Posted in Conversations Anonymous

Typical NRI problems

Who is an NRI?

NRI = Non-Resident Indian

A person who is a citizen of India and has temporarily emigrated to another country for over a year for employment, residence, education, or any other purpose.

I’ve lived in the United States for 5 years now and I have been treated as an outsider here and back home as well. Let’s talk about some typical NRI problems –

10. Planning a trip to India takes away the initial excitement, courtesy-complicated logistics.

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You know how much I love to travel, don’t you? What I truly despise about the whole process is packing and planning and all the logistics. Dates, tickets, flight duration, layover time, airline, seats, baggage, strategic packing, and so on are just the tip of the iceberg. It only gets more complicated if you and your spouse are from two completely different parts of the country cause now you have to allocate dates for both sides and make additional travel arrangements to ensure that you don’t waste time and spend quality time with each others’ families.

9. “Can you please get an I-phone (or anything) for me? I’ll pay you in cash when you are here.”

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These kinds of requests start pouring in the minute you announce you are traveling to India. This drives me so mad, I can’t even begin to comprehend. I find it absolutely insensitive and selfish when people do that. It gets worse when I turn them down. I don’t hear from them at all after that or they turn around after taking a few weeks of ‘I am pissed with her’ trip. I don’t understand how people who have not talked to me in months or years come up with ridiculous requests like these. I politely turn them down.

8. You MUST visit some people, if you don’t, you’ve “changed”

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This is especially the case with relatives and it drives me mad. The entire year, these relatives don’t give a fuck about where I am or even how I am doing but if I don’t call or visit them within 4 days of landing, boom, it calls for drama and theatrics. What makes me even mad are those passive-aggressive taunts. I have a long list.

7. Gifts expectation

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I have no idea what the craze of imported stuff is. I get the excitement of Hersey’s kisses but beyond that is so confusing for me. People expect you to get gifts for them even though you did not talk to them ever since you last saw them, in your last visit. Also, not to forget, the gift should be the “right” kind. One slip and there comes the downward spiral. My solution? I get gifts only for my parents and few goodies for people I was in touch with while away. You know? The ones who care.

6. The hoity-toity dollar to rupee conversion

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Converting currency is one thing but never have I ever had a single trip to India in which people did not calculate the conversion of each and everything. If you are an NRI, people instantly presume you to be rich and have those weird hoity-toity mannerisms. This is not true actually. People’s salary may be super high when converted to rupees but what they forget to convert is the expenses in the States or wherever you are is not in rupees either. Perhaps, you could assume that NRI’s are well-off or make a decent living, true, maybe but not all of them have it all together. I used to hate it when people visiting from foreign countries would pretend to be all up high when in reality, back in the US, they have to get everything done, by themselves. So, this one can go both ways.

5. Messed up digestive system [changed food absorption]

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Well, this is so sad and unfortunate. People’s digestive system and how they absorb food really does change over time. True story! I had the appetite of a horse before moving abroad but now, I fall flat on my face, each time I travel and think that nothing’s changed. My body has changed, of course, with age and motherhood but it’s not all, men also have this. People in India feel offended that our stomachs get upset after eating something we’ve not had for a while or something rich(heavy) and spicy but little do they realize, we get upset too. We love that food but our bodies adapted the melo-food culture abroad. It’s not you, it’s me.

4. Why don’t you have an accent already?

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This is a funny one. When you are abroad, people ask you or tell you that you have a thick Indian accent (depending on the thickness) and when you go back to India, people ask you why hasn’t the accent grown on you yet. It’s like being sandwiched in the middle. So, should I have an accent or not is the question? Why can’t I just be?

3. Before you’ve unpacked completely, its time for you to pack again

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Times goes by so fast that even before I know it, its time for me to fly back. I haven’t even completely unpacked my luggage and then I realize I have to start packing again. I am sure people can relate to this. Multiple trips abroad have finally made me consider the option of pre-planning and making a to-do list for when I travel in future. I hope it works.

2. The Distance

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The distance is just heartbreaking. Being in a country diametrically opposite to where you are from or rather where you grew up is just heartbreaking. It takes more than a day to reach home from home, that too if you’ve chosen the best of the best options available. There is a constant fear attached to this distance and time between those you love.

1. The dilemma of having two homes

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Home is a place for few and it is a feeling for many. For me, it’s a feeling that takes time and experience to grow on me. I have been told by few international students I mentored that they don’t feel like home here in the States. I’d completely agree with them if I was asked the same about 4 years ago. But having a family of my own changes the dynamics. LA finally feels like home and I have finally fallen in love with her. The dilemma of having two homes in two continents is far from comforting. When you are here, all you think about is what you’d do when you go back. When you are back, all you think about is when you’d ‘go back’.


I am working on something new and exciting. Stay tuned and follow me on Instagram to get daily picture updates. Thanks!

Until next time,

Spread love and be kind,

Pooja

Posted in Conversations Anonymous

The woman who never says ‘no’

This story is about one of my kind friends. Let’s call her Cecilia. She is a simple, hard-working, bad-ass mother of four handsome young boys. She calls her partner, Alex, her adopted son. Isn’t that true for all those in committed relationship with your partner, the man is often the big baby. I don’t mean it in a mean or condescending way but I agree with her a 100% and I know, you secretly do too.

Continue reading “The woman who never says ‘no’”

Posted in Conversations Anonymous, Travel

Five places I want to visit

Looking at my blog calendar, you can tell I wasn’t quite around this week. I don’t want to be redundant but this time of the year is usually my busiest. Anyhow, I picked up the day 5 prompt for now. Hope you enjoy.

Traveling is one of my main life fuels. These are my top 5 places I want to visit, for now.

  1. MALDIVES
  2. Dubai, UAE
  3. Leh-Ladakh- Dharamshala, North-India
  4. Darjeeling – Gangtok, East-India
  5. Santorini, Greece.

I usually make my travel plans last minute. I believe that too much planning spoils the fun. Although, once I know that I am going to a particular place, I plan like it will be my first and last time to the place. It’s the usual extremes with me.  Traveling to Kashmir and the eastern states of India has always been a desire of mine. I don’t know why but I have always been intrigued by her beauty and seduction. There is this sense of uniqueness to those places. No matter how beautiful of places I’ve traveled to, I always think of North and East India. Maldives is my idea of a dream vacation. I call it east’s Hawaii. I have been to Hawaii but I would only be stupid to think that the experience of going to Maldives would be similar to the one to Hawaii. Don’t judge me, it’s actually a popular belief, Hawaii, and Maldives. I know I want to go and I will. Dubai has been my layover stop for most of my international flights back home and I have always wanted to step out and see if the hype is really true. In fact, we had this elaborate plan of a Dubai vacation on my most recent trip to India, which failed, courtesy, yours truly. Hey, I was really missing my home in LA, my husband, and my baby-dog. I chose to go back home sooner over a trip in Dubai. Lastly, my wish to visit Santorini, Greece is self-explanatory. Come on, don’t you want to visit this gorgeous place?

I hope you enjoyed. Let me know what are your top 5 places to visit.

Until next time,

Spread love and kindness,

Pooja

Posted in Conversations Anonymous

My top 3 pet peeves

Hi you,

I just returned home from an awesome day. This week of April is the busiest week of our year. I did not think it through before taking up the challenge. We went on a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway (my fav) which led us to this Hindu temple in Malibu and we ended the night with an amazing dinner at this famous Thai place on the highway, facing the ocean. I am super tired and I have to sleep in early for an exciting day tomorrow. So, I literally have 5 minutes to type this blog post to stay loyal to the writing challenge.

What is a pet peeve? Something that a particular person finds especially annoying.

My top 3 pet peeves are mostly self-explanatory and they annoy the shit out of me.

1. Passive aggressive behavior.

If you have something you want to say, just say it. If you have something you want to do, do it as long as its acceptable. Don’t linger around or throw indirect daggers at me through your actions or via stupid posts on social media. I hate it when people do that but at the same time, I don’t do anything about it in order to avoid giving that stupid person a sense of gratification. Have the balls to have an open conversation about it, like mature adults.

2. Loud eaters people chewing their food with their mouths open is my least likable thing ever.

People chewing their food with their mouths open is my least likable thing ever. I’d prefer pin drop silence while eating. I lose my appetite with all the weird slurps and crunches. Oh, I cannot tell you how much I hate it when someone is staring at my plate, it gets worse when they comment on the food I am eating. I could just stop eating.

3. Uninformed geniuses 

We all know that one person (or people) who don’t know what they are talking about but have all world’s confidence in fanatically believing in their bullshit. You may call it a one-sided argument or a one-sided understanding of things, but to me, it is straight out insensitive, vague, ridiculous, and majorly off-putting. I hate it when people don’t know what they’re saying but they’re just unstoppable.

There! my 3 major pet peeves.

Until next time,

Spread love and kindness,

Pooja

 

Posted in Conversations Anonymous

Something someone told me about myself that I never forgot

Hi,

I told you I end up being late but manage to meet the deadline somehow. It’s birthday week at our home and you fail to notice the time when you’re having fun, don’t you? Please excuse my rush and innocent mistakes. I had a hard time deciding which one to pick, thanks to my sharp memory of conversations. I should call it selective too. I decided to share both.

I earned my Masters’ degree in Communication Studies from a university in Southern California. I was pregnant and in the middle of a lot, personally and professionally. I was teaching two classes of public speaking (back-to-back) and I had my own Grad seminar to attend and excel in. One of my problems is I do not settle for anything but the best. I take things seriously and I work towards getting better, beating my old score or experience. I am always competing with myself, that’s the good part. Anyhow, all odds worked against my favor but I was stubborn on finishing my thesis. I couldn’t get myself to write and stick to my own timeline, I have a long list of things to blame including my pregnancy hormones. However, one day I decided that enough is enough and I am going to get through this. I sat day and night for a week and wrote my entire thesis. I met my faculty members at a major communication’s conference in Las Vegas just 2 days before I was to submit my final draft. Oh, I presented my research at that conference, drove all the way up to Vegas, when I was pregnant. It was a big deal for me. I had already sent the draft to my committee chair and when I told that to my professor over dinner, he said, “you don’t give up, do you?”.  Although, I smiled when he said that to me but within I beamed with pride and I would give myself a warm hug if I could. I have been told that I don’t give up easily on myself a few times after this incident. One of the other prominent times was when my doctor told me the same thing while I insisted on pushing more, even after 4 hours of active pushing. I delivered my healthy baby safely and surrendered the moment I heard his cry. I haven’t forgotten the golden words, “you don’t give up, do you?”.

As promised, I said I’d share two things that someone told me about myself that I did not forget. My mother once said to me, “You love too much and too hard, Pooja.”

Something to think about. Something to talk about sometime later I guess. Well, this is something someone told me about myself that I never forgot, I hope I never do.

Until next time,

Spread love and kindness,

Pooja