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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 🙂
- 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.
- 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!
Mini Lettuce Wraps
So parties in India have their own charm – something that sets them apart from what you might find in other cultures.
Having attended and hosted a few of them over the past years here is my take on what happens at them. Fair warning though, you might not agree with my opinion.
- No party starts on time. Even if you tell people to come by 7 (when ideally you want them to show up by 7:30), no one will come before 8:30/9 PM
- Food is the most important thing at the party. You can have great drinks, music, games, etc. But everyone remembers just the food. So don’t be surprised if while deciding on a party menu you get into arguements with family 😉
- Aunties invariably always find or “help themselves” to the kitchen of the hosting house. And while some do help, most do a great job in highlighting your shortcomings. On the bright side, this makes for a great practice in self control and patience.
- There will always be the one guest who decides that they can make their entrance felt way past the standard 1.5 hour delay.
- There will, also, always be the one that decides the party can just keep going on and on. On such instances, take turns heading up to your respective bedrooms and hope the guest gets a clue.
- Definition of good hosts = make sure everyone eats and don’t take “no” for an answer when it comes to second or third helpings.
- If you have babies, wait for it, guests will think it’s their right to wake the baby up because they came to see the baby. It doesn’t matter that they came way past the baby’s bedtime. Yoga comes to the rescue again 🙂
- There will be the one guest who will sulk till they get their fair share of attention. Please be ready with topics that are of great interests of these guests.
- Good party guests means you smile continuously, speak with everyone, and don’t complain even if food is served past midnight.
- In Indian parties there will be a clear divide between the gents and ladies of the parties. They have their own separate corners and dare you make the mistake of sitting on the other side. However, this custom is slowly changing 🙂
All this apart, these parties are fun and if you can pull off one as a good host, then KUDOS to you. Can you resonate with any of these party trends?
Remember last year when I said that Pallavi and I had a chance to meet up after a year and a half? That was the sad state of our meet ups. However, this year things have been different in the very best way. Pallavi and I have had the chance to catch up multiple times. Most recently, we have caught up 3 times in 3 months and thats a HUGE improvement from our previous state.
First meet with the kiddos
Being a stay at home mom, I have had the opportunity to come to my parents place in Navi Mumbai quite frequently, and Pallavi, for the weekdays, stays may be 20 mins away. We alternated between meeting up either at her place or mine and I cannot describe how wonderful it felt to be able to do that. Whatsapp allows us to be updated on each others’ lives but nothing can replace a face to face meeting.
Our meets took me back to our childhood in Thailand where we spent countless afternoons, evenings and nights at each others’ places gossiping, reading, napping, eating, watching movies, etc. Parents wouldn’t worry about our whereabouts because they knew we had the company of each other. Our talks would be on the most random topics that would make just perfect sense to us. It was similar this time we talked about anything and everything. It’s surreal that we still talk the same way even with our kids around. I think when it comes to childhood friends, you immediately let go of all your inhibitions and become the same kiddo again.
Proof of poor Selfie skills
I hope to make my visits to Navi Mumbai more frequently and that those trips involve a meet up with Pallavi. Once a chaddi buddy (childhood buddy) always a chaddi buddy. 🙂
P.S. Please excuse our pictures, we, suddenly, have become the worst picture takers.
I have been living in India for almost 3 years now (!!!!) and honestly have been the South Mumbai may be thrice or twice. Most of the time my time in Mumbai is spent at my parents’ place in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, which is different city altogether. I always wanted to have a chance to visit South Mumbai more frequently and recently had just the opportunity. My mom’s childhood friend has a place in Malabar Hills and we decided that a trip to her place followed by lunch would be a perfect way to get over the hump Wednesday.
Enjoying the view from Malabar Hills
Traveling in any big city is a pain and Mumbai is no different. Even though South Mumbai is technically only 30 km away (approximately 15 miles), it takes pretty much an hour and half or longer to get there from Navi Mumbai. This time our travel had to be planned keeping my 3 month old daughter in mind. We decided to leave home around 8 to beat the traffic but as life goes with a baby we finally left home closer to 8:50. My daughter is getting accustomed to being in the car for longer distances and she was quite content till the last 30 mins when we kept hitting all the possible traffic signals. A few tears later we made it to my mom’s friend’s place in Malabar Hills, home to the infamous hanging gardens, in Mumbai. The Malabar Hills neighbourhood is quite picturesque with greenery, winding roads, hidden bungalows, and tall apartment buildings. We could see the entire Marine Drive from Aunty’s place! We feasted on a delicious breakfast while my daughter played. Taking advantage of being at a home, I decide to nap with my daughter so she doesn’t get too cranky later on.
Our nap and my mom’s catching up took us till around 2:00 PM when we finally decided to go out for a late lunch. Aunty had a great suggestion of going to Pizza by the Bay on Marine Lines. She said the restaurant would offer a beautiful view of the seaside on this rainy day. We went by her suggestion and weren’t disappointed at all. With breakfast still taking up quite the space in our stomach we resorted to ordering a veggie Pizza and a Chilli Cheese Sandwich to split between the three of us. The service was speedy and the food delicious. The view of the sea and people meandering around just added to overall ambience.
Pizza By the Bay
After our late lunch we decided it was time for us to make our way back to Navi Mumbai. So we bid adieu to my aunt, Mumbai, Marine Drive & the Monsoon. Till next time…
Fitness has been something that has always been of importance to me, probably because I struggled a lot with it for a good part of my life and only in the past 5 years was able to maintain a good fitness regime. When I found out that I was pregnant one question that did cross my mind was, “how much weight will I gain?” I have a tendency to easily put on weight and had heard stories of people gain 40+ pounds and post delivery were struggling to lose the excess weight etc.; honestly, I did not want to end up in the same boat. I had worked really hard to achieve a personal fitness goal and I was determined to have a healthy and fit pregnancy.
It was my mental determination more than anything that allowed me to achieve a fit and healthy pregnancy. Trust me, it was not easy and required a lot of discipline, but again, I kept saying to myself this is something I want to do. Luckily, my doctor provided me with a good and balanced eating plan. Towards the end of my pregnancy, my night meals were consistently salads, soups and a glass of milk. I would indulge once in a while, but 90% of the time stuck to this regime. Yes, now it did get a little bit monotonous, but then I would try to add different dressings or something to my salad to change it up.
Post partum fitness has been a similar story. I had a c-section and therefore I knew it would be a good 6 weeks or even longer before I could do any sort of exercise. Upon getting the green light from the doctor at my 6 week checkup, I have started going on walks with baby. Today’s wide range of baby carriers has made this a breeze:) My baby absolutely loves being in the ring sling and snoozes off almost instantaneously. Yes, a c-section does come with its own aches and pains, but my rule of thumb was just listening to my body. If I felt good after a 15 minute walk, the next day I added 5 more minutes and so on. Being able to go on these walks has helped me mentally as well. The first month I was going crazy being at home constantly. Taking care of a newborn is exhausting and can get frustrating as well; there have been many a times that I have broken down. These quick walks have provided me with the much “me time” that I was so used to; furthermore they automatically put me in a better mood which enables me to take better care of the baby.
Morning walk with baby in a ring sling
It is easy to say that baby takes up 24/7 of my time (which it does) and give a workout a pass. Just based on my experience, I just urge one to listen to their body and have a strong mind to give it a try….take the baby along with you and make these walks a good bonding time that breaks the monotony of being stuck indoors. I also acknowledge that each pregnancy is different and not everyone is able to stick to such a schedule, but if everything has gone smoothly pre and post delivery, I would recommend not giving up on adding these simple walks to one’s schedule. You will enjoy it and so will your baby 🙂