an elderly uncle, was able to pay off all our creditors and got our share of the business back!

Thanks to those savings and savings that I continue to make, we have got my sister married as well. We have renovated our ancestral home. A lot has been accomplished. And while I know you may be thinking that I am showing off, the truth is, I am. Because, I am very proud of the sacrifices I have made, because that money management has helped put my family back on its feet. And that to me, and to several others like myself, Indians working the world over, is the biggest joy in the face of leaving our beloved homeland.


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