Things you would miss about India
So, let’s start with the first category where I want to just inform the ‘going to be NRI Bride’ about some facts that might seem trivial but are significant topics to be aware of. These in some way or the other have been a part of your life, these might not be a deal breaker but knowing these will help you prepare even more for what lays ahead. And mind you these are some things that no one would warn you about. And yes, if you are marrying an NRI guy this all is what you are signing up for.
Undeniably you will miss your family and their support, your siblings, your friends and all your close relatives. You are much aware of this and don’t you agree it’s that one obvious thing which in the midst of all your wedding preparations probably everyone is needlessly telling you anyway. No amount of words can completely express ‘How much you will miss your mom’ so I am not even including it in my list. So a few days ago I ran a survey amongst my fellow NRI Brides to know exactly from the horse’s mouth, precisely what were the things they were missing the most about India, sitting so far away from homeland. I got a really good response and many said similar things so I can definitely count them as mutual denominators for us, let’s see what these are.
**As promised, I will share my first-hand experience about all these things, next to each point, may be it touches a chord.
- Street food: Yes, no more Paani-poori/ Golgappe, right from that stall, no more Chole Bhatoore from that authentic place you have always been in love with, all that Chat Pakodi and stuff, which takes just Rs. 25 to buy but takes hours of cooking time when desired in perfection, you will have to eat at the compromised, meet halfway sort of restaurants (owner is usually from another part of India and/or cannot make the snack properly). There are Haldiram’s packets for some of these street foods but no ways even next to the REAL thing. So ladies be ready to miss all this fun food, or be ready to cook these at home (Pain!)
NRIB Byte : i just completely lovvvve Aloo Tikki and my best friend loves Gol-Gappe every evening after our tuition class (yes after every class, reason why I was so fat in my olden days) we used to go to this shop and take one plate of each snack and share! Neither do I get to eat with this friend anymore nor do I have any easy access to any Chaat joints like that, now I call her and we only ‘Chat’ about that ‘Chaat’.
- Festival celebration : Holi, Diwali, Id, Onam, Durga Pooja, Navratri, Karwachauth ask anyone how they celebrate these festivals in India and they will sketch in your mind beautiful pictures beset with color, vigor, fun, food ,dresses, feelings you name it, it’s all there. However for our lovely NRIBs this is just a day when you trying to make the most of how much ever you are allowed to do, depending on the country. The countries abroad have some Indian associations which arrange big/small events around these days but we cannot, just cannot match the full spirited enjoyment of these festivals, as being celebrated in India.
NRIB Byte : Here in Swiss some Indian festivals just come and go and we miss them, we have to keep an eye on when is the Navratri beginning, it’s not obvious looking at the high in the atmosphere or by decorated markets (although Facebook, the new newspaper is doing a good job). Whatever Indian festivals we witness are smaller and altered versions of our king size celebrations in India, and sometimes not even on the exact day of that festival. It’s okay to mark that we celebrated but the crazy fun and real stuff is lying back home. On Diwali we can’t have firecrackers, and on Holi hardly any color.
- Bollywood movies at PVR : Are you a movie buff, are you the animal that’s found on the first day, first show of a good release, then you will be supremely disappointed as not all countries have Indian movie releases. Sometimes they release the movie but in the theater which is sooooo far from your house that either it’s too expensive or too stupid to go there for one. So either you wait for DVDs, Blu ray discs to be sent to you or wait for an acceptable print to be online ..Yikes!
NRIB Byte: We wait.
- Indian Dresses : So you look like a complete doll wearing an Indian Churidar dress, you have a collection of fabulous Sarees from your trousseau, you think our chiffon and tissue Dupattas are the most ultimate accessories? Basically if you are a fan of the Indian attire, then my friend let me tell you, you will have to let go of this Indian style addiction. Sometimes weather, sometimes culture and sometimes your lifestyle will slowly put most of your Indian dresses in the back shelves of your wardrobe, and slowly migrating to the guest room wardrobe. If you have a job, especially a job in an office, one day all you see in your closet is black tops, black skirts, white shirts and work dresses.
NRIB Byte : I brought some suits and Sarees when I came to Switzerland, my husband and I didn’t discuss what should be in my luggage when I fly, so I have all these dresses. Very beautiful dresses bought from expensive stores in Delhi, most of them have not been used more than once and some I haven’t touched at all. And Sarees, hardly ever! Priya my friend also got some Sarees here, she was a newbie at Saree draping anyway and now with lack of practice, her Sarees are enjoying extended hibernation in some cabinets.
- Domestic help : Your old trusted maids who used to ask you “baby room saaf kar doon” (may I clean your room), “baby dinner mein kya khaogi” (what would you have in dinner). These are all gone. Vanished, yep! You are the cleaning lady, you are the cook, you are car-wash guy, you are all-in-one multi-talented worker at your home sweet home and the bigger the house is more bones you should be ready to move. Oh.. so the NRI guy you are about to get married has a dishwasher at home, trust me still you are the dishwasher too. Hear it from the pro, many things need a hand-wash like big cooking vessels, cookers, casseroles, and some plastic containers and more.. In the dreams of your lovely life abroad all these responsibilities are an overhead. It’s a package deal darling!
NRIB Byte : Sometimes I tell my colleagues in the office about my life in India where we have two cars and my brother has a bike too. Every morning two guys come and take a bucket of water from my home, then they just wash the cars and the bike, then a maid comes and washes the dishes, another one comes and starts cooking, the one who was doing the dishes cleans the house now (dusting, brooming, mopping) then another woman comes and dips the clothes in some soapy water, the clothes lady comes again in the evening for washing these clothes and spreading them outside. A chauffeur comes to pick me up and drops me back from work, right at my door step. Clothes are being ironed and dropped at the doorstep, groceries delivery service and what not.. And I was just a middle class girl, the rich are having even more luxuries than this. You know what my colleagues reply to this.. they want to swap places with me and want to go to India to live my life, they say it was the life of a princess. Hehe.
- Beauty parlour : ever done your eyebrows yourself, your own facial (so boring!), your own waxing(big hassle!) and other such beauty treatments? If not then better get your hands primed up for doing all this, unless you want to spend a fortune on these services. Everything from a haircut to a facial is expensive abroad, because cost of manual labor is more, well this point can give you a tip for a potential business plan if you think about it. But I bet you are going to miss your favorite salon.
NRIB Byte : I have said this before, when I was in India, I was a girl who was earning lots of money with no responsibility. So what was I doing with all this money, some I was saving but some I was consuming (let’s say I was utilizing it, makes me feel good). So I was spending some of my money for these luxurious beauty treatments, in all these wonderful beauty salons, VLCC, KAYA, Affinity, others …actually all. Confession – I was going to a beauty salon almost every week (yep!). The trip could be about anything getting a manicure, pedicure, haircut, facial, clean-up, hair spa, head message and by the end I went to such lazy levels that sometime I would go even for a shampoo. Thank god I got married else I was going to be a beautiful but broke woman one day. But boy.. I miss my beauticians and they miss me too, for I was a generous tipper. And here I am in Switzerland looking for Groupon deals cheapishly (pun intended). I do many things on my own and hardly get a haircut, because I have reached point where I strongly believe that these European hairdressers (at least those I have been to) do not understand Indian hair and its fall, screw them all! Anyway gift in disguise, I have lovely long hair now. Women around think I am game for long hair, truth is, they are just growing!
- Temple : If you are a girl seen with pooja ki thali everyday, okay that’s a bit extreme for today’s generation… but smaller versions still exist and still many of my friends were running to Shiv temple every Monday with mobile phone in one hand and milk for the Shivling in the other, after all who doesn’t want a good husband. So coming back to the point that if you are very religious and like to give the lord a visit at his home regularly, then also my dear you are signing up for some disappointment because abroad these temples are either not present or are not easily reachable. Whatever you are going to miss your own temple. Consider yourself lucky if there is one around your home.
NRIB : I used to go sometimes to a Gurudwara back in Delhi. I miss the sound of gurbani, the beautiful decoration in the Gurudwara, the peace all around. Touching my head to the prayer floor in a small surrender like moment, I got a lot of solutions just by closing my eyes in that very Gurudwara. Aww.. getting too nostalgic right now, but I sincerely miss the Karah Prasad. Now the closest Gurudwara is 1hr 30minutes drive from my home, so I can’t just go when I want, one has to plan such trips, specially with a baby at hand.
- King size Indian weddings: The splendor and grandeur of Indian weddings in India are just unparalleled. Sure, Indian people are hosting wedding parties in other countries but more often than not it’s either a smaller version or adapted form of the same. Many miss the enjoyment and magnificence that’s usually seen in the Indian weddings, in India. The food, décor, entertainment, themes, the works! When abroad, you will miss these random weddings that you always get invited to. Weddings like your dad’s friend’s daughter’s wedding or your neighbor’s wedding, or that big fat wedding reception of your Richie rich aunt’s son .. all of these. But the pain point is you might miss your favorite cousin’s wedding, may be also your own sibling’s wedding, not because you can’t afford it (may be you can’t at some point, while you are paying mortgages for 10 things) but let’s say you can, thing is you/ your DH might be too busy at a project at work, have too less vacation left on your holiday account, or you are pregnant and can’t fly, or your baby’s too small for that flight journey, or just kids are not allowed to take time off school when this wedding is happening. So you are going to miss it ..
NRIB : I personally have missed many many weddings by now, and I lllllovvvvve Delhi weddings, they are just terrific! I have missed them all, missed my best friend’s wedding too. Parents from both sides keep telling me about the wedding invitations they receive and at each, I keep thinking about the good food and how many people I could have met in that wedding and keep thinking I could have worn one of my Indian dresses to it, from this big collection that I keep splurging upon and are now sleeping in my closet.