Countries Apart

It’s been a long, long time. The amount of time can’t be numbered. Well it actually can be, but it honestly feels like forever. It feels much more longer than what it has been.

Nearly two weeks ago, while chatting up with fellow students a guy asked me, “So, do you like it here in India better or Dubai?” And the speed of my response was that of the speed of lightning. “Dubai!” is what I blurted.
He was taken aback with how instant my response was. That I didn’t even blink my eye and just uttered my answer.

When I was about eight months old, my parents took me to this magical little country called the United Arab Emirates and I have stayed there for majority of the life that I have lead until now.

Indian by nationality, India is this place I’d come once every year or two years to visit my grandparents and extended family. A vacation spot you can say. A two month summer vacation would all be spent in a country which is my own. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

I never really formed an opinion about how I liked India as I never spent a good enough time to do so. But ever since a little kid, I didn’t really enjoy the time I spent here. I love my grandparents but the country itself never had much of an appeal to me. I never felt a connection. Well I was a kid, what more could I expect?

Growing up, I was surrounded with voices. Voices that held the words, “India is your home country. It is who you are. You love this country!” so tight, that these voices felt like it had an underlying honesty in it. And I felt like U.A.E. is just this temporary place that life had us stationed at. India is home you know? India is what I should love.

Should.
Should.
Should.
Oh how this word echoed in the back of my head whenever I started feeling affectionate towards the country I resided in. Whenever I’d see those news headlines. When I entered this country.
A compulsion to love a country only because I’m from it. And I felt guilty that I didn’t.
What can I say, I was a kid!

It was only when I started growing up, started experiencing things by myself and stopped listening to the voices around me that I realized – it doesn’t even matter. What matters is how I feel. And what I feel is something I can’t help.

I love U.A.E. I love the life we lived – I lived – there. It was a life I could call a life. Not what I’m leading here, living here.

The guy then proceeded to ask me what is it that I love about U.A.E. That makes it better than India. India is my home country you know? India is my home, how can I not like home?

Here’s what I believe. Home is where your heart lies. Home is where you can be yourself, unafraid of being judged. Home is this sanctuary where you are accepted for who you are and are loved without any strings attached. Home is where terms and conditions aren’t applicable. Home is where you are surrounded by family – a family that loves you for who you are.
And I found all of this not in my apparent ‘home country’ but in a country that housed me for an unaccountable time of my life.

U.A.E. was this place where I could un-apologetically be me. A country where people from all over the world live in unity, one of the very first things I learnt was that humanity comes first. Humanity is what is more important than that passport you hold in your hand which indicates your nationality. Humanity trumps everything.

I grew up with quite an open mindset. And I knew I had a so called ‘open-mind’ only after living here. Because up until now my thoughts and my mentality was something so frequently seen, I never knew it was such.
A country where religion or the state of India you’re from doesn’t matter, I grew up celebrating various festivals from all religions. I grew up with friends all over India and not only learning but also enjoying their various traditions and customs.
We all were different and we liked being different. We accepted it wholeheartedly.
I grew up in a country that was incredibly safe. A country where my parents and I never feared of our safety. A country so clean. And looking at the number of parks and beaches that are present you wouldn’t believe that it is actually a desert. Ha!

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Let us not even talk about the food and the malls there. It’s where I learnt that food is love, food is life.

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All I got in India is a sight of aunties who are professionals in stalking people and have mastered the art of poking their nose in other people’s business. All I got to see is this unimaginable amount of bullying done in a school, a school which is supposed to be a child’s second home. All I learnt till now is how in the end a girl is supposed to learn all the household chores and that you’ll receive a stink-eye if you don’t know how to by those around you.

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All I got to learn is how to keep my mouth shut because people here can’t stand opinions that stem from an ‘open-mind’. All I have observed is that it is very well possible to fake yourself in front of people. That it is possible to not only lie to others but to yourself as well about who you are. Faking who you are at the core only to please the people around you. To lose the essence of who you are because being nice to those aunties and nodding with whatever they say is more necessary than voicing those opinions in your head and demanding respect for who you are.

All I learnt is that it isn’t safe for me to step out of my house. All I have heard is how we can be divided according to our genders. A boy is a boy, a girl is a girl. There’s a box for everyone and you dare not break it open. After all, you are who you are right?

All I learnt is that perhaps humanity isn’t what comes first. Perhaps what caste you belong to, what state you belong to, which God is it that you follow is what is more important. That is what defines you, you see? Screw how good a person you are, I will form opinions about you based on an identity that you didn’t create for yourself but were labelled.
Labels. Labels are more important you see?

U.A.E. is the country where I found people who accepted me for who I am – this socially awkward girl with big dreams and a stubborn heart. A straight forward girl who isn’t afraid what others think of her. It is the country where my anxiety levels weren’t this high because I felt comfortable. I could be me.

My parents, who have lived here in India unlike me, today also long for the day when we could go back. They don’t feel comfortable here. I see a side of my mother I never saw before. She, she finds it hard to communicate with people here. To connect, to make friends here.
If a person like her, who always is the life of the party feels so, my state can’t even be expressed.

I will agree that there are exceptions in both the places. Neither of the countries are perfect. But this is how I feel.

U.A.E. is the country where my heart lies. U.A.E. is where I felt the most comfortable being me. U.A.E. is the country where I was accepted wholeheartedly, no matter how weird I was.
U.A.E. is where I could exercise my mentality without being judged.

U.A.E. is where humanity comes first. Not blood relations or nationality, but humanity. And humanity will always come first to me.

India might be my home country, but U.A.E. is what I will call home. I could be biased, after all I did spend my entire life there. An attachment will definitely be present.

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This is how I feel

Call it what you may but all I know is that while I have one foot present here, another foot of mine lies in U.A.E. When that trigger is pulled and that gunshot enters the audible range, I will run.

Run.

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My Younger, Ignoramus Self

So today’s post is dedicated to my younger self. Well, I’m obviously not that old. But here when I say young, I mean the 8 year old me. I think in internet terms, this qualifies as a ‘throwback’ post.

Recently, I bought a huge pack of Pringles. Considering the facts that I was eating it after an entire year and I love the chips to a very high extent, I was jumping around the house with the packet in my hand. When I then sat down to eat it, my mom laughed and told me, “You do know that when you were small you hated Pringles right? We used to have tons of it in the house, but you’d refuse to even pick one up, let alone try it!”

I was in utter shock when I heard this. I couldn’t believe what she just said.

I hated Pringles. I hated Pringles. I disliked any chips for that matter.

While I was trying to recover by eating chips, I went into flashback mode. And then I realized what a fool I was as a kid. Why you might ask? Because I hated everything. Everything. Well, except for cartoons. Thank God for that.

Since I have a good memory (thanks Dad),  I remember a lot about my years as a kid. Maybe it’s an advantage of having such a memory or a disadvantage, I don’t really know. But I’m kind of stuck with all this useless information. I quite well remember what kind of a kid I was, and it bothers me a lot.

I remember I used to be this really fussy kid who refused to eat anything. All the treats that kids my age would enjoy, were the stuff I happily refused to even try! In my mind, they were all bad and I ignored my parents who always wanted me to try all of this.

My dad used to get me huge boxes of expensive chocolates and sweet treats of various kinds. I’d have loads of junk food and aerated drinks at home because we had family friends who owned all kinds of businesses. And also my parents believed it’d help me gain weight. But I ignored all of these things, which I absolutely love now. I don’t really know why I was such a kid. I don’t think I was in the right mind. I’d like to believe that my brain was being controlled by my nemesis who lives in a parallel universe.

I remember seeing my refrigerator stuffed with a hundred boxes of chocolates and ice-creams. Literally hundreds of them. But I always refused to even try one of them. I would always have my grumpy face on and just run away to my room whenever someone offered me a chocolate. And as a result all the chocolates that I beg my parents now to get me, used to be given away to my relatives who din’t even know what they were.

I remember this uncle of mine, who always used to get me a Snicker bar whenever he visited me. This is what used to happen.

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Everytime!

It wasn’t always related to food you know? This ignorant side of me was prevalent for every single thing. And here comes another story.

When I was six, one of my friends gifted me a story book for my birthday. I really liked the cover of the book. It was really colourful and the pictures were really nice. For the first time I was interested in trying out something new, until I turned to the first page. It was hate at first sight. I just din’t want to read!
Many birthdays passed by, and I got a ton of books. I had a pile of them tucked away at some corner of a shelf. But I never touched even one of it as I never really wanted to read. Every time my mom used to clean the shelves, she would start sneezing really badly when the book shelf came next in line. That is how dusty it was because no one ever touched it.

I really was a weird, ignorant kid who hated everything fun. I din’t even like the word fun. I din’t like talking to anyone nor playing with anyone. I had this one best friend and I would only talk to her. Other than that, I only liked my cartoons and my school. Anything that din’t fit into these ‘interests’ of mine were discarded from my life with a click of my fingers. I never really took a step to at least try something new.

In short, this was me –

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If I could, then I would go back in time and smack my younger self (or defeat my nemesis so that I’d get the control of my brain back in my hands) which maybe will result in me being a better kid and then I would start actually enjoying what I had. I really feel so ashamed of my younger self most of the time.

I’ve obviously drastically changed now. I actually love chocolates so much that it is a significant part of me. The Snickers Bar that I used to hate with all my might is now my favourite chocolate bar. I love reading now and I cannot stand anyone mistreating books. The computer which was once my mortal enemy, is now what I love the most. So much that my career option has it in the center.

Well, right now I can’t do anything about my stupid younger self, but at least I learnt from my mistakes.
What are some things that you disliked about your younger self?

A Very Merry Christmas!!

So its Christmas here in India and I don’t know about the rest of the world so a wish in advance I suppose?

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas. Whether you celebrate or not. May all your dreams come true this festive season.
Oh and stuff yourself with food (especially cake) and demand all those gifts 😉

I don’t celebrate Christmas myself so I don’t exactly know what happens on Christmas. Just the movie kind. I want to see a real Christmas celebration once though. I also want to see snow. And it doesn’t snow here 😦

And I hope this is how your Christmas is

Or maybe even better 😀

My Christmas started pretty great as my parents gifted me chocolates. My brother is the happiest one around though because Santa Claus gifted him Power Ranger toys and he’s been longing for one from an extremely long time.

So once again, wishing all of you people a very Merry Christmas. You can give me gifts also by the way. I wouldn’t mind 😉

What did 2013 teach me?

Only a few more days are remaining for this year to get over and for another year to begin. I’m not gonna say the clichéd phrases such as “Oh My God this year passed by so fast!” or “Another year is getting over and I haven’t done anything in my life” because you and I both know that there is no truth in these irrelevant phrases. Every year has 365 days (or 366), 12 months, 8,766 hours (approx.), 525,949 minutes and 31,536,000 seconds. So there is no way that the year passed by fast. As for what you’ve done with your life, well only you know what you’ve done…

Now lets come to me. All I can say is that this year has proven to be quite an important one for me. It was like a roller-coaster ride with my highs and lows. And hopefully my all time high is going to approach very soon.
Anyways, this year saw a change in my family life, social life, educational life and also in my physical surroundings. In short, my whole life changed.

There was the major change of environment as we came back to India after me spending 16 and a half years in U.A.E. And well, that’s the cause of all the changes in my life. While most of the changes were bad, they did teach me a lot about me and my life. So I thought that as the year is nearing to an end, I think I should reflect on what all is it that this year has taught me.

  • I understood who I really am – From the past 5 years I’ve been known for who I was then. Being with the same people and never having time for myself, I was convinced that that was my true self. But when I came here ans got time to myself, I realized that I wasn’t who I was 5 years ago. I’ve changed a lot, and it is for the good.
  • I don’t have a best friend – I don’t have a huge group friends. The number of friends I have is equivalent to the number of fingers I have. I’ve always been close with them but I soon realized that the ‘best friend’ factor is missing from my life. Someone with whom I can share all the matters regarding me without any hesitation. The hunt is on though. Hopefully I’ll find one very soon!
  • My mom is the best thing in my life – All the times I wailed about why am I living such a life, she’s always been there with me. Whenever she has been upset, I’ve tried to cheer her up. We have become incredibly close this year. She’s always either fighting for me, fighting with me or laughing with me at various things and people. The level of respect I have for her has increased to infinity and I seriously don’t know what I would have done without her, or without all her courage and strength. I feel honoured that I am her daughter.
  • I will love chocolates for the rest of my life – My love for chocolates has increased now. Especially when I’m not able to eat them because they aren’t easily available here. Distance has made our bond stronger.
  • Don’t trust anyone too easily – I din’t really trust anyone easily before, but still my trust and friendship was broken with a few people. I think you can say that they forgot me when I shifted here. And to be honest, it hurt me a lot because I shared a large chunk of my life with them and now they just don’t talk to me like before. But I don’t care anymore because I believe it is their loss. They’re gonna miss me when I’m gone!
  • Apparently I’m funny – I’m always known as the serious one in my friend circle, hardly laughing at any jokes. But recently I’ve been called funny. I think it is a hidden talent of mine. Hidden because I haven’t found it yet!
  • There is no reason to be anxious around boys – I went to a girls school in U.A.E. and I din’t have a life outside school so I never had to face any boys so forget even talking. Now that I’m here and the school is co-ed and the place has so many boys around, my anxiety has disappeared. Yaaay!!
  • There is no harm in making new friends – Being socially-awkward, making friends isn’t very easy for me. But somehow I’ve mustered up a bit of courage and as a result I have new friends now!
  • It’s good to loosen up a bit – I’m a really serious person and I take everything seriously. My life has always been between the four walls of my room. But since last year, I’ve loosened up a lot. And for reasons as such I can enjoy life a bit more than I used to.
  • I have a really good memory – Someone asked me what my first memory was, and I said it is of my first birthday and everyone in that room was shocked. Time and again it has been proven that I have a really good memory. But I don’t why it doesn’t stay the same way for studies though…
  • I can forgive, but never forget – I had to do a lot of ‘forgive and forget’ this year. I always thought that I can do it easily but I can’t. I just can’t simply forgive someone let alone forget about it. Even if I do forgive someone, I just can’t forget what they did. Its not possible. Disadvantages of having a good memory I suppose.
  • Giving second chances is not my thing – When you have done something wrong to me, you can’t expect me to accept your apology and give you a second chance. What’s done is done. Giving you a second chance isn’t going to erase the fact that there was once something you did to me which wasn’t acceptable. And don’t tell me that ‘life gives you a second chance’. Life doesn’t give second chances to anyone. It only gives you new beginnings.
  • I have weird characteristics and habits – I’m not gonna elaborate on this. Nope.
  • The virtual world is a brilliant place – This virtual world has been the place where I turned to while I was sad, or the time when I was happy. Also the perfect world to fangirl. So this world has played a big role in my life so far.
  • Music means the world to me – Music has played an integral part of my life. Whether it was when I wanted to hit my brother on the head scream at my brother for annoying and irritating me so much, or when I wanted to transfer myself to a peaceful location, music has helped me do that.

So this is what this year has taught me, alongside a few trivial things which you needn’t know as you’d get bored even more. All in all, I’m thankful for this year because it taught me things I never thought I’d ever be able to learn. Some things are important in your life but you may never know. You’ll only realize their importance when you are forced to.

What did 2013 teach you? Was it something great, or something that you’ll never talk about ever again?