Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Do we value what we have

I have come up with yet another topic, this one's bit argumentative for some. Readers may  differ from me after reading below subject. But this is my experience as an expat, is what I'm sharing with you all.

I'm writing this as an appreciation of the Indians living in foreign land. May we learn something good from Indians living in foreign country. 

A common scenario on any National Holiday in India; would be something like sleeping late till afternoons. It is presumed to be another Sunday. If the kids are called for flag hosting on Independence Day to school, it’s another big irritating thing for parents mostly and at times for kids too. The charm of the festivity is also decreasing day by day, say for example Holi: We don’t move out from our houses saying colors will damage our skin or some or the other good excuse is always ready with us…. Talk about Dushera, Janmasthmi we don’t feel like going to pandals anymore. Yet another pair of excuses is ready with us. Something like we are tired after office. I gotta prepare for yet another important meeting for tomorrow. ..etc..etc...

What kind of value system are we developing for our coming generations, staying here in India? It’s a fact that the coming generation knows about Pokemon, Disney characters, Barbie dolls but they hardly know who our ministers are, what are our freedom fighters names and how do they look!!! You ask today's youth about current affairs. They are hardly interested.  

In India we always talk about respecting each other and our elders, boasting upon "Atithi Devo bhava", brotherhood. However, I find such things are better followed by our Indian friends living as expatriates. Only a mere fact that the other person is an Indian in another country gives us so much happiness that we tend to associate well with that person. if we happen to find a person from same state or region the happiness becomes many folds indeed. Sitting in an Indian restaurant, roaming around in malls or coming out from cinema hall after a movie, Indians abroad help each other and just after one meeting we tend to develop good bonding among each other. 

However, I somehow wonder that why is it that when we are living in our own country we can’t respect person sitting next to us. We are mostly busy on our cell phones, that we hardly acknowledge someone. So, expecting a simple smile from someone is a rare occasion.

While being in different country the scenario is completely different and for me it came as a surprise when I realized that Indian expats actually takes pain go to embassy for celebrating National days and not National Holidays!!! They try to celebrate all the festivals by which they can keep the spirit of India alive within their hearts. All the festivals like Navratras, Durga puja, Christmas, Holi, Diwali, Ganpati visarjan, Pongal, etc I may have missed out here but no one misses to celebrate. For them India actually lies in their hearts. Infact, abroad there are places where Indians are in majority, where these festivals are celebrated within those community residents. 

Abroad kids are taught about the culture that we inherit in our country, greeting with "Namaste". Kids choose to learn Indian classical dances/music forms rather western dances/music. They love to wear Indian dresses to celebrate festivity with full charm and aura around, that can’t be ignored. 

Indian expat kids have high IQ’s make me feel so proud. They not only know all about another language of foreign land also they know Indian culture, whose who in Indian history and current politics. These facts actually make me ponder a thought that; is it the kids are better groomed outside India?

Yoga evolved from India has many more followers abroad than as compared to Indians in India. 

I question that I asked myself after observing all these things is that, are we better civilized while staying abroad. As the person who moves out from the same country hardly follows these things in India but follows everything in a foreign land. 

I hope the message is clear, if the same can be performed in our own country as well, we can easily conquer not only brains but the hearts of people around the world.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Important to prepare well when moving abroad

When you wanted to speak a thousand words……..
You have decided to move on to different country many feelings pop-up within you. That may generate strange kind of fear in you. As said, it’s good to be little nervous… and then finally with that deep breath you take your step forward to a new beginning and towards a new journey.

Something like this; comes to many working independent women who are married and have to start a new life. When your husband got an opportunity abroad and you have to move along with him. Especially when this is your first trip abroad as - an expatriate.  Are the better halves are really well prepared? No, initially, we are so excited about the new opportunity in foreign land that we tend to forget the adjustment issues involved.

There could be several adjustment issues especially for other half. Your partner already has a new job in hand and he will be busy with his new assignments and new place adjustments. He may skip to realize the fact that you are also dealing with adjustment issues. This is more crucial for a person who was working for years and has been leading an independent life. I would term this as retirement phase.  Though the retirement is planned affair, but here person may or may not be prepared. Also the social surroundings and everything is new here. To meet these small requirements you have to struggle hard.

Imagine a life when you are so busy and stressed having no time to relax and now suddenly you have all the time in the world to do everything, but still you feel so stressed and blank about everything…..

My best advice is to go online, in fact before you have actually moved in to a new place. Get yourself acquaint with place, language, people and habits online. This is will help you to feel comfortable and at peace before you have actually moved into a new land.

Few things that I did when I moved to Jakarta, Indonesia:

1. Explored Facebook to find out are there any Indian friends, whom I can get in touch with. 

2. As soon as I reached language was a big hindrance, I downloaded Google translator for my help.
3. Moved out from my house to meet new people. However, it was really tough to communicate with the locals but gradually I build on.
4. Searched for online Indian community groups. As there are thousand of occasions when all Indians meet and enjoy during weekends, tea-coffee time, parties and several Indian festivals.
5. Hiring of maid was really easy and of real help. My maid actually helped me in guiding local market areas for daily grocery and goods. She was my teacher in learning there native language. For me she was a local tourist guide  and one stop solution for every need of mine.
6. Since I gradually made myself little comfortable with the surroundings, I started travelling to malls and other places on my own.
7. My hubby discovered, movie halls where Indian movies are played. There we meet many Indians for sure.  
8. You can also discover many expat groups also from different nations.

These are few of the things that I did as soon I moved to a new place. 

Lastly my love to my hubby for his support and dearest friend Deepti for her lovely advise,