Tag Archives: Asia

What I Miss About India The Most

What I Miss About India The Most
Taj Mahal

Last year this time I was in a plane, coming to USA for the first time, with my hubby and three kids. I was unsure of what future holds for me. How will I get along with new country, new culture and new people?

It turned out, pretty good. For those, who have read my post on How America is treating me…., would know what I am talking about. I didn’t write anything about India at that time, reason being, I wanted to feel it by the course of time, If I do indeed miss being in India? Or, what exactly did I miss about being there?

Now, that I have spent one whole year, I think I am eligible enough to write my first experience of missing India. So here it goes…. not necessarily in a specific order.

  • What I Miss About India The Most
    Indian Food

    Indian Food –  bet I won’t be the only one to agree on this point but, Indian food tastes better, in India only. You can visit any top notch restaurant of the world, but the taste of spices, that you have in Indian food, can not be found anywhere. I have been to the Indian restaurants here, but taste is not the same. I cook daily (almost), but still it’s not the same. I have eaten food cooked by others too, but it’s not the same. Miss that aroma, that smell of Indian soil and air.

  • What I Miss About India The Most
    Crowd

    Crowd – I know you may not agree with me on this one, but I do miss that crowd, that long stretch of people  everywhere around you. When you go out and you start seeing people the moment you step out of your door, to the small lanes, parks, elevators, stairs and main roads…. everywhere a stream of people running for their daily errands. It’s so lively, as if everything has a life. Here I can stroll around blocks away from my home without seeing a single soul for miles (if we leave people running to their destinations, in their cars).

  • What I Miss About India The Most
    Movie Queen

    Movies –  I do see Indian movies here, in theaters too, but the feeling is not the same. Indian movies are meant to be seen in big halls, with a cheering and whistling crowd of movie watchers; with some school kids still in their school uniforms bunking their classes; few college going love birds trying to find their corner seats; some oversize uncles spreading their legs and bumping your seat over and over again; smell of that buttery popcorn and slurping sounds of big colas; this is what Indian movies audience should be like. Miss it here.

  • What I Miss About India The Most
    Kids flying kite

    Indian kids –  I miss kids playing in the neighborhood. Now, nobody rings my doorbell and runs away before I open the door. 🙂 I miss that innocence when little girls would come by ringing your door bells not once or twice but million of times and would ask, “Can we take Tisha to our home for play?”. I miss kids playing cricket in the streets or flying kites on the roof, and shouting with all the strength of their lungs, on small victories. I miss seeing kids all dressed up in their uniforms, looking fresh and tidy in the mornings. Miss seeing grandparents dragging and carrying those same kids, exhausted after school, and take them back to home. Miss the mayhem and mischief of kids.

  • What I Miss About India The Most
    Indian street

    My Neighborhood –  I miss that chat with the neighbors through balcony having sips of tea in between. How easily we discussed everything from household matters to cricket to debate on who should be the next prime minister, with the whole neighborhood, while still in the comfort of our homes. I miss those small gatherings on the stairs with the neighbors, which used to start with the simple namaste and how are you?, to discussion about their daughter’s friend’s kids school admissions. I miss those visits by neighborhood uncle, who will come by just to say hello. Miss listening to Hindi songs playing on a radio of a very distant shop.

  • What I Miss About India The Most
    Indian Food

    Late Nights –  In India we have a wrong notion that people in USA have a better night life, as if they party all night, and have more fun, than us. On the contrary, I have found, here people sleep early, to be precise 8pm is their sleeping time, while we on the other hand would not even have our dinner by that time. Markets are close by 8 or max 9, and then you have no place to go to. I miss those evenings/night snacks of chaat and golgappas by roadside at 10 pm. Going out to eat at 11 and still be able to find good food, specially those late nights aaloo paranthas in Noida.

  • What I Miss About India The Most
    Indian Driving

    Driving on Indian Roads –  It would be insane to say that, but seriously, the fun that you have while driving on Indian roads can never be the same in USA. I loved going on long drives there, specially on highways; here it looks like every road is a highway, pretty boring. Missed that road rage and honking. Cutting into each others lanes and taking wrong turns. It may sound bad, but it was thrilling (however, I would never advise others to do that). Miss bikes and rickshavalas passing alongside your cars and taking sharp turns, miss cycles and school vans, with kids waving byes.

  • What I Miss About India The Most
    Golgappe

    Street Food and Dhabas on Roadside –  Dear dhabavalas, you are really a blessing, and now I have realized your importance. The way we can stop our cars anywhere on the road and would find a small dhaba, have a little glass (not cup) of tea with pakoras… yumm… and those jaljira places in summers…. ooohhh…. missing you. Miss aaloo chaat, golgappa, momos, chowmein, paranthas, ice creams, and jalebi shops/counters (thela to be precise).

  • What I Miss About India The Most
    Vegetable Market

    Indian stores and Markets –  Maggi and Dairy Milk Chocolate are no longer soem food item for me, they are life’s little pleasures. You will know it, when you have to go to 100 miles to buy a dairy milk chocolate. Running to Indian stores to buy that Imli chatni or Indian namkeens and sweets….. how easy it was in India, to go to a store on a walking distance and buy these life’s small luxuries. Step out of your home, and there you will have a shop, delivering everything that you desire, sometimes home delivery too.

  • Most importantly, I miss family and friends. Miss those times when we would just go to a friend’s place unannounced, just to have a cup of tea, and would come back fully loaded having dinner. Miss that, when you feel close enough to your family and friends to be able to reach them in time of need within hours. Every birthday or small celebration with your close ones. People who really matter in your life. Miss home and miss my hometown. Miss actually everything that my country has. Miss India. 😦

What I Miss About India The Most
Gurudwara Amritsar

 

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How America is treating me….

How America is treating me
How America is treating me

 

I have spent almost half a year in America, and to think of it, it looks like just yesterday, when I landed here.

It was not my dream to come here, yes I am being honest. I have passed on many such opportunities, when I was offered to go to another country for work related assignments. Reasons for not doing so were always personal. Never wanted to leave the people I loved behind. To be frank there is no point in going anywhere, be it the best place on earth, if you don’t have the company of your loved ones.

But, this time was different. I am here with my family, and this is what matters.

 We all have some preconceived notions about the foreign countries and the people there. I had some too. Western country meant western influences, fast paced busy lifestyle, no family values, less warmth in relations, racism, no respect for elders and blah blah…. It’s a general notion about western countries, that we people from east of the world has. At least I had. Partially have to blame Manoj Bharat Kumar, for making films like Purab aur Paschim”, etc…. (You can blame anything on media J )

 So, I was talking about the preconceived notions. Some of them I feared seems coming true, when I saw the stiff crew of British Airways. Very British. But, that was just the flight or maybe my disturbed sleep in the long flight.

As soon as we changed to American Airlines, we felt the warmth of smiles around us. Since then, I have happy and smiling faces around me. Coming from a country that boast of its friendly culture, I was surprised to see that Americans seems to be much friendlier. Wherever we are, on the road, in a mall, gym, pool, just anywhere, passerby strangers were greeting us with a short Hi and a broad smile. It does feel welcomed, when people are so gracious.

They are not only courteous but helpful too. From our hotel staff who cleaned our room numerous times (courtesy my three messy kids), with a smile on their face. A friend who despite our first meeting helped us out, and drove us to our hotel when we didn’t find any taxi. She even called her daughter, who was actually sleeping peacefully in her home at that time, to help us. Our neighbor, who volunteered to help us in moving our furniture. The gorgeous ladies in the pool, who helped me in my swimming lessons. Even helped me with one of the swim supports and water goggles. Staff at the gym nursery, who look after my kids, changing them, feeding them, singing and playing with them. My old neighbor who gave a parting gift, a beautiful dressing table, to my daughter Tisha. Everyone that I have met here, seems like a friend.

Recently, one of my friend shared her ordeal. She belonged to south of India and thus had hard time making friends here in USA with the north Indians, Punjabis and Gujaratis living here. She told me that non Indians are more friendlier to her then we people who discriminate based on caste and color. It’s sad but true. I could never have realized it, If I won’t have left my country and came to a foreign land, to experience a new culture. 

Another thing that I have noticed, is the ease with which you can be just yourself without ever bothering about what others would think of you. Being a girl, I feel good when no one is ogling at me, no matter what I am wearing. I can walk without any passerby making lewd comments at me, or trying to disrobe me with their eyes. It’s a good feeling. Good to feel respected as a girl.

It feels good when people hold doors for you and your kids, even when you have never seen them before. Good to see cars driving slow in the neighborhood. Or people in cars stopping for pedestrians to cross the road, waiting patiently, smiling and waving a friendly hello. Feels good when people ask you, if you gave candies to your kids, before actually sharing them with kids. Feels good, when your neighbors greets every time they saw you, but never impose themselves or intrude in your household matters.

There are so many small things which have made my stay here, wonderful. Surprisingly, most of them had nothing to do with where I am, but with whom I am.

It could be that I have met only good people here or maybe people are really good here, but I am surrounded by nice souls and I am happy about it.  🙂

About, my preconceived notions. Well, now I don’t prefer to go by any kind of notion, am just trying to have my own experiences

How America is treating me
How America is treating me

 

Dream Travel to Singapore

 As I lay in my comfortable bed, gazing the stars from the window and leisurely listening to some slow music playing on the radio, I realized how relaxed I am as compared to the morning hustle, that I was in three days earlier, to catch my flight. My flight to my dream vacation place, to Singapore.

As usual I woke up late that day and was almost running to airport rushing down through every other person, to catch my flight. If I would have delayed by some more time I would have probably lost the flight, and with that, this amazing opportunity to visit a place as serene and at the same time as vivacious as Singapore.

Dream Travel to Singapore
Singapore

This is my first visit to Singapore, although I was dreaming about it for very long. The moment I stepped down from the plane and put my foot on the Singapore’s soil, I knew, my dream has finally come true. My journey from the airport to my accommodation in Singapore’s hotel “Landmark Village”, has been a smooth ride. Roads are so clean and well maintained, it does give you a feel of advancement of our technology. I took a glimpse of why this place is sometimes called the most developed in terms of infrastructure. Located in southeast Asia this country is the most urbanized of the lot.

Dream Travel to Singapore
Singapore

Most arresting thing that I found while traveling in Singapore is it’s diverse culture, having a blend of Chinese, Malay, Indian and western influence. Same is also reflected in its food and art. Every aspect of Singapore speaks out of its diversity, which is actually influenced by 42% of its foreign population, comprising mostly of Chinese, Malaysians and Indians.

Now I am in my comfy accommodation, laying leisurely and thinking of all the places that I have visited in my short stay here. I have taken the city tour the very first day, consisting of City Hall, the Supreme Court, Padang cricket club and beautiful Merlion park with an equally amazing view of Marina Bay. This is the place where I got introduced to the famous mythological creature, the Merlion. Merlion is part lion and part fish. It’s a beautifully crafted animal standing tall with height of 8.6 meters and weighing around 70 tonnes, at Marina Bay. Not many people notice but there is another Merlion also. A 2 meter high Merlion cub just behind the big Merlion.

Dream Travel to Singapore
Singapore

Sentosa island is the most sought after tourist destination of Singapore. It has many attractions to see. Most popular among them are Tiger sky tower, Underwater world, Adventure Park and Butterfly Park. I didn’t have time to see all of them, but I do visited the Universal Studio there.

Dream Travel to Singapore
Singapore

Universal studio, of Sentosa island is Asia’s second Hollywood theme based park after Japan. This park is full of rides and movie attractions. It also has its own Hollywood Horror Nights events. Many themes which makes this park even more interesting to visit are Hollywood theme, New York theme featuring the skyline of New York and its sidewalks. Sci-Fi city theme based on what cities would look like in the future, showing the advance technology in fiction form. Ancient Egypt theme based on Egyptian architecture. Lost World theme, one of my favorite, containing Jurassic park and water park. Other themes were Madagascar and Far-Far Away theme. It was fun to visit the Universal studio specially the Madagascar and Lost world themes park. Very entertaining.

Dream Travel to Singapore
Singapore

 

Singapore also boast of a very entertaining night safari and zoo rides. Singapore zoo also known as Mandai zoo is managed by the wildlife reserves of Singapore. I must say that I was quite impressed with the large number of Orangutans in the zoo, never seen so many before in any zoo. I came to know from the zoo guide that famous primatologist Dr. Francine has spent around six months in the same cage with some eighteen Orangutans. Bravo!!!

Also, good to notice was, that the animals were kept in as natural habitat as possible, with open spaces and hidden barricades. I also took the horse carriage rides through the zoo. I saw many children cheering throughout their rides and enjoying every bit of it.

Dream Travel to Singapore
Singapore

 

Last and the most fascinating thing that I did in Singapore is Night Safari. Most amazing thing is that this night safari park is specially built for the night visits only. It’s an open zoo area accessible by foot, bathed in the artificial moon light. It looks like animals are living in their natural habitat. A vibrating Tribal dance was also performed during the safari, along with some fire plays. My tour ended with that, and I returned to my beautiful accommodation in Singapore.

Now, its time to sleep, as I have to catch an early morning flight back to my home, but I have promised myself that soon I’ll be visiting Singapore and this time I would be staying for long in this beautiful place.

Till then, happy dreaming….