Saturday, September 15, 2012

London Dreams

My love story or rather my infatuation with UK began 3 years ago. As a newbie in my organisation, I was chosen to be a part of a project which required me to travel to UK.

Those few weeks of anticipation saw me walking around the office with a stupid grin on my face, telling all and sundry that I was going to London. My mom called long lost relatives and gloated. My dad told all the uncles in our building how proud he was of his foreign jaane wali beti. My little cousins looked at me with awe and flocked to me for career advice.However, a few days before my flight, the trip was cancelled. Reason? Recession. And the project was abandoned.

For a few months, my parents and I contemplated changing our surnames to Popat*, such was the magnitude of our embarrassment.

So, when I was offered another secondment last year, I accepted it with a lot of skepticism. No hurrahs, no phone calls to long lost relatives and no career advice to cousins.

London was definitely all that I dreamed of and more, for the initial few weeks. I was lost in the glamour of London, in the beauty of the immaculately made up girls and the handsome faces of 6 packed guys. I saw
'The one with the green headphones' and my infatuation shifted from London to the Londoner.

In my few months here, I have met some really nice people and some really mean racist ones as well.

Random strangers who went out of their way to help the directional-dyslexic me with directions, strangers who offered to help me pick up the right type of milk just by looking at the confusion on my face (trust me, with over 12 varieties of milk on display, there is bound to be a lot of confusion) to strangers took a moment to smile and say that I looked beautiful. I once had a long conversation with a lady who told me that she thought I had a gorgeous complexion and that she wished she could be as tanned as I was. Away from the mom's pampering and dad's protective eye, forced to do everything from cooking to the laundry to finding places using Google maps, London was the first place that made me feel beautiful and independent.

Managing a team of firangs showed me a completely different side of London. One where the difference between the eastern and western cultures and beliefs is huge. Where it was OK to be single and have a baby but it was not OK to believe in arranged marriages. Where it was OK to treat your parents like strangers, expecting them to call you before they come and visit you, but it was not OK to take a week off so that you can show your parents around. Treading with caution, keeping my opinions to myself (anything and everything can be construed as racist here), I managed to make a few friends - not best friends but colleagues I could call friends. They took me out for drinks and joked about the fact that I was a vegetarian and a non drinker. They pampered my sweet tooth and ensured that I add a couple of dress sizes by eating all the cupcakes and cakes they lovingly baked for me.

London is the place where I realized how much I loved my parents and Sid and how much I took them for granted. In the initial lonely days, all I could wish for was to fly back home and cuddle up next to mom. Food that I ran away from at home, now became my comfort food. From the girl who detested home cooked food, I turned into a girl who maintains a list of all the home cooked stuff that she wants to eat.

London is the place where I met G.

London made me realize that I am not as career focused as I pretend to be. When my company decided to extend my visa and asked me to stay on for 2 years, I resigned. I want to work, I want a career. But not at this cost. I want to stay close to my parents and my brother. I want a career closer to home.

As I now pack my bags to come back to India, I am scared. For the first time since I graduated, I do not have a job. I do not know where/when I will get my next job. But yet, I know everything will work out fine.

My mom says that the next 3 months will be a turning point in my life, one that will show me what course the future will take. I do not know what that future holds. All I know is that I soak no more in my tears, I will eat, sleep and chill for the next 3 months and spend some quality time at home. :)

*Popat is a Mumbaiya term used to refer to people who make a royal fool of themselves.

P.S. This post is an entry for the contest on Indiblogger  by Surf excel Matic #Soak no More Contest!


Anita Jeyan Sandeep said...

Wow neat write up..! Missed u here! And the next three months will also be the ones where u update blog and let us readers have nice time, no? ;-) Hope you find a job soon!

NIM said...

Ah! Home Sweet Home... :D
This was such an honest post :)
All the best for your future...

Shanu said...

@Anita: Yup, thats the plan. I no longer have an excuse that I dont have time to write :)

@NIM: Thanks :)

numerounity said...

Welcome back! Shanu...

Full on..

moonlite:D said...

have great time at home girl with all those love in the form of mom-prep food.

nice to see you back :)