And again she fell in love, this time more than she ever was. There was a certain thrill in being in love with him, for, he was miles away in a different country. The thought of wanting to touch him, kiss him and feel him kept her awake, drove her mad and made her a dreamer. Days went by in the madness of his love, she would wait for hours to listen to his voice, and in the voice she heard, she felt a scent of tenderness yet masculine. Suddenly, there was a want so strong to see him, the distance which was beautiful got blurred, and the distance which was a path that would lead her to joy was now abyss. So stimulated she was for his love, so much so that, she left her home to go to his. She left what was hers to belong to him. Little did she know, she was in his arms. Don’t let me fall asleep, this is the safest and warmest I have ever felt, she told him looking into his deep eyes with her image in it. An image with un-fathomable love for him. The angels above were scared, what the girl in love would do, for she was soon going to find out, what belonged to her belonged to another too. In a moment, spring felt like the harshest winter, how could, mine be hers she thought with disbelief. She left home as a girl in love with all her heart for him, while, he looked at her like a lady for the evening. The thought of wanting to touch him, kiss him and feel him drowned her in tears. Days went by and he never came by. There was a certain thrill in being in love with him, for, he was in the same country yet miles away. And never will she fall in love again.
Shifting to a new geography we all tend to make comparisons between the host country and home country, at least for the initial few months. While studying at the business School in California, I constantly think of how different commerce is back home. I believe that, USA is an extremely product oriented market, whereas, India is a service oriented market. Although India tends to be much more regulated with its processes and corporate structure, we fail to invest in our employees to the tune American employers invest in theirs. It took me less than two weeks to realize that India has probably one of the best public transport facilities and health care structure. Though the taxes levied in USA are unbelievably high in few states, the government barely leaves you with an excuse to complaint, since your tax amount is being invested into public interest and the results are greatly visible, unlike in India, unfortunately!
Having said that, the one difference that truly intrigues me is that, America is not only credit based when it comes to its economy, but is also credit based in its relationships. Since day one, I have never come across an American who would not be proactive in doing whatever they can to the best of their capacity for one. Whether or not they knew that one. I have never felt homesick, never felt lost and definitely never felt alone. It is beautiful how few people extend their affection and gratitude towards someone with no expectations at all. They feel thankful for the smallest of acts, and make the most of the little joys in life. One of the days, when I was in the school commons, at the billing counter, I was short of a dollar, this student who I clearly do not recognize, offered to pay the whole of my bill and smiled, because she figured out that I was new and just wanted to welcome me. Another day, I very randomly ask one of my new friends if he knew a good hike trail closest to my home, he not only gives me details to the trail, but also, drafts an entire itinerary for me. I hug someone good bye and the next thing I know, she sends me home a box full of chocolates, lemonade and apple juice. I told him I miss South Indian food and I am surprised with a box full of idlis and every variety of chutney possible! I can go on….
I sometimes try to think if I ever did something like that for an expat. Forget about an expat, I think I would never attempt to make someone feel special unless they were extremely dear to me. It is wonderful how few people find so much joy in watching others smile. I often think of what I could do in exchange for all that I receive from these good samaritans and I realize that by doing something just to return what I received would be rather insulting, the only way I can truly thank them is by spreading their kindness and share what I receive from them. By giving and not expecting anything in return, by applying axiom over logic, by welcoming and not holding back, by sharing more than seeking, and most importantly by not just living but feeling alive.
FB/Twitter/Instagram etc are platforms where most of us share random pictures and admiration about the climate, celebrities and announce our location.I hold myself guilty for actively being a part of all the above acts myself. However, today I choose this platform to write about one of my favorite hobbies a hobby that I am very proud of. Since quite a while now I have been spending time reading a lot of books. Every time I return a text or a call stating that I was reading a book I have received reactions from many, such as “wait, you can read?” “you loner” ,“I can help you fall asleep”, “what is wrong with you” and so on.These reactions have always left me amused. I will not blame anyone though, because couple of years back I was of a similar opinion.
Books are boring I thought.
One evening in early2012 I was in a bookstore accompanying my friend. And somehow I came across this book called Secrets by Angela Arney.This book was visibly placed on the top of the lowest shelf in the spirituality section.I was first curious and wondered as to what role would “secrets” have in a spirituality genre definitely not The Secret by Rhonda Byrne that would be placed in philanthropy I thought.Very curiously I picked this book and was amused to see that the cover picture was more of a chick flicks or of a rom-com.It did not look like my friend would leave any time soon so I started reading this book.I was engulfed in it, almost felt like I was a part of someone’s life, someone very close.
That was well the first book I bought, and I do not regret having bought that book. It has a very special place in my library today.Since then there has been no discontinuation, I now owe numerous books by different authors across different genres.Today after I finished reading a book It made me realize that even after 2 hours of having turned the last page I have somehow still been thinking about the protagonist, almost feels like missing a good old friend.I thought about that evening when I made a visit to the bookstore with no clue as to what I was going to discover.I have secretly thanked the storekeeper many a times for having misplaced the book in the wrong shelf and thus grabbing my attention.Well it could have been a reader/customer who caused the mismatch but I would like to believe that it was the storekeeper and I do not intend to justify my belief.
In the average amount of time one spends on surfing over the social networking sites one could catch up on some reading.Reading not only is a great stress buster but also will improve your analytical,creative,latent and a lot of other skills.I know now at the back of your mind you are like “I barely have time to catch up with my friends where the heck am I going to fit in a book”My answer to that is if I can manage work-workouts-friends-studying-music and reading books all in the same 24 hours you have, I am sure you will be able to as well.I hope you discover the right book for you soon, once you do I am sure you are going to stock up and enjoy the pleasure of owning a treasure!
P.S : A Reader Lives A Thousand Lives Before He Dies – George R R Martin.
Having been a traveler myself, I have got a chance to meet people from different walks of life. I love engaging myself in conversation with fellow travelers and co tourists, I am never interested in their name or their economical background, instead, I have always wanted to know their hobbies, interests, favorite cuisine, street culture at their home and never ending conversations about their heritage and diversity.
Today, I realized how I make a bunch of really good friends in a very short time no matter where I am geographically. I thought about how I have been able to make friends although I am not a bar or club person, where one usually meet a lot of people.
I sat down and recollected conversations I had in the past and in the present, conversations because of which I have been able to connect with people so easily.
Food – On a seafood diet, you see it-you eat it!
Whether we eat at The Grand Budapest or a road side burger joint, the way our taste buds react always remain the same. 80% of my first time conversations have always revolved around food, cuisines and cooking. I enjoy food and I have always believed that hunger has no religion. No matter which country, religion or community one is from, food is a topic one can never not contribute towards. FYI – the world loves Indian Food! *pat on my back*
Cultural Diversity – The art of thinking independently together, Malcolm Forbes
Didn’t Forbes say that right?! Every time I visit a new place or I speak with people from a different heritage I am always amazed by how although we are worlds apart, we are same on the surface. Having lived in the Middle East for half my life and being an Indian by roots, I was always confident that no other expat would have the amount of cultural diversity I have been exposed to. But my perspective totally changed because of my friends from different countries who tell me about cultural disturbances and bureaucratic involvement at their home country. I realized that at the ground level, no matter how healthy economically a country is, people do not change. People carry the same emotions and want for importance and security. Whether you are an Asian or a British the way you embrace your culture is to me a true globalizing contributor and a dialogue winner.
Sports – No one ever drowned in sweat, Lou Holtz
Gone are those days when being sporty was associated to being masculine. I have met many women who are more informative about sports than their counterparts. Every time I spend time with a sport enthusiast, time flies away. There is a certain discipline that these people carry with themselves which can set them apart from anyone else. The whole world is connected with each other through inter country tournaments, be it league football, cricket or tennis. Even though I have differences with people, the moment I come to know that they support the same club as I do, I set aside all the differences. As silly as this sounds, it plays a very important psychological role in my life.
Literature – Only the very weak minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry, Cassandra Clare
Literature to me is food for my soul. And how I love pampering my soul! It is extremely important for me to at the least, read a prose a day. I am a firm believer of the famous saying that, when you find the right book, the book will open up to you. It is similar with people and relationships too, isn’t it?! I feel sorry for those who are disinterested in literature, feel like they are missing out on opportunities to live multiple lives at once. I can only think of a conversation with anyone with regards to literature, poetry or anything latent that I haven’t enjoyed. I have made many friends and established beautiful relationships in whilst of discussing their language, latent interests and creative applications. It is rare to find two people who read and enjoy the same book, but once you find them, don’t you let them go!