Moving is crazy! Leaving behind the world as you know it and basically, starting it all over again in a different place isn’t easy. Going to a different state for work or studies is still bearable because you know you can always catch a 2-hour flight and be back home for the weekend, once a month. But, leaving India altogether is a huge blow! You get to see your family and friends just once a year. Skype is your best friend and everything is new, everything is different.
We asked a few people, living in different countries of the world, what all do they face every day. These 8 were instant hits. Read on!
1. Major missing pangs for Shanta bai
“You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”
You have to clean the apartment all by yourself, your clothes are screaming from inside that basket to have a date with that detergent or when you want to make chicken nuggets but all the dishes are in the sink… This is when you realize what you had when you had Shanta bai in the house. She handled everything (with mom’s supervision, of course). You are on your own now and would kill to have anyone do all this for you, just once in a while.
2. Cooking 101
Mom kept telling you, “Dekh le! Aise banate hain chawal.” You were so engrossed in your phone and just kept going, “Pata hai! I know how to cook Maggi. Uske jaise hi hoga.” The first rice you cooked were sticky on top, crunchy when bit into and did not leave the base of the pan because they got burned. It looked so easy when Mom did it. You leave the rice aside, hunger is dead anyway, and call mom (if the time difference allows) or watch Manjula’s kitchen on Youtube.
3. Sawaal pe sawaal!
Random person #1: You speak such good English.
Me: I speak Spanish too.
Me: [Confused] Err.. I learned it.
Me: Err. Okay. Thank you.
Random person #2: So, are you married?
Me: [some gibberish in Hindi going- tum bhi ye poochoge?] No, no.
#2: In India, your parents choose your life partner right?
Me: Sometimes we choose and take their permission and blessings.
#2: Wow! You guys are adorable.
Me: Err. Okay. Thanks.
Random person #3: Can you teach me how to cook Butter Chicken? My boyfriend loves it.
Me: Sure. Come over some time.
#3: Sure. I don’t want it to be spicy, though.
Me: Ya, I know that. [you can’t even digest all that, don’t worry]
#3: You are such a sweetheart.
You are getting the point, right? This is so very everyday.
4. Correcting your name’s pronunciation 1000 times a day
Niiihaa, Naahaa, Neehee, Naiyaah, Neehow, Nia, Niyna Naahee…
And, once in a while, someone gets it right… Neyha, Nay-ha, Neha!
Or close… Nay-he [well, you got that first syllable right, we’re good]
Starbucks barista gives you some real classy spellings… Niyha [this was cute, AF]
You learn to live with it and often answer to anything that sounds like your name.
5. Hooked to Bollywood
Being away from home gets bearable if you have Hindi songs on loop. All of a sudden, they sound so much better. You catch all the recent releases within the first week of their release, even if that means standing in a long line to watch Neerja or Airlift.
And, Bollywood gossip columns are your new favorite go-to. You follow the spat between KRK & Sidharth Malhotra over Alia Bhatt, you watch re-runs of Akshay Kumar grilling Karan Johar on the latter’s own show, you follow Parineeti’s Australia vacation on Instagram and you are so damn excited for SRK’s Fan on April 15, 2016.
Remember that pledge in school going, “All Indians are my brothers and sisters”, you take that quite literally. You have your own little gang here which comprises of people from India and, wait for it, Pakistan and, basically, the Indian subcontinent. Yes, bhaichaara is real here. You have a roommate from Hyderabad, another flatmate from Delhi (oh, I thank God for this one, every day), friends from Maharashtra, Karachi, Delhi, Punjab, Lahore, Sri Lanka and Kerala.
All the get-togethers, desi parties, feasts, festivals (Holi, Diwali, Onam, Pongal, Sankranti and even the ones you never celebrated) have them on a default guest list. Cricket matches (esp. those with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka) are all the more charged, patriotism literally flows through your veins by now.
7. Coming back for a vacation? Here’s my list!
We are guilty of doing this to our cousins in America, uncles/aunties in Australia, friends in Europe. Well, guess what, you are that pardesi now. As soon as you utter 2-3 words that in some permutation & combination mean that you are going to be around, WhatsApp, Facebook and Email Inbox are flooded with lists.
Your bag is going drown in all that chocolate you are going to carry. Outsourcing all the chocolates from this country!!!
You always thought you aren’t going to miss home, that you have lived there long enough and it’s time you move. Little did you know that homesickness can also be for people. You might not miss your house but you miss mummy, papa and bhai! You miss tiny details that you overlooked all these years (like the sound of motor alarm when water tank is full).
And every time you are back, even if it’s for a couple of weeks, your heart clings to memories like a newborn baby, refusing to let go. You see your parents’ faces a different way like you have been kept away from light all this while and you suddenly are standing to face the sun. Tears, I know!