Happy Diwali – Drink, Dine and Dance!

Happy Diwali
Happy Diwali

Diwali – the festival of lights, the king of the all the Indian festivals. There is nothing more festive and more celebrated than Diwali in India.

You have to be in India to understand and experience this festival. A few candles and some firework – that’s nowhere c;lose to the actual Diwali. But, we are not in India; we have our own style of celebrating Diwali abroad.

All around the globe, Indians celebrate Diwali festival, but in our own way! The families and friends get together to drink and dine, to party and dance. Seems familiar? Well, that is how we celebrate almost everything abroad – by drinking, dining and dancing! Be it a wedding, a birthday party, even the Holi festival.. or anything in-between …. we never pass on an excuse to drink, dine and dance!!

‘Festival of Lights’ is an understatement to describe this celebration in India. But, then again, we are not in India. The euphoria of Diwali, the traditions of the day, the competing fireworks late into the nights are hard to describe, even if you try.   The feeling and enigma of Diwali is beyond what words can narrate. The thundering sound of the fireworks and the glow of night-lights gets lost somewhere in the translations, the translations from Indian culture to the life abroad! Continue reading “Happy Diwali – Drink, Dine and Dance!”

The green door

I cannot believe he is dead!

He lived on the north side of my town, on Dorothy street. I used to pass by his house during my evening strolls. His house had an over-sized green door that did not seem to fit the neighborhood, just like him.

With a white beard and a grey turban; he was easy to spot from a distance. I always found him outside his house, gardening in the front-yard or just admiring the outdoor. As I would walk-by, I exchanged hello/hi with him. I was just being polite – out of respect for our elders. But over time, I made his acquaintance. He liked to talk, I found out pretty soon. Chatting with him became a part of my evening routines.
“Beautiful weather! Nice day for a walk!! Scattered clouds over there, look like a floating goat!!!” He would say random things with a chuckle. He laughed at his own jokes; that used to be a cue for me to laugh.

He was very fond – actually very proud, of India and all things Indian, I could tell. Not that I needed to know, but he often told me the virtues of Indian society, the pride of being Indian. He also reminded me how advanced Indian are, compared to the ‘white people’ as he would call them.

“I was the first Indian in this town” he mentioned one evening, “There were no Indian shops in this area!!”
“It must be hard back then”, I once asked; that was bad idea. For next 20-30 minutes, he told me all about the hardships of being an isolated Indian living amongst white folks.
“Many mornings I used to find eggs shells all over my new car in this driveway; these racist people, I tell you!….”

Sometimes, he complained, but he was not bitter. He told his past stories with the same braggadocio as a captain would shares his encounters with the rough stormy weather.

He was different. I enjoyed these brief daily encounters, and his stories from all over the places. He came across as a fanatic Indian; he never tried to hide his obvious bias for ‘the great India’. Without hesitation, he would share his thoughts about superior Indian culture, the sins of the western society…. But it was never monotonous; he always had new anecdotes.
I did not agree with many of his views, but I never argued with him either. When in serious mood, he spoke like a professor, like a preacher – as if never in doubt. I thought to myself – you cannot change the thinking of an old man, those outdated views….

I recall it was Friday; I did not see him outside his house that evening. It was strange, his absence. Then, even more disturbing, I did not see him for days, for weeks. I looked for him, I even waited and lingered around his house, but he was nowhere to be found. Continue reading “The green door”

A baby’s cry

“Mom, it is a baby girl…,” her voice barely audible, she called her mother in India.
“Are you okay? Is the baby okay?” Her mom inquired, her voice nervous, but excited.
Sonya was too tired to respond, but that did not stop her mother from asking more questions, “When was she born? Who she looks like? Have you named her?…”
“Mom”, Sonya interrupted, “the nurse is here, I am very sleepy; will call you later..”
“Are you okay, is the baby okay?”
“yes mom, we are okay,” she said before ending the call.

The hospital discharged her along with the baby two days later. The nurse gave her a handful of literature, each pamphlet with a different title – ‘How to care for a new born’, ‘what to expect after a natural birth’, ‘Newborn feeding techniques’….
She was tired, she was drained, she was not ready to take care of her first born. The Nurse helped buckle the baby in the new car-seat and Raj drove them home – to their apartment in Mississauga.

“How is the baby doing,” he mom phoned again next morning.
“Esha is okay, she is sleeping now.”
“Beautiful name”, she paused, “How are you doing?”
“I am okay mom, I am very tired. the baby was awake all night.”
“Oh, where is Raj?”
“He is at work, I am home alone with the baby and I am worried”
“Worried about what, Sonya?”
“If the baby wakes up..” Continue reading “A baby’s cry”

Misplaced Nostalgia

With big dreams, with full imagination, and with an empty pocket, he left India.

“Success”, he told himself when he landed in USA; he was twenty-six.

Since he was a little kid, just like every other kid in his town, his ambition was to go overseas. That is how he was raised.

The culture, the people, the society, and the way everybody was …… everything was different, very different. The life in California was not what he had imagined.

But, he adapted.

It was a big adjustment over the years, many compromises at every turn. In spite of all that, he did not complain much; after all this was his own decision – going abroad.

All those days, all those years  in America, he felt homesick. He missed the life he had left behind. The childhood memories, the old friends, the open fields – he often day-dreamed the life that used to be.  At times, he felt empty inside. He wished he could go back; go back to his real home, his real life.

He worked hard. He made lots of money; a lot of money if you think in Indian Rupees.

The recession came; he lost his job – the high paying engineering job he took for granted. He looked for another job, half-heartedly. No luck. Perhaps he was secretly wishing not to work in US anymore. Continue reading “Misplaced Nostalgia”

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!”

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!”

Double Standard

She had big dreams, her ideology was based on truth, honesty and kindness. But that was a long time ago, that was when she was seventeen. She thought she was special; she was born to do great things; she was born to make a difference. But then again, that was was when she was in high school. She barely new the world out there. She never knew that the rules of kindness, love and truth apply differently beyond the walls of her house.

Somewhere along the way, somewhere in the process of growing up, she left her house to encounter the real world. She was no longer shielded by her family and her loved ones. It was part of her society, it was part of the traditions to move out. She got married; her family tied her knot to an educated man from Canada. Not because they knew him, or she loved him; they married her in the hope that life would be better in Canada. That is what everyone thought, and that is what they believed – she will be better off in Canada, far better off.

But then again, people are not what they appear to be. In the real world abroad, things are very different. The real world is far different than the one based on dreams; the real world where ideology is often talked about but seldom practiced. Most of the people talk big but do little, she soon learned.

In no time, she was exposed to the double standards as she left her father’s house. She saw hypocrisy first hand – day in and day out. The lies, the deceptions, the compromises – everything was at play on her new stage of life. Continue reading “Double Standard”

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”

Pardesi songs! Best Bollywood songs for the NRIs and Indians abroad!

The best pardesi songs – Best Bollywood songs with NRIs and ‘Indians abroad’ theme!

Pardesi is someone living away form their mother land, living away from home in another country, a foreigner. This article is dedicated to all those pardesi souls and NRIs around the world.

The ‘pardesi songs’ often carry the theme and the emotions of Indians living abroad. Being away from their birth-place, being separated from their loved ones left behind, starting a new life in a new country… and the distance itself – a mixture of emotions come into the picture. There are lots of patriotic songs and good ones too. However, the ones included here are more related to the unique situations of living overseas, rather than regular patriotic songs. Here are some of the best Bollywood songs that many NRIs and Indians living abroad can relate to:

1. Chithi Aayee hai (Movie: Naam): One of the best songs that directly connects to all the feelings of Indians who have migrated from India, but still miss their motherland. Beautiful lyrics tell a touching story of an average immigrant.
Tune paisa bahut kamaya
Es paise ne des chhudaya….

Pankaj Udhas’s melodious voice adds to the appeal of this evergreen and super-hit song.

2. Bharat ka rehne walaa hoon (Movie: Purab Aur Pachhim): ‘Hai Preet Jahan Ki Reet Sada / Jab Zero Diya Mere Bharat Ne’ is one of the most memorable song that highlights the virtues of India and the Indian culture, especially for those who live overseas. This number has ideal settings – featured in England with crowd including Indians, hippies and English audience. Mahendra Kapoor’s voice and Manoj Kumar’ acting is a winning combination. Continue reading “Pardesi songs! Best Bollywood songs for the NRIs and Indians abroad!”

Self-help tips on minimizing Hinglish usage abroad

10 easy Tips on how to minimize the usage of Hinglish (Indian English) overseas

Many of us, especially those who grew up in India, speak ‘Indian English’. This version of desi English – the Hinglishis, is heavily influenced by Hindi, other languages from India and desi terms. It is a common habit; and like many other habits, some times we don’t even realize that our English speech is often affected by our mother tongue.

Just like any other habit, the use of Hinglish is not so easy to get rid of. Habits die hard. In many cases, it may take a lot longer to get used to avoiding Hinglish completely. It needs a conscious effort to navigate away from any set routines, especially the ones developed during childhood –  our communicating or speaking habits.

While living overseas and away from India, we may not realize this but we are always adapting to the local ways of life. This process goes on even when we are not trying. This is a human nature; we are always adapting to our surroundings. Our language, our communication style and even our thinking – every aspect of our day-to-day life is slowly but surely impacted by the local culture and the society we live in. However, this adaptation and change is often very slow. The same applies to our habit of speaking Hinglish, the change is very slow unless we consciously try.

Listed below are some of the most effective ways to minimize the use of Hinglish. There are many simple things that we can do to speed up this adaptation to local English slang and language instead of continued habit of speaking in desi English – the Hinglish. Continue reading “Self-help tips on minimizing Hinglish usage abroad”

Moving Overseas! Is Your Family Ready?

The world has become a very mobile now-a-days. Nobody spends the whole life at one place, or even in one country. Traveling has become a necessary part of everyday living. Going abroad, trying new places, visiting new countries, exploring new cultures…all this has become a common undertaking.

When you move to a new country for a long studies or for a job, you have to leave behind so much. The family, the friends, the home, your own country…this all becomes a part of the nostalgic memories of living in India. Those childhood days, college fun, home food, Indian culture and traditions …. all this can never be replaced or forgotten.

Moving overseas brings its own excitement. You are eager to see new places, make new friends and explore your things. However, it is a fact that you cannot ignore your loved ones far-away who are going to miss you and feel your absence day and night. Just like you, your family and friend are left behind with your memories alone to remember you by.

Every family is different and so are the reactions to the departure of a family member. Nobody is ever ready to separate from their loved ones. However, there are a few simple things that you can do to help your family accept the fact that your overseas move is not so bad after all. These commonsense and easy-to-follow tips can make this separation more tolerable, for you and for your family: Continue reading “Moving Overseas! Is Your Family Ready?”

Citizenship and Immigration Canada – CIC Website

CIC – Canadian Government Source of Citizenship and Immigration

Have a question about immigration to Canada? Interested in Canadian Citizenship? Any question on moving to Canada? Almost all the time, you can get your answer from the official website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Commonly know as CIC, the site is maintained by the department of Canadian Government that deals with Immigration and Citizenship. It also links immigration services with citizenship registration.

The site is the true Bible for any information on Canadian Citizenship as well as immigration to Canada.  It offers a variety of resources on the related topics including general information, commonsense tips, guidance for potential immigrants, latest news on the subject, the new laws affecting the immigrants and so on. There are different sections addressing different aspects of immigration and citizenship. Continue reading “Citizenship and Immigration Canada – CIC Website”

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”

Many Indians abroad dating exclusively whites only!

19:19 Me
Are u okay if I use this ‘chat’ for a blog post…a post on ‘Some Indians abroad dating whites only’ ?

19:19 Neelam
No, not really! Plz!

19:20 Me
my loss 🙁

19:20 Neelam
haha….sorry

19:21 Me
🙁

19:21 Neelam
may be..you can change the name and place…a little

19:21 Me
I should do that.
Why though?

19:22 Neelam
haha I don’t need publicity..or hate mails…lol

19:22 Me
okay cool, thanks

19:23 Neelam
haha np

…………

A friendly warning: Take this post with a grain of salt, especially if you get indigestion from racial mix and deviations from the strict social norms. Continue reading “Many Indians abroad dating exclusively whites only!”

The night before Babbu’s wedding

A sea of beautiful brown skin. Some bare-feet, others testing their newly bought shoes on the dance floor, dancing away with Kesha’s ‘Tick Tock’ song blaring through the whole house. The young, the old, the guys, the girls – all mingled up in the mood for a party, setting up their own pace. Loud music, louder commotion. Kids running all over – a complete chaos. Everyone is lost in the moment.

Every now and then, a car pulls up to the front of the house dropping off new guests. Tomorrow is a big day for the Gill family. Their only son Babbu is getting married.

By the time the sun touched the western horizon, the house is all packed full – to the limit. More guests trickle in – from as far as India, London and Vancouver. For a two story bungalow, the full blasting air-conditioners cannot subside the heat and smell – the smell of perfumes, sweets, masala, incenses and liquors… all mixed together.

The house in Brampton is a short drive from the Toronto airport. Raj – Babbu’s cousin, has been to the airport three times already, picking up the relatives as they arrive from all over the places. He is the most excited about his fourth trip, however. His three cousins from England are arriving next, the cousins he has not seen for a long time.

As the dusk turns into an early night, a black stretched limousine pulls to the front of the house. It is a part of the night-out planned for the groom and his passé. One last time, Babbu is going to enjoy his ‘single’ status before shackling down into the married life. The limo driver steps outside the driver seat, polishes the already clean windshield with a black cloth, like a ritual. Then he lights up a cigarette, while some of the elders watch him with a look of disapproval.

The groom and his passé of five friends get to the limo. Continue reading “The night before Babbu’s wedding”