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.

A Quick Look At The Past Three Years Of My Life

Hey-lo humans who are reading this poorly constructed post!

So as you all know, I disappeared for three years from my blog because of a little thing called life. And for those of you who don’t know – well, now you know!

There are plenty of questions in everyone’s head as to what is it that happened in these past years. Today, as the title reads, I’m going to be addressing just that.

So let’s begin from the start shall we?

I had to move to my hometown as we, well, had to move out. My hometown is this area which neither is a village nor town. I like to call it a town-village. I have no idea how else to describe it. Is this really a term though? Or have I coined a new term? Am I the inventor of a new word? Oh my God…..

I spent seven months there with my grandparents, my aunt and uncle and my younger cousin sister. Also this dog. Can not forget the dog. Ugh.
In the start I had few bits of le internet thanks to my younger brother’s constant whining and crying but I refused to use it largely because I had to save it up for him. Things an elder sibling has to do. Sacrifices and all for the younger one. Pfft.
I only used it to keep in touch with my friends (read : annoy the crap out of them) and things were going okay, until my laptop crashed. Big time.

No internet, no system – living those seven months was a complete torture to sum it up in a nutshell. So many people, no source of entertainment, so many people, constant bugging, so many people.
Yes, I said ‘so many people’ a lot of times. Why do you ask? Well,  imagine a socially awkward girl among a whole bunch of people. Perhaps now you can understand how annoyed I might have been.
And I’m Indian. Add that to the mix. Now imagine the situation. Can’t? I never could either. Until I lived that nightmare. The horror *shudders*

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Seven months later, we moved to a different place. Another crappy place. We didn’t have proper water facility for goodness sake! No internet again but finally as we were staying by ourselves, we got a cable connection for our TV. So I spent time watching a lot of series’ again. Boy oh boy was I so happy!
I’d go around saying, “My name is Barry Allen and I’m the fastest man alive! GO FLASH YESYES!!” My mom would just stare at me in utter disappointment. She’d say, “You’ve started again. Why are my kids not normal?”
Quick forward to the present day – my mom loves The Flash. When I used to watch it on TV she’d go all, “Woah!”, “My God!”, “This is awesome!”, “He’s so fast!” etc. She loves Empire the most though. She was shook by the season 2 finale and started screaming, “WHY DID THEY NOT SHOW WHAT HAPPENED AHEAD? WHO FELL?!” When I went home and binge watched my shows, she asked me to tell her what happened and I showed her the clip. She then proceeded to ask my father why is it that he unsubscribed to english channels. If he hadn’t, then she could see little glimpses as I’d watch. I miss mom..

Back on the topic at the hand, I stayed there for around 9-10 months I believe. It was until my school wasn’t decided. And when my new school was decided and also our flat picked out, we moved out to stay at the place where I currently am residing.

How has my life changed? Well, I ended up having two gap years after my tenth grade. I completed my twelfth year in a span of three months and somehow managed to pass with decent scores! I made new friends who are absolutely amazing and have restored my faith in humanity a little bit
I know, I know. Me? Making friends? When did this miracle happen? Yeah, I’m surprised too. Life is full of surprises now isn’t it?

Currently I’m pursuing my first year in the field of Engineering in a college away from home. Hostel life. BLAAAH.
Finally a step towards achieving my dream has been taken and I couldn’t be happier! Yay!

Situations were horrible and we faced a lot of hardships. Life turned out to be nothing like we had imagined and majority of the time we all were just really upset as to how events were turning out to be. My brother wasn’t the least bit upset though. He just was happy he got to see Power Rangers………………

In short, life wasn’t the slightest bit easy. When we thought things are starting to get better, this storm would knock on our main door and say, “Did you order for a problem?”

Things are finally shaping out better now. I’m proud of all of us for managing to keep ourselves together and come out stronger from the experiences. I know that all of this has made me so much stronger, a level of strong my twelve-year-old self never imagined she would reach.

Things are okay. Life isn’t great but it’s okay. And I’m fine with okay.

On Completing A Year of Blogging

I was simply surfing the internet to kill time when I thought that maybe I should check upon my blog and maybe read a few posts. When I logged in I was surprised to see that orange color on my header. I was even more shocked to see what followed after I clicked it.

 My blog is now one year old. I completed a year of blogging!!

I am shocked because when I started, I din’t expect to stay on here even for four months, let alone a year. To see now that it’s been a whole, solid year and I still am blogging makes me really, really happy.

I created this blog out of plain curiosity and to just try out something new. The curious part is definitely ingrained in me but trying something new is definitely not me. I don’t like doing things out of comfort zone and taking risks of sorts. When I thought of doing this, I had surprised myself because I never thought I’d put myself through this.
I know this sounds like I’m going to the jungle and have now decided to spend my life with the lion and it’s family at it’s home, but I felt like that I guess? I don’t know what I’m saying. Help maybe required…

A friend of mine had mentioned her blog and while reading it I felt that maybe I should create one too. The thought exited as quickly as it entered my brain. I din’t feel like it’s something I should do, something I’d enjoy. She told me to just give it a go and see what happens and behold, here I am.
I spent like a month deciding what name I should use and I was still deciding whether creating a blog is a good idea or not, that’s how much I think. One day I just said to myself, “This is getting crazy. I’ll just do this now. Like, right now” and went to create this blog. Little did I know that I’d have so much fun!

A year on this blog enabled me to read stories of some amazing people from different parts of the world. Being a part of it all is something really nice. I found people who share some of the same interests as me, some people who are somewhat like me. I learnt that there are people like me who are socially awkward and/or have anxiety – that I’m not alone. If today I feel better it’s because I know that this isn’t something I’m struggling with on my own, that I have people who understand me. This fact is something I find very comforting.

Maybe that’s why they say that the internet is a wonderful place. A year ago I wouldn’t have believed that but now I’m going to nod my head in agreement. The internet is a brilliant place isn’t it?

As for what happened in this one year in the real world? Well nothing great. Except the fact that I traveled the world and jumped off of a cliff and dove into a sea.
Did I make it obvious that I’m lying?
Nothing really changed in this one year in the real world for me. Things are definitely much better than they were but other than I have absolutely nothing. I did get absorbed into the world of internet. Does that count?

I’ve seen people upload their statistics when they have completed a number of years on their blog but I’m not going to do that because it’s really embarrassing…

I’ve made some friends along the way and that is something I din’t expect. Thank you for all the wonderful feedback I’ve gotten and for all the support you’ve given me. It’s all been proven to be very encouraging.

All in all, I’ve had a lot of fun and I look forward to have a lot more fun now!

I’m not a Wallflower, I’m Socially Awkward

So I was talking to a friend recently (actually chatting on a social networking site. Internet has taken over the world) and she asked me asked me a few things.
She’s really popular in her school, and so is clearly a very social person. She also is a bit um…. how do I say in nice words…. a little less intelligent than the average man. So she thinks every homo sapien on this planet loves socializing because she does so. She thought I also love parties which apparently everyone loves, but was surprised to learn that I hate parties and so stating that I’m not a ‘party animal’. The following conversation took place then :
Her : Why do you hate parties? Parties are so much fun!! You meet so many amazing people!
Me : Erm, I’m socially – awkward. I think you get the point now.
Her : Why did you choose to be socially – awkward? That’s no fun!

So she thinks I chose to be socially – awkward which actually isn’t true, or maybe it is. All I know is that if I am told to socialize people, I will choose the easier option to just run away from the place. Anxiety gets the best of me and well, I don’t talk to people a lot. (Friends and family not included obviously) Sometimes I wonder how do I even have friends. I think they talked to me first and then it continued because there is no way I talked first.
Sometimes I guess anxiety isn’t the main reason for my social-awkwardness. I think its because I kind of hate people (please don’t kill me, please don’t. I love the people of the blogging world. I do!!). Its just that people are so judgmental and always poking their unwanted nose in my business and it gets irritating. Also there are weird people roaming around aimlessly and it bugs me. You’ll go and talk to them thinking they are ‘nice people’ and after an hour you are stuck with them and regretting the decision of extending that hand first.

My close friends though find it a bit surprising that I’m so. I’m called the ‘glue that sticks the group together’ and ‘the most sociable person’! -blinks awkwardly- Maybe because once I’m in my comfort zone and I know I have eliminated all the weird people out of my vicinity, I will start talking and then you can’t shut me up if you point a gun at me!! I will talk about almost anything to you if you share the same enthusiasm that I have and also talk back to me.

Then the conversation between my friend and I continued. But I was shocked when she said,
“So basically you are a Wallflower right? That is so cool! OMG!! I saw Perks Of Being A Wallflower, and that was such a fantastic movie! Logan Lerman played the character of a Wallflower right? He was so awesome!! I wish I was a Wallflower as well. My life would be so awesome. Just like Charlie 😀 ”

How is that she thinks being a wallflower and being socially-awkward is the same? Its not the first time I’ve heard this though. After watching the movie most of the people around me thought this and I cannot tell you how many times some friends of mine have called me a wallflower. And today I will put a stop to this.

So you see? There is a clear difference. I might be socially-awkward and shy, but I definitely don’t go un-noticed at a party. People come towards to me, but I just shoo them away. I don’t talk to a lot of people not because no one talks to me, but actually I don’t want to talk to them because I fear of what they will think about me. I’m not proud of being a socially – awkward person, it isn’t good. But I’ve learnt to embrace it rather than run away from the obvious fact. I’m trying to mend myself because it seems this isn’t good and I get constant shoutings from my mother.

So please, don’t ever get the thought that these two terms are the same. Its kind of weird if you think so. And I’m pretty sure you are not the bad type of weird.

P.S. I have nothing against the movie or the book. I absolutely loved the movie. Infact I still do 😀