Good people do exist

I wrote a long post and it all just got deleted because I decided to highlight it and turn it into italics by typing an ‘I’ instead of the button on the top! Oh my days .. so here’s round 2.

This time I’ll keep it short and just dedicate this post to Hannah from Nepali Love Story (it was dedicated to her previously too)

I just want to let you know that thank you for making me realise that good people do exist- I was in need of a huge favour getting my  UK degrees attested. With all the good things happening and the job changes that were taking place, I wanted to change my visa from residency under my father to work and for senior positions, the law requires attested documents from the country of study. It is a long tedious process that I had earlier given up on when I first moved back from the UK. 

My first job in Dubai required these documents so I sent them to the UK and it was notarised in London and attested in Milton Keynes and it took around 2 months! By that time I was already working and nobody needed anything anymore so I never bothered. When I shifted jobs, I continued to stay under the residency visa and worked for a good 2 years and now to make travelling for work easier, I needed to urgently shift visas and these documents were required again. 

All the friends I have are based in Oxford or around UK but not in London so I went into panic mode not knowing who to ask for help and these being genuine degrees, can you really trust people? Then Hannah popped into my head. I knew she worked in London now and even though I didn’t know her personally, her beau is one of my favourite bhais who I was very close too, and I know that A and everyone else who were good friends with me know her, so I just hoped for the best and asked her. 

She readily accepted to help me out and I just fed-exed my degrees to her immediately. Now I didn’t know what to expect but it was my best bet so I just had to tell myself that I needed to trust her and wait. Hannah actually helped me more than I could ever asked for, she took leave from work, collected the degrees from the post office, went to the UAE embassy in London to get them attested, picked them up, researched on the fastest possible courier back and hopefully I should receive them this week. I don’t know how to thank her, but all I know is that if you ever need me, I’d be glad to help you out with anything!

The sudden panic and the urge to ask for help only made me realise that in today’s day and age people are too busy to stop or listen that expecting a favour from someone is quite a big deal. We don’t trust, we don’t have faith- maybe its the lessons that life teaches, the older we grow, the colder we become, we are more judgmental, more wary- while we do that rightfully so, I think moments like these are a blessing to make one realise that the goodness still exists. I really had no idea what I was doing but I just did it and I’m lucky to have found gold with my decision. We haven’t met, me and her, she knows me through the people I know her through but I can’t be grateful enough.

I’m so happy you and bhai are together, Hannah and I can’t wait for exciting news in the near future! I missed you guys this time in Nepal but we’ll catch up soon hopefully! I just wanted to give you a shout out for your kindness and for going out of your way for me, it means a great deal and just a huge THANK YOU and hugs your way! More power to you girl!

For all those planning to travel to UAE for work with degrees from abroad, please make sure your degrees are attested in your country of study and are legalised by a notary and by the UAE embassy of that country. Once you come down here, you’ll need them to be legalised again at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before the Immigration services here will accept them for a visa change. This does depend on the position you are applying for or have been offered. If you need any help, you can always dropme a note!

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Lots of love, 

T

The Hiatus.

I’ve been missing for 4 months from the blogosphere. I counted four on my fingertips. April 12th was my last entry and today is the 17th of August 2014. That is 4 months and 5 days and I’ve dearly missed this space. I still ready a lot, all your blogs and all your posts, I just didn’t feel like writing. No, don’t get me wrong, I felt like writing but I didn’t feel like writing on this blog.

Why? Maybe because I’ve been reflecting for the past four months. I’ve been busy, there have been ups and downs- there has been some changes. I’ve made some choices, there have been some moves but I can say that I’ve been better through this hiatus period of mine. It could be called a healing. Was I healing? I kept thinking about the blog. Why did I land up on this space? Its not because I loved writing… I didn’t need a blog to quench my thirst for writing, I wrote anyway. On scraps of paper, in notebooks, on post-its, on the notepad in my trusty iPhone, I scribbled and squiggled anywhere, but I landed up this space wanting to learn more and share my own thoughts and experiences about intercultural relationships.

The past four months have been a healing process and also a discovering process where I discovered that I could learn to control my feelings, that I could accept the reality. Love, like no other I’ve had, but holding that close to my heart and just progressing with life, that’s something I needed to learn. I didn’t want to come on this space coz it hurt to be honest. It kept tapping at the spaces and the gaps, the vacuum was haunting. It was like an empty house in eerie woods. I would come here and all my fellow bloggers would still be talking about their relationships, their hardships or blisses, the new experiences or the routine, some were learning to cook while others were traveling the length and breadth of Nepal, some were learning the language or taking part in Dashian or Tihar or Bhai Tika or Ghai Puja and what not. I felt… left out and also unable to connect.

If I did actively take part, what was I doing? I wasn’t healing, I wasn’t helping myself and nor was I coming out of it. I couldn’t possibly get out of one intercultural relationship to enter another. No that wasn’t the purpose of the blog. It was to cherish A and only A. Everything to do with everything was about A and to be a better buhari, a better budi, a better bahini… suddenly the purpose was lost, the motive was stranded and I felt like a ship sailing without a shore. Yes as cheesy as it may sound, I felt like I was just sailing.

So I took the break, I read but didn’t write, I let the thoughts only pass my head, I indulged in other people’s happiness and that filled the spaces for me. I lived vicariously through you guys and that was peaceful in its own way. I never can call A an ex. He probably never will be. We buzz each other at times and even though he’s still bitter or turns bitter after a short conversation for me, for me he’s still A. My friends and colleagues tell me let bygones be bygones. But bygones? what is that supposed to mean? A is my whole world of happiness put into a person, you don’t let that go… at least not in spirit. To me, A is and always will be my forever after. Yes, it looks like I chose my family/ my dad over him. To many it may seem unfair, I had some of his friends buzz me and say, don’t do this to him, come to him. I was really relieved he had such good friends but what is perceived isn’t always the real story. I alone know the choices and the situations I was under and I alone know that I will love no other. That keeps me content.

Over the past four months, I have progressed in my career- I’ve had two promotions since April which is rare and I’m grateful to God for that, I’ve become stronger and I’ve got myself together- I still do have a long way to go with regards to “being strong”, every time I call A, I break down like a little child but I am better than I was yesterday. Dad is better and our relationship has been salvaged if I say so myself, they have loosened their grip a little and I think their faith in me is being restored. I will be taking my first trip to India later this year for a friend’s wedding and its an achievement that I’ve convinced them to let me go to India out of all places (since A is there they are usually worried) but it must be progress. Our family has become a family again.

On the other front, N has gone off to university and out of all the places she could choose, she’s gone back to Sri Lanka and mom is now stuck there until she’s settled. This alone time for me and dad should have allowed us to bond but work and life definitely gets in the way. A has started working which is great news for me. He’s finally serious about his career and with the bits and pieces I hear, I pray that this time he gets all that he wants. Sometimes I wish I could misuse my privileges to see him, but this time round I won’t toss it all away. I will have to put a stone on my heart and visit India yet not visit him. Why you ask?

Trust. After 2 years my parents have finally come to the terms with life, they’ve started believing me again and I can’t throw it all away again. I must be honest and not try sneak away, at least not this time. AS hard as it would be for me to be in the same country as he, but not take a flight up to Sikkim, its probably another test for me. I wouldn’t know what I would even say though if I saw him? Have I come to settle? Have I come to stay? I will definitely shatter like ice in a glass of warm water- everything I’ve built will go away. Then again I’m scared… he keeps scaring me, he keeps saying he’ll get married if I don’t come- what if… what if there is someone? Shattering will be an understatement then.

The above are some serious mixed thoughts. When you take a hiatus from writing, the minute your fingers a sheet of white, all you have are thoughts flowing out, comprehensive, incessant and in abundance. Like bottled up fizz waiting to come out. In case you are wondering, I’ve been … taking a break from my thoughts but hopefully I’m back now.

Thank you for all the emails wondering where I was and thank you for still looking out for me and stopping by on the blog. I truly appreciate it.

Love,

T . x

Marriage: is it all that happy?

Don’t get me wrong by the title of my post, but more and more people I know are winding up in unhappy marriages. Either they are happily married but factors around them tend to make them unhappy, or they get forced into marriages they don’t want, or modernity of the lifestyles make it apparent that two very broad minded or independent people can’t seem to find some solace together. … Or maybe its just me knowing a lot of troubled people, but I know very happy couples, but I also know increasingly unhappy ones.. and usually the unhappiness doesn’t trail off from each other solely but by other random things that have taken priority.

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Are we too open-minded and free to be able to live with another? It doesn’t have to be a love marriage or an arranged marriage that fail or tend to fail, its just all sorts of marriages. I think people have started to own themselves a little too much. I may be that way a little myself. We are so full of ourselves that it seems to be difficult to alter our lives around someone else, but even if we do.. mainstream things like partner’s fiends, family, career, bank balance.. it just seems to affect individuals.

We’re in a world where people tend to say “you buy your beer and I’ll buy mine” .. what’s the cause? Are we too educated to be abel to mould? Is it our surroundings that leave us wanting more with or without the support of a partner? More and more people are opting to be career-oriented and single. Is this because a relationship might be too difficult to maintain around your other priorities in life, like careers, social, education etc?

I’ve seen people shy away from marriage after really long periods of courtship… back in the day, marriage was second nature, and now it is more of a fully calculated decision and there is also no shying away from divorce or separation. Single parents are a common thing because well, you can afford it and people are getting married really late.

Are we not being able to make sound decisions? I know people who’ve been in love and have gotten married, now advising others not to.. they say “stay single and enjoy..I wish I knew then what I know now” .. this keeps me wondering “what” is actually the revelation anyway? A marriage comes with compromise from both sides to gain harmony in each other’s lives.. once the honeymoon period is over, there is a black hole. You either succumb, ignore, or whine.

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I’ve come to the thinking that two people need to be broad minded to allow each other into their lives with their good and bad, flaws and all the baggage because that’s what life is. Everyone has a past, everyone has flaws and no one is perfect but as long as you are willing to accept them and their circumstances, it will simplify life. I know some couples who are in joint families and they are either unhappy or are silently drifting apart because one of them don’t want to adjust their time for the sake of greater family time. So here there is one person who wants to live with his/her family and there is their partner who wants to live in a separate house with the partner which would be the ideal scenario. 

There are always solutions around things, but when one partner is more adamant and rooted about their point and won’t look at it from another perspective, it becomes difficult to communicate, until one gives up- that isn’t healthy. Is today’s generation of couples strong minded to not communicate? Do they give up too quickly? Do they stop caring after a while? Are we past the age when things bothered us to a point it would affect our lives and now people just …. move on?

What do you think is the issue these days with couples?

-T

 

 

Dubai International Film Festival ’13 and hoo-haa!

To be honest, I’ve got some fabulous posts waiting to happen, sitting on my dashboard giving me dreary looks! When was the last time I spoke about my life but hadn’t had the time to write about it? Yes… a long time ago!

Last year around November/December, I’ve had a pretty hectic sort of time attending pretty fabulous concerts, film festivals and games and it was screaming for some blog attention but just never got what they deserved. Now, every weekend, I open up my dashboard and cringe. I don’t want to delete these drafts because, well, I really do want to write about them, but where is the time! (that is not an excuse I know, and I really should make a calendar and pin it up on a board to keep me from losing track of time!)

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Anyway, to cut to the chase I attended one of the more “fun” film festivals a few months ago. The Dubai International Film Festival happens every year and we hosted the 10th edition of this at the end of 2013. We do a couple of them every year, the DIFF, The Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF), the Gulf Film Festival (GFF), the Francophone French Film Festival to name a few. It is a whole lot of fun and games and a super star studded event and having the perks of the work I do, not only do we host them, I get to attend as well.

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Last year however, I attended a few special meets and casual events and teas with some of my new favourites! The DIFF junket press meets at the Madinat Jumeirah had all the stars lounging around the same space as I was and it felt like the most calm and laid back events I have ever been to. A very casual arrangement with a few press shuffled in between for a quiet few interviews while the directors, actors and exhibitors and distributors and people from the same industry mingled.  Felt perfect and the boys from Gunday, Ranveer and Arjun were the perfect duo. Witty and flirty, spice and nice all in the perfect balance- one with a fiery sense of humour and other exuding a generous amount of charm. Ice, spice, nice.. all mixed together. I was personally introduced to the boys by a dear colleague from Yash Raj Films which made it ever more special.. I cannot elaborate, but they did want me to be their stylist after a small chat! 

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In the mix were a few others, Nawazuddin Sheikh, Priyanka Chopra, Barry Cook, Neil Nightingale, Ali Abbas Zafar to name a few. After the casual meet, there was the glamorous opening and closing parties of the festival which obviously means a long red carpet, paparazzi, a starry night sky with a few on the ground and free flowing champagne! What’s not to love. I have no idea why I did not document or write about my first DIFF experience of 2012 or the Abu Dhabi Film Festival that had the likes of George Clooney and Robert Redford attend, but I guess, its what most excites you?

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This year, after Wolf of Wall Street, I am super excited to meet Leonardo Di Caprio.. lets keep fingers crossed for this year! With work taking a exciting hike, we’re aren’t too far from having him! 

-T.x

Colour me Holi!

Like every year Holi, the festival of colour comes with a big bang to Dubai where all the Asians or rather Indian people get ready to welcome spring with rainbow tinted celebrations. Every year I try to be a part of it.. well at least for the past 2 years since I’ve been back, I’d wanted to be a part of it.

In Oxford, the Brookes University had a Indian community that arranged all the Indian festivals like Holi, Navratri and Diwali celebrations in the community hall and it was a blast! My friends from Brookes invited us over and we always celebrated together. Oxford being a small city, everyone was either a Oxford school student or from Brookes. Last year I missed the celebrations in Dubai, but this year, me and R (my colleague) with a couple of his friends and mine went to the celebrations held at Wonderland in Dubai.

We started off at midday with a light brunch at a place called Kulcha King, apparently known for their Kulchas (a stuffed Punjabi flat bread served usually with loads of fresh butter! – mind you was gluttonous!) and I survived it.. and we headed off to the venue. Wonderland in Dubai is an old theme park that now hosts crazy festivals and events, Rang De 2014 is something that is held here every year. Nobody goes on the rides there anymore so they make perfect use of the ridden park and the dusty stand alone rides that I doubt anybody ever uses. 

My mate R was also fully prepared, he got a bag full of powdered colour (but that I mean literally like 50 packets of different colours that we were supposed to use to throw on each other) We started tearing off packs and throwing it at each other on the way to the park itself  as he said that you are not supposed to start the celebration without an auspicious colour already on you. We went in different cars, so once we reached the venue, we sorted the tickets and waited to regroup. 

We were already unrecognisable at this stage, its a shame there aren’t better pictures before we washed our faces off, but it was a colour riot! There was a stage show with some popular Bollywood pop singers Yo Yo Honey Singh & Mika Singh as headline acts, churning out beats and dances and a crowd of mental people in a massive water pool throwing coloured powder and water at each other. I was just aghast! (in a good way of course).. the previous festivals I’ve been to were dry festivals so this one was just an experience. Everyone was just wet and painted and horrible looking but enjoying themselves throughly!

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I screamed when I saw the mirror, I could barely recognise myself eventually and it took a couple of days for me to rid myself of all the colour!  But it was worth colouring a random Friday instead of the usual black and white while grooving to the most popular Holi tunes of the decade. What is your favourite Holi song? Old and traditional Rang Barse or something new?

Holi is supposed to be the welcome of spring and harvest festival. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil and a time to mend broken relationships and to foster new ones. It amazes me how some festivals and celebrations just brings everyone together. I let my mind wander off while I stood in a pit of colourful people dancing frantically to realise that everybody was putting colour on everybody. Friends, family and randoms and it was a moment of togetherness. We need more of those moments in our lives, where we let loose and freak out and spread the love.

I hope you mended some relations, spread some cheer and found some joy and love for yourselves. 

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Happy Holi!

Love, T.x 

6th March.

Its been a year. I tried to not think about it. I tried to not count the days. I tried to not make it a significant something because doing that kind of hurts. But its been a year and I don’t really know whether to talk about it, cherish it or ignore it. Talking helps but how do you explain a marriage the feeling of a marriage to people? ” We exchanged rings for our own sanity and thought we were married until we finally were” and all I’d get would be puzzled looks. 

Last year on 6th March 2013, me and A picked out rings, got them engraved with the date and our initials and exchanged them in a dainty little cafe in a mall. A Starbucks to be precise. He even put Sindoor, one that my friend S had brought all the way from a temple in the South of India. It is said to be auspicious to get vermillion powder from a holy place, used by a married woman. He brought me some from a wedding, the new bride was being blessed with it. It was signed, sealed, delivered. It felt great. A lunch hour wedding, a simple ceremony. 

Months later my parents spotted the ring and took it away. That didn’t matter. A always wore his. He still probably does. My ring is still safe but I just can’t wear it. They won’t let me have it back. I never thought that I’d be in this place, I always keep thinking about it. If life went to plan then we’d be together, there’d be no opposition. Its painful. It won’t fade. Now being the 6th of March 2014, so much has changed. Not my feelings, mind you. I keep it closeted safely inside me and I won’t let it out.. but a world between us has changed. 

In October last year, A went back to Sikkim whilst I stayed here. I told him that when I can, I promise I’ll come for you. I still couldn’t go and I don’t know when I can but I know, given the opportunity I always will just want to go back to him. I had dreamt of going to Sikkim for 6 years now. I’ve lived it in my head. Applying for an Indian visa, a Sikkimese visa, contacting his friends and getting them to take me to Gangtok, surprising him. A spoke so much about his life and hometown. So many stories of Gangtok, so many memories and moments he made me a part of. I always listened so intently. It was like he painted me a picture. He even drew and illustrated his stories sometimes. I have scraps of paper, safely tucked away in boxes, where I sneaked his drawings and kept it for memory. 

I know he lived on an open street, a three storey villa overlooking Kanchenjunga.. a little down the road was his favourite chai and momo shop. He rode bikes during his university days or sometimes drove his dad’s jeep. He plays the guitar and jams with his neighbour on cold evenings or gets a drink at Deorali. I miss his stories, I miss the warmth. I miss him.

Its been 6 years that we have been together and one year since we exchanged rings and now its bitter sometimes, he hates that I haven’t gone to him yet. I stay deluded by my little world that one day will come and I will run back to him. He pops into my head ever so many times in a day. I have his picture propped on my office wall and every time I’m working, I stop for a second to see us, smiling. The happiest couple smiling back at me. I miss Oxford. The Golden Days. And every time I find chicken livers cooked- I cannot eat it anymore, it reminds me of how much he loved it. I don’t drink tea in the mornings, because it reminds me how he used to pester me to make it for him. Sometimes I realise that its become a part of me.

Whenever I talk about him, with colleagues or friends, it pinches and I feel my cheeks grow hot as if I may tear up any moment now. Sikkim is etched into my heart like A is and a part of me has turned Nepali. Another friend recently told me, “your Nepali is still good, I’m glad”.. and I told him that “Nepali is now flowing within me, I don’t think that can change”

If you ever read, A, I will always, always love you. 

Miss you. Happy Anniversary. So its been 6 years and one official.

-T

Another year older.. wiser.. loved.

I was waiting to write about the day (19th Feb).. after it had fully unfolded and brought whatever it had to.. but then.. life happened … to get busy suddenly and I couldn’t record the events on here.. SO…

I turned a year older (and I sure do feel old- kind of) and like every year I didn’t expect anything great to happen. It’s just another day.. you go to work, go to gym and come back home.. plus it was a weekday so nothing much to look forward to, but life and its little surprises right? I was really tired on the eve of the birthday so I went to bed hoping and praying (weird I know) that nobody wakes me up at midnight to do what they usually do.. BUT midnight struck and there they were singing and being happy for me, I couldn’t avoid, it just brushed up. Moreover I was touched that mum and N put so much efforts into baking a massive cake for me- from scratch with all the icing and everything. It was adorable. My dad handed me a cheque, yes a cheque! I felt old. Who hands you a cheque on your birthday!! (that is going into buying my next adventure sport of course!)

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Mum used to bake cakes for us in all shapes and sizes when we were little, she made them for all our birthdays and parties and it was such a hit but it had been a very longtime since anyone bothered to .. bother? Why not just buy a cake and get it over with.. so I was just “happy” (yes I cannot get Will Pharell out of my head!). The next day I went to work and hoped no one made a big deal about it, you know coz then they start acting all cheesy and stuff and sometimes you could do without the attention. My colleague R said that I could go pamper myself and do what makes me “happy” (see it happened again) but then I guess coming to work and seeing the people that do most of the stuff with was alright, I mean I’d rather be surrounded by people than not… 

The day started alright, charged through emails and my buds R and Jo, called me to our little cafe at work and gave me birthday hugs. We rarely do huddles or hugs so.. this was really sweet, and it was early in the morning so I felt like a cloud of happiness started raining on me. I just had this smile on my face and things like that. I had a busy day so I moved around a lot and every time I got back to my desk, there was something waiting on it for me. One time I got back there was a custom designed card there with cute messages on it. Everybody in the office had signed it and it was awesome to see that everybody had something special to say.. a nickname, a funny bond that I shared with them.. it made me realise that nothing was very formal because I shared a special bond with each person individually and to realise that truly made my day. 

I ran into give a presentation. Because I work with the movies and films, sometimes presentations or things addressed to a large group of people are conveniently held inside a cinema. This was one such occasion where all our management staff was inside a cinema and on cue, they started singing “Happy Birthday!” I was overwhelmed! A cinema full of people sing for me, couldn’t have been any more remarkable!

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After the presentation, my whole team decided we had to do a birthday lunch together and they really insisted so we headed out in a single file to lunch, and on my way was handed a poster which had my favourite actor with my face morphed into the actress. So yes, parodical yet so funny! I sat there shrieking and laughing through the lunch! R and Jo spent lots of time designing it and then putting 8 wishes on there for me to accomplish this year. Everything that I always talk about, so very thoughtful :) I am so very grateful to have them! Sometimes you don’t realise that you spend 3/4 of your day with the people you work with and to have a good team, good colleagues and to make good friends out of them is a blessing. I can’t imagine going into a place where I hate the people! 

When we returned to office, I still had more surprised waiting. I had a personalised coffee mug waiting on my desk and I was just beaming through the day. After work, to try and keep it as normal as possible, I headed to gym for a quick run. I was invited to be taken out and wined and dined by my team but I thought I should be home, I barely spend much time at home so I should maybe go home early and be with the people I love. At gym, a couple of trainers who knew, wished me which was again, very thoughtful.. but it hit a notch above expectations when my PT announced it over the tannoy and everybody started singing for me!! More members wished me afterwards and it was just a great feeling that people would go out of their way to make one feel special :)

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I was leaving gym when another trainer brought me chocolates and greetings from their team, its just that I usually talk to all of them and am friendly, didn’t think it would work towards such a thoughtful gesture. I met E, my colleague after work for a few minutes and he brought me a flowering plant that I’ve been waiting to get for my office desk and my car had a note on the windshield “Hope you had a good day!” 

Little things really make a big difference. I was geared up for a normal, quiet day and I got so much more in return. So many little things that showed a great amount of love and that’s all one needs I guess. Lots of wishes over texts and messages, many international calls for which my friends had to set an alarm and deal with time difference to get the calls through on time- I was just super elated! 

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A blurry vision of the night..

The family had also planned a nice brunch and safari for the weekend for me. I saw so much love this year and I guess if growing older means you get more love- I could settle for it :)

Love,

-T