Foreign Countries Ka Charm – Myths Busted

Being away from your nation is not an ideal situation – contrary to what every one back home thinks.  All those theories that western countries are clean, beautiful, corruption free, logical, ethical, great medical care..blah blah (yes they are blah blah blah mate!). To be honest, except for a nice car driving experience, I have not seen the presence of any such adjectives.  Living overseas is an extremely overrated impression.

Its been two years since we are in OZ.  We came in as Permanent Residents, and were lucky (yes very lucky …I would say almost a miracle) to get decent (not very great but decent) jobs.  That broke MYTH 1 – You can easily pick up any random jobs abroad. We have faced worst kinds of bias here.  Refrees/ Reference (SIFARISH in desi language) is a big thing.  Most of the jobs here are fixed for Bhai Bhatijawaad.  Seriously guys! You rely on referenced to hire?  So the process goes:

There is a need of a resource with Team A.

  1. Job is advertised on SEEK.
  2. 100 candidates apply.
  3. Three candidates are shortlisted/ interviewed.
  4. In the end, the person recommended/ referred to by the Manager of Team B gets the job – irrespective of the fact that the other candidates suited more for the profile.

So the first thing when you land in Australia is to start building networks.  But how – Indians don’t mingle and you don’t have other circle. Being active on Social Media like LinkedIn helps – but only when luck strikes.

By any luck, you get a job.  There comes the next surprise- its never ethical  here.  Breaks the MYTH 2 – In Overseas they value work and had work.  The organizations play fair and if you give in your honest 100% effort, you are valued as an employee.  No way, Aussies play mind games.  They assess your weakness and play it against you. The plan is to hit your self-confidence that can affect your productivity.  Employees gossip (politer word for Bitch) like anything, and its the Chinese Whisperer all the way. Organizations are never fair.  They have to give certain rights to permanent employees – so they hire on casual.  If there is no work, they want you to go back home; even if they have promised full time hours.  People don’t want to work and they change stand like you change chairs in musical chairs.  Lying, manipulating, cursing, swearing is so common on work floor. I worked for 13 years in India, but have never ever seen someone saying ‘F’ words on work floor…here is a common term mate!

God forbid, if you fall ill…I had a medicine allergy once and was puking the whole night since evening.  In midnight, I told my husband that we needed to go to hospital. I entered in emergency with a bucket in my hand (I was puking so much I just could not handle it).  We reported to the reception nurse; they made us sit and wait…One hour, two hours, three hours..I am puking after every two-three minutes…and then my husband lost his cool and asked the nurse where is the doctor, and then comes the doctor…she could not find my pulse to give an injection and when she inserted the cannula, my blood started flowing on the bed..After some AHHs and OOPss she could give me the shot to control the allergy.  I survived; but MATE that’s medical emergency here.  MYTH 3 – great patient care, great doctors…contrary to what we think medical care/ attention is much better in India.  You at least can knock a local doctors door in the midnight to get first aid or even public hospitals ..though over crowded you see doctors in emergency.  In Australia there were barely 5 patients in emergency, and doctor said she was late as the emergency was over crowded!

When it comes to cleanliness, I cannot complain much (after all I am Indian and hey India is all about slums, call centers, rapes, bad roads, poverty, open defecation, etc).  We still need to go a long way to be seen beyond that.  But, coming back to the point, I see cigarette stubs, coffee mugs all the way in the city.  You get fly/mosquitoes/ bugs here as well.  There are some places that stink.  I have visited some old building that stink badly of old carpets, rugs.

Trust me guys, all those people who post great landscape pictures with Barbecues/ beers are lonely, very lonely there.  Loneliness is the way of life overseas.  Shifts clash, timings clash..no one has time for any one here.  Those pictures/ get togethers are not everyday routine, rather few rare occasions.  Pain is all that you get …

After two years, we should have felt much settled here.  Our kids are very happy..after all no school pressure as was in India…but something has died within us.  Australians are empathetic people but not helpful – they will listen to you, empathize with you, even cry with you but will not help you.  I as a person was not very aggressive person – but I guess Australia has brought the worst out of me – I am always angry, frustrated, bitter and aggressive.

YEH DUNIYA AGAR MILL BHEE JAYE TOH KYA HAI!!

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Moving to Aus

Here comes the most critical decision of my life – we have moved to Adelaide, Australia. The easiest part was getting the visa and the toughest part was moving away from Moms and Dads (Mom and Mom-in-law & Dad and Dad-in-law), brothers, and our sister.

Bollywood Effect Showing:

When Jennifer Aniston, in an episode of Friends, discovers that she is pregnant she remarked – Despite fierce protection, few things have hidden weapons that trickle down from your defenses.

Well, something similar happened to me. NAAH!! I am not pregnant. What happened is as follows

My six year old fell down. It hurt him badly. He stood up and braved his tears. His Dad ran and dusted his clothes. He caressed his face and asked whether it hurt. The six year old gave a careless shrug ‘No, Dad!! Mard ko dard nahin hotaa’.

We both stared at him open mouthed. Oblivion of our expressions he said, “I am going to be an army captain! Main mard hoon…aur mard ko dard nahin hotaa’.

We were astonished. We have tried our level best to keep our kids away from Bollywood…permitting only the Restricted viewing. But Bollywood surely has its own way to seep into any forbidden area. I asked him, where he heard this from. Pat came the reply “My friend in the school”. Ahh…

These days his favorite phrase is…’Bhooton ka sansaar, Sacche dil ka Pyaar, aur bhattar singh kee raftaar..koyee nahin pakad saktaa’.

He sometimes calls himself Khiladi Bhaiya and sometimes Badtameez.

His PTM is nearing. I will have to talk to his teacher to keep him away from his ‘Filmy Friend’. And hope he recovers soon from his filmy fever 🙂

This one goes out to the most important women of my life

My Maternal Grandmother – An epitome of sacrifice, love, and love. She was filled with love and pride for her kids, grandkids and great grandkids. She was there when we cried, celebrated, succeeded or failed. She was hardly 14 when she got married in a struggling two member family – a widowed mom-in-law and posthumously born husband. All her life she dedicated her sweat and blood to her family, selflessly. And when she died, she left behind an affluent family of 7 kids, 17 grandkids, and 3 great grandkids (at that time). She was particularly close to me, and I am still in awe of her ethics and principles of life. How can someone love her family so much…so much that when she died she was thinking not about her pain, but about her family. SHE TAUGHT ME HOW TO LOVE SELFLESSLY!!

My Paternal Grandmom – I haven’t yet met anyone as beautiful as she was. She was that unique blend of spotless beauty with loads of brains. But my grandfather was a legend in himself – a versatile man with deep political knowledge, towering personality, and intelligence. My grandfather was the Finance Minister of a princely state, and a close friend and confidante of then King. Britishers used to look up to my grandfather for political and financial advice. My grandfather’s personality could easily overshadow anyone’s persona; but my grandmom, though less educated she was, maintained her dignity and individuality. Her sons grew up to be Class I administrative personnel; yet she dominated them with her sharp memory, and knowledge. She read regularly, and had a passion for movies and songs. She held to her grace, and never ever let my grandfather or her sons take away her individuality. She left a deep impact on her sons and grandkids. She taught me, “HOW TO BELIEVE IN ONESELF, EVEN WHEN SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE BETTER THAN YOU’.

My Mother – My mom inherited most of her qualities – love, selflessness, and ethics – from her mom. But she went a step further. She has an immense courage and a rare strength. Usually a dove in her regular day-to-day dealings, she quickly turns into a tigress when she perceives a threat to her loved ones. She has led an exemplar life – at points when my father lost the courage, she displayed the rare strength to go on. I really admire her capability to spring back, when life deals a blow. FROM HER I LEARNT HOW TO BE COURAGEOUS, AND ROAR LIKE A LIONESS!! It is her lessons that have helped me to look straight into the eyes of adversity, when it strikes.

My Mom in Law – My MIL (as everyone these days call) is a dexterous one. She has worked very hard all her life to MAKE IT HAPPEN, for her husband, her kids, and her students (she worked as a teacher for 35 years of her life). She met with a life threatening accident that crushed both her legs. She was bedridden for almost a decade. Yet, it was her sheer will power (and her kids’ care) that made her stand on her feet. We have had our own share of usual MIL-DIL struggle; yet she amazes me with her tremendous confidence and will power. She is very sharp, quick to respond, and has a great presence of mind. SHE TAUGHT ME THE STRENGTH OF WILL POWER.

My Masee (mother’s sister) – She is my masi, but hardly 13 years elder to me. She has always been like my elder sister, who is a mirror image of my mom – quite justifying the relationship name ‘Maa + see’ (like mother). She spent her early 20’s with us most of the time, and has supported me in my troubled teens, early youth, and early married life. She has been a rock like support to me. And even now, when she has teenaged kids of her own, she is usual self –selfless and loving as well. SHE TRULY TAUGHT ME HOW TO HOLD ONE’S GRACE IN ALL THE WAKES OF LIFE.

My Best Friend Rachna– Ahh!! Har ek friend zaroore hotaa hai!! But this one is special. She has been a rock solid strength for me all my life. It’s been a decade since we met; yet we are in constant touch. She has that spiritual connect with me, where we get that intuition that the other one is not well or is feeling down. SHE TAUGHT ME WHAT RELIEF A FRIEND’S ‘I AM THERE FOR YOU’ CAN BRING TO YOU!!

My Daughter – SHE TAUGHT ME THE MEANING OF ‘LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT’!! I still remember when I saw her for the first time. She was awake and looking straight in my eyes, and I fell in love with her instantly. She still is my first love. The other day, one of my colleague remarked that she thought I have only one child as all I talk is about my daughter. She has and will always hold that special place in my heart. I don’t know I cry when she cries, and I rejoice when she laughs out loud. I remember, on the TV premiere of ‘Rowdy Rathore’, I and my hubby were laughing; not because we enjoyed the movie, but she was in fits of laughter. And seeing her laugh so loudly was enough for us to enjoy. I don’t know how she manages to manipulate me into sharing my most prized possession…even my Parker pen. Her one smile, her one troubled look, her one look of pain…is enough to stir strongest emotions in my heart. It’s because of her I got to know the best emotion of the world – parenthood.

Relaxed, Laid Back, and Blessed Birthday

This year my birthday fell on a Saturday, which came as a welcome relief. While the kids were away at my mom’s place, it was just two of us. The birthday started with a note of introspection. It was a chilly, wintery morning, and I was in no mood to leave my quilt. But alas, my maid came just at the right time. So practically, she was the first one to meet me on my birthday. When she was cleaning the home, I slid back in my quilt. Lying down there, I introspected on my life in the past decade. Well, it surely has been a roller coaster ride for me, since my elder one was born. So many things changed – I started my career, we shifted homes, younger one was born, I switched my jobs, my hubby wound up his career, and so much. Our appearances have changed, hairs have greyed, and today we are just the parents.

As kids were away, I decided to make the most of the day. The thought brought it energy in me. While my hubby was still sleeping, I got up, had my bath, and wore my best dress. I decided to go to a local temple. When I stepped out, I was greeted with warm sunshine!! First Gift by God, as it had been foggy for the past 5-6 days. I drove down to the temple and had a wonderful time there. When I returned, my hubby was up and ready after a bath. He had also prepared breakfast for both of us. He gave me a warm hug – something for which I can give up all the comforts of my life. I went to my room, and there was a BIG SURPRISE – a woollen suit, that I had admired in a shop few days back and left because of high price, was hanging, and was stitched as well. Also there was a lovely jewelry box with imitation jewelry. My hubby had gauged what I really desired, and got them for me. I shrieked in surprise and gave him a tight hug. Phone calls started pouring in – my papa-in-law always the first one to call, my parents, my brother, cousins and friends. Kiddos called up, and my parents invited us to come over in the evening.

After breakfast, we both took our chairs out in the sunshine, and lazed there for a couple of hours. We talked on almost everything – our aspirations, politics, religion, and so many things that I cannot recollect right now. I felt relaxed, all quiet and calm within. At around lunchtime, my hubby asked me to get ready. He took me to the local market, and we both had Amritsari Kulcha (typical street food that we often had in courtship period). We then went to a local Walmart Mall, and brought our groceries. Now I had started missing my kiddos badly, and the sun was also getting quiet. We went to our parent’s place. Kids came running with all the surprises. They made a wonderful card for me, with flowers and cake. My parents and brother’s family surrounded me, and I was showered with love and gifts. WoW!! What a birthday I had!! I entered my forties with such a lovely day.

Thank You God, you have given us love and compassion!!

Denture lost!!

Last weekend, I was at my parent’s place. As old age is settling in, my parents are becomingly increasingly, lovingly funny. And the best part, they are not aware of it.

My Mom has a weird habit of keeping her denture at strange places, beneath her mattress, or in the bathroom cupboard, and sometimes in the kitchen. Yesterday, as I was there with my kiddos, my mom was up on her toes. But after sometimes, she got tired, and got into her quilt. My dad, wearing a half worn cap, bright maroon sweater (which is very loose and stretched now), and eyes confused and desperate comes in.

Dad: Snehjee
Mom: Hanjee
Dad: Big problem!!
Mom: What happened?
Dad: I can’t find YOUR denture.
Mom: Ohh Is that so? How bad of me? I must have kept it here and there. I know that’s a bad habit, but me and my lazy bones..

She gets up and goes away muttering these words. In a min, she returns back, with hands on her waist.

“But, my denture is in my mouth!!!”

Sending me and my kids in peals of laughter.

Ahh …My dear MPs…You have already condemned her to a shameful life

Yesterday, our Hon’able Parliament rocked with allegations and protest against brutal gangrape. During the process, respected MP Jaya Bacchhan and Sushma Swaraj were quite vocal against it. When I saw the news, I was impressed to see them come against so aggressively against the brutal crime. But Alas!! I was ashamed by their statements.

Jayajee says that the girl is now as good as a corpse. All her life she will live the life of dead. While Sushmajee says, that the stain will stay with her all her life. She has been now stained. WOWW!! Applause!!

How intelligent!! Why the hell should the girl live the life of dead? Why..because she bore the brunt of seven men’s savagery? Because she got trapped with seven animals in a moving bus, and was brutally raped by them.

Shouldn’t these women demand her swift rehab? Why do we feel that now she will be unable to live a dignified life? Why is it presumed that she is dead? Why couldn’t these women tell the girl – its ok!! There is no need to be ashamed of. They had your body, but not your soul. You are more than dear to us, and entitled to a full life of happiness. Let those animals be damned. It’s time for men to be ashamed, not you. You are as chaste and pure as ever. No one can touch your spirit and strength…

Please for God’s sake, stop condemning women for all the atrocities that men commit. Let them be accountable for what they do.