Her first job in America

“Are you going to bring the girl with you?” Hira asked right away.
There was a long silence at the other end.
“I was not planning on it.” Rajiv replied.
“Okay” Hira said after a pause.
“I was going to come over by myself this morning….if that’s okay with you.”
“Come on over, we can talk!” Hire said and put down the phone.

Hira Patel got up slowly. Rubbing his eyes, he dragging himself out of the large wooden chair. His dark brown shirt was tucked inside the khaki rumpled pants, over his protruding belly. The receding hairline made him look much older than his age of 45. Warm air from a small electric heater next to the chair made him sleepy; he did not realize he was dozing off.
He looked out of the window into the deserted parking lot. Then, he checked the the coffee pot next to the reception desk and walked back to the chair.

“It is so chilly outside, and it is not even December yet!” Rajiv said as he pushed open the door and walked in.
“Yes, the winter is coming! How are you, Desai Sahib?”
“I am good, not bad. How is the business?” Rajiv walked over, they shook hands.
“Slow, very slow! Nobody is spending like good old days!”
Rajiv looked around.
“Have a seat,” Hira gestured to the empty wooden chair that Rajiv was already walking towards. “Do you want some coffee? It is freshly made.”
“No, no!” Rajiv replied looking at the big coffee pot with white plastic cups and a sugar jar next to it. Continue reading “Her first job in America”

Indian diaspora info – all you need to know!

Sometimes, the answer is right under your nose. Most of the times, it is better to eliminate the middleman and go straight to source. This post is intended to lead the horse to the water; drink or not, is up to the horse!

Non Resident Indians, the NRIs – home or abroad – always have so many questions about the rules and regulations that apply to them. Quite often, they start by calling some lawyers – the lawyers that are always bombarding the NRIs with their monotone commercial during Indian TV shows – the middlemen!!

If you visit the National Portal of India website and go to the Indian Diaspora section, you can most likely find the answer to most of your questions – right there, under your nose!

The questions like:

# Can NRIs and PIOs open an account with Indian banks?
# Is registration of NRI marriages compulsory in India?
# What is the fee for applying for PIO card and OCI card?
# Is there a limit to the number of investments for acquiring commercial properties in India?
# How can an NRI or PIO adopt a child in India?
# What is meant by OCB?
# What are the investment options for NRIs in India?

This article introduces you to the website directly – you know, horse and water – rather than cutting and pasting the answers here, use the direct links below for accessing the related info! Pick your own dish – all you can eat, for free!! Continue reading “Indian diaspora info – all you need to know!”

Greed or Fear … or Love!

Greed, fear…. or love – A thought on our daily life and behavior

It is very easy to understand this world; well, most of the time. Most of the time, people are selfish and shallow, restricted by the ‘acceptable behavior’ or social norms. Every person tries to be accepted first rather than worrying about accepting others. Everyone tries to blend in, rather than standing out. Very few have the courage to be different.

We are always so eager to point out differences and how to deal with them. We are preoccupied with ‘differences’ and how to treat them, how to react to them. In reality, if you look deep and far enough, no one is really that different unless you treat them differently – that is, unless you discriminate. Knowingly or unknowingly, we often discriminate in everyday life, and then we talk about equality and diversity – perhaps, just to make us feel better, for our own ego. By end of the day, we are all looking for ways to reduce these differences, forcing ourselves and those who are different to blend in! We can blame this all on our own fears or our own ego.

We are not as complicated as we claim to be. Most of our actions are controlled by one of the two motives – greed or fear, and quite often greed and fear. Most of our day-to-day existence is merely limited to our routine stuff, routines that revolve around our greed and fear.

The biggest shackle to our personal progress and freedom of thought is the fear of rejection or the greed of acceptance. That is a reality; freedom of thought is often suppressed by the social norms. Perhaps, that is why we talk about fantasies, dreams and the perfect world… Continue reading “Greed or Fear … or Love!”

Facebook or the fake book life!

Fakebook life or the fake life on Facebook!

Your ‘live’ online, that is your true life. You can pretend; you can be something that you always wanted to be, but could not, in real life! Going to the mall to hang out with your friends – that’s so 90’s, and so boring! Why bother getting all dressed up, putting up with the traffic, the weather and the real people! Plus, you can only meet a few friends at the most at a given time. Plus, not everybody is outdoorsy anymore!

Instead, you can chat with score of your buddies simultaneously, from the comfort of your own bed. You can scan their latest status, snoop into others stuff, find out what they are up to, what music they are listening to and see if they have added any cool stuff or new pictures…. Yep, everybody is only a few clicks away, and you can stick your nose into others’ business at your own schedule – whenever you want, whenever you feel like.

It is true, the Facebook is a cool social tool to keep in close contact with your friends and family ,and to mingle with your friends online. It is a convenience of modern days that overrides the necessities to go meet anyone at the coffee-shop or in the mall. You don’t have to leave your bed if you are feeling lazy; nobody needs to know what you are doing in real life’. After all, it is your life and you can portray it, – online – whichever way you wish.

A fake portrayal – that is what many do on Facebook. Continue reading “Facebook or the fake book life!”

Why Indian/desi guys find white women more attractive!

Human relations are complicated by nature; there is always something deeper, something more than meet the eye. Inter-racial relation are even more complex, even though they have been around for ages.

A previous article discussed Why white women find desi or Indian guys less attractive?. Now, ask the guys from India about White woman. No matter what these white women think about the Indian guys, the desi dudes hold no grudge against them. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

So, why is it that Indian guys find white women more attractive? There is no simple answer; at least nobody admits that it is so black and white – or should be say ‘brown and white’!

1. Fair skin attraction – First thing first, it is a culture thing that Indians prefer fair skin, especially on a woman. Many attribute this to Bollywood where almost all the leading actresses have milky complexion, but fair skin preference goes way back, even before black-and-white flicks took over Indian cinema. Many of the matrimonial advertisements often include ‘fair skin’ mention or requirement. The white women win hands down, if you just go by the skin color. So, this is good first impression, to start with! The fair skin criteria goes beyond the Bollywood actresses, and is common among all India cultures – home or abroad.

2. Stronger sense of independence – Compared to an Indian woman raised in an Indian society, a white woman from West is much more independent and self-reliant. In western culture (Western, as in Europe and America, not as in cowboys), the women have much more say in their personal decision-making, compared to Indian society where families dominate and control women’s upbringings.

3. Less family control – This is more of a continuation of previous point. The women from India are often controlled by the family in many important aspects of their life, including selecting a life-partner. So, the family interference is much more in the case of Indian women, and this is a turn-off for many guys – even by desi standard! Continue reading “Why Indian/desi guys find white women more attractive!”

The art of elocution

Elocution – The secret of effective speaking

In movie The King’s Speech (2010), while watching a clip of Hitler speaking in German language:
Lilibet: What’s he saying?
King George VI: I don’t know but… he seems to be saying it rather well….

And, you ofter hear people saying:
“Choose your words carefully; you may have to eat them!”….

“Be careful what you say; it may come back to bite you!”….

Yes, it is important what you say. But equally important, perhaps more important is how you say it. After all, it is not what comes out of your mouth, but how you deliver it. Your style, your tone, your body language….all that adds up to the actual message.

Elocution is the basis of effective communication skills. Elocution is the art of clear and concise manner of speaking, with clarity of meaning and thought. Elocution originates from the word ‘eloquence’ – fluent, elegant or persuasive speaking. It is the knowledge of expressing strong emotions in striking and appropriate language and with the power of persuasion.

Effective speech has deep roots in elocution – the pronunciation, the accent, the grammar, the tone and the gestures play a key role in forming a meaningful and desired message. Elocution is been considered a key aspect of learning the art of communications. The art of elocution has been dissected, studied and taught in the schools for a long time. According to McGuffey’s New Sixth Eclectic Reader of 1857, the key principles of elocution are:
I. Articulation
II. Inflections
III. Accent and Emphasis
IV. The Voice
V. Gesture
VI. Instructions for Reading Verse

I. Articulation: How you phrase your message and enunciate it, how you put your thoughts into proper words is the most important aspect of effective speech. By definition, articulation is the act of vocal expression and enunciation; it is the act or manner of producing a speech sound. Continue reading “The art of elocution”

20 Best English Movies from India – The Indian English films

Best English Movies based on India or with Indian Themes

There are so many English movies that come out of India every year. Some equally beautiful movies based on Indian culture originate from other parts of the globe. Here are 20 best stand-outs:

1 Gandhi (1982): This Internationally acclaimed movie needs no introduction. The film stars Ben Kingsley as Gandhi, a brilliant actor by any measure. Amongst much recognition home and abroad, the film bagged the Academy Award for Best Picture, winning eight Academy Awards in total.

2. City of Joy (1992): The social drama is based on the life of a farmer who moves to Kolkata with his family and finds out that life is nothing but simple in the city. Patrick Swayze, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi and Art Malik lead the brilliant cast. This is one of best movies that use talents from India as well as Hollywood.

3. Monsoon Wedding (2001): Directed by Mira Nair, this is romance, comedy and drama – all together – depicting the lives of NRIs and the NRI weddings. An extravagant Punjabi wedding and the family traditions are beautifully depicted throughout this movie. Naseeruddin Shah’s acting is solid once more, and plays a father who is organizing an enormous, chaotic, and very expensive wedding that involves NRI families and joint families coming together from different parts of the world.

4. A Passage to India (1984): This classic drama is one of the most memorable English film based on the Indo-British relationship and their impacts on the day-to-day life during English Rule in India. Written and directed by David Lean, the screenplay is based on the 1924 novel by E.M. Forster. The acting, the direction and the beautifully landscaped scenes equally contribute to this masterpiece. The film has won various awards included Academy Awards and Golden Globe Awards. The brilliant acting comes from Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee, Peggy Ashcroft and James Fox in the key roles. Continue reading “20 Best English Movies from India – The Indian English films”

Plight of a woman in the NRI Marriages

“Indian men are the most ugly men on this planet. Their hearts so ugly that u can not even imagine. I am Indian married to an Indian, the pain and the suffering he has given me and continues to give me, is crazy. Why?……. Indian men in India may be good, Indian men who come to the west are ugly ugly men…may god give me courage to remove this painful lump( my husband) out out of my life forever.. ” Says Katiyani while commenting on this article.

Many parents in India prefer to marry their beloved son or daughter to NRIs.  Their main hopes and wishes for their kids are to see them will settle abroad and prosper. A common man still looks up to the other countries as the ultimate salvation for their offspring.

Yes, arranged marriage is still the most common way to matrimony in India, especially when it comes to marrying abroad. With very little knowledge about a ‘funny dressed’ visitor from the west, people are willing to wed their son or daughter overnight. They don’t want someone else to steal their opportunity – the opportunity of a golden ticket to go abroad.

Marriage is supposed to be a sacred bond, based on mutual love and respect. However, NRI marriages are fundamentally based on greed. It is the greed that results into lifelong headaches for many couples, and heartaches along with it. Continue reading “Plight of a woman in the NRI Marriages”

The Bollywood Equations – pun intended

Common Bollywood equations and comparisons

First thing first – this is intended just for fun. For example Lata, one of the greatest singers of all times, need no O.P. Nayer to mark her legacy. So, take this  write-up with a grain of salt, this is purely a light humor, and some of it has been around Bollywood anecdotes for a while.  You can add your own in the comments, if you can think of one!

  • Dharmendra – Acting – Drinking = Sunny Deol
  • King – Kingdom + Australia – Storyline = Singh Is King
  • Amitabh Baccchan – Acting = Abhishek Bachchan
  • Old song – lyrics + Blah Blah + Meaningless Dance = new song
  • Bollywood Actor – Acting – Shirt = Salmaan Khan
  • Lata Mangeshkar + O.P. Nayer = Asha Bhosle
  •  Bollywood hero + straight hair + unstraight walk = Sanjay dutt
  • Dharamenda Family + Melodrama + Hype = Yamala Pagala Diwana
  • Mohammed Rafi – Versatility – Vocal Charisma = Sonu Nigam
  •  One man + one woman = Isha Deol
  • Sholay – Acting – Story – Direction – Chemistry = Copycat Hindi Western

Continue reading “The Bollywood Equations – pun intended”

From desi Hinglish to fluent English

Those of us born and raised in India speak a very different English than the one spoken in Europe or North America or Australia..a plain fact.If you don’t believe, record yourself and listen!Try it!!

And it is natural, we are molded and shaped by our surroundings; we are always influenced by our mother tongue. As a result, the influence of our first language – often Hindi, is naturally present in our English speech, hence the term Hinglish.

On this site – The Indians Abroad, there are quite a few articles that address the usage of Hinglish and how to minimize it. Speaking Hinglish is not a mistake or something to be overly concerned about, it is just a habit – the way we speak in our own neighborhood. Think about it, even Australian spoken English is far different than the American English. The local factors and the local slangs are bound to influence the way we speak.

Hinglish usage is quite common in India, it is natural. No one cares, and no one should, as long as two parties can understand each-other. However, when we speak the same Hinglish abroad, not everybody is able to understand or comprehend the complete meaning, especially for those who are not familiar with desi terms and desi idioms. Continue reading “From desi Hinglish to fluent English”

The wandering thoughts – living abroad and the past

The wandering thoughts – the home abroad and the long gone past

It is human nature – we are always daydreaming, often lost in our own thoughts. Thinking about past or future and imagining hypothetical scenarios is a part of our day-to-day life. We are never content with what we have, always thinking about ‘what could be’ or ‘what could have been’.

Millions of us leave our homes and our countries to go abroad, searching for a better future, looking for a better life. Some leave by choice – because we want to try new things and new places; others leave because of necessity, because they have to – for one reason or another.

Regardless of where we are and what we have accomplished, we are never satisfied with what we got. Once we go abroad, once we establish ourselves in the the new place, our mind wanders and thinks about going back to the motherland – where we originally come from. It is not because we need to, it is not because we have to; it is because of our nature – we are never satisfied with what we have. The present is never enough!

Most of the immigrants, no matter how long they have been away from their own country or how good life they live in the new place, have nostalgic attachment to their homeland. It is nothing new; it is part of being human. We never let go of the past, especially if past involves sweet memories of childhood. adolescence and youth.

Many of us – settled abroad, often think about going back, returning for good. Even after we have made new life in the new country, the thought of going back often creeps into our minds. It is a good nostalgic memory of past. Most of us think about it – going back permanently, but very few actually try it. And those who return to their motherland, the experience is often not what they expected or what we imagined. Continue reading “The wandering thoughts – living abroad and the past”

Her social drinking troubles

Her parents drove for two hours from Seattle to Surrey, B.C. They did not have a choice. They had to be there. For the entire drive, Meena – her mother – looked out of the car window. She was not admiring the scenery or the landscapes; her brain was racing with troubling thoughts and imaginations. She was worried about their daughter, Anita.

“I am not sure how to tell you this, but I have to; people are starting to talk!” Out of the blue, that was a bombshell from Rani, Anita’s mother-in-law, when she called on Wednesday.
“I don’t understand, what happened?” Meena asked; her voice trembling, and barely audible.
“Can you come over this week-end? Then we can talk,” Rani said after a pause.
Her hands shaking, Meena put-down the phone and slumped into the sofa.

“What’s going on?” Meena called Anita within minutes after that call, the suspense was killing her.
“Hi mom, how are you?” Anita was caught off-guard.
Her mom was quiet on the other end of the line.
I don’t know what you talking about, mom,” Anita added.
“Rani just called me.”
“I don’t know what the big deal is about. Everything is okay mom!” Anita said.
“You tell me now, or I am coming there tonight!” Continue reading “Her social drinking troubles”

India through the eyes of my American Classmates

“So how do you like it here, in US?” This is a common icebreaker with new classmates from other countries.
“I love it; it’s fun!” is my general response. After all, I don’t need to complain about my homesickness to everybody.
“I would love to go to India, but am little bit worried about the safety and stuff over there; ….”  Some hesitation about a country far away is quite normal among Americans.
“Stuff like what?” I like to explore what they think about India.
“Well, it is a new place; plus I don’t speak Indian.” Some say this as a joke, while other are clueless to the Indian languages.
And sometimes, the things get slippery after such small talk! That is where the snakes, the elephants and other wild animals jump into the picture. Some questions, asked even with the utmost seriousness, beg for a chuckle, if not a full blown laugh!

I like my American classmates and friends just as much as my desi colleagues, well almost. At least, that’s what I would like to believe and that’s what I try anyways. Many of these firangs are my close friends. We eat together, we study together and we goof-off together. It’s a fun bunch of people I am surrounded by.

I am one of the five Indians in our class. There are students from everywhere – Canada, European countries, Australia, Kenya, Mexico and Korea…to name a few. They all come from a very diverse background, not to forget in all colors – white, brown, black, yellow, pink, dark pink…well, sometimes it is hard to tell the real color with all the makeup on. 🙂 Continue reading “India through the eyes of my American Classmates”

Top 20 Bollywood movies of 70s

Top Bollywood movies of 70s (1970 to 1979):

The Bollywood in 70’s was at the peak of of its game. Everything you can relate to in a Hindi movie – acting, directing, music and exploring new boundaries – was flourishing. Some of the best Bollywood movies of all times were produced during this decade.
Choosing top 20 movies out of a span of 10 years, when every year was producing score of hit flicks, is almost impossible. The selection below tries to accommodate every genre – action, classic, artistic, popular….
So here we go:

1. Sholay (1975): This all-time-great movie needs no introduction; it is one of the biggest hits ever. It is a classic thriller of modern days, a must watch Bollywood gem. The mega cast includes Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan. Sholay is the highest grossing film of all time in Indian cinema. When first released, the movie did not win any major awards from the film critics, but it has a cult like following. At the 50th Filmfare, it received the award as the Best Film of 50 Years.

2. Bobby (1973): The movie is a brilliant combination of romance, music and social conflicts. This blockbuster is known to be a trend-setter in its own rights. Raj Kapoor introduced the genre of teenage romance with a rich-vs.-poor clash as a backdrop. Some of the romance scenes were simply too bold for its time. This popular flick was a debut film for Dimple Kapadia and the first leading role for Rishi Kapoor.

3. Pakeezah (1972): This is a legendary movie; with a larger than life appeal. Beautifully directed by Kamal Amrohi, this movie is a combination of good artistic tastes, lovely costumes, a fluid storyline, excellent settings and melodious music. The film is a story of a Lucknow tawaif (courtesan) played by actress Meena Kumari. Raaj Kumar and Ashok Kumar lead the cast. The evergreen and superb music comes from Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad. Continue reading “Top 20 Bollywood movies of 70s”