Tag Archives: India

Non Resident Indian becoming a Resident

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So I have been in India now for three years! Can you believe it? Somedays it feels like the time just flew by but other days, oh did it drag. I will be honest, I have had my fair share (ok, more than that) of “why did I come here and what am I doing here…etc.” rantings and sobbing sessions which come with some of my biggest tears. Having been a NRI (non-resident Indian) for pretty much most of my life I suddenly find myself being a resident. But am I? Therefore I thought, why not do a post on somethings or idiosyncrasies of us NRIs that are finding ourselves becoming almost residents.

NRI

  1. No matter how many languages we may speak or how much our Hindi improves over time we will never ever master the Indian number system. Now imagine us trying to do our so called “haggling” with the vegetable guys and we come to the final price and are clueless. So how do we overcome this? We pretend to have a serious face so we give the impression that we are thinking of whether we are getting a fair price when we are actually having a mini panic attack trying to decipher the quoted number.
  2. Our accent will always be different or we will use different accents to talk to different people. Yes, we do speak in an Indianized accent to our Indian friends and will have our American/British/Aussie one for our other friends.
  3. Another thing that drives us crazy is how to write dates….is it the day/month/year system or month/day/year one? I can never figure this out so I always, always spell out the month when I have to write dates.
  4. We probably know more about Bollywood and Hindi songs than we would like to admit. Actually, we can probably win a game of Hindi movie trivia.
  5. Most of us will admit that we NEVER EVER (lemme repeat that…never ever) thought we would live in India. Let me just give you a real life example of my friends and I. We never ever thought we would be in India and 10-15 years later we are ALL here.
  6. Our understanding of our own Indian family tree is non existent. Who is chacha (uncle) and who is mama (also uncle but from your mother’s side…see what I am talking about) becomes a blur when we attend full family events. We can’t even master our own family tree so think about when it comes to our husband’s family. On such instances we just smile 🙂
  7. Coming back to the topic of buying vegetables. We somehow tend to know the names of vegetables in only one language or will forget how to say it in Hindi. True story: I was making a list of vegetables to buy for my help as I was busy, and while making the list I just couldn’t remember how to say Eggplant (Brinjal) in Hindi. So I wrote eggplant on the list and passed it along. My poor help went crazy trying to figure out what I wanted: an egg or a plant.
  8. We are obsessed with fitted bed sheets. I mean if you have to get bedsheets they have to be fitted ones. No questions asked.

So there is it. I am sure I can add a few more. But these mannerisms make our time in India quite interesting, confusing, and sometimes, ever so frustrating. If you want to add more idiosyncrasies to the list please share!

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Wednesday Evenings

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A bit delayed, but this is my version of a typical mid-week evening/night. I consider my evenings starting from the time Vivaan wakes up from his nap (around 4:30 pm) until he goes to sleep at night (around 10 pm).

Usually by the time my son is awake, the maid also shows up to do the dishes. In the meantime, I get my son to either have a glass of milk or have a snack, and we play for a while and do some reading. Once, the maid leaves I get dinner ready before we head out to the playground (around 6:30 pm) at the condo complex next door for around an hour. If my husband gets home around this time, he comes along with us, or then he tries to join us when he gets back.

Reading a fav: Gingerbread Man

Reading a fav: Gingerbread Man

Today however my husband was back early, but our son just did not want to go to the playground. So, we played with blocks, read a few books, and got him drink his milk. I got dinner prepared, and we decided to go for a drive instead and pick a few eatables. It usually takes us a good 20 minutes to get Vivaan to dress up and brush his hair. Comparatively, today was relatively quick, with him just picking out one tee shirt and a single pair of pants.

On the way back from the supermarket however, my son changed his mind and wanted to go play so we headed to the playground. He absolutely loves going on the swings, and walking up the slides and coming down on his stomach.

Slide time

Slide time

Once we got back, my husband got my son cleaned up and I baked a quick microwave cake. I was thinking of trying a vanilla but my son wanted chocolate, so chocolate it was. Plus, he loves cutting cakes and having everyone sing Happy birthday for me. Today was probably the 10th time this year.WP_20150715_029

Vivaan skyped with his grandparents for a bit, which we usually do once a day and then the three of us sat down for dinner. Vivaan is getting better with his meals, and I don’t have to entertain him or distract him in order to get him to eat. So, we can all finally eat dinner at the same time!

And since he woke up from his afternoon nap early, Vivaan was ready to sleep earlier and was dozing off by 9:30, which is completely rare for him. But, gave me time to post. Good night folks!

Monday Mornings

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So here is my attempt at doing a Monday morning post. With a newborn there isn’t a set routine, the morning is just guided based on my daughter’s needs and wants. One thing that doesn’t seem to change much is our wake up time, my two month old daughter starts squirming in bed around 5:30 AM (even before sunrise). I usually try nursing her to put her back to sleep for another hour;

Morning stroll

Morning stroll

somedays this works and somedays like today she absolutely refuses to go back to sleep.

On Mondays, my husband has his workout, so I am usually the only one awake in the house at this odd time. I was feeling a bit sick over the weekend and had missed my walks; today I felt that a nice walk and some fresh air would do me and the baby some good. So I put on my fabulous Ring Sling and headed out for a good 30 min stroll.

After that it’s usually catch up time for the family. My daughter plays around for a good half an hour to 45 mins while I get all her things ready for the day-diapers, cloths folded, water boiled, etc. I do have the luxury of having help that enables me to focus just on taking care of my baby.

 

Reading Time

Reading Time

My husband leaves for work around 9 and then starts my alone time with the baby. Today we started our time together with reading “Goodnight Moon”; she just looks at the colors and I am happy with that 🙂 I really hope she too loves reading as much as I do. Up next was making sure she had a full tummy.

imageAfter that I asked my bai (help who I call Didi or elder sister) to help me cut my daughter’s nails as it’s something I am terrified of doing. We sang songs and “talked” to my baby through this process to distract her.

imageWith a full belly and newly manicured nails, my baby was in play mode. I just laid her on my bed and entertained her with many of her toys. This got us till around 11, when she was hungry again (newborns get hungry quite frequently). After a feed it was nap time again where she slept peacefully on my chest. It was a best close to an eventful and beautiful morning.

Monday Mornings

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I came across a blog a couple of weeks back where Ilana had described her Monday mornings and Wednesday evenings. There was a contest where she picked a few moms and added their stories as well. We did not participate in that, we decided to get inspired and do our own version. The original post is on Mommyshorts-it’s a fun blog.

This week I’ll put up my versions, and next week or whenever new mommy Swara has time she will blog hers. Just being in two different countries, brings a huge variation into the routine, along with what is the norm or not in a certain culture. I just found reading all the stories and comparing them to mine quite interesting. In India for example, we have maids who will come in daily to do the cleaning and the dishes, clothes and cooking as well if you want.

I did not hire a photographer for the post, and all the photos have been taken by me, so you won’t see any with me in them. In hindsight it would have been good to have gotten my husband at least to click the photos so I could really see my interaction with Vivaan.

Good Morning Mumbai!

Good Morning Mumbai!

Ever since my little boy, Vivaan started Pre-school, I wake up at 6:30 so that I have enough time to get the cooking done before the maid arrives, and hopefully have time to take a shower before Vivaan is up. My maid doesn’t get in until 8:00 so there is enough time to prepare both breakfast (where is can be cooked in advance) and lunch.

What I usually do is put on the cooker for the lentils, and on the side do the dough and make the rotis first, because I find that the most time consuming. By 7:00, the milk arrives and is put to boil and cool off ready for when Vivaan wakes up. And the dry vegetable is put to cook on the side.

Since Monday is wheat day at school, I decided to cook Vermicelli for breakfast as well as for Vivaan’s school snack.

Most days I have about five minutes before he wakes up to run into the shower, but this Monday he was up right when I was getting into the bathroom. So, instead it was cuddle time, and trying to cajole him out of bed and get him prepared that he would be going to school. Before he gets to school, we are still dealing with a lot of him not wanting to go and some days there are tears involved.

Milk and breakfast this Monday. It was a good day.

Milk and breakfast this Monday. It was a good day.

My husband is up around the same time, and while the maid cleans, both of us are trying to get Vivaan to drink his milk, and helping him eat at least a little bit of breakfast. I give him a shower, brush his teeth while my husband gets him to wear his clothes-for the past few days he has been insisting on only wearing either his night suit or something with a bunny rabbit on it to school. Getting him to wear his clothes probably takes us the longest. While my sis in law entertained him, I managed to take a quick shower, and drop him off to school.

My husband trying to calm Vivaan down about going to school

My husband trying to calm Vivaan down about going to school

After the drop off I usually iron off the clothes that do not get sent to the dhobi, we have breakfast, I hand wash Vivaan’s clothes, put the rest in the washing machine, and by then it is time to pick him up. My husband and I pick him up from school, and then he leaves for work

Back from pre-school, and he wanted to apply color on me.

Back from pre-school, and he wanted to apply color on me.

Make sure to read my Wednesday Evenings post later in the week.

Travel Diaries-Chandigarh and Delhi

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I got back from a month long visit home, in this case Chandigarh, since my parents retired and moved back to India. It was a month of catching up with my parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, and all of them getting to meet my son. He definitely had a blast and loved that everyone wanted to run behind him, and basically fulfill anything that came out of his mouth.

Sticker books are a must while traveling to keep your little one busy and entertained

Sticker books are a must while traveling to keep your little one busy and entertained

Flying with a toddler can get difficult, I have been lucky that in the ten or flights we have taken with Vivaan, he has slept through them. We also try and pick flights close to his nap times, so that definitely helps. The only difficulty I had to face was the 15kg weight allowance. I just cannot travel light. At least Go Air allows you to pre-book additional luggage, which turns out to be a lot cheaper than paying by the kilo during check-in. If you are travelling with babies or going to a wedding, this is the flight to take.

Dressed up for the Cocktail

Dressed up for the Cocktail

Showing his dance moves at the Engagement

Showing his dance moves at the Engagement

During my trip home, we went for a short four days to Delhi to attend a beautiful wedding. After having attended quite a bit of Maharashtrian weddings, a North Indian wedding can be a bit of a shocker. It is almost taken for granted that everything will be running late, and strangely everyone is calm about it going around eating their appetizers and sipping on their drinks. And when it comes to dressing up there is no such thing as too much, leaving me forever feeling under dressed.

The gorgeous wedding mandap at The Lalit

The gorgeous wedding mandap at The Lalit

Back in Chandigarh, we played tourist and took my son to Sukhna Lake, Mansa Devi, Chattbir Zoo, on a picnic, to Sector 17 and Elante. He absolutely loved the zoo, and would get so excited every time we came across an animal he recognized from his books. My husband’s family visited last year, and they fell in love with the city-it is so clean and organized and people mostly follow travel rules. It is an excellent place to explore, and then from there to head to one of the nearby hill stations.

Selfie at Mansa Devi

Selfie at Mansa Devi

Vivaan and my dad at the zoo

Vivaan and my dad at the zoo

And there is no shortage of places to eat and shop either. A lot of my Indian wear is from there, and without fail every time I wear a piece I receive compliments. The designs and the colors are louder and so different than what I find in Mumbai and Nasik.

It was a fun holiday, meeting up with family, friends and their babies, and talking as if no time had passed since the last time we were physically in the same place.