Greetings to all,
I am so glad to introduce Reji Stephenson, an Indian born London blogger. He is an engineering graduate working in London and is one among the top expat Indian bloggers in London. He is actively involved in blogging since two years, and am sure Reji needs no introduction to Philipscom readers as he is a regular visitor to this page. You can read my interview with him here on this link: P V Ariel A Blogger Without A Blog
You can also read more about him in the author bio given below.
I do not want to taken more of your time please read on what Reji wants to share:
Philip Verghese ‘Ariel
Reji needs no introduction to Philipscom readers Click To Tweet
21 Aspects Any Indian May Miss While Living In London
If you are born and brought up in India, it’s hard for at least some people like me to adjust to the situations in a new place especially when we are in the western part of the world. In this article, I am sharing what all I missed and still missing about India during my seven years stay in London. The first and foremost one in the list is my beloved friends and relatives. Read on…
1 Friends and relatives
Yes, you will definitely miss a bunch of friends and relatives. There may be a lot of new friends in the new place you choose to live, but, still you miss some of your childhood or a few of those close relatives with whom you may have a special bond. The mere thinking that you are missing those people whom you may be connected since childhood days will make you worried at times.
2 You miss that driving in India
You might be driving your Audi or BMW or Mercedes in the well-maintained roads in U.K, still you will miss that typical driving on the Indian roads. You will be more comfortable here, with most people following each and every traffic rules perfectly. Still, from the inside of your heart, you feel missing that rough driving conditions in India where you make a loud horn whenever you come across a small hindrance on your path or to let the pedestrians know your presence on the street. Remember, making unnecessary horn is supposed to be a rude behaviour in the Western world, and you even feel like missing that noisy and congested atmosphere with even cows, buffalos, hen and all sorts of other creatures on the road at times. This can be a common scene in some of the famous cities in India like Hyderabad, Mumbai etc. Once upon a time you felt all these things were annoying you, and now you might be longing to get back to that sort of environment because you miss that situation dearly.
3 The typical Indian Vehicle journeys
Even though the city you live now is blessed with the best rail networks and other public transport facilities, I bet you miss the presence of a particular vehicle which was once your best companion. You need to reach somewhere in time, and you find that your car or motorbike is not getting despite trying several times. You will call this friend in need, the auto-rickshaw to let you reach your destination on time. If you are a true Indian by heart, you will absolutely miss all those small things like the typical Indian railway journey as well as local bus travel where you might meet people from different walks of life.
Watch below a video of a typical Indian road and its traffic:
4 Marriage functions
In India, we used to attend a lot of marriage functions, where you will enjoy the benefit of attending, at least, six to seven (minimum in a year) marriage ceremonies in a year. Truly, those occasions will give you the chance to meet and interact with many people in and around your circle as well as your far and near relatives. Sad to note that you will miss such traditional marriage functions a lot when living in the western world. Thanks for those who uploaded some amazing videos on YouTube that brings back the pleasant memories of Indian marriages.
Watch the videos below: Indian Wedding:
5 Cricket matches
Born in India, then no need to say that you are a born cricket fan. (At least in the case of some people like me). When I came to U.K in 2007, I was enthusiastic about playing cricket in the country where it originated. But, to my surprise, I found that football is the king of all other games in the U.K. And it was so frustrating to know that Cricket is mostly played here only in summer.
Yes, you will surely feel missing those cricket matches played by team India that you once followed with much enthusiasm. It may make you even more surprising that there is no street cricket anywhere in U.K which is a common scene anywhere in India. In every galli (by lane) you find children playing cricket in a typical traditional way by placing sticks as stumps. And your evenings may seem to be boring without playing a bit of cricket anywhere.
You never know who is staying at your next door. You might be talking with them for those split seconds or a minute to say a “Hello” and that is all the interaction you might have with your neighbour. You feel depressed at times because you can’t find those next door neighbours who visit your house very often either to help you or in need of our help for something or the other. Even though you might have every luxury in the world, you think that there is no one around you to give a helping hand when something goes wrong.
7 The stranger who helps you in shopping
When you go for shopping, you will always be in doubt whether which is the right product to choose. Even if you select something, you will still doubt whether that is the best choice for you or not. It may happen to you when you do shopping in a small market or a big shopping mall. Sometimes you may be alone choosing your winter apparels from a shop in the busy Oxford Circus Street or Westfield Shopping Centre. Your memories will take you back to those Indian shops where you get few fellow shoppers (He or she may be a stranger to you.) who will always have a word of suggestion for helping you to choose the right product at the right price. They may even suggest you a better place for your shopping at times. This is a missing factor in other countries.
8 Newspaper in your regional language
There are hundreds of languages spoken in India, and each of them have their own newspapers. If you are a Bengali or Malayali or from the capital city or from any part of the country, you like to read your own newspaper in your own language. You might have cultivated the habit of reading your regional language in a very early morning sitting in the comfort of your house with a cup of tea. Once you are in the Western world, you felt a void in the day right from the early morning of the day. You miss that local news and feel out of touch with many things that you considered very important in life. You may have the option to access your local newspaper online, but you will find out that there is still something missing from your day.
9 The phone calls after 10 p.m.
You have a close knit connection with your friends, family members and relatives in India. Thanks now for the smartphones and apps like WhatsApp and Rounds. You are free to call any of your contacts at any time of the day provided it is not too late to disturb them with silly talks. You still remember the days in India where you are more free making a phone call even in the middle of the night if there is such a friendship with each other.
10 Unplanned visits to your friends and relatives
In the U.K., you plan everything in advance. You book your appointment with the doctor early; you plan your holidays early, and you follow everything with a planned routine. There is literally nothing you see unplanned. Sure! You are missing those unplanned visits to your neighbours, friends and relatives at any time of the day and for anything you want. The culture in India is so different that it gives you the flexibility to visit any of your friends and relatives without informing them before you reach their home. They are also free to visit your house at any time of the day. So, you feel like missing those unplanned visits to see your dear ones to share some happy or sad moments of your life with them.
11 The summer clothes you wear
If you are born and brought up in any of the Indian states where you never got exposed to the cold weather, the winter clothes you wear will irritate you at times. You might like to change your winter clothes and spend the whole day with those favourite summer ones. The reality that you can’t do that on a winter day with the temperature showing -2 degrees will make you a bit depressed. You may even start thinking of going back to your homeland, and the realities of life will pull you back.
12 The Luxury of having a bath at any time of the day
Taking a bath at any time of the day is another luxury you can enjoy when you are in a country like India, especially in states where there is no cold weather at any time of the year. You might have the habit of taking a bath in the cold water in a very early morning time in India. You can have a bath with hot water at any time when you live in U.K, even when the temperature is freezing, but you don’t feel the same effect of bathing in cold water in India at any time of the day. Your memories may take you back to those rivers, ponds, backwaters and the sea where you used to take a bath at any time of the day.
13 Your Favourite home-made food
You will be in the heart of the city looking for a restaurant to have some food in the afternoon say, 3 ‘O’ clock and end up finding only a small shop selling sandwiches. You might start thinking about the home-made food once your mother used to serve you. I bet you can’t compare the taste of Sandwiches or Baguette with the freshly cooked homemade food.
14 The noisy atmosphere everywhere
You feel at least once in a week about that noisy atmosphere back in India. Once you used to wake up hearing those songs from your nearby temple. Now you wake up in a room with pin drop silence, hearing only the alarm you set on your smartphone. Yes, some days you are feeling like missing that noisy atmosphere everywhere right from the morning till night. Once when you were in India, you might have thought of such noises as a disturbance, but now you are longing to get a feel of that atmosphere again.
15 Your family doctor
Easy access to your family doctor is one advantage for anyone when living in India. It is always a relief when your small children, or aged parents fall ill, and there is a need to see a doctor at any time of the day. You will feel like going back to India to see your favourite family doctor. Please don’t get me wrong, you will have one of the best medical facilities available in the U.K. Still the formalities of booking an appointment with a doctor make your life harder as you may need to wait few weeks or up to a month in some cases to see a specialist doctor.
16 Those petty shops in your city or village
It doesn’t matter whether you live in a big metropolitan city like Mumbai or in a village somewhere else; you will have access to a number of petty shops selling things that are valuable to you in a much needed time. You may even get your “Dosa” (south Indian food used mainly for breakfast) and “chaya” (Tea) if you are in Kerala (A southern state in India). You may get your favourite sugar cane juice or watermelon juice from such shops if you are in some of the states like Karnataka, Telengana or Andhra Pradesh. You might like a “Bhel Puri” (A North Indian snack) when in Mumbai. When you used to live in India, you might have had many complaints about such shops regarding the cleanliness as well as the legal aspects binding such shops. But now, when you are in need of your “Bhel Puri” or “Chai”, you feel like missing the presence of such shops and perhaps like to have one such in the busy Oxford Street.
17 Occasional holidays at work
If you are from South India, especially from states like Kerala, you will get occasional off days due to strikes by various parties. You never think of such days in U.K. You will be working all day long and sometimes six days a week with only a Sunday as your holiday. Oh! that Sunday, you will have so many things to sort out, and you feel there is no free time at all in your life. You remember those Bandhs, Hartals and all those stuff that in one way make yourself happy by giving that one extra free day at home.
18 Calling everyone Uncle and Aunty
In India, you cannot even think of calling someone by their name if they are elder than you. You will have to use words like “Uncle”, “Aunty”, “Bhaiya”, “Bhabhi”, etc. to address someone. Once in U.K., you start calling most people by their names and you feel a bit guilty for the first time calling people by their names, especially when they are nearly your parent’s age. You feel like you don’t have any attachment towards anyone. You remember the bond you have with someone whom you used to call an “Uncle” or “Aunty”.
19 You badly miss your parents
Back home in India, many people start thinking that you are neglecting your parents and enjoying your life in London. That will definitely hurt your feelings. Even though you are concerned much about your parents, the whole world thinks the other way round. You may make a lot of phone calls to India. (Many thanks to my close friends Lebara and Lyca. ) Still, that phone calls will only make you more frustrated as you realize the fact that your presence is much needed back home but you can’t make it due to many other unavoidable situations in life.
20 The festivals of India
India is a multicultural nation having a mix of different religions. Though those are multi culture and deep rooted traditional activities, the interesting fact is that in every such celebrations one can see the unity in diversity! This typical feeling one will surely miss if they are in other nation! Though there are some exception to this in the name of cultural activities in some area where more Indians are populated, but in most cases this is really a missing phenomenon.
Here is an electrifying video in which 10 different religious and cultural activates are well depicted.
21 Beauty of India
Last but not the least is the missing beauty of India. Without mentioning this important aspect this post will be incomplete. Yes, I am here talking about the lush green eye, capturing beauty of India. Yes, a non-resident Indian will surely miss that lovely, enchanting scenes in his daily life. Words are insufficient to speak or narrate this God given gift of beauty.
Kerala my native land is one among top in India to speak about the lush green beautiful places in India. Kerala the southern part of India is famous for its beauty of the backwaters. It is one of the major tourism centers in India. As I said, it is famous for its lush green beauty, and it is counted and declared as one among the top 10 paradises in the world. Its coconut plantations, houses built with red bricks and the lakes, rivers and beaches are indeed a loving memory to any Indians. A non-resident Indian especially a Keralite (native of Kerala) will miss this miserably.
This post is not intended to hurt anyone or their feelings and beliefs. I only shared some of my inner feelings and thoughts of mine.
Hope you enjoyed the post. If you are a non-resident Indian I am sure you will be having some kind of similar feelings or thoughts, I invite you to share such feelings of yours in the comment box below. I am sure that will be an added insight into this post. If you enjoyed reading this post, please do share with your family, friends and other fellow beings by using the share button provided at the sidebar and at the bottom of this post.
Let me take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to my beloved friend and Brother Phil for the wonderful opportunity given to me to share my feelings through this post.
I will be back soon with my next post that will describe 21 aspects you like about London when you live in London as an expat.
Thanks to one and all