What will I miss?

I am relieved of my official duties, we have shipped our things, we made our one last final day trip within the UK to a place I wanted to always visit (more on that later in the day trip post on the other blog), we have given away all the things that might be of some use to others, found my plants a new home with my friends, etc. etc. There are a few last-minute bits and pieces left to do until the next weekend when we finally board the plane. But there is one question that a few asked me for which I am trying here to find an answer. What will you miss when you go back to India?

Honestly? I don’t know. Materially I don’t think I would miss anything. Life has taught me (without being too maudlin) that it is easy to replace the material things if you have some savings left with you and you might even come to know if you absolutely needed those things in your life or not. And with the globalisation of things, we can get a lot of stuff that we get here in the UK back in India too (although I should say I remember seeing more American stuff than British stuff… times might have changed…who knows…I will update you if I do see a change πŸ™‚ ) Jokingly, I would say I would miss the concept of a bath. Just soaking in that hot water until I turn into a prune is just heavenly during the winter. I can never have that in my place. Half of the time we have water shortages, especially in the summer. What about English Breakfast? I might have to travel to Bangalore to get one but definitely not in Coimbatore πŸ˜€

What did I miss when I moved to the UK? I am sure some folks asked me the same question when I was about to leave India. After living here for 5 years, what did I miss? Did I miss the dosa and paratha or the temples or my travel fridge magnets (100’s of them) that I had collected over the years which are now stored in a locked room? Honestly? No. What then? People in my circle, my very small circle. This circle consists of my close friends and immediate family. Thanks to WhatsApp, Skype, GatherTown, Zoom etc., the distance between them and me seems to be that bit smaller.

Having been here in the UK only for 5 years, my circle is much smaller than the one in India πŸ˜€ and since the sudden change of work, place, country etc, is gonna hit me hard next month, I guess I will miss them sharply given the way we have been together. So here is a shout out to those few poor souls who happen to be in my circle and for whose presence I am forever grateful because they made my life a bit more colourful here. (Only pseudonyms in my blog sadly… but I hope you can spot yourself in this post πŸ˜€ )

When I moved from software engineering to teaching I didn’t have much help and was floundering to find a way (thanks to some online courses and books) but Mr Millwall came to my rescue with his 30+ years of teaching experience. He just took me under his wing and taught me the ropes of education and became my very close friend. He is also the first to call me if there is some interesting news in the cricket world πŸ™‚ I am glad he is enjoying his retirement and is doing well. Hopefully, he will learn how to call via WhatsApp soon so that I can connect with him.

The tall Croatian teaching assistant has been there to give me an extra hand whenever I needed one and kept me sane. We didn’t have anything in common and in spite o that we bonded very well. Being much more experienced than me both at work and in life, she was a good sounding board and we started hanging out of work too, sharing bus rides and life stories and eventually became friends. I am glad that I could get her a churidar from India last time I was there and she looked absolutely gorgeous in it.

Ms Iskcon was Mr M’s friend but she is now a family friend, thanks to our heritage and shared native language. We used to spend our Christmas Eve at her place playing board games and puzzles with her family, which gave us the feeling of being a part of a big loud, amazing, and chaotic family from now and then. She used to come to our place for the Sunday lunch (she had a knack for calling us exactly at lunchtime and would be invited inevitably πŸ˜€ It helped that she lived only a floor below us.) Any time we talk, we end up discussing and debating everything under the sun. I will cherish her ability to discuss anything and everything (spiritual, political, socio-economic, you name it). I sincerely hope that she can visit us in India.

Now comes the group in Swansea πŸ™‚ Who knew that a kick (literally) would start a friendship. I keep telling Mr Half-Trousers that in terms of his age he is closer to my nephew than to me but that has only made the friendship more fun. He has tried to teach me frisbee (emphasis on the word tried…). He has also fed me so much baked stuff it feels like he was fulfilling some debt he owed from his previous life πŸ˜€ His sticky toffee pudding is one thing I will never be able to replace. I wish he keeps up with his star baker abilities in spite of his busy software engineering lifestyle, which he has taken up now. He has also been my yoga student for the past 6 months helping me in my journey.

Mr Tall and Grumpy (I can say this and get away with it because he knows he is, lol) was that person whom I thought would the quiet and studious one but turned out that he is all that and also the naughtiest. Both him and Mr Half-Trousers have been the reason I am known in my team for throwing squishy toys at people. They drove me nuts with their antics πŸ˜€ but he was also my partner in crime at work. We taught together quite a lot and that gave us a lot to share in terms of knowledge and experience. I am very glad he is having a stint at the industry now and I will miss seeing his daughter grow (hopefully he will keep me posted on that and would take a trip to India and go on a good food tour).

Mr Badmintennis is one of a kind. An old soul trapped in a very young body. He amazes me with his knowledge of all things old and historic. I should call him Mr Minecraft or Mr Gamemaker because he is very well known for that but more than that he is/was my badminton/tennis partner. We have been playing the game for a while now and I hope he continues to play it with the rest of the group. I am sure I will engage his expertise in my new job when I have to do something in Minecraft or even take us on a virtual tour of computers.

Ms OrganizedArtist joined us during the first lockdown and so there has been a delay in getting to know her but my god, she is talented. I am always happy to be associated with very artistic friends like her and Anita. They bring a lot of colour in my life πŸ™‚ She is the second person in my life (after my friend in Bangalore) with whom I haven’t felt any reservations whatsoever, while being before their camera and knowing that they are taking my photograph. She is yet to perfect her art of hitting Mr Badmintennis on his head during the tennis/badminton games but I am sure she will get there with a little bit more practice πŸ˜‰ (make sure you let me know when that happens, girl!) She did a painting of my portrait which is available on my Instagram and I am very thankful for that. It is definitely getting framed. I am sure she will definitely make her way to South India and I will get to visit her home country (Ukraine) soon.

There are a couple more people I know and are part of that small circle but this is my group whom I would like to keep in touch with no matter where I go and what I do (assuming that they feel the same πŸ˜€ ) I am again hoping that the various communication channels that helped me keep in touch with my group in India while I was in the UK would help me do the same with this lot. This is also my way of conveying my thanks to them for being part of my journey and saying a proper goodbye I guess, even though we did say our goodbyes by doing a South Indian food tour and what a day it was πŸ™‚ So much fun.

Diolch yn fawr for everything and hopefully we will get to meet again sooner rather than later.

It’s been a year already…

Ever since I moved to Swansea, I guess I have fallen off the blogging bandwagon and have been posting here only once a year (approx), which is sad really. Because so much has happened since we moved here and I could have kept the record of all the stories behind it if only I took some time to post about it. Here is hoping to do more in the new year.

2021 hasn’t been any different to 2020 to most and I am not going to add to the doom and gloom of it because we have had enough of that. I have kept myself busy with my post-graduate certificate course in higher education, started training in yoga (online), prepared two new courses when I had a break for a term, visited a few places (safely and within the permitted guidelines) etc. etc.

Now coming to the end of this year, I have successfully completed my PGCE and am now a qualified yoga teacher. I have already started teaching yoga to a couple of my friends and have been doing so for the past few months (online, of course). I recently finished writing all about my travels on my other blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed travelling in and around Swansea and making sure we take breaks whenever we can and as safely as we can. Neither of us is getting any younger but the year-long training of yoga has kept us in good shape. I should say that I have never been better, health-wise, than now and may long it continue. I have also never written so many essays in my life. This year has seen me write so many essays (both for my PGCE and for my yoga training). I think that is why I didn’t feel the need to write anymore in any blog. People are surprised when I tell them about the essays in yoga teacher training. Those essays have enabled me to read various classical texts on yoga and have given me a lot of things to think about and reflect on. It also reiterates the fact that yoga is an all-encompassing thing, a way of life, not just a physical exercise.

I have also witnessed a few heartbreaks, a few disappointments, a few sad events, but who doesn’t. It is part of life and growing up, I think. Just recently my nephew had a breakdown because he wasn’t happy with his Christmas present πŸ˜€ and he thought that Santa could have done better. I had to tell him that his message to Santa about his gift was very ambiguous and in future, he would do well to remember that ambiguity would lead to heartbreaks and he better make it super clear as to what he wants.

At work, after being together for almost three years, slowly things started to change as and when folks moved on to better prospects and I ended up finally identifying who my friends are and who are just acquaintances and I am glad for my friend’s circle, which is very small but very good. I also had a good term recently where a very difficult module was totally redesigned and there were no tears. That is a huge success in my book. Even though I wasn’t super happy about going back to face to face teaching this autumn term, we did it and touch wood, no one got ill during the term. We maintained social distancing, face masks, letting people learn from home when they had any slight symptoms etc. What the next term is gonna be is anyone’s guess at the moment. All I know is I am ready for both online and in-person teaching and I have managed to keep the learning experiences similar-ish either way.

Another year without any choir to attend (not even an online one like last year) which is sad, but at least we were able to visit a few churches and see their nativity displays and enjoy a couple of Christmas markets. This is the first holiday where I haven’t been working or even thinking of work. All I have been doing is relaxing, doing odds bits and pieces that needed to be done at home, doing my regular yoga, and finishing some last-minute books for this year (according to GoodReads, I have read 130 books this year, which is quite good) etc. Just chilling out really.

To top it all, I have finally been offered a teaching job back in India in my hometown which I would be started during the next academic year (Indian academic year). That means that we will be relocating to India next year, which is going to be very exciting more for Mr M than me, as it would be like going home after a very long break I guess. The move might not be as smooth as it was when I moved to the UK as it was just me then and this time we are moving as a family. There will be so many things to sort out and on top of it I would have to start my work without much break, but I guess I deal better when I have things to do and Mr M is more than capable of dealing with the admin stuff anyway. My nieces and nephew are quite excited about my move back and are looking forward to it very eagerly.

This virus is not going to go away any time soon. It is in their nature to mutate and spread and then mutate some more and spread again. It is their cycle of life, just like we have ours. Having seen the worse of it in 2020 and then some in 2021, all we can ever try and do is be safe ourselves and ensure that we protect our near and dear ones as much as we can within capacity. Some things are beyond our capacity and control especially, how the governments behave during such a crisis (I am trying hard to not get political here), but we should do what is within our control and capacity and get through this together. I am getting my booster jab today and Mr M has already had his a couple of weeks ago. Here’s to hoping that these boosters help along with some common sense.

Looking back, this year has been jam-packed with loads of learning and travelling and the new year is starting with new opportunities and new experiences. Let’s hope and pray that it is all for the best.

May this New Year bring with it hope, health, and happiness to all of you. Keep smiling and keep spreading joy wherever and whenever you can. Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! Happy New Year! 

Artistic keys

One of my friend in USA has started to display his artwork through his instagram photographs. I  have always loved his work and glad that he has started to share them with the world.  He is the one who designed my tattoos. Here is a favourite one of mine. 

Everything is changing

Hell down, heaven down
Livin’ in the same town
Tryna find something new
Broken picture frame
I’ve been frozen in
Tryna find a better view

This ain’t real, this ain’t cool
This ain’t what I signed up to
This ain’t right, it’s no good
No good, oh

Everything is changing,
And I’ve been here for too long
Going through the same things
I’ve been hurting too long,
Got to move on
Say I-I-I-I can’t do this anymore
If everything is changing
And I know, yeah, you gotta let go

I don’t understand playing by the same hand
How you find something new
I can’t work it out what it’s all about
I won’t live my life through you

I’ve been here for too long


The above song and its lyrics were part of a post I created close to 2 years ago but it did not see the light of the day for some reason. It resonated how I was feeling at that time and maybe I thought it was too personal to share… I don’t exactly remember why I didn’t publish it. I remember playing that song again and again and again. I remember thinking my life was like a bag of frozen peas. I was in no way unhappy. I was content, I was enjoying life. But there was this feeling of me not moving on, even though I moved on from my previous marriage. I traveled far and wide, loved my gym and the workouts, had great fun spoiling my nieces and nephews…But you get a feeling that I was still holding back. From what? I couldn’t figure out. But that was OK. I have a great support system (family and friends) and I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Last year I decided to not play the same hand and try something new. First time ever in my life, I tried dating. It was interesting, having never done such a thing before. Then in a few months, I found someone. He isn’t Indian, but he is more Indian than me in so many ways (sometimes annoyingly so πŸ˜€ ). Does that even matter? Nope. But the time and distance mattered. He lives in London (hence my London visit this year) and the daylight savings weren’t helping us either. When he came down to Bangalore last year to meet personally for the first time, it didn’t feel awkward. On the contrary, it was like meeting a long time friend. I told him when we had started talking earlier that if I can’t be friends with him, then it wouldn’t work. I quoted Friedrich Nietzsche to him: ‘It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages’. Slowly, things started falling into place once we started to get to know each other.

We got married a couple of months ago, which leads to the current move. After the hassles of preparing the documents (which almost weighed 2 kgs and took almost 3 months of preparation) and submitting the visa, attending the interview and waiting with abated breath for the results, I got my visa end of last month. Since then my days has just been filled with goodbyes, packing, more goodbyes, and more packing. I never realized that I knew so many people and so many of them cared about me. It is slightly overwhelming. My maid, even though happy that I got ‘settled down and ain’t single no more’, wasn’t really ready to let me go. She had tears when I told her the news. She was a pseudo-mom to me all these years and I respect her a lot. Today she was asking if I would forget her once I move away. I had to assure her that I wouldn’t.

I thought that my move wouldn’t be a big deal and hardly anyone will notice. But the reality was very different. I had to spend a lot of time explaining to my nieces and nephew why I had to move and none of them were happy about it. My mom had enough time to prepare herself for this and given that I am the only child of hers who is going to be staying so far away, she is both happy and sad. Happy that she can boast to her friends that her daughter lives abroad (sometimes I don’t understand why that is a big deal…is it because of the age-old belief that if you are living abroad, you are living a better life? FYI: that isn’t true. It is just a myth) and sad that I won’t be able to meet her whenever she / I feel like.

I am totally exhausted, now that all the packing and cleaning is done. I have got my flight tomorrow and might be off the grid for a few daysΒ until I get to my unpacking, once I reach London. Everything is changing and this is the next step of another phase of my life along with a partner, who is all the more happy to give me a helping hand πŸ˜‰

So yeah, I will catch up with you all again from a different country and a different city. Until then, take care, happy blogging and be safe πŸ™‚

Β 

After effects

Party.jpg

What happens when you party on a Saturday night with friends until you could say Good Morning to Sunday? You wake up panicking at 7.30 am that your alarm for some reason did not ring (which is set for weekdays to ring at 6 am, 6.30 am and 7 am – don’t ask my why three…it is what it is) and that you will fall behind your schedule for the day which is fully packed already and wondering why your maid hasn’t turned up yet! It took me a solid 15 mins to get my bearings right and when I realized it was still Sunday I promptly did what a sane person should do. I went back to sleep to get up at 9.30 am πŸ˜‰